Newsletter #1037

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Quite a big edition tonight! We have the usual News Summary from Don, some more debate on the new away kit, City on the TV, online ticketing, a few musings on the new season and the usual requests. Talking of ‘City on the TV’ we’ve had another game added to the Sky listings. The home game against Chelsea on the 16th October has been moved from a 3pm to a 5.15pm kick off and will be on the PPV channel. First team got off to a rather inauspicious start last night with a 0-0 draw against Bury. Heidi’s back for Monday’s edition, so keep your articles coming to the usual address.

Next game: Doncaster Rovers, away, 3pm Saturday 24 July 2004 (friendly)

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Cook’s Tour for Lazio: As predicted in very organ last week, City will play Lazio at the COMS on Sunday August 7, kick off 3pm. Tickets cost £15 for adults, and £6 for concessions. The teams will be contesting the inaugural Thomas Cook Trophy. Lazio, who also take on Cardiff City on their pre-season tour, are expected to feature international players such as Angelo Peruzzi, Fernando Couto and Argentine striker Claudio Lopez.

All Change! KK has announced that the players will face some changes in their day-to-day routine at Carrington. After last season’s less than successful showing, the Boss wants to engender a better team spirit and to introduce a tougher fitness regime (hurrah to that, you might say). “I have made a lot of changes for the new season,” KK said on the club’s website this week. “We have looked at everything and while the changes may not be noticed from outside the players will notice them and feel them. We are training at different times this year so that they can get a break and we can work harder in the afternoons. We would like to think we can get them fitter this year. They were fit last season but I think we can get them even fitter for the new campaign. We are also looking at going off and spending a few days away from here for team building. The players won’t know where we are going, we will just get a coach and we will go off. We could go anywhere to somewhere like the Lake District for instance. There are changes in the rules and the discipline at Carrington for this season as well,” added the boss. “I think the players have bought into the changes. You won’t see any mobile phones for instance now. It had got ridiculous with players walking around talking on their phones. Now there will be no phones in the training ground or on the way to a match. We are not asking the players to do anything that we shouldn’t be. And the fines will be there this year as well. I have been reluctant in the past to take money off players but his year they will find that they will be hit financially if they break the rules.”

The Woodentop: One of the highlights of the week was the charm offensive launched by Sun Jihai’s dad, in an attempt to get his lad a place in the Chinese national team. City’s full back began the Asian Cup campaign on the subs’ bench, because according to Coach Arie Haan: “Five times he’s played for me and five times we’ve had to replace him. I’m not sure he can play for a whole match.” You may recall that Sun has spent the summer following a special training regimen put together by his father, who is a fitness coach. Sun senior didn’t take too kindly to the implied criticism of his methods. Sun Zongliang slammed Haan and said his son should go back to Manchester. “Haan is a wood head,” he commented. “I don’t really mind who starts as long as China win but I believe Sun Jihai should start.” He added: “I am his physical trainer as well as his dad. There is no physical problem for him, so if he can start for Manchester City, then why not China? If Haan doesn’t start him, he should let him return to England.” Amazingly, Poppa Sun’s words were of little use – his boy was named as a substitute for China’s clash with Indonesia. All this has taken place in the week where KK has revealed a new rôle for China’s supersub. “I will be looking for Jihai Sun to move into a central holding midfield rôle and challenging Joey Barton and Paul Bosvelt for a place. I will look at that during pre-season to see how he adapts to that position. He played there for us at Manchester United and did well. He will cover us at right back and left back but also I want to see if he can play central midfield. He plays in that position for China. I believe he has the engine for that slot. He has played in the Premiership for two years now so he is getting to know the League and he now knows the language. So that is one experiment I will be looking at during pre-season. It may or may not work. We know he can play right back now let’s see if he can play central midfield holding.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Striking Out: The main transfer speculation this week concerns the Beloved Leader’s search for a new striker. He’s down to his last four, you see. “I will be having a chat with the chairman about getting one more striker in and then we will be covered,” KK said. “I am looking for a fifth forward – one who can play in the Premiership. If we don’t get one, it’s not a problem because I have other options, but it is the only position in the team where we are a bit thin.” The first name out of the hat was Arsenal’s Sylvain Wiltord. He became a free agent after refusing to sign a new contract with the Gunners, and has already seen a move to German champions Werder Bremen collapse. Kev would like to team Wiltord with Nico to unleash an all-French attack. It’s been a confusing week for our second candidate, Mido of Marseille. It’s been an “on-off-then maybe back again” kind of a deal. The Egypt international, 20, has also attracted the attention of Newcastle, Fulham and Southampton this summer. “There was an initial inquiry,” said a spokesman. “But all the indications were that Marseille were not looking at loaning him out to any club and that was the arrangement we were interested in.” Mido was expected to join Newcastle but a move fell through as the player felt he would not be guaranteed first-team football. He has since been scheduled to have talks with Fulham and Southampton, but neither has resulted in a move to the Premiership. The latest word is that a transfer might be happening. “I will be in England today and will meet with Kevin Keegan to discuss the financial terms of the transfer,” Mido apparently told the Egyptian news media. “Joining Manchester City is a big move for me. I knew about the deal between OM and Manchester City from Marseille officials, but I still have no idea about the transfer details. I will know about the details once I arrive to Manchester. I am now fully fit after injury. If I signed for Manchester City, I will start preparations with the English side right away. I am really delighted to play in the English Premiership and will be even more delighted to play alongside Anelka and McManaman.” KK made his admiration clear when he said, “It is difficult because at this stage of the season teams want to hang onto players and have them in their plans. So sometimes when gems pop up, like Mido, you have to make an effort. But we are no further forward with it and I believe he has been linked with a lot of clubs.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Don’t Call Me Buster: Martin Phillips has agreed to sign for Torquay United on a one year contract. He joins after training with the club since the start of pre-season and after attracting interest from FC Malmo. Phillips is now 28, and apparently not called “Buster” any more. He was released by Plymouth after being ruled out of their promotion season with injury last season. However, he was an integral part of the team that was promoted from Division Three in 2001/02 season. He began his career with Exeter before signing for City in a £500,000 deal. His career has also taken in Portsmouth, loans to Bristol Rovers, Scunthorpe and Exeter.

Former Young Blues’ News: Thanks to Mark Ballentine, who has information on a few players who were juniors with City, and have recently been plying their trade in Northern Ireland. Mark writes: “Steve Parkhouse, ex-City apprentice scored a thunderous goal from outside the box in his competitive début for the Glens against Alliansi of Finland in a UEFA Cup preliminary round match at the Oval on Thursday 15th July. Shaun Holmes, also ex-City, got the Man of the Match award, in what was also his competitive début for the Glens, as they drew 2-2 against a team of full-time professionals, who are in the middle of their season. Richard McKinney, ex-City ‘keeper has signed for Walsall, it was reported in one of Northern Ireland’s local Sunday papers.”

Howey Cut By Blades: Steve Howey has been busy trying to find a club since Bolton released him in May. This week the former City man was training with Sheffield United with a view to a permanent move to the Blades. Neil Warnock has said today though that the player will not be offered a deal. Howey had played a part in United’s tour of Cornwall, but Warnock said: “I had a chat with him and we both thought it would be silly to risk him for half a game when he has a contract offer in America.” It had been reported earlier in the week that Howey was interesting US club New England Revolution.

Pre-Season Frolics:

Hyde Bound to Defeat: Pre-season friendlies began last Saturday as City’s Reserves beat their former landlords Hyde United 3-2. City raced to a three goals lead thanks to strikes by Paul Collins, Willo Flood and Bradley Wright Phillips, but a late rally saw the home side nearly snatch a draw with a pair of late goals. Team: Ellegaard, Onuoha, Jordan, Flood, McCarthy, Bischoff, Croft, Murphy, B Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Collins. Subs: (All Used) Schmeichel, Warrender, Lee-Matthews, Laird, Bermingham, Proffitt.

A Pain in the Grass: The first team swung into action with a friendly at Gigg Lane, where there was deadlock in a 0-0 draw. Danny Mills pulled on a Sky Blue shirt for the first time, but Ben Thatcher was not risked after picking up a slight knock in training. Nicolas Anelka did not play for the same reason. City apparently had numerous chances to win, with the Daily Mirror suggesting that Robbie Fowler was the main culprit. “It was our first game back, so it was a good work-out for the lads if nothing else,” pondered KK afterwards. “I thought that the grass was a bit long and that affected our performance, certainly in the first-half. But we picked up after the break and some of the young lads did themselves no harm at all with their performances.” City’s next warm up is at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon, 24th July. City (first half) Geert De Vlieger, Danny Mills, Mikkel Bischoff, Sylvain Distin, Stephen Jordan, Lee Croft, Joey Barton, Antoine Sibierski, Steve McManaman, Paulo Wanchope, Robbie Fowler. City (second half) Kevin Ellegaard, Nedum Onuoha, David Sommeil, Richard Dunne, Paul Collins, Shaun Wright-Philllips, Willo Flood, Christian Negouai, Lee Croft (Stephen Ireland 77), Bradley Wright-Phillips, Jon Macken.

Squad News

Olympic Paulo: The M.E.N. speculated this week that Paulo Wanchope might be unavailable for the opening four Premiership matches, due to international commitments. Costa Rica are sending a team to the Athens Olympic games. The competition is for under-23’s but each nation can call up two over-age players. The Evening News reckons old rubber legs could be one of those older call ups. If true, Wanchope could conceivably miss the opening games against Fulham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Charlton, and such a scenario would mean that KK would be even keener to recruit a new striker.

Kevin to Leave? Young goalkeeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard wants to be allowed to leave the club on loan. The Danish youngster is currently third in the City pecking order behind England number one David James and new signing Geert de Vlieger. He accepts he is unlikely to forge past either of that pair in the coming season and is keen for manager Kevin Keegan to ship him out on loan for experience. The 21-year-old made seven appearances for City last season but is only likely to add to that tally in an emergency during the next few months. “The best thing for me would be to be sent on loan, that would give me some more matches,” Stuhr-Ellegaard said this week. “In my eyes, I am just the third choice and that is not good enough for me because I would like to play.”

Jordan Banks on Getting a Chance: Stephen Jordan knows that this coming season is the most significant in his career as a City player. “This year is important to me. I am twenty-two now and I am at the age that I need to be playing first team football. It is make or break for me. I think it is all about confidence so that when you do break through it is not a strange experience for you. I have been on one year contracts for the last two seasons but I think I am in a better position now as I was in the manager’s plans towards the end of last season.” Jordan knows that he could have first team football at other clubs, but his love of the Blues is making a go of it with City. “I am a City fan, all my family are City fans and all I ever wanted to do was play for the club,” he said. “There were a few other clubs interested in me but as soon as I spoke to the manager I decided to sign the year’s contract. The temptation to move was there as the other clubs that I had spoken to had offered me first team football. Obviously the manager here couldn’t guarantee me first team football but he did say that he would give me every chance.”

Crofty’s Lofty Ambitions: Another youngster who wants to impress the Boss Man is Lee Croft. The eighteen year old played for three quarters of the game with Bury, and hopes he can show his talents further. “My main ambition is to make the first team at City and I want to do everything I can to show the manager I deserve a chance,” he said. “I am in the last year of my contract and Kevin Keegan has told me that if I keep progressing he will be the one knocking on my door. My view on that is just to do the best I can and see what happens. Of course I desperately want to stay at City but I know I will have to work hard. I just want to play football and progress.” And to progress at City the eighteen year old may have to cut back on his commitments to England. “The manager has taken time to speak to me and said I need to spend more time at the club. I understand his point of view and I may have to reduce the number of trips I make with different England junior sides. I have had a busy few days playing 90 minutes for the reserves as well but I would play all day for the first team if given the chance. Playing with more experienced players, Danny Mills in the first half, is great for a young player like me, it is all part of my education and I intend to make the most of it and learn all I can.”

This Week’s Nico News

Angry Anelka: The News of the World ran a story last Sunday suggesting that Nicolas Anelka would soon be asking for a transfer from City, due to the racist abuse he had suffered from City fans. The article contained quotes from Anelka to back this up. The response from the player and the club was swift indeed. Next day, Nico said that he had been badly misquoted. He said that City fans were “fairest and best I ever had the honour to play for,” and that “There has never been a problem for me at City. The supporters have never been anything but behind me all the way, and I would go as far as saying that they are the best I have ever encountered,” he declared. “In the interview I gave, I was talking about the issue of racism and my experiences in France and Spain in particular. In those countries you did tend to hear some racial abuse when you were visiting other grounds, whereas in England it is better. I didn’t say, and have never said, that City fans have been racist towards me. In fact, I hold them in the highest regard.” City spokesman Paul Tyrell said: “I would go as far as saying that the way the story was written was vicious, and we will be making representations to the News of the World and approaching the Press Complaints Commission to seek further advice,” he stated. “Nicolas in his interview was talking about incidents that have occurred over his career, not at Manchester City. It appears that some sections of the media are not content with Nicolas Anelka being happy at Manchester City. As a club we are becoming increasingly frustrated at what appears to be a campaign to unsettle Nicolas. This story is a good example of selective quoting enabling a story to have a totally different slant than was intended. Nicolas Anelka is a dedicated professional who is happy at the club and delighted with the support he receives from the fans. To suggest any racial problems from our fans is a slur on their good name. The club has worked hard over a number of decades to promote racial harmony and encourage all sections of society to support Manchester City. Our record is second to none, and the robust attitude we take to any complaints of racial abuse at the City of Manchester Stadium is testimony to that. Last season we had 10 arrests in the stadium following complaints of racial abuse. While we would like it to be zero, that figure compares favourably with any other Premiership club.”

Goal Getting: Onto less controversial matters. Nico says that lessons have been learnt from last season’s lapses, and his personal aim is to beat last term’s goal tally. “We spoke a lot about what we hoped to achieve as a team last season and it didn’t happen so this year there will be no predictions,” he says. “There are a lot of the same players here who were here last season and we must try and do better. We have two new full backs that are good additions for the club and the team. Strikers will not like playing against them so we will see how it goes. Everyone has come back determined to do well and the signs in training are good, but we will have to see what happens when we play. Instead of setting targets for the end of the season we must plan to win each match individually and see where it takes us. My own personal aim is always to do better each season. It will be hard to score more than 25 but I will try. If I don’t and Manchester City wins more games, then I will be just as happy. The key to this season will be form at Eastlands,” he added. “It wasn’t good enough last season. I don’t think we can use the fact that it was a new stadium and that it took everyone time to settle down as an excuse for not winning more games at home.”

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

OPINION: NEW KIT I

Quite like the new home kit, right colour blue, even if collar shape is a bit odd. But for heaven’s sake what the hell is the new away kit? What has white got to do with us! And the design, well it looks some cheap tracksuit design rather than a Premiership shirt. Oh dear, no. I’ll stick to the old replica shirt Colin the King used to wear until they replace this piece of nonsense, i.e. bring back the simple black and white stripes.

Feeling pre-season optimism but would really like to see a playmaker arrive. Having collected centre halves under Joe we now seem to have lots of left and right backs (and nothing that really adds more than the pacey and tenacious Tiatto who we have let go for free).

Mark <mark.thomson(at)royalmail.com>

OPINION: NEW KIT II AND ONLINE TICKETING

I wanted to reply to both Mel C and Terry Baines:

To Mel – God, you are so right, that is the ugliest kit I ever saw. It even makes that flimsy, minging red and black Umbro one with the weird “mesh effect” print on the white shoulders look good.

To Terry – I couldn’t agree more – the level of organisation required to attend a game at COMS if you don’t live locally is, frankly, ridiculous now. It took ages for me to get my Matchcard after I’d applied. But then the problem I found was that when I was back home, I couldn’t find anyone who could attend with me – you need a Matchcard not just to buy tickets, but also to attend. I’ve only been home on about 4 match days this year, and by the time I’d got my own Matchcard and realised I’d need to get another one for any of my family to go with me, the season for me was effectively over.

I couldn’t agree more with the improved security and tracking that the new system gives the club, but a bit more thought into who is directly affected by these ideas wouldn’t go amiss.

On another note, how is it that newspapers can get away with printing any old tat (e.g. Anelka complains about racist City fans), and then just blame it on incompetent “translation”? “We thought he said ‘evil racist thugs’, in fact he said ‘I love them all like a brother'”, said a spokesperson for The Mirror (or whoever it was) yesterday. Oh no, my mistake, they didn’t say anything. But they didn’t say anything in French, so I just made it up…

Jon Marshall <jon_g_marshall(at)yahoo.co.uk>

OPINION: ONLINE TICKETING I

Terry sent in to MCVITA 1036 the nightmare he’s had with the online ticketing service and I agree it is absolutely ridiculous.

I received my Citycard renewal letter in June and I quote:

“The quickest and easiest way to renew is online at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ and click tickets online. If you are using the online service for the first time you can register your current customer number and password as shown below. The first time you use this service you will be asked to change your password…”

Being very keen to renew, I went straight to the website with letter in hand. After a while I found the relevant section to register but this was not clear from the homepage – you’d have thought a nice button or tile might have been present – anyway, then copied all the details from my letter into the relevant boxes, clicked register, and hey presto I was told my customer number is not ready!

Even now (20th July) this service has not been fixed.

Luckily the letter also stated to call customer services and the helpful chap at the end of the phone said “oh no, the website doesn’t work yet” but instead took my payment of renewal of the Citycard over the phone.

Perhaps I’m a bit weird but isn’t that what makes City so appealing? Never dull, almost comical, heartbreaking but can cause the biggest smile too.

P.S. any New Zealand based Blues out there? Will be travelling round the country and will be there for the derby on the 7th November.

CTID, Andy Moore <andyjmoore2002(at)yahoo.co.uk>

OPINION: ONLINE TICKETING II

I too was unable to renew my Citycard online. I phoned the ground and the ticket office several times. Eventually Dave Holmer in the ticket office was very helpful. For reference your customer number is your Citycard number (maybe they should make this a bit clearer?).

Andrew Goodman <andrew.goodman(at)fha.org.uk>

OPINION: ONLINE TICKETING III

Reference the online ticketing – I have a password and membership number but there is no way I can renew my Citycard online. Has anyone managed to register and renew their Citycards?

Dave Kenerley <merescotties(at)aol.com>

OPINION: ONLINE TICKETING IV

I have to agree with Terry Baines about the online ticketing – it is a fiasco. And I’ve got a Citycard number already! I don’t think I’ll use this to try and buy tickets after my experience so far.

I got a letter about a month ago about this and in it was a user id (my Citycard number) and a password so I could use it. But guess what, they didn’t work!

So I tried to register using my Citycard number and got an email back telling me that my new user id and password were… to be advised! It isn’t that difficult to automatically generate user id’s and passwords, how many other websites do this?

A week later I still hadn’t received a new user id/password, so used the feedback page to ask what had happened. The next day I got an email back telling me my account had been activated but I still didn’t have a password (and the one they sent me by post didn’t work)!

Three days later an email arrives with a new password in. Finally I get on the site to renew my Citycard. When I do, the site promises that a confirmation email will be sent. However, I have yet to receive that email.

Personally I don’t think I’ve ever used a website with a worse customer service record than this. Yet again the ticket office just cannot organise anything.

David Lamb <david_lamb_uk(at)yahoo.co.uk>

OPINION: KISS MY ARMCHAIR!

Terry Baines is spot on with his comments regarding City’s online membership renewal procedures. I’ve been trying, on-and-off for the past 3 weeks to renew my International Citycard (and I do have a customer number), to no avail and mounting frustration. With the Premiership season rapidly approaching I’m getting a tad edgy. So, if the Marketing Department are reading – get your act together team, sort out the web site and take my money, it’s not like the Club doesn’t need it!

On the subject of being an International Supporter, my 10 trips from Holland to Eastlands last season alone cost me over two grand and was worth every penny. Prior to leaving the UK I’d held a season ticket at Maine Road for almost 20 years, the last eight of which I lived in South Wales. I was born and raised in Old Trafford and educated in Catholic schools with a typical 5 to 1 Rag vs. Blue ratio, believe me Jimmy Grimble had it easy. Now I don’t believe that any of these parameters; attendance, expenditure, or loyalty in adverse circumstances constitute some measure of how good a supporter you are. Supporting City is akin to some strange, mystical, intangible essence that probably resembles a form of demonic possession. Why else would anybody openly declare a lifelong commitment to a team that has promised so much but delivered so little for over a quarter of a century?

You can’t be a little bit possessed just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant. It’s all or nothing.

So for those out there who like bandying the term “armchair supporter” instead of “international supporter”, please feel free to kiss my rosy armchair.

Rant over.

CTID, Steve Gerrard – International Blue (and proud of it) <smg_nl(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: ODDS FOR THE TITLE

Thanks to Peter Birbeck for letting me know that I am not the only Blue out there with a wager on City to win the title. I have decided to send a copy of my betting slip into Keegan for his team talk against Fulham… imagine the scene!

“Look lads, there’s this mad Irishman out there who reckons we’re gonna win the title. After my ‘Top 6’ prediction last season, I am reluctant to agree with him in public but what the hell. Let’s keep mum and play our hearts out for the title. Jamesy, don’t come out for any crosses. Can everyone give the ball to Shaun at every opportunity? Robbie, can you bring the oranges on at half time? Nick, could you pretend we’re playing AC Milan every week… you understand… raise your game tous les temps, mon copain? Joey, I want you to imagine that every tackle is against Roy Keane or Gary Chuckle, I mean Neville. Danny and Ben, ignore the highlights video from last season as it was the stadium’s fault for our performances and nought to do with me! Right, that’s it lads. I have Blue Moon 12″ dance mix for you all to sing along to before the game. I have seen those Greeks sing before every game at Euro 2004 and I reckon that could be the difference. Well, that’s what I have told the chairman. Altogether now, Blue Moon…”

Heads up, you just never know.

Michael Jenkins <jenkscity1(at)aol.com>

OPINION: SEASON PREVIEW 2004/2005

Before I start this one I’ve noticed that the City website has now got a time machine function on it; if you go to Archive News section and click on the box at the bottom that lets you select the month you can now get news from Sept 3427 and Sept 2027 (probably the years we’ll next win the Premiership).

It’s less than a month now till the season starts, so what have got to look forward to:

The Team Line-up:
This is pretty much unchanged from last season; a couple of new faces, some old ones have left the scene.

Ins:
Danny Mills – I think this one could be a good buy, a big defender, not the problem behind Leeds’ defensive record last season, will get stuck in and be a bit more vocal.
Ben Thatcher – Another defender, not seen much of him, but more defenders in the squad will put pressure on them to perform so hopefully they will.

Outs:
Kieran Westwood, Glenn Whelan – Never really seen any of them, but experience at a lower level (first team) could be more valuable for them.
Danny Tiatto – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, criminal that we’re letting him go.
Gerard Wiekens – Ditto.
Michael Tarnat – Was just about getting there, I would’ve offered him another year.
Stephen Elliot – Just on the verge of breaking through, could have been more regular during the coming season, but he’s at that stage where he deserves more of a chance and I don’t think he would’ve been given that if he’d stayed on. All the best (but that doesn’t mean that you have to score against us if we meet up again).

With only a few weeks left, KK will probably pull another rabbit out of the hat, but we’ll have to wait and see. Other than that, keeping the same faces could work in our advantage. Hopefully the new stadium curse will be lifted and the team had hints of starting to gel at the end (Newcastle and Everton games, perfect examples). I think that this season has more promise that last, players like Fowler, McManaman and Sinclair will have to prove it this season or the backlash would be too much for them, James should settle in more this season, and Reyna if fit should be more useful. Other players worth a note are Bosvelt and Sibierski, they were starting to look the part and long may that continue. But if we are to really progress this season then we need SWP to give the performances he gave last season (and if I may be so bold even more) and for Anelka to be more deadly on the ball and hopefully link up better with his partners, either Fowler, Macken or Wanchope (will he stay fit all season?).

The Fixtures:
Arsenal – Tough games, gave them a run for their money last season, but they’re going to be tough again.
Aston Villa – Always tricky dull games, need to pep these ones up if we are take all six points off them this season.
Bolton Wanderers – Derby game, unpredictable, did well last season, good shout.
Blackburn Rovers – In my opinion a club in crisis, take advantage, take all six points.
Birmingham City – Tricky, similar to Bolton had a good season, again good shout.
Chelsea – Almost beat the Russian pensioners, again we’ve done good in these games recently, let’s convert them into wins.
Crystal Palace – Great, Selhurst Park our favourite place, sarcasm doesn’t work in writing, let’s break the jinx.
Charlton Athletic – Should do better this season, a possible six pointer.
Everton – If the boy wonder leaves, then Premiership survival battle ensues, possible six pointer.
Fulham – Back at the Cottage, could be tough for CC’s second year, let’s make it tougher.
Liverpool – Can we just beat them twice, to prove a point or at least to shut them up, forever underachievers.
Man United – Keep up our current home form against them and then take it to OT and take six off them.
Middlesbrough – A few choice signings, could be a prospect this season (too good to go down!?!).
Norwich City – Instant return, although we’ve got to keep Darren under wraps (old boy returns syndrome).
Newcastle United – Underachieve again and again, but going to be tough.
Portsmouth – Second season strugglers, six points please.
Southampton – Tip: don’t beat them away it jinxes us for the rest of the season, four points.
Tottenham Hotspur – They can’t decide what they want to do, neither can we, equals.
West Brom – Not them again, send them back six points please.

To sum up, a better performance this time round should hopefully see us in Europe through merit, and all going well I smell a good cup run coming up. The team is there and fixtures can be easier than they look, it is possible for us to shine this season. Hopefully the ITV Premiership bias will be lifted now that the Beeb have MOTD back, but whatever we say it is City we’re talking about, it’s never that easy.

Gareth Croke <garethcroke(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: FOOTBALL ON TELLY

I just wanted to make a comment in reply to John Walker’s point about televised matches on Saturday afternoons for us exiled armchair viewers. Luckily for us who live overseas this is not a problem as it is only in the UK and Ireland that matches at 3pm on a Saturday are not televised. I live in Sweden and have a Canal+ subscription. As a rule they show the early game on a Saturday (if there is one), two of the 3pm games (one with English commentary, the other with Swedish) both the pay-per-view games and the Super Sunday (4.05pm) game as well as the Monday night match – in most cases 6 matches a week. So we armchair viewers have it pretty good here in Sweden really!

Sorry that I am a bit late in responding on this topic but I have just returned from a holiday and haven’t had access to my e-mail.

Dave Williamson <david.williamson(at)comhem.se>

OPINION: A NEW STRIKER?

“I will be having a chat with the chairman about getting one more striker in and then we will be covered,” Keegan told the club’s website.

What part of Landon Donovan doesn’t wor Kev understand? Or would that be the “no” in Donovan. And don’t get me started on Brian McBride. I said don’t get me started… ooopppsss too late. I mean for the love of Franny Lee what part of a proven international goal scorer doesn’t the current management get?

An as an aside, DaMarcus Beasley just went to Ajax for around a million quid. Not as if the team couldn’t use a good attacking left sided midfielder…

And you know all rant aside, it concerns me that Keegan wants another striker. I still don’t think Macken has been given a proper run, and I’ve always liked the way we play when Macken is starting. And is needing “Premiership quality” code for “I don’t want to give a youngster a chance”?

I like Keegan a lot, heck we are City, I don’t want a manager who likes a system such as the Greeks play. I want free flowing football, win or lose, that I can watch. I always found it perverse that Keegan was somehow considered a failure for not winning the Championship at Newcastle. His Toon team played some of the best football of the last 20 years when in full flow (only Arsenal of recent vintage is better). Give me that level of play and a top 5 finish and I’d be happy. But I really, really get the impression that as a footballing organisation, top to bottom, that we don’t know what we are doing. There is no (silly German accent) kind of master plan. I get that sense that Arsenal has one, even God forbid that United does. I don’t get that from City.

I’ll go be depressed now.

Wallace Poulter <wpoulter(at)aol.com>

OPINION: MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS FROM CAPE TOWN!

Far, far away in sunny Cape Town, a few thoughts on last season cross my mind occasionally, and seeing that everyone’s so quiet, here they are:

  1. Do any of the anoraks know, or could glean from lastseason’s video, what the average distance was from the goal from which goalswere scored and conceded? I ask the question because it seems to me (withmy limited access here in Cape Town) that we didn’t get behind opposing defencesvery much – certainly not as much as others got behind ours. For example(and I know it’s a bad one – sorry!) in the Cup Game against the Scum weconceded 4 goals, 3 from about a yard out and one from around 8 yards out.Defending crosses from the by-line is a defender’s worst nightmare, but wedon’t seem to be able to do it. Wasn’t the tap-in from such crosses thefoundation of Fowler’s success at Liverpool (does anybody know where theElk scored his goals from at Arsenal and Real Madrid?)? We don’t have bigtarget men up front, so we have to be able to turn defences instead ofpumping long, hopeful balls into the box from the 18-yard line or furtherout. Ask any defender which type of ball into the box he’d rather defendagainst. We may have had more shots than just about anyone else last season,but if they were all from 20 yards then the statistic loses relevance.
  2. Does anyone know why teams seem to struggle in their first season in anew stadium? I remember when teams were building new stands in the 70’s,this was frequently followed by under-achievement. I saw a comment once thatsuggested that players pass the ball instinctively by gauging where they arein the stadium from their surroundings, meaning that they don’t have to lookup as much before passing the ball, giving them more accuracy more quickly.In a new stadium, this “instinct” has not yet developed. On the other hand,if this is true, then the team’s home results should gradually improve overthe season as this “instinct” is acquired. I don’t recall this happeninglast season! Anyone get any other ideas?
  3. Did we just swap one lunatic Danny for another? I remember Mills beingsent off for ‘tackling’ Craig Bellamy (?) of Newcastle about 40 seconds afterthe ball had crossed the goal-line. I hope his behaviour improves on thatperformance!
  4. Am I the only one who reads with dismay and disbelief any quotes thatstate “After this result, we’ve really turned the corner and our season willimprove from here…” or similar remarks? To my mind, there’s no such thingas “turning the corner” – only bl**dy hard work week after week after weekin order to get results. One good result – or, as at Spurs, one good half- does not mean we don’t have to try hard next week. Have we fallen into thesentimental attitude that because we’re (almost) everybody’s second favouriteteam, that other teams are going to be kind to us? Or because we’re a’massive club’ that we deserve success even though we don’t work hard enoughto achieve it? I think it’s time to kick that mentality into row Z and getour highly-paid staff to make a determined effort every time they go out onthe park. Try converting their wages into South African Rands at over 11 to1 and each could finance the daily needs of a whole squatter-camp (what SarfEffricuns call a ghetto of shacks)! Until we have a culture of doggeddetermination and lung-breaking commitment at our beloved club, I suspectthat we shall remain the pitiful under-achievers that last seasoned showedus to be.

End of rant! Any comments? I’d love to say that I’m optimistic about next season, but my medication is not that strong!

Phil Maund <morals(at)mweb.co.za>

2004/05 SEASON TICKET AVAILABLE

I have a season ticket 2004/05 in the East Stand lower, aisle 107. I will be away for most of the season so will be willing to listen to offers for one season only. Anyone interested should contact me via email.

Come on you Blues! Martin Rajah <martin(at)culater.fsworld.co.uk>

TICKET REQUEST: FULHAM

Hi zll. I’m looking to take my two boys to the Fulham game as this will be the last chance I have to take them to see City for a long time – clearly this is a long shot but I’m hoping that a family has a season ticket and was disappointed to see our first game was at home!

If you can help I’d be really pleased to hear from you, sob story supplied on request.

Paul <paulruffley(at)hotmail.com>

REQUEST: BLUE VIEWING IN KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysian City fans are having a get together for the season opener game against Fulham on the big screen. All Blues who are in or passing through Kuala Lumpur during that time are welcome to join. Please contact Shahrin at <mancity_mal(at)yahoo.co.uk> or cell phone 016 3668798.

Shahrin Osman <mancity_mal(at)yahoo.co.uk>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.07]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[1] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings.

[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[3] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mancity.net/osc/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) and “The International Supporters’ Club” (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/article.asp?article=111845&Title=International+Supporters+Club&lid=Membership).

[5] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, http://www.mcfc-fans.com/ containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

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

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

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

[7] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://canadatvsoccer.tripod.com/Fixtures.htm, http://www.foxsportsworld.com/named/FSW/Index/Soccer, and http://www.soccertv.com/.

http://www.foxsportsworld.com/content/view?contentId=1288602 also provides a guide to pubs in the USA showing football.

[8] What’s the music the teams run out to?

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]Madeline Hawkins, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1037

2004/07/22

Editor:


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