Newsletter #877

A 2-2 draw at Everton on New Year’s Day sees us slip one place to 10th. We should have buried Everton at 1-2 up but the finishing power just wasn’t there and they scored a late equaliser. Our party from Tameside were relieved to get to Goodison after our minibus started billowing smoke on the M60, so thanks to those who came to the rescue.

Tonight we have Don returning with the news summary, and plenty going on with the much awaited transfer window now officially “open”. Two days in and we haven’t any confirmation, but plenty of speculation and boy do we love that.

We also have opinion on possible signings, the strips, TV coverage and a few requests including what must be a first for Blues in Bangladesh.

A televised FA Cup game on Sunday, anyone going to, or watching the game please consider a match report.

Next game: Liverpool, home FA Cup 3rd Round, 1pm 5th January 2003 (TV game)


General News

Executive Appointments: The club have announced two new senior appointments ahead of the move to the City of Manchester Stadium. Chris Bird is now a Managing Director for Development and Alistair Mackintosh has become Managing Director for Finance. “This is an exciting time for the Club. We are developing our plans for the years ahead, encompassing our move to the City of Manchester Stadium. The scope and complexity of our activities is expanding. These organisational changes will help us prepare for them,” explained David Bernstein. “Chris and Alistair are first class executives who are making outstanding contributions to our Club’s progress. These changes enable us to play to their strengths and the new structure will put us in excellent shape to face the challenges ahead.” Meanwhile the M.E.N. ran an interesting piece this week suggesting that John Wardle will be taking up a more hands-on rôle within the club. The man whose money has bankrolled the club for many years said: “It is vital that the manager and board work in harmony and are fully aware of each other’s thoughts. Along with Dennis Tueart, there will be regular briefings.” This was taken to mean that KK and the Board’s relationship had been strained by recent wrangling over transfer funds, and this was an attempt to patch up the rapport between KK, Bernstein and others.

Fixture Changes: City’s home game with Birmingham will be live on TV as a pay-per-view fixture, so the kick-off has been put back a day. The match now takes place on Sunday 16th March, kick off 2.00p.m. Elsewhere, the date has been set for the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. City’s youth side will travel to Peterborough on Wednesday 15th January for their fourth round FA Youth Cup Tie against the Posh. The kick off will be at 7.30pm.

Santini Outburst: France’s football establishment is still recording its disgust with the refusal of Nicolas Anelka to turn out for his country. Coach Jacques Santini called the Elk a liar in a recent interview with Le Monde. “When he claims that we did not show him respect I think he’s wrong. It was more the other way around,” said Santini. “What annoyed me most is that he’s come out and said things that are totally false. I don’t accept the fact that he lies. Honestly, I would have preferred it if he came out and said to me, ‘coach, you’re an idiot, and I don’t want to be Thierry Henry’s replacement’.” So that’s where Anelka went wrong, he didn’t call his national coach an idiot…

Royle vs. City Rumbles On: Joe Royle’s claim for compensation is no closer to being resolved, it seems. Following his dismissal in summer 2000, Royle is said to be pursuing a claim for £750,000. City are offering no more than £150,000, which they say is as per contract because City had just been relegated from the Premiership. David Bernstein has criticised the Players’ Union, the PFA, for partly funding Royle’s claim. “Having read reports that the PFA is short of funds for their various commitments, it seems more than surprising that it continues to use its resources backing Joe Royle’s case against Manchester City, which always seems to me not to be in the interest of football,” claimed DB. “I have made it clear from the beginning that this is a matter of principle. We think this is a spurious case which is fundamentally flawed. The final league table had been printed when Joe Royle left Manchester City. He is relying on one or two technicalities. Lawyers’ costs have been building up over the past 17 months. We have incurred legal costs of over £20,000, which I am not very happy about.” Joe Royle’s lawyer Mark Lewis, retorted: “We prefer to deal with these issues through the courts rather than the newspaper. Our costs are not as high as those quoted by Mr Bernstein. Costs are going up however, because we are having to push at every step of the way.”

Shut That Window! On the eve of the opening of what they call “The Transfer Window”, David Bernstein made it clear that he opposes the newly imposed transfer deadlines. Chairman Bernie said: “The transfer window is a bad thing for football and in my opinion should be scrapped altogether. I come from a retail background and we never had restrictions placed on us over when we could buy or sell goods. I can’t see why football should be any different. There seem to be too many people with vested interests involved in football and it is incredible we have allowed ourselves to get in this situation.” Bernstein’s comments have been opposed by none other than those of Sir Alex and the PFA, who believe the introduction of the controversial regulation has been a good thing for the game.

Transfer News and Gossip

Domestic Targets: Last weekend KK confirmed publicly that he aimed to bolster the squad, once the January transfer window creaked open. “We are looking at one or two areas but we just need a few things to drop into position,” said Keegan. “We have a friendly bunch of players and no prima donnas. Everyone wants to take the club forward and is willing to put in the hard work. We’ve got a real togetherness which, combined with the talent we have got, gets results.” Every UK newspaper was convinced that City would make a £7 million bid for Leeds United striker Robbie Fowler. The logic went as follows: Leeds are badly in debt, Fowler is reported to be seeking a move back to the North West, and City want a new striker – ergo, the England striker moves to Maine Road. Despite the fact that this would swallow up the whole of KK’s transfer kitty for the season, the Sunday tabloids reckoned that the Boss Man would then sign Arsenal’s Ray Parlour for £4 million. The only problem with this press speculation is that KK reiterated this week that his targets will be on the continent, possibly in France. “We are looking at potential targets and a lot of those are in France; that is where the best deals with long term payments can be struck,” he asserted. “We have not even looked at the English market and whenever anyone has phoned up we have just said it is not any point talking because you have to put half the fee down in a year and we would struggle to get one top quality player. In France you can get proven ability, experience and quality from abroad. The only thing you have to weigh up is how quickly they will settle, how quickly their families will settle and how quickly can they learn the language in some cases. Coming here to City, for example, you would not expect a French player to take long to settle. I think the way we are going is the only way we can with the funds that are available.” Either KK was being obtuse, and was deliberately misleading the Fourth Estate, as the UK press pack was barking up the wrong tree. Today’s (Thursday’s) reports state that Leeds have yet to receive an offer for Fowler.

Further Afield: The transfer speculation has hotted up considerably during the Christmas period, and some familiar names were mentioned. There was Kaiserslauten’s striker, Stefan Klose, while the name of Marseilles’ Algerian midfielder Djamel Belmadi continued to be brought up. Belmadi has the advantage of being a known quantity (he’s already had a trial with the Blues), he’s cheap (a loan deal with a view to a £1.5 million permanent move in the Summer) and he’s chums with Ali B and Nicolas Anelka. Bordeaux’s World Cup winning forward Christophe Dugarry also got a mention this week, but only because the player’s lawyer seemed to be keeping his options open before Birmingham City made a move for the 30-year-old. Philippe Sol. “Christophe won’t sign anything this week because negotiations won’t start before next week,” said Philippe Sol. “Birmingham are still leading the way but Tottenham or even Manchester City are still options.” Other names mentioned in dispatches include Nantes’ left sided defender Sylvain Armand, and South African hitman Benni McCarthy of Celta Vigo. McCarthy has been on loan at FC Porto, and it was thought that the player might join the Blues in a similar arrangement. At the time of posting this News Summary, Belmadi seemed certain to join the Blues, but no official announcement had been made.

On Your Cycle! General disbelief greeted the News of the World’s headline on Sunday of “Cafu: I want to join Man City”. Yes, AS Roma’s defender and the man who lifted the World Cup for Brazil last summer, fancies a move to M14. Provided of course that Stretford’s finest don’t renew their interest of course. The Brazilian skipper mused that “Under Kevin Keegan they play open, attacking football which is best suited to a wing back like myself. On paper of course United may seem more appealing. But if they don’t come forward again soon and I work things out with City, I will go there. I will be very pleased wherever I go, whether it’s continuing a winning tradition at United or starting a winning cycle at City.” If City fans couldn’t quite believe it, then imagine the spluttering incredulity which greeted this story on United fans’ websites. The Reds couldn’t quite believe that Cafu would dare chose any other club over the world’s biggest replica shirt franchise. For that reason alone, let’s hope that there is some truth in this tale!

Clear-out to Start? So who has KK earmarked to leave the club, in order to balance the books? As proper journalists might say – rumours have reached this correspondent that the alleged departees are Darren Huckerby, SWP and the Goat. Media speculation has only touched two of the three potential departures. Hucks was supposed to be a target of Joe Royle at Ipswich Town, although three reasons make this report seem dubious. Point one: Ipswich, like all recently relegated clubs, are not awash with money, and point two: City are short of experienced striker cover at the moment. Also, as reported above, JR and Mr. Chairman are not on good terms at the moment. Shaun Goater is expected to interest Wolves and Preston, who have previously made enquiries after the Bermudian – again this move would leave City short of attacking options, at least until Macken and Wanchope are fit.

Ex-Blues’ News

A Tale of Two Full Backs: Does Laurent Charvet have some mystical hold on Joe Royle? I think we should be told. How he’s done it I don’t know, but M. Charvet is now on trial with JR’s current club Ipswich Town. “Charvet is a free agent and will train with us next week so that we can have a look at him,” Sir Joe said. It’s not clear whether Charvet would earn as much from Ipswich as he did with City. Compare Charvet’s fate to that of Richard Edghill, who is still without a club. His plight was recently featured in the Daily Express – “Not long ago the captain of Manchester City, picked three times for England Under-21 and once for the B side. Still only 28, he once looked like a possible England full back. Declined to play for Leicester City without pay. Nicky Summerbee and Billy McKinlay took the gamble and got short-term contracts. Refuses to train at local Nationwide League club because they will not pay his petrol expenses. Training at his local gym and sits by a phone that never rings with a job offer.” Edgy was quoted in one tabloid paper saying “If I haven’t found something by Christmas I’ll have to get a job on the bins” [Thanks to Heidi for the quote].

Flitty Strikes! There was jollier news of one ex-Blue this holiday. Garry Flitcroft brought misery to many Reds when he scored Blackburn’s winner over MUPLC on Saturday December 21. It was quite against the run of play by all accounts. Quelle domage. Flitty it seems is anxious to secure a new deal with his current employers, but insists that the ball is in Blackburn’s court. Flitcroft said: “I want to stay loyal to Blackburn and stay here but it’s up to the club now to come good for me. I’ve left my contract in the club’s hands. They offered me an extra one-year deal on the year-and-a-half I’ve got left, which wasn’t enough. I need security for my family. If John Williams [Blackburn’s chief executive] comes back to me I’ll be more than willing to sit down but it’s getting close the January window now,” he told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

Badbuy Moves: Lee Bradbury has moved to Sheffield Wednesday on a month’s loan from Portsmouth as cover for the injured Lloyd Owusu. Bradbury suffered a career-threatening injury last December when he damaged knee ligaments. The 27-year-old underwent knee surgery and endured a slow rehabilitation process, but returned to action at the end of November. Colchester United were recently interested in signing City’s former record signing, but were put off by Bradbury’s lack of match fitness. Pompey manager Harry Redknapp told the club’s website: “Lee has been getting stronger all the time and some competitive football will do him the world of good. We look forward to him coming back having got some first-team games under his belt.”

Reactions and Comments

Not Streetwise: The Premiership’s last game before Christmas saw City take on Tottenham Hotspur at Maine Road. City began the game in rampaging fashion and deservedly took the lead with a Steve Howey goal on twenty nine minutes. Spurs turned the game on its head with three headed goals from unmarked players, and Ali B’s superb curled shot in injury time was unfortunately no more than a consolation. KK used his after match press conference to remind the Board of directors that squad reinforcements will be required in January. “The first half-hour was dream stuff but after that we weren’t clever enough,” said the City boss. “There is no substitute for experience and that was the major difference tonight. We still have four or five players who lack Premiership experience and sometimes it shows. Tonight was a chance to put ourselves in with the big boys but we weren’t streetwise enough to take advantage. We got caught out and you have to accept it but that is why we need to strengthen. I don’t think I will get too many in with the money I have. And you have to accept that there is no substitute for experience.” KK added that, “We missed a few chances against Spurs and I know people will look at the score and say that Manchester City are poor defensively. But if you take the set pieces away I thought we did okay defensively. But the great thing for me is that I can’t go into the players and tell them that they bottled it. Just to repeat I believe we are now streetwise enough and that is why we are where we are.” Spurs’ boss Glenn Hoddle was unsurprisingly happy. “Overall it was a good night,” he said. “We grew as the game went on and could have killed the game off long before the end. I was concerned about City’s aerial threat but we have players who can deliver excellent crosses and we always looked like we were going to score.” Hoddle said that he had some sympathy for Christian Ziege, who was booked twice for kicking the ball away. “Sometimes players have to take responsibility and Christian has apologised for what he did,” said Hoddle. “But sometimes I also think the referee has to use common sense. On the second occasion, the ball only went about three yards, so it’s hardly time wasting. The referee knew he would have to send Christian off, so maybe he should have thought about the situation a little bit.”

Ali the Villa Killer: Three days later, it was back to Maine Road for the Boxing Day fixture with Aston Villa. Once again City’s opponents equalised after the Blues took the lead, but this time the game was turned in City’s favour. The 3-1 victory was attributed to the 26 minute appearance by our own “super sub”, Ali Benarbia. “Ali changed the game,” said KK. “Before he went on I said to him ‘give me a bit of magic’. He said ‘no magic, just a bad goal.’ Well he got a very good goal. He had the courage to throw himself in there when some midfielders might not. I felt if I didn’t change it today we would have gone under, so I’m pleased with the way it worked out.” Keegan continued to analyse his Algerian maestro. “Ali is the reason we are in this league,” he said. “He has had a tough time this season but now he is right back to his best. The fans adore him and he will be in my team at Fulham on Saturday for certain. He had a very long lay-off this summer and I don’t know what he did with it but when he came back he never got back to the same level of influence in training and games. I don’t know where he went in the summer, he goes all over – Dubai, Algeria – and he may well have been training hard over the summer. But he never got back to his old level and eventually I had to leave him out. I had many conversations with him about it and that was his answer. He is an unbelievable player and there is no doubt he can play in the Premiership.” For Villa boss Graham Taylor, it was another disappointing afternoon, and he could not take too much comfort from Dion Dublin’s first half strike. “That is the first time a forward has scored for us in an away game this season,” said Taylor. “We are creating chances, we just aren’t taking them.” Taylor admitted that Benarbia’s contribution had been the most significant one. “People will probably question Kevin (Keegan) about why Benarbia doesn’t start but if he keeps doing that when he comes on, substitute might be his best position,” added Taylor. “He was the major reason why we lost this game.” City finished the day in eleventh place, with 27 points from their opening 20 games. The only downside to City’s day was a suspected hernia injury to Danny Tiatto, which threatens to keep him out for a month.

Defending Fayed: In the days before City met Fulham, KK (a former manager of the Cottagers) took the unusual step of defending the opposition’s chairman. Mohammed Al Fayed was under intense criticism from Fulham fans for announcing that the scheme to develop their Craven Cottage stadium had had to be shelved due to escalating costs. “Mohamed Al Fayed doesn’t owe Fulham anything,” said Keegan. “I heard someone on a phone-in having a go at Mr Fayed the other day for not developing Craven Cottage. I really wanted to phone up and say something because that club would not be in the position it is without his involvement. I really enjoyed my two years with them. Together with Ray Wilkins, we set a lot of club records. I want to go down there and get a result but after the match I’ll find Mr Fayed and tell him not to listen to one stupid caller who is having a go. What he has done for Fulham Football Club is incredible. It cannot and should not be underestimated.”

Gor Lumme We’re Sixth (Almost!): City were not so generous on the pitch, as the Blues completed an excellent second win of the week at Loftus Road in defeating QPR’s tenants Fulham. The Boss Man later said: “We showed good quality, which we haven’t usually shown this season – and that was the ability to hang in there when it wasn’t all going our way. We dug in, created four or five good openings and it was a very satisfying result. It was a decent, old-fashioned game of football with some long balls and a lot of duels on the pitch. Schmeichel made a couple of good saves and so did Maik Taylor. Then Nicolas, having missed already, produced an excellent finish. But then he is a world-class striker.” Keegan thinks the Blues can achieve even more in the League this season: “People have been laughing at us saying about the top six. But we’re creeping up and now we’re ninth. We should aim for the top six because you should set a target which stretches the players. I would like to think we can get nearer to the top six.” City’s rise up the table has coincided with Fulham’s descent, which see the Londoners only five points above the relegation zone. Their boss Jean Tigana rued his team’s misfortunes: “It’s the first time in my life where my team is always unlucky. We need our luck to change because, like when we lost at Blackburn, we played very well. We keep saying we were unlucky, but our problem is that we have to score to get our confidence back. We need to score to win. It wasn’t just today that we had many chances to score, but also against Blackburn and West Ham.”

Tribute to a Rolls Royce: KK made a point of congratulating the goalscorer on the pitch, and couldn’t resist paying tribute to the Frenchman. “Nicolas is, without doubt, the most unbelievable talent – and it’s starting to come out in a big way for Man City,” commented Keegan. “When you’re talking about talent, you’re talking about talent with a massive ‘T’. I like working with him an awful lot. He’s a Rolls-Royce. He doesn’t run, he purrs along. He’s the most exciting player to work with because, despite what everybody thinks, this guy hasn’t reached anywhere near his full potential – and that’s what’s frightening.” Once again the glow of victory was dimmed a little by news of another City injury. KK stated that Eyal Berkovic “tweaked” his groin, prompting his substitution in the 35th minute. He will miss the New Year’s Day clash at Everton, but Keegan “hopes it’s not long-term.”

Kev’s Kwote of the Day! From Patrick Barclay’s match report in the Sunday Telegraph. “Typically, Keegan is trying to steer their thoughts towards a top-six place. ‘Where are we now?’ he chirped afterwards. ‘Eleventh? Tenth?’ Ninth, he was told. ‘There you are – turn it upside down and we’re sixth!'”

Toffees Torment: Kevin Keegan sounded quite philosophical about City’s late surrender of a 2-1 lead at Goodison Park on New Year’s Day. “We did enough to win the game even though we didn’t start well and for half an hour we were as poor as we have been for a while,” he said. “Once we got the ball down and passed we played some good football and looked the more likely side to win it. To be fair to David Moyes and his side they never stopped believing and wanting to get the ball forward and wanting to try and score and they did it. Everton are not fifth in the table because they have been lucky, they are fifth because they resilient, full of character and self-belief. We made them dig very deep but I am sure they will count themselves lucky to have got back in the game. We showed that we can go anywhere and play anybody and, given that bit of luck that you always need, get a result. We have desire and character. It is a measure of how far we have come that we are disappointed to start the New Year with a draw at a side that began the day in fourth spot.” Keegan added: “We played a lot of good football in the second half and created a lot of chances. We’re disappointed to get a draw against a team high in the table. That shows how far we have come and perhaps tells you how far we could go. It was a pretty basic goal that cost us the victory, the kind of goal you would see in the old Fourth Division with the ball lumped up the park.” A City victory would have propelled City to the dizzying heights of 7th (that’s almost an upside down ‘L’ for all you KK numerologists out there), but instead the Blues have had to settle for tenth spot.

Moyes Relieved: Everton manager David Moyes meanwhile sounded quite content with his side’s snatching of a point. “There is a sense of relief after getting something out of a game that seemed to be going away from us,” said Moyes. “There has been a bit of illness about with a bug going through the club. I’ve had it and so has Mark Pembridge but he decided he wanted to play. Quite a few players were out of sorts but I thought we had weathered what Manchester City had thrown at us in the second half. I told the players afterwards ‘Great stuff, you’ve got something out of the game’. They’ve kept it going and got a point. We’re getting nearer the magical 40 points. The good thing about us is we’re not losing.”

Squad News

I Think We’re A-Loan Now: Jeff Whitley, Rhys Day, Stephen Jordan and Paddy McCarthy were all in Nationwide action at the weekend. Whitley’s Notts County slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Plymouth at Home Park, while Day was booked in Mansfield’s 1-0 defeat at Brentford. Day’s loan spell ended last weekend, but boss Keith Curle wants to keep the Welshman for another month. Jordan was also on the losing side as Cambridge went down 3-0 at Third Division leaders Hartlepool. Paddy McCarthy meanwhile helped Boston United to a 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers after his loan spell with the Pilgrims had been extended into a second month. Youngster Jamie Almond is having a trial with Second Division Colchester United. Almond played for the U’s in a reserve team game against Barnet last week, with Colchester winning the game 3-0. The former Scarborough player is a regular for the City Academy side, but he has yet to step up to reserve-team level for the club.

China Goes Blue: Despite being in and out of the first team in recent weeks, Sun Jihai is still enjoying life in the Premiership. Prior to the game at Goodison, the press expected a Chinese audience of 300 million to tune in to the game, which featured Sun up against his compatriot and friend Li Tie. Dubbed the “Chinese derby”, Sun said before the match, “Football is huge in China. It is incredible to think of the interest myself and Li Tie have generated by what we are doing here. For every young Chinese boy we are living out their dream of playing in the English Premiership. For millions, it is just images on a TV set but we are actually taking part and it is fantastic.” As was seen on the TV after the Sunderland game, Sun is a big star back home. “Oh yes, in shops and restaurants I will be recognised. It is quite humbling.” Sun also revealed that he had had some doubts about trying English football again, following an unhappy time with Crystal Palace. “When I was first approached I was only 50-50 about coming back. The way of life in London was just not my cup of tea. The travelling and pollution was awful. But Manchester has been completely different. There is room to move and fresh air to breathe. It is so much slower than London and China, much more relaxed. Yet I cannot understand why I will walk into a shop and buy a piece of furniture only to be told I cannot have it for another eight weeks! In China, you order it in the morning and you get it in the evening.” Despite these delivery dilemmas, Sun is now ensconced in the family home with his wife and new born baby daughter.

Loran Loan: On Tuesday Tyrone Loran completed a loan move to Second Division Tranmere Rovers, which will last to the end of the season. The 21-year-old arrived at Maine Road at the beginning of the season for £60,000 deal from Dutch side Volendam but has not been able to force his way into the first team, despite a string of impressive performances in the reserves. Tranmere boss Ray Mathias said: “I am delighted to be able to sign Tyrone until the end of the season. He is a strong defender who can play at centre half or full back and will be an excellent addition to the squad.”

Elk Put Out to Pasture: Nicolas Anelka, substituted during the Everton game, will be excused training this week to ensure he is ready to face Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday. KK explained the reasons for his withdrawal. “I brought Nicolas off to protect him. Nicolas has played every minute of every game for us until the second half of the Everton game,” explained the boss. “I asked him at half time in that game if he was OK and he said that he was very tired. He never stops trying and he never stops running but I think if I left him on he may, through being tired, have got an injury and if that had happened I would never have forgiven myself. I really should have taken him off at half time but I think two things happen when you take a player of Nicolas Anelka’s ability off. It takes you down a little bit as he is an exceptional player, but it also gives the opposition a lift and I didn’t want to do either.” Mr. Kev is sure that the twenty three year old will be ready for the weekend. “I brought him off and he will be fit for the Liverpool game. We won’t train him but we will just put him out against Liverpool and let him get on with it. I asked Nicolas if he wanted to be left out of the Liverpool game but he said no. He just laughed at me and said, ‘Non, non, non!’ I think that means no,” concluded the manager. City’s opponents have their own striker worries. Michael Owen asked to be substituted earlier in the week during Liverpool’s game with Arsenal, as he felt pain in his hamstring. Owen sat out the January 1 trip to Newcastle United, but hopes to be ready to face the Blues on Sunday, drat him.

Don Barrie (


City have been transformed over the last couple of months, partially due to the change in personnel and partially due to the improved form of a few players.

Having a reasonably reliable back 3 has made a big difference (Dunne, Howey and Distin). Howey has performed admirably on many occasions but we need someone in the mould of Dean Richards, whom I thought was outstanding when we played Spurs and was the main reason we did not beat them on the night. Apart from his positional play, his sheer height and size ensured he won everything in the air – Goater was found wanting and maybe Wanchope would have posed more problems? Maybe Mettomo should be tried in Howey’s rôle? maybe KK is looking for a big, commanding centre half (Jaap Stam?).

In midfield, I feel we are more than adequate, with 2 geniuses in Berkovic and Bernabia, plus the incredible transformation of Foe, whom I had slated earlier in the season. He has been outstanding in the last few games, he has a tremendous physical presence, is rarely shrugged off the ball and has now found the ability to score goals, when before, he could not hit a barn door from a couple of yards. If either of the 2 B’s are injured, I would like to see SWP be given a chance in central midfield, to operate as an attacking midfielder (what’s happened to KK’s really exciting purchase of Negouai?) [Wouldn’t we all like to know! – Ed]. Sun Jihai has been playing very well at right wing back and probably needed a break to refresh him.

What about Cafu wanting to play for City in the right wing back rôle? Would KK consider buying him?

I feel KK will look at bringing in a forward who can work with Anelka. Goater has done well but is clearly not quality, Huckerby has the potential with his pace but does not deliver regularly enough. Macken is an unknown quantity at this level whilst Wanchope will probably miss this season altogether. I thought Robbie Keane gave our defence a lot of problems the other night; he was quick, he was tricky and considering his size, held up the ball very well, especially as he was playing up front virtually on his own. Look what he did to create their 2nd goal. This is the sort of player we need (IMHO).

Forwards whom I would like to see at City would be from: Gudjohnsen, Kewell, Phillips, Viduka, Agahowa, centre forward who played for Mali in the African Nations Cup.

Well there you are, that’s my opinion… what a hard job it must be for KK!

Happy New Year to everyone, especially City… come on you Blues!

Glyn Albuquerque (


Well, the 6 points in 3 days was certainly the best Christmas present we could have hoped for, which is more than can be said for ITV’s present to City-fan viewers of The Premiership. Two 75-minute programmes, filled with 74 minutes of bullcr@p from two has-beens, analysis of nothing-in-particular, plus endless replays of every other teams’ misses and goalkeeping blunders. And then, having kept us up to the middle of the night, they show our match last of all for about 30 seconds, without even a replay of some of the best goals seen on each of the days. Thanks Des.

[If, like many football fans, you’re getting a little fed up of the over exposure of certain teams and lack of coverage of others, see below for the online petition – Ed]

John Caley (


With regard to the 1956 maroon strip: whatever the reasons for the club producing a limited edition shirt (personally I’ve no problem with this, in the same way as a band might produce a limited edition CD, if people have made sufficient effort and managed to get one then good luck to them) if anyone is disappointed about not being able to buy one, or doesn’t like the First Advice logo, they may like to try the site at

Incidentally I’ve no connection with this company.

Their online catalogue features no less than 15 different City shirts from various periods in the club’s history – more shirts than any other team – including the 1956 cup final strip with no sponsors logo and the coat of arms instead of the eagle.

[I believe the shop opposite the “Superstore” also sells a version of the 1956 and other ‘classic’ strips – Ed]

Gary Dickson (


Last week I posted a request to identify the mystery players on the photo on the Blue Moon CD (which I uploaded to, which turned out to be doctored after all. I’ve had 7 replies so far, with some great information (including a link to the awesome site Oddly enough, no-one got all the names right, which I found very surprising.

Here’s the final list, which I believe is now correct (based on comparing all the lists people sent me, backed up with a bit of Web surfing for confirmation).

Back row, L-R:
Mike Doyle, Tommy Booth, Joe Mercer, Shaun Goater (superimposed on someone, maybe Derek Jeffries), Bert Trautmann (superimposed on Ronnie Healey), Joe Corrigan, Joe Royle (not everyone managed to correct my punt of Malcolm Allison), Billy Meredith (superimposed on George Heslop), Willie Donachie.

Front row, L-R:
Asa Hartford (only one person got this right. Everyone else went along with my Colin Bell identification), Rodney Marsh (though a couple of people thought this was Neil Young) (superimposed on Wyn Davies), Dave Watson, Tony Book, Francis Lee, Gio Kinkladze (superimposed on Ian Mellor), Mike Summerbee.

Thanks to everyone who responded!

Bill Buffam, West Chester PA (


I shall be in Dhaka, Bangladesh from the 9th January for a month possibly two. Does anybody know if it’s possible to view City games on TV in Dhaka? If there are any fellow City fans in and around Dhaka who want to meet up and talk about the Blues even better, please contact me.

Raymond Critchlow (


The Liverpool game is being televised at the Mad Hatter Pub in Mississauga, kick-off 8am, Sunday January 5th.

The Mad Hatter is on the south side of Eglinton Avenue between Mavis Road and Hurontario.

Peter Hallsworth a.k.a. mississauga_blue (


The next meeting and AGM of the Reddish Branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association will be on Wednesday 8th January at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm.

Our confirmed guest is “Mr Manchester City”, City’s General Secretary Bernard Halford. Also, in order to kick off our 5th Anniversary celebrations all Branch Members attending will receive a free drink!

As always everyone is welcome.

For more information on all Branch activities visit our website at

Howard Burr – Secretary, Reddish (


Fellow Blues, does anyone have one (two would be better) spare ticket for the upcoming home game versus Leeds? Anywhere in the ground will do. I’ll be making a pilgrimage to Manchester en route from Vancouver to Johannesburg and would love to make it to the game.

Also, if there are any Blues in Vancouver this weekend, get in touch because a few ex-Manc’s are getting together to watch the Liverpool game.

Thanks in anticipation and best wishes to all for 2003.

Neil Adshead (


Desperately seeking 2 Tickets for the Leeds United game on 11/01/03. Must be together. If you can help, please email me at the address below.

CTID, Cliff Shelley (


Complete set of City Magazines. July 1997 volume 2 Issue 11 to current (67 issues). Clearing out house prior to move, would like them to go to a good home, not the tip. You collect (Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire).

Roger Lee (


Australia ‘City Blues’ who would like to meet up with other ‘City Blues’ across Australia, please make contact with me so I can put you in touch with your State’s contact so you can have fun with fellow Blues.

Thank you, Judi-Ann, MCFC ISC Melbourne Contact (


Re my request – for whoever wanted my Newcastle tickets. Thanks for the offers to buy them (I could have sold at least 20 pairs of tickets); sadly I only had 1 pair and they have gone.

Thanks again, Andrew Keller (


An online petition has been set up for fans of all clubs to register their disappointment with the coverage of the few and general quality of this programme. If you would like to join it, then follow the link:

Ferg Slade (


Recent results from 30 December 2002 to 01 January 2003 inclusive.

1 January 2003

Manchester United     2 - 1  Sunderland            67,609
Arsenal               3 - 2  Chelsea               38,096
Aston Villa           2 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      31,838
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 0  Middlesbrough         23,413
Everton               2 - 2  Manchester City       40,163
Leeds United          2 - 0  Birmingham City       40,034
Southampton           1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     31,890
Newcastle United      1 - 0  Liverpool             52,147

League table to 01 January 2003 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal         22 10  1  1 28 11  4  3  3 17 13 14  4  4  45  24  21  46
 2 Manchester Utd  22 10  1  1 23  7  2  4  4 12 15 12  5  5  35  22  13  41
 3 Chelsea         22  6  3  1 19  6  4  5  3 17 14 10  8  4  36  20  16  38
 4 Newcastle Utd   21 10  0  1 21  7  2  2  6 14 22 12  2  7  35  29   6  38
 5 Everton         22  6  4  1 16 11  4  2  5  9 13 10  6  6  25  24   1  36
 6 Southampton     22  7  5  0 18  8  2  3  5  7 12  9  8  5  25  20   5  35
 7 Liverpool       22  5  5  1 16  8  4  2  5 14 14  9  7  6  30  22   8  34
 8 Blackburn R.    22  5  4  3 17 13  3  4  3 12 12  8  8  6  29  25   4  32
 9 Tottenham H.    22  6  3  1 17 11  3  2  7 13 20  9  5  8  30  31  -1  32
10 Manchester City 22  5  1  4 16 15  4  3  5 14 16  9  4  9  30  31  -1  31
11 Leeds United    22  4  1  6 13 14  5  2  4 17 13  9  3 10  30  27   3  30
12 Middlesbrough   22  7  4  0 21  9  1  1  9  4 12  8  5  9  25  21   4  29
13 Charlton Ath.   21  4  2  4 13 14  4  3  4 11 11  8  5  8  24  25  -1  29
14 Aston Villa     22  8  1  3 18  8  0  3  7  3 15  8  4 10  21  23  -2  28
15 Birmingham City 22  3  4  3 11 10  3  3  6  8 17  6  7  9  19  27  -8  25
16 Fulham          21  5  2  4 13 10  1  3  6 10 17  6  5 10  23  27  -4  23
17 Bolton Wndrs    21  2  5  3 13 16  2  2  7 10 21  4  7 10  23  37 -14  19
18 Sunderland      22  3  1  6  7 13  1  5  6  8 19  4  6 12  15  32 -17  18
19 West Brom A.    21  3  3  4  9 12  1  1  9  7 20  4  4 13  16  32 -16  16
20 West Ham United 21  0  5  6  9 16  3  2  5 12 22  3  7 11  21  38 -17  16

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.06]

[0] How do I contact MCIVTA?

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

[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] 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.

[9] 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 #877