Newsletter #678

A quick intro this time due to time I’m afraid. The welcome news is that we are about to sign at least one player to bolster our hopes of Premiership survival. That player is none other than Andrei Kanchelskis (on loan), with strong rumours that another player is to follow shortly.

Next game: Coventry City at home, Saturday 27th January 2001 (FA Cup)


Part I: Transfer News and Rumours

City Seal Kanchelskis Loan Move: Joe Royle has again turned to the transfer market in his bid to keep Manchester City in the Premiership. The Blues’ boss has signed winger Andrei Kanchelskis on a three-month loan from Rangers. Kanchelskis hasn’t featured in the Scottish champions’ senior side for the last three months, and is keen to return to Manchester, where he made his name in a successful spell with United. Royle then took the Ukrainian-born winger to Everton from Old Trafford and is delighted to have the player on board now. “Andrei gave me two fantastic seasons at Everton,” said the City manager, “He will give us the balance on the right that we have been lacking. I am really pleased that we have managed to land him. He is what I would call a real impact player.” If the Russian international impresses at Maine Road, he could make a permanent £1.5 million switch to the Blues.

Kanchelskis Relishing Premier Challenge: Andrei Kanchelskis is to return to Manchester to play for City. And the 32-year-old is desperate to prove that he can still deliver the goods at Premiership level. Kanchelskis enjoyed great success at Manchester United between 1991 and 1995. And after moving to Everton, the winger delivered a remarkable 20 goals in 52 league games for the Merseyside club. The player has since featured in Italy with Fiorentina and in Scotland with Rangers, but says he’s looking forward to being back in the English top flight. “I am very excited about the possibility of playing in the Premiership again,” he said. “I was made aware of City’s latest interest and have fond memories of Manchester. It will be nice to return.” The Russian international will stay in Glasgow and train with Rangers on Friday before coming to Manchester over the weekend. He hasn’t signed in time to face Coventry on Saturday but could make his début in next Wednesday’s game against Liverpool.

Another Signing to Follow Andrei?: Manchester City have recruited Andrei Kanchelskis to help in their survival battle. But the Russian international may not be the last new face to arrive at Maine Road this season. Earlier this month, Joe Royle’s pursuit of West Ham’s Steve Lomas showed that the Bleus boss is keen to strengthen his midfield. And reports in Scotland continue to link City with Hearts’ Colin Cameron. Meanwhile, Thursday’s Daily Mail claims that Paul Lambert of Celtic could also be a target for the Blues.

City Eyeing Scottish International?: Manchester City tried – and failed – to reinforce their midfield earlier this month with an unsuccessful bid for West Ham’s Steve Lomas. But there are claims that the outcome could be different if the Blues follow up interest in another target. City are being linked by several media sources with a move for Colin Cameron of Hearts. The 28-year-old has an excellent scoring record, having notched nine league goals so far this term, and Joe Royle may have to beat off interest from other clubs if he’s to land the £2 million-rated star. Jim Jeffries, Cameron’s former boss at Tynecastle, is keen to take the player to Bradford and while the Bantams may have difficulty raising the transfer fee at present, Everton and Celtic may also be in the hunt for the former Raith man’s signature – and wouldn’t have the same cash problems. Director Chris Bird would only comment that the Blues have so far “made no official bid” for the Scottish international.

Bishop Set for Miami, Eventually: Ian Bishop is set to disappoint Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday and move to the USA. But the midfielder faces a wait before he can finally sign for Miami Fusion. Bishop is being allowed to leave Maine Road on a free transfer and it’s believed he favours a switch to the MLS club ahead of a transfer to either of the South Yorkshire outfits. However, MLS rules dictate that Miami must remove a player from their ‘roster’ before signing the 35-year-old – though this could happen sooner rather than later if Jamaican midfielder Andy Williams impresses in an imminent trial at Nottingham Forest.

Two Further Transfer Links: Manchester City are still hoping to turn to the transfer market to salvage their Premiership season. And the Blues were linked earlier this week with both a striker and a midfielder. Reports from Scotland claimed that City are showing an interest in Rangers’ Rod Wallace. The ex-Leeds man has a scoring rate of better than a goal every other game during his two-and-a-half years with the Glasgow giants but is currently not in manager Dick Advocaat’s plans. However, recent developments indicate that Andrei Kanchelskis was the Blues’ target at Ibrox. Meanwhile, sources at Sheffield United named City as the Premiership club who have, along with four First Division outfits, made an inquiry for the Blades’ transfer-listed midfielder Curtis Woodhouse. But it appears that the player could be set for a switch to Birmingham in a swap deal involving striker Peter Ndlovu.

Jobson Waiting on Transfer Switch: Richard Jobson’s loan spell at Tranmere will end after the weekend cup tie against Everton. And the veteran defender is still waiting to hear whether the Wirral outfit want him to stay on a permanent basis. Jobson has impressed during his time at Prenton Park. And there’s been plenty of speculation that Tranmere boss John Aldridge will at least offer the 37-year-old a contract for the rest of the season. However, the player says he’s heard nothing from the ex-Liverpool striker as yet. “My loan spell runs out next Monday,” he told the official City website at, “and I am just waiting to see what will happen.”

Dickov Staying – But Charvet Quit Talk Continues: Paul Dickov and Laurent Charvet have both been the subject of speculation over their Manchester City futures recently. But while rumours still claim the French defender is unhappy at Maine Road, it appears that the Scot will stay at the club. Dickov had been linked with a possible move to Hibernian once he recovers from a knee ligament injury. However, the player has said he has no wish to return to Scotland, while the Edinburgh club have now denied any interest in the 28-year-old. But Charvet is still reportedly dissatisfied after losing his first-team place at the beginning of January and could be set for more talks with Joe Royle over his future. The ex-Newcastle player is currently out of action with a minor achilles problem but should be back in training next week.

Injured Crooks Set to Stay With Cobblers: Lee Crooks’ loan spell at Northampton has already been disrupted once through injury. But fears that another fitness problem could force the utility man to return to Manchester City for a second time are receding. Crooks played in two games over Christmas before picking up an ankle knock and coming back to Manchester for treatment. But the 22-year-old returned to the Cobblers only to sustain medial ligament damage against Bristol City last Saturday. It was originally feared his stay at Sixfields could be over – but now it’s reported that he should return to action in three weeks’ time, at which point, his loan spell will still have over a month remaining.

Part II: Miscellaneous News and Views

Ritchie Waiting on Ref’s Report: Paul Ritchie escaped punishment despite appearing to strike Adam Murray in City’s draw at Derby on Saturday. But though referee Jeff Winter took no action at the time, the Scot may not have heard the last of the incident. The clash caused ill-feeling in the Derby camp and was highlighted on the BBC’s Saturday evening Match of the Day highlights show. Now City are waiting to see whether Winter will mention the matter in his report – and if he does, Ritchie may face an FA misconduct charge.

Irwin Backs his Former Boss: Joe Royle faces a tough challenge to keep Manchester City in the Premiership. But one of the Blues’ boss’s former players is hoping that the ex-Oldham and Everton manager will maintain City’s top flight status. Denis Irwin has been a mainstay of Manchester United’s success in the last decade. But the Irish defender learned his trade at Oldham under Royle, who revived the full-back’s career after he’d been given a free transfer at Leeds. Irwin says he feels for his ex-boss – and that United want their cross-city rivals to be successful in their battle against relegation. “I think it is good for United and good for the city to have the two clubs in the Premiership,” he said. “You need that edge that exists in derby matches to add some spice to the season.”

City Look to Build Eastlands Visitors Centre: Manchester City will move to the new Eastlands stadium in just over two years. And the Blues want to build a new visitors centre on the site in time for their arrival. City want the building to be located at the north end of the stadium complex and intend it to house a sports merchandise superstore, a cafe bar and a football museum. The Blues hope that the new ‘fan zone’ will be open several weeks before the start of the relocation to Eastlands in the summer of 2003.

Prior – Spirit in Camp Still Good: Manchester City are in a battle to preserve their Premiership future. But Spencer Prior says that the spirit in the Maine Road dressing room is excellent – despite some poor recent results. Prior was recently omitted from the City line-up, before earning a recall against his former club Derby at the weekend. But the former Leicester defender says that, irrespective of who is selected for Joe Royle’s senior side, there’s a unity of purpose at the club. “The spirit in the camp has been great from the first game and nothing has changed,” he insists. “There is a bond that runs right the way from the chairman, through the manager down to the Academy boys. Everyone is working together and sticking together to try and achieve what we all want and that is to stay in the Premiership.”

Howey – No Pressure from Fans: Pundits seeking to explain Manchester City’s poor home form have speculated that the team is put under pressure by the demanding Maine Road crowd. But Steve Howey says nothing could be further from the truth. Howey acknowledges that an improvement in home form holds the key to Premiership survival this term. But the ex-Newcastle man refutes press comment that the City fans create an atmosphere which is detrimental to the performances of their own team. “They don’t put us under pressure. How could they?” he said. “They are unbelievably supportive. A lot is made by the media of the so-called pressure of playing at Maine Road but I certainly do not feel it and I don’t think the rest of the lads do either.”

City Deny Defoe His Record: Striker Jermaine Defoe thought he’d broken the post-War record for scoring in the most successive games on Tuesday night. But in fact the on-loan Bournemouth striker now only shares the record with Manchester City’s Billy McAdams. Courtesy of his strike in this week’s 2-0 win at Cambridge, West Ham starlet Defoe has now found the net in ten consecutive matches since beginning his temporary stint at Dean Court. But reports that the talented teenager is now the sole post-War record-holder are wide of the mark. City historian Phil Noble has searched the record books and confirms that McAdams performed a similar feat for the Blues in the 1957-58 season.

Positive News of Injured Stars: Manchester City could soon be boosted by the return to action of two injured stars. Paul Dickov and Mark Kennedy both hope to feature for the Blues in next Thursday’s reserve game against Oldham. Kennedy has been sidelined for the last month after picking up a knee ligament injury in the match at Sunderland but should be back in training on Monday. Meanwhile, Dickov, who was expected to be missing for six weeks after sustaining medial ligament damage against Leeds earlier this month, is making better-than-expected progress and could also play in the reserves’ Manchester Senior Cup tie against the Latics.

City Take a Stand Over Fake Merchandise: Manchester City’s merchandising operation is an important source of revenue for the club. So the Blues are keen to take action against traders selling fake replica shirts. In recent months, counterfeit shirts have been found on sale at a number of outlets in the north west of England. And the club is determined to protect its brand. “There is a concerted effort to trace those responsible,” promised director Chris Bird. “If a person buys fakes, they have no statutory rights and they are often getting poor quality goods.”

City Stars Offered Survival Bonus: Manchester City’s players will be in the money if the Blues clinch Premiership survival this season. The club is offering a cash bonus to all members of the squad if relegation is avoided. City have reportedly set aside funds to pay £30,000 per man if the players manage to beat the drop. Fellow strugglers Middlesbrough have adopted a similar policy, but both clubs will have to work the bonus into next season’s contracts. League rules don’t allow for a bonus to be offered during the course of a season.

Shearer Eyes City Return Date: Alan Shearer has been missing from the Newcastle line-up of late after undergoing surgery. But the ex-England captain is hoping to return to action when Manchester City visit the Geordies on February 24. Shearer has been suffering from tendonitis and has been sidelined since before Christmas. But the former Blackburn man will be back in full training soon and has targeted the Blues’ visit to St James’s Park as his likely comeback date. Fellow striker Carl Cort, a long-term injury victim, may also be back in the Newcastle team by the time they face City.

Royle Doesn’t Want to Change Tiatto: Danny Tiatto’s abrasive character has been highlighted more than once by television pundits this season, and the Australian found himself under the microscope again this week. But Joe Royle doesn’t want the 27-yaer-old to change his style. Pundits on BBC TV’s Match of the Day show focused on Tiatto’s challenge on Derby’s Craig Burley during last Saturday’s relegation battle. And the player will miss the FA Cup tie against Coventry as he serves a second suspension of the season. But Royle is defending the former Stoke man against his critics. “I don’t want to take the fire out of his game because it is part of his make-up,” said the City manager. “He is a completely honest professional who would never try to hurt someone deliberately.”

Part III: Reserve and Youth News

Reserves Draw at Newcastle: Manchester City reserves played their first game of 2001 on Monday evening. And the Blues’ second string earned another FA Premier Reserve League point with a 1-1 draw away to Newcastle. City had Carlo Nash making his first appearance in goal, while Richard Edghill also played after being omitted from the first team’s weekend game at Derby. Transfer-listed pair Jim Whitley and Terry Cooke also featured, but the rest of the line-up was inexperienced, and it was one of the youngsters who gave the Blues an early lead. However, Chris Killen’s strike was cancelled out by Argentinian Pablo Bonvin.

Part IV: FA Cup Team News and Preview

Royle Weighing Up Options for Saturday: Joe Royle was reasonably happy with the performance of his Manchester City side at Derby last week. But the Blues’ boss will have to decide how best to replace at least two key players for the visit of Coventry on Saturday. City will be without Steve Howey and Danny Tiatto for the FA Cup tie against the Midlands club, with both men serving automatic one-match suspensions. There are various options to cover for Howey, including switching Richard Dunne from the right-back rôle he occupied at Pride Park, moving Paul Ritchie from left-back or recalling former skipper Andy Morrison. But the absence of Tiatto leaves the Blues desperately short of left-sided options in midfield with Mark Kennedy and Kevin Horlock still on the injured list. Meanwhile, Darren Huckerby is a major doubt for City. The striker has still not fully recovered from the ankle problem he sustained against Birmingham three weeks ago so may sit out the match against his former club. Finally, new boy Andrei Kanchelskis is not eligible for the game. The winger isn’t cup-tied but he wasn’t signed in time to play in the fourth round of the competition.

Howey Wants Cup Run to Inspire League Improvement: Manchester City’s priority for the remainder of this season is to ensure Premiership survival. But defender Steve Howey says that’s no reason to regard Saturday’s FA Cup clash against Coventry as an unwelcome distraction. Howey will be suspended for the visit of Gordon Strachan’s side. But he’ll be willing his team mates to win the fourth round tie because he feels that a good cup run can inspire the confidence City will need to climb the league table. “People may say the Cup is a distraction,” reflected the one-time England centre back, “but it is just as important and is our chance to start a run.”

Sven in City Mission: Sven-Goran Eriksson is expected at Maine Road for the first time on Saturday. It’s believed that the new England coach will attend the Blues’ FA Cup fourth round tie against Coventry. Eriksson is busy familiarising himself with the players at his disposal in his new role, and his presence will give Nicky Weaver an incentive to return to top form after recent criticism. Meanwhile, Shaun Wright-Phillips will be hoping to mark himself out as one of the Premiership’s emerging stars in front of the watching former Lazio chief. City officials are understood to be making plans to afford the national team boss a warm welcome on his visit to the club.

Peter Brophy (


The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association will on Tuesday 20th February (please note the new date) at the Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm. Our confirmed guests are Dave Wallace – editor of King of the Kippax, Ian Cheeseman – from BBC GMR and Phill Gatenby – Spokesperson for Standing Areas For Eastlands (S.A.F.E.). If you have an opinion on standing areas at Eastlands (and surely every City fan must) then this is the meeting to be at. As usual everyone is welcome.

Howard Burr, Secretary (T: 0161 292 2525


Think the City performance at Derby looked a bit more solid at the back; and hopefully we can now translate some of the positives from this away performance to the home form. Whilst we have been guilty of playing too deep and asking teams to come at us at times in recent months (and this shows a resemblance of the seasons when we have been relegated) I personally still firmly believe we are missing the intelligence and creativity of a real midfield “general”. If we could get this sorted we should be able to give some of the supply we need to create chances for messrs Huckerby and Wanchope/Goater.

I think that whilst the Haaland signing has been a good one he is not really the answer and in some ways “flatters to deceive”; neither is he a captain in the true sense and in the couple of months ahead I feel we do need a “Mr Motivator”. I am a bit surprised that Joe seems to think we can get away without this type of person as well as a creative force in the middle of the park.

Although we also need a more potent, quicker and strong forward line, the real missing link is the middle of the park. All this said I think we will succeed and beat the drop!

Come on the lads – and most importantly the fans; get behind the team and encourage them!

Next meeting of the Blues in Bandit Country: thanks to David Cross and Wilf McGuiness for attending the last meeting as our special guests and passing on their views on football and City in general.

Next meeting – Tuesday 13th February 2001 at the Metro’s Sports & Social Club, Moss Road in Stretford (off Davyhulme Road East). Special guest: Paul Lake. One of City’s most talented and versatile players of recent times who was eventually forced into retirement after having 14 operations during a five-year battle against a cruciate ligament injury. Having earned several England U21 caps he would certainly have gone on to win full international recognition had it not been for his horrendous injury problems.

Meeting open to all City fans
Families and children welcome
Adults £1 admission on the door
“Football card” competition
Raffle and prizes
Children’s raffle
Meeting starts 7:00pm prompt
Branch membership available at the meeting

For more information please call 0161 746 7638 and leave details on the answering machine if we are not about.

Clive Hamilton (

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK WWW.FA-PREMIER.COM have kindly made a donation to that will enable us to continue to provide webmail in the present format until the end of the season.

I would personally like to thank the MD of and hope the City fans that use will support City’s pages on their site:

Bob Young (


Here’s my possibly over optimistic predictions following up to John Pearson’s in the last issue.

Obviously if we can beat Liverpool then confidence will return. I think the key to the season is going to be the 5 games between Soton and Leicester (all of which I think we are capable of winning on any good day). In order for us to have a decent chance, I think we need a big win soon to give some confidence back to the squad. A miracle and a shutout for Nicky next Wednesday could be the turning point (although I’ve been saying that for every game lately).

Jan 31 Liverpool            H      Win (1-0)
Feb  3 Middlesbrough        A      Draw (0-0)
Feb 10 Tottenham            H      Draw (2-2)
Feb 24 Newcastle            A      Lose (0-3)
Mar  3 Southampton          H      Win (2-1)
Mar 17 Bradford             A      Draw (1-1)
Mar 31 Aston Villa          H      Win (1-0)
Apr  7 Everton              A      Win (2-1)
Apr 14 Leicester            A      Win (2-0)
Apr 16 Arsenal              H      Lose (0-3)
Apr 21 Man Utd              A      Draw (2-2, maybe a win if the Rags have already won league)
Apr 28 West Ham             H      Win (3-0)
May  5 Ipswich              A      Win (2-0)
May 19 Chelsea              H      Draw (1-1)

Paul Faulkner a.k.a. ColoradoBlue (


Appeal is going fantastic. Joanne (looking after things Manchester side) went down to pick the first lot of gear up on Friday for sorting out. Could only fit around a third of the stuff in the car. It’s only a Punto, but even still, it gives you an idea!

Absolutley top response, hoping to see Jo on Granada at the end of this week early next. Plugging for the last week of the campaign all being well. One kind bloke offered us some footy nets. Had to turn him down on shipping grounds, but was really grateful for the shout. I would like to stick to shirts now if possible. Have received a few boots, not sure how that happened, they will find a good home.

I can’t say it enough, the kids will be made up. Things have gone through the roof, but with BA sorting out the shipping, the more shirts we get the Bluer Lusaka will be!

Zambia Open Community Schools exist to provide primary eduaction to kids who are missed out by the school system. Nine to sixteen year olds receive seven years basic (primary) education in four. This will be the only education most of them get. Many are orphans as is the reality of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia and Africa. We give priority to girls as they are often excluded. Our schools are about 60/40 split.

To see and meet these kids is a privilege. They are happy to be in school and work hard despite many obstacles and family obligations. The commitment from their families and communities to give them hope deserves way more than they get out of life today. This little bit we are doing with the shirts lets them know people do care, it’s a treat they would never have, as putting food on the table is priority, and it’s a City shirt (or hat, scarf)! What could be better?

Had a couple of City fans get in touch looking to donate to ZOCS on the back of the campaign, which again is ace. Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to support the campaign. Especially the club, GMR, MEN, City Mag, BA and all Internet world. I expect stuff will arrive around March/April and will get tons of pics then.

Plan is to give a football team a strip, mainly for first chance of a photo call. We have a sports tournament in June, so hoping to reach school teams first before the event. Hope we can reach as many of the 4,500 kids as possible with something.

Good luck to the boys on the pitch. Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton (


“How Manchester City must wish there were points awarded for the support each club receives. Their travelling army was magnificent. In contrast, the Derby fans seemed to be rather overwhelmed by the noise emanating from the away end of the ground and, apart from a few half-hearted boos every time their former favourite Paulo Wanchope touched the ball, they were unusually subdued,”

The Attendance table, also from the Observer;

The 10 best watched teams in England

                        Pld     Total   Highest Average Capacity Pct
1 Man Utd 11 741993 67603 67454 68936 97.8
2 Newcastle 12 616860 52134 51405 52167 98.5
3 Sunderland 11 505943 47742 45995 48300 92.5
4 Liverpool 11 479404 44718 43582 45362 96.0
5 Leeds 11 429178 40055 39016 40204 97.0
6 Arsenal 12 455941 38146 37995 38500 98.6
7 Tottenham 11 389010 36148 35365 36236 97.5
8 Chelsea 11 379057 35121 34460 35421 97.2
9 MCFC 12 408183 34516 34015 34026 99.9
10 Everton 11 365314 38541 33210 40260 82.4

Outside the top 10 the next best percentages full were Charlton (99.8%), West Ham (99.1%) and Ipswich (97.2%).

Note that City are the only team in the table to have a highest season attendance for a game which exceeds the stated ground capacity. How did they do that?

Andy Jackson (


Post the Leeds game we sat down, did some thinking and had a good old family discussion. Well, sort of. As much as anyone can when having consumed copious amounts of potent gin & tonic jelly (Nigella Lawson’s book if anyone wants the recipe!). Four members of the family had witnessed this shambolic performance. One hasn’t seen City play live since the Forest away game last season. Oh heady days.

In summary: the team looked distinctly First Division; the second half was all Leeds; our concerns regarding lack of pace were cruelly confirmed; we were outclassed; Leeds broke quickly; their passing was accurate and fast; they weren’t afraid to shoot from outside the box; we need a quality midfielder; Leeds were quicker to the ball, stronger in the tackle; Leeds totally controlled the midfield and enjoyed acres of space in which to play; they marched through the midfield and split the defence open at will.

Sounds familiar? It should do – these were comments from MCIVTA after the 2-5 FA Cup game in January 2000. This led to much speculation of the “will he, won’t he?” (make it as a Premiership player) variety and provided a good yardstick to measure our potential return to the promised land against. The general consensus seemed to be that 5 or 6 of the then squad would cope with Premiership football.

So what’s happened in the intervening 12 months? A reasonable run in to the end of the season, a good result at Blackburn and a return to the top flight for the first time in 4 years. Two successive promotions; City were indeed back. £14 million has been spent on bringing in 9 new players; players needed to give us the skill and a fighting chance of reaching the top 6 and Europe. Allegedly. Not all were playing last Saturday, obviously, although 6 were (or £12.5 million). Rebuilding a squad these days for £14 million has to make good business sense. On paper. Instead we seem to have acquired a bunch of misfits (personally I would exclude Howey, Dunne & Huckerby from this) who cannot shape themselves into a reasonable team.

I don’t need to be reminded where we were two years ago (Blackpool, miserable draw) or that we have 15 games to go to get 5 wins and safety. In that case, how about being reminded that it is almost three years since the new management came in, with 15 games to go, and us sitting 2nd from bottom in the First Division. Sound familiar? Thought so.

I hope that we break this poor run of form, I hope that some creative player(s) comes in (increasingly unlikely), and I sincerely hope that the players get a good kick up the backside and pull themselves together. At the end of the day, bad luck hasn’t got us into this position. We want pride, passion and belief. We cannot afford that R word again. I am one of thousands who suffer a disrupted social life, disjointed family life and dismal bank balance through following City home and away. We deserve better. Had I spent as much on a new hi-fi which failed to perform, I would be back at the store for a refund. But we know football isn’t like that, and we know City aren’t like any other football team. The analogy has been made of following City to being a religion, I don’t agree – religious views can often be altered. As someone pointed out to me, it’s more like a nasty virus which you can never quite shake off. It leaves your immune system weakened and you’ll never be free of the bug.

So come on, a good result this Saturday and 3 points next Wednesday please.

Heidi Pickup (


Opinions of away games can become repetitive as it is virtually the same performance on a different ground for the past month or so – but here goes.

Living in South Cheshire this could hardly be described as an away game and we “pulled” onto the away fans’ car park close on 12.30 having spotted the ‘Navigation’ – pretty ideal really as there was no time wasted finding a friendly pub.

“I’ve just seen 2 magpies” said our chum Brian. “You what?” says I “1 for sorrow, 2 for joy” he retorted. Walking under ladders I have heard of also throwing salt over your shoulders but b****y magpies!

So, spirits lifted by this omen we ensconced ourselves in the Navigation knowing the day would be OK. Good pub, loads of Blues who kicked into singing at 2.00pm – songs involving spades, stamping and a guy called Sanjay (can someone tell me who the hell is Sanjay or did my 4 pints blur my hearing?). From the car park to Prideless Park looks pretty close but after a 15 minute country hike along the banks of the Trent it seemed further away than it did 10 minutes earlier.

So to the game. As ever Tiatto caused problems for Derby in a pretty grim first half. In order to stay in this league, “pretty” football won’t be seen, especially with two teams lacking confidence and needing points. Having been knocked about a few times, Danny got booked. From our viewpoint it was hard to say if it was deserved but a pretty identical challenge by a Derby player shortly before went unpunished – c’est la vie.

The Wanchope penalty that wasn’t – I think some referees even at Stretford would have given the opposition that one, but when you’re down decisions tend to go against you. We definitely had the better of the game with Dunne (outstanding), Howey, Ritchie and Prior all playing a major part. Before the game I assumed Grant after his appearance last week would be involved at some point. But no, on came SWP and we all know what an exciting prospect he is. Inexperienced yes, but when he gets the ball there is a surge of expectancy. Unfortunately for SWP, I think that a lot of responsibility will fall on his young shoulders in the coming weeks. Goater looked sharper than of late and Huckerby, although not fully fit on Saturday, should from next week add a bit of spice up front.

Once again, a gutsy away performance and maybe the top Premiership teams could have brushed Derby aside in 2nd gear but a point away is OK, so (being repetitive) sort it out at home where confidence seems to drain away and to repeat myself again cheering instead of moaning could help.

Next weekend we have the diversion of the FA Cup. It would be nice to carry on a cup run at the expense of the hapless Coventry but more urgent matters resume a week on Wednesday and I hope I see 2 magpies as I walk past Whitworth Park!

Two car services and Xmas expenditure as yet partly unsettled will prevent our presence at Boro and Newcastle, so flicking teletext on and off and listening to the radio is a poor substitute to being there, because crazily you think you can influence the “goings-on”, and that is probably dafter than any other old wives tale!

Richard Cooper, via Andy Noise (


I back Joe Royle to stay as the manager/coach. But I do think a change in the captain of the team should be made. Steve Howey should be made captain right away, he has the right attitude and it should rub off on the other players. Nothing against Alfie Haaland, but I feel he will be better too without the captaincy (less on his shoulders). What I did like was Joe Royle saying our season starts now with 15 games; it’s survival time, 14 to go, let’s forget all our other games, it’s from now on that counts for our future.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow (


I have to say that regardless of how Kanchelskis plays, it will not deter me from the dislike I have due to his previous allegiance. I don’t know whether Terry Cooke ever got a game in the United first team, and I don’t care, the fact is that although a player at Old Trafford, Cooke was never a hero, whilst Kanchelskis certainly was (no-one needs reminding of a certain derby match). Of course, the potential is that if Kanchelskis plays to form, with Kennedy back in training and Huckerby looking good (not to mention the “ever dependable” Wanchope) we should start to see an improvement, particularly in our home form, and we could pull off the great escape that we are all silently hoping for.

However, I believe the issue is more complex than this. Joe Royle has done wonders for the club but as any Everton fan will tell you, he is not a top flight manager. He has already expressed a dislike of star players at the club, and his track record on the transfer market is not the most impressive in the league. The likes of Jamie Pollock and Richard Jobson were invaluable in the lower leagues (well Jobson was anyway) and we all knew that they would never cut it in the Premiership so they have now left the club; if this rule applies to players then why not to managers? I think that the Kanchelskis signing is a last ditch attempt to stay up from a man who doesn’t really know what he is doing, similar to Chris Hutchings taking Collymore to Bradford.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not starting a Royle out campaign (and I am not a Man U fan with nothing better to do with my time than phone radio shows) but I think that a paradox has emerged whereby if we stay up, Royle should make way for someone with more top flight experience whilst if we go down, Joe is the ideal man to bring us back up. Only Manchester City could face this scenario.

Ben Stafford (


My name is Vasil Tzonkov. I am 18 years old and write you from Bulgaria. I am a keen fan of the English football. Your team is my favourite. I like your style of playing very much. I think that you are a great team.

I like all of the players becouse I think that football is organisation and We work together. The reason that I decided to write you becouse I am a football stuff collector. Please send me some souvenirs of your team. Thank you in advance.

P.S. I would like to corespondence with another fans of ours.Please print my address in your programmes, magazines or websites. I will answer to everybody who contacts me.

My address is:

Vasil Tzonkov
Ul “Hristo Botev” 1
Bl Novost, Ap 20
5401 Sevlievo

With best wishes, your fan Vasil. Good luck and Come on City!

Vasil Tzonkov (


Recent results to 24 January 2001 inclusive:

4 January 2001

Aston Villa           1 - 2  Leeds United          29,335

22 January 2001

Charlton Athletic     1 - 1  West Ham United       20,043

21 January 2001

Sunderland            0 - 0  Bradford City         47,812

League table to 24 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  24 10  1  1 33  6  7  4  1 23 10 17  5  2 56 16  40  56
 2 Sunderland      24  8  4  0 16  5  4  3  5 15 17 12  7  5 31 22   9  43
 3 Arsenal         24  9  3  0 31  8  2  5  5  8 15 11  8  5 39 23  16  41
 4 Liverpool       23  9  2  1 25  8  3  2  6 17 18 12  4  7 42 26  16  40
 5 Ipswich Town    24  6  4  2 19 10  6  0  6 17 20 12  4  8 36 30   6  40
 6 Newcastle Utd   24  7  2  3 18 12  4  2  6 13 20 11  4  9 31 32  -1  37
 7 Leicester City  23  6  4  2 16 12  4  2  5  8 13 10  6  7 24 25  -1  36
 8 Chelsea         23  9  2  1 33 11  0  5  6 10 18  9  7  7 43 29  14  34
 9 Charlton Ath.   24  7  4  1 19  8  2  2  8 13 29  9  6  9 32 37  -5  33
10 Leeds United    23  6  1  5 21 18  3  4  4 13 14  9  5  9 34 32   2  32
11 Tottenham H.    24  8  4  0 22  9  0  3  9  8 25  8  7  9 30 34  -4  31
12 West Ham United 23  4  4  3 17 11  3  5  4 15 16  7  9  7 32 27   5  30
13 Aston Villa     23  4  4  3 15 12  3  4  5  9 14  7  8  8 24 26  -2  29
14 Southampton     24  6  2  4 18 15  1  6  5 10 19  7  8  9 28 34  -6  29
15 Everton         23  3  4  4 13 14  4  1  7 11 20  7  5 11 24 34 -10  26
16 Middlesbrough   24  3  4  5 14 16  2  5  5 13 14  5  9 10 27 30  -3  24
17 Derby County    24  4  6  2 15 16  1  3  8 10 25  5  9 10 25 41 -16  24
18 Manchester City 24  3  2  7 16 19  2  4  6 12 24  5  6 13 28 43 -15  21
19 Coventry City   24  2  4  6  9 18  3  2  7 14 25  5  6 13 23 43 -20  21
20 Bradford City   23  2  4  5 10 17  1  3  8  6 24  3  7 13 16 41 -25  16

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 #678