Newsletter #881

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So. Robbie Fowler has changed his mind and decided that Leeds has more to offer than City. Of course he’s got every right to do that but if I was the cynical type (I’m not), I may think that there was more to it than that. After waiting an extra day for the results of a medical it could (by someone more suspicious than I) be seen as being slightly fishy. KK will have to keep hold of his cash for a while longer I guess! Ah well.

Tonight, following the news, we have reports of the Leeds match, the reserves’ games against Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday, and the FA Youth Cup clash with Peterborough United. There’s also the usual balance of humour and opinion with an odd request thrown in for good measure.

H is back in time for Monday, so keep contributions coming to: editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Next game: Newcastle United, away, 3pm Saturday 18 January 2003

NEWS SUMMARY

The Fowler Saga

What a Difference a Week Makes: As reported last week, City’s interest in Robbie Fowler had ceased due to the player’s unreasonable wage demands. The M.E.N. then broke the news that KK was “ready to rekindle his original interest in Leeds United’s England ace Robbie Fowler”. Fowler’s boss at Leeds, Terry Venables, expressed his disappointment at the potential sale of the fifth member of his squad since taking over last summer. “I’d be very disappointed if Robbie goes, especially now he is returning to full fitness and is back in contention. I want him to stay,” said El Tel. “I already need two or three players – now I might lose Robbie. When I came here I had six strikers then it came down to four when I lost Keane to Spurs and Michael Bridges through injury. Now I’ll be down to just three experienced players.” During his after-match press conferences last Saturday, KK was being very coy when quizzed over Robbie, answering all queries with a huge grin and a “no comment”, which kind of gave the game away. According to press reports, the parties were able to overcome the stumbling block of Fowler’s wages. Fowler accepted a paltry £35,000 per week, with Leeds compensating the Scouser with a payout that would make up the shortfall of his Leeds wages.

It’s the Waiting That’s the Worst: So on Wednesday the deal was done, Fowler would sign that day. The first inkling of a problem occurred when a 19:00 hours press conference was cancelled without explanation, and so the speculation began – he’s failed the medical, United are trying to sign him, etc. In fact the player was undergoing a stringent medical at a private hospital in Crewe, as City were trying to ascertain that Fowler truly was over his injuries. On Thursday afternoon it was announced that Fowler had passed his physical. Still there was a deafening silence from Maine Road – no press conference, no tacky pictures of the player with scarf and replica shirt, so what was going on?

Dead Deal: We found out by Thursday evening. Despite passing his medical, Fowler had turned City down. His agent announced that: “Robbie Fowler has had time to reflect on the deal and decided it wasn’t the deal for him although he was flattered by Kevin Keegan’s interest.” Apart from devastating KK’s plans to push for a European place, Leeds must also be pretty miffed – they had planned to invest the Fowler fee in Brazilian midfielder Kleberson. I’m glad that Fowler was so impressed by his warm welcome from the Maine Road crowd last week – perhaps his next appearance in front of a City crowd might not be so cordial.

General News

Player of the Month: City’s sponsors First Advice have made Marc Vivien Foe their Player of the Month for December. The award was made to the midfield player in recognition of his performance in scoring six goals in six games. “I am very happy to win this award,” said Foe. “It is a delight to play in this team and feel that if all my chances had gone in this season then I could have scored something like fifteen goals. Kevin Horlock has been a big help to me as he gives me more opportunities to go forward. I believe I have more to give and will keep learning and working with the other players who have been a great support to me.”

Road Names Anyone? The club are in discussions with the council about possible names for the streets surrounding the new stadium, and would like to hear suggestions from City fans. “We are currently looking into the issue of road naming with Manchester City Council, and in the meantime we would value supporters’ input into the possibilities,” explained Managing Director, Chris Bird. “There are two or three roads which service the stadium which may well need to be renamed.” Suggested names can be sent to roadnames@mcfc.co.uk.

Reserves At It Again! City’s reserve team bandwagon continued apace with a 3-2 victory over Newcastle United on Tuesday. City took a two goal lead through Djamel Belmadi and Jon Macken, before the Toon fought back to level the scores. It took a Chris Shuker strike after good work by Belmadi to give City a winning lead. Nicky Weaver, Belmadi and Macken all played for 90 minutes. Team: – Weaver, Whelan, Jordan, Mettomo, Bischoff, Ritchie, Barton, Belmadi, Vuoso, Macken. Elsewhere this week, the youth team progressed through Round Four of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory. A single second half goal scored by substitute Paul Murphy was enough for Jim Cassell’s side to win the tie. City will travel to London and a Fifth Round clash with Millwall. The date for the game has yet to be agreed but the tie has to be played before Saturday 15th February.

Other Transfer News and Gossip

Reiziger Regrets: What a topsy-turvy week it’s been in the wacky world of MCFC transfers. This time last week, the Fowler deal was dead and buried, and it looked like City were about to buy in two class defensive reinforcements. Now Fowler’s deal has collapsed yet again, and there is some doubt about either defender arriving. KK sounded pessimistic when he updated the world on the progress of the Michael Reiziger deal. “Michael went back to Spain this morning but he’s got a lot of decisions to make,” he said. “He’s got a year left on his contract at Barcelona. We will only be taking him on loan at first and I’ve told him the reasons why. I would like to buy him but I haven’t got the finances because of the other deals we are looking at. I have told him why I would like him here. I’ve been very open and honest. The rest is up to him, although it won’t be an easy choice.” Reiziger had promised to give the club an answer, and unfortunately for us his answer was negative. He was impressed by the set-up at Maine Road, but he was unwilling to uproot his family for such a short deal. “It will be difficult,” he said. “I have a family and it will not be good to go for just four months. Manchester City are an interesting club with ambition – an ambition to play in Europe. They want to buy players in order to do so. They are also moving to a new stadium.”

Some Sommeil Action: The deal to bring Bordeaux defender David Sommeil has also gone through some choppy waters this week. At first, all seemed set to bring the Frenchman to Maine Road, with the player announcing, “I am going to Manchester to meet the directors. There is a great chance that I might move. I have agreed terms with them, everything is sorted but the clubs have now to finalise the financial details. Everything has happened very quickly.” The Bordeaux President clearly thought that things were moving too quickly because he announced, “Between wanting a transfer and being able to complete it, there is a huge gap. We are satisfied with neither the proposed financing, nor the bank guarantees. We are waiting for an acceptable and solid offer from Manchester City.” Just as the deal seemed set to founder, the M.E.N. suggested that the move could be back on, with an exchange deal involving Lucien Mettomo. They quoted the Cameroonian international as saying: “I have not had too much chance to play and when I did I got taken off early because of a change of tactics and that is disappointing. I am still doing my best because I am a professional. I never miss training, always do my best and I look after myself outside the club. I respect Manchester City totally. I am not the kind of player to bang on the manager’s door and I realise that the manager has to make a decision. It doesn’t make me impatient or angry because I have been in football for 10 years now and realise that sometimes things are going up and sometimes they are going down. I will just try to keep my head up and work hard and give my best to City and if it is not good enough then I would know there is nothing more I could have done. I feel I can play in the Premiership but a run of games would help. The pitch is the only place I can prove my case, whether it is here or at another club.” At the time of going to press, the player thought that the deal might have to wait till the summer. “I am still okay to leave Bordeaux but the clubs still have not found an agreement,” Sommeil said. “And I can tell you that I fully understand Bordeaux. They are asking for banking guarantees, knowing that they have already made a huge effort on the transfer fee, but on the English side it is a bit jammed.” The Frenchman claims he is happy to wait and will stay with Bordeaux if no agreement is reached. “If the problem is not sorted, we will resume talks in June,” Sommeil added. “I have to play somewhere.”

Wandering Goat? The Bolton Evening News announced during the week that Wanderers’ manager Sam Allardyce was making a move to sign Shaun Goater. Indeed the article alleged that talks were taking place to secure the transfer. There has been no other reporting of this alleged deal, KK has frequently praised the Goat for his conduct on and off the pitch so would surely be loath to lose him, while Bolton Wanderers were mystified by the report. “This is news to us, but we are looking to bring in a striker and Sam has his targets,” commented a Trotters’ spokesman.

Ex-Blues’ News

Charvet Moves to France – None Mourn: Laurent Charvet, without a club since October, has joined Sochaux, the French First Division club. The full back impressed Sochaux boss Guy Lacombe during a short trial period, although the manager was well aware of Charvet’s talents having coached him at Cannes. Charvet’s comments on his arrival may help City fans understand why KK wanted him off the payroll ASAP. “Coming back to France was a priority for me and my family, even though Portsmouth offered me a trial,” he said. “I experienced a lot of good things when I was in England. I regularly played in full stadiums, playing with guys like Weah, Leboeuf and Shearer. At Chelsea I was on the bench when they won the FA Cup and reached the final of the League Cup. With Newcastle I experienced another FA Cup final. At Manchester City I multiplied my salary by three, but my last year was plagued with a knee injury, similar to that of Ronaldo. When Keegan arrived I did not feel that the team would win promotion back into the Premier League. Some agents had told me that an Italian club wanted me and I asked to go. From that moment onwards I did not play again.” Boss Lacombe seemed happy enough to have such a loyal lieutenant back under his control: “I am happy to coach him again. I like Laurent and his experience in the English Premier League will bring us a lot of good things,” he commented.

Duo on Trial: Two former Blues players are having trails this week with potential employers. Karim – The first friend of Ali B – Kerkar has turned up in the West Midlands for a spell at Coventry City. Player-manager Gary McAllister stated that “Man City have not offered him anything after a short-term deal so we’re having a look at him too.” The other City reject trying his luck elsewhere is Craig Russell. Having recently been released by St. Johnstone, Russell is training with Carlisle United. The Cumbrians will offer the winger a contract till the end of the season if impressed by the player.

Hughes Sorry Now: Saturday’s Daily Express featured the tale of City’s former winger Michael Hughes, who finds himself stuck between two clubs who claim that the other should be paying his wages. This episode began when Birmingham took Hughes on loan from Wimbledon last March. Hughes had an arrangement with manager Steve Bruce that if Birmingham were promoted he would be offered a three-year contract. Hughes was injured after only three games with Blues, so returned to Wimbledon for treatment. When Birmingham went up, they refused to honour the deal – now the Dons won’t accept the player back because they say they have a transfer agreement with Birmingham. Hughes said: “I don’t know how I have been left in this position. I am fully fit now and a few clubs said I could come down to them to train, but when they contact the FA to enquire about my registration they are told the case is complicated and will be resolved soon. But I don’t see any sign of it being sorted out. Wimbledon have paid me a month’s money which is repayable, they say, when they win their case against Birmingham and Birmingham should be paying me. I cannot believe two clubs are doing this to a player and I am even more amazed the FA let them. Until this is sorted out, I can’t play for anyone. Birmingham have totally messed up my career.” Hughes is being supported by the PFA, and Chief Executive Gordon Taylor commented that “It is reprehensible that a player would be left like this without the FA even having set up a date to deal with the dispute. It is actually such a bizarre case; I cannot recall anything like it. The player doesn’t know if he’s coming or going as both Wimbledon and Birmingham disclaim any liability.”

Reactions and Comments

Kevin Just Loves It: Mr. Keegan was profoundly pleased with City’s show against Leeds at the weekend, which saw a vast improvement on the previous week’s performance against Liverpool. “It was a good response from the team after the FA Cup defeat against Liverpool and I thought everyone contributed. We certainly deserved to win and I’m very pleased,” he confirmed. “A lot of people laughed about us getting into the top six but that is definitely achievable now. It was a big game against Leeds. It won’t be easy, but I think it is reasonable to set these players such a target.” Keegan highlighted Peter Schmeichel’s stunning save from Harry Kewell the turning point of the match. “One great save from Peter Schmeichel in the first half was crucial and I don’t think any other goalkeeper I have worked with would have got to that and then we went and scored through Shaun Goater,” said KK. “The one thing you know about Shaun is that he never lets his head go down and he seems to like playing against the bigger teams. He has a knack of scoring crucial goals. The second goal was a terrific strike. I never brought Niclas to the club for his goalscoring ability but the ones he has thrown in have been much appreciated. It is the type of strike you need to beat Paul Robinson. It was a shame to give a goal away at the end but to be fair, Leeds never stopped trying. It was just a good, professional performance and for 90 minutes we had reasonable control of the game. I was disappointed not to get the clean sheet but it was a big ask on that pitch towards the end; it was getting slippery and it was difficult for both defences. But I think no one will be more disappointed than Peter Schmeichel because he loves keeping clean sheets but we will take the three points in a game which we deserved to win.”

Goal of the Century! Niclas Jensen scored the goal of his career last Saturday, with a perfect volley from 30 yards. Even the avowed City-ignorers on ITV’s “The Premiership” were drooling over the Dane’s effort. “I don’t score that often so scoring one like that was pretty special and I am very happy,” enthused the wing back later. “At first I didn’t think about hitting it first time but it was in the air for quite a long time so I thought I might as well try my luck. I hit it well and it went straight in! Every once in a while in training I try and get some crosses in from the right and have a go at scoring but I don’t practise it that often. When it comes to you like it did on Saturday then you just try your luck and it worked. That has to be my number one goal as I have not scored that many goals in my career. Every time I got the ball after that the fans started shouting for me to shoot even when I got the ball in my own half!” The goal was proved vital in other ways, as Leeds’ late strike meant that the Blues could not have settled for Shaun Goater’s goal to secure the points. “Our performance was more than my goal,” said Jensen. “We deserved a win and we played some great football in periods. That is good for the games which lie ahead. We only have the Premiership to focus on now so each game is important. If we can get good results in the next three or four games then we really can push on and we will approach each match with a win in mind.” Even Leeds’ boss Terry Venables paid tribute to Jensen’s strike. “Their second goal was magnificent, ten out of ten for technique. It was quite amazing, it was how a volley should be hit.”

Goat Fed, Job Done: Shaun Goater was delighted to earn a recall to the starting line up, and repaid the boss’s faith with a typical first half strike. “I have never been more surprised – pleasantly surprised – to be picked for a game,” admitted the Goat. “You have to hand it to the manager, it was a brilliant psychology. His backing gave me confidence and to score was fantastic.” Goater knows that his place may be in jeopardy, but he remains realistic. “As a player it would be silly to think that the club is going to stand still,” he said. “This club is growing and progressing and it is only natural that some people will be left behind. New players will come in to push those already here by setting higher standards. I expect that as a player. We are going from one era to another and moving forward very quickly. Of course I want to be here next year when that step to the new stadium is made. Manchester City is a brilliant club for me. Players don’t often get attached to clubs but I have to this one. Why? The fans and their passion are certainly a big part of it. There is the constant feedback from them and over the years you get to feel the importance of the club to them and from them. The only way for me to make sure I remain part of that is to do well when I get the opportunity and to score goals. That was my first home goal since the derby and I really enjoyed it. I needed to get back on the scoring trail and I have to thank Eyal Berkovic for the pass. When you have that kind of quality in midfield you just have to keep making the runs and you know that the ball will arrive.” Keegan, meanwhile, was delighted with the display of the Bermudian. “Sometimes you have to do things that catches the opposition out and when I left Shaun out of the side it was for that reason. He had done very well and I told him that,” said the City chief. “I told him he would get another chance. He did and now he has taken it. He is a big match player that is why there is a Shaun Goater Day in Bermuda! One thing about him is that he doesn’t get his head down. He has benefited from Nicolas Anelka coming here when some people might have wondered what was happening.”

Squad News

Stupid Boy! Matias Vuoso may well have curtailed his career with City without making the first team, following the Argentinian striker’s injudicious remarks this week. Vuoso is frustrated at his lack of first team opportunities, so said “I haven’t even spoken to the manager. It amazes me that he doesn’t play me. I was an expensive transfer so perhaps he holds that against me, perhaps he was expecting something else. They came out to Buenos Aires to see me play and they asked for me because they wanted me to play. It would suit them to play me, I’m still the same player. The one he always plays is Anelka. Paulo still has one month until he returns from injury but the other day Keegan put a winger on as a striker. Those are the kind of things that can bother you a bit. I had a chat with the staff and we spoke about a few things. I then made changes in areas where they recommended changes, which they said were necessary in order to play in the Premiership. After that, they stopped speaking to me.” Special K doesn’t sound too impressed with this outburst, and sought to put the youngster in his place. “Matias has certainly taken himself that bit further away from the first team but at least he said he liked me,” said the Boss. “I haven’t got a problem with what he said but he is not really important at this club at the minute. He has got to make himself important here. He won’t do that by speaking to newspapers. He has got to go out onto a football field and play well for the reserves. That is his team at the moment. He has also got to train a little bit more professionally than he has been doing. I’m not saying that he hasn’t tried. I do understand that when you come from South America to England and the Premiership, it is a big change. He is only twenty years of age. We haven’t bought somebody who is established and is twenty five or twenty six. What he has got to do from now is use that energy he has used to talk to the Press to impress me out on a football pitch. He will only do that through performances, a better attitude and making it impossible for me not to pick him. At the moment, it is very easy for me not to pick him and that is me being honest.”

Ratter Back Soon: On the subject of players in the wilderness, Jeff Whitley’s loan spell at Second Division Notts County ends on Saturday, after the Magpies’ game with Brentford. Whitley has enjoyed a successful spell at Meadow Lane, and manager Billy Dearden has indicated that he would like to take Whitley on as a permanent addition to the squad, but the club are in administration so cannot meet Whitley’s wage demands. If Jeff does return to Maine Road, expect a swift loan deal to be worked out to take the Northern Ireland international elsewhere. Another loan ranger, Paddy McCarthy, has hinted that he would like to extend his loan spell with Boston United. The 19-year-old Dublin-born defender is keen to remain with the Pilgrims as they bid to move further away from the Nationwide Division Three relegation zone. “I’m enjoying every minute of it here and if I was given the opportunity to play more games for Boston I’d jump at the chance,” McCarthy said. “The first month was a bit stop-start for me and I wasn’t pleased with the way I played. I don’t think I did myself justice. But I’m happy the gaffer asked me to stay so I could prove to him and myself what I can do.”

Macken’s the Comeback Kid: Jon Macken was delighted with his return to the field when he played for City’s Reserves at Sheffield Wednesday last week. The former Preston man last just over an hour and felt no ill effects for the run out. “I really enjoyed it. It was good to get back and get my shin pads and boots on again”, declared Macken. “I was on a bit longer than I expected but that came about because I was enjoying myself so much. I was a little bit stiff but that was only to be expected having been off for so long. I’m raring to go again and can’t wait for the next game. It was annoying over the Christmas period when there wasn’t any chance of a game. But thankfully things have come good again. The best thing was having played the game when I came back in and I didn’t suffer any reaction. I’ve just got to really concentrate on doing the right things from now. Then, touch wood, I should be all right.” Boss Man Kev is thrilled about Macken’s and Weaver’s successful recuperation so far. “We know we have got strength here but it was nice to see those two come back,” he said. “Nicky kept a fantastic goal. It was as good as I have seen him play and Jon was excellent. He could have played for 90 minutes.”

Going Back Home? Danny Tiatto has been mulling over his long term future. It seems he’d like to spend three more seasons in England, hopefully with the Blues, before returning to Australia. “I’m very happy here and why would anyone complain when they are playing at the highest level. Kevin Keegan has been great to me, I’ve got no complaints,” Tiatto said. “My current deal finishes at the end of next season so I think I’ll try and update my current one in the close season.” Danny’s combative style has made a big impression on the City faithful, so when he does decide to depart he will surely be missed by the fans.

Peter’s Friend: It’s been reported that Peter Schmeichel is ready to commit himself to City for another season, once his current agreement runs out in the summer. The 39-year-old ‘keeper could conceivably finish his career with a season in the new stadium for the 2003-2004 season. KK has already said publicly that he’d like the veteran ‘keeper to stay, but will leave the decision to Schmeichel. The boss paid tribute to the Great Dane this week by saying that “Peter doesn’t like conceding a goal in training, never mind a game. He has a presence and a desire to win that only the very top players have.” This may be good news for the team and the fans, but is not expected to please second choice goalkeeper Carlo Nash. It may also explain some of Nash’s comments on his Icons website this week. Nash (or ‘Nosh’ as he was called in one report) foresees a future elsewhere. “I haven’t spoken to the club recently about where I stand in their plans, but now that Nicky’s back fit they may have to make a decision or two soon, because all three of us see ourselves as Premiership ‘keepers and not number threes. My future probably rests on Peter Schmeichel and whether he decides to sign on at Manchester City for another year. I really don’t want to leave this club because I’m very happy and settled here, but if Peter signs an extension to his current deal, then I’ll almost certainly be left with no option but to leave. It’s been hard enough sitting on the bench all season because it’s seemed like a waste, so I can’t imagine spending another year on the sidelines. Don’t get me wrong, I’m reasonably content at being number two this season, but if I’m demoted for some reason to number three or if it’s going to be the same next season, I think I’ll be better off playing first-team football elsewhere – as much as I’d love to stay at Man City.”

Don Barrie

MATCH REPORT I: MCFC 2 LEEDS UNITED 1

After the wretched performance against Liverpool, which cost £26 for the privilege of enduring, might I add, Saturday proved that we can actually play a bit. The starting line up had returned to our usual 3-5-2, and the players looked much more comfortable for it. The only person in this I felt sorry for was Gerard Wiekens, the only player last week to look like he deserved to be playing in the Premiership, who then immediately wasn’t. An understandable decision given the authority which the defence displayed, but if I were Glenn Roeder though, I know where I’d be spending my money.

Leeds weren’t as bad as most reports suggested, but “a bit physical” i.e. very dirty. Mills was switched to centre back for them, presumably an attempt to match Anelka for pace (and we can laugh at that piece of tactics from Venables when we look at the second goal).

Their class players stood out as being Smith (out of position on the right, but still bl***y good) and Woodgate. It’s interesting to compare the different response to people over Woodgate and Bowyer. One is found innocent, and is made a pariah, lost all his marketable value, and has been transferred to the bottom of the table club, who themselves get slated in the media for signing him. The other is actually guilty, and no-one says a thing when Newcastle bid £10 million for him. Now while I’m all for people doing their time and getting a clean sheet afterwards, I do think there’s a bit of double standards going on. Anyway, chip firmly established on shoulder, on with the match report.

We took our time to get going but essentially were just better than them. Distin was announced MotM after the game but it could have been most of the team. OK, not Foe, who still doesn’t do enough for me. There was one occasion when he barrelled into the box at the start of the second half and nearly scored, and another where he just shrugged off Okon, when it becomes obvious just how strong he is, but that should show the whole time, not just twice in a match. He didn’t play badly, mind, but you get the impression there is so much more untapped. Sun was also struggling a bit, positional sense being the one thing lacking from his game. The potential is there but will it come through? Reiziger seems to have turned us down, which will please our marketing people, if no-one else, but unless SWP retakes the position I can see someone coming in this summer.

First goal was neat, Berkovic finally slipping a pass through to Goater who demonstrated the inestimable art of getting a shot on target. Fowler has a record of one goal every two games across his career, but Goater’s record for City is 102 goals in 203 games. It doesn’t seem to matter what level you play him at, he looks equally lumbering and yet still scores goals. What he also does is play the position. That may sound obvious, but compare it to SWP last week. He floated around and looked like he didn’t quite know where he should be playing. Goater pushed on to defenders, made runs to create space for others, and just made sure that the defence couldn’t ignore him. He won’t beat someone for fun the way Anelka will, but neither will he drift out of the game. He makes the opposition do their job, and if they stop, he scores.

And now the second goal. Awesome. Ball played down the right, Anelka turns Mills for fun. The crowd rise to their feet. He’s on the touchline by the main stand, tearing away from everyone. Goater is up in support, and he heads towards the near post, doing his job, putting the defenders where they don’t want to be. Anelka looks up and sees Jensen arriving in the box. How he got there nobody knows, but hey who cares. Maybe the marking should have been better, but personally, if I were a Leeds defender, I wouldn’t be thinking, I wonder where that left back (one goal in two years) is. As the ball looped across there was a moment where you saw him think ‘control it’. Fortunately he didn’t. Class. I have never known a crowd respond like that. He got cheered every time he touched the ball for the rest of the match. I know this won’t be going out till the end of the week, and everyone will have heard this umpteen times, but I don’t care. It was the best goal I have seen anyone score including Phelan against Spurs or Gio against half a dozen teams.

We could have scored more. Super Kev with a free kick, and Jensen from range probably went closest. Leeds tried to get back into the game, but didn’t deserve to score. If I were a Leeds fan I’d be annoyed Smith got taken off. Kewell did score in the last minute, but for the first time as a City fan, it felt like just a consolation. Please note though Mr Schmeical, you left him half the goal to aim at on your near post. Very bad positioning.

Fowler got cheered by the City fans when he came on. Not sure about that. He now appears to have dropped his wage demands. It’s a bit surreal. Four years ago we’d only just scraped out of Division Two. Now I’m debating whether signing an England international is a good thing. In the end I think I’ve decided that regardless or not of whether he’s a good signing, it’s just s***ing brilliant that we can sign him.

Sam Al-Hamdani (inexplicasam@hotmail.com)

MATCH REPORT II: MCFC 2 LEEDS UNITED 1

Win when we’re singing. You only win when we’re singing!

KK (writing in the Evening News last week) again mentioned the fact that City seem to play better when the fans are more vocal. And indeed the evidence would seem to point that way – when we beat Newcastle at the start of the season City fans were in full voice proclaiming Sylvain Distin as a Blue, then there was the derby match – and against Leeds this Saturday the ground was ringing to the sound of Robbie Fowler is a Blue (and other chants I’d rather my 5 year old wouldn’t join in with!). However, it was notable how different the atmosphere was for the quieter match against Chelsea for example (though I thought this was just because we were in HH and getting wet!).

Anyway – worth a try isn’t it?

Re. the Leeds match – what a treat that was… and what a goal from Jensen (and what a shame that our video cut off the post-match interviews (were there any?) as once again the Premiership chose to feature us as the penultimate match (Sky do a better round up where at least every team is treated equally).

Sarah Longshaw (sarah@longshaw.demon.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT: MCFC RESERVES 3 NEWCASTLE UNITED RESERVES 2

Marseille’s Import Ruins Magpie’s Night

Another fine display from our new Algerian loaned from Marseille; he instigated another three points for the second string and kept up our 100% record for 2003. This takes us temporarily seven points clear at the top of the table and sets us up nicely for our top of the table clash with Sunderland next Tuesday, when we owe them for our three nil defeat at the beginning of the season. Goals either side of half time by Belmadi and Macken respectively were cancelled out within a four minute period by Newcastle from a good, curling shot and a penalty. City looked to have thrown away a deserved three points but scored in the dying seconds of injury time to send the larger than normal crowd home happy and with a smile on their face.

Unlike last week when Joey Barton and Djamel Belmadi stood out as players of a different class, last night’s game saw more of a team performance. Belmadi was definitely the pick of the bunch, but was helped much more by the overall team display. Right from the second minute Newcastle were forced into making a double save; first Steve Harper from an onrushing Vuoso and then Titus Bramble, a £6 million summer purchase from Ipswich, cleared off the line from a shot by Jon Macken from the rebound.

The first half play saw City dominate possession and numerous openings come their way. On eight minutes City won a corner and Shuker’s resulting low out-swinging dead ball fell kindly for Paul Ritchie to sweetly volley towards goal, but for the second time in as many games his effort was cleared off the line. Soon after, Shuker was brought down on the far side of the field and eventually, after at least three minutes, left the field to continue his treatment. Foolishly, as the referee, Mr R Lewis, was making some strange decisions, Shuker returned to the field without clear indication from Mr Lewis and was subsequently booked for his actions.

City’s first goal came when Glen Whelan intercepted a loose Newcastle pass and then found Macken; he laid the ball off to Belmadi at the halfway line. We were then treated to a bit of Moorish Magic from our little playmaker. His twisting and turning whilst running at the defence had at least four Newcastle players wondering which way to go. Then, once Djamel had carved enough space and was close enough to goal, probably around twenty eight yards, he let fly with a great strike that Harper had no chance of saving.

Although City controlled the game till the end of the half, they were unable to create any more clear-cut chances. This was probably more to do with Mr Lewis not allowing the game to flow as it should and his actions were deservedly keeping the assessor busy writing disparaging notes on his performance.

The second half saw Newcastle come out of the dressing room with much more purpose to their play and forced Nicky Weaver, a late replacement for Carlo Nash, into a double save from Lomana Tresor Lua Lua, a DR Congo International, and England U20 international Michael Chopra. City’s second goal was started once again by Glen Whelan who slipped a great pass to Vuoso and split the Newcastle defence. He then drew the defenders closer before sending Macken free to run onto his pass and free to score past Harper, who was able to make contact with the ball but failed to keep it out.

The feat was nearly repeated five minutes later; this time Belmadi sent Macken free, but Harper’s efforts were enough to send the ball wide of the post for a corner. On seventy two minutes Bradley Orr, who has just signed a new contract, was given half a yard on the edge of the area to curl a great shot into the top right hand corner that Weaver had no chance of saving. Three minutes later Lua Lua’s trickery fooled Mettomo and his challenge in the edge of the area brought him down for a penalty decision. He then stepped up to take the penalty and drill his shot straight down the middle.

Soon after, Belmadi went on a solo, mazy run whilst being surrounded by numerous Newcastle players, but he was able to fool them all and emerge to shoot at goal. Unfortunately for him it was straight at Harper. After this we thought the game was petering out to a draw, but our little Algerian had other ideas, and his industry and clever passing and linking with Shuker down the right, led to him finding Shuker in the dying moments of injury in the area, and he was able to squirm his shot under Harper and send the fifteen hundred strong crowd into raptures.

This is the halfway point of the season. We are now three points ahead of the two point average required to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. So if we are able to replicate our first half of the season, Keegan will be lifting his second trophy in as many years. With Weaver and Belmadi producing good displays in the last two games, this should give Keegan a pleasing headache as to how his bench is made up on Saturday, especially if the Fowler purchase is completed today.

Weaver: Good all round display and great kicking as well. 8
Whelan: Worked well in midfield and played a part in two goals. 8
Jordan: Was out of sorts and out of position for most of the match. 6
Mettomo: Good work, but marked down for the penalty. 7
Bischoff: Never had his feathers ruffled throughout the match. 8
Ritchie: Unlucky not to be on the scoresheet for the second time. 8
Barton (capt): Not quite last week’s level of performance. 8
Belmadi: We have unearthed a real gem here. MoM, 2 weeks running! 9
Vuoso (76): Mr Nancy Boy as Arthur Cox calls him – did ok and set up a goal. 7
Macken: Better performance than last week, needs to give defences more probs. 7.5
Shuker: Has to be marked down for his silly booking. 7

Subs:
Browne (76): Didn’t do enough to make a difference. 6
Subs Not Used: Paisley, Ellegaard, Tickle, Orr.

Newcastle: Harper, Brennan, Elliott, Orr, Taylor, Bramble, Lua Lua, Kerr, Cort, Chopra (Kendrick 71), Bassedas (Gavilan 63).

Att: 1,535.

Gavin Cooper (blueboy@mancity.net)

MATCH VIEW: MCFC RESERVES vs. SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY RESERVES

A big thanks to Andrew Jackson and Gavin Cooper for their reports of the Wednesday Reserves versus City Reserves match on Wednesday 08 January. I was at Hillsborough as well and instead of writing another match report I thought I would add a few comments on the game.

This was the first reserve game that I have seen this season, and I went because I wanted to see Weaver and Macken after their absences through injury. Weaver had a reasonable game – yes, he does shout – and was the loudest player on the pitch, if not the stadium. He did not have a lot to do but made a couple of good saves in the first half. He also had a couple of “Weaverish” moments when playing the ball out, but that is our Nicky. Macken had a quietish game. I suspect that it was more of a test on the injury rather than an attempt to impress and to get back in the first team squad. He took up some good positions and had one shot in the first half when he should have scored from a cross by Shuker, and later he hit the post. If players, especially Shuker, had read Macken’s moves better he would probably have ended up on the scoresheet.

I thought Bischoff and Ritchie played solidly at the back. Willo Flood was impressive at right back, and was always eager to join the attacks.

Djamel Belmadi had a good game in the centre of midfield. He always seemed to have time on the ball, which we are told is the sign of a good player. Whether he will have as much time in the first team we will have to find out. He is a tidy player and can hold onto the ball in order to find the right pass. When Macken was substituted Belmadi moved up front and was impressive in that position too.

City were wearing the maroon kit with white pinstripes. Are the shorts exceptionally long or were most players trying to keep their legs warm on a bitterly cold South Yorkshire night? Vuoso in particular wore his shorts around his knees and reminded me of Freddie Starr doing his Hitler impersonation. This was the first time I have seen Vuoso and on this performance I am not very impressed. He has a good touch but is full of little flicks and first time passes. He did not appear to want to take players on or to stamp any authority on the game. Kevin Keegan is right to say that he has to impress in the reserves before being considered for the first team. The way he played in this match will not get him out of the reserves. He took his goal well though. A cross from Belmadi reached Vuoso to the right of the penalty spot and he scored with what I would describe as a slow motion diving header.

Darren Huckerby was in his usual headless chicken form. He had the beating of the Owls defence but was unable to find that final ball. The Wednesday ‘keeper saved about three times at Huckerby’s feet when it looked certain he would score and his crosses into the box rarely found a City player.

All in all this was a good City performance after the fright of an opening goal from a free kick by Owen Morrison. City dominated much of the play and were deserved winners. The meaning of the result was only tarnished when I saw that Wednesday reserves have only won one match and drawn one match all season.

Arthur Hill (R4L@capitaldesign.co.uk)

MATCH REPORT – FA YOUTH CUP 4TH ROUND I – POSH vs. CITY

As I live near Peterborough and don’t get an easy trip to see City very often I thought I would go along and see the City youth team in action. I arrived about 10 minutes before kick-off to find crowd congestion, which came as a complete surprise. The stand that was open holds 4,500 people and was almost completely full. This was interesting as the official attendance was later given as 1,800 and something. Double that figure was closer and everyone around me assumed that somebody somewhere was lining their pockets. I don’t know how many Blues were in the crowd but I was very impressed that so many Posh fans had turned up.

It will be difficult to tell you how good individuals were because I missed the announcement of the team and the shirt numbers were totally different to the names in the programme (for both teams). The City team was equaled in the first half, but from about 10 minutes into the second half took over the game completely. Players for the future were the City number 6 (was that Lee Croft?) and a strapping number 10 who looks a bit like Dunnie. Willo Flood was impressive (I think I worked out who he was because of the loud calls of “Willo over here” but I may have been mistaken). The Posh goalkeeper and their number 7 (he was a class apart from his team mates) looked good. In the end the difference between the two sides was that City were bigger and a lot more streetwise. Kasper Schmeichel and Bradley Wright-Philips kept us entertained by warming-up in front of the stand for long periods of the match but neither played.

City won the match 1-0 from a scrappy goal from a corner that should have been disallowed but as City had two penalties that were not given then I guess it was fair. The crowd was good humored and along with the players spent most of the time being bemused by the referee and linesmen whose decisions were consistently wrong for both teams. I suppose you cannot expect Premiership quality at this level but…

Next stop Arsenal or Millwall.

Pete Carey (pdca@ceh.ac.uk)

MATCH REPORT – FA YOUTH CUP 4TH ROUND II – POSH vs. CITY

I made the trip to Peterborough last night (well why not?) and took a look at our young stars. It was a first time visit to Peterborough’s ground and I have not seen the youth team play for quite a few years. A crowd of 1,486 was a lot more than I was expecting and a lot more than Peterborough were expecting too. Difficult to say how many City fans but I reckon at least 100. Right from the kick off City dominated play. Lots of possession but never quite finding the killer pass at the end of it all. No score at half time but City in control. The second half was even more one sided than the first, but still no goal to show for it all. Peterborough only offered an occasional threat on the break and that was always down to their number 7 who did look a very good player. He along with their ‘keeper (who was given the man of the match award) were the only two decent players they had. The goal came from a cross that our centre half met with a firm header from about 5 yards out with the ‘keeper not getting there quick enough. I thought it was a good goal (so did the ref.) but Peterborough’s ‘keeper was a little miffed and chased the ref. back to the halfway line and it was a few minutes before the game was restarted. The only shock was that we didn’t score more. City look a very good side, strong in all departments but perhaps not at their best in front of goal last night. If you are considering going to watch them then do it, it is definitely worth it. Thanks to everyone at MCIVTA, you do a great job!

Phil Taylor (Phil.Taylor@tnt.co.uk)

CHORLTON BLUES

Chorlton Blues’ next meeting takes place on Tuesday 21st January at South-West Manchester Cricket Club on Ellesmere Road. Invited guests include Chris Bird from City. There will be the usual top notch raffle, quiz and free buffet. Events kick off at 8.00pm. There will also be a presentation to The Rainbow Trust of the proceeds from our charity night in November, which was attended by Stuart Pearce, Tony Book and Chris Greenacre. All City fans are welcome to attend. For further details please visit Our website at http://www.chorltonblues.co.uk/ or email nextmeeting@chorltonblues.co.uk.

Larry Higgs

OPINION: ROBBIE I

No doubt MCIVTA will be full of concern and hope contributions about Mr Fowler. I’ll keep my contribution short: bit of a gamble, but it could turn out to be magic…

Stephen Webb (swebb@rm.com)

OPINION: ROBBIE II

Did we buy the right Robbie? After last week’s exploits Robbie Keane looks a better buy than our injury prone purchase. Time will tell.

From a million miles away I can’t understand why Huckerby can’t improve his shots on goal. With his and Anelka’s speed they should be lethal.

Where can I watch City’s goals for free now that citygoals has flagged it?

Stuart Grundy (sgrundy@xtra.co.nz)

OPINION: THE CHAIRMAN SPEAKETH

I attended the Westminster branch meeting on Monday night with David Bernstein putting in a special appearance. A thoroughly nice guy who was quite happy to take questions for a good hour on a whole series of topics. I jotted down a few of the more pertinent points which might be of interest to our world-wide Blues!

  • He’s confident that the stadium capacity will reach up to 50,000once complete. There would be the possibility of extending it further inthe future but this would be very costly and the club have no plans todo this, believing that the new capacity will be optimum for our currentfan base.
  • We’re planning on selling 36,000 season tickets for the newstadium and the rest would be available to fans on a match by matchbasis. He recounted the anecdote of when he was chatting to Doug Ellis(the Villa Chairman) about season ticket sales recently. Ellis wentwhite when he found out how many tickets we had actually sold. Villaonly have a season ticket base of 15,000. He was very clear to makethe point that we would not become another Chelsea and tickets would bepriced at a level accessible to all.
  • The stadium name will remain “The City of Manchester” and thestadium name cannot be sponsored à la Reebok or Walkers as this would beagainst the agreement with the council. Individual stands however couldbe sponsored.
  • No news on what will happen with Maine Road. This is a matterfor the local council and not for Manchester City. You got the feelingthat the club will be detaching themselves from this one.
  • Big plans are underway for a very special farewell party to theold ground. He made the point that the Southanpton game would be thelast ever football match to be staged there.
  • He explained the financing deal brokered with the Americaninvestment bank and he was very keen to point out that we would notfollow the same path as Leeds and Chelsea in building unserviceabledebt. Our turnover in Division 1 was £27 million, this year it will be£47 million and next year in the new stadium this will rise to £60million. This is not taking into account any good cup runs or evenEurope! We are in a more fortuitous position that most clubs in that weactually have cash to spend at the moment (and Keegan is spending it!)but you did get the impression that there is prudence in the boardroom.Makin and Wardle were singled out in particular for their unerringsupport for the club and for the amount of cash they have pumped in!
  • There was some debate on what the board could do to stop Cityfans calling the other lot from across the road “Munichs”. Bernsteinlooked a bit at a loss for a solution on this one but did express thewish that at the forthcoming derby the minute’s silence for the disasterwould be respected, I am not optimistic.
  • We will continue to do “In the Community” work in Moss Side andstart up a similar scheme in Eastlands.
  • Bernstein was also annoyed at the poor coverage we have receivedrecently on the Premiership and City have put in an official complaintto ITV.

That’s about it. I’ve probably missed a few bits and pieces but a good evening was had by all and you left feeling that with Bernstein we are in safe hands and the future looks bright.

Onwards and upwards.

Andrew Dixon (Andrew.Dixon@quaker.co.uk)

OPINION: INTERNATIONALS

Reading Stuart Grundy’s post about China was very interesting, especially if City were to play a Chinese team either as a farewell to Maine Road or as an Hello to the new stadium.

There are two other international possibilities though. As far as I’m aware, the venue for the September Euro 2004 qualifier against Lichtenstein hasn’t yet been decided yet, in which case there must be a case for it being held at our new stadium with a full crowd.

The other international possibility is hosting an Israel international. They’re playing all over at the moment, and I saw Watford’s Vicarage Road being mentioned at one point, so I’m sure by having their best player here at City that could be a possibility also.

Lance Thomson (mcfc.champions@btopenworld.com)

OPINION: TRANSFER WINDOW

The transfer window is a sensible idea that encourages clubs to think long-term and to work with what they’ve got, at least for two four-month periods of the year. Kevin Keegan can slag off the new system all he likes but don’t you get the feeling that it has benefited both him and MCFC? I just wonder if KK might have been tempted to splash the cash earlier, thereby possibly missing out on Fowler, had the old system been in place this season. And of course, not forgetting the Asprilla débâcle at Newcastle. I love Keegan and what he’s done for our club but I disagree with his assessment of the transfer window.

Come on Robbie!

Daniel Marcus (daniel.marcus@ntlworld.com)

OPINION: AS SEEN ON SKY SPORTS

I can’t believe that Tuesday’s edition went by without the biggest story of the day being mentioned. I had just got in from work on Monday and Sky Sports were breaking the news that a fee had been agreed for Fowler. I carried on depositing the coat on the chair (just to annoy the wife) as this was good news but not totally unexpected. But the next bit was. “We are now joined by Heidi Pickup of The Manchester City Supporters’ Club” “What?” followed by “Hey! That’s Heidi. You know! The newsletter editor!” Sure enough, there was Heidi’s name emblazoned in Sky Sports red and blue whilst the presenter interviewed her, by phone, at some length on the supporters’ reaction to the Fowler transfer. Heidi, you’re a star! Why no picture? Bad hair day?

We should be truly thankful that we are lucky enough to have an international celebrity in our midst, who still manages to produce a quality newsletter during her busy TV career.

I personally believe that Fowler is the best English striker (after Shearer) at the moment. I rate him above Owen, Smith, Defoe, Heskey (don’t make me laugh) and Rooney (I said don’t!). I would love to see The Goat in the middle with Fowler and Anelka either side. Awesome!

[Thank you Stuart, we did break the news in Mon night’s intro! Sky’s 5 minute warning to the interview didn’t give time for photos! – H]

Stuart Wells (stuart.wells@flight-refuelling.com)

OPINION: BLUES TUNES

In the last issue your correspondent Tom Willis suggested that there may not be many instances of “City players being immortalised in song”. I would just like to set the record straight and assure this misguided young man that our heroes have inspired a plethora of musical compositions that are known and loved throughout the world.

I am currently assembling an album of such ditties. Negotiations are under way with Captain Beefheart, who I hope will permit me to call this compilation Trautmann Replica. Tracks selected so far include:

Revie breath you take
Wiekens work it out
The Ogley bug ball
Coton fields
Goater get you into my life
Huckerby a lady tonight
Summerbee – and the living is easy
Get Dowd
Watson your mind?
Great Bowles of fire
My old man’s a Coleman
Hey Curle, don’t bother me
Ewing seen nothing yet
Purple Hayes
Holden out for a hero
Lomas where the heart is
Machin whoopee
Hooked on a Phelan
The Poyser back in town
The mighty Quinn
Tolmie on a Sunday
Every day I write the Book
Viljoen love me tomorrow?

With a few more contributions from your readers it could be a double album!

Finally, let us not forget that at least three stage musicals have been written about City players: Frannie Get Your Gun, Macken Mabel and The Most Happy Mellor.

Surely no other club can have provided so much inspiration for musicians?

Steve Willis (s.willis@virgin.net)

OPINION: AUSSIE RULES?

Dear Dear Judi Ann,

Now, far be it from me to use McV to vent my spleen, I feel I must respond to your e-mail, as there a few things in it that are of concern to me.

Firstly your naïvety when it comes to all things football related is just staggering. Australia does get the FA Cup, but they never (nor never will) get the first few rounds. I recall SBS showing the FA Cup final for quite a number of years now.

Secondly, if you are a true soccer fan how could you not know that there are 4 leagues in the UK? Actually, there are way more than 4 if you count the Conference and Dr. Martens etc., but only 4 professional leagues.

Thirdly, your comment “up there with the fairies” had me rolling around on the floor for hours, no truly, I’ve not laughed so wholeheartedly in a long time. I read your e-mail, then my e-mail, then your e-mail again and I still can’t quite see how you, Judi Ann, of all people, can tell me I’m away with the fairies.

Fourthly, you state that I should share my ideas with the rest of Australia, well as much as I love City and they have a huge fan base, I don’t quite think that the 20 million or so population of Australia really want to know that you can catch City on SBS and Foxtel. I shared my ideas with McV and a few people have e-mailed me saying how true it was about the Radio and SBS service over here, so for you to comment and say “We also have Australian people over here who would like to know” just shouts ignorance. If you don’t know that you can watch Soccer on SBS and pay to watch Foxtel (or go into any Foxtel Pub for free) then you really should not be walking this earth.

It’s a free country, and we all have opinions, it’s what makes life so interesting, but when you write into McV and make the Editor “cut and paste” such a sieve (holds no water) of an argument, it beggars belief. You call yourself a City fan and yet are so ignorant of City and football in general. My sources tell me that you have not even been to Maine Road?

Sorry to say it Judi Ann, but you should have been a Red, and join the 10 million who are “Really big United fans” but have never been to Old Trafford. And then when they do go to Manchester and follow the signs to “Old Trafford”, they end up watching the cricket!

But you would not see the irony in the above statement I feel.

Andrew – Sydney (afrodsham@deloitte.com.au)

REQUEST: NEW ZEALAND BLUES

I am soon to leave ‘old blighty’ in February 2003 and take up a new life in New Zealand, Christchurch. I am an avid reader and fan of your newsletter and will continue to read the many interesting news comments and articles that City fans take time to submit.

Are there any fellow Blues out there in NZ, in particular in the South Island? As mentioned I will be based in Christchurch and would be interested in forming a City fan club or meeting up for a few beers to watch the Blues in action. I will be reluctantly giving up my season ticket in the Kippax after more years than I can remember and will greatly miss the wonderful and unique atmosphere at the Academy. I will try and get back to the UK when I can and the main purpose will be to view the Blues in the New Stadium. After watching some of the Commonwealth Games it will be a magnificent stadium to watch the Blues beat the ‘Scum’ again.

I will be sad, like many fellow Blues, to leave Maine Road as it holds so many great memories and will miss the pre-match tension in the Claremont pub and in the Marble Arch afterwards and obviously the curry houses in Rusholme. So if you’re in NZ and a Blue get in touch by email. Super City of Maine Road! It is just typical; best team we had since Lee, Bell and Summerbee and I am leaving.

Dave Lamb (d&slamb@breathe.co.uk)

REQUEST: NEW STADIUM WEBCAM

I’m sure I’ve seen a webcam, somewhere, with the current progress of the new stadium, but can’t find it anywhere. Does anyone know the address of one?

Cheers all (ssh, it’s going quite well isn’t it?).

CTID, Paul Ruffley (paulruffley@hotmail.com)

REQUEST: GENE KELLY

Can anybody provide me on any useful information on the uncovered seating area at Maine Road (between North Stand/Kippax)? I’m in there for the Fulham game for the first time and basically want to know if I’ll have access to beer and if the food on offer is the same as around the rest of the ground.

Rob Kerr (citymacc@hotmail.com)

REQUEST: VIEWING THE NEWCASTLE GAME IN VIENNA?

I’m off there for the weekend and I don’t know if the game is showing or not but, if anybody does know something, could they e-mail me at the address below?

Many thanks, Andrew Dixon (andrewwdixon@hotmail.com)

REQUESTS: GAME STATS

I’m after a few stats if anybody can help?

I need the date, attendance and scorers for the Mansfield game a few years back in the ‘autonoddywindscreens Cup’ at Maine Road.

Also if anybody has any similar info regarding the friendly game back in the 80’s when we played Australia I’d be obliged.

From memory I think Jim Melrose made his début.

Thanks, Mark Bowden (mark.bowden@notes.manchester.gov.uk)

REQUEST: NEWCASTLE GAME IN OZ

The Newcastle vs. City match will be shown on SBS at 2am next Sunday morning and the Keeper’s Arms will be staying open to show it (licensed until about 3am). The pub is on the corner of Queensberry and Peel Streets in North Melbourne.

Hope to see you all there.

CTID, Martin Rayner (ezandkaz@bigpond.net.au)

REQUEST: HOME FOR FULHAM TICKETS

Due to unfortunate happenstance we have to miss our first home game for a couple of years, which means we have 3 tickets available in the North Stand. If you want them please E-mail or phone 07946 345846.

Richard Lord (Richard_Lord@talk21.com)

REQUEST – WBA TICKETS

Can anyone save me the ultimate humiliation of having to sit in the away end for this game? My hubby is a Baggies’ season ticket holder and the deal is that I have to sit in the home end with him at the Hawthorns and he has to sit in the City end with me at Maine Road when the teams meet. You can imagine what a joy that was last season with a 0-4 drubbing at the Hawthorns and 0-0 on Boxing day in the snow at City. Whilst things are obviously going much better so far this season – sitting between him and the Father in Law to see us put 2 past them was wonderful – I’ve missed the boat on tickets as the game is sold out. I’m now faced with the possibility of watching our certain victory (?! they’re bottom of the league – of course we won’t win) from afar.

I’m looking for 2 tickets together if anyone can help.

Amanda Metcalfe (amanda.metcalfe@debenhams.com)

REQUEST: DERBY FORMS

I have managed to acquire one form Q for the derby at “the theatre of stretford” and would love one for my mate who foolishly didn’t renew his season ticket for 2001-2 (for financial reasons, he paid for a ticket for every home and two away games, so he’s loyal). Does anyone have a form Q they could send me? I know it’s a long shot, but it’s always worth a try!

Stephen Webb (swebb@rm.com)

REQUEST: ANY SPARES? PLEASE!

If anyone has spare tickets for any home games this season please contact me on the e-mail address below. I am a Scottish City fan and would like to get to Maine Road one last time before we move to the new stadium next season.

Steven Page (steven.page@tpct.scot.nhs.uk)

REQUEST: THOSE PESKY RINGTONES

Mither mither mither! I’m sorry but has anyone still got the ringtones for Blue Moon for the Nokia 3310 and a 5210? If you have please e-mither me at the address below.

bluefromglosssop@aol.com

BLUE HUMOUR

Switzerland 8th January 2003:

UEFA today stunned the football world by handing out a severe penalty to England international Lee Bowyer after finding him guilty of stamping on an opponent during an UEFA cup match. Bowyer has been banned from European competition for six games and made to sign for West Ham United. The combination of the six game ban and enforced transfer to West Ham means effectively Bowyer has been banned from European football for a minimum of fifteen years.

Bowyer himself is said to be philosophical after finally been caught on CCTV stamping on a grounded opponent but does admit he is at least partly to blame as he should have phoned a team mate to come and pick him up and destroyed his boots and socks like he normally does when he finds himself in these situations.

Bowyer’s contract entitles him to a £1 million bonus payment should West Ham escape relegation, the contract is also believed to include payments should he find Lord Lucan (£750,000), prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life (£500,000) or explain why the f**k they paid several million pounds for Titi Camera (£250,000).

Meanwhile official West Ham sources would make no comment on rumours that West Ham are to change their away strip to a white sheet with a white hood to make Bowyer feel more at home.

Sent in by several contributors

RESULTS

League table to 15 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         23 10  1  1 28 11  5  3  3 21 13 15  4  4  49  24  25 49
 2 Manchester Utd  23 10  1  1 23  7  3  4  4 15 16 13  5  5  38  23  15 44
 3 Chelsea         23  7  3  1 23  7  4  5  3 17 14 11  8  4  40  21  19 41
 4 Newcastle Utd   22 10  0  1 21  7  2  3  6 16 24 12  3  7  37  31   6 39
 5 Southampton     23  7  5  0 18  8  2  4  5  9 14  9  9  5  27  22   5 36
 6 Everton         23  6  4  1 16 11  4  2  6 12 17 10  6  7  28  28   0 36
 7 Liverpool       23  5  6  1 17  9  4  2  5 14 14  9  8  6  31  23   8 35
 8 Tottenham H.    23  7  3  1 21 14  3  2  7 13 20 10  5  8  34  34   0 35
 9 Manchester City 23  6  1  4 18 16  4  3  5 14 16 10  4  9  32  32   0 34
10 Blackburn R.    23  5  4  3 17 13  3  5  3 12 12  8  9  6  29  25   4 33
11 Middlesbrough   23  7  5  0 23 11  1  1  9  4 12  8  6  9  27  23   4 30
12 Leeds United    23  4  1  6 13 14  5  2  5 18 15  9  3 11  31  29   2 30
13 Aston Villa     23  8  1  3 18  8  0  4  7  4 16  8  5 10  22  24  -2 29
14 Charlton Ath.   22  4  2  4 13 14  4  3  5 12 15  8  5  9  25  29  -4 29
15 Birmingham City 23  3  4  4 11 14  3  3  6  8 17  6  7 10  19  31 -12 25
16 Fulham          22  5  2  4 13 10  1  4  6 10 17  6  6 10  23  27  -4 24
17 Bolton Wndrs    22  2  6  3 13 16  2  2  7 10 21  4  8 10  23  37 -14 20
18 Sunderland      23  3  2  6  7 13  1  5  6  8 19  4  7 12  15  32 -17 19
19 West Ham United 22  0  6  6 11 18  3  2  5 12 22  3  8 11  23  40 -17 17
20 West Brom A.    22  3  3  5 10 15  1  1  9  7 20  4  4 14  17  35 -18 16

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.06]

[0] How do I contact MCIVTA?


Articles (Heidi Pickup) : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie) : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul) : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton) : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[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

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ 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 http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mancity.net/osc/index.html); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.callnetuk.com/home/sef/) and “The International Supporters’ Club” (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/extra/fanzone/isc.asp)

[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, http://www.mcfc-fans.com/ 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 www.mcfc.co.uk/article.asp?article=111916&Title=Introduction&lid=New+Stadium

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

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found here: http://www.mcfc.co.uk/comment.asp. An alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at: http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/foot/audio/live/schedule/index.html.

[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.


DISCLAIMER
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]Steve Bolton, macvee@btopenworld.com

Newsletter #881

2003/01/16

Editor:


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