Newsletter #630

I have slipped into the vaunted editor’s chair for the next three weeks while Ashley surfaces for air, so apologies in advance if I screw up.

It’s nice (?!) to open with what sounds like a good old-fashioned shambolic City performance at Stockport. In this issue there are a couple of match reports from Edgeley Park, the new reserves fixture list, the continuing M.E.N. bias debate and more of the usual.

On a personal note, something has perplexed me for several weeks now. As a boy I am sure one Sunday afternoon I watched the mighty Dave Watson power in a late and distant header to win the crucial title-chasing match against Ipswich in April 1977. The granite-hewn Watson is an icon for Blues of my age (35) and yet I don’t recall ever having subsequently seen footage of the goal, either on TV or video. Is my mind playing tricks or have Granada lost the tape?

Thanks for all the contributions – keep them coming. Pieces for inclusion please to

David Butler

Next game: Tuesday 8th August 2000, Oldham Athletic away


City Suffer Edgeley Embarrassment

Manchester City suffered a second successive pre-season friendly defeat on Saturday. Hosts Stockport County beat the Blues by a resounding 4-1 margin in Jim Gannon’s testimonial. City were on the back foot from the very start of the game, with Ian Moore firing County into the lead in less than a minute and Tony Dinning doubling the advantage from a free kick ten minutes later. The Blues produced a laboured performance and saw new boy Alfie Haaland substituted at the referee’s request ten minutes before the break following a series of fouls by the Norwegian. Stockport extended their lead through Karim Fradin early in the second period, and though George Weah reduced the arrears with a début goal for City, Moore rounded off the scoring to give the home side a deserved and convincing win.

Royle Fury at Stockport No-Show

Manchester City were well beaten in their latest pre-season friendly at Stockport on Saturday. And Joe Royle was far from impressed by the performance his team produced at Edgeley Park. Royle labelled the Blues’ dismal efforts against the Division One side the worst display by a City team in more than two years. But the City manager vowed that better performances will soon be in evidence. “We played like 11 strangers,” he admitted. “There was no familiarity in the first half among the players but there was an improvement in the second and you’ll see a bigger improvement over the next couple of weeks.”

Weah Still Backing Blues to Shine

George Weah scored on his Manchester City début on Saturday, but couldn’t prevent the Blues from suffering a heavy defeat at Stockport. Yet despite the result at Edgeley Park, the Liberian was far from despondent about his new club’s prospects in the coming campaign. Weah said he’d enjoyed the game and is backing City to produce much better form when the season gets under way. “It’s funny how teams who aren’t expected to win anything sometimes surprise everyone,” he reflected. “It could be City’s turn this season.” Meanwhile, Joe Royle was pleased with Weah’s contribution in the game, although the Blues’ boss expects the ex-Milan striker’s displays to improve with match practice.

Wanchope Opts to Join Blues

Manchester City failed to complete the anticipated club record £3.65 million signing of Paulo Wanchope last week after Bradford launched a last-ditch bid to tempt the striker to Valley Parade. But the Yorkshire outfit failed in their attempt to sign the Costa Rican front man after he decided he’d prefer a switch to Maine Road – although as Monday closed he still hadn’t finalised his proposed four-year contract. The Blues had professed to being “confident” the deal would still go through even after the Bantams’ late intervention, and Royle confirmed after his team’s defeat at Stockport that the ex-Derby forward would be joining the club. The player’s agent Dennis Roach also affirmed on Sunday that the deal would go ahead, saying, “We’ve just a few final bits and pieces to finish off with West Ham. Hopefully we will then travel to Manchester tomorrow afternoon or evening to finalise the deal.” The player was in Manchester on Monday for talks, but flew back to London without signing. He’s expected to return on Tuesday finally to put pen to paper.

Royle – Wanchope Was No Hammers Flop

Manchester City should finally complete the club-record signing of Paulo Wanchope on Tuesday. And Joe Royle denied that the striker had been a failure at his former club West Ham. Wanchope first tasted Premiership action at Derby, where he became a crowd favourite and netted 23 goals in 72 league games. But even though he managed the marginally better ratio of 12 league goals in 35 matches for the Londoners, he was a target for criticism from the Upton Park faithful. Royle insists that the Hammers’ fans were mistaken, and hopes for a similar goals return from the Costa Rican at Maine Road. “People say he was not successful at West Ham but I don’t agree – I hope he is as unsuccessful here,” said the Blues’ boss. “We want him to enjoy himself and score goals.”

