Newsletter #675

Oh dear, oh dear, Monday comes around and we’re reporting yet another defeat. Although City started out reasonably well against a fairly uninspired Leeds, we once again contrived to shoot ourselves in the foot by giving away a ‘soft’ goal; good job it wasn’t Edghill as they’d have been building the scaffold at halftime! This was nowhere near as poor a performance as the Charlton one; however, the contrast in the teamsheets was enough to make even the most blinkered amongst us realise what a truly immense gulf there is between us and the Leeds Uniteds of this world – I could hardly think of a single player of ours who could match his counterpart in the Leeds team! This point was eloquently driven home by one Robbie Keane, who trotted off the bench and produced a stunning finish to put Leeds 3-0 up. Unless there is a total metamorphosis in the team’s performance, particularly that of midfield, then I’m afraid that there is no way on this earth that we are going to escape relegation. Sorry to be so cheery…

Next game: Derby County away, Saturday 20th January 2001


Part I: Leeds at Home, Result and Reaction

Late Keane Double as Leeds Rout City: Manchester City are still mired in the Premiership relegation zone. The Blues remain in 19th position in the table after being beaten 4-0 at home by Leeds on Saturday. Neither side impressed in a dull opening half-hour but then the visitors took the lead after Andy Morrison carelessly conceded possession to Jason Wilcox at a free kick – Erik Bakke finished clinically after being played in by the former Blackburn man. The Blues improved marginally after the break, Tony Grant having been introduced into midfield, but the Leeds goal was still under little threat. And after Lee Bowyer’s deflected strike on 78 minutes wrapped up the points for the Yorkshiremen, Robbie Keane’s double in the 89th and 90th minutes added to the current gloom at Maine Road.

Bosses Agree Scoreline Flattered Leeds: Manchester City suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds on Saturday afternoon. But rival bosses Joe Royle and David O’Leary agreed that the margin of victory in a generally drab game flattered the visitors. Royle reflected that the match had been a more even affair than the Maine Road FA Cup tie between the sides almost exactly a year ago, when the Yorkshiremen won 5-2. But he felt the manner of the Leeds opener epitomised his side’s season. “I think 4-0’s very harsh today,” he lamented. “It’s quite symptomatic of our season that the first goal we gave them came with no danger.” Meanwhile, O’Leary agreed that the Blues were unlucky to lose by four clear goals but expressed the hope that the result could be a turning point for his talented yet underachieving side. “The whole product we have here is so talented that when it does get going it won’t be bad at all,” promised the Elland Road boss.

Part II: Transfer News and Rumours

Royle U-Turn Over Grant Future: Joe Royle last week agreed to sell Tony Grant to Barnsley. But the Manchester City boss now says that the midfielder is no longer available for transfer. Grant was in talks with the First Division club on Thursday but was reported to be reluctant to commit to the move. And with injuries ensuring several midfielders were out of contention for places in the City squad for the game against Leeds, the 26-year-old was handed a place among the substitutes for the visit of David O’Leary’s men. With the Blues crying out for midfield creativity, the ex-Everton player was introduced at half-time. And though matters went from bad to worse for Joe Royle’s team in the closing stages of the game, Grant’s personal performance was impressive enough for the Blues’ boss to announce after the final whistle that he’d decided the player would be staying at the club.

Bishop Set to Agree to Move: Ian Bishop’s Manchester City career is likely to end in the next day or two. Joe Royle agreed last week to allow the veteran midfielder to leave the club on a free transfer and the player is expected to decide to move on. Bishop was in talks with Sheffield Wednesday at the end of last week over a prospective switch to the First Division strugglers. But on Monday afternoon, Wednesday boss Paul Jewell was still awaiting the 35-year-old’s decision over the move. However, the South Yorkshire outfit are still hopeful of landing the ex-West Ham man, who is keen to experience regular first-team football after sporadic appearances for City this term.

Dickov Linked with Hibs Move: Paul Dickov will be missing from Manchester City’s survival battle for the next six weeks. And it’s now being reported that the Scot could be set to leave Maine Road after he recovers from his medial ligament injury. Dickov is now behind Paulo Wanchope, Darren Huckerby and Shaun Goater in the queue for a place in the City line-up. And it’s claimed that the 27-year-old may already have asked for a transfer, concerned that a lack of action will damage his international prospects. With Hibs’ boss Alex McLeish a confirmed admirer of the player, the Edinburgh club are being touted as the most likely destination for the tenacious striker should he leave the Blues when he regains fitness.

Charvet ‘In Talks Over Future’: Laurent Charvet has been at Manchester City for less than three months. But press reports claim that the Frenchman may already be on the verge of asking to leave the club. Charvet’s arrival at Maine Road coincided with an alarming dip in form which saw the Blues suffer six straight league defeats. And the ex-Newcastle player paid the price for his own unconvincing displays when he was omitted from the side at Coventry on New Year’s Day. But it appears that the player hasn’t taken kindly to being dropped and has already sought talks over his future with Joe Royle. It’s alleged that the City boss has told the 27-year-old to go away and think over his next move.

Argentinian Begins City Trial: Manchester City denied last week that they would be offering a trial to Argentinian defender Julian Maidana. But the Manchester Evening News reports that the player has nevertheless arrived at Maine Road. City had moved quickly to pour cold water on newspaper reports that the player could be set for a permanent £1 million move to the club subject to a successful trial spell. However, the defender flew in to Manchester on Friday. Maidana recently failed to impress in a brief stint at Blackburn.

Part III: Injuries, Suspensions and International Call-Ups

Trio Available for Derby Trip: Manchester City have suffered a number of injury problems in recent weeks. But Jeff Whitley returned to the City first team on Saturday – and the Northern Ireland man could soon be followed by three of his colleagues. Darren Huckerby and Gerard Wiekens were in training again on Monday after missing the weekend visit of Leeds. And both men are expected to be fit to take their places at Derby in a vital relegation crunch on Saturday. Paul Ritchie could also be available for the Pride Park clash; the Scotland defender continues his comeback in the reserves at Everton on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Mark Kennedy may also be back in action soon – Joe Royle expects the player to be back in training with a fortnight.

Dickov Out for Six Weeks: Manchester City already have several first-team squad members on the injured list. And there was more bad news for Joe Royle after substitute Paul Dickov injured medial ligaments against Leeds on Saturday. Dickov entered the fray as a 70th-minute replacement for Shaun Goater. But barely a quarter of an hour later, the Scot was leaving the field, leaving City down to ten men with all three substitutes having been used by that stage. And the former Arsenal player is now expected to be absent from the Blues’ survival battle until the beginning of March. Meanwhile, Danny Granville injured an ankle against his former club at the weekend and at this stage is rated doubtful for the forthcoming game against Derby.

Howey and Tiatto Suspended for Cup Tie: Manchester City will be without two key players for the FA Cup fourth round tie against Coventry. Steve Howey and Danny Tiatto will be serving one-match suspensions. Both Howey and Tiatto picked up their fifth bookings of the season as City had a dismal afternoon against Leeds on Saturday. So the pair automatically miss out when the Midlands club visits Maine Road. It’s a second ban of the season for Tiatto, who was ruled out at West Ham in November after his sending off at Arsenal a fortnight earlier.

Killen Set for Another Call-Up: Chris Killen could soon be spending a month away from Manchester City. The New Zealander is likely to be required for his country’s under-20 side for the 2001 Oceania Cup qualifiers. Killen has already been away from Maine Road for three months this season, enjoying a successful loan spell at Wrexham. But it’s claimed by some sources that Joe Royle is less happy at the prospect of losing the young forward on this occasion, and that a compromise could be reached whereby the player is selected for part of the qualifying programme only.

Part IV: Other News and Views:

Bernstein Backing Under-Fire Manager: Anyone reading press reports on Manchester City’s slide into the relegation zone might conclude that Joe Royle’s job is in danger. But chairman David Bernstein still has the utmost faith in his manager. While admitting to his disappointment that the Blues risk dropping out of the Premiership, Bernstein recognises Royle’s achievements in securing top-flight football at Maine Road this term. And the Blues’ chief says that the former Everton and Oldham boss will be given the time he needs to make City a force in the English game. “Joe has helped us transform the club and he needs time here to get things right,” claimed Bernstein. “That is the key element.”

Royle – We’re One Win From a Turn-Around: Manchester City are now one of the favourites for relegation after dismal recent form. But Joe Royle continues to insist that his players are capable of moving up the table. Royle admitted spirit in the camp was low after Saturday’s uninspiring performance at home to Leeds. But the City boss says there is character in the squad – and that one win could change the current picture dramatically. “I still maintain there is time for us to sort ourselves out,” he said. “We are within one win of climbing several places.”

Wanchope Looks Forward to Partnering Huckerby: Paulo Wanchope was restored to the Manchester City line-up against Leeds on Saturday, only for new colleague Darren Huckerby to miss the game through injury. But the Costa Rican is looking forward to the day the duo do finally play together again. The pair played started at Coventry on New Year’s Day, and linked well, with Huckerby laying on City’s goal for Wanchope. But the Blues’ record signing didn’t feature in the FA Cup win over Birmingham after being called up for international duty, and when he returned, the recent buy from Leeds was missing with a twisted ankle. However, the ex-West Ham player feels he and his new partner can forge a successful combination. “We will cause problems for defences,” he promised. “Darren is an exciting striker. He is quick and his arrival is a big boost to the squad.”

City Hunt for New Groundsman: Manchester City are looking for a new groundsman. The current incumbent is leaving Maine Road to go to Millwall. With David Shaw, who took over the job from long-serving Stan Gibson, leaving for the New Den, the Blues are said to have compiled a shortlist of potential replacements. The new man will look after the Maine Road pitch, together with the Blues’ training sites at Platt Lane and Carrington, and will also be responsible for the pitch at the club’s new Eastlands stadium.

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. LEEDS UNITED, Saturday 13th January 2001

My daughter’s first ever visit to Maine Road was the 5-2 hammering by Leeds last year. Just six, she was a little perplexed by the football but loved the atmosphere: the smell of fags and Ralgex, the press of humanity, the new additions to her vocabulary and – best of all – the chants. For weeks, she walked around the house gaily singing. “We eat leaves! We eat leaves!”

Of course, we’re not alone in hating Leeds. The giveaway magazine from the Times contained an intriguing poll, based on Premiership fanzine editors’ views of which clubs they most detested. Leeds were well up in third place, just behind Spurs. Naturally, the Rags topped this table even more comfortably than the League. And where were we? Scanned down and saw us sitting bottom, with a solitary three points. My first reaction was delight – we’re adored by everyone for our self-deprecating wit, camaraderie, loyalty and sporting spirit. Then I realised that there was actually something rather sad about only being able to garner your local rivals’ second vote and having no-one else care at all. Down at Millwall, they’re doubtless taking pride in coming fifth, despite the fact that we’re the only Premiership club to have played them in living memory. No-one hates us, no-one hates us, we don’t care.

We were in 3-5-2: Weaver, Dunne, Mozza, Howey, Granville, Tiatto, Whitley, Haaland, Edghill, Goater, Wanchope. I like this formation: I didn’t see Birmingham but it worked well against Coventry, possibly the first time this season that we occasionally appeared have to more players on the pitch than the opposition. The two-Dans combination is particularly effective: freed of defensive responsibilities, Tiatto can terrify opposition defences, while Granville knows that he can make an occasional overlapping run with a class defender to fall back behind him. On the other hand, I don’t like to see Goater and Wanchope together. Not just because writing match reports is tricky when the two front men are identical, but because they’re too similar in style as well: unpredictable finishers of the goalmouth half-chance, they seem to duplicate rather than complement each other.

Four hundred words in and I still haven’t mentioned the game. Reason is, nothing happened for the first half hour. Play was scrappy; Leeds, with a worse away record than ours, looked even more nervous than we did; crowd anxiety had set in before kick-off rather than waiting the traditional ten minutes; and the referee, realising the explosive potential of Mills and Bowyer vs. Tiatto and Haaland, had adopted a policy of stopping play every time a player won a header or lost his balance. Gradually, however, the game was shifting against us. Dunne had to make a couple of superb saving clearances: our midfield strategy seemed to be to give the ball to them in the hope of catching Viduka offside on the through ball. Actually, this was working quite well, until the half-hour when Morrison tried passing a free-kick straight to Wilcox, who found Bakke onside, who scored.

Usually, going 1-0 is a setback but one maintains the hope that we can fight back. However, a quick count of our shots on target (zero) and our shots off target (maybe two) suggested that it would be unlikely. Without Huckerby, we weren’t creating anything. The half ended with a great save from Weaver’s feet, reminiscent of his Gillingham penalty technique, followed by an interminable spate of niggling which saw Mills, Morrison and Edghill booked.

Second half saw Grant come on for Granville: not sure what the logic was, but he played pretty well. For about ten minutes we were looking better, most of it coming from Tiatto: in quick succession he put Wanchope through to hit the side netting, got booked for giving Mills a deserved kicking, and set up Goater for a shot which tamely deflected into Robinson’s arms. Next, Edghill created a chance for Haaland; his shot was parried to Wanchope, whose follow-up was well deflected for a corner. In fact, after Tiatto, Edghill was our main source of attacking chances: which either suggests how well he’s rehabilitated, or highlights the absence of creativity in the rest of the team. Another of his initiatives set Wanchope away, who in turn reached Tiatto, whose blistering shot brought a world-class save from Robinson. At the other end, Weaver’s loss of confidence was evident through a series of sliced kicks. Still, at least he was making contact; he must have felt better watching Gary Walsh on MoTD.

Eventually, inevitably, and about fifteen minutes late, Dickov came on for Goater. In a cruel piece of one-upmanship, O’Leary responded by bringing on Robbie Keane. For a few minutes, Wanchope’s juggling and Dickov’s scurrying worked well together. At one point, Paolo tried to get past three defenders by dropping on all fours and crawling through with the ball between his knees. And then Bowyer scored, a shot from the edge of the box deflecting past Weaver. Ten minutes to go, and we weren’t going to come back. Unconcerned about goal difference, Joe brought on SWP for Mozza. “You’re going down with Bradford” sang the Leeds fans, although I’m surprised they were so well informed, since they had to keep asking Alfie what the score was.

By now the stadium was more than half empty, so most fans missed the last two goals. No, they weren’t injury-time equalisers. Keane was pursuing a diagonal ball towards the corner flag, and Weaver had it well covered. The way Keane chipped Weaver, with the outside of his left foot, at right angles to his own momentum, was breathtaking class. Even the players just wanted to go home. Leeds won a corner, Keane fell over, and managed to stab in another goal while lying on his back. Bast*rd.

It would be nice to stay up, but if we can’t win at home and we can’t beat bad sides, it’s hard to see how it will happen. All the evidence is that we’ll be welcoming back Millwall next season. At least they hate us properly.

Dorin James (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. LEEDS UNITED, Saturday 13th January 2001

First of all, I have a confession to make – I got in free. As a videogame journalist I have good contacts at Eidos (I once lent Ian Livingstone, the compay’s millionaire MD, 10 pence for a can of coke) and they give me complimentary tickets to most games. I know that makes me something of a corporate whore, but I’ve been going to see City for twenty years and I feel it’s time for some payback – especially after Saturday’s performance, which I will gladly pay never to have to watch again.

The first half was a scrappy, bad-tempered affair, more akin to a Division One relegation battle than a Premiership contest. The quality of City’s performance is symbolised perfectly by the fact that we didn’t get one shot in during the entire 45 minutes. Far too often Wanchope was a left all alone at the front receiving little in the way of support or ammunition, and on the rare occasions someone did manage to boot the ball in his general direction he was immediately swamped by world-class defenders. The tragedy is, Leeds certainly weren’t that much better for the opening half hour and just one inspirational spark would have been enough to give us the lead. It never came. Instead we got a shoddy Leeds goal courtesy of a ludicrously hurried Morrison free kick.

Somehow we managed to dominate the early part of the second half, but typically never did anything even remotely dangerous. It seemed nothing was coming out of midfield – Tiatto made a few decent runs and put the wind up Leeds on several occasions – but Haaland, Whitley and co. were largely anonymous, huffing and puffing around in the middle of the field like a bunch of unenthusiastic schoolboys. What we really needed was a creative attacking midfielder to run at Leeds and put in some decent crosses. Kennedy, though, is injured and Shaun Wright Phillips was brought on far too late for his occasionally scintillating runs to make any difference.

Meanwhile, back in defence, a decent-ish workmanlike display just fell apart after 70 minutes. The second Leeds goal came from a nothing attack, the ball ricocheting around in the box for what seemed like days without anyone getting a decisive foot to it. I won’t mention the last two goals, partly because they are too painful to think about and partly because I missed them – for the first time in my life I left early – I think three or four of the players must have gone at the same time. A tragic and slightly unfair ending to a pretty grubby, yellow card-strewn match.

So are we going down? On the strength of that ‘performance’, yes. There was little inspiration, no one wanted to take responsibility for going forward and no one seemed to be thinking particularly clearly. Only Tiatto and, in my opinion, Dunne were really fighting for the ball, keeping hold of it and coming up with ideas as to what to do with it rather than just kicking it and hoping for the best. We need Kennedy back, we need Huckerby to find his old Coventry form and we need to believe in ourselves. All I know is, I’m never leaving early again – it’s obviously really bad luck.

Keith Stuart (


This week in City’s history:

Jan. 16th: A year ago today, Bob Taylor’s superb cross-field pass lead to Shaun Goater’s first goal of 3 in the 4-0 win over Fulham.
Jan. 17th: In 1976 Joe Royle scored twice as City beat West Ham at home. In 1952, Roy Little played his first game for City at Liverpool and City also played Liverpool on this day in 1925 winning 5-0.
Jan. 18th: In 1975 there was a Dennis Tueart hat-trick in City’s 5-1 home win over Newcastle (though in their next game, City lost 0-4 at Stoke). In 1933 City won an F.A. Cup third-round replay 9-0 over Gateshead.
Jan. 19th: In 1952 City drew 1-1 vs. United with Irishman Frank McCourt (no, not that one) scoring the goal.
Jan. 20th: Neil Young and an Arsenal own goal gave City a 3-2 win at home.
Jan. 21st: 1961, Colin Barlow, Frank Hayes, and Denis Law were City’s scorers in the 3-3 draw against Newcastle. Back in 1928 in Division 2 City had a 3-0 home win over South Shields (at least we won’t be playing them anytime soon!).

So some good wins for City this week in years gone by. Some good stuff coming up next week as well. The next few days in 2001 will see City win at Derby who are going down, beat Liverpool, and go through to the 5th round of the Cup (won’t they?).

Ken Colfield (


Milton Keynes Branch of the OSC are gathering in massive numbers to support the Youth Team when they play at Luton on Tuesday!

We’re meeting up in the ‘Bedfordshire Yeoman’ at 6-30pm (7pm kick off).

We’d like to completely fill the ground, but we’re a bit short (I’m only 5’5″)… So if you’re anywhere near the area, come along and join us! Give me a call if you want more details (01327 350411).

Steve Maclean, Secretary, Milton Keynes Branch, Manchester City FC Supporters’ Club (


The Essex & Suffolk branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association are running a coach to the game at Pride Park between Derby County and City. Costs for non branch members: £20.00 adult and £10.00 junior (Under 16). There will be three pick up points: Harold Wood Train Station in Essex (08:00), Duke of Wellington Public House in Hatfield Peveral (08:30) and the Butterfly Hotel in Colchester (09:15) and returning immediately after the game.

Any interested parties should e-mail me to check availability.

Paul Gallagher, Essex & Suffolk Branch, Chairman/Secretary (


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

Issue 11. 12th January 2001

The festive season has given us the opportunity to evaluate the campaign and plan for the future.

The year ended on a spectacular note, with the issue of safe standing areas being given prominent coverage throughout the media, after Kate Hoey’s appearance on BBC1’s Weekend Watchdog. There were some excellent features and some disappointing ones too, but on the whole, we felt the balanced and objective media coverage came down in our favour. The most notable of these came from the editorial in The Times, 26th Dec, under the heading ‘Chris Smith’s own goal’ attacking those who criticised Hoey and urging the Government to consult with grassroots groups such as SAFE.

Understandably, all of the features against the campaign centred on the emotional argument surrounding Hillsborough. This was an expected response that we are currently working on.

Whilst the media has now gone on to other items of news, we must maintain as high a profile as we can to keep the pressure on the Government, football authorities and clubs to keep the issue on the agenda. The campaign is covered for the time being on the following: The web site features an interview with myself discussing the campaign. When Saturday Comes, the monthly ‘half decent mag’ has the issue on its editorial page. Whilst giving SAFE a fair hearing, the emotional argument carries heavy weight, using disasters at both Hillsborough and (strangely), Ibrox to illustrate their point. Finally, the excellent and thorough Groundtastic – The Football Grounds Magazine ( This publication is dedicated to bringing the latest news on ground developments at football stadiums from the Premier League right through to the semi-pro leagues and below of Britain, Ireland, Europe and indeed worldwide! Amongst the 80 pages, there is a feature on SAFE and also an update on developments in Germany, which we are basing a lot of our campaign on.

Of course, there is also our own web site that has proved to be very successful. This has been updated and now includes a message board. If you haven’t done so for a while – check it out!

It is important to keep the letter writing going. Our information is that Kate Hoey has received hundreds of letters in support of her comments made on Weekend Watchdog. If you haven’t already done so – now is the time to give her your support. Likewise her boss Chris Smith and The Premier League need to be targeted, condemning criticism of Hoey and asking for a debate on this issue.

Kate Hoey, Minister for Sport, DCMS, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London, SW1Y 5DH.
Chris Smith, Culture Secretary, as above.
Philip French, The FA Premier League, 11 Connaught Place, London, W2 2ET.

Also write to your club fanzine and club chairman expressing support for the campaign as well as your local MP. Please let me know of any responses you get.

All of the above respond to mail falling through the letter box so it is vital that this happens on a regular basis so that we cannot be ignored or passed off as ‘a minority’. There is a strong possibility that there will be a general election this spring. Let’s take advantage of this now.

Future activities include holding a few ‘Roadshow’ type meetings inviting supporters’ organisations and fanzines etc. from geographical areas to a meeting to present the campaign to them with the aim of setting up local groups that can be proactive in their own area. Members of IMUSA have calculated the cost of a fact finding trip to Germany and are currently seeking funding for this to go ahead as soon as is possible. This will prove to be vital in order to collect as much information on the different methods in use in German stadiums as evidence to present to the authorities here in Britain.

SAFE has also been contacted by a few supporters’ groups from clubs outside the top two divisions in England. Some have simply expressed their support, whilst others have concerns that their club is planning to build a new stadium and aim to have it all seated. Once again, the misinformation that we faced early on is coming to the surface. New stadiums do not have to be all seated – as both post Hillsborough new stadiums at Walsall and Scunthorpe have a terrace behind one goal. However, the stands must be built so that they are able to convert to a seated area should the club reach the 1st Division. There are many 2nd and 3rd Division clubs planning to relocate and we hope that fans here will join the campaign to ensure that their views are taken into account and implemented. It did not go unnoticed – watching highlights of the FA Cup 3rd round – the contrast between games played in front of empty seats (Anfield, Maine Road, The Stadium of Light, St James Park, The City Ground, Hillsborough etc.) and those played at stadiums with terraces (The Bescot Stadium, Dean Court, Brisbane Road, Craven Cottage and Christie Park). The latter provided the thrills and spills of cup football with fans standing up cheering their team on – with no reported incidents or trouble at all. Whilst we welcomed this fact, we would also like to make clear our view that these terraces are not what we are campaigning for and would also like to see them modified further into the safe standing areas that exist in Europe, most notably, as previously mentioned, in Germany.

Start writing today. Thanks.

Phill Gatenby (


Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park stadium was actually built one year before Hillsborough, not after.

The Daily Telegraph published an editorial supporting the opening of a discussion on safe standing on 26th Dec, not The Times.

Secondly, as also mentioned in safe 11, funding is being sought to enable a fact finding trip to Germany to take place in February. In order to do this, we need to show that there is support for the campaign by supporters’ groups. Therefore, if you run a supporters’ association / group or fanzine, please email your support for a safe standing feasibility study in the UK, to Mark, at

Please, at this stage we are looking for support from groups and fanzines, rather than individuals (individuals should join a group or contact their fanzine asking them to support the study).

And another reminder, if you havent written to Kate Hoey, Chris Smith or The Premier League, now is the time to do so!

Phill Gatenby (


A web site you might find worth a visit…

Doesn’t go in for match reports very much but does keep up reasonably well with the breaking news about your favourite team, and will email it direct to your desktop, if you register.

I have to declare an interest, in that I helped develop the site…

CTID (Clubcall till I die), Pat McGibbon (


Just seen Bette Midler in the Rose. 20 minutes into the movie she is on stage with her band. Bottle of whiskey in one hand, the audience in the other. She is doing an intro to a number and it goes something like this “So when do you think I started to love THE BLUES?”; slight pause, she looks at the crowd and yells, “The day I was effin born”. Me too Bette, me too.

Pass the Heineken, Bob Price (


If we are to get out of this slump, we had better start next Saturday at Derby County; this is without doubt a 6-pointer game and we should win this game. We are better, just need our confidence back.

Come on you Blues – confidence!

Ernie Barrow (


So yet another home match comes and goes and we fail to take any points from it. “Don’t panic” comes the cry but with games running out and the season entering its back half, maybe it is time to get at least a bit concerned. We have bought a handful of players this season so far in an attempt to beef up the areas in which the current squad are lacking but looking back our performances now are worse than the ones we were turning in at the start of the campaign. In total we have spent around £11 million and in reality have little to show for it. Go back to the start of the season and think of the areas everyone was saying we needed to address. The right back, midfield and strike force. Right back we bought Charvet who in my opinion has so far distinguished himself by being outstandingly ordinary. Up front we have Wanchope who seems to score lots of goals… for Costa Rica but precious little for the team paying his wages. Midfield: well honestly the engine room of the entire team and it looks like someone shut the door and forgot to open it again. Not one penny has been spent on the midfield so far and with ‘the Bish’ looking set to leave on a free and Messrs Kennedy, Whitley and Wiekens carrying injuries, perhaps now is the time to look seriously at some quality in this area. Little Shaun has been doing a marvellous job but you can’t build an entire midfield around one eighteen-year-old lad and expect to win week in, week out.

I read once again that the chairman is saying the money is available for players if Joe goes and finds them. That is the second time in two weeks that the same report has been in the press. Perhaps the time has come for Joe to listen and actually go spend some money then. OK so let’s put this all in perspective, just how much money will it take? Well a friend put the case as succinctly as I’ve heard anyone do this week. Dave Bernstein estimated the cost to the club of our two years in Division One and Two as £40 million. That was lost revenue to a club that are currently making around £2.7 million this year so far. It’s not difficult to work out that is a potential loss of £12 million next year if we don’t get it right on the pitch. So what can you get for say £20 million these days? Certainly two or three class midfielders. We aren’t talking other people’s cast-offs here, we are talking aggressive bids for regular first teamers with proven track records, guys who can help keep us in the top flight with the prospect of making a serious bid next season for a place in the top six and the holy grail that is European football. We are obviously not talking about the Figos or Keanes of this world but realistically we could be talking Bowyers or Butts. We are being beaten in the transfer market about as often as we are on the pitch so maybe it’s finger out time and lets for heaven’s sake get a decent midfield put together before we going back to Wycombe and Lincoln for soggy pies on wet Tuesday nights.

P.S. I do wish Alfie would stop making these rediculous press statements like the one about Leeds being a poor side on Saturday morning. When we get thrashed 4-0 he ends up making the club look like idiots as well as himself. With that cherubic face, as well, it’s a bit like a choir-boy giving it out to Vinnie Jones – you just know he’s going to get slapped!

Dave Cash (


Well, another home defeat, the 7th home defeat I hear. I’ll try to be short. Let’s not give up, we must keep being behind City. I know it’s a dreadful period for us, today’s Joe’s words (about any Conference side being able to get the 3 points at Maine Road) made me think, and made me shed tears. I remember our last summer’s dreams, City flying high among the top six, ready for a European challenge. I’d started dreaming of going to San Siro with the travelling City fans, waiting to erupt after Goater’s magnificent strike. Well, our main objective is now absolutely clear. We’ve got to avoid relegation. I don’t know what’s been going on, but I can’t believe City are so weak to concede 4 goals to every opposition who play at Maine Road. Our problem is 100% psychological. I’m sure the players are lacking confidence, so please, my friends who regularly can attend Maine Road fixtures, please don’t boo the players.

I think Joe has has wasted a lot of money by buying players not skilled enough. But everyone can make mistakes, and anyway this is my opinion (I don’t like Haaland, for example). The table is absolutely clear. We are second from bottom, but first and foremost (even though I’m fully Italian) we are Manchester. There’s this word, the word “City”, nobody will ever change it. We represent Manchester, the City of Manchester, we are Manchester City! I’ve been to Maine Road 3 times in my life, and that has been enough for me to understand what really means to be a Blue. Let’s be aware of one thing. Our target is not Europe, as we were dreaming of. Our target is survival. And we will survive, as long as you fans who go to Maine Road keep backing the guys. I know we belong to the best of English football, but we haven’t arrived yet. Our road to success is still under construction, and this road passes through another year in the Premiership. We are a newly promoted side, let’s not be angry with our players, they’re suffering as much as we are. Let’s keep supporting them, with as much strength as our heart can give them. Triumphs wiil come but patience and trust are the words to believe in. I hope I’ll manage to join you at Maine Road on 31 March vs. Aston Villa. I just hope I won’t have to hear anybody booing our players after a possible half time Villa lead. All right, I’m Italian, but I love Manchester, and I love to feel Mancunian as well. That’s why I am a Manchester City fan. One day I’ll write my story for the “Why Blue” section, but what I want to say today is… Come on Cit… we aren’t that strong but definitely good enough to play in the Premiership next season. This is the time to show our love to our colours, to our city, the city of Manchester, yes Manchester City.

Vanes Marzaroli (


Leeds scored 4 times, we had 4 shots all match! No supply, no guile, plenty of determination and tackling but no creative influence. Joe cannot hide behind his constant phrase that we were unlucky. I was always a believer that in football you create your own luck. We are in a crisis, we cannot afford to lose more than half of our remaining games and we’ve got the Rags, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal still to play. In fact at this moment in time I am convinced we’ll be digging out the road map to Gillingham and Preston. We are missing the supply from Kennedy (for all his faults he is one of the top crossers in the Premiership – stats don’t lie!) and with no supply from the right it’s no wonder we are performing so badly. If Joe really won’t give Cooke a chance then why not give Charvet a go on the right hand side of midfield (witness his assist against Everton) – at Newcastle he was a better wing back than full back. Unless we purchase a quality ball playing midfielder this week, then we might just have to start the debate about who is going to jump ship (my money is on Charvet and Weaver, why else buy Nash except as a cheap replacement for Nicky?).

A very depressed CTID.

P.S. Is it really that bad? Taken off football365 website:

Quick Poll: What should Man City give Joe Royle?
Time 54%
The Sack 46%

Even if we went down I would hate to see Joe go, what he has achieved cannot be matched by any City managers in my living memory – obviously I’ve cheered up a little bit more now!

James Walsh (


That’s it. We’ll go down with Bradford (thanks God the Bantams’ manager asked Petrescu to go somewhere else, because his wage was too big, so he moved to Southampton, a safer bet against relegation, and an extra chance for me to see a Romanian in the Premiership).

But I support City and not Petrescu, so I really hope the board realise Royle’s limits and mistakes. Dare I say look at Boro, now that Venables took over from Robson? I understand that there were voices on BBC5 asking for Royle to quit. Hopefully he does or else he’ll get his balance right at City with two promotions and two relegations. I won’t be a Richard Branson or a Bill Gates and neither will Royle be a successful Premiership Manager, mainly because he doesn’t know how to deal with star players. He just expects them to do the same killing tackles and run relentlessly like half of our mediocre team players do. Hagi, Maradona or Rivaldo are not great tacklers, but they showed (no matter how nervous, or spoiled they were) where the magic of football comes from.

I’ve seen City 4 times on Sky and once “live” at Maine Road. The only match that we showed some skill was when Weah was at his best at Gillingham. We all have our limits and it is about time for Royle to realise this and move to another lower division club and become successful. I very much fear the board will back Royle until too late to do something to save us. How lady luck was helping us by providing the Premiership with some other poor performers! Otherwise we would have been dead and buried months ago. We should never complain about luck.

Losing 0-4 at home that’s relegation stuff and unless someone new comes to ask Weaver to play as striker and Dickov at centre back, or whatever changes to save us, we’ll get back to playing Preston in the local derby next season. Of course, I’ll keep hoping that City will win at Derby (it should be ‘live’ on Sky), but, then we’ll have visits from Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Actually, I’m looking to our remaining fixtures and I don’t know where to get points from.

C’mon City. All the best, Val Cudric (


Recent results to 14 January 2001 inclusive.

14 January 2001

Ipswich Town          2 - 0  Leicester City        22,002

13 January 2001

Arsenal               1 - 1  Chelsea               38,071
Aston Villa           0 - 3  Liverpool             41,366
Bradford City         0 - 3  Manchester United     20,551
Everton               0 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     32,290
Manchester City       0 - 4  Leeds United          34,288
Middlesbrough         4 - 0  Derby County          29,041
Newcastle United      3 - 1  Coventry City         50,159
Southampton           0 - 0  Charlton Athletic     15,220
West Ham United       0 - 2  Sunderland            26,014

League table to 14 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  23  9  1  1 31  6  7  4  1 23 10 16  5  2 54 16  38  53
 2 Sunderland      23  8  3  0 16  5  4  3  5 15 17 12  6  5 31 22   9  42
 3 Arsenal         23  9  3  0 31  8  2  4  5  8 15 11  7  5 39 23  16  40
 4 Ipswich Town    23  6  4  2 19 10  6  0  5 16 16 12  4  7 35 26   9  40
 5 Liverpool       22  9  1  1 25  8  3  2  6 17 18 12  3  7 42 26  16  39
 6 Leicester City  22  6  3  2 16 12  4  2  5  8 13 10  5  7 24 25  -1  35
 7 Newcastle Utd   23  7  2  3 18 12  3  2  6 10 19 10  4  9 28 31  -3  34
 8 Charlton Ath.   23  7  3  1 18  7  2  2  8 13 29  9  5  9 31 36  -5  32
 9 Chelsea         22  8  2  1 29 10  0  5  6 10 18  8  7  7 39 28  11  31
10 Tottenham H.    23  8  3  0 22  9  0  3  9  8 25  8  6  9 30 34  -4  30
11 West Ham United 22  4  4  3 17 11  3  4  4 14 15  7  8  7 31 26   5  29
12 Leeds United    21  6  1  4 20 15  2  4  4 11 13  8  5  8 31 28   3  29
13 Aston Villa     21  4  4  2 14 10  3  4  4  9 12  7  8  6 23 22   1  29
14 Southampton     23  6  2  4 18 15  1  5  5 10 19  7  7  9 28 34  -6  28
15 Middlesbrough   23  3  4  5 14 16  2  4  5 13 14  5  8 10 27 30  -3  23
16 Everton         22  3  4  4 13 14  3  1  7  8 19  6  5 11 21 33 -12  23
17 Derby County    23  4  5  2 14 15  1  3  8 10 25  5  8 10 24 40 -16  23
18 Coventry City   23  2  4  5  8 15  3  2  7 14 25  5  6 12 22 40 -18  21
19 Manchester City 23  3  2  7 16 19  2  3  6 11 23  5  5 13 27 42 -15  20
20 Bradford City   22  2  4  5 10 17  1  2  8  6 24  3  6 13 16 41 -25  15

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 #675