Newsletter #1074

Another good team performance on Saturday secures our first back-to-back wins in 19 months and sees us nudge up into 9th place. Another win for the reserves 0-3 at Newcastle last night too, which sees them continue their excellent record this season.

Match reports and views, plenty of opinion on players past and present, supporters and pre-match entertainment.

Next game: Middlesbrough, away, 8pm Monday 6 December 2004 (TV)


I must admit prior to the game I didn’t fancy us to win this game as Villa have been quiet impressive in recent weeks. I was predicting a 1-1 draw, mainly because we won last week and two wins on the trot? Well that just isn’t City. Prior to the game, City presented Bert Trautmann to the crowd to celebrate his induction to the Hall of Fame; it was nice to see people get in their seats early for a good reception and the applause that came from the Villa fans as well.

The game started at a pretty frantic pace. City played the same formation as at Pompey, whereas Villa were playing 4-3-3. In the early stages you felt whoever won the battle of Hendry/Barton would probably go a long way to influence the game. Fortunately City were applying a lot of pressure, with some neat exchanges between the midfielders and the forwards and the usual threat of SWP every time he got the ball. Sibierski was unlucky not to score on a couple occasions after neat work and interchanges of passes on the left and some long range efforts, the best curling just on the inside of Sorensen’s far post. The first goal came when Fowler turned neatly midway into the Villa half and tried to thread the ball into Macken’s path, the pass was deflected, Macken capitalised on the defender’s uncertainty, turned the defender and hit a shot that wrong-footed Sorensen. 1-0 and City took a deserved lead; credit to Fowler for making the goal but also Macken who still had a lot to do!

The second goal came from a fast counter-attack. City were back in numbers defending a corner when SWP was released. The impressive thing was the speed in which SWP, Barton, Sibby, and Jordan counter-attacked and went from box to box. Barton chased a wide pass from Sibby, squared it to Jordan into the area whose shot was deflected but fell just outside the area to SWP who rattled a rocket of a left foot shot through a crowded penalty area past Sorensen!

The second-half was a bit less frantic, I’d criticise City a little bit for defending very deep – basically defending the 18 yard line (a bit like the tactics at the Swamp), which gave Villa the impetus to clamber forward but our resolute defending pretty much limited Villa to long shots, which were no real threat. The best City chance came after another SWP run caused panic in the Villa penalty area, the ball falling to Joey Barton who blazed a shot that was pushed over by Sorensen. Five minutes from the end, Villa broke down the left and the Villa player was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Dunne (TV replays show it was clearly outside the box but Mike Riley gave it). Angel stepped up to take it, James made a good save diving to his right, the ball rebounded back up straight to Angel who could have controlled it and tapped it in but instead headed over an empty goal from 6 yards: justice was done! In the final minute Lee Hendrie was sent off for a handbags incident with Danny Mills. When squaring up after a tackle, Hendrie moved his head toward Mills and Mills moved his head away (not deliberately), making it look like a head butt in the heat of the moment – this was right in front of Riley who duly gave Hendrie his marching orders. However, again on the replay it did look a bit harsh and from the ref’s position you can see why it may have looked a lot worse than it actually was.

Player Ratings:
James (8/10): Excellent stop for the penalty and made a couple of excellent saves. I think James is part of the reason why the defence is playing so well as he gives them confidence and constantly organises. Quality ‘keeper.
Jordan (8/10): Another superb performance, quietly assured, full of commitment. He seems as if he’s been playing for the first team for years. I can’t seeing Thatcher coming back into the side on this form; kept an on-form Solano completely under wraps.
Dunne (8/10): Magnificent, on numerous occasions he could have put a foot through the ball to clear his lines but opted for some excellent distribution. Fast (Carlton Cole didn’t get a sniff) and all-conquering in the air.
Distin (8/10): Equally as commanding as Dunne, excellent distribution and snuffed out a very mobile Angel at every opportunity. Anyone know why he was subbed?
Mills (6/10): Defending was excellent although was caught out of position on too many occasions and distribution was poor, hence the lower score. Seemed to get forward quite a lot.
Sibierski (8/10): One of his best displays in a City shirt, linked up excellently with Macken, Fowler and Barton and played some real nice, sharp passes, not afraid to have a shot.
Bosvelt (7/10): Bossed midfield defensively, simply sat there and did a job; he seems to be getting up to speed with the Premiership. Much better player when Barton is on, as Barton’s energy helps him defensively.
Barton (7/10): Excellent to have Joey back and he makes a big difference to the midfield, didn’t stop running. He drives City forward. Spoilt his game a little bit in the second half by too many times looking for the killer balls and giving possession away.
SWP (9/10): Awesome display, full of running and terrorised Villa. Took his goal really well (with his left foot). One run he ran at full speed and turned the Villa defender inside out 3-4 times. Amazing skill. Seems to be adding long-range passing to his game as well. Edged Man of the Match from several candidates.
Fowler (8/10): Excellent display, I don’t think anyone can knock Fowler on this form. Running off the ball was excellent. It creates spaces and takes defenders away. Excellent at holding the ball up and bringing other midfielders in. Linked up really well with Macken. Just wish he scored, which would have capped an excellent performance.
Macken (8/10): As with Fowler, lots of running and excellent at holding the ball up and bringing the runners in. Took goal really well. More importantly, Fowler/Macken seem to have a natural partnership.
Onuoha: Came on late for Distin, not going to score as it would be unfair. Accomplished what he needed to do without any worries.
Ref: Mike Riley (6/10) Poor decision for the penalty but generally had a pretty reasonable game.
Crowd: Pretty good atmosphere today, lots of singing and encouragement. Amazing what a couple of wins does!

This was a really good performance today against a pretty handy Villa side. It was difficult to choose a Man of the Match from the City side today as every one contributed and worked for one another. At times the football was excellent, whether it be the top-drawer defending (we were superb today) not just in the tackle but the distribution after we won the ball was excellent (bar Mills), or the neat interchange of passes and creating goalscoring opportunities. The team performance seemed to have a natural balance and the partnerships are there for all to see – James dominating in goal, Dunne and Distin, Bosvelt and Barton, Fowler and Macken gave us a very sturdy backbone to the side. It will be interesting to see what KK does when some of the walking wounded return, Reyna, Thatcher and most of all Anelka.

I don’t want to get carried away and start predicting Europe or anything (as I’m sure some might), but I think we should take heart out of this and the recent performance at Pompey; hopefully we can start looking up in the league rather than looking nervously down.

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


Set off from Kent with my 9 year old son, Calum, for his first football game – his eldest sister had to make do with England at Wembley for her first match before regular visits to MR. Four hours and 300 miles later and I was drinking tea at mum’s in Longsight.

Cab to the ground and Calum was fascinated to see so many City shirts; not that many about in Maidstone, where he lives, and then into the ground. He’d been skipping as we approached and went across the concourse but as soon as he saw the pitch he just stopped and stared. I remembered how I used to feel, as a child, seeing that bright patch of green hidden behind brick walls in Moss Side.

As the ground filled up his eyes grew wider and wider; that many City fans, all in one place! He didn’t need telling to stamp and cheer when Bert was presented on the pitch and was on his feet and cheering when the teams came out.

Despite being at the other end of the ground Calum saw both goals – no idea how many I’ve missed through the years! He joined in with the singing and even tried Bovril at half-time (so I got one and a half cups). The rain didn’t faze him and although it was chilly he was bouncing about from start to end. He laughed like a drain at the penalty and really enjoyed singing “Cheerio!” and waving as Hendrie left the pitch.

The game itself was great and City really looked the part (except for a few examples of Red Sea defending) and we could have had a hatful on any other day – even so, two goals was a good representation of the difference between the teams. SWP was awesome and David James had little to do – just the sort of game to start a lifetime of watching the Blues (though I sometimes wonder whether it’s cruel to pass on a Blue addiction to our children, it’s a life of frustration and torment after all).

All up a great result and we capped it off with a gentle stroll back to Longsight and a fish supper arrived at mum’s as we did (nice to have thoughtful sisters).

So – a 600 mile round trip, a tank full of diesel, a City win and a weekend with my son – priceless! He’s back home with his mother now and I’m contemplating a trip to the local, here in the village, to regal them with tales of Premiership football – something that’s alien down here near Canterbury.

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


A difficult game to predict, this one. We usually do ok against Villa, but under David O’Leary, still generally under-rated as a tactician and as a motivator, they have been very good, as well as playing attractive football. Given our recent shortcomings at home, I felt that 1-1 was a reasonably safe prediction. I felt that this would not be awful as, with the next few fixtures being among the easier ones we shall have this year, we could now start to build an unbeaten run. 19 months since we last won two on the trot…

I was buoyed on Thursday by bumping, almost literally, into Antoine Sibierski as I rushed, slightly late for meetings, along Deansgate. I wonder if he rang his wife and told her he had met me (are we football aficionados totally mad?)! Anyway, it all added up to plenty of eager anticipation as Saturday pottered along.

We left York slightly late, at around five past 3, as opposed to the planned 2.45. At approximately 3.24 – not sure what it was that caused this vision of startling clarity – an image shot into my brain of two wonderful Manchester City season cards nestling in a white envelope on my bookshelf.

The language on the drive back to York would not impress the readership of such an esteemed publication. At shortly after 4 I sat on those same beanbags just in time to hear that the Ginger **** (for that is his moniker in our household) had put ManUre ahead at WBA. Well, I figured, if we had had the time to grab the tickets and rush to Manchester we would either (a) have got a speeding fine and ticket, (b) got stuck in traffic and missed the game or (c) got there, witnessed an awful bore draw or worse, a defeat, or (d) all four. Whereas sulking at home and watching on PPV I would see us win 6-0.

It is half-time. City lead 2-0. The atmosphere seems great, from here. After a quiet 20 minutes we have played some wonderful, crisp football and could be 3-1 or 4-1 up. Dunne has been class, James has made two good saves, SWP has cracked in an awesome left-footer. The England coach does not have the backbone to drop Stupid Spice and put SWP in the team full-time. But he should.

At the back, Jordan impresses more with each game. Mills slotted nicely in again, and in midfield we really do look class. Up front, Fowler, I am highly relieved to be able to say, looks sharp and hungry and again, as last week, has a touch of class that others on the field – save the likes of Angel and of course SWP – will never show. All very encouraging and again, with the sight of all the youngsters and the quality build-up, I am left thinking that I wish KK would stay longer and continue the (now) good work!

The second half was relatively uneventful. Villa played some attractive but generally unthreatening football, while City displayed a reassuring calmness in tidying up and coming forward. City being City, a 2-0 lead does not leave me calm and relaxed, but we dealt very well with a reasonably imposing threat. All very encouraging! The main thing that strikes me in all this is that no one player can be singled out for especial praise. We looked, simply, an accomplished and comfortable Premiership team. Given the injuries to senior players and the promising crop of youngsters, I shall remain very positive.

In the dying embers of a comfortable home win, Villa win a ridiculous penalty. A foul, yes. In the box, no. But we have at the back England’s Number One. And then the obnoxious Lee Hendrie (not my wife’s favourite player!) gets suckered by Mills!

Well played, City!

Mike Bains <mikebains(at)>


The enigma continues – why do we seem to score more goals and get more points when our leading scorer doesn’t play? Answers on a postcard to KK. City played well, especially in the first half and Fowler and Macken, if not yet striking fear into the hearts of Premiership defences, looked to have the basis of a striking partnership. SWeeP was out of this world – worth twice Wayne Rooney – his strike for our second goal was the best I’ve seen since Nicklas Jensen’s volley against Leeds. The second half was comfortable, with Onuoha looking quick, composed and very capable when he replaced Distin. So a good all round performance. Even David O’Leary, to give him credit, complemented City on their performance.

The Sunday Herald report on the game didn’t mention the goals but concentrated the whole report on the sending off of Hendrie. This tended to give the impression that Mike “Stretford Ender” Riley might have turned his affections to City – don’t believe it! We got no help at all from him – the sending off came when the game was over – he should have sent off Delaney for pulling down Fowler on the edge of the area and as for the Villa penalty where contact started 5 feet outside the area and finished 2 feet outside – how can a referee claim to have seen a foul in the area when it didn’t happen? I think referees should be confronted with video evidence and asked to explain their decisions (also W Rooney vs. Aresenal). It’s easy for managers and supporters to “blame the ref” and, yes, it is difficult for them to get it right with one view. However, whilst they remain largely unaccountable and where the FA support nearly every decision (except technical errors like giving two yellow cards and no dismissal), then there are bound to be suspicions of bias or worse. So the FA needs to tighten up its act and be accountable for referees’ decisions or even use technology to help them get them right – else why bother if the game can be decided on the whim of one man?

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


The boys are coming!

My father is the most critical viewer of City’s performances I know of. Most of the time he is far from satisfied with the way the team plays and the commitment shown by the players. Fortunately for him he has been able to follow them thoroughly the last month due to very good TV-coverage up in the high north, and I am happy to announce to you all that the wind has changed. The patient has been declared healthy so to speak.

Comments like “City have not performed better in years”, and “they actually look like a team” have hit the ether after the last two performances. The only thing that disturbs me is that he seems to connect this with the fact that Nicolas Anelka is not in the team. “He’s so lazy; he never seems to go for the ball”. Instead, Robbie Fowler has been praised sky high: “Fowler is working so hard, and his passing against Portsmouth was absolutely wonderful”. Needless to say, my dad likes it when the ball is passed quickly from one player to another, and he is not a supporter of short passes inside our own box. He is 74 and also has a heart disease, so I really hope that the players take notice of this…

So what on earth is going on at CoMS these days? Against Villa we outplayed a team positioned among the top 5. We went up to 9th place, and won two in a row for the first time in 18 months. Nine players are currently on the injury list, and the bench is looking more like a youth team than a Premiership set-up. Our best players at the moment are youngsters coming from our own Academy. SWeeP, as we like to call him, is also one of my dad’s favorites, but he just calls him Fillip: “Fillip is just so impossible, a joy to watch, and incredible with the ball”. Needless to say he has taken the young man to his heart. If he wasn’t adopted already he would surely have one up in the north lining up for him at this very moment. And what about Jordan? The lad has brushed aside any doubts these last couple of weeks. If he keeps it up Thatcher will find it very difficult to get his place back.

I must throw in a few thumbs-up to the rest of the team as well. Against Villa they were outstanding. Bosvelt has been an unsung hero this year. He is really everywhere on the pitch, and James kept his sheet clean despite a penalty being wrongfully ruled against us. I agree with Keegan that Dunne should not have given away that free-kick, but it was way outside the area, and Dunne played extremely well against Villa. And what about Barton reinventing himself in the midfield position? He now looks rock solid and cooler when the temperature rises. Although he got a bit tired towards the end, he did have a brilliant match, and we have won two games in a row since he came back from injury!

So perhaps the fact that City have no extra money to spend on new players has been a blessing in disguise? That way Keegan has been forced to make room for the local lads. A few years ago (even before Keegan) the motto was that we had to buy new players all the time, no matter how poor the ones we had just bought were. These days the local lads are showing where the money should be spent. They are really pushing the more established players in the back. SWeeP, Barton, Jordan, Onouha, and Flood are our new “Fabulous Five”. They have shown that if you have the heart for it then you can make anything happen. My prediction is that they will all be capped, if they can keep their current form and establish themselves, and City, at the highest level. If City make it to the top 6 then no international manager can afford to overlook our players. That goes even for France…

Roll on – Boro here we come!

Svenn Hanssen <Svenn.Agnar.Hanssen(at)>


Best home performance of the season so far for me. City rarely looked in any danger and passing and movement are improving all the time. Let’s hope we can keep it up over the next few games. Middlesbrough is going to be a tough game at a place we never seem to get anything, but if the defence and midfield can maintain the same level of concentration and effort as in recent games then we have nothing to fear. When was the last time we could claim to have a better defensive record than Arsenal!?

Wright-Phillips continues to improve and his confidence is sky high. He is easily the best player we have produced since Paul Lake, but I fear the worst because everyone is raving about him! We need to resist any offers and do what we can to improve the team in January.

The most encouraging thing about our recent run is that we are proving difficult to beat. If we can become more formidable at home then we surely will be capable of a top half finish, provided we can keep it up of course.

Finally, I feel the board have been vindicated following the early season criticism of Keegan and the calls for him to be sacked or resign. Although I am not saying he is exempt from blame for the club’s current financial position, I have never subscribed to the view that replacing the manager was the answer. KK has finally done what no manager has done since the 70’s and lasted more than three years! That has to be an achievement for this club and we will benefit from the stability that comes with it. If Keegan does leave in 2 years’ time so be it. At least the club has the chance to find a long term replacement to continue the work he has done.

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


As I live in France I am restricted to two or three matches a season. This was my first this term and I must say I chose well.

I’ve always felt that evening matches have their own magical feel. One of my most vivid memories of watching evening games in the sixties is of that fantastic moment as you came to the top of the steps leading up the back of the Kippax. As you reached the last step, you were greeted with a wall of noise and an incredible sight, bright green floodlit grass against a black night sky. As an impressionable teenager, the feeling of anticipation of the match to come at that moment was almost too much. Thirty odd years later on Saturday evening at the CoMS, some of that feeling came back. The ground looked fantastic, and after last week’s win there was a buzz of optimism in the air. Could we do the back to back thing?

Amazingly, the match lived up to my personal build up. I thought the team played with energy and commitment from the off. I feel the team have a new found resolve and a shared purpose, which has been sadly lacking in recent seasons. For what it’s worth I feel that James has brought the best out of Distin, they seem to share the responsibility of the captaincy. These two plus Dunne form a solid basis for the team. But the real success for me is the creation of a group of young players who have come through the youth system together and are now established as regular members of the first team squad.

Rather than describe the events of the game, I would like just to make a point or two.

To lose SWP to another Premiership team would be a disaster for the club. Not just because he’s such a great player, but because he’s a true City player with whom the fans can identify. He’s a player we can all be immensely proud of. The pleasure we feel in his achievements is great because we feel he is one of our own. We have shared his progress with him. We know he cares about the club. How can I be enthusiastic about Fowler and McManaman? It just doesn’t work.

The atmosphere at the ground was much better than I expected. I have been reading reports worrying about the lack of singing. Well, I was relieved to hear some great singing. Obviously when we win, no problem in keeping the noise level up. I guess we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves if we fail to keep singing when the team is dire.

Anelka. Skilful and talented player but a liability for team morale. His body language too often says “I’m too good for this team”. It sends the wrong message to the rest of the team and the fans. If we can sell him for a reasonable price we should. Liverpool would be fine.

There is a long way to go still, but I had the feeling on Saturday night that I had witnessed a team that has turned a corner.

Steve Norris <steve(at)>


After one year and seven months City got their first back to back victories. In a game that was a true team win, every player competed for every ball, although I was a little disappointed at times of Sibierski’s efforts (knowing that he is capable of playing better); he did come close to scoring a goal in the first half, I feel sure he will come back to play better games for City.

Fowler ran a million miles for the cause, and unselfishly tried to set other players up when he could have taken the chance himself. The first of City’s goals came from a through ball from Growler that took a slight deflection to Macken, who turned with the ball and scored, which must have been a very satisfying goal to the player.

City had by far the most possession, and kept Villa in their own half for long periods; it was played with the best form of defence is attack attitude – great stuff. Shaun Wright-Phillips played some more brilliant football, he truly is amazing, and to cap off being man of the match he scored the 2nd goal: when Jordan tried to cross the ball, Melberg half cleared it and the ball fell right in front of SWP, who scored a scorcher from about 25 yards out.

The 2nd half saw City continue to dominate, all players going forward in attack, and for the odd attack from Villa all City’s players going back to help out, a true team performance. Special mention of Stephen Jordan’s game: it was excellent, and he kept Solano of Villa quiet for this game.

There was only one substitution, when Distin limped off in the 72nd minute. On came young Onuoha, who for his age plays with a lot of skill, courage, and pace.

Villa were awarded a penalty when Dunne brought down Luke Moore, which when the replay was shown it was clearly outside the box, but justice was done as David James made a great save from the spot kick.

In the final minute of the game Hendrie in his frustration appeared to go and butt Mills in a confrontation between them; he was sent off by referee Mike Riley.

We did not miss Anelka today, but that does not mean we might not miss him in future games.

Next game at Middlesbrough promises to be a tough one, but with City’s form having not lost a game in six games, it’s another game City can win. It’s great to see the team spirit amongst the City players; there is bonding for all to see.

In the top half of the table now, target top six for Europe, how things can change after a couple of good wins!?

Well done team!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Why is it that some players jump and turn their backs when an opposing player dummies to kick the ball when they’re in close proximity? The worst City offenders are Sylvain Distin and Antoine Sibierski. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if you go to try and block a clearance or get a tackle in, what use are you if your back’s turned and you’re in the air? Surely the idea of approaching the opponent is to try to either win the ball or make it hit you in case either a) the ball cannons into the net (if you’re the onrushing attacker) or b) richochets away from danger (if you’re the defender). I mean the worst that can happen is that the ball hits you and possibly quite hard, but isn’t that the idea of trying to make the block?

Or are today’s Premiership players too soft?

Answers on a postcard please.

Lance Thomson <lance(at)>


Hurrah and huzzah! Either there was some problem with the sound system or someone at the club is listening to the complaints about the music and ‘entertainment’ before matches. About 20 minute before kick-off at the Villa match I had said to Sarah that the PA seemed a lot quieter (i.e. I could hear myself think) and then 15 minutes before kick off, miracle of miracles, it stopped. There was a distinct hubbub around the ground broken occasionally by a bit of chanting from the Villa fans and then the inevitable happened: nothing.

Despite my hopes, this was not really surprising. Since we have been bombarded with high-volume, pre-match music for a few seasons now, it should not really be a surprise that the fans were not ready to leap into the fray vocally. It was a bit like a wild animal that has been kept in a zoo for a time and whose cage is then opened. Will it leap for freedom? No, the most likely result is that it will cower at the back of its cage, unsure what to do. Indeed, a large number of those who would be involved with the singing were not there (the South Stand was only about one third full of City fans, as I suspect that many were still down the pub timing their ‘runs’ into the ground to avoid the usual barrage of noise from the PA).

If this was actually a case of intentionally cutting off the sound system to allow supporters the opportunity to sing then I see this as a good thing. However, it would have been nice to let us know so that we could have taken the opportunity in a coherent way. If it was not intended this way and it was just a case of the PA cutting out then please could we arrange for similar sabotage on a regular basis?

