Newsletter #842

Firstly, thanks to Sarah for standing in on Monday. What a fantastic start to the home season that was, great to see the familiar faces back in the Kippax, although an exhausting game to watch. The fans were strangely subdued making their way down Claremont Road after the game – stunned into silence, or wrung-out after what could have been a 6 goal thriller?

Sadly Wednesday night saw us on the wrong end of a 1-0 result as we succumbed to lowly Villa. Let’s hope the kit man digs out the scoring boots soon.

Tonight we have some excellent match reports thanks to Nigel, Sharon and James. Don’s news summary as the transfer window draws to a close, viewing and ticket requests and a bit of Blue humour.

Everton on Saturday and I want to see a re-run of that wonderful game 20 months ago when they were sent back to Merseyside tails firmly between legs.

Next game: Everton, home, 3pm Saturday 31 August 2002


General News

International Call-Ups: Niclas Jensen is the first City player to be called up for full international duty on Saturday 7 September. The wing-back is likely to start for Denmark in their opening qualifier of Euro 2004, against Norway. Defender Rhys Day meanwhile has been named in the Wales under-21 squad for next month’s clash away to Finland. Day was on loan with Second Division Blackpool last season, before returning to Maine Road. The Welsh under-21s travel to Finland for their game on Friday 6 September.

Academy Sides in Action: City’s Academy sides were in action last Friday afternoon, when Millwall were the visitors for the Blues’ latest FA Premier Academy matches. Both the City under-17 and under-19 sides are in action with the City under-17s winning 2-0, while the under-19s had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Transfer News and Gossip:

Taribo Deal Goes West: City have announced that they will not be offering Taribo West a contract. The 28-year-old former Milan player had been training with the City squad for just over a week and was without a club since his contract with German side Kaiserslautern was cancelled last April. KK revealed that the player’s fitness was the reason for West being released. “The big problem with Taribo, and I have talked to his agent about this, is his fitness”, said Keegan. “Taribo has not played for three months so it is very difficult for me to assess him. So I don’t think that (the deal) is going to happen. He is a great player and lovely to have around the place. He has got great leadership qualities but the other thing is that I have not got any players out. That was always going to be the key.” West was sacked by Kaiserslautern after he missed a league game claiming he was sick only to fly to Milan to attend a birthday party.

Transfer Window Pain: This season the FA has introduced a ban on transfers, starting on August 31. There will be a transfer ‘window’ for three weeks in January, but the Boss Man is not in favour of the system. “It’s a really bad move, which has been done for political reasons,” he said. “It takes a lot of professionalism out of the game. How can any manager guess which players are going to get injured between now and January, which is what they are asking us to do. Also, there are probably six or seven players here, training hard but who are not going to get into the team. You have to tell them to keep working in the reserves then in January someone might come along. I am not in favour of this system at all. I am not a fan of it because I do not see why it had to come in. I don’t see what was wrong with the old system,” he continued. “I said this when the Bosman Ruling came in and people said at the time that all footballers have the right to be free. I said that it would kill football and it has. It has killed football as we know it in so much as players have been able to manipulate moves and agents have been able to take money out of the game. I am not saying it is a bad thing to have agents but some of them are not as good as others.” He revealed that although City’s player purchasing is complete, offers of players are still coming in. “It is a strange market,” he admitted. “Clubs are pushing all sorts of great players and saying there will be no fee and they will even pick up some of the wage bill. You have to look at these situations, you wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t. When you see what is happening to the likes of Ipswich, who are a very well-run club, you know it is always a gamble,” he said. “But we have not mortgaged the club to get these players and everything is within budget. The money is there to pay the wages. I am not saying we are in a fantastic position but we are paying for these players over five and six years and there is no major problem with what we have spent.”

Is the Goat the “Third Man”? After West Brom’s visit to Arsenal on Tuesday, their manager Gary Megson revealed that he was chasing three players ahead of Saturday’s transfer deadline. He teased the journalists by saying that “Two [of his targets] you are aware and one that I don’t think you are aware of.” The two known players were Jason Koumas of Tranmere and Coventry striker Lee Hughes. Speculation on the identity of the mystery third player began. Chief suspect was none other than our own Shaun Goater. KK has made it clear that he does not want to part with Shaun, who has sat on the bench so far, although he did get to play at Villa Park last night. The speculation in the press has the Goat on his way to the Hawthorns, as he now a long way down the pecking order for a place in the team. KK has been swift to issue a “Hands Off the Goat” warning. “I couldn’t afford to lose Shaun,” announced Keegan. “He has been on the bench for all three games so far and has been flying in training. He is very, sharp and very fit. He wants to play and he will get the chance at some time. He has just got to be patient. His attitude is spot on.” The Goat himself wants to be loyal to the Blues. “My job is to be ready to take my chance when it comes,” he said. “I have been working hard and getting sharper all the time so if and when I get the call I will be able to do the team and myself justice.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Mike Gets His Chance: Lincoln City boss Keith Alexander has signed striker Adie Mike on a month-to-month basis. The player had trials at Sincil Bank in the summer, which ended prematurely when Mike was injured early on in a pre-season friendly. He joins the Imps as cover for suspended players. Boss Keith Alexander said “Adie’s joining us on a month-to-month basis and we’re going to assess his fitness over the next month, hopefully. With eight games in September, he’ll have a part to play. He’s a good player and did very well for me at Northwich. If we get him fit I’m sure he’ll push our other strikers for a place in the team.” Mike was substitute for the Imps in their 2-0 defeat at local rivals Boston United last Saturday.

Who Ate All the Pies? Good news for fish and chip shops in the Cleethorpes area. Jamie Pollock has joined Grimsby Town on a non-contract basis. The 28-year-old former City skipper had his contract paid up by Crystal Palace in the summer, having spent two years at Selhurst Park without making a first team appearance. Pollock will need to make up for lost time in regaining his fitness, as he has little pre-season training behind him due to a shin injury. “He hasn’t played first team football for a while and we’ll have to see how he does,” said Grimsby manager Paul Groves. “But he’s got a good pedigree and has been with good clubs in the past. He’s got a bit of drive and has operated at a good level. He can be very competitive in the middle of the park. But he has missed a lot of time. It might take him a while to get that back.” It is believed that Pollock, like a number of his City contemporaries now at other clubs, has agreed to play for free in an attempt to secure a full time contract.

Bishop to Dale: Old City players, it seems, don’t die – they go to Rochdale. The management team comprises Paul Simpson and Jamie Hoyland, while Richard Jobson is player coach at Spotland. Our wandering former midfield star Ian Bishop has signed up for Simmo after impressing during a reserve game this week. As reported previously, Bish has had an eventful 2002, beginning with his loss of a club in Miami, and followed by spells at Barry Town and Leigh RMI. Dale boss Paul Simpson suggested recently that there could be changes to their squad before the transfer deadline. Simmo watched the 37-year-old turn out for Rochdale reserves on Wednesday, and said afterwards “I know he won’t be tearing around, but he played well and looked very fit.”

Reactions and Comments

“Honest to God – Brilliant!”: It was nice last weekend to hear the country’s media catch up on the fact that City can play top drawer football on occasions. The first half performance alone induced the following glowing tribute from TV pundit Ally McCoist – “Honest to God, City in the first half were absolutely brilliant!” Immediately after the Newcastle game, Kevin Keegan said that “I think we deserved to beat Newcastle today and I think that they will finish in the top six and, hopefully, we will be up there with them. They are an excellent side and we caused them a lot of problems and our aim is, as I have said, to be top six and if we can maintain our form, we can do that, I hope. Not necessarily because how good we can be but because the other teams up there have got distractions like the Champions’ League and that is a major distraction. That is where a lot of the teams prefer to be and the League is something they have to do, so may be we can pick up on that. That is why I am tipping a top six finish, but obviously we have a lot of work to do and we will have to keep our standards like they were against Newcastle.” Sir Bobby Robson, the Newcastle boss, was generous in defeat. “City played very well first half. They played some lovely one-touch first time passes and they constantly got in behind us in many areas of the pitch. They had great desire to get behind our back three. Maybe we were slightly fortunate to go in 1-0 down, even though we missed maybe the easiest chance of the match. On that evidence there is no danger that they will get relegated this season.”

Schmeichel Tribute: KK was pleased with the performance of his débutant goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel. “Schmeichel makes a big difference at your club. He has an unbelievable presence and he is still one of the top goalkeepers in the world, even at his age. He made three great saves to keep us in it. To beat him in training you have to pull off something very special.” The Dane himself was pleased to keep a clean sheet, commenting that “It was hard work – perhaps harder than it should have been. We should have converted one or two more chances – but we won and that’s important after last Saturday. I’m tired now but I feel alright now. The goals we conceded against Leeds were a bit cheap – it was too easy for them. But the concentration today overall was a lot better. We had a good start to the game and we built on that. As the game went on we got more confidence and we managed to hold on – and that’s the important thing.”

Ali Shines: The national newspapers also noticed some dazzling passing from an Algerian they hadn’t apparently noticed before. Asked about a top drawer showing of Le Captain, KK said that “At 34, some people said Ali couldn’t play in the Premiership. But you don’t win the French player of the year award three seasons on the trot without having some ability,” said the former England boss. “He has never relied on pace, he uses guile and awareness. He is a wonderful player, the best I have ever worked with. Newcastle are an excellent side and we caused them a lot of problems. He is the best player I have ever worked with in that position. With Eyal Berkovic in there as well we have two conductors for our orchestra,” concluded Keegan.

Hucks for England! Da Boss warmly praised City’s goalscorer against Newcastle. “He’s a great lad who wants to be a better player,” Keegan said. “There really is no one fitter than him at the club and at Newcastle he was unlucky – there were six top-class strikers ahead of him. When I came here I said to the chairman that Darren was a player we should give a chance to. We had a few clubs interested in buying Darren and we told them that we were not interested.” KK may be impressed with the forward pairing of Hucks with Nicolas Anelka. “That has to be the quickest attack anyone has ever seen. Only Thierry Henry can compare for pace. If Darren Huckerby can play like that every week at this level, home and away, he cannot fail but to knock on the door for an England place.” The player gave a more understated analysis of the game. “Both Nicolas and I are quick and in the Premiership that always helps,” Huckerby said. “But there is more to our game than just pace. Hopefully we can learn to play with each other. To be honest, I was very disappointed not to play against Leeds because of last season and my form in pre-season. That was my first game for a few weeks and it is always nice to get off the mark. I thought we played really well as a team. I really enjoy playing alongside Nicolas because he provides a wonderful outlet and means that people don’t just look for me. Usually when teams have a quick man he is the one players look to but both of us are pretty rapid and that gives our midfield and defence more options and the opposition more problems. It is will be hard for anyone to mark us especially with the running power of Shaun Wright-Phillips joining in out wide. I think we can cause teams lots of problems.”

Reality Check: It sounds like City came down to Earth with a bump at Villa Park yesterday (Wednesday). Reports suggest that this was the poorest performance by the Blues so far this season. “I’m disappointed with the players, but I haven’t lost faith in them,” said KK later. He was clearly unhappy with the commitment of his team. “We got what we deserved out of this game – nothing, absolutely nothing. We played well at Leeds and didn’t get a result, and again against Newcastle when we did win. But tonight we were brain dead. You can afford to carry one, maybe two players in Premiership games, but tonight we had five or six off the boil. We gave the ball away too easily and it needed Peter Schmeichel and the back three to keep us in the game.” His adversary Graham Taylor was upbeat after seeing his side score their first goal and secure their first victory of the season. “It’s a relief for everybody to win this one,” the Villa manager said. “When we had chances at Tottenham on Saturday and still lost, people were getting a little concerned. But the players were excellent. Their spirit belies the idea that there is some disruption within the camp. That simply isn’t true.”

Squad News

Dunf Done Good: Midfielder Terry Dunfield is certainly enjoying his first team football at Bury, and so are his new team. Since Dunfield joined the Shakers, they have won two games and drawn one, having lost the first two games before the arrival of the Canadian youngster. Dunfield said: “My aim is still to play for the first team at Manchester City but we’ll see how it goes. It’s an indescribable feeling playing first-team football. Kevin Keegan has told me that City would have people watching me and will assess whether I stay longer than the end of the month.” The Boss Man did better than sending “people” to watch Dunfield – KK himself turned up at Gigg Lane on Monday, to run the rule over the player. Dunfield duly obliged, scoring the second goal as Bury beat Shrewsbury Town 4-3.

Injury Worries Ease: Two of City’s walking wounded, namely Shaun Goater and Danny Tiatto, are clearly on the mend as both players were on the bench for the Newcastle game. Keegan will, however, be without Jon Macken and Lucien Mettomo for at least the next fortnight. Macken has a knee problem that is not thought serious enough for an operation while Mettomo has a damaged heel. The international break in two weeks’ time means that they could be in contention for the trip to Arsenal.

Keegan Backs Carlo: Kevin Keegan has been trying to build up the confidence of Carlo Nash, following Carlo’s demotion to the substitutes’ bench against Newcastle. Keegan said: “No disrespect to any other ‘keeper we have here, but Peter gives us a voice in the box that we have missed since Stuart Pearce retired. But Carlo has done well and he was not to be blamed for the defeat at Leeds the week before.”

Schmeichel Tease: Peter Schmeichel has suggested that he might be tempted to keep playing after his year long contract with City runs out. “I have been reading that this is my last season but I have not made that decision,” said the Great Dane. “To be fair to myself, the club and everybody at my age you do not sign three-year contracts but if I am feeling well and enjoying it (at the end of this season), I can see no reason not to carry on. I have got to wake up in the morning, be happy and look forward to going to work.”

This Week’s Keano News

MP Reports Keane: Now the Keane / Haaland incident has brought action from a politician. Colchester MP Bob Russell, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for sport, has written to Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable David Wilmot urging him to further investigate the incident. Russell said: “I am inviting the chief constable to regard the written admission by Roy Keane as a formal report of crime.” Russell added: “Keane appears to be boasting about a pre-meditated assault at his place of work against another person. If anybody else carried out an assault that was filmed and subsequently admitted it was deliberate I would have thought the police would investigate. Why should the football pitch be deemed to be exempt from the laws of the land? We do not want football to stop being a contact sport, but this is different. This is not a vendetta against Roy Keane, it is part of a wider agenda.” A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “We can confirm that a small number of witnesses made complaints following the match. As a result, the alleged assault was crime recorded and all parties were interviewed. A file of evidence was subsequently forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service, who, after consideration, decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. Following the forthcoming publication of Roy Keane’s autobiography, GMP will naturally review the evidence available and consider if any further action is necessary.”

Divine Retribution? From Sir Alex Ferguson says Roy Keane has a knee problem which could require surgery. The United manager said: “Roy is not having any operation this week. Maybe there will be a problem further down the line.”

Don Barrie (


View from high up in the Trinity Road Stand – please remember to bring spare oxygen tank…

It’s a long time since I contributed to MCIVTA, but as I was fortunate(?) enough to be lent a ticket for Villa vs. City, I thought I’d break my journalistic duck for 2002.

Arrived at the ground with seconds to spare, having had a curry with my mate Stu at the nearest establishment to Villa Park that looked vaguely capable of serving safe food. Unfortunately the service was appalling, but the curry, when it came, was up to Rusholme standards. Anyway, we were so late we threw it down, then regretted this when running to the ground. Worse, as we had seats near the top of the dizzyingly high Trinity Road stand, we had the delightful pleasure of pegging up about a million steps in order to get to our seats! Vertigo, sprinting, and repeating chicken tikka balti do not a nice combination make.

I’d forgotten what Premiership away grounds can be like – the Trinity Road stand is not as high as the away end at St. James’ Park (actually, nowhere is), but we still felt a bit out of things. This report may not therefore be entirely accurate – the game was simply too far away! I did envy the Blues behind the goal at the North Stand end though – they made a good noise, and didn’t have to mind their p’s and q’s like us, surrounded by the brummie faithful!

If we had indigestion at kick-off, we were in real trouble by the end of the evening. Firstly I can’t believe it was the same 11 who started on Saturday. But it was! Team as follows:

1. Schmeichel, Peter
17. Sun, Jihai
24. Howey, Steve
5. Distin, Sylvain
29. Wright-Phillips, Shaun
8. Benarbia, Ali
23. Foe, Marc Vivien
14. Berkovic, Eyal
3. Jensen, Niclas
7. Huckerby, Darren
39. Anelka, Nicolas

First half was pretty even, both sides cancelling each other out. Very few chances: Anelka had a looping header against the top of the bar, though whether it would have counted is open to question as Villa then restarted with an inexplicable free kick (no offside or push even remotely in evidence). Then just before half time Peter Crouch, who had fluffed a headed chance earlier by heading away from goal, was put through 1 on 1 with Schmeichel, who saved one handed low down to his right – brilliant ‘keeping, though you have to say Crouch should have given him no chance.

So we felt slightly fortunate to be level at half time, but, to quote my brother’s half time text message: “It doesn’t exactly sound a classic”… Believe me, it wasn’t.

Interestingly the Villa fans boo-ed their team off at half time. Surely, we thought, this is a team which could wobble if we put them under pressure… and more to the point, why hadn’t we tried to do so in the first?

However, the second half was a different story. Villa came out firing on all cylinders and were unlucky not to score in an opening fifteen minute onslaught. Schmeichel made two or three more excellent saves – including another one-handed one from Hendrie(?) – and we were getting overrun. In fact it started to feel like we’d weathered the storm, but then just as we appeared to have settled, Villa scored. In came a free kick from the left, there was a scramble and in the melée Vassell struck the ball into the ground. It bounced up wickedly and Schmeichel could only palm it into the roof of the net. You had to feel sorry for the Dane, he was keeping them out on his own at this stage.

We did respond a bit – in fact, this was about the time when their goalie made what I think was his only save – as Anelka turned positively into the box and shot. His goal-bound effort ballooned up over the defender’s leg and appeared to be going over, but as it spun it almost dipped under the crossbar. Enkelmann reacted quickly to push it over the bar.

The following corner produced what may have been our best chance as Distin missed an unmarked header by heading wide. Not as bad as Foe’s on Saturday, but definitely should have made the ‘keeper do something.

Berkovic was replaced by Danny Tiatto, who looked busy without creating things (oddly he was boo-ed by a section of Villa fans as he came on), and he lived up to his (apparent) reputation by kicking one or two Villa players for good measure. At least he looked fit, please can we now have our old Danny back? For the last ten, Goater came on for Huckerby and looked as sharp as anyone, glancing a difficult chance across the face of goal and just wide of the opposite post.

Generally speaking I felt that we defended too deep and seemed to be trying to hang on to 0-0 from the start. I have no idea why – isn’t this the exact opposite of a Keegan side in fact?! We lacked adventure and didn’t really threaten anywhere near enough. Their goalie must feel ashamed at collecting a win bonus.

The most worrying aspect was that our passing was way below its usual standard with Berkovic, SWP, and Huckerby all suspect. SWP in particular was woeful in the second half – though in the first he did supply the cross for Anelka’s header on to the bar. Maybe you could credit the opposition – they pushed up and closed us down well – but we didn’t respond imaginatively enough. There were several opportunities for long passes over the top, to put Anelka in, but the through balls were not up to it.

Anelka continues to work hard but doesn’t really look dangerous. I know he hit the bar but somehow he lacks conviction. Maybe he just needs a goal. In fact he’d better get one soon or you can see it all becoming a bit of an issue. The Brummies round us were all muttering about how much he cost.

I am learning to like Jihai Sun, Foe, Distin and Jensen, so I’m not going to pull them all to bits. Really it was a collective failing. They lacked the belief and adventure to go for it: contrast the tremendous attitude against far better opposition on Saturday. This was what disappointed me most. We gave a poor account of ourselves, and missed an opportunity to take points off a mediocre Villa side, who were clearly lacking confidence themselves.

I am glad it’s only three days till we get a chance to set the record straight, I just hope we are not developing a negative away day mentality.

Nigel Timperley (


Good grief. What’s happened to the summer? It’s the first home game of the season, the weather is supposed to be good. We’re supposed to be able to go along in our shorts. The ‘keepers are supposed to have to wear caps in vain attempts to keep the sun out of their eyes and give us a few comedy moments when they lose the ball in the sun. The North Stand are supposed to have to squint at the game from the effects of the glorious sunshine rather than the effects of the beer. Instead, almost 35,000 soggy people sat and watched through persistent rain and drizzle. Oh the wonders of the Manchester climate.

Thankfully Kev had learned the lesson from the rubbish one-up-front tactic that didn’t work at Leeds and played Huckerby from the start. I’m trying really hard this season (honest!) not to have a go at Darren (not even when he gets caught offside, or beats the entire defence only to kick the ball wide, or leaves his marker for dead only to pass when he should have shot or shoot when he should have passed) so with that in mind put a bet on him to be last scorer. I will freely admit that I was expecting him to get a consolation goal right at the end when Newcastle were already 4 or 5 nil up, ah how wrong can you be? Horlock was the one who missed out as a result and dropped to the bench, as the rest of the outfield players stayed the same. Schmeichel (never could spell that, I’ll call him BigNose) replaced Nash in goal. Full line up was BigNose, Howey, Distin, Sun, Jensen, SWP, Foe, Eyal, Ali, Huckerby and Anelka. For Newcastle, Shearer played as did Kieron Dyer (thankfully) and Titus Bramble (even better news), as well as Solano, who fouled his way to scoring the goal that put us out of the FA Cup last year. Not that I’m bitter about that. Or anything.

BigNose got a fantastic reception from the crowd, which is more than can be said for how the Newcastle fans responded to seeing Distin playing for us. They booed him throughout the game, which only made the City crowd cheer him every time he got the ball, along with lots of chants of “Sylvain Distin is a Blue, he hates Geordies”. Very funny. After the immaculately observed minute’s silence the game started – and how. Within seconds City were pouring forward to attack the Newcastle goal. Who needs to defend when you don’t let the other team get the ball? SWP in particular was on fire in the first few minutes as the Newcastle defence couldn’t cope with his speed or his ability to jump over and out of crunching tackles. As well as two up front City had changed to play three at the back, and looked far better for it. Sun Jihai has been caught out of position a few too many times in the games I’ve seen him play when supposedly at full back, but on Saturday he had a great game as the right hand player of the back three.

Chance after chance for City went begging. Huckerby ran from midfield brilliantly – as he does – on more than one occasion, only to always somehow choose the wrong option – as he does – whenever he had a chance on goal. Anelka must have been getting incredibly frustrated, running away from his marker into good positions in the box only to see Darren try and take the chances himself and only end up kicking it weakly at the nearest defender or the ‘keeper. It’s this that annoys me about Huckerby. If he wasn’t capable of getting into positions like this then we’d all just accept that he wasn’t very good and get on with it. However, he is obviously more than capable but he just can’t finish it off – he’s like our own little Andy Cole sometimes. To watch him run past defenders as if they weren’t there to get into the box is a joy to behold, so why can’t he just keep it going when he reaches the penalty area? And score more than 1 out of 20 chances that he creates as now? Still, the worst miss of the day (for City anyway, Kieron you’ll get a mention in a minute) was by Foe. A good cross from Jensen from the right found Foe completely unmarked about three yards out, and with Given diving the other way all he had to do was head it down for 1-0. Instead those poor old people halfway up Platt Lane who must have thought they were safe now Whitley wasn’t playing any more found themselves having to duck to avoid the ball. Aargh.

Finally, after just over half an hour had passed, the goal at last came. And a scrappy affair it was too, which just didn’t seem fair after some of the football that had been played up till then. Given could only push out a shot from Jensen after Anelka had run down the right and crossed (isn’t it supposed to be the other way round?) then the ball pinged around the penalty area for a few seconds (lots of “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd) before Huckerby finally managed to chest it into the net. Well deserved it was too.

At the other end BigNose hadn’t had too much to do. He calmly dived to the ground in front to collect a shot from (I think) Solano then worried us all by limping for the next couple of minutes, but thankfully shook off whatever it was. Newcastle’s best chance – which they really should have scored and how undeserved would that have been? – came after Lua Lua and Dyer broke through the previously solid defence for the first time. Lua Lua shot well but BigNose saved (I don’t think Nash would have done). However, he could only push the ball out towards the onrushing Dyer, who with all the time in the world, with no defender anywhere near him, with BigNose still on the floor and with an empty net in front of him… pushed it wide. Ha ha ha ha ha. Huckerby wouldn’t have missed it (well maybe…).

So, half time and City go in ahead, and deservedly so. Our main worry over half time was that we would regret not having taken more of the chances we’d created in the first half as Newcastle were sure to come out in the second half and push forwards more. Mark (husband, Bolton fan, attending because my mum had decided that rain in Menorca was preferable to the rain in Manchester) had put a bet on City to be winning at half time and Newcastle at full time, so as he pointed out he couldn’t really lose (unlike Bolton :)). Either City get three points or he gets £50. Great.

No subs were made at half time although I was convinced the Dunny Monster had come on for Howey – has he put weight on? SWP had a good chance that he could only steer into the side netting and Anelka continued to make a nuisance of himself. The Newcastle defence really did struggle to cope with SWP as they couldn’t catch him to foul, I mean tackle him. I worried that he’d be too lightweight to do well at this level but so far he’s having a great season. Huckerby continued to make good runs down the left but the partnership between him and Anelka just hasn’t quite clicked. It was a shame, both of them played really well on Saturday but they play as individual strikers not as a pair. SWP and Anelka are starting to gel though, some great interplay between the two of them. As the game went on Newcastle did start to have more chances but really nothing that BigNose couldn’t cope with. Dyer (ha ha) had another good chance that this time he blazed over the bar – I do pity those poor bruised people in Platt Lane – then Shearer had a chance that got deflected wide. BigNose then made a great save to push a shot (Dyer again?) round the post.

It makes a huge difference having a solid, competent ‘keeper in goal. There was one prime example of this in the second half. The ball had been played over the top into the penalty area and Distin and Dyer were chasing towards it. BigNose shouted to claim it so Distin could stop – BigNose then calmly stepped up and caught it ahead of the onrushing Dyer. What we’ve been used to seeing is Distin reaching the ball first but under such pressure that he’s only able to clear the ball behind for a corner. What a difference.

At the other end City had a couple of chances late on, but I have to say I was screaming at them to play it into the corners unless it was Huckerby, mindful of my bet! Still they didn’t let me down – Newcastle just couldn’t get the ball past BigNose and City still didn’t take any of their own chances so my money was safe. This was a great game, full of excitement, loads of chances (especially for City, which is always nice), good individual performances and a valuable three points. Some sweet revenge for last year too. I’ll look forward to collecting my winnings next week, may even reinvest them in another last goal for our Darren, who knows?!

Sharon Hargreaves


As the old saying goes “it’s better late than never”, so here goes. With the Bank Holiday coupled with work based e-mail this delayed match report will reach the masses after the Villa game, but not to worry.

City lined up with two changes from Leeds; the predicable change of Huckerby for Horlock and the more surprising début of Schmeikes (as he’s fondly known by Psycho) in for the slightly disappointing Nash. Pre-match entertainment included free beer, although if anyone from Maine Road is reading this I wasn’t directly involved and my round was paid for in hard earned cash! As a public announcement may I point out that the club are reinforcing the non-acceptance of 50 and 20 pound notes behind the bar.

Now comes the hard bit. For those who’ve seen The Premiership (ITV’s lesser version of MoTD) then McCoist’s comments that he’d wish he’d got a season ticket for Maine Road, were obviously comments of a man who hadn’t seen us last season. Yes our first half performance was reminiscent of last season’s matches, the only difference being that Newcastle were a class above anything we faced last season. We probably need a reality check here, but it’s pretty hard considering this is a side that qualified for the Champions’ League last season. Yes Dyer could have had a hat trick, yes we (once again) missed many chances but that shouldn’t detract from a quality 90-minute performance.

City kicked-off from North Stand to Platt Lane with the many temporary seated fans glistening as the rain fell on their plastic ponchos (we’ll ignore the bare chested Geordies, it was funny… once… bit like Tango Man & the Sheff Wed band). Distin had already endeared himself to his former employers by applauding them; he duly received many boos, followed by ironic cheers from the City faithful. Anyway with Benarbia & Berkovic making Big Ron eat his words (“you can’t play them in the same team” – lovely Big Ron said on last week’s Premiership. Is this the new Hanson ‘kids’ comment?), City were creating chances like they were going out of fashion. Tearing into Newcastle at every opportunity, Bramble was made to look like a poor replacement for our glorious number 5.

Huckerby had a shot cleared off the line by desperate defending from Dabizas and with Huckerby and Anelka beginning to look more and more like a seasoned partnership, we were feeling confident a goal was only a few minutes away. Given again had to be quick to deny The Stoat with a block using his legs or possibly ar*e. Then Jensen curled in a delightful ball that Foe managed to clear the bar with a point-blank header! Arrgh! Head in hands moment, was this Leeds all over again? But no, as we were beginning to rue missed chances, there was the Stoat who from a cross ball by Anelka somehow headed the ball over the line, as all the City fans willed the ball to enter the net after a goalmouth scramble.

The goal stung Newcastle in reaction and within minutes Schmeichel was called into action, saving well from Lua-Lua’s shot. The resulting parry fell into the path of Dyer who steered his shot wide when faced with an open goal (Dyer later said he was too busy thinking about his celebration!). The half-time whistle blew and City fans, though delighted, began their pessimism that one goal wasn’t enough and we should have converted the many chances we’d had.

Half-time draw was carried out in the rain by John ‘The Time, The Place’ Stapleton and City managed to draw 4-4 on penalties with the Newcastle lads; only observation here is that Moonchester is a better goalie than Moonbeam.

Second-half saw Newcastle trying to get back on a level footing with City; poor defending from Distin saw Dyer aiming for row Z of the Platt Lane Stand. Yet City still created more chances as SWeeP was sent scampering down the right by Berkovic but he could only find the side netting with a blistering shot. Anelka tried a left foot shot from the edge of the box but fortunately for Newcastle, Given was right behind it. SWeeP again had another chance after Benarbia rolled a ball from Huckerby onto him, but he managed to screw the shot horribly wide.

However, all this exertion managed to take its toll on the City players and with them beginning to flag, Newcastle pressed on. Shearer saw a goal-bound shot (Andy and I were expecting the net to bulge) deflected wide for a corner (two of which Solano managed to put straight out for a goal kick) and Dyer saw Schmeichel deny him with an outstanding dive to his left. With Berkovic becoming more half-hearted with his challenges, Keegan made City’s only change as Horlock came on to stiffen things up at the back. In fact Super Kev’s arrival saw City revert to their passing football after a spell of panicky long balls. Horlock’s first arrival saw him with an excellent sliding tackle at left-back, followed by a ball from the half-way line to Schmeichel – watch him dropped for his non-attacking style of play! ;o)

Eventually Rennie blew for full-time, Distin applauded the Toon fans, Huckerby with clenched fists saluted the fans and we all went home with big smiles on our faces. I love the Premiership, just love it.

James Walsh (


The Leeds match was shown with (only) a two hour ‘lag’, so I managed to resist the lure of the Internet, BBC updates, BV et al, but I couldn’t wait until after work on Monday to find out about our first home fixture (although I was playing very poor golf as our mighty Blue heroes ran out).

Aside of Fox Sports World taking over approaching 20% of the screen 50% of the time with adverts for fantasy football and replica gear, I sat mesmerized for 30 minutes as we literally tore Newcastle apart. They were like the school bully after the 4’8″ weed connects with that one-in-a-million punch to the jaw. Toon just didn’t know where to defend, where the next attack was coming from, they just knew it would come, it would be fast and they’d have to clear as best they could before the next wave. Individual stuff I noted:

Did anyone else notice Schmeichel wincing after Speed’s deflected shot – he seemed to twist his knee as he went down? Other reports suggest a knee injury?

SWeeP and Huckerby – both tireless workhorses, who ran everywhere and chased every ball.

Anelka – typical (unlucky) striker. So many times when a toe here or a poke there would’ve finished with a goal – his time will come, and then the floodgates will open. His footwork is amazing.

Sun – That boy is good – glad he got his hair cut.

Howey – Solid, did what was needed. A couple of nice touches that started an(other) attack when I was expecting him to hoof it.

Distin – Patrolled that left side very well.

Foe – Should’ve scored, but next time. Slipped into anonymity a bit.

Ali – Masterful play-maker and inspirational captain. Can you imagine in a few weeks when the Ali/Huck and the Ali/Nic show finally clicks?

Eyal – Quiet game I thought.

Schmeichel – Superb game, still has the reactions of a player ten years his junior, and reads the game as well as any.

Jensen – Made the goal with his shot, and ever ready to have a pop.

I love the way KK brings the wing-backs up, right-up.
I love the way Huck operates on both sides of the park – Nic how about getting over on the left once in a while (that’s the only criticism you’ll find here today).
I love the way I find myself thinking “it’s okay, we’ve got a good ‘keeper, he’ll handle it fine”, when they break through, instead of “Oh, my God, what is he doing there – is he watching the game?”
I love the vision from SWeeP, Ali, Sun and others – 30, 40, 50 yard passes for Huck to chase – who’s going to beat him to the ball?
I love the passionate, timely and thoroughly effective tackles from all players.
I love you City.

Andy Moss (


Cathal Dervan’s piece (MCIVTA 841) on Roy Keane is taken from the Irish Voice, a newspaper in New York.

Peter Miller (


Does anyone have a spare ticket for the game vs. Blackburn at Maine Road? I’m flying back to the UK on Sept 13th, getting into Manchester early on the 14th and would love to catch the game. If anyone can help please email me. Beers (or whatever) as gratuity, plus the going rate of course. Cheers!

Gareth Lawrence (


I would appreciate advice on where I can watch City’s game at Arsenal on Tues Sep 10th whilst I’m in Ireland.

I may be in any of the cities of Cork, Kerry or Limerick and I wondered if there are Irish Blues in any of these areas who may be congregating to watch the game or recommend pubs with Sky?

My travelling party includes brother 1 who supports United and brother 2 who supports Newcastle (who are on the following night against Leeds) … oh and my mum (to keep the peace, wash the pots, do the laundry etc.).

Should make for an interesting holiday!

Many thanks in advance.

CTID, Joe Connor (


The next meeting of the Irlam and Cadishead Branch of Manchester City Supporters’ Club will take place at the Steel Works Club, Liverpool Road, Irlam on Wednesday 4th Sept at 8pm. New members welcome, please contact me for more details.

Dave Robinson – Chairman, Irlam and Cadishead branch (


Star Sports are showing the City vs. Everton game live at 10pm on Saturday.

Unfortunately, it’s up against the Slumberland/Rags game so guess which game most pubs will pick? I’ve asked if Molly Malones (behind Boat Quay), which they’ve sort of said yes, but haven’t 100% confirmed at time of going to press – I’d be surprised if they didn’t though.

John Riley (


I am an avid City fan who has just moved from Manchester to Thailand and what I need to know is, are there any City fans living in Pattaya, Thailand? I have met one who owns a bar called Blue Moon, he is a sound bloke called Derek and I regularly go down there to see him and have a natter over a few beers and a nose bag.

If any of you Blues are residing in Pattaya I would love to meet up with you and perhaps if you are planning on staying out here then maybe we could get together and maybe form a branch of the City supporters’ club out here.

Stephen Jackson (


Just a quick note to ask any South Florida Blues to get in touch with me so we can arrange some get togethers for games. I’m at the University of Miami, Coral Gables campus. I hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes, Benjamin Bloom (


Does anyone else with tickets for the concert at Lancs CC ground on Sunday 15th September know if there are plans to screen the Blackburn game from Maine Road, with the concert gates opening at the 2pm kick-off time? Alternatively, anybody know someone who would like to swap 2 Oasis tickets for Saturday to Sunday? Now why couldn’t they play Maine Road after the game?!

CTID, Mark Barratt (


We were hoping against hope that Zete (as in zed ted without the “d”s – even the Hungarians find it easier than saying Zalaegerszeg) would somehow come through against their opponents, when my better half saw Taggart’s face come up on the TV screen.

My question: does anyone know if Taggart a) worked for ICL selling computers in the 70’s more or less at the same time he was with some team in Scotland, and b) has (at least) 2 sons? She, my better half, worked with an Alex Ferguson as a translator some 30 years ago.

I realise that this is not the optimal forum for such a question, and I also realise that the readers will know little and care even less about Taggart. However, if my better half’s memory is correct, she has to be put on a course of therapy – possibly the end of season video, for which hitherto she has found inconsequential reasons not to watch.

Thanks, Alan Stevenson (


Thankfully, 5 live did commentary on our first two games, but for tonight’s Villa match, I had to listen via the Villa web site, because it seems, Century radio – using the Capitol Gold frequency – don’t seem to be doing any commentaries so far this season!

The links in the FAQ in the last edition of MCIVTA both appear to go to the Yahoo commentary service, but all I heard was the “This programme hasn’t started yet, check the programme schedule…” So, now that we’re back in the Prem, is there some restriction on broadcast on the net? I got every game last season – apart from the cup matches – now we’re in the top flight, am I, and others similarly placed to be deprived of hearing our wonderful Blues’ charge, towards Europe?

Andy Collins (


It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. All the family were over for the weekend. The night before, there’s a problem. Auntie Betty’s postal order hasn’t turned up. One of the paper hats is torn. We have to drink our Asti Spumanti out of plastic cups.

I go and see Auntie Betty, quietly, in the kitchen. She says that Uncle Mal was supposed to pop it in the postbox on his way to the shops last Tuesday. I say, “do you think Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink’s waiting on a f****** postal order the night before his f****** birthday?” She tries to fob me off with a game of pass the parcel.

The game starts. The music keeps stopping and starting. Uneven, disorganised, just like musical chairs four years ago. I just laugh. But then I think, “where’s the f****** kids?” Theresa goes: “They’re in bed Roy, it’s nearly midnight. They’re tired.” “We’re all f****** tired. It’s the day before my birthday. Could they f****** not have played pass the parcel?” I ask her.

I try to get something to eat. Uncle Ken’s had all the mini Kievs. So I have to prepare for the biggest day of the year with just a packet of mini Cheddars and a sausage roll. Theresa had the power to put it right, she knows how to use the microwave, but she just stands there. I phone the gaffer on his mobile, and he agrees it’s ridiculous.

Next morning, the postman finally arrives. Of course, the postal order isn’t there. He apologies. Keep calm, Roy, I tell myself. Don’t play into his hands. Right in front of the whole family, he says to check if it’s not slipped under the mat.

“I’m very sorry, Mr Keane, I really am, but I still haven’t got your postal order,” he says. Goading. Humiliating me in front of everyone. I’m calm, but I’m starting to feel it. He mentions the time that I lost that postcard behind the fridge that cousin Sue sent from Malta. There’s no way: anybody who knows me knows that I would never drop something down the back of the Zanussi.

He’s dangled the carrot, and I’ve had a big wet bite.

I say to him: “Well, f*** you then. You’re a f****** crap postman, you were a f****** crap painter and decorator before that and you’re a f****** crap person. You can stick your postal order up your bollix. I have no respect for you at all.”

I go and sit in the garden for a bit, then I go and see Nan and tell her that’s it. I’m spending my birthday in the shed. He set me up, saying that it might be under the doormat, and I went for it. They’ve wanted me in the shed for years.

Of course, they’re saying to me “Roy, this is your birthday. The biggest day of the year”, but there’s just no way I’m having anything to do with a postal service like this.

Nan tries to get me to stay, but my mind is made up. And I don’t think you need to guess who it was that apologised to the postman: so-called nice guy Great Uncle Derek. Maybe I’ll come out of the shed for my next birthday. But not if Uncle Mal’s going to the postbox.

Sent in, though not initiated by John Breen (


Recent results from 14 August 2002 to 28 August 2002 inclusive.

28 August 2002

Aston Villa           1 - 0  Manchester City       33,494
Leeds United          0 - 1  Sunderland            39,929
Southampton           1 - 1  Chelsea               31,208
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 2  Liverpool             29,207
Everton               1 - 1  Birmingham City       37,197

27 August 2002

Charlton Athletic     0 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     26,461
Arsenal               5 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  37,920

24 August 2002

Manchester City       1 - 0  Newcastle United      34,776
Birmingham City       0 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      27,563
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 2  Charlton Athletic     21,753
Liverpool             3 - 0  Southampton           43,058
Middlesbrough         2 - 2  Fulham                28,588
Sunderland            0 - 1  Everton               37,698
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  Aston Villa           35,384
West Ham United       2 - 2  Arsenal               35,048
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 3  Leeds United          26,618

23 August 2002

Chelsea               2 - 2  Manchester United     41,541

19 August 2002

Newcastle United      4 - 0  West Ham United       51,072

18 August 2002

Aston Villa           0 - 1  Liverpool             41,183
Arsenal               2 - 0  Birmingham City       38,018

17 August 2002

Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  Sunderland            27,122
Charlton Athletic     2 - 3  Chelsea               25,640
Everton               2 - 2  Tottenham Hotspur     40,120
Fulham                4 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      16,338
Leeds United          3 - 0  Manchester City       40,195
Manchester United     1 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  67,645
Southampton           0 - 0  Middlesbrough         28,341

League table to 28 August 2002 inclusive.

                              HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal          3  2  0  0  7  2  0  1  0  2  2  2  1  0   9   4   5   7
 2 Liverpool        3  1  0  0  3  0  1  1  0  3  2  2  1  0   6   2   4   7
 3 Tottenham H.     3  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  3  2  2  1  0   4   2   2   7
 4 Leeds United     3  1  0  1  3  1  1  0  0  3  1  2  0  1   6   2   4   6
 5 Chelsea          3  0  1  0  2  2  1  1  0  4  3  1  2  0   6   5   1   5
 6 Everton          3  0  2  0  3  3  1  0  0  1  0  1  2  0   4   3   1   5
 7 Blackburn R.     3  0  2  0  2  2  1  0  0  1  0  1  2  0   3   2   1   5
 8 Fulham           2  1  0  0  4  1  0  1  0  2  2  1  1  0   6   3   3   4
 9 Manchester Utd   2  1  0  0  1  0  0  1  0  2  2  1  1  0   3   2   1   4
10 Sunderland       3  0  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  1  0  1  1  1   1   1   0   4
11 Newcastle Utd    2  1  0  0  4  0  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  1   4   1   3   3
12 Charlton Ath.    3  0  0  2  2  4  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  2   4   5  -1   3
13 Aston Villa      3  1  0  1  1  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  2   1   2  -1   3
14 Manchester City  3  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  2  0  4  1  0  2   1   4  -3   3
15 Middlesbrough    2  0  1  0  2  2  0  1  0  0  0  0  2  0   2   2   0   2
16 Southampton      3  0  2  0  1  1  0  0  1  0  3  0  2  1   1   4  -3   2
17 Birmingham City  3  0  0  1  0  1  0  1  1  1  3  0  1  2   1   4  -3   1
18 West Ham United  2  0  1  0  2  2  0  0  1  0  4  0  1  1   2   6  -4   1
19 Bolton Wndrs     2  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  1  1  4  0  0  2   2   6  -4   0
20 West Brom A.     3  0  0  1  1  3  0  0  2  2  6  0  0  3   3   9  -6   0

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.04]

[0] How do I contact MCIVTA?

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

Comments concerning this FAQ should be sent to David Warburton using the address:

[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 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

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

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

[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, 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

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

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found here: An alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at:

[8] Are City’s goals available on the net? has available for download, usually within 24-48 hours of a game being played, all the goals from City’s recent matches.

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

The music we run out to at Maine Road is “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.

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #842