Newsletter #700

Happy Anniversary McVittee – 700 up!

In my lifetime, we’ve never done well against Arsenal so last night was unlikely to be an easy game even allowing for the resting of a number of Arsenal first teamers (or was that just squad rotation?). Nevertheless, finding ourselves effectively dead and buried after just 8 minutes makes the game a notably low point in a season of lows – spirit, morale, position. I could go on. Every season seems to see a late rally by a team in the relegation mire, raising themselves for one last crack at Premiership survival, and given that we’d not had a decent run of form all season, I guess the eternal optimism that goes with being a City fan – I note season ticket sales are 2,500 up on the same time last year – led us to feel there was a corner waiting to be turned. Sadly, the only City team in Sky Blue that looks like doing so is Coventry. How we could do with their experience of battling the drop now. It ain’t over til the fat lady sings, but she’s sure as hell clearing her throat right now.

In spite of the result, the crowd seem to have excelled themselves with their self-deprecation (as opposed to the self-defaecation that might have been going on had things been tighter) as you’ll read in the two reports below. I particularly like Sharon’s tongue in cheek report with the serious bit at the end, but Neil makes equally valid points in a different way. This issue also has support for Martin Beckett’s well-constructed defence of JR, a couple of tickets for Leicester for sale (if they’ve not already gone during the day), a review of the City Magazine courtesy of Carol Darvill, and a collection of musings on the future.

The next issue might have to come out on Tuesday of next week due to domestic commitments, so don’t panic if there’s nothing in your inbox on Monday. I’ll do my best.

Next game: Leicester away, Saturday 14th April 2001


Pete had a bit of a disaster on the IT front and lost all the work he’d been doing in preparation for tonight’s issue, so no news summary today I’m afraid. I reckon it was just too depressing for him really 🙂


City 0 Arsenal Reserves 4

Would you believe I haven’t enjoyed a night at Maine Road as much as this for ages? The only one in recent times that’s beaten it was Birmingham at home at the end of last season – for obviously completely different reasons. It had everything – Arsenal supplied the fantastic football, international stars, goals a plenty, superb skill and confidence. City responded with, well, bugger all but the fans had a laugh.

The day started well. I picked Colin up from Cambridge and nearly got hit by a white van being driven by Richard Jobson. Now if you have to do an emergency stop because someone pulls out in front of you like that then you want it to be someone like Richard Jobson don’t you? Rather than (say) current Cambridge manager John Beck, who I’ve no respect for at all. Now you may say that it couldn’t have been Jobson because he’s in Liverpool helping Tranmere get relegated, but I know Grandad Jobson when I see him.

Colin reckoned we’d beat them 1-0, shows what he knows doesn’t it?

I ran up the steps to my seat in the Kippax just as the “Right Here, Right Now” music was being played. It doesn’t matter that we’ve had a dreadful season and are going straight back down, that music still makes my heart beat faster. Could we do it? Could we somehow overcome the odds and get a result against Arsenal? Could we beat the team second in the league, full of top quality players, in the last 8 of the “Champions” League, with our team of dodgy half wits? The omens were good. Well, the sunset over the Main Stand was nice. The minute’s silence for Rocastle was impeccably observed and we were off.

Hang on a minute, someone’s told Arsenal we’re crap. Showing the full depths of their respect for us, they’ve put half their reserve team out. Who the blinking ‘eck is Stepanovs? How come Edu and Luzhny are playing? And we’ve only got Wiltord (rubbish) and Ljundberg (not much better) to cope with up front – come on lads we’ll have these! Look who we’ve got in our team, we’re better than you, we’ve got Alfie Haaland. And we’ve got Nash in goal and as everyone knows it’s all Nicky Weaver’s fault that we’re going down – he’ll keep a clean sheet and prove to everyone that it’s our ‘keeper that’s been crap all season, not the entire team (by the way, we reckon this was a crafty ploy by Royle but I’ll come back to that later…). We’re so good we can afford to have Charvet on the bench.


Seven minutes gone and Ljundberg gets the ball in the box. Our defence rush towards him and clear it to safety – oh no sorry drifted off to a little dream world there. Our defence stand and watch as he turns to goal and knocks it easily into the net. 1-0 down following Arsenal’s first attempt on goal, not a good start. Come on lads, back up and at em! From the restart Wanchope ran forwards two yards and gave the ball away. To Ray Parlour. Not the best of moves then. In the dream world, Haaland was doing his job (full back Alfie, that means you’re at the back) and marking Wiltord to ensure he didn’t have all the time in the world to run into the box and meet Parlour’s cross to knock the ball past Nash for Arsenal’s second. What really happened was that Haaland had buggered off up field somewhere so Wiltord could place the shot just to the left of the despairing, diving Nash. Would Weaver have done any better with it? Well we’ll never know will we? 2-0 down. Already. Obviously inspired by Australia’s 31-0 win earlier in the day, oh good.

Did we get the ball in the next ten minutes? I don’t think we did. Next time Arsenal attacked they scored again. My dream world (it’s a nice place this, we’re in a UEFA cup spot at the moment and Everton and Spurs are going down with Middlesbrough) has Haaland once again doing a superb marking job on Kanu, who somehow manages to squeeze a shot over from the left but it doesn’t matter because Danny Granville, who’s having another stormer of a game and is on the brink of an England call up, marshalls the ball out of play and away from the stupidly haired Ljundberg. Who doesn’t have hours to turn in the box, recover his balance, pick his spot and score with ease or anything like it. 3-0 down.

If the team can’t provide the entertainment then maybe the crowd should instead. Up pops pitch invader number one, who calmly walks on to the pitch from the Kippax and sits down on the half way line. With his back to the play (very wise). The nasty smelly stewards remove him pretty sharpish. We then go on to have a really good spell – we don’t concede for twenty minutes! Wow! In fact we even win a corner during that twenty minutes, I bet they were worried when that happened. Any threats that Goater and Wanchope were attempting to provide were being cancelled out by that inconvenient offside rule – you’d think they’d feel sorry for us and be a bit more lenient than this but no. Even the mysterious Mr Stepanovs has mastered the Arsenal technique of stepping up with the rest of the defence. Some day these new-fangled ideas will reach City’s training ground, and then we’ll be a force to reckon with you’ll see.

The fourth goal when it did come was almost sublime. A gorgeous little back heel from midfield (Parlour? Cole? Sorry don’t know who it was but believe me it was lovely) led to Wiltord running in to the area. He completely miscued his shot for Howey to clear it for a corner, oh no sorry in the real world Howey was caught out by the deceptive intelligence of the “cross” (it was a shot, told you Wiltord’s rubbish) and forgot Ljundberg was standing behind him. Oops. Half the Kippax went to the bar, I’d have joined them but frankly I couldn’t be bothered.

What do you think happened at half time? I bet I know. I reckon the ref had a word with Arsenal, something along the lines of this: “now come on lads be nice, you’re murdering them out there, do you want to ruin their evening completely? You’re four-nil up already and they’re lucky to have nil, why not sit back in the second half? In fact you should only try to join in the game if they do anything dangerous, like bringing on that Charvet bloke, I’ve heard he’s really good.”

We had ’em running for cover in the second half. They were terrified. After ten minutes we got a free kick – they were quaking in their boots I can tell you. And rightly so, as the kick was blazed over the bar into Platt Lane, who decided they weren’t giving it back. Seaman and his silly ponytail fell over taking a goal kick once the ball did come back on the pitch, what a donkey. We did almost score when Granville’s (oh you are playing, sorry Danny, thought you’d left) fast cross from the left was completely missed by Goater. Wanchope was standing just the other side of him but couldn’t grasp the fact that he was in the Arsenal penalty area and not the City one so kicked it out for a throw in. Wenger realised they were under the cosh at this point so he took of Edu, but – poor bloke, times must be hard down there – could only replace him with some French bloke called Pat. Well, it’s not as if the French are any good at football is it?

At this point a couple in the Kippax decided to add some quality to the happenings on the pitch. So they took their clothes off and ran on. She ran on with her top on then whisked it off to the accompaniment of much appreciation from the crowd, but he – while admittedly taking his pants off – left his City shirt on. Well that’s no good is it? OK we could see part of his little naked bottom running around but he could have given us more than that to have a look at. Boring!

Royle then played his trump card. Off go Whitley (after all he’s only playing well, don’t want him to stay on as it’ll show the others up) and Wanchope, and on come Huckerby and Charvet. Now we’ll show them a bit of class. Poor old Wenger can only try to retaliate by bringing on another French bloke called Terry, bet he’s as rubbish as that Pat.

By this time the crowd were in fine voice. The Arsenal fans must have wondered what was going on hearing us sing – “Boring boring Arsenal”, “You’re going down with the City”, “Four nil in your cup final” and my personal favourite “What’s it like to be outclassed?” Brilliant.

That Terry bloke showed himself up by blazing the ball over the bar when he had almost the whole goal to pick his spot in with ten minutes to go. Bet he doesn’t get another game, he wouldn’t make it into our team as he’s nowhere near the quality of our strikers. He can’t have scored many this season, not like the star strikers we had on display. I mean, who can compete with stats like those of Goater (played 17 scored 4) and Huckerby (played 8 scored 1 – and that a penalty)?

Seriously though, and to sum up, this was no contest. It was like watching an exhibition match between the Brazil team in the days of Pele and Accrington Stanley, and I apologise to Accrington Stanley for besmirching their proud reputation. Arsenal were a joy to watch. Their level of skill and ball control was such that we couldn’t hope to get anywhere near it. When they wanted the ball they got it. When they wanted to pass the ball there were always at least two or three people making runs into space and calling for it. Frankly they made us look stupid – and very, very bad at football. The Tonga coach (after their 22-0 drubbing by Australia earlier this week) said the score wasn’t a true reflection of the game – well neither was 4-0. Ten-nil might have been. Had Arsenal wanted to score in the second half they would have done. It was all summed up by the substitutions – we bring on Huckerby and Charvet, they bring on Vieira and Henry. How can we hope to compete with a team like that? I thoroughly enjoyed watching them play. In my dream world City play football like that – in reality we’re ten years away from that level. That isn’t the fault of anyone currently at the club either – those decades of under investment and mis-management have taken their toll, all we can do now is get on with it and start with what we’ve got. And thank the Lord that we’ve still got a sense of humour.

On one final point, and to go back to what I said about Weaver and Nash – we were always going to get thumped so what’s the chances that Royle dropped Weaver to make sure he couldn’t be blamed for anything? Bit harsh on Nash but at least Nicky’s confidence doesn’t get knocked any more…

Sharon Hargreaves


City 0 Arsenal Reserves 4

Shoddy; shocking; uncommitted; abysmal; sloppy; appalling; unacceptable; untalented; lacklustre; poor; second rate; shameful; disgraceful; shabby; disorderly. Utterly, totally, completely outclassed.

The morning after the night before and I can now come up with a few words (that aren’t expletives!) to describe last night’s performance. Take your pick from any of the above. The scoreline flattered us; remember the joke about being lucky to get nil? That applies to last night’s performance; big time.

A minute’s silence for David Rocastle was impeccably observed by all, but why no black armbands City?

This won’t be much of a match report, to be honest it was more of a training session for Arsenal. City chased shadows for the full 90 minutes. If Arsenal could have been bothered, they could have had a shed-load more. I’m not sure I can say anything constructive about last night. Arsenal’s reserves exposed us for the sloppy, lacklustre outfit that we have fallen to over the last 6 months. Time and time again they waltzed through our non-existent midfield. There was no marking to speak of and definitely no pace in our side whatsoever (sound familiar?). Richard Dunne – I’ve seen milk turn quicker. Gerard Wiekens – 2 speeds, slow and stop. Alfie Haaland – captain incompetent.

Having seen all bar United at Maine Road this season, I think Arsenal were by far and away the most gifted and impressive, although I’m not sure how much of that was down to our own complete ineptitude.

I can accept the gulf in class, what is hard to stomach is the lack of passion and commitment form those on the pitch. I hope Joe uses the summer break to jettison those individuals who are clearly here only for the money (Haaland, Kanchelskis, Wanchope) or have been shown up for the very average players that they are (Wiekens, Charvet, Grant).

There is very little I can say by way of a match report. City began the 1st half facing the North Stand. I can’t say they attacked it, because they didn’t; most of the time they were chasing towards the Platt Lane end. Second half, Charvet replaced Whitley, who was perhaps the best of a very bad bunch on the night and Huckerby came on for Wanchope. Whitley was injured during a very surreal 2nd half when he was clattered by Dunne. Like I said, complete ineptitude.

Highlights? A fantastically skilful performance by Kanu and some wonderful passing and movement from Arsenal as a whole (even Ray Parlour looked good). I suspect it will be some time before we see the likes of Kanu, Henry, Cole (Ashley) at Maine Road/Eastlands again.

And then there was the crowd. I’m sure plenty of people will write in about this. However, it is no exaggeration to say that the crowd were the absolute highlight of the evening. 4-0 up and the Arsenal fans were sat politely in their seats, making no noise at all. Contrast that with the party taking place around them, led by the North Stand. Surreal doesn’t come close. I don’t think the Arsenal fans or players knew what to make of it. Some absolute classics were sung, such as 4-0 in your Cup Final; you only sing when we’re winning; who the f*****g hell are you (to Vieira and Henry); stand full of Munichs (to the Kippax) and what’s it like to be outclassed. You just had to be there to understand. There was very little in the way of booing or slagging of certain players. Despite being 4-0 down at half time, virtually everyone stayed until the end of the game. Oh yeah, and a male and female streaker joined the cabaret during the second half.

We all know that the club doesn’t deserve this kind of support after the performances they have produced on a far too regular basis this season. I can’t imagine any other club in the country that would have the backing of the crowd as City did last night, despite their team’s non-performance.

I find it hard to understand how a team that looked so good against Sunderland and Leeds last August, can look so poor now.

Still, it will soon all be over. I hope against hope, but I think the script has been written – United to avenge the Dennis Law backheel on 21 April by winning the title and sending us down at the same time. Come on Coventry, get at least a point on Saturday.

We’re not so much dropping down to the Nationwide, as hurtling towards it. Singing all the way…

Neil Towse (


If anyone is interested I have 2 spare tickets for Leicester; please email or call 07711 876405.

David Goulden (


I can’t believe my luck… just after getting back from seeing City at home against Villa I realized, late on Saturday night, that the Everton game was on pay per view TV on Sunday morning in Northern California. Just my luck I thought. So up I get on Sunday morning, pay my $15 to the TV company and settle in to watch. I have seen about ten City games now over the season and the first 15 minutes of so was about as committed as I have seen City play. But in the end it was the same story as against Villa: City score first, the opposition equalize within minutes and then we have a goalie error.

As I said in the Villa report I don’t see the point at this stage in making comments about individuals – we are much too late into the season for anything to be done. I am now more worried about whether we will even win another game this year at all. Or, more importantly, whether Joe can end the season with some bright spots to provide some encouragement for the summer and next year. Though I am beginning to wonder whether Joe will be with us next year.

Best wishes and bring on Arsenal!

John Pearson (


Cover Picture

Granville has plenty in store!

DG seems quite resolute about being a squad player and could also be considered as somewhat of an expert on how to get splinters out of his bum after spending so much time on the bench! His loan move to Norwich seems to have done him the world of good; IMHO he is a better player for it although it does seem a shame recently that the poor lad has been dragged off ’cause the rest of the team ain’t doing the business! I was somewhat surprised to learn that, if selected, the OT match would be Danny’s first playing appearance at the Swamp (he did see the Sturm Graz match there this season!). It would appear that DG and a certain fella called Beckham used to play in the same junior Enfield league… aaah Enfield – ‘im indoors could tell you a few things about Enfield, particularly the pubs, but I digress! DG comes over as a decent bloke; I just hope he can hold down a more permanent first team spot – mind you, a certain Aussie may have something to say about that!

The coach with all the drive

No not the Fingland’s Diplomat team coach but my mate Maggie’s bestest ever player – Willie Donachie! She still hasn’t forgiven me for the cup tie at Leyton Orient when Oldham were the visitors and Joe and Willie were in charge. I got what I thought were front row seats so she could ogle young William at close range only to find they were the very back row, right in front of the press box! Anyway, back to the article! Willie is very highly rated as a coach in the game and is always willing to learn new ideas and innovations to help his charges, also working on their mental attitude and working a lot on positive thinking (can you help the fans out with that one as well please?). A workaholic, Willie was recently in Argentina to watch 8 matches in 3 days and was raving about his experience. It is a shame that, these days, kids don’t seem to be able to hone their footie skills with an old ball, jumpers for goalposts etc. ’cause the neighbours or the council might object. I must admit that I agree with Willie’s view that, whatever the outcome of this season, everyone has learned from it.

Blue Mail

I wouldn’t normally mention this section but my old mate, and fellow London Blue, Norman Cooper has got his photo in this section with “Cain Dingle” of Emmerdale, another TV Blue!


As usual Gary James gives a great review of four decisive derbies from days gone by (and no the 5-1 win for us ain’t mentioned!). I wonder what this year’s OT result will be…?!

How was it for us?

Mike Barnett speaks to a number of players on their derby memories. The most poignant photo in this section was the picture of Lakey with that knee support at his testimonial game. My memory of that one is of Michael Brown kicking, I think it was Poborsky, into orbit just in front of me! And I got the impression it hurt too!

Question Time

Mike Barnett reports on the Rochdale CSA’s meeting with Mr Bernstein and Rochdale Chairman David Kilpatrick. Half the proceeds from this meeting were going to our Academy and the other half to the Rochdale Tractor fund! I would think that Rochdale are having a more successful season than we are, but there you go! The evening seems to have gone very well!

Memories, Memories, Memories!

Sheila Jones won a recent City Magazine competition and in her thank you letter she told City Magazine that she was in the record 84,569 crowd and had also attended Frank Swift’s funeral after the Munich disaster. Sheila has also held a season ticket since 1944 which, she feels and I would tend to agree, would probably make her City’s longest serving female season ticket holder! And I thought I was doing well for having one since 1976! Sheila dislikes United intensely (don’t we all?) but remembers the huge sorrow which engulfed the whole of Manchester after the crash. Sheila gives special mentions to the following players who have been her favourites over the years: Bobby Johnstone, Roy Paul, Rodney Marsh, Peter Barnes, Tommy Hutchison, Gio and Paul Lake as well as those who came through the ranks e.g. Mike Doyle. I again agree with Sheila’s view that there isn’t the same club loyalty as in days gone by. Sheila’s current favourite and also her choice for Player of the Year is Danny Tiatto, who gives his undying commitment to the cause week in, week out. She feels that Dicky and SuperKev also show the same passion. She realises that we aren’t the same club we used to be and probably never will be but, like the rest of us, would rather watch the Blues than do something else on a Saturday afternoon! So those of you who feel like not renewing your season tickets because of our current plight, take a leaf out of Sheila’s book, stick with them through thin, thinner and the odd bit of thick – you know you love it really! Plus of course the fact that you’ll have one hell of a job trying to get another one with the waiting list we’ve got!

Don’t cry for us Argentina

Chris Killen’s mum Gaynor did this report on her son’s international under-20 action in New Zealand last month. Chris had four other English-based players with him, 3 lads from Barnsley and one from Newcastle. NZ’s group also involved the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tahiti and New Caledonia. The eventual winner of both the qualifying groups would represent Oceania in the FIFA World Youth Championships in Argentina this coming June. NZ won their group and had to face Australia who won the other group! So on a warm February evening (yes it is warm in February down that part of the world!) the two titans collided in the first leg of the play-off. Australia scored first after 21 minutes but NZ had to wait until just after the break for Jonathan Rowe to score the equaliser. Eight minutes from time our boy Chris scored the winner! The following day the lads flew to Oz for the return leg on 4 March. Chris opened the scoring in the 17th minute after an ongoing bombardment by the Aussie players! This gave the NZ team an invaluable away goal. Australia equalised just before the break and then scored again which meant that both games ended 2-1 and extra time was therefore needed as if it wasn’t nerve-wracking enough for Chris’ parents and the few other NZ fans in the stadium! Unfortunately Australia got the required winning goal to break the NZ hearts. What a shame! But best wishes were extended to Australia for June.

Bermudan National Treasure

Shaun Goater was the guest of honour at a special dinner in Manchester last month. The main theme of the dinner was to promote Bermuda holidays but you can’t have such an event without Bermuda’s greatest export! An interesting article finished off with 10 Facts About Bermuda. Needless to say Bermuda is a lot warmer than Manchester – that would be fact number 11!

AwayDay Blues

This month it’s the turn of the Baguley & Brooklands OSC on their trip to Bradford City! They seem to have enjoyed themselves apart from the result of course!

Carol Darvill (


Just read Martin J Beckett’s defence of big Joe and felt that I had to reply – mostly in support as I feel he’s going to generate a bit more debate on this subject. For the most part I agree whole-heartedly with Martin. Sure, Joe’s made some team decisions and substitutions that have left me scratching my head; IMHO he’s stuck with Weaver for a little longer than he should (tho’ I still think Weaver’s class and Joe should make sure he’s not tempted away in the off-season). Joe’s man management skills appear to be somewhat robust and he appears to give up on players too soon – but that said, which of Joes cast-offs have shone since leaving (Kinky, Brown, Fenton, Mason…)? But the bottom line is he’s got us promoted twice in succession, relegated once (although we were only heading one way when he arrived) and will probably get us relegated this year (barring a minor miracle – and I keep hoping and praying).

But how many of us expected to set the Premiership alive this season – I for one did not, and how many teams promoted to the Premiership go back down at the end of their first year? City are no longer a massive club; sure we get magnificent support week-in, week-out but that doesn’t guarantee success. We still have the potential to be up there with the big boys (of which there is only one at the moment with a couple of nearly men – sorry it hurts to say and I’ve not even mentioned their name – but we all know who they are). Three years ago we were a complete and utter laughing stock (remember the new OXO cube flavour) and no one wanted the manager’s job at Maine Road, but Joe stepped into the breach and despite the initial relegation we were happy to stick with him.

As Martin says, 30 years of sacking the manager hasn’t worked – I suggest we give stability a try. One point I’d like to disagree with Martin on though (and I guess I’m being a bit picky here) is the squad strength. For me there’s little difference between Reg & Charvet (Reg just shading it for me as the better of the two and certainly one who’d run through a brick wall for City – despite the barracking he constantly gets), or Ritchie & Granville (I know that don’t play in the same position – but they’re both defenders). Dunne & Howey versus Prior & Morrison is probably better on paper – but we’ve desperately missed Andy’s leadership qualities this season. Never seen Nash play in City’s colours (looks like tonight will be my first chance) so a little too early to tell with Nash vs. Wright(T) – Tommy was still a top class ‘keeper for me but obviously is nearing the end of his shelf life. So that only leaves Dicky – Huckerby and although Darren has pace and the ability to beat a man he seems lack the will to win (not something that could be said of the wee Scotsman).

John Bellairs (

Congratulations to Martin Beckett for his well-reasoned and quite justified arguments in support of retaining Joe Royle as manager. The bottom line is that (barring a miracle) we are of course heading for Division 1 football next season. We don’t want to be there any longer than we have to, and our best chance of promotion is surely with Joe at the helm. Irrespective of his record as a Premiership manager, he is the best man to get us back up. Given the experience of Sunderland, as Martin points out, we’ll more than likely come back up a much stronger outfit anyhow.

P.S.: G’day to all Sydney Blues supporters!

Keeping the faith (and the Rags’ supporters at bay) in Sydney, Australia, Gavin Wendt (


David Bernstein has stated that relegation will cost City in the region of £15 million. This was always a possibility, so although a financial disaster it is not a surprise. Why, oh why didn’t we buy big and quality? If we got just two players (creative midfield and striker) we could have scored the goals to make up for the leak at the other end. To spend £16 million on other teams’ reserve squad players is bordering on criminal. This is not hindsight, I said similar during ‘Black November’ last year, but there is no point dwelling, just learn.

Let’s have a Division 1 clearout and then copy Ipswich. They got up after many years of being a good side. They play simple and together, and their whole is larger than the sum. They got up, added a couple of players and look at them. Top striker (Stewart), creative captain (Holland). Envious? You bet! They saw we might buy David Johnson so they immediately knew he was crap and sold him to Forest where he is struggling.

I think most people would agree that Ipswich were the best team we played last season and they deserved to go up. We need to copy them in both their teamwork and buying astuteness.

At least another spell in Division 1 will allow more opportunity for some youngsters to be blooded, and who knows, another team of relative unknowns can add a couple of top signings and become successful.

P.S. The share price is rock bottom (22.5p as I write), so buy, buy, buy if you can, ’cause the only way is (back) up!

Stuart Wells (


During this troubled season much has been said and written about our striker problems, midfield problems, full back problems, lack of tactical awareness, strange substitutions and now our goalkeeping problems. I don’t wish to add to this debate but would like to put forward another discussion point.

I have followed City home and away for almost fifty years and I have never known so few players making it through the ranks into our first team. Of the current squad I think there are only three, Richard Edghill, Jeff Whitley and SWP., the first two being around for quite a while. We have always managed to have a stream of quality players who have come through the ranks, especially from the Greater Manchester area. I can think of Colin Barlow, Ken Barnes, Alan Oakes, Waggy, Harry Dowd, Glyn Pardoe, Neil Young, Mike Doyle (what would I give for him to be around now?), David Connor, Tommy Booth, Joe Corrigan, Ian Bowyer, Ged Keegan, Tony Towers, Derek Jeffries, Peter Barnes, Gary Owen, Kenny Clements, Paul Power, Dave Bennett, Nicky Reid, Tommy Caton, Alex Williams, Andy May, Steve Kinsey, Steve Redmond, Clive Wilson, Andy Hinchcliffe, David White, Ian Brightwell, Paul Lake, Mike Sheron, Gary Flitcroft, Steve Lomas and now I’m struggling.

That’s quite an impressive list by anyone’s standards and I don’t doubt that there are many more but as I get to the last four or five years they are hard to find in our team. We need local players breaking through; this will add passion and pride and loyalty and a lot less dependency on journeymen foreigners who are only interested in swelling their egos and bank balances.

So what’s gone wrong? I keep hearing about this fantastic Academy but where are the products, not just from Greater Manchester but anywhere! I would have expected that the club’s massive investment in this project should be showing at least a handful of quality prospects pushing for places. Apart from SWP the first team has not seen one player moving forward.

One other related topic concerns our recent lack of success in finding new and better rôles for players. To give examples, Glyn Pardoe started as a centre forward, moved to midfield and then to a class full back, Willie Donachie started life as a midfielder but achieved success as a full back much the same as Clive Wilson and Paul Power. Of the current crop Gerard Wiekens can operate in midfield or the back four/three and Alfie (why does my blood pressure rise at the mention of this name?) can switch between midfield and full back, neither of them with any great success. I think that if given time and coaching Jeff Whitley could solve our right back problem.

Someone please tell me that the future’s bright because from what I see it’s a very, very dark shade of orange.

Dave Sterrett (


They think it’s all over, well we could at least beat Becks & co yet – follow this link:

…and vote for Danny as, even though he doesn’t even merit a mention on their website (surprise), he is leading the Premiership PFA Official “Fans” player of the year…

He’s been streets ahead of the rest of the team this year and deserves some recognition.

Andy Gascoigne (


Reading through the last, depressing, edition of McVittee, Ken Corfield’s City Diary jogged a few memories concerning Bert Trautmann’s testimonial. I was at the game but the match programmes had been sold out. The following day I wagged it from school and rode my bike from Bramhall to Maine Road and hung around the players’ entrance with some other kids. Bert came out and signed some programmes, looked at me sitting on my bike and asked if I wanted a programme signed. When I told him I didn’t have one, he went to his car (a VW Beetle I recall), got a program, signed it and gave it to me. It was the pride of my collection. Some time after I left for Canada in 1972, my mother threw the collection out.

Life seems to be one disappointment after another, doesn’t it?

Jim Ranson (


We all probably knew it but did not like to admit it, and we still will not give in until it’s mathematically impossible to survive. But when we really become realistic it is all over, though come next season 99.9% of us will still be supporting and following our beloved City. I for one did not want to believe it, I would not give in (I guess it’s because I am in sales I have that never say no or die attitude). I still have not given in altogether but it’s tough not to be honest with oneself.

As City fans we will always dream of having another team like that of 68/69/70. A lot of young fans think of the greatest City win was when we put 5 past the Rags; not me – my greatest moment against the Rags would be at Old Trafford when we beat them 3-1. That morning in the early edition of Manchester Evening News, the headline read “Glyn Pardoe, the only man to stop George Best”. Pardoe was stopping Best and we were all over the Rags, when Georgie went over the ball and broke Pardoe’s leg (it was shown in slow motion on ITV sports next day, Sunday). Georgie was never the same after that. For the sake of all our young supporters who have yet to witness a real City team as us older fans saw, I wish for them better things to come.

David Bernstein took a photo of a young City fan crying when we got relegated to Division 2, and showed it before every directors’ meeting, and said for fans like this we have to do better. Well I don’t mind admitting I, an older fan, had a tear in his eye watching City lose to Everton because I had to face the real truth. But, as in years before, I will be with City if it’s Division 1, but it’s not over yet, though now it will take a super miracle rather than just a miracle. But for all our young fans I do hope they will see a better City in the future, we all do. Whatever happens I will always be a true Blue.

Ernie Barrow (


Come on everyone, it could be worse, you could have been born a Red. Just reading the latest issue of MCIVTA is making me want to do myself in. Everyone is so negative. I’m not ignoring the state we are in but I thought you needed a sense of humour to be a City fan? I have decided to compile, in the way of Mark and Lard, a Cheesily Cheerful Chart Challenge on the subject of City. If you are not familiar with the top Radio One DJs then you’ve been missing out, but they compile a hilarious chart of aptly-titled songs related to a current media story. Stick with me here, you’ll get what I’m on about when I give you some examples. To start us off I’ll suggest:

U2 – Stuck in a moment you can’t get out of.
Bob The Builder – Can we fix it?
Coldplay – Trouble.

There is a few to be getting on with. If you want you can send me your suggestions to the address below and I’ll put them together.

Claire Knighton (


Any Blues In Melbourne for the derby day? We are meeting at The Keeper’s Arms Hotel in North Melbourne, cnr Queensbury and Peel St’s. Hope to see any travelling Blues, we packed out the place last time around.

Tim Berry (


 A   bsolutely
 R   agged
 S   ide
(E   xcept
 N   ash)
 A   bysmally
 L   ost

Steve Maclean (


Chorlton Blues’ next meeting is on Tuesday 17th April at South West Manchester Cricket Club, Ellesmere Road, Chorlton. This month’s guest is one time City ‘keeper Alex Williams, who now runs the successful Football in the Community Scheme. Events kick off at 7.45 pm and there will be the usual raffle and a buffet will be provided. Thanks to Roy Little, Phill Gatenby and Noel Bayley for attending our last meeting. Contact Larry on 0775 479 2338 for further details.

Larry Higgs (


Recent results to 11 April 2001 inclusive.

11 April 2001

Manchester City       0 - 4  Arsenal               33,444

10 April 2001

Ipswich Town          1 - 1  Liverpool             23,504
Manchester United     2 - 1  Charlton Athletic     67,505
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 1  Bradford City         28,306

9 April 2001

Middlesbrough         0 - 0  Sunderland            31,284

8 April 2001

Everton               3 - 1  Manchester City       36,561

7 April 2001

Aston Villa           2 - 2  West Ham United       31,432
Derby County          0 - 4  Chelsea               29,320
Leeds United          2 - 0  Southampton           39,267
Leicester City        1 - 3  Coventry City         19,545

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 11 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  32 14  1  1 44  8  8  6  2 26 14 22  7  3 70 22  48  73
 2 Arsenal         32 13  3  0 39  8  4  6  6 14 21 17  9  6 53 29  24  60
 3 Ipswich Town    32  8  5  3 26 14  8  0  8 22 23 16  5 11 48 37  11  53
 4 Leeds United    32  8  3  5 25 19  7  5  4 23 19 15  8  9 48 38  10  53
 5 Liverpool       30 11  3  1 31  9  3  5  7 20 23 14  8  8 51 32  19  50
 6 Sunderland      32  8  6  2 18 10  5  4  7 19 22 13 10  9 37 32   5  49
 7 Chelsea         31 11  3  2 41 18  2  6  7 17 20 13  9  9 58 38  20  48
 8 Aston Villa     32  6  7  3 22 17  5  5  6 16 17 11 12  9 38 34   4  45
 9 Charlton Ath.   32 10  4  2 26 11  2  5  9 16 33 12  9 11 42 44  -2  45
10 Leicester City  32  9  4  3 23 16  4  2 10 10 22 13  6 13 33 38  -5  45
11 Southampton     31  9  2  5 22 18  3  6  6 12 21 12  8 11 34 39  -5  44
12 Tottenham H.    32 10  5  1 28 12  1  4 11 10 29 11  9 12 38 41  -3  42
13 Newcastle Utd   30  7  2  5 19 15  4  4  8 17 28 11  6 13 36 43  -7  39
14 Everton         32  5  7  4 23 21  5  1 10 13 24 10  8 14 36 45  -9  38
15 West Ham United 32  4  6  6 18 17  4  6  6 19 25  8 12 12 37 42  -5  36
16 Derby County    32  7  6  3 19 21  1  5 10 12 30  8 11 13 31 51 -20  35
17 Middlesbrough   32  3  7  6 15 18  3  7  6 19 20  6 14 12 34 38  -4  32
18 Coventry City   32  3  6  7 13 21  4  3  9 18 31  7  9 16 31 52 -21  30
19 Manchester City 33  3  3 11 18 29  3  6  7 17 30  6  9 18 35 59 -24  27
20 Bradford City   31  2  6  7 15 26  1  3 12  8 33  3  9 19 23 59 -36  18

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]Geoff Donkin,

Newsletter #700