Newsletter #1071

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest


Plenty of opinion tonight on our current situation, performances and injuries.

Don’s news tonight brings us yet another reserve win, international action, and all the latest happening in the Blue half of Manchester.

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

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Back on Top: City’s Reserves reclaimed top spot in their division with a 4-1 victory over Leeds United. Bradley Wright-Phillips hit a hat-trick, while Christian Negouai added the fourth. David Sommeil played the full game in his attempt to regain first team fitness, while Joey Barton appeared in the first half. Team: Schmeichel, Sommeil, Collins, Barton (Bennett 46), Onuoha, Warrender, J D’Laryea, Ireland, Negouai, B Wright-Phillips, Laird. Subs: Matthewson, Lee-Matthews, Bermingham, Miller.

Keegan (Not) Out! Last week we brought you the ‘news’ that “According to the beloved sheet known as the People, KK was going to walk out on City at the end of the season, a year before his contract expires. The Boss Man has kept the news quiet in the dressing room – but now the news is out in the open. Allegedly.” It’s been reported that the club contacted the People and extracted an apology and donation to a local charity. The paper promised to publish the apology on the same page as the original offending story. If any MCV readers saw the published apology, please let us know.

International Blues: On Tuesday, Richard Dunne’s good club form was rewarded with a return to the Republic of Ireland’s starting line up for the friendly fixture against Croatia at Lansdowne Road. The Irish won 1-0, thanks to a goal from Robbie Keane. Dunnie played a full 90 minutes. On Wednesday, SWP replaced David Beckham after an hour of England’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spain. It was an unsavoury night at the Bernabeu, both on and off the pitch. Wayne “Lock up your Grannies” Rooney had to be substituted after 40 minutes to avoid a potential red card for his volatile behaviour (he was replaced by that other Red Bastion of Calm, Alan Smith no less). There have been calls for FIFA to take action against Spain for the actions of the crowd in Madrid, as SWP, Ashley Cole and Jermaine Defoe were racially abused throughout the game. “The treatment that was handed out to several of the England players last night was sickening and deplorable,” said Paul Tyrrell, City’s head of communications. “Shaun is a strong character who will be unaffected by what happened and we are sure that the football authorities will deal with the problem appropriately. This type of behaviour has been largely eradicated in England.”

Bang! The M.E.N. reports this week that the sculpture abutting the COMS, “the B of the Bang”, is nearing completion. Billed as Britain’s largest sculpture, the work, which looks somewhat like a giant spiked sea anemone, was inspired by athlete Linford Christie’s assertion that he always started his races on the B of the Bang of the starting pistol. As the article drolly points out, perhaps the sculpture should be renamed the “G of the Bang”, considering the delays on the project. Tom Russell, Chief Executive of New East Manchester, said: “As B of the Bang has taken shape in East Manchester over recent months, the feats of design and engineering that have gone into its construction have been on display for all to see. Its sheer size and scale have attracted widespread interest and admiration.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Keeping it Real: Shaun Wright-Phillips is said to interest both Madrid clubs, according to the Thursday tabloids. The Sun believes that Real are keeping close tabs on SWP, while the Daily Mirror claims that it’s Atletico who would most likely to make a bid. A source close to the club said: “Wright-Phillips is the one we want and we feel we can get him. He’s young but very quick, with a great capacity for working all game and the ability to pass and cross.” All this conjecture is probably now redundant, bearing in mind events at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night. Earlier in the week Shaun pledged his future to City, following weeks of speculation over a move to Arsenal. “I am not going anywhere because I’m happy where I am. I just want to carry on playing for City and let everybody else talk about everything else. I still check for Arsenal’s results every Saturday but it doesn’t really signify anything because I check the results does it?”

French Fancy: News of some City targets playing for French clubs. Auxerre’s Teemu Tainio, linked last week with a move to the Blues, is said to be a transfer window target for Liverpool. The Finnish international midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and that has alerted both Rafa Benitez and KK to a possible move in January for a small fee. The Sunday press reported that scout Graham Carr was in France last week checking on Marseille’s striker Pegguy Luyindula and PSG’s Bernard Mendy. The Mendy rumour has already been proved false, as the 23-year-old former Bolton defender has dashed City’s hopes by extending his current contract at Paris St.Germain.

Here’s Henchoz: City have emerged once again as favourites to hand Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz a new lease of life in the Premiership. The 30-year-old’s first-team fortunes at Anfield have plummeted under Rafael Benitez and his successful five-year Liverpool career will end when his contract expires at the end of this season. City, however, will offer the Swiss international an escape route in the transfer window, provided he is allowed to leave Anfield on a free. Kevin Keegan moved for Henchoz on transfer deadline day but refused to meet Liverpool’s £1 million asking price for a player with only 12 months left on his contract. Charlton and Everton are among a number of clubs monitoring Henchoz’s situation.

Mid-Season Mido: Remember when City were linked with Egyptian striker Mido? At the time he was at Marseille, and KK tried to land the player on a season-long loan in the summer, but he opted for a permanent move instead to Serie A’s Roma. Some MCIVTA correspondents wrote to say that Mido had a reputation for being difficult. Well, folks, guess what – the 21-year-old has already fallen out with Roma coach Luigi Del Neri. Mido is now desperate for a move to the Premiership, according to the player’s representatives. His representative Christophe Henrotay believes his client, who was courted by Southampton and Fulham as well as City, favours a move to the English top flight. “He’s not playing and he has not played for three months, so it is difficult for him,” he said. “I think right now he just wants to play football and he would like a move to the Premiership. He definitely won’t go back to France. Manchester City and Southampton are still looking for a striker, and there may be other possibilities. I know Everton manager David Moyes well and he knows of the player but we don’t need to talk to each other every two minutes.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Proffitt and Loss: I’m grateful to Mike Barton for supplying some details about former junior players. “With the injury list lengthening once again, Leek Town have been scouring the transfer market for new recruits. So, in an effort to address that problem, manager Ogden has signed 19-year-old Dorryl Proffitt from Premiership giants Manchester City. Proffitt is highly-rated at the City of Manchester Stadium and has scored seven goals for the England Youth side. Towards the end of last season, Proffitt was wanted by Coventry City on-loan. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Steve Hodgson’s loan period at UniBond First Division Stocksbridge Park Steels continues and on Saturday the First Division outfit were given permission by Leek to play the player in their FA Trophy game at Radcliffe Borough. The Yorkshire outfit are trying to put a bid together that matches Leek’s valuation to take Hodgson on a more permanent basis amid interest from a number of other clubs.”

Reactions and Comments

Sickov Dickov! It’s happened again. For the third time this season, City took the lead in a home game only to allow the opposition to equalise and leave the COMS with a point. Antoine Sibierski scored just before half time, only to have our old chum Paul Dickov score an equalising goal from the penalty that he’d won. Danny Mills was red carded for the foul on Dicky. In his last five outings against City, Dickov has scored on three occasions, and Blackburn boss Mark Hughes said: “Dickov always gets himself involved and he’s been a big player for us this season. He’s had an impact for us in every game he’s played. He fights for every ball, and he always will, which we get rewards from. He’s great around the dressing-room as well, he’s a popular member of the squad. Players like him are important because they drag others along with him with his enthusiasm and commitment. As a manager, you like it when that rubs off on other people. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. And that’s certainly the case with Dickov.” Of his former charge, KK mused “To be fair to Dickov he gets the very best out of himself. The phrase ‘to chase a piece of paper’ could have been invented for him. He’s hassling and harrying all over the place. Good luck to him, he deserves everything he gets out of the game. Paul never surprises you – he’s a 100-per-cent player. He’ll niggle, he’ll chase, he’ll never give up. I’ve no complaints about his penalty. He got on to Danny’s blindside, Danny pulled him down and he had to go.”

Play Better: Mr.K. was none too impressed by the team’s performance on Saturday. “We got ourselves in front when we hadn’t played well and neither had they,” said Keegan. “So you think ‘let’s go out and build on that and play better’. But as with so many times at this place our ability to pass the football hasn’t been as good as I’d have liked. I can’t fault the commitment and work rate, in fact both sides were genuinely working hard for the cause. For the moment, the players we have are the ones we must work with and we have to keep building them up. Once we conceded the penalty it was always going to be a case of let’s not lose. We managed to achieve that and we worked hard for the result – and on a day like this, we have to be grateful for small mercies.”

Sib Dibs Forward Rôle: Antoine Sibierski at least was pleased to have scored his first Premiership goal of the season. The strike came after SWP had been moved to the right side of midfield, dropping back from the striker’s rôle. Willo Flood switched to the left flank, allowing Sib to move into his favourite position. “I found once again my best position, which I think is just behind the striker, in this case Nicolas Anelka,” he said. “It was not something that I expected the manager to do because we did not talk about it before the game but I enjoyed it. It was nice to get my first goal in the Premiership this season after two in the Carling Cup. I feel like I can score more goals and felt good in the position but if I am asked to go back out to the left side of midfield again I will do so and try my best for the team. I will do anything that helps bring three points for Manchester City.”

Double Trouble: Following the game, it became clear that KK has lost two other players, for varying lengths of time. Danny Mills is unavailable for the trip to Portsmouth after the defender was given a one-match suspension. And Claudio Reyna faces another spell on the sidelines after suffering a recurrence of his thigh injury. The American made his comeback after eight weeks out in the 1-1 draw with Blackburn on Saturday, but immediately felt the problem flare up again. Now boss Kevin Keegan will have to make do without the former Sunderland man for a while longer. He said: “It is disappointing for Claudio and disappointing for the club. We had done everything right with him but he told me that he felt it again after five minutes of going on. He didn’t want to come off as players obviously don’t like leaving the field of play after they have just gone on. We will have to see how long he will be out for but it is a major blow again and we will have to take it on the chin.”

After-Match Nico: Is it just me, or is there a pattern to the press reports regarding Nicolas Anelka? It’s a quiet week for domestic news, so do the sports editors of Britain decide to stir things up between the club and its star striker? Consider this week’s evidence. Nico is quoted on the club website saying: “I am very disappointed that we didn’t get the three points against Blackburn. The last time we won in the Premiership was against Chelsea and that is too long ago. Since then we have played twice at home and drawn twice. Two points is not enough. We have to change our mentality against what we call the smaller teams. We play good against the bigger teams but then when we play against teams lower in the League and our play is often flat. I believe we are not concentrating enough to play and win such games. I am not happy and the rest of the players are not happy. Like I say it is not enough. We have to work together, to play together on the pitch because if we play like we did against Blackburn all the time then we will have a troublesome season having to fight in every game to win. But we don’t want to play like that. Make no mistake we want to play good football just like we did against Charlton and at the moment it is not happening. I am at a loss to know exactly why or what is happening but we couldn’t take control in the game against Blackburn. If you looked at the game I didn’t have any chances so it was not because I was getting the wrong pass through. We have to all work together on the pitch, close the play down together, win the ball together and then go forward together. If an individual is in the wrong position then our momentum breaks down, we must attack as a unit.” From a partisan perspective, it sounds good stuff – let’s get the attitude and the formation right lads, and start winning football matches. Some journals decided to report that “Nicolas Anelka has launched an amazing outburst against his Manchester City team-mates…” and that “Disappointed Anelka Slams City Mentality”. Let’s hope they find someone else to pick on next week.

Squad News

Bischoff Blow: Blimey, our players are even getting injured when they’re not playing for City! Mikkel Bischoff’s loan at Wolves has been cut short after he suffered a shoulder injury. The Danish stopper has been ruled out for three months after picking up the injury at Rotherham United on Saturday. Wolves’ caretaker boss Stuart Gray lamented the injury. “It’s a shame that this should happen when Mikkel was doing well with us,” he said. “He was in the second month of his loan which was benefiting all parties. It wasn’t anyone’s fault it happened, it’s just very unfortunate.” City signed the 22-year-old in May 2002 and were keen to see him gain some first-team experience after hernia and foot injuries hampered his progress.

Reyna Seeks Help: Following the Blackburn game, Claudio Reyna flew to see a specialist in Germany after a recurrence of his thigh injury. “Claudio has gone to see a specialist in Germany and I would say it will be a minimum of six to eight weeks that he will be out for,” explained Kevin Keegan. “It is a terrible shame as he had done everything right for his comeback. His warm up on Saturday was right and he spent the whole of the half time warming up in the indoor area. Claudio is a good pro but sometimes even if you do everything right things don’t work out. The specialist in Germany has a record of getting players back quicker and what he tends to do seems to help an injured player heal quicker.”

Three’s Company: It’s not all gloom and doom about the squad – some members are actually recovering. Take Nicky Weaver for instance. KK was making more optimistic noises about the goalkeeper. “Nicky is back in training with us and it could be that within the next month to six weeks, depending on how well he is doing, he may get a game in the reserves,” he revealed. “He is doing a lot of the training though occasionally we have had to pull him out. He has had a wake up call after his two injuries one on top of the other. But he has responded in the way that he should have done and it has been really pleasing to have him around the place. He is a good professional, though maybe he has not always been. I think he is mentally stronger now and appreciates everything a little bit more. I would have thought we want to get Nicky fit, give him a couple of reserve games and then look to put him out on loan as he will need games.” KK expects to have Jon Macken available for the Portsmouth trip following the former Preston star’s recovery from the back problem that flared up at Newcastle last month. The City boss let Macken further his international ambitions by allowing him to train with the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of yesterday’s win over Croatia. But there was never any suggestion the 27-year-old might play in the game and Keegan expects to have Macken available at the weekend to bolster his striking options. “Jon was fit enough to go to Dublin and train but I didn’t think he was fit enough to start,” Keegan told City’s official website. “Now he will come into the reckoning for the Portsmouth game.” Also pencilled in the squad to travel to the South Coast is Joey Barton. “I haven’t felt any extra pressure from the manager to get back,” said Barton. “If there had been I would have been training a week ago. I was chomping at the bit to join in the training sessions but the manager and physios held me back, which is the right decision. You have to be cautious because you can rush back and end up missing another five or six weeks with the same injury. The whole thing has been something new for me because it’s the first real injury I have had. I found the challenge harder mentally than physically because it’s hard to motivate yourself when you can only run round the training pitch or ride a bike. But you have to be professional, dig in and get through it.”

And Finally… In a recent item, I may have inadvertently given the impression that Willo Flood spent a loan spell at Bury FC. I’m reminded by Norville of Lewisham that Willo did not reside with the Shakers, but in fact with fierce local rivals Rochdale. Can I apologise for the inaccuracy, and I hope all those apoplectic ‘Dale fans out there will forgive me.

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

OPINION: MOTIVATIONAL CONJECTURE

Reading the pages and opinions from MCIVTA, one could understand the derision levelled at Fergie following his “mundane” comments about motivating players for the Premier League games. It should have been looked at by the FA as bringing the game into disrepute or something similar. However, I look at performances and results by our Blue Clan and start to see a similarity. Most reasoned observers would put a Man Utd – Man City game (looking at results) as an easy game for the Rags. And yet they “only” draw! Look then at the Man Utd – Arsenal game for motivation.

Conversely look at Man City – Man Utd as a big game for us and yet Man City – Blackburn as an “easy” game. Do we start to see the similarities? An observer of history might start to wonder about compartmentalising games into “easy” or “to get up for”. As a long suffering City fan I am accept the fate of “lost” points from “easy” games. I read with interest a BBC Sport online comment that the Man Utd board is considering bringing in a structured salary scheme based on appearance and performance. I would suggest that could used for us. If the players or manager can’t get motivated for over £10K-20K per week (more than some fans per year) then I would question the payment and the incentive. Make them earn it through performance.

I realise this would be contentious. Three teams have to go down each year and often not through 100% poor performance but through strings of injuries and related troubles. However, it is fairly easy to judge performance. At Man Utd we didn’t win, nor did we score. That doesn’t matter, the performance was first rate. At Blackburn and Norwich we scored but conceded and performed poorly, with a lack of ambition, passion and thought. The system wouldn’t be perfect but I sometimes look at players and swear they are only collecting a pay cheque!

As for Keegan, in some respects he has motivated players and others not. He has clearly been a man manager and all credit for that. His moves into the transfer market (like Houllier) leave a lot to be desired. Would another manager help? I’m not convinced they would but they would want to spend money we don’t have. I like the idea of betting on the games and sending the winning to Wardle. Anything to help out the club from a precarious situation.

Oh well, more grey hairs on the weekend no doubt watching another “attempt” at a performance.

Chris Marland – Nova Scotia, Canada <cnmarland(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: FELLOW BLUES

Hey look, a City fan?

I’m sure that, as I do, you often get distracted from what you’re doing by a flash of blue and the glimpse of a City shirt being worn by a passer by, or the sight of a mini kit in the back window of a passing car. I realise that this may be an hourly occurrence within Greater Manchester and may more often be noted rather than proclaimed, as happens when you are exiled in, say, Nottingham as I am. On such occasions, you find yourself saying ‘Hey look, a City fan?’ This is usually greeted with ‘Oh really’ from my long-suffering wife and ‘Oh God!’ from my embarrassed daughter, who has seen me wave at, shout to, or even engage in conversation wearers of anything with the City logo on it.

Once, after a long wait at Stanstead Airport for a delayed flight bringing our son home, I saw a returning holidaymaker in a City top and said, “Sod this, let’s take him home instead.”

Now I guess fans of other clubs do this but, there’s a real connection to CoMStad, Maine Road and all things City when you see the colours on display. City fans connect through a very uncommon common experience, all of which brings me to Rich Fenton’s comment in MCIVTA 1070 and Paul Dickov’s reception from some City fans at Saturday’s game against Blackburn.

The man is a City fan, he gave blood, guts and goals for the club and has been touched by it ever since. I’m reminded of Danny Granville’s recent comment, which went along the lines, “It’s only when you’ve played for Manchester City that you realise what a privilege it is.”

He’s absolutely right, we are privileged to be Blues. Think back about how you came to be connected to City, through a relative or mate maybe, or of own volition; whichever way it was, you thank your lucky stars that it happened and you wouldn’t swap it for the world and, that’s how Paul Dickov feels, he’s a Blue.

Rick Eagles <rick(at)eagles.org.uk>

OPINION: DOWNWARD SPIRAL?

I haven’t contributed in a while now, but 12 games in I can’t leave it alone any more.

Is it just me or have we been going downwards for nearly 18 months now? Barely escaping relegation, and 7 wins in 25 at home is a disgrace.

What I can’t fathom is Bolton, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough (albeit with great financial backing) and incredibly Everton are all on the up. We are considered in that bracket, but 4 points dropped to the bottom team in the league and a dire performance against Arsenal’s kids, leaves to think this group of players with a few exceptions can’t be arsed to put in consistent performances week in and week out. I’m sorry but this stems from one man: Kevin Keegan. He has brought in nothing but players waiting retirement and picking up vast sums of money in the process; we know who they all are!

To zoom in, one particular player Robbie Fowler; for the same outlay we could have had Jermain Defoe. Enough said.

KK has got to go, and now before we are slumming once again in the 1st/Championship or whatever it is called. He has no desire or enthusiasm to take our proud club any further, we require a manager on the way up. Step forward Iain Dowie, who I think would be a great acquistion for us.

Also we hear “The Invisible Man” A MacKintosh is actively trying to bring new investors to the club. Well from where I am standing, this guy has done nothing but travel round the world and sending a wish you were here postcard. Also a club of our size, support, turnover etc. should not have to go looking for investment so it strikes me as though we are viewed as a bad investment.

To sum up, I wish I had the answers, but without a shadow of a doubt there is something seriously amiss with our club. Now I am 38 years of age and supported this club through thin and thin for 32 of them, and I am left wondering do I want a season ticket next season! Even when we were in the depths of the 2nd Division I could see some light, but at the moment it is total darkness.

Do we want to end up as the next Leeds United because make no mistake, that is where we are going!

Comments welcome.

Paul Jones <pierce.p.jones(at)btopenworld.com>

OPINION: INTERNATIONAL DUTY

I was at the Ireland-Croatia friendly last night and was very impressed by the Irish number 9. Although he was playing out of position on the right wing, he showed good control and played some brilliant through balls to Keane. Good footwork and came into the game more as it progressed. It was one of the best débuts in recent years by an Irish player, everyone around me discussing how well McCarthy and Sunderland had developed this youngster. I felt slightly embarrassed to let them know Stephen Elliott was ‘released’ by City less than six months ago. That was the first time I’d seen him play up close and afterward all I could think of was how could Keegan not find a place for this guy in the toothless City side? I was happy to see a good débutant for Ireland, but couldn’t help but be disappointed that he wasn’t given a chance to turn in performances like that for City.

Richard Dunne was given a recall by Kerr for the game; apart from one early slip up he was outstanding, dominant in the air, decisive in the tackle and was even taking the long distance free kicks. Granted, the Irish team has no height up front so they came to nothing, but it showed a new found confidence in him. Jon Macken wasn’t fit to play and after Elliott’s performance I don’t think he’ll get much of a look in.

Here’s a conspiracy theory for you – Claude Anelka left Raith on October 19th, Nicolas last scored on October 16th and hasn’t been playing very well since. Wonder if he’s back on the scene?

P Carey <pj.carey(at)accbank.ie>

OPINION: DICKOV DETRACTORS

I have read the articles about Paul Dickov, and the reaction of some City fans each time he visits the City of Manchester Stadium. I feel that any hostility directed at Dickov are the fault of the player himself. His celebration at scoring a penalty in last year’s fixture against Leicester was, to say the least, disrespectful to a set of fans who had previously idolised him.

Compare his celebration with those of Henrik Larsen (Barcelona vs. Celtic) and Andy Johnson (Birmingham vs. Crystal Palace). Both Larsen and Johnson had a professional obligation to score for their new club against their former club – no argument. However, both players then showed great respect for their previous club and fans by not celebrating the goal. Not only did Dickov celebrate like he had scored a winner in a Cup final, he has now added to the insult by doing it again for Blackburn Rovers.

As I say, I have no problem with him scoring against us, that’s his job. But I do find it insulting when he shows such obvious joy when he must know City fans are hurting each time he scores against us.

Phil Jones <phil.jones(at)ep2.co.uk>

OPINION: INJURY UPDATES

Depressed about our current spate of injury worries? The following site details not only who’s out but what their problem is. It also shows all the other Premiership casualties as well:

http://www.physioroom.com/news/table_current.shtml

Interesting to see that Pompeys’ 4 main strikers (Yakubu, Lua Lua, Kamara and Todorov) are all out and Berkovoic is very doubtful for Saturday so hopefully not another player that will come back and haunt us!

[City, top of the league! – Ed]

Rich Fenton <rich(at)fentor.com>

OPINION: CLUELESS KEVIN?

Here’s a quote from City’s official website, referring to Reyna’s latest injury setback:

“It is disappointing for Claudio and disappointing for the club,” said Kevin Keegan. “We had done everything right with him but he told me that he felt it again after five minutes of going on. He didn’t want to come off as players obviously don’t like leaving the field of play after they have just gone on. We will have to see how long he will be out for but it is a major blow again and we will have to take it on the chin.”

Now am I alone in thinking that this sort of thing is indicative of Keegan’s general ineptitude as a manager? Putting aside the question of whether he was fit or properly warmed up (Negouai did a similar thing 2 weeks ago – a coincidence? Perhaps), why the hell was Keegan content to let an injured player stay on the field because he wanted to? He’s the boss! If a guy’s injured, get him off and put someone on who can run! We may have been winning (undeservedly) when Reyna came on but then to try and hang on for a draw with an injured player when we only had 10 on the pitch anyway (and 2 more available substitutions) is ridiculous. And all this against a team we really should be beating. As much as I like Keegan, he really needs to keep his mouth shut sometimes. Saying things like the above just make him look stupid in my opinion. Much of what Ian Burgess said in MCIVTA 1070 was spot on – SWP is at his best on the right and we should have had someone else up front (I’d have thrown on BWP – why even bother putting Fowler on the bench if he’s not going to come on in games like that?). And don’t get me started on McManaman – that ‘performance’ on Saturday was embarrassing. If it wasn’t the fact that I haven’t a clue who we’d replace him with, I’d want Keegan out immediately.

Thoroughly hacked off, Tom Willis <psc8taw(at)leeds.ac.uk>

OPINION: COSTLY KEVIN? I

I’m well aware I’m not going to add much about the debate ‘Keegan in Keegan out’ but I do want to express my views. I’ve read many articles of you Blues supporting KK or against KK but I think we do have to consider the way he led the club in the last two seasons.

After a bitter relegation in 2000-01 and all the rumours about the ‘drinking culture’ at the club, there’s no doubt Kevin brought some fresh ideas and seemed to turn all in gold. He bought hugely gifted new players as Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia, deadly finishers as Darren Huckerby; he gave extra confidence in some young players such as SWP and we can say that City played an entertaining football with lots of flair, creativity and pace, scoring plenty of goals and in many ways City fans were rewarded for their passion and loyalty. I was a little bit disappointed about the selling of the legend Paul Dickov but I did feel there was a need for change. In a situation like that, KK properly took the praise of all involved at the club, mostly of the board and the fans; for once City seemed to be the ‘club for the future’, with great hope to become a top 5 Premiership club in a short space of time [that was the aim of the manager].

It may sound easy to say now but really I was not so convinced about all the money spent for Jonathan Macken; surely a good First Division striker as he proved himself but nothing more.

The first Premiership season looked great with a well earned and creditable ninth place. Anelka, Schmeichel, The Goat, Marc Vivien (RIP), Jensen, Distin in particular played quite well, as did the key players in the midfield [Ali, Eyal and SWP] and the team finished as a mid-table outfit and that was a relief after all the ‘ups and downs’ of the previous seasons. We won the home derby after 13 years, drew the away one, almost winning it and we were all more than happy.

For a second time I was puzzled about the amount of money (£7 million?) spent to bring Robbie Fowler, clearly a player at the end of his bright career having lost the pace and the ability to score goals out of nothing. I swear I was aware of the wrong buy in the same time Fowler arrived [it seemed easy to say then too] and the first outings in a City jersey were poor enough to confirm. But the real failure was done at the start of the first season at the brand new City of Manchester Stadium.

KK released Ali B and The Goat, took some time to do the same thing with Huckerby and brought some players good only for a safe retirement. What can we say about the likes of Trevor Sinclair, Steve McManaman, Claudio Reyna, Antoine Sibierski, Michael Tarnat, David Seaman? I thought Bosvelt was a blow too but I have to admit he’s the best among the others, also if I think it’s an unforgivable mistake to release Eyal Berkovic to replace him with Bosvelt. Probably there was a matter with Eyal in terms of his contract but I think that a wise manager cannot get rid of the key players such as Ali and Eyal only to buy some poor, poor players as he did. Players that lacked passion, pride and who don’t seem to sweat blood for this club.

What can we say now about the performances on field? What about the draws against mediocre sides as Portsmouth, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Fulham, Wolves; what about awful, awful defeats against Wolves, B’ham, Portsmouth, Leeds away, Saints home?! and the early exit from UEFA Cup to a nearly semi-pro side, let alone the domestic cups! City were no longer a bright and attacking side and became a poor team, with no self-confidence at all, the players forgot how to play football and most of all the manager failed to turn things in a right way.

In the meanwhile the financial loss rose and City were regarded as a club with a huge debt, a bunch of players you can’t sell to reduce it [apart from Anelka, SWP and maybe the new kids] and now I’m afraid that it’ll be not so easy to keep the most valuable lads at the end of their contracts. I’m more than happy SWP renewed; I didn’t believe it was possible! Don’t get me wrong, I would not sell the boys but at the end of the day the club comes first and in the future it’s better to sell than going bankrupt.

Last season we nearly went down after all the money spent for players with so highly paid wages. Plus there was the departure of the man who stood tall in the City’s rebirth; we don’t have to forget the way Mr Bernstein resigned with a total disagreement for the way KK managed the club. It was a mistake, Mr Wardle made a great mistake in backing KK and now we do have to hope a new investor will bring new money in.

Reading the MCIVTA I’ve also read an incredible thing KK does not live in Manchester and attends the training two days a week! How the hell is that possible? Why do we have to accept it, how can a well paid manager live so far from the club?

This season is a perfect replay of the last with some further mistakes I would say. With apparently no care for the much needed strength in depth that today’s football requires at this level, Keegan made his own possible to reduce the number of players only to have few players back [Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Sun, Mills]. I was praying they didn’t suffer injuries but obviously if a player has to play too many games with no chance of resting a little bit, it goes without saying that it’s easy to get an injury. Now we have this new kid, Stephen Jordan; he played so well in his first outings but how much time will he last? I think he needs some time to deliver (and let’s hope he will stay well).

The midfield is full of useless, old, senior players with no ambition or will to fight for City… have I to repeat their names, no I don’t think it is necessary, also I think it’ll be impossible to get rid of them because I’m afraid no club could be really interested in buying highly paid but tired players like them. The only real good player is SWeeP (and he plays up front now), hopefully Flood will be as good as him.

Up front Anelka does what he can, Fowler is awful, Macken is not good enough at this level (while Paul Dickov seems to be, dear Kevin).

Now I read that KK wants to know if money will available for the January transfer market – this man has no limit, after all this mess we’re in, caused by him, on and off the field, he wants more money. Maybe he wants to buy another old player such as Martin Keown, Steve Stone, Teddy Sheringham, Ray Kennedy, Jimmy Case, Peter Osgood, Alan Hansen, Ray Wilkins and give them £3 million per week as a wage! In all fairness I would rather settle for Bell, Summerbee and Lee!

At the end of this article, I do hope I’m wrong even if I don’t think so at all. Let’s hope to get three points at Portsmouth and to reach 40 points as soon as possible. By that time it will take only 12 months to the end of KK’s contract.

Believe me, I “really really loved” him but now it’s time to change.

P.S.: It goes without saying that I pay much respect for the ‘supporters’ of Keegan, I’m not here to underestimate the work he has done for the club in the past but now I think that all the supporters have to be realistic about the current situation at our beloved club. Stay together!

Cheers you Blues, Dario Gigante <ghigas1972(at)libero.it>

OPINION: COSTLY KEVIN? II

Has Kevin Ruined Us?

Am I the only person who found the derby game deeply depressing? It wasn’t David & Goliath for me; it was more a case of King Canute trying to hold back the waves and we know what happened to him. A more one-sided contest 0-0 is hard to imagine. I’m not naïve but watching football should be all about viewing a contest between two teams, each having the ability to win the game. That was never the case at Old Trafford.

I know that the injury problems have been severe this season but I am getting sick of KK moaning about his “small squad”. At least Canute learned humility from his experience but it seems that our Kev’s ego is intact. This squad we have is frighteningly inadequate and the reasons for that are down to Keegan. If you look at his buying and selling, most of his decisions have been really poor and the only reason we are surviving is because of the emergence of some younger players. Who wouldn’t welcome back Huckerby, Dickov and possibly even EIliott in place of Fowler, McManaman and Sinclair? It’s been interesting to see how often the ex-players have been awarded man-of-the match awards recently.

The future looks pretty bleak to my eyes. Who honestly thinks we are sure of beating any other team in the Premiership? There’s not much satisfaction in using all the energy and adrenaline against Chelsea/Arsenal/U****d if you can’t beat Norwich and Blackburn at home. These last two games are more reliable markers for our progress (and lack of it) than the games against the ‘big’ boys. Keegan gave us one great year when we won the Division 1 championship, although I believe he was somewhat lucky. He inherited a decent squad and then Ali Benarbia fell into his arms. Now he looks like leaving us with huge debts and half of a team. Talk of ‘structured debts’ won’t look so good if we are relegated.

It is hard to see someone new coming in to turn things around but, unless some millionaire appears, maybe that is what we need to try. Wet nights at Wycombe don’t look that unlikely again from my perspective.

Peter Kewley <peter.kewley(at)barnfield.ac.uk>

OPINION: COSTLY KEVIN? III

I’ve been following KK’s PR-campaign to the press about this need for transfer funds. It makes me wonder about all the money he has had to spend already and the amount that he has wasted. Don’t get me wrong, I am big KK fan and we should be indebted to him for the turnaround in the club – unfortunately the club itself is now highly indebted too!

The policy of attracting older players clearly hasn’t worked on the whole. A number have not performed, either through lack of motivation or more likely the fact that they are past their best. Our issue with multiple and on-going injuries is also related to having an older set of players that take much longer to recover. Interestingly, when there hasn’t been big transfer funds available resulting in us having to seek low cost transfers and “Bosman’s”, KK and team seem to have been much more successful in bringing in better value and quality players (Mills and Thatcher basically).

So where do we go from here? More money to throw at the problem? I am seriously concerned about the finances of the club already. We are tenants in our stadium and part of our future ticket revenue has already been sold. Lots more investment in expensive players might not be wise (or even possible), particularly given the players that we are able to attract – it all smacks of short-term thinking. On a more positive note, the younger players who have started to get games in the first team show a hunger and determination that is great to see – they also seem to have genuine potential. Perhaps the fact that we do have a small squad of mainly crocked old men has forced this issue, but it is welcome nevertheless. It would seem to me that the best way forward would be try to hang on in the Premiership for this season and next, while bringing in more of our younger players to gain real Premiership experience. Any further investments should be mainly made in players younger than say 22 that can help build our squad for a longer term future.

Russell Higginbotham <russell_Higginbotham(at)mac.com>

OPINION: COSTLY KEVIN? IV

Kev’s hoping to get his hands on some cash for the January sales to boost up the squad, what a pity he didn’t appreciate the talented players he already had at his disposal. Paul Dickov not good enough? He never gives anything less than 100%, and he would still be doing it for us if the manager had any idea of a player’s talent.

So instead of giving him more money to waste, the board should be enticing a management team that understands the importance of keeping hold of good players.

I wrote a while ago that Kevin had yes men by his side, and that was why we have made no significant progress, and by not having a forceful thinking assistant, he would continue to make mistakes.

Gary Sullivan <gary(at)ferodo60.freeserve.co.uk>

OPINION: CANCEL THE CONTRACTS?

It would certainly make certain City players play with more commitment. But most of the players give 100% in every game, it’s just a small minority that don’t.

The manager and players have been taking a lot of stick after the games against Norwich and Blackburn. As fans we soon forget the great games they played against Chelsea and United. But it’s the way the team played the games that leaves most City fans frustrated, it seems like a lack of effort, as if to say we did well last week now it’s an easy game this week.

If we could just see a 100% effort in every game, most fans would probably say “well at least they played their hearts out for the cause,”; that’s what’s missing in some of these games.

I truly feel that every fan gets behind every player that puts a City shirt on, but gets frustrated by the way some players perform.

Only one way to change all that: every player give his best in every game; sure we know that some players can have an off day, they are only human.

I strongly feel for Kevin Keegan who gets the backlash of the frustration, but he has to sort out his players, the ones who really play for him, and don’t let him down.

Come on you Blues, win at Pompey!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: CROWD NOISE

In response to Richard Fenton’s comment on crowd noise, I’m sure that part of this is down to the excessive loud music and the gibbering PA announcer before the match. Before the days of “we must ‘entertain’ the cattle at all times when they are inside the stadium”, the singing used to start before the match but now there is no chance of that 🙁

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)blueskyline.com>

OPINION: LEAGUE FIXTURES RIGHTS

Thought readers may be interested in the recent case about publishing rights to fixture lists; this company have tried to get money out of several fan organisations/publications/websites and it looks like their monopoly has been broken.

FOOTBALL LEAGUE OWN GOAL, By Roy Sheppard, from Darlo Uncovered, 10 November

D@rlo Uncovered has always had a battle to publish the fixture list. The threat of legal action has been repeatedly dished out through e-mails unless we coughed up cash to get the publishing rights. Now a legal battle has come out against this practice.

As some of you maybe aware I have had run in’s with the football league over recent years with regards to publishing the fixture lists on this site. After putting them onsite I received an e-mail threatening legal action if I did not take the fixture list off site. If I wanted to publish it then I would have to cough up £250. I have always stated that I thought this was an amazing state of play, copyrighting a fixture list. I even published a list of Uncovered FC matches where we will play the supporters of each club that Darlington are playing; I still received a legal mail. Now Roy Sheppard from the BBC has kindly e-mailed me the following as he was aware of my predicament. Many thanks to Roy for sending me the story he has wrote.

Football and horse racing scored a spectacular and expensive own-goal yesterday with the European Court of Justice ruling that they cannot make money from lists of fixtures or runners and riders. The surprise judgment will stop the sports from trying to profit from such information and will deprive them of millions of pounds. The case started four years ago with a new directive from the European Commission seeking to protect the copyright of databases. Football and horse racing argued that the information contained in their fixture lists and race cards formed a database for which they could charge. They launched court actions alleging companies were using this information without paying.

Fixtures Marketing Ltd, who compile the fixtures of all the Leagues in England and Scotland, took action against companies in Finland, Sweden and Greece who were using these fixtures to organise pools betting. The British Horseracing Board brought an action against William Hill for listing the runners and riders of the day’s race meetings on their internet betting site. In the early stages of these cases, the sports had reason to be confident. They won at the High Court and even the Court of Appeal were inclined to rule in their favour. However, the Court of Appeal referred certain points on the exact meaning of the directive to the European Court of Justice, the highest court in Europe. Yesterday those judges ruled that if the sporting bodies had made an investment in their databases then they could charge for it. But just because a football fixture list contains information about who is playing where and when they could not charge for its use.

Nor could the BHB charge William Hill for merely listing the runners and riders, information which would have to be generated if the race meeting was to be held. David Harding, the chief executive of William Hill, said: “This means that the betting industry cannot be held to ransom by the sporting bodies, whether they be racing or football or any other.” British racing gets £100 million a year from the betting industry through the statutory levy. It was hoping to discard this and make much more by charging for use of the database, but now it has no chance – and the £100 million figure is certain to plummet.

Nobody from the Premier League or the Football League was willing to comment.

Ralph Shepherd <Ralph(at)inspire.net.nz>

REQUEST: POMPEY TICKET WANTED

Has anyone got a spare ticket for the Portsmouth game this Saturday? I know it will probably rain and it’s the worst away end in the country but if anyone’ s got a spare, can you call or text me on 07709 314486.

Or I can be contacted by email during the day.

Paul Burgess <Pburgess(at)emea.att.com>

REQUEST: POMPEY TICKET AVAILABLE I

I have got a last minute spare for Saturday if anyone is interested, please ring or email me. Mobile: 07812 065005

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)kisit.co.uk>

REQUEST: POMPEY TICKET AVAILABLE II

I have a spare ticket for the City end vs. Portsmouth, face value £30. Can meet outside the ground before the game.

Please phone Chris on 07789 435999. Do not reply by e-mail.

Chris Pilkington <chris(at)cpilkington.fsnet.co.uk>

REQUEST: HYDE BLUES

Come and join two City fans from Finland.

We’re celebrating our birthdays in Cheshire Cheese pub function room on 27th November after the Villa game.

If you want to hear Blue Moon performed live and share opinions on MCFC etc. then Cheshire Cheese is the place to visit. Live music provided by a Finnish rock singer/guitarist we’ll be bringing with us. Let there be seventies britrock!

Mail me if you want to know more,

Jouni <karapalo(at)vip.fi>

REQUEST: MILTON KEYNES OSC

Being stuck out in the wilds of Buckinghamshire, we don’t have guests come to our meetings very often. The last one we had, David Oldfield, was over a year ago. However, for our January 2005 meeting, we are honoured to have David Elleray joining us for the evening.

Although having no direct links with City, hearing the referee’s point of view from someone who has reffed games at the very top, should make for a very interesting evening indeed.

If anyone in the area is interested in coming along or indeed joining our OSC, please contact me at the email address below. I will let you know details such as entry fee and start time nearer the date.

Mads <madeleine.hawkins(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: CAPE TOWN BLUES VIEWING

I’m in Cape Town for the Villa game on the 27th, staying (I think) in the Constantia area. As I’ve managed to negotiate a pass out from the family for the evening, anyone know of a good bar which will show the game where there may be a couple of Blues?

It would be good to watch a disappointing one all draw with some company.

Steve Buckley <stephenwbuckley(at)hotmail.com>

RESULTS

League table to 17 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 #1071

2004/11/18

Editor:


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest