Newsletter #689

Another poor result on Saturday which -if it weren’t for the equally dire form of Coventry and Middlesbrough – ought to have marked the end of our season. City have now parted company with Crooks and Jobbo, and look set on parting with Big Andy Morrison; outgoings which are balanced by the loan signing of a 20-year-old Bundesliga midfielder ’til the end of the season (anyone in Germany know anything about him?). For me however, the biggest news of the week – or perhaps the season – is the sad news that John Maddocks has passed peacefully away at Stepping Hill Hospital (on Thursday 1 March) after a long illness. Having met him, and spoken to him on many occasions, I can say with some conviction what a thoroughly decent guy he was. A passionate City fan, and the official club historian, he was always ready to pass his great knowledge on to anyone who cared to ask. He was someone who, unlike many of the media stars of today, will indeed be missed. His funeral will take place at Stockport Crematorium on Thursday 8 March at 12 noon, afterwards at the Oasis Suite from 1pm.

Lastly, thanks once again to Geoff for standing in in my absence – great job as per usual.

Next game: Bradford away, Saturday 17th March 2001


Part I: Southampton at Home – Result and Reaction

Lone Petrescu Strike Enough for Saints: Manchester City failed to capitalise on the boost given them by the previous week’s win at Newcastle when Southampton visited Maine Road on Saturday. A second-half Dan Petrescu effort was sufficient to consign the Blues to a 1-0 defeat which keeps them in the relegation zone. City named the same eleven players who started at St James’ Park, but against well-organised opponents generated little excitement in front of a subdued crowd. The away side were largely content to soak up the Blues’ pressure, which they largely managed with comfort, and they went ahead with their only shot on target in the ninety minutes when Petrescu fired home ten minutes after the break. City succeeded thereafter in carving out openings for Grant, Kanchelskis and substitute Ostenstad but in truth exhibited little quality – although, needless to say, there was time for the Blues to be on the wrong end of the now obligatory contentious refereeing decision.

Bosses Agree Over Penalty Incident: Manchester City went down 1-0 at home to Southampton on Saturday. But although the Blues didn’t produce their best football against the Saints, they were again denied by a poor decision from the match officials – as even the opposing manager agreed. City were already trailing when, in the 73rd minute, Saints goalscorer Dan Petrescu appeared to handle in his own penalty area. And, as TV pundits agreed unanimously, replays of the incident showed beyond doubt that City were once more hard done by. Hardly surprisingly, Joe Royle once again bemoaned his team’s luck, while visiting boss Glenn Hoddle admitted he’d have had no complaints had the verdict gone the other way. “It looked like a penalty,” conceded the former England coach.

Hoddle – City Lacked Confidence: Glenn Hoddle saw his Southampton side keep Manchester City at bay to win 1-0 at Maine Road on Saturday. And the former England coach reflected that the result had never really been in doubt once the Saints took the lead. Southampton had gone ahead early in the second half and then appeared content to try to hold on for the single-goal victory. But though the Blues had all the territorial advantage in the closing half-hour and should have had a penalty, Hoddle believed that Joe Royle’s man never really had the air of a side that was likely to get back into the game. “I don’t think they had the belief that they could win once we went ahead,” explained the Saints’ boss.

Royle Bemoans Another Smash and Grab: Joe Royle saw his Manchester City side restrict Southampton to one effort on target at Maine Road on Saturday. But that was still enough for the Saints to win the game – much to the Blues’ boss’s frustration. Royle admitted that his side hadn’t played well, giving the ball away too easily and resorting too eagerly to hit-and-hope balls to the front men. But he nevertheless felt that, having seen his side carve out more chances in the game than the visitors, the scoreline represented an injustice – just as was the case three weeks previously against Spurs. “It’s another smash and grab,” he reflected. “I think they’ve had one shot and one header, and just one effort on goal in 90 minutes but taken the three points home. We’ve lost six points in the last two games at Maine Road to two shots in 180 minutes.”

Boss Relieved at Other Results: Manchester City may have suffered a setback in their survival battle on Saturday. But Joe Royle was relieved that most of the other sides battling against the drop failed to take maximum points this weekend. Coventry failed to move level with the Blues, a Highfield Road draw with Chelsea keeping the Midlands club two points adrift of City in second-bottom position. And the Blues are now two points behind 17th-placed Middlesbrough after Terry Venables’ men drew at home to Charlton. Everton, who shared the points with Newcastle at Goodison Park, are a further four points ahead of ‘Boro and two behind Derby, who seem to have all but banished their relegation fears with a 2-0 win against Spurs at Pride Park. But Royle felt on balance that those results favoured the Blues. “Middlesbrough haven’t won, Coventry haven’t won, so there’s no great damage around us,” said Royle. “It’s looking more and more as though it’s going to be three from four.”

Part II: Transfer News and Rumours

German Midfielder Arrives on Loan: Manchester City have signed a German midfielder on loan until the end of the season. But, according to the Manchester Evening News Sunday Pink, the Blues regard Dino Topmöller as “one for the future” rather than the man to inspire the team to Premiership safety. Topmöller has been with Bundesliga Second Division side Saarbrucken. And the 20-year-old has impressed sufficiently during a week’s training with the Blues to earn a longer stint at Maine Road with a view to a permanent move. Joe Royle says the player, who is 6’2″ tall, is good on the ball, which would distinguish him from his rivals for a starting berth in the City midfield. But Royle has played down the prospect of the youngster being thrown straight into the team’s survival battle, though it remains to be seen whether this is merely a ploy to reduce the weight of expectation on the new boy’s shoulders. The player was recommended to the Blues by his father, who, after being part of the West German 1974 World Cup winning squad, played out his career in the USA alongside current City goalkeeping coach Alex Stepney.

Jobson Seals Permanent Tranmere Move: Richard Jobson has finally left Manchester City. The central defender has sealed a free-transfer move to Tranmere Rovers, for whom he has been playing on loan for the last two months. Jobson was a key man in the Blues’ First Division promotion campaign, featuring in all but the first two league games as City returned to the Premiership. But his only senior action for the club this term came in the two League Cup games against Gillingham in September. After a brief loan spell with Watford, the 37-year-old enjoyed a more fruitful temporary stint at Tranmere, and impressed enough in his first two months at Prenton Park for boss John Aldridge to offer a 16-month contract, which the veteran has gratefully accepted.

In-Demand Crooks Opts for Barnsley: Lee Crooks has completed his move away from Manchester City. The utility man has joined Barnsley, preferring the Tykes’ offer to rival bids from Huddersfield and Bristol City, though he didn’t sign in time to feature in Saturday’s win at Grimsby. After failing to hold down a regular place in last season’s First Division campaign, Crooks saw his first-team prospects at Maine Road recede completely this term and was transfer-listed in the autumn. But after an injury-hit loan spell at Northampton, the 23-year-old suddenly became a sought-after commodity. The South Yorkshire club has paid an undisclosed fee, partially based on incentive payments, to land the Wakefield-born player. The Manchester Evening News Sunday Pink claims that the deal will be worth a maximum of £250,000 depending on appearances and on whether the Yorkshireman helps Barnsley to win promotion.

Morrison Rejects Move, but Resigns Himself to Leaving: Andy Morrison has turned down a £150,000 move from Manchester City to Bristol City. But the big defender still looks to be on his way out of Maine Road. Morrison held talks with Robins’ manager Danny Wilson at the end of last week, but his move to Ashton Gate collapsed after he was unable to agree personal terms with the Second Division club. But while the former skipper says he’d be bitterly disappointed to have to leave City, he believes that Joe Royle’s willingness to accept a bid for him is a clear indication that he has no future with the Blues. “I’ve wanted to stay and I’ve made that perfectly clear, but it’s been made obvious to me that I’m not wanted,” he said. “I know where I stand now.”

Royle – No Pre-Deadline Buys Expected: Last season, Joe Royle boosted Manchester City’s promotion prospects with a pre-deadline swoop for Spencer Prior. But the Blues’ boss doesn’t expect to land late reinforcements to help in this season’s relegation scrap. Royle says that the problem is not so much a lack transfer cash as the fact that players of the quality he needs are unlikely to be made available by their current clubs. And that would make any new acquisition a gamble the City manager is unwilling to take. “Bringing in new players now would be a real imponderable,” he told the Daily Mail. “No matter how much money I might have, I would not be able to buy the kind of players that could change things because they would be needed by their own clubs. So if you buy the players that are available at this stage of the season, you are likely to be buying in someone else’s problems.”

City Set to Swoop for Canadian Youngster?: English clubs’ foreign scouting networks are no longer focusing exclusively on established talent. And if reports this week are to be believed, Manchester City are no exception when it comes to looking to the continent for promising youngsters. City are said to be closing in on striker Joey Todaro, who currently plays for French regional league side Tourcoing. The 18-year-old, who has already represented Canada at under-20 level, is believed to have impressed during a trial at Maine Road, and would be delighted to sign professional terms with the Blues. “I feel great about going back to Manchester City,” enthused Tordaro. “I was there for a week and they really liked me, so they invited me back. Most likely, I should be signing a contract so I feel great about it.”

Part III: Miscellaneous News and Views

Haaland – Mood Among Players Still Positive: Manchester City may have lost at home to Southampton on Saturday. But Alfie Haaland says that the mood in the camp is still upbeat. Haaland has come under criticism from fans after a string of lacklustre personal performances in recent weeks. But the Blues’ skipper continues to talk a good game, and he argues that the gap between City and fourth-from-bottom Middlesbrough is still close enough to allow for optimism. “The determination is still there,” affirmed the Norwegian. “We know we are good enough to climb out of the bottom three. We would have been happy with three points from the last two games and we are still within a win of Middlesbrough. There is a long way to go yet.”

Quartet Continue Fitness Drive: Manchester City are unlikely to make any new signings before this month’s transfer deadline. So Joe Royle will be hoping that the return from injury of some of his injured stars could offer a boost for the closing weeks of the Blues’ relegation fight. Paul Dickov was on the bench against Southampton on Saturday, but should benefit from extra match practice in the reserves before the Blues take on Bradford in a fortnight’s time. Kevin Horlock and Mark Kennedy should also be in the squad for the match at Valley Parade; Kennedy played for 45 minutes in last week’s reserve game but wasn’t thought ready for a place on the bench against Southampton, while Horlock returned to training last week and should be fit for senior action in another two weeks’ time. Meanwhile, Paulo Wanchope is hoping to have recovered from his cartilage operation by the end of this month, and with the Costa Rican unlikely to move away from Maine Road before this month’s transfer deadline, it’s possible that Royle may gamble on his transfer-listed top-scorer if things continue to look desperate for the Blues.

Royle Weighs Up Ostenstad’s Claims: Egil Ostenstad has yet to start a senior game for Manchester City despite having joined the Blues on loan a month ago. But with his team still in serious danger of relegation, Joe Royle could soon turn to the Norwegian front man. Ostenstad has scored three goals in the reserves since arriving from Blackburn, but has seen himself restricted to two substitute outings for the senior side after Shaun Goater found the net in the games at Liverpool and Newcastle. However, the ex-Southampton man could now be handed a start at Bradford after impressing having been sent on from the bench against his former club on Saturday. “Egil looked very lively when he came on,” enthused Royle, “and I think it is time to give him his chance. It is a month since he arrived now and he is fitter and sharper.”

Season Tickets Available Online: Manchester City have announced the discounted pre-March 31st rate for season ticket prices for next season. The Blues will increase prices by an average of 8%, and fans will be able to renew their seats through the club’s official website. City claim that, as a gesture to the fans, the increased prices are still lower than current levels at other Premiership clubs, though it’s to be hoped that, come the summer the Blues are still in a position to compare themselves with other top-flight outfits! “When we were pushing for promotion last season we didn’t suddenly hike our season ticket prices. In fact we only increased by ten per cent,” chairman David Bernstein told the official City site at “Now this season we are in a dog fight and we are sticking to our policy of putting the fans first. The increase will be an average of eight per cent.” Any fans wishing to take advantage of the online booking facility can find the application form at

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SOUTHAMPTON, Saturday 3rd March 2001

Eek. Looking a bit scary isn’t it? I really thought before the game that we’d win this – although I did say that it would be just like City to go and lose after beating Newcastle last week then told myself off for being too cynical and bitter. That’s what supporting City’s done to me.

For once – or to be more accurate for the second time this season – City started with the same team as at Newcastle. Haaland started the game at right back and Grant also kept his place in the team. For Southampton, James Beattie started up front with Uwe on the bench, and greedy git Kachloul also started (£26,000 a week for that? What planet is he living on?). Full line up for City was Weaver, Haaland, Dunne, Howey, Granville, Grant, Tiatto, Wiekens, Huckerby, Kanchelskis and the Goat. First half City were attacking the North Stand.

The pitch is a real mess at the moment. There are huge great areas in front of each goal with no grass at all and the centre of the pitch is obviously really uneven as players were struggling to pass to each other all game. Well it’s one excuse for crap passing and I think I’ll stick to it. The game started pretty slowly – there was no atmosphere inside the ground at all which can’t have helped. It’s amazing how quiet 34,000 people can be when they put their minds to it. City had designated the game as a “flag day” and reduced the prices of the flags for sale in the club shop to a fiver. Now they claimed that this was in an attempt to lift the crowd and produce the same sort of atmosphere that was evident at games like the one against Birmingham at home last season, but the much more sinister truth soon became apparent. I don’t know if you’ve seen the flags that are for sale this year, but the vast majority of them have the words “Premier League” printed on them. Doh! Up pops that City-engendered cynicism once again, could this be a desperate attempt by City to dump the flags at a cut price rate before the end of the season because they won’t be able to sell them next year?! Surely not! City aren’t bright enough to think of something like that! In any case it didn’t really work, so tough.

Despite there not being too much to shout about in the first half (hang on scrap that, there wasn’t much to shout about all game), the chances in the first half all fell to City. First a cross from Huckerby after a quarter of an hour was going straight towards Goater’s head, as he ran (yep, ran!) in from the edge of the area towards it. You know those moments where you see the net billowing before the ball’s struck at goal because it has to go in? I don’t mean at City (don’t be silly), but you’ve seen those games when the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal are really on form and you just know they’re going to score? Well anyway it wasn’t anything like that ‘cos Goater headed it really weakly at Paul Jones who didn’t have to do much to save it.

Beattie went off after half an hour and Rösler came on, to a standing ovation from three and a half sides of the ground. The only people who weren’t pleased to see him were the Southampton fans (by the way, credit to them for bringing so many, they nearly sold all their allocation, which some so-called bigger and considerably closer teams haven’t managed to do this season). Just after that Kanchelskis (I think) got the ball over from the right towards Huckerby, who turned away from his man well but only managed to strike the ball straight at Jones. This was proving to be a bit of a pattern. I know Jones was having a good game, but it would have been nice to at least force him to move to make a save on one occasion. I don’t think that’s too much to ask is it? The goal area is quite big – or at least it always seems big when other teams are shooting at ours. As soon as we have a shot on goal it reduces to the size of that hoop that poor unfortunate people have to try to kick the ball through at half time to win £50. Just before half time we had a free kick about 30 yards out. Tiatto, who to be honest had done bog all in the first half, hit it really hard straight at goal but yet again Jones made the save.

Oh well never mind, we thought at half time. We’ve been well on top here and Southampton haven’t had a single chance on goal. Surely in the second half the game will open up and we’ll be able to get a shot past Jones? Surely Danny Tiattomeister will come in to the game more and will tear down the left hand side the way we know he can? Surely Haaland will realise he is playing football today and not chopping wood and will start playing again? That will free Goater up to be able to go forwards rather than tracking back and helping out at right back!

Er, no. I don’t know what was in the half time tea but we were rubbish in the second half. Maybe Hoddle had called Eileen Drewery in to do a quick session with the Southampton lads (oo-err) but whatever it was, it worked for them and it didn’t work for us. We were suddenly lacking a yard of pace in midfield and Southampton were able to pass around at will. Haaland capped his poor first half performance with an abysmal second half. Tiatto had two runs at goal, both of which nearly resulted in us scoring, but did little else. Luckily the Saints had Rösler up front. How many times have we seen Der Bomber land flat on his backside appealing for a free kick because he just wasn’t quite quick enough to reach the ball?! Still we couldn’t rely on him for the rest of the game, and it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Southampton’s first decent attempt on goal led to them scoring. From a throw in in front of the Kippax, Saints won a corner, from which the ball fell to Petrescu (who by the way had done nothing except whinge at the ref all game) who volleyed it in to the net. Bu*ger.

Right, we all thought, time for some substitutions. Haaland’s been having a shocker, we’ve not being doing too badly in midfield, so get Haaland off, play three at the back and shove Ostenstad up front. Alternatively, swap Granville for Charvet and drop Tiatto back, but still get Haaland off the pitch as he’s having a shocker. Er, no. Granville was indeed replaced by Charvet, but Huckerby was replaced by Ostenstad (who was booed by the Southampton fans, not very nice that) and Haaland moved up in to midfield. Eh? If he’s been having a bad time at right back what on earth makes anyone think he’ll play better in midfield? Anyway he didn’t. We’d been keeping possession fairly well until that point (dodgy pitch notwithstanding) but not after that. Grr.

We did have a couple of further chances on goal. Ostenstad blazed the ball over the bar (yippee, another striker who shoots like Jeff Whitley) and then Jones managed to tip another shot from Big Egil past the post. Wiekens also had a header late on but come on, he isn’t going to score is he? We should have had a penalty when Petrescu used both hands to bat the ball onto his knee before taking it out of the penalty area, but the linesman on that side hadn’t managed to call an offside correctly all game (for either side) so he wasn’t going to see a penalty was he? In any case the way our luck’s going at the moment we’d have missed it.

So that was it, the ninth home loss of the season. We can point at the fact that we should have had a penalty, that Tiatto and Haaland both had very bad games, that Jones and Dean Richards were outstanding for Southampton, but we have to face up to reality. On our day we can beat almost anyone but that day never seems to come. At least I get to go back to Norwich next season.

Sharon Hargreaves


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SOUTHAMPTON, Saturday 3rd March 2001

A bright, sunny day on Saturday saw the first league visit of Southampton in 5 years (we won 2-1, Kinky scoring both). Optimism flowed before the game on the back of last week’s result and the smash’n’grab down at the Dell earlier this season. 33,990 turned out for ‘flag-day’ though the carnival atmosphere witnessed on previous occasions (Wigan, Birmingham) failed to emerge.

City lined up: Weaver, Haaland, Dunne, Howey, Granville, Kanchelskis, Wiekens, Grant, Tiatto, Huckerby, Goater. Subs: Nash, Egil, Dickov, Prior, Charvet. City started off towards the North Stand, throwing ourselves forwards and on the attack for the first 20 minutes or so of the game. AK weaving his magic down the right provided a chance with Huckerby but shot across the goal. With Tiatto down the left providing the same speed, the Saints were on the defensive – letting us do the running and waiting for the first sign of tiring. Huckerby again broke through forcing Jones to pull off a save within the first 8 minutes. An October repeat seemed on the cards, with not 10 minutes gone on the clock. Again Huckerby provided a perfect cross in from the left, met by Goater’s head at the post – again Jones pulled off a good save to groans all round. At about 27 minutes the unthinkable happened: a referring decision in our favour. Goater was chasing up and down the pitch, from centre back to centre forward – what has the guy been eating lately? Winter had booked El Khalej for dissent and we were awarded a free kick and – there’s more – 10 yards. Goalscoring distance. Worth a shot. We stood with bated breath but Huckerby hit straight at the wall. Saints then made the obvious substitution: Rösler on to the biggest cheer of the day. He and Dunne turned into a great sparring match soon after. We continued with the chasing forwards to no avail, frantic with no flair, leaving Soton to exploit our defence. Granville cleared an attempt over the bar by Kachloul near on 40 minutes. After this we were just scrappy, hoofing the ball of the field and trying long range shots – both Huckerby and Tiatto had a go but Jones was on form.

Half time and the hoses were turned on the pitch leaving us to watch the MEN kick for cash, now standing at some incredible amount. City returned after the break somewhat jaded and, just as I was trying to recall the last goal we scored at the Platt Lane end, AK fired yet another ball in which led to a corner. No luck though. On 55 minutes Soton had their first real shot on goal from a throw-in which Wieks nudged into the path of Petrescu. A good goal, unfortunately for the wrong side.

Royle then decided to make 2 subs: Egil on for Huckerby and Charvet on for Granville, which effecitvely left us with nothing down the left hand side. Tiatto moved back to defence and Alfie into midfield. Saints then almost scored another when Rösler went close 5 minutes later. Bl**dy typical. Egil tried to redeem but Jones once again got there first. On 70 minutes we did score at the Platt Lane end from a corner. Unfortunately it got disallowed for a push on Jones (didn’t see who supposedly commmited this), followed by a blatant hand ball by Petrescu (even Brooking on MoTD and Hoddle agreed). Egil and Goat combined to lay the ball on for Grant who shot over the bar. Whistle went, by which time many had already left. Not to be our day – again.

No excuses please from either players or manager, just get it fixed. We can’t finish for toffee; I’d like to see Kennedy out left and Kanky on the right but who wants feeding up front? Bradford next in a fortnight, Haaland misses this game. Would somebody at the club please tell him to stop spouting such cr@p that is making MCFC a laughing stock, in his newspaper column and website and concentrate on his own play and inspiring the team.

We now have 9 games, 4 at home. Too often at home this season the opposition have cast their line and waited for us to take the bait before reeling us in, scoring one and nicking all the points (Newcastle, Leicester, Spurs, now Soton). The crowd on Saturday were disappointing, but the team never looked as though they were up for the game. Maybe we should play the remaining fixtures in the evening or away from home when both seem to perform better. We’ve not won (league) at home in 6 games – does Sick Pitch Syndrome exist? I know I’m enjoying the away games far more than the home ones.

At this rate I can only see us realistically getting 9 points in these next 9 games (Bradford, Villa, Everton), possibly a couple more against West Ham and Ipswich. I refuse to abandon all hope until the safety net is finally pulled away, there are more important things to worry about.

Heidi Pickup (


Not so much a match report but a few observations and moans from the match.

At 3pm the sun was shining, the flags were waving and the team was flying from the excellent win at Newcastle last week. By half time we were being out-sung by the 990 opposition fans and outclassed by a very mediocre Southampton side who were there for the taking without Pahars, Dodd & Le Tissier. We kept the same side as last week with Dickov on the bench after a full reserve team game in midweek. Goater had a tame header saved by Jones and Tiatto had a brilliant free kick from 40 yards plucked from the top corner by the ‘keeper.

James Beattie was replaced after half an hour by Uwe Rösler, who got a good reception from the City fans; he had a diving header into the side netting but was otherwise kept quite by Howey. At the start of the second half the sun went down and the flags had nothing to wave about. The Saints’ fans told us we’ll never see their new ground and the City fans told them they’ll never fill their new ground. The Goat was looking a bit lame and someone suggested he was suffering some sort of virus? Our defence was looking solid and blocking everything with Weaver just having to watch, take a few backpasses and goal kicks. Our midfield was non-existent.

Southampton scored from their only shot on target with a good volley from the unmarked Petrescu from a corner. Joe took off Huckerby and Granville, replacing them with Ostenstad and Charvet, with Haaland moving into midfield. We had two penalty appeals turned down, one where Petrescu used both arms to block a shot and we had a goal disallowed, otherwise the ref Jeff Winter had a good game! The best we can hope for now is that a foot and mouth outbreak hits Maine Road and we are forced to play the rest of the season’s games away from home, or Tony Blair’s lot abandon the season early due to the foot and mouth outbreak and we start again in August. Nice flag in the corner of the Kippax/Platt Lane: 25 years and we’re still here.

Derek Cooper (


This week in City’s history:

5th March: Uwe Rösler returned to Maine Road at the weekend; he made his début for City on this day in 1994 in the 1-1 draw at QPR.

6th March: Remember the long winter of 1962-1963 when the country was snowbound? City’s 3rd round FA Cup tie at Walsall was finally played, after being postphoned ten times. City won 1-0 with a goal from Alex Harley. Back in 1926 they’d gone down to London for a sixth round match against Clapton Orient and won 6-1. And on this date in 1999, Kevin Horlock was sent off for a second time in a month.

7th March: The 5-0 victory at Burton United (Division Two) in 1903 was City’s sixth straight win with goals tally of 35-3. In 1970 City won the League Cup for the first time, beating West Bromwich team that included Asa Hartford 2-1. Glyn Pardoe scored the winning goal in extra time. In 1993 Peter Reid’s team seemed to be heading for Wembley in the FA Cup but lost 2-4 at home to Spurs in the sixth round. Against Derby in Division Two in 1964 City raced into a three goal lead inside 12 minutes, starting with an own goal when Derby’s centre-half went to cut out a cross from David Wagstaffe and put it into the net as he tried to keep it from reaching Derek Kevan. But Derby pulled it back to 3-2 in the second half and then missed two easy chances with the crowd silent apart from a few plaintive cries from the back “to get on with it.”

8th March: Mike Summerbee scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over United at Old Trafford in 1969.

9th March: Shaun Goater got a hat-trick and left to a standing ovation from City fans when he was substititued just before the end as City beat Burnley 6-0 at Turf Moor this day in the Nationwide Second Division in 1999.

10th March: Bobby Johnstone (2), Joe Hayes, and Jack Dyson scored in the 4-0 win over West Brom at the Hawthorns in 1956, the same trio as would get the goals in the Cup Finals two months later.

11th March: saw City take a step towards another Cup Final in 1981, knocking out Everton in a 6th round replay with two goals from Bobby McDonald and one from Paul Power. Everton were again the beaten opponents on this day in 1961, David Shawcross and Gerry Baker the scorers. And on this date in 1969, Joe Corrigan played his first game, away to Ipswich, where City lost 2-1.

Ken Corfield (


S  urely
O  ur
U  sual
T  errible
H  ome
A  ttack
M  ust
P  erform
T  oday ?
O  h
N  o !

Steve Maclean (


To discuss the season so far and the run up to the end of season, Blues in Perth WA are invited to the Norwood Hotel before the Perth Glory home match against Northern Spirit on March 10th. Be there at around 5.30 pm to have a few cold ones before the game. The pub location is corner of Lord Street and Windsor Street.

Hope to see you there.

Geoff Clegg (


“Going for a slip and a slide” used to be my mate’s euphemism for walking down the alleys between the houses around Maine Road. I have to say our regular route back from the Kippax car park to Watford Avenue in the dark seems less hazardous than a few years ago, the legislation banning dogs off leads may have had some effect. Certainly the regular appearance of a Maine Road mongrel on the pitch seems to be relegated to folk memory.

But now we have a new and growing problem around Maine Road: horse-s**t.

First, there’s the amount of it, which suggests the police horses aren’t trained to do it on paper before they leave the stables (or is it that they used to do it on the road while walking to the ground but now get chauffeured in boxes?).

Second, there’s the consistency and smell of it, which suggests that the diet is wrong (droppings should be odourless, round and firm, easily kickable, not the diarrhoeic slop that GMP’s finest seem to produce). And goodness knows what the horses eat!

Third, there’s the total lack of necessity for it. Some police forces have abandoned their horses altogether, and it’s hard to think of a crowd control situation in recent years where horses have really been an effective and proportional operational solution. Determined protesters go equipped with anti-horse measures (marbles) and when metal poles are being used as weapons (as in the poll tax riots and the stop-the-City [of London] demos), armoured vehicles, not fleshy quadrupeds are what’s required. The use of police horses during the pitch invasion at Maine Road against Spurs a few years back was what delayed the match, not the couple of hundred idiots who went on the pitch. Most of them were back on the terraces by the time the horses appeared.

If there is any crowd control use, it’s by intimidating people. The one advantage, the rider has a good view from horseback of what’s going on, is dissipated by the fact that the people on the ground don’t and only know that half a ton of horseflesh is pushing them where they might not want to go. Children feeding and stroking the horses makes a nice picture, having a child around when a horse is being pushed and prodded into pushing and prodding people isn’t quite so nice.

Presumably the club has to fork out for the cost of policing, including the horses, which don’t come cheap. But if clubs in horse-free constabulary zones don’t have to pay for horses, why should City and other Greater Manchester clubs? I remember when James Anderton got rid of the GM Police Band, on the grounds that paying police officers to blow tubas was expensive public relations. Perhaps it’s time to start asking whether horses at football matches are part of the pre-Hillsborough mentality of crowd control, that we are a mob to be herded rather than human beings to be directed?

In the meantime, what happened to the old fella with a shovel and bucket who used to follow the horses and collect fertiliser for his roses?

Steve Parish (



I read your note on how Man United fans are celebrating my club’s barren quarter of a century. I would be so pleased if you were to note next week, that this is a symptom of something that we Man City fans have come to observe more and more over the years, that is, that the more and more successful they become, and the more and more successless (!) we become, the more obsessed United fans become with City.

The only reason I can propose for this is that they see City as a huge threat to United, if not on the pitch, then off the pitch. Or, indeed, it could be some sort of phobia. I think the bottom line is that whilst we may be jealous of their silverwear, and their coterie of referees, that they are jealous of us, as, whatever our failings on the field, we are still a football club first and foremost, whereas United, first and foremost, are a business.

So – who has lost more? City fans or United fans?

Jeremy Poynton (


As reported in the Daily Mail earlier on this week, look what I found on the PFA website:

To the tune of ‘I am the music man’, the cries of ‘Tia-Tia-Tiatto’ are a popular refrain around the invariably packed stands of Maine Road where the whole-hearted attitude of Aussie battler Danny Tiatto is well appreciated in these troubled times for Manchester City. Since voting for the inaugural PFA Fans’ Player of the Year began here on a week ago, the tidy and tenacious City favourite has burst into a early lead with all the speed he displays up and down the left flank for the Premiership strugglers. Of course, it is still early days and Tiatto’s lofty position at the head of the list of Premiership candidates for this unique award is sure to come under increasing threat from the likes of West Ham’s Paolo di Canio, Manchester United’s David Beckham and Liverpool’s rising star Steven Gerrard. One of the more surprising contenders, at this stage, is Everton midfielder Paul Gascoigne who has been sidelined so far this year but clearly made a lasting impression during a brief but brilliant spell in the Toffees’ first team before his latest injury setback.

Now I’m not suggesting anything, but if you follow the link below and select Man City and Danny Tiatto then you never know a shock could be on the cards, similar to Maradona’s victory over Pele 😉

CTID, James Walsh (


Thought all City fans would like Danny Tiatto to win this lovely prestigous award. Check out:

Currently Danny Tiatto is leading the poll, which is exceptionally nice considering the views in favour of Cole, Beckham and Sheringham on the opening page – come on, get Danny the Premiership award.

Rich Fenton (


There are one or two subscribers to McV who know my smallest son Ben. For those that don’t Ben is six point five years young and full of opinion in a way that only the young can be. He loves the Blues just like his old man and has taken to going with me to reserve fixtures when the rest of the tribe can’t be coaxed out of the warmth to face the eternal rain at Ewan Fields.

Well a couple of weeks back we attended the Blues vs. Middlesbrough game on yet another predictably wet night, me trying to find somewhere to stand that didn’t involve getting driving drizzle blown in my face and Ben looking for somewhere to get his autograph book signed. The match has been reported on already (forgot my notepad but Heidi did the business) so I’m not going to go on about that but rather about a funny little story involving Ben.

We thought on the night that Mark Kennedy might be playing and as Ben has his name all over the back of his shirt we decided to take the autograph book and try to get some names in it. During the match he did OK and got both Carlo Nash’s and Egil the Eagle’s. So come the end of the game we trooped around to the dressing room door to wait and after a few minutes were rewarded with Messrs Nash and Ostenstadt rubbing little tousled heads on their way out. Next out was Reg. Heidi is right, he does look like he’s been in the pie cupboard and stayed a little too long to boot. Anyway I digress… I gently pushed Ben forward and being the polite lad he is asked very sweetly, “Please can I have your autograph?” Reg is a nice bloke and duly obliged. “Who is it to?” he asked so I shouted “Make it out to Ben please Richard”. So down went ‘best wishes Ben… Squiggle’ (like they do) and he handed it back with a smile. Ben stood there transfixed with eyes the size of dinner plates and little mouth hanging open. He looked at the book, then at Reg, then back to the book and turning to me he stuck a thumb up and shouted “Got it dad… Who is he?” Cue the ground opening please! Oh well there’s time to learn and thanks Reg you took it in good form.

Dave Cash (


A reply to Gordon Hindle

I read your article with interest about the policing at Maine Road. I have to agree with your sentiments. This will only lead to fans making alternative arrangements for that odd pint or two before the game. So you’re one of the best program sellers at Maine Road then! Can you by any chance get a copy of the City vs. United game earlier this season for me? I have been trying to get a copy because my 6-year-old son had his picture in it. He was dressed up in all his City gear and there was a good little story about him. I could not thank you enough or anyone else for that matter if you were able to get hold of a copy for me.

Best Regards, CTID, Stuart Parker (


A wealth of sports to soak up this weekend and it was quite frankly “crap”. First the 80+year-old boffins in charge of world rugby have changed the laws so today’s players are not unlike nancy boys who do dishwashing liquid adverts in their spare time. All the hard nut players of yesteryear are now sending their offspring to try out for Millwall instead as rugby heads towards “touch rugby” faster than the spread of foot and mouth disease in Kent. Then, with much trepidation after recent home results I check this morning’s net to find City have reverted to type and seem destined to keep us all guessing until May as to their fate (Millwall fans are starting to gather on our horizon I fear).

I thought my weekend would re-energise me before another week of mind-numbing corporate banking b*****ks, alas I feel like I’ve been tied to a chair and forced to watch a 24-hour concert by Steps, S-Club 7, A1, Five and the Spice Girls (thank you God for U2). But hark, there was a bright spot with City connotations on the weekend… Chris Killen sticks one up the arrogant Aussie great grandsons of Anglo Saxon pre-1900 criminals in the U-20 World Cup qualifier to make my day. With our dearth of goals perhaps his youthful exuberance might be just what City need to find the net at Maine Road sometime soon! However, my desire to visit Maine Road before the Eastlands move has not waned and early next season the pilgrimage is planned, though the thought of home to Norwich as opposed to Arsenal is disconcerting at this point, plus the fact that I’ll have to bring a chilly bin full of prime NZ steak. It’s hard enough for you Brit City fans at the moment, but it must be tougher going home after a 0-1 home defeat to crap like Southampton and getting a vegetarian quiche!

Boy do we need our lefties Kennedy/Horlock back. Does anyone have any thoughts on Dickov as a midfielder rather than a striker? If he covers so much ground would he not be more effective harrassing the opposition’s midfield? April games are a beast of a draw for City, so 6 points from Bradford/Villa are a must. The days of Colin Bell and Colin Meads are much missed in sport at present (in this house anyway). Best joke heard this weekend… England rugby ready to take the next World Cup! Twickenham is a long way from Bruce Stadium and Carisbrook chaps.

Chris Loveridge – Hawk (


   Middlesbrough                                 City
Newcastle      Away                       Bradford       Away
Chelsea        Away                       Aston Villa    Home
Sunderland     Home                       Everton        Away
Arsenal        Away                       Leicester      Away
Ipswich        Away                       Arsenal        Home
Leicester      Away                       Man United     Away
Man United     Home                       West Ham       Home
Bradford       Away                       Ipswich        Away
West Ham       Home                       Chelsea        Home

City and Middlesbrough both have 9 games left; of the remaining games, both clubs play 7 out of 9 the same opposition. This is going to be a test of the best will survive the Premier League. One thing is for sure: we need a change in luck. If we all stay positive we can do it, but we all know it’s not going to be easy. Also one of the other clubs above us could falter but we cannot look at them, we have to win! Somebody get that bl*ody gypsy who put a curse on Maine Road. I sure hope I can have a Boddingtons to celebrate next game and not the opposite. I will not attempt to predict the results of the above games, I don’t want to put a curse on any of the games. Good luck City – come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow (


I think we have the players to stay up but Joes’s selections worry me!

I felt when Joe came to the club, that had he handled the Kinkladze/Beardsley situation better, we wouldn’t have dropped in to Division 2! It’s his man management that concerns me, and also the team selections. We all know the players that haven’t fitted in, without naming them, there are quite a few! In addition, there are the team selections and substitutions – Joe takes off our most likely to players too often for me; he did it again on Saturday, substituting Huckers, when he’s clearly – along with Andrei and Granty and of course our favourite antipodean – the best we have! That’s not to forget Dunne and Howey! And he can’t seem to make his mind up regarding player position.

Talking of Grant, he was on his way out not too long ago, now he’s flavour of the month, only getting his chance because of injuries. Suggests to me, Joe doesn’t always know what he’s got under his nose – back to Kinkladze/Beardsley!

Andy Collins (


Once more the chair of hope has been pulled away from us. After a confidence-building win at Newcastle, we face the mighty Southampton; surely we’ll get something out of this game, more points against the relegation fight? Well we all know how this match finished; what excuse would Royle spout this time?

“blah, blah, blah, 2nd time the away team has only had 1 shot and won, blah, blah, blah, referee missed a penalty, blah, blah, blah.”

Yes Joe, we know the Saints had one shot – but it was on target and from an unmarked player. Yes, Petrescu was lucky to get away with the handball, but come on, possession and domination doesn’t automatically give you a goal!

All I want is Royle to realise how deep we’re in the sh*t and how urgent the situation is fast becoming. If it wasn’t for Coventry’s and Boro’s inability to put together a run a results we’d be dead and buried by now. Talking of realisation, when’s Joe going to come his senses and see we ain’t got a midfield (sorry – wow we’ve signed a 19-yr-old German 2nd Division player!), Goater just isn’t up to it (sorry but it’s true) and after all the money he spent on the defence (Howey, Dunne et al) they still can’t defend, especially with 11 men behind the ball. How can Petrescu be allowed to stand unmarked on the edge of the box? Two City players go for the same header and it loops to him, good volley as it was, why were there 3 players marking 1 at the back post? This is schoolboy defending!

Martin Ford (


I’ve been reading the recent articles regarding the hiring of air-space over O.T. on derby day. Whilst I’m delighted we’ll have our plane up there, am I alone in thinking “You’re the Pride of Singapore” is a bit rubbish? After all, it isn’t very funny and it’s not the greatest put down. I think we should start the debate about the plane message and I’ll throw a few in just to get started. Why not “Keano thinks you’re W***ers” or “25 years and we’re still here” or “Even if it takes another 25 years”; I personally prefer the “25 years” theme because it shows that we are the most loyal fans in the country, not just a bunch of bandwagon jumpers.

CTID and proud of it, Mike Nolan (


After a recent local lower league match, the manager of the winning home team was asked for his views on two controversial incidents.

In the first incident, an illegal butterfly appeared to have interfered with one of his forwards as he was clean through, certain to score, bringing the attacker crashing to the ground just inside the opposing half of the pitch. While not wanting to appear to be a whinger, the manager felt that he had no alternative but to report the opposing team to FIFA for the use of an illegal player, unless the butterfly could produce a valid passport and entry visa.

In the second incident, one of his defenders had appeared to prevent a certain goal by taking a chainsaw to the opposing centre forward’s head, and having severed the head after several blo*dy attempts, booted the now detached head into the stands, to the great joy of the home supporters. The manager confessed that he hadn’t seen the incident, and would wait for the replays on television before making any comment. When asked to explain the bloodstains on his (very expensive) overcoat, resulting from player’s and manager’s emotional embrace as the player left the field for an early bath, the manager commented his defender had been badly cut while tackling the centre forward, but as football was a man’s game, he would not be whinging about the injury his defender had incurred.

While in general Premiership managers have not quite reached this level of myopia, Terry Venables recently came close, after yet another City misfortune. But fair play to Glenn Hoddle, despite Southampton’s smash and grab win at Maine Road on Saturday, he did at least have the good grace to admit that City had been hard done by (again!) when Petrescu handled the ball.

I don’t think Hoddle let his side down by being honest – the incident was now history, and nothing could change it. Venables, on the other hand, persisted in his patently insincere statements that the decision to disallow Tiatto’s goal was correct. Not good for football. Not good for Venables’ credibilty either. It will give me great pleasure to see that man back where he belongs – in the (old) Second Division.

Tony O’Leary (


Hi, we are researching my great grandfather, who played for Manchester City in 1895/96. His name was John Charles Ditchfield… we have received snippets of valuable information over the last years and wonder if any of your readers could add to them?

We received a letter from a MC fan in Manchester last year telling us that a book was written by Gary James. In this, is a photo of the ’95/96 team with John Ditchfield. I have been in contact with Gary regarding this info but up to now have received little response. We would dearly like to obtain a copy of this photo as we have no other; however, as our interest in the club is only for this reason we feel to purchase it would be extravagant. We are more than willing to refund any cost incurred with regard to our request.

Regards, Keith Price, P.O.Box 5278, Victoria Point 4165, Queensland, Oz (


Recent results to 04 March 2001 inclusive.

4 March 2001

Ipswich Town          3 - 1  Bradford City         21,820

3 March 2001

Arsenal               3 - 0  West Ham United       38,071
Coventry City         0 - 0  Chelsea               21,609
Derby County          2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     29,410
Everton               1 - 1  Newcastle United      35,779
Leeds United          1 - 1  Manchester United     40,055
Leicester City        2 - 0  Liverpool             21,924
Manchester City       0 - 1  Southampton           33,990
Middlesbrough         0 - 0  Charlton Athletic     28,177

League table to 04 March 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  29 12  1  1 40  7  8  6  1 26 12 20  7  2 66 19  47  67
 2 Arsenal         29 12  3  0 37  8  3  5  6 10 21 15  8  6 47 29  18  53
 3 Ipswich Town    28  8  4  3 25 13  6  0  7 17 21 14  4 10 42 34   8  46
 4 Liverpool       27 10  2  1 28  8  3  4  7 19 22 13  6  8 47 30  17  45
 5 Leicester City  28  9  4  2 22 13  4  2  7  9 16 13  6  9 31 29   2  45
 6 Leeds United    29  7  3  5 23 19  5  5  4 19 18 12  8  9 42 37   5  44
 7 Sunderland      28  8  5  1 17  7  4  3  7 15 20 12  8  8 32 27   5  44
 8 Charlton Ath.   29  9  4  1 23  9  2  5  8 15 31 11  9  9 38 40  -2  42
 9 Southampton     28  8  2  4 21 15  3  6  5 12 19 11  8  9 33 34  -1  41
10 Chelsea         27 10  3  1 37 13  0  6  7 11 20 10  9  8 48 33  15  39
11 Newcastle Utd   28  7  2  4 18 13  4  3  8 15 26 11  5 12 33 39  -6  38
12 Tottenham H.    29  8  5  1 23 11  1  4 10 10 27  9  9 11 33 38  -5  36
13 West Ham United 28  4  6  3 18 12  4  5  6 17 23  8 11  9 35 35   0  35
14 Derby County    29  7  6  2 19 17  1  4  9 11 27  8 10 11 30 44 -14  34
15 Aston Villa     26  4  5  3 16 13  4  4  6 12 15  8  9  9 28 28   0  33
16 Everton         29  4  7  4 20 20  4  1  9 11 23  8  8 13 31 43 -12  32
17 Middlesbrough   29  3  6  6 15 18  2  7  5 16 17  5 13 11 31 35  -4  28
18 Manchester City 29  3  3  9 17 22  3  5  6 14 25  6  8 15 31 47 -16  26
19 Coventry City   29  2  6  7 11 21  3  3  8 15 27  5  9 15 26 48 -22  24
20 Bradford City   28  2  4  7 11 22  1  3 11  7 31  3  7 18 18 53 -35  16

With thanks to Football 365


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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #689