Newsletter #834

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest


Tonight’s big issue contains Don’s news – and several injury concerns 16 days before the season is even upon us; match reports on the PNE and Bury friendlies thanks to John, Sarah and Rob who braved the inclement weather; plenty of opinion on the marketing MCFC debate with a great piece from Phil which gives some football marketing insight, view on the new stadium and some info for stateside Blues.

Viel Spass in Hamburg!

Next game: Leeds United, away, 17 August 2002

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

City in Action: The Blues finished their Danish tour in style with a 4-1 victory over HFK Sonderjylland on Friday night. The goals were scored by Darren Huckerby (twice), Chris Killen and Matias Vuoso. Starting line up: Schmeichel, Dunne, Wiekens, Distin, Sun, Berkovic, Foe, Horlock, Jensen, Anelka and Huckerby. The good results continued with a 3-1 victory at Preston, with City’s goals coming from Jon Macken, Laurent Charvet and Chris Shuker. The result was overshadowed by the news that Peter Schmeichel had to leave the field after 22 minutes with a knee injury. Kevin Keegan later said: “It doesn’t look good. We will have to wait and see. He will be having a scan and we think it is a cartilage, although at this stage it is too early to say.” The scan has revealed that there is no serious damage to the cartilage, and Schmeichel could be back in action by mid-October. The next day, City sent a side to Gigg Lane to play Bury. City were three up at half time, with goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips and a brace from Nicolas Anelka, but after wholesale half time changes the Blues sat back and allowed the home team to draw level. It took a winning goal from youngster Stephen Jordan on 79 minutes to restore City’s lead. KK was none too impressed by the team’s second half travails. “This was an opportunity for a lot of players to make an impression, but not many did.” City’s first half team: Nash, Jensen, Distin, Howey, Sun Jihai, Horlock, Berkovic, Benarbia, Wright-Phillips, Huckerby, Anelka. Second half team: Murphy, Ritchie, Mettomo, Dunne, Wiekens, Loran, Charvet, Jordan, Dunfield, Vuoso, Shuker.

Ireland Youth Go Fourth: Ireland’s under-19 team, containing a number of City’s youngsters, had a storming time in the European Championships. The week began badly with a 3-0 defeat by Germany, a result which would have been worse but for the performance in goal of our own Brian Murphy. The Republic stormed through to the third and fourth play-off with a 3-2 victory against England. The English had taken a two goal lead, before the Irish came back with goals from Stockport’s Jon Daly, City’s Stephen Paisley and Stephen Kelly of Spurs. Brian Murphy was rested for the play-off game, but it did feature Paddy McCarthy and Stephen Paisley once again. Ireland lost 2-1 to Slovakia to finish fourth.

KK Goes ‘Home’ to Hamburg: City’s trip to Hamburg on August 3 is generating a huge interest. The club website has announced that all official trips to the AOL Arena have been sold, while the German club has already sold 18,000 for the friendly. KK of course is considered a legend by Hamburg fans, following his time as a player there. During that time Hamburg won the West German Championship, reached a European Cup Final, while KK was twice voted the European Player of the Year.

Reserves beat Landlords: Last Saturday a young City Reserves side beat their landlords Hyde United 2-0 at Ewan Fields. The goalscorers were Adie Orr and Ciaran Kilheeney. The reserves are also in action this Saturday when they take on Chester City at the Deva Stadium, with the Blues’ first team playing in Hamburg that evening.

Transfer News and Gossip

Killen to Latics: Oldham Athletic have signed Chris Killen, and a £200,000 fee has been agreed between the clubs. Although he has never scored for the first team in competitive games, Killen has been free scoring at other levels. The highlight of his City career was probably the four goals he hit against Liverpool Reserves last season. He scored three goals in 12 games for Wrexham in 2000-2001, and a further six goals in nine matches for Vale last season. He recently scored 5 goals in the Oceania tournament to help New Zealand secure the trophy. Oldham boss Ian Dowie said “Chris is a player I have admired for some time and his addition to the squad gives us plenty of competition among the strikers. He is a good athlete, with a good turn of pace and knows where the net is. I have no doubt that he will excite our fans.”

Tribunal Required: City and Preston North End have been unable to agree a fee for full-back Tyrone Mears, so it’s looks increasingly likely that an FA tribunal will have to decide the sum owed by Preston. Their manager Craig Brown commented, “We’ve made an offer and Manchester City have asked for a huge amount. Tyrone might end up costing us between £200,000 and £300,000, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Foxy Edgy? Finally there’s some concrete news of a potential new club for Richard Edghill. After lots of speculation linking Edgy with every club in Lancashire plus a few more besides, Leicester City have taken the full back on trial. Edgy has trained with the Foxes all week, and was due to play for Leicester in Friday night’s pre-season friendly against Peterborough. He is still some way from being offered a contract, however, as manager Micky Adams has told Edghill and another ex-Blue Nicky Summerbee, that they will only be signed if other players leave the club. Adams said: “I have got to give them great credit because, even though they knew our financial situation made it unlikely that I would be able to sign them, they still wanted to come along and show me what they can do. They know I cannot sign them unless other players leave, but at least I have had a good look at them if the situation should change.” Edghill could be a ready-made replacement for Callum Davidson, who is out for a number of months with a Dennis Wise – related injury.

Russell the Reject: Former City striker Craig Russell won’t be playing for Grimsby Town next season. The 28-year-old striker played 70 minutes for Town against Hull City last Friday, but failed to impress Mariners’ boss Paul Groves. Russell returns to Scotland, where he has played for St. Johnstone in the SPL since leaving City. Russell joined City in November 1997 as part of the swap deal that took Nicky Summerbee to Sunderland. His main contribution was a two goal haul in City’s only appearance in the FA Cup First Round, in defeating Halifax in 1998.

What Bish Did Next: Ian Bishop’s short term contract with Barry Town has ended with the Welsh club’s elimination from the Champions’ League. This week the Scouser is being being linked with a move to conference club Leigh RMI. Leigh’s manager Steve Waywell said: “My new assistant, Mark Ward, who’s an old team-mate of Ian’s, has put me onto him and he’s too good a player for me not to have a look at. Wardy tells me he’s super fit and is keen to have a go with us. He could prove to be a big asset.”

Sorry, Andrei… How the mighty have fallen. Andrei Kanchelskis has seen shunned by Gillingham. It’s rather sad really. Since being released in the summer by Glasgow Rangers, the Ukranian has been training on his own at East Grinstead in Sussex. A representative of the player approached Gillingham to see if the former Reds and City player could train with them. Gills boss Andy Hessenthaler explained “I was asked whether he could train with us, but I didn’t agree to it because there was no point, as there would be nothing for him here. It just shows the type of player who is currently out of work. Names have come up of good players who can’t get clubs. It’s not a good situation, but that is the way the game is at the moment.”

Reactions and Comments

Wanchope Woe: Despite last week’s devastating news of Paulo Wanchope’s recurring knee problems, Boss Man Kev will not be buying another striker (much to the Chairman’s relief, no doubt). KK gave his views on Wanchope and outlined his spending policy. “There no doubt it is a blow for us to lose Paulo but it is not totally unexpected. We got a World Cup into him, he wanted to go and we wanted him to go if he was fit and he seemed to get through it. But he hasn’t been able to join in any of the training so he will go later this week and probably have an operation.” KK continued, “I told the Chairman that I have always liked seven strikers at clubs that I have managed. That may seem a lot, but I don’t think it is. If you look at the teams that struggled last year, they were the sides that could not score goals. If you have three main line strikers it sounds a lot. That is fine when they are all fit but in the real world you get injuries and suspensions. We don’t welcome Paulo’s injury but at the moment we are set up to cope with it and we just have to get him back as soon as we can. I won’t be moving for another striker. I think the Chairman would have a fit if I decided to go for another striker.”

Top Six Here We Come! Nothing like putting the squad under a bit of pressure, I guess, and let’s hope that these comments don’t come back to haunt our legendary leader. “I am very, very excited about the coming season. When you consider the players we were able to bring to the club in the summer, who wouldn’t be?” announced KK. “But being excited and being satisfied at the end of the campaign is another thing. The top six is our aim. I always believe in aiming very high and I will be very disappointed if we do not finish in the leading half-dozen, but then I have been disappointed before. It is all hypothetical at the moment but we have a very strong squad here. In the second half of last season we got our act together like no other side, apart from Sunderland when they went up. Hopefully we can build on that and we haven’t got the distractions of the Champions’ League and UEFA Cups. Although we know it is going to be difficult and the Premiership is a tough league in which to play, we have also got to be honest and say that some of the teams that are up there have got, if you like, some distractions that we haven’t. I think there will be two or three other teams like ourselves thinking the same thing, that maybe we can capitalise on that. Every year one or two teams jump in there that no-one expects and we have definitely got the potential and, from what I have seen so far, the desire to be one of those teams.”

Wardle in a City Wonderland: The power behind the scenes at Maine Road has been giving his views on the forthcoming season. John Wardle is the major shareholder and Vice Chairman at the club, and having seen the team on tour in Denmark, thinks that we’re in for a treat. “Our summer investments have been tremendous,” reckoned Wardle. “It was something we had to do if we want to make an impact and do anything in the Premiership. It is just like business; you do not get anywhere unless you invest and we have done so not only for this season but also the future. We have a trio of youngsters in Mikkel Bischoff, Vicente Matias Vuoso and Tyrone Loran, and Nicolas Anelka is hardly an old man! Just watching him in the opening friendly was informative. I think he is going to be a really big success. He looks hungry and eager and linked really well with Jon Macken on Wednesday night. It is going to be an exciting season, make no mistake about that, and I think our fans are going to love what they see.”

Ali and Anelka Will be Stars: Sylvain Distin thinks that his former PSG colleagues Ali Benarbia and Nicolas Anelka will perform well in the Premiership. “I don’t have to speak to Manchester City fans about Ali because they saw what he is capable of last season. He will be at home this season. Ali is a really, really, top player. I have seen him before close up and he has the ability to deliver the perfect pass at the perfect time and when he has players of Nicolas’s quality in front of him he is capable of making the game look easy. Both Ali and Nicolas are world class players. I was surprised Nicolas didn’t go to the World Cup with the French team but it is difficult to speak about that because now selection is not just a question about the quality of the player, it is about a lot of things. Different coaches have different mentalities. I am sure that both Ali and Nicolas will have a big impact on the season, but I don’t know whether they will be the key players at Manchester City this season because I haven’t seen enough of all the others – you will have to ask the manager that question.” Distin is also looking forward to the game with his last club Newcastle, taking place at Maine Road on August 24. “It will be a good game for me because I am friends with everyone at Newcastle, I left there on good terms,” he declared. “Before I moved here I visited Newcastle’s training camp and spoke with the players and with Bobby Robson. Everything is okay, I am happy to be playing against them. I know they wanted to keep me but I had to make a choice and I chose Manchester City. It will be a big game but they all are in the Premiership and I will not be approaching it any differently.”

Happy Chappy Danny: Danny Tiatto is really looking forward to the start of the season. He is also impressed by the standard of KK’s summer signings. “The boys that came to the club have been made to feel really welcome,” said Tiatto. “That’s really the best part of being at this club, everyone makes you welcome. They’ve all settled in very quickly. The squad is quite large now, and for us to do well we need these players to be introduced and competition for places is going to be very good this season. The gap on the top teams can be closed but it will take time, this season will be about establishing ourselves and hopefully do quite well seeing as we have bought quite a few players. I will play anywhere up the left hand side, I’m just quite happy to get a spot in the team. I need to get my fitness levels back up again and get back into the side. I think a few players might know about me this season and will be looking out for me this time, so I’ll have to really use my strengths to do well again.”

Squad News

Schmeichel Speaks: Peter Schmeichel has been giving a number of interviews this week, and has outlined his reasons for becoming City’s number one. “My first impression of the club was excellent,” he began. “This place is well organised, everyone knows what their job is, they stick to that and do not interfere with anything else. That is important. I looked at my options and asked myself what I wanted from the next year of my life and when Kevin Keegan made coming to City an option, the idea of playing for him appealed to me greatly. There is also an excellent bunch of lads in the squad and players who want to move out of the shadows of the last ten years and build on what they achieved last season. You feel that when you walk through the doors at Manchester City. You feel that football is the most important thing, not survival or fighting to avoid relegation, it is football that is clearly the most important thing. If you have that attitude and you can go out and express yourselves you have got a chance.” Inevitably Schmeichel was asked if he anticipated any antipathy from Reds’ fans, considering his eight years at that place in Trafford. “We will have to wait and see what the reaction will be but I do not expect a lot of bad feelings about my move, especially when I explain why I picked Manchester City as my club. I think most people will understand.” The former Danish international also made it clear that 2002-2003 season will be his last as a player. “I will hang up my boots in the dressing room in May at the end of the season at Manchester City. I don’t feel 28 anymore. I’ll have around 35 matches this season at Manchester City so that’s enough. I can’t do more than that.”

Foe-Well Till September: Marc Vivien Foe is facing up to missing City’s first four games due to a suspension incurred during his time at West ham United. Foe will be available for selection against Arsenal on September 10, but admits it won’t be easy for him to sitting through the opening of City’s season. “I hope the situation will be OK,” said Foe, “but it’s going to be very difficult for me and very difficult for me to even watch the games. If I play after my suspension I will be happy, if someone else is playing instead then I’ve got to be happy for him. We have to all stick together. The most important thing for me is that we play for each other, and I think we have to fight together because as long as we all stick together we’ll get some good results. My job is to work hard in midfield, I’m happy to have players like Ali and Eyal around me. I have to work hard for them so that I can get the ball to them to score and make goals. It’s going to be OK. If you want to be successful you have to work hard.”

Goat Now Crocked: What a difference a couple of days make. Last Thursday, Shaun Goater was on top of the world, as he joined in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games as part of the Bermudian team. Very fetching he looked too on TV, sporting a dark blazer and red Bermuda shorts. Now comes news that Goater has broken a toe playing in a practice game at Huddersfield. He will be unable to play for approximately seven weeks. The Goat must wonder if he has upset the Premiership Gods, because he injured his knee just before the 2000-2001 season, and missed a chunk of the last Premiership season. The striker said: “The last time we were in this situation I was injured and I did not get back until October or November. The one pleasing thing is that we still have three weeks of pre-season for it to heal. They are saying it will be anything between six and eight weeks but that timescale does not include getting fit and back playing.”

Weaver Recovering: At least there’s better news concerning the fitness of one of City’s goalkeepers. Nicky Weaver is making a swift recovery from his knee operation. Kevin Keegan said: “Nick Weaver will be fit for the start of the season if he continues to make the progress he has been making. He’s just had his knee cleaned out again because there was a bit of mess in there.” It sounds therefore that we’ll have at least two goalkeepers available with first team experience come the start of the season.

Don Barrie (djb1305@yahoo.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT I: PNE 1 MCFC 3

I’m not into watching friendlies, but I only live 20 minutes away and the prospect of seeing our new signings enticed me and I reckon about 4,000 others to Deepdale for Ryan Kidd’s testimonial. The opening line up was:

                 Schmeichel
  Sun        Distin     Howey      Tiatto
Wright-Phillips Benarbia Horlock Berkovic
            Anelka        Macken

Crikey, did we pass the ball a lot. I’ve never seen one team have so many passes in 45 minutes. Occasionally, a longer ball was tried but the general rule was keep the ball and keep it moving. This was as competitive as I guess a friendly can be. Preston defended deep but pressed the ball as well. We had to work hard to keep the ball and didn’t often work it into areas where we could create a chance.

The first incident I can recall is Schmeichel (who was warmly applauded before kick-off) having to come and catch a cross by reaching over a Preston forward. As a result, he fell awkwardly. He looked in pain straight away and ref blew up, but then he seemed to be okay, having flexed his right knee a few times just to justify our physio coming on, we thought.

Next PNE attacked through the Jamaican Ricardo Fuller, who I thought had quite a good game. Distin brought off a great two-footed tackle by the byline and gave it to Berkovic, who in turn chipped a nice ball to Ali. Skip ran forward and slid it through to Macken who rounded the ‘keeper and scored despite a defender on the line sliding in to clear. Immediately, Schmeichel went off to be replaced by Nash. A few minutes later the tannoy broadcast a request that one Kevin Ellegaard, in the Manchester City end, make himself known to a steward.

On the subject of tannoy announcements, the Lancastrian host was not accustomed to some of our overseas players. Laurent Charvet (yes, still there) sounded more like Maurice Chevalier and I think he called our new centre back Sylvia.

Still lots of passing and not many chances. Preston should have scored but Nash blocked a point blank header from Cresswell, then we saw a glimpse of Anelka’s pace. Ali played a ball up the left wing that looked for all the world to be drifting out for a throw. Anelka burned after it, brought it under control, cut inside and miscued a drive high and wide. He does look very good to me. His control is very good and he just looks like he really means business when he moves onto the ball or towards a cross. He could have scored from a couple of moves to the near-post, but at half-time we were still 1-0 up.

We won the half-time penalty shoot-out. Gary Buckley, Peter Barnes, Shauney, Distin and Macken scored for us. Eric Nixon saved one of theirs. He kissed the badge on his shirt afterwards, and I am sure will be warmly applauded at Prenton Park next week.

Lots of changes at half-time. Line up now:

                Nash
  Mettomo       Dunne      Ritchie
Sun                             Jensen
  Glenn Whelan  Benarbia  Horlock
            Anelka   Huckerby

We struggled at the start and Preston put us under a bit of pressure. The passing was nowhere near as good and more long balls out of defence were used, to no great effect. Preston had to sub one of their players for fouling Sun who in turn had to make way for Charvet when he brought down Fuller who was running towards goal.

It was a bit of a surprise when we scored again. Anelka takes great credit for it. He attacked the centre of their defence and slipped it to Jensen who crossed low for Charvet to slide it in at the far post. Cue a muted chant of “Feed Charvet and he will score”.

Almost straight away PNE pulled a goal back. We had a throw on the left side of defence, it was headed back strongly to Dunne to clear and in trying to take the pace off it with his head knocked it down to an opponent. Dunne was penalised for then fouling trying to get the ball back. It looked harsh from the opposite end of the ground, but he was put under pressure by the header back and we paid the penalty. Alexander scored to Nash’s right. Carlo dived left anyway. The tannoy belted out “He-eyy Baby, Ooh-Aah, I wanna know – whoah, will you be my girl”. Or something like that.

PNE scored again a couple of minutes later. Carlo could only palm out a shot from outside the box and Cresswell (I think) slid in to score. Wild celebrations from PNE fans were cut short by the offside flag. Cue a very loud and very funny “He-eyy Baby…” from the City end.

Benarbia, Horlock and Anelka were replaced by Shuker, Wiekens and Vuoso respectively. I think that was it so far as changes went, and Vuoso nearly scored when his header from Shuker’s corner was blocked on the line. Charvet also had a shot blocked and we finally scored a third when Huckerby set up Shuker for a goal that was similar to Charvet’s.

The crowd was declared to be 13,000. Ryan Kidd came on for the last few minutes and was warmly applauded by City fans at the end. He thanked them during his speech after the game.

Overall, I think it was a decent work out. It was a much better game than I expected. I thought Sun and Wright-Phillips linked well down the right and the first-half team in particular looked very comfortable playing the ball around. Howey and Distin were happy to accept the ball and feed it forward to midfield, and Horlock again had a prominent rôle. It will be interesting to see if Foe takes up the same rôle in later games. In fairness, the team in the second half had to start from scratch whereas Preston didn’t seem to make many changes at half-time. And we won. Again.

John Marsland (spmarsland@iclway.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT II: PNE 1 MCFC 3

Most friendlies are soporific affairs. Players are not quite fit, passes go astray and the substitutions destroy any pattern in the play. This one wasn’t like that. Set up for Ryan Kidd’s testimonial, the recipient being one of those little heard of honest pros who populate the Football League and keep the game going, this was actually a fairly competitive match. A crowd of 13,000 showed up with City fans again in the Bill Shankly stand. Coming back from holiday a couple of days before, I had to scrounge a ticket in the home stand. A repressive experience. Preston fans are notorious for being pally with away fans and then later on “asking” the stewards to throw them out.

City started off in 3-5-2:
Scheichel; Sun, Howey, Distin; SWP, Ali, Eyal, Horlock, Tiatto; Anelka, Macken.

The first half was all City. Preston just couldn’t get the ball off us as Ali and Eyal ran midfield with slick one-touch passing. SWP was really busy and the only problem came when Schmeichel claimed a high ball from 2 PNE attackers and fell awkwardly. The challenges were vigorous but fair and Rudolph, who looks a bit portly to me, had to come off, replaced by Carlo.

Ali and Eyal made several efforts to find Anelka but the timing of his runs wasn’t quite right, with several offsides being the result. Don’t worry, the end product will come. Anelka has a very fast turn of speed over 10 yards and great close control. At the back, we were not being troubled and I thought the back 3 were excellent. Distin was especially impressive, he’ll be a monster for us next season. After 20 minutes he took the ball away from a Preston forward with a great slide tackle, got up and planted a diagonal ball to Ali near the half way line. Ali surged forward into the gap left by the home midfield and sent a trademark slider pass through to Macken who coolly rounded home ‘keeper Lucas to finish a move which had started by our corner flag. Cue predictable boos from home fans and groans about the goalie who may have dived a bit early. And just a smile from me in the home end.

Anelka had one chance to score when he turned inside the penalty area but he shot well over. At the other end, Nash made a point blank save with his knees after a rare lapse in our defence.

Half-time: 1-0 City and looking good.

City also won the half-time penalty shootout with Peter Barnes and Gary Buckley joining Distin, SWP and Macken for a clean sweep.

City brought out the B team for the 2nd half and unfortunately they were not quite as impressive. Dunne, Ritchie and Sun were at the back and I have to report that Dunninho has not been keeping up his Weight Watcher’s classes. In fact, he looks bigger if anything. Hope that’s an optical illusion from my far away seat. Eyal was off and Ali didn’t have quite the same impact without him. One of my hobby horses this: how can people say it’s not possible to play Ali and Eyal together? What do they want: a midfield full of Batty/Keane type cloggers? I prefer not.

Preston raised their game but it was all huff and puff and no skill. Our second goal eventually arrived after great work from Jensen (replacing Tiatto) down the left. His low cross was touched into the path of the onrushing right wing-back by a defender. The wing-back slid the ball into the empty net. Hang on, who is that wearing 31? Can’t be. Yes, it’s our forgotten man who I thought had left, the one who used to be a carthorse, Laurent Charvet. And that wasn’t the only time he bombed up the right wing with a spring in his step.

There was a messy patch of play in the second half with the ref involved in a couple of forcible substitutions. Keane for Preston (no relation but similar style of thuggery to the disgraced one) clattered into Sun for no good reason. Sun himself had to depart for hauling down a forward close to the penalty area. As City got untidy, someone (Wiekens or Dunne, couldn’t tell) gave a soft penalty (player going nowhere) and Preston pulled back to 1-2.

With Ali/Anelka/Macken off and a couple of youngsters now in midfield (36 looked useful, might be Whelan?), the main attacking threat was from Huckerby. He had several runs, mostly onside but seemed determined to do everything himself. Vuoso was left wondering if he’d ever receive a pass. The goalie did make one great save from the Huck but it was when Darren finally managed a pass that we scored. No. 40, Shuker, just beat the goalie to a through ball to make it 1-3.

Great entertainment then, in a good spirit for the occasion with generous applause from City fans for Kidd at the end. I liked the look of City’s starting line-up though now Nash has to replace Rudolph; don’t mind that, and I would put Jensen in the side in the place of Tiatto. Jensen was the best substitute in my view. Up front I think Macken’s ability to hold the ball up shades Huckerby who was far too selfish in this game.

Rob Simmons (r.simmons@salford.ac.uk)

MATCH REPORT III: BURY 3 MCFC 4

GMR announced the result of this match as being City won 3-0 at half time and 4-3 at full time and indeed it was a game of two halves!

The ‘new’ City were certainly impressive – as Richard put it ‘How good is that Distin then?’ and he certainly was… it was a fast and furious start with City winning a lot of balls in the air. Anelka opened the scoring after just six minutes with a header in from Huckerby’s cross (or was it a corner?). Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was just about everywhere you looked – well certainly wherever the action was, made it 2-0 ten minutes later, from a diagonal ball in from Berkovic (who also looked fitter and faster and wasn’t limping!). Andy commented that SWP seemed to have taken on a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ style rôle – scoring a goal and making a saving tackle in defence within seconds of each other (‘He’ll be in goal next’ he added – but we thought this might be tempting fate after Schmeichel’s untimely injury).

Anelka scored his second with an unstoppable blast and City were 3-0 up and looking well and truly in control. Berkovic came off with about ten minutes of the first half to go, replaced by Dunne and heralding a re-shuffle with SWP moving into the centre. Nash had little to do, making just the one save.

For the second half, Keegan changed all the players except Dunne, giving some of the new (Vuoso); young (Shuker & Jordan) and older (forgotten?) players (Charvet) a chance of some action. Shuker was impressive – speed and coverage of the pitch, as was the un-numbered Dunfield – who showed good vision and passing and who, given time (and a little less of the over-aggressive tackling), could even become a replacement for Benarbia or Berkovic. Charvet seemed to have a problem judging the width and height of the goal and at least three times put the ball over and wide of the net. At the other end of the pitch, Ritchie couldn’t match Distin’s pace and Bury (whose game had improved) were level on 3-3 by 70 minutes.

As the half went on City’s ‘reserves’ were beginning to gel and Jordan managed to put the winning goal into the net with 10 minutes to go.

At the end of last ‘fairytale’ season, I have to confess I didn’t think anything could be as good, but the first half last night was spectacular – fast-paced and creative – I think a few defences could be just a little unnerved by the ‘new City’ and I for one am looking forward to the start of the new season.

Sarah Longshaw (sarah@longshaw.demon.co.uk)

OPINION: MARKETING MANCHESTER CITY I

I’d like to put my 2 cents in about the marketing conversation:

Both Simon Sharp and Jeremy Morris are quite right about the need to make sure the brand of Manchester City does not take over the club of Manchester City. However, the aims of a club and the worldwide licensing of a brand are in some basic ways at odds with each other: A club seeks at some level to limit access to the ‘True Blue’ as a reward for support through thick and thin (a.k.a. Macclesfield), while a merchandising program must take nearly all comers if it is to be successful.

Once the programme starts, the club has no way of ensuring that a kid in Taiwan buying the new home shirt knows anything more about the club than Sun Jihai (and maybe KK). What’s worse, should Sun move on, the kid will probably forget City and buy a Bolton shirt.

On the other hand, if all the brand building gave the club the financial independence to go after players that would allow it to play in Europe every year, how would you feel about that?

Personally, I feel that there is room for brand building, on the condition that the deals done in its name leave alone that thing dearest to every fan’s heart – tickets. Kids all over the world in Blue funding our next centre forward? Fine by me. A stadium full of corporates more interested in chatting up the clients in tow than watching the match while lifelong fans watch on TV? That’s criminal.

Paul Calder (pc_sydney@yahoo.com.au)

OPINION: MARKETING MANCHESTER CITY II

The Maine Man, Peter Brophy, used to submit articles to McVittee on a regular basis with the most common sense writing style I have ever had the pleasure to read. If I could attain 10% of his level of insight on matters legal and business I would be a happy man. However, I do have some experience in marketing technical products having attained both business and engineering qualifications and worked as a techie and then in the sales/marketing areas of technical products/services for over 15 years.

If I was a few years younger I would have more sympathy with the view; club rather than corporation and the purist side of me would say: “It’s more noble to be a Blue than a Red as we have not “sold out” to the corporation, PLC, the stock exchange etc. We could hold our heads with pride as being a traditional club.” I am bit more long in the tooth now and jaded by corporate life, the world in general and real life that includes the way football is managed nowadays. The truth is we did not have anything to sell.

As a by the way and to give my age away, my first match was at the age of eight, City vs. Sunderland FA Cup 3rd round – 1973. I remember it was 2-2 but didn’t we equalise late on (foggy memories now)? We all know the Mackems went on to win the cup that year and we signed Dennis Tueart from them soon after.

Even when I entered the workplace as a graduate engineer in 1986 my feelings then to my profession mirrored my view on being a Blue. I thought that at least I designed and built the finished product, not like those w*****s with red trimmed specs, bow ties, pony tails and Top Man suits (plus shiny shoes and cufflinks) who marketed and flog the stuff as we in engineering believed them all to look like the stereotype image you see in the movies.

I soon realised that the guys who sold / marketed the products made a tonne more money than I did, they rose up the promotion ladder quicker, networked with other people in other companies and as a matter of course they were able to demonstrate their successes in terms of £’s worth of goods sold and percentage market penetration. This allowed them to move between jobs more easily and earn pay rises in the process. My loyalty to the company was rewarded with the odd 5% annual bonus and a pat on the back, ‘well done techie, come to the marketing launch of product X, sit at the back, keep your gob shut and have an egg and cress buttie while the sales/marketing guys chummie up to the big wigs. They will turn your work into a glossy brochure and fancy powerpoint presentation and earn a stack of commission for selling your baby.’ I naïvely began to realise at the age of 22 the real skill is in dressing up the product, polishing it up, promoting it, advertising it and convincing people to cough up vast quantities in cash to own the product. Those skills were worth more than what I did in designing, making or producing the finished article, and it hurt. So, do I remain a moaning but noble techie unhappy with his soldering iron, printed circuit board and oscilloscope? I jumped ship and joined the marketing side and became a product manager, I sold out.

In career terms it was the best move I ever made; I could keep a handle on the company’s technical products as I knew them inside out but metaphorically I had thrown away my City season ticket and become a fan at the Chapel of Rest in Stretford or did a Sol Campbell and walk across the Seven Sisters Road. I was able to sell and market the products properly and I knew when a techie was giving me BS.

Now, should MCFC attract customers (fans) based purely on the “on-field product” e.g. an Ali flick, The Goat banging ’em in, Super Kev’s left foot, a glorious run from SWP, Eyal, etc.? One would like to think so.

Of course it should, Mr Sharp is spot on, but alas the team alone, those days are gone forever. You have to keep your supporters happy and find new ones. As a salesman you have to find new customers, manage your existing accounts and keep them happy. As City fans we have suffered sufficient mental torture that would warrant a visit of an official from Amnesty International.

In the business world if you are unhappy with the product, service, price or even if you don’t like the sales rep you usually go to a competing firm. Football fans tend not to do that; they usually switch off and go home.

The trouble is (IMHO) that three “massive” incidences giving rise to two judicial reviews (and the word massive is used deliberately to underscore the events that occurred in football). The Popplewell report after the fire at Valley Parade, the Heysel stadium disaster plus the Taylor report after the tragedy of Hillsborough. These events were scrutinised in a forensic examination as to the causes and a judicial plan put in legislature to ensure that these catastrophes were never repeated.

It would be silly to print the reports in full but in a nutshell as we all know, football clubs had to upgrade their facilities to the paying public; the punters had a right to safety and not to die at a match due to inadequate stadia, segregation, policing, pens, terraces etc. Items to be implemented were all seater stadia, closed circuit TV for crowd control, ingress safety, fire suppression equipment and evacuation procedures.

One of my customers was Fulham FC. I designed the fire alarm system for part of Craven Cottage, then the salesperson that accompanied me on the survey (also a Blue) joined me again later that day at an away game for City at Villa Park. We stood on the terraces of two away grounds in the same day – is there a prize?

Before the reports became law, the local football benefactor (i.e. chairman) who presided over the footy club, sometimes hitherto treated this as a half hearted whimsical pastime, an expensive hobby if you will. He pumped in a few quid here and there, to tempt, please or provide a sop for the fans with the odd new signing. However, as the 90s arrived this was not going to cut it any longer. The chairman had to go to the “city” or rather the commercial banks to borrow a tonne of money to convert the “death trap” (not my words, Taylor’s) terraces into all seater stadia under the direction of a high court judge and obey the law.

The normal rules of business and hence marketing began to apply to football.

Woefully behind the times and locked in the dark ages way before the ice age was our man Peter Swales. As a businessman he was about as sharp as a beach ball and had about as much vision as a myopic bat. God rest his soul.

Swales: “Well I’ve just sold the franchise of the souvenir shop for £50 grand for the next 10 years, great that in it, we do f*** all and we get £50 grand (in total that is, not per year) for those herberts to run the shop, flog scarves etc.”

Swales thought this was a business masterstroke akin to getting a brand new stadium for 250 years for nothing and rent free unless the gate is above 35,000 and even then the council only get a percentage. The more I read about this deal the more I chuckle as it is so much to the chagrin of former MP David Mellor and a whole host of green eyed football league chairman who are extremely PO’d with the deal David Bernstein and City got. It’s about time we got a deal in our favour as far as I can see after all that overspending on useless interlopers that are too depressing to mention e.g. Daley, Sugrue, Buster, etc. Bernstein is proving to be a financial wizard for us; at one point we were haemorrhaging at over £1,000 per day in interest payments only. Imagine that paying a credit card bill of nearly £400 grand a year and it still does not slice anything off the debt.

In business terms, I think the souvenir shop fiasco was Swales’ biggest crime, £50 grand indeed (approx). Don’t MUFC make £50 grand a week on napkins and toothpicks?

So the chairmen got their loans from the banks to do a makeover of their stadia (what’s wrong with the word stadiums I ask?). But the bank loans came with clauses that meant payback in a certain timeframe. The commercial banks were willing to lend the money at nice big fat interest rates but there was a catch. Anytown FC had to behave like a proper business.

The bank: “OK Mr Chairman before we lend you £15 million to upgrade your West and East stands we need to see your 5 year business plan with revenue and profit projections to service the debt. We need to see cashflow analysis, profit and loss accounts, income projections, all company expenses and of course the club’s marketing plans designed to grow revenues from current sources and develop new revenue streams otherwise you will not make any money, hence profit, and the bank will not get their loan back, then we foreclose on the loan, sell the club and you are out of a job and Anytown FC will be the new Accrington Stanley.”

It dawned on the erstwhile footy chairman of yesteryear that he now had to be accountable and deliver revenues and have a vague understanding of the term “bottom line”. A subject not lost on Peter Ridsdale as Leeds are still in the red even after £30 million for Rio; Jesus they must have overspent. I even remember once that Blackburn were on a very financial slippery slope whereby for every £100 they earned in the till, they were paying out £130 in wages. I think Chelsea at one point were in the same boat.

So the jolly old chairman, pillar of the community etc. would trot out his sermon:

Chairman: “Well, we sell a few programmes, Doris makes a mean meat pie as you know, and she sells 200 of them on match days at a quid a piece, Bovril sells well in the winter, as for the season tickets well that makes us a few quid early doors and then there is match day tickets, also the birds from the canteen flog a few raffle tickets when they can for a couple of quid commission, the odd scarf here and there, simple stuff you understand, after all this is Anytown FC, traditional club, been here for years, salt of the earth, deep roots in the community ya da ya da ya da.”

You can almost hear the strains of the old Hovis TV commercial music in the background. The bank manager, about to part company with £15 million, tugs his goatee and says Hmmmmm.

Bank Mgr: “Mr Chairman I need more than a few assurances than Doris selling a few pies and the girls in the canteen flogging 50p raffle tickets for some unfortunate sod to win a weekend caravan holiday in Cleethorpes. How are you going to earn TV revenue with your current squad, who wants to see your lot play when I can see Keane, Rio, Henry, Beckham, Owen on Sky and pay extra for the privilege?”

This is where the Marketing Manager comes in and if we had had a decent one at MCFC back in those days this is what he should have said.

“We need to maximise TV revenue, shirt sponsors, shirt sales and merchandise not just in the M postcodes but worldwide.”

(Note: Chris Bird has been to China once, he is now learning Chinese at night school and he is going to the PRC again, Why? I don’t think it’s just because he wants to visit the Great Wall and ask directions to the khazi).

MCFC need to own the Intellectual Property of all the merchandise; how much will it cost to buy those jokers out of that trailer they call the souvenir shop? We need “our brand” and no-one sells it without our say so. We need bums on seats and lots of them, we need TV revenue like we need oxygen and we need to sell merchandise like ice in the desert. As for programmes, we need a matchday programme, a pre-season special, a new magazine each time a player is bought, a half year review, a full year review, and the monthly magazine has to wipe the floor with the fanzines (no offence Noel I still enjoy and buy BTH, in fairness to all the fanzines they gave the clubs a great kick up the a*** to improve the programmes) but in terms of reporting, interviews, pictures, competitions, it has to be to the point where the customer says £1 for the fanzine is good value but £2 gets me the Anelka special with a Johnny Marr interview and I loved the Smiths so it’s the City Mag that gets my £2 etc.

This is just my view of how the marketing manager within a club should operate. As for those traders flogging scarves and badges on the Claremont Road, good luck to them, they deserve their place in the arena but they are my competitors (remember this is the pretend Marketing Manager of MCFC), we want the punters to keep their hands in their pockets and march purposefully into our City shop, pull out their switch card, visa, cheque, fiver or whatever and buy the official gear knowing full well it’s lining the pockets of the club and not someone else’s pockets selling gear that is made without our scrutiny or quality control. We have better staff, nicer environment, more products, a goods return/exchange policy and chance to earn discounts. Then after they have spent money on our store we want them to sink a few pints in our bars because we get 35p per (total guess) pint profit. If they drink in the Parkside we get nowt (no offence to the Parkside but again thinking as a selfish Marketing Manager for the club for the moment). We can’t pay Anelka’s wages if we have everyone downing pints in the local boozers as opposed to the Dennis Tueart bar now do we? As for those merchants flogging burgers outside why can’t we get the fans to eat in the Platt Lane complex? I know this for a fact that they were once doing less than 20 covers on a Saturday lunch time before a mate of mine took over as the head chef; up until the time he left they were doing over 200 (maybe more) covers on a lunchtime at an average of £12 per head. That’s an extra £50 grand p.a. just on grub alone.

The difference is of course that Messrs. Kenyon and Edwards realised this years and years ago. We are still playing catch up, we are getting there now. Finances, chairman, manager, team, stadium, sponsors, shop, the product mix is looking good, certainly a whole lot better than a few years ago. Nationwide league income was £27 million, it is estimated the income for City in the Premier is over £60 million, coupled with Schmeichel (free), Ali (free), Foe (loan for £500,000) and Anelka (paid over 4 years), the cashflow at City is looking very healthy.

So marketing of the MCFC product mix includes everything from the players on the pitch, the kit, sponsors, club lottery, reserve team, Jim Cassell and the Academy, the north stand pies, pints, scarves, Sky TV money, end of season videos, DVDs, T shirts, coffee mugs, the City Ladies’ team, key rings, Keegan, the healthy association we enjoy with Oasis, Nick Leeson and Mark/Lard, they all need to be managed and leveraged to maximise revenue potential and positive exposure. In addition we have to mitigate the potential damage done by the negative liaisons we endure such as the odd hooligan knocking about and the potentially negative association with retards like Bernard Manning and Eddie Large (standing by to be flamed here by Oasis hating fans who have a yearly pass at the Embassy Club and actually think Little and Large were funny). The point is they all affect and contribute to MCFC.

Yes and I totally agree with Mr Sharp, us lot the fans are the ambassadors of the club. Everything concerned with the club contributes to the total product.

Everything contributes to financing the main product, which is the on the pitch players, as you so rightly point out, the team we shout for. The peripheral products would be useless without the match and the team, that’s a given of course. But the on field product cannot survive without the peripherals. Not any more.

Let’s just go back to marketing basics for a second, the classical marketing model for any product marketing is the 4 P’s. Price, Product, Place, Promotion.

A classic example of how all of them come into play.

The best pizza I know of is at my favourite local Italian restaurant and it is delicious, a 12″ pizza for £8. But if I want a good pizza but not the best and I don’t want to dress up then Pizza Hut is a good compromise for £4 quid as I can sit in my jeans and T-shirt there and not be out of place.

Or if I want the worst pizza in terms of taste and the most expensive then I have to buy that Pizza that is named after a board game, the one that tastes really false but it’s great when you have had a few. (Dough that rises in 20 minutes scares me).

But what do they do different to make them a very successful selling pizza?

Why are they the best selling when they are more expensive, worst tasting and they take on average 30 minutes plus to arrive?

Well the answer is obvious; they deliver to your door. While you are watching Big Brother, Corrie, City, Songs of Praise or the Playboy channel you can munch on a below average tasting pizza simply because you don’t need to get your lazy a*** out of bed or off the couch, i.e. you get the food brought to your door.

Over priced pizza, badly made but expertly delivered in 30 minutes. That’s the power of marketing and creating a difference.

The Product is worse.
The Price is more expensive.
The Promotion (fast food) is about the same.
The Place of sale is the key difference. Pizza X is delivered to your door. Pizza Y is not.

Back to football and as regards to Product Promotion, the Marketing of Celtic FC has changed over the years or have I only become aware of their own marketing image? Is it me or has the Shamrock got bigger in recent years and enjoyed a higher profile at the club? The logo is more in your face and they are definitely promoting themselves as an Irish club to gather support from the Irish fan base in the UK.

Listening to Talk Sport a while ago an Arsenal fan was debating whether the Tics & Gers should join the football league. He said being an Irishman that while Celtic are in the SPL it’s OK to have them as my second favourite team; if they were in the EPL it would be a conflict for him and many Irish people in London who support Arsenal as their 1st team and then Celtic as their 2nd team. However, he conceded the point that Celtic make huge efforts to contact Irish support up/down the UK and really play on their Keltic image. They are no longer just a Glasgow club.

(Personally I have never had a second team but one day at Upton Park changed that. Playing West Ham we lost and we were relegated on the final day of the season. We sang the whole time, I was hoarse. The West Ham fans sang “going down” at one point and we sang “so are we”. We could hear their laughter and applause at our humour. They came on the pitch at the end of the game as it was last game and they turned towards us and applauded us, “loyal supporters, best support we’ve ever seen, you’ll be back” etc. As we walked from the Boleyn Ground to the tube station a load of West Ham fans lined the street and applauded us and swapped scarves. So little of this is reported, sadly; since then I would always root for West Ham as my London team, the ground, the location the Eastenders, the history, the club, similar to us in some ways.

I would imagine the Irish marketing machine for Celtic would go into orbit if they were in the EPL. You can tell by the tricolours flown at their home games. Rangers of course in retaliation to the sectarian nonsense that prevails in Glasgow fly the Union Jack. Does that do them any favours as branding them as British Club in Glasgow? Perhaps, maybe I don’t know, there are many of our friends north of the border who consider themselves purely as Scottish, not British.

Sorry for that sojourn into Marketing 101, I have a tonne more anecdotes I could share but I have hogged McVittee for long enough but at least it’s pre season and Heidi will give a certain latitude for extended narratives.

You have to think in terms of the product mix rather than just the one individual product trait, just like you weigh up your potential wife (husband). Hair, figure, face, personality, humour, income, stress levels, health etc. He or She comes as a package; you can’t pick and choose the individual traits.

Now the City product is of course genetically encoded onto my double helix, I can’t change that so I have to live with the whole package and what a demanding mistress she is proving to be (spending an hour on a Saturday morning writing this drivel) when I should be developing a business plan.

So the old engineer of my youth has a lot in common with the traditional club not corporation argument but my 4 year old daughter was delighted with her Moonchester jigsaw puzzle the other day, her birthday card from the Junior Blues was ripped open with a smile and I am very tempted to take her and a few friends to see “Bob The Builder” and his crew at the Nynex; just because I have a child who is a Junior Blue I am eligible for discounted tickets.

I’m not saying I agree 100% with all the marketing and every single product line but let’s face it, we are now a corporation with objectives to stay in the Premier League and win honours. We need the players, we need to pay top wages, we need money to do it, and we need lots of it from many different revenue streams.

Let’s hope we won’t be a faceless corporation (Enron, Anderson, Man U perhaps); not with us lot around. We are very much a part of the product mix at City. Take a listen to the interview with Psycho on the end of season DVD as he talks about the club and the fans and his swansong year at City.

So the marketing of MCFC continues.

You’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a changin’ – Bob Dylan.

Or if you prefer.

You gotta roll with it… – Noel Gallagher.

City is our club (product) and it needs to be marketed, so we just have to get with the programme (souvenir programme).

Phil Lines (philipjlines@hotmail.com)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM I

Has anyone else noticed the amount of stick that City are coming in for at the moment during the Commomwealth Games? So far Paula Radcliffe and Jonathan Edwards have both blasted City for taking over the stadium at the conclusion of the games. PR said “Surely Manchester City can build another stadium and give this to us as a present.” Firstly, no we probably can’t build another stadium due to finance, and secondly we were given it in a way similar to a present! JE today said that “It’s a disgrace that they’re making it into a football stadium, handing it to MCFC on a silver platter… it’s shocking, it’s public money we’re talking about and it’s just going to a few people who support Manchester City.”

Granted, this country does need an athletics stadium to host future events, but how often are we going to get major international athletics? What is going to happen to the stadium in between? I thought part of the reason that we took on the stadium was because the council was desperate to get the burden of upkeep of the stadium off its books? And why are people looking at City in a bad way when we were offered the stadium?!

Ed Bodey (edbodey@hotmail.com)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM II

What lovely sights and sounds are booming over the skies of Manchester at the moment. I would like to thank all of the Man Ure fans for all the music that is billowing from their mouths.

“That stadium is too good for you lot.”
“Why are they letting you have it?”

Call me biased but I detect a really big hint of jealousy in the voices of the Rags.

When the stadium is finished off properly in the coming year in readiness for when the Laser Blues move in it will look just perfect and I reckon that the finished product will really get up the noses of the Rags.

They simply do not like the idea that we will have an immaculate state of the art stadium and all they will have is a ramshackle of a rabbit hutch for a stadium.

Having seen the stadium during the Commonwealth Games and the comments of the athletes saying what a fantastic atmosphere there is inside the stadium, just imagine what the atmosphere will be like when there are 48,000 Blues chanting “Blue Moon” in unison, makes me purr with anticipation.

Can’t wait.

Mark Denton (Mooneyboy2001@yahoo.co.uk)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM III

I was at the Games last Sunday and was also mightily impressed with the new stadium, although the concrete floors in the walkways and service areas did give the place an unfinished look. I had hoped to find them tiled like the new away stand at Blackburn. Whilst on that subject, I hope the pitch is closer! It is very hard to imagine what the view will be like when the extra 20 foot is dug out, but if you are up in the top tier and much further back than row K where we were, I suggest that putting a fiver a week away to buy a pair of quality binoculars in time for the 2003/4 season would be a sound investment!

Other observations:

A new Commomwealth Games sport of speed skateboarding should have been introduced to make maximum use of the spiral walkways. A staggered start with two competitors a time either side of the central barrier and simultaneous starts in all four towers would have been spectacular, especially with a remote camera travelling on an overhead gantry!

If a crowd of 38,000 can lift the performances of the English athletes the way it obviously did, what will 48,000 do for the Blues?

Paula Radcliffe writes in the Telegraph that thinks the stadium should remain for athletics and City can afford to buy something somewhere else. Stick to running, Paula, that’s what you’re good at.

Finally, food. I was pleased to see the chicken balti pies in evidence but whatever else you do with the food concessions, Mr Bernstein, please, please, please keep the pizzas and the Stella Artois, it’s a combination made in heaven!

CTIBMNSDTSWATCOMS – City til I break my neck skateboarding down thespiral walkways at the City of Manchester Stadium, Graeme Nicholson (graemeandkaty@thenicholsons.freeserve.co.uk)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM IV

I read with interest Carol’s well written article on the new stadium. I was there working on the Sunday night, but still managed to find somewhere to view some of the action towards the end of the evening. What a night. One point to make in reference to the merchandising store; at the moment it only covers one level, but I believe that when City take up their tenancy they will also utilise the top floor.

Anyway, onto my main reason for writing. I noticed that Carol made comment about the shuttle service and how she used the walkways because of the large queues for the buses. I also used the shuttle service to get to the city centre and although the queues were large, they very quickly dispersed and I was very impressed by the quality and speed of service given. The thought occurred to me that utilising these transport arrangements when we are occupy the stadium would encourage me to use public transport for my journey to Eastlands every other week. It would be good to bring this to the attention of the powers that be at MCFC or any other interested parties, and explore the cost of shuttle services to places like the city centre and outlying park and ride sites dotted at various locations throughout the region. Not only would this be a godsend to the locals, but it would also service the supporters with greater distances to travel.

Is there anyone out there who thinks the same way or does anyone know about transport arrangements for when we start in our new home? If we can get the interest generated now, not only will we have a stadium that is the envy of every football club in Britain, we can also have a transport system that will ease the hassles of travelling to and from the match. The only downside will be the local entrepreneurs who will miss out on the “mind your car for a quid mister” caper.

Here’s hoping to generate some debate that will bring about action.

Tony Ward (anthony.ward@baesystems.com)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM V

I had the pleasure of being paid to go to the new stadium as a steward. So I’d just like to add some information on one or two things said about it in the last issue. I was working the West stand too so I am not too sure of a few things such as access between the stands and the feel of the South and yet to be built North stands. I would guess that City will use the West stand as their main stand because the premier corporate hospitality is on that side although there are also boxes on the other 2 completed stands. There are 4 spiral towers per side, the two end towers each holding additional gents loos. There are lifts for the disabled between the first two and last two towers (currently entrances S and W) the central entrance being the VIP entrance through the large glass atrium.

In terms of smoking, it is not allowed on the concourse – there are no smoking signs up – but I don’t think it was being enforced because not many people were doing it. We were told that people were only allowed to smoke in towers and that was it. So I fully expect on match days to see the towers filling up at half time if this rule is enforced. There are 6 spaces for disabled spectators and their helpers at each side of the top tier, and 4 spaces at each side of the lower tier. Bearing in mind that there is still another tier to come and that doesn’t count disabled spaces on the North and South stands it seems to be well provided for there.

All in all though – a wonderful stadium that will be even better with a closer, closed in North Stand and a football pitch in the middle of it!

(officechimp@yahoo.co.uk)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM VI

I can only echo Carol’s contribution to MCIVTA 833. I went to the 100m final night (am I an injury jinx already? – see match report) and sat in Block 325, which is in the West Stand. For you Main Standers it is going to be a real treat. Those of us in the Kippax have had leg room for a few years will not be quite as overwhelmed, but it is a fantastic stadium. I went to the Velodrome the night after and couldn’t help beaming with joy as I looked across to our new home as we left the cycling. I urge those of you who can to take a trip and marvel.

It was a hot night, and I was there for athletics after all, so I didn’t try a pie. We’ll probably have different caterers anyway. If it were a City match, there probably wouldn’t have been enough bars and food counters, but then again there are probably never enough bars for Blues.

I did pay a visit, and the gents loos are on a par with the Kippax. The hand soap dispensers supplied by one of the Games’ sponsors won’t last 5 minutes if they are still there next year.

John Marsland (spmarsland@iclway.co.uk)

OPINION: SPORTING CHANCE?

Have you got room for this, a small rebuff to a serial Man City hater, namely John Inverdale?

Reporting from the Commonwealth games today (Thursday), Inverdale was decrying the fact that this marvellous athletics venue will be lost just so that “Manchester City can play Rotherham next season.”

In response to his interest, I’d like to suggest an addition to the current round of friendlies in the shape of a ‘Testiclemoanial’ – no football involved, just “The self adoring rugger b$gger” in the middle of the pitch with his testicles exposed moaning as the City faithful give them a kick – should fetch a good crowd – baggsy the first 10 tickets!

Rick Eagles (rick@eagles.org.uk)

OPINION: MISPLACED PLAYERS?

Please can I just ask how long has Oliver Dacourt been Norwegian?! Last time I heard he was as French as Nic Anelka?

David Ford (david.ford@blackburn.gov.uk)

REQUEST: TORONTO BLUES GET-TOGETHER

There will be a pre(premiership) BBQ for all City fans in the greater Toronto area on Sunday August 11th at 3 pm. We will start off with a showing of the official tape from last season followed by hamburgers, hot dogs and balti pies (if you get there early enough).

Contact me directly for directions.

Peter Hallsworth a.k.a. mississauga_blue (peter.hallsworth@hksystems.com)

REQUEST: US VIEWERS

The first confirmed appearance by City on US TV will be Sept. 10 on Fox Sports World, when the Blues travel to Highbury. Later that week, on Sept. 17, City’s Sunday PPV clash vs. Blackburn Rovers will be aired in the US on same-day delay. Live Pay Per View offerings on Saturdays and Sundays are usually announced on a week-by-week basis to promote viewers to buy the season package, so there may be other City appearances on US PPV TV, but these will be widely available to fans with digital cable or satellite TV.

http://www.foxsportsworld.com/world/pdf/fsw37.pdf

JB (chicago@nme.com)

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.02]

[0] How do I contact MCIVTA?


Articles (Heidi Pickup) : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie) : djb1305@yahoo.co.uk
Subscriptions (Geoff Donkin) : subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul) : paul@city-fan.org

Comments concerning this FAQ should be sent to David Warburton using the address: mcivtafaq@warburton.org

[1] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally Monday and Thursday evenings.

[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ 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] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mancity.net/osc/index.html); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.callnetuk.com/home/sef/) and “The International Supporters’ Club” (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/extra/fanzone/isc.asp)

[5] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, http://www.mcfc-fans.com/ containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

[6] Where can I find information about our new stadium?

The latest information regarding the progress of our new home can be found at http://www.commonwealthgames.com/

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found here: http://www.mcfc.co.uk/comment.asp. An alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at: http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/foot/audio/live/schedule/index.html. GMR Saturday Sport is also available live online between 1-3pm, and 4.45-6pm at http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/index.shtml

[8] Are City’s goals available on the net?

http://www.citygoals.com/ has available for download, usually within 24-48 hours of a game being played, all the goals from City’s matches.

[9] What’s the music the teams run out to?

The music we ran out to at Maine Road during the 01/02 season was “Nightmare” by Brainbug and is available on the Positiva label.

[10] 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.


DISCLAIMER
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, heidi@mcivta.freeserve.co.uk

Newsletter #834

2002/08/01

Editor:


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest