Newsletter #838

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Just two days until our new season commences, and a successful outing for the reserves saw them beat Bradford 1-0 last night with great performances from Goater (scorer), Macken, Shuker and Vuoso – Gavin has sent in his astute match report.

Tonight we also have a major news round up (where does Don get it all from?) and opinion with Keane unsurprisingly featuring large, disturbing news on City arrests (Mr Keane take note), a lovely piece on the great Bert from down-under, players past and present and plenty of requests.

Roll on the weekend, and remember the match reports for Monday!

Next game: Leeds United, away, 3pm Saturday 17 August 2002

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Winter Break – You Decide: As Heidi mentioned on Monday, David Bernstein is urging City fans to give their views on the proposal for a mid-season break for the Premiership. Bernstein wants to gauge the views of the Blues’ fans before attending a meeting a meeting of Premier Chairmen later this month. “There are both debits and credits in the current debate about a winter break,” he admitted. “If Mr Eriksson and some Premiership managers truly believe that a break will keep their players fresher and sharper in the latter stages of the season, then they are perfectly entitled to express that opinion. I believe our own manager Kevin Keegan believes a break will be beneficial. But I am slightly worried about how a winter break would work in practice. A club couldn’t simply tell its players to go away and come back in a month’s time. They would have to ensure that the players’ fitness levels were maintained. Speaking as a Manchester City fan and not the club chairman, I love my January football”, commented Bernstein, “There would be so many other distractions if the soccer season had to be extended. But there is nothing else but soccer in January and I personally wouldn’t like to see that turned into a blank month. But my feelings on the issue are irrelevant. What we need to know is the feelings of our supporters on the subject of a winter break. So I am urging every City fan to contact the Evening News or our official website with their views on the issue. Those views are important and will make a difference.” The chairman continued, “I cannot think of any other business which would close down for a month without consulting its customers. The Premiership cannot and must not introduce a mid-winter break without knowing whether those customers are prepared to accept it. We have no intention of riding roughshod over our supporters. A winter break would constitute a fundamental change and we need to know urgently what our supporters feel about it.”

City – Worst Hooligans? Statistics published this week show that there was an overall drop in arrests at League football grounds last season, but that there was an increase in arrests at Divisions One and Two fixtures. Worse still, City came in the top three of the most arrests league as well as being the Division One champions along with Stoke City and Millwall. Whilst not wishing to diminish the gravity of these findings, there is no breakdown on the seriousness of any of these arrests and none of the press reports mention if this was an increase for City on previous years. There is, however an important issue to be addressed here by the club and fans alike. Perhaps MCIVTA contributors who attended games last season could comment on whether they noticed an increase in trouble at games?

International Blues: A quartet of City players will shortly feature in friendly action for their countries. Richard Dunne has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for this month’s friendly international in Finland in Helsinki on Wednesday 21 August. On the same night, Kevin Horlock will be in Belfast representing Northern Ireland against Cyprus, while Niclas Jensen is in the Denmark squad for their friendly with Scotland at Hampden Park. Eyal Berkovic meanwhile is in the Israel squad for their friendly international with Lithuania in Kaunas the same night.

New Financial Package: The financial press have reported that City are about to generate £44 million through a bond scheme. This should in theory free up more money for team building. The deal, run by US investment bank Bear Stearns, will be sold to private investors rather than the public and will be repaid by ticket sales at the new stadium. The proposed arrangement is similar to schemes run by Newcastle, Leeds and Everton. No one from Maine Road would comment on the story, but it is known that Chairman David Bernstein has charged finance director Alistair Mackintosh with exploring methods of raising new funds.

Reserves Begin Campaign: The first Reserves team of the season had a strong look about it. The team which took the field against Bradford City last night contained new signings Tyrone Loran and Mikkel Bischoff, as well as the recuperating strikers Shaun Goater and Jon Macken. Argentine Matias Vuoso was on the bench. City side: Kevin Ellegaard, Joe Barton, Stephen Jordan, Tyrone Loran, Rhys Day, Mikkel Bischoff, Terry Dunfield, Jeff Whitley, Jon Macken, Shaun Goater, Glenn Whelan. Subs: Stephen Paisley, Kieren Westwood, Matias Vuoso, Chris Shuker, Gary Browne. City won 1-0 with a goal by Shaun Goater.

Transfer News and Gossip

Adieu to Dehu? It seems that last week’s reports of an imminent arrival of one player at Maine Road were a tad premature. The press were sure that KK was about to swoop for Paris Saint-Germain defender Frederic Dehu. There has been no confirmation any deal by City, and Liverpool’s Gerard Houllier was reported this weekend to be lining up a bid for the 29-year-old Frenchman. In 1999-2000 season, Dehu partnered Frank de Boer in Barcelona’s central defence before injury lost him his place. He then moved to PSG, where he has fallen out with coach Luis Fernandez.

New ‘Keeper Required: At the start of the week, KK announced that he would not be searching for goalkeeping cover, as Messrs. Schmeichel and Weaver were well on the way to recovery. On Wednesday, KK announced that there had been a change in policy. The City boss explained: “Everything was going fine with Nicky’s recovery until last Saturday when his knee blew up again. We have had him looked at and the medical opinion is that he may need another operation, which will keep him out for the next three months. That has created a problem for me because we are now down to one senior ‘keeper in Carlo Nash. Kevin Ellegaard and Brian Murphy are two fine young goalkeepers but they are not ready for the Premiership. I will explain the situation to my board and hope that my request to bring in an experienced goalkeeper will be received sympathetically. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t try to provide experienced cover for Nash. I have to try and ensure that the major investments we have made on players this summer is not jeopardised by inadequate cover in the goalkeeping department. If the board give me the go-ahead I intend to sign a goalkeeper on loan, probably up to the Christmas period. I have not specified any targets but it is something I will have to act on quickly if I get the support of the board because you need at least two senior ‘keepers fit and available in the Premiership.” The press reckon that Tim Flowers is a likely target. The 35-year-old is currently without a club having been released by Leicester in the Summer.

Offer to “Ken Carr”: KK will be offering Ali B’s mate “Ken Carr”, Karim Kerkar, a short term contract. Keegan has recommended to the Board that City sign the Algerian on a “pay-as-you-play” contract. Earlier in the week, chairman David Bernstein indicated that the Boss Man was free to sign Ken. “Everything, of course, hinges on whether our manager believes that Kerkar would be a useful addition to his senior squad,” commented Mr. B. “But there is certainly some flexibility remaining in our transfer activities and we have not ruled out the possibility of adding another player to the wage bill if Kevin believes it is in the club’s best interest.” Keegan then said that “The deal I have in mind for Karim is similar to the one which we negotiated with Simon Colosimo when he joined us last summer. It means a fairly modest basic wage, which would be boosted substantially when he plays in the first-team. We have to be sensible about what we offer Karim at this stage because the club has made a major financial commitment already this summer in bringing in top-quality players. Signing Kerkar on that sort of contract gives us more time to look at him and him time to look at us. If things go well for him we will look at his contract at Christmas time and offer him a new deal. It is a two-way thing and if he believes that he can do better for himself elsewhere, when we come to review his situation then he would be free to move on. I was having a chat some time ago with Ali about midfielders and he suggested that we take a look at Karim, who he remembered from his days in France. Ali rated him very highly and when a player of his stature recommends a player you tend to sit up and take notice. He had been to Blackburn but Ali told us that he was a very good player and when Ali says that you listen. Karim is everything Ali said he would be. He is a very talented lad and he sent out a very good message in the two pre-season friendlies. We don’t have an abundance of midfield players like Karim at this club and I am regarding him at the moment as back-up cover for either Ali or Eyal Berkovic. The only other player I can think of at Maine Road of a similar nature is young Terry Dunfield.”

Giggs – The Revenge! Last Sunday’s People newspaper produced an exclusive, saying with typical understatement that “City are planning the biggest cross-Manchester coup since Ryan Giggs turned his back on them and signed for United more than a decade ago”. The journal was referring to 16 year-old-old Amadou Coumas. The highly rated London-born forward has been in a contract dispute with Sir Alex, and last week played for City’s youth team. KK is expected to sign the young prospect, and a £500,000 compensation fee will have to be paid to the Reds.

Ex-Blues’ News

Summerbee Plays for Free: Mike Summerbee’s lad Nicky is so keen to play for Leicester City that he is currently playing for free. Along with ex-Bradford player Billy McInlay, Summerbee suggested playing for nothing in an attempt to secure a contract. “It’s the way football is at the moment,” said Summerbee, “If players like Lee Sharpe can’t find a club, then you have to just give yourself a chance to play.” Young Buzzer, along with our old hero Paul Dickov, featured for the Foxes in their 2-0 opening day defeat of Watford last Saturday.

What a Blerk: Jason Van Blerk has secured himself a one year contract with Shrewsbury Town after signing a one-year deal overnight. The thirty-four-year-old had impressed during a three game trial period. Van Blerk played ten games for City in the 1997-1998 season, plus eleven appearances as a substitute. In March 1998 he was sold for £50,000 to West Bromwich Albion. Last season he played in a dozen games for Stockport County.

Bish Bosh Sues for the Dosh: Ian Bishop has been talking to the M.E.N. about the great life he nearly had in the United States, and about his time back at Maine Road under Joe Royle. Bishop had enjoyed his time at Miami Fusion, had just signed new a two year deal with Miami Fusion, and was thinking of moving his family permanently to Florida. His hopes of a new life collapsed when Miami Fusion folded, and he is now seeking legal redress to claim his unpaid contract. “In America, teams have a set budget for a season and will put aside certain amounts of money for a specific player,” explained Bishop. “For example, if they want a right-back for $30,000, no matter what level he can play to, they will bring him in because he fits into their budget. It has absolutely nothing to do with sport. It is all about making money for the top brasses and they bring Europeans over as something of an advertising ploy. I haven’t received a penny in wages since January and that is why I’m suing the MSL. It is all very disappointing, really. My wife and I had explained to the kids what was going to happen and we were about to buy a place in Boca Raton, just outside Fort Lauderdale.” Bish still fondly recalls his time with the Blues, especially his second spell which began in March 1998. “When Joe signed me, I didn’t honestly think that it was going to be possible to do what we did. It was my ambition to try and help City back in the Premiership and it was magnificent that we achieved it in such a way.” Bishop played a couple of games for Barry Town in this season’s Champions’ League, and has expressed his desire to keep on playing as long as he can.

Stag Curle? Keith Curle’s search for a new club continues. Curley Wurley was involved in the unsavoury goings on in the Sheffield United versus West Brom fixture last season, and is still suspended until the weekend. He is now training with Mansfield Town, and may play in a non-contract capacity for the Stags. Curle is looking for the chance to manage or coach a team, so will not want to be tied down to a long term playing contract.

Killen Opens Account: After drawing a blank in his début game, Chris Killen scored the winner for Oldham Athletic at Peterborough on Tuesday night. On Saturday, he began his Latics career in undistinguished fashion, missing a couple of chances in the 2-1 defeat at home to Cardiff City.

Gerrard Watch Out – Etuhu’s About! Preston North End manger Craig Brown thinks that Dickson Etuhu could be the new Steven Gerrard. Brown said: “Dickson is a different type of player to Sean Gregan. Dickson is more direct and I’d compare him to Steven Gerrard. People have mentioned the similarities to Patrick Vieira but he has the physical presence of Gerrard. Dickson is only a young lad but so is Steven Gerrard and he has got the potential to develop into a really good player.” Etuhu enjoyed himself on Wednesday night, scoring for Preston in their 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Reactions and Comments

Raring to Go: Our esteemed leader has been talking a good fight ahead of Saturday’s opener at Leeds. “Still at Manchester City they talk about Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell,” said KK. “The current players are still way off being talked about in the same breath, but they’ve got the opportunity next season, if they approach it right and show the same drive and determination, that maybe people will be talking about them in the next 10, 15 or 20 years. That would give me a buzz and I hope it would give them a buzz. The next division will be tougher and we will have to be that little bit fitter, that little bit more professional and that little bit more streetwise. Most of my players from last season are capable of playing in the Premiership and of causing problems.” He is sure that his new captain will be a star next season. “I don’t think the impact that Ali can make here has even started,” Keegan said. “If he does what he can in the Premiership – which he is more than capable of doing – they will be raving about him.”

Squad News

Nicolas the Star: There was some alarm in City quarters when Nicolas Anelka took a knock in last week’s win at Tranmere, and was immediately substituted. Thankfully, this was just a precaution, and the French striker should start at Elland Road on Saturday. “I am not going to say any more about Nicolas because I have said it all,” said Keegan, before saying. “He has scored goals and made them for others around him. He has goals in him.” Anelka’s club captain and friend Ali Benarbia has no doubts that Nicolas will do the business for the Blues. “Nicolas knows that within two or three years, this will be a very, very big club and he can see the potential here,” he said. “He wanted to stay in the Premiership and Manchester City wanted him to come here, so it was easy. He is a tremendous player and a great striker.” Sylvain Distin reckons that Anelka is looking as sharp as he has ever seen the striker. “Nicolas is looking as sharp as I have seen him and now it is just a matter of getting his confidence up. I am sure you will then see how good a player he really is. He looks good now, but I have no doubt he can get better.” The man himself sound focussed on the forthcoming season. “I have come to Manchester City to play football, not to listen to stories about what I might or might not do. The only problems I want to cause are to opposing teams. People can judge me on the field, that’s where I will write my headlines. Sometimes I wonder where this bad boy image has come from. I am the person that I am but that doesn’t mean I deserve to be treated badly if I stand up for myself. I have never had a red card and I’ve never hurt anyone. So is it fair to label me a bad boy just because things have not worked out at some clubs?”, said Anelka.

More Injury Blues: Sad to say, but KK has reported there is now another pair of injured players in his squad. The lesser concern is Danny Tiatto, who is expected to be out of action for ten days. Kevin Keegan explained that “He was out at the start of pre-season but now he has come back with a niggly case of tendonitis, a different injury which kept him out at the start of pre season. He had a small operation at the end of last season and now this latest injury has delayed his start. He didn’t come to Hamburg and then he came back in and felt the injury.” KK also confirmed that Christian Negouai has been ruled out until after Christmas. The £1.5 million capture from Belgian club Charleroi has undergone an operation on each of his knees. “Christian had operations on both his knees about four weeks ago. We are now looking at January for his return but I am pleased to say he is making good progress.”

Shuker Nearly There: KK reckons that Chris Shuker’s storming form in the pre-season friendlies has propelled the little Liverpudlian to the verge of a first team place. “Chris Shuker looked excellent against Rochdale and Tranmere, he is an excellent prospect. It took time, we haven’t rushed him. We’ve had a good look at him and at one stage he went out on loan. I tell you something, I wouldn’t let him out on loan now. He can learn all he needs to learn here with us and he will almost certainly figure in the first team. He is not a fringe player any more. He is a first-team player now. He is capable of causing all sorts of problems,” Keegan said. “The only trouble we have is the arguments between him and Shaun Wright-Phillips to see who is the biggest!” [No KK joke warning this week – apologies] “But like all the youngsters at the club, Chris knows that he has a few mountains to climb to get in to the team though he has shown pre-season something that we already know – that he is an excellent player.” Shuker himself sounds pleased with progress so far. “I feel a lot fitter and that is down to Juan Carlos Osorio’s training and a lot of my own work that I did before we came back into pre-season because I knew that it would be tough with the players who have come in,” he explained. “I’m relatively satisfied with how I’ve done so far. I thought I could have done a bit better when I played against Bury last week but against Rochdale I was pleased with my performance. I’ll just have to see how everything goes. I feel a lot stronger than I did last year and Eyal has helped a lot by giving me sound advice. I feel I can make goals, as well as score them and if I was given the chance, I am confident that I wouldn’t let anyone down.”

Praise for Pair: Kevin Keegan has been singing the praises of two of this year’s signings. He began with his new French defender, claiming that “Sylvain Distin gives us something Stuart Pearce couldn’t although Stuart gave us a lot of talking at the back which Sylvain doesn’t. But, with no disrespect to Stuart, Sylvain is more mobile and gets forward more than Stuart.” Of City’s first Chinese player, KK opined that “Sun Jihai is coming of age. I like to sign players six to eight weeks before the end of the season, as I did with him and Jon Macken, and you can see why. They can get into the club, go home, go away and when they come back they have found places to live, schools for the kids, it’s a good time to sign players and Sun Jihai has benefited from that.”

The Waiting Game: Mikkel Bischoff, City’s £750,000 signing this summer from AB Copenhagen, knows that he might have to wait for a first team chance, but cannot wait to prove his worth to the management. “I know there’s a lot of great defenders here so I have to wait and see what the manager thinks about me first,” he said. “I know I have to take my chance when it comes. I have to be patient even though I am hungry to play. I like to play with the ball on the floor and I’m quite quick. I am tall too, so I can get my head in there and put in some hard tackles, the rest I am willing to learn. It was all sorted very, very quickly. I knew much about Kevin Keegan because he’s a big name in Denmark and Peter is a legend, so City is a well known club in Denmark and I knew a lot about them before. I came here one day and saw Maine Road and heard about their ambitions and why they wanted me so that was enough.”

“Take That You T**t” – A Roy Keane Special

The Incident: What fantastic publicity this week for the autobiography of Reds’ captain Roy Keane. On Sunday, the News of the World published extracts from Keane’s book, which suggested that the Republic of Ireland midfielder deliberately set out to gain revenge on Haaland in the Old Trafford derby in March 2001. Clearly Keane wanted retribution for the incident in 1997, when Haaland (then a Leeds player) stood over a prone Keane and shouted at the Irishman, claiming he had faked his cruciate ligament injury. Let the Irish wordsmith tale up the tale of his revenge assault. “I’d waited long enough. I hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). ‘Take that you t**t, and don’t ever stand over me again sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal (David) Wetherall there’s some for him as well.’ I didn’t wait for Mr Elleray to show the red card. I turned and walked to the dressing room.”

Reaction at the Time: ‘I think it was the worst tackle I’ve ever received,’ Haaland said immediately after the incident. ‘I was lucky to walk away. It could have turned me into an invalid. At least I’m walking on my two feet, even if I am feeling a bit bruised and battered. I tackle hard myself but I’d never have done that. Fighting for the ball is OK but tackling like that is not on and it should never have happened. I can’t tell you what Keane said to me but it was almost worse than the tackle. You could say he didn’t wish me good luck.’ As then City manager Joe Royle said: “Had Alf not had his leg in the air, we might well still be looking for it now!”

This Week’s Response: Alfie was asked this week about his view on the revelations. “I will go in and see if I find any of Keane’s studs inside there,” he commented. “I have only played a few games after the tackle. You can make your mind up yourself. Am I going to sue? Those are your words. You can make your own mind up.” Today (Thursday) Haaland has stated that he will not sue. “No, I won’t do that”, said the Norwegian. “I feel frustrated at the moment as I’ve been injured for the most part of two years and have had three operations. As a footballer, it’s been a period I would rather forget. I’m still injured and I’ve had another scan. That should tell us whether I will require more surgery. Time will show and the doctors will have to find out.” City’s view was given by Chris Bird. “We note with concern the reported extracts from Roy Keane’s book covering his foul on our player, Alfie Haaland. We will discuss the implications with Alfie, the various football authorities and our advisers before deciding on an appropriate response.” An FA spokesman remarked: “These comments have been used in newspaper serialisations of Roy Keane’s forthcoming autobiography. Having read the comments we would like to see the book in its full context before making any decision. However, we clearly would never expect any one individual to set out to physically hurt an opponent at any level of the game.” PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor also gave his thoughts. “While it may make good copy and profits for the book publisher, it puts Roy in a bad position,” said Taylor. “He could face action from the FA, if not legal action from Alfie Haaland. We tried at the time to calm things down between the two as we have had too many player-versus-player cases. This has just opened up old wounds again at an unfortunate time. I think Roy has been ill-advised and his comments are ill-judged. Roy hardly needs the money.”

Defending the Indefensible: The sanguine faced United supremo was also sanguine over the alleged misdemeanours of his assassin of a skipper. “I don’t think Roy has anything to worry about,” said ‘Sir’ Alex. “I don’t think there’s a case to answer. We didn’t complain when Haaland made comments about Roy throughout the last two years in the papers. There has been a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between Haaland and Keane in the last three or four years, particularly from Haaland, who has had plenty to say. The books are not done with the club’s consent but they do peruse it before it goes into the publishers. The lawyers didn’t think [there were] any problems. It’s an honest book.”

With Friends Like These: Not content with savaging Haaland, Keane also sneers at another Blue, his ex-colleague Peter Schmeichel. Keane mentions an incident from 1998, when on a pre-season tour, Schmeichel was handed the captain’s armband in the absence of the Irish midfielder. When it came to giving it back to Keane for the Charity Shield against Arsenal, Keane claims Schmeichel sulked throughout the game. The Dane is also accused of being arrogant and a bore by the Prince of Tact.

Don Barrie (djb1305@yahoo.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT: MCFC RESERVES 1 BRADFORD CITY RESERVES 0

City Make Hard Work of their Win

Both Cities fielded a young side on this warm summer’s evening Roses encounter. It was also a chance for both Shaun Goater and Jonathan Macken to prove their fitness. City’s one and only goal came as a gift to Goater on the thirty-first minute when the ‘keeper dropped the ball at the Goat’s feet.

City decided to line up in last year’s preferred first team formation of 3-5-2. This formation paid dividends in the first minute when Terry Dunfield, so often the spare man in midfield, found Goater, who slipped the ball to Macken, whose shot was on target but easily saved by the ‘keeper. This would set the tone for the remainder of the half for Macken, who failed to show any sharpness in front of goal and was quite rightly substituted at half time.

City had most of the play but were failing to find any cutting edge to create any direct chances that the players could take advantage of. Even a curling daisy cutter from Jeff Whitley that squirmed through the ‘keeper and rolled onto the bar failed to produce anything.

On the twenty-third minute City were denied a clear-cut penalty when Bradford’s number 5, Robert Morgan, took Shaun Goater’s legs away from him. This again would be the sign from the referee as City were denied a further three penalties during the match. City finally made their pressure tell on the thirty-first minute when Dunfield sent a ball into the area towards Goater but it went straight towards the ‘keeper, who got in a tangle with his defender and the ball came out of the mess to Goater’s feet and he slotted the ball into an empty net.

Again Dunfield was finding Macken in space and this time his shot found the side netting. On thirty-nine minutes Mikkel Bischoff was booked for a late tackle on Bradford’s number 7, Juanjo Carricondo. The half finished again with a good penalty claim turned down when Tyrone Loran was brought down in the area.

The second half saw Chris Shuker come on for Joey Barton and Matias Vuoso came on for Jon Macken. Within the first few minutes our third penalty claim was turned down when Goater turned and shot, the ‘keeper spilt the ball and then brought down Glen Whelan who had touched the ball on. The resulting corner saw Stephen Jordan head on and Vuoso head towards goal but it went straight at Rhys Day and he inadvertently cleared it off the line for Bradford.

Minutes later saw another corner, where Shuker’s shot from outside the area fell to Goater and he turned and shot straight at the ‘keeper. On sixty minutes the fourth of our penalty claims was waived away when a through ball by Whelan for Vuoso saw him bundled over without any reward in the area. Youngster Gary Browne, on to help to create some more natural width, replaced Loran on sixty-six minutes.

This seemed to help matters when on seventy-six minutes a Dunfield pass to Browne on the edge of the area saw his shot beat the ‘keeper but not the bar. The resulting rebound was pounced on by Vuoso at a tight angle but his shot found the bar as well. The end of the match saw a few chances for City but the Bradford ‘keeper was up to the task and Whitley’s trademark row Z shot.

This reserve match saw City make hard work of collecting maximum points from their opening gambit of the Premier Reserve League season. This was on a night when Ellegaard did not have one shot on target to save. We also saw Goater play a good ninety minutes towards his rehabilitation. Macken on the other hand looked miles off match sharpness.

City: Ellegaard, Barton (Shuker 45 mins), Jordan, Loran (Browne 66 mins), Day, Bischoff, Dunfield, Whitley, Macken (Vuoso 45 mins), Goater, Whelan.

Bradford: Davison, Jorgensen, Bower, Standing, Morgan, Francis, Carricondo, Fishlock (Penford 68 mins), Gedman (Brodie 82 mins), Forrest, Lee (Flynn 68 mins).

Attendance: 595

Gavin Cooper (Blueboy@mancity.net)

OPINION: KEANE I

I sent this to BBC Football’s website. I haven’t seen whether it went on yet because I’m mailing it to MCIVTA only moments after writing it. Let’s see if time shows them to have had the balls to publish it.

“Football being a contact sport is not a good enough excuse for this. Duncan Ferguson was convicted and sent to prison for his head-butt while playing for Glasgow Rangers. The Crown Prosecution Service should consider Keane’s statements to constitute admission of having committed an assault. There were 67,000 eye-witnesses, including myself, of which 64,000 probably will not come forward. I wonder why. I have known since that that moment onwards that there was no attempt to play the ball. Of course, the usual glossing over of that fact due to the media’s need for Manchester United stories meant that no-one dared to suggest it was pre-meditated. A good job that Keane is so stupid that he considers himself above the law. I expect him to be banned for about as long as Eric Cantona with a similarly inappropriate punishment meted out by law, if at all.”

By the way, there’s one Glyn Flowerday on the page I have linked to. Read what he says. If Glyn would like to come over from New Zealand and allow me and my friends in the Kippax to ‘keep it real’ with him for, oooh about seven and a half minutes, seeing as it’s ok with him, I’d only be too happy to oblige.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/sports_talk/2190099.stm

CTIRTGUICAAWIKABHC (City til I refuse to go up in court as a witness in Keane’s Actual Bodily Harm case),Marc Starr (marcatu@aol.com)

OPINION: KEANE II

No doubt a lot of City fans worldwide are angry by the contents of Keane’s Book. I remember in the glory years when another United player, Georgie Best, put our Glynn Pardoe (who was on the verge of playing for England) out of football by going over the ball and injuring Glynn; the difference was that Georgie did say he was sorry for what he had done.

Keane is the most arrogant “Prima Donna” and brags in his book that he did it on purpose. The F.A. should ban Keane for life, and Alfie Haaland get the money he deserves because he has not been able to play since the injury.

Our club City was hurt in effect; we lost our captain for the rest of the season and we were relegated. Of course this had to have something to do with our performances for the rest of the season.

Good luck to you Alfie, get the best lawyers, and get what you deserve. Football does not need players like Keane, this is a sport not a war!

Ernie Barrow (Britcityblue@aol.com)

OPINION – KEANE III

Dear MCIVTA Subscriber,

Just wondered if you would be interested in donating some cash to a fighting fund that I have starting up. It’s called The Poor Old Roy Keane Nobody Likes Me and It Really Is Everybody Else In The World’s Fault Not Mine Fund, or for ease of use, the acronymn REDGIT (almost). Every donor will have the privilige of a very red faced man from Cork coming round and bellowing obscenities in your face, whilst attempting to disembowel you via your kneecaps. All monies collected will go towards paying the legal and medical costs accrued from claims by any madcap Norwegians, Tykes or half the nightclub doormen of South Manchester.

We at REDGIT eagerly await your response. Together, and for the common good, we can fight obscene miscarriages of justice.

Thanking you in advance, Norval D. Taggart, Chairman, REDGIT (neilb@gmx.net)

OPINION: KEANE IV

I think this editorial from the Telegraph sums things up fairly well, particularly for an unbiased point of view:

http://opinion.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2002/08/15/dl1503.xml

Roger Haigh (Roger.Haigh@services.fujitsu.com)

OPINION: MEMORIES ARE MADE OF BERT

Love the newsletter and the memories it stirs up from the past, especially in relation to Alan Hallsworth’s piece on Bert Trautmann and the way he and the “old timers” played the game. I don’t have any recollection of Frank Swift though he was a talking point at tea time (jam butties) when I was a lad. However, I have a fond memory of Bert Trautmann that I would like to share with you.

I wonder if any other Prestwich and Whitefield Blues were at the same game?

Basically it was at the end of Bert’s career around 1964. Bob Price from the Dutch Blues, a few other likely lads and myself went to watch Bert and a team of “All Stars” play our local amateur side Prestwich Heys at Heys Road. The pitch was really muddy that day (wasn’t it always?) though it was pretty mild weather. The game was a friendly to celebrate Bert’s retirement and, typical of the bloke, he came out to Prestwich to mix with the fans and kids who all idolised him. Nowadays he would have had a testimonial and made a fortune out of it to add to an already bloated bank account (I digress).

I cannot remember the score though quite frankly it didn’t matter as the game was an exhibition of talent and flair and played in good spirits. Long story made short, at the end of the game, which at that stage was a draw, somebody was fouled in the Heys Road box and the ref duly awarded a penalty to the “All Stars”. Bert rose to the occasion after being encouraged by his team mates and the local crowd and stepped forward to take the penalty, which ended up to be the last kick of the match and according to local legend (debatable) the last time Bert ever kicked a football in a game before he finally hung up his boots.

All us local kids were wetting ourselves with excitement at the thought of Bert scoring the winning goal. Bert stepped up to place the ball on the spot and as he did so he took off one of his old leather gloves and placed it on the top of the ball. We all stood there wondering what the hell he was doing, he took a few steps backwards then took the kick; to all our amazement the ball went one way and the glove went the other though both heading towards the goal. The Heys goalie, completely confused, dived to the corner of the net and made a spectacular save to find out that he had only caught Bert’s glove whilst the ball was in the back of the net in the other corner. At that moment the ref blew his whistle to end the game and all us kids raced onto the pitch to applaud Ber; if I had any brains that day I would have been in the back of the net nicking the glove for a souvenir!

I remember Bert then being surrounded by all us kids and him saying in a funny accent that the glove trick was the only way he reckoned he could score a goal against such a good player as the Heys goalie; what praise indeed coming from the master himself! The whole incident left me with a feeling that Bert was a gent who didn’t see himself more important than anybody else and gave credit where credit was due and also gave us kids a sense that if we tried hard enough we could make the grade just like Bert did.

I wonder how many modern day players could give that impression to young kids today, especially with people like the Roy Keanes of this world around?

Stay Blue Til We Die, John Ellis, Perth (jeme@smartchat.net.au)

OPINION: BUILD UP

I think we should congratulate the Chairman and King Kev on the superb build-up to the new season. Firstly a little international competition in the Far East to showcase City players – Wanchope versus Brazil was a stormer and then the idea of getting BBC film crews, commentators and a host of European athletes to visit our new stadium, rave about how brilliant it is and tell the watching millions that this will be the new home of MCFC. Fantastic PR! 🙂

Now it’s time for the real business and we can start by popping over to Elland Road to play the thugs and remind the Spiv that he’d be better off flogging second hand cars in Romford.

CTID, Nigel Gibson (nog@nogbad.co.uk)

OPINION: CITY PLAYERS A-Z I

A neat little paperback for reference is ‘The Blues – A Concise Post War History of Manchester City’ by Dean Hayes, published by The Parrs Wood Press. ISBN 1-903158-02-8. It lists everyone who’s played in the League for City since 46-47; Clive Colbridge is in there, signed for City from Crewe in May ’59, 62 appearances, 12 goals, transferred to Wrexham Feb ’62.

Garreth Ryan (garreth.ryan@blueyonder.co.uk)

OPINION: CITY PLAYERS A-Z II

In reply to Dot Keller in MCIVTA 837 “The Maine Road Encyclopedia” by Ian Penney is priced at £7.99. However, it has been out a few years and only brings you up to 1995. I had a check for the player in question and his name does not appear. Perhaps he was a more recent player? I seem to remember a time when we had 52 in our first squad (times I’d rather forget) and even Big Joe was still finding players months after he first arrived.

CTID, David Moran (david.moran@dublincity.ie)

OPINION: CITY PLAYERS A-Z III

In reply to Dot Keller, doesn’t the club’s official annual handbook have a complete list of all the players (and their appearances, dates when at City etc.) who have ever played for us, plus lots of useful information about seasons with most goals scored, longest unbeaten runs etc? Do I get a commission from the club for mentioning this?

Steve Rigby (Mfsstshr@fs1.art.man.ac.uk)

OPINION: CITY PLAYERS A-Z IV

I’ve already replied to Dot Keller’s request direct but for others who are interested in City stats there is heaps of info at the excellent http://www.citystat.net/. [An excellent site indeed, as Dot has discovered – Ed]

Dave Kilroy (davekil@ntlworld.com)

OPINION: CITY PLAYERS A-Z V

Thank you to yourself and all the fellow Blues who replied to my query re an encyclopaedia of former players. The best suggestion was the citystat.net website, which is brilliant. I recommend it to all like-minded fans.

Dot Keller (Dorothy.H.Keller@mercer.com)

OPINION: TRAIN DISRUPTIONS

Final warning for London Blues trying to come by train on the 24th. Major engineering means Virgin have long delays (with bus services) and no cheap fares. Best bet is from St Pancras to Sheffield (£19 if you book 7 days in advance, 08457 125 678 or http://www.midlandmainline.com/, then day return Sheffield to Manchester (£11.95). Or book both tickets with qjump http://www.qjump.co.uk/home/index.html). You’ll have to leave St Pancras on either the 06 20 or 07 25 train because of the early kick-off.

Steve Parish (steve@bloovee.freeserve.co.uk)

REQUEST: CITY TUNES

I have MP3’s on my PC for Boys in Blue and Blue Moon. Anyone interested I will happily send on.

Thanks, Graham Keller (GKMCFC@AOL.COM)

REQUEST: THAMES VALLEY BLUES/TRAVEL

I am the transport sec of the Thames Valley supporters. We travel by minibus to all home games (and most away); price is £12 to Maine Road and back from High Wycombe, but as we have people travelling to High Wycombe from Kent, South London, West London, East London, North London, Reading, Maidenhead, Bracknell, Oxford, Essex, Surrey and on odd occassions Hampshire and Sussex, we can arrange pick up from near where you live. Oh and we can pick up at any junction on the M40.

Travel time is usually 3.5 hours each way, usually back at High Wycombe about 8:30/9:00 (after 3:00 kick off). I even get back to kent in time for the Premiership on ITV. Anyone interested e-mail me.

This is not a commercial venture and is totally non-profit making; any excess money goes towards insurance, MOT and servicing.

Alistair Walker (alistairwalker@blueyonder.co.uk)

REQUEST: NEW CITY BOOK – YOUR OPINIONS

What’s your opinion of The Keegan Era? Where has the manager gone right? Has he gone wrong anywhere? What are the highlights and low points of Keegan’s first year in charge? What of the signings he’s made? And the players he’s let go? What can we expect from City in the next twelve months? Will City be a major force in the Premiership?

There is a new book currently being put together to be published at the start of next season that wants opinions on the Keegan era from 100 City fans – and we want you to give us you to give your views. Email me direct with your name, where you’re from and your City verdict in not more than 100 words. And we’ll make sure your comments are included in this brand new City book.

Howard Johnson (city.book@ntlworld.com)

REQUEST: CHORLTON BLUES

Chorlton Blues will be holding their first meeting of the new season on Tuesday 20th August at South West Manchester Cricket Club, Ellesmere Road. Proceedings kick off at 8.00pm. All renewing members and any new members will be entered into a draw to win the new away shirt. We are also launching a new quiz league this season. Guests are unconfirmed at the present time although there will be the usual raffle and buffet.

To check any up to date information please log onto our new website at http://www.chorltonblues.co.uk/. There is plenty on our site to interest non-members so go and have a look.

Larry Higgs (chorlton.blues@virgin.net)

REQUEST: CHICAGO BLUES

FYI: I’ll be in Chicago on vacation this weekend and have contacted Fado Irish Pub (see link below) to see if they’re showing the match vs. Leeds. They have assured me they are. So if any Chicago Blues are interested, I’d love to meet up with you. I’ll probably be wearing either a Goater kit from two seasons ago or the last Eidos home kit.

Fado is an alright place if you can get over the fact that it’s a chain. Hopefully we can celebrate at the Celtic Crossing after a victory w/ some Boddies and Stella. Now that’s a great pub.

http://www.fadoirishpub.com/chicago.html (they’re good about returning emails).

Hope to see some Blues there.

Come on CI-TY! Dillon Allie (dillonallie@hotmail.com)

REQUEST: SYDNEY BLUES

SBS TV in Australia are now running live games from the Premiership. If there any Sydney Blues meeting up to watch the Leeds game this weekend, could they please contact me.

Many thanks, Rob Minshull (rob.minshull@sbs.com.au)

REQUEST: HEIDELBERG BLUES

For anyone finding themselves in South West Germany in a couple of weeks time, the match vs. Newcastle on August 24th will be shown at Napper Tandy’s in Heidelberg (just next to the Alte Br

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