Newsletter #620

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There appears to have been some consternation today concerning a newspaper report that City had sold Mark Kennedy to Celtic for £4.5m. The club was vehemently denying this, so it seems to have been just another scurrilous piece of sports reporting.

This issue has some detailed information on Drogheda for those thinking of travelling to the game on the 24th July. The remainder is mainly taken up with the long-running but nonetheless interesting ‘MUFC hatred’ debate. Last week S Hope bravely posted a relative pro-MUFC opinion and perhaps unsurprisingly, there is much comment on that posting in this issue. However, there’s also a provocative opinion from the opposite end of the spectrum which will undoubtedly elicit an equal response.

This one reaches 3,294.

Next game: Saturday 22nd July 2000, Linfield away

EUROFINAL365 – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO EURO 2000

For the final roundup on Euro 2000, follow the link to:

Eurofinals365 – http://english.eurofinals365.com

Football 365

NEWS SUMMARY

City Seal Nursery Deal

Manchester City have finally completed the development deal with Dublin junior club Cherry Orchard. Dennis Tueart and Joe Royle flew to Ireland on Monday morning to seal the arrangement. The Blues have already taken youngsters William Flood and Stephen Paisley from Cherry Orchard, and hopes are high that several more promising juniors could follow. “We’re forming a strategic alliance and we’re buying into the club,” explained City director Chris Bird. “We will have a look at the best of what they have got to offer and bring them over to our academy.”

Loan Deals the Way Forward

The Cherry Orchard deal represents a way for City to secure the best talent, but the Blues are also mindful of the need to develop promising youngsters once they’ve arrived. And Joe Royle will continue to use the loan system to the full in a bid to give City’s emerging stars vital first-team experience. Academy director Jim Cassell says that the club will be prepared to lend players to clubs whose managers will try to develop their talent – and quotes examples of the practice which have benefitted both City and their cross-town rivals. “Loans are something we’re looking very closely at,” Cassell told the Mancehster Evening News. “It didn’t do David Beckham any harm and we have the recent case of Jeff Whitley who went to Wrexham and came back to win a place in the first team.”

Royle Plays Down Transfer Talk

Joe Royle has returned from his fact-finding trip to South America. But the Blues’ boss warned fans not to expect his arrival to signal a glut of transfer activity. Royle says he expects to sign only one or two players before the start of the new campaign, and is critical of those who warn he’ll have to make wholesale changes ahead of next season’s Premiership challenge. “I expect at least one more signing, possibly two but I really don’t understand this lemming-like rush over the cliffs of the transfer market,” the City manager told the Manchester Evening News. “Things will evolve as the season progresses. There is certainly no desperation to bring a host of people in.”

Fish Interest Denied by Royle

Joe Royle has denied any interest in Mark Fish. Persistent rumours have indicated that the South African could be bound for Maine Road in a deal which would see Jamie Pollock move the other way to his old club. Sam Allardyce has recently been attempting to talk up the prospective player-exchange – but it seems the Bolton manager’s enthusiasm isn’t shared by his Maine Road counterpart. The official City website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ is now reporting that Fish is not high on the Blues’ list of prospective acquisitions. Meanwhile, Monday’s Manchester Evening News claims that the top defensive target is still Fulham’s Chris Coleman, with Norwegian Bjorn Otto Bragstad reportedly set to join Derby.

Sunday Tabloid Rumours Looking Unlikely

Manchester City were linked with two familiar targets in the Sunday press. But it appears that both stories are wide of the mark. Aston Villa’s Julian Joachim was said by one paper to be poised for a £3 million switch to Maine Road. However, the Manchester Evening News on Monday labelled the ex-Leicester man’s prospects of a move north “remote”. And the same source also poured cold water on the speculation that Liverpool’s David Thompson could join the Blues for £3.5 million if Nicky Barmby goes to Anfield from Everton. The paper claims that City manager Joe Royle is an admirer of the England under-21 man but is likely to opt for “more experienced targets”.

Royle to Look Abroad for Striker?

Manchester City are still thought to be looking for a new striker to spearhead next season’s Premiership survival bid. And the latest report indicates that inflated prices in the domestic market could force Joe Royle to look further afield. The Manchester Evening News is claiming that one target could be Daniel Amokachi of Turkish club Besiktas. The Nigerian played under Royle at Everton and is said to be available on a Bosman free transfer. In almost three years at Goodison, the 27-year-old made 34 league starts and a further nine substitute appearances, scoring ten times.

Fitness to Decide Allsopp’s Future

Danny Allsopp is one man who has been linked with a move away from Maine Road this summer. But despite reported interest from several clubs, the Australian won’t be leaving the club in the immediate future. Allsopp picked up a knee injury during a loan spell at Wrexham in March, and before a decision is taken on the player’s future, Joe Royle will check the 21-year-old’s fitness during pre-season training. Meanwhile, talks are said to be continuing with Bournemouth over a possible move for Nick Fenton, but there’s no definite outcome as yet.

Fitness Coach’s Injury Prevention Plan

Ed Baranowski is the man charged with the task of making sure the Blues concede no fitness advantage to any of their Premiership rivals next term. And the City fitness coach believes that not only will he be successful in his task, but he’ll also reduce the number of injuries suffered by Joe Royle’s men. Baranowski and his team have designed a special routine for the Blues’ squad, and he’s developed what he calls an innovative “weight resistance” programme to limit enforced absences from action. “The stronger the muscles, the tendons and the attachments then the better the buffer from a contact point of view,” he explained to the official City site at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “If there is more strength in the muscle and joint, then it can take a lot more.”

Ex-City Pair on the Move

As City prepare for a return to the Premiership, two players who were with the Blues in their last top-flight season have moved to new clubs. Keith Curle, who left Maine Road in the wake of City’s 1996 relegation, has taken a first step towards fulfilling his managerial ambitions, joining Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United as player-coach. Meanwhile, Uwe Rösler could face the Blues next season. The German striker returned to his homeland in 1998, where he’s figured for Kaiserslautern and then Tennis Borussia Berlin. But with his new club being wound up owing to financial irregularities, Rösler is entitled to a free transfer, and is reportedly set to join Glenn Hoddle’s Southampton.

City Fans Receive Kennedy Shock

The City-dedicated Blue View Internet message board was briefly in a state of shock on Monday morning when several posters reported that the Blues had sold Mark Kenedy to Celtic. Radio One’s Simon Mayo had announced that City had agreed a £4.5 million deal with the Glasgow outfit for the Irishman. To general relief, it turned out that the story was a fabrication, and Mayo had simply read out a scurrilous e-mail he’d received telling of the supposed transfer.

Peter Brophy (peterbrophy@mancity.net)

DROGHEDA INFO

Drogheda United vs. Manchester City, Monday 24 July 2000, Kick-off 7.30pm, United Park Drogheda

Tickets for this match are available from the DUFC Offices at DUFC, Windmill Road, Drogheda, County Louth or by telephone (Maureen) 00 353 41 – 98 301 90 between 10am and 1pm every day Monday to Friday.

Drogheda United have hosted many of the English Premiership teams over the years including Everton when Joe Royle was in charge; Sundeland have been over a couple of times; Alan Shearer made his deacute;but for Blackburn against Drogheda and made his comeback from a broken leg also against us; we have also had Aston Villa and Toteenham over several times.

Drogheda is the birthplace of three current Premiership regulars – Gary Kelly and Ian Harte of Leeds and Steve Staunton of Liverpool. Nicky Colgan the goalkeeper with Hibernians is also from Drogheda.

This game should be a good occasion and as many City fans as possible should come over. City have strong Supporters Clubs over here in Dublin, Galway, Wicklow, Cork, Mayo etc. Best travel options are Stena Line or Irish Ferries Holyhead to Dublin or Manchester to Dublin by air – http://www.ryanair.com/ or Aer Lingus. Accomodation – easiest thing to do is look up http://www.goldenpages.ie/ and search for accomodation in counties Louth or Meath. Failing that Dublin is only thirty miles away by rail or road.

In any event, there should be tickets available on the night so come over for the craic even if you don’t have a ticket in advance or ring and Maureen, I’m sure will reserve some for you… see you all in a few weeks!

Official match programmes, club badges or scarves are available from the DUFC offices – just call or leave a message for A Scribe on http://www.droghedaunited.ie/ and we’ll come back to you.

If any City fans have any ideas on how we can make the “experience” more enjoyable or need any help with arrangements – get in touch with us – best way is via our Club website’s talk page.

Travel Tips:

From Belfast:

If you are travelling by train from Belfast (on the Enterprise service) Drogheda train station is on the south side of the town approx. two miles from the ground which is just off the Belfast – Dublin road on the north-side of the town.

By coach the bus garage in Belfast is to the rear of the Europa Hotel in the city centre and there is a direct coach to Drogheda (it goes on to Dublin). The bus depot in Drogheda is quite central and maybe a fifteen minute walk to the ground.

By car from Belfast follow the M1A1 southbound out of Belfast and take the A1 at the Sprucefield junction south of Belfast. Stay on the A1 southbund heading for Dublin which becomes the N1 when you cross the broder south of the town of Newry. Drogheda is the second town on N1 south of the border approx 70 miles in total from Belfast. Leave plenty of time for your journey as traffic is very bad all the time on the approaches to Drogheda. As you enter Drogheda, turn left off the N1 approx. 100 metres after Doyles skip hire just before the Toyota dealership which is on the right hand side. United Park is approx 200 metres along on your right.

From Dublin:

Take any Drogheda/Dundalk/Belfast train from the following Dublin stations: Pearse/Tara St./Connolly. The fastest trains are Enterprise trains from Connolly which stop at Drogheda en-route to Belfast. Enterprise trains depart at 09:40; 11:00; 13:20; 15:20. You will have a 35 minute walk on arrival in Drogheda. Taxis available for £3.50 / £4.00 by ringing any of the taxi companies – best one would be Caffrey’s on (041) – 98 3 22 44 and mention who sent you.

Take any Drogheda/Dundalk bound bus service from Busaras (Central Bus Depot) in Dublin City Centre and you have a fifteen minute walk from bus depot.

The problem though with both bus and rail passengers is that the last train to Dublin departs at 9.37 pm and the last bus is at 9.00 pm. DUFC could arrange transport for those wishing to travel on to Dublin if required with precise costings closer to the time (depending on numbers) – all interested in coach transfers to Dublin should contact the Club at 00 353 41 – 9830190 or leave a message on the talk page of http://www.droghedaunited.ie/.

By road from Dublin take the N1/M1 northbound and head for Belfast – thirty miles after leaving Dublin you will be in Drogheda. Continue north on the N1 until you cross the river Boyne on Drogheda, then climb the hill. Just before the Nissan garage approx 400 metres after the river bridge, turn right, United Park is approx. 300 metres along on the left.

For those with a thirst there are two pubs adjacent to the ground – “Walsh’s” and “Mother Hughes” – there is also a bar in the clubhouse at the ground.

“Don’t delay – get in touch today!” – enjoy your visit from all at DUFC.

Neville Kenny (Neville_Kenny@health.irlgov.ie)

DROGHEDA GAME – MORE INFO

For anyone coming over to Ireland for City’s friendly at Drogheda on 24 July, if you are looking for accommodation the Bord Failte (Irish Tourist Board) site might be helpful. It’s at http://www.ireland.travel.ie/.

Note: Drogheda is a town on the borders of Counties Louth and Meath and about 30 miles from Dublin. Unless driving it would probably be best to stay in Drogheda town or else in Dublin (see below).

One other bit of useless information – Drogheda was the name of the ranch in the Thornbirds film, though the pronunciation in that film was at best peculiar.

John Fee (feej@netc.ie)

ESSEX AND SUFFOLK CSA

The next meeting of the Essex & Suffolk branch of the CSA will take place at the alternative venue of Seabright’s Barn, Galleywood, Essex on Friday 28th July (day before the Gillingham pre-season game) from 19:30 onwards. This meeting is primarily for membership renewals and new membership sign ups. We are hoping to have some visitors from the club in attendance, but this has not as yet been confirmed. Further details from: Ian Whittaker (Chairman) 01245 465075, Wayne Prior (Treasurer) 01245 357521, Ken Sinclair (Public relations) 01268 293561, Paul Gallagher (Secretary) 01708 787227 or paulg@mancity.net.

May we at Essex & Suffolk branch take this opportunity to wish all at the Centenary Supporters Association, its branches and everyone at Manchester City Football Club, all the very best for the coming season and thank them for their continued support.

Paul Gallagher – Secretary, Essex & Suffolk CSA (paul.gallagher@ukonline.co.uk)

A FISHY TALE…

I have it on good faith, from a friend (who’s married to a South African girl and lived there for a few years) that Mark Fish is quite a decent player. He’s watched him play for South Africa and in his words “…heard this bl@@dy silly sound, every time one of the SA players got the ball…” Turns out that the lad is in fact, one of their heroes and the crowd were shouting “Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessshhhh” every time he got the ball. Maybe something to take to the Academy, to make the fella feel at home?

Andy Gascoigne (Andy@Gascoigne.net)

VARIOUS THOUGHTS

Chris Bird Interview – Noel Bayley:

I’ve just read an interview by Noel Bayley with Chris Bird and it’s obvious form Chris Bird’s comments that he is a City fanatic like the rest of us. Although I don’t always agree with Noel’s comments (rantings?), the interview was a good insight into the passion with which the current management is attacking the lethargy and general mismanagement that has befallen City over the last 20 years. It’s well worth a read – http://www.mancity.net/

Does anybody have Chris Bird’s email address?

I’m sure that S Hope will come in for some criticism for his piece in MCIVTA 619 but I for one share the comments 100%. Being exiled in Australia since ’69 (8 years of age) I’m frequently reminded by some of my City mates who are more recent arrivals that I’m too soft on United because I didn’t spend enough time in the UK copping flak from the “Red bast*rds”. For me, I can’t raise an argument against United in the last 10 years, the majority of United fans I know have been quite gentle with the ribbings they could have given me. If more so called English clubs (i.e. Chelsea / Arsenal etc.) had followed through with giving English players a chance rather than buying imports then maybe the national team wouldn’t be the shambles it is today. Personally I find it harder taking stick from Stockport / Bury / West Ham / Coventry fans etc. that came out of the woodwork at our freefall into oblivion.

On a positive note though, I’ve been reading McVittee since the early days and during fall and rise I’ve noted a marked change in the comments being written by the contributors to the newsletter. I used to get quite p****d off with the continued negative comments being written about the players and club in general. I got sick of reading about how good the fans were, how bad the team was and the general consensus that we were a big club and the smaller clubs should roll over when they play us. The defining moment to me came with the dramatic win in the play-offs. It was almost divine intervention and the fans suddenly seemed to get the message – “I’ve seen the light, we have the potential to be a big club again, whilst the players might not be the best going around they will play better if we encourage rather than heckle. Let’s forget about sticking our chest out and reminding everyone about the golden years and concentrate on today’s team and results. We don’t have an automatic right to win at Stockport / Bury etc. just because we are Manchester City. Every loss / poor performance isn’t the end of the world”

Has anybody else noticed the change in attitude?

McVittee:

Just thought I’d like to say thanks to Ashley and the team for putting together McVitee each week. Without it I would have been lost. Thanks also to all the contributors to the newsletter (Cathal Whelan – you should be a writer); I have to admit to being moved to tears on far too many occasions with some of the contributions. I’ve watched a video of the Blackburn game and the end of season video and I can identify with the emotion of the games etc. so much more having the reports via McVitee.

UK Visit:

On the strength of City’s promotion I’ve booked a trip back to the UK in September for the family. For many years I’ve been trying to get my kids to follow the Blues with great difficulty due to City’s demise. However, after last year’s win in the play-offs I saw a flicker of interest in their eyes. Thanks to City’s efforts in 99/00 and the dramatic win at Blackburn I now have the kids convinced that City are a team on the rise. What do you say to an 8 year old who, upon realising that we will be playing United next year, asks… what happens if we beat Man United? We always used to beat them was my reply.

This leads to my dilemma… after watching the video, I promised the kids that I’d take them to a training session to meet the players etc. Does anybody know if this is possible and / or the best way to contact the Club to arrange a visit?

Graham Hine, Perth, Western Australia (Graham.Hine@boral.com.au)

MY YEARLY POSTING!

Here I am again. As I said last year I would not write in during the season, as I seem to jinx the team/player/manager that I was praising. Now normally I write at this time of the year to put forward my thoughts on last season and my hopes for the following season. This year I’m going to break with that tradition (well, if you can call 2 years a tradition!) and talk about the Munich thing.

I have read most of the postings in MCIVTA about the pros and cons of the Runway song. I can see both sides; yes I have/do sing it and yes for a long time I did not know any better. Then I found out about Frank Swift. That made me think, how many more did not know he was on that plane? So when the anniversary of that crash came around I decided to do something. We were to play Norwich away on that day and the lead up to the game the MuEN and the national papers went into overdrive, with the pull out this and the poster that. I decided to try and get people to remember that there were other people on that plane and that other families were robbed of loved ones. I wrote to Bert Trautmann’s Helmet expressing my feelings on the matter (thanks for printing it Noel) along with a posting on MCIVTA and Blue View. Then an idea came to me: I should get a few copies of a picture I have of the great man and get them passed out to hold up at the game. Well with a lot of help from a lot of people I got several hundred made (thanks to Le Tank Blue, MLI and many, many more). Before the game we started to hand them out in the pub, now I come to the point of this letter. The number of Blues old and young who ask (a) who this man was and (b) what this had to do with City was unbelievable!

A lot of the singers have no idea of our past, and do not relate the crash with us. Whose fault is that? Well to some point it’s the fans fault, but also the club has to take some responsibility for this. While a lot of the fans have lived in a time warp (stuck in the 10-1 Huddersfield game, the 5-1 Derby, the backheel that sent the Rags down etc.), the club has given/sold/thrown away a lot of our past.

Now if you take a Manc Rag (yes there are one or two), I’ll lay money that they will know more about their past than most City fans. They are indoctrinated at an early age. They are fed info past and present from MUTV to the MuEN. Everywhere they turn they are bombarded with info and history, some of which must stick in the thickest of heads. What do we get? Yes, there are many very good books and one or two videos, but where is the constant drip, drip effect coming from?

This has been our shame and our strength. Because we don’t know any better we can turn up the volume and the hate, but how can we change this? Well a massive step forward is the new museum that City has at last got around to starting. It will take years to educate the next wave of City supporters to be proud of our past and our present. We may never get to the present fans’ whose hatred of the Rags is what has kept them going through the years (and yes I’m one one them).

The change in the mind set of the management from the top down has helped us to once again hold our heads high for the right reasons e.g. that we are City and we have a team who wants to play for us and will not throw in the towel.

Note that we are not Rag therefore not everyone hates us!

When and not if we are winning things we will look less and less across the road to the Swamp because we will be more interested in what is happening here and now. We have taken huge steps in the right direction in the last 3 years and look like we are going to continue to do so. The museum will I feel help, the leaflet in the programme will not. Everyone does not buy a programme, in most cases this would be a red rag to a bull to most of them and one or two on the edge may feel why should they tell us what to do! Stewards pulling people out is not the answer, I’ve seen it happen in the North Stand and take it from me a lot of innocent people will get hurt, and in the heat of a Derby game when making noise, any noise to drown out them, some will sing anything. The only answer is education. The drip, drip effect that water has wearing way a stone. There is no quick fix!

Hope this hasn’t bored you and you all enjoy this season as much as I will.

Tony the Tattooed Donkey Hulme (T.Hulme@mmu.ac.uk)

OPINION – FRANCIS LEE

In response to D Bradshaw’s opinion on Francis Lee and the demise of MCFC, I will say only this:

Alan Ball: The defence has no further evidence your honour…

Ray Bardsley (rbardsle@smcpneumatics.co.uk)

OPINION – YOU WHAT?

The article was titled “Opinion” so fair enough that’s what you expressed. But I can not accept your “opinion” on bandwagon jumping. You implied that the increase in season ticket sales was due to glory hunting (quote: “isn’t this glory seeking? Jumping on the bandwagon? Wanting to be a part of the big Premiership experience?”). You rightly point out that a couple of years ago we only managed to sell 16,000 season tickets, and that we have now sold 23,000 with a waiting list of reportedly more than 4,000. Which roughly equates to 27,000 City fans wanting to own season tickets.

What you failed to point out was crowd averages! In Division 2 the average gate attendance was 26,000 approx. and the first game of that season we sold out. With low visiting crowds, that’s in excess of 10,000 buying tickets on a regular basis. The year before in Division 1 we only sold 14,000. That’s less tickets in a higher Division! Last year’s average was 30,000 approx, which is understandable due to the attractiveness of watching better football and opposition than that on offer in Division 2.

In summary. The only real difference in the crowd at Maine Road, is that fans who previously were quite happy to buy tickets on a match to match basis in the lower divisions are now committing to the club and purchasing season tickets. Only a minority of fans are in the situation of trying to get back a season ticket that they gave up when they stopped going. But I have not come across any fans who have never been to Maine Road and have suddenly decided to become City fans because of our “success”. I severely doubt that we have a supporters’ association whose first language is Malaysian. It sounds to me that you are a bit p****d off that you can’t buy a ticket that you once gave up. Perhaps the problem is that you should not have given it up in the first place? You’ll just have to wait be part of the big Premiership experience!

Robert Hyslop (Robert.Hyslop@BAESYSTEMS.com)

OPINION – HATING MUFC, A REBUTTAL

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to mail me with replies to my article on Munich/ManU in issue 618 of MCIVTA. I’d also like to thank S (Steve?) Hope for quoting me. Both the articles in MCIVTA 619 offering a counter argument to the ‘Why Hate ManU Stuff’ were thought-provoking pieces. What saddened me in a way though was that both people felt the need to apologise for holding a view that could be seen as counter to the general tide of opinion. You are not wet or sad if you don’t hate Manchester United (there now, I’ve used their full title). There is no question of your commitment to Manchester City (balance restored). I do feel however that maybe some of what I was trying to say in my article has got a little lost.

Anyone going into a shop to ask for a tin of blue paint is going to get asked “which kind of blue?” The analogy holds when it comes to supporting any football club. There are different shades and intensities, hues, tints and any number of other ways we measure our loyalty. Some people thrive on just loving the club for what it is, others need to counter-balance that love with an intense hatred of the swamp-dwellers. On a personal level I ‘dislike’ ManU. I can honestly say though that the thing I hate most about them is their fans! I, unlike Mr Hope have suffered constant ribbing and snide comments from Reds that I know. S Hope is lucky but all his experiences do is to highlight that there is no such thing as a hard and fast rule. I think the whole world accepts that smoking is bad for you but, every time the discussion comes along, there is always someone who knows a whiskey-drinking 80-a-day centagenarian who died under a bus! There is always an exception to prove any rule.

Whatever it is that gets you through supporting City there is one constant, that being we are all people, flesh and blood human beings. My point about the Munich songs is that they highlight an event that killed human beings. I agree with Mr Hope’s comments that it doesn’t matter if it was Frank Swift or Duncan Edwards that was brutally killed in the crash. We will never know whether those people suffered or not, but the chances are that many of them did. It is therefore repugnant to me, as a human being, that some “oik” who never knew them, doesn’t care in practice either way about them, should sing a song to taunt another team’s fans about the deaths of those people. I would no more taunt a Red about Munich than, for example, I would jeer at a woman over rape or a victim of any act of violence. Munich, rape, Kosovo, they are all examples of indescribable human suffering. It is a sick human being that can find it within him or herself to make light of such events. It shows such a high level of desensitisation to the suffering of others that it is hardly surprising that the world is in the state it is. However, a fanzine is not the place to discuss higher philosophy or the right and wrongs of modern society (please don’t bombard me with examples of ancient Rome or Attilla the Hun). My point is and continues to be, sing your songs about ManU if you must. Hate them, loathe them or ignore them, it is immaterial, it’s up to you, but don’t lower yourselves to the level of animal that finds the death of one of its own kind “funny”! The world can be a very sick place. I want my trips to Maine road to be filled with joy and pride, not with the feelings of nausea and sadness that listening to some lunatic sing about the death of human beings fills me with. So let’s debate all we want about whether “hating” ManU is right or wrong but please take as a given that Munich is not and never was a fitting subject to needle the opposition with.

Dave Cash (Vanda_David@tesco.net)

OPINION – ANTI-RAG DIVISION

Well done, Gary Pritchard and S. Hope, for standing up to the extreme anti-rag division of City supporters. I raised my head above this particular parapet some time ago and damn near had it shot off! I am truly saddened when I listen to City fans rattle on about how much they hate United. I sincerely detest the Rags as much as anyone and I revel in the unfriendly rivalry between the teams, but this Munich chanting is beyond belief. How can any true soccer supporter, and particularly a City supporter, celebrate through an insulting chant the accidental death of any young player? Is there no respect for the families of the Munich dead, who still mourn the loss of sons, husbands and fathers? I am personally offended by the chants – all Irish soccer supporters lost a fine young player in Liam Whelan. Who is to say which team any individual player might have joined – City, perhaps? The loss to football was immense.

In Ireland, we have something called “ABUs”“Anyone But United”. These are generally supporters of other teams, but they are defined by their opposition to the Rags. This seems to me to be the ultimate insult to any supporter, all the more so because it is self-inflicted. Do Charlton fans allow themselves to be classified as ABAs – Anyone But Arsenal? Do Bristol Rovers fans become ABCs – Anyone But (Bristol) City? Of course not. Yet City supporters are, perhaps rightly, perceived to be the biggest ABUs of them all. The disgraceful Munich chanting serves only to confirm this view. So what should we do about it? Throw those who engage in these chants out of Maine Road, for good. This will cure the symptom, but not the disease. Curing the disease is a long-term measure. We can start by ridding ourselves of our obsession with the Rags, and standing on our own two feet. United? Who?

Tony O’Leary (AOLEARY@bge.ie)

OPINION – MUNICH: AN OLDER PERSPECTIVE

As one of MCIVTA’s older subscribers, and one who was around at the time of the Munich air crash, I have been following with interest the recent contributions on the theme of our attitude as City supporters to what happened back in 1958. Letters from Cathal Whelehan (617), David Cash (618) and S Hope (619) have been full of good sense, and I only hope they make the singers of Munich songs sit up and think for a moment. Any reference to Munich demeans us and brings shame to our club, even the Terry Cooke song that some have claimed is harmless. The last thing I want is for City followers to attract the loathing that travelling England supporters(?) manage to do.

I remember the feelings of disgust I felt when I read that Arsenal fans had been singing about the death of the brilliant John White of Spurs, setting their depraved lyric to the tune of “John Brown’s body”. That must have been in the mid-sixties, and I’m pretty sure it was before City and other crowds started up chants about Munich. We might get no points off United this coming season (although we were fairly pessimistic before the 5-1 and felt ashamed of our doubts later!), but may I make the plea that we sing them off the park (not too difficult) without stooping to references that glorify the death of some fine players.

I envy S. Hope his impartiality and ability to appreciate United’s level of football skill. I, too, have grudgingly admitted that they occasionally play some attractive football, and if Yorke decided he’d like to change allegiance to City, I’d gladly accept him, but I must admit I enjoyed Stam’s subtle attempt at a penalty the other day, and any reverse they suffer gives me great pleasure. Any reverse, that is, on a football field, not on an airport runway.

David Buxton (dbb@forres26.freeserve.co.uk)

OPINION – CITY FIRST

This is just to give you my wholehearted support for your opinion in the most recent issue of MCIVTA (619). I couldn’t agree more! Let us concentrate on our love for City and not make it conditional upon an artificial hatred towards Man Utd, or any other club for that matter.

Hans Petter Skj

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