Newsletter #707

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest


As I’m sure many of you feared, this issue announces – as someone last week suggested – our crowning as successful contenders for Division One! Rather than ramble on aimlessly, I’ll leave it to the contributors below to tell the story (2 match reports), analyse the reasons for our relegation, and speculate on who should and should not stay next season.

In addition, we have Peter’s News; Ken’s City Diary, some feedback from Sweden; an update on the Nelly Young campaign; opinion (lots); and a Why Blue.

Lastly, if anyone is attending the Martin Foyle testimonial tomorrow, a match report would be much appreciated.

Next game: Chelsea at home, Saturday 12th May 2001

NEWS SUMMARY

Part I – City Relegated: News, Comment and Reaction

Ipswich Win to Send City Down: Manchester City went into Monday evening’s game at Ipswich needing a win to retain any hope of avoiding relegation. But despite taking the lead, the Blues ended up on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline. After Derby and West Ham won on Saturday and Middlesbrough drew at Bradford, City knew that they would survive only with six points from the fixtures against Ipswich and Chelsea coupled with a ‘Boro defeat on the last day of the season. And it looked like the issue would stay alive when Shaun Goater gave City the lead on 74 minutes. But the hosts equalised through Matt Holland four minutes later, and Martijn Reuser’s winner five minutes from time confirmed City’s relegation, a year to the day after promotion was won at Blackburn.

Royle – Leaky Defence the Reason We’ve Dropped: Joe Royle has blamed a poor defensive record for Manchester City’s relegation from the Premiership. The Blues’ boss believes that the way his side relinquished the lead at Ipswich on Monday was typical of the entire season. Royle blamed his defenders for two lapses in concentration which allowed the Sufflok side to win despite going a goal down with sixteen minutes remaining. And he was frustrated that City had proved too frail at the back to hold a lead for the ninth time this season, leaving him in no doubt as to the reason for the disappointment of relegation. “It’s no coincidence that the three teams that have been relegated are the ones that have conceded the most goals,” he commented. “That game in isolation is not the reason we have gone down, 60 goals conceded tells its own story.”

Boss “Miserable” As City Take Drop: Joe Royle watched his Manchester City side lose at Ipswich to confirm their relegation from the Premiership. And the Blues’ boss’s spirits were low as he faced the cameras after the game. City had to win at Portman Road to maintain their chances of avoiding the drop in the last week of the season. And after they failed to do so, Royle was full of disappointment. “Tonight I’m going to go away and be miserable,” he told Sky Sports. “The most frustrating thing is having fought so hard for two years to do it [win promotion to the Premiership] and not being able to hang onto it.”

Bernstein – We Must Learn the Lessons: David Bernstein says that Manchester City will undertake a full analysis of the reasons for the club’s failure to retain Premiership status. And the Maine Road chairman is determined that the Blues will learn their lessons after this season’s failure. Bernstein has already pledged to hold a fans’ forum on May 24 at which supporters will have their chance to quiz those running the club. And he’s resolving to make sure that City will emerge stronger from the unhappy experiences of the current campaign. “There has to be understanding within the club, between the manager and the board as to what we need to learn and that is very important or there is no point in these exercises,” he said. “Failure is all about learning from failure, and recovering from it.”

Chairman – Royle’s Job Safe: David Bernstein says there will be no managerial change at Maine Road despite Manchester City’s relegation from the Premiership. The Blues’ chairman says that he has no thoughts of replacing Joe Royle after the club’s failure to retain its top-flight status. Bernstein has indicated that he and Royle will sit down and discuss the reasons for this term’s disappointment. But the City board nonetheless feels that the former Everton and Oldham boss is the ideal man to take City back to the top flight. “Joe has done a very good job for us over the last two years and the last thing we need is unnecessary change,” explained Bernstein.

Royle Ignores Quit Talk: Joe Royle was asked whether he would stay as Manchester City manager in the wake of Monday evening’s defeat at Ipswich that confirmed the Blues’ relegation from the Premiership. But the Blues’ boss remained non-committal in the face of questions over his future. David Bernstein has already publicly indicated that the board still have confidence in Royle, a position reiterated by the City chairman after the club’s fate this season was sealed. But some have wondered whether the ex-Oldham and Everton manager might step down voluntarily after seeing his side take the drop – a question he avoided immediately after the Portman Road defeat. “You don’t make big decisions after a game like that,” he told Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys. “You go away and wallow for a while.”

Dunne Backs City to Come Back Up: Richard Dunne was bitterly disappointed to feature in a relegated side for the first time as Manchester City dropped out of the Premiership this week. But the Irishman is backing the Blues to make a swift return to the top flight. Dunne believes that City have sufficient quality in the squad to ensure that the club’s return to the Nationwide League is brief. And he says that the players currently at Maine Road are determined to lift the Blues back to the top flight to make up for this season’s unhappy experience. “We feel we have the right quality, the right strength and the confidence in our own ability to bounce straight back up,” said the ex-Everton defender. “It’s the team that has got us down. It’s all our own fault. It’s nobody else’s fault and it’s up to all of us to work together to get back up.”

Howey Apologies to Fans: Steve Howey skippered the Manchester City side that lost its Premiership status by being beaten at Ipswich on Monday. And after the game, the Blues’ stand-in captain admitted that the club’s loyal fans deserved better. Howey, who has already pledged his future to City, conceded that spirits in the camp are low now that relegation has been confirmed. But he says that the players are determined to give supporters something to cheer next season. “This is a fantastic club with great supporters,” the ex-Newcastle player told the official City website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “We have a great set of fans who deserve better. Now we are determined to crack on with the task in hand.”

Part II – Transfer News and Rumours

No Galaxy Move for Paulo: Paulo Wanchope has been linked this week with a move to America and the MLS. But if the striker does leave Manchester City this summer, he won’t be heading for the USA. It had been rumoured that Los Angeles Galaxy were the club interested in adding Wanchope to their roster ahead of their participation in this summer’s World Club Championship. And officials from both Galaxy and the MLS itself had been quoted as declaring an interest in the Costa Rican front man. But now it seems that the deal is dead, with Galaxy assistant manager Ralph Perez saying that the club is unable to afford the 25-year-old. “We have salary cap issues,” Perez explained. “I respect him as a fantastic player and there is no team in this league that would turn their back on his ability, but realistically the possibility [of signing him] doesn’t exist.”

City Linked with Summer Buys: Manchester City may have been relegated from the Premiership. But the Blues are being linked with a number of potential transfer moves in a bid to reinforce the side for a swift return to the top flight. Defender Spencer Prior, disappointed at his lack of regular first-team action, has hinted he may move on in the summer, and City are said to be looking at Grimsby’s Peter Handysides as a possible understudy to first choice pair Dunne and Howey. The 26-year-old was attracting the attentions of big clubs before his career was set back by injury, but he ahas now returned to full fitness and is available on a Bosman free transfer in the summer. Meanwhile, Manchester United’s England under-21 midfielder Jonathan Greening is also said to be interesting the Blues, while Joe Royle’s presence at Reading’s game against Bournemouth last Saturday has provoked transfer gossip. It’s thought that the City boss will have been watching either Reading’s prolific front man Martin Butler or midfield playmaker Darren Caskey, both of who scored in the 3-3 draw. Finally, there are reports that Royle may soon visit South America on a scouting trip.

Part III – Miscellaneous News and Views

Royle Backing Flop Huckerby: Darren Huckerby scored from the spot on his Manchester City début in December but has failed to find the net in a league game since then. But Joe Royle expects the ex-Leeds star to prove his worth to the Blues next season. Huckerby arrived in a £2.5 million move from Elland Road, and followed up his consolation penalty against Charlton with another goal against Birmingham in the FA Cup. But after a barren run, the one-time Coventry forward has recently been unable to hold down a place in the City starting line-up – although Royle feels that the 24-year-old will eventually prove a valuable acquisition. “Darren has not had the start he would have liked with us but there is a whole lot more he has to offer,” said the Blues’ boss. “There have been signs he is getting back to his best form. Darren can run at defenders and when he does he’s a very dangerous player.”

City to Play in Foyle Testimonial: Manchester City have a break for almost a fortnight before they play their final league fixture of the campaign against Chelsea. But the Blues will be in action this week in a testimonial game. City visit a Port Vale side managed by former Maine Road boss Brian Horton on Wednesday, 9 May. The match is a testimonial for veteran striker Martin Foyle, who scored for the Potteries outfit in both games against City last season. Pop star Robbie Williams, a Vale fan, is set to make a guest appearance for the home side against the Blues, while children’s TV presenters Ant and Dec will also be involved.

Peter Brophy (pjbrophy@btinternet.com)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ I

IPSWICH TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 7th May 2001

Upon arriving at the ground half an hour before kick-off, found out City were going to line up as follows: Nash; Charvet, Howey, Dunne, Granville; Whitley, Grant, Wiekens, Tiatto, Dickov; Wanchope. Joe’s tactics were obvious: keep it tight for 45 minutes, get to half-time at 0-0 then try and steal a goal in the second half (plot was fantastic up until we scored) then hope to defend à la West Ham!

Anyway, with the City fans in tremendous voice, we kicked off towards their North Stand. A half opportunity fell to Paulo after good work from Tiatto but Paulo took an age to get in a tame shot, which Wright in the Ipswich goal easily held. After about 10-15 minutes the Ipswich midfield started taking control, Magilton, Reuser and the outstanding Matt Holland easily outclassing our Whitley/Grant/Wiekens. A couple of half chances fell for Ipswich about half way through the first half but Nash continued his commanding form; he offers a presence in the box which Weaver just doesn’t! Near half time Dickov was easily shunted off the ball near the halfway line, the ball looped over our defence for a one-on-one with an Ipswich player (Armstrong?) but Nash made a superb save, spreading himself at full flight to knock the ball away. On the stroke of half-time City had a rare attack and Charvet made a good run down the right but he shot from an akward angle when it appeared that Dickov and Wanchope were well placed. Half-time: so far, so good 0-0!

Goater came on for the totally ineffective Grant (he is the Invisible Man!) and we actutally started playing some decent football. Ipswich still dominated the midfield but at least with two forward players on the pitch we harrased their back three into making some mistakes. After about 60 minutes (I think), Wanchope hit the foot of the Ipswich post with a superb acrobatic overhead kick; very unlucky not to go one up. In the meantime, Ipswich seemed to be winning corner after corner but the City defence coped quite easily with most of them. Then drama came in the 74th minute; Paulo hit a fierce shot from the edge of the box that Wright spilled, it agonisingly rolled about 6 yards out and was buried by the incoming Goater. Unfortunately Shaun was injured scoring the goal and had to be subbed about 5 minutes later. Unfortunately this is where it goes pear shaped, and after a few more close shaves for Ipswich they scored the equaliser, Holland burying a low shot that looked to be from about 8 yards… we were down! Only for worse to happen 4 minutes later: Reuser scored a header which looked to be from about 6 yards with our defence beaten. The last 10 minutes were just a blur really, I was trying to look at the players. Whitley, Tiatto, Howey and Dunne never gave up, the heads on the rest went at 2-1, obviously really.

I have tried to rate the players out of 10.

Nash – 7 – Did all he could really, no way could he repeat his West Ham heroics.
Charvet – 6 – Average game, one good run, some poor touches, just doesn’t look interested to me.
Howey – 7 – Coped well, not enough protection in front of him.
Granville – 7 – Good, solid game.
Dunne – 8 – Was superb, did everything, see above!
Grant – 1 – Will give him a point for turning up… utterly c*ap!
Wiekens – 5 – Oh dear, oh dear, just not even at the races… passing woeful at times.
Tiatto – 7 – Usual Danny 150%, all huff and puff, sometimes need a quality ball at the end of it!
Whitley – 9 – MotM for me, didn’t stop from the 1st minute to the 93rd minute, had some good touches, his drive through the midfield kept us going.
Dickov – 6 – All huff and puff, no end finish… very little quality from little Dicky.
Wanchope – 7 – Ran his heart out, some good touches and was unlucky with the overhead kick.

Subs:
Goater, looked lively, was brave for his goal;
Kennedy, little shown and
Prior same!

One footnote to the game, it’s becoming boring now how the media praise our support, and sometimes I cringe when it’s always mentioned as “the long suffering City fans!”, but the support at Portman Road last night was nothing short of phenomenal, for 110 minutes (including half-time) the singing/support/humour was unbelievable. There was a few tears shed near the end but most of us realised relegation was a certainty long before this game. Well done Blues!

At the end of the day the league table doesn’t lie, we deserve to be relegated. Yes, we were on the wrong end of some appalling referees decisions (à la ‘Boro away) but JR needs to look at what’s gone wrong this season and learn. Our midfield is average 1st Division standards, the reason why we concede goals is not because our defence is cr*p, it’s because our midfield treat the football as a hot potato and just boot it anywhere.

The main causes of our relegation IMHO:

  1. George Weah leaving so early in the season.
  2. The injury to Kevin Horlock, IMHO the most complete midfielder we have at the club.
  3. Numerous bust-ups with Wanchope.
  4. Haaland going missing for 30+ games this season.
  5. Royle too faithful to his favourites i.e. Wiekens/Weaver/Haaland/Dickov.

Anyway, at least we can have a party on the 19th against Chelsea.

Keith Bloomer (KBloomer@airspan.com)

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’ TV

IPSWICH TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 7th May 2001

Well, where can I start? For 4 minutes the impossible almost seemed probable. Looking at the two fixtures we had left, Ipswich was always going to be the trickier of the two and so it proved. I watched the match from the comfort of a sitting room in Spennymoor complete with two Sunderland fans who were hoping for a City victory (due to them wanting Middlesbrough to join the despised Coventry). City started with Grant coming in for Kennedy and Wanchope for the Goat, a defensive manoeuvre that saw City almost totally on the back foot for the first 45 minutes. Chances were few and far between, although Ipswich dominated possession and a few half chances didn’t cause Nash much trouble. It wasn’t until injury time that Nash was really called into action as he quickly raced from his line to get a left hand to a long diagonal through ball. There was a suspicion of offside but as Wanchope had got away with a push in the area and a two footed tackle the luck seemed to be going City’s way.

So, 0-0 it was at half time and surely City couldn’t play as poorly in midfield and up front in the second half. Joe decided to increase the attacking options by bringing off the ineffective Grant and replacing him with the Goat (who had been carrying a slight injury, hence he didn’t start). City started a lot brighter and seemed to hold possession a lot more easily than they had done in the first half (at one point the stats for the last 10 minutes of possession were 90% in Ipswich’s favour). However, with City still seeking a goal, Joe brought on Kennedy for Dickov in the hope of creating an opening. Wanchope had an superb overhead kick that struck the outside of the post with Wright well beaten and it was Paulo again who was involved in City’s goal. As we entered the final 15 minutes; the ball was played into Wanchope, whose shot was parried by Wright and in stole Goater to stab the rebound home. In scoring, the Goat was clattered from behind and suffered what looked like a back injury and was eventually replaced with Prior (in retrospect it should have been Huckerby, but as Andy Gray said 90% of managers would have brought on a defensive minded player). For 4 whole minutes we were still in with a chance of taking it to the last game of the season. The last few words I heard were from my host Ronnie who said “Here, you’ll need this”, handing me a can of Boddies (Strangeways Beer – the one without the widget… full-pint, £6 for 8 cans from Morrisons). As the drink slowly drained from the can into the glass, Holland arrived late into the box and despite Nash getting a hand to the ball it was 1-1. With only one recognised striker on the field, City pushed Charvet up alongside Wanchope but we were caught out on the far post as poor marking allowed Reuser to score a second for Ipswich. So it’s all over and the three Citys are down; in the post match interview Howey looked tearful but resolute that we can make it up next season.

The scores in case anybody can be ar*ed to read them:

Nash 8 – Made one excellent save, a couple of good rushes out. Not at fault for either goal.
Granville 6 – One of his poorer matches.
Howey 9 – Solid as ever, we must keep him if we are to come straight back up.
Dunne 9 – Almost faultless performance, makes a good, solid partnership with Howey.
Charvet 6 – Looks better going forward than he does defending but actually didn’t make any major cock-ups; must be favourite to leave during the Summer.
Tiatto 7 – Quieter game for the odds on player of the season.
Whitley 7 – Tigerish in a midfield that lacks creativity.
Wiekens 6 – Gave the ball away too often, plays better just in front of the back four.
Grant 5 – Cr*p, no wonder he was taken off at half-time, should be on his way with Charvet. Is not the answer to our midfield problems.
Dickov 7 – Ran and ran and ran, created a couple of half chances, but was substituted as he isn’t really a wide midfield player.
Wanchope 5/8 – Frustrating, but could have scored a hat-trick and it was his shot that saw the Goat score. Wouldn’t be disappointed if he left in the summer.

Subs:
The Goat 8 – 50th goal for City and should have had a free kick for a push outside the box (before he scored). Isn’t Premiership class but gets in the right place at the right time.
Kennedy 6 – Never got into the game, but had one decent run that resulted in a half decent right-foot shot.
Prior 4 – Did he touch the ball? Was he at fault for Ipswich’s second? Somebody didn’t pick up Reuser, I have my suspicions it could have been Prior.
Weaver – didn’t play.
Huckerby – didn’t play.

Next season – IMHO Charvet, Grant, Taylor and Wanchope should be flogged and we need a right back (Dixon?), a ball playing midfielder (Koumas?) and either another striker (David Johnson?) or for our present bunch to start looking like being 20+ goals a season players. Would like to see the youth being given a chance though this might be at the expense of automatic promotion. Really looking forward to the matches against Millwall!

CTID, James Walsh (James.Walsh@durham.gov.uk)

RESERVES – MANCHESTER SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP FINAL

The game will be held this Friday 11 May, down at Old Trafford. Kick-off is 7pm and tickets can be bought on the turnstiles at £2 for adults and £1 for children.

Stand opening was not available today, Tuesday, but some form of segregation will be in operation – let’s hope their stewards aren’t as idiotic as at the real derby.

Heidi Pickup (heidi_pickup@hotmail.com)

CITY DIARY

This week in City’s history, 7th-13th May.

May 7th has gone down in the past as a date to celebrate and is also listed among City’s more dismal days. The celebrations, of course, were a year ago, 7 May 2000 at Blackburn. The story doesn’t need re-telling, but Weaver, the woodwork, the referee shaking his head at City’s repeated good fortune, Goater, Dailly, Kennedy running to Joe Royle and Dickov nodding the ball on and rounding off the day with the fourth goal will all bring back vivid memories. It was also the last 45 minutes or so that Robert Taylor and Jamie Pollock played in a City shirt.

Discovered that:

  1. You can’t easily get to Blackburn from Manchester on a Sunday morning; a40 minute train journey takes 2 hours as you have to go via Preston.
  2. There isn’t much to do in Preston at 9.30 on a Sunday morning.
  3. Rumours of tickets being sold for £100 a time were untrue. No tickets being sold.
  4. Neither the Sky TV people nor the Blackburn ticket office have a heart.
  5. Blackburn has good pies.
  6. City have their share of morons, like the half dozen who bravely randown the platform at Bolton on the way back to attack a lone guy becausehe was wearing a Bolton shirt.

On a brighter note, the person involved in the following episode would wish to remain anonymous, although a few readers will recognize him. Some time after the Blackburn game I heard of a City supporter who had travelled a long way for the match on the promise of a ticket from a friend, which didn’t materialize, so he and said friend both arrived in Blackburn among the ticketless thousands. All other options having failed, he approached Ewood’s ticket office and begged to be let in, and as he was being predictably turned away the door in the back of the ticket office opened and an official handed the girl on the window an envelope, saying “these are for Mr. X., he will be along soon to collect them.” At which point Mr. City fan who’d come a great distance said to his associate, “you go up to that window, they haven’t seen you, and just ask the young lady does she have two tickets for Mr X? and see what she says.” Which is why two Blackburn supporters were probably quite upset last May 7th, even before the result.

As for the bad news from this date, in 1927 there was City 8 Bradford City 0 on the last day of the season, but not quite enough to get City promoted from Division Two – they missed out on goal average by a small percentage of a point. In 1977, Booth, Barnes, Kidd, Hartford and Tueart all scored in the 5-0 victory over Spurs but City ended up finishing second to Liverpool in Division One. Or 1938, defeat at Huddersfield at the end of the season, and relegation a year after winning the championship. On 7 May, 1955 City went to Wembley to take on Newcastle in the Cup Final. They came out in natty blue tracksuits (“matching the sky” according to one report), Newcastle by contrast looking “dour and grim” in their black and white, even their captain was suitably called Scoular – a Newcastle hard man, he made disparaging remarks about City looking too “continental” and “effeminate” (same thing then) in their fancy attire. Before the game the Geordie fans’ rendition of the Blaydon Races had created a tremendous din, which the less raucous “She’s a Lassie From Lancashire” (on the community singing for the City supporters – remember those paper song-sheets with the Union Jack on the back?) just couldn’t match. It was Bert Trautmann’s first Cup Final and he later described how moved he was by the traditional singing of Abide With Me: “there was a sudden hush” he remembered, “and the working people of England were on common ground with royalty.” (Bert added the thought that everyone tried to sing along “even though many could not read the words” – surely educational standards weren’t that low then?). City went 1-0 down to a Jackie Milburn goal in the first minute, Jimmy Meadows went off injured, a victim to what used to be called the “Wembley hoodoo” and kissed goodbye to his career, and City lost 3-1. It was the first football game I ever saw, in Mrs. Ellis’s house at number 46, she being the only one in our street with a television – and cars were less frequent visitors than the rag and bone man’s horse and cart. Although the photographs of the game are dramatic ones (the first goal flashing beneath the crossbar and above Roy Clarke’s head, Newcastle ‘keeper Ronnie Simpson flying across his goal to try to get to Bobby Johnstone’s equalizer), all I remember from the game itself is running home crying after George Hannah got Newcastle’s third goal. It was a good (typical) introduction to Manchester City.

And now there’s 7 May, 2001.

8th May: City 4 York 0 was the last match of the 1998-99 regular season, goals from Dickov, Jeff Whitley, Horlock and Allsopp. York were relegated, City were in third place and into the Nationwide Division Two play-offs, and Nicky Weaver passed Alex Williams’ record of 21 clean sheets in a season. In 1963 City made it five defeats in a row and 11 in the last 15 as they slid out of the First Division, losing 1-3 at Aston Villa. More satisfyingly, on an end of season tour to France in 1932, City defeated an outfit called “Les Diables Rouges”, 5-1.

9th May: Richard Jobson was born on this day in 1963. In 1981 Tommy Hutchinson scored for City in the 100th FA Cup Final and then with a few minutes to go put his head in the way of a Spurs’ free kick to give Spurs a draw and a replay five days later – the first match was one City were winning easily, deservedly, and really should have won. 1987 at Upton Park, City lost 2-0 in the final game of the season and went down from Division One; this was when the West Ham fans greeted City supporters at the end with chants of “You’ll be back.” A year ago on this date in the aftermath of the Blackburn game Joe Royle said he planned to retire at 55 because “I want to go out while I’ve still got all my marbles.”

10th May: 1947, 67,000 at Maine Road to see City beat Burnley 1-0 on Alex Herd’s goal and finish the season as Division Two champions. And another 60,000 crowd saw a game against the same opposition in 1960, with many thousands there from Burnley, who would be champions if they won. Large numbers of Wolves fans came, too, to support City, for Wolves were in second place and hoping City would them a favour. Denis Law put City back level at 1-1 after an early Burnley goal but it was 2-1 before half-time and Burnley held on to win the game and the title. In 1968 on the eve of their last match of the season at Newcastle, level on points with United but in first place on account of their superior goal average, City’s squad stayed overnight at a hotel in Gateshead and went ten-pin bowling as a way to relax. In 1969 Tony Book’s side played a friendly with a Bath City XI – must have been very friendly as it ended 5-5. And on 10 May, 2000 Dennis Irwin was reported as saying “most of the lads at United are delighted that City have been promoted.” Which of them weren’t?

11th May: City 5 Charlton 1 in 1985, and promotion was secured to Division One. In 1991 City beat Sunderland 3-2, two from Niall Quinn and one from David White, and City ended the sesaon in fifth place, the last time they finished higher than United. This day saw the famous 4-3 win at Newcastle to clinch the championship in 1968 – Summerbee and two from Neil Young, and Francis Lee making it 4-2 before Newcastle pulled one back and made City hang on, though with United losing at home to Sunderland, the draw would have made City champions anyway. Considering Young’s two goals in this match, and his winner in the Cup Final the next year, and his scoring one and making one against Gornik in the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup Final, there’s a clear picture of how much good he did for City and well deserved his belated testimonal will be.

12th May: 5-0 vs. Cambridge United at Maine Road in Division Two in 1984, City finished fourth and had to wait until the following year to get promotion.

13th May: In 1989, with the recently signed Paul Cooper in goal to replace the injured Andy Dibble, City went to Bradford needing a point to get promotion, and after a long and anxious wait got it on Trevor Morley’s late goal. On tour to West Germany in 1956 City beat Werder Bremen in Bert Trautmann’s home town, while the goalkeeper himself was back in hospital in England having learned he’d broken his neck in the Cup Final a week earlier.

P.S. after Ipswich. They can’t let you enjoy a lead for long, can they? In his book “Manchester, England: The Story of the Pop Cult City” Dave Haslam says “I remember listening to Mark Radcliffe one rainy Saturday evening in May, 1983 just an hour after Manchester City were relegated (by Luton). His playlist – the Blue Orchids’ ‘Flight’ and ‘Ceremony’ seemed to match the melancholic mood of the moment.” Must have been a long drive home from Ipswich last night.

Ken Corfield (kcorfield@berkeley-carroll.org)

NEIL YOUNG TRIBUTE UPDATE

It has been a couple of months now since we issued an update on the progress of the campaign in McVitee. It’s time to put that situation right.

The response so far has been amazing but more of that in a moment. The club have announced via the fans’ committee that the proposed game to be played is still the subject of negotiation, but that an announcement will be made very shortly. The campaign committee are looking forward with keen anticipation to that announcement and hope that Blues everywhere will support the game when it is played. Due to the immense swell of support for Neil and the campaign, the committee have decided to move the proposed date of the main tribute dinner back a few weeks to give everyone who wishes to have Neil visit them an opportunity to do so. One of the main principles upon which this campaign was founded was to give the ordinary fan a chance to honour Neil and all members of the committee felt that to cut short the curtain raiser events in the interests of meeting a deadline was doing a dis-service to that aim. We will be announcing the firm date for the main dinner as soon as the fixture list for the new season is announced but in the meantime will give regular updates through the summer on activities leading up to it.

I mentioned earlier the great response from fans everywhere. Neil has already visited several CSA and OSC branches and most of those have agreed to host extra events to raise money toward the tribute fund. The first of the larger events is a President’s dinner to be held on June 15th by Mossley OSC at Seel Park Social Club in Mossley. Several high profile guests have been invited to speak and subject to confirmation those will be Francis Lee, Jimmy Wagg (MC), Neil Young and hopefully Gary Owen. If people wish to attend they can either contact the committee on the e-mail address below or Dave Lloyd, Mossley branch’s chairman directly.

Now an appeal. The committee recognise that many ex-pat fans are simply not going to be able to attend the functions being organised or the game. We are also aware that many people have expressed a desire to support the fund none-the-less. As a committee, we would still like those fans to have an active rôle in the fund-raising activities. So if anyone wishes to make a donation to the fund directly please can they e-mail me again on the address below and I’ll let them have details of how to do that. In return for larger donations the committee will send a photo of Neil, signed by him, with a message of thanks as a token of our appreciation. With all the activities in the pipeline it promises to be a very active summer. As events are arranged and confirmed we will issue regular bulletins. On behalf of the committee I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us so far and ask that Blues everywhere continue to do so and give us the opportunity to make the Neil Young Tribute a real success.

Dave Cash (Vanda_David@vcash.fsnet.co.uk)

A VIEW FROM TOKYO

Here we go through the wringer again. Two years ago I flew back for the Gillingham game, a wild weekend ensued, followed by euphoria that lasted until around December last year when our jovial manager began to seriously lose the plot.

Here we are staring into the abyss once more and the joke is wearing very thin. Whatever happens, City will always be the team, but if the club is serious about keeping its fans then the old boy network has to be destroyed. Loyalty in football is a two way street, and City fans have been doing all the walking alone for far too long. We’re right – we do deserve better. Personally, I’m sick of us being the joke team from Manchester, and just when the sh*te seem to be on the wane, we (probably) get bl*ody relegated again. The timing’s never good for relegation but this season it’s absolutely disastrous. Forget the money. Forget bouncing back. Forget plucky City with the loyal fans. Forget Jovial Joe’s blue & white army. How about listening to the fans and getting a manager who will keep us where are now (on 4th May 2001)? How about genuinely thanking Joe Royle for what he did and asking him to move over for someone who can take us to the next level – the same one achieved by Coventry for 34 years, and many other clubs with far less cash and far fewer fans to support them?

Andy Hoodith (mcfcok@yahoo.com)

A VIEW FROM CALIFORNIA

The really selfishly sad thing is that relegation removes the chance to see City on TV and leaves me with only Nationwide League goals to watch.

I went home at noon to watch the game and came back to work dejected. But in some ways not as dejected as I had feared. Since 1983 there have been just too many relegations to feel the sadness that I did in 1963 and 1983. It is almost part of the regular story now… and that makes me more angry than sad.

The game tonight was tense but as the game progressed it was clear that for all the possession Ipswich weren’t really threatening City’s goal. City got themselves back into the game a little and by half time you could breathe a sigh of relief and hope for better things in the second half. Then the good effort from Goater and there was a glimmer of hope – but not for long. This is what was so disappointing: once again a lead lasted no time at all. My initial sense was that all went to hell as Goater came off, Prior went on and suddenly what shape in the defence there had been was complicated by another defender and the fact that Ipswich had one less City attacker to worry about. Then the second goal and that was that. I don’t feel this is the time for criticism but I just don’t get the Prior substitution at all, unless Huckerby was injured. Putting on another defender allowed Ipswich to come forward at a time of the game when City were doing well in attack. This really should have been a game to go down with all guns blazing.

I must admit to having a good deal of time for Nash. Interestingly last year I was one of the folk saying that perhaps only Weaver was really good enough for the Premiership. I hope Nicky can come back but I am reassured by Nash and can only wonder what may have happened had he been given the starting job a couple of games earlier – we may just have picked up a point or two against Villa and Everton.

There will tough decisions to make over the summer. I think it is time that Joe, if he remains, needs to rebuild in a way that will see some of the players from this year and the last couple of years leave. I don’t see much sense in keeping this squad together even if they are good enough to do well next season. They are not a Premiership squad. As I’ve said before I’ve had my doubts about Joe but wished him, and still wish him, all the best. But I want us to come back in style… as have Fulham and before them Sunderland… no bloody last day of the season stuff again please. I am sure in the editions to come we will all be discussing which players should go and how we might bring in players in most areas of the team. But for now, a good deal of sadness but not as much as I feared and some anticipation that both Bernstein and Royle have learned something from this year and will plan accordingly.

One final comment: I’ve not been the biggest fan of Goater but I applaud him for his goal tonight.

Best wishes to all – next year MCIVTA will be all the more important to all the Blues around the world cut off from Nationwide TV action.

John Pearson (john.pearson@stanford.edu)

COMMENT FROM KUALA LUMPUR

I would just like to pass on to all City fans the description made about them by the commentator during the WHU game last week. I watched the game which was a delayed broadcast by two hours in Kula Lumpur during a stopover. I don’t know who the commentator was but he described City fans as “not just Premier League class but International class”, a wonderful description which left me feeling very proud to be a Blue.

This led me to wonder about our terrible home form this season and the possibility that maybe the fans have added a burden on the players with the treatment dished out to Edghill in only the second game of the season. We need to turn Maine Road back into the fortress it once was and with that kind of form only success beckons considering the average teams that perform in the league at the moment. As you know Kula Lumpur is the home of Manyoo but I was amazed to see within 5 minutes of arriving in the city two local City fans donned in the laser blue shirt; great stuff guys, keep it up.

I woke this morning at two o’clock to listen to the Ipswich game and now have to accept we were not good enough to stay up due to some dreadful performances during the season which I can count on both hands. We need consistency at this club above all so no doubt Joe must stay but everyone at the club must learn from the mistakes made this season and there have been several. We need to come back stronger with all positions consolidated so we are not in the same position as we were when we kicked off this season. Joe must invest heavy in the midfield and persuade some ageing midfield maestro that a two year contract at City is worth his weight in gold (actually just worked that out and it will probably not be enough).

John Taylor – 45 years and still a Blue (taylor@ptcpi.com)

REDDISH BLUES – MAY MEETIING

The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association will be on Wednesday 9th May at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport and it will be a meeting with a difference to say the very least!

The Reddish Branch proudly presents an evening of madcap entertainment and mayhem with Frank Sidebottom aided and abetted by Moonchester.

Doors open at 7.00pm with Frank and Moonie live on stage at 8.00pm. Everyone’s welcome, admission is just £1 for adults and juniors (U16’s) are free. There’s no need for a babysitter, just bring the kids along; free crisps and soft drinks for the kids and there’s also a free raffle.

For further details please contact Howard Burr on 0161 292 2525 or e-mail at the address below.

Howard Burr (reddishblues@btinternet.com)

FEEDBACK FROM SWEDEN

I wrote a Why Blue? for MCIVTA a couple of weeks ago and I just want to say thank you for the incredible feedback I have received from you since then. The number of e-mails sent straight to me has been astonishing and I’m genuinely grateful for each and every one of them!

I can also say that our holiday in Manchester during the Easter weekend was magnificient. The game we went to, Leicester away, was won 2-1, contrary to most experts’ (and even my own) predictions, and a great time was had by us all. Thanks to Alan Potter and the rest of the Denton branch for taking care of us and for holding the bus while we were doing the major Denton sightseeing tour, after finding a cab driver in the city centre who couldn’t find his way to Denton to start with or the Ashton Road to finish.

The week was made complete on the Tuesday after Easter, the day before we flew back, when I took my family (wife, child, parents, i.e. the whole lot!) to Maine Road and were let inside inside the ground with passes. Now I have photographic proof to show my daughter that she has actually been to Maine Road, as her next visit probably won’t be until we’re playing at Eastlands. We also made a stop at the superstore, emptying the shelves, before walking down to Rusholme (the state of the houses terrifying my parents!) and having an excellent curry at Shaanaan. This was, in my opinion, a true football day in Manchester (except there was no football match, of course) and I think my mission has been completed.

Monday evening was spent in front of the telly, father and daughter in the sofa, with the whole living room decorated in scarves, flags, old and new shirts etc. – everything covered in the City crest. Unfortunately it didn’t do much good as Ipswich in fact has a better team and we didn’t manage to put pressure on them for more than a brief stint in the second half. Still Portman Road has always been something of a bogey ground for us and it wasn’t yesterday (Monday) that we were relegated. It was the games vs. Tottenham, Southampton, Charlton, Coventry etc. all at Maine Road that took us down. It’s annoying to think that if we’d only have won two or three of those games we would have been safe, but then again I’m sure Middlesbrough have a number of games that they feel they should have gotten something more out of too.

I hope we stick with Joe Royle, if nothing else because of the fact that we’re unlikely to get someone better, and I sincerely hope that we can keep Howey, Weaver and Kennedy, who are genuine class players, im my opinion. Egil Ostenstad must be allowed to leave – he’s past his best, has added nothing and will surely expect a Premiership salary. The Goat, Wanchope (if he stays), Huckerby (why did we buy him?) and even Dickov (for his work-rate) must all be picked before Ostenstad, I’m sure.

Anyway, Therese fell asleep during first half and was only woken as Goater scored. But sleep came back and spared her from the agonising final fifteen minutes. Aahh, she’ll get her fair share of suffering in due time, I’m sure. This won’t be the last relegation in the history of this club!

Andreas Larsson (andreas@mancity.net)

GROW A GOATEE FOR THE GOAT CAMPAIGN

Call me a lunatic but I’ve had an idea. A novel way of showing support for one of our most influential players of the last 10 years:

(No excuse ladies – stick on’s available from fancy dress stores)

I expect everyone at the Chelsea game to be wearing facial hair with pride!

My half-a-beard is already bringing luck – 10,000 goatees will surly be enough to ensure top flight survival.

Next week – Paul Dick-off… ah, possibly not!

Keep the faith! CTID, Dave Ward (D.P.Ward@one2one.co.uk)

RE HSIEN MIN’S BIT:

“Man City has earned a bit of a reputation in the 90s for hiring and firing… which top-class manager would want to join a club like that?”

Trouble is, JR now has a reputation for hiring and falling out and firing… which top-class players would want to join a manager like that?

P.S. I see Derby stayed up with Kinkladze in the team.

Steve Parish (steve@bloovee.freeserve.co.uk)

LAMENT REQUIRED

Anyone remember Simon Curtis’s magnificent eulogy on the day we got back in the Premiership? Simon, where are you, my friend, we need a lament, an elegy, of the same quality. Watched the match in the Sandymount House (Ryans) to the accompaniment of the chattering classes – lovely women, Aussies and the usual coterie of sour Rags. I turned on them before the game, said “Shame on you. You let Derby win ’cause you can’t stand us being successful”. Dull bugg*rs all, they couldn’t see the humour. So kick-off and we’re under the cosh from the word go. Marvelled at Ipswich, neat little team, no amazing class but quick, short passing and everyone supporting each other with a defensive class act in Bramble. But hey, the back four are holding together, no Prior thank God. Howey as usual quite marvellous, Granville has got better towards the back end, suddenly he looks a defender. Dickie, as usual is Dickie, hustle, kick, moan, moan – why does he waste his energy? One Chop is working quite hard, in fact very hard. Danny, thank God, is Danny – isn’t he just blo*dy superb. Wiekens is a much better player when they keep him well forward of the back four. As usual the pr*cks on Sky give us no credit.

Paulo’s tackle took the ball and Magoo collides ’cause he ain’t fitted with disc brakes – Ref was right. And no penalty ’cause Tractor Lad dives like he’s in Swan Lake at the merest suggestion of a push. Whitley’s grafting away. Carlo reminds us how good a goalkeeper he is – he manages his area much better than Nicky too – and we go in all square. Second half we start playing. Danny moves inside every chance he gets to link up with Paulo, Charvet goes on the overlap a time or two and the jolly ploughboys get less jolly by the minute. Paulo hits the post with a great overhead with Wright (world’s most over-rated ‘keeper?) on the deck. Ah good, here comes The Goat, who’s coming off? Tony Grant – was he ever on? If ever they do a remake of The Invisible Man they needn’t hold auditions.

The new look City start to attack in earnest, culminating in a great shot by One Chop which Wright butterfingers and Goat arrives out of nowhere to slot it home. I am yellow carded by barman for an excess of vocals. Then… well you know the rest – on comes Prior, organisation goes to pot and they score – well, to be fair it was a marvellous run. City bring on lazy boy Kennedy who shuffles us into a couple of half chances and I go home broken hearted. Too early to analyse. Too early even to grieve. And we didn’t lose it at Ipswich – we lost it through some curiously spastic performances at home – combined with a few dodgy decisions. But too late to point the finger. Look on the bright side… at least we get to play Pompey, Milwall, Stockport, Gillingham? And a chance, as some people said, to rebuild – with the nucleus of a better side than we had this time last year – look on the bright side… 105 points here we come!

Anyone know a decent creative midfielder? CTIDABU – no, not Anyone But United – I mean “As Blo*dy Usual”. Keep the faith Ernie. Thanks are due to Ash, Geoff and the heroes who feed our addiction twice a week. And personal thanks to old friends, new adversaries (names too numerous to mention) and to Danny T, Howey the Lad, Jeff Whitley, Goat – I was wrong old son – you hacked it magnificently – 15 goals’ worth and Carlo Nash who gave us a lot of pleasure mixed in with the pain. And, as Ernie Barrow might say “Come on you Blooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooze!”

Ernie Whalley (bluevalentine@dna.ie)

OPINION – I AM DISGUSTED

Congratulations to Manchester United! Well done lads!

I’ll tell you what, I live in a town, Pavia, 20 minutes away from Milan. I’d like to meet as many United fans as possible at San Siro in a few weeks, so perhaps they’ll explain to me what it feels like to support a bunch of frauds.

You are champions of dishonesty, you’ll never be ashamed of yourselves enough. And from me, hatred, until I die.

Vanes Marzaroli (longobard@hotmail.com)

OPINION – REFLECTIONS ON A SEASON

Well the glass was half empty after all – and City get relegated a year after getting promotion. Appalling home form is main reason for relegation – which I simply cannot understand – especially as the crowd were behind the team for the whole of the season (except over Christmas – which bearing in mind the dire performances was fully justified).

The plus points for the season are few, but worth mentioning:

  • Danny Tiatto was magnificent all season – he could grace any Premiershipteam. I only hope he wants to stay and get us back up and I hope the clubhave enough cash to keep him.
  • Shaun Goater proved he could hack it in the big time. 13 goals in 19 gamesis a top quality strike rate. If only he hadn’t been injured for most of theseason!
  • Carlo Nash. Excelent ‘keeping – got us back in the hunt with a chance ofstaying up. Alas the change was made too late.

The negative points are many, but the key points are:

  • With the exception of Tiatto, the whole of midfield was unbelievably poor.No one else can score, shoot and dribble. No one else can pass further than10 yards and no one else can defend. Lastly, the number of goals concededafter the defence has stopped the initial attack is incredibly high.
  • The right hand side of the team is totally unbalanced and worst of all, wehaven’t got a right back. SWP proved during the season that he has the skill(though for some reason he has not been given the chance to play recently)to play on right and must be played their all the time next season!
  • Nicky Weaver’s performances. Great saves following by grade-A cock ups.Still he is young and he does have the skill to be a great ‘keeper in thefuture. Let’s hope he can learn from his mistakes like Joe Corrigan did.
  • All strikers except Goater. Not even good First Division standard.

As for the management team; well Joe and Willie have done a good job overall since they came so they must stay. Let us not forget that we got into the mess we were in by changing the manager every 2 minutes. To be succesfull, we must give management teams 3 year contracts and stick to them come hell or high water.

CTID, Richard Mottershead (richardjohnm@hotmail.com)

OPINION – WE WILL COME BACK STRONGER

Well what we expected but we all just did not want to believe it, ended our season. City will learn from its mistakes and come back stronger. If as rumored, the United States MLS are interested in Wanchope, I suggest City take a strong look at a young striker who I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. I saw him play versus Costa Rica, Mathias, he’s 22 years old, and since that game for the USA, has just scored a hat trick for his club the New Jersey Metro Stars. How about a part exchange deal for this young star? At least take a look at him. And he does not pussyfoot around he is a direct type striker. If City are to get any new players let’s do it in the off season and start with a team.

Always a City fan – now and forever, Ernie Barrow (BarrowLoyalBlue@aol.com)

OPINION – HEADS HELD HIGH

At the end of the day we weren’t good enough over a season. The sort of display we all saw from Portman Road would probably have kept us up if produced week in and week out but our failure to win at home has relegated us. The usual crowd of loyal Blues met in Oslo to watch the game live on Sky and although we hoped the impossible might happen, reality was keeping most of us rather subdued. Team selection was again a surprise, a bit like the recent performance at the Swamp but if it worked then maybe it would work again.

Ipswich’s superiority in the first half was clear for all to see and they looked by far the most comfortable on the ball. Their first touch and overall control was superior and they were able to link passes along the ground together, something which we seemed incapable of for most of the half. Grant was on as the creative player but has failed time and again to prove that he is doing nothing more than wasting a good squad number. Joe please get rid. Steve Howey was outstanding. His positional play was superb and it seemed to me that he makes a better motivator as captain than Alfie. Wanchope looked to be more committed than usual and as ever the expression in Dicky’s eyes was scary. A huge sigh of relief with the score nil nil at half time.

Second half and the Goat is on – sensible move Joe, Grant off. At the start of the second half we looked to have more shape and organisation but still had to fight off a well organised Ipswich side. The Goat’s goal when he took it caused pandemonium here – was the Great Escape still on? The fact that he injured himself in scoring was probably our undoing by disturbing the shape we had up to that point. Ipswich’s goals when they came were a bitter disappointment but not a huge surprise. I may be wrong but it seemed that Steve Howey who had played so well all night missed a tackle and found himself out of position which led to their second – Steve you are excused. At the end of the day we put up a credible fight but got what I suspect most of us feared.

The support as ever was amazing. The singing of the Blue army could clearly be heard on Sky, in particular the little song dedicated to a certain L Chadwick. The faces at the final whistle told the story but still the singing continued and it will continue until we come back where we belong. I hope that next season sees us build on what is a much better base than the last time we were relegated from the Premiership and that perhaps one or two of the younger players come through to help fill some of the areas where we are lacking. There have been some bright spots but much hard work is needed. Keep singing.

Richard Stott – Oslo Blue (RStotty@compuserve.com)

OPINION – DOWN

You’d think after being so used to it that it would get easier but it doesn’t. The high of Goater’s goal going in and the low of their 2nd was typical City. I went from jumping round like a loony to close to tears in 4 minutes. It’s sinking in more today than ever. Oh well the 2-hour Premier show with Lionel Bienvennue on Fox is cancelled anyway at the end of this season. Back to seeing our goals on Fox Sports Worlds Sky show. Hope it doesn’t ruin all your summers too badly. But when will the agony of it all end and stability of Premier life kick in? Amazingly looking back in 1992 we finished 5th… one place above the Rags! I guess Joe deserves another crack, we’ve tried sacking managers and chairmen, maybe we’ll do what Sunderland and Charlton did and bounce straight back up with the managers that took them down. We must get off to a flyer or the fans will turn on Joe quickly. If ever there was a game that showed how much we need 2 centre midfielders this was it. Keep the faith.

Paul Whittaker – Florida Blue (mancity@fdn.com)

OPINION – DOWN

If ever a game summed up our season… 1-0 up with the Goat, Goat gets injured in the process, bring on a 1st Division defender, who I reckon didn’t touch the ball the whole time he was on the pitch, go 2-1 down as a result and we are down. Too many issues to go through. Royle (along with Bernstein!) has been brilliant for City, he now needs to give us long suffering fans something and do a Fulham; there is no outstanding team in the 1st next season but there are a lot of good teams so it won’t be easy. I agree with Royle that this team is much better than last season’s.

Goalkeepers:
Both Weaver & Nash are good enough.

Defenders:
Keep
Dunne – Class act and getting better and better,
Howie – Dave Watson like, captain for next 3-5 years!
Prior – Dependable stand in for the above two,
Wiekens – Ditto and gives us an extra dimension in midfield, lacks pace though.
Alfie – Strange 1st season, looks better than what he is I suspect, he isn’t well liked by us though is he?
Ritchie – Injury plagued season, looked good when he played, reserve judgment until next season.
Granville – Our most improved player along with Whitley.
Ditch
The Frog – Flatters to deceive.
Edghill – His time has come and gone.

Midfield:
Keep
Whitley – Most improved player of the season; a revelation, he will get better and better.
Tiatto – Danny boy, well what can you say? Player of the season by a country mile.
SWP – Once we decide his best position, he will be a star, back fitter and stronger from injury next season hopefully.
Ditch
Grant – Woefully short of pace and commitment, had more than enough chances, not good enough.
Horlock – Ditto above.

Forwards:
Keep
The Goat – Good luck talisman for us in promotion seasons, proven goalscorer especially in lower divisions.
Dicko – Ditto the above, except he doesn’t score enough goals, but there again he never has and I like to see him in a blue shirt.
Ostenstad – Not had enough chances, needs to start well.
Huckerby – Needs to come good, otherwise get rid quickly, he could terrorize the 1st Division defences next season.
1-Chop – Has enough talent to help us get promotion, but he will miss games due to International call ups. He’s a real moody *rse who Royle seems to enjoy fighting with, à la Rösler! But he’s worth keeping, will he stay though? I think not!
Ditch
Taylor – Cr*p!
Kanchelskis – Journeyman, lost his pace, not interested in being a Blue.
Kennedy – Infuriating, he has real ability but we just do not see it often enough; too many moves break down with him, SWP can give us width.

Required:
2 quality midfielders.
A proven goal scorer, Lee Hughes?
Another full back – Hinchy?

Should be easy then next season? My $100 is going on the champions, you should be aware that the only other time I have put money on us is when I was convinced we would win the 1st Division by a mile and we went down! So beware!

CTID, CTID – I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m CTID… Mitch Booth – Savannah Blue (Mitchdbooth@aol.com)

WHY BLUE?

A New Zealander in Brunei

I never realised there were so many City fans in New Zealand! I’ll tell you now there’s bu*ger all in Brunei although there is one on your list. Anyway I feel like others that I must tell you about my allegiance with City – on the day they’ve been relegated again – I feel prouder than ever to wear my City top. I was born in ’73 when City were a decent enough team but knew nothing of the great late 60’s/early70’s era until later. My father was a good enough rugby player to be selected for an All Black trial, but as a kid we used to sit together and watch big league soccer every Sunday at midday – I loved that show. I was so young I can’t remember whether I started liking City because United was more popular or whether I stayed up in ’81 and watched the F.A cup finals. I reckon probably the last. The old man used to wake me up for all those games.

Anyway I was a busy enough kid to not really care enough about a footy league in England until I came to work in the Isle of Man in ’92. A mate asked me which team I supported and I said well since everyone else likes United, I’m keen on City. As luck would have it he was a Blues fan too! Anyway a month later we were heading to watch the Blues play the champs that year Leeds at Maine Road. My mate bugg*red the early kick-off time up and by the time I approached the stadium it was pulsing with glee at 2 early City goals! I was a bit gutted at missing them but didn’t give a hoot when after halftime Niall Quinn scored with an unbelievable chip from the corner of the penalty area over John Lukic – absolutely set the place alight. Mark Brennan made it 4 – zip and I experienced my first City chant “You are sh*t , you are sh*t, you are sh*t…” From that day on I’ve been a much more dedicated supporter. I also saw City draw with Oldham that year 3-3.

I’m now in Brunei where the Premier League is all over the satellite TV. I’ve watched City beat Leicester away with Wanchope’s brilliant back heel, shed tears of joy when Steve Howey rescued a point at Old Trafford, gritted my teeth through the 1-0 win over West Ham and laughed and cried when Ipswich sent us down this morning. I hadn’t seen City play on TV or live since ’92 but having watched 4 games this year in Brunei, what blew me away was the fantastic fans we have, cheering and giving it up for a team that tries its blo*dy a*se off – it’ll get better too…

P.S. Got my City top in the Malaysian resort of Labuan this year for about 20 quid – not a bad deal!

Alistair Banks (alandadelle@brunet.bn)

RESULTS – DOESN’T INCLUDE LAST NIGHT’S RESULT!

Recent results from 23 April 2001 to 06 May 2001 inclusive

5 May 2001

Liverpool             3 - 0  Newcastle United      44,363
Arsenal               2 - 1  Leeds United          38,142
Aston Villa           3 - 2  Coventry City         39,761
Bradford City         1 - 1  Middlesbrough         20,921
Chelsea               2 - 1  Everton               35,196
Leicester City        4 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     21,056
Manchester United     0 - 1  Derby County          67,526
Sunderland            3 - 2  Charlton Athletic     47,671
West Ham United       3 - 0  Southampton           26,041

League table to 06 May 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  36 15  2  2 49 12  9  6  2 28 14 24  8  4 77 26  51  80
 2 Arsenal         36 15  3  1 45 13  5  6  6 16 22 20  9  7 61 35  26  69
 3 Liverpool       36 13  3  2 38 12  6  5  7 27 25 19  8  9 65 37  28  65
 4 Leeds United    36  9  3  5 27 19  9  5  5 28 22 18  8 10 55 41  14  62
 5 Ipswich Town    36 10  5  3 29 14  9  0  9 25 26 19  5 12 54 40  14  62
 6 Chelsea         36 13  3  3 44 20  3  6  8 20 22 16  9 11 64 42  22  57
 7 Sunderland      37  9  7  3 24 16  6  4  8 20 23 15 11 11 44 39   5  56
 8 Aston Villa     37  8  8  3 27 20  5  7  6 19 20 13 15  9 46 40   6  54
 9 Charlton Ath.   37 11  5  2 31 15  3  5 11 19 38 14 10 13 50 53  -3  52
10 Leicester City  37 10  4  5 28 23  4  2 12 10 25 14  6 17 38 48 -10  48
11 Newcastle Utd   36  9  3  5 23 17  4  5 10 18 33 13  8 15 41 50  -9  47
12 Tottenham H.    37 10  6  2 28 15  2  4 13 16 38 12 10 15 44 53  -9  46
13 Southampton     36  9  2  6 22 19  3  8  8 13 26 12 10 14 35 45 -10  46
14 West Ham United 37  6  6  7 24 20  4  6  8 20 28 10 12 15 44 48  -4  42
15 Everton         37  6  7  5 27 25  5  1 13 16 32 11  8 18 43 57 -14  41
16 Derby County    37  8  6  4 22 23  2  5 12 14 35 10 11 16 36 58 -22  41
17 Middlesbrough   37  3  7  8 16 22  5  8  6 26 21  8 15 14 42 43  -1  39
18 Manchester City 36  4  3 11 19 29  4  7  7 20 32  8 10 18 39 61 -22  34
19 Coventry City   37  4  6  8 14 23  4  3 12 22 40  8  9 20 36 63 -27  33
20 Bradford City   36  4  7  8 20 29  1  3 13  9 35  5 10 21 29 64 -35  25

With thanks to Football 365

WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
http://www.uit.no/mancity/


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
Contributions: Ashley – mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com
News & Rumours: Peter – pjbrophy@btinternet.com
Subscriptions: Geoff – subscribe@mcivta.freeserve.co.uk
Technical Problems: Paul – paul@city-fan.org


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


[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #707

2001/05/08

Editor:


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest