Newsletter #849

An unpredicted 0-0 draw saw us gain our first away point of the season down at Upton Park. We have three fine match reports tonight thanks to Sharon, Euan and Peter together with a report from Gavin on our U21s who were in action last week in a local game.

Also plenty of opinion on the Dunne & Danny situation, tunes, Gallagher’s free ride, book review and an excellent Why Blue.

Next game: Liverpool, home, 3pm Saturday 28 September 2002


Yawn… zzzz… snore… oh sorry, is the game over, can I wake up now? I was confidently expecting a goalfest (one way or the other!) on Saturday, either because we’d run riot against a flaky Wesht Aaam defence or we’d play like we did for most of the game against Blackburn and help kick start the Aaamers’ season. We used to be good at doing that. When the team was announced any hopes I had of a 10-0 thrashing quickly vanished – Anelka up front on his own? Really? It didn’t work against Leeds; admittedly they are far better than Wesht Aaam but were our midfield really going to play that much better and pass the ball up to him from the edge of the opposing penalty area rather than from the halfway line? Horlock was the extra man in midfield and Howey was back instead of Bischoff (phew). The remainder of the team was Schmeichel, SWP, Distin, Sun Jihai, Foe, Ali, Eyal and Jensen. Tiatto had kept his place on the bench, somewhat surprisingly after his antics against Blackburn, and was kept company by Nash, Huckerby, Bischoff and little Shuker.

Erm. What happened in the first 15 minutes? Well. there was a lot of pretty passing around the midfield… erm… there was some pretty awful passing around the midfield too. Actually we spent the first ten minutes recovering from our fits of laughter at the sight of the Hammers’ mascot. Have you seen it? It’s a hammer! It’s the worst mascot in the world! It looks like they’ve nicked someone else’s mascot (say the fox from Leicester), removed its head (but left the fluffy fat bits that make up the rest of the costume) and stuck a gigantic hammer on top! A silver one! An inflatable one! It’s rubbish! It looks stupid! It’s even worse than the Deepdale Duck! It makes Wolfie look like a well designed piece of classical art! 15 minutes in we had the first bit of interesting action – I know it was 15 minutes in because I checked my mum’s watch as I couldn’t believe how long it had been before either side had managed to get their act together enough to threaten on goal. Joe Cole (pretty but ineffectual) broke free and shot but only straight at Schmeichel. Which set the pattern for the rest of the game as far as they were concerned. At the other end, Ali showed himself for the first time in the game and shot well, but (thanks to a deflection) the shot went wide. Which set the pattern equally well for the rest of the game as far as we were concerned. At least we got a corner from that particular deflection, the linesman on that side being aware that he was allowed to raise his flag for more than just to back up the ref and indicate which way a throw in should go. More of that later.

Huckerby may not have been on the pitch but Anelka tried to make sure we didn’t forget him by getting caught offside a few times – I’ve no idea if he was or not as he was at the other end of the pitch, but it didn’t stop us howling in protest. At the other end, Cole and Kanoute were offside on several occasions but the less than competent linesman running that side of the pitch didn’t feel able to give those decisions. I would be generous and say the sun was in his eyes but I don’t feel like it, so I’ll say the truth instead – this man did not know what he was doing. He looked as if he was scared to raise his flag in case he made the wrong decision. Distin (who had an awesome game) tangled with someone (might have been Kanoute) less than two yards in front of the linesman, who gave nothing. The ref, who was a good 40 yards away in the middle of the pitch, correctly gave us a free kick. It was to get worse. Anelka continued to work hard up front but frankly struggled on his own – he was winning virtually all the high balls that came to him, but there was no-one running forward to support him and collect the flick ons that he was doing. I felt desperately sorry for him – he was isolated for so long during the game, watching Berkovic wimp out of tackles and Foe give the ball away, yet not once did he stop running and trying to create chances to take himself. This is not the Anelka that left Arsenal in a sulk – nor even the one that faded out of a few games for Liverpool last year. This one is a great player who is trying incredibly hard to win games for the club, and playing him on his own with the sort of naff service he was getting on Saturday is cruel.

Chances for West Ham were few – mainly because they either shot from distance (wide) or from just outside the area (high) or speculatively (wide and high). On the occasions where they tried to run it into the area Distin cut the ball out each time, coolly, calmly, collectedly and competently. Cracking competitor (I’m running out of clean C words now…). It’s a good job he was having a good game on Saturday as well, as Jensen was continuing with the sort of ‘mare that he’d had against Blackburn. Foe wasn’t much better as he constantly gave the ball away.

I was looking forward to half time as I thought we might get a better look at the hammer mascot but sadly – for me anyway – the half time entertainment was some rather scantily clad young ladies performing some rather strange pelvic thrusts while lying on their backs in the middle of the pitch. Accompanied by some less than polite chants from the City fans in our end. They got a nice round of applause when they’d finished though.

Unfortunately the second half carried on in pretty much the same way as the first, except that this time we had the added disadvantage that we were attacking the end that the useless linesman was dozing next to. We did look better – Eyal and Ali remembered they were playing, not watching (or running away from tackles, eh Eyal?) and put a couple of balls through for Anelka to run on to. Anelka had a shot knocked wide by a defender that the linesman somehow missed seeing so we didn’t get the corner that should have been ours. Not long after that the ball broke out to SWP at the end of the area, who for once remembered the advice his stepdad had given him and shot on target. James just managed to get his fingertips to it to push it out wide for a… goal kick. I’ve seen this since as it was on the match low, sorry highlights on Saturday night, along with commentary that was something like “the ‘keeper had to be alert to push SWP’s shot round the post”. Well it’s a shame the linesman hadn’t taken some more of the alert juice then as he gave the goal kick.

At the other end West Ham pretty much contented themselves with diving in the box instead of trying to shoot – Di Canio was the main guilty person here but after he was subbed (for being useless and past it I assume) Kanoute and Sinclair carried on admirably. Joe Cole helped out by falling over clutching his neck a couple of times when City were attacking, bless. No wonder poor old Sven, sitting in the crowd, was looking at his watch and yawning. I doubt he was there to watch Howey or SWP (although he’ll have done his cause no harm) so must have been disappointed with the performance from so-called Wunderkind Cole, and Carrick was only on the pitch for 15 minutes so couldn’t have impressed him overmuch.

With 10 minutes to go Ali – who had been anonymous, again, for much of the game – was brought off for Huckerby. It didn’t help much though, 10 minutes wasn’t really long enough for him to get into the match. I don’t remember him being caught offside though 🙂 Anelka tried to turn provider for Berkovic and crossed to him from the right hand side, but Berkovic could only copy the West Ham strikers and hit the ball straight at the ‘keeper. The linesman called a couple more throw ins the wrong way (surprise!) but the game really had fizzled out after about the 2nd minute so it wasn’t too much of a surprise that it ended 0-0. Keegan afterwards seemed fairly happy, but looking at the team he put out he must have aimed to get a draw to stop this losing run away from home that we’ve been on, so I suppose from that point of view it was a good result. However, from my point of view West Ham are an awful team and we should have beaten them out of sight. Even with the team we’d had on, had Ali shown a little more (or anything at all) of what he’s capable of, if Eyal had just once challenged for those 50-50 balls in midfield, if Foe hadn’t kept giving the ball away then we might have had a chance. Schmeichel was equally to blame though – instead of playing the ball out through defence he insisted on punting it up front most of the time. This is fine if you’ve two strikers on the pitch – or if your lone striker is adequately backed up by an attacking midfield – but all that was happening on Saturday was that Anelka was heading the ball down in to space and there was never anyone there to challenge the West Ham defence for it so it’d come straight back at us.

Very frustrating, not the sort of attacking football that we’re supposed to play these days. And definitely two points lost rather than one gained.

Sharon Hargreaves


Match Review, or “Educating Stephanie”!

Well, this was the day that Stephanie (see last issue – “Why I’m Almost Blue”) would get to see her future idols for the first time… and this is where the indoctrination would start. I considered what I needed to be in place to prepare her:

  1. Dislike of Man U and all things from Old Trafford (Check! With dislike of Millwall as a bonus).
  2. Ability to deal with abject disappointment (She’s a Chelsea fan, so – check!).
  3. Knowledge of “Blue Moon” and “We’re Not Really Here” (Check! And, yes, she joined in!).
  4. Awareness of team and some familiarity with tactics (I’ve sent her the last few issues of MCIVTA so – check!).
    The rest are bonuses:
  5. City logo now backdrop on her computer!
  6. She wants a season ticket at the new stadium when we get married!
  7. She has suggested that the first dance at our wedding reception should be – Blue Moon!

We got to Upton Park very early so went and had a cup of tea and a plate of chips in a little cafe on Barking Road, then got to sit in the sun for a while. Once in the ground, the most amusing thing to happen was when the stewards had a minor fit as two supporters in green Maccabi Haifa kits turned up and posed for photos at the front of the City end. I suppose they didn’t know where they should be, but that was sorted out reasonably well. Of course, they got a decent reception from the City faithful.

I suppose we ought to have known what was going to happen when the team was read out – City lined up thus:
Schmeichel, Jihai, Howey, Distin, Wright-Phillips, Berkovic, Benarbia, Foe, Horlock, Jensen, Anelka.

It was nice to see that the West Ham fans applauded very warmly when Eyal Berkovic and Marc-Vivien Foe’s names were read out, then again the City fans reciprocated when Steve Lomas was announced.

Then the game started. It’s very hard to write a review really because there just wasn’t enough incident worth noting. Although both sides went forward with purpose at times, I am hard pushed to think of any really meaningful attempts on goal, apart from a good effort by Anelka which was kept out by James. West Ham looked threatening, especially down their right, but so often the last meaningful cross didn’t happen, more often that not they were stopped by some excellent defending by Distin and Wright-Phillips. Once again Schmeichel was in commanding mood in the City goal, but I don’t think he had a seriously threatening shot to save.

It was ultimately a scrappy game destined for 0-0. Neither side really got going properly, and both teams seemed concerned more about not losing the game rather than winning it. Keegan waited until 10 minutes from the end to bring Huckerby on, and he barely got to touch the ball – he replaced Benarbia, admittedly Ali had a very quiet game by his own standards, but without him, the chances of the ‘killer’ ball being played through to the front two were limited. The polite applause from both sets of fans when the full time whistle went indicated that a point each was a fair result, and that everyone was pleased not to have lost.

Earwigging from opposing fans is usually interesting, and the gist of what I caught was that the West Ham fans expected much more from City than they got, which was fair enough. We expected more too! One question – when will Vuoso get his chance? It seems amazing that with the current striking crisis he doesn’t even get a place on the bench.

Anyway some ratings:
Schmeichel – 8 – always commanding in goal, not a lot to do really.
Jihai – 8 – never afraid to commit himself and to make that vital tackle, is becoming one of the stars of the season.
Howey – 6 – not one of his better games, not as commanding as usual.
Distin – 8 – looking better by the game too, some excellent tackling, my MotM.
Wright-Phillips – 7 – held back rather a lot, perhaps was told to, but did tackle back very well.
Berkovic – 7 – made some useful runs, but still not quite the force he was last season, still very reluctant to go in for 50-50s.
Benarbia – 6 – rather anonymous for much of the game, substituted.
Foe – 6 – also a bit anonymous.
Horlock – 7 – got about the pitch a fair bit but didn’t really ever achieve a lot.
Jensen – 7 – got forward well and played well with Distin.
Anelka – 8 – ran and ran but without a strike partner was always out on his own, went nearest to scoring.
Huckerby didn’t really get enough time or enough of the ball to get a rating.

So the bottom line was, we appeared to set out not to lose the game, and succeeded in that. It’s a shame that Stephanie couldn’t have witnessed a more exciting forward-going performance, but she will get her chance!

Euan Bayliss (


A brief report as nothing much happened!

Second match of the season for me, first for my colleague Paul and first ever English match for an Australian visitor, Jenny.

Upton Park is an easy ground to get to if you live in the East of England like we do. Straight to the end of the M11, park at Redbridge and catch the tube. We took a diversion to Wanstead Park for lunch before getting on the tube, which was civilised as the only threat comes from people walking small yappy dogs and blackberry pickers. The houses around it are huge and not what you would associate wiv the East End guv.

Got to the ground in plenty of time. It’s a nice place – inside anyway.

City started with Schmeichel, Jensen, Distin, Howey, Jihai, SWP, Horlock, AliB, Berkovic, Foe and Anelka. Horlock played the holding rôle with Foe almost a forward.

Jihai, Howey and especially Distin had great games (The Guardian this morning gave Distin man of the match). Personally my man of the match was Horlock, who was superb and was probably the only one of the midfield who managed to find his team mates regularly and he put in some superb tackles.

I was sitting just to the right of the goalpost in the City bit of the ground and thought I was in a prime spot to get clattered by stray shots. There were none throughout the game and my glasses are safe. I think it is fair to say a draw was fair. West Ham cannot shoot to save their lives but had too many chances for my liking and City had better shots but fewer of them.

Anelka had one great chance when he was put through by Ali but James stuck out his right boot just far enough to save it. Good shot and a good save. A minute or so later SWP had a great shot superbly saved by James diving to his right tipping the ball around the post I was sitting behind. The ref gave a goal kick to my amazement. The newspaper reports say it hit the post – no it didn’t. Later Berkovic had a chance to fire home but scuffed his shot that was easily saved by James.

That was about it.

Pete Carey (


Abbey Hey’s Academy Lesson

City sent an under 21 side to Abbey Hey FC last night to help the East Manchester club’s centennial celebrations. Plus it was a spare week of either senior cup or reserve league action.

For the first half an hour Abbey Hey defended well and City found it hard to find the killer edge in front of goal. However, once the first goal went in on 30 minutes, albeit a penalty, the floodgates opened. The first two goals were a brace for Glen Whelan, who surprisingly was not the captain. The following two goals were also a brace; this time for young striker Adie Orr, who reverted to a sweeper in the second half. The final and fifth goal of the half came from a typical surging run and powerful strike by prodigy Willo Flood.

Dorryl Proffitt and exiled Blue Rhys Day, known affectionately to the regulars as Nice Day, came on for Loran and Paisley. Within a minute Nice Day got the first of his brace when he headed home unmarked from a Jamie Almond cross. On 51 minutes City decided they could afford to give a consolation goal to Abbey Hey and Dave Amison hooked the ball into the net from a scramble whilst he was on the floor. Proffitt scored City’s seventh shortly afterwards when he slotted the ball in the net after rounding the ‘keeper.

City made two more changes within minutes, replacing Gary Browne who had an ineffective evening and ‘keeper Brian Murphy, for Ellegaard and Wright-Phillips, the younger brother of Shaun. Abbey Hey were finished off by late goals by Wright-Phillips and Nice Day getting the second of his brace.

City: Murphy (Ellegaard 61), Flood, Jordan (Tickle 76), Loran (Proffitt 46), McCarthy (capt), Paisley (Day), McDowall, Whelan, Browne (Wright-Phillips), Orr, Almond.

Att: Approx. 100.

Gavin Cooper (


It was reported on Tuesday that Manchester City’s most famous fan hasn’t an idea of quid pro quo. On Sunday, the British millionaire and his friends went to watch Manchester City play Blackburn, and sat in a box that usually costs £1,500 for free, courtesy of MCFC – in fact, he was caught on camera on a few occasions during the live match. Gallagher and company got the full VIP treatment, with drinks and food thrown in, according to The Sun [The Gallaghers apparently enjoy free entry to City games on a regular basis].

But that same night, MCFC had to pay £3,000 for a box for City players, including Nicolas Anelka, Darren Huckerby and Nicky Weaver, to go to the Oasis gig. A source was quoted as saying: “It’s a bit rich that Noel enjoyed a great afternoon out at the match with all his mates without any one of them having to put their hands in their pockets. But when it comes round to the gig in the evening, the club has to pay for a box for the players to see the band. It seems tight-fisted. I don’t think Noel would do something like that intentionally. It’s probably a management thing or whoever is running the Oasis tour. But you would have expected him to step in and sort things out.”

Apparently some people from the other side – viz. David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville – were also sitting in the MCFC box, which raises even more questions.

Hsien Min (


I think City have stumbled upon another disadvantage of a closed transfer market. It will take a rather serious misdemeanour to force any club to rid themselves of a troublesome player (breaking a team mate’s jaw might do the trick). City do not have the option of transfer listing Richard Dunne until the next transfer window around Christmas. If he is sacked then a £3 million player walks out of the door a free agent with the potential to increase his earnings by joining another club without the hindrance of a transfer fee.

Without knowing all of the facts I cannot say whether I believe Richard deserves another reprieve or not. I do believe however, that realistically City had no option but to offer him one and that this episode has highlighted something that needs to be addressed by the FA should they stand by the current transfer regulations.

Finally, I like Richard Dunne as a player and hope that this time he gets his act together.

Phil Sutton (


Why do people refer to Marc Vivian Foe as a midfield general? It can only be after Custer if present performances are anything to go on?

Simon Moorehead (


Thanks to everyone for their help. The 3 players are Wynn Davies (moved in ’72 for £60,000), Tony Coton (moved in ’96, £500,000) and Billy Meredith (moved in 1906). Denis Law moved via Torino, Matt Busby moved there as manager via Liverpool, Ryan Giggs moved directly but was only a trainee at the time, Peter Barnes made his way to Stretford via a variety of clubs including WBA and Leeds.

CTID, David Moran (


  1. The tune City run out to is not now “Nightmare” by Brainbug as that tuneis very much over by the time the teams take the field. They actually nowemerge to Supra’s “Blue Moon”. This might not be intended but it’s the way itappears to me anyway.
  2. Danny Tiatto. I think it’s fair to say that DT is the most indisciplinedplayer we’ve ever had at Maine Road (unless someone knows different).Whereas I’ll cheer every move he makes whilst in a blue shirt on the pitch(for as long as it lasts) the fact remains that, as a midfield player hisgoals record is appalling, his runs end often in a cul de sac, and his goalassists total just isn’t that great. It’s no wonder that the cool NiclasJensen is the man with the shirt at the moment even if he is a littlelightweight and sometimes easily shrugged off the ball. For me, if a decentoffer came for DT we should take it. I’m sure the other players can’t betoo impressed at the number of times he lets them down and makes them playwith ten men. It surely gets to a stage where they’re all watching him gointo a tackle wondering what’s going to happen and that can’t be good fortheir concentration in a game. DT had a purple patch in the lastPremiership season but I think he’s given one apology too many this time.To think that he even got sent off for maiming one of his own clubmates inan international said it all really.

Lance Thomson (


In McV 848 John Hurst asked about a music track consisting of mainly drums. I don’t see the answer in the FAQ; the ‘Nightmare’ music has been played for a while, but I think John’s query relates to a new piece this season, played a couple of minutes before the teams run out… “Played-a-live” (“the Bongo Song”) Safri Duo. I know it was used at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony too.

Nev James (


I have been away and have only just read the opinions of John Kelsey on this board about Peter Brophy’s new book “Stop Making Sense: Manchester City, Mother Russia & Me” (The Parrs Wood Press). From the amazing response I received after my 3-part “Why Blue” appeared here last year, I know that many good, generous and very perceptive City fans from all round the world read MCIVTA, and I really don’t want them to be adversely influenced about this book by a “review” that is not only negative, but, in my opinion, negative in a nasty way.

I have been involved in writing books, reading reviews of them, teaching writing, and writing reviews for all my longish adult life, so I know whereof I speak, and I want to say to readers here that, to my mind anyway, Brophy’s book is not bad at all. It’s the “review” that’s bad and the book that’s good. I thoroughly recommend it to any City fan – I’ve read it twice and it’s a cracking read.

Kelsey’s negative words do their author no service. Nearly half of his diatribe is copied word for word from publicity material and the rest is so violently negative that it makes me wonder if there isn’t something personal at work here. His main objection seems to be that, after Colin Shindler’s “Manchester United Ruined My Life”, books by City supporters concerned with how their lives have related to, or been affected by, Manchester City can, or should, no longer be written as it’s already been done (you know, the way Shakespeare should never have written “Hamlet”, “Macbeth”, or “King Lear” because the Greeks had already “done” tragedy). The comparison with Shindler should be a compliment to Brophy, but apparently Kelsey doesn’t think so. He also believes that each of City’s 35,000 supporters (what rubbish – as if the capacity of MR measures numbers of supporters) has a book inside him/her which, he says, should stay inside them. As he should know, no two lives, stories, experiences are ever the same.

He sneers at Brophy’s publishing with “a little known Manchester publisher” instead of with a mainstream publishing house. I wonder if he knows how very few sports related books are published by mainstream houses? I do, and it’s very few. Besides, anybody who knows sports will know that The Parrs Wood Press is one of the leading outlets for books connected with sports, especially in the north-west of England. Such a snide comment is beneath contempt.

But Kelsey’s nastiest move here is to quote five very short extracts from Brophy’s book, as short as ten words, all completely out of context and most just parts of sentences. This, of course, is the incompetent or malicious reviewer’s favourite trick, as it makes the author of the book sound simple, cliched, or short on understanding, because it completely ignores the intelligent qualifying material all around the few quoted words. This is mean-spirited, unfair, and, in this case, utterly unrepresentative of the book Kelsey purports to be reviewing.

“Stop Making Sense” does not resemble Shindler’s book in the way Kelsey claims. Peter Brophy’s tone is quite different, his experiences as family member, as schoolboy and student, as traveller in Russia and elsewhere. His response to and love of City, his attempts to make sense of his love life and the shape of his life in general – all these and more are done quite differently from the way Shindler handles his material. But you’d never guess that from this unpleasant diatribe posing as a review. Brophy’s book is interesting, recognisably that of a devoted and long-suffering City fan yet different in many ways from any other book about City I have read. It moves between amusing, intriguing, exotic and shrewd. The author’s restlessness in Europe and England, mirrored by the curious ways City’s results (and he recalls here lots of individual matches many readers will have been to themselves) show how the team has swung and swayed in a complex way in and out of balance with the arc of Brophy’s life, and his jobs and love affairs in particular. This is excellently done and the approachable way he presents these things is admirable. His down-to-earth usually-silent-but-capable-of-a-good-spewing-of-bad-language “Manchester Bloke” is an amusing device for undercutting the often pompous folk he’s met and had to work with. I was sorry to come to the last page – it’s a great ride.

Peter Brophy writes well. Any City fan will find much pleasure in this fascinating and unique story, as well as saying “Yes!” many times while reading about the club in general, the team, and the curious richness of being a City supporter. The parts about Russia, all closely connected with City, give the book an unusual dimension not found in other autobiographies, and the author’s willingness to analyse himself and his decisions, and to admit how wrong, right, foolish, wise, proud, ashamed, hopeful, despairing or exhilarated he might be, is brave and impressive. There is much rueful humour here.

I thoroughly recommend this book to all City fans. I do not know either reviewer or author (though I now know Brophy from his revealing book), so I can’t say if Kelsey’s misleading and destructive “review” that appeared in MCIVTA is personally based or not. If not, I can see absolutely no justification in its sneering hostility towards another City fan’s achievement. I wonder if Mr. Kelsey has written and published books and knows how much of yourself goes into doing that? If so, he should be ashamed. If not, he should perhaps keep his vituperative opinions to himself unless he’s prepared to give the material he’s writing about a fair and impartial assessment, which would, among other things, include backing up opinions from the text, honestly summing up the scope of the contents, and not just making crude and nasty ad hominem generalisations.

I hope that many on this board will buy “Stop Making Sense”. If you’re overseas, you can obtain it through You will, I’m sure, wonder, as I do, why anybody would wish to trash such a fine book by a genuine fan who has so many perceptive and enjoyable things to say.

Chris Wiseman – Calgary, Alberta (


Back in 1972 a group a lads from Salford Grammar were insufferable, our team had been winning things year upon year and we pitied the sad individuals who had to skulk around school hiding their pathetic red and white scarves who supported the other, less successful, Manchester team. It was the time to be Blue and how we loved it.

We now feel (30 years on!) in a position to stand up to these sad individuals who have for a long while had the upper hand (in their opinion anyway). Consequently I am trying to locate one of the other main die-hards who has supported the Blues through thick and thin to attend a reunion on 4th October. If anyone knows John Scott (a.k.a. Scotty) formerly of Salford, Ardwick and all points west, I would be most grateful for an email address or phone number or if they could forward my email address or a message to him.

I realise that this is not a “friends contact site” but City are the only thing in common I have to go on.

Thanks and regards, Ged Wilson (


I would be grateful if anyone has 2 tickets spare for Saturday’s game. Willing to collect if within a sensible distance of Stockport.

Thanks, Craig Bennett (


Have managed to secure two on our City cards (mine and son Tom’s), but being the saint I am, my ticket is going to our daughter Allegra, so she can see us at Maine Road for her last time, as she flies out to Oz at the end of October.

So if any kind soul has a spare ticket for this game, I’d be more than happy to take it off your hands! Email me as per below, or call me on 01454 892243 (work), 01179 551 393 (home).

Fingers crossed.

Jeremy Poynton (


What would an edition of MCIVTA be without a begging plea? Anyone got 2 tickets for the Liverpool game? If by some remote chance you please e-mail me.


I feel a bit hesitant putting in my “Why Blue?” since most “Why Blues” I have read here were written by people who were born in Manchester and supported them for a good 30 years, which does not apply for me, well, mind, I am only 34… But now you have asked twice, Heidi, so here I go:

The short answer:

Because I love Manchester, I love football, and I feel that passion, loyalty and humour/irony are some of the most important values in life and in football (for the supporters, that is, as far as the players are concerned a bit of skill should be involved, too).

The extended one:

In 1995 I had the opportunity to leave my home country Germany for a two year teaching stint in the UK. Asked for my preferences I chose Manchester, partly because of the job description and party because I loved the music from Manc bands like the Smiths or the Stone Roses (and I learned only recently that Ian Brown supports the other lot).

Being there, I really enjoyed the buzz and the mentality, the way complete strangers start chatting with you. Crowded streets at 2am, bars playing James’ “Sit Down” – this was an experience you cannot get in Konstanz, Spaichingen, or Rottweil (to name the places I had lived before).

On the other hand, I started to miss my friends and so it was alright to return to Germany. But I have felt attached to Manchester ever since, and Manchester comes only second in my “feel at home” scale, right after Mainz, where I was born. I have to come back at least once a year to say hello and to check out the latest developments in the city. Thankfully some places did not change too much, and my favourite restaurant around the corner in West Didsbury is still there.

So I do get rather angry if someone has a go at Manchester digging out old stereotypes of a dirty industrial town, like our German equivalent of “The Sun”, the BILD, did, when they were discussing the possibility of Effenberg moving to City. Well, if Effenberg read it and decided not to come because of what BILD wrote about Manchester, I am willing to forgive them.

That was the “Why Manchester?” bit, but Why Blue? Stupid question, you might think, because there is only one football team to come from Manchester… but it took a while before I realised that! While being in Manchester, I was rather reading NME instead of the Sunday Pink. And I only went to see four matches: Germany twice during Euro 96, the other lot vs. Leeds (I think – a friend of mine had a season ticket to spare for a match) and City vs. QPR. Although City lost, I liked the way they played in these Rösler and Kinky times. And they were my local team – when I was adventurous enough to cycle to work the safest option was going past Platt Lane.

But then it was time to return to Germany, and somehow I lost touch with City. Instead, I was soaking up the thrill of a great season of 1. FC Kaiserslautern, the team I have loved since they thrashed Real Madrid 5:0 in 1982: They had just returned to Bundesliga (Premier League) from their only season ever in Div. 1 (Zweite Bundesliga, where they played in front of a sold out Betzenberg most of the time, i.e. in front of an average crowd of a good 36.000 – a loyalty I was and I still am dead proud of, although I was not actively involved, because I was in Manchester and because I thought it was impossible to get tickets anyway) and in 1998 they went on from beating Bayern Munich in Munich straight ahead to becoming German Champions!

Right, you might skip the next bit because it is a bit off topic, but I feel I should not hide the dark side of my story. You might guess what comes next: The 98/99 Champions’ League campaign in which FCK proudly took part made me watch the other lot on TV. And made me even support them. Phew, now it is out. “Why?” I hear you cry. For a couple of reasons. Firstly, they had the “Manchester” in their team’s name. Secondly – and this might sound very odd – I remembered them as unlucky losers that played decent football – a bit like the Leverkusen of these days. I suppose because they lost against Dortmund in the Champions’ League. Anyway, the most important reason was that I do “dislike” Bayern Munich “with a passion” – to borrow Ernie Barrow’s words. And I usually do not call them “Bayern Munich”, but I do not want to start swearing. They have been dominating German football on and off the pitch for 30 years – that is for all my football conscious life! They buy all the good players, they often play destructive but still manage to win, and their fans are mostly little school kids or Red Arrogant Gits. And they threw FCK out of competition thanks to a very dubious penalty plus sending off. So all these things made me support the other lot in the Barcelona final and indulge in the fact that Bayern lost. This way. Punished. Ha, ha.

But after the night of Barcelona there was dawn and a new, sky blue bright day was about to come: Thanks to the English infrastructure of Gran Canaria (pubs, pubs, pubs), where I was on holiday, I was able to watch City for the first time since 1997 – and you all know what came next: Dickov, “Guy Butters with the responsibility…”, Weaver, party!

Back home, I had a good look at the Internet and I finally discovered MCIVTA – and thanks to you I have been able to keep in touch with City ever since. I felt closer to the club than while being in Manchester. This might be a case of “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, but it also speaks volumes about MCIVTA: You made me feel part of the big City family, and I am very, very, grateful for it!

So I followed City via the Internet during the 99/00 season and I was desperate that I could not find a pub at home to show the Blackburn match. To make up for it, I raided the bookshops of Manchester in my summer holidays 2000 and inhaled the books about City’s history.

But still, why didn’t I stick to the other lot? Well, they reminded me more and more of Bayern Munich. Everyone everywhere seems to wear one of their shirts, even little girls in Germany run about with “7 Beckham”. So this was not about Manchester anymore, this was the dominance I disliked so strongly about Bayern, Real Madrid and the likes of them. So, adding a bit of Keane and a bit of losing against Derby with their b-team on the pitch, a bit more Keane and some dose of Ferguson, they have made their way to the “dislike with growing passion” category in the football part of my mind and heart which once was reserved for Bayern exclusively…

Right, but back to Why Blue? Supporting City is for me about passion, loyalty and humour.

Passion: I was back at Maine Road for my first match since 1997 to watch City vs. Sunderland in August 2000. I got tickets in Platt Lane Stand row 5 – I have never been so close to the pitch during a match (even row 1 at the Betzenberg is further away – or so it feels), and I have never been part of such a passionate crowd – positively passionate, that is. The way everyone was singing “We love you City, we do” was so heartfelt I could hardly join in because of the lump in my throat.

Loyalty: I have to mention the 28.261 during Div. 2, a fact that really, really won me over. I am not sure how many would have turned up even at the Betzenberg after such a spell of non-success. In 2001 I decided to leave lovely Cornwall for a trip up to Manchester on a Bank Holiday Friday to watch them against Crewe. And approaching Maine Road by bus, it felt so good to see the sea of blue shirts turning up for a Div. 1 match and filling Maine Road (even the wet bits).

Humour: This label is a bit misleading on itself – what I mean and what I love about City is a mixture of irony and passion. So one of the highlights of City’s last Premiership season was reading in MCIVTA about the songs during the Arsenal match. Or the lyrics of Ernie Whalley when City went down again (“Finally a song to carry us into Div. 1, Adieu you Riverside…”). I copied it from MCIVTA and it stayed on my wall ever since, because it sums up how I feel about City: “But once again, my own true love / We never will be parted, you and I / We’ll be queuing up next August / For a Programme and a balti pie.”

Queuing up for the Newcastle match, I was rewarded with a dream of a game to watch. City is finally blessed with a chairman who knows what he is doing, a manager who loves what he is doing and players who have the skill for what they are doing. This is the icing on the City cake, and I will enjoy it as long as it lasts and dream about City playing in Europe (mind, they should manage an Intertoto slot this season or next, so soon there might be no more need for dreaming).

But I know that the essence of what City is about does not depend on success, and this is the reason to make me feel confident enough to end this “Why Blue?” with.

CTID, Petra Manker (


Recent results from 17 September 2002 to 22 September 2002 inclusive.

22 September 2002

Aston Villa           3 - 2  Everton               30,023
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 0  Leeds United          25,415

21 September 2002

Newcastle United      2 - 0  Sunderland            52,181
Arsenal               2 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      37,974
Liverpool             2 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  43,830
Manchester United     1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     67,611
Middlesbrough         1 - 0  Birmingham City       29,869
Southampton           0 - 0  Charlton Athletic     25,714
West Ham United       0 - 0  Manchester City       35,550

League table to 22 September 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          7  4  0  0 11  4  1  2  0  6  3  5  2  0  17   7  10  17
 2 Liverpool        7  2  2  0  9  4  2  1  0  6  4  4  3  0  15   8   7  15
 3 Tottenham H.     7  3  0  0  6  3  1  1  2  5  6  4  1  2  11   9   2  13
 4 Chelsea          6  1  2  0  6  3  2  1  0  7  5  3  3  0  13   8   5  12
 5 Leeds United     7  2  0  1  4  1  2  0  2  6  4  4  0  3  10   5   5  12
 6 Middlesbrough    7  3  1  0  7  2  0  1  2  1  3  3  2  2   8   5   3  11
 7 Manchester Utd   7  3  0  1  3  1  0  2  1  3  4  3  2  2   6   5   1  11
 8 Fulham           5  2  0  0  7  3  1  1  1  5  3  3  1  1  12   6   6  10
 9 Blackburn R.     7  1  2  1  5  5  1  1  1  3  3  2  3  2   8   8   0   9
10 Aston Villa      7  3  0  1  6  3  0  0  3  0  5  3  0  4   6   8  -2   9
11 West Brom A.     7  2  0  1  3  3  1  0  3  3  8  3  0  4   6  11  -5   9
12 Birmingham City  7  2  0  1  5  2  0  2  2  3  6  2  2  3   8   8   0   8
13 Everton          7  1  2  0  5  4  1  0  3  4  7  2  2  3   9  11  -2   8
14 Manchester City  7  2  1  0  6  3  0  1  3  1  6  2  2  3   7   9  -2   8
15 Newcastle Utd    6  2  0  1  6  2  0  1  2  2  6  2  1  3   8   8   0   7
16 Charlton Ath.    7  0  0  3  2  7  2  1  1  4  3  2  1  4   6  10  -4   7
17 Bolton Wndrs     6  1  0  2  4  5  1  0  2  3  6  2  0  4   7  11  -4   6
18 Southampton      7  1  3  0  2  1  0  0  3  1  6  1  3  3   3   7  -4   6
19 Sunderland       7  0  1  2  1  5  1  1  2  1  5  1  2  4   2  10  -8   5
20 West Ham United  6  0  2  2  2  5  0  0  2  2  7  0  2  4   4  12  -8   2

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 #849