Newsletter #776

Tonight sees Don’s excellent news round-up, match reports from our men on the Lancs coast on what was a great trip to the seaside for our second team, plenty of opinion on Invisible Men, African Nations, future hopes, current players, predictions, et al and the usual global requests. We also have a great Why Blue.

Anyone fancy doing a report of the Norwich game, they’re only 3 points behind us; please send it in.

Next game: Norwich City, home, 2.15pm Sunday 13 January 2002


General News

Goodbye to Stan: The funeral of former City Groundsman Stan Gibson took place this week. The service was well attended by City officials and by heroes from the past, and took place at Trinity Church, Platt Lane. Mike Summerbee paid tribute to Stan’s essential rôle in the great success of the 1960’s, “Stan was our 12th man in the teams of the 60’s and 70’s. He was an essential part of the set up here at Maine Road and was much more than a groundsman – always able to give you advice and help”. Buzzer revealed that when he won player of the year twice, he gave the trophies to Stan. David Bernstein said the Club will mourn his loss. “Stan has a unique position in our Club’s history. He was devoted to Manchester City and was way ahead of his time in his approach to his profession. His passing is a great loss to the Club and all who knew him.”

Future fixtures: City have once again been hit with a fixture change. The game at Bradford has been brought forward to Friday 8 March 2002. Kick off will be 7:45 pm., and will be shown on the ITV Sport Channel. City’s reward for beating Swindon in the third round of the FA Cup sponsored by AXA (I think I’ve been watching too many of the games on TV), is a fourth round visit to Ipswich, one of our least lucky grounds in recent times. City re-visit the scene of last May’s relegation from the Premiership on the weekend of 26/27th January. There has been no confirmation yet whether this game will be chosen for live TV coverage.

Keegan Fines Wardle: Deputy Chairman John Wardle has become the latest recipient of the “Wrath of Kev”. Mr. Wardle was recently fined £5 for a breach of club rules, namely leaving his mobile phone on during a training session at Carrington. “Everyone calls Kevin gaffer” said a chastened Wardle. “He makes the rules and we all abide by them.”

Reserves Win Again: City’s reserve team beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0, at Morecambe FC’s Christie Park ground on Wednesday. The game had been delayed 24 hours at Blackburn’s request, to accommodate Rovers’ appearance in the Worthington Cup. Leon Mike got the winner for a team containing a number of first team squad members. City’s team was: Weaver, Charvet, Jordan, Dunfield, Mears, Pearce, Killen, Negouai, Mike, Dickov, Shuker. Subs: Paisley, Murphy, Barton, Whelan, Browne.

Transfer News and Gossip

Bromby Talks Continue: Despite a categorical denial from City, the stories suggesting a possible deal for Leigh Bromby have continued to circulate. Last Friday, Chris Bird was quoted as saying “We have not made a formal enquiry about the player. I know a number of clubs have been linked with the player but we have not tabled a bid. Kevin has already said he will take his time looking at the situation in defence as he has a number of options available with players who have returned from injury.” By Tuesday, ‘The Mirror’ was claiming that KK was keen on a swap deal for the 21-year-old. Bromby, who scored against the Blues in the 6-2 romp at Hillsborough earlier in the season, is valued at £2.5 million. City are reported to be offering cash plus Paul Dickov to complete the deal.

Another Defender Linked: Another defensive target has been mentioned again this week, namely Israeli centre-back Arik Banado. The Maccabi Haifa skipper’s UK-based representative confirmed that City had been alerted to the availability of the Israeli international, and invited City to send representatives to Maccabi Haifa’s top of the table clash with Hapoel Tel Aviv on Monday. It also emerged that the same offer had been made to a number of Premiership and Division One clubs, so a link to City seems tenuous to say the least. Only Burnley are supposed to have shown any direct interest in the player, having invited him to England for a trial. However, no representatives from any club in England were present at the game on Monday, suggesting that City are unwilling to take their interest any further.

No Bolton Move for Etuhu: Dickson Etuhu will not be moving to Bolton Wanderers, according to Boss Sam Allardyce. Bolton were mentioned as a possible destination for the unsettled midfielder, but this notion was swiftly dismissed last week by the Trotters’ boss.

Colosimo Goes: Defender Simon Colosimo has officially left City after the Blues chose to exercise a contractual get out clause last week. Colosimo hit the headlines in July 1999 when he suffered a career-threatening injury due to a challenge from Andy Cole in an exhibition match. Boss Kev explained “What we did with Simon, because he had his injury and because he was coming from a different football zone so we wanted to assess him, was to pay a nominal fee for him. We had a get out clause in our favour. He had a three year contract but if he didn’t make ten starts in the first team by the time January 9th came then I could release him. I told him two months ago that is what I was going to do and that he wouldn’t get to ten. Obviously I would like to help him find another club. It was one of those deals we did which was an opportunity which didn’t quite work.” Colosimo had an unwelcome twenty third birthday present this week, when he failed to win a full trial with Stoke City after playing in a practice match for the Potters. Stoke boss Gudjon Thordarson reckoned that the Australian was no better than the players already in his squad, so Colosimo will have to look elsewhere for employment. City already have an Aussie full back link with Stoke of course – the Blues signed Danny Tiatto from the Potters in 1998.

International on Trial: ‘The Independent’ newspaper claims that City have taken a look at the Armenian international Pascal Bedrossian, with a view to purchasing the player from the French side Lorient. The 27-year-old left-sided midfielder played for City in a trial match.

Jarni Decides: Robert Jarni, whose contract wrangle with his club Las Palmas cost him a move to City in November, has allegedly agreed to join German Bundesliga side 1860 Munich.

Ex-Blues’ News

Uwe Goes Home: Uwe Rösler’s unsuccessful return to English football is over. Having not scored a league goal in a year at Southampton, and having failed to secure a deal at West Brom earlier in the season, Uwe is set to sign for German side Unterhaching on a free transfer after agreeing terms.

Royle Humour: As pressure mounts on Sheffield Wednesday manager Terry Yorath, the press in Yorkshire are already suggesting Joe Royle as a possible replacement. Despite Wednesday reaching the semi-finals of the Worthington Cup, their abysmal league form sees the Owls lying second from bottom of the First Division. Joe would then be teamed up of course with his old partner Willie Donachie.

Kinkladze Listed: To no one’s surprise, Derby County have put our former hero Georgi Kinkladze on the transfer list. Kinky has hardly played for Derby since Colin Todd became manager in October, and has been made available for a fee of £1.5 million. City naturally are supposed to be interested in bringing home the prodigal son of Maine Road, although this seems highly unlikely given the fact that City already have two gifted midfielders to call upon this season. Kinky’s biggest fan still seems to be the man who brought him to England, namely FH Lee. Frannie reckons that Liverpool should be the Georgian’s next club, and was quoted as saying “If I was Phil Thompson I’d have no hesitation in signing him. I feel he could provide the ammunition for both Nicolas Anelka and Michael Owen.”

Reactions and Comments

FA Cup Victory: Super Kev was realistic in his appraisal of City’s performance in their 2-0 victory over Swindon Town in the FA Cup. Keegan said: “We overplayed at times and we tried to do the difficult thing when the easier option was open to us. We didn’t hit top gear, Swindon kept going and until the second goal went in there was always the danger that they would nick something from a corner, free-kick or get a deflection. If that happens, then there is the danger of a replay or even losing the game, so I’m glad we got the second when we did. I can’t complain, though, because it was a professional performance from the lads. Carlo Nash didn’t really have a shot to save.” KK was pleased with the play of the returning Paul Ritchie: “Paul was one of the plus points of the game. He slotted in really well after such a long lay-off and coped well when he was asked to change his position.” Asked about City’s prospects for winning the trophy, Kev replied “No-one would love to have a good long run in the cup more than I would, and I would love to win it with Manchester City, but you have to be realistic about these matters. It will be the usual names who will be battling it out when push comes to shove in the final stages of the competition.”

Ta-ta To Etuhu: Kevin Keegan is clearly bitter about the the club’s dealings with Dickson Etuhu and his agent. Keegan revealed after the Swindon match that Etuhu has played his last game for the club. “Dickson has chosen not to sign for this club and he has decided to go to a bigger club, end of story,” said Keegan, a pointed reference to the reports saying that Etuhu was in negotiations with Millwall. “We are fighting it with lawyers because what he has done is not right. Legally we don’t feel that his contract here has ended. It is not fair to go into the tos and fros because the lad is not here to argue his side of it, but I will just say that there was a clause put into his contract to help him in case he didn’t make it into the side. His agent has turned it full round on us and decided Dickson is a free. He is not a free and we will fight it all the way. If the lad does end up a free transfer then the whole Academy system is a waste of time and so are the millions put into it. Dickson is finished at this club as a player because of what he has decided to do. He didn’t turn in training and chose to go somewhere else but he cannot sign for anyone at the moment legally. I think he has been poorly advised, that is my honest opinion. We did make him an offer and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am at the boy and the agent because we tried to be very fair with Dickson.” Etuhu played 11 League and 1 Worthington Cup match for the Blues.

Wanchope to Miss Games: Paulo Wanchope has been called up for Costa Rica’s squad for the Gold Cup, a pre-World Cup tournament being held in the USA in January and February. Paulo was due to miss four games, but KK has reached an agreement with Costa Rica whereby Wanchope will not play in the first round of the competition, but will join the squad on January 21, 24 hours after we take on Watford at Vicarage Road. It’s a shame that Wanchope has to be missing at all, as he has returned from his injury lay off playing the best football of his Maine Road career. “Even considering that we have dropped down a division, we are playing a lot more football this season than last,” said Wanchope, “There was too much long ball last year and that is not easy for a striker. The manager has brought in Ali Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic to the midfield this season and they are very creative. They see passes very early and if we strikers make the correct runs then the ball will arrive exactly where you want it. It gives everyone more confidence and is why we are scoring more goals. They make the strikers’ work much easier.”

Edgy Out: Good news for Richard Edghill – the injury which made the full back leave the field against Swindon is not as serious as first thought. It was feared that Edgy had a serious hamstring strain, but it is hoped that he will only be out for 10 days. He will have to miss Sunday’s game with Norwich in any event, as he is serving a one match suspension.

Ritchie is Back: Paul Ritchie was pleased to play his first game for a year against Swindon, but is not taking his place for granted “This is a massive club and we have 24 players here who would grace most Premiership clubs, so you have to prove yourself over and over again”, said Ritchie, “As long as I am part of the squad then I am happy. As a footballer today you know you have to be able to look at the bigger picture. Clubs like City are likely to be playing 50-odd games per season and that is too much to ask when it comes to performing at the top of your form or avoiding injury and suspension. That is why Kevin Keegan has brought more quality and more depth to our squad. Not playing every game is now part and parcel of professional football and though it upsets people when they are left out, the manager is only doing what he thinks best for City. It is difficult now to get into the first team and there were times when I felt I might not get back in because the manager did not know what I was capable of. He has given me my chance over the last four or five weeks starting off on the bench and so, hopefully, I have shown him I have what it takes at this level.”

Alfie’s Comeback: Alfie Haaland is pleased with his comeback to first team action, but isn’t rushing his return. Alfie said “I am not sure if I am ready yet for a full game. It is good to be on the road back to recovery and obviously I would like to play more than ten minutes in each game. I am just easing my way back into it at the moment. I can play in a few positions but at the moment the boss is putting me in midfield. I played in the central defence a couple of times last season and it is a position I have played in before, but it is up to the boss, he is the best judge.” He feels that in the longer term, City will have to reinforce the playing staff, “We probably need a couple more players,” he told the Manchester Evening News, “not just to win promotion but to stay in the Premiership if we get there at the end of the season.”

Contracts Offered to Youngsters: City have offered one year contracts to five of the younger members of the groundstaff, namely Terry Dunfield, Chris Shuker, Tyrone Mears, Joey Barton and Stephen Jordan. Leon Mike and Chris Killen have still to hear from the management and will be dealt with separately. Kevin Keegan explained that he wanted to give these players an incentive to progress. “What I decided, along with Dennis Tueart and the Chairman, was that the young players all deserve another year to see how they can progress. The only player we tried to tie up for longer than a year was Dickson Etuhu and that didn’t work out. I would like them all to sign and my feeling is that they will.” There is still no word yet on whether deals will be offered to more senior members of the squad, such as Richard Edghill and Paul Dickov.

KK Impressed by Dunne & SWP: Kevin Keegan has revealed how his opinion on a pair of players had changed dramatically in the last few months. The Boss told the Official Website “If you had asked me three or four months ago I might have said that I was not sure about Shaun Wright-Phillips. But his performances have convinced me that not only can he play in the Premiership but he could be an outstanding player there. Richard Dunne is another one who several months ago I might have said I am not sure about for several reasons. Now I am a hundred per cent sure he deserves to play in the Premiership and, in fact, if he improves he could be one of the outstanding players in the Premiership.”

Cooke Wants Out Now: Terry Cooke’s representative, solicitor Dave Chapman, has asked City to release his client from his contract, which runs out in the summer. Cooke has not featured in the first team since October 1999, and has been subject to allegations about his off field activities, which the player has always denied. Loans spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan failed to re-ignite Cooke’s career. Chapman said “I have told Terry, who believes he has had a raw deal, that it is not worth crying over spilt milk and that the reasons he has not started a game for City for the best part of two seasons are academic. He has to look forward now and remind everyone why City bought him in the first place”.

Don Barrie (


City’s reserves beat Blackburn’s second string 1-0 at Morecambe’s Christie Park ground on Wednesday evening with a goal from Leon Mike in the first half.

The presence of plenty of players with first team experience bolstered the reserves on Wednesday as they defeated Blackburn by a single goal. It should have been more though as Paul Dickov was the main culprit for shooting over the bar. Nicky Weaver, Laurent Charvet, Christian Negouai, Paul Dickov and Stuart Pearce all started the game for a strong looking reserve line up.

City started brightly keeping the ball but had little to show for their possession. Indeed in the ninth minute Laurent Charvet lost the ball and City were in trouble, although Nicky Weaver was alert to save with his feet to put the ball out for a corner. City started to take control though and after some clever footwork from Leon Mike on the edge of the Blackburn area Paul Dickov shot over the bar when in a good position.

After 23 minutes David McNamee, the Rovers left back jinked his way past several City players before firing in a shot, which Nicky Weaver saved well to push round the post for a corner.

Just on the half hour, a typical challenge from Paul Dickov saw him win the ball, but with no support, he decided to shoot from distance and his shot didn’t trouble Alan Kelly in the Blackburn goal. Shortly after that, Tyrone Mears, of whom a bright future is expected, broke down the right and his low cross found its way to Paul Dickov who blasted over again in his attempt to back of the net. Dickov was playing his typical game, all effort, although he was having trouble keeping his shots down.

However, Leon Mike made amends five minutes later when his well placed low shot through a crowded penalty area hit the target and left Kelly with no chance, as it evaded his despairing right hand.

Just before half time, Blackburn had a corner that was collected by Nicky Weaver under pressure. His first time throw to the half way line found Dickov whose attempted crossfield pass was intercepted and headed back to Kelly.

At half time, City replaced Stuart Pearce with Glenn Whelan. Pearce showed no effects from his hamstring problem and he will be satisfied with the run out.

Five minutes into the second half, City won a free kick midway in the Rovers half. It was floated in diagonally and found an unmarked Christian Negouai, whose header although hitting the target found Alan Kelly well positioned.

After 55 minutes, Leon Mike wasted a great opportunity when he was put through and after evading a defender, rounded the ‘keeper, only to see his shot sail over the bar. It was tough luck on Mike who had had a good game up until then. Indeed shortly after that, Mike gave Paul Dickov another scoring opportunity when chesting down on the edge of the area, only for Dickov to see another shot fly over.

In fact, Blackburn, if the truth be told hardly threatened at all in the second half, although when they did, they found Nicky Weaver in commanding form and when he was called upon, did what he was asked. In fact one save he made would have been terrific had it not been for the linesman’s flag intervening.

So all in all, an assured performance from the reserves with all the young players doing well, in particular Tyrone Mears at right full back. Mears looks like he will be happy playing either in the full back or wing back positions in the future.

City Team:
Weaver, Charvet, Jordan, Dunfield, Mears, Pearce, Killen, Negouai, Mike, Dickov, Shuker.
Subs: Paisley, Murphy, Barton, Whelan, Browne.

After the game, Asa Hartford kindly agreed to allow the players to come into the bar to meet members of the Morecambe Bay supporters’ branch and Nicky Weaver was the star attraction with everyone wanting photos and autographs; Paul Dickov wasn’t far behind though. Stuart Pearce had gone early after having come off at half time but the rest were all there including the much maligned although very charming Laurent Charvet, who was happy to sign autographs and have photos taken. All in all it was a good night for the branch and the players were a credit to the club.

Lance Thomson (


Did I fancy staying in and watching Chelsea vs. Spurs? Well, there’s nothing else to do tonight. Hold on, what’s this on the website? A reserve match vs. Blackburn at Morecambe, only 20 miles down the road? Must be a better option. 7.00 kick off. It’s 6.00 – too late to ring round and see if anyone wants to join me so on with some winter woollies and off down the M6.

Nice little ground, Morecambe, covered on 3 sides, seated on one. Arrived about 6.45 with both teams warming up, and believe me they needed to, it was bitter!

I haven’t been to a reserve match since they used to give out complimentary tickets at junior school and it’s a shame because it is completely different from a first team game and equally entertaining. The lack of a crowd (I would be surprised if many more than 100 turned up) actually made the occasion more friendly, with Blackburn and City supporters mixing around the ground. Players were signing shirts, youngsters who were too small to see over the hoardings were chasing up and down the terraces, there was no queue for the Bovril and the burgers were cooked to order!

When the match kicked off you could hear the players calling for the ball and arguing between themselves about position and passing ability. If you didn’t like the view you could stroll round the ground to a better vantage point. I watched the first half from the halfway line opposite the main stand and the second from the new stand behind the goal that City were attacking.

Of course, a reserve match is not likely to generate the sort of football that you might expect from a Maine Road derby but the game was not without its moments. Shuker was industrious down the left wing although the Blackburn No 2 (Grayson) managed to contain him quite well. Dickov will still get a job catching pigeons when he retires, but not shooting them. His attempts on goal in the first half got wider and wider of the mark until eventually and inevitably the ball disappeared over the stand into the gardens behind. Weaver was not put under any pressure and when our goal came from Leon Mike on the half hour, it was deserved and well executed, pushing a pass from Dickov hard on the diagonal from the right of the box, under Kelly and into the left corner of the net.

The second half did not see the re-emergence of Stuart Pearce, who was subbed by Whelan and I fell to thinking that if I was him, in the last season of a brilliant career, I wouldn’t have wanted to come out for the second half on a freezing Wednesday night in January in Morecambe either! Maybe that’s a little unfair but he did not seem to be carrying any obvious injury and had been off the pace in the first half. The second half did see Weaver pull off at least one impressive save, but at the far end from me and my brain’s too slow to process what my eyes tell me these days.

More interesting and visible were City’s two definite missed chances. The worst miss was Mike’s, who having freed himself from his marker some 25 yards out, advanced on and rounded Kelly on the right then from a matter of a few yards out put the ball a foot wide of the right hand upright. Second was Dickov’s, who finally got an accurate and powerful finish on the ball sending it into the middle left of the net only to see Kelly bring off an excellent diving save to push the ball wide.

In all, City had the best of the match and came out deserved winners, and I went home having enjoyed an unexpected outing, which at £3 at the gate, with 10p for the team sheet and 60p for a cup of Bovril was well worth the expense! The fixture will certainly go into my diary for next year.

Graeme Nicholson (


Is our squad good enough for the Premiership if we get promotion? A question which has briefly cropped up and will crop up more if our current form continues and we gain promotion. I have decided to give my views on the main players in our squad. I have purposely ignored younger players who have either played 1 or 2 games or none at all (i.e. Shuker & Killen) and players who will be gone at the end (i.e. Pearce & Dickov). It’s not too detailed, just my opinion on their Premiership worthiness.

Nick Weaver: Obviously didn’t have his best season in the Premiership but he is still very young. An excellent ‘keeper to have as our No. 2 and for the future.
Carlo Nash: Been solid this season, worth a go in the Premiership.
Gerard Wiekens: Think the Premiership is one league too high for him.
Richard Edghill: Come back well this season, no doubting his commitment, but remain to be convinced at the highest level.
Danny Tiatto: Done it once, will do it again.
Steve Howey: Played well last season, is a top level player, will be there or thereabouts.
Paul Ritchie: Hard to say as he’s not played enough games, but I would give him a go.
Richard Dunne: Getting better every week at the moment, definitely good enough.
Lucien Mettomo: Looks class, will grace the Premiership (I hope!).
Kevin Horlock: Ditto Wiekens to an extent although has been looking good in the holding rôle. Would get a back-up place at least at the moment.
Jeff Whitley: Good squad player and might do a job for us.
Alfie Haaland: Remain to be convinced, was poor last season, although he is an international and had a few years in Premiership so again a useful player to keep at the moment (as long as he doesn’t do the long throw!).
Eyal Berkovic: Been there before, class will tell.
Ali Benarbia: Again class will tell, not got the pace but his brain is enough.
Shaun Wright-Philips: Getting better all the time, should do well.
Christian Negouai: Hard to say as he’s not played enough, but Keegan says he’s our best signing. We will find out.
Shaun Goater: Did fantastic to get 12 last season. Personally I would stick with him, don’t think Keegan will though.
Darren Huckerby: Very dangerous although finishing lets him down sometimes. Will be around the first team.
Paulo Wanchope: After a dodgy start has began to show his worth, only 24?, could be a star under Keegan.

To sum up I think we will need at least one defender, a couple of midfielders and possibly a striker to get us comfortable. There’s the obvious players who are good enough and if we can establish ourselves the likes of Haaland, Whitley, Howey & Horlock and a few others will need to go after the likes of Wiekens and Edghill.

Andy Clowes (


Have to agree with Neil Chadwick. I saw the October league matches (5 in all) on my first ever trip to Maine Road at age 37 and what stood out for me was how nervous the fans were with Weaver between the sticks. He did pull off a couple of class saves in those games, but he dallies too much on the ball, dribbling outside his box before delivering a 50/50 kick upfield. By the time he delivers the opposition is organised every time.

While there I went to Carrington and watched the team train for 3 hours. Nash looked the better of the two as Bonetti put them thru their paces and it was Nash who remained on his own doing personal drills, when all others had gone in for a shower. Nash will be a factor in our drive for Premiership football, of that I am sure.

Chris Loveridge (


I completely agree with Kev’s stance regarding the upstart Dickson. It is completely frustrating that City mould a player to be a first team member – help him develop – remember he has been there or thereabouts for a couple of seasons – gets his chance and thinks he is Bell and Summerbee wrapped up in one package.

Let the fool go – get some money we are better off without him. Let’s hope he either realises the fact that he is a fool and comes back tail between legs of that he sinks without trace into the pit that is Millwall.

On another note. I went to the Wolves game, and it has to be said that the stadium looked fantastic wreathed in fog prior to kick off. I would like to thank the bookies for letting me claim my time of goal bet even though they thought it was a minute later.

It has to be said I am enjoying be a City fan at the moment.

Thanks to all at MCIVTA for keeping me in touch, Mike Thomas (


In MCIVTA 775, Dave Cash gave us the first verse of the Invisible Man, “We’re not really here” song:

We are not, we’re not really here
We are not, we’re not really here
Just like the fans of the Invisible Man
We’re not really here

There used to be a second, very similar verse:

We are not, we’re not really here
We are not, we’re not really here
One day, we’ll wake up in the Premier League
We’re not really here

The second verse pretty much died out when we got promoted to the Premier League, as you might expect. There was a variation on this verse that substituted “Champions” for “Premier”, which I quite liked but I don’t think it caught on much.

As for where the chant came from, Dave’s “massive support in troubled times” theory is good. At the time, I put it down to a more general feeling of disbelief that City could be in the old Division 3 and playing home and away to Macclesfield, York and the like.

Also, Tony Grant was known as “The Invisible Man” for a while. He truly was invisible, did he do anything memorable in any game? The City website concurs; when I click on TG’s profile on the City website: a new window pops up and says “The page cannot be found”.

Sadly, this ghost-like theory on the chant is easily disproved. I think TG joined us after promotion from Division Two. Hang on, maybe TG really is a ghost? That would explain why he is playing for Burnley now.

James Nash (


Thought I’d shed a bit of light on the “Invisible Man” theory.

According to “The Best Book of Football Songs and Chants Ever!” (ISBN 1-85868-584-2) published in 1998, The Invisible Man song was “Inspired by City Fans on tour in Ireland who trashed the bar of the Metropole Hotel in Cork, then sung this to Police Officers sent to deal with the situation in the belief there was no proof as to which ones were responsible.”

Anorak I know! But can anyone verify this?

Howard Burr (


Whilst I understand Edwin Cooke’s sentiments with regard to the actions of Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer, I must take issue with his statements. Everyone I know believes that it was a racially motivated attack (considering Lee Bowyer’s history at a McDonald’s restaurant) but the trial judge specifically stated that it was not.

Jonathan Woodgate was convicted of affray and was sentenced accordingly. Neither I nor Edwin (I assume) sat at court and had access to all the evidence (note that word). And as such must concur that on the basis of the available evidence that the correct decision was made. That is what the criminal justice system is for. The public must not be left to make arbitrary decisions on the guilt or otherwise of an individual; that breeds vigilantism.

Lee Bowyer was found not guilty and should be treated as an innocent man, however repulsive that might seem.

Edwin’s description of the attack on Sarfraz as murderous is extremely erroneous. That statement must be qualified. A murderous attack is one which leads to murder, this did not. As I recall the Crown Prosecution Service sought a conviction on the charge of GBH and not attempted murder.

I don’t know the laws on slander but I feel that Edwin is sailing very close to the wind in this regard. If a civil trial finds Woodgate and Bowyer guilty of attacking Sarfraz then so be it; however, this does not deny them the right to pursue their careers with Leeds United.

How Leeds United handle their players is their business. The FA have responded to the result of a criminal trial within their remit as a governing body and have indicated that as Bowyer was found not guilty then he should be able to represent his country, Woodgate is another matter.

Manchester City would have no legal right in denying Woodgate and Bowyer representing their club in a match against City, that is restraint of trade. The only ban they could make would be on the basis of Maine Road being private property and as such would have to request an injunction at court (not very likely).

If Manchester City players did what Woodgate and Bowyer (allegedly) did then I would demand the cancellation of their contracts as loudly as the next man but that is my own personal opinion. If Leeds fans feel it ok for them to represent their club then let them live with that; I wouldn’t want them within a mile of my club.

Next time Leeds come to Maine Road i.e. next season; then I will happily boo their players but I cannot bring myself to accuse them of something that they have not been convicted of (which has even been tested in a court of law). I don’t have the right.

Oh, and by the way, how many “City” fans have been convicted of affray not connected with a football match (or tournament) and been banned from Maine Road? I would hazard a guess at none. So no, this isn’t a special case Edwin.

Regards to all at MCIVTA and around the City World.

David Blyth (


In response to Edwin Cooke in MCIVTA 775 – his sentiments are admirable. Any true football fan wants to eradicate racism and player misbehaviour, but I was of the understanding that the affray perpetrated by Woodgate was not borne of racism – indeed the prosecution throughout the trial admitted that it was not a racist attack.

If he is to be banned for assault/ affray should we then also be banning Paul Gascoigne, Duncan Ferguson and possibly John Terry and Jodie Morris in the near future or is a ban only suitable when there is an assault on a different ethnic group?

Sensationalist and emotive opinion only inflames these situations and it is not the responsibility of football or its administrators to judge whether a court of law reached an appropriate verdict or whether the Crown Prosecution Service got it wrong in concluding it was not racist.

Gary Spencer (


With regard to the article asking that we ban Jonathan Woodgate and (if convicted in a civil case) Lee Bowyer from Maine Road under our racism rules, it should be pointed out that the judge in the case, and two separate juries all agreed that the assault on Sarfraz Najeib was not a racist incident. Whether you personally think this to be the case or not is unfortunately not relevant, as that is the decision of a court of law.

Thus, Mr. Bernstein and Manchester City Football Club would not, I think (and I am not a lawyer) have a leg to stand on if they tried to ban Woodgate and Bowyer from City.

As a final thing, do the people who think that Woodgate and Bowyer should be sacked from Leeds and possibly banned from football also think that Tony Adams (who remember has served time for drink-driving), John Terry and Jody Morris should have the same punishment. We should try and remember that neither of the two players were convicted for GBH, and in fact Bowyer was cleared of all charges.

I hope I am trying to give a balanced viewpoint – I am not trying to defend Woodgate and Bowyer here, but surely they should have a chance to get on with their lives and careers after two years of the trial.

Richard Allen (


The BBC has got the rights to the African Nations Cup. I think they’re planning to show the final live on BBC 2 plus daily highlights programmes.

The BBC has also got the radio rights which will be going out on the BBC World Service (don’t know about the rights for the UK). They are carrying the final live.

Algeria are in group A but Ali B is not in the squad. I don’t know why not.

For all the info try

Jim Simmons (


In reply to Lance Thompson’s request regarding TV coverage of this year’s African Nations Cup. Match of the Day will be covering the event for the first time this year. A 40 minutes highlights package, hosted by Garth Crooks, will go out on BBC Two at 11:30pm after every day of matches. The final will be covered live on February 10th although I hope Lucien is back playing for us by then. There will also be in-depth analysis at with articles on all players and squads.

Algeria did qualify, don’t know why Ali didn’t make the squad but their loss is definitely our gain.

Sefton Owens (


I seem to remember Ray Stubbs’ happy, smiling face telling the nation at the end of Football Focus a couple of weeks back that they would be showing African Nations Cup games. There was no indication of what format this might take, but I would suggest that a highlights program is the most likely. However, this could all turn out to be false, so keep an eye out in the TV listings.

Chris Lambert (


Being a City fan in Scotland is very frustrating as it is impossible to see any action without having ITV Digital. However, I have followed instructions from previous issues of MCIVTA and now have ITV Granada (as well as every other ITV region) on my Sky.

I know the game against Coventry in March will be shown on ITV Granada, but does anyone know any other City games that will be shown?

Roll on next season when we are (hopefully) in the Premiership and the games will be easily viewed on Sky Sports!

Steven Page (


Did anyone tape the 5-1 Burnley game on 29th December 2001 on ITV? If so, and you would like to sell it (or a copy) please email me. Reasonable price + expenses paid.

Bill Hill – Singapore Blue (


I was wondering if there was anyone in the Boston, USA area that knows of a way to see any of the games? Every place I know of only shows Premier and I’d rather see a City game before next season.

Marc Anderson (


Bert 41’s out this weekend and I’m as surprised as anyone after the Christmas/New Year festivities! Just thought I’d mention it…

Noel Bayley (


Please read the following and contact Gary if you can make it – the time may have changed.

On Friday (11th Jan), Parliament is due to hear the 2nd reading of the Football Spectators Bill. This is the Private Members Bill launched on our behalf which, if successful, will remove the current all-seater requirement for Premier and 1st Division clubs and give fans a say in future stadium developments.

To mark this event and to further publicise the Safe Standing campaign we are hoping to have a photo taken outside Parliament with a representative of each club posing alongside the SAFE banner. Hopefully this will demonstrate the depth of support for Safe Standing and prove that it is not a “one-club” issue.

This is where we need help. Could you represent your club on the photo this Friday? We aim to meet at 13:30 outside Parliament (exact location will be advised shortly). It would be great if you could wear your club’s home shirt so that the photo has maximum effect!

If you can help, please e-mail me at or phone 01943 876001/07802 190166.

If you can’t be there in person (and you haven’t already done so), please contact your MP and ask him/her to attend the House of Commons on Friday and support the Football Spectators Bill. Please also ask him/her to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 239. You can find out who your MP is by visiting and typing in your postcode. This site also offers an easy way to send your MP a fax. If you’d prefer,you can write to your MP at House of Commons,London SW1A 0AA or try ringing him/her on 020 7219 3000. You may be able to find their e-mail address at

With your support we can amend the current legislation and pave the way for Safe Standing at your club!

Many thanks,
Gary Hewitt

Phill Gatenby (


Could it finally be the year someone other than Manchester United win the title? Or the year England lift the World Cup? Or the year something interesting finally happens to Sunderland?

January: Actress Elizabeth Hurley tells a shocked world that the father of her unborn child is Ipswich Town’s manager, and that the tot will be given the surname Hurley-Burley… Dance music magazine Mixmag reveals the result of their search for the person who has attended the greatest number of different clubs in the past 12 months. The winner is Steve Bruce…

February: Bolton’s slide down the Premiership table is explained when it is discovered that opposing defenders have been taking Vitamin D tablets to counteract the effects of Ricketts… Disappointing ticket sales for the Spice Girls’ reunion tour begin to soar when it is announced that, in tribute to her husband, Victoria Beckham will start the concert on the bench…

March: Paul Ince is arrested for leaving the scene of an accident after Arsene Wenger catches the Middlesbrough captain crashing into his 2CV, causing damage to the front bumper. However, the case collapses when, in court, Wenger admits: “I did not see the Incey dent”… The search for Osama Bin Laden switches to Craven Cottage amid rumours that the Al-Qaeda leader is trying to make contact with the sinister Al-Fayeda network…

April: Elizabeth Hurley gives birth to a baby daughter whose head is covered in ringlets. She is christened Curly Girly Hurley-Burley… In another shock example of footballers behaving badly, the man who adds up the attendance figures at Anfield is assaulted by Liverpool stars. Says proud Phil Thompson: “My lads are the best counter-attacking side in football”

May: Blaming Leicester’s relegation on a muscle-bound striker who doesn’t score any goals, Dave Bassett finally sells Ade Akinbiyi. He immediately pays £10m to take Emile Heskey back from Liverpool… Arsenal win the title but at least Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand book Tottenham’s place in Europe. They’ll be going on a cheese-tasting coach trip round Belgium with Saga…

June: Following three straight defeats by Cameroon, Germany and Saudi Arabia, distraught Ireland boss Mick McCarthy flies home straight after the World Cup’s first round. Impressed, the Scottish FA immediately offer him Craig Brown’s old job… England’s campaign ends in farce, all 23 players ruled out with food poisoning after Kieron Dyer persuades them to visit a South Korean restaurant. “I heard there were some tasty old dogs there,” he sheepishly explains…

July: In the annual pre-season spending spree, Arsenal chairman David Dein raids Inter Milan for Ronaldo, Liverpool chairman David Moores raids Real Madrid for Roberto Carlos and Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis raids Burnley for some second-hand kit so he won’t have to fork out for a new set… Middlesbrough’s manager returns to Old Trafford as Manchester United’s new boss after Sir Alex Ferguson is overheard saying he’s “looking forward to spending a lot more time with McClaren”. An even-redder-faced-than-usual Fergie later admits what he’d actually said was “I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with ma claret”

August: The new season begins with Liverpool kicking off in front of a capacity crowd at Anfield, Manchester United kicking off in front of an expectant Old Trafford and Leeds United kicking off in front of the Majestyk nightclub… The Queen Mother celebrates her 102nd birthday with a telemessage from Bobby Robson…

September: The hunt for Bin Laden appears over when the FBI arrests a much-disliked bearded man who achieved infamy for wrecking the twin towers. Sadly, Ken Bates is later released without charge… Dennis Wise joins Fulham, then refuses to play anywhere other than up front. This gives the Cottagers a forward line of Steve Marlet and Cockney Rebel…

October: Just six weeks into the season, newly-promoted Manchester City are losing each game by an average score of 7-4. Shell-shocked boss Kevin Keegan reveals he is considering tinkering with his revolutionary 0-0-10 formation or, as a compromise, asking Shaun Goater to play as a fly goalie… Ariel Sharon names Dwight Yorke as Israel’s new defence minister after his successful incursions into Jordan…

November: The Queen Mother dies and as a mark of respect, Chelsea players on a drinking session lower their trousers to half-mast… Walter Smith leaves Everton, saying he needs more job security. He immediately becomes CEO of a leading internet company…

December: As Christmas approaches, kindly Robbie Savage promises he’ll try his best to make sure that everyone who tackles him gets a card – though whether it turns out to be yellow or red will depend on how gullible the referee is… A police report reveals a huge increase in drunk and disorderly arrests at Upton Park. Glenn Roeder says West Ham will try to hold their Xmas party elsewhere next year…

Sent in by Jonathan Haggart & Don Barrie, originally from Football 365.


I first started to support the club in the late sixties – no coincidence that this was the most successful period over the last 40 years. My dad was a mancunian (though not an avid football fan) who had moved down south. My grandmother still lived in Fallowfield within the sound of Maine Road.

I can remember going with my dad to see City play Sunderland in 1968 in what must have been the championship season. I think the score was one-nil to City but I can’t remember the scorer – it may have been a “Lee 1 pen”. The next season I was the only person at my school who supported City in the FA Cup final – the others all wanted Leicester to win. They didn’t want to talk about it much the next Monday.

And then of course in 1970 it was: “Hi ho, hi ho, we’re off to Mexico, with Bell and Lee and Summerbee, hi ho, hi ho, hi ho”. I didn’t really see that many matches until I went to university in Manchester in the late 70’s, early 80’s. Malcolm Allison was in charge at first and had just bought Steve Daley from Wolves for some staggering sum. Unfortunately Steve never managed to live up to his price tag.

In the early 80’s City’s fortunes looked up for a while with the arrival of John Bond. He quickly assembled a side that looked as though it might beat anyone on its day, with Tommy Hutchison enjoying a second lease of life. By the time they reached the FA Cup final in 1981 it seemed as if they had peaked too early and never quite produced their best football.

The rest is history. There was a brief period the next season (?) when City were top of the league at Christmas (am I dreaming this?) but reality soon set in in the New Year. Every time Trevor Francis played City would win, but it only seemed like he could play for 2 or 3 matches without getting injured. Probably the most depressing aspect of this era was seeing City play Liverpool at home – I think I saw them beaten 3-0, 4-0, 4-1 and 5-0 in successive seasons though I haven’t checked the record books to verify this. What is probably less well remembered is that City narrowly lost to Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final in the Cup Final year, partly due to a diabolical decision by the referee in disallowing a goal by Kevin Reeves at Maine Road.

Still – let’s remember better times: Paul Power’s brilliant curled free kick to beat Ipswich in the FA Cup semi final in 1981 (David Beckham eat your heart out) and his equally brilliant lob over the Everton ‘keeper to equalise (2-2) and earn a replay at Maine Road in the previous round.

Most of my friends at Manchester unfortunately seemed to be Reds although funnily enough I gained 2 City converts while up there – one ex-Spurs and one ex-Chelsea – proof of the remarkable drawing power of the club. In spite of all the troubles over the last 2 decades I am sure better times are now around the corner…

Still keeping the faith, forever Blue

Michael Whittaker (


[0] MCIVTA Addresses

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[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 #776