Newsletter #899

Tonight sees Don’s newsround with KK’s defence and reaction to last weekend’s game, movers and shakers. We’ve also plenty of opinion on the past, reasons to be cheerful and a few requests. Info on some pre-season games that may prove interesting for us Blues also reaches us, courtesy of Ralph via New Zealand.

Down to rip-off merchant Ken’s place on Saturday as we face a 4th placed Chelsea and hopefully not a repeat of the 0-3 last October.

Next game: Chelsea, away, 3pm Saturday 22 March 2003
Countdown: 52 days


General News

Keegan Fights Back: KK has answered his critics who suggest that he is a spendthrift. Ever since David Bernstein’s departure it has been suggested that Keegan’s spending plans were the catalyst for the recent boardroom ructions. “You can’t go from being a First Division side to competing with the best without spending money,” said Keegan this week in a BBC radio interview. “I have spent £39 million, not over £50 million as some people are suggesting, and have got about £3 million back in, so that’s £36 million to turn this club around. To some people that might be a lot of money but in the world of football it is what you have to do. As a manager you are judged on what you achieve and where you go. When I was at Newcastle people said it was a great success story; now I read it was a flop. It was the same five years. I took the club from the bottom of the old Second Division to what would have been the Champions’ League if the places had been on offer as they are now. Manchester City has an awful lot going for it and I want to keep the club moving forward. When you bring one top player in it is with the promise that more will follow, not that they are the last piece of the jigsaw. The big clubs never stop trying to strengthen. In two players Manchester United have spent more than we have on our entire squad. We have to be realistic and say that if we try to compete with them, the sums involved are going to be quite high. There are a lot of costs involved in a big club like this and not just in players. The move into a new stadium is costing £20 million and we have to be sensible. The fee for Nicolas Anelka is spread over six years so you can’t say we have spent £14 million on him. If people look at the true figures of my time at this club they will find they stack up and the board must know that otherwise they wouldn’t sanction them.” Keegan was also at pains to say that he regretted the departures of both Bernstein and Chris Bird. “I have been disappointed to read that it was down to finance,” said Keegan. “It wasn’t. It was an internal matter and I wasn’t party to the board meeting where it all happened. I am disappointed to lose them both. The chairman has done a great job in the last five years while Chris Bird has not only done a very good job but is also a fan of the club and has been great to work with so it is a double blow.”

Fair Play Update: The Premiership is still in line to receive an extra UEFA Cup place next season, as the English League is still top of Europe’s fair play standings. And, as reported in MCIVTA 895, the Blues are in prime position to secure that spot. In the English Fair Play League, the top two places are held by North West teams who wear red. One club is already guaranteed a UEFA spot via the Worthington Cup, while the other lot may achieve a Champions’ League place. This means that the third placed team should get into Europe, and that happens to be… MCFC! Fourth placed Newcastle should also be in Europe through the Champions’ League, so provided we have no more Niclas Jensen-like moments for the rest of the season, the Blues may welcome European football to the City of Manchester Stadium. The FA’s acting chief executive David Davies commented: “With English clubs and national teams having played so many matches already this season, it’s clearly encouraging to see the consistency of fair play being shown. Players have a responsibility as rôle models to play the game according to the spirit as well as the laws of the game. These figures demonstrate that our traditional reputation for fair play around Europe is well deserved.”

Oasis to Roll With it? It’s not often that City make the music press, but they did so this week. It’s being reported that as part of the farewell to Maine Road, Oasis will play a 45 minute set after the Southampton game on May 11. Other acts will include the Doves, Johnny Marr, The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy and 808 State. The performance is set to include a rendition of Blue Moon, and a montage of clips from Maine Road over the past 80 years. The word from the club is more “Definitely Maybe” than “definitely”, however – although City confirm that a farewell gig is planned for after the last match, no acts have been confirmed yet. It would be a second home fixture for Oasis – they famously played Maine Road in 1996.

Another Fixture Switch: Here we go again. City’s forthcoming Premiership clash with West Ham United has been switched twenty-four hours for Sky TV, as presumably Mr. Murdoch’s minions want to focus on the Hammers’ fight against relegation. The game will now take place on Sunday 27th April, kick off time 2.00pm, and will be shown live on Sky’s pay per view channel.

Mixed Week for Reserves: Games are coming thick and fast for the Reserves at the moment, and they began the week by slumping to a fourth consecutive defeat, this time at the hands of Trafford Wanderers. The only goal of the game was scored by Reds’ youngster Danny Webber, and the Blues’ misery was complete when Gary Browne was sent off for a second bookable offence. Team: City: Ellegaard, Flood, Jordan (McCarthy 68), Bischoff, Dunne, Paisley, Whelan, Barton, Vuoso, Browne, Elliott. Subs: Murphy, Gilder, Orr, James. The seconds finally got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory last night (Wednesday) against Birmingham City. The game, played at Solihull Borough’s ground Damson Lane, saw City score through Djamel Belmadi and Shaun Goater. Team: Nash, Flood, Jordan (Paisley 62), Bischoff, Dunne, Howey, Barton, Belmadi, Macken (Browne 70), Goater (Whelan 77), Vuoso. Subs: Ellegaard, McCarthy.

Middle East Trip Postponed: Owing to the situation the Middle East, City have had to postpone the under-17’s proposed visit to Qatar. Planned to begin on March 30, the tour would have included a game against the national youth side, and was meant to have been part of a British Week in the Gulf state.

Transfer News and Gossip

Shuker Wants to be a Saddler: Chris Shuker is keen to extend his loan spell with Walsall. Shuker has played three games for the Saddlers and is enjoying the experience of first-team football. “I’ve got two weeks left of my month-long loan spell to go,” said the 20-year-old Liverpudlian. “I’ve got three matches in front of me to impress, and then it’s up to Colin Lee if he wants to keep me – you never know what might happen. As long as we play good, passing football, that really suits me. If we play the long ball, at just five foot five, I might as well go back to Maine Road.” Shuker will see his one-month temporary deal expire following the Walsall’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday, and has already been told by KK that his contract will not be renewed when it lapses in the summer.

Making an Offer You Can’t Refuse: Boss Man Kev has tried to drum up business this week by offering to pay part of the wages of any of his players prepared to go out on loan to a Football League club. “It is a lot easier to get players in than it is to get them out,” admitted KK. The contracts of a batch of players runs out at the end of 2003-2004 season. These players can then leave on free transfers. Keegan clearly wants to try and bring some funds in, so thinks that players going on loan may hasten their departures. The manager gave the example of Paul Ritchie. “Paul has said that he needs to be playing and I would like to get him back playing, but we have to wait for those opportunities. He is probably going to go into the First Division and if there was a club there who wanted him but couldn’t afford his wages, we would have to sit down and come to a compromise as a lot of clubs are doing. When he went to Portsmouth we paid some of his wages.” Players whose contracts run out in a year’s time include Ritchie, Shaun Goater, Steve Howey, Gerard Wiekens and Carlo Nash.

No Dough, so Foe May Go: It looks like Marc Vivien Foe will not be with City next season, unless there’s a rapid re-think on the fee agreed for the Cameroonian international. The contracted deadline has passed for taking up the option to buy Foe on a permanent basis. Earlier in the week, KK was keen to show how prudent he is with City’s cash when he pointed out the difficulties of completing the deal. Since Foe joined the club, fluctuations in the exchange rate mean that the final fee for Foe will have jumped by £1 million. “We won’t take up the option as it stands,” he said. “The fee was agreed in Euros and now it works out as £7 mllion. To pay that for anybody in today’s market is almost unthinkable. I have told Mark I would like him to still play for us next season but we don’t have that sort of money to spend on him. Also, he only has one year left on his contract so I want to talk with Lyon because the price as it stands is unrealistic.” Foe has been a virtual ever-present this season, and has chipped in with seven goals, and has made it clear that he wants to stay with the Blues. “I feel at home here – everything is in place at Manchester City for the club to grow into a force in English football,” he said. “We have a great manager who has high ambitions and players who want to grow with each other and the club – of course I would like to be part of that.”

Howey to Wanderers? The only City-related weekend tabloid gossip related to a possible departure. Bolton Wanderers are said to be interested in Steve Howey. Come summertime, the Trotters will find themselves light in the centre half department – players like Ivan Campo will probably return to Spain, Paul Warhurst and Mike Whitlow are out of contract while skipper Gudni Bergsson retires.

Ex-Blues’ News

Pot and Kettle Time: Why, I hear you ask gentle reader, does Robbie Savage of Birmingham City have a reputation as the most disliked player in the Premiership? Here’s a little clue to help those that feel a tad sorry for the Welsh midfielder. Former City hero and now Sky TV pundit Rodney Marsh, was asked for his opinion on Dion Dublin’s recent sending off for head butting Savage. Rod said “I thought it’s about time someone whacked him in the face. He’s one of those horrible rat-type players that you hate. If I was playing football today he would be one of the players I would ‘smarten up’. Dion Dublin butted him in the face and I was actually quite pleased he did it.” Not the most pleasant comment I agree, but Savage responded with typical grace and decorum. “It was a quite unbelievable blast in my direction,” said Savage.“I had to ask my dad who this bloke Marsh was – he doesn’t exactly figure in the gallery of legends does he? I’m also told he was a bit of a fairy as a player and was always at least 100 yards away from any trouble when it broke out. What he said is exactly the type of rubbish you get from people when they get drunk down the pub. He seems to be desperately trying to be controversial so that Sky continue to employ him. But he’s gone too far this time. They’re the sort of verbals that could incite people. Maybe Marsh is jealous of the cash players earn today. If he is struggling to understand what life is like for Premiership footballers these days, I’ve got an invite for him. Maybe at Christmas, he would like to come round to my very nice home and perch himself at the top of the tree. Given his past reputation in the game, that might be a very suitable position for him.” Touché, Robbie!

No Fox Hole for the Ratter: Jeff Whitley thought he’d found himself a club last week, but Football League rules have prevented the deal going through. Leicester City were keen to sign the Northern Ireland international, who was prepared to play for nothing in an attempt to impress Foxes’ boss Mickey Adams. This method certainly worked for former Blue Nicky Summerbee, but since then the club have been saved from administration, and the League imposed a transfer embargo when agreeing to the change in ownership. “It’s madness. We must be the most hated club in the league. Whitley was willing to play for nothing. He wants to put himself on the map – Jeff is out of contract – but I’m still blocked,” said Adams. The Football League were unmoved by Adams’ protests, stating: “Leicester have a transfer embargo imposed and whether the player in question is to be paid or not is irrelevant to the issue. The fact is that Leicester are subject to an absolute transfer embargo – an embargo that will remain in place – until the club satisfies the conditions that were imposed when the League agreed to transfer ownership, from the old club to the new regime. The matter is therefore entirely in the hands of the club. Once in a position to give the League the assurances it requires, the League can end the transfer restrictions that are currently in place.”

Reactions and Comments

Two Strikers, One Goal: The main talking point after last weekend’s game with Birmingham concerned two forwards, namely Robbie Fowler and Geoff Horsfield. Fowler’s sublime flicked goal on 72 minutes lit up an otherwise drab encounter, while substitute Horsfield missed Birmingham’s best chance in the last minute. Of Fowler, KK said: “In his first couple of games Robbie needed fitness and today he needed a goal – and he deserved it. Today looked maybe like it had 0-0 written all over it. Birmingham work hard all the time and we started to think it wasn’t going to happen for us. It was going to take something out of the ordinary to win it and Robbie supplied it. I know how desperately Robbie wanted a goal, but that was a terrific finish – a half-chance at best. It was going to take something special to change the game. I have seen Robbie do that so many times in the past; it was nice to see him doing it in a Manchester City shirt. I always knew he would score goals if you provided him with opportunities. But what he has proved today is that he will score goals if you don’t. It was a great goal in a poor match, and was probably better for him that it was an instinctive finish. The main thing is that he has got one now, and people will stop talking about how many minutes it is since he last scored.” Keegan also revealed that Fowler required a pain-killing injection to a shoulder injury before starting the game, admitting it was one reason for an overall individual performance some way below the one he produced in the 1-0 defeat at Blackburn a fortnight ago. Birmingham manager Steve “Ex Red” Bruce was complimentary about Fowler, and philosophical about his striker’s miss. “We needed a little break today because overall I thought we deserved to get something out of the game. It didn’t really happen for us today and when we were looking for the golden opportunity it came but Geoff fell over. It is one of those which will be shown on videos and television blooper programmes for some time to come. It is something he will have to live with. It’s a shame because against Aston Villa two weeks ago he was the hero who charged down the goalkeeper for our second goal.”

Three Yellow Cards, One Red: Bruce was less than impressed by the referee, who booked Robbie Savage for taking a free quick too quickly. The booking was Savage’s tenth, so earns the Welshman a two game ban. Bruce said: “It’s a nonsense of a rule, and I went in to see the referee about it at half-time. A free-kick is supposed to be an advantage to us, so where was it? Now we will miss Robbie for two vital games. I didn’t think we deserved to win the match – but I didn’t think Manchester City did either.” Referee Matt Massias gave his reasons for the booking via Sky TV – Savage had asked for City’s wall to be pushed back the full ten yards, and had agreed to wait for the referee’s whistle before taking the kick. Having then attempted to take a free kick quickly, the referee deemed his actions to be ungentlemanly conduct. Robbie Savage? Ungentlemanly? Whatever next? There was no such Ferguson-esque whingeing from Bruce’s opposing manager about Niclas Jensen’s sending off. He was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card with ten minutes to go. “I have no complaints about the sending off,” said Keegan. “They were two yellow cards but the first one was a bit silly. He will look back at that one and think it was a long way in the Birmingham half. If defenders or wing-backs are going to get booked then it should be for something around their own penalty area.” Jensen will serve his one match ban by missing the trip to Bolton Wanderers on April 5.

Hero Horlock: Sky TV made Kevin Horlock Man of the Match after a strong midfield performance. Horlock said afterwards: “We had our chances and I’m glad for Robbie – he’s done everything but score since he came here. He worked his socks off today and it was a great goal – a real Robbie Fowler finish and hopefully the start of many for him at City. It was important for us to win today.” The result kept Birmingham on the edge of the relegation scrap, while giving hope to teams like West Ham, some 5 points behind the Brummies. Horlock added: “The last thing I want is for West Ham to go down. I supported them as a kid and hopefully they’ll get out of trouble.”

“And Finally Kevin” Kevin Keegan concluded that “It wasn’t a classic but we were playing a side full of determination, energy and a have-a-go spirit that means they are never going to give you anything easy or lie down and we made things slightly more difficult for ourselves by missing chances as well. That’s football. When I was at Liverpool all those years ago and we were winning championships and doing really well, we had a lot of games like yesterday’s but you forgot them at the end of the season when you won something. We are not going to win anything this year but the players certainly won me over in terms of their effort and determination. I have questioned them sometimes over the last few weeks but I could not question them against Birmingham.” City’s forty one points should ensure another season in the top flight: “This win just about guarantees us Premiership football next season,” reflected the boss. “Of course you can never be absolutely sure as you never know what teams below you are going to do. But I would think it is definite that we will have Premiership football next season for our fans. It means we move into our new stadium in front of fifty thousand fans playing the very best in this country. That is the very least that the fans deserve. Quite honestly I think it is the least this group of players deserve. They have worked hard this year.”

Squad News

What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Alfie Haaland is hoping to meet acting chairman John Wardle, in an effort to overturn the club’s decision to serve the Norwegian with six months’ notice. Haaland has been supported throughout by the players’ union, the PFA, who believe that as City used their own club doctor for diagnosis that the termination was not valid. Haaland said of Wardle: “I know who he is. I have said hello to him and know he has quite a big share in the club. It can only be better with a change of leader, the worst that can happen is that the club stand by their termination.”

A Pain in the Arras for Peter: Just like the Great Dane in the play by Shakespeare, Peter Schmeichel is unsure what his next move should be. He has missed six games due to his back and calf injuries, but had a trouble free return in his comeback against Birmingham City. Schmikes is still undecided what his long term future is, and will wait to see how his fitness holds out in the final 8 games of the season. He certainly won’t sign a deal to play only a limited number of games. “It has to be everything or nothing,” he told GMR. “We all have days where we would prefer to stay at home but as a footballer there can be no short cuts. You have to go out there and perform to a certain level. Having the option of saying ‘I’m not feeling right put somebody else in’, I couldn’t work under those conditions. I would be quite happy to wait until May because in order to make any kind of decision, it is important to be playing and know what my physical capabilities are. I have been out for eight weeks and as the days go by without any massive improvement it puts a doubt in your mind. When you are sat in the stand and you can see things are not working or going the right way it is even more frustrating. You want to be on the pitch helping the team. Eventually we stopped trying to get back for the next game and made sure I only came back when my fitness was right. I could probably have played against Blackburn a fortnight ago but the coaching staff knew if I didn’t, I would have two extra weeks to recover and feel the benefit to the end of the season and possibly beyond. I still love playing and yesterday was the best I have felt all season. Finally I have had the time to recover from all the other problems I have had.” If Schmeichel is looking for advice, he could do worse than listen to Polonius’ guidance to his son in Hamlet: “This above all: to thine own self be true”.

No More Nicky: While one goalkeeper hopes to stay fit, another City custodian has had very bad news. A recurrence of his knee injury means that Nicky Weaver will not play again this season. “I feel sorry for all the lads who have not made it back this season,” remarked Kevin Keegan. “It has not been through lack of effort and the treatment they have had has been first class. It has just been circumstances with all of them. Nicky hurt his knee in training the other day and it will set him back for the rest of the season. Like Paulo Wanchope he will have to get his head round keeping fit, keep doing things right and then come back next season, earlier than usual, so that he can catch up on the ground work he has missed. Nicky got himself very fit, he was very focussed and worked very hard. But these things happen a lot in football. Sometimes when you are building squads you know these things will happen, not that you want them to. There was a point where we thought we would have Nicky back in early January and you have to prepare for these things. Most professionals will accept now if there is something wrong with them. He has a pain on his knee and he will have it scanned on Saturday so we can establish what is wrong and then get it sorted out. It sounds dreadful to say his season is over, but if he is out for six weeks then his season is finished. To go through a season without being selected is very disappointing. But I think he and Carlo Nash now realise that even around the age of thirty you are still young as a goalkeeper.”

Don Barrie (


From the UniBond press release:

Stalybridge and Radcliffe To Host International Festival: UniBond League clubs Stalybridge Celtic and Radcliffe Borough are to be two of the three clubs hosting Manchester’s International Football Festival 2003 organised by the Thai Trade & Cultural Organisation. The other club involved are Oldham Athletic but the Final will be held at Stalybridge Celtic on 3 August (1pm kick off) whilst both Semi-Finals will be hosted by Radcliffe on Saturday, 2 August kicking off at 11am and 4pm, with all games being beamed live to the Far East.

The competition is at under 23 level and both UniBond clubs will stage some glamour games with Borough’s Stainton Park the venue for Thailand vs. China on 30 July kick off 12 noon followed the same day by Manchester City vs. Glasgow Celtic at 7.30pm. 31st July sees Stainton Park host Japan v Oldham Athletic at noon with Glasgow Rangers vs. Parma kicking off later the same day at 7.30pm. Stalybridge’s Bower Fold, meanwhile, stages China vs. Glasgow Celtic on 28 July (kick off 11am) followed by Manchester City vs. Thailand at 4pm. Celtic then host Glasgow Rangers vs. Japan and Oldham Athletic vs. Parma on 29 July (kick offs 12 noon and 7.30pm respectively).

Ralph Sheppard (


Inspired by Noel Bayley’s description of a “mass move” from Maine Road to our new stadium, how about a symbolic march from Maine Road to the CoMS? Could something be organised to take place after the end of our last match this season or maybe before the first of next?

Thirty thousand, or more, City fans walking across town to our new home would be fun. Some kind of celebration (not necessarily alcoholic) could be organised outside the new stadium too. A couple of speeches and a toast to our future. I fancy that.

Anyone able to help me organise it?

Simon Fink (


A few years ago when the BBC, I think it was, organised a debate about the 100 greatest sportsmen of the century, he wasn’t in the list. Then to add insult to injury, he wasn’t in the list of 100 best footballers in another competition. I was fuming.

Bert Trautmann was the finest goalkeeper there has ever been – and I saw Frank Swift, Lev Yashin, Dino Zoff, Gordon Banks and Peter Schmeichel. All greats, at their peak. He was the bravest too, as anyone who saw him in the 1956 FA Cup Final will testify. With a broken neck he defied Birmingham City and enabled a fine Manchester City side to win the Cup.

Any high cross up to the penalty spot was his, and I remember that crafty wing-half, Ken Barnes, once saying when he saw the centre coming across all he did was turn his back, run upfield and wait for Bert’s throw to him or Revie.

What a hero he was! I remember his sell-out testimonial game, his first reserve game (attendance 10,000) after his neck injury, and his being mobbed by young fans (many of whom had never seen him play) when he turned out at Joe Corrigan’s testimonial.

I only hope someone makes the right noises when the occasion arises in the near future when celebrations, moves and innovations are in the pipeline, to honour this great guy whilst he is still with us. After all he was the best, despite not having one international cap!

Geoff Ireland (


I don’t know what age Jason Fowler is (17/3/03) but I can certainly recall a better side and a better time to be a Blue. Late sixties, early seventies, we had arguably the best team in England.

We won the League, the Cup and the Inter-City Fairs Cup if I remember correctly and we had such great players as Colin Bell, Francis Lee, Mike Sumerbee, Mick Doyle, Glyn Pardoe, Alan Oaks, Tony Book, Tommy Booth, Kenny Clements, Peter Barnes, Rodney Marsh, Denis Tueart, Joe Corrigan.

The current team are undoubtedly talented in their own right but in my opinion they are nowhere near as good as the side we had then, particularly in the season 69/70.

As Jason cannot recall a better side than today’s, I can only assume he is under 40.

Steve Oatway (


I thought Jason Fowler’s (nice surname) comments on the resignation of DB (MCIVTA 898) and the situation of the club under the stewardship of Keegan/Wardle/Makin was a thoughtful, reasoned and sensible view of where our club currently are.

There has been a lot of nonsense written about the impending doom now that Bernstein has gone and that his departure could lead to a Leeds, Derby, Leicester, type situation, however to think along these lines is to totally underestimate the business and financial acumen and abilities of primarily Mr Wardle and Makin, and also the other members of the board most notably Alistair Mackintosh.

When you look at the new stadium, the fantastic success of our youth team and the Academy set up, the excellent facility that Carrington has become, a first team comprising amongst others Anelka, Fowler, Distin, Sommeil and Schmeichel, everything is set up for this club to take back its rightful place in the top 5 of English soccer.

Now is not the time to consolidate, we have an opportunity that many of us thought we would not see for a very long time, to push forward and to start to truly challenge again for honours. The financial situation within English and European soccer has given us this opportunity, top quality players are now much more affordable than they were a couple of years ago and the board and major shareholders, having got us to top 10 in the Premier League, now need to be bold and aggressive and supply Keegan with the funds required to make the next push for top 5.

I have every confidence that the club is safe in the hands of Wardle et al and I am equally confident that he will provide as much finance as possible to help us get where every City fan wants us to be without jeopardising our long term future.

This is indeed a very special time to be a City fan, let’s enjoy and support both teams, management and football, and I am sure it is going to get even better!

Garry Smith (


Opinion – Bernstein Has Gone – And?

I am going to put my two penneth into the Bernstein Cauldron, so you may as well read it!

The general feeling amongst Blues all over concerning the departure of DB is that of worry, concern, not again, here we go again, same old City etc. But why should it mean that? Let’s face it, when news of this magnitude leaves our press office the first thought is of KK right? And more significantly – when is his ‘I’m leaving’ press conference?

Now we know that he is staying – the specifics (or at least the adjustments the board have to make) of the resignations are surely quite simple to understand? We should not fear too much at all. DB was, and no doubt will remain, a great bloke. He was seen by us as the captain of a rudderless ship, whose chart was well off course. Always said the right things (never mentioned the players whatsoever – unlike Wardle I might add!). He was everything a Chairman should be.

We could look to him as the instigator of the move to that big blue stadium that’s appeared behind Picadilly and the shrewd mover in finally closing the Fowler fiasco. Yes, I agree the new stadium did appear to be DB’s brainchild and it is somewhat sad that he won’t get to Chair there (bet your bottom dollar that’s he’s got a box though…), and in terms of netting Fowler – I agree it was a b****y masterstroke – genius almost – something we have seriously lacked since I started coming to City in ’82. But surely if you are a Chairman – business acumen is top of your “you need me” list on your CV?

I like DB a lot. But this is sentiment. There is no point in being sentimental in football. I nearly cried when Gio left for Amsterdam yet I wanted to kill him, when the diving, moaning, cheating t**t returned with Derby a couple of seasons later (but that sentiment didn’t last long either – love him again now!).

Same with Big Joe. But what could he have really done for us? We would have been standing still. You’ve got to be realistic – we can positively say we are moving forward – rather than negatively moving back. It feels good that, as well.

Bernstein is now gone – forget him. It was the board’s decision to not question his resignation request. DB was a face for the board – maybe the best man for the job even, but he was the mouthpiece for a select group of individuals running our Club. It would take a stupid person to think that the integrity of the board cannot sustain the good times of the last few years now Bernstein has gone. DB’s replacement will not be taken lightly – I am certain.

City are in a very, very enviable position at the moment. Yes we have spent £40 odd million. But we are spending in a market that has crashed. We probably turnover about £30 million at Maine Road – with fixed costs amounting to about that same figure. Come May 2004 we will have turned over about £60 million – but the fixed costs will remain at £30 million. What you get is profit! Profit that will free up these said amounts that some City fans are a bit sceptical/worried of.

I think the financial speak is a cause for concern for most fans given the recent (quite funny) plight of Dirty Leeds – and our own (terrible) predicament of years not too far back. You just have to look what you can get. Sommeil was what, £3 million? There is the very real possibility of getting Reiziger – one of the best right backs in the game – for about £4 million! Now is a good time to buy.

And we have to buy if we are to go on beating the Scum in revenge… I wasn’t too aware of ‘protests’ being planned on DB’s behalf, but surely the misguided must await and trust the men who have ultimately got us back into relative good times again?

I forgot to mention Chris Bird – but my fingers are tired now.

Keep the Faith.

Joel Perry (


I would just like to echo the thoughts expressed by Ian Barton in MCIVTA 897. It was the best piece I have read in MCIVTA for a long while. I am disappointed (and not a little p’d off) by all the doom and gloom merchants both here in MCIVTA and in the ground. Some of the comments are pathetic. I know we have a long record of under achievement but the pessimism that is currently about seems totally misplaced. With or without Bernstein we have the best squad of players since the 70’s, we have handled the Premiership very well in our first season back and a mid-table finish will constitute a successful season. Next season (in a superb new stadium) we will push for European qualification. Our youth team is looking very strong and the whole infrastructure of the club is better than it has ever been. KK is doing a magnificent job; yes he has made mistakes, but they pale against the achievements. The team is the ultimate yardstick we should measure by, and after a great season last year we have gone on to consolidate and strengthen even more, and with KK at the helm we shall continue to do the same. Thank you KK and let’s have more of the same.

CTID, Phil Taylor (


Anyone notice the steward sat at the corner post between the North Stand and the Main Stand on Saturday? He is a dead ringer for David Brent from The Office.

P.S. Well done Robbie.

Keith Taylor (


Two of my books, the recently published Legends of Manchester City (for £15 instead of £16.99) and the Mercer/Allison Years at £12 instead of £14.99 including free UK P&P are now available.

The books have been signed by City legends Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee at the recent D&G meeting – and what an evening it was!

Please contact me direct for further details.

[I can highly recommend these books, the Legends one being a superb tribute to 100 of our greatest players – excellent souvenir and autograph material – Ed]

Ian Penney (


We, Hotbed Media are currently working on a one-off, Saturday night, prime-time show for Channel 4, called ‘100 Worst Britons’. It’s an archive and interview based programme that’s a spin on the BBC’s recent ‘100 Greatest Britons’ project, which I’m sure you’ll know, asked the British public to vote for their favourite Brits of all time. Again, with this show, the nation are getting the opportunity to vote (via the Channel 4 web site:, only this time for those they love to hate. The show will be 2 hours long and airs on Saturday 3rd May 2003.

It’s important to us that the programme isn’t one long slating of those voted for, but also an examination of aspects of their careers and ‘mistakes’. In particular we are looking for someone to comment on Alex Ferguson, David Beckham and stick up for Liam Gallagher. We are looking for someone witty and clever and who is available on Monday 24th March.

Of course we would cover the travel costs up to Leeds for filming. Please could you call me as soon as you can on the number below.

Kate Bartram – Hotbed Media, 0121 248 3940 (


Further to my earlier note regarding the canvassing of interest for a special commemorative City shirt I can now confirm that the shirts will be produced. They will be the normal City Le Coq Sportif home shirt (not a poor quality Asian counterfeit copy) and embroidered in the middle of the chest, between the Le Coq Sportif logo and the City badge (and above the “First Advice”), will say “MCFC v Southampton, 11-May-2003, Final Match At Maine Road.” This will be on 5 separate lines similar to international shirt match details.

If you have not registered interest previously please let me know as soon as possible so that I can confirm final numbers. The sizes available will certainly be XL and possibly XXL as well.

Lance Thomson (


Despite a posting in the Monday 16th December edition (MCIVTA 873) of MCIVTA I am still desperately trying to secure some tickets for the final game at Maine Road vs. Southampton on 11th May 2003.

Can anyone help; I’m desperately after three tickets anywhere in the ground and if you look at my original article (Request: Southampton Tickets! Or Why my Boy Makes me Blue you will see they will be going to genuine City fans.

Please, please, please email if you have any spare tickets, ideally three and I’m sure we can come to a suitable arrangement.

Many thanks, Eddie Mills (


Just a quick note to let you know that my City website ( has been enhanced if anyone’s interested. There’s some ringtones and desktop wallpaper available for download and an online poll to vote for City’s greatest player of all time, in addition to the latest news, humour, message board etc.

Ric Turner (


League table to 19 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) :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul) :
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 #899