Newsletter #968

Views tonight on a first visit to COMS, life through blue-tinted specs, news on the Groclin game and tips for Newcastle. We also have the usual requests.

Don has kindly agreed to step in and edit Thursday night’s edition so you can send your articles in to either the usual <editor(at)> or <news(at)> addresses.

Next game: Newcastle United, away, 3pm Saturday 22 November 2003


Just got back from a visit to Manchester, which included two games at COMS – my first view of the stadium. There’s no doubt that this is a most impressive facility – walking up to the ground for the Groclin game was quite awe-inspiring and when you come up the stairs and see the pitch, it fair took my breath away. In a way, it’s more like going to a theatre than a football ground. Mind you, the daylight experience is also pretty impressive, all we need now is a decent team!

Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh given our position in the table, but having seen these two games live and three other games on TV, it seems to me that KK has lost the plot somewhere. Yes, he has assembled a fairly decent group of players but his selections give the impression that he simply puts sixteen numbers in a hat and draws them out at random.

As others have commented, against Groclin, we started like a house on fire but, once Reyna departed, the team lost all shape and creativity. Bosvelt is an excellent player in his own way, a real pro who’ll never let you down, the sort of guy that you’d really love to have playing with you. But there’s no way that he’s going to play the killer ball. However, the problem with KK’s team selection was really exposed on Sunday. I think we all agreed ages ago (although it seemed to take the manager a long time to agree) that 3-5-2 didn’t work. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’ve never seen any team, other than, perhaps, Real Madrid, make it work. The reason is that it puts too much stress on the ‘wing-backs’, who have to be both defenders and forwards at the same time, and generally fail in both departments. On Sunday, we had a novel version of this system, I suppose you could call it 2-6-2, in which 4 midfield players exchanged passes around the centre circle before finally disappearing up their own *****!

When the ball occasionally went wide, we had the unedifying spectacle of Jihai Sun and Tarnat attempting to make up the ground from full-back, crossing abysmally, then trying to get back into their proper positions while Distin and Dunne were trying to give the impression that we actually had a back four. Meanwhile, up front, our two strikers roamed fairly aimlessly around, usually with a couple of markers each, in the vain hope that a decent pass might come their way. It was simply awful!

Now I know that Sinclair is injured and that SWP has removed himself from the team, but have we no cover for these players? Actually, I think I can answer my own question: perusing the City squad, the only other wide players I can see are Chris Shuker and Willo Flood. I discount Steve MactheMan because he doesn’t seem able to play as a wide man anymore. More often than not, when he receives the ball out wide, he just ducks his shoulder (left or right) and heads for the centre circle.

I always like to watch a game from behind the goal because it feels like you’re playing the game – after all, when you’re actually playing football, that’s how you do it. My seat behind the goal for the Groclin match really helped to pinpoint many of City’s problems (maybe KK should try it?). What was evident, apart from the first 15-20 minutes, was the incredible lack of movement, particularly up front, and an equally incredible lack of real pace. Watch the movement of good teams, always someone available in space to pass to. Watch the pace of good teams – where is there any pace in City’s line-up?

And the great enigma that is Anelka. When City signed him, I was as delighted as the next one – at last, a really world-class player. I remembered all those great pacey breaks when he was with Arsenal, all that great running of the line. Where has it all gone? Granted the service from the midfield is pretty c**p but, on the evidence of my eyes, he’s hardly helping himself. He seems to have become a one-trick merchant – lie up against the defender and try to nudge the ball around him – and it doesn’t take good defenders long to work this out. And what’s all this arm flapping and eye raising when he doesn’t get a good pass? Is this some new tactic to encourage his team mates – that’s if he actually has any. I tried to think of what he reminds me of nowadays and then I remembered. He’s like some guy who’s come to a party but doesn’t know anyone there – or doesn’t want to know anyone. So, he kind of hangs around the fringes before sulking off. If Anelka stays 5 years at City, I’ll eat my lucky scarf (if my nephew hasn’t burnt it first).

I don’t want to be hard on him because he has great ability but I couldn’t help musing that we gave Dickov away before spending £13 million on Anelka (and then £6 million on Fowler). Something about chickens and roosts comes to mind.

My first team from what we’ve got would be: Seaman; Jihai Sun (the best City player in all the games I’ve seen this season), Dunne, Distin and Tarnat; SWP, Bosveldt, Berkovic and Sinclair; Fowler and Anelka (perhaps).

But it ain’t going to win us the title – sorry!

Barry Taylor <barryriley(at)>


Right, that’s it.

I hereby choose to distance myself from the majority of City fans on the grounds that they are insufferably thick.

On my way down to Piccadilly on Sunday after the game (sorry for not hanging around at the Mitchell Arms but I was getting soaked and was already fairly fed-up) I heard the following quote from a City fan

“F*****g Dickov cost us that game”

Oh dear God where do I start? Well, for one thing Dickov did not cost us that game, our inability to create proper goal scoring chances, lack of defensive nouse, general lack of motivation and all-round being out-played is what cost us the game, not the antics of Paul Dickov.

Now aside from the fact that Dickov gave me my greatest moment while watching City (which in itself tells you how bad things have been until fairly recently) we all know what he plays like, in fact no other set of fans in the country should be more aware of Dickov’s game plan. Let’s face it, we’ve all been happy enough to benefit from Dickov winding up defenders and having the odd dubious ‘fall’ in the area so can we really all get on our high horses when we suffer at his hands in exactly the same manner. He’s a committed player and to be honest it’s a bit more of his sort of commitment that we could do with from some of our so-called superstar players; with the exception of Joey Barton and SWP we don’t often see players who put as much into a game as Dickov.

I honestly didn’t see what caused Dickov to fall over in the box so I can’t and won’t comment on whether it should have been a penalty or not but we must have all seen it coming a mile off. So perhaps instead of blaming Dickov for our dismal defeat and ignoring our own deficiencies, we should take a closer look at the shocking performance put in by our own boys in blue. A 20 yarder and a virtually free header are what cost us the other two goals and what was our reply? Well… I’m still waiting for it.

My view is that we were garbage but the team will get away with another shocking performance because moron City fans have decided it’s all Paul Dickov’s fault. Now some match analysis.

Starting from the back. Poor Kevin Ellegaard looked a nervous wreck to me. Whether he was thrust in at the last minute I’m not so sure, but the whole occasion definitely got to him. One for the future yes, but not ready for regular action.

Once again I thought Distin looked a bit suspect. He gets all the plaudits in defence, but a lot of weaknesses are showing, not least in the air, and in this case to coin one of Kev’s favourite phrases he just wasn’t very “streetwise” when marking Dickov was he? Dunney never seems to get any plaudits whatsoever, but for me he was one of the few who could hold his head high, and it’s about time people gave him the credit he deserves.

I am beginning to feel a little sorry for Sun Jihai, because the same muppets who booed Dickov were on his case again. He has made a few clangers at the back over the course of time, but these have been getting fewer and further between. He links superbly with SWP now for me, and as we all know SWP has the pace to cover when Sun is going forward, which is what Sun is very good at. And speaking of SWP, how much do we miss this guy when he’s not playing? He’s quickly becoming our most valuable player.

The midfield selection, as KK now admits, was all wrong. Three attacking midfielders against a tough side like Leicester is asking for trouble. After all this time we have been pleading for Eyal’s return, why bring him in against a team he is less suited to playing against? Why not even have him in the 18 three days before, yet thrust him? Call me cynical if you wish but his comment of “some players have been banging on my door, demanding to play, and when they have got the chance they haven’t taken it” is certainly only directed at Eyal, not Sibierski or Wanchope. Why do I get the feeling KK knew he would flop in such a formation, and now has been given the excuse he needs not to play him?

Finally, that everlasting question of who to play up front with Anelka. Wanchope is certainly not the answer because he gets more of a waste of space with each passing game. Fowler; well I couldn’t understand why he dropped him when he was just starting to show some form. Maybe he was tired after his recent “exertions”. In my opinion the answer could be there staring him in the face; Jon Macken. I have seen a lot of this guy whilst watching PNE in my non-City match day spare time. This is the exact type of player we need. A player who holds the ball up well, uses it well, and scores his share of goals. You don’t see Macken missing sitters, tripping over his own feet, or blasting it aimlessly against the defender’s legs. He’s got a very clever football brain, which compensates for his lack of pace. Come on Kev, the guy deserves a chance.

I’ve a feeling we may have had an unfounded sense of expectancy about the team this year. Things are heading in the right direction, but it’s not there yet. We may well have to settle with a finish similar to last season. Inconsistency, it seems, will forever be the thorn in the side of this club.

Nick Morley <nmorley(at)>


Hi folks, just heard that the away leg against Groclin is going to be shown on Channel 5. I believe it may be a 15.15 kick off but this has not been confirmed yet on the official web page. Hope my source was correct.

Keep up the good work.

Tony Farrar <Farrar(at)>


I have a friend at work who is a season ticket holder at Newcastle. He warned me today that since mid-October the council have had a big clampdown on parking in the streets throughout the city centre and football fans are looked on as easy targets for the £60 fixed penalty. He recommends the Warner village car park. Pay and Display 20p per hour. Says there are lots of spaces.

To get there: over bridge, through underpass in left hand lane, take first left road bends back over itself and you can see the big Warner sign. About 10 minutes walk to the ground. Might save a few getting caught out.

See you all there.

CTID, Mick B <Koolfurmick(at)>


I noticed in the Sunday Mirror (I just scan it and the Sunday People in Sainsburys when I do my Sunday shopping!) that City are going to put in a £5 million offer for Chris Kirkland. A bit unrealistic given Wardle’s recent statement I think. Having watched Russia vs. Wales, however, I think we should try to get Paul Jones from Soton. He looked reasonably safe and made a couple of good saves. Clearly, Seaman will now take longer to get over any niggling injuries and Weaver is not fit enough. I have to say Ellegard does not look a brilliant prospect to me – admittedly after only 1 game. So a new goalkeeper is required. Have to say I was very impressed by Wales’ defensive performance – Delaney and Gabbidon were particularly good; while Koumas looked very classy. What’s he doing in the First Division?

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)>


Heard a snippet tonight that might be of interest to McV readers. Apparantly Uwe Rösler is due for a check up with his specialist on the 19th of this month when hopefully he will be given the all clear from his recent cancer problem. I’m sure all McV readers will join me in wishing Uwe all the best and that it’s good news for him.

I hear Uwe may well be a guest of the club for the Middlesbrough game so no doubt we will hear from him on local radio.

Alex Channon <alex.channon(at)>


Apparently they’re not that keen – a bit of a change from 1971 when dollars and West German marks and sterling had black market rates. You should be able to exchange them though.

You can order zlotys from some exchange bureaux in the UK (e.g. Going Places) – but you can’t bring any out.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Hi, I am season ticket holder at COMS and just missed out on a ticket for the Newcastle game on Sunday. I am desperate for 1 ticket, would it be possible to publish this in the next MCIVTA in a slim hope of someone being able to help me out.

Thanks, John Eagles <john.eagles(at)>


David Butler asks “May we now boo?” after the Leicester game. I feel like adding “and can I revert to my original cartoon intended for the front cover of the latest issue of ‘King of the Kippax’?”… Anelka (in case you don’t recognise him – I know my limitations!) is depicted walking away, saying, as quoted, that he wants to play in the Champions’ League in future, whilst a young fan hangs onto his ankles, weeping.

In the original pic the child cried “BOO, HOO!”, and Keegan held his hand to his ear, saying “Did I hear a ‘BOO’?”. After some heated editorial debate, the ‘Boo Hoo’ was scrubbed, and Keegan’s response to Anelka’s plea was changed to “With City!”

Now, we endure three weeks of harrassment from Rags and Bolton Whingers before any chance to renew our hopes that we will, one day soon, play in the Champions’ League, with Anelka. May I now ‘Boo Hoo!’?

Issue 117 of ‘King of the Kippax’ is on sale at ‘Sportspages’ – London and Manchester, ‘Needbest’ (the newspaper kiosk on the corner of Cross Street, M/cr., opposite M&S), and outside the ground on matchdays. Check out the gallery of ex-City heroes on the back cover, and try to guess which of the current squad will still be remembered 50 years from now.

Sue Wallace <kippax.editor(at)>


I am the football fan and the collector of football programmes. I search for friends for correspondence and an exchange of football programmes and other material. In an exchange I have many football programme from Russia with participation of the English and British commands (teams), and also commands (teams) from other countries. I can keep in contact on the Internet and post messages.

