Newsletter #885

What a difference a week and a persuasive manager makes! Fowler was officially unveiled as a Blue this morning, and KK is hoping to include him in our squad for Saturday.

Last night we had two other new signings making their home débuts, David (Sleepy) Sommeil and Djamel Belmadi. The latter mesmerised the Fulham assortment and quite rightly earned his man of the match award for his stunning performance in our 4-1 victory. No mean feat considering we were playing 12 men as the referee allowed himself to be blinkered and led around by our opposition.

Tonight we have Don’s news round-up, another busy week for the Barrie keyboard with all the happenings, excellent match reports on the Fulham game from John and on our reserve derby victory from Gavin who braved the inclement weather.

We’ve also plenty of opinion on our new signings, requests and information on various teasers posed over the last couple of weeks.

The end of an era countdown starts – 100 days this Saturday until our final game at Maine Road.

Finally a very Happy Chinese New Year to everyone this weekend – The Year of the Goat. All the best Shaun!

Next game: West Bromwich Albion, home, 3pm Saturday 1 February 2003


Robbie Fowler – A “Wrong Vibes” Special

A week ago, I would have said that there was more chance of Matthew Kelly baby-sitting my children than Robbie Fowler pulling on a laser blue shirt. But it’s confirmed; Fowler today signed for City in a deal eventually worth £6 million to Leeds United. The fee structure has been amended from the last attempt to sign the player, so that City pay £3 million up front for the former Liverpool forward with the rest based on payments of £500,000 every 15 appearances. It’s been a breathtaking 48 hours at Maine Road, even by Keegan’s standards, so what’s gone on?

Tuesday January 28th: “FOWLER SET FOR SECOND SHOCK U-TURN?” screamed the headline in the M.E.N. “Are you yanking my chain?” quoth my eloquent brother Andrew, reflecting the disbelief of most City fans. But according to the local newspaper, it was true. Fowler was having second thoughts about the move to Maine Road claimed the report (or should that be third thoughts?), and Leeds were getting increasingly desperate to recoup some cash. Seth Johnson’s move to Middlesbrough was off due to a failed medical, and Newcastle were trying to tempt the Yorkies with a £10 million bid for Jonathon Woodgate. To add further fuel to the flames, Fowler hadn’t travelled to Stamford Bridge for Leeds’ match with Chelsea. The day ended with strenuous denials of a revived Robbie deal. His agent George Scott said: “As far as Robbie’s concerned he’s a Leeds United player. He’s happy where he is and has still got three-and-a-half years to run on his contract. Leeds would consider an offer for anyone,” Scott revealed. “But there hasn’t been a new offer for Robbie. Whether he moves on from Leeds depends on where he wants to go and if anyone wants him. But there isn’t much money in the game at the moment.” Scott confirmed that Leeds’ boss Terry Venables had wanted Fowler to continue with his training to build up his match fitness. “He didn’t travel because he is trying to get match fit,” he said. “He did a double stint of training on Monday and is just looking forward to getting back to playing.”

Wednesday January 29th: Terry Venables sounded in no doubt that Fowler really was on his way this time to City. The day’s press reported that after the Chelsea game he had admitted that a revised fee had been agreed between the clubs, and that the decision was down to the player. Cynical City fans might be forgiven for thinking “we’ve been here before”, but this time we were hearing statements by the club to this effect. David Bernstein broke the news that the deal had finally been completed, telling BBC GMR: “It is all done bar the shouting. I’m delighted to say that we have been very successful in restructuring the payment. The deal we have now done is a lower figure overall with a smaller fixed fee and more based on appearances.” Bernstein stressed the aims of the club when he added: “There is pressure to get into the top six. Kevin Keegan has said before that is his target and now we have a squad of players that can possibly achieve that. It won’t be easy but I’m sure the team will battle hard and while there might be some ups and downs to come, hopefully there will be much more of the former. I won’t pretend there haven’t been some interesting moments over the last couple of months but there are no splits and now we are looking to move ahead.” The chairman said that this was the last deal of the January sales. “The cheque-book is closed,” Bernstein said. “This transfer reflects the current state of the market because money is very scarce at the moment. However, we have signed one of the best strikers in this country’s football history and we are looking forward to him doing for us what he has done in the past.” George Scott also confirmed that the deal was done: “All the paperwork is complete and Robbie is delighted to be able to sign in the morning.” So now we understood how the deal was being financed – but how come Fowler had changed his mind? It sounds like the motivational skills of our Manager may have had something to do with it. “Robbie was always number one on my list and I was sick when the deal fell through,” said the City boss. “He is the best finisher I have ever seen and though I went after other players after the initial transfer collapsed, I didn’t have the same enthusiasm. I wanted him here last year but the chairman wouldn’t spend £11 million when we were in the First Division and he went to Leeds and I thought the opportunity was lost. Fortunately for us, circumstances at Leeds gave us the opportunity to go back in and we got him at the second attempt. The deal collapsed because I didn’t spend enough time with Robbie explaining why I wanted him here. We tried to rush it through in time for him to play the following Saturday and I didn’t talk to him enough or manage the situation properly. I phoned Peter Ridsdale and said I would like to talk with Robbie, so I got in my car, drove to Liverpool and did just that. I just said to him ‘don’t be under any illusions, we desperately want you at our club, we think you’re the right kind of player with Nicolas Anelka. We’re creative, you’ll get chances, you’ll get goals, you’ll play here.’ I won’t put him on the bench and then put him on for five or 10 minutes. I have told him that he will play against West Brom on Saturday, even if he only manages 65 minutes. He won’t be on the bench very often here.” Even the most questioning of City fans must have begun to believe when the player himself spoke up. “Everyone knows about some of the problems at Leeds and I don’t need to add anything more,” Fowler said. “But I hope the fans there will realise that leaving wasn’t a decision I took lightly – as I showed when I first said no to City. I was at Liverpool for 15 years, and I felt I didn’t let the fans down, and I didn’t want to let the fans down at Leeds either. But in the end I think the decision was best for me and best for Leeds and I know they will understand that. I’m desperate to play and I’m really looking forward to the chance with City. That’s all I want to do, get on with playing football – that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” Fowler told the Daily Mirror. “In the end, it was Kevin’s vision for the club, and for me, that swayed me. To be so wanted by a manager like him is a powerful argument,” the striker explained.

Thursday January 30th: Late this morning, issued the following press release:
ROBBIE SIGNS UP – ROBBIE FOWLER has put pen to paper on Thursday morning on a three-and-a-half year contract at Maine Road. Fowler, 27, is currently undergoing his first training session at Carrington with the aim of making the starting line-up against West Bromwich Albion at Maine Road on Saturday. City boss Kevin Keegan is looking forward to throwing the England international into the mix with his other forwards. “First and foremost the thought of him playing with Nicolas Anelka is a dream pairing for me. I like my forwards to be different and they are certainly different. You can’t compare them and I can see that working out very well,” said Keegan. “I can see him working very well with any of the other forwards we have at the club because he is different to them, whether it be Darren Huckerby, Shaun Goater or Jon Macken. Robbie is proven. He knows the Premiership and his goal record is second to none. It is incredible when you look at it, even at Leeds. He has one every two games. With all the problems he has had he is still a one-in-two man.”

Thought for the Day: Just to emphasise how far the club have come in such a short time, remember that it was not so long ago that City bought Lee Bradbury from Portsmouth for £3.5 million. Now we get an England international with a cheque for £3 million. Now that’s what I call progress!

Other Transfer News and Gossip

It’s Sommeil Time: One transfer which did go through in a straightforward manner was that of David Sommeil. The Bordeaux defender signed for the Blues for £3.5 million. As you would expect these days, the deal was announced on Sommeil’s personal website before the club issued a statement. Sommeil said: “I committed myself to Manchester for three seasons on Thursday morning and had my first training with the team. I don’t feel too lost because there are French players there, and I am glad about it because I don’t speak English.” [No one mention Christian Negouai at this point, please]. “William Gallas is a good friend of mine and I have often listened to him tell me how great it is playing in England. It was he who really sparked my interest in the Premiership and I believe my strength and build will be suited to playing at this level. I have to adapt to the club’s life very fast because we are already in the middle of the league and we have a match against Fulham next Wednesday. This is another way of working but I will get used to it. I am not worried.” Once the club caught up, KK seemed pleased enough with his capture. “I am absolutely delighted that David is joining us,” said Keegan. “The one thing about David’s character is that he is very, very committed. He is a B international for France and it is only because of the wealth of central defenders available to the French national side that he hasn’t got a full cap. David can also play on the right side of defence and has joined us in time to compete for a place in the team for the game against Fulham at Maine Road on Wednesday.”

House Stops Deal: The second half of the transfer raid on Bordeaux did not unfortunately take place. The deal for Pauleta got caught up by the Fowl-up elsewhere, although the quotes coming from Bordeaux did not suggest that the transfer was very likely. There was a fine outburst of Gallic ire from club’s president Jean-Louis Traud. “Manchester City contacted us to ask us if we were willing to discuss Pauleta’s transfer. We can talk about it but we are not interested in the departure of our best hitman. City surely believe it is time for the sales at Bordeaux and that is not the case. Pauleta has never clearly said he wants to leave. He is fine with us. I am convinced Pauleta will still be with us on February 1. The door is closed, but we’ll think about it if someone offers us £20 million.” The player’s agent didn’t sound too hopeful either. “We have been close to sealing a deal with Manchester City a few times already and we do appreciate that such a club are interested,” said Jorge Gama. “We are studying the offer very seriously and if Pedro is interested it is not going to be easy for him to leave Bordeaux. He is the team’s star and he has just bought a house.” Never heard of renting out, Jorge?

The Two That Got Away: There’s news of two international class right backs who were linked with the Blues earlier in the month. One definitely won’t be joining City, and one who might in the summer. Brazil’s World Cup winning captain Cafu has opted to leave Italian giants AS Roma for J-League side Yokohama Marinos. He moves to Japan on July 1, and has signed a three year contract. Michael Reiziger meanwhile rejected a move to City on loan, but has not ruled out a future deal with the Blues. “From what I saw there, it is an interesting club and Kevin Keegan is an excellent coach.” But he added: “I think that the present situation here at Barça means that they need all the players they can get and they won’t want to sell me now. At the moment I am here and we will have to see what happens in the future.”

Two Who Might Go Away: It seems a bit late in the day for these deals to go through, but there has been some press speculation over possible player departures from Maine Road. First off, it’s alleged, is Paul Ritchie. He was supposed to be rescued from his “nightmare time at Maine Road” by his former international boss Craig Brown at Preston North End. The Lancashire club are in an alarming run of form at the moment, and are looking to shore up their defence. The latest candidate for the dreaded “Kev’s Kiss of Death”, or “loan spell” as it’s called, is Darren Huckerby. The M.E.N. reckoned that Hucks would be off for the rest of the season to Leicester City, if the Fowler deal went through. Leicester could then field a City Old Boys forward line of Huckerby and Paul Dickov.

Dutch Rumour: One player who presumably won’t be on his way to Maine Road is Pierre van Hooijdonk. On Monday the papers were still full of the story of the temperamental star making a move from Feyenoord. Thanks again to Sarah Humphrey who sent the following item from Monday’s Algemeen Dagblad. “UNCERTAINTY AROUND VAN HOOIJDONK – Coach Bert van Marwijk has insisted to the management of Feyenoord that he wants to keep Pierre van Hooijdonk at the club. De striker will have talks today with chairman Jorien van den Herik about his future with the club. ‘If van Hooijdonk leaves then Manchester City is his most likely destination. I very much want to keep him here, but I’m just the trainer and have no say in money matters’ said van Marwijk yesterday. Van Hooijdonk refused to speculate about his future to radio and TV reporters. ‘If the discussions lead to a possible transfer then I will go along with them’ said the player, clearly irritated. ‘I’m sick of all the rumours’ he said later out of earshot of cameras and microphones. ‘Speculating about my future is a waste of time. Only after the discussions with Feyenoord will there perhaps be more to say.’ If van Hooijdonk does leave for England then his likely replacement will be Dirk Kuijt of FC Utrecht.” (Thanks Sarah Humphrey).

General News

Reserves Win the Derby: A crowd of over 3,000 saw City’s Reserves triumph 3-0 over the Rags in the Manchester Senior Cup this week. The goalscorers were Glenn Whelan, Shaunie Wright-Wright-Wright and Stephen Elliott. Michael Stewart of the Traffordonians was sent off to add to the festivities. KK later dispelled fears that Nicky Weaver had suffered another injury, as the ‘keeper did not appear for the second half. “We decided that Nicky and Kevin would play half a game each,” said Keegan. “Nicky played a couple of weeks ago and pulled his thigh muscle slightly. He needed a game but so did Kevin. Nicky is not injured and is fine. It was agreed between Asa Hartford and myself before the game as Kevin needs experience and Nicky is in need of games now.” Team: Weaver (Ellegaard 46), Flood, Jordan, Mettomo, Bischoff, Ritchie, Barton. Whitley, Whelan, Wright-Phillips (Elliott 54), Shuker. Subs: McDowall, Onuoha, Orr.

Pair on England Duty: Lee Croft and Dorryl Proffitt have been included in the England Youth squad for the Meridian Cup tournament in Egypt. Croft and Proffitt will be competing for a place in the England Youth side that kicks off the UEFA backed Meridian Cup competition against Burkina Faso in Port Said on Saturday afternoon.

Barton: A Bridge Too Far? The M.E.N. reports that Joey Barton has been arrested following an incident where a motor car was driven through a plate glass window. The incident occurred in Coppull, Chorley, and was said to have caused approx. £30,000 of damage. Barton was breathalysed on arrest but with a negative result. A club spokesman said: “We are aware of the alleged incident which will be dealt with internally.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Ingram’s Illness: It is thought that former City defender Rae Ingram will not play again this season after being diagnosed with meningitis. Twenty eight year old Ingram, currently at Potteries side Port Vale, has been at the FA’s treatment centre at Lilleshall to help his recovery from an ankle injury, but began to complain of headaches and was taken to hospital. After meningitis was diagnosed, Port Vale’s staff were tested and given the all-clear. Physio Matt Radcliffe said that: “He’s come through the worst, but unfortunately he may not figure at all this season, which is a nightmare for him.” Ingram spent five seasons at Maine Road in the 90’s, making 23 first team appearances, before joining Macclesfield Town on a free transfer in the summer of 1998. After three and a half years with the Cheshire club, Ingram joined former City boss Brian Horton at Port Vale.

Brown Bites Back! In December 1999, Joe Royle decided to let Michael Brown go to Sheffield United, while keeping Jeff Whitley as his midfield dynamo. Cut to season 2002-2003. Joe’s Ratter has just returned from a loan spell in the Third Division, while Michael Brown is in the form of his life at Sheffield United. It must have been sweet for Brownie last Saturday when his two goals helped United beat JR’s current club Ipswich Town in the FA Cup. Mr. Brown’s second goal was a screamer from thirty yards, just like Jeff Whitley’s efforts on goal (well, almost). After the game, Brown looked back to his Maine Road days. “I had all my mates around me, it’s a massive club and I loved it at Maine Road. Joe kept telling me to wait for my chance but I never got it. Then one day I went in to see him and he told me that he didn’t think I was as good as what he’d already got in the team and that he had decided to let me go. That was three years ago and it was a big wrench to leave. But United came straight in for me – and I’m having a fantastic time here. I’d done well at City but I’m a better player now than when Joe let me go. That’s because I’ve matured and got more experience. I’m in the best form of my career now and Joe might just look at my performance out there and think that maybe he should have kept me. I might just have got the message across to him that I can play. But I’ve got no hard feelings – Joe’s a nice fella.” Brown is in the last 18 months of his current contract, but he has yet to hear if the Board will offer him another deal. Brown said: “The club told me at the start of this season that they wanted to sit down for talks but I’m still waiting. I’ve got 17 months left on my contract and I want to stay. The boss has mentioned a new deal in passing but the club haven’t put anything to me as yet – even though they’ve had a few months to sort something out. I’d love to be in the Premiership. That’s where I want to play my football and, hopefully, I can do it with Sheffield United.”

Reactions and Comments

Fayed’s Men Flayed: Just in case it’s forgotten in all this Fowlery, the Blues had a rather good victory over Fulham at Maine Road last night. City’s first four goal haul of the season ensured ninth position in the Premiership, only two points off a UEFA Cup slot. “We are going places,” Kevin Keegan said afterwards. “It’s been a very good day for Manchester City,” he said. “We didn’t play fantastically well and if Malbranque’s second shot had gone in we would have been 2-0 down and trying to climb Everest.” Djamel Belmadi made an impressive home début while David Sommeil had a solid start. KK said: “There were two good débuts out there. But I thought both Belmadi and Nicolas Anelka were outstanding. Nicolas is a world-class player and soon he will become a world-class finisher. The penny drops when you get to 25 or 26 – Robbie will be good for him,” Jean Tigana, the Fulham manager, said of his fellow Frenchman. “Yes, he caused us many problems.” Tigana was less than impressed by his own side’s efforts. He said: “We had a good start and deserved more goals in the first half. But the second half was terrible for us. We showed bad organisation and bad discipline. Everyone tried to play alone and not as a team and that is not acceptable at this level.”

Squad News

Adios Matias? Matias Vuoso was nowhere to be seen at the Reserve derby, so the rumours began to fly – he’d walked out on the club, he was back in Argentina looking for a new club. The official club line is that Vuoso has returned to Argentina because of a family illness. “Matias Vuoso has gone back to Argentina but reports which I have read are a bit removed from reality,” emphasized Kevin Keegan. “Matias’ father is not very well and he came to see me with his interpreter, Paulo Wanchope who he did not need because he speaks very good English. He asked if he could go home for a week to see his father. Although I would have preferred him to stay in terms of what he needs for his football I think these things take precedent over football matters. With his father not very well and many thousands of miles away I just had to let him go.”

Minor Setback for Mack: Jon Macken has suffered a minor reaction in his comeback games, and will be out for another ten days. KK is not too worried, however, and used the fitness update to send a message to his Board of Directors about the need for another striker. “Jon has had a little setback unfortunately,” explained the Boss Man. “It could be another week to ten days before he comes back into training. It is only a minor setback. This happens a lot to players who have been out for a while with a long term injury. I was explaining to the board of directors when we were looking for forwards why we needed to bring them in even though Jon Macken and Paulo Wanchope were getting back to fitness. I made the point then that if history was anything to go by Jon Macken and Paulo Wanchope would have setbacks. Often a player will get through training and then a muscle which they have not used for a while will go. That is what has happened to Jon. He got a pain on top of his right leg so we have to pull him back for a week, but it is nothing major.”

Moving Murphy: City’s 19-year-old goalkeeper Brian Murphy has gone to Oldham Athletic on a month’s loan. Latics’ first choice ‘keeper Les Pogliacomi is suspended, so Murphy is likely to start his spell on the bench. Oldham face Cardiff City on Friday night in a crucial Division Two clash.

Don’t Go, Goat! KK has revealed how he does not want Shaun Goater to feel pushed out of Maine Road by the arrival of Robbie Fowler. “I had a talk with Shaun before the game last night because I left him out and I told him that I would be absolutely delighted if he saw out the last year and a half of his contract with us,” said the manager. “I told him he had done a great job for me and that I want him to stay a part of it. He is very important to this club. Now if he turns around and says `I want to play because I am nearly 33-years-old’ then that will be his choice not mine. We are building the squad up to be a big club. Obviously some of the younger players who are not good enough will fall by the wayside but we have to keep a big squad because that is what Manchester United and Arsenal have got.”

Beldmadi’s Aims: Djamel Belmadi wants to secure a permanent place with City before his loan deal runs out in May. “My prime objective at the moment is to get as many games under may belt and then to see how it goes after that,” said Belmadi. “There is a great atmosphere here with a fantastic group of people who all get on so well together. The coaching staff are great and there is no doubt it is just the sort of place I would like to remain. I know they love creative players like my fellow countryman, Ali Benarbia. I hope to deliver to the fans what they want. This is obviously a club with ambition. They have come from the First Division into one of the hardest leagues in the world and are currently in tenth spot. Kevin Keegan and his staff want us to chase a top six finish.” Belmadi’s settling in has been aided by the presence of his former PSG team-mates Nicolas Anelka and Sylvain Distin. “I played with Nicolas at Paris St. Germain and I know him well,” says Belmadi. “There I played as an attacking midfielder and that is the position I prefer to play. Now I want to start scoring goals for the first team. For some time now I have wanted to play in the Premiership and a while ago the opportunity arose for me to join Fulham but it was not the right time for me, personally. When the chance to come to Manchester City arose it came at just the right time for me. The fact that I knew Nicolas and Sylvain made the move perfect.”

Bad News For Berkovic? In amongst all the excitement this week comes a potentially bad piece of news. Eyal Berkovic’s injury is causing some concern, in fact there are some reports that he may not play again this season. There is some dispute over the cause of the injury. Israel’s team doctor thinks that Eyal has a hernia, while City’s believe that Berko has a muscle injury. If the former diagnosis is correct, then the only cure will be an operation. Speaking before the Fulham game, Eyal said “It is true that I am in the squad for the match but for now it doesn’t seem like I will play. I felt some strong pain after training but if Keegan wants me to play, I will. Although it is obvious that I am not in full shape because of the injury.”

Don Barrie (


I must be getting old. Earlier this season I left my tickets at home. This time I left my fleece on the coldest night of the season so far. Luckily, my wife had brought too many clothes and so I wore her spare. Luckier still, I was able to cover up the Winnie the Pooh fleece with my jacket. She says that it’s obviously our new lucky charm and I must wear it on Saturday.

The last scheduled night game at Maine Road brought another full house of Blues and a disappointingly small contingent of Fulham fans. About 500 I reckon. They still had the usual corner of the North Stand and as a result the crowd was down to 33,200 or so. I hope the club can do something to get as many Blues in for the last game of the season. I guess the problem is that on current form the Saints might have something to play for and they might want to bring a decent following. Stuff them, I say.

To the game. Belmadi started, as did Sommeil. Goater and Sun left on the bench with Weaver, Huckerby and W-P. Schmeichel and Berkovic still not fit.

We started badly. Horlock was caught in possession, the ball ended with Malbranque who tried to pass. Dunne intercepted but the ball went back to Malbranque who advanced and drove across Nash, right into the corner, from about 20 yards. He nearly did the same a few minutes later. A better-struck shot hit the post and bounced away to safety.

At that stage, we were all over the place and I confidently told Sharon that was because we’d made the mistake of introducing two new players mid-season. Dunne was at right wing back and looked the most unsettled. Sommeil missed his first tackle and I thought we were in for a frustrating night.

How wrong I was, again. Gradually, Foe started making his tackles and Belmadi started to influence with his quick feet and clever link up play. Benarbia slipped the ball through for Anelka to drive low past Taylor from 10 yards after about 20 minutes. He looked like he might have been offside, but there were no protests. He limped back to the halfway line clutching the back of his thigh. He’s done a hamstring, I said. I really must learn to shut up. There was no sign of any injury. Is that his new goal celebration?

We dominated the rest of the half and played some cracking football at very high speed. Fulham looked a decent outfit but we were outclassing them. Some of the close link up play was fantastic. Belmadi continually shone, but no more goals until the second minute of the second half.

The ball was played into Anelka’s feet about 30 yards out. With his back to goal he intentionally sliced a pass off the outside of his boot down towards the by-line. Belmadi took it on and from side of the box pulled the ball back for Benarbia to volley down into the ground and up into the net.

Next Benarbia passed to Anelka who took it wide and crossed low. Benarbia met the cross with a diving header. Taylor blocked it but Foe knocked the rebound to the side and hooked it in, just as he did against Villa.

I can’t do the play justice. The close passing was excellent, and much of it at high speed. The tackles were flying in from both sides. Jensen, Sommeil and Foe were booked for us, Boa Morte for them. Marlet and Boa Morte are fast attackers and the contest between those two and Sommeil and Distin was also riveting. Sommeil is shorter than I expected, but he’s quick and confident on the ball. I think he’ll be a great asset. But Belmadi was the star of the show. He linked up well with Anelka and was all over the place. He chases back too! Some of his body swerves were fantastic.

Benarbia went off about 20 minutes from time. Shauney, with his first touch, clipped a Dunne flick-on past the ‘keeper. And that was about it. Half chances came and went as Fulham just about gave up, but no more goals.

Anelka went off for Goater about 10 minutes from time. “Cum on Feed the Goat, he wants More, More, More” sang the North Stand.

I thought last season was fun, but this just gets better and better. I didn’t say that after Charlton and Liverpool, but consistency will hopefully come as the players get to know each other.

On GMR afterwards, KK revealed that after the knock-back, he drove over to see Fowler, his wife and a close friend at Fowler’s home in Liverpool. He said he thought he hadn’t had chance to sell the club to him, so he went and spent 2 hours with him. On his way home, the phone rang and the friend broke the news that Fowler would now sign (beats me why Fowler couldn’t make the call – presumably friend = agent).

KK also revealed that the new striker has been promised a game against WBA and quipped that he’ll just have to play with 12.

The deal is £3 million in a short space of time plus £500,000 after each 15 games, up to a max of a further £3 million. KK said he hopes we’ll pay the lot. Amen to that.

He also said that he hopes (and he’s told him so) that the Goat stays for the remaining year and a bit of his contract. “But it’s up to him and if he decides at 33 that he needs to play all the time then that’s his decision”.

John Marsland (


City’s Wintery Winning Streak

City 3 Trafford Low Lifes 0

After travelling from East Manchester, just a few yards from our glorious new stadium, the heavens opened and I was surprised to see when I arrived at Ewen Fields, Hyde, that the torrential rain had not affected the playing surface further, and that the game was still on. The conditions never diminished throughout the match and made it very difficult for the players. Lucky for us the Boys in Blue adjusted their game accordingly far better than our poor relations and we went on to a fine three-nil victory from goals by Whelan, Wright-Phillips and Stephen Elliott. The game was not a classic but we were invited to laugh at the stupidity of a “streaking” Red fan with all his small modesty!

With the reserve team making great strides this season and it being a local derby against our fiercest of rivals, it was a season’s record crowd of over three thousand. The large, partisan crowd did not see their team carve out any clear-cut chances in the opening minutes. Indeed it wasn’t until the ninth minute that City won their first corner and David May, returning from injury, was forced into making a good clearance.

With the wind swirling so much and the rain in the players’ eyes, any ball into the opponents’ box was bound to cause problems. So on twenty minutes, when City won a corner; up stepped Shuker to take the in-swinging effort only to see the wind nearly carry the ball straight into the net, but Neil Wood on the line was just able to head the ball behind for another corner. This time the ball found Mikkel Bischoff, who flicked the ball into the centre of the box and after a couple of ricochets it fell kindly to Glen Whelan to audaciously back heel the ball into the net.

Only a couple of moments later saw Wright-Phillips and Shuker combine well and out-fox the United defence to leave Shuker free to shoot, but Roy Carroll was up to the task. The game seemed to lull for 10 minutes or so as some typical “derby” challenges went in on either side. Then on 39 minutes Phillips went on a solo run and shot at goal, the referee saw it took a deflection, but Michael Stewart, United’s captain vehemently argued the case and got himself booked in the process.

A minute before the end of the half saw City amazingly fail to double their lead when Willo Flood made a strong run down the right flank and crossed to the edge of the area to Shuker, who flicked the ball onto the onrushing Joey Barton, but unfortunately he just lost his balance, leaned back and spooned the ball over the bar. A minute later saw Luke Chadwick run at the City defence only to be brought down on the edge of the area by Jeff Whitley. The resulting free kick went straight at the wall but the disappointing fact of the free kick was that whilst adjusting himself for the direction of the flight of the ball, Weaver seemed to slip and cause himself some form of injury; he did not return for the second half and was replaced by Kevin Ellegaard.

Three minutes into the second half, Glen Whelan sent a defence splitting pass for the pace of Wright-Phillips to run onto and shoot into the bottom right hand corner past the onrushing Carroll. Three minutes later a tackle from behind on Phillips by Lee Roche should have seen him be dismissed from the field for a second bookable offence. However, the referee decided to show leniency for the player. The resulting free kick led to City surging forward and a number of hard tackles flew in from both sides, but Joey Barton was caught with an offending arm from Stewart, and the referee had no hesitation giving the young player his marching orders. Prior to the offence there must have been an offside decision as after things had died down, the ball was given to United to take a free kick.

Being a man to the good, City made their advantage tell for the remainder of the half, controlling the play and restricting United to just one half chance, but Lucien Mettomo was able to clear behind for a corner, making up for his free header miss at the other end moments earlier. On seventy-five minutes, the game already being effectively over for United, Stephen Elliott made sure of the fact with City’s third goal when he was put through by Jeff Whitley, returning from his loan spell at Notts County.

Paul Ritchie, having had many shots on target in recent games, did not want to be outdone and so he sent a blistering 25-yard effort towards goal that Carroll did well to save. The game ended with bookings for David May and Danny Pugh as their frustrations grew. This victory gives City an outside chance of reaching the final, if the results with United and Oldham go our way. I think we can safely discount Bury having any say on the outcome of the round robin matches.

Weaver (46): Played well, shame he had to go off. 7
Flood: Never let the side down and got forward well. 8
Jordan: A much better performance from Stephen. 7.5
Mettomo: Another good display from the Cameroon player. 7.5
Bischoff: His shaven head has not affected his ability. 8
Ritchie: Did what was asked of him. 7
Barton (capt): Our young Runcorn captain tackled everything that moved as always. 8
Whitley: Played his part in midfield. 7
Whelan: Tackled, passed, scored – what didn’t he do? MoM 9
SWP (54): Constantly ran at the United defence and scored well. Starting Wednesday? 9
Shuker: Our diminutive forward was a handful for United. 8

Ellegaard (46): Carried on where Weaver left off – but had b****r all to do. 7
Elliott (54): Didn’t have a great impact on the game, but took his goal well. 7.5
Not Used:
McDowall, Onuoha, Orr.

Carroll, Lynch, Pugh, Roche, May, Chadwick (Fox 56), Stewart (capt) S/O, Wood, Nardiello, Davis, Richardson.

Goals: Whelan (21), Wright-Phillips (48), Elliott (75).

Att: 3,288.

Gavin Cooper (


So Robbie is coming, and for much less than 2 weeks ago. £7.5 million has become £3 million, with £3 million more on a pay per play basis. I love Kevin, but in 2003 the chairman is king, and I don’t think I would swap Bernstein. His instinct looks to have been right 2 weeks ago, and I can’t help think that other Premiership clubs would have come in for such a deal had they thought it was on the table. I hope the finance deal we did earlier this season is nothing like the one Leeds are stuck with.

On an unrelated matter, is anyone aware of any formal or informal plans to celebrate the last game at Maine Road against Soton in May? My preference would be, at the end of the match, for a quasi-religious ‘march’ from Maine Rd to the new stadium, where the evening’s entertainment would be a charity game between 22 City legends on the new, soon to be hallowed, turf, followed by an Oasis gig (and then a curry, naturally). I can dream! But seriously, does anyone know if anything is being planned?

John Roughton (



I’ve just heard the deal is back on, Fowler is at Maine Road about to sign.

P.S.: Oh no it’s off again, somebody forgot to put sugar in his tea, bad vibes man!
P.P.S.: Oh yes, he’s gone off sugar and will sign a three year deal!
P.P.S.: Oh no, his pen has run out of ink, more bad vibes man!
P.P.P.S.: Oh yes, Bernstein has a pencil at hand!
P.P.P.S.: Oh no, it has to be in ink or it’s not legally binding!
P.P.P.P.S.: Oh yes, he’d says he’ll sign in blood to come to City!
P.P.P.P.P.S.: Oh no, but not his!
P.P.P.P.P.P.S.: Oh yes, Keegan has cut his finger!
P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S.: Oh no, but his blood is red!
P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S.: Oh yes, Fowler says he’s not concerned and has finally signed the contract… he is now a City player!
P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S.: Oh no, he’s tripped down the steps on the way out and broke his hip again!

Steve Worthington (


So the Fowler deal is back on; the big question is do we want a player who can’t seem to get into the Leeds team, and who did not seem that interested in coming to City? Maybe they should stay with the other choice that was on the cards, Pauleta. At least he seems to want to come to MCFC.

Salty (


Has Stuart Grundy ever heard of Peter Barnes or Paul Power?

I agree with Ahsan Naeem that we need a midfield general to help command the midfield and team – a new captain is required. Ali, nice block and player, is not captain material or up to 90 minutes in the Premiership – what about Matt Holland?

Any other suggestions?

Graham Lord (


I am 72, Blue since about 6 or 7. Has anyone remembered Westcott who came as a left back moved to left wing?

Unfortunately took a pub on Stretford Road, which was a United one, and started a United Supporters’ Club.

Also Barkas and Sproston (in the Frank Swift era). The hair is going but not the memories.

Kind thoughts.

Peter (


Ref Mike’s request, I think you’ll find it was Sylvia Farmer; she also played cornet. Where is she now?

And yes the Beswick Silver Prize band (not the Sally Army) played at both MR and OT.

Ernie Whalley (


I also agree with Graham’s article re the minute’s silence. I think it is sad that there are some City fans who will probably be determined not to observe the silence as it is seen to be respecting those connected with Man U.

As those few are so narrow minded, then at least they can surely remain silent for 60 seconds to remember the great Frank Swift who served City with distinction.

Not being artistic myself, perhaps someone who is could make a large banner bearing something like ‘REMEMBER FRANK SWIFT’ – it would appear that this should ideally be shown towards the City fans to remind those mindless few what the silence is really for.

Andrew Keller (


Lance Thomson asked if the words to the verse from ‘Boys in Blue’ he reproduced were wrong; they are, the last line is ‘Keeping City in first place’.

I’ve just played the original 7″ I have of it (released in 1972 on RCA according to the label, and yes, it’s attributed to K. Godley, L. Creme and G. Gouldman).

CTID, Mike Taylor (


In response to Lance Thompson’s piece about the Boys in Blue lyrics (MCIVTA 884), I always thought the lyrics to that particular verse were as follows:

Maybe in another generation
With other lads up front to take our place
They’ll carry on the glory of the City
Keeping City in first place

I may be wrong!

What a song though – why on earth don’t we run out to that these days? It still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I hear it!

I have a query of my own actually – the answer to this isn’t going to be life-changing but it is something which has been bothering me! Why don’t we wear the red, black and white striped socks with the current away strip? It seems recently we’ve just worn plain black socks and I want to know why! Can anybody help?

CTID, Andy Hall (


The actual lyric is:

They’ll carry on the glory of the City
And keep City in first place…

Mark Burgess (


In reply to Lance Thompson and, I have always assumed the line went… “Keeping City in FIRST place”.

Incidentally, I also think:

Everybody have to pull together
And together we will stand

should read

Everybody HAS to pull together
And together we’ll REMAIN

Finally, I think it was written by Graham Gouldman.

I just can’t believe I haven’t anything more important to think or e-mail about!

Stephen Epstein (


In response to Lance Thomson’s enquiry about “Boys in Blue” song lyrics (MCIVTA 884) The actual words are…

Maybe in another generation
When other lads have come to take our place
They’ll carry on the glory of the City
Keeping City in first place.

Paul Gallagher (


Just a quick note to say that now the penultimate issue of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet is out I’d just like those of you who’ve disappeared over the years (you know who you are!) to know that I’m currently working on the last ever issue if you want you’ve got anything you want me to put in.

Adios, Noel Bayley (


I am going to be in Chicago for the derby. Are there any Blues around who will be watching the game or know of any bars showing the match? That is if I can get myself out of bed in time for a ridiculously early 6:30am kick-off…

Thanks, Lyndsey Ryder (


I am looking for someplace in Boston, Massachusetts, to watch the derby on February 9th. Answers can be sent to my email address:

Beach Tredennick (


Does anyone know of a good place to watch the derby as I will be in Barcelona on a stag-do that weekend. Given that the game will be on Premiership Plus, will a bar have to pay to show the match or are Premiership games available on Spanish TV? Typical of a so called United fan to chose to leave the country that weekend! Running scared I think!

If you have any information please could you e-mail it to me.

Many thanks, St. John Cox (


Are there any other City fans or even fans of English football living in the island of La Palma in the Canary islands? Please drop me a line.

Thanks, Mike Doherty (


I have not been able to find a web site that covers the Reserves’ League. Can anyone help?

Mike Sayward (


Can anyone tell me the origins of the plastic bird that hangs on the corner of the Kippax stand, next to Gene Kelly 1? I’m sure that this must have been asked many, many times, but although I’ve asked about it, no one seems to know.


Recent League Results

29 January 2003

Manchester City       4 - 1  Fulham                33,260
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 1  Newcastle United      36,084
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 1  Charlton Athletic     26,113
West Ham United       2 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      34,743
Liverpool             2 - 2  Arsenal               43,668

28 January 2003

Middlesbrough         2 - 5  Aston Villa           27,546
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 2  Everton               25,119
Chelsea               3 - 2  Leeds United          39,738
Sunderland            0 - 1  Southampton           34,102

League table up to 29 January 2003

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal         25 11  1  1 31 12  5  4  3 23 15 16  5  4  54  27  27  53
 2 Newcastle Utd   25 12  0  1 24  7  3  3  6 17 24 15  3  7  41  31  10  48
 3 Manchester Utd  24 11  1  1 25  8  3  4  4 15 16 14  5  5  40  24  16  47
 4 Chelsea         25  8  3  1 26  9  4  5  4 18 16 12  8  5  44  25  19  44
 5 Everton         25  7  4  1 18 12  5  2  6 14 18 12  6  7  32  30   2  42
 6 Liverpool       25  5  7  1 19 11  5  2  5 15 14 10  9  6  34  25   9  39
 7 Southampton     25  7  5  1 18  9  3  4  5 10 14 10  9  6  28  23   5  39
 8 Tottenham H.    25  7  3  2 21 15  4  2  7 14 20 11  5  9  35  35   0  38
 9 Manchester City 25  7  1  4 22 17  4  3  6 14 18 11  4 10  36  35   1  37
10 Charlton Ath.   25  5  3  4 18 17  5  3  5 13 15 10  6  9  31  32  -1  36
11 Blackburn R.    25  5  5  3 18 14  3  5  4 13 14  8 10  7  31  28   3  34
12 Aston Villa     25  8  1  4 18  9  1  4  7  9 18  9  5 11  27  27   0  32
13 Leeds United    25  4  2  6 13 14  5  2  6 20 18  9  4 12  33  32   1  31
14 Middlesbrough   25  7  5  1 25 16  1  1 10  4 13  8  6 11  29  29   0  30
15 Fulham          24  6  2  4 14 10  1  4  7 11 21  7  6 11  25  31  -6  27
16 Birmingham City 24  3  4  4 11 14  3  4  6  9 18  6  8 10  20  32 -12  26
17 Bolton Wndrs    25  2  6  4 14 18  2  3  8 11 23  4  9 12  25  41 -16  21
18 West Ham United 25  1  6  6 13 19  3  2  7 15 29  4  8 13  28  48 -20  20
19 Sunderland      25  3  2  7  7 14  1  5  7  9 21  4  7 14  16  35 -19  19
20 West Brom A.    24  3  3  6 10 16  1  2  9  7 20  4  5 15  17  36 -19  17

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.07]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

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] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels.

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

The music we run out to at Maine Road is “Nightmare” by Brainbug and is available on the Positiva label.

[10] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to John Arnold for providing the information regarding match day music, to Ian Bell for pointing out the alternate live match commentary service and to Damian Quinn, Stephen Webb and Roger Haigh for the Satellite TV info.

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 #885