Newsletter #746

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Firstly my apologies for having forgotten we had a minor game this week against Coventry in which Wednesday night’s goal fest saw us lose 4-3. I never did like Highfield Road, but that’s another story.

Tonight’s issue has no match report but plenty of opinion on players old and new, Walsall fixture changes and other, a new online sporting vote and a few requests and Michael’s news summary – which does have a mini match report.

Anybody making the journey to Sheffield on Saturday please consider sending in a report for those of us unable to make it.

Next game: Sheffield Wednesday away Saturday 22 September 2001, 3pm

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Coventry 4 City 3: Oh dear, eight goals conceded in the last two away games, 10 in the last three. City’s Jekyll and Hyde performances continued with defeat at Highfield Road last night. City went 1 down to a Pearce o.g. before Ali B equalised. Then Weaver revisited his form of last season just before half time and was largely at fault for Coventry going in at half time 2-1 to the good. Half time changes saw the removal of Tiatto and Etuhu and the appearance of Horlock and Colisimo. Horlock duly scored another equaliser before a Lee Hughes strike was deflected into City’s net to make it 3-2. Yet again we equalised with Granville and Ali B working well and forcing an error from Marcus Hall who put it in his own net, 3-3. Just about thinking well a draw is better than a defeat, two minutes to go and comedy capers defending from Howey and p**s poor goalkeeping from Nicky 4-3. Is Nash fit yet? Most interesting news from the evening though was the non-appearance of Richard Dunne. Read on…

Dunne On His Way? Kevin Keegan left the big Irishman out of last night’s game despite his reasonable performance against Birmingham on Saturday. Local radio GMR pursued the matter after the game and Keegan told them “In the past he has turned up late for training and Joe has given him a slap on the wrist… but he didn’t turn up for training on Sunday at all and I’m not prepared to put up with it.” Dunne, who was alleged to be one of the players last season who turned up for training a little bit “tired and emotional” as politicians put it, will surely be placed on the list after his particularly unimpressive start to the campaign and his latest faux pas. Keegan said that Dunne still has a future at the club but has so far failed to apologise or even explain his non-appearance. The Irishman has also been left out of Saturday’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday and has been given the maximum club fine.

Players to Return: Good (?) news in that Alfie Haaland has returned to training for the first time in three months. Keegan said “Alfie is on his way back to fitness, he trained today for the first time with us. He did some football training as opposed to just running. That will be like having a new player, so things are coming together nicely.”

Shaun Wright Phillips will also be available for selection again as he has now served his three-match suspension for his sending off in the reserves earlier in the month.

Best of all is that Carlo Nash has resumed full training after his run of injuries that saw Nicky Weaver returned to the first team. Nash was injured in the defeat at Norwich and initially after Weaver’s poor form it was felt he’d step back into the first team. Weaver impressed against Notts County and Birmingham but was back to old tricks last night against Coventry.

England Call-Ups: England Under 17’s have again called upon City youngsters Lee Croft and Dorryl Proffit for the forthcoming game against Spain.

Reserves Fixture Switch: City’s FA Premier Reserve League clash at Everton has been rescheduled for Monday, September 24. The game is at the AutoQuest Stadium in Widnes against the previous season’s Reserve League champions. Kick off will 7pm.

Ins, Outs, Rumours

A new defender (hurrah) is imminent, even more so after Dunne’s latest shenanigans. Cameroonian International Lucien Mettomo has been on trial at City. Mettomo was wanted by Blackburn last season but an injury at the time prevented the move from being completed. The 24 year old is currently with St Etienne and would cost in the region of £2 million+. Reports state that Mettomo is keen to join City and Keegan and has apparently rejected moves to Lyon and Monaco (is he drunk?). Mettomo is quoted as saying “I want to play in England and for Manchester City. It is the right move.” A St Etienne club spokesman has revealed that we have already made a bid in the region of £3 million and this has been refused, though negotiations are ongoing.

Keegan has refuted claims that we are about to sign Blackburn Rovers’ Jason McAteer. KK told the official website http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ “I don’t see that position where Jason McAteer plays as a priority for us at the moment. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t think he is a good player and that he would strengthen us.” He added “I have seen the speculation in the papers and we have had letters from agents, but we have never made an inquiry about Jason McAteer.”

One of our alleged summer targets is again being touted as a possible signing. Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod is linked as City scouts were spotted at Bloomfield Road. Also watching the 24-year-old Ormerod were scouts from Burnley, Bradford and Bolton whilst Leicester and Wycombe and Aberdeen have also said to be interested.

Ex-Blues’ News

Southampton boss Stuart Gray has told German striker Uwe Rösler he can leave the club on a free transfer following talks between the two. Uwe approached Gray after being dropped for the Worthington Cup game with Brighton and failing to even make the bench for Saturday’s win at Bolton, despite starting The Saints’ first three Premiership matches. Rösler said, “I am really disappointed. I don’t think I deserved to get dropped after only three games; I spoke to the manager and he could not give me a football reason why he dropped me for the Worthington Cup game so we agreed that it was better for me to find a new club. He said he just wanted to change things but could not give me a reason. It is hard to accept. I didn’t even make the bench for the Bolton game and this was the clear sign that I will not be considered any more. Everyone knows the club are looking for a striker so the chances are even less.” Uwe is now 32 and whilst he is no longer a prolific striker personally he was always a hero and after watching him run the Chelsea defence ragged recently he will hopefully quickly find another club.

George Weah has joined Abu Dhabi-based club Al Jazira on a two-year contract. Al Jazira club President, Butti Al Qubaisi, said, “We didn’t have any difficulty in coming to an agreement with Weah. We never had to negotiate.” Watch this space for Weah’s latest contretemps!

Michael Leafield (mplctid@aol.com)

OPINION: VARIOUS RANDOM POINTS

Stuart Wells mentioned the boxing at the MEN arena, which was indeed excellent. However, did anyone else notice a certain Mr Bernstein in a prime ringside seat?

Also at the boxing, Ricky Hatton himself introduced the minute’s silence, asking the crowd to show to the world that Manchester fans are the finest in the land. The silence was perfectly well-observed with the exception of one idiot who thought it might be a good idea to shout “Yernited” amid the calm. His family must be so proud.

Was watching the Ipswich-Blackburn game at my parents’ who have Sky Digital. Whilst looking through the interactive options I found squad profiles for the top two divisions and looked at City’s. Anyway, I was fascinated to learn that Dickson Etuhu and Danny Tiatto are apparently exactly the same height (6ft for info). You learn something new every day.

Jason McAteer – the recurring rumour linking him with City may be exactly that and nothing more, but whilst I appreciate I may be flying in the face of the majority view, I can actually see a rôle for him in this side. If K.K. does plan to play Benny and Berko in the same side they must surely play either side of a fit, quick, battling midfielder who can protect the defence. Of the current squad, Tiatto is too much of an all-rounder to restrict to this rôle, Whitley fits the bill but is injured, Wiekens may be too one-paced to cover the ground, Etuhu could be perfect but will be easing his way in this year, Haaland may or may not improve under K.K. etc. If McAteer could reproduce the form he had whilst a central midfield player at Bolton, he could be a steal. He has the speed and aggression, and whilst I know his signing would be met with groans from a lot of Blues (not least those in Ireland who’ve seen much more of him than I have), he’s good enough for Mick McCarthy and was once good enough for Liverpool where he arguably played out of position.

Just a thought. I’ve never gone in for buying merchandise of clubs who have humbled the Rags in Europe (Madrid/Munich flags, remember Gothenburgers?). However, I will tonight (Tue) be in front of the box wearing my (red!) Lille scarf, watching United’s opponents in Europe. Not because it’s United, but because I lived in and supported Lille for a year. I did them the disservice of taking with me some of City’s good fortune as they were relegated the year I was there, but their fairytale rise to the top has culminated in Chumps League qualification and a trip to the Swamp. We’ll know the result by now of course but “Allez le LOSC” all the same.

Cheers all, Scott Turton (turtonsc@bupa.com)

OPINION: EDGY NO MORE

Richard Edghill must be the most fantastic, committed, loyal player ever to wear the City shirt. Bar none. After what he has faced from our supporters, to make any comeback would be remarkable. To have the balls to stick it out, to work so hard when he would still be paid for slouching and slacking and then to return to Maine Road and play such a great game marks him as a true Blue and a hero.

Last Saturday he was magnificent. His tackling and his passing and his running for our new magician, the Ali Beba, was sensational (Ok I admit I may be going a bit over the top). Where are those people who called for his head last year? Let’s have a bit of publicly-eaten humble pie from them please. Charvet my a**e!

Simon Fink (simon.fink@virgin.net)

OPINION: WALSALL FIXTURE I

Much sympathy goes to the Wicklow City supporters whose plans were scuppered by the change in the date of the Walsall fixture. It turns out that this was moved because the Wednesday is a religious feast in the Jewish religion (ironic that Berkovic will probably not be available anyway).

I can fully understand the motive of the chairman as stated in MCIVTA 744. However, can we expect that all future Sunday games will be moved to Saturdays, as Sunday in many religions, is also a “holy day”?

Chris Ryder (sa3519@eclipse.co.uk)

OPINION: WALSALL FIXTURE II

I found Bill Hill’s remarks concerning the rearrangement of the Walsall match and Yom Kippur in MCIVTA 745 a little much. Yom Kippur has a quite a lot to do with Manchester City, in fact. The club chairman is Jewish, as is one of its directors, a number of its vice-presidents, and its life-president. The club also has a sizeable Jewish support.

I am Jewish, although as I am not practising, Yom Kippur would not prevent me from attending a home match. Incidentally, City’s infamous match with Millwall on 29 September 1998 also took place on Yom Kippur. The chairman was not present at the New Den that night – lucky him, I say. Had he been, he might have argued for much stricter punishment for Millwall, but that is another story.

As for the club not moving the Walsall game to avoid the clash with Yom Kippur until it is almost upon us, that is a good point. However, as editor of the official club magazine between December 1997 and May 2001, I was privileged to see the inner workings of the club at closer quarters than most, and I can confirm that its failure to spot the match’s clash with Yom Kippur and not do something about it earlier came as absolutely no surprise to me.

Mike Barnett (mike.barnett@timewarp.co.uk)

OPINION: WALSALL GAME III

As I planned my honeymoon to end next Tuesday to be back in time for the game on the Wednesday evening, I am mightily displeased at the rearrangement and the reasons for it. Of course I won’t get a refund on my season ticket because I can’t make the game!

Any other holy days we should be made aware of now so that we can plan rearranges accordingly?

CTID, Joe Ramsbottom (joe.ramsbottom@nescogroup.com)

OPINION: THE HOMES OF FOOTBALL

Photographs of league grounds by Stuart Clarke (who has a larger exhibition at Ambleside) is in Warrington Museum and Art Gallery (Bold Street – email me for how to get there) until 10 November. Mon-Sat 10-5. The publicity brochure uses the highlight – a huge picture of the entire City end at Blackburn as the fourth goal goes in (only last year)!

http://fp.homesoffootball.f9.co.uk/new_page_6842714.htm is the moment before!

Quirky at times, but very evocative.

Steve Parish (steve@bloovee.freeserve.co.uk)

OPINION: AWAY GAMES

It was not too long ago when we could not win a game at home, there was a rumour of a gypsy curse at Maine Road. Now it looks like our fortunes have reversed, we cannot win away.

I think it’s our style of open football; at home it works but away from home, the home team is not afraid to take the game to us. Manchester City play attractive football, great for the spectator, but away from home we might just have to play it a bit more defence minded and go for the break away goals. It’s all about how do we get back in the Premier League, we must do whatever it takes.

It’s early days yet but I must admit I love Kevin Keegan’s brand of football.

Come on you Blues, throw that gypsy off the bus!

Ernie Barrow (BarrowLoyalBlue@aol.com)

OPINION: (100) GREATEST CITY MOMENTS VOTE I

Channel 4 is doing another of its 100 Greatest programmes. This time 100 Greatest Moments in Sport. There are a few worth voting for including:

1936-1972
Bert Trautmann’s broken neck final (though for some reason the site wouldn’t let me vote in this section).

1973-1984
Denis Law’s back heel that didn’t relegate United… oh no Denis sure it didn’t.
F.A. Cup Final… Arsenal 3 Man Ure 2.

1996-2001
Pearce’s penalty in Euro96 when he buried a few demons.
And of course Germany 1 England 5.

Be very aware… there are a few you and I would not like to see in the top 10. I leave it to you to go there, find them, and then vote to keep them out.

The address is http://www.channel4.com/greatest/images

The vote tab was off screen when I first did it. You can vote for them all. And make a further nomination. As that horrible Argentinian Villa is in there in the 1981 Cup Final, I nominated the goal that was even better in the same game, Steve McKenzie’s volley. Please support this. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if his goal was to finish higher than Mr Villa’s?

CTIGFUOVFDG (City Till I Get Fed Up Of Voting For Denis’s Goal), David Kilroy (davidkilroy@cwcom.net)

OPINION: (100) GREATEST CITY MOMENTS VOTE II

I noticed Channel 4 are inviting votes for the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments ever. They have a list of 100 such events and want you to vote for them, with some TV programme or other depending on the outcome:

http://www.channel4.com/greatest/index.html

I thought other City fans would be interested in the following pointers:

6. Bert Trautmann plays on in FA Cup Final with a broken neck.
24. Dennis Law’s backheel relegates Man United.
76. Stuart Pearce celebrates his penalty revenge in Euro 96.

Here are some numbers to avoid as far as I am concerned:
12, 15, 41, 69, 73 (arguably), 78, 84, 86.

And for the dedicated anti-Red:
35. Arsenal 3 Man Utd 2 (71 Cup Final)

Loads of other good material to choose from in there and you can submit your own choice of greatest moment. If you do, I could only guess that the date 30th May 1999 might be involved.

James Nash (J.Nash@mdx.ac.uk)

OPINION: FRENCH LESSON ON ALI B

Short reply to Mark Barrat: MCIVTA 745 “Larron” anyone? – le deuxieme larron is used to describe the partner in a duo. At a guess Ali B must have been in an excellent midfield partnership at some time (with Petit?).

Here’s hoping Ali B & Berkovic are the

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