Newsletter #1014

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The sun shines on the righteous they say, so it was no surprise to find the COMS a baking hot cauldron on Saturday. City’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle United, coupled with results elsewhere, ensured that City will be playing in the Premiership next season. With a goal difference some thirty goals better than our relegation rivals, only an unlikely set of results could push the Blues back into Division One.

Tonight’s issue contains an excellent match report from Dorien, some early thoughts on what went wrong with the season that had promised so much, and some musings from the man they call Brit City Blue. Enjoy.

Next game: Middlesbrough, away, 3pm Saturday 8 May 2004

MATCH REPORT: NEWCASTLE

There were two good omens for this game. One, it was a bright, sunny day. Call me a nutter, but I’m convinced that good weather makes us feel positive, when we feel positive we sing better, and when we sing better the team play better. Two, Mark Halsey was referee. The English Collina, a man of impeccable, unbiased judgment who always gives us the benefit of the doubt.

Keegan stuck with the Leicester squad: James – Tarnat, Distin, Dunne, Sun – Sinclair, Bosvelt, Barton, SWP – Anelka, Wanchope. I was particularly pleased that he’d kept Barton, Sinclair and Wanchope, just as I’d told him to do in these pages two weeks ago. Fowler was on the bench – too close for comfort in my view.

Both sides started as if they desperately needed the win. Shearer won a succession of dangerous free kicks with dives that would shame Crespo; Bramble nearly scored from one in the first minute, but James saved well.

Apart from Shearer, Newcastle were fearsomely quick: Robert made Sun look flat-footed, which isn’t easy, all the back four were fast, and you didn’t want to see Ameobi gathering pace. At the other end, Bernard recognised that SWP was a similar threat, and adopted a robust policy of getting to the ball first, and clattering Shaun second (bless the lad: is there anyone else in the game who can be kicked a yard in the air and get straight up to carry on as if nothing had happened?).

The first half consisted, on both sides, of classy play with no end result. James kept us in it with two or three fine saves; at the other end, Given stopped a rocket header from Dunne. Anelka and Wanchope were battling to outdo each other for outrageous trickery, but I don’t remember either getting a shot – apart from Dunne’s, our attempts on goal were mis-hit efforts from Sinclair and Barton. Last action was a high ball forward, which Given caught as Wanchope fell at his feet. Halsey looked at his assistant who, like everyone else, was watching the flight of the ball rather than whether Paolo fell or was felled. Have to say it didn’t look like a penalty to me.

At half time, apparently, TalkSport described the match as “breathtaking” and FiveLive as “poor”. Still, a big step forward from the breathtakingly poor performance of two weeks back. This was two very good sides cancelling each other out – with two very good sets of fans generating the best atmosphere since the derby.

Everyone was working hard – in particular Anelka, who was back to his work-rate at the start of the season, harrassing players right back at our own corner flag. And SWP (but that goes without saying) who was involved in every dangerous attack. Hard work got its reward when Sinclair, who had broken free and was lining up to shoot, was tackled from behind. While everyone looked at Mr Halsey, SWP quietly picked up the loose ball by the touchline and fed it back to Anelka; he put in a beautiful cross which Wanchope headed unstoppably inside the left-hand post. Haven’t enjoyed many goals that much, but with half an hour to go, hope was replaced by the fear that we would lose the lead as quickly as we’d won it. More and more, we were in the ascendancy, which is all the more reason for nervousness when you’ve got Shearer up the other end. We had chances to put it beyond doubt, but didn’t. Reyna (on for Sinclair) backheeled to Anelka, whose cross was won in the air by SWP, who was brought down three yards from goal, but the infallible Halsey was absolutely clear that the tackle was fair. One of several Tarnat free kicks bobbled around the box and fell to Bosvelt, whose 30-yard shot was just tipped over. Anelka crossed to Wanchope who was closed down when it would have been easier to score. The clock ran down, slowly. Three minutes were added. Macken was brought on for Wanchope. We tried to stick by the corner flag; James kicked it especially high so it would take longer to come down. And finally, it was over and joy was unbounded.

I won’t count chickens, but Leeds need at least two wins and a draw. We need one win. I’d never have imagined a situation where I’d cough up the pay-per-view fee to cheer Bolton, but then I never imagined a situation where I wanted Millwall to win the FA Cup. Come on you Trotters!

[And a postscript written on Sunday. Missed kick-off and paid my six quid at the start of the second half. Football-clueless guests arrived just after Harte’s brilliant goal, had to stop watching. So that was six pounds to watch ten minutes of two teams that don’t mean a rat’s butt to me. Worth every penny.]

Dorien James <dorien.james(at)btopenworld.com>

OPINION: KEVIN KEEGAN ASKED FOR COMPOSURE

Before the game against Newcastle, Kevin Keegan asked for composure from his players and he got it. KK decided to play the same eleven that had played versus Leicester, and they played a much better game today. Wanchope played the best game I have seen him play for quite a while, capping it with a well taken goal that won the game. Today’s win was a combination of Kevin Keegan, the players, and the City supporters (12th man) who sang their hearts out. Nice for us City fans to celebrate a win! It’s not over yet, but it’s looking much better for Premier League Football next season.

Congratulations! Well done you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: BUY THE GOAT AND HE WILL SCORE

Regarding Richard Stoodley’s comments in the last issue; sorry Richard, but wake up man!

Anelka scored 20+ goals this season and in my opinion he didn’t have a great season, didn’t show much passion the 2nd half of the season when we were struggling but he’s definitely a class player. There is a huge difference between scoring 20+ goals in the 1st Division to the Premiership and maybe Goater or Hux would be a decent partner for Anelka and even score a few goals but they will never lead a strike force and a team to the top half of the Premiership. I do agree with one thing you said, we must buy van Buyten and possibly make him captain. At the very least we need to take the captain armband away from Distin. I also think Trevor Sinclair will come good, he looked great against Newcastle yesterday. Our midfield needs a creative player and Macca is not the man. Bosvelt also needs to go, but other than that if we can keep Sweep, Barton and Anelka over the summer I think we are close to having a pretty decent team.

Arason in goal? Have you seen James play? He’s not England’s number one because of this haircut! He might make the odd stupid mistake but overall he is the best ‘keeper in England.

On another note, did anyone else notice Sun steaming forward with a minute to go against Newcastle. What was he thinking, didn’t anyone tell him he’s a defender? Yes, he gets down that wing very effectively at times and even puts in some nice crosses but please don’t do it with a 1-0 lead going into injury time 🙂

Great results at the weekend, let’s hope we can win our last 2 and carry some momentum into next season.

Paul Faulkner a.k.a. ColoradoBlue <web.co(at)usa.net>

OPINION: WHAT HAPPENED TO CITY THIS SEASON?

This is my own point of view of what went wrong at City this last season. And it’s always easy to look back in hindsight, that’s if my theory is right.

First of all I think too many players were in and out of the team. How can players gain confidence playing one week, out the next?

We all know that it was a bad mistake to bring in Seaman, there was talk during the off season to sign James (pity that did not happen).

Anelka and Fowler just did not play well together; there was obviously something wrong there that hurt the team. Kevin Keegan kept experimenting with the strikers, but in the end he may have got it right. Anelka with Wanchope; of course Wanchope has been out injured for most of the season so could not play at an earlier stage of the season.

There was that element of being unlucky in some games.

There was some bad decisions by some refs.

We had some injured players.

Our defence for the best part of the season seemed disorganized; this is why I feel City need a leader and a player other players can look up to as a captain.

Next season I feel David James would be an excellent choice, and he will get the defence in front of him in order, he’s not afraid to shout at other players.

There was a lack of commitment from some of the players at times; against Southampton at home would be a good example of this.

I think Kevin Keegan meant well bringing in experienced players with the intent of making an impact; trouble was players like McManaman, Fowler, Sinclair, just to name three who let KK down, there were others, and City the club who paid them.

There were some good points like the way Shaun Wright-Phillips came through and being picked for the England squad, the way that Richard Dunne improved his game.

It was amazing that the same players could beat United 4-1, come back against Spurs after being 3-0 down at half time to win 4-3 with ten men, the same team could not put up performances to match in other games, which only said to me the effort was missing. City were a top four team on shots on goal, which showed the character of a Kevin Keegan team, but the finishing just was not there.

In the off season a lot of repairing has got to be done, but I still feel strongly that Kevin Keegan should remain manager.

There has been a call from the majority of fans for David Bernstein to return as Chairman. I feel John Wardle himself would welcome this, for he did his best under the circumstances of no chairman at the club when Bernstein left, and although he never wanted the position, took it simply from being a big City fan with a big investment in the club; he did his best.

Anyway, who knows, maybe Vladimir Potanin and/or Ralif Safin (the Russian billionaires) might invest in City, and could change everything about the club.

The future still looks bright at City, we still have some very good players for next season, but it’s obvious some changes have got to be made. The new stadium will have had its first season, and the club can review what was right and what was wrong. Still two games to go this season, and a big thanks to Bolton beating Leeds.

Come on you Blues! The pressure is off, go out in style.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: ANOTHER SEASON

Well, another season in the Premiership and not left to the last day! On the back window of my car I have the words “Lord give me strength – I support Manchester City”; well the good Lord thought I had suffered enough this season. As someone so far away in New Zealand and only sees the games Sky show you, I thought I’d give my report card.

As the saying on my report used to say ‘had potential, should have done a lot better’. That can be said about City. At the start of the season, and with the players we had signed, I thought that a top six spot was well within our reach. Sadly not to be, and here’s my report card.

Seaman: Sorry David, one season too many. James: Clearly the best keeper in England, don’t know why we didn’t sign him at the start of the season.
Sun: Tried hard, a bit naïve defensively, worth another try.
Distin: Disappointing season, only good in patches.
Tarnat: What did Nicolas Jensen do wrong?
W-Phillips: Outstanding, very rarely had a bad day.
Barton: Called him a t*sser, but would pick the t*sser, needs to mature.
Dunne: Dunney’s a legend. My player of the Year. Not flash, makes mistakes and a little slow at times, but 100% effort and commitment. Go you good thing!
Sinclair: Disappointing for an international.
Sibierski: Good utility player.
Anelka: Scored plenty, but that’s what he’s there for. An enigma.
Fowler: Played well with Macken, not Anelka, disappointing.
McManaman: Disappointing season, rarely had a good game after Villa.
Reyna: Injury prone, worth another season.
Bosvelt: A battler, little slow, worth another season.
Macken: I don’t know what he has to do to get a decent run? Promising with the right strike partner.
Wanchope: After the goal at Newcastle, be nice to see him injury free. Not a pretty sight at times, but does the unexpected.
Van Buyten: A must for next season.
Tiatto: Missed the little Aussie on the left side. 100% player.

Keegan: Made some puzzling decisions at times, I like to see him living closer to City, still I’d like to see him stay.

For next season get David Bernstein back in, the club seemed to run better and have fewer problems than now, and for goodness sake, leave the egos at the front gate.

Thanks Paulo for that goal, could be one of the most important in the club’s history. In a couple of weeks, when the season finishes, we can at last relax, recharge our batteries and do it all over again in August!

You have to love City!

Kevin Williamson <Scribbs(at)slingshot.co.nz>

OPINION: FAN POWER

It’s Bank holiday Monday evening, the sun is still shinning, and after the great victory against Newcastle that we had all hoped for and Leeds’ defeat to Bolton yesterday, I can now put away my shattered nerves for another season. It is great to think that we can look forward to the last game at home without the haunting memories of days such as Luton and David Pleat, or Liverpool and Alan Ball telling the players to keep the ball in the corner when we really needed a win and not a draw.

It was good to see the togetherness of the players and the spirit with which they played but the one most important thing about Saturday apart from of course 3 points was the encouragement from the fans.

Well done to the guys who organised and distributed leaflets before the game encouraging fans to get behind their team, it really did make a huge difference. I am sure that most people could write a book on the reasons for this season’s failings and I feel sure that the management and staff will endeavour to address the problems this summer. I know it has been said before but this is the first time there has been an organised response and it worked. If we had won a lot of the games we have drawn at home this season dare I say it we might have been challenging for that European place we all wanted last August. So do we the fans think it is possible that next season we could organise in much the same way as last week, a campaign of some sort to encourage the home fans to get behind the team every week? I for one know that if we did get behind the team in the same way we would win a lot more games at home than this season; our away form is fine. After a while it would be come commonplace. What do you think?

Simon Challiner <saramay(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: RELEGATION WOULD HAVE BEEN DEVASTATING

Relegation would have been devastating to City fans worldwide. There would have been no TV games next season because only the Premier League games are shown on TV worldwide. That could have hurt City in memorabilia, shirts, etc. sales. But most of all we never wanted to see our beloved club City go down.

Here’s to next season already!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

RESULTS

2 May 2004

Bolton Wanderers      4 - 1  Leeds United          27,420
Aston Villa           1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     42,573
Liverpool             2 - 0  Middlesbrough         42,031

1 May 2004

Arsenal               0 - 0  Birmingham City       38,061
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 0  Manchester United     29,616
Charlton Athletic     2 - 2  Leicester City        26,034
Chelsea               4 - 0  Southampton           41,321
Manchester City       1 - 0  Newcastle United      47,226
Portsmouth            1 - 1  Fulham                20,065
Wolverhampton Wndrs   2 - 1  Everton               29,395

League table to 02 May 2004 inclusive

                            HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                   P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal         35 14  4  0 38 13 10  7  0 31 11 24 11  0  69  24  45  83
 2 Chelsea         36 11  4  3 33 13 12  2  4 32 16 23  6  7  65  29  36  75
 3 Manchester Utd  36 12  3  3 36 14 10  2  6 25 20 22  5  9  61  34  27  71
 4 Liverpool       36 10  3  5 28 14  5  8  5 23 22 15 11 10  51  36  15  56
 5 Aston Villa     36  9  6  3 24 17  6  4  8 23 24 15 10 11  47  41   6  55
 6 Newcastle Utd   35 11  4  3 32 13  2 10  5 15 22 13 14  8  47  35  12  53
 7 Bolton Wndrs    36  6  8  4 24 19  7  3  8 22 34 13 11 12  46  53  -7  50
 8 Fulham          36  9  4  5 29 20  4  6  8 21 25 13 10 13  50  45   5  49
 9 Charlton Ath.   36  6  6  6 27 28  7  4  7 19 19 13 10 13  46  47  -1  49
10 Birmingham City 36  8  5  5 26 21  4  8  6 16 23 12 13 11  42  44  -2  49
11 Southampton     35  8  4  5 20 13  4  5  9 19 26 12  9 14  39  39   0  45
12 Middlesbrough   36  7  4  7 23 22  5  5  8 18 24 12  9 15  41  46  -5  45
13 Blackburn R.    36  5  3 10 24 30  7  4  7 26 27 12  7 17  50  57  -7  43
14 Portsmouth      35  9  3  5 29 17  2  5 11 11 32 11  8 16  40  49  -9  41
15 Everton         36  8  5  5 26 18  1  7 10 17 32  9 12 15  43  50  -7  39
16 Tottenham H.    36  8  4  6 32 27  3  2 13 12 30 11  6 19  44  57 -13  39
17 Manchester City 36  4  9  5 26 23  4  5  9 23 28  8 14 14  49  51  -2  38
18 Wolves          36  7  5  6 23 33  0  6 12 14 41  7 11 18  37  74 -37  32
19 Leeds United    36  5  6  7 22 28  3  2 13 15 47  8  8 20  37  75 -38  32
20 Leicester City  36  2 10  6 16 27  3  5 10 28 35  5 15 16  44  62 -18  30

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.07]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses


Articles (Don Barrie) : 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?

At the start of the 03/04 season it was actually a mix of two tracks: Starting with “O Verona” (from the film “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet”) leading 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.

Currently we use a selection of different music, which seems to change each game.

[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/.

[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]Don Barrie, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1014

2004/05/03

Editor:


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