Newsletter #921

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No sooner has the transfer window opened this week than we see two new arrivals in the form of David Seaman and Michael Tarnat. Both signings are covered in Don’s news summary tonight along with other potential arrivals and departures, Europe and the sponsorship issue.

The midfield debate continues, and we have opinion on those new arrivals, the new (?) strip has made an appearance and we’ve the usual requests.

Next game: to be confirmed

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

UEFA Place Confirmed: In the words of Malcolm Allison, City are about to “terrify the cowards of Europe” once again. It was confirmed on Monday that City have secured a place in the UEFA Cup Qualifying Round based on their standings in the Fair Play League. The Blues were nominated as England’s representatives last month after finishing fifth in the Premier League’s own discipline table, behind Trafford Wanderers, Newcastle, Chelsea and Liverpool, all of whom had already qualified for European competition through league position. Despite crowd trouble when England played Turkey at the Stadium of Light, England held off a challenge from Sweden to top the UEFA rankings. It means City will now enter the June 20 draw for the UEFA Cup qualifying round. The first qualifying round tie will take place on August 14th, two days before the scheduled start of the new Premiership season. This suggests that a Sunday league fixture beckons for the Blues. Who are the likely European opponents City? As one report puts it, “So far Sporting Lisbon and Steau Bucharest are the highest-profile teams to be listed in the qualifying draw but England’s UEFA co-efficient will probably mean a trip to Eastern Europe or one of the lower ranked countries in Western Europe such as Northern Ireland or Sweden.” Just as long as we don’t draw Fenerbahce.

Spot the Official Club Statement: Before the UEFA announcement, KK was still expressing disquiet over City’s potential European place at the expense of Everton for example, who had finished further up the Premiership table than City. “Of course it would be great if we got into Europe and have the chance of playing in some big games but it would be ironic given that we finished ninth in the league,” he said. “We’ll take it but my honest opinion is that the place should go to the next best-placed team in the Premiership. It is what I have said all along and I stick by it.” Once the UEFA spot was confirmed, the Sage of Scunthorpe’s views were being reported like this: “I am delighted that we have got a place in Europe,” he said. “It is tremendous not just for the players but especially for the fans. I have already spoken to a number of fans and they are extremely excited at the prospect of watching us in Europe. This certainly makes last season a great Premiership return to finish in the top half and to gain a place in Europe. I would have taken that at the start of the season. Our new stadium is deserving of a place in Europe,” he concluded. City Legend Mike Summerbee was also pleased. “It is absolutely great news. As a club we have been moving forward for a while and coming as we are just about to move into a new stadium, this announcement is absolutely fantastic. I know it isn’t the way Kevin Keegan would have liked to get in but that doesn’t matter now. Anything which brings extra revenue into the club has to be welcomed and with United having been in Europe on so many occasions recently, it is good that we have a chance of playing there as well.” Chairman John Wardle commented: “It’s going to be one of the most exciting starts to the season in the club’s history. We’ve got Barcelona coming over followed by the UEFA Cup and then our first game in the Premiership. I’m sure all our fans are looking forward to it.”

First Advice Crash: There is a real possibility that the Blues may appear in the UEFA Cup at their new Citadel without a shirt sponsor. The Amulet Group, owners of the Accident Group and First Advice, have called in the administrators. The Group was unable to pay this month’s salaries to employees (it was widely reported that some workers were informed of their fate by a company-wide text message) and are supposed to have debts of £30 million. First Advice of course are City’s shirt sponsors, and are only twelve months into a four year, £4 million deal with the club. Club MD Alistair Mackintosh has sought to downplay the economic consequences of the crash on the Blues. Mackintosh said: “This will not have a major financial impact on us, as the bulk of our revenue comes from television money and gate receipts. We have an excellent sponsorship team here who are in constant dialogue with companies wanting to get involved with the club. We also have a supportive family of sponsors and it may be that one simply upgrades to become the main sponsor. The impact will be more logistical than anything else.” The Daily Express suggested that the “logistical impact” was that Reebok had produced 50,000 new home shirts sporting the First Advice logo, although other rumours suggest as many as 80,000 may have been produced. If the shirts cost say £10 to make, that’s a big hole in someone’s wallet if the whole batch have to be destroyed. One suggestion for a replacement sponsor is Siemens Mobile, who are already heavily involved with the club, as anyone who’s visited the official website can testify. Other reports intimate that the club board may ask for special dispensation to wear home and away kits with different shirt sponsors next season- quite how this will operate is unclear.

Blue Newman? Here’s an interesting titbit from today’s tabloids. City are allegedly considering employing one Paul Newman, the FA’s former Director of Communications. City have been without such a PR person since Chris Bird’s acrimonious departure last season. This Editor cannot confirm that his chance encounter with Newman, three years ago following a 2-2 draw at Portsmouth, has had any effect on the club’s choice. Here’s slight evidence of his Blue inclinations. The scene: a chippie in Fleet, Hampshire – Editor and brother lean tipsily against counter as Mr. Newman enters. “What are you lads doing here?” quoth Mr.N. “err, I live near here” I replied. Newman made it clear he’d been at the game, but seemed none too thrilled at having a pair of inebriated Blue clowns being in the vicinity of his own homestead. Someone at the club is still clearly doing some fine PR work, because hot on the heels of the news of First Advice’s travails, came word that City’s finances were thriving courtesy of Sky TV. The company own a 9.9% stake in the club, and City’s entry into Europe means that Mr. Murdoch’s people pay City £1 million, with an extra £1 million for remaining in the Premiership. City’s coffers also received a timely boost from a sell-on clause inserted into Mark Kennedy’s transfer to Wolves, which has been activated by the Black Country outfit’s return to the top flight after a 19-year absence. [My encounters with Newman during Euro 2000 can vouch for his ample use of artistic licence to describe even the most non-eventful situations – Ed]

Short Term Psycho: “Stuart Pearce has agreed a six month contract with City,” confirmed the Chairman John Wardle today, “and he will continue in the same rôle as last season.” Pearce’s duties include assisting Head coach, Derek Fazackerley working on a one to one basis with the City defenders while also spending time at the Blues’ Academy. It is thought that should a tempting enough managerial offer come Stuart’s way during this period, that the club would not stand in his way.

Youth Tournament Folds: Concerns over the SARS epidemic have lead to the cancellation of the Manchester International Football Festival planned for this summer. Teams from China, Japan and Thailand were due to attend, along with City’s under-19 side, Oldham Athletic, Parma from Italy and Glasgow Rangers and Celtic.

“Bosman Rules OK” News

KK Lobs Seaman – A Fresh Start: True to his word, KK has utilised the Bosman ruling and brought in a pair of experienced players on free transfers this week. Once again he has gone for youth in goals, by replacing the retired Peter Schmeichel with David Seaman, who is a month older than the Great Dane. Seaman has signed initially for a year, with an option for a second year thereafter. The player told www.arsenal.com: “I have given this move an enormous amount of thought and I honestly believe that the time is right for me to move on to a new challenge. I want at least one more season of guaranteed first-team football in the Premiership and honestly feel I am as fit as I have ever been. I have had 13 fantastic years at Arsenal, winning more trophies than I could ever have hoped for and working with world-class players. I have also had the privilege to work with great managers like Arsene Wenger and George Graham who have both been a massive support to me both professionally and personally during my time at Arsenal. But I want to say a special thank you to the Arsenal fans who have made Highbury feel like my own back garden when I played there.” KK is on holiday, so it was left to reluctant Chairman John Wardle to give the club reaction to the capture of the England international. “We are delighted to bring in a profile player like David Seaman, what more could you ask for? If you had to replace Peter Schmeichel, I think David Seaman would probably be top of the list anyway, and we are really looking forward to seeing him at the City of Manchester Stadium.” Wardle confirmed that City’s participation in Europe had not swayed the giant Yorkshireman when choosing City. “There is no coincidence that David signed just two days after it was confirmed we would be playing in the UEFA Cup,” explained the Chairman. “It was not a decisive factor in anyway as we were close to the agreement with him anyway. He is very pleased we are in Europe. I have spoken to him since and he is quite delighted about it. But our failure to qualify would not have stopped the deal. The big thing which made the difference to David was regular football. He is convinced and so are we that he has got another season in him. It was not that he was looking for a coaching rôle, he wanted to play and that is what made the difference.” Peter Barnes certainly thinks that this is a good deal for both the club and the player. “With David Seaman’s experience and knowledge of the game there’s nobody better to come to a club that’s on the up and up,” Barnes told Sky Sports News. “I don’t think they’ve got millions of pounds to spend. It needed somebody to come in and do as good a job as Peter Schmeichel has done. We have got to do well in Europe next season and finish high up the league. David Seaman fits that mould. He is a great ‘keeper. I’m sure David Seaman will be glad to be playing at his age. A fit David Seaman is as good as anything in the country.” Derby matches could prove interesting for Seaman next season – the Rags are supposedly trying to sign the Brazilian Ronaldinho, who infamously lobbed the ball from fifty yards into Seaman’s goal during last summer’s World Cup.

Gooner Miss You: Back at Seaman’s old club Arsenal, there were words of praise for the 39-year-old custodian. Manager Arsene Wenger described Seaman’s departure as a “great loss”. The Frenchman said: “David Seaman is an Arsenal legend and deserves only the highest recognition for everything he has achieved for both club and country over the past 13 years. He is an outstanding professional and to lose someone of his calibre is a great loss to the club. I, like many of our supporters, did not want David to leave but of course, I respect his desire to play regular first team football and wish him every success in the future.” Club captain Patrick Vieira added: “I am sad that David has decided to leave Arsenal. He’s a really great guy and a fantastic goalkeeper – the best we’ve ever had. David wanted a new challenge so I can understand why he has gone but he’ll never be forgotten here at Arsenal. He has done so much for the Club and his record speaks for itself.” Vieira revealed that Seaman has been a major influence down the years. “David is a good friend and I’m really grateful for all the help he has given me, especially in my first year as Club captain,” he said. “David will be missed by all the players and I speak for everyone when I say, we wish him all the very best for the future.”

Singin’ The Blues: It’s heartening that Seamo (as I suppose we now call him) is already getting the hang of being a City Boy. His former Arsenal colleague Lee Dixon revealed on BBC Radio Five today what had happened when Dixon called to congratulate his former ‘keeper on his Manchester move. “I spoke to David on Wednesday, he returned my call and left a couple of verses of Blue Moon on my answerphone. I’ve never heard him so excited about signing – he really was over the moon. He’s just glad that this uncertainty has come to an end. He was disappointed to leave but he wants to play and that urge has forced him to leave.” Dixon, a boyhood City supporter, added: “David is a number one – number two is not good enough. He was quite happy with the arrangements at Manchester City and I’m sure he’s being paid well. But this wasn’t about money, it’s about playing Premiership football and playing European football.” Asked if Seaman’s singing was up to scratch, Dixon said: “With a big Yorkshire voice like that? No, not very good!”

Tarnat Deal Done: City completed a double signing week by bringing in Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Tarnat as well as David Seaman. The 33-year-old, part of the Bayern side defeated by the Reds in the 1999 Champions’ League final, has agreed a one-year contract. The versatile Tarnat operated mainly on the left flank in his six years with Bayern and was a long-term target of KK. “We are delighted to have signed Michael,” said John Wardle. “He has an excellent record, with Champions’ League experience, and will do well for the club. Kevin was keen to sign this player because he has some excellent qualities and experience in European football.” Tarnat commented: “I am looking forward to playing at Manchester City under Kevin Keegan. They have a great support and I am especially excited about playing at City’s new home.”

Other Transfer News and Gossip

Welsh Goat? The list of clubs purporting to want Shaun Goater increases. Step forward Cardiff City, newly promoted to Division One. Manager Lenny Lawrence was cagey when asked for his views on the Goat, however. “I might be interested in someone who can lead the attack and get goals,” he stated. “It’s easier said than done to find someone, though. As for who will come to Cardiff, that will depend on the budget figures to be discussed between myself and Sam Hammam.” In other Goat news: as Sarah reported last week, City’s under-18’s squad are currently involved in a two match tour of Shaun Goater’s home island of Bermuda. The Goat has recently stated his desire to one day play a rôle in City’s Youth Academy. “I have learnt a lot from Kevin Keegan’s knowledge and that of previous managers,” said the Goat. “Before I used to say that I would never be cut out for being a manager, but I would never say never. I would certainly like to return and be involved in the youth Academy, I’ve been involved with youth programmes in Bermuda and loved it. It really is great work. Yes I would love to come back and be involved in what would be promoting the future of the club, that would be another dream for me.”

Confusion Over Berko: There are strange goings on in the world of Eyal Berkovic. Eyal (or his representative) was quoted earlier in the week as claiming that “I have a serious offer from Harry Redknapp. I like working with Harry and it’s very tempting.” But Portsmouth boss Redknapp has denied such an offer and said: “I saw in the papers that I was supposed to have spoken to Eyal and agreed a deal. Well that’s nonsense. I couldn’t have agreed a deal because I’ve not spoken to Kevin Keegan at Man City and until we did that, you couldn’t talk to a player. What Man City can pay and what we would pay is a million miles apart unfortunately. But I would have liked him if I could have afforded him. Again I would like Kevin Phillips. He’s a terrific goalscorer and would be a terrific player for us, but Kevin’s wages would be too much,” the Pompey Chief Executive Peter Storrie backed his manager, saying: “Contrary to reports in the press, we have not made an offer for Eyal Berkovic to Manchester City. It seems strange the way that the press seem to want to run our transfer dealings but Eyal is just one of a number of players that we admire but we have not made any moves regarding the transfer market as yet.” Now it seems that there are two versions of the saga of Eyal, but the question is – which one is correct?

Other Transfer Tittle Tattle: There’s been some fecund rumours growing on the transfer grapevine this week. Sunday’s Daily Star for instance reported that KK was making a late bid for Blackburn’s David Dunn. The England international was thought to be on the verge of joining Birmingham City for £5.5 million, but the deal is imperilled by Blackburn’s reluctance to accept the schedule for payment of the fee. Meanwhile, Benni McCarthy’s name has again been linked with City, although Porto are also rumoured to be interested in the Celta Vigo forward. Elsewhere, the Sunday People’s punt of “Mark Bosnich for City” has thankfully been disproved by the week’s events. A Bolton Wanderers fans’ website reckons that Sam Allardyce is in the market for that other well behaved goalkeeper, Nicky Weaver. As Weaver is still recuperating from his catastrophic knee injury, such a deal must be in some doubt. BBC Radio have today reported that KK’s hopes of another free transfer capture may have dashed. Real Madrid’s Steve McManaman wants to remain at his current club. “At this time I am not thinking of leaving, I am only thinking of the fact that I have one more year left and I want to respect it. I am still happy in Madrid, I want to continue here, I have one more year left in my contract and that is it.” KK is also said to be chasing Sunderland midfielder Gavin McCann and has joined the race for Liverpool’s Czech Republic free agent Patrik Berger.

Ex-Blues’ News

Positive Thinking: Uwe Rösler has been talking to Norwegian TV about how he intends to beat cancer and return to action. “I have seen some of the Lillestrom games and I am sure I want to play again. One has to be prepared for everything,” he said. “In the beginning it was tough for me, and tough for my family. But when the biggest shock has passed, I just had to think positively.. I had no choice.” Uwe revealed that Lillestrom coach Arne Erlandsen has discovered an interesting way of motivating the German. “Arne has said he will run naked through the centre of Lillestrom when I am back on the pitch. I cannot disappoint the people of Lillestrom!” he added.

Post for McNab? Neil McNab is set to be named as Steve Claridge’s assistant this weekend. The former Leicester City and Millwall striker is taking his first manager’s post at Weymouth, and wants City’s ex-midfielder to join his team. “Choosing an assistant was the first thing I did,” explained Claridge. “It’s a vital rôle and I need a good man. The man I want is Neil McNab and I’ve offered him the job. At the moment he’s got the chance of a coaching job in America and he’s just waiting to see if that comes off. If it doesn’t, then he will be joining me, probably at the weekend. Neil knows the West Country well following his time as manager of Exeter City and he’s the ideal man for the job.”

Squad News

Not So Great for Dane: Mikkel Bischoff was injured this week whilst training with Denmark’s Under-21 squad and requires an immediate operation. This puts Bischoff out of Denmark’s forthcoming fixtures against Norway and Luxembourg, but is expected to be with City in time for pre-season training. “I went into a tackle with the interior instead of the ankle,” Mikkel said. “According to the doctors, the ligament came apart from the bone. I am very sad about the timing because I had looked forward a lot to the two internationals coming up. On the other hand, the timing is not all wrong since it is vacation after the internationals and I am glad that the doctors judge that I will be back in six to eight weeks.” The twenty-one-year-old-made one start this season for the Blues back in September in City’s draw against Blackburn Rovers but an operation for a hernia then ruled him out of action in mid-season. He was on the bench for three of City’s final four games of the season.

Belmadi Goes: Midfielder Djamel Belmadi will not be staying with the Blues and has returned to Olympique Marseille. KK has decided not to offer Algerian midfielder a permanent contract. After an impressive d&ecute;but against Fulham in January, Belmadi was hampered by persistent injury, and started only one further game for the Blues. Meanwhile, the club released two of City’s young Irish contingent this week. They are 20-year-old goalkeeper Brian Murphy and 19-year-old defender Stephen Paisley. Murphy came closest to first team action when he was a substitute at Newcastle in January.

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

OPINION: NEW BOYS I

Firstly:

I appreciate the “McV” newsletter tremendously, as it helps “bridge the gap” from Manchester to where I now reside in the U.S.; many thanks to all involved in its regular publication for a job extremely well done! Also, to “Ernie B” who, for the last several months, has made great efforts in providing me with videotapes of our teams’ performances – albeit those which were good, and, not-so-good… greatly appreciated, Ernie!

As a first-time contributor, here goes:

Full marks to Kevin K in securing the services of David Seaman, a top-notch goalkeeper by anyone’s standards. He, like Peter S., has such a commanding presence on the field of play that his/our fellow defenders will surely be made all the more confident in their own abilities, knowing that we now have such an excellent goalkeeper. On a personal note: I’m also very pleased that we have a new signing whose first language is, indeed, English. Now: if only he will “lose” that darn ponytail – he looks ridiculous!

We still need a decent, quality striker. From what I have seen of Jonathan Macken he, unfortunately, is not up to the grade. Robbie Fowler has been disappointing, to say the least – severely lacking in pace (for whatever reasons), and, his close-ball-control skills are completely non-existent. Time will surely tell with him, but, I remain dubious; however, I would be delighted to be proven wrong at the very earliest opportunity during the forthcoming season. Over to you, Robbie…

Finally: I fail to understand why, in is wisdom(?), KK failed to take the initiative with Vuoso and, at the very least, give him a run in the first team towards the end of the last campaign. Mr “V” was, apparently, scoring goals at the reserve-team level and, by all accounts, consistently working hard during most games. Opportunity lost, there – KK’s attitude over the player concerns me, somewhat.

Graham K Mills (ride4311@ride.ri.net)

OPINION: NEW BOYS II

Manchester City’s first signing, Michael Tarnat from Bayern Munich came as a surprise signing; this goes to show how shrewd Kevin Keegan is. Michael Tarnat has played for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga for the past six seasons, where he won one Champions’ League, two DFB German Cups, and four Bundesliga League Championships, playing on a regular basis for Bayern.

He plays midfield on the left side, and can also play defence, he is 33 years old and has always been a favourite of the Bayern fans. His 6 year contract came to an end and so he became available on a free transfer, our manager Kevin Keegan was quick off the mark to get his man.

David Seaman will be City’s new goalkeeper; this I feel will be excellent for City for he has the proven ability, there’s life in the old dog yet. With our young Dane ‘keeper coming on, this is would be a great cover until Stuhr Ellegaard is ready to take over in the future. Another shrewd signing by KK.

The future looks brighter every day!

Ernie Barrow (britcityblue@aol.com)

OPINION: NEW BOYS III

Well it was well signposted in the press – David Seaman coming to City. OK, so he let in a howler against Brazil (they’d probably have beaten us anyway!) and has had some iffy performances this season. But remember some of us (including me) were somewhat sceptical about the Great Dane. But I learned to respect his goalkeeping; he made some remarkable saves (although we still couldn’t defend at corners). Perhaps KK can do it again and give Seaman a new lease of life. One thing’s for sure – he’s going to have to work a lot harder with us than he has had to do at Arsenal. I think City fans should give him a fair chance and a warm welcome – and, after a year, maybe Nicky Weaver will have fully recovered from what must have been an horrendous injury to realize his full potential.

On a different point altogether, does anyone know about tickets for the Barcelona game? You never know, we might see David Beckham play for them along with Kluivert and their other stars.

Ian Burgess (i.burgess@virgin.net)

OPINION: NEW BOYS IV

What are David Seaman’s real feelings on joining Man City? Lee Dixon on Radio 5 this morning (Thursday) said that he’d picked up a message on his answering machine in response to an earlier call to City’s new goalkeeper – the message? – two verses of ‘Blue Moon’. Dixon commented that when he eventually did speak to him, he hadn’t known Seamo be as excited about anything for ages. Music to all our ears. I’m off to buy a ponytail wig, see you there!

Rick Eagles (rick@eagles.org.uk)

OPINION: NEW BOYS V

I was listening to 5-live this morning and there was an interview with Lee Dixon. They were talking about Seaman’s transfer to City, and Lee Dixon said that Seaman had left an answerphone message on his phone saying how chuffed he was to be joining city. He also left a rather enthusiastic rendition of Blue Moon.

Mark Evans (mark.evans@tessella.com)

OPINION: NEW BOYS VI

New club, new season, new stadium… please get a new hairdo.

Peter Birbeck (peter.birbeck@btopenworld.com)

OPINION: NEW STRIP

Reebok home shirt with FISRT ADVICE logo

I came to work today to be greeted with a package from a friend in Indonesia. In it is the new “official merchandise” City top with FIRST ADVICE embossed in the front. It’s amazing how fast this supposedly to-be-destroyed merchandise due to First Advice’s demise made it to Asia but I am not complaining.

As expected, it is sky blue with vertical stripes on the trunk, no stripes on the sleeves, and a white V-neck design à la the 1986(?) top with a thin white trimming on the edge of the sleeves. The design is generally simple with an unmistakable mimicry to the 1980’s tops. Don’t know what to make of it yet but I have to admit I am surprised by how long it actually took for me to accept the change back to the traditional sky blue top despite being glad to hear about the switch earlier.

Europe here we come.


Nizam Idris (mancity@singnet.com.sg)

OPINION: SIMON’S SUCCESS

For those of you interested in how former City player Simon Colosimo, now playing for Perth Glory in Australia, is getting on, here is an extract from the local paper “The West Australian”, after Simon helped The Glory to their first Premiership in three attempts. Glory won the game 2-0 and Simon was Man of the Match.


Simon Colosimo, who yesterday won the Marston medal for the best player in the grand final, described his decision to move to Perth Glory as the best he had made. Colosimo, a former Australian international, joined the Glory mid-season after a disappointing spell in Belgium.

“I’d say it’s the greatest move I’ve ever made,” he said yesterday.

Even before returning to the NSL, in which he had played in previous grand finals with Carlton and South Melbourne, Colosimo had expected the Glory to feature in this season’s finale. Back then, though, he could not have imagined playing such a crucial part in the club’s first Championship success.

Like all good match winners, Colosimo praised the efforts of those around him, who had been equally determined to end the club’s seven-year drought. “As a team, the boys are second to none,” he said.

Colosimo’s career has already taken an overseas path, which he hopes will be revisited at some point. He is out of contract but expects to sit down with coach Mich d’Avray and chairman Nick Tana tomorrow to discuss his future.

A player once tagged the next big thing out of Australia, he had a brief stint with Manchester City and still has ambitions of reaching the elite level in Europe. He said he felt like he was at the start of his career again.

“There’s still a lot I want to achieve,” Colosimo said. “I want to be playingfor the national team again, I want to be winning more championships, whetherthey are here, in Europe or wherever.” Tana said: “I’ll do everything in mypower to keep Simon. We started out with a certain budget and whatpercentage of takings would be paid in wages. We would be hypocrites to goover that. But Simon winning man of the match makes it harder for me. I wentup to him at the end and said, ‘Simon, you have just made my life bloodydifficult’.”


We’re off to the end of season Ball on Saturday so I hope to be able to have a chat and a few beers with Simon and the other boys.

CTID, Adrian Carr (adrian.carr@clough.com.au)

OPINION: MIDFIELD MAESTROS I

Blimey, that Sarah Ferguson’s stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest! Foe’s my standard pub rant subject too, so I can empathise with those that replied. I have to disagree with Bill Borrows though – he’s right, MVF is the “footballer’s footballer” in that position at City at the moment, but then a lot of “footballers” would select Kinkladze as their favourite City player of the last 20 years, but I don’t remember any startling success as a result of his twice-a-season dribbles. I remember him scoring the best two goals I’ve ever seen (ever saw – blub…) at Maine Road, and wandering around fairly aimlessly when there was no Sky coverage. I loved him to bits because of his skill, but let’s face it, hwe was no good for the team (apart from making Quinny think he could do dead flash backheeled flick ons because he was playing with “talented” players!). Give me Berko any day.

I think Macca is one of the most perfect examples of “the luxury player” that I have ever seen, and surely this is exemplified by the way that Real Madrid have chosen to utilise his skills. We appear to have limited funds this summer (don’t get me started on that subject again), and there are positions that we need to strengthen because of the departure or age of current squad members (Ali, Rudolph, MVF) – I don’t see McManaman as a player who can regularly fill a midfield berth. It’d be great to have him, because he’s quite exciting to watch when he runs at people, but we can’t afford luxuries at the moment.

There’s always a lot of talk about Holland – what do people think of him as a target? I think that he will give you a performance week in, week out, and so he’d be a big hit with the fans, but I feel in his case that he maybe lacks the flair to be genuinely successful in the Premiership. To be a world class engine room player, you need to be a superb athlete, to be very good in the tackle, to read the game well, and to have some flair… and you need to do it week in, week out. I know it sounds a tall order, but if you look at the top players in those positions in their prime (Vieira, Keane, even Makalele or Davids), that was / is what they had / have. And Foe still misses out on the key attribute – consistency. I don’t think anyone would disagree that on his day, he’s as good as anyone in that rôle, but I think that we saw this season why he was at Maine Road and not at Highbury or the Bernabeu.

Perhaps Barton is the man long term, but we need someone we can be sure of now. I know I’ll get lynched for this, and I think the lad’s a right little snivelling toe-Rag, but what about Butt? He’s not getting a game, but when he does, he puts a performance in every week – and he’s done well for England when he’s had a game. He’s not creative enough, but in that position, I’d rather have 9 tenths every week than 10 one week and 2 the next…

P.S. As for Ernie’s goalkeepers list, everyone knows that Robinson is the best choice, but we can’t afford him, and he wouldn’t come. I think that if KK can get him, it’ll be Seaman, but I’m not sure if he’ll come instead of going to Spurs or somewhere else in London. I’d love Niemi or Friedel, but they’re at clubs in Europe on merit… and then you start to run out of options. I’d be tempted to give Nash a go, and get in a cheap understudy to fill the gap between him and Ellegaard, because I don’t think we can afford to buy anyone better than Carlo and still buy a midfielder.

Jon Marshall (jon_g_marshall@yahoo.co.uk)

OPINION: MIDFIELD MAESTROS II

Nice one Sarah (Ferguson). Forget all the flak you’ve been receiving, at least you seem to have stirred the emotions. I must say that (besides the Eyal comment) I too don’t agree with the comments you made re: McManaman and MVF for pretty much all the reasons that were stated more than clearly in MCIVTA 920. But as one of them was generous enough to say – you are entitled to your own opinion, so keep them coming. At least you seem to provoke a reaction!

I’m sure if we are keen on signing McManaman (and unless he is willing to take a huge pay-cut I hope we don’t) then it will be to play on either flank, not as a replacement playmaker for Eyal (McManaman talk started long before Eyal getting upset over contract extension – more later) or as a defensive midfielder, although he does seem to have the word ‘flexibility’ going for him. Anyway, I think if we are going to discuss the possible transfer then it might as well be in the correct context. I think we clearly do need some cover (maybe even an automatic starter) on the flanks bearing in mind it looks like we will be going with the more solid 4-4-2.

Towards the end of last season I think SWeeP was playing on either flank, with Benarbia also getting a run on the right (although I think we played more of a 4-1-3-2 formation with the players at Keegan’s disposal). This must be sorted out before the start of next season. We need to give SWeeP a position he can become accomplished with and I personally believe that is on the right side of midfield in a 4-4-2. However, we will still need cover in that area and I don’t believe we currently have that at the club. I suppose Huckerby should get a mention as he is still very much a Man City player who looks like he will never ever get a look in as a centre-forward again. I know he’s (supposed to be) a centre-forward but he’s not exactly stereo-typical is he? He’s right footed but spent most of his time on the left flank trying to cut in. I do think he would probably ignore his defensive duties though and we would look more like a 4-3-3. Worth a mention though.

Gillespie has been mentioned – oh dear. Not really the kind of player we want is he? Problem is, I can see it happening. What about David Dunn? He can play on the right as well as in the middle can’t he? Trouble with Dunn is I’ve seen him have some brilliant games but also have some stinkers. He seemed to lose some weight towards the end of last season and pick up a few MoM awards (he was out to impress possible suitors I suppose but it shows he can do it) but at £5 million might be too expensive. After that I’m pretty stumped to be honest. Not a lot of good right sided midfielders spring to mind. Any ideas?

On the left side of midfield we have exactly the same problems but maybe more options. As mentioned earlier SWeeP played here towards the end of the season quite well but he isn’t a naturally left-sided player. Tiatto is yet to return and I’m sure we’ll be better for it but I think I’d be a little disappointed if he was a starter week in, week out on the left side of midfield. I think he’s a much better left-back and should be challenging Jensen who looks set to adopt his more familiar left-back rôle, which I think is where he is best. I suppose Huckerby should get a mention for all the reasons said previously. Possible candidates? I believe Bruno Cheyrou could be on his way out at Anfield. I know he hasn’t impressed at all this season at Liverpool but for me he didn’t really get a run in the team. I remember him scoring a great goal against the Rags in the Champions’ League a couple of years ago so he obviously can’t be all bad. Keegan might just be the kind of manager to get the best out of him (as he obviously does have potential and is still relatively young) and if Liverpool are looking to recoup the £3.7 million they paid for him or less, then it might be a good bit of business. The article that I seen talked of him going back over to France though, so watch this space if you feel it’s worth watching.

There’s no point mentioning the Damien Duffs of this world – so I won’t. Again, I can’t really think of anybody else of note that’s on a free or within our price range so that name McManaman does keep appearing.

We also need a right-back to either replace or cover the Dunney monster and Sun Jihai. There is talk of Dunne being involved in a part-exchange deal for left-back Michael Gray. If that happens then we definitely need a right-back.

As for Berkovic. Well, as we all know he is a very gifted player that has been magnificent – when fit – over the last couple of seasons. He has still got 2 years left on his contract and at his age I think I would be a little reluctant to offer him an extension at this time. Maybe after another year, proving that he can still play an acceptable number of games but not right now. And if he was worth his salt I think he should accept that. So if he has decided to leave on the back of that then I don’t see what we can do. Yeah, let’s just go back to the good old days, giving filthy big contracts to players and getting **** all back in return! I’d love it, just love it if Eyal stays but at what cost?

It is a shame though, because he is a very good player and we would then be looking at replacing 2 midfielders even if the other one isn’t quite so good (you know who I mean). Barton looks like the obvious replacement for MVF but he is still young with only half a dozen first team games under his belt. He really does look a great prospect but it wouldn’t hurt to have some cover in this area. Possible candidates (although I can’t think of anyone with similarities to Berkovic):

Usual suspects:

  • Michael Brown (would he come back to the club that shunned him? Hopefully, alot has changed since then re: personnel)
  • Matt Holland (not exactly as young as he looks now though)

Who is he?

  • Siberieski (I really don’t know anything about him. Has anybody seen him inaction?)

Maybe’s:

  • Jody Morris (I believe he’s to be released by Chelsea – for nothing? I knowhe’s had his off-pitch problems but he’s always looked pretty good on it tome but I read a move to a club in London might be more his thing).

As for last season, hearing about all the big names that we were interested in but never got. Well, I’d rather not know about the Davids of this world as they are obviously going to want Champions’ League football. Effenberg was just a w****r (in my expert opinion) and Anelka an anomaly who Keegan managed to tempt with the help of Ali B (and what a brilliant signing it was). Fowler could too be a brilliant signing but he was also a big name who maybe had something to prove after injuries before the usual suspects came knocking on the door. Let’s be realistic. We’ve made progress, there’s nothing wrong with ambition but gently, gently, softly, softly. We are getting there under Keegan so let’s continue to show faith. He’s going to make mistakes along the way but we’re heading in the right direction.

Anyway, Europe here we come. Not the best way to get in but who cares! David Seaman is our new No 1. I know people will disagree but I don’t think it’s the worst signing in the world. He’s got immense experience and is a winner and I really think he still has something to offer. I’m quite pleased for the short term if I’m honest and he genuinely seems like a nice bloke. Lose the tash, lose the pony and you’ll do nicely.

Noel Wilkes-Wells (Noel.Wilkes-Wells@services.fujitsu.com)

OPINION: MIDFIELD MAESTROS III

I have to disagree that signing McManaman would be a mistake. Given that we are heading towards 4-4-2, he would be a top-class wide midfielder. SWP/Gillespie on one side, Macca on the other, with Barton/Tarnat in the holding rôle, and Benarbia/Berkovic at playmaker. Ali/Eyal would have four legitimate attacking targets. With 3-5-2, we had usually two, sometimes three, and only occasionally four.

All in all, I think KK has made a good start to the transfer season. Picking up Seaman on a free transfer is a good move, as we can save our pennies for the day when a ‘keeper truly worth splashing out for is available. Tarnat is also a good Bosman deal (for those not familiar with him, you may remember he scored a scorching goal against Milan at the San Siro in the first round of the Champions’ League). An old campaigner like him is the perfect foil for a younger player like Barton too.

Paul Calder (Paul.Calder@fifa-marketing.org)

OPINION: MIDFIELD MAESTROS IV

Which came first – the chicken or the egg?

In other words: are we playing the style of play we are because of the players we have, or do we have the players we have because they suit the style we (i.e. Kevin Keegan) want to play?

My point in all of this is that the choice of who we have in midfield depends on the style Kevin Keegan wants to play. Last season we played two central attackers up front. The style was very continental – almost Brazilian at times. Our attack depended on precision passing from the midfield “playmakers” (Berkovic and, to a less effective extent, Benarbia) to Anelka and whoever was partnering him. The style of play demanded precision, laser-like, “through the eye of a needle” passing. This type of play requires a certain type of player (i.e. Berkovic). It is difficult to do well, not only because it requires such precision, but also because it requires superb 3D vision from the playmaker. And it also requires great teamwork and anticipation from the forward. The final passes are often acutely angled, meaning that the forward has to time his run precisely so that he can receive the ball without being offside. The offside trap is very easy to use against this style (as we saw the many times Anelka was caught offside). What width we got in attack was from the strikers drifting out to the wing (how many times did we see Anelka playing on the wing), or from the “wing backs” (I still call them overlapping full backs) attacking down the flanks.

Were we playing this style because, in an ideal world, that’s the style Kevin Keegan wants to play? If so, then to my mind Berkovic is absolutely key. And either Benarbia has to do better this coming season (he was coming on stronger near the end of the season), or we need another Berkovic-type player as backup/complement.

Or were we playing it because, with Berkovic and Benarbia, it was a style that suited the players we had? If Kevin would really prefer to play a different style (with a winger, perhaps), then I can see the logic of letting Berkovic go (although I wouldn’t like it). Gillespie has been linked with us as this type of wide player. By chance, I happened to see the City vs. Blackburn game on TV a few days before the reports surfaced that Kevin was looking at Gillespie. I was concentrating on the City players, but even so one Blackburn player did stand out – and that was Gillespie. He constantly caused us trouble down the wing (of course, that may have said more about our crack defence at the time than about Gillespie). On the strength of just that game, Gillespie looked mighty useful. The advantage of playing with a winger is that it allows the final ball to be played back or square, and thus causes less offsides. Plus, I love seeing wingers play.

I don’t think that I’ve ever seen McManaman play. I gather from other contributors that he’s more of a holding player, not a playmaker. Is this the perfect replacement for Foe? At £65,000 a week he could play for 2 years before costing us the £7 million transfer fee alone (ignoring wages) that it would cost us to get Foe from Lyons. Plus, don’t we get a better player?

To my mind, assuming Kevin sticks with 4-4-2, a midfield of SWP, Joey Barton, Berkovic and McManaman looks pretty good. With McManaman playing as a defensive midfielder, that would allow SWP to get more involved in attack (I think he’s wasted in defence). And, don’t forget we’ve not seen that much of Barton yet. We know he’s good. We just don’t know, yet, how good. Maybe he’s a playmaker in the making?

A final note on Berkovic. I think he is just posturing. Of course, he wants another 2 years on his contract, especially having come off a good season. Equally, of course, City would be nuts to give him that extension with him having been injured so much during the past few months (especially given the general state of the game’s finances: who knows who will come up for grabs, cheap, within the next 2 years?). We had a backroom conflict over signing Robbie Fowler for (at least in part) similar reasons. Sorry, Eyal, we love you dearly, but the world’s changed. Like the rest of us, even footballers have to be grateful that they have a job these days.

Daniel Stone (daniel.j.stone@sympatico.ca)

OPINION: MIDFIELD MAESTROS V

With all the talk about new midfielders coming in, surely we could do worse than the return of Michael Brown?

He was a good player at Maine Road, but I feel he improved since he went to the Blades, and this season has proved (against top opposition) that he has the class, tenacity, and engine, and consistency to more than an adequate job in the Premiership, and I feel would be a definite improvement on MVF. His set-pieces aren’t bad either.

For that matter does anyone have any insight into why he was ever allowed to leave in the first place? Was it just a personality clash with JR, or was there more to it?

As for the ‘keeper situation – I feel Nash/Weaver/Ellegaard are good goalkeeping cover. Nash’s critics are judging him on a few short-notice appearances, he’s never been given a decent run in the side. I know Nick Weaver has had his lifestyle problems, but if anyone can iron them out, KK can, and by all accounts Ellegaard is improving all the time.

Chris Ffelan, Blackburn (chrisff@zoom.co.uk)

OPINION: SEX AND MAN CITY I

As I feel drawn to write something to MCIVTA but can’t be ar*** to pontificate on the various midfield meanderings, aside from saying my fingernails are already taking a hammering, I would like to point out that Mr McGowan – he of Sex and Man City – is, as I am reliably informed by the guy in the desk opposite, a Coventry City fan and not a Rags fan… that’s Angus Deyton, easily confused I know. McGowan once offered to imitate Terry Henry for Gordon Strachan on some late night sports show. Maybe we could get him to coach Berko into impersonating a level-headed, non-winging and healthy midfield genius.

Of course, having narrowly escaped relegation this season Mr McG may well have adopted the scum as his second team, in which case I’m talking nonsense – hmm bit like most of the transfer title-tattle going on across the press then. Ah the wonders of the close season.

Bring on Europe, that’s what I say!

Pete Roythorne (pete_roythorne@hotmail.com)

OPINION: SEX AND MAN CITY II

I wouldn’t mind wearing a t-shirt this summer saying “Sex and Man City”. I think it is terrribly humorous considering the TV show “Sex and the City” and it says it all about the 2 most fantastic pleasures in everyone’s life!

Anyone out there who might consider this idea?

Vanes Marzaroli (vanesmarzaroli@hotmail.com)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM I

Is it just me, or does our new home need brightening up a bit on the outside. The view from Asda car park is of a mass of grey concrete with the swirly bits looking like the exit ramps from the Arndale car park!

Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about the move and when I went to the Commonwealth Games, I thought the inside was wonderful. But let’s have the outside decorated to make it look more like the home of MCFC.

Jerry Serjeant (j.serjeant@ntlworld.com)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM II

As a tribute – what about the Bern(stein)abeu? Seriously though, I do like the “Blue Camp”.

Sean Cassidy (sean_cassidy@iol.ie)

OPINION: NEW STADIUM III

Just got these great stills and video sent from Martin Rayner regarding the new stadium, they are fantastic:

http://www.flashstorm.co.uk/standard/stadium.htm

One thing I noticed was that the seats are all blue – are we having any names spelt out across the seats like City or Reebok?

Graham Lord (gooch@spidernet.com.cy)

OPINION: SPONSORS

Best sponsor = FCUK – No, honest!

In reply to Ernie Barrow’s idea for suggestions of who would make the best sponsors, then there is only one candidate to me. French Connection (or as it’s branded – FCUK) is it.

Reasons:

  1. The short name fits in with everything that is unique, humorous, tongue-in-cheek, CTID, resolute-through-disaster etc. that being a Blue is allabout. Stuff the Rest – we are special.
  2. It is David Bernstein’s other job as chairman. That man deserves every bitof praise and plaudit going, so let’s maintain the connection (pardon theunintended pun!). DB wouldn’t rip us off either.
  3. The rest of the clubs would be jealous as hell.
  4. Who better for FCUK than City – we represent everything that theircorporate image says – and more. A perfect match!
  5. Lastly, Anelka is French (even if he rarely makes connection with the net!)?

Or would the Board interfere and cock that idea up too on the grounds that it wasn’t politically correct with their latest change of executive whim?

CTID, Ian Humphrey (ianhh@backofficesupportservices.co.uk)

OPINION: EUROPE I

Here is a thought; when all the Rags say that we have got into Europe via the back door, I think we had to dig a tunnel under it!

Anyway it’s only what they did last season when they got into the Champions’ League without being champs.

Gordon Hindle (Proslab@fs1.den.man.ac.uk)

OPINION: EUROPE II

I think it’s worth pointing out that the reason we’ve got into Europe, ahead of Middlesbrough, is thanks to the ‘club officials’. Based on the data posted on the MCFC official website (before the final game), Middlesbrough out-pointed us on each score except for the one reflecting the behaviour of club officials. I think we owe them a massive thanks – perhaps they should get performance-related play like the players!

P.S. Any Blues in Manila out there? I move out there later in the year.

Matt Jowett (mcvita@mattjowett.net)

OPINION: EUROPE III

Now that City have been confirmed as European contenders in the UEFA Cup the silly season becomes a little more serious, for all City fans will be awaiting the draw on June 20th. Does this mean that City look for better class players then what the previous budget allowed? Let’s hope so, without going crazy about it. This makes the “Silly Season” more interesting.

Come on you Blues, Europe here we come!

Ernie Barrow (britcityblue@aol.com)

REQUEST: DANGLING BLUES?

I wonder if you can help? I am desperately trying to find out about an episode in the mid 70’s when a Man City fan’s eight year old son was dangled over a thirty foot drop on Elland Road.

Does this mean anything to you, or can you give me a contact of someone who might know anything?

Thanks, Lucy Watson – Deputy Picture Editor, GQ Magazine (LWATSON@condenast.co.uk)

REQUEST: FAREWELL MAINE ROAD

If you would like to hear “A Farewell to Maine Road”, go to BBC website, which is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/, then go to Radio, then to Radio 5 where you will find a list, click on to “A Farewell to Maine Road”; you will find it very good and bring back some memories.

Happy Listening, Ernie Barrow (britcityblue@aol.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]Heidi Pickup, heidi@mcivta.freeserve.co.uk

Newsletter #921

2003/06/05

Editor:


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