Newsletter #765

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A lucky escape on Saturday saw us come away with all 3 points in a 2-1 win over Rotherham, helped by a ‘main de Dieu’ incident from our new signing, which led to furious condemnation from the opposition.

Tonight’s issue contains some excellent match reports, Ken’s diary, a review of our away form, City greats old and new, opinion on the incredible Phoenix League proposition and the football world in general, and Simon asking for a good debate to get into.

Next game: Blackburn Rovers, away, 7.45pm Wednesday 28 November 2001 (Worthington Cup)

CITY DIARY: 26 NOVEMBER – 2 DECEMBER

26 November:
Dennis Tueart got a hat-trick as City beat Chelsea 6-2 in 1977, Peter Barnes, Mick Channon and an own goal providing the others. Morley and Redmond were the goalscorers in the 2-1 win over Oxford in 1988.

27 November:
City 3 U****d 0 in 1920, goals from Browell, Ken Barnes, and Murphy. Niall Quinn’s injury in the 3-1 defeat by Sheffield United at Maine Road in 1993 put him out for the rest of the season. On this day in 1954 City were badly beaten at home by Charlton. At 4-1 down a penalty was given against the Blues, and that was too much for Bert Trautmann. Booked by the referee, he gave his name as “Stan Matthews” and in his disgust made no attempt to move when the kick was taken to give Charlton their fifth. Uwe Rösler and Kinkladze (with two penalties) scored in the 3-2 win over West Brom in 1996.

28 November:
F.A. Cup holders City lost 4-0 to Arsenal in the 1934 Charity Shield match at Highbury. In 1964 on this day they lost 4-2 to Bolton; scorers were Neil Young and a centre-forward called T. Ogden on his début, who went on to play nine times and score three goals.

29 November:
Gerry Gow scored two goals in a 3-2 win at Crystal Palace in 1980. In 1997 City lost 3-1 at Stockport, the last match Eddie McGoldrick (who went off injured) played in a City shirt.

30 November:
A hundred years ago today Meredith, Morgan, and Jones scored in City’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest at Hyde Road.

1st December:
City 3 U****d 0 in 1900, goals from Stewart (2) and Jones. City lost 7-1 at Aston Villa in 1906. Niall Quinn scored both goals in the 2-1 win over QPR in 1990.

2nd December:
In the 1939-40 season in the wartime Western Regional League City played Stockport and drew 6-6. Paul Dickov’s goal beat West Brom 1-0 away in 1997. And there was a 1-0 win at Leeds in 1995, City’s fourth in five games by that score. Coming just a month after losing 6-0 at Anfield, the singing of “Alan Ball’s a football genius” that rang around Elland Road may have suggested a revival in City’s fortunes, or it may have had a touch of irony to it. Only once in that wretched season did City score more than two goals in a league match.

Kenneth Corfield (kcorfield@berkeleycarroll.org)

MATCH REPORT: MCFC 2 ROTHERHAM UTD 1

What a marvellous weekend! I must, however, temper my excitement with the fact that I did originally encourage MCIVTA readers to back City to lose/draw against Rotherham due to my unlucky nature so far this season. I apologise in advance and hope no one took my recommendations to heart. Before I start I must thank that arrogant bald Frenchie for making my sides split on Sunday, the perfect end to an almost perfect weekend.

Team news saw Tiatto in for Horlock and Mike replacing the injured Goat; other than that it was the same team that had faced Portsmouth last Saturday. The bench featured the loan-recalled Killen and a certain Terry Cooke. Rotherham lined up with plenty of ‘Who?’ excluding Mark Robins, Chris Beech (City youth reject) and Nick Daws (ex-Bury). The noticeable thing was that City now have a very short team (height wise) whilst the Rotherham players were so tall that Swailes (not Peter), looked like he’d managed to crack his head on the roof of the tunnel as he came complete with bandage head.

City kicked off (or it could have been Rotherham) from left (North Stand) to right (Platt Lane). Early exchanges saw City lacking in imagination without a focal point up front. Huckerby was often pushing wide left (he does threaten a lot more in that position but only when given the ball) and Mike stationary wide right. City didn’t seem to create much and were often guilty of giving the ball away or conceding free kicks and corners. Wright-Phillips tried a low volley, but like half his shots it was straight at the ‘keeper (the rest seem to fly over the bar). With their height advantage it came as no surprise that Rotherham took the lead from a set piece as Swailes rose unchallenged from a corner to head past a stranded Weaver.

This goal sparked City into a fury of inactivity, even worse passing and aimless hoofs up field. It wasn’t until the stroke of half-time that City drew level; a short corner by Pearce was laid back to him and his floated cross was hammered home by Negouai, cue frantic celebrations and protesting from the Rotherham players. Personally I felt that Negouai must have clattered the ‘keeper, but later viewings clearly showed Christian punched the ball into the net. Now I know this isn’t really within the spirit of the game, but what with Tiatto’s ‘goal’ against Middlesbrough, Huckerby’s second ‘goal’ against Portsmouth, Huckerby’s ‘penalty/free-kick’ against Preston and so on and so on, it’s about time we got a bit of the fortune that has been missing recently. We didn’t deserve to be level at half time, but equally we didn’t deserve to lose against Portsmouth.

Half time saw no one win the kick for cash, so it’s a rollover for our next home match, which is either Wolves or Bradford. The half-time draw was made by two supporters who’d seen plenty of City matches (could have been 700 between them); unfortunately I missed them being asked about watching City as one replied “I’ve seen some great matches…” [pause] “… and some rubbish” – presumably that first half must have come close to the latter!

Second-half saw City play from Platt Lane to North Stand and after a roasting from Keegan City came out with a lot more movement, purpose, better build-up and generally a different frame of mind. Howey had been replaced (he had been clattered early on in the first-half) by Wiekens, who slotted in at centre-half. Huckerby almost put City in front within minutes as he picked the ball up on the left, ghosted into the box and unleashed a right foot shot that was just (and I mean just) cleared off the line. Rotherham seemingly were happy with a point, but with Huckerby’s pace causing all sorts of problems the 11 men behind the ball tactic looked a bit premature. Benarbia played Mike through but again he managed to fluff a one-on-one with the ‘keeper by striking his shot into the ‘keeper’s body. Benarbia was beginning to make his presence felt but without the mobility of Wanchope his passes often drifted through to the ‘keeper. City should have taken the lead midway through the second half as Huckerby again (in a carbon copy to his goal) cut inside but his shot struck the left hand post, skewed across the area, where Mettomo/Mike/Negouai (I think it was Mettomo, but can’t quite believe he was that far ahead of everyone else) managed to hit the right hand post (with the goal gaping) before it flew back across to the left and into the arms of the ‘keeper (another head in hands moment).

City then seemed to lose the ability to put in the final ball, prompting Keegan to freshen things up bringing on Killen for Mike and Horlock for Tiatto, but neither really got into the match. Rotherham eventually managed a clear run on Weaver but the lad shot wide under pressure from Mettomo. With time running out a draw looked likely but with Benarbia on the field you can never rule anything out. Picking the ball up on the right side of midfield, he cut inside and unleashed a shot from just outside the box that flicked up off a Rotherham player and over the stranded ‘keeper. In a match we didn’t deserve to win we managed to nick 3 points – the sign of a championship winning team? With Berkovic, Wanchope, Goat to come back we might well be in with a shout.

The scores:

Weaver 5 – Doesn’t command the box and looks uncomfortable; was he carrying an injury? Can’t blame him for the goal, but didn’t really have a lot to do.
Pearce 6 – Keeps the defence ticking over nicely but looks as though this season will be enough. Is he staying on as coach or going elsewhere?
Mettomo 8 – A solid purchase who is getting better with every match.
Howey 5 – One of his poorer matches although he was fouled early on.
Dunne 7 – Put some good crosses in and wasn’t caught out defensively unlike recent performances.
Tiatto 6 – Seemed to want to drift inside throughout the second-half, leaving us no options on the left.
Negouai 6 – Made some good challenges, but was guilty of giving the ball away a few times. Scored a great goal? 🙂
Benarbia 7 – Kept probing throughout the second-half and scored an excellent goal despite the deflection. Looks more comfortable on the right side of midfield.
Wright-Phillips 6 – Suffered from the Tiatto ability of being found in the middle of the park so limiting right-wing options.
Huckerby 8 – Was dead on his feet at the end, always running and deserved a goal for all his constant pressing.
Mike 5 – Don’t like to have a pop at young lads, but he was too static waiting for the defender to move rather than dragging the defender with him, also missed a gilt-edged change in the second-half (probably used up his opportunities for an extended first team run). However, he is very good in the air and often won the ball when up against much taller players.

Subs:
Nash, Cooke (does this appearance cost us £400,000? Was completely shocked to see him on the bench, but pleasantly surprised).
Wiekens 8 – Superb – no I haven’t been drinking. The favourite whipping boy of Maine Road was on top form. Cleared every header and made some excellent tackles, didn’t give the ball away once.
Killen 5 – Not on long enough to make an impression.
Horlock 5 – His time is nigh, someone referred to him the other week as being the “veteran Horlock”; time to cash in.

CTID, James Walsh (James.Walsh@durham.gov.uk)

MATCH VIEW I: MCFC 2 ROTHERHAM UTD 1

Having finally created enough business and personal reasons to persuade my wife that a visit to Manchester from our home in France was essential, I booked my tickets for the Rotherham game. I manage to see a couple of games a season like this but haven’t seen the Blues win for getting on for 5 years. So whilst wife and daughter visited the Arndale Centre, a Liverpool supporting friend and I sat 5 rows from the front in the Main Stand. We arrived just as the teams were about to come out and I must say the atmosphere was awesome. My friend looked around the ground turned to me and said “And this is for Rotherham!” Thanks everyone, I was proud.

For those of you who weren’t there and haven’t seen the highlights, the game seemed to me to be about motivation and passion, how to build it and how to keep it. First half they had it all, and took a deserved lead through a rocket header from the unfortunately named Swailes. My abiding image of the goal is Richard Dunne going up to meet the corner and missing the header completely. At least he went for it, others seemed to be a little absent. Both the crowd and the team were struggling to match their Rotherham counterparts. The team from Yorkshire and their fans were obviously on a bit of a roll and a look at their previous few match results showed why. Just before half time came our lucky equaliser form our new signing Negouai wearing his unlucky 13 shirt. As every good manager says, I didn’t see it and they all count. Especially when they bring you back into the game just before half time. Talking of Negouai’s shirt, I did a little research this morning and discovered several photos of Christian scoring for Charleroi (for whom he was clearly the star last season). Each photo shows him wearing 13. Obviously persuaded someone to give him the same number here.

The second half started and continued with City piling on the pressure with Rotherham seemingly happy to hold on for the point. In contrast to the first half we started winning the 50/50 balls and Benarbia and Negouai started to take control in midfield. Huckerby was fantastic, each time he got the ball out on the left I felt he would create a chance. And he did. Despite the fact that his technique never changed. Drift away from marker to left touchline, receive ball, turn, run like hell for the corner flag, stop dead loosing marker for an instant, pull the ball back onto the right foot, cutting inside floundering defender, race into penalty area and shoot. One of these efforts struck the near post, bounced out across goal into the shin of Negouai and onto the far post.

The midfield also created several chances. However. the gap left where the Goat normally stands was large and I’m afraid Leon Mike was unable to overcome his nerves to convert a couple of pretty straightforward ones. I can see it being a long time before he gets another chance, thus are careers made and broken.

As the first of those strange people who leave tense football matches before the end started to leave their seats, I mentally started to resign myself to another non victory. City pushed forward and the spectre of a Rotherham breakaway goal to steal the points raised its ugly head. But then the perfect finish. Benarbia had continued to prod and push the ball around to his colleagues, but finally with just a few minutes left he took on the responsibility himself and sent in a well struck shot from just outside the box. Cruel deflection, looped over the goalie, net bulges, crowd erupts with the loudest roar I have heard in a long time. What a moment. This is what football is all about. A ringing chant of Ali, Ali, Ali as the little Algerian strode proudly back to the centre circle and I thought “I bet he’s pleased he left PSG”. Whilst checking French fan sites for information on Negouai, I had also looked at the masses of stuff on Ali. The man has a really checkered past. A complete nonentity for the first half of his career and then wham! First Division titles with Bordeaux and Monaco, Footballer of the Year and finally pay day at PSG where he is installed as saviour and Captain. This all goes badly wrong and he spends the back half of last season on the bench. Let’s hope he can return to his glory days with us. He certainly has the talent.

I came away feeling I had watched a classic match, incident, drama, worry and finally joy.

I’ll be back.

Steve Norris (steve@alptitude.com)

MATCH VIEW II: MCFC 2 ROTHERHAM UTD 1

As the teams came out on the pitch on Saturday I had a silent laugh thinking about Ernie Whalley’s super report on a night out in leafy Cheshire; and the way we played in the first half I thought a few carafes of Vin de Maison had been consumed. In reality we played as if we expected to win without having to work for it, against a team who provided stiffer opposition than perhaps we expected. Thankfully this league is so ‘close’, with teams getting points and losing points; half of me thinks come the depths of Winter our large (too large) squad will see us through. At present, had Nicky Weaver not played on Saturday (at times perhaps he shouldn’t) we would have had 11 players on the injured or unavailable list.

Thankfully the second half perked up with Huckerby creating problems all over the place (get your head up more Darren) and Leon Mike should have converted at least one of his chances. Like SWP when he gets his first goal he’ll get more. Unfortunately for Leon his chances to prove himself will diminish when Goat and Paulo return.

And so to the day’s talking point. Christian “Newguy”‘s (I had the correct spelling before the 2nd glass of wine) goal that wasn’t. Despite the self righteous outrage of Graham Taylor and Ronnie Moore about cheating, the guy had his arm up when the ball came across and I’m sure looking at the endless replays of the incident he knew he’d handled and was expecting the ref to whistle – bit like putting the ball into the net when you know you are offside. Blatant cheating it wasn’t, bad refereeing it was! So to double standards in the media – what really annoys me is things like when the boy David “won” his free kick against Greece where were the media comments (not an anti-scum comment, merely an observation!)?

A late November outing to Grimsby isn’t one to saviour and I wish I felt more confident about the outcome than I do at present; we are either good or bad as the game of two halves at Pompey proved.

Anyway, just to cheer me up, on my way to work on Monday morning I saw a large festive poster near the Slime’s training ground at Carrington that read as follows:

SIR ALEX – SACK BARTHEZ – HO! HO! HO!

At least it brightened my day.

Rich Cooper (Rich.cooper@onmail.co.uk)

OPINION: AWAY FORM

I wanted to add some additional comments to the excellent MCIVTA reviews of the Portsmouth game: this was quite an intense encounter and I left the ground quite angry and quite frustrated that we lost. Here are some thoughts:

For those of you that weren’t there this was a classic MCFC away match, absolutely typical of so many encounters during City’s sojourns at the lower level. Even if you weren’t there this weekend – this game will have been wearily familiar to you; so you were there in spirit anyway. Just pluck a matching memory from the great MCFC repository of lost away games in the lower division.

  1. Seaside based ground, miles from home, early kick-off, but still a sell-outcourtesy of the MCFC factor, guaranteed to ensure that the home fanspack out their allotted three sides of the ground: “Here coz of City” -never a truer word sung. A great atmosphere made all the better for playingin a traditional old fashioned stadium.
  2. Locals totally up for it. “And when they beat us, don’t they bleedin’love it” (to paraphrase a contemporary poet). It must be great to put oneover a big club (that’s us!) in front of a their proud away following. Go onCity make their day – this we time we did, sadly! Not for the first time inthis sort of tight fixture too – damn!
  3. Home side totally up for it. Pompey harassed us from start to finish -we played excellent football mostly but we had to move the ball aroundvery, very quickly to hold on to possession. Invariably we’d create a chanceon the break but either way the ball was quickly back into play – with norespite. Pompey had some very useful footballers too, all up for their bigday: credit to them.
  4. Not getting the drop. Seemingly every fifty-fifty ball or knock downwent to a Portsmouth player, no matter how hard the City players tried toget there first.
  5. The City Expectation: Regardless of our squad, the manager, or how goodor bad things have been, the onus is seemingly always on City to win thesegames as we are the bigger club. I’d just love if we actually won one!
  6. The referee: Well, we can now add the name of Alcock to the list ofappalling referees (Wilkie, Courtney et al) who seem to do their absoluteutmost to hand certain games to our opponents. On Saturday, I could havesworn that Alcock was under instructions to even-up the contest in Pompey’sfavour, wherever he could; seemingly every decision went to Portsmouth.Their players could scythe in at will, but a City 50:50 challenge wasinvariably a free-kick to Pompey. At one stage, Goater was knocked over, anda Portsmouth player then fell over him. Result: a free-kick to Portsmouth.Howey was clattered badly and fell to the floor motionless – the signal of aserious injury. Did the ref give us a free kick? No. Did he stop play? No.Did Pompey kick the ball out? No. Huckerby then made sure the game wasstopped, by ensuring sure that the next 50:50 ball went into touch. He wasthen booked for his trouble – despite the fact that it was the ref’s faultin the first place. The referee then took an age to book or seeminglylecture as many City players as he could whilst Howey got treatment. Timeadded on at the end of the game? No chance. Alcock’s scandalous performancewas epitomised in the final minute when, with City pressing for an equalizerthe linesman indicated that we’d won a throw-in by the Pompey corner flag.The ref, from a distance, promptly over-ruled him and gave the throw toPortsmouth – under no pressure from anyone. Now why do they do this?

    I remember once against Coventry when a City player was penalised forshielding the ball as it went out for a goal-kick. The only time I’ve everseen the defender penalised for doing this! I even think Coventry equalisedfrom the free kick! I know I sound biased, but really, some of thesedecisions have been staggering, and made with a certain degree of arroganceor spite (witness George Courtney). Ah well.
  7. Homeward trudge. I left the ground really low, not helped by the factthat we’d been comprehensively outsung by the home fans. Not sure why – wejust were. We even suffered the indignity of having our own originalmaterial thrown back at us! “Portsmouth til I die!”

So all in all a bit of a downer. However, it must be noted that at all times, City tried to play great football, ball to feet. Huckerby worked his socks off up front and had a great goal disallowed. So there were some positives. In about a month’s time I reckon KK will have sorted out his side, we should then be unstoppable home and away.

One thing’s for sure, come the return fixture, it better be payback time!

Neil Haigh (nhaigh@relayer.u-net.com)

OPINION: MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

A very big week for football, what with the player strike averted, and new rumours of a Phoenix league, and the common thread between the two is the corrosion that all the new TV money has caused to the game. This is not a news alert, but more a progress report of how things have deteriorated over the last decade and a vision of where they may lead.

Firstly, the PFA strike. I supported the players, and see this as a defeat for them, albeit one that was inevitable to avoid the lottery of chancery where court action could have crippled the game for a few seasons. So, the chairmen bid very low and settled low, a tactic Mr Sheepshanks learned well in his transfer tribunal dealings (e.g. Tony Vaughan).

The players got to give 2.5% of their earnings to their relatively poorer brethren, while the outstanding 2.5% stays with the chairmen for a season or so until they throw it and more at the millionaire player agents. Yet somehow, the massed ranks of the club owners and media interests that control the game have persuaded a fair sample of average fans that the players were being greedy here. This greed battle was lost long ago, and the battleground was the talks between agent and chairmen, not between chairmen and union reps trading players’ performing rights fees for the benefits of the lesser players.

The much-repeated grouse over millionaire players and ‘our’ money is very wide of the mark. The money is not ours once we hand it over to the clubs or TV companies; once there it goes the way of Mr Murdoch, Mr Bates or Mr Beckham. I’d take the latter as the best of a very bad bunch there; at least he gets to kick the ball, which is what it’s all supposed to be about. The chairmen and media companies do not play in an area where there is share and share alike, it’s winner take all. The other party gets no favour and the players only count as long as they are useful. Which is why I found the idea of 5% escaping the grips of them all and going to the lesser lights refreshing. And the fans? Milch cows, no rights other than to fork out.

So, on to the Phoenix, and lo and behold some of the same names and the very same argument, how the spoils should be divided up. I see this not as some imminent master plan, rather someone putting out a few feelers to sniff the wind. I mean, who is going to take seriously the idea of Soton, Cov, Wednesday, Bratfud and for that matter City rewriting the blueprint for football without even asking the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, or the evil ones?

And City and the rest will resign for a new league next summer will they eh? I very much doubt it; who is going to pay for this new league? The TV companies would jump at the chance of renegotiating the Nationwide contract – downwards, and anyway City would not be in the Nationwide. So, run that one past me again, the one where the 20 Premiership clubs, yes the same 20 that bitched long and hard over 2.5%, take another 16 clubs under their protective wing and split the current TV pot with them. No wonder they never talked to Liverpool and Arsenal, saved a bit of breath. TV rates have peaked, and the only way that the Rags or the other biggies are going to increase their own revenue is by reducing the number of clubs who sup in the same deep trough.

So, brace yourselves for the even braver, newer, more corrosive football world to unfold in 2003/4 when the current TV deals run out. Yes, two Prem leagues, maybe including the Old Firm, but two leagues of 18 where all clubs share vast riches, I think not. Take a look at Italy – 10 clubs. This allows fewer distractions like league games for the big clubs who are Euro-fixtures, and reduces even further the chances of the very big clubs falling down the pecking order in times of trouble.

The big battle is going to be how Sky comes to an agreement with the Rags and the others over broadcasting. Will there be collective league bargaining as at present, or will there be club by club deals where MUplcTV, ArseTV and PoolTV and the rest have pre-emptive rights and of course control over revenues? Again, there will be some level of sharing of revenues because everyone accepts they can’t have a league of three. But the likes of Ipswich and Bolton shouldn’t get too dependent on the big bucks in the way that Wednesday did.

I can imagine a Premier League 1 of say between 10 and 14 clubs where the TV revenue is split asymmetrically between club and league. Then there would be a Premier League 2 where maybe 18 or 20 clubs get what the big boys decide is worth leaving to them. Oh, and 1 up, 1 down between the two, let’s cut the downside risk eh chaps.

So: Pool, @rse, Rags, Lids, Spurs, Villa, Toon, Bates, Gers and Tic would be a basic ten (being the clubs that at present have negotiating clout within the football hierarchy), and then chose an extra lucky four to make up the numbers. Top Prem1 clubs will earn a lot more than bottom, who in turn will earn far more than Prem2 clubs, and the Nationwide clubs can go suck the bones. A bit like it is now, but the gulfs will be wider.

The chairmen of the likes of Soton, Cov and Bradford are now talking a big game (in the manner of a Bates or an Ellis) in order to talk their own way onto the negotiating table for a guaranteed place in the second tier. Bradford are a never have been club, who never will be again, and I doubt they will figure much in the real talks. But all these provincial clubs are terrified that they will fall down to the third tier knowing they will not be able to survive as City did a few years back. And can the two Sheffield clubs survive apart even until 2003/4?

But where does this gut wrenching vision of the future leave City? Opting out, to stay a Nationwide club would be commercial suicide. Big gates alone will not ensure survival as the armchair pound becomes ever more important to the financial health of the game, and Makin and co on the board will not go that route. So we the supporters can either go with the flow and accept the struggle with the Prem, or take a course of cold turkey to rid us of our long held habit and go watch Altrincham or Stockport.

That wrenched gut of mine is telling me that this season is even more important than the last ten ‘most important seasons in our history’ have been. To be back in the Prem next season will put us in place to argue alongside Villa, Spurs and a downwardly mobile Chelsea for a place in the top league. Our fan base, new stadium and general profile should ensure that, but you have to be there to argue your point, and 2002/3 could well be too late.

If we fail, and further forward end up in the Prem2 we will be in what could be the footballing equivalent of purgatory; destined never to go up, and never to go down. Endless seasons where big games are Everton and Sunderland, with all our old friends of this season playing their cup finals at Eastlands, and every year some jammy dogs of war plucky small club snapping up the promotion place for a year in the spotlight.

Do I fancy this vision of the future? Err no, but what can be done about it, we are just fans; helpless strung out addicts. But there again this is only my vision of the future, and may never come to pass. However, if ten years ago you had shown me the current state of affairs I would never have believed you.

I mean a future where the Rags pay £8 million on a goalie, pay him £2.5 million a year for 6 years, and he has a party trick where he gifts the opposition 2 goals a game. Even then, the average Muppet puts up with it, because they are too worried about that classy young chap in midfield who cost £20 million more, is on an even bigger contract, and kicks the ball even less frequently. When is Nicky Butt returning they ask?

Hmmm, mustn’t grumble.

Martin J Beckett (martinjb@cdrompub.demon.co.uk)

OPINION: LACK OF OPINION?

I started receiving McVittee when spending a year working in SE Asia. I’d had a season ticket the previous year, which had seen us promoted from Division 2, and was concerned as my September ’99 departure abroad loomed as to how I’d keep in touch with the Blues’ progress. When a mate told me about McVittee and signed me up I was made up and throughout my year I was a rabid fanatic – devouring each issue several times over and making an occasional contribution.

The thing is that as I remember it there was always a good debate raging – quite heated at times – in addition to the match reports and general news update. Topics varied and some areas were of more interest to me than others, but there was generally always a good football related topic to get your teeth into – whether it was comparing “great” City teams and players from the past (I’m 34 so this took some imagination on my part), or players and teams from other clubs, discussing the attitude of City fans to Man Utd, exchanging recollections of particularly hairy moments experienced at away matches whilst debating the way that the experience of watching football had changed so much during the 90’s – I can remember these and other subjects as having drawn out great swathes of animatedly input thoughts and emotions from around the world.

Of course the bits about mobile phone ringing tones and the like were still there also, but they didn’t form the main body of my favourite twice weekly read. So is it just me or has our favourite newsletter dumbed down in recent months? As I recall it, apart from what I thought was surprisingly little debate regarding Royle’s departure and Keegan’s arrival, the major subjects discussed in recent months have been some bloke called Andy Black, who I can’t be the only person never to have heard of and consequently have little interest in, a brand of wine which just happens to share 4 letters of its name with one of our strikers, and the pros and cons of a couple of square inch bit of cloth sewn onto the City shirt. Of course far be it from me to judge what subscribers wish to write and read about – if I don’t like it why don’t I p**s off and read something else? Fair point. But I happened to be musing on all of the above as I drove down to Portsmouth on Saturday – only my second game of the season as I’m now London based – and as I drove home I decided it was time to throw a couple of things into the pot to see whether people really still want to use this newsletter for heated football debate, or whether in fact they’d prefer it to be along the lines of the chat room on the club website – and if you’ve not been there, give it a go and you’ll see what I mean.

So here goes – the away support at Portsmouth was utterly appalling – not a single proper chant for the entire 90 minutes. City fans love to drone on about being the best, most loyal fans in the country but only one person in their match report in the last issue mentioned just how bad the fans had been on Saturday – well I think it works both ways – if there’s to be credit given when the fans get behind the team so there must be criticism when they don’t. Supporting your team doesn’t just mean turning up, mocking the home club’s ground as though you’re in the big time yourself, then settling down for 90 minutes’ kip. The only chant of any volume whatever that I heard was surprise, surprise, “town full of M’s” – no wonder only 1 or 2 of the players so much as acknowledged the fans at the end, and even with those it was no more than a cursory wave – we didn’t deserve it. I was ashamed. I know that at home the fans can be subdued and often openly critical, but I expected better away, especially as for at least the first 70 minutes or so the team contributed at least half of the football played in what was an open, entertaining game.

Second point – most noise generated by City fans was to boo Lee Bradbury – the bitterness of City fans never ceases to amaze me. However poor Bradbury was for us he could never be accused of giving less than 100%. If Frank Clark chooses to make him our record buy and he’s not up to it then it’s the manager’s fault – I’m all for a bit of fun and targetting a player now and again for some abuse is part of the game, but with City fans it’s time after time. Why on earth Kit Symons receives the abuse he gets when he comes to Maine Road I’ll never know – he played his heart out for City and was certainly no more mediocre than those around him – in fact he’s still good enough to be part of a Premiership squad now. Keith Curle always got terrible stick when for me he had 4 or 5 years when he was one of our most reliable players – may not have been saying much but true nevertheless – was he our last player to receive a full England cap whilst playing for us? I think it must have been either him or David White (don’t think either went on to get another one). Even with Nicky Summerbee I simply couldn’t work out what he’d done to create so much hostility when he came back to play for Sunderland – and he was good enough to be part of a team doing far better than City for some time after he left. So can someone explain this to me? is it true of all clubs when old players come back? I’ve asked mates who support other clubs and my impression is that they are far more likely to give a friendly round of applause to a former player than City fans are. Another example of bitter Blues?

Simon Hope (simonjhope@hotmail.com)

OPINION: USEFUL LINE-UP

Apart from the obvious lack of a goalie, the following players would be a match for any team in our division. Pity they’re all injured.

Charvet
Ritchie
Howey
Edghill
Whitley Jeff
Haaland
Tiatto
Wanchope
Goater
Dickov
Subs:
Toure
Morrison

Andy Noise (andrew.noise@cel-international.com)

OPINION: GOAT’S GENEROSITY & SCORING RECORDS

Joe Coogan refers to SWP’s near miss at the North Stand end against Gillingham (MCIVTA 763). It was also the view around me in the Main Stand that the Goat could well have scored from this cross-cum-shot.

I subsequently read an interview with Shaun and he was asked that very question. In response he said it is amazing how many thoughts go through your mind during incidents in a match and on that particular occasion he remembers thinking, firstly, that SWP’s shot was going in and, secondly, that he was in an offside position so he ought to leave it.

On the subject of goals scored in a season I can provide the following list of players who have score 30 or more league goals in a season for City but, unfortunately, I have no record of penalties amongst them. I think from memory that Francis Lee score 13 penalties amongst his total of 33.

38 - Tommy Johnson in 39 games,   1928-29 (Division 1)
33 - Francis Lee in 42 games,     1971-72 (Division 1)
31 - Frank Roberts in 38 games,   1924-25 (Division 1)
   - Tommy Browell in 42 games,   1920-21 (Division 1)
30 - Billy Gillespie in 32 games, 1902-03 (Division 2)
   - Derek Kevan in 40 games,     1963-64 (Division 2)
   - Peter Doherty in 41 games,   1936-37 (Division 1)

John Clancy (johnny@clancers.freeserve.co.uk)

OPINION: SOCCEROOS & WHINING MILLERS

I’d have much rather the Australian Rugby Ozzies got beat and the Socceroos qualified for Korea/Japan than the other way around. It would have been neat seeing Danny, Wanchope and Dunne in WC2002. I wonder if pie lad Dunne will tuck into the Rotisserie Spaniels on special in Seoul? It’s probably the only sport we could beat Australia at.

Oh and all this fuss over the hand of god against Rotherham; Ron Moore calls for video evidence, letter to the FA, Negouai should get fined, Negouai should get reprimanded, the match should be replayed, it’s worse than diving in the penalty box. Please.

Who remembers the injustice at the City Ground with Dibble and the head of god ‘Crosby’ (3 points became 1 point)?
Remember when we lost 0-1 at Norwich and video evidence showed that our 2 disallowed goals were both good (3pts became 0).
The penalty the Rags got in the FA Cup game against us in 94/95 (?).
The penalty at Anfield where Weaver scraped the L’pool player’s leg hairs and he dropped to the ground like sack of proverbial?
The Huck goal against Stockport that would have turned a draw into a victory.
Need I go on…

We’ve all walked more than a mile in Mr Moore’s shoes and City fans are so weary of that walk of injustice it’s a fact of the game. Get over it Ron. As far as everyone is concerned the luck evens itself out over a season.

Ok we should have got 3 points against Stockport and only 1 point against the Millers. But hang on a minute, if we did look at the tape we would find that the corner that Rotherham had that lead to the goal, wasn’t really a corner but in fact a goal kick to City so then surely they would not have taken an early lead.

Boo Hoo we should have had a clean sheet. Have you ever watched the NFL when there is a dispute over a touchdown and the video evidence is scrutinised by over nine officials? It’s more like the “JFK assassination in Dallas” tape, it becomes a federal case and senate enquiry as opposed to an umpire’s decision over whether the 3rd down went 9.5 or 10.1 yards.

Phil Lines – Turks & Caicos islands (plines@tciway.tc)

OPINION: THE CITY CREST

Another view on the City Crest Debate… It has to be said that a return to the round badge of the 70s, 80s and most of the 90s must be a no go. The club were right to change it for merchandising reasons; let’s face it, it was backdated and being ripped off by unscrupulous vendors as a regular occurrence.

I am not overly against the new badge as such but would much prefer a return to the City of Manchester crest. After all we are Manchester City FC and have much more right to wear it than the infidels from the Swamp who seem to wear this crest on their tacky suits for European football.

CTID, Matt Halliday (matt_donna@somerdaleclose.fsnet.co.uk)

OPINION: NELLY & RODNEY

Went to the Westminster branch of the City Supporters’ Club on Wednesday, where Rodney Marsh accepted the post of President. Talk was both ancient and modern, and when he started talking fondly of Neil Young, guess what? I told the group of what McVittee contributors were trying to do re the testimonial and he offered to help (alarmingly few of the attendees knew of McVittee so we put that right).

As a starting point, he has posted the following on his Website http://www.rodmarsh.com/ about his diary of this past week:

‘… in town for a glass of champagne before going to the House of Commons for my inauguration as President of the House of Commons Man City supporters Association … I really enjoyed it … they are all very passionate about City … said they’re going to start a campaign to get a testimonial for Neil Young on this site … then went for dinner with Ivan Lewis MP, Paul Goggins MP and Ivan’s dad (see pic) … very interesting … great conversation … and good insight into how the country is run … drank too much … bed late … crashed.’

I guess we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth? He reckons they have a daily hit rate of 14,000 on http://www.rodmarsh.com/ and with his American (Florida) and Sky connections, maybe we can get something going globally, exiled Blues etc?

Just a thought.

Mike Maynard (Michael.Maynard@ubsw.com)

OPINION: GEORGE WEAH – TRUE BLUE

I must defend George Weah’s credentials as a life-long Blue. It’s common knowledge that he would have been a season ticket holder but was otherwise occupied on Saturday afternoons, and anyway, the buses weren’t that reliable.

He did actually confess to being a City fan as a kid however, completely unprompted, in a Match of the Day magazine interview some five years ago, four years before he joined us.

Now his spat with JR, well that’s another matter…

Andy Noise (andrew.noise@cel-international.com)

OPINION: COLLECTABLES

In addition to the club badges collection mentioned before, I can boast many other collections of the time. Does anyone else have the complete 1966? Or 70? World Cup squad, coin collection? It was a light blue board and included Francis Lee and Colin Bell (maybe Tony Book?). Damn this memory! Does anyone know any values for these collections? I may have to dig them out if they’re worth something.

Declan, please send your e-mail address again and I’ll send the photos.

Stuart Wells (Stuart.Wells@flight-refuelling.com)

REQUEST: HERTFORDSHIRE BLUES

With fatherhood approaching in the next month, it is likely that there may be some matches in the coming months that me and the wife will not be able to go to or I will have to go to by myself. We have 2 season tickets in Upper GG of the Kippax. With that in mind, are there any Blues in or around St Albans who would want to either use the season tickets when I/we are not able to make the match?

Additionally there may be times when I will be using only one of the tickets – and will be driving from St Albans for the day and could share a car and a ticket with someone. Note that I am not looking to make any profit on any of this, it will be on a cost basis.

Please e-mail for further info.

Martin Reynolds (martin.reynolds@accenture.com)

REQUEST: MILTON KEYNES OSC

We are holding our next meeting on Thursday November 29th, starting at 8pm at Great Brickhill Cricket Club. Please contact me if you would like directions to the venue, or any other details about the branch or the meeting.

Steve Maclean – Secretary, Milton Keynes Branch, Manchester City FC Supporters Club (Stm1@stm1.freeserve.co.uk)

REQUEST: CITY GOALS SITE

I though it was about time I mentioned my site to anyone who has not yet heard of it. The site features downloads of all goals from the City games as soon as we can get them (usually within 48 hours of games being played). The site is totally free and totally non-profit.

I created and administer the site myself with the help of Fluff in M’cr recording the highlights and converting them to real-media or windows media formats – all the goals are now on-line for Blues to see wherever you are.

Leave a message too! Good to hear where everyone is using the site from.

Cheers – and enjoy – http://citygoals.topcities.com/

No membership or registration required!

Robert Mason – Jersey Blue (robmason10@hotmail.com)

REQUEST/OPINION: BTH

Am I the only person bored by the seemingly never-ending stream of mobile phone bores asking for details of Blue Moon ringtones for Nokia mobile phones? Would it not be an idea to place this info or a suitable link on MCIVTA as a matter of course, preferably somewhere near the bottom in very small text?

[If anyone has a link to a site they would like to consider inclusion in the FAQ, then please contact Dave Warburton as indicated below – Ed]

The badge debate rages on MCIVTA, but the club are seriously considering a return to the round badge anyway, albeit an updated version (or at least they were earlier this year) as well as a return to lighter blue shirts when we move to the new stadium.

Just to let anyone who’s interested know that there’s a new issue of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet out this weekend (or even tomorrow if I can duck into Sportspages on the way to the pub for a lunchtime tipple!) and it includes an interview with Peter Barnes, ground hoppers in Europe, Kevin Cummins on England, Mike Billinge on cr@p referees, Andy Noise on hat-trick heroes and absolutely nothing whatsover on Blue Moon ringtones for Nokia mobiles, which is how it should be!

Noel Bayley (noelbayley@iname.com)

RESULTS

Recent results from 22 November 2001 to 25 November 2001 inclusive.

25 November 2001

Birmingham City       2 - 0  Coventry City         18,279
Watford               3 - 0  Portsmouth            15,631

24 November 2001

Crewe Alexandra       0 - 3  Nottingham Forest      8,402
Manchester City       2 - 1  Rotherham United      34,223
Millwall              1 - 2  Gillingham            15,214
Norwich City          2 - 1  Barnsley              17,333
Preston North End     2 - 1  Crystal Palace        15,264
Sheffield Wednesday   5 - 0  Stockport County      17,365
Walsall               1 - 2  Sheffield United       6,415
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 0  Bradford City         18,910
Wimbledon             0 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs    9,873

23 November 2001

Burnley               1 - 0  Grimsby Town          18,535

League table to 25 November 2001 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Burnley         21  7  3  1 25 15  5  1  4 15 13 12  4  5 40 28  12  40
 2 Wolves          19  4  3  2 10  6  7  2  1 19  8 11  5  3 29 14  15  38
 3 Norwich City    21  8  2  1 19  9  3  1  6 10 18 11  3  7 29 27   2  36
 4 Preston N.E.    21  6  4  1 24  9  3  4  3 11 16  9  8  4 35 25  10  35
 5 West Brom A.    20  6  1  3 11  5  5  1  4 13 13 11  2  7 24 18   6  35
 6 Crystal Palace  19  8  0  2 28  9  3  1  5 14 19 11  1  7 42 28  14  34
 7 Manchester City 19  7  2  1 26 10  3  1  5 19 19 10  3  6 45 29  16  33
 8 Millwall        19  6  1  2 20 11  3  3  4 13 12  9  4  6 33 23  10  31
 9 Coventry City   19  4  2  3 11  9  5  2  3 11  9  9  4  6 22 18   4  31
10 Portsmouth      20  5  1  3 15 11  3  5  3 15 16  8  6  6 30 27   3  30
11 Birmingham City 20  6  1  3 20  9  2  4  4 11 19  8  5  7 31 28   3  29
12 Bradford City   21  6  1  3 27 20  2  4  5 12 18  8  5  8 39 38   1  29
13 Watford         20  6  3  2 24 13  2  1  6  9 13  8  4  8 33 26   7  28
14 Nottm Forest    20  5  4  1 13  7  2  3  5  9 11  7  7  6 22 18   4  28
15 Wimbledon       21  3  5  3 17 15  3  3  4 18 18  6  8  7 35 33   2  26
16 Sheff. United   21  4  3  3 15 12  2  5  4  7 13  6  8  7 22 25  -3  26
17 Gillingham      20  5  2  3 20 10  2  2  6  9 19  7  4  9 29 29   0  25
18 Rotherham Utd.  21  3  5  2 14 15  2  2  7 12 19  5  7  9 26 34  -8  22
19 Sheff. Wed.     21  3  4  4 17 17  2  3  5  7 15  5  7  9 24 32  -8  22
20 Crewe Alex.     21  4  4  3  8 13  1  3  6 11 21  5  7  9 19 34 -15  22
21 Walsall         21  4  3  4 13 13  1  2  7 10 21  5  5 11 23 34 -11  20
22 Grimsby Town    21  3  3  4 10 14  2  2  7 11 25  5  5 11 21 39 -18  20
23 Barnsley        20  3  4  3 14 18  0  2  8  8 25  3  6 11 22 43 -21  15
24 Stockport C.    20  1  1  7  7 18  1  5  5 14 28  2  6 12 21 46 -25  12

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v1.6]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses


Articles (Heidi Pickup) : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie) : djb1305@yahoo.co.uk
Subscriptions (Geoff Donkin) : subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul) : paul@city-fan.org

Comments concerning this FAQ should be sent to David Warburton using the address: mcivtafaq@warburton.org

[1] MCIVTA Deadlines

Deadlines for issues are nominally Monday and Thursday evenings.

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

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

[3] Club Web Site

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

[4] Supporters’ Clubs

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

[5] Fans’ Committee

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

[6] City of Manchester Stadium Progress/Web Cam

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

[7] Match Day Broadcasts

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found here: http://www.mcfc.co.uk/comment.asp. An alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at: http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/foot/audio/live/schedule/index.html. GMR Saturday Sport is also available live online between 1-3pm, and 4.45-6pm at http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/index.shtml

[8] 01/02 Season Match Day Theme Tune

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

[9] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to John Arnold for providing the information regarding match day music and to Ian Bell for pointing out the alternate live match commentary service.


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

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

Newsletter #765

2001/11/26

Editor:


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