Newsletter #668

I guess most of us would have settled for a point on Saturday if it had been offered before kick-off. In the end, there was a feeling of having let two points get away. From the limited perspective of the Match of the Day highlights – nice to be the main match for a change – we seemed to give as good as we got against a team with one of the few remaining unbeaten home league records, and after our recent run of defeats it was good to see that the Everton game wasn’t a fluke. On the subject of unbeaten home records perhaps I should mention the result of Sunday’s game… naa, let’s not intrude on private grief 🙂

Tuesday of course sees Santa given a chance to give us an early Christmas present as Ipswich’s tractor boys return to do battle for a semi-final place in the Worthington Cup against Birmingham. Let’s hope the Blues plough and scatter them and take another step towards putting an end to the ’24 year’ chants.

Today’s issue is a little on the thin side – all you business e-mailers finished for Christmas? – but has Pete’s news roundup, two match reports, the opposing arguments aired in the SAFE debate, and yet another employment opportunity, rounded off by a few pleas for help.

And just before I go, if there’s anyone out there from PlanetFootball, I’ve had a couple of inputs suggesting the new look site is prone to lock ups and slow loading. I can’t say I’ve had problems myself and indeed feel the new site is a big improvement on the old, but if you want to post a view please e-mail me.

Anyone got a ‘Why Blue’?

Next game: Ipswich Town at home, Tuesday 19th December 2000


Part I: Villa Away – News and Reaction

City Lead Twice but Villa Snatch Point: Aston Villa had to come from behind twice to snatch a point against Manchester City on Saturday. And it was a strike four minutes from time that ensured the Villa Park clash eventually ended in a 2-2 draw. After an uneventful opening period, the match was goalless at the break. But the game came to life after the interval. Alfie Haaland put the Blues in front only for Dion Dublin to level for the hosts. But the away side looked set for victory after Paulo Wanchope restored the lead and Villa were reduced to ten men, Lee Hendrie being dismissed for dissent. But with time running out for the home team, a 25-yard David Ginola strike denied Joe Royle’s men all three points.

Royle Happy with Villa Park Display: Manchester City earned a point on Saturday away to Aston Villa. And Joe Royle was happy with his side’s efforts at Villa Park. Royle admitted to disappointment after the Blues led in the closing stages against opponents who’d had a man sent off. But the City boss said that before the game he’d have gladly accepted a draw. “Having been in front twice and then seeing them reduced to 10 men, it’s disappointing that we couldn’t hold on,” he reflected. “But overall I’m happy with the performance.”

Boss Blames Weaver for Villa Equaliser: Manchester City were denied three points at Aston Villa on Saturday by a spectacular late David Ginola strike. But Joe Royle felt that the Frenchman’s effort should have been stopped by Nicky Weaver. Just four minutes remained on the clock when Ginola’s dipping 25-yard volley rescued ten-man Villa. And while the City goalkeeper’s team-mates were adamant that the swerve on the ball made the shot impossible to save, Royle was disappointed with Weaver’s attempt. “The boys close to it said it was curling and weaving and unstoppable,” said the City boss. “But I beg to differ, it went under the goalkeeper’s body and I thought he might have stopped it.”

Part II: Transfer News and Rumours

Royle – No Urgency in Striker Search: Manchester City are looking for a new striker. But Joe Royle says the hunt for a new front man hasn’t reached the point of desperation. With Paulo Wanchope due to be missing in the coming weeks through both suspension and international call-ups and Shaun Goater having recently suffered injury problems, it’s been suggested in some quarters that Royle needs to add a new forward to his squad as a matter of urgency. But the City boss begs to differ. “I am not desperate to get a new striker into Maine Road,” he insisted. “If you look at the table, you will see that by no means are we the lowest-scoring team in the Premiership. I do like to have plenty of strikers about the place but we are not badly off in that department.”

Striking Duo Linked Again: Joe Royle has a reported £4 million to spend on a new striker. And news sources continue to speculate on who the Blues’ boss might eventually sign to boost his team’s survival fight. Royle was linked earlier in the month with Ipswich front man James Scowcroft. And despite denials from Portman Road boss George Burley that the 25-year-old is available, the player continues to be mentioned in connection with a move to Maine Road. Meanwhile, claims that Chelsea are bidding to sign Robbie Keane from Inter Milan have sparked talk that City could swoop for long-term target Eidur Gudjohnsen if the Irishman does move to Stamford Bridge – although the player’s agent says the Icelandic international will be staying with the London club.

Quiet Sunday for Transfer Talk: Recent weeks have seen Manchester City linked with a host of potential new signings. But the Sunday tabloids, a regular source of gossip, this weekend contained little speculation on possible Maine Road transfer activity. Most of the talk lately has centred on a possible new striker. And with Paulo Wanchope due to fulfil numerous international commitments for Costa Rica in the New Year, Joe Royle could be keen to bring in a new front man soon. But the only new name in the weekend press was Rangers’ Rod Wallace, who’s out of contract in the summer. It’s said that the 31-year-old ex-Leeds man could be available for £400,000. Meanwhile, Burnley are thought still to be keen to take Ian Bishop on loan; the Clarets and Gillingham were both eyeing a similar arrangement earlier in the season.

Cooke Goes Back to Wednesday: Terry Cooke has moved back to Sheffield Wednesday on loan. The winger has already spent two months this season with the South Yorkshire outfit but the Blues had initially refused to allow the arrangement to be extended. A possible permanent deal for Cooke broke down when Wednesday were unable to afford the Blues’ reported £500,000 asking price, and the player then returned to Maine Road. But Hillsborough boss Paul Jewell was delighted to have the 24-year-old back in time for Saturday’s big Sheffield derby, in which he helped the Owls secure a 1-1 draw. “We’re delighted to have Terry back,” said Jewell. “He’s a good player, and we didn’t want him to go back to City in the first place.”

Allsopp Double Brings Permanent Move Closer: Danny Allsopp is on loan at Notts County with a view to a permanent deal. And the Australian did his prospects of sealing the proposed £250,000 move a power of good on Saturday. Allsopp scored twice for the Magpies in a 3-2 win over promotion-chasing Reading. And those two strikes took the 21-year-old’s tally to four in three league games since he began his temporary stint at Meadow Lane. It’s now thought that County will soon move to take the striker on a permanent basis after such an impressive start to his loan spell. Meanwhile, Jim Whitley’s stint at Swindon got off to a good start; the midfielder featured for the Robins as they beat Division Two high-flyers Rotherham 2-1 at home.

No Huddersfield Switch for Jobson: Richard Jobson was linked with a move to Huddersfield last week. But online news source Teamtalk says that the veteran is unlikely to be making the switch to the McAlpine Stadium. Jobson can leave Maine Road on a free transfer after falling well down the pecking order this term. And the 37-year-old, who last month rejected the chance to go to QPR on loan, was touted as a potential new signing for new Terriers’ boss Lou Macari. But Teamtalk says that while the Yorkshiremen will be making a signing in the early part of this week, the player in question was in action for his current club at the weekend – ruling out the ex-Oldham man.

Part III: Miscellaneous News and Views

Fifth Yellow Card Earns Wanchope a Ban: Paulo Wanchope picked up his fifth booking of the season at Aston Villa on Saturday. And the Costa Rican must therefore serve a one-match suspension. Wanchope was yellow carded in the 88th minute of the Villa Park draw, and will miss the visit of Charlton to Maine Road on Saturday, 30 December. The ex-Derby and West Ham player will also be missing from the following week’s FA Cup clash against Birmingham, when he’ll be on international duty – and could also be unavailable for the New Year’s Day trip to Coventry if Costa Rica enforce their right to insist he joins up with their squad five days ahead of the World Cup play-off against Guatemala.

Boss Laughs Off Talk of a Cash Crisis: Last Thursday’s Daily Mail claimed that Manchester City could be forced to sell Nicky Weaver to ease financial difficulties at the club. But Joe Royle has emphatically denied that his young goalkeeper could leave – and says there’s no Maine Road cash crisis. Royle admits that City are not yet in a position to compete against the English game’s biggest spenders. But the Blues’ boss insists that, though the club’s share price has fallen, this fact will have no bearing on the size of his transfer kitty. “I am still looking for a new striker because I think we need four at the club,” he told the Manchester Evening News, “and when I find the one that I want, I am absolutely positive that the board will come up with the money whatever the value of the shares.”

Ritchie Hopes to be Back Soon: Paul Ritchie has been missing from the Manchester City side of late through a groin injury. But the ex-Hearts star is making good progress and should be back in contention for a first-team place soon. Ritchie joined the Blues from Rangers in August after a short spell at Ibrox. But his injury problems have meant that the Scottish international hasn’t featured in the Blues’ senior side since the trip to West Ham over a month ago. However, City physio Rob Harris is happy with the player’s progress. “He has had an anti-inflammatory injection,” explained Harris, “and if he continues to make progress he will be available for the holiday programme.”

Goalscorer Howey Relishing Quality Service: Steve Howey is already enjoying his best-ever goalscoring season. But the ex-Newcastle defender ascribes his success in front of goal this term to his team-mates’ quality of delivery from set pieces. Prior to the current campaign, Howey had never scored more than twice in a season. But with the Blues having played less than half of their league fixtures, the centre-back has already scored three times since moving to Maine Road in August – and he’s certain where the credit lies. “The balls we get into the box from, ‘Killer’ Kennedy, when he is playing, and from Kevin Horlock are fantastic,” he reflected, “so it is just a case of being in the right area and finishing the job.”

Boss Delighted with his Record Buy: Doubts have been expressed in some quarters over whether Paulo Wanchope is has been a successful buy for Manchester City. But Joe Royle couldn’t be happier with the man on whom he spent a club record fee in the summer. Wanchope was dropped after suffering a dip in form in November. But the 24-year old scored against Ipswich on his return to the side as a substitute – and has struck three times in four games since then. “I keep hearing that the jury is still out about Paulo’s qualities, but not at Maine Road it isn’t,” the City manager told the Manchester Evening News. “He has scored eight goals from 16 games this season and, at this level, that is a terrific ratio. And there is a lot more to him than simply scoring goals. He created the opening for Alfie Haaland against Villa on Saturday and had a hand in four of the goals scored against Everton the week before.”

Part IV: Reserve and Youth News

City Yout Pair’s Army Training Stint: Two Manchester City youth players are on international duty for Wales. And the pair will be given a taste of military-style preparation by coach Neville Southall. Former Everton player Southall is taking charge of the Welsh under-17 squad for a match against Italy. And the man who appeared 93 times in goal for the Wales senior side is allowing his young charges to be put through their paces alongside the First Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Ternhill, Shropshire. Among the party are City juniors defender Adam James and striker Danny McTaggart, and Jim Cassell believes the duo will benefit from the experience. “These outings are good for team bonding and squad spirit,” said City’s Academy chief.

Hyde Rue City’s Abandonment: Manchester City are due to send a reserve side to Hyde for a friendly on Monday evening. But the non-league club’s hopes of facing a strong Blues’ line-up have been dashed by the following night’s rearranged Worthington Cup game against Ipswich. It had been thought that Joe Royle could field some of his well-known fringe players at Ewen Fields, where the Blues also play their reserve games. But with the senior City side bidding to earn a Worthington Cup semi-final place against George Burley’s men 24 hours later, Royle will hold back his more experienced squad men who may be needed for the sixteen against the Suffolk outfit. And that means it will now be a much less experienced eleven which City send out to do battle against their Unibond League neighbours, with Lee Crooks and Richard Jobson the only players with first-team experience expected to be on duty.

Youth Cup Tie to be Played on Tuesday: Manchester City’s youth team will attempt to complete their FA Youth Cup third round replay at Fulham on Tuesday. The match was originally due to be played last week, but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The Blues felt they had the better of the first match at Maine Road a fortnight ago, but the visitors escaped with a 1-1 draw. And now it’s the Londoners who start slight favourites to go through to the next stage, with City facing a tough test in a match which will be played at Fulham’s New Malden training ground with a midday kick-off. A trip to Luton awaits the winners.

Part V: Worthington Cup QF – Team News and Preview

Two Changes for Ipswich Clash: Manchester City will make two enforced changes for Tuesday’s Worthington Cup clash with Ipswich. But other than replacing cup-tied duo Richard Dunne and Laurent Charvet, the Blues are likely to be unchanged from the side which won a point at Aston Villa on Saturday. Alfie Haaland will drop back to right-back to cover for Charvet, meaning there’ll be a midfield vacancy for either Gerard Wiekens or Ian Bishop to fill. And the equation at centre back is simple, with Spencer Prior coming in as a straight replacement for Dunne alongside Steve Howey. Up front, Shaun Goater will be fit to continue alongside Paulo Wanchope after recovering from his groin injury to play against Villa – meaning that, as at Villa Park, Paul Dickov will start on the bench. The Scot was named as a substitute on Saturday despite scoring after coming on against Everton a week ago then finding the net when deputising for the Bermudian in last week’s abortive first attempt to complete the quarter final against the Suffolk side.

City Bid to Break 20-year Jinx: It’s twenty years since Manchester City last played in the semi-final of a major cup competition. But the Blues will bring that miserable run to an end if they can beat Ipswich at Maine Road on Tuesday evening. Despite four previous quarter-final attempts in the last twenty years, the Blues haven’t progressed beyond the last eight in either of the domestic knock-out tournaments since 1980-81, a season in which City featured in the semi-finals of both the League Cup and the FA Cup. And after the disappointment of an unlucky defeat over two legs against Liverpool in the former competition, the Blues did manage to reach the FA Cup final that term. Ironically, Ipswich were the team defeated by John Bond’s men in the last four, and City will be hoping that’s an omen – especially as current Ipswich boss George Burley was in the Town side the Blues beat 1-0 at Villa Park in April 1981.

Post Script

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Peter Brophy (


City started the match impressively with a nice move in the first minute. However, the rest of the half was pretty spartan, the game became a dull, scrappy affair and not a peep was heard from the home supporters. Fortunately, to relieve the boredom we had the fun of throwing an inflatable Christmas tree around in our corner of the ground.

The game picked up in the second half, with numerous attempts on goal by both sides. Wanchope beautifully set up Alfie to lift it over the ‘keeper; Haaland actually had several attempts on goal and if his final touch was more accurate I think he would be a truly devastating player, but if he can put away a small percentage of these attempts and continue his valuable utility rôle then I will be a happy boy. It might be just me but City seemed to sit back a little after the goal and defend a bit deeper; this may be fine in theory but it doesn’t seem to work for us, we should keep attacking all the time. Mr Dublin soon equalised with a header that beat our Nicky, which made me question whether or not the young lad has the ability to stop shots from the better Premiership players.

I honestly expected that to be it but Mr Kennedy came on and looped a ball into the box that was parried by the David James but Paolo was there to slot it home. Then something strange happened at the other end of the pitch, the Holte End seem to be half-heartedly claiming a penalty, then the ref red-carded one of the villa players, apparently for dissent (that’s what they said on Match of the day anyway). Another decent ref… that makes it two so far this season!

So, picture the scene, we are 2-1 up with five minutes to go and they are down to 10 men, what do you think happened? Can you guess, can you guess? Oh you lot are no fun, how did you guess so easily? Are you City fans or something! Yeah that fat French bloke hit a belting strike after our defence had got the ball out of the box. Indeed the whole final five minutes was all Villa they really piled the pressure on and I think Nicky was right to hold the game up a bit, although I was screaming to get the ball out as I thought surely we could score again with an extra bloke?

Anyway some of you may be wondering why I was referring to Mr Ginola as being a bit podgy? Well, I read in the programme that he had been asked to lose a few pounds to regain some of his pace, which was ace ’cause then we could taunt him “who’s been eating all the snails” etc. Oh, he got booked for taking his top off after they scored to show off his ‘hunky’ chest; the City ladies present didn’t seem that impressed though.

Weaver – 5 Not one of his best days, but every game gives him more experience at this level so I’m not too concerned.
Charvet – 8 I’ve had my doubts about him from the start but this was his best performance to date in my opinion, especially as he was marking Ginola, though he did make a few errors of judgement. Worked well with little Shaun.
Howey – 7 Nice, solid performance.
Dunne – 8 Excellent defence; if this is what he can do we should play him more often.
Tiatto – 7 He should still be more careful in his challenges.
Whitley – 6 Didn’t see an awful lot of him, though I normally say he gets better every time I see him, but maybe not today.
Wright-Phillips – 9 What a star in the making we have! Way to go little Shaun!
Horlock – 6 After last week’s man of the match he seemed to return to his quieter rôle.
Haaland – 9 Excellent tackles, getting into excellent positions, if he scored another ’cause he had about 4 other chances he’d have got a 10.
Goater – 5 Big Shaun perhaps needs a little longer to adjust to the Prem.
Wanchope – 8 Didn’t seem to control the ball very well, but some of his touches were awesome, a wonderfully inconsistent player, just how I like them (provided they are inconsistent in the match and get a goal as well that is :O) )


Kennedy – 8 Better than usual, nice crosses.
Wiekens – ? Didn’t see enough of him.

I watched the game on Match of the Day on getting back home, and we were the featured match! What I want to say though is I think that they are biased against us; the commentator spoke mainly about Villa and I just get this impression of bias. I’ve noticed in the other couple of occasions this season when I’ve watched the show, including the derby commentary. Today the commentator was going on about how the Villa fans were so vocal – I never heard a squeak out of them until they got their first goal; if you listen to the Match of the Day footage, the only vocal stuff you hear is from us Blues (‘Alfie Haaland is a Blue…’ – we were singing that when he was taking a throw in and he turned round and smiled really sweetly at us ! :O) ) They think they’ve got problems? Why don’t they get into the Tardis and go to Manchester a few years ago and start supporting City, then they’ll know about trouble and lack of investment, haven’t they got this nice new (well really dull and ugly to be honest) stand and all?

Gareth Thomas a.k.a. MightyG (


After an encounter with the world’s drunkest man in the Cap & Gown pub before the game (only £1 entrance to stand in the back yard in the rain and wait 20 minutes to get served at the bar, bargain) we made our way to the ground and found our seats behind the goal. Cramped or what – I’m only 5ft 4 and there wasn’t enough room for me to sit in comfort. Good job then that we had to stand up all game in order to be able to see. City lined up with Weaver, Tiatto, Charvet, Dunne, Howey, Haaland, Horlock, Little Shaun (did anyone see Ian Wright get Little Shaun’s name wrong on They Think It’s All Over on Friday? Bit embarrassing), Whitley, Big Shaun and Wanchope. I missed the announcement of the subs but I assume Wiekens and Kennedy were amongst them as they came on the second half.

City started off attacking the Holte End – or “forwards” from our perspective :). The much talked about demonstration from the Villa fans ended up being two (that’s two – I counted ’em) banners slung from the front of the stand and a few seconds of chanting “Ellis Out”. We’ve been there before so it was nice to be able to respond in the way that so many teams did when we were singing about “X (insert chosen name here) Out”“There’s only one Dougie Ellis”. Ah that brought back lots of happy memories. Although you would think other fans would make more of an effort when it comes to demonstrating, it’s not as if they haven’t been shown how to do it. I haven’t seen a single person go on the pitch anywhere else and rip their season ticket up in front of everyone, as someone at Maine Road did a couple of years ago. They were the good old days weren’t they?

Enough of the reminiscing and back to the game.

City did start off brightly – I don’t know whether it’s because they worked out the best way of stopping Ginola getting the ball was to attack, but it nearly paid off after about 10 minutes. Little Shaun put a ball over for Haaland which he put just wide of the post – bearing in mind it was David James in goal I daresay any shot on target would have gone in. Whitley also had a good chance which (guess what he did – bet you can’t) he blazed over the bar into the back of the Holte End. Unfortunately someone had reminded Ginola that he was quite good and that he only had Charvet marking him (scared? We were). I have to give negative marks for observancy to my mum here – after about 20 minutes of the game when Ginola had skipped past Charvet for the umpteenth time, she asked “who’s that – he’s quite good isn’t he?” Nice one mum. Merson was also playing well and gave us a real scare when he chipped the ball over Weaver from about 30 yards out. When it bounced off the bar and back down in front of the goal I was convinced there was going to be a Villa player rushing in to knock in the rebound. Luckily it was a City defender rushing in who put it out for a corner instead. The next “I’m Mr Observant” award goes to Mr Phlegm, who was sitting – sorry standing – behind me and who coughed meatily into my hair all the way through the game. After Dunne had tracked back yet again to clear a ball that Charvet should have cut out, he said “that Howey, he’s a bargain he is, £2 million, bargain”. While I can’t disagree with the sentiment there’s a bit of a difference between Howey and Dunne. Like about 3 stone. Oh yes, they’ve got different names on their backs too.

Does anyone else carry a spare sachet of tomato ketchup around with them or is it just me? It came in really handy on Saturday, I’ll have to replenish my supply next time we play at home.

It started to chuck it down in the second half so City started to play better. Both teams were trying to play decent passing football which was nice to see. Villa were a bit better at it than we were which wasn’t so nice – we still show a marked inability to keep the ball for more a few passes at a time. After an hour City finally broke the deadlock. Wanchope worked really hard to get the ball to Little Shaun who passed it straight back to him. Wanchope then beat two defenders and played a cute little back heel to Haaland, who for once didn’t try and smash a window in the executive boxes but knocked it into the goal. 1-0, lovely. David James is funny isn’t he?

Haaland should have had another with a shot from the right hand side of the area, but this time went for the usual option of attempting to get the ball in the executive boxes behind the goal.

65 minutes gone, oh dear we can’t sit back and defend for another 25 minutes can we? Nope.

Ginola – surprise – crossed the ball from the left for Dublin to head in to the far corner of the goal. They’ve been watching Marcus Stewart at Maine Road – why can’t we defend crosses in to the box? No-one jumped with Dublin. Apparently MotD had a go at Weaver saying he should have saved it, but he couldn’t have reached it. He did make himself look a bit of a fool hopping vainly across goal towards it though… “You’re not singing any more” sang the Holte End – thanks for coming lads, we’d wondered where you’d gone to. We went back in front what seemed like immediately. Kennedy – who’d replaced Big Shaun – crossed the ball from the left and David “Safe pair of hands” James dropped it straight into Wanchope’s path. Smack, woomph, 2-1.

Just after this Hendrie dived in the City penalty area, again. We saw him go down and that the ref had called him over, “he must have said something” we thought, “silly boy will get booked now”. But no – good old (!) Mr D’Urso sent him off. What on earth do you have to say to get sent off?! As soon as he went off though we knew we weren’t going to win. Some teams are able to capitalise on their opponents only having ten men (viz Arsenal against us if the memories aren’t too painful), but not City. At no point after that did Villa appear to have a man disadvantage. It wasn’t any great surprise when they scored with about 5 minutes to go. The ball fell to Ginola – of course – on the edge of the area and he volleyed it over the defence into the net. Bu**er. He took his shirt off (and got booked) after scoring, at least my mum was happy at that (“he’s very decorative isn’t he?”).

Little Shaun could have snatched the other two points back in the dying seconds but hit his shot into the side netting. David “crap hairdo” James then gave us one of the funniest moments of the match, falling flat on his backside when he came behind the net to pick the ball up. At least he was laughing too.

So that was it, 2-2 and on the whole a fair reflection of the game. Not that that helps. We were ahead twice, and in the end conceded an equaliser to a team with ten men. I did think the ref was biased (right up until he sent Hendrie off, funny) but we can’t blame the fact that we didn’t win on him. We are incapable of keeping possession once we’ve won it and our midfield still doesn’t seem to possess the necessary strength to stamp out threat from the opposition. I can’t see us getting anything against Sunderland next week either so Derby on Boxing Day really will be a “must win” game.

Sharon Hargreaves


I am following Phill Gatenby’s campaign for SAFE with a mixture of curiosity and real concern. The latest issue again makes massive assumptions that all football supporters actually want a return to standing areas within a ground. I for one do not, and would be very interested to see how many others feel the same way.

I have not seen a single valid reason to change the current configuration of football stadia. However Phill G chooses to press on with the campaign without first determining whether he has a mandate to do so.

I can only guess that Phill thinks all fans are behind him. I would further guess that he sees the reasons as follows:

  1. Greater atmosphere – through more singing. I do not believe thatsitting in any way excludes singing – Wembley had great atmosphere, MaineRoad has electric atmosphere at times, and silence at others. This silenceis usually only when things are not going too well. Standing up would notmake you wish to sing if you had just conceded a goal. If he does notbelieve me then I suggest that he spend some time visiting the lowerleagues – the atmosphere is not that great there sometimes either.
  2. Cheaper entrance – if clubs have to redevelop parts of the ground toallow for these standing areas there will be additional costs. Standingwould almost certainly require a greater number of stewards or even policepresence – again additional costs. Net results would be increased costs -these will surely be passed back to the fans.

My reasons for being totally against a return to standing areas are as follows:

  1. When allocated a seat there is only room for one person in thatspace. This prevents any overcrowding; e.g. let’s say the lower tier ofthe Kippax holds 7,000. These are distributed along the whole of the lowertier. Now assume that all the seats have been removed, and the safetycertificate is granted for the same 7,000. What measures are at the club’sdisposal to ensure that the 7,000 people in the Kippax stay in the placeallocated to them, thus preventing overcrowding in any area? In realitythe capacity could be slightly reduced with the installation of safetydevices to prevent crushing. Net results smaller crowds, higher costs -fans lose again.
  2. Atmosphere will not improve. Atmosphere is caused by the emotion ofwatching your beloved team. If you have only a passing interest it is verydifficult to get emotional about success or failure. Our teams are our’children’ – we wallow in their success, happily gloating, we share intheir set-backs – feeling the pain of defeat. Real fans go to watch theirteam, they scream, sing, cajole etc., wherever they are in theground. Those who are the ‘nouveau XYZ fans’ wouldn’t know why fans cry atrelegation, and wouldn’t sing to urge the team on – in truth they wouldn’tbe there if their latest beau was not successful.
  3. The game is now far more inclusive – allowing families to gotogether. I enjoy singing at the game, I go to the game with my wife. Ioccasionally take my eight year old daughter and ten year old nephew. Iknow that they are safe, and they enjoy going – because they can see thegame safely.

On a final point. Does anyone know the time allowed to convert a stadium to all seater following promotion to Div 1 as permitted by the Taylor Report. My understanding is that it is either 18 months or 30 months. If the terraces are not removed by then they are to be shut down. If I am correct could some one please explain how Stockport County are still allowed to use terracing? Additionally if the F.A. Premier League have rules stating that all grounds must be all seater they cannot allow Fulham to be promoted with terracing. There are number of examples where non-league clubs have been refused entry to the football league because their grounds are sub-standard. I appreciate that these are two totally different bodies, but the principle is still the same.

If you feel as I do perhaps you should write to MCIVTA and express your views.

Andy Vallely (


Now I don’t wish to be a spoilsport, but I have to say I cannot agree with the aims of the campaign for ‘safe’ standing areas at Eastlands or in football grounds generally. I appreciate that nobody is suggesting that anyone should be forced to stand and that there would still be a choice, but with respect I don’t feel that that is the issue. Twelve years ago if you’d said to me that I would hold this view today I wouldn’t have believed you – I always used to stand on the Kippax, but now I sit, and my initial opposition to the introduction of all-seated stadia has long since been removed. I will continue to sit at Eastlands even if these standing areas are introduced – my choice, of course. Hillsborough had an extremely profound effect on me, as it did on many football supporters including, I am sure, those organising the current campaign and I am not for one moment suggesting that Phill Gatenby et al are anything but sympathetic towards those affected. However, I found the use of an account from the Independent on Sunday of what happened at Twickenham to illustrate his view unfortunate and misplaced. Phil states:

‘Of course, it sounds exactly like Hillsborough. But this incident… actually took place on 2nd December 2000, at Twickenham before the England vs. South Africa game. In an all seated stadium. Yes, an all seated stadium, those bastions of supreme safety for all spectators. The silence is deafening from the media and detractors of our campaign.’

I’m sorry but this is bilge, frankly, and rather ironic in a contribution which elsewhere denounces the ability of a professional journalist, however poor he might be. Nobody has ever suggested that all-seated stadia are ‘bastions of supreme safety for all spectators’, merely that they are safer than terracing. Rather than the silence being ‘deafening’ I would suggest that an irrelevant point requires no response. Moreover, to use the events of Hillsborough out of context in order to support that irrelevant point is a little insulting to the memory of those that died there, as indeed is the use of the acronym ‘SAFE’ for this, in my opinion ill advised, campaign.

Whilst I appreciate that it is customary to sign off with ‘City ‘Til I Die’ you will forgive me for not doing so as this might just be considered a little inappropriate…

Keith Riley (

Want to Work in Football?

Want to be part of the solution, not the problem?

The Football Supporters’ Association is seeking to employ a development officer. This post is being created to support the development and organisational effectiveness of the FSA, and of the fans’ movement as a whole.

Specifically, this officer will:

  • Seek out and develop fund-raising opportunities
  • Support the FSA’s international work
  • Support the FSA’s campaigning activity
  • Aid FSA membership recruitment and the development of links with othersupporter organisations, especially through the Coalition of FootballSupporters

The successful candidate will be employed for around 10 days per month at a rate of £80 per day. Funding is available for 12 months from February 2001.

The post holder will be contracted on a self-employed basis, being responsible for his or her own tax and National Insurance payments. It is expected that the successful candidate would will work remotely, that is from home, or be travelling to meetings. A budget is available for office equipment, reasonable expenses and running costs.

All information about the post, including job and person specifications, can be obtained by contacting FSA Secretary, Paul Matz on 078 5092 0899 or 020 8534 3961, or at

Alternatively you will (in a few days time) be able to download this information from the FSA website at

The post will be managed by FSA Chair, Malcolm Clarke. For an informal discussion about the rôle please call Malcolm on 079 3959 4730.

The closing date for applications to be received is Tuesday 16th January 2001 and interviews will be held on Sunday 5th February.

Paul Matz (


Fwiends, Womans (as someone once said in a certain Python film)…

I’m writing to everyone in what’s left of my address book (having inadvertently deleted it whilst reinstalling Netscape the other week) for two reasons:

First, to let you all know that I’ve had a couple of weeks off from the fanzine for the first time in almost twelve years to sort out a bewildering array of half-finished jobs around the house that have required my immediate attention to stop it from falling down! Therefore, the next issue will be out in mid-late January instead of New Year as expected. If anyone has got an article send it ASAP anyway and I’ll get it sorted out.

An idea for the next one might be a look at the Premier League and ask whether it’s any cop. Personally, I think it’s s***e, but I can’t quite put it into writing at the moment. A ‘vox pop’ might be required on that one! I’ll let you know. Certainly, I’ll be doing a vox pop on the 1976 League Cup Final a bit nearer the time so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Secondly, Happy Christmas and New Year to you all, even if it does mean going to church on Christmas Day, not bring able to get anywhere near the bar in the pub because the once-a-year drinkers are out on their works do and a day out to Coventry on New Year’s Day. Still, Christmas may have come early this year with the Rags going down today!?

Noel Bayley (


I would very much like to buy the Le Coq Sportif Man City red with black stripes away shirt which was used during last season (1999/2000) when City were playing in the 1st Division. I am looking for a size 42/44″ and it can either be new or second-hand. If there is anyone out there who can sell this shirt at a reasonable price to me I would be extremely grateful.

All the Best, George Koumendakos CTID (


It’s taken me a few weeks, but I think I’ve sussed the away kit. It’s a subtle p*ss take. The Rags complained they couldn’t see each other in their grey shirts. So we bring out a grey shirt with luminous yellow trim and socks. Brilliant.

Dave Kilroy (

Ed – I think it’s growing on me, which could be just as well as it may show up in my Christmas stocking!


Having read Svenn’s review of the City History Video, and the lack of in-depth coverage of the 68-71 seasons, I would like to remind everyone of the Bell, Lee, Summerbee video, which covers this period in much greater detail. Also, given recent Neil Young testimonial appeals, I would suggest that all parties who have a say in the final decision should be made to sit and watch this video because he pops up everywhere scoring vital goals. So much so I even wondered why it wasn’t called the Lee, Bell, Summerbee, Young video. Thanks for the review Svenn and Merry Christmas to all City fans.

Dave Kilroy (


The trend of calling your kids after famous people was big in the late 70’s early 80’s. My kids were no exception, Asa was born 17th December 1981, you can wish him happy birthday for tomorrow if you like. Asa has grown up to be an avid “True Blue” just like his dad. My second was lucky, born Oct 1984, Samantha, (yes, after Miss Fox); if she would have had been male, she would have been known as Rodney (lucky girl). Unfortunately Sam followed in her granddad’s footsteps and she supports the Rags. Can’t use that other name U….d.

Have any other Blues done the same?

Anthony Elliot (

Ed – a belated Happy Birthday Asa!


Would anybody who knows how or where I can obtain the picture of Joe Mercer standing in the tunnel looking out on to the pitch with the Kippax in the background please contact me?

Brian Channon (


Recent results to 18 December 2000 inclusive.

18 December 2000

Spurs                 1 - 1 Arsenal               36,062

17 December 2000

Manchester United     0 - 1 Liverpool             67,533

16 December 2000

Aston Villa           2 - 2 Manchester City       29,281
Derby County          1 - 0 Coventry City         27,869
Everton               1 - 1 West Ham              31,260
Ipswich Town          3 - 1 Southampton           22,228
Leeds United          2 - 0 Sunderland            40,053
Leicester City        3 - 1 Charlton              19,371
Middlesbrough         1 - 0 Chelsea               29,422
Newcastle             2 - 1 Bradford              50,470

League table to 17 December 2000 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  18  7  1  1 26  5  5  3  1 18  9 12  4  2 44 14  30  40
 2 Arsenal         17  8  1  0 22  4  2  3  3  7  9 10  4  3 29 13  16  34
 3 Ipswich Town    18  4  3  2 12  8  6  0  3 15 10 10  3  5 27 18   9  33
 4 Leicester City  18  5  3  1 13  9  4  2  3  7  5  9  5  4 20 14   6  32
 5 Liverpool       18  7  1  1 19  7  2  2  5 14 17  9  3  6 33 24   9  30
 6 Sunderland      18  6  3  0 11  4  2  2  5  7 14  8  5  5 18 18   0  29
 7 Newcastle Utd   18  5  1  3 12  9  3  2  4  8 13  8  3  7 20 22  -2  27
 8 West Ham United 18  3  4  2 12  9  3  4  2 12 10  6  8  4 24 19   5  26
 9 Aston Villa     17  4  4  0 14  6  2  4  3  7 10  6  8  3 21 16   5  26
10 Leeds United    17  6  0  3 18 12  1  4  3  6 11  7  4  6 24 23   1  25
11 Tottenham H.    17  7  1  0 17  6  0  2  7  8 20  7  3  7 25 26  -1  24
12 Chelsea         18  6  2  1 25 10  0  3  6  7 15  6  5  7 32 25   7  23
13 Charlton Ath.   18  5  3  1 16  7  1  1  7  9 23  6  4  8 25 30  -5  22
14 Everton         18  3  3  3 12 12  3  1  5  8 17  6  4  8 20 29  -9  22
15 Southampton     18  4  1  4 15 15  1  4  4  8 16  5  5  8 23 31  -8  20
16 Manchester City 18  3  1  5 15 11  2  2  5 10 21  5  3 10 25 32  -7  18
17 Derby County    18  2  5  2 11 15  1  2  6 10 20  3  7  8 21 35 -14  16
18 Coventry City   18  2  2  5  6 13  2  1  6 10 20  4  3 11 16 33 -17  15
19 Middlesbrough   18  1  3  5  8 15  2  2  5 12 13  3  5 10 20 28  -8  14
20 Bradford City   18  2  4  3  9 10  0  2  7  4 20  2  6 10 13 30 -17  12

With thanks to Football 365


Contributions: Geoff –
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]Geoff Donkin,

Newsletter #668