Newsletter #803

Another Saturday and another win saw us reach 105 goals and 96 points at the dizzy heights of the top of Division One. Goals from Horlock, Goater and Huckerby secured the three points down at Gillingham. Some months back, Stan Ternent said we’d win the division by a clear 12 points; almost there!

Tonight we have two match reports, live from Carol and TV from Dave, plenty of opinion on TV, players, promotion and management.

We’ve also signed some goalkeeper from Denmark by the name of Schmeichel, no doubt Don can give us some more information on him for Thursday 😉

Wednesday night sees the Supporters’ Club Player of the Year award with many contenders; hopefully Thursday we’ll have a report on that too.

Next game: Portsmouth, home, 2pm Sunday 21 April 2001 (TV game)


Decided to make a weekend of it as I needed to see how my mum was progressing after her fall at Maine Road on Boxing Day where she decided to tackle some stairs in the Kippax on the way out after the game and the stairs won hands down… or should that be left ankle down?! Like the team, she’s made good progress but whether she makes it back to Maine Road before we move to Eastlands is another matter! We’ve jokingly told her she’s barred – either that or she brings a safety net with her next time we ask her to stay with us in deepest Bramhall! Mind you if her favourite “the Goat” has moved on (gawd forbid!), she may not want to come anyway!

So off down the M11 from Cambridge to Maggie’s place for 9am, double check that the video is set up on the right station to record the game (fingers crossed that it’ll work this time!) then cross town to Victoria to get the 10.35 to Gillingham. As someone who was born in Gravesend, about 10 miles up the road from Gillingham, this fixture always reminds me of my youth… sigh… cue violins! Arrived in good time and took a wander round the ground to find the club shop and main entrance – failed as it seems we went the wrong way and found a smaller shop but we had to give up our tickets to the steward on the gate before he’d let us in! We did point out we were visiting supporters but he still took the tickets and thankfully gave them back when we came out! Wandered back to the away end and selected our spot down the front (Maggie’s just that bit taller than SWP!) then decided to risk the catering. Seems pies haven’t filtered down to this Kentish outpost so it was a straight choice between a burger or a hot dog. The burger won (just) and, they gave you a bottled drink with the lid still on! Blimey!

The Blue Nuns soon made an appearance and were “filmed” by the TV cameras – hated to point out to them that this was 12.25 and the coverage didn’t start until 12.30 so their cries of “we’re on the telly” were met by muffled “not yet you ain’t” from the rest of us! The teams came out, Carlo Nash cheerfully signed autographs for both sets of fans, some of the Gills players came out and signed for their fans… strangely they weren’t asked by any of our lot! Ali also got mugged for autographs and was unable to please everybody but at least he took the time out! Simon Royce also obliged. Had to laugh tho’ when a Gills fan asked us what Carlo’s and Simon’s first names were! At least she wished us well for next year. Good-humoured banter ensued both before and during the match – the Gills fans singing “2-0 and we f***ed it up”, to which we replied “where were you when Dickov scored?!” Best laugh? Moonie and Moonbeam having a kickabout with Tommy T TrewBlue, the Gills mascot, with an inflatable football. Fine until TTT tried to kick the ball and it burst! Whole ground in uproar!

Ah the match! Same team as last week with Royce, Sun Jihai, Wiekens, the Huckster and Lucy on the bench. Were the rumours that the Goat was in the shop window true? Hope not! The first half was played at a frantic pace with Gills seeming more up for it than we were… well that’s the impression I got from behind the goal. Our first goal seemed a bit of a fluke from SuperKev which spurred the Gills into action with Iffy equalising. Damn! This seemed to wake us up and the Goat duly got his 31st of the season to set up a gap between him and that young whippersnapper Huckerby who is trying very hard to catch him! Can he get 6 in the last game of the season?! The way he’s been scoring at home recently I wouldn’t put it past him!

Half time came and went and we settled for a hopefully better second half – the Gills kept coming at us and we replied but it wasn’t until the 85th minute that the Huckster, on for Macken, got the third, which made us all breathe that more easily. Psycho gave his shirt to one of their players at the end of the game and KK was due to make the presentations at the Gills Player of the Year do that night.

Waiting on Gillingham station we heard the news that we’d signed Schmeichel for next season… the disbelief on some fans’ faces was a picture, one fan nearly choked on his chips! Good move? Only time will tell but KK hasn’t made any really bad signings so far so let’s see! Back at Maggie’s we found the ruddy match hadn’t taped yet again so mine will be loaned out if required! Still 3 more points to our target of 99, let’s hope for a blistering last game of the season on Sunday!

