Newsletter #683

As many of you will no doubt already know, Saturday produced yet another of those memorable moments on which games and even entire seasons hinge. City produced a reasonably good performance against a lacklustre Spurs side, and looked to have taken the lead only for the referee to disallow the goal due to Sullivan being impeded by that big black guy we have up front – Sol Goater. Unfortunately, the ref seemed to be labouring under the misapprehension that all big players of African origin were playing for Manchester City, even if wearing a white shirt with C-A-M-P-B-E-L-L emblazoned on the back. Later, with one minute to go, Rebrov, who had been a complete bystander for the entire game, scored; funny – I could have cried!

This issue has two match reports (many thanks) and two matchviews, as well as Peter’s News; the City Diary; news of Gary James’ new work; and stacks of opinion.

Roll on Liverpool – again!

Next game: Liverpool away, Sunday 18th February 2001 (FA Cup)


Part I: Spurs at Home, Result and Reaction

Last-Minute Goal Sinks City: Manchester City’s relegation plight worsened at the weekend. The Blues went down 1-0 at home to Spurs as fellow-strugglers Everton, Derby and Middlesbrough all picked up points. City produced a creditable display against the Londoners but were unable to break down the visitors’ disciplined defence. Spurs defender Ledley King was lucky to turn a Darren Huckerby cross against his own post rather than into the net in the first period, while Andrei Kanchelskis could have scored on a couple of occasions and substitute Egil Ostenstad missed a second-half header from close range following a fine Danny Tiatto cross. And there was another dubious refereeing decision for the Blues to bear when a Darren Huckerby effort from a corner was ruled out because goalkeeper Neil Sullivan had been impeded, only for video evidence to show that his own defender Sol Campbell had been the culprit. Matters went from bad to worse for City in the 89th minute, when George Graham’s men broke for Sergei Rebrov to slot Tim Sherwood’s through ball past Weaver for the game’s only goal, from Spurs’ only serious effort on target.

Royle Upbeat Despite Defeat: Joe Royle saw his Manchester City side lose further ground in the relegation battle on Saturday. But the Blues’ boss feels that if the team can carry on producing the kind of display they managed against Spurs, all may not be lost. Royle was heartened that City had produced another good performance, even if the result didn’t reflect the pattern of the game. And after again being denied by a refereeing error, the City manager wants more than anything to experience a change of luck. “We’ve hit the woodwork and it’s come out and we’ve missed two great chances,” he lamented. “But I couldn’t fault the lads, not in any department. We have had a perfectly good goal disallowed and that would have made a big difference because they were causing us no threat at the time at all. Sometimes you just need a break and we didn’t get it.”

Blues Hit by Anoter Ref Blunder: Manchester City suffered a cruel last-gasp defeat against Spurs at Maine Road on Sunday. But as in the previous week’s match at Middlesbrough, the Blues were hindered by an error on the part of the match officials which saw a valid goal ruled out. City should have been ahead early in the second half when Darren Huckerby hooked the ball in at the far post after goalkeeper Neil Sullivan had missed a Danny Tiatto corner. And though there were claims that the closest City player in attendance, Steve Howey, may have been harshly penalised after a tussle with Sol Campbell as the Australian prepared to take the flag-kick, referee Steve Dunn told Joe Royle that this wasn’t the case. Instead, the verdict was given because for a foul on Sullivan, but the official was mistaken, with his verdict resulting from a bizarre case of mistaken identity as no City player challenged for the ball. “The challenger on the ‘keeper is apparently Sol Campbell, but the referee has told me it was Shaun Goater,” revealed Royle. “It’s a cruel game at times and that’s two big decisions in two weeks which have cost us dearly.”

Royle Defends Kanchelskis Substitution: Joe Royle was quick to defend his tactics after Manchester City’s home defeat by Spurs on Saturday. The Blues boss brushed off criticism from fans disappointed by the second-half withdrawal of Andrei Kanchelskis. The Ukrainian-born winger had posed problems for the visitors all afternoon and a large section of the home support was disappointed to see him make way for new boy Egil Ostenstad on the hour mark. But Royle says the reasoning behind the decision was sound. “I had to protect Andrei, he is still feeling his way back into the game,” explained the City manager. “He’s only had about half an hour’s training all week and we couldn’t risk him doing himself damage.”

Part II: Transfer News and Rumours

Trialist Strunz Goes Home: Manchester City have elected not to pursue their interest in trialist Thomas Strunz. The midfielder trained with the Blues this week but has now returned to Germany. Comments from Joe Royle earlier in the week had indicated that the City manager was impressed with the Bayern Munich star, who was available on a free transfer. But the Blues will not be signing the 32-year-old, with Royle explaining that the former international’s talents are best suited to playing in a holding rôle, which is not what the team needs at present. “We won’t be taking things any further,” the City manager told the club’s official website at “Thomas is technically gifted and if I was looking for a midfielder of his type I would have snapped him up, but he is not any different from what we have.”

Bishop Finally to Join Miami: Ian Bishop will part company with Manchester City this week. The midfielder will complete his move to MLS side Miami Fusion after a drawn-out transfer saga. Bishop turned down moves to Barnsley and Sheffield Wednesday last month after deciding to end his playing days in the US. But complex MLS player registration rules meant that the 35-year-old had to wait before putting pen to paper. However, the official City website now states that the free transfer deal will be completed this week. The ex-West Ham star played in 79 league games, 26 as a substitute, in which he scored twice, after leaving Upton Park in March 1998 for his second spell with the Blues. He played a further 19 league games, one from the bench, scoring another two goals, in his first Maine Road stint in the 1989-90 season.

Leon Mike Joins Halifax on Loan: Joe Royle is a great believer of sending young players to gain experience on loan at other clubs. And the Manchester City manager has now allowed another of the club’s emerging stars have a stint in the lower leagues. Striker Leon Mike is the player in question, with the 19-year-old joining Halifax Town last Friday. The striker then made his début for the Shaymen as a substitute in Saturday’s 4-3 home defeat at the hands of Mansfield. Mike also had a loan spell at Oxford earlier this season, when he played in three games, two as a substitute. The City youngster became the second loan signing of the week for Halifax boss Paul Bracewell; he also borrowed winger Rob Matthews from Stockport.

Dickov Can Stay “As Long As He Wants”: Paul Dickov has been linked with moves away from Maine Road on several occasions during his Manchester City career. But Joe Royle is adamant that the Scot has a Maine Road future. Dickov had an excellent start to the season, earning his first full international caps and beating off the challenge of superstar George Weah to earn a regular place at club level. But more recently Eninburgh duo Hibs and Hearts and Premiership rivals Everton had all been reported to be considering a move for the ex-Arsenal trainee. Royle, however, insists that bidders will be discouraged. “I have neither promoted nor received any bids for Paul Dickov,” the Blues’ boss told the official club website at “Dicky is part of the place here and as far as I am concerned he will stay here as long as he wants to.”

No Hawthorns Switch For Prior: Newspaper reports last week linked a Spencer Prior with moves to West Bromwich Albion and Wolves. But it now appears that the Manchester City defender is not bound for Midlands. It was claimed last week that Prior was a target for each of the Black Country rivals, with both clubs said to have noted his recent omission from the City senior side. But Joe Royle insists he’s received no enquiries for the ex-Derby defender, and says that while the Southend-born star would prefer to be in the starting line-up, he’s shown no desire to leave Maine Road.

Ostenstad Hopes for Permanent Deal: Egil Ostenstad has joined Manchester City on loan from Blackburn. But the striker hopes that a permanent transfer will materialise at the end of his initial two-month Maine Road stint. Ostenstad believes that the Blues have the ability to win their current relegation battle. And he knows that if he impresses in City’s survival fight, there’s every chance he could stay on at the club – a move he’d be keen to make. “I remain positive about doing a permanent deal with Manchester City,” he said. “If I play well, of course there’s a chance that they will sign me.”

Burchill Linked with Maine Road Move: Manchester City have signed Egil Ostenstad on loan from Blackburn to boost their firepower in the relegation struggle ahead. But the move hasn’t stopped speculation that Joe Royle is on the trail of another front man. City are said to be targeting Celtic’s Mark Burchill, who is out of favour at Parkhead and available for £1.5 million. But personal terms could prove the problem if Royle does attempt to sign the Scotland striker. The player had a stint on loan at Birmingham in the season but his pay demands saw the Midlands club pull out of a deal to make the switch permanent. And with the 21-year-old said to be asking for a £25,000 weekly salary, the prospect of his arriving at Maine Road seems remote if he sticks to his guns.

Burnley Now In For Taylor?: Gareth Taylor has seen his hopes of a move to Sheffield Wednesday collapse. But reports claim that Burnley could now give the striker a chance to leave Manchester City. Taylor is out of contract in the summer, and Wednesday were keen to take over the last few months of his contract. But the deal broke down when City insisted that the Owls should pay a bonus payment if they avoided relegation. Now it’s said that the ex-Sheffield United man could be on his way to Turf Moor, though it’s unclear whether the Lancashire club want him on a month’s loan or for the remainder of the campaign.

No Enquiries for Transfer-Listed Edghill: Richard Edghill has been transfer-listed by Manchester City. But Joe Royle says he’s not fielded any enquiries for the full back since making him available last week. Former skipper Edghill is the Blues’ longest-serving player, and it appears that he could be at Maine Road for some time yet. Both West Brom and Wolves have been mentioned as prospective buyers but neither has yet contacted Royle, who says he’s not surprised that a quick deal seems unlikely. “These things do not move quickly,” commented the City manager, “and I can confirm that I have not spoken to anyone concerning Richard since we announced he was available.”

Blackpool Keen on Jim Whitley: Jim Whitley may be on the look-out for a new club in the summer. But if the midfielder is released by Manchester City, it appears he’ll have no problem finding a new employer. Blackpool are said to be keen on signing the elder Whitley, with former City star Steve McMahon, now in charge at Bloomfield Road, a confirmed admirer of the Northern Ireland man. But the Seasiders could face competition for the player’s signature, with Stockport, Tranmere and Oldham all believed to be considering offering him a deal should City elect not to keep him at Maine Road.

Part III: Miscellaneous News and Views

JD Pair Buy Greenalls City Shares: John Wardle and David Makin have increased their shareholding in Manchester City. The pair, joint founders of sports goods retailer JD Sports, have acquired the 4.84% of the club’s shares owned by De Vere, the Warrington leisure group. De Vere, formerly known as Greenalls, has long been a shareholder in the Blues, but has taken little interest in the running of the club over the years. Makin and Wardle are thought to have paid around £1 million for a block of shares which takes their combined holding to 29.95% of the club, consolidating their position as controllers of the largest single tranche of shares. “I greatly welcome this development as it consolidates our shareholding base and contributes to the stability of the club,” commented Blues’ chairman David Bernstein. “It is a great sign of confidence in Manchester City.”

No City Concern Over Tiatto Passport Probe: The National Criminal Intelligence Service is to investigate eighty footballers with dual nationality currently playing in Britain. But even though Danny Tiatto is one of the men to come under scrutiny, Manchester City are totally relaxed over the affair. Players from non-EU countries can circumvent UK work permit regulations if they can obtain a passport from an EU member state. And the cases of Argentinean Esteban Fuertes at Derby and Brazilian Edu at Arsenal have shown that foul means are sometimes used in pursuit of this goal. It’s been decided now to investigate all such cases – including Australian Tiatto, who has an Italian passport by virtue of his father’s nationality. But the Blues are anticipating no problems. “There is absolutely no cause for concern for Manchester City,” stated director Chris Bird.

Cup Replay Could Replace Southampton Clash: Manchester City will have a home game on Saturday, 3 March. But the match may not be the scheduled Premiership clash with Southampton. The date has been set aside for any replay of the Blues’ FA Cup fifth round clash against Liverpool. European commitments and the England international against Spain on February 28, in which several of the Merseysiders’ players are likely to be involved – apparently mean that there is no suitable midweek date for a replay should next Sunday’s Anfield meeting of the teams result in a draw.

Horlock Hopes to Return This Month: Manchester City are still badly hit by injury problems. But Joe Royle should be able to welcome back one of his injured stars soon. Kevin Horlock has been out of action since the turn of the year, after breaking a bone in his ankle in the dismal defeat against Charlton. But the Northern Ireland international is now out of plaster and set to begin light training. And his eventual return to action can’t come quickly enough for the ex-Swindon player. “It has been so frustrating,” he said of his enforced lay-off. “I had just got back into the team after being dropped which makes it worse.”

Grant to Come In For Anfield Tie?: Manchester City will be without Jeff Whitley for Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Liverpool. And with Joe Royle’s options curtailed by the Blues’ injury problems, Tony Grant is likely to start at Anfield. Whitley is suspended after picking up five bookings this season. And the Blues are also without the broken ankle victim Kevin Horlock, meaning that the former Everton man looks favourite to play alongside Gerard Wiekens in midfield. Meanwhile, Mark Kennedy, Paul Dickov, Paulo Wanchope and Laurent Charvet are all still out with their long-term injuries Carlo Nash and Egil Ostenstad are cup-tied, depleting options even further. The Blues will have rookie goalkeeper Richard McKinney on the bench, while Royle will either have to name an untried striker among the substitutes or have no front man in reserve at all.

City Fans Hire Old Trafford Airspace: A group of Manchester City fans have hired a plane to circle above Old Trafford when the Blues meet Manchester United on 21st April. And the supporters have stolen a march on United supporters who had exactly the same idea. The Reds had planned to trail a banner alluding to City’s long run without a trophy: “25 Years And Still Counting.” But the Blues managed to beat them to the punch, raising £3,000 to hire the plane to proclaim: “You’re The Pride Of Singapore!” City fan Dante Friend said, “We realised we had to get in there first. This is a great result. Now we just need one on the pitch.”

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, Saturday 10th February 2001

It’s great when you go to a match with that knowledge that you’re going to win. I’ve had the feeling twice this season, against Everton and, er, Ipswich. But look at the facts. Last time Spurs won away from home, David Ginola scored the winner. They’ve managed to score in just one of their last eight league games. We’ve got a strong, fast attack and we’re due to come out of a run of bad luck. Outside the ground, a seven-year-old boy was close to tears as his dad explained that they couldn’t go to the game without the tickets and he didn’t know who was bringing them (or whether, presumably). Poor little thing, I thought as I clutched my own precious ticket more closely.

We kicked off (towards the JD) in the now familiar 0-4-6 formation: Weaver, Granville, Dunne, Howie, Haaland, Tiatto, Wiekens, Whitley, Huckerby, Goater, Kanchelskis. Tiatto, Huckerby and Kanchelskis all looked good and were combining well. Kanchelskis certainly looked as if he was up to full speed again; in fact, it’s his ability to slow down again that’s the problem, as a series of runs and crosses ended up in the JD stand rather than the box. Tiatto – I can’t find the words to explain how good Tiatto was. Imagine some revolting genetic experiment to splice together the best aspects of Ryan Giggs and Jaap Stam. Imagine Kennedy if he could tackle, SWP if he could shoot, Kinkladze if his teammates understood him. He was taking corners today – not the Kennedy kind that drift lazily across to the other side of the pitch, but nasty, fast-moving things that find a bit of the six-yard box that the goalkeeper can’t reach. Even his heading is class, putting Kanchelskis through with a ball deflected at an angle that Stephen Hendry would have struggled to emulate.

Spurs, on the other hand, made it clear that their main priority was to extend George Graham’s personal best run of 0-0 draws. Their only notable players were in defence (“Didn’t think SWP was playing – – oh no, that’s the Goat with Sol Campbell standing behind him”) and some bloke called Docherty who must have learnt his tackling style at Murrayfield. Their only dangerous break was well saved by Weaver’s feet and was offside anyway, that’s how likely to score they were. Rebrov, who I thought might have been a worry, turned out to be an inoffensive little bloke whose main contribution was a Dickov-like willingness to chase down backpasses. However, their stodgy style and our stodgy pitch succeeded in killing most of what we created. Our best chance came close to half-time, when Huckerby crossed and Ledley King did a weird pirouette around the ball which deflected it onto the post. It might have come out to Kanchelskis but instead bounced into Sullivan’s arms.

Half-time came: would have been good to go in 1-0 up, but nothing to worry about. Before long, Tiatto puts in a dangerous corner. Sol Campbell pushes Sullivan out the way and flicks the ball on to Huckerby, who turns it in at the far post. Full marks to the referee for spotting the foul; if only Campbell had been wearing a blue shirt, then disallowing the goal would have been a great decision. We continued to put good moves together: Kanchelskis to Goater, who rather unconvincingly pretended that Campbell had pulled him over; Huckerby crossing just behind Goater and Kanchelskis closed down before he could get the shot in.

Seventy minutes gone, and we can see Egil Ostenstad warming up. Good management: bring him on for Goater, who’s spent the whole game in Campbell’s pocket, and see what he can do with the chances that Huckerby and Kanchelskis are creating. The board goes up – no! not Kanchelskis! A spontaneous booing of Royle is drowned by a standing ovation for Andrei. Our hopes rise with one of those backpass indirect free-kicks – although since they’re meant to be taken from where the ball was picked up, then it’s strange that it’s five yards outside the area. Comes to nothing, anyway.

And what of Ostenstad? What strikers dream about (well, I know I do, and I last played for my school’s third team in 1977) is to come on for a new club and, after two minutes on the pitch, have a perfect cross from Tiatto float across at head height, three yards out from goal. Imagine the instant adoration as you… glance it wide. Don’t worry, Egil, there’ll be other chances. Five minutes later, even: Tiatto flicks on to the overlapping Granville with a comical nonchalance, Granville crosses, Ostenstad misses again. Spurs are now looking confident that they’ve hung on for the point and helped Mr Graham to his personal best. Five minutes to go, and Royle brings on Grant for Wiekens, who has been little use for the last half hour. His first and only contribution is to slice a shot ten yards wide.

Well, a point’s better than nothing – aargh! No! Somehow, Spurs have got out of their own half and the useless Rebrov has casually nutmegged Weaver. All around me, angry voices berated the idiocy of Royle’s substitution policy. I wondered how the little boy was feeling. And was reminded of the News Quiz story of a cricketer who’d missed a tour following major stomach surgery. “How do you feel?” he was asked. “I’m gutted.”

After the game, Royle was still upbeat, and the phone-ins were surprisingly free of calls for his resignation. I think this was a consequence of editorial policy following the “massive” campaign, since everyone inside the ground seemed to think his time was up. Personally, I’m still 100% behind him. Although I don’t like his clichés about Lady Luck, you can’t deny that having two good goals disallowed in consecutive games is unusual. And if Ostenstad had converted a header that my late grandmother would have put away, then he’d have been hailed as an inspired signing and substitution. I have a few questions for anyone who wants Royle out:

  1. Did you seriously expect this season to be anything other than a relegation struggle?
  2. According to the logic of sacking him now, would you also have fired:
    • Curbishley, when Charlton were relegated?
    • Taylor, for taking Watford from the Second to the Premier and then finding that they didn’t magically turn into a Premiership side?
    • Burley, for taking five years to get Ipswich out of the First Division?
    • Ferguson, for losing 5-1 to City?
  3. What did we achieve during 25 years of sacking every manager who had a bad run of form?

    And more importantly:

  4. Is there another man on the planet who, given eleven games and elevenJoe Royle players, is going to get any more from them than Joe Royle will?

    And most importantly of all:

  5. When did we last get further in the Cup than United in two successive seasons?

Keep the faith, Dorien James (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, Saturday 10th February 2001

A must win game for City against a Tottenham side without an away success in the league all season.

The teams lined up:


Haaland       Dunne     Howey     Granville
Kanchelskis  Whitley    Wiekens   Tiatto
         Goater            Huckerby

Subs: Prior, Nash, Ritchie, Ostenstad, Grant.


Young       Perry      Campbell     King
Anderton  Leonhardsen  Sherwood    Freund
          Doherty            Rebrov

Subs: Walker, Clemence, Thelwell, Booth, Carr.

Referee: S.W. Dunn

City kicked off attacking the Platt Lane and started strongly with Kanchelskis getting a good ball into Goater, which Sullivan managed to intercept.

Wiekens had a go from 20 yards, which went straight to the Spurs ‘keeper. Huckerby, Tiatto and Kanchelskis were a constant threat with their runs at the Tottenham defence. In particular, Kanchelskis was worrying King who was struggling to match the pace of the Ukrainian.

City’s best chance of the half came from a great run by Huckerby who spun past a Spurs defender to find a clear run on goal. Huckerby hit a cross shot past Sullivan, which appeared to be going in, but as Huckerby shot King raced into the area ahead of Kanchelskis and the ball deflected onto the post off King’s shin and rolled along the goal line straight to the grateful Sullivan.

For the 2nd half Spurs brought off Perry for Andy Booth, with Doherty reverting to defence.

About 1 minute into the 2nd period City (by now attacking the North Stand) won a corner on the right. Tiatto put the ball over, Sullivan collided with Campbell (his own defender) and Huckerby hooked (sic) the ball over his shoulder into the net.

Incredibly as Huckerby was striking the ball into the goal, Mr Dunn blew for a Tottenham free kick, apparently for a foul on the ‘keeper. Since it was Sol Campbell who impeded Sullivan this hardly seemed fair and for the second week running incompetent refereeing denied City a legal goal.

The 2nd half continued in much the same vein as the first with City enjoying the play without really threatening the Londoners’ goal. Tiatto put through Kanchelskis who missed. Kanchelskis fluffed another chance, this time after being put through by Huckerby.

On 65 minutes the Ukrainian was brought off for Ostenstad to a disapproving crowd reaction. I could understand Joe’s thinking that although Kanchelskis had made some good runs he had missed at least 2 chances that a natural goalscorer probably would have converted.

Spurs appeared to be happy playing for a point and had few real chances throughout the half. Young shot over the bar when it was easier to score and another good chance for Spurs came when a poor clearance by Weaver went straight to a Spurs player who hit a first time shot well wide of the goal.

The best chance of the half for City came from yet another left wing cross from Tiatto to Ostenstad who was a mere 2 yards out. With the goal at his mercy somehow Ostenstad let the ball go for a goal kick instead of diverting it into the gaping goal.

City continued to press to no avail; Wiekens was replaced by Grant and the game was drawing to a close at an unsatisfactory 0-0.

On 90 minutes the anonymous Rebrov was put through, and for the first time in the game broke free of Howey. With Weaver coming to smother, Rebrov somehow managed to poke the ball under the City ‘keeper into an empty goal.

Two minutes of injury time was added on without incident. Mr. Dunn blew the whistle on City’s 8th home reverse of the season and even though City lost the game late on, 0-0 was never going to be enough.

All the team played well today with Tiatto and Howey exceptional and you get the feeling that if City were a few places higher they would have the grit necessary to stay out of the drop zone. Unfortunately City are in the drop zone and although survival is possible it looks likely that we will be relegated come May.

Jeff Roycroft (


Once again a ludicrous refereeing decision has left us robbed certainly of 2, and possibly 3 points. EE Lower shoulders some of the blame for this one: I said two minutes before Spurs scored “well that’s another 3 points lost then” oops. No thanks either to the comedy trio, who were depleted to a duo, when they suggested Kanchelskis (AK) would be taken off to be replaced by Ogle the Eagle.

A frustrating game and an incredibly unfair result which belied the play. City had so much possession and so many chances that we just couldn’t convert. Huckerby’s goal from Tiatto’s corner was disallowed allegedly for a push by Howey on Campbell or Sullivan. However the replays have clearly shown Campbell and Sullivan contrived to clash with each other. I can only think that Mr Dunn was dazzled by the smart white shirts and navy blue shorts of the Spurs players. They certainly looked dapper. Needless to say I feel it is time to be recommending to the FA that, in this commercial era, referees be sponsored. Perhaps Specsavers would be a suitable starting point.

AK was playing superbly, he’s obviously found the speed JR thought was lacking and was on full throttle down the right hand side, providing many a good move forward. His substitution was met with cries of despair and disbelief. JR said afterwards that AK hadn’t trained all week and wasn’t match fit. Well if that’s not match fit then the rest of the team must be contenders for a three-legged, blind-folded, egg and spoon race. I can understand not wanting to jeapordise his fitness for future games, but with no midfield to create chances, this basically pulled the plug for us.

The Goat was kept firmly in Sol Campbell’s ample pocket throughout the game; Huckerby was superb and unlucky with both the disallowed effort and one or two other chances; Tiatto harried away and unsettled the opposition the entire game. Spurs had one chance all game and that culminated on the 89th minute with Rebrov scoring. I feel Weaver was somewhat at fault here for coming well off his line once again. When comparing his performances with that shown on MoTD by Wright in the Ipswich-Arsenal game, he’s quite some way off challening for that No 1, or even No 13, England jersey.

Egil disappointed, OK, OK I know it was his first game in goodness knows how long, but he should have got that header on target. I am not sure that a player who cannot make his first team in a First Division side is the answer to our goalscoring problems. I will gladly eat my hat (provided it is suitably prepared in some Tabak concoction) when I am proved wrong.

However, chances aren’t good enough. It’s no good ‘playing well and being unlucky’. We need to play well, score and get the points. Last season we finished second deservedly, the table does not lie and likewise we are down in the doldrums because of past performances. Apparently City have got a nutrion/diet expert in. This follows the dance classes, plank breaking, mind-over-matter, laughter therapy sessions and goodness knows what else. May I make a suggestion then that the players’ diets are supplemented with the required amounts of ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, iodine and Vit C & D to improve both mental and physical ability.

Walking down Claremont Road after the game the general snippets of conversation left people resigned to the fact that we will probably be visiting those First Division grounds we all love so much again next season, but most people were upbeat. It was also good to see that the crowd didn’t get on anyone’s backs; perhaps they are learning too. It’s not the end by any means and we just know City will take us to the last few days of the season but with, what, 33 points to play for just when are we going to turn it around or find a referee with laser blue contact lenses?

Oh well, the future players are in action tomorrow night and with another cup game on Sunday, I just know I’ll be there supporting them (with apologies to my bank manager, but some things are more important – if my balance looks more like our goal difference then tough).

Heidi Pickup (


City really need to win this one against a side that hasn’t won away all season (sounded like a 0-1 from the start to me). The City line up is beginning to take shape with the additions of Kanchelskis and Huckerby. The Blues lined up as follows:

Haaland      Dunne    Howey     Granville
Kanchelskis  Whitley  Wiekens   Tiatto
         Huckerby         Goater

To cut a long story short we got mugged. They had one shot on goal, it went in.

Over the last few games I have been more hopeful about the side, with the added pace we now threaten teams much more. However, there are a few problems that are going to cost us. There was a period of 15 minutes where Wiekens failed to touch the ball and when he did touch it, he lost it straight away. He plays 90% of his passes backwards, 5% sideways and no idea what happens to the rest…

The main problem with this side at the minute is midfield; the defence is getting much better and playing well but they can only do so much. With the midfield of Wiekens and Whitley (who can run for 90 minutes but sometimes never touch the ball) is so weak that the defence is under constant pressure.

Another problem we have is upfront. The Goat (I really feel for this guy, must be hard work with the quality of service he gets) is not upto this level at the moment. Neither is Paul Dickov. Huckerby (Forrest Gump) is capable of creating and scoring chances but needs some help. We need a decent striker and we need one now.

The final problem we have is Mr Potato Head. He has the tactical awareness of Stuart Houston. He will risk the future of the club over personal disagreements; get on the wrong side of him and your City career is over. His after match comments are laughable, he is a joke. His team selection this year has been strange, the loan deal for Ostenstat is strange to say the least. He complains that he cannot find players of the right level; no you cannot 3/4 of the way through the season.

Match Ratings

Weaver – 6 Nothing to do and still cannot kick.
Haaland – 6 At least he wasn’t in midfield.
Granville – 7 Dependable, can get forward.
Dunne – 9 MOTM, awesome again.
Howey – 7 Solid as usual.
Whitley – 7 2 great tackles but going nowhere fast.
Wiekens – 1 Poor, poor, poor… way out of his depth.
Tiatto – 8 Ran Dunne close for our best player, player of the year.
Kanchelskis – 7 Wasn’t his best game but too good for Spurs.
Goater – 6 OK.
Huckerby – 8 Good game, needs some service and support.

JR – 5 Worst substitution at the worst time.

One last note regarding the policing at Maine Road. Clueless is the description that springs to mind. On Saturday leaving the North Stand, cannot turn right – row of police, cannot go straight down the alley – row of dogs, cannot go back to North Stand. What do dibble do? Charge the City fans on horseback. Clever stuff!

Glyn Owen (


This week in City’s history:

Feb. 12: Joe Royle’s goal was the only one of the game as City beat Arsenal at home in 1977. In 1955 Joe Hayes, Johnny Hart, and Fionan “Paddy” Fagan shared the goals as City, using the Revie plan, beat United 5-0 at Old Trafford.

City were playing South Coast teams on Feburary 13th. It was 0-0 at Bournemouth in 1999, 2-0 against them in 1988 when Imre Varadi and Paul Stewart scored. Brighton were beaten 4-0 in 1982, and City lost 4-1 at Portsmouth back in 1954.

Feb. 14: City went to Peterborough in the 5th round of the Cup in 1981 and won 1-0 with Tommy Booth’s goal. But in 1998 they met Bury at Maine Road and lost 0-1 on the way to relegation from the Nationwide Division One. It was during this dismal Valentine’s Day match that a fan ran out onto the pitch and ripped up his City season ticket to show how much he loved them.

On February 15, 1997 Middlesbrough knocked City out of the Cup after Gianluca Festa smacked Steve Lomas, broke his nose, wasn’t sent off, and put Juninho through for the winning goal.

Feb. 16: Paul Power got City a point in the 1-1 draw at home to Leeds in 1980. And on Feburary 17 1973 Tommy Booth did the same at home to Liverpool. On February 18, 1899 Fred Williams became the first City player to score five goals in a game, Billy Meredith’s hat-trick helping them to a 10-0 win over Darwen in Division 2. A bit more recently, in 1996, Uwe Rösler ran onto Kinkladze’s pass through the United defence to give City the lead in the Cup at Old Trafford; just before half time the penalty that wasn’t put United back in the game and City were never in it in the second half. In 1956 City met Liverpool in the 5th round of the Cup, as they’ll do again on Feburary 18, 2001, drew 0-0 but won the replay and went on to Wembley. Will this piece of City’s history be repeated next Sunday?

Finally it was in this week in 1940 that a British Expeditionary Force team that included City’s Frank Swift and full-back Bert Sprotson played a French Army XI in Paris. Matt Busby (then on Liverpool’s books) and Joe Mercer (Everton) were also in the B.E.F. team, who according to one report got “a lucky draw” when Joe kicked a shot off the line in the last two minutes. The French team were even unluckier than that, however, nine of them going back to the Maginot Line after the game was over.

Ken Corfield (


I thought it was time to give you an update on my next book, “Atkinson For England”, which is due out within the next few months. Anyone who attended the West Yorkshire Centenary Supporters’ meeting last Tuesday will know a bit more than I can tell here, but the key details of the book are:

Plumber and Sunday football manager Reg Atkinson applies to install the new undersoil heating at Wembley Stadium. This coincides with the dismissal of the England national team manager a mere 10 days before England are due to face Germany in a crucial World Cup qualifying match. England only need a draw to qualify, whereas Germany must win the match.

By a combination of errors and a case of mistaken identity Reg is given the England manager’s job. Ron Atkinson was the man the FA wanted as a caretaker manager. When Reg realises it’s too late – and costly – for him to stand down and, despite efforts made by the bungling F.A. officials who appointed him to force him out, he is forced to lead an England side out at Wembley. I won’t spoil the ending – you’ll have to read it!

Title: “Atkinson For England”
Authors: Mark Brown & Gary James
Publisher: Empire Publications
Price will definitely be less than £10, but further info will follow.

There is also a big City interest – a totally obsessed Blue runs the City-themed Kippax Hotel that is featured extensively in the book, plus there are lots of other Blue references. Although the book is humorous, much of the content considers how the Football Association appoint England managers and, although the idea of a plumber managing England is clearly farcical, it is true that the FA could appoint the wrong man (some would argue they always appoint the wrong man!). Don’t let the fact this is a football novel put you off – we have tried to break the mould and have already received a great deal of interest from the media (Granada TV, BBC Radio, The Times etc.).

We are hoping to do an event at Waterstones in Manchester and potentially at other venues from April onwards. More information will follow.

Gary James (


Well I did warn you a few weeks ago what I’d do if things didn’t improve! Joe’s tried everything, so now I’ve decided there’s no choice but to gamble on the acronyms being able to save City from the drop. My advice from now till the end of the season is exactly the same as Joe should be saying to Kanchelskis: just cross everything and hope!

S  ince
P  romotion -
U  sual
R  elegation
S  tress

Steve Maclean (


Supporters go to Germany to find out the facts on standing areas.

On Monday the 12th of Feb 2001 members of the S.A.F.E. group will travel to Germany to uncover the truth about safe standing areas. S.A.F.E. has arranged meetings with stadium architects, safety officers and directors at the stadiums of Shalke 04, HSV Hamburg and Dortmund. S.A.F.E. spokesperson Phill Gatenby said: “Someone has to discover what’s fact and what’s fiction and we feel now is the time to do it, we aim to return with concrete evidence to support our case.” Everton Fanzine ‘Satis’ editor Phil Pellow said: “Those clubs which are building new stadia need a change in the legislation before the new grounds are built, allowing the planners to incorporate standing areas in them.” S.A.F.E. also have stadium tours arranged at St Pauli and Werder Bremen. Mark Longden of IMUSA said: “We have only three days to gather enough evidence to prove to the FA and the Premier League that they can no longer ignore the wishes of their ‘customers’ or at least think of a sensible argument against safe standing.” And finally a word from our most prominent supporter. “While safety must always be the ultimate criteria, there is no reason to ignore technological improvements made since Taylor reported, which might now allow for safe standing.” – Tony Blair, 22 Jan 1995, ‘The Independent on Sunday’.

Phill Gatenby 07887 884 653, S.A.F.E. Spokesperson.
Malcolm Clarke 07939 594 730, Chair FSA
Mark Longden 07887 575 933, Chair IMUSA

Phill Gatenby (


I asked a Norwegian friend to give me the lowdown on our recent Norwegian trialist and received the following response:

He used to be close to the national side when he played for Rosenborg. He’s skillful, scores quite a few goals (long shots mostly) and runs a lot. The last three years he has played for Venezia and has been a little in and out of the team so I don’t know how good he is right now. I actually spoke to him yesterday (as I’m now a journalist) and he said he had been awful at training so he didn’t think he would get a contract. But if he does you can be sure that he will be better and better for every game. He may also be the type that City needs in midfield, because he’s more creative than any other player I’ve seen in the centre of the City midfield since Kinkladze.

Rob Kerr (


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the CSA will be on Tuesday 20th February at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm (directions available if required). Our confirmed guests are Dave Wallace – editor of the King of the Kippax, Ian Cheeseman – 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) or you would just like to know a bit more about the S.A.F.E. campaign, then you will be made more than welcome.

Howard Burr, Secretary Reddish CSA (T: 0161 292 2525


I sent this to the mystery writer from the last issue. I am sure everyone who has ever been to City game must have a few amusing recollections. So why don’t we all send in our amusing City stories, It might take our minds off our current plight! One of those classic Maine Road moments was in 1976; it was the 6th of November (I looked it up). I have only a distant memory of the game, i.e. couldn’t remember the score. The book says 0-0 so that would explain this. I think it was in the 2nd half as it was quite dark. Newcastle had the all-conquering Supermac (Malcolm MacDonald) at centre forward. He scored 5 for England in one game (Cyprus) the same year (I think). The Geordies were chanting “Supermac… Supermac” the whole game; this was interspersed with the sound of bangers (Nov 6th) going off, which were being tossed over no-man’s land (the DMZ) in the Kippax… ah those were the days!

Anyway, this dog ran on the pitch; it was a black mongrel, medium size sort of border collie-ish thing. All the stewards tried to catch him but he ran them ragged. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since but I am sure someone eventually produced a net. Don’t know what happened to the dog, but there was a huge cheer each time he evaded another steward. The City fans were chanting “super dog… super dog” countering the earlier Geordie chants.

Another memorable funny moment was, when the previous week’s Sunday papers had been full of Stan Bowles’ marriage break up. Stan – a City old boy and a guy who couldn’t keep out of the Sundays – stepped up to take a corner for QPR. All the City fans started singing “Stanley, Stanley, where’s your wife, Stanley where’s your wife?” Stan looked up with a twinkle in his eye and just shrugged his shoulders as if to say I am bug*ered if I know. It was very funny, he got an easy time from then on as he had given us all such a laugh.

Or the time Malcolm Allison had been saying in the morning papers that there was too much swearing by football crowds. We played away at Leeds; all day the City fans chanted “City City rah rah rah”.

Two other funny moments, both at Sunderland though at different games.

First, after a long coach trip we pulled into a car park (it was still in the hooligan days). We were singing “we are the boys in blue and white, we love to sing and we love to fight, so let’s fight… clap clap clap” etc., goading the 10 or 20 Mackems who were nearby from the safety of the coach. Suddenly about 60 more fans arrived and surrounded our coach. There were a few gasps shortly followed by the song “we are the boys in blue and white we love to sing and we love to fight so let’s SING!” I suppose you had to be there.

The second time was in a cup match in the early 80’s; although segregated for the game the opposing fans had to be kept apart behind the stand. The police did their link arms human chain thing between the leaving City and Sunderland fans; the exit gates were fairly blocked so the two sets of fans were sort of trying to get to each other. We surged forward then they did, the police kept firm but we were being pushed backward and forwards. The City fans almost in union stared singing the okey cockey. The Sunderland fans saw the humour and the police spent an unhappy few minutes being the butt of our combined joke being pushed backwards and forwards from both sides, but they dared not break ranks. It made me laugh anyway. I probably have a hundred such silly stories. Good luck with the book, look forward to reading it. City fans always had the best sense of humour. all the best.

Paul Keelagher, a nostalgic now Aussie Blue (


G’Day from New Zealand. As an expat Mancunian (Fallowfield) and Blue for over 35 years thought this might be of interest to the Blues in Wellington and New Zealand.

For all the Kiwi Blues in the Wellington region and lower North Island of New Zealand, keep an eye out for the registration plate MCFC1 on a Blue Mitsubishi Magna. My wife “God Bless her” bought it for my birthday so if you see us driving around give us a wave. It has also has the words Manchester City Football Club Number One Supporter around the MCFC1.

Here’s hoping that City remain in the Premiership, even from 12,000 miles away we feel the same emotions following the boys’ progress.

Thanks to everyone who contributes to MCIVTA especially Ash and his team.

Keep the faith, CTID, Lee Moores (


Can you help? I am conducting a poll on City fans’ opinion about the Sunday Pink. If you live in Manchester, or within the Pink’s catchment area, please take a few minutes to e-mail your response to the questions below. I will post the results in a future MCIVTA. A word of warning: anyone who comments that questions 1 and 3, options d and e are one and the same, will have their e-mail address published on MCIVTA!

1.   Did you buy the SATURDAY Pink:
a    Always
b    Usually
c    Sometimes
d    When City won
e    Never
2.   If you bought the SATURDAY Pink, did you usually buy it on:
a    Saturday night
b    Sunday
c    Never bought it
3.   Do you buy the SUNDAY Pink:
a    Always
b    Usually
c    Sometimes
d    When City win
e    Never
4.   If you buy the SUNDAY Pink, do you usually buy it on:
a    Sunday
b    Monday
c    Don't buy it
5.   Name the other Sunday papers you buy, if any. If "none", leave blank:
6.   Do you think 50 pence for the SUNDAY Pink is:
a    Too cheap
b    About right
c    Too dear
7.   Which town do you live in:
8.   Where do you look for your City ticket information:
9.   Please give any comments you wish here:

Thanks in advance, Steve Kay (


This is now my second article on post-match policing and violence at Maine Road, the first one being about the situation at the Burnley game a few seasons ago.

The Story

Throughout the game there had been messages ‘for all supporters’ regarding diversions after the match; ‘there will be heavy congestion outside your exits, particularly at the back of the North Stand where the forecourt is narrow; the police may see it fit to divert fans, yada yada yada.’ Hence, we were expecting a long walk to the car park again – not the best thing when you’re 80 years old like my grandad. Anyway, feeling very dejected after being kicked in the nads again by the referee (not literally, but he might as well have done), we left the North Stand. As we were coming towards the door I saw two police horses charging down the forecourt at the back of the North Stand, from the Kippax towards the Main Stand. As we expected, once we got out of the stand there were a line of police across the forecourt separating the away fans’ exits from ours; there would be no way of going through there. So, we progressed towards the ‘superstore’ like we have been doing for a few games recently due to the policing. The passage that leads from the forecourt to Carlton Avenue was blocked by three police dressed in riot gear (the navy blue riot gear people – I think they are called ‘Tag’). Two of these had police attack dogs on leashes… there would be no entry through the passage. So, we walked on no more than a few yards, where there were now three or four police horses and a large crowd of fans. These police horses were charging the crowd, and then the crowd would charge back. The police were using their truncheons. The crowd were throwing coins and bottles at the police; one of these coins hit me in the chest, another hit my dad on the leg. We moved behind a parked car away from the violence, but we were unable to get past in order to get away. Meanwhile, a man was about to pick up a plastic bottle, at which point he was set upon by the two police dogs and their handlers. This left one policeman guarding the passage; basically he had no chance of stopping the thirty or so people from passing him; hence we decided to go down the passage, despite being told that things were just as bad at Kippax Street. Of course, when we got to the end of the passage and started walking up Carlton Avenue towards Kippax Street, there was no sign of violence at all; indeed this area was virtually deserted.

My Thoughts

This is yet another complete police cock-up; bad tactics, bad intelligence; make no mistake, as far as I am concerned they caused this riot. If they are so concerned about clashes between rival fans, they should keep the away fans locked in the stadium until the home fans have dispersed; any people hanging about outside the away fans’ exits looking for trouble can be told to move on; if they do not comply, arrest them. The amount of diversions and the sheer hostility of the police (they treat people with an ignorance that just asks for violence) cause the trouble, not the fans, who simply want to get home after yet another refereeing nightmare (although they are not blameless; coin-throwing doesn’t exactly enhance the reputation of the club does it? Beckham incident…). I’m not sure what caused the violence to start with; however, I can imagine it was the police horses charging at the crowd. Another in a long line of Greater Manchester Police balls-ups, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

More Information

(in the ‘Football Violence’ section – please note the site has a bit of casual swearing in it, sorry :)) – The webpage is this article plus an aerial photo detailing my view of the events.

Chris March – Marchie (


This is in response to Mark Bailey’s suggestion that City take up a partnership with the Boston Red Sox. As a life long Yankee and almost half my life long City fan there is nothing more despicable for me then seeing the Yanks team up with the Reds. I was shocked, disgusted, dismayed and more when I learned that they made the arrangement and what’s worse is that it was put together by Charlie Stillitano, the former General Manager of the MetroStars (my local MLS side).

Here are a few reasons why we shouldn’t align ourselved with the BoSox. The Boston Red Sox are perennial losers, something which City are not. The Red Sox are bitter and whining, something I hope City will never be. Lastly, City fans are respectable, something which the Red Sox fans wouldn’t have a clue about.

Oh and one other thing, the Yankees are not followed by glory hunters like the Rags are, many people in the rest of the US hate the Yankees because of their success. The only sense of pride in Boston comes from the Southies, and they’re nothing to brag about.

CTID and YTID, Armando Testani (


I was disgusted to find out this week that Manchester United and the New York Yankees have signed a multi-million dollar marketing deal. After living in New York for one year I made the decision to support the Yankees over the New York’s lesser known club The Mets. Now the Mets will get my support (actually they’re a pretty decent team, I just don’t like their caps!). However, this is not going to stop the flow of more and more Yanks wearing “Rags” merchandise. I’m already sick of people asking me if I support United when they find out I’m from Manchester, then saying “City who!” when I point out their insulting remark. For these reasons I have a suggestion for the Maine Road staff; why not get together with their sister club the Mets, and make their own marketing deal together? Maybe together they can stem the tide of their already too greedy neighbours?

CTID, Steve Clowes (


Jeff Whitley

These 11 men beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0 at Maine Road last 23 October 2000. I’ve just been leafing through last season’s MEN Blues’ review, and this is the first match report I stopped to think of. I know these 11 men would be struggling in the Premiership, but I doubt, I strongly doubt, they would raise less than 23 points. I am going to criticise Joe with this article, so I know I might raise a few eyebrows, but I think that now we have enough elements to understand how a difficult task it is for our big Royle to manage a top flight club.

In my opinion the above side can’t definitely survive, but I think that by adding 3 experienced players, in defence, midfield and up front respectively would have been enough to guarantee survival. We signed Weah, so we just needed 2 other quality, experienced players. We needed 3 players able to help grow and mature the fantastic group of players Joe put together. But what happened instead? We weren’t happy enough. Everyone, including me, had this word in mind, the word “Europe”. I still have a MEN headline quoting Bernstein as saying “I want Manchester to be the Milan of England”. It’s ok to be ambitious, but getting in our stride had to be the first target. Probably that is why Joe decided to bring in so many new players, probably scared after our (natural) limits (2nd Division football 2 seasons ago) started to appear after a few games. Let’s not forget the 4 goals scored against a good side like Sunderland, and the marvellous display at Anfield.

So many things have been said about Weah. I first wrote among these articles that Weah needed better feeding to score goals. Then, after he left, I wrote again accusing him of betrayal. Well, with hindsight I now say that we shouldn’t have let him go. Goater could have learned a lot from him, as well as all the players. Yes, he’s old, but how about Sheringham? Or Zola? Joe decided to insist on Wanchope instead, and decided to drop Dickov while he’d been scoring goals (and good goals indeed) and after he got called up for Scotland. I honestly can’t blame him if he wants to move on.

A good defender had to be signed, and Howey has been a good choice I reckon. But City conceded too many goals early in the season, so the problem had to be in defence, while nobody thought about the midfield, where a quality, experienced player had to be signed. Haaland in that position simply makes me laugh (I watched him play on telly vs. United – stupid free kick given away and a childish miss in front of Barthez – and Chelsea – Zola is still thanking him. These 2 massive games made me appreciate his limits, and made me have enough of him, who is ironically our captain. The armband should be around Morrison’s arm, who should always be playing. He’s a leader, we need him for that.

So I’m happy Lomas decided to stay at West Ham, Joe has already wasted too much money by buying low quality players. I hear Huckerby is good, but what if Ostenstad was Weah? I also hear Kanchelskis display (I’m sorry Joe didn’t manage to bring him to Maine Road at the beginning of the season) was absolutely outstanding, so why was he taken off? If you’re outstanding, what’s the matter if you’re not fully fit, when we desperately need points and we are in February already? Anfield is 8 days away after all, and I heard from Royle’s words on GMR that Ostenstad missed that goal because he wasn’t fully fit (because he isn’t a Premiership player I’d say). There’s some contradiction, isn’t there? Of course we need fit players, but outstanding performances come first. We can’t wait, it could be too late already.

This is my opinion, and of course it will be either shared or criticised. But it’s a fact that Joe hasn’t been able to create a regular starting line up to rely on every Saturday. I think this is a sign of confusion by the manager. And the periodical attention on the transfer list demonstrates a lack of patience, and here we should point the finger at ourselves. We probably pushed Joe (or Joe pushed himself, after reading his interview in this months’ City Magazine) by letting ourselves get carried away by our thirst for success. We should have been patient and should have settled for a 4th place from bottom. This should have been our target, which is now more important than a Premiership title. Last summer I was dreaming of a place in Europe, and these dreams will be turned into nightmares next summer if we go down, if you know what I mean.

Joe put together an incredible group of players in 2 years, and I now see him take this group apart, week after week. He is responsible for our current situation, as well as Bernstein, as well as ourselves. We just misjudged our target last summer. It is late, but finally it is in sight.

Four points are nothing, 2 wins in a row and we’re there again. City need everyone, from Bernstein to us fans. We are Manchester City. We’ll stay up, thanks to everyone’s contribution. And I can’t wait to go to Maine Road to give mine.

Vanes Marzaroli, Italy (


It’s getting frustrating isn’t it, and not one of us can do anything about it.

All the sides at the bottom are doing whatever they can to pick up a result in games; Derby had loads of luck against Leeds, but took a point, Boro sound like they did the same against Villa.

We can no longer look at the sides below us, we have to look above, and to do that we must win games, it’s all very well talking about offside goals and hitting the post and luck, but I’m a great believer in making your own luck.

We lack quality, Derby have Taribo West (outstanding) and Craig Burley plus a load of battlers. We lack that and that will be our downfall. I dearly hope that I will be wrong, but I can’t see it.

It would be a tragedy to seen all the good work of the last two years replaced by the old problems that blighted us years ago. Are enough players giving it all for their shirt, we read and see Tiatto who is by far and away the player of the year.

What about the so called big names who came in to bolster us in the Premiership, how many of them can hold their hands up and say they’ve been a success? Howey perhaps, but that’s it.

Maybe this is an immediate reaction to the Tottenham game, but it is something that has built up inside us throughout the course of the season.

I won’t boo my own players, but I will voice an opinion, that’s the right of every football fan in the world.

John Bradley (


To the Joe is God (Sir Joe) – Where were we two years ago brigade – we all already know that Charlton Ipswich and Sunderland all stood by their managers and were rewarded by returns to the Premiership; the difference is that neither Curbishley, Reid nor Burley had fifteen million to squander on a bunch of misfits and rejects. Neither did they leave international world class forwards languishing on the bench whilst they indulged on ego trips by playing Nationwide Division Two strikers in the all too familiar Manchester City nil games. Neither did they refuse to promote players from their academy to try something different; only SWP was given a chance – Royle persistently trotted out the same underachievers and never gave Killen or Shuker a chance. We are at a crossroads now and are certainly not doomed and deserved to beat Spurs, but what is the way ahead? The usual suspects will come out to give their undying support to Joe the saviour of Manchester City.

I’m no Nostradamus, but I know what road I will take.

John Mcfarlane (


I was interested to read the comments by Neil Haigh in the last edition of MCIVTA, which certainly provide the scope for a bit of lively debate. However, I’m not at all sure where he stands on the issue of whether Joe Royle should remain as manager. On the one hand, Royle is described as “truly hopeless” yet later on it’s proposed that he should be City’s manager for at least the next 3-5 years. All I can say to that is – eh?! I look forward to reading your next contribution Neil.

No manager is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. It’s whether you learn from your mistakes that matters. Yes, people (including myself) have questioned Royle’s tactics and signings/handling of certain players, but he’s clearly recognised the need to do something now by signing players like Huckerby, Kanchelskis and Ostenstad, and having midfield trialists (I was going to say midfielders on trial, but that’s Leeds isn’t it?). Maybe action could have been taken sooner, but there’s a fine line to be drawn between introducing new players and maintaining good team spirit, as Royle has already found out this season! Nobody was complaining about our league position after 10 games, and since then on paper (as opposed to on the pitch) our squad has been strengthened, which suggests that there’s a lot more to it than simply bringing new players in. There have been a few performances which were simply not up to the required standard (both games vs. Charlton, and Leeds at home spring to mind), but I tend to agree with Royle that City have not gained a point this season which they have not deserved, and a manager can’t legislate for some of the things which happen on the pitch, most notably bad refereeing decisions but also things like not lining up a proper wall against a Beckham or Hutchison free kick, or Nicky Weaver letting the ball under his body at Coventry to cost us two vital points. OK, I appreciate that people will say luck evens itself out over the season, you finish in the table where you deserve to finish etc., but I can’t help feeling that we haven’t had the rub of the green at all so far this season, or maybe it’s just that it seems that way because we had all our (long overdue) luck in the last two seasons! Let’s hope we get lucky again for the remainder of the season.

Unfortunately, and most inconveniently, there are other teams who also want to win as much as we want City to win, and who also give 100%! Back to Neil’s comments, giving 100% is important, “outrageously loyal support” does count for something – these are vital ingredients towards a successful team and club, but I agree it’s not all that’s required. But who are the quality footballers that have been ousted? Surely not Gerry Creaney?! Going back in time, Kinkladze was the right type of player but at the wrong time (he’s a great player, but in my opinion only achieved god-like status at Maine Road because most of the rest were dross!), and as regards this season, if Martin Smith’s opinion in MCIVTA 682 is anything to go by, would George Weah have made any difference in the long run? We’ll never know. And if Wanchope behaves like a spoilt brat when he’s substituted after an ineffective performance, well, he’s got to realise what might be coming, especially if there have been other “incidents”. Moving from club to club, he’s in danger of being labelled “the new Stan Collymore”.

I don’t think many City fans can justifiably be accused of mindless optimism, especially at this point in time (it isn’t usually a trait associated with City fans anyway!), and certainly no City fan can be “happy” with the league position (unless by comparison to where we were two years ago), but there’s a need for both supporters and club to remain perhaps what can best be called “realistically positive”. How’s that for a compromise?! Performances on the pitch have been more encouraging recently, though of course we need to win – in our current position, better a stuffy win than a good performance where we lose or draw. A win, no matter how it’s achieved, will also boost confidence.

As for David Bernstein, actions he has taken include keeping faith with Joe Royle as manager (Bernstein “did nothing” in terms of not sacking Royle when we were 12th in Division 2 just over two years ago), which led to the subsequent rise to the Premiership, brought stability and respect back to the club to the extent that Sky considered it a sound investment to purchase a stake in the club last year and has also meant that City are taken seriously again, has generally got the club on a much better financial footing, negotiated in the deal to move to the new stadium, enabled the growth of an impressive youth academy structure, and rid the wage bill of hangers-on like Nigel Clough. The fact that a player of George Weah’s stature was willing to come to Maine Road also speaks volumes for the progress the club has made, notwithstanding the circumstances surrounding his departure and question marks over Royle’s ability to handle “star” names. Better than the Frank Clark/Francis Lee combination wouldn’t you say? Also, to “do nothing” is taking a stance that is sometimes the most difficult option to take when things start to look less than rosy. Manager and Chairman must have confidence in one another that they can pull things around, otherwise everything starts falling apart.

Totally agree with Neil that we don’t want any negativity to spread to the pitch. Let’s hope the boo-boys don’t feel the need to pick on someone else now that Edgy’s not playing/on his way. But I get the feeling that the supporters are ready to back the team all the way, and hopefully not to Division One!

Gary Dickson (


After all the stuff that was posted last weekend on BlueView about the safe standing areas in stadia. I hope City are looking into this so we have an atmosphere that can’t be rivalled.

What I think would really work well is to have a section behind one goal to be standing area and then 2 tiers of seats above them, probably holding 8,000+ fans in total. With the singers/chanters having the choice to sit or stand. The atmosphere generated from below and up into the seats would be infectious.

As for the away fans, I think they should be given a small section behind the opposite goal. Which would create less tension with the singers/chanters and the more over passionate amongst us.

As a Blue now living in Holland I am only able to get to about a dozen games a season. I have to get my football fix here in Holland by watching the nearest team to my home which is Feyenoord. This is where I get my views for creating a good atmosphere at Eastlands.

Feyenoord don’t have standing areas as such but the atmosphere created for the top games is deafening. Lots of flags allowed (with poles), balloons, ticker tape, flares (not the ones you wore in the seventies) etc.

Does anyone out there know if the club are seriously looking into this? As I don’t want to be visiting a ground with no atmosphere like the Theatre of wet dreams on the outskirts of our City.

We must create a good atmosphere because that encourages more and more fans to attend even if the football doesn’t at times.

Below is a link for info about the Feyenoord stadium which is in English should you want to take a look.

P.S. I can’t bring myself to wear the Feyenoord home shirt (red and white). I have tried wearing one of their scarves but it brought me out in a rash. Red and black I can cope with though.

CTID, Ian Hawthorne (


It came as no surprise to me while listening to the BBC Worldservice second half commentary last Saturday, in the last minute the flash came over, “now lets go over to Maine Road; there has been a goal.”

My fingers had been crossed solid for over half an hour but deep down inside I knew which team had scored.

I can only imagine how the fans in the ground were left stunned as I was left with feelings of despair; that was until the next morning when I awoke after dreaming of the FA Cup final. Yes, the script has been written, City will be the first team to win the Cup in Cardiff and be relegated.

Pass me another this one is empty!

CTID, John Taylor (


Apart from the left hand corner of the North Stand you could have heard a pin drop in the 89th minute on Saturday – I was just thinking we deserved more than 1 point as the minutes were ticking away when Rebrov ruined our day. On this occasion, like the Liverpool game, you couldn’t fault the spirit or commitment and there were some good performances, notably Huckerby, Tiatto, Kanchelskis and Dunne.

Like most people I was surprised at the Kanchelskis substitution as he seemed the most likely provider of a goal, but I read in today’s Sunday Pink that JR didn’t think he was ready for 90 minutes on the field.

To be honest, I didn’t see the Howey push on Campbell that caused Mr Dunn to create yet another controversy. Perhaps viewers of MOTD can clarify the incident but at that moment with my arms aloft it seemed b****y unfair. However, you have to take your chances and at the North Stand end Kanchelskis and Egil (what’s his name) could and probably should have scored.

Usually I like to add a bit of humour to anything I write but it’s not that easy today as I contemplate the drive to Selhurst Park. But let’s be upbeat – there’s still 33 points left – so Come on City, the same spirit shown against Liverpool (and I understand at Boro) and yesterday might, just might…

Finally a comment on the unsavoury goings on before the game in Claremont Road. I know the police have a hell of a job in situations with rival fans (fans isn’t the right word) but a row of police horses charging down the road containing elderly people and children was a bit scary to say the least. A bit over zealous! but I’d rather criticise the mindless minority – escort them to the middle of Platt Fields to fight their battles and leave the 99% to enjoy their day out.

Richard Cooper via Andy Noise (


I’m sorry but whichever way it is looked at this team is bad, The league table doesn’t lie and it will take a lot of hard work for City to pull out of this mess. Let’s face it we’re where we are on merit and getting exactly what we deserve. How many games in how many months have we picked up 3 points?

I’m sick of listening to excuses of which we’re treated to, the same one more often than not at that. Luck; for crying out loud one or two decisions are inevitable over a season and yes we’ve had a few but not for every press conference after a game? Be honest, if we are dependent on one decision a game then there is something wrong with the side. There is no way we should be slagging officials off as we’re not the only team who are suffering. The press coverage every weekend highlights an awful lot of incidents to show how hard it is for the people in the middle. We have to look at what is wrong with us and not others. It is the whole season that counts and not just the matches with the obvious decisions not going in our favour. Our season starts now and the players and management need to forget what has happened and get on with arresting the slide of our great club.

We knew at the start of the season it would be a struggle and if we didn’t we are daft. We now need 2 wins just to get out of the relegation zone alone. Think about that for a moment and say to yourself 2 wins from a side that has won once in 4 months with how long left in the season? That’s right, less than the 4 months that have passed.

Being realistic though I can see us winning soon and I don’t care who it will be against as it is coming just through the law of averages, a change in results on Sunday would be a nice start. Another vital fact is that teams in a poor position have traditionally managed a few decent results towards the end of a season that many would expect them to lose. Our run in will be tougher than most on paper but at the end of the day this will be irrelevant as all teams play each other twice remember. We won’t have many games left where there will be huge pressure on both sides which may help.

I don’t want to criticise individual players as this isn’t constructive but I’ve already had a go at Joe earlier so why stop having a go at him? After all the buck is supposed to stop with him. Is he responsible for the players that have come in? Could someone tell me me if any of the players we’ve signed since pre-season were actually first choice for the teams we signed them from? His tactical decisions are looking scarier as the games go by. I saw a team sheet from a recent game where I saw 7 players who at one stage were preferred to be in our defence before a ball was kicked. Who were we about to play? Liverpool, The Evil Red Empire, Leeds, No. The mighty Coventry. We’re sinking fast and the man at the helm seems to be strange indeed.

I’m not going to call any individual player as several subscribers have done enough damage for confidence of individuals as it is, not that I’d expect them to read this. We have to look at the team as a unit and wonder what is wrong. The defence looks fragile despite several new faces and I personally wouldn’t blame Weaver for most things as he must be looking at what is happening in front of him and wondering what is going on. The midfield lacks bite and guile. This is possibly the biggest problem we have as there is just not enough creativity and that is what you’d expect from a team with players of the defensive nature in it. Kanchelskis will make a difference and I hope it is not too late. Cooke should have played the minute Kennedy was out. Maybe he did something that hasn’t been made public like a certain Mr Wanchope, but if he is being punished maybe we’d be better off shipping him out and saving some cash as his days at Maine Road are certainly looking numbered. Tiatto should have been dropped to defence and the midfield shuffled for this. The forwards haven’t had the service required and deserve a supply. They look rusty and snatch at chances when they eventually come.

We don’t need to buy any players, we’ve bought enough. We need to start getting rid before we start expanding. There are still too many players with no chance under Royle happy picking up undeserved money. We don’t need to be having a go at the players and making it harder for them. Yes, pay your money and expect to be entertained but from a team that is lacklustre and clueless don’t expect it. This has been going on since the start of the season so we should know what to expect.

Do we really want to throw more cash at our problems? The players currently here have got us in this position and should start to do something about it and soon. I wonder how many will jump ship if the inevitable happens? I for one won’t shed any tears as a majority are not up to much. Maybe it is great on the training pitch but the results that matter say we’re doing something wrong. Is it the manager or the players? Joe makes the decisions but the players carry them out. Our tactical expertise is in need of improvement, sacking Royle isn’t the answer either; the players need better awareness of what is happening around them. You can’t change a defence nearly every week and expect it to purr like a Roller. We can’t keep experimenting, Joe needs to pick a nucleus of players and stand by them. On top of which, something new in the after match press conferences would be nice.

Last day heroics? I don’t want them again. While the last two seasons have been great it is looking increasingly likely we’re looking at some more. I’ve had too many of these in the past to remember and most of them are bad. So I don’t want any more to add to the heartache. Are you reading Mr Royle?

One last point is the people who’ve mentioned what Sunderland have done in the last three years and would we swap with them. Well I wouldn’t! I don’t want City to go down, I’d rather we stayed up! The sooner we get a decent winning run on the go the better. Fourth from bottom will do me and I suspect around 30,000 others. OK more will, but you have to put a figure on these things.

Mike Lloyd (


So another week goes by and our beloved laser blues have lost. What is so sickening is that for the second week in a row we have had points lost not because of the fault of the team but because of the continuing insistence that a man in black knows best. I’ve heard all the arguments about whether football should have live playbacks or not and how disruptive it would be to the game, but I think that the last two weeks have shown how seriously flawed the idea that a referee and his two assistants are capable of making the correct decision 100% of the time and not seriously affect the outcome of a match is.

I have seen four instances now this season when City were given the wrong end of some really dodgy decisions. The first and to me probably the most blatant was the Shearer goal in the home game against Newcastle back in September. City lost 1-0 to a goal that was so obviously off-side that even the usually vociferous TV pundits were unable to defend the ref’s decision.

Middlesbrough last week and a perfectly good goal disallowed and this week a ‘keeper fouled by his own man and another perfectly good goal goes down as unallowable. Added to that was the disgraceful non-penalty on Kevin Horlock in the Worthington Cup quarter final and City are at least four, possibly seven points adrift of where they should have been, not to mention out of a cup that was looking increasingly like theirs for the taking.

Now it’s all well and good to get annoyed about these things but let’s put this in perspective. If, God forbid, we do get relegated and by as little as three points, how much will we look back at those bad decisions and say they cost us a place in the Premiership? More to the point, how much will the board of directors look at next year’s balance sheet and wonder how to make up the approximately twenty million pound shortfall that we could expect to lose? But for the decisions of three men who are it seems almost totally unaccountable to anyone, we will be back languishing in Division One and a lot poorer to boot.

Rugby League, Cricket, Formula One, American Football and now even the rarefied event that is lawn tennis are either actively adopting or think of adopting television replays to settle borderline decisions. When so much in terms of financial commitment rests on the split second call of one or two men it is about time that the sport thought about introducing technology and taking some of the weight off fallible shoulders. There are always safeguards that can be put in place to prevent abuse of the system by unscrupulous managers by limiting the number of calls each team can have to say three per match (that should be plenty) and that video replay would only be used with the agreement of the referee, manager and fourth official. It isn’t ‘all part of the game’ to expect that you are going to be relegated by a series of incompetent guesses. It isn’t fair or reasonable to expect shareholders in clubs to just accept that a bad decision by a man unaccountable to them can determine the performance of their investments. It is not before time for football to get its house in order and allow the use of the well established technology that is already out there. If anyone from the FA reads McV then take note the decision rests with you and this game that you are supposed to love and cherish is being made poorer for your inaction.

Dave Cash (


I read the recent postings by good ol’ Ernie Whalley, Ernie Barrow and Neil Haigh, not without a bit of sadness over the plight that City now finds itself – 4 points adrift in the last relegation slot with just eleven games against some very difficult opposition in which to make it up – and just wanted to chip in on the subject of supporting Royle (or not). It doesn’t seem that long ago when JR came to our barbecue of hotseats and an Everton mate warned me that he wasn’t the most tactically-sound manager around (I was told to expect long balls and dogs of war). I wasn’t too chuffed when JR dropped Kinkladze (who I think did make his point before being shown the door for the final time) but grew quite teary-eyed as the Stoke game progressed. Nonetheless I didn’t think firing JR would have been the best thing to do then; we had all come from those dark, ejector-seat, five-managers-in-one-season days, and every Blue I knew was paralysed at the thought of going back. So we backed JR to the hilt. Since then I’ve gained a measure of grudging admiration for the guy: two back-to-back promotions ain’t something to sniff at. Ok, I even thought at Wembley that he was nothing short of a hero.

But something still bothers me. Running down the possibilities, I found it hard to pin down. His tactics: on more than one occasion this season, JR played eight defenders (including those masquerading as midfielders, viz Wiekens and Haaland) and two strikers? His excuses, which are becoming more and more painful? Some of his signings? And then it hit me. We’ve been calling on McVittee for undivided support for the eleven men who take to the field wearing blue shirts every week. But it would be hard for that to make a difference if the players don’t feel that they’re getting the same kind of support from JR.

I know a situation like that at one of the places I worked at. Strong-willed boss, very talented people… but success proved elusive because the boss failed to listen to and address the needs and concerns of his staff, and eventually lost their confidence. The question I feel compelled to ask is: how many of the City players actually have 100% confidence in JR? Would you not, if you were Paul Dickov and being dropped every other week despite giving 110% while receiving no service, eventually harbour some doubt? If you were Laurent Charvet and never knew if you would be playing on Saturday or who you would be playing with, would you not get a little frustrated too? If you were Terry Cooke and can’t ever do anything to please the gaffer when there’s (now was) a big hole on the right flank? If you were Nicky Weaver and were repeatedly being criticised in public for your mistakes?

In other words, the player problems we’ve been hearing about this season – whether it’s Weah, Dickov, Charvet or Wanchope – may be not entirely unconnected, and the difficulties may owe significantly to one man’s personality and people-management problems. There, I’ve said it. What’s more, a good number of other difficulties can arise from that: JR can’t handle talent, his teams are as exciting to watch as boring boring Tottenham and Middlesbrough’s put together and the Premiership may be one bridge of sophistry too far for him.

I didn’t start out to write a rant though, and don’t want to; but I think it’s a valid point to take to the should-we-shouldn’t-we? discussion. First of all, in reply to Neil Haigh, this is my criteria: when he loses the confidence of his charges. I don’t feel qualified to judge if this has happened based on only the anecdotal evidence cited above, but I would really hope David Bernstein has his eye on the ball.

Like Neil, I’m therefore a supporter of MCFC rather than a supporter of Joe Royle. However, I don’t agree that David Bernstein has “done nothing”; if nothing more than that he’s restored stability in the club and rooted out disunity, he’ll have done more than Swales and Lee combined. And that’s the other difficulty. Wherever you or I may stand on JR, this is not the time to chop and change. We should all stand behind JR at least for another eleven games. After that though, I don’t know. We all recognise the importance of giving a manager time, but the manager in question is also, if not more, important. You give time to George Burley, not to Captain Lost-His-Marbles; you give time to Peter Taylor, not to Alan Ball; you give time to Alan Curbishley, not to Brian Kidd. Which side of that scale would you put JR in?

PS: Mark Bailey – funny you should mention the Red Sox. City were my first football team, while the Red Sox were my first baseball team. I remember watching them go 6 runs down within two innings against the Minnesota Twins and every friendly body at Fenway Park groaning, only for the Sox to come back 13-12 in a marathon game. Hope it’s the same for the Blues!

CTIDAWJRPMWA (City Till I Die And When Joe Royle Proves Me Wrong Also), Toh Hsien Min (


Spanish collector of Football Teams pins interested in to meet friends with who to swap. I have very good list of doubles for trading. Absolute seriousness. I answer all e-mail and letters.

Mariano Garcia (The President of Fan Club of FC Barcelona in Santa Eulalia city), Navarrete street, 10 44360 Santa Eulalia (TE), Spain.

Also, if anyone is interested in to maintaining correspondence with me about Spanish football, I’m a very good connoisseur. I hope to have success with my proposition. First of all, thanks very much for your attention. Sorry, excuse my english.

Thank you and see you soon, Mariano Garcia (


I am moving house shortly and have some old City programmes I wish to sell. Please get in touch if you are interested in any/all of them.

City vs. Cardiff, March 12 1966

City vs. Everton, 19 November 1966 x 2

Tottenham Hotspur vs. City, 13 Sept. 1969

Stay up! Thanks.

Keith Hotchkiss, 22 Salcombe Drive, Shrewsbury SY2 6SH (


I know that everyone has done this a thousand times, but I’ve looked through all the old MCIVTA’s and can’t find it. How do I get the Blue Moon ringtone on my blower? It’s a Nokia 3210. Is it the normal Blue Moon, or does it sound a bit like that speeded up version, the one by Supra? Apologies for my lack of technical knowledge, I am to technology what Paulo Wanchope appears to be for team spirit.

Richard Ellor (


Here is a site that offers the above but you do have to pay for the service. The Blue Moon ringtone is well worth paying for though.

CTID, Ian Hawthorne (


The subject of ring tones keeps popping up. Some months ago MCIVTA had an article from a guy with a ring tone recipe in for a Nokia phone. I put it on my phone using composer and apart from upping the tempo a bit the thing works brilliantly… If anyone wants the tone I don’t mind sending it as an SMS.

Dave Cash (


Recent results to 11 February 2001 inclusive.

11 February 2001

Charlton Athletic     2 - 0  Newcastle United      20,043

10 February 2001

Arsenal               1 - 0  Ipswich Town          38,011
Aston Villa           1 - 1  Middlesbrough         28,912
Chelsea               1 - 1  Manchester United     34,960
Everton               2 - 1  Leicester City        30,409
Leeds United          0 - 0  Derby County          38,789
Manchester City       0 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     34,399
Southampton           2 - 0  Bradford City         14,651
Sunderland            1 - 1  Liverpool             47,553

League table to 11 February 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  27 11  1  1 34  6  8  5  1 25 11 19  6  2 59 17  42  63
 2 Arsenal         27 11  3  0 34  8  3  5  5  9 15 14  8  5 43 23  20  50
 3 Liverpool       26 10  2  1 28  8  3  4  6 19 20 13  6  7 47 28  19  45
 4 Sunderland      27  8  5  1 17  7  4  3  6 15 18 12  8  7 32 25   7  44
 5 Leeds United    27  7  2  5 22 18  4  5  4 17 17 11  7  9 39 35   4  40
 6 Ipswich Town    26  6  4  3 20 12  6  0  7 17 21 12  4 10 37 33   4  40
 7 Charlton Ath.   27  9  4  1 23  9  2  3  8 13 29 11  7  9 36 38  -2  40
 8 Leicester City  26  7  4  2 18 13  4  2  7  9 16 11  6  9 27 29  -2  39
 9 Chelsea         26 10  3  1 37 13  0  5  7 11 20 10  8  8 48 33  15  38
10 Newcastle Utd   26  7  2  3 18 12  4  2  8 14 25 11  4 11 32 37  -5  37
11 Tottenham  H.   27  8  5  0 22  9  1  4  9  9 25  9  9  9 31 34  -3  36
12 Southampton     26  8  2  4 21 15  1  6  5 10 19  9  8  9 31 34  -3  35
13 Aston Villa     25  4  5  3 16 13  4  4  5 12 14  8  9  8 28 27   1  33
14 West Ham United 25  4  5  3 17 11  3  5  5 15 19  7 10  8 32 30   2  31
15 Everton         27  4  6  4 19 19  4  1  8 11 21  8  7 12 30 40 -10  31
16 Derby County    27  5  6  2 16 16  1  4  9 11 27  6 10 11 27 43 -16  28
17 Middlesbrough   27  3  5  5 15 17  2  7  5 16 17  5 12 10 31 34  -3  27
18 Manchester City 27  3  3  8 17 21  2  5  6 13 25  5  8 14 30 46 -16  23
19 Coventry City   26  2  4  7  9 19  3  2  8 14 26  5  6 15 23 45 -22  21
20 Bradford City   26  2  4  6 10 20  1  3 10  6 28  3  7 16 16 48 -32  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 #683