Newsletter #1033

News tonight on Royle’s court victory, more possible legal action from both City and Anelka and comings, goings and non-starters thanks to Don.

We have opinion on the Royle court case, Sky fixtures, the forthcoming season and more bargain shirts.

Next game: Bury, away, 7.30pm Wednesday 21 July 2004 (friendly)


In the Courts

Royle Flush After Court Hearing: City have lost their case over compensation due to former manager Joe Royle. He was dismissed from his job as manager after City were relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2000/2001 season. The former Blues’ manager claimed he was entitled to compensation as a Premiership manager and took the club to court over his claim. Under the ruling the judge awarded Royle compensation of £422,819.08. City will also have to pay the costs of the proceedings, estimated by some newspapers at £250,000. The decision is a blow for City, who insisted they had effectively left the Premiership when Mr Royle was fired. The High Court was told two weeks ago that Mr Royle’s contract showed he would get 12 months of his salary if he was sacked when the club was in the Premiership; and six months if the club was in the First Division. The court has decided he should have got his entire Premiership wage, because he was fired when the club was still in the top flight. Instead, he received about £150,000 – half of his projected £300,000 First Division wage. The club believed it was relegated after losing 2-1 to Chelsea in the last game of the season on May 19, two days before Royle was sacked. Winston Hunter QC, for City, said that it was clear under league rules that the club was relegated when it finished the season in the bottom three. But Royle’s barrister, Jonathan Harvie QC, argued that City was still in the Premiership until a share document showing the club was part of the top league was handed back in June. He said the club fired Mr Royle, who now manages Ipswich, because it was felt he had become “incompetent”. “The result is very disappointing. The judgment is contrary to the firm advice we received from our QC and leading experts,” said a City spokesman. “It does not recognise the common understanding of when a club is relegated and we believe produces an unfair result whereby on this basis Mr Royle has received extra reward for failure. We are advised there are grounds for an appeal and will be considering our position over the next few days.” Confirmation of the appeal came a few days later. Club spokesman, Paul Tyrrell said, “We have received strong legal advice that there are solid grounds to appeal and we have a duty to do so on behalf of the club – and our supporters and shareholders. The judgment, we believe, is unjust in rewarding Mr. Royle at a Premiership rate for a season which had already ended with the disappointment of relegation.”

The Drinks Are (Not) On Me: JR meanwhile is unhappy at the suggestion that there was a culture of heavy drinking at the club during his time in charge of the Blues. “It is sad to say, but I am afraid the only class at City is on the terraces,” Joe told the M.E.N. “I am extremely upset at the scandalous claims made against me. There was never a drinking culture during my time at the club.” Royle also hit out at the courtroom revelation that Alistair Mackintosh telephoned the Premier League within hours of City’s final game to determine whether the club were officially relegated. “They were trying to get themselves relegated on the Sunday so they could sack me on the Monday,” he said. “Believe it or not, getting this money was not my primary concern. My primary concern was to get vindication. I am pleased the case is over and I feel vindicated but it should never have gone to court.”

Anelka to Sue? Think we can claim a UK exclusive on this item. In other legal news, it’s been reported that Nicolas Anelka will sue the publication that suggested that Le Elk was off to a new life in the Gulf of Arabia. Thanks to Hsien Min for spotting (and translating) this snippet from L’Express magazine: “Nicolas Anelka will bring a lawsuit against the France Football weekly for intrusion on private life and slander after the latter published in its edition of 8th June a report on a visit he had made to Dubai. The paper described the trip and explained that the player had gone to the emirate in order to convert to Islam (which has been the case since 1998) and to settle there and join a local club. False, was his reply.”

General News

Two Number Twos: Stuart Pearce will not be KK’s new Assistant Manager, as was widely expected. Instead he has been made joint first team coach with Derek Fazackerley. The second in command rôle had become vacant after Arthur Cox retired at the end of last season, but KK revealed this week that: “Arthur will not be replaced. Stuart Pearce will step up to become first team coach with Faz, they will share that position. We have a big enough staff to cope with the number of players that we have now. It doesn’t put a bigger onus on me. As a group we share a lot of things here and we do not work like a lot of clubs where the manager decides everything. We sit down as a group and share responsibilities a lot of the time. Obviously I pick the team. On match day I talk to the players and I am the one who handles the players who are not happy, that is my job and that has never been any different even when Arthur was here.”

Changed for TV: The season has six weeks away, and already five fixtures have been altered to suit the broadcast requirements of Sky TV. In case you missed the alterations in Monday’s issue, they are:
Southampton (away) Sat October 2, 12.45pm, Premiership Plus (Pay Per View)
Norwich City (home), Mon November 1, 20.00pm, Sky
Trafford FC (away) Sun November 7 16.05pm, Sky
Portsmouth (away) Sat November 20 17.15pm, Sky
Middlesbrough (away) Mon December 6, 20.00pm, Sky

Rigby’s No Pygmy… When it comes to maintaining the hallowed turf. City’s new playing surface was runner-up in the competition to find the best pitch in the English professional leagues. Maine Road won the award last season, and this time City came joint second with Arsenal’s Highbury. Southampton scooped the top award. “This award shows the Club’s continuing commitment to providing the best possible playing surfaces for the team to train and to play on,” said Head Groundsman Roy Rigby. “The backing from the Club, from the Board to the Operations Manager through to the facilities staff has been tremendous and the groundstaff are very proud to have had their hard work this year recognised with this award.” Deputy Head Groundsman Lee Jackson commented: “Despite not winning the top award this year, we have achieved great success by being nominated for the second successive season. It would have been nice to win but I went on the pitch at Southampton when we played there last November and in fairness they fully deserve their success on this occasion.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Get the Balance Right: We have had a transfer policy statement from the Boss Man this week. Apparently he’d like to obtain the services of another defender and a young striker. “I hope to get new players here in the next week to ten days,” stated Keegan. “It is difficult as we are looking at a select band of players. Bosman transfers are not usually below thirty years of age. Most of these players who become Bosmans want a three or four year contract, which you can understand, but we are not prepared to do that. That means we have lost some of them who have already gone elsewhere but we are pretty confident that we will get two more in. I would like to replace Stephen Elliott, someone to play up front in the reserves with potential, if we can improve him, to get in and around the first team. I am looking for a right back at the moment. Jihai Sun will be away a lot this year and it is the last year of his contract. I have three possibilities to put to the Board on Wednesday and I shall tell them which my preference is and we will see where it goes.” KK wants a more balanced squad come Premiership kick-off day. “We have a very small squad by Premiership standards. In the last few months six players have gone out. But if you look over the year period it is a lot more than that. This time last year we still had Shaun Goater here. We still had Kevin Horlock here, Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia. So if you go back to that squad we are about ten players down. Whilst we probably had the size of the squad that we wanted then we are now right on the line. What we also have now is an imbalance and that is something that I have tried to address. We have a lot of midfielders here but we really don’t have a lot of defensive cover here.”

Vuoso Goes: City have cut their losses on Matias Vuoso. The Blues have agreed an undisclosed fee with Mexican club Santos Laguna, thought to be around £1 million, for the 22-year-old Argentine forward. City paid around £3.5 million two years ago for the forward who made his name alongside United’s Diego Forlan at South American club Independiente. Vuoso scored goals in the reserves but never once made it on to the pitch in a competitive first team game before being shipped out on loan at the start of last season to rebuild his reputation at Santos Laguna. Speaking of Matias’ best mate…

Laughable Rumour of the Summer (We Hope): I’m grateful to the M.E.N. for supplying the “news” that City could be interested in the Reds’ highly unrated striker Diego Forlan. To be fair to the journal, it did add that the rumour was “preposterous”.

Midfield Madness! If KK’s to be believed, no new midfielders are on their way to the COMS. This doesn’t stop the media speculation, however. Sky Sports’ website for instance reports that City, Everton and Bolton are chasing Marseille captain Brahim Hemdani. The 26-year-old midfielder commented: “I have one year left on my contract with Marseille and I am happy here. I don’t know where this information comes from,” he said. “I am currently in Albertville with the team for a week’s training and I would not have come if I didn’t intend to stay. Joining a foreign club will happen inevitably, to improve on both personal and sporting levels,” he added. “An experience abroad is part of the career of a professional football player nowadays. But at the moment changing club is not my priority. When the time comes I will know it and I will go.” Elsewhere, City are reportedly tracking Udinese’s Denmark international midfielder Martin Jorgensen, according to reports emanating from Italy. The Danish star played his part for his country in Euro 2004 and has attracted the interest of a number of sides from The Premiership in England.

Overmars, Over Here? Marc Overmars has been released by Barcelona, and two Premiership sides and one Serie A team have revealed their interest in the Dutch winger. It is understood that the 31-year-old has had talks with Inter Milan and Newcastle, with City watching the situation. Tough call for Overmars, eh? Does he choose life at the top on Italy, a European campaign with the Toon, or fun in Eastlands with City? Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer on this one.

This Week’s Missed Targets: City may miss out on Thomas Helveg as the Danish star is eyeing a move to Spurs. The 33-year-old Danish right-back, available on a free after leaving Inter, is believed to top Kevin Keegan’s wish list as he bids to recruit a right-back. “It would certainly be an interesting club to join,” Helveg told Danish paper Ekstra Bladet. “They have got a nice playing style that appeals to me. Of course, there is the bonus that Frank Arnesen is directing things.” Another City target Michael Reiziger completed his move to Middlesbrough this week, while Birmingham are hopeful of persuading Mario Melchiot to join them.

Ex-Blues’ News

Ritchie’s US Adventure: Former Blue Paul Ritchie has agreed to join Major League Soccer side MetroStars in the USA. The 28-year-old will link up with former Celtic and Rangers striker Maurice Johnston, who is a coach at the New York club, after being released by Walsall this summer. Ritchie told the Edinburgh Evening News: “After discussing it with my family, I decided that it was too good an opportunity to turn down. I had a few offers to stay in England, and there was also interest shown from a couple of clubs in the SPL, but football is still very new in the States, so the chance to play there was very appealing.” He added: “The deal initially would take me until October, but I would have options to extend my time there should myself and my family enjoy the lifestyle in New York.” MCIVTA’s advice to Paul? Just remember the wise words of Kajagoogoo in 1983. “Life in the Big Apple moves very fast and so must you”.

Brighty and Horton – Together Again: Ian Brightwell has been appointed as the new reserve team coach with Macclesfield Town. The 36-year-old joins his former City and Port Vale boss Brian Horton, who said he was delighted to bring him to the club. “I had Ian as a player at Manchester City and Port Vale, he has a fantastic career and is going to look after the reserves. He did very well for me at Port Vale as first team coach and I’m sure he’ll do a good job with a very young reserve team this season.” Brightwell has also signed playing forms, but Horton said he is unlikely to be included at first team level. “He is still a very fit lad and was playing for Port Vale as recently as last season, but I think he will be considered part of the reserves if he plays,” he said.

Squad News

The Boys Are Back: Our heroes were back in training this week, with the exception of those players with summer international commitments. “Claudio Reyna and Paul Bosvelt have been given an extra week as well as David James, so they will start training on Wednesday week,” said KK this week. “Jihai Sun’s international commitments mean that the will miss a lot of the pre-season. Richard Dunne and Jon Macken are both back and have already been in earlier than anyone else,” added Keegan. “They will start training with the squad on Wednesday and it is not a problem. That is why they had the operations at the end of last season. Both are fine and are probably a little bit ahead of the other players because they have already been back ten days.” The club have recruited a new physiotherapist in Bolton-born Ally Beattie, who joins from Tottenham. Jim Webb is promoted to Senior First-Team Physiotherapist, with Rob Harris having left City. Tim Flowers was present to coach the goalkeepers – including new Belgian signing Geert De Vlieger – in his new capacity as goalkeeping coach. Kasper Schmeichel was able to attend, having recovered from the knee injury he sustained in the FA Youth Cup against U****d.

Being Jordan: Double K. is making encouraging noises to Stephen Jordan, who recently ended speculation over his future by signing a new contract with the Blues. “I am delighted that Stephen Jordan is staying. I talked along and hard to him and he did have opportunities to go,” revealed Keegan. “There were clubs who wanted him. Most of those clubs didn’t want to pay us any compensation. That tells you that in some ways they were able to offer him a better package as they did not want to pay us and I think that is the way football is going. I said to him that I would not waive the compensation and he phoned me up and told that he did not want to leave Manchester City. I said to him to take the year with us and that he could always go to the other clubs then. I have promised him that if he is not featuring or part of the senior squad often enough then we would look at his situation at Christmas. The one thing about Stephen Jordan is that he will always make a living out of the game; it is whether it is with Manchester City.”

Sommeil Sticks With City: David Sommeil has returned to Carrington this week after spending the end of last season on loan at Marseille. And Kevin Keegan is happy to bring the 29-year-old back into his squad. “The return of David Sommeil gives us another centre back or right back. David did very well in France and it is not like he is coming back to a strange club,” said KK. “He likes it here and didn’t ask to go. It was just a deal that stacked up for everybody. He wanted to play first team football, wasn’t in team at the time and we wanted a big centre-half. They had one and they were quite happy to let us have Daniel, with a loan fee, as long as they could have David. It was just one of those things that fell into place.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


I would like to begin with the sale of Vicente Matias Vuoso. I remember hearing that name for the first time and thinking “he ‘sounds’ the part.” And the fact that we had paid around £3.5 million for such a young player just went on to fuel my anticipation of seeing him for the first time in action in something that had a little more meaning than a reserve game. And here we are 2 years later, he’s not kicked a ball for the first team and he’s out of the door for a big loss. What exactly is all that about? If he just clearly wasn’t up to it then why did we buy him in the first place? You don’t spend £3.5 million on potential alone. Once we had paid that amount, why didn’t we just throw him in at the deep end to see if he sank or swam? I really just don’t get it. Was it personal? Does that matter? It shouldn’t come into it.

I was also disappointed with the sale of Stephen Elliott, which has been well documented on MCIVTA and probably exhausted. However, you still wonder just what is happening. He seemed to have a good goal record in the reserves and people in the game seemed to like him. I don’t go to a lot of reserve games so if there is somebody out there who can shed any light on what they thought of Vuoso and Elliott as players I would be grateful.

The defence is still not going to be as strong as I would have liked for the start of the season. However, they’re just going to have to get their heads down in training and work with what we’ve got. From what I can gather we now only have Ben Thatcher at left-back, with Jordan and Distin as cover. That may not be such a bad thing as it gives youth a chance. Distin and Dunne at centre-half with Sommeil and Bischoff (injury permitting) as cover (Ben Thatcher can play there too apparently). Pretty much the same as last season as we didn’t use Wiekens when he was here anyway. Sun at right-back with no cover as yet as far as I can see (although Dunne can and has played there). I think this is now the one area that we appear to be concentrating on, which is good. I’m glad we didn’t get Reizeger though (if only for the fact that I can’t spell his surname) because I’ve got to say I wasn’t impressed with what I saw at Euro 2004.

Midfield and forward line still has a lot of potential (although we do appear to be being linked with forwards again! There was a really worrying link but I can’t think who it was now).

Great news that Pearce has been promoted up the ranks to assistant manager. It always gives me a warm feeling knowing he’s there. I think Keegan needs a personality like that around him.

Did we ever find out if our South American fitness trainer stayed on (Osario?)? He was rated very highly from what I remember but I never heard anything after the story of him going AWOL and rumours that he had joined that other team from Trafford Park way.

Finally, I would like to back up what Chris P Bacon was saying about the Sky Sports live schedule. It is an absolute joke; I noticed this myself and couldn’t believe it. Murdoch really is living up to his namesake and is indeed a ‘crazy fool’ (great line by the way; I didn’t see it coming).

Here’s hoping for the new season. Let’s face it, it’s never dull and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Except for maybe a few trophies, and not too many flirtations with relegation, and a little more money in the bank. But apart from that…

Noel Wilkes-Wells <Noel.Wilkes-Wells(at)>


Does anyone else get the impression that the City management team aren’t really looking forward to this season? Keegan especially seems to be putting out negative messages – it’s hard to understand how he can be motivated for a top 5 finish and European football if he’s planning to retire in 12 months – unless he doesn’t think we’re ‘top 5’ anymore. I also think there’s better ways to phrase the fact that we’re looking to buy young and overlooked players than to say we’re looking for bargains straight out – not really the way to motivate people like Thatcher, De Viegler and Stephen Jordan who we’re expecting to help us win matches.

Thing’s haven’t gone our way with van Buyten, Tarnat and the Royle situation but the City management seems to have written 2004/2005 off already. We need to hear a bit more fighting talk from Kevin or there’s no point even turning up. There’s plenty of teams in the Premiership with more reason to be downbeat – why do I get the feeling that we’re going to see the players running down the tunnel against Fulham with their heads down and Keegan scared and Sylvin Distin still with the captain’s armband and it’s all going to happen again?

It would good to be reassured that he has some understanding about what went wrong last time and that he has got some new ideas. Personally, I’d prefer to risk Stuart Pearce in full control rather than another season like the last one if Keegan doesn’t feel up for it.

Ben Cavanagh <benjamin_cavanagh(at)>


Hearing that the reserves will be playing at CoMS this coming season, anyone heard if you will be able to park up at the ground? I’d guess they should have plenty of spaces for the expected crowd. If they make it easy to watch they should get some decent attendances.

Reading some of the posts regarding Elliott, you’d think we had forced him out of the club. If he thinks he should be first choice ahead of Elk, Macken and Wanchope (yes I’d put him ahead of Fowler) then his judgement is out. Reminds me of Etuhu, the move worked out great for him didn’t it? He might get first team football at Sunderland but only due to them ditching the more expensive players. All we can do is offer them a contract, if they have set their position too high then tough luck. We will lose some good players but I think we have done the right thing with him.

Give Thatcher a chance! We might have got one of the bargain players of the season here, at least let’s see how he does before we write him off. If he is Pearce Mk II then great; as long as he isn’t Michael Frontzeck I’m happy.

CTID, Glyn Owen <glyntowen(at)>


Given my laid back persona and unwillingness to jump into discussions <ahem> no doubt you are all surprised that I have an opinion re Joe Royle’s victory today in his case for compensation against City for his sacking. And given that I was one of the first, I believe, to call for his ouster due to my belief that he, like Megson at Albion, is a great First Division manager and a poor Premiership manager, it will come as no surprise that I say “well done Joe.”

Ay, you what? Yes, you read correctly. I’m sorry, I support the club, have followed it to the depths but the board/management at the club tried to do the dirty to Royle and after what he had done in getting the club back (regardless of the subsequent relegation) it was a poor way to treat an employee.

I’m sure there will be those of you who disagree. Fair enough. And I’m not looking to get into a debate as to whether Royle with the funds given to Keegan would have done as well. Bottom line from my perspective is that here was a guy who put his heart and soul into the club and the club tried to screw him – specifically calling up to clarify whether the club was relegated or not before firing him. That’s low. If you think, as I do, that Royle is not a Premiership manager you pay off his contract, say thank you very much and move on.

It’s one lone voice but I call on the management of the club not to appeal, to take its medicine to the tune of £422,000 and move on.

Wallace Poulter <Wpoulter(at)>


Whilst Joe Royle was at City I always stood behind him, and gave my support. But to want a reward for getting City relegated, I have lost all my respect for him, sorry.

CTID, Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Whilst I agree with Chris Bacon that our coverage is pretty dire, I have to say that he is not quite accurate as we are on October 2 against Southampton away on Premiership Plus.

What is more worrying is the fact that the Sky schedule shows us to be playing ManUre and Middlesbrough away on the same day at the same time. Could be a tall order for a less than convincing squad of players. I just hope we put out our best team against Salford Utd.

Actually I’ve checked the fixtures and the Boro game is on TV but on the 6th December.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


I’ve just read Chris Bacon’s post regarding City fixtures and Sky and whereas I don’t disagree with what he says, I do think that there seems to be a bit of inconsistency amongst supporters in that one minute they’re complaining about fixtures being changed so that we never play at 3pm on Saturday and the next minute they’re complaining that we’re not on Sky enough!

I suspect the real issue is that the armchair supporters (and I don’t intend being derogatory by using that term) want to see City as much as possible owing to being unable to get to games, and the supporters attending games want the games to be played at 3pm on Saturday. And never the twain shall meet. Perhaps City were consulted (don’t laugh, you never know) and said that their supporters who attended games preferred Saturday afternoon games (which I think the majority do). Although that might sound a little naïve there may be a grain of truth in it.

So there’s the conundrum. Do we want the games to be played at the traditional time, or do we want more Sky exposure? Answers on a postcard…

Lance Thomson <lance(at)>


I’m afraid that if it was my money that KK had spent, he’d have been gone ages ago. So much waste.

JohnBoy <johnmayor(at)>


Sports World in Nottingham, so I am assuming across the country, are currently selling home shirts for £25.

Mark Bidmead <mark.bidmead(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 #1033