Newsletter #973

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The poor form and performances continue as we slumped out of the Cup on Wednesday night 3-1 to Spurs. Tonight sees plenty of opinion on our recent abject form and individual performances, Don’s news on all things City and the usual requests.

A visit to struggling Everton on Sunday. Surely we must do better?

Next game: Everton, away, 2pm Sunday 7 December 2003 (TV)

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Another Scouser Signs On: For MCFC, of course! City have announced the appointment of Paul Tyrrell as the club’s press chief. Mr Tyrrell, 37, has spent a year in his native Merseyside setting up Liverpool Fire Brigade’s PR department. “It is a fantastic opportunity to be back in sport working for a great club,” he said. Tyrell is best known for his work at ITV Sport, where he oversaw such stories as the defection of Des Lynam from the BBC plus the infamous 7pm scheduling of the Premiership highlights show last year. This week’s stories do not make clear whether Tyrrell was involved in the calamitous ITV Digital collapse, but judging by City’s current parlous state, he sounds eminently qualified for his new post.

Fixture Frolics: City’s reserve game at Newcastle this week was postponed. The pitch at Whitley Park was inspected at 10.00am on Monday morning and was passed fit to play on, but with continuing rain throughout the day the pitch became unplayable and the game was called off. The next scheduled reserves fixture is at Hyde United’s ground on Tuesday December 9th when the second string play Everton. Over at the first team: City are facing another Sunday game because of the TV cameras with the visit of Birmingham City put back a day to 8 February for live coverage. The game will be broadcast live on pay-per-view TV and kick-off at The City of Manchester Stadium is scheduled for 2pm. Meanwhile the Youth side have been drawn against the Rags in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. The Reds will have home advantage in the tie, but a date and venue for the Cup clash have yet to be confirmed.

Elliott Strikes Thrice: Stephen Elliott has enjoyed a storming start to the FIFA World Under-20’s Championships, currently taking place in Dubai. In the opening two games, Elliott has scored three times – he scored both goals in the opening game, a 2-1 victory against Saudi Arabia, and hit the net again in Ireland’s 2-2 draw against the Ivory Coast. Lee Croft is in England’s squad in the same tournament, but is yet to feature. Elliott has been quoted this week as saying: “I haven’t played for the first team yet but I’ve scored three goals in four games for the reserves. This is the last season of my contract at City and hopefully it’ll work out that I get a new deal. I wouldn’t mind going out on loan after the World Cup, although I was happy enough getting a few games in the reserves before coming here as it left me feeling sharp.”

Blue Blood: The award for the oddest story of the week goes to: YES, I’LL GIVE YOU MY CELLS – IF YOU BACK MAN UTD – Friday November 28, 2003 9:11 AM. LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) – A Manchester United soccer fan donated cells so his brother could have a life-saving transplant – on condition his sibling switched his support from arch rivals Manchester City. Retired management consultant Martin Warburton, 50, asked his brother Paul, 59, to sign a light-hearted contract pledging to join the United fan club. “We made a great joke of the contract, but he still agreed to sign,” Martin Warburton told Friday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. “I just hope now that it will save his life.” Paul, who had the transplant to fight lymphatic leukaemia, was philosophical over the switch between the fiercely competitive northwest England teams. “I was really lucky that Martin’s cells matched,” said Paul. “But he had to be a Reds’ supporter, didn’t he?” Best wishes to Paul on a speedy recovery, despite the sacrifices he’s had to make!

Transfer News and Gossip

We’ll Swap Anelka for… According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Sir Alex’s Swamp Dwellers are plotting a winter bid for the Nicolas Anelka in an effort to reinforce their attack. Old Red Face has intimated he may recruit a new player during January’s transfer window while Roy Keane has urged his manager to bring in a fresh forward. The M.E.N. didn’t assuage the fears of City fans, with a speculative story entitled “Could City cash in on Anelka?” KK soon dismissed talk of a £20 million bid for Anelka. “I don’t know anything about the story. I can tell you I will not sell him for a quarter of what he is worth!” Kev clearly thinks the story is a bit of mischief making ahead of the derby. “It is just one of those stories that come up. The derby is in less than two weeks time and you can more or less predict that every time there is a game like that coming up then stories like this one will come out. Of course we are trying to get Paul Scholes here but no one will quite believe that! Just take the story with a pinch of salt.”

Tale of Two Cities: Here’s a new name to conjure with – City have been linked with Finnish international Alexei Eremenko Jr. Described on UEFA’s website as the next Jari Litmanen, Eremenko is on trial at Birmingham City. His club chairman in Finland, Olli-Pekka Lyytikainen has warned Birmingham to make a decision soon or risk losing out on him altogether. “Birmingham knows the situation. If they don’t make a suggestion about Eremenko he will travel to Manchester maybe even next week,” he said. Time will tell if this is just a negotiating ploy by the HJK Helsinki chairman.

Huck Heading Home: KK reckons Darren Huckerby to return from his three-month loan stint at Norwich after Saturday’s clash at Millwall. Norwich are keen to extend Huckerby’s temporary stay at Carrow Road after netting four times in 14 First Division outings. City, however, are only interested in talking about a permanent £1.5 million deal, with Wigan and Millwall closely monitoring the situation. “We’ve had no recent contact from Norwich about Darren Huckerby”, said Keegan. “My feelings are he will come back here and we’ll look to see what happens when the transfer window opens in January. I’ve heard he’s done well at Norwich and that all the seats in the directors’ box have been packed with scouts. But it will take quite a sizeable fee for anyone wanting to buy him.” On Saturday, Huckerby scored the only goal of the game in the Canaries’ 1-0 defeat of Crewe Alexandra at Carrow Road, which kept them a point off the top of the Nationwide First Division. The player later commented: “I would have to take a pay-cut, no doubt about that. I’m not stupid – there’s not the money in Division One that there was. But I don’t think that’s the biggest problem. I don’t think that it will get that far, it’s irrelevant. If I had the choice I’d love to stay and play for Norwich City, but it’s not down to me. It doesn’t matter what I want or what the manager wants for that matter. If Manchester City see me more valuable than what Norwich can pay then that’s that.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Hot Set for Hareide: After weeks of prolonged negotiations between club and country, former Blue Age Hareide has finally left Rosenborg to become Norway’s national coach. “It was really nice that this was sorted out, there will always be a lot of talk around such a matter,” said Hareide. He succeeds Nils Johan Semb, who stood down last month following Norway’s failure to reach the Euro 2004 finals, and will be assisted by former Liverpool defender Stig Inge Bjornebye. A centre half in his playing days, Hareide made 17 starts for the Blues in 1981-82. Hareide joined Norwich City on loan in November 1982 signing permanently the following August, and played his last game for the Canaries in April 1984 before returning to Norway. He was Helsingborg’s coach in 1998 and won the Swedish Cup in his inaugural season. Hareide’s success saw him appointed as manager of Danish giants Brondby in 1999 but was sacked in April 2002 after a run of poor results. He joined Rosenborg and guided them to a domestic double.

News of the Dynamic Duo: There’s more news this week of two City heroes of the mid-1990’s. According to a number of Greek newspaper reports, Gio Kinkladze was expected to arrive in Athens for a month-long trial with Greek giants Panathinaikos. The 30-year-old Georgian international is still clubless and if he impresses he will be offered a deal starting in January 2004. Kinky’s old partner at City, Uwe Rösler, was the club’s guest of honour last weekend, and was presented to the fans before the Middlesbrough match. Prior to the game, Rösler said: “I am healthy again after getting the fantastic news that the tumour has disappeared. I had a heavy treatment schedule over six months and my body responded well. It took a lot out of me – and I am still a bit weak – but I came through it thanks to a lot of help from a number of people. You need to fight for your life as you only get one chance. You need to grab it with both hands. When the doctor told me on the first day I had a good chance of beating the cancer, that’s all I wanted to hear. Everyone responds differently and I have had some bad moments but it is a big help being a professional athlete.”

Reactions and Comments

Freak Own Goal, Anyone? The football gods are mighty displeased with the Sky Blues at the moment, methinks. Sunday saw yet another defeat, as City lost by a single goal against Middlesbrough thanks to an own goal by Sun Jihai. KK refused to blame the Chinese international for the unfortunate event. “It isn’t an issue,” said Keegan. “As far as I am concerned he is completely blameless. There was no way he could do anything about it. It was just a bizarre own goal.” Incredibly the own goal was Boro’s only effort on goal in the match and Keegan was struggling to believe his side had lost again. “I have never been involved in a game like that,” he added. “They didn’t have a shot or a corner, yet they have got the three points. It was an incredible match and it is hard to believe the result. Chances have gone begging at the end but I don’t think the players could have given me any more.” Shaun Wright-Phillips said that there was nothing but sympathy for Jihai Sun in the City dressing room. “There was a lot of sympathy for Jihai Sun but as he himself said there was nothing he could do about it,” said Shaun. “The ball just came across and just hit him in the leg. He is very disappointed about it, but we have all told him to keep his head up. We are all very disappointed in the dressing room, but the one thing on which we are all agreed is that we worked very hard and that we should have got something out of the game.” Boro boss Steve Maclaren said: “We didn’t play well but we got something to defend and did it magnificently. It was a performance of true character and both Gareth Southgate and Colin Cooper were superb, as they have been all season.” It was Boro’s fifth clean sheet on the trot, a club record, and took the Teessiders into the top half of the table for the first time this season. “People were writing us off as relegation candidates when we only got one point from our first five games,” said McClaren. “But that is seven wins from 11 games now and I believe there is still more to come.”

“At Least We Scored” Thus spake my nine-year-old son, who stayed up late to hear the final score of City’s most recent débâcle, this time in the Carling Cup at Tottenham. Spurs beat City 3-1, mainly thanks to two goals in the first thirty minutes from Darren Anderton and Helder Postiga. Postiga scored his first goal for the club as he punished Trevor Sinclair for a defensive error. Robbie Fowler scored in the 80th minute, only to see Frederic Kanoute score the 3-1 goal for Spurs in his first match since recovering from injury. KK later said that he had severely lambasted the players at half time. “I am very, very disappointed with the start we had,” said Keegan. “At half-time, in all my time in management, I don’t think I have ever been more angry with some of the players, although not all of them. We were not committed to winning tackles or challenges and 50-50s became 70-30s for them and that is very disappointing. I’ll put up with the defeat we had against Middlesbrough on Sunday because we were terrific and scrapped and worked for each other and were unlucky, but I can’t put up with the way we played in the first 25 minutes here. We got the spirit together in the second half but it was too late. You can’t give Tottenham or any team a 2-0 start and we were playing for pride. I am very disappointed for my chairman more than anything,” added the Blues boss. “I said to him in the summer that if he invested in players – and he did invest – then we could have a good run in Europe and also the Carling and FA Cups. We can’t win the league, along with about 16 other clubs in this division, but we are capable of winning a competition like this. We were four games away from the final, we got through the first one at QPR but we didn’t deserve to win this one because of the way we started.” Looking forward to Sunday’s fixture at Everton, Keegan said: “You have to roll up your sleeves and battle like we did in the second half against Spurs. That is the minimum requirement in this league and if some of my players didn’t know it then they know it now. We’ll have to battle for the right to play football against Everton – something we didn’t do against Spurs until the game was almost beyond us. At some stage in the season every manager has to tell his players that their performance is not good enough for the club and they are better than that, so I am not on my own in this. We are ninth in the Premiership and there are about six points between the rest of us – that is everyone apart from Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.” Some of the enlightened souls who call into BBC GMR’s phone ins have already been doubting KK’s future at the club, and for the first time the man himself spoke about the pressures of being the manager of an underperforming team. “If the club decide to do something about me after the run of bad results that’s their choice. My job is to take pressure off the players and I will always defend them in public, but behind closed doors after the match I was livid. I still believe in the players and I still think we have the quality to have a good season, but we are now out of Europe and the Carling Cup. We certainly should have done better in Europe but the reality is that we haven’t, so I am under pressure.”

Squad News

‘Keeper’s Korner: David Seaman hopes that Nicky Weaver will make a full recovery from his latest injury setback. “Nick has had a lot of bad luck,” said Safe Hands. “He’s been coming back, working hard to get himself in really great shape and start looking good, only to break down again. It’s been terrible for him. The younger ‘keepers here, like Kevin Ellergaard and Kasper Schmeichel, have got a hell of a chance, though. They’ve got totally different styles of play and they are different sizes, but they are both very, very good ‘keepers. I have always looked at who the best young goalkeepers are and I remember when Weaver first came into the Premiership. When I came here and I asked him how old he was, I couldn’t believe he was only 24. He’s been around almost as long as I have! If he can get his knee sorted out then he has got everything in his game to go as far as he wants. Hopefully, he can do that because he deserves a change of luck.” The Boss Man is also wishing for a better 2005 for Weaver. “We know he has had a problem with his knee, but he is going to the best doctor in the world, so we can’t do any more than that,” said Keegan. “And Nicky can’t work any harder than he has done. He has worked terrifically hard and got himself in great shape. What he deserves now is that little bit of luck. When Dr Steadman has seen him, he will do what needs to be done to it and Nicky will have to get on with it again.”

Don Barrie <news(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

OPINION: POST MATCH VIEWS

I wrote the below after returning dejected from Poland. The passage of time (and the result vs. Boro) hasn’t cheered me up so here it is.

Kev asked his team to “stand up and be counted” before the game – so which part of that statement didn’t they understand? I’m not going to bother with a traditional match report as I presume many of you will have witnessed this lame display on TV and have read other match reports by now. A few points though:

Distin – Captain? Don’t make me laugh. He has been a complete waste of space this season as both a defender and ‘captain’. What has happened to the guy? I can handle players losing form but when they appear to lose their hunger and fight for the cause then it’s not good enough. I want the captain of City to show pride when wearing the shirt and that armband à la Andy Morrison, Steve Redmond, Mick McCarthy etc. Time to give someone else the armband.

Macca – since his début against Villa has he had a decent game? His contribution against Groclin was limited to picking the ball up deep and then ambling sideways and laying the ball off square to either Sinclair or Distin on the left. Waste of space and completely disrupting the balance of the team as when he is played in the middle, Joey B has to do the work of 2 players and gets dragged out of position all over the park.

Sinclair – has he had a half decent game since joining us? I was excited by his signing pre-season but so far has done absolutely nothing. He claims to be a City fan – well a little bit of sweat would help start showing that you really are a Blue and want to play for City.

Fowler – I can’t remember any other player having so many fans wanting him to do well. His overall level of performance since he joined in February has been poor and are we kidding ourselves in believing that it’s getting better? He still looks unfit and his finishing is atrocious (Soton away excepted). Unfortunately we don’t appear to have many alternatives as Paulo has been pants this season too. Maybe it is time to give Macken a run – I’m not convinced as my Preston season ticket holder mates couldn’t stop laughing when we paid £5 million for him. According to them he was hot and cold and his cold games were more frequent than his hot ones – as we have no other options.

Joey B – First class attitude and one of the very few players that looked like they wanted to win and were willing to work for it (Sun, as usual, and Dunney were the others). Thanks for coming over to the fans at the end to show your apprecation unlike most of your team mates including Captain Disastrous who couldn’t be bothered.

Fans – pathetic. I’m sorry but why would anyone want to go to great expense and time in getting to Groclin only to stand there and shout obscenities at the players or, even worse in my book, make no noise whatsoever? The atmosphere in the City end was non-existent (apologies to the small bands who did try and get some songs going). We were outsung by 600 Groclin fans in Manchester and I was expecting us to outsing them in Poland – how wrong can I be?

MCFC stewards – was there any point in any of you being there? The organisation outside the ground was laughable, with people getting crushed whilst trying to fight (literally) our way into the ground. One steward when grabbed and when asked what was going on replied “there’s nothing we can do. They (i.e. the Groclin skinhead stewards) don’t understand us.” Sort it out City for the next time we play in Europe – and the way we are playing you might have a long period in which to get it right for next time.

Overall – we weren’t knocked out by a better team in Groclin. We played a limited team with a very negative approach and we did not have the application or ideas to break them down.

Kev it’s time to stand up and be counted yourself. Stop this rotation nonsense, pick your best 11 and stick with them until injury, suspension or drastic loss of form forces your hand.

Disgruntled of Prague – Iain Sellers <iain_sellers1(at)cz.tesco-europe.com>

OPINION: STAND UP AND BE COUNTED

If you were to look at the Opta Stats to date (yes, I mean those infernal Opta stats that are so well chronicled and researched that every single paper manages to get the shots on goals/corners stats completely different to any of the others!), then I’m sure you would probably find that we surely have had the greatest amount of shots on goal for any team at home. The fact that nearly all the goals have come in two second half performances says a lot. Quite simply, collectively we couldn’t hit a barn door from three feet, but more of that later.

First the positives. The players were really up for the occasion, and looking at it as just a performance, and a pointer for the rest of the season ahead, then there were many good things to come out of it. The players never gave up the ghost, and the reaction of the players, down on their knees at the end, showed, that contrary to some beliefs, effort and commitment is not one of our problems.

Individually, I thought SWP showed just why he could be an England international very soon, as he ran their left back ragged for over an hour before tiring. Sommeil was pretty faultless and Anelka (despite an alarming affection with the corner flag) really did give it his all this time. All in all we totally outplayed a Middlesbrough side who hadn’t conceded a goal for four games, and the fact that they had only one shot in the game, an injury time breakaway, said it all. However, therein lies the problem. They, on the day, were nothing short of abysmal, yet somehow they mugged us and took home the points.

Now to the dark side. I have been a big fan of Dunney for a long time, and he has been our November player of the month by a country mile. However, he made three schoolboy errors in the first half yesterday and you just can’t do that. Twice he let feeble crosses pass him in the box, and the second resulted in the own goal. For those who slated Sun Jihai near to me, get a grip. Watch the replay, how could he have done anything about it? Dunney’s miskick hit him, and he couldn’t get out of the way, simple as that. It seems to me that we have three central defenders who all have the ability to be excellent players, yet they are just calamity prone, and switch off too easily. Like goalkeepers, if defenders do that for a fraction of a second, it can be in the back of the net. Alas, concentration cannot be coached, and you have to wonder whether this problem can ever be eradicated.

In the middle we looked far more efficient than of late, and it’s no coincidence that Rodney/Faustino wasn’t there doing his 2PiR of the centre circle. Reyna may not look spectacular, but he gave the midfield a more solid look, and he has an underestimated ability of playing a telling through ball. However, for me, we still crave a fully functioning Eyal Berkovic.

Up front though is where we all know that it is falling apart. Given the amount of chances the strikers have been getting at times, the goal ratio is nothing short of shocking. We are now just six minutes short of five full games since we scored a goal. Something that has not happened since the heady days of alan ball. How many chances do Wanchope and Fowler have to get? Fowler missed two sitters again yesterday, and I wouldn’t mind if he even put any of them on target. I feel like I am saying this until I am blue in the face, but nearly everyone would like to see Macken given a go. Not just one game, half a dozen, and let’s see what his return is. If he doesn’t come up to scratch, fine, but he really deserves that chance, and the fact that he is not getting it shows a manager who is more interested in proving himself right over Fowler than of the good of the team. Let me tell you Kev, the more you play him, the more you look like a fool for buying him. Get with it man! Was it not Kev who said we needed six strikers at the start of the season, so why never look beyond the three? I’d even bring Huckerby back and give him a go. 31 goals in 56 games sounds better than 4 in 32, or is that just me?

This team has got ability, of that there is no doubt, but the next six games are A Everton, A Man Ure, H Leeds, A Birmingham, H Liverpool and H Charlton. We are five points off the relegation zone, whilst at the same time being amazingly only four points off the top four. We are in a rut, and we have to come out of it fast. Theoretically, if we lose at Goodison next week, we could be two points off the relegation zone, with the Old Trafford derby to come. Just how big is this Everton game now?

It’s time for the team, and the supporters (who were much better against Boro) to stand up and be counted. This set of players should be far too good to get embroiled in a battle near the bottom, but unless that is going to happen, we need to start earning some very difficult points in December.

Come on you Blues!

David Concannon <dconcannon(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: ANELKA

What a headline in the papers today, the Elk on his way to our poor relations. That would just about sum him up! We all pretty much take for granted that he is a self centred, greedy, egotistical, moody git. But we put up with it, just like KK does. I am sure he is left to his own devices most days for fear of upsetting him. I am sure this must cause resentment amongst the rest of the squad. It really puzzles me that he shows no real passion or commitment at the moment. He looks like he has not practiced the game for weeks, judging by his finishing. That one on one attempt in the Groclin game was unforgiveable.

So it was with interest that I trawled through all 62 comments relating to the story on the electronic version of the M.E.N. tonight. My findings reveal only one or two City fans in favour of keeping the Sulk. Rather interesting reading. Many fans would gladly take the dosh.

Probably one of the most talented players to play for the club, but certainly not the most liked.

Ian Richardson <kinkladze(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: SIMPLE SOLUTION I

Let’s not get too downhearted. OK we have only won 2 of our last 9 league games, we have gone out of the UEFA and Carling Cups in a 6 day period and we haven’t scored in 6 of our last 8 league games. But I have a simple 4 point plan to get us back on track:

‘Keeper – get a ‘keeper that instills confidence in his defence and, erm, occasionally makes a save or two.

Defence – get a defence that can actually defend and stop making silly individual errors that we get punished for. When we’ve sorted that out we can then work on getting them to pass to another blue shirt instead of the pointless hoof up field.

Midfield – get a midfield that can create chances and dominate a game.

Forwards – get some forwards that can score goals.

Simple game this football.

Everyone up for the derby next weekend?

Iain Sellers <iain_sellers1(at)cz.tesco-europe.com>

OPINION: SIMPLE SOLUTION II

We now see more and more questions being asked as to why we are not performing on the pitch. Well let’s not forget where we were and where we are. Let’s not forget how we got there and back.

Players who did not perform when required to (too many to name). Players who performed better than they needed to (Dickov, Horlock, Goat, Weaver and others).

Someone asks about our coaching techniques. KK has had a problem in that department before. He had Mark Lawrenson at Newcastle as his defensive coach and maybe Mr. Pearce is not much better. Just look and see how many times our defenders come running in with the attackers, instead of defending outwards. Schoolboy stuff. Why do some managers always change a winning team?

Why does Anelka always get to play? Let’s see Fowler on his own for a week or two or with Macken.

Sam Duxbury <SamDuxbury(at)safesystems.fsnet.co.uk>

OPINION: SIMPLE SOLUTION III

I’m puzzled by Keegan’s team selections. Is Macken still carrying an injury, since he does not seem to be selected? The same goes for Berkovic – is he still suffering from the bad tackle at Newcastle? I have a feeling that we have a Nero complex here – Nero fiddles while Rome burns. Why on earth do players who appear to be out of touch continue to be selected?

Incidentally, I heard Schmeichel say on Radio 5 that City played well last year when Berkovic played. With the derby approaching maybe it’s time to give Gerard Wiekens a chance – after all he seems to play well against van Nistlerooy.

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)virgin.net>

OPINION: SIMPLE SOLUTION IV

Just an addendum to my last missive to this forum, we need a captain!

If any of you can bear to watch, just look at what happened just after Sun inadvertently put through his own net. There wasn’t a single player who went near him, told him to get his head up! After the goal, every single City player just trundled to their starting position for the kick off. Where was the rallying call? who was the man to look to? There wasn’t one! [Thought Reyna did? – Ed]

We have a captain in the making, Joey B, but he’s 2/3 years short of that, and that assumes that he stays. Being made captain of a team is a strange thing; it can make a player better (look at golden balls) or make a team better, but a true captain is both (look at the Dublin thug). Andy Morrison or Stuart Pearce would be worth their place in this team even if they were in a bathchair. King Kev is here because of his leadership qualities and after match commentary, he ain’t going to win any prizes for tactical knowledge; we need a manager on the pitch, and I really don’t see anyone that we have that can do that.

We have to be honest with ourselves, against Boro we were only as good as their negative tactics allowed us to be. We had all the possession, but did we really have that many “stone cold cert” chances? There is a lack of conviction about this team!

We can help, and I think that the support on Sunday was excellent. Maybe that was because of the warmth to Rösler, but hopefully it was because we were really getting behind the team? We have to do that!

If there isn’t a Captain on the field, then we need to be the captain, it’s us that should have raised the roof the next time that Sun touched the ball.

We are still just 4 points off 4th place, but we are only 5 points off 18th; at the moment I am looking below us, not above, but I really do believe that we can be the 12th man on the field. We just have to do it, and be consistent at doing it. I know consistent is a dirty word where City are concerned, but we have to do that, it’s the only way!

Phil <XPHILLEE(at)aol.com>

OPINION: GET YOUR SONGS OUT FOR THE LADS

I was wanting to write this for the last issue, but was too busy drowning my sorrows and wandering the streets after the almost-expected Groclin result.

Thanks to Phil from Stretford for asking for the return of the song-writers. Yes, please! I wondered at the Leicester match how it was going to go with both ‘City’ teams being of the blue persuasion. Yep, whatever they sang, we sang. Only they tended to get in first. The only thing we had extra was ‘Blue Moon’. Will it ever be possible to learn the rest of it?

I hate to admit it, but even if we don’t go along with the tunes or the lyrics, at least the misguided support down at the Swamp make a bit of an effort with new songs. Most of the other songs in the Premiership are just boring. Same bank of 3 or 4 ‘tunes’, rolled out again and again. Even the most unimaginative Chelski dirge has been adopted by other supporters.

There must be some MCIVTA readers who can turn their hand to a bit of lyrics-writing. But let’s get the right tunes in the first place. We need to create an atmosphere that is our own, so that anyone watching or listening to a match will be able to recognise it as City. It doesn’t just have to be songs with ‘blue’ in them – think of ‘Colin the King’ (tune ‘Lily the Pink’).

One last thing – the City song that’s played after each home match – it’s a tad embarrassing to hear if the team have made no effort. However, most of us don’t mind a bit of self-irony! Why not play it before kick-off as well, though? I like what we have at the moment, but if other teams can roll out old team songs, then why not us? Back to trying to make it our home.

Here’s trying to remember that it’s only 4 points between us and 4th place, rather than only 7 points to the bottom of the table… come on, City!

Mel Clegg – Norway <mkcfc(at)clara.co.uk>

OPINION: EMBRACE THE NEW

I whole-heartedly agree with Graham Keller’s views on the Maine Road/COMS debate (MCIVTA 970).

Having started my love affair with City and Maine Road in 1942, sitting on the wall behind the Platt Lane goal, I have had to endure the gradual, piece-meal development of my beloved old stadium, resulting in a series of unrelated, architectural abominations. The demolition of the Kippax was probably the death-knell.

The last Premiership game I attended at Maine Road, was for the Arsenal game last season. Sitting in the “Gene Kelly” stand, watching Arsenal put five past us, I couldn’t help thinking neither the team nor the stadium were up to the job. My last actual game was for the City vs. Middlesbrough Youth Cup Semi-Final. I thought the facilities in the Maine Stand had deteriorated to the level of a slum.

We now have a wonderful, ultra-modern stadium, of which other clubs can only dream. Let’s enjoy it and stop complaining and whinging. Let’s think 21st century, instead of harking back to the “Tatty Old Lady” of Moss Side. This is from someone born and bred ten minutes’ walk from Maine Road. My first visit to Eastlands was for the Groclin match. City were City of course, but my reaction to the stadium was one of awe. This place is wonderful. I am sure the fans will grow into it.

There are obviously faults (sound system etc.) but these can be addressed and corrected. Maine Road was well past its sell-by date. I can’t help thinking that those supporters wishing we had never moved are suffering from selective amnesia.

Jim Barrie (c/o <djb_1305(at)yahoo.co.uk>)

OPINION: HERE WE GO AGAIN I

I am not going to say anything about that shower of under-achieving mercenaries expect they should look at Leicester City and their manager’s comments before even thinking about playing again; at this rate we will be relegated again and I cannot see them ever winning another game.

Europe my a**e. I think King Kev has gone into his England manager rôle. What the hell is wrong with Macken? Why does he not give him a chance and why does he buy 3-4 34+ players in midfield whom appear to be c**p? What has Fowler got beside 100 houses in Oldham? I am very p**sed off as I thought for once we had a decent team but again we are c**p – depression mode has set in.

Stephen Burt <sjburt(at)singnet.com.sg>

OPINION: HERE WE GO AGAIN II

City… out of Europe (Groclin), out of the League Cup (after Wednesday night), out of luck (Middlesbrough), out of ideas (Keegan), out of form (the whole team), out of pocket (£50 million debt), out of date (Seaman and half of Keegan’s signings), out of contention (a top 6 place), out of sight (Vuoso), out of the Premier League (next May?).

Crisis? What Crisis?

Andrew Ranson – Perth, Australia <Aranson(at)barrick.com.au>

OPINION: LOST COMMENTARY

Like many Blues, I was a bit miffed to see that City were set to charge for the previously-free matchday commentary recently.

I tried going “cold turkey”, and certainly the craic on Blueview is a lot more interesting than our recent matches have been but… I caved. I decided that given City’s record of charging for this service a couple of years ago, then dropping the fees entirely, I would be better off to subscribe monthly rather than annually. This way, I figured, I could see if the system stayed in place, and also avoid paying on months (such as this one) where we are on TV for most matches.

Now, I know that you should always read the Terms and Conditions, and Yes, they are there for a reason… but hidden way, way down in the depths of legalese speak (much like the UEFA rule on extra time at the Swamp if United are losing) is a clause stating that you must give one month’s notice to cancel a monthly subscription.

In other words, if you only actually want one month’s service, you would have to cancel the same day that you sign up to avoid a second billing a month later! Brilliant customer service!

The features on MCFCTV.COM are pretty good, even tho’ I only used it for the commentary, but I feel that City (and ultimately BSkyB who take your money) misrepresent the “monthly subscription” option, as these terms are far from obvious when you sign up.

I really do not resent the club for charging for the service, but I did get mad when I discovered that this was an “opt out” system (negative-option billing) rather than a simple case of signing up each month.

If any of you are considering signing up for the service but have not yet done so, bear this in mind, so you don’t get the feeling of being ripped off that I have had. he only decent option is the annual subscription.

I’d be interested to know if others have had the same frustrations.

CTIDOCJTASA (City til I die or can justify the annual subscription amount), Richard Barter a.k.a. Toronto Blue <r.barter(at)rogers.com>

OPINION: POETIC VIEW

If were so good and bl**dy entertaining
and the crowds to blame for our table abseiling
is the pitch too flat or the grass too green
if you tug our shirt it won’t be seen
should we buy a guide dog from the blind
so that troubled Robbie the net can find
is it just me or have we lost our mind

it’s just a game I hear you say
not at these prices said the bankrupt invisible man
no more I hear you say we had the ball but we gave it away
look around you at this nice council hoose
Kevin can you not let Johnny Macken loose
what has he done to upset you so, did he not score at Loftus Road
Paulo a nice guy but he misses too much
and it seems that Nicky well he’s out to lunch
so give us a break you stammering blues
long live City in my heart for I hate united and that Scottish tart

James Judge <James.Judge(at)ews-railway.co.uk>

OPINION: A CHRISTMAS TALE

A family of Manchester United supporters head out shopping before Christmas, while in a sports shop, the son picks up a Manchester City shirt and says to his sister “I’ve decided that I am going to be a Manchester City supporter and I’d like this Manchester City shirt for Christmas!”

The sister is outraged by this, promptly whacking him around his head and says, “go and talk to your mother”.

Off goes the little lad, with the City shirt in his hand and finds his mother. “Mum”, “Yes son?” “I’ve decided I’m going to be a Manchester City supporter and I’d like this City shirt for Christmas”.

The mother is outraged by this, promptly whacking the lad about his head saying “go talk to your father”.

Off goes the little lad with his City shirt in his hand and finds his father. “Dad”, “Yes son?” “I’ve decided I’m going to be a Manchester City supporter, and I would like this City shirt for Christmas”. The father is outraged by this and promptly whacks the lad about his head and says “no son of mine is ever going to be seen in THAT!”

About an hour later the family are in the car heading home; the father says “son I hope that you have learned an important lesson today”. The son turns to the father and says “Yes I have father”. Father says “Good son, what is that is it?”

The son replies “I’ve only been a Manchester City supporter for an hour and already I hate you Manchester United b@st@rds!”

The above was written by another City supporter, but I felt that it was so good it’s worth printing it again, and of course it’s that time of year again.

A Merry Christmas to all City fans worldwide, and a Happy Blue New Year!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)aol.com>

REQUEST: EVERTON TICKET AVAILABLE

I have one Everton ticket available for Sunday.

Richard Bartlett <richard.bartlett(at)atkinsglobal.com>

REQUEST: REDDISH BLUES

The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is next Wednesday night, 10th December at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport. Doors open at 7.00pm and the meeting starts at 8.00pm.

If you’re thinking of coming along then you’re advised to get there as early as possible as we could have to close the doors because our confirmed guests are none other than the King himself, Colin Bell, with BBC GMR’s Ian “Cheesy” Cheeseman and Gary James, author of Manchester – The Greatest City & Farewell to Maine Road.

Admission is just £1 for CSA Members, £2 for non-members, which includes a free raffle, and all kids under 16 are free.

For more info visit our website at http://www.reddishblues.com

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: ROTTERDAM VIEWING

Myself and a couple of mates are going to be in Rotterdam for the derby match. Can anyone suggest somewhere that’s likely to be showing the match? Better still, anyone fancy meeting up?

Got to say I’m not very hopeful after the recent run of poor (understatement of the month) results. Let’s hope we can start turning things around by stuffing Everton like a turkey this Sunday!

Come on the Blues!

John Walker <john.walker(at)philips.com>

REQUEST: SAN FRANCISCO VIEWING

I will be in San Francisco the weekend of the derby. Can anyone advise of any pubs that might show the game live?

Thanks, Jon Sedgwick <JSedgwick(at)imgworld.com>

REQUEST: THAI (CHANG MAI) VIEWING

I shall be in Thailand for most of January, based in Chang Mai. Does anyone know of a good place to watch the matches and possibly meet a few Blues?

Mark Wilson <justineandmark(at)hotnail.com>

REQUEST: BANGKOK VIEWING

I will be in Bangkok for the big game and wondered if there is a meeting point for us Blues to watch the game? I’ve got a feeling I’m going we’re going to need a shoulder to cry on but we live in hope. Come on City, whatever is going on forget it that day – we need 100%.

Dave Norcross <davenorcross(at)hotmail.com>

REQUEST: SINGAPORE BLUES

Please note that the Bambooze Bar in Changi is a new City gathering place in Singapore (far away from the evil empire in Orchard Road); it would be good to meet up with anyone in Singapore or passing through.

Stephen Burt <sjburt(at)singnet.com.sg>

REQUEST: MARC VIVIEN FOE MEMORIAL FUND

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:

http://www.marcvivienfoe.org

Amongst the City related items kindly donated by Doves are shirts which we have signed by Keegan, Anelka and SWP, we also have a shirt and City magazine signed by Shaun Goater.

For further information please email:

<info(at)marcvivienfoe.org>

RESULTS

League table to 03 December 2003 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         14  6  1  0 16  5  5  1  1 12  4 11  2  1  28   9  19  35
 2 Arsenal         14  5  2  0 12  6  5  2  0 16  4 10  4  0  28  10  18  34
 3 Manchester Utd  14  5  1  1 14  4  5  0  2 11  5 10  1  3  25   9  16  31
 4 Fulham          14  3  2  2 12  9  3  2  2 12  9  6  4  4  24  18   6  22
 5 Charlton Ath.   14  2  2  3  9 12  4  2  1 11  5  6  4  4  20  17   3  22
 6 Liverpool       14  3  1  3 11  9  3  2  2 10  6  6  3  5  21  15   6  21
 7 Newcastle Utd   14  3  2  2  9  4  2  3  2 11 15  5  5  4  20  19   1  20
 8 Birmingham City 14  2  3  2  6  7  3  2  2  6  7  5  5  4  12  14  -2  20
 9 Manchester City 14  2  2  3 12 10  3  1  3 10  9  5  3  6  22  19   3  18
10 Middlesbrough   14  2  1  4  6 10  3  2  2  6  5  5  3  6  12  15  -3  18
11 Bolton Wndrs    14  2  4  1  7  4  2  2  3  6 15  4  6  4  13  19  -6  18
12 Southampton     14  3  1  3  5  4  1  4  2  5  5  4  5  5  10   9   1  17
13 Leicester City  14  2  3  2 11  9  2  0  5 11 13  4  3  7  22  22   0  15
14 Portsmouth      14  4  0  3 15  8  0  3  4  2 12  4  3  7  17  20  -3  15
15 Tottenham H.    14  3  1  3  8  9  1  2  4  5  9  4  3  7  13  18  -5  15
16 Blackburn R.    14  3  0  4 11 11  1  2  4  8 13  4  2  8  19  24  -5  14
17 Aston Villa     14  3  3  1  7  5  0  2  5  4 12  3  5  6  11  17  -6  14
18 Everton         14  3  2  2 11  7  0  2  5  4 12  3  4  7  15  19  -4  13
19 Wolves          14  2  3  2  7 14  0  2  5  2 13  2  5  7   9  27 -18  11
20 Leeds United    14  1  2  4  5 12  2  0  5  7 21  3  2  9  12  33 -21  11

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.06]

[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/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) and “The International Supporters’ Club” (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/article.asp?article=111845&Title=International+Supporters+Club&lid=Membership).

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

The GMR pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/gmr/sport_intro.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://www.mcfctv.com/, whilst an alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/foot/englandprem/cal/index.html.

[7] 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. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://canadatvsoccer.tripod.com/Fixtures.htm, http://www.foxsportsworld.com/named/FSW/Index/Soccer, and http://www.soccertv.com/.

http://www.foxsportsworld.com/content/view?contentId=1288602 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: 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

[10] 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/

[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 http://www.ofex.com/ (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 http://www.mcfcstats.com/ or http://www.citystat.net/.

[13] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to Damian Quinn, Stephen Webb, Roger Haigh, Martin Price, and Adrian Howarth 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, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #973

2003/12/04

Editor:


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