Newsletter #722

Well, this is just about the quietest close-season I can remember. Usually, we’re all railing against the club, the manager, our situation, the players we’ve been linked with etc. Ernie Whalley has sent in an article bemoaning the lack of summer dialogue, however baseless it might be. I’ve got to say that I fully concur – anyone care to say anything inflammatory to stir us all up?

This issue has Michael’s news summary; Ernie’s plea; and a Why Blue.

Roll on the pre-season…

Next game: Halifax Town away, Saturday 21st July 2001 (3.00pm)


General Stuff

World Cup Call-Ups: World Cup priorities could rob City of two players for crucial League matches in the early stages of the Division 1 campaign. Paulo Wanchope and Danny Tiatto are set to cause Keegan selection problems, as they could be absent for as many as five games. Wanchope faces four more World Cup qualifying games before Costa Rica’s qualification is confirmed with the first two at the start of September. The gangling hitman will miss the visit of Sheffield United and possibly those either side at Burnley on Monday August 27th and at West Brom on Saturday September 8th. In addition to this he is set to miss out on a further two League clashes in October. He will be facing Mexico and Jamaica when City travel to Millwall on October 6th and four days later he’ll be absent for the visit of Wolves.

Danny Tiatto could miss the November matches against Gillingham, Wolves, Portsmouth and Rotherham. The Socceroos will face the fifth-placed South American team in a two game play-off in that month. That is likely to be Brazil, Colombia or Uruguay who currently occupy fourth, fifth, and sixth in their table behind leaders Argentina and next pair Paraguay and Ecuador.

Record Season Ticket Sales: The club’s official website has reported that we are about to break the 25,000 mark in season ticket sales. Last season it was limited to 22,000 but this has now been relaxed, hence the increase. Chairman David Bernstein said “Despite our relegation, season ticket sales are well ahead of last year and will reach a record level.”

Ins, Outs, Rumours

Aussie Simon Collisimo has been reported as agreeing to sign for City. Collissimo, who can play either central defence or midfield, was rated the best home-based Aussie player until an injury sustained in a clash with Andy ‘Andrew’ Cole in a challenge match between Australia and ManUre. Spencer Prior has finally been reported as agreeing terms with Cardiff City. The fee is estimated at anywhere between £650-700K. Latest speculation on a new signing involves us pursuing Leeds United’s Jason Wilcox. Several newspapers reported the link with the fee reportedly in the region of £2 million. Leeds’ chairman has denied there being any approach. He is quoted as saying “The speculation about Jason and Manchester City is in the same category as Mark Viduka and Milan. They have one thing in common and that is that no one has spoken to me about it.”

Darren Huckerby has insisted that his Maine Road days are not numbered and has denied that he is set for a return to his former club Coventry. Apparently he still keeps touch with Coventry boss Gordon Strachan; Huckerby insists he has heard nothing of a bid for his services from the Midlanders. Huckerby said: “I have had a little chat with Kevin Keegan about one or two things and anything can happen in football, but I have heard nothing about Coventry. I am enjoying my time at Maine Road and until I hear otherwise I am happy to stay and still have a job to do.” He continued “I enjoyed working with Gordon Strachan and still keep in touch with him but as far as a move is concerned I think it is just paper talk.” City boss Keegan also claims to have no intention of selling the player, saying: “I know what Darren can do. He’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever seen.”

Michael Leafield (


Well, it sure is the silly season.

Bl**dy Wimbledon on the telly (Bang! Crash! Another British hero bites the dust! Homely women elevated to the status of sex goddess by desperate press). Someone’s throwing toys out of pram in N.I. again, surprise, surprise… Forest vs. Real Madrid slug it out for the leadership of what’s left of the Tory party. The Rag Top papers are full of Jamie Bulger’s mum, my least favourite scouser since Emlyn Hughes. Here in the Republic, the tribunal season has kicked off, exposing more graft by politicians and businessmen, surprise, surprise. Worse, there’s not much in McVittee – where are all the flamers, the eccentrics, the egocentrics lurking? Come out lads, before I fall asleep over the keyboard. The official City website has acquired the tone of a rejected Thought For The Day script.

Even Championship Manager is bereft of its usual traumas as Ron Knee, tight-lipped, ashen-faced, chain-smoking supremo and my alter ego, ensures the Blues pick up the PL title with 2 games to go (about blo*dy time though, it is May 2011 – only blot on the horizon being the Rags have got back up). For CM00/01 freaks with equivalent stamina the key players were Rene Martin GK, defenders Nikos Livathinos, James Hayward, Mark Boyle, Dale Gordon, Simon Downer, Fredk Elgstrom, midfielders Marco Tubali, Jerome Moreau, Tonton Mokouko, Jaromir Paciorek and forwards Nigel Brightwell (hooray!), Isaac Nkubi and Kevin Walters. Format 5-1-2-2. Anyhow me and Thin Ron had one of our conversations about how things are going back in the real world.

“I see we’ve sold Kennedy.”
“Good move in my book – add up all the boozing stories, divide by two, you still have enough liquid to flood the Sahara. Maybe he prefers Banks’s to Boddies, that’s why he’s off down the M6.”
“How long is it since you’ve seen a performer whose head goes down so easily?”
“Gillian Taylforth was the last”
“And we’ve acquired Psycho…”
“No wonder they fired Roy Bailey, I suppose they need a full time shrink now rather than a part-time phyzz.”
“Is Stuart Pearce a Tony Book for the 21st century or just another guy who mustn’t be allowed to take penalties?”
“No comment”
“And now we’re buying Wilson J. Cox”
“Isn’t that his name? No, it’s Arthur…”
“We’ve got him already. No, it’s… it’s… Jason Wilcox.”
“I remember him now. Ex-Blackburn, kicks people? The ball-playing visionary we’ve been promised at last?”

Anyone else is welcome to join the discussion.

I had an amazing dream the other night. A City team full of old fellers, pension book-clutchers and assorted cripples. They drag us up the Division One table, playing by memory, kicking anything that moves, using their combined 444 years acquired football nous (nouse? nowse?) to take us into the play-offs, which we win on penalties thanks to an equally elderly ref with an hour glass on his wrist. We’ve paid an average of £1.8 million apiece for these geriatrics but now they won’t do, even Captain Kev can see that. No, they won’t keep us in the Premiership. He petitions Bernstein for more dosh to get Ginola and bring Shearer out of retirement but Bernstein says you’ve got to sell a few of our own gerries first. No one wants them and anyhow, the gerries don’t want to go. Who but City would give them a bus pass, free viagra and a ten-year contract? Keegan sulks before resigning and being hailed as the new messiah at… Wolves. Kennedy comes back, a stopgap signing by caretaker player/manager Paul Gascoigne. In the match programme A Team ‘keeper Nick “The Flying Barrel” Weaver waxes nostalgic and says the signing heralds “the return of the good times” at City. Bernstein manages to get Ars