Newsletter #621

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Some welcome news, though not unexpected, is that Joe Royle has signed a new contract which will keep him at Maine Road until his planned retirement at 55. All is now quiet on the transfer front, so this issue is mostly taken up with the Man United hatred (or not) debate. There are some well-thought out opinions herein, though like most football matters, I suspect that the logical and well-reasoned argument is always at a disadvantage when faced with the reality of raw passion and crowd behaviour.

Next game: Saturday 22nd July 2000, Linfield away

NEWS SUMMARY

New Deals for Royle and Donachie

Manchester City have handed Joe Royle and Willie Donachie new four-year contracts. The news means that the Blues’ boss will be staying at Maine Road until his planned retirement age of 55. Details of Royle’s contract haven’t been disclosed, with director Chris Bird saying only that the manager’s new salary is commensurate with his status as a “leading Premiership manager”. Speculation is putting the revised annual salary around the £500,000 mark, although Bird says that there are incentive payments on top of the basic package. Royle is delighted to have committed himself to the Blues for the rest of his managerial career – and says he may end up carrying on longer than is currently planned. “I might end up like a footballing Frank Sinatra,” he admitted, “and they will have to carry me off the stage kicking and screaming.”

Risdale Rules out Smith Transfer

City’s hopes of landing Leeds striker Alan Smith have been comprehensively dashed. Elland Road chairman Peter Risdale has emphatically stated that the arrival of Celtic’s Mark Viduka does not mean the Yorkshire club will look to sell one of their other front players. Blackburn have also been rumoured to have an interest in 19-year-old, but Risdale said, “I don’t care who is interested. He is not for sale. He never has been.” It’s thought that Leeds are particularly keen to keep hold of Smith because Australians Viduka and Harry Kewell are set for a lengthy autumn absence representing their country in the Sydney Olympics. Whether the player may become available thereafter is as yet unclear.

Royle Admits to Gudjohnsen Disappointment

Joe Royle has so far clinched only one new signing since City returned to the Premiership. But the Blues’ boss would have liked to conclude a second deal – and regrets that his target, Eidur Gudjohnsen, opted to join Chelsea. Even though City have been linked with a host of players this summer, Royle regards the Icelandic international as the only player he’s missed out on. “There is one player that I am disappointed didn’t come here and that was Eidur Gudjohnsen,” he explained to the official club website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “In the end he went to Chelsea and I can understand the lure of London and Europe, but at the same time I would have liked to see him here.”

Chairman – Money is Available

Joe Royle appears to have decided against making wholesale changes to his squad this summer. But David Bernstein says that money is available for any purchases his manager wishes to make. The City chairman wants his club to continue recent progress and become established as a Premiership force – and the cash is there for the “one or two” likely acquisitions before the start of the season, plus any further additions which may be necessary once hostilities have commenced. “We go into the new season with realism, and with confidence,” he vowed. “We want to take the club up the ladder. We believe we can go all the way.”

City Chasing Belgian Defender?

City have supposedly indicated an interest in Celtic target Joos Valgaren. The Glasgow outfit have already had a £3.5 million bid for the Belgian international defender rejected by the player’s Dutch club Roda JC. The 24-year-old, who played in all three of Belgium’s matches at Euro 2000, is said by his national coach Robert Waseige to have the potential to become one of the best defenders in Europe. And Roda claim that the Blues have made their interest known this week – although Celtic remain in pole position. “I have spoken to Joos and if Celtic make him a good offer he will go there – he wants to play in Britain,” said the Dutch club’s managing director Frank Rutten. “We had an inquiry from Sunderland but they have not been in touch recently. Manchester City have contacted us though.”

Bristol City Eyeing Maine Road Trio?

Danny Wilson is looking to bring in new blood after being appointed as manager of Bristol City this summer. And the ex-Sheffield Wednesday boss is rumoured to be interested in no less than three Manchester City strikers. Paul Dickov, Lee Peacock and transfer-listed Gareth Taylor are the men in question, and for Taylor the move would represent a return to the city where he started his career at Bristol Rovers. However, one report claims that the Robin’s could have difficulty satisfying the former Sheffield United man’s wage demands, meaning that Peacock is a more likely target. Before his move to Maine Road from Mansfield, the Scot was a target for the Ashton Gate club under former manager Tony Pulis last season.

Royle Backs Kennedy to Make an Impression

Mark Kennedy has failed to make an impact at the top level with both Liverpool and Wimbledon. But Joe Royle insists that it will be a case of third time lucky for the Irish winger with the Blues next season. Royle believes that Kennedy was unlucky with his previous two clubs, whose style of play was in each case unsuited to the player’s talents. “He was very young when he was at Liverpool and his games there tended to be at wing back which didn’t suit him,” the City manager explained to the official club website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “When he went to Wimbledon they were starting to struggle and jettisoned their wide men. Now he is full of confidence, in a confident side with an adoring audience and a manager who totally believes in him.”

Boss – No Easy Games

Joe Royle knows that the Blues face a tough challenge in the Premiership next season. And the City manager has respect for every opponent his side will encounter. Royle is refusing to set points targets – and nor is he highlighting in his own mind games where he expects the Blues to pick up points. “They will all be hard games,” he told the official City website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “I don’t want to start to quote clichés but quite honestly all you can do is take each match on its own merits.”

Irwin Testimonial Live on Sky Digital

City fans who subscribe to Sky digital will be able to see the Blues’ final pre-season friendly. The visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday, 16 August for Denis Irwin’s testimonial game will be shown live on the Sky Sports Extra channel. The move appears to be part of a concerted attempt by Sky to create a package of live football exclusively for digital subscribers. Sky Sports Extra also has exclusive rights to Chelsea’s home UEFA Cup games and to a four-team tournament involving Arsenal, Lazio, Ajax and Barcelona in early August.

Matchday Announcer Moves to United

City will have a new public address announcer next season. Alan Keegan, who has fulfilled the rôle for the last three years, is leaving to take up a similar position with Manchester United. Keegan, who is an Old Trafford season ticket holder, has been alternating his rôle at Maine Road with corporate hospitality work for United but will now switch full-time following the departure of the Reds’ announcer Keith Fane.

Peter Brophy (peterbrophy@mancity.net)

THAMES VALLEY SUPPORTERS’ CLUB

The Thames Valley Supporters’ Club will be holding its AGM next Monday at The Lion, Reading at 8:30 pm (I know we said we’d do it last month but it clashed with the England footie match, perhaps we should have just had the meeting?).

Anyway new members are welcome, as are the old ones.

Visit the website at http://www.thamesmcfc.co.uk/ for details and a map of how to get there (that’s obviously if you are a new member).

Paul Stevenson (stevo@mancity.net)

LONG LOST INTERNET SITE

After an absence of 4 years, City’s page on: http://www.fa-carling.com/ has returned. Not that there’s much on it you understand, but the presence of this page confirms that last season was not a dream after all…

CTID, Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

GARDENING TIPS FOR CITY FANS

Just read MCIVTA 619 and gladly followed Richard Ellor’s advice (see his piece re: MCFC Tattoos) by taking the virtual tour of Brechin City’s ground on their website (brechincity.co.uk), in particular to see the hedge along the touchline. Boredom is a wonderful thing at dinnertime. Only question I have is whether Brechin fans sing “oohhh Brechin City, the only football team to have a hedge on the line”, you know, like our wonderful “…the only football team to come from Manchester” song. Maybe Richard would like to start it up when he goes there for the start of the Scottish season, I’m sure the locals will be very appreciative.

While I’m thinking about it, maybe he could borrow some hedge trimmers from a local (I’m sure you can reach a garden shed or two from the touchline) to clip-my-hedge-up (another “Prodigy” style ditty for the game perhaps) so that it reads “Feed The Goat”. Oddly enough it’ll look as if the Goat has already eaten his fill and is now mocking the hand that fed him, although the advantage of not having to pack, fold and re-pack a “Feed The Goat” flag to drape over the ehhhmm… hedge before the game is not to be sniffed at.

How did my coat get all the way over there…? Cheers.

Cathal Whelehan (wheelie@mancity.net)

REVIEW – CITY MAGAZINE

June 2000 – Blue Moon Rising / Premiership Promotion Special / Bye-Bye to the Nationwide!

Front Cover: A heap of players!

Well, what can you say about this issue – it really does speak for itself so thankfully this will be one of the shortest mag reviews in history!

The Junior Blues’ end of season bash was reviewed with lots of photos – didn’t realise you could get that many bodies into the top floor of the Kippax!

Maine Frames covered various aspects of the end of the season. The caption for picture 6, which was taken at the last home reserve match, says the game “was an absorbing affair”; sorry, but to me it seemed from some of the expressions on that photo, half of the crowd were either asleep or bored! I’m sure I’m wrong!

Blue Notes covered both the Birmingham home game and the momentous day at Blackburn in greater detail than normal – a comprehensive two page spread for both matches.

Some Might Say – Mike Barnett managed to interview the key characters at Blackburn. Those interviewed included David Bernstein, Joe Royle, Dennis Tueart, Bish, Dicky, Edgy, the Goat, Super Kevin Horlock, Spence, SuperBob & Nick with a final word from the losing manager Graeme Souness who was, understandably, somewhat dischuffed at his own side’s performance, especially the way in which they failed to convert their many chances. The words expressed in this article, I felt summed up how we all felt, whether we were there or watching on the box.

Centrefold – three likely lads – Kennedy, the Goat & Dicky.

Awayday Return – this time it was the fans’ chance to sum up how they felt. Martin on the hill, Marc from Down Under, Steve Anglesey who says we’re built to stay up, a view from Belfast, a poem from Martin Rayner, Phill Gatenby who managed to pick up some late tickets, Scott from Watford, Pete Brophy’s London view, Shane from down under, Andy Waldon’s view, Lance from Morecambe, MCFCBird, West Yorkshire CSA, Jennifer & Ken from New York, Daryl in Malaysia, & finally, Anne the Kippax steward.

Awayday Blues – Cath and crew from Higher Openshaw OSC in their stretched limo no less! Flash devils – but what a way to travel!

Media Watch understandably covered the week between the Birmingham & Blackburn matches. I have a copy of the Mirror’s wrap around front/back page which is on the wall at work next to the Sun’s play-off wraparound from last year – personally disappointed with the Sun’s coverage this time, they were more interested in the Reds than us.

The final big article was on the Player of the Year do, which has already been covered in earlier issues of MCIVTA – great photo of a happy Goat in the centre of the article.

The final big photo was of the backroom boys after Blackburn!

That’s it!

Carol Darvill (carold@city-fan.org)

BRISTOL ABUs

Tony O’Leary in his (excellent) article about Rag hating and ABUs asks whether Bristol Rovers fans become ABCs – Anyone But (Bristol) City? and answers his question, “Of course not”. As a Bristolian of some 17 years now, I have to state that the opposite is in fact the truth. It took me some time to get the feel of the local clubs after we moved here; we were up to our necks in kids (4, aged from 5 to 10), and, after all, Bristol City? Bristol Rovers? When I had been fed on Maine Road glories of the late ’60s and early ’70s? Surely not?

In fact the rivalry is ferocious, and tinged with the similar manic hatred that does crop up between City and the other lot. Three (?) seasons back, the Ashton Gate derby ended in a riot after Rovers equalised in the last minute. After every derby, at least one or two pubs one on side or the other of the river get turned over (North – Rovers, South – City), and there is no love lost between the clubs at all. In fact, more perceptive locals suggest that it is this fierce looking inwards at each other for so long that has stopped at least one of them getting to the top division.

As an aside, and with respect to the great article on “being unfaithful”, many many MCIVTAs back I wrote about supporting Bristol City; the addendum to the above is that I found it so enthralling to be back at football grounds again (including Maine Road a couple of times a season), and also to be amidst fans of a club who had a total loathing of their neighbours, that I am now a season ticket holder at Ashton Gate, and feeding my football fix in the soft and soggy south.

Jeremy Poynton (j.poynton@cableinet.co.uk)

NEW ZEALAND BLUES

Are you a City fan in New Zealand? Did you know there is a MCFC Supporters’ Club here in NZ? For details contact Steve Ewan on 09-278-3779. He’s not on email.

Ralph Sheppard (rsheppar@mail.massey.ac.nz)

THE PREMIER LEAGUE IS HERE

Amongst the loose change left over from foreign holidays, old parking tickets and spare keys for cars I haven’t owed in the last 10 years, I found a few bunches of old tickets from away games I’ve been to over the last 15 years or so. The prices for these make interesting reading. There must be 180 tickets altogether and from August 1992 when the words FA PREMIER LEAGUE starting appearing on them, the price jumped to another level altogether.

This is what we were paying in the old 1st Division:

22/03/1986 U****d vs. City £ 2.60
07/03/1987 U****d vs. City £ 2.80
29/12/1990 Forest vs. City £ 7.00
04/05/1991 U****d vs. City £ 5.00
23/01/1993 QPR    vs. City £8.00

In our relegation season from the Premier League we were forking out a bit more:

23/08/1995 Coventry  vs. City £15.00
28/10/1995 Liverpool vs. City £16.00
10/02/1996 Everton   vs. City £16.00.

While we have been away having fun in the lower leagues (Forest and one or two others excepted), we have been paying an average of £13-17 to watch our team. Last November at Charlton it was £15.00 (and well worth it too) – now the words FA PREMIER LEAGUE are back on the ticket we are talking £25.00. As London goes, I’m sure that this will be cheapest away trip – Welcome back to the Big League. I think this season is going to be tough for City – but if Joe can build on the fantastic team spirit he has established, we should hold our own. The key will be picking up enough points at Maine Road. David Bernstein has done a superb job off the field and the whole atmosphere around the club has turned around completely from the dark days of early 1998. Roll on Charlton Away – I can’t wait!

Neil Woodcock (Neilw@breathe.co.uk)

FRANKFURT AIRPORT RUINED MY LIFE

Back in wintry First Division September, I had just enjoyed an enjoyable week and a bit in Manchester, taking in the Palace league game and Southampton WCup game at MR whilst I was there. All was well, I was relaxed, City hadn’t lost while I was home and I was fighting fit for a return to work. Whilst sitting on the Frankfurt-Berlin leg of the journey (I assume this counted as a Bosman transfer as it didn’t cost extra), I realised I’d left my quarter-finished (or three quarters-unthumbed) copy of “Manchester United Ruined My Life” by Colin Shindler on the previous flight (MCR-FFM) by accident. I’d only bought it whilst in Mcr that week and had absent-mindedly left it in the pouch in the back of the seat in front, the place where you usually dump all the junk out of your pockets/hand luggage.

Ah well, I’ll phone Lufthansa when I get back and see if they can be bothered looking for it. Ha! no chance… if you can’t identify it by pointing at card showing a myriad of different suitcase styles, then it’s obviously none of their business. Anyone who’s had to queue to complain about lost/late luggage will know what I mean: “They all look the blimmin’ same! Mine was grey, closed and full of clothes! Now find it!” etc. No such luck. Book gone forever. So a few months ago, when I finally got around to it, I ordered a replacement copy on the “Information Superhighway”. Anyone else miss/remember this term? Nah, me neither.

Imagine how peeved I was last Friday having just taken to the air (again from Frankfurt to Berlin) when I realised I’d only gone and done exactly the same thing again with the replacement. I had arrived in Frankfurt from Barcelona about an hour earlier after a very hastily arranged business trip and had plonked my briefcase on top of the book (which was on the seat) while I went in search of my jacket, which had been whisked away by a pretty stewardess before takeoff. When I finally found the jacket, I just walked back up the ‘plane, past my seating row, grabbing my case on the move and got off the ‘plane. The book never entered my mind, as I say ’til the next flight went nose up.

“B*gger!”, I screamed in that sort of suppressed “at-least-try-to-look-half-ways-composed” way you sometimes do. At the same time as I uttered this “profanity”, a stewardess was circulating, complete with perma-grin, distributing magazines etc. Having heard (but thankfully not understood) what I’d just said, the stewardess handed me a copy of “Bunte”, a women’s magazine I hadn’t actually asked for – the German equivalent of Woman’s Own I suppose – it took me a few seconds to make the connection and it cheered me up no end, that if you use a fairly typical English profanity on a German flight you stand a fair chance of getting handed a magazine full of pretty ladies sharing waxing tips for the summer and demonstrating the results… !!:-O) …the day was saved. Not an armpit-mullet in sight.

The trouble is, I can’t quite work out which is the jinxed part of this whole thing… is it the book? (it’s been the same one twice), is it the airport (again the same one twice), the seats? (the location of the mislaid book in both cases), or is it because I only ever got to read the book up to the point where he (Colin Shindler) recounted the time and events surrounding his mother’s death? (each time I’d only read about 90 pages). I want to read the rest but I can’t believe I may have to buy this book again… I don’t even blimmin’ well like cricket!

I’m not particularly freaked out by these coincidences, if anything it’s a bit embarrassing. It’s getting to the point where the airlines should now add a picture of this book to their suitcase catalogues just for me. It does make me wonder though… am I alone in repeatedly losing the same item of City related stuff over and over or have any of you also found that you repeatedly lose your favourite bobble hat when you bob for apples or whatever?

On a more sombre note though. During the outward journey to Barcelona on the Thursday morning, my flight transfer was at Munich airport, and as we were taking off from there for the Barcelona leg of the journey, I was – as fate would have it – deeply engrossed in Colin Shindler’s account of the Munich air disaster, which, I imagine, is somewhere around thirty or forty odd pages into the book. Having only submitted my thoughts on the Munich runway song the week previous, and as I’d said before the trip to Barca was a last minute arrangement, I now found myself on a ‘plane doing God knows what speed probably down the same runway as I’d been reading about for the past few weeks on McVittee.

This was a very strange feeling. As the ‘plane sped down the runway I actually put the book down as I couldn’t concentrate on the content and the fact that I was, well… where I was, at the same time. The book stayed down until we were well and truly up-up-and-away. As we rose I was looking out the window at the airport below and noticed a huge design, which was ploughed into a field near the end of one of the runways (might have been a taxi-lane).

It was probably about the size of a football pitch (hard to judge when you’re moving fast and rising constantly) and comprised of three or four very wide parallel “wavey” trenches which all scrolled up at one end to form a perfect circle. Has anyone else who’s been to Munich airport ever seen this and do you know if this is supposed to mark the spot of the air disaster? It was very nice, if not – for the meaning I assumed it to have – poignant sight from the air and given the topic of discussion on McVittee recently it gave the whole subject an eerie realism I’d previously not experienced. My final word on the subject, just thougt I’d share it.

Mr. Shindler… if you’re reading (you never know) I’d like another copy and I’m pup enough to say that it’ll be at your expense this time. Send me an e-mail and I’ll let you know where you can send me a crisp new signed copy. Cheers to that chap.

CTID, Cathal Whelehan (wheelie@mancity.net)

HUGH FAWCETT’S FIRST MATCH

A duffer at maths, I nevertheless know a little bit about the mathematics of coincidence. For example, although a Chinaman dies every time I scratch my nose, a Chinaman also dies every time I don’t scratch my nose. Even so, for every one person taking part in some activity for the first time there are often thousands or even billions of people not doing so. And the first time I saw City play was exactly the same game as Hugh Fawcett saw – home to Bury in Division Two in 1966 (see MCIVTA 531). I was 15 and have been in love ever since.

Chris Sawyer (christopher.sawyer@echr.coe.int)

OPINION – A WORTHWHILE ANTI-RAG ARGUMENT

Imagine Nicky Weaver was for some unknown reason on a plane carrying the United team somewhere, and it crashed (note: I hope this never comes true). Everyone on the plane died; would you lot who sing Munich songs sing a merry song about the crash?

No.

So why do you sing about Munich? Old Frank Swift was killed on that plane, and was probably in the top 5 City goalkeepers. He was a legend and died on that plane, and with every song you sing about Munich you’re basically taking the p!ss out of a legendary City player. Seems like you haven’t got the brain to work that out.

OK, I’m all for the rivalry between us and the Rags, but leave Munich out the equation.

Paul Scally – Scall (scall@mancity.net)

OPINION – WHY I DIDN’T HATE MAN UNITED BUT DO NOW!

After much soul-searching (honestly) I’ve decided to reach for the keyboard and add my two pennorth to the debate initiated by one S. Hope. As (probably) one of the older McVittie contributors, it’s perhaps fitting that I kick off with the historical perspective – I think I probably touched on this in my “Why Blue”.

I started supporting City as a 14-year-old, back in the mid-Fifties. Like many Manchester families our loyalties were split – but in any event we had access to two pairs of season tickets, at Maine Road and OT – these were invariably taken up by perming two from me (new Blue), my old man (Blue since 1912-ish), my uncle Ernie, dad’s younger step-brother (Red), my mother (Blue but with a soft spot for the Reds, maybe ’cause she loved Matt Busby’s accent) plus a couple of family friends, one Blue, the other the first totally biased Red I ever met. It was considered perfectly acceptable to go to Maine Road and OT – usually the City tickets were more readily available because the Reds had a sh*t hot reserve/youth team who were setting scoring records at the time – Edwards/Pegg/Colman etc.; many of the Man U supporters went regularly to reserve matches. After the derby match at MR we all congregated at my Grannie’s (Blue) house in Raby Street, Moss Side. First incidence of football violence came after the derby in 1954 when my old man invited his kid brother into the coal shed and clocked him one – must look up the result of that match!

Munich etherised the whole town. In those days players were not superstars with houses in Bowden or Knutsford, they didn’t drive around in Beamers, they went to the game on the bus like the rest of us. Busby in particular was a great believer in the YMCA – Peter St. and enrolled all his young players. So me and my mates played snooker and table tennis, even chess – can’t imagine D. Beckham playing chess! – with Mark Jones, Duncan Edwards, Dave Pegg, Liam Whelan, Geoff Bent etc. Yes of course we gave them some stick when United lost, but basically we were all young guys with common ground – sport and girls mostly. Their deaths, with those of Frank Swift, Archie Ledbrooke etc. bound the whole of Manchester together. Unfortunately it also focussed world-wide attention on United – resulting in the sympathy kick that pulled in supporters from Dublin to Durban, Bournemouth to Boston.

I also have to say that I believe the club milked this emotion, first of their successful PR efforts that marks them apart from all other English clubs. We witnessed early symptoms of violence in the sixties – the skinhead brigade from the London clubs. Northern lads sneered at their appalling dress sense and poor taste. Occasionally there were fights, mostly, then as now, hyped up by the press. Generally the feeling was, if you wanted “bovver” you could get it but it was pretty easy to keep out of the way. I only ever got into trouble on three grounds, OT, Chelsea and Leeds (twice). Chelsea was my own fault – I lost it and biffed an NF loudmouth. The violence came on apace in the 70s and it was an accepted part of youth/football culture, as was diving over turnstiles to get in without paying and other anti-social crazes. In Manchester, rivalry between the clubs was boosted by:

  1. Mutual success in 1968.
  2. Loudmouthed managers – notably Big Malc and Fat Ron winding up the fans.
  3. Yes! The perception of a free-spending City with talented players andbig gates getting in the way of United fans’ dreams of world domination ata time when their own team were dross riding its luck – a sort of mirrorimage of the 80s but alas, as everyone knows, we blew it.

By 1970 there was no way anyone could or would have gone to MR/OT to watch “the other team”. Everyone, all of Us and Them got polarised. Fact. It worsened as United got (in media terms) bigger. And as their gobshite fans got more vocal – especially the ones from Dublin, where they haven’t a football club of their own and Southampton, Brighton and Nottingham, where they have. And as their promotional trivia proliferated, the Spotty Welsh Virgin Duvet, the forty-fifth strip, the pencils, playing cards, crap wine – how long till we see the Phil Neville Condom (don’t buy it Jack-the-rag, it will only let you down)? So they became rich and the refs became as impressed as the media (particularly the MUEN – for ten years my employer). Then United sought to get the rules bent, upped the ante (if we pay £8 million for an average-to-useless player that ups the price of the good players and another twelve clubs aren’t at the races). So by a combination of fantastic marketing/promotion, clever strategy and brilliant football they became the richest club in the world and most successful in England as S. Hope says.

So why don’t I admire them or take them as a rôle model?

  1. Because I wouldn’t like City to go the same way.
  2. Because I don’t think United’s football is all that brilliant – comparedwith Real Madrid in their prime, AC Milan, even Liverpool.
  3. Because I don’t have rational, well-wishing Rag friends; as Butch Cassidy said “Who are these guys?”
  4. Because most of the out-of-town City supporters I know have either Mancroots or started supporting City for some quirky reason, not because theyjumped on a rich and successful bandwagon.

…and so I hate United the club, certain players, their Chairman but most of all their supporters. I have a grudging respect for Fergie, though God knows he’s a miserable, carping bast*rd. But envy? Sorry Mr Hope, it doesn’t even figure. And, no. I don’t sing Munich songs.

Ernie Whalley (bluevalentine@dna.ie)

OPINION – SUPPORTERS’ CHANGE OF ATTITUDE

With reference to Graham Hine’s email in the last issue.

The only change in attitude that I’ve seen is that City fans now believe (rather than hope) that their team can win again. I don’t believe it is any deeper than this.

Most City fans will follow their team through thin and thinner – but this loyalty is a two-edged sword: In exchange for this loyalty, they will in no-way tolerate slackers who wear the blue shirt and do b*gger all but pick up their bulging wage packets. If the City team start to slack the cries of: “What the f*** is going on” and “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” will soon return. However, I doubt that this will happen due to Joe’s insistence on hard work. Under his tenure, players who will not work for the team have either changed their attitudes or been shown the door.

Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

OPINION – MUNICH

If you love something outstandingly beautiful, like Manchester City Football Club, the odds are that tens of thousands of other people will love the same thing, and for similar reasons. My physiotherapist used to tell me to imagine I was stretching up to try and kiss Claudia Schiffer. I asked him if he would mind very much if I tried to kiss Cindy Crawford instead, Claudia in my opinion being what my old dad would have called a shovel-gob. The point is that he expected me to have the same ideals of female beauty as every other male patient visiting his practice. It’s a bit the same with City. We all love watching them but we have to share them with everyone else who loves them. At worst, some of those people will be murderers, rapists and kiddy-fiddlers. At best, they will just have B.O. And as every football fan knows, a sizeable proportion of our fellow fans will simply be boneheads. Trying to teach a football crowd good manners is only marginally easier than getting the tide to turn back by ordering it to do so. If the people who sing disreputable songs were amenable to reason they probably wouldn’t do it in the first place. That is precisely why the arbiters of taste have decided that these people are Neanderthals.

If you get on a bus or train, or enter a pub, club, youth hostel, sports stadium or any other public place, you have to take people as you find them. I deplore insensitivity about a fatal accident and do not feel good constantly hearing about runways (I remember the time of the crash very vividly – see MCIVTA 531), but at the end of the day I don’t try to impose my own standards on everyone else. And I don’t think neutrals can be particularly revolted. People are shocked by noise during a minute’s silence, but they have come to expect loud references to Mrs Beckham’s sex life and other unsavoury subjects. In the late sixties the Kippax used to sing “Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend, Harry Roberts is our friend, He kills coppers” (because he did). I doubt very much if the singers meant every single word and I doubt if the constables in attendance were particularly traumatised. I might even have joined in myself. If I did it was because I was young and foolish and it seemed the right thing to do at the time.

I never particularly liked United fans, even before eight of them systematically wrecked the compartment I was travelling in between leaving Warwick Road and arriving at Oxford Road. I must have been mad to get on a train with no corridor just after City had won at OT. There was one other non-wrecker in there with us and he was keeping his allegiance very much to himself, as I was. I have often wondered how long we would have held out for if we had had to fight them, or what would have happened to me if they had found the scarf stuffed down the sleeve of my jacket. But even I have never made the mistake of assuming that they are all the same. I also find it very irritating listening to all the claptrap about the Scum not being a Manchester club. Until we can match them on the field again I think it would be best to keep fairly quiet about our respective claims to fame.

So let’s get behind the Blues, and forget petty grudges and tragedies from long ago if we can. It’s time to stop looking over our shoulders at the b*ggers.

MCFC. Going on to glory!

Chris Sawyer (christopher.sawyer@echr.coe.int)

OPINION – THE MUNICH DEBATE

My father came originally from Hyde and grew up in Denton. He is a City supporter. His father was a City supporter. After the war they would go together to Maine Road to watch City one week and United the next – this did not diminish their support for City. I chose this allegiance.

My mother grew up in Lostock in Stretford and she is, and her father was, a United fan. When the United aeroplane crashed my maternal grandfather cried – according to my mother the only time she ever saw him do so. My brother and sister have both followed that tradition.

I report these facts only to point out that not all of United supporters are “Johnny Come Lately” foreign glory seekers, though there are plenty of those, and that the United tradition is just as much part of Manchester as ours. There may indeed be some at Old Trafford on match days (though I admit probably not many) who saw Denis Law’s back heel from the other end of the ground and kept their version of the faith. We may not like people like Edwards and Ferguson, and who could, but rather we might try to emulate their achievement.

Those who sing the Munich songs and who taunt United with the tragedy are being positively hurtful to people who are just as Mancunian as we are, the rest of the United “supporters” probably couldn’t care less and may not even know what we are talking about – there was, after all, a war going on in Malaysia (then Malaya) at the time and they would have been too busy! By the same token, we should not forget that Matt Busby had been a great servant to City and that Frank Swift died in the crash.

Now that we have rescaled the slippery slope to the Premiership, can we not put aside some of the vitriol and anger and simply promote a healthy rivalry – if we really are the best fans in the country can’t we show a bit of magnanimity for them in their ignorance? We may be the best team in Manchester but we aren’t the only one and, to their credit, the other lot are pretty good.

Jonathan Davenport (JDavenport@SullivanHeard.com)

OPINION – LISTEN UP MARK REDGRAVE!

I just finished reading “Mazza” Redgrave’s commentary in MCIVTA 620 and am still seething. The level of arrogant contempt shown in that piece left me thinking first and foremost that here was a secret Rag that had crept into our newsletter to stir up some sibling rivalry. Then I realised that no, Mark is a genuine dyed in the wool Blue, he just holds some extreme views about how he perceives his support, ones that he is perfectly entitled to hold and ones that it is also right to challenge.

I’m very sorry to read that he has been injured by Rags for his love of our team. I’m horrified to learn that he has had to witness children wounded by Rag scum and I applaud his anger towards those events. You’re right Mark, get angry, because that type of behaviour has no place in football. Then again neither does his retaliatory attitude “Hit me and I’ll hit one of you, not necessarily the person who wronged me, but one of you nonetheless.” He talks about tribalism and hatred, about being a new generation with a right to selectively ignore the past. Well Mark I’ve got news for you, if you want to know what that kind of attitude achieves take a good long look at Northern Ireland, or the Balkans, or the re-emergence of the extreme right in Germany, “nuff said hey mate”. Blinkered and self righteous!

The people whom I have read that have contributed to the Munich/ManU debate have been anything but, however I’d say that Mark’s submission was exactly that, and I’d add downright arrogant as well. I go to Maine Road regularly, I’d like a season ticket but I work shifts and weekends and could never fully make use of one. When I do get to go I take my wife and two sons with me and we all sit in the same North stand Mark does whenever we can. We are usually found right down at the front so that my five year old can see without getting trampled by over-enthusiastic celebrations. We all wear our colours and my lads have their bedrooms done out in the true blue merchandise. As for chanting we all come away from every match hoarse and sore. “Main stand, main stand give us a song”, “I’ll be City til’ I die” “Blue Moon” “WeeeeeeeaaaveAH” we sing them all. We cheer and shout as loud and long as you do Mr Redgrave. I don’t however see or hear anything during our time there that leads me to believe that anyone around me is blinkered to the facts of Munich apart from those people singing about it!

There is a strong and sometimes bitter rivalry between the enlightened Blues and the swampdwelling scum (must be a big swamp though as most of them live in London). It’s been there for generations now, it isn’t something that Mr Redgrave and his fellows have invented or discovered. It has an unacceptable face from both sides as well but, at the end of the debate, football remains just a game. As it is just that, elevating the hatred by introducing songs that mock, sneer and degrade the deaths of other human beings is ridiculous and unacceptable. I love football. My love of MCFC has been a strong theme running through my life for nigh on 40 years. I hate/dislike/loathe (select which you like) MU but I could never lay aside my principle that human life is sacred just to satisfy the blood lust of Mark and his mates. Mark, as a fellow Blue, we all love and respect you but I don’t think you’re thinking is right on this issue. Dying isn’t fun! Death isn’t pretty and singing songs about the deaths of others isn’t clever. I don’t know how old you are Mark, but I would guess in your early twenties. Well as someone who is about twice that age I can tell you that, get to 40, and all of a sudden hating a Rag seems very low down the list of priorities that face you getting out of bed every morning. Mark, you have the luxury of youth on your side; please don’t use it up with hatred. Two wrongs will never ever make a right and hurting them because they hurt us is no reason to make light of the deaths of human beings. Please stop singing about Munich because even if you “don’t mean anything by it” you are offending a lot of people many of who include your fellow Blues.

P.S. – New Backs Ditty

By the way I came across a new chant for this season especially for the derby. Don’t know if you’ve heard it but here it is… You might like to publish it too. To the tune of “This old man”:

Becks wears red.
Becks wears white.
He’s the ManU transvestite.
Nananananana…

Dave Cash (Vanda_David@tesco.net)

REQUEST – DESIGN AID

Hi, my name is Dale and I am trying to make another good source on the web for all you Blues. I was wandering if any one was willing to help me design my web page and help me build it and maintain it. I would be grateful for the replies if you could e-mail me at dale@mancity.net.

Thanx Citymadfan – Dale (dale@mancity.net)

REQUEST – LINFIELD GAME

I have read with interest the news on MCIVTA regarding the the match at Drogheda.

As myself and a couple of friends are travelling to see the Linfield game only, are there any N.Ireland blues out there going to the Linfield game?

As a member of the M.C.F.C.C.S.A. and a novice to N. Ireland, are there any pre-post match meetings arranged, any pubs that you would recommend or any do’s and don’ts for that matter?

Neil Roberts (neil-woodley.roberts@eu.rhodia.com)

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


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DISCLAIMER
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #621

2000/07/06

Editor:


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