Newsletter #915

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest


It’s only when you take on guest editing that you realise how hard all the guys behind the scenes work, so first of all: All hail to the MCIVTA team! All thanks go to Don, for his magnus opus on City news; To Madeleine, for all her work in sorting out subscriptions (and because I like her abbreviated name!) and of course Heidi for letting me have a go at editing (“Never again” I hear her say!). Vast credit is also due to Paul, the technical guru sitting quietly in the background, making sure everything runs smoothly, and David, who looks after FAQ’s. From all the McVitee readers – Thank You.

The end of the season does not mean a holiday for MCIVTA though. Lots of opinion today on the last match and press coverage of it. A match review from someone who did actually watch the game; I, like him, was disappointed we didn’t manage to conjure up a victory. Yes of course the day meant more than just another match, but try telling that to Gordon Strachan, whose reaction said it all at the final whistle. That victory earned the Saints another 1.5 million smackers – well done to them!

We also have a lovely tearful farewell to Maine Road from Jon ‘big girl’s blouse’ Walsh, lots of opinion on current and potential players, and breaking news of new hope for West Ham. Cathal Whelehan asks for MCIVTA opinion on our friend Mr Wardle; There’s news of a Chorlton Blues’ end of season bash, and a couple of requests.

Finally, Allan Claypole sent in his own Maine Road memories. In doing so, he could have written my own personal ‘Why Blue’. Same era, same memories – almost uncanny. Welcome to McV, Allan.

This one goes out to: 3,258.

Next game (maybe): 19th July; Mansfield: 10th August; Barça

NEWS SUMMARY – GENERAL NEWS

UEFA Place Beckons: It may be an ingenious method of getting there, but the signs are that City will obtain a UEFA Cup place through the circuitous route of the Fair Play League. By the time you read this summary, the Premiership should have announced the domestic standings. According to clever people who know these things, City are still the highest placed team that haven’t qualified for Europe through other competitions, although Middlesbrough are running City close. On Sunday, City had Joey Barton, Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin booked against Southampton, but Boro had Franck Queudrue sent off in their defeat at Bolton, so on at first glance City should prevail. We then have to wait till June 4 when UEFA announces if England have gained the extra Cup slot by topping the European Fair Play league.

Barça for City: Last week’s rumours were correct – the club have confirmed that Barcelona will play City in a match to open the City of Manchester Stadium. Barça, who reached the quarter finals of the European Champions’ League, are due at the CoMS on Sunday, 10 August. The fixture may well be affected by City’s potential involvement in the UEFA Cup, as the home and away legs for the First Round will take place in the weeks before and after the proposed friendly. Bar&ccdeil;a are currently managed by one Raddi Antic, who is burned into the memory of bitter Blues like myself, for his goal as a player for Luton, which relegated City in 1983.

New Stand Name: Don’t be surprised if the online vote for the name of the West Stand is being unduly influenced, by the way. As evidence, I give you this snippet which appeared in the Observer’s soccer diary last Sunday. SENSE OF PRIDE – Poll of the week: Man. City’s online vote asking fans to choose one of six new names for the West Stand at their new ground. “We want the name chosen to reflect the supporters’ sense of pride in our heritage”. Voting picked up after rival fans noticed option four “The Colin Bell Stand”; if it wins, it’ll mean City fans sitting in “The Bell End”. But will City let democracy take its course? Vote now: http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ Let’s hope the club are keeping an eye on such gerrymandering. You have been warned…

Finishing With a Bang: The Reserves finished their league season off with a flourish, winning 4-0 at Bradford City. The goalscorers were Gary Browne, Matias Vuoso (2), and Glenn Whelan. City handed débuts to three young players – Bradley Wright-Phillips, Dorryl Proffitt and Paul Murphy. The result sees the Blues finish third, one point behind the eventual winners on goal difference, Sunderland. City: Ellegaard. Flood, Jordan, McCarthy, Howey (Tickle 60), Murphy, Croft (B Wright-Phillips 80), Whelan, Vuoso, Browne (Proffitt 70), Shuker. Subs: Westwood, Elliott.

Youngsters in Final: There will be another final game at Maine Road this week. In their play-off semi-finals last Friday, City’s under-17’s beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2, with goals from Karl Bermingham, Stephen Ireland and an own goal. City now play Leeds United in the Final, to be staged at Maine Road on Friday 16 May, kick off 7.00pm. It had been expected that the final would be a two legged affair but both clubs agreed to a one-off game at Maine Road. Extra time and penalties will be used if the scores are level at full time.

Blueprint for Next Season: KK admits that progress has been made this season, and he knows where he wants the club to be in twelve months’ time. “In the last year we have made progress and that pleases me,” he said. “Now we have to try and break into the next bracket in the league next season. We haven’t been in the bracket that is in the dogfight for relegation; we have been in that next bit. Then there is a group trying to get into Europe and then there are the sides which are trying to win the title. We are not in with them yet, but we can get in that next group where Everton are. That is a realistic objective. When I was asked to come here it was a five-year plan to finish in the top six.” Finishing ninth is a good starting point – “It will give us something to aim for. We can attract the right players,” he concluded. “There are some very good players who could be available on Bosmans.”

Dunnie’s International Call-Up: Richard Dunne has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the home clashes with Albania and Georgia. Dunne was recently from the Irish squad for last month’s friendly with Norway, but was called up to play the full game when injuries affected Brian Kerr’s squad. The European Championship qualifiers take place at Lansdowne Road against Albania on 7 June and Georgia four days later.

Transfer News and Gossip

Foe to be Lyon King? Marc Vivien Foe has made it clear that he may well be about to return to Lyon. There has been no indication that the French club are willing to reduce their £7 million valuation of the player, and KK has made it clear that he will not pay that fee in such a depressed transfer market. “Marc is open-minded about what he is going to do but at this stage it seems most likely he will stay at Lyon for the final year of his contract,” said his agent Willie McKay. “He has spoken with the Lyon president, who is quite keen to have him back and Marc also knows he will have the opportunity of playing in the Champions’ League. He likes Manchester City but he needs more long-term commitment.” Foe’s wages are said to be much higher than they were at Maine Road, a factor which may further cushion the blow for Foe as he returns to France.

Black Cat Goat: The latest suggested destination for our dear departing Goat is the Stadium of Light. According to reports this week, Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy wants Goater to replace Kevin Phillips, who has asked for a transfer and is expected to move to Tottenham. The Black Cats are in a stupendous amount of debt at the moment, so a prospective deal for Goater might founder on a transfer fee. The Great Man doesn’t sound averse to a switch to the North East. He said this week: “Sunderland are a big club, a massive club. They are a club that have ambition and certainly don’t want to be stuck in the First Division. They will certainly want to progress and move back to the Premiership. Mick McCarthy has managed on the international scene and at the World Cup. He knows the game and you can have nothing but the utmost respect for someone like that.”

Robbie’s Friends: Two former team mates of Robbie Fowler have been linked with moves to City this week. Robbie’s best mate and co-owner of a number of horses, Steve McManaman, is said to be on his way out of Real Madrid on a free transfer in the next two months. City seems a likely destination – it’s handy for Haydock, apparently. Over at Anfield, Patrik Berger has turned down a year-long extension to his current deal, and will leave Liverpool on a free when his contract expires in June. The Czech Republic star has been strongly linked to City as he wishes to stay in the North-West, although Everton and Portsmouth have also been mentioned.

City’s Gio Interest: Another Georgian called Giorgi is being linked with the Blues. City and Aston Villa have joined Arsenal in checking out Georgian international goalkeeper Giorgi Lomaia, according to the BBC Sport website. Locomotive Tbilisi’s assistant coach confirmed that scouts representing the Blues and Villa have contacted the club. Gocha Tamazashvilli also stated that “We will arrange their stay in Georgia”. [Thanks Harvey Fairbrother for this item]

Turning to Tarnat? The Daily Express reports this week that KK is to sign Michael Tarnat from Bayern Munich as a replacement for Marc Vivien Foe. A solid, left-sided midfield player with a ferocious shot, Tarnat has found his first team opportunities limited at Bayern in recent seasons. He is 33 and is out of contract in the summer. [Thanks to A. Mason for that item]

Bye Bye Belmadi: It sounds like Djamel Belmadi will be returning to Marseilles shortly, although KK does not rule out a permanent deal for the Algerian international. “I haven’t talked to the player yet,” said Keegan. “We went to Newcastle to play a reserve game last week as I wanted to have another look at him, but the pitch was so bad it didn’t give him a chance. He has done very well for us, though. Djamel is a good footballer. He has come in at a difficult time but his training has been excellent, and that is something I want to talk to the board about. I like him as a player but do we require another player in that position with the ones we have already got? The more he trains with us and the more English he speaks, the better he will get. The fee is not a big one and if one or two players leave then I would go back and ask but for now we will have to leave it on the back burner.” Belmadi’s compatriot Ali Benarbia is definitely going to be a Blue at the start of next season, added Keegan. “Ali will definitely be here. That is why he signed a contract extension, so he can play in the new stadium.”

Hurry Up Harry: Harry Redknapp, whose Portsmouth team have just taken ‘our’ Division One Champions trophy, wants to take Eyal Berkovic as well. Redknapp had Eyal in his squad at West Ham, having signed the Israeli international from Southampton for £1.75 million, before selling him on to Celtic for £5.5 million. MCIVTA news says: dream on, Harry! Redknapp is also eyeing up a move for Dutch forward Pierre van Hooijdonk, currently plying his trade with Anderlecht. Rednapp said of van Hooijdonk, an alleged City target this season: “I like van Hooijdonk, but it would be a job to get him. He was playing in the UEFA Cup final last year.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Jobbo Retires: Richard Jobson has retired from playing football, aged 40. Jobson, the current Professional Footballers’ Association chairman, has been player coach at Rochdale for two seasons. He came to prominence as a player under Joe Royle’s management, first at Oldham between 1990 and 1996, then with City between 1998 and 2000. In a bid to shore up City’s porous defence, JR signed him from Leeds United on a free transfer in March 1998. Sadly Jobbo was badly injured after only six games, and did not play again until the Division One promotion season of 1999-2000, when he was a virtual ever present. Loan spells at Watford and Tranmere Rovers followed in the next season, before he accepted the post at Spotland.

White Rose Reid: Leeds United have confirmed Peter Reid as their manager on a permanent basis “Over the past few weeks, I have come to know Peter well,” Chairman John McKenzie said. “I have found he is not only a very good football manager, but also a great manager of people and we shall want to use his skills widely within Leeds United. Leeds United is a great club that has to succeed on the football pitch,” McKenzie added. “Failure is totally unthinkable. As such Peter’s contract will be one of the most heavily incentivised in the UK football world.” So no pressure on City’s former player and manager! Appointed as a successor to Terry Venables with eight games to go, Reidy has saved the Pride of Yorkshire from relegation this season. His highlights this season include a 6 goal victory at Charlton Athletic and a 3-2 victory at Highbury, which handed the Premiership title to Trafford. Cheers Reidy…

Life With the Filberts: News of former Blues at Leicester City. The Foxes will be back in the Premiership next season, having finished second in Division One to Portsmouth, helped by the 17 goals of Paul Dickov. The Scot has been offered a new one year deal. Nicky Summerbee has been released though, after playing just 7 games at the Walkers Stadium. Buzzer Junior made the news at the start of the season after offering to play for Leicester for nothing in order to earn his contract.

Reaction and Comments

Will Do Better: Apparently a rather drab football game interrupted the fans’ farewell to good old Maine Road on Sunday. KK was certainly not in a celebratory mood, although he tried to look for the positives in what he thinks is a slightly disappointing season. “I’m about looking forwards, rather than backwards,” he said. “It was a great day for the club, but a sad day for the fans because of the result and us leaving Maine Road. But we have a lot to look forward to – providing we get some luck in the transfer market and find one or two bargains, because that is what we need. It was a disastrous home record this season. How can you finish ninth in the table and lose eight games at home? It shows you at least that we showed some character away from home and gone to places where people maybe didn’t expect us to go and win. I have never managed a team that has lost so many at home and I don’t want to do it again. We have to make the new stadium more of a fortress. The fans are too good for the team at the moment. That is not a slight on the team. We have not got a team at the moment which is worthy of the fans. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and Manchester City won’t be.”

I’ll Be Back! KK paid tribute to the departing captain-for-the-day, Shaun Goater. “Shaun is irreplaceable in many ways,” reflected the boss. “We can replace him as a forward as he is thirty-three now and has done great work for this club. He is in the twilight of his career. But we will have a job replacing his personality around the club and his willingness to help everyone and be part of it. They are the things we will miss more than his football this year as he has not played every game this year.” The Boss thinks that we may not have seen the last of the Goat in these parts. “I think Shaun Goater will end up coming back to this club one day. I don’t know what he will do. It might be working with the youth or as a manager. I don’t know, but I think he will walk back in here one day and he will carry on that love affair with the fans. I hope he does because they love him and the feeling I know is mutual.” Goater paid tribute to the fans on his last day in a Blue shirt. “It was breathtaking,” he said “To see the fans singing my name at the top of their voices and to appreciate the feelings they have for me was truly amazing and a very special moment for me. When you feel that it is easy to say that I wish I was staying but I did feel at the same time that I had not been out there for some time playing in the first team. That is what I want more than anything, to be playing regularly. I have made the decision and it might be easy with all that has gone on this weekend to change my mind but I want to be playing. I felt a bit off pace in the game against Southampton and when you are not in there on a regular basis it is not that easy. It was very emotional. I tried to put the occasion behind me and concentrate on playing but it did affect my performance. I was trying to control my emotions but we didn’t give the fans the result they wanted. If anyone was in the dressing room then they would have got a sense of how disappointed everyone was with the defeat. We are upset. We had a chance to end the season on eighth spot and we didn’t. We didn’t perform and I didn’t control the emotions and think about the game. I wasn’t able to put the emotions behind me, but having said that we still gave Maine Road a great send off.”

Saints Poop Party: Southampton’s manager Gordon Strachan was pleased that his side had recovered from their 6-1 mauling by Arsenal four days earlier. “People wanted to know what our minds were like as we prepare for the Cup Final,” said Strachan. “And we showed that by having to win a lot of tackles to win the game. We had a few knocks, but that was worth it to achieve what we did. We needed to put in a performance that said we are hard to beat, that was what we managed. It was a difficult day for us considering everything that was surrounding the game for City, but we showed plenty of character to overcome all that, it was a big day for them. They had to celebrate, quite rightly, but our job was to get the points.” Saints were clearly unaffected by their lack of support in M14, as despite the last week’s harrumphing by their management about their reduced ticket allocation, only 1,000 away fans took up the allotted 1,300 tickets.

Great Dane Bows Out: The second player to bid farewell to the Blues on Sunday was Peter Schmeichel. The forty year old shot stopper sounds like he is ready for a bit of pipe-and-slipper activity in the near future. “As far as I am concerned it is just like breaking up for the summer. I am not at all emotional, sad or sorry. In fact I am glad that this season is over as it has been a long one,” he said. “I think the emotions will come when pre-season comes around and the League fixtures start again, then you start to think about it and realise that you are no longer part of it. But at the moment I am quite looking forward to a long break so I am quite happy. There is no doubt in my own mind that I wanted to keep on playing but I did not want to keep training and that is the difference. If I only had to turn up for games and not train I would definitely take that. Being a professional footballer is the best job in the world but it is limited by your age. At some point you have to quit the game and the point has arrived. I like to think I am going out at the top and it was particularly pleasing to go to Liverpool last week and get that win.” Fellow Dane Niclas Jensen has led the tributes. “It will mean quite a lot for City that Peter has ended his career. Not only has he been a fantastic goalkeeper, but he also shakes up the people around him and he always aims for perfection. Just him being here has meant a lot for the whole team and the whole club,” said the left-back. “You should not underestimate Peter’s value. He is always in the front line,” Jensen added. “He has been our natural leader – and the leader is allowed to shout at the other players. If he had caused a goal every second game it would have been different, but Peter’s record speaks for itself.”

Squad News

Joey For England! KK has been singing the praises of Joey Barton this week. The Boss insists that Barton will not replace Marc Vivien Foe next season, but reckons that international recognition may not be too far away for the 20-year-old. “Joey has been our best player over the last five games and has become player of the month in a spell when we have won away at Liverpool and Tottenham,” said KK. “I am delighted with the way he has come in and taken it in his stride, but I don’t think you can compare him with Marc. They are different people with different temperaments and a different way of playing the game. Joey has a real desire to win and you only have to see how the fans have reacted to him. You never know, he could find himself in the England Under-21 side. That is what happens when you get into teams like Manchester City, you are Under-21 and you are English. Joey has got a chance.”

Hail King Kev: Robbie Fowler has hailed Kevin Keegan’s powers of inspiration as he prepares to make an early return to pre-season training. “He is an excellent coach and an excellent man-manager,” said Fowler. “If you are not having a good time, he’ll take you to one side and explain what you are doing right and wrong. He did a first-class job at Newcastle and is trying to do the same at Manchester City. That impressed me a great deal. I knew what the manager was capable of doing and his teams always play good football. Because he was a forward himself, he can relate to me and Nicolas Anelka. In that aspect it is good and I am happy to be here.” Fowler thinks that talk of a possible return to England duty may be premature. “People have been asking about England and the 2004 European Championships but I am more concerned at getting myself right at club level first,” he said. “I want to get a good run of games together and be playing right at club level. I am not too interested in England at the moment – I want to concentrate on my football at Manchester City.”

Don Barrie (news@mcivta.city-fan.org)

MATCH REPORT LIVE: MCFC 0 SOTON 1

Tearless Farewell I

I can’t cope with Sunday matches as it puts me out of sync and I end up being late with my match report for MCIVTA (apologies to Heidi). Arriving in Manchester at about 11am, Andy and I met up with Clive (who’d flown in from Sydney for the game) and wandered the streets looking for pubs that were open. Fortunately we found a place that had a back door open (its name will remain our secret in case the GMP are reading) and we wandered in for a couple of pints of Boddies. Discussion took place over who we’d sign in the summer, Matty Holland being a favourable target, David James being one of debate and much discussion took place over the relative merits of Foe. After buying a copy of Noel’s excellent ‘Eclectic Bleu’ for the final time, I finally got into the ground after the legends had been presented to the crowd. Still I managed to see David White, Bob Brightwell and Nicky Weaver wandering around signing autographs, unfortunately for Nicky’s sake the free Mars bars (taped to the back of the seats in a plastic bag) were being offered in his direction. Roy Rigby was also presented with his award for the best Premiership pitch, although City dragged things out a little too much by announcing each groundsman in person and leaving a 3 week gap in-between their names!

The entrance of the team was accompanied by jets of steam and the two sides lining up as if it was the Cup final; presumably this was practice run for the Saints so that they aren’t nervous on Saturday. Malcolm Allison, Colin Bell and Nora Mercer were presented to the two sides, with City lining up Schmeichel, Jensen, Dunne, Sommeil, Distin, Foe, Barton, Benarbia, Goater, Anelka, subs Belmadi, Horlock, Nash, Fowler and Wiekens.

City kicked off from Platt Lane to North and started the game brightly with Wright-Phillips going close with a low drive. Benarbia then wasted a free kick by blazing it high into the packed North Stand. Goater was soon to get his chance to open the scoring, after a cross by Benarbia, but the Goat spun and shot well wide as the whole ground groaned.

Southampton’s best chance came from Beattie, whose free kick at the edge of the box was heading for Schmeichel’s right hand corner until the big Dane stretched out his arms and gratefully held onto the ball. Benarbia and Foe were involved in probably City’s clearest chance of the first half as a beautifully teed up ball by Foe saw Anelka hit a volley on target, only to see Jones acrobatically diving to his left to turn the ball out for a corner. City had another chance to score as a Benarbia free kick was headed wide by a combination of Foe and Goater and with all this pressure it came as no surprise that Southampton took the lead.

Interestingly enough the rain had begun to fall quite heavily when Southampton won a free kick to the left of the box (from our perspective in the Platt Lane, so I suppose it was technically the right). The ball was whipped into the middle where Michael Svensson was completely unmarked and headed home from about 1 yard out. Not sure who was supposed to be marking Svensson, but obviously he’d got away from his marker. It would be great to know how many goals we have conceded from set pieces, though they look slightly better than the complete absence of defenders that allowed the likes of Owen to score earlier on in the season.

So half-time saw City wander off 1-0 down. No idea who carried out the half-time draw or if there was a penalty shoot out as a call of nature meant I missed whatever happened on the pitch. Instead half-time entertainment was provided in the men’s toilets, with one bloke getting a phone call mid flow about U*ited equalising, comments about Rags and ‘you rang me to tell me that’ were the more printable and less amusing comments made. There was also one bloke who insisted that we needed Lomas back at the club, much to the disagreement of everyone else. I tell a lie I did see Jim Cassell on the pitch as a reward for the under 17’s and 19’s having such a successful season.

It was SWeeP who created the first chance of the second-half but after jinking into the box, he proceeded to drag his shot wide of the far post; it could have been a cross for Goater but it ended up going out for a goal kick. Distin managed to clear the crossbar from another Benarbia free kick. With the game drifting, Fowler began to warm up and after taking his tracksuit bottoms off I said “Goater’s coming off”. “No” the bloke next to me said, “Keegan will wait until we get a penalty in the last 5 minutes and Goater will score and be subbed then” but like the tactical genius I am Goater’s number was held up and off he went to a standing ovation.

Suddenly City seemed to spring to life as Fowler injected much needed urgency into City’s play. Running down the left side of the box (Fowler’s perspective, not mine) he worked well to create an opening for Belmadi (who’d come on for Barton) but his weak play was cleared by the Southampton defence.

With crosses coming in from both flanks, City were really pressing for an equaliser, but with time running out and Jones in scintillating form it looked likely we’d end our stay at Maine Road in a defeat. Fowler had one last effort, but in spinning and connecting with his weaker right foot the ball flew gently into Jones’ arms. By this time Dunne had decided he couldn’t be ar*ed getting up after falling over near the Platt Lane and so Super Kev came on for him.

The final whistle blew with the ref almost halfway down the tunnel, but with the ring of stewards, police and green jacketed security guards around the pitch, the result and the weather no-one even came close to running on the pitch. The post-match entertainment was a complete joke, with The Blues Brothers being serenaded with “Shall we sing a song for you” during their two song set, Champagne Supernova were laughingly described by Mark ‘the boy lard’ Riley as being so much like Oasis you wouldn’t know it wasn’t them (hahaha!), Badly Drawn Boy came on and played up to the North Stand whilst telling the Southampton fans to “Do one!” and Doves came on and chose two tunes that were never going to get the crowd going. This coupled with some giant flames that seemed to come blast into the air like a malfunctioning gas fire and some more steam, it was all a pretty shabby affair. The highlight of the event were the fireworks, which were loud, and at one point we had streamers falling from the sky but by then it was all too little too late. At one point I gazed up to the corner between Platt Lane and Kippax, the fans sat in their pack-a-macs, the misaligned roofs, the fact I was getting wet from the drips through the Platt Lane roof, I didn’t see a single fan with a tear in their eyes, possibly the fans who were there 80 years ago were sad but I’m not one of them, roll on next season it can’t come quick enough.

James Walsh (james.walsh@durham.gov.uk)

HOPE FOR WEST HAM

Allegations of backroom dealings between Bolton Wanderers F.C. and Middlesbrough F.C., prior to last Sunday’s game, are being looked into by the F.A. If allegations are proven, this could result in Bolton being relegated from the Premiership instead of West Ham United.

[This article is continued after the next item – Ed]

TEARFUL FAREWELL

Well, it’s all over… no more Maine Road.

My farewell to Maine Road begin on Saturday afternoon with my first and last tour of the stadium. It’s true that it’s old and well past its sell by date but Maine Road with its mismatched stands has always been part of my life!

The tour was fantastic – a chance to let nostalgia wash over me and re-live my favourite moments as I stood on the touchline… Bobby Mac’s goals against Everton in the quarter-final of the 81 F.A. Cup, the 5 goals against Charlton in 85, the 86 Youth Cup Final, 10-1, Kinky’s wonder goal against Southampton, winning the title against Barnsley last season, and the 3-1 win over United last November – I could have stayed there all night long!

May 11th 2003 – time finally caught up with us. The atmosphere on Sunday was brilliant – a real sense of occasion with bands playing outside the ground and everyone with a smile on their face.

I knew tears were inevitable – I just didn’t know when they would arrive!

In our seats as soon as the turnstiles opened, we settled down to watch the parade of legends: Book, Booth, Doyle, Lee, Law, Tueart, Owen, Barnes, Lake, Kinkladze… now add the name of Shaun Goater to them.

The game came and went, it was insignificant really (but typical City!). This was about saying goodbye to our beloved home.

After the post-match entertainment came the final chorus of Blue Moon, and as it slowly died out and the streamers and fireworks drifted away, a lump appeared in my throat and the eyes began to well up – this was it – no more Maine Road!

The last few pictures were taken and our family stood at the top of the Main Stand for one last look across the hallowed turf. Once again the memories came flooding back thick and fast, tears streamed down my face and that of my mum, dad, wife and brother; it was time leave the ground… forever.

I woke up on the Monday morning and it still hurt. I felt very empty; it was like someone had died! But now it’s time to look forward. The new stadium is fantastic and let’s hope it will witness the resurgence of City. It’s true it will take a long time to feel like home but eventually it will do.

Our first baby is due in less than 4 weeks time – a new generation of City fan is coming along. In time they’ll feel the same affinity with the Sky Blues as us, only this time they’ll worship Saturday’s heroes in a different place.

Farewell Maine Road and thanks for all the wonderful memories, here’s to The City Of Manchester Stadium – the home of Manchester City F.C.

Jon Walsh (jwalsh@calor.co.uk)

HOPE FOR WEST HAM (Continued)

Carlsberg don’t do windups but if they did they’d probably be the best windups in the world.

Mick B (michael.brown2@uk.nestle.com)

MISSING THE POINT

It amused me this morning, the quantity of headlines to the effect of “Saints spoil City Farewell”. This really misses the point of what it’s about being a Blue. If it was about what happens on the pitch, we would all have given up years ago. What the media don’t understand is that we transcended, actual football, years ago.

Ok, it was another toothless home performance, but it didn’t spoil our farewell. It was great seeing heroes from past and present, respect to David White, who was signing and handshaking his way round the ground, long after everyone else was sitting down with a pint. We didn’t need tribute bands to help us sing, in fact drowning them out provided additional inspiration. And it was a little odd walking away for the last time. Feels even stranger today.

Andy Noise (zowadanoise@ntlworld.com)

THOUGHTS ON THE LAST MATCH

Press reports about the day: Several of them seemed unduly negative, even scornful – seeming to relish City losing and spoiling their own party. It’s as if some reporters go to a City game with some established phrases in their notebooks (“erratic City”, anti-Keegan jibes, and so on) and then delight in repeating them given any chance to do so. “Kev’s new farewell flop” was how The Sun described proceedings, while The Guardian got in the comment that the club printed double the normal number of programmes and charged more than double the normal price without saying that the programme was also double the normal size (and rather a good one). There must be some questionable sub-editing going on too, for a mostly generous report in the Mirror, which did a good job of capturing the mood of the day outside the ground was given the misleading and rather nasty headline “… it ends in tears at Moan Road.” Is this the work of Rags in newspaper offices? By far the best report was James Lawton’s in The Independent – sympathetic, evocative, funny, fair, and well written. Lawton nicely captured what it was all about in his description of Malcolm Allison’s entrance, writing that “there was a moment when the years rolled away and Maine Road was at one with its tremendously engaging past. Allison raised his fists to a grey sky and the cheering surged.” It was worth wading through a pile of rubbish in other papers to read that. Oh, and for all that some people have complained about him, Paul Hince had a fondly written piece in the M/cr Evening News as well.

Pre-match festivities: Nice to see the old players parade by, but if any announcements were ever made that Trautmann couldn’t be there and that Dickov was delayed, they certainly weren’t audible in our corner of the ground. And you had to be quite alert to catch the few words that were said about Helen (“the bell”) Turner at half-time.

Best moment of all? For me, not even the loudest-ever singing of “Feed the Goat” as he was substituted, which obviously moved him on his last walk to the bench, but the spontaneous renditions of “Uwe, Uwe Rösler” before and during the game, which I hope he’s been told about.

Finally, a word about tickets. Outside the ground after the game we ran into someone (if you read this, you know who you are) who had finally managed to get a ticket (not from a tout) just when he’d decided he’d have to miss out. Although not qualifying by the official rules of City card and points, etc, this is a bloke who has done a lot for one particular former player, one of City’s best, giving huge amounts of time and energy to the player’s cause, who for that reason alone fully deserved to get in for this great occasion and shouldn’t have had to wait till the last minute thinking he’d not be able to be there. The club should look after people like this – anyway, glad you got in, good to see you.

Ken Corfield (kcorfield@berkeleycarroll.org)

NEW PLAYERS I – GENERAL

Just a few thoughts over the last season and my 2p on MVF.

I will admit right from the start that I am not a MVF fan. He reminds me a great deal of Richard Edghill as he doesn’t seem to have the skill or coordination to be a very good footballer. When we signed him last summer I was hoping for the best as he was rated quite highly (even once a target for Taggart over at the Swamp).

First impression was Ok, apart from the missed header against Newcastle, but it became apparent he had no touch, doesn’t tackle very much and usually passes straight to the opposition. Over the course of the season he seemed to be playing in the hole, unfortunately for us this was the gap between attack and defence. He has a unique habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he can spend 90 minutes jogging around and never get near a man let alone the ball.

The only saving grace he had was that he scored goals. Being honest most of these were mishits and against the lesser lights – 3 Sunderland, 2 Charlton and 1 Villa for starters.

Then came the announcement over the fee – £7 million!

I was sat watching Sky Sports News last night and it looks like Roma at delaying the signing of Oliver Dacourt, the fee is £4 million – now that puts Foe into perspective for me. You can buy an average player for £7 million or a proven talent for £4 million, I know my choice. As for all the players saying they want him to stay, is he bad at cards or something? Or does he just always get the first round in?

Hopefully during the summer we will sign a decent ‘keeper (please not James, Sorensen will be just fine for me).

We also need a decent right back – I don’t think it is that fair on Dunne at the moment. Escude from Rennes would fit the bill. I thought KK had made a mistake with Sommeil but he is really looking the part, a good combination with Distin (my player of the year).

Looking forward to next year, CTID, Glyn (gtowen@globalnet.co.uk)

NEW PLAYERS II – REPLACEMENT FOR FOE?

Reading the news today, I noticed that Roma have cash problems and can’t get the £4.2 million for Olivier Dacourt.

What about swapping Dunne and the Goat for Holland of Ipswich and £4.2 million for Dacourt (remember Foe was valued at £7 million!), wouldn’t that give us a fantastic midfield!

Graham Lord (gooch@spidernet.com.cy)

NEW PLAYERS III – GOALKEEPER

I note from Teamtalk that City are supposed to be competing strongly for a goalkeeper called Lomaia. I haven’t seen this player but with our defence we need someone who is more than a shot-stopper. One of the strengths of Schmeichel was that he talked to the defenders, although even he couldn’t get them to defend properly at set pieces. We need a goalkeeper who can converse with his co-defenders and dominate the area. The ability to communicate is just as important with our profligate defence. Mind you, if KK keeps with 4-4-2 we may look more solid next season. Oliver Kahn would be an excellent capture although I’m sure other clubs will have been alerted about him. I think we should persevere with Nicky Weaver when he is fit again. Maybe I have rose tinted specs but I thought he was improving just prior to his injury. In the meantime we need an experienced ‘keeper who has more presence than Carlo Nash (an excellent distributor of the ball – anyone remember his tremendous throw to Eyal when he scored a real beauty against Norwich?).

Ian Burgess (i.burgess@virgin.net)

WHAT ALTERNATIVES DO WE HAVE MR. WARDLE?

If you’ve already read this on Blueview or Talkin’ City this week you needn’t read it again (unless you really want to), but it did generate some good and very interesting opinion regarding Mr. Wardle taking over as chairman. I’d be interested to hear what the McVittee readership feels about our currently “open” position for the rôle of chairman and with over 3,000 of you (what’s the latest number these days?) I’m sure someone has something to say. All I basically want to achieve is to test this “fan-pressure” that’s being spun so vehemently in the M.E.N. (without Mr. Wardle actually saying “I want the job”), but which so far as anyone I’ve spoken to is concerned, appears to be a complete mystery. I’ve worded some of this intentionally provocatively but would stress that Mr. Wardle’s rôle and influence on the state of our Club up until now certainly hasn’t been lost on me, not a lot of anything that was achieved could have been done without him but I’d still like to ask the questions below. Think of it as a decent grilling at your job interview, Mr. Wardle… the following is just as it was posted on BV and TC message boards.

Having alternatives – I always thought – was a very good position to be in, so why – in the case of the vacant rôle of chairman – do we not appear to have one in the pipeline?

Let’s take this alleged “fan pressure” that John Wardle is under to take the chairman’s rôle. I’m sorry, I’ve not met or spoken to a single City supporter who has come out and said they hope Wardle stays on as chairman or even hinted that they’d be satisfied if he did.

So he’s the man with the money in his pocket etc. Yeah, and? That’s nothing new. He had this claim to fame under DB too but I wouldn’t have picked him to do the job over Bernie under any circumstance.

Now I’m not re-opening the “bring Bernie back” debate, he’s gone, fine, but having gotten used to (and having greatly admired) the way Bernie used his business acumen with only the greater good of the club in mind (does anyone remember a single backward step under Bernie?) I don’t think we can expect anything close to the diversity of business moves in the future – should a JW type become chairman – than if we were to have one of DB’s ilk in the seat.

Credit where it’s due, setting up and running a company like JD Sports and making it a success is certainly no mean feat, however it doesn’t qualify JW for the rôle of chairman any more than selling TVs did for Swales, or bog rolls did for FHL (albeit FHL had the hero thing going for him too). It’s great that JW (with David Makin) ploughs so much of the fruit of his success back into the club (we couldn’t hope for more generous benefactors in truth) but he is not the modern and dynamic business type we expected when the position was suddenly left vacant.

He’s an old-fashioned entrepreneur type and that’s not what will get City to where it claims it wants to be (and I’m not talking about football wise – that’s KK’s job).

When DB stepped down, JW (once the initial talk of Denis Tueart was brushed aside) said he didn’t want the job and there were promises of big outside name, with the first name springing immediately to a lot of minds being that of Howard Davies (ex. Bank of England, FSA etc.).

Keeping the deep disappointment at having lost a chairman in the first place to one side, hearing these big names at the time was at least a signal that there’d be a remaining emphasis on the need for sound financial management at the club to continue the work DB (and to an extent FHL before him) laid a lot more than just the foundations of. In short, the natural reaction (of both press and supporters) was to expect a big gun name to follow DB.

So why are we now seemingly quite happy – and I’m not including myself in that group – to say “Bernie was, Wardle is”? I find this inexplicable. This whole spin leaves me fearing a kind of boardroom version of the return of Big Mal to sell our best players without replacing them with something of the same quality. Did wonders for our success that, eh?

We aren’t hearing so much about big names from outside anymore because – I suspect (and please be my guest if you can prove me wrong) – JW doesn’t actually have enough contacts of the quality that DB probably took out for a swift half – probably as often as the rest of us simply go to the toilet. Great shame that if it’s close to the true situation, especially as exactly that is what is required. We need a chairman who is a bigger player; a household name to anyone in a household preferably situated somewhere in the square mile and I think we’ve actually lost the only man who had us mingling with these type of people. JW, I fear – as with Peter Swales and FHL – doesn’t move in the circles required to bring us the big gun finance man we thought (or hoped) was coming (and if he were to start tomorrow I don’t think anyone who is anyone would take a blind bit of notice). He’d probably still be putting on the tie the Maitre D’ slipped him at the door whilst the important handshakes are already being made by someone else.

Overall, I’ll admit I’m probably being a bit harsh on Wardle, but I find it very difficult to understand why there seems to be no other candidate. I just want to make my point and not to slag him off. I’m just a bit amazed to hear this “fan pressure” being touted when I haven’t seen a shred of evidence whatsoever that it actually exists in the form of “pressure” as such, but seems more to be a simple failure to say, that there basically isn’t anyone else in line for it / we haven’t asked anyone else.

Where’s the statement where Howard Davies (or anyone else for that matter) said, “Thanks, but no thanks”? I haven’t seen one. Any of you?

If JW gets (sic) the job later and convinces me of his credentials by actions and not words like “we’ll win trophies in the new stadium” (given the length of the lease I think this should have gone without saying) then I’ll gladly eat every ManYoo jester hat you can put in front of me, but until then there’ll be no baited breath on my part waiting to hear this particular announcement.

Cathal Whelehan (cathal.whelehan@de.ey.com)

ARSENAL ARE BETTER THAN UTD: THE PROOF

The following objective statistical measure proves that Arsenal are a better team than Man Utd…

Man City currently stand as close to half way in the table as possible and so are the best guide as to which team is better. We can extrapolate the results against City:

On the relevant results Arsenal would currently have 105 points against United’s 18 (however, United being in the favoured position of points in the bag with Arsenal having the dreaded game in hand). This would place United below Sunderland.

Arsenal would have a goal difference of +87 against United’s -36 (equal with West Brom and better only than Sunderland).

Michael Davies (michael.davies@kpmg.co.uk)

MAINE ROAD MEMORIES: WHY BLUE?

[The following was sent in by Allan Claypole as a subscription request, but Allan’s vivid Maine Road memories are probably familiar to us all – A quintessential ‘Why Blue?’ Ed]

I usually read MCIVTA on the website (I have done for the past two years or so) but would like to subscribe, it has been a wonderful source of information and a good read for over two years for me now. Keep up the good work, and if I ever get any information or news about the glorious Blues, I will of course let you know.

I have been a season ticket holder at Maine Road for over five years, and like everyone I am looking forward to us playing in our new stadium (which is less than five miles from my house) but have many, many memories of Maine Road that will live with me until the day I die!

I can still remember my first ever match, seven years old in the old Platt Lane stand in about 1983 or 1984, we played Aston Villa or West Ham (I remember the claret and blue shirts). My dad is a big Red (boo!) but my grandfather on my mother’s side was a massive Blue and told me tales from when he used to go, Big Frank Swift, Roy Paul, describing to me as I sat in awe about the Revie plan and going to Wembley when Bert Trautmann broke his neck. From then I was hooked, always listening on the radio for City, getting my mum to get me a sky blue soccer kit and boots so I could be like the heroes of my primary school days, Paul Power, Steve Mackenzie, Big Joe Corrigan etc.

At school at playtime it was always City versus United, seven City fans against twenty United fans, but amazingly we always won. Then one day someone from City visited our school, handing out programmes, rosettes, signed pictures and stickers from those Panini albums you used to get in the 1980’s. That did it for me I had to go to City. Unfortunately my grandfather was unable to take me as he wasn’t a well man, but he arranged for me to go with one of his friends who I knew.

The magic of walking into the ground filled me with awe, the sight of the pitch, the atmosphere, I was going to see my heroes play. My grandfather’s friend got me a quarter of sweets from the sweet shop on Claremont Road, got his woodbines, bought a programme for us both and told me about City until kick off.

I have forgotten the score, but remember the match vividly as if it was yesterday; afterwards we went to my grandfather’s house and his friend told me to wait a few minutes and he would be back. After talking to my grandfather for a while about the match his friend came back with about 100 City programmes from the 70’s and early 80’s, said these are for you my son, read them and enjoy them, in a few years when you are older you will go to City week in and week out like I do now, and I hope these programmes will be good for you.

Allan Claypole (allan@casteroneten.fsnet.co.uk)

CHORLTON BLUES’ PARTY

Chorlton Blues are holding their end of season party on Friday 16th May at South West Manchester Cricket Club, Ellesmere Road. Events start at 7.30 pm and we will be joined by our old friend Moonchester. There is a disco and a chance to win a framed shirt signed by the 1st team. There is also a special kids raffle with a very special 1st prize. The best news of all is that the event is free.

Also, we have a few updated pictures of inside the new stadium taken in April. Please follow this link.

http://www.chorltonblues.co.uk/html/march_2003.html

Further details of the above can be found on our website.

Larry (larry@chorltonblues.co.uk)

PROGRAMME WANTED

Is there anyone out there who has spare copies or knows where to get a copy of last Sunday’s (May 11th) match programme? None of my mates were able to get a copy at the game. If anyone could help, that would be great. Thanks.

Stephen Welch (swmufc96@yahoo.co.uk)

(Dodgy e-mail address if you ask me… Ed)


FUND RAISING – PROGRAMMES FOR SALE

My name is David Rudge and I run a club shop at Rossendale United who play in the UniBond league. We currently have around 10,000 programmes for sale including many hundreds of City home and away, from 1960’s to present day. We also have a range from Sunday league to Internationals, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. Our Supporters’ Club chairman is a City season ticket holder (sad). Most are 50p each. I would be grateful if you could pass the word on as we need to sell these to raise much needed funds. Thanks and regards.

David J. Rudge (Djrudge@hotmail.com)

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.10]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses


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

[1] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings.

[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[3] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

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

[5] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, http://www.mcfc-fans.com/ containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

[6] Where can I find information about our new stadium?

The latest information regarding the progress of our new home can be found at www.mcfc.co.uk/article.asp?article=111916&Title=Introduction&lid=New+Stadium

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

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

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. A good site for North American viewers is http://canadatvsoccer.tripod.com/Fixtures.htm.

[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: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,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 http://www.uit.no/mancity/players/

[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.


DISCLAIMER
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


[Valid3.2]Peter Johnson, sachetman@btinternet.com

Newsletter #915

2003/05/15

Editor:


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest