Newsletter #959

A 0-1 win over in Belgium sees us progress into tomorrow’s second round draw. An uninspiring game where we never seemed to get out of first gear, but were safely in control thanks to an Anelka penalty in the first 20 minutes.

Tonight we have news on Europe, squad, opinion on the game and several requests including one following an incident after the Wolverhampton game involving a City fan who is thankfully recovering.

Bolton are visitors on Saturday and hopefully our form against them as profiled by John this week continues.

Next game: Bolton Wanderers, home, 3pm Saturday 18th October 2003


General News

I Think I Will Travel For Rio: Stretford Wanderers’ centre half, Rio Ferdinand, is still in a bit of bother with the FA over his non-appearance for a random drugs test. There was a preliminary hearing into the matter this week, as the FA decided whether or not Mr. Ferdinand should be charged with misconduct. According to the press coverage of the hearing, Ferdinand’s team were anxious to show that their client had made all possible efforts to comply with the request for a sample, and would be relying on records of Rio’s mobile telephone use on the day in question and (there is a City link coming up, I promise you) the testimony of one Eyal Berkovic, esq. The Israeli midfielder, a friend of Ferdinand’s from their days at West Ham together, is reported to have met the Manchester United defender on 23 September – the day Rio missed a drugs test. It was Berkovic apparently who alerted football’s answer to ‘Mr. Forgetful’ to the fact that he had a text message from United. There was speculation that the City player would be called to give evidence about Ferdinand’s state of mind and how much effort he made to be tested after realising his error. It could save the England star from a serious charge of ‘wilfully missing a drug test’ although Ferdinand is still likely to be hit with a lesser offence of ‘missing a drug test’.

City to Welcome England? There was plenty of controversy surrounding the FA and the England national team this week, but one tasty morsel came out of the coverage. In the light of England’s qualification for the finals of Euro 2004, the press state that the national team may be playing a friendly at the City of Manchester Stadium. According to reports, the FA is planning an end of season mini-tournament, with games pencilled in for the COMS, Old Trafford, Anfield and Goodison Park. City’s new home has already been mentioned as a possible venue for a future UEFA Cup final, so a prestige international game would surely help raise the profile of the stadium.

International Blues: Five City players were on international duty this news week. Willo Flood, Glenn Whelan and Stephen Elliott were in Ireland’s under-21 squad, which beat their hosts Switzerland 2-0 on Friday. Elliott played the full ninety minutes, while Whelan entered the fray as a last minute substitute. Flood was not called into action. On the same day, Shaun Wright-Phillips played for England’s under-21 side that lost to a single goal in Turkey. Sweep carved out the best English chance, as he ran with the ball from the halfway line, but put his shot wide of a post. The only player on senior duty was Paul Bosvelt, who was an unused substitute for Holland in their 5-0 European Championship qualifying victory over Moldova. The Dutch will now meet Scotland in their two-legged play-off decider next month.

Get Down Rovers! Stephen Elliott capped a fine week by returning from his international to score twice for the reserves as they beat Blackburn Rovers 3-0 at Hyde on Monday night. Elliott recently expressed the hope that he’d be given a chance to prove himself in the reserves, so must have helped his claims to a regular spot in the team. Jon Macken scored the other goal from the penalty spot, to continue his recuperation from a series of injuries. Team: Ellegaard; Flood, Nathan D’Laryea, McCarthy (Onouha, ht), Jordan (c); Croft, Negouai (Ireland, 78), Jonathan D’Laryea, Tandy; Macken (Wright-Phillips, 64), Elliott. Unused Subs: Schmeichel, Murphy.

Ex-Blues’ News

Vuoso So-So: Ever wondered how Matias Vuoso was getting on in Mexico? KK snapped up the young Argentinian forward in June 2002 from Independiente in a £3.5 million deal. Vuoso arrived at the same time as Niclas Anelka, in the summer of 2002, but while the French star has gone from strength to strength, Vuoso did not feature in any first team action. In July, he was loaned out to Mexican club Santos Laguna. Thanks to Howard Davies, who writes: “Checking the Santos Laguna website in Mexico, I find that Vuoso has scored only once in the first 11 games. But that goal was a 92nd minute equaliser in a 5-5 home draw against Monterey! There are no comments on their website about his performances, at least none that I can understand.”

The Road To Gothenburg, 19 May 2004

The ‘Gentlemen’ of the Press: On the morning of the Lokeren game, the UK newspapers (notably the Sun and the Daily Mail) were full of tales of the “Seamo is three games from the chop” type. KK must wonder where this story came from on the eve of an important match, but the source of the tale was certainly consistent. Both newspapers said that David Seaman would be rested for the Worthington Cup tie at QPR, so Rotherham’s Divine Pony Tail had the three games prior to that to prove his worth with error-free performances. In the build-up to the UEFA tie, KK preferred to concentrate on lifting the spirits of the side after the defeat at Wolves. “Our initial emphasis is on getting everyone back up again. This break also gives us a chance to work on fitness,” he said. “We have had a lot of games already and they will come thick and fast again depending on how well we do in the Cup competitions. We want to keep everyone topped up so to speak as we are going to need all twenty two players. I feel we have twenty two players who are first team material, that’s two full teams. At the moment the minute Richard Dunne and Mikkel Bischoff go out it sends a little alarm bell ringing because that is two central defenders gone. I am then left with three, Sylvain Distin, David Sommeil and Gerard Wiekens. So we want to keep everyone ticking over without getting any more injuries. We will be lifting their spirits after Wolverhampton as it was a poor display and then we will get focussed on Sunday on Lokeren.”

Poor Pitch, Lucky Penalty, Good Atmosphere: City duly eased into the second round of the UEFA Cup as they completed a comfortable aggregate victory against Lokeren. Nicolas Anelka’s 19th minute penalty – his fifth of the season and second of the tie – was enough to settle a scrappy affair on a slippery, bumpy pitch. After the game, KK admitted: “We have done what we had to do here. It was not exciting, it was a workmanlike performance. We were fortunate to get a penalty. If it had been given at the other end, I would have been disappointed. I think there was an infringement but you don’t often get penalties for something like that. Lokeren made it very difficult for us. They pressed us in midfield, are a good team and I cannot understand why they are bottom of the league. They took the Belgian League by storm last year, but they have lost a striker and if they had someone up front they could be a real handful. This was always going to be a difficult game after we won 3-2 in the first leg, but we’re in the hat for the next round and we’ll meet stronger teams than them now.” He added: “It was never going to be a classic – the pitch wouldn’t allow it – and they didn’t come to attack us, playing with five men at the back. But it was a workmanlike performance. We got the goal we wanted, which meant they needed two to go through – that made it tough for them.” He praised the travelling fans as well. He said: “It was a terrific atmosphere. The fans were a little bit better than the game.” He revealed that Trevor Sinclair, who was restored to the side, is doubtful for Saturday’s game after suffering a dead leg.

Job Done: Goalscorer Nicolas Anelka summarised the night’s events thus: “We had a job to do and we did it quite well in the end. It was important that we scored the first goal and then concentrated hard for the rest of the game. It was not a great spectacle but it wasn’t an easy game and Lokeren competed hard. No one expected them to win the tie and they played without fear. Once we scored we were in control of our destiny, which I hope is against one of the really big clubs. We all want to test ourselves and go as far as we can.” The Elk has a regular penalty practice routine at Carrington HQ, apparently. “I do practice them a lot and I vary where I put the ball. It is a lot to do with confidence and with concentration. It was important that I scored at that time because it lifted us and knocked Lokeren down. I was happy to see it go in.” Those of us following the game on BBC Radio 5 live had to suffer the whining of “expert” summariser Stan Collymore, who couldn’t understand why his ex-Liverpool team mate Steve McManaman wasn’t employed in a more attacking rôle. Macca didn’t seem to share these concerns, however. “The top and bottom of it is that we got the result that we wanted and that we needed,” said the midfielder. “We went about things professionally but to be honest if we are going to do anything in the UEFA Cup and the Premiership this season then we should be beating teams like we did last night. The kind of tie we were involved in Belgium are always very difficult. We were on a hiding to nothing if we hadn’t performed. In the event we have won the tie and the lads who haven’t had any experience of playing away in Europe have now done that so it will stand us in good stead for the bigger games. There was a discipline about the side and we only had to do the bare minimum. They put us under a bit of pressure but nothing too bad and you expect that in European football. I played more deeply because we didn’t have to chase the game; if we had been 1-0 down people would have seen a different game. But in Europe you have to be regimental sometimes, you have to be disciplined and then get back home and concentrate on the next game.”

Squad News

Injury Update: Prior to the trip to Belgium, KK gave the latest news on a trio of injured first team squad members. “Richard Dunne is very close to coming back to training and he should be joining us again on Friday,” said the manager. “Danny Tiatto is close as well to coming back though Lokeren may come too early for him. That is not because of his lack of fitness but he hasn’t trained enough. He will be fit but won’t have done enough training, which we could say about Richard Dunne as well.” He is also pleased with the progress being made by striker Jon Macken, although he is some way from a first team position. “Jon now needs to play games. You only need to look at the number of minutes of football he has had in a year and unfortunately it has not been a lot. He will need games now, a run of two or three just to get match fitness. He has done all the other things which have been necessary so it is now games that he needs.”

Shoot! Michael Tarnat has already scored two stunning free kicks from distance, but he says that we shouldn’t be too surprised. “I normally take the long distance free kicks from thirty odd yards,” explained the German international. “When I was at Bayern Munich I scored a lot of goals from set pieces. After my first goal for City at Blackburn a lot of people came to me and said they had never seen me score like that before. But it is normal for me. The goal against Blackburn is not by any means the best that I have scored in my career. I recall scoring a great goal against Duisberg from all of thirty eight yards when I was playing in Germany.” Tarnat has always been a dead ball specialist. “I have been practicing since I was eighteen years of age. I was taught by the coach of the youth side for which I was playing, Dieter Doetsch. He taught me how to strike the ball, when and how to shoot with the outside of the foot or the instep. He taught me what to do when the distance was long or short or if I had to shoot over the wall or directly into the corner of the goal. I have different ways of striking the ball now. I just go for a power shot if I am about to hit the ball from thirty yards. Closer to the goal and I will vary it.”

Barton’s Special Agent: And finally, Esther, a little piece from last week’s Sunday People. “FOOTBALL HOTLINE: JOE: GIVE ME MORE DOUGH! Joey Barton is locked into a contract wrangle with Manchester City – after teaming up with a new agent. The England under-21 midfielder wants a new deal from Kevin Keegan – despite being handed a rise just a couple of months ago. Now ambitious Barton has joined top agency SFX, who look after David Beckham and the City star’s pal Steven Gerrard. And Barton – who came through the ranks at City – is looking for another increase after chatting to pals while on international duty.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Great beer, great following, great result… poor game sums up City’s first foray on continental soil for quite a few years. We arrived in Lokeren at about 6 pm to find the central square of this small Belgian town dominated by about a thousand buoyant City fans, all in excellent spirits. The Belgian fans were friendly, the atmosphere was good and plenty of the excellent Belgian beer was being downed.

Then on to the ground -about a fifteen minute walk from the town centre. The majority of City fans were behind one goal in a Gene Kelly style temporary stand. Despite a few hiccups (some fans had tickets with seat numbers that didn’t exist) everyone decided to sit, or rather stand, where they could.

The match was almost entirely forgettable. Wanchope had his legs whipped from under him as he was about to head the ball goalwards in the penalty area and the Elk duly slotted the penalty away to finish the tie. Cue some great chanting by the City fans – particularly funny was the loud derisory imitation of a strange chant that the Lokeren fans had been making. Winner of the best chant of the night went to ‘McManaman det der did da da’ to the tune of Ma na Ma Ma (I think that was what it was called), led by a City fan with the loudest voice I’ve ever heard.

The game continued with City content to stifle eveything that Lokeren tried, without showing much in attack themselves. SWP was City’s best player by far, with two good strikes in the second half. Wanchope and McManaman both had useful games and Seaman made a couple of good saves. City had a few slight flutters late in the game but steady defending by Distin saw us safely through to the final whistle and we all staggered happily out of the stadium into the cold night air.

It all reminded me of an away game at Grimsby or Reading’s old ground, but with better beer.

I won’t bother giving the City players any individual points – it was an all round solid, flat performance and they got the job done.

‘Null points’ however, to the Belgian stewards and police who failed to react to a nasty outbreak of fighting in a non-segregated part of the stand shortly after City’s goal.

So – it’s onwards into Europe. Fingers crossed we get a good draw in the next round and manage to avoid the other Premier teams still in it. Let’s hope the beer is as good in the next place.

Steve Muchall – formerly Vienna Blue, now back in the UK <stevemuch(at)>


The performance has rightly been described as ‘workmanlike’ and will, no doubt, be commented on by others. I would just like to express my thanks to the club and Thomas Cook whose organisation of the day trip flights was first class. The TC staff were friendly and informed and everything went without a hitch and with a lot of laughs! The free woolly hats came in useful later in the evening as it cooled down as well – even if they were in the old laser blue! After all the criticism of the club on the ticketing front (and deservedly so) I think it only right to praise where praise is due.

One comment I would like the club to note is that we were surprised to see the alcohol sales in the town centre were in glass bottles or glasses! This led to a mess of broken glass around the centre (not malicious I hasten to add but clumsy/accidental). Why were they not advised to use plastic glasses? I thought we had helped the club/town in the organisation! Thanks to the Lokeren supporters for their kindness and good humour as well (oh yes, the beer and steak wasn’t bad either!).

Let’s hope for a good draw in round 2, with a good club as we seem to perform better against better teams!

CTID, Joe Ramsbottom <joe.ramsbottom(at)>


Poor Pitch
Poor Opposition
Poor Performance
Disgraceful Match Officials
OK Result

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


“Bambi (Wanchope) has failed to seize his chance” says Ernie, adding the Fowler now deserves the chance to start a full game. He’s scored a goal in his first full game back, outscored Fowler in pre-season, OK, missed chances against Tottenham, but also at least got chances, hit the post against Wolves. He’s played three full games on return through injury (and also been fit enough to last 90 minutes). Fowler had about 20 games back (not sure of the figures), with Goater, Huckerby and Macken available for the majority of those games. I think Wanchope at least deserves a few more games before he’s dismissed so summarily.

Sam Al-Hamdani <sam(at)>


Has anyone else noticed a major slow down of the official club website loading up over recent months? Some days it takes an age or does not appear at all when I load it from work where the Internet connection is fast for other websites.

My doubts are whether the thought police at work may be quizzing the content and are about to add football sites to the banned surfing list in an attempt to make us all work harder. If the problem is widespread and relates to the site itself I will raise it with the club so please let me know.

Adrian Coe <adrian.coe(at)>


Police in the West Midlands are appealing for information about an accident that happened at the end of City’s match against Wolves. On Saturday 04 October 2003, Manchester City played Wolves at Molineux, Wolverhampton.

Just prior to the end of the match at about 16.55 a large number of fans left the ground. Unfortunately, one of the Man City fans was knocked over by a car while trying to cross the Wolverhampton Ring Road. He suffered serious injuries but is making a slow recovery.

There were a large number of Man City supporters in the immediate area at the time, however none furnished the police with their details. If you or anyone you know witnessed the accident the police at Wolverhampton would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

The phone number for fans to contact is 0845 113 5000 (local rate). If they could then ask to speak to PC 2577 Nigel Power at Bilston Street Traffic Unit on extension 6940. There is an answering service if there is no one in the office. PC Power will then get in touch with them. Alternatively they can write to:

PC 2577 Power
Traffic Unit
Bilston Street Police Station
West Midlands



My mum and dad are coming down to Londinium for an unexpected visit. I’ve already shelved out £42 and would love to take them to a posh ground (then again it’s nothing compared to our new turf)! Two tickets please. Call 07961950911 or email.

City til that bloke falls off the railings, Phil Harper <pharper(at)>


My last game before leaving for Australia was Watford away, back in 1989. Paul Lake was our main man back then and only for a terrible knee injury he would have gone on and played many games for England.

I will be in England on a business trip for one week, with my last appointment being down south on the 31st October.

Could anyone please assist with a ticket for the Southampton game before I fly out from Heathrow at 10 on Saturday night?

Stephen Roebuck <stephen.roebuck(at)>


I’m not sure if this has already been on the newsletter, but the photographs from Kevin Cummins’ “We’re not really here” are being exhibited at the Richard Goodall Gallery on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter if anyone fancies a cultural afternoon. Prints from the book are also on sale at the gallery.

[The exhibition ends this Saturday, so your last chance to get down and view those excellent images – Ed]

James Roberts <jamesandmichelle(at)>


The appeal fund established in memory of Foe is progressing well and we are now able to give an update on how people can contribute:

Financial Donations:

Any branch of HSBC

Account Name/Payable to: Marc Vivien Fo