Newsletter #612

First of all, let me say thanks to Heidi for agreeing to step in for an editorship stint at relatively short notice, especially in light of her impending trip to Europe.

With Royle’s return from holiday, transfer speculation has again taken off almost vertically, with the most likely link again being Alf-Inge Haaland of Leeds. The MEN were reporting (on Friday) that talks were to begin shortly between the two clubs’ chairmen.

This issue contains much news/speculation in this direction; a scientific assessment (OK, pseudoscientific) of our defensive partnerships which makes for interesting reading; a lovely tale of a trip to a City game in the sixties (and the night thereafter); lots on that band at Sky’s first Monday night game; and plenty of humour.

This one reaches 3,302.

Any Why Blues out there?

Next game: To be announced


City to Make Haaland Bid

According to Friday’s Manchester Evening News, City have made a move for Leeds’ utility man Alf-Inge Haaland. And Joe Royle has said he expects talks to take place at chairman level soon. The Blues’ boss tried and failed to sign Haaland on loan in January but hopes for better luck now the Yorkshire outfit have signed Olivier Dacourt from Lens. And it’s the ex-Nottingham Forest man’s ability to play in a range of different positions which has attracted Royle. “He is a versatile player who can play at centre half, full back or in midfield,” the City manager told reporter Chris Bailey. “I expect the two chairmen to be speaking shortly.” A fee of £2.5 million is being mentioned.

Boss Eyeing Mystery Man

In addition to the Joe Royle’s now-public pursuit of Alf-Inge Haaland, the Blues’ boss is also making serious attempts to land another transfer targets. But the identity of the man in question remains a mystery. The likes of Craig Hignett, Mark Fish and Phil Babb have been linked with City in recent days but the speculation is reportedly wide of the mark in all cases. And the much-touted move for Andrei Kanchelskis is unlikely to come to pass since Rangers’ £4 million asking price is four times the amount Royle is prepared to pay. But the City boss is adamant that two or three new faces will arrive soon – although he feels it would be unwise to name names. “I am not in the business of upsetting other managers or players by indulging in a game of speculation and I don’t want to get the fans excited about transfers that might not happen,” he explained to the Manchester Evening News.

Conflicting Signals Over Haaland

Leeds claim they’ve received no City bid for Alf-Inge Haaland – and the player says he isn’t looking for a move away from the Yorkshire outfit. But the Manchester Evening News still says the Blues hope to complete a transfer for the Norwegian international in the coming week. Haaland told the official Leeds website at that he’s happy at Elland Road, leading some to dismiss Joe Royle’s hopes of making the ex-Forest player his first summer signing. But after filling only a bit-part rôle last term, he’s also said he wants to play in more games – an unlikely prospect if more signings follow Frenchman Olivier Dacourt into David O’Leary’s squad. A tabloid report has quoted Haaland as labelling City an attractive option if he does move, and it appears that the transfer is dependent on how keen Leeds are to retain the player’s services.

Three Defender Links Persist

Manchester City have been linked with a whole host of defenders this summer. And speculation surrounding three of the prospective targets has resurfaced in recent days – although moves for Liverpool’s Phil Babb and Bolton’s Mark Fish appear to have been ruled out. Fulham’s Chris Coleman has already said he’d be happy to stay at Craven Cottage, but interest from the Welshman’s former club Blackburn has prompted speculation that the Londoners would be prepared to do business at £3 million – and it’s said the challenge of Premiership football at Maine Road could appeal to the player. Sheffield Wednesday’s out-of-contract skipper Peter Atherton, who lives in Wigan, is being touted as a possible signing for either City or Everton, while the Blues, Southampton and French side St. Etienne are all said to be showing interest in Norwegian defender Bjorn-Otto Bragstad of Rosenborg.

All Quiet Over Eidur as Whelan Rumour Revives

Eidur Gudjohnsen was said in the middle of last week to be keen to move to Manchester City. But in the absence of any further news on the Bolton striker, an old striker link has resurfaced, with Coventry’s Noel Whelan again featuring in speculation. Whelan is out of contract next summer and the Sky Blues are set to sell the ex-Leeds man now rather than risk losing him on a Bosman free transfer next summer. Derby are said to be possible competition if Joe Royle does make a move. The Blues were first linked with Whelan in March, when Leicester and West Ham were also mentioned as possible buyers, and a fee of £2 million is now being mentioned.

Kanchelskis Staying at Ibrox

Andrei Kanchelskis was touted as a possible Manchester City summer signing before the Blues even reached the Premiership. But it now appears certain that the winger will be staying in Glasgow with Rangers. Kanchelskis still owns a house in the Manchester area and hinted strongly in a Russian newspaper that he’d like to move to Maine Road if City won promotion. But with Rangers said to be demanding a fee of £4 million for the 31-year-old, Joe Royle has opted to look elsewhere – although the player doesn’t sound unhappy at the prospect of remaining at Ibrox. “I would like to stay,” he commented. “I have been playing regularly in the first team and I am having a great time. It is up to the manager and the chairman.”

Midfield Rumours Continue Despite Denials

Joe Royle is said to want to reinforce his midfield as the Blues prepare for the Premiership. And there’s still speculation over three possible targets – even though interest in two of them has been played down in recent days. Some sources in East Anglia have claimed that, despite Ipswich’s promotion, Matt Holland could leave for Maine Road if the Bury-born star’s contract talks break down at Portman Road. Meanwhile, several newspapers are still mentioning Barnsley’s Craig Hignett as a possibility despite Royle’s denial of the story last week. The third rumour also sounds somewhat doubtful, with the Blues said to be competing with Middlesbrough and Inter Milan for the signature of Peruvian Roberto Palacios.

Another Royle Old Boy Rumoured

Sunday’s News of the World newspaper has named the three men it says will be the subject of a “sensational treble swoop” by Joe Royle. And the identity of one of the trio is something of a surprise. The paper reports that Royle is set to make a bid for Leeds utility man Alf-Inge Haaland – a story broken in Friday’s Manchester Evening News. More contentiously, the second man is said to be Andrei Kanchelskis, even though most sources believe that the fee demanded by Rangers for the winger is well beyond the City valuation. The final supposed target is Fenerbahce striker Daniel Amokachi. The Nigerian featured for Everton during Royle’s Goodison tenure.

Monday Latest – Two More Linked

It’s thought that Joe Royle may be looking to bolster his midfield ahead of City’s Premiership return. And as speculation continues as to potential transfer targets, a new name has been thrown into the frame. Aston Villa’s Mark Draper is the man in question, with the 29-year-old set to leave the FA Cup finalists after falling from favour and supposedly available for £2 million. The ex-Leicester player is also said to be interesting Everton and Southampton. Meanwhile, Newcastle striker Paul Robinson, linked with the Blues in March, has again been mentioned as a potential target for City, Charlton and Sheffield United.

Robins Weighing Up Allsopp Move?

Joe Royle has already hinted that he may be prepared to off-load a number of his fringe players this summer. And Wrexham may be hoping to take advantage, reportedly making Danny Allsopp their number one target. Allsopp scored four goals in three games for the Robins last season before his loan spell was curtailed by injury – and Racecourse boss Brian Flynn is keen to sign the young Australian on a permanent basis, although the Welshmen could have problems raising the rumoured £300,000 fee. In addition to transfer-listed duo Craig Russell and Gareth Taylor, Jamie Pollock, Lee Peacock, Nick Fenton and now Allsopp have been the focus of speculation over transfers away from Maine Road this summer.

Praise for Weaver as Under-21s Slide

Nicky Weaver was powerless to stop England under-21s exiting the European Championships last Thursday evening. But the City ‘keeper’s performances in the tournament were hailed by his former international boss. England lost 2-0 to host nation Slovakia last night and return home having lost two of their three games. But Peter Taylor, who coached the under-21s before losing his job last year, felt that no blame could be attached to Weaver. Speaking on Sky Sports, the Gillingham boss pinpointed the Sheffield-born star as one of three England players to enhance their reputations in England’s three games – along with West Ham midfielder Frank Lampard and Spurs defender Ledley King.

Blues in International Action

Four City players were in international action over the weekend. Friday evening saw Jeff Whitley skipper the Northern Ireland under-21s in their friendly at home to Wales. Shaun Homes also lined up for the hosts while Rhys Day played in defence for the visitors in the 2-2 draw. Meanwhile, Mark Kennedy played for Ireland in Chicago against Mexico in a match which also finished 2-2.

City Looking for New Training Base

Manchester City are set to move first-team training away from the club’s Platt Lane complex. And the club is in negotiations with the City Council and a third party over a prospective new site on the outskirts of Manchester. With around 70 players often reporting to Platt Lane at once, the Blues have found the two pitches at the complex an inadequate number. “It is a fact that as regards pitch facilities we are in the dark ages compared with other Premiership and some other First Division clubs,” explained Joe Royle. “It is great being here in the community and so close to the ground but like I said we do have a chronic shortage of pitches which cannot be satisfied.” The City Academy will continue to be based at Platt Lane and the administaration offices will also stay.

Club Confirms Extra Seat Maximum

Manchester City had hoped to install more temporary seats at Maine Road next season. But the Blues have admitted that they can add only a minimal number of extra places. The club had wanted to add at least 2,000 additional seats after being inundated by applications for season tickets. But after consulting extensively with stadium design experts, City officials have recognised the plans are impracticable. “We can only find room for an extra 500 fans a game,” admitted director Chris Bird. “That’s only scratching the surface.”

Sporting Life: Bet on City for the Drop

Bookmakers William Hill and Surrey Racing both expect Manchester City to avoid relegation next term. But the Sporting Life website is advising punters to take advantage of Hills’ “juicy looking” 2/1 price on the Blues returning to Division One. Joe Royle’s men are also quoted at 7/4 by Surrey and both bookmakers rate City as more likely to survive than Bradford, Ipswich, Charlton and Derby, with Surrey also placing the Blues ahead of Southampton. The Sporting Life website, however, begs to differ. “With many impartial observers scratching their heads at how an average City side secured their second successive promotion,” writes their expert, Phil Aigus of the Racing Post, “the Blues are somehow now rated more likely than their fellow promotees to hold on to their place.” Aigus’ full assessment of the runners and riders in next season’s Premiership relegation battle can be found at

Consumer Guide Praises Official City Site

Manchester City’s official website has been named in the country’s five best football sites for selling merchandise the Internet. The accolade comes after a survey by Which Online. Sites were rated on the basis of the service offered, taking account of factors such as download time, layout, navigation and the speed and quality of response. The Blues would also point out that while other outlets may offer merchandise at lower prices, goods sold by the official City site bring more cash directly into club coffers.

Royle in South American Fact-Finding Trip

Joe Royle is keen to expand the horizons of Manchester City’s scouting network. And the Blues’ boss is set to cast his net beyond Europe when he visits South America later this month. Royle knows that to make his club a Premiership force, he’ll have to bring top players to Maine Road – wherever in the world they come from. And the City manager believes that tapping into a rich seam of South American talent could be crucial. However, the Blues are unlikely to be making imminent signings of players from Brazil or Argentina – Royle says his initial visit is merely on a fact-finding basis.

Lowry City Painting to Fetch £250,000?

LS Lowry was a big Manchester City fan. And a painting by the Salford artist featuring his beloved Blues could be sold for £250,000 or more. Lowry’s ‘Manchester City vs. Sheffield United’, featuring a crowd scene from the Blues’ 3-2 home win over the Blades in October 1938, goes under the hammer at Sothebys on 19 June. The work is expected to sell for a big price – but is unlikely to eclipse the record for a Lowry, the £1,926,500 paid by the PFA for another football crowd scene.

Peter Brophy (


Nicky won!

Peter Hallsworth (


Tickets for the City vs. Drogheda game on July 22nd are £15 seated and £10 for terraces. They’re going fully on sale in a couple of weeks, but you can ring Drogheda now to reserve them by banker’s draft. And Mark Kennedy was cr*p for Ireland again against Mexico. At least he has the pride to turn up for his country though, unlike Keane, Kinsella et al, who seem to pick up injuries only for friendlies…

Paul Carey (


Come on you Blues and get voting for our goalkeeper of the year. Weaver and Wright are “Neck and Neck”. Follow the link below and get voting now!

Howard Burr, Reddish Branch CSA (


Well, time for a bit of Statto practice.

JR reckons the current squad with a few additions will do well in the Prem, whereas most pundits and the bookies have us as strugglers. These people aren’t mugs, but neither is Joe, so is the explanation that Joe knows more about his players than many of these others experts do. So, what do we supporters know that these other experts don’t?

Well for a start, there is the make up of our defence over the last season. How many of us, while appreciating Wiekens and Jobbo together were praying to any god that would listen for the return of Andy. Then along comes Spencer, and we never lost again.

Let’s take a Statto look at our defence. There were three phases to the season; Andy played 12 games in the first half of the season, and Spencer played for the last nine games, and in the middle 25 games were played with neither. So, the record goes (hope the columns come out):

        P       W       D       L       F       A       Pts
Andy    12      8       2       2       18      6       26
Spencer 9       7       2       0       20      5       21
Either  21      15      4       2       38      11      47
Neither 25      11      7       7       40      29      42

If we take it on a per game average:

                Goals           Goals           Point
                For             Against
Andy            1.50            0.50            2.17
Spencer         2.22            0.55            2.33
Neither         1.60            1.16            1.68

Notice the dramatic rise in the goals per game let in and the consequential dip in points per game won when we didn’t have a commanding figure in the middle. From a really stingy goal every two games up to well over a goal a game. And this is no insignificant sample, 21 games between them is over 45% of the season.

If we fancifully extrapolate to Andy playing 23 games, and then Spencer playing the other 23, City would have had a record of:

P       For     Against         Pts     (Goal Diff)
46      86      24              103     (+62)

If anything like that had happened, the pundits would have been marking our odds for a Euro place rather than relegation.

Now just let us think over the summer of what may happen if these two ever play together next year, or will Joe sign someone even better?

Just one last point. Many people say Andy will suffer for pace in the Prem. Casting my mind back 12 months, I seem to remember some amateur pundits saying Division 2 was his natural level and he would be exposed in the 1st (well 0.5 goals per game puts the record pretty straight there).

Think of all the top level central defenders in the country over recent years. Adams, Bould, Keown, Bruce, Pallister et al (like em or loathe em) all got better with age when in theory and in practice, their natural speed reduced. Not just for England, Desailly, Leboeuf are both well past 30, and at what age did Franco Baresi become a bad defender? So much central defending comes down to reading the game, positioning and general all round experience.

Maybe I’m just drunk with pleasure from getting back to the Prem, but I can’t help but be very optimistic about next term. Just wish I knew who JR had in mind to add to the squad.

Martin J Beckett (


Well we had a very successful night on Friday night. Despite our guests of honour Chris Bird and Dennis Tueart being double booked by some administrative cock up in Manchester. As you will know from MCIVTA the club have just signed up a nursery deal with schoolboy club Cherry Orchard (they play in red and black stripes as well) and they had a function on the same night. Some genius at the club decided the boys could attend both functions. As a consequence Dennis and Chris could only be present for around an hour; however, in that time they took the trouble to sign autographs, pose for photos and generally talk to everyone who wanted to. After a quick presentation of a silver salver to the branch to commemorate the twenty five years, a video of last season and a booklet giving press cuttings of last season, they departed for Ballyfermot and the Orchard do. Dennis mentioned in his speech how he had joined the club in 1974 so drawing a parallel with the branch for association with the Football Club. Despite the loss of our guests of honour, the other 160 or so present went on to demolish the meal and also to have a whale of a time with plenty of liquid refreshment to help the party along. Just like to say thanks to those that made it from the OSC in Manchester (twelve people I believe led by Frank Horrocks), the fans from Manchester, London and Wicklow branches all of whom took a full part in the festivities and a celebration of all things Blue. Thanks also to DJ Ray who despite being a Rag played “the boys in Blue” on numerous occasions and used it to wind up the evening. For those of you who wish to see some photos of the occasion tune in to Mark McCarthy’s website True Blue green style at as Madmcc as he is known had promised to post some pictures to it.

Bartley Ramsay (


During an attack of severe reminiscence I felt the urge to relate my story of a home matchday in the now distant past. It might have something to do with my age and my long residential absence from my cultural and spiritual ‘roots’ that I am wont to recall, often, our City related episodes. My ‘Why Blue’ has long since been filed with McVittee so I hoped, in an alternative manner, to jolt the memories of other South Manchester Blues from the time of the heady days of the late ‘Sixties’.

Initially, our little group composed of Malcolm Flitcroft, Eddie Pannett, Arnie Bradley and myself, would meet at an appointed spot on the then open ‘Scoreboard End’ where we were often on the fringe of clashes with other cultures. When things started getting a bit silly we removed to the safety of the Kippax. The match we were attending has long since vanished into the statistics. I believe that it was in the Kippax that Malc. came up with what for us was a ‘bonanza’ in the form of ‘so many correct’ half-time results on the back of his programme. We were going to hit the town in a big way that coming evening! As fresh school-leavers we had limited means but for one night at least we were flush.

We kicked off in Levenshulme in a little pub close to the railway arch and station and quickly decided that our little bellies couldn’t cope with the volumes demanded by pints, so after a mere pint we moved southwards over Stockport Road in the direction of our regular haunt: ‘Browns’ dancehall or as it was affectionately known amongst us as the ‘Co-op’. First however, a stop at another pub on the other side of Stockport Road and no time-wasting, double whiskeys because singles looked too tiny to be of any use. Time was pressing and we had to get to the ‘Co-op’.

A little bit sweaty and warm faced we reached Browns and dived into the bar, which was generally, unknown terrain for us. Another swift double and I remember thinking ‘time to sit down a while’. Don’t ask me how I looked or acted at this juncture, but Big Marie, a regular at the ‘Co-op’ with a gorgeous face and a heart of gold was mildly amused and concerned at my countenance. Whatever, I only realised there may be suddenly some cause for concern when I found myself staring at a full frontal uninterrupted view of the ceiling which Marie’s face occasionally blotted out while enquiring if I was alright?

Without much ado, Marie, aided by her pal, decided to get me away from any further mischief and aboard a bus in the direction of Northenden. So there we were, the three of us in the fresh, cold night air. I was unevenly supported on my left by the ample Marie and on the right by her demure mate. We reached the bus stop once again under the station arch and the 168/170 duly sped me over the potholes and bends of Burnage Lane and Fog Lane towards Didsbury. I swear that it was the unholy combination of drink, rotten infrastructure, the old type Manchester Corp. bus with the open rear step and my unfortunate choice of seat, yes, top-deck above the rear axle, that conspired to ‘do me in’. During the final leg of that bus journey along Fog Lane I had been vaguely aware of the few occupants of the top deck vacating their seats and sprinting past me and down the stairs as my internals revolted, resulting in multiple technicolour yawns. I was also aware of a visit by the conductor; he’d waited for the rush to subside before climbing the stairs to see what was going on, only to retreat even faster with a remark like “God pal, you’ve had a skinful” or something to that effect.

Having arrived at the terminus, at Palatine Road, I carefully disembarked. Our conductor seemed reassured that I was in possession of my wits and had a plan to sit on a bench on the opposite side of the road before recommencing my trek to Northenden. I rather think he was pleased that I couldn’t do any more damage to his bus. At that hour it was an easy feat to negotiate the crossing of the road to the bench in front of the bank. I may have only been seated for a few minutes before I felt confident enough to continue my journey, and I felt that my stomach would now cease its protestations at the battering I’d given it and relish a more serene amble along Palatine Road. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Having again crossed the road and over the old bridge it dawned on me to wash my face in order to freshen up, such is the logic when you’re ‘three sheets to the wind’ and it’s p***ing down heavens hard to boot. I’d realised that that rather dubious, if not sinister looking public bog was just round the corner. I duly washed my already wet face and proceeded to wend my merry way to Northenden. Anybody familiar with the geography of that part of Didsbury will gasp in wonder at such a drastic change in outlook within a few short paces. I’d barely left the bog, passed the entrance to the tennis club and prior to passing the first gate of those old Victorian houses I found it again necessary to retch, this time over a garden wall.

The top half of my body (including my head) hung suspended over the garden side of the wall. The lower half (including loosely hanging hands and feet) hung over the pavement. It was in this situation that the lost soul was discovered by two good Samaritans. I can only imagine the ramblings of this silly, spotty pubescent going something like:

“I’m a lost soul and nobody loves me.”
A male voice: “That’s not true”,
followed by a female voice: “God loves you… God loves everybody.”
My limp arms were grasped and I was hauled back from the huge precipice of that lawn within millimetres literally of my nose. Even in my stupor I was a bit unnerved and sceptical upon hearing the man’s voice but reassured when hearing that girl’s angelic tones. I was again guided through the night by helping hands, this time to the entrance of one of those stately former Victorian mansions converted to student bedsits. Upon climbing the steps I really don’t recall negotiating any flights of stairs. Once in their room their only enquiry was to ‘how I felt’ at that moment and I believe my green face didn’t have to utter a single word. I was led to a huge sink in the corner of the room. There I finally rejected the remnants of whatever had been in my stomach. After discarding my shoes I was led to the only bed in the room and having been covered with a blanket, fell into a deep and fitful sleep.

I awoke around six to the murmur of voices to discover the girl and it transpired her female flatmate, huddled in discussion in front of a blazing fire. My guts were crying out in hunger and when asked if I fancied something to eat, I was presented with and duly wolfed down a plate of beans on toast. Having been replenished I took part in a discussion on the merits, or lack of them, of the Heath government, religion and I don’t know what else! If I’d have predicted that City would become Champions, Cup winners and achieve European success I might have been seen as a complete basket case. Who in their right mind could have predicted that?

My ‘night’ finished with a reassurance that if I ever ‘wanted to talk’ then I now knew where to find them and was always welcome. So close to an impressionable young man’s dream of young women, students and nurses with their own pad. Do you think I could ever find that old house again? Do you think I’d had the presence of mind to note their names, flat number, address etc.? Not on your life. In the cold light of a new dawn, after only a few paces along Palatine Road, the dreadful realisation hit me that I didn’t know which of those houses was home to my fleeting friends. Is there a moral to the story? Not really! The story only demonstrates that being a City fan has always been a perilous activity sprinkled with silver linings.

Met vriendelijke groeten, Dave Lyons (Dave.D.


I can’t actually remember the musical act at City’s first Sky game but Baker Street was done by “Undercover” not “Underworld” so there is no connection with Born Slippy (which is a shame in my opinion).

Undercover went on to have another hit with a cover of Andrew Gold’s “Never let her slip away”

Boring but true.

Jim Simmons (


The band in question was Undercover, not Underworld. They did poor covers of decent records including “Baker Street” (anyone heard the myth that Bob Holness played sax on the original?) and “Never let her slip away”.

Tom Willis (psc8taw@WEST-01.NOVELL.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Sarah Hawley (


In a nerdish pursuit of accuracy I have checked out the band’s name for the first Monday night game on Sky. It was in fact ‘Undercover’ and not ‘Underworld’; still the statement holds true that they were indeed up their own ar*es. Here’s what Gerry Raff said about their version of his classic which hit No. 3 over here: “…this flat thing with this non voice and no dynamics.” I think he must have liked it loads, not!

All the comments I have seen regarding the theme tune by Simple Minds ‘Alive & Kicking’ and why it was used for the opening title sequence on Sky has got me thinking. Perhaps it’s the opening line of ‘You turn me on, you lift me up…’ as an allegory to a football fan’s devotion. The chorus of ‘Oooooh oh alive & kicking’ must be a simpleton’s reasoning to what happens on the pitch. The players are alive and they are kicking. On the other hand it could be that whoever made the decision just really liked the song, after all Simple Minds were once bigger than U2, hard to believe isn’t it?

Anyway, does anyone remember who scored for City that night?

CTID, Dave Blyth (


I was hoping that someone would have sorted out the query about City’s first match on Sky and got the name of the band right before now. The whole issue is a bit Statto-esque, and therefore something that I wouldn’t normally get involved with, but the amount of people getting it wrong has forced me to write in.

I was there, stood on the Kippax ogling the Sky Strikers (the cheerleaders), and then listening to ‘Baker St.’ sung by ‘Undercover‘! not ‘Underworld’ of ‘Born Slippy’, ‘Rez’, ‘King of Snake’ and ‘Jumbo’ fame. Incidentally (sad, lonely statto bit coming up…), ‘Undercover’ were so called because their album was an album of cover versions. Please let this be the end of the ‘debate’, and can we get back to people reporting sightings of Juan Sebastian Veron, Redondo or even Luis Amore Rodrigez around Maine Road?

Nice one, CTID, Keith Pryce (


Whiling away time in the corner of some dreary clothes shop in Nottingham on Saturday, I chanced upon a copy of Rock City’s magazine. As it contained a review of the recent Primal Scream gig I went to, I picked it up. And who was mentioned as a frequent visitor to the god-like venue? None other than our own Spencer Prior. Apparently he made quite a name for himself as a launching pad for crowd surfers at last year’s Offspring (oh God) show.

On the subject of Blues in the media, the NME reliably reported a few weeks back that a member current Manc indie darlings, Doves, took a nasty blow to the head in the infamous Battle of Barnsley.

Still on the subject, we get a few mentions in Dave Haslam’s superb book Manchester, England. It’s a history of music in the City. Would actually be worth reading even without the City references. And there’s not many books you can say that about, are there?

Finally, it was sad covers band Undercover that mimed so uninspiringly to Baker Street at the City-QPR game, all those years ago. It was their current single and they weren’t even the Third Toughest in the Infants from what I remember. And I doubt if Baker Street was a greyhound? As Baloo once said “Get with the beat Baggie” (or is that Baghie?). For the record, we did get the Shamen doing Ebeneezer Goode at the away game at Arsenal a few weeks later.

Andy Noise (


The AGM will take place next week on Monday June 12th, at 8:30pm, at The Lion, Reading.

Visit website at for details of how to get there if you are interested in joining.

Paul Stevenson (


I thought we’d finally got the definitive Kennedy chant – it’s been around since at least Crewe away but got a good airing at Blackburn: it’s simply “Super Mark Kennedy” to the opera tune “La Donna e mobile”.

Steve Parish (


I was at the Ireland-Scotland match last week and haven’t had the chance to talk about it yet. I was at the match with my mates who are all Spurs and Arsenal fans, and all of them thought Kennedy was terrible. I gave him the benefit of the doubt after having a very long season (compared to his usual handful of matches every 9 months). Also, the Irish forwards were rubbish. But, it just struck me as a Kennedy performance of 18 months ago when he was the worst player I’ve ever seen play for Ireland. Here’s hoping he proves my mates wrong next season!

I was out on the beer on Wednesday night, and Kennedy and the rest of the Irish (drinking) squad were there too. I didn’t talk to Kennedy much, basically ’cause he doesn’t seem like an approachable type of guy (or so I was told by others there). I had a good chat with Dean Kiely. Gave him my opinion on Charlton’s dismal run-in; naturally he explained that they didn’t care at that stage ’cause they had already won the league. And then I had the argument about Charlton doing the same thing when they got relegated (i.e. bottling it). He ignored that. I also got his opinion on the Charlton team; obviously he thinks they’ll do well, but he did mention (specific) problem areas. Which I won’t repeat for fear that he’ll hunt me down! He was pretty complimentary about City when I asked him, thinks we’ll do alright.

That’s all, it sounded much more interesting when it happened than it does on paper!

Paul Carey (


I thought the readers might be interested in a conversation I had with Dennis Tueart last night. I am visiting Cheadle Heath on business and the hotel I am staying in has a leisure suite which Dennis uses after work at the Academy. He is very approachable and allowed me to vent my views (something which must happen an awful lot to him). I of course told him that we are all extremely proud of the club and the way in which it is being run. I asked him about the lad from Bolton (can’t spell his name) and if we were serious about getting him. He said that yes we were interested but that it could be a risk, considering that he has only played in the 1st Division. He added that the management team and the board consider very carefully any player in the frame (so to speak). His general view was that we would like to have him but not at any cost! Dennis is a really top bloke, who was already in my top 5 City players of all time and has now been elevated to the top 3.

Hugh Doyle (


Just thought I’d throw my comments into the ring regarding red and black shirts. I’m not sure of the age of RN Springthorpe but I’m not too sure if he knows our history and heritage. The red and black shirts from memory were first used in the late 60’s; we had great success (including Europe!) in this kit and it has become a firm favorite with many fans down the years (remember the yellow away kit once!). I honestly don’t think the scum have anything to do with it and I think I’m correct in saying they actually played in a blue away kit (one of many) last season. The red and black stripes are in our history, our tradition and one of the few away strips these days that is instantly recognizable. Red and black is City, has been for the best part of half-a-century and long may it continue.

Ray Bardsley (


In reply to RN Springthorpe and at the risk of becoming a Steve Parish style party pooper, I feel obliged to point out that roughly ten years ago the Rags took to wearing an away shirt which by virtue of a blue and white speckled effect created the illusion that they were in fact playing in light blue! Moreover, I believe that this was the biggest selling shirt they’d ever had until that point…

Whilst I do not agree with RN Springthorpe’s iconoclastic views re. the red and black shirts, I’m sure we’d all agree with his view that we are the Blues, but even Manchester City need an away kit and red and black is the most obvious colour scheme given that it wouldn’t necessitate a third kit at all – other than games against Palace or Inter Milan perhaps!? Obviously, this scenario is out of step with today’s penchant for potential marketing opportunities at every hand’s turn and is, therefore, unlikely.

However, given that RN Springthorpe isn’t keen on the red and black shirts, perhaps he would like to suggest an alternative?

Noel Bayley (


Anyone in San Antonio know where the Portugal vs. England game may be shown? Am over for a few days on work and would be keen to meet up for a few bevvies to watch the game.

Stewart Huxtable (


I hope no-one is offended by the religious angle, a good joke nevertheless (if it’s any consolation my granny is of Indian extraction).

One day a Jew, a Hindu, and a Man United fan all arrived at their hotel to find that there had been a mix-up with the bookings, and that there was only one room left for them to share. The manager explained that this room only had two beds, but that there was a barn at a neighbouring farm which the farmer, an old friend of his, would let one of them sleep in free of charge. They complained a bit, but since there was nowhere else to go, the Jew graciously said he’d sleep in the barn. The Hindu and the United fan were just settling down to sleep in their room, when there was a knock on the door. It was the Jew. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but there’s a pig in that barn and because I’m Jewish I feel uncomfortable about sharing the barn with it.”

“No problem,” said the Hindu. “I’ll sleep out there instead.” So off he went to the barn, leaving the United fan and the Jew to share the room. They were just settling down to sleep, when there was a knock on the door. It was the Hindu. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but there’s a cow in that barn and because I’m a Hindu I feel uncomfortable about sharing the barn with it.”

The United fan grudgingly agreed to give up his bed and stomped off to the barn, leaving the Jew and the Hindu to share the room. The Jew and the Hindu were just settling down to sleep, when there was a knock on the door. It was the cow and the pig.

Stuart Tildsley (
Jon Reese (


Simply print out the list of things to watch out for during coverage of the tournament and award yourself points as soon as they happen.

  1. Shot of field of tulips waving in front of windmill (12 points)
  2. Shot of Norwegian fan wearing Viking helmet (8 points)
  3. Shot of attractive blonde Swedish female fan (4 points)
  4. Ruud Gullit struggling to say something nice about Alan Shearer, who has just scored a hat-trick (37 points)
  5. BBC “surprise guest” Jimmy Hill stumbles into studio wearing novelty bow tie (4 points)
  6. Shot of Mannekin Pis, the Brussels statue of little boy having a wee (9 points)
  7. As above, but with corny voiceover hoping “England don’t get caught short tonight” (16 points)
  8. Mention of little Dutch boy who put his finger in the dyke (10 points)
  9. As above, but accompanied by crude laughter from Ally McCoist (20 points)
  10. Studio discussion of “famous Belgians” throws up the names of Hercule Poirot and Plastic Bertrand (18 points)
  11. Commentator praises David Beckham “who’s matured a lot in the last two years” (7 points)
  12. Beckham lashes out at opponent following innocuous challenge (12 points)
  13. “Diabolical defending” – A Hansen (3 points)
  14. “Ooh, look at the muck in here” – M Lawrenson (12 points)
  15. Gabby Yorath makes stupid blunder (6 points)
  16. Gabby Yorath fails to make stupid blunder (28 points)
  17. “People say I’m boring, but the lads know I’m a real joker” – A Shearer (3 points)
  18. German player with mullet (10 points)
  19. Czech/Slovenian/Yugoslavian player with mullet (1 point)
  20. Bob Wilson hosting very, very, very late at night highlights show (14 points)
  21. “I can’t quite put my finger on where we went wrong” – K Keegan (7 points)
  22. Dennis Wise promises to keep his cool and not let anyone down (3 points)
  23. Wise dismissed for reckless lunge at mascot “Benelucky”, who had been “looking at me funny” (19 points)
  24. “Hey, tell you what. Someone says there’s a game of football on today. Shall we watch it together?” – D Lynam, intro to England vs. Germany match (8 points)
  25. England vs. Germany commentator urging us to “relax, this is a group game, so it can’t go to penalties” (12 points)
  26. On morning of England-Germany game, Alan Ball prattles on in the tabloids about 1966, Sir Alf, Dunkirk spirit, etc. (6 points)
  27. Sir Geoff Hurst points out that the ball definitely crossed the line because a poacher like Roger Hunt would definitely have followed up if it hadn’t (1 point)
  28. Peter Schmeichel shouting at Danish defenders (2 points)
  29. Clive Tyldesley mentions Manchester United 17 times during first half of game between Belgium and Turkey (13 points)
  30. After a chair is broken by England fans in an Eindhoven bar, The Daily Mail calls for the immediate banning of all football immediately (4 points)
  31. “They should birch these hooligans, it’s the only language they understand” – R Littlejohn (2 points)
  32. Shot of David Baddiel in stands looking smug as crowd sing ‘Three Lions’ (6 points)
  33. Shot of Prince Charles in stands looking uncomfortable at having to watch this soccer lark (3 points)
  34. Amanda Holden / Nicole Appleton out of All Saints / Sara Cox ligging at England vs. Germany match and pretending they’ve “always been into footy” (23 points)
  35. Posh Spice in stands looking adoringly at D Beckham (5 points)
  36. Posh Spice in stands eating pie (55 points)
  37. Jolly England fans celebrate thrilling 3-2 victory against Portugal by singing meaningless song about the IRA (1 point)
  38. Archive shot of Graham Taylor saying “Do I not like that” (3 points)
  39. Archive shot of Stuart Pearce scoring his penalty and making “that face” (4 points)
  40. “This has got to be the worst game of football I’ve ever seen” – A Green, Radio Five Live (2 points)
  41. Zinedine Zidane referred to as “ZZ Top” (3 points)
  42. Zinedine Zidane referred to as “ZZ Thinning-On-Top” (6 points)
  43. “And on the ball now is (insert name of any player from other 15 countries here) who has, of course, been linked with a move to Chelsea” (7 points)
  44. Frank Leboeuf points out that he has a World Cup winners’ medal (13 points)
  45. Tabloids refer to England’s first opponents as “the Portuguese men of war” (9 points)
  46. Tabloids explain how David Seaman (36), Tony Adams (33), Martin Keown (33) and Paul Ince (33) will demolish an ageing German outfit whose best days are behind them (7 points)
  47. Serious newsman attempting to deliver insert about potential hooliganism at tonight’s match with drunken fans waving to camera behind him (11 points)
  48. As above, but with harassed newsman telling yobs to “clear off” (22 points)
  49. Kevin Phillips mentions that he used to work in a warehouse (14 points)
  50. Alan Shearer just happens to let it slip that he is “just a sheet metal worker’s son from Newcastle” (25 points)
  51. England go out of tournament on penalties (99 points)
  52. England win on penalties – 5,000 points (add another 100,000 if Gareth Southgate is one of the England scorers)

(Origin unknown. Received by e-mail)

Cathal Whelehan (


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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 #612