Newsletter #709

Good news for a change, and depending on your own personal view, it could be a double or even triple helping! Firstly, we have at last won another piece of silverware to add to our Wembley play-off cup, and what could be sweeter than thumping United in order to secure it? This news is tempered by the fact that we beat their under-12 team (Official MUFC PLC Excuse No 276). Other news sees Ostenstadt returning to Blackburn, and Charvet having his wish – and that of many others’ – granted: he is now officially on the transfer list.

This issue has Peter’s News; a match report of the Manchester Senior Cup Final game; Ken’s City Diary; the result of the MCFC Internet Player of the Year award, as well as a report on the Player of the Year evening; a complaint about the new season ticket loan scheme; and the usual opinion.

Next game: Chelsea at home, Saturday 19th May 2001


Part I – Transfer News and Rumour

Charvet Placed on Transfer List: Manchester City have agreed to a transfer request from Laurent Charvet. The Frenchman joined the club last October from Newcastle but has failed to impress during his time with the Blues. Joe Royle spend £1.5 million to secure the ex-Cannes star’s services but admits that the 28-year-old has failed to live up to expectations. So when the player asked for a move last week, the Blues’ boss agreed to allow him to move on. “Laurent came to see me last week,” Royle told the official City website at “He is very unhappy as the move has not worked for him. We just haven’t seen the best of him and we will now do our best to find a new club.”

City Begin New Tiatto Contract Talks: Manchester City are to begin talks with Danny Tiatto over a new contract. The Australian has been linked with a move back to the Premiership following the Blues’ relegation, but insists he wants to stay at Maine Road. Tiatto has been rated by many observers as City’s best performer during the disappointing current campaign, and he has attracted the attentions of Scottish giants Rangers in addition to a host of top-flight English clubs. But the Blues will offer the one-time Stoke man a new contract to keep him at Maine Road. And the player is determined to make sure that City’s exile from the big league is a short one. “This club is massive and the support is great,” he commented. “We have just got to get one or two things right on the pitch and make sure we get back up next season.”

Royle Weighing Up Wanchope’s Future: Paulo Wanchope has been on the Manchester City transfer list for almost four months. But Joe Royle has refused to confirm that the striker will leave Maine Road this summer. Wanchope has already stated that he would like to remain with the Blues despite relegation to the First Division. And Royle concedes that the Costa Rican’s end-of-season form, after he returned from a two-month absence with a knee injury, was much improved. “Since he has come back, his attitude and performances have been a lot better,” the Blues’ boss told the Manchester Evening News. “I will spend the next couple of weeks looking at the [overall] situation and that includes Paulo’s position.”

Blues Linked With French Defender: Manchester City are set to strengthen their squad in the summer in a bid to ensure an instant promotion back to the Premiership. And Joe Royle is reportedly looking to France for one of his potential targets. City are said to be interested in defender Pascal Cygan, who has impressed in Lille’s push for a UEFA Cup place this term. And weekend newspaper reports even claimed that Royle made a scouting trip on Saturday to see the tall 27-year-old in action for his club away to Paris Saint-Germain in a game which ended 2-2. The player is valued at £2 million, and is rumoured to be keen to try his luck in English football.

Part II – Miscellaneous News and Views

Donachie – Players Haven’t Put the Club First: Willie Donachie has spoken for the first time about the disappointment of Manchester City’s immediate relegation back to the First Division. And the Blues’ assistant manager has been unhappy with the attitude of some of the club’s players this term. Donachie played in the last City side to win a major trophy, and says he believes that, in time, the glory days can return to Maine Road. But he admits that for this to happen, everyone at the club needs to pull together, something he doesn’t believe all of the players have done in the current campaign. “If I have one observation this season it is that some players have not been able to leave behind their personal desires in order to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “Of course I can understand that such an approach is human nature, but we have to try to reach a situation where Manchester City, rather than any individual, is the most important thing.”

Tiatto Named as Player of the Year: Danny Tiatto has been named as Manchester City’s Player of the Season. The Australian, as expected, picked up the award at a ceremony on Sunday evening. Tiatto won the senior vote ahead of Steve Howey in second place and Richard Dunne in third. And there was no doubt that the victor was delighted with the accolade as he praised the City fans for their “unbelievable” support this season. Shaun Wright-Phillips picked up the Young Player of the Year trophy for the second successive year, ahead of Chris Shuker and 15-year-old Lee Croft, while Terry Dunfield was voted Most Promising Player.

Reid Looking for Help from City: Sunderland manager Peter Reid is hoping for a helping hand from his former club on Saturday. The Black Cats can make sure of a UEFA Cup spot for next season if they win at Everton – but only if Manchester City also beat Chelsea. Former Maine Road boss Reid is a close friend of current incumbent Joe Royle, and he believes that the Blues can notch a surprise victory over the Londoners. “Joe’s one of my closest friends in football but I haven’t really spoken to him since the relegation – it’s only fair to leave it a few days and let things settle,” Reid told the official Sunderland website. “I’ll be having a word though and hopefully they can do us a favour. I think we are in with a chance – I know Manchester City very well and I know what the players think of their supporters. They will be desperate to get a good result for them and finish the season off with a win.”

Kennedy Aware of Tough Challenge: Mark Kennedy says that Manchester City face a tough task in next season’s First Division. The Irishman believes that opponents will single the Blues out as the team they most want to beat during the campaign. Kennedy says that Nationwide League teams are always keen to judge themselves against the sides that have just dropped from the Premiership. And he believes that City’s huge following will make their rivals even more keen to put one over on the Blues. “There is no doubt that just about everywhere we go next season teams will have their biggest crowds of the season and treat us as their biggest match,” said the winger. “It is something we will have to be ready for both physically and mentally. We are going to be a scalp for everyone and it will not be easy.”

Weaver Out for Six Weeks: Nicky Weaver is out of the reckoning for Manchester City’s weekend clash against Chelsea. The Blues’ goalkeeper was injured in last Friday’s reserve game and will not be fit to take his place on the bench for the Londoners’ visit. Weaver limped out of the Manchester Senior Cup final against Manchester United with a knee injury, and will need six weeks to recover. And that means the ex-Mansfield junior will be unavailable not only for Saturday’s visit of the Londoners, but also for England under-21 duty this summer. “I suppose if you are going to get an injury, then the best time is the end of the season,” he told the official club website. “But it is disappointing for me as I will miss out on the England qualifying game in Greece which I would have like to have been involved in. My main priority now is to get my knee right to make sure I am fully fit for next season.”

Part III – Reserve News

City Win Manchester Senior Cup: Manchester City reserves have won the Manchester Senior Cup. The Blues beat Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford on Friday evening to land the trophy. Goals from Rhys Day, Chris Killen, Kevin Horlock and Terry Dunfield, with a lone reply from Danny Weber, gave City a commanding interval lead and there was no further scoring in the second period. The Blues’ second string now have one game remaining this season, and they take on Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, 19th May, with the game kicking off at 10 a.m.

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER UNITED RESERVES vs. MANCHESTER CITY RESERVES, Manchester Senior Cup Final, Friday 11th May 2001

We’ve won a trophy. We’ve won a bl**dy trophy. First time we’ve won this one since 1949 (OK, the competition was suspended for a fair few years and then reverted to non-league) but let’s not forget that for the past two seasons the final has been between the best teams in Manchester – errr, Manchester United and Oldham Athletic. This is it, the resurgence of MCFC, out of small acorns…

I’ve had a heavily football influenced weekend, so some of my recollections of Friday night are a bit sketchy, but here goes:

A gorgeous Friday evening saw 3,130-odd gather at the Swamp to witness a City team consisting of: Weaver, Edghill, Holmes, Prior, Day, Dunfield, Shuker, Killen, Horlock, Etuhu and Mike with subs McKinney, McCarthy, Paisley & Barton. The Red team consisted of players nobody had heard of, especially not their fans (though apparently one or two, i.e. Cleggs and Webber have been making a mark lately). Their later excuses claimed that they had fielded their youth team (the reserve team being kept for the weekend against Soton obviously).

City controlled the game throughout, on the attack and the offensive from the first whistle. On 7 minutes we were awarded a corner, taken by Horlock, which Day headed into the net. Their defence was appalling. I’d gone to the game with a Rag season-ticket holding mate so found myself in amongst all the Rags. This didn’t stop me leaping up and cheering, which led to bemused looks by their lot – there were, however, quite a few City fans dotted in amongst them. This led to some high-pitched squawking of the “if you hate City clap your hands” variety from the schoolchildren and the rest of the City fans chanting back with the familiar refrains. On 17 minutes we strengthened our lead when Killen shot into an open goal as their ‘keeper had decided to join their defence on walkabout. United then clawed a goal back when Webber (built like Dickov, runs around like Dickov) scored. Up to now our defence had been rock solid and I can’t recall what went wrong here.

On 26 minutes Horlock shot a perfect ball in from about 20 yards into a wide-open net. 1-3. Mike wasn’t having much luck getting his usual goals tonight and on 36 minutes had the first of a couple of Whitley-esque shots. On 43 minutes we broke forward again with a lovely piece of play involving passing between Etuhu, Killen and Mike culminating in Dunfield – there were unjustified claims for offside – who hit the ball into the net and we were 1-4. Half time, had a wander around and a chat to a few familiar faces then back to see whether we could make it 1-5, 1-6, more.

Edghill and Prior were replaced by McCarthy and Barton respectively and our defence started to lose a bit of shape; still useful experience for the lads, as United were able to exploit the changes. On 51 minutes their number 10 was through in a 1-on-1 with Weaver who made a superb block to keep us at 1-4. A few minutes later little Webber was through and Weaver inexplicably decided to bundle the lad right on the edge of the area and both went down. Both stayed down for a bit of treatment and Weaver eventually got up limping, received a yellow card (lucky) for his trouble but then went off to be replaced by McKinney.

No more goals in the second half (unfortunately); we then stayed for the awarding of the trophy and medals and acknowledgement from the lads. Great game, great result and something to build on for next season.

I’ve come to the conclusion that United fans receive a list of excuses with their ticket to cover all eventualities. “Just our youth team” my @rse. If this is the future, then I truly feel sorry for them. Their two centre halves were absolutely useless (Tate and Tierney) – don’t think these names will be troubling many in the future. Our team, barely older than this lot (with the exception of Weaver, Reg, Horlock and Prior) are something to look forward to. I fully expect Mike, Shuker, Dunfield and Killen to be knocking on the door of the first team next season and hope they get their chances.

Heidi Pickup (


The votes have been counted and the people have spoken. The winner by far was Danny Tiatto. The little Aussie has been a breath of fresh air to our season and fully deserved to win the contest. Tiatto got nearly 40% of the votes, with Steve Howey (19.9%) and Alfie Haaland (8.7%) following.

The young player of the year contest proved to be a much closer battle between Chris Killen (30.8%) and Chris Shuker (28.6%), with Killen clinching the title only by the number of 3rd places (8 for Killen, 2 for Shuker). Rhys Days (9.42%) came in third place.

To see the complete list of votes please check the Supporters’ homepage at

Svenn A. Hanssen (


Sunday night saw the annual PoY awards attended by members of the MCFC official supporters’ club branches, and as voted for by the fans and members of the OSC.

No great surprises really in the two main awards:

PoY – Danny Tiatto (2nd Howey, 3rd Dunne)
Young PoY – SWP for second year running (2nd Shuker, 3rd Croft)

Most promising prospect – Terry Dunfield who was genuinely gob-smacked.

A much more subdued evening than last year’s fun and frolics which came the day after the Ewood Park victory and promotion and resulted in two-day hangovers for many of us (I was glad to be on Jury Service and not in work).

Royle was introduced as “our surprise guest”, which seemed rather strange. Uncle Joe has aged this season as we all commented, but was, as usual, chatty and friendly with time for everyone. Not entirely sure whether he was due to attend though, as a few of us were in the players’ bar when he arrived and one or two faces in there did look surprised.

One of our party – who shall remain nameless – took it upon himself to impress upon Tiatto the importance of staying at Maine Road next season: ‘just don’t ****ing leave now’ to which the Aussie replied that there was no way he would. Well, with a bloke built like Richard Dunne’s big brother bearing down on him, I think Danny’s response was understandable!

It was disappointing, however, to see a good few of the players heading for the exit and their own private bar immediately after the awards had been made at 8.45pm, leaving the sociable stalwarts of Weaver, Horlock, Wiekens and Tiatto doing the rounds. Wanchope was on form and pleasant to all, and the young lads on the back of the cup success of Friday night naturally in buoyant mood. There were a few notable absentees (Cooke, Kennedy, Edghill and Charvet).

Good to see some familiar faces and thanks to the OSC for organising the do.

By the way, who else spotted the banner at the FA Cup Final with “champion pie eaters: Joe Royle’s big fat head” on it. You see, not just the Rags are obsessed with us!

Roll on Chelsea and let’s go out with a bang.

Heidi Pickup (


This week in City’s history, 14th-20th May.

14 May, 1983: last match of the season and as it turned out Dennis Tueart’s last game; City vs. Luton and one team is going to get relegated. It stayed 0-0 until near the end, when Raddy Antic’s deflected shot put Luton ahead, keeping them up and sending City down. At the final whistle Luton manager David Pleat did his mad jig across the pitch in that nasty-coloured suit and matching shoes. Dancing faster than he drove. Just two years earlier City had been ten minutes away from winning the Cup, till Tommy Hutchinson’s unlucky own goal.
14 May, 1981: a Thursday night at Wembley, City lost the replayed Cup Final to Tottenham, 3-2. On the previous Saturday I’d gone up to Wembley in search of a ticket and not found one, but instead ran into Pat Mulhall (and where are you now? anyone know of him?). We watched the game on TV and went back up to Wembley afterwards to camp outside the stadium till replay tickets went on sale on Sunday morning, were about tenth in line so no problem. Good seats but in a Spurs section. Come Thursday evening it seemed most of north London was inside Wembley. Often all you could hear was that song in praise of their striker “We’ll Take More Care Of You, Archibald, Archibald” to the tune of a British Airways commercial of the time. City had wanted to play in their lucky red & black stripes but the F.A. insisted they wear the same colours as in the first game. The seats were right in line with Steve Mackenzie’s volley to tie it up at 1-1. But that also meant that after City had won a penalty and gone ahead 2-1 down at the other end, the City end, in the second half, then been pulled back to 2-2, Ricky Villa’s (in)famous winner was also right in front of our eyes. He got the ball to the accompaniment of a low grumble from a City fan behind, “Tackle!” He went past a City player and there was a yell, “Stop him!” He sidestepped another and it was a roar, “BLOODY HIT THE BUGGER!” He tangoed on again and shot past Corrigan while the man-under-torture scream of “NO! NO! NO!” merged into the mass hysteria of the Tottenham thousands. I think City had a good chance to make it 3-3 before the end, but not to be. Declined Spurs fans’ invitations to stay and watch them collect the Cup, up the steps and out at the final whistle.

15 May: In another date with relegation City played United at Maine Road in the last but one match of the 1962-63 season. Alex Harley scored early on and although he had another disallowed City looked good for the two points that would keep them up. It was a rough match; at half-time Paddy Crerand laid out David Wagstaffe as the teams were going into the tunnel, and through the second half City held on to their lead – until Denis Law raced into the penalty area and Harry Dowd was alleged to have brought him down, though he probably only knocked the ball away for a corner. The referee gave a penalty, Albert Quixall scored, and the a 1-1 draw was not what City needed or should have had. In 1999 it was Wigan Athletic 1 City 1 in the first leg of the play-off semi-final, City coming back from that shock Wigan goal in the first few seconds when Wiekens and Weaver stood looking, and going back to Maine Road all square for the second leg.

16 May: City played a match in South Africa in 1993, beating a Cape Town team 1-0.

17 May: On tour in Australia in 1970, City 3 Queensland 0.

18 May: City went to West Ham in 1963, three days after the Law/Dowd clash, lost 6-1 and were relegated (but I was at Naughton Park not Upton Park, to see Swinton beat Widnes 17-3 and virtually clinch the Rugby League Championship – tries from Speed, Stopford, little Graham Williams, and goals from Albert Blan, if anyone remembers that team – they went from last to first with a run of 17 straight wins). Three years later City finished the 1965-66 season on this date with a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton and came up from Division Two as champions.

19 May: Shaun Goater scored with his chest (Wigan claimed it was hands) and City won 1-0 to go through to the Nationwide Division Two play-off final: cue invasion of pitch at the end.

20 May, 1981: six days after losing to Spurs at Wembley, City played their predecessors, a Manchester City XI from the 1969 Cup-winning side. Youth and fitness told and the 1981 team beat the veterans 9-2. Maybe there should be a match-up of the 1981 team against the current lot, might be interesting! Or maybe they’ll wait till City win the Cup again.

I should add, in the light of Bartley Ramsay’s note in MCIVTA 708, that I don’t think the City fan who got Blackburn tickets last year (story in the last diary) did so at the expense of other City fans. The way it was told to me, the victim of that piece of opportunism was a Blackburn supporter (though that doesn’t make it right, either) not Bartley’s mate Paddy. As he got in to see the game too in the end, probably there was no lasting harm done.

Ken Corfield (

12 MEN

Last issue’s match reports failed to mention that Port Vale played with 12 men all 2nd half. I did scream this point at the linesman a few times but he just laughed. Well, that’s my excuse for getting beaten!

Did actually shout to Robbie Williams ‘not to give up his day job’ at which point about 12 teenage girls glared at me with evil eyes so I made a hasty retreat!

Deb Darbyshire (


I wasn’t planning to write anything official about my decision to step down from the CITY magazine hot-seat, but following the kind words of Peter and Ashley in MCIVTA 708, I have decided to compose a brief response.

I took on the editorship of the magazine in December 1997, having been a contributor since it started in September 1995. Ashley is correct; I am just a fan who happened to have a job writing about the club. In the three-and-a-half years I was editor, I used the press facilities at Maine Road just twice (Ipswich at home, Joe’s first match as manager, and Blackpool at home, City’s first match in the Second Division).

I kept my season ticket in the Upper Tier of the Kippax and continued to use it throughout. Some people at the club thought that was strange, and it did cause me the odd minor problem with my masters at the Manchester Evening News, the magazine’s publishers. But I always explained that I was a fan before I took the job on, and that I would still be a fan afterwards.

I never intended editing the magazine as long as I did. I’m a freelance journalist, and as such, it is rarely wise to put all your eggs in the one basket. But two promotions scuppered my plans. Having watched City lose at places such as Lincoln City and York City, the lure of covering City at grounds such as Anfield and Highbury proved too much.

It’s been hugely enjoyable, and there truly has been never a dull moment! I’ve been a guest at many supporters’ club branches, and have been privileged to meet, via the MCIVTA first-team squad, a whole host of City fans from far and wide. The affection and respect the MCIVTA team have earned from their readers was demonstrated a while back with the collection which bought the team some high grade computer gear in order that its readers may read contributions such as this. It’s all in stark contrast to the juvenile bickering and cheap abuse which has characterised the playground battles waged between the club’s various fanzines.

All power to the MCIVTA crew, and may it continue to appear in our in-boxes for many years to come!

Mike Barnett, Editor, CITY magazine (


For the last season I purchased my season ticket by the ‘Season Ticket Loan Scheme’, which was administered by the club through HFC Bank LTD. Unlike most things handled by the ticket office this actually worked like a charm. Payments were taken from my bank account on time and everything went smoothly.

For next season I have done the same again, only this time, the credit company working in tandem with the club is the worryingly-named ‘Associates’. Is it just me or does this sound like a cartel of mafia accountants? I filled in the application form and associated direct debit mandate that promised 10 easy payments. With this I sat back to enjoy our customary end of season nerve fest. I have today received a letter from the ‘Associates’ informing me that I have been charged a fee of £25.00 for late payments. I questioned this immediately and was told that “on these type of accounts we can’t accept direct debits for more than the minimum amount of 4% of the outstanding balance”. Yes you’ve guessed it. My application to buy my ticket through the ticket loan scheme (which specifies 10 direct debit payments) has actually been used to create an open ended credit card account with this company. On hearing this I offered to pay the full amount off on my credit card (something I initially wanted to avoid to take advantage of the low rate interest offered through the scheme), only to be told we can’t accept full settlement payments except by cheque. The irony that if I could have afforded £360.00 to debit from my current account I wouldn’t need their service, was somewhat lost on them. Incidently, the amount of interest charged by the company according to their letter is twice what was advertised by the club. I am currently trying to sort this out with the ticket office so you can imagine my growing frustration. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has had the same experience and perhaps looking to approach the club as a body to vent our grievance. Please let me know.

Sean Doyle (


James Barber, in his little piece re the new home kit, refers to the fans’ committee meetings being ‘top secret’. Eh?! All Blues are welcome to attend the open meetings when topics are discussed and volunteers are sought to meet with relevant club officials. The dates and times are printed in the programme and are available on the website and other City sites. They are not ‘top secret’ – though a personal invitation to anyone who’s ever declared themselves a dedicated Blue, a pre-paid taxi at the door and endless freebies are not part of the service.

The fact that the same people keep appearing at meetings is purely down to their own dedication to the cause. Like any other organisation there are those who attend regularly, no matter how mundane the subject matter – because they believe in the need to maintain communication between those in power and the oft-ignored ‘footsoldiers’ – and those who never attend, but choose to complain about ‘secrecy’. The Fans’ Committee has its own excellent website,, which is full of information and requests for City fans to attend meetings. Minutes of the meetings are there for all to see, and there is the opportunity to e-mail ideas and opinions without having to drag along to Maine Road/Platt Lane. But please, unless interested fans are prepared to actually attend meetings then there will be the obvious conclusion drawn that we are not interested.

The Fans’ Committee is your committee – a little attempt at democracy in a world where petty dictators are too often to be found. Of course the new kit isn’t going to be made available before it is officially launched because it would take away the kudos of the launch date (which, in my opinion should be well before we all start going on holiday). And the committee did not ‘help choose’ the strip, despite repeated requests that fans should have more say, they were simply given ‘an exclusive preview’ (as it says in the minutes of that particular meeting), as would James Barber if he’d been in attendance. ‘King of the Kippax’ no. 94 refers to the new kit as ‘plain-ish, laser blue, with dark blue trimmings, white shorts, or dark blue (as per Leeds Cup tie ’77) hooped socks – sky blue/white’. So, nothing about ‘anything luminous’ there, though I’m a tad worried about the hooped socks.

The Fans’ Committee is not a secretive organisation – unlike some other little groups which have cropped up at Maine Road from time to time.

Sue Wallace (


You may have read how Blyth Spartans are experiencing financial problems and the club’s supporters have come up with a novel form of fundraising; one of the Viz creators is a Spartans supporter and he has designed a special t-shirt to help the club. They can be bought from Blyth Spartans Social Club; Celebrations Card Shop, Bridge Street, Blyth; Toffs, The Original Football Shirt Company, Shakespeare Street, Newcastle.

Or you can purchase a shirt from Anne Donnelly <>, priced at £10 per shirt, plus £1 for postage and packing in the UK; please email her for international posting rates. More details can be found at <>.

Ralph Sheppard (


Hi to all Blues’ Fans on this list.

I was unlucky enough to watch the Ipswich game in Cyprus. We obviously went down so I was gutted, but also it was poor weather there as well. I returned to England last night only to find out that my grandma died yesterday evening. This put City into perspective though.

I think we’ll bounce straight back. In fact I’m convinced of it. A fully fit Kennedy will shine next year. I am one of the Kennedy fans at Maine Road. I believe he will be one of those players who has one outstanding season in this career. Remember Paul Warhurst when up front for Sheff Wednesday? Kennedy will do that sort of thing.

Weaver should go, as should Prior and Morrison. Howey and Dunne must stay. Whitley, Wright-Phillips will be revelations next term.

I’m chuffed also because my band Monomania ( release a single in June, so maybe that’s why I’m being so optimistic; we’ll have to wait and see. I’d like to also take this chance to invite you all to the Manchester Uni, Hop & Grape on the 1st June to a Monomania gig.

Take care – we’ll be straight back up!

Ricky Le Bleu / Monomania (


Did we suspect this all along? I don’t know how other Blues feel but I don’t feel anywhere near as bad going down this season as I have done in the past. Am I getting used to this yo-yo sensation? I did hold high hopes pre-season and thought that we could finish mid-table quite comfortably, only to have my enthusiasm slowly drained out of me by Joe and his merry band of men to the point where I was thinking “when” and not “if”. Having read MCIVTA for some time, the common theme, and I agree, seems to be that JR is a good 1st Division manager but can’t cut it tactically in the big league. Facts seem to substantiate this and surely somebody at the club must be looking to the future. Does anybody at the club read MCIVTA? If so make yourself known!

If we get back with the big boys (please God!) when do we appoint a manager good enough to keep us up? When we get there? Surely this would cause discontent pre-season?, Once we start to struggle in the Premiership and call for JR’s head? Been there, done that, T-shirt etc. My humble opinion should be that we start looking sooner than later and try to bring somebody in or through this season. I will always be grateful to Joe for what he has done to the club and would not want to see him follow the usual path of our managers; let’s move him upstairs so that he can be remembered for what he achieved rather than what he didn’t. Oh and by the way, Charvet, you are the weakest link… Goodbye (please!).

John Hurst (


Relegation? Let’s be honest. The writing was on the wall last November and I for one can hardly wait for us to shake the gypsies’ curse and move away from Maine Road – less a ‘fortress’, more like a sieve. If memory serves me right, this past season, with Chelsea still to come, we have lost more games at home than we did when we slid into the nether-world of Division 2. Come to think of it, in all the times I have attended City’s matches at Maine Road since January 2, 1960 (City 4 Sheff. Wed. 1, att. 44,167) apart from that initial game, I have had the undiluted pleasure of seeing the lads win on only three other occasions: Brum 3-2, Cardiff 4-2 and Rags 4-0. This must be some sort of record. Either that or I am a Jonah! Perhaps, it is fortunate for the club that I have spent the past 20 years abroad else, by now, we would be gracing the Doc Marten’s League. But look out! I am laying plans for a permanent move back to the Yookay and to a location in Wales, which will enable me to infest the hostelries of Moss Side and Rusholme regularly on matchdays. On second thoughts, for the well-being of the club and fellow faithful I should apply for a nice little earner which has been advertised in the Uzbekistan Daily Bugle! On an anorak’s note, I read Ken Corfield’s ‘This day in history’ piece in MCIVTA 707. Hey Ken, Newcastle’s first goal (Milburn’s header) whizzed above Roy Little’s head, not Roy Clark’s, at the left-hand post with Bert unable to get across to do anything about it. God bless us everyone. Keep the faith!

Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts (


It was indeed ironic that the sad news about Big Mal’s accident and his illness should emerge in the same week as the latest episode in the soap opera that is “If this is Manchester City, what division are we in this year?” Apart from making the somewhat trite observation that alcoholism in anyone associated for any length of time with City is easily understandable (please don’t tell me that I shouldn’t mock alcoholics, it’s a very serious illness etc. – I fully appreciate that, and I’m mocking no-one here), I can’t help reflecting that perhaps one of the reasons that the rest of football sometimes sees City as a joke club goes back to the disastrous second coming of said Big Mal.

Not wishing to be overly critical of a guy who is sick, but no-one can deny that he made some of the most calamitous signings this club had ever known and, perhaps even worse, he did it in as public a way as possible. Whilst I have no doubt that this was done for the right reasons, so that City could get maximum positive press coverage, what it actually achieved was to give supporters of other clubs plenty to laugh about, and unfortunately, many of them haven’t stopped yet.

So what, says you – do I need a history lesson? Well, yes and no. They say a wise man learns from his mistakes. I would say that the wisest man learns from the mistakes of others, and that brings me right up to the present moment, reflecting on the lessons of the past ridiculous rollercoaster season.

I don’t know how many times over the past few weeks I have read that Joe needs to bring such and such a player to Maine Road, or that we should sign this type of player, or that type of player. Joe has made many mistakes this season, but come on, think about it – don’t you make mistakes in your workplace? The only difference is that you don’t have the results of your work held up to be rigorously examined by 30,000 people each week.

If we push Joe aside, and bring in a new man, won’t he make mistakes too? Take, as an example, the oft mentioned David Moyes. A great choice in my opinion, but will he get through a season error free? Of course not. Maybe he will not make the same mistakes as Joe has (and will), but mistakes there will be, and they will cost us goals and points in exactly the same way.

To his credit, one mistake that Joe does not make is washing the club’s dirty laundry in public à la Swales. Nor does he boldly announce to the less than interested world exactly which player he is after, in exactly the way that Mal used to do, thereby ensuring that the fee for the world beating Johan Cruyff play-alike Steve Daley got talked up to such ludicrous heights, for example.

What I am getting at here is that no-one outside the club has any idea just which players Joe did or did not try to sign this last year, and so I don’t really see that this is a basis for valid criticism.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here. The “massive club” thing has become a millstone that we can well do without, but the brutal truth is that it is at least partly of our own creation, and when you set yourself up, then you are going to be shot down.

One thing we all learned this season is the magnitude of the gap between the six or so clubs that really make up the Premier League, and the rest who make up the also-rans. We got relegated from the also-rans (deservedly so, I must say), and even in our most optimistic moments, we knew that it was a strong possibility from the first day of the season. We knew that, and unfortunately, so did everyone else in English professional football. So, even if Joe had gone armed with the reported £15-20 million to buy a seriously top flight player, do you for one moment think he would have got him?

Can you see Michael Owen laying awake at night, trembling in anticipation at the thought of a call to ask him to ply his trade in defence of the one and only true Blue cause? Was Joe Cole all of a dither every evening, constantly checking his mobile to see that it was definitely switched on and that the battery was not flat, just in case?

Joe Soap or Old King Cole, maybe. Joe Cole, no – sorry, me neither.

The top players simply would not come to Maine Road (especially in our first season back) and whilst Joe keeps playing his cards close to his chest (which is exactly the right thing to do, IMHO) we will never know just who he tried to sign in any case.

So, now we are down, and we need to start rebuilding for the fight next year, which is not going to be an easy one, let’s make no mistake. Like it or lump it, Joe and Willie seem likely to be at the helm, and to give him credit, we are already hearing from the boss that he is looking to strengthen the spine of the team with a new defender (but, please, only one), a midfielder and a striker.

Being positive, of course, now we are down, plan A is to go straight back up, and assuming that one year on we are celebrating again, then it is vitally important that we buy players with genuine Premiership quality, who everyone knows are about as common as rocking horse s**t.

Equally clearly, most current Premiership players are not going to be too enthusiastic about taking a drop to a lower division to climb aboard Uncle Joe’s sometimes exciting, somewhat terrifying helter skelter ride.

So, for what it’s worth, a few suggestions. How about looking at the classy but injury prone Cedric Anselin at Norwich, or the dynamic Tim Cahill at Millwall for midfield – the latter especially seems like he could go all the way to the top, and has been a very influential figure this year. One for the future, maybe Baldacchino at Bolton looks good?

Striker wise, how about Jason Euell at Wimbledon, who already has a proven record in the top flight, or for future potential, Gifton Noel-Williams at Watford or Gavin Holligan at West Ham?

Anybody else out there with suggestions, especially from outside the UK?

Remember, City’s scouting network is not what it was and is currently being rebuilt, so you may be in a position to take the credit for making the suggestion that unearths the next Maradona, thus effectively becoming single handedly responsible for the resurgence of our beloved club.

Of course, you’ll probably be the only one who ever knows, ’cause I bet Joe won’t tell!

Anway, keep the faith, and here’s to the delights of a rainy Tuesday in Rotherham, and once again meeting our ever-welcoming, socially responsible chums at Millwall!

Finally, just to say that, despite what I said above about Big Mal, he and Joe did bring some of the best times that this club has ever enjoyed, and provided me personally with some wonderful memories (and, of course – this being City – some tremendous moments of surreal and absurd comedy) and for that, I can never thank Mal enough.

So, here’s hoping that the big fella enjoys a speedy and complete recovery from all his ailments.

Steve Cowan (


Quote 14/5/01: “I know I have used the word a lot,” mused Joe Royle, “but perhaps Nicky Weaver’s injury is symptomatic of his season and the team’s season.”

Quote Nicky Weaver: “I had a rush of blood to the head, came out for the ball, clattered into one of their lads and damaged my knee when I landed”. I would say that Nicky Weaver’s rush of blood to the head was more symptomatic of his season. A little more composure and less giving away of needless free kicks and penalties may have resulted in us retaining Premiership status this season. Nick Weaver has had his day at Maine Road, let’s offload whilst clubs are still interested. Carlo Nash is a far superior keeper who commands his box well and instils confidence in his defence.

Gary Johnston (


So at Port Vale it was Ostenstadt scoring was it, not Haaland? We were low down at the opposite end and just saw a tall fair-headed player scoring. Or maybe it’s time for an eye-test (although the usual sign I need a new prescription is if I can still make out the numbers on players’ backs in the penalty area from halfway up the Kippax).

As to Martin John’s riposte about Kinkladze, I seem to recall from early this season that on at least a couple of occasions Derby were losing (by two goals or more?) until Kinky came on and turned it round. Now who ever came on for City and got us back from 2-0 down? Well, apart from George Weah, of course…

And who was involved at the start of the move that led to Derby’s goal at the Swamp? Let’s face it, the last thing City needed this season was a creative midfielder. Doh!

Steve Parish (


This time next year after he has got us promoted. I’m actually quite serious. I anticipate that we will bounce back, the squad is generally better than when we went up last time and the competition probably slightly less so and Royle is a good manager in the lower divisions. But time and again in the Premiership Royle’s lack of tactical abilty was presented for all to see. We will never be a successful Premiership club as long as Joe Royle is manager. Paging Mr. Graham…

Wallace Poulter (


Are they any of you out there? I visit Iceland next month, based in Reykjavik Would anyone like to meet up for a drinkee?

Gareth Thomas (


Recent results from to 13 May 2001 inclusive.

13 May 2001

Leeds United          6 - 1  Bradford City         38,300
Southampton           2 - 1  Manchester United     15,246

League table to 13 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  37 15  2  2 49 12  9  6  3 29 16 24  8  5 78 28  50  80
 2 Arsenal         36 15  3  1 45 13  5  6  6 16 22 20  9  7 61 35  26  69
 3 Liverpool       37 13  4  2 40 14  6  5  7 27 25 19  9  9 67 39  28  66
 4 Leeds United    37 10  3  5 33 20  9  5  5 28 22 19  8 10 61 42  19  65
 5 Ipswich Town    37 11  5  3 31 15  9  0  9 25 26 20  5 12 56 41  15  65
 6 Chelsea         37 13  3  3 44 20  3  7  8 22 24 16 10 11 66 44  22  58
 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 Southampton     37 10  2  6 24 20  3  8  8 13 26 13 10 14 37 46  -9  49
11 Leicester City  37 10  4  5 28 23  4  2 12 10 25 14  6 17 38 48 -10  48
12 Newcastle Utd   36  9  3  5 23 17  4  5 10 18 33 13  8 15 41 50  -9  47
13 Tottenham H.    37 10  6  2 28 15  2  4 13 16 38 12 10 15 44 53  -9  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 37  4  3 11 19 29  4  7  8 21 34  8 10 19 40 63 -23  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   37  4  7  8 20 29  1  3 14 10 41  5 10 22 30 70 -40  25

With thanks to Football 365


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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #709