Newsletter #619

City are being heavily linked with Bolton Wanderer’s South African defender Mark Fish. The deal is being touted as a cash plus player exchange, with Sam Allardyce already making encouraging noises about Jamie Pollock. There’s also news of a 1,500 increase in seating at Maine Road, though GMR were reporting the increase as totalling 35,000, which is a good deal more than 1,500!

This issue has a squad update (please mail Stuart if you have any further changes to this); the explanation of the “Tony the Tramp” song; some advice on City tattoos; and some well-reasoned and thought-provoking, but potentially unpopular views on the current Munich/Man United hatred discussion.

Could I appeal to anyone who’d care to tell us about how they came to support City, their salient memories etc, to write them down and email them to me in the form of a Why Blue.

Next game: Saturday 22nd July 2000, Linfield away


If you’re after all the gossip, news and views from Euro2000 as well your chance to have your say on the discussion board, then Eurofinals365 is definitely the place to be. Not quite as good as being there, but a pretty close second!

Eurofinals365 –


“Imminent” Defender Signing Reported

City are said to be close to adding a second summer recruit to the signing of Alf-Inge Haaland. And there’s been plenty of speculation over the identity of the man in question. The Blues have been repeatedly linked with Fulham’s Chris Coleman, and Sunderland’s Paul Butler, a City fan, has been strongly touted as a likely target. Meanwhile a swap deal involving Mark Fish and Jamie Pollock continues to be mentioned in the press. A proposed move for Fish to Charlton was thought to have broken down last week, although some reports this week have claimed the deal may be revived. However, the Wanderers have admitted an interest in Pollock, leading to speculation that an offer of £1.25 million plus the midfielder could see the South African move to Maine Road.

Striker Links Feature Old and New Names

Talk of a £4 million Manchester City bid for Leeds’ Alan Smith is still persisting. The Yorkshire club should complete the big-money move of Celtic’s Mark Viduka at the weekend, meaning that Smith could be surplus to requirements at Elland Road. And with Joe Royle thought to be a big admirer of the player, who scored against City in the FA Cup in January, local radio sources were even asserting that the Blues may have made a bid for the 19-year-old. Royle has also been linked with transfer-seeking Aston Villa forward Julian Joachim, although reports claim that Villa boss John Gregory is looking for a highly improbable £6 million for the ex-Leicester man. Meanwhile, Coventry’s Noel Whelan is rumoured to be a target for City, Ipswich and Charlton, with the ex-Leeds player said to favour a move to Maine Road. Finally, reports that City have made an approach for Stoke’s Manchester-born striker Peter Thorne have been denied by the Potteries club.

Wrexham Still Linked With Allsopp

Danny Allsopp scored four goals in three games on loan at Wrexham last season. And the Welsh club are reportedly hoping that the City striker will return in the new campaign. Joe Royle had agreed to sell Allsopp to Gillingham for £300,000 last November but the Australian rejected the move. But although Wrexham boss Brian Flynn has admitted he’d be keen to take the player to the Racecourse on a permanent basis, it’s thought that the Robins would find difficulty in raising the transfer fee – even if Royle would still be prepared to offload the 21-year-old. One possibility is that Allsopp will begin the season with another temporary stint at the Second Division outfit.

Taylor Interesting Dutch Clubs

Gareth Taylor has already faced up to the fact that his spell at Maine Road will end soon. And the transfer-listed City striker could head for Holland to rebuild his career. Taylor turned down a move to Fortuna Sittard last season, but Vitesse Arnhem and Utrecht are now said to be interested – along with QPR, where the ex-Sheffield United man had a loan spell in March and April. But the player’s agent doesn’t expect an imminent move, and he’s likely to be training with the rest of the City squad on 10 July. “I don’t see anything happening too quickly though and he will report back for pre-season with City,” commented Rachel Anderson.

Bishop Agrees New Deal

Ian Bishop has confirmed he’ll be staying at Maine Road for another year. The City midfielder was out of contract this summer but has decided to accept the new deal offered by the Blues. The former West Ham player had originally been hoping to sign for two years, but is delighted to be remaining with the club for next season’s Premiership challenge. “I’ll be quite happy to end my playing days with City,” he told the official club website at “I love the place and that is why I came back.”

No Imminent Move for Russell

Reports last week indicated that Craig Russell could be poised for a move to St. Johnstone. But the Scottish club have denied any intention to sign the former Sunderland player permanently at this stage. Russell moved to McDiarmid Park on loan last season and scored on his début at Motherwell. But an injury suffered in the same game prevented the striker from playing for the club again, and the Saints aren’t prepared to commit to a long-term deal on the basis of one appearance. However, the Perth-based club has made an approach to the Blues to take the player on trial during pre-season training, and City are currently discussing the move with Russell. “We would certainly like to see a bit more of the lad than his 45 minutes at Fir Park,” confirmed Saints’ chairman Geoff Brown.

Tiatto Features in Aussie Win

Danny Tiatto can finally enjoy a close-season break. The Australian helped his national side to a 2-0 win over New Zealand in the Oceania Cup final in Tahiti, and will now rest until he reports back for training on 24 July – two weeks after the rest of the squad. Tiatto was booked against the Kiwis but also created his team’s second goal for Craig Foster. The tournament also saw a first taste of international football for Chris Killen, who scored a brace against Vanuatu in his first full game for New Zealand after a substitute appearance against Tahiti.

Royle Hails Squad Togetherness

Team spirit has been a crucial factor in the recent resurgence of Manchester City. And Joe Royle believes that the lack of prima donnas in the squad has been instrumental in the team’s success. Royle denies that outstanding players inevitably bring with them ego problems – and cites Chelsea’s Gianfranco Zola as a perfect example. And the City boss believes his own players have both the ability and attitude to continue the club’s progress. “We have players here who love playing their football and they have to otherwise they wouldn’t be here,” he told the official club website at “Because of the way we train and the demands we make on them, then if they are not enjoying it there is no point in continuing.”

City to Raise Maine Road Capacity

City have announced that the capacity of Maine Road will be increased by a further 1,500 for the start of the new campaign. The Blues will replace the scoreboard between the Kippax and the Platt Lane Stands with more seats, and will also accommodate more fans between the Family Stand and the Platt Lane Stand. Stadium design experts identified the areas as the only parts of the ground where the capacity could be increased without major rebuilding work, although some of the seats will have restricted views and be priced accordingly. Director Chris Bird confirmed that the no additional season tickets will be available in the new seated areas, but told the Manchester Evening News he was delighted the club would be able to accommodate extra fans. “We have been overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to come and see the team at home and felt this was one way of easing what is a very nice problem,” he explained.

Club Close to Training Ground Deal

Manchester City are on the verge of finalising an agreement to buy land in Carrington for a new first-team training complex. Ironically, the site is close to the recently completed purpose-built training ground of local rivals United. A lack of space at Platt Lane has forced the Blues to look for a new training headquarters for the first team – but the club will still house its youth academy at the existing site. “We don’t want to move lock, stock and barrel from Platt Lane,” confirmed Chris Bird. “We will always have a base there but there are simply not enough pitches to accommodate a growing academy, the first team and the reserves.”

Four Sky Screenings Announced

BSkyB have announced their list of Premiership matches to be screened live up to the end of December. And City will be featured on four occasions. As expected, the first Manchester derby since April 1996 will be covered, but the original date of Saturday, 18 November remains unchanged – although there will be an 11.30 am kick-off. The other City matches to be featured are the home game against Middlesbrough, which will now take place on Sunday, 17 September and the visits to Southampton and Chelsea, which have been moved to Monday, 23 October and Sunday, 3 December respectively.

City to Build Eastlands Museum

Manchester City have announced that the club’s new stadium at Eastlands will incorporate a Visitor Centre which will pay homage to the club’s heritage. And programme collector Phil Noble has been given the job of seeking out memorabilia to complement the interactive features proposed for the museum. Before the stadium move the club will host annual memorabilia exhibitions and open days, with the first planned for October 6-8 this year. “As a football club we are committed to moving forward but also to keeping alive past achievements and celebrating them in an appropriate manner,” director Chris Bird told the official club website at

Irish Friendly Ticket Details

A large contingent of City fans are set to travel to the club’s two pre-season games in Ireland in July. And Drogheda United, whom the Blues face on Monday, 24 July, have provided ticket and accommodation details to the official City website at City fans wishing to attend the game can obtain tickets from the Drogehda United FC Offices, Windmill Road, Drogheda, County Louth or by telephoning Maureen on 00 353 41 – 98 301 90. The ticket office is open between 10am and 1pm every day Monday to Friday. Meanwhile, Blues looking for a place to stay are recommended to go to the website at and search for accommodation in counties Louth or Meath.

Peter Brophy (


Many of you will have heard about the above Internet guide, put together by long-time interneter and Crystal Palace fan Shaggy (Simon Gleave). Simon has written to me asking me if I know someone who would be willing to write the City contribution for this site. He has some guidelines for doing this so that it is consistent with the other clubs’ contributions. All that is needed is a little time, some knowledge of MCFC, and a willingness to write about MCFC for other fans, predominantly non-City fans.

If you fancy volunteering to help Shaggy out, then please contact him directly at the address below:

Simon Gleave (


Latest Changes:

Alf Inge Haaland signed from Leeds for £2.5 million.
Fenton, Cooke, Russell and Gareth Taylor back from loans.
Cooke off transfer list.
Lee Mills returned to Bradford.

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Steven Hodgson
Richard McKinney
Gerard Wiekens
Spencer Prior
Richard Edghill
Lee Crooks
Nick Fenton
Danny Granville
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Andy Morrison
Shaun Holmes                Transfer Listed
Kevin Horlock
Jamie Pollock
Mark Kennedy
Gary Mason
Jim Whitley
Ian Bishop
David Laycock
Terry Dunfield
Christopher Shuker
Terry Cooke
Jeff Whitley
Tony Grant (Tony Tramp Tramp Tramp!)
Alf Inge Haaland
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Danny Allsopp
Gareth Taylor               Transfer Listed
Shaun Wright-Philips
Leon Mike
Christopher Killen
Bob Taylor
Lee Peacock
Craig Russell               Transfer Listed

Last year’s U19 still at club, not sure if on pro contract

Greg Duff (defender)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)
Andrew Pavey (midfield)
Stephen Parkhouse (striker)

Last year’s U17 still at club

Stephen Jordan (defender)
Rhys Day (defender)
Gary Furnival
Barry Hogan
Dixon Etuhu

This year’s U-17’s

Tyrone Mears
Paddy McCarthy
Steven Paisley
Damian Joyce
Glenn Whelan
Gary Browne
Rico Richards

Stuart Reynolds (


Regarding the song Weaver was singing in the dressing room, I understood it to be a mickey take on Tony Grant because he’s had his suit stolen before the game!

Sarah (


Just a short note to advise any other Blues out there who along with myself were wrongfully deported from the Euro 2000 Championships in Belgium last week, that the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) are trying to collate as much information as possible from mistreated England supporters before meeting with the Belgian and British Government officials. They are campaigning to clear peoples’ names from future ‘blacklists’ and are trying to get people compensated for their ordeals. The address to e-mail is I have personally written to Chris Bird at Maine Road, the FSA, my local MEP and the England Members’ Club to protest my innocence. I am happy to update anyone who’s interested in their replies when I receive them.

Steve Holt, Chairman MCCSA – A34 (Winchester) Branch (


If there are Man City supporters living in New Zealand who haven’t seen the video of the game against Blackburn, and would like to see it, email me at the address below with your postal address, or ring me on 025-57-40-60.

Ralph Sheppard (


With regard to Basil’s request, I have a rather tasteful little number at the top of my right arm, the club badge (highly unoriginal I know) and it was done by Saz’s in Irlam. Very risky seeing as Saz and his sidekick are both Red b*stards and I had visions of him sneakily inking Cantona’s gallic visage onto my upper limb, but fortunately the boy came up trumps and it’s the envy of my MCFC supporting chums. The only downside is that whenever the pub conversation reverts to football, you feel obliged to start getting it out and kissing it, generally looking like a complete tit. My lovely piece of work cost £100 (2 X 1 hour sessions) and I did it because one of my Rag mates started saying I would turn Red after we got relegated at Stoke. After this abuse I got the tattoo, bought the season ticket, and you know the rest.

Nice to see my article about being unfaithful to MCFC has stirred up quite a debate – I think Ernie Whalley said he supported a crap Scottish team. This also is an interesting ploy, my dad and I have also been staunch Brechin City fans since a bloke called McElla started playing for them. We are now official supporters club members and have planned a trip for the start of the season (theirs starts 3 weeks earlier than ours). If you ever get a chance, their website is and it has a cracking ‘virtual tour’ of the ground, where it shows you the delights of all four stands, including (and I kid you not) the hedge, which runs alongside the touchline in the absence of any form of seating, producing the proud boast ‘as far as we know, Brechin is the only football ground to have a hedge running the length of the touchline’. Let’s hope that the architects for our new ground don’t get wind and change the plans.

Richard Ellor (


The BBC are going to be in the Manchester area soon on the lookout for Man City fans to be contestants on a new Lottery show.

We’re searching for teams of seven lucky people to compete to win a fantastic holiday. Although these teams can be made up of anyone – people in a lottery syndicate, work colleagues, sports team mates, club members or just friends – we are very interested in the idea that the teams may have a shared interest – like football. So we would be very grateful if you could inform other fans via your excellent website or newsletter to see if anyone is interested in forming a team.

Lucky Sevens is a quiz-based show with multiple choice questions which will test your general knowledge and maybe your expertise on your specialist subject if you are to win that fabulous holiday.

So if you feel that you or your colleagues are up to the challenge, or would like further information, then call us on 020 8576 4594 or e-mail at Please be quick though as we are already meeting applicants.

Thanks for your time and look forward to hearing from your members,

The Lucky Sevens Team.

Aiden Spackman (


I was a bit bemused to read in the article that J Taylor wrote that it was Francis Lee was to blame for City’s demise of the past. City were going into freefall before he took the reins, he got the merchandising and catering up and running (none of which City were making a penny out of). He also brought in who I consider one of the best talented players of recent years, Kinkladze. He did make mistakes e.g. bringing in sub-standard managers, but behind the scenes he brought us back into a profit making club. Bringing in Kappa was a master stroke – just look at the total sales for those shirts. So to say Francis Lee was totally to blame is off the mark.

D Bradshaw (


I just felt the need to reply to some of the anti-Man U stuff in recent editions. I know I’ll be accused of being wet at best) and probably worse, but why can’t we get on with being proud and dignified City fans, instead of lowering ourselves to spiteful chants and rather pathetic so-called humour.

Like most City fans, not one week goes by when I’m not hoping to see Utd lose their fixture or manager/best player/etc. I think there are 1000 reasons to dislike much that surrounds that whole club. However, if we continue to identify ourselves (’cause that’s what we do) by our hatred of Utd, then it demeans us, elevates them and makes us sound rather pathetic. It’s like a small group of feeble farties gathering in their secret den and dissing the local bully behind his back – all rather sad!

Now I know that many of the chanters (and writers) would happily confront the Utd fans in their vocal hatred (this is where my analogy breaks down!), but that’s not the point – it just all seems rather tired, worn and weak to me.

I almost hesitate to send this due to the predictable response – but come on guys, drop the Utd fixation and step up the intensity of City fanaticism and proud tradition – the one that every club in the land knows – that their fans have not, and never will, match us for our loyalty and love of our club. That is what we are known for – let’s add a bit more dignity to the already awesome reputation.

Gary Pritchard (


A great deal has been written in recent issues about the attitude of City fans towards United, and in particular certain chants referring to the Munich air disaster, and I feel compelled to put forward a slightly different view to much of what has gone before. Much of what I say will be considered treasonable by other Blues, but I feel that some kind of balance has to be asserted in this constant, almost frenzied outpouring of loathing for our neighbours.

Relatively briefly, on the subject of Munich, whether it’s “the runway song” or any other kind of reference to this tragic event I couldn’t put it any better than David Cash in 618 when he describes it as “sick, depraved and frankly disgusting.” And I find all of these little distinctions that people seem to be trying to make between the runway song itself and the little Terry Cooke ditty or other Munich based chants pathetic. Contributors speak about referring to Munich in a mocking way having become a part of the “culture” of supporting City as though that makes it ok – what a terribly sad indictment of our club – if indeed it is now a part of our culture then surely all the more reason to try and change it rather than sitting back and accepting it with a shrug. Cathal Whelehan came up with a good practical idea of one step the club might take – putting a flyer in the programme on the subject – I don’t personally think there should be too much emphasis on Frank Swift as to me this suggests that the only reason for trying to put an end to this crap is because an ex-City player died, when in fact it shouldn’t matter in the slightest if we’re talking about Duncan Edwards or any of the other United players. At the same time if the only way to really get peoples’ attention is to concentrate on Swift then so be it.

Moving on, I would like to say just how much I’ve enjoyed watching the football played by United during much of the 1990’s. Whether it was the side featuring Kanchelskis, Hughes, Ince, etc. or the side that followed featuring Beckham, Scholes, Cole etc. – with the brilliant Cantona involved in both instances of course – the football served up was undoubtedly the most entertaining in the country. I watched the European Cup Final against Bayern in a pub with a load of mates who couldn’t be at the match for a variety of reasons – mates who I’ve grown up with and who are all diehard Reds – and Manchester born and bred. I was absolutely delighted for them and thoroughly enjoyed toasting their club’s success in one of the most dramatic sporting spectacles I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. What mattered most to me though was that for the first time since 1984 an English club side was the best in Europe – after years of domination by the Italians in particular, an English side, a significant number of whom were home grown, had gone out and won the premier European trophy, and done it in style – the performance in the Stadio delle Alpi, coming back from 2 goals down to win 3-2 must surely go down as one of the greatest ever by an English side playing away in Europe, if not in pure footballing terms then certainly in terms of pure determination and character. These mates of mine have supported United since they were little kids, just as other mates of mine along with myself have supported City. They’ve not suddenly jumped on some bandwagon and nor I believe have the vast majority of genuine United fans. The club has had a vast fan base within Manchester since well before football became fashionable and United became successful and following them suddenly a national pastime. Nor have I been the target for a great amount of mockery from them as City have plummeted down the divisions. If anything they’ve been supportive and encouraging in willing City back to the big time and welcoming the recommencement of the derbies. And I don’t think of these people as being unusual in their views – I believe that there is a genuine feeling of goodwill towards City from a significant percentage of true United fans. Certainly very few who I’ve ever come across exude the bitterness and hatred for City which so many Blues seem to feel for United.

On the subject of jumping on the bandwagon, I was a regular season ticket holder before coming out to work abroad for a year last September. The salary here is low and I could not afford to re-subscribe when I was not going to be at any of the matches. On contacting the club in around April this year to arrange to once again have my seat at The Academy guaranteed for next season, assuming that there would be no problem since availability has always been a given before, I was informed that suddenly we were all set to sell 23,000 season tickets and that I’d be number 3 thousand and something on a waiting list – in other words we’d have sold many more if the club hadn’t put a ceiling on it. You what? Who are all these people? Where were they when we were playing Chesterfield at home a couple of years ago? At a rough guess I suspect we had around 16,000 season ticket holders last year, and I’m sure less the year before – isn’t this glory seeking? jumping on the bandwagon? wanting to be a part of the big Premiership experience? But no, it can’t be, since only United fans do that don’t they? And on the subject of United fans in other parts of the country, or indeed other countries, how many times have I read in MCIVTA of new City supporters clubs being set up in far flung places, and of sentiments of warmth going out to fellow Blues wherever they may be from their Manchester-based brothers and sisters?

The point of all this is that for me the only reason why such loathing for United is constantly expressed by not only City fans but fans of many other clubs is envy pure and simple. The team play great football – no argument there. There are some tossers amongst the fans, but for the most part it’s our mates who we stand alongside and drink with every Friday night, and get as*holed with when England are playing and we’re cheering on Beckham and Scholes, if not Phil Neville. On the commercial side personally I’m not really interested as it’s what happens on the pitch that’s important to me – but since so much is made of it by City fans and fans of other clubs let’s be honest about it – it is an integral part of the game now like it or not – United have been fortunate in that their success has come at the right time for them when the rewards have been greatest – but they have exploited it superbly and are now the marketing model for all the biggest clubs in Europe. So why do we still drone on about it? I remember the way for years City fans moaned about the club’s terrible lack of commercial acumen, and how pleased everyone has been that David Bernstein seems to know what the hell he’s doing, as opposed to poor old Francis, whose heart was in the right place but was clueless. For me, if any club deserves to be slated for being run by mercenaries and for mercenaries then it’s Chelsea. Their players have no real affinity for the club, unlike many of the players at United, and their ground is in fact a mere appendage to a hotel and leisure complex – but they seem to get away with receiving so much less criticism for their commercialism than United – couldn’t be anything to do with the fact that they’ve not been winning the title all through the 90’s could it?

I can sense the terrible rage that I’ve now generated around the globe reaching bursting point, and so will sign off shortly. I have to finish though by saying that I consider myself as passionate a City fan as most – I don’t go and watch the Youth team on a freezing, wet November evening but I’ve been going to Maine Road since I was a kid, and when I’ve not been living away I’ve rarely missed a home match, and have travelled away to 5 or 6 games a season on average. I think local rivalry is a fundamental part of the game and that it adds great colour and intensity. For me though it is far more enjoyable if it takes place within the context of some kind of reasonably informed debate – too much of what I hear and read City fans and fans of other clubs saying about United is born of jealousy, and of blind and ignorant bigotry, and is also quite simply bullsh*t. There is something wrong when the fans of both sides in a match not even featuring United start singing “Stand up if you hate Man U” – something I’ve seen happen regularly on Sky coverage. For me there’s no way United deserve to receive this level of abuse – it’s simply become a fashion, prompted by their phenomenal success. It says far more about the way they’ve left the rest of the country behind in footballing terms than it does about any other aspects of the club.

S Hope (


Can someone tell me about supporter travel from London where I am just about to start working and for South West (for my brother + dad) as we are sharing two season tickets between us (Block A Main Stand).

Alex Heylin (


I would very much like to buy the Kappa Man City yellow with blue stripes Away Shirt which was used during the 1998/1999 season when City were playing in the 2nd Division. I am looking for a size 42/44″ and it can either be new or second-hand. If there is anyone out there who can sell this shirt at a reasonable price to me I would be extremely grateful.

All the best.

George Koumendakos 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 #619