Newsletter #607

Football is once again in the news this week, but for all the wrong reasons. Yesterday’s clash between Galatasaray and Arsenal would have been singularly unmemorable if it wasn’t for the violence, both before and after the game. This comes on top of the tragic death – under the wheels of a coach – of Swansea fan Terry Cole (details of a fund for his bereaved family are in this issue). At this rate, life insurance companies will be loading football fans in the same way that they load other dangerous sport pursuits. Let’s hope this is a blip rather than a downward trend.

Onto the more mundane: there’s been no overt transfer activity at Maine Road this week, though exactly what is going on behind closed doors is anyone’s guess, thank God. How times have changed, when I first started MCIVTA, the club seemed congenitally incapable of keeping anything at all under wraps, a farcical state of affairs that culminated in the press and everyone’s cousin knowing about Brian Horton’s dismissal before Brian himself did. So, yet another feather in David Bernstein’s proverbial cap, and another City behemoth put to the sword.

Onto this issue, it contains perhaps one of the most curious appeals we have ever had: does anyone have a pair of socks like the ones Denis Law wore at the Swamp in ’74 – if so, read on and prepare for them to recreate history!

Lastly, my supply of Why Blues has been exhausted so if anyone out there would care to write their story down, please do so. I’d be particularly interested to hear from older subscribers and to get their views on how recent events rank against past glories in terms of sheer drama and fan elation.

Next game: To be announced


Transfer Latest – Royle Still Looking

Joe Royle has been scouting in Norway this week. But the City manager played down speculation that he could be set to make a swoop for players who featured in the game he saw with chief scout John Hurst. Royle and Hurst witnessed a match between Rosenborg and Tromso, and as a result the Blues were strongly linked with the home club’s defenders Erik Hoftun and Bjorn Otto Bragstad and winger Jan Derek Sorensen. But the Blues’ boss says that he’s casting his net wide in the search for new blood and that his presence at the match shouldn’t be taken as an indication of an imminent signing. Meanwhile, Royle has once again spoken of his admiration for Andrei Kanchelskis – but says that defence and midfield are currently the priority areas.

Royle Not Daunted by Transfer Challenge

Joe Royle has plenty of experience of guiding teams through the choppy waters of the Premiership. And the Blues’ boss feels that his know-how will stand the club in good stead for next season. Royle is under pressure from some quarters to spend heavily to assure a chance of survival. But after guiding Oldham successfully through two seasons with the big boys and rescuing Everton from a desperate situation when he arrived at Goodison, the City manager knows he’ll be equal to the task of finding the right recruits. “I’ve enough Premiership experience to know how to approach a given transfer situation,” he told the club’s official website at

Haaland Move Closer After Leeds Swoop for Dacourt?

Manchester City have been linked with Alf-Inge Haaland for almost six months. And the Leeds could now be prepared to allow the player to leave after signing French midfielder Olivier Dacourt. According to speculation, the Blues are showing an interest in several Elland Road fringe players. But the Yorkshire outfit have already moved to quell speculation that City could sign striker Alan Smith, while any move for defender Michael Duberry would be likely to meet with a similar response. However, chairman Peter Risdale has admitted that some players could be on their way out of Leeds this summer. And speculation is that Haaland is on the exit list, with City weighing up a move for the Norwegian international.

City Set for Coleman Bid?

Manchester City were linked with Chris Coleman within 24 hours of the club’s promotion to the Premier League. And the latest speculation claims that Joe Royle could be on the verge of making a bid for the Fulham defender. Coleman cost the Cottagers £2.1 million from Blackburn, but it’s claimed that Royle may be prepared to bid as much as £3.5 million for a player who was named in the PFA Division One select this term. Fulham are said to be reluctant to sell but it’s thought that the Welshman may be tempted by the prospect of a return to the Premiership. The player was also linked with Spurs a fortnight ago.

Rumoured City Target Set for Knee Op

It’s been rumoured that City are set to make a bid for Chris Coleman. But with the Fulham defender set to undergo a knee operation, any prospective move by Joe Royle may have to wait. The surgery is thought to be fairly routine, and the ex-Palace and Blackburn man should be ready for the pre-season build-up – although he’ll miss Wales’ friendlies against Brazil and Portugal. “They will clean up the joint and take away a bit of the cartilage,” he explained. “It means I can’t play for Wales in the summer, but at least I will be able to get some rest before pre-season training.”

City in Double Striker Link

Manchester City continue to be linked with a host of players now that promotion has been won. And two strikers have this week featured in the speculation – although both men were linked with the Blues during the course of the season just ended. Coventry front man Noel Whelan and French striker Alex Di Rocco are both rumoured targets for Joe Royle. Di Rocco, who is 29 years old, plays for Sedan and scored eight goals last season. He would reportedly cost around £850,000. Whelan, meanwhile, has a year of his current contract left and the Midlands club may wish to sell now rather than allow the ex-Leeds player to become available on a Bosman free transfer next summer. A fee in the region of £3 million is being mentioned.

Royle Laughs Off French Move Talk

Manchester City have been strongly linked with two French players this week. But Joe Royle has denied the story – and says that the men in question were completely unknown to him. City were said to be close to an £850,000 deal for striker Alex Di Rocco of Sedan and in talks over a year-long loan for full-back Christian Bassilla of Rennes. But Royle says that there was no truth in the story – just like most of the speculation so far this close season. “We were mentioned with two French players who I have never heard of,” he told the official City website at, saying he was “amazed” at the link.

Transfer Speculation – More Links

Manchester City have been linked with a large number of players in the last week and a half. And the frenzied speculation is showing no sign of dying down. Amid the reports of interest in bringing various French and Norwegian players to Maine Road, there’s a renewed rumour that both City and Charlton are eyeing Aston Villa midfielder Alan Thompson. Meanwhile, there’s also a claim that Arsenal’s Lee Dixon could move to Maine Road but even though the player is a lifelong City fan, he’s in fact set to stay at Highbury. Finally, West Ham, Derby and Leicester have joined the Blues in being linked to Coventry’s Noel Whelan, although the Midlands club denies receiving any approaches for the ex-Leeds star.

Royle Looking for Willing Workers

Manchester City are being linked with a host of players in readiness for next season’s Premiership campaign. And Joe Royle insists that the men he signs will be ready to fight for the cause. Team spirit has been a crucial factor in allowing the Blues to clinch successive promotions – and has also helped teams like Leicester and most recently Bradford survive after their elevation to the top flight. And Royle, the man who brought English football the famous ‘Dogs of War’ in his Everton days, will have another committed side next term. “The players who come in will have to be willing to work for the cause and get stuck in,” the City boss told the club’s official website at

Guessing Game over Who Goes

Joe Royle has already told the Manchester Evening News there will be casualties after the Blues’ promotion to the top flight. And the guessing game has begun over who may be the men leaving Maine Road. Jamie Pollock is rated as one possible candidate,with Joe Royle having already accepted a bid from Wigan for the combative midfielder in February. Meanwhile, Nick Fenton may be surplus to requirements if Royle lands a new centre half and the 20-year-old has said he’d be keen on a switch to Bournemouth, where he ended the season on loan.

Cooke Gets the Chance to Stay

Terry Cooke has been on the Manchester City transfer list for the last three months. But the winger is to be given the chance to rescue his Maine Road career. Cooke asked for a move in February after being left out of the City squad for the home game with Norwich. The ex-Manchester United junior ended the season on loan to Wigan but returned ahead of the Latics’ play-off campaign after failing to impress. And now the player wants to revive his career with the Blues. “Terry has retracted his transfer request,” Joe Royle confirmed to the club’s official website at “He has said he wants to knuckle down and have another go next season.” And according to Royle, the slate has now been wiped clean.

Preston Deny Pollock Deal

Reports earlier in the week indicated that Preston North End had agreed a deal with City for Jamie Pollock only for the player’s personal demands to scupper the move. But the Division One new boys have denied the story. Pollock is thought to be one of the men who could be sold as Joe Royle looks to strengthen for the Premiership challenge ahead. But the Lancashire club have denied making a move for the player – although they didn’t rule out the prospect in future. “So far we haven’t talked about anyone specifically,” said chairman Derek Shaw. “When there is some news about players we will let the fans know.”

Robins Admit Pollock Interest

Jamie Pollock has been tipped as a possible casualty as the Blues prepare for life in the Premiership. And Bristol City have admitted an interest in the City midfielder. The Robins are looking to create a side capable of pushing for promotion to Division One next season and see the combative Pollock as capable of reinforcing their engine room. “Jamie is someone we looked at earlier in the season and is the type of player you would like in your squad,” said manager Tony Fawthrop. “We know what we want and he has the right quality.” However, Fawthrop recognises that it will be difficult to persuade the player to drop two divisions.

Boss Blasts “Idiot” Green

Joe Royle has hit back at Radio Five Live’s Alan Green. The commentator recently suggested that the Blues need eight new players to survive next season and that the City boss is over-sensitive to criticism. Royle had been angered by Green’s derogatory comments when City took on Charlton at Maine Road in March, but the antipathy between the two men dates back much further. The Blues’ manager hasn’t forgotten the pundit’s criticism of Royle’s Everton side – and claims that his own view of Green is widely shared. “Alan Green is an idiot,” said the City boss. “He is universally disliked and distrusted throughout football.”

Prior Gets Sky Break

BSkyB already owns a 9.9% stake in Manchester City. And now the satellite broadcaster is giving one of the City players his chance to break into media work. Spencer Prior was presenter Rob McCaffrey’s guest on the phone-in show ‘You’re on Sky Sports!’ on Wednesday evening. And the ex-Derby defender will now be hoping to become a regular on the show.

Kennedy in Irish Call-Up

Many of his team-mates have already begun their close-season break, but Mark Kennedy’s season isn’t yet over. The winger is in the Republic of Ireland squad for four summer matches. The Irish face Scotland on May 30, before flying out to the USA for a tournament involving the host country, Mexico and South Africa. The Dublin-born star will be bidding to confirm his place in Mick McCarthy’s plans for the World Cup qualifiers next autumn after enjoying a fine season for the Blues. Kennedy’s tally of eleven goals for the campaign was a personal best.

Opta Accolade for Kennedy

Mark Kennedy has revived his career in the last year after moving from Wimbledon to Manchester City. And the Irishman’s excellent season has earned him a prestigious award. Kennedy has been named Carling Opta Division One Player of the Year, ahead of Charlton’s Mark Kinsella and Sheffield United’s Shaun Murphy. According to Opta’s statistics, the ex-Millwall and Liverpool player put in 578 crosses last term, over 200 more than his closest rival, and notched fourteen goal assists, again a divisional best. And the Blues will be hoping he can make a similar impression next season after failing to shine in the Premiership when at Anfield and Selhurst Park.

Tiatto to Meet Melbourne Blues

Danny Tiatto has flown home at the end of a hard season. But though the Australian is in his home country, he’s still be demand for supporters’ functions. Tiatto will be attending a meeting of the Melbourne Blues this Friday, 19 May. The gathering will be at the Keepers Arms, on the corner of Peel and Queensberry. There’s a 7 pm start time and all are welcome.

City Announce Irish Link-Up

Manchester City have announced a strategic alliance with an Irish amateur club. The deal with Dublin-based Cherry Orchard FC is aimed at helping the Blues tap into a seam of talented Irish youngsters. Cherry Orchard runs eleven teams for boys aged between nine and nineteen, and according to treasurer Paul Boylan is currently the most successful youth team in Ireland. City will pay £50,000 for first pick of the club’s youngsters over the next two years, and though the deal is a one-off at this stage, the Blues could repeat the arrangement elsewhere if it proves a success. Academy director Jim Cassell is delighted with the tie-up. “Cherry Orchard represents the very best Ireland has to offer,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “This is a very exciting opportunity for both our organisations.”

Drop Outcome Bad News for Travelling Fans

Manchester City’s season was remarkable among other reasons for the numbers of fans turning up to watch the Blues home and away. But with the opportunities for big travelling contingents limited in the Premier League, the outcome of the relegation battle will be bad news for the club’s away support. The highest 23 gates in this season’s Division One were for City’s 23 home games. And the Blues took big followings away to several grounds, with 4,000 or more fans travelling to an away fixture on nine separate occasions. So the relegation of Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday will come as a blow to fans who like to watch City on opponents’ grounds. For the two clubs were the two Premiership outfits with the worst attendance records relative to ground capacity – and therefore possibly the only two hosts who would have been able to accommodate the sort of travelling contingent the Blues regularly take to away games.

Second Half Shows the Key for City

Before Joe Royle’s appointment as manager, Manchester City had a dismal record of conceding late goals. But now the situation has turned round – a factor that was crucial in sealing promotion for the Blues. Statistics show that City had only the eighth best first-half record in Division One last term, being ahead at the break in seventeen games but trailing in only four fewer. But the Blues had comfortably the best second-half record, outscoring opponents on 23 occasions and being bettered only six times. Those facts are testimony to both increased levels of fitness and the team’s never-say-die spirit – a far cry from the club’s 1997-98 relegation season, when City’s penchant for conceding late goals did much to send them down.

Pre-Season Programme Finalised

Manchester City have agreed to visit Stockport County as part of the club’s pre-season build-up. And the news means that the Blues will face five fellow north west sides as they prepare for the Premiership. The trip to Edgeley Park is for Jim Gannon’s testimonial, and will take place on Saturday, 5 August. That date falls between matches at Burnley and Oldham, which are followed by fixtures against Everton and Manchester United. Those five games will be preceded by a trip to Gillingham. The Blues visit Priestfield on July 29, fulfilling an engagement which formed part of the deal to bring Robert Taylor to Maine Road.

Royle Expects City to be a Big Sky Draw

Not surprisingly for a club part-owned by BSkyB, Manchester City featured regularly in the satellite broadcaster’s Division One coverage last season. And Joe Royle expects the pattern to continue next term. City were featured live on ten occasions in the league last term, in addition to two screenings in cup matches. And with the club’s return to the Premiership having caught the media’s imagination in the last few days, there’s every indication the trend will continue. Royle certainly wouldn’t be surprised. “Sky liked us enough in the First Division, they will like us a lot more now that we are in the Premier!” he told the club’s official website at

Success Rubs Off on Hit-Man Hatton

Boxer Ricky Hatton successfully defended his WBO Inter-continental light-welterweight title on Tuesday evening. And the 21-year-old’s allegiance to Manchester City was clear for all to see as he emulated the Blues’ recent success. Hatton beat Ambioris Figuereo of the Dominican Republic inside four rounds at Warrington to take his professional record to nineteen wins in nineteen fights. And, having entered the ring to the strains of ‘Blue Moon’, the boxer gave his post-bout interview wearing a City shirt. Before the contest, Hatton had admitted that the Blues’ recent success had boosted his spirits during his intensive training programme. “I can’t thank Joe Royle enough,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “It [promotion] has given me a big lift.”

Peter Brophy (


Terry Coles was the Swansea City supporter who died tragically at the game between the Swans and Rotherham. A true football fan, devoted to his Swans, he left a widow and two young children.

Swansea City Football Club, in co-operation with several of Terry Coles’ friends, have opened a fund for his children and widow.

At the moment, funds are being gathered while details of a properly-constituted trust, with trustees and objects, are being addressed.

If you want to make a contribution – personally, or as the result of a fund-raising effort – you may make your cheque payable to:

“SCFC – Terry Coles Fund,” marking it to Sort Code 16-33-09, Account #10052640.

You may mail it to either of the following:

The Royal Bank of Scotland
13/14 Walter Road
Swansea SA1 3NG

or to

The Terry Coles Fund
Swansea City AFC
Vetch Field
Swansea SA1 3SU

Thank you for helping what is a truly deserving cause.

Forwarded by Gary Benson (


I managed to listen 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 release was unbelievable – an emotion shared by a group of initially bemused but then sympathetic and amazingly tolerant Septics once I explained the situation. Outside, I stared at the distant White House (honestly) 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 Dailly, Mark and Paul!

I eventually struggled (about 20 seconds after the final whistle) onto the about-to-depart Minneapolis flight with bag half-open, wires everywhere, in tears, singing Blue Moon to the wife on my mobile (who had been listening to the game on her computer back home).

Thanks for a wonderful season to all at McVittee, especially Ashley. 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.

Yours in total jealousy of all those who were at the Blackburn game.

CTTAAB – City till the Apocalypse and beyond! Jeremy Morris (


Manchester City are back and while they know they are a long way from competing with U****d, there is no doubt that they certainly will when it comes to the derby games. That will be good for the Premiership.

And if City chairman David Bernstein, who along with Joe Royle has masterminded the club’s return from the abyss, stands by his philosophy, City’s return can only help the general state of the game.

Bernstein recently addressed a group of MPs and said: “I happen to meet regularly on the train a director of a sizeable football league club. Over a bottle of wine he confided in me that his fans – and I quote – ‘Get in the way of a lot of what we want to do’. It’s an attitude that political parties adopt and when they do they end up losing. This is anathema to all of us at Manchester City”. How refreshing.

Taken from Daily Express 12/5/2000.

Heidi Pickup (


Well I’ve had a week to calm down now so I thought I’d throw in my version of “where were you on May 7th 2000?”… Certainly after watching teams in the play-offs at the weekend it made me realise how glad I am not to be a part of that again, although we did have our fair share of suffering for the first hour at Ewood!

Despite being a regular season ticket holder with my dad and brother, we failed in our attempt to get tickets from City, so turned to plan B – our Rovers supporting neighbours who kindly obliged by supplying us with 3 tickets in the Jack Walker Stand (thanks David!). On entering the ground I was a little apprehensive (events at Stoke 2 years ago when we were also with the home fans are still clear in the memory), but these fears were soon laid to rest when I found the people sitting right behind us were Blues! As the game kicked off I could hear a chorus of ‘Blue Moon’ in the upper tier, and I quickly realised that there were City fans everywhere. In fairness to the Blackburn fans they seemed to make a lot of noise, but you couldn’t help feeling that if City got a goal then the whole ground would explode.

The game itself was a blur, devastation at half time, disbelief at Rovers hitting the bar for the 4th time. Then, out of the blue, up stepped the Goat… pandemonium everywhere, we were screaming and jumping around like maniacs, tears welling up in my eyes as I turned round to see half the Jack Walker stand celebrating too, City everywhere, the noise incredible. No sooner had we calmed down and up stepped (‘there’s only one’) Christian Dailly to make it two, hysteria by this point with me crying tears of delight. Great finish by Mark Kennedy for the third, and who else but Dicky to round things off!

Didn’t see any of the last ten minutes, just watched the fans on the hill pour down the slope, saw the conga on the far side of the ground and sang until I (literally) lost my voice. Ran onto the pitch at the end, lost sight of my dad and later found him limping – he could hardly walk, took him to casaulty on the way home and it turned out he’d torn ligaments when he jumped up for Kennedy’s goal (worth the pain though!)! It was days like that when I realise how lucky I am to be a City supporter – we may have been to hell and back but it made the success so much sweeter. I’m 22 years old and so have never seen City win anything, so for me this is the best period in the club’s history. My dad has seen it all, he was even in Vienna for the Cup Winners’ Cup final and yet he admitted that Wembley last year and Blackburn 2000 had that extra special something. Only City fans can understand how a promotion is better than league championships and European trophies (take note Rags). I wouldn’t swap that feeling for anything in the world.

Finally I must mention the stewards and police at the ground – I don’t know about anyone else’s experience but I have to say that I thought they were excellent. They obviously knew that there would be City fans everywhere but didn’t get heavy handed and as a result there was a great atmosphere with little or no trouble. It’s just a pity that more clubs don’t follow such an example. Can’t wait for next season now…

Sarah Hawley (


The Essex & Suffolk Branch of the MCFC Centenary Supporters’ Association will hold its first Annual General Meeting on Friday May 19th 2000. The venue will be the Duke of Wellington Public House, Hatfield Peveral, Essex. Commencing at 8pm, the AGM will sort out the formalities and any other business before embarking on a voyage of alcoholic discovery (seeing how many pints we can drink before we fall over) in celebration of a successful first year as a branch and of the City’s return to the top flight of English football.

All are welcome. We have a signed City shirt up for grabs in our raffle.

Further information from 01708 787227 or 07980 195243 (mobile) or drop me an e-mail.

Paul Gallagher, Secretary Essex & Suffolk CSA (


How is everybody’s head? It was only a week ago that we beat Blackburn easily and the parties began. On that faithful day I was in the Katie Gallagher’s, Bray, where the Wicklow branch meetings are held. We had organized to meet up to watch us easily beat Blackburn and have a promotion party afterwards. About 80 people came and it was great. The crowd, the atmosphere, the colours, the game, the alcohol etc.

Just before kick off an Ipswich fan came in to watch the Ipswich game. He sat in a dark corner smiling when we went behind and quietly laughing when his team scored. Our branch ignored him as like every other City fan watching the game we knew we would win comfortably. After we went 4:1 up I can recall the Ipswich fan with his head in his hands and thought about how we used to be like that. That gave me the extra joy when we cracked open the champagne after the game. Last season we were in our lowest league position ever and now we are back where we belong. Thank you God!

After the game I went over and bought the Ipswich fan and his wife a pint and wished him luck as we all know how he feels. We wished him well and he said good luck to us. As genuine fans we know the pain and I for one wish them all the best and cannot wait to take 6 points off them next season.

We sang, danced and talked about City ’til the early hours of Monday morning, and then partied some more when we woke up and saw us on Sky. I bought every paper to read the articles. I was disappointed to hear of City playing only 2 teams in Ireland and can’t wait to see them with the Premiership badge on the jerseys.

The Wicklow branch’s next meeting is Tuesday, 23 May at 8.00 Sharp. It will be held in our usual meeting place: Katie Gallagher’s, Strand Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow. All are welcome.

Tony Mac Manus (


It struck me last night that our return to the Premiership has another fantastic implication, and those of you who are players of that fine game (Fifa) for PC or Playstation may have already realised it.

Yes indeed, our new status means that our heroes will be included in the next edition. I can’t wait for it. No longer having to play against my son with pixels that represent teams from dreamed-of heights. Those of you who love the beautiful, pixellated game, will be able to play derbies against the scum to our hearts’ content, enjoying the brutality of ‘dynamic player collisions’ with ‘even tougher tackling’.

No doubt the makers will include additional controls to be operated from the handsets. How about the last minute button, where against all the odds with a deft flick of the triangle and square, up pops The Goat to hammer home a dramatic winner or the Dickov button, where with one press your player operates at three times the speed of anyone else on the pitch.

Roll on the Premiership and roll on the next version of Fifa. You can also check my ‘bluenews’ website out at a new more user friendly address, the website features a ‘pant ‘tastic page’ with photos of my pants around my ankles on that glorious Sunday so that you may see the reality of part of the magic that put us back where we belong.

You can check it out at <>

Tony Burns (


As some of you know, I was on this list back when “this one goes out to damn near no one” would have been an appropriate MCIVTA lead-in. I moved from Virginia to Cleveland, Ohio on Wembley Day last season, leaving at 3:00am so that I could be in front of a computer for the Gills match. I never bothered to update my MCIVTA info, as starting a new job, moving, buying my first home, and having my first kid occupied a fair amount of my time this year. I still followed the matches as best I could, and was sitting alone in my basement listening to the match on the BBC (thanks forever to whomever posted that link on Blue View; it was a life saver!) two Saturdays ago. To any of you who have tried to reach me since June, I apologize for being unavailable. I am not clever enough to forward email from old addresses, so I never saw a bit of it. For the record, I can now be reached at either RKELLEY@SSD.COM or

I would also like to use this opportunity to update my “American Blues” list of several years ago. If those of you in the States could forward to me (at the address) your locations and contact info, I will put that together into a useable form. It certainly would have been good to know who might have been available to hoist a few after the Blackburn match. As it was, I dressed my kid in his City kit, which was nice, but just not the same.

Finally, if Rob Hulme is still on the list, I would love to return the book you lent me a year ago! If you would forward me your address, I will make that happen.

Cheers all (especially, Ashley), Bob Kelley (


Melbourne Blues are meeting up for a promotion celebration party at the “Keepers Arms” at 351 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne (9329 7081), Formerly the Sir Robert Peel. We are meeting from 7 onwards. We believe the great Danny Tiatto is going to join us! So don’t miss the chance of a lifetime. We also hope to be replaying the Blackburn game. Wear your shirt with pride. See you there.

Paul Keelagher (


Here’s my effort for the saddest statistical question of the season (unless, of course, anyone knows different…)

  1. In games at Maine Road, what was the success rate of the team for theway the stripes were cut on the Maine road pitch? (I think there wasdiagonal, circular and square), and a not so sad question:
  2. What was the highest squad number anyone has ever seen in Englishfootball? Highest I’ve seen is 50.

Finally, a tribute to Mr. Acronym Steve Maclean (one he forgot):

Premiership for
May 7th
In spite
Nancy boy Wilkins' prediction!

Lance Thomson (


I’ve just become aware of MCIVTA from my nephew who sent me your excellent (44 page) newsletter. My name is Mike and I’m a 46-year-old Mancunian who has supported City since I was 11. Johnny Crossan was the Captain for the first match I ever went to see, which was a Second Division match on a Wednesday night at Maine Road against Portsmouth, and I remember it so vividly because I saw a bus with Pompey on it an hadn’t a clue what that meant. I remember walkin up the stairs into the Kippax and the sight of seeing a football pitch lit at night was a thing I’ll never forget as long as I live. I remember little else from that particular night apart from the fact I was hooked on Blue.

Bein’ from Manchester (excuse me if I don’t put g’s on the ends of words when I type but it’s the way I yap anyway) an’ havin’ half a family who did, an’ still do, support the other half (bless ’em), Blue has always been, an’ will always be, for me the only way to accept football in Manchester. I have lived, eaten, breathed, slept, wept, sweated, hurt, panicked, argued, cajoled, – in fact all the adjectives you could possibly imagine – sentiments and emotions at some times I didn’t think it was possibly within one man’s capability to control – but through it all there has always been a Blue solution. They’ve put us through thick and thin times, some poor, some worse, some ecstatic but some better, only time will tell now after this season’s magnificence! I believe that in my heart-of-hearts, City can now reign as what-goes-around-comes-around. We still hold the record for havin’ won more major competitions in a shorter time than anyone else (and also the Second Division title more than anyone else – 6 times) but who cares – we are the Blues.

I look forward to hearin’ from anyone if you get a minute or 3 to answer.

MCFCFFMCFC (as I’m a biker that means MC Forever, Forever MC), Mike Hawley (


Does this mean Robert Taylor for Euro 2000? An official England shirt, part of the kit that will travel to Holland and Belgium with the national squad, was unfurled yesterday to kick off Kevin Keegan’s Euro 2000 campaign in earnest. Measuring 60ft by 60ft, the shirt will soon travel the country to collect goodwill messages from fans in a form similar, dare one say, to scribbles on plaster casts (Electronic Telegraph 16/5/00).

Martin Styles – Cork, Ireland (


In a previous issue somebody asked where the tune came from in the chant “We’re on our way, we’re on our way, to the Premier, we’re on our way. I don’t know how we got there, Will we stay there I don’t care, All I know is City’s on their way”.

It’s the last song from the film, Paint Your Wagon. Sang by Lee Marvin. My mam told me.

Mark Whelan (


Here in Bobby Robson land I’ve been joining in the collective euphoria we’ve all experienced over the last few weeks. However, I’ve been getting increasingly uneasy about some of the uncritical support for Big Joe in MCIVTA. I know we should get behind him and I think he’s done a great job in getting us out of the mire, getting a great team spirit, turning them into fighters and making the players obviously proud to wear the Sky Blue. I am going to be interested to see how he shapes up with genuinely talented Premier players. For example, like many MCIVTA contributors who were critical at the time, I think his handling of Kinkladze before we went down was ham-fisted. I also wonder about his handling of other players who are a bit out of the ordinary – Terry Cooke being one example. I worry about whether Joe will prefer to pick workhorse players rather than deal with the overhead of managing real talent. That reservation aside I’m just heartily relieved my support for City will next season be met with genuine hostility up here rather than patronising sympathy!

On a more positive final note – my celebration of the win was tempered by having to finish off a job in the garage after the game. My drunken “tidying up” was interrupted by a commotion outside the back gate, which was naturally festooned with City regalia. A Geordie City supporter (I kid you not) was jumping up and down in his City shirt outside the gate yelling “City… City”. When I asked the guy why he supported City (glory seeker?), he said it was entirely due to the supporters he saw at a game at St James’ Park. He’d been uninterested in football but was taken on corporate hospitality to a Newcassel vs. City match when Newcastle were many points ahead under KK. He couldn’t understand the local animosity towards the 500 or so City fans. The Geordie fans were singing “Going down, Going down, Going down…” to which the City fans, with their customary graveyard humour, chanted back “So are we, So are we, So are we”. From then on the guy was hooked. If you were one of the 500 – well done – I’ve now got a local mutual psychological support group of two.

Bernard Paton (


The BBC are making a half-hour film starring Chris Eccleston, Denis Law and Eddie Large. The film centres around the derby match between City and United in April 1974.

At the beginning of the film they are going to recreate the moment Denis Law scored that fateful goal. Replica socks that he was wearing are needed to complete the outfit: royal blue with red and white hooped tops. Does anyone reading have such a pair?

At the end of the film the director wants to turn around on the congregation and for a minute Chris and Denis Law see all of them dressed in blue or red: half a dozen 98/99 home tops are needed!

Should anyone be able to help with this please notify Melanie Thornton, production secretary at the BBC on 0208 576 7224.

They also require extras for filming on Sunday 28th May 2000 in the Watford area, in the afternoon for around 3 to 4 hours. Should anyone be interested please contact Melanie.

Many thanks, Katie Willis – PR & Marketing Assistant, MCFC (



We are trying to raise money for charity (nominated charities are Christies and St. Francis House). We are holding an online auction and are staging a 5-a-side football tournament on June 2nd at the JJB Soccer Dome from 7pm. The teams, all from the local advertising industry, have all volunteered to take part and have donated various prizes for the raffle, which will be taking place after the tournament. After the raffle we will be accepting final bids in person for the items we are auctioning live online. We have already begun the auction and bids are coming in daily. The site features a Manchester United home team shirt, a Manchester City home team shirt, A Nicky Weaver goalkeeper No.1 shirt and a David Beckham No.7 shirt, all of which have been autographed by the team or player mentioned and are each presented in a display case worth £180. Obviously the success of this money-raiser depends upon the support of as many people possible. Bearing this in mind, we would be very grateful if you should be so kind as to promote the online auction address wherever possible.

Please visit our website at: (there are links to Christies and St. Francis House).

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely, Steve Wilks (


I’ll be taping the NZ vs. South Africa U23 game which is being played in New Zealand on Friday night and sending it to a friend in the UK; if there are any MCFC supporters in the UK who would be interested in seing the game and how City reserve player Chris Killen gets on, email me on <> and I’ll put you on the list.

Ralph Sheppard (


Grateful thanks to David Kilroy for his kind request for the acronyms to continue (though I know there will be others who won’t thank him!)!

I’ve been giving this some careful thought over the last few weeks. It’s been a long, hard, emotionally-draining season and the acronyms are basically knackered – they need to recharge their batteries (emotional and physical) in time for the pre-season games, some against teams with very strange names.

At the beginning of the season, there were those who thought that the acronyms should be content to just consolidate in Division One. Ok I know there were several games where the acronyms just didn’t perform, or where individual letters in key positions made costly errors. But what carried the acronyms right through the season was the tremendous team spirit in the alphabet, the self-belief that teamwork could bring the right results.

And as we all now know, the season ended in triumph at Blackburn, where the acronym fell into place in a magical 15-minute spell after looking dead and buried!

So now we must turn our attention to the big question… are the acronyms good enough for the Premier League?

We’d all probably agree that there are a few key letters that would grace any Premier League acronym – W, K and P come instantly to mind. We all hope that G can do well, but others (P, E, D, etc.?) may struggle. So some strengthening of key positions in the alphabet may be necessary. The best foreign letters are probably out of our price range though, i.e. purchases from clubs on the consonant!

So what’s the summary? I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that a change of acronym manager is needed. I’ve taken this squad as far as I can, now it needs a younger, more energetic manager for the Premier League!

Any volunteers, just send ’em in to Ashley!

Steve Maclean (


I don’t know if this throws any light on Steve Parish’s deliberations about Colin Bell but I recall in the 67/68 singing: “Sha la la la Summerbee, The greatest centre forward in history”. I also remember a version that got passed backwards and forwards between City and United fans something like: “Sha la la la Summerbee – Who the ****ing *** is he? The best centre forward in history”. Not as good as “Bobby C The **** who missed a penalty”. The penalty had been for England, I think. The only song I recall about Colin Bell was the Mexico song, hi ho!

Don Shore (


Instant response (thanks to Don for the copy): I know exactly when Sha-la-la-la Summerbee got its first airing: Derby away 19th March 1966. Summerbee did something special to get in a cross for one of the City goals (Bell’s I think) and a fan near me waited ’til the cheering stopped then yelled “Sha-la-la-la Summerbee…” At subsequent derby matches United fans responded with “Who the f**king ‘ell is he?” and by the 68/69 season City fans had added: “The greatest centre-forward in history, United 1 and City 3, Georgie Best has got VD.” I don’t remember the Bobby Charlton addition.

Steve Parish (


Thanks to all who have visited my site and sent feedback. It’s been quite fun. Big cheers to Ernie too for such kind words. I started the original personal website as a school project, and then turned part of it into a City site after my trip to the Blue half of Manchester in March.

I was inspired to say the least after watching City battle Charlton to a tough draw, meeting all the players who are truly fantastic people, and becoming great friends with some True Blues during the visit (thanks again Ash Beaver and company – you’re truly fantastic!). The trip proved how great City as a club are to be so nice to a cross-Atlantic visitor, how great the fans are and how they’ll bend over backward to help each other out. I’ve made life-long friends because of the incredible network system of fans and I wanted to give some back. So that’s the website’s genesis.

Unfortunately, since I won’t be at school the next three months, I won’t have access to their server, and thus no updates to the page. But having the glory of the Blackburn match up there isn’t all bad is it?! I promise more pictures and fun next season. Keep the faith, and in touch. Enjoy the pictures and feel free to download any and all of them. They make great wallpaper, and when printed, are perfect for the office/home or whatever.

CTID, Cheers from Texas, Dillon Allie (


I totally agree with David Kilroy in support of Steve’s Acronyms. They have become a welcome characteristic of McVittee. I can’t wait until we play Gornik Zarbeze again. A tie against Borussia Mönchengladbach would be interesting as well. Proud to be a Blue.

John Howes (


I am a big City fan who is moving away from Manchester to a place called Higher Walton, Preston. I already know that the locals, as expected, are mostly Preston supporters. Are there are any supporters’ clubs or groups of City fans who live near Higher Walton that I can contact once I’ve moved to the area?

Thanks for your help, Steve Cummings (


Are there any Blues in the Crawley area who would like to provide a lift for me and son next season? Due to knackered arm etc. I cannot drive long distances but would be happy to share expenses and provide buns and lashings of ginger beer! It would only be for games I can get tickets to (4223 on waiting list for season ticket).

Andy Birkin ( or


I managed to video the build up, the game and the after-match celebrations. UK VHS version. As I have a separate video player and recorder, if anyone wants a copy I will gladly do one. If there is considerable demand there may be a delay as I am away virtually all of June. e-mail me at if you are interested.

Simon Edwards a.k.a. Burnside Blue (


Do you know of anyone who would want a copy of The Manchester City Football Book No2 (1970)? Not bad nick and free to a good home. Please contact me.

David Burrell (


I am copying videos of the Blackburn game and I am willing to make copies for any fan. I you are interested could you e-mail me and I will send you further details.

Chris Craddock – CTID (


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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,

Newsletter #607