Newsletter #730

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Tuesday night saw a good turnout from the fans in sunny Scunny in their Ikea warehouse of a stadium, though yet another lacklustre one from the team. Goater and Etuhu were on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw. Thank goodness we don’t have to go back there in a hurry, what with flooded loos and lukewarm food.

Tonight’s bumper issue (compounded by technical hitches, hence the delay) has some match reports on Scunny, Halifax and the reserves so thank you chaps, plenty of opinion, the debate rages on for Goater, a Why Blue, a hatful of requests and a mammoth week’s news from both Michael and Peter (see below).

Anyone who’s not yet had enough of the pre-season friendlies and is off to Tranmere, if you fancy doing a report then keep them coming in…

Next game: Tranmere Rovers away, Saturday 28th July 2001 (3pm)

NEWS CHANGE

Michael takes a break from the news for the next two issues with Peter kindly agreeing to step back in, so any items or rumours to Peter please at:

pjbrophy@btinternet.com

Heidi

NEWS SUMMARY: PETER’S BIT

Part I – Scunthorpe Friendly: Result and Reaction

Etuhu and Goater Rescue City: After their narrow win over Halifax on Saturday, Manchester City continued their pre-season build-up against another Third Division side on Tuesday evening. And the Blues again found the going tough at Scunthorpe, a late Shaun Goater goal salvaging a 2-2 draw for Kevin Keegan’s men at Glanford Park. Keegan, returning to his first professional club, saw his side go a goal down on 25 minutes when Kim Grant scored for the hosts. And the home side doubled their advantage five minutes after the break when Stuart Thom headed home Andy Dawson’s cross. As at the Shay three days earlier, City had sent out a much-changed line-up for the second period, and 19-year-old substitute Dickson Etuhu took the opportunity to impress the new manager by reducing the arrears on 56 minutes. But it appeared that the youngster’s effort would be insufficient to save the Blues from an embarrassing defeat until Goater converted a Terry Cooke centre four minutes from time.

Youngster Dickson Makes His Mark: Dickson Etuhu made a big impression in the second half of Manchester City’s friendly at Scunthorpe on Tuesday. But to team-mate Terry Cooke, the 19-year-old’s fine display came as no surprise. Etuhu scored one of the goals as the Blues fought back from two goals down to snatch a draw against the Third Division side. And Cooke, who has seen the Nigerian-born youngster’s development at close quarters in the City reserve side in the past year, was delighted to see the midfielder make his mark when given a chance to be part of the first-team squad. “Dickson did really well,” said the ex-Manchester United winger. “He didn’t look at all fazed by being in the first-team squad. He’s a strong, powerful lad. He put himself about the place when he came on, he let people know that he is about and I’m really pleased to see him making progress.”

Part II – Transfer News and Rumour

Wanchope’s Agent – No Malaga Talks: Kevin Keegan reportedly wants Paulo Wanchope to spearhead the Manchester City attack in Division One next season. And the new Blues’ boss’s hopes of keeping the Costa Rican at Maine Road for the new campaign have been boosted by the comments of the striker’s agent Dennis Roach. Wanchope’s five goals in four games for his national side in this month’s Copa America tournament were said have caught the eye of several foreign clubs. And Argentine pair Boca Juniors and Rosario Central have reportedly been showing a particular interest in the ex-Derby and West Ham man, although neither club is likely to be able to afford the rumoured £5 million asking price. Spanish outfit Malaga, however, appeared to be especially keen to complete a deal, and it was even claimed that the Primera Liga side had held discussions with the player’s representative over a move. However, the Primera Liga club’s President has played down the story, and Roach has also issued a denial of claims that talks are at an advanced stage. “I have had no contact with Malaga,” he explained. “Paulo will fly back to Manchester on Friday and is happy to return.”

Preston Deny Goater Link but Wolves “Set to Bid”: Shaun Goater has been linked with Wolves for much of the summer, but Preston North End were this week also said to be contemplating a move for the 31-year-old. However, the Lancashire club have denied the story although the rumour persists that the player could move to the Black Country. Wolves are keen to sign a striker, but their first choice was Preston’s Jon Macken. North End were reported on Tuesday to view Goater as an ideal replacement for Macken, but after swiftly refuting the story then flatly rejected the Midlands club’s £4.5 million final offer for their star striker. The Manchester Evening News now claims that Molineux boss David Jones is likely to make a £2 million bid for Goater, although the paper states that Kevin Keegan would be reluctant to do business. However, it’s thought that the ex-Bristol City man himself could be tempted by the prospect of a transfer if he expects to play only a bit-part rôle this term, and there has been much conjecture that Keegan’s preferred strike partnership is a pairing of Paulo Wanchope and Darren Huckerby.

New Boy Berkovic Looks for Premiership Return: Eyal Berkovic completed his £1.5 million move from Celtic to Manchester City this week. But even though he’s joined a First Division club, the Israeli international firmly believes that he’ll be back in the Premiership in a year’s time. Before his spell in Scotland, Berkovic enjoyed three seasons in the top flight with Southampton and then West Ham after leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv in the autumn of 1996. And after a three-month loan spell last season in which he helped Blackburn to clinch their return to the elite, the 29-year-old is well placed to assess his new club’s promotion pedigree. “To play for City will be like playing in the Premiership because of their ambition and the fact that they’re so big,” he declared, “so it doesn’t matter for me that, for the moment, they are playing in Division One. I know very soon it will be different.” Berkovic has signed a four-year deal with the Blues and says that he’s determined to be at Maine Road until the end of that engagement, after which he intends to quit British football and return to Israel.

Souness Backs City’s Eyal Deal: Graeme Souness elected not to sign Eyal Berkovic after the midfielder’s loan spell at Blackburn last season. But the Rovers’ boss is convinced that Manchester City’s new £1.5 million signing will be a resounding success at Maine Road. City have signed the ex-Southampton and West Ham star from Scottish champions Celtic, where he fell out of favour once Martin O’Neill arrived as manager. The 29-year-old ended his campaign at Ewood Park, where he contributed to the Lancashire club’s return to the Premiership – and Souness says that his decision not to sign the Israeli on a permanent basis owed to tactical considerations only. “I explained to Eyal at the start of the summer that he plays best in a system which I don’t think we’ll be using next season,” commented the ex-Rangers and Liverpool boss. “but in the position he plays I don’t think there is anyone better and I’m sure he’ll do a good job for Kevin Keegan. He is a talented player and did his bit for us last season.”

Blues Still Looking to Make More Signings: Manchester City have signed three players so far this summer. But the Blues are still looking to add more new recruits to their squad before the new season kicks off in two weeks’ time and will continue the search for reinforcements thereafter. New player-coach Stuart Pearce has disclosed that even after the acquisition of Eyal Berkovic, manager Kevin Keegan hopes to land another “one or two” new faces in the next fortnight, having been promised that funds are available to sign the men he wants. And director Dennis Tueart has stated that he fully expects the club to bring in fresh faces during the course of the season. Meanwhile Berkovic has revealed that Keegan’s promise of further acquisitions helped to convince him to move to Maine Road. “I am the third signing [Keegan] has made,” commented the Israeli, “and I think he’s going to sign another three or four players.” The Blues are currently being strongly linked with Tranmere’s Jason Koumas, though the Second Division club are keen to keep the midfielder. Middlesbrough defender Steve Vickers has also been mentioned as a possible target, although with the squad hardly lacking in defensive cover, this proposition seems on its face somewhat more dubious.

Jim Whitley Set for Wrexham Move?: Jim Whitley is in talks over a possible move to Wrexham. The midfielder had been expected to join Northampton when his Manchester City contract expired this summer but the proposed move seems to have broken down. The elder of the two Whitley brothers played in thirteen league games during a loan spell for the Cobblers last season, and boss Kevin Wilson was thought to be keen to take the player to Sixfields on a permanent basis. But after discovering that the Northern Ireland international is still available, Wrexham’s Brian Flynn has stepped in with a bid to take him back to North Wales, where the 25-year-old grew up. Initial reports that it was Jeff Whitley who was set for a move to the Welsh club were simply a case of mistaken identity.

Part III – Miscellaneous News and Views

Haaland May Miss Start of Season: Alfie Haaland has missed Manchester City’s opening two pre-season games. And there are doubts over whether the Norwegian will have returned to full fitness in time to feature in the Blues’ opening First Division fixture of the new campaign. Haaland had a cartilage operation in the summer and had been expected to be back in action by the time City began the programme of warm-up friendlies. But the former Nottingham Forest and Leeds man is still undergoing treatment for his troublesome knee problem. And with the Maine Road curtain-raiser against Watford now just over two weeks away, the 28-year-old’s prospects of facing the Hornets are starting to look slim.

Tiatto – City Must Bounce Straight Back: Danny Tiatto believes that Manchester City face a crucial season. The Australian has warned that the Blues may lose several of their top stars unless they make an instant return to the Premiership. Tiatto is staying at Maine Road despite the attentions of Premier League clubs impressed by his displays in the top flight last term. And he believes that under new boss Kevin Keegan, City have what it takes to enjoy their second promotion, although he recognises that the consequences of failure will be severe. “Promotion is a major priority,” the 28-year-old affirmed. “If you linger too long the boys can get downhearted. It becomes hard to keep players here, because everybody wants to play top-flight football.”

Cooke Looking for Starting Place: Terry Cooke has spent most of the last eighteen months on the Manchester City transfer list. But the winger believes that the arrival of new manager Kevin Keegan has given him the chance of a fresh start at Maine Road. Cooke last featured in the City side for a competitive senior fixture in November 1999 against Huddersfield, and since then has had loan spells at Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday. But a prospective move to the latter was scuppered by the Yorkshire outfit’s dire financial position, meaning that the former Manchester United junior returned to Maine Road, where he had become a permanent reserve under Joe Royle. But Royle’s replacement Kevin Keegan has told the 24-year-old to fight to prove his worth. “The last 18 months haven’t gone so well but hopefully I can get myself back on track,” the ex-England under-21 star told the official City website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “There’s a strong squad of players here but it’s the same for everyone, and there’s no reason why I can’t get my head down and force my way into the team.”

Weaver Hoping to See Off Nash Challenge: Nicky Weaver lost his place in the Manchester City goal to Carlo Nash towards the end of last season. But the England under-21 man is hoping to re-establish himself as first choice when the new season kicks off in just over two weeks’ time. Both Weaver and Nash are bidding to prove to Kevin Keegan in the pre-season build-up that they should start the Blues’ opening First Division fixture against Watford on August 11. And the one-time Mansfield junior believes that he can put his unhappy expereinces of last season behind him to reclaim his spot as City’s number one goalkeeper, although he’s taking nothing for granted. “I lost my place to Carlo for the last half a dozen games of last season and he did very well,” admitted the 22-year-old. “Now I want to get back into the team but I realise it’s going to be a tough battle.”

Colisimo Already Feels at Home: Simon Colosimo is in the early stages of his Manchester City career. But the Australian international defender says he’s settling in well at Maine Road. Colosimo joined the Blues from South Melbourne earlier this month, and has been given his chance in the club’s pre-season build-up. He earned a rave review from the Manchester Evening News for his performance as a second-half substitute against Halifax last Saturday and was also introduced after the break at Scunthorpe on Tuesday. And he says he’s enjoyed every minute of his time in Manchester so far. “When I first looked around I was surprised how big the club is – it’s a monster – but everyone has made me really welcome here,” the 22-year-old told the official City website at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/. “I feel right at home already. I think I’ve come at a good time, everyone’s positive and looking forward to getting a good start of the season.”

City Turned Down Chance to Sign Larsson: Manchester City once famously passed up the chance to sign £37 million superstar Luis Figo. And it’s emerged this week that the Blues also turned down the opportunity to land Swedish goal machine Henrik Larsson. Former City boss Peter Reid was in Glasgow this week for a friendly between his current club Sunderland and Celtic, for whom Larsson now plays. And Reid recalled how during his Maine Road days, he’d run the rule over the man who last season scored more than fifty goals for the Scottish champions, only to elect not to take matters further despite the player’s then-employer Feyenoord being willing sellers at a bargain price. “When I was at Man City we had a look at Larsson, and decided not to go for him,” admitted the Liverpudlian. “Shows what a good judge of a player I am!”

Part IV – Former Blues’ News

Kernaghan Hopes for Plymouth Deal: Alan Kernaghan has been given a free transfer by St Johnstone. But the former Manchester City defender could soon find himself back in football if a trial spell at Plymouth proves successful. Kernaghan has been with the Scottish club since leaving the Blues in December 1997 but his contract has expired this summer and is not being renewed. And Paul Sturrock, the manager responsible for taking the ex-Middlebsrough man north of the border, is now in charge of the Devon club. Sturrock is hoping that the 34-year-old will prove his fitness after recent injury problems, and, if so, the former Irish international will join two former Maine Road colleagues at Home Park. Winger Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips and full-back Brian McGlinchey were both on City’s books in the 1990s.

Part V – Reserve and Youth News

Reserves Notch Five Again: Manchester City’s reserve side notched five goals in their first pre-season game at Ashton United last Friday. And the Blues repeated the dose this Wednesday as they thrashed Hyde United 5-0 at Ewen Fields. Stephen Jordan gave City the ideal start with two first-half strikes in quick succession before Chris Killen’s volley sealed a three-goal half-time lead. The second period was quieter, and it was the 87th minute before the Blues scored again, this time through Northern Ireland youth international Gary Browne. Andrew Tunnicliffe completed the scoring in injury time. The City line-up featured Terry Dunfield, who played in the senior friendly at Halifax on Saturday, and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who had been on duty at Scunthorpe 24 hours earlier, while Dickson Etuhu, who also featured at Glanford Park, came on as a second-half substitute.

City Youngsters Make an Impression: Manchester City are hoping that their Youth Academy will prove a source of future first-team stars. And the Blues will take comfort from the fact that some of their youngsters are flourishing on the international stage. In a recent triangular tournament against Brazil and Italy, the player widely recognised as the outstanding talent in the England under-17 side was City junior Lee Croft. And Croft’s Maine Road colleague Dorryl Proffitt also showed up well, scoring the only England goal in their two games. Now another City youngster has shone at international level, with Paul Murphy on target twice for the Irish under-16 team in a 3-0 win over Croatia in the European Youth Olympics. Meanwhile, the Blues are doing all they can to ensure that their promising hopefuls learn good habits at the outset of their professional careers. Academy director Jim Cassell has organised a week-long residential course at Crewe and Alsager College for the club’s first and second-year apprentices. They will be lectured by a range of speakers, including City manager Kevin Keegan, on how footballers should conduct themselves.

Part VI – Tranmere Friendly: Preview

City Continue Pre-Season Build-Up: Manchester City continue their pre-season build-up on Saturday. The Blues visit Tranmere in the third of four warm-up friendlies before the new campaign kicks off. The Merseysiders have now been relegated to the Second Division, but having only ever played two competitive fixtures against City before 1996 have been familiar opponents since then. They have met the Blues in each of City’s last three First Division campaigns, and the record of the 1990s meetings at Prenton Park seems to indicate that, after close games in the friendlies at Halifax and Scunthorpe, Kevin Keegan’s men face another keenly contested match. All three of the recent games between the sides on Merseyside were drawn, with the last meeting in October 1999 representing an eventful day for Kevin Horlock in particular. The Northern Ireland man first scored City’s goal from a penalty but was then sent off for a professional foul, an incident resulting in the spot kick from which the hosts levelled matters. Meanwhile, Saturday’s match is given added spice by the presence in the home ranks of City’s supposed priority transfer target Jason Koumas.

Peter Brophy (pjbrophy@btinternet.com

NEWS SUMMARY: MICHAEL’S BELATED BIT

General Stuff

Well things finally seem to be moving at last. Welcome to Eyal Berkovic, our first creative midfielder at the club since Bish! (sorry Tony Tramp, but you don’t count). The fee is reported to be in the region of £1.5 million. Berkovic, who was on the books at Celtic after a big money £5.75 million move from West Ham, has not settled in Glasgow and spent time at Blackburn Rovers on loan. The Israeli is 29 years old and has signed a 4-year deal with City; subject to the usual medicals and work permit details. Eyal told the club’s official website http://www.mcfc.co.uk/, “I am delighted to be joining a club with a great future and want to be part of Kevin Keegan’s plans for Manchester City.” Berkovic’s international manager Richard Nielson also spoke of his pleasure that the midfielder will again gain first team fitness, claiming it was exactly what Eyal needed. It’s thought that the move could seal Berkovic’s place in the forthcoming Israeli squad for games against Lithuania and Bosnia. As usual, one of the Sunday Rags, the ManUre loving Mirror tried to put some sort of downer on the deal, speculating Berkovic’s wages at £25,000 per week, with a further alleged pay out of £250,000 if we secure promotion next season.

Pearce – More Signings

City captain Stuart Pearce has hinted that City will increase the squad by a further two signings before the season begins. Speaking to the Daily Express, ‘Psycho’ is quoted as saying “There will probably be the addition of one or two more players. There are funds available.”

City Beat the Shaymen

No, not a game against the pill loving nineties popsters but a dour 2-1 victory over the West Yorkshiremen; City came from behind to win with goals from Darren Huckerby and Kevin Horlock. Hopefully a bit of confidence rebuilding has taken place after the habitual defeats of last season. I’m sure we will have several reports that will detail the game for us. Interestingly enough I read a match report on the shaymenonline website which mentioned us in favourable terms as regards our performance; this was contradictory to one or two of our ‘friends’ in the media who seemed to take an opportunity to have a pop at City and particularly KK. Hopefully some balanced reported from the subscribers should see who is closer to the truth on this.

City XI Win

A City reserve team took on Ashton United last Friday and came out 5-0 winners. Very little on the information front re this, so any reports would be welcome.

Charvet to Stay?

KK has indicated that he would like Laurent Charvet to stay at Maine Road. The Frenchman, who looked appalling for much of last season (then again who didn’t!), has apparently impressed in training and Willie Donachie has been quoted as saying “Charvet is still a good player – a much better player than he looked at times last season. It did get to the stage where he felt that things were not going to work out for him and that a change of environment was what he needed to get his career back on track, but Kevin has told Laurent and all the other players that the slate is clean. They are all starting from scratch and he is not concerned about what went on before he arrived at the club. Kevin wants Charvet to stay at Maine Road and fight for his place and there is no doubt in my mind that Laurent has the ability to play a part in this club’s immediate future. It really hinges on how much he wants it.”

Ins, Outs, Rumours

Another Rag-loving mouthpiece, Century Radio, has reported that KK has made a £3 million bid for Jason Koumas. Koumas, as reported in last week’s MCIVTA, has already announced his intention to continue playing for Tranmere in Division 2. Keegan is obviously hoping that the cash may be too much to turn down.

Wanchope Scores Again and Again

Keegan has slapped a £5 million price tag on free-scoring Paulo Wanchope. Wanchope, who has recently indicated his desire to play abroad, has been impressing many with his performances in the Copa America. The latest clubs allegedly interested are Argentinian giants Boca Juniors and Rosario Central. Meanwhile, as predicted last week, Wanchope’s agent was being a tad disingenuous regarding Paulo and a move to Malaga as Malaga’s chairman has confirmed that they are in talks with Wanchope’s agent. Paulo scored a brace against Bolivia last Thursday, which took his tournament tally to 4 goals in 3 games. Costa Rica finished top of their group and qualified for the Quarter finals. They then met Uruguay last night, but despite Wanchope’s fifth goal of the tournament, Costa Rica lost 2-1.

That’s it from me for a few sessions; Peter will do the next few summaries, so back to some well-informed and enlightening news summaries whilst this monkey takes a break!

Michael Leafield (mplctid@aol.com)

MATCHVIEW: SCUNTHORPE

At long last the East Yorkshire CSA reaches ‘critical mass’ and our long cherished ambition to get have enough people to warrant a minibus is achieved! After the panic associated with having to get tickets, it was frustrating to see cash turnstiles operating, but otherwise everything came together as planned… until the game itself started of course. Glanford Park is easy enough to get to but the setting’s a rather bleak one, and it’s difficult to tell the ground from the warehouses in the area but the ‘Subbuteo style’ floodlights are a bit of a giveaway. The ground is pretty compact and it struck later me when the PA asked for the City coach driver to report to wherever, that it must have been a hell of a bus given the fact we’d brought two full teams of players plus management, and there seemed little room on the pitch before kick-off with all the people milling about.

As for the game itself, another game of two halves / teams like Halifax and a bit of a scramble to avoid defeat in the end. They took the lead after about 25 minutes with a scramble in the 6 yard box, extended it after about 5-10 minutes of the second half with a good header from a corner, before Etuhu pulled one back and then the Goat got his head to one with a couple of minutes on the clock to save a few blushes.

First half line up:

Nash
Dunne, Howey, Pearce
Charvet, Whitley, Wiekens, Tiatto, Granville
Huckerby, Dickov

Second half:

Weaver
Edghill, Colosimo, Ritchie
Tyrone Mears?, Wright-Phillips, Cooke, Grant, Horlock
Etuhu, Goater

Overall we were lethargic in the first half, more energetic in the second as I guess players felt they had a point to prove.

Keepers had little to do. First half defence didn’t communicate well at times but there were some well timed challenges from all three on occasion; can’t comment about second as I was at the wrong end and the mince pies were never that good even as a lad. Midfield was disappointing in the first half, with Danny Tiatto running in ever decreasing circles, Jeff Whitley was Jeff, Ged was, y’know. Crowd got on Charvet’s back a lot but I thought he did OK, but Granville was better down the left. Second half midfield was much more up for it, even Grant wasn’t invisible. We believe it was Tyrone Mears/Myers but he had no name or number hence chants of ‘Who are yer’ from the City fans. Could have been a supporter for all we knew but pretty nippy one, not unlike SWP in style. Cooke was everywhere with a few good efforts on target, and Horlock got stuck in too. If I were Berkovic I’d be more worried about the reserves on this showing.

Up front, in the first half Huck and Dicky were disappointing, especially the latter, who managed to get into an argument with the ref in a friendly – I ask you! Second half the service was better for Etuhu and Goater and they duly scored without looking overly threatening. You could understand Etuhu being pleased; the Goat simply seemed a little apologetic about it all.

The City fans were in good voice and sarcasm mode. The Iron ‘keeper had been named Man of the Match (honestly!) to a chant of ‘England’s Number 1’ from the home fans. A short while later he fumbled a shot in front of the City fans who duly chanted – you’ve guessed it!

And our minibus got a police escort away from the ground which gave us a flyer for the return trip.

Roll on Watford, but in the meantime if any Blues in the East Yorkshire area are interested in the bus trip to Huddersfield next week, contact me or our Chairman Tom Farrington (tom.farrington@rollits.com).

Geoff Donkin – BeverleyBlue (geoff@donkin.freeserve.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT: SCUNTHORPE vs. MANCHESTER CITY

‘New in the shops – The Manchester City Jigsaw!’

KK’s got a new jigsaw puzzle and we saw the pieces on display last night in Sunny Scunny.

It seemed almost as if he played a first half with a view to examining the preferred defensive pieces (Pearce, Howey, Dunne with Granville and Charvet to left and right) leaving the midfield and forwards to get on and do what they could (Wiekens, Tiatto, Whitley, Huckerby and Dickov). Nash kept goal for the first 45 and Weaver the second.

This first half arrangement resulted in 5 minutes of City pressure, which almost produced a goal but instead found Scunthorpe settling and dealing with the threat. Dickov was penalised every time he went near the ball or a player and you began to wonder whether the officials had been watching old footage of Dicky in action and decided that if in doubt blow up.

The defence looked good, Pearce expert in dealing with any opponent who dared to trespass into his area of operation. Several left foot overhead clearances spring to mind that would have got him a place in the British Lions team plus one withering look given to Nash after having had the ball thrown out to him whilst under pressure. Howey was calm, decisive and deliberate, clearing and distributing the ball well to midfield and ‘wing’.

Dunne was powerful and making his presence felt amongst the opposition. Granville was little used after the early minutes and may have suffered from the fact that Pearce gets forward into that same position; he could usefully have played further up than he did. Charvet, fitter and quicker than last season but not achieving much, mostly due to a lack of outlet for him when going forward. Whitley and Wiekens not making much contribution. Their goal came from a Charvet attempt to save a throw in by sliding the ball back to Nash but it ended up going for a corner. The near post ball sent in was met by two City defenders, one of whom should have stayed on his man as the resultant clash caused the ball to squirt out to the now unmarked forward who poked it in from 3 feet.

Any forward movement came via the left through Tiatto who attempted to link with Huckerby and Dickov (attacks invariably broke down at PD mostly because of over enthusiastic officials). Huckerby was moving across the box well in trying to make himself available but was not picked up by the midfield often enough to make an impact. He did have a couple of shots, one of which should have brought a goal but it was too close to their goalie, who, true to type, was saving his best performance for the visit of the Blues, dealing efficiently with everything coming his way.

2nd half KK plays a team that has the emphasis on midfield and attack (Weaver, Edgehill, Colosimo, Ritchie in defence, Cooke, Etuhu, Grant, Horlock and an unknown in midfield with Goater and SWP up front).

This set of pieces fitted together very well, with the result that we were much better going forward. Horlock energetic, inventive, thirsting for action, Etuhu strong and confident, good feet, SWP quicksilver as ever and an unknown (no name or number on his back) on the wing doing a very good impression of SWP.

Just as we were getting excited, they scored again. Another corner, given away this time by Colosimo. He looked uncertain in the centre of defence and was caught in possession on more than one occasion. Weaver could not stop the resulting angled header. Cue chants of ‘We love you City we do…’ and a personal feeling of deep despair.

A succession of City corners followed more good forward play, one of which found the ball pinging around in the area with Dickson Etuhu getting his head on it to glance it into the net.

More inventiveness from Horlock, combining well on the left with Etuhu and SWP. Grant less impressive, pulling out of 50-50 balls and not looking at all assertive amongst lower division opposition. Goater was a real presence in attack, distributing and laying off well, getting forward and causing real problems for opponents.

Cooke looked really good, spraying the ball from the centre of midfield to the wings, finding his teammates well. His corner, hit firmly, found Goater perfectly and ‘The Goat’ met it firmly, planting it in the top corner. Another Goater goal looked on the cards but bounced off the goalie’s legs when it looked certain to go in.

We were pleased to have been spared another defeat in Lincolnshire and as to the jigsaw – use the defensive pieces from the first half with Edghill in place of Charvet, definitely play Cooke, Horlock and Tiatto together with Berkovic. Find an opportunity to play SWP and Etuhu. Try Huckerby and Goater up front or go for the proven partnership of Dickov and Goater.

Forget Wanchope. Sell him to the Spanish and use the money to get a number for that laser blue flash on the right wing?

Rick Eagles (rick@eagles.org.uk)

MATCH REPORT: HALIFAX TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY

I don’t know about you but pre-season games always feel more surreal than your average episode of Twin Peaks. It’s like a warm up for the players and also a warm up for the fans, it’s been a couple of months since I stood at a bar, five deep away, hustling and bustling with fellow Blues to get served with a warm pint of beer. The bar had run out of glasses and most of its drinks, the Blues were truly back in town.

I wasn’t too fused about not been able to get a drink as I was dying from a hangover from a works do the night before, I lost God knows how many hours, so I wanted to remember the whole match, watching City sober (gulp! now that’s a scary thought). I was truly lucky to see this game; I got a lift last minute from a fantastic couple I know, Shaun and Helen, and I secured a ticket via mobile phone from MCFCBIRD; thank you Debs, you were a life saver. So it was meant to be, so a match report was a must.

City started with a strong enough side; I couldn’t believe Weaver, the man is only half the goalkeeper he used to be, literally. He must have lost a couple of stone since the end of last season, he actually looked like a professional footballer, rather than the marsh mellow man from Ghostbusters. Buying Carlo Nash from Stockport might turn Weaver into an England international. As for the rest of team, I’m sure will be covered by others in this issue. Some things never change; Charvet looked out of his depth against an average Third Division side, Richard Dunne looked like a sumo wrestler and moved like one. Howey looked assured and comfortable on the ball, as did Edghill when he came on. Pearce looked up for the challenge that lies ahead he played an immaculate game at the back, he linked up well with Tiatto who played as Tiatto always does, strong runs, quick feet but I feel he needs to work on his finishing. Wiekens, like Charvet, can’t have done his chances any good, he seems to favour a pass of under 6 yards sideways for the whole of a game, his pace is now legendary, how heavy can a pair of football boots be?

Goater replaced Mike about half way through the first half and I feel he will be the main man upfront for us this year. I predict 25 goals from the Goat, he for me looked comfortable in the Premiership, so I for one hope he can produce at First Division level and score a hatful. The thing with pre-season is that you spend half the time watching the game, then you spend half the time catching up with old mates.

The best chant of the first half had to be about half way though the City fans were singing ’25 years and we’re still here’, when some bright spark came up with ’25 minutes and Kev’s still here’. Now that is truly what I miss; the wit and banter of Manchester’s finest. The self mocking is brilliant, can you imagine another team from Stretford taking the mick out of themselves en masse? That’s what makes us who we are.

I went to get a burger during half time and ended up queuing for 35 minutes; don’t you love Nationwide facilities? One burger bar for all the City fans is truly a fantastic managerial cock-up by Halifax Town, I didn’t know they had money to throw away. If we are on the subject of Halifax throwing away money, the amount of police there made it feel like a war zone, never mind a friendly game between two local teams. I never sniffed an ounce of trouble, so I don’t know who had to foot the bill, but what a waste of money, good banter all-round was what I saw.

Anyhow on to the second half, what I saw of it due to my quest for food. We played with a slightly weaker team: Cooke, Nash, Colosimo, Huckerby, Horlock, Ritchie, Grant, Dunfield all came on, which changed the proceedings somewhat. Cooke looked like he was interested and was effective, Nash was steady and was not at fault for Halifax’s goal, Huckerby looked dangerous and took his goal with some style, a tasty finish. On to the midfield; Grant I feel is a liability, he has one fantastic game every 6 months and he does a credible version of the invisible man for the next 5 and half months before he puts a superhuman performance again; not good enough for King Kev’s revolution (I hope).

Many of you will want to hear about the new boy at the back, Colosimo. Well most of the Maine Road faithful liked what they saw; I, however, am going to wait before I pass judgement. He looks very comfortable on the ball, too comfortable for me, he takes risks and I feel that this will cost us goals over the course of a season. He is strong in the tackle and quick, we were told he is a right back but he played centre half on Saturday, so he will prove an interesting buy and I hope a successful one. I wonder if he was one of Arthur Cox’s recommendations?

The best entertainment of the second half was the banter between on overweight Halifax Town fan and the entire City end. Which weighed more, the entire City end or this one man was up for debate, but the chants of ‘Who ate all the pies’, ‘You fat B’stard’ were met with a bit of a strip and a show of a nipple at a time, which got the entire City end cheering, a show of his unique side profile was met with cheers and gasps of amazement. A steward who tried to end this bit of harmless fun was rightly booed and got the message and cleared off to the back of the stand and left us to marvel at the show on offer. It was only City’s 2 goals which reverted our attention back to the match.

So all in all a top day out seeing Blues that you have missed, warming up for the real kick off against Watford, which I’m going to miss due to booking my Jolly Hols a bit later, so I’m making the most of pre-season games, so bring it on Scunthorpe.

Walter Smith (Citysmith@yahoo.com)

MATCH REPORT: HYDE UNITED vs. MCFC RESERVES

I was at Hyde for the reserves’ second pre-season friendly. The final scoreline 5-0 was a justifiable reflection of the huge gap that separated the two sides. Appearing amongst the Blues were a couple of youth team players but in general the ‘old’ stagers of last season, Suker, SWP, Rees Day, Dunfield, Killen, Jordan and Etuhu, were still there weaving the magic that regular followers of the second string have come to expect. Three goals in the first half, two of which came from howling defensive errors set the picture for a languid second half when City seemed content for large swathes of time to pass the ball around and have the Hyde lads running like headless chickens. The fourth and fifth goals came in the final ten minutes of the second half, with the last goal being a classic volley into the top corner that any first team player would have been proud to score.

Hyde had only one serious attempt on goal but young Brian Murphy was up to the measure as he tipped the ball up sufficiently for it to strike the cross-bar and rebound to a blue shirt. That one chance apart Hyde never looked like getting into the scoring, though they did manage to get into the last fifteen on a few occasions, squandering the resulting opportunities.

Many regulars must like me be wondering whether KK is going to give one or two of the youngsters a chance of some first team football. SWP and Chris Suker are probably ready now, as is Terry Dunfield (evidenced by being subbed for the last 20 minutes of the last match of the season?) and maybe even Chris Killen who is scoring freely for reserves and country. The four lads look like they really want to play and are proud to wear the blue shirt… “Give ’em a chance Kev, we’d just love it!”

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

OPINION: BERKOVIC I

I must admit, when I first saw that we had signed the lad Berkovic, I wasn’t particularly excited, mainly due to the fact of the trouble-maker tag that he has picked up at different clubs. A creative midfielder is definitely the most important buy we had to make for this coming season, along with maybe a right back, but the attitude the of player was something that didn’t appeal to me or make me think he was the right one for us. After speaking to a couple of Blackburn fans who I work with and who both have season tickets at Ewood, they both thought very highly of him… a class apart in that First Division apparently, with some of the stuff he does simply amazing. As Jon Bradshaw’s Celtic mates mention, they also said that his work rate is poor, never puts a tackle in, but definitely has the ability to change games. After their reports and the fact that we had signed him for £1.5 million, rather than for the £3 million that Blackburn had apparently offered but then had trouble getting a work permit(?), I felt happier about having him at Maine Road.

I suppose only time will tell. From the Celtic and Blackburn testaments, he’s undoubtedly a very gifted player but an absolute luxury it would seem. With Kinkladze, it didn’t work, because of I feel, over reliance on him to win games for us single-handedly and being surrounded by more than a team’s fair share of donkeys. We have a new and improved team now, a more equipped team that can actually play a bit of football now and again so hopefully we can now accommodate a player like Berkovic without it becoming a disruptive and costly mistake.

Chris Chapman (cb-chapman@bdp.co.uk)

OPINION: BERKOVIC II

As an Israeli Manchester City fan I find MCIVTA a great way to keep up to date on City news. I am especially excited now that Eyal Berkovic has joined the Blues; he is a very skilful player and is highly respected here in Israel. He is the dominant player on the Israeli national team and I hope that after the unsettled time he has had recently he will return to playing the way he knows and will help City to return to the Premier League.

Shalom Cohen, Bet Shemesh, Israel (scohen1@netvision.net.il)

OPINION: GOATER I

It seems that there is an ongoing debate about the ability of the Goat. I don’t want to take sides here as there have been valid arguments both for/against.

My initial impression of the Goat way back in the dark Division 2 days of Wycombe, Luton etc. was that he couldn’t strike, head, tackle, etc. I concur with those of you who believe he failed as a Premier League striker, but not due to a lack of striking ability, more likely a lack of opportunity.

Okay, he’s not Thierry Henry but then he didn’t cost over 10 million quid, did he? I guarantee he’ll get 20+ this season and finish City’s top scorer. So tell me who else in the current squad you’d put your money on.

Gary Maxwell (Gary.Maxwell@icl.com)

OPINION: GOATER II

I’ve just caught up with my reading and note with interest some of the recent debate for and against ‘The Goat’. Well I’ll nail my colours up straight away; I like The Goat both as a player and person so it won’t be surprising that I am going to jump to defend him.

Let’s cast our collective minds back a season or so and review his performance in the 1999/2000 campaign. Not only was he the leading scorer for the season but he put in so many goals he broke the club record. Not bad for a guy John McFarlane reckons can’t cut the mustard. So OK that was then and this is one whole season later and no Shaun didn’t set the league on fire last year but again let’s look to the facts. At the start of last season there was no Goat! A knee injury on the pre-season p**s-up in Ireland had torn his cartilage and he needed an operation to correct the damage. He returned to reserve team action on 21st September against Leeds, I know ’cause I was there. His first team reappearance was as substitute in the Bradford game on 14th October. Again I know ’cause I was there. George Weah deserted our glorious club on 16th October after failing to make an appearance and spitting his dummy out following the game against Bradford. Incidentally we won that game 2-0, one of the few we did win at home so leaving Weah out didn’t really have that much impact did it?

Now JM stated in his comments about Goater that he had kept Weah on the bench starting in preference to our Liberian prima donna. Unless John is counting the single time that the two men sat on the same bench as subs then I think he is sadly mistaken. Makes you wonder how many more of his facts are similarly suspect.

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

OPINION: GOATER III (A RUMOUR!)

Just a note regarding a very interesting rumour that I have received from a very reliable source. Shaun Goater was stopped by the police on the motorway after leaving the Carrington training ground; he was in a rental Peugeot. Whilst taking his details down, the policeman – being a City fan himself, was talking to the ‘Goat’ and there were some very interesting rumours to come from this conversation.

Firstly, the Goat insisted that he would only leave the club if KK made it clear that he was not part of his plans and the club accept an other for him. Secondly he said that the whole squad feels a lot happier and actually enjoys training. And he also shed some light on the alleged squad bust ups. He said that he was not injured for half the season; he had a niggling injury at the start of the season but Royle would not play him. he also said that there were frequent arguments between Royle and Donachie leading to general unrest in the squad. He blamed Royle’s poor and v. defensive tactics as the reason why the whole team under performed last season. Again these are all opinions expressed by Shaun Goater to a very reliable source.

Marc Robinson (mrobinson@productsourceselect.co.uk)

Mmm, GMP Traffic Police seen as keen to overlook any potential driving offences for a bit of gossip, wonder what the MEN would make of that?

Ed

OPINION: GOATER IV

I like Shaun Goater. He is our Talisman.

He did score 7 goals in 9 games last season, in the Premiership, not a bad run for a goal scorer. We were relegated after an abysmal run by February last season, you can’t blame one player for it. We also had as far as I can count over 10 goals disallowed. At the end of the day the team wasn’t quite good enough.

Sure we need a playmaker, but really with KK in charge we’ll get exciting attacking football to watch [aside – regarding the Halifax game, I have never been to one that wasn’t a load of rubbish, and get worried when fans claim we played well!].

I asked Done’s for odds on City getting 100 goals and 100 points next season; he quoted me 22-1. So if the Goat gets 7 goals in 9 games and he plays in all 46 games he’ll get 35 goals.

So I think KK should sign 2 more Shaun Goaters!

Goater Stays and City are Top!

Edwin Cooke (gerschwin@onetel.net.uk)

OPINION: BISHOP

Having had the privilege to watch Ian Bishop play every home game, I must disagree with the writer who suggested that he hasn’t done that well. As the Fusion Coach, Ray Hudson, said, after selecting him to start in the All Star game, “Bishop? Name a more cerebral and effective midfielder [in the league]”. Out of the whole league, only four people have more goal “assists” than he does (and two of them, incidentally, are in the Fusion).

Oh, and in the last match, he did indeed wear a long-sleeved home shirt, so it appears that Umbro relented and made one just for him 🙂

Stuart Booth – Miami Blue (stuart-b@dataaccess.com)

OPINION: TV I

I seem to have started something here, so sorry if it’s become an irritation to some, the rest of us I am sure, really want to see our team somewhere on the TV and preferably on the Sky platform if we have it.

One contributor advised us to send an email to Sky using the feedback button – well if many did this they may have got the same reply as I did which simply said that Sky had no current proposals to show Nationwide games.

Anyway, I have had a Sky telesales bod chasing me for a couple of days (they seem to have phoned while I was either in Halifax of Scunny would you believe!). He caught up with me this evening (Wednesday) and started off with the usual sales stuff: “do I watch footy” and so on. He wanted to sell me the Premier League season tic for their PPV games.

I grasped this opportunity to get my own back. I told him I was considering cancelling my Sky subs because I wanted to watch Nationwide rather than Premier (well this season at least!). He said don’t do that as Sky were currently negotiating with Ondigital to show their Nationwide coverage on the Sky platform (in the same way as NTL have agreed) – will wait and see.

BTW he also said that “ordinary” ITV would be show on SKY from 10 August.

Alan Lingard (alan.lingard@btinternet.com)

OPINION: TV II

A colleague has informed me that ITVdigital will be offering the football channel for free in a couple of months’ time. So maybe it’s wait and see time…

John Glennon (jglennon.apple@virgin.net)

OPINION: MCV

I would also like to join in the thanks to Ashley and the team for creating this service and keeping it going for so long. I also wish Heidi and all concerned all the best for future issues.

I am a Blue from Langley, Middleton who has been an exile in Glasgow for some time now and trying to find anything about the Blues in the press up here is impossible. I rely totally on MCIVTA for my news of developments down there and it is much appreciated so please keep up the good work.

Steve Oatway (oakaman@hotmail.com)

REQUEST: SYDNEY BLUES

Wanted: someone to save the Sydney branch of the Supporters’ club from oblivion.

This branch was formed in 1987 as part of the Aussie branch started by Alan Bouch in Melbourne and since then has been active in holding meetings with drinks, video nights with drinks, drinkathons, going to football matches with more drinking, even an odd BBQ with a little more drinking thrown in.

These meetings were organised by myself, but since the beginning of last season, I have been unable to carry on, due to work, family and drinking commitments, so last September I put out a circular calling for volunteers to do the job. All you have to do is phone or email Blues in Sydney with a time and date and place of a gathering. There is no collecting of subscriptions or producing a newsletter any more, just the get togethers.

So far only one Blue showed any interest, and that was last October. I have all the relevant details of any Blue in Sydney who has contacted me in the past and will pass this on.

So come on, someone out there in greater Sydney have a go. We haven’t had a meeting since May 2000, when we got together to watch the Blackburn game. It would be a great shame in we lost contact with each other.

Bill Chapman (billc@prepress.edu.au)

REQUEST: FIXTURES & KIT INFO

A couple of questions: one new, one old

  1. Fixtures on City’s official website show the last game of season askicking off at 7-45pm; is this right? Surely not! Any clues anyone?
  2. This one is a tester. A request from one of our more senior fans. Wewere discussing the 1956 cup final and the fact that we were playing in themaroon kit. One thing led to another to the point where we were trying toname as many second strips as we could. Could anyone provide a list ofsecond strips since the cup final or even before?

Tony Arundale (anthony.arundale@baesystems.com)

REQUEST: SECRET AUCTION

I have an original and genuine MC 2001 programme signed by all players, that has been given to me and is available for auction in aid of children’s charity work in Romania that we support.

If anyone wishes to take advantage of this offer, please send your details and the amount that you are prepared to bid, before 31 July to the address below.

Keith Evans (kmevans@nascr.net)

REQUEST: SQUAD UPDATES

In the past people have done squad updates on MCIVTA. I was wondering if someone could please list the full, up-to-date squad information. It would be great to know more clearly who we have at the club, including first team players, reserves, and at the Academy. Thanks!

Jason Tyler, Austin, Texas (cityrulz@hotmail.com)

REQUEST: CRETIAN BLUES

A very, very hopeful request here, but if anyone knows of a place in Crete (Malia) where the Blues’ game against Watford will be televised I would drunkenly appreciate it! Rumour has it that Weaver and Whit… no, I won’t go there!

Joel Perry (joel@mancity.net/j.perry@mondiale.co.uk)

WHY BLUE?

It all started really in 1974 (Wolves vs. City), my old man took me to Molineux. It was my first game at the age of 10, although my dad liked Wolves, largely due to the fact we were living in Birmingham. However, he hadn’t anticipated me shouting for City. I was sort of transfixed by the brilliance of Colin Bell and tenacity of Franny Lee. I can’t remember the score.

However, later on we played them again in the League Cup final in which we lost 2-1. Nevertheless, by that time my blood was flowing Blue I am now 36 years old and still get the ‘buzz’ from watching them. I also serve in the Army which can at times interfere with one’s football calendar, although fortunately at present I’m in the north.

My son Daniel was christened Daniel Francis Lee on when he was born in 1989. He’s now an ardent Blue and accompanies me to Maine Road.

This story probably differs no more than anyone else’s but one thing it does highlight is the bond between City fans. No matter where you go in the world, we are ardent and fanatical people and no matter what the result or the internal crisis, promotion/relegation, our loyalty seems to strengthen.

City till I die, Pete Page (royalgreenjackets@tinyworld.co.uk)

MCIVTA FAQ

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

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[1] MCIVTA Deadlines

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[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[3] Club Web Site

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[4] Supporters’ Clubs

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mancity.net/osc/index.html); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.callnetuk.com/home/sef/) and “The International Supporters’ Club” (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/extra/fanzone/isc.asp)

[5] Fans’ Committee

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, http://www.mcfc-fans.com/ containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

[6] City of Manchester Stadium Progress/Web Cam

The latest information regarding the progress of our new home can be found at http://www.commonwealthgames.com/

[7] Match Day Broadcasts

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found here: http://www.mcfc.co.uk/comment.asp. GMR Saturday Sport is also available live online between 1-3pm, and 4.45-6pm at http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/index.shtml


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


[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup, heidi@mcivta.freeserve.co.uk

Newsletter #730

2001/07/26

Editor:


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