Newsletter #711

I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of you will have heard already, but for those of you who have not, and are not reading this in front of your computer, please find yourselves a seat.

Joe Royle and Manchester City Football Club today parted company, and not by mutual consent or resignation, but by a sacking (I’d almost forgotten what one was). I’d half expected something to happen this week after discussions we had over Saturday’s curry, especially as Joe gave a very downbeat interview on GMR after the ‘typically unlucky’ defeat by Chelsea. Clearly he knew that the game was up. It was nevertheless still a shock when the email pinged into my PC this morning.

This issue is full of opinion about this sad event, and I don’t use the word ‘sad’ because I feel it is the wrong decision, but because Joe Royle is basically an honest, likeable bloke who has given us some memorable days over the past three years. Clearly there is more to this than sacking a manager who has failed to keep us up. Bernstein has been making noises for some time about certain failings, and clearly he has felt the need to act for the good of the club. To use an old cliché, only time will tell if his decision is a wise one.

Next game: to be announced


Part I – City Sack Royle

Royle Leaves “With Immediate Effect”: Manchester City have sacked Joe Royle. The Blues dropped the bombshell on Monday morning, issuing a statement saying the manager would be leaving immediately. Royle had been at the club for a little over three years. And relegation this season continued the roller-coaster ride City have enjoyed since his arrival in February 1998. After failing to prevent relegation to the Second Division three months after his appointment, the former Oldham and Everton boss won promotion via a heart-stopping play-off against Gillingham a year later. A second successive promotion followed as the Blues returned to the Premiership, but the 52-year-old was criticised for his tactics and transfer policy this season as City slid back into the Nationwide League.

“Fundamental Difference of Views” Forced Royle Sacking: Joe Royle has left Manchester City because of a rift over how best to take the club forward in the wake of relegation. The Blues say their review of the past year reveals a “fundamental difference” between board and manager over future strategy. David Bernstein recently vowed that the club would learn the lessons of this season’s disappointment, the Blues having slipped out of the Premiership and finished eight points adrift of safety despite beginning the campaign with high hopes last August. And Bernstein has revealed that initial discussions showed that Royle’s ideas on the way to progress were incompatible with those of the directors. The two men met at an Indian restaurant last Thursday in a meeting which demonstrated their differing positions: Bernstein attempted to persuade Royle to agree to sweeping changes among his backroom staff only for the manager to refuse. “That probably made it clear that it would be difficult to achieve the level of change that was required,” revealed the chairman. “I came away from that meeting feeling we were not close enough.”

Royle Accepted Sack “With Dignity”: David Bernstein told Joe Royle of his sacking as Manchester City manager in a face-to-face meeting. And the former Everton and Oldham boss is said to have accepted the news in dignified fashion. Bernstein admits he found it difficult to deliver the board’s verdict to the man who inspired the club to two successive promotions in 1999 and 2000. However, the chairman says he knew that Royle would not respond with rancour. “He accepted the news with dignity, as always,” revealed the senior figure on the Maine Road board. “We wish him all the best for the future.”

Bernstein – Hardest Decision I’ve Had to Make: David Bernstein has sacked Joe Royle as Manchester City manager. And the Maine Road chairman says the decision was the hardest he’s had to take since he’s been at the club. Bernstein admits that electing to dismiss Royle was particularly difficult in the light of the overriding need for stability. And the chairman also said he has strong personal reasons for regretting the events of today. “Since my appointment as Manchester City chairman I have emphasised the need for stability and the avoidance of unnecessary change,” he reflected. “And my relationship with Joe has been outstanding and I have developed a real affection for him and his family. This has therefore been a particularly difficult decision.”

Royle Thanks the Fans for Their Support: Joe Royle has left Manchester City after three eventful years. And the deposed Blues’ boss has thanked the club’s fans for their support throughout his time at Maine Road. Royle must now decide where his future lies. But wherever he goes, the Liverpudlian says he will remember City and their fans with affection. “I would just like to say a massive thank you to the fans for their huge support. It has been three marvellous years,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “City is and always will be a very big part of my life and I have thoroughly enjoyed it, apart from the disappointment of relegation and, of course, this morning. I hope people will think that the club is in a far better state now than when I came.”

Joe – I Want to Carry On: Joe Royle says he will not quit football after being sacked by Manchester City. The 52-year-old says he hopes to land another management post. Royle has always pinpointed 55 as the age when he wishes to retire, and he has no wish to change his mind now, despite the disappointment of losing his job at Maine Road. “I will have a holiday and then come back to two or three good years which are left in me yet,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “I don’t feel as though I have anything to prove but I want to carry on working. I am proud of my record at City.”

Three More Axed But DOnachie Asked to Stay: Three members of the Manchester City backroom staff have been axed along with Joe Royle. But the Blues are hoping that Willie Donachie will stay at Maine Road. Chief scout John Hurst, goalkeeping coach Alex Stepney and assistant physiotherapist Roy Bailey are all leaving the club. However, when asked whether Donachie would also be leaving, David Bernstein confirmed there will be a place for ex-Scotland full-back in the new set-up. “We hope he’ll stay,” revealed the City chairman. “He’s currently thinking over his position.”

Chairman – No Successor Lined Up: Manchester City will seek a replacement for Joe Royle as a “matter of urgency”. But the Blues say that there’s no-one currently lined up to step into the Maine Road hot seat. David Bernstein says that identifying the right man to take the club forward will be the top priority in the days ahead, although the board has not yet formed a preliminary view on who that might be. But he doesn’t expect there to be a shortage of candidates for the post. Big names like Kevin Keegan, Harry Redknapp and George Graham have already been mentioned in connection with the vacancy, though there is also a school of thought that the Blues could turn to an up-and-coming young boss after Bernstein referred to the need for a “progressive strategy”. If a younger man is sought, Preston’s David Moyes would be a prime candidate, though whether the job would interest him is unclear, especially if North End win promotion to the Premiership through next week’s play-off final. Manchester United assistant manager Steve McClaren, who might have been a strong contender, is reportedly set to be unveiled soon as the new West Ham manager, but Blackpool’s Steve McMahon and Wycombe’s Lawrie Sanchez may come under consideration, while Nottingham Forest’s David Platt is the early favourite of at least one bookmaker.

Failed Buys “Cost Royle His Job”: Joe Royle’s record in the transfer market cost him his job as manager of Manchester City. At least, that’s the verdict of the Manchester Evening News as it reflects on Monday’s shock sacking of the ex-Everton boss. The paper claims that the City board have been unhappy with the performances of players like Laurent Charvet, George Weah, Darren Huckerby, Andrei Kanchelskis and Paulo Wanchope, all of whom either cost major transfer fees or were earning hefty salaries. And some of chairman David Bernstein’s comments reveal that this was a real bone of contention. “We believe scouting and other issues behind the scenes have been inadequate in bringing players to the club after assessing them,” he explained. “My only concern with all this is the interests of Manchester City.” BBC GMR, meanwhile, has alleged that a drink culture among a group of players contributed significantly to Royle’s downfall.

LMA Chief Criticises Royle Sacking: Joe Royle has received the backing of the League Managers’ Association following his dismissal as manager of Manchester City. LMA chairman John Barnwell has said that the Blues were wrong to sack the 52-year-old. Royle will reportedly pick up a pay off in the region of £250,000 from City. But Barnwell feels that his latest high-profile member to lose his job should still be in work, and that the Blues’ decision is symptomatic of a lack of patience in boardrooms throughout the land. “People have short memories,” said the one-time Wolves manager. “It’s a very sad day once again. The expectations in football clubs have always been great but never greater than they are now. In many ways it is unrealistic; look what Joe actually achieved.”

Former Stars Slam Board’s Decision: Manchester City have today sacked Joe Royle. But two of the club’s outstanding former players have blasted the decision to relieve the Blues boss of his duties. Peter Barnes, who played in the same City side as Royle in the mid-to-late 1970s said he was disappointed by the board’s verdict and claimed that the 52-year-old deserved a chance to turn things round following relegation. And Rodney Marsh, also an ex-Maine Road team mate of the one-time England target man, was even more outspoken, accusing the Blues of “hypocrisy at its highest level” and claiming the board’s verdict is flawed. “When you think of where City were when Joe and his assistant took over, he has turned the club around,” argued the Sky Sports pundit. “Only a few weeks ago I read a statement from Bernstein saying what a fantastic job Joe had done and that he would be sticking with him for the future. Now here we are one day after the end of the season and Joe Royle has been sacked. I find it absolutely staggering.”

Redknapp Lashes Out at City “Disgrace”: Harry Redknapp is one of the names being mentioned in connection with the vacant Manchester City manager’s job. But the ex-West Ham boss believes Joe Royle should still be in charge at Maine Road. Redknapp says he would have backed the Blues to make an instant return to the Premiership under Royle. And so the Londoner’s overriding emotion when he heard the news of his old friend’s dismissal was one of astonishment. “I couldn’t believe it when I was told he had gone – I was shocked,” he said. “I think that is an absolute disgrace. Here’s a man who has taken City from the Second Division to the First Division to the Premiership in two years and now after one poor year in the top flight, he’s sacked. It’s disgusting.” Meanwhile, Steve McMahon, another man linked with the post, was also amazed at the decision. The Blackpool boss, who is preparing his side for the Third Division play-off final against Leyton Orient on Saturday, also believes the sacking to be unjust. “I think he has done a fantastic job,” said the one-time City midfielder, “and I cannot believe it.”

Walsh Speculates on Dressing-Room Unrest: Former player Paul Walsh has said that unrest in the Manchester City dressing room could have led to the dismissal of manager Joe Royle. The ex-City, Spurs and Liverpool striker, still in the game working as an agent, says that there were signs of dissent in the camp towards the end of the season. Walsh said that the news of Royle’s sacking came as a shock to him. But he said that, looking from the outside, he perceived that all was not well among Maine Road playing staff in recent weeks. And he speculated that the directors might have picked up on the atmosphere of discord and decided to act accordingly. “I was surprised, but you just got the feeling that towards the end of the season, it was not a happy camp,” he said. “There has been internal wrangling with one or two players and maybe people in the boardroom have spotted things in the dressing room that they are unhappy with.”

Part II – Chelsea at Home: Result and Reaction

City Bow Out on a Losing Note: Manchester City’s brief return to the Premiership is over. The Blues ended the season on Saturday in familiar style, suffering a club-record twelfth home defeat of the campaign. City went down 2-1 to a Chelsea side whose win assured them of a UEFA Cup place next term, though with Coventry failing to beat Bradford, the Blues did finish the highest of the three relegated teams in 18th place. Dennis Wise gave the visitors the lead but Steve Howey’s header from a Mark Kennedy corner levelled before the break. The Premiership’s top scorer, Jimmy Floyd Hassalbaink, then put Chlesea ahead once more in the second period with a shot that took a wicked bounce to deceive Carlo Nash. And though the Blues battled hard and were hard done by with the rejection of two penalty appeals, the Dutchman’s strike was sufficient to ensure all three points for the Londoners. The game was also notable for Terry Dunfield’s City début. The Canadian-born youngster played for an hour, having come on as a substitute for the injured Jeff Whitley.

Royle – Defeat Summed Up Our Season: Joe Royle saw his Manchester City side round off the season with a defeat at home to Chelsea on Saturday. And the Blues’ boss felt that the story of the game was a familiar one. Royle felt that his team performed creditably against a star-studded outfit packed with expensive signings. But though he felt that City were denied “two blatant penalties”, he admitted that the visitors simply possessed greater quality. “We had a go,” reflected the City manager. “We had as many chances as they did but we were not as clinical. They made their chances by pure football. They have some class acts in their side. We’ve said it too often. Tottenham came here, three points from one shot. Southampton, three points from two shots. Now Chelsea have done it from four shots. It shows the difference at this level – the clinical finish of a £15 million striker.”

City to Clamp Down on “Disorderly” Fans: Manchester City’s game against Chelsea on Saturday was marked by the customary end-of-season pitch invasion. But on this occasion, the club was on the end of the wrong sort of publicity. Around 2,000 supporters entered the playing arena with around a minute of the game to go, forcing referee Mike Riley to blow the final whistle early. And though the behaviour of most of the fans was good-natured, some threw advertising hoardings and clumps of turf at the police, while there were also skirmishes between City and Chelsea supporters. Chief Operating Officer Chris Bird vowed to crack down on anyone involved in the more unsavoury aspects but argued that the low arrest count showed that the majority of supporters had merely been in high spirits. “There were six arrests but there were 2,000 fans who encroached on to the pitch, so it was only a small minority who acted in a disorderly manner,” he commented. “We as a club do not condone what happened and we will come down hard on anyone who is seen to have acted in a disorderly way.” Some press reports have claimed that the scenes are likely to be the subject of an FA investigation, as a prelude to which the governing body may ask the Blues for the observations on Saturday’s events.

Part III – Transfer News and Rumour

City to Let Prior Leave: Manchester City have transfer-listed Spencer Prior. The ex-Derby defender has asked for a move after losing his regular place in Joe Royle’s starting line-up. Prior was a regular feature in the opening weeks of the campaign, but was dropped in favour of Richard Dunne in December. Having started only five matches since then, the Southend-born star has elected to move to a club where he will be a first choice, and his place on the bench for Saturday’s game against Chelsea was taken by youngster Rhys Day. Nottingham Forest, Wolves, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace were all linked with moves for the 30-year-old in the season just ended.

“Real Interest” in Tiatto From Villa: Manchester City are hoping to keep Player of the Year Danny Tiatto at Maine Road. But the Australian’s brother and agent, says there’s plenty of interest in signing the 27-year-old. Tiatto has impressed a series of good judges with his displays this season, and Rangers, Ipswich and Southampton have all been linked with summer bids. But Frank Tiatto says that the most persistent suitors have been West Ham, before the recent departure of manager Harry Redknapp, and Aston Villa. Some reports continue to insist that a bid of £4 million would tempt City, though before his sacking, Joe Royle had stated that he expected the player still to be at Maine Road come the start of the new campaign.

Charvet Linked with Another Premiership Move: Laurent Charvet is leaving Manchester City, having disappointed since his autumn transfer from Newcastle. But as the Blues drop down to the Nationwide League, the Frenchman could be staying on the Premiership. Charvet has already been linked with Charlton Athletic, who reportedly tried to sign him before he elected to make the switch to Maine Road. And now Ipswich are also said to be keen on the full-back. Joe Royle previously claimed that he expected to recoup City’s £1 million outlay on the 27-year-old, though there were some doubts as to whether this was realistic taking into account the player’s rumoured annual salary of around £800,000.

Robins Back In for Morrison?: Bristol City have already tried and failed this year to land Andy Morrison. But the Robins are reportedly still keen to sign the former Manchester City skipper. Morrison is available for transfer after falling from favour at Maine Road, and Joe Royle accepted a bid of £150,000 from the Second Division outfit in March. The player failed to agree personal terms and then went on loan to Sheffield United, who may also try to seal a permanent deal in the summer. In addition, Cardiff City, newly promoted from the Third Division, have been touted as possible bidders for the 30-year-old’s signature.

Dickov Hoping to Stay at City: Paul Dickov is hoping to land a new Manchester City contract. The Scot’s current engagement expires at the end of next season, but he hopes his long-term future will be at Maine Road. Dickov was said at Christmas to be in line for a new deal, having impressed in the early part of the campaign to force his way into the Scotland squad. But after suffering a knee injury in January, the 28-year-old had an injury-interrupted last four months of the season. But he’s hoping that after returning last month to play in the closing games of the season, he’s done enough to earn a new deal. “Everyone knows I love the place and it would be great for me to finish my career here,” he said. “I will just have to wait and see what is offered. Nothing has been said since Christmas about contracts.”

Part IV – Miscellaneous News and Views

City to Play Halifax Friendly: Manchester City will visit Halifax in a pre-season friendly. The Blues have arranged to face the Yorkshire outfit at The Shay on Saturday, 21 July. It’s the second date in West Yorkshire the Blues have announced – they will also visit Huddersfield in a testimonial for Jon Dyson ten days later. City then visit Oldham in the first week of August to play a benefit match for Earl Barrett, while it has been rumoured that there could also be games at Tranmere and at Rochdale. The latter fixture would be a result of no mid-season date being found to play a proposed match commemorating the opening of a new stand at Spotland; however, there are some doubts over whether the pitch will be in sufficiently good condition to allow for a game ahead of the new campaign.

Part V – Reserve News

Reserves End on a High Note: Manchester City’s reserves, like the first team, ended their season on Saturday. But unlike the seniors, the second string brought the curtain down on their campaign with a win. In a game which kicked off at 10 a.m., the Blues beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield to complete a successful season. Unfortunately, reports have not indicated who scored the City goal in the success over the Merseysiders, but the result means that City have, in addition to their Manchester Senior Cup victory, finished respectably placed in the FA Premier League Northern Section.

Peter Brophy (


Despite protests from many supporters, and features in the M.E.N. and The Times –,,621-94947,00.html – the Hyde Road hotel is no more. I drove past the site on my way home on Saturday and discovered that it has been completely flattened. This is very sad news. I am aware that Chris Bird at City became involved towards the end and that he says he has secured some of the brickwork for the new stadium, but it’s a real shame. Young City fan David Scally set up a campaign to save the building after reading about its plight in “Manchester: The Greatest City”, but despite his best efforts it seems few people were actually that bothered about City’s birthplace.

A few years ago the club were offered the building for £1. They declined. Naturally, it needed substantial investment to save the building, but history doesn’t seem to have a value in today’s richest sport.

Gary James (


The Annual General Meeting of the Essex & Suffolk branch of the CSA will take place on Friday 25th May 2001 from 8:30 pm. The venue is The Seabright’s Barn, Galleywood, Essex, all are welcome. We have a very special (and I mean very special) prize to raffle on the night. For details contact me, details below.

Paul Gallagher (01708 787227 [Evenings] e-mail:


City fan from wet and windy Lancs working for three weeks in the States and Canada, 28 May -16th June approx, willing to meet up for many beers and discuss the season’s misfortunes. Sad or wot?

Paul Maxwell (


Many thanks (still anonymously I’m afraid) to Phil Lines for the contribution to MCIVTA 710 and for hopefully reviving the thread about things we personally found funny during our time following City all over and around the bend.

Now that the distractions of an utterly forgettable season are nearly behind us (by the time this is distributed in McV, the season will thankfully be over) I’d love to see more reminiscing and banter about better (or even worse) days and funnier (or more heart wrenching) moments. I intend to write and interlink pieces featuring fans of this wonderful club from all eras, from our foundation up to present day, so dig deep folks.

Who knows? One day a manuscript inspired by something you recalled and wrote about could be winging its way onto the shelves at Waterstones if I can pull off what we apparently all have in us, i.e. the ability to write a book.

Just to clear up one smallish matter, I found the pooch invasions funnier as a child than I do these days, although even thinking about it now, a smile breaks out across my chops.

For the purposes of the book, I was actually more interested in writing about what happened to the doggies once they were caught. This is the bit where I will give my (hopefully sufficient) creative ability a bit of a work out. All I needed to finish the planning of the piece was a suitable (real-life) game in which to plant the pup and hopefully the seeds for the memories I want to release.

Many, many, many thanks to all who responded to my last request in MCIVTA 682 (08/02/01) for details of pooch invasions. The responses I received meant making some rather hefty alterations to the previously planned time-line and a fair amount of head scratching, but I’m now happier than ever with the planned text as it has reality on its side. I have all of you to thank for this.

I’d be delighted if the witty and quirky stories could come rolling in again! It’s always nice to be reminded that “authenticity” always ends with “City”. Again, many thanks from the Virtually Invisible Man.

CTID, Joe Seawright-Threw (


Appreciating being 71 next (and did see Matt Busby play for us and did meet him later at Southern Cemetary where he was visiting his wife, and I my dad who rest close to one another).

Some of my recollections may not be of interest but might fill a space in your column, if you mention Georgie (not Kinky) (who played for us with a metal arm) can any readers recall who? (Smith during the War) or a manager we had, who possibly was the first to give a club a song, which he named “Up the Blues” (quite prophetic at this time). A Mr Thompson who left us to take over a pub or of Jimmy Heale, who, being a special copper in the war, did not have to join up, who played both for us and United, often alternate weeks. I think because he had always to be on duty in the evenings.

The Revie Plan (used to see Don walking his dogs in Mauldeth Road Park whilst in dispute before going to Leeds) or the Marsden Plan, Frank Swift running the Pub near Parrs Wood Road or to mention pubs, the pub on Stretford Road run by an old City player (Wescott I think, left back whom I heard founded the first United Supporters’ Club).

Peter Holland now Bromley Kent – Charltonland (


I actually intended to write a match report, reflecting on the mistakes of the season and looking forward to JR’s push for promotion next year. Of course the events of earlier today have somewhat changed my plans! Having spent most of the day doing little work, but reading and listening to various quotes, opinions, rumours and wild speculation I feel that I have pretty good idea of the what were the events leading up to Joe’s surprise exit this morning. I should stress that I have no inside knowledge, just an opinion, which may of course be complete b*llocks!

Firstly, I would say that even if we’d survived by the skin of our teeth, we would probably have witnessed the same chain of events – perhaps not today, but certainly before the start of next season. David Bernstein, whilst praising JR’s previous achievements has been firm that a full review would take place, following our relegation. He has said today that we failed to retain our Premiership status due to various ‘issues’ surrounding the football side of the operation (not necessarily just what happens on the pitch). There have been accounts of ‘unprofessionalism, drinking cultures, dressing room disharmony’ and poor scouting/selection of certain new players. It seems to me that this review was well underway before Saturday’s match and indeed there have been reports of an initial ‘informal’ meeting between JR and Bernstein last Thursday. My belief is that the board were not happy with the performance of the team as a whole, but more specifically that certain new players have come into the squad carrying ‘baggage’ that was not identified by the scouting network. Additionally, I believe that they were shocked by the increase in weight of a certain star goalkeeper (amid rumours of heavy drinking sessions) and the deterioration in form of said goalkeeper. Finally I believe that they were concerned regarding other persistent rumours of certain groups of players’ levels of drinking, the affect on their fitness levels and the possible link between fitness and inability to hold onto a lead on 9 occasions this season. Furthermore, I feel that it is possible that some members of the board lay the blame for these issues at the manager’s feet.

Crucially, I think it is possible that David Bernstein did not lose faith with JR and ‘brokered’ a deal with his fellow board members that ‘culprits’ on the staff and playing side would be dealt with, but that JR should stay. Stay with me, I’ve nearly finished! During their informal meeting last Thursday, I believe that Bernstein advised JR of the board’s feelings and that they were of the opinion that Hurst’s scouting, Stepney’s handling of an impressionable Weaver and Bailey’s (I dunno) were unacceptable and had undermined the team’s chances of success this season. It’s also possible that Bernstein may have advised JR on those players who should go – remember Bernstein has always maintained that no player would be sold for financial reasons, he hadn’t said that no pressure would be put on JR to sell players for other reasons.

This morning, JR presumably advised Bernstein that he remained loyal to his staff/players and the die was therefore cast. If indeed this is close to the truth, both sides were in a no-win situation. David Bernstein could not back down if they were clearly unhappy with the situation, but also, irrespective of his famed stubbornness, JR could hardly accept the board dismissing his own staff without his consent. I’m sorry to see JR go, he gave us probably the best 2 seasons most of us can remember and I’ve got to say I can not think of many better managers to get us promoted, despite the remaining question marks over his ability to manage in the Premiership. Nevertheless he has made many mistakes this season and if indeed there are ‘underlying’ problems within the football staff/ players, he has to take responsibility for them.

Good luck Joe. Next!

Phil Hartley (


So, what do we make of all this then? The leaving of Judas, the coming of Ball, the coming and going of Coppell, boy do we get through our fair share of heart attack-inducing shocks.

I suppose in common with most, I have no idea why Bernie changed his mind so suddenly. I don’t believe for one minute that Bernie is a Deadly Doug-alike issuing votes of confidence, something fundamentally has changed in the last two weeks (and not just the losses at Ipswich and Maine Road).

These refuelling problem rumours keep doing the rounds, and what does the sacking of Roy Bailey add to the equation? Who knows.

I know it’s nothing to do with the likes of Bailey, Hurst and Stepney, but my first instinct was to think back to the share price movements over the last few weeks. Down to 22 pence (from over £1 at the last rights issue), and a bounce in the last week back to 40 pence today. I fear another flare-up in the long running boardroom wars, but have nothing else to go on but the coincidence of timing. On the other hand, maybe all this is about Franny and Wardle becoming reconciled as to the way forward, which would be good news for shareholders and fans alike. Anyway, I’m on blood pressure alert until we get some more solid information.

Can we please use this opportunity to skip a management generation (maybe that is what it’s all about anyway)?

My choice is for a young one with a good head on his shoulders. Alex McLeish, Steve McClaren or David Moyes for preference. All good coaches, Moyes and McLeish have proven themselves as managers, and Taggart rates all three of them. All of them should be able to stamp on the ‘lads’ night out’ culture that so many rumours have alluded to over the last year.

Moyes may want to stick with PNE if they win on Monday, and maybe McClaren thinks he has bigger opportunities, but McLeish looks ripe to head for a club with a bigger budget than he’s had at Hibs.

We have a good squad, one good enough to be up there next season; there will be money to spend because we did not break the bank last season, and there is a big reputation to be made for a smart operator.

The decision will in all probability be made more by Tueart/Wardle than Bernie, so do we think Dennis is a moderniser or a conservative? After all as the footballer on the board, it is highly probable that he OK’d the signing of Charvet et al. Was he in complete agreement with the buying strategy, or at the end of the season did he blow his top and say ‘no more’

If we do end up with a Graham or a Keegan can we have a good young ‘un as a deputy in waiting? A Micky Adams, or (please, please) a Niall Quinn.

If Joe was ‘winkled out’ (like Reidy was ousted over Sam Ellis) then there must be a plan of action in place. If not, or if this is a knee jerk sacking then we are back in deep doggy do’s.

Now where did I put those Beta Blockers?

Martin Beckett (


Is David Bernstein mental?

Is anyone in their right mind going to take the job?

Is anyone even vaguely talented at football management going to consider such a short term thankless job?

Martin Alldred (


I said when Joe Royle was appointed that he was the right man to get us back in the Premiership, but the wrong man once we got there. Unfortunately, the game at the very top has moved on in leaps and bounds since his style of management produced the brief FA Cup success at Everton.

His tactical record during the 2nd and 1st Division campaigns left a lot to be desired. So I had grave misgivings about his approach to this season. I genuinely believe he thought that we could consolidate this season. True, at times we didn’t look any worse than the Derbys or Evertons of this world. However, the consistent lack of shape and cohesion throughout the side was evident on too many occasions.

Whoever is appointed, the board must not go for a quick fix. Ipswich appointed George Burley with the objective of giving him the time to build the right football foundation. It took time, but the signs were always there that he had the tactical ability to produce promotion and compete in the Premiership.

We’ll have to wait for the outcome of Monday’s Division 1 play-off final, but we need to go for a David Moyes type manager! Young, getting better by the season, proven tactician with limited resources and ambitious enough to build a niche with a big club.

Graham Jones (


Just recovered from the stunner that Big Joe has been sacked after having ‘irreconcilable differences’ with the chairman.

Good to see City revert to type and reach for the ‘P45’ at the first hint of trouble.

A mixture of the ‘Usual Suspects’ for new manager already hitting the newswires:

  • ‘Appy-‘Arry Redknap (like for like)
  • Terry Venables (bore off)
  • George Graham (f*** off)
  • Sir Graham Taylor (already under contract at AV?)
  • Trevor Francis (ex-City favourite but a bigger whinger than Joe… and there is also the small matter that he is a total tw*t)
  • David Moyes (if Preston don’t go up!?!)
  • Dario (I’m not leaving Crewe – ever) G.
  • Gary Megson (got to be in with a shout – done well at Stoke & West Brom & ex-City favourite)
  • Steve ‘wildman’ McMahon (shades of Peter Reid all over again – ex-City captain and big crowd favourite)

and finally…

  • Steve Coppell (very very funny – but to be absolutely honest nothing would shock me)

While I can only dream of getting Moyes or maybe Megson/McMahon at a push, I can only watch with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu as the City board appoint Bruce Rioch or some other ‘Mel Machin – esqe’ type loser. Lay your bets now – even money that the MotD cameras will back round Premiership grounds before we are.

A very Blue Moon, Matthew Knowles (


Barring a miracle (i.e. Middlesbrough getting turfed out of the top-flight by Fifa for not paying Marco Branca £500,000 in wages when he was severley injured and Boro terminated his contract) then we’re down – wo why not play some youngsters in the last game of the season e.g. Leon Mike, Chris Killen, Terry Dunfield, Rhys Day and Dickson Etuhu?

As it happens Terry gets a chance due to an injury – but why not the others? I simply just don’t get it.

Richard – Anorak – Mottershead (


So the new board is the same as the old board. Relegation results in the manager being sacked. As the board didn’t come up with the £30 million (minimum) that we all knew needed to be spent for us to stay in the Premiership, then replacing Joe for failing to stay-up is a disgrace.

To sack the manager, two questions have to be asked. These are:

  1. Are we a better team than we were this time last year?
  2. Are we capable of being a better team this time next year?

If the answer to both is yes then the manager should stay. I believe that the answer to both these questions is yes – so why has he been pushed? Especially as Bernstein said he would stay only two weeks ago! My guess is that Bernstein told Joe that players have to be sold to balance the books. If true this would mean that we are doing the same thing that we did when we last came down – and this course just leads to oblivion…

Worse still – City’s past record on finding a manager will mean that we probably won’t have a manager when the season starts. We needed the new board to establish a track record with managers so that they would be kept until at least the end of their contracts. Unless they did this then no one in their right mind would come to Man City unless they are given the backing and materials to do the job – the track record on this score is not good. Unless the board have an instant replacement then this is foolish in the extreme.

Worse could yet follow – the youth set-up is starting to produce the goods again. Will a new manager clear out the staff and put his own chaps in place?

Who would I like to replace Joe? Well in order of preference my wish list is:

  1. Gary Megson (WBA) – Former player. Has done excellent jobs at WBA and previous clubs with very little money.
  2. David Moyes (Preston) – No chance if Preston go up.
  3. Niall Quinn (Sunderland) – Very intellegent, will make a great manager one day.

Anorak Richard Mottershead (


So farewell then Sir Joe. “We were unlucky today”; that was your catchphrase. Not as unlucky as you though. With apologies to E.J. Thribb.

I don’t necessarily think JR was doing a bad job, but he did seem to lack some vision. He has been saying he will retire at 55 for a few years now, but never did anything about grooming anyone to take over. Ideally I would have liked to have seen an experienced manager working with a young manager with experience of a smaller club, such as Joe working with Jan Molby or Steve McMahon, but I don’t suppose that is going to happen now. I think history shows that City is too much for a lot of managers to handle (Coppell anyone?) and would love to know why this is, and if it is linked to the various mysteries of Maine Road – what exactly happened with Peter Reid, are any of the Cooke rumours true, how hard did we try to keep Howard Kendall?

My worry now is who we will get in to replace him – none of the high profile unemployed managers appeal much – George Graham led us to the altar only to clear off with some Yorkshire tart, and even then he didn’t make her smile as much as the stableboy, ‘Appy ‘Arry hasn’t done too much with the ‘Ammers in footballing terms, although ‘e is ‘andy with a chequebook. And Roy Evans helped make Liverpool mediocre so imagine what he could do to City! Anyway, to be honest, if you were a manager (and not a City fan) why would you want to go to Maine Road? There are going to be jobs all over the place soon enough (Southampton, West ‘am, Man Ure, Middlesbrough, Leicester(?), Newcastle(?)) so why would you want to go to a club that hasn’t won anything for years, still has an enormous squad of players (not a squad of enormous players, that is just Nicky and Dunne) that aren’t quite good enough to sell, has reasonable expectations but unreasonable patience – and gets through managers like Martin Keown gets through mirrors? As a potential manager, what would worry me more than the turnover of personnel is that hardly any recover from the experience – look at the recent list:

1987-89: Mel Machin
1990: Howard Kendall
1990-93: Peter Reid
1993-95: Brian Horton
1995-96: The ginger one (can’t bear to type the name)
1996: Steve Coppell
1996: Phil Neal (caretaker)
1996-98: Frank Clark
1998-2001: Joe Royle

They haven’t exactly set the world on fire since they left have they? (apart from Reid, and some Sunderland fans are apparently thinking he has run out of steam). I’ve already seen newsgroup postings saying we should get Curbishley – are these people for real? Notwithstanding the fact that if AC is going anywhere it’ll be to West ‘Am (although apparently Steve McLaren is going) but he’d be bonkers to leave Charlton for Maine Road. We need to get some perspective as to what City seems to be to those poor people who don’t know better – just a medium sized club with ideas above its station. Medium sized clubs don’t tend to have big name managers – we need a manager with the potential to be a big name manager, so that the club and coach can grow in staure together – cf O’Neill at Leicester, Burley at Ipswich. If the club plays this well we could once again be a big club, but it is not going to happen overnight, probably not even in the next 5 years. With the possible exceptions of Howey and Nash, none of the first team players who played against Chelase are good enough for the Premier League, but the club wants to be competitive in the PL. We don’t have stacks of cash, we don’t have a recent record of success and we are in Division 1; for those reason we will be very lucky to buy established players better than those we already have, as JR will no doubt testify.

The only solution as I see it is to invest in youth seriously – the Man City name is probably still just about strong enough to be able to persuade youngsters to sign for us rather than for the dark side, but who knows how long that will be the case? Blackpool used to be a big club, but you wouldn’t think twice now if you had a choice between signing for them or City, fan or otherwise. What will the young stars think when offered schoolboy papers by Man Ure and City in 2025? So, a few challenges for whoever is tempted by the City sirens. May I be one of the first to wish him/her (well, you never know with City!) every success.

Nick Evans (


Ohmigod, it’s happened. No, not the Joe Royle sacking, though that’s surprising on its own, as I would be inclined to believe the MCFC version of the story, that Royle and Bernstein had a serious disagreement (less than uncommon nowadays – think of George Graham, who virtually made it impossible for Spurs not to sack him). What’s worse is the LMA chief executive saying: “The two commodities that are always in short supply in football are time and patience, and they seem to have run out themselves – there is less time and literally no patience” in relation to JR’s sacking, therefore implying that JR’s 3 years wasn’t a decent chance, Man City is an unstable place to work, they don’t give you time, you’d be silly to accept a job there…

‘Cos now that the decision’s been made, one way or the other, City should look to the future and bring in a bright, young manager who we can give time to. What we don’t need is putdowns of this nature, Mr Barnwell, thank you; they’ll only contribute to the instability because they might prevent us from getting that decent manager who we can give time to because the candidate might be frightened off by such talk. So we may have no choice but to get in a second-rate manager who proves remarkably quickly to be out of his depth and has to be, uh…

On the Joe Royle sacking itself, I’d said some time ago that I hoped David Bernstein was keeping an eye on JR, and it seems that JR has got too big for the hotseat. That’s still my take on it. Instinctively, as well as for a lot of conscious reasons (e.g. relative proportions of lame excuses), I trust Bernstein a lot more than Royle, and if Bernstein says Royle has to go…

Keep the Faith! Toh Hsien Min (


After two unbelievable seasons when I actually started to wake up on a Saturday expecting the afternoon to go well, I’m well and truly Blue again. In many ways I have only myself to blame for honestly believing things would be much different. Like a few others I suspect, following early performances against Sunderland, Leeds and Liverpool I got carried away. A little bit of objectivity would have kept expectations at a sensible level and softened the blow. But that’s football for you isn’t it? Doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with level headed, impartial, reasoning and I wouldn’t change it for anything. But, if we could just try really hard for a minute to recognise that the season is long and luck evens itself out. I don’t believe that we were significantly less lucky last season than just about any other side. Everyone has their fair share of crap refs’ decisions and injuries. We need to learn from last season and that has to start with getting to the bottom of what went wrong. Blaming bad luck and, God help us, conspiracy theories only cloud the real issues and stop us dealing with the real problems. In the long haul you make your own luck so please, let’s have a few less sob stories especially from our otherwise pretty decent manager.

Michael Cosham (


Just when you thought City would go down and still retain some element of dignity, rely on our illustrious directors to make us the butt of the jokes yet again. Swales has gone but his style lives on. How can David Bernstein parade himself on national radio declaring his support for JR, “job for life” springs to mind, a wonderful relationship, Joe will be here in August no matter what else happens etc. and after all that and the passage of two weeks we have Joe Royle has left the club because the directors do not agree with the Joe’s ideas – “the directors have had to think hard about this decision, it is not a knee jerk reaction”. What the hell is going on?

Why did Bernstein make these statements? It would have been so much better to keep silent rather than this. It is an insult to Royle and worse an insult to the supporters, you and me, who turn up and give support to a team and a club who seem hell bent on self destruction.

JR has already taken us out of the Nationwide once and I firmly believed he would do it again. The team was still there from 1999/2000 with a better defence, all we needed was a playmaker. Now it is going to be all change yet again, continuity flies out of the window. Take a look at the clubs who have shown loyalty to their managers even when things have not always gone well. Charlton, Ipswich and Sunderland spring to mind and there are others. Even Stretford reaped the rewards of sticking with the same manager. City make the same mistakes over and over again. They hold their hands up and state we need stability, we need continuity, we know where we went wrong before and yes we will still make the same mistakes all over again just to make sure the policy is definitely flawed.

Can we please, please, have some sanity in the boardroom?

Phil Taylor, season ticket holder and shareholder – and well p****d off (


In response to Robert Springthorpe who is entitled to his opinion on Nicky Weaver.

I agree Nicky Weaver is an excellent shot stopper. His kicking is usually top class although it has been a little wayward this season to say the least. He has also made some rash tackles and rushed out of his box when defenders were better placed to deal with the situation in hand. Where he really falls down is in the command of his area and ability to take crosses, which results in overworked defenders who quickly lose confidence in the ‘keeper. I am eternally grateful to Nicky Weaver who proved an asset in the previous 2 seasons but has arguably cost us Premiership status this season along with Spencer Prior and one or two others who did not make the step up.

Nicky Weaver may mature into an excellent ‘keeper but can we afford him? If we can offload him and strengthen our midfield with the much needed cash then we have a good chance of bouncing straight back. It is no good having £5 million languishing in the reserves with us rooted firmly in the First Division. £5 million would buy Craig Hignett from Blackburn and Lee Hughes from West Brom. Add those two players and I assure you we will fly through the First Division.

Below is a table denoting league position, minutes on the pitch by main ‘keepers and crosses caught. With the exception of Arsenal, the 3 relegated Citys have the worst statistics. Crosses missed by ‘keepers = goals conceded.

                        Mins    Crosses Caught
MAN UNITED              2676            63
ARSENAL                 2160            31
LIVERPOOL               3330            71
LEEDS                   3350            53
IPSWICH                 3150            75
CHELSEA                 3330            64
SUNDERLAND              2925            66
ASTON VILLA             3330            101
CHARLTON                2205            45
SOUTHAMPTON             3060            63
NEWCASTLE               2925            61
LEICESTER               1786            35
TOTTENHAM               3018            80
WEST HAM                2835            35
EVERTON                 2789            43
DERBY                   2870            96
BORO                    2700            80
MAN CITY                2790            34
COVENTRY                1912            33
BRADFORD                1972            35

I really hope I am proved wrong and Nick Weaver turns out to be a legend at the club, we gain promotion next season and everybody is happy again. Somehow I do not think so.

Gary Johnston (


The sacking of Joe Royle must have come as a shock to most of us, although some who had been shouting for his head will be pleased. I have mixed feelings about it; I was for Joe to stay another season at least, I felt he would be best to get us back up, then make a decision on who, the first season back in the Premier League.

I would like to see Kevin Keegan as the new manager, other than saying that another manager does not excite me. If it had to happen I guess it’s the right time, and the new manager will get his team ready for the new season. I would like to say thanks Joe for 2 good seasons, and to our new manager good luck! Whoever he may be, we will stand behind you as City fans; no one is bigger than our club.

Always a Blue, Ernie Barrow (


If Villa want Tiatto I just hope JR holds out for £8 million pounds à la the Ugo Ehiogu saga. Whatever anyone else wants to pay 4, 6, 7… Villa should have to stump up with £8 million i.e suck eggs John Gregory. Hopefully he won’t be sold though, we need his bite and commitment in Division 1.

Chris Loveridge (


How I became a City fan is a strange story really and can be attributed to my elder brother’s then loyalty for the Red half of Manchester. When we were young my dad was in the RAF so we used to travel all over the world, never really settling in one place, and as such deciding which football club you were going to support was either too difficult or was never really a top priority. However, our travels finally brought us to Market Drayton in the 1968-69 season when at the same time we received as an Xmas present what was the ‘in’ kids game, magnetic table football. Woe and behold, the colors of the teams were sky blue and red. It was at the same time that for some unknown reason my elder brother was starting to show an interest in Man Utd and had actually gone to a game at nearby Wolverhampton and like most kids at that time had jumped onto the ’68 European Cup bandwagon. As he took great delight in beating me at anything, I always had to be Man City when playing magnetic football whilst he was the Red sh* te and as expected he always won (I should point out that as I got older I beefed up a bit and so there was one particular sport he did not want to engage me in competition!).

Anyway the damage was done, I was from that point onwards a City fan, keenly looking for their results every Saturday night. Not long after we moved to the Wirral and the sad thing is I cannot actually remember my first City game or where it was. I am pretty sure it would have been at Anfield for a customary beating (I was there when Frannie Lee tried to gun down the cop with a photographer’s camera stand) or maybe even Everton when Mike Summerbee came on with a false nose. Anyway I was hooked and from then on I got to City whenever I could, which tended to be midweek as I played rugby on a Saturday. It also coincided with what was probably City’s best ever period.

My most memorable match was when we beat Coventry 3-1 in the quarter final of the League Cup at Maine Road. My mate and I had skived off school as the game was in the afternoon, I think because of the electricity strike or something, it rained for 3 hours solidly and with City 1-0 down with about 12 minutes to go I was depressed. However, a great recovery saw City win 3-1 and the caning I received the following day for being seen on telly seemed worth it. I have seen some great games and some superb players down the years but for some reason a handful stand out, the 3-1 win at Anfield with Trevor Francis in majestic form (mainly because at the time I hated Liverpool as all my mates were scousers and they always beat City 4/5-0), Peter Barnes’ fabulous performance when we beat Standard Leige 4-0 at Maine Road, the Cup Final in 81 when we fate robbed us of what should have been our trophy are just 3 that spring to mind. Anyway in 1998 at the same time we were relegated to Division 2, I was seconded to Sydney by my employer the Bank of Scotland and am here until at least July 2001. I have been home twice in that period and taken in a number of games, the most recent being the 1-0 home loss to Spurs, a game we should have won at a canter. As with all City fans I am optimistic we will be back hopefully when and if I return in 2002. Go you Blues!

Steve Owens (


Are you all sitting comfortably? then I’ll begin. Once upon a time (1986) there lived a boy by the name of Alex, who lived with his mother and father on a run down council estate somewhere in Scotland. His father worked for the railway company laying the tracks, and many a day young Alex could be seen running up and down the line looking at his watch, and keeping track of time, in eager anticipation of his father finishing work so he could talk to him about his dreams and aspirations.

He spent every Saturday down at the allotment his father rented, tending to the dumb animals and nurturing the vegetables. Little did he know that one day he would be doing it on a bigger scale. One day Alex was summoned by his mother, who explained to him that finances were running short and there would be no more money available to build up the allotment, and they would have to sell one of the animals in order to survive. Alex was sad but understood his mother’s dilemma; his mother told him to go to the allotment and return with the animal that would fetch the highest price at market. The next morning Alex set off bright and early to market. Halfway along the route he heard a voice but couldn’t see where it was coming from. He carried on, then heard the voice again. Looking down, he noticed a four leaf clover; as he bent to pick it up he was surprised to see a leprechaun beneath the leaves.

“Who are you?”, says Alex.
“Me name’s O’Neill” says the leprechaun, “and where would ya be going on this fine morning?”
“I’ve ta take this animal to market to sell”, says Alex.
“Is dat rite?”, says O’Neill! “I’ll tell ya wat I’ll do for ya, I’ll take the animal off ya hands in exchange for five magic beans, there ya go now, what have ya got ta say about dat?”
“A don’t really know, ma mother and father might not be best pleased if I do that.”
“Go on”, says O’Neill, “ya not gonna get a better offer for such a stubborn beast”.
“Orite” says Alex, and says his last farewell to his favourite animal Keano.

When he arrives home, his parents ask him how much he got for the beast. Alex replies, “a swapped him for five magic beans off a leprechaun a met on ma way to market”. His father was furious and sent him to his room, and refused to have anything to do with his son again.

That night Alex sneaked out through the window and headed for the allotment. As he looked up at the bright blue moon, he prayed for his father’s forgivness and understanding. Just then he heard a mysterious voice: “Build it and he will come”. Alex was afraid but knew what it meant, and began to plant the five magic beans. The next morning Alex woke early and headed for the allotment to see if anything had happened, and when he arrived he could not believe his eyes. For there stood the most amazing sight; a giant beanstalk had grown, it reached up to the sky and beyond the clouds, Alex had created a monster. He decided to climb to the very top, to see how far he could go. On reaching the top he saw a building the like he had never seen before. It was made from gold, and shone like a beacon for all the world to see. Alex walked towards the front door, and began to enter. Once inside he walked down the corridors that were paved with gold, and gold coins were piled high as far as the ceilings. Alex thought to himself, I have created this phenomenon, therefore I must be entitled to a reward for all my hard work and dedication, and began placing the gold coins into a cloth bag. Just then the room began to shake, Alex fell to the floor and looked up to see a giant of a man, who was very angry having seen Alex trying to steal his wealth. Alex nervously cried, “who are yoo?” and the giant replied “my name is Martin Edwards and I am the most powerful”. Alex picked himself up and began to run; the giant took great strides to catch him, but Alex was too fast for him and began to climb down the beanstalk. The giant followed him, but as soon as Alex reached the bottom he opened his coat and took out his giant chopper, and began to chop down the monster. With a cry of “Timber!”, Alex brought down the beanstalk, and dropped to his knees to thank God he had been saved.

Just then he heard a faint cry of help; as he looked he saw a young boy lying beneath the beanstalk. Alex approached him and asked the young boy his name. “It’s Luke, sir, Luke Chadwick, will I be alright?”. Alex gripped his hand and began telling him that the beanstalk falling on him had done a lot of damage to his face, and produced a gold coin from the cloth bag for him to see his reflection. Luke began to laugh, and explained that he was born with that face, and was attempting to climb the beanstalk in order to earn great wealth, in order for him to have an operation on his looks. Just then a bright light surrounded Alex and he was overcome with emotion; he removed the gold coins from the cloth bag and lay them next to Luke. Luke began to cry, asked Alex was he giving him the gold coins, so he would be able to afford the operation on his face? Alex, in his broad scottish accent, replied: “b******s, I’ve earned that money, here laddie put this bag over ya head for God’s sake.” Alex picked up the gold coins and headed off home to his mother and father, and all three lived happily ever after. The end.

Gary Sullivan (


Recent results to 19 May 2001 inclusive.

19 May 2001

Charlton Athletic     0 - 4  Liverpool             20,043
Coventry City         0 - 0  Bradford City         20,299
Derby County          1 - 1  Ipswich Town          33,239
Everton               2 - 2  Sunderland            37,444
Leeds United          3 - 1  Leicester City        39,105
Manchester City       1 - 2  Chelsea               34,479
Middlesbrough         2 - 1  West Ham United       33,057
Newcastle United      3 - 0  Aston Villa           51,506
Southampton           3 - 2  Arsenal               15,252
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 1  Manchester United     36,072

League table to 19 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  38 15  2  2 49 12  9  6  4 30 19 24  8  6 79 31  48  80
 2 Arsenal         38 15  3  1 45 13  5  7  7 18 25 20 10  8 63 38  25  70
 3 Liverpool       38 13  4  2 40 14  7  5  7 31 25 20  9  9 71 39  32  69
 4 Leeds United    38 11  3  5 36 21  9  5  5 28 22 20  8 10 64 43  21  68
 5 Ipswich Town    38 11  5  3 31 15  9  1  9 26 27 20  6 12 57 42  15  66
 6 Chelsea         38 13  3  3 44 20  4  7  8 24 25 17 10 11 68 45  23  61
 7 Sunderland      38  9  7  3 24 16  6  5  8 22 25 15 12 11 46 41   5  57
 8 Aston Villa     38  8  8  3 27 20  5  7  7 19 23 13 15 10 46 43   3  54
 9 Charlton Ath.   38 11  5  3 31 19  3  5 11 19 38 14 10 14 50 57  -7  52
10 Southampton     38 11  2  6 27 22  3  8  8 13 26 14 10 14 40 48  -8  52
11 Newcastle Utd   38 10  4  5 26 17  4  5 10 18 33 14  9 15 44 50  -6  51
12 Tottenham H.    38 11  6  2 31 16  2  4 13 16 38 13 10 15 47 54  -7  49
13 Leicester City  38 10  4  5 28 23  4  2 13 11 28 14  6 18 39 51 -12  48
14 Middlesbrough   38  4  7  8 18 23  5  8  6 26 21  9 15 14 44 44   0  42
15 West Ham United 38  6  6  7 24 20  4  6  9 21 30 10 12 16 45 50  -5  42
16 Everton         38  6  8  5 29 27  5  1 13 16 32 11  9 18 45 59 -14  42
17 Derby County    38  8  7  4 23 24  2  5 12 14 35 10 12 16 37 59 -22  42
18 Manchester City 38  4  3 12 20 31  4  7  8 21 34  8 10 20 41 65 -24  34
19 Coventry City   38  4  7  8 14 23  4  3 12 22 40  8 10 20 36 63 -27  34
20 Bradford City   38  4  7  8 20 29  1  4 14 10 41  5 11 22 30 70 -40  26

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 #711