Carol Darvill (


I’ve now seen four of the five games played between these two teams either live or on live TV. This one wasn’t as heartstopping as the Wembley play-off nor was our dominance quite as great as the first half when the teams met at Maine Road earlier this season.

Nonetheless for 75-80 minutes City simply outclassed Gillingham. Credit to Gillingham who kept trying and didn’t resort to spoiling tactics like ploughing the pitch before the game. Sad that Barnsley are relegated whilst Rotherham stay up. The match was memorable for one goal that just about beat Berkovic’s goal against Norwich for my goal of the season. Benarbia (who else) collected the ball in the City half and ran (well sort of) towards the Gillingham goal. Goater was ahead of him just outside the penalty area to the right of goal; Benarbia made a short pass to Goater and continued (a bit faster now) to the right side of the penalty area; Goater returned the pass; Benarbia with a defender shadowing was moving towards the corner flag and (with the usual lack of any need to look) backheeled the ball back into the path of Goater who hit it on the volley into the far bottom corner of the net. Absolutely brilliant! Goater looked as though he couldn’t believe what had just happened – this was a goal to be dreamed of. Benarbia created about 8 or 9 other clear cut chances and both Goater and Macken could have had hat-tricks – Horlock’s run and lob from Benarbia’s pass scored the first.

City’s defence was, as is often the case, none too good at dealing with diagonal crosses into the penalty area and this led to Gillingham’s goal after a period when they upped their work rate and pressed City hard for about 10 minutes. Nash attempted to imitate Barthez and finished flat on his back; presumably the Gillingham forward was laughing so much he placed it wide of the City goal. Perhaps these two events caused Kevin Keegan to announce the arrival of Peter Schmeichel in his post match interview – he also made the understatement that ITV Digital would miss City next year.

Huckerby scored his 20th of the season, Benarbia hustling a defender into an indiscrete backpass and Huckerby scoring at the second attempt.

We can now wonder and speculate on how this City team that has outclassed everyone in the second half of this season will evolve to cope with the Premiership – here’s hoping.

Dave Lewis (


It’s been hard this season to write regularly to MCIVTA because how many times can you say bl***y good, best football we’ve seen for many a year?

So here we are today with 96 points and 105 goals without the gut churning last game in prospect, a bit unreal I guess; why do I think I’m missing out on something? The relaxed, happy atmosphere before the Barnsley game was a luxury very rarely experienced, if ever, and I’ve been going to see City for 50 years!

But looking back, this season wasn’t always like this. Away games at Norwich and West Brom and the home game against Sheffield United made me wonder if we would make the top six.

Then along came a relatively unheard of diminutive Algerian and towards Xmas our world changed and other players emerged from early season mediocrity and the bandwagon started to roll.

“He’s here, he’s there he’s drinking everywhere” – Dunnylad – what a super season he’s had; Kevin Horlock would be a definite player of the year contender as would Eyal Berkovic but the skills of Ali, Ali, Ali as demonstrated with his back flick to Goater against Gillingham have highlighted our super season.

Apart from the aforementioned, SWP has developed into a superb player and the rampant Huckerby looks a totally different player than the one who started the season. All this and I wonder what the goal tally might have been if Paulo had played a full season.

Ipswich away was brilliant – the 2nd half proving that this time we should be more than Premiership also rans. Wolves away, a game not totally essential to our promotion – what a performance against a team with more to lose and huffed and puffed but rarely looked like scoring – that game showed the gap between City and the rest.

Maybe we shouldn’t get too carried away with our Premiership expectations – both Huckerby and Berkovic never set the world on fire when previously there and Ali is the wrong side of 30, but there is something hungry about this team which makes the prospect of next season mouth watering.

All this and a Summer of KK’s additions!

Enjoy the break and roll on August.

Richard Cooper (


Being a late developer myself, and not having the benefit of great coaching, you have to understand that some players can get better with age and more importantly respond, if they bother to listen, to great coaching. I have said before that Goat is one case for this. Well, having given up on Darren Huckerby previously, I think he falls into the same category.

Maybe it has taken nearly a full season but over the last six or so games Darren ‘Run Forest Run’ Huckerby has become a different player. Suddenly he is not being caught offside too often, and suddenly his finishing is about finesse rather than blasting the side netting. The commentator in the Barnsley game said “They used to say about Huckerby that he needs 5 good chances to finish 1. Well today he hasn’t had more than 4 and he’s scored 3 again.” Whilst coaching has played a major part in this, what should not go unnoticed is the fact he knows he only needs to time his runs for Ali Bernarbia to put it in the right place, as he did for Darren’s hat-trick against Barnsley.

The most pointed example was, I think, Huckerby’s third. When, having given the ball back to Ali, following his sublime back heel, Ali almost stopped and waved Huckerby into the position to run into to receive the ball; Darren duly obliged, as did Ali.

I don’t think anybody has done the stats yet but it would be interesting to see how many of Huckerby’s goals were scored from an Ali threaded pass. When you have that much confidence in a pass you will time your runs correctly. Well done Darren and Ali. Like most great partnerships in the past though, neither part is as good as the sum. Long may it last.

Whilst on the subject of Ali Benarbia, how many others at the time said Ali who? Brilliant signing or, just a new era where City have good luck? Long may that last too.

Lastly. Before this season ends, and the myriad of new superstars come in, I thought a poll may be interesting. If you want to take part please email me and I will attempt to correlate the replies.

In terms of league position:

  1. What is your highest (realistic) position for City next season?
  2. What is the lowest you think we will achieve?

Could be interesting as the season goes on.

Can’t believe I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with two games to go.

Dave Kilory (


After reading Dave’s preview for next season, and his opinions on certain players, I thought I would share with you my Championship Manager squad (as we all know, this is the bible as far as football management goes). Just like KK I romped home in the First Division, smashing the 100 goal barrier, largely thanks to the goals of Darren Huckerby and Nicholas Anelka (stole from under the noses of Liverpool for £5 million in September, my one big signing). He was complemented by the arrivals of Teddy Lucic (a useful defender from AIK) and promising England starlet David Prutton, stole from hard up Forest for £2 million.

Players out included Terry Cooke, Richard Edghill, Christian Negouai, Laurent Charvet, Alioune Toure and Paul Ritchie. Following a successful season (League Cup winners beating the Scum in the semis, out to Newcastle in FA Cup 5th round, déjà vu? and First Division champions) I decided to cash in on several other players to fund the rebuilding process. So out went Ali B (sacrilegious, I know) but at £2 million for his age, I felt it was in the best interests of the club. Also sold were Lucien Mettomo to Liverpool, Berkovic to Leverkusen for £10 million, where he was joined by Wiekens, Haaland to Freiburg, and Horlock to newly promoted Sheffield Wednesday.

The rebuilding began with the arrival of Robbie Savage on a Bosman, followed by significant outlays on Diego Tristan (£20 million, spot on Dave), Fernando Couto (£2 million, this is getting spooky) and Claudio Makelele (£2.3 million from Real Madrid). Also coming in were Malcolm Christie on the cheap from freshly relegated Derby, Andy Griffin from Newcastle, and Carles Puyol from Barcelona. As you can see, the similarities with Dave’s article are quite spooky (both Tristan and Couto, Makelele the class defensive midfielder, Griffin and Puyol the two full-backs, and Christie the pacey forward).

For the record, I went on to lift the Premier League, piping Liverpool the last day of the season, and the Uefa Cup, thanks to victory over Atalanta. I also finished runner-up in the League Cup (beaten by the Scum) and crashed out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage (Newcastle again). Here’s hoping.

Regards, City Til’ I Die, Sie Barlow (


I know that last week one of the new squad members I said we needed was a goalie but this?!

I understand that signing Schmeichel on a free keeps the transfer budget intact but is he really better at age 38 than we’ve already got? Five years ago no question but I’m not so sure about today. The only small mercy is that the paper speculation about Ian Walker was pure fantasy.

By the way, didn’t Schmeichel play for that club in Trafford? I’m not sure I like their rejects.

KK needs to lighten my mood by signing one of my recommendations like Emile Mpenza or equivalent.

I’m just scared that our new defensive midfielder will be Paul Ince.

Dave Blyth (


When I first heard that City had signed Peter Schmeichel, I must admit I had mixed feelings about it. But you have to stay positive, Peter Schmeichel is a great, experienced goalkeeper.

Our goalkeepers, although very good, are still young. Carlo Nash and Nicky Weaver have done a very good job. But we have another young goalkeeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard , who like Peter Schmeichel is a Dane; this is where this brilliant signing will pay off for now, and the future. Our young Dane will learn a lot from the experienced Dane, and of course so will Carlo and Nicky.

We go into the Premier League with our goalkeepers in place.

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


Message No. 1

For anoraks everywhere. Next season will be our 100th of league football. 74 in the top flight, 25 in the second flight and 1 in the third flight. It must be worth celebrating this landmark while we are taking the Premiership by storm.

Message No. 2

If Angus from West London reads this please get in touch and we can drink to City at Maine Road or even at the Coventry Village if you find yourself there again on quiz night.

Message No. 3

Thank you Kevin Keegan for giving us the best season for 30 years, and thanks to Ali Benarbia, a joy to watch and a great example of applying outstanding skill to the maximum effect for the benefit of the team.

A great season for a great club. It has been a pleasure. And thanks to MCIVTA too, an excellent read.

Phil Taylor (


Previously MCFC season videos only contained league goals but with the new TV deals they can put cup goals on them too.

Just a thought but with a goals scored tally of 126+ goals scored (105+ League, 6 FA Cup and 10 Worthington Cup) and 58+ goals conceded (52+ league, 2 FA Cup and 4 Worthington Cup) the season highlights video will have to be a ‘boxed set’. Just showing the goals + the lead-up play will consume 5520 seconds (or 192 minutes) of video. But we all know that for every goal scored/ conceded, there were another 5+ moments of high skill that really should be on the video for posterity.

I’m convinced that to put this soccer feast on video/DVD will surely require a box-set edition.

CTID, Anorak – Richard Mottershead (


Dear fellow City Die Hards,

A friend of mine and an ex-pat Sheffield United Supporter likes to have a look at the worthy newsletter you guys produce and wishes they had the same for Blades’ supporters.

He has been very interested in the ITV fiasco and after reading his reply I had to send it in!

The self made millionaire Butchers, Bakers and Candlestick makers who own clubs in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 have shot themselves in the foot big time. The carrot dangled by the television executives, who were of course acting in the best interest of the football clubs (not!), was obviously too much of a temptation to these ‘corner shop tycoons’.

These ‘Champagne Socialists’ have I think, finally got their just desserts. They got greedy… and the only loser is the poor sod that pays 2 or 3 hours of his hard earned money every other week to watch a team he has supported all his life, run by a fat, overweight chairman who, when he was at school, was always the last person you wanted to pick when selecting your team on the playground because all he was good for was being bullied!

Aaaaah, that feels better!

Bring on the Premiership.

Bronson Justus (


I work at the Commonwealth stadium and so am able to give a bit of inside info from time to time.

We have had one or two interesting visitors to our new ground of late. Tony Blair, Mike Sumerbee and Bobby Charlton (what’s it like to see a ground?) to name a few.

None, though, more important than our very own midget gem, Ali B, who was accompanying his parents – Mr. B. and Mrs. B. on a tour of the ground last week. Looks like he might be staying for a while then!

A. None (name and address withheld at contributor’s request)


Regarding Stuart Pearce’s future at City. IMHO, Arthur Cox’s promotion now means that there is a vacancy for Chief Scout. A coincidence? I think not. We must keep Psycho at Maine Road. He and KK are inspirational.

CTID, Steve Roughsedge (


Understand that the half hour drama featuring Denis Law and “the” goal will finally be shown on the Monday after the Pompey match on BBC Choice at 10.30pm.

I got involved in the filming at Watford (feels as if it was about three years ago), they needed extras; it will be well worth seeing, especially the end bit.

Presumably they have held it back waiting for the right moment.

Mike Collard (


… Sun Jihai ai yippi
His dad’s got a chippy
Sun Jihai ai yippi yippi ai

These comments in MCIVTA 802 made me despair. This is stereotyping – however amusing you all think it is. He’s Chinese. What do we know about the Chinese? They all have Chip shops. Is this really how unenlightened people in Manchester are?

Please don’t patronise me by telling me I’m being over sensitive.

Wen Yiduo, Cambodia (


The Warrington Branch will be having a Championship Party on Friday 3rd May at The Silver Birch in Birchwood (next to Birchwood shopping centre). There will be several special guests, disco, buffet, a raffle for a signed City shirt and the usual festivities. Admission £3 adults, £2 kids. All Blues welcome.

Nick Morley (


Could you ask your subscribers whether they have copies of the year end videos for 1998 (down into Second Division) and 2001 (down into First Division)? I am willing to pay a fair price for copies in good condition and I will pay additional for postage.

Ta, Terry Ritson (


The Republic of Ireland soccer team are having a meeting on the eve of a pre-World Cup friendly against England and Mick McCarthy says to the lads:

“Look lads, I know they are absolutely sh!te and we don’t want to play them, but we have to or face the wrath of the FAI and UEFA.”

Richard Dunne peps up: “I’ve an idea, boss. Why don’t youse all go down to the pub and let me play them on my own, after all I’m good enough to beat them myself. And remember, they’re totally sh!te!”

“Brilliant idea, Richie,” says Mick, “let’s do that!”

On the day of the game, the lads are in the pub playing pool when Quinny remembers the match is on. He flicks the teletext on and up comes the score:


The lads roar and get even more drinks in. At about 4.50 pm, they go to the teletext again and up comes the score:

IRELAND 1 (DUNNE, 10 min), ENGLAND 1 (OWEN, 93 min).

“Ahh Pollocks that!” cries McCarthy, “What the hell went wrong?”

They all leave the bar and jump into taxis and head back to Lansdowne Road. They rush in to find the Black Pudding Monster sitting in the dressing room with his head in his hands.

“Well Richie, what the hell happened?!” screams McCarthy.

Richie protests, “it was all going well boss. I had the game under control, then that sod of a referee sent me off in the 12th minute.”

I Lloyd (


Recent results from 11 April 2002 to 14 April 2002 inclusive

14 April 2002

Wolverhampton Wndrs   1 - 0  Wimbledon             26,920

13 April 2002

Gillingham            1 - 3  Manchester City        9,494
Barnsley              0 - 2  Norwich City          18,803
Bradford City         0 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  20,209
Crystal Palace        2 - 0  Preston North End     21,361
Grimsby Town          3 - 1  Burnley                9,275
Nottingham Forest     2 - 2  Crewe Alexandra       22,870
Portsmouth            0 - 1  Watford               16,302
Rotherham United      2 - 2  Birmingham City       10,536
Sheffield United      0 - 1  Walsall               20,520
Stockport County      3 - 1  Sheffield Wednesday    8,706

12 April 2002

Coventry City         0 - 1  Millwall              15,335

League table to 14 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 45 18  3  1 60 18 12  3  8 45 33 30  6  9 105  51  54  96
 2 West Brom A.    45 14  4  4 34 11 12  4  7 25 18 26  8 11  59  29  30  86
 3 Wolves          45 13  4  6 33 18 12  6  4 41 23 25 10 10  74  41  33  85
 4 Millwall        45 14  3  5 40 21  7  8  8 26 26 21 11 13  66  47  19  74
 5 Birmingham City 45 13  4  5 42 20  7  9  7 26 29 20 13 12  68  49  19  73
 6 Burnley         45 10  7  5 38 29 10  5  8 31 33 20 12 13  69  62   7  72
 7 Norwich City    45 14  6  2 34 16  7  3 13 24 35 21  9 15  58  51   7  72
 8 Preston N.E.    45 12  7  3 43 20  7  5 11 26 38 19 12 14  69  58  11  69
 9 Wimbledon       45  9  8  5 30 21  9  5  9 33 35 18 13 14  63  56   7  67
10 Crystal Palace  45 13  3  7 42 22  7  3 12 28 38 20  6 19  70  60  10  66
11 Coventry City   45 12  4  7 33 19  8  2 12 26 33 20  6 19  59  52   7  66
12 Gillingham      45 12  5  6 38 26  5  5 12 23 39 17 10 18  61  65  -4  61
13 Sheff. United   45  8  8  7 34 30  7  7  8 19 22 15 15 15  53  52   1  60
14 Watford         45 10  5  7 36 27  6  6 11 24 26 16 11 18  60  53   7  59
15 Nottm Forest    45  7 11  5 26 21  5  7 10 23 28 12 18 15  49  49   0  54
16 Bradford City   45 10  1 12 41 39  5  8  9 26 35 15  9 21  67  74  -7  54
17 Portsmouth      45  9  6  8 36 31  4  8 10 23 38 13 14 18  59  69 -10  53
18 Grimsby Town    45  9  7  7 34 28  3  7 12 15 41 12 14 19  49  69 -20  50
19 Walsall         45 10  5  7 27 25  3  6 14 22 44 13 11 21  49  69 -20  50
20 Rotherham Utd.  45  7 13  3 32 29  3  6 13 20 35 10 19 16  52  64 -12  49
21 Sheff. Wed.     45  6  6 10 26 35  6  7 10 21 34 12 13 20  47  69 -22  49
22 Crewe Alex.     45  7  8  7 21 32  4  5 14 24 44 11 13 21  45  76 -31  46
23 Barnsley        45  9  9  5 37 33  1  6 15 21 53 10 15 20  58  86 -28  45
24 Stockport C.    45  5  1 17 19 44  1  7 14 23 56  6  8 31  42 100 -58  26

With thanks to Football 365


[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup) :
News/rumour (Don Barrie) :
Subscriptions (Geoff Donkin) :
Technical problems (Paul) :

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 #803