Newsletter #640

City came away with nothing to show for their endeavours at Anfield, despite playing very well and putting a circumspect Liverpool defence under great pressure. Joe Royle was reportedly very angry after the game and didn’t attend the post-match press conference. This was being portrayed as an act of petulance by some sections of the press, but probably had much more to do with Joe’s bitter memories of the Merseyside press than any grievance he had against the referee and the man John Gregory likened to a sack of potatoes (Heskey).

We have Peter’s news; a couple of match reports; a matchview; some thoughts on the stratospheric price of away tickets; and the usual opinion.

Next game: Sunday 17th September 2000, Middlesbrough at home (4.00pm)


Brave City Lose in Thriller

Manchester City’s rollercoaster season continued on Saturday as the Blues followed up their midweek win with another defeat. But the Blues could hold their heads high after going down by the odd goal in five at Liverpool. Michael Owen’s early goal ensured the home side led at the break and a Dietmar Hamman effort eleven minutes into the second period looked to have put the game beyond the Blues’ reach. But after substitute George Weah brought City back into the match, Joe Royle’s men equalised from a Kevin Horlock penalty awarded for Traore’s foul on Alfie Haaland. However, a second goal by Hamann on 82 minutes denied the visitors a share of the spoils, although a Paulo Wanchope goal was disallowed late on. Despite the defeat, the City performance was extremely encouraging with most reports claiming the Blues had the better of the game.

Royle Rages at Heskey Dives

In the wake of his team’s defeat at Anfield, Joe Royle called for the PFA to name and shame players who dive. And while the City manager declined to name the principal object of his anger, there was little doubt that it was Emile Heskey whose antics sparked the verbal assault. Royle felt his side had a raw deal from the match officials in general, but was furious with one second half incident in particular. Heskey went down on the edge of the City penalty area with Steve Howey in close attendance, but there was clearly no foul. Several City players angrily confronted the ex-Leicester man, who reacted by pushing Paul Ritchie in the face. Referee Graham Barber chose to brandish a yellow rather than a red card for that offence and, to Royle’s chagrin, allowed the dive to go unpunished. “I don’t want to make a big issue out of this but is a problem that is growing in the game and it is not good,” commented the Blues’ boss. “I don’t know what the authorities can do about it but steps have to be taken.”

City Boss Pleased by Display

Joe Royle was delighted by the quality produced by his Manchester City side at Anfield on Saturday. And the Blues’ boss felt that his side’s dominance during much of the game made a mockery of the final score. Royle felt his team played so well that he’d have been disappointed with even a draw from the match. So the fact that Dietmar Hamann won the game for Liverpool late on was especially galling for the City manager. “I don’t know how we came away with nothing,” he mused. “For long periods we outplayed them and from the general pattern of the game I feel we didn’t deserve nothing out of this one.”

Houllier Backs City to Survive

Gerard Houllier saw his Liverpool team given a fright by Manchester City on Saturday. And even though most newly promoted teams make a swift return to Division One, the Frenchman fully expects to be welcoming the Blues back to Anfield for a Premiership fixture next term. Houllier had seen City come back from two goals down to threaten to take a share of the spoils, and was relieved his team managed to steal a late winner. But after the match, he gave a favourable verdict on Joe Royle’s men. “They play a direct way, but it suits them, and they are well organised,” he reflected. “The fact that they won at Leeds in midweek says everything about them. They have a fine young ‘keeper, in Steve Howey an experienced defender and a hard working midfield. They’ve signed two international quality strikers and, from what I’ve seen, they will have no problem staying up.”

Narrow Defeat Frustrates Weah

George Weah scored his first Manchester City goal in a competitive fixture on Saturday. But the Liberian’s second half strike at Anfield provided scant consolation for the Blues’ failure to take points from the game. Fatigued after international duty, Weah watched from the bench at Leeds in midweek as his team-mates earned a shock win. But while the 33-year-old had no complaints over Joe Royle’s decision to deploy the same lone striker formation against Liverpool, he felt he could make an impact if given the chance by Royle. “It was very frustrating watching from the bench – we had so many chances, I just wish I could have been out there to make the most of them,” reflected the former World Player of the Year. “Every time we had an opportunity to cross the ball into their box, we looked like scoring. Really, we should have won.”

Killen Makes an Immediate Impact

City youngster Chris Killen joined Wrexham on loan towards the end of last week. And the Kiwi made an immediate impact on his introduction to league football by scoring in the Robins’ win over Oldham. Killen has gone to the Welsh outfit to gain experience of first-team football with a view to pushing for inclusion in Joe Royle’s senior squad. And the 18-year-old grabbed the second goal for Brian Flynn’s men in their 3-1 win over Oldham. Andy Morrison was another City loan man on target at the weekend, but the big defender’s strike was only a consolation for Blackpool in the 2-1 home defeat against Hartlepool.

Fenton Back After Move Breaks Down

Nick Fenton has been on loan at Bournemouth since the start of the season. But though the south coast outfit were keen on signing the youngster on a permanent basis, the £200,000 asking price has proved too steep and the player is back at Maine Road. Fenton started in the Cherries’ opening four fixtures this term, but featured only as a late substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Port Vale after Dean Court boss Sean O’Driscoll reconciled himself to losing the player. Despite his return to the Blues, the 20-year-old could soon be on the move again, with O’Driscoll claiming that other clubs are interested in him – and that some of the suitors do have the means to pay the fee the Blues require.

Wanchope Deal to be Investigated

Agent Dennis Roach is to be investigated by the FA after a complaint over his conduct was made through the PFA. And one of the deal’s which will come under scrutiny is Paulo Wanchope’s move from West Ham to Manchester City. Roach was bitterly criticised by Newcastle last month for his conduct during the negotiations over Duncan Ferguson’s move to Everton, and Joe Royle was also upset with the agent after the Wanchope saga dragged on for over a week longer than expected. There has been no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the Blues’ part in the Wanchope deal, and in any case that transfer is likely to be just one of several to be examined.

Makin to Replace Edghill?

Richard Edghill could be set to end his Manchester City torment if weekend newspaper reports are to be believed. And there are rumours that Chris Makin of Sunderland could be targeted as a possible replacement. Birmingham City are said to be willing to pay £1 million for Edghill if Joe Royle decides to part company with the Oldham-born defender. And while Alfie Haaland has filled in at right back in the last two games, it’s thought that Royle would be keen to release the Norwegian for midfield duty by signing another full back. Makin was discovered by the City manager during his time at Oldham, and had a season at Marseille before being snapped up by Peter Reid in the summer of 1997. Whether Reid would be prepared to do business now is, however, unclear, with the 27-year-old having featured in all of the Wearsiders’ five fixtures this season.

Jobson Turns Down Stockport Loan

Richard Jobson played in all but two of Manchester City’s league fixtures last season, but has yet to feature this term. However, the veteran defender has turned down the chance to move to Stockport on loan. Jobson is expected to play a bit-part rôle for City this season, with new arrivals Steve Howey and Paul Ritchie ensuring fierce competition for places in the Blues’ defence. But the 37-year-old has elected to stay at Maine Road to fight for inclusion in Joe Royle’s line-up, disappointing County boss Andy Kilner who saw the experienced ex-Oldham and Leeds star as the ideal man to bolster his injury-ravaged squad.

City Linked With Scottish Youngster

Manchester City are being linked with Scottish midfield sensation Mark Kerr. But the Blues could face competition from several other Premiership clubs for the emerging Falkirk star’s signature. City sent a scout to Brockville on Wednesday to see the Bairns entertain Hibs in the CIS Cup – and Kerr reportedly impressed as the Scottish First Division side took the tie into extra time against Premier League opponents. Newcastle, Everton and Ipswich were also represented at the game, and interested clubs will have another opportunity to run the rule over the youngster when he plays for Scotland under-18s against Northern Ireland later in the month.

Prices Slashed for Gills’ Cup Tie

Manchester City have historically tended to draw poor crowds for the season’s opening Worthington Cup tie against lower league opposition. So the Blues have looked to stimulate interest for this season’s match against Gillingham by reducing admission prices. Juniors accompanied by an adult can gain admission to any part of the ground for £1 for the second round first leg tie on Wednesday 20 September, while senior citizens will be charged just £5. Adults will also pay reduced prices, with prices set at £10 for the North Stand, £11 for the Platt Lane Stand, £12 for the Kippax Stand lower tier, £14 for the Kippax Stand upper tier and £15 for the main stand.

Travel News – Road Delays M6/M56

The A556 between the M6 and M56 will be closed at weekends for a long time from this next weekend (and between 8 pm and 6 am every night), so fans travelling by car from the south will need to divert. Signed diversion routes are M6 to jn 20, west along the M56 to jn 10 then back east along the M56 or via M62/M602 to Manchester (no M6 northbound to N56 eastbound slip roads, but you can come off to the A50 at jn 20 and back down the M56, which should be quicker than the extra 6 miles via jn 10). [Thanks to Steve Parish for this information].

Peter Brophy (


LIVERPOOL vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 9th September 2000

I hope this gives an alternative view of the match being as I was sat with the Liverpool fans on my own so to speak or so I thought as I was later to find out. So here goes:

I met my mate who is a season ticket holder at Liverpool who had obtained me a ticket in the Centenary stand (that’s the one you see on television opposite the cameras for those who don’t know) at his home. We travel from the outskirts into Liverpool centre around the ground for a beer. There are plenty of Blues dotted about with no trouble at all that I could see, which was good. We pass by the Hillsborough memorial, loads of people are there placing flowers at the base, paying their respects. It definitely sobers you up and makes you think.

In complete contrast, we arrive in my mate’s haunt right outside the Kop – ‘the Albert’ – and it is rocking, the songbirds are in full voice, the beer is flowing and there is more than a whiff of waccy baccy in the air. So I was expecting a really intimidating atmosphere when I got into the ground (which is a credit to how well City played to quieten the crowd as they did). I get into the ground and the City fans to my right are in full voice.

The team come out to a tremendous roar and I get a feeling of a cracking match in prospect. Paul Dickov is getting his first full start of the season in place of the injured Danny Tiatto, as opposed to the expected replacement Danny Granville. Is Joe going on the attack? We shall see. Also I was looking forward to seeing Paul Ritchie play as I hadn’t seen him before.

We win the toss and elect to kick towards our fans; this upsets the cameramen no end who pick up all their gear and run towards the Kop. Are they expecting a slaughter? Liverpool kick off and for the first ten minutes we take control, battling away in midfield, gaining plenty of possession. It’s obvious we are a definite threat in the air from set pieces. Then all of a sudden a quick breakaway falls at Heskey’s feet who puts a ball through to Owen, 1-0; Weaver no chance. Everyone around me jumps up for joy while I sit there remembering the last time we played here when we lost 6-0, the game Alan Ball said he enjoyed (I’ve got a world cup medal) and Uwe Rösler threw his boots into the crowd saying he didn’t need them as he never used them. But no, we carry on with the bulk of the possession, controlling play, restricting Liverpool to the occasional breakaway, chances were now being carved out – Jeff Whitley shoots straight at the ‘keeper, a scramble in the box, Gerard Wiekens tries to repeat Tuesday night’s goal with a twenty-yard curler, but this is turned away for a corner, Dickie hooks a shot over the bar (if only this guy could finish).

City had really shut the home crowd up and the fans to my right took full advantage: “shall we sing you a song” and “it’s just like being at church” was brilliant. Then the taunt “s**t fans s**t ground” really got them going. Half time came all that was lacking was a finish.

At half time I noticed that there was no scoreboard of any description. I must admit I prefer a scoreboard, anybody out there have a preference? Liverpool have a classy programme as well, not much on City though.

No changes for the second half and we kick off and carry on as we left off, having the bulk of possession and dictating the midfield, which was impressive, considering Liverpool’s supposed big name stars.

Liverpool have a rare foray forward, a cross from the left, Howey heads clear only to find Hamman, who lashes in on the volley, 2-0, Nicky Weaver again has no chance. I’m gutted, did the team coach run over a black cat on the way to the ground? The anxiety that was all around me, the constant watch looking disappeared in an instant.

Joe quickly makes a change, George Weah comes on for the disappointing Mark Kennedy. Rather than let their heads go down, City keep their discipline, carry on playing the football and eventually reap the reward. George Weah does some fancy football on the edge of box, 2-1, we are back in the game; about 50 City fans to my left jump up in delight. Where they had come from I don’t know but it certainly didn’t go down well with the locals. A few cross words were said but nothing more thankfully. The vocal support from our fans was reaching fever pitch, the boys were well on top now. They are struggling every time we put a ball into the box. The best bit of football of the match creates the penalty. Great interplay by the midfield leads to George Weah playing Alfie Haaland into the box, where he is brought tumbling to the ground. Quiet descends upon the ground, the ref is unsure, he consults his assistant then points to the spot. A penalty at Anfield, have we ever had one before? Up steps Kevin Horlock and with my fingers tightly crossed, coolly slots the spot kick into the bottom corner: 2-2. The City fans in the away section go wild singing “super super Kev super Kevin Horlock”

After all that effort one moment of indiscipline spoils the day. Straight from the kick off we concede a throw on the edge of our box. The ball is launched in, we don’t deal with the clearance and again Hamman drills a low shot in the corner 3-2. Try as we might it just wasn’t to be. The highs and lows of football all in a minute. The final whistle goes and the relief around me is evident. I make my way outside to meet my mate who concedes they got out of jail, which is no consolation to me.

On this showing the basis is there we just need to tighten up the defence. Granted it’s relatively new. Once this is achieved with the chances we are creating, there is plenty to be optimistic about.

My ratings for what it’s worth.

Weaver – 6 – no chance with any of the goals, good kicking throughout.
Haaland – 7 – out of position for me, ran all day.
Prior – 6 – mainly solid, occasional lapse.
Howey – 7 – excellent in the air, partnership still developing at the back.
Ritchie – 7 – could be a steal at £500,000; as above, still to gel into the back unit.
Wiekens – 7 – solid game in midfield.
Whitley – 7 – usual ferreting, played well, unlucky to be booked.
Horlock – 8 – best game for ages.
Kennedy – 5 – only City player below par, got shoved off the ball too easily.
Dickov – 7 – what can you say – usual 110% effort.
Wanchope – 7 – excellent skills, just lacked the finish today.
Sub: Weah – 8 – got us back in the game, sublime touches.

Tony Arundale (


LIVERPOOL vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 9th September 2000

Decent seat, so ‘normal’ service resumed!

Amazing! Not only have I witnessed a City side batter a Liverpool team for long periods at Anfield. Not only did I hear City fans dominate the singing proceedings, but I saw a penalty given to an opposing team. In front of the Kop! Strange days indeed!

City retained the 4-5-1 formation that had been deployed to such good effect at Elland Road, the only changes being Kennedy moving to a more familiar left sided rôle and Dickov, in for the injured Tiatto, starting on the right. From the kick off we retained possession well and played much of the game in Liverpool’s half. Owen had done nothing until Heskey slid through a ball for the boy wonder to run on to and in the blink of an eye, the ball was in the back of the net. Still, there was no chance of an Alan Ballesque collapse, as City just continued what we’d been doing, only more so! Dickov in a ‘Wembley-esque’ position fired just over (I’ll forgive him, the Wembley goal was more important!). Paulo had a shot plucked from the air and then a powerful header just saved. Dickov was involved in poking in a shot which was about 2 inches from going over the line, but we could just not get the final touch, when Heskey eventually cleared. Wiekens had a 20-yard shot tipped over by Westerveld.

At the other end, nothing happened. The Anfield fans clearly were disturbed and other than a few half hearted ‘Li-ver-pool’s they did nothing to lift their team. We went through our repertoire with aplomb and like Tuesday, embarrassed our hosts. So, 1-0 down at half time, but really if we had been 3-1 up, the scousers could not have complained. I noticed at some point early in the second half that our formation had changed to 3-5-2, with Whitley moving to a pseudo left wing back position and Haaland pushing forward far more. Easy to say now, but Liverpool had their best spell, probably whilst we were adjusting to the new formation. Weaver saved well from Owen, with Heskey heading over from the rebound. Haaman scored with a 20-yarder from a clearance, Weaver tried to save spectacularly, but in truth had no chance. 2-0 down and it was a travesty.

Immediately Weah replaced a sadly once again ineffectual Kennedy and immediately we reasserted our authority. Weah planted a header straight at Westerveld, Prior and Dickov had chances. Eventually Dickov put Weah through who waltzed around 3 defenders and finished with such ease. Weah was involved with our equaliser, playing a sweet one-two with Alfie, who tore into the box before being scythed down by Traore. A crystal clear penalty, although the ref needed to discuss it with his lineman first. Super Kev dispatched the penalty with typical efficiency. Back to 2-2 and yet still the score wasn’t a fair reflection of the game. Surely there would be only one winner? Unfortunately not, as 8 minutes from time following a Ziege long throw, Prior and Howey really for the first time didn’t operate on the same wavelength, both going for the same ball, which squirted clear to Haaman who rifled a low shot through a ruck of players into the bottom corner. An absolute sickener.

However, we still had time to have a goal disallowed and for Alfie to blaze over from 15 yards, when really he had more time to compose himself. At the final whistle, the lads got a thoroughly deserved standing ovation as they trudged off shocked that we hadn’t at the very least got a point from the game. Five games gone and probably a fair point in time to give an early season assessment of the players and the team as a whole.

Weaver is getting better with each game and must be very disappointed to be the current custodian of the worst goals conceded figures. He hasn’t been able to put in the spectacular performances of last season and really there have been few goals he could have saved this season, but he does need to dominate his area more. Haaland is a perfect captain, leads by example and shirks nothing. Doing great at right back, but obviously I’d prefer to see him in midfield again. Prior and Howey are now operating as a unit and are getting much better with each passing game. Howey in particular does look like the ‘footballing centre half’ we’d been told to expect. Ritchie on only his second game in the Premiership, looks classy at left back/ left of a central 3. Great positional sense and strong in the tackle. Jeff Whitley is still doing his ‘ratting’ job and doing it well. Good at ball winning, not so good yet at doing anything with it yet and is getting forced off the ball too often. He’ll improve though. Wiekens has been a revelation and looks very, very comfortable in his holding rôle at this level. Rarely gives the ball away, rarely shrugged off and has been getting forward more in the last two games. Kevin Horlock also looks very assured at this level. Not everyone’s favourite, but he was all over the place today, demanding the ball, supporting the defence and the front players, another very pleasant suprise. Dickov plays exactly the same as he did in the ‘other’ 2 divisions we’ve been in. He’s not going to score a bucket full, but irritates opposing defenders and contributes fully and assisted in Weah’s goal. Kennedy is this year’s big disappointment so far and it’s more suprising in that he was flying during pre-season. Is it simply a run of poor form, confidence, arrogance, petulance or did he find his level at a ‘top’ div one team? He’ll be ‘rested’ soon, if doesn’t get his act together, as based on this season’s performances, Tiatto is the better option at left wing. Paulo Wanchope has been magnificent this season and is the ideal player for our ‘away’ formation. He holds the ball up well, runs at players, tackles back, wins headers in both boxes and at times is impossible to get the ball off. £3.65 million is already looking a bargain in today’s transfer market. George Weah is pure class and notwithstanding what effect a change in formation might have had on our play, if he’d have been on from the start we’d have won this game at a canter. He just makes everything look so easy, although we do lose some defensive impetus when he’s on.

If we play for the rest of the season as we have in the last two games, we have got an awful lot of exciting times to look forward to. We will batter some teams into oblivion and the ‘R’ word should never be an issue. Having said that, I don’t want to review the season and think what may have been if we hadn’t lost so many games 3-2 that really we should have won. We must stop leaking goals and when we do, watch us go!

Phil Hartley (


Forget the result – those three points are long gone now, never to return! At Anfield, it just wasn’t going to be our day. Liverpool scored three great goals, from seemingly three shots, and it just wasn’t going to happen for us!

On the other hand though, it really was ‘our’ day, for this was truly an awesome performance by City from start to finish. So whilst conveniently ‘forgetting’ a few things, like the final result, we have to remember that ‘This Was (is) Anfield’, a true fortress from the footballing and City perspective (along with Highbury and of course Old Trafford!) – and so to go there and see City take the game to the opposition, throughout 90 minutes, just had to be seen to be believed.

I’m still too ‘buzzed out’ and choked to do a proper match report; hopefully others will, particularly considering that the MoTD highlights were just pathetic.

There are so many things to take from this game, so for those unfortunate enough not to have been there, here’s my scrapbook:

Weaver: Why worry? This guy spreads confidence around him, and he had no chance with the three goals, and compared to the ‘flapping’ at the other end of the pitch – he could soon be receiving very flattering offers from both Red ends of the East Lancs road. His only actual ‘mistake’ was in not acknowledging the warm and generous applause from The Kop at the start of the game; first time nerves maybe? Make up for it next time, Nick, these things matter! The buzz between both sets of supporters really added to this game.

The Defence: Get this, they passed the ball out from the back, at Anfield, and for the whole of the 90 minutes. I couldn’t believe it.

The Midfield: They ‘bit’ for every loose ball, and emerged with the round thing clenched between their teeth every time. Every loose ball, every ‘drop’, was closed down and swept up. Read the scoreline and weep, but only for the three points. Dickov, relishing in his new ‘roving inside forward’ rôle was everywhere, and at last, seems to have found a true purpose – the forward end of midfield, both wings!

Wanchope: Won everything in the air, and picked up (somehow) everything on the ground – a menace throughout the game. What were the West Ham fans thinking?

Weah: Well what can I say? But somehow, a video needs to be made of what this guy did in the 30 minutes he was on the pitch. Remember that guy at school, who seemingly nobody could tackle, and who always kept the ball at his feet even when chased from one end of the pitch to the other by a pack of scraggy, ever increasing terriers! Well this was Weah at Anfield. At one stage, I’m sure he took five Liverpool players (including the left back and the right back!) to the corner flags, (possibly both corner flags), and he still emerged with the ball! He took his goal so casually, it was like he just said to himself as he strolled into their box with the ball “Em,..I think I’ll score…. now.” This guy is a true leader – what a catch for MCFC.

It’s actually a bit naughty of me to pick out individuals on what was above all, a fine team performance, this game was just so good and I’ll give the credit to Joe Royle for that.

My only worry is that Joe and Weah looked truly disheartened and dispirited at the end, they almost might give it all up! When in fact we seem to be quite close to now having a really convincing Premiership side; we must build on this result.

Sometimes you play badly and win. Sometimes you play brilliantly and lose. The latter was this game, and I for one, was very glad to have been there.

Neil Haigh (


The Danish branch participated Saturday in a football tournament in Copenhagen, Denmark, the so called FA*n cup. The team had great success, but had to leave the tournament in the semi-finals – beaten by Liverpool, just like the “real” City team were that same day! City finished 2nd in the groupstage, after they beat Arsenal in their opening game – 3-1. In the second game Aston Villa were beaten 2-1. That meant City were off to the quarter-finals, even though they had one game more in the group stage (vs. one of Liverpool’s three teams). City lost that final group game, but it didn’t matter. City strolled through the quarter-final against a tired Liverpool 2 side. The Blues won 4-0!

Unfortunately City lost the semi-final vs. the later FA*n cup winners from Liverpool 1. It was a great day for Danish Branch and many of the other supporters’ clubs who participated in the tournament thought that City had the best team, and they could not understand how we could avoid to win the competition! The Rags participated with three teams but none of them could get to the semi’s, so City are the number one Manchester team in Denmark! I would like to thank everybody for great tournament, we’ll be back next year.

CTID, Morten Olesen (


There is going to be an auction of football memorabilia, including director Chris Muir’s collection, at Maine Road on October 12th. It will be in the Kippax and will include several City rarities as well as stuff from other teams. The viewing time will be 9.30-12.30 with the auction starting at 1.00pm. All are welcome.

Mark Bailey (


Thanks for the feedback after the first quiz – I know it was easy. I’ve got another one done which can be played at There are 15 questions again but this time it’s much harder. Thanks.

Andy Davies (


Now that City are back in the Premiership, all Romanian TV channels have abandoned the Premiership. This is a terrible blow, which comes after a couple of seasons of “live” Premiership matches being shown. However, if any City fans are worried about missing City vs. Boro while in Romania, then there is some good news. “The Dubliner” – an Irish pub on Titulescu Boulevard in Bucharest is showing the game “live” on Sunday. There will be two of us getting there for the event and it would be great to have other City fans turning up on the evening. Meanwhile, I’ll pass some messages to Liverpool as they come over to play Rapid Bucharest on Thursday night. If any of you have some belated messages, drop me a line. See you all on TV!

Valentin Cudric (


Another perspective on Edghill… if he or a nearby teammate gets clattered by an opposition player, he will not retaliate immediately but he will save up that tasty revenge tackle for ten minutes, i.e. once the ref has forgotten about the original incident which fired his temper. An educated footballer does that.

That’s real spirit for you.

James Nash (


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association will on Wednesday 13th September at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport, starting at 8.00pm. Confirmed guests are none other than the great Paul Lake and Phil Noble. Phil is City’s Curator and will be responsible for the setting up of the new City Museum when we move to Eastlands and he will be bringing along a selection of his programmes and memorabilia. If anyone has any items of interest bring them along, he will only be to happy to value, or even buy them.

Howard Burr (


I don’t know why all these fans are slagging me off, I spoke from the heart and I did not ask for Joe’s head. I pointed out that the system he was using was wrong and changes were needed; from what happened on Tuesday I feel vindicated. He used Kennnedy on the right, tightened things up on the right side of defence and played the brilliant Ritchie at left back. Public opinion is certainly against me, but I love this club too; you can’t survive in the Premiership on faith alone.

John McFarlane (


Away Ticket Prices

In response to Phil Hartley’s comments in MCIVTA 639, I am obviously not alone in condemning the ludicrous and indiscriminate pricing structure which clubs operate, although to be fair we have witnessed this in both Div. 1 and Div. 2, albeit on a reduced scale. Irrespective of “obstructed view” seats or not, I would like to comment on the pricing of away tickets we are witnessing this season. So far we have had Charlton £25, Leeds £24, Liverpool £26. A cool £75 before leaving the house.

I decided to check the recommendations of Mr Mellor’s Task Force and their Football Charter on this matter. Like many a long awaited (3 years) work of fiction it failed to impress upon delivery. Recommendations included:

Provide information to the public about ticket availability and pricing.
Promote flexible ticketing schemes – including a wider system of concessions.
Reduce prices for restricted view seats.
Make available “competitive” financing schemes for season tickets.
Reserve at least five per cent of match tickets for non-season ticket holders.
Provide visiting clubs with at least 3,000 tickets or, if the home ground capacity is less than 30,000, 10 per cent of the tickets available.
Provide information about the “shelf life” of strips.

However, the Charter does not come into operation until season 2001-02 and even then it is optional with clubs “recommended” to follow it. Most clubs currently have their own version of a Charter and although the Task Force was to regulate these across the board, let’s face it, it’s never going to happen.

I am pleased to say (and I am not wearing blue tinted spectacles whilst I type this) that MCFC adhere to the Charter by the letter. Our ticket prices for away fans are a maximum – wait for it – £16, the price for any home fan occuping a North Stand seat. Are we just being naïve where some of these visiting clubs are concerned? I was pretty shocked at the weekend to learn that West Ham sometimes charge £30 for away tickets.

The sooner other clubs start to treat firstly their own fans and secondly away fans as well as MCFC do, the better.

Player Barracking

In response to Lance Thompson in MCIVTA 639, I cannot agree more about these “brain-dead morons” we are subjected to. To be honest, I’d have them all reported to the stewards – a discreet and anonymous phone call to the club’s security should do it – and weed the beggars out. OK, everyone is entitled to their opinion but we’ve all paid our money and I want to be entertained by the football, not some so called wit and footballing genius with no more brain than a sheep. To be fair, where I sit in the Kippax we are a jolly positive and supportive little bunch though. With over 5,000 waiting for season tickets, the seats would pretty soon be filled by people wanting to support the team.

In fact we had a complete @rse in front of us at Liverpool in seat 79/80/81 row 18 (he didn’t seem to know which seat he was in). Amongst other moronic behaviour, his loud claims that Joe should have told our lads to “break Owen’s legs”, “get Vinnie Jones in” and coming back proud of the fact he’d “ripped off a scouse bird for a pasty at half time” were met by withering looks from all around. So if you were he, or know him, do everyone and yourself a favour and stay away.

Last Week

What a difference a week makes then. Having watched us sink against Coventry it was a delight to see the all new Premiership Manchester City at Leeds. Shame about the ground and the Leeds fans though, big disappointment. Liverpool was a joy, real ground, real fans and thanks to the Liverpool lot who took me to their pub and gave me a lift back to the station afterwards. We were unlucky not to get at least a point, but think back 12 months when we had struggled to fight back against Palace at home. And now here we are having beaten Leeds away and come back from 2-0 down at Anfield. There won’t be many teams doing either this season.

We’ve come a long, long way together, I’d like to praise you… sorry, shouldn’t be singing that should I?

And Finally…

From the “you couldn’t make it up” school. Whilst waiting for my train at Piccadilly on Saturday I saw a group in their freshly laundered, neatly ironed Vodafone shirts just off the London train. Off they go to the information desk and ask the guy in their best Cockney accents “how do we get to Old Trafford?” Where else would you get people not knowing the way to their “home ground”?

Heidi Pickup (


I couldn’t resist this as in one of those serendipity type moments a mate of mine and I were only talking about the subject of funny terrace songs on Thursday afternoon in the pub. Lo and behold, come Thursday evening there is this article asking for people’s memories of funny terrace chants. Well here is the one I had forgotten about but my pal reminded me of. It was at last season’s home game to Grimsby (if ever an apt name…). After our lot had scored, some wag in the North stand (it just had to be) fairly close to the away supporters, who were suitably quiet, started the following: “Fishing! You only sing when you’re fishing, sing when you’re fishing, you only sing when you’re fishing” (sung to Guantalamera (?)).

One other piece of absolutely brilliant terrace humour that I witnessed was at the England vs. Australia test match back in about 1986. It had been an appallingly wet Saturday morning with no play before lunch and so nothing to do except drink and keep dry outside. In the afternoon the sun came out and the sledging started from the terrace I was in. A party on a stag do had been on the sauce since first light and the air was starting to turn blue! A steward came to the front of the stand and shouted out that if the language didn’t stop the culprit would be out. Of course it stopped for all of thirty seconds so the steward came back with a rather podgy looking dibble in tow. The officer hands on hips looked up at the stand and shouted “Ok who’s the wise guy swearing then who wants to go home?” There was then a period of total silence and after about ten seconds or so a guy in the row behind me stood up and raising an arm yelled “I am Spartacus” with that one by one the entire stag party rose with the same yell of “I am Spartacus” or “No I am Spartacus take me”… The copper stood and gaped, then sniggered, then grabbed the steward by the arm and dragged him off shaking his head; I nearly wet myself!

David Cash (



You ask if I had my hands up for a City win at Leeds. Of course I did… after we got the second. They were firmly in my pockets looking for straws to clutch for the last 30 minutes. How dare you question my belief?

Neil Hastings.

Don’t even consider the wearing of the shirt. Concentrate on the ordering and receiving of the same. Just think, by the end of the season, you’ll have… err… a lot of shirts, and City will be up with the high flyers.


Sorry. Couldn’t get this to you in time. Look for bars with big blackboards outside that say Man City vs. M’Boro Live Today. Avoid the ones where most of the clientele say “Waahaye Canny Lad Yar Here For The Slaughter?” Look for the one’s where the respectable customers say “If we get a point out of this I’ll be happy.”

Thanks to Hoppy and Ariana2 for keeping me sane on Wednesday. Their radio commentry was about 30 seconds ahead of my Internet and I knew anything bad would be typed before I heard it. I don’t know how that helps, but it does.

ChinnorBLU… Spot on.

Marque Mix-Up… pretty good.

That’s All.

David Kilroy (


Had to write this as I have just been listening to the Liverpool game on GMR and then the phone-in and I couldn’t believe that fans are still phoning in and calling Edghill when he hasn’t even played in the last two matches. If that wasn’t enough, they have now decided to turn on Kennedy! Are they having withdrawal symptoms with nobody to crucify? If you want proof of how instrumental Kennedy has been in getting us where we are today, just watch last season’s video to see how many goals he was involved in. Also take a look at the Opta Stats page and see how many crosses Kennedy gets in. I am so proud of how we have done against Leeds, Sunderland and Liverpool and have always been proud of being a Blue, but I am begging these people not to crucify our own players. In Kennedy’s case have a bit of empathy. He has tried to make it in the Premiership before and failed, this could be at the back of his mind now he’s back in the Premiership. No doubt Joe will sort him out whatever the reason for his slow start. I re-iterate, we do not need these fans at Maine Road. In 30 years of supporting City I have never booed a City player. Get behind all the players.

Elaine Taylor (


It was tough to lose when the team played so well at Anfield; Joe Royle with his game plan nearly pulled it off. Joe proves once again with class moves and plans what a great manager he is. Hang in there, we are going to be there at the end of the season. We have a team with a never say die attitude, and us true City fans will be there to the last whistle to cheer on our Blues!

Ernie Barrow (


Congratulations to Joe and the players on our last two performances. Two games that the ‘experts’ (and our very own doom and gloom merchants writing on these pages only two issues ago) said we shouldn’t have got anything from have yielded 3 points. Not only that, but if Saturday’s ref hadn’t been a Scouser (things havn’t changed in our 4-year absence have they?) we could have got 4 or even 6 points.

The defensive unit was great in both games, but there is still a lot to improve defensively before we start winning on a regular basis. There wasn’t a lot that could have been done about the Owen goal but the other three goals (one from Bowyer and two from Hamann) could and should have been stopped. From viewing of Sky’s extended highlights, the reason for these three goals appears to be:

the midfield failing to pick up opposition midfielders running towards our penalty box

Bowyer ran into the penalty box unmarked (with our back four ahead of him dealing with other Leeds players) and both Hamann’s goals were due to him running towards the penalty area without anyone near him. These are basic Grade ‘A’ defensive mistakes by our midfield players and cannot be blamed on our defenders. Our midfielders must be quicker at changing from attack to defence mode otherwise we will be punished. But have no fear, I’m quite sure that Joe will sort it out soon.

Still, if we keep up the standard we have shown in these two games, we will finish in the top half of the table and will not be in relegation trouble.

P.S. Why did I write the last sentence? City are renouned for their ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ diabolical performances. There I go again – it’s going to take a long time to stop me being a cynical Blue!

CTID, Richard Mottershead (


Following on from Phil Hartley’s wholly reasonable grunting about seats at Elland Road, the logical conclusion for the inside of our very own plush and welcoming North Stand is that the loving cups of Fosters served in the Tommy Johnson Bar (we’re pushing it a bit calling that a bar incidentally) is so bad and served so slowly and with such a complete lack of grace and humanity that we should be asked approximately 26p a cup for the stuff. Where do they find them? Needing at least three pints (even Fosters would do at this stage) as a pick-me-up at half time vs. Coventry, I spent the whole break in a stagnant, non-moving queue whilst a pair of fellas who had had their brains removed fannied about trying to open bottles of coke and make a brief presentation on Blocked Beer Taps Down The Years.

Simon Curtis (


Congratulations John McFarlane (MCIVTA 638). I’ve been reading MCIVTA for about two years now, and this is the first time I’ve felt sufficiently moved to contribute. How John can criticise Joe Royle’s leadership qualities and style of management is beyond me. Joe’s record thus far speaks for itself, and to call for his head at this or any other point of the season is too silly to contemplate. We’ve had an unbelievable change of fortune over the last couple of years, and Tuesday’s result at Leeds just goes to show that the best is yet to come. I’ve a feeling John will be eating his words come the end of the season.

CTID, Jaz Long (


Well the alternate lose-win theory is still working. But for me it’s already the ‘if-only’ time of the season. You know the sort of thing – if only we’d not collapsed at Charlton and got (say) a draw, and if only we’d not had the own-goal/Edghill disaster against Coventry and got maybe another draw in that one. Then by my reckoning we’d be around the top-6 now. It’s a favourite delusion of mine – I can construct entire seasons of results based on the ‘if only’ theory.

But overall, did you think after the Coventry defeat that we’d take 3 points from Leeds/Liverpool away? We ought to be fairly pleased with that, the only problem is that inevitably expectations easily escalate: for example I couldn’t help being disappointed to lose at Anfield, because the Leeds result left me expecting greater things.

But think back to the last time we played at Anfield – i.e. the famous Alan Ball / Rösler / boots thrown into the stand / “I’m pleased, my players will learn from this”. That was a débâcle, and at least there was nothing to be ashamed of in the City performance on Saturday, very much the opposite.

Final thought – on the Match Of The Day highlights, there was a strong chant of “Heskey For Scotland”; was that from the City fans and what does it all mean? Somebody write in and tell me!

Steve Maclean (


Does anyone know of any on-going email discussion list which I could join Re City? Your help is greatly appreciated.

James Quigley (


I have a non-computerised friend who is going to Shanghai, China in October. He would like if possible to meet up with fellow City fans to watch the Southampton game which is being shown on Sky. If anybody living in Shanghai can help please email me.

Simon Greenwood (


I know it’s a bit of a long-shot, but I was wondering if anyone knew of somewhere which still sold the old Kappa home shirt or had a spare one lying about which they no longer required in a size adult medium-large. It is needed to replace a friend’s one which was accidentally set fire to!

Much appreciated, Clara Suess – Crystal (


Can any ex-pat Blues tell me about televised matches in Hong Kong? I’m there on Sunday and looking for a bar for the Boro game.

Rik Smithies (


I will be in Florida (Melbourne area) the weekend of the home game against Middlesbrough. Can any of you Florida Blues recommend a local bar who may be showing the match or details of which TV station will be showing the game?

CTID, Ian Reeves (


If you want to join My Yahoo fantasy football, as long as you are a member and have a team, the group ID is 6901 and the password is city.

Ian Ramsbottom (


Recent results to 10 September 2000 inclusive.

10 September 2000

Derby County          2 - 2  Charlton Athletic

9 September 2000

Bradford City         1 - 1  Arsenal
Coventry City         0 - 0  Leeds United
Ipswich Town          1 - 2  Aston Villa
Leicester City        1 - 0  Southampton
Liverpool             3 - 2  Manchester City
Manchester United     3 - 0  Sunderland
Middlesbrough         1 - 2  Everton
Newcastle United      0 - 0  Chelsea

League table to 10 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 Manchester Utd   5  3  0  0 11  0  0  2  0  3  3  3  2  0 14  3  11  11
 2 Leicester City   5  2  1  0  3  1  1  1  0  1  0  3  2  0  4  1   3  11
 3 Newcastle Utd    5  2  1  0  5  2  1  0  1  2  2  3  1  1  7  4   3  10
 4 Liverpool        5  3  0  0  7  3  0  1  1  3  5  3  1  1 10  8   2  10
 5 Arsenal          5  2  0  0  7  3  0  2  1  3  4  2  2  1 10  7   3   8
 6 Leeds United     4  1  0  1  3  2  1  1  0  2  1  2  1  1  5  3   2   7
 7 Everton          5  1  1  0  5  2  1  0  2  4  6  2  1  2  9  8   1   7
 8 Tottenham H.     4  2  0  0  6  3  0  1  1  1  3  2  1  1  7  6   1   7
 9 Coventry City    5  0  1  2  1  5  2  0  0  4  2  2  1  2  5  7  -2   7
10 Chelsea          5  1  1  0  6  4  0  2  1  1  3  1  3  1  7  7   0   6
11 Manchester City  5  1  0  1  5  4  1  0  2  4  8  2  0  3  9 12  -3   6
12 Middlesbrough    5  0  1  2  3  5  1  1  0  6  4  1  2  2  9  9   0   5
13 Charlton Ath.    5  1  1  0  5  1  0  1  2  5 10  1  2  2 10 11  -1   5
14 Aston Villa      4  0  1  0  1  1  1  1  1  3  4  1  2  1  4  5  -1   5
15 Bradford City    5  1  2  0  3  1  0  0  2  0  7  1  2  2  3  8  -5   5
16 Derby County     5  0  3  0  7  7  0  1  1  4  5  0  4  1 11 12  -1   4
17 Ipswich Town     5  1  1  1  3  3  0  0  2  2  5  1  1  3  5  8  -3   4
18 Sunderland       5  1  1  0  2  1  0  0  3  2  8  1  1  3  4  9  -5   4
19 Southampton      5  0  1  1  4  5  0  2  1  3  4  0  3  2  7  9  -2   3
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 #640