Newsletter #672

City are still being linked with Steve Lomas but he has now openly professed his desire to remain at Upton Park, so it isn’t at all clear whether there is still a deal to be done or not. Jobbo’s loan looks like it may be made permanent, whilst even the out-of-favour Gareth Taylor may have found himself a club [surely some mistake?]! With the injuries to Kennedy, Whitley, Wiekens, Horlock and now Tiatto, it looks likely that we may see our most skilful midfielder (allegedly) making a return to the bench on Saturday – one Tony Grant esq.

We have Peter’s News; two match reports on the draw at Coventry; news on the ‘Shirts to Zambia’ campaign; a request for players for MCIVTA’s Internet footie team; and quite a lot of comment/opinion.

Remember, if you’re going to the game on Saturday, please consider doing us a match report… and lastly, any Why Blues out there, they appear to have dried up permanently!

Next game: Birmingham City at home, Saturday January 6th 2001 (FA Cup)


Part I: Coventry Away – Reaction

Royle Happy With Improved Display: Joe Royle was disappointed that his Manchester City side failed to hold on for three points after taking the lead at Coventry on Monday. But the Blues’ boss admitted he’d have happily accepted a draw before the game. Royle had been dismayed by City’s pitiful efforts against Charlton 48 hours earlier. And he admitted that the woeful performance against the Addicks had made him fear the worst ahead of the trip to Highfield Road. So there was a measure of relief for the City manager even though his much-changed line-up couldn’t notch a win against Gordon Strachan’s side. “At quarter-to-five on Saturday, after the abysmal showing against Charlton, then I would have looked upon a point at Coventry as manna from heaven,” he admitted. “I’ve got to be pleased with the improvement.”

Boss Refuses to Criticise Weaver: Most observers blamed Nicky Weaver for the goal which cost Manchester City two points at Coventry on Monday. But after the match, Joe Royle refused to point the finger at his under-fire goalkeeper. Royle conceded that Weaver in peak form would probably have stopped Marc Edworthy’s equaliser for the home side. But the Blues’ boss felt that the quality of the full-back’s strike had caused problems for the England under-21 man, and said that in any case, the ex-Mansfield junior had kept his side in the game in the first half. “It was a great strike and the ball went through Nicky,” explained the City manager. “He did make a magnificent save in the first half and overall he has been outstanding for us.”

Team Changes Made the Difference: Joe Royle rang the changes for Manchester City’s New Year’s Day trip to Coventry. And the Blues’ boss was delighted with the displays of three men handed shock recalls in the Highfield Road clash. Royle decided that radical measures were in order following his side’s abysmal showing in the previous game, when a distinctly average Charlton side had managed a resounding win at Maine Road. Danny Granville and Andy Morrison both made their first league starts of the campaign, while Richard Edghill returned after a four-month exile during which it appeared he’d played his last game for the club. And the City manager couldn’t have been happier with the efforts of the returning heroes. “I thought Danny Granville was outstanding and a candidate for man of the match,” he insisted, “while there were no problems for our three centre backs with Andy Morrison organising the people around him. And Richard Edghill is a solid defender. I’ve never ever underestimated him – it’s other people who have.”

Strachan Rues Missed Chances: Gordon Strachan saw his Coventry side earn a point against Manchester City on Monday through a fortuitous equaliser in the game’s final quarter. But after the match, the Scot was nevertheless claiming that, on chances, his team should have taken all three points. Strachan admitted that he was relieved to see visitors’ goalkeeper Nicky Weaver allow the ball to pass under his body for Marc Edworthy’s equaliser. But the Coventry boss still felt that a draw was scant reward for his players’ efforts. “We had enough chances to have won the game, gilt-edged ones, but that’s been the case in many games recently,” he claimed. “We have been getting better. The commitment is phenomenal but we just need to put the ball in the net more often.”

Part II: Transfer News and Rumours

Lomas Happy to Stay with Hammers: Manchester City are still keen to sign old boy Steve Lomas from West Ham. But it seems that the player won’t leave the London club unless he’s forced out by boss Harry Redknapp. It had been reported that Lomas would stay in the north for talks with Joe Royle after playing for the Hammers at Manchester United on Monday, but instead he returned to London with his team-mates. The Blues appeared in pole position to land the man who left Maine Road just under four years ago after reported interest from Scottish giants Rangers seemingly failed to materialise and Everton admitted they don’t have the cash to pursue the £3.5 million-rated star. However, Lomas has told the official West Ham website that he wants to stay at Upton Park, saying, “Unless the club tell me any different I am more than happy to be at West Ham and proud to play for them.”

Grant Returns After Baggies Loan: Tony Grant may still have a future at Manchester City. The former Everton player has been at West Bromwich Albion for the past month – but has returned to Maine Road after his loan spell expired. Grant has failed to make an impression at Maine Road since arriving just over a year ago. But he reportedly performed well during his time at The Hawthorns, and it’s thought that the Baggies are keen to pursue a permanent deal despite the Blues taking the player back. However, the Liverpudlian may be hoping that, having heeded Joe Royle’s request to get fit during his time with the First Division promotion chasers, he’ll be given the chance to prove his credentials in the Premiership. The ex-Everton man has started just four games during his time with City, but potentially offers a more in the way of skill and guile than most of the other midfielders at Royle’s disposal.

Wednesday May Come Back for Cooke: Terry Cooke has returned to Manchester City after completing a third month on loan at Sheffield Wednesday. But there could still be a permanent switch to Hillsborough for the one-time Manchester United junior. Cooke has come back to Maine Road a week early because the Blues have refused permission for him to feature against Norwich in the FA Cup on Saturday. The player impressed during his time in South Yorkshire, but struggling Wednesday’s cash problems mean that a permanent £500,000 move is out of the question. But manager Paul Jewell is desperately trying to raise funds by selling some of his unwanted squad members, and if he is successful, the ex-Bradford boss could make a bid for the winger.

Bradford Deny City Hopkin Link: Bradford’s David Hopkin has been touted as a potential alternative should Manchester City fail to land priority target Steve Lomas. But the Yorkshire outfit say there’s been no interest from Maine Road in the 30-year-old. Hopkin moved to Valley Parade from Leeds last summer. But the former Crystal Palace man has had an injury-interrupted campaign, and hasn’t featured in the Bantams’ line-up since mid-September. Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond reports that the Blues have made no inquiry for the player, but in any event the Scot is still a fortnight away from full fitness so no immediate move would be possible.

Permanent Tranmere Switch for Jobbo?: Richard Jobson joined Tranmere on loan last week. But it’s now being rumoured that the Wirral outfit have already decided to sign the veteran on a permanent basis. Jobson is available on a free transfer after City signed several new defenders this season. And Tranmere boss John Aldridge has already been given permission to play the 37-year-old in Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Portsmouth. Joe Royle has this season consistently refused to allow City players on loan at other clubs to feature in cup competitions for their temporary employers. So the fact that the Blues’ boss has followed a different policy in this case has led to a suspicion that a permanent transfer must be on the cards for the ex-Oldham man.

Luton Revive Taylor Interest: Gareth Taylor has been on the Manchester City transfer list for over a year. But the ex-Sheffield United player could finally be on the verge of leaving Maine Road. Luton Town were linked with Taylor last month. And now Kenilworth Road boss Lil Fuccillo says he’s agreed a deal to take the player to Bedfordshire – although it’s not clear whether on a temporary or permanent basis. However, the 27-year-old seems to be reluctant to join the Second Division strugglers. “Joe Royle has agreed to let Gareth Taylor join us, but the player is not sure over the move for whatever reason,” revealed Fuccillo. “Royle has told me that he will talk to the player and try to persuade him to come to us.”

Part III: Miscellaneous News and Views:

Joe Praises “Warrior” Morrison: Andy Morrison made his first league start of the season for Manchester City at Coventry on Monday. And Joe Royle believes that the big defender could play a vital rôle in the remainder of the campaign. With a relegation battle looming, Royle knows he needs players with a strong character. And Morrison’s leadership qualities mean that he fits the bill ideally, even though the Blues’ boss admits his former captain is still lacking in fitness. “I decided that we needed warriors in the side and that’s why I brought Andy Morrison in,” explained the City manager. “He is a great organiser – nothing fazes Andy.”

Ex-Skipper’s Return Heralds a Change of System: Joe Royle has recalled Andy Morrison to the Manchester City defence. And to accommodate the former Huddersfield player, the Blues’ boss looks set to stick with the new formation he deployed at Coventry on New Year’s Day. Morrison made his first league start of the campaign for City at Highfield Road operating alongside fellow central defenders Richard Dunne and Steve Howey. And it appears that Royle feels that the 28-year-old is better suited to playing in this kind of formation rather than a conventional back four at the highest level. “I know there is a big question mark over his fitness at this level,” admitted the City manager, “but playing between two centre-halves he can handle it because he’s a superb footballer.”

Huckerby Confident of Survival: Darren Huckerby has experienced relegation dogfights before, during his time with former club Coventry City. And following his move to Manchester City from Leeds, the striker believes he’s well-placed to assess his new club’s prospects in this season’s relegation battle. Coventry have made survival an art form, and have been a fixture in the top flight since 1967 despite rarely finishing in the upper half of the table. And having seen more than one Highfield Road Houdini act at first hand, Huckerby believes that his new club will enjoy a similar outcome in their own relegation scrap this term. “We won the battles at Coventry to stay in the Premiership,” he recalled, “and I think City have the quality to get out of their current position. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think that was the case.”

Ex-Manager Backs City to Stay Up: When Manchester City were relegated from the Premiership in 1996, Alan Ball was the manager at the helm. But the ex-England international feels the club will avoid a similar fate five years on. Ball knows the current incumbent of the Maine Road hot-seat well – he and Joe Royle were playing colleagues in Everton’s 1970 championship-winning side. And the one-time Southampton manager feels his former team-mate is the ideal man to inspire the Blues away from the relegation zone, though he also says the Maine Road crowd has a big part to play. “Joe has been there before and he can do it again for City – he is the man,” insists Ball. “The Premiership deserves a top club like City and the tremendous backing they get from their supporters will be crucial in the remaining home games.”

Haaland to Get New Norway Chance?: It’s almost two years since Alfie Haaland last played in international football. But there’s now speculation that the Manchester City skipper could be set for a recall to the Norwegian squad. Haaland says on his own personal website that Norway’s assistant coach Harald Aarbrekk will soon fly to Manchester for discussions with the ex-Leeds star over “the situation with the national team”. And with several key squad members in dispute with the Norwegian FA over sponsorship and image rights, it’s claimed that the 28-year-old could be called up for World Cup qualifiers in the spring. It’s an opportunity which would delight the player – but he’s taking nothing for granted. “It’d be great to be involved in the international set-up once again,” he conceded, “but we’ll wait and see what the assistant coach has to say.”

Boss Defends Axed Charvet: Joe Royle omitted Laurent Charvet from the Manchester City line-up at Coventry on Saturday. But the Blues’ boss has nevertheless defended the Frenchman, who has been the subject of much criticism from supporters. Charvet was signed from Newcastle in October, and occupied the right-back berth with Richard Edghill consigned to the reserves after his early-season disaster against Coventry. However, Edghill was recalled for the return against Gordon Strachan’s men after the £1.5 million buy from Newcastle failed to convince in his first eleven appearances. But Joe Royle says he doesn’t regard the one-time Cannes player as a flop. “I don’t think Laurent has done as badly as one or two people tell me he has,” maintained the City manager.

Friendly to Aid Ritchie Comeback: Paul Ritchie has been sidelined for almost two months with a groin injury. But the 25-year-old is back in training and the Blues are hoping to arrange a reserve-team friendly next week to help him on the path to full fitness. Ritchie made himself an automatic choice earlier in the season, playing in thirteen successive games after making his début in the win at Leeds, so Joe Royle will be particularly keen for the Scottish international to regain match sharpness. The former Hearts man is back in training but can’t be considered for a first-team recall without games under his belt. And with no reserve fixture scheduled for the next couple of weeks, Royle will seek to arrange a fixture to help him fulfil that goal.

Part IV: FA Cup Third-Round News and Preview

Whitley Set to Miss Out Again: With Jeff Whitley still injured, Manchester City look set to stand by the players who earned a New Year’s Day draw at Coventry when Birmingham visit in the FA Cup third round on Saturday. However, Paulo Wanchope’s unavailability means that there will be at least one change to the line-up. Wanchope is playing for Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying play-off against Guatemala, meaning that Shaun Goater is likely to partner new signing Darren Huckerby. Whitley, meanwhile, is still struggling with the knee injury he picked up against Sunderland before Christmas, although it’s hoped that the Northern Ireland player will be fit for the visit of Leeds a week later. Long-term injury victims Mark Kennedy and Kevin Horlock will also be absent, as will Gerard Wiekens, who strained a hamstring against Charlton last week. Danny Tiatto also has a hamstring problem so Tony Grant may be added to the squad.

Edghill Hoping to Get Vote to Continue: Richard Edghill was selected ahead of Laurent Charvet for Manchester City’s game at Coventry on Monday. And the 25-year-old is hoping that his impressive display at Highfield Road will ensure he keeps his place for Saturday’s FA Cup visit of Birmingham. Joe Royle has indicated that he’ll stand by Edghill for the match against Trevor Francis’s side. And if so, the Oldham-born defender will come up against the team for whom he played three games on loan earlier in the season. It was thought that the stint at St. Andrew’s could be a prelude to a permanent move for the full-back – but now City’s longest-serving player is desperate to secure himself a long-term future at Maine Road. “I am in my tenth year at City,” he said, “and as far as I am concerned I would like another 10 years. I love the club.”

City Tie A Barometer of Progress: Manchester City take on Birmingham in the FA Cup third round on Saturday. And the game may offer a guide as to how much the Blues have improved since the end of last season. Birmingham finished fifth in the First Division last season – just three places behind Joe Royle’s men. And although City did the double over the Midlanders on the way to promotion, both games were hard-fought and the victories were by a single-goal margin on each occasion. So while Royle and his players no doubt view the FA Cup this term as much less of a priority than the Premiership survival battle, a commanding display against Trevor Francis’s side could go a long way to building confidence for the challenges ahead.

Royle Wants a Decent Cup Run: Joe Royle has tasted Cup glory as a player and manager. And the Blues’ boss is keen to sample more knock-out success this season. City have already suffered Worthington Cup disappointment this season, losing a quarter-final tie to Ipswich in extra time. So Royle is now looking for progress in the FA Cup, the competition which he won six seasons ago when in charge of Everton. And the City manager doesn’t necessarily feel that a Cup run would detract from the Blues’ battle for Premiership survival. “There’s no reason why we can’t do well in the cup over the next few months,” he insisted. “At Everton we managed to win the trophy in 1995 while we were battling against relegation.”

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 (



Joe Royle rang in the changes with the new year as City attempted to end the nightmare run that has seen them slide into the relegation zone. Out went Charvet, Wiekens, SWP, Dickov and Goater, while Whitley and Horlock were out injured. In came Edghill, Morrison, Bishop, Granville, Wanchope and Huckerby. The changes in players and tactics nearly paid off, as City could and should have won this six pointer against a poor Coventry side.

Joe opted for a back three of Howey, Morrison and Dunne, with Edghill and Granville as wing backs. It was nice to see the City fans give Edghill a warm welcome back, and he responded by having a good, solid game. Indeed, in the first minute he could easily have scored, as he was unmarked at the far post with a clear shot on goal. Unfortunately, his shooting hasn’t improved while he’s been away. However, he still looked a lot better than the dire Charvet, and he put in some strong tackles.

Granville had a good game behind Tiatto, who was again outstanding. They linked well down the left, and looked very solid defensively. Tiatto is our strongest midfield player at the moment – if only Haaland could show half as much enthusiasm or drive.

In the middle, Morrison was simply outstanding. He’s always been a hero of mine from Division Two days, and what he did then he did today – win every single ball in the air, command the defence (and team!), direct things from the back and get stuck in. I thought he’d missed his chance in the Premiership but after this display, I’d say he’s the strongest of all our centre backs. He also looks really slim when playing next to thunder thighs Dunne, who I’m not sure about yet. He looks slow and cumbersome, and nearly cost us a goal. Maybe he’ll come good though, it’s probably too early to say. Howey had a good game, and seems to be a really good buy. As a unit, the defence looked okay, although slightly nervous at times, as did the whole team on occasions. This run is clearly getting to them, and the sooner we get a win to ease the pressure the better.

Nicky Weaver is obviously under a load of pressure at the moment but had a really impressive game, up until the goal that is. He should never be beaten on his near post like he was, especially from that distance – but I’ll have to watch it on ‘Match of the Day’ to see if there was any deflection or anything. You could see he was absolutely pig sick when it went in, and at the final whistle he seemed distraught. He’s still a great goalie though, but is clearly suffering a confidence crisis at the moment. A guy rang in to Radio Five later and really slagged him, saying we should buy or bring in Wright, which I think is stupid. Weaver was bound to have a bad spell sooner or later, and maybe he’ll come out better at the other end of it. I remember when Joe Corrigan slumped to an all time low in the early seventies, and yet still went on to become the best goalie I’ve ever seen after it. This spell is nowhere near those proportions, and will surely just build Weaver’s character.

In midfield, Bishop ran the show like he always does for me – cool, calm football, passing it around and creating openings. I hope that he’s used more in the coming games, ’cause we need his influence. Haaland was yet again a disaster. He didn’t seem interested to me – he never got stuck in, he’s slow, and as far as I can see, offers nothing in terms of creativity. He doesn’t even tackle. We desperately need someone else in the centre – but Steve Lomas? I never rated him first time round, but maybe he’s improved at West Ham. Anyway, I think it’s vital we get someone in there to play alongside Bishop.

Up front, Huckerby was outstanding. He caused them problems all afternoon and was clearly up for it against his old club. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a City forward who is so willing to run at defenders, and most of the time he skinned them. He’s quick and skilful, and holds the ball up well. He was occasionally a bit too greedy, going for goal when he could have crossed or passed to Wanchope, but he was great to watch. For me, our chance of winning vanished when Royle took him off.

Wanchope was his usual self – great one minute, dire the next. At least he’s scoring regularly though, and now with Huckerby alongside him, I think we’ll be OK.

The team desperately needs a confidence lift, and whether we’ll stay up or not, I’m not convinced one way or the other. A good run of 5 or 6 games and we should get safe, but if we lose the next couple the confidence will continue to go.

Summing up – some good points and a spirited performance. They seemed better off with all Joe’s changes, but still need a couple of good buys in the transfer market – especially in central midfield. Huckerby and Morrison could just change our season.

Steve Garthwaite (



Like many Southern exiles my following of the Blues is usually planned like a military operation, but this was different. Circumstances and an amazingly clear M6 conspired to leave me heading South through Birmingham at 12.30 with the choice of another nervous afternoon watching Teletext or seeing the agony unfold in front of me. When the third call to CCFC finally produced the answer that we’d sent 300 tickets back and that the away sales kiosk opened at 1.30, the pull was too strong.

Street parking was easy and by 2.15 pm I was inside the tidy if slightly Toytowny stadium. I was reasonably impressed; the refreshment staff were queuing to serve rather than the other way round and my seat on the upper tier, slightly left of halfway, far better than the view I’d had from the North Stand on that fateful first home Saturday when poor old Edgy was fatally exposed… delete fatally, there he was, warming up alongside the stirring, reassuring presence of Big Andy and a slim, athletic figure I took to be Huckerby. General reaction was amazement; regardless of which side of the great Edghill debate you stand, all the signs had been that it was all over for Reg. Was this Royle’s inspired way of banishing the Bellamy demons?

The first chant when the team ran out – even before ‘Oh Andy Andy’ on his Premiership début – was ‘One Richard Edghill’. RE grew about six inches and applauded back. Kippax boo-boys take note – that’s support.

City opened kicking left to right. In theory I guess we were playing three centre backs, Andy central, Howey left and Dunne right, with Granville and Edgy wing backs; in practice it was more like five at the back most of the time. Bish was central, Tiatto left and Haaland right midfield; Paulo and Huckerby alternated left and right up front.

City were marginally the brighter early on; Tiatto put Granville away down the left and his deep cross found Edghill volleying from the edge of the box, his first touch back; not even in our wildest did we believe it would end up anywhere other than the crowd. Huckerby had the beating of his marker and looked dangerous whenever he got the ball, you could see why he only scores Goal of the Month contenders since there was never any chance of him passing if there were another two men he could beat or the goal was within thirty yards. More worrying was a familiar hole in right midfield; Haaland keen to make forward runs down the channel but Edgy often left exposed against Bellamy and Edworthy when Alfie didn’t track back and the central three marked space in the box. It was from such a situation that Edgy’s nightmare so nearly recurred with no blame attached; Bellamy’s shot from the edge of the box looked good enough even before the glance off RE’s head, and Weaver’s reaction tipover was breathtaking.

Coventry gradually came into the game; all the danger down their left; the centre was well marshalled by Andy – how we miss him as a talker at the back – the left efficiently patrolled by the Dans, with Tiatto’s pace a potent weapon. Huckerby got booked – I think for kicking the ball away – after ridiculously being penalised by the nearside linesman (who had a nightmare, more later) and we looked like going in all square until Howey rose to meet a Bishop corner (but we must find a better corner taker from the right while Horlock and Kennedy are missing); even before he made contact it had goal written all over it and I was already into the celebrations when Kirkland beat it out.

Half time was enlivened first by dancing girls in the centre circle and then by a snowball fight (the ground staff had shovelled it to the edge of the playing surface) between Moonchester and their mascot (an elephant?) which having developed into mock wrestling was rather unnecessarily truncated (geddit?) by an officious steward restraining Nellie.

Back on the pitch it was the officials who got us going with a succession of ludicrous decisions, notably against Tiatto. First he was penalised for winning a tackle in the left-back position; at the resulting free kick a succession of appeals from the Coventry team prompted the ref to pace ten metres very deliberately and push back the two-Dan wall three inches to the edge of the box. The huge cheer when Tiatto got his head in the way – and was knocked to the floor by the impact – turned to utter disbelief when the linesman flagged for handball and the ref waited till he’d had treatment before booking him, then advanced the kick to the edge of the box from where it was blocked by… D. Tiatto. Bondi 2, Men In Black 1.

Then it was our turn to attack; Huckerby, twisting and turning down the right, suddenly remembered that there were after all other red and black shirts on the pitch and played a perfectly weighted ball behind their defence which Wanchope, who frankly had done nothing to this point, gleefully converted. ‘There’s only one Paulo’ and minutes later Huckerby put him through again, this time from the left; he could have taken it early and scored, he could have dummied the ‘keeper and scored, but he banked on Kirkland committing himself and they ended up meeting the ball together; the deflection took him wide and when a decent strike would still have sufficed he miskicked.

It looked like a turning point even then; and so it proved. Ten minutes later Edworthy exploited that space in front of right back and got a shot in from twenty five yards or so, déjà vu M. Ginola. Both sides had their chances later, the closest for Coventry after Dunne missed a diagonal ball and one of their ponytails beat both Nicky and the far post; a draw probably a fair result but as they say, not enough for either team. Huckerby, knackered, made way for the Goat who, sadly, looked way off the pace. SWP replaced Bish and was cleanly dispossessed both times he attempted to run. On balance there were more plusses for City than minusses; a point we’d have settled for beforehand even though with last season’s confidence and resilience we’d have made it three; the magnificent marshalling and sheer physical presence of Morrison – surely Joe has to make him skipper for the relegation dogfight ahead; Edghill proving once again both his defensive value and his attacking limitations; an encouraging return from a pacy, classy looking Granville and the endeavour of Huckerby. Against; Wanchope only looking interested for the few minutes after his goal; Bishop denied time and space to exert authority, and another error by NW – could it be his confidence was damaged by JR’s comments after the derby? Others will judge, and may also consider this; out of thirteen players used in this game, and despite the absence through injury of Horlock and Kennedy, eight started last season as Blues in a team that was always known for spirit more than skill. I suspect it’s the former we need to stay up. Bring on the dogs of war.

Mark Sweeney (


Just to let you know how well the campaign is going. Thanks for your support so far. The JBs office had 5 bin-liner-sized bags full by the start of the week.

The plan is to run the campaign until the end of January, no drop offs on matchdays. A big push this week would be ideal. We will collect any ‘stragglers’ up to the first week in February and arrange freight for the first week in March all being well.

The club have been ace and I believe are arranging for a photo shoot with Jeff Whitley next week.

Brilliant response so far, look forward to hearing more good news as the month unfolds, and hope it’s the same on the pitch!

I will be happy to supply any pictures or reports when the shirts arrive. One thing I can guarantee is that the kids will be made up. We plan to give out to already organised teams without kits (all but two) and then run a competition for the rest. At this rate we could have all 4,500 kids as winners!

Whatever you do, stay Blue.

Dave Clinton (


I am looking for help from fellow Blues who were at the Coventry game on New Years Day. For a variety of reasons I took along my camera, it was an old Olympus trip (I think); anyway it was old, black and silver. Later when I was on the coach I realised I had lost it, presumably when going ‘mental’ after Wanchope’s goal. The problem is although the camera is worth zilch the film that was in it has my son’s 18th birthday celebrations on it. Needless to say I am in the dog house with ‘the one that has to stay behind’. If anyone handed it into a steward or knows anything about it could they please e-mail at the below address. I have contacted both City and Coventry but to date I am out of luck. Many thanks.

Nigel Pickles (


This is just some info really for anybody who may be travelling to India and wants to watch footy. I have just returned from India and was pleased to see that you can keep up with the Premiership if you tune into Star Sports ESPN. On Saturdays they will show a live match e.g. 15.00 in England and 20.30 Indian time. The pictures are from Sky but you don’t really get to see any interviews with the managers or the half time chit chat as ESPN have their own anchor person. After this they will show another match – whole 90 minutes. I was lucky enough to see Villa and City as the second match. Mostly though it seems to be United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool who seem to feature. There is also a round up which I think is on Thursdays on the same channel.

Also if you are out in India (including Goa) I couldn’t ring anybody on my BT Cellnet mobile but I could receive text messages which was very handy at 02.30 in the morning telling me we were beaten in extra time by Ipswich. There are some Internet cabins, which are a lot cheaper than in England but obviously if it’s an evening kick off then you have no chance.

Happy new year everyone.

Tony Farrar (


Sports Interactive Cup – Leeds Uni, Boddinton Hall, July 14/15 2001

You may be wondering what this is.

Basically it’s a competition open to all mailing lists of all teams. Where for a weekend, like-minded folks come together, to play football – yes, real football, boots, balls, nets, etc. against each other. The first event was in Nottingham in 96, subsequent events have since taken part, 97 Middlesbrough, 98 Reading, 99 Leicester and 2000 in Leeds. The event has grown from an initial 16 team, to last year’s 64 entrants, with teams from England, Scotland and the continent. The teams ranged from Arsenal to Ayr, Ipswich to Portsmouth and our continental cousins of AEK Athens and last year’s débutants RC Lens. So if you want to come along for a weekend of footie, banter, booze and some refreshing air, make a note in your diaries.

So do you want to pull on a City shirt, lace up a pair of boots and represent Man City and the subscribers of MCIVTA in a football tournament, against other like-minded fans from other teams’ mailing lists, over a 2-day period? You don’t have to be the next Gio, but if you’re prepared to pull on a pair of boots, kick a ball (and who knows, maybe an opponent ;-))) ) have a laugh and a drink, let me know of your interest at the address below.

More details will be published when available.

Martin Ford (


Once again MCIVTA is a great read and I’d like to make a few points.

  1. Thank God for Paul Lake – a passionate City fan who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is (and make sense).
  2. Danny Granville – I think he deserves a chance and at least it meansTiatto doesn’t have to be defender, midfielder and left winger within thespace of a couple of minutes.
  3. Lomas – good buy and with Whitley will sort the midfield out, but don’t we need a bit of creativity as well?
  4. Hinchcliffe – nah. Isn’t this just a way to get Cooke off the books.Granville’s playing well and we’ve still got Paul Ritchie to come back.We’ll be trying to get Moulden and Ian Scott back next!
  5. Weaver – OK so he’s made a few mistakes but remember where he’s got usin 2 years and remember that he can only learn from it. He’s sufferingenough so let’s get behind him. I wish JR was as quick or as big to own upto his mistakes as he is to point out Weaver’s.
  6. Captain – I always thought that the captain led by example. At themoment I lose Alfie during some games. As one of my mates pointed out: “Hestarted the season with his chest puffed out like a Norwegian Viking andnow he’s like a Norwegian Dyke.” (sic)
  7. Goater and Wiekens – I’m sorry guys but I really don’t think you’rePremiership class. Everyone has a level and I think they are being foundout. Shaun is second to every ball and Wiekens isn’t up to the pace ofgames. Passes he makes are rushed and often misplaced, putting team matesin trouble.
  8. Big Joe – Don’t you just wish that Joe would come out and hold his handsup and say he made a rick sometimes? It’s never Joe’s tactics that are atfault. It’s either the ref, the weather, the players or bioryhthms. If heand the team are to progress then he also has to rid himself of hisarrogance. We’re crying out for width and with Kennedy out doesn’t Cookedeserve another chance or even give Chris Shuker a go. I feel thatsometimes Joe put his own differences ahead of the team’s needs.
  9. Player Of The Year will be a toss up between the excellent Steve Howey and Danny Tiatto.
  10. The Fans – I know we we all think we’re managers and we all want themto win, but booing players will not get any of us anywhere. We’ve got 17cup finals between now and 19th May and the fans and the players have totreat every one of them like that.

Thanks for the time to make my points.

Mark Robison (


First of all Happy New Year to all Blues. Though most of us recovering from the excesses of Christmas won’t have been cheered by City’s current plight.

Having seen City lose at the start of the festive period against Sunderland (in response to Geoff Donkin the Fort in Sunderland wasn’t bad either as 5 Blues from Stockport met up with myself and a load of Mackems), we’ve gone from bad to worse. At Sunderland the bounce seemed to go the wrong way and the luck wasn’t on our side, plus we didn’t create any real chances. Then we buy Huckerby (the Goat is either not fit or not good enough) and things go from bad to worse against Charlton. We then scrape a draw against Coventry though we could have got away with murder and nicked all 3 points!

There seems no confidence at the club and although it is tight at the bottom, we are one of only 2 teams (Everton being the other) who are going through a poor patch of form. Nice to hear Edghill’s name being sung at Coventry, though this was more for his pot shot on goal than his actual defensive abilities. I agree with Ashley though when he states that Charvet’s poor form is due to him having to cover the same amount of space as Edghill had to and although Tiatto gives his all, he is a better left-sided midfielder than a left-back. Stuart Hall said that against Charlton we lacked width, what with Kennedy being out injured and Cooke being out of favour we are in danger of free-falling back into Division 1. Although it wouldn’t be a disaster it would destroy everything we’ve tried to build on this season, is this not reminiscent of the old City with big money players being paid big wages to turn out and do bug*er all in a City shirt! I say let’s go back to the team that took us out of the 1st Division, it’s players like Morrison, Edghill and Whitley who know what it is like to play away at Crewe and Macclesfield; Charvet, Dunne et al haven’t got the faintest idea what we have suffered since leaving the Premiership; of Joe’s buys since we’ve come up only Howey can be said to have provided any real consistent match form – look at Ipswich, 4th in the table having kept a squad that has served them for about 2/3 years, that’s what we had coming up from Division 2 through Division 1, but it is is danger of being lost for the sake of big money buys to keep the hecklers at bay – let’s face it neither Edghill, Charvet or any other right-back in the country could cope covering the whole right-hand side of the pitch week in, week out without looking like it was the first time they’d played the game. Come on Joe sort it out before it’s too late!

CTID, James Walsh (


It’s glaringly obvious that City have spent millions on players that were not on the shopping lists of any other Premiership teams, and are just not good enough. With a brand new defence, guess what? we are leaking in more goals than ever. Prior seems to be out of favour, the rest of the defence constantly get caught out near the half way line and can’t get back, and as for Nicky Weaver being touted as a possible full England international – well he can forget that for the the immediate future. He makes more mistakes than the 3 Stooges and David James put together, his confidence is shot! J.R. needs to give Weaver a rest, get a midfielder like David Hopkin. We need someone similar to Lee Bowyer at Leeds, who has a good engine, is creative and is confident on the ball. Personally I would not go for Lomas – we have a similar player in Jeff Whitley – what we need is class. I never understood why JR did not go in for Thomson from Liverpool who went to Coventry, a good little midfielder who scores goals. I also like the look of Matt Jansen, another gifted player who scores goals.

Up front I feel we should play Huckerby on one flank and SWP on the other; if used correctly both have speed and trickery to open up defences and that will enable the team as a whole to be more productive.

From what we have, I would play the following team:

Goal – Wright
R. Back – Prior/Dunne
L. Back – Edgill/Charvet?
C. Back – Howey
C. Back – Morrison
R. Midfield – Wright-Phillips
L. Midfield – Tiatto
C. Midfield – Haaland
C. Midfield – Bishop/Wiekens/Grant?
Forward – Wanchope
Forward – Huckerby

Glyn Albuquerque (


It was obvious – wasn’t it? – a lot of rebuilding was needed to keep us in the Prem! That’s what Joe’s tried to do! Ok we all have our own ideas, and clearly, some of Joe’s are not quite working out, but what a major job! Such a gulf from Division 1 to Premier League!

My personal view is that Joe has gone overboard on the defence, with the result that he doesn’t quite know himself who his best back 3/4/5 are. Whilst there has been necessary concentration on our strike force, I feel the midfield has just been overlooked. As honest in their work and effort as I think Kev and Jeff to be, they are not for me, Premiership players, and sadly neither is Wiekens. All very good in Division 1, and perhaps each one of them in another Premier team’s midfield might just get by, but all three together, just doesn’t blend in quality of strength. Bish, well ok, we all love him from old, but have you noticed, he makes some howlers, which have lead to some defeating goals.

I’m not here to suggest who to go for, because the ones I want are out of our bracket, but whilst I’m about it, Lomas’s return is not the answer Joe, hope it remains only rumour!

I’m pleased with the Huckerby signing, but not convinced the the Goat can do it at this level, hate to say that after what he did for us last season. I think it was in the main his efforts along with Nicky and Kennedy that got us up last term. So, I think I’d like to give SWP, Wanchope and Huckerby the up front positions. My back four would be Haaland at RB, Howey and Dunne in the middle – Morrison on the bench to play his part, which I think he still has – and Tiatto at LB. All we need then is three new boys in midfield, and we’ve cracked it! Actually, I’d still like Kennedy in there if he recovers ok, but with just two other slots to fill, we’d need someone who was a hard/clean/skilful ball winning excellent passer. Ah, no one said it would be easy!

Andy Collins (


I’m sure Andy M will give us the aggression and passion needed, but the formation we played at Coventry doesn’t really help us with the right back situation. Haven’t we said all along that Reg is an OK defender of the classical type, but will never be a wing back as long as he’s got a hole in his arse? Danny G is a different sort of player and I think he has shown in the past that he is capable of going forward well – remember the goal against WBA in 1999? – though can be a bit suspect at the back. Interesting that Morrison, Reg and Grrrrranville were all being touted for transfer elsewhere and here they are back in the reckoning. I felt Reg’s fall from grace was a little premature and unexpected – it would be ironic if he ended up displacing Charvet – and I was never sure what Danny G had done to be left out, aside from the form of Ritchie prior to his injury. I guess we all hoped that Morrison would be able to hack it in the Premiership but he never got the chance at the outset. Cometh the hour, cometh the man?

Geoff Donkin (


Young, confident, tall, hailed as a great prospect, brought up through A team and reserves but prone to the odd mistakes that were usually costly and highlighted on T.V.

Yes I’m talking about Joe Corrigan, one of the best ‘keepers I have seen ‘in the flesh’ (being a mere early forty-year old I didn’t see Bert or Swifty).

I remember going to Turf Moor in the mid 70’s and Burnley beat us 4-1. Joe had a stinker. He and Colin Barrett (young centre half) were to blame for 3 of the goals and Joe’s kicking and judgement of the ball in flight left a lot to be desired on the day. This followed a number of below par performances and Joe was ‘rested’ under a mountain of media pressure and a fair bit of rumblings from the fans. This was during the days of ‘bovver boys’ on the terraces and me and my mate Pete F. (surname to remain anonymous as he is now a partner in a firm of solicitors in Bradford and a fellow MCIVTA reader and I don’t want to incriminate him) were late in arriving and spent the first half in the Burnley side of the terrace which was like the Kippax running the length of the pitch. We weren’t looking for trouble but entered the wrong turnstile wearing our blue and maroon colours. Burnley’s scarves were claret and blue and we didn’t realise we were in the wrong section for a few minutes until they cheered as Burnley attacked. Happy days following the Blues away and getting panned.

To get back to my point, big Joe’s woes are similar to that of Nicky Weaver’s. I agree with Lance in MCIVTA 671 that Nicky would benefit from a short rest. Joe was replaced by Keith McRae, a ginger haired Scotsman (signed from Motherwell I think) for a then record fee for a goalkeeper. Joe eventually regained his place after McRae broke a leg playing against Sheff Utd. Joe took his chance admirably, he had lost weight, gained confidence and went on to play for England. Had it not been for Peter Shilton and the much overrated Ray Clemence Joe would have gained many more caps for his country.

Nicky can, I believe go to the top of his profession but he is having to learn the hard way. He is probably 12 months ahead of his own projected advancement in his career and is being measured against his own high standards set to date. No doubt that he still has several brownie points in credit and what he has achieved to date is nothing short of unbelievable having been plucked from Mansfield reserves but now is the time to reflect and get back to basics. The Premiership is no place to make further mistakes and we have an able replacement in Tommy Wright. We can’t run the team on sentiment – we simply have to stay in this league at all costs.

Let Nicky have his well-earned rest, I am certain that he will bounce back and it is no disgrace for him to miss a few games as modern football is a squad game anyway. Too much confidence at an early age is not always a good thing and he is only now learning about life at the top.

I have also noticed that Nicky doesn’t cope too well with long range shots. I first noticed this against Southampton in the league cup last season when 2 goals were scored from distance. There have been at least ten long range efforts scored against us since. Does Nicky have trouble picking up the flight or pace of the ball from distance, does he not see it until close to him? An eye test doesn’t cost much – check the lad out, he may need contact lenses. I speak from experience on this one and am being serious.

Finally, how good it is to see Andy Morrison back in a laser blue shirt (I could have done with him beside me at that Burnley match instead of Pete)? He was the catalyst in our promotion from the Second Division and he is such a good organiser that I can put up with his lack of pace as he gets those around him fighting and playing.

Hoping for a better second half to the season with a few home wins – keep the faith – no one said it would be easy.

CTID, Steve Denton (


Just over half way through the season, we are seeing who has got it and who hasn’t. Joe said he would give the people who gained back to back promotions a chance. He has, and he must now look players straight in the eye and say ‘Sorry, thanks, but you’re not good enough’. Proven players must be bought to give an injection to a team that are good at battle cries but short of the necessary quality.

Chequebook success is normally short-lived (look at Blackburn), but money must be found to stay in the Premiership. With that done things become more settled, and with our fan base, Sky money and newly found financial stability we can move on after just one season. Easy to say isn’t it? Last season Watford manager Graham Taylor said they would not spend out because they would be crippled if they still got relegated. With respect to Watford, this mentality does not apply to a club like City. As the gap between the big boys and the rest widens we must be up there or resign ourselves to a future in the wilderness with only frustration, tradition and history for company.

I don’t mean to be gloomy but when you look at a future that includes relegation then it is not a happy one. Does anyone really think we would bounce straight back up? I think not. So we have to stay up this season, at all costs. We have to buy and buy big.

Joe says if the right players come up he will go for them. I respect that, but how high are his sights set? So far he has bought people who could not get in the first team at other clubs. Why couldn’t they? Because they were either not good enough or not consistent enough. We need to be robbing other clubs of their best players, not helping them lower their reserve team wage bill.

We need quality competition for places, and IMO we need four more players of proven quality. Firstly, a goalkeeper to keep Nicky on his toes. Secondly, two midfielders who can win the ball and pass it (what a novelty?). Steve Lomas would fit the bill and we need one other like Matt Holland, Paul Ince or Jamie Redknapp (when fit), and finally another striker. Yes, another one! Huckerby is the type of player who runs at defences so has to pick the ball up deep. This leaves a gap beside Paulo which neither Dicky or The Goat are good enough to fill. I really believe that the next striker we buy should be a proven one. I hesitate briefly before suggesting Robbie Fowler. Why not? This is the level we need to look for if we are going to compete. Notice they are all current or recent club captains. Whether they would move, even if we had the money, is another question but players are more likely to come to a club that is making big noises and not a slumbering giant. As soon as the transfer system is sorted out Bernstein’s pen should be glowing. It will be a financial gamble but one that we must take even if Watford didn’t.

City are a big club. Time to act it.

Stuart Wells (


Recent results to 02 January 2001 inclusive.

2 January 2001

Tottenham Hotspur     4 - 2  Newcastle United      34,324

1 January 2001

Charlton Athletic     1 - 0  Arsenal               20,043
Chelsea               1 - 0  Aston Villa           33,159
Coventry City         1 - 1  Manchester City       21,999
Derby County          1 - 0  Everton               27,358
Leeds United          1 - 1  Middlesbrough         39,251
Leicester City        1 - 2  Bradford City         19,278
Liverpool             2 - 1  Southampton           38,474
Manchester United     3 - 1  West Ham United       67,603
Sunderland            4 - 1  Ipswich Town          46,053

League table to 02 January 2001 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  22  9  1  1 31  6  6  4  1 20 10 15  5  2 51 16  35  50
 2 Arsenal         22  9  2  0 30  7  2  4  5  8 15 11  6  5 38 22  16  39
 3 Sunderland      22  8  3  0 16  5  3  3  5 13 17 11  6  5 29 22   7  39
 4 Ipswich Town    22  5  4  2 17 10  6  0  5 16 16 11  4  7 33 26   7  37
 5 Liverpool       21  9  1  1 25  8  2  2  6 14 18 11  3  7 39 26  13  36
 6 Leicester City  21  6  3  2 16 12  4  2  4  8 11 10  5  6 24 23   1  35
 7 Charlton Ath.   22  7  3  1 18  7  2  1  8 13 29  9  4  9 31 36  -5  31
 8 Newcastle Utd   22  6  2  3 15 11  3  2  6 10 19  9  4  9 25 30  -5  31
 9 Chelsea         21  8  2  1 29 10  0  4  6  9 17  8  6  7 38 27  11  30
10 West Ham United 21  4  4  2 17  9  3  4  4 14 15  7  8  6 31 24   7  29
11 Aston Villa     20  4  4  1 14  7  3  4  4  9 12  7  8  5 23 19   4  29
12 Tottenham H.    22  8  3  0 22  9  0  2  9  8 25  8  5  9 30 34  -4  29
13 Southampton     22  6  1  4 18 15  1  5  5 10 19  7  6  9 28 34  -6  27
14 Leeds United    20  6  1  4 20 15  1  4  4  7 13  7  5  8 27 28  -1  26
15 Derby County    22  4  5  2 14 15  1  3  7 10 21  5  8  9 24 36 -12  23
16 Everton         21  3  3  4 13 14  3  1  7  8 19  6  4 11 21 33 -12  22
17 Coventry City   22  2  4  5  8 15  3  2  6 13 22  5  6 11 21 37 -16  21
18 Middlesbrough   22  2  4  5 10 16  2  4  5 13 14  4  8 10 23 30  -7  20
19 Manchester City 22  3  2  6 16 15  2  3  6 11 23  5  5 12 27 38 -11  20
20 Bradford City   21  2  4  4 10 14  1  2  8  6 24  3  6 12 16 38 -22  15

With thanks to Football 365


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #672