Newsletter #1070

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After the well-earned point from OT, we manage to throw away a golden opportunity to secure a win against struggling Blackburn as Dickov once again returned to taunt us. A dire performance from the Blues, yet more injuries and oh dear need we go on?

Match reports tonight thanks to Rich and Mike, some well thought out opinion and another great Why Blue from Italy.

Next game: Portsmouth, away, 5.15pm Saturday 20 November 2004

MATCH REPORT I: MCFC 1 BLACKBURN ROVERS 1

After the resolute display from derby day, I was in optimistic mood that November was going to be a good points haul for us (as opposed to the start of a dreadful no-win run like last season). Certainly points look there for the taking starting with bottom of the table Blackburn Rovers! I must admit prior to the game I knew Dickov would score; it was a foregone conclusion as he always does against us, but I felt we’d have enough firepower to out-gun Rovers and was predicting a comfortable 2-1 victory for us. More fool me, I never learn.

As with recent weeks, the display by the majority of players was pure misery. We have gone from a team with flair and creating countless opportunities to a very nervous, predictable side. Fortunately for us, the defence is a lot tighter otherwise we’d be in big trouble. This was really yet another dreadful game, both sides lacked ideas, confidence and the ability in the final third. City started with the same side that finished the derby, SWP up front off Anelka, Flood on the right, and McManaman on the left, and Sibby having the “creative” central midfield rôle. In the first half Blackburn retained the ball well, passing it well between their defenders but as soon as they reached the City half they immediately lost possession only for City to give it immediately back to them. This was the pattern for the entire game. Flood started the game very brightly and had the beating of the left back on a good few occasions only for him to choose the wrong option (one time he went close with a good near post shot) – this is not criticism as the boy is still learning and with his confidence and ability he’s surely one for the future.

Blackburn weren’t really troubling us, Dickov was being his usual menacing self (you have to admire his workrate) although Stead came close to nicking a goal when James seemed to be slow in coming out and snuffing a through ball. City took a undeserved lead in the final minute of the first half when Macca flicked a through ball (yes it actually went forward!) to play SWeeP in, SWeeP burned the right back for pace and crossed for Sibby to tap in – 1-0.

Second half started and we prayed that we could keep concentration for the first 10 minutes and then go on and win the game. The game soon returned to the same drab pattern as the first half. Mills had a rocket of a shot that Friedel could only parry and the ball span agonisingly wide. Then the changing point came, Dickov was put through by a usual Dickov-esque turn and run, which actually stemmed from a City free-kick where City tried to play keep ball hopelessly when the majority of players were forward for a usual punt (I think it was Reyna who lost it); Mills the covering defender lunged and Dickov in rather dramatic fashion went down, penalty to Rovers. At the time it looked a good shout for a penalty and looking at the replay we could have no complaints. The referee gave Mills a red card (possibly a little bit harsh) and Dickov stepped up and duly equalised.

Blackburn pressed for the winner with the man advantage but the closest they game was a long range effort which was a replica of Mills/Friedel earlier shot and Dickov went close with a rushed effort towards the end, but all in all 1-1 was a fair result.

Player Ratings:

James (6/10) – Not much really to do. The parried shot swerved a lot (I think this is a trait of the new ball, which does seem to move a lot in the air). No chance with the penalty. Performed a excellent double dummy of on-rushing Blackburn’s forwards in the 2nd half that had our hearts in our mouths!
Mills (5/10) – Some good, crunching challenges and got forward a lot but just gave the ball away too often. Maybe a little bit unlucky to be sent off but rules are rules (unless you’re a Chelsea player).
Dunne (6/10) – Not quite as awe inspiring as usual but still performed well.
Distin (7/10) – Superb performance, won everything, close to being City’s MOM.
Jordan (7/10) – Picked up from the derby and had a very good performance, great positioning on a number of occasions. My man of the match.
Sibierski (6/10) – Took the goal well and worked hard, but just doesn’t create enough to justify that spot of attacking midfielder.
Bosvelt (7/10) – Usual performance of breaking play up and fetching and carrying. Solid performance.
Macca (5/10) – Nice ball for the build up to the City goal but too many times he elects to go backward or sideward. We need a winger who is going to beat a player or thread a ball.
Flood (5/10) – Started very well but after first 30 minutes seemed to lose confidence, electing for the wrong ball or the wrong option. KK eventually swapped Flood to the left and SWP back to the right. Eventually subbed for Reyna.
SWeeP (6/10) – Started in the middle and was largely anonymous; every time he got the ball he was crowded out. Started to get a lot more space when he moved out to the right, which proved a success for the goal.
Anelka (4/10) – Very poor today, you could argue lack of service etc., but when the ball came to Nico he simply gave it away far too cheaply, very little mobility when our midfielders were looking for the passes. Showed a lot of commitment in tracking back and getting involved though.
Subs:
Reyna (3/10) – Awful. Came on and contributed nothing except pass the ball to Blackburn for the eventual penalty. As with Macca, too happy to pass sideways or backwards. Heard on GMR on the way home that he’s injured his thigh again and will be out for another 6-7 weeks. Get shut, the saving in medical bills alone will be worth a small fortune!

Ref:
M.Clattenburg (2/10) – Awful performance… not for penalty or the sending off but he simply lost control of the game by letting some fierce tackles (by both sides) go unpunished early on. Kept holding up play and bringing it back as well. Wasn’t helped by the assistants who wouldn’t make a decision for themselves.

In all I’m pretty concerned. Last season the results weren’t going right because we simply couldn’t put the ball in the net, or our lack of concentration in the defence. This season the performances are awful, we are devoid of ideas and creativity. SWP is our only player with creativity (Anelka included). With SWP playing in the middle we lose our small element of creativity as it is far easier for teams to put 2 (or even 3) players on him when he gets the ball. When he’s out on the right it’s far more difficult to do that as it creates too much space (this was obvious from today’s game). All our other midfielders can’t even pass sideways/backwards without giving the ball away, their movement off the ball is non-existant.

The atmosphere at CoMS again was rubbish today, I’ve heard noisier libraries. Yes you can argue it’s the team’s job to lift the supporters but sometimes it’s up to us to try to lift the team! When it gets going (Chelsea this season, the derby last year) it’s electric and is probably worth a goal, but too often it’s a morgue, would someone at the club please find a way to make it better (maybe friendly rivalry between the stands to see who can get the most songs going or something… anything)? I’ve noticed the atmosphere is always worse when teams we “expect” to beat play. On current form we shouldn’t expect to beat anyone. On a similar note: why boo Dickov? He’s a legend for City; yes, it’s annoying when he harasses, wins and scores penalties but we loved him when he did it regularly for us what do you expect the guy to do… not bother playing? If only some of the City first team took a leaf out of Dickov’s book.

I believe losing Sun was a big blow; when he played last season he gave us an attacking option alongside SWP (he could also cross a ball). I’m not convinced the kids are the answer, Flood is a great example: he looks a great prospect but he has too much to learn to expect him to be the answer. Creative midfielders are not two a penny, the majority of clubs in the Premiership have the same problem as City. The only answer is to retain some balance on the left and look for a player that can give us some width and create an option on the left. If we are going to persistent in playing the long ball then we need a striker that is comfortable and can muscle onto the end result – Anelka/SWP and Fowler need not apply as they are not this type of player. Our saving grace is the back four, who are playing really well as a unit and once again this season I think there are far worse teams in this league than City. At moment I can’t see nothing for the team but the same old inconsistency and the eventual dogfight that these sort of displays inevitably will bring… ho hum!

Rich Fenton <rich(at)fentor.com>

MATCH REPORT II: MCFC 1 BLACKBURN ROVERS 1

Oh, how disappointing.

I am almost tempted to stop there rather than re-live the frustrations of Saturday afternoon. Soup and long johns weather, and the traffic on the way over from York got progressively worse as we neared Manchester!

Never mind, a home match against the bottom team, but again, no way of telling what would take place. You never know with City! I tentatively suggested a 2-1 home win, with Dickov getting the away team’s consolation. Well, I was not far off!

I must say that this was one of the most listless and lacklustre City displays I have seen for a while. A little bit of me hoped we would use the 0-0 at ManUre as a platform for some confident football; our forthcoming fixtures are fair, not tough, and with the gradual influx of players returning from injuries, allied to the excellent crop of at least 5 highly promising youngsters, I was looking forward to a run of good results.

We were hesitant, second to a lot of loose balls, and lacked cohesion going forward. I absolutely disagree that SWP should be up front. What is the point of having our two best, and only world-class, players marooned up there while the other 9 fail consistently to get the ball to them where they want it? SWP must play on the right, this is his slot. We have strikers, we must have faith in them, they are not totally hopeless. Honest! And the service to them is improved, no end, by SWP. This is hard luck on young Willo, but he is developing, he is not ready yet for a first team slot although probably only a year away from being great. He had a very poor game, for me, after a bright start. Lo and behold, the restructuring for the last 10 minutes of the first half saw SWP cross for Sib. 1-0. Grumbles turned to cheers!

I thought then that we would win. As the second half wore on I anticipated a second goal; I would very much like to know if Anelka was offside when he went through and lobbed Friedel. At the time I did not think too much of it as the other lot did not look like scoring.

But the second goal never materialized. You know the rest. How utterly disappointing, again! And once more the upcoming games are clouded in uncertainty. Should we now be looking for a new manager? I never thought I would feel this way. I have liked and admired KK as a player and as a manager for years. I still do. But there is a lack of motivation, certainly, on the field. Not always, for at times we look a really good side, crisp passing, SWEEP-ing attacks. It is matches like Saturday’s that make me wonder. Again, however, I ask myself who we would get instead. We need a big name to attract big names and keep them happy. But we need a coach and motivator. A part of me hopes that KK looks at the excellent crop of youngsters coming through and changes his mind about leaving in 2006, signs a new longer contract and rolls his sleeves up.

The likes of SWP, Barton, Dunne, Flood, Jordan, Onuoha(s) et al. in conjunction with James, Mills, and some of the others, particularly Nic, if he does stay, form the basis of a side that over the next 2 to 3 years should become an established top-10 side. We should not be greedy, we are a million miles from being Chelsea or Arsenal. Yet we must draw strength from the 1-0 against Chelsea and the 0-0 last week.

We need to avoid being dragged down to the mediocrity of a poor opponent. What next? Certainly I do not feel we will lose at Pompey, then come Villa, a team against whom we usually do very well. A draw? Certainly not a defeat! I noticed on two occasions people being carried out of the game by medical people. Anyone know how they are?

Mike Bains <mikebains(at)fsmail.net>

MATCH REPORT III: MCFC 1 BLACKBURN ROVERS 1

I was going to write a match report, but I was sat reading Daniel Taylor’s report in the Guardian and I couldn’t put it any better. Only a shame that the online report I’ve cut and pasted here doesn’t include the box at the end of the article about who won man of the match and I quote “Paul Dickov (ex-Manchester City)” – couldn’t sum it up any better!

http://football.guardian.co.uk/Match_Report/0,1527,1351348,00.html

The law of the ex-player is that he will invariably score against his former club, and the law of the jungle is that he will inevitably get booed for his troubles. In Paul Dickov’s case, however, the Blackburn striker is entitled to believe he deserved better from Manchester City’s fans. Dickov has nurtured a fine talent for scoring against his old employers, with Saturday’s penalty making it three in five matches. To put it another way, he has now scored as many goals at the City of Manchester stadium as a visiting player as two of Kevin Keegan’s supposedly key players, Steve McManaman and Trevor Sinclair, have managed between them.

With statistics like that, perhaps the hostility shown to Dickov would have been better directed elsewhere. In hindsight, Keegan’s decision that the striker was not equipped to be successful in the Premiership must count as one of the many significant mistakes he has made, particularly when £7 million went on Robbie Fowler to take his place.

Whereas Dickov was the outstanding player by a country mile on Saturday, Fowler watched forlornly from the bench as Shaun Wright-Phillips and Antoine Sibierski, midfielders by trade, took it in turns to partner Nicolas Anelka. It does not say much for Fowler’s current rating that he was not even required to warm up.

Sibierski can at least claim to have made a scoring contribution, turning in Wright-Phillips’s cross at the end of the first half. However, it was an unforeseen act of generosity for the public announcer to declare after the final whistle that he had won the man-of-the-match award. Presumably the honour cannot be bestowed upon a member of the visiting team. But the most illuminating piece of footwork from a City player arrived when David James ran from his goal in the second half and nimbly sidestepped two Blackburn challenges.

That apart, Blackburn were superior to their hosts in every department apart from scoring and there were clear signs of improvement from Mark Hughes’s team. Their passing game lacked incisiveness until 12 minutes from the end when Dickov, perhaps marginally offside, wriggled clear of Danny Mills before going down under his challenge. Mills was deemed to have committed a professional foul and was standing in the entrance to the tunnel as Dickov converted from the spot.

Afterwards Keegan questioned whether the City board would have the courage to back him in the January transfer window. He spoke at length about his need for money, but it was all a bit rich when his spending sprees have been the main reason why the club already have one of the worst debts in the Premiership.

City’s directors may have a few questions of their own. Like how, for example, can they beat Chelsea and draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford yet be booed off in successive matches against Norwich and Blackburn, the league’s bottom two clubs? City, as ever, are one of football’s imponderables.

James Walsh <James.Walsh(at)durham.gov.uk>

OPINION: KEVIN OR BUST?

First of all, let me state that I like Kevin Keegan a lot. I think he is very passionate and honest. I think he is probably a good motivator. But I think he must go – and soon. Here’s why; last season we had the habit of putting in occasional decent performances (especially in the bigger games), surrounded by mediocre and awful performances (especially in the ‘easy’ games). We couldn’t win two league games in a row, and almost the only times we did win was after a bad loss. We repeatedly failed to take three points from the c**p teams and consequently almost went down.

I think it was premature to talk about firing Keegan during or after last season. I think he’d earned one dodgy season after the two great years he’d given us before that. But what I see this year is a carbon copy of last season and if the trend continues, we’ll end up on around 38-42 points (I figured this out three different ways – but I won’t bore you with the details). Needless to say, we either change this pattern for the better, or we risk going down. After a year and a third of this, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that Keegan is now unable to change the trend, and that we must find someone else who can.

Furthermore, to give a new manager a fair chance to sort things out, he needs at least half a season, and two thirds would be even better – that’s why we have to act now. Unfortunately, here’s where my plan needs some help – I have no idea who we should (or could) get to replace Keegan. Therefore, just in case nobody else can think of a suitable successor either, I have come up with another radical plan to save City (bear with me).

If Keegan stays, we have to mobilize all City fans to start betting on the ‘easy’, ‘must-win’ games. It goes like this; when we have an easy game, every City fan puts a 10 pound bet on us to lose or draw. If we win, everyone’s happy to trade a tenner for 3 points. If we lose or draw, everyone wins 3-5 quid, depending on the odds. Then we send our winnings to John Wardle. Think about it! If 200,000 City fans took part, we’d make between 600,000 and 1 million pounds every time we have a disappointing result against a c**p team. Within about three seasons we’d be debt free!

So there you have it – replace Keegan now and book our rightful place in Europe next season, or keep him and be debt-free, but possibly in League 1 by 2007.

Mike Maddox <mwm2240(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: KIDS AND KEEGAN

Had the chance to see both Lee Croft and Stephen Elliot on TV this weekend. I saw highlights of the Leicester vs. Sunderland game and have to say that I was quite impressed with Elliot although how Leicester never scored is a mystery. He certainly puts himself about and has a go. Good for McCarthy to have spotted him.

Lee Croft of course played for Latics against Thurrock. He looked quite skilful to me except his crossing could have been better. What do they teach them in the Academy, or has football coaching also been dumbed down? Should he be in our team? Well he has the problem that he’s right footed and we seem to be blessed with right footed wide players. I’m not sure he’s going to make it at Premiership level; of course one would want to see him with better players (some of the Oldham players are dire) but he doesn’t look the finished article; I guess that’s why he’s gone out on loan. Still, having said that, he hardly ever gave the ball away and was not afraid to take his man on. So good luck to him. As it so happens Chris Killen was also playing. Keegan did the right thing in letting him go.

I know we are short of players, now even more so with Mills about to be suspended, but can’t Keegan work out that playing Blackburn at home is different from playing United away? In the latter we were going to have to defend, irrespective of which players were selected. Yes, the lads did very well and I for one was very satisfied with the 0-0 draw. But against the bottom side in the league you must play at least 2 strikers. Not only that but play Shaunie in his best position; yes, wide on the right. This was an excellent opportunity to give Bradley a game (methinks Fowler’s days are numbered if he couldn’t get on against Blackburn) put SWP out right and Flood on the bench. And on a related but more contentious point, if we are to play 1-up (4-5-1) I think I’d rather see Macken as the forward if he is fit rather than Anelka. Macken holds the ball up and brings in other players, then Macca could run on to the passes! I thought Anelka had a poor game against United. His passing was poor and he didn’t look up. In the first half he had a breakaway and SWP came up like a train; but as usual Anelka had his head down and didn’t deliver the ball. Finally, I’m not convinced that SWP’s best position is in the centre/middle of the pitch. I say he’s best on the right. What do others think?

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)virgin.net>

OPINION: INJURIES GALORE I

Kevin Keegan faces a tough season ahead of him as the injury list grows. This is a list of players who are injured right now, or are struggling to get back to fitness.

DeVlieger / Fowler / Reyna / Sinclair / Thatcher / Sun / Sommeil / Macken / Barton / Weaver / McManaman (just back but not on form).

Every successful Premier League team has at least two players for every position. Not all the players deserve first team positions; nevertheless they could be subs. It’s almost like a team of players out.

Kevin Keegan has asked for help from the board to get more players; it will be a tough call. Trouble is that KK spent the money freely on some players that have proved to be not the best buys. Some of the players came to City after just getting over major injuries, and were a big risk to bring in. I’m not blaming the City doctor who examined them, for they could very well have looked to be OK when they passed the doctor’s exam. And besides they could have new injuries that might be entirely different.

It’s really down to bad luck for the players who got injured, but there are other players who came to City with big reputations and have never lived up to them, these are the ones who have taken KK’s transfer kitty, these are the ones that don’t play with the passion and pride of playing for City. They know who they are, and so do we the supporters.

A blessing in disguise has been the fact that some young stars have got their chance because of injuries to some senior players, and have proved to be very good players. We beat Chelsea, one of the top teams, drawn at Old Trafford with the Evil Empire. But we cannot beat the two bottom teams Norwich and Blackburn. Why?

It’s going to be another season of survival, it does not look like getting into the top six as we should be, but not being in the bottom six. So we must look at the bright side for the rest of this season, we always play better against the better sides, so there is hope there, we have some other young stars who have not had their chance to play yet so we can look forward to seeing them advance.

It might have been a good move to give Lee Croft a loan move to neighbours Oldham, the experience will do him good, trouble is he will be FA Cup tied when he returns after his one month loan. Lee Croft has been playing for England at different age levels; that says a lot about him. I also look forward to the day Bradley Wright-Phillips gets his chance. Now Kevin Keegan has got to prove to everyone that he is a manager/coach and coach the players that he has available, and motivate them, and not just against the best sides, every team we play.

KK has still 18 months of his contract to go, and rumours fly around who should be his successor, all because KK himself made the statement he will not stay. It’s unsettling to the club and players so just like Franny Lee has recently said the club should already have another manager lined up, I agree. If Stuart Pearce is supposed to be the next manager then why does he apply for other positions? If we are to believe what the media gives us, Leicester City was the last. When WBA got a letter from Megson stating that he had no intentions of staying beyond his contract, they let him go that week.

So is KK in a dangerous position? I would think so unless he can pick the team up, it’s his team, no one knows his players better, now he must get the best out of them for his own pride, and for all the supporters of this proud club with a great heritage. I have always supported Kevin Keegan, and I will continue to do so, for I feel under the circumstances there is no one better available to manage City.

Now is the time when everyone at City must pull together for the cause, stay in the Premier League looks like the mission, but things can change some time to go yet. Who knows, maybe still climb up the league, it needs the right attitude to do it.

Come on you Blues.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: INJURIES GALORE II

Reyna is injured again. Negouai broke down in the woeful Cup game. Thatcher, Sinclair, Sun and De Vlieger are all out for periods of various length. Barton and Weaver (dare I say it?) almost fully fit.

I know that injuries will always happen and I’m not pointing the finger, but did physio Ally Beattie bring ‘The Curse of Darren Anderton’ with him from Spurs in the summer?

Matthew Thomas <Matthew.Thomas(at)lloydstsb.co.uk>

OPINION: DERBY DAY

I know that it’s time to move on and stop thinking about the derby, although we might look back on that draw as the highlight of the season, but I just thought I’d add something.

Last night, I phoned my father in California for the first time in a few weeks to congratulate him on becoming a grandfather (my sister gave birth last night*) and we chatted away for a while. He told me that he’d seen the derby game, which surprised me as even when he wasn’t really into watching that rounders game and the rugby for big pansies, when he was back in the UK he was always a Stockport County fan.

So, he told me how much he’d enjoyed watching it (I’d been confined to a radio commentary in the office as I was working that afternoon), but don’t you think, he said, that Keegan would have been more honest about his intentions if he’d sent all 11 out in goalkeeper kits. True, I said, but a point is a point and at the end of the day, wouldn’t Stockport be doing so much better if they followed the tactic for just one game instead of flailing around the field like a bunch of chimps?

But he did make me wonder – would we not actually secure our position in the middle of the league if we always played a highly defensive game? If we always played for the draw, we’d frustrate the “bigger” clubs like Arsenal and Trafford United, whilst being able to pick off the easier clubs for a win. If we put the effort into perfecting defence, we can then confidently start striking out up front to go for the odd goal and if we don’t make it, we still walk away with a clean sheet. Keegan might have actually found a tactic that stabilises us and lets us develop our attack without risking losses.

Madness, I know. And the game would be about as interesting to watch as those American sports that take 4 hours to play and only make sense if you’re drunk, but still aren’t as good as cricket. But just imagine if we came away with a clean sheet every game? The goal difference last season was one of the things that was going to save us, and I really believe if every game came out 0-0 we’d be in a better position than we are right now.

Just a thought.

* My sister gave birth to “Aoife” last night, and makes me an uncle for the first time. She was 5lbs 10oz for the ladies that care, but the downside is that mother and father are both Reds. Fortunately, whilst reluctant to have her Christened, they have asked for me to be involved in her “spiritual wellbeing and development”. My interpretation of that is to move to a part of the ground where there is a little less abrupt language and get an extra season ticket. My church is an odd denomination, but it’s as valid as any other – Blue, through and through. 🙂

Paul Robinson <paul(at)iconoplex.co.uk>

OPINION: WHERE TO NOW?

If I were not a City fan with thirty years of misplaced optimism, hope and desire under my belt, I would think that matters at the club could surely not get any worse. Week in, week out we all turn up, fully expecting more misery to be heaped upon us, but secretly harbouring an ember of hope that somehow this time it’ll be different. We’ve all seen how this tiny ember, subdued by such a long period of mismanaged incompetence, rises into a passionate inferno at the merest inkling of success. We cling desperately to any form of ‘glory’; play-off victory; the ‘great’ (?) Goater; Division one champs; an ill deserved point at Old Trafford and an equally fortunate victory over Chelsea. All of these little things are enjoyable; the trouble is that by providing a momentary respite, they cloud our view of reality and thereby perpetuate the problem. They are merely a higher deck onto which we can climb, whilst pretending that the ship is not really sinking.

Beset by problems stretching back a long, long way but probably stemming from the Swales era, Man City has been a comedic figure of footballing fun with erratic performances on and off the pitch. However, having reached the bottom of a very, very deep hole in the form of Division Two, a ray of light appeared. A committed, business-savvy chairman began to run the club according to financial reality; a quite magnificent, shiny new stadium beckoned to rescue us from the disastrously badly developed Maine Road and finances were put in place to form the bedrock of the club’s future.

And then of course, disaster. The lunatics took over the asylum; rational spending was replaced by a policy of insane gambling. The board placed an enormous bet on immediate success by giving all of the clubs’ future resources to a man singularly ill-equipped to handle them. Step forward Kevin Keegan.

Here is the crux of our current problem and until we, fans and board members alike, stand up and take notice the only thing that awaits us is more pain. Action is needed and it’s needed now. No matter what the board say, the club is teetering on the brink and we need hauling back before Keegan takes us all over the edge with him. Keegan has blown our future on incredibly ill-advised signings, whilst simultaneously failing to develop home-grown talent. The board has shown immense trust in the man, but their faith has proven to be misplaced and they must act now to save the club.

We may be close to the edge but all is not quite lost. Despite their shortcomings, I truly believe that the squad as a whole has more than enough talent to succeed and I have no doubt at all that they could and would perform at a far higher level under the auspices of a competent manager. OK, we won’t win the league and Europe is just somewhere to go on holiday, but we should have every right to expect a top ten finish.

The players appear to genuinely give it their best shot (mostly!) and I’m sure they are bemused as to why they get so little reward for the their efforts. But the truth is that they are woefully mismanaged, poorly organised and badly let down by a manager who simply has no idea how to organise them effectively. This is perhaps the saddest part of the current situation. We really should be doing much, much better and no other club would put up with such a poor return on its investment.

Sure, Keegan succeeded in restoring the club to the Premiership and we’re all grateful for that, but he is not the man to take us any further. Having frittered away the club’s financial future and allowed promising youngsters to leave, he has the nerve to turn around and ask the board for more.

I think not Mr Keegan.

Justin Starbuck <justin.starbuck(at)bms.com>

OPINION: GERMAN UPDATE

German news Tarnat/Trautmann

In an interview in the German alternative footie magazine “11 Freunde”, Michael Tarnat told under the headline “unbelievably loyal” something interesting about his time as a Blue:

Q: Where was your best time as a professional footballer Duisburg, Karlsruhe, Munich?
A: Hard to say. The year in Manchester was a special experience. Especially the comradeship in the team fascinated me. Life as a pro in England is less regulated than in Germany. The guys often went on Wednesday or Thursday before a match to a pub and nobody is interested in, for example the press. Before I travelled to Manchester, everybody warned me, it will always rain there. If it is really so, I got the best summer of the century there. I would have liked to be there for one more year, but it wasn’t in my hands.

Q: The start of the season in Hanover was bad and some fans shouted yesterday “Lienen (the manager of Hanover) out”
A: I don’t like those chants. Perhaps, because my experiences in Manchester are very fresh. There it would be absolutely unthinkable for the fans to chant for the head of the manager after such a lousy match. The supporters over there are unbelievably loyal to the team and the manager. Sometimes I think, something of the so called “English spirit” would be very good for the German supporters.

After getting the OBE by the queen some days ago, Bert has become interesting for the German media. Some articles in the press were placed. But the most impressive for me was his TV-début in the jubilee talkshow (because of 30 years of it) called (in English) 3 after 9, an interesting talkshow in the north of Germany, not the kind of bloodless afternoon American/English shows.

Bert made a really friendly appearance, good looking and in a good shape. He told about his story, the people in Manchester and about his project Bert-Trautmann-Foundation. Even in his eighties, a really nice and charming guy, who is able to inspire the people of the English-German friendship.

Thomas Seifert <Teseifert(at)aol.com>

REQUEST: BLUES DVD

I am looking for a Blue who can post me a copy of the DVD that stars James H Reeve and Bernard Manning. I have watched it once but it had to go back to a contact in Vancouver whose address I have lost. Obviously I will pay for one and if anyone can direct to the place I can buy it directly then great. I think the DVD is called “Stand Up if you hate Man Utd.” It is a superb laugh and I would love to have it on my shelf.

John Jepson – Vancouver Island Blue <john.Jepson(at)crcn.net>

REQUEST: BUXTON BLUES

Buxton Football Club are holding ‘An evening with’ Mike Summerbee on Wednesday 17th of November at 7-30 in the social club at the Silverlands ground. Tickets are priced at £15, including supper, and can be obtained by phoning Mike Barton on 07773 947869.

Mike Barton – Director BFC and Blues fanatic <barton(at)ferodo.demon.co.uk>

REQUEST: TEXAS BLUES VIEWING

I spent derby day totally alone in an English pub here in Houston full of United fans. Can that be true? I’ve now been at the English pub “Richmond Arms” more than 5 times and I’ve never met a Blue.

If there are any Blues in the Houston area please let me know.

Morten Vassard <morten_vassard(at)hotmail.com>

BLUE HUMOUR

Spotted this on ebay!

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=5138730572

Richard Stoodley <Richard(at)3739.co.uk>

WHY BLUE

I’m 32 and I live in Ravenna (Italy), a town in the north-east of Italy, near enough Bologna, the capital of the region. I’m a Blue because of two key factors.

First factor: I’m a huge fan of English music and, given my age, I’ve grown my musical knowledge via all the great bands coming from north England in the mid-80, particularly The Cult and The Smiths. The lead guitarists of these two bands, Billy Duffy and Johnny Marr are City fanatics!

The Cult are my favourite rock band of all times and from the beginning I was aware of Billy’s fondness for the Citizens. I had a meeting with him in 1991, after a gig in München, when he gave me as a gift his plectrum and on this the initials M.C.F.C. were carved! Three years later I met him in Milan, before another gig, and that time I gave him a MCFC scarf [my personal one!]. From then the Gallaghers have helped to spread the word in the 90’s.

Obviously it was very difficult in mid-80’s for an italian fan to get in touch with Maine Road boys because there was no Internet and it was almost impossible to get a copy of a tabloid or something like that; so the results of the team were not so easy to know and my fandom was more about wearing my jersey than other things!

Second factor: I’ve always loved being “on the other side”. Here in Italy the Rags are more popular than us, often the people calls the Rags as ‘Manchester’ without any other words. It seems to them there’s only one team in the city. Needless to say it is not like that! Supporting City in the way I do is something exotic here in Italy! [“How can you support such a small team when you were able to choose the bigger?” or “You like suffering” were the most popular quotes]. I never cared about that, I’m a proud Blue.

My first real contact was when I went to Arsenal’s Highbury to watch the Blues playing against the Gunners on 20th August 1994 [0-3 for the record as you well know]. Then I began to get in touch with the club sending letters to receive mail order catalogues and so on. When Internet was available the things were much easier but at the same time the team suffered the bitter relegation of 1995-96; during my summer trip in England, on 18th August 1996, I wandered around a closed Maine Road just to smell the atmosphere; unfortunately I couldn’t attend to the home win vs. Ipswich [1-0, Lomas] two days before but at my arrival in Manchester I decided to take a look. That day Lara, once my girlfriend now my wife, was with me and was so patient with my illness!

I don’t have to tell you about the next season, the bitterness of the Stoke day and the painful Second Division season, the jubilant afternoon when I followed the Gillingham game via Internet with another later Blue [my friend Matteo], the joy about the Sir Joe’s Army second spot in 1999-2000, the sadness of the next season! The arrival of KK, once an idol but now he has made too, too many unforgivable mistakes, meant another trip in this roller-coaster called City. In the 2002-2003, me and Matteo went on March 16th to Maine Road to attend the Crystal Palace game [1-0 Horlock] and spent two days in Manchester, a beautiful experience.

And now I can tell you that even if I live so far away, with the satellite TV Sky Sport Italia and Internet, I watch and follow the games quite regularly [this season Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Saints, Chelsea, Rags] and I am still fan of the Blues, one of the most beautiful things that can happen to a man!

In the next seasons I sure will fly again to Manchester because I want to see the COMS hoping to get a ticket for that occasion.

Dario Gigante <ghigas1972(at)libero.it>

RESULTS

14 November 2004

West Bromwich Albion  1 - 2  Middlesbrough         24,008
Newcastle United      1 - 3  Manchester United     52,320

13 November 2004

Southampton           2 - 1  Portsmouth            30,921
Tottenham Hotspur     4 - 5  Arsenal               36,095
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 2  Aston Villa           25,779
Charlton Athletic     4 - 0  Norwich City          27,057
Fulham                1 - 4  Chelsea               21,877
Liverpool             3 - 2  Crystal Palace        42,862
Manchester City       1 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      45,504
Birmingham City       0 - 1  Everton               28,388

League table to 14 November 2004 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         13  5  1  0  9  1  5  1  1 12  3 10  2  1  21   4  17  32
 2 Arsenal         13  4  2  0 19  8  5  1  1 18  9  9  3  1  37  17  20  30
 3 Everton         13  3  1  2  6  7  5  1  1  9  4  8  2  3  15  11   4  26
 4 Middlesbrough   13  2  3  1  8  7  4  1  2 14  9  6  4  3  22  16   6  22
 5 Bolton Wndrs    13  4  2  1 12  7  2  2  2  8  9  6  4  3  20  16   4  22
 6 Aston Villa     13  4  2  0 12  3  1  4  2  7 11  5  6  2  19  14   5  21
 7 Manchester Utd  13  3  3  0  7  3  2  3  2  7  7  5  6  2  14  10   4  21
 8 Liverpool       12  5  0  1 13  4  1  2  3  8  9  6  2  4  21  13   8  20
 9 Charlton Ath.   13  4  2  1 12  4  1  1  4  5 17  5  3  5  17  21  -4  18
10 Newcastle Utd   13  3  1  3 14 14  1  3  2 10 12  4  4  5  24  26  -2  16
11 Portsmouth      12  4  1  1 11  6  0  2  4  5 11  4  3  5  16  17  -1  15
12 Manchester City 13  2  3  2  8  5  1  2  3  6  8  3  5  5  14  13   1  14
13 Fulham          13  3  0  4  8 13  1  2  3  9 11  4  2  7  17  24  -7  14
14 Tottenham H.    13  1  2  4  9 12  2  2  2  3  4  3  4  6  12  16  -4  13
15 Birmingham City 13  1  3  3  4  6  1  3  2  4  5  2  6  5   8  11  -3  12
16 Crystal Palace  13  2  1  3  8  8  1  2  4  7 11  3  3  7  15  19  -4  12
17 Southampton     13  2  3  2  9  9  0  2  4  3  8  2  5  6  12  17  -5  11
18 West Brom A.    13  1  4  2  7 10  0  2  4  5 14  1  6  6  12  24 -12   9
19 Blackburn R.    13  1  4  1  7 10  0  2  5  4 16  1  6  6  11  26 -15   9
20 Norwich City    13  0  4  2  7 11  0  4  3  4 12  0  8  5  11  23 -12   8

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0405.01]

[1] 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

[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

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.

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

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

[5] 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).

[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, http://www.mcfc-fans.com/ 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 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/.

[8] 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/.

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

Try Wookie’s Lair: http://www.wookieslair.com/modules.php?name=Web_Links


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]Heidi Pickup, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1070

2004/11/15

Editor:


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