Newsletter #670

Two games have been played since the last issue, and with only 1 point secured so far, City are staring a fairly bleak New Year firmly between the eyes. The Charlton fixture now seems an absolute ‘must win’ game if we are not to find ourselves in a situation from which we will find it extremely difficult to extricate ourselves, especially given that teams like Derby, Middlesbrough and Southampton seem to have now found the knack of winning.

On the transfer front, City are set to complete a £3.6 million move for Leeds’ out of favour striker Darren Huckerby today. Doubtless Huckerby and ourselves will be keen to see his career resurrected, after the much vaunted Magpies youngster was sold intially to Coventry and then onto Elland Road, only to find himself on the bench.

If you are attending Saturday’s game, please consider writing a match report. I’ll be sending an issue out on Monday evening if there is sufficient material.

Meanwhile, all the best for the New Year from all at MCIVTA.

Next game: Charlton Athletic at home, Saturday December 30th 2000


Part I: Derby and Sunderland Fixtures – News and Reaction

One Point from Six Sees City Drop a Place: Manchester City have dropped to seventeenth in the Premiership table. The Blues picked up one point from their last two fixtures and are now only ahead of third-from-bottom Coventry on goal difference. City went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Sunderland last Saturday, with Don Hutchison’s quickly-taken free kick in the first half dividing the teams. And the Boxing Day game against Derby ended 0-0, leaving the Blues with a record of just one win from the last ten games. The team was booed off at the end of the match against Jim Smith’s team after an unconvincing display, with Joe Royle admitting that some of his players are lacking confidence after the recent losing run.

Royle – Players Need to Show Character: Joe Royle has called on his Manchester City players to show they have the right mental attitude to pull clear of the relegation zone. The Blues’ boss feels he has a team which is good enough to beat the drop – but says that some members of the team are suffering from a lack of confidence. City dominated in the early stages of Tuesday’s game against Derby but failed to capitalise on their early superiority. And Royle believes an early goal would have put his players at ease. However, the City manager recognises he has work to do to build up morale after seeing the gap between the Blues and the relegation places close. “Had we got an early goal against Derby then everybody would have grown,” he reflected. “At times I feel we have been a lot better than strugglers and at other times I have seen a nervousness. It’s a mental thing which will get us there and we’ve got to work on that.”

Part II: Transfer News and Rumours

City Agree Fee for Huckerby: Manchester City’s search for a striker could come to an end on Friday. The Blues have agreed a fee of £3.6 million for Leeds’ forward Darren Huckerby and hope to complete the signing in time for the ex-Coventry man to make his début in Saturday’s home game against Charlton. Huckerby was linked with City last summer, and was one of many names to feature in renewed transfer speculation following George Weah’s departure from Maine Road in October. The ex-Lincoln and Newcastle player joined Leeds from Coventry for £4 million in August 1999 but has lost his place at Elland Road following the signings of Mark Viduka and Robbie Keane this term. The 24-year-old has scored just two league goals during his time with the Yorkshire club, mainly because he has frequently occupied a place on the bench – the player has made only eleven Premiership starts, but has been brought on as a substitute on 29 occasions.

Defensive Duo Leave on Loan: Manchester City have allowed two more players to leave Maine Road on loan. Lee Crooks has begun a stint with Northampton, while Richard Jobson has moved to Tranmere on a temporary basis. Crooks played for the Cobblers in Tuesday’s surprise win over promotion-chasing Bristol City, and it’s thought that the full-back could move to Sixfields permanently if his loan spell continues to be a success. Meanwhile, Jobson, who had expressed a reluctance to go on loan again after spending a month at Watford earlier in the campaign, has relented and joined John Aldridge’s First Division strugglers on a temporary basis.

Allsopp Seals Permanent Move: Danny Allsopp has completed his move to Notts County. The Australian has signed for the Magpies in a £300,000 deal after impressing during a loan spell. Allsopp had a stint with the Nottingham club last season and left a good impression. But manager Jocky Scott, appointed in the summer, wanted to form his own view of the 21-year-old before parting with the cash. The player’s four goals in his first three league games on loan were sufficient to persuade Scott that the deal should be made permanent and the formalities were completed last Friday.

Round-Up of Ths Week’s Transfer Links: If Darren Huckerby completes his move to Manchester City on Friday, it should mean an end to constant transfer speculation surrounding the club. The Blues were linked with more strikers earlier this week, before agreeing a fee for the Leeds man. First, it was claimed that Joe Royle could be ready to make a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ final bid of £4 million for Ipswich’s David Johnson. And the City manager was also said to be contemplating offering a similar sum for Wimbledon’s Jason Euell, who scored twice in front of watching City scouts at Tranmere on Saturday. However, while the hunt for a striker now seems to have ended, the Blues could still be in the hunt for a new midfielder, and Royle is being linked with a £3.5 million move for West Ham’s Maine Road old boy Steve Lomas.

Part III: Miscellaneous News and Views

Bernstein – No Expense Spared to Stay Up: David Bernstein has pledged to find the cash Joe Royle needs to keep Manchester City in the Premiership. And the Blues’ chairman says there’s no limit on the fee he’s prepared to sanction for the right player. Bernstein knows that television revenues for Premiership clubs will increase substantially next season. And he’s determined to do what it takes to ensure that City don’t miss out on the cash bonanza. “No deal is out of range if the quality of player is good enough,” promised Bernstein. “I have said it before many times that we know we have to speculate to accumulate.”

Kennedy Out Until February: Manchester City have suffered an injury setback with the news that Mark Kennedy is set to be out of action for over a month. The Irishman damaged medial ligaments at Sunderland on Saturday. Kennedy made his first start in over a month at the Stadium of Light as Joe Royle opted for a five-man midfield to support lone striker Shaun Goater. But the Blues’ boss soon had to change his tactics as the ex-Wimbledon man had to be substituted inside the first twenty minutes of the match. The player’s recovery time is expected to be between four and six weeks, and the injury has come at a particularly inopportune time for him. With Shaun Wright-Phillips expected to be rested soon, Kennedy would have been in contention for a place in the side as City’s main creative force.

City Escape Rap Over Coin Incident: The FA has confirmed that no action will be taken against Manchester City over a coin-throwing incident in November’s Manchester derby match. United’s David Beckham was hit by a coin hurled by a spectator in the North Stand as he went to take a corner. The governing body looked into the incident after referee Steve Dunn mentioned it in his match report. But it’s now been confirmed that the Blues will not face charges – much to the relief of City director Chris Bird. “I am positive this decision is due not only to the normally exemplary behaviour of our supporters over the years,” he explained, “but also the pro-active stewarding and policing on the day.”

City Apologise Over Match Programme Munich Reference: David Bernstein has apologised for a reference to the Munich air disaster contained in Tuesday’s match programme. The City chairman promised there will be no repeat of the incident. The reference appeared in a chant nominated on a fans’ page as ‘Chant of the Year’. And while the page in question contains a disclaimer distancing the club from the views expressed by contributors, Bernstein says that the article should not have appeared. “It got into the programme erroneously because it was not edited properly,” he explained. “It was a mistake and we are sorry for any offence that the article caused to anybody. This is the last thing we as a club would want to be associated with.”

Part IV: Previews – Charlton at Home and Coventry Away

Two Vital Fixtures in Three Days: Charlton Athletic visit Maine Road on Saturday as Manchester City play the first of two vital games in the space of three days. The Blues follow the match against the Londoners with a New Year’s Day trip to Coventry. Joe Royle will be looking for at least four points from the two fixtures, with the matches appearing to offer an opportunity for City to put distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Charlton have lost five successive away games and were beaten 5-0 at West Ham on Boxing Day, while Coventry’s home form this season has been poor, they’ve won only two of their ten fixtures at Highfield Road. The games also represent a chance for the Blues to gain a measure of revenge, having lost to the same two opponents in the season’s opening week.

Selection Posers for Charlton Game: Joe Royle will be forced to make at least one change to the Manchester City line-up for Saturday’s game against Charlton. The Blues will be without suspended top scorer Paulo Wanchope. Assuming Darren Huckerby completes his move to Maine Road, the new boy is likely to partner Shaun Goater in the Costa Rican’s absence, while Jeff Whitley is the main injury doubt. The Northern Ireland international is still battling to overcome the knee injury which sidelined him for the visit of Derby on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Shaun Wright-Phillips may be rested after Royle admitted last week that the youngster is looking weary, having played in ten successive games.

Wanchope Call-Up Date Unclear: Paulo Wanchope will fly out next week to play for Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying play-off against Guatemala. And the Blues still don’t know whether their leading scorer will be available for Monday’s visit to Coventry. Wanchope, who is suspended for Saturday’s visit of Charlton, will be on international duty when City take on Birmingham in the FA Cup on 6 January. And the 24-year-old could also miss the Highfield Road clash if the Costa Rican FA enforces its right to insist that the player joins up with their squad five days ahead of the World Cup tie. However, when a similar situation arose in November, the ex-Derby player was allowed to play for the Blues at West Ham before flying out for his national team’s fixture four days later.

Post Script

eBLUEPRINT: The original City fanzine is now online at with a top City news service, fans’ forum, online poll and new features set to be added over the coming weeks. Anyone wishing to contribute, advertise supporters’ meetings or make general comments should contact Frank Newton by e-mail at

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. DERBY COUNTY, Tuesday 26th December 2000

I’d been looking forward to this game for some time, most probably because I have very fond memories of trooping off to Boxing Day fixtures with my dad in the ’70s, coupled with the fact that it seems like an eternity since we last had a decent team at home on this particular day. Years of experience should have taught me, indeed have taught me, that such anticipation is sadly misplaced when it comes to the Blues; needless to say, I was in for a major let down.

Still, there’s always the pre-match ritual to look forward to, supplemented this time by a few jars in the Clarence, thanks to an early arrival due to the dearth of traffic. The good old Tabak was next on the list, and this restaurant, and in particular the chicken chilli, was as reliable as we’ve come to expect over the last few seasons; just a pity that their matchday expertise isn’t emulated across the other side of Wilmslow Road at our next port of call. So, come 2.15pm, off we traipsed to take up our place with the faithful among the clouds in Kippax AAU.

A fairly sizeable number of Derby fans had made the trip across the Peak District, bringing what looked like several inflatable sheep with them (maybe they were rams but it’s a long way down from AAU to the North Stand)! The atmosphere was fairly muted from the start (too much Xmas excess no doubt) with the only real cheer being saved for our favourite ex-son, Mr Gio Kinkladze. I did wonder if the Derby fans would feel so magnanimous towards old Paulo; alas they must have had quite a hard Xmas in Peak Practice country as they didn’t seem to like him very much at all. So, it would seem that West Ham – and now Derby – fans are trying to tell us something. I wonder what it could be?

The match started off with the Blues looking to tear what seemed a fragile Derby defence apart. Our first attack (towards the North Stand) produced a cross (from SWP I think) which was met with an unchallenged header (1chop or Goater, not sure), which produced an excellent save from Poom. Hardly had Derby recovered than the ball was crossed in again from the left and Goater steered the ball goalward, only for Poom to fingertip the ball onto the upright. There was an almightly scramble which ended with Dunne blasting the ball once again against the upright, before it was wellied upfield. City kept this up for all of 7 minutes, which included another fine save from Poom after another unchallenged header in the 6-yard box. City then decided that if Derby couldn’t be bothered running and passing, then they wouldn’t have to either. The rest of the half degenerated into a dire spectacle between two sides who looked for all the world like they were mid-table 2nd Division outfits. Derby had a single shot from about 25 yards, which Weaver didn’t have to move for, and a one-on-one which Weaver saved, though it never looked really dangerous (Derby forward never looked in control of the ball). We on the other hand, or rather 1chop actually, had one other chance: this was momentarily 1chop at his best (dribbling through 3-4 players) followed by 1chop at his worst (chose to dribble on and lose the ball with Goater completely unmarked on the penalty spot waiting for a pass that never came). As the guy next to me see – “totally blo*dy unprofessional”.

The second half saw Derby rejuvenated, or whatever the verb is which describes enhanced performance after a halftime bolloc*ing! We were immediately under pressure and our attempts to deal with it were simply hopeless, mainly due to the new Xmas rule from JR: apparently you’re not allowed to pass to a team-mate any longer. Time and time again we attempted to clear the ball, but either hoofed it straight to a Derby player or simply passed it accurately to a Derby player. Eventually, after some really scrappy play and poor defending, Derby equalised – the shot beat Weaver, hit the underside of the bar and bounced down then out, with the rebound being volleyed against and over the bar by Christie (I think). Unfortunately for poor old Derby, the ref (and linesman) didn’t give a goal – which was a definitely let-off, as from my perspective in AAU, the ball had clearly crossed the line.

The rest of the half again degenerated into third-rate football, with Poom once again showing what a class ‘keeper he is when he twiced smothered dangerous crosses that should have led to something more. All in all, this was a game we ought to have been winning at least 3-0 after 15 minutes, but which we should have lost when they caught us on the break. Afterwards on GMR, Big Joe tried to put a positive spin on proceedings by saying that we are coming out of a rut (only one defeat in the last 4 games). I can understand why he said this, but here in cold ‘realityville’ (yes there is 4 inches of snow on the ground outside), we simply have to beat poor teams like Derby, especially when we made about 6 good, goalscoring chances. Apart from the back 4, our squad is now wafer thin: Whitley and Kennedy injured and 1chop on his world tour with Costa Rica. We are left relying on the ageing Bishop (he was very poor yesterday), SWP (too much to expect and too soon) and players like Wiekens for whom the Premiership really does look like a bridge too far.

Perhaps if someone cares to look under the Xmas tree at Maine Road, they’ll be two big packages, one containing a crafty midfielder and the other a classy goalscorer – please!

Ashley Birch (


SUNDERLAND vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 23rd December 2000

Born in Sunderland – and visiting family before Christmas – but a City supporter effectively all my life, I realised I had no idea where away supporters went before a game against Sunderland, but after a chance meeting the previous evening with Dave Bamborough of the North East CSA (small world Dave eh?) and it transpires The Grange near the Fulwell Mill (for those that know the area) is a good bet. So it proved; the pub was packed with red and white striped shirts but there was a sizeable minority of Blues (including Dave) peacefully co-existing, even feeling comfortable enough to break into Blue Moon. Had they been Newcastle supporters the situation would have doubtless been a different packet of pork scratchings. I left the Grange for a leisurely 15-minute walk to the ground together with my dad and two school friends – the match was part of a reunion that had never quite happened for 12 years – whilst being left in no doubt that fellow East Yorkshire CSA members were having trouble getting through the jams by a series of foul and abusive phone calls (believe me lads, the alternative routes would have been much worse).

The ‘Ghost of Football Yet to Come’ could be how a pre-Christmas visit to the Stadium of Light might be described for City fans as we look forward to the move to the City of Manchester Stadium. Coincidentally the enlarged SoL has the same capacity as Eastlands will have and it was virtually full on Saturday with around 47,500 people thronging the streets en route to the ground. Not sure how good the view is from the upper levels of the North Stand but we were in the West Stand bang on the goal line. Of course this meant I was in for yet another 90 minutes of keeping the emotions under control unlike those in the South Stand who could sing and chant to their hearts’ content. Control was especially important since so many of those around me were clearly on the verge of bursting a blood vessel, the bloke in the next seat a particularly bad case.

The game started with City attacking the North Stand goal in a 4-5-1 formation (the Goat the lone striker in Wanchope’s absence) to a seasonal chorus of ‘Where were you when you were s**t’ from the South Stand. Sunderland were clearly up for it after their abject performance at Palace mid-week, and they were snapping into tackles but we had one of the best early breaks as the Goat shot across the face of the goal. We were making good inroads down the left with Mark Kennedy pushing forward from midfield and Danny Tiatto coming through on the overlap. The home defence clearly recognised the threat and Kennedy was clattered to the extent that he made an early exit from the game and was replaced by Paul Dickov. A scrappy first half saw few real chances other than of course the one from which Hutchison scored the decisive goal. I think he was fouled by Jeff Whitley and he took advantage of a gap in the wall as it was forming to take the free kick quickly and Weaver couldn’t get to the deflected shot as it flew into the right hand lower corner. Whitley himself was subbed by Bish due to injury, and the only other notable incident was a Niall Quinn lob that nearly caught out Nicky.

The second half was a different game. We started better than they did and the home fans around me were getting increasingly agitated, with Kevin Kilbane coming in for particular flak. Danny in particular was causing havoc down the left – the home fans seemed to think he was our left winger! – but as has happened too often of late we lacked the finishing touch. Down the right hand side, SWP showed his blistering pace and tenacity in the tackle and worried the home defence every time he ran at them. At the death he came closer to scoring than he has done so far when he rose to meet a cross from the right wing and headed – that’s right rose and headed – against the post. Sunderland haven’t scored many this season, even with Kevin Philips in the team, but their goals have been productive as they’ve had a lot of 1-0 wins. At the same time, they’ve given their fans some nail biters, and City followed the script by laying siege to their goal in the closing minutes, but to no avail.

Once again the result belies a performance, not unlike that at Chelsea, that was worth a point; we might even have stolen it had we got one back. Nicky flapped a bit on a couple of occasions but couldn’t really be blamed for the goal, and he did make important saves on other occasions. Defensively Howey and Dunne worked well together although the latter seemed the less sure of the two in the second half, but Charvet didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence, especially in the second half when he seemed to be slow in tracking back as we were having to push forward more. Danny had a great game, tenacious in the tackle and not afraid to run at the defence and get to the byline for a crossing opportunity. The midfield plan of course was scuppered by injury, but this was one of those days where Bish made a difference with his foot on ball, look up and distribute routine. Alfie seemed to be a bit of a headless chicken and didn’t contribute a great deal and I felt Kevin Horlock wasn’t in it as much as of late. Dicky and the Goat also had quiet games, the former still to get back his sharpness in front of goal though the service could be said to be a bit erratic on the day. Referee David Elleray had a bad game, and was let down by his officials as the game saw a series of dodgy decisions and a chant of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ from the home fans.

7 defeats in 9 is bad form, but we need a little luck and some more consistent finishing to break the run. Bad news of course it that our top scorer is going to be out one way or another for a fair proportion of the coming games and there’s no sign of a signing in Santa’s sleigh so we look like having to make do for the time being. Arguably we might have expected to get nothing at the SoL, but that’s not the case with the coming games against Derby, Charlton and Coventry.

Geoff Donkin (


I was going to do a full match report on the game against Derby but apart from the two rattles of the woodwork in the first seven minutes there really wasn’t a whole lot more to say about a very disappointing game. It really was very difficult to take anything positive from a game that had such a lack of spirit and co-coordinated play. With about five minutes to go at the end of the first half I actually found myself thinking “Oh well, it’s only two seasons ago that we were putting in this kind of performance against Wycombe”. So instead of a match report, a few observations whilst I’m feeling particularly miffed.

Firstly am I alone in thinking that 1Chop is a lazy bone idle son of one? With two players crawling all over SWP he stood and watched it all go on from four yards away and did nothing to help. Sadly it’s not the first time this season I’ve seen him do something similar and when a little effort would have got him onto a ball inside the six-yard box and with a good angle on goal he couldn’t be bothered to make the extra three yards that would have taken.

Secondly, Howey and Dunne are really starting to read each other and but for their persistence (in marked contrast to 1Chops) Derby could easily have made more of the attempts they had.

Thirdly, What the hell has happened to our ability to win and keep a ball? Particularly down the right we seem to have this inability to play a ball along the ground opting invariably for the route one pass straight over the heads of the midfield. Ok with ten minutes to go that might be acceptable but not after only fifteen minutes of the first half. An air ball is always going to be 50:50 unless it’s placed with the accuracy of William Tell and unfortunately at the moment that accuracy is missing.

Finally. Mr Wiekens! I commented in a report I did a few weeks back that G.W. was so anonymous that you would hardly know he was there. Well I’ve watched him closely since then. He has one really annoying habit which won’t endear him to anyone. If a team mate is in trouble and plays the ball out to him nine times out of ten he plays it as a one-two straight back in again. He will not commit to playing a ball into a useful space and won’t run with the ball unless there are a pack of hounds after him. When he does occasionally pass, his distribution accuracy is roughly 50%, which, given our parlous midfield is just not good enough. As a team City always seem to raise their game against class opposition and maybe playing a team as grim as Derby with the remains of yesterday’s Christmas pud floating around your innards isn’t the thing to inspire great performances. However, if we don’t improve soon and start turning in consistently better games than this one we are going to be in deep do-do by the end of April. I don’t like criticising our team but on this occasion they needed criticising! Charlton next, let’s all hope for a return to some sort of form.

Dave Cash (


I am working in Lusaka, through VSO, with an organisation that provides education to street kids and orphans. I am hoping to get as many old City shirts, caps, hats and scarves sent to Zambia between now and the end of January. These will be passed onto some of the 4500 kids in our schools.

The club have kindly offered their support with the use of the Junior Blues reception as a collecting point (and more). For further details please check out

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton (


As overheard by my mate Richard in the Gents after the Ipswich game:

Dad with small boy about nine years old: “John, will you cheer up?”
John: “No, I wanted City to win.”
Dad: “Well you had better cheer up because if you are going to be a City supporter you have to get used to nights like this.”

Andy Noise (


I got the chance to visit the new Manchester Stadium on Christmas Eve. A friend of a friend who is working there took pity on me and gave me a guided tour of the place… So suitably kitted out with safety vest, hard hat and wellies we went trudging through the ankle deep mud and had a look around.

The first thing to say is that, despite appearances from the outside, this is not a huge stadium, in fact if anything it looks rather smaller than I had imagined. Once finished the height of the stands to the east and west of the pitch should guarantee that anyone with vertigo will feel completely terrified by half time. A quick estimate would put the stands at their highest point as a little more than the Kippax is at the present. I’m informed that they will be seven stories from top to bottom. The end stands, north and south will be about half the height of the others with a roof covering everything except the pitch. When it’s all complete it should resemble a giant Pringle dropped into the middle of Eastlands.

The one big complaint I currently have about Maine Road is access and that is one area that has been dealt with at the new stadium. Not only is it sat squarely on several major bus routes but there is to be a new Metrolink station directly behind the new north stand. A new road is to be built linking up with the end of the Mancunian Way so with parking for ten thousand cars, movement into and out of the stadium should be quick and painless. The majority of people will enter the stadium up one of the eight spiral ramps wrapped around the towers which amongst other things will support the roof. Each ramp is about three metres wide and will allow rapid mass movement of people up to the upper levels of the stands.Players will enter the stadium by a tunnel built under the west stand that is wide and tall enough to take a double decker bus. The tunnel leads to a massive underground garage that should be able to hold four or five buses side by side.

There is only one thing that really worries me though and that is the size of the place. Once the Commonwealth games are finished and the running track and pitch are lowered to maximise the capacity, we will still only have seating for 48,000 people. That for a club with a fan-base the size of City’s may well yet prove to be too few by about 10,000. Only time will tell, and perhaps a freezing cold day stood in thick mud isn’t the time to try to work that one out.

I’ve got a few pictures which, when I get them developed I’d be more than willing to mail to anyone who wants to see them.

Dave Cash (

S.A.F.E. (Standing Areas For Eastlands)

Spokesperson Phill Gatenby
P.O. Box 37 Rossendale Lancs BB4 8GN
Tel 07887 884 653

Issue No. 10 – 27th December 2000

Festive greetings!

This is a short issue, mainly due to a lack of a computer over this period, when the local library and cyber cafe have closed until the New Year (no consideration!).

I am sure you will have seen / heard / read the massive coverage that the subject of safe standing areas has received in the press, TV and radio since last Friday when Kate Hoey MP went onto Weekend Watchdog and called for an open debate on the subject.

Action: Please, please, please – this is the time when your help is needed most. I ask everyone reading this to write 3 letters ASAP. The first letter is to Kate Hoey, supporting her in her brave actions in listening to fans and calling for a debate on standing areas.

The second letter is to Chris Smith MP, Culture Secretary (Hoey’s boss). This letter should fully support Kate Hoey’s comments and condemn criticism of her for calling for the debate in what is supposed to be a democratic society.

The final letter is to Philip French, at the Premier League, who despite refusing to appear on Weekend Watchdog, still held his own press conference to reinforce the view that there is to be no debate. Again, praise Hoey for her involvement and condemn criticism and ask why they won’t discuss the issue and what are they afraid of?

Kate Hoey, Minister for Sport, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Chris Smith MP, Culture Secretary, address as above.
Philip French, The FA Premier League, 11 Connaught Place, London, W2 2ET

It is important for these letters to be sent out as soon as you can. It would be great for these 3 individuals to return to work on Tuesday 2nd January and have a sack full of letters from supporters of the campaign. We want letters of support from supporters associations, fanzines and individuals.

Please, this is the time for you to get involved. If you really want standing areas then your input will count. I know it is a holiday period but it won’t take long to write 3 letters and put them in a post box. It will make a difference. Please keep me informed of any replies.

The next issue will be out soon, taking a look at what has been said in the media and detailing the direction in which the campaign will move to in the new year.

Thanks for your support.

Phill Gatenby (


Whilst there is little doubt that that Huckerby is a decent player with Premiership experience I question whether he is our priority requirement at this time.

Do we not need a proven goalscorer to supplement our strikeforce? Huckerby may have a good turn of speed but he doesn’t find the ‘onion bag’ as regularly as he should. As far as I can see his play would be too similar to Mark Kennedy’s rôle and as the club is not awash with the wherewithal to fund expensive transfers, I say let’s concentrate on a quality out and out goalscorer. We could then offload 4/5 fringe players (the new year always brings transfer fever as clubs try to change systems or strengthen weakened squads etc.) and finance another move perhaps for a younger Bishop type playmaker to provide the forwards with some service.

Who knows, big Joe may even forget all about Huckerby and try Terry Cooke again; we may already have the answer on our own doorstep.

Finally, when are the club going to realise that we don’t have a long throw expert on the books? We never seem to make the header on the near post and we are then left with Prior (verdict still out on him), Howey or Dunne legging it back to try and get in position for the usual counter attack by the opponents. We are at sixes and sevens for a while and place ourselves under pressure from our own predictable throw in folly.

What do other readers think?

CTID, Steve Denton (


No need to get fraustrated, stay calm, City will pull through. The last couple of games have been so close, but we can do it, just watch City go. I say watch us go for it next Saturday against Charlton, sweet revenge for the first game of the season. If City just regroup and play like they know they can, they will win! I have confidence in Joe Royle and Willie Donachie.

Ernie Barrow (


Recent results from 14 December 2000 to 27 December 2000 inclusive.

27 December 2000

Southampton           2 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     15,237

26 December 2000

Arsenal               6 - 1  Leicester City        38,007
Aston Villa           0 - 1  Manchester United     40,889
Bradford City         1 - 4  Sunderland            20,370
Everton               1 - 2  Coventry City         35,704
Ipswich Town          2 - 2  Chelsea               22,237
Manchester City       0 - 0  Derby County          34,321
Middlesbrough         1 - 0  Liverpool             34,696
Newcastle United      2 - 1  Leeds United          52,118
West Ham United       5 - 0  Charlton Athletic     26,046

23 December 2000

Charlton Athletic     1 - 0  Everton               20,043
Chelsea               3 - 0  Bradford City         33,377
Derby County          2 - 0  Newcastle United      29,978
Leeds United          1 - 2  Aston Villa           39,714
Leicester City        2 - 1  West Ham United       21,524
Liverpool             4 - 0  Arsenal               44,144
Manchester United     2 - 0  Ipswich Town          67,597
Sunderland            1 - 0  Manchester City       47,475
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 0  Middlesbrough         35,638

22 December 2000

Coventry City         1 - 1  Southampton           18,090

League table to 27 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  20  8  1  1 28  5  6  3  1 19  9 14  4  2 47 14  33  46
 2 Arsenal         20  9  1  0 28  5  2  4  4  8 14 11  5  4 36 19  17  38
 3 Sunderland      20  7  3  0 12  4  3  2  5 11 15 10  5  5 23 19   4  35
 4 Leicester City  20  6  3  1 15 10  4  2  4  8 11 10  5  5 23 21   2  35
 5 Ipswich Town    20  4  4  2 14 10  6  0  4 15 12 10  4  6 29 22   7  34
 6 Liverpool       20  8  1  1 23  7  2  2  6 14 18 10  3  7 37 25  12  33
 7 Newcastle Utd   20  6  1  3 14 10  3  2  5  8 15  9  3  8 22 25  -3  30
 8 West Ham United 20  4  4  2 17  9  3  4  3 13 12  7  8  5 30 21   9  29
 9 Aston Villa     19  4  4  1 14  7  3  4  3  9 11  7  8  4 23 18   5  29
10 Chelsea         20  7  2  1 28 10  0  4  6  9 17  7  6  7 37 27  10  27
11 Tottenham H.    20  7  3  0 18  7  0  2  8  8 22  7  5  8 26 29  -3  26
12 Leeds United    19  6  0  4 19 14  1  4  4  7 13  7  4  8 26 27  -1  25
13 Charlton Ath.   20  6  3  1 17  7  1  1  8  9 28  7  4  9 26 35  -9  25
14 Southampton     20  5  1  4 17 15  1  5  4  9 17  6  6  8 26 32  -6  24
15 Everton         20  3  3  4 13 14  3  1  6  8 18  6  4 10 21 32 -11  22
16 Derby County    20  3  5  2 13 15  1  3  6 10 20  4  8  8 23 35 -12  20
17 Manchester City 20  3  2  5 15 11  2  2  6 10 22  5  4 11 25 33  -8  19
18 Coventry City   20  2  3  5  7 14  3  1  6 12 21  5  4 11 19 35 -16  19
19 Middlesbrough   20  2  3  5  9 15  2  3  5 12 13  4  6 10 21 28  -7  18
20 Bradford City   20  2  4  4 10 14  0  2  8  4 23  2  6 12 14 37 -23  12

With thanks to Football 365


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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.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #670