Newsletter #788

This Saturday (yes, Saturday) sees us down at The Bescot in a bid to play catch-up with Wolves who edged ahead of us again this week by 3 points.

Tonight sees Don’s news round-up, reserves match report thanks to Gavin, views on the Newcastle game, plenty of opinion and a few requests. We also have another of those Magic Moments for you to enjoy.

Next game: Walsall, away, 3pm Saturday 23 February 2002


General News

Croft on England Duty: Lee Croft was on international duty again last week, playing the first hour of England’s 2-2 draw with Slovakia. The English scorers were Ipswich defender Chris Hogg and Fulham’s Sean Doherty.

Keegan Remembers: In the run up to this week’s “Return of the Geordie Messiah”, there were a lot of “why did KK leave Newcastle” stories in the Press. Kevin gave his usual clear and concise version of events back in 1997; “When anybody leaves their job, it’s rarely the way you want to leave,” he said. “I know it was my choice to leave. I had no option but I was forced into a corner. When the then chairman Sir John Hall first rang me to bring me back to Newcastle, he said `We are the two people who can save Newcastle’. On the last day, he was nowhere to be seen. I felt that was bad. In fact, it was the one bad day I had there. I was sat in the boardroom with Freddy Shepherd, Freddie Fletcher and Douglas Hall, men I had worked with. But they said nothing as some finance man floating the club told me I had to sign a new contract or go. I said `You don’t know me. These people do. Thank you very much – goodbye!’ It was becoming a plc and I felt the focus of the club had changed. It just wasn’t as enjoyable as it was.”

Bernstein’s Tribute: Chairman David Bernstein was extolling the achievements of our manager on national radio over the weekend. On “Sports Week” on Radio 5, DB said “Although Kevin came in with high expectations, he’s done more than I expected. He’s only been with us for nine months, but the speed of our progress has surprised me. Kevin works extremely hard, is very dedicated and highly professional in his preparations. He’s a tremendous inspiration and we’re playing football that hasn’t been seen at Manchester City for 20 years. If we go up, with the resources, new stadium and management team we’ve got, we definitely don’t see ourselves as strugglers,” he continued. “We see ourselves getting stability and then moving on.”

Reserves in Action: Lucien Mettomo was given a chance to re-acclimatise to English football by turning out for Asa Hartford’s Reserve team on Tuesday, against potential League leaders Sunderland. The second string were trying to arrest an alarming decline in home form which had seen City lose their last four games at Ewen Fields, and they did it in style racing to a three goal half-time lead, with goals by Killen and Shuker (two). Sunderland did fight back, but the Blues held on for a 3-2 victory. Mettomo played for the first hour.

Wolves Leap to Top Spot: For an hour last night, it looked like Crewe might do us a favour as they were holding Wolverhampton to a 0-0 draw. Five minutes later I thought Ceefax was lying: Wolves were 4 goals up. The game finished 4-1 to Wolves, and propelled them to top spot in the League. Although three points behind, City now have two games in hand.

Transfer News and Gossip

Mike Moves North: Striker Leon Mike has joined Scottish Premier League team Aberdeen, for a small fee. Kevin Keegan let it be known last week that he would not be offering the 20 year-old an extension on his contract, after making two appearances for the first team this season. “It’s a big step for me coming into the SPL but I’m determined to grab the opportunity with both hands,” commented Mike, “I know Aberdeen have many fine young players and I’m looking forward to playing with them.” Aberdeen scouts had been seen at City’s recent Reserves matches, so the speculation mounted that the Dins were checking out Paul Dickov. Manager Ebbe Skovdahl said “Drew Jarvie, Gardner Speirs and I have watched Leon on three separate occasions and feel, though he may be a bit raw, there’s real potential which were sure we can use to Aberdeen’s benefit. He’s quick and strong and will fit in well with our other young stars here at Pittodrie.” Leon made quite a start in his SPL career, as he came off the bench to score in the Don’s 4-0 demolition of Dundee United. Mike’s final contribution as a City player came last Monday when he helped the Reserves to a 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

Sun Latest: City are still sure of landing Chinese defender Sun Jihai. It’s reported that City are about to apply for a work permit for the player, as they are confident that they have reached agreement to sign him. The work permit should not present a difficulty, as Sun is a regular Chinese international. City hope that the permit could be arranged by mid-March. It’s unclear how quickly this deal will be finalised, as Sun’s club Dalian Shide require the player to participate in the Asian Club Championship, which begins next week.

Blues Fear Riise Bid Collapse: The signals are not good regarding City’s other potential purchase, Bjorn Helge Riise from Norwegian club Aalesund. City’s interest is supposed to be waning as Aalesund want £700,000 up front, but this could reach £2 million once bonuses are added. The player’s mother commented “Kevin Keegan was very impressed with Bjorn Helge, but the deal is on hold at the moment because Aalesund want too much money and Manchester City cannot agree a fee. Bjorn Helge is not happy with the situation. He only has nine or 10 months left on his contract and he is very surprised that they are asking for so much money, and thinks they are being greedy. He sees a move to Manchester City as a great opportunity. Bjorn Helge was very impressed with Kevin Keegan and with the way they train. He thought Keegan would turn him into a better player.” She should know, she’s also the player’s agent.

City’s Winters Interest Denied: Aberdeen have confirmed that there has been no formal approach from City for their striker Robbie Winters. There has been speculation for some weeks that City are interested in the 27 year old. The Aberdeen spokesman said “There has been no approach from Manchester City. We are aware that they are watching him but no bids have come in. Plenty of clubs are aware that Robbie falls out of contract in the summer.” Stoke City and Wimbledon have also been cited recently as interested parties.

Farewell to Dickov? It’s been a busy week for KK’s favourite substitute, namely Paul “Wembley 99 Legend” Dickov. Dickov had a chance to join Stoke City on Wednesday, but turned down a possible £100,000 move. The reason for this refusal became clear on Thursday, when it was reported that Dicky was in talks with Dave Bassett over a transfer to Leicester City. Bassett made his move after hearing that Stoke’s bid had been accepted. Paul said: “I have nothing but fond memories of this club and I wish them all the best. The club is geared for the Premiership and I hope that’s where they are next season.”

Justice for City! Royal Antwerp have stated this week that their Nigerian international defender Justice Christopher is on his way to MCFC for a week’s trial. The move had seemed unlikely a couple of weeks ago, as Antwerp were struggling with injuries. A spokesman confirmed “Justice Christopher will be in Manchester by Thursday for a one-week trial. He has three years left on his contract, and, if Manchester City wish to take things further, we will be willing to discuss a fee.” Royal Antwerp have a player agreement with the Rags, so guess what – “We are still in preliminary negotiations with Manchester City but, if things were to progress, we would have to contact United,” added the spokesman. Great, now we need their permission for transfers!

Ex-Blues’ News

Pitbull Terry Heads West: Another of our former players is seeking a last pay day before retirement. After Ian Bishop’s season in the sun in Miami comes news that Terry Phelan is off to the USA. After an unsuccessful trial spell at Sheffield United, Tezza has been snapped up by MLS side Charleston Battery. The 34-year-old begins his Stateside stint begins in the Spring.

Brown Interests Spurs: Michael Brown is a £3 million target for Tottenham Hotspur, according to newspaper reports this week. Brown, whose social habits while at Maine Road were allegedly too much even for Uncle Joe, left City for Sheffield United in 1999 for £400,000. The Blades’ manager, Neil Warnock has strenuously denied any Cockney contact over the Hartlepool born midfielder.

Niall’s Testimonial: Niall Quinn has proved what a great bloke he is by his decision to turn over the proceeds of his forthcoming testimonial to charity. The Republic of Ireland will visit the Stadium of Light on Tuesday May 14 to play Niall’s current club Sunderland. The man himself said “The night will be a real family occasion and I am delighted that the police have agreed that the match can go ahead with no segregation. The atmosphere will be fantastic and we are looking forward to welcoming fans from all over the UK and Ireland – and maybe even further afield.” City fans wishing to obtain further details of the event should check out City’s official website for details.

Clarke to Seasiders: Halifax defender Chris Clarke, who was recently on trial with City, hasn’t let the grass grow under his feet. According to Ceefax, he’s joined Blackpool for just over £100,000 this week. Clarke has signed a deal that commits him to Bloomfield Road until 2004, with a further twelve-month option. There is a possibility that brother Matt will soon be joining Chris at the Seasiders. Chris could well play alongside City defender Rhys Day, currently on loan at Bloomfield Road.

Allsopp on the Move? Second Division leaders Reading are hoping to sign Danny Allsopp from Notts County, after Danny’s club announced that they would have to sell their best players to survive. Reading boss Alan Pardew commented “When good players become available you have to be ready to act. I don’t mind admitting that I like Allsopp who has a very good scoring record.” Danny was at Maine Road during the bad old days of Division Two, and looked a semi-decent prospect at the time. Since moving to Nottingham, he’s scored thirteen goals last season, and found the net eight times this term, including (inevitably) a goal against City in the Worthington Cup.

Reactions and Comments

Those Special Fans, by KK: Boss Kev was clearly moved by the reception he received from Newcastle’s fans on Sunday evening. “What the fans were doing was saying thank you to me,” Keegan said. “They never had the chance to do that because of the circumstances in which I left. I thank them very much for that reception because it was special. We understand each other, the fans and I, after five great years here. Some people still want to knock it, but they will never understand that we took this great club forward and that includes lots of people apart from me.” KK also highlighted the contribution of City’s fans to a very special Tyneside evening. “The one thing that was not in doubt in St. James’ Park is that we had the two best sets of supporters in one stadium. The atmosphere was electric and I would have loved to have played in the game, but at fifty one now it would have been tough. I thought both sets of fans created the sort of atmosphere which you will rarely get anywhere in the world. I just hope that our fans went home happy even though we are out of the Cup. I know the Newcastle fans will be happy and they have still got a chance of winning a trophy which they deserve.”

Keegan’s Pride: Boss Kev was of course delighted by his players’ performance in unfavourable circumstances at Newcastle. “We went to Blackburn and the same thing happened – a man light after 26 minutes and we gave them a very good game. This is a difficult place to come; they’re full of confidence, fantastic crowd behind them – as I know only too well. I’m a bit disappointed. The sending off I’ve no qualms about, but I felt their goal, I felt the lad leant all over Niclas Jensen, and you’ve got to give the advantage there certainly to the defender because the lad’s all over him. But no sour grapes, I genuinely wish Newcastle all the best, I think Bobby Robson knows that, and all the staff – some of them are left from my time. I’m very disappointed for us because I thought we deserved something here tonight. We had some chances, I wasn’t surprised we created some. We’re three players short tonight, I guess they’re without Kieron Dyer if we’re honest and maybe Carl Cort if everybody was fit, although I can’t see how they’d get Cort in amongst Shearer and Bellamy. But they’re a good side make no mistake about it and we’ve given them a bit of a shock. They’ll probably get an easier time in the next round, and I hope they do.” Bobby Robson was obviously impressed, as KK was quick to point out. “Like Bobby Robson said at the end of the game, ‘You gave us a hell of a game here’, and that’s right, we did. I’ve told Bobby ‘I hope you win it now, I really do’. There are no sour grapes. But I felt we deserved something tonight. If Bobby can bring a trophy back here he’ll have gone a bit further than I did and I’ll be delighted. We were disappointed because we created four very good chances and three of them while we only had ten men on the field.” Bobby Robson was full of praise for City, as of course he can afford to be after sneaking past the Blues into the sixth round. “They were pretty marvellous. Quite the hardest game we have had here this season. They deserve a lot of credit and, on this performance, it is welcome back to the Premiership next season. I can’t see them losing the First Division if they can play like that. Liverpool and Tottenham did well against us here, but in terms of squeezing out a result, it has been a very difficult evening for us. You cannot get any closer than one-nil. City fought like tigers all night and deserve all the credit. They coped with us marvellously well to be honest.”

Squad News

Robson Wanted Howey to Stay: It seems that Bobby Rosbson had not wanted to sell Steve Howey to City. Robson explained, “Steve is a fine centre half and he was a victim of circumstances when I arrived here. When he was fit he was a class act and that’s part of the reason we had offers for him. I needed to sell players to raise funds and he was a saleable asset at a time when we were overloaded with players in his position. Ironically he was the one who I didn’t really want to go. He’s English and a North-East lad and is one of the best footballing centre halves in the country when he’s fit. He’s a fine player and performed very well against Alan Shearer when he was here last season. Alan was operating on one leg but I understand Steve had a broken toe.”

Youngsters Re-Sign: KK has given year-long extensions to Chris Killen, Chris Shuker, Tyrone Mears and Stephen Jordan, and has asked them to prove that they are worth longer deals. “At some stage I will want to bring more players in here, so I will be looking to loan out some of our younger players,” explained Keegan. “They know that because when they signed their contracts I said that I would loan them out. They will only go to what we feel are the right clubs where they can go and learn something and can get a bit more experience, which we cannot give them.” There had been speculation that Chris Killen might be on his way to Bristol Rovers this week in a permanent deal, but clearly that move is now unlikely. Indeed Keegan is talking about “Doing a Steve Howey” on Killen. This does not mean that the manager will try and catch Killen boozing during daylight hours, but that Killen may well be converted from a forward to a defender, just as Howie was a decade ago at Newcastle. “Chris is a flexible player who is not only a scorer of goals but who gives us a midfield option as well and next year I will be looking to him to play a few games at centre half,” commented KK. “That is why we have offered him a new deal and then it will be a matter of deciding in which position he is going to try and hold down a first-team place.”

This Week’s Suspension News: It’s lucky City have the largest squad of players in the division, as we can now look forward to a ninth suspension caused by a sending off. Richard Dunne’s last ditch lunge on Craig “Sir Whingealot” Bellamy means that the big Irishman will miss the televised Maine Road clash against Coventry on Sunday, March 3, followed by the trip to Birmingham two days later on Tuesday, March 5. The defender completes his suspension with yet another chance to sit in front of the TV, namely the clash at Bradford on Friday, March 8.

Walsall Preview

What’s this, City playing on a Saturday, with a three o’clock kick-off? Some mistake surely? After the heady heights of last Sunday’s stirring contest in front of 50,000, this week City travel to the more prosaic pastures of Walsall’s Bescot stadium. If you travel through Birmingham by road, you can’t miss the ground, it’s the Lego stadium lookalike alongside the M6, just by the RAC’s glass and steel observation hut. In days of old, this would be a classic setting for a City let down but this is new, improved, City, so who knows, maybe a hard fought win to put us back on top is in order. City’s personnel are making all the right noises about avoiding complacency. Nicky Weaver said “The excellent performances in the Cup at Ipswich and Newcastle are not important now. Going to Walsall is our bread and butter and that game is more important than the Cup tie at Newcastle. If we can get three points there it will help take some of the hurt away from our Cup exit. First and foremost we want to win the promotion, but to win the title would be fantastic. With the ability we have in the squad we should do that.” KK isn’t taking a victory for granted either – “A lot of people have taken it for granted that we’re in the Premiership, but we’re a long way off being in the Premiership at the moment and we’ve still got things to learn,” said the boss man. One good piece of good news is that Stuart Pearce is available for selection, after only receiving a one match ban for his offence at Wimbledon. It appears that the FA have the option of imposing a lesser ban if they feel that the incident is less serious. Pearce was a long way from goal when he hauled down Joel McAnuff, so the FA have favoured a more lenient sentence. (THIS WEEK’S KK JOKE WARNING) “I don’t know why he just got the one match ban, perhaps they like him at the FA,” quipped the boss. Shaun Goater is expected to be fit for the match.

Don Barrie (


‘Shuker Shines Through the Wet Wintry Weather’

Yet again I drag myself to a game which to all intents and purposes should have been called off. It wasn’t and there ensued a great mud field battle that City would be crowned victors.

Right from the kick off mistakes would be more decisive than good football as the ball was held up time and time again for the fortunate side to capitalise on. In the first few minutes neither side had any real opening until the fourth minute where Paul Dickov had a shot that went wide. Two minutes later saw a deflected free kick end up at his feet only for the shot to be straight at the ‘keeper. A minute later saw the only real mistake that Edghill made all night. He headed the ball down to Westwood in goal only for it to stop dead and Sunderland’s Kevin Kyle to pounce; but fortunately for City his shot was scuffed and Westwood saved comfortably. In the ninth minute saw a good move down the right end up at Killen’s feet in the box but he was unable to drag the ball away from the defenders as it stuck in the mud.

Then on thirteen minutes saw the first of Shuker’s brace. A throw in by Sunderland saw possession given to Killen, he passed to Dickov and he found Shukes who dropped his shoulder and sent the ‘keeper and the defender the wrong way. 1-0.

Two minutes later nearly saw an equaliser from a shot by Kyle after City had given the ball away cheaply by Cooke near the half way line. Cooke made up for this mistake two minutes later by playing a one two with Dickov and finally putting a cross into the near post. There was Killen to stoop a header past Sunderland’s ‘keeper Michael Ingham. 2-0.

A minute late saw Shukes run into the box only for the ball to hold up and for the Sunderland defence to easily dispossess him. City were piling on the pressure, with shots flying in from Negouai and Whitley. Then on twenty eight minutes Dickov was sent clean through with only the ‘keeper to beat – yes you’ve guessed it, he blazed his shot wide; oh dear Paul. If he was fighting for a place that miss said it all unfortunately.

Sunderland started a few attacks of their own. On 33 minutes Sunderland pushed forward, which saw a fine save from Westwood to deny David Bellion. This woke City up again. They piled on the pressure with some great link up play from Killen and Dickov. On the forty first minute City had a corner that Sunderland failed to clear but City could only watch as Whitley’s shot sailed over the bar from ten yards. Two minutes later saw City push forward and Dickov run into the box. He skilfully found Shuker on the edge of the area whilst being surrounded by defenders. The spectators watched as Chris curled a delightful shot into the far corner to give the ‘keeper no chance. This was Chris’ fourth goal in two games and all four goals delivered with power, poise and skill. He has gone up greatly in my estimation. He definitely deserves a shot at a place on the bench for Saturday’s trip to Poland. 3-0.

The second half took a much more controlled approach as City consolidated their lead. But that was to be shortlived as the fifty second minute saw a mix up in the defence and Westwood left stranded for Kyle to slide in and score. 3-1.

City piled the pressure back on, winning corners and making Ingham work for his money. On sixty minutes City won a free kick about centre goal, twenty five yards out. Up stepped Terry Cooke to see Ingham pull off a great save. Shortly afterwards Mettomo was substituted for Glen Whelan. A minute later saw Whelan get a wake up call when he saw his back pass stop dead and Sundeland fail to capitalise as the shot was very tame.

On seventy minutes City made a double substitution, bringing Wiekens and Dickov off for Joey Barton and Terry Dunfield respectively. City now had a very young defence, with only Edghill over 20 years of age. The game seemed to ebb and flow either way with no clear cut chances and both keepers up to the chances that were taken against them. City were the worst culprits for missed chances where Negouai failed to bring a save out of Ingham when he hit a free header over the bar from six yards out.

Finally the deadlock was broken, but unfortunately for City the goal fell to Sunderland. A corner was only partially cleared and recent substitute Chris Brown drove the rebound into the bottom right hand corner; game on. 3-2.

In the dying minutes City won a free kick on the left hand side of Sunderland’s half. City astutely played towards the corner flag and won three throw ins. Sunderland did try to break after that but City’s young defence stood solid and played out for a throw. The ref. then blew time on an exciting game which saw City win their first Premier League game in five and hold mid-table respectability.

City: Westwood (GK), Edghill, Jordan, Wiekens (Barton 70 mins), Negouai, Mettomo (Whelan 62 mins), Shuker, Whitley (Capt), Dickov (Dunfield 70 mins), Killen ,Cooke.

Sunderland: Ingham (GK), Ramsden (Harrison 46 mins), McCartney, Clark (Ryan 65mins), Byrne, Medina, Bellion, Dickman, Kyle, Reddy (Brown 82mins), Butler (Capt).

Gavin Cooper (


First time I’ve ever watched a match from the blimp! I mean, that stand we were in is so high and so steeply banked (and we were sitting four rows from the back) that it felt like we were floating above the ground. Actually, we counted 190 steps to our seats and, when we did eventually climb into them, it took a while before the vertigo receded. We were worried about falling on to the pitch!

First time I’ve ever been the first into a ground on a match day. We got there so early we had to wait until they opened the gates. Mind you, we did see and hear the team coach arrive at the main entrance. Contrary to press and television reports, the crowd that greeted our team (and our manager) was made up of half City and half Newcastle fans. We all roared our approval of Keegan. It was really heartwarming.

As for the game, a lot has already been said. From our view in the clouds, it looked like we hung on in the first half, battered them in the second and deserved at least a draw. We’ll finish in the top 6 next year which really, after we lost the Dunney Monster, was all that was left for the team to prove. And, it was a stupid challenge. As Keegan said afterwards, better to concede a goal than a man, (especially so early in the game). And there was no guarantee he was going to score.

Returning to my theme, it took until I watched the game on TV, for me to realise that Negouai had come on for the last ten minutes. At the match, from half a mile in the air, I thought it was the Goat.

The Geordie fans were very friendly and complimentary. They wished us well, safe journey home etc., and said they’d see us next year (ok, that was stating the obvious but I like a bit of flattery of a Sunday). They’re good sorts, those northerners.

I thought every one of our guys played good football. Eyal was especially superb. SWP fantastic. How can he not be in the England U-21’s? I’d have him in the 22 for the World Cup!

The “Invisible Team” song continues to be no patch on “We Shall not be Moved” but that was the only low point of an otherwise great day out (the result excluded of course!).

I know I’m not the first to say it but, we are playing the best football a City team has played for 30 years (in my time of watching them). By a mile too. No. A million miles…

Simon Fink (


(A view from Tokyo)

As it was the first game I have seen live since the opening 3 games of the season (I was visiting family in Manchester) thought I would throw my two-penny worth in.

I had to get up at 4am on Monday morning to watch the game and was very impressed with the way the boys played. I am though, surprised by the comments referring to Darren Huckerby. I thought he was the main reason why we didn’t play well in the first half. Most of the time he received the ball he had one trick, kick it past Aaron Hughes and try to beat him. This failed almost every time and he completed his misery by missing a great chance put on a plate for him by the genius Eyal.

I never heard Alan Hansen’s comments but I have to agree with him. I might be a bit harsh on him as it’s the first live game I’ve seen for 6 months but on that form he will have zero success in the Premiership (if and when we get there). How did his performance rate to the rest of his season?

Marc Bailey (


There’s been a lot of talk recently about what we’re going to do when we get promoted. Everyone – friends, other fans, Keegan, Bernstein… everyone – has joined in it seems. In the last MCIVTA the appropriately named Simon Hope, even went as far as to suggest that Keegan will be our Clough, our Ferguson, etc. Great though our performances have been this season, it’s worth remembering that we have a further third of a season to go. Can we just save all this new era talk til May? Please.

Daniel Marcus (


I’d like to believe, like Simon Hope, that Keegan will be the kind of manager for City that Shankly was for Liverpool or Clough for Forest. But one thing worries me – the emotional reception Keegan got at St James’s Park led me to think that his heart is still truly there, and that he will one day return to Newcastle. That day may not be too far in the future, with Bobby Robson pushing 70. If Robson retires, say at the end of next season, and Keegan has done well with City, keeping us up in a respectable position, there may well be an approach for him as Robson’s replacement. Maybe even Liverpool will come in for him if he proves himself with us.

Someone please reassure me that this won’t happen! He is a great manager and his style of play is perfect for the traditions of City.

John Edwards (


Don’t you just hate the information society we now live in? Everything available instantly, total recall, video, sound, pictures and E-mail you wish you hadn’t written stored for eternity!

At 14:40 19/11/01 +0000, I wrote:

“Horlock should be sold for any money we can get, he is a waste of rations now I’m afraid. Second to everything in midfield. Indeed, his second touch was nearly always a tackle! He will always be Super Kev, who scored that goal at Wembley, but he isn’t good enough.”

So for the record, I would publicly like to apologise to one K. Horlock, who since my scathing report from the Portsmouth match has been an absolute revelation. Well done sir.

Now, who’s next for the same treatment? That Paulo Wanchope always looks a bit apathetic.

Are you standing? No I’m C’TID.

Mike Maynard (


I noticed a reference to an alternate live match commentary in MCIVTA 786. Just out of curiosity, can I get this on the web, or is it strictly local radio?

I was originally just going to ask about this alternate commentary, but I thought it was about time that City were thanked for providing all of us exiled or would be Mancs out there an excellent and free live match commentary each game (a link becomes live from the official website, about 3 minutes before kick-off).

Even if there is another live netcast available, it would have to be really good for me to change from listening to the Centuary Radio broadcast – if you’ve never listened, do! It’s a must – Gary Owen is the best pundit you could ever wish for – he is one of us, all right, but I do fear for his heart sometimes (kind of like I do about my own). And he’s as about as objective about the game as any of us would be! And the match commentator (whose name I sadly forget, ’cause he doesn’t deserve that) is also excellent.

The actual quality of the broadcast has got better and better; I used to miss half the game through the signal breaking up or having to reload it ’cause the quality got really bad. Come to think of it, it’s only 2 years ago that I was keeping up with the game on one of the special matchday chat-rooms, when people outside Manchester were kept informed thanks to some kind souls who were listening to GMR and typing in what was going on at the same time. In a strange way it was a good laugh, and better than paying about 5 quid a game for some rubbish live netcast that kept falling over – and didn’t they even broadcast a Bolton game instead of a City game once?

In fact (a little anecdote here) the overall signal quality has been good since an incident during one game, Grimsby away I think, when City scored after the game had been 0-0 for ages … at the moment we score, you have to picture Gary Owen jumping up from a chair and in the process kicking over a table and the computer link all at the same time, result? Silence for nearly 15 minutes! I don’t know about others, but I reckon that’s just the thing I’d do if I was sat there as well.

The only shame is that the webcast is actually about 2-3 minutes old when it gets to you; of course this is completely irrelevant unless you try to watch the game on TV at the same time – as I found out during the City vs. Norwich entertainment, which was live on Anglia TV (I live in Norwich). The local commentary was crap, so I decided to listen to the webcast at the same time – if you ever get the chance try it, it’s fun, especially the City goals!

Forget the old chant “City are back” and let’s go for a new one: “City are fun” – this is the most enjoyable season I’ve had since the 70’s.

Whatever happened to you Norwich Blues who used to watch the games in the Trafford Arms – I’ve not seen any of you since about 40 of us watched the 1-4 Blackburn game when we got promoted, and sang our hearts out for ages afterwards, and consumed a pint or two at the same time? We even got a mention in the local paper I think. If you’re still around, get in touch.

CTID, Jeff Berens (


Just a quick hello & thanks to all the New York Blues who provided much hospitality and humour on my recent visit there. Nevada Smiths on 2nd Ave was the venue to watch the Newcastle game. It really did turn out to be a really Manc affair.

About 30 City fans in the middle of Manhattan was pretty surreal but nevertheless fantastic. Singing, drinkin’ and goading the 5 or so Geordies made it feel more like home by the minute. Plus I saw a mate from Heaton Moor in there – small Blue world eh?

Shame about the result – get ’em next season. Sedge, you’re a lunatic, cheers!

Joel Perry (


In case anyone is interested in a memento of Maine Road – we came across a really nice picture entitled ‘farewell to Maine Road’ in a calendar – McMullen 2002, showing scenes of the north west painted by Bernard McMullen. It is produced by Northern Art Promotions (it’s the August pic). Contact 0161 203 5858 or email – they also do cards of the same picture… we have ours framed on the kitchen wall!

BTW – I also couldn’t agree more with David Buxton about Keegan’s choice of Negouai in preference to Paul Dickov – after all there was nothing to lose by that point and he’s certainly turned a game in the closing minutes before (we in fact missed that wonderful moment when Dickov won back the Division 2 play off final – we were in a pub in Kent, where my parents then lived, and couldn’t take any more… so we left and went home thinking Gillingham had won – until I am ashamed to say, 6am the following morning when I read the result on Ceefax and woke the whole house with screams of delight – mine not theirs!). We have never left a match before the end since!

Sarah Longshaw (


I travelled up for the Newcastle game with the Heywood Blues. Sitting at the back and not really knowing anyone, me and my friend kept our heads down and chatted amongst ourselves. About 30 minutes into the journey there were the beginnings of a few songs that I recognised.

Oh when the Blues…
Blue Moon

When one of my fellow travellers started to sing the best song I have ever heard, and was to be the main song sung all the way to and from the ground:

Follow, Follow, Follow
‘Cause City are going to Tesco
There’ll be thousands of Blues
And we’ll be pi**ed up on booze
‘Cause City are going to Tesco

I just wanted to know if any other groups of supporters have any other songs that they sing on coaches to away grounds.

CTID, David Ford (


Whilst shopping in Sainsbury’s yesterday I noticed the previously mentioned Goats Do Roam had recently been added to their wine list. Whilst admiring this I noticed the shelf beneath had an even better named wine: “True Blue”, a Sauvignon Blanc in a lovely shade of blue bottle.

Perhaps there is another City fan hiding down here in Southern Hampshire, employed by aforementioned supermarket chain. I have made the purchase but not yet tasted it so I can’t advise of its drinkability. I’m sure Ernie Whalley though will be familiar to it. Over to you Ernie.

Dave Kilroy (


‘Ex-Red Legend Dies, 89’ was the headline over the MEN’s story about the death of Oldham-born Walter Winterbottom.

Sir Walter was England manager from 1946 to 1962 and led us to the final stages of 4 World Cups. He played 27 games for the Rags.

Is it me?

Steve Willis (


I wrote about City number plates in New Zealand. Well, while visiting my mother in Manchester on Sunday I noticed the following number plate – C17Y … (followed by 2 letters). How many others are there out there?

an Burgess (


Essex & Suffolk branch of CSA held our February meeting on Monday 18th February (our usual meeting is on a Friday) to facilitate a visit from Chris Bird and Alistair Mackintosh.

Unfortunately a smaller than anticipated attendance dampened things a little (for me anyway) but those that were there thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We have to state quite categorically that we found them to be honest, frank, charming and interesting. Both Chris Bird and Alistair Mackintosh were the perfect gentlemen and were very good company indeed. I would recommend them to anyone as guest speakers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for attending and Sara Billington for all her hard work in arranging it all.

Paul Gallagher, Secretary, Essex & Suffolk Branch CSA (


Many thanks to all of you who have supplied me with various places around the world to view the great Blue game. Anyway I’m off on my travels again at the end of the month and would like to know if anyone knows of some suitable watering holes in the cities of Beijing and ChengDu that put on the football at all. Eternally grateful to anyone who can help (in the form of a few beers, if they fancy a bevy or two at the same time).

Adam Worrall (


Being a Blue and Nostalgic I enjoy particularly the ‘Why Blues’ and now this current trend of Magic Moments. I’m going to cheat and give my dual piece of City nostalgia. With the Newcastle game they are very appropriate. Most of the people of my ‘Old fart’ age group probably know what’s coming anyway!

The first was our trip to Newcastle 67-68 season, and the sort of goalfest that regular visitors to Maine Road under Kevin are getting used to. The whole day to and from Newcastle was brilliant, the teams were brilliant (Newcastle were not giving anything away) and the crushing awareness of what our team could gain that day. Not least of all what a result would mean for us, the fans. The game was heart stopping with ebb and flow of the football and the scoreline.

All our lot from Northenden and Burnage were ecstatic when the final whistle went and all the pent up emotions were released when we got fuelled up on Newcastle Brown and Amber Ales.

My second moment was emotion of a different sort. My own special hero was always Colin the King. After numerous attempts on his life, on the field, usually by Rag defenders, I won’t name names but I’ll throw the words Burns and Buchan into the frame, our Colin was well and truly knackered but with a desperate fanatism he refused to accept the inevitable. After something like one and a half years of rehabilitation and relapses due to pushing himself so hard, Colin made the bench for the home game against the Magpies during 1976.

After emigrating in 1973 I have not been able to see my beloved Blues as often as I’d have liked through the years, but I count myself privileged to have been on the Kippax that day. There weren’t any cups to be won, or championships nor promotion or relegation issues to be settled. I’ve been to all sorts of football Valhallas but nothing came near to the atmosphere within Maine Road that day.

Colin Bell took the field and everyone in the ground was choked, I smuggled away a tear because I honestly thought I’d seen the last of him gracing one of our arenas. Somebody ran on the field to plant a crown on his blonde locks and he nervously and modestly removed it. Mike Summerbee would have worn it through the rest of the game if we’d ever have bestowed such an honour on his modest self.

Colin struggled through the second half and gave the ball more often to a Geordie than a Blue, but we didn’t care, we were in Blue heaven and we were hysterically happy just to see Colin on the ball again, regardless of what he did with it. Immense applause went up every time he touched the ball. Newcastle felt obviously that he whole event was heavily loaded against them and they succumbed more to the atmosphere than to the play. City inevitably won that day and Colin’s days were numbered on the field; it proved impossible to regain a level of fitness that he’d have been content with.

Sorry for taking liberties and getting two memories in, but I ask you fellow Blues… match that?

Blue Moon in Holland too.

David Lyons (


Recent results from 17 February 2002 to 20 February 2002 inclusive.

20 February 2002

Crewe Alexandra       1 - 4  Wolverhampton Wndrs    8,371

19 February 2002

Coventry City         2 - 1  Walsall               13,736
Millwall              1 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  13,716
Wimbledon             0 - 0  Watford                5,551

League table to 20 February 2002 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Wolves          34 10  3  4 27 15 10  4  3 30 15 20  7  7 57 30  27  67
 2 Manchester City 32 13  3  1 43 15  7  1  7 31 27 20  4  8 74 42  32  64
 3 Millwall        34 11  3  3 33 17  6  6  5 22 18 17  9  8 55 35  20  60
 4 West Brom A.    34 11  2  4 20  7  7  4  6 18 17 18  6 10 38 24  14  60
 5 Burnley         33  8  5  3 30 22  8  4  5 25 24 16  9  8 55 46   9  57
 6 Coventry City   34  9  3  5 25 15  8  2  7 23 19 17  5 12 48 34  14  56
 7 Crystal Palace  34 11  1  5 38 19  6  2  9 21 29 17  3 14 59 48  11  54
 8 Norwich City    33 11  4  1 26 12  5  1 11 18 30 16  5 12 44 42   2  53
 9 Birmingham City 32 10  2  4 28 12  4  6  6 18 24 14  8 10 46 36  10  50
10 Preston N.E.    33  7  6  3 31 17  6  5  6 21 27 13 11  9 52 44   8  50
11 Gillingham      33  8  5  4 30 17  5  3  8 19 29 13  8 12 49 46   3  47
12 Watford         34  8  4  5 31 22  4  5  8 17 18 12  9 13 48 40   8  45
13 Wimbledon       33  6  8  3 23 17  5  4  7 25 26 11 12 10 48 43   5  45
14 Nottm Forest    34  7  7  3 20 13  3  7  7 17 19 10 14 10 37 32   5  44
15 Sheff. United   34  5  8  4 25 23  5  5  7 12 18 10 13 11 37 41  -4  43
16 Portsmouth      33  7  3  6 29 26  4  5  8 21 29 11  8 14 50 55  -5  41
17 Bradford City   32  8  1  7 36 29  3  5  8 18 31 11  6 15 54 60  -6  39
18 Rotherham Utd.  34  6  9  2 24 21  2  4 11 16 30  8 13 13 40 51 -11  37
19 Barnsley        34  7  7  3 30 24  1  6 10 18 37  8 13 13 48 61 -13  37
20 Sheff. Wed.     34  5  5  7 22 28  4  5  8 16 26  9 10 15 38 54 -16  37
21 Crewe Alex.     31  6  5  5 14 24  3  3  9 17 28  9  8 14 31 52 -21  35
22 Walsall         34  7  3  7 22 23  1  4 12 15 34  8  7 19 37 57 -20  31
23 Grimsby Town    34  5  5  7 15 20  2  5 10 12 34  7 10 17 27 54 -27  31
24 Stockport C.    33  1  1 14 10 33  1  7  9 21 43  2  8 23 31 76 -45  14

With thanks to Football 365


[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup) :
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Comments concerning this FAQ should be sent to David Warburton using the address:

[1] MCIVTA Deadlines

Deadlines for issues are nominally Monday and Thursday evenings.

[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[3] Club Web Site

The official club web site can be found at

[4] Supporters’ Clubs

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

[5] Fans’ Committee

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

[6] City of Manchester Stadium Progress/Web Cam

The latest information regarding the progress of our new home can be found at

[7] Match Day Broadcasts

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

[8] 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.

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 #788