Newsletter #770

Our 1-0 victory over Wolves on a bitterly cold Tuesday night sees us nudge ahead of them into 2nd spot.

Tonight sees Don’s news, match reports, plenty of opinion, a video review in case you’re looking for that last-minute present, and a few requests.

Next game: Bradford City, home, 2.15 pm Sunday 16 December 2001


General News

Keegan & the FA – Part I: Boss Kev has escaped further punishment for his remarks concerning Uriah Rennie after the Worthington Cup tie at Blackburn. An FA spokesman said “We studied what Kevin Keegan said and were satisfied that he had not gone beyond our rules. Even though his language was fairly strong, we were satisfied that he had questioned a decision, rather than calling into the question the referee himself.” These comments bode ill for KK following his sending off from the bench at Millwall. Referee Clive Wilkes is quoted as saying “I will not be reporting Kevin Keegan for any physical offence because I did not see any. But I will be reporting him for using insulting language.”

Cup Draws: Stand by for the visit of the Liverpool Old Boys – City have been drawn at home to Swindon Town in the FA Cup Third Round draw. Swindon, managed by Roy Evans and coached by Neil “Razor” Ruddock, are due at Maine Road during the weekend commencing January 5. City’s youth team meanwhile have been drawn at home to our old chums from Kent, Gillingham, in the FA Youth Cup fourth round. The tie must take before the end of January.

Keegan & the FA – Part II: An FA spokesman confirmed this week that they will contact Kevin Keegan for his version of events concerning last week’s sending-off at Millwall before they take any action. “We will be writing to Kevin Keegan in the next couple of days to determine his explanation of events,” said the spokesman. Keegan said: “I think I will take the Alan Shearer line on this”, a reference to Alan Shearer having a red card overturned after appealing to the FA to view the video evidence. “You show that penalty to one million referees around the world and one million linesmen – they will all say that is not a penalty. If you were to see that penalty you might see why I got a little bit upset and a little bit annoyed, that’s all I am saying. It worked for Alan Shearer and it might work for me.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Chequebooks Out!: KK appears to be preparing the Board for some spending in the New Year. “There is no outstanding team in this division,” said our Leader, “We’re not an outstanding team, but we have some very good footballers. We are not going to fly out of this League. We are not good enough defensively, we make silly mistakes. But we will be one of the contenders right to the end of the season.” Press speculation has City showing an interest in Blackburn’s Craig Hignett and Leeds’ Jason Wilcox, as well as seeking defensive reinforcements. Keegan stated last week that if the team continued to play like they had at the New Den then they would gain promotion. Now he isn’t too sure: “It is not like when I was at Newcastle. I knew we would get up when I was at Newcastle. I am not sure here, there is a doubt.” His thoughts turned to the strengthening the defence: “I am still concerned about Lucien going and we also have got Richard Dunne suspended for a game. Those things will happen, Steve Howey is on four bookings as is Stuart Pearce. We have Alfie Haaland coming back and players who have not even kicked a ball in anger in the first team. We have the cover, but we will keep looking. I am only interested in players who will better us and they are not easy to find.”

Horlock in Demand: Saturday’s M.E.N. would have us believe that Kevin Horlock is a target for two managers with form for buying ex-City players. The main interest in the Northern Ireland international is said to be from new Crystal Palace manager Trevor Francis. Having just bought former skipper Kit Symons from Fulham, TF is willing to pay £1 million for Horlock. Another team expected to bid is Burnley, who already have Gareth Taylor and Tony Grant in their ranks. Whether KK wishes to part with Horlock remains to be seen, especially as the player has just forced his way back into the first team, earning commendations from the manager.

Etuhu to Spurs?: Agent-talk or reality? Sunday newspaper reports state that Dickson Etuhu may move to Tottenham should his protracted contract negotiations with City break down completely. The 19-year-old Londoner has refused City’s offer for an extension, so is thought to be interesting a number of clubs including Spurs.

Blues Interested in Scottish Forward: Newspaper reports are listing City as one of the clubs interested in securing Aberdeen striker Robbie Winters. Winters is out of contract in the Summer, and is not rushing to re-sign, so the Pittodrie club may wish to make some money on a sale now. Hearts were also mentioned as a possible destination for the player, but manager Craig Levein has denied any interest.

Ex-Blues’ News

Kit Off to Palace: Last week’s reports of Kit Symons returning to Portsmouth proved to be incorrect, with the former City Captain switching to Crystal Palace in a £400,000 deal. Naturally he came back to haunt us on Saturday, making his début against us, and providing an assist for Palace’s first goal.

Kennedy Misses Maine Road Return: Mark Kennedy’s hamstring injury proved too much for the former City winger to return to Maine Road on Tuesday. Kennedy’s appearance had been in doubt for some time, as he had been troubled by hamstring problems in recent weeks and was substituted in Wolves’ previous game.

Reactions and Comments

Dunne for World Cup?: Richard Dunne wonders if he will make Ireland’s final 22 for the World Cup. “In the play-off against Iran I didn’t even make the bench so I have to be slightly concerned. There were four centre halves in the Ireland side ahead of me. It is up to me between now and the end of the season to keep playing well and show I am worth a place.” Ireland’s opening match with Cameroon is a source of discussion between Dunne and Lucien Mettomo. “We had a laugh and a joke about it,” Dunne said. “It will not be serious until the end of the season when we both know whether we have made our respective squads. Once we get there I suppose we will both be the best of enemies for a couple of weeks.”

The Thoughts of Darren Huckerby: Darren Huckerby has been singing the praises of his strike partner Shaun Goater. He said: “Shaun has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, but I’m just happy to be in the team, creating chances for him and myself.” Huckerby’s thoughts on the season so far: “Every game is hard. Everybody wants to beat Manchester City because we are the biggest, most high profile club in this league. On our day, with the players we have got, we can beat anybody. It doesn’t matter where we go, if we play well, we are capable of winning.”

Palace Reaction – We Were Unlucky: Boss Kev was unhappy not to leave Selhurst Park with at least a point. He said: “I was very disappointed not to get something out of today, but that happens sometimes. How we were down 2-0 at half-time I’ll never know, because we played well. They did OK, and will be very happy with that because winning is all that matters, but for long periods we controlled the game. We didn’t have that other ingredient you need today, and that’s luck.”

A Win Thanks to Two Men: KK was of course delighted to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night, but admitted that it had been a “poor performance from us,” especially as City had not built on their single goal lead against opponents reduced to ten men. He was particularly pleased with the performance of two City players, namely Richard Dunne and goalscorer Kevin Horlock. Keegan said “Kevin was superb and was one of our few players who really played well on the night. We needed people to take responsibility and Kevin was one of those.” Dunne got a mention for his tackle on Mohamed Camara, when the Wolves man was bearing down on goal, with had only Carlo to beat. Dunne appeared as if from nowhere to put in the perfect tackle. “I told Richard that the tackle was worth a goal for us,” said Kevin Keegan. “We were 1-0 up and they broke through. They were always going to get a chance unless we had killed them off. That chance came for them and Dunnie made up ground very quickly.”

Two Points of View for Sending-Off: You could say that the Wolves and City managers had slightly different views over the sending off of Wolves’ Joleon Lescott on Tuesday. David Jones was after KK’s crown as “Most Outraged Manager of the Week” with this tirade aimed at Ali Benarbia: “If the hoardings hadn’t been there he would have rolled right out of Moss Side. It was not a dangerous tackle, it wasn’t a red card or a bad tackle. The lad hasn’t conned our boy, he’s cheated him. If he’d have kept on rolling he’d have picked up enough dirt to make a snowball,” opined the Scouse Wit. Not surprisingly, our manager was calm and reason personified this week: “It was a poor tackle, quite malicious I felt,” commented the Blues’ boss. “It’s up to the referee whether he sends the lad off, but I don’t think anyone can defend a tackle like that.”

Squad News

Edghill Wants to Stay: Richard Edghill is out of contract at the end of this season, but he is hoping to win a new deal with the Blues before then. His immediate goal, however, is first team football. “My aim now is to try and force my way back into the side,” he said. “I felt I was doing quite well when I got the injury but the team has been performing to a high standard and it will not be easy. I would love to stay here if the right deal was offered. The way things are going at the minute everything is looking good. The training is good and the results are coming. Manchester City is a good place to be at right now and there is no other place I would rather be.” Meanwhile, Edghill and Alfie Haaland continue to progress in their comebacks from injury. The pair played for the reserves against Middlesbrough last week in a 0-0 draw. Haaland played for 45 minutes with no ill effects, while Edghill played for the whole match. Edghill’s reward was a call up to the first team squad travelling to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace last Saturday.

Injured Strikers Update: Paulo Wanchope is well on the way to recovery, following surgery on his knee in October. He resumed light training last week, and there are hopes that he might turn out for the reserves on Thursday 13th December for the clash with Newcastle at Hyde. Kevin Keegan said: “Paulo is a week away from being fit. He started training and will be ready to play again in about a week. It is great news and will almost be like having a new player after all the time he has had out.” Not such good news for Alaine Toure, who has suffered a setback with the news that his leg injury is a minor blood clot that will keep him out of action until the New Year. The 23-year-old has made just one substitute appearance for The Blues, coming on in the home game with Wimbledon in September. There are better reports of Paul Dickov’s progress, with the Scotsman scheduled to return to training by the end of this week after recovering from a rib injury which has kept him on the sidelines since the start of November.

A Big “Ouch” For Carlo…: It seems Carlo’s Nash’s “rib injury” was a little more serious than was reported at the time. The City ‘keeper was hurt in August’s game at Norwich, and as Carlo said “A lot of people thought that it was just bruised ribs, but when I went for a scan they found a blood clot the size of a golf ball on my kidney! Unfortunately, that meant two weeks complete rest for me. I think I went out of the house twice in four weeks. Then it took me another two weeks after that to get my fitness back, so it really set my season back quite a bit. But I’m delighted to be back in the team again, especially as things are going so well, at the moment. These are exciting times and I’m glad to be part of them.”

Howey Latest: Steve Howey has yet to shake off his foot injury, but hopes to be fit in time to face Bradford on Sunday, as Kevin Keegan explained. “It is a niggling injury which Steve has. I would think Steve has a chance for next Sunday. It is one of those injuries which feels okay but then when he goes and tries out the foot the niggling injury returns.”

Injury Worries: Tuesday’s win against Wolves has produced a number of injury worries ahead of Sunday’s game with Bradford. Eyal Berkovic seems to be causing most concern, as the Israeli international limped off with an apparent recurrence of his hamstring problem. It is now being reported that Eyal will not play again until the New Year. Danny Tiatto has added to Kevin’s worries after being substituted at half-time by Danny Granville, and Ali Benarbia was substituted for Christian Negouai midway through the second half.

Chance for Paulo?: On Wednesday Darren Huckerby was booked for the fifth time this season, so will have to serve out a one match ban (expected to be the Boxing day clash with West Brom). This could well provide a fit-again Paulo Wanchope with an opportunity to re-establish himself in the first team.

Defender’s Novel Injury Cure: Paul Ritchie is easing his way back into City’s first team – on Tuesday he played his first league game since last year, when he came on as substitute in the Wolves match. Ritchie has revealed that his recovery from pelvic and groin injuries has been helped by a gumshield. “I was given a gumshield to help stop me grinding my teeth, which was causing the pelvic problem. The grinding was putting pressure on my neck, which in turn was causing problems with my pelvis, and I was finally able to stop wearing the gumshield about three or four months ago. Like many other people, I didn’t realise the effect that posture can have on your overall fitness.” Reports that Paulo Wanchope and Andy Morrison have made bids to use the gumshield have yet to be confirmed.

Where Was Weaver?: There has been some press comment on the fact that Nicky Weaver was not on the substitutes’ bench against Wolves, prompting speculation that KK was about to let the England under-21 international move on. The speculation wasn’t helped by Mr Keegan’s after match riposte; he confirmed that Weaver wasn’t injured: “I just fancied seeing a different face on the bench.” Brian Murphy was deputy goalkeeper on the night. Late News: Reports in today’s Independent newspaper (13th December) allege that Weaver was involved in an altercation at a nightclub on Saturday night. There has been no official statement by the club, and reports state that Weaver is protesting his innocence.

Don Barrie (


This was never a ‘must win’ game but it was clear in Manchester City’s play that the points were more important than the performance. And when the final whistle blew it was very much mission accomplished, with grit and determination rather than the flowing football the City fans had become accustomed to this season.

Not that City didn’t have their moments. With Benarbia looking tired, it was Berkovic providing the flicks and passes that released Huckerby, Wright-Phillips and Granville to set up spurned chances. It was a delicious pass that set Huckerby one on one that he blasted into the side netting shortly after the goal.

City had grabbed the lead on 20 minutes when Huckerby, looking for a way past the last defender, had been hauled down by Alex Rae just outside the ‘D’. The resultant free kick was swerved around the wall by Horlock and somehow it found a way past goalkeeper Oakes and the man especially placed on the line to hit the back of the net.

It was a lead that City had not deserved. Wolves had worked hard in the opening exchanges and had forced City into a series of sloppy passes. The Midlands team had certainly looked the team most likely to score until the goal sent them reeling.

They descended into a succession of niggling fouls and dissent and City took control, with Berkovic running the show. It was only with five minutes remaining in the half that Wolves recovered for a spell of pressure – corners and free kicks around the area – which City dealt with nervously.

It was whilst Benarbia was tidying up the last of these corners that he was chopped very late by Jolyon Lescott. Benarbia made a meal of the challenge but it was despite, rather than because of, his histrionics that referee Mike Riley, on secondment from the Premiership, chose to red card the Wolves defender. He had not been booked previously and many in the crowd thought a straight red was possible, but harsh.

As often happens, this only served to galvanise Wolves in the second half and they again started the brighter. It was clear that they had given themselves 15 to 20 minutes to have a real go at City and see if they could grab something to hold on to. And despite only having Nathan Blake up front after the sending off, only a last ditch tackle by man of the match Richard Dunne prevented an equaliser.

Dunne recently expressed his concern about his participation in next summer’s World Cup after finding himself fourth choice in Iran. In this form he will surely be there. He tackled with wonderful timing, passed accurately and whipped in dangerous crosses. An excellent performance.

In the last quarter Wolves tired and City attempted to keep possession. Indeed, the only pressure they faced was when they gave the ball away needlessly after over-elaborating, but City themselves were not without chances. Darren Huckerby, who had been anonymous in the 2nd half thus far, sprung into life with 10 minutes remaining and set up good chances for Goater and Wright-Phillips that were missed and saved well respectively.

The most worrying aspect of the evening came late on when Eyal Berkovic pulled up and walked off the pitch with what looked like a recurrence of his hamstring injury. In a season blighted by injury and suspension this was the last thing he, and City, needed with 5 important games in 21 days. You would expect him to be missing for 4 weeks at least and with Tiatto replaced at half time, presumably injured, and Benarbia out of sorts, Sunday’s midfield could have a very different complexion.

But for tonight a victory when not playing particularly well. Is this the sign of a good team? Well, with exactly half the season gone, this win lifted City into an automatic promotion spot. Time will tell if they deserve to stay there.

Jonathan Haggart (


For the second time in 7 days, Israeli TV showed City’s match. I was shocked to hear that in the UK many Blues had trouble finding a place that showed the game and yet here I was so far away in Tel-Aviv with the game on in the living room.

The first 1-0 win under Keegan blew away my theory that we’d have a season without a single 1-0 or 0-1 game. The match was billed as the game of the season and rightly so. I was confident that we’d win, a weird feeling that left me somewhat queasy throughout the 90 minutes!

City’s early passing was going astray as the excitement was having its effect. A Wolves corner in the 13th minute was our first moment of concern; it came to nothing. City quickly learned from their sloppy passing and started playing the short, passing game. Smart, patient football from City and Wolves showed the mutual respect the two teams and managers had for each other.

Ali B gets the ball, links up beautifully with Eyal who set up Huckerby, who should have put away his chance. Huckerby was slightly frustrated by the constant offside decisions going against him.

Then the solid (ahem) Dunne links up with SWeeP. Sweep to Ali B and then a nice pass for the Goat resulted in a shot going wide. The Goat wasn’t lucky/on-form today. But hey, we’re all allowed off-days and when these off days occur, the other players have to compensate, which is exactly what happened.

Huck took too much on his shoulders. He ran at the defence and took tough shots when a simple pass would have opened better chances. I’m not blaming him, yet sometimes desire gets the better of logic to the detriment of the team.

City strung together 10+ passes on several occasions, simply a joy to behold. A move which took less than 10 seconds showed exactly what our capabilities are. Nash to Mettomo to Tiatto to Goat/Huck. The left wing movement was incredible and must be utilized more because it is very difficult to defend against.

After Wolves had their man sent off, perhaps unjustly yet I believe it was the right decision, City were never in any danger. But, playing 11 vs. 10 we sat back! Why? We should have got another 2 goals and get a 5-6 goal difference advantage over Wolves.

The second half was all City. Wolves were nowhere. Neguouai did pretty well after coming on for the injured Ali B. Eyal fed the Goat with a beautiful cross from which he should have scored in the 71st minute. As usual SWeeP was being fouled whenever he touched the ball. We have to make the resulting free kicks count.

In the 79th minute it was déjà vu of the Palace Goal. SWeeP dribbling with great control only for Goat to drag his shot wide.

The game fizzled out somewhat after Ritchie came on in the 83rd minute. A crucial 3 points and smiles all round after the fist league win over Wolves in 17 years.

Nash: 7/10 Confident. Good Kicking. No saves to make. Somewhat lucky coping with Wolves’ free kicks.
Wiekens: 7/10 Headers clear often went right back to Wolves. Vital clearance when Nash came too far out. Right place at the right time. Solid performance.
Dunne: 9/10 Getting better and better. Solid saving tackles won us 3 points. Good interceptions in defence. Accurate long passes. Good crosses. Best I’ve seen him play.
Mettomo: 10/10 Excellent anticipation in defence. Good clearances and… blimey those throw-ins aren’t bad either!
Ali B: 6/10 Very tired before the incident. 9/10 for artistic effect with the gymnastics after Bescott foul.
Eyal: 8/10 More good passes, with a bit of luck would have set up 2 goals.
Tiatto: 6/10 Weak game although strong in defence.
SWeeP: 7/10 Very quick to get back and tackle whenever we lost possession. Good crosses. Here, there and everywhere on the pitch. However, he has to know when to clear when deep and under pressure. Few bad passes in 2nd half.
Goat: 5/10 Unlucky to miss the chances to score. Got back and tackled very well. Should have had a hat trick.
Huckerby: 7/10 Missed chances. As usual his pace caused problems for Wolves. Should have scored when one on one with the ‘keeper. Went for too much instead of the simple pass. Won the FK from which we scored.
GGGGranville: 6/10 2nd half sub for Tiatto. Quiet game.
Horlock: 6/10 Impressive goal from SuperKev, not much else.
Negouai: 7/10 On for 15 minutes, the game was over when he came on but he showed class with his good passes to the Goat.
Ritchie: 5/10 On for 10 minutes in which he played a poor pass.
Referee: 8/10 Bold to send off Wolves player, very pro City.

KK was calm and collected in the post match interviews, a sign that things are on track. A relief after the gnashing of teeth that accompanied the Palace game.

Benjamin Bloom (


Made my second trip of the season over to England to see City play. Having seen them play Forest a few weeks ago, it was over to a mate living in London for another awayday vs. Palace.

A quick overview of my impression of the team:

Nash 6: Beaten by 2 goals, which was odd when Palace had about 4 shots. Didn’t think he commanded his box well, and I’m sure it was just a bad day at the office. Definitely more impressed by Weaver vs. Forest.
Dunne 8: Another solid game, some passing went astray second half, but didn’t do much else wrong.
Mettomo 7: Good game, unlucky not to score at the end when their ‘keeper made a fine save. Looked decent in the air and on the ground, but probably hasn’t settled – concession of 2 goals in that game wasn’t brilliant.
Wiekens 6: Did his job but nothing spectacular.
Tiatto 7: Played well, but a few misplaced passes seemed to upset him early doors. Got more into it in the second half and wing back seems to suit him well.
Wright-Phillips 7: Defensively a bit shaky, but better in the attack. Thought he still lacks confidence in front of goal and was looking to lay the ball off more than to have a strike. Dragged one shot across the face of goal late on that I think a more confident striker would have lifted over the ‘keeper into the net.
Berkovic 6: A lot of passes but not much penetration. Dwelt on the ball a lot, and didn’t really do much.
Benarbia 7: Slightly better than Berkovic as he seemed to get stuck in more. Won a couple of good headers in the 2nd half too, but again no killer passes.
Horlock 7: Did what he had to do, but doesn’t look like a great defensive midfielder – brilliant 60 yard pass to feet in the second half though…
Huckerby 6: All pace, but no end product. It’s unfortunate that the midfield didn’t link up with the attack well on Saturday because some of his cutbacks were very good, but just too far behind the Goat.
Goater 7: Took the goal well, reactions were very good. Seemed to be isolated though, and needs a strike partner, or better support from midfield. On the occasions he was dragged out defensively the team had nothing up front.
Negouai: Came on as sub for Wiekens, did very little. Not impressed. Why spend £1.5m on him when Etuhu looked better vs. Forest?

Overall – good performance, but as against Forest could have been a victory with more decisive attacking. I’d also like to say that Saturday was the worst performance from corners I have ever seen. At least 5 were wasted with short corners that never saw the ball entering the box. What was Keegan thinking? Why didn’t Bernabia/Berko have the gumption to realise they weren’t working and change it? I’m sure Kit Symons enjoyed his début with those corners! Hopefully this review doesn’t read too negative – we’ll get the breaks soon and start a good run of victories. Maybe.

Paul Carey (


Brief response to a couple of recent contributions:

John Clancy – Gobsmacked by the reply you received from ITV Digital. Yes, the club is probably quite happy to take the cash for fixture changes and maybe your daughter got her wires crossed a little, but his reply was inexcusable. We don’t have the benefit of seeing the message which triggered this retort, but I’m sure that his paymasters would be horrified to read it. In the words of Manchester’s second most prominent Royle, “Customer Relations, my ar*e”.

Neil Haigh – I fail to see the comparison between buying and selling players at a football club and the hiring and firing in business which you describe. Do you have first-hand knowledge of Royle’s regime (and others) to be able to compare him unfavourably to Keegan? As an outsider, I fail to see how Royle wheeled and dealt any differently from anyone else. What is the difference between Royle bringing in Jamie Pollock and Keegan bringing in Stuart Pearce, for example? Sorry, but I don’t get it.

I did enjoy your claim though, that in complaining and ultimately leaving, George Weah “showed his pride, his passion and love for this club”. I can only congratulate the man on feeling so deeply about another half a dozen clubs in the months which followed his departure.

Lastly a brief point of my own – Following the handball goal against Rotherham, one of their defenders was booked for showing prolonged dissent. A few days later, his booking was rescinded, presumably on the grounds that his appeals against the goal were justified. I’m a little confused by this. Does this mean that, as long as you’re in the right, you can say what you like to officials? On this basis, I fully expect our Kev to receive no punishment for his dismissal at Millwall.

Merry Christmas one and all.

Scott Turton (


What a tirade! Christian Negouai couldn’t have got a worse reaction if he’d kebabed a kitten!

“He is not the sort of player we want at City.” Why’s that then? That sort of player has traditionally done well at Maine Road. Two who leap to mind (because they are remembered with such reverence) are Francis Lee, who if memory serves has even scored at least one goal with his hand, and Rodney Marsh who appeared in a TV programme not so long ago explaining his method of diving across a defender in the box! And there are lots, lots, more but life’s too short.

“He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself”. I can’t imagine that you’ve ever played the game, Martin. I’ve got news for you, me old China: The one thing all players hate to admit is that they absolutely love it (sorry KK) when they stitch the ref up like a kipper, whether it be over a throw in, a penalty or a hand ball. When the ref erroneously gives it your way (i.e. you’ve conned him) you slope away with your head dropped (so he can’t see you smirk) and revel in the protestations of the opposition. Check the body language, Martin, it’s there to see every week.

“Let’s just hope that Keegan gets rid of him!” Brilliant! Let’s only have players who are completely honest and never, ever, cheat. We’d be the only club in the world at any level of the game where integrity, shining like a beacon in the night, would go before all. The problem is, I can’t think of a single player in any division who would qualify, so I’ll leave it to you, Martin, to recommend a list of suitables to KK. Do nuns play football?

Oh, and about the celebration. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen goals celebrated by players who are clearly aware that later that evening the referee is going to look at the video replay and think, “Oh, bullocks, I’ve done it again!”, and never does it dampen the celebration. Even such paragons of virtue as Lineker and Shearer have been seen indulging themselves in such activities. In fact as I am writing this I’ve just remembered Lineker witnessing Gascoigne control the ball with his hand in our penalty box before putting him through to score. That Golden Wonder grin nearly lit up the North Stand without so much as a hint of a blush.

Come on Martin, lighten up! Decisions like that have cost us in the past so make the most when they go our way. Number one on the list of things never said on a football field is: “I’m sorry, ref, but you appear to have made a mistake. You should have given a free kick to the opposition.”

Keep it up Christian (not with your hand though next time, they’ll be expecting it).

Phil Sutton (


A few weeks ago we had a comment that MCIVTA had lost some appeal in the relative stability of recent years. Thanks to all the contributors to MCIVTA 769 for the insights they gave – a welcome read.

Dave Lewis (


Title:        The Maine Men, Keegan's revolution
Publisher:    Fremantle Media Home Entertainment (2001)
Producer:     Carl Morris.
Editor:       Julian Coleman.
Running time: 70 minutes approx.
Price:        £14.99

“The Maine Men, Keegan’s revolution” is the story about Manchester City from the moment Kevin Keegan was installed as manager. My first thought was that this must be wrong; I got the tape on November 29th 2001, City had just been hurled out of the Worthington League Cup by Blackburn, and were currently number 8 in Division 1. Surely the revolution part was misleading or at least a bit premature?

The tape lasted 70 minutes and started off with the interview on the day Keegan accepted the City job. The manager was one of the main characters throughout the tape, giving his view on each game on the revolution path. 18 games were covered with little more than the goals being showed. Still there were many great moments, in particular Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia’s débuts, and outstanding play.

Some of the players gave their opinions, especially “Psycho” and “the Goat”. Shaun Goater was showing some great finishing in all of the games. A few people from the media and fan base were put in front of the camera and gave their “view of the moment”. None of the commentary added really valuable information to the things happening on the pitch, but they were all polite and witty, just enough to get accepted by the suits I guess.

I wondered if this was to be the whole story about Keegan’s revolution. If so it was not much to write about, and even less to make a video of. What it should really be called was “the beginning of a revolution”; then it would have made some sense at least.

The good thing about this video is that it is a summary of all the goals (for and against) from the first 18 games of the 2001/02 season. But when the season review gets out many of them will be in there as well, so I recommend that you get that one instead. But who knows, they might decide to split the review into separate parts, so that you get a trilogy out of this season.

But then the package should probably have said that beforehand. But there were so many things left out that I wondered why someone would bother to make such a video – if it was not only to make a quick buck on fanatically loyal supporters aiming to extend their (way too many) meters of City-gadgets in their bookshelf. With Christmas coming up I suspect this to be close to the truth.

The change of formation to a defensive line-up with three centre backs was not touched at all. We were leaking goals and no one was even asking what the formation was – strange!

And with the magic of Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia coming to the club you could at least try to explain their backgrounds, past experiences and hard times. It was mentioned that Benarbia was the previous French player of the year, and in fact Benarbia could have played for France, but after being overlooked for many years he decided to put on the Algerian jersey towards the end of his career. This was not covered at all.

Also; Berkovic is an Israeli and with an Israeli and a Algerian joining City at the same time as the twin towers crashed down in N.Y. and bombs were flying in Afghanistan, it would be inspiring to see that these two were in fact genuine professional footballers that could cooperate on a football field, even though I guess their backgrounds must be somewhat different. But then again they might both be Catholics for all that I know.

The timeframe of this video spans 5 interesting months in many ways. Sadly it has become a plain marketing-fashion and transparent story with the only hunch of a punch line coming well into injury time: “Sometimes we are good and sometimes we are not so good. But when we are good, at least we are much better than we used to be. And when we are bad, we are just as bad as we always used to be. So that’s got to be an improvement – hasn’t it?”

Well we just have to wait and see ’cause the revolution has just begun.

Svenn A. Hanssen (


At long last Oz’s remotest City, Perth has been introduced to Blue Moon and recognition that there is another team from Manchester.

Joondalup, a far flung satellite City north of Perth has for the second year running introduced us migrants to the pleasure of sunset motion picture viewing in the “park”. And to start the summer festival off their first film happens to be “There’s only one Jimmy Grimble”. So, armed with cushions and blankets we toddled off, me and my twin 14 year old boys, decked out in our City shirts, the Red wife (bless her, not her fault), her sister, husband and son on holiday from Royton. Seating is deck chair like and insect repellent a must, together with the traditional Ozzie wave to stop flies going up your nose, in your eyes and ears. Sounds uncomfortable but was ok, especially with the connoisseur’s tub of ice cream, which went down well before Jimmy came on.

The film was not bad. Not an inspired piece of writing as most Blue school kids in Manchester have lived the dream on many occasions (I think I still do) of getting their school to the Manchester Cup final at Maine Road and conjuring up a win at the hallowed turf based mainly on your own individual talents. Stuff to make you very emotional.

However, where the writer was inspired or more correctly spot on was the creation of the bully’s character, a typical Rag fan. First of all his dad drooling all over him calling him the next Becks or Giggsie and thinking no one was better than his kid. Secondly the attitude, arrogance personified, big gob, evilness and sneaky ways. Also the way he cowered away after getting kicked in the kn@ckers and not happy with others having the limelight so he did everything to switch the attention back to him. Sounds like someone you know?

Whilst the actor playing Jimmy was all right, thought someone better looking could have been cast and also a kid that looked as if he was a footballer! Robert Carlyle’s character was pretty reserved, but perhaps the writer was showing the good/kind qualities of an ex Man City player.

Anyway, all our party was reasonably entertained and the icing on the cake was definitely the kid’s response to the Rag scout at the end of the film (won’t spoil it for people who have not seen it); surely 1-0 to City.

Whilst leaving, the boys and myself were getting a lot of knowing looks as the departing patrons saw our shirts and not a Red shirt in sight. 2-0 to City.

Peter McDonald (


Tuesday 18 December sees the second team play Oldham at Boundary Park. There are a limited number of tickets at £5 in their suite including a hot-pot supper.

Contact Oldham Athletic direct for further information.

Heidi (


Any Blues from Bournemouth area go up to Maine Road and would like someone to share petrol etc. on the very odd occasion that I could get a ticket?

I would be very pleased if you could get in touch.


In response to Peter Buriak’s question in Tuesdays McVittee. He hasn’t been too specific about where he is typing the MCFC keywords into. Is it a search engine or the address box in Internet Explorer? It is possible that he has changed/updated his version of Internet Explorer and has not selected the facility which searches keywords put in the address bar. However, I would recommend the superb search engine at and using the keywords in there.

Typing in MCFC produces 6,680 results and takes only 0.18 seconds to list them. However, some of the sites relate to Massachusetts Community Forestry Council so I’m not sure all 6,680 sites are related to City!

Andy Ogden (


With the deal between ITV and Sky, does this mean that we can get City games in Ireland? If so, does anyone know which satellite provider we should use?

Barry Riley (


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association will be on Tuesday 18th December at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm.

The evening will be a “Christmas Extravaganza of Madcap Entertainment and Mayhem” with the one and only Frank Sidebottom and Moonchester. As usual everyone is welcome – no need for a babysitter… bring the kids along! Admission is just a £1 for adults and it’s free for kids. There’s also a free raffle and free soft drinks and crisps for the kids.

Howard Burr (


Recent results from 10 December 2001 to 12 December 2001 inclusive

12 December 2001

West Bromwich Albion  1 - 0  Coventry City         22,543

11 December 2001

Birmingham City       1 - 0  Crystal Palace        20,119
Manchester City       1 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs   33,639

League table to 12 December 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         23  7  3  1 25 15  7  1  4 20 16 14  4  5 45 31  14  46
 2 Manchester City 23  8  2  1 27 10  5  1  6 25 23 13  3  7 52 33  19  42
 3 Wolves          23  5  3  3 14  8  7  3  2 20 10 12  6  5 34 18  16  42
 4 West Brom A.    23  7  1  4 12  6  6  1  4 14 13 13  2  8 26 19   7  41
 5 Norwich City    23  8  2  1 19  9  4  1  7 12 23 12  3  8 31 32  -1  39
 6 Crystal Palace  23  9  0  3 31 12  3  1  7 14 22 12  1 10 45 34  11  37
 7 Coventry City   23  6  2  4 16 12  5  2  4 11 10 11  4  8 27 22   5  37
 8 Preston N.E.    23  6  4  2 26 12  3  5  3 13 18  9  9  5 39 30   9  36
 9 Birmingham City 23  8  1  3 25  9  2  5  4 12 20 10  6  7 37 29   8  36
10 Millwall        22  6  1  3 22 14  4  4  4 16 14 10  5  7 38 28  10  35
11 Portsmouth      23  6  1  5 21 19  3  5  3 15 16  9  6  8 36 35   1  33
12 Watford         22  6  3  2 24 13  3  2  6 11 13  9  5  8 35 26   9  32
13 Bradford City   23  7  1  4 31 23  2  4  5 12 18  9  5  9 43 41   2  32
14 Nottm Forest    23  5  6  1 15  9  2  3  6 11 14  7  9  7 26 23   3  30
15 Gillingham      23  5  3  3 21 11  3  3  6 13 21  8  6  9 34 32   2  30
16 Sheff. United   23  4  4  3 17 14  3  5  4  8 13  7  9  7 25 27  -2  30
17 Wimbledon       23  3  5  3 17 15  4  3  5 21 22  7  8  8 38 37   1  29
18 Crewe Alex.     23  4  4  3  8 13  3  3  6 16 23  7  7  9 24 36 -12  28
19 Rotherham Utd.  23  4  5  2 16 15  2  2  8 13 22  6  7 10 29 37  -8  25
20 Sheff. Wed.     23  3  5  4 18 18  2  3  6  7 18  5  8 10 25 36 -11  23
21 Barnsley        23  5  4  3 21 19  0  2  9  9 29  5  6 12 30 48 -18  21
22 Grimsby Town    23  3  4  5 11 17  2  2  7 11 25  5  6 12 22 42 -20  21
23 Walsall         23  4  3  4 13 13  1  2  9 11 27  5  5 13 24 40 -16  20
24 Stockport C.    23  1  1 10  8 23  1  5  5 14 28  2  6 15 22 51 -29  12

With thanks to Football 365


[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup) :
News/rumour (Don Barrie) :
Subscriptions (Geoff Donkin) :
Technical problems (Paul) :

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] Goals on the Net has available for download, usually within 24-48 hours of a game being played, all the goals from City’s matches.

[9] 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.

[10] 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 #770