Newsletter #698

So what price the first team emulating the reserves and winning a few? Would a win at Goodison this weekend prove to be another false dawn like the one at Newcastle? These and many other questions are yours to puzzle over as we approach the weekend with another issue stuffed with Blue stuff.

Two erudite (look it up) belated match reports from two regular contributors, lots of opinion on Joe Royle (for a change); whether Nick’s suddenly become a crap goalkeeper overnight or not (my money’s on him coming good in time as long as he curbs the desire to take on forwards) as well as one of the more unusual postings we get from time to time (a Pole in Beijing!). There’s news of supporters’ meetings, a proposed book on the Mercer/Allison years (your chance to contribute) and a bit of light relief here and there.

Keep the stuff coming to me. Ash’s still on sabbatical.

Next game: Everton away, Sunday 8th April 2001


Part I – Transfer News and Rumours

Weaver and Whitley to Stay if City go Down: Nicky Weaver and Jeff Whitley have pledged their futures to Manchester City. The England under-21 junior and the Northern Ireland international will remain at Maine Road even if the Blues are playing Nationwide League football next season. Weaver has made a number of high-profile errors this season, but even so, reports claim that several top clubs both in England and abroad would be keen to sign him if he became available. And Whitley is also regarded as having progressed this term. But each player insists he has no desire to move on, and both believe that, notwithstanding the club’s current problems, City are on the verge of a successful era in which they want to play a part. “I want to stay at Manchester City,” affirmed Weaver. “They started me off in my career and I want to repay them for that. We’re in a difficult position at the moment but I honestly believe we’re not far off something very big here.” Whitley agrees, telling the official club website, “City is still a big club and it is going places, despite our current position.”

Target Speed Happy to Stay With Geordies: Manchester City have been linked with a summer swoop for Gary Speed. But the Newcastle midfielder says he wants to stay at St James’ Park. It had been rumoured that Speed wanted to return to the north west, and that Joe Royle would be ready to rival Fulham in the chase for a man the City boss once signed for Everton. But the ex-Leeds player says he’s happy at Newcastle and has no desire to move on. In any case, should the Blues be relegated, it would seem unlikely that the 31-year-old would come to Maine Road even if he had a change of heart over his future.

Doubt Over Kanchelskis’ Future: Andrei Kanchelskis’ loan spell at Manchester City will come to an end this month. And it seems unlikely that the Ukrainian-born winger will then join the Blues on a permanent basis. Kanchelskis arrived at Maine Road at the end of January for a three-month loan stint from Scottish giants Rangers. But the one-time Manchester United star has failed to inspire City out of the relegation zone, and there are doubts over whether the Blues would want to pay the 31-year-old’s sizeable wages next term if they took the drop – even if the player were happy with the prospect of Nationwide League football. And with Kanchelskis himself saying he’d be keen to feature again for Rangers if boss Dick Advocaat wants him, the odds seem to be that the Russian international will return to Glasgow after City’s clash with West Ham in late April.

City Eyeing Blackpool Striker?: Manchester City are reported to be monitoring the progress of Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod. The Blues are one of three clubs said to be monitoring the 24-year-old’s progress. Ormerod has scored 17 goals this season and is believed to have attracted interest from City, Everton and Newcastle. The player recently signed a two-year contract at Bloomfield Road but the Seasiders could be tempted to cash in at the right price. Blackpool signed the striker for £50,000 from Accrington Stanley in 1997. Last weekend, he completed his century of league games for the Third Division side, including 21 substitute appearances, and has scored 28 league goals.

Part II – Miscellaneous News and Views

Ritchie Consults Specialist Over Injury: Paul Ritchie has endured a frustrating season, suffering fitness difficulties as Manchester City have slipped into the relegation zone. And now the Scottish international is to consult a specialist over his long-standing pelvic problem. Ritchie played in ten successive league games in the autumn before being out for two months with a groin strain. And after a brief comeback in January, he succumbed to his current injury woes. Now the 25-year-old has gone to see a specialist in Paris who has helped Liverpool’s Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard recover from similar injuries. Now the ex-Hearts man will be hoping to return to full fitness in time for the start of next season.

Wright-Phillips Suffers Injury Blow: Shaun Wright-Phillips has suffered an injury blow. The youngster is to have a scan after damaging his knee playing for Manchester City reserves. Wright-Phillips was stretchered off in the Manchester Senior Cup tie against Bury on Wednesday, and it’s not known at this stage for how long the teenager will be out of action. The official City website states that the injury is not believed to be serious, but it seems unlikely that the player will return in time to have anything more than a bit-part rôle in the Blues’ survival fight.

Royle Ready to Call on Wanchope?: Paulo Wanchope could yet play a part in Manchester City’s battle for survival. The Blues’ leading scorer is returning to fitness and Joe Royle may hand him a place on the bench in forthcoming fixtures. Wanchope was transfer-listed in January and could already have left Maine Road but for the knee injury he sustained shortly afterwards. The Costa Rican last week scored twice when used as a substitute by his national team, and Royle may have a similar rôle in mind for the 25-year-old. “Coming off the bench would seem to be Paulo’s best bet at the moment because he is still not fit enough [to play for ninety minutes],” said the City manager. “He will get the opportunity to show us firstly that he is fit and secondly that he wants to play a part in it. I have never said I wouldn’t pick him.”

Dickov Frustration at Two-Game Ban: Paul Dickov will miss two of the matches in Manchester City’s relegation battle. The Scot must serve a suspension when the Blues face Arsenal and Leicester next week. Dickov has been handed the punishment after receiving his ninth and tenth bookings of the campaign in recent reserve games. And the 28-year-old has been left to rue the obvious anomaly that a ban resulting in part from indiscretions at reserve-team level is only applicable to matches played by the senior City side. The news is a blow to the striker, who only recently returned to action last month after an eight-week injury lay-off.

Royle – Fans Have Right to Criticise: Joe Royle’s tactics and substitution policy incurred the wrath of a section of the Manchester City crowd at last week’s home game against Aston Villa. But the Blues’ boss fully recognises the right of the fans to have their say. Royle has come under pressure of late as City have found their prospects of avoiding relegation from the Premiership receding match by match. But after receiving the public backing of chairman David Bernstein, the City manager is relaxed about what he calls “mischievous” speculation over his future in the media. And he also accepts that criticism from supporters goes with the territory in his job. “This is the one club where we cannot complain about our fans,” he told the official club website. “There is bound to be frustration at times. The fans will have their say and that is the way it is – one of the unwritten things in a manager’s contract is that you will be up there to be abused!”

City to Build New Platt Lane Dome: Manchester City built an indoor dome at the Platt Lane training facility only three years ago. But the Blues are already having to construct a new indoor training centre at the site. The current indoor arena at the Platt Lane complex is not big enough to comply with the FA Regulations on Academy training. So the Blues are hoping to erect a new inflatable dome to circumvent the problem. The Platt Lane complex is now used only by the City youngsters and the public after the first-team’s move to Carrington earlier in the season.

City Books to be Published Soon: Fathers, Sons & Football: Manchester City are already one of the most written-about football clubs in the English game. And three more books with a City angle will soon appear. First out will be the football novel ‘Atkinson for England’, which is launched at Waterstones in Manchester this Thursday evening. Co-written by City author Gary James, it is not a City book as such, but it does contain a number of City references. Two more books will follow over the summer. In August or September, Breedon Books will publish Ian Penney’s ‘Manchester City – The Mercer/Allison Years’, some details of which are contained elsewhere in this edition of MCIVTA. Before then, Colin Shindler’s ‘Fathers, Sons & Football: The Summerbee Family Saga’ will be published on June 7. As the title suggests, it tells the story of the famous father-and-son pair, both of whom featured for City.

Part III – Reserve and Youth News

Two Wins in Three Days for Reserves: Manchester City reserves have been in action twice this week. And there were successes for the Blues in both the FA Premier Reserve League and the Manchester Senior Cup. Monday evening saw City travel to Sunderland to face league leaders Sunderland, and the Blues earned an impressive 2-1 win against the Black Cats, the impressive Mark Kennedy laying on goals for Leon Mike and Chris Killen. And on Wednesday, Bury were comfortably beaten 2-0 in a Manchester Senior Cup tie at Hyde, Kennedy with a penalty and Terry Cooke notching the City goals. The latter game provided a bonus for Joe Royle as Kevin Horlock completed the ninety minutes, but Shaun Wright-Phillips’ knee injury took some of the gloss off proceedings. Meanwhile, next Monday’s reserve clash away to Liverpool has been postponed owing the Merseysiders’ pile-up at senior level. However, the City second string will still be in action that evening. The Manchester Senior Cup tie at Oldham, which was due to be played on Thursday 12th April, has now been brought forward by three days.

Under-17 Side Goes on Tour: Manchester City’s under-17s lost out on the FA Academy League title last week. But the City juniors haven’t had time to reflect on their disappointment. The young Blues have headed for the Middle East on tour. And they got their trip off to a winning start on Monday with a 3-1 win over the Qatar under-17 national side, with Damien Joyce, Paddy McCarthy and Gary Browne on the scoresheet after the home side had taken an early lead. The game was watched by royalty, with Prince Edward and his wife the Countess of Wessex in attendance.

Part IV – Everton Away: Team News and Preview

Howey Set to Return at Goodison: Steve Howey is likely to return to the Manchester City side for Sunday’s trip to Everton. The defender missed last weekend’s defeat against Aston Villa with a thigh strain. Howey is set to replace Spencer Prior in the Blues’ starting line-up after the ex-Derby man deputised for him against Villa. Meanwhile, Joe Royle must decide on whether to make changes in midfield, though Jeff Whitley looks sure of a place after being one of the few City successes last Saturday, and whether to hand Egil Ostenstad another start after the Norwegian was preferred to Darren Huckerby for the Villa game. Many fans will also be interested to see whether Paulo Wanchope is among the substitutes at Goodison Park for a match the Blues simply have to win.

Yet Another Must-Win Game: Manchester City are fast running out of time to save their Premiership future. And defeat in Sunday’s trip to Everton would leave the Blues’ survival hopes hanging by a thread. A tally of one point from nine has dissipated the optimism which was renewed by the win at Newcastle a month ago. But a win on Sunday would take the Blues to within a point of 17th-placed Middlesbrough, who host Sunderland in a televised game next Monday. However, a failure to put pressure on Terry Venables’ men by narrowing the gap on Sunday would surely see even the most optimistic City fans begin to resign themselves to Nationwide League football next season.

Peter Brophy (


I started to write a match report, but how to draw anything positive about our inept performance and 3-1 drubbing by a less than inspirational team was an impossible task. They really are taking the Michael now to the extent that I couldn’t even be bothered going to the reserves game for the first time in three years. For me the few highlights of last Saturday were:

(i) our goal – a beautiful move down the left hand side when Weaver rolled the ball out to Tiatto who passed forward down the wing to Whitley who ran on into the box (a moment’s hesitation, he’s not going to try and shoot is he?) then passed to Goater and slotted nicely into the goal. Great to watch, good play by the three concerned. As Oliver said, can I have some more please?

(ii) the applause Merson received when he was subbed – most definitely MotM even if he was playing for the opposition – and great to see that, even after suffering such humiliation on the Blues’ part, we could still appreciate the contribution a creative player makes to a team, not to mention game.

(iii) it stopped raining before kick-off.

(iv) the swear box came back out and made over £1000. So much so that we have decided to accept cheques and credit cards and will donate a midfielder to the Blue cause in the summer break (apparently for some of the supporters’ club branches lucky enough to get visitors from the club the oft asked question of midfielders is met by a “who’s available”, which begs two questions: do we seriously have the best available? and what the hell are our scouts doing?).

Thanks to Mr Stiles’ obvious dislike of our Aussie, we are now denied the prospect of his rematch against the Gormless One on 21 April. As for Weaver’s schoolboy fluff, I really thought after the two U21 games where he kept clean sheets that his confidence would have returned. Too much so? Charvet ahead of Edgy? Do me a favour. Where’s SWP disappeared to now – not even on the bench these days? Prior – forget it, apparently a lot of people at Derby would have him back. Can we do a swap for Malcolm Christie or Seth Johnson?

As for Captain Calamity, Sunday’s Pink carried his ramblings: “much said about our trip to Spain but hopefully fans understand it was a break we needed and did us good… saw reports about snow and floods back home so to be able to train on good pitches with the sun on our backs was a boost… we did not train all day every day but what we did was of a high quality unlike most of the golf that was played when we had time off.” Well, team, I am delighted you all had a good break and enjoyed the weather, the golf and a bit of light training. I am less than delighted that you’re back with no more inspiration, skill or desire for success than before, whilst your fans are scrapping about to purchase tickets for next season in Division 1.

Finally it was pointed out to me by more than one colleague that JR excelled himself in the after match excuses department on Saturday. Apparently the state of our pitch isn’t helping us. Why not, it does marvels for the opposition? Maybe he’s collaborating with Sir Taggart on the book of excuses?

Come on, stop the whinging and the bl**dy excuses and get it sorted, fast. We all know that actions speak louder than words so please move it.

Heidi Pickup (


City 1 – Does it matter who we played as we always lose 3

Right. We’re playing Villa. Villa aren’t very good. In fact they’ve only really got two quality players. One’s David Ginola and the other’s Paul Merson. The good news pre-kick off is that Ginola isn’t in the team. The not so good news is that Merson is. But never mind, we know he’s good so we’ll mark him out of the game. Tony Grant’s a bit of a spoiler (well there must be some reason why he’s picked and it’s not for his attacking creative flair) and if Merse manages to get past him there’s always Steve Howey to stop him. Brilliant. That’ll work.

Except that Grant isn’t playing (isn’t even on the bench) and Howey’s toe’s playing up so Prior’s in instead. Gulp.

At least Ostenstad gets his first start. OK so he hasn’t scored yet but the goals haven’t been flowing from any of our star strikers so why not give him a go? Also in the team were Weaver (you know what’s coming), Granville (oh), Prior (heck), Dunne (phew), Charvet (eek), Haaland (yikes), Whitley (good), Tiatto (yippee), Kanchelskis (bye bye) and the Goat (bless him).

Villa must have read somewhere that we weren’t very good (wonder where) as they started attacking right from the off. After a couple of minutes I turned to say something about Merson playing well to my mum, who was standing staring at the pitch with a look of intense concentration on her face. After a couple of minutes she relaxed. “Just tell me one thing” she said. “Is Ginola on that pitch? Only I don’t want you embarrassing me again.” Me!?

Here’s an unusual event at Maine Road – we take the lead. Weaver threw the ball to Lord Danny, who played a lovely ball out wide left to Whitley. He skipped over the foul that was heading his way and put the ball over to Goater, who took his time before calmly slotting the ball past James. It felt flippin’ fantastic. For the first time at Maine Road for ages we’d scored to take the lead, not to equalise or as a flaming useless consolation goal when already dead and buried. Maybe, just maybe we can stay up after all!

