Newsletter #758

A walkover in the first 45 minutes at Oakwell saw us come away with 3 goals and all 3 points on a bitterly cold South Yorkshire night (poor old Barnsley ‘should have gone trick or treating’ as the old song goes indeed) and a move up to 5th in the table.

Tonight’s issue contains a couple of reports from the Nottingham game, thank you for those, plenty of opinion, answers to our badge query, a few requests, a comprehensive review of the Q&A session at this week’s AGM and another long-distance Why Blue.

Saturday sees our friends Gillingham up at Maine Road. Anyone for penalties?

Next game: Gillingham, home, 3pm Saturday 3 November 2001


After shaking off the lack of funds that goes with being a student, I was finally able to afford to go over to see City play at the weekend. So, travelling with my mate, who’s a Forest fan, we ventured over for the big game. I’m not going to bother with a big spiel about the game itself. But from watching the game, here’s what I thought of the players (I can’t get ITV Digital living in the ROI so this was my first time seeing some of them in action)…

Weaver: Not very commanding, but good kicking – well, compared to Darren Ward anyway. I thought he could have dealt with the goal better, and there was one shocker in the second half where he didn’t claim a cross and really a Forest player should have capitalised. Did make a couple of good stops though.

Dunne: Having watched him for Ireland for 2 years, I was surprised that he looks the same size from the back row of the stand as the front row. Played brilliantly though, including a jinking run and good cross. Caught for speed a few times, and with Bernabia in front of him, it’s not the paciest right side in the league.

Pearce: Didn’t do much – right or wrong. Took a couple of brutal corners. Maybe too caught up in the atmosphere to shine…

Howey: Did well, won most ball in the air, but was caught out a couple of times when an offside trap was attempted. Still better than any Forest centre half.

Mettomo: I was impressed by him. Despite a strange booking for brushing off a forest player, he still won a lot of challenges. Also showed some impressive control in the second half when knocking the ball over his shoulder and clearing it.

Wiekens: Had a good game overall despite seeming to have no actual position, got injured early in the 2nd half and was replaced by Granville.

Etuhu: Was booked early on for a clumsy challenge (thought the card was a bit harsh) and from then on seemed to be shirking from tackles. Made a couple of runs into the box, but poor crossing. I’d say without the booking it would have been a different story.

Horlock: Made a lot of runs looking for shooting opportunities, but never really threatened.

Benarbia: Superb close control, and toyed with the Forest team… but there was just no final killer ball. Had to track back too much for my liking, and seemed to be covering too wide a space. I’m sure he’s more effective centrally without worrying about covering for Dickie Dunne.

Huckerby: Made some nice runs but again never looked like scoring. Had the Forest defence for pace and might have done better on a couple of occasions when he held up rather than go for goal.

Goater: Took the goal well; it was difficult trying to hide my laughter ’cause I was in with the Forest fans. I thought his touch was impressive and he won a lot in the air, especially from Weaver’s punts. Didn’t have much service, but did just miss out on a whipped cross in the second half.

Overall, I thought it was a reasonable performance but the team lacked any real shape and I’d definitely prefer to see a well-drilled 4-4-2 than the bizarre setup from Sunday. Draw was a fair result.

Next visit to Palace away in December, and then hopefully a home game!

P.S. Ground staff at Maine Road are dead sound; we were there on Tuesday and since we couldn’t get on the tour, we were allowed to walk around the ground unaccompanied, which was great.

Paul Carey (


A short report for a fairly disappointing game. In factual terms Forest opened the scoring when City were undone for pace down their right hand side; a low cross into the 6 yard area, Weaver flapped at it and lobbed the ball up to Bart-Williams who managed to steer the ball between Pearce and a Forest player on the line. If the ref had been an ardent and pedantic City fan he might have reasoned that the Forest player on the line was stopping Pearce from getting to the ball and therefore was interfering with play and offside but I couldn’t see any independent ref giving that (although I can remember Tiatto’s ‘goal’ last season). Hardly time to blink when Goater’s instincts saw him make a chance out of a misunderstanding between the Forest ‘keeper and his defence – this was put down to a goalkeeping error but the reality was that Goater’s reactions made a goal from nothing.

Rest of the match was nothing special and really didn’t look likely to bring a goal. Weaver made one first class save and a couple of others and managed to miss another cross into the 6 yard box. At the other end Goater almost reached a cross from Granville. Benarbia threatened to deceive in patches but never quite got in the telling balls to create chances – perhaps he needs Wanchope. Huckerby did a Dickov – lots of running with the ref giving everything against him. Howey looked sound in defence and the rest were OK but nothing special.

David Lewis (


These are from my jottings during the AGM plus my interpretations of what was being said.

Main AGM Business

All items carried without questions so directors were re-elected and the board can raise money by issuing further shares if it wants to.

Questions to Bernstein

Question 1:
How long have we got to return to Premier before finances are strained?
2 Years. The parachute money lasts for two years but we have large commitments due to players on Premier money contracts. After 2 years City will have to tighten belts.

Question 2:
Why increase in directors’ pay?
Directors were not paid at all for three years. We believe (I?) that directors should be properly remunerated and we would have to pay much more for advice such as that we ‘forget’ from Mr Bodek if we paid for it in the market place. At this point Bernstein waved a piece of paper handed to all shareholders on the way in which implied that they directors were enjoying a ride on the Gravy Train. He was clearly miffed by this effrontery. It pointed out that Roland Smith of the Rags’ World Domination Foundation was paid only £30,000 p.a. – “but he isn’t an executive director”. So there.

Question 3:
If we’re getting such good legal advice and suchlike, why have we got ourselves into court with Joe Royle?
I’m glad this came up (meaning I’m not glad this came up). The first we knew about this was when a writ popped through the door. It is based on the technicality that JR was still a Premiership manager when he was, ahem, let go, so to speak. Bernstein then waved a piece of paper from the Premiership offices which said that after being beaten by Chelsea MCFC were from that instant onwards no longer a member of the Premier league and that therefore JR had become a Nationwide manager before even leaving the dugout. And so to court to see who is really right…

Question 4:
What about these kick-off times – do we have any say in 6.15pm kick-offs on a Sunday?
No – we are contractually bound to do what our Lords and Masters of the media say although no-one likes these kick-off times.

Question 5:
Will there be a no smoking policy in the new stadium as in the Stadium of Light?
This is being considered now but no decision has been reached.

Question 6:
If our finances get tighter will players’ salaries go down?
Answer (after cynical laughter had subsided):
No – they are on contracts.

Question 7:
Our new stadium will be leasehold for 250 years – will the value be depreciated in the accounts over that period of time and what happens to Maine Road?
It is being looked at and we may possibly depreciate the new stadium in the accounts over a shorter period. Maine Road would probably be a liability to MCFC if it had remained in our possession because of where it is (in Moss Side he means) and so it was essential to pass it to the Council. Note that Maine Road was freehold and the new stadium is a leasehold building.

Question 8:
In your first address to us you talked about bringing new money into the club, what’s happened to that idea?
Sky money and some dealings within the board but now football shares are not seen as good holdings in the market so it is much harder to attract investment.

Question 9:
Why no minute’s silence for Bobby Johnston (applause for the question)?
Pathetic Answer:
Very difficult because which players get a minute’s silence (my answer: the dead ones – it doesn’t happen that often)? However, we will have 2 minutes’ silence at the Christmas game for all players who have died during the year. This happened at the Sunderland vs. City game I think last year so I think it is quite a common way of dealing with the matter.

Question 10:
Malcolm Allison is in a bad way, what can we do about it?
The board has done something about Malcolm’s position. Bernstein clearly did not want to go into details about this (quite rightly) but said Allison would always be welcome at MR.

Question 11:
How will seats be allocated at the new stadium?
As far as possible season ticket holders will be given the opportunity to get he equivalent seat in the new stadium.

Beginning of Kevin Keegan Show

None of KK’s answers were one liners as JR might have done. On the contrary, he answered everything at length, gave personal comments on players which, had they been present, would have been quite embarrassing for them and generally gave a fully open and honest performance. In other words he couldn’t keep his mouth shut so it was very entertaining.

Q1 Will we see Eyal and Benarbia on the pitch together for 90 minutes?
A1 Yes – I believe they can play together but so far Eyal has not been fit enough. Eyal is still short of fitness although he played 90 minutes for Israel in their 1-1 draw with Austria. We are more likely to see them together at MR than away from home. As an aside “I can confirm that no player have been to see me about reducing their wages.”

Q2 We started with 3-5-2 and in the last two games played 4-4-2 and it looked better can you comment?
A2 Long ramble which meant I do whatever I think is best – not committed to either but the players we have lend themselves to 3-5-2. Not seen all players properly – Paul Ritchie is two weeks off full fitness yet. KK wants players who can adapt so he can choose which system to play and either is effective.

Q3 Are we looking for another striker now that Paulo is out for a bit?
A3 We are looking for players for any position. We have players who might have been OK in the Premier but struggle in the more physical aspects of the First Division. Goater and Wanchope are a good combination but they can be better.

Q4 Why have we signed another goalkeeper when we have two first team ‘keepers plus a reserve in Brian Murphy?
A4 The Danish goalkeeper we have signed for £200,000, which would become £750,000 on making 25 appearances, is 6 foot 5 inches tall, can play with both feet having been an outfield player and is, according to Bonnetti, one of the most exciting young (18 years old) ‘keepers he has seen. At this point KK said that Murphy needed to grow more. I thought at first he meant in stature or confidence but as he clattered on, it became clear that he thinks Murphy is a short ‘keeper: “The goals look big behind him”. I read this as saying that unless Murphy gets bigger and taller there will be no place for him at City.

Q5 Why don’t we use wingers and what about Terry Cooke?
A5 In KK’s opinion TC is the only true winger (although he played Toure on the wing when he came on as sub didn’t he?) and he hasn’t done enough to warrant a first team place. He then described how TC came to see him saying that he hadn’t been given a chance (under JR) and KK said everyone has a clean sheet. Again in an aside, he said he needs to do more such as coming in in the afternoons (reading between the lines TC is too lazy?). The “kids” have blossomed since being allowed to train with the first team and he wants to see 3 or 4 coming through to the first team. All the successful clubs have done this. English players are generally too expensive.

Q6 Why don’t players come to supporters’ clubs more regularly?
A6 This was a beef from someone who was let down but the answer from Chris Bird and KK was that they are committed to players meeting the fans as long as it is worth their while. Sometimes only 20 fans turned up and the players had driven for one and a half hours to the meeting (one and a half hours – that’s so unreasonable). They were clearly committed to meetings at MR or Carrington in which combined supporters’ clubs met players so that there would be a bigger audience. KK offered his previous experiences at Newcastle but said fans’ forums had been more difficult to arrange at Harrods. He also volunteered that players have to go to 8 such meetings as part of their contracts and that some had already done more than that but people like Dunny have to catch up. “You might see more of him than I have”, he said obliquely referring to his poor timekeeping.

Q7 Before you go signing 36 year old ex-Premier players, could you please look at some of our excellent players…
A7 KK interrupted the questioner before he had finished, asking who exactly he had signed. All this banter was about the press assumption that KK wants Rob Lee from Newcastle and KK told us not to believe all we read in the papers. He pointed out that we have an excellent scouting system under Arthur Cox and sometimes a player will be seen 5 or 10 times. If a City scout appears at Brighton we’re going to sign Zamora, if he appears at Inverness we’re going to sign (Wyness). It’s just press talk and speculation. He then went on to say that SWP is a very talented player and he (KK) believes in him more than SWP himself does. In other questions about younger players he volunteered that Terry Dunfield, Chris Shuker, Chris Killen, Leon Mike and others had contracts up in the summer. City would have to offer them something by January which they could accept or reject. If they rejected the terms then they would be free to go on a Bosman in the summer. I got the impression that although he thinks that they are talented, he also thinks that at the age of about 20, they should have been knocking harder on the first team door. I expect that some of these players will be offered terms that they won’t want and will go in the summer (my interpretation only).

Q8 What to do about the numbers of yellow and red cards?
A8 Discipline is a concern but if he told Danny to tone it down he wouldn’t be DT. As for Eyal, if you tell the ref he is a f*cking cheat, then you are going to get a red card obviously.

Lots of applause at the end of a good natured meeting.

Peter Llewellyn (


Alfie has apparently broken down again and will probably be missing until late November at the earliest. I’d like to say I missed him out deliberately because there was nothing of him to review, but sadly I just forgot him (and Toure who looks one for the future, nippy but a bit directionless in the 1/2 game I’ve seen him).

The trouble with Haaland last year was that he was jack of all trades, master of none. As a consequence he was often seen panting to join the attack and defence in turn. I don’t think he’s a midfielder, but suspect when he returns, KK will take his opportunity give a rest to Etuhu, which in fairness, Dickson will probably be ready for. His best form was after the Leicester shirt throwing incident, where finally he showed some passion and leadership. So perhaps he’ll progress from there. Time will tell.

I’ve not looked myself for a while, but you can keep up to date with Alfie on It’s not quite as dull as Brian Gayle’s Captain’s diary used to be (“Monday, training, came home and did some work on the house…, Tuesday, training and a bit of DIY…, Wednesday, training and painting…” etc!).

Jonathan Haggart (


Caught a program on ITV (Yorkshire region) at lunchtime this week which had Oz Clark the wine critic on it. He was recommending various wines, one of which was ‘Goats Do Roam’. Apparently it’s South African in origin, it is so called because the wine producer keeps goats and is a play on words of ‘Cotes du Rhone’. A bargain at £4.99 a bottle. No mention of Shaun Goater!

An excellent ‘kick boxing’ style goal celebration on the corner flag from Huckerby at Barnsley last night I thought. Not sure what the corner flag had done to deserve it though!

Raymond Critchlow (


Went to the movies at Fox Studios in Sydney on Saturday and saw posters at Cinema Paris for “There’s only one Jimmy Grimble”, which opens November 29.

If any Sydney based Blues fancy meeting up to see the movie and maybe a couple of beers drop me a line. December 1st may be a good date as Australia play off the 5th placed South American team for a place in the World Cup that evening and our Danny should be playing.

Matt Spence (


In answer to Stephen Peak’s question, the ship on City’s badge, and incidentally on the City Arms of Manchester, represents the Manchester Ship Canal, source of the city’s wealth in the late nineteenth century when the club was founded. In the club’s proper badge (i.e. pre-dyspeptic chicken and odd stars which looks like something Mussolini would have worn) there was also the red rose of the County Palatine of Lancaster (Lancashire to you and me), where Manchester used to be before Ted Heath made such a mess of the counties that had served us all perfectly well since Alfred the Great laid them out.

Does anybody else think that we should go back to the old badge?

On a different note, I haven’t seen either Weaver or Nash play this season but could someone who has give us a run down of their respective qualities? The opinion I had developed, admittedly from afar, was that Nash was a bit more accomplished, and less fat, and that we were doing rather better with him in goal.

Jon Davenport, Katonah, New York (


City’s badge is based on Manchester’s coat of arms. The ship represents the ship canal.

Phil Sutton (


The City badge is modelled on the City of Manchester coat of arms. The ship symbolises the importance of the waterways to Manchester (first industrial canal – the Bridgewater, 1759; Manchester Ship Canal).

For more on the history of Manchester try

CTID, Nigel Gibson (


Simple request, and I’m sure it’s been much discussed before, but still.

I live in Paris and currently listen to all City’s games on Century Radio via the Internet. I would like to watch these games on TV either live or just Saturday night highlights. Is this possible? I mean by that is it technically possible to get access to these games via satellite or some other means in France at all and if so does anyone who is Blue and in Paris know of a bar which shows televised games?


Thanks for any help.

Steve Norris (


We are hopeful of you advising us on how we can obtain a copy of the video ‘Jimmie Grimble’ and any other latest games we have missed because of them not being played on the TV here in Australia.

Any assistance you can give would be appreciated please.

Judi Ann, MCFC ISC, Melbourne Australia Contact (


Forgive me if this has been covered before but I seem to remember some time ago, someone asking about ring tones and logos for mobile phones. My technically minded mate is now able to supply these and there is quite a varied selection for only a couple of quid. Rather than take up valuable space on MCIVTA, if anyone is interested they can email me directly.

Simon Clapperton (


We can only hope that the Why Blue is one of many contributions to this column. The memories evoked are of a time long gone. When we were all proud to be English because fair play was a way of life. I was born in ’49 so I saw the glory years of the 60’s and 70’s and cried with 86,000(?) others at Bert’s game in the dark, wet night. My first real memory is of my soon to be brother in law Fred taking me to see City playing West Ham and winning 5-3, I think; not long after that I saw a young Glyn Pardoe play centre forward and look very promising in the reserves against Blackburn in maroon shirts. My fondest memory is of staying in his army buddy’s house in Middlesbrough after the game at Newcastle. I have my brother in law to thank for this curse that took us to Huddersfield and Wembley and Tottenham the week before Newcastle.

This Christmas my own son is flying in to Manchester and Fred’s own son is taking him to the game. I hope they get a pint at the Benchill or the Parkside before they go, like we used to. He will feel the atmosphere unique to English football games and I hope he remembers the words to Jerusalem, and somebody should sing it so he can hear it in person. I will be up early listening on the Internet.

This was meant to be a thank you but ended up being a rambling Why Blue? But any way, thank you all for keeping us all in touch.

CTID, Jim Heaviside, Yorba Linda, California (


Recent results from 29 October 2001 to 31 October 2001 inclusive.

31 October 2001

Barnsley              0 - 3  Manchester City       15,159
Coventry City         2 - 2  Preston North End     15,755
Nottingham Forest     0 - 1  Sheffield Wednesday   20,206
Wolverhampton Wndrs   1 - 0  Millwall              23,018
Crystal Palace        0 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  17,273

30 October 2001

Bradford City         3 - 3  Wimbledon             18,255
Gillingham            2 - 2  Burnley                8,067
Grimsby Town          0 - 2  Norwich City           5,489
Portsmouth            1 - 1  Birmingham City       15,612
Rotherham United      2 - 2  Crewe Alexandra        5,921
Sheffield United      0 - 2  Watford               14,338
Stockport County      0 - 2  Walsall                4,553

League table to 31 October 2001 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Wolves          16  4  2  2 10  6  6  2  0 18  6 10  4  2 28 12  16  34
 2 Coventry City   16  4  2  2 11  7  5  2  1  9  4  9  4  3 20 11   9  31
 3 Crystal Palace  15  7  0  2 24  8  3  0  3 11 12 10  0  5 35 20  15  30
 4 Norwich City    16  6  1  0 12  2  3  1  5  9 16  9  2  5 21 18   3  29
 5 Manchester City 16  5  2  1 20  8  3  1  4 18 17  8  3  5 38 25  13  27
 6 Burnley         16  4  2  1 20 14  4  1  4 13 13  8  3  5 33 27   6  27
 7 West Brom A.    16  4  1  3  9  5  4  1  3 11 11  8  2  6 20 16   4  26
 8 Preston N.E.    16  4  2  1 13  5  3  3  3 10 15  7  5  4 23 20   3  26
 9 Birmingham City 16  5  0  2 16  6  2  4  3 11 15  7  4  5 27 21   6  25
10 Millwall        15  4  1  1 15  7  3  2  4 11 10  7  3  5 26 17   9  24
11 Nottm Forest    16  5  3  1 12  6  1  3  3  6  8  6  6  4 18 14   4  24
12 Portsmouth      16  4  1  3 13 10  2  4  2 11 10  6  5  5 24 20   4  23
13 Bradford City   16  5  1  3 25 20  1  2  4  5 13  6  3  7 30 33  -3  21
14 Wimbledon       16  2  3  2 12 10  3  2  4 17 17  5  5  6 29 27   2  20
15 Watford         15  4  2  2 17 12  2  0  5  9 12  6  2  7 26 24   2  20
16 Sheff. United   17  3  3  3 11 12  1  4  3  4  9  4  7  6 15 21  -6  19
17 Crewe Alex.     16  4  2  2  6  8  1  2  5  8 15  5  4  7 14 23  -9  19
18 Rotherham Utd.  17  2  5  2 12 14  2  1  5  9 14  4  6  7 21 28  -7  18
19 Grimsby Town    17  3  2  4  8 12  2  1  5 10 22  5  3  9 18 34 -16  18
20 Gillingham      15  4  1  3 17 10  1  1  5  6 14  5  2  8 23 24  -1  17
21 Sheff. Wed.     17  2  3  3 10 14  2  2  5  7 15  4  5  8 17 29 -12  17
22 Walsall         16  3  2  3  8  9  1  1  6  8 17  4  3  9 16 26 -10  15
23 Barnsley        16  3  3  3 13 17  0  1  6  5 18  3  4  9 18 35 -17  13
24 Stockport C.    16  0  1  7  5 17  1  4  3 13 16  1  5 10 18 33 -15   8

With thanks to Football 365


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The music the teams run out to at Maine Road this season is “Nightmare”, by Brainbug, and is available on the Positiva label.

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Newsletter #758