Newsletter #1079

A lengthy issue tonight with Don’s news covering the AGM (SWP going nowhere, not even for daft money; KK has some money for January; SP may or may not be his successor; Anelka has apologised and may be going somewhere!). Weaver returned to action in a reserve game vs. Blackburn where we got thumped 1-4 but the City youth team duly thumped WBA by the same scoreline to progress to the 4th round of the FA Youth Cup. We have a report on that game tonight.

There is continued opinion on the managerial question, stand-up sit-down or be thrown out, Anelka, Fans’ Committee news, an Ode to City and the usual requests.

We travel up the M61 on Saturday to The Reebok and also face their second string on Tuesday night, 7pm at MiniCoMS.

Next game: Bolton Wanderers, away, 3pm Saturday 18 December 2004


AGM Report

We Are a Big Club! The club held their AGM this week, and four main topics made headlines the next day. The story taking up most column inches was the apparent apology from Nicolas Anelka over last week’s “I want to move to a bigger club” tales. Let Mr. Chairman take up the story. “I am naturally disappointed with Nicolas’ comments,” said Wardle. “I have spoken to him, and he has apologised for anything that might have been taken from his interview in the French press. Extracts were taken from it that didn’t put the whole thing into a good light. We are a big club, but Nicolas has told me that he agrees with that.” But while Wardle confirmed there has been no bid and no inquiry for the former Real Madrid man, he did admit the possibility of him leaving. “If a bid comes in for Nicolas I would speak to the board; then I would speak to Kevin,” he said. “From there it would be a joint decision. I know the manager wouldn’t want to sell him – I wouldn’t expect him to. But if we had to I would point out to Kevin the reasons why. But you have to remember we still owe money on Nicolas, which would have to be cleared off – so it would have to be a bid of substance above that figure.” Some journals said that £5 million was still owed to PSG, so headlines such as “Anelka Can Go for £5 million” appeared. Wardle confirmed any move to take Anelka on a short-term loan would be considered, but added: “I doubt we would go down that route, because we would still have to bring a player in.” Wardle confirmed that new players could be on the way into the club, and defended KK’s record in the transfer market. He said: “We have gone from the First Division to the Premiership and stayed there for three years – which is the longest period of time ever. When Kevin joined us we had just been relegated, so he must have spent reasonably well because of the success he has had. But not every player you buy will become a star. There will be the odd bad buy – and purely because of the number of players Kevin has brought to the club there will be some who have not worked out. We will try to be creative to generate some funds. But maybe we have to start looking at clubs like Everton and Bolton to see how they have been dealing in the transfer market and do a similar type of thing.”

Silly Money: Topic #2 at the AGM? The future of Shaun Wright-Phillips. Wardle sounded a little more enthusiastic about retaining the services of Sweep than Le Sulk. “I have no intention of selling Shaun Wright-Phillips,” said Wardle. “If someone comes in and starts being silly I would have to discuss it but we are not putting him on a shelf to sell because he is the heart and soul of this football club. In my eyes, I don’t think he is that far off Wayne Rooney, although he is a different type of player. The fans identify with him. You have to think about things like that, it is important. I hope the day never comes when Shaun doesn’t feel he can fulfil his ambitions here,” he said. “The club is looking to go forwards not backwards and for that it is crucial we keep someone of his talent. If you go back over the years, there are players who feel part of a club, who have been with them since they were kids, while at the other extreme there are the mercenaries that bounce from club to club. Shaun is definitely one of the former. He was in the Academy here and he came through here. He has only just signed a new four-year contract and I don’t think he would do that if he was looking to play for anyone other than Manchester City.” Wardle was also said that £20 million wouldn’t buy SWP, so the headlines said (you’ve guessed it) “City Put £25m Price Tag On SWP.” And let’s hope Shaunie doesn’t follow Master Rooney’s career too closely, either on or off the pitch!

Wanted: New Boss Man: Mr. Wardle confirmed that the hunt is on for KK’s successor – but there are no names in the frame just yet. Stuart Pearce has already put his name forward (see “General News” below). And there were some reports suggesting that Mr. K would take a back seat rôle and mentor Psycho during his early days, should the former Forest stalwart be put in charge. Wardle claimed it was “a compliment” that a man of Pearce’s standing is interested in the job. “We have discussed the succession of Kevin Keegan at board level – we would be foolish not to have done so,” said Wardle. “He has made it very clear he will be leaving at the end of next season and we have a responsibility to look at the situation and make sure we plan for it. But I have not got any names in the frame, it is too early for that kind of thing, although it is fantastic for Stuart to say he is interested in the job. It shows his love for the club and the fact he enjoys working here. He is a really good coach, who has done a great job since he came here and that will be considered along with everything else.”

Get Creative: Next, a financial report from the Chief Executive. City’s debt stands at £62 million, but Alistair Mackintosh denied the club’s finances are out of control. At Tuesday’s AGM City also reported a record turnover of £61.9 million and an operating profit of £4 million. “I was delighted that the shareholders noticed that we are moving forward financially,” Mackintosh later told the club’s website. “For the £62 million debt we have significant assets, playing assets, our new stