Newsletter #766

Wednesday night’s defeat at Ewood park means we can now concentrate fully on our league games. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. Though up in the upper tier in virtually the same seat as that glorious game 18 months ago, it was difficult to fully concentrate on the game in hand without reliving some of those moments. Needless to say, the Grassy Knoll was unpopulated.

Tonight’s issue sees Don’s news review, match report, plenty of opinion from past players to current, referees (nothing on Mr Rennie surprisingly), news on Neil Young and a couple of requests.

Anyone off to Grimsby (and my lot are of for a weekend in Cleethorpes, bless ’em) please consider doing a match report for those unable to make it.

Next game: Grimsby Town, away, 3pm Saturday 1 December 2001



Second Division for Premiership?: Weekend reports claimed that a number of clubs outside the English Premiership, including City, have been approached to form a breakaway division, known as the “Phoenix League”, a Second Division to the Premiership. The clubs mentioned as founder members: City, Bradford City, Wolves, Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham City and the two Glasgow giants, Celtic and Rangers. The plan would also leave TV companies having to re-negotiate their Football League contracts. Speculation was further fuelled when Bradford’s normally loquacious chairman, Geoffrey Richmond, refused to comment on the reports. The supposed plans were however rubbished by a Premiership spokesman who said “There is no prospect of a restructuring of the Premier League. This story seems to keep coming round again and again. It is complete nonsense.”

PFA Strike Averted: It was announced last Friday that the Players’ Union (PFA) had reached agreement with the football authorities over the PFA’s share of revenues generated from TV money. All parties declared that they were happy with the deal. This meant that City’s board were not able to carry out their plan to reveal details of the financial affairs of the club, including the wages paid to staff. Kevin Keegan was quoted in the M.E.N “What I am going to do is with the board’s permission – which I have – is to show the players at this club how it is run and where the money goes. When they see that, I think they will get quite a shock. Most of the money in football is still going to the players.” We can only speculate whether this form of “education” of players would have changed players’ minds over strike action.

Reserves Results: Thursday 22nd saw City’s Reserves draw 1-1 with Trafford Rangers’ Reserves. The Reds took the lead in the 38th minute, courtesy of Solskjaer. It took a late goal from Stephen Jordan, converting a Terry Cooke free kick, to rescue a point. Afterwards coach Asa Hartford praised the performance of young City right back Tyrone Mears. Four days later, City travelled to Stalybridge Celtic’s ground for a friendly, and saw the Blues win 3-1, thanks to goals from Tyrone Mears, Joey Barton and Terry Dunfield. Kevin Ellegaard, City’s new Danish goalkeeper, made his début, while Dunfield, Dickson Etuhu and Chris Shuker were the only players present with first team experience.

Australia out of World Cup: Danny Tiatto will not be joining Paulo Wanchope at the World Cup Finals in Korea and Japan next summer. Australia lost 3-0 to Uruguay in their play-off match in Montevideo, so the South Americans qualified with a 3-1 aggregate score. Danny was suspended for both legs of the tie and is clearly having second thoughts about representing his country again. The midfielder said “I wish the Australian Federation had sorted it all out before the two games. That was the most frustrating aspect of it all. They always call on me and I always go out there, but if it is going to be like that, then it is going to be harder for me to go out and play for my country.”

Management Against Phoenix: City’s management have made their feelings known about the potential “Premiership 2” League. In a BBC radio interview, chairman David Bernstein stated that City were not one of the instigators of the proposal, but admitted that they had been approached by those central to it. He said he was opposed to any League which was not based on merit. Kevin Keegan meanwhile has come out strongly against the Phoenix League proposals. “I don’t think it should happen and I am dead against it,” Keegan said. “I’m so much against it because it is being driven by the wrong motives. We’re talking about clubs here and the smaller ones will lose out,” he said. “It would be the death knell for clubs like Stockport, Crewe and Rotherham in our league if it happened. I came from a small club so I know what I am talking about,” Keegan concluded.

Wolves Date Confirmed: Now that City are out of the Worthington Cup, courtesy of Wednesday’s 0-2 reverse at Blackburn, the date for the home League match with Wolverhampton Wanderers has now been confirmed. Wolves now visit Maine Road on Tuesday, December 11.

Transfer News and Gossip

Striker Osterc set to Join City: Congratulations to MCIVTA’s contributor Benny Blue, who gave us early word on City’s latest target. Reports state that City may soon sign Milan Osterc of Hapoel Tel Aviv. The 26-year old striker recently helped Slovenia to the World Cup finals, scoring a fine individual goal. He also earned Hapoel a 1-1 draw in their UEFA Cup second round second leg clash at Chelsea recently. A fee of £1.5 million is said to have been agreed. It remains to be seen whether Hapoel are willing to part with their star striker while still involved in the UEFA Cup. Osterc’s agent has tried to stoke up interest by claiming that two Premiership and two First Division clubs are in the bidding, along with a number of European clubs . A very late update: Osterc is reported to have fallen out with Hapoel’s coach over (bizarrely) the colour of his hair! It seems that the boss objected to the bleached blond look sported by the Slovenian, who found himself dropped for a domestic game at the weekend and under threat for his UEFA Cup place on Thursday. This could be the first transfer in history brought about by the power of peroxide.

Dickov’s Off … Where?: We have had a hat-trick of “Paul Dickov is leaving” stories this week. Version one has the Scottish International on his way to Carrow Road to play for Norwich City. Version two has Dickov off once again to Wigan Athletic. Version three: that man Donachie’s back again, as Dickov has been linked with Sheffield Wednesday. All three scenarios seem somewhat doubtful, as the striker has just been sidelined for yet another month – he aggravated a long-standing rib injury on his return to training last Thursday. The Wednesday link was later denied, as the Sheffield club are in dire financial straits and cannot afford the £300,000 fee required.

Non-League Links: It seems that City are showing an interest in Boston United’s prolific striker Daryl Clare. The 23-year-old former Grimsby Town player has scored eleven times so far this season. A national newspaper has City offering as trial to a young striker playing in the Lancashire and Cheshire League Division – the player is supposed to have got his chance by ringing the manager for a trial. This highly unlikely scenario has been discounted by Mr Keegan, who says he never received any such telephone call.

Jarni’s ‘verbal agreement’ with City: Robert Jarni’s proposed transfer seems unlikely to take place in the near future. Jarni claimed from Spain this week that he recently reached a verbal agreement with City, only for the deal to fall through because his current club Las Palmas asked for a £700,000 fee – Jarni had been under the impression that he could have moved to City on a free transfer. On January 1st, Jarni is entitled to negotiate a deal with any club he chooses, in advance of him becoming a free agent in the summer.

2nd Hapoel Player Linked: City have been mentioned in connection with a second player from Hapoel Tel Aviv. This time it’s Israeli international defender Shimon Gershon. Presumably City were mentioned because of the presence of fellow Israeli international Eyal Berkovic and the potential arrival of Milan Osterc at Maine Road, but a deal for Gershon seems unlikely as his agent has said his client wants to try his luck in the Premiership.

City move for Burnley Skipper: Is KK after another central defender? After the deal for Bradford’s David Weatherall fell through, City are now supposed to be chasing Steve Davis, captain of Burnley. It is thought the loss of Lucien mettomo in January and February, away on Africa Nations’ Cup duty with Cameroon, may be behind these latest moves.

Ex-Blues’ News

Taylor & Grant star for Burnley: Burnley stretched their lead at the top of Division One last Friday to five points, helped in no small measure by two ex-Blues. The Clarets beat Grimsby 1-0, the goal being scored by Gareth Taylor. Tony Grant, who helped City inflict Burnley’s only home defeat earlier in the season, was named man-of-the-match in the clash with Grimsby.

Royle Approached by Cardiff: Last Sunday’s News of the World has revived a story from last month, namely that Cardiff City have approached Joe Royle and checked out his interest in a possible rôle alongside current manager Alan Cork. It is not clear whether Royle’s rôle would be as a Director of Football, or as the Manager.

Uwe News: Former City hero Uwe Rösler is facing an uncertain time as he approaches the end of his month long loan at West Brom. Uwe has scored only once in his five starts and boss Gary Megson has given no indication whether he wishes to keep the German striker. Meanwhile, a former loan player at Maine Road, Lee Mills, has joined Coventry on a month’s loan from Portsmouth.

Reactions and Comments

Hands up for Negouai: Rotherham United manager Ronnie Moore was less than impressed by City’s first goal against Rotherham on Saturday, which appeared to strike the hand of City’s giant new midfielder Christian Negouai before going into goal. Moore said: “He has cheated his fellow professionals and this club out of one point, maybe three, and he should be fined. Something like that could be the difference between us being in the First or Second Division at the end of the season.” Kevin Keegan admitted that his player had handled the ball, but said: “It was a bit hard to brand him a cheat. Over a season these things will happen – we’ve had goals disallowed that should have been given. I can understand his frustration though.” Asked whether he had spoken to Negouai about the incident, Keegan said with his usual rapier-like wit: “The lad doesn’t speak any English. I know what the French for head is but I’ll have find out what the word is for hand.” Graham Taylor, also weighed in on ITV Digital’s Saturday night highlights show: “That’s cheating” said Taylor. “He’s punched the ball into the net”. Taylor also thought that Negouai hadn’t done himself any favours and that the player might now become a marked man with referees. Time will tell in that respect, but let’s hope we haven’t used up our good luck for the season, especially after the wicked deflection which helped Ali B’s winner into the net in the 85th minute. Referee Mike Fletcher has since apologised to Rotherham after watching a video replay of the incident, and has admitted that City’s first goal should not have stood.

Ali B’s Plea: Ali Bernarbia thinks that it’s time for City’s midfield to help out the strikers with goalscoring. “We rely too much on Shaun Goater and the strikers to get goals, now the midfield should be contributing more; the strikers do not always get a lot of space so the onus is on the midfield to have a go. That is what happened against Rotherham. They scored the first goal and then got men behind the ball. So every player must try and score, not just the strikers.” With Eyal Berkovic having completed his suspension with the visit of Rotherham, Benarbia and Berkovic can now renew the most creative midfield partnership seen at City for many years. Ali commented “When you have two playmakers, you will see the difference as we will create more space from midfield and hopefully that will lead to more goals.”

Team Attitude Improves: Before the Rotherham game, Kevin Keegan has been bemoaning the lack of steel in City’s approach. “Our spirit and fight has been good but we have to get a little bit meaner,” he said in the Manchester Evening News. “I am fed up with losing games we shouldn’t lose. We face a testing time with Blackburn in the Worthington Cup and then trips to Grimsby, Millwall and Palace. My message to the supporters is that if we are still within earshot by the end of December then I would fancy our chances of getting out of this division without having to go through the play-offs.” He was clearly delighted that these words of wisdom were heeded by the team following their fightback against Rotherham . “We have enough talent here and against Rotherham we showed that other side of our character which you must have and that is resilience,” explained the manager. “We didn’t play well in the first half. The whole theme of my team talk at half time was that we had to match Rotherham’s work rate and determination which, for whatever reason, we did not do in the first half. But I was very pleased with the second half and the crowd got right behind us and of course we got the goal to give us the win which I think we just about deserved. It is a good three points.”

KK’s Rennie Outburst: Following Wednesday’s defeat at Blackburn, Kevin Keegan produced a rant to rival 1996’s “I would just love it” speech while Newcastle manager. Clearly upset at referee Uriah Rennie’s sending off of Christian Negouai, Keegan said “It was shocking refereeing. You have got to have some common sense, but he didn’t have any for the Premier League and that’s why he’s in the other divisions. I just felt it was a wet pitch with the ball skidding all over the place and he showed a lack of common sense, which I think is the first requirement of a referee, and I have told him so. Write as much as you can about him because that’s what he likes. Write about Uriah Rennie, don’t write about the match, write about him – that’s what he wants. He’s always been the same. I thought he was poor and then he started giving decisions for us, and I don’t think he got many right.” It is unclear yet if KK will face FA disciplinary action.

Squad News

Tiatto troubles, Ritchie returns: Danny Tiatto failed to make even the subs’ bench at Blackburn last night owing to a muscle strain suffered on Saturday against Rotherham. KK blamed the strain on the player’s long, fruitless flight to Australia last week. Keegan said: “His muscles started to tighten up after being cramped up in a plane for a long time.” Keegan was able to welcome back long term injury casualty Paul Ritchie, who was named as a substitute at Blackburn, and indeed he played for the last half hour.

Youngsters’ Uncertain Future: A number of City’s young stars find themselves out of contract this summer. Dickson Etuhu, Leon Mike, Chris Killen, Chris Shuker and Terry Dunfield, all products of the City Academy, could in theory leave the club for nothing this summer. Mike, Killen, Shuker, and Dunfield have yet to be offered new deals, while the one player who has been offered new terms, Dickson Etuhu, has so far not signed a new contract. “It would be a great shame if nothing is sorted out because Dickson wants to stay at Manchester City,” said Etuhu’s agent. “I have not been in formal negotiations with the club, they put an unacceptable deal on the table and that is it. Time is now running out. Premiership clubs have already been on to me asking about Dickson’s availability and we will have no problem moving him to one if there is no talking with City.” Kevin Keegan is, however, adamant that Etuhu has been offered a deal fully commensurate with his age and the fact he has played only 10 first-team games.

Killen Returns: New Zealand international striker Chris Killen was recalled from his loan spell at Port Vale last week by Kevin Keegan, due to the lengthening list of injured forwards. The 19 year old evidently made a good impression in his two months in the Potteries, where he scored six goals in ten games. Vale boss and former City manager, Brain Horton was full of praise for Killen. “It’s a pity to see Killen go but I think he’s gone back a better player. He has got some first-team football under his belt and scored a few goals, and I think he’s got a bright future in the game.”

Keegan Praises Young Strikers: Kevin Keegan has been quick to build the confidence of Leon Mike and Chris Killen, the pair of young strikers who are covering for more senior injured colleagues. Keegan said: “I like the character of the young lads who have come into the team. Leon Mike could have had three goals in one-and-a-half games, but the important thing is that he is putting himself in the right positions. Chris Killen came on Saturday and made a huge contribution with a vital defensive header. I am pleased with the young kids I’ve got here. They are prepared to go out and give it their best shot.”

Don Barrie (


My first visit to Ewood Park since a 2-0 defeat around Christmas 1995 (the then regular “City let David Batty score a screamer Show”, during the reign of football genius alan ball). Also my first time in the upper tier of the Darwen End – just how many stairs do you have to climb?!

Right from the off, it was obvious that City were well up for this one, Berkovic and Benarbia looking a classy combination in midfield and Huckerby always a threat up front. An unexpected substitution for City after only 3 minutes, with Granville coming on for Pearce – was he injured? The first 20 minutes was a good game – two teams who play the ball on the deck, some slick passing movements from City especially, Gillespie looking dangerous for them when running at defenders but City looking solid at the back. Huckerby was finding space on the wing, twisting and turning to good effect but lacking support with City choosing a kind of 4-4-1-1 formation with SWP between midfield and attack.

And then. There had been a few challenges by both sides, certainly nothing malicious, just a few late tackles not made any easier by the greasy pitch and the incessant heavy drizzle. Negouai had already been booked (I think for a late tackle?). He was then sent off for a second “bookable” offence after 25 minutes. The second offence was apparently shirt-tugging (at least that’s what Souness said on the radio after the game). I don’t know whether Negouai’s two offences were each worthy of a yellow card – but hang on a minute, even if they technically might have been, aren’t referees supposed to apply an element of common sense? These were his only two offences, early in the game, neither of them in any way malicious. And even more to the point, what about consistency of decision making? Prior to the sending-off, there were at least four offences committed by Blackburn players, including two tackles from behind and a blatant obstruction on Huckerby on the edge of the box when he would have been clean through, and Mr. Rennie saw fit not to yellow card any of the perpetrators, despite awarding free kicks. The only card he showed was for a late tackle on Ali when he was given no option.

A good example of common sense refereeing was the Arsenal vs. Rags game on Sunday. Vieira vs. Keane – two hard, competitive players, a late tackle by Keane early in the game (which looked to be far more worthy of a booking than either of Negouai’s offences), Vieira gets up quickly, dusts himself down, takes his free kick, no booking for Keane, end of story. First bad challenge, no doubt mentally noted by the referee but nothing more. So it’s clear that referees do still have some scope to apply discretion and aren’t totally hamstrung by going technically by the book (no pun intended). Wasn’t Rennie one of the referees who was demoted from the Premiership list some time ago? He had one of those performances on Wednesday where you thought he just might, to paraphrase an old “Not The Nine O’Clock News” sketch, send all the City players off for wearing loud socks in a public arena. Little common sense and no consistency isn’t a great combination for a referee. I haven’t seen or heard anything that Keegan’s said, apart from a report that he could be in hot water with the FA over his comments. For what? Justifiably criticising an official who wasn’t up to the job?

OK, back to the game, just 25 minutes gone, away from home against a Premiership side and down to 10 men. Both teams now looking wary of making any physical contact. Not looking good, but full credit to City with the two B’s still pulling the strings in midfield and still looking to come forward. City’s best chance of the half (and the match) fell to SWP with a one-on-one against Friedel, but the lad shot straight at him. A huge groan of disappointment from the full away end as he still can’t break his duck. Another good chance went begging when unusually Ali chose the wrong option and shot wide when a pass would have been the far better option. Just as it looked as though it’d be scoreless at half-time, one of their lads with a Nordic name got hold of the ball outside the box, managed to squeeze past Wiekens, and drilled a low shot into the far corner to Nash’s left. Found out later that it was his first goal for Blackburn – why do things like that always happen to us? Half-time whistle 30 seconds later, City going in a goal behind most undeservedly, with Rennie leaving the pitch to loud chants of “You’re not fit to referee” ringing around the stadium.

Second half, Blackburn not surprisingly had most of the possession, but City still had the opportunities to create chances, mainly using Huckerby out wide. But he was far too isolated – on more than one occasion he had the opportunity to whip in a cross but simply didn’t because there was no other City player in the box – no Goat waiting to be fed. Most times he was forced to hold the ball up and cut inside into the box or wait for support arriving from midfield, by which time Blackburn defenders were all back behind the ball. Apart from a tame shot at Friedel and another one which went across the face of the goal in the final minutes (both from Huckerby), there was little direct threat to the Blackburn goal. Huckerby in particular was getting frustrated, managed to talk himself into the book in the final few minutes, and was still having words with the officials at the end. Toure came off the bench with 15 minutes left but didn’t really get hold of the ball at all, though it was at least nice to see Ritchie come on as sub after his long term injury problems. Blackburn had several chances to get the second, most notably with Nash preventing a goal with a fine dive to his left to keep out a deflection from the head of a City defender. With time running out for City, however, Blackburn killed the contest with a second goal in injury time.

Very frustrating evening. It was definitely shaping up to be a good, entertaining game until the referee intervened, and after that it was always going to be difficult. We were all left thinking what might have been. However, City can take heart from the way they played in the first half in particular, and hopefully with the Goat back to give Huckerby some support (what happens when Wanchope is fit again?!) and Tiatto replacing the increasingly ineffective Horlock on the left, we should have a team capable of getting into the top two. But then again, this is City.

There’s been a few recent comments about the support, or lack of it – well, there were no problems on Wednesday, some fine choruses of Blue Moon and “You’re just a small town in Burnley”, amongst others!

Gary Dickson (


Is Mr Hope hanging out a worm or what? He complains about the lack of debate and then produces an article to fire-up the keyboards across the world (you watch, mine will be the only response to his mailing!).

In response to his complaints about booing at ex-City players I can only say – so what? Lee Bradbury will forever go down in history as the player you removed all the ‘r’s from. Personally I don’t remember him ever giving 100% and if anything he represents a time when we were the Blue Oxo Cube. He didn’t have to join the club and now does his best to say how unhappy he was at Maine Road… he wasn’t the only one who was unhappy with him being on the hallowed turf.

As for Symons he ruined an average spell at MR by refusing to take a pay-cut as we rapidly descended through the divisions; oh for the introduction of performance related pay!

As for Summerbee, he was the laziest player I have witnessed. It’s not good enough to turn in a performance now and again hence his current non-contract drift from club to club. I wouldn’t say we were bitter, I would say that we are passionate about the club and it galls me to see players not willing to try for the club. The reason no other fans seem to berate players is that they don’t sign work-shy money-grabbing individuals who are only at City as they can afford the big wages. Yes you can blame the managers, but if you can’t motivate yourself to play once or twice a week then you shouldn’t be a footballer. I’ll just leave you will these names Beagrie, Kinkladze, Rösler… I’ve seen standing ovations for these returning players.

CTID, James Walsh (


In response to Simon Hope’s request for some good old fashion arguments, sorry debates, I thought I might put some issues out there that have been vexing me in recent months with all things City. I look forward to all the return banter (assuming I hit a few marks).

Let’s start with the club badge debate. Personally, I couldn’t give a stuff. Whilst I maybe should be a better fan of the club, I don’t measure it by the purchase of merchandise. I do have a few City shirts including the current home one but can’t see what the fuss is about. Why don’t we see so much raging about the disgrace that is our away top? Supposed to be silver? Dirty grey more like. Nothing would possess me to put that on my back.

Joe Royle. Stop being so greedy Joe. You did an appalling job in the Premiership, we weren’t ready and your backroom staff didn’t help at all. What talent did the chief scout unearth? None. Thanks for the good times but you weren’t a Premiership manager when you were sacked, we were already down. £250,000 would be enough for me.

Our new number 13 cheated. It didn’t hit his hand, he punched the ball into the goal. What do I dislike most about this? Well, we’ve suffered disgraceful decisions in the past but I’ve always enjoyed the purity of our suffering. Look how wonderful City fans are even when fate is peeing on us. Christian is taking the masochistic edge off it. Could it be a different reason? Try the fact that he will come in for some special treatment from refs for the foreseeable future. Or was it our manager defending the player with the ‘I’m not sure’ explanation. Get real! He should have said ‘Yep he punched it but thought it would be disallowed. I can’t account for the ref or liner but I’ll take luck whenever it comes.’

Our goalie is in dire need of an improvement in form. Match winning saves this season? I can’t think of any. There have been plenty of games which we’ve lost in which Nicky should have done much much better and plenty where he’s just been poor. Just a few examples of games where we have conceded goals and our ‘keeper had a shocker: Crewe, Stockport, Wimbledon, Coventry, West Brom. Even the consolation goal by Gillingham should have been saved by a supposed quality ‘keeper.

We have a shortage of quality strikers. I don’t even rate Huckerby. I don’t think he is a striker. He has improved recently but I just don’t think his chances to goals record is anything to shout about. Leon Mike has proved nothing so far. I can’t consider Dickov as a decent backup. I think we have desperately missed Wanchope. Goater’s game is more suited to Wanchope holding the ball up to let him find some space. Plus Wanchope scares the hell out of defenders. Even when he miscontrols the ball; having the legs of a basketball player gets him out of situations that others can’t hope to match.

Stuart Pearce needs a rest. How can we expect a 39 year old to play this amount of games in such a short space of time?

It must be time to dispense with some of the dead wood at the club. You know those I mean. Players who are never going to do a proper job in the first team or be useful cover in the future. Here’s a little list for your perusal taken from the Rotherham match programme.

Andy Morrison
Simon Colosimo
Paul Dickov
Terry Cooke
Tyrone Mears
Leon Mike
Chris Killen
Brian Murphy
Chris Shuker
Stephen Paisley

Others to consider who need a miracle to establish themselves:

Terry Dunfield
Rhys Day
Laurent Charvet
Paul Ritchie

Finally those who I think have more to do with our past; these should be the last to leave on any clear out (see the 13 above as the front runners):

Gerard Wiekens
Kevin Horlock

I don’t have a particular downer on these players, I just can’t see a future for them. If there’s no future then why not try and get them another club?

What’s the deal with Dickson Etuhu? He thinks he should get a better contract than is on the table and his agent reckons he could walk into a Premiership squad. What? After 10 games? The kid shows promise but as long as the offer on the table shows scope for improvement e.g. wage hikes after a certain number of first team games then I think he’s being deluded by his advisers.

OK, rant over. I hope that makes Simon happy. Just to let you all know; I still believe that we have the best squad in the division and that I believe we will be promoted. Hopefully Mr Keegan will soon have a side moulded how he likes and please let him show Shaun Wright-Phillips how to shoot.

This was written before the Blackburn game, so I’m praying we don’t suffer a humiliation.

CTID, Dave Blyth (


In response to the article from Simon Hope about lack of opinion in McV I will try to maybe address this issue!

I refer to our homegrown talent such as Etuhu, Dunfield, Mike etc. that are trying to break into the first team. We have recently bought Negouai, who apparently was the ‘finished article’ as opposed to Etuhu who was still learning his trade. Having watched him on the telly at Pompey and at Maine Road against Rotherham I have to say he may have a more physical side to his game but he cannot pass! Etuhu can pass and he will no doubt get stronger. It is quite clear that Berkovic and Bernabia are fantastic to watch and it is essential for up and coming players to learn from them but we don’t need players like Negouai.

I think promotion this season will be the worst thing for City. There is no point buying players just to get out of the 1st Division if they are not going to cut it once we get there. This season should see us consolidate what we have got and start to nurture some of the young talent that are loyal to City (at the moment anyway). We have a huge squad, most of which never see the light of day in the first team but we still buy more players without offloading the ones we already have.

Even Leon Mike, who has had a couple of outings, both times missing a one on one with the ‘keeper, should be given more time. What is the point of playing him a couple of times in which he played OK but missed a couple of chances and then writing him off? The M.E.N has been reporting that Mike himself believes he has had his chance and missed it! It has worked with Wright-Phillips and he still is waiting for his first goal.

Quick fixes are not going to work. If we don’t get promotion this season then it could be a blessing in disguise, especially looking at the past history of promoted sides. The goal is not getting promoted but getting promoted and staying there.

I could be wrong; in 3 months’ time I could be eating my words and admitting that Negouai was the best buy ever but I still prefer to see a homegrown player doing the business for us.

Angus Jordan (


Sat in the North Stand last Saturday, I celebrated our first goal in typical fashion. However, watching it again on ITV last night, I think there was a suspicion of handball. What do other MCIVTA readers think?

Andy Noise (


Funny isn’t it we have a totally inept referee against Portsmouth and then (in an more amusing result) Darlington lose 7-1 to Scunthorpe, after having two players sent-off by… yes you’ve guessed it Mr Alcock. Now I don’t want to encourage violence but the Darlington rivals site to currently giving away free Alcock dartboards… I bet it seems a long way from being shoved over in the Premiership. For full details see

James Walsh (


Lots of criticism of our number 1 ‘keeper this season and last has not tarnished young Mr Weaver’s reputation with a lot of fans, myself included. My young cousin, George age 6, recently wrote to his hero Nicky saying that “when I am 18 I am changing my name to Nicky Weaver.”

Two weeks passed and my brother and I began to wonder whether superstar status was beginning to overtake the City Number 1. A couple of days ago an envelope landed complete with autographed photo and also a nice little note from Nicky claiming that “when I am 25 I am changing my name to George.”

One more loyal supporter successfully recruited from an early age. Well done Nicky.

Adrian Coe (


Only one thing to add to Neil Haigh’s litany of “what it’s always been like”: what did world beaters Portsmouth follow up their remarkable, gutsy performance against us with? Of course, a wet blanket, damp squib of a 3-0 reverse at mighty masters of the universe Watford.

It may be a compliment that these teams get up for City but is it any wonder that the likes of Burnley and Norwich can slink through into the promotion race if your Portsmouths and Sheffield Uniteds can’t be bothered to motivate themselves for these sorts of matches? Only City when the ground’s full, eh?

Graham Rix, big gruff Neill Warnock and his ilk should take a good look at their management skills, as their teams appear to motivate themselves, or not, depending on the opposition. Maybe their management skills are considerably less significant than one might think. City, on the other hand, can play like world beaters or squeezed lemons whether the opposition is top drawer or sock drawer. Now that’s the beauty of the Blues.

Simon Curtis (


Last Saturday evening (24th Nov) saw the penultimate and grandest event in the Neil Young Tribute Year. 200 plus guests attended the Piccadilly Hotel, Manchester, for a glitzy gala dinner and cabaret. Former players, including Mike Summerbee and Gary Owen, members of the Club board and staff as well as supporters representing club branches from all over the Manchester area were in attendance.

Fred Eyre performed brilliantly as M.C. for the night, ably assisted by James H Reeve. A delicious four course meal was followed by a guest spot by Bernard Manning and then an auction of some top class memorabilia. David Bernstein spoke on behalf of the club, praising Neil for his achievements and the contribution he made to the club’s past success, thoughts echoed by Francis Lee when he rose to make a toast to the Guest of Honour. The evening was played to an end by the superb Dave John B Roadshow who kept everyone dancing until 2:00am.

Due to the immense generosity of the guests, the raffle, auction and stand up bingo combined to boost the proceeds raised on the night for Neil to a creditable £9,000.

The committee would like to thank everyone who attended as well as all those people who were kind enough to send in messages of good will.

Dave Cash (


Firstly I agree with Simon Hope and Noel Bayley. Can we put an end to the Andy Black, Badges, wines and ringtones stuff? When it all boils down to it who cares? [A lot of subscribers did, there’s room for everything in McV – Ed]

Isn’t the team the most important bit? We’re still well in the pack and let’s be honest we haven’t even started to play well yet. The team is developing and it’ll take time. For example, only 3 players that finished the game last Saturday against Rotherham actually started the first game of the season. Currently we have 3 of our 4 most productive players injured and we still could score 6 every week.

I think our problems lie in defence (I’m a genius aren’t I?!). Does anybody know of anybody that wouldn’t prefer Nash between the sticks? Weaver’s kicking often only rivals that of the match day mascot; on top of that he cannot command his 6 yard box, never mind the penalty area.

In defence the middle 2 look sound OK, Mettomo adding a bit of pace. I do wonder about our full backs though and think this is the root of our problems. On the right Dunne is left exposed by his lack of passing ability. Colosimo looks like a bit of a headless chicken and I think if he gets fit Haaland will be asked to play there. In the meantime why doesn’t KK swap Mettomo and Dunne over? On the left we have a dilemma. Do we want the enthusiasm of Pearce and his constant long ball, or do we want the steady Granville who was having a great season?

In midfield Negouai needs time and I’d give Ethuhu the nod until he’s ready. Like previous correspondence I don’t think Mike will make it, but we couldn’t see it in Greenacre and Allsop either. Maybe he’s a level too high?

I think overall we’re getting there but as supporters we have to generate something for the players. We all know that we only have 10 games this season with any real atmosphere, but like the players we can’t just wait for it to happen against the likes of Norwich etc. we have to make it happen.

5 Comments we’ve not heard at Maine Road this season yet:

  1. Weaver doesn’t half command his area well doesn’t he?
  2. Huckerby’s through on goal – he must score.
  3. That’s another pinpoint pass from Horlock.
  4. Dunne’s shown their left winger a clean pair of heels.
  5. … and put in another telling cross.

CTID, Mark Robison (


Once again the leader from last week, in this case Preston, is unable to hold onto their top position. Although to be fair even if they had beaten Bradford at home, Wolverhampton’s away win at Wimbledon would still have vaulted Wolves into first place.

A number of you have asked me to include the total of projected points at the end of the season for each club. I’ve commented a couple of times on how close the points are at the top of the table but more important is just how low the final projected totals remain. Almost halfway through the season and none of the contenders are anywhere close to reaching the stereotypical average of 2 points per game (i.e. 92) that should bring promotion.

Projected Final Positions results through Sunday November 25, followed by projected total points. The number in parentheses is their current league position.

 1 80 Wolverhampton (2)
 2 77 Manchester City (7)
 3 76 Burnley (1)
 4 76 Preston (4)
 5 75 West Brom (5)
 6 75 Coventry (9)
 7 72 Birmingham (11)
 8 72 Norwich (3)
 9 71 Bradford (12)
10 70 Portsmouth (10)
11 67 Nottingham Forest (14)
12 65 Crystal Palace (6)
13 65 Millwall (8)
14 65 Sheffield Utd (16)
15 64 Watford (13)
16 64 Gillingham (17)
17 62 Wimbledon (15)
18 59 Grimsby (22)
19 58 Sheffield Wednesday (19)
20 58 Crewe (20)
21 54 Barnsley (23)
22 53 Rotherham (18)
23 50 Walsall (21)
24 43 Stockport (24)

Wallace Poulter (


The website from the fans, by the fans,, now has a new journo for the City pages and is now being updated on a regular basis with news, opinion and match previews and reports. It had been sadly lacking in recent weeks so it’s worth taking a fresh look. To go directly to the City pages simply go to

Lance Thomson (


Being an Italian City fan, it is now simply impossible to see a single City screenshot on TV. I managed to get my hands on a Sky card, but now it isn’t really worthwhile is it?

I was just wondering if someone could tape some live City games and send them over to me, to my Italian address. Of course I am ready to provide the cassettes and pay the cost of the parcel and postage.

Please contact me if you can help. Thank you!

Vanes Marzaroli (


Recent results from 26 November 2001 to 28 November 2001 inclusive.

28 November 2001

Coventry City         2 - 0  Crystal Palace        13,695
Portsmouth            3 - 2  Nottingham Forest     14,837

27 November 2001

Stockport County      0 - 2  Gillingham             4,854
Wolverhampton Wndrs   4 - 1  Barnsley              19,231

League table to 28 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 Wolves          20  5  3  2 14  7  7  2  1 19  8 12  5  3 33 15  18  41
 2 Burnley         21  7  3  1 25 15  5  1  4 15 13 12  4  5 40 28  12  40
 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  20  8  0  2 28  9  3  1  6 14 21 11  1  8 42 30  12  34
 7 Coventry City   20  5  2  3 13  9  5  2  3 11  9 10  4  6 24 18   6  34
 8 Manchester City 19  7  2  1 26 10  3  1  5 19 19 10  3  6 45 29  16  33
 9 Portsmouth      21  6  1  3 18 13  3  5  3 15 16  9  6  6 33 29   4  33
10 Millwall        19  6  1  2 20 11  3  3  4 13 12  9  4  6 33 23  10  31
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    21  5  4  1 13  7  2  3  6 11 14  7  7  7 24 21   3  28
15 Gillingham      21  5  2  3 20 10  3  2  6 11 19  8  4  9 31 29   2  28
16 Wimbledon       21  3  5  3 17 15  3  3  4 18 18  6  8  7 35 33   2  26
17 Sheff. United   21  4  3  3 15 12  2  5  4  7 13  6  8  7 22 25  -3  26
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        21  3  4  3 14 18  0  2  9  9 29  3  6 12 23 47 -24  15
24 Stockport C.    21  1  1  8  7 20  1  5  5 14 28  2  6 13 21 48 -27  12

With thanks to Football 365


[0] MCIVTA Addresses

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Comments concerning this FAQ should be sent to David Warburton using the address:

[1] MCIVTA Deadlines

Deadlines for issues are nominally Monday and Thursday evenings.

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

[4] Supporters’ Clubs

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club” (

[5] Fans’ Committee

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, 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

[7] Match Day Broadcasts

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found here: An alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at: GMR Saturday Sport is also available live online between 1-3pm, and 4.45-6pm at

[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.

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,

Newsletter #766