Newsletter #855

A weekend off due to internationals has given the team, and fans, time to rest and reflect.

A fairly quiet issue tonight, with continuing debate on midfield, the Elk, time for reflection and differences of opinion. We have a couple of requests and a bit of blue humour.

Next game: Chelsea, home, 3pm Saturday 19th October 2002


Our resident newsman Don is off on his holidays for issues 858 (24/10) and 860 (31/10). If anybody would like to have a go at providing the summaries for those two editions, please contact Don directly ( who will be able to give you guidance on his ‘blue’ sources.

Thank you.


It’s a strange world…

I’ve just watched Mr Beckham execute a challenge that was almost identical to the one that got Tiatto sent off in the Blackburn game. You will recall that Tiatto’s challenge led to him being sent off, fined two weeks wages, suspended for three games, made to apologise, criticised by his manager, described as being out of control and even (worst of all!) told in MCIVTA that he wasn’t wanted at City anymore. Mr Beckham conceded a free kick but was not sent off, was not even booked, was not criticised by his manager, was not deprived of the England captaincy, he gets to criticise the Slovakian supporters, is not being suspended, nor fined wages; in fact apart from Peter Reid (who we now know has become feeble minded by his sacking from Sunderland) he is regarded as a national hero. Had the referee decided to dismiss Mr Beckham (as he should have) no doubt Mr Beckham would have been reviled for letting his country down. I bet something was thrown at the TV in the Tiatto household.

To the point – if City want to play Benarbia and Berkovic in midfield then we need someone to worry the opposition and win the ball for them, Foe doesn’t seem to know which way he’s playing (although as an ever present he should have worked it out by now) so Tiatto is needed to do the “Mike Doyle” rôle. OK, he needs to be a bit more subtle but someone has to challenge hard for the ball in midfield and there aren’t many candidates.

Off the point again – isn’t it strange that Rotherham should have been relegated last year if there had been half decent refereeing in the WBA – Rotherham game at the end of the season. Had that have happened no doubt Ronnie Moore (whose tactics against us seemed to be leaving long grass and swamping the pitch) would have been thrown on the scrapheap. Now 13 games later, of which Rotherham have won 5, he seems to be some sort of managerial superstar.

I think I need to lie down now.

David Lewis (


I see there has been a debate in these pages about our midfield. I too think we need a midfielder who can do a bit of tackling – but please not Jeff Whitley, who cannot pass. I think we should consider putting in an offer for the return of Michael Brown. He can mix it with the best of them but also has some skill. Personally, I think Eyal has been playing reasonably well but he is not a tackler. I’d be sorry to see him dropped. Jensen seems a bit overawed and looks very vulnerable when he hasn’t got Hucks in front of him. I suspect Schmeichel is correct – this is a difficult league and we’ve had a baptism of fire. Let’s hope that the spirit is not so badly crushed as to give us poor results at Brum and WBA. I was one of the unfortunates who went to Soton – surely we can’t be that bad again (Soton should have won 5 or 6 nil).

Ian Burgess (


For the record the last time we were in the Premier League (two seasons ago) and how we stand today after playing 9 games.

             P   W   D   L   F   A   Pts
Today        9   2   2   5   7  14    8
2 years ago  9   3   2   4  13  14   11

Now see the difference; we are worse today after spending millions than we were two seasons ago under Sir Joe. Our defence is the same but our attack was much better; so much for today’s attacking football (with one striker). The difference here is that Kevin Keegan can go to the chequebook more easily than Sir Joe could. But before the use of that cheque book might I suggest that City reduce the playing staff; unload some players who are not doing anything to help City’s cause.

It’s early days yet and we can surely learn from the past as to what needs to be done but to have an excess number of second rate players is something that got City into trouble in the past. Please, before we spend more money, get some cash from the sale of our players (if anyone will take them).

I might sound negative but I love my club Manchester City and I care. I can only wish Kevin Keegan good luck and will support him and whoever plays for the team.

After the bad display at Southampton the team have had 2 weeks to get over that game, so now let’s re-group and get positive for our next game at home against Chelsea, let’s turn this season around. We have the players to do it, if they play like they should.

Time is on our side, come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow (


Good to see that Simon Hope responded to my invective with his own thoughts and I appreciate that he thinks I write flowingly! Just a couple of points from the terminal whinger that he believes I am.

I have often written in praise of City (and in despair of them), there are records of my inane dribble in the back issues (the link is at the bottom of MCIVTA); try MCIVTA 739 for an example.

Secondly, I have never booed my club and shan’t start now but the suggestion “grow up” for disagreeing with the manager is wrong. Guess what, I have grown up. I was guilty of blind faith in Alan Ball and Joe Royle though never Frank Clark. I won’t do the same again. I don’t suggest that Keegan should be sacked (that would be melodramatic) but I do say that the team that gets on the pitch is his responsibility. If it fails to perform or the purchases he makes prove inept then it is his fault. That’s part of the job he gets paid for. You can keep the blind hero worship. Conversely, if the team is fantastic and the football played entertaining then he deserves the plaudits. Quid pro quo.

Is it not the right of every fan to let off steam and say what team they think should be out there? We all invest in this club with our time, money and passion. I won’t curb mine just because it may be perceived as unfair. Life is unfair and those that represent us in blue shirts are very well rewarded for what they do.

Finally, selling half the squad. Simon, please check your memory. David Bernstein stated after our summer purchases that the squad would be reduced at the appropriate time. By virtue of this statement and KK’s wish to buy in some more talent then some balancing of the squad is required. This is simple economics. The list I made was a suggestion. Is it really acceptable to have 50 players on the books again? Of course not. If you study what type of players he has bought and wishes to bring in then you must concur that those already occupying these positions are to (should) be moved on.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. getting on the manager’s back by writing to MCIVTA, please!

Dave Blyth (


I was surprised and disappointed to read Joe O’Brien’s criticism of Nicolas Anelka. Having attended every game home and away this season I can say without doubt that Anelka has been outstanding and has worked tirelessly. That is a lot more than can be said for some other players’ contributions at Southampton.

Before City bought him I had seen him as the ideal player for a counter attacking team who runs onto through balls and slots them into the net. Given that City hardly fit into that category it must be to his credit that he has shown the ability to hold the ball up and take players on from standing situations.

He has been the only striker in every away game except one, at Highbury, where he scored an outstanding goal. He has had more shots than any striker in the Premier League and only Michael Owen has had more shots on target. If he had not had his first goal against Everton taken away from him only Henry, Wiltord and Zola would have scored more goals so far this season.

He gets in plenty of tackles for a striker and his defensive contribution when we were down to ten men against Everton was splendid. He never dives and he never rises to provocation.

What more do some people want? I tell you what I want – another Nicolas Anelka; then we really would be a top six side.

John Clancy (


In reply to MCIVTA 854 article from Joe O’Brien, I feel that I have to write in defence of The Elk.

Is this guy watching the same man, I quote: “Bobbins Anelka, Anelka was useless, he is always on his heels and never seems run towards the box. His control and passing are woeful and his shooting is wayward” as the rest of us?

One thing you can’t call Anelka is Bobbins, the guy is absolute class, ask Liverpool why every time he got the ball there were 3 men around him, ask David Moyes what he thinks, playing against 10 men, how useless Anelka was? He is the one real class player we have in our team at the moment.

Playing alone up front, with no support, always receiving the ball out wide, having to create your own chances, I suppose your are a fan of Big Bob! You must be watching from miles away mate. Just past Pluto? As obviously you are not on this planet.

Dave Kay (


On international Blues you forgot Eyal Berkovic who played for Israel in their 2:0 victory over Malta on Saturday in Euro 2004.

Shalom Cohen (


Can all the City fans talking about relegation… shut the @!*$ up!

Thank you.

Phil Harper (


Sorry, but I don’t want to hear City players or management talk about “being sorry” etc. Just get on with your job, be professional, and give the fans the 100% they deserve (and pay you for). Simply prove to us on the pitch that you are worthy enough to wear the colours of Manchester City F.C.

James Barber (


This month’s Chorlton Blues meeting takes place on Tuesday 15th October at South West Manchester Cricket Club, Ellesmere Road, Chorlton. Events kick off at 8.00pm and our special guest this month is Paul Power. There will be the usual raffle and quiz and a free buffet is provided. There will also be the chance to buy Maine Road and Kippax Street signs.

For further details visit our website at

Larry Higgs (


The next meeting of the Essex & Suffolk CSA will take place on Friday the 18th October 2002 at our usual venue, The Seabright’s Barn, Galleywood Road, Chelmsford, Essex from 8:30 pm. All Blues welcome!

Paul Gallagher – Secretary, MCFC CSA, Essex & Suffolk Branch (


I’ll give the credit for this one to a friend of mine. What better to sing at the local derby than that classic of school coach trips across the land:

Oh, Sir Alex, do not grope me!
Oh, Sir Alex, do not grope me!
Oh, Sir Alex, do not grope me!
As she sat in the back of the cab with nothing on at all.

You know the one – lose another word each time it’s sung. Tune = John Brown’s Body.

Mel Clegg – in exile in Norway (


League table to 13 October 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          9  5  0  0 14  5  2  2  0 10  4  7  2  0  24   9  15  23
 2 Liverpool        9  3  2  0 10  4  3  1  0  9  4  6  3  0  19   8  11  21
 3 Middlesbrough    9  4  1  0  9  2  1  1  2  4  3  5  2  2  13   5   8  17
 4 Manchester Utd   9  4  0  1  6  1  1  2  1  6  5  5  2  2  12   6   6  17
 5 Tottenham H.     9  3  0  1  6  6  2  1  2  7  7  5  1  3  13  13   0  16
 6 Fulham           8  3  1  0  8  3  1  1  2  5  5  4  2  2  13   8   5  14
 7 Chelsea          9  1  2  1  8  6  2  2  1  7  6  3  4  2  15  12   3  13
 8 Newcastle Utd    8  3  0  1  8  3  1  1  2  4  6  4  1  3  12   9   3  13
 9 Leeds United     9  2  0  2  5  5  2  1  2  6  4  4  1  4  11   9   2  13
10 Blackburn R.     9  1  2  2  6  7  2  1  1  5  3  3  3  3  11  10   1  12
11 Birmingham City  9  2  0  2  5  4  1  2  2  5  7  3  2  4  10  11  -1  11
12 Everton          9  2  2  0  7  4  1  0  4  4 10  3  2  4  11  14  -3  11
13 Southampton      9  2  3  0  4  1  0  1  3  2  7  2  4  3   6   8  -2  10
14 Aston Villa      9  3  1  1  6  3  0  0  4  0  6  3  1  5   6   9  -3  10
15 West Brom A.     9  2  0  2  3  5  1  0  4  4 10  3  0  6   7  15  -8   9
16 Manchester City  9  2  1  1  6  6  0  1  4  1  8  2  2  5   7  14  -7   8
17 Sunderland       9  1  1  2  2  5  1  1  3  2  8  2  2  5   4  13  -9   8
18 Bolton Wndrs     8  1  1  2  5  6  1  0  3  3  8  2  1  5   8  14  -6   7
19 Charlton Ath.    9  0  0  4  3 10  2  1  2  4  4  2  1  6   7  14  -7   7
20 West Ham United  8  0  2  3  3  7  1  0  2  5  9  1  2  5   8  16  -8   5

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #855