Newsletter #898

A less than inspiring performance on Sunday, which eventually got the desired result as we secured all 3 points in a 1-0 victory over a cheating, conniving Birmingham City. Positives from the game were Fowler’s excellent goal, the old dependable guard of Horlock, Wiekens and Wright-Phillips’ harrying. Negatives included the inept referee, and Anelka’s one-on-one finishing techniques.

An excellent report tonight from James, some good pieces of opinion, Steve’s travel news for Chelsea and a couple of requests.

Finally, a Happy St Patrick’s Day to all our Irish Blues out there.

Next game: Chelsea, away, 3pm Saturday 22 March 2003
Countdown: 55 days


Sundays when I was a lad would usually follow the pattern of church, lunch, recovering from the excesses of a Sunday lunch, tea (involving sandwiches, cake/trifle) and watching ‘Songs of Praise’ followed by ‘Last of The Summer Wine’ because no-one has the energy to change the channel. Due to this I still can’t get used to Sunday matches and certainly the majority of City fans were very quiet throughout the 90 minutes.

Pre-match talk was all about the possible inclusion of Barton and/or Bischoff but KK surprised none of us by including neither of them in the starting XI or on the bench. City lined up Schmeichel, Jensen, Wiekens, Distin, Sommeil, SWeeP, Horlock, Foe, Benarbia, Fowler and Anelka; the bench included Nash, Dunne, Sun, Belmadi and Goater.

City kicked off the first half from North to Platt Lane and had the upper hand when it came to territorial pressure. SWeeP was giving great momentum going forward down the right flank (something Sun seems to lack) and Jensen seemed to have been substituted for a ‘lookey-likey’, who bombed forward down the left flank and was crossing in quite dangerous balls. The only problems were that Anelka was drifting wide left and Fowler seemed unable to come anywhere near the crossfield balls. With Horlock solid in midfield and Wiekens carrying on where he left off at Blackburn, Schmeichel was having quite an easy afternoon. Despite controlling the game though, City couldn’t find a meaningful chance past a well-manned Birmingham defence.

A Benarbia corner brought City’s first real chance; a flying header (I think from Fowler) that the defender managed to block. The resultant rebound saw various players hacking at the ball as the proverbial ‘pinball’ melée ensued. Eventually Birmingham cleared the ball but City were putting enormous pressure on their goal.

The next goalmouth action saw Anelka sent down the left from a ball by Fowler. Nicolas jinked inside a few defenders, turned them inside and out before firing hard across the box. The resultant parry from Bennett saw Foe with a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring. With the goal beckoning, Foe (showing us why I personally wouldn’t fork out £4 million let alone the current asking price of £7 million!) wafted his foot over the ball and our best chance was gone. Actually Foe might have caught the top of the ball but it is a mystery to me why KK insists on giving him opportunity after opportunity when he looks like he’d be more at home in Chris Bird’s PR firm run ‘Disney on Ice’ with Foe guest starring as Bambi. The only player to fall over more times than Foe was Duggary and at least Duggary did it within spitting distance of a City player.

Foe’s blushes were spared by Anelka though. Horlock sent Nicolas clear of the Birmingham defence but his second (could have been first) touch was far too heavy and instead of running the ball round the ‘keeper, he gave Bennett the easy option of smothering the ball as Anelka flew over the top of him. A few screams of ‘penalty’ were masking the fact that it was an easy opportunity for a player of Anelka’s ability.

Half-time saw us go in 0-0, with the only other noteworthy incidents being Savage getting a yellow for taking a free kick too quickly, despite the fact that the wall seemed 10 yards back. A little harsh by the ref who’d struggled with the notion that football is still a contact sport. Foe also managed to tackle the ref in one of his few challenges in the entire 90 minutes that he won the ball, but in falling over the ref landed on Foe so preventing him running the ball out of defence.

The entertainment at half-time saw City losing 4-1 in the penalty shoot out, with Moonchester being flattened by a couple of hard hit shots by over eager youngsters. The Birmingham fans greeted this result with a great cheer and some chanting, though they were polite enough to clap the 15 under 9 youngsters who City have just signed up to the Academy. As I mentioned to Mr Blackpool at the time “I know Keegan said he was going to give the kids a chance, but that’s taking things a little too far”; Mrs Blackpool responded that they were going to be the “Team for the Second Half”. With our kid not winning the half-time draw drawn by Dave Watson, we settled down to the second half action.

City really started where they had left off, although the majority of the play was coming down the right. SWeeP jinked inside a couple of defenders but his cross lacked any real accuracy. Fowler was then played in by Anelka but in trying to tee up a left footed shot he curled it well wide for a goal kick. SweeP again got in beyond the Birmingham defence but Benarbia made a real meal of collecting the ball, allowing the Birmingham defence to hack the ball clear.

Benarbia then turned creator as he passed the ball to the onrushing Fowler, but on his weaker right foot Fowler meekly tapped the ball to the Birmingham ‘keeper. Within minutes though, Benarbia created the opener as he crossed the ball right footed into the path of Fowler, who caught the ball on his left foot and volleyed it home for 1-0. A great goal as he seemed to catch the ball in mid-air and such a relief for Robbie, who seemed to grow in confidence that he’d scored with a few quick flicks and shielding of the ball from that point onwards.

With City a goal up it looked more likely that we would increase that margin, but Jensen managed to get himself sent off as he caught Lazardis late down the left touchline. Only two points here: 1. Jensen’s booking in the first half was a little harsh, 2. Jensen was covering at right-back due to the fact that the entire City team (except for Distin and Jensen) seem to race forward for any set piece, leaving us very exposed at the back.

To counter the threat of a one man advantage, KK (who’d appeared midway through the second half in the dugout after being missing for the first 45 minutes) took Fowler off and played Sun at left wing back. It was City who continued to press and Foe had another good chance to score, but in taking too much time over his shot he allowed the Birmingham defender to get a foot in to deflect the ball wide of goal.

Anelka then was the recipient of a ball that hit two Birmingham players before landing in the path of Anelka. With only the ‘keeper to beat, Anelka tried to walk the ball around Bennett, which allowed the ‘keeper to nick the ball off Nic’s toes. In reality Anelka could have buried it bottom left, chipped the ‘keeper or at least put a little bit of pace into his movement and the ball’s trajectory, again very disappointing.

With 90 minutes almost up we nearly rued Anelka’s miss as Horsfield found himself free of the City defence. He rounded Schmeichel but then managed to fall over after talking a Foe-esque swing at the ball – the ball softly rolling out for a goal kick. Bruce looked aghast, looking high into the Main Stand, only to be greeted by the City fans waving and smiling at him. The final whistle went, it wasn’t a classic but at least it was 3 points. Horlock was my MotM (as confirmed by the stadium announcer), although Jensen would have run him close if he’d not been sent off. One down, four to go…

CTID, James Walsh (


As good a job as David Bernstein did for City, life goes on. I find it incredulous that there are City fans suggesting petitions for his re-instatement or attempting to organise demonstrations over his departure.

This doesn’t strike me as anything like a return to the days of boardroom instability – it’s simply an internal dispute that has resolved itself via the resignation of a board member. John Wardle and David Makin provided the necessary financial backing that enabled David Bernstein to do such a good job in the first place and to suggest that Wardle will now oversee an abandoning of financial control at Maine Road takes little account of the fact that he and Makin jointly started and now preside over one of the UK’s most successful retail chains. If they believe that there are funds available for Kevin Keegan to spend (and I hope that they do), then that’s good enough for me.

There have also been a number of contributors to McVittee suggesting that Kevin Keegan is intent on ruining the club by overspending. I find this even more amazing. In the time that he has been here, I cannot think of a single thing that Kevin Keegan has done to damage Manchester City. I can recall that he has (and still does) treated us to exhilarating football, the like of which I have never seen at Maine Road (I am 26). He has also attracted some of the biggest names in European football with an intention to advance the club rather than take one last payday before retirement. Not all signings have been a success so far but this is a fact of footballing life, not a problem exclusive to Keegan.

I attended a fans’ forum at Maine Road a couple of weeks ago where the club was represented by Kevin Keegan, Ali, Niclas Jensen and Dennis Tueart. Kevin stated clearly that he has no intention of taking the club where it cannot or does not want go. I asked Jensen and Ali what their perception of City was prior to joining. Ali said that in France City were a big team… a long time ago, and until Kevin Keegan joined there was nothing. Kevin Keegan has taken a club with fond memories of how good we used to be to being proud at how good we are and how good we can be.

Sam Allardyce does a great job at Bolton, working within tight financial constraints and constantly battling against relegation. I don’t want that for City. I want my club to be ambitious. To challenge for – and win – trophies. To attract the best footballers around. Being in the Premier League is good, but that itself should not be good enough.

The fourteen years that I have had a season ticket have, from a purely footballing perspective, been mostly dire. One viewing of the ‘City Goals’ DVD painfully confirms this with players who wouldn’t have been recognised outside of Manchester if they’d bit you. I remember being stood at Chesterfield in the biting cold drawing 1-1 after a Lee Crooks equaliser, 0-0 at Blackpool with no shots on target, losing at home to Huddersfield with the ground echoing to ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’, Pollock lobbing his own ‘keeper, home and away defeats by Wycombe, Alan Ball as manager, Steve Coppell as manager, Phil Neal as manager, Frank Clark as manager, players like Creaney, Brannan, Kernaghan, Buster Phillips, Beesley, Vaughan, Bradbury, Frontzeck, Immel, all those Georgian mates of Kinkladze, Conlon, the list is long.

Compare this to Anelka, Fowler, Schmeichel, Berkovic, Benarbia, Distin. Can anyone truly question that this is the right direction for the club to be heading?

I cannot recall a better side, manager or time to be a Blue.

Jason Fowler (


Well, sometimes you just find the missing piece in your own backyard. I have been wondering why Wiekens didn’t get the opportunity. I remember him playing well in a “libero” rôle in front of the defence before. He seems to play equally well in the defence. Solid (just imagine how things would have looked if we would have had these players intact from the beginning of the season!).

SWeeP must be given the chance to play from start every game from now on. He ran as fast and furious in the dying minutes of the game as he had in the first ones. It’s like having three (3) players instead of one!

If Sunny can play in Jensen’s position, it’s like having three players on that side too (5-7-4!).

The gift-from-God (Ali Baba) doesn’t seem to have the stamina to play all 90. He looked a bit tired in the end and should perhaps have been replaced with Belmadi. Berko would have torn them apart today! Looking good!

I’m as depressed as anyone about Mr Bernstein resigning, but perhaps spending is the key here. The foundation of player material isn’t really at Robert Taylor level anymore, so why not charge up with everything you’ve got (and even more).

Snowballs could well seek comfort in hell before this team will be involved in a relegation battle! Go Mr Keegan, go!

Anyone got knowledge about Mighty-Blue screensavers (for Nokia)?

I love you all, my Blue amigos (hopefully sky blue next season).

Iffe Teurnell (


I must admit I’m not a regular contributor to your excellent publication (this is my second) but I had to write to tell you of the growing legend that is Kevin Keegan. On Tuesday night (11 March) I went to the Prestwich and Whitefield supporters’ club meeting. The advertised guests were Nicky Reid and Andy Hinchcliffe along with John Wardle.

When JW arrived he had with him our leader Kevin Keegan and Derek Fazackerly; nobody knew he was coming, not even the organisers . Now whether he was there to take away some of the flak and awkward questions that were bound to be coming Mr Wardle’s way regarding our former chairman’s departure or not, Keegan put in a fantastic two hour session. Answering some questions but avoiding others. He was funny, some of his one-liners were classics and some of the questions even better (someone asked why the fans were expected to be in their seats by 3pm but our defence could turn up at 10 past i.e. Newcastle, Arsenal etc.).

Apart from answering questions, Keegan spent time signing autographs and having his picture taken with the kids. At one point he went out among the audience and gave each kid a present (provided by the P&W). He also donated two tickets for the last game against Southampton, which raised three hundred pounds in an auction. PR exercise or not, you could not help but be impressed by the way King Kev handled the whole night. His passion for the club and his admiration for the fans and the part we will play in City’s future were evident to everyone who was lucky enough to be there. Keegan is a manager of the highest order and with the backing of the current board can take us to highs we could only have dreamed about in the past few years.

I was a total fan of David Bernstein and all he did for City but feel that if the board split had gone his way we could have lost our most charismatic and talented manager since the great Joe Mercer and that would have been a tragedy.

On a final note, Nicky Reid and Andy Hinchcliffe were both great and it was a shame for them that KK was there as they would probably have had a lot more to say, and congratulations to the P&W for again attracting the top man.

CTID, Adrian Platt (


The attached was in the Guardian online publication “The Fiver”.

Quote of the Day

“Not only is Kevin Keegan right up there with the Arsene Wengers and Alex Fergusons in terms of Premiership managers but he is also a shrewd businessman” – Manchester City acting chairman John Wardle.

When do we appoint a new Chairman?

Alf King (


Public transport to Chelsea. Just a reminder to those (quite a few) who take the M40/A40 and then the tube from Greenford, that there are no trains from Greenford at the moment following the Central Line derailment.

Best alternative is Hillingdon (sliproad a mile or so after the end of the M40) with a large car park, then £2.30 each way on the tube (about an hour). North Ealing (south off A40 down Hanger Lane) is half the price and half the journey time but only a small station car park.

Hillingdon location:,185250&st=4&tl=Grid+Location+507250,185250&ar=N&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf

Steve Parish (


I don’t know whether the press or the board at MCFC have noticed but most fans call our new stadium Eastlands, not The City of Manchester Stadium and I bet it will stick. Grounds tend to have short names or the fans give them short names: Southampton is St Mary’s, then there’s Highbury, St. James’, St. Andrew’s etc. If the name is too long it always gets shortened: Leicester’s is now the Crisp Bowl.

Naming new bits of Eastlands after famous City people is obvious and the two ends behind the goal should be named after our two greatest defenders: Bert Trautman and Frank Swift. Joe Mercer should have a stand to himself of course and smaller bits could be attributed to lesser lights. I’ve heard several people suggest the Steve Daley Food Franchise (expensive and crap); another suggestion for our great late ‘keeper was The Swift Half bar.

The new high tech entrances/turnstiles should of course be named after Richard Dunne as they are intended to let crowds through easily.

My favourite is the Steve Coppell Short Stay Car Park but if the posher parts of the stadium have lifts or escalators going down, one should surely be named after Alan Ball.

Peter Llewellyn (


I would like to put forward a name to be used somewhere in the new stadium, and in a place that would give justice for all his hard work for around 30 years as Hon Secretary of the Manchester City official supporters’ club, and that is Frank Horrocks who retired at the start of this season, after serving the club, and helping so many City fans over the years.

It’s supporters that make a club, it’s people like Frank who help the fans be good fans for the club Manchester City FC. Frank Horrocks deserves some recognition for all his hard work and dedication.

Thanks Frank Horrocks, hope others remember you!

Ernie Barrow (


There is to be a talk on the conversion of the Commonwealth Stadium into City’s new home by one of the engineers involved.

The location is Renold Building, UMIST, Room D7. The time is 6.30pm, Tuesday 18th March. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available from 6.15pm. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

Please pass this onto as many people as possible.

Thank you, Alex Andrews (


Thanks for all the messages about this. Here is some more info.

Maine Road, the home to Manchester City Football Club and hundreds of thousands of City supporters for 80 years, will be abandoned to its fate later on this year when club and fans alike will move en masse a couple of miles up the road to the 48,000 seater City of Manchester Stadium – a modern stadium for modern times.

Maine Road has seen it all over the years and in this publication supporters have the chance to say their final farewell to the old ground, remembering key players and magical moments, quirky events and personal highlights from both recent and past times.

End Of The Road is out now as a limited, numbered edition priced at £3 and £1 postage (anywhere in the world).

Further details can be obtained at or from me at the address below.

Noel Bayley (


Does anyone have a small/medium youth (age 10+) goalkeeper jersey they would like to donate to a soccer team I coach in Colorado or know where I could purchase one from at a decent price?

Thanks, Paul Faulkner – Colorado Blue (


My uncle Bobby used to play for Manchester City in the late 60s. He scored a couple of goals on his dream début in the 6-1 demolition of West Bromwich Albion in the Charity Shield but then found limited success with the club before moving on. When he signed from Bury it was a dream come true because his hero was Colin Bell, who’d also made the move to Maine Road from The Shakers. However, uncle Bobby was no ‘Nijinsky’ but at least he has his Charity Shield to show to his proud family.

I occasionally come back to watch the Blues, but not as often as I’d like to due to my work taking me all over the world.

I’ve noticed appeals for City fans in far flung places to get together to watch City on TV. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be in the following places and would love to meet up with fellow Blues to watch the game.

So, as the time honoured saying goes, if any fellow Blues know of a pub where I can watch the following games, there’s a chilled Bacardi Breezer in it for you.

For Chelsea, I’m going to be in Maribor; Bolton I’ll be in Midrand, South Africa; for the Middlesbrough, Spurs and Mackem games I’ll be trying to find a bar in Trincomalee in Sri Lanka – yes idyllic I know but not if they don’t have ESPN. West Ham and Liverpool I should be in Goa, so maybe that shouldn’t be too difficult. Then I’ll be at the Southampton game with my family to shed a few tears at the closure of Maine Road. It was difficult to get the eight tickets we wanted. We only got six. So if anyone has a couple of spares… only joking!

Good luck for the rest of the season you magnificent Blue boys and let’s look forward to playing Nevezis Kedainiai in the UEFA Cup next season. I’ll be in Kedainiai in September you see!

Keep the Blue flag flying high.

Lisa Owen (


16 March 2003

Manchester City       1 - 0  Birmingham City       34,596
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 3  Liverpool             36,077
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 2  Chelsea               27,024

15 March 2003

Aston Villa           0 - 1  Manchester United     42,602
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 0  Arsenal               29,840
Charlton Athletic     0 - 2  Newcastle United      26,728
Everton               0 - 0  West Ham United       40,158
Fulham                2 - 2  Southampton           18,031
Leeds United          2 - 3  Middlesbrough         39,073
Sunderland            0 - 2  Bolton Wanderers      42,124

League table to 16 March 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         30 13  1  1 35 13  6  5  4 29 19 19  6  5  64  32  32  63
 2 Manchester Utd  30 12  2  1 28 10  6  5  4 20 17 18  7  5  48  27  21  61
 3 Newcastle Utd   30 13  1  1 27  9  5  3  7 22 25 18  4  8  49  34  15  58
 4 Chelsea         30  8  4  2 28 12  6  5  5 24 19 14  9  7  52  31  21  51
 5 Everton         30  9  5  1 22 13  5  3  7 16 21 14  8  8  38  34   4  50
 6 Liverpool       30  6  8  1 22 12  7  2  6 22 18 13 10  7  44  30  14  49
 7 Blackburn R.    30  8  5  3 22 14  4  5  5 15 18 12 10  8  37  32   5  46
 8 Charlton Ath.   30  7  3  5 23 20  6  3  6 16 18 13  6 11  39  38   1  45
 9 Southampton     30  8  5  2 19 11  3  5  7 13 19 11 10  9  32  30   2  43
10 Tottenham H.    30  8  4  3 28 20  4  3  8 15 23 12  7 11  43  43   0  43
11 Middlesbrough   30  8  6  1 27 17  3  2 10 11 17 11  8 11  38  34   4  41
12 Manchester City 30  8  1  6 25 24  4  4  7 15 20 12  5 13  40  44  -4  41
13 Fulham          30  9  3  4 22 13  1  5  8 13 24 10  8 12  35  37  -2  38
14 Aston Villa     30  9  1  6 21 12  1  4  9 10 23 10  5 15  31  35  -4  35
15 Leeds United    30  5  2  8 16 20  5  2  8 21 22 10  4 16  37  42  -5  34
16 Birmingham City 30  4  4  6 14 19  4  4  8 13 23  8  8 14  27  42 -15  32
17 Bolton Wndrs    30  3  7  4 19 21  3  4  9 14 26  6 11 13  33  47 -14  29
18 West Ham United 30  2  6  7 15 22  4  3  8 17 31  6  9 15  32  53 -21  27
19 West Brom A.    30  3  4  8 12 21  2  2 11  9 25  5  6 19  21  46 -25  21
20 Sunderland      30  3  2 10  9 22  1  5  9 10 26  4  7 19  19  48 -29  19

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.09]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup) :
News/rumour (Don Barrie) :
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FAQ (David Warburton) :

[1] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, 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] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[11] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[12] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to John Arnold for providing the match day music information, 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 #898