Newsletter #639

So, hands up those who just knew we were going to beat Leeds on Tuesday night. A really excellent result and surely one which should give even the real doubters amongst us a belief that we can – as JR says – finish well above the drop zone this season. I couldn’t bear to listen on GMR due to the extreme cardiac effects of following the Blues in audio mode, combined with a sneeking suspicion that I alone am able to jinx them from afar, merely by tuning in! However, Wednesday morning saw me reading several newspaper match reports, which I was a little surprised to see gave a very favourable view of City’s performance. I’d half expected to see them knock us for being physical, or attribute the result to an atrocious Leeds performance. Not a bit of it though, they all seemed content to accept that we can play well, and that we did so on Tuesday night.

This issue has a couple of match reports (thanks guys); an update on the Neil Young campaign; a Why Blue re-evaluated; news on the whereabouts of Anthony Fenton; opinion; and a first edition Why Blue.

If you’re off the Anfield at the weekend, please consider doing a match report.

Next game: Saturday 9th September 2000, Liverpool away


City Earn Shock Win

Manchester City’s prospects of returning from Tuesday’s trip to Leeds having avoided defeat had been written off by most pundits. But Joe Royle’s men confounded the critics by earning a fully deserved 2-1 win at Elland Road. Royle changed his team around to counter the home side’s attacking formation, in which three strikers were deployed. The City boss adopted a 4-5-1 formation, with Haaland and Ritchie as full-backs, Jeff Whitley returning in midfield, Kennedy and Tiatto on the flanks and Wanchope playing as a lone striker. And the tactics produced admirable results, with first-half goals from Howey and Wiekens sufficient to earn the win despite a reply for the home side by Lee Bowyer after the break.

Royle Delighted by Elland Road Triumph

Joe Royle always regarded Elland Road as a happy hunting ground throughout his managerial career at Oldham and Everton. And the Blues’ boss was delighted by the display of his Manchester City side which saw the happy sequence continue this week. Leeds administered a 5-2 thrashing to Royle’s men when the teams met in the FA Cup last January – so the fact that City took all the points on this occasion showed just how much the Blues have improved in the last eight months. “We played an open game when we met Leeds in the cup tie last season but it was never going to be that open this time,” said the City manager. “I thought it was terrific to turn that result round in our first season back in the Premiership.”

Wanchope Hailed After “World Class” Display

Joe Royle had intended to substitute Paulo Wanchope at half time in Tuesday’s win at Leeds. But the Costa Rican produced such a stunning performance at Elland Road that he played for the ninety minutes – and earned his manager’s unrestrained praise. Wanchope arrived back in England earlier on Tuesday after international duty against Venezuela only 48 hours later. But even though George Weah was standing by to relieve the ex-West Ham man, the one-time World Player of the Year was happy to stay on the bench and allow the virtuoso display to continue uninterrupted. “You don’t like over-rating people but he was world class,” Royle enthused over his £3.65 million club-record signing. “His forward play of holding and controlling the ball and running at their defence was incredible. He leapt out of the sky and headed the ball down on to the crossbar for our first goal.”

Tired Paulo Earns His Rest

Paulo Wanchope overcame jet-lag to play the starring rôle in Manchester City’s 2-1 win at Leeds. And a grateful Joe Royle immediately allowed his top-scorer to take a break from training the following day. After playing for Costa Rica against Venezuela on Sunday, Wanchope’s eight-hour flight from central America arrived at noon on match-day. And the striker went straight to bed to catch up on his sleep before the evening’s rigours. The result was so spectacular that Royle joked about sending the front man back to his homeland every week – but the exertions finally took their toll on the 24-year-old. “I am very tired,” he admitted after the game. “I didn’t get back until lunchtime before the game and then did not sleep too well. I think the plan was that I should play half a game and George Weah the other half, but surprisingly I felt strong.”

O’Leary – City Deserved to Win

David O’Leary was disappointed to see his Leeds United team slide to a first defeat of the season against Manchester City on Tuesday. But the Elland Road boss admitted that the visitors’ victory was thoroughly merited. A win would have taken the Yorkshire outfit to the Premier League summit, but City produced a display of determination, resilience and no little skill to take the spoils. And O’Leary, though bemoaning the absence of key players from his side’s line-up, had no complaints about the outcome. “When you play a team set up like City,” he reflected, “you miss players with the quality needed to unlock the door. The better team won.”

Goater – Result Has Lifted Confidence

Manchester City notched a first away win of the season at Leeds on Tuesday. And Shaun Goater believes that by beating a team which finished third in the Premiership last term, the Blues have given themselves a massive boost. Goater says that the players had been disappointed to lose at Charlton and against Coventry, matches they had hoped to win. But by taking three points from David O’Leary’s men, the Blues have now shown they can pose problems for even the best opponents. “It has removed the fear factor completely,” the Bermudian told the Manchester Evening News. “There is already a great team spirit amongst the lads but after Tuesday there is this big buzz about the place, it was such an important result for the club.”

City Face Gills Again

Manchester City played out one of the most dramatic encounters in the club’s history when they beat Gillingham on penalties in the Division Two play off final in May 1999. And the Blues will once more come up against the Kent outfit in competitive action later this month. City and the Gills have been paired together in the draw for the second round of the Worthington Cup in a two-legged affair, with City at home first in a match to be played on Wednesday, 20 September. The away fixture will take place the following Tuesday, in a repeat of a pre-season friendly which the Blues won 3-0 just five weeks ago. City also won at Priestfield in the Second Division promotion campaign, when goals from Terry Cooke and Kevin Horlock sealed a 2-0 success.

City Linked With Nantes Star

Manchester City may have added five players to the squad since winning promotion to the Premiership in May. But the Blues continue to be linked with players, and are reported to be eyeing a French forward. Oliver Monterrubio is the man said to have been targeted by Joe Royle’s European scouting network. The 24-year-old was voted French Young Player of the Year in 1998-99 and is said to be at home either on the wing or in a more central rôle. After suffering injury woes last term, the player has returned to goalscoring form in the current campaign, supposedly attracting attention from both the Blues and Middlesbrough in the process.

Blackpool Want Morrison for Another Month

Andy Morrison has played only one game for Blackpool after moving on loan to the Third Division outfit. But already Tangerines’ chairman Karl Oyston is talking about the possibility of extending the arrangement. City and Morrison both view the loan spell as purely an expediency to enable the player to attain match fitness. And the Maine Road club skipper is determined to return from Bloomfield Road to force his way into the Blues’ Premiership line-up. But Oyston hopes his club will benefit from the big defender’s inspirational presence for as long as possible. “We will have Andy for a further six games,” he said. “If we are going like a train it would be nice to keep him a little longer.”

Goater Back in Full Training

Shaun Goater’s 29 goals last season were instrumental in Manchester City’s ascent to the Premiership. And after missing the start of the season through injury, the Bermudian should soon be ready to sample top flight action. Goater is back in training after being sidelined since injuring his knee in the Blues’ opening pre-season friendly at Linfield in July. And with Joe Royle having added George Weah and Paulo Wanchope to the City squad since then, the ex-Bristol City player knows he faces a fight for a first team place. However, he’s confident he’ll prove equal to the task and hopes to make a return to match action in the reserves next week.

Tiatto the Doubt for Anfield Clash

Joe Royle had concerns over the fitness of several of his players following City’s memorable win at Leeds. And Danny Tiatto is the Blues’ boss’s major worry ahead of Saturday’s visit to Liverpool. Nicky Weaver and Steve Howey missed training on Thursday after picking up knocks at Leeds, but Royle is confident that both men will be available for the tough trip to Merseyside. Meanwhile, Elland Road goalscorer Gerard Wiekens, who suffered mild concussion in Tuesday’s match, will also have recovered in time to take his place against Gerard Houllier’s team. Tiatto, however, may not be so lucky; the Australian suffered a groin strain in the victory over the Yorkshiremen and his prospects of playing at Anfield are slim.

Kennedy Desperate for Republic Reprieve

Mark Kennedy’s international career is in doubt after the player was sent home in disgrace from his most recent stint with the Republic of Ireland squad. But the ex-Millwall youngster is keen to be given the chance to make amends. Kennedy faces criminal charges in Dublin after an incident also involving team-mate Phil Babb. But the 24-year-old vows that if given another opportunity by national coach Mick McCarthy, he’ll be “busting a gut” to show he’s worthy of selection. However, the Dubliner appreciates that he has no right to expect inclusion in forthcoming squads. “If I’m not named in the next squad, or the next, or the next, I won’t be ringing Mick up to wonder why,” he conceded, “but I dearly want to play for my country again.”

Wanchope Delighted by Fans’ Response

Paulo Wanchope bore the brunt of terrace criticism at his former club West Ham. So the Costa Rican is especially pleased to have quickly become a crowd favourite since his summer move to Manchester City. Wanchope admits he was tempted to stay at Upton Park to prove the doubters wrong. But having been persuaded to make the switch to Maine Road by the Blues’ signing of legend George Weah, the 24-year-old couldn’t be happier. “Manchester City is a different world,” he stressed. “They have so many supporters and the atmosphere in games is so great. I already have a strong bond with them.”

Ritchie Eyes Scotland Place

Paul Ritchie left Rangers after only a few weeks because he wanted first-team football to enhance his international prospects. And after making an impressive Manchester City début in Tuesday’s win at Leeds, the Scotland defender believes his goal is in sight. Ritchie was omitted from the travelling party as Craig Brown’s men kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a win in Latvia last weekend. But the 25-year-old is hoping that his return to senior action at club level will see him swiftly back in Brown’s plans. “The next Scotland squad for the World Cup games against San Marino and Croatia is named in a couple of weeks time and I would love to be back in it,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “Playing regularly in the Premiership with City is obviously the first aim and if I am doing that, and the team is successful, it can only benefit not just my international chances but the rest of the lads’ chances, too.”

Haaland Wins Sports Personality Award

Alfie Haaland has made an immediate impact at Maine Road. And the Norwegian’s early successes in a Manchester City shirt have already earned him recognition. Haaland has been named BBC GMR/Manchester Evening News Sports Personality of the Month for August, fighting off competition from David Beckham and Sale Sharks scrum half Bryan Redpath. And the Evening News City correspondent Chris Bailey feels the accolade is richly deserved by the man for whom Joe Royle paid Leeds £2.5 million. “Alfie is one of those players who wins friends everywhere he goes,” explained Bailey. “He’s an all-action player who no-one criticises even when he’s had a bad game because they know he has given 100 per cent.”

Another Stern Test for City

Manchester City faced one of the season’s most daunting away trips on Tuesday and passed the test with flying colours. But four days later, the Blues will be given another demanding examination with a visit to Liverpool. Gerard Houllier’s side finished fourth last season, narrowly losing out to Leeds in the race for a Champions’ League berth. And many experts fancy the Merseysiders to do even better this time round following an extensive summer recruitment drive. But the result at Elland Road has given City confidence that they can cause another upset. “Earning the three points was a massive boost for all of us,” explained Steve Howey, who scored his first goal for the Blues against the Yorkshire outfit. “It is amazing how many people had been saying that we wouldn’t get anything from our trips to Leeds and Liverpool. As it is we could now even end up getting all six points.”

Peter Brophy (


LEEDS UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 5th September 2000

Only decided to go to this game at about 5.45 p.m. after mate, Dom, had called at about 4.50 p.m. to see if we could get any tickets! Several phone calls later to City and Leeds eventually got the response that a few tickets had been sent back by City and so could pay on the door if we got there an hour and a half before kick-off! Left work straight away for home; got changed; 12 minutes later Dom arrived and we set off (from Hull) at 6 p.m.; got to Leeds at 7-ish and then had to walk backwards and forwards for a while with a steward before he eventually got us to the right turnstile after numerous “no you can get in, we’re sold out!” and eventually got in at 7.30. No beer on sale inside ground – bar staff said there had been lots of fighting in Leeds city centre and so they had taken the beer off!

We lined up with Weaver in goal, back four of Haaland, Ritchie, Prior and Howey, midfield of Kennedy (on the right), Tiatto, Wiekens, Whitley and Horlock and Wanchope up front on his own – fairly clear what our tactics were and I thought they were right then (even without the benefit of hindsight!).

Fairly quiet opening, but was fairly impressed that we were certainly holding our own and had more of the play than they did; Leeds certainly harry the opposition and we didn’t have much time on the ball but both sides were creating things, albeit not many clear cut chances.

We were at the end away from all the goals and the first was almost missed; saw Wanchope send in a great header from a Kennedy corner from our left and all the City end started to jump up and cheer and the next second I realised it had hit the bar and not gone in but before the disappointment could settle, it became clear the ball had been put in – Howey put it in but must admit that I couldn’t really see it.

Said to Dom that we now needed to do what we couldn’t do in the FA Cup game and hold on to the lead for 20 minutes or so; however, they came right at us and Bridges sent in a cracking shot that went over Weaver and crashed against the underside of the bar and I thought it was going in but it bounced out and we eventually managed to clear it.

Next thing another Kennedy corner from our left and the ball is cleared to Wiekens just outside the box and he sends in a cracking shot that seemed to go straight in the top left corner – a great goal. Only about 5 minutes to half time to hold out and go in with a pretty incredible 2-0 lead!

Leeds came at us again and we soaked up quite a bit of pressure, including the ref giving them a free kick just outside the box on our left, booking Howey and then much to the annoyance of the faithful moving it on 10 yards to give them a free kick about 8 yards inside our box! Harte chose to play it across the box and we eventually managed to get the ball away. We went in 2-0 up – pretty unbelievable but well deserved; we had the best of the half.

The second half was pretty much according to what I expected; Leeds came out blazing, but not as much as I expected and they seemed to fade somewhat but they eventually got a goal from a Bowyer header – it had been coming and was no real surprise; we managed to hold on, again after lots of pressure and backs to the wall stuff (Wanchope making a tackle at right back!) and even had a brief 5-minute spell when we were all over them and pushing for a third, including a wonderful, mazy 40-yard run from Wanchope past several Leeds players and there were about three or four just backing away from him as he got to the edge of their area before sending in a low shot that Martyn saved fairly easily in the end.

Overall, we looked very comfortable and did not give Leeds any room in midfield, our five outnumbered and also outplayed their three, cut off the supply to their front three and controlled the middle of the park. We pretty much bossed the game, without being stunning, but not many teams will do that against Leeds at home this season.

Many reports have said Leeds were disappointing and lacklustre but they seem to overlook the fact that we didn’t let Leeds play; this wasn’t just down to the defensive formation, as we got plenty of players forward to support Wanchope throughout the match, particularly the first half. Overall, we were easily the better team on the night.

I think we surprised quite a few Leeds fans, who probably thought they were in for a stroll, particularly after the FA Cup; heard one on his mobile after the match bemoaning the Leeds performance but saying we were “not that bad really”; thank you very much!

Weaver had a decent game, although he didn’t have that many saves to make really, which was a sign of how well the rest of the team played.

Defence looked solid; Howey and Prior seem to be getting better with each game, Haaland solid at right back and seemed to do a good captain’s job (could be a long road back for Edgy) and Ritchie had a good début. Heard that O’Leary was bemoaning the fact they have so many players injured, but their front three of Viduka, Bridges and Smith is clearly their strongest front line and one that must be worth at least £15m plus and we coped with them.

Midfield again solid, Wiekens had a good game and I thought Whitley also did well on his first game this season in his usual ratting rôle; Tiatto pretty much played his usual game and took quite a few knocks; Horlock O.K.; Kennedy was fairly quiet again; overall an impressive performance.

Wanchope was excellent, he did a fantastic job up front on his own; held the ball up when needed until support came and they didn’t seem to know how to handle his runs; his control was excellent and he amazes me that he gets to some of the balls he does; you think he’s going to lose the ball and all of a sudden he has skipped past a few players; if he carries on like the Sunderland game and last night, he will be a hero at Maine Road, if he isn’t already. He got very tired towards the end, which isn’t surprising after recently getting off a plane and all the work he put in.

I think this result and Sunderland game clearly indicate we do have what it takes for the Premiership but we do need to do it over a season. We have players who can play football, pass the ball and score, a great team spirit and a classy management team and hopefully those things will see us through.

Thought the Leeds crowd were extremely quiet – thought we were at the Swamp! We absolutely took the p**s and baited them all night (“Town full of Munichs” (this was Leeds we were singing this to!), “1-0 in your cup final” and “Where were you when you were sh**e” etc.) and they never really responded apart from a brief chant in the second half and even then we drowned them out (at least in our end!) with a Blue Moon!

Back to Dom’s and several beers were downed to celebrate what, before the game would have seemed an unlikely win, but which was a well earned one.

Tom Farrington (


LEEDS UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 5th September 2000

C’mon let’s be honest, travelling to Leeds on Tuesda night, if I’d been offered a point from this game, I would have ripped your hand off. This was my first away game of the year, and what a beauty to start on. City fans were in the best form I can remember, they chanted from beginning to end; it was made worse by the fact that Elland Road was like a library on Christmas day, quiet wasn’t the word. We taunted them about it, with the usual “SSSHHHHHhhhhhhhh”, but nothing was going to provoke the living dead of Leeds. Leeds used to be a lions’ den, full of A-Grade nutters, inciting an atmosphere of such electric proportions you could hook it up and run a small Scotish village for 6 months. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I just hope that if we establish ourselves in the Premiership, we don’t price ourselves out of the market and only attract middle class toffs wearing the latest Armani suit, who are more concerned with their stocks and shares in the club, rather that the passion that goes with it. If that is the price of Premiership footy, hello Nationwide is all I can say.

On to the game. We lined up with 5 at the back, 3 central defenders, including Ritchie; he played a blinder as far as I was concerned, he looked nippy and had more bottle than your average milkman. I know Joe Royle is a Scouser, that must account for the expert steal of this centre half for half a million (sorry Joe, couldn’t resist). City were well up for this contest, someone should check what the players were drinking before the game and order it in by the bucket full. City tore into Leeds, giving them plenty of notice as to what City’s intentions were; their goalkeeper was a lot busier than ours. Howey, Spencer and Ritchie formed a solid unit, and hung up the “shall not pass” notice on the Elland Road pitch.

Howey got the first goal; from a corner from Kennedy, Wanchope hit the underside of the crossbar and Howey followed up and hammered it home. ‘Madness’ is the only way to describe the scenes in the City end of the ground, strangers hugging and dancing together. The bond among City fans is incredible, truly brothers in arms. We ridiculed the Leeds end: “We are City, super City, from Maine Road”. Mind you, Michael Bridges soon shut us up with a shot that rattled the crossbar with Weaver truly beaten. There was plenty of soiled undies in the City crowd; when it bounced out to safety, we continued our taunting, fantastic. This shot must have inspired Wiekens to have a crack, and have a crack he did, from the edge of the Leeds box he thumped a shot that flew into the top corner, leaving Martyn clutching air. 2-0, What the hell is going on?

We were upto that point playing Leeds off the park. Once the sheer disbelief and bonkers feeling had died down in the City end, I could hear the typical City fans, talking to their mates, and talking to themselves aloud “C’mon City if you can hold out to half time, we should get a point.” Only City fans can think like this, can you imagine Arsenal 2-0 up after 40 minutes and talking about drawing? The problem is with that kind of talk, you start worrying yourself, it’s an infectious way of thinking. Leeds piled on the pressure without creating too much in the way of clear-cut chances, the ref was giving them everything, it had to be seen to be believed, I can’t remember City giving away that many free kicks ever.

Second half came and Leeds scored, the City fans got very nervous indeed, Wanchope was playing the best I have ever seen, even better than his hat-trick game; his form inspired the chant “Paulo Wanchope, is f**king brilliant”, simple and straight to the point, love it. The Leeds goal inspired their crowd for all of 5 minutes; after that they returned to their comas, not getting behind their team. The City fans were, even at this point, taking the Michael.

Shaun Wright-Phillips came on for Kennedy; the bloke behind me commented that he’s sure Wright-Phillips asked him last week “Can I look after yer car, Mister” (made me laugh at the time). He really is small, (one fella likened him to Arnold, from the old series Different Stokes) but he goes in and has the heart the size of Maine Road. City contained Leeds, with them throwing themselves in front of the ball, the ref gave us Jack, and Leeds had loads of set pieces, but nothing was passing our defence. They hit the side netting, which was about as close as they came. The ref added 4 minutes on, which seemed like 40, but even at this point you could hear murmurs: “Well at least we’re guaranteed a point!” Oh ye of little faith, but that’s why we all love City, nothing is ever certain, the history books tell us that. So 3 points from the Yorkshire lot, as the 70’s disco song says: “Oh what a night.” I do love away games. To put things in perspective on the way back to the car, I could hear two Leeds fans talking, saying: “Oh well, never mind, Barcelona next week.” We’ve a long way to go yet.

Walter Smith (


Say Leeds and you’re smiling!

Living near Leeds and working in the city centre with lots of vocal Leeds supporters, this was always going to be a difficult fixture for me, given their impressive home form and our erratic performance in the Premiership to-date. To be fair, I wasn’t hopeful.

For once the gods were smiling and after a day in London, the 15:40 GNER train from Kings X brought me safely to Leeds on time.

After an anxious wait at the ground, the match tickets arrived courtesy of a friend of a friend and we made our way into the away end. A number of changes were made to the team – Haaland at right back, Ritchie making his début at left back, Tiatto on the left, Kennedy on the right, Jeff Whitley back in a 5-man midfield with only Wanchope up front.

A nice touch by the Leeds fans, just before kick-off when they let us sing Blue Moon un-interrupted and then applauded our efforts.

I’ll avoid the real detail and hope someone else has provided it, but in the first half City looked impressive – not giving Leeds time to settle, Jeff Whitley in particular proving a real nuisance. The team spirit of the past 2 seasons was very evident as City battled for every ball, the commitment was very noticeable and well received by the travelling Blues. Haaland’s rôle as captain was as it should have been – urging the team onwards and an example to everyone. The first half performance was rewarded with 2 goals, both of which came from corners (has anyone noticed how few goals we score from corners?). The first, after a magnificent header from Wanchope hit the bar and was turned in by Howey; the second, a great goal from the edge of the area by Wiekens after a cleared header by a Leeds player from another Kennedy corner.

Not surprisingly in the second half, Leeds came at City. Personally, I thought we wouldn’t hold out and was ready to settle for a draw. Luckily I didn’t have to and despite pulling 1 goal back, Leeds didn’t come close again (well, not from where I was stood at the other end of the ground!). Wanchope really came into his own in the second half. Is he Goater in disguise? He chased every lost cause and was usually the only escape option we had. His effort, commitment and attitude could not be faulted; he is going to score some incredible goals this season.

The whole team performance was outstanding – very few teams will take points from Leeds at Elland Road this season and the performance by City deserves all the praise it receives. No-one played badly and everyone deserves credit for such a wholehearted performance. Ritchie impressed on his début; Haaland (a wasted talent at right back) was solid, composed and reliable – in fact the whole defence looked a much stronger unit; Wanchope was just great.

Special mention to the fans – great support, full repertoire of songs that dominated the atmosphere, with the exception of 5 minutes after Leeds scored.

While it isn’t right to get carried away by this result, City proved they can compete at the highest level on equal terms. OK, we won’t win the Premiership, but we’re going to be ok.

Wednesday at work was a good day!

Neil Towse (


I’ve not written my ‘usual’ match report for the Leeds game as, due to the nature of my position in the ground, I didn’t feel that I could do the game justice. Suffice to say; terrific result, spot on-tactics, great team work, Wiekens just edged out of MoM by “Paulo Wanchope’s f****** brilliant” (best chant of the night). Oh, and last season’s lucky underpants made a succesful comeback.

No, I want to have a bit of a moan on the ‘quality’ of certain seats at Premiership grounds and the allocation of tickets. I accept that this is very personal and possibly self-indulgent, but maybe if someone from the club ticket store is reading, they might be able to give some sort of response and/ or opinion on whether anything can be done. Quite simply, the seat I had at Leeds offered the worst view I have ever had the ‘pleasure’ of experiencing: I was on Row C, which was a worm’s eye view of the pitch (Rows A & B were literally below pitch level). Additionally, my seat was positioned in such a way that the right hand post and an additional post positioned to hold the netting, obscured half the opposite goal and area. Obviously the net itself covered the entire left hand side of the pitch. I accept there are a number of seats that have this same problem. If that wasn’t enough, of course I had Weaver’s not inconsiderable frame in the way at times too, although I did stop short of asking him to move out of the way when we were defending corners! Now obviously if someone had said “this is the last seat available, take it or miss the match”, I’d have jumped at it. However, what I object to is paying £24 for a crap seat without knowing the options; the same price as fellow Blues with good views. My angst is compounded in that I applied for this ticket with the 14 ticket stubs required on the very first day they went on sale. If I’d waited to the last minute, as alluded to above, I’d have been happy to take my chances, but c’mon: the people who apply first get the crap seats? Clearly I will not be the only one to be disappointed by the view of a match and there will obviously be similar such views at every stadium in the country. But surely such seats should be offered at a lower cost than ‘normal’ seats, or at the very worst, stamped ‘obstructed view’, so the selling club can hold onto them until all other tickets have been sold? When the Taylor report recommended that stadia should be converted to all-seater, it was on the proviso that clubs did not take advantage of fans by increasing prices unjustifiably. At £24 Leeds will not be the most expensive Premiership club we will visit, but again surely there should be some differentiation of prices when some seats are clearly sub-standard? Is this not common sense or I am I being unreasonable? Rant over, for now.

Phil Hartley (


I work at a large prison, about a mile from Elland Road football ground. Each day for the past two years or so I have proudly carried my Man City sports bag into work, cheerfully fending off the insults and jokes from the mainly Leeds United supporting gate staff. They have laughed at me – but I don’t mind – I carry my bag with pride, and surprisingly enough there are at least two other Blues in this establishment, and I recall there was even one other City fan who spent some time with us rather against his will. I never got to know what crime he had done, but he was probably innocent anyway!

Needless to say on Monday evening I got some stick from the Leeds fans on the way out.

“You’re with the big boys now – you’ll get pasted – you’ll be lucky to get nil”, and so on. I took it all in good humour. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today (Tuesday) was pay-back time, and in big style. I murdered the lot of them, so to speak. They had no answer, no sensible reply, other than vague threats of violence and no chance of scoring further points off me for a very long time to come. It was a wonderful, sublime experience to be savoured again and again in the re-telling and undoutedly to be re-experienced over the coming months; until that is we are relegated! I even stuck the words to Blue Moon on the notice board for all staff and visitors to see. I am surprised I survived the day without being smacked!

That is Why Blue. Brief periods of exultation amidst what seems like aeons of despair. I would not have it any other way.

Tony Edwards, HMP Leeds (


In MCIVTA 195 I bared my soul to the world at large in the aftermath of relegation from the Premier League. A lot has happened to our team since then, mostly for the better and it is interesting to reflect on this.

I live in Melbourne and back in 1996 things looked gloomy for your average Blue. The prospects of actually seeing the lads play on TV had diminished to zero, apart from the odd cameo appearance on the cup (Middlesbrough, West Ham etc.) and the burden of having inflicted my passion for City on my eldest son (then 10) was beginning to weigh heavily on me. His younger brother was a little more pragmatic – he wanted to be different to his brother and to support a decent team, so he opted to support Liverpool, knowing that supporting the Rags would be unacceptable in our household.

Despite City’s lowly stature, number one son persevered, turning up to football training wearing the complete Umbro kit and enduring ridicule from the other kids, most of whom profess to support the Rags. As 1996-7 turned into 1997-8, the Umbro kit made its way into the wardrobe, to be replaced by the Kappa. Having had the misfortune to witness the Huddersfield and Bradford home games in November 1997 on a brief visit home, I despaired of ever being able to take him to see a successful City team, let alone converting his younger brother to the cause.

Still the boy persisted in his passion for things Blue – I knew he had it bad when we watched Chelsea throw away a two-goal lead, just about killing their chances of overtaking United for the league title, and he left the room in tears. By this time he had added the first Kappa away shirt to his selection and still he wore them with pride. When we were relegated to Division Two I thought that would finish him off – it’s one thing a sad old git like me supporting City, but why would my son want to waste his life, I thought? Losing to teams like Wycombe, York and Lincoln didn’t help matters. But no, he didn’t waver. Then came 30 May 1998 – a blue moon in Melbourne, I kid you not – and a ridiculously excited and slightly drunk forty-something woke him at 3:00 a.m. (we do it tough down under) to announce our return to the big time – well to Division One anyway. We managed to get hold of a tape of the game and the end of season review and boy were we happy.

By late 1999 the Le Coq Sportif strip had been acquired via my long-suffering parents and we were beginning to suspect that things were definitely on the up-and-up at Maine Road. Number 2 son even asked for a City shirt for Christmas – did he know something we didn’t? The thought of returning to Manchester round about the end of the season, financially irresponsible as it might seem, began to cross my mind. So it was that we arrived to a fairly cold Manchester morning at the end of March. Five days later, after several visits to the City Super(!) Store to have names and numbers applied to shirts, we walked along Yew Tree Road to the Academy for the Bolton game. This was the first live City home game my eldest son had ever seen and I have never seen anyone so excited. We walked past the Platt Lane complex and down Number 2 Alley, just as I used to thirty-odd years ago, and emerged behind the Kippax before taking our seats in the North Stand (‘gets a bit gritty in there’ my cousin said). We were behind the goal when Dickov and Horlock scored and the buzz was indescribable, not to mention the instant education in Mancunian language and humour my boys received.

We made it to three other games: Tranmere (Gene Kelly stand), Crewe (Main Stand) and Birmingham (Platt Lane) and didn’t see a single goal conceded. We sat three rows behind Helen (of bell fame) during the Birmingham game and when the final whistle blew both my sons were over the wall and onto the pitch before I could say ‘£200 fine’. As I followed them, I realised that the last time I had been in the Platt Lane stand was the last game of the 1965-66 promotion season (home to Southampton, 0-0) and I had joined the pitch invasion then too.

The next day Charlton let us down badly and we had to fly back to Melbourne on the Monday before the Blackburn game. I was confident we would get a result there – after all, in 1989 we were second to a London-based team whose name begins with a ‘C’ and we had to get a draw away against a team whose name begins with a ‘B’, so the omens were good. I met up with the Melbourne Blues (as described by Paul Keelagher in the City magazine) and once again had to listen to the game via the Internet. You all know how that went, although at half-time I felt pretty nervous.

On to this week, and, in a round about way, the point of my story. The opening few games of the season have been a varied experience – I saw the Charlton game and didn’t think they were that good, we were just disorganised. Two defenders ran into each other for the first goal, Weaver should have blocked it or left it rather than try to kick it for the second and he was a little unlucky for the penalty. I have seen the goals from the next two games (Weaver seemed partly at fault for the goals against Coventry) and we awaited the Leeds game with some trepidation. I listened to the game via the net (again) and was ecstatic at the result – I seem to recall that we beat them at Elland Road in the 1995-6 season (remember Gerry Creaney?) and I felt reasonably optimistic, as they were missing Kewell, Wilcox, etc.

The match finished at 7:45 a.m. local time and number one son had to go to school straight afterwards. But as he went there was an extra spring in his step, because his team had beaten Leeds United at Elland Road, because his team is finally, unbelievably, back in the Premier League and because at the tender age of 14 his unswerving loyalty and faith has been rewarded.

Who knows, if City can get a result at Anfield on Saturday, number two son may finally be persuaded that City are worthy of his support after all.

Footnote 1: I’m all for a Neil Young testimonial – anyone remember his amazing goal in the 5-1 defeat of Schalke 04 in the home leg of the Cup-Winners’ Cup semi-final in 1970?
Footnote 2: Does anyone remember our nickname for the Rags in the sixties and seventies? As I recall it was ‘the Sh*t’. Simple but descriptive.
Footnote 3: In response to Jack Millington’s comments in MCIVTA 638, I thought Willie Donachie was quite a handy left back and didn’t he come after Pardoe? And as for John McFarlane’s demands for Joe Royle’s head, get real pal – sacking managers on a whim is what got us into Division Two. If you look at JR’s record with Oldham, Everton and City, he would have to be one of the more astute managers going around, given the resources he has had to work with.

CTID, John Durham (


Leeds 1 City 2

Enough said…

David Goulden (


Hi everybody. This is just a short note to let everyone know where the testimonial campaign is up to. I now have all the volunteers I need to form the committee so thanks to everyone who wrote offering their services. We are holding the first meeting next Thursday (14th Sept) to draft a letter to the club presenting the case for why Neil should have his benefit match. I have written to everyone who volunteered personally, asking for their support by writing to the club, but now can I ask the same thing of all the McV’ers. Could everyone who feels that this is a worthwhile cause please write to the club asking them to look favourably on the appeal? The more mail the club gets on this issue the better. The publicity has started to come in now. An article appeared in last weekend’s Pink on Sunday discussing the campaign and it has also been featured on the Internet on Team-talk. If there is anyone who subscribes to McVitee that works in the media and would be willing to publicise the campaign I’d love to hear from you…

Thank you all once again for the masses of interest and support you have shown – please keep it coming.

Dave Cash (


Peter Hallsworth wrote:

> Ontario Blues:
> We will be Gathering at Web's Pub on September 17th 11 am to watch the
> Boro game. Any fans not yet signed up for supporters' club can do so
> after the game.
> Web's pub is on the north east corner of Dixie Road and Glen Erin Drive
> in Mississauga.

Small correction so you don’t get lost… it’s at Dundas and Glen Erin. See ya there. Great result at Leeds tonight; the highs and lows of being a Blue.

Rich Barter (


Last night I went to order ‘Blue Moon Rising’ off the Internet, and after doing a search it came up with two books of the same title. The synopsis of one read ‘… the King’s realm has existed peacefully for generations, but now the kingdom is disintegrating as the blackness of the Darkwood encroaches and demons are massing. The Prince is sent on a quest and returns with not only the princess, but also the dragon, for they need all the help they can get…’

The question I now ask myself is have I ordered the right book? I’ll have to wait until it’s delivered. Any ideas who were the princess and the dragon who got us into the Premiership?

Neil Mathieson (


So Nigel Pickles points out it was a Ford Fiesta Mark Kennedy was dancing on; up until that point I’d assumed he’d been Morris dancing.

David Kilroy (


If anyone wants to know where Anthony Fenton has gone – He’s joined Colwyn Bay in the Unibond Premier League for a while, according to the local paper.

P.S. Anyone in the Llandudno/Colwyn Bay area know any bars that will show the City games? I’ve just move back and don’t have Sky.

Colin Paxton (


Couple more famous Blues unearthed this week, if anyone keeps records on such things.

Badly Drawn Boy listing his heroes in the NME, cited Alan Sunderland, for his oh-so-joyous winner in the ’79 Cup final (I remember it well; after the euphoria had died down, the following Tuesday, I recall, I realised I was in some degree of pain as I had smashed my hand on the ceiling).

The other is Warren Clarke, who in the Radio Times recalls his boyhood ambition of wanting to be a footballer, being a Man City fan and all that. Presume he still is. It’s not something that goes away, is it?

Andy Noise (


Wonder if anyone else saw the irony in the the last MCVITEE – Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts (fantastic name – I bet you got your own Hotmail address OK) was describing why the negativism of Schindler and Davis had never infected him and that U****d shouldn’t be part of defining what we’re all about. And right beside it, a little piece from Lance Thompson suggesting that we shouldn’t play FatBoySlim at Maine Road because he (wait for it) has married a celebrity Red. Brilliant editing – keep it up.

Since the music debate has quietened down, I’d be interested to hear people’s wittiest terrace songs – a couple that stand out for me are the (alleged) “We’ve lost that Terry Phelan, oooo that Terry Phelan etc.”: give the lads a knighthood. Last season at Fulham (after Morrison had been sent off for snogging), the Fulham boys managed (to a tune from Mad Max I think) “We don’t need another hero – we’ve got Paul Pescha-lido” which deserved a gold star too.

Over to you…

Brian Connell (


I think I see some form of pattern forming. We beat Sunderland the day I ordered my new home shirt, and then beat Leeds the day I received and wore it. I shall test this pattern out further by trialing wearing it for some games and not for others. I will be wearing it for the Liverpool game.

Neil Hastings (


Three games into the season and we have comments that Joe needs to show “leadership or go” and that “he is running the club like a headless chicken” (John McFarlane).

Joe has led the club from the front from day one and played a blinder. He has shown leadership by dropping Reg and passing the captain’s armband to Alfie. It is great to see everybody firing their opinions in but don’t forget where we have come from! Judge Joe Royle over one season – not 3 games.

I remember getting beat away to York the week before Christmas in 1998 and we looked down and out. But the man got a feel for things over the season and we came back firing on all cylinders. I would not be surprised to see 3 or 4 new signings over the course of the season and holding our own in the Premiership.

On the issue of Reg, he will just have to prove that he is up to the standard in the same vein as Andy Morrison. The ball is in his court. Does anyone else have a sneaking feeling that we are going to get something from both Leeds and Liverpool away?

One Joe Royle.

Michael Jenkins (


I don’t often comment on MCIVTA but I’d just like to say thank goodness (or similar non printable words) that I don’t sit next to John McFarlane. Either your bit in MCIVTA 638 was tongue in cheek and I’m so dim I didn’t spot it, or you’re one hell of a pessimist mate.

“Joe Royle must show leadership or go, he is managing this club like a headless chicken”? This is the guy that has taken us up 2 divisions in 2 years. At least I thought it was.

“To add insult to injury he sends a bargain world class player home – Ulysses.” Perhaps he’s seen the bloke in training? Just a thought.

I do agree with your comment on Alfie – he has to be in the middle, but Cooke has had his chance to redeem himself, and again JR sees him in training. He obviously can’t be bothered, ’cause if you can’t motivate yourself for the Premiership, then what can you motivate yourself for?

Joe has done a great job so far (I was one that seriously worried when we appointed him) and I reckon he is one of the best managers in the division, and more importantly is backed by an assistant in Willie who is probably one of the best coaches in the country, both backed by an excellent team.

Paul Stevenson a.k.a. ChinnorBLU (


How can John McFarlane be such a harsh critic of Joe Royle? I am sorry but I have got to step in here. Joe Royle brought us back 2 divisions in 2 seasons. As I write this we have only played 3 games this season, and John says Joe Royle is like a chicken with his head cut off! I am sorry John, it’s far too early to make such statements, you are certainly allowed to be a critic, and I am allowed to be one too, and I say Joe Royle is doing one hell of a job for City, well done Joe!

Christine Haynes – great article, yes we should as City fans stick together more, and behind every player, but I am sorry I do question if Edghill is the right man for the full back position in the Premier League.

Come on you Blues!

CTID, Ernie Barrow (


I hate to start slagging matches but John McFarlane’s contribution to MCIVTA 638 was either written by a Newton Heathen (a Rag… for you young ones), or if he is a City supporter then he is one of those we can do without.

Regards, Jack Millington (


I didn’t want to get caught up in the Richard Edghill ‘debate’. I don’t see many games nowadays and didn’t see the game against Coventry, so can’t comment on his lapses there. However, I have agree with those who have deplored the booing of our own player. Sadly, City are also not immune from having a yobbish fringe of so-called supporters.

There is a link with the recent call for a testimonial for Neil Young, which as a long-time fan (from the days of watching his appearances as a 15-year old in the youth team), I wholeheartedly support. However, older supporters will recall that Neil was not always universally popular with the fans, particularly in his younger days, and that his nickname was not originally bestowed with a sense of affection. Why was this? I think mainly because he was always a thinking player (unlike his contemporary Dave Wagstaffe) and didn’t always get ‘stuck-in’ – a crime for many fans. Another reason was that he was a home-produced player. For some reason, the big-money purchases always seem to enjoy more support than the lads who slog it up from the youth team.

I could list hundreds of examples of this tendency but, for me, the player who most symbolises the fickleness of home fans was David Bennett, one of the few real talents that City produced in the late seventies. Here is a young player who scored something like 15 goals in 50 appearances, mainly from the right wing, and in a pretty mediocre team. Yet, on occasions, he was booed by the home fans. What was his crime? Another local lad, another thinking player who preferred craft to bash and, returning to the present situation with Richard Edghill, another black player – is there a coincidence here? I know that, in my days as a season ticket holder in the old North Stand, the level of abuse, including racial abuse, directed at Dave Bennett was intolerable and often led to ferocious arguments with some of the neighbouring so-called supporters. In the end, Bennett was literally given away by the club. It seems like déjà vu reading some of the reports/comments on the Edghill affair.

I’m not sure that I am very enthusiastic about Joe Royle’s handling of this matter but he is, first and foremost, a pragmatist and, in the end, his job is to produce a team that wins. I hope that Richard Edghill can win his battle and prove that he is able to play in the Premier league for City but I am not optimistic for him. I know that we have had, and most certainly have now, a lot worse players than him and, therefore, I wish him every success for the future, preferably at Maine Road.

Barry Taylor (


I had to look in my diary today… no it wasn’t April the 1st, but the suggestion that Royle should show leadership or go just made me grin a little and question my own sanity. Yes we do have a few problems, but even the all-dominating Rags had a few quibbles over goalkeepers last season and a lack of understanding between defenders this season. Considering where we have come in such a short space of time, it is no wonder that we are lacking in a few areas, decent right-wingers don’t grow on trees and certainly not ones who need to slot into a team with real spirit. Royle’s signings so far have been of that ilk, players who can slot in without upsetting the others, witness the great Kinkladze as an example of someone who upset dressing room morale/feelings. Is it no small point that all (except Wanchope who gets by) the City players can speak perfect English, personally I would like to see Wanchope tried wide right with the Goat/Dickov played in the middle with George. As for Terry Cooke, he definitely has done something to upset Royle – I doubt we’ll ever see him gracing the first team sheet again.

On the subject of Edghill, no it isn’t nice to boo our own and it shouldn’t be condoned, but for years Edghill has IMHO been crap. Even fans of objective teams have commented to me on how crap he has been; in the long run this could be a blessing in disguise as we might finally get a decent right back, in fact thinking about it we haven’t had any decent full backs for some considerable time. What would you rather have: a) a team full of Edghills who love the club, but play at a level which leaves us fighting relegation each season, or b) a team full of players who has no real love for the club, but have us winning trophies once again? I’m sorry but b******s to Cityitis, I’m sick of following a team I’ve seen win bu*ger all (excluding the play-off trophy), the antidote starts here!

Come on City!

James Walsh (


So now after 4 games we’ve seen alternate lose-win-lose-win.

If this pattern is repeated for the rest of the season, then we are going to end up with 57 points, which should be enough for a respectable mid-table position. Also, following the pattern through means that the wins will be as follows:

Middlesbrough (h)
Newcastle (h)
Southampton (a)
Leicester (h)
Rags (h)             (but we will lose away)
Chelsea (a)
Villa (a)
Derby (h)
Coventry (a)
Derby (a)
Middlesbrough (a)
Newcastle (a)
Bradford (a)
Everton (a)
Arsenal (h)
West Ham (h)
Chelsea (h)

So put your bets on now before the bookmakers wise up (only problem is that lose-win-lose-win won’t get us very far in the FA Cup!)!

Steve Maclean (


When I heard that City were buying Paulo Wanchope I thought I would ask a West Ham supporter friend of mine (name check – David “Smiley” Miles) what he thought of the player. The reply I received was that he thought Paulo was a good, skilful player and would be sorry to see him leave Upton Park. Smiley also added that the West Ham fans had not taken to Wanchope and had given him a lot of stick. His performances on the field for the Hammers started out poorly, but towards the end of last season his form was good and he scored quite a few goals. This performance did not however change the opinion of the vociferous fans and he remained a “boo-boy”. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that the West Ham fans’ dislike of Wanchope contributed to his departure from Upton Park. Which of course leads to our gain. Paulo’s good start with City and his first ever hat-trick has placed him in a good position with the fans.

Now let us compare Paulo’s story with one of City’s most loyal sons. I refer, of course, to Richard Edghill. I was not at the Coventry match, so I did not see Edgy’s performance that day. I do however remember his performance at Huddersfield last season where I thought he had his worst game that I had seen. Did I boo him that day? No. I may have held my head in my hands on several occasions, but what good does booing do? From the comments in recent MCIVTAs, Edghill received the brunt of some sections of the crowd’s displeasure, which should probably have been levelled equally at other parts of the team. The overall feeling from the MCIVTA reports is that Richard is suffering from a lack of confidence (and has been for perhaps two or more seasons), and this is obviously not helped by booing and criticism from the stands. So, let us learn from the Wanchope story. Do not force Edgy from the club, to some other team’s gain. Welcome him back when he forces his way back into the first team. No booing. Praise his good play, and make him the good player he threatened to be in his early years for City.

Arthur Hill (


I have a season ticket in the upper Kippax and there’s a guy who sits behind me who, I’m sure, is gutted that we’ve done as well as we have. He is able to have a go at most players, but he must be one of the biggest Richard Edghill haters. He fully fits the stereotypical brain-dead moron mould, as he is one of those people who, as other correspondents have intimated, is just waiting to pick on poor Richard right from the first whistle.

At a football forum in Lancaster last year, Joe Royle was questioned about Richard Edghill and his questionable distribution. Joe’s answer was “How many times have you seen an attacker actually get past him?” The answer, of course, was not a lot last season. I wouldn’t want to get into an Edghill debate because I don’t see it as a black and white issue (no racial pun intended) as all players suffer loss of form, confidence etc. I simply prefer to trust Joe’s judgement, as it’s done pretty well so far. Anyway, back to the guy behind me. He has names for all the players, Edghill is Mogadon Man, Horlock is Horlicks, Wiekens is Weekend, Granville is, yes, GGGGranville, Pollock was Pillock, Jeff Whitley is Shitly, the list goes on. None of this guy’s names are pet nicknames, they’re all abusive to the player concerned. He knows nothing of the laws of the game and I frequently have to remind him of why a referee has made a certain decision. The worrying thing is that he brings his son and actively encourages him to shout these obscene names at the players concerned. The point to sharing all this is that there are some people in the crowd who will only be happy moaning at a player or the team in general and, unfortunately, such is their moronic attitude, that they won’t change. I just hope that the next time a player is going through a bad patch the silent majority outshout the small booing minority and chant his name louder than the booers. As for John McFarlane and his Joe Royle advice… I rest my case.

Lance Thomson (


Just thought I’d give my twopenneth to the ongoing Edghill debate – after all the rantings and defences of recent times. However, I think the Leeds performance and result goes someway towards justifying the criticism.

I’ll start off by stating that in my opinion, his performance against Coventry was the worst individual 45 minutes by a City player since Dibble against Oxford. Right from the kick off (and long before “the back pass”), he had loads of possession in open space down the right flank and consistently played forwards into trouble or gave the ball away. As pointed out regularly in MCIVTA, he is expected to cover all (most) of the right flank – mainly because opposition realise we are potentially good down the left and “double-up” or cover accordingly. As such, when teams try to cover opponents’ strengths, there is an “outlet” where they are quite keen for the ball to go, and unfortunately for City, that outlet is Edgy, who, quite frankly isn’t up to the job. As stated, it’s not his fault, as he is quite a good sound defensive full back with a lot of experience. But going forward, he is a bit of a liability, very occasionally creating a chance or something (but extremely low relative to amount of times he gets the ball). I know Kennedy has been poor as well so far, but realistically, he could just stand on the left touchline and scratch his a*se all day, and he would be in the back of defenders’ and midfielders’ minds, keeping them occupied and leaving space on the other side of the pitch. Now, if we had someone who could utilise that space effectively?

I notice that some of the defenders of Edgy’s perfomance against Coventry (more specifically, “the backpass” and the Bellamy goal) were praising him for covering the left flank and wondering where everyone else was. Well it’s basic football defence that when you attack down one flank (and especially if the full back goes up) then the defence slides across, leaving the opposite full back as potentially the last man. Edgy did that part satisfactorily on both occasions – as was expected of him. However, the backpass was disgraceful (didn’t even look and scuffed the ball) and his challenge on Bellamy was non-existent (did the right thing to force him wide but was far too far off him – shouldn’t have been able to get a shot in – whether Weaver should have saved it is another matter). And as for the OG – Rule 1 is you don’t backpass towards goal – especially if you’re not looking. Whether Weaver should have come or whether he called doesn’t matter – the ball should not have been cushioned back from there! I can’t believe people are trying to defend Edghill by having a veiled swipe at Tiatto for being up the pitch. One of our full backs should take a good hard long look at the other as to how it’s done!

I have to say Edghill’s best performances of recent years have been at left back during the run-in from Div 2. No co-incidence that we were strong down the right then with Terry Cooke playing reasonably well. Edghill didn’t try too much and tended not to get far forward at all. Similarly now, he plays better when Whitley is right midfield and he just gives him an easy pass and stays back. However, Whitley too is a liability up the pitch.

The booing was not that noticeable – more a collection of individual rants around the ground. From where I was sat in the lower Kippax, the main crowd feature was an overwhelmingly loud cheer when he got the ball immediately from the kick off (after the OG). Full marks to Wiekens for doing this – he turned round and specifically looked out to the right to give him the ball to get his confidence back up. What did he do – give it away about 5 times in the next few minutes.

I think he’s been given a fair crack so far – considering he was poor for the back end of last season and hopeless so far this season – and Joe is quite right to drop him. He is in general a pretty good defensive full back when on top of his game – probably best when directly marking a good left winger (put it this way, I’d rather have him against Giggs or Ginola than Haaland, Whitley, Crooks or whatever) – but he’s no divine right to a place in the team and has got to improve significantly on recent form to get back in. Captain – no thanks. He’s just not the right character for it. Wasn’t happy with him as choice last year. There’s more to it than having pride and kissing your badge at Wembley (speaking of which, as a final note: hands up if you were confident when he strolled up to take that penalty – thank God it was a round crossbar eh!).

David Johnson (


Please forgive me posting to this list, but we need everyone’s help.

You may be aware that Leicester City have drawn Belgrade in the UEFA Cup. What you may not know, is that despite the fact no Leicester fans are allowed to travel and the team cannot get insurance to go, UEFA are insisting they play there or are thrown out of the competition.

The game is 4 days after the 1st round of elections, Milosevic is going to get his a*se kicked if he doesn’t cheat and it will probably cause civil war. The Leeds-Partizan game was moved to a neutral venue last year, but UEFA are adamant Leicester must go there now.

Imagine how you’d feel if your team got into Europe and then 1) you couldn’t go and watch them after saving up all summer and then 2) UEFA threw your team out without them playing ’cause your team could not get insurance or even a flight there?!

UEFA are being asses. What happens in the second round and Belgrade draw another club who cannot go? At this rate Belgrade will win the damn cup by default.

So we need your help to stop UEFA ignoring the safety of the team and the needs of the fans.

Sign our online petition at asking UEFA to hold the game on neutral territory.

Many thanks, Lynn (


Does anyone out there know of any pubs in Fuertaventura where I can see the Middlesbrough game next Sunday? My flights have been changed for my hollibobs and it now means I’ll have to stay ’til Monday morning on that godforsaken island (boo).

If anyone has any ideas please e-mail me on the address below (before Friday). Thanks to all.

Cathal Whelehan (


I first caught football fever in the spring of 1956. Our local team, Grimsby Town, was heading for promotion, and clinched the championship of Division Three North with a few games to spare. The trophy was presented at the final home game against Bradford, who we didn’t need to beat, or even draw with. Runners-up Derby County were so far behind it didn’t matter. How those three teams’ fortunes have diverged since that time!

Of course, 1956 was a year when City won the cup. It was the first Cup Final I’d seen, and Bert Trautmann’s heroics made a big impression on a young lad, and probably sowed the seeds of Blueness. It took a lot longer for me to actually turn Blue though. I continued to follow the Mariners as they rattled around the three lower divisions. Town had managed to get relegated from Division 1 (the old one, that is) a few months before I was born, after 13 seasons in the top flight, and they’ve never been back since.

So when I headed off to Manchester University in 1966 it wasn’t too hard to switch allegiances to a real football team. I became a Rag (Hey gimme a break! Watching the Mariners all those years can do strange things to a guy’s brain!). I used to go to the Swamp with my Rag friends and watch the one-man-band called George Best.

Meanwhile, City were doing well. I kinda thought about going to watch them, but none of my friends were interested. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and I walked over to Maine Road by myself to watch an FA Cup Tie against Reading. I couldn’t believe it. City were simply ‘orroble (that’s a bit like “horrible,” but much worse). They couldn’t string any passes together, keep possession, tackle, or execute any of the basic footballing skills. It was all Reading – a Third Division side, for crying out loud. Finally, City won a penalty – I can’t remember how. Anyway, Tony Coleman comes up to take the kick (whatever was that “Tony, Tony Coleman – UH UH!” thing all about anyway?) and sends the ball screaming into orbit. Cleared the bar by about 3 feet and was still gaining altitude as it disappeared out of sight into the Platt Lane stand. Or maybe over the roof, I don’t remember. Somehow, City escaped with a 0-0 draw. I just couldn’t believe that this was the team that was doing so well in the First Division.

Then I saw the result of the replay: Reading 1 City 6. This is some Jekyll-and-Hyde team, I thought. It really piqued my interest. I managed to get a few friends to walk over to Maine Road once in a while (new friends – the Rag friends wouldn’t dream of it), and City went on a tear. Consecutive home games went 4-0 versus Spurs, then 5-1 versus West Brom. This looked like the start of an arithmetic progression, I told everyone. Next home game we’ll score 6, just you see. Well, not exactly. Burnley were the opponents, and City stuffed 7 past them. And, as coincidences will have it, Burnley brought on Doug Collins from the bench, Doug from Grimsby, who they’d discovered by accident when they drew Grimsby in the FA Cup (Grimsby went 2-0 up at home, gave up the lead in true Grimsby style with 2 goals in the last 10 minutes, and then got thrashed in the replay).

And the rest, as they say, is history. It was obvious that City fans had character and humour, whereas Rag groupies didn’t. The atmosphere in the Kippax was incredible. I’d become a true Blue.

I moved to Scotland in 1973, and I haven’t seen a live City game since. One of my office mates, as luck would have it, was a Blue. Not having heard the wonderful term of abuse “Rags” at that time, we usually referred to that other lot as “Stretford Rovers”, though Colin was just as likely to drop the “Rovers” in favour of a word having to do with masturbation, if you get my drift (I don’t know what the city boundaries look like these days, but a postal map of Manchester from 1965 showed clearly the outrageously gerrymandered postal boundary that had Manchester 16 snake up Warwick Road from Chester Road, around the Swamp and back down again – just to give the Rags a bogus Manchester postal address).

I effected an escape from Scotland in 1978, and have lived in Pennsylvania ever since. Before the Web came on line, keeping up with City meant traipsing to the not-so-local library to read the Sunday Times or Observer. So following the Blue fortunes was spotty at best. I didn’t even find out about the 10-1 drubbing of Huddersfield until McVittee started appearing in my mailbox almost 10 years later.

Now, with the Web and McVittee, following City’s every twist and turn is back to being part of routine. It’s really great to have this McVittee resource. I really appreciate the great match reports, and the dry humour of the McVittee clan. Phil Hartley, Tony Burns especially. Keep ’em coming mates! And whatever happened to Sharon Bennett Hargreaves? Married life too demanding to keep us entertained with those wonderful reports? Shame! Special thanks to Roger Haigh for telling me about McVittee, and to Ashley for kicking it off in the first place and keeping it running.

Bill Buffam, West Chester, PA (


6 September 2000

Charlton Athletic     1 - 1  Southampton
Chelsea               2 - 2  Arsenal
Coventry City         0 - 2  Newcastle United
Derby County          3 - 3  Middlesbrough
Leicester City        2 - 1  Ipswich Town
Liverpool             3 - 1  Aston Villa

5 September 2000

Leeds United          1 - 2  Manchester City
Manchester United     6 - 0  Bradford City
Sunderland            1 - 1  West Ham United
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 2  Everton

27 August 2000

Aston Villa           1 - 1  Chelsea

26 August 2000

Arsenal               5 - 3  Charlton Athletic
Bradford City         0 - 0  Leicester City
Everton               2 - 2  Derby County
Ipswich Town          1 - 0  Sunderland
Manchester City       1 - 2  Coventry City
Middlesbrough         1 - 2  Leeds United
Newcastle United      2 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton           3 - 3  Liverpool
West Ham United       2 - 2  Manchester United

League table to 06 September 2000 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Newcastle Utd    4  2  0  0  5  2  1  0  1  2  2  3  0  1  7  4   3   9
 2 Manchester Utd   4  2  0  0  8  0  0  2  0  3  3  2  2  0 11  3   8   8
 3 Leicester City   4  1  1  0  2  1  1  1  0  1  0  2  2  0  3  1   2   8
 4 Arsenal          4  2  0  0  7  3  0  1  1  2  3  2  1  1  9  6   3   7
 5 Liverpool        4  2  0  0  4  1  0  1  1  3  5  2  1  1  7  6   1   7
 6 Tottenham H.     4  2  0  0  6  3  0  1  1  1  3  2  1  1  7  6   1   7
 7 Leeds United     3  1  0  1  3  2  1  0  0  2  1  2  0  1  5  3   2   6
 8 Manchester City  4  1  0  1  5  4  1  0  1  2  5  2  0  2  7  9  -2   6
 9 Coventry City    4  0  0  2  1  5  2  0  0  4  2  2  0  2  5  7  -2   6
10 Middlesbrough    4  0  1  1  2  3  1  1  0  6  4  1  2  1  8  7   1   5
11 Chelsea          4  1  1  0  6  4  0  1  1  1  3  1  2  1  7  7   0   5
12 Everton          4  1  1  0  5  2  0  0  2  2  5  1  1  2  7  7   0   4
13 Charlton Ath.    4  1  1  0  5  1  0  0  2  3  8  1  1  2  8  9  -1   4
14 Ipswich Town     4  1  1  0  2  1  0  0  2  2  5  1  1  2  4  6  -2   4
15 Sunderland       4  1  1  0  2  1  0  0  2  2  5  1  1  2  4  6  -2   4
16 Bradford City    4  1  1  0  2  0  0  0  2  0  7  1  1  2  2  7  -5   4
17 Derby County     4  0  2  0  5  5  0  1  1  4  5  0  3  1  9 10  -1   3
18 Southampton      4  0  1  1  4  5  0  2  0  3  3  0  3  1  7  8  -1   3
19 Aston Villa      3  0  1  0  1  1  0  1  1  1  3  0  2  1  2  4  -2   2
20 West Ham United  4  0  1  1  2  3  0  1  1  3  5  0  2  2  5  8  -3   2

With thanks to Football 365


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

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #639