Newsletter #783

We continued with our record at Selhurst Park yesterday, losing 2-1 to Wimbledon (Benarbia scored).

Tonight sees James’ match report, plenty of opinion and requests and a dash of humour. Also news on the PFA monthly vote which I would highly recommend you participate in, not that I have a vested interest or anything.

Bit of a rush due to branch meeting.

Next game: Preston North End, home, 2.15pm Sunday 10 February 2002


My friend Nick summed it up perfectly as we sat glumly on the slow railway coach back to London Bridge after the game: “It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’, it’s so predictable. Every time we go to Selhurst Park, it pours down with rain, the match is terrible and City lose.” Well, maybe he didn’t use the word “pours” but you get the idea.

For those of you who have not seen the film Groundhog Day, I should explain. Bill Murray stars in this thoughtful, original and very funny comedy-drama; his character is a self-obsessed TV weatherman sent to a remote town to cover the bizarre weather-predicting ritual of the film’s title. Ironically snow strands him in “dullsville” but the film’s hook is that every day he wakes up is the same day played out all over again. He has free will at all times and he can help alter events during the day, such as saving a child’s life each morning because he knows where to be and when to prevent an accident. He then wakes up each “next” Groundhog Day, wondering if his good deeds from the “previous” one have finally earnt him an escape route… or is there another way he can save himself? Top film, I thoroughly recommend you avail yourself of a copy.

Back in the real world, Selhurst Park is certainly no Hollywood field of dreams but it does feel like a repeating nightmare. We have not won there since September 1992 (0-1, White) and every game I have seen there since contains a dismal performance by City or bad luck or dodgy refereeing or a dog on the pitch or whatever it takes to ensure we do not win and in all probability lose. Fingers crossed, we do not have to go back to Selhurst for a year or three and perhaps never, should the local Council see sense and bulldoze the place.

Ignoring the “Selhurst curse”, there were plenty of predictable reasons why City would lose anyway: the additional curse of Kevin Keegan winning Manager of the Month; we have struggled this season against organised and pressing teams like the Dons and the Baggies; you just knew City would foolishly try to play pretty football on the quagmire pitch, which I think Wimbledon had watered despite all the pre-match rain; the general air of euphoria from being six points clear with some fans and players maybe thinking we were already promoted; playing a whole game with ten men on Wednesday against tough opposition – and this showed in how tired the players were in the second half, especially Berkovic; the Rags had won the day before; and Weaver was in goal, looking as solid as the English cricket team middle order batting.

I did try to blame the size of the pitch on Sunday. City were over-hitting the counter attacking balls to Huckerby too long, the Wimbledon defence hardly gathered a sweat in coping with it and the playing surface just seemed so cramped. However, I have checked and the Selhurst pitch is not hugely smaller than Maine Road’s: 110 x 74 yards, compared to our 118 x 76. This, incidentally, is 2 x 4 yards short of the pitch size recommended by UEFA, with the smallest acceptable size being 105 x 68. I don’t normally sit in a stand on the lengthwise side of the stadium so maybe that explains my misconception.

Now, my only real bone to pick with Keegan is his use of substitutes. He gets it wrong more often than he gets it right. Yesterday, Negouai should have been on for Berkovic at or soon after half-time; we needed someone tall and physical to combat the giants of Wimbledon Common and the Israeli was suffering from the nightmare pitch, becoming a dad for the third time in the week and he seemed to be suffering from a heavy cold as well. Towards the end, I would have thrown Dickov on and told him to salvage something, he’s good at scoring late equalisers! I might even have swapped Weaver for Nash because the poor lad was having a nightmare, unnerving the defence by coming for nothing; this change could have altered the outcome of the game, although admittedly it would not have done much for Pieman’s confidence.

To look on the bright side, we were due a poor performance. As stated, we nearly always lose at Selhurst so it’s better we play badly there and save our good performances for elsewhere, if that makes sense! This defeat will be a nice kick up the whatsit for complacent fans and players alike, we still have a three point lead over Wolves and it was only the first reverse in 12 games. Plus we have Kevin Keegan the arch-motivator as our manager. These are reasons to be happy, not despondent.

In summary: SE25 – we went, we saw, we lost again. Oh, and the burgers were orange in the middle, pass the Imodium!

CTAWASP (City ’til… we always win at Selhurst Park), James Nash (


The PFA Division 1 Player of the Month award nowadays is decided by a vote on the Internet at the PFA’s website, something which was brought about between the PFA and the fans’ organisations.

So far there is not a single City player in the top 5. Eyal is no 9, Wanchope no 15 and the Goat is 12. So come on you Blues get voting. [A warning though, spamming of the vote will result in that player being disqualified as all votes are logged & traced – Ed]

Simply go to: and follow the instructions.

The fans also have a chance to win prizes, all details are on the website.

Dave Steele (


In MCIVTA 780, Mick Brown asked whether there were any rumours regarding new contracts regarding kit sponsorship. I heard recently that the Accident Group are going to be our kit sponsor, replacing EIDOS, as from next season. You heard it here first.

Michael Warren – Redding Blue (


Fellow Bluenoses, give yourselves a pat on the back. We have persevered with our club, we couldn’t do otherwise, City is a way of life only the most committed supporters can understand. We are currently on a high, KK has given us the sort of team we have long craved for and have always been convinced City had a right to have.

Our early season form was nothing to write home about but now we are really motoring. This is reflected in our recent performances against the East Anglians. A reversal of our ignominious defeat at the hands of Norwich, and then with only ten men, followed by the destruction of Ipswich on their own patch. A far cry from the game at the end of last season when the ‘Tractormen’ sealed our ‘most recent’ relegation fate.

City are currently playing the way we appreciate. We now enjoy a 6-point lead over our nearest rivals and our hope for our team is, although hard to imagine, continuing improvement, no complacency, full steam ahead, all guns firing. Promotion as Division 1 Champions, no side door admittance with a squeaky second place or as back door admission as play off winner 2 minutes from oblivion.

Boys and girls, keep the faith. Continue to encourage our Blue heroes, they’re serving up wonderful football that bears no resemblance to the utter cr@p we’ve had to suffer in recent years. If you are within earshot of whingers point this out to them.

Somebody must convince King Kevin, that regardless of where our current upward swing takes us in our yo-yo existence, silver or no silver as ultimate reward, Kevin must remain at Maine Road (and eventually Eastlands). No Newcastle-style sneakouts, Kevin is ideal for us and we must continue to convince him that we are for him.

God, I’m getting emotional and carried away to such an extent that I’ve nearly forgotten Squeaky Ball, flat cap and all, seems I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it!

Greetings Blues everywhere, Dave Lyons (


My brother-in-law informed me on Monday “I see Gump has run back into form”. “Pardon?”, I exclaimed, “what do you mean?”. “Huckerby”, he said. “Huckerby – We Leeds fans nicknamed him Forrest Gump coz he never stops running – he’d be dangerous if he had any form of football brain.”

This got me thinking – just how much has Kevin Keegan improved City players this season? Every last one is a better player than when he (or they) came to the club. Berkovic never used to track back – he does now. Goater always knew where the goal was, but now – with his back to goal Goater can wall pass acurrately to anyone in a blue shirt within 20 yards. All the players play for each other. Etc. He may not be the tactician that England fans wanted as England Manager, but Kevin certainly knows how to improve and inspire players.

Anorak – Richard Mottershead (


It has now been clearly established by the powers that be that the new Maine Road handicapping system, whereby Manchester City are required to play at least 75 minutes of all home games with ten men, simply is not working. This has been demonstrated by two goal victories against Norwich and Millwall, margins which in fact flattered the visiting teams.

The Nationwide league has now suggested that City must start all games at Maine Road (and any against Premiership opposition) with only 9 men and that Moonchester and his new girlfriend must start the second half as substitutes.

Informed opinion says City will still walk this league.

CTID, St. John Cox (


I have a personal interest in the old red and black shirt.

When I was a nipper and we used to play passing and shooting on Weardale Road in Blackley, late 70’s, my mate Colin used to let me wear a vintage City away top.

The shirt was actually Tony Towers’, who had given it to Colin’s dad, Fred, when he had trials with City way back when. Wonder if the shirt is still around?

These things stay with you.

CTID, Andrew Johnson (


Living in the North East I cannot get Granada and therefore watch City on Sunday. Last night however I discovered how to tune in Sky Digital to the regional ITV channels and can now receive Granada amongst others.

It may be worth sending out a bulletin to alert readers who are not in the Granada region.

ITV are now broadcasting the main ITV regional channel on “103” and ITV2 on “226”. The channel you receive will depend on your postcode. The choice of other regional channels should appear soon in the 900’s.

Other ITV channels can be viewed as follows:

  • From you remote control press “services”
  • Go to “System Set up” then “add channels” and type in the frequencies mentioned below.
  • Once completed select search and the channels should be apparent.
  • Store all channels as per instructions (select by pressing yellow button)
  • To view select option 6 “Other Services” and the ITV channels can now be viewed.

Frequencies and settings:
10.832H 22.000 FEC 5/6 (Carlton/LWT Central West HTV Wales West Country South)
10.891H 22.000 FEC 5/6 (Anglia Border England Border Scotland Granada Meridian Tyne Tees Yorkshire)
10.906V 22.000 FEC 5/6 (Grampian Scottish Ulster Channel IS)

Gary Johnston (


This is the very first time I’ve actually felt the urge to write to any media type organisation (not withstanding my brief flirtation with the Beano and Jim’ll fixit – although he never did – Man Ure still beat Brighton even if that no-mark, journeyman, jobbing, misfit, poor pathetic excuse of a footballer whose name escapes me missed a gilt-edged sitter in the last minute of the FA Cup Final – not that I bear grudges) but it’s a sad, albeit true indictment that my favourite song of all time should be identified by a City fan as ‘new’.

So whilst I’m sure you will be inundated with the words and origins of the song, let me speak on behalf of every City fan.

There is no greater song to sing than “… City win, United lose, oh City, you got me singin’ the blues… “. Ever.

The birth of my kids didn’t generate a better song or feeling from me (it’s ok, my wife doesn’t read this…).

CTID, Chris Glover (


In answer to songtime, the song goes:

‘Well I never felt more like singing the blues
When City win, United lose
Oh City, you got me singing the blues’

Ian Rawson (


Words to “Singin’ The Blues”

Written by Melvin Endsley. First recorded by Marty Robbins, then by Guy Mitchell and in the UK by Tommy Steel.

Well, I never felt more like singin’ the blues
‘Cause I never thought that I’d ever lose
Your love dear, you do me this way
Well, I never felt more like cryin’ all night
‘Cause everything’s wrong, there ain’t nothin’ right
With-out you, you got me singin’ the blues.

Now the moon and stars no longer shine
The dream is gone I thought was mine
There’s nothin’ left for me to do
But Cry-y-y over you
Well, I never felt more like runnin’ away
But how can I go when I couldn’t stay
With-out you, you got me singin’ the blues.

Best wishes to all, John Pearson (


In reply to Basil’s ‘Singin’the Blues’ note, the original hit version was mid-fifties by Guy Mitchell, forget Dave Edmunds.

Greetings to all Bluenoses from across the North Sea puddle.

Dave Lyons (


Well, I never felt more like singing the Blues
When City win and United lose;
Oh, baby, you get me singing the blues!
(only for special occasions!)

As for “I would change the offside rule so that you can be forward of the last line of defence by as much as one yard but must be less than 3 yards from any defender in any direction”, it’s obvious Phil Lines isn’t a linesman!

Steve Parish (


Any resident Blues in Montreal, French speaking or otherwise, know of best places in your fair town to watch safe passage into the next round of ‘cup.

Simon Hough (


I’m in Bilbao on the weekend of the 5th round game vs. Newcastle. English games are often shown on a channel called Futbal Total.

Does anyone know any bars in Bilbao or Donostia where they will definitely show our game in preference to Bar