Newsletter #799

A great weekend’s football – two more wins see City holding on to the top of the table slot, eight points clear of Wolves and West Brom who are now on equal points. The end of an eventful week – which saw ITV Digital go into administration (it’s always frustrated me that we could never get ITV Digital even if we wanted to, at neither our previous nor our current address) – and SWP make his England début. Paulo Wanchope’s season is over, due to recurrence of his knee problems. We were lucky enough to be at the Forest game, so the first match report is something of a joint effort. Thanks to Paul Stephenson and Dave Lewis for the reports on today’s match – we listened to Five Live and wondered where the commentators had been for the past few weeks – Nick Weaver is injured and not out of favour, hence Simon Royce is deputising on the bench; SWP made his début at Valley Parade and not Molineaux, and Sun is not a Japanese international – it’s checking his facts before the match that makes John Motson such a knowledgeable commentator!

Apologies for the indulgence and hope you had a great holiday Heidi!

Thanks to everyone who sent in contributions – Sarah.

Next game: Barnsley, home, 1pm Saturday 6 April 2002


It was a pretty good afternoon all round – lovely, warm weather and a return to the form that seemed to have eluded us for the previous two matches. The defence grew more confident after a shaky start; one missed header from Steve Howey sticks in the mind particularly. Carlo also seemed to get back to form as the match wore on. His first clearance went straight into touch (I think) and he managed to hit an opposition forward with one of his other first-half clearances. However, he produced two very good stops in the second half and held both of them cleanly at around head height which is the sort of thing you want to give the defence confidence in the ‘keeper. He also delivered a memorable clearance to Jensen on the far left of midfield almost on the half-way line – straight to his feet.

Sun was fast and tricky, but this time less of a loose cannon when tackling the opposition. Ali directed the midfield (and the crowd to cheer for each corner!) and Huckerby found the net – not once, not twice, but three times (though the third was for a penalty, which Shauny Wright had first to prise from Ali’s grasp).

The first ten minutes of the match were a little scrappy, with Forest having the better chances, but then City regained their rhythm and the ball was worked forwards, though both the Goat and Ali failed to bury their shots in the back of the net. One notable move saw Sun jink in along the byline inside the penalty area and cut the ball back only for the associated effort to be blocked. At times, it seemed like we were trying to walk the ball in rather than hitting it first time.

It was Huckerby who took this to heart and scored at around the 40 minute mark. He took a cross-field ball by Horlock on the volley and buried it in the far corner of the net. This was welcome relief for the crowd, who I feel had been getting a little nervy and frustrated after a noisy start. It was Huckerby’s 20th goal and he (and the crowd) were going to celebrate it. A few minutes later, he made it 2-0 after a careless pass from one of the Forest defenders.

City started the second half the same way as they’d finished the first – all systems go – and won a number of corners as a result. Although Forest had a fair share of the possession, they created few chances. Both teams played better football in the second half, in terms of passing, movement and direction there was not much to choose between them. However, in terms of incisive attacking and finishing, City won hands down in the end. The atmosphere had notably relaxed to the degree that the North Stand set about the Kippax, rather than the away fans, accusing them of being a stand full of United fans (as symbolized by a city in Bavaria). Even the Main Stand gave us a song.

There was the usual substitution of Goater for Macken with about 20 minutes to go. Macken sent several efforts past various posts and bars from different angles, but failed to find the killer shot. As the half came to a close, Jensen cut in from the left and was bundled over just inside the penalty area. Cue much excitement and the aforementioned ball-snatching by Shaun WP. Mr. Huckerby strode up and sent the ‘keeper the wrong way as he hit it into the left-hand bottom corner.

Forest 0 – Huckerby 3. Says it all really.



Blues almost there – 1 more point will be enough.

City are almost there – it would need 9 games to go against us to not get promoted. This was City showing the class that has since November taken us past the rest.

The whole day out was well worth the effort, and a stark contrast to the events of Rotherham 9 days ago. I picked up Old Blue and Spider and we made our way down to Wolverhampton, hoping to find a pub. Personally I had got up in one of those positive frames of mind that most of us have, but are sometimes misplaced.

Whilst having breakfast 2 magpies landed on my mum’s lawn (one for sorrow, two for joy!), and that was it, we couldn’t lose. In fact these same two magpies had been wandering around my mum’s all weekend. Now I’m not superstitious but 2 Magpies (remembering Keegan’s history) it just had to be.

We left a bright Manchester, and found a wet Wolverhampton; another omen? After a bit of a hunt we found a decent pub full of Wolves (and birdy off Blue View), and spent the next 90 minutes chatting with various knowledgeable Wolves fans, most of whom seemed convinced we’d already won it, and would have settled for a draw, as incidentally would we. For future reference the Hatherton is a decent pub with football fans and no idiots.

By 12:45 only 7 City fans were left in the pub (no staying power these Wolves?) and eventually we wandered to the ground just in time for the minute’s silence for the Queen Mum; this was sadly spoiled by a small number of City fans. It’s a pity they can’t keep their gobs shut for 60 seconds. I’m no royalist but it’s not much to ask.

The game kicked off with Wolves very much up and at it, and yet Mr Barber deemed to book only those in blue, despite a couple of (at least) wild challenges from Rae et al. For 15 minutes we were a bit rushed but probably the better side, though Wolves did look dangerous without creating much. City though slowly took hold, and with the back three magnificent for once, we soaked up all we had to, and looked dangerous ourselves as we broke quickly. Macken holding the ball up well, though not perhaps distributing that well, and SWP brilliant defensively on a couple of occasions.

After 35 minutes the ball broke to SWP for our first real chance; he didn’t hit it that well but after a deflection off Butler, and also the ‘keeper, the ball trickled in and City had the vital lead. Wolves pressed but City still soaked it up well, and by now were passing it very well, and looking like we had upped a gear.

The second half saw Wolves start brightly but again City took real control, and we thought we had a second when a Pearce corner was headed home by Steve Howey; after a lengthy celebration it was disallowed. Wolves seemed to take strength from that and had a good 5 minutes. That is until SWP scored a beauty of a second and finished it off.

Wolves then lost the plot a bit and Butler was sent off after an altercation with Huckerby, who was far from blameless. Mr Barber, who had seemingly given every decision to Wolves until this point, suddenly became a Blue, and the last 10 minutes was City chance after City chance, and frankly we should have at least doubled the lead.

On the pitch the celebrations were a little muted, but the City fans sensed that it was all over and the celebrations on the terraces were somewhat less muted.

So City now need Wolves and West Brom to drop points and we’re champions, or just to draw with Barnsley next week, it being unlikely we’d be caught on goal difference. The 100 goals now looks a certainty, and who’d back against 99 points?

To sum up this was a very professional performance, and a thoroughly deserved win, and even Dave Jones just about admitted we were the better side.

Nash 6 – So little to do really.
Jensen 6 – Not at his best.
Sun 7 – think he’s going to be class, but still some things to learn about English football.
Pearce, Howey, Dunne all 8 – Outstanding from all 3!
Ali 7 – So many passes its certain he’ll misplace some but still a different class to anything Wolves have.
Horlock 7 – Steady Eddy, seems quiet but does so much work.
SWP 9 – Two goals, but his defensive performance was better than the two goals, especially bearing in mind an early booking; for me his best game.
Macken 6 – Held it up well but didn’t carry much threat, Goater would have struggled though may have poached a goal.
Huckerby 7 – Huckerby good and bad!

Still not 100% sure but there was and is only one result now!

Paul Stevenson


(ITV Digital View)

Having watched this game and extended highlights of the Burnley-Wolves game I’m left wondering about referees and their accountability. I find it difficult to find a charitable explanation for Graham Barber booking Wright-Phillips, Macken (but not Rae when he kicked out at him and several others) and Sun, for disallowing a goal for Macken standing stock still in the penalty area and denying a penalty when the ball was stopped with two forearms raised above head height 3 yards away in his direct line of sight. After 80 minutes when the Wolves’ cause was totally lost he obviously decided to make the statistics look more even and showed Butler a second yellow either for scything down Huckerby or for grabbing him by the throat afterwards, then, an hour too late, he booked Rae. Wolves were the beneficiaries of similarly odd refereeing decisions against Burnley – and I thought it was only United who could influence referees – perhaps Taggart is frightened of meeting us next year. City were in charge for most of this game, outplaying Wolves in just about all positions – Wright-Phillip’s first goal was well worked by Benarbia and Huckerby and though the shot took a deflection it was no more than City deserved. Oakes had previously made an exceptional save from Huckerby and Nash had saved well at Blake’s feet and been late tackled by Cooper (unpunished of course) – Cooper managed to get his head tangled with Nash’s feet and went off soon afterwards. In the second half Nash didn’t have too much to do and another Huckerby pass to Wright-Phillips allowed him to create a window to shoot low and just inside the post from 18 yards. Towards the end it became shooting practice for City. All played well, Macken starting instead of Goater seems remarkably similar in his style of play to Goater. I think it could be fun watching Sun Jihai next season – potential billion customers for City TV – when do we sign an Indian star to get another billion?

Finally I’ve been surprised not to see Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard featuring anywhere not even on the reserve’s substitutes bench against Liverpool – any reasons?

Dave Lewis


I have a friend who works for the FA and he informs me that they will be cracking down hard this year and should our fans invade the pitch in any of our last three games we will be deducted 3 points per offence by the FA.

You have been warned.

Richard Mottershead – Anorak (


I’ll be in New York when the Gillingham game is played. Does anyone know where the game is being shown?

CTID, Peter James (


This is another attempt to find a pub in Norfolk which has ITV Digital so I can see the Barnsley match. I am now getting stressed, so if anybody has any ideas I would really appreciate a call on 07887 95586.

Mike Collard


My mate, Dean Kirk, has been unexpectedly called to Amsterdam for a meeting next weekend and will not be home for the Barnsley game. Do any Blues in Holland know of a pub that will be showing the game? Please reply to

Thanks, Steve Roughsedge


Swinton & District’s Supporters’ Branch is reuniting for a promotion party next month for what’s sure to be a very joyous occasion! The date: Friday 19/4/02; The time: 7-30pm; The venue: The Folly, Station Road, Swinton; The celebratory details: 3 Course Meal, Comedian, DJ and Disco, all for only £7-00.

Contact Alex Channon 0161 281 7517

Alex Channon


Recent results from 27 March 2002 to 01 April 2002 inclusive.

1 April 2002

Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 2  Manchester City       28,015
Barnsley              2 - 1  Preston North End     14,188
Bradford City         0 - 1  Norwich City          14,143
Coventry City         0 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  21,513
Crystal Palace        0 - 0  Birmingham City       19,598
Gillingham            1 - 0  Crewe Alexandra        7,748
Grimsby Town          0 - 0  Sheffield Wednesday    9,236
Nottingham Forest     2 - 3  Walsall               16,659
Portsmouth            1 - 1  Burnley               18,020
Rotherham United      0 - 0  Millwall               6,888
Sheffield United      0 - 1  Wimbledon             19,712
Stockport County      2 - 1  Watford                4,086

30 March 2002

Birmingham City       4 - 0  Grimsby Town          23,249
Burnley               2 - 3  Wolverhampton Wndrs   21,823
Crewe Alexandra       2 - 2  Sheffield United       7,855
Manchester City       3 - 0  Nottingham Forest     34,345
Millwall              3 - 0  Stockport County      13,570
Norwich City          2 - 1  Crystal Palace        21,251
Preston North End     2 - 0  Portsmouth            16,832
Walsall               1 - 1  Gillingham             6,190
West Bromwich Albion  3 - 1  Barnsley              23,167
Wimbledon             1 - 0  Rotherham United       4,751

29 March 2002

Watford               0 - 0  Bradford City         14,001
Sheffield Wednesday   2 - 1  Coventry City         21,470

League table to 01 April 2002 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Manchester City 43 17  3  1 55 17 11  3  8 42 32 28  6  9 97 49  48  90
 2 Wolves          43 12  4  6 32 18 12  6  3 41 22 24 10  9 73 40  33  82
 3 West Brom A.    43 14  3  4 33 10 11  4  7 24 18 25  7 11 57 28  29  82
 4 Burnley         43  9  7  5 36 29 10  5  7 30 30 19 12 12 66 59   7  69
 5 Millwall        43 13  3  5 39 21  6  8  8 25 26 19 11 13 64 47  17  68
 6 Birmingham City 42 12  3  5 38 18  7  8  7 24 27 19 11 12 62 45  17  68
 7 Norwich City    43 14  5  2 33 15  6  3 13 22 35 20  8 15 55 50   5  68
 8 Coventry City   43 12  4  6 33 18  8  2 11 26 29 20  6 17 59 47  12  66
 9 Preston N.E.    43 11  7  3 39 20  7  5 10 26 36 18 12 13 65 56   9  66
10 Wimbledon       42  8  8  4 27 19  9  5  8 33 34 17 13 12 60 53   7  64
11 Crystal Palace  43 12  3  7 40 22  7  2 12 28 38 19  5 19 68 60   8  62
12 Gillingham      43 12  5  5 37 23  5  5 11 23 37 17 10 16 60 60   0  61
13 Sheff. United   43  8  8  6 34 29  6  7  8 16 22 14 15 14 50 51  -1  57
14 Watford         43 10  5  6 36 24  5  6 11 23 26 15 11 17 59 50   9  56
15 Portsmouth      43  9  6  7 36 30  4  7 10 22 37 13 13 17 58 67  -9  52
16 Bradford City   43 10  1 11 41 38  4  8  9 24 34 14  9 20 65 72  -7  51
17 Nottm Forest    43  7 10  5 24 19  4  7 10 21 28 11 17 15 45 47  -2  50
18 Sheff. Wed.     43  6  6  9 26 33  6  7  9 20 31 12 13 18 46 64 -18  49
19 Rotherham Utd.  43  7 12  3 30 27  3  5 13 19 34 10 17 16 49 61 -12  47
20 Grimsby Town    43  8  7  7 31 27  3  6 12 14 40 11 13 19 45 67 -22  46
21 Barnsley        43  9  9  4 37 31  1  6 14 20 48 10 15 18 57 79 -22  45
22 Walsall         43  9  5  7 26 25  2  6 14 21 44 11 11 21 47 69 -22  44
23 Crewe Alex.     41  7  7  7 21 32  4  4 12 21 37 11 11 19 42 69 -27  44
24 Stockport C.    43  4  1 17 16 43  1  7 13 23 55  5  8 30 39 98 -59  23

With thanks to Football 365


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[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.

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[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”.

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[10] 01/02 Season Match Day Theme Tune

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[Valid3.2]Sarah Longshaw,

Newsletter #799