Back in the real world, Villa went straight down the other end and scored. Oh look it’s Merson, isn’t he good. Oh look he’s got the ball in the area. Oh look he’s having a shot. Piggin’ ‘ell City, didn’t you feel like defending that? 1-1, sodding brilliant.

Well both teams are obviously rubbish so we need someone to insert a little humour (?) into the proceedings as the football’s crap. It’s a bit cold for a stripper. It’s been a long time since we’ve had any zany dog-on-the-pitch incidents. No-one can be bothered invading the pitch these days so there’s no danger of getting to watch police horses pooing on it. But don’t worry, it’s OK, we’ve got a comedy referee instead. It’s Rocking Rob Styles, the world’s cra-a-a-ziest referee. This is the man who reffed the Arsenal game at Highbury. The one who managed to miss Thierry Henry’s attempted GBH on Prior and who then sent Tiatto off because Henry’s a cheating diving git. It’s good to see he’s consistent anyway. I’ll just list the bookings as I’ve no chance of telling you who was booked for which tackle, for which sneeze or for which example of looking at the ref in the wrong way. Villa had Wright, Boateng, Taylor and Dublin booked. We had Prior, Haaland, Whitley, Charvet and Granville booked. And of course Tiatto sent off in the second half – told you he was consistent. This was in a game in which there wasn’t a single bad tackle, from either side, all game. There was no arguing, no gamesmanship, no timewasting, nothing. And this idiot (I’m typing really hard here as I’m starting to get worked up all over again) shows the yellow card ten times! Ten!

However, he had competition for his slot at the top of the comedy charts. Nick Weaver decided that as he’d had nothing to do in the last two England Under 21’s games that he’d remind the world he existed. With barely seconds left in the first half, Prior played the ball back to him. Dublin was charging in on goal, so Weaver decided to try to play the ball around him and clear it upfield. It’s that move he does where every time it comes off we all shake our heads and go “ooh he was lucky to get away with that one”. Well yes, only this time he didn’t get away with it. The ball seemed to stick in the mud somehow and Dublin was on it like a flash. You could see Weaver almost make a grab for him as he did for Ward at Bradford a couple of weeks ago, but thankfully thought better of it or this time he would have been sent off. With him stranded on the edge of the penalty area it was a simple matter for Dublin to stroke the ball into an empty net. So, from a decent position, going in to half time level with all to play for, we’re losing. At home. Again.

The second half got no better. Kennedy came on for Granville at half time, which was pretty much expected as we had to change something. I’d much rather we’d change the fact that Haaland consistently plays rubbish but still gets picked, but there you go. Kanchelskis then went off (bye bye) to be replaced by Huckerby, who produced more and looked more dangerous in the first five minutes he was on the pitch than Kanchelskis has in the last five games. After twenty minutes though, Villa went even further ahead. Merson put the sweetest of balls straight through our midfield and defence. Prior was about 15 miles behind the rest of the defensive line and playing all the Villa players onside, so Hendrie had an easy task to run on to Merson’s ball and score. 3-1 to Villa, marvellous. Another home defeat, but it could be worst, at least the ref hasn’t sent anyone off yet.


Tiatto was booked for breathing on a Villa defender, then five minutes later was trying to shield the ball out for a goal kick. When the corner was given he kicked the ball towards the corner flag. Nothing wrong with that you might say, can’t accuse him of time wasting. Ah hang on a minute, here comes the galloping gormless git Styles. We haven’t had a yellow card for a good five minutes, can’t keep that up, you’re off sonny Jim. Tiatto didn’t even bother hanging around to get his marching orders but walked straight off the pitch. He got a standing ovation, unsurprisingly.

Merson also got an ovation from the crowd when he was subbed with 15 minutes to go, having done as much damage as he needed to. He’s a cracking player still – he ran the game on Saturday. If we had someone like him in attacking midfield we would not be in the position we are.

So that was it. Another home game, another home defeat, another chance lost to close the gap on Middlesbugger. It doesn’t matter in the slightest that they lost – they could lose every game from now until the end of the season and it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference. I honestly can’t see where we’re going to get our next points from. We can only draw away at the only team in the division who are playing worse than we are, we lose at home to (at best) average teams like Southampton and Villa, and what have we got coming up? Only a trip to the Swamp, which thanks to that nonce of a referee we’re going to have to play without Tiatto who’ll almost certainly be suspended. I’ve had enough of this season, let’s get back down to Division 1 where we’ll at least win a few games.

Sharon Hargreaves


City were fighting for their lives by the time the score was 2-1.

