Newsletter #994

At last, a 1-3 victory at Bolton on Saturday gives us that much-needed win and 3 points to start clawing our way from the bottom of the table.

No match report tonight (seems we don’t have them when we play well!) but we do have views on atmosphere, reminisces and another great Why Blue.

There’s also more news on another exclusive for MCIVTA 1000.

Next game: Chelsea, home, 3pm Saturday 28 February 2004


In addition to the exclusive Questions & Answer session with our Chairman John Wardle, MCFC and Shaun Wright-Phillips have also agreed an exclusive interview to mark our special anniversary issue.

John and Shaun will answer a cross-section of your questions, so time to get thinking caps on and send your emails to the editor’s usual address with “McV 1000” and either “JW” or “SweeP” in the subject line, and your name and location; it will be interesting to see just where some of you are these days. We will be taking questions up to and including 4th March in order to give us time to process them.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Heidi <editor(at)>


Being a lifelong City fan (my first match was 43 years ago when I was 5), there could be no better place to hold the ceremony than Eastlands/CoMS. So on Saturday 21st Feb, ‘my husband and I’ tied the knot at the stadium. I could not find fault with any part of the day. The organisation that went into the catering and the running of the bar etc. was second to none. There are lots of complaints about the ticket office etc. but Saturday was fantastic. The service was excellent and the staff were brilliant. I think they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Whilst enjoying our wedding breakfast, I had my mobile phone on silent, getting the scores as they happened. Every time we scored there was a big cheer. I don’t suppose there are many grooms put up with that from their wives on their wedding day. I can’t thank Kevin and the lads enough. What a great wedding present, a 3-1 win. Everyone at the wedding said I had to get married there every week if that’s what it takes to win. I hope this is the start of the good luck that we need and deserve.

Come on City, carry on the run against Chelsea. I’ll be there again but not in my wedding dress (although if that’s what it takes…).

Once again City, thanks for a great day.

Clare Watson <clare.watkinson(at)>


I don’t get to many City away games, but I always think that the atmosphere that us Blues make is superb. Today at Bolton was the worst I have ever seen, we’ve won our first match in 14 and still the Blues kept quiet; if it weren’t for the nutters on the back row of the bottom tier it would have been deadly silent.

Come on you Blues.

[Mind you, the Bolton lot were atrocious, don’t anyone complain about CoMS after witnessing their pseudo-americano celebrations – Ed]

Nick Morley <nmorley(at)>


I totally agree with Rob Fielding when he complains about the lack of atmosphere at the City of Manchester stadium.

The club simply have to give a big section to the vocal fans, because it is they who can lead the rest of the crowd. I was at all the home UEFA Cup games this season, and when you don’t have a sell-out crowd in such a big stadium, it is difficult to launch songs for the team (vs. Lokeren and Groclin: 30,000 fans and more outsung by a bunch of away supporters; this must not happen, it’s the evidence the general allocation has to be reconsidered). One might say it is down to the players to get the crowd going, true. But I’m sure this is not always the case. A team might desperately need the warmth of their fans, just to be spurred and excited. Two home wins are clearly not the crowd’s fault. But I think some more points could be in the bag.

As far as away fans are concerned, I also agree with Rob. Watching Premiership football on television, away fans are hardly visible, and surprise, surprise one of the few exceptions is our stadium. I don’t understand why City have to give away fans this privilege, while City fans clearly don’t receive the same treatment when they travel. I really think this is a serious problem, and I have decided to submit this question to the board thanks to MCIVTA’s brilliant initiative for issue number 1000.

I really don’t understand why English rules have to be so strict. We have all-seater stadiums in Italy, but each one has a section for vocal fans when no-one can care less about sitting. For example, let’s talk about San Siro, 85,000 seats. The vocal fans gather in the second tier, behind the goal. Everyone among these fans has got a season ticket or a match ticket with a seat number printed on, because that’s the way the system works. But no-one is interested in claiming and sitting on their seat, because if you go into the second tier behind the goal it means you want to stand and sing. And nothing else. No-one will ever complain for anything because everyone knows what the second tier behind the goal is all about. This way you can still have the pleasure of having to go two hours early when big games are on (that’s for really romantic football fans I suppose!). For those willing to sit and to claim their seat, San Siro is big enough to keep each fan happy. And so is the City of Manchester Stadium.

Why we can’t do this in England I don’t know. What would happen if 10,000 fans decided to stand for 90 minutes and sing along? What would the police do? Call the army? And how could City fans be threatened not to do it again, after showing it’s possible to behave properly?

Vanes Marzaroli <vanesmarzaroli(at)>


I really enjoyed reading Adrian Bates’ “Why Blue”. He tells of his schooldays when Reds and Blues mixed together, and the choice of team was almost a matter of chance; it sounds like Adrian avoided a fate worse than death by the skin of his teeth! His story is reminiscent of my own schooldays in Dublin, where the great rivalry of the day was between St. Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers. Rovers were the more successful team, and of course I supported St. Pat’s (I never could pick a winner!). I’m not sure that I can go all the way with Adrian in having “affection” for Trafford Rangers, but I do agree with his not hating the Unholy Ones, or their fans. However, I have to say that I would still sooner see almost any team do better than the Red Plague, this was the same way I felt as a boy about Shamrock Rovers. I don’t think there is anything unusual about this, and it’s certainly not malicious, your greatest rivals will always be from the next parish. The saddest thing about our current situation is that while ManUre may be our greatest rivals, regrettably, we are not theirs, we simply do not present enough of a threat. Maybe this will change next season. I think our win at Bolton is (at last) the turning point in our season, and I think it is now extremely unlikely that we will get relegated.

There was just one point in Adrian’s contribution that puzzled me, and this was the notion that south Manchester was “posh”. I studied in Manchester many years ago, and stayed with an aunt and uncle of mine (sadly both since deceased) in Wythenshawe. This was (and I think still is) a vast, but very respectable conglomeration of working class council estates, stuffed with working-mens’ clubs of all sorts. My late uncle was, simultaneously, a member of the Labour Club and the Conservative Club, the Catholic Club, the Irish Club and the British Legion (he was a WW2 veteran). It was in Wythenshawe that I was introduced to English working-class culture of strippers and bingo on Sunday morning in the Conservative club, interspersed with outrageously racist comedians (but, I have to say, really funny, even though we Irish were on the butt end of many jokes!). Political Correctness had not been born then, and those clubs were a real eye-opener for an innocent Catholic lad from Dublin. If one comedian vilified and defamed City, you could bet that the next one would libel and slander the Rags. At that time, it was very unusual for an Irishman to choose City over the Unholy Ones (and sadly it still is!), and, if memory serves me correctly, in 1978 Wythenshawe was more Red than Blue. Nevertheless, there was always a good number of Blues on the bus down the Princess Parkway on Saturday afternoons. While I will always be a Blue, and I have a few friends who are misguided enough to be taken in by the Salford Slappers hype, I, like Adrian Bates, will never hate the Trafford PLC supporters, but, I have to say, I don’t think I will ever love them either. Here’s to next season, and the Trafford Trollops comic-books (for their tiny minority of supporters who can read) being full of hate-filled invective against City – this will be the best possible sign that City are back!

City Till I Die, Tony O’Leary <aoleary(at)>


Great game by Robbie Fowler who had said before the Bolton game “It’s not Kevin Keegan’s fault it’s the players'”. Fowler played his heart out for his manager and the supporters, well done Growler, and the rest of the players.

Fowler echoed my sentiments; it’s not Keegan’s fault, only I blamed the rest of the coaching staff. Let this be the game to give the team, and Robbie, the confidence needed for the rest of the season – a great performance.

Keegan brought into City some very experienced players, probably with the hope that combined they could bring a more instant success; of course we all know that failed, but we cannot blame Keegan for trying.

It’s always putting in the parts of the jigsaw to make a team fit into it, they have got to understand each other. Sibierski is a good example of this by stating “Players have got to talk to each other”; it helps to know what to do next, or where a player is open.

We have some very good experienced players at City who can also help some up and coming youngsters. For the rest of the season it’s not only survival but who is good enough from our up and coming youngsters.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I just thought you might be interested in this recent note I sent to the above. I don’t want anybody to agree with me but I was very happy to see Mr Swales “move to the other side”.

Dear LMA,

Does Joe Mercer come under your all time great managers? It seems inconceivable that he does not. City owe their current status to him and Malcolm Allison. Peter Swales was a bully and an autocrat and they both managed to get past him. I have been a City fan for 40 years and when I was a young man I went to Leeds to see City; I waited after the game for Joe and Malcolm to come out of the ground. When I approached them, Swales was with them. I spoke to Joe and asked him for a photograph; he said yes. Swales pushed me to the ground and told me to F*** off. Joe went crazy and told me to wait until he had sorted it out.

After some time he came back to me, there was a crowd of Leeds and City fans there by now, and Joe calmly said “son here is a note, bring it to Maine Road anytime and pass it to a commissionaire and either me or Malcolm will sort you out.” I went a few weeks later and they gave me the full treatment. I lived at the time in Halifax and I was about 12 or 13 when I got home from Leeds who were a great team then. I thought about starting to support Leeds, and anybody who is a genuine supporter cannot do that can they? Joe reinstalled my faith in City and I cried when he passed away. When people talk about the unique fan base of City, one of the cornerstones of this is the integrity and trust that Joe brought to the management game and to Maine Road. he surely ranks amongst some of your current “Hall of fame” managers? Either way I am interested to hear your views.


Allan Bradley <allan(at)>


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that City might become the ubiquitous team for this season, who would struggle against relegation, while having a good FA Cup run; well now it looks like Portsmouth have taken over that rôle, and, what do you know, the very next game after us getting knocked out of the Cup, we claim our first league win since the last ice-age (well, it seems that long). Sighs of relief all round, but there’s no room for complacency from KK et al. Let’s just wish Pompy well for the rest of their cup run; a place for them in the cup final could well be accompanied by them filling one of the relegation spots.

Based on current form, City will end the season with 37 to 39 points; but is this going to be enough? Well, in 1999-2000 Bradford City, with 36 points avoided relegation by three clear points but in 2002-3, West Ham, with 42 points were relegated by two points. Not much comfort there then. The only solace for City is that the trend for the teams below us this season appears to be nearer the 1999-2000 example, than the 2002-3 season. It looks like it will be a nail-biter right to the end.

As an aside, I reckon that Wolves stand a good chance of being the first team to beat the statistic that says, “the team at the foot of the table at Christmas always gets relegated.” That’s fine so long as it is not City who end up swapping places with them on the last day of the season!

I’ve made a couple of small refinement to my spreadsheet file; “The-Bigger-One” (the City & All Premiership team-progress file) is available as a free download at

Please visit the site to read the full list of the file’s features. The results & fixture-dates in the file are up-to-date to the 22nd Feb-04, and all the tables & graphs are instantly revised with every result you enter. The website has now been checked-out, and is listed with If you like the sheets, please tell your mates.

Mark Vincent <vincent(at)>


My dearest new Blue friends,

I am an AC Milan fan, but my favourite UK team is Man City for its noble history and his wonderful new stadium. I live in Torino in the far north of Italy but I discovered you recently, so Keegan and the squad now are nearer than before!

I always read with great interest your posts every week and I try to look at Sky TV when our clever boys are in. What can I think about this actual crisis? Defence is the perfect idiom of all Italian squads, so I can’t understand how players like Distin, Dunne, Sun Jihai and the new very clever van Buyten do not play as well as their pedigree pretend! Perhaps Kevin the Boss isn’t so able to teach them how a great squad (and our Man City must be so!) have to defend.

However, let’s hope for better days just since tomorrow against Bolton. The young Shaun Philips will arrive early to the glory, doesn’t he? Pardon for my bad English and greatest wishes for the tenth anniversary of this newsletter: it’s simply magic!

Renato Tub