Newsletter #643

A poor performance – by all accounts – sees the Blues travelling to Kent next week with their work cut out if they are to give some substance to JR’s pronouncements on getting a cup back at Maine Road.

I’m afraid that we have no match report for this game. There was a time when each issue of MCIVTA contained at least 3 to 4 match reports, a number that allowed the reader to get several different perspectives on the game, whilst not being so numerous as to be repetitive. Unfortunately, there’s been a consistently downward trend of late in the number of people writing match reports. Although we are lucky enough to have a couple of people who write excellent reports, it’s simply expecting too much to place this burden on a very small number of individuals. Irrespective of the issue of a few doing all the work, we inevitably end up with issues with no reports, as the main protagonists – for whatever reason – cannot do one. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have match reports written by someone who is passionate about the club, especially for those who live far away. These reports are so much better, and give the reader so much more, than the anodyne offerings in the mainstream press. MCIVTA is not a clique, match reporters are not appointed, they are simply folk who attend a game and like to write up what they saw for the benefit of the many. So, if you go to games, please consider writing a match report and sending it in; this will help share the load and improve the quality and diversity of MCIVTA for everyone.

Next game: Saturday 23rd September 2000, Tottenham Hotspur away


Tie in Balance as Gills Hold City

Manchester City face a tricky task at Gillingham next Tuesday if they are to keep alive their hopes of Worthington Cup progress. The Blues could only manage a 1-1 draw with the Kent outfit at Maine Road on Wednesday. City produced an unconvincing display in the second round, first leg encounter. And Paul Smith punished the Blues for their lethargy on 62 minutes when he put the Gills in front. City finally hauled themselves level on 83 minutes through George Weah, and then finished the stronger side, with Weah and Mark Kennedy both forcing Gillingham goalkeeper Bartram into smart saves. But the Blues were unable to notch a winning goal, leaving the tie in the balance ahead of next Tuesday’s return at Priestfield.

City Still Aiming to Reward Fans

Manchester City have not appeared in a major cup final for almost twenty years. And the Blues are aiming to put an end to that miserable sequence in this year’s Worthington Cup. City face a tough task to overcome Gillingham after only managing a draw on Wednesday in the first leg of a second round tie. But Joe Royle, who featured in the club’s last trophy-winning team as the Blues beat Newcastle in the 1976 League Cup final, will still be hoping to achieve the same success as a manager, and reward the club’s loyal fans. “It has been too long since we had a great run in this particular competition,” he told the Manchester Evening News ahead of the clash against the Gills. “We will be taking it extremely seriously. The fans here are desperate for a long cup run and they deserve one.”

Sky to Screen Second Leg of Gills Tie

Gillingham have the opportunity to gain revenge over Manchester City for their 1999 Wembley heartbreak when the Blues visit Priestfield in the Worthington Cup repeat. And satellite broadcaster BSkyB has elected to screen the match live. City games in the competition have been shown live for each of the past two years – and on each occasion, the match produced plenty of goals, with the Blues beating Notts County 7-1 two years ago and losing by the odd goal in seven at Southampton last season. Sky also broadcast the famous Wembley play-off final between the sides, although it must be doubtful whether the latest meeting will produce quite the same drama.

Ref’s Blunders Anger Royle

Manchester City only managed a draw in Wednesday’s Worthington Cup tie against Gillingham. And Joe Royle was angry after refereeing mistakes cost his side the chance to travel to Priestfield for the second leg with a lead. Royle was upset that a George Weah header wasn’t awarded as a goal when television pictures showed the ball to have crossed the line. And he also felt the Blues should have had a penalty for a foul on Paulo Wanchope – a contention supported even by Gills player-manager Andy Hessenthaler. “The referee did not give us a penalty when Wanchope was held on the floor” lamented the City boss. “God knows how he didn’t give it, he’s the only man in here who didn’t see it.”

Gills’ Boss Delighted by Maine Road Draw

Andy Hessenthaler was delighted by the performance of his Gillingham team at Maine Road on Wednesday. And the Gills’ player-manager feels the tie is nicely poised ahead of next week’s second leg. Hessenthaler admitted that the Blues had the bulk of possession in the match. But he praised his side’s commitment in holding firm against a City team to which several star names have been added since the last competitive meeting against the Kent outfit. “If you had said to me before the game that we would have got a draw I would have been delighted,” reflected the former Watford player. “We were playing against world class players tonight, we got a goal and could even have won it. It was a terrific performance by our boys and sets us up nicely for next week.”

Royle Hails Weah Display

George Weah found himself substituted after having a quiet game in Manchester City’s match against Middlesbrough on Sunday. But Joe Royle felt the Liberian was his side’s star performer against Gillingham on Wednesday. Weah scored the City equaliser, his second goal for the club, to save his team from an embarrassing defeat. And the 33-year-old also had a number of near-misses as he posed the First Division outfit problems all night. “It’s a decent start,” said Royle of the former Milan player’s form for the Blues so far. “He’s not so much a great goalscorer as a scorer of great goals and he has certainly been threatening one.”

Royle – We Fear No-One

Manchester City have enjoyed mixed fortunes on their return to the Premiership. But Joe Royle insists that the first six games have shown that City can more than hold their own in the top flight. The Blues had a disastrous start to the campaign at Charlton, but league displays since then have encouraged their manager. Royle has been particularly heartened by the quality of performances against teams who prospered last term, leaving his team with a satisfactory points tally at this stage. “If we stay on that schedule [of seven points from every six games] it will keep us out of trouble,” he explained. “From what I have seen up to now we have no need to fear anybody.”

Booking Leaving Wanchope Nearing Suspension

Paulo Wanchope has scored four goals in six games following his record-breaking move from West Ham to Manchester City. But having also picked up four yellow cards, the Costa Rican could soon be facing an automatic ban. Joe Royle is concerned at the number of bookings referees are handing out this season. And Wanchope is the primary concern after again finding his way into the referee’s notebook against Middlesbrough on Sunday. The 24-year-old is now one game away from a ban, while Alfie Haaland will be suspended if he earns two further cautions.

Cooke Makes Wednesday Loan Switch

Terry Cooke’s Manchester City career is almost certainly dead in the water. And the transfer-listed winger has been given a chance to impress potential buyers by leaving the club on loan. Cooke has moved to Sheffield Wednesday, who have made a disastrous start to the season under new boss Paul Jewell. After seeing his side win just once so far this season, Jewell believes the one-time Manchester United junior can add the threat from wide positions to lift the ailing Yorkshire outfit from the Division One relegation zone. However, Wednesday’s dismal financial position could prevent the move from becoming permanent even if the player impresses at Hillsborough.

Norwich Extend Whitley’s Stay

Jim Whitley has spent the last month on loan at Norwich. And the Canaries have been sufficiently impressed with the midfielder to want to prolong the arrangement. Whitley, who scored for the East Anglians in their win at Stockport last week, will stay with Norwich for another month as he bids to earn a permanent £250,000 move to Carrow Road. Boss Bryan Hamilton, the manager who handed the 25-year-old his chance in international football with Northern Ireland, is known to have been impressed with the player’s form since joining Norwich. And with his senior prospects at Maine Road almost non-existent, the Zambian-born star is hoping that if his good form continues into a second month, Hamilton will be persuaded to meet Joe Royle’s asking price.

Sixth City Star Leaves on Loan

Leon Mike is rated as one of Manchester City’s brightest young prospects. And the 19-year-old has been given a chance to gain first-team experience at Oxford. Mike has joined the Second Division strugglers on a month’s loan, with Joe Royle believing that the talented striker will derive great benefit from his stint at the Manor Ground. And Oxford boss Denis Smith is already impressed with the player after an initial viewing in a reserve game against Bournemouth. With Nick Fenton joining Notts County on loan with a view to a permanent move and Terry Cooke heading to Sheffield Wednesday for a month, six City players are now away from the club on a temporary basis. Jim Whitley, Andy Morrison and Chris Killen are with Norwich, Blackpool and Wrexham respectively.

Royle Denies Scandinavian Rumours

Joe Royle went on scouting mission to Scandinavia earlier this week. But the City manager has dismissed reports claiming he may soon swoop for two emerging midfield stars who came under scrutiny. Chief scout John Hurst saw Molde take on Bryne in the Norwegian Premiership on Sunday. And Royle headed for Sweden, where he saw Elfsborg take on BK Hacken. That led to claims that the Blues could rival Milan for the signature of 19-year-old Molde star Magne Hoseth and may battle with Coventry in the chase for Elfsborg’s Anders Svensson. But the Blues’ boss says he isn’t about to bid for either player. “Four or five players in the respective teams had been recommended to us at one time or another,” he told the official City site at “It was a chance to put faces to names. We won’t be moving quickly, in fact we won’t be moving at all.” Even so, the Blues’ reported interest in Svensson has supposedly prompted Coventry’s Gordon Strachan to step up his interest in taking the player to Highfield Road.

Robins Still Monitoring Allsopp’s Progress

Wrexham already have Chris Killen on loan from Manchester City. And reports in Wales continue to link the Robins with another City forward. Danny Allsopp impressed in a three-game loan spell at the Racecourse last term, but then saw his season ended prematurely by injury. Allsopp returned to action in City’s reserve match at Middlesbrough last week, a fact which has reportedly not escaped the attention of Brian Flynn. The Wrexham boss admitted last term that he’d be interested in signing the Australian again, and there were rumours in the summer that the clubs may agree on a loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer when the player returned to fitness.

Duo Set for New Deals

Gerard Wiekens is set to sign a new contract with Manchester City. And team-mate Kevin Horlock is also reported to be ready to commit to staying at the club. Wiekens and Horlock are both out of contract next summer. And the Dutchman is said by internet site to be ready to accept the four-year deal he’s been offered by the Blues. Meanwhile, the same source claims that City are keen to keep Horlock, and with the former Swindon player reckoned to be eager to remain at Maine Road, a new contract for the Northern Ireland international seems likely.

Goater Makes Reserve Return

Shaun Goater has been sidelined since he injured a knee in Manchester City’s first pre-season friendly. But after a two-month absence, the Bermudian striker is finally ready to taste match action again. Goater will play in City’s reserve fixture against Leeds at Hyde’s Ewen Fields. And the 30-year-old is looking forward to being back in contention for a first-team place, although he expects that he’ll need a couple more outings for the second string before he can be considered for the senior squad. “I did two to three weeks in pre season and then got injured, so I lost that base of fitness,” he told the official club website at “I think because of that it will take a few reserves game to get me back up, though I am hoping it won’t take too many to get me match fit.”

Dickov Eyes Scotland Call

Paul Dickov hasn’t been a part of the Scotland set-up since he played for the under-21 side five years ago. But the Manchester City striker is hoping to be called up for Craig Brown’s next senior squad. With Scotland scouts having been present at Anfield to see the former Arsenal man’s impressive display against Liverpool last week, there’s talk that his international ambitions could be realised when the squad is named for October clashes against San Marino and Croatia. “If I was selected for Scotland I would be absolutely delighted,” the player told the Manchester Evening News. New boy Paul Ritchie will also be keenly awaiting coach Craig Brown’s announcement of the Scottish party. The ex-Hearts man has six caps but was left out of this month’s trip to Latvia owing to his lack of recent senior action – a circumstance since remedied.

Weah Lavishes Praise on Wanchope

George Weah has partnered Paulo Wanchope in only six games. But the Liberian has seen enough of Manchester City’s record signing to persuade him that the ex-West Ham star can become “one of the English game’s great strikers.” The duo have notched six goals between them in the seven games the Blues have played this season. And Weah feels there’s plenty more to come, as the partnership is still developing. But he has no doubt that the Costa Rican is destined for great things. “My partnership with Paulo is improving with time,” the 33-year-old told the Manchester Evening News. “I am playing more as a roving striker and trying and release the ball to him as much as possible. He is strong and can create spaces in any defence. Paulo is a fine young man and I think he is going to be a great asset to this team.”

MIxed Fortunes for City Veterans

Joe Royle has been reflecting further on City’s weekend draw against Middlesbrough. And the Blues’ boss had differing assessments of the displays of two of his side’s elder statesmen. Royle credited second-half substitute Ian Bishop, making his first appearance of the season, with inspiring the team’s revival as they came from a goal down. But the City manager felt striker George Weah had an off-day before being replaced by Paul Dickov in the second period. “It wasn’t George’s best game for us,” Royle explained to the official City site at “He is a player like everyone else here. If they are not having a good day then they will be substituted.”

Archer Claims City Allegiance

Jeffrey Archer will be on stage at Manchester’s Palace Theatre soon, starring in his own courtroom drama ‘The Accused’. And in an interview publicising the production, the millionaire novelist confessed to the Manchester Evening News his affection for the Blues. Archer’s main footballing allegiance lies elsewhere. But he claims a sentimental attachment to City dating back to his childhood. “I am a Manchester City supporter,” he told reporter Paul Taylor. “Only an outside supporter, I always thought when I was a child that their colours were the nicest. It’s a sentimental thing – my own team is Arsenal.”

Injury Worries Ahead of Spurs Clash

Manchester City visit Tottenham on Saturday bidding to return to the form they showed earlier this month in the away games at Leeds and Liverpool. But the Blues may be forced to field a depleted line-up for the clash at White Hart Lane. A quartet of injured stars missed the midweek encounter with Gillingham, and while Danny Tiatto and Kevin Horlock should have recovered from a bug and an ankle knock respectively in time to face the Londoners, Steve Howey and Gerard Wiekens are less likely to play. Both men have achilles injuries, and while Howey may still win his fitness battle, the Dutchman is rated very doubtful. Then came a further blow for Joe Royle with the news that Paul Ritchie sustained a groin injury against the Gills, leaving him also struggling to be fit to face George Graham’s men.

Peter Brophy (


Wednesday 20th Spetember 2000

I’m always reluctant to generalize about the team’s performance, but on a night when the general approach just seemed somewhat unprofessional and without real commitment I can only describe this match as dismal.

If the ticket office have advance notice of this type of performance in future I suggest that they extend the ‘kids for a quid’ scheme to include adults.

What a disappointment.

Tony Burns (


My first visit to Maine Road this season and first contribution to McVittee for some time too. Fuel problems made logistics a bit touch and go, but the alternative of a lengthy trip by train from East Yorkshire (makes you realise just what ‘Sunday service’ means in practice and nostalgic for a fully integrated national transport system) meant we either went by car or not at all. Our CSA Branch was well represented in different parts of the ground, but for me, Craig and Mark there was the unknown quantity of Block HH, the new Gene Kelly between the Kippax and Platt Lane stand, of which more later.

Even allowing for fuel shortages and the fact the game was on TV, the away support was pitiful. The North Stand was a sea of empty seats on the ‘Boro side of the goal, and some wag in front of us ventured that the huge City shirt being passed along the lower tier of the Kippax prior to kick off covered a bigger area than their fans (mind you it was a big shirt!). As most of the newspaper reports and McVittee scribblers have noted, the first half was pretty forgettable, with neither ‘keeper having a lot to do, though I did get a clear view of Danny Tiatto being hauled back by the neck by a ‘Boro defender for a pretty obvious penalty that we weren’t given.

After meeting up with Ashley, Paul, Steve and Peter Brophy at half time, the rain set in and I returned to HH to find a steward handing out bin bags pretending to be raincoats. As the rain got heavier, those fans initially disinclined to don the sartorially inelegant plastic changed their minds and the stand began to resemble a Klan meeting. The mood was lightened by a spontaneous rendition of, you guessed it, ‘Singing in the Rain’ but the game wasn’t shaping up much better on the pitch in the early minutes. Then after 10 mins ‘Boro got a corner; Mark started a mantra ‘Who’s on the far post? Who’s on the far post? WHO’S ON THE F*****G FAR POST? SH*T, THEY’VE SCORED!!’ At least this brought City to life and we got our reward about 15 minutes later when Wanchope poked in a chipped free kick from Danny. This was a cue for relentless pressure on their goal, but the game fizzled out in the last few minutes and we were torn between feeling it being a point saved or two lost.

Jeff Whitley got the Sky Man of the Match award and he certainly put himself about a lot, and had the cracking shot that cannoned off the corner of the post and crossbar. Working from the back, Weaver didn’t have too much to do, but doesn’t look as comfortable on this showing as in the last two seasons. Haaland was OK at right back though a little slow coming out at times. Howey was impressive and Prior only slightly less so; they seem to be getting their act together and as someone remarked recently we actually pass the ball out of defence rather than hit and hope. Ritchie? So so but distribution a bit wayward at times. In midfield, Wiekens wasn’t on long enough to make a real contribution, but Horlock chased well though got himself in knots at times. Kennedy appeared be more involved in this game than some recent reports have suggested he’s been in previous games, but didn’t take on his man often enough on either wing. Up front? Well, a lot of the debate on GMR after the game was about whether we should have the W men in the same team. In the first half, they both looked very laid back and unprepared to bust a gut for the cause. Wanchope warmed up as the game went on, but it was no surprise that George came off to be replaced by the ever effervescent Dicky. I think George might get hacked off and leave if he’s not picked regularly, but I’d like to see Shaun get a chance with each of them to see how they combine. International call ups might just force this on JR anyway. Bish made a difference in midfield when he came on in the second half in place of Horlock. Overall then, I can’t really form any conclusions about the rest of the season. ‘Boro were there for the taking and I hope we don’t live to regret the 2 points dropped.

Before I go, Block HH. We had a pretty good view from our seats (Row 26 Seats 10-12) and I’d recommend this location on price and view grounds. If you do book tickets, try to get something in the seat 1-18 range as I think those nearer the Kippax might have a more restricted view, though not as bad as the upper levels of the original Gene Kelly.

Geoff Donkin – Beverley Blue (


Evening Mail, Saturday 2 September

Former Barrow AFC player Jim McGrath has died, aged 78. McGrath was born in Belfast in 1921 and played for Irish side Bohemians before being signed by the Holker Street club in 1946 for the sum of UKP5. AFC were playing in the Third Division North at the time and McGrath, a right half, played a big part in a famous FA Cup tie when Manchester City came to town in the 1945-6 season. Watched by 7,377 supporters, Barrow held the First Division giants 2-2 in the Third Round tie before losing the replay at Maine Road by a 6-2 margin, and but for an unfortunate own goal in the first game, scored by McGrath, the Bluebirds might have claimed a massive Cup scalp against a City side boasting such names as England goalkeeper Frank Swift.

McGrath’s grandson Richard told the tale: “Barrow were winning 2-1 and a City player had a shot and the ball actually hit my granddad on the backside and looped over the goalkeeper and went in! It’s a funny story and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me telling it because that’s the sort of person he was.”

Ralph Sheppard (


I was reading with great interest the financial info, and good to see the club is going in the right direction on and off the pitch.

With regards to the deal with the council over the new stadia, I have it on very good authority the deal City made with Manchester City Council was daylight robbery, apparently the deal struck was peanuts – basically the council’s lawyers were made to look like monkeys!

Paul Jones (


Latest Changes

  • Andy Pavey has left the club
  • Nick Fenton on loan to Notts County
  • Terry Cooke on loan to Sheff Wednesday
  • Leon Mike loaned to Oxford United

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Steven Hodgson
Richard McKinney
Gerard Wiekens
Spencer Prior
Richard Edghill
Rhys Day
Lee Crooks
Nick Fenton                  Loaned to Notts County
Danny Granville
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Andy Morrison                Loaned to Blackpool
Steve Howey
Steven Jordan
Paul Ritchie
Shaun Holmes                 Transfer Listed
Kevin Horlock
Mark Kennedy
Gary Mason                   Transfer Listed
Jim Whitley                  Transfer Listed, loaned to Norwich
Ian Bishop
David Laycock
Terry Dunfield
Christopher Shuker
Terry Cooke                  Transfer Listed, loaned to Sheff Wed
Jeff Whitley
Tony Grant
Alfinge Haaland
Dixon Etuhu
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Danny Allsopp
Gareth Taylor                Transfer Listed
Shaun Wright-Philips
Leon Mike                    Loaned to Oxfird United
Christopher Killen           Loaned to Wrexham
George Weah
Paulo Wanchope

Last year’s U17 still at club

Gary Furnival      (defender)
Barry Hogan        (defender)
Steven Paisley     (defender)
Tyrone Mears       (defender)
Paddy McCarthy     (defender)
Damian Joyce       (midfield)
Andrew Tunnicliffe (forward)
Gary Browne        (forward)
Lee Croft          (forward)
Brian Murphy       (goalkeeper)
Joe Barton
Kevin Whitehead    (goalkeeper, non contract)

This year’s U-17’s

James Almond
Richard Crawford
Mark Egerton
Phil Gider
Adam James
Ryan McDowell
Daniel McTaggart
Adie Orr
William Flood
Glen Whelan
Stephen Elliott
David Tickle       (non contract)
Ciaron Kilhenny    (non contract)
David Hodgson      (goalkeeper, non contract)
Shaun Cartwright

Stuart J Reynolds (


Here’s my latest website which supplies City goals. Some people still can’t get ’em so they are here:

Jason Coleman (


In answer to Paul’s question about mobile phones. On Orange send this text message: “FOOTB MCFC” to 177 and a text message is returned with the latest score and (during the game) the scorer. Mine still shows Leeds 1 (Bowyer) Man City 2.

CTID, Nigel Gibson (


If you visit you can register your mobile number and the team you wish to receive information for. You will then get a text message with the latest score when each goal goes in, as well as the final score. Hope this helps.

Lance Thomson (


In answer to the query of how to get score updates by mobile, I’ve successfully used a free SMS service which you can register for at – you can pay extra for an upgraded service but the free goals service appears to work.

Alan Holt (


Steven Kersh in the last issue (he didn’t give his email address so I couldn’t write direct) said he’d noticed City’s game with the Rags was on Sunday morning. Well unless I’ve missed something and it’s been changed Steve, if you get up at 6 o’clock Sunday morning you’ll have missed the game by 24 hours. I think it’s a Saturday morning kick-off November 18th. I’d hate for you to miss it after waiting so long.

David Kilroy (


>The derby game has been made a Sunday morning kick off<

That’s not right, is it? Still Saturday 18th, 11.30 a.m.

And from one of the Boro match reports:

>City were given a free kick (technically it should have been a dropped ball as no foul had been committed), the Boro players failed to retreat and it was moved forward ten yards.<

It’s an indirect free kick if the ref stops play to administer a caution. But I didn’t see Boro players not retreating. I think Stephen Lodge made another mistake by bringing it forward; he brought forward for dissent a free-kick that hadn’t been given (forgetting the dissent was for not getting a free-kick the other way)! That made up for the first half where he didn’t bring forward a free-kick where he had booked a player for dissent at the decision.

Steve Parish (


A nice way to get up on Sunday morning. An 8.00a.m. kick off live on pay per view TV here in California. After I had convinced our 3-year-old that there was no chance he could watch his cartoons this particular morning, I settled back to watch. I had seen the Charlton game only a week or so before and I have to say the improvement was very noticeable.

The defence, for all the goals it has given up, looks solid and the team as a whole seemed committed to each other. If the spirit continues then I think they will be ok. I agree with Tony Burns that survival is the goal. To that end I still remain a little concerned with dropping points at home to teams such as Boro and Coventry. There is also a continuing tendency to give up possession an awful lot. There has been improvement since I saw the cup game against Leeds but it remains a challenge for Joe.

But this note is to express cautious optimism that the Blues will stay up. I still think a midfielder may be needed to get balls forward a little more and against all the other contributions I actually thought City went a little off the boil once the subs were made in the second half.

It’s so great to get these games and here’s to the next early morning awakening to see thousands of white pac a macs in the corner by the Platt Lane end.

John Pearson (


I was wondering if there are any Blues in the Niagara Region of Canada. If there are… let’s get in touch!

Martin Walker (


Folks, does anybody out there in Mcvitee land know where I could see City in India. I will be in a number of different places from 8th till 28th December and wanted to know if there are any Blues out there who wanted to have a beer/know where I can catch match of the day (believe you can see it on Fox)?

Tony Farrar (


Just a quick note to say thank you to all the people who responded to my distress call for mobile footie updates. I am now registered and looking forward to seeing my phone flash up with a Wanchope hat-trick.

Thanks again, Paul Thompson (


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 #643