Joe was playing smart this time. Plenty of substitutions but nothing could make up for Weaver’s carelessness. By the time Villa got their third goal it was all over. With minutes left that would drag like hours time stood still for anyone (including me) that held out any hope. In a weary, beaten voice void of all emotion, Gary Owen tells his listeners “City fans are leaving in droves, leaving behind large patches of blue seats in the Kippax.” The game continues, the announcers have lost their enthusiasm, the crowd is quiet, yet over the announcer’s calling of the match you hear just a handful of City voices in the North Stand hoarse from screaming “C’mon City!”

Praying for some 89th minute miracle to pull City through. It didn’t happen. Seven games are left. Even among the die-hards hope is running out of seeing City stay up. But like the story of Peter Pan, you gotta believe. It’s sad that only a small group of fans held out hope. But we can’t give up. If anyone needs any recent proof, remember Gillingham and Blackburn. Everything I ever needed to know about life I learned following City: Don’t be so quick to write things off – see it through. Fight hard, but fight fair – and never give up. When fans begin to walk out, what effect does it have on the team and what does it say about the fans themselves? An athlete plays not only for the money, he also plays for the crowd. They feed each other’s spirit. City have a lot to do in the next few games if we’re to slip the grip of relegation. All we have to do as fans is show up, stay put, and get behind the boys in Blue.

CTID, Jennifer Miller (


Chorlton Blues’ next meeting is on Tuesday 17th April at South West Manchester Cricket Club on Ellesmere Road. Events kick off at 7.45 pm. One time City ‘keeper Alex Williams, who now runs the very successful ‘Football in the Community’ scheme will be amongst our guests. There will be the usual raffle and a buffet will be provided. Any CSA members who may be in the area are welcome to attend. For further details contact Larry on 0775 479 2338.

Larry Higgs (


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association will be on Tuesday 10th April, at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm when our confirmed guests are Peter Barnes and Neil Young. It is also hoped that Peter will be accompanied by his father Ken Barnes. Admission is just £1 for CSA members (juniors U16 Free) and £2 for non-members and for that you get a free raffle and a hot pot supper. As usual all Blues are welcome.

Howard Burr, Secretary (0161 292 2525;


Further to the comments in MCVITA 697 re Neil Young, “The Forgotten Man” of Maine Road. This is just a note to let you know that there is someone else out here that remembers him as affectionately as those rightly campaigning for his testimonial game.

I am currently writing a book entitled Manchester City – The Mercer/Allison Years, which will be published by Breedon Books in August/September this year. In order to make this as enjoyable/memorable/authentic as possible I’ve managed to acquire the services of three key people who were at Maine Road during this period. All three will have their memories and recollections included in the book.

The three concerned are Malcolm Allison, Tony Book and Neil Young. It is hoped that when the book is published, Breedon will arrange two signing sessions (probably one at the ground and the other in Manchester city centre) where fans will have the opportunity to get the book signed. I’ve spoken to Neil many times over the past few months and can confirm that he really is a smashing bloke and has been very helpful towards me.

Anyone wishing to e-mail me can do so at work or at home

P.S. I’m also looking to include some fans’ recollections in the book as well, the funnier the better! Anyone interested should drop me an e-mail, by May 31st at the latest.

Ian Penney, The Stationery Office, Manchester Bookshop Manager (


I’m sorry to be so negative but I can’t stand this any more.

What the feck is going on with Joe and Nicky Weaver?

It’s been obvious from the first game of the season that Nicky Weaver was not ready for the Premiership.

IMHO whilst Nicky was fantastic for City last year, the number of mistakes he has made this year that have cost City points would just about have us sitting safely above the relegation zone as we speak.

Before you get agro about me having a dig at Nicky… I blame Joe as much for this situation.

I would have thought that after Nicky’s big blunder against Charlton on the opening day, Joe would have had a chat to him about where he is at in his career, don’t be such a big head and make sure you learn from your mistakes. If he did, it didn’t work.

The lad’s confidence must be shot to pieces; to me it looks like Joe is happy for him to be demoralised by keeping him in the spotlight rather than give him a chance to get some confidence back in the reserves? Knowing City, we’ll end up selling him at the end of the year for peanuts, only to see him picked up by another Club to nurture his talent and ensure he reaches his full potential and resale value.

I managed to get back to the UK earlier in the year and watched three City games – M’brough, Gillingham and Newcastle (home) and was very disappointed with Nicky’s general play – he looked totally out of sorts even then. Contrast his performance with Tommy Wright against Newcastle, MoM, enough said. Joe has bought a new ‘keeper, who by all accounts (and match reports in McVittee) looks ok – what does the guy have to do to get a game in the first team?

Joe’s performance? Judging by the writings in McVitte, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I think Joe’s been the biggest disappointment this year. I admit to not being a fan of his when he was appointed and that I thought he should have kept City up in his first year. On the other hand, credit when it’s due, he has done a fantastic job in getting City back to the Premiership in the last two years (only to cock it up by going down this year!).

How many times have I read in McVittee since the start of the season that we needed to buy a quality midfielder (or two) so that the defence don’t have give the ball a big boot up the park back to the opposition and so that the forwards have a chance of getting a ball played to feet. What have we bought – nought.

Don’t get me wrong, Joe deserved his chance this year and if we go down is probably the best man to get us back up, but if we manage to stay up let’s get Joe upstairs ASAP and bring in another manager (I hear George Graham is available… joke!).

Apologies again for the negative tones but it looks very much like we’re about to pay for the good luck we’ve had in recent years (Gillingham and Blackburn). I’m still praying for a miracle though it’s looking less likely each week.

There’s always a sting in the tail when you’re a City fan.

Graham Hine, Perth WA (


Goalies. “Good ones learn” was the message from an unknown contributor in MCIVTA 697 amd apparently Weaver is “good and he’s learning”. Now, I haven’t seen any of the City/Villa goals, so I’ve no idea how much of a howler Weaver is supposed to have made that led to Villa’s second. I can imagine though, and from what I’ve read it sounds pretty catastrophic – right up (or down, I should say) there with his cock-up against Stockport last season, which sounds uncannily identical.

So, twice in less than 18 months he’s committed what must be the same almost unforgivable error. To do it once is not good – twice is damned careless. Doesn’t sound to me as if he’s learning fast enough.

As an aside, Carlo Nash also played in the Stockport game. I rate this guy pretty highly and would like to see him get at least one start for City this season. I reckon he could hold his place in the side if given the opportunity.

J.A. Needham (


The past ten days we have been in the U.K. – returning last night. I had hoped to meet up with Ashley and other MCIVTAs before the Villa game but we were coming over from Sheffield and were running late.

Through a friend who does some work with the League Managers’ Association, we were fortunate to get tickets to the game, sitting in the Directors’ box no less. My three year old son got patted on the head by Joe Royle and Malcolm Allison and has his picture taken with Paulo Wanchope. After that of course it was all anti-climax. It is always such a thrill to see City play, especially at Maine Road but I came away with little hope for survival this year. The team seemed to play with almost no conviction or plan. I can’t see any point in going through the players one by one as collectively they did not seem to be able to match Villa anywhere on the field – and Villa are not a good side. The defending is terrible, or was on Saturday and there seems to be no one supplying any spark. We have discussed before the lack of guile in the team – it was completely absent on Saturday. Midfield remains the area of concern it has been all season long.

From what I have seen on TV of City it appears that the management appear not to know their best team and are resolute about not giving a chance to certain players. I was surprised to hear Weaver on the radio, after the game, expressing a certain degree of confidence that they could still do it. Against which teams I have no idea based on Saturday’s performance. I was also intrigued by Joe’s comments about Merson when Merson seems to be the type of player that Joe has problems with – outspoken, talented etc.

So I had mixed feelings. Wonderful to see City play, great to have my three year old experience Maine Road – but all this was in the context of a sinking feeling. I think only three teams in the all four divisions have lost 10 home games this year. Not the best company to keep really is it? I just can’t see how City will get the points to survive.

I also do not know what to make of Joe – I had no idea why Kanchelskis was brought off – there seems little point in being conservative at this stage of the season. It is hard not to appreciate what Joe has done in the last two years but this past season has not shown me much evidence that he can build a Premiership squad. I do wonder whether, if City are relegated, Joe will himself decide he has had enough. It can’t be much fun trying to keep offering optimistic statements in the face of all the evidence that this is a very poor squad.

It isn’t quite over but I can’t see where the daylight will come from. Staying up by winning away against United, at home against Arsenal and Chelsea and away against Ipswich would be yet another fairytale ending.

Very very sad and, in ending, my longer term worry is how the squad might be developed if they do go down – does Joe have the energy to rebuild in a way that can see us back in the Premiership?

Good luck to us all and, for all of you who may be wondering, I did not take the chance to say anything to Malcolm. I haven’t quite forgiven him for what he did in 1979-80. Anyway he was too busy getting in the wine.

Best wishes, John Pearson (


I was listening to ‘Talk Sport’ after the Villa game. After one Blue ‘phoned in, I’m sure Gary Newbon said that we wouldn’t lose out on Premier money next season (if we go down), as we would receive a ‘parachute payment’. Can anybody expand on this? I seem to remember that Pete Brophy wrote a fairly astute assessment of the club’s financial options a couple of years ago. Could he shed any light, particularly as to the chairman’s estimate of a loss of £15 million? Which also brings me neatly in to say thanks to Peter for his news summaries. For an out of town Blue with no regular access to the MUEN and other Manchester media, they’ve been superb. Cheers mate. Finally, does anybody know the odds of the Rags game being the one that could send us down? I apologize for even mentioning it, but I now live in Rag Central (London), and would like to be prepared.

Bald Blue? (


A Right Royle Balls Up?

This one is for the statisticians amongst us… I have this horrible feeling that Joe’s record in the Premiership must be worst than the small ginger squeaky voiced one (apologies to all you redheads, not-that-tall people and those with high-pitched voices… honest, it’s nothing personal, I just can’t bring myself to even write his name!). Tell me it ain’t so.

(I suppose I can take some consolation in seeing the Blues at my local ground next season, but hopefully without the linesman we had last time round!)

P.S. I’d also like to say thanks to Peter Brophy for the news and gossip over the last mumble mumble years.

CTID (and it feels close after Saturday!), Jeff Berens, UEA Norwich (


Quite clearly we are hanging on the precipice now and relegation looks as certain as Big Joe not doing the honourable thing and telling Bernstein that it’s time he took more of a back seat.

Clearly the inspiration comes from the top. David Bernstein, Dennis Tueart, John Wardle, Chris Bird etc. cannot have done any more to help Joe, but I feel that he lacks both the ability to manage his players and tactically influence a game. Saturday’s game was a classic case. I give you 3 of a possible 23 examples.

Royle decides to mount an all out second half attack and brings on Mark Kennedy, but predictably takes off Danny Granville. Granville has been consistent for 8 games and links well with Tiatto. Captain Alf last played well on 14th October at home to Bradford. Why can’t tiresome Haaland be subbed and Tiatto move inside alongside the tireless Whitley?

3-1 down and with ten minutes left, Tiatto is stupidly sent off (blame Tiatto as much as the ref). With goal average not being a consideration anymore, he decides to withdraw Ostenstad in favour of Wiekens. I would have more chance understanding the effects of the Euro on Poland than of this move. Prior to the substitution he had Dickov ready to come on, then swapped to Wiekens, back to Dickov then back to Wiekens.

Huckerby and Dickov must have been unbelievably poor in Spain for Ostenstad to get in front of them. Wanchope scores 2 for Costa Rica and is “not match fit” according to Joe. Fine. However what is the harm in having Wanchope on the bench? 20 minutes at the end would have been better than the 82 of Ostenstad.

Royle wants 4 more wins, which is going to be a massive ask from a team that can’t string 4 passes together. Not surprisingly I’m now as misguided as Royle and actually believe we can win at Goodison. Roll on Gresty Road in late November!

Mark Robison (


This Saturday could be a start of a difference if we can win at Everton on Joe Royle’s birthday (it could be a happy birthday for Joe). We also need Sunderland to do us, and themselves a favour by beating Middlesbrough.

It will then only be a point difference between us; after that who knows, anything can happen, a win at Everton will certainly give us more hope. We must not give up, miracles have happened before, we as City fans are all well aware of this.

Have a happy birthday Joe, with a win we will celebrate it with you.

The last 3 results in particular have been frustrating, games we needed to win. But all is not yet lost, although most people have already put us down; this is all the more reason to fight and prove them all wrong. I for one will not accept that we are doomed for the drop; of course it does not look good, but whilst there is still light at the end of the tunnel, let’s not give up. I back Joe Royle and Willie Donachie to stay – they are our best. We must not forget some results this season have been harsh due to some “Swine Refs” decisions. I have been a critic of Joe Royle, but that does not mean I am against him, I am a fan of his. If Joe ever did wrong I would be the first to forgive him, just for what he has done for us, let us not forget.

Ernie Barrow (


I’ve no idea when City are next on the telly outside the UK but I’d appreciate if anyone in the following locations could advise if games are on in a local boozer. It’s worth a pint!

Everton 8 April          (Bedfordview area, Jo'burg)
Arsenal 11 April         (Bedfordview area, Jo'burg)
Leicester 14 April       (Downtown Vancouver) - Dafydd, David Butcher?
United 21 April          (Miami Beach)

Thanks, Neil Adshead (

Get out a bit do we Neil?



I have the below programmes for sale:

v Leeds (a) 1967-68 £2
v Sheff Utd (a) 1967-68 £2
v Sheff Wed (h) 1967-68 £2
v Leicester City (h) 1967-68 £1 (6-0)
v Leicester City (h) LCup 1967-68 £1.50
v Sunderland (h) 1967-68 £2
v Chelsea (h) 1967-68 £1
v West Ham (h) 1967-68 £1
v West Brom (h) 1967-68 £2
v Fulham (h) 1967-68 £1.50
v Everton (h)1974-75 £1.50
v Everton (h) 1975-76 £1.50
v Everton (a) 1977-78 £2
v Soton (a) LCup 1978-79 £3.50
v Liverpool (a) 1981-82 £1
v Blackpool (h) 1984-85 £1
v Everton (a) 1985-86 £1
v Liverpool (h) FA Cup 1987-88 £2.50
v Palace (h) 1991-92 £1
v Chester (h) 1991-92 LCup £1
v Spurs (h) LCup 1992-92 £2.50
v Leeds (h) 1992-93 £1 (4-0, 4-0, 4-0)
v Wimbledon (h) 1993-94 £1
v Blackburn (h) 1993-94 £1 (first game of that season)
v Chelsea (h) 1993-94 £1
v Liverpool (h) 1999-00 £2 (friendly)
v Swindon (h) 1999-00 £2
v QPR (h) 1999-00 £2
v Walsall (h) 1999-00 £2 (the game with that Weaver save)
v Huddersfield (h) 1999-00 £2
v Grimsby (h) 1999-00 £5 (last game of the century)

I am willing to sell them seperately but I will sell the lot for £50.

If you have any queries then do not hesitate to e-mail me.

Thanks, Chris Craddock (


I’m from Poland and now I live in Beijing from several months. I’m working in China Radio International (CRI) as a journalist. I’m very interested in sports in the world, so in Radio I’m working also like a specialist Polish language and specialist about sport in Europe. It’s my introduction. I congratulate you on the Manchester City FC Website. It’s very interesting.

I kind of like football and volleyball. Here, in China the football is the most popular sport. Chinese TV stations are reporting from Spanish, Italian, German and English leagues and national games. In China, I started a collection of official crest badges football clubs from all the world. I have very, very big request – I would like to have Manchester City FC official crest badge (pin logo). Unfortunately I can’t buy in online official shop, because I don’t have in China credit card. Please help me! – perhaps You or somebody among yours friends want help me. I have official badges from Chinese Football Clubs and I could change this badge for Manchester City FC badge.

My address:
Home: Grzegorz Golojuch
3 Bai Shi Qiao Road
Beijing Friendship Hotel 64514
Beijing 100873 – 64514

Grzegorz Golojuch (


The other night I heard United fans singing at their German counterparts: “… and if you are a Munich fan, surrender or you’ll die!” Hmmm, heard that one somewhere before…

Come on you Blues, prove us all wrong and stay up!

Daniel Marcus (

BTH 37

If you missed the new issue last Saturday, you can get it at Everton! There is no other alternative!

Noel Bayley (


Nick Weaver lived up to his name’s anagram last Saturday when he showed himself to be a naïve wreck! Perhaps Gerard Wiekens lived up to his as well as he could well be a sewage drinker. And not forgetting Alf Inge Haaland completely lived up to his because he had fallen again. Looking at Mark Kennedy’s exploits for Ireland also proved that key men drank. However, let hope that David Bernstein does not live up to his anagram and turn City into a bunch of inbred deviants.

Lance Thomson (


Recent results to 4 April 2001 inclusive.

4 April 2001

Aston Villa           2 - 1  Leicester City        29,043

2 April 2001

Southampton           0 - 3  Ipswich Town          15,244

1 April 2001

Charlton Athletic     2 - 0  Leicester City        20,043

31 March 2001

Arsenal               2 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     38,121
Bradford City         2 - 2  Newcastle United      20,160
Chelsea               2 - 1  Middlesbrough         34,933
Coventry City         2 - 0  Derby County          19,654
Liverpool             2 - 0  Manchester United     44,806
Manchester City       1 - 3  Aston Villa           34,247
Sunderland            0 - 2  Leeds United          48,285
West Ham United       0 - 2  Everton               26,044

League table to 04 April 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  31 13  1  1 42  7  8  6  2 26 14 21  7  3 68 21  47  70
 2 Arsenal         31 13  3  0 39  8  3  6  6 10 21 16  9  6 49 29  20  57
 3 Ipswich Town    31  8  4  3 25 13  8  0  8 22 23 16  4 11 47 36  11  52
 4 Leeds United    31  7  3  5 23 19  7  5  4 23 19 14  8  9 46 38   8  50
 5 Liverpool       29 11  3  1 31  9  3  4  7 19 22 14  7  8 50 31  19  49
 6 Sunderland      31  8  6  2 18 10  5  3  7 19 22 13  9  9 37 32   5  48
 7 Chelsea         30 11  3  2 41 18  1  6  7 13 20 12  9  9 54 38  16  45
 8 Charlton Ath.   31 10  4  2 26 11  2  5  8 15 31 12  9 10 41 42  -1  45
 9 Leicester City  31  9  4  2 22 13  4  2 10 10 22 13  6 12 32 35  -3  45
10 Aston Villa     31  6  6  3 20 15  5  5  6 16 17 11 11  9 36 32   4  44
11 Southampton     30  9  2  5 22 18  3  6  5 12 19 12  8 10 34 37  -3  44
12 Tottenham H.    31  9  5  1 26 11  1  4 11 10 29 10  9 12 36 40  -4  39
13 Newcastle Utd   30  7  2  5 19 15  4  4  8 17 28 11  6 13 36 43  -7  39
14 West Ham United 31  4  6  6 18 17  4  5  6 17 23  8 11 12 35 40  -5  35
15 Everton         31  4  7  4 20 20  5  1 10 13 24  9  8 14 33 44 -11  35
16 Derby County    31  7  6  2 19 17  1  5 10 12 30  8 11 12 31 47 -16  35
17 Middlesbrough   31  3  6  6 15 18  3  7  6 19 20  6 13 12 34 38  -4  31
18 Manchester City 31  3  3 10 18 25  3  6  6 16 27  6  9 16 34 52 -18  27
19 Coventry City   31  3  6  7 13 21  3  3  9 15 30  6  9 16 28 51 -23  27
20 Bradford City   30  2  6  7 15 26  1  3 11  7 31  3  9 18 22 57 -35  18

With thanks to Football 365


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News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: Geoff –
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]Geoff Donkin,

Newsletter #698