The rest of the entertainment was good, with a minimum amount of gibbering over the PA and a good penalty shootout at half time. The introduction of the teams onto the pitch and the presentation to Bert Trautmann were both done without going over the top.

Oh, and one other thing (if anyone at the club is still listening), I do wonder about how well advised it is to let people vote for the man of the match via texts. I can see some pros in terms of people feeling involved and valuing their opinions. Conversely, today there were (IMHO) 4 good candidates for man of the match SWP, Joey Barton, David James and Richard Dunne. SWP won the award but I it made me wonder whether there will be a tendency to award it to the eye-catching flair players rather than the fetchers and carriers who are equally important to any long-term success? Having said that, SWP would have won my MotM award for lots of matches over the past two years so maybe this is just an undue concern…

[About time too! – Ed]

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)>


I was interested to read the posting about the purpose of supporters’ clubs. While the writer’s points are more then likely valid, at least he has the opportunity to belong to a supporters’ club and the chance to put things right from within. When I lived in Chadderton, I was a member of Failsworth branch of the Official Supporters’ Club and particularly enjoyed my time with them and had some good evenings with players and officials from the club in attendance.

Five years ago I moved to Norfolk and attempted to set up a supporters’ club in the Great Yarmouth area. I found a pub to host the meetings with a landlord who was a life-long Blue. We got a nucleus of about thirty regular Blues in the pub, all of whom signed forms to become members of the supporters’ club. We then contacted the Official Supporters’ Club and what response did we get? Nothing. I contacted an official of the Failsworth branch who tried to help us, without success. We then changed tack and approached the Centenary Supporters’ Association and what response did we get? Nothing.

Five years on the landlord has left and moved back to Manchester. The supporters we had have drifted away to other places in the area as the City connection was slowly disappearing due to a new landlord without any football affiliation. I am now, apart from occasional visit, the only City fan still going in the pub. Had we had some help when we requested it we would have a thriving branch, which would have been welcomed by the new landlord.

Being a long way from Manchester, we did not expect visits from players, officials etc. All we wanted to do was support the club and travel up to matches occasionally when tickets were available.

Terry Baines <terry.baines(at)>


I agree with your anonymous correspondent. Our branch, Carlisle & District, has struggled to obtain visits from players and officials of the club. We have continually invited Denis Tueart to visit us but he does not acknowledge our letters. The exceptions have been Colin Bell, Tony Book and Richard Jobson. Joe Royle apparently forbade his (then) current squad players from visiting the supporters’ clubs. I understand the reasons behind this but the non-playing guys also now play hard to get.

Peter Birbeck <peter.birbeck(at)>


I have to respond to the anonymous subscriber who insultingly referred to supporters’ clubs as being little more than ticket exchanges. I’ve no idea which supporters’ club the subscriber belongs to but it seems clear that both he or she and that particular branch are well out of touch with all the good work that goes on at the majority of branches, whether they be OSC or CSA.

As well as chairing my own branch, I’m a frequent visitor to other branches. In recent months I’ve had the good fortune to meet, listen and speak to John Wardle, Tony Book (twice), Neil Young, Mike Doyle, Stuart Pearce, Andy Hinchcliffe plus some lesser lights associated with the club. All of this at supporters’ branches. I’ve no need for a club-organised Fans’ Forum. Apart from organising regular meetings of supporters, many branches have raised thousands and thousands of pounds for various good causes and charities.

With Christmas time approaching, many branches are now in full swing organising activities for younger members. My own branch has a party this coming Sunday when 40 youngsters will be fed, watered, provided with entertainment including free face painting, visited by Moonchester and Moonbeam then to finish off be given a present by True Blue Santa. All of this at no cost to our members.

The Reddish branch will be taking twice that number of kids to the Panto again, whilst the Prestwich & Whitefield branch’s annual Christmas do will no doubt attract the usual crowd of about 300 supporters of all ages. The Disabled Supporters’ branch have organised a meal and a night out at the new stadium and I’m sure lots of other branches will have something in the pipeline to help Christmas go with a swing, so good luck to them all.

Your subscriber raised fans’ forums, the club’s rôle and player attendance in his/her article. I would say that many branches have been organising fans’ forums for years and that the club have actually nicked that idea from us and tried to do the job for us. To be fair it seems that the club-organised fans’ forums have been a success and have attracted many supporters who are not members of branches. Although they don’t appear to have been publicised much this season, I’m told the fans forums are being held at the same 5 venues in and around Manchester as last season. The CSA did approach the club asking them to stage a fans’ forum a short way up the M6 near Preston for the benefit of the many supporters living in the Preston, Morecambe, Blackpool, Lancaster, Carlisle areas etc. We had no luck with that request this year but rest assured we will try again in the future.

With regard to player visits to supporters’ events, I could rant on forever on this subject but the simple fact is the football management and the majority of the players just don’t want to know. Believe me, with just 2 exceptions, branches and supporters are flogging a dead horse with that one.

I can’t pretend to know what happens at other clubs up and down the country but it is my belief that up until recent years Manchester City FC has been by far the best club in the Premiership and probably one of the best in the country at actively engaging and attempting to support supporters. I would add though that this support is something that has been driven onto the club by supporters and not the other way round.

Unfortunately, times change and the typical Premiership footballer whose weekly wage packet is often twice the annual income of many supporters is molly coddled and protected from us mere mortals who inhabit planet earth.

Your subscriber talks about members of supporters’ branches dipping into their pockets to support the club. The CSA as an organisation gives absolutely no financial support whatsoever to the club. Many branches, my own included, have raised cash for the Academy but this is an individual choice of each branch.

To state that supporters’ clubs are little more than ticket exchanges is ludicrous and totally wrong. Yes, help with tickets can be given sometimes but that is most certainly the last thing most branches are about. Supporter branches are a great way of getting together with other Blues for some good social events and I would like to thank the Denton branch (OSC), Chorlton and Swinton branches (CSA) and the Disabled Supporters’ branch (independent) for giving me some good, cheap nights out this year. Keep up the good work.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


I feel I must respond to the article in MCIVTA 1073 re Supporters’ Clubs and assure the “disillusioned anonymous supporters’ club member” that there is more to being a member of a well organised supporters’ club than just having players and/or officials from MCFC attend branch meetings.

Yes I’m sure we would all love to go back to the “good old days” when players and officials were climbing over themselves to attend supporters’ clubs but times change and supporters clubs have to change and adapt or they will, as unfortunately so many have, fold and be nothing more than just a distant memory.

As Secretary of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association, I am proud of the structure that we have within our branch, which is built on a very strong and loyal membership and an even more very dedicated Committee that put a hell of lot hard work in to making things happen, which is all done in their own time and is unpaid!

With reference to guests at meetings, at our monthly branch meetings last season the following people, no doubt some you might have heard of, were our guests: Brian Horton, Ian Brightwell, David White, Chris Murray, Colin Rudd, Mark Halsey, Trevor Massey, Tony Book, Colin Bell, Ian Cheeseman, Gary James, Man City Ladies, Mike Doyle, Dave Clayton, Dante Friend, Andy Morrison and last but not least Gerard Wiekens. To date this season we have had Alex Williams, Ian Cheeseman, Tommy Booth, Jimmy Wagg, and Neil Young and Dante Friend are coming in December. We have also, like other branches, had our Roadshow at the Alma Lodge, which 50 of our members attended. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but hey it’s free and it’s only up the road! The highlight of this season so far was our November meeting, which was held at the City Social Club and also included a tour of the Museum. Guests for the night were John Wardle, Denis Tueart, Gary James, Paul Tyrell, Janice Monk, Ed Garvey, Alex Williams and Ian Cheeseman. All of the above, and I think you would agree, is a very distinguished guest list but, all of our guests attended because of the hard work of a dedicated Committee that firmly believe that you only get as much out of something as you put in to it.

On the subject of some branches being “ticket exchanges”, I have to agree with you (now there’s a surprise!). Yes unfortunately there does appear to be a tendency for people to join a supporters’ club thinking that it’s a quick way of getting a ticket for a game. Well at Reddish we have very strict guidelines on how members can obtain tickets via the Branch and I can assure you that our members and the Ticket Store know that we are not a “ticket exchange”.

We organise travel to all of City’s home and away games. We run four minibuses to the City of Manchester Stadium and run a 49 seater executive coach to all of City’s away games. The price is dependant on the distance we travel but we do our utmost to keep the cost as low as possible (subsidising when necessary) and whenever possible kids go free.

We organise various social events throughout the season, such as a night at Belle Vue dogs, a day at the races, race night, pool tournaments, ladies night, ten pin bowling night, family fun day, and the compulsory end of season party. Every year we organise a Christmas party for all our junior members. For the last 4 years we’ve took the little darlings to the pantomime at The Plaza in Mersey Square for free with the money raised from a race night and we have also just formed a Reddish Blues Golf Society.

Over the past few years, Reddish branch members have raised money for various local charities and voluntary organisations such as Guide Dogs for the Blind, Children from Chernobyl, All Saints Youth Group and the Royal School for the Deaf. To date a staggering £7,504 has been raised by our members, which has purchased two guide dogs and much needed computer equipment.

At Reddish we have always believed in communicating with our members and a newsletter is mailed out to all members at the beginning of every month, containing information on meetings, travel and social events etc. In addition to this we also keep members informed by e-mail so that they have the latest information hot off the press from not only the branch but the Club and MCIVTA. We also have a branch web site and the address is

Finally, we pride ourselves on the members we have within the branch. All are a great bunch of people. We have members who don’t go to City but come to all branch meetings and social events. We have members that only use the branch for the home travel. We have members that only use the branch for away travel and we have members that use the branch for everything. We think we cater for everyone’s needs. If sometimes we do get it wrong then the members let us know and we put it right and of course we are always open to any new ideas and listen to what our members want.

Hopefully you can see that there is a point of belonging to a supporters’ organisation.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


The most enjoyable part of last season started in the second half of the legendary Spurs game and finished on his immediate reintroduction to the team after recovering from ‘injury’.

Let’s be honest, this season has been bleak. For the first time in my 30+ years of supporting City I considered not bothering. That was until last Saturday when Anelka strolled off. The change in the Blues was almost immediate. The midfield started to look for other options apart from feeding the ego. Robbie and Jon Macken looked like different players and more importantly a partnership. The defence has been good for most of the season and this game was no exception. At last a team, not a collection of disconsolate individuals.

It is down to one reason and one reason alone – Anelka. Anybody who believes differently is deluded. If football was an individual sport he would be quite good. It’s not, it’s a team game and he is below average most of the time.

The only time I have been genuinely impressed with him was against Arsenal where he had personal motivation to do well. He can do it, he just can’t be bothered. There’s nothing particularly ‘complex’ about that.

Where will the goals come from? We have any number of players capable of scoring freely, not least Robbie Fowler. All he needs is a striking partner. It was quite evident that had we continued with Robbie and Jon Macken last season we would have been nowhere near relegation. Indeed, we would have had a decent platform to build upon this time around.

Can anyone remember Everton last season when he played with enthusiasm whilst partnering Wanchope? As soon as Macken came on he finished. I remember watching an attack build with Macken on the right wing; on looking up for the cross he could see no one as Anelka was walking past the half way line wiping his face with his shirt. Yes, we had already won the game but it is doesn’t hide the fact he wasn’t in the slightest bit interested in helping Macken out. Not acceptable.

He would have gone this summer if Monaco could have stumped up the cash. He will go in the transfer window if anybody can find £10 million (let’s hope it’s Liverpool!).

In my opinion he is everything City shouldn’t be. I don’t often use this phrase but he really isn’t fit to wear the shirt.

I only hope Keegan is continuing with Anelka solely to keep him in the shop window.

Mark Ash <mash1966(at)>


Is it just me? Or is it that we play better football, result wise, when Anelka isn’t playing?

I don’t for a minute question his goalscoring record, but after just watching the Villa game on Sky I feel we play a better brand of footie with him not there. As with last year when Macken and Fowler were paired up, we seemed to play better, as with this year.

The games against Portsmouth and Villa were total ‘team’ games. Everyone was playing for each other, and not just numbers running around on the pitch. The question I put to you: does Keegan have the balls to play Macken and Fowler or bring back Anelka when he’s fit again?

Portsmouth and Villa showed how we can play, I’ve said before that we are only a couple of players away from a very good side. Well we’re ninth, and climbing, as opposed to last year where we were eighth and falling. Let’s hope that we can have a decent run of results and Europe may not be that far away.

Loved the effort boys, well done.

You gotta luv City.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Here’s the puzzle. You have a really talented striker, but he’s not really a team player and often makes the team look disjointed, as well as not looking interested half the time. He’s not really someone you’d like to leave out though because of his talent. Not only that but if he’s fit, he’s an automatic choice or there could be repercussions. However, when he’s not playing, the team look more of a team, less talented players in his place raise their game, and results improve.

Usually you wouldn’t like to change a winning side, and there was enough in Saturday’s performance to reasonably expect a decent showing in the next game.

So if Nico is fit to play next week, and you were in Kevin Keegan’s position, what would you do?

Lance Thomson <lance(at)>


We have just won our first consecutive pair of games since goodness alone knows when. Is there a coincidence in the fact that in the first game Anelka went off after 26 minutes and didn’t start the second? Is it just my long-distance impression, via Fox Sports World, or does the team have a bit more spirit without a chap who, again only my long distance impression, seems to think that he is so much better than his team-mates?

Jon Davenport <jdavenport(at)>


Not news or rumour but I just have to say that I bumped (almost literally) into Tony Book in Stockport while doing a bit of Xmas shopping. He was (and is) a true giant for MCFC and also a gentleman, he let me prattle on about how when I first saw him playing at Maine Road and shook my hand, even though he was with someone. Then as he left the shop, Tony turned to me and said goodbye which, stupid as it may sound, I found incredibly modest and wonderful of the man just to spare that thought for a fan.

Tony Book – top man – legend!

[Agreed Steve, Tony is a great guy, time for everyone. And his book’s out now, a great buy for Christmas! – Ed]

CTID, Steve Cooper <Stephen(at)>


Mark in answer to your question (MCIVTA 1073 re: Dickov) I take on board what you’re saying. Would Dickov be in my top 5 City forwards of all time? No, he’s not that good. The point I was trying to make was whenever Dickov plays (for City, Leicester, Blackburn) he runs his heart out for the shirt. You actually get the sense he cares, yet you look sometimes at the shower we have amassed today in our squad and you question their desire. In my view you can forgive a player for a lack of skill but it’s unforgivable not to lack desire and commitment. In my honest opinion, I believe Dickov gives it his all in every game, which is his main asset. When he was winding up defenders and winning dubious penalties for City we loved him for it, when he does it against us some of us barrack him.

I’d rate Horlock as every bit as high as Dickov, he was a player I was sad to see go. Would I have either of them in the squad today? No, but if I could bottle it, I would take their spirit, commitment and desire to run for the City shirt and give the majority of the current first team a good large swig before every game!

On a separate point – Dickov also missed that penalty in the play-off final. Had Gillingham not bottled it on the shootout that could have been pretty costly 😉

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


Mark Strong is letting his dislike of Paul Dickov get the better of his judgment. Twice recently he has been voted man of the match in televised Blackburn games – not bad for someone who is “definitely not a Premiership player”!

I agree that Horlock’s goal was vital in the Gillingham play-off final, but can’t understand what point Mark is trying to make when he says that Gareth Taylor “might have scored that day”. The point is that Taylor didn’t. Dickov did. And after supporting City for 59 years, I believe that to be as important a goal as was ever scored for the club.

I can understand the argument that Dickov shows he isn’t a City fan by celebrating goals he scores (too often!) against us, but when you look at it from his point of view you should remember that City dumped him. Why should he show affection? I must admit that I have always been a little disappointed that Denis Law didn’t show more pleasure when he backheeled a certain goal.

David Buxton <dbbuxton(at)>


I am a bit surprised at some of the comments about Paul Dickov in recent issues. I can only suggest that those people who now criticize him, have very short memories, or maybe did not see him play for us that much. Paul knows only one way to play football, and that is 100% for whatever club he is playing for. I bet if you asked a few defenders in the Premiership who they hated playing against, Paul’s name would be mentioned more than once.

I, like all Blues, do not like to see a former player celebrate scoring a goal when playing City, and maybe Paul needs to think about that one, but he is perfectly entitled to score against us, and maybe show Mr Keegan what a mistake he made by letting him go. I know if I had a choice between Fowler and Dickov playing for City who I would pick.

Paul Fegan <fegan4(at)>


I’m comforted that John Nisbet (MCIVTA 1073) found the racism directed SWP at the recent England friendly in Spain “sick” and was “gutted for the lad”. Did he find the racism directed at Ashley Cole equally sick or does that not count because “he’s not one of us”?

I’ll give John the benefit of the doubt as he does refer to it as insulting earlier on but I would advise him to be careful on his choice of words. Racism should be condemned totally irrespective of whom it is directed to.

On a less serious note I would agree with Colin Phuddephatt’s comment that some of us are a fickle lot. I must confess I was very surprised we won at Pompey and having watched the extended highlights, we totally dominated the second half. Now can we add to that a home win against Villa and a first double victory this season?

In my opinion I don’t believe we will get relegated this year we are much tighter at the back and far less prone to shooting ourselves in the foot with defensive cock-ups. However, we are clearly punching below our weight and many of the purchases Keegan has made clearly haven’t performed at all and should never play for us again (I’ll name them – Sinclair, Macca, Fowler). It’s fantastic to see some of the youngsters finally being given a change, albeit because of the injuries to senior players; but hey I’ll restrain my cynicism and just celebrate that they’re playing for us.

I would agree that Keegan should go but only on the terms of the club, i.e. when a replacement is identified and so as not to breach his contract. We’ve kept enough solicitors in clover over the ham fisted and inept sacking of Royle; we don’t want to compound that with the same for Keegan. Besides, Spurs are now the club with the cup for cock-ups.

Jonathan Tod <jonathan.m.tod(at)>


My friend’s son is 7 years old. The young lad looks up to me and affectionately calls me Uncle David. We live in Ottawa, Canada, where English football (a.k.a. soccer) is not very well known or popular. Since this little lad was 5 I’ve been instilling in him the importance of supporting one – and only one – English football team, namely Manchester City. Not really sure what he’s committed to, or knowing anything very much about football, he very proudly answers “Manchester City” whenever I ask him what football team he supports. I assure him that one day he’ll be proud of his decision to align himself with England’s finest, Manchester City, and he enthusiastically nods his head and smiles.

Imagine my surprise when he showed up at our house last night wearing a bright red Manchester United shirt with the Vodafone logo emblazoned across the front. He proudly came up to me, beaming from ear to ear to show off his soccer shirt, all the way from Manchester. “Look at my soccer shirt, Uncle David. It’s from Manchester” he said. Of course I didn’t have the heart to tell him all about the cross-town rivalry, or the irony of the situation for a Manchester City fan. In a few years I’ll take him to one side and quietly explain to him that Manchester United shirts are not welcome in my house, but until then I had to swallow my pride and tell him how proud I was to see him wearing a soccer shirt all the way from Manchester.

Dave Smith <dsmith(at)>


The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the City Centenary Supporters’ Association will be on Wednesday 8th December at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm.

Our confirmed guests for the evening are City legend Neil Young and author Dante Friend. Copies of Neil’s new book “Catch a Falling Star” will be available on the night at a discounted price.

As always everyone is welcome.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


28 November 2004

Newcastle United      1 - 1  Everton               51,247
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 0  Middlesbrough         35,772
Liverpool             2 - 1  Arsenal               43,730

27 November 2004

Fulham                0 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      19,103
Birmingham City       1 - 1  Norwich City          29,120
Bolton Wanderers      0 - 1  Portsmouth            25,008
Charlton Athletic     0 - 4  Chelsea               26,355
Southampton           2 - 2  Crystal Palace        31,833
West Bromwich Albion  0 - 3  Manchester United     27,709
Manchester City       2 - 0  Aston Villa           44,530

League table to 28 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         15  5  2  0 11  3  6  1  1 16  3 11  3  1  27   6  21  36
 2 Arsenal         15  4  3  0 20  9  5  1  2 19 11  9  4  2  39  20  19  31
 3 Everton         15  4  1  2  7  7  5  2  1 10  5  9  3  3  17  12   5  30
 4 Manchester Utd  15  4  3  0  9  3  3  3  2 10  7  7  6  2  19  10   9  27
 5 Middlesbrough   15  3  3  1 10  7  4  1  3 14 11  7  4  4  24  18   6  25
 6 Aston Villa     15  5  2  0 13  3  1  4  3  7 13  6  6  3  20  16   4  24
 7 Liverpool       14  6  0  1 15  5  1  2  4  8 11  7  2  5  23  16   7  23
 8 Bolton Wndrs    15  4  2  2 12  8  2  3  2 10 11  6  5  4  22  19   3  23
 9 Manchester City 15  3  3  2 10  5  2  2  3  9  9  5  5  5  19  14   5  20
10 Newcastle Utd   15  3  2  3 15 15  2  3  2 12 12  5  5  5  27  27   0  20
11 Portsmouth      14  4  1  2 12  9  1  2  4  6 11  5  3  6  18  20  -2  18
12 Charlton Ath.   15  4  2  2 12  8  1  1  5  5 19  5  3  7  17  27 -10  18
13 Tottenham H.    15  2  2  4 11 12  2  2  3  3  5  4  4  7  14  17  -3  16
14 Birmingham City 15  1  4  3  5  7  1  4  2  7  8  2  8  5  12  15  -3  14
15 Fulham          15  3  0  5  8 15  1  2  4  9 12  4  2  9  17  27 -10  14
16 Crystal Palace  15  2  1  4  8 10  1  3  4  9 13  3  4  8  17  23  -6  13
17 Blackburn R.    15  1  5  1 10 13  1  2  5  6 16  2  7  6  16  29 -13  13
18 Southampton     15  2  4  2 11 11  0  2  5  4 10  2  6  7  15  21  -6  12
19 Norwich City    15  1  4  2  9 12  0  5  3  5 13  1  9  5  14  25 -11  12
20 West Brom A.    15  1  4  3  7 13  0  3  4  6 15  1  7  7  13  28 -15  10

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0405.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

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

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

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

The official club web site can be found at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club” (

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

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

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

The GMR pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the OFEX web site (registration required) or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

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

Try Wookie’s Lair:

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1074