Newsletter #602

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Quite simply, this is a mammoth issue – why so many different articles have appeared at the same time (right before the last game of the season) is probably a question more suitably addressed by a psychologist! We have a belated match report; a call for players for McVittee FC (this newsletter’s Internet football team); an interesting article on Danny Tiatto from the ‘Melbourne Age’; a plea for help from Aussie Blues; a couple of explanations of Friday’s celebrations; an exhaustive analysis of this season’s chants by Steve Kay; plenty of personal opinion on Sunday and what to do (ritual wise) and what not to do; and a Why Blue.

Andi Frodsham has finished his ‘stats’ website, and Stuart Wilson has put together an interesting site which attempts to find out just who ‘us’ Blues are. Please give these sites a try and let the authors know what you think.

Wherever you may be Sunday – at the game, in front of a TV, in front of a radio, or simply waiting for the final score (like me most probably) – keep the faith.

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

NEWS SUMMARY

PART I – GENERAL NEWS

Taylor Set for Shock Scottish Call-Up?

Robert Taylor could be given a surprise chance to prove himself at international level. The City striker is reportedly under consideration for a place in the Scotland squad for a forthcoming friendly. Taylor is Norwich-born but his mother hails from north of the border. And after Craig Brown became aware of the fact, the Scottish coach has begun to monitor the ex-Gillingham man’s progress. Assuming City aren’t in the play-offs, it’s even thought that the player stands a chance of being called up for a match against Republic of Ireland in Dublin at the end of May. “I would love to represent Scotland, it would be beyond my wildest expectations,” the 29-year-old told the Manchester Evening News. “If it happens it would be lovely but as yet no one has been in touch with me.”

Yet More Kanchelskis Talk

Manchester City have being strongly linked with a move for Andrei Kanchelskis if the Blues win promotion. And although Joe Royle says he won’t be thinking about prospective transfer targets until the season is over, speculation surrounding the Rangers winger just won’t die down. The Glasgow outfit are signing a new flank player in the summer, when Allan Johnston will arrive on a Bosman free transfer. And as a result, rumours are rife that manager Dick Advocaat will allow the Russian international to leave. The player has already hinted he’d be happy to return to the north west, where he still has a house after spending several years playing for Manchester United and Everton. And Royle, who took the Ukrainian-born star to Goodison Park, said recently, “I bought Kanchelskis at Everton and he did fantastically well for me there. In fact, one of my few regrets is that I didn’t try harder to keep him.”

More Pre-Season Possibilities

Manchester City are set to travel to Ireland as part of their pre-season build-up. And the Blues have a number of other potential engagements in the build-up for the new season. City have provisionally agreed to visit Everton on Saturday, 11 August in a testimonial for the Merseyside club’s former midfielder Joe Parkinson. And the Blues will also play a match at Gillingham either this year or next as part of the Robert Taylor deal. Meanwhile, the club has also admitted to being in talks over a possible three-team tournament in Bermuda involving the host country’s national team and Sunderland.

Another Accolade for City Boss

Joe Royle is the Division One Manager of the Month for April. City won five and drew two of their seven league fixtures in the month, leaving the team only a point away from automatic promotion to the Premier League. And as a result, Royle was recognised as the Division’s top boss for the second time this season, having also been acknowledged in October. On that occasion, his players followed up the announcement by beating Portsmouth, then taking a point in an away match at QPR – an outcome which would more than suit the City manager on Sunday. Meanwhile there was more praise for Royle from Birmingham boss Trevor Francis, who has been inspired by City’s dramatic turn around to nominate the Maine Road boss as his ‘Manager of the Year.’

Royle Laughs Off Award Jinx Talk

Joe Royle was named Division One Manager of the Month this week. But the City boss has laughed off talk that the award could jinx the Blues ahead of Sunday’s crucial visit to Blackburn. The City boss hailed the award as a recognition of the team rather than himself, pointing out that his side’s excellent results in April were down to the way the fans and the players pulled together. And he’s confident that the accolade isn’t a bad omen for the crucial trip to Ewood Park. “I think that curse is long since laid,” said the City boss. “As long as they don’t try and present it to me on Sunday!”

Maine Road Scenes Inspired Ipswich

Manchester City fans were criticised for their premature celebration of promotion on Friday night. And though Maine Road figures have defended the scenes, Ipswich claim to have been given added motivation by them at Charlton on Saturday. The East Anglians earned a crucial win to take the race for the final automatic promotion spot into the last weekend of the season. And their defender Tony Mowbray claims his team-mates were inspired by the City fans’ pitch invasion. “Watching City win was a bit of a nightmare but we knew that result was out of our hands,” he said. “Seeing the fans run on the pitch you’d have thought they’d gained promotion – and that acted as the perfect motivation for us to win at Charlton.”

Another Kiwi Call-Up for Killen

Chris Killen has again been called up to play for the New Zealand Olympic under-23 side against South Africa this month. The countries will meet in a two-legged play-off for the Sydney Olympics, with games at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland on May 19 and the return in Johnannesburg on May 27. It caps a fine season for Killen, who recently signed a new two-year contract and finishing top scorer in the Blues’ Pontin’s League-winning reserve side. His family back in New Zealand follow City and mum Gaynor says she is “absolutely chuffed” with her son’s progress. She also promises to use Kiwi Black Magic to help City win on Sunday!

PART II – SUNDAY: TEAM NEWS

Royle to Pick from Full Squad

Manchester City will have a full squad from which to select the team to face Blackburn in Sunday’s crucial game. Gerard Wiekens is the only player to have missed training on Tuesday, but the Dutchman is almost certain to play. Wiekens was the major doubt for last Friday’s visit of Birmingham with an ankle injury – but he now has a tight hamstring and a touch of sciatica. Meanwhile, Gareth Taylor and Lee Peacock have returned to fitness. However, neither player is expected to be handed either a starting or a substitute’s berth on Saturday, with Royle likely to stick to the formula which has brought the Blues to the brink of automatic promotion.

Rovers Set to Miss Injured Striker

Egil Ostenstadt is Blackburn’s main doubt ahead of Sunday’s crucial game against Manchester City. The Norwegian front man missed Rovers’ trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday with a knee injury. The player has had a scan this week after hurting himself in the warm-up at Selhurst Park, where he was replaced by Matt Jansen. And though there’s no serious damage, the Lancashire club may still be without the striker when the Blues visit. “Egil has had his scan and nothing showed up so we are hoping that it is just bruising,” said boss Graeme Souness, “but it’s just a bit too early to say at the moment.”

PART III – SUNDAY: VIEWS FROM THE CITY CAMP

Boss – We’re Going for the Win

Manchester City need only a draw from Sunday’s game at Blackburn to secure automatic promotion. But Joe Royle has dismissed talk that the Blues will set their stall out for a point at Ewood Park. With City already having wins away to the likes of Charlton and Birmingham to their credit this term, Royle feels his side is capable of beating Graeme Souness’s men. And the Blues’ boss intends to instruct his players to attempt to do just that. “We will not be going to Blackburn to defend or looking for just one point, that would be inviting disaster,” he confirmed. “We will be playing to take three points.”

Royle Tells Players to Seize the Day

Paul Dickov has assured himself of a place in the Manchester City record books after his strike at Wembley last year. And Joe Royle believes that Sunday’s match at Blackburn offers the chance for another City star to become a Maine Road hero. The match, of course, gives City a chance to return to the Premiership after a four-year absence. And Royle is hoping it will be one of his own players who grabs the opportunity to carve himself a place in the club’s folklore rather than relying on Walsall to take points off Ipswich. “Legends are born in games like this and particularly at a massive club like City with the fan base we have,” said the City boss. “Someone can be a hero, not just for a day but for a long time.”

Quiet Confidence in City Camp

Manchester City face a nerve-jangling few days ahead of Sunday’s date with promotion destiny at Blackburn. But as the Blues get back to work this week, confidence in the camp is high. Manager Joe Royle is already on record as praising the character of his side and his players’ ability to cope with pressure. And Richard Jobson, who has notched the highest number of appearances by any City outfield player this term, agrees. “We have believed all season we can make it without the need for the play-offs,” said the veteran defender. “We are more convinced than ever of that.”

Bernstein Banking on Boss’s Big-Game Experience

Like other Manchester City supporters, David Bernstein is waiting anxiously to see if the Blues confirm their Premiership place at Blackburn on Sunday. But the City chairman finds grounds for optimism in Joe Royle’s track record. Bernstein and Royle have established a strong working relationship in the two years the pair have been working together at Maine Road. But it’s the manager’s history of winning crucial games throughout his career which has inspired the boardroom optimism over the team’s fate on Sunday. “I want to pay tribute to Joe – he is a big game manager,” said Bernstein. “If you look back on his record in really crucial matches it is quite incredible.”

City Bid for the £20 Million Point

As Manchester City prepare for Sunday’s crucial trip to Blackburn, attention has turned to the financial cost of failure to win a point at Ewood Park. And Soccernet estimates that the Blues would miss out on £20 million in the worst-case scenario. Their report estimates that City would receive an additional £10 million from increased sponsorship, television revenue and ticket sales if Premiership football were on offer at Maine Road next season. Meanwhile, it’s also claimed that the additional investment David Bernstein recently admitted he’d hope to secure after promotion will amount to a minimum of £10 million.

Boss Knows Souness Will Do No Favours

Joe Royle comes up against a close friend on Sunday as as his Manchester City team visits Blackburn in a crucial game. But the City boss knows that doing the Blues a favour will be the last thing on Graeme Souness’s mind. Souness is still in the process of assessing his squad with a view to a summer spending spree. And with Rovers looking to gain a small consolation for a disappointing campaign with a victory in their last game, the Blues’ boss knows his side face no easy task at Ewood Park. “Graeme, as a friend and a close one, is a totally committed professional and he would have it no other way,” Royle told the official City website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “He will want to beat us. We neither look for, or expect any favours.”

Pollock Relishes Another Exciting Finish

Jamie Pollock has been at Maine Road for just over two years. But the ex-Middlesbrough and Bolton midfielder is already experiencing his third tense run-in during that period. Pollock signed from the Trotters in March 1998, but was unable to stop the Blues sliding to relegation despite a 5-2 last-day win at Stoke. Last year, he watched the dramatic play-off finale from the sidelines after losing his first-team place. And this season, he’s likely to be on the bench after assuming a substitute’s rôle for five of the last six games. But the 26-year-old is in no doubt his team-mates will be fired up for the game, telling local radio station BBC GMR, “I’d love to be involved in one way or another but we have a massive squad and a big fight for places. I know that the eleven who go out will wear the shirt with pride and give 100 per cent.”

PART IV – SUNDAY: VIEWS FROM THE BLACKBURN CAMP

Parkes Says Blackburn Need to Win

Manchester City go into Sunday’s match at Blackburn needing only a point to secure automatic promotion. But although Rovers have little to play for, assistant boss Tony Parkes insists his team will be going all out for victory. Parkes hopes that the occasion will lift his players and encourage them to show their best form after a bitterly disappointing season. “City still need a point for promotion so it’s a good game to end on,” he said. “It would have been an end-of-the-season game for us otherwise but now it’s an exciting one and I’m sure Manchester City won’t relish coming to Blackburn.”

Carsley Promises Tough Test for City

Blackburn have had a disappointing season after starting as favourites to clinch their Premiership place. But skipper Lee Carsley says a win over the Blues on Sunday would go some way towards making amends. Carsley was sent off at Crystal Palace last Saturday in a 2-1 defeat which enraged new boss Graeme Souness. And the ex-Derby player admits that the Ewood Park playing staff are unhappy as anyone with the current state of affairs – something for which they’re hoping to make City suffer. “The frustration has been building up for a while,” he said. “Now it’s our chance to give something back to our fans by finishing the season with a bang.”

PART V – SUNDAY: TICKETS AND CROWD ISSUES

Ewood Clash Means Touts’ Bonanza

Manchester City have long since sold their allocation of tickets for the final game of the season at Blackburn. But with demand far outweighing supply, there’s a thriving black market ahead of the game. The Blues have been given 6,157 tickets but the Manchester Evening News reports that the club could have sold this number at least three times over. And as a result fans have been indicating a willingness to pay more than five times face value for a £15 ticket. There are reports of ticket agencies charging prices in the £80 – £90 range, while plenty of ticketless fans are expected to make the short trip on matchday in the hope of finding an accommodating tout in the environs of the ground.

Segregation Fears for Ewood Visit

Manchester City’s trip to Blackburn on Sunday is a sell-out for away fans. And despite a strict sales policy for other areas of the ground, reports indicate that there will also be a large presence of Blues’ fans in the home sections. Although the match had originally been expected to be played before a near-30,000 sell-out crowd, a sizeable number of tickets are still on sale at Ewood Park. And though purchasers need to have proof of a Blackburn post code or be able to produce ticket stubs for previous Rovers matches, local radio station BBC GMR reports fears that many City supporters have already slipped through the net. The Blues are asking fans without tickets not to travel.

Club Explains Screening Decision

Manchester City have opted not to beam Sunday’s promotion decider at Blackburn back to Maine Road. And director Chris Bird has been explaining the club’s stance. The presence of the Sky TV cameras at Ewood Park for the vital match was a major factor in the club’s thinking. And there were also practical reasons behind the decision. “We feel the fact that the game is going to be made accessible all over the country rules out the need for the beam-back,” Bird told the Manchester Evening News. “In any case it would have been difficult to organise the screening and get the tickets sold in such a short space of time.”

Police Ready for Blackburn Clash

A scarcity of tickets for away fans has led to fears that Manchester City’s clash at Blackburn could be marred by crowd trouble. And the police officer in charge of arrangements for the game has admitted he’s having to prepare for that scenario. Inspector Stuart Caley, Lancashire Police’s Football Planning Co-ordinator conceded, however, that he hasn’t been helped by home fans eager to cash in by selling their tickets. “This is a very important match for Manchester City and we will be ready for any eventuality,” he said. “We have tried to prevent away fans from getting tickets in home areas but we cannot possible ensure that 100 per cent and are saddened to hear that some season ticket holders have been selling their seats for the day.”

Peter Brophy (peterbrophy@mancity.net)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY vs. BIRMINGHAM CITY, Friday 28th April 2000

The laryngitis that had quietened 30,000 City fans during the West Brom match was well and truly cured as the first team ran out on Friday night. Buoyed by anticipation, the 32,062 souls roared their team to victory against Birmingham in an atmosphere that could only be described as electric. From the outset, Jeff Whitley’s header was close to gaining the lead after forty seconds. But the honours went to “Super Bob” after forty minutes. Sitting in H right in the Main stand (with the County Wicklow Supporters’ Branch) it was difficult to see who scrambled it in but the celebrations that spread from the North Stand were enough to convince us.

Jobson and Prior played blinders, knocking balls out and moving up to give Kennedy more options for the set pieces. Kennedy had a good game but was forced inside to a more central position to join the fray. He picked up loose balls outside the box and played them right side for Whitley to send in crosses. But the Brummies were not going without a fight and the action in midfield was certainly not pretty as both sides battled for control of the park. Watching all the long balls knocked towards strikers with their backs to goal was reminiscent of Jack Charlton’s Ireland internationals whose strategy was to “put ’em under pressure.” On balance, Weaver had more to do than Thomas Myhre in the Birmingham goal but despite failing to land a punch on the ball from a Birmingham corner, Weaver was not overworked. Furlong missed his chance of a header while McCarthy was contained by the back four until his unfortunate injury.

“Super Shaun” Goater was also wide of the mark on 34 minutes as he narrowly missed a lob, while in defence Whitley and Tiatto were solid and worked hard to build attacks going forward. The 30,062 voiced soon got to work on the referee, Mister Butler. Some unpopular decisions at the start of the match were replaced by more favourable ones later. As usual the largest controversies were reserved for offside decisions and although we were saved by some we were also denied by others. The referee failed to blow on one occasion as “Super Bob” made a darting run towards goal. In seconds Whitley put him clean through with only the goalie to beat. Taylor had a chance to make it two but Myhre made a fine save to deny him.

Prior stopped Furlong on fifty minutes as he broke free. Lazaridis was denied a loose ball by Tiatto as he put it out for a corner. But the real heart stopper was when Nicky spilled Dele Adebola’s shot and had to scramble it behind.

In the seventieth minute Wiekens shot a corner that we all swore was in the net until it bobbled cheerfully behind. Edghill chased and tackled well to spoil Birmingham’s play. But we never looked like losing this one. As the team’s confidence grew, so did the noise level. As the Main Stand and the Kippax enjoyed a spot of banter, Wiekens shaved the crossbar with a header from a corner. Royle made three substitutions in the dying minutes sending on Granville, Dickov and Pollock for Horlock, Taylor and Kennedy.

It was interesting to note that the Maine Road crowd took no notice whatever of three announcements asking them to keep off the pitch, but with the prize now well in sight it was a night to forgive and forget. Goodbye to the First and Second divisions, Blackburn are dead meat.

Francis Long (flong@indigo.ie)

FRIDAY 28TH APRIL – WHAT A DAY!

7.00 am – Roused by War Office (who is related to me by marriage) from bed in No. 2 son’s pad in London. Hung over from night before. Get cleaned up and await taxi to Euston.
8.00 am – Taxi arrives. Driver, as usual, is Arsenal supporter, but on the good side, loathes Rags. Tell him we’re on our way to Maine Road. He wishes us all the best.
9.40 am – Train leaves Euston. Facing me is a crowd of screaming imbecilic students. Behind me is an ill-tempered screaming child accompanied by ill-tempered screaming parents. War Office is unbearably cheerful. It’s going to be a long journey.
12.30 pm – Arrive in sunny Manchester and think I must be in the wrong city. Recognise in-law at taxi rank who is over for Huddersfield match. Optimistically, he asks if I have a spare ticket for Maine Road. War Office beginning to appreciate that I am not the only maniac in the family.
1.30 pm – Wander into Sportsword bookshop and buy “Bleak and Blue – 22 years at the Manchester Academy of Football Farce”. War Office is bemused. Have lunch in Harper’s – brilliant restaurant but dodgy decor, as the walls are festooned with Rag pictures. Show waiter picture of Kinkladze from book and suggest that he use it in place of picture of dreary Scotsman dripping with cheap decorations. He wishes us well in promotion battle and shows us the restaurant’s major treasure – a framed red and black City shirt signed by Bell, Lee and Summerbee! It is the only thing I have ever seen for which I would kill.
2.45 pm – Off shopping with War Office. Doesn’t see anything she likes so opts to have hair done instead (don’t ask).
5.00 pm – Back to hotel and prepare for Maine event.
6.00 pm – Collect tickets at Maine Road. War Office wants to hang around to see celebs arrive – regretfully advise her that this is City, we don’t have any. She does not believe me until we see half the workforce from Le Coq Sportif being ushered in to the Corporate lounges. I mention the magic word “shop”, which prises her away from railings. I did not tell her it was the City shop until we were inside.
7.15 pm – We take our seats in the Main Stand. Get phone call from brother, who is being slagged off by his wife and daughter for wearing City shirt, hat and scarf to watch a match on the telly. He wishes us well. War Office not impressed by style of supporters – thinks that they all should have got dressed up for such an important game.
7.38 pm – Ground almost full. Warm-up music begins – “The only way is up”, ” We will rock you” – crowd on feet, noise deafening, blue everywhere.
7.40 pm – Team appears – noise level goes off scale – “City we love you” – we know we are the best team in the land and cannot be beaten.
7.45 pm – Match kicks off, certainty disappears, feel something strange where stomach used to be, 33,000 people willing City to win.
7.46 pm – City should have scored, disappointment palpable, tension unbearable. Battle begins in earnest.
7.50 pm – Notice supporter to my left, 6ft+, 16 stone giant dressed in combats, looks like commando on tea-break from SAS. He has his head in his hands, can’t bear to look. He remains like this all through first half. I know how he feels.
8.00 pm – Match becomes a battle of wills, nerve and physical strength, no quarter asked or given and no prisoners taken. I have never seen City so tough and strong. Wiekens, Prior and Tiatto like terriers. Kennedy not yet in game. Weaver uncertain. Horlock only one playing football. City show greater determination than Birmingham, confidence begins to return, but fear of giving away stupid goal is ever present.
8.28 pm – City score! View obstructed, cannot see who scored as tide of blue rises from seats, War Office kisses me congratulations, she and I proceed to hug everyone within reach. Tannoy announcement drowned by yelling, cheering ecstatic fans. Happiness is a City home goal! Eventually I ask my neighbour “Who scored?”
8.36 pm – Those extra minutes from Wembley are refunded to Birmingham by referee. Heart palpitations finally ease off when whistle blows. I’ve got to have a drink!
8.46 pm – Finally get served at bar, as last of beer runs out. I spot a miniature brandy on shelf and ask for that. While my barmaid ambles to collect brandy, second barmaid ambles marginally faster and grabs drink. I settle for a whisky. I would have preferred a brandy, but beggars can’t be choosers. The drink settles my nerves, and I brave myself for the second half.
8.52 pm – Battle resumes. SAS man now has face in hands on knees. Match becomes a blur, punctuated by some bizarre decisions from ref.
9.15 pm – Taylor clean through, right in front of me. Must score. Doesn’t.
9.20 pm – Heart begins to freeze, lungs aren’t working as normal. Light 15th cigarette of match. Behind me, supporter is getting hysterical and is prime candidate for ambulance. In front is some looney who has managed to get totally ossified at half-time and won’t sit down. Am I enjoying this? Am I heck!
9.40 pm – By my reckoning the match should now be over, but ref has decided to pay interest on time from Wembley. War Office beginning to look concerned at my state of health.
9.42 pm – We’ve won, we’ve won, we’ve won, we’ve won, we’ve won, we’ve won, we’ve won, we’ve won!
9.45 pm – We are standing on the sacred turf at Maine Road, surrounded by thousands of other jubilant supporters. We all believe we are now back in the Premiership. Tomorrow’s results will cause that certainty (but not the expectation) to disappear. For now, it is more than we all dared to dream. For those who were there on Friday, or at the other occasional triumphs and many disasters that City have achieved over the past few years, it is easy to understand that when a City fan proclaims “City Till I Die”, only the truth is spoken.

Tony O’Leary (OLEARY@bge.ie)

CALLING ALL CITY FANS IN GERMANY

I’m putting together a list of City fans in Germany. If you live in Germany (also Austria and Switzerland) then drop me a line and I’ll add you to the German distribution list. The list is strictly informal – no official meetings or bulletins. It’s a purely social list to let us know where to find each other.

Drop me a line at:

Ian Watson – Hamburg, Germany (idwatson@dow.com)

MCVITTEE FC

McVittee FC, football team representing this mailing, are to take part in a charity tournament in Charlton following the death of a Charlton Internet footballer.

On Monday 8th February 2000, 18-year-old Charlton fan & Charlton Internet Football Club player Jas Deol died of a heart attack, a few hours after playing in a game for us at Coldharbour Leisure Centre. This tragic event brought sharply into focus just how trivial life’s problems really are and also spurred us on to create something that will act as a fitting tribute to Jas.

Therefore the idea to stage a tournament with the sole intention of raising money for the British Heart Foundation was developed.

Consequently 16 teams, from all corners of the UK, have paid the entry fee to take part. They’ve also received great assistance from individuals at Charlton Athletic and within the Internet football world.

The tournament takes place on FA Cup final day, 16 teams in 4 groups with the top two in each group progressing to the quarter finals.

First game kicks off at 10.30am and group stages are:

Charlton Athletic
Crystal Palace
Manchester City
Cambridge United
Queens Park Rangers
Ipswich Town
Colchester United
Gillingham
Arsenal
Celtic
Rangers
Reading
Luton Town
Derby County
Birmingham City
Leicester City

I am looking for people who want to play in this tournament. Some of you may also want to make donations seperately whereby you can contact me at dave.barker@moonfish.co.uk and I can assist.

On a side note, could all players who still wish to play for McVittee FC please email me – I have a lot of players in my mailing list who never play and I only want to be bothering those that do! Also if you wish to come down and play for us then please also contact me.

Thanks, Dave Barker – Manager, McVittee FC (dave.barker@moonfish.co.uk)

TIATTO ARTICLE

It is not often we rate a mention over here let alone something quite positive; this was in Australia’s most prestigious newspaper, the Melbourne Age.


Red-hot Tiatto
By MICHAEL LYNCH
Sunday 30 April 2000

Road trip: from Bulleen, through Brunswick Juventus, the Melbourne Knights, Italy’s serie B, Stoke City, and now verging on Premier League, it’s been a long journey for Danny Tiatto.

There wouldn’t be too many players at big-name British clubs who would suggest that, when they have finished their careers at the top level, they might like to end their days playing for Melbourne Knights. Then again, there aren’t too many overseas players who have the sort of background and history of Socceroo winger Danny Tiatto, the 26-year-old former hothead from Melbourne’s western suburbs, who, via the Knights, the Atlanta Olympics, Italy’s serie B and the English Midlands, has carved out a career at Manchester City.

Tiatto, the kid from Werribee who is now based in one of the soccer world’s most fanatical centres, is not quite a Premier League player yet, but he is poised to become the latest Australian to reach the exalted rank. City is battling hard for an automatic promotion place from the First Division, having inched closer on Friday night with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City. The worst that can happen is that the club from the Blue half of Manchester will be in the post-season play-offs for a coveted place in the Premier League.

It will sound strange to youngsters or people who have tuned into soccer only in the past 10 years, but City is a big club. In fact, from the late ’60s to the ’80s it was the successful Manchester team, with a league championship in 1968, FA Cup in 1969, European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970 and League Cup in 1970 and 1976. But it is somehow a measure of both clubs’ luck that City’s great days came in the time before soccer became big business. Now City has to look on as the hated crosstown rival, Man Utd plc, redefine the idea of the sports franchise as a business.

But, says Tiatto, while it’s something the players – and the fans – are always conscious of, it’s not something they concern themselves with overmuch.

“It’s not too bad really. We know where they are, and we don’t really bother about them too much. We just concentrate on how we are doing and get on with our own games. That’s all we can do,” says the tricky winger, who has shrugged off his reputation for rough play to become a key part of the City revival and the Australian team under new coach Frank Farina.

“I really didn’t know how big the club was when I came here. Even when we were in the Second Division, we were still getting crowds of 30,000. Because of the history and tradition there’s a lot of pressure on the players. Everyone expects us to win and be in the Premier League this season. It’s not too bad, it’s helped bring the best out of a lot of players, although it’s pretty intense.”

Tiatto started out as a youngster in Melbourne’s western suburbs, having spells at Bulleen and Brunswick Juventus before making his mark at the Knights. After the 1996 Olympics – in which he was controversially sent off in Australia’s first match, a 2-0 loss to France – he moved to Salernitana in Italy. After a year there he moved to England – where the fast pace and physical nature of the game was always likely to suit him more – and joined Stoke City.

He impressed during a season at the Midlands side, although ultimately Stoke was relegated to Division Two. Among those he impressed most was Joe Royle, manager of City, Stoke’s 5-2 conqueror in the last match of that season, who saw enough to gamble near enough to $1 million to take the Australian to Maine Road.

While things are going well for the rejuvenated Tiatto now, it wasn’t the case when he joined City. “My first year was not the best,” he says. “I got injured a week before the start of the season and I ended up being out for the first month of the season. Then I came into the team and got sent off after a few games. I missed three weeks with injury, came back, got injured again, came back and got sent off again.”

It was clear that his legendary volatility and overexuberant tackling – he had racked up several red cards during his NSL days and missed two grand final appearances with the Knights because of suspension – was costing him.

His club arranged anger management and counselling sessions, and that, along with a summer break back home and a return to the Socceroo fold, has helped turn his game around.

“The anger management counselling was quite good. The club knew that I was capable of playing well; they wanted me to concentrate on playing, not getting sent off. I have only had six bookings this season. At the moment I am concentrating on getting forward and dribbling. I think I really have played my best football this season.”

Tiatto missed City’s unbelievable play-off victory in 1998-99, when, against Gillingham, the team was 2-0 down with a minute of the game left. It got two injury-time goals, and then won promotion to the First Division in a penalty shootout.

While most clubs that move up a division initially struggle, that hasn’t been the case for City, which has been among the front-runners all season. “We are a footballing team, so we are not surprised at all that we have been up there. We have good players and good coaches – Joe Royle has taken us up to the top, he’s doing something right. We also have former City players like Willie Donachie and Asa Hartford on the staff, so we are pretty confident.”

It is perhaps no accident that Tiatto’s club career has also kicked on in tandem with his rehabilitation as a member of the national team. He earned the first of his 14 caps in a goal-less draw with Colombia in 1995, but fell out of favour under Terry Venables. Raul Blanco, then the caretaker coach, called him up last July for the Manchester United series – he was home on holiday – and he has been an ever present since.

“I had a period in the wilderness. It was frustrating, it was quite upsetting at the time. Frank (Farina) came in and said he was going to be picking up a big group, and everyone would get a chance.”

Settled in England (his Australian fiancee has joined him there) he has no plans to leave City. “I have got one more season left on my contract and it looks as though they will offer me a new one. I have always wanted to play at the top level of football, at the best standard. Manchester is a good place and I am quite happy here in England – I don’t think I would move back over to the continent if an opportunity came. I have a style of play which is suited to the English game.”

He might like Manchester, but he won’t be calling it home when he quits. “I shall definitely be coming back to Melbourne, maybe in four or five years’ time. I’ll probably finish up playing with the Melbourne Knights,” he jokes down the phone. Then he muses: “That would be good – to get all the old Knights players together, like Mark Viduka, and play there again.”

Paul Keelagher (blueboy@netspace.net.au)

BLUE SONG

Despite the nerve-shredding atmosphere at the Birmingham game, I had to laugh at the song I heard echoing through the gents toilets at half time.

Sang to the tune of “My old man’s a dustman”, it had me in stitches!

“Posh Spice is a slapper, she’s got a slapper’s beaver…
and when she’s shag*ing Beckham, she thinks of Nicky Weaver!”

Come on you Blue Beauties! After Charlton simply rolled over against Ipswich, let’s make sure of promotion by grabbing all 3 points on Sunday!

CTID, Jon Walsh (JWalsh@calorgas.co.uk)

NEW KIT

I have heard from a reliable source (well… someone who works in the Man City superstore at Maine Road) about next season’s away kit. It is planned to be made from a metallic silver material with Eidos written across it and the club crest and Le Coq sportif Logos in a similar place to where it is currently on the home shirt.

Also… I have been told that it has a stripe across it which is the same yellow as the Kappa away shirt… sounds different!

Anonymous

ALL THE POSSIBILITIES:

The Division 1 Final League Table Placing Rules are as follows:

  • The teams finishing third, fourth, fifth and sixth will then play off for a third promotion place.
  • The bottom three teams will be automatically relegated to Nationwide Two.
  • If two or more teams finish level on points the team with the better goal difference will finish higher.
  • If two or more teams have the same points and the same goal difference, the team which has scored the higher number of goals will finish higher.
  • If two or more teams finish level on points, goal difference and goals scored at the end of the season and the championship, a promotion place, play-off place or relegation place is at stake they will then play off to decide who finishes higher.

Our current league positions are:

                F  A  Pts GD
Manchester City 74 39 86  +35
Ipswich Town    69 42 84  +27

This means that there are 5 possibilities:

  1. If we win we’re up (would the team really be MCFC if they did this?).
  2. If they lose or draw we’re up.
  3. If we draw and they fail to win by 8 (or more) goals then we’re up.
  4. If we draw 3-3 and Ipswich win 8-0 (or any similar combination thatleaves both teams with the same goal difference and goals scored) then wehave a play-off before the play-offs. The winner of this play-off goes upand the loser goes into the play-offs (our win on away goals in head tohead meetings does not count!).
  5. Any other combination and Ipswich Town are promoted.

CTID, Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

RITUAL ABSENCE

First of all thanks MCIVTA for keeping the exiles like me up to date with the goings on at the Academy.

Next, of course, the big weekend is looming large, it’s only Tuesday and I can’t think about much else, it’s only going to get worse as well! Fortunately I don’t have to put up with much Blue baiting in The Philippines as the locals are mainly basketball fans, any other ex-pats are mainly German or Irish here, so there’s plenty of scope to spread the word.

It does mean however, that I’m completely dependent on the audio commentary, when it works, and the chat room boys who do a brilliant job.

Whatever happens, it’s been a superb season which uncannily coincides with my absence from the UK. I managed to be in the UK for the two (most recent) relegation seasons and most of last season but, much to my shame, left Wembley before the famous five minutes, too upset to stand it. So one thing is for certain: even if I was given a first class Concorde ticket to Blackburn International Airport with free brown ale and beef paste sarnies served by Melanie Sykes I would not go.

I know others have written in with similiar Jonah stories and am certain that they will have the same opinion.

My season ticket is with a mate of mine who has now become some sort of talisman; I fear that he will have to keep permanent possession of it, or until we are least allowed to play in some meaningless end of season games if we ever experience those again!

Anyway, I feel slightly more relaxed now, anyone ever considered setting up a Blue Help Line?

Keep those rituals up.

Andy Gordon (andyg@cyworld.net)

AUSTRALIAN BLUES NEED HELP!

This is a last ditch appeal to all the 3,000+ Blues who get McVittee.

Here in Australia they’ve been showing Nationwide Division One games all season on Optus TV (a pay TV operator), but for some reason unbeknownst to anyone they have decided not to show any this coming Sunday.

Could as many of you out there as possible e-mail CSI (the people who distribute the games) and ask them why they are not showing a game and in particular one game, in Oz this Sunday?

The address is: octagoncsi@octagon.com

If you feel like it, mail Optusvision here in Oz and ask the same question. You will find them at http://www.optus.com.au/ and you can mail them from there.

For those Blues in Oz could you ring: Sam Dawson at C7 on (02) 8777 7924 and get up him, and Kirsten at CSI in Sydney on (02) 9948 0155 and ask her nicely and if anyone in the UK could ring Paul McGrath the football rights guy at CSI on 02089445222 and ask him the same questions. For those in Oz the number is 001144 2089 445 222.

I know I’m asking a lot but it can be done if we have the numbers.

Yours desperately in Blue, Bill Chapman (billc@prepress.edu.au)(leebellsummerbee@free.net.au)

ALSO…

No live division 1 football is scheduled to be shown here this weekend. We have been harrassing the Australian sports channel to show the Blackburn game. They say that there is nothing they can do as the decision rests with their English supplier, Octagon CSI. I have e-mailed Octagon and will also call during English business hours but if any MCIVTA subscribers could take a minute and make a call/send a message to them to plead on our behalf that could only help. The details are:
Tel: 208 944 5222
Fax: 208 944 5710
E-mail: octagoncsi@octagon.com.
The person to contact is, apparently, Paul McGrath.

Thanks – and come on you Blues… Andrea Hanlon (Andrea.Hanlon@msj.com.au)

PUT YOUR HANDS UP!

(by Noel Bayley – editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet)

Hands up who really though City would have been up by now? The past teaches us that this was never going to happen. Games in my lifetime against Newcastle away, Luton home, Charlton home, West Ham away, Bradford away, Liverpool home and Stoke away all trip off the tongue like some sort of demented mantra so why should this season have been any different? By this time next week I hope that two words: “Blackburn away” will have been added to this roll call of pain and pleasure. Of course, if the media and pundits had had anything to do with it, one of Huddersfield (earlier in the season), Barnsley (more recently) or Ipswich (currently) would be joining Charlton by virtue of automatic promotion. Yes indeed, ask Alan Brazil, Ray Wilkins or any one of the other ex-Rags that Sky habitually wheel out for an impartial view and they just can’t do it… it’s got to be anyone but City. We shall see, but if only Charlton hadn’t rolled over on Saturday…

I can’t recall a game all season when anyone’s stuck three past them let alone at home (?) and while I find Alex Ferguson’s habitual pre-match psyching out of opposing managers, players, fans and even the referee unsavoury, I think it may have been in order for “Genial” Joe Royle to have wondered aloud last week if Charlton were up to the job in hand. Clearly they weren’t, despite Alan Curbishley’s bluster about his team doing a professional job. And now, Elton Welsby (of all people) has put the cat amongst the pigeons by wondering if Blackburn will allow us an easy passage on Sunday in order to help their own Premiership ambitions come next season!? A repeat of last Friday will do me and most others too I suspect, although I won’t find it quite as difficult staying sober before the match as I did then. Roll on Albert Square!

At this time of the year it is customary in some quarters to slap backs and award gongs and other meaningless accolades to all and sundry… Even if Nick Weaver and Shaun Goater went unrecognised by their fellow professionals for their respective superlative performances at either end of the field this season. But in a year that has already seen alan ball receive a medal from the Queen and Roy Keane showered with awards for best own goal of the century (if only!), then I feel it is only fair to herald some of those MCIVTA regulars who have strived to entertain this season in the face of hostility from some quarters. First, Steve Maclean with his acronyms, although I have a confession to make: I challenged him to do an acronym for every team we played this season (I owe you a pint Steve!). Tony Burns, who again was criticised for making comments about tractor-driving away fans as I recall… Obviously there are a few on MCIVTA who would rather criticise the efforts of others instead of: “Switching off their TV sets and doing something less boring instead…” to coin a phrase. And last, but by no means least is Peter Brophy who has kept many City fans like myself (who either refuse to buy the MUEN on principle or who can’t be mithered reading every publication going from ‘Our Dogs’ to ‘Modern Railways’ on the off-chance there’s a City mention) up to date with his news summary. It’s appreciated.

Finally, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t plug the latest issue of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet. The Summer Special is out now and it includes an interview with City director Chris Bird, Andy Noise on Subbuteo and more views on the red and black away shirt. For further details see the website at: http://www.wookie.u-net.com/bthmain.htm

Noel Bayley (noelbayley@iname.com)

RATIONALITY AND BEING BLUE

So here I am, 53 years of age with a grown family, living seven or eight thousand miles from Manchester, otherwise mature and rational in my approach to life, the universe and everything and I’m hanging on every tidbit of information I can glean from whatever source in advance of Destiny Day on Sunday.

Case in point; I had to be in Edmonton (Alberta) last Friday and it was all I could do to resist making an excuse to dash out of my meetings early, plug in my computer and get the Birmingham result or even better, tune into GMR via the Internet. This was not to be, however, and I was forced to make a dash for the airport as late as ever. Normally every flight I take is subject to Murphy’s (or Sod’s) Law. Whatever I want to happen, doesn’t. Who in their right mind, for instance, would cheerfully pray for a flight delay? Well this idiot did and just for once Murphy and Sod weren’t at home. Thirty minutes delay – yes – dash off to lounge and plug in computer. Boot up, hands trembling; connect to the net, hands trembling even more; (“you have 25 messages waiting” – bugger that!); open http://www.soccernet.com/, hands trembling uncontrollably, all the while muttering please, please, please, oh please and then joy, City 1-0 Birmingham. An only half silent – yes – and definitely more than half raised clenched fist. The guy in the next booth was not overly impressed but Security remained thankfully absent.

Now the point of this sad story might be construed as a preamble to an explanation of the effect that City has on the psyche of an otherwise rational man. Sorry, there is no such explanation. They frustrate, they anger, more often than not they defy all logic, but what other team would cause a grown man eight thousand miles and several hours removed from the action to behave in this way? Don’t fight it I say to myself, just enjoy being part of something completely unique. Tony Burns had it just right in his description of the atmosphere at Maine Road last Friday; spend all you like U**ed, you’ll never create something that is built on qualities such as loyalty, perseverance, sacrifice; qualities that can’t be bought and which only real Mancunians have in abundance. I wish I’d been there.

A few years ago I had spent a day doing business in Vancouver with a colleague from our office in Boston. It was the first time we’d met but four or five words were all we needed to establish that we were both from Manchester. Business done, we headed for the ferry to Victoria. Grabbed a coffee and sat down to chat sociably for the first time that day. I started with one word “So.” And he replied even before I’d properly finished “Blue”. Two words were all that was required. I’ve felt for a while that this story was worth telling. Just two words to sum up what we all feel and can’t always express. We know who we are and we recognise each other intuitively. The entry price to our club has been sometimes decades of frustration and this means that not everyone can join. But it all means that the prize awaiting us on Sunday is that much sweeter.

There are no Nationwide games on TV here, so I’ll be up at 5.30 on Sunday and hoping that the website live broadcast is working for once. I can’t believe that we could fail at this point. I have faith, I’m supremely confident in Joe’s and the team’s abilities, Tony Burns’ pants will be firmly round his ankles I know – but I’m a lifelong Blue so on Sunday I’ll also be a Walsall fan!

Best to everyone.

CTID, Martin Smith – Victoria, BC (msmith_brukcan@compuserve.com)

REPLICA SHIRTS

A company called TOFFS do a replica of City’s ’69 Cup winning shirt, complete with Wembley crest and a shirt number if you so desire. The quality is ultra-good and it looks excellent – the red is a really bright red and the shirt is very eye-catching. It has the added bonus that as kit manufacturers and sponsors come and go, this one will never date.

Andy Jackson (a.z.jackson@dundee.ac.uk)

DATABASE COMPLETE

Some of you may remember a request for help in compiling a database of every City league game since 1993?? Well, that database is now complete, and I have built up a new website around it all.

Please go to http://www.geocities.com/froddy.geo and check it out.

Also, please give me your feedback on the site, its content, speed of loading etc… I am especially interested on how long the database takes to load on other people’s ISP connections.

Thanks to everyone who helped on this, your names are in the Instructions to the City Stats section by the way! If you think you have been left out, let me know, I’ll add your name.

Remember, give me lots of feedback about the site, either by using the on-site form, or e-mail me at the address below.

I hope you find it of use.

Andi Frodsham – Dolph (andrew.frodsham@auspost.com.au)

WHICH PLAYERS SUPPORT CITY?

I know I’m going to sound like a complete anorak but here’s a question for you (sparked off by recent transfer speculation): Imagine you came across a parallel universe where football teams were peopled by their fans, who would be in City’s first team? e.g. Lee Dixon would presumably be in there (or on the bench?) for a start. In other words, which players support City or supported City as kids?

Bridget Sheehan (b_sheehan31@hotmail.com)

TV VENUES FOR DUTCH BLUES

Sunday 7th May 14.30
Blackburn Rovers vs. City
The Blarney Stone, Niewendijk 29, Amsterdam

or

The Boozer, Voorstraat 106, Dordrecht

Ian Hawthorne (kippax@worldonline.nl)

VENUE FOR COUNTY WICKLOW BLUES

The Co. Wicklow branch are meeting for the Blackburn game followed by a promotion party in our usual meeting place: Katie Gallagher’s, Strand Road, Bray, this Sunday. We wish to invite any City fans who should happen to be in the area on the day. Children are always welcome as we are a family-orientated club. We are expecting 50-100 people to come along for the promotion party so it should be a day to remember. The club have been over 6 times this season and City have won each time.

City til i die! Tony McManuus (tonymacmanus@eircom.net)

THOSE POST-MATCH CELEBRATIONS

Thought I’d write to give my reasons for the “high jinx” post match celebrations last Friday. This match was my 130th on the trot, home and away, including Mansfield, Darlington, Colchester, Millwall, Wycombe, Lincoln, etc. so I feel qualified to have a say.

From my vantage point of the front row of the upper Kippax, I was so happy and relieved when the final whistle blew, that I just had to be part of it all, one of those who ventured onto the pitch at the end of the game. Fortunately I descended using the stairs, rather than jumping over the balcony and using my flag as a parachute.

The two reasons for the OTT celebrations were:

  1. It was the last home League game of the season, and we wanted to showour appreciation to the players and management for their fantastic effortsthis season.
  2. We had just won a massive game, that City would have lost a fewseasons ago.

Another personal reason for me celebrating on the pitch, was because I regretted not doing the same last season after the Wigan game. On Friday I can be clearly seen on Sky holding up my “City Till I Die” home shirt in front of the tunnel. It was a fantastic experience… to smell the damp grass… seeing bare chested, pot-bellied men lying down on the half way line, with their arms crossed across their chests, just staring up into the night sky… seeing one guy holding a white plastic steward’s garden chair aloft?… people on mobiles telling friends where they were and what they were doing… me just looking around at the stands and trying to imagine what it must be like to be cheered on by 32,000 loyal fans.

I left the ground about 10:15, and we made our way to O’Shea’s on Whitworth Street in the City Centre, which was full of City fans. But I can assure you nobody was chanting, singing or celebrating. Just wondering if we had done enough… just hoping that Charlton wouldn’t play dead tomorrow… just praying it wouldn’t go to the last match when Ipswich would be favourites.

When I got home just after midnight, I sat down with my chips and gravy (food, not the fanzine), and watched the last 15 minutes, and the after match celebrations. Typical of Uncle Fester Wilkins to be so bloody negative, and Sky not to grasp what was really going on out there. The pictures from the directors’ box were unique, and showed the unity of everybody at the club. Have you ever seen those scenes before? Joe Royle could be seen saying “Amazing, absolutely amazing” as he surveyed the mass of fans in front of the Main stand.

To completely kill the “hope these scenes don’t come back to haunt them” thoughts of the Sky crew, the post match interviews with Bobba Jobson, Slimfast Robert Taylor and Joe Royle made it absolutely clear that the players were still focused, knowing they would still need a point at Blackburn. Some may say that Ipswich may have been spurred on by watching us celebrating, but we will never know. It’s just a pity we didn’t win at Grimsby and Portsmouth, because not only would we be up, we could be lifting the Championship too. There are some who think that Blackburn will not try on Sunday, so that we get out of the division, to make it easier for them next season, but don’t count on it. Every other team raises their game when they play us, so why should Blackburn be any different? Suffice to say, I certainly don’t regret celebrating what has been a fantastic season so far. To quote the Rags: “Que Sera, sera…”

By the way, Nigel, it hadn’t gone unnoticed that you wear that ’69 shirt to most games… but you’re supposed to wash it occasionally!

Steve Kay (Stevemcfc@tinyworld.co.uk)

A TALISMAN?

I went to see Oasis last night (they were superb… top!). It was the first time I’d seen them since the Maine Road concerts.

That was the week before we went down. This is the week before come back up again.

Keep the faith.

Sean Cable (blue@huskynet.com)

EXPLODING BRAIN SYNDROME…

Well, here we are with just 1 game to go and everything to play for. Over the last five seasons my nerves have been totally shredded, all I really want now is just a nice quiet season where nothing really happens, so that I can just calm down a bit. But somehow knowing City I don’t have much confidence that I’m going to get my wish.

But obviously my preference would be for a nice, quiet season in the Premier League rather than Division One – and what are the chances of that particular wish coming true?

As we all know, there’s only 1 scenario that gets Ipswich promoted in 2nd place – they win and we lose (they could go 2nd if we draw and they win by about 9 goals, but let’s ignore that one). Realistically, Ipswich should win at home, even if Walsall are fighting relegation. So it’s all down to City. I’ve got to be honest and say that I don’t think our away form has been up to much recently, viz:

  • Since winning away at Nottm Forest on Feb 5th, we’ve only won once away, that was the 2-0 at Swindon.
  • Even at Swindon by all reports we were fairly lethargic, just doing enough to beat the relegated home team.
  • We’ve lost at Barnsley, and drawn at Palace, Stockport, Grimsby and Portsmouth in recent weeks.

So on recent form you’d have to say a draw is much more likely than a City win. A draw would be enough, but obviously going looking for a draw would be high risk, as it only takes one slip…

Summary:

My head says we may have to settle for the play-offs, but my heart says:

Come on City!
You can do it!
Just one more final push!
Feed the Goat!

Make Sunday’s game:

B     e   the
L     ast
AC    ronym, then I
K     an
BURN  my dictionary!

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

SUNDAY PREDICTION

When I registered this email address 15 months ago I never thought it could apply this year as well. Let’s hope that I’ll never need to use it again!

Whatever happens on Sunday it’s been a great season and win or lose, I’m sure the lads will get one hell of an ovation after the game (à la Wembley).

I reckon 2-1 to City (both from the Goat).

CTID, Mark Leibling (city.are@goingup.co.uk)

CITY SUPPORTERS’ SURVEY – PLEASE VISIT THIS SITE

http://www.starlogic.co.uk/mcfc/

I am writing to tell you about a City supporters’ survey I have put together on the web. The survey comprises 35 questions that focus more on the fans than the team. For instance, I thought it would be interesting to know whether most City fans really are from Manchester and whether we all hate United. The results of the survey are updated in real time and can be viewed online by following the ‘Results’ link.

The survey is split into the following sections:

You – Your sex, age, where you are from, where you live now, etc.
Game Attendance – Are you a season ticket holder, how many games have you been to, etc.
Atmosphere – Are we more vocal at home or away, do you join in the singing, do you take out your frustrations on the team, etc.
Management – How do you rate the job Joe and DB are doing.
Best and Worst – Who do you rate as our best and worst (I decided to limit the ‘Worst’ to ‘Worst manager ever’ to avoid negativity!).
Colours – Simply, what do you think of our home and away strips, etc.

Please use the survey and tell your non-MCIVTA friends about it too. The more respondents we can get, the more meaningful the results. Check the survey regularly to see how things unfold.

Please feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions for questions. This is my first crack at this. If it is popular, I will conduct another survey in the new season.

Just for the record, I am a City supporter. I am not connected to the club in any other way, nor am I going to profit from this exercise. This survey has been put together out of my obsession with City. Obviously, the data is available on the public domain to anyone who has an Internet connection, other than that, I will not be passing the database containing the results to any third party.

Stuart Wilson (mcfc@starlogic.co.uk)

THANK YOU EDGY!

Can I say a big “Thank You” to Richard Edghill, who finally delivered my autographed Umbro maroon/white/yellow shirt to my door the other week… nearly three years after I gave it to him at the Open Day in August 1997. Another 2 weeks and it would have been in captivity longer than Terry Waite! What did it was when I threatened to let down the tyres of his Porsche.

On the subject of “Edgy”, I would ask everybody to judge him first and foremost for his defending, not the odd 50-yard pass that goes astray. People forget things like the defensive header from under his own bar at Swindon which saved a certain goal. People forget that he was out for 22 months, and has fought his way back from a career-threatening cruciate injury. He is an unsung hero and a top class defender whose passing into space down the right, and into the middle are 95% brilliant. Not bad for a right full back in a team without a right winger. He absolutely loves City, is proud to be captain, and will die for the cause. Taking that penalty at Wembley took real courage, and clutching his shirt and kissing the badge was no publicity stunt. I’ve said this before in MCIVTA, but booing a player for making a mistake is counter productive, and pointless. Richard Edghill is a professional, he knows when he’s made a mistake, and just because he may not show that outwardly, inside he will be hurting. The last thing he needs are a few knob-heads calling him all the names under the sun. That’s going to make him feel much better, I don’t think. How would you feel if you presented a near perfect piece of work to your boss or teacher, and they criticised you in front of everyone at work/school for making a spelling mistake? Not exactly going to motivate you is it? So if you call yourself a supporter, support the club, support the team, support all the players, and encourage them to do better when they make a mistake. If you cannot do that, you are not a true City supporter and should stay away, and allow a more deserving fan in to cheer the team on. I don’t go for all this “I pay my money, so I’m entitled to be critical if I want” rubbish. Just get behind the club, enjoy yourself, and let’s see where it takes us.

Steve Kay (stevemcfc@tinyworld.co.uk)

NEW SEASON TICKETS

As some readers may know, City have recently sent out a new batch of letters offering what remain of the 700 or so new season tickets available for next season. Last time I checked with the Ticket Office a few weeks ago they said they would be sending out letters offering them some time in June once they had worked out if any more were available because of current holders not renewing. I was told I was around number 570 on the list but that 350 of those ahead of me had already been offered tickets and their acceptance time had expired at the end of March.

Next thing I heard was a call on Wednesday 26th April from a mate who had just received a letter offering him a ticket – he was around number 700 on the list; checked my post at lunch time and no letter so I contacted the ticket office. The person I spoke to confirmed letters had gone out and at first seemed to say that I would have had a letter by now if I was one of the lucky ones – I then pointed out that I was at least 100 places ahead of my mate on the list and he had received a letter – and the person agreed to look into it and get back to me.

True to their word (as I find they usually are when they promise to get back in touch) ticket office contacted me a couple of hours later to say a letter had been sent to me and they were sent out around Saturday 22nd April (I already knew this ‘cos my mate’s letter was postmarked with this date) but with the Easter weekend my letter was obviously late in arriving and that my tickets would be reserved and I could simply call to confirm. Fair enough.

Nothing in Thursday post; nothing arrived by time I left for work on Friday; wife rings me on my way to Maine Road on Friday to say letter arrived – hurrah. Out of interest I asked her to check post mark on letter – it was 27th – the day after I called ticket office to see whether a letter had been sent and the day before the letter was actually received by me. This may be a coincidence but it does seem strange that my mate had his letter postmarked 22nd and it was received on 25th/26th and one doesn’t have to go too far to conclude that I had somehow initially been overlooked. I do hope this was simply a coincidence, as I think the ticket office has generally been O.K. this year after the Wembley fiasco last year.

With the reservation period expiring on 19 May and with the ticket office previously having said nothing would happen until June – if I had been overlooked – I would have missed out if my mate hadn’t got in touch. The point of this is not to conjecture whether or not I was overlooked or to have a pop at the ticket office but to alert any Blues who are on the waiting list (particularly if you know you are around number 700) who haven’t received a letter that you should think about getting in touch with ticket office.

Tom Farrington (taf@rollits.co.uk)

15 YEARS AGO

A few days ago, I went to visit my parents with my wife and kids. My little daughter who is 1 year and 2 months old, got a hold of an old audio tape that she dug out from a drawer, where my mum had placed all kinds of old things that belong to me or that I had left there, such as books, magazines and tapes. As my daughter was about to start the process of destroying the tape, I noticed it. I thought it must be a recording of one of the weekly John Peel programs that I used to listen to, on BFBS (Cyprus) in the eighties. I rushed and saved the tape from my daughter’s little hands. Surprise, surprise, it turned out to be a live recording, from the BBC world service, of the City vs. Charlton game, 11th (?) of May 1985. Yes, that magnificient 5-1 win that promoted City ahead of Portsmouth along with an interview with ‘keeper Alex Williams and coach McNeill! The coverage and the sounds from Maine Road were simply great. I am now listening to this tape, everyday as I commute to work in my car, so as to relive those moments. That was almost exactly 15 years ago!

Up with City, Malek Tabbal(mtabbal@hotmail.com)

IS SIMON BACK?

With all the success we’ve had in a remarkable 21 months it got me thinking about the start of this run… when the Phoenix was about to rise, when we were just about to start life as a 2nd Division team (remember Blackpool at home, summer’s day and an easy 3-0 win) but I also remembered a few turbulent MCIVTA’s when a guy called Simon threw in the towel and deserted his beloved Blues. I dug out the initial article which caused the commotion (from MCIVTA 419):


OPINION – FACE IT…

After 23 years of watching City, I have finally given up, and I have not renewed my season ticket. I am sick to death of listening to the b******s that comes out of this Club and a lot of its fans.

Who gives a toss if 20,000 people turn up to watch this so called football team?

FACT :- This Club is now a DIV 2 (OLD DIV 3 !!) club.

FACT :- If this was a normal PLC, it would have been liquidated by now.

FACT:- This club is the worst run in the country at present.

FACT :- Nothing will get better next season.

FACT :- There is still worse to come yet.

FACT :- In 2 seasons time, this Club will still be in DIV 2, with an average gate of 13,000 people.

FACT :- The dream is over. The Club has gone.

So stop dreaming, and face the facts for once, City have died.

A very sad state of affairs, and I am afraid to say that it is the truth.

Maybe things might get better by 2005.

P.S. Let’s hope that the current squad is not year 2000 compliant, so we have to change the whole lot next year.

Simon (simon@orlando.u-net.com)


I guess we all knew how he felt, City were staring into the abyss but the majority of us had faith, or was it just blind loyalty? Who cares! We stood by them and they’ve done us proud whatever happens on Sunday.

I hope Simon has seen the error of his ways and is back among the fold.

Neil Foskett (MANC1TY@hotmail.com)

CHANT ANALYSIS

This piece appeared in a recent Bert Trautmann’s Helmet:

Those of you who admit to knowing me, will be aware of how I occupy my spare time when not working, and some of my strange habits when following the Blues around the country. For those of you who have yet to have the dubious honour of meeting me, let me enlighten you.

My “hobbies” always seem to have some statistical connection. My record collection was/is/will be neatly catalogued, so that every track has a unique number, with a reference to the single, LP, CD, or tape on which it can be found. I would record the appearances, goals, milestones of the junior football team I ran for 6 seasons, and then produce an end of season stats chart (similar to the one on the inside back page of the City program), that was eagerly awaited (I think), and handed out to each player at the end of season Presentation Night and used in the paper-plane-making competition that ensued. I now record the stats from all the games I referee in junior football, that is 496 goals scored in 82 matches, an average on 6 goals per game, with only 3 yellow and 2 red cards issued.

More recently, in 1997, I produced DOSLA (Division One Stats and Leagues for Anoraks – see Bert issue …?). Like the Ronseal ad, it does what it says on the tin, i.e. almost twenty pages of alternative stats, ranging from the usual “current form table” to the more bizarre “average home crowd as a percentage of ground capacity”. The latter table was suggested by a Crewe Alex fan who was sick of seeing his team rock bottom of my “average home attendance league table”, with a measly 5,220. As a result of this idea, Crewe were perched at the number 2 spot, with crowds equating to 91% of capacity of 5,760. I compiled DOSLA each Sunday, and fired it out over the Internet to 200 Division One supporters’ mailboxes all over the world. Just about every team in the division that season had at least one fan who subscribed, including the Port Vale fan in Kinky’s home town of Tbilisi, Georgia! Many complimented me on supplying the “interesting” stats, but they said Steve Davis was also “interesting”, so I didn’t know if they were taking the p**s or not. Nevertheless, grown men cried in May 1998. That graphical image of the young lad crying into his City flag at Stoke City was not because City were relegated to Division 3, but because his dad had told him that DOSLA was no more. There were two reasons. Firstly, it made me feel suicidal producing stats that showed my beloved team in the relegation quagmire. Secondly, DTSLA just didn’t have the same ring to it! Am I painting the right picture of the type of bloke I am? If so, skip the next paragraph. If not, read on…

Since I re-started watching City home and away at the start of season 97-98, following a “career move”, which gave me weekends off for the first time since leaving school, I have picked up one or two worrying habits. Firstly, when visiting a “new ground”, I insist on finding the megastore to buy a pin badge of that team. I use the term “megastore” loosely, “garage” being a more appropriate term to use in the case of Reading’s Elm Park. When I get home, I excitedly mount the badge on a display made out of half a false-ceiling tile painted sky blue! My collection currently contains 61 badges (another useless stat!). Secondly, I religiously buy every matchday programme for no apparent reason, rarely read it, but file it neatly away for future use. To each game I also take a Union flag with the words MAN CITY painted on it (see Bert issue …? and Sky Sports TV coverage at Bristol Rovers), which I use to irritate the s**t out of anybody unfortunate enough to be sat/stood in the adjoining seat. In addition, I also had my face painted at the Wigan play-off away leg (like you do), and this season you may have seen me wearing the new shirt with CITY TILL 1 DIE on the back, or driving to away games with 2 scarves trailing out of the boot, and various permutations of Noel, Leanne, Mike and Tom embarrassingly slumped inside the car. I also let it slip to Noel that I have all my ticket stubs from the last two seasons “collaged” in two frames, which have pride of place on the dining room wall, next to my framed, signed photo of me and Kinky. To me, this is perfectly normal behaviour for a grown married man of 42, and I see no reason to change my ways. My wife, Karen, and my children Ashley and Abigail can often be heard muttering “sad” and shaking their heads, when they hear of my latest antics. In days gone by, I used to cut lottery playslips into strips and chuck them off the Kippax upper tier as the Blue boys ran out. But as I am now mature, I refrain from this childish practice, saving the club a fortune in after match cleaning bills. By the way, what’s happened to the bloke who dished out the blue and white balloons at away games ? I used to enjoy nothing better than having a good blow at half-time!

Anyway, I digress big-time from the reason for this article. After the luxury of a stat-free promotion season last year, I needed a new stat challenge for this season, something unique that had never been attempted before. Then it came to me… a City Chant Analysis. The idea was to note down all the chants sung in each game by us City fans, and see if there was a pattern. How many songs were sung in a game? Which is the most popular? How many different songs would be sung? What about the opposing fans’ repertoire? I made some mental “rules”. For example, the song/chant had to be heard and understood by me to qualify, and the song/chant “choir” had to made up of more than 10 people. Only chants inside the ground, during or immediately after the match count.

So off I set to the first game of the season, with notepad and pencil in hand. And flag. And programme. And fanzine. And black McLaren Mercedes cap. It quickly became clear that I would have to abbreviate some chants if the task wasn’t to become a major distraction and spoil my enjoyment of the games. So “Come on City” became “COC”, “Stand up if you love City” became “SU” and “Weaver” became “W”. After the first couple of games, I had it off to a tee, even able to predict which chant was coming next. However, I did have some problems. Standing on an open terrace at Fulham in the pouring rain is not an ideal journalistic posture, and repeatedly putting a wet hand into a wet trouser pocket to remove a wet piece of paper to make a pencil note, whilst holding my flag in place on a barrier is not what MuEN’s Chris Bailey would be expected to tolerate. After a handful of home games, I started to get more than one inquisitive look from my neighbours, with one asking if I was making notes for next week’s opposition. When I explained what I was actually doing, expecting my collegue to be interested, he did an impression of my wife and kids, and edged away from me. I now found myself collecting data secretly, without even looking at the paper, which became a pain when I got home and couldn’t read my own scribble! I was becoming a kind of closet chant analyst (if such a thing exists), and I got sick of trying to justify my valuable work to all and sundry, so gave it up as a bad job after the Palace home game. Sadly, however, I still note any “new” chants, and may share those with you later in an end-of-season update (please “no”, I hear you cry).

So what has happened to all this valuable data, collected during the first eight games of the season? Has it been consigned to the Recycle Bin? Not on your life. Read on and weep!

During the recent away trip to Ipswich, having failed to haggle with Noel about his suggested 5.30am start, I suggested writing a chant analysis article for BTH. Noel said it would be a non-starter, but when I informed him that I had already heard nearly one hundred different chants this season, his ears pricked up (not quite as much as mine). The rest of the trip was taken up with us all singing (well attempting to sing), recounting and cataloging every City chant we could remember. The results of our efforts are shown below.

As part of my research work for this article, I was loaned a book by Desmond Morris, called The Soccer Tribe (I mean the book was by Desmond Morris, it wasn’t he who lent it to me). The chapter I paid particular attention to, was “Tribal Chants”. Not surprisingly, the piece refers to chants as being a tribal thing, which are believed to have become popular in the post war period, starting as rather formal and inocuous “abide-with-me” type hymns and gratuitous clapping which accompanied the cap tossing ritual following a goal being scored. I keep meaning to ask Mike Billinge how he managed to get his own cap back when that happened! There is evidence that the creativity of fans can be pinpointed to 1966, and the Sixties music scene, as many of the lyrics of football chants were, and still are attached to the music of the day, thus making it much easier to date them. For example, the song on which “Oh Rodney (repeat 6 times) Marsh…” was based, was “Son of my Father”, a No 1 for Chicory Tip on 29th June 1972 (single number 257 in my collection). Rodney made his début for City on March 18th that year against Chelsea, and I appeared in a photo with him on the back on the Daily Express in the week leading up to the match. Rodney was wearing that full-length tan coloured leather coat. Very fetching!

I believe that singing louder than the opposing supporters is a show of strength. The ability to create one’s own chants is a sign of prowess and skill, whilst the “cuckoo” fans who steal songs from other clubs’ “nests” are thought to be weak. Nowadays teams are associated with a particular chant, for example Liverpool and “You’ll never walk alone”, West Ham and “I’m forever blowing bubbles”, Stoke City and “Delilah”, City and “?????? out” (replace ?????? with name of current manager or chairman), Everton and “Ev-er-ton, Ev-er-ton, Ev-er-ton”, Manchester United and er, er, “Cuckoo, Cuckoo”. Probably the most tedious and hated-by-his-own “chant leader” was the Borussia Mönchengladbach fan who never could get any lift off with that old favorite “Give us a B… give us an Ö…”

Interestingly enough, the piece included a chant study, carried out in the 1978-9 season, at four First Division clubs. Upon reading this piece I felt better, knowing there were sad b*****ds around just like me twenty years ago!

Although it is unclear as to the criteria used when compiling their information, i.e. were chants included that were sung before and after the match, at the railway station, in the pub etc.? The studies were poles apart. The “Tribal Chants” survey showed an average number of chants per game of 147 (one every 36 seconds), mine showing only 44 (one every 2 minutes). Twenty years ago the average repertoire per match (different chants) was 57, mine showed only 23. The Seventies survey also showed that 60% of the songs were sung in the first half, as oppossed to 55% in my survey. If we are to draw any conclusions from the comparison, it would be that supporters were a lot more vocal in the “olden days”. I think it was probably down to the bitter rivalry of opposing fans, when the whole game was spent winding each other up by sprouting short bravado one-liners claiming “You’ll never take the Kippax” and “We’ll see you all outside” and “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough”, which did the trick, and usually resulted in fans thinking they were hard enough, trying to take the Kippax during the game, seeing each other outside, and basically kicking the s**t out of each other. In the Seventies especially, the police were the constant target of abuse by all denominations, with golden classics such as “If you all hate coppers clap your hands”, and the Laurel and Hardy “whistle” that greeted them as they trooped out to form a human Berlin wall between the rival fans just before the final whistle. So I suppose if you discard all the “aggro” songs that are no longer chanted, that were aimed at anybody or anything who couldn’t defend themselves, that average of 147 would be closer to the present day 44.

One ritual that never ceases to amaze me is the greeting of the players’ names as they are announced before the match. At home matches, it is easy to tell the crowd favourites, as they always get a louder and prolonged “hurray”, so much so that the poor sod whose name follows usually gets missed, leaving the player with an inferiority complex. However, at away games, have you noticed how every player is given an equally rousing welcome, no matter how s**t he is, or how badly he played last week. I put this down to being an inbred rallying call that our ancestors performed on foreign battlefields to intimidate and undermine the opposition.

Some interesting facts to come out of my analysis were:

  • The first chant of the season was “City, City, City”, which was chanted on3 separate occasions before the crowd changed tune and sang the secondchant of the season, “We love you City, we do”.
  • Only 5 chants were heard in every game: “City, City”, “Stand up if youlove City”, “Weaver”, “Blue Moon”, “We are City, super City from MaineRoad”.
  • Player chants naturally followed an action involving that particularplayer, but on occasions the crowd attempted to influence Joe Royle bychanting the name of a player they want to see introduced, usually “OhTerry Cooke…”.
  • The rousing chant “Come on City” usually followed the awarding of a Citycorner.

The top ten chants are (with number of renditions in brackets):

1st
[41] City, City, City
2nd
[29] Blue Moon
3rd
[23] Weaver
4th
[20] Come on City
5th
[18] Stand up if you love City
6th
[17] We love you City we do
7th
[15] Joe Royle’s Blue and White Army
8th
[14] We are City, Super City from Maine Road
=9th
[11] Oh Terry Cooke, you’re not Munich any more
=9th
[11] … in your Cup Final

Match by match analysis:

Match      Ist half chants 2nd half chants Total chants
(H) Wolves         26             10            36
(H) Burnley        25             25            50
(A) Fulham         25             19            44
(H) Sheff Utd      24             24            48
(A) Burnley        29             31            60
(A) Bolton         21             25            46
(H) Nottm Forest   21             19            40
(H) Crystal Pal    25              8            33
Total             196            161           357 (Ave 44 chants per game)

The “Tribal Chants” piece attempted to categorise the chants of Oxford United over a 15 home game period in the 78-79 season as follows: Confidence and Optimism, Encouragement, Praise, Loyalty and Pride, Criticism of Home Club, Comments for the Referee, Comments for the Police, Insults aimed at Opponents, Threats to the Opponents, Celebration of Disruption, Insider Rivalry, and finally Atmospheric Chants. As many of these are no longer valid categories or too complicated for me to understand, I have made up my own, and openly admit to using some of the “Tribal Chants” in my listings. One that I haven’t used is the one that apparently refers to Guevara’s daughter, Sara. I quote “Whatever will be, will be, we’re going to Wem-ber-lee, CHE SARA, SARA”. Me thinks that should be “Que sera”!

The figure in brackets is the number of times each chant has been heard in total. So, no brackets means it’s not been heard (by me) this season. As you can imagine, the list is by no means exhaustive, so if you can add to it, send your suggestions to me for inclusion in an “appendix”.

Pro City

City, City, City [41]
We love you City, we do [17]
Stand up if you love City [18]
Na Na Na Na, Hey ay ay City [7]
Blue Moon [29]
We are City, Super City from Maine Road [14]
Come on City [20]
Hark now hear the City sing [4]
Manchester la la la la [3]
City Till I Die [10]
Blue Army [3]
Oh when the Blues go marchin’ in [6]
Oh Manchester is wonderful [3]
City, City, the best team in the land and [3]
Hello, Hello, we are the City boys [3]
Oh Man City, the only football team to come… [1]
And its Manchester City, Manchester City FC
City (clap, clap, clap)
City, Manchester City, we are the boys (last heard being sung in Trafalgar Square by Mike Billinge)
We’re the pride of Manchester
You are my City, my only City…
We never win at home and we never win away
We’re City we’re barmy we’re off our…
I never felt more like singin’ the Blues…
Sing your hearts out for the boys
City, there’s only one City
Come on you Blues…
City boys we are here, oh-oh, City boys we are here…
Remember when City scored 10
In 1962 me dears…

Usually only heard at Maine Road

What’s it like to see a crowd [1]
Kippax/Main Stand, etc… give us a song [7]

City Away Day Specials

We are not, we’re not really here… [2]
Here ’cause it’s City, you’re only here ’cause it’s City
Where were you when you were s**t [3]
S**t ground, no fans [2]
You’re supposed to be at home [1]
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way
It’s nice to know you’re here
Subbuteo, subbuteo…
City, City, give us a song (Burnley A) [1]

City Players/Managers (Present)

Weaver, Weaver… [23]
Oh Terry Cooke, you’re not Munich any more [11]
Oh Andy Andy, Andy Andy Andy Morrison [10]
Super Kevin Horlock [7]
One Shaun Phillips [1]
Ian Wright Wright’s son [1]
He’s here he’s there….Michael Brown [1]
Walking in a Wiekens Wonderland [1]
One Shaun Goater, there’s only one… [2]
One Paul Dickov, there’s only one…
Joe Royle’s Blue and White Army [15]
Moonie, Moonie… [1]
Royle, Royle give us a wave… [6]
England’s England’s Number One (Weaver) [1]
Weaver for England

City Players/Managers (Past) (Some of the more memorable ones)

We’ll drink a drink a drink to Colin the king [3]
At number 1 was Colin Bell…
Gio, Gio, Gio…
There was a man from Dinamo, his name was Gio
And all the goals that Kinky scores are blinding
Uwe, Uwe Rösler…
We’ve got that Terry Phelan…
E for B and Francis Lee…
Oh Rodney Rodney… Rodney Marsh…
Maurizio, Maurizio, Maurizio Gaudino
Sha La La La Summerbee…
Pardoe, Pardoe, we’re off to Mexico…
Oh me lads….to see Joe Mercer’s aces
Niall Quinn’s disco pants…
Dennis Tueart, King of all Geordies…
I’d walk a million miles… my Dennis (Tueart)
alan ball’s a football genius
Imre Varadi…
Ooh, Curly wurly…
Cheer up Peter Reid, oh what can it mean

Anti-City

What a load of rubbish
Swales out, Lee out (let me out)

Anti-Rag

Town full of Munichs [5]
If you hate Man Utd clap your hands [8]
Ryan Giggs is illegitimate [2]
Who’s that dying on the runway [1]
You can stick your f***in treble up your… [1]
Stand up if you hate Man U [1]
Hate Man Utd, we only hate Man Utd
We all hate Reds and Reds and Reds
You Red b*****d (Mark Hughes) [1]
The famous Man Utd went to Rome…
S**t on United, s**t on United tonight
Old Trafford they say is a wonderful place…
Lou, Lou s**t on Lou, S**t on Lou Macari…
The snow it was falling…
There was a famous air crash…
1, 2, 123, 1234 5-1

One moment in time

Hello, Hello, City are back (Wolves H) [1]
Goin up, goin up, goin up (Sheff Utd H) [1]
(score)…in your Cup Final (season 98-99)
We’re goin’ up… City’s goin’ up
We are top o’ the league… (Walsall Away)
Wem-ber-lee, Wem-ber-lee, we’re the famous Man City… (Wigan play-off 99)
De, de, de, de, de (Theme to the Great Escape) Wembley ’99
You’re not fit to wear the shirt (season 97-98)

A-G, A-G-R, A-G-R-O, AGRO

Kick ’em all, kick ’em all, come on you Blues
You’re gonna get your f***in heads kicked in
Outside, we’ll see you all outside
You’ll never take the Kippax
A-G, A-G-R, A-G-R-O, AGRO
Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough
I hear the sound of distant bums, over there, over there
Hello, Hello, City aggro
You’re goin’ home in a big white ambulance
You’re goin’ home in a wooden overcoat
Beat him on the head with a baseball hat
Arsenal sing I don’t know why, after the match you’re gonna die

Anti-refs / Police

Who’s the b*****d in the black
Who’s the Munich in the black
The referee’s a w*nker
You don’t know what you’re doin’
Are you Wilkie in disguise?
What’s it like to get one right (Norwich Away)
One right, you’ve only got one right (Norwich A)
If you all hate coppers, clap your hands
“Laurel and Hardy” whistling…

Oldies, but goodies

To hell with Man Utd, to hell with Liverpool…
Loyal supporters…
We hate Nottingham Forest, we hate Liverpool too…
Good old City, we’re proud to say that name, while we sing…
If you’re all going to (next away game) clap your hands
If you all went to (last away game) clap your hands
Where were you, where were you at (last away game)
Sit down you bums, sit down you bums…
(Birmingham) wa*k, wa*k, wa*k
Oh it’s all gone quiet over there

Getting Personal

You’re the s**t of… [1]
Who the f***in hell are you [5]
Yer what, yer what, yer what yer what yer what.
You dirty (Munich) b*****d
Big fat, big fat John, big fat John McGinley
Sing when yer ploughing (Ipswich)
I can’t read and I can’t write but that don’t really matter…
In their Liverpool home… they look in a dustbin
We’re goin’ up, you’re not
S**t! S**t! (in response to opposing team chants)
You’re so s**t it’s unbelievable
You’re s**t and you know you are
Let’s all laugh at… (Burnley) [1]
You fat b*****d… (goalie taking goal-kick) [1]
Sheepsh****rs, sheepsh****rs (Burnley) [2]
S**t ground, no tea (Fulham Away) [1]
S**t ground, no roof (Fulham Away) [1]
Sell all your tickets, you couldn’t sell… [4]
One song, you’ve only got one song [1]
Boring, boring Arsenal…
One ball, you’ve only got one ball [1]
Shoot, shoot, shoot (Burnley Away) [1]
Elton John’s a homo-sexual…
You’re Stoke, you’re a f***in’ joke
He’s fat, he’s round, he bounces on the ground, Atkinson
Hello, hello, City reject (Lee Bradbury) [1]
You’ll never get a passport (Al Fayed) [1]
If you’ve all got a passport clap your hands [1]
We killed Jill Dando, I said… (Fulham) (sick) [1]
Where’s your Dodi gone… (Al Fayed) (sick) [1]
You beat women up, I said… (Collymore) [2]
Where’s Ulrika gone (Collymore) [1]
Where’s yer Keegan gone (Fulham) [1]
Beats up women, he only… (Collymore) [2]
Are you Burnley in disguise (Sheff Utd H) [1]
You’ve got more players than fans (Burnley A) [2]
If you won at Wembley clap… (Bolton A) [1]
Where were you at Maine Road (Soton A)
David Jones is a f***in paedephile (allegedly)

Sing when we’re winning

…in your Cup Final [11]
We want (one more than we’ve got)… [3]
Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio (opponent sent off) [2]
?????? what’s the score, ?????? what’s the score
You’re not singin’ any more…
It’s just like watching Brazil
Stand up, if you’re 5-0 up (Sheff Utd H) [2]

Sung when we’re losing

Sing when you’re winning, you only sing…
We’ll support you evermore…

General footy chants

So now you’re gonna believe us…
Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be…
We shall not, we shall not be moved…
Attack, attack, attack attack attack
All we are saying, is give us a goal
Nice one ….., nice one son,
…….. walks on water, tra la la la la, la la, la la
Part-time supporters…
Bring on the first team…
Bring on the champions…
Time to go home, time to go home
Off – Off – Off

Opponents’ chants (this season)

(Wolves)

You’re the s**t of Manchester
Keano, there’s only one Keano
Down with the Walsall, you’re goin’ down (ha!)
One nil to the Wanderers
Hello, City are back (after Dickov blazes over)

(Burnley Home)

Come on Burnley
Burn-a-lee, Burn-a-lee
We are Burnley from Turf Moor
U-ni-ted
What Division are you in (when score 0-0. Not sung when 0-5)
Come on you clarets
No nay never…

(Fulham)

Come on, Fulham
Come on you Fulham
One song, you only know one song (after we sang Blue Moon)

(Sheff Utd)

United!

(Burnley Away)

No chants chanted (not enough fans)

(Bolton Away)

Wanderers, Wanderers

(Forest Home)

Ian Wright, Wright, Wright
Nottingham
Forest
Come on you Reds

Steve Kay (stevemcfc@tinyworld.co.uk)

OPINION – I FEEL GOOD ABOUT SUNDAY BECAUSE…

I feel good about Sunday, not arrogant but confident about the team that Joe Royle has put together. If we look at the facts, when was the last time that Joe Royle’s Man City lost an important game? When our backs are against the wall, we seem to pull it out. Even the season we got relegated we won on the last day against Stoke 5-2. Both big games against Wigan last year, we were one down in the first couple of seconds (let me tell you, I was worried). Then as for Gillingham, well enough has been written and said about that, but the fighting spirit is what turned it, never giving up and that is down to Joe Royle and his behind the scenes team.

Blackburn have not won in five and City have not lost in seven, Walsall are going to be scraping for survival, it all points in our direction. Destination Premiership, that’s what I want, the fight is by no means over, but if we are strong and have a bit of luck we will be there in the so called ‘Promised Land’. We beat Birmingham no problem, can you recall them having a clear cut chance (mind you I’d had a few)? Talking of the Birmingham game, I was one of the fans that ran on the pitch, but it wasn’t a celebration of going up, it was more an outpouring of emotion about the fantastic – and unexpected by most – season we’ve just had (regardless of our final position). Mind you it didn’t help that ‘Moving on up’ by M People was blasting over the speakers. On a last and final note, if anyone wants a positive person sat next to them on Sunday (and a few pints courtesy of me, if required). Then I’m your man, give us an e-mail, and I’ll meet up with you, mind you, you’ll have to e-mail me on walter_smith@talk21.com, up to the last minute (hey you don’t get nothing if you don’t ask). Let’s get behind the boys in Blue (or red and black) and give then the loudest backing ever seen in Lancashire.

Walter Smith (Citysmith@yahoo.com)

OPINION – TO THE WIRE

So it goes to the wire. Which City fan ever thought it was going to be any other way? Scream from your hearts boys and girls, and scream from whatever part of the world you are in. It all helps. Come one you Blues, Stand up if you love City… Stand up if you love City… etc.

David Kilroy (davidkilroy@cwcom.net)

OPINION – OUR BENEFACTOR

It’s worth getting hold of a copy of the Sky coverage of last Friday’s game. There have been moans about that ex-Rag, ex-Ipswich alan brazil in these pages before, but the coverage of the Birmingham game was surreal. You can hear him willing Birmingham to score, denying the existence of fouls, several handballs (including an obvious penalty) and offering general prayers that City should be relegated forthwith.

Considering his employers are a major backer of the club, he needs to be removed. Time to make our feelings known.

Andy Noise (Andrew.Noise@cel-international.com)

OPINION – ALAN ****ING BRAZIL

I’ve just learned from Teamtalk that Alan ****ing Brazil will be the match summarizer for the Blackburn vs. Man City game on Sunday at 1:30pm on Sky Sports 2. Why?

This chap is as pro-Ipswich and anti-Man City as it can be possible to be (as he played for Ipswich and Man Utd). If his comments were even handed I wouldn’t mind him commentating on Man City, but they patently aren’t. His ‘even’ summaries of City games this season have been a disgrace. The two most blatant examples of his dislike of Man City this season being:

  1. In the Southampton League Cup game, Mark Hughes elbowed Richard Edghillin the face and Brazil thought it was a disgrace that Hughes had been sentoff. He didn’t even appologize when video evidence subsequently proved thesending off to be correct.
  2. In the Fulham game he heavily criticised the referee for sending off aFulham defender for deliberate handball. Again when video evidence provedhim wrong (yet again) he wasn’t in the least bit apologetic.

These are the worst two examples, but the guy’s whole attitude is anti-City and as such he shouldn’t be allowed any where near the commentry box on Sunday.

I’ll be watching on Sunday and if you (like me) don’t want to listen to this guy’s anti-City bias then either:

  1. Go to this website and submit a complaint: http://www.sky.com/home/Feedback.html
  2. If the server won’t except it, email webmaster@sky.com andwebmaster@sky.co.uk with a complaint. These email addresses are frankly aguess, but my message wasn’t bounced and I can’t find any other emailaddresses displayed on their pages to send a normal mail to.
  3. Ring this number and complain: 0207 705 3000 (this was published on Sky’s web site)and ask for Sky Sports. If they want reasons give the two examples above asevidence of his bias.
  4. Write to this address and complain:
    Sky Sports,
    British Sky Broadcasting Group plc,
    Grant Way, Isleworth, Middlesex
    TW7 5QD
    England.
  5. Ring ‘Soccer AM’ on Saturday morning and complain.

CTID, Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

OPINION – PREMATURE EXCITATION

The atmosphere at Friday’s match was superb, and the players dug in and refused to give any ground. I thought both Jobson and Prior were excellent, and Goater did a fantastic job of leading the line.

I felt like a killjoy at the end though. There was a large woman sitting to my left, and while she did a lot of shouting I couldn’t help noticing that she wasn’t singing (and after Charlton’s shameful capitulation I know why). Once relief at the result was over I couldn’t get rid of a nasty feeling that the wild scenes after the game may come back to haunt us. Who remembers the Labour party’s stadium-style celebration in 1992 just before their election loss? Mind you, Kinnock went on to do well in Europe I suppose…

Please, please, please can we avoid defeat at Blackburn? I can’t take the strain of the play-offs again. Come on City!

Matt Varley (matt.varley@salford.gov.uk)

OPINION – THE FINAL FRONT EAR

Just finished watching Valencia and Barcelona. If my silly bet comes off, we’ll be playing Valencia the season after next, and I’ll be able to buy Barcelona.

This is a laid-back approach to Sunday. First thing this morning I replayed Blackburn 2 – City 3, the year Blackburn won the Premier. That night there were about 2,000 City fans there and they even shut Jack Walker up (sorry to hear he has cancer). Then I remembered the first time I ever went to Blackburn. A long, long lay-off because of the weather, it was postponed about 4 times and we won 4-1 (Tony Coleman got two). All those influences, G. Souness, what a lucky man he is to be still employed. My best mate at Pilkingtons in St. Helens, Gordon Ormerod who was, and as far as I know is still, the only Blackburn fan who was as good as us City fans (hi Gordon). Here I’ll digress: when Blackburn got promoted by Speedie (anyone remember?) his better half went mad ’cause she loved the away games in Barnsley… reckoned the shopping was better, hee hee. Told you I would digress. Anyway, no problem Sunday. City will win. Forget the draw, forget the permutations. I just hope Gary Flitcroft isn’t fit, ’cause then it will be a riot. Just wish Joe would break the bank to get him back for next season. When, that is the department we will surely need to strengthen (£12 million for Glaudiola Joe? He’s better than Keane by miles). Enough! City 2 The black-pudding men 0.

P.S. Just to completely soothe our nerves, Ipswich 0 – Walsall 0. Keep the faith.

CCTRWNGW (City Cos The Rags Will Never Get Weaver), Jack Millington (jackblue@ntlworld.com)

OPINION – PFA DIVISION ONE TEAM

Any other Blues amazed that we had only one representative in the team? I expected Kennedy, Weaver and Goater to be dead certs. I can understand Wright nudging out Weaver (even though I would have chosen Weaver), but how on earth can the top goalscorer in the division not be included?

This season, other teams and the media seem to consider that City are in a false position and the choices for this team strike me as another example of that mentality. I find this surprising as, whatever happens on Sunday, we will finish no lower than 3rd and you don’t get to that position just on luck and fortune. So, how can you score (at least – fingers crossed for a few on Sunday!) 28 goals in a season and more than any other player in the division without getting some form of recognition from your contemporaries and let’s not forget that the Goat has also scored against both Premiership teams (Leeds and Southampton) we have faced this season?

This is the second time in a row that we have, in my humble opinion, been under-represented in the PFA divisional teams as I felt that there wasn’t a better goalie than Weaver or a better defender than Wiekens in Division 2 last season.

Any chance of City putting the 30,000 faithful on their books for next season so we can hijack the votes!

Tom Farrington (taf@rollits.co.uk)

A REQUEST FOR BRISTOL BLUES

With Sunday being City’s biggest match in years I’d like to try and get a good atmosphere going in my local. I’ve seen alomst all of City’s televised matches this year in a pub called The White Harte in the centre of Bristol. There’s usually 3 or 4 City fans down there when there’s a match on but the more City supporters there are the better the atmosphere will be. The pub is located just off of Park Row amd Park Street in the centre of Bristol on a road called Park Street Avenue (a small one way hill which leads from Park Row to the top of Park Street). You can’t miss the pub – it’s painted yellow! The pub opens at 1pm so if you can make it down there then please do as the atmosphere should be cracking!

Come on City!

Rob Springthorpe (rs8139@bris.ac.uk)

REQUEST – BLACKBURN GAME IN LESBOS!

I will be holidaying with colleagues in Lesbos (a small Greek island) next Sunday; just heard that the match is on Sky. Does anybody know if there is anybody on Lesbos who can connect to Sky and will be watching it?

Leaving Wednesday night so panic has set in. My family say they will tell me the score if I ring them, provided I have to go through the ritual of asking how they all are and what have they been doing. Priceless seconds!

Help!

Mike Collard – 01494 866908 mob 07887 955861 (Creditabilityltd@btinternet.com)

REQUEST – BLACKBURN HOME TICKET STUBS?

I understand a ticket can be obtained in the Blackburn seats for the final game if one home ticket stub can be produced. A long shot but does anyone know of a way to obtain one? If so, this season ticket holder whose application was not successful would be very grateful!

Please contact Mike (mjch@mcmail.com)

REQUEST – PUB IN HAY-ON-WYE?

As luck would have it, I was supposed to go to Hay-on-Wye for the day this Sunday… and then found out that the match of the year was going to be live on Sky! So I’m on the brink of cancelling my trip, but was wondering if anyone knows of a pub there that is definitely screening the game? Cheers for any information.

Toh Hsien Min (hsienmin.toh@keb.ox.ac.uk)

REQUEST – BLUES IN DURBAN

I don’t suppose there are any City fans on the list in Durban, South Africa? I need to contact someone with regards this weekend’s game?

Andrew Marshall (AndrewMarshall@itc-uk.com)

BLUE HUMOUR

Q: David Beckham and Paul Dickov are about to throw themselves off a bridge (not that Paul would have any reason to). Who hits the ground first?
A: Dickov. Beckham stops to ask directions.

Bridget Sheehan (b_sheehan31@hotmail.com)

WHY BLUE?

It was just a Manchester team to me. I used to go to this football ground with my dad in the 40’s every week. One week a red-shirted team played, the next a pale-blue-shirted team. This went on for quite a while till one day the red shirts no longer appeared. So I watched the Blues once a fortnight for a while. Then my father took us to the Reds’ repaired ground in Old Trafford.

I decided I did not like the area – all those tracks and ugly factories – so I became a Blue! What a choice, 52 years of watching, from the charismatic Bert Trautmann via ‘the Williams’ – later Revie – plan (great team, but too short) to the fantastic late 60’s team when City won the league, with the only all-English team in the 20th century. But really very little to show compared with you know who – but I would not change it.

Dave (DIETHYLMETHYL@aol.com)

RESULTS

Recent results to 3 May 2000 inclusive.

3 May 2000

Bolton Wanderers      2 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs

League table to 3 May 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.   45 15  3  5 37 18 12  7  3 42 25 27 10  8 79 43  36  91
 2 Manchester City 45 17  2  4 48 17  8  9  5 26 22 25 11  9 74 39  35  86
 3 Ipswich Town    45 15  3  4 37 17  9  9  5 32 25 24 12  9 69 42  27  84
 4 Barnsley        45 15  4  3 48 22  9  6  8 40 43 24 10 11 88 65  23  82
 5 Birmingham City 45 15  4  3 37 16  7  6 10 28 28 22 10 13 65 44  21  76
 6 Huddersfield T. 45 14  5  4 43 21  7  6  9 19 25 21 11 13 62 46  16  74
 7 Bolton Wndrs    45 13  5  4 42 26  7  8  8 26 24 20 13 12 68 50  18  73
 8 Wolves          45 15  5  3 45 20  5  6 11 18 28 20 11 14 63 48  15  71
 9 Fulham          45 12  7  3 30 13  4  9 10 16 28 16 16 13 46 41   5  64
10 QPR             45  9 12  2 30 20  6  6 10 29 32 15 18 12 59 52   7  63
11 Blackburn R.    45 10  9  3 32 16  5  8 10 22 31 15 17 13 54 47   7  62
12 Norwich City    45 11  6  6 26 22  3  9 10 19 27 14 15 16 45 49  -4  57
13 Tranmere Rovers 45 10  8  4 34 25  5  4 14 22 41 15 12 18 56 66 -10  57
14 Stockport C.    45  8  8  6 31 28  5  7 11 22 36 13 15 17 53 64 -11  54
15 Nottm Forest    45  9 10  4 29 18  4  4 14 21 35 13 14 18 50 53  -3  53
16 Sheff. United   45 10  7  5 36 22  3  7 13 21 47 13 14 18 57 69 -12  53
17 Portsmouth      45  9  6  7 35 24  4  6 13 19 39 13 12 20 54 63  -9  51
18 Crystal Palace  45  7 11  5 33 26  5  4 13 22 40 12 15 18 55 66 -11  51
19 Grimsby Town    45 10  8  5 27 25  3  3 16 14 42 13 11 21 41 67 -26  50
20 Crewe Alex.     45  9  5  9 27 31  4  4 14 17 36 13  9 23 44 67 -23  48
21 West Brom A.    45  5 11  6 23 26  4  8 11 18 34  9 19 17 41 60 -19  46
22 Walsall         45  7  6 10 26 34  4  7 11 26 41 11 13 21 52 75 -23  46
23 Port Vale       45  6  6 10 27 29  1  9 13 21 39  7 15 23 48 68 -20  36
24 Swindon Town    45  5  6 12 23 37  3  5 14 13 38  8 11 26 36 75 -39  35

With thanks to Football 365

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http://www.uit.no/mancity/


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


[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #602

2000/05/04

Editor:


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