Newsletter #1019

Just five days into the close season and the transfer rumblings are gathering pace.

Tonight we have Don’s news, including details of the pre-season games confirmed to date, end-of-season reviews thanks to Gareth, Kevin, Wallace and Rich and other titbits on parking tours and some optimism from Brazil.

Next game: tbc


General News

Be Creative and Clever: Managing Director Alistair Mackintosh’s views have been much in evidence this week. The club put out a statement from Mackintosh reviewing the season just gone. “As much as we try to shake off the ‘Typical City’ tag, we have once again stepped on the rollercoaster, under performing one minute, exceeding expectations the next. Whilst the first objective for any season must be to retain our Premiership status, this achievement alone cannot define success for Manchester City. As we reach the end of what is therefore a disappointing season all at the Club must take time to analyse, review and work together to improve. With the tremendous backing of our funders and major shareholders, John Wardle and David Makin, we have invested heavily in the playing squad over the last few years. In line with virtually every other Club we must, this summer, be more creative with our squad development. Further, as publicly stated by the manager, there is much more to come from a number of our players.” He went on to say that an extensive review of the off field organisation would also take place. Next day the MD was quoted as saying: “We should be looking to improve on the ninth place we achieved in our first season back. I think that is very achievable. In points terms, we are only talking small margins between 16th and eighth but through a combination of reviewing the season, making adjustments and learning from what we did this year, I am very confident we will finish above ninth.” He again stressed that there would be little in the way of transfer funds for KK this season. “Kevin is realistic about the situation,” said Mackintosh. “We have invested heavily in the squad over the last few years. Kevin has said there is more to come from some people and will work with them to get more out of them. Then in the transfer market we have to be clever. That is the future for all clubs who don’t have money.”

No Added Zest Required: KK has been musing on the development of the club in the next two years. “I have been in football a long time and you just do not find clubs like this,” he said. “It is a very special club and it deserves a team that is special though that doesn’t mean winning the championship. We cannot do that because we haven’t got the finance of the top clubs but with some good planning for a year or two then this club has got to be in a good, strong position. I don’t need a new zest for this job. I need a break because it has been a tough old season but I don’t need zest, I have got plenty of that,” he added. “I feel a bit deflated but after a good summer we will be back stronger than ever. I am glad this season is over. Once we were safe after Newcastle we tried to keep the players going and training right and we got our rewards on Saturday. There were some plusses but too many minuses to enjoy the season.”

Anelka Joins Raith: This won the Double Take Brother’s “Headline of the Week” award. It turns out that Nico’s brother Claude Anelka is Raith Rovers’ new director of football after putting more than £200,000 into the club. Anelka the Elder is also in charge of all team affairs, so current manager Antonio Calderon has left the club. Publicity shy agent Willie McKay, who was involved in brokering the deal, stressed that Anelka would not be taking his new rôle lightly. “He is deadly serious and he plans to make a big push for promotion to the SPL,” he told the Daily Record. “He has been to Scotland to look around the set-up in Kirkcaldy and feels this is the perfect opportunity for him and the club.” (Thanks Matthew Thomas)

Cat Nips Off: Meanwhile, City have confirmed goalkeeping coach Peter Bonetti is to leave the club. Bonetti, who is keen to stay in the game, has decided that the daily journey to City’s Carrington training ground from his Midlands home has become too much. “I want to look at coaching opportunities closer to home, perhaps within a 90-minute radius. I have enjoyed my time here immensely. City is a great club, with great supporters.” David James paid tribute to his goalkeeping coach. “I first met and worked with Peter when I broke into the Watford side and it was good to work with him,” explained James. “One of the first pieces of advice that he gave me had a profound effect on my career. He simply said to me that he wasn’t going to tell me how to be a goalkeeper but that he was going to give me his ideas on goalkeeping and that any ideas that I could take from that I should. It might sound a bit obvious but Peter Bonetti taught me to think for myself. In the football world coaches are employed to coach. But in some situations you get those who are more dictators than coaches and as I say fortunately Peter was not one of those. I learned a lot from him and was so glad that I had his services at Watford and likewise here at City. But in life you get to a point where I suppose some things become more demanding physically than perhaps the desire to continue. Hopefully that is the only reason that he is leaving City and not that I am a pain to train with!”

Come to the CoMS: It’s been a busy week for stadium related news. First we heard that Rugby League will be coming to the Stadium with a visit by the World Champions, Australia. The Test match with Great Britain will take place on Saturday October 30 in Rugby League’s inaugural Tri Nations competition. Last week we reported that Stretford Wanderers had looked into the possibility of using the adjacent athletics track for one of their Reserve sides. This tale has obviously had the desired effect, as City announced that they were in talks with the Council to bring MCFC’s very own second string to the Baby-COMS. Sources close to the club reckon that the smaller venue requires a safety certificate before it can be used as football ground, although it’s already passed for athletics. Keep Eastlands Blue, say I! The forces of darkness, just in case you care, are putting their reserves at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields, which has been City’s Reserve home for some years.

Goat Reunion: Finally we don’t have to rely on other clubs for details of the summer’s pre-season friendlies. This week the club website announced the following dates and times:
Wednesday July 21st vs. Bury away kick off 7.30pm
Saturday July 24th vs. Blackpool venue tbc kick off 3.00pm
Wednesday July 28th vs. Hull away kick off 7.45pm
Friday July 30th vs. Wolves away kick off 7.45pm
Monday August 2nd vs. Reading away kick off 8.00pm
Saturday August 7th opposition and kick off tbc at Eastlands
One highlight is the trip to Berkshire to face Shaun Goater and Reading, all proceeds going to the Goat’s football charity based in Bermuda. The one blank in the schedule is the home fixture pencilled in for August 7. The gossip has either Atletico Madrid, Valencia or Feyenoord as potential opponents.

International Call-Ups and Snubs: David James will be England’s number 1 this summer at Euro 2004, but there was no call up for Shaun Wright Phillips. “With Euro 2004 I now have the opportunity to go to what for any player is the biggest international tournament,” said David James. “I was part of the squad at the World Cup two years ago but I was an onlooker. Now I want to go to Portugal and take the next step and actually play in the Finals.” Sweep was philosophical about his position: “I love to hear the City fans chant my name and one day the England fans will be doing that. I will get to that point, don’t worry about that,” he said. Elsewhere, there was no recall to the French squad for Nicolas Anelka, despite Le Elk patching up his differences with Coach Jacques Santini. His twenty-four-goal haul in all competitions for the Blues has not been enough to win inclusion in Santini’s provisional squad for the Euro 2004 finals. Paul Bosvelt has cancelled his holiday plans after being placed on stand-by for Euro 2004 by Holland. The former Feyenoord skipper could yet play a key rôle in next month’s tournament should Holland lose any of their midfielder contingent in the build-up to the showpiece event in Portugal. Away from Europe, Claudio Reyna is preparing to make his 100th USA appearance against Honduras on 2 June at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The 31-year-old City ace is set to reach the landmark after being named in Bruce Arena’s squad for the friendly, which represents the USA’s final game before the start of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. Of City’s younger players, Willo Flood, Paddy McCarthy and Stephen Elliott are all on representative duty next week. McCarthy and Elliot have been named in Don Givens’ squad to face Scotland in Galway on Tuesday 25th May. Willo Flood has been named in the Republic of Ireland Under-19 eighteen-man squad for this week’s UEFA Championship second phase qualifiers in Belgium. The midfielder is already a regular member of the Under 21 squad and played in last year’s World Youth Championships.

Transfer News and Gossip

No to Karembeu: You can safely say that last week’s reports of Christian Karembeu’s imminent arrival were greatly exaggerated. The player’s agent let it be known that the 34-year-old former French international, who is leaving Greek side Olympiakos in the summer, was close to sealing a one-year switch to City. The Boss Man begged to differ, however. “I don’t read the papers but you can forget Christian Karembeu. I think I was also linked with him four years ago as well, it seems to come along every four years,” said KK.

The Curious Case of the Disappearing Duo: On Friday KK announced that he was on the verge of signing two players. “I have already started looking to next season and I hope to sign two new players in the next week,” he said. “They will either be very small fees or Bosmans, but they are both players we believe can take the club forward.” He added: “We are restricted because we have been told there is no money, so it is not like other seasons when we had options. Now it is pretty much laid out before us what players we can get. It is whether we can get them to Manchester City and whether we can get them to blend in straight away, which hasn’t happened this year.” What a difference a day makes, because as Dave Kilroy pointed out in MCIVTA 1018, KK gave a very testy reply to a Sky Sports News reporter when asked about future player arrivals or departures. He said that only John Wardle and Alistair Mackintosh could answer that, as “I don’t have the power at the club like I did two years ago.” Monday saw an end to incoming player speculation, because it was reported that plans to sign the mystery pair were scrapped after he was told there will be no funds available to him in the off-season. “In previous seasons I have tried to bring people in early but previous seasons are not like this one”, stated KK. “I don’t want to fool the fans on this one. We are not going to get the best of the best this summer.”

Higher Than Zero? On loan signing Daniel van Buyten remains a target. “If there is one player in the world that I wish I could sign at the minute it is Daniel van Buyten. I rate him that highly. I am totally impressed by him. I think he is an ideal number five. He has a good head on him and has leadership qualities. But at this moment in time he will not be coming here. We know he is worth money and we don’t have any. It looks like we will lose him and I know that there are two other English clubs interested in him. I haven’t totally given up hope as he is an outstanding player. I want Daniel van Buyten but my chances of getting him at this moment seem like, at the highest, nil,” said our manager. DvB sounds like he wants to stay at the COMS if he can. The defender’s agent Christophe Henrotay said this week: “We want to be fair to Kevin. If he wants to sign him we want to keep open that possibility. We will wait until Kevin phones me and tells me it is impossible.” Henrotay added: “Daniel hasn’t made up his mind yet about his future. He knows Kevin Keegan and likes him.” Other options are being investigated, however. “We have had talks with two other clubs – one in England and one in Europe. We have had an offer from the German club, who have made an unofficial offer. So we’ll wait for an official offer to Marseille to discuss any deal more deeply.” As mentioned last week, van Buyten’s transfer fee stands at a more modest £2.5-3 million – but how will KK perform this deal with no money? There are more and more reports suggesting that Joey Barton is about to seal his move back home to Merseyside, for the sum of (guess what) £2.5 million. Will it be a case of sacrificing Joey for defensive stability?

Arni Out on his Arason: Arni Arason has been told that his stay with City is over. “Arni Arason will go as well as Michael Tarnat, Danny Tiatto and Gerard Wiekens. Arni is too good to be a number 2,” explained Kevin Keegan. “He is at the wrong age to be a number 2. Part of me wanted him to stay and I have had a good chat with him. He needs to go and play, as he is an international player. So we will be looking for another goalkeeper who will be a number 2. We can not go into a season with just David James and maybe Nicky Weaver and two young kids, good as they might be.” The Icelandic international arrived at City on a free transfer in mid-January and made an immediate impact in the remarkable FA Cup replay at White Hart Lane, making a string of stunning saves in the match but has had to play number 2 since then to David James.

City to Leave Oxford Rudd-less? City have joined the race to sign Oxford United starlet Sean Rudd, but face competition from a number of other Premiership clubs. The 15-year-old is attracting a great deal of interest having broken through in the reserves at The Kassam Stadium this season. Southampton, Everton and Blackburn are also keeping tabs on Rudd’s progress. “I think people know we bring players through here and will always give them the best possible chance of becoming a professional footballer,” said Oxford’s head of youth Les Taylor. “In Sean’s case there has been a lot of interest and City are just the latest club to contact us. Nothing has been agreed with any club yet but it does give Sean plenty of options. Ideally we’d love him to stay with us and go right through the age groups and then hopefully play in the first team, but that is just one more option for him to consider. Would he be better off staying here and maybe getting a chance to play first team football early? Only he can decide I guess. We have high hopes of a number of other players as well, and I think the future looks very promising here.”

Dutch View: I’m grateful to Henk Timmer for supplying the following info from the Dutch press. “According to Dutch footie mag VI Man City are one of several clubs interested in PSV forward Adil Ramzi (26), born in Morocco. He’s currently on-loan at FC Twente and has not impressed since his move from Willem II in 1998. He was on-loan at Spanish 2nd division Cordoba last season. His current contract ends 2005.” Henk’s view is that Ramzi isn’t good enough, so we shall see. Also: “Northern Dutch paper Dagblad van het Noorden, or DvhN, reports that Ipswich and Stoke are chasing Wiekens. Boss man KK has allegedly said that Wiekens can stay at City. It is not said if that is on any contract base or just for training and keeping fit.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Mason’s Everywhere: Remember Gary Mason? He broke into Joe Royle’s side in the opening games of the 1998/1999 season, but never established himself long term because of injury. He’s back in the national limelight because he’ll be playing for Dunfermline against Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final on Saturday. Still only 24, Mason revealed in the Scotsman this week how he’ll use his City experience to help him on the big day. “I joined Manchester City as a schoolboy and played for them in the lower leagues,” Mason said. “When we went down to the Second Division, Joe Royle decided to play a lot of younger guys, so I got about 30 games before I picked up an ankle injury and that kept me out for a while. I missed the play-off final against Gillingham, but I was at the game and it was amazing. We came back from two goals down with only a few minutes left, to eventually win on penalties. Paul Dickov and Kevin Horlock scored within a minute of each other. That just goes to show what can happen in big one-off games and shows that if you keep believing you can win, then anything is possible. That is the way we will be thinking for the cup final. Playing for City was an amazing experience because even in the Second Division we were getting 30,000 fans every week and not many clubs can say they would get that. After we got into Division One, the club were aiming for the Premiership. The manager brought in older, more experienced lads so I felt it was time to move on and find first-team football.”

A Tale of Two Penalty Takers: In the Division One Play Off semi-finals on Monday night, Sunderland and Crystal Palace were locked in a penalty shoot out to decide which team would go to the Millennium Stadium for the right to enter the Premiership next season. With the shootout tied at 4-4 after 5 penalties each, sudden death kicked in. Who did Sunderland turn to for the vital kick? Why, Jeff Whitley, of course! As a City player, it would be fair to say that Jeff used to show bags of commitment, but shooting at goal was not his forte. Nothing’s changed, apparently, as Whitley tried a stuttering run up to fool the goalie, but succeeded only in tapping the ball tamely at Nico Vaesen in the Palace goal. We shouldn’t be too hard on the Ratter, because as Sunderland fans pointed out, at least Jeff was prepared to have a go, unlike their striker Kevin Kyle who was nowhere to be seen. If Palace scored with their next penalty, they were in the final – this was duly achieved by the successful spot kick of another ex-Blue, Michael Hughes.

Reactions and Comments

Fantastic Five: City won the battle for fifth from bottom spot by beating Everton 5-1 on the last day of the Premiership season. Two Paulo Wanchope goals put City well in command after half an hour, while Nicolas Anelka’s superb strike just before half time made for a comfortable end of the season. Everton briefly rallied with a Kevin Campbell goal on 60 minutes, but a late pair of goals from Antoine Sibierski and Shaun Wright Phillips ensured a grandstand finish for the capacity crowd. It was quite a lucrative result as well – City leapfrogged Everton to earn themselves £2.725 million – while Everton had to settle for £400,000 less. “It should have happened six months earlier, but credit to the players,” said the manager. “I said to them before they went out that these fans have been superb, let’s go out and give them something to remember. We sold thirty thousand season tickets before we even knew what division we would be playing in and that says a lot. For me, after the season we have had, you feel a fraud thinking for one minute that you deserve to be clapped on the lap of honour, but you have to go out because those fans have stuck by us through a poor season. It’s been disappointing,” he said. “We just haven’t been good enough this season.” He was asked about Paulo Wanchope: “Paulo is not always orthodox,” added the boss, “but he has only been training since Christmas. His partnership with Nicolas Anelka is showing signs of becoming fruitful.”

Off in Two: Much of Sunday’s press coverage focussed on KK’s after match assertion that he will retire in 2006. “I have told people I won’t stay beyond my five-year contract,” said Keegan. “I’ve got two years left. We are trying to finish in the top six, but it doesn’t matter if we win the league, I will not stay. But I would like to hand this club over to somebody in a better state than it is now and that will be my challenge. If I cannot do that then I have failed in trying to do the job properly. I’ve been in management 12 years and, before I retire, I want to win something that’s worth winning,” he said. “I’ve won the Second Division championship with Fulham and the First Division championship twice with City and Newcastle, but never anything that’s truly worth winning. I want to give that my best shot in the two years I’ve got left on my contract and then I want to spend some time with my family and some time on the golf course.” He concluded: “Nothing will tempt me back and I mean absolutely nothing. I’m not Fergie, as you know.”

What a Mismatch: David Moyes was unflattering of his team’s efforts on the day. “That is not a performance I can defend,” said Moyes. “It was a mismatch. Football comes down to many things, with application and determination two of the biggest, and we didn’t have enough of either. You don’t want to lose your last game of the season, but you certainly don’t want to lose in the fashion we did today. If you are looking for some positives, then it is there for all to see – there have to be changes. I think everybody can now see the size of the task and like every other Everton manager before me in the last 13 years, we are celebrating avoiding relegation. It has to be changed. There are a few players here now who won’t be here when we start again.”

Great End to the Season: Double goalscorer Paulo Wanchope has had a strong finish to the season, netting four goals in his last three games. He said: “It has been a great end to the season for me and just a shame that it ended on Saturday. But it was great to finish well and now I can go home and rest and prepare for next season. Every player needs a run in the side, that is the way you can improve your game. It has helped me to work during the week knowing that I can get into the side on Saturday.” Wanchope reckons his partnership with Nicolas Anelka is working well: “We are getting to know each other now and it has been good to play the four games together. Now hopefully the partnership can continue next year.” From a player finishing the season with a bang, to one who barely whimpered all season. Steve McManaman did not take part in the after match lap of ‘honour’ with the rest of the team – not, as some unkind souls might think, because he was scared of being barracked, but because he felt his performances this season were not satisfactory.

Squad News

Jamo the Gardener: David James reckons that KK will refresh the squad this summer, despite the pleas of poverty mentioned earlier. “We have a very capable group of players here but I expect there will be changes in the summer,” the goalkeeper said. “That is the way football is. I am not saying it needs too much but you do need change. It is like propagating the garden in some respects. By making changes you encourage new growth and competition and with it all the factors that make us want to be footballers. I am sure whatever happens in the summer we will have a team our great supporters can be proud of.” Paul Bosvelt has credited James with keeping the club in the Premiership. Bosvelt said: “David has made a big difference. He has had a big influence on the team, not just with his performances but with his ability. He was great at Leicester and especially against Newcastle in the opening 20 minutes when we were under a lot of pressure. It’s always good when the goalkeeper saves points for you because it gives you something to build on.”

Going Nowhere: Shaun Wright-Phillips says that he’s never considered leaving City, despite recent speculation. “My heart is in Manchester City and I haven’t thought about going anywhere else and I don’t think I will,” he asserted. “I am concentrating on doing the best I can for this club and these fans and hopefully I will be here next year. I and the rest of the team want to pick up from where we left off against Everton on Saturday. Hopefully next season will see us on the up and all the talk will be nothing but praise rather than constant questions about team spirit and things like that. We have worked very hard recently and we wanted to prove to ourselves that we had a performance like that in us and we owed the fans dearly.” His manager is equally keen to keep Shaun. “Shaun has got two years left on his deal, but I feel it is morally right to give him a new contract because he has had an amazing season in a struggling team and there are players here who haven’t performed anything like he has and yet are on far more money,” said Keegan. “But I am not going to stick my neck out and say we wouldn’t sell any of our players. Every player has his price and even the big clubs, like Arsenal, have had to do it over the years.” Over the weekend, Keegan said he would be “decimated” if SWP left.

Danny Departs: Danny Tiatto’s six-year career at City is over. “I would definitely like to thank the supporters for all their backing over the years, they have been great but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out for me this season,” he said. “That is the way it goes; football is like that and sometimes you have to move on and take the next step. I want to be playing football again rather than sitting about training and playing for the reserves.” Of his future plans, Tiatto said: “I definitely want to stay in England. I am going home to play a few games for the Aussie national team and then make a decision where I am going to be next season. There have been a fair few people interested but with the play-offs still going on and all that I have just got to wait until all the games are finished before I make a decision. The supporters realise what type of player I am and that I always give 100 percent and hopefully other managers will too.” Almost inevitably Joe Royle has been mentioned as a possible suitor for Tiatto’s favours. JR signed the Aussie for City in 1998, so a move to Ipswich Town cannot be ruled out.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


This will be one of several End of Season Reviews that fellow McVer’s will submit I’m sure, but like others we will all agree to disagree; if we didn’t, boy that would be boring.

  1. The Ground – Having not been able to get to any games (“good on youson” I hear some of you say, given our performances), as mentionedpreviously by many others and you only need to look at examples from allover the world including closer to home like Southampton et al, we aregoing to take time to settle in at least a season by most people’sreckoning, but having been able to get down to Manchester not so long agothe ground does look stunning thanks to vent slats being open. HopefullyI’ll be able to get down next season depending on if I can get a ticket,which leads me nicely onto…
  2. Tickets – Hands up all those who think that occasional visitors, likemyself, i.e. those who can’t get down at least 3 or 4 times a season, should beable to purchase tickets in the good old fashioned paper form instead ofhaving to purchase a Citycard/Matchcard before the season just on theoff chance that they might be able to get to see a game. Now if any of theinfo I’ve said is misguided or wrong then please correct me, as theticketing policy is one that needs to be made simpler and clearer forseason ticket holders, regular non-season ticket holders and the occasionaltraveller.
  3. The Board etc. – Now we get to the nitty gritty. Now some but not toomuch has been said about the board this season. In a nutshell, only Bernieor Wardle could explain what the situation was behind Bernie’s departure;as many people have said, Bernie’s departure was a shock and something thatshould not have happened but we are on the outside looking in, so we can onlyspeculate as to the reasons. Now we all know that both Bernie and Wardleare City fans at heart and only want to see what’s best for the club, butI’m sure many would agree that Bernie ran the club without trying to be tobiased and that to me was something that should be admired by many a clubin the country as this was something that was not present during the Swalesera; no offence to the man, but sometimes you have to be careful not tolove the club too much. Wardle should be careful not to get suckedinto the same predicament; if he can get some stability at the club then weshould all support the board and hope that that stability continues onto thepitch.
  4. The Manager (Watch out, here he goes) – Kevin Keegan. In my own honestopinion Kevin Keegan has brought that style of football back to Citythat we’ve missed for so many years: attacking football. Although this yearhas been a big disappointment results-wise etc., my own gut feeling is thatthis has a lot to do with my first point, the ground. Other than that, luckhasn’t been the best this year, and no matter how many times KK tries tosay it, we will never get rid of the “Typical City” tag; if we did, we’d endup being a boring run of the mill team like Southampton or Middlesbrough,in there but never going anywhere. I still think we should give him histime because I think next season will be a better one than thisone. As for the future, in my opinion we don’t need to look too far for areplacement when KK’s contract is up. Providing he doesn’t join anotherclub with this “gentleman’s agreement”,Stuart Pearce would be an idealreplacement, because if performances weren’t up to scratch he wouldn’t beshy in letting the players know; he doesn’t have the nickname Psycho fornothing.
  5. The Players – I have to admit, some players have been disappointing thisseason, but see point 1, but in my opinion here is my list and ratings:

    Anelka – Here lies the dictionary definition of enigma; sometimes he’s pureclass, sometimes he’s pure frustrating. I have to agree with Gary Owen onthis one: when it comes to one on ones, he is capable of a lot more. Tip foryou Anelka: chip the ball, I’ve seen you do it before. Other than that passthe ball, especially to Fowler.

    Arason – It’s a pity we couldn’t keep hold of this one but as KK said he’stoo good to be a bench warmer and if James is fit then he would have had nochance.

    Barton – Mister hot head himself, on his day you can’t ask for more passion,it’s just that his passion sometimes goes OTT and that can only lead tocards. If he can calm down calm down (pun intended) then he could well findhimself becoming the next Gerrard (yes, that comparison again).

    Berkovic – Should have been given a chance but KK was to blame for thisone. Yes, he did hand in his request then withdrew it. In my opinion thatshould have been it and forgotten about, normal services resumed. Alsosee the footnote on this section

    Bischoff – I can’t really comment on this one, not seen enough to make judgement.

    Bosvelt – In my opinion Mr Dependable, has taken the mantle that Wiekenshad (must be a Dutch thing). He started off a bit shaky – who doesn’t, butas the season progressed he has become more of the article we need, thegood old fashioned sweeper. Should keep.

    Van Buyten – exactly buy ten of him, KK. Sorry, the board should pull outthe stops for this one. He has made a good impact and looks like he can carry it on.

    Distin – Good performances could only be improved if KK took the captaincyoff him, and in my opinion give it Reyna. Other than that, well I’ve said itreally.

    Dunne – In the top three for player of the season. The Dunnymonster (soundsAussie) he has been the big defender that he should be. Could eat strikersfor breakfast and still leave room for the midfield. I think he has proveda lot of people wrong this season, good on you as well.

    Elliot – See Bischoff.

    Flood – Ditto.

    Fowler – I still think he could be a good one for us if, like I mentionedearlier, Anelka passed to him, Fowler and Macken make a good pairing up front.

    Huckerby – He left early on in the season and I don’t see why not; he wastoo similar to Anelka and strangely Fowler so he wouldn’t have worked out.

    James – Can’t see why we didn’t get him at the beginning of the season butnow he’s here, thank you. He has put his “Calamity” tag behind him and reallycares about the defence.

    Jordan – See Bischoff.

    McManaman – I was a believer in him and I still am, only if KK plays him inthe proper position and he doesn’t stray too much into the middle.If he is injury free then he can carry on that début performance

    Macken – Should be played more often; he still has a lot to prove, not to usor the management but to the Premiership. He is capable but KK needs toplay him more.

    Negouai – See Bischoff, but what I have seen can be promise for the future.

    Reyna – He took a while to settle in at Rangers but once settled he alsohad the Mr Dependable tag. Should be captain, he would relish it and amidfield captain is a better bet in my opinion.

    Seaman – Don’t know why he didn’t retire at the end of last season but hey ho.

    Schmeichel Jr – From what I’ve heard could take after his daddy; one forthe future.

    Sibierski – Keep, goals from midfield, big shiny napper for getting into thebox for set pieces – just what we need.

    Sinclair – In football terms he’s had a rubbish season; give him anotherseason to prove himself then I’ll decide.

    Sommeil – 50/50 performances, not really Premiership but at the same timenot Division 1.

    Stuhr-Ellegaard – Nervous boy but that’s understandable just starting out.The defence was rocky at the time, a loan spell at a lower level would gethim some much-needed experience.

    Sun – Stay back. We know you like scoring but sometimes you make us nervousas hell when you start running forward near the end of matches. Other thanthat, some good performances, some dodgy ones but can be used better at times.

    Tarnat – I’ll miss Das Boot; I still think he should have carried on. LikeBosvelt, he started off a bit rocky but was getting there.

    Tiatto – Don’t get me started on this one. How KK can look back on thisseason and bemoan the lack of passion or urgency in some of ourperformances when we had probably the most Blue-blooded player on our booksnot getting a game. Tiatto would have broken legs and noses to get the gamemoving and would have been the pep we needed on the pitch this season. Evenif he is Australian, I think he’s a closet Blue through and through. Rar rarrar, I could go on but my blood pressure is rising. On behalf of City fanseverywhere, good luck in the future and you’re welcome back any time.

    Wanchope – Ol’ Bandy legs; if only he could be fit for the whole season. Inthe last few games he and Anelka looked like they were getting there.

    Weaver – When he’s fit again, ideal number 1/2, 2/1; it will be toughbetween him and James.

    Whelan – See Bischoff.

    Wiekens – Similar to Tiatto, will be sorely missed and this season we couldhave done with him in defence.

    Wright-Phillips – What can I possibly say about this guy that hasn’talready been said? 10/10. if he was sold the lynch mob with the torcheswould be descending on Eastlands in no time. Hope his bro’ jumps up to thefirst team just to annoy the shirt printers (how long would the name be then?).

    Footnote – This is a very important part of my review; as we all know, atthe end of last season we lost a valued member of our squad, MarcViven-Foe. He was a player that I’m sure would have been playing with us thisseason if it were not for his untimely death. It cannot beunderestimated how much of an effect this can have on the players that playedwith him. Tt can make youreview your own life when something like that happens. In my opinion, thiscould have had an effect on Benarbia and Berkovic; that’s why Benarbia leftand why Berkovic handed in his request and withdrew it later. I might bewrong but you only have to look at Watford this season; they’ve not had thebest of seasons and that’s understandable considering they also lost aplayer at the beginning of the season.
  6. The Future – We look to next season with hopefully a bit more optimism.Well, I do. Some players are leaving, none seem to be coming in, but if weare to speculate, here are some things that could happen over the silly season:a rumour that I heard from a little bird was that Liverpool have soldHeskey to Birmingham in order for them to bring back an old boy. Are youthinking what I’m thinking? So that would leave us a striker short. Iknow that some people at the club read this so can I alert you to a playerthat would be available on a free, is probably one of the most provengoal-scorers in Europe and the Premiership would be a challenge he wouldrelish. Who am I talking about? Henrik Larsson, of Celtic fame. I thinkhaving a player of his calibre in the squad would be the dogs.
  7. The Future pt2 – What am I talking about, it’s Typical City isn’t it?

Gareth Croke <garethcroke(at)>


Well with all the end of season post mortems well and truly underway, I thought I’d add my tuppence worth.

Overall when you look at this year’s stats compared to last year’s ones, on the park we haven’t really done that bad. I can hear you all saying “what the hell’s he on about?” Well, Played 38, won 9, drawn 14, lost 15, for 55, against 54, points 41, position 16th, don’t really look that flash, but compare them to last year’s ones: played 38, won 15, drawn 6, lost 17, for 47, against 54, points 51, position 9th. Overall we won six games less, drew 8 more, lost 2 games less, scored 8 more, conceded the same, 10 points less and 7 positions on the table worse off. We had the fourth best attack and the eighth worse defence.

I think our main problem this season gone was that we didn’t turn draws into wins, and that throws a question mark on the defence, and the will to win. I’ve said for ages that money has killed the game; when you’re earning vast amounts each week, you know you’re very rarely going to get dropped, and probably still get paid, I would have to question the attitudes of about six of the 1st team squad.

Still, I think there’s a good deal to be optimistic about, but we have to be hungry for success, not just go through the motions. Crikey, I’d play for City for nothing! It would help too if the manager wouldn’t go on about no money and that he won’t be staying on after his contract is up. Every site I have visited has him moaning about having no money, and that when his contract is up he will finish. That’s fine, there may be little money about, but do we have to tell everyone and his dog what’s happening? Very defeatist to me, hope that attitude didn’t rub off on the players. Hmm! And if I’m hearing right over in New Zealand that if van Buyten is only going to cost £3 million, for goodness sake buy him; get rid of excess players and coaches, but he is a must for us to go places next year.

Well, less than three months until we do it all over again; wonder if the wife and children can go through it all over again – wonder if I’ll still have a wife and children!

You gotta love City don’t yah?

Regards to everyone at Mcivta, well done.

Kevin Williamson <Scribbs(at)>


A rather fascinating season, we struggled as unfortunately I expected, but the margin between success and failure is very slim in the Premiership.

I’m fascinated by the criticism of Keegan. Really the perspective should be where were we before Keegan and where are we now. Based on that, things are fine. We do not as a club have an unlimited budget. Keegan has had to taken some calculated risks in the transfer market. That’s the nature of the business. Would we rather we sat still, afraid to make any move that might not work?

Seaman didn’t work out, James did. McManaman didn’t, Reyna looks like he will. Sinclair is being played out of position… etc.

And on the subject of Fowler, look, the guy is the best pure instinctive English striker of his generation. I don’t know what is wrong with him, maybe he will never be the Fowler of old, but you have to take a gamble on a player like that. I think the mistake was in not loaning him out to a Division One team initially and letting him get his fitness back along with his confidence – he’d destroy defences in that league. Macken seems a better partner for Anelka at the moment. If we keep Anelka (see below), I think Fowler needs to be teamed with Wanchope and Macken in as many (pre-season) matches as possible to see if there is a natural partnership waiting to be unearthed.

Maybe Fowler will never be his old self. I’ll still never criticize for a good calculated gamble.

And digressing for a moment, is it me or is Macken on the field when we play our best?

Nor have circumstances been kind. Through a variety of reasons we lost our three top midfielders. Given this current squad, a set side going into the season, I would anticipate a mid-table finish, say 11th next year.

But of course we will not have the current squad. Players will leave and a few new players will be added.

Personally, I think only a few changes are needed. Alas, to fund them a couple of players will need to go including Anelka and Barton. Breaks my heart to suggest Anelka should go. He is the one world class player that we have but we need coin and he’s the one player that can generate enough.

First I’d look to see if Leverkusen were interested in Anelka and would do a cash plus Landon Donovan (plays in MLS but on loan from Leverkusen) deal. I’d then use that cash to buy van Buyten and Fulham’s Brian McBride. Yeah, I know, I’ve gone on about Donovan and McBride for years but it’s because they can play – McBride has proved this now at both Fulham and Everton and Donovan is better.

Next I’d take any remaining cash + selling Barton (to Liverpool maybe?) and go looking in the new EU countries for good up and coming youngsters. As the Poles showed us in UEFA Cup, they have a couple of decent players.

Next I’d like to see some creativity in the “loan” department. Chelsea, for example, have world class players who can’t even make the bench for some games. Joe Cole doesn’t usually start for them, he’d be an every match starter at City. Would he come, heck I don’t know but let’s see some effort in being creative. There’s no shame in loaning these players while we try and build something.

The above has City challenging for Europe, at least IMHO.

Wallace Poulter <wpoulter(at)>


Over the weekend I was doing some reflecting on the games and players we have seen this year at the City of Manchester Stadium (not including away games). I was wondering what other people think…

Best Team to visit CoMS?
I would have to say Southampton or Leicester – remember thinking we were completely outclassed by both. Chelsea were superb defensively and hit us really well on the break.

Worst Team to visit CoMS?
Tough one – Liverpool in the first half were truly awful, Everton were extremely poor but it was a nothing to play for end of season fixture. Leeds were poor but at least showed fight. Spurs (in the league), how they didn’t get a hiding was beyond me… Probably all things considered I’d plumb for Middlesbrough as they contributed absolutely nothing to the game and fluked a result.

Best Opposing Player to visit CoMS?
John Terry or Frank Lampard both were superb. Ronaldo looked very impressive for the first half of the derby but didn’t turn up for the second half! Camara for Wolves looked a handful. I’d probably go for John Terry though considering the pressure we put Chelsea under.

Most Disappointing Team to visit CoMS?
Arsenal – if we were to get beaten at least I was going to look forward to seeing Pires, Vierra, Henry play some quality football. However, for their visit to CoMS they were pretty uninspiring…

Most Disappointing Player to visit CoMS?
After all the fuss people have made about him and considering we saw him twice (Charlton and Chelsea), it has to be Scott Parker, very average based on the performances at CoMS.

Best Away Support?
Has to be Lokeren, they didn’t stop making noise and that band! Close second definitely would be Portsmouth on the opening Premiership game, made a really good atmosphere and really got behind their side.

Worst Away Support?
Everton – no noise and the muppets that left after the third goal – why pay the money?

Best Goal (City included)?
City – SWeeP against United
Opposing – Hamman’s for Liverpool.

Best Save (City included)?
Maik Taylor for Birmingham when he made the double save (I think from Sinclair/Fowler).

Most Improved City Player?
Without doubt Richard Dunne.

Player of the Season?
Shaun Wright Phillips with Dunney coming in second.

Best chant?
Either the constant clapping of Ronaldinho for not signing for United or the guy who shouted “Who’s letting him take those!” after Tarnat hit a free kick wide in a game shortly after the Blackburn and Villa goals!

Best Moment of the Season?
Going to the stadium for the first time against Barcelona and watching City play in such superb surroundings! Close second was SWeeP’s goal against United.

Worst Moment of the season?
After the third Southampton goal when relegation really felt like a certainty!

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


While returning from the Newcastle match, I noticed a number of people gathered round their cars that had been parked on Viaduct Street, which is off Palmerston Street on the South West side of the stadium. Enquiries revealed that several cars had been vandalised by having all their tyres let down and according to one man their valves removed. As I was considering using this road next season instead of my vastly inflated school parking place (up 30%), I wondered if any of your readers had experienced similar problems in this or any other area?

Bryan Clarke <b.Clarke(at)>


At the end of all that we were only five wins short of a Champions’ League place!

Next year, my Blue friends, next year.

Gibby Zobel <gibby(at)>


In answer to Steve Cox’s question in MCIVTA 1018, I took the Stadium Tour on the spur of the moment the day after the Everton home game – and I would certainly recommend it.

Our guide was also a steward on match days in the North Stand, and was friendly and knowledgeable, as you’d expect.

One of the funniest things (in my opinion) was in the Museum part next to the City Social. There is an interactive “Pick Your All-time City” team, where you select the formation you want, and toggle through the various players for the positions. As the player changes, their picture appears… except for Mikkel Bischoff, where you get a silhouette and the message “Waiting for Picture”. Is he the invisible man we’re all fans of?

Ian <ID313(at)>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.07]

[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?

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: 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

[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 #1019