Newsletter #724

City have finally replaced the sacked Alex Stepney with former 1970 World Cup goalie Peter Bonetti. Other than this, therre’s little concrete to report, though it does seem fairly likely that Simon Colisimo will sign shortly. A newer, or at least not yet reported to my knowledge, rumour links Keegan with a move for the highly rated Japanese player Shinji Ono.

This issue has Michael’s News; an appraisal of Joe Royle by Neil Haigh; opinion and a Why Blue.

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


General Stuff

Goalkeeping Coach Finally Signed: City have revealed former Chelsea and England star Peter Bonetti as their new goalkeeping coach, replacing fired ex-Rag Alex Stepney. After rumours and speculation lasting weeks, linking us with Tommy Wright, Tony Coton and Mad John Burridge, Keegan pulled a name out of the Blue. Bonetti who previously coached for Keegan at Fulham, Newcastle and England under-21 level has signed a one-year deal with City. He has previously coached Nicky Weaver at England level and briefly had Carlo Nash under his wing, whilst Nash was on loan at Wolves. Bonetti, 59 was heavily linked with a move to Aston Villa, to replace their goalkeeping coach Paul Barron, but Keegan has stolen a march on the midlanders.

Colisimo Yet to Sign: Aussie defender Simon Colisimo is yet to sign for City, despite stories to the contrary. The fee with South Melbourne is thought to have been agreed and it is now thought that is purely a case of dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. He is already talking of his imminent move with our other Socceroo, Danny Tiatto and is quoted as saying, “I spoke to Danny last night and we’ve arranged to meet up when I arrive. Amongst other things, Danny and I discussed the fact that we may each take one side of the park with Danny on the left and me on the right.” Colosimo played just 18 games for South Melbourne after joining from Carlton earlier this year, scoring twice. His overall statistics in the National Soccer League is played 68, scored eleven.

Goater Wants to Stay: After Mark Kennedy’s move to Wolves, it is thought that they are also interested in signing The Goat for a reported £3 million. Goater though has made it clear he wished to stay at City. The Goat has three years remaining of his contract and is quoted as saying “I would only consider going somewhere if the club had agreed a fee. For me that means they are happy to sell you,” adding “There comes a time when you are playing that you are not up for sale, no matter what the price. That was my situation not last season but the season before when we were in Division One and I was doing well. If anyone had come in for me then the club would have told them Shaun is not for sale.”

Kennedy Stunned at Move: Former City winger Mark Kennedy has said that he was stunned when he learned that City had accepted a bid from Wolves. Kennedy said “It hit me hard when I was told that City had accepted a bid for me. I had no intention of leaving Maine Road. It was no exaggeration to say I was stunned. I knew Ipswich had been watching at the end of last season but it was my intention to come back and help City get back in the Premiership. Once it was made clear that the club had decided that I could go, then everything changed.” Kennedy has signed a 5-year deal with Wolves and is now said to be looking forward to a successful promotion campaign, though he did part by wishing City the best of luck.

Keegan to Play Without Wingers?: Quite a few people are now speculating that Kevin Keegan will wish to play without wingers, preferring either a solid 4-4-2 formation or a 3-5-2 cum 5-3-2 wing back system. This speculation has risen since the sale of Kennedy and the supposed interest of Wigan Athletic in Terry Cooke. Other wingers at the club, such as Danny Tiatto, Darren Huckerby and Shaun Wright-Phillips can also play more through the middle of the park when required.

More Fixture Changes: The Blues will now play Preston North End at Deepdale 24 hours later than originally scheduled on October 21st, as the game will be screened live on regional television, with a 2.15pm kick off. A few days later City will now play Grimsby at home on October 23rd, kick off 7.45pm. This game had already been brought forward.

As previously hinted in MCIVTA, recently released City ‘keeper Stephen Hodgson is now training with Macclesfield Town, with a view to attaining a contract.

Ex-Blues’ News

Former ‘Super Striker’ Barry Conlon has joined Darlington this week. Conlon is now on his third club since leaving City, literally less than four years ago.

Tony Scully, in recent years an under-used attacking midfielder has left QPR, who he joined from City, for a move to Cambridge United.

Dibble Receives Pay-Out: Former City ‘keeper Andy Dibble has been awarded £20,000 in compensation after he suffered serious burns when he dived to make a save unwittingly onto pitch lines marked with hydrated lime. The injury was sustained whilst Dibble was on loan for Welsh league side Barry Town. The match was played away at Carmarthen Town and liability finally rested with the local council who had been responsible for the pitch markings.

Weah Accused of Bribery: Liberia’s former world player of the year George Weah tried to bribe opponents Ghana in his last game with the Liberian national side, according to the Ghana national team coach. Weah allegedly offered players $5,000 each if they allowed Liberia to score a few goals. The accusations were made by Fred Osam-Duodu, the coach of Ghana’s Black Stars. “Soon after the match, the (Ghanaian) players, especially defenders Princeton Owusu-Ansah, Kofi Amaoko and goalkeeper James Nanor, informed me that George Weah, about 10 minutes to the end, appealed to each of them to allow them (Liberia) to score some goals to enable Liberia to win the match for $5,000 dollars each.” Ghana player Amoako added: “Weah asked me to talk to my fellow defenders to allow Liberia score. I told him that it was out of the question.”

Another former City legend, Neil Heaney (shurely shome mishtake) has been linked with a move to Hull City. Heaney has recently strutted his stuff at Dundee United, since moving from Darlington after falling out with their Chairman, George Reynolds, who at the time publicly lambasted Heaney for his pay demands, going as far as announcing how much Heaney wanted to earn. But it would appear that this is one transfer target which City are not aiming at, after a summer of much activity at Boothferry Park.

Michael Leafield (


Sunday 22nd July, 12 noon kick-off
Mossley F.C., Seel Park, Market Street, Mossley
Adults £4, kids for a quid

The above match, which is going to benefit the Neil Young Tribute Fund, has now been made all ticket. Due to the substantial levels of interest that have been shown the Police have now insisted for crowd control reasons that we make this an all ticket event. Whilst no-one will be turned away on the day we must comply with their request if the match is to go ahead. Tickets will be available from this Friday 6th July from the following outlets:

Primarily tickets can be obtained by post or personal collection from Vanda & David Cash, 9 Hawkstone Avenue, Droylsden M43 7RU; 0161-370 8367 or by personal collection from Mossley FC Social Club, Seel Park, Market Street, Mossley; 01457 836104. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

For those who don’t already know, former City Boys who will be making an appearance are: Neil Young, Colin Bell, Alex Williams, Willie Donachie, Peter Barnes, Paul Power, Kevin Reeves, Jason Beckford and Asa Hartford amongst a total squad of 20. All proceeds from the game will go towards benefiting the Neil Young Tribute Fund. The committee hope that Blues everywhere will support this and make it a real success.

Vanda & David Cash, Neil Young Tribute Committee (


According to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette daily newspaper on 5 July, in an exclusive interview, Shaun The Goat has denied British tabloid speculation that he could be set to leave City and move to Wolves.

He told the Gazette that he intended to stay at Maine Road for at least the remaining three years of his four year contract – unless the club, and more importantly, Kevin Keegan decided otherwise. The Goat said he was excited about both the new season and the prospect of working with former England boss, Our Kev.

So that’s settled then, eh.

Tim Gurney, Bermuda (


Blueview (and Kezman PSV) have stated that a Dutch football magazine has reported some news about a creative midfielder which Man City are supposedly interested in but is probably just another pre-season rumour. He is a young Japanese international named Shinji Ono who has received youth awards and favourable press over the last couple of years. Feyenood took the lad over for a series of trials and were very impressed but not enough to offer the £3 million that Shinji’s Japanese club are asking. Shinji has recently been covering for Roma’s Hidetoshi Nakata in the Japanese team and apparently was one of the star players in a successful Confederations Cup tournament.

For more information, go to his fan site at

Due to the lack of creative midfielders available, Shinji Ono may be worth a further look.

Jon Bradshaw (


I am organising a six-a-side tournament down in Horndean, Portsmouth on Sat 21st July. It is a regular annual event, and we need in between 10-12 teams to make it a success. We always come down to Pompey for the weekend and stay at the University halls; it’s always a comical lads’ weekend full of football and beer, but this year we are a couple of teams short of the required number. I am asking if there are any teams of Blues (or non-Blues for that matter) who fancy taking part. Each team will play at least 5 ten-minute games, spread over a few hours. Eight teams qualify for the quarters, and so on. It’s always a good laugh anyhow.

Could any interested parties respond to or give me a bell on either 0161 654 1609 or 0161 929 8436.

The standard of the teams ranges from appalling to semi-decent by the way.

Richard Ellor (Rich@APR-LEASING.CO.UK)


I am still trying to find out what happened to the drama programme about Denis Law and his goal against the Rags.

I was involved in the filming, over a year ago, my family and I were fed packets of crisps all day and I was asked, but refused, to wear a red shirt near the end.

Mike Collard (


Strong tough defender who probably wants to play for City given that Man U took a year out of his career compliments of Andy Cole. Prior to the injury he was a star up-and-coming defender who can score goals. He has played reasonably well since his comeback from injury. Well worth picking up.

Steve Toews (


In response to Peter Buriak’s queries:

  1. Alas no. Although our first choice eleven was all English, Bobby Kennedy,a Scot, played several games. Every player that played for us in our ’69 FACup and ’70 Cup Winners’ Cup winning teams was English, though. The lateArthur Mann prevents the same for the ’70 League Cup team.
  2. We certainly have never won a treble, a double of League Cup & CupWinners’ Cup in the 1969-70 season being the best. A faint, and pretty sad,argument, if my memory serves me right (and I was only seven), does existfor a treble. In the sense that due to the replay in the 1970 Cup Finalbeing the day after Vienna, we could claim to have still been FA Cup holdersfrom the 1968-69 season. Consequently we held three trophies at once. I, forone, won’t be pursuing this one though. Thinking about this, the sameapplies for the previous season. When we won the Cup in 1969, we still heldthe League title and the Charity Shield. Gets worse, doesn’t it?

Andy Noise (


Regular readers of the MCIVTA will know that I am hardly Joe Royle’s greatest fan, yet several months ago, after stating that those supporters who wanted JR to stay had “no criteria” against which to make that decision, I promptly announced that there were in fact “compelling reasons” why Royle should stay at Maine Road, for a further three years! Finally, after much delay, I get to state my case (of which I’m absolutely certain):

The fans: let’s face it, when you look at the outrageous way the Spurs fans treated the successful George Graham, or the forever whingeing Villa fans that have taken it in turns to blame either Ellis and/or Gregory for all their problems, who could have blamed the City fans for a serious rumble of discontent this season? Well actually, quite a lot of people were waiting in the wings to do just this. Our ‘friends across the city’ for a start would “just love it” if our house was torn apart again from the inside.

The press too, like to have a go at City fans if they can, for example Ken Lawrence in the Daily Mail accused those City fans who dared to criticize Royle this season of being: ‘backstabbers… naïve in their understanding of football.’ Most of the papers still like to anchor City’s demise over the last 25 years to the feet of the fans at Maine Road, who, “make it impossible for the players to perform.”

Well, by not getting on Royle’s back when we could have this season, we demonstrated once and for all, to anyone watching, that we the supporters were in no way to blame for the antics of the amazing MCFC. Towards the end, the press were somewhat astounded at our patience, fortitude and loyalty to the cause; they then had to give us the respect that is our due.

Personally, I was prepared to ‘keep up the general truce’ regarding Royle for a further three years if I had to, to ensure that there was no way we could be scapegoated. An unhappy sacrifice maybe, but at least our reputation as loyal supporters has survived this particular sacking.

The Chairman: given the unstinting support of the chairman for the manager throughout the last few seasons, Bernstein’s decision to dispense with Royle was an incredible surprise to me (and no doubt others too). Like Swales before him sacking Reid, this was a sacrifical, brave and totally correct decision, in my opinion at least. A pragmatic, cynical, and ultimately uncaring chairman would have stuck with both of these managers, through thick and thin, regardless of the consequences. I really thought Bernstein needed at least another three years of crap football to see through Joe’s paper thin charade (which actually fooled an awful lot of people): but how wrong I was, thank goodness. I just hope that Bernstein’s bravery is rewarded with some success.

Stability theory: how many times have I heard: “he needs five years to turn City around.” Followed by: “haven’t we learned that sacking our manager is not the solution,” followed by “we’ve had 30 managers in 4 seasons and yet we’ve now sacked another, who would really want the poisoned MCFC chalice?” etc.

Well I think another three years with Royle would have taken us, in total, to six years of utterly abysmal management, and thereby without any doubt, the ‘stability theory’ would have to have been consigned to the dustbin of history, where it belongs. Say what you like about the Gillingham and Blackurn results, but under a decent manager, they would not have even been necessary in the first place. Two unstable results from an unstable manager, who built a totally unstable squad: and yet so many thanked him for it.

Unit theory: joining the stability theory in the bin would go one of the worst theories to infest this club in recent years: the so-called ‘unit’ theory. Remember when Gio ‘relegated us’ twice? The reason being that “City didn’t play as a unit”? Well last year folks, you finally got your ‘unit’: Grant, Wiekens, Whitley (plus the blameless Tiatto) in arguably the worst ever City midfield. When you think about it, it is amazing that it wasn’t all over by Christmas (which given the departure of Weah, it effectively was). Hopefully, we have all learned that “all work and no play” drops Joe down a division or two. Pity we had to lose Brown, Cooke and Kinkladze in the learning process. Now, add Tiatto to those latter three, and then you really do have a midfield. Simple really. I hope City never play as a ‘unit’ again, and I certainly don’t ever want to hear or read about the ‘benefits’ of us doing so.

The defence: This season, Joe out-talked even his own quota of verbal garbage: the more he said, the less sense he made. Most notably, we kept hearing from him about the defence. We ‘needed’ to spend £15 million on defenders (fat lot of good that did for us). Topmöller was “a gifted midfielder” who according to JR “needs to learn more about the defensive side of the game.” The team that stays up in this “fifteen game mini-season” (sic) will be the team that “defends the best” according to JR: thank goodness we got a point away at Bradford then. Over the last twenty years we have spent a king’s ransom on defenders and it has got us nowhere. Any manager who now comes to this club and then narrows the pitch should be sacked immediately on principle: they would be if I was in charge!

Bounce-back theory: okay, I’ll settle for one more season under Royle (seems like a life sentence now), because I’m quite gutted that we will never find out about the so called ‘bounce-back’ theory i.e. the theory that relegation in some way implies an immediate bounce back for the ‘unlucky’ manager concerned (e.g. à la Reid). It would have been truly fascinating seeing what would have happened under Royle next season, but now, we’ll never know. Royle is very lucky indeed to have been spared the embarassment: pity.

The affer: Hopefully Joe was/is the last in what looked like being a neverending line of ‘gaffer’ managers employed by this club. Managers who need to be bigger than the club or the individuals therein. Managers who are quite ‘genial’ up and until the fans have the temerity to question their wisdom. Managers who would rather lose a game or isolate a player on a stupid childish principle instead of doing what is best for us, the supporters, the club itself. Too many times has this occurred in our recent history for me to even think about it now.

Should another Weah or Kinkladaze situation arise, then I hope the chairman will have the guts to stand up and ask the manager to account for the end consequences of their decision: “Okay, drop Kinkladze if you want to, but you tender your resignation on princple if we get relegated.” Ditto Weah. In this way, the board could (if they wanted to) have kissed Royle goodbye, without a single penny: as he so thoroughly deserved. Just you wait, he’ll hang around for his pay-off, like all the rest before him. That’s how much they really care about this club and the supporters. Frank ‘gaffer’ Clark is probably still drawing his MCFC ‘pension’!

I know this has been a long missive, well past its deadline, but with it being the silly season I felt it was finally worth sending out. All of the above may sound like 20:20 hindsight, but those of you who have followed my articles here, throughout Joe’s campaign, know that I was unconvinced by him, pretty much from day one. I figured another three years were needed for everyone here, and I mean everyone, to feel this way too. Bernstein got there sooner than I thought – good for him. Good for us too, hopefully.

Let’s have a great summer, a better season, and just for once, let’s storm out of this bloody division at the first time of asking.

Now about Keegan, …

CTID, Neil Haigh (


As an Aussie based blue I was interested to hear that we are pursuing Simon Colosimo of South Melbourne. I’ve always had a soft spot for Simon (a.k.a. ‘Sam’) after he threatened to sue the Rags over Andy Cole’s knee high tackle that put him out of the game for 12 months. It was without doubt the most cynical piece of butchery I have ever seen and it was heartening to see Danny Tiatto kick him around the park for the rest of the game.

I haven’t seen a lot of him apart from his appearances in the green and gold but he comes from the fertile footballing grounds of Melbourne’s Western Suburbs that spawned the likes of Danny Tiatto, Mark Viduka and Paul Okon. My mate had this to say about him in a recent email on the subject:

“I’ve seen a lot of Colosimo’s games for Carlton and South Melbourne over the last couple of years and there’s no doubt he’s a class player. One of his best features is that he can play anywhere in defence or midfield. When you consider that Sunderland wanted to buy him last year, he looks like a good buy for City. The only problem could be whether Colosimo is suited to the style of football in the English First Division, as his strengths are technical rather than physical. He’s no Danny Tiatto as far as tackling is concerned”.

I won’t make any bold predictions about him becoming the next Colin Bell but hopefully he’ll do as well as some of his countrymen who have gone before him (Jason van Blerk excepted).

CTID, John Ward (


Ian Wood says he doesn’t write very often, and this was once too often. We can do without pathetic anti-gay remarks about Ian Bishop. Talk about how we need a creative midfielder in the style of Bishop in his prime, not make comments about his sexual orientation, which is none of Ian Wood’s or anyone else’s business.

M Carver (


Help – I’m Irish and I can’t see… City!

Is it true that us paddies are not going to see any City matches next year on the telly, including highlights? Are all First Division games going to be on ‘OnDigital’? I’ve also heard that the ‘Match of the Day’ spin off is also only going to be on the ITV sports channels so we won’t see that either. I’d have no problem signing up for ‘OnDigital’ but we can’t get it here anyway! Is there anywhere we will be able to watch these matches, apart from Maine Road?

If this is true, should be get out heads together and try to come up with some system where matches are recorded on video and we send them around to each other? A whole season without seeing City at all sounds very bleak. Is there anyone out there who would be willing to tape the matches and post them over?

Neil Dinan (


If your grandfather was one of those 84,000 or so crammed into the Kippax for the record-breaking Stoke City game, if your father was one of those who saw the halcyon days of Sir Joseph Mercer, and if you lived at 185 Thornton Road in Fallowfield, under the watchful gaze of the floodlight pylon that stood on the corner of the old Platt Lane end and the Main Stand, I’d defy anybody to be anything but a lighter shade of blue.

I walked into Maine Road life just as Mr. Goodtimes was packing his bags and walking out. It was the 1979-80 season – when Malcolm Allison saw fit to dismantle a top-three side and indulge in a serious bit of shopping – a cold December afternoon and on a mudbath of a pitch, Peter Barnes returned to Maine Road to steer West Brom to a 3-1 victory.

I can’t remember that much about my earlier days – apart from the fact that the programmes used to be 20p, we used to sit on the green benches at the back of the Platt Lane end and you could get Smiths Salt’n’Shake crisps from the food counter – but every time Trevor Francis swept home, Bobby McDonald headed in from a corner or Joe Corrigan pulled off a magnificent save, I was slowly being convinced that the Blue course was the right one to take. And anyway, the United fans in my primary school class were all a bit of a pain in the arse, and that just wasn’t my style.

Teenage indifference and four years at Aberdeen University put paid to any sort of regular attendance during the late 80s and early 90s and meant me missing some key games, but then the obsession bug bit hard. My first season ticket; my hefty financial contributions to the merchandising coffers; my lack of sense of humour if anybody dare pass less than favourable comment about City.

Being married to City has had its fairer share of downs than ups, with a few key memories:

Wembley ’99 – now I know what the sound of 38,000 screaming people sounds like, and what it’s like to see the one thing you care for come back from an uncertain future. My ambition of seeing City at Wembley finally fulfilled.

Wigan Play-off Semi-Final 2nd leg, Birmingham home game 99-00 and Sunderland 4-2, August 2000 – three night games with memorable atmosphere.

Mansfield AWS game 98-99 – realising that my love for the Blues could be classed as “slightly disturbing” as I join 3,000 others for City’s footballing nadir.

QPR home game 97-98 – watching Jamie Pollock’s perfectly placed header sail into his own net and knowing, just knowing that the result at Stoke wouldn’t matter…

So, many thanks to my dad for dragging me out to the football on that December afternoon, and many thanks to mother for asking him to “get Karl out of the house for a couple of hours”. Whatever this season may bring… bring it one!

Karl Florczak (


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Michael –
Subscriptions: Geoff –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #724