Newsletter #781

Thanks to Geoff for standing in last week and enabling me to keep my sanity.

A stylish, confident display on Sunday night saw us thrash Ipswich 1-4 and progress to the 5th round of the FA Cup. Goals from Berkovic, Goater (x2) and Huckerby, an assured performance from Weaver who was back between the sticks and some help from our new friend Graham Poll. Our reward is a visit to Newcastle (who says these things aren’t fixed?) on 17 February. The BBC are delighted; we’re on again as Sunday night drama and undoubtedly pulling in more viewing figures than EastEnders.

Tonight sees no match report, unfortunately, but plenty of opinion and requests. Jonathan seems to have got a debate going on the use of video panels and Wallace has stirred up a hornets’ nest (or whatever the ovine equivalent is) on our Derby comparison.

Back to league action on Wednesday against the lovely Millwall.

Next game: Millwall, home, 7.45pm Wednesday 30 January 2002


I read one or two aftermatch reports of the Ipswich game saying that City were lucky to get their first goal as a result of a corner that we admittedly shouldn’t have got. I mean, it’s not as if the ref gave us a penalty or even a free kick. The ref didn’t ask Ipswich to allow Berkovic to go unmarked and score a stunning volley did he? You see throw-in and corner kick decisions go the wrong way almost in every game… so reports that City were lucky with the first goal just don’t wash!

James Barber (


Jonathon Haggart asked how well the video panel system works in Aussie Rules.

To provide a bit of context, Aussie Rules has no sending off rule (not at the professional level anyway). However, there are a number of actions that can be ‘reported’ by the refs. These include things like striking, tripping/kicking, abusive language, gouging/scratching (usually of the eyes – the other end belongs to rugby league) and the more quaint charges of wrestling and ‘melee’. Don’t even think about touching one of the refs either.

In addition to the reports there is a video panel that can cite an incident for further investigation. The fact these incidents can be picked up on video seems to have taken some of the pressure off the refs who can (try to) keep control of the game without feeling they have to make an on the spot decision. The ref can even withdraw a charge after viewing video evidence.

All reports and video citations are then handled by a tribunal, which can refer to video evidence and personal testimony and expert evidence before passing judgement.

‘Trial by video’ as it is referred to in the press has become an accepted part of the game. The best part is that it has been largely responsible for cleaning the game up. It is much more difficult to engage in outright thuggery as in the past, creating a more skilful and athletic though no less physical game.

The main difference to the current FA arrangement seems to be that penalties in Aussie Rules follow a system where due process is recognised and principals of natural justice are upheld.

Sebastian Harvey (


Aussie Rules has a system where players are reported for violent conduct during the match, then all cases are heard midweek by a tribunal, and the player is found guilty or innocent, and if guilty the player is suspended. The tribunal hearings are very much like a court trial, with judges, lawyers, even witnesses, and it becomes a bit of a circus. Nonetheless, the judgements handed down are generally consistent and allow for long suspensions for really bad offences.

Rugby League has a similar system, but the referee has the option of sending players to the ‘sin bin’ for 10 minutes during the game, so that the team is short a player for a time, but not the whole match. In serious cases, the referee can still send the player off outright.

As far as applying this to the round ball, I agree that the report system would be at least worth a trial run somewhere. Too many big matches have been spoiled by teams of ten men falling back behind the ball. However, this system might reopen the door to the professional foul, which has pretty much been eradicated because of the threat of the red card. Non-violent offences, such as dissent and persistent fouls, would also need to be addressed.

The thing that needs to be introduced above all others though, is the video referee. If we have a situation now where the fourth official is empowered to assist the referee with their version of on-field events, then it may as well be done properly. The video referee would also do away in an instant with diving.

Thank you for the chance!

Paul Calder (


The way it works in Aussie Rules is that no player is ever sent off during a game. If a player commits a foul during the game, the umpire can, if he thinks the offence is serious enough, take the name of the player and report him. The umpire may however view the game on video afterwards and if he realises he made a mistake, withdraw the report.

All games are watched by a panel over the next few days and the panel may decide to report a player based on video evidence. Any reported players then front up to the AFL tribunal and have the chance to defend themselves, before sentence is passed. The sentence may be a fine or suspension depending on the severity of the offence and the player’s past history.

While this system may work in the AFL, where there are only 8 games each week, imagine how busy the panel would be covering 4 divisions plus mid-week games. Even a panel for each division would be a headache. Also are videos made for every league game?

With the size of the squads these days, especially in the Premier League, sometimes there is no real disadvantage in losing an “average” player for a few games, whereas being a player down for the rest of the game, where a player deserves to be sent off, can be seen as a deterrent.

I understand what you (Jonathan) are getting at, with some dreadful umpiring decisions being made; however, where the foul is blatant and obvious such as Keane on Haaland in the derby last season, there is no way that he should be allowed to stay on the pitch.

You made a good point but I am not sure that it is the answer, but then what is?

Andrew Ranson – a true Blue exiled in paradise (


It pains me to criticize a fellow Blue and I agonised over writing this, but sorry Wallace you are in danger of vanishing up your own Index making comparisons of this kind. I’ve seen Derby’s demoralized bunch of headless chickens on the box a few times this season and, Riggott and Poom apart I wouldn’t trade a single member of City’s current first XI for any five of them.

I think Poom is slightly better than Nash or Weaver as of now, although Carlo has come on tons lately. I think Riggott has great potential and if/when Derby go down I’d like KK to buy him. I wouldn’t be mad about Higginbotham who seems to fanny about on the ball (wasn’t he at The Scum? Maybe he had the Nevilles for rôle models?). I think Dunny and Lucy would probably do a better job of keeping the opposition out than the Derby defence is currently doing and I would venture to say they both have loads more potential. In midfield Derby have no one with the creative capabilities of Ali or Eyal. Carbone is tasty, but only in patches. He certainly doesn’t have Eyal’s work rate. Up front, for Derby Ravanelli has promised more than he’s ever delivered and Christie looks very ordinary. The way Chop is playing at the moment – particularly with Ali behind him – he’d walk into the Derby team. And they haven’t got a Goat (didn’t he get more goals in the Premiership than any of the Derby strikers last year, even in Royle’s side?) or a Huck to bring on and run at the opposition.

Then there’s the City side, brimming with confidence, trying things on, going for the jugular under Kev and his team – contrast Derby under Todd who’ve been playing for the draw or the 1-0 and still losing. I believe if we played Derby over two legs next week there would only be one winner – City.

Which isn’t to say I’m not a realist. To survive in the Premiership we need Nash, Weaver, Lucy, Dunny, Howey maybe, Jensen? (don’t know much about him), Huck, Horlock, Sweep, Chop to play to their potential. We need to keep Ali and Eyal motoring. We need good kids coming through fast and we need to buy two more defenders, a midfielder and a striker. We need to keep up the morale. We need good coaching and exemplary tactical planning and I hope Kev and co are up to the task. And we need a bit of luck.

But if we ain’t got £20-30 million and we go down again playing good, attractive, attacking football, I for one won’t be complaining. Unlike last season where we bored the @rse off fans and foes alike.

Ernie Whalley (


I’m amazed that Wallace Poulter wants to continue arguing that Derby Co. have better players, man for man, than us. The week after he made his original comment and after I had replied saying that I thought his argument ridiculous, didn’t Derby lose in the Cup to Horwich Workingmen’s Club 2nd XI or some such team of similar standing?

I don’t accept that their players are “much better” than ours but even if there were some way of objectively making such judgements, a team’s worth is not just a sum of its parts anyway.

He would rather have Christie than Huckerby and Ravanelli than Goater or Wanchope. So what? I’d rather have a good team plan, a clever and respected manager and everyone fighting for the same thing.

We won’t need to spend excessively in the summer but if we did, at my valuation of their players, for £30m we could probably buy Derby’s, Leicester’s and Middlesbrough’s whole squads and still have change for a new stadium.

Simon Fink (


I must take issue with Wallace Poulter’s comments about Derby having better players than City (nothing personal). I know we haven’t proved it at Premiership level yet, but to suggest we are a weaker team at present is open to debate. Personally for the players listed I feel that only Riggott would add anything to what we already have at the Academy.

Nash (and Weaver if he gets his act together) would be my choice above Poom, though with Keegan allegedly tracking Robinson this could be an interesting addition.

As for Dunne, Wiekens and Pearce I would expect only Dunne to start in the Premiership. I might be jumping the gun, but Zinedine ZiDunne will be up for our player of the year if his current form continues. Mettomo, Wanchope, Jensen are an international quality and SWP deserves an shot at the England u-21’s, Berkovic, Benarbia and Tiatto would rightly walk into most mid-table Premiership teams. As for The Goat at least he doesn’t p**s off to Bermuda when things go wrong (unlike the White Feather).

With three decent signings we are a good enough side to hold our own and finish lower mid-table at least.

Having said all this only Sunday’s match will prove how far off Premiership quality we really are. With the move to the City of Manchester Stadium, the increase in revenue and the fact that players seem to be falling over themselves to join us with Keegan at the helm. I can foresee a bright future so long as the status quo continues, especially on the non-playing side of things i.e. Keegan and Bernstein.

Bring it on…

CTID, James ‘currently not drunk/sobering up’ Walsh (


In reply to Wallace Poulter, his assessment of matching each Derby player with each City player is, I believe, fundamentally flawed.

Football is not just about individual ability, it’s also about teamwork, attitude, confidence and good management (amongst other things).

The best example of this is Ipswich Town. When they were promoted who did they buy? Hardly anyone and yet they finished in Europe. Yet player for player, which Premiership club would have swapped with them at the start of last season?

Why not take another team? Liverpool. A couple of short months ago they were odds on for the title. Would they have swapped their players for a team of Southampton or a team of Bolton players? Of course not, and look what happened to Liverpool against those two sides recently.

From a City perspective, a unit of Mettomo, Dunne and Howey playing as they are, with confidence and belief (Dunne especially) would walk into most Premiership sides I would contend. Although Eyal and Ali are acknowledged, Shaun Goater and Paulo Wanchope are scoring for fun, with Huckerby in reserve and himself scoring when he plays. How many goals has Emile Heskey scored this season? Look at the bigger picture Wallace!

Lance Thomson (


Derby County are of course far better than us. In their last game they lost 3-1 at home to Ipswich and in our last away game we beat Ipswich 4-1 away.

Man for man we also pale by comparison… They have a strikeforce of Christie/ Ravinelli that regularly score hatfuls of goals while we have poor strikers that couldn’t hit a barn door against Premiership opposition. Wanchope, Goater and Huckerby are absolute rubbish (aren’t they?) – Goater’s performance of 1 goal every 1.7 games he started last season was only bettered by Henry and Owen – so of course he should be shown the door.

As to the rest of the team Bernarbia and Berkovic couldn’t pass to save their lives and Horlock is also now a good player as he no longer has to carry the midfield. And at the back what a shambles, Mettomo and Howey et al are p**s poor – the worst defence we’ve ever had!

If you haven’t guessed already, can I just say what a complete load of tosh the statement “Man for man Derby County are better than Manchester City” is. Last night against Ipswich we were magnificent. Yes we’ll probably lose to Newcastle in the next round or Milwall on Wednesday – ’cause that’s what City are like, but if we stick with Kev for the long haul, in five years we will be Premiership champions. The improvement this season is great and the football being played is what we’ve always dreamed of.

Yes, it is a dream to see the football we are currently playing. Only some of you want us to be cr@p. You glory in it. Well I don’t – I love my team, I’ve followed them through thin and thinner and now we have the manager who can take us to the promised land and I for one am f’ing delighted.

After 3: 1-2-3 “We are not, We’re not really here,… We are not, We’re not really here”

CTID (and loving it) Anorak – Richard Mottershead (


In late September this year I realised a dream I’ve had for some time – I actually got to see one of my favourite sports team playing live in their home stadium!

This team is not as successful as its neighbour, but is loved by thousands, and are considered to be the “true” team of the city’s population. They are loved even though they have an uncanny knack of disappointing their faithful at almost every opportunity, especially when it looks as though they are just on the verge of doing well. Sound familiar?

The team I am referring to is the Chicago Cubs! I been a Cubs fan for approximately 20 years… and this year made it to Wrigley Field for a game.

To commemorate my visit to Wrigley, I treated myself to a Sammy Sosa shirt – name and number on the back – proper monty playing shirt. Since returning to England at the beginning of October, I’ve worn the Sosa shirt at every home game – except the WBA Boxing Day game.

I put our good run down to my Cubs shirt – touch wood! Or is it the lucky undercrackers I’ve had on since October too?

Hugh (


Can anyone help here?

I live in HKG so don’t see City other than the odd video sent from the UK or via Fluff’s goals site (BTW, somebody please buy that man a galloon of ale or ten – I’ll chip in).

What is the official “away” kit for this season – the silver (frankly, horrible) or the red and black (frankly, brilliant)? The official on-line shop doesn’t even have any of the away shirts available to view (come on guys – I thought we’d sorted out the commercial side! People may want to buy one!), only the socks which are the silver kit’s yellow numbers. My understanding is that the silver jobbie is our official second kit.

My point is that on the 4 occasions that I know of when we’ve changed strip this season twice we played in red and black at Sheff Wed and Ipswich and twice in silver at Pompey and Millwall.

What’s the deal?

While I am typing away here I’d like to go on record as stating that I am personally gutted that The Rags were knocked-out on Saturday – I’d have “jus’ luvved it” if we’d have drawn them at Maine Road in the next round. September 1989 seems like a life-time ago.

Again, viewing from afar, isn’t it brilliant to see us getting men forward and into the box in numbers and with purpose?

We are still the greatest team in boots. ;–)

Cheers to all Blues everywhere & CTID, Vince Docherty, Hong Kong (


I wasn’t surprised that we did the biz at Portman Road on Sunday. I have that optimistic streak that normally leads to big disappointment. However, I was surprised to see City come out in a much campaigned for red and black away kit. I have given my support to the campaign, to get the R&B shirts reintroduced, but was unaware that they already existed! So much better than the grey/silver ones.

Are they available to us as they don’t appear in my latest mechandise catalogue?

Stuart Wells (


Early last week there was talk in Ireland of the Dublin gaelic team splitting into 2 sides – Dublin North and Dublin South. So, on the news that evening the sports reporter was talking to a gaelic expert and asked him “don’t you think this would lead to a situation like Manchester United and Manchester City?” (i.e. one team rubbish, the other great). This is what you have to put up with being a City fan in the home of the Rags. Media bias against City, most of which is just down to ignorance.

Also, I think Richard Dunne as a full international (who played out of his skin in both our games against Holland) is a better player than Boertien or Riggot – if being an England U21 automatically makes him a good player.

Niall Quinn’s testimonial is on May 14th, it’s Sunderland vs. Ireland and is our last game before going to the World Cup. He’s donating all proceeds to charity, expected to be £500k each to 2 children’s hospitals, one in the north-east, the other in Dublin. Top man.

Paul Carey (


I’m driving to Manchester Wednesday pm so if anyone wants to share transport costs from East Yorkshire (departing Brough / Hessle) for Wednesday’s game, please get in touch.

Phone: Day 01482 663659 or e-mail at the address below.

Mike Baxter (


Is anyone willing to make an American-style VHS tape of the Ipswich game for those of us who weren’t able to see it?

Thanks, Bill Buffam, West Chester PA (


Has anyone recorded the game and is prepared to post a package out to Tokyo please?

Marc Bailey (


All CSA branches and branch members are invited to the next CSA Committee meeting on Tuesday 29th January at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport (where Reddish hold their meetings) starting at 8.00pm.

Directions are as follows:

From South Manchester (Sale/Altrincham): M60 ring road exit Junction 27 (Stockport East). Go down the slip road and take the 1st exit off the roundabout (A626). Carry on up the hill until you come to another roundabout (approximately half a mile). Take the 3rd exit (still the A626); this is Manchester Road. The Ash Hotel is approximately half a mile on your right hand side with a large car park at the rear.

From North Manchester (Oldham/Ashton): M60 ring road exit Junction 26 (Stockport East & Centre A560). Go down the slip road (A560) until you come to a large roundabout. Take the 5th exit (go underneath the M60 ring road). Carry on up the hill until you come to another roundabout (approximately half a mile). Take the 3rd exit (still the A626); this is Manchester Road. The Ash Hotel is approximately half a mile on your right hand side with a large car park at the rear.

Howard Burr (


Due to the re-arranged Crewe Away game being on Tuesday 12 March, does anyone have 2 tickets that they would like to sell on? If so please contact me:

Many Thanks, Caroline Tonge (


I am requesting tickets for Crewe March 12th Tuesday. Due to family reasons could not make the original game.

Anyone who cannot make the rearranged date, I would be more than happy to purchase your tickets: 1, 2 or 4 tickets required, preferably together but single tickets will be okay.

Graham Smith (


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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] City on TV

City’s games when broadcast on TV are generally carried by ITV Digital; provides a list of pubs that will be showing the games.

Granada television also has the rights to show a small number of games from the North West region. As Sky now carry ITV regional services these matches can be watched outside the intended region by “adding” channels to your Sky Digital receiver. Under “services/system setup” enter the following details: Frequency 10.891 – H – 22.0 – 5/6. Select “find channels” and you will be given a list of the available ITV regions. From here select the regions you want to add. In order to view the channels you have added, you have to make your selection via “services/system setup/other channels”.

[9] 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.

[10] 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.

[11] 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.

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[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #781