Newsletter #739

Two good results over the weekend see us top of the table (see the results section if you find this hard to believe). 5-2 at home to Crewe, although the scoreline belied the level of play somewhat, and 2-4 away to Burnley gave us 6 valuable points. The Saturday game was largely disappointing until KK realised we had one Darren Huckerby on the bench and brought him on about 10 minutes from time to turn the game round. I didn’t witness Burnley but I remain bemused as to how, with such great individual players, we are still leaking goals.

This issue sees plenty of opinion on TV sport, news on Big Joe, Michael’s news, some good match reports so thanks to the two Davids, Lance and Gary for those, Ken’s Diary, a Why Blue, and a lovely piece from Ernie on Bobby Johnstone.

Finally, confirmation that the postponed home game vs. Sheffield United will now take place on Tuesday 16 October, and we are also due to play the postponed game vs. Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park next Tuesday 4th September (Earl Barrett’s testimonial, was due 4/5 August).

Next game: West Bromwich Albion, away, Saturday 8 September 2001, 3pm


I will be away serving Sven and country for the next two issues (30 August and 3 September). Any Blues over in Munich be sure to come along and find the FSA embassy somewhere near the Rathaus for plenty of useful information.

Steve MacLean has very kindly offered to take over the reins so please send any contributions for McV issues 740 and 741 to him at:



General News

City in Double Goalfest: Well. What a difference a week makes; two victories over the bank holiday weekend and it’s City, City top of the league, City top of the league! First of all it was, by most accounts, an unconvicing display in a 5-2 win at home to Crewe; give me 23 unconvincing 5-2 home wins in a season and I’ll be more than happy. MUPLC have been getting away with playing sh**e for many a year and winning, and when they do it, it’s because they’re such a great team apparently! Two goals each for the Goat and Wanchope and a Pearce penalty sealed the win. Typically enough, City fanatic Colin Little scored one of Crewe’s goals. Keegan was man enough to admit after the game that the scoreline flattered us. Keegan said: “The second goal should kill most teams off at home, but Crewe have got a lot of character. They are going to cause other teams problems like they did for us and I don’t think they are always going to get beaten 5-2.”

On to Lancashire last night and, in my opinion a very convincing attacking display at previously unbeaten Burnley; Goater hat-trick and another for Wanchope and it’s 4-2. In the midst of all this an appalling penalty miss from the normally reliable Horlock, wave after wave of exciting attacking moves, dodgy defending and a goal from an ex-Blue, Lee Briscoe. As previously stated, if we end up winning a few of our away games 4-2 I’ll be more than happy. “I thought that they were magnificent with ten men… We were better when they had 11 men on. It seemed to knock us more than it knocked them.” Keegan went on to say, “All-round, their dedication and commitment kept them in the game. We had to be at our best and I think we were. I think the lad Davis took the place of two men at times. I watched him and he’s been a very, very good professional and he did well for them. I think the lad Little will cause people a lot of problems and I can see why Premiership clubs are looking at him. This was a tough, tough game for Manchester City. Not only because of the history, the proximity of the two clubs and because these are two big clubs.”

Goater Goals Down to Fear: Shaun Goater has six goals in four games and told the official City website that it is the quality on the City bench that is the biggest cause. “Fear can be a big motivating factor,” he added, “You look at the subs bench and you see Paul Dickov and Darren Huckerby warming up and that can certainly spur you on; I have to admit I thought more about Darren Huckerby’s performance on Saturday than I did about my own. He’s putting markers in the gaffer’s mind that he is ready. He is sharp and he knows if we are not doing it on the pitch then he his ready to come in. As a striker the fear factor drives you on to keep your shirt.”

Worthington Cup: City will lock horns with Second Division Notts County in the second round of the League Cup. The game will be played week commencing September 10th.

International Withdrawals: KK has persuaded Eyal Berkovic not to fly out with the Israeli squad for their match with Bosnia. It was feared that the talented midfielder may have risked himself in some capacity for his country, possibly causing himself further damage. Berkovic will battle on to be fit for the resumption of league action in a fortnight. Keegan revealed: “Eyal has not gone. His target now is to stay with us so he can play in Israel’s game next month. They have an important game then and he will be fit for that. He wants to play for Israel, I want him to. He knows that, the Israeli coach knows that, but you cannot get over a hamstring injury in ten days. He is close to being able to run again but he still needs his fitness on top of that.” Nicky Weaver has withdrawn from the forthcoming under 21 squad that faces Germany later this week. Weaver was struggling with his thigh strain at Turf Moor and it’s thought he has aggravated his injury.

Sheffield United Home Fixture: City have re-arranged their Nationwide First Division clash with Sheffield United at Maine Road for Tuesday, October 16.

Oldham Friendly: Next Tuesday, City will play a friendly at Boundary Park. The match is a replacement for the previously cancelled testimonial for Earl Barrett, originally scheduled for August 4th. There will also be a minute’s silence before the game in memory of Bobby Johnstone. Admission to the match is £10 for adults, £5 for senior citizens and free for under-16s, with the game at Boundary Park kicking-off at 7.45pm.

Ins, Outs, Rumours

Loads of possibles this week. Several reports linking us with a move for Chelsea’s Jody Morris, with Keegan said to looking at £4.5 million move if Morris doesn’t feature heavily in the London club’s squad. More than likely any news of Morris’ availability would probably alert several Premiership outfits. Morris was expected to feature quite heavily in Chelsea’s push for the championship this season following the departure of Dennis Wise to Leicester, but the arrivals of Emmanuel Petit and Frank Lampard jr have put a dampener on that.

Yet again nonsense linking us with barman’s friend, Paul Gascoigne; the 86 year old Gascoigne is apparently nearing full fitness and the press has reported that KK is monitoring his situation at Goodison Park. Quite a dew reports linking us with highly rated Brentford defender Michael Dobson; Dobson 20, broke into Brentford’s team last year. And finally, yet again rumours resurfaced linking us with a potential £2 million move for Brighton’s Bobby Zamora.

Frenchman on Trial: No, not the expanding Seagull baiter the Rags still love, rather, attacking midfielder cum striker Alioune Toure is set for trials this week. It’s thought he will play in two trial games for us. Toure is a product of the Nantes youth system and is 22 years old. One of Toure’s likely games could be the friendly at Oldham.

Michael Leafield (


August 27th:
Paul Power made his début in a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa in 1975. City won 4-0 at Sunderland in 1969 including two goals from Ian Bowyer, and 4-0 at home to Everton in 1994, two each from Paul Walsh and Uwe Rösler. Back in 1960 torrential rain washed out the City-United match at Maine Road with the scores level at 2-2 (Hayes and Law for City). When the abandoned game was replayed in March, City lost 3-1.

August 28th:
Ralph Brand scored his first goal (of two, total) in a 2-2 draw with Bristol City in Division Two in 1965. Colin Viljoen got his only goal, in a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday in 1979. In 1971 City beat Spurs 4-0, goals from Bell, Summerbee, Lee, and Wyn Davies. Two years ago Mark Kenendy’s solo goal from a long way out beat Bolton at the Reebok Stadium, setting City up for a successful season and eventual promotion.

August 29th:
Bobby Johnstone played his final game for City, a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in 1959. City beat Swansea Town 7-4 in 1927, with three from Tommy Johnson. In 1953 after starting the season with three defeats without scoring a goal City put five past Sunderland at Roker Park to win 5-0. In 1981, City beat West Brom 2-1, Martin O’Neill’s début and the first time City got three points for a win under the new system. Tueart and Tommy Hutchinson scored.

August 30th:
City 2 United 1 in 1952, goals from Ivor Broadis and Roy Clarke. Five days after two Wolves own goals had given City a 2-1 win in 1965, City went to Molyneux and again a Wolves player put into his own net as City won 4-2. It was the third successive game in which an oppostion player had scored for City. The game also saw City use the new substitution rule for the first time when Roy Cheetham came on after Mike Summerbee had run his head into a railing around the ground. In 1969 Ian Bowyer scored at Burnley, City drew 1-1.

August 31st:
In 1991 Niall Quinn scored for City on his return to Highbury but Arsenal won 2-1.

September 1st:
Alan Oakes’s birthday, 1942. He celebrated his 20th by playing at Tottenham in 1962, though City lost 4-2. In 1971 Ian Mellor’s goal beat Liverpool 1-0 at Maine Road. A centre-forward named W. Sowden scored his only two goals for City (in 11 matches played) in the 3-3 draw with Spurs in 1952. Fifty years ago today City drew 2-2 with Aston Villa, Roy Paul & Derek Westcott scoring. And back in 1894 Pat Finnerhan played his first game, a 4-2 defeat by Bury.

September 2nd:
The only time the season began with a City vs. United match was in 1911, a 0-0 draw. In 1939 on this day City went to Chesterfield for their third game of the new season in Division Two. They won 2-0 with two goals from Milsom, but with Hitler invading Poland it was the last match before the season was cancelled and regional wartime leagues introduced to cut down on travelling.

Ken Corfield (


Hmmm… interesting. Two games to report on and I’m not sure whether we’re getting it right. As I’m writing both reports at once I shall try and give the Crewe game my thoughts as they were at the time pretending not to know how we did against Burnley.

A rather warm day to play football but confidence was high around the ground. I felt that we were obviously too good for Crewe and looked forward to a return of the form that swept Watford aside. The knowledge that we were missing Eyal left some interesting options for the midfield dynamo. City lined up as follows:


This game was scrappy and to be honest Crewe looked to be a very poor side and we were not imposing ourselves very well. Yet when we could string a few passes together it seemed that we could cut through them quite easily. Little Shaun was struggling to impose himself and seemed overawed. He has great reflexes but wasn’t reading the game very well so when he should have been pushing through to make a third striker he stayed back and limited our attacking options.

After my character assassination of Wiekens against Norwich it was good to see an improved performance (it couldn’t have been worse to be honest). There were still problems; his passing was too wayward and he consistently ignored Charvet on the right wing. The guy was crying out for a pass that he could run on to. The only ball I saw him receive for the whole of the first half was a yard behind him and so rampaging was off the menu. Then after some good passing on the left, Granville got outside the right back and delivered a low ball into the box. Wanchope swung his foot and 1-0! I wouldn’t say we necessarily deserved it but we were a lot better than them when we put the pedal to the metal. Shortly afterwards some quick interplay between Wanchope and Goater led to a handball and so penalty to the Blues. It looked harsh on the TV but who cares? Pearce ran up and smacked it low into the right corner of the goal. 2-0 and we were cruising.

What happened next defies belief. We stopped playing. It’s as simple as that. We stood still and watched the Crewe players pass the ball about. Was the heat getting to them? I don’t know but our midfield looked like they had their feet in concrete and defensively we were charging about after the ball. It looked like under 7s five a side where every kid wants a kick. Unsurprisingly Crewe scored a scrappy goal when we lost out at the far post and two players bundled the ball in. No worries, 2-1 and half time. Oops, spoke too soon. 2-2 from more defensive laxity. We cannot defend crosses at all! Some bloke in GG Kippax went mental screaming that Weaver was sh*t and had to be sacked. It went on for two minutes to the sounds of the rest of us shouting at him to shut up or f off. Weaver wasn’t commanding his box very well but simply our defensive unit just couldn’t cope with the ball across the box. It does happen in games and yet we thought that teams were only allowed to attack from the front and not the sides! Boos rang out around Maine Road as the whistle blew for half time. Pointless really, I figure Keegan knew what was going wrong. Wright-Phillips wasn’t in the game at all and Wiekens has lost any pace that he might once have possessed and couldn’t hit a barn door let alone another blue shirt.

Second half and I was proved right, two midfield replacements in the form of Grant and Horlock. Now let me say that I’m not a fan of Grant. He must look fantastic on the training pitch because every time I’ve seen him he has been dire.

Now for the change in pace and precision. Oh, Crewe are attacking in waves and we are looking bad. Someone has told Dunne that he is a footballing defender and so keeps on getting caught trying Keith Curle turns. Trouble is, the guy is a size of a supertanker and turns at the same speed. Obviously he was told this and reverted to a different type of ex-City centre half, namely Stevie Redmond and his humungous hoofs. What a joy!

Crewe were tearing through us at times and should have scored on a couple of occasions, one which was superbly saved by Weaver. It wasn’t all gloom and doom; for brief spurts when we wanted to we were able to rip them apart with some good one touch passing but the finished product wasn’t there. It was strange, I knew we were better than them and if we stepped up a gear we could bury them. Why only in little spurts? With some application we should have been winning by ten.

Now that tactical retard Keegan (as we are so often informed) decided to add to the pressure and replace Charvet with Huckerby. What a change; two minutes on the pitch and some scorching runs later we were 3-2 up. The tactic was give the ball to the Huck, watch him skin the entire Crewe defence, cross to Goater and score. Similar trick a couple of minutes later and it was 4-2. This is how we could play. Stoppage time and Crewe had given up the ghost and their entire team looked exhausted. We ran through them again for Wanchope to score. What a result! We played pants and won 5-2. We should have won 10-0, that’s how much better we were than them. Paradoxically we should have lost 3-2 for our outrageous defensive performance. We live in interesting times.

Scores on the doors for this performance?

Weaver – 7 – Should be 6 but pulled off a great save.
Charvet – 6 – Too much whinging about not being passed to.
Huckerby (sub) – 8 – Brought much needed pace into the attack.
Dunne – 5 – Got caught in possession too much.
Howey – 5 – Has he lost the ability to jump?
Pearce – 6 – Old man legs nearly got him in trouble.
Granville – 7 – Good crosses led to goals.
Tiatto – Good going forward, lost out in midfield.
Wright-Phillips – 4 – Looked lost as the game passed him by.
Horlock (sub) – 7 – After initial misplacing of passes began to control the ball.
Wiekens – 5 – Still lacking pace and was often bypassed.
Grant (sub) – 6 – Came on with an angry head and started kicking people; calmed down to play some good balls as Crewe tired.
Wanchope – 8 – I like the way he plays, still isn’t gelling with the Goat.
Goater – 8 – Goals is what he does and what he gets.

Conclusion – we are the new Newcastle we will score loads but how many we let in could be a problem. Pray that our front two stay fit.

Dave Blyth (


I’ve never really done a match report really as I’m not that good at doing objective reports as far as City are concerned although on this occasion I will give it a blast. It’ll probably end up with being just an opinion of the game from my point of view though.

City started kicking towards the North Stand and lined up as follows: Weaver, Pearce, Howey, Dunne, Granville, Wiekens, Charvet, Tiatto, Wright-Phillips, Wanchope, Goater.

The first half hour was, to be honest pretty dull, and the only things to wonder were who was going to take the goal kicks next. Blondie Weaver was, according to Physio Rob Harris in the programme, not risking taking goal kicks because of his recent injury. However, in that time Danny Tiatto was odds on to score only to be let down by his footwear and instead of breaking the back of the net succeeded only in collapsing in a heap on what was obviously a greasy surface.

A little later, Crewe had a chance when they hit the bar from an effort from Steve Macauley (wasn’t he a junior at City a while back? I seem to remember him playing for the youth team and he wasn’t very tall but for his height was a good header of the ball and got up really well). After that Danny Granville went down in the box and despite the crowd baying for a pen, DG did get a decision although it was a yellow card for diving. I’d have thought this would shut the crowd up if they then realised it was a dive as the ref was pretty well placed but it didn’t. Maybe this is a good sign because we want to be fortress Maine Road and the only way to do this is to be completely partizan. Mind you, seconds after that a Granville cross in more or less the same position that he dived (allegedly) from last time produced a shot from Wanchope which hit the back of the net to the relief of the crowd.

Ten minutes later, a stonewall handball resulted in a penalty and although The Goat picked up the ball, Wanchope sensed it could be his day and an easy second on his way to his hat-trick and took it off him. However, Wanchope’s thoughts of number 2 were dashed when Stuart Pearce pulled rank and duly robbed Wanchope, preferring to make certain that it would be 2-0. He didn’t disappoint and we were coasting. However, Crewe hadn’t read the script and scored 2 goals in 1st half injury time, one which looked like a bit of a defensive mix up and the second from City fan Colin Little. One of my mates Stuart said that Little had been banned for life from attending Maine Road for invading the pitch one time so maybe he shouldn’t have even been on the pitch to score. Interesting thought.

Second half came and the ineffective SWP and Wiekens were replaced by Tramp and Super Kevin Horlock. Now I rate Kevin Horlock. Personally I think he’s never let us down, has a good goalscoring record and you know he’ll give 100%. So I was quite happy with Super Kev coming on. Tramp I wasn’t so sure, although his first touches were assured and he made some good moves.

Later, although Tiatto looked to be struggling, the solid Charvet (get off his back you lower Kippaxites, he’s doing great at the moment) was replaced by Huckerberry Hound himself, Darren Huckerby. And what a change. Offering a different option on the right, his presence was immediate. He was given 15 minutes or so and in that time, just after Crewe could have gone 3-2 up but for a great Weaver save, City scored 3 goals, 2 from The Goat and 1 more from Wanchope to make an unlikely (it seemed at half time anyway) 5 goal tally. I bet Wanchope was cursing Pearce after the game as he might have had that hat-trick after all!

Personally, I felt that the substitutions did not make the team weaker and when you are looking for strength in depth for a season’s campaign, this must be a good sign. Who’s Berkovic?! Chant of the day was to the people causing some minor trouble… (to the tune of Go West by Pet Shop Boys): Sit Down and behave yourselves…

Lance Thomson (


Or the City vs Burnley Operatic Society Match Report Live

Before the game I had a feeling we might get turned over at Burnley. Looking at the line-up when the team came out I can’t say I changed my mind. Fortunately I was wrong and City picked up another valuable 3 points.

Line up was:

    Dunne Howey Pearce
Reg                    Granville
  Grant  Tiatto  Horlicks
     Wanchope "The Goat"

Does anyone else think Weaver now looks like Billy from Ally McBeal? A new man in town? What’s with the bleached head?

Anyway, the game. City started off brightly and dominated the first 15 minutes, having most of the possession. Burnley never really got started and we looked like we could score every time we got forward.

Reg was having a good game at right wing back, putting in some dangerous crosses and defending well when needed. Taylor got booked for trying to decapitate Reg after about 15 minutes and was obviously out to prove a point against his former employers. Shortly afterwards The Goat put us in front with a glancing header from a good cross by Reg. 1-0 up and surely this was it? Another thumping of Burnley?

The crowd sang “We want six” and 5 minutes later Burnley were level.

After the first goal Burnley seemed to wake up and realise there was a game going on. The started to get a bit more of the ball, City went to sleep, some more awful defending in the box (it looked like several City players all trying to head the same ball, though we were at the other end from Weaver’s goal) and it was 1-1, a scrambled effort that would have disappointed Donachie (I hope).

After that the first half was a bit more even. City tried to play the ball about but the defence was looking nervous. Burnley started to close down our players and tried to get the ball on the floor a bit more than they had in the early stages (when everything was hoofed at Taylor’s head).

After about half an hour a goalmouth scramble in the Burnley penalty area led to a Grant shot being handled by a Burnley defender and he was off. Penalty to City. Horlicks picked up the ball (I thought Pearce was the penalty taker this year?) and tried to place it in the bottom right hand corner. The Burnley ‘keeper guessed the right way and managed to stop the ball rebounding back to Kev.

Shortly after this Reg got involved with a scuffle with the Burnley left back and got kicked. The ball bounced loose and Grant made a rash challenge on the Burnley player who had just got to the ball first. Yellow card for Grant and it looked like the referee was starting to lose the plot a bit.

Shortly after this a scuffed clearance from Weaver ended up bouncing around our penalty area and was finally cleared off the line (by Edghill? Howey?) when it looked like Burnley were going to nick a second before half time. The rest of the half passed without major incident (any that I can remember anyway).

At half time we were treated (?) to some Burnley fan singing Nessun Dorma (?); they had tried this before the game but had had problems with the public address system. It’s a pity they didn’t give up completely. The City crowd tried to drown him out and the P.A. was cranked up to ear splitting levels (several kids sitting near me had their hands pressed firmly over their ears – I think they had the right idea).

The second half started and Burnley looked sharper and more up for it. They only had 10 men but managed to hold onto the ball better than we did, they pressed the City defence at every opportunity and you could see the cracks starting to show in our back line.

Fortunately, we managed to get the first goal of the half after good work from Dunne and Reg on the right. Dunne (who was having “a mare”) back-heeled the ball to Reg taking out 2 defenders. Reg did what we all fully expected and put in another great cross for Wanchope to power the ball into the net with a diving header.

Surely that should settle us down and we would kill off the game? Oh no this is City isn’t it!

A few minutes later it was “Carry On Defending”! Sid James: “Go on stick it in”; Kenneth Williams: “Oeer missus”

A ball into the City box was half cleared, the ball came back into a totally unmarked Gareth Taylor at the back post. He headed the ball into the middle, Dunne and Howey both tried to run into one another, one of the Burnley players tried to put the ball in and managed to kick it against Dunne, the rebound fell to Lee Briscoe (didn’t he play for us?) and it was 2-2. Here we go again.

The rest of the game was real end to end stuff. Burnley continued to press and played some nice football. Our defence looked extremely shaky but we looked sharp when going forward. Grant was getting involved and trying to pass the ball about, Wanchope and The Goat look like they are starting to get a bit of understanding up front, Reg had a great game on the right, but we couldn’t hold onto the ball and make 10 man Burnley chase the ball the way we should have done.

So as usual it was 30 minutes of heart in mouth stuff from the Blues. The Goat hit a powerful shot after a goalmouth scramble that looked like it took a deflection and it was 3-2. Burnley immediately had a chance to equalise but we were saved by a great fingertip save from Weaver (and we got a goal kick for it!). There were more chances at both ends but Goater finally killed Burnley off after a superb through ball from Wanchope. He calmly took the ball round the ‘keeper to complete his hat-trick and finally give us a bit of breathing space.

After that Goater could have had another but for a good save from the Burnley ‘keeper. Burnley could have pulled one back but for another good save by Weaver in the dying minutes. Reg got into a scuffle near the corner flag with one of the Burnley players (I couldn’t really see what had happened but I think they both got booked).

In the end I think we probably just shaded this game. Burnley have obviously improved since the last few times we battered them. We looked good going forward but the defence is all over the place (like all KK’s teams?). This game really could have ended up 8-5 or some other ridiculous scoreline.

At the end of the day if we win every game 4-2 or 5-2 I don’t mind but I think better teams than Crewe and Burnley will give the defence a lot more to think about this season.

Player Ratings

Weaver – 6 – A couple of good saves but his kicking (I know he’s injured) and distribution were poor (looks nervous but who wouldn’t have behind our defence last night?).
Dunne – 5 – The worst game I’ve seen him play for City. Don’t know if it’s the formation or if he’s just adjusting to life in Division 1. Made Nicky look like Mr Confident, poor passing and heading – one great back-heel to Reg to set up the second. A shadow of the player we saw last season.
Howey – 6 – Not his best game, think he spent a lot of time in this game worrying about Dunne. Got a bit edgy towards the end of the game, looked like he got a broken nose (or cut head) from a clash with Taylor.
Pearce – 7 – Looked solid, shouts at players and is a natural leader. I only wish we’d had him last year. Should have taken the penalty. Looked really pumped up when he left the field at the end.
Edghill – 8 – Got forward well, good crossing, set up 2 goals, linked up well with midfield, let’s hope it lasts, great game.
Granville – 7 – Linked up well on the left with Pearce and Tiatto. His crossing let him down but a solid game.
Grant – 7 – Best game for the club. Passed well, got stuck in (until he got booked), finally looked interested, his shot reduced Burnley to 10 men and would have gone in.
Horlicks – 6 – Played OK, not his best game (or penalty). Chased around a lot but didn’t hold the ball. Some good defensive work in midfield.
Tiatto – 6 – Worked hard but lost the ball too often tonight. Some good runs but chose the wrong option a couple of times. As always 100% from Danny.
Wanchope – 8 – Starting to link well with Goater. Chased the ball down well. Great goal. Sometimes I wonder if his legs know what his mind wants to do? Getting better every game.
The Goat – 9 – If there’s a better striker in this division I’ve yet to see him. If he stays fit (touch wood) The Goat will outscore Hughes, Burchill and everyone else in this division. Clinical finishing again and could have had more. Seems more confident this season and starting to show some nice link up play.

Gary King (


A short report as I have burned myself out with the Crewe report.

God I love ITVSport. It blows Sky out of the water for Nationwide football coverage. They treat it the proper way with a real look at the teams and tactics. This proves that you need the Premiership and First Division to be from different providers; not for money reasons but for attention to detail. Guess I’m lucky having cable so it was just an addition and not a new box.

To the match. What an opening 25 minutes. We were awesome, we absolutely battered Burnley and looked like we were going to run away with it. The line up was:


We cut through them like a hot knife through butter. We should have scored a hatful. Trouble was that we only shored one. A top header from Goater supplied by Edghill with a great cross off his left foot. We were rollin’. Then Burnley scored. Burnley are a two trick pony. One is this guy called Little who can run at people, the other is the long ball whack to Taylor. From a corner the centre half Davis rose above Wanchope and headed down into the ground. The bounce then took it up over Weaver and into the net. Like against Crewe we were pants at the back post.

More attacking by us and a shot by Grant was handled on the way towards goal. Penalty and a sending off. It was a definite penalty but a straight red for handling at the penalty spot seemed a bit harsh. Doesn’t it have to be a definite goal to get a red? This changed the character of the game. Horlock stepped up and passed the kick to the ‘keeper. Rubbish penalty. Oh well, we were miles better than them and so shouldn’t have any trouble against ten men. Wrong!

Second half and we started on fire, 5 minutes in and another top cross from Edghill and a thumping header from Wanchope restored a deserved lead. Nightmare! The two trick pony team started lumping it forward and we were in trouble again. A bouncing ball in the six yard box with our three centre halves within 3 feet of each other fell to Briscoe who mishit and the ball bounced into the net. Bu**er! Burnley were getting confident. For the next 15 minutes we had to suffer aerial bombardment on a par with Dresden. Absolutely tedious.

Then miracle of miracles we started that one touch passing game and skinned them. The ball fell in front of Goater (can’t remember the build up due to accumulated alcohol intake) and his shot skewed off a defender into the goal. The deflection didn’t matter, he was ten yards out and had hit it on target so a goal was a certainty. More Burnley hurly burly ensued with City breaking forward at pace.

Finally some fantastic trickery on the right wing by Wanchope and Goater was in, he rounded the ‘keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net. 4-2 and an accurate reflection of our superiority. What followed for the rest of the game was limited Burnley pressure and Goater missing chance after chance. On one occasion a slide rule pass left him free on goal but a tame shot at the ‘keeper denied him his fourth of the night. This is when I wanted to see Huckerby. Goater would have got an ovation and Huckerby would have been fresh and piled in with some more goals. Goal difference could matter in this league and so when we get the chance we should humiliate teams even if they don’t deserve it. We have Premiership fitness levels at the moment and need to use this advantage at the fag end of games.

Now for the ubiquitous scoring of our team.

Weaver – 6 – Oh for his thigh strain to get better as his kicking was abysmal.
Edghill – 7 – Good game, it would be 8 but for his attempt at getting himself sent off by stiff arming a Burnley player in the back of the head. Doesn’t excuse being spat at after the ref broke them up.
Dunne – 6 – Hmm… getting caught in possession too much still.
Howey – 5 – Not a great performance, looks tired.
Pearce – 6 – Blood and thunder, not much good but not much wrong.
Granville – 7 – Loves going forward, not too keen on defending.
Horlock – 7 – Bad penalty miss but some good movement and passing.
Grant – 7 – The best game I have ever seen him play (not too hard).
Tiatto – 8 – Loads of slide rule passes, good distribution just not enough a goal threat.
Wanchope – 8 – Excellent play, loses the ball a lot but held it up really well at times and scored a good goal.
Goater – 9 – Back to poaching, worked very well with Wanchope.

Conclusion – defence is getting very worrying but going forward we look killer. If our strike force continue to work together like this we will score 100 goals this season. I hope we get some decent cover for them because I can’t see Dickov terrorising like these two. I hope the last two games have proved to be the permanent subs bench for Wiekens. Note – Keegan was asked why no Wiekens before kick off and it was hinted that it was because he was pants and he had a slight injury (I don’t believe the second part). He also said he wanted to try Edghill out instead of Charvet and that he also had some kind of injury. This one concerns me. I have witnessed the strops that our Frenchman suffers from; has he been doing it on the training pitch as well? It can’t be his form as he is playing better than ever before. He was brutally honest about Wright-Phillips i.e. didn’t play well at all against Crewe.

What do we need? Another striker and another midfielder because I’ll never be convinced by Grant. Then we need someone to talk to our defence. Oh, and bring back Nash as he seems to be able to communicate better with the back line or am I being unfair?

Anyway, a long wait until the next game but at least we’re top of the table (for the mo).

Dave Blyth (


Saturday was decision day, should I get ITV Sport or not? In the end it was round to Comet for their ITV Sport Pre-paid package. Six hours later and some rummaging around in the loft with the aerial and it was all set up and ready to go. Apart from the football it’s difficult to see why anyone who can get Sky should want to pay for ITV Digital; so unless it’s still needed to watch City next year I can’t see me renewing the subscription.

So, home early on Monday to watch City against Burnley. City start brightly and for 20 minutes or so Burnley aren’t in the hunt. Eventually Edghill (!) produces a cross that allows Goater to run between two defenders to head home. Sit back to enjoy watching the floodgates opening. Burnley’s first serious attach results in a corner. The corner is hit to the far post, Weaver half comes to meet it, realises that its too far out and leaves Wanchope to deal with it, he doesn’t, Davis heads sharply down and the bounce beats both Weaver and two City players on the goal-line, 1-1.

The game is more even now; Pearce and Grant get booked – in neither case did they seem to touch the Burnley player – where is Graham Poll to send off the divers? Pearce in particular was unlucky since he clearly pulled his leg out of the way when he realised he wasn’t going to get the ball. About ten minutes to half time and a Tony Grant shot is knocked over the bar by Armstrong’s hand, clear penalty, deliberate (if involuntary reaction), probably saved a goal (‘keeper was unsighted), certainly a booking maybe a sending off depending on the referee’s mood. Anyhow off he goes. Horlock marches up to take the penalty, hits it low to the ‘keeper’s left at 3/4 pace and it’s saved. Poor penalty? Well if the ‘keeper had guessed the other way it would have been described as cool or calm or something. It certainly wasn’t a great penalty. Burnley re-organised well and up to half time the match remained fairly even.

Second half started with chances at both ends and then Richard Dunne thought he was George Weah and backheeled the ball down the line to Edghill(!) who again splits the Burnley defence with a cross for Wanchope to head home – floodgate time? No, back come Burnley and after a little spell of head and foot tennis in the penalty area they are level again, a Briscoe shot deflected down by a City defender and again the bounce beats Weaver (Briscoe’s last goal was for City – anyone remember it? Frank Clark era I think).

City now start to play a bit more intelligently and hold the ball to make Burnley run around a bit. This paid dividends when Shaun Goater shot home from quite close after ball was half cleared from Pearce (?). Now the game became good fun. Tiatto tried to give Edghill (!!) at hat-trick of assists by steering the ball in with his trailing leg but just missed, Goater hit the post and Wanchope just failed to follow up the rebound despite running round three defenders in the penalty area.

Paulo Wanchope then shot over the top when set up by Goater. At some stage City should have had another penalty when Gnohere clearly (but on the blind side of both ref and assistant) elbowed the ball out of play and away from Wanchope. Horlock had a shot from outside the area well saved. Then Wanchope set up Goater to sidestep the ‘keeper and secure his hat trick. He could have repeated the act a few minutes later but this time chose to sidefoot the ball past the ‘keeper, who managed to save. Meantime Burnley had a couple of chances including a pretty good save from Weaver.

A bit of nonsense at the end when Gnohere fell rather heavily on top of Richard Edghill (couldn’t tell whether it was deliberate or not); Edghill over-reacted and was lucky to get away with only a yellow card.


Overall the score was about right and it was typical up and down City stuff. Weaver made a couple of good saves but was clearly struggling with his thigh. Edghill was as good as I’ve seen him going forward. Goater and Wanchope, if they can stay fit and together, will have fun this season. Back three a bit chaotic at times. Refereeing – random decisions but a bit better than a couple of Premier matches I’ve watched recently. ITV Sports camera work OK but rest a bit amateurish, ITV Digital…

David Lewis (


When one of your heroes dies, something mega dies with them. Today, when I heard the news, a piece of something wonderful from a byegone era was finally laid to rest. The fun, wit and spontaneity in football has been on the life support machine for a long time, much of it already euthanased by this era of greed and what’s called total professionalism. With the death of Bobby Johnstone, we can lay the shroud on an era. Mind you, Bobby would, I’m sure, demand we sent him off with a bloody good wake!

Bobby made his name up at Hibernian and played for Scotland in a forward line that humiliated the sassenachs – Ormond, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull – the Famous Five, can’t remember who the fifth guy was – possibly Willie Waddell? Any similarly superannuated Jock Blues enlighten me? He arrived at Maine Road in the second phase of the Revie Plan era – playing initially as a striker, up front with either Joe Hayes (a predator, goal grabber pure and simple) or Jack Dyson (wonderful skills but no pace) or both, in a variation of the old 2-3-5 format that City, under Les McDowall’s taste for innovation, modified by degrees into England’s first 4-2-4.

He was one of those players – like Kinky – who lifted the crowd when he received the ball. For a short, stocky guy he could head the ball too – witness the amazing horizontal dive to head home the equaliser in the ’55 Cup Final. Afterwards, Geordie fans came up to this tearful 13 year old, shook hands and wanted to buy Bert… and Bobby.

Again, like Gio, Bobby could go off on mazy dribbles. Sometimes, they led up blind alleys and Revie would arrive, remonstrating against the non-arrival of the early ball. But I saw him score a goal – against Chelsea, I think – almost as good as Gio’s Saints spectacular, Bobby beating three defenders before bringing the Platt Lane to delerious ecstasy with a cheeky backheel past the ‘keeper and into the net.

Of course Revie, precursor of the modern pro, hated Bobby. He’d fallen out of love with us by this stage anyhow and the arrival of another potential crowd pleaser at Maine Road only fuelled his resentment. And Bobby, in an era when the whole of football was a drink culture, could sup his booze like a good ‘un, whereas The Don was strictly an orange juice man – or maybe he was just too mean to buy a round… I’m not knocking, by the way, but Bobby was affable and Revie aloof.

Bobby sometimes played on the wing, but not all the time. He was no Scots “tanner ball player” though. He could sit in the middle of the park and knock perceptive long passes around, linking with Ken Barnes, doing the Revie Plan thing when the Don was injured, dropped or sulking. Alas, at that time the 56 cup final team was getting past its best and the new guys coming up – Colin Barlow and contemporaries, weren’t really at the races and we were in decline again.

Bobby went back to Hibs I think, and then reappeared in the early 60s at that elephant’s graveyard of ex-City players called Oldham Athletic. We used to go and see Latics when City had an away fixture just to marvel at Bobby’s skill. By this time he was not exactly mobile, what with the jar and his disdain for training but his ball skills and passing were unbelievable. he rarely moved off the centre spot except to amble up and strike the odd shot, never far off target either.

One of my most abiding memories, I think I mentioned this in the Why Blue that was my McVittie début, was sitting in The Crown in Fountain Street, after time with my old man. Bobby was sat next to us, pint and chaser up on the counter. The young forward City has just signed from Huddersfield was with us, too, giving out about his digs. “I’ve got these great digs” said Bobby; “Denis laddie, pack yer bags and move in wi’ me. I’ve got these great digs… they’re above a pub”. Maybe it’s a good job Denis Law declined – otherwise he might not have been around to get “That Goal”.

Bobby Johnstone – great player, great character. Sadly missed.

Ernie Whalley (


I have only watched the Burnley game on ITV Sport’s new channel but I have to say I thought it was absolutely rubbish. Last time we were in this division we had Nigel Spackman and Alan Brazil slating us at every opportunity, now we seem to have Jim Beglin and Tony Dorigo. Especially the former at every opportunity he could he rubbished our team who, apart from a few defensive lapses, played very well I thought, a big improvement from Crewe 2 days earlier. In fact the only time he found anything good to say about us is when we had wrapped the game up and could have scored another 3 in the last 10 minutes. They mentioned after the game it could have been 4-4; well as far as I can remember we had 1 penalty saved, another clear one not given, the Goat could have had 6, Tiatto 2 and Wanchope another; they had a few scrambled half chances and that was it. 4-4 Cr@p.

They also pointed out the sending off was harsh and changed the game. Of course it was a sending off: Grant’s shot was goalbound and but for a save Nicky Weaver would have been proud of it would have been a goal. As far as I know the rules, if it is a deliberate handball then you have to walk (unless this has changed this year). So if he had not walked and as Horlock missed the penalty, Burnley could have quite conceivably got a point or maybe even 3 and deprived us of a win, so from my view we deserved to have the advantage which was obviously taken away from us from stopping a goal. Funny how at the start they said the Goat and the Chop could not play together and at the end it was a good partnership. 8 goals in 2 games sound like a good partnership to me.

Also they failed to point out a blatant rugby tackle on Pearce for their second goal; as the cross came in Pearce jumped for the ball and had it not been for an American Football style block would have got his head to it and cleared it. Then they had the gall to say it was not a foul but it would have been if it was the ‘keeper was going for it; same thing in my book. They also mentioned the fact that Pearce had not appealed, but that is the type of player he is, he just gets on with it.

I was thinking of exchanging my Sky for ITV Digital but not on this display. Good job I have a mate who I can rely on to video the away games for me so I don’t waste my money on the dross they have as commentators and summarisers. There you go, rant over, has anyone noticed the above or is it me being over sensitive towards the blue shirted heroes?

Also what has happened to Richard Dunne? He was truly awful in both games.

Neil Chadwick (


Below is the response I received from ITVSport when I questioned Sky’s policy. Thought those in a similar situation may be interested:

Subject: RE: ITV

Thank you for your recent email regarding ITV Sport.

I can confirm that Sky and ITV are currently in negotiations regarding the availability of ITV Sports via the digital platform. Unfortunately, they have been unable to come up with a reasonable offer to date.

Should you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the above email address.

Yours Sincerely

Barbara Irwin
Customer Care Department

—–Original Message—–
From: <> []
Sent: 21 August 2001 16:55
Subject: ITV

Question: Why on earth are SKY letting ITV have all the football coverage, when we as loyal SKY subscribers can only watch the Premiership. I have just looked at ITV Digital’s website and discover they are also showing this. I may defect.

Sheelagh Hawes (


Just to let everyone know what Congenial Joe is doing now. He’s the resident expert, in Singapore, on their coverage of the EPL. He’s had a good few digs already at U*!*$d, Liverpool and Heskey’s diving. Good stuff!

Dave in Malaysia – David Griffiths (


Joe Royle was a guest tonight on ESPN Asia (Singapore studio), discussing the prospects of various teams on the eve of the Premiership. He looked a bit glum, and avoided references about City until asked directly ‘how hard is it to stay up for a newly promoted team?’ In response he said in paraphrase…. ‘It was hard for City because many of the players had been playing in the 2nd Division, so new players had to be brought in and we lost a bit of team spirit…’ Presumably this is a reference to Weah and Wanchope. Personally I thought team spirit was pretty good throughout the season, in fact surprisingly so given the lack of decent results!

I suppose it’s too much to have expected Joe to admit that he failed to even recognise the midfield as a problem, and let some of his best players such as Weaver deteriorate. I’m a bit worried that Keegan has highlighted an attacker and a goalkeeper as his priority. One great game from Berkovic isn’t enough and surely we still need a stronger midfield, with competition, to get out of this league swiftly and hit the ground running in the Premier League. Goalkeeper fine – it would be good business to cash Weaver in for £5 million and stick with Nash backed up by some old hand.

Matt Jowett, Delhi (


I don’t know if anyone else has noticed the sign outside the newsagents in Steve Coogan’s latest film, The Parole Officer. Suspecting Coogan’s possible attachment to City (NB Paul Calf is a City fan) it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see CITY SMASH UNITED on the newsagent’s sign. I prefer not to read this as Urinited irony but of potential future scenario.

Gary Heywood-Everett (


The new President of the Milton Keynes OSC, Susan Bookbinder, will be visiting the Branch on August 30th. The meeting will start at 8pm at the Plough, Water Eaton Road, Bletchley. If you are in the area why not come along, bring some friends too.

If you would like any other information, or detailed directions, then please contact me at the address below.

Steve Maclean, Secretary, Milton Keynes Branch, Manchester City FC Supporters’ Club (


In response to the London pubs requests, here are a couple which may be of use:

The Falcon on the corner of Lavender Hill and Falcoln Road can be relied upon to show City when they’re on the telly. The pub is really close to Clapham Junction station and I’ve found other exiled Blues glued to the big screen every time I’ve watched us play in there.

Michael Cosham (


I have asked if anyone had these before, but my phone was then stolen. Can anyone remind me what they were?

CTID, John Howes (


I’m a Blue because all my family were… hereditary obviously. When I was about 6 years of age I remember asking my grandfather (God bless him!) why we didn’t like the Rags. “Because they’re common” he said, and eventually I understood what he had meant. Mid-seventies, and other girls at school all had Rags’ scarves tied to their wrists and guess what?! They didn’t have a clue about the finer points of the “beautiful game”. Yuk! Needless to say we didn’t discuss the results on a Monday morning… there was no point. They would not have had a clue about what I was saying.

To be a True Blue is wonderful, members of the finest family in the world. The team might be crap sometimes but as we all know, it doesn’t really matter. I just about remember the glory days but in some ways the recent years have been glorious in their own way. The terrible, terrible days of Alan Ball (I rest my case!) and the like but also the way we can come out and prove that wonderful spirit and beat the best on our day and make Sky’s commentators eat their words and look like plonkas!

Thanks grandad. Keep the faith everyone! As if you need telling.

Sharon Leach (


Recent results from 23 August 2001 to 27 August 2001 inclusive.

27 August 2001

Barnsley              1 - 1  Rotherham United      15,552
Birmingham City       2 - 1  Stockport County      18,478
Norwich City          2 - 0  Sheffield Wednesday   16,820
Portsmouth            4 - 2  Grimsby Town          13,614
Preston North End     1 - 1  Wimbledon             13,359
Sheffield United      2 - 2  Wolverhampton Wndrs   16,497
Watford               2 - 1  Walsall               14,652
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 0  Gillingham            18,180
Burnley               2 - 4  Manchester City       19,603
Coventry City         0 - 0  Nottingham Forest     18,467

25 August 2001

Gillingham            3 - 0  Barnsley               8,292
Grimsby Town          2 - 2  Preston North End      5,789
Manchester City       5 - 2  Crewe Alexandra       32,844
Millwall              0 - 2  Burnley               11,903
Nottingham Forest     4 - 2  Crystal Palace        18,239
Sheffield Wednesday   1 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  18,844
Stockport County      0 - 1  Portsmouth             5,090
Walsall               1 - 2  Birmingham City        7,245
Wimbledon             0 - 1  Norwich City           6,084
Wolverhampton Wndrs   1 - 0  Watford               20,257

24 August 2001

Bradford City         2 - 1  Coventry City         15,085

23 August 2001

Rotherham United      1 - 1  Sheffield United       7,515

League table to 27 August 2001 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Manchester City  4  2  0  0  8  2  1  0  1  4  4  3  0  1 12  6   6   9
 2 Bradford City    3  2  0  0  6  1  1  0  0  1  0  3  0  0  7  1   6   9
 3 Birmingham City  4  2  0  0  6  1  1  0  1  3  4  3  0  1  9  5   4   9
 4 Burnley          4  1  0  1  5  6  2  0  0  4  0  3  0  1  9  6   3   9
 5 Norwich City     4  2  0  0  4  0  1  0  1  1  4  3  0  1  5  4   1   9
 6 Wolves           4  1  1  0  3  2  1  1  0  3  2  2  2  0  6  4   2   8
 7 Gillingham       4  2  0  0  8  0  0  1  1  0  1  2  1  1  8  1   7   7
 8 Portsmouth       4  1  0  1  4  3  1  1  0  3  2  2  1  1  7  5   2   7
 9 Grimsby Town     4  1  1  0  3  2  1  0  1  3  4  2  1  1  6  6   0   7
10 Crystal Palace   3  1  0  0  4  1  1  0  1  5  6  2  0  1  9  7   2   6
11 Watford          4  2  0  0  5  3  0  0  2  0  4  2  0  2  5  7  -2   6
12 Nottm Forest     4  1  1  0  5  3  0  1  1  1  2  1  2  1  6  5   1   5
13 Wimbledon        4  1  0  1  3  2  0  1  1  3  4  1  1  2  6  6   0   4
14 Sheff. United    4  0  2  0  2  2  0  2  0  2  2  0  4  0  4  4   0   4
15 Coventry City    4  0  1  1  0  1  1  0  1  3  2  1  1  2  3  3   0   4
16 Walsall          4  1  0  1  3  3  0  1  1  2  3  1  1  2  5  6  -1   4
17 West Brom A.     4  1  0  1  1  1  0  1  1  2  3  1  1  2  3  4  -1   4
18 Sheff. Wed.      4  0  1  1  1  3  1  0  1  2  2  1  1  2  3  5  -2   4
19 Barnsley         4  1  1  0  3  2  0  0  2  0  7  1  1  2  3  9  -6   4
20 Millwall         3  1  0  1  4  2  0  0  1  0  4  1  0  2  4  6  -2   3
21 Preston N.E.     4  0  2  0  2  2  0  1  1  2  7  0  3  1  4  9  -5   3
22 Rotherham Utd.   4  0  1  1  3  4  0  1  1  3  4  0  2  2  6  8  -2   2
23 Crewe Alex.      3  0  0  1  0  2  0  0  2  2  6  0  0  3  2  8  -6   0
24 Stockport C.     4  0  0  2  0  3  0  0  2  2  6  0  0  4  2  9  -7   0

With thanks to Football 365


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Newsletter #739