Newsletter #655

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I’m still not able to fully get used to a City side which can rebound from serious setbacks and win away consistently. Years of conditioning to the contrary mean that I’m unable to greet these seemingly unlikely events with anything other than real surprise. Thus, I was yet again taken aback by a City team that got hammered at the weekend, but managed to progress to the last 16 of the Worthington Cup 4 days later, courtesy of an away win at Villa Park, something that has eluded every other team that has played there this season. City will now meet the Dons at Maine Rd in 3 weeks’ time to contest a berth in the quarter finals.

Unfortunately, this issue has no match report (anyone care to do one for Monday’s issue); however, there is Peter’s News Summary, some memories of an evening with Bert Trautmann, a review of CITY Mag, some explanation for the dramatic dip in the share price, a request for some contacts for the inflatables’ craze, and a Why Blue (more please).

Match reports for the Leicester game also welcome…

Next game: Leicester City at home, Saturday 4th November 2000

NEWS SUMMARY

Late Penalty Sends City Through

Manchester City are through to the fourth round of the Worthington Cup. An 89th-minute Kevin Horlock penalty was enough to separate the Blues and Aston Villa in Wednesday’s third round tie. After an uneventful opening period in which City more than held their own, Joe Royle’s men had to withstand pressure from the home side after the break. The woodwork denied Paul Merson on one occasion, while Nicky Weaver produced brilliant saves from Southgate and Joachim, but it was the Blues who broke the deadlock as extra time seemed inevitable. Villa goalkeeper David James rashly barged Alfie Haaland to the ground as the pair challenged for a Jeff Whitley cross and Horlock kept his nerve from the spot. There was time for Villa substitute Darius Vassell to give City a momentary scare when he found the net in injury time but thankfully for the Blues, referee David Elleray spotted the young striker’s blatant handball.

Defensive Display Delights Royle

Joe Royle has worked hard to cure the defensive frailties shown by his Manchester City side in the early games of this season. And the Blues’ boss believes that the solid City display at Villa Park on Wednesday shows that his efforts have not been in vain. After conceding twelve goals in the campaign’s opening five league fixtures, City have now conceded just seven in their last seven encounters against Premiership opposition – and five of those came in the hammering at Arsenal, all of them scored after the Blues had been reduced to ten men. Royle admitted that meanness at the back was the key to the Villa Park win, a success he felt his team deserved. “In the first half we completely stifled them,” he claimed. “The game opened up in the second half and they had a couple of half-chances but we defended magnificently.”

Gragor Laments Missed Chances

John Gregory had no complaints over the penalty award which enabled Manchester City to progress in the Worthington Cup at the expense of his Aston Villa team. But the Villa boss was less charitable towards his own strikers, whom he held responsible for missing chances which could have sealed victory. Gregory admitted that City had made life difficult for his team. But he felt that in the second half, Villa created opportunities which should have been sufficient to ensure their progress in the competition. “The sides cancelled each other out and we didn’t get going until the second half,” he reflected. “But when you get clear chances, like Joachim and Vassell did, you’ve got to get the ball into the net.”

City to Face Wimbledon Next

Manchester City face Wimbledon at Maine Road in the next round of the Worthington Cup. The Dons beat Middlesbrough at home on Tuesday to set up a second ever clash with City in cup competition. The previous encounter came less than two years ago, but much has changed in the intervening period – when the Blues travelled to Selhurst Park for an FA Cup third round tie in January 1999, they did so as a Second Division outfit facing Premier League opponents. This time City will start as favourites, especially as Wimbledon have won only once in their nine visits to Maine Road. The match will take place on Tuesday, 28 or Wednesday, 29 November.

Royle Looking for Route to Europe

The Worthington Cup is a trophy which has lost much of its shine in recent years. But Manchester City are taking the League Cup seriously, believing in offers a realistic route into European competition. Several of the country’s top clubs field weakened teams in Worthington Cup ties, and this year’s tournament has already seen the elimination of big names like Leeds, Chelsea and Arsenal. But with the winners gaining entry into next season’s EUFA Cup, City will be putting maximum effort into their attempt to land the League Cup for the third time in the club’s history. “It’s a competition we want to win and that we feel we can win,” claimed Joe Royle ahead of the visit to Aston Villa. “We will give it our best shot.” And the success at Villa Park will only have increased the City boss’s resolve.

