Newsletter #701

Easter seemed an appropriate time for a possible resurrection of City’s chances of escaping the drop, but in spite of what in some ways was an unlikely win at Filbert Street (though Leicester’s recent form is worse than ours) Arsenal conspired to have their off day 3 days late and let Boro coast to an even more unlikely victory. However, the gap remains 5 points after Boro’s defeat by Ipswich on Monday, but Derby would appear to be more or less beyond our reach even if we were to win all our remaining games, and Coventry are staging their usual late show. So not mathematically over and done with just yet.

This issue sees a larger than usual news summary from Pete, Ken’s City diary (supporting my theory that City never give me birthday presents!), news of the potential loss of the birthplace of the club, a Russian collector appealing for City paraphernalia, and a range of opinion.

Any Stattos out there fancy analysing the season and telling us whether we’ve broken (or could break) any records, wanted or otherwise?

Next game: Man Utd away, Saturday 21st April 2001 (Live on Sky TV)


Part I – Easter Weekend Summary

Win at Leicester Gives Hope: Manchester City are still clinging to their hopes of playing Premiership football next season. Last week’s 4-0 defeat against Arsenal appeared to have consigned the Blues to the Nationwide League but a win at Leicester on Saturday keeps alive an admittedly faint hope of survival. The Blues ended up 2-1 winners at Filbert Street, with a first-half goal from Shaun Goater putting Joe Royle’s men ahead and a 67th-minute backheel from the recalled Paulo Wanchope restoring the advantage after Ade Akinbiyi’s equaliser just before the break. But City suffered the disappointment of returning to the dressing room to find that the result hadn’t taken them any closer to the safety zone, Middlesbrough’s shock 3-0 win at Arsenal being a particular blow. And the likes of Coventry, Derby and ‘Boro had the chance to further increase the Blues’ woes on Easter Monday when they all played their game in hand on Joe Royle’s men.

City Still Five Points Off Safety: Manchester City are still five points off Premiership safety following the Easter fixtures. The Blues are in 19th place in the Premiership with only four games to play. City had moved above Coventry on Saturday, thanks to the win at Leicester coupled with a defeat for Gordon Strachan’s men in their morning kick-off at Manchester United. And City had moved to within five points of Derby thanks to the Filbert Street victory – the Rams were beaten at West Ham on the same afternoon. However, both sides then won at home on Easter Monday, Coventry beating Sunderland by the only goal and Derby inflicting Leicester’s seventh successive defeat – and the only good news for the Blues was that Middlesbrough lost at home to Ipswich. With City now three points behind Coventry, five below Middlesbrough and eight adrift of Derby and Everton, survival still looks a long-shot – although the weekend’s results mean that the Blues’ relegation cannot now be sealed by Manchester United next weekend.

Royle – We Deserved Leicester Win: Manchester City earned their first league win in six games on Saturday at Leicester. And Joe Royle insisted that his side fully deserved the three points from the clash at Filbert Street. Royle was particularly delighted with the character shown by his players, who bounced back from the comprehensive midweek defeat by Arsenal. And he says the Blues will continue to battle as long as survival is mathematically possible. “I thought we were worthy winners [at Leicester],” he insisted. “I have to marvel at their character after that match. We have to go for it and I will never give up while we have a chance of survival.”

Taylor Claims Leicester Were Unlucky: Leicester suffered a sixth successive defeat when Manchester City left Filbert Street with all three points on Saturday. But Foxes’ manager Peter Taylor believed that his side didn’t deserve to lose to the Blues. Taylor saw Leicester have more efforts on goal than the visitors, and was unhappy with some of the opportunities spurned by his forwards. And he was also less than impressed by some of his side’s defending. “We had plenty of scoring chances and their goalkeeper had much more to do than Tim Flowers,” he claimed. “But we gave away two bad goals, and that cost us.”

Alfie Loses His Shirt: Alfie Haaland led Manchester City to a rare victory at Leicester on Saturday. But the Blues’ skipper was still the subject of barracking from one away fan at Filbert Street – so handed the recalcitrant supporter the shirt off his back. Haaland was delighted with the backing City received from the Maine Road faithful, but was disappointed with the unremitting negativity from one particular spectator. So when he heard what he thought was the final whistle, the Norwegian handed his shirt to the man in question, with an exhortation to “wear it and support the team in future” – but the game hadn’t in fact finished. “I had to ask for the shirt back and he was halfway out,” said the ex-Forest and Leeds player. “But he managed to get the shirt back to me. At the final whistle I threw it back to him! I think he was a bit surprised by it all – but maybe he’ll be shouting for us next week.”

Part II – Arsenal at Home: Late Reaction

Wenger Praises Spirit of City’s Players and Fans: Arsene Wenger saw his Arsenal side move closer to sealing a Champions’ League berth next season with an emphatic 4-0 win over Manchester City last Wednesday. But the Gunners’ boss had some kind words after the game for both the Blues’ players and fans. Wenger was delighted by the passing and movement of his under-strength side as they carved City apart. But he also credited the Blues with not throwing in the towel, thus avoiding further humiliation in the second half. “We knew that Manchester City’s confidence was not high, so to get two goals quickly was important,” reflected the Frenchman. “But City never gave up and their crowd was magnificent.”

Royle Hails “Awesome” Gunners: Joe Royle saw his Manchester City side ripped apart by Arsenal last Wednesday evening. And the Blues’ boss couldn’t help but admire the Londoners’ display as they left Maine Road with an emphatic win. Royle was impressed by the pace, physical strength and athleticism of the away side – in addition to their individual skill. And he went on to express the belief that Arsene Wenger’s men can achieve European Champions’ League glory this term. “They were awesome, fantastic,” he conceded. “When you have a team of six-foot players who have three lungs and are willing to work, you get a harsh lesson. If they continue to play like that in the Champions’ League then they can win it.”

Part III – Transfer News and Rumours

Haaland – I Want to Stay: Alfie Haaland has become the latest player to pledge his future to Manchester City. The Norwegian says he wants to stay at Maine Road even if the Blues go down. Haaland is still refusing to concede defeat in the battle to avoid the drop. But the City skipper says that he believes the club will have a great future whether or not Premiership survival is achieved this term – and he wants to be a part of that future. “I’ll stay with Manchester City no matter which division we’re in next season,” he told Norwegian paper Nettavisen. “The club has got great ambitions, and we’ll move to a new fantastic 50,000 stadium in a couple of years’ time. I like it very much in Manchester and see no reason why I should even think about moving.”

U-Turn Over Wanchope Future?: It had been widely assumed that Paulo Wanchope would be leaving Manchester City in the summer. But over the weekend, doubts have been cast over whether the transfer-listed striker will actually be on his way out of Maine Road. Wanchope has told Sky Sports that he wants to stay with the Blues next season – even if that means he’ll be playing Nationwide League football. And after the Costa Rican front man scored the winner at Leicester on Saturday with an impudent back-heel, Joe Royle hinted that the player could still have a future at the club – although no decision will be taken until the summer. “Paulo is a good pro and I thought he did very well,” commented the City boss. “He was a handful and is getting better and stronger, although there is more to this issue than just one goal. Ask me about his situation at the end of the season.”

Rumours Start Over Who Will Go: It seems likely that several senior players will leave Manchester City in the summer – whether or not the Blues are relegated. And several weekend newspapers have begun to speculate exactly which players will be shown the door. Certain to be plying their trade elsewhere next season are Gareth Taylor and Jim Whitley, whose contracts expire and will not be renewed. And the likes of Richard Edghill, Terry Cooke and Andy Morrison are available for transfer so will leave if suitable bidders come forward. Andrei Kanchelskis seems certain to be heading back to Rangers once his loan stint is over and is reportedly interesting Charlton, while there has been no sign as yet of a move to keep fellow temporary signing Egil Ostenstad at Maine Road. Paulo Wanchope is still transfer-listed, while three other men who were in the squad for Saturday’s game at Leicester are also being talked of as potential leavers. Laurent Charvet, who has failed to settle since his move from Newcastle, Spencer Prior, who has expressed concern over his failure to win a senior place, and Tony Grant, whom Royle was prepared to sell to Barnsley in January, are the players in question.

Taylor Set for Permanent Burnley Switch: Gareth Taylor has made a success of his loan move to Burnley. And the striker is set to join the Clarets on a permanent basis when his Manchester City contract expires in the summer. Taylor has scored three vital goals in his spell at Turf Moor as his temporary employers have moved to the fringes of a Division One play-off place. And the one-time Sheffield United man, who feels he hasn’t been given a fair chance at Maine Road, is looking forward to signing a long-term deal with the Lancashire club. And he’s keen to put one over on the Blues should the two clubs meet next season. “I’m enjoying playing week in and week out with a great bunch of lads,” he said. “I still felt I should have been playing at City because I scored enough goals in the reserves to warrant a place, or at least a chance. If we don’t make the play-offs it looks like we could be playing them next year, which would be nice.”

McAteer Linked With City Move: Jason McAteer is set to leave Blackburn Rovers in the summer. And it’s rumoured that the midfielder could then be a transfer target for Manchester City. McAteer has failed to hold down a place in the Division One promotion chasers’ side this season, and has admitted he sees no future for himself under boss Graeme Souness. The ex-Bolton and Liverpool star can play in the centre or on the right of midfield, and with Andrei Kanchelskis unlikely to be at Maine Road beyond the end of the current campaign, the Republic of Ireland man’s ability to fill a flank rôle could attract the attention of Joe Royle.

Part IV – Miscellaneous News and Views

Bernstein – We’ll Be Better-Prepared Next Time: David Bernstein admits that Manchester City have had a disappointing season. But the Blues’ chairman says that the club will analyse what has gone wrong – and as a result will be better prepared for the next campaign. Bernstein, writing in the match programme for last week’s home game with Arsenal, says that if the club remains strong, City can recover from any setback they suffer this term – including a swift return to the First Division. And he insists that the Blues will learn from any mistakes they’ve made in the last twelve months. “With the benefit of hindsight we have coped less well [with the challenge of the Premiership] than expected,” he commented. “We have been and will continue to analyse the issues and ensure that we are better prepared for the next campaign. I believe our fans are entitled to understand our thinking and as we develop our action plans I will ensure that you are kept suitably informed.”

Season Ticket Sales Up on Last Year: Manchester City may look doomed to drop into the First Division at the end of this season. But the despondency of the Maine Road faithful at miserable recent performances hasn’t been reflected in season ticket sales for next season. Before last week’s discount deadline, the Blues had sold some 14,500 tickets for next term – an increase of 2,000 on the comparable stage last year. And so chairman David Bernstein has once again expressed his gratitude to fans, stating that notwithstanding the disappointments of this season, he believes supporters can still see the bigger picture and appreciate that the club is continuing to make progress.

Kennedy Earns Ireland Recall: Mark Kennedy has been out of the international picture since September. But the Manchester City winger has now been handed a Republic of Ireland recall. Kennedy and team-mate Phil Babb were arrested in Dublin following a public order incident as the Irish prepared for a World Cup qualifier in Holland. Boss Mick McCarthy had omitted the winger ever since, but the former Liverpool and Wimbledon man has now been named in the party for a qualifier against Andorra at Lansdowne Road on April 25. Richard Dunne has also been selected by McCarthy.

Dickov Wins Scotland Call-Up: Paul Dickov has made only one start for Manchester City in the last three months. But the Scot’s lack of match action has not cost him his place in the Scotland squad for a friendly international later this month. The Scots take on Poland on April 25th, and Dickov has been recalled after missing the March games against Belgium and San Marino. The 28-year-old had not at that time fully recovered from the knee injury he sustained when City played Leeds in January. Ironically, now he is fit again, the former Arsenal junior is due to serve a three-match ban after next weekend’s derby clash at Manchester United as a punishment for his sending off against Everton earlier this month. But the official City website at is reporting that the Blues are hopeful that referee David Elleray will review video footage of the incident and commute the red card to a booking, leaving the 28-year-old available for the rest of the campaign.

Lake Blasts City Players: Paul Lake has pinpointed a lack of effort among the players as a key factor in Manchester City’s likely relegation this season. But the former Blues’ star hopes that his successors can raise their game and produce a creditable display at Old Trafford on Saturday. Lake is bitterly disappointed with City’s progress this term – and says he fears the worst in the forthcoming derby against Manchester United. And the one-time England under-21 man believes that, save for certain exceptions, the Maine Road players must shoulder much of the blame for the club’s current plight. “I know players like Jeff Whitley, Gerard Wiekens and Danny Tiatto are giving their all,” he commented, “but if we had 11 players giving 100 per cent week in, week out then maybe some of the draws would have been wins and some of the defeats would have been draws.”

Nash Looks to Conquer Boyhood Idols: Carlo Nash was a boyhood follower of Manchester United. But that will count for nothing when the Manchester City goalkeeper plays at Old Trafford on Saturday. Nash is from a United-supporting family and says his relatives will be cheering on the Reds at the weekend. But though the ex-Stockport man is fully aware of the quality of the opposition he and his team-mates will encounter on the day, he’s nevertheless optimistic. “We know they are the best team in the country but that doesn’t mean they are unbeatable,” he claimed. “It is a massive game for us.” Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that United will be presented with the Premier League trophy they won over the weekend not this Saturday but when they face Derby on May 5th.

Part V – Reserve Team News

Reserves Romp Home Against Oldham: Manchester City’s first-team have been enduring a miserable time in the Premiership. But there has been a small consolation for the Blues in the shape of their reserve team’s form. The City second string have lost only one game since November. And last Monday night, they notched another comfortable win, with a young side beating Oldham Athletic 4-1 at Boundary Park. Leon Mike and Chris Killen both scored twice for the Blues, while there was a boost for Joe Royle as Kevin Horlock came through the ninety minutes to press his claims for a senior return before the end of the season.

Peter Brophy (


Leicester 1 There’s only one City 2

I’m afraid this will have to be a shorter report than usual as it’s my wedding anniversary so I can’t hang around at work all evening typing up a report for you lot, I’ve a celebratory meal to go out for – yes I do have a life outside football (well, sort of). Two years ago today we won 2-0 at Gillingham to finish off a top day for me 🙂 – I got married at 3pm (of course) so walked out of the church to find out we were 1-0 up then arrived at the reception (no radio in the wedding car, how much agony was that?) to find we’d gone 2 up. Happy memories. The wedding wasn’t bad either.

Tiatto was suspended for this game so Charvet (oh goody) started at right back with Alfie in midfield and Kennedy on the left wing. Nash kept his place in goal, so the full line up was Nash, Granville, Howey, Dunne, Charvet, Haaland, Wiekens, Whitley, Kennedy, Goater and Wanchope. For Leicester, fat Flowers passed his fitness test as did the aptly named Robbie Savage. We were on the third row in the Shed Stand (don’t think it’s really called that but it might as well be), about level with the edge of the left hand penalty area as we looked at it, so had to stand up all game to have any chance of seeing. As I’m not the tallest this meant I couldn’t see much over the halfway line but I didn’t think I’d miss much! My long suffering husband Mark came to this one as my mum couldn’t make it – as he attended that awful game at Christmas against Leicester when we lost 1-0, he was really enthused about the prospect of watching yet another boring game with two crap teams slogging it out. I don’t take him to see anyone good any more as I don’t want him laughing when we get thumped again – 5-0 at Arsenal was the last time he watched us against anyone decent so never again.

Anyway, to completely disappoint Mark the game was in fact quite exciting. Granville and Savage had a quick scrap after about five minutes, then Dunne and Savage had a bit of a disagreement, then Savage and Howey had a quick contest to see who could kick the other the hardest (Howey won), then Whitley and Savage had a shirt tugging competition that unfortunately the blond haired ninny won. And that was just in the first half. It continued in the second with Wanchope and Haaland getting to wave their handbags in Savage’s face and mess up his perfectly coiffured barnet.

I celebrated inwardly when we reached ten minutes on the clock without having conceded a goal – at least we weren’t going to repeat the performance against Arsenal. Didn’t dare say that to anyone obviously as Leicester would certainly have scored the instant I’d finish saying it. City’s first goal came on fifteen minutes and was what is politely termed a scramble – a cross from Kennedy was headed goalwards by Wanchope. Flowers came out to punch it clear but the sun was suddenly blocked out by the advancing, spinning figure of the Goatman – this confused Flowers so much that all he could do was punch the ball against Goater’s shoulders and in to the net. We scored! Now let’s watch us go and concede three! Again!

Despite having been completely on top for the first half hour City sat back towards the end of the first half, inviting Leicester to attack. When you’ve a defensive record like ours this is not a good idea. Akinbiyi had a couple of chances which any decent Premiership striker would have buried – good job it was Akinbiyi then ha ha. It wasn’t too much of a surprise though when he did equalise; the cross came in from the City right (step forward M’sieur Charvet, if you’ve come out from hiding under your duvet yet) from Steve Guppy, and even Akinbiyi couldn’t miss from 5 yards out.

The half time entertainment was incredibly amusing just because the on-pitch announcer was so amateurish – basically he had a chat with Peter Barnes then let everyone know Neil Lennon had rung him while drunk at the weekend. Great.

Kanchelskis came on for Charvet – yippee – at half time and Haaland moved to right back. Kanchelskis didn’t have too bad a half this time, it’s nice to see a winger take on a defender and go past him occasionally (hear that Kennedy?). Leicester continued to push forward though – Nash made a cracking save from Gerry Taggart (who gets bigger every time I see him, I can’t believe Dunne weighs more than him, this boy even out-porks John Hartson) then Howey cleared the ball off the line from Akinbiyi. Taggart’s next contribution to the game was to head the ball against his own crossbar when trying to clear it – now why don’t they go in for us?!? One of our defenders does something stupid (hello Laurent) and the opposition score. Someone does something against us and the sodding crossbar gets in the way. No fair. Luckily it didn’t matter. Wanchope had been watching the video of Arsenal’s fourth goal and decided to try something himself. The ball came to him from a cross by Granville in the box. In the game we were watching, he span twice, stumbled, turned again so his back was to goal then tapped it gently with the back of his heel for it to trickle agonisingly slowly into the net for 2-1. Isn’t is amazing how it seems to take so long to score when you’re watching it live? I’ve since seen the highlights and the whole move took only a couple of seconds as he almost back heel volleyed it into the net straight from Granville’s cross, but it took a good few months to cross the line for those of us who were there. Amazing. Cheeky git.

Grant had come on for Wiekens before we scored and played as well as I’ve seen him. Five minutes after we scored Prior replaced Goater. The “Oh God what’s he done that for” feeling was palpable – we didn’t believe we could possibly hold out so surely all we’d done was just removed any chance we had of scoring another goal? Luckily for us Leicester didn’t want to win so brought Trevor Benjamin on. He used to play at Cambridge so I saw him a few times making a mess of top scoring opportunities at the Abbey – we were linked with him at one time too, thank God we didn’t make that mistake and buy him!

Nash made a couple more good saves in normal time and we had to suffer three minutes of time added on which felt like an eternity. When the whistle did blow Haaland chucked his shirt into the crowd, only to realise the ref had blown for a free kick not full time so had to climb into the crowd to get his shirt back. Oops. Somehow we held out for the win – completely scuppering my “we won’t score any more points this season” statement but believe me, I’m not that upset! It was a good performance from the lads considering the hammering last Wednesday so credit to them. I don’t think it’ll make too much difference as the gap just looks too big to overhaul, but at least we can try and salvage some pride. Oh, and even Mark admitted the game was exciting and this time I hadn’t had to threaten him before he said it…

Sharon Hargreaves


The second string are due in action tomorrow night (Wednesday 18 April) against Bratfud. Kick-off 7pm at Ewen Fields, Hyde. I feel our second win of the week coming on, let’s hope for three in a row come Saturday 🙂

Heidi Pickup (


City Diary: this week in City’s history, 16th – 22nd April.

16th April: City vs. West Ham in 1983, City 2 West Ham 0 on goals from Bobby McDonald and Dennis Tueart (but City lost three of the next four and slipped out of the First Division). Bobby Kennedy, Crossan, Connor, and Sear scored in the 4-1 over Bolton in 1966 and City went on to gain promotion. In 1899 on this date a Division Two match ended City 9 Burton Swifts 0.

17th April: 7-1 against West Brom in 1938, when City were relegated in spite of scoring 80 goals, a record for a team that went down. In 1995 Rösler, Curle, and Walsh scored at Ewood Park in one of City’s best performances of the year, the 3-2 defeat of champions-to-be Blackburn, and City stayed in the Premier League – until the next season.

18th April: Roy Paul was born in South Wales on this day in 1920. 18th April 1927 City beat Darlington 7-0.

19th April: Fred Tilson was born in Barnsley in 1903, and Billy Meredith died on this day in1958 age 82. In 1980 City had a 3-1 win over Bristol City, then in Division One with goals from Tueart and Robinson and Polish import Deyna (who always seemed to be making passes no one ran onto, arguably because he was thinking too far ahead of everyone else). Today in 1900 City lost 1-2 at Sunderland, goalkeeper Charlie Wiliams scoring the goal by booting a long clearance from his penalty area straight into the Sunderland goal. The only other such goal I can think of is Pat Jennings’ wind-assisted kick scoring for Spurs against United in a Charity Shield match at Old Trafford, though it also revives memories of Charlie Williams, a black comedian (who might or might not have been the same fellow of that name who played for Doncaster Rovers, possibly in the ’50s ), who in less politically-correct days used to tell audiences that if they didn’t laugh at his jokes he’d move to live next door to them.

20th April: City played Bury during the latter’s brief visit to the First Division in 1929 and won 2-1. It was also 2-1 against Derby at Maine Road in 1991: Niall Quinn scored in the first half, shooting home after his header was cleared and rebounded to him. Before half-time the referee sent off Tony Coton (who flung his gloves at him as he departed), Quinn went into goal and saved a Dean Saunders penalty, but then had nothing to do until near the end. Derby were relegated as a result.

21st April: Gary Owen scored twice in his last season at Maine Road, City 3 QPR 1. It was City 4 West Brom 0 in 1900, but a 0-4 defeat by Everton a week later. Always consistent…

And remember this April 21st score on Saturday: United 2 City 4 at Old Trafford – in 1919!

22nd April: Roy Paul played his final game for City and Billy McAdams scored in the 1-1 draw at Everton in 1957. G.O. Salt had his one and only game for City, losing 2-1 in 1911 to Bristol City at Hyde Road. In 1930 City lost 2-3 at Leeds. The goalscorers were Matt Busby and Bill Ridding, who 28 years later were on opposite sides as managers at Wembley when Bolton beat United 2-0, complete with Nat Lofthouse’s smacking Harry Gregg over the line for the second goal. I doubt Shaun Goater could get away with a similar charge on Barthez this weekend but it’s a nice thought.

Finally, this from the local papers about April 16, 1928: “The New York Nationals won the championship title for the first time in the competition’s 15-year history, beating the Chicago Bricklayers 3-0. The game ended in a general riot in the second half when Chicago’s powerful right-back kicked the Nationals’ manager … Thousands of spectators surged onto the field of play, and peace was only restored and the game allowed to proceed by the timely arrival of a large force of police.” So says today’s New York Post. Could City sign someone like that Bricklayers’ full-back in time for Saturday, and does Fergie still sit near the touchline?

P.S. Sounds like they were laughing at Maine Road last Wednesday, Gary Owen was cracking up so much over the female streaker running up and down the pitch without even a shoe or sock on he couldn’t do the commentary. Went home and found my better half had broken a whole bottle of bloody expensive perfume brought back from the duty-free shop at M/cr airport last month, smelling even stronger than the cat, plus she’d been to the dentist who told her she needs lots of $$$$$ spent on her teeth, gums, and everything else; and today is pig awful at work. Going to go home tonight and put on the Blackburn video and think back to that lovely sunny day on May 7. Maybe the Mets will have a good season.

Kenneth Corfield (


The Swinton & District branch are putting on a free Family Fun Night for all City fans. This takes place at the Folly Club, Station Road, Swinton this coming Friday 20th April 2001. Moonchester welcomes our guests from 7-30pm. We are providing free hot pot supper, free pop and crisps for the kids, free colouring competitions, free City quiz. We have lots of prizes to give away including tickets for the City-v-W.H.U. game. We’ve even secured the services of top novelty entertainer Frank Sidebottom for your amusement. If you’ve not seen Frank perform before then don’t miss this rare opportunity to see him in the flesh. Don’t forget it’s all free but we do hope you will have a flutter on one of the four horse races or a try on the roulette wheel. For further info contact me at the address below or telephone me on 0161 281 7517.

Tuesday 15th May 2001 Tribute to Stan Gibson. We are preparing a tribute to our much loved and respected groundsman Stan Gibson (Stan the man). We have invited an impressive guest list too numerous to mention; we are also preparing a Memory Album of written tributes which will be presented to Stan on the night. If there are any City fans out there who have any memories, anecdotes, photographs etc. of Stan which we will include in the Memory Album would you please forward them to: Alex Channon, Penalty Spot, 81 Milner Street, Swinton, Manchester M27 4AS. We already have over 30 tributes from the stars. As always all City fans are welcome to join us on the night. Thanking you in anticipation.

Alex Channon (



Any Swiss based Blues out there? For the derby a get-together at Pickwicks Pub – Rue de Lausanne – Geneva, would be a fine and wonderful thing. I can be contacted on Hope to see you there.

Simon Exell


A message for all Singapore-based Blues: we are watching Saturday’s match at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, Circular Road off Boat Quay – happy hour drinks and free pies!

See you there.

John Riley a.k.a. Hong Kong Bluey (

New York / New Jersey

Are any New York / New Jersey Blues meeting anywhere for the derby?

Darren (


Well, was it Barnet in disguise we saw this Saturday? At last the opportunity we have been waiting for since last year and “the Gunners” turns out to be “the tweezers”. You could all but smell the money under the table here… this season the word “luck” ceased to exist. The refs, the divers collecting penalties in every situation, even the mud was against us! Hopefully the victory will give us confidence to beat the Rags and maybe, just maybe, the divine justice will turn in our favour.

teurnell-charlez (


The building where Manchester City FC was formed is due to be knocked down within days. The hotel lay adjacent to Man City’s old home just off Hyde Road in Ardwick, the players used to change there before matches and the meeting to form Manchester City FC was held there on 12th April 1894 (107 years ago yesterday). The building was still used as a public house after City moved to Maine Road in 1923 and was closed in 1987, after former player George Heslop had transformed the old hotel into ‘City Gates’, a pub dedicated to Manchester City FC.

Since then the building has been left to deteriorate. Several attempts have been made by fans to try to save it but for a variety of reasons, none of these have succeeded. The plight of the hotel was raised in the book ‘Manchester, the Greatest City’, a history of club by Gary James. An article also appeared in the Times newspaper recently suggesting the building be listed, and given recognition by English Heritage.

In the past few days/weeks, scaffolding has been erected around the building and the building is expected to be demolished within days. The company that owns the land, Mayland Securities Ltd (Tel: 0161 228 6561) are unaware of the building’s historic interest, and seem intent on ignoring the pleas of fans to try to save this building.

As Manchester City seem on the verge of relegation back into Division One, and recovering from the lowest point in their history (many have said that in 1999, if the club wasn’t promoted, it could have spelt the end of the club), losing their birthplace would come as a major blow to the club that prides itself on its proud history.

Although the club is looking towards future glory, it seems only right that their rightful home is preserved as a reminder of where the club came from, and to remind future generations how a handful of working class cricketers managed to create the foundations of one of the biggest clubs in the country in the very hotel.

I am asking that you use your various outlets to create awareness of this story, so that the demolition could be halted, to ensure a proper debate on the hotel is held. It is hoped that if demolition is halted, then the hotel could be restored to become a public house again, or maybe a small museum of Manchester football, celebrating the proud footballing history of Manchester. It could even be moved to City’s new stadium, around a mile away, and serve as a symbol of how the club, although it has moved to a new stadium, has not forgotten its roots – a value the sport seems to have lost. Whether these dreams could become reality is another hurdle yet to climb, but the first and hardest hurdle to overcome is to stop this building from being lost forever.

Thank you.

David Scally – Stockport, Greater Manchester (Tel: 0161 432 8174 Mobile: 07944 649 312 Email:


My name is Pavel, 38 years old. Live in city S. Petersburg (Russia). I am a supporter of my local team Zenit (S.Petersburg), now in 2nd place in Russian league. I also like Manchester City. I have hobby collecting football souvenirs about Manchester City and enamel badges for any English football club. In exchange I can offer football or ice hockey souvenirs: shirts, scarves, badges, pennants, programmes European Cups: stamps, cards, Soviet Army badges. I hope you help to find new friends. Wait answer on e-mail and post address:

Pavel Shalaev,
ul. Hasanskaya 18-1-66,
S. Petersburg,
195298 Russia

Yours sincerely, Pavel (


April, 1989, I came away from Ewood Park, Blackburn, after witnessing City lose 4-0 against Rovers. But somehow the result – and football itself – didn’t matter that day as news came through from Sheffield that Liverpool fans had died on the Leppings Lane terracing.

The scar that Hillsborough left on football has been enormous. The report into the disaster that claimed 96 lives led to the implementation of all seated stadiums, despite Justice Taylor admitting that standing was not unsafe – it was felt that seating was safer.

Of course there have been arguments for years about the pieces of the report that the footballing authorities have been keen to use and those pieces (such as pricing) that they have chosen to ignore. But the fact remained, it was claimed, that standing was a relic and fans demanded and expected better conditions.

Support for standing areas was left to quiet whispers of discontent. It was insensitive to the families of those affected by Hillsborough to openly question the seated policy so soon, even though it was obvious that the disaster was not caused purely because fans were stood up. It was a disaster that occurred through a catalogue of scenarios that all came together at the wrong time. A ground without a safety certificate, poor access into the stadium, inadequate stewarding and policing both inside and outside the ground, fans housed in sections fenced in on three sides, fans arriving late into a stand they were unfamiliar with – were all contributing factors on the day.

So Hillsborough became the full stop in any discussion on the issue of standing at stadiums, swiftly followed by claims that UEFA demand their games to be played in all seated stadiums anyway, so clubs will not revert back to standing.

However, the campaign for standing areas took an upward turn during 2000 when it became known that German clubs have implemented safe standing areas that are using brand new technology allowing standing areas to be easily converted into a seating area for European games.

The Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey, impressed by the German methods, suggested that maybe such technology could be used in the UK and was heavily hounded at by the press and the Hillsborough Families Group. Hillsborough again was the one hurdle to overcome and one that the authorities were not afraid to hide behind. ‘Hillsborough would never have happened in an all seated stadium and must never be allowed to happen again’ is what screamed from the newspapers.

April 2001, I came away from Maine Road having witnessed City lose 4-0 to Arsenal. But somehow the result – and football itself – didn’t matter as the awful news came through that 43 fans had died at Ellis Park, Johannesburg. Comparisons with Hillsborough were quickly made, as identical features between the two disasters were clearly visible. But there was a significant difference between the two. One was on a standing area and the other at a modern, all seated stadium, used for hosting major games of both football and rugby union. The newspapers here, have been very silent. Hillsborough has happened again and has happened in an all seated stadium. So are all seated stadiums unsafe? Clearly not, but neither is a standing area too.

The issue is all about the effective control of both access into and out of stadiums and stewarding / policing. Both disasters occurred because this was ignored. If the Hillsborough disaster was caused because fans were stood up, why is it that the South Yorkshire Police were sued?

The emotional argument is now redundant. There is no evidence now that concludes that seating is safer than standing. The fact that the Hillsborough Families sent their condolences to South Africa admits this in itself. I may be leaving myself to be open to criticism by using the Ellis Park disaster so soon to make a point. But for 12 years, the opposition to standing have used the Hillsborough disaster for the same purpose. We can’t sit back quietly anymore. It is time we were heard.

To join the campaign for safe standing areas, subscribe free: If you want to stand, do something about it, don’t sit there and wait for someone else to do it.

Phill Gatenby (


As a long-distance supporter (Bristol), soon to be a longer distance supporter (W. coast of Ireland), a few comments on City’s present plight.

I’m not going to comment on JR’s tactics, purchasing policy or man management as it’s all been said before. I said before the start of the season that we would probably stay up – just – but this was a prediction based more on an analysis of other teams’ squads than City’s capabilities. A lot has been said about the difficulties of jumping two divisions in two seasons but, let’s face it, the bulk of the Premiership is pretty ordinary, as Ipswich and Charlton have proved. I mean, with the odd exception, who can name the players from teams like Spurs, Leicester, Newcastle, etc.? What has enabled Southampton to flourish? Simply having (until recently) a coach who is living in 2001 and not 1971.

City’s performances this season bear a remarkable resemblance to those of Everton under JR’s management. I remember saying to someone ‘Watch how many centre-backs he buys’. Before the words were out of my mouth, Howey arrived, to be followed by Dunne and Ritchie. And what centre-backs – one with long-term injury problems (but probably the best signing this season), one who couldn’t get his place in a mediocre Everton team and one ditto in the SPL. This was in addition to the incumbents.

And yet, we have shipped goals like there was no tomorrow. I remember writing months ago about our problems in centre midfield, while Haaland’s deficiencies were as plain as a pikestaff. Let’s face it, Premier teams don’t sell good players for peanuts, it’s as simple as that. Why did JR think that players who were failures elsewhere (often with mediocre clubs) would be world beaters at Maine Road?

Which brings me to the nub of this letter. Bernstein has always claimed to have a ‘hands-off’ policy as regards playing matters and that JR had all the resources needed to buy players. Tosh! No Chairman or Chief Executive has a ‘hands-off’ policy when it comes to the main operating strategy of the company, otherwise they would be neglecting their duties as directors, which I believe is a criminal offence. We are now told that it will cost City £15 million when they are relegated. In which case, why did they not attempt to avoid this loss by spending more on decent players? Let’s face it, Wanchope and Weah were simply sops to keep the fans quiet, rather than signs of a sensible long-term investment.

In fact, City’s present buying policy is remarkably similar to that of the City of the fifties and sixties. Older supporters will remember the parade of cut-price would-be world beaters (usually from Scotland) who made their way to Maine Road. Do you remember Jackie Plenderleith, the ‘giant’ centre-half from Hibs? What about ‘Handy’ Andy Kerr? And, when other clubs were breaking the bank to buy Joe Baker, City bought his brother Gerry, a proven international with… the USA! I could go on and on and on… Even when they did, by some fluke, manage to get their hands on someone good, they were rapidly sold-off at a profit – Denis Law and Alex Harley spring to mind.

What has become increasingly obvious is that, as in the fifties and sixties, City are a club being run on the cheap. When even the Charltons of this world have recognised that survival in the Premiership involves substantial investment, City have revealed their total and cynical lack of ambition by buying cheap and are now paying the price for it. Unfortunately, while the fans are prepared to turn up in their thousands and offer the kind of financial backing that they do, I’m afraid it will just go on.

For the future, I see only a continuation of the same yo-yo existence. Not good enough for the Premier but probably too good for the First. Ok, so that’s all the criticism of the present but have I any ideas for the future? Yes, it won’t happen but it’s nice to dream so I’ll share this idea with you. There is a player with a Premier club whose coming towards the end of his playing days. He is still a cut above the First Division but probably will struggle next year in the Premier. He’s ex-City and has always remained a supporter of the club. He’s honest and intelligent and I’m sure would make an excellent manager. Go and make him and his present club an offer that they couldn’t refuse, throw in a few of our ‘stars’ (such as Wanchope, Haaland, Charvet, etc.) as a bait. Make him manager. Give JR and co. nice pensions and wish them well on their way. Encourage the new guy to give the young players a try.

Who is this potential saviour (well, it is Good Friday)? Of course, one of the few decent players that we’ve had at City in the last twenty years: Niall Quinn.

Just a pipe dream, of course.

Barry Taylor (


Re-naming Maine Road?

I understand our spiritual home is to be renamed the Karma Hotel. Apparently the board have taken inspiration from the new Spooks single by that name, something to do with the line in the song that goes “Welcome to the Karma Hotel, looks like heaven but could be hell”.

Maybe I’m wrong but after Wednesday night I doubt it. I have defended Joe Royle all season but no longer can I silently stand by as my beloved team is destroyed before my eyes. On Friday before Everton, Joe is dealt a setback when Goater is declared unfit so he has to bring in someone else. There’s Huckerby for starters or Ostenstad who played his first full game the other week or you could bring in… Wanchope who hasn’t started a game for months after Joe fell out with him. Then you can partner Wanchope with one of the aforementioned or… Dickov, a player who hasn’t started for two months, hasn’t played alongside Wanchope for even longer and is due to miss the next to games anyhow. Crazy or what. Then when the game gets underway we play with one winger until half time then we’ll try two wingers, just for ten minutes or so before substituting the first winger, leaving the other one on and trying plan ergh C or is it D?

What chance have the team got? There is no consistency in team selection from one half to the other never mind week to week and I haven’t even mentioned Arsenal. My only comment on that is, Joe, if you don’t realise the North Stand were being sarcastic when they were chanting for you to give them a wave we really are in deep sh..trouble and judging by your comments the next day we are in deep, very deep. One final question, was Alan Ball’s record better than Joe’s in this League?

Nigel Pickles (


The roller-coaster ride continues. After the fiasco of the Villa game (where the O’Learys lost their record of not seeing City lose for the past 4 years), I was convinced that City were not only doomed, but would struggle in the First Division. This view was confirmed by our pub-team display in the first half against Arsenal. Then, at long last, a bit of luck at Leicester. When was the last time two City strikers scored in the same match, and both with their backs to goal when they did it (there’s one for the pub quiz)!

Two days later, on Monday, we had a lovely sunny day in Dublin, and I sat in the garden, reading the league tables and fixture lists, drinking beer and smoking some unusual cigarettes given to me by a friend from Amsterdam, and trying not to get too excited over the Leicester result – we all know how well City flatter to deceive. Then, to my amazement, an omen for the future arrived, in the shape of a blackbird, which perched on a bush in the garden and proceeded to sing his little heart out. Now I have spent many a leisurely day in the garden, usually watching a relative of mine (by marriage) mowing, hoeing, pruning and planting, but I had never seen or heard anything like the concert given by the little bird with the yellow beak. I began to play close attention to his song, and, as I finished the last of my Amsterdam cigarettes, to my astonishment, I began to understand what the bird was singing.

“Spring is here”, he sang, “so stop being such an old grouch and look on the bright side”. “The bright side of City?”, I asked, “is there such a thing?” “You sad pillock”, he sang “I’m off. I’ve a funeral to attend, poor Cock Robins. Anything is better than looking at your dismal puss. City can survive, you dreary string of beans, just go figure out how it can be done”.

I told the bird that Colin Bell and Pele had retired, Rivaldo was not available and Zou-Zou would die rather than live in the damp climate of Manchester, but the bird seemed not to be listening. Frankly, he looked bored with my explanations. Then he flew away, but on his way he left his calling card on the Irish Times that I had been reading. I thought at first that I might have been the target but then I noticed that his calling card had splattered squarely on the top of the league tables and fixture list. I gazed, transfixed, at the white-yellow blotch as it spread across the newspaper. This must be an omen, I thought, but how do I interpret it?

I decided to seek further guidance. I cast magic bones in a charmed circle (an elderly bachelor uncle whose cremated remains had resided peacefully in an urn in the garden shed for the past few years), I studied my late lamented dog’s steaming intestines on another part of the newspaper (he was a nice dog, but he had to go, in the interest of City), I dealt the Tarot cards (no! not the Hanged Man!), while my relative by marriage attended a Sacred Novena for Lost Souls (include yourself in if you are a City supporter). At long last, while I danced naked in the moonlight round the newly-carved totem pole (which had been an almost mature Canada Spruce tree, planted may years ago by my relative by marriage, but I’m sure she’ll understand, if she ever comes back), the answer came to me, not in a flash, but slowly, as if I was in a dream. It’s all down to Bradford, Ipswich and (horror of horrors) Man. U*****.

All of our relegation rivals (Boro, Coventry, Everton and Derby) have to play Bradford. Three of the bottom six have to play U***** (City, Boro and Derby). Three have to play Ipswich (Derby, Coventry and City). Liverpool (against Bradford and Coventry) and West Ham (against Boro and City) also have a big influence on relegation. So, for the remainder of this season, as far as I’m concerned, it’s “Come on City”, for every match, “Come on, Bradford”, for every match, except Leeds and Liverpool (or they might overtake City!), “Come on, Ipswich”, for the matches against Coventry and Derby, and, whether I like it or not, “come on U*****”, for the matches against Boro and Derby. I have also discovered support for West Ham (but obviously not at Maine Road!), Arsenal and Villa (!), which I never knew existed until this weekend. If we do our business, and the other results go our way (for a change) we clearly can survive.

To a large extent our future is in our own hands but we must deliver seven points from the remaining twelve to have any real hope, and, simultaneously, the Venables “magic” (if that’s what it is) must wear off at Boro. Ideally we would like Bradford to win all their games against relegation rivals, but wins against Everton and Derby will not do a great deal for us. Realistically wins against Coventry and Boro are more likely, and important. So let’s hope that if they do win 2 out of their remaining 6, these two will be the matches Bradford will win. But any points they get will help us. Come on, Bradford! With luck, Boro may pick up only 2 more points, with draws against Leicester and West Ham, and losses to Man. U. and Bradford. This would leave them with 37 points at season end. Come on Man. U.? With Ipswich, Liverpool and Villa all chasing places in Europe, Coventry may get only 1 point, maybe against Ipswich, from their remaining games. This will leave Coventry with 34 points.

With regard to Derby, even if they lose all their remaining games, we will still need 3 wins from 4 to overtake them. Realistically, I think they will get at least one point, possibly against Bradford, and will be safe. The same applies to Everton, except that I think they will pick up 3 or 4 points, probably against Bradford and Sunderland. In the final analysis, in my view, it’s any two from Boro, Coventry and City – I think Bradford are doomed in any event. So where does that leave City? Well, I think we will overtake Coventry, but can we get past Boro? It looks awfully difficult. Even if Boro fail to secure another point, and Coventry do almost as badly, we still need to win 2 out of 4. Realistically, anything less than 7 points from the remaining 12 is likely to leave us depending on goal difference, and we are not well placed in that department. The key match to my mind is home to West Ham. The rot at Maine Road must stop eventually, and this is our best chance to do it. If we stop the home losses, we can also beat Chelsea.

So if we can beat West Ham and Chelsea at home, and sneak a draw with either Ipswich or U***** away, we could survive. If, at the end of he day, we go back to the First Division, heads must roll (including Joe Royle’s), and we must start again. This would be a fourth consecutive change in our Divisional status, but what else can you expect if you are a City supporter? The answer, to my mind, is a little success and more consistency. And maybe we should have set our sights a little higher than mere survival in the Premiership, because I believe our lack of ambition is the root cause of our problems. Earlier in the season Villa were accused of lack of ambition, and just look at how they’ve responded. The best player in the Premiership, Roy Keane (it’s a shame he’s a Rag, but unfortunately most Irish soccer lovers are Red rather than Blue) has accused some U***** players of not giving their all in Europe, and he’s right. City must recover their ambition, and, so far, Uncle Joe has not shown the ability to deliver. We were so good at the start of the season, and the subsequent decline must be down to the manager – after all, he picked the players, but failed to either motivate them or train them in the essential skills of football at Premiership level. Don’t tell me he hadn’t got the players – just look at what George Burley has done at Ipswich, a team which finished behind City in the First Division and that scraped through the play-offs into the Premiership. If we survive, Joe has earned himself another year, if not, as I said to my friend in the garden at the weekend, it’s Bye, Bye, Blackbird.

Tony O’Leary (


Two boys are playing football in the Park when one is attacked by a Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy rips off a board off the nearby fence, wedges it down the dog’s collar and twists, breaking the dog’s neck. A reporter who is strolling by sees the incident, and rushes over to interview the boy.

“Man City fan saves friend from vicious animal”, he starts writing in his notebook.

“But I’m not a Man City fan,” the boy replies.

“Leeds United fan rescues friend from horrific attack,” the reporter starts again. “I’m not a Leeds fan either,” the boy says.

“Then what are you?” the reporter says.

“I’m a Man United fan!”

The reporter starts a new sheet in his notebook and writes, “Red b*st*rd kills family pet.”

Rick Eagles (


L  ooking
E  very
I  nch
C  ertain for
E  xecution - but
S  uddenly
T  asting
E  scape
R  oute?

Steve Maclean (


I lived in Manchester till I was 27 then moved to Australia. It was on one of my trips home I went to visit my uncle and it was interesting to find out he worked for many years with Manchester City, I believe as a talent scout for the junior players, and then went on to be Uncle Harry’s club for the kids. His name was Harry Godwin and he lived in Blackley (Victoria Avenue). He lived for Manchester City and never missed any of their matches. He has since passed away, but maybe someone might be interested in this little bit of trivia.

MaryWarr (


Recent results to 16 April 2001 inclusive.

16 April 2001

Coventry City         1 - 0  Sunderland            20,946
Derby County          2 - 0  Leicester City        28,387
Everton               2 - 3  Liverpool             40,260
Middlesbrough         1 - 2  Ipswich Town          34,294
Newcastle United      2 - 1  West Ham United       51,107

14 April 2001

Arsenal               0 - 3  Middlesbrough         37,879
Aston Villa           2 - 1  Everton               31,272
Chelsea               1 - 0  Southampton           35,136
Ipswich Town          1 - 0  Newcastle United      24,028
Leicester City        1 - 2  Manchester City       20,224
Manchester United     4 - 2  Coventry City         67,637
Sunderland            2 - 3  Tottenham Hotspur     48,029
West Ham United       3 - 1  Derby County          25,319

13 April 2001

Bradford City         2 - 0  Charlton Athletic     17,511
Liverpool             1 - 2  Leeds United          44,116

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

League table to 16 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  33 15  1  1 48 10  8  6  2 26 14 23  7  3 74 24  50  76
 2 Arsenal         33 13  3  1 39 11  4  6  6 14 21 17  9  7 53 32  21  60
 3 Ipswich Town    34  9  5  3 27 14  9  0  8 24 24 18  5 11 51 38  13  59
 4 Leeds United    33  8  3  5 25 19  8  5  4 25 20 16  8  9 50 39  11  56
 5 Liverpool       32 11  3  2 32 11  4  5  7 23 25 15  8  9 55 36  19  53
 6 Chelsea         32 12  3  2 42 18  2  6  7 17 20 14  9  9 59 38  21  51
 7 Sunderland      34  8  6  3 20 13  5  4  8 19 23 13 10 11 39 36   3  49
 8 Aston Villa     33  7  7  3 24 18  5  5  6 16 17 12 12  9 40 35   5  48
 9 Tottenham H.    33 10  5  1 28 12  2  4 11 13 31 12  9 12 41 43  -2  45
10 Charlton Ath.   33 10  4  2 26 11  2  5 10 16 35 12  9 12 42 46  -4  45
11 Leicester City  34  9  4  4 24 18  4  2 11 10 24 13  6 15 34 42  -8  45
12 Southampton     32  9  2  5 22 18  3  6  7 12 22 12  8 12 34 40  -6  44
13 Newcastle Utd   32  8  2  5 21 16  4  4  9 17 29 12  6 14 38 45  -7  42
14 West Ham United 34  5  6  6 21 18  4  6  7 20 27  9 12 13 41 45  -4  39
15 Everton         34  5  7  5 25 24  5  1 11 14 26 10  8 16 39 50 -11  38
16 Derby County    34  8  6  3 21 21  1  5 11 13 33  9 11 14 34 54 -20  38
17 Middlesbrough   34  3  7  7 16 20  4  7  6 22 20  7 14 13 38 40  -2  35
18 Coventry City   34  4  6  7 14 21  4  3 10 20 35  8  9 17 34 56 -22  33
19 Manchester City 34  3  3 11 18 29  4  6  7 19 31  7  9 18 37 60 -23  30
20 Bradford City   32  3  6  7 17 26  1  3 12  8 33  4  9 19 25 59 -34  21

With thanks to Football 365


Contributions: Geoff –
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 #701