Newsletter #627

Another plethora of City playerss took to the field on Monday night, this time grinding out a 1-0 victory over Drogheda. Realistically speaking, there’s not really much that can be read into a performance which included so many players, and on a pitch about half the width of Maine Road; however, if you’d like to try, we have some excellent match reports (thanks guys) as well as some footnotes to the Linfield game.

Geoff Collins has kindly reviewed the latest book release – ‘Blue Moon Rising’ – which would seem to be a very worthwhile holiday read, and Mike Barnett argues that we should bury the term ‘M(U)EN’. There’s much support for any movement to have some kind of recognition for Neil Young; lots of opinion (mainly about music); and a request for a ‘Single Blue Male’!

P.S. Don’t forget match reports for the Gillingham game!

Next game: Saturday 29th July 2000, Gillingham away


City Scrape Narrow Win

City have returned home from Ireland with a 100% record in their two-match tour. A Shaun Wright-Phillips goal gave the Blues a 1-0 win at Drogheda on Monday to follow Saturday’s more convincing triumph at Linfield. The youngster was on target after 69 minutes of a physical encounter, although City had earlier had a Spencer Prior header disallowed. After using 21 players in Belfast 48 hours earlier, Joe Royle again called on the majority of his tour party, with 19 of the squad featuring in the action at some stage. Nick Weaver played the full ninety minutes, having sat out the Linfield game while Tommy Wright deputised.

City Still Hoping for Ehiogu Deal

Ugo Ehiogu is still City’s priority transfer target. The player was absent from Aston Villa’s side in the Intertoto Cup in midweek, and the Midlanders have encouraged the Blues’ hopes of landing the 27-year-old by asking David Bernstein to keep in contact. City have bid in the region of £7 million, but although Villa rejected the offer, it seems clear they’re prepared to sell if the price is right. However, they haven’t communicated their valuation of the player to the Blues, and Bernstein believes that the next move should come from Villa boss John Gregory. “We certainly don’t want to be banging on Villa’s door every day with a new offer,” the City chairman told the Manchester Evening News. “Our initial bid certainly wasn’t made on a take-it-or-leave it basis. We are willing to be flexible, but we would appreciate it if Villa met us half way and told us what amount they are looking for.”

Royle Looking for Striker Signing

Joe Royle has admitted that he wants to sign a new striker before the Premiership season starts in three weeks’ time. But the Blues’ boss is adamant that, despite the injury scare over Shaun Goater, he’ll avoid making a panic buy. Royle says he has intended all along to bring in a fresh face up front – and isn’t ruling out spending big money to secure a player capable of making an impact in the top flight. But the City manager doesn’t want to meet short-term needs by bringing in a player who has no first-team prospects in the long run. “I could probably go out and sign a replacement for Shaun fairly quickly,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “But we could end up with a situation a few months down the road where you have acquired an expensive player on high wages who is surplus to requirements. And I won’t take that chance.”

City Deny Ferguson Rumour

City have denied reports that the club is set to move for Newcastle’s Duncan Ferguson. The ex-Everton striker could be surplus to requirements at St. James’s Park after the summer signing of Wimbledon’s Carl Cort, and was linked with a switch to Maine Road. Ferguson was on loan at Goodison when Joe Royle was appointed manager – and the City manager wasted no time in spending £4 million to make the deal permanent. But the Blues say there’s no prospect of the pair being reunited by a £3 million deal this summer. “There is no truth in it [the rumour] whatsoever,” director Chris Bird said emphatically.

Goater May Make Opening Game

City were rocked this week by news of the knee injury to Shaun Goater. But the Bermudian front man has had a successful cartilege operation, and Joe Royle is still hoping that last season’s top scorer will lead the attack in the new campaign’s opening fixture. Goater will return to training within three weeks, giving him a chance of being fit by the time the Blues travel to Charlton on August 19. But while Royle accepts that the player has only an outside chance of playing at The Valley, he’s taking comfort from the fact that the ex-Bristol City man will miss only a handful of games. “It will be touch and go whether he makes it [the Charlton game] and time isn’t on his side because he won’t be able to start training for a further three weeks,” the City boss told the Manchester Evening News. “But at the very worst, Shaun isn’t going to miss many games at the beginning of the season.”

Dickov Facing a Dilemma

Paul Dickov says he would be heartbroken to leave Manchester City. But the Scot knows that if he’s to achieve his aim of playing regular first-team football, he may have to move away from Maine Road. Dickov is expected to play a bit-part rôle this term, but is desperate to leave behind his super-sub tag and was reported to be seeking a meeting with Joe Royle to clear the air. The former Arsenal player has been linked with Sheffield United in recent weeks, possibly as part of a deal to bring Blades striker Marcus Bent to Maine Road.

Bernstein Wants Royle to Stay On

Joe Royle has put pen to paper on a four-year contract this summer. But though the new deal will take the City boss to his intended retirement age of 55, David Bernstein has reiterated his wish to keep hold of his manager for longer. Bernstein firmly believes that, after guiding the Blues to successive promotions, Royle will inspire further success at the club. And while the Blues’ manager has been adamant that he wants to retire in four years’ time, the chairman hopes to persuade him otherwise. “If City continue to be successful as we have been of late, then we would like to keep the family together,” he explained. “If we do well I do suspect we’ll be sitting down and talking to Joe Royle again.”

Fenton Bids to Rescue City Career

Nick Fenton has looked to be on the way out of Maine Road in recent months, with the Blues said to be ready to listen to offers for the young defender. But the player’s selection for the recent Irish tour could give him the platform to rebuild his career with City. Fenton had spells on loan at Notts County and Bournemouth last season, and both clubs were reported to be keen to sign him permanently. But now Joe Royle admits that the 20-year-old has started to show the form he displayed in his early first-team appearances in 1998-99. “He had a very poor pre-season 12 months ago and was never pushing for a place at senior level after that, but he came back for pre-season training this time around looking in much better shape,” said the City boss. “He still has his dreamy moments which he needs to eliminate from his game but he is very assured and comfortable on the ball and did nothing wrong in either match in Ireland.”

Reserves Win at Rhyl

City reserves continued their warm-up for the new campaign with a 4-3 win at Rhyl this week. The Blues stormed into a 4-0 interval lead, which they almost let slip in the second period. Two goals from Chris Killen and further strikes from Leon Mike and Chris Suker completed the scoring for City, whose line-up featured transfer-listed pair Jim Whitley and Gary Mason. Terry Cooke also played, while Gareth Taylor was handed an unaccustomed centre-half rôle. The next reserve friendly is at Corby Town on Friday, 28 July. It’s thought that Jamie Pollock, Lee Crooks and Lee Peacock may also be included in the side against the Northamptonshire club.

Figo Could Have Joined City

In the week Luis Figo became the world’s most expensive player, it’s been revealed that the Portuguese star could have been lining up for Manchester City. And the Blues would have had to pay only a tiny fraction of the fee his new side Real Madrid have spent on the midfielder. Figo has moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid for over £37 millon but almost joined City in 1994 for a mere £1 million. The player was 20 years old and playing for Sporting Lisbon at the time, and was spotted by Malcolm Allison, who recommended the talented star to City. But the Blues’ hopes of completing a deal were scuppered when Barcelona stepped in. The story prompted Football 365’s Steve Anglesey to come up with the following line-up, comprising players City failed to sign when given the opportunity, rejected or sold: Mark Shwarzer; Lee Dixon, Colin Hendry, Gerry Taggart, Andy Hinchcliffe; Luis Figo, Neil Lennon, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs; Ashley Ward, Trevor Sinclair.

City Set for Wembley Repeat

City continue their pre-season schedule with a trip to Gillingham on Saturday, the first of six English-based friendlies before the new season starts. And the two sides will be meeting in slightly lower-key circumstances than in their previous encounter. Both clubs have prospered since the Blues robbed the Kent outfit of promotion in such dramatic fashion, with the Gills making up for their 1999 heartbreak by winning the Division Two play-off twelve months later. This weekend’s match sees Robert Taylor return to Priestfield to face his former team-mates, while Alfie Haaland may make a first appearance in City colours after missing the Irish tour to be with his pregnant wife. The home side, meanwhile, are under new management for the second successive summer. Peter Taylor, who replaced Tony Pulis a year ago, has moved to Leicester and former player-coach Andy Hessenthaler has taken charge.

Peter Brophy (


DROGHEDA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 24th July 2000

Drogheda 0 – Man City 1

If Manchester City’s Premiership hopes lie on the performance given by the squad during this tooth pulling exercise, then not even Bradford will have much to worry about this coming season. Be thankful then that this was a friendly, designed to give a run out to as many players as possible – testing fitness and the ability and commitment of fringe players – rather than the beginning of City’s supposed new dawn. The sun barely rose on this one. So as a spectacle the match was a no go – Shaun Wright-Phillips’ 2nd half strike at least saving City blushes – but what did it offer with regard to the condition and form of the players?

The first half lined up in our standard 4-4-2 formation – the defence was Danny Tiatto on the left, big Spencer Prior playing left centre, newcomer Rhys Day as right centre and Nick Fenton playing on the right. Of these we saw the usual performances we’d expect from the known quantities. Danny and Spencer both managed to get forward quite a bit – Tiatto in particular – frequently embarking on weaving runs that – unfortunately, ended up in a cluster of the seemingly endless supply of Drogheda defenders. Spencer was dominant in the air at the back – though as the largest, most experienced defender on the pitch, it would have bode ill if he hadn’t. He was a strong presence for the City set pieces too – his first half headed goal ruled out for climbing it seemed. The performances of Day and Fenton were encouraging. Day was assured and controlled – and got up for a number of set pieces in the opposition’s goalmouth, winning headers and doing a good centre back’s job. Fenton – I thought – gave a great performance. Regularly supporting the attack, bringing the ball over the half way line, heading against a post from a corner – creating a lot of space on the right, he frequently seemed to run short of options once there, with the attackers tending to drift right in front of him, leaving few passing options in the centre. Once out of possession, he’d quickly get back to his position and mark up again – supported well by Day who did a good job coming across to cover when Fenton made his forays.

Midfield was more recognisable – lining up left to right Kennedy, Horlock, Wiekens and Grant. Of these Kennedy shone the brightest. He got the man of the match award from the soccer writers in attendance too. He was getting a lot of the ball – hence the space afforded to Fenton – but had obviously been picked out as the City dangerman because, like Tiatto, he found it hard to get much space to allow a run – turning one defender would frequently find him confronting another. Still, when he had the ball he would frequently get the cross in or lay off a decent pass – even managed a few runs, twisting and turning defenders. Horlock and Wiekens were fairly anonymous – though the midfield was very crowded giving them little room to manoeuvre. As play was generally centring on the left with the runs of Tiatto and Kennedy – both centre midfielders were getting dragged over. I can’t actually comment on Grant’s performance as, due to the strange shape of the ground, the upper right hand part of the pitch was obscured from my view!

Up front was Bobby Taylor and Dickov. There were some nice flicks from both – and great endeavour in particular from Taylor, but little to set a very dull first half alight.

Second half saw what could, I guess, be deemed the backup squad make an appearance. Back line was Granville, Prior, Jobson, Edghill. Ahead of them Kennedy, Bishop, Whitley and Pollock. The front line saw Dickov come off for Lee Peacock. Unfortunately the changeover did little to improve the quality of the game. It wasn’t until the introduction of Shaun Wright Phillips for Bobby Taylor that the tempo was upped a bit. Edghill had a good half – his passing was incisive throughout – employing a variety of balls for the runs of Wright-Phillips and Pollock. Lee Peacock worked hard, was good in the air but lacked invention and was a little ponderous on the ball. He made a great run half way through the half – fed by Kennedy he came through on goal to the left of the area – but an opportunity to shoot was converted instead into a pass across the face of the goal – and the backs of his team-mates! Crisis in confidence perhaps? Possibly not the attributes you want from a striker. That said, he deserved little of the stick he got from some outspoken members of the crowd. Quite what these City fans were trying to do is beyond my comprehension. Considering that forward players, indeed all players perform better when confident, why do fans give individual players such unconstructive hassle? I’ve no doubt that Peacock heard the comments directed at him, maybe even Royle did too – taking him off a few minutes later to reintroduce Dickov. But I’ll leave that for others to discuss. Pollock, ever the battler, got involved in a few scraps. Worked hard too and showed decent control when in possession. Jobson didn’t have a huge amount to do – hard to assess his input. Danny Granville – like Tiatto, tended to get forward quite a bit – Prior moving across a little to cover. Whitley started to play wider on the right with the introduction of Wright-Phillips. It was from here that the goal came. Edghill passed up the wing for Whitley – his deflected pass fell straight to the feet of Wright-Phillips who showed great composure to lift the ball over the advancing ‘keeper. It was a deserved goal – the result of almost constant pressure. Wright-Phillips too – although only on the pitch in total for about 30 minutes – showed a great workrate throughout – making important tackles, intelligent runs and great first time control. His size may play against him, he was certainly the smallest on the pitch – but with feet like that and a great football head and heart, he should make the first team at some stage. Wright-Phillips and Koller up front anyone?

Nicky Weaver played the full 90 minutes and made two very important saves. Reliable as ever it seems. The first came have way through the first half – Tiatto’s forward runs had left some space behind him which was exploited by a nice ball from the Drogheda midfield – the Drogheda striker (sorry for the lack of names!) shot across Nicky who dived well and got a good hand to the ball at full stretch. Late in the second half – with Drogheda pressing forward more and more – he stood up well when a through ball caught both centre halves napping. Weaver deflected the shot back out, luckily to the feet of Whitley who cleared well.

In summation – this game actually made me more nervous about the start of the new season than I felt before. I’ve actually been fairly confident prior to this. However – I don’t think friendlies are anything to go by, particularly when the shape and substance of the team is changed so profoundly during the game. I’d be optimistic about our defence and midfield being able to hold up to certainly the bottom 10 teams from last season. We could do with a creative central or right sided midfielder – all our attacks seemed to progress down the left. Up front I’m afraid to say we could be in big big trouble. I think we need to sign someone – or two – very very soon. With the Goat out for probably the first 5 games – and only Peacock (who seems, unfortunately, a bit out of sorts – same as last season) and Wright-Philips (a year or two away from the finished article) as cover, we need to take action there very soon.

So – can we survive in the Premiership? On this performance – not a chance. But I’m optimistic that our first 11 (or even 14) could just about cut the mustard. Particularly with some extra clout up front. Here’s hoping!

Brian O’Neill (


DROGHEDA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 24th July 2000

Drogheda 0 – Man City 1

Very little has happened in Drogheda (pronounced Draw-hida) since Oliver Cromwell sacked the town in 1649 so the arrival of Manchester City was an event for the locals to marvel at. There they stood slack jawed with their large foreheads gaping at the hordes of Blues strolling up towards the ground, wondering whether they were about to be impaled or covered in boiling oil. Perhaps the more alert locals managed to connect the presence of the crowd with the football ground, a difficult task considering Drogheda United has all the usual Saturday pulling power of a welly boot chucking contest in the Sahara.

Seventy five members of the Manchester City County Wicklow Supporters’ Club joined the ranks of other Irish City fans to welcome our Maine Road heroes to Ireland. No Shaun Goater unfortunately due to a knee scare against Linfield the previous Saturday. No Haaland because of his new baby and no Ehiogu… yet. No Andy Morrison either, which frankly is a bit of a worry and we must conclude that his recovery from his October injury is not going according to plan. The old faces were joined by (relatively) new ones: Fenton came in on the right wing, Day appeared beside Spencer Prior. Dickov joined Bob Taylor up front. From the outset City dominated the proceedings and their sharpness was well reflected in some immediate chances.

Needless to say the Drogheda ground is small, the pitch is very small, a situation which forced the players on top of each other and eliminated whatever passing skill City may have had over the opposition. A corner after two minutes was very nearly converted by Day and City’s aerial supremacy was consolidated with other fine efforts from Prior and Super Bob. Headers rained in from the Blues and one would have been allowed a goal were it not for the referee, who disallowed it for pushing. The locals dug in tight and the first half, a scrappy affair, remained goal-less despite the impressive work rate of the Blues.

Kennedy took control and shone throughout, popping up on the right, in midfield and on the left torturing the Drogheda defence. Bob Taylor had his work cut out for him and was destined to receive the ball mostly with his back to the goal. Drogheda were hard put to keep up as City switched the ball accurately between Kennedy and Horlock on the left and Fenton on the right. For a bloke with such long legs, Fenton hardly used them much. Several times he took the ball in space to begin a leisurely canter up the pitch in contrast to Dickov’s steaming runs and Taylor’s darting into the box. Twice the ball went over the Drogheda goal into a housing estate behind where curious locals peered over the wall to see what the commotion was. So after much huffing and puffing, the score was nil all at half time as the crowd from Manchester and beyond swayed with the fumes from the Gents toilet and sang songs slagging off the theft of Tony Grant’s suit. “Oh Tony Tramp”, went the call. Perhaps the toilets from the changing rooms weren’t the best either as the teams stayed on the pitch during the interval.

The second half saw more encouraging signs as the Blues knocked it about comfortably. Dickov went off with Taylor, Bishop and Wright Phillips came on to the audible cries of “What’s the ball boy doing on the pitch.” Standing next to Prior it’s easy to see how small he is but he soon answered his critics with his pace, which unlike the weather, was blistering. Eventually it was Wright Phillips who provided the goal, a clever through pass by Jeff Whitley (?) put him into space and he accelerated towards the (portly) Drogheda ‘keeper and cleverly lobbed it in to the relief of the expectant crowd. One Nil to the Blues and the first of many we thought.

Kennedy went off and Dickov came back on for the last fifteen minutes (never seen that one before, might make a good quiz item). City kept control until the end as their fitness overcame the Drogheda side. However, the locals were not humiliated by any means and forced a fine save from Weaver in the dying moments. Yes sure a Premiership side would be expected to trounce a team like this by a greater margin but it’s early days yet and there is a lot in this performance to be encouraged about. How many times have we seen City grind out a result in a not-so-pretty display? Who cares as long as we win?

Kennedy won man of the match and deservedly, Lee Peacock will have to do more. Whitley and Edghill provided some nice combinations on the left side in the second half and Bishop and Pollock did a good job in chopping lumps out of the Drogheda United midfield. Final score City 1 Drogheda 0. As the crowd melted into the County Louth night, the Wicklow branch found a local hostelry to dissect the match. Unfortunately we interrupted their weekly bingo night and earned the disapproving frowns of locals trying to count beyond ten. Banned from singing City songs, we made do the best we could. If you can’t beat them join them we thought as we sang out in unison, “We love you bingo, we do.” But of course our real love is City. Stuff the Olympics. Bring on the Premiership, City are back!

Francis Long (


More a set of impressions. Lunchtime: nipped into The Plough and straightaway got talking to two Mancs, Jim and Nick(?). Turned out they’d both been at catering college with my daughter. Nice coincidence to start the day.

Four-thirty: arrived at my mate Hugh’s office, we walked down the Grand Canal on this fine sunny arvo, strolled over the bridge and both said simultaneously “Where did you park the car?” Oh dear. Phone call to Hugh’s wife redeemed matters somewhat and before 5pm we were on the road to Drogheda, via the scenic route to avoid the claggage on the airport road.

Got to Drog. Had to pose in Lucky Dennis Tueart shirt with programme seller, got tickets from nice lady in box office, thence to Windmill pub for pints and singing. Everyone in good voice. The ground was small and claustrophobic and held maybe 5,000. Big sea of Blue on terrace opposite main stand. Started with minute’s silence for local football official who’d died, which City fans maintained impeccably. In fact club got on tannoy to thank us and it was much appreciated by several locals we spoke to.

City came out with Nick Fenton and young Rhys Day on right side of back four, plus Spencer and Dan T. Wiekens in front of them as per back end of last season. Super Kev, Tony Grant, Kennedy wide on left. Up front Medium Fat Super Bob and Dickov. Really, there was nothing down for us. Locals, unlike Linfield seemingly, were really up for it, especially big centre back and their gobby No.8, who was having a good scrap with Dan T. Tight ground made it difficult to stretch them, Mark was doing his best with some excellent dribbles and pinpoint crosses with which Spencer roared up to connect with at least 3 in first half. Fenton looked fairly impressive, good distribution, made a couple of decent runs down the wing and took up sensible attacking positions. Hard to judge his tackling as nobody apart from Danny and the aforesaid No.8 was going full pelt. Rhys Day looked good in the air, a wee bit uncertain on the ground but nothing drastic. Kevin neat and busy as usual, and Wiekens, as he does in games played at strolling pace, looked very classy and comfortable on the ball.

Upfront, MFSB covered an amazing amount of ground for a man of his bulk, can’t fault his work ethic. Dickov full of smart-arsed little flicks and one-twos but not really penetrative. Weaver had little to do but produced a stunning sample of his capabilities towards the end of the half, with a flying save. Second half: swapped Dan T for Dan G, Reg and Jobbo came on. Jamie, Bish and Jeff Whitley appeared and Peacock came on for Dickov. Peacock was truly a lightweight, didn’t seem to want to get on the end of anything. We couldn’t figure why no appearance by Inge-Haaland and TC. Seems Alfie was away at the birth of a future Norwegian international and Terry was, well, Terry and got left at home. What is going on? Anyhow, Bish started out with a few superb passes but soon got dragged down to the level of everyone around him. Reg gave the ball away to an accompaniment of groans, no racism, thank God, then got us out of stuck with one superb interception. Jamie gallumphed around to no visible effect then got carted. Omigod, I thought, here goes, but no, a few smiles and gestures from Captain Spencer got everyone playing happy families again. Danny G’s passing was pretty woeful too. Jeff Whitley, in contrast, was fizzing, fast and made a big difference, especially when MFSB came off and Wright-Phillips came on and the two of them started to turn the two ponderous central defenders.

W-P got the goal, a simple enough chance from a cross missed by the ‘keeper and defence, but he took it really well. Five minutes later he had the crowd on its feet with a superb piece of skill. He looks as though a good fart would blow him away, but what a superb little footballer. I hope he makes it, I really do. We powered down towards the end and the reinforcements from their Euro-sized squad (everyone except the tealady came on for a kick against the Blues) got stuck in and caused us a bit of grief, forcing another good save from Nicky.

So we came away 1-0, maybe a trifle lucky but most of the time we were in control. Kennedy adjudged MOTM. Can’t draw many conclusions. I came away with the gut feeling that Jeff Whitley will hack it okay in the Prem. Kennedy seems to work better with Tiatto than Granville. And if young Fenton can tackle (anyone give us a report?) he’s probably better equipped to survive in the fast lane than Edghill. Also anyone know anything about Rhys Day? Medium Fat Super Bob impressed to a degree, he does sensible things more often than not and is hard to shake off the ball. Kennedy and Spencer will survive and I’m pretty sure Kev and Gerard will too. Looking foward to see Alfie in action and Ehiogu if we get him is a tasty player. But there’s no gainsaying we need a creative midfielder – Tony Grant looked pretty anonymous even at this level and a proven striker would be handy – I liked the idea of pairing the Goat with “Horsy” Koller. After the match, down to the appropriately named Corrigan’s for more pints then home. All Blues who came over, welcome to Ireland, hope you had a good time and got back home safely, if not soberly.

Ernie Whalley (


I made the short trip up the coast from Bray to Drogheda on Monday, mind you it took 3 hours to do the 40 miles. I reckon the City players were a little taken back by the large contingent of city fans both from England and here in Ireland.

To be quite honest the game itself was not up to much, but then most friendly matches are like that. City were mostly dominant in the first half but we failed to find the net except for a disallowed goal. The City starting 11 was a mix of regulars and new faces: N Weaver, D Tiatto, N Fenton, R Day, G Wiekens, S Prior, K Horlock, T Grant, M Kennedy, R Taylor and P Dickov. Day looked the sharpest of the non regulars. Kennedy looked very good at times, beating players at will and getting some good crosses in to the box, Prior was as usual very commanding in defence but I think we really missed Shaun Goater up front. The only goal came from the smallest man on the pitch, Wright Wright Phillips, as he was been called on the night, came on as a second half substitute and looked very lively. In the second half Drogheda got into the game a bit more but rarely tested Weaver in the City goal. Jeff Whitley, D Granville, R Edghill, Lee Peacock, Ian Bishop and J Pollock were other second half substitutes. Pollock was his usual self, getting stuck in straight away.

We went to a pub after the match for a few pints; not the cleanest place that I have ever been to but an interesting one nonetheless, in that at 12 o clock when we thought we would get chucked out, the proprietor commenced a game of bingo, yeah bingo, so more drink was had. On a sour note, some prat decided that he would give Lee Peacock some undeserved abuse at the game. I have spoken to Lee a couple of times after games at Maine Road, and he is a very nice bloke who always seems to have time for the fans, so prat if you are reading this, do us real City fans a favour and go support the Rags.

Kindest regards, Paul Fegan (


I notice my brother Peter did a Linfield match report, thereby saving me the trouble. However, a couple of footnotes:

  1. Don’t get excited about Day. He was terrible. I feel sure we witnessedhis entire City career. In fact, he was so bad it was suggested that Joe had’fixed it for him’ to get a game with City – maybe a sort of fan’s birthdaypresent?!
  2. A special message to the 4 City fans who ran off from the Belfast branch ofPizza Express without paying: If you must behave like complete tossers, thendo other Blues a favour, and don’t wear the shirt. You bring shame on usall, not to mention the club.

Nigel Timperley (


As you are aware pre-season kicked off with an emphatic 4-0 trouncing of the Northern Ireland League & Cup winning side Linfield, who that very week had been two minutes away from qualifying for the Champions’ League. Don’t read too much into the result as they were very average.

One-nil up in the first minute. Wright-Phillips cross, The Goat nods it in. W-P looked OK, obviously trying to impress Joe. Made a couple of good runs down the left, twisting and turning like a twisty turny thing. Got shoved off the ball quite often due to being a short-ar*e. Was also impressed with Nick Fenton at the back, very steady.

The rest of the first half was a complete yawn-fest. Whole team was changed for the second half although I didn’t spot any problem with Goater – only heard about his injury last night in the Alliance.

Second half saw a couple of goals courtesy of howling defensive errors but was rounded (appropriately) off with a thundering diving header from Bob Taylor from a Kennedy cross. Don’t think we’ll be seeing too many of those in The Premiership. Bob was also sufficiently ‘up for it’ to try to chin one of their players following a dodgy tackle. Cue half-hearted chorous of “Super, Super Bob”.

Match atmosphere. I’m not exaggerating when I say there wasn’t any. Probably approx. 3-4,000 Blues, but pre-season friendlies would seem to attract a certain train spotter/CB radio enthusiast element – some truly tragic individuals. Don’t know where they all went before or after the game, certainly not anywhere near Windsor Park which is in a particularly horrible Protestant enclave of Belfast – all Union Jacks and ‘The Future’s Orange’ banners.

All in all a fairly surreal experience which I hope to make an annual event.

David Godfrey (


Blue Moon Rising (The fall and rise of Manchester City)
Published by Milo Books
ISBN 0953084744
Printed by The Guernsey Press Company
Price £7:99

Just finished reading the new Man City book, Blue Moon Rising. Managed to get a copy hot off of the presses on Saturday afternoon, the book being printed here in Guernsey. One of my mates works for the Guernsey Press and bought me my copy down to the pub. Spent all day Sunday reading it, and what a good read it is too.

I think that the Truman Show is alive and well and takes the form of Manchester City Football Club. If this book were a work of fiction you would think the whole thing preposterous. We really are a soap opera. The cover of the book is bang up to date with a great photo of Mark Kennedy about to embrace Sir Joe after his goal against Blackburn.

The book opens with a brief intro to set the scene. This is followed by an overview of what has happened over the last ten years, then follows chapters about Peter Swales and his relationships with Kendall and then Peter Reid.

Chapter four is entitled, “Forward with Franny”, and details the war that went on between the two sides fighting for control of the club. We then learn a bit about the Horton era, didn’t do too bad a job but didn’t seem to get much backing, also suffered from not being a “big name” manager.

Then comes the “Footballing Genius” chapter about Alan Ball. On meeting his players for the first time he boldly told the players, “Let me tell you abut me and what I’m about, I’m a winner. They all go on about winning this and winning that but I’m a World Cup Winner (yawn). None of you can out drink me and none of you have been to better parties than me. I’ve done it all. Let me tell you. I’m only after success and that’s what I’ll strive for here and that’s what I’ll get.”. Well if that doesn’t make you puke, I don’t know what will. What a silly man.

Then follows the merry-go-round chapter when we were linked with every manager under the sun, and damn near tried them all as well. The Frank Clark story tells about how a pre-condition of his joining meant the sacking of Tony Book, a fact he strongly denies. After putting up £5 million, Stephen Boler asked Franny Lee to introduce him to the man who would be spending his money. After meeting him Boler said to Lee, “Don’t let that bugger waste my money”. Of course £3.5 million of it went on Lee Bradbury, this after Birmingham had dropped out of the bidding at £2.5 million, so obviously Lee had taken no notice at all. His first meeting with the players involved Clark getting his guitar out and singing to them. My God, what a bloody shower of leaders we’ve had to endure over the years.

The next few chapters chart the arrival of Joe Royle and the exit of Franny Lee. Joe goes on to give good reason for the releasing of Gio, and reveals the time when he tried to get Steve Mc Mannamann on loan when he was ready to leave Liverpool for Madrid. Lee then left and David Bernstein took over the reins and City were almost ready to sail into calmer waters, although we had to drop into Division Two to find them.

Chapter nine charts the Second Division promotion season, culminating in that Wembley final. Chapter ten gives a match by match report on the 99/00 season interspersed with relative league tables, ending with the famous victory over Blackburn.

I found the book un-putdownable, and read it at one sitting. I found myself feeling saddened by the early chapters but, as I got towards the end of the book found my spirits being lifted as I read about the team I have loved for 35 years eventually finding some sort of consistency and pride under the new regime. I thoroughly recommend this book to all City fans old and young, and hope after you have read it that you feel the same pride and satisfaction that we are fans of Manchester City Football Club.

Geoff Collins (


I feel I must respond to the ill-informed piece by Nigel Pickles about the Manchester Evening News in MCIVTA 626, or as Nigel refers to it, the Manchester United Evening News. Is it not time to bury this tedious nonsense?

I cannot talk on the specifics of the serialisation of the book on City’s fall and rise, as although I edit the CITY magazine which is published by the Manchester Evening News on behalf of the football club, I work in an entirely different department. I have yet to see the book, although I did read the edited extracts.

Journalistically, whether Nigel or anyone else likes it or not, Brenda Swales talking about the death of her husband makes for a better story than another ‘David Bernstein says that Joe Royle is better than sliced bread’ story. That is a fact. I don’t defend it, but that’s the way it is (I hope the following analogy isn’t trite, but by the same token, that’s why a train crash story is better than a ‘train arrives safely and on time’ story). Any book chronicling the club’s return to the Premiership would have to cover the Swales regime. It is called context.

To say, as Nigel does, that the paper struggles to print anything decent about the club is a claim so absurd it doesn’t deserve any response, so it won’t get one, at least from me. But let me tell Nigel and all the other people who drearily refer to the paper as the MUEN that Manchester United make life pretty difficult for the Manchester Evening News reporter who covers United, Stuart Mathieson.

Here’s an example. If Stuart wishes to go to the training ground and do a post-training session interview with a United player, he has to fax the club giving them 48 hours’ notice. Only when they approve his request is he allowed in the training ground car park. City, on the other hand, could not be more helpful if they tried. Here’s another example. If Nigel walks round town, he will see that the teaser billboards covering City stories in that night’s paper have the City crest ghosted underneath the text. United teaser billboards don’t, as I understand United wanted to charge the paper for the privilege.

Nigel writes that the paper’s biased reporting has gone on for years. Might I suggest he pours himself a cool drink and sits in a darkened room for a few hours? It is only people who claim not to read the paper who labour under this misapprehension, as Noel Bayley’s interview with Chris Bird in Bert Trautmann’s Helmet pointed out. Didn’t Noel preface a question to Chris with something like: ‘I don’t read the paper myself but everyone knows it’s an anti-City paper’?

The paper’s man on the City beat at present is Chris Bailey, whom I know very well. He is City through and through. His predecessor, Richard Burgess (co-author of the book) was also City through and through. I understand he was an early contributor to King of the Kippax (indeed as I was), which should be proof of his allegiance. He even wore a City scarf in the press box at Wembley, a clear breach of press box protocol. Richard’s predecessor, the late Bryan Brett, was also a City fan of many years’ standing. Bryan’s predecessor, Paul Hince, used to play for the club. That takes us back almost 10 years. Biased? The evidence suggests otherwise.

It is not the paper’s fault that the club was run so shabbily during the Peter Swales years and so unprofessionally in the Francis Lee years. The paper reported events in that time exactly as they happened. What was it supposed to do? Tell the world that City was a smoothly run super professional organisation? Nigel, you’re shooting the messenger.

It is no secret that at the time of Francis Lee’s ill-fated takeover the paper was relatively hostile to the club, but that was because the paper’s then-editor, Mike Unger, backed the Mike McDonald takeover bid rather than Francis Lee’s. Lee gave all the exclusives on the takeover to the Mirror, whose reporter, Alec Johnson, subsequently wrote a book on the subject, The Battle for Manchester City. It is not in any way required reading.

The relationship between a local paper and the club on its patch is at times a complex one. Both parties can at times forget that they need each other. Francis Lee forgot it, and often. The club is not perfect – what organisation is? – but these days, City get it right more often than they get it wrong. And in the light of what happened under the Swales and Lee years, Nigel and all City fans should be grateful for that. But, Nigel, don’t blame the paper for the faults of the club.

Incidentally, United have banned all press photographers from their training sessions, including, of course, the MEN.

Mike Barnett Editor, CITY magazine (


I totally agree with David Cash’s sentiments.

We as fans (and/or Mcvittee subscribers) should petition the club to officially honour Neil’s achievements. Consider the accolade that Goater has received in his country (without playing at the top level) to what Neil Young did for us. The current fat cats can use the “it was before our time” excuse but the man was and is a City hero and deserves to be treated as such by the club.

Sorry if you are too young to remember but Neil Young’s stats in David Cash’s article speak for themselves, can you imagine Kevin Phillips being overlooked in Sunderland’s recent history?

I personally remember watching Neil Young crack home a screaming winner against Leicester in the 1969 FA Cup Final on a black and white television. He hit the ball so quickly the camera had a problem getting the shot and the ball hitting the back of the net within the same frame. Who was the last City player to achieve that?

I rest my case, voice your opion to the club.

CTID, Peter Abbott (


The article about Neil Young was excellent. I was 7 when we won the league, and although I was a great fan of Bell and Lee, my idol was Neil Young. I’m not sure why, but I guess it was due to the spectacular goals he used to score.

The highlight of my young life was provided by Chris Muir whose daughter was in my class at school. For my eighth birthday he got hold of one of Neil Young’s shirts for me. It completely buried me but it didn’t stop me wearing it night and day.

Count me in on any campaign to remember Neil.

With regard to City music, given our excentric tendencies perhaps something surreal/psychadelic would be appropriate. My suggestion would be “Five to One” by The Doors – if nothing else it would wind the Rags up. My second choice would be “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns’n’Roses just ’cause it’s rousing and noisy. In the interests of topicality how about “12/8 Blues” from “Long May You Run” by Neil Young (no idea what it sounds like).

Alan Holt (


There have been many who have said what David has for a good few years! The Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association (MCCSA) has Neil as its Honourary President. A “grand title” which hopefully shows, in some small way, the appreciation of City fans old and new to such a great player.

Nelly was made President when we formed MCCSA five years ago and whilst we don’t provide too many direct benefits to Neil we do try to make him part of any of our collective events and functions (when we have them).

Also, many of the branches (like the one I am involved in at Stretford and Urmston [a.k.a. the Blues in Bandit Country]) also invite him to meetings (not as a formal speaking guest) to socialise and be entertained by us etc.

This said, I understand that Neil is actively involved in teaching football skills and coaching at school level. As a result that often precludes him from joining in the network of events in the MCCSA.

However, I think we should all bear Dave’s earlier comments in mind – lest we forget – and do what we can to let these “old boys” know we still value them.

All the best.

Clive Hamilton, Secretary, Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association and Stretford & Urmston MCCSA (


Neil Young… aah the memories!

Did everybody just know that we were going to win if Youngy had a header? Did anyone else ever score better left-footed goals than Youngy? He may have been delicate but that forward line did not work well without him. They were all the perfect complements for each other. The other forgotten member of that team was TC. Tony Coleman was a better crosser of a ball than numbnuts beckham (he does not deserve the caps) and he only got sent off if the pubs were still open. Does anybody else remember him retrieving a ball at either Preston or Blackburn (I am old and my memory is fading) in a semi-final that was going out for a goal kick but he got his foot round the defender to cross it for a goal?

That combination made Allison look like a genius (Joe Mercer was a genius) The descent started after that forward line broke up. The team spirit of those magic years was broken (and I got married). That team has gone but we are still together even if her dad is still a Red. After I moved out, my mother threw away the Newcastle Brown Ale bottle with the turf I gathered after that wonderful match, up until last year, the most exciting match I have ever seen. I was there but, sadly, not at Wembley for the most recent one. I listened to that on the the Internet with people from Australia, Ireland, Florida Blue and thanks to David7 got to watch the video of that and Blackburn with our little group of California Blues. Well, thanks for the memories!

Jon Heavis (


Only because I did intend to write in a report of the 6-a-side masters and never got round to it because of… not getting round to it. I have to point out (sorry Peter) that Peter Brophy missed out one very bald Neil McNab from the City squad. Still, given his contribution on the night I can understand Peter missing it.

I still like “Roll with it” and “Right Here Right Now”. I favour Roll With It because:

  1. Oasis were proud to claim their allegiance before every other twop decidedit was cool to support a football team. How many of these people turn up atgigs with their club badges on their instruments, backdrops and… hearts?
  2. My daughter telling me the corniest joke that I doubled up over (OK some bias there).
    Guy walks into a cafe and asks for a bowl of soup. When he goes to pay thecashier she says: “That’s £1.90 please.” He says: “It says £1.50 on the menu.”She says: “That’s for the standard, but you had the Oasis soup.”He says: “What’s the difference?”She says (and I’m sure you got this before I finished typing): “You got a roll with it.”

I saw Franny Lee on the sky programme “The Last Word” with Jimmy Hill. He was very convincing and almost convinced me about how well he did. But then the man did make a fortune out of toilet paper (detracting nothing from the player he was).

Similar to James Talbot I wonder whether Francis believes his own view, and I believe he does, because succesful people are very good at being successful. Don’t bother them with the facts, because I make money. Did Francis make, or lose, money during his tenure? This is one question I haven’t heard the answer to.

I also thought I was reading a Wheelie article when I read Simon Curtis in the last MCIVTA. But John Riley ask not if they are related… ask if they are not indeed the same person… have you ever seen them together? I know I haven’t.

David Kilroy (


The branch will be meeting on Monday 31st July at 8pm in the Beaver pub, near St Mary’s Church and the Saturday Market Place in Beverley. Last month we sat and wallowed in a video of City’s greatest goals from the 60’s onwards, but this month we have more serious business as we need to get the branch on a firmer footing in terms of its finances and organisation – anyone want to be Chairman? We also need to renew subscriptions for current members… so please come armed with your fivers! Any new Blues in the area are welcome to come along.

Geoff Donkin – Tel. 01482 864372 or 07977 072943 (


The next meeting of the Essex & Suffolk branch of the CSA will take place on Friday 28th July from 8:00pm. The venue will be The Seabright’s Barn, Galleywood, Essex. The format of the evening takes on the award for “Clubman of the year”, membership renewals, new member sign ups and lots of good old fashioned drinking. We will have a raffle on the night with a signed ball up for grabs. We were unfortunately unable to secure a visitor from the club as we had hoped but can guarantee some interesting characters.

It is also the perfect oppertunity to hand in your Predictions entries if you have not already done so. further details can be had from:

Paul Gallagher – Secretary (


The next meeting of West Yorkshire branch of the CSA is Tuesday 1st August at The Globe, Rastrick Common. It will be our AGM and the meeting starts at 8pm. Many thanks.

CTID, Simon Clegg (


Ta to Peter Timperley for his report on the Linfield game. In answer to your question, No.32 Day was presumably Rhys Day, last season’s Youth Team captain. Seen him a couple of times for the youth and reserves and he looks quite handy. He’s certainly tall (as you saw), good in the air, leads by example sort-of-thing, likes to come up for corners (and score) and seems as ready as anyone to get a chance in the first team. He’s played for Wales at U-18 and U-21 level, but whether he’ll make the grade is another matter. We seems to have had some good centre halves at this level of late, e.g. Ingram, Morley, Rimmer, but don’t seem to be able to bring them on that last bit. Here’s hoping, anyway.

Andy Noise (


Found a great site to keep you upto date with all the latest City news on the web:

It’s updated every hour.

Andy Worthington (


In response to Dan Nunn’s question, I was passing Maine Road today (July 24th) and decided to call and enquire about my card which has been on order for over a month. I was told that they are being posted out this week.

Steve Willis (


Been on to my West Ham contact re Kitson. Though the rumour’s been rubbished and seems dead, a week’s a long time in football given the dearth of any other impending signings. Here is his twopennorth:

He is actually a good player: whenever he came on he made a difference as Redknapp always said it would be his last game. I believe given the opportunity he could be a good signing for a couple of seasons.

Heidi Pickup (


In a sideways sort of reply to Rob Hyslop’s article in MCIVTA 625 re: superstitions etc. I no longer have a season ticket at Maine road due to work / family commitments, so I go to games when I can. Last season I saw eight games and eight victories which were:

1. Nottm Forest (h) 2-0 won
2. C.Palace     (h) 2-1 won
3. Blackburn    (h) 2-0 won
4. Ipswich      (h) 1-0 won
5. Bolton       (h) 2-0 won
6. Bolton       (a) 0-1 won
7. Port Vale    (a) 1-2 won
8. Altrincham   (a) 1-2 Won  [friendly]

All my Blue mates keep telling me to go to more games, and so I will if I can get tickets (oh no I’m beggining to sound like a Rag). I wonder if anyone can beat my record? I also saw the Brian Moore interview with Neil Young on Sky TV and I agree with David Cash. It’s not too late to honour one of Manchester City’s best ever strikers.

As for a Maine Road theme tune my vote goes to “Sweet child ‘o’ mine” by Guns’n’Roses. It sends a shiver down my spine just like when I’m watching Denis Law’s greatest goal of all time; that sweet back heel.

Come on you Blues, Nick Phillips (


I was checking out the papers at work the other day (in a less than busy moment) and came across an article in one of them about a signing that City almost made but didn’t. It was in 1994 during the “Horton’s reign” and concerned a less than well known (at least in this country) Portuguese player. Yes folk, for a miserly one million quid we let go none other than Luis Figo. Apparently Figo “wanted” to come to Maine Road and even took up pen to sign on the dotted… The article wasn’t clear exactly why the deal fell through but needless to say we could have had our own David Beckham whilst said Mr B was still writing unpleasant things on the bog walls at school. And of such foolish irony is football made.

David Cash (


In response to Dan Nunn’s comment re: CityCards, I rang the helpline yesterday and after much engaged like tones I finally got through to an irate woman who quizzed me if I was renewing my card. I replied that indeed I was renewing my card and she said that it would be coming out to me this week. And yes my payment went out at the end of last month so that’s 24 days and counting. The only positive note was that I get to keep my number from last season so that means I can try to get tickets for the Sunderland match.

As for the music debate, I was delighted to see that Bury Blue proposed the Chemical Brothers as a choice to rouse us from our seats, as I believe our saviour Big Joe is a fan of The Chemical Brothers… well a fan might be taking it too far, but he did say that he quite liked them. Having originally dismissed the boys Gallagher I was fortunate enough to see them at the Reebok Stadium and they used the first track off their current album as an intro., this being “F****** in the bushes”; though I doubt that this could be used in the family environment of Maine Road it was an excellent beginning to a fine concert – though not quite as good as Maine Road ’96. However, it got me thinking as to what bands used as an intro. to their appearance on stage, as surely the music is used merely to whip the crowd into a frenzy before the band/football team then take them onto another level i.e. The music needs only to be stirring but not mind blowing as this could detract from the performance. Therefore, I have racked my brain and have chosen a few favourites that bands have used for intros… Embrace – “We Have All the Time in The World” – Armstrong, Mansun – “The Boys Are Back in Town” – Thin Lizzy, Smaller – Theme tune from ‘This is Your Life’… and to throw a few more tunes into the ring, the theme music from ‘Where Eagles Dare’, Chemical Brothers ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’ and finally Gomez ‘Blue Moon Rising.’ If we can’t get Stuart Hall, how about Mark & Lard considering they are at Maine Road most weeks?

As for a player called Day wearing the number 32 shirt for City against Linfield, could this be Rhys Day who I think was captain of the youth team last season – I could be wrong. Nice to see Wright-Phillips on the scoresheet last night. Thinking of next season has he been playing on the right wing?

CTID, James Walsh (


One has only to look at the problems created by a tall, quality centre forward e.g. Niall Quinn/Duncan Ferguson to realise that they are a right handful for any defence and to be frank, our current forwards are not blessed with height, neither are they great in the air. £6 million is a lot for any player, but for a current international such as Jan Koller, then I say JR should realise that he will have a seasoned forward who would trouble any defence in the world.

Every other team in the Premiership is adding quality to their side – look at Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Leeds – they are good enough without these additions – why does JR assume we will match any of the current sides – one has only to look back to our FA Cup vs. Leeds to appreciate the gulf between the 2 teams. We need quality and that costs money but in the long term this will pay off – as the saying goes “you pay peanuts and you get monkeys”. Koller was also impressive in Euro 2000 – giving Jaap Stam the runaround. I think it shows a lack of ambition by City for not being willing to pay the going rate for decent strikers!

With Goater and Amokachi now injured, what do we have up front? What about Julian Joachim or Danny Cadamarteri?

Surrounded by Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U fans, the future is certainly not Laser Blue.

Glyn Albuquerque (


Anthony O’Leary reckons we could have Ron Goodwin’s theme from “633 Squadron” as our run-out music – “as rousing and as British as the Blitz and the Queen Mum.”

Suspect the Queen Mum has more than a touch of German blood in her somewhere!

Mark Cowen (


So the idea of having Roy Harper singing anything is a non starter I suppose even though he is a good Blue. Ajax just down the road from me have adopted “We are the champions” and can have it. Me and the lad Curtis were at Blackburn at home but I cannot remember Fat Boy Slim, or too much of any thing that day. So for what it is worth, Led Zep, Rock and Roll. But what is wrong with Oasis or have I missed the backlash?

Cya, Bob Price (


I just wanted to stick my oar into the debate raging over the pre-match music.

I’ve read opinions suggesting Movin’ On Up by M-People, Hello by Oasis, Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim, assorted classical works and most recently tracks by the Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy.

I believe that none are suitable and will explain why before leaving myself open to ridicule with a really bizarre nomination.

Firstly, Movin’ On Up, while produced by City fan Mike Pickering, is too pop, too cheesy and, as someone else said, too much like the kind of thing deemed suitable by Southampton or Coventry.

Secondly, Hello is cooler, cheekier and expresses suitable sentiments. Unfortunately Oasis’ fortunes seem to be on the wane just as City’s are heading in the other direction. And it’s a reworking of a track by convicted child-pornmeister Gary Glitter. Nuff said.

Thirdly, Right Here, Right Now is indeed rousing. Those spooky chords will, for me, always conjure up memories of the moment the teams walked onto the Wembley pitch for the 1999 Second Division play-off final. The track had the same effect last season but I believe it is now time to move on. Let us consign Sir Fatboy of Slim to the musical archives to be forever associated with back-to-back promotions in the same way The Boys in Blue is inextricably linked with years of home defeats by clubs like Shrewsbury.

Classical works (not the collected orations of Socrates) are all well and good but to adopt one would, I feel, be leaving us open to accusations of taking Sunderland’s lead following their adoption of that cut by Prokofiev. We’ve already given them Peter Reid and Niall Quinn. Let’s draw the line and offering them the chance to take the proverbial.

Finally the recent suggestion advocating a track by the Chemical Brothers or the Prodigy. All well and good but a bit too mass-market I feel.

We need something a bit cool, a bit unusual, something a million miles away from the turgid pap piped out from the PAs of most Premiership outfits. For this reason I would ask you to cast your mind back to 1986.

A nation was preparing for the World Cup. The BBC chose music by Andrew Lloyd-Webber to accompany their coverage of the giant pitch-hovering spider dominated proceedings. They missed a trick there. What they should have chosen was The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme by pioneering electronic act Colourbox. Yes it’s associated with footy, yes it’s largely unknown and therefore cool and, yes, it rocks big time.

Before dance music ate the world (there was a time pop kids) Colourbox were one of a handful of bands dabbling with keyboards for a living. Theme (to give it its short title) starts with a single bass note hit again and again to create that tingling Fatboy Slim-esque moment. Then the drums kick in – bang, bang, bang. It’s a rousing, writhing, rock and rolling piece and I urge you to track it down, give it a listen and campaign for its place in Maine Road, pre-match history.

No doubt someone else will write in to say Colourbox supported The Red Filth. Dear God I hope not.

Who would have thought the future started in 1986. The time is now. The time is Colourbox. Not ‘alf mate.

Chris Reed (


It is absolutely crucial that our boys don’t come out to the crashing ignition that is ‘Roll with it’ – Alright, Oasis have done Man City no harm whatsoever over the years, ‘swearing’ their allegiance to the ‘Mighty Blues’ all over the globe – you can’t walk through the streets of Japan these days without seeing lovely Brother/EIDOS tops floating in and out of Sushi establishments. However, let us not forget that in the two consecutive seasons in which some bright spark decided to crank the volume up at 4 minutes to three on my favorite day of the week, letting rip with ‘Roll with it’ – my favourite team continued to roll down the table. Relegation – twice! Shove it, Right Here, Right Now!

Joel Perry: Kippax, Seat 46, Row 7, BB Lower (


The debate rumbles on but so does time, like a large farm vehicle with not many brakes. A compromise between the Battenburg munchers and their delicate preference for classical music, a not unwholesome area of entertainment but one which sits uneasily alongside our unshaven chins and pie-stained City shirts. The sad Freddy Mercury fans (yes indeed, far far too much Walsall-Northampton for the sumptuous Maine Road precincts, but then just the first dump-dump-dump of Radio Ga-Ga is enough to make your winky grow inwards). And the indie-gang, thirsting for Joy Division and the clanking riffs of the Hacienda’s sweat-filled nights, has to be found. Behold. There is a way forward. I shall explain:

To keep everybody happy, we should change the tune to suit the match. Having won at Charlton on the first day of the season, we could welcome the Blues back onto the Big Premiership Stage at Maine Road for the first time in five years with a quick blast of U2s ‘A Sort of Homecoming’. To keep the theme running on the Wednesday and to appease the boy Redgrave and his dark satanic long-haired leanings, ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ by the Lizzy Blokes (just this once though but) could be given a high volume airing. The next home is Boro, but follows thrashings at both Anfield and Leeds, so maybe we could offer a bit of stand and be counted, were not giving up yet with The Smiths ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ just to show that we are there to be counted from August to May and beyond.

Newcastle are next for the TG2000 and the massed, international, ranks could waltz down the aisles of the Main Stand to The Housemartins ‘The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death’. A 3-1 win over Bobby Bobson’s misfits will have jaws fit to crack with all that smiling. Bradford arrive straight after this and we should be in a thumping good mood and hit them with a full frontal ‘Out To Get You’ by James. We follow this spectacular win with long trips to Southampton and Arsenal, the latter producing the need for some reflection on arrival back in Rusholme and a bit of Elvis Costello’s ‘Couldn’t Call It Unexpected’ to greet the boys for the Leicester game.

A thoroughly polished win and the excellent draw at Upton Park that follows sets us up nicely for the small matter of a meaningless local encounter with Swampford Athletic. I suggest a medley to get warmed up for this one in the way that each individual wants: those of us cowering in the corner hardly able to hold our pints steady can start off with ‘In Need of a Miracle’ by the New Radicals; those of us already full of beer and bravado can slurp along to James thumping ‘Destiny Calling’ and the rest of us can prepare for the encounter with a cling-to-your-colours-and-hope ‘Wrapped In Clothes of Blue’ by Texas. I suggest we break with tradition at the end, having survived the match without letting Giggs tie old Spencer’s legs in a knot and getting substitute Big Bad Blobby Bob nicking an unlikely winner, and play them off to a quick Lightning Seeds medley, ‘Joy’, followed by ‘Ring The Bells’ and just to show that we are a caring bunch- ‘God Help Them’ for the bedraggled Swampdwellers picking their way through the crowded but welcoming streets of Moss Side.

Ipswich are next to the Academy and we should be in rollicking good form after winning the derby. Simple Minds’ ‘Celebrate’ will be fine, especially if we can squeeze a quick bit of New Order’s ‘Dream Attack’ to praise the new partnership of Big Mad Bad Blob Bob and the late arriving Jan Koller. Edwin Collins’ ‘North of Heaven’ could be squeezed in here too to underline just how floaty good we’re feeling. A disaster at Chelsea means we are in need of some sobering stanzas of Blur’s ‘This Is a Low’ as the Toffeemen visit with Gazza in tow. Having cleansed ourselves with this mini durge, a royal knees up could be had with ‘The Sound Of Crying’ by Prefab Sprout belting out for the bellied halfwit in the Everton blue. This would get us going again something rotten and get us up and raring for it for the visit of Derby two games later, after encouraging results at Villa and Sunderland. Derby should be piped out to a big thumping slice of ‘Open Goals’ by The Lightning Seeds, to celebrate Dean Saunders’ spot kick miss at the hands of Quinny’s disco pants in 89.

A quick blast of The Undertones ‘Bye Bye Baby Blue’ to the by-now recovered Giorgi Kinkladze and we should be ready and gagging for a convincing 3-0 win over the Rams. Four days later Charlton provide the last game of the year and, with the sleet slanting in onto Windy Corner and the Saddicks holding out for a 0-0 we should consider an icy rendition of Portishead’s ‘Numb’ for this game to forget.

Unexpected troubles at Coventry on the first day of January mean an outing for The Undertones’ ‘Turning Blue’ as Leeds arrive at Maine Road. We might be forgiven for swaying a little to The Heartthrobs’ ‘Dreamtime’ as Liverpool trot out onto the lush turf on the 31st, after all those heart-breaking encounters with the likes of Northampton and Gillingham. We can start the new year with the aggressively optimistic sounds of Monaco as City are comfortably in mid-table: ‘Blue’ is the unashamed message from the dizzily reverberating Maine Road tannoy and we can throw in ‘Shine’ for good measure as the sun comes out for the first time in two months and City beat Spurs to go 9th. There is no reason at all not to play ‘Good Times’ by the Stone Roses for Southampton’s arrival and Faith No More’s ‘I’m Easy’ might fit the bill to pipe God-fearing Glenn and his troops off at the end of a 4-1 massacre. After a tasty win at Bradford a big wall of ‘Alive and Kicking’ celebrates the fact that City are safe mid-table with fully seven games to go.

We can’t stop ourselves at this point and demand big lumps of ‘Hopelessly Devoted To Them’ by The Housemartins and ‘Waltzing Along’ by James. At no point is it necessary to get on the blower and request Ricky Ross’ ‘Cold Easter’, as City hold the Gooners on the 13th of April. I suggest we take ‘Cemetry Gates’ by The Smiths with us when we visit the death-defying atmosphere of Old Swampford a week later and demand that they play it there and then whilst we crash along in accompaniment with 5,000 bags of crisps and a flask each (no Battenburg, mind). We are more likely to be chanting ‘Live It Up’ by Blondie as we cavort into the last games of the season. With the UEFA good behaviour Inter-toto dream ticket slot up for grabs at the penultimate home game v. West Ham, out charge the boys to Jamiroquai’s ‘Use The Force’. Chelsea bring down the season at Maine Road and we are literally giddy on Premiership survival going all high-pitched with Altered Images’ ‘Pinky Blue’ on the final day. The boys come off to a rousing Pride by U2 and we can all go home and dust down our CDs for another year in the big time this time next year.

P.S. Cathal, the pills, mate. Seem. Oh. Vicar, there you are. My coat, yes.

Simon Curtis (


Just wanted to weigh in on the music debate with the following:

You don’t know how relieved I am to see the music debate take over from the recent Man U debate. Of course the fun in discussing music just as in sports is that one person can hold a passionate opinion that seems pretty solid and persuasive in their mind while almost everyone else is thinking which planet did this toss pot come from?

For instance yes, Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries certainly adds to the tense and driving atmosphere in Apocalypse Now during the village raid scene but I doubt it will have the same effect on intimidating Messrs. Beckham, Scholes & Keane at Maine Road minus the hordes of attack helicopters screaming from the skies spitting death and blowing up every Citroen 2CV or Oriental restaurant within a 2 kilometer radius of the Kippax.

OK having expressed the folly of stating your musical opinions and beliefs to a skeptical public I will now also enter into the musical intro. fray with a short list of possible intro. songs and some thoughts on some Outro songs also in no particular order:

  1. Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols – Great intro. with the bass & drums,superb guitar riff and then of course raucous, lewd sneering vocalscourtesy of Johnny Rotten/ Lydon. I remember Mike Sweeney used thisto great effect as an intro. when he was on Piccadilly during the weekat midday many moons ago.
  2. Eruption/ You Really Got Me – Van Halen – I know someone suggestedthe Kinks and certainly not a bad choice, but for sheer volume andintensity this one especially if you include Mr. Edward Van Halen’sbludgeonesque riffiola guitar work on the Eruption piece is quitesimply the b*****ks!
  3. Klakto Vee Sedstien – Blue Rondo à la Turk – OK maybe not the idealsong for an intro. but an underground classic that needs to be playedat MR at some point in the near future.
  4. Public Image – PIL – Yes I know yet another John Lydon diatribe butagain superb & powerful intro. and the repetitive “Hello.. Hello ..Hello” would fit in well with the intro. of the teams.

OK Walshy all reasonable choices I hear you cry but what about the Outros? (or of course “what a toss pot!”). Please don’t keep us waiting any longer we can’t stand the suspense!

Here we go then and as you’ll notice I’m not going for intensity here but something to help send us home with a smile on our face and a sprightly spring in our steps (God knows there will be some days we’ll need it in our first season back):

  1. Always look on the Bright Side of Life – Eric Idle – Nuff said.
  2. Don’t Look back in Anger – Oasis – Sound and much needed advice for the last 2 decades.
  3. Take the A Train – Duke Ellington – Simply great uplifting music!
  4. The Intro and Outro song – Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Title says it all.
  5. Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3) – Ian Drury & the Blockheads.

Any more takers on possible Outro songs?

John Walsh (


With the Goat being out for a few weeks and before the season starts, it only makes me think how very important its goung to be to have a strong squad. First it would be great to see Ehiogu play for City (it will not be City’s fault if he doesn’t).

But up front we need another striker, though I was pleased to read City are not interested in Kitson of West Ham (injury prone). I always have confidence in Joe Royle and I feel sure he will do the right things for the club he has the great backing of the best Chairman in the game David Bernstein. Pre-season games are good for the club to get the players fit for the new season but we always run the risk of injury, it’s just the nature of our favourite game.

I feel sure all City fans have our ears to the ground with the hope of new signings. Building a team is like a great jigsaw puzzle, and big star names do not always fit into our team; if it takes a little longer to get the right players, so be it, we shall be patient.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow CTID (


Any decent single Blue males (25-35) interested in chatting to single Blue females from anywhere in globe please feel free to write on e-mail address below. I’d love to meet other Blues as i sem to attract Red scrum instead. Sorry, but I hate the Rags, City till I die!

Paula Jones (


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

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Newsletter #627