Big Club Allure Sealed Wanchope’s Choice

Even as Bradford City mounted their bid to lure Paulo Wanchope to Valley Parade, chairman Geoffrey Richmond was admitting his club’s efforts were likely to be in vain. And, as the Bantams’ chief had predicted, the Costa Rican duly opted to play on the bigger stage offered by Manchester City. Bradford stole a march on City by agreeing terms with the player on Thursday evening – before the Blues had concluded negotiations with the player’s advisers. But once a deal was struck between his representatives and City officials on Friday, the 24-year-old took little time in electing to move to Manchester. The decision left Richmond to bemoan the fact that, “Paulo is more attracted by the big-club image of Manchester City.”

Ugo Deal Looking Doubtful?

Manchester City have been pursuing Ugo Ehiogu for more than a month. But with little sign of movement from Aston Villa over the sale of the powerful defender, reports have claimed the Blues are running out of patience with the Midlands club. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday, David Bernstein admitted prospects of a deal were looking slim. And the City chairman confirmed that the Blues will focus on other targets if progress isn’t made soon, claiming, “If we don’t sort it out fairly soon then we will have to look elsewhere.” Meanwhile, reports in the Sunday tabloids claimed that Middlesbrough could be prepared to step in with an offer worth more than £7 million to Villa together with a weekly £30,000 salary for the player – more than the Blues are prepared to pay him. However, notwithstanding the negative view in the press of the prospect of Ehiogu joining the Blues, one well-placed source was insisting on Monday that there’s still a good chance of the deal going ahead.

Gregory Slams City Over Ehiogu Saga

John Gregory blames Manchester City for the protracted transfer saga surrounding Ugo Ehiogu. And the Aston Villa manager says that his lack of a response to the Blues’ latest offer ought to make his reaction clear. Gregory says he wants to keep hold of the defender, and puts the 27-year-old’s value in the £10 million range – although some sources indicate the Villa Park boss is just looking to bump the price up to £8 million. “[City] should put up or shut up,” he fumed. “They should either pay what Ugo Ehiogu is worth or go away and keep quiet.” Meanwhile, Monday’s Manchester Evening News has suggested a long list of potential alternative targets for City. In addition to Inter Milan’s out-of-contract Nigerian Taribo West, the paper names the following players: Wimbledon’s Dean Blackwell and Kenny Cunningham, Newcastle’s Steve Howey and Nikos Dabizas, Sunderland’s Paul Butler and Darren Williams and Bolton’s Mark Fish.

City Accept Robins’ Peacock Offer

Lee Peacock could become the first victim of Joe Royle’s double summer striker swoop. The Blues have accepted a Bristol City bid of £600,000 for the 23-year-old forward. Peacock arrived from Mansfield in a £500,000 deal at the end of October 1999. But with the Scot having failed to find the net in eight league appearances, half as substitute, it comes as little surprise that Royle was prepared to do business when new Ashton Gate boss Danny Wilson came in with an acceptable offer. The Scot and his agent were due to have talks with Wilson on Monday afternoon, and a decision could be made as early as Tuesday.

Fenton in Another Cherries Loan Move

Nick Fenton has once again joined Bournemouth on loan. The young defender ended last season at Dean Court following a similar spell at Notts County, and had been linked with a permanent move to the south coast club. However, the 20-year-old impressed Joe Royle in pre-season training and was called up to the senior squad for last month’s Irish tour. Cherries’ boss Mel Machin has said he may be prepared to consider an attempt to keep Fenton at Bournemouth after the loan expires – although Royle’s comments last month indicate that the Blues’ boss may not countenance such a move. Meanwhile, Gareth Taylor has reportedly rejected the chance to join Grimsby on loan.

Amokachi Bidding to Resurrect City Move?

Doubts over a knee injury last month put paid to Daniel Amokachi’s hopes of clinching a move to Maine Road. But unlikely sounding press reports last week claimed that the ex-Everton player still has his sights set on sealing the transfer. According to an African newspaper, the Nigerian front man returned to his homeland following his failed trial with the Blues – and attended a spiritual healing in Lagos, where he pledged to devote the remainder of his life to Jesus Christ. But whether or not Amokachi does genuinely entertain hopes of resurrecting his proposed Maine Road switch, there’s been no hint in the few days since the original report appeared that Joe Royle shares the same faith in the improvement to the 27-year-old’s condition.

Weah “Turned Down Better Offers”

George Weah last week became the highest paid Manchester City player in history. But the 33-year-old turned down even more lucrative deals to commit himself to the Blues. The Sunday Mirror has claimed that the ex-Milan player could have earned £2 million more over the life of a two-year contract had he signed for Roma or Monaco. And the paper also stated that Weah did not ask the Blues for a bonus akin to the one he had during his Chelsea loan spell last season, when he received £15,000 for every goal he scored. And Joe Royle believes that the player’s willingness to accept the contract offered by City demonstrates that he’s joined the club for the right reasons. “He is not here for the money,” explained the Blues’ boss. “If that was all he was interested in, he would have gone to Italy, Monaco or Greece, where he was also in demand.”

Weah Changes Squad Number

George Weah arrived for training at Platt Lane last Thursday to find he’d been allocated the squad number 21. But having achieved considerable success wearing the number 22 shirt for former club Milan, the Liberian was keen to swap. Nick Fenton, who had originally been due to wear the number 22 shirt, has agreed to accede to the wishes of the former World Player of the Year, while fans who purchased “Weah – 21” shirts in the early part of last week will be compensated in the form either of a refund or a new shirt bearing the Liberian’s revised squad number.

Weah to Miss Pre-Season Derby

Manchester City complete their pre-season build-up on August 16 when they face Manchester United in Denis Irwin’s testimonial. But George Weah will not be in the City side which lines up at Old Trafford. The new Maine Road arrival has a long-standing commitment to turn out in a charity game for a World XI against World and European Champions France in Marseille on the same evening. The Blues will be hoping that the trip doesn’t take too much out of the former Milan striker ahead of the season’s opening fixture at Charlton three days later. Weah could also miss three league games in the New Year, including the April 21 Premiership derby away to the Reds, when he’ll be involved in Liberia’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

City Treat Tragic Youngster

Thirteen-year-old Vitaly Miskel is suffering from an illness which will reduce his life expectancy dramatically. But the youngster from Belarus was given a day to remember when the Blues visited Edgeley Park on Saturday. Vitaly’s health problems date from the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant when he was a baby. And he’s currently staying in Gee Cross, Hyde, with Honoria Thomas and her family as part of a group visit to Britain by young people from the affected region. Mrs Thomas and her four children are all avid City fans and contacted the Blues to ask for a tour of the ground for their guest. But the club invited him to be mascot for the day at Stockport and presented him with a George Weah shirt. “He was speechless when he realised what was happening,” Mrs Thomas told the Manchester Evening News. “He expected to be going to the game with us, but when we told him he would be the mascot and would meet the team, he couldn’t believe it. It was such a tonic for him – it has given him a new lease of life.”

“W” Crisis for City Store

Manchester City’s club shop once famously disappointed fans wanting the name of star player Georgi Kinkladze on their replica shirts when supplies of the letter ‘K’ ran out. And the City Store is acting quickly to ensure a similar situation doesn’t reoccur this summer. This time, the letter ‘W’ is in demand, with the likes of Weaver, Wright-Phillips, two Whitleys and Wright all in the squad, not to mention Paulo Wanchope if the Costa Rican’s proposed move eventually goes ahead. But it’s George Weah whose name is likely to feature on the biggest number of replica shirts by some distance. And for that reason, fresh ‘W’ supplies have already been called for.

Killen Off as Reserves Draw

Manchester City’s reserve side travelled to the unusually named Giant Axe ground in Lancaster last Thursday. And it was a dramatic evening for the City second string, with the match featuring six goals and a sending off. A last-minute strike ensured the non-leaguers held the Blues 3-3 after the visitors had looked like grinding out a win despite the dismissal of striker Chris Killen following a reckless challenge. The Kiwi had earlier been on the score sheet for City, as had transfer-listed midfielder Gary Mason. Next up for the reserves is a match at Bamber Bridge on Monday evening.

Royle – We Nearly Signed McManaman

Joe Royle last week clinched a spectacular transfer swoop, bringing George Weah to Manchester City. And the Blues’ boss has revealed that 18 months ago, he was on the verge of clinching another high-profile deal, this time involving Steve McManaman. In the spring of 1999, McManaman was allowing his Liverpool contract to expire with a view to sealing his eventual Bosman transfer to Real Madrid that summer. And with the player thus unpopular at Anfield, Royle tried to land the England man on loan for the rest of the season to give a crucial boost to his team’s Second Division promotion hopes. “Liverpool kept me waiting for an answer for about two days and I genuinely began to believe it might happen,” the City manager reveals in the new book ‘Blue Moon Rising’. “But looking back, I think Liverpool could not justify allowing McManaman to play in the Second Division.”

“Ten Million Man” Phillips on the Move Again

Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips was once touted by former City manager Alan Ball as a candidate to be the first British player to command a £10 million transfer fee. But the former Exeter junior will be on the move this week for a small fraction of that amount. City sold Phillips to Portsmouth for £100,000 two years ago after the player failed to establish himself at Maine Road. But now the winger is set to complete a £25,000 switch to Plymouth after starting just four games in two years at Fratton Park. “I know I am not going to play at Portsmouth so it is just a case of making sure it is the right move for me,” reflected the winger.

City Bid to Stop Slide

After two successive pre-season defeats, City bid to restore pride and confidence as the build-up to the new season continues on Tuesday. The Blues travel to Oldham to take on Second Division opponents whose league campaign begins the following Saturday. City won 3-0 on their last visit to Boundary Park, during the 1998-99 Division Two promotion battle. And Joe Royle will feel the omens are good for the Blues as he returns to his former stamping ground – City lost on only one of their last eight league visits to the Latics since Easter 1984. Royle will be keen to extend the productive sequence as he bids to lift his squad’s morale following the recent defeats at Burnley and Stockport. The evening will finally see City’s players receive recognition for last season’s achievements – the Blues will be presented with their Nationwide League runners-up medals before the game.


It has recently been brought to my attention that the news service at has been the subject of criticism for its news-gathering techniques. I have no wish to comment on the accusations in general, but I should like to point out that for over two months I have had no editorial responsibilities for news. The site has, however, on occasion used with my blessing stories from my MCIVTA summaries and I would maintain strongly that these items at least should not be subject to allegations as to a lack of journalistic integrity or a disregard for copyright.

Peter Brophy (


STOCKPORT COUNTY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 5th August 2000

A friendly between these two sides always has a certain amount of local rivalry, particularly from the Stockport side, who relish putting one over against their more illustrious neighbours. This match was a testimonial for County’s long serving player Jim Gannon, who unfortunately was not able to actually play as he is out with injury. A bright and sunny afternoon faced the city supporters massed in the still standing terrace Railway end. The City team lined up with Weaver in goal; back four of Crooks, Haaland, Jobson and Granville; midfield of Whitley, Grant, Wiekens and Kennedy with Dickov and new signing George Weah up front.

From the off, City’s defence looked a bit shaky and this was proven after 2 minutes when Jobson and Granville let in Moore who promptly slotted home from a tight angle. Several City players looked out of sorts – Grant and Whitley in particular, and much of the passing lacked accuracy. City dominated the possession but on the odd occasion when the home side broke, they looked threatening. A free kick just outside the area led to the second goal, scored by Dinning – Weaver seemed miles away as the ball sailed over the wall and in to the top left corner off the post. In fact Weaver too seemed to have an off day, with several clearances sliced or given away straight to the opposition. On one occasion in the first half he almost got caught well off his line, managing to save at the last minute before falling into the back of the goal and hilariously bringing down the netting, which had to be repaired with sticky tape!

Haaland was substituted part way though the half after what the referee saw as a second late tackle. Horlock replaced him, which meant Wiekens dropping back into defence. Thereafter it was much of the same. Weah showed some nice touches and control, but seemed to lack any sort of understanding with his team mates – hardly surprising after only one training session. He got two chances on goal, one ending up in the Cheadle stand, the other a complete miss-kick. Despite their lion’s share of possession, City failed to really test the Stockport ‘keeper.

In the second half, Pollock replaced Whitley and immediately seemed to inject a bit more life and passion down the right. Later substitutions of R Taylor for Dickov also gave a bit more up front. Kennedy too, came more into the game, having been largely marked out of the first half, and it was from his corner kick that Weah headed home. The advantage was short lived as Stockport scored a third goal on the break from Fradim. City then brought on Shaun Wright-Phillips for Grant, throwing more players forward. There were some nice touches again, combining well with Taylor and Pollock. In fact Taylor put himself about well and looked much more the part with some incisive passing. A good move between Wright-Phillips and Horlock finished with the ball in the net, only for the goal to be disallowed, presumably for offside.

City pushed forward more in the hope of getting something back, but at the expense of leaving the defence exposed at the back, and it was from another Stockport break that Moore scored his second and County’s fourth.

After all, it was only a friendly match, but several City players will have to perform much better against Premiership clubs. The defence looked decidedly shaky at times and were caught out several times for pace. The forwards failed to create any real scoring opportunities and the midfield was a story of passes failing to reach their man.

Final score: Stockport 4 – City 1.

John Ramsbottom (


STOCKPORT COUNTY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 5th August 2000

Hmmm! Two positives from this game: we saw Weah score his first goal in a City shirt and it was only a friendly!

City started with Weaver, Crooks, Haaland, Jobson, Granville, Whitley, Wiekens, Grant, Kennedy, Dickov and of course, George Weah. The sizeable crowd and multitude of photographers were here for one player only and I’m afraid it wasn’t Jim Gannon, for whose testimonial this game was arranged. It is a sign of George’s profile that when the match goals were shown on Sky, the Stockport goals were glossed over (as was the result thank goodness!), with Weah’s goal being the main story. More on George later.

Stockport scored within a minute, a long ball looping over the defence (a feature of their game, today), with the impressive Ian Moore leaving Granville on his backside before curling a quality shot beyond Weaver’s grasp. Ten minutes later following yet another Haaland foul (more later), Tony Dinning curled a free kick around our wall and into the bottom corner. Haaland was ‘invited to leave’ the pitch by the ref on about 30 minutes following another scything tackle and he was duly replaced by Horlock, Wiekens moving to the back. The whole team was just not working together as a unit and consequently Dickov and Weah were starved of service. Having said that Weah did fashion 3 half chances in the first half but scuffed his shots.

The 2nd half had barely started before we were 3 down. A cross from the right found the head of a County player 2 yards out who scored at Weaver’s near post, without a defender in sight. Bob Taylor replaced Dickov and Pollock replaced Whitley and we finally began to enjoy some possession. Pollock was driving forward on the right hand side, playing some nice one two’s with Bob. Taylor in fact was our most effective player on the day. With Weah playing very much as an out and out forward, Taylor was able to drop back a little and linked the midfield and attack very effectively, spraying some terrific long range passes. The moment we (and the photographers) were waiting for came from a perfect Kennedy cross. Weah showed good strength and movement to muscle past his marker and plant a powerful header into the bottom corner. Shaun Wright-Phillips replaced Grant for the final 15 minutes and again made an impression on the right side of midfield. In fact he crossed for Horlock to ‘score’ but unfortunately Kev was adjudged to be offside.

Although we had improved in the second half, County scored a fourth through Ian Moore, just to remind us how poor we had actually been, particularly in defence. And that was that…

This was a very distressing performance from a defensive viewpoint. As on the previous Wednesday against Burnley, we were sliced apart by quick but not particularly clever counter-attacks. As I said in the previous match report, arguably no-one in this back four will play in those positions for the opening game (injuries permitting). Nevertheless I have seen this line up before and it has performed much, much better. Up front we had a classy player who had arrived in the country 48 hours previously, trying to get to know his team mates. In the circumstances he did very well. Midfield, like the defence, did not function as a unit.

Weaver had 5 shots to save and saved only one. With the possible exception of the free kick, I think it would be unfair to blame him for any of the goals but he set his standards over the past 2 seasons and we expect at least a couple of ‘wonder’ saves per game, don’t we?

Crooks, as with the rest of the defence, was poor, but nothing ‘spectacular’. Jobson looked slow and unsure of his exact rôle. This was particularly surprising when Wiekens moved into a defensive position, bearing in mind how long they played together last season. Haaland’s commitment was admirable, but if he performs the same way commencing August 19th, we’re not going to see much of our Viking on the pitch. He’s strong, he’s quick, but he was late with virtually every challenge he made on Saturday. Granville started in the worst possible form, being caught by a long ball, before sliding in too early, leaving Moore with a shot on goal. He did improve as the game went on, but was horribly out of position time and time again.

Whitley did nothing. Grant did nothing, and time is running out for him to stake a claim even for a sub position in my opinion. Wiekens tried hard but was chasing shadows. Kennedy didn’t get as much of the ball as he is used to and although still got in a number of crosses, wasn’t at his best. Dickov toiled hard.

Weah looked a little rusty, but still looked a class above. His movement off the ball, dummies and feints were impressive. Today his shooting was not up to standard, but he had more chances and half chances than anyone else on the pitch, which must be positive.

Horlock added a bit more quality passing when he came on and as said, was unlucky not to score a legitimate goal. Pollock too was better than what he replaced and drove forward. Wright-Phillips, certainly from an attacking view, is our best option for the ‘problem’ right midfield slot. He refuses to be pushed around and genuinely frightens players when he runs at them. Bob Taylor as mentioned did his cause a power of good in a ‘deep striker’ rôle. No goal scoring chances, but very creative.

It was only a friendly, but I’m sure that JR will not be happy with the performance. Most Blues would have been pretty confident about our likely defensive performances this coming season, but if we play like we have in the past two games, we’ll need the Goat, George and Co to be top scorers to keep our head above water!

We’ll be OK (gulp!).

Phil Hartley (


For those who can’t get enough, here are the FA Premier Reserve League fixtures for this season. All our home games are to be played at Hyde again, 7pm k-o. Season ticket holders got in free last two seasons, otherwise nominal charges of £3 and £1 – I am assuming it will be the same case this year. Come along and give the lads your support:

21/ 8/00 Everton       A
29/ 8/00 Newcastle     H
13/ 9/00 Middlesbrough A
19/ 9/00 Leeds         H
 3/10/00 Sheffield Wed A
17/10/00 Blackburn     H
14/11/00 Sunderland    H
22/11/00 Aston Villa   A
 5/12/00 Man U         H
12/12/00 Bradford      A
16/ 1/01 Everton       H
22/ 1/01 Newcastle     A
 7/ 2/01 Blackburn     A
13/ 2/01 Leeds         A
20/ 2/01 Middlesbrough H
13/ 3/01 Sheffield Wed A
20/ 3/01 Liverpool     H
 2/ 4/01 Sunderland    A
 9/ 4/01 Liverpool     A
18/ 4/00 Bradford      H
26/ 4/00 Man U         A
 8/ 5/00 Aston Villa   H

If anyone would like directions to the ground at Hyde, please email me.

Heidi Pickup (


Just read today’s Observer Sports Magazine – 2 articles of big interest to City fans – Noel Gallagher’s ‘Why I support Man City’ and one written before George Weah signed for City, ‘In the Court of King George’, on the man and his place in Liberian politics and society – and beyond. This is a ‘must read’ article and I really hope Big Joe and the players read it. I thought he was just a world class footballer, but he’s closer to Nelson Mandela than Ronaldo. See the article at,6903,349315,00.html, and you can link to the Noel Gallagher article from here as well.

John Roughton (


Just a quick note to say that I think the reason JR has gone for these two is because firstly, George Weah is in a class of his own really. But secondly because both players have the ability to take it past people. None of our strikers bar SWP have this ability. That is why I think he chose Wanchope ahead of Koller (although I would still like to see the latter in the sky blue!). As for Ehiogu, I really do hope he signs. I’ve seen him play for Villa a few times, and he is awesome.

Edward Bodey (


Does anyone have a spare copy of the City M.E.N. poster that they could send to me (COD – Address: Matt Watson c/o Minter Ellison Lawyers, 44 Martin Place Sydney, Australia, 2000).

No one in Sydney knows anything about the magnificent City. They all spend heaps of money buying Beckham shirts (A$110+ a shirt) and then tell everyone they support United.

Matt (


There is still no clear understanding of whether or not we are going to finalise a deal on the transfer of Ugo to City. I don’t fully understand how it all works but is it not possible for City to arrange personal details with Ugo and then take Villa to a tribunal over the asking price?

Lets face it £6.5 million is over priced for him. I believe if it could be forced to a tribunal we could get for about £4 million. Realistically it is no concern of City’s that Villa have to give half the transfer fee away. That was just bad judgement on Villa’s part and should not really affect the value of the player. Surely it is a player’s ability that sets his value. Can any one explain if or how this works?

CTID, Steve Cheeseborough – Blackpool Blue (


Calling all Blues in the Catterick/Richmond area.

If there are any City fans in the Catterick/Richmond area, I travel to Maine road for every home game with 2 spare seats. If you would like to share the travel expenses and need a lift, then give me a shout. I leave about 12:30 on a Saturday and return straight after the game. I normally travel from Leeds for midweek games and stay over in Manchester which means I normally have a spare Junior/OAP ticket in the family stand for all midweek games so if anybody is interested, let me know.

Gary Johnston (


Anyone with spare tickets for Charlton?

Ta, Andrew (


I have recently read articles stating that the purchase of Terry Cooke was a mistake by Joe. I disagree. I feel it was a one of necessity and that his hands were tied, but one that has proven to be a good decision. Think back to the situation we were in, a few games from play-offs and a potential return to Division 1 and we have a player on loan who has scored 7 goals. If we don’t buy him and we don’t go up, then there is no Division 1, no Premiership for the new millennium and no George Weah. However, if we buy him and we go up it’s good business all round, even if he never plays again. £750k (or whatever the figure was) to act as a catalyst for what we have now is good business.

His job is done and it’s time to sell now.

Jarrod Bull (


I wanted to stick in my t’pen’uth on the subject of the M.(U).E.N. or not as the case may be. In the week ending 13th May 2000 the M.E.N. published a full colour 24 page supplement called “Blue Revolution”. The supplement was dedicated to City’s return to the top flight. It was news worth reporting after all and the M.E.N. rose to the occasion. Ok so had it been the Rags maybe the supplement would have been thirty or forty or even fifty pages long but so what? The fact is that a newspaper local to Manchester acknowledged the enormous achievement of M.C.F.C. and went to the length of giving them a special issue.

I don’t think the problem with the M.E.N. is that they are particularly biased editorially against City. I think the problem lies more in how they perceive themselves as a newspaper. Although we may all hang on every little morsel of news about the Blues and think our team is the best thing since sliced bread, when we were languishing in the depths of the Second Division, and I mean depths at one stage, we were for a newspaper with delusions of grandeur no more newsworthy than say Wigan or Rochdale would be. In fact it was probably a kindness in a way not to keep reminding fans that we were a big club gone bad.

I think that the M.E.N. has always seen itself as a northern counterpart to papers like the London Evening Standard which is a local paper verging on the edge of being an evening national. We have to remember the history of the Evening News in that it was a part of the Beaverbrook empire and was printed cheek by jowl with the Guardian, a well respected national daily. At one time the M.E.N. was a paper on the edge of being a national evening paper. It was well respected wherever it was read.

However, in recent years the quality of its news reporting, its format, the amount of advertising all lead me to believe that it is a Premiership paper that has slipped to its own Second Division and is having trouble accepting that fate. Perhaps there lies the problem that it sees things more in terms of national perspective and has lost the local touch. I agree with the contributor last time who said that the M.E.N. saw City as just another local side and therefore not worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the Rags lest people realise that it isn’t as big a paper as it imagines itself to be. Whatever, I’ve got my copy of Blue Revolution and I’m keeping it very safe.

Finally… just when I thought this team couldn’t give me any more surprises…. George Weah(!) and Paulo Wanchope. If we could just get Abel Xavier (suspension permitting) at right back, we might not be able to afford God but a player who looks like him is next best thing. Oh happy days are here again!

Dave Cash (

As a Manchester resident I agree with much of what Dave has written. However, my main gripe about my local evening paper is not its attitude to us and them, but the poor news service it offers the city’s inhabitants. Take away the lifestyle features and news from Bury, Oldham, Stockport, Bolton, etc. – all discrete towns with their own papers – and there is precious little news about Manchester left. So if you choose not to refer to it as the M.E.N., may I offer my own acronym: the G.M.E.F. – Greater Manchester Evening Froth.

David Butler


Can anyone tell me how to get a Citycard, what it entitles you to and what the chances are to get tickets for home matches and even away ones for this season? Also maybe it would be a good idea to set up a unwanted ticket section in MCIVTA for us poor mortals spread across the country.

John Warrington (John.Warrington@PA-CONSULTING.COM)


In MCIVTA 629 Jim Curtis thought he had been drinking; he had not. The unit and trailer he saw was probably one of Mick Flynn’s, who travels around Europe. He is a massive City fan and has units custom painted into the Blues’ colours. He used to load out of my depot to go to Italy, etc. So if anybody else comes across the truck, give him a sound on your horn. Or stop and buy him a bacon butty.

Tony Skade (


After reading Lance Thomson’s request for the Alfie Haaland website, I became a little curious and decided to do a little search on Yahoo. I didn’t get Alfie’s official site, but found instead – which is described as “The International Cult Of Alf Inge Haaland” (is a cult a cult when it only has 5 members?). I actually found it highly disturbing in its use of upper and lower case lettering. Still, it seems to be created by Forest fans, so we’ll let them off with that.

The Music debate – I thought it was about time I chucked in my tuppence worth. I heartily agree with Cathal’s (by the way, possibly the single most entertaining piece I’ve read in MCIVTA ever) call for “Praise You” – the first couple of lines perfectly sum up what City and ourselves have been through over the past few years.

But! I would like to throw some of my own suggestions into the mixer:

i) How about something from local lads Mint Royale? “From Rusholme With Love” and the hypnotic “Rock and Roll Bar” would be good, “Don’t Falter” (“Strange, I saw you, I sort of knew it was forever”) equally so and “Shake Me” would be utterly fantastic.

ii) Although possibly not the ideal song to get everyone going, the sentiment behind Beth Orton’s “It’s Not the Spotlight” is perfect:

If I ever feel the light again, shining down on me,
I don’t have to tell you, how welcome it would be,
I felt the light before, but I let it slip away,
I just keep on believing that It’ll come back some day.

City have been great before, and it looks like we’re on the way back – pity the song’s a little slow.

iii) The Jam – utterly no connection with City, but the clunking guitars of “Going Underground” or the catchiness of “Town Called Malice” would be great.

iv) “Stupidly Happy” by XTC – played during the Portugal – Turkey match on the BBC -a fine song, real instruments and catchy enough to get everyone bopping (do people still say that?).

3) MEN. Living up here in Scotland, I’ve not seen the MEN for many years, so I can’t really comment on any bias, but from what I’ve read in MCIVTA, it seems very similar to what the papers are like up here – if it’s not Rangers or Celtic, then they don’t care, the execrable Daily Record being the worst – it seems as if a Rangers player farts then it has to be published.

4) George Weah. I was in Inverness, the nearest ‘big town’ to where I live for 80 miles, and Radio 1 was on in the car when I heard the news of the signing. It was like being six years old again on Christmas morning. Bloody George Weah! One of the most gifted players of his, and possibly any generation. Blimey Charlie, I thought, as I walked along to Tesco’s, the sun shining and the birds singing. Life can’t get much better than this. My heart then sank as I walked past JJB Sports, looked inside and viewed a huge Man U “New Shirt Display”. Truly horrible, and it now seems as though the Evil Empire stretches as far North as it does to the South.

CTID, Tim Causer (


David Butcher asserts strongly that Francis Lee was a diver. I think this is an example of how to give completely the wrong impression to a younger fan by telling only part of the truth. Lee certainly went down in the box and won penalties but in the year he scored a record number of penalties, many were won by other City players. Also the tackles which he endured were horrendous even by the standards of those days because he didn’t give way to the bullying tactics of defenders like Charlton/Harris/Smith etc.

On TV recently they showed some of his so-called dives – every one of which would not only have been given as a legitimate penalty these days, but would probably have resulted in the defender being sent off. Skilled forwards did not get much protection from referees in those days and there is no comparison between Lee as a diver and the wonderful antics of Ginola, Klinnsman, Owen or almost any Italian.

A much more accomplished City diver was Rodney Marsh who developed an amusing technique of tripping himself up in the area. He admitted as much on TV recently. In Lee’s case, there a greater number of incidents where an obvious penalty was not given because Lee was the fouled City forward. More important was that he got into the box and scored many perfectly legitimate and spectacular goals.

Diving may have been a small part of his repertoire but he was a tough, skilful, competitive forward who was far more honest than dishonest in his endeavours on the field.

Peter Llewellyn (


The debate on superstitions got me thinking on when I last went to Maine Road and saw City lose… admittedly I don’t get to all that many matches, but I didn’t see them lose at all last season. For the record I was there for Ipswich, Swindon, Grimsby and Charlton. Being a Sky subscriber I also saw them on telly and at least in league matches never saw them lose there either although I did see the two Cup games where they lost… but we won’t count T.V. appearances.

So I started to run back in my head when exactly I had last seen them lose live. Now please bear in mind I only get to about four or five games a season but casting the old grey matter back into the dim reaches of time I came to the conclusion that it is at least four seasons since I saw City Super City get whipped at home. Add to that the couple of away games I’ve been to and they didn’t get beaten there either (I’ve a good friend who is a Tranmere fan and I go to Prenton Park with him sometimes).

So there you have it: four seasons representing, oh maybe, twenty two or three games. I’m not into stats (read can’t bloody remember) so I can’t give a table of played, for and against. Guess I’m just lucky huh! Whatever, if anyone has any spare tickets I’d be more than pleased to put on an over-sized kit and a silly papier-mache head and be your mascot for the day… and I’ll even buy my own beer! Can’t say fairer than that can I?

Dave Cash (


  1. “Weah gonna win the league
    Weah gonna win the league”
  2. “Weah all going to Wemberlee”
  3. “Weah on the match, we’re Royle’s army”
  4. “Weah were you when you were s**t?”
  5. “Weah gonna score 1 more than you – City”

Deborah Darbyshire (


Not bothered whether Wanchope signs or not. Imagine the feeding space The Goat will get playing with Weah. I’m drooling already.


The County Wicklow branch are having a social night on Friday 11th of August in Katie Gallagher’s bar in Bray, from 9 till late. Music by local band Who’s Alice followed D J Terry O Neill (a City fan). All football fans are welcome – even Rag followers! – wearing their team’s colours. This event was a huge success last year and we are hoping for the same again next Friday. So if you are in the Bray area, come and have a laugh and a few beers. Tickets are only 5 pounds and can be bought at the door.

Paul Fegan (


We are a reasonably decent (fifth place out of twelve last season) Sunday League football side playing in South London. We require a competent goalkeeper for this coming season – our current one, despite being a great bloke, has a bit of the Massimo Taibi’s about him. Home games are played on Clapham Common, away games in the towns surrounding Clapham. There is, naturally, the social side of things after the matches too!

Anyone who feels they would like to come down one Sunday morning for a try out should email me at the address below.

Dave Clark (


Hi folks, getting very revved up for the off… so much so that I’ve blagged my way back from the US for the opener at Charlton. Are there any poor souls out there, who are maybe unable to use their 2 tickets?

2 tickets = forever grateful … + solid compensation

Thanks in advance, Huw Thomas – Carlos Fandango and his Super Blue Wheels (


As I write this City are expected to sign Wanchope today (Monday). So as the team stands now, I predict City to finish the season in the top 8. The big difference to make it to the top 6, will be if City can still get Ugo (or a player who has the same type of qualities). It has always been my feeling that success comes if you have great midfield players, the type who will be there when needed to help your defence, and give great support to the forwards, with defence-splitting intelligent passes, in other words the dynamos of the team.

It will give City that kind of player in Ugo. But if City cannot get Ugo, it will not be the end. I feel sure something else will happen at Maine Road to improve the side. The 4-1 loss at Stockport did not upset me; of course you like to see City win every game, the manager gets to see before the season the good and the bad to make adjustments.

It’s great to see that George Weah does not want to be treated like a Prima Donna, he just wants to be part of the team. City the team should come before any player. So here’s looking to a great season back in the Premier League.

Come on you Blues!

CTID, Ernie Barrow (


Regards to expats McLoughlin and Keogh in Melbourne and Sidney from McGuinness in Blackley. Will always remember City vs. Blackburn via the mobile phone from the bar in Cairns – who paid the bill?


Contributions: David –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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

[Valid3.2]David Butler,

Newsletter #630