Newsletter #647

This week has seen little of substance happen with respect to transfers (plenty of speculation though, some of it wild to say the least). However, two events of note are the arrival of twins at the Goater household and the arrival of Dickov in the Scotland squad!

Please note that Geoff Donkin will be editing MCIVTA for the next four issues (see below).

Next game: Bradford City at home, Saturday 14th October 2000


Please note that I’ll be taking a break from MCIVTA due to work and family commitments over the next two weeks. Geoff Donkin has kindly volunteered to be guest editor, so please send all contributions for MCIVTA 648 (Monday 9th October) and 651 (Thursday 19th October) to Geoff at:



ISC Now Up and Running

After over a year of negotiations with the club, the Manchester City FC International Supporters’ Club has finally been launched. The ISC Committee and the football club sealed their co-operation agreement on the pitch before last weekend’s match with Newcastle and leaflets were distributed over the Tribal Gathering weekend. More information will be available on the ISC page hosted by the official club website at Members will receive ticket privileges, members pack, regular emails from the ISC, free ground tours and several other benefits. All this is available for £20 for UK and EU-based members and, owing to higher postal costs, £25 for members in the rest of the world. To join, contact the ISC by phone (+44 (0)161 232 9009), fax (+44 (0)161 232 8999) or e-mail (

Manchester – The Greatest City

Manchester City this weekend host a three-day memorabilia event and open day to celebrate the club’s heritage. The event takes place from Friday, 6 October to Sunday, 8 October, centred round an exhibition of memorabilia including programmes, medals, caps and other collections on the top tier of the Kippax Stand. In addition to the static displays, there will also be a fully interactive collection of videos and an exhibition dedicated to the club’s new stadium at Eastlands, together with numerous other events such as tours of the ground and the chance to question key club personnel. Face-painting and bouncy castles will be available for children. Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions – and it’s worth booking in advance through the City ticket store, because for each adult who buys a ticket in this manner, an accompanying child will be admitted free. Advance tickets can also be ordered through Dial-A-Seat (telephone: 0161 828 1200), though a small booking fee will be charged.

Wiekens Set to Sign On Again

Gerard Wiekens appeared to hint at the weekend that he could be interested in returning to Holland next summer on a Bosman free transfer. But the Manchester City midfielder is now believed to be nearing agreement on a new deal which will keep him at Maine Road. Wiekens joined the Blues in the summer of 1997 when former boss Frank Clark paid Veendam £500,000 for the versatile star. And after the player’s impressive start to the new season, Joe Royle is keen to ensure that the Dutchman stays with the club. Negotiations are ongoing, but it’s believed that Royle’s offer of a four-year deal will ensure that the talks end favourably, with Wiekens now quoted as saying, “City’s offer shows clearly how much they rate me. I expect we will reach agreement in a couple of weeks.”

Scotland Boost Delights Dickov

Paul Dickov was disappointed initially to be omitted from the Scotland squad for the forthcoming games against San Marino and Croatia. But the 27-year-old has now joined up with Craig Brown’s party. Coach Brown has been hit by the withdrawal through injury of midfielders Barry Ferguson and Paul Lambert. And while Don Hutchison will offer midfield cover, the Sunderland man had originally been earmarked to play up front, thus creating a vacancy for Dickov. The call-up sees the ex-Arsenal junior achieve a lifetime’s ambition, and he knows that playing in the top flight this season has helped him catch the eye. “I am delighted,” admitted Dickov. “It’s always been a dream since I was little and I have always wanted to play for Scotland. I am now playing in the Premiership which has given me a big chance to show what I can do.”

Shearer Praises City Fans

Alan Shearer scored the only goal as Newcastle won at Manchester City last Saturday. But the ex-England captain was full of praise for the Blues fans he disappointed with that strike. Shearer was extolling the virtues of his former team-mate Steve Howey, who missed the clash against his old club through injury. And the former Southampton and Blackburn star believes that Howey could be a crucial asset to the Blues if he avoids injury – but he also feels that the Maine Road support is a major help to Joe Royle’s men. “[Howey] could make a big difference and so could the supporters,” he explained. “They are great fans, and a lot like ours in that they are very passionate about their team and create a wonderful atmosphere. Maine Road deserves Premiership football and I always look forward to coming to it.”

Charvet Move Falls Through

Joe Royle has admitted he’s made an enquiry for Newcastle’s Laurent Charvet. But the 27-year-old defender won’t be heading for Maine Road in the imminent future. Alfie Haaland has been filling in at right-back since Richard Edghill was omitted from the team following his personal disaster against Coventry in August. But the Blues would prefer to use the Norwegian in midfield and so Royle is looking to the transfer market to remedy the problem. However, the St James’s Park injury crisis coupled with City’s reluctance to meet the £2 million asking price seems to mean that Charvet will be staying at Newcastle for the time being. “There has been contact between the two clubs and we have asked about Laurent’s availability,” acknowledged Royle. “But Newcastle are not ready to let him go while they have an injury crisis and the clubs are some way apart on the valuation, so nothing is imminent.”

City Deny Solano Interest

Manchester City have already made one recent signing from Newcastle, bringing Steve Howey to Maine Road in August. And the Blues have also been linked with three other players from St James’s Park – the latest being Nolberto Solano. Several newspapers on Thursday claimed that Joe Royle was prepared to pay £4 million for the Peruvian, who impressed as a substitute for the Geordies at Maine Road last Saturday and created Alan Shearer’s 74th-minute winner. However, Royle has dismissed as “fantasy” the story that the South American is earmarked to fill the problem rôle on the right side of the City midfield. Meanwhile, director Chris Bird has flatly denied reports in a Chilean newspaper that the Blues have faxed a £2 million bid to Universidad de Chile for midfielder Clarence Acuna, a target for Newcastle who has also been linked with Manchester United.

Another Scouting Mission for Royle

Joe Royle is taking advantage of his team’s two-week break from competitive action to undertake another scouting trip. The City boss will watch internationals this week in France and Portugal. Royle was in Paris on Wednesday to see the French take on Cameroon. And he’ll then watch the weekend’s World Cup qualifier between Portugal and the Republic of Ireland. But the City boss denies he’s running the rule over any particular players. “There are no specific targets, it is just a way of me getting to put faces to names and seeing what is what,” he declared. “We do not have a game until a week on Saturday and this will be a continuation of our policy to watch top-class games where and when we can.”

City Linked with Norwegian Star

Manchester City sent chief scout John Hurst to Norway last month. And it’s now being claimed that the Blues could be set to swoop for one of the players he saw on that trip. The man in question is Ragnvald Soma, an under-21 international right back whom Hurst saw play for Bryne against Molde. Newcastle and Middlesbrough are among Premiership clubs also said to be interested in the player, but there are also reports that he is wanted by several clubs from Italy’s Serie A. Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News has claimed that Joe Royle is keen to strengthen in three areas – right back, the centre of defence and midfield.

Reserves Thrash Sorry Wednesday

Manchester City reserves notched their first win of the season this week. And the Blues’ second string achieved the feat in fine style, beating Sheffield Wednesday 7-1. Andy Morrison featured for City and played for the full ninety minutes after returning from his loan spell at Blackpool, but Shaun Goater was given dispensation to miss the fixture with his wife due to give birth any day. However, the absence of last season’s top scorer at senior level didn’t reduce the Blues’ effectiveness in front of goal, as the transfer-listed Gareth Taylor led the way with a four-goal haul. Strike partner Danny Allsopp bagged a brace, while Shaun Wright-Phillips completed the scoring. Taylor will be hoping that his goalscoring feat impressed the watching scouts as he bids to earn a permanent move away from Maine Road – the front man is reported to have turned down recent offers of loan stays at Rotherham and Colchester.

Kennedy – I’ve Learned from Mistake

Mark Kennedy faces a Dublin court appearance next month after an incident which occurred the last time he was called up by his country. But the Irish winger says he’s learned from his mistake and is keen to rebuild his international career. Kennedy has been omitted from Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland party for the match against Portugal this weekend. But it’s believed that McCarthy will offer the player another chance once the legal proceedings are over, and this time the 24-year-old is determined to justify the faith shown in him both by his national coach and by the Maine Road staff. “Whatever happens I can assure everyone I have learned from this,” he vowed. “The things that have happened have proved that people believe in me and Mick rang me recently to tell me form permitting I would be included again after my court appearance. The gaffer and everyone at Maine Road have been equally supportive.”

Morrison Vows to Win Back Place

Andy Morrison has returned to Maine Road from his loan spell at Blackpool. And the powerful defender intends to beat off the fierce competition to win back his senior place. Morrison hasn’t featured for the Blues since the win at Port Vale last October. But after playing six games for the Seasiders in his month at Bloomfield Road, the Inverness-born star lined up for the Blues’ reserve side this week and feels he’s in good enough shape to challenge the likes of Prior, Howey and Ritchie for a starting berth in the first team. “My fitness level has improved greatly,” he said as he prepared to leave Blackpool at the weekend. “I’ll go back to City and give it my best.” It’s thought that Bury are interested in taking the player on loan if he fails to win back his place, while Blackpool are also said to be keen on signing him for another month in this eventuality.

Spurs Join Ehiogu Chase

The Manchester Evening News says that, despite the lack of publicity, City are still interested in Ugo Ehiogu. But Spurs, the team the Aston Villa star supported as a boy, have reportedly joined the chase for the player’s signature. George Graham is said to see the 27-year-old as the ideal replacement in the event of the expected departure of Sol Campbell, who looks likely to leave White Hart Lane on a Bosman free transfer in the summer. And that means that both the Blues and rival suitors Middlesbrough look set for disappointment in the chase for the ex-West Brom man. Ehiogu has indicated that he’ll wait until the status of the transfer system is decided before considering his future – but the fact that the powerful defender is a Londoner means that Spurs are favourites to complete the signing.

McIlroy to Hand Jeff Starting RÔle?

Jeff Whitley was originally named in both the Northern Ireland senior and under-21 squads for this week’s games. But the City midfielder has now been withdrawn from the under-21 party and may start for the senior side. Whitley had been expected to captain the under-21 side but was considered unlikely to start for the full team against Denmark. But injuries, including the loss of Blackburn’s Damien Johnson, have forced boss Sammy McIlroy into a change of plans and the City star appears set for at least a place on the bench and possibly even a starting berth against the Danes.

Goater’s Wife Gives Birth to Twins

Congratulations go to City striker Shaun Goater, whose wife this week gave birth to twin girls. And the Bermudian striker will be hoping for a double celebration with a return to action against Bradford next week. However, because of the impending birth, Goater missed this week’s reserve game at Sheffield Wednesday. And as a result, Joe Royle may decide that last season’s top scorer isn’t quite fit enough to start the vital match against the Bantams. But the 30-year-old is set for a substitute’s rôle against the Yorkshiremen, and his return is a major boost to the City manager.

AGM to be an Upbeat Affair

City’s AGM takes place on Friday at Manchester’s Bridgwater Hall. And in a sharp contrast a mood of optimism expected to prevail – a sharp contrast to many AGMs in the recent past. David Bernstein will give an upbeat address after the club’s recent positive financial results, with the Blues having slashed their debt and increased their turnover. And Bernstein will report that, not surprisingly, the club’s first few weeks in the Premiership point to a massive rise in income this year. In the light of this, the City chairman will also stress that maintaining top-flight status is crucial – and Joe Royle will be given the resources he needs to make sure this objective is met.

Peter Brophy (


Let’s get a few things straight about this match before we start.

  1. The Newcastle fans were the best away support to have visited Maine Roadin a number of years; they got behind their team and chanted, supported andsang through the match as a whole, a bit like we did at Leeds, except theMaine Road faithful gave back as much as they got, unlike the living deadat Leeds Utd. I popped into the Sherwood before the game and it had beenovertaken by Geordies on the p**s; I’ve never seen that before. I didn’tsee any sign of trouble, but apparently there was quite a bit at othersboozers around the ground.
  2. The Newcastle fans were the fattest away support to have visited MaineRoad in a number of years; they were massive. One guy with an orange poloshirt on took his top off, to reveal ‘NUFC’ underneath tattooedacross his gut, I could read that from nearly halfway down the Kippax; ifthe truth be known he could have had ‘Newcastle United Football Clubfounded 1898’ and it would have been easily read, such was the vastness ofhis belly. There was one guy in particular who caught my attention, andwas one of the highlights of the match, he was indeed the largest Geordieon show and was wearing his ‘Christmas Jumper’ (you know the type of jumper Imean, one that a loved one gets you at Christmas, that you wear that dayand possibly Boxing day, if said relative is staying over, but it’sconfined to the bottom of the wardrobe for evermore). Well, this guy hadno shame, he was wearing his in public, in its green Christmas colouredtree pattern with small balls of wool attached for the effect of lights, stretched overa mountain of a Newcastle brown ale sponsored gut. When Shearer scored, heran over to the Newcastle fans; look out for this man, he must have takenup 3 or 4 seats at the front.

Enough, enough, I’m drowning in my own self indulgence; I’ll get on to the game. I thought City started brightly enough, with a shot from the edge of the area that had Given, the Newcastle ‘keeper, rooted to the spot. Wanchope looked off the boil today, that’s the poorest I’ve seen him play, maybe he was rushed back from injury too soon? Weah looked past his sell by date, maybe it’s a good thing that he is our super sub. Dickov must be the fittest player in the Premiership, he just doesn’t tire or stop (this has aroused interest in a few women I know). At one point in the first half Wanchope gave up running for a ball he believed to be a lost case but Dickov came flying past him and proved otherwise. Then he let his feeling be known to Wanchope; good on yer Paul.

Tommy Wright made a comfortable save in the first few minutes, then seemed to grow in stature from then on. Anything that the Geordies chucked at him, was saved with grace. He looked the business; there is a brill picture in one of the papers – when Shearer scored (his offside goal), it shows Tommy Wright’s face and he looks genuinely gutted; it just shows how much some of the players at our beloved club care. On the subject of Shearer, he really is a player you could quite easily dislike. He took the p**s all game, falling over, backing into defenders, diving, moaning at the referee, ignoring the referee when he’s called over, so that the referee has to go chasing after him. If that had been a City player, the ol’ set of coloured cards would have been shown. On top of that, he must use the same hairdresser as Phil Collins, and he has about as much charisma as Norm from the twix advert. And one last last point about the Geordie Phil Collins; he claimed that Newcastle should have won by 3 or 4 goals on MOTD later that night, he certainly won’t be on Ritchie’s Christmas card list (hey, I managed to get all that off my chest without swearing once).

We taunted the Newcastle lot with the usual ‘Where were you when you were s**t’, ‘10,000, you used to get 10,000’ and ‘F**k all, you never won f**k all’ (mind you, we can’t slag them off too much on this point); this was met with ‘Geordie army, Geordie army’. I think that they got the point, they are the Man Yoo of the North East, Premiership bandwagoners. That Lua Lua came on for them, he won’t last at this level I believe (don’t worry the humble pie is in the oven, as I type), because he is the most one footed player I have ever seen, he makes Nigel Winterburn appear like a right footed-genius. Premiership defenders are going to realise that one quickly. To beat Lua Lua, make him use his left foot. Is it me (it probably is!) but half that Newcastle team I’d never heard of. They were from all over the place, two Argentineans (the bloke next to me shouted at Solano ‘We haven’t forgot the Falklands, pal’ – I thought it was funny).

Ritchie in our defence looks to be a £500,000 snip, he looks the business. Halland looks a class above, the quicker he can revert to his rôle in midfield the better. I feel we are lacking in midfield; we need someone that can pass and tackle. Bishop came on and couldn’t pass (the duchie) for toffee; when he’s off he really is off. Please Joe can you put a midfielder and right back top of your list please? So the rollercoaster continues, but we are taking a bit of a drop at the moment. Let’s turn this around before the momentum builds up and we slide back down in the Nationwide. I think the thing that will save us is, that there are 3 worse teams than us in this league.

Walter Smith (


Since the last posting in Issue 642 (18 September) when we had just met and sent our letter in to the Club, we are pleased to say that they responded favourably and on Friday 29 September a meeting was held with Chris Bird, Dave Cash, Heidi Pickup and Paul Hince.

We prepared a fairly impressive (even though we say so ourselves) document presenting the case for the testimonial and the overwhelming support this had received worldwide thanks to posts in MCIVTA and Paul’s article in the Pink. From those first seeds of thought back in early August we have pooled together many excellent ideas from people to make this a memorable day of celebration for all – fans old and young, the Club and of course Neil.

The Club have been following the campaign and first impressions appear very positive. So it’s now “Wait and See Part II”.

We’d like to thank everyone who has responded so far and would once again urge people to write in to the club, or to ourselves, giving their support if they haven’t already done so. Let’s hope that in a few months’ time we shall all be enjoying a mammoth City fest of self indulgence and celebrations past and present.

Dave & Vanda Cash (
Heidi Pickup (


There is a 200ft free-fall abseil off the top of the Kippax Stand taking place on Sat 21st/Sun 22nd Oct, all for Charity mate.

It’s for Childline and requires a £10.00 registration fee and mimimum sponsorship of £60. I’ve been coerced into jumpimg off the top of the Kippax (something that I’ve felt like doing on many a Saturday afternoon!) so if anyone fancies sponsoring me I’d be eternally grateful.


If you want to take part yourself telephone:

Childline 0161 834 9945

Gary Sowerby (


In response to Pat Dempsey’s query about Kennedy’s obscene gesturing, what happened was, Kennedy miscued a cross which deflected out for a corner, the Gills’ fans jeered him so he punched the air at them (kind of giving the bird without raising his finger). He then p**sed himself laughing as he jogged past us City fans to take the corner. Not surprisingly he got quite a cheer from us. The Gills’ fans then booed him every time he touched the ball which just made him laugh even more.

All credit to the Gills’ fans, we had a great banter (‘2-0 and you all went home’ from them, response from us ‘2-0 and you thought you’d won!’).

Finally, a quick thank you to everyone involved in TG2000, fantastic weekend, great fun was had by all. By the way Debs I wasn’t sleeping, I was resting my eyes.

Special thanks to Nobby Clarke for the ground tour; at one point he answered the question ‘How much did you get paid for playing in the Forties?’ with ‘When I was in the ATC before the war, we used to fly these little planes, well not really planes, more gliders, except they had engines…’; this went on for about twenty minutes without ever getting close to answering the question. Classic, they should give him his own TV show.

Stuart Langley


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association will be on Wednesday 11th October at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm. Our confirmed guests are Malcolm Allison and the Piccadilly Radio 1152 Sports Team. For further details e-mail As usual all Blues are more than welcome.

Howard Burr (


First I’d like to say a big thanks to all who were involved in organising this years event. To Debs and Scall for the video screening, Karaoke and curry, to Bob for the tour of Maine Road and to Stef for the five-a-side footy. I was supposed to turn up for that but 6 hours sleep in two nights and gallons of Guinness, lager and bitter put paid to that.

I knew I was drunk at the Karaoke or Friday night when I suddenly grabbed the passing mike off Chris Bird and stood to ask Shaun Goater a question as it’s something I don’t normally do. Anyway my question on his goal against Charlton at Maine Road got a round of applause (for me not Shaun).

Respect to Dixie Blue (Hunter) who I collared just as he was leaving having noticed earlier in the day that he was wearing a JD Edwards client t-shirt. He was forced to listen to me, seriously drunk, ramble on about the general ledger system we use at Smithkline Beecham and its advantages over other protocols. Not once did he tell me to p*** off and get a life.

I stayed ’til they kicked us out along with a few others because I was putting off the inevitable – my trek home to Bury. When I told the others where I was off to they thought it was hilarious, especially when I said I would start walking if I couldn’t find a taxi in town; I got as far as Cheetham Hill and was wishing I had found a floor or a park to crash on when a taxi rank hove into view.

It is ironic that it was Cockney Bue (Stuart) who was amused more than most by my plight who was more than happy to crash at my folks’ gaff on Saturday night after being persuaded by some of us not to go home to his girlfriend but stay for a curry and plenty of beer, after the hotel he had stayed at on Friday night had no rooms! Anyway he brought back for me in his rucksack two Kingfisher glasses from the Sangam – only one survived the evening – but heh you can never have enough pint glasses.

Debs mentioned on her account of the near mass arrest after the curry that faced with such unacceptable behaviour as a few Blues singing songs and generally being no threat to anyone apart from themselves after so much alcohol, the Police called in for reinforcements. A transit van appeared literally out of nowhere to mount the pavement where we were and came screeching to halt in front of us – how we didn’t get knocked for six I don’t know.

A few of us managed to stagger to a club – Brickhouse – which was great, plenty of Manc music, including one guy on the dance floor wearing a Berghaus jacket (à la Noel and Liam) and waving an umbrella around. Stuart, myself and Ciara (Wheelie’s wife) danced like dervishes for the night while Wheelie guarded our table and drinks and stayed awake the whole time… not.

Finally a warning – Wheelie told me he is due to send a fecking huge (his words) stream of consiousness to McVittee soon – you have been warned.

Jonathan Tod – Bury Blue (


Where were all those ‘I don’t understand Joe’ mails a month ago – boy could I have done with some support then, and except for the great win at Leeds, nothing has changed. Joe is an excellent First Division manager, but as I expected on the evidence of his yo-yo spell at Oldham and his cup-winning exploits at Everton – where are Everton now, struggling like us – he has never set the Premiership alight. Alright, I would give anything for us to beat the Scum at Wembley, but let’s face the facts, he has no pedigree in the Premiership and appears to have no idea of running a Premiership team.

He has known for a month that he needs to find at least one world class right back and has done nothing about it, he is still interested in Ehiogu so he must have the finance. As our Italian friend in the last issue stated, he is not even using the resources that are available to him, with mind-boggling formations and playing players in alien positions. Joe will take us straight back to mediocrity in the First Division. Joe has decided to narrow the pitch at Maine Road; maybe if he could bisect the pitch at Maine Road and just play on the left hand side, we could be world beaters. I stated that come February he could end up with a worse record than Bally – eight points from eight games would leave us with the equivalent of thirty eight points in May and that is with the benefit of a so-called steady start to the season.

Joe was ruthless in getting rid of some of our excess baggage, maybe instead of sacking him, Bernstein should loan him out to Blackpool or Stockport or Oldham for a month or whatever is the nice thing to do. Joe is a nice guy but I am sure when he returns, Asa and Willie would not find themselves in the bottom five. We have the talent except at right back, so hopefully somebody will do something to save this great club.

John Mcfarlane (


I don’t know why Joe Royle keeps playing Weah and not giving him any service at all. I mean, for Weah to be really effective he must have the ball at his feet and then he creates something creative. I have watched City play three times this season on T.V. against Charlton, Boro and Newcastle and the service was simply non existent. Here in Malta we watch a lot of Italian football and I have followed Weah for many years when he played for A.C Milan. I agree completely with Vanes (MCIVTA 646) where he stated that the midfield supply was non-existent. So come on Joe sort it out.

Edward Cachia (


Does anyone out there know of a bar in Rome which will be showing our game on Sky vs. Soton?

Iain Sellers (


Can anyone who knows of a bar in Cyprus showing the Finland vs. England game on Wednesday 11th October please email me with any details, before 5pm on Friday 6th October. Will the pay-per-view here apply over there I wonder! I’ve managed to get tickets for the Germany game but now I’ve run out of credit with the girlfriend and have to go to Aiya Napa instead of Helsinki this time round!

Steve Holt C&ETID (


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

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Newsletter #647