Newsletter #603

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It seems barely a few weeks ago that City were celebrating deliverance from the backwoods of Division 2, and here we are again nearly 50 weeks on, celebrating yet another unbelievable conclusion to a season. Sunday produced a performance which has increasingly become this particular team’s trademark, a woeful first 45 minutes followed by an inspired second forty-five. What matters is that we are now promoted, so we can all sit back and savour the moment, the day, the week, and maybe even the month! This issue has numerous match reports; Peter’s News Summary; a complaint against Grimsby; the vote for player of the year; comment on the game, promotion, the squad, and what it means to be Blue today; and… the final league results and table!

This one reaches 3,198.
Next game: To be announced

NEWS SUMMARY

City are Back!

Manchester City are back in the Premiership. The Blues beat Blackburn 4-1 on Sunday after trailing at half-time, and the three points clinched second place in Division One. City went a goal down just before the break when Matt Jansen scored for Rovers. And the hosts could have extended their lead, hitting the woodwork four times in the opening hour. But then Shaun Goater levelled matters, and a Christian Dailly own goal put City in front before Mark Kennedy and Paul Dickov rounded off an amazing afternoon. The result rendered academic Ipswich’s 2-0 win over Walsall at Portman Road.

Royle Admits City Were Lucky

Manchester City may have won promotion with a 4-1 victory at Blackburn on Sunday. But Joe Royle admitted that the scoreline didn’t tell the whole story of the game. When Ipswich took the lead against Walsall with the Blues already a goal down at Ewood Park, heartbreak looked to be on the cards for City. And had fortune not smiled on the Blues, the game could have been over, with Broomes, Dunn, Ward and Jansen all hitting the woodwork for the home side in the first hour. “We needed a kiss from lady luck today,” admitted Royle, “but, with what has happened to the club in the past, we deserved it.”

Souness Disappointed at Lack of Spirit

Sunday was a day of celebration for Manchester City at Ewood Park. But for Blackburn manager Graeme Souness, there was anger at his side’s second half display. Rovers had dominated the game in the first hour, but Souness was enraged by the way his players caved in once City fought their way back into the game. “When City went ahead, we curled up and died, which is unacceptable”, said the Ewood Park boss. “All I can do is apologise to the supporters. I’ve never been involved in a match like it before or seen a team fall away as fast as we did.”

Boss Hails Key Substitutions

Joe Royle made two bold substitutions early in the second half as the Blues trailed at Ewood Park on Sunday. And the City boss felt that the two switches played a major part in the team’s comeback. Royle sent on Ian Bishop for Jamie Pollock after 47 minutes. And six minutes later, last year’s Wembley hero Paul Dickov replaced Robert Taylor. The performances of both replacements delighted the City manager. “Ian got the ball down and passed it,” he said, “and Paul scored a smashing goal.”

City Set for Civic Reception

Joe Royle’s pre-match comments indicated that Manchester City wouldn’t be indulging in excessive celebrations if promotion was won on Sunday. But now the feat has been achieved, the club is set to enjoy a civic reception. Speaking on local radio station BBC GMR, Council leader Richard Leese said that the club would be welcome to enjoy a reception at Manchester Town Hall. And in a subsequent interview on GMR, David Bernstein indicated that the Blues would accept the invitation. Manager Joe Royle had earlier said he’d be against celebrating what he regards as the club simply returning to where it ought to be, but it appears that the desire among fans for an official celebration will win the day.

Bernstein Pays Tribute to Royle

David Bernstein has spoken on numerous occasions about the managerial qualities of Joe Royle. And after Royle completed the astonishing feat of successive promotions, the City chairman has once again made his admiration plain. The Blues have completed a rise from twelfth in Division Two to the Premier League in less than eighteen months. And Bernstein is in no doubt as to who should take the major share of the credit. “Joe’s been tremendous. He took on what was known to be the toughest job in football,” said the chairman. “I knew he was the right person for this club. And his record in winning big matches is great.”

Royle – No Wholesale Changes

Manchester City are sure to be active in the transfer market this summer as the Blues prepare for next season’s Premier League challenge. But Joe Royle doesn’t intend to dismantle the team which secured promotion to the top flight. Royle is justifiably proud of the spirit among the current group of players, and although he knows additions will be necessary, doesn’t feel that a complete reconstruction is needed. “There won’t be wholesale changes to start with. There will be a gradual improvement, and if you look at the side now, compared to the start of the season, they’ve naturally evolved,” said the City boss. “People will come in, but it’s certainly not going to be a case of saying to the current players ‘thanks for getting us up lads, good night and God bless.'”

City In Talks Over £20 Million Investment

Manchester City have become an attractive prospect to investors after securing promotion to the Premiership. And David Bernstein has admitted that the club is in talks to secure a significant injection of funds. The City chairman revealed that the Blues have been approached by a “specific institution” in the last two weeks. And it appears that the deal on offer could be worth £20 million. However, Bernstein knows that City will be an attractive prospect to potential investors now the club is in the Premiership, and he told the Manchester Evening News, “We’ll be looking very closely and investigating all the options. Now we are negotiating from a position of strength.”

Chairman Vows There’s Money to Spend

Even though Joe Royle has vowed to give his existing squad a chance to prove their Premier League worth, Manchester City are sure to be busy in the transfer market this summer. And there are reports that Joe Royle will be handed £20 million for team building. Royle knows that the team spirit he’s engendered at the club has been crucial to City’s success. But the double promotion-winning boss has already conceded that there will be some new faces – and David Bernstein will back his manager all the way. “There will be substantial funds available. We will not be found wanting on funds,” the City chairman told the Manchester Evening News.

Royle Talks to Start Soon

Weekend newspaper reports indicated that the Blues would hand manager Joe Royle a new contract whether or not the club was successful in winning promotion. And David Bernstein hopes to have matters sewn up by the start of next season. Bernstein is full of admiration for Royle’s achievements at Maine Road, and hopes that the former Oldham and Everton boss will be around to help clinch much more glory. “I will look to be sitting down with him in the coming months and I hope to have something in place before the start of the season,” the City chairman told the Manchester Evening News. “Joe Royle is the man for us and I am looking to him being with us for a very long time to come. He has told me he wants to retire when he is 55 but I’m hoping he will be very flexible on that!”

Ferguson Praises City ‘Keeper

Nicky Weaver has won plenty of plaudits this season, single-handedly keeping the Blues in contention in several games. And one of the young goalkeeper’s biggest admirers is just across the Manchester boundary. Manchester United, along with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle, are said to have been keeping tabs on the under-21 international this term – although there’s no chance of the Blues being tempted to sell. And Old Trafford boss Alex Ferguson explained why when he appeared on Granada TV’s Soccer Sunday programme. “It is remarkable how these young goalkeepers remain so consistent. I made a similar statement about the Real Madrid keeper and I really believe there is no finer young goalkeeper in the country than Nicky,” he said.

Giggs Looking Forward to Derby Resumption

Manchester City’s promotion to the Premiership will see the return of one of English football’s big occasions. And the resumption of Manchester derby hostilities is keenly awaited by both the Blue and Red camps. City will go into next season’s showpiece fixtures looking for a first win over their neighbours since 1989. But after the torment of much of the last few years, the Blues will enjoy having the opportunity to set the record straight. The matches are keenly anticipated in the United camp too, with winger Ryan Giggs telling the Manchester Evening News, “They’ve done well and it will be interesting when we play them next season. We are looking forward to it.”

Wigan Send Cooke Back

Terry Cooke has returned to Maine Road after two months of a loan spell at Wigan. The Latics are involved in the promotion play-offs but have elected not to keep the ex-Manchester United winger. Cooke began his loan spell at the JJB Stadium in March amid reports that the temporary stint could turn into a £600,000 permanent transfer at the end of the season. But now it looks as if the out-of-favour 23-year-old could be destined for a spell in the Maine Road shadows. The former England under-21 man played ten times for Wigan, scoring once.

Hansen – City Can Go Further

Pundit Alan Hansen feels that Manchester City shouldn’t celebrate promotion with too much fervour. For the ex-Liverpool defender feels that the Blues should have ambitions to match the Pemier League big boys. Writing in his Daily Express column, Hansen says that City have the potential to achieve more spectacularly. “City are a big, big club, and it should not simply stop there [with promotion]. They should not feel the resurrection has reached its completion. How many clubs can boast the support City enjoy?” wrote the Scot ahead of Sunday’s match at Blackburn. “How many clubs could move to a new stadium, as City will do after the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and know the 40-odd thousand seats will be taken for every match? They are a huge football club and within the next few years they should once again be competing for domestic honours as well as looking for a return to Europe.”

Goater Hides Family Health Scare

Shaun Goater helped the Blues to promotion by adding to his 28-goal season’s tally at Blackburn on Sunday. But over the previous few days, the striker had other things on his mind. Goater’s wife is pregnant with twins, due in November. And the Bermudian front man was at her hospital bedside for most of the week after she was taken ill, suffering from dehydration. But the news is now better for the ex-Bristol City star, who believes that the episode actually helped him in the build-up to today’s big game. “It’s been a really worrying time and a bit of a distraction too,” he explained, “which in some ways hasn’t been a bad thing.”

Advocaat Hints Kanchelskis Can Go

Now that Manchester City have won promotion, attention is sure to turn to the club’s potential transfer targets this summer. And one rumoured target could be up for grabs after Dick Advocaat hinted that he’d be prepared to listen to offers for Andrei Kanchelskis. The player arrived at Ibrox in July 1998 for a £5.5 million fee but could be surplus to requirements when Allan Johnston arrives in the summer. The Russian winger and Joe Royle have both indicated that they’d be attracted by the prospect of a deal to bring the player to Maine Road, and Advocaat admitted he could be tempted by an offer. “They have never approached us so far,” the Dutchman told PA Sport. “But if they come in with the right money, who knows?” The Rangers’ boss’s comments seem to indicate that the Ukrainian-born star is not, as was previously reported, available on a Bosman free transfer.

Donachie Amazed by PFA Verdict

Willie Donachie agrees that Mark Kennedy fully deserved his place in the PFA Division One select team. But the City coach feels that the Irishman should have been joined by two of his team-mates. Writing in his weekly Manchester Evening News column, Donachie said he was “amazed” by the omission of Nicky Weaver and Shaun Goater. “Shaun is the First Division’s leading scorer so it’s hard to know what else he could have done to get himself in the select eleven,” wrote the Scot, “while Nick has had an outstanding season.”

Russell Returns from Scotland

Craig Russell has ended his loan spell north of the border. A hamstring injury has forced the striker to return to the Blues from St Johnstone – although the Perth club have admitted they’re considering signing the player in the summer. Russell hasn’t figured in the City first team for almost a season and a half and the ex-Sunderland man is available on a free transfer. He may yet get the chance to move to Scotland on a permanent basis, with St Johnstone boss Sandy Clark saying, “We’ll have a look again in pre-season, but we will have a lot of other options over the summer.” The Jarrow-born forward also had spells on loan at Darlington and Oxford this term, in addition to undergoing unsuccessful trials at Sheffield United and Norwich.

Peter Brophy (peterbrophy@mancity.net)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ I

BLACKBURN ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 7th May 2000

This obviously wasn’t going to be City’s year. We had left it too late again, and now we had to take on Blackburn at Fortress Ewood.

With most of the away ticket allocation remaining unsold and snapped up by eager Rovers fans, those few of us that ventured into Cotton Town gave furtive glances to each other hoping that we would not be spotted by the Rovers fans. We knew we should have stayed away with all the others. The signs had been there the week previous when an air of indifference greeted the final whistle…

F***ing Ewood? More like Maine Road Mk II! This match was won at the J4 exit, later renamed yellow ticket way. Traffic jams stretching down the M65 in both directions caused cars to be abandoned, coaches emptied, as fans walked the last mile to the ground. Me, I’m from Preston and a copper told me that that the Blackburn dibble were on full alert and we were restricted to 1 pub. Well, someone should have told the landlords and the hoteliers who threw open the doors to the Blue Army. City were in town and they were going to Party. Big style.

Because of the allocation of only 7,000 tickets, City fans were restricted to just four of the four sides of the ground, but a nice touch was that we allowed Rovers fans to sit amongst us… which was nice. They obviously felt that this was a very gracious gesture and repaid it by staying nice and quiet throughout the majority of the match.

The match kicks off in brilliant sunshine and no way are City settling for a point. First fifteen and it’s either way but Blackburn are getting forward more, but spurning their chances, unlike City who are playing the wierd tactic of using Taylor to man mark Goater. This unsettles Blackburn so much that they go up the other end and score. The Blackburn fan is ecstatic and he sings and chants for a full fifteen seconds, remembers where he is, apologises and gets back to his weaving.

Either side of half time they hit the woodwork on five occasions. So Joe takes off Taylor for Dickov and Pollock for Bishop. Blackburn are happy that they can now mark the Goat themselves and revert to a squiggly back four. From up his sleeve Shaun pulls out a selection of vegetable crudites, strolls into the box and hits the back of the net. Feed the Goa… okay okay.

It’s 1-1 and there’s no stopping us. Ball back to their ‘keeper, Dickov chases in, ‘keeper kicks the ball off Dickov and it loops into the box and Dailly slams it in. Yes that Dailly. The Dailly that plays for Rovers (Souness’s missus is a City fan and had obviously put a nookie ban on him if he won this one). Mark Kennedy makes it three with the brilliant (IMHO) Paul Dickov running through to make it four.

City are back!

An interesting little stat in Sport First this morning shows City top of the league if the games had started at half time. Whether Premiership teams will allow us to win matches after going behind is open to question, but at the moment I couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff.

Chris Murphy (mcfcchris@genie.net or cjmurphy@lineone.net)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ II

BLACKBURN ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 7th May 2000

A day I never wanted to end. I drove up the M6 at 11am and wondered why there were so few City fans; I only saw about 3 or 4 cars but when I got off the motorway I realised why. I was 2 hours late, the place was awash with laser blue. Walked to the ground and the number of City fans just grew and grew. Sat outside the main pub along with 1,000’s of other City fans as they cheered every car and coach carrying hundreds more Blues to the ground. The Invisible Man was classic (great pic of him in the crowd scene on back of Daily Mirror); he kept his gear on all game, must have sweated more than the players, a band of Mexicans, Blue nuns, Andy Pandy etc. Classic City.

Into the ground, and what was already obvious from outside was confirmed inside by the 1,000’s of City in with the home fans, both ends and much of the middle of the Jack Walker stand and a similar story in the one opposite. I’m told there were loads in the home end behind the goal but they were not as noticeable, and of course the now famous Fans on the knoll (well more of a hill actually) who saw Kennedy shoot the 3rd boom boom! Thousands of Blues ready to cheer the lads to the Premier. Classic City.

Game starts and it’s tense, City had a couple of chances but fluffed them whereas Blackburn looked sharper, hungrier and carried the greater threat. Weaver makes a fine stop when Ward is through one on one, and so it continues. They hit the bar, Weaver makes more class saves and keeps us in it, we just can’t get started, the support is fantastic, Rovers get good backing as well from their small band of support(!) but you can sense the nerves. Classic City.

Three minutes before half time and we go a goal down; it felt really odd, we knew it was coming after all the pressure but it was almost unreal that we had conceded, I suppose shock does that to you. The Blackburn celebrations only seemed to last a few seconds, bit like us when we take an early lead against Swindon or Crewe; they only just managed to taunt us with a ‘staying down’ chant. City kicked off very quickly and it was almost as though it hadn’t happened, or was that just wishful thinking? We go in 1-0 down, having been given the run-around by a good team. We applaud them off but the mood in the stands is subdued and tense, the team have not performed. Classic City.

Start of the second half and we’ve gone quiet, only half the stand making a noise now. A cheer goes up thinking that Walsall have scored but it’s Ipswich. Blackburn then seem to hit the woodwork with every attack, things go deathly quiet… but a few begin to shout, angry voices are raised, “Come on you Blue Ba*tards you’ve got to do it”. More and more people join in. No chants, just noise, passion, determination and then the crowd are back in full voice and it’s as loud as it’s been all day and the team start to respond; within what seemed like a few minutes, Horlock finds space in the box, that sweet left foot delivers the ball across the front of goal and Goater is there to blast the ball into the roof of the net, oh you beauty! Here we go! Classic City.

There was a great line in the Guardian on Saturday likening City to a giant cargo ship, that whatever direction she was headed in, be it success or failure, it was almost impossible to stop. And so it was, unlike City of old, who would have hung on to that 1-1 score, the lads went for the jugular and just as it had seemed that Rovers hit the woodwork with every attack it now felt like we scored with every one of ours. In fact the goals did go in at an almost even rate of 1 every seven minutes. The noise in the upper tier was as loud as I’ve ever known, everyone up, everyone singing. The place was swarming with Blues, they were on all four sides of the ground, a strong line of police there to keep us in realised that with minutes to go there was no way to prevent the inevitable and the sensible decision was made to retire and reinforce the players’ tunnel. Final whistle and within seconds the pitch was covered in a jubilant mass of people, a bit scary for the players I bet.

Classic City… it’s Charlton ’85, Bradford ’89, Wembley ’99, and now Blackburn 2000. I thought it didn’t get any better than last May but today I’m not so sure that we didn’t surpass that.

Joe was right, the support is Premier class and now we have a team to match it.

Driving back down South, lots of Blues greeting each other with clenched fists and mile-wide grins, but also waves and thumbs up from Southampton, Liverpool, Palace and Norwich cars. Alan Brazil and Wilkins may not like us but Sunday’s result was popular elsewhere with ‘real’ football fans.

My Man of the Match would go to the whole team but I thought Paul Dickov was superb and he and Bish made the difference.

Neil Foskett (manc1ty@hotmail.com)

MATCH REPORT – BSKYB ‘LIVE’ I

BLACKBURN ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 7th May 2000

The Alan Brazil Show

As Paul Dickov pointed out afterwards, getting promoted means no more AB commentaries. Anybody who thought he’d eased off over the last couple of televised games should have heard him on Sunday.

The anti-City slant kicked in early with the “premature celebration” argument after the Birmingham match being picked over yet again. “Will it come back to haunt them?” Ooh yes please, you could almost hear AB panting in the background. Ray Wilkins confidently predicted Blackburn and Ipswich to win, which was reassuring as Ray’s forecasts are as accurate as my yankees on the horses; Nigel Spackman thought City would do it one way or another.

The game kicked off and AB was soon in action. Kevin Horlock flicked the ball past a defender on the edge of the area and went down. Disgraceful, screamed Alan, a clear dive (although the replays showed nothing conclusive either way). But that, apart from a couple of Kennedy crosses that nobody got on the end of, was about as close as City came in the first half. Blackburn were on fire, and the City defence looked more rattled than at any time this season – even worse than Wolves or Leeds. Weaver was pulling off a string of saves to keep us in the match, but AB would have none of it. Knew nothing about it, hit him on the thigh (after a point-blank block); off-balance and badly caught out there (after turning a cross-shot over the bar); seemed to take forever to make that save (after diving to his right to turn an Ashley Ward shot round the post – it’s probably better to make the save when the ball arrives though, Alan). Blackburn hit the bar twice, but just as it looked as if we’d hang on until half time a long throw was flicked on to the unmarked Jansen who brilliantly chested the ball down (according to AB – it actually hit him on the nose) and volleyed it into the corner. The only good news was that Ipswich still hadn’t scored.

Bishop came on for Pollock early in the second half, with Dickov replacing Robert Taylor soon afterwards (SBT had produced one good run through a cluster of defenders backing away, but the shot went straight at the ‘keeper). AB was licking his lips as news came through that David Johnson had scored for Ipswich; and Blackburn then hit the same post twice in a minute. The first one looked a goal all the way but bounced back off the inside of the post straight into Weaver’s arms. You begin to wonder if it might be City’s day after all, the other commentator had the temerity to suggest; and AB went a bit quiet. Suddenly Kennedy released Horlock inside the area; SuperKev curled it in behind the defence and we groaned as it went past Dickov. But we hadn’t spotted Goater arriving at the far post and nor had the Blackburn defender. The Goat smacked it into the roof of the net and Ewood exploded. This was apparently the goalmouth that those locked out of the ground and gathered on the hillside could see, so I hope they got a good view. Half an hour to hang on, as Feed the Goat and Blue Moon resounded round the ground. Edghill booted the ball as far as he could and Dickov as ever gave willing chase. Dailly cleverly cushioned his header back to the ‘keeper, but Kelly had already come for the ball. Would it have the legs to cross the line? Yes it would. The City fans began to conga up and down the touch-line, causing AB to find his voice once again (is it celebration or just provocation?). There weren’t that many left to provoke as large gaps began to appear in the Blackburn seats. Somehow the home attacks no longer looked threatening, and the players began attempting to impress Souness with their physical endeavours instead, Prior receiving a boot in the ribs from Ward which needed lengthy treatment and Flitcroft flattening Tiatto. Whitley crossed from the right, Dickov took out one defender, the other inexplicably fell over and Kennedy was free to rifle home from six yards out. He raced over to hug Joe Royle, Weaver indulged in a forbidden cartwheel and AB fell strangely silent again. An attempted clearance hit Flitcroft in the back and fell into Dickov’s path – Paul held off three pursuing defenders and slipped the ball under Kelly for number four. Every City song in the repertoire was coming over at full volume as the players from both sides strolled through the last ten minutes before the inevitable pitch invasion sparked a last effort from AB (don’t like this, somebody might get hurt).

“Are you watching Alan Brazil” sang the players as another Sky man tried to interview them in the dressing room, getting pelted with food, champagne, towels and anything else going for his pains. Then players and manager joined the crowd in the stands for another rendition of Blue Moon. Simply magic stuff. Well, I’m an Ipswich man groaned AB but congratulations all the same. You know where you can put them, Alan.

Piers Pennington (p.pennington@acu.ac.uk)

MATCH REPORT – BSKYB ‘LIVE’ II

BLACKBURN ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 7th May 2000

What a day, what a team. What can you say about City? They grab you by the balls and squeeze till the tears are in your eyes. Then slowly, just when you think you can’t take any more pain, they slowly remove the pain and replace it with an exquisite pleasure that no other team can give.

All morning I had been getting more and more nervous about the game ahead. Still, surely even City would pass the test and take us to the promised land? Typical City, they put you on the edge of your seat before showing their true colours and doing what we all know they are capable of. I kept switching channels to see how the carrot crunchers were getting on and bu*ger me if their fans don’t start cheering for no apparent reason; then of course it dawned on me… boll*cks we’re losing, straight back to Sky to see the awful truth for myself, some bad marking on Jansen and we were staring at the play-offs. I suppose I should have had more faith in the Boys in Blue as they are not the cock-up kings they used to be, this City team is made of sterner stuff.

Into the second half and two bits of woodwork later, the Blue tide turned. The Goat scored a good one at the far post, Dailly gives us a present from Jack Walker, and a beauty each from Kennedy and Dicky and the rest is now history. I suppose looking back it was inevitable that City would score their goals in the second half if only so that the Blue ticketless hordes on the hill outside the ground, who had a view of the Blackburn penalty area, could experience all the City goals first-hand. At the end it was scenes that you expect from City fans, an explosion of joy and relief, an outpouring of the love felt for this team and management. At the end of the day I had to share my drunken joy with someone, so straight on to ICQ and a quick chat to Marcello and MJB, Marcello asking if we should buy Rivaldo or Zidane for next season, me replying, are they fit to wear the shirt? By the way MJB I hope you get to see the scenes of joy from the game.

Great moments of the day, obviously the goals; especially Joe shouting, “You fu***** beauty”, as Kennedy ran towards him to celebrate his goal, Nicky Weaver seen mouthing, “Please, please”, looking heaven-ward. All the on pitch celebrations, the perimeter conga, the guys on the hill. The chanting for Andy Morrison was great, the sight of Dicky trying to get back to the dressing room a bit scary. Then into the dressing room where the Sky geezer interviewing Nicky got drenched with champagne and pelted in orange peel and wet towels before Mark Kennedy emptied the water barrel over him. The interview with the Goat and the background chants of, “Are you watching Alan Brazil”, and “You won’t be commentating on us next season”. Bl*ody good job, he really is a toss pot of the highest order, also sulky Wilkins trying to look happy for us… didn’t quite work mate. Then there were the interviews with Sir Joe, what a guy. No Taggart-like bile or bulls**t, just a quiet honesty and superbly relaxed attitude, the guy is a real gent. David Bernstein’s accolade to Joe for his achievement in the last two seasons, there seems like there’s a real mutual respect there providing the solid base for this club to go ever onward and upward.

And as for next season, bu*ger consolidating or being happy with just staying up, I want us to set our sights on gaining a European place… optimistic? Well maybe I am, there again how many thought that we’d be O.K. if we finished mid-table this season. As David Murray, chairman of Rangers said the other day, “Go on, take a chance, you never know what you might achieve”. That’s the blo*dy spirit, now bring on the Rags. God I’m proud and lucky to be a Blue.

Geoff Collins – Bertie Blue (geoffco@totalise.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT – BSKYB ‘LIVE’ III

BLACKBURN ROVERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Sunday 7th May 2000

I desperately wanted to write a ‘match report’ on this game, but despite the efforts of several Blues (thanks – you know who you are), I was unable to secure a precious match ticket. So instead here is a Sky Sports based match view. I chose to watch the match in my local and so after I had ensured I had lucky cap, lucky scarf, lucky jeans (a new addition to my armoury, which I had to wash, dry and iron on Sunday morning) and the returning ‘lucky underpants’ I have written about before, I made my way to the Old Dog.

The atmosphere was the same as Ewood and in countless pubs, bars and households – buoyant but tense. City looked OK in the first minute and a half, but when Ashley Ward broke through our defence for the first time on 2 minutes, bringing a save from Weaver, the tension mounted! City had chances, Kennedy producing a couple of good crosses which Goater and Taylor could just not connect with. Matt Jansen looked the player that everyone says he should be – great touch, intelligent choice of ball and a decent shot, and it was he in particular that caused us problems. Broome hit our woodwork for the first time with a header, David Dunn repeating the feat with a 20-yard shot. And then just before half time (from a bl**dy throw in!), Jansen controlled with his head and volleyed into the bottom corner. You couldn’t argue with it: Rovers deserved their half time lead. With the Ipswich score being confirmed as 0-0, we were still in the driving seat and fully expected us to come out all guns blazing. But we didn’t and Ipswich had scored!

I was still ultra confident that we would score, but concerned that we might concede again. Ashley Ward shot magnificently across the goal, with Weaver totally beaten. However, when the ball smacked the upright and returned to Nicky’s grateful grasp, you had to have an inkling that something was working in our favour. When Jansen hit the same post a minute or so later, you just knew it had to be our day. Round about this point a mate pushed my cap further onto my head to try to coax some more luck from it (I thought it had been doing pretty well already!). But lo and behold, almost immediately Kennedy and Horlock linked with Kev putting over a superb low curling cross which killed the Rovers defence and ‘keeper and the Goat scored at the far post. Cue delirium at Ewood and at the Old Dog. By this time Bishop and Dickov had replaced the hard-working but fairly ineffectual Pollock and Taylor and they had immediately changed the way we were playing: Bishop spraying passes and Dickov, well… being Dickov! Not a word of a lie, but again someone touched my hat and before you knew it Edghill’s long punt, chased gamely by Dickov, caused panic between Kelly and Dailley, with the latter heading into an open goal. We were as good as up.

Blackburn, despite playing magnificently for 55 minutes or so, looked defeated and confirmed Souness’ thoughts that he has a lot of work to do in the summer. Once again my hat was touched and Kennedy got the third from close range following another panic-inducing ball from Jeff Whitley. Kennedy’s sheer delight in his face as he raced to Joe Royle was mirrored in the faces of those in the pub. Dickov danced through the defence following a rebound off Flitcroft, to make it 4, without the assistance of my cap! When the final whistle went, several of us in the Dog invaded the stage to show our delight. Not quite the same as being on the pitch at Ewood, but hey, what the heck!

The singing and dancing continued, pausing only to listen to some of the player interviews that followed. Mark Kennedy’s soaking of the Sky reporter was particularly pleasing (pity it hadn’t been Alan Brazil!). So we’re there, we’ve done it, we’re back and it feels good! Who knows how far this team can go; we’ve been blessed with some unexpected heroes this year. We already knew Weaver was class, but Goater? Tiatto? ‘Grandad’ Jobson? I seem to remember saying the same thing all season – ‘we’ve got to where we have, by having a great TEAM, not necessarily great individuals’. JR will have a big test when it comes to bringing some new players in as, not only do they need to be better than what we’ve got in terms of skill and ability, but they have to demonstrate that they have the right character to join this elite team. Let’s enjoy the summer and now we can start speculating about new players!

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

STEWARDING AT GRIMSBY TOWN

Please find an open letter sent to the Grimsby Town Chairman, following the visit of Manchester City recently:

An open letter to D. P. Everitt, FCA, Chairman of Grimsby Town Football Club.


Dear Sir,

I write to complain in the strongest possible terms about the ticket arrangements and stewarding at the Grimsby Town vs. Manchester City match on Saturday 15th April 2000.

Whilst I can understand the logic of the widely publicised media exercise of asking applicants questions about Grimsby Town to prevent tickets falling into the wrong hands, this backfired, as it alerted unscrupulous Grimsby fans to the fact that a killing was to be made by buying extra tickets, and touting them to City fans desperate for admission to the ground. I witnessed a red-faced Grimsby teenager blatantly asking, and getting, around £50 for a “spare” in the Grimsby section. The deal took place in the directors’ car park in front of the John Smiths Bitter Stand. The adult City fan who reluctantly bought the ticket was “bitter” indeed, and entered into a heated argument with an adult who appeared to be accompanying the youth, possibly his father. This practice was being repeated in and around the streets of Cleethorpes.

The next piece of incompetence was at the visitors’ entrance. On my ticket it clearly stated “Enter via t/s 5 to 14”. Now, when I went to school, that meant ten turnstiles would be available to cope with 2,000 people. So why were only two turnstiles open? The result was six or seven queues funnelling into 2 gates, a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, I joined the mass fifteen minutes before the kick-off. As I neared the front of the queue, I was confronted by two stewards and a policeman. For once I wasn’t given the full body search reserved for “us trouble causers from the big smoke” at most grounds, but the stewards were meticulously scrutinizing the tickets for legitimatacy, as if there had been a tip-off to expect thousands of counterfeits. I asked a passing steward why the other turnstiles could not be opened, only to receive a shrug of the shoulders in reply. Ignorant sod. When I finally entered the turnstile doorway, I was kept waiting at least two minutes because the supporter in front of me had accidentally separated the counterfoil from his ticket. Even I could see the hologram was visible, but the “jobs-worth” gateman called a steward over, who called over another steward, who called over another steward. The chap was eventually let through the gate when I suggested they let him in, sort it out, and kick him out if it proved to be a forgery. I was also acutely aware of the fact that I was being crushed from behind, and had become the victim of verbal abuse from the fans behind me. The atmosphere outside was becoming tense, to say the least.

When I finally got into the ground I looked for signs showing directions to my seat, and because of the lack of any stewards behind the stand, I ended up walking along the back of the stand, and turning down one of the tunnels, only to be finally directed back to my left by the only helpful steward I met on the day. As I stood watching the teams come out, I noticed both the far corner stands were empty. I don’t know how many fans they could have held, and I understand the need for segregation, but I estimate your club must have lost around £20,000 potential revenue as a result.

The most poignant moment of the day was the one minute silence to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, when almost 100 supporters were trampled/crushed to death as they struggled to get into a ground before the kick-off to support their team. To both clubs’ credit, the minute silence was perfectly observed by everybody inside the ground, but a chill went down my spine when the silence was interspersed with screams and shouts of “open the blo*dy gates and let us in” and the like, from the hundreds of City fans still trying to get in. I don’t know if anybody was injured, but I wonder what explanation Grimsby Town Football Club would have given for having only two gates open, had somebody been killed?

As somebody who hasn’t missed a City match, home or away, for three seasons, I am sick to the back teeth of being treated like an animal by some of the away clubs I have visited. I am a respectable married man in my early forties, whose only crime is having my face painted at Wigan last season. I noticed some trouble before the game at the pub nearest to the ground, involving police horses and vans, that probably involved City fans, but that pub had a “local pub for local fans” type notice outside, so I cannot understand how the trouble arose. Indeed, we were surprised to find the pubs open, when the game had been brought forward to 1 pm “on police advice”. I know each club has a lunatic element, and unfortunately Manchester City are no different, but if you adopt a negative “aggressive” approach to visiting fans, you can expect somebody to take exception. Perhaps you should contact Swindon Town for some public relations advice. They seized the opportunity to fill the ground, and had a much more “happy-smiley” relaxed approach to visiting fans, and as a result there appeared to be little trouble.

Perhaps then, next time we visit, you might treat us fans as I hope you were treated when your team visited Maine Road. By the way, apart from paying £14 for my ticket, I also spent £4 in your club shop on a programme and a badge.

City ’til I die (hopefully through natural causes, not at a football match)

Steve Kay

P.S. Due to the early finish, we stopped off at Elland Road to pay our respects to the Leeds fans who died in Turkey. Puts things into perspective, I think.

Steve Kay (stevemcfc@tinyworld.co.uk)

VOTE FOR THE INTERNET CITY PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2000:

The poll for the annual Internet City player (and young player) of the year has now started on the Supporters’ Homepage, and all fans are invited to vote for their favourite player(s). Just follow the instructions on the POTY-page:

http://www.uit.no/mancity/votes/poty2000.html

Votes are accepted until May 11th. The standings will be updated on a daily basis.

Svenn A. Hanssen (svenn@hanssen.priv.no)

PREDICTIONS UPDATE – 99/00

As at Thursday Morning 4th May 2000, the predictions players’ table looks like this:

  • Gary King, despite dropping 3 points, holds his position at Number 1 with 31 points.
  • Andrew Gibbens gains 3 points and jumps from Number 3 to Number 2 with 30 points.
  • Chris Jones drops 1 point but still jumps from Number 4 to Number 3 with 25 points.
  • Duncan Madden-Ross drops 10 points and falls from Number 2 to Number 4 with 24 points.
  • Kevin McMeeking drops 4 points but holds his place at Number 5 with 20 points.
  • Scott Thompson drops 2 points and still props up the rest at Number 6 with 19 points.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, it works like this… Name the top 3 in the Premiership. Get them in their correct positions and score 5 points each. Get the top three right but in the wrong order score 2 points each. Same goes for the bottom three teams and so on. As you can see the tables can adjust quite dramatically with every game. Something to look forward to for next season when we play for real hard cash!

Paul Gallagher, Secretary Essex & Suffolk CSA (paulg@mancity.net)

PROMOTION

YEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This isn’t a match report ’cause to be honest the whole game is now a somewhat champagne-soaked blur with the appropriate headache to boot!

I reckon someone “up there” was looking down on us yesterday ’cause I still cannot believe how Blackburn could pepper our goal, either belting the woodwork (hitting the woodwork isn’t quite the right phrase!) or Nick making stuffy/wonder saves and only be 1 up by the time we did finally get the ball in the onion bag? We should have been at least 4 down before the Goat did the biz. Personally I felt that bringing Bish and Dicky on did turn the game; either that or the team got wind of the fact that Ipswich were winning and they realised they had to get their collective fingers out! But what a comeback; that does surely underline the fact that Joe has got them working together with a magnificent team spirit and that defeat is not an option.

It was fitting that the Goat equalised but what Dailly and Kelly were thinking of for the o.g. I have no idea – I bet they don’t either! But it was then I thought, that Blackburn had the stuffing knocked out of them; they’d played so well for so long and then for us to stick four past them (technically 3 but let’s not be picky!) must’ve really p*@*ed them off! Well done of course to Kennedy and Dicky for finishing things off – how appropriate that Dicky scored! The bloke next to me kept saying “I don’t believe this!” My reply as the goals went in was “neither do I!”

Having watched the Granada Goals on Sunday programme with the Dwarf and Sir Taggart, I had to chuckle to myself at Terry Heilbron’s face when Matt Jansen’s shot clobbered the post just before we equalised – the expression was priceless as in “how the hell didn’t that go in?” Even Sir Taggart seemed quite human! Talking of TV coverage, having not recorded the game due to him indoors wanting to watch the Spanish Grand Prix and not tuning into ours until we were 4-1 up (yes, I reckon he was just as nervous as I was but is too macho to admit it!), I understand that Ray Wilkins did not endear himself to the Blues by saying he hoped Ipswich and Blackburn both won! Red Bastard! I like him normally ’cause he talks a lot of sense, but he’s definitely lost brownie points after that! Listening to Gary Owen on the way back on the Supporters’ Club coach, he said that Alan Brazil came down and congratulated him after the game. Well at least we’ll now have either Andy Gray or Trevor Francis commenting on matches next season on Sky instead of Mr Brazil – that’s a result in itself surely?!

Plaintive Plea… If anyone has taped the match and could kindly run me off a copy then please let me know; obviously I’m more than willing to pay for the cost of a tape and postage! Or even a copy of the GMR commentary?! Please contact me direct at the e-mail address below… thanks in advance!

I’m currently sitting here at work in sunny Sale with my citrus away shirt on, waiting for the resident Chelsea fan to turn up! He had a large bet on Blackburn to win the Division 1 title and, of course, Chelsea the Premiership. I think finally that he only got Preston right! Shame! Although a southerner, I’m afraid I’ll be rooting for Bolton to come up. Sorry, Ipswich… or am I?! Key 103 are currently playing Blue Moon with some of the GMR commentary thrown in! Wonderful!

Oh yes, and I didn’t cry this time as I did at Wembley last year… I was too gobsmacked!

Phew!

Carol Darvill (carold@city-fan.org)

CALLING ALL CITY FANS

Calling all City fans: this is a matter of the upmost importance! When we were relegated 4 years ago, “TFI Friday” did a sketch at a lift door; when the lift doors open, the person waiting for the lift asked a full lift of people dressed in City kits: “Going down?” To which these W*****s dressed in God’s own colours reply crying: “Yes we are.” Now after showing the footballing world that we are well and truly back where we belong, I reckon Chris Evans should put the record straight. We want the same sketch but with the person asking “Going up?” Cue rapturous celebrations. So if you would like to help me out, ring Ginger produtions on 0207-663-2000 and ask for a researcher and tell them what we want. Oh yes, about yesterday at Blackburn, you know when you eat ice cream too fast and get that pain running though your head? That was mine head last night, quite simply the best day since my two sons were born, need I say more!

P.S. Top show on Radio One today (Mark & Lard)!

Tim Hardman CTIC (eastlands.stadium@virgin.net)

END OF SEASON PLAY-OFFS AND DECIDING CUP TIES

I would like to share these ideas with you:

(1)
Although the play-offs add extra incentive to the end of the seasongames, I would modify them slightly. Finishing third, and so missing out onautomatic promotion, gives the team no special advantage. My idea would seethe team finishing third going straight into the final, with fourth andfifth going into a 2-leg play-off semi final. This would give the 3rd placedteam a distinct advantage, as they would play 2 games less than their finalopponents.
(2)
As the 3rd placed team in the Premier League now win a place in theChampions League, why not hold end of season play-offs between the teamsfinishing 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th to decide the final place?
(3)
It is generally agreed that the “golden goal” rule is a terrible wayto end a football match, whereas penalty shoot-outs are great if your teamwin. They also make particularly good TV watching. My idea is as follows:

At the end of full time (not extra time), a penalty shoot-out takes place inexactly the same way as present. However, the team winning the shoot-out isawarded one goal, at the start of extra time. Ten or fifteen minutes eachway extra time is then played, but on the proviso that each goal scoredcounts for two goals, thus guaranteeing a winner. The team winning theshoot-out can choose to defend their lead, knowing that if they concede agoal, they must then score again to win.

The benefits of this system are:
  1. The crowd sees the spectacle and drama of penalties.
  2. The players who miss penalties will not necessarily be castigated by their supporters, as they have 20 or 30 minutes to redeem themselves.
  3. Penalty taking would become an art.


The only problem I could see would be the time element, but if you assumethat every cup tie will end up with a penalty shoot-out after extra-time,then there is no problem.
(4)
Now, take the same idea into League fixtures. Presently there arethree points to play for in a game. However, if a game is drawn, a point islost somewhere. Why not have a penalty shoot-out (no extra time) to decidewho wins the “spare” point? It would make the last few minutes of normaltime interesting, if there was only one goal difference between two teams. Alast minute equaliser could ultimately mean a swing of two points.

I would welcome others’ views on these topics.

Steve Kay (stevemcfc@tinyworld.co.uk)

MORE ON CHANTS

Steve Kay’s analysis of chants was real anorak stuff – magnificent. There may be a few quibbles with origins of some of the old ones.

“I’d walk a million miles” (for one of your goals) predated Dennis Tueart but I can’t remember who we used to use it for – perhaps Denis Law on his return – but its main use was in response to Rags’ fans using it for George Best, because we used to sing “I’d walk a million miles to kick Nobby Stiles, and Georgie…”

Wasn’t “Cheer up, Peter Reid” post-City, a Sunderland invention?

And what’s this “In 1962 me dears”? Should this be the 1966 promotion valedictory epic “In 1963 we fell into Division Two…”? (with another verse added in 1969, “since then we’ve won the League, we’ve won the Cup, we’ve been to Europe too…”

I think the football chant really started with the Liverpool Kop’s adoption of the children’s street song “Ee-aye-addio”. Writing an epic like “In 1963 we fell” and get it sung is much more difficult nowadays – even good chants can struggle without pub or supporters’ club rehearsal, and even then all seating means it’s difficult to get the same “choir” together at the match. But you do hear some good stuff behind the stands before the match or at half-time (what was that opera-aria one for Horlock I heard at Crewe? Someone on MCIVTA told me the name of the tune from the beat I put…).

I’m not really sure it’s worth including the “One Paul Dickov” sort of chant – any player whose name scans can go in there – although perhaps “One Mikhail Kavalashvili” would have been worth the effort…

Steve Parish (steve@bloovee.freeserve.co.uk)

BLUE HEAVEN PARTY NIGHT

A friend and I are holding an end-of-season party night to celebrate our beloved Blues’ achievements over the last couple of seasons (hopefully this will be a promotion party!). It will take place in the Levenshulme area of Manchester on Friday 19th May. We have got lots of fun things and surprises planned, along with a disco and late bar. This isn’t a “boys night”; females, singles and couples are all welcome. We have around 60 tickets left for sale to die hard Blues who fancy a great City celebration night! I can be contacted for further details or tickets at the following address.

Pete Share (pete@share.freeserve.co.uk)

REDDISH BRANCH CSA

The next gathering of the Reddish Branch (CSA) will be on Wednesday 10th May at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm. As usual all Blues are more than welcome.

Howard Burr (Reddishblues@btinternet.com)

RE – IS SIMON BACK?

Funny thing is I was wondering about Simoan (as I used to call him) myself the other day, and even considered writing up to McVittee myself saying much the same as Neil Foskett (MCIVTA 602), but I forgot, so thanks Neil for reminding us of someone who seemed to blossom during the dark time and disappeared when they got better.

I remember quite well his moaning around Xmas 98 about the death of City, and our lack of real talent on and off the pitch, but mostly he was angry that the rest of us were deluding ourselves if we thought that being the “best fans in the world” would make any difference on the pitch. How wrong he was – it took the leap of faith that most of us managed (I’d be interested in a psychologist’s – or even a psychiatrist’s – view on this matter!) to keep us supporting them, and we were repaid by the team, as our position (and I say this with full knowledge that this will be published after Sunday) this season proves – whatever has happened, it’s been at the very least a pretty decent season, and at the best, a really good season.

This season has been great, because for the first time in years, City actually won games they shouldn’t have (how many last minute goals? Thanks Shaun!), played as well at home as away, and we even were top of the league at the start of the new millennium (surely the greatest event of that event?).

So, Simon, are you here, has your faith recovered, or were you always a secret Manure fan?

Keep on keeping on, City.

Till I stop being reincarnated, Jeff Berens (jeffb@sys.uea.ac.uk)

CHAMPAGNE MOMENTS – CITY ARE A PREMIER CRU!

B    reathtaking!
L    egendary!
A    stonishing!
C    elebration!
K    ennedy!
B    eautiful!
U    nbeatable!
R    esurgent!
N    irvana!

P.S.

C ompleted
I ncredibly
T ense
Y ear.
F inished
A cronyms
N ow

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

PROMOTION, GLOUCESTERSHIRE STYLE

About 20 Blues were watching the game in The Three Crowns, Hatherly, Cheltenham. I arrived late, plans to listen en route thwarted by Radio 5 and Talk Radio commentary of the Grand Prix – very interesting. Pint of Boddingtons in hand, I settled down to watch the inevitable, but Blackburn were using the old script, not this season’s. Still, every reason to be optimistic until we heard that Ipswich had scored. I started to worry – turned to Hattenstone’s article in Saturday’s Guardian, then buried my head in my hands. Then Dave (who wanted to leave Wembley at 2-0 last season) said “Goater ALWAYS scores – he will today”. So he did, and the rest is history.

Tony (I think – never met him before) had brought a cassette of the City song, and the bar staff played it while Sky were showing the dressing-room celebrations. My abiding memory of the day is of a load of middle-aged blokes singing along and clapping as if they were in the old Kippax, with their sons and daughters jumping around in excitement.

Loads of congratulations from people at work today, can’t stop smiling. When do the fixtures come out?!

Martyn (martyn@ctafc.freeserve.co.uk)

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CITY FAN

Woke up, fell out of bed,
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a crate
On looking up, I noticed I was late

Found my scarf and grabbed my hat
Made the coach in seconds flat.
Made my way to seat and drank a beer
When somebody spoke, I just didn’t hear

Ah-ah-ah-ah
Ah-ah-ah-ah Blue Moon
Ah-ah-ah-ah
Ah-ah-ah-ah Blue Moon

I read the news today, oh boy
Forty Thousand Blues in Blackburn, Lancashire!
And though the Blues were rather pi*sed
They had to count them all
Now they know how many Blues are on the away-day list!

They’ve got to turn it on!

Anything to take my mind off the match!

God, man, I must be nervous!

Roll on Sunday! Forty thousand blues in Blackburn, Lancashire! There would be eighty-thousand if the stadium were big enough!

Martin Rayner (martinez@eisa.net.au)

ON THE COUCH

Several times during the week leading up to the clash at Ewood Park, my wife made me promise not to kick in the TV screen if City were to lose. When we went 3-1 up the couch finally caved in under the weight of my jumping up and down and is now permanently set in the shape of the letter V (V for victory?). Yesterday was one of the most remarkable days in the 30+ years I have followed the club and I am truly proud to be a City supporter. Well done to Joe Royle and all the players for an incredible season.

Chris Davis (chris.davis@oup.co.za)

BLACKBURN GAME TO BE SCREENED IN OZ

G’day

What a wonderful morning this morning is, un-blo*dy-believable, City certainly know how to play with your emotions don’t they? Anyway to any Blues in Sydney, the game will be shown on Optusvision at the North Sydney Hotel, Miller Street, North Sydney, opposite North Sydney Oval tomorrow (Tuesday).

It starts at 5.30pm, so get along there and have a few bevvies.

A big thank you to all you McVittee Blues who phoned, mailed C7/CSI both here and in the UK; they relented only a little by putting the game on two days late, so we musn’t grumble too much.

Bill Chapman (02) 9727 3754 (billc@prepress.edu.au)

COMMENT – WHAT A WEEKEND

Saturday: received confirmation I’m off to Euro 2000. Helped to take my mind off Sunday just a little. Also confirmation from Maine Road that my “application for play-off and final tickets has been received and you will receive them automatically”. Did I really need this the day before our crucial game?

Sunday: nerves tingling, just want to get to the ground and get on with the game. Arrive, superb atmosphere “just like Wembley”, then at 1-0 down and with all those shots hitting the woodwork, the belief that we would be having another two games this season was hurting. The Goat scored and the tears started. Dailly scored and the tears came again. Mass jubilation. Then Kennedy, cue more tears. Then Dickov, absolutely unbelievable. City are back, we’ve done it, true City fashion.

Memories of that special day, the little things which really make it and can’t be taken away:

  • The guy there with the cabbage to Feed the Goat.
  • The guys with the banner “are you watching alan brazil?”
  • Grown men crying again in happiness, the hugs and laughter.
  • Getting on the pitch and securing my little bit of Ewood Park (now safely in the freezer until I decide what to do with it).
  • Travelling back on the M60 and seeing the open lorry with a hoard of Blues in the back!
  • Driving through Rag territory (Salford) and some people actually waving and giving us the thumbs up.
  • The Rag at the bus stop telling me “listen to that lot singing”“yeah, great isn’t it?”and then when he realised I was one of that lot “you’ll see a crowd next year anyway when you come (to the swamp)”“yeah, right, like we don’t have crowds at Maine Road – do you go to the gamesthen?”“Mo, I can’t because I work in a supermarket”. What?

This is our day, our weekend, our perfect moment. Now we can get our lives back for a couple of months. Roll on August, I can’t wait.

CTTSLMF (City ’til the smile leaves my face), Heidi Pickup (heidi@mancity.net)

COMMENT – THANK YOU

Thank you Joe, thank you David.
Thank you Nicky (many times), Edgy, Spencer (what a good buy), Richard, Danny, Jamie, SuperKev, Mark, The Goat (29 times), Robert, Ian, Paul and Danny.
Thanks to Willie and Asa.
Thanks to all the squad who have played a part in this memorable season.
Thanks to all the backroom staff.
Thanks to the Blackburn woodwork – 4 times.
Thanks to Christian.
Thanks to Sky for showing it ‘live’.
No thanks to Charlton (only two points behind them in the end).
Thanks to Ashley for starting this lifeline, and for faithfully keeping it going through the years.
Thanks to all who write the reports and make all the other contributions that mean so much to us all.
Thanks to all who kept faithful even in the darkest hours.
Thanks to you all for giving us back our pride.
Thanks for putting a smile back on our faces today and the whole season long.
Thanks for not taking us into the play-offs.
Thanks to my long-suffering wife who has put up with the moods and the long faces from me and my son – not so many this season – but enough in the recent past!
Thanks a million, and then some more.

P.S. Could someone compare our run-in to Charlton’s? Their last few games must have been relegation form since they ended that 14-game winning streak.

P.P.S. Ashley, do you still have old copies of McVitee issues? Could you give us a run down of when it all started (and why?)? Perhaps some important milestones, games, results could be ‘reissued’ during the summer to remind us all of events over the last few seasons, just to while away a few hours during the interminable time that will now drag on before the great kick-off in mid-August.

Geoff and Alan Blake (geoffrey_blake@email.msn.com)

All the back copies of MCIVTA can be found on Svenn’s WWW site (http://www.uit.no/mancity/) together with a history of MCIVTA which covers the few years, written by Paul Howarth. If there’s enough demand, we could publish some old match reports (which games), but in summers past, articles never seem to have been in short supply!

Ashley

COMMENT – WHAT CAN I SAY?

I’m absolutely chuffed. I knew it would be our day when the ball hit the woodwork for the 4th time! Sure enough, 5 minutes later we scored. Congratulations to the lads and all behind the scenes – it’s really great to have a team that you know will never give up.

P.S. Even Alan Brazil gave a non-biased commentry for once.

P.P.S. May I suggest that Joe’s first purchase should be the goals at Blackburn’s ground. They magnetically attract balls that get past Weaver!

CTID, Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

COMMENT – BACK WHERE WE BELONG

Being a Scottish Manchester City fan I have to feel sorry for Christian Dailly – not! Congratulations Christian for confirming that City would get promoted and helping your team self-destruct thereafter. OK, the self destruct wasn’t all his doing, City imposed it on Blackburn, but it did help.

It was strange watching the game yesterday, as I was sat down next to a Rag friend of mine, complete with United top on who was actually supporting City – “just so we can put 10 past you next season” being his reason.

Anyway, now we are back in the Premiership let’s show all those Rags that they won’t have it as easy as they think as we now have a team with a great sense of unity and battling quality. I am sure Joe Royle will have us as a top 10 team next season – perhaps in the reckoning for Europe – who knows after the last two seasons!

Steven Page – CTID (spage@angus-nhs.finix.org.uk)

COMMENT – OH YES… OH NO

Fantastic, words are not enough but I guess everyone who reads this is feeling the same.

However, I now have a major problem, my UK absence has obviously inspired the boys but my tour is almost due to finish soon so I’ll be forced to return to Manchester. I dare not set foot in Maine Road ever again, this is truly a cruel moment!

Maybe if I sit in the away section it’ll curse them?

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Andy Gordon – Batangas Blue (andyg@cyworld.net)

COMMENT – THE MATCH & BEYOND

Forced to watch the game from the Plough Inn in Sandiacre, it at least helped me experience that big armchair atmosphere that is the Holy Grail of the Premiership. Still the Bass kept flowing and the big screen was indeed big.

With no other Blues present (the locals do actually support their local team – Derby), I enlisted my father-in-law to the cause for the day – not difficult as he’d been to the Forest away game. He consoled me at half time, laughed with me as the woodwork was struck four times, cheered with me as Weaver made several outstanding saves, reminded me that a goal would be enough when we sunk to third place for eleven heartstopping minutes, peeled me from the ceiling as Goater, Dailly, Kennedy and Dickov scored, and started the celebrations at 4-1. A cautious man by nature, he nevertheless viewed the job as being complete at this point.

Talking of Christian Dailly, don’t forget to send him a Christmas card next December. I’m sure he needn’t have been so kind. Worth remembering that alan ball, wonderfully described in today’s Guardian as the ‘man born with a wooden spoon in his mouth’, tried to sign Dailly back in the summer of ’96!

As for the future, well let the speculation begin. David Bernstein mentioned a figure of £20 million on Radio 5 this morning. Thirty minutes later, Paul Power had upped it to £40 million. All these telephone numbers must concern more than a few of our first team squad. It’s amazing to consider that of the sixteen players in our squad yesterday, twelve were with us in the 2nd Division, eight of whom actually played at Wembley last May. Had Wiekens and Morrison been fit, then the figures would have been higher.

When, one day, Gary James updates his definitive reference tome on City, many of this current squad will, I’m sure, take their places in our Hall of Fame. Previous heroes won greater prizes, but this lot were part of the eighteen months that has seen us return from the lowest point in our history. I would hate it if, say fifteen months on, they’d all gone. Certain areas of the team need strengthening, to say the least, but I hope, naïvely maybe, that as we progress, as many of these players as possible, can make the grade.

Andy Noise (anoise@supanet.com)

COMMENT – SMARTIES

I thought I should let you know that City’s fantastic win on Sunday was all due to the pack of new football smarties I bought on Saturday, which happened to all be in Man City blue! Here’s looking forward to next season. I may just have to treat myself to a new shirt after following the team for nearly 30 years(!) and who knows, I may even try to get to a live game. The last one I saw was at Bristol Rovers, and I would have been about 14 or 15. They sent on the police horses that night, so it must have been a good game! It’s a bit rough that side of Bristol! Keep up the good work, it is much appreciated.

Steph Hunns (Hunnzie@tesco.net)

COMMENT – YES! YES!! YES!!! YES!!!! YES!!!!! YES!!!!!!

Congratulations to all Blues wherever they are! And to the lads on the pitch, who did it of course! And three days after my birthday! It was the greatest present I received! It’s unbelievable but they did it! Yesterday, I dare not to watch Ceefax on our television. So I went to the beach in the Hague and I was hardly any joy for my daughter and wife alas!

Sorry for my bad English and faults but it comes straight from the heart and that is what matters! It’s all in a hurry so I don’t take too much notice of my English sorry again! I can’t wait to see the next issue, so are all of my colleagues because they became quite tired of me! And they can go back to normal again! I think I owe them a couple of beers! Gladly!

I take one too on the promotion!

Hope to hear soon from you all!

Bertie van Haag (W.G.van.Haag@dlg.agro.nl)

COMMENT – AFTERTHOUGHTS ON A GREAT DAY

Panic, agony, heartbreak, ecstasy, joy and three grown men running around the pub screaming like teenage schoolgirls! Now I’ll let you make your own mind up about when each one happened throughout the match.

From start to finish City gave us their usual rollercoaster of a ride for 90 odd minutes – and some of them were very odd. If there is one thing on Joe Royle’s shopping list this summer it should be the goal posts from Ewood Park – they should be bought and forever immortalised in a specially built museum.

Envy is one word that I have used all day today in regard to not being at the match myself but one thing is assured – those people that were there sang their hearts out for all of us. We were there in spirit and they made sure we felt it through the TV screen and I thank you all for that. Well, how do you put those final emotions of yesterday into words? I know I couldn’t when the final whistle went. I just put my head on Caroline’s shoulder and said quietly “We feckin did it!”

Slainte, madmcc – Mark Mc Carthy (madmcc@indigo.ie)

COMMENT – BACK WHERE WE SHOULD BE!

I’ve just been watching the game and the celebrations on my own in the bar at Rugby Sports Centre. They stopped serving drinks just as I decided that I needed something strong to get me through the 2nd half! I survived to see another great fightback, and my wife (bless her) had checked the score on Ceefax and put some bubbly in the fridge for when I got back. I wish I’d been in the North West for the afternoon but it feels great anyway. 2 years ago when I had just seen us go down to the 2nd division, I would never have believed that we could have a day like this so soon. Absolutely fantastic. And to make things even better, Sky had Alan Brazil commentating!

Rich Furniss – Rugby (rich.furniss@dial.pipex.com)

COMMENT – DONE AND DUSTED

Hiya, just loved listening to Crabby Wilkins and ‘It’s just like hearing’ Brazil. I couldn’t get to Blackburn this time (1st time I’ve missed City at Blackburn in 40 years). Weren’t the City fans fantastic and oh oh oh aren’t Sky sick? United may be light years ahead now but be very very careful, butcher’s boy, we know what football means.

P.S. I think we should start a fanzine called “Kev’s cross to the far post for the Goat”. Enuff sed?

Jack Millington (jackblue@ntlworld.com)

COMMENT – CITY ARE BACK

The Blues are back.

YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave Griffiths (daveandnicky@hotmail.com)


City are back. Beautiful Sunday. Time to start the party.

City ’til I die – Lukasz Sporek (noel1@poczta.onet.pl)


Brilliant result – what a game! See you all next season when the ‘proper’ derby matches commence again. Wonderful for Manchester, the best season since 1968.

All the best to all Blues, Pete the Rag (peter-cheswem@mail.u-net.com)


YEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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


“So here we are, we’re Man. City, it’s goodbye Division One, look to the future now, it’s only just begu..uh…unnn!”

With apologies to Noddy Holder.

Tony O’Leary (AOLEARY@bge.ie)


Feeling on top of the world, City back in the big time playing the big boys after last night’s promotion to the Premier league, watched the game in a dingy nightclub, with 100’s of mental City fans, just thought I’d let the world know.

Walter Smith (citysmith@yahoo.com)


Superbia in Proelio

Congratulations to the players and management of Manchester City Football Club. Once again – when it mattered most – you showed you were made of the right stuff. We respect you.

David Butler (me@davidbutler.free-online.co.uk)

COMMENT – HOME AND DRY

Well I have to say my bottle went early in the week, so watching the game on T.V. was a definite non starter. Thank God it was sunny day down here in deepest, darkest Kent. My lucky clothes were not best suited to the hot weather, so I sweated over the result and over the sheer heat. Does it matter if I didn’t watch and only listened to the last 15 minutes of the game? Well it shouldn’t. I did suffer at some of the worst places the club has visited in history (Colchester anyone?). I’m sure I’ll suffer again but not now. Not yet.

Rob Pickering (citizenrob@tinyworld.co.uk)

COMMENT – RECEPTION IN WASHINGTON!

I listened to the Blackburn game, via the City web-site, in the departure lounge at Reagan National Airport, Washington DC on my way back home to exile in Minneapolis. The second half was unbelievable – an emotion shared by a group of initially bemused but then sympathetic skeptics once I explained the situation. Outside, I stared at the distant White House but inside, every sinew of me was at Ewood: coaxing, praying, not-quite believing.

Thank God for the Internet, laptops, mobile phones and a cheap pair of earphones. Thank God for Nicky, the woodwork, Shaun, Christian, Mark and Paul!

Thanks for a wonderful season to all at MCIVTA. You keep us ex-pats informed and involved. We’d really miss you if you weren’t there. See you at The Academy for the first home game of next season – wild horses wouldn’t keep me away.

CTTAAB (City till the Apocalypse and beyond!), Jeremy Morris (jmorris@hwcp.com)

COMMENT – ONE MOMENT IN TIME

Well, what more can you say? 45 minutes of pure hell! Why do we have to do it the hard way?

This was the scenario I had to deal with:

  1. No ticket for the game… and living in Leamington spa it meant a morningof phoning the pubs to find who was showing the game.
  2. Walking into the Coach and Horses to find me and my girlfriend the onlypeople in there until 1:45 when 2 part-time Ipswich fans walked in… ohhow they loved it when Blackburn scored and then Ipswich went 1 up!

Half time was a sombre time; neither me or my girlfriend talking about the prospect of the play-offs again – then something happened…

…the Ipswich part-timers left and me and my girlfriend were left to suffer alone. My mum and dad phoned to say that they were in the Glossop supporters’ club branch pub and in the company of loads of Blues. I needed help.

A few other people gathered around the big screen as me and my girlfriend sang our hearts out!

Pretty soon a few others started cheering for City – Walsall fans as it turned out – and before we knew it Blue Moon was reverberating around the bar…

And then it happened; Goater; the own goal; Kennedy; Dickov… was I dreaming?

We showed everything that we used to lack: fight, spirit, guts, belief!

By the final whistle there was only me and my girlfriend in the bar but I swear that we sung our hearts out as loud as we could!

We are up… City til I die!

Blue Army.

Jon Walsh (JWalsh@calorgas.co.uk)

OPINION – FROM ROME

Six months are passed since last time I wrote you. I received every week these pages that told me about the passion, the love Manchester City’s supporters give to this club. And I’m very happy to say I feel more and more a City supporter even if this passion was born only 11 years ago (I’m 29). We deserve it. We deserve to come back there with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Scums Utd… we deserve because we suffered for years the pains of relegations at the last match, the pain to see our enemies lift up cups, the pain of see our team play with Colchester or Chesterfield or Wigan… the pain to play the Autoscreen Shield or whatever was it. We felt these pains but we stayed by the side of Manchester City, supporting the squad even in the worst period, in 2nd division when we were 10th.

I’m from Rome but thanks to you I was been near Manchester City with the mind and the heart, and now only joys are for us. Now it’s the time to sing “City are back”; how says the video of last year of the season of City. I’m not interested if we play well or bad but we are up, only this is the important thing. We have been the more continuous team, in fact Charlton arrived 1st because they won 10 consecutive matches, always in the first 3 positions of the table. I didn’t believe at the start of the season we could do it because we were from 2nd Division and it was difficult to repeat a good season as the last. Joe Royle instead did an incredible job, buying a great player as Kennedy, giving the right motivations to Shaun Goater (I didn’t believe he could score so many goals but I’ve to shut up in front of 29 goals of King Shaun), to Jobson, Edghill, Tiatto… We have to thank Joe for Taylor and Prior who gave an important help to the team in the worst moment of the season (Prior in particular with his goals). We are finally back, we will think to the future in the next weeks. Now it’s only time to sing “Stand up if you love City” and so on…

Simone – Roma (liamrome@tin.it)

GOOD LUCK

After supporting Bristol City most of my life, you have Joe and Shaun. Also, the mess Bristol are in at the moment, I wish you all the best: Both Citys are the best – all the best B.C.F.C

Ian Wall (ian@stuartwall.fsnet.co.uk)

REQUEST – MELBOURNE BLUES

Melbourne Blue, I am coming to Brisbane on 1st-5th June for a complete p*ss up, any Blues in Brisbane who would like to join me and take me to an English pub get in contact.

Tim Berry (timberry@primus.com.au)

WHY BLUE?

I am a Mancunian born and bred, and since I was 6 I have supported Man City, much to my family’s disgust – all of them being Red and oh so fickle. Since I declared my love for City I have suffered at the hands of my glory-seeking brother, but the torture I endured (he is 6 years older than me) never stopped the love of the Blues running through my veins. I have never questioned this love but wondered where it came from; needless to say he has tried to ridicule me, convert me (much to my disgust) and perhaps the most shaming thing I must admit, is visiting Un***d – it was an experience I try and forget but all the Red I saw still haunts me…

So it is no surprise that I have always struggled to get to Maine Road, but I have found my saviour in the form of my uncle; we are a team travelling together to as many matches as I can afford. As a woman, the best thing is getting men who think you won’t know anything and ripping them apart with your knowledge… I will always be a Blue and I will never experience anything like I do every time I visit Maine Road or just watch City, no matter what happens. There is no better feeling than watching City – they have this amazing knack of ripping your heart and sending you on a emotional rollarcoaster every time. But I wouldn’t change that for the world because that is what City are about and no matter what happens in the future they will always make me want to go back for more.

When you’re a City supporter no one can stop you because they grab you by your heart and they never let go… ever. I am City till I die no matter how many trophies Un***d win because City are the only true Manchester side to support.

Katie H (Ktkookyblue@aol.com)

RESULTS

Recent results to 7 May 2000 inclusive.

7 May 2000

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

League table to 7 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.   46 15  3  5 37 18 12  7  4 42 27 27 10  9 79 45  34  91
 2 Manchester City 46 17  2  4 48 17  9  9  5 30 23 26 11  9 78 40  38  89
 3 Ipswich Town    46 16  3  4 39 17  9  9  5 32 25 25 12  9 71 42  29  87
 4 Barnsley        46 15  4  4 48 24  9  6  8 40 43 24 10 12 88 67  21  82
 5 Birmingham City 46 15  5  3 37 16  7  6 10 28 28 22 11 13 65 44  21  77
 6 Bolton Wndrs    46 14  5  4 43 26  7  8  8 26 24 21 13 12 69 50  19  76
 7 Wolves          46 15  5  3 45 20  6  6 11 19 28 21 11 14 64 48  16  74
 8 Huddersfield T. 46 14  5  4 43 21  7  6 10 19 28 21 11 14 62 49  13  74
 9 Fulham          46 13  7  3 33 13  4  9 10 16 28 17 16 13 49 41   8  67
10 QPR             46  9 12  2 30 20  7  6 10 32 33 16 18 12 62 53   9  66
11 Blackburn R.    46 10  9  4 33 20  5  8 10 22 31 15 17 14 55 51   4  62
12 Norwich City    46 11  6  6 26 22  3  9 11 19 28 14 15 17 45 50  -5  57
13 Tranmere Rovers 46 10  8  5 35 27  5  4 14 22 41 15 12 19 57 68 -11  57
14 Nottm Forest    46  9 10  4 29 18  5  4 14 24 37 14 14 18 53 55  -2  56
15 Crystal Palace  46  7 11  5 33 26  6  4 13 24 41 13 15 18 57 67 -10  54
16 Sheff. United   46 10  8  5 38 24  3  7 13 21 47 13 15 18 59 71 -12  54
17 Stockport C.    46  8  8  7 33 31  5  7 11 22 36 13 15 18 55 67 -12  54
18 Portsmouth      46  9  6  8 36 27  4  6 13 19 39 13 12 21 55 66 -11  51
19 Crewe Alex.     46  9  5  9 27 31  5  4 14 19 36 14  9 23 46 67 -21  51
20 Grimsby Town    46 10  8  5 27 25  3  4 16 14 42 13 12 21 41 67 -26  51
21 West Brom A.    46  6 11  6 25 26  4  8 11 18 34 10 19 17 43 60 -17  49
22 Walsall         46  7  6 10 26 34  4  7 12 26 43 11 13 22 52 77 -25  46
23 Port Vale       46  6  6 11 27 30  1  9 13 21 39  7 15 24 48 69 -21  36
24 Swindon Town    46  5  6 12 23 37  3  6 14 15 40  8 12 26 38 77 -39  36

With thanks to Football 365

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


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
Contributions: Ashley – mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com
News & Rumours: Peter – brophy_peter@hotmail.com
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Technical Problems: Paul – paul@city-fan.org


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 #603

2000/05/08

Editor:


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