Newsletter #1043

Less than 48 hours to the start of the new season, and continuing rumours of impending departures, contract wrangling and arrivals. The reserves started their campaign off with a win at Liverpool; Gav’s back with his reports tonight.

Meanwhile we have plenty of opinion on the forthcoming season, players, management and the usual requests.

Next game: Fulham, home, 3pm Saturday 14 August 2004


General News

Fined for Fighting: City have been fined the princely sum of £5,000, and Leicester £3,000, for the mass argy-bargy that brightened up the relegation six pointer at the Walkers Stadium last April. Leicester, you may remember, were awarded a dubious looking penalty when Muzzy Izzet fell over in the penalty area. Four minutes of mayhem followed, after which David James superbly saved Paul Dickov’s penalty. The FA said in a statement: “The two clubs were charged with failing to ensure that their players conduct themselves in an orderly fashion (breach of FA Rule E21a) following a mass confrontation during the match on 24 April.”

We Are The Champions… of the World! City’s under-15 side are now the unofficial world champions after beating United in the Nike Premier Cup. Nearly 8,000 teams from around the globe began the quest for the title, which climaxed at Old Trafford this week. City beat United 1-0, with a goal by Scott Kay. “It is a fantastic achievement. We knew we had a good team and they have now shown just how good they are,” said Coach Paul Power. “They really have exceeded all expectations and they did extremely well to beat Manchester United on their own ground. Half of the lads in the side are City supporters so they were really made up to win at Old Trafford. The other half are United supporters and they were pleased to get the chance to play at Old Trafford! The standard was exceptional and our lads exceeded all my expectations,” admits Power. “We were drawn in the ‘group of death’ against the likes of Barcelona, Corinthians from Brazil as well as the Mexican champions, Atlas. But after we beat Barcelona 2-0 we never really looked back. And to finish off by beating United in the final is just fantastic. Winning the trophy is a great boost for the Academy system. It also reflects how strong local football is in the Manchester area. This is now the third trophy that the Under-15s have won in the space of 12 months.” I’m grateful to J.M. Strapp for texting me details of an item in the Sunday People – under the headline “FERGIE SNUBS CITY KIDS”, the paper claimed that Sir Redface was due to present the Trophy to the winners, but was “unavailable” when it came to presentation time. The report suggested that this was sour grapes from the Grouch from Govan. Perish the thought!

Liverpool Beaten: City’s Reserves completed their warm-up matches with a 1-1 draw at Burton Albion on Friday with a goal from Stephen Ireland. This followed his hat-trick in the 5-0 victory over Leigh RMI last Saturday. Next came the league game, an away fixture against Liverpool. A second half goal from Christian Negouai was enough to separate the sides in the game played at Wrexham. Manchester City: Schmeichel, Flood, Jordan, Onuoha, McCarthy, Bischoff, Croft, Negouai, B Wright-Phillips, Ireland (J D’Laryea 46), Sinclair (Laird 67). Subs: Matthewson, N D’Laryea, Collins.

More Rafting, Less Predictions: Your News Editor was shocked to read the following headline on the club website: “BOSS IS QUIETLY OPTIMISTIC”. Whatever next? “Fergie accepts defeat with good grace”? “Keano says sorry to Alfie”? But then it got stranger – KK refused to make any daft predictions of a top six finish. “There is a lot of reason for optimism at this club,” said Keegan. “There will be no targets set this year, as I do not see the sense in doing that. But pre-season has gone well, our fitness levels are good and we have got a little bit more togetherness. We are still working on that and how we can improve that. We will go away in the middle of next week like we have done before with a white water rafting session and do other team-building exercises.” Since returning to training, Keegan has held a number of sessions at Eastlands with the squad so they can get used to the place, and trips to the stadium will become more of a regular occurrence this year. And as he points out, it was no surprise that City’s best home displays last season – against Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle and Everton – came immediately after training sessions at Eastlands. “I think that is something we will do more of this year,” Keegan confirmed. “We are going to come to Carrington, get in a coach and go to the stadium. It is becoming familiar now but it was all new last year. We didn’t lose that many games at home last year, we lost more – nine – at Maine Road and still finished higher in the table. I think it’s true that we had to get used to the stadium but so did the fans. A lot of them moved around and they couldn’t get the singing going, but I thought that like all stadiums it responded to performances and now it’s our job to go out and do that for the fans.”

Do We Have to Do This?Want to see five City players looking rather embarrassed? Can I suggestyou check out the publicity photo currently adorning the club website,announcing a new results service through mobile phone companyOrange. Nicolas Anelka looks particularly thrilled, n’est-ce pas?

Transfer News and Gossip

You Want More? KK began the week by rehearsing his speech for the board meeting where he would ask to bring more players into the squad. “The only downside for this club at the moment is the size of the squad,” he said. “We have a lot of young players in the squad and there is not a lot of experience on the bench. I am still hoping to get one or two more players in but it will be before the end of the month rather than before the start of the season. Getting the players I want isn’t proving harder than I thought – it was a ridiculous task anyway. Basically, I’m looking for world class players, capable of making a difference to the team, who we can get for nothing. It doesn’t happen really does it? We are desperately thin. There is a board meeting on Tuesday and I know I can get one or two players in but I do think we need three or four if I am really honest. We lose Paulo for the first game while Claudio leaves immediately after to play for the USA. If they come back with knocks we could be going to Liverpool with four kids on the bench. We must be careful that we don’t leave ourselves short. While we have quality we definitely do not have quantity and that is something we have had in the past.”

What’s French for “Illegal Approach”? Nicolas Anelka is still a City player, despite last week’s admission from Monaco coach Didier Deschamps that he had spoken to the striker. There was yet more speculation after Monaco’s technical co-ordinator Fabrice Poullain told the Sun newspaper: “We hope things will advance over the next week.” City did not seem all that pleased at such a method of doing business. KK said: “I can only say that Monaco have not been in touch with us. I have heard the club has not got much money, but they will need a lot of money for us even to talk to them about Nicolas Anelka. Nicolas is a key player here and he took his goal brilliantly against Lazio. He will score goals at any level due to his pace. His finish against Lazio was really cool and measured. There is no problem with Nicolas who is happy here. We are hearing rumours and counter rumours about many of our players but obviously as Nicolas is our star player more rumours surround him than anyone. He is here and he stays here.” He added: “I think the Monaco manager should be very careful about saying the things he did, that is the only answer I have got. Managers do not phone players up. It has not entered my mind to sell Nicolas Anelka. We cannot do anything about what is coming out the other end. I can only tell you how we feel at this end.” Communications officer Paul Tyrrell was more forthright in his views on the tactics used by Deschamps. “Clearly there has been an illegal approach if we are to believe what was in the newspaper,” Tyrrell said. “We will be looking closely at what Didier Deschamps says in the next few days.”

Sweep Up That Speculation! There were even more column inches devoted this week to Sweep’s suitors than to Nico’s alleged departure. According to the Guardian newspaper, Tottenham Hotspur increased their bid for Shaunie from £4.5 million to £5.5 million. Next, Liverpool were again said to be in the hunt – SWP and Alan Shearer were said to be top of Rafael Benitez’s shopping list should Michael Owen seal his shock move to Real Madrid. It’s worth remembering that these stories have surfaced just at the same time as SWP’s people are negotiating a new deal with the Blues. “The talks are constructive and ongoing and we have made it clear how important Shaun Wright-Phillips is to Manchester City,” explained Chief Paul Tyrrell. “We remain confident that Shaun will pledge his long term future to City.” KK backed this view up after the Lazio game: “I don’t think there is really an awful lot to say about these rumours,” said the manager. “I have never had a conversation about him leaving the club. I think Manchester City without Shaun Wright-Phillips is not even worth talking about.”

Bad Bart’s Back: Next for the exit, if you believed press reports, was Joey Barton. Charlton were said to be set to make a move for the Scouser. Alan Curbishley wanted to bolster his squad after losing Claus Jensen to Fulham and is ready to spend £2 million on the 21-year-old. Once again, those in the know distanced themselves from the report. “I have got until the end of the season left so you become a free agent in January but I am not even thinking about that,” said the twenty-one-year-old. “I’ve had talks with the club over the summer about a new contract. I haven’t put pen-to-paper on anything yet but hopefully in the coming months something will get done. I don’t like to talk about money, I’m not a fan of that; I just want to get on with playing football. As long as Manchester City want me, I’d like to stay here. As long as I am playing, I’m fit and I’m getting selected there won’t be a problem. I don’t ever want to leave this club. I’ve always been made welcome here. The fans have been fantastic with me and this where I got my big chance. It’s nice to see in football now that people want to repay that faith. The only way I’d leave here is if Manchester City wanted to sell me.” His manager had words of encouragement for his fiery midfielder. “Joey has been a bit unsettled but that is Joey. He has knuckled down since Doncaster and he has done things right since then. I have been pleased with his attitude since Doncaster, I wasn’t happy with him in that game and I don’t think anyone in the world could have been. He was told what he had to do to put that right and he has done that, which is pleasing.” After all this speculation, Charlton went out and bought Danny Murphy from Liverpool for £2.6 million, so perhaps this story might wither on the vine.

Goalie Gloom: It sounds like KK has missed out on Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, who seems likely to sign for Crystal Palace this week. The former Hertha Berlin goalkeeper is confident that an agreement will be reached in the near future. Kiraly said: “I’ve made the most important decision of my life, that’s why I was so patient. Crystal Palace is a young team, hungry for success and the coaches expect us to avoid relegation. To do this we need superb team play and we will have to do our best.” KK confirmed that “I don’t think that I will have a goalkeeper in for the Fulham game and so we will start with Kevin Ellegaard on the bench on Saturday. But before the deadline we need to get another goalkeeper in because with the rules they way they are it is just too big a gamble to take.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Sheron Back With Horton at Macc: Macclesfield have completed the signing of former City striker Mike Sheron on a permanent deal. The 32-year-old striker scored 11 goals for Blackpool last season, but had been on trial with Chester since his summer release by the Tangerines. Sheron began his career as a trainee with City, and scored 25 goals in 101 games during his time at Maine Road. He then joined City’s Premier League rivals Norwich for £1 million, and scored seven goals in 28 appearances before leaving for Stoke in 1995. Macclesfield boss Brian Horton said: “He’s going to be a good signing for us. I’ve managed him before at Manchester City and I know what he can do.”

Paul Has a Club at Last: Paul Ritchie’s wanderings are finally over. After being released by Walsall in May, the ex City defender has criss-crossed the country, as well as the Atlantic, in search of new employers. He has been signed by Dundee United. He made his début for United in a reserves outing this week, in what turned out to be a goalscoring début for the player. “Paul played really well over the 90 minutes, but he needs a couple of games to get him up to match fitness,” said McCall. “He will be in the squad again for the derby on Sunday.”

Reactions and Comments

Thomas Cook Trophy Triumph: City’s pre-season fixtures ended on a high note as they beat Lazio 3-1 at Eastlands. The continued speculation on his future did not seem to affect Nicolas Anelka, who scored after 40 seconds. Anelka neatly clipped home Paul Bosvelt’s through ball. Jon Macken’s curling shot was the goal of the game, and made it 2-0, before Massimo Oddo replied from the spot when Sylvain Distin was ruled to have fouled Roberto Muzzi in the area. But Antoine Sibierski’s penalty made sure of City’s victory after Oddo brought down Paulo Wanchope. Thus Sylvain Distin was able to hold aloft the giant contact lens of a trophy at the end of the game. KK was pleased with the day’s work. “We have played some good football, we have created some good chances and the thing that has really pleased me is that we have stuck together,” Keegan observed. “We have defended well, which you have got to do in the Premiership. We have been inventive and creative when opportunities have presented themselves and I think we have had a good pre-season. We talked about trying to be a bit more together and that is the way we have looked. The boys have taken that challenge up and we have had some good pre-season results. We have now got a week to prepare for the real thing. There is competition for the midfield places and that is where we are at our strongest. We have got seven or eight players for four places and there is competition up front. Jon Macken and Paulo Wanchope underlined that when they came on. Jon’s goal would have graced any game at any stadium in the world. Paulo was causing all sorts of problems when he came on. We also got the kids on and they have got that little bit more experience now. That is my squad at the moment and it is no good kidding myself. Danny Mills wasn’t fit and Steve McManaman had to come off with his head injury. There were twenty minutes to go and we went back to 2-1. I didn’t really want to put any of the kids in. But Derek Fazackerley said I might have to do that in the season. I thought they did very well.”

Fit for Fulham: KK gave a fitness update on the squad. There were a couple of casualties, with Ben Thatcher forced to pull out at half-time after complaining of sunstroke and Steve McManaman ended the game on the bench with a massive bandage round his head after suffering a nasty gash during the opening period. “It’s nothing major,” smiled Keegan, “All the players were laughing at him because he looked so silly” (Ain’t footballers compassionate chaps!). Only Danny Mills is a major doubt before the Fulham match on Saturday. “Danny has yet to train with us this week and he is our one concern,” confirmed Kevin Keegan. “But my feeling is that by Thursday he will be back in and on Saturday he will play providing he gets no reaction. We will have Jihai Sun back on Wednesday and one thing you can say is that though he may be tired he will be fit. He gives us cover and not just in the right back position. He can play as a central defender and at left back. He is a very good player in several different positions and certainly could move into midfield. As I said before I will be looking at him in midfield this season as that is probably his best chance of getting into the side other than if we get an injury.”

Squad News

Roving Reyna Reaps Reward: Claudio Reyna thinks that a busy summer spent playing for his country might help his level of fitness for the season ahead. Reyna’s first season at City was disrupted by a series of injuries, but the USA skipper feels that he won’t suffer in the new tem. “My commitments to the USA in the summer meant that I had about four weeks off but not consecutively,” Reyna said. “My fitness is pretty sharp because of that and I feel pretty good, but the schedule can be difficult for international players. It is more difficult for me because of the travelling, that’s the hard part, not the playing. We go around the world in a matter of three days and get ready to play a game in about 35 degrees heat; that is what people don’t realise.”

Better to Come: Antoine Sibierski expects his second season as a Blue to be better than his first. “I feel now that the stadium is our home. The first season was not great and now I feel that I have a lot more to offer both in my personal performances and for the team. It is important to me to do that and I feel I can do that and produce those performances. As I start my second season I feel I am more familiar now with everyone here in the squad and at the club. Not just the players but people involved at the club. I am very happy here now and enjoy living in Manchester. When you have that stability outside of the club then it can improve performances on the pitch.” His favoured rôle is to sit behind the front strikers, although he is happy to play wherever Boss Kev plays him. “It is not a problem for me to play in different positions. The gaffer brought me here as a right midfielder, left midfielder, striker and centre midfield player! I always say that the position in which I play is not all important though I feel I am most comfortable playing behind the strikers. I need to be there to score and provide the assists and the gaffer knows that. But now I can play on the right or left and I don’t mind which. For me the most important aspects of my game are to provide the creativity for players to score and to get a few goals myself. After one season in the Premiership I know what to expect and so the season should be better for me. But for me now it is not just a case of playing well and helping the team to points in the League. It is not just a case of plying well in the side. I want to win something with this club I know we have the ability to do that and this season I hope we will.” His manager is hoping for a good season from the Frenchman. “Antoine has been the unlucky player at this club in the last year,” said Keegan. “He has never really been played where his best position is, which is just behind the front man when you are playing just one up. I’ve never really played that way, especially at home. So Antoine has had to fit in and adapt and I think he has done that very well. He is a terrific pro and he is the best header of the ball at the club. If he gets a run in the team, he is going to score goals,” Keegan continued. “There is no doubt about that, whether it be with his feet or his head. He is a good finisher and I think that think his general play will get better and better.”

Mills Beats His Son: …in a sprint of course! Danny Mills was talking about his competitive nature this week, and gave us an insight into life Chez Mills. “I have always had drive and determination, call it what you want,” said Mills. “Second isn’t an option, it just isn’t good enough. I don’t even let my little lad George beat me when we have a race!” After some reflection, Danny decided to tone this boast down a tad. “Well I’m not that much of an ogre… occasionally I’ll let him win. I’m just very competitive. Life is a competition and life is about winning.” The former England full-back also revealed that he almost joined City last summer. “It’s nice now just to be playing football and doing what I enjoy doing,” he said. “I spoke to the manager last season when Leeds were trying to farm me out and at the time, it wasn’t quite right for me. But as soon as the manager phoned up this time around and said that we could do a deal, I had no hesitation. I wanted to get everything sorted out as quickly as possible. He didn’t have to do any selling to me. Apart from the manager, Stuart Pearce is here and they are both very, very passionate people. They like to play football properly and they like to do it with passion. That was a big attraction. Between them and the other staff, they have fantastic knowledge. Hopefully I can come here and learn things as well. I learnt an awful lot at Middlesbrough last year under Steve Harrison and I’d like to think I could do the same here. Hopefully I have taken a lot of that on board and I can bring that here, help myself and help the rest of the lads as well, especially the defence.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


City and Liverpool’s opening English Premier Reserve League game was the first ever to be held on Welsh soil; at Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse ground. Both sides fielded a young team with City having slightly the more experience. This experience told as City dominated the game. A second half header from Christian Negouai was all that separated the teams on the score sheet though.

Despite City’s domination, their shape and lack of firepower up front meant that Liverpool’s well organised defence were able to stifle most of City’s attacks. Perhaps you might have thought that with the inclusion of Trevor Sinclair on his reserve team début we could have opened their defence up more than we did; but City still played some very good approach play and gave Liverpool a lesson in ball retention; and you would have to say that it was a case of when City scored, and not if City scored.

City’s first real effort on goal came on fourteen minutes when a half cleared City corner fell to City’s reserve captain, Stephen Jordan, and he lashed a good shot from the edge of the penalty area that went just wide.

Just after the half hour, Liverpool’s young French goalkeeper, Patrice Luzi pulled off a fine close range double save to deny Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Five minutes before the half time break, Willo Flood played a good one-two with Lee Croft but Willo couldn’t keep his close range shot down and it just rose over the bar.

Jonathan D’Laryea came on to replace Stephen Ireland who had played well in the first half, but had either received a knock or City wanted to change things round. Jonathan looked very lively though when he came on and added a more direct driving game to City that differed from Ireland’s more passing game.

City had two good chances early in the half when a run and shot by Trevor Sinclair went just wide and a neat passing move that led to the defence backing off and Negouai shooting straight at the ‘keeper.

City’s goal came a minute later when Jonathan left the Liverpool midfield standing and drifted a pinpoint wide pass to Flood who ran on and beat the defender to deliver a good cross, which Negouai planted into the back of the net with a firm header.

City allowed themselves to control the game from then on, with the magnificent back three nullifying all of Liverpool’s attempts on goal with ease.

City did muster two attempts at goal towards the end as Lee Croft saw a twenty five yard shot that just didn’t dip enough and a Wright-Phillips shot that the ‘keeper got a hand to but had to rely on Liverpool defender, James Smith to clear the ball off the line.

City’s first league encounter was very pleasing to watch but it has yet again shown our frailty in the lack of forwards that the reserve team has at its disposal. It’s a difficult dilemma for Keegan as he obviously wants to bring in a quality young striker, but finding one that will be happy to play reserve team football is another matter.

Schmeichel: Had very little to do but as always, very reliable. 7
Flood: The great little Irish live wire that we know he is. 8
Jordan (capt.): Worked well in his unaccustomed wing back rôle. 8
Onuoha: Defended solidly as a rock as part of the back 3. 9
McCarthy: Never got flustered and delivered some crunching tackles. 9
Bischoff: We are starting to see why KK paid £750,000 for him. MoM. 9
Croft: Only brief glimpses of anything decent; too often out of position. 6
Negouai: Seems to like playing well against the scousers. 8
BWP: Ran all night for the cause but too often up front on his own to shine. 7
Ireland (46): Played his usual good passing game for the first half. 7
Sinclair (67): Didn’t really waste the ball but needed to push on more than he did. 7

J D’Laryea (46): Really strong midfield display and got forward well as well. 8
Laird (67): Didn’t make much impact with his gangly lightweight frame. 6
Not Used: Matthewson, N D’Laryea, Collins.

Liverpool: Luzi, Ostemobor, Butler (Peltier 73), Smith, Biscan, O’Donnell, Guthrie, Welsh (capt.), Platt (Wilkie 73), Smyth, Foy.
Not Used: Harrison, Noon, Smith.

Att: 987.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


Here we go again!

As last year, very excited for the new season, though last year I honestly thought we could challenge for Europe. I was highly impressed with the names we signed, and very frustrated with the attitude of some MCIVTA subscribers – sitting watching us capitulate 2-1 at York City a handful of winters ago, who would honestly have thought City would be signing Fowler, McManaman, Sinclair, Seaman et al?

The early signs (Charlton, Blackburn away wins and a good performance against Arsenal) were good, but come Groclin and Leicester, we were a bit of a mess. We lacked all season a creative midfield spark along the lines of Ali B; could Berkovic not have been tried here? Or McManaman? Why was he never played in a position where he could hurt the opposition? Our shining star is of course Anelka – a truly world-class player who cannot function if the ball is always played in tight to his feet with two lumbering defenders behind him. He needs space ahead of him, we must play to his strengths. Other than this we only lacked a commanding presence at the back, such as van Buyten! What quality he showed. And apparently he was ours for £2.5 million?

So should we not feel similarly optimistic this year? The players must by now be used to the stadium (?!) and more significantly, to one another. Despite worrying moments last year, suddenly I like the Reyna / Bosvelt axis, Barton is a great option, McManaman is quality but needs to buck up. Creativity may not be a problem and of course we have the brilliant Shaun Wright Phillips down the right. Up front, Anelka is as I say true quality, Fowler now looks sharp and fully fit and has a full season to go at it, then Paulo and Macken are adequate replacements. But why is there no Wiltord? Imagine he and Anelka together! Why is Rebrov at West Ham? At Kiev he and Shevchenko were awesome – one now leads the line for the best club in Europe, the other is in ‘Division Two’ in England! He would have been a gamble.

The pre-season friendly results are encouraging but we must not read too much into them. Against Lazio I was highly pleasantly surprised, the team was buzzing with enthusiasm (Sinclair again a notable exception… what is wrong with the guy?) and the communication was great. Lazio were at full strength but it bears note that four or five of their leading players last time out have moved along. The recent cash influx has not been brought to bear. They did field international-quality players and we made them look poor at times.

So, fingers crossed! I was so disappointed last year, but I shall stick my neck out and say a top half finish, a good cup run and consolidation. We need to aim to become a regular top ten club, to get with the likes of Villa and Newcastle rather than thinking we can win the League! The Club’s finances are clearly not fantastic, but it does seem that prudence is being exercised. The next stage must be to start in a couple of years to challenge for Europe; the danger in trying to get things done too quickly is total financial implosion, as at Elland Road.

It’s only a game!

P.S. I exchanged a couple of emails with Renato Tupere but the last couple, since I changed email address, have bounced back! Renato, can you get back in touch to this address please!

Mike Bains <mikebains(at)>


It is great to see that we have had a good pre-season and unlike other years we have got through it undefeated. Personally I am not a fan of Thatcher or Mills but I think they will do a good job for City as did the likes of Tony Book, Alan Oakes, Glynn Pardoe etc. in the halcyon days of the late 60’/early 70’s. They were not particularly graceful and skilful players but did a great job for City, which culminated in some silverware.

I think we should ignore all the c**p that is coming from the gutter press about Anelka and SWP leaving City. As both players were by far the best players for City on the games I saw on Sky last year in New Zealand. Sibierski also impressed as did Richard Dunne, but I am sorry to say that Tarnat and Sinclair were awful.

Myself and Kevin Willianson are fighting the good fight for City down under in the South Island of NZ and discovering there are quite a lot of City fans who wear the blue shirt with pride. We are keen to revamp the City supporters’ club to bring the real Mancs together and celebrate collectively in what is hoped to be a good season.

Let’s hope we don’t have a flying start to yet again falter to be fighting relegation. I think KK needs to give the young promising hopefuls (YPH’s) a realistic opportunity to be involved as it seems some of our more seasoned pro’s rely solely on their past reputation. Also I am not sure it was a wise decision to keep the captaincy in the same hands as there are better candidates in the present team, with better leadership and motivational skills to get the team fired ‘up’.

I am looking forward to coming back for a visit to my hometown and hopefully celebrating a good win against Chelski in October. See you all at the Academy and can I recommend a great place for liquid refreshment afterwards. The Marble Arch on Rochdale Road on the way into Manchester. See you all there after our win against Chelski.

Dave Lamb – (SINZB) South Island NZ Blue <lambd(at)>


If things are so bad that City now cannot afford to pay SWP the £35,000 per week that the likes of McManaman and Fowler are getting, then heads should roll. Simple as that.

It’s down to gross mismanagement of the club and nothing else – because there’s clearly no question that SWP deserves whatever the going-rate is.

Not once, to my mind, has SWP ever banged down Keegan’s door asking for more money. He’s always kept his head down, got on with his job and, naïvely, expected that City will see him right when the time comes around.

That time is now – and what do we do? We try to shaft him.

I don’t care how much money footballers earn, it’s all relative in this argument. And I know damn well that I wouldn’t stay in the same job if I knew the jokers who weren’t fit to lace my boots were on nearly 50 per cent more money than me.

And, if Shaunny goes to Liverpool or wherever, don’t be under any illusions. I’ve no doubts the club, via the Evening News, will try and make Shaun the villain of the piece with implications of greed. Don’t fall for it!

Shaunny is as honest as they come, he wants to play for Manchester City but the jokers running our club have got themselves in so deep they cannot afford to pay him what he deserves as one of the Premiership’s greatest talents.

Tottenham’s derisory bid of £2 million is an ominous sign because they must know something is clearly wrong at City. They wouldn’t have wasted money on the phone call otherwise. Equally ominous is the reported £10 million price tag we’ve put on his head.

In today’s market, I’d say SWP is worth at least £15 million but I can see him going for about half that amount because the club appears to be going down exactly the same road as it did under Swales.

[Let’s hope they get this sorted soon Mike, it would be ridiculous to lose Shaun for the sake of saving a few pounds – Ed]

Mike Holden <MikeHoldenMCFC(at)>


KK made a statement some weeks back that he thought Stuart Pearce could one day become manager of Man City, presumably because of his passion, but surely he lacks experience at the highest level and is a long way off managing a Premiership team?

Now if City get relegated this season then Psycho would probably not look out of place, and after say two or three seasons in the lower divisions, he will have had some valuable credentials to his name. This of course won’t happen, because he has not been made assistant manager, in order for him to gain managerial experience, unless of course he did not want the position, so instead we now have two first team coaches. Why?

City do not need an inexperienced manager, no matter how brilliant they might have been as a player, and for Keegan to make that statement, it tells me that he does not understand what is really needed at management level to make this club great again.

Let’s say for one minute that Pearce wants to learn the ropes, and wants to manage in the future, either City or elsewhere, then Keegan should have made him his number two, but to do that he would have to accept Psycho’s opinions. Now Kevin does not take kindly to criticism, and instead wants to make all the team decisions, and after last season’s decisions, i.e. Distin as captain, not giving youth a chance, blaming fans for booing amateurish performances, playing the old pals act with Arthur Cox and Derek Fazackerly, wasting millions on dead wood, and almost relegated, what does the season hold?

No money to spend, good players allowed to leave, some without being given a chance, still no natural leader, and the vultures hovering for SWP, and a manager who understands very little in creating a successful team.

Passion alone is not enough to create a winning team, and even though I do not foresee a relegation fight this season, the future is not as bright as it should be.

Gary Sullivan <gary(at)>


A couple of Fridays ago (30 July) listening to Five Live Drive whilst driving home in a foul mood after a foul day, that erstwhile Spurs fan Peter Allen (if you look at the away programme from last season you’ll see what he looks like – certainly surprised me!) reported that an Iraqi government official was going to make an official apology on behalf of one of the Iraqi footie players who had attacked a Chinese player during their recent fixture… this certain Chinese player was our own Sun Jihai! Little Sun in a fight? He doesn’t look big enough to blow the skin off a rice pudding let alone fisticuffs – or are looks deceiving? Anyway I scoured papers and TV as well as the City website to see any reports but nothing! Can anyone else vouch for this? Or have I finally lost the plot before the season starts for a change?!

Carol Darvill <carold(at)>


Really interesting comment today from Steven Gerrard after Liverpool had beaten AK Graz, “‘The manager asked us to play a bit deeper tonight because we did not know much about their team,’ said the midfielder.”

I’m am flabbergasted by this statement. Conservatively 13 million pounds is riding on this tie for Liverpool and to admit that they don’t know everything down the minutest (sic) detail is amazing. I commented recently in MCIVTA that City didn’t seem to do this, certainly Keegan didn’t even know how many Polish internationals were in the team we lost to last year, but it seems to be the norm. I kind of thought it was funny back in 74-75 when Roy of the Rovers had to ask the fans of Greek minnows Niarkos about their team prior to the European Cup Winners Cup (hands up all of you who remember that? <hehe> and yes I had to look it up!) but I never thought it was based in fact.

In all seriousness is there anyone connected to a professional club reading this, whether ours or anyone else, who can explain this to me?

Wallace Poulter <wpoulter(at)>


We recently interviewed Joey Barton, I thought it may be of interest to you. You can find the interview by following the link:

Anton Russell, Be Sport Ltd. :lt;>


It’s that time of year, when those of us a gambling mind consider having a flutter on the Premiership. Ideally, trying to get some money out of backing City if possible. Figured some MCIVTA readers may be interested in what is out there.

First up – can we win the Premiership? The bookies say no. I’ve seen 400/1 for this, but if you think that’s a big price… well, SportingOdds are offering a massive 1500/1. Yes, 1500/1.

A lot of bookies are offering “Winner without the big three” betting (also known as “Best of the Rest”) this year, which is the highest placed team not taking into account Arsenal, Chelsea or some team from Manchester I don’t know much about. On Betfair, you can get 90/1 on City. If you think they can get into the top three regardless of who they have to jostle out of position, you can get yourself a respectable 125/1 with Coral. If you want to bet without the top 5 clubs, betdirect are offering 20/1 which again is not to be sniffed at.

One little interesting bet is Skybet’s “Winner after 10 games” – a serious proposition for us if you think about it – and they have us priced at 100/1, which is not bad at all.

OK, so those are noble bets and you’ve shown your mark as a true fan, but what are the bets that are more likely to pay off and get us some money back to offset the tickets to the matches and the booze to help erase the missed chances and bad luck we might suffer once more?

If you fancy us finishing in the top 10 this season (I do), Coral are offering 15/8 which is a bit skinny for a bet you have to wait till the Spring to pay out, but a pragmatic bet. If you think Keegan will walk before the end of the season, you can get even money with William Hill. If you think he’ll walk before any other manager, you can get 4/1 with Betfair. If you think he’ll stay all season, William Hill are offering around 4/5, which to my mind is a stonking bet providing we don’t end up heading towards the bottom three.

Think Anelka will get the Golden Boot? Well, on Betfair you can get 65/1 that he’ll score more goals in the Premiership than any other player. This sounds a speculative bet, but it’s a big price. Again, like the market for the outright winner of the league, this will contract if his performance is strong in the early season and he heads up the table in the first month or two.

For the cynics amongst you, Coral are offering 7/1 that we get relegated. This is the best price I could find this morning and is offered around a fair bit. Bet on this, and keep it a secret from the rest of us in the ground or pub – that’s your fair warning!

Some bookies are offering “regional” markets – i.e. which club will do best in each part of the country. Those Stretford lads are favourites, but if you think we can outdo them, Liverpool, Blackburn, Bolton and Everton, BetDirect are offering 80/1.

For those of you looking for a payout quicker than the Spring, we’re 12/1 on Betfair for being bottom of the league come the end of August, and 14/1 for being top of the league at the same point in time.

If you want money for Saturday night, we’re favourites against Fulham, but at a rather attractive 5/4. I, for one, will be having 40 quid on that to help pay for the drinks to celebrate the start of a new season – one where I hope we’re going to do better than ever before, and along the way, I might just pick up a few quid.

Good luck, happy punting, and let’s see if we can get some of that 1500/1 in our pockets, eh?

Paul Robinson <paul(at)>


Okay, let’s go over this season’s comprehensive, detailed masterplan. Obviously we need wholesale changes from last season. So, here goes. We have brought in Thatcher and Mills, and the rest of you will just have to try a lot harder!? Erm?

Adrian Leather – Quesnel BC, Canada <ade016(at)>


In response to Mark Redgrave: It’s called “stability” mate.

I know we’re not too familiar with the concept but there are some benefits. Ask our neighbours!

Keith Constable <Keith.Constable(at)>


So a week or so ago I had to go to Canterbury because where I live (Ashford) it’s not easy to buy vine leaves – I was making stuffed vine leaves for my daughter. In the deli was another guy and when I reached for the vine leaves he asked if I was a chef. We started chatting and he was from Moss Side but had lived in Kent for a long time, naturally he’s a Blue and – as I’ve just moved into the area – he gave me details of the Blue pubs!

I’m sure it’s a Manchester/Blue thing that makes us the friendliest people in the world. I know he won’t read this, he’s not a fan of technology, but if anyone knows Keith from Canterbury buy him a pint – he’s a star!

CTID, Nigel Gibson <nigel.gibson2(at)>


Further to Wallace Poulter’s message in Tuesday’s MCIVTA, I caught the intro to the Faria Alam interview on Monday evening. The introduction to the impending programme was “Please be warned that the following programme contains flashing images”… needless to say I didn’t hang around and raced up the jolly horners to Bedfordshire :o)

Helen Murtagh <H.Murtagh(at)>


Last night (Tuesday) was Prestwich and Whitefield’s first meeting of the new season. Guests were: Paul Power, Stuart Pearce, Asa Hartford, Alistair McKintosh, Tony Coton and Danny Mills, with James H running the show.

For those with any sort of memories of the last 15 years, it was a fascinating evening; Tony Coton who now coaches MU’s goalkeepers admitted that he was worried at the reception that he might receive. In the event he was very warmly received and admitted that his leaving City was not of his choice; he was effectively pushed. He was not at all complimentary about the management of the club during his time except for Brian Horton.

Danny Mills was nothing like his on-field persona, he was well spoken, articulate and said all the right things, e.g. City is a hotbed of football compared to Middlesbrough.

Of most importance, the mood was entirely upbeat and all expect a top half place at the end of the season.

Thanks to the P&W committee and to City for looking after the true supporters.

[Sounds like a good night, but many other supporters branches out there wish the Club would look after them as well – Ed]

Brian Leigh <B.Leigh(at)>


Two spare tickets (east stand) available for Saturday’s home game against Fulham. Call 07973777969 or email for details.

Matthew Maxey <matthewmaxey(at)>


For anyone travelling to the game from the Chorlton area there are a limited number of seats available on the Supporters’ Club coach for this season. The coach leaves at approximately 1.00-1.30 and parks in the car park behind the Reebok shop.

If you are interested in booking a seat please reply to this email with contact details or telephone Tricia on 07803 204453.

Larry Higgs <travel(at)>


So all true Blues should now be geared up for the new campaign, and I’ve not been totally idle in the close-season. The new-season version of my “Excel” spread-sheet file; “The-BIGGER-One” (the Man City & ALL Premiership team-progress file) is now ready and available as a FREE download at:

Please visit the website to read the full list of the files features; but, basically, all you need to do is type in the scores (or your predictions) and ALL the statistical tables & graphs are instantly revised. It is ready with the date of every Premiership fixture for the season, plus a few new features since last season. Also available is a completed statistical version for last season.

The website has been checked-out, and has a priority listing with (under the miscellaneous:other, listings) If you like the sheets, please tell your mates.

Mark Vincent <vincent(at)>


I have joined Steve’s fantasy league, and have also set up another one. It’s called The Biz and the code number is 147540-26456. Follow the same instructions as Steve’s in MCIVTA 1042 if you want to join. Looks like fun.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0405.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] 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.

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

The official club web site can be found at

[5] 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” (

[6] 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.

[7] 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

[8] 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

[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] Where can I find a list of City-related websites?

Try Wookie’s Lair:

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 #1043