Prior Braves Illness to Face Villa

Spencer Prior came off his sick bed to feature in Manchester City’s win at Aston Villa on Wednesday. Joe Royle revealed after the game that the ex-Derby man had been taken ill as the Blues travelled to the game and Lee Crooks had been called up as emergency cover. In the end, Prior decided he was fit enough to take part in the game, and he lasted for 70 minutes before giving way to Ian Bishop. “Spencer felt a little bit better after a lie down at the team hotel in the afternoon,” explained Royle, “and decided to give it a go but we pulled him off the field in the end because he wasn’t too well.” The Southend-born defender is expected to have recovered ahead of Saturday’s visit of Leicester and will hope to fight off the challenge of Richard Dunne for a starting berth.

Camara No-Go As City Seek Youngster

Weekend newspaper reports were strongly linking Manchester City with a move for Titi Camara. But the Blues have poured cold water on speculation linking them with the Liverpool striker. Camara is keen to move away from Anfield, where he is unlikely to sample regular senior action given that he faces competition for a starting place from the likes of Owen, Fowler and Heskey. But although City have admitted to enquiring about the Guinean international’s availability in the close season, it appears that the Blues would now prefer to bring in an emerging youngster. “We did make an inquiry in the summer,” said a club spokesman, “but that is as far as it went. It’s fair to assume that Joe Royle would be more interested in a youngster to bring on now, in the circumstances.”

Bishop Eyes First Team Breakthrough

Ian Bishop has had a fairly peripheral rôle for Manchester City so far this season. But the skilful midfielder is hoping to earn himself a place in the Blues’ starting line-up soon. Bishop came on as a substitute for sickness victim Spencer Prior in the final twenty minutes of Wednesday’s win at Aston Villa. And despite interest in his services from First Division Gillingham, the ex-West Ham player simply wants to become a fixture in the City side – ideally by the time the Blues face his former club on 11 November. “I’d like to be back in the side by then,” he admitted, “but I certainly want to be involved in some way or another.”

Henry May Face FA Charge

Joe Royle was furious at Arsenal last Saturday after Thierry Henry escaped punishment when he kicked out at City’s Spencer Prior. But an FA panel is to study video footage of the incident and may bring disciplinary charges against the French striker. Royle was angered by the double standards of referee Rob Styles, who failed to take any action against Henry but who booked Danny Tiatto for an innocuous clash with Oleg Luzhny and then sent the Australian off for a second caution. A decision on whether any action will be taken against the Gunners’ leading scorer is expected in the near future.

Goater Out of Leicester Clash

Manchester City may have beaten Aston Villa this week. But victory came at a price, with Shaun Goater sustaining a groin strain which will keep him out of the weekend clash with Leicester. Peter Taylor’s side will come to Maine Road looking to put behind them a midweek disaster, having been beaten 3-0 at home by Crystal Palace in the Worthington Cup. But with the Foxes riding high in the Premiership table and sure to field a line-up much changed from the weakened side which came unstuck against Palace, the Blues can take nothing for granted. Joe Royle will have to decide whether to revert to his more usual 4-4-2 system after playing with three centre backs at Villa Park, and will be weighing up whether to recall Laurent Charvet or Richard Dunne, both of whom were cup-tied for the midweek game. The City boss will also be hoping that Paulo Wanchope will be fit again to replace Goater.

Peter Brophy (peterbrophy@mancity.net)

BERT TRAUTMANN TRIBUTE

On Monday 30th October there was a charity tribute dinner for Bert Trautmann, the proceeds of which were to go to the Christie Hospital Appeal. The more astute of you will see that my e-mail address shows that I am an employee of this local hospital that specialises in the treatment of cancer.

This is not an official response, but as an intermittent contributor to McV, I couldn’t let pass an opportunity to give thanks, for what I think all present will agree, was a splendid evening at the Piccadilly Hotel.

The staff of the hotel, the organisers and the sponsors all deserve our fullest thanks and praise for their efforts and I can only apologise that I was so carried away with the evening that I can’t remember the faces of the people responsible for setting the whole thing up that were introduced to the crowd, but the programme refers to Allan Grafton and Terry woods and MC’s own Bernard Grafton.

The main sponsors were the Co-operative Bank, Done the Bookies, Hayton’s Coaches and Robert the chef.

There were several players from the famous 1956 Cup Final winning side in which Bert broke his neck and played on. An inspirational example, in an age when some players wouldn’t play on with a broken nail. He was the first foreign player to be awarded Writer’s Player of the Year and his courage and character was well known throughout the country and as I sat watching the proceedings unfold I remembered the Bert Trautmann story I first heard when I was about ten or eleven living in the East End of London. He was talked about in the most heroic of terms for many years after that Final.

There was a good turnout of City ‘keepers and players. The ones familiar to me, a recent convert to the City cause, were Alex Williams, Andy Dibble, Peter Barnes, Gary Owen and Nicky Weaver. There were familiar faces and familiar names that I couldn’t match but so full of memories for the City Fans with longer and greater allegiance than I. All the players and celebrities signed autographs, shared jokes and memories, sat, stood crouched and grinned for the photos.

Throughout the meal, a film of the 1956 final was projected onto a screen behind the top table. I didn’t know this before, but City’s third goal should not have stood because of pitch invasion by a lady carrying a plate of profiteroles who stuffed the ball in her ear and run off looking for chocolate sauce.

Special mention for those on the top table – John Gwynne from Sky Sport, brilliant job as MC and thanks to his recent experience commentating on Darts ensured that all the items up for auction exceeded £180.

A football with the signatures of the 1966 England Team went for over £600 (this might have been due to the fact that Bobby Charlton’s was missing). I seem to remember David Bernstein’s tie came under the hammer. The chairman said a few words of tribute to Bert and was mildly heckled by an enquiry as to when was Rivaldo coming. Dennis Tueart and Willie Donachie were present as well as Jimmy Wagg, from local GMR radio, who looks younger than he sounds – In fact, I think the three of them must be hiding pictures in the attic, Willie Donachie can’t be more than fourteen.

There was a brilliant scouse (scouse! do me a favour) comedian, who kept us in fits of laughter, but be fair – had to stand on a chair to do it! His name was Mickey Finn – he was funny, clean – mostly, and original or I don’t get out much.

The main speaker was Gordon Banks, and I think he is a natural. Telling stories from his career – I especially liked his comments about the famous save from the Pele header in Mexico – having told us how he, in a split second read the whole set up, positioned himself for maximum effectiveness, muttered as he saw the ball bounce behind the goal – “Banksie, you’re a lucky tw*t!” and to be admonished by Bobby Moore for giving away needless corners.

Gordon Taylor, Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, gave a touching and sincere tribute to Bert, referring to how he created a career and a life in England just after the War, overcoming the not inconsiderable disadvantages that would have beset a German Paratrooper Prisoner of War. While he spoke I began to realise just how big a grip Bert Trautmann held on the hearts and imaginations of City fans of all ages as well as lovers of football in general.

Mr Taylor didn’t do himself any harm by describing City fans as ‘the best in the world’.

Bert Trautmann spoke and pretty much confirmed all that had been said about him in the preceding couple of hours.

He was dignity. A generous, self-effacing sense of humour and perhaps a little at a loss as to understanding why he should be the centre of so much affection and attention. He was warm in his praise of the English and if you had asked at that precise moment why in the last six or seven years I had come back watching football and why I was happy that I ended up at Maine Road, I could have told you! It’s twenty-four hours later and, whilst as I write the feelings remain, I think my limited vocabulary would let me down.

Peter Capes (peter.capes@christie-tr.nwest.nhs.uk)

MESSAGE FROM MCFC FANS’ COMMITTEE

As you may know, the European Commission is trying to put an end to the current transfer system. This means that players would be able to move from club to club, without the clubs exchanging a fee, and the player only having to serve a short amount of ‘notice’. The Commission wants to abolish the system because it says it prevents the freedom of movement of workers, currently secured under European Law. This could mean that small football clubs all over Europe could go bankrupt, as it relies on the revenue from selling players to survive financially.

To help protect the futures of smaller clubs, MEP’s (Members of the European Parliament) are going to consult fans’ representatives to see what the fans feel about the move. This is is co-operation with the UK Government, which is also trying to stop the Commission’s ruling. Therefore, a representative from Manchester City Fans’ Committee will be meeting with MEP’s on the 6th November in Brussels. The aim of the meeting is to obtain what the fans feel about the changes to the transfer system, and the Fans’ Committee representative will express all views to the MEP’s.

To put across your own view, go to: http://www.mancity.net/fanscom/europe_consultation.html or send an email to Steve Knott at the address below.

Steve Knott – MCFC Fans’ Committee Spokesman (CMogc@aol.com)

MCFC INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTERS’ CLUB – CYPRUS

As most people are aware, an International Supporters’ Club has been created for City fans outside the United Kingdom. As a ‘Blue’ living and working in Cyprus, I have offered myself as a contact point for the Supporters’ Club, but I would like to try and get things moving further by trying to get all City fans to meet up for games shown live on TV in Cyprus and have a few beers and a chat about events stemming from Maine Road.

As any City fans living in Cyprus are aware, we have the opportunity to see City live on TV more than the UK via live broadcasts on Saturdays, Sundays or during the week via SKY, LTV, BFBS or any of the foreign satellite stations (most likely SuperSport from South Africa). As you are probably aware games shown live are usually advertised in the local Cypriot Press, notably the Cyprus weekly on published Fridays.

Therefore, with the derby match on the horizon I am writing to see if anyone is interested in meeting up for the game.

I live just outside of Limassol, but if there is enough interest in say Nicosia or either end of the island they it may be worthwhile meeting up at a mutually agreed location.

Please feel free to contact me on the e-mail address below and I will be in touch as soon as possible to organise something.

Andy Zuill (awzuill@cytanet.com.cy)

CITY TO HELP OUT HYDE

Following in Liverpool’s steps of the bigger clubs helping out the smaller ones, Manchester City are to send a team to Hyde United when the UniBond League club officially open their new Stand Extension on Monday 18th December. Liverpool’s recent visit to Runcorn produced a gate of over 2,500 and a nice windfall for the “Linnets” and Hyde will be hoping for something similar.

Ralph Sheppard (R.P.Sheppard@massey.ac.nz)

SHARE PRICE MOVE

In reply to the question from Stuart Wells, there are probably a number of factors which have moved the share price recently. One of the main ones affecting football clubs has been the uncertainty concerning transfer fees. Until this issue is resolved it is difficult for anyone to put a fair value on players. As the players represent a huge investment for most clubs, any uncertainty as to their value is bound to make people uncertain about the club’s overall valuation and thus their share price. In addition, the football sector was weak after recent reports showing that a large percentage of clubs are unable to cover their running costs effectively. Fortunately City are not in this group and after Chairman Bernstein’s moves over the last couple of years we are probably one of the healthiest clubs in the country financially. Weakness in share prices was exacerbated by general stock market conditions. October has traditionally been a bitch of a month for stock markets and this has been no exception. Only the strongest sectors do well at such times and sorry to say football clubs don’t fit the bill. Suggest you view the shares as a contribution towards the club but never expect to get rich on football club investing, the figures don’t really stack up against other sectors.

Richard Stott – Oslo Blue (RStotty@compuserve.com)

HOW TO STOP YOUR CHILDREN FROM TURNING TO THE DARK SIDE

Those of you with children will realise that we parents are entrusted with bringing up the next generation of City fans. Unfortunately, floggings at the hands of Arsenal do nothing to help, so here are some tips to see you through a bad result…

  1. Don’t watch highlights of the game with your kids when City getflogged; also, avoid looking at the table and sports section in thenewspaper, preferably these should be torn out before beingcirculated in the household. Maintain a dignified silence or feignforgetfulness when asked what the score was.
  2. Never give in to their incessant demands for United, Arsenal orLiverpool jerseys (widely available in Oz); insist that they only wearthe blue of City.
  3. Emphasise the low IQ of many United players and speculate onpossible aetiologies, e.g. cretinism, alcohol-related dementia, smallgenetic pool, affiliation with spice girls etc. A similar strategy canobviously be applied to other teams that they may show an interestin.
  4. Consider various bribes – sweets, offers to go the movies or thelocal tenpin bowling place are often helpful.
  5. Consider imposing bans on friends or relatives known to harbouran affection for “other” teams.

🙂

George Larcos (glarcos@ngl.imag.wsahs.nsw.gov.au)

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY.. A RIGHT ROYLE WAR OF WORDS

Joe Is The Maine Man When It Comes To Moaning

365 Special by Iain Spragg

What the hell is Joe Royle’s problem? Despite Manchester City making more than a decent fist of their Premiership return after a four-year exile, the Maine Road boss still isn’t a happy camper.

Biased referees, diving opponents and dubious penalty decisions have all incurred Royle’s ire so far this season – as anyone who has attended one of his post-match press conferences will testify.

And prompted by his latest outburst after Saturday’s 5-0 mauling by Arsenal at Highbury, Football365 presents our tribute to the man clearly determined to blame anybody but himself and his players when things don’t quite according to plan…

“Charlton played very well today and I won’t take anything away from them. I thought we were poor, but having said that there were one or two incidents which went against us.” – Royle after his side’s opening day 4-0 defeat against Alan Curbishley’s Addicks. Should that be four incidents (i.e. the goals), Joe?

“The PFA have got to get involved naming and shaming the players who dive in the game. It is quite galling. I am very annoyed by what I have seen here today, but I am not going to name names.” – Royle got it off his chest after City were beaten 3-2 by Liverpool at Anfield last month. You see, they would have won if it hadn’t been for those pesky divers.

“I suppose when you’ve gone a goal down you should be pleased to get a point. But that was a match we should have won. We might have had one, two or three penalties, and at the end I find myself asking the referee what, as a champion against diving, I should say to my players.” – How about ‘score more goals’? Royle lets rip after his team are held to a 1-1 draw by Middlesbrough at Maine Road in September.

“Overall we should have at least three more points. We lost at Liverpool and only drew against Middlesbrough, when we probably deserved six points out of the two games.” – City’s boss feeling hard done by (again) after other teams have the audacity not to lose to the Maine Road outfit.

“I am bitterly disappointed in the result and in the performance of three people in black. They have cost us the game. For 43 minutes we were doing fine. It is hard enough when 11 play 11. When it went to ten versus 12 we didn’t have a chance.” – Royle makes it clear who he blames for City’s 5-0 mauling at the hands of Arsenal this weekend.

Phil Lines (slines@tciway.tc)

SILENCE OF THE FANS

Re John Marsland’s observation that the Arsenal fans were particularly quiet – not for nothing is Highbury known as the Library! Maybe it’s where George Weah should end up?

Overheard by our kid from a Blue after the game – “Another 10 minutes and we’d have had them!”

Europe next year? With support like that, no problem!

Graeme Nicholson (graemeandkaty@thenicholsons.freeserve.co.uk)

QUERY – E GROUPS

About six weeks ago, I responded to a posting about eGroups (whatever they may be). Got a reply yesterday:

“Hello,

The moderator of the mcfc group has denied your request for membership.

The moderator of each eGroups group chooses whether to restrict membership in his or her group. Moderators who choose to restrict membership also choose whom to admit.

Please note that this decision is final and that eGroups does not control group membership.”

Anyone know the selection criteria?


Stumbled across ‘Question of Sport’ last Saturday night, featuring our ex-very own George Weah, recorded whilst he was still one of us. My memory is a bit scratchy due to beer, but all reference to him being a Blue seemed to have disappeared in the editing. That said there were a few clues. Two questions featured Nicky Weaver and Goater was the mystery personality as a milkman in a sketch with that Battersby bloke. Finished with him singing ‘Feed the Goat and he will score’ and looking dead pleased with having acted with Shaun.

Andy Noise (andrew.noise@cel-international.com)

CITY MAGAZINE – OCTOBER 2000, VOL6, ISSUE 2 – FRONT COVER PAULO WANCHOPE

The inside front cover had a full spread regarding membership of the International Supporters’ Club.

Inspector Gadget – Article on Paulo Wanchope

The man who scared a hat-trick against Sunderland and made us all feel that perhaps yes there was life after the Charlton débâcle! Mike Barnett starts the interview by comparing the mercurial and enigmatic PW with the team he’s just joined – similar? Too right we are! PW seemed to be wary of talking to the tape but opened up more once it was turned off. Nothing too bad in that… how many people do you know who hate talking to a telephone ansafone for example? And not just your granny either; younger people hate ’em too. Mike’s background on Costa Rica was most informative, taught me summat anyway! PW’s English career started at QPR, scoring six times in three reserve games but he wasn’t taken on so Jim Smith took him under his wing at Derby in March 1997, paying his club Herediano £550K. Wanchope, a keen basketball player when he wasn’t playing football, could have progressed to the NBA via a scholarship in California but decided to stick to football. Playing internationals is a travelling nightmare but has afforded Paulo views of the world he may not have seen had he not been a footballer. House hunting is currently high on his list – he looked round Manchester later! PW first came to the City fans’ notice by scoring at OT, then helping dump us out of the Worthington Cup (but it was a good goal!). After two seasons Derby cashed in by selling him to West Ham for £3.5m.

It would seem that he wasn’t overly popular at West Ham so a £3.65m deal brought him to Maine Road. He doesn’t know why it didn’t work out at Upton Park, he didn’t really want to leave but he’s happy he’s here. He was delighted with his hat-trick but hasn’t set himself any goalscoring targets. He just wants to help us stay up – having seen him help out in defence it’s nice to see a striker who isn’t afraid to track back and help out his mates. Obviously the team spirit which has become part of our club has rubbed off on him from the start!

Maine Frames – pictures of note! Number 1 where even the inflatable mobile phone is bigger than Dicky! Number 3 where Tommy Wright receives the Pontins Central League Trophy (well done lads!). Number 4 where Steve Howey seems to be losing his shorts! Number 6, with Ian Wright and son! Number 13 with Jim Whitley in his Norwich top – did he really “cut the mustard” there? Sorry, couldn’t resist such a naff joke!

ScottishPower – interview with Paul Ritchie

How many Scots do you know who speak slowly? Not many! Master Ritchie is quick tongued too it would seem, putting Willie Donachie in his place early on in the interview! It would appear that Paul had been to Maine Road before as a 13 year old in 1987 (he also visited United and Spurs) but finally decided he’d stay in Scotland and join Hearts’ apprentice team as he didn’t really want to leave home, and he was Hearts daft (so is Gary Mason if my memory serves me right). Paul made his first team début at age 19 and even experienced UEFA Cup action for the Jammies. Scottish football is invariably a two-horse race between the Old Firm duo although Hearts did win the Scottish Cup 3 years ago, giving the gruesome twosome a run for their money before sadly fading away. Rangers bid £1m for Paul in 1999 but it was turned down. Paul played his heart out for his team (no pun intended) but then last Christmas he was sadly told he had no future at the club. Consequently he spent half of last season on loan at Bolton deputising for Mark Fish but it meant time away from his wife and baby son. A hernia operation prevented him playing against us at Maine Road but on recovery he played until the end of the season, including the controversial play off final vs. Ipswich – a humdinger that was! Bolton wanted to keep him but the lure of playing for Rangers was proving too strong to resist.

October “Centrefold” – Jeff Whitley (who, for some reason, I still persist in calling Jim! Just goes to prove I need me eyes testing!)

The Future is at Eastlands

Mike Barnett describes the progress of the new stadium. It seems a shame to me that the Metrolink service won’t be ready in time for the Games, if you believe what’s written in the press. Hopefully it’ll be ready for when City finally move in. Barry Pollen, the club’s facilities controller, has visited quite a few top grounds to get the best out of the budget, even suggesting “credit cards” to speed up queues at concessionary stands (sounds good to me!). All aspects are being discussed to ensure that things are right from the start. Sounds as if it’s going to be one hell of a place! Till it’s ready though, I’ll enjoy my view from the front row of the Kippax, yes even on those days when it chucks it down and I get bl**dy drowned! All part of the fun, isn’t it?!

Blues on the Green

This covered City’s Annual Golf Day at Mere Golf & Country Club. From the article they all had a great time, great banter exchanged although Messrs Weaver and Ritchie chickened out with excuses of a new haircut and house-hunting respectively! But although Tiger Woods is safe for this year, the boys did raise a creditable £10,000 for City’s Academy and not one golf club bent over a City player’s head! As a postscript, loved the piccie of Jeff Whitley in his golfing attire – shows white sox ain’t confined to Essex boys (only joking!).

Awayday Blues

This issue it was the turn of the West Yorkshire CSA to describe their trip to Anfield. I must admit I still haven’t waded my way through the programme yet! I agree with their rating although have to miss out the pub ’cause I didn’t manage to get in one!

Carol Darvill (carold@city-fan.org)

OPINION – VILLA GAME

Some observations rather than a match report on last night’s game.

Tiatto and Whitley have continued to show their amazing transision to being able to perform at the top level. It’s a shame that the ref allowed the Villa players to take it in turn to push, barge and kick him whenever they wanted to, culminating in him limping off.

Weaver continues to pull off fantastic saves, one after the other, and the defence seem to have total faith in his ability (and why shouldn’t they?).

The whole team battled last night, ran the first half, rode their luck for the first 20 minutes of the second but at the end came out as worthy winners. Why James pushed the City player when he didn’t need to I don’t know, but who cares, he did and I’m happy.

City missed one player and that was a central midfielder who could hold the ball up and control the centre for us a lot more. For all the effort we put in, we could have made life easier if we had a stronger central midfielder.

All in all a fantastic night, however it was as the song said like being in church for the first half as the Villa fans didn’t sing a single song. We even offered to sing one for them!

CTID, Peter Timperley (PTimperley@unitedbusinessmedia.com)

OPINION – SHARE PRICE PLUMMETS

It was remarkable that a fall of a third in the share price since last year’s rights issue went unremarked at the AGM. Football plc shares generally are not a favourite at the moment, and the uncertainty over transfers is a big factor – though many of us thought City would not be too badly affected. However, if it results in higher wages for players, that will affect all clubs’ profits. It’s a bit annoying if you bought shares as investment rather than just to have a stake in the club – for £100 you could have had 180 shares now rather than 110 in December! If you bought when the Sky deal was in the offing and the price shot up to 180p, tough. However, these share prices don’t reflect large trading – it’s mainly people who seem to want to sell when no-one wants to buy, so it’s hard to determine whether the “plummet” reflects any underlying concern. It probably puts off any thought of public flotation.

Steve Parish (steve@bloovee.freeserve.co.uk)

REQUEST – INFLATABLES CRAZE

This Summer, the BBC produced a ten-part series which took an affectionate look at the seventies – “I Love 1970’s”. The programme was a huge success and we are now producing “I Love 1980’s.”

“I Love 1980’s” will be a wonderful trip down memory lane of the bizarre, the kitsch and the unusual stuff of the eighties. We’ll be serving up an eclectic mix of cult toys, fashion, music, fads, foods and drink that will all serve to remind us of that special time.

An area that I am very interested in is the Inflatable craze that took off during 1988. I am very eager to speak to the City fan who started this whole craze off, Frank Newton. I wonder if anyone knows his whereabouts or that of his friend Allen Busby? I am also very interested in contacting Imre Varadi. Can you help with any contact details?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards, Rosalind Tsang, Assistant Producer – I Love the 80’s (rosalind.tsang@bbc.co.uk)

REQUEST – HOTEL IN MANCHESTER

Myself and the wife will be coming up to Manchester for the Ipswich game on the 25th of November. Is there anyone out there that could recommend an hotel in Manchester or even near the ground. I don’t want to pay the earth for a room but would like something comfortable. Thanks for your help.

Geoff Collins – Bertie Blue (geoffco@totalise.co.uk)

REQUEST – DERBY GAME IN STRASBOURG

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