Oleg Jurjevich <aspirant(at)>


Chorlton Blues hold their annual charity night on Tuesday 18th November. All proceeds raised will be donated to the Childrens Hospitals Appeal Trust. The special guest for the evening is former City star David White. Other guests are also expected. There will be the opportunity to win a framed and signed City 1st team shirt. There are other suberb prizes to be won and a free buffet for anyone who may be hungry.

We are hoping for a good turn out of Blues on the evening and hope to better last year’s excellent event. As always, all City fans are welcome.

The event takes place at South West Manchester Cricket Club on Ellesmere Road and events kick off at 8.00pm.

Further details can be found on our website:

Larry Higgs <info(at)>


The next meeting of the Swinton branch of the CSA will be held on Thursday 20th November KO 8-00pm. Venue: Folly Social Club, Station Road, Swinton.

Special Guest: Alistair MacKintosh, Managing Director, MCFC.

All welcome.

Alex Channon <alex.channon(at)>


The online auction is now “live” and you can view the items available from the many Clubs, the FA and various celebs which are available to bid for by visiting the website:

Amongst the City related items kindly donated by MCFC, Doves and Dave Kilroy are signed shirts, signed programmes, original No 23 training tops and a matchday package.

For further information please email:



League table to 15 November 2003 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal         12  5  1  0 12  6  4  2  0 13  4  9  3  0  25  10  15  30
 2 Chelsea         12  5  1  0 15  5  4  1  1 11  4  9  2  1  26   9  17  29
 3 Manchester Utd  12  4  1  1 12  3  5  0  1 11  4  9  1  2  23   7  16  28
 4 Charlton Ath.   12  2  2  2  9 11  4  1  1 10  4  6  3  3  19  15   4  21
 5 Birmingham City 12  2  3  1  6  4  3  2  1  5  4  5  5  2  11   8   3  20
 6 Manchester City 12  2  2  2 12  9  3  1  2 10  6  5  3  4  22  15   7  18
 7 Fulham          12  2  2  2 10  9  3  1  2 12  9  5  3  4  22  18   4  18
 8 Liverpool       12  2  1  3  8  8  3  1  2 10  6  5  2  5  18  14   4  17
 9 Southampton     12  3  1  2  5  3  1  4  1  5  4  4  5  3  10   7   3  17
10 Newcastle Utd   12  2  2  2  6  4  2  2  2 10 14  4  4  4  16  18  -2  16
11 Portsmouth      12  4  0  2 15  6  0  3  3  2 10  4  3  5  17  16   1  15
12 Middlesbrough   12  2  0  4  6 10  2  2  2  5  5  4  2  6  11  15  -4  14
13 Tottenham H.    12  2  1  3  6  8  1  2  3  5  8  3  3  6  11  16  -5  12
14 Bolton Wndrs    12  1  4  1  5  4  1  2  3  4 15  2  6  4   9  19 -10  12
15 Leicester City  12  2  2  2 10  8  1  0  5  9 13  3  2  7  19  21  -2  11
16 Blackburn R.    12  2  0  4 10 11  1  2  3  7 11  3  2  7  17  22  -5  11
17 Aston Villa     12  2  3  1  6  5  0  2  4  3 10  2  5  5   9  15  -6  11
18 Everton         12  2  2  2  9  7  0  2  4  4 10  2  4  6  13  17  -4  10
19 Wolves          12  2  2  2  6 13  0  2  4  2 11  2  4  6   8  24 -16  10
20 Leeds United    12  1  2  3  5 10  1  0  5  6 21  2  2  8  11  31 -20   8

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.06]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup) :
News/rumour (Don Barrie) :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul) :
FAQ (David Warburton) :

[1] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

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

[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

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

The official club web site can be found at

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club” (

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

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

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

The GMR pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at, whilst an alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at

[7] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and also provides a guide to pubs in the USA showing football.

[8] What’s the music the teams run out to?

It’s actually a mix of two tracks. It starts with “O Verona” (from the motion picture “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet”) and leads in to “Barber’s Adagio for Strings (Ferry Corsten remix)” by William Orbit. The first part is available on the movie soundtrack (volume 2) and the second is included on a variety of CDs such as Kiss House Nation 2000, Galaxy Hit Mix, Cream Live, Ibiza Chill and Dance Nation 4.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

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

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

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

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the OFEX web site (registration required) or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try or

[13] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to Damian Quinn, Stephen Webb, Roger Haigh, Martin Price, and Adrian Howarth for the Satellite TV info.

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

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #968