Newsletter #734

D-day minus 2 and the tension and speculation continues. This short issue contains plenty of requests for worldwide viewing of the game, more news on our man Bish in the US, report on the Forest Green reserves game, Michael’s news and various opinions.

Finally there’s some sad news on a couple of lifelong Blues no longer with us. Time for people to reflect and appreciate what we have.

Apologies for any typos which have slipped through the net, but I’ve spent the evening cruising on the river Irwell and sipping Bolly (don’t ask!).

Next game: Watford, home Saturday 11 August (18.15)


Apologies for the extra short summary tonight; I’m being forced to go and drink some of the boss’s money!

General Stuff

Fixture Change: Another fixture change as our fixture against Portsmouth has been moved for TV coverage. The match on November 17th at Fratton Park has been switched from a normal 3.00pm kick off to an away fan friendly(!) 12.30pm. Very thoughtful of the authorities this, only a 5-6 hour trek then.

Dunne in Ireland Squad: Big burly, scary man-mountain defender Richard Dunne has been named in the Ireland squad for the forthcoming match against Croatia.

Reserves Win Again: The second XI took on non-league Forest Green and ran out 3-0 winners. The match was a testimonial for Forest Green Manager Frank Gregan. The goals came from Leon Mike, Chris Shuker and an o.g. The City side was Murphy, Mears, Jordan, Whelan, Day, McCarthy, Barton, Dunfield, Killen, Mike & Shuker. Subs Paisley, Hodgson, Furnival, Hogan and Tunnicliffe.

Injury Crisis?: As the big kick off approaches, we have what is hopefully just a minor injury scare looming. Nicky Weaver (thigh), Darren Huckerby(knee) and Alfie Haaland (crap) sorry (knee) are all likely to miss the game against Watford, whilst Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jeff Whitley and Paul Ritchie are all borderline doubts.

Season Tickets Nearly Sold Out: The club has announced that over 24,000 season tickets have now been snapped up. Chairman David Bernstein said “Season ticket sales were going well before we made our managerial change, but clearly the appointment of Kevin Keegan was received with such rapture by supporters who were a little surprised that we managed to capture someone of his eminence.”

Keegan Chases Lee: KK is again being linked with Newcastle United’s youthful midfield general Robert Lee. Lee, who is in apparently outstanding form in the Inter Twobob Cup for the Ragpies, is now 37 and in his testimonial season at St. James’ Park. Lee has reflected that he would like to stay at Newcastle and European football (well until September anyway), but it’s thought that a regular midfield berth at City could see him persuaded to switch.

Ex-Blues’ News

Ex City midfield terrier Fitzroy Simpson has finally ended his Hearts nightmare and joined City’s Nationwide rivals Walsall.

Sheep testicle scoffing ex Blue Spencer Prior will miss the first six weeks of his new club Cardiff City’s campaign, after fracturing a cheekbone in training.

[Was this training, or something to do with his contractual obligations?! Ed]

Glass wielding ex left back Terry Phelan has signed a contract with another of our rivals, Sheffield United. Phelan had been released by Fulham.

Michael Leafield (


Last night City sent a team to play in Frank Gregan’s testimonial at Forest Green Rovers, near Stroud in Gloucestershire.

Frank had been manager at Forest Green for about six years before leaving two years ago after getting them promoted several times.

The ground – The Lawn – is on top of a hill above the Stroud valley and luckily the weather was not too bad – must be worse than Boundary Park in the depths of winter.

Frank Gregan actually scouted for City last season and prepared dossiers on the opponents we were to face – he left when Joe went but Keegan decided to honour the testimonial.

No established first teamers were on display despite the squad listing in the programme – Terry Dunfield, Chris Shuker, Chris Killen, Rhys Day and Leon Mike were in the team along with other less well known players.

The first half was lacking in excitment, with only Mike coming close twice – once with a volley from outside the area. The most amusing thing was watching the squat, lardy home goalkeeper bawling out his defence.

At half time the City substitutes made visiting the snack bar or toilets behind the goal a perilous activity due to some less than accurate shooting practice.

The second half offered more excitement – Mike scored a good goal after 20 minutes and Shuker scrambled the ball home to make it two. Forest Green made a substituion and the hapless no.12 promptly made it three with an own goal.

Killen missed when through and City went close on a couple more occasions as Rovers tired visibly but it remained 3-0.

City played a 3-5-2 formation, which did not seem particularly effective although the ‘player with no name’(?) broke forward well.

Of the players the pick was Shuker, who showed pace and energy. Dunfield showed occasional flashes of class but failed to impose himself. Mike scored a good goal but his control let him down on occasions and Killen seemed out of touch. The ‘keeper – Murphy – played solidly and made a good save in the second half.

Cannot see any of them staking a claim for the first team but an entertaining evening nonetheless. Quite a few Blues in the crowd of just over 1,000.

James Hawkins (


On reading the letter about Bish in the US, I thought I would share my experience with you. Myself and some friends are currently coaching football in the US. We were in a place called Columbus and it just so happened that one of the families we were staying with had got tickets for the Columbus Crew game against the Fusion.

So we arrived at the game and got chatting to this ground steward. He was a good guy and he will pop up later in this story. We sat down just to find out that Bish was on the bench. Fusion went one nil up but then due to injury of another player Bish had to come on. His first piece of action resulted in a yellow card! “Very English like play” I told my American friends.

Well the Fusion ended up losing 2-1 but we figured that as we were there we should go and meet the man himself. This bit you may not believe but I promise it really happened. We asked our friend (the steward) to see if Bish would come out for a pic, so he rushed about a bit and told us to wait by the players’ exit. Whilst we were waiting myself and my friend noticed these two girls kept staring at us; they must have been about 12/13 years old. Then one of them started pushing her friend towards my mate. I thought they fancied him or something, turned out though that they thought he was one of the players and they were in fact asking him for his autograph. I was in tears it was so funny. So he took her programme and signed it!

Sorry, back to meeting Bish: after that incident Ian Bishop finally came out. We chatted to him for about ten minutes, had a photo, he signed this little ball that I had caught during the half time break; he signed it “City Til’ I Die, Ian Bishop”. He told me that that was true (about himself), and then wished me all the best for the rest of my stay in the country. So anyway, that was my story about how I met Ian Bishop, and as far as MLS games go it was actually a really good game!

Adrian Penrose (


I would just like to pay tribute to two fanatical Blues who will unfortunately not be with us on Saturday. Neil Worsley (Frank), aged 31, a coach mechanic from Cheadle and Colin Murphy, aged 26, a scaffolder from Cheadle Hulme, were both tragically killed in a motorbike accident whilst holidaying in Cyprus on 15th June 2001.

Neil had held a season ticket in the Kippax since 1975 and Colin had been attending matches since the age of 9. A special thanks goes out to Kevin Horlock who kindly donated his shirt for Neil to be laid to rest in and also a signed City football. Thanks also to Frank, the landlord of the Hesketh Tavern in Cheadle Hulme, who has put a bench in the beer garden in memory of the boys; the inscription reads “In memory of Frank & Colin – Under the Blue Moon”.

Both will be especially remembered at the first match of the season and flowers will be laid in the Kippax in memory of them both.

Nicola (


Does anybody know if any satellite networks are carrying the City vs. Watford game here in the US?

Furthermore, are there any City fans in the Tampa Bay area? While there are tons of ex-pats living in this neck of the woods, all I run into are Rags and Chelsea fans.

John Walsh (


Does anyone know of anywhere showing the weekend game in Brum?

Mark Nixon (


I will be in Dublin attending a stag weekend when the new season starts; can anybody tell me where in the Temple area of the City can one view one’s heroes demolish Watford?

Thanks in anticipation, Gary Shaw (


I’m sure that Adam (request in MCIVTA 733) is not the only exiled Blue in London. There must be enough support for City to take over a pub each of the many times they will appear on TV.

I know for one that I’m tired on going to the pub with smart arsed Liverpool fans and listening about how they play real football! Someone must know of a good boozer, preferably with a City landlord.

Phil Harper (

REQUEST: South West Blues

I’ve just moved down to West Devon (Yelverton) and would like to hook up with any Blues down here for the odd beer and trip up to Maine Road. If you’re interested please do drop us a line at the address below.

Matt Rayner (


For any other Blues in Poland, Polish satellite channel Wizja Sport are showing the Watford game in full on Sunday 12/8 at 1200. Better late than never I suppose. The Blue Cactus and Champions Sports Bar in Warsaw both have this channel. Come on City.

Iain Sellers (


Anyone know where I can see the Blues in action on TV? I am currently living in Celle, near Hannover, Germany.

Thanks, Roy Trelfa (


I am going to be in Stockholm this Saturday. Does anyone know of a pub/bar in Stockholm showing the Watford game live?

Bill Hill a.k.a. Singapore Blue (


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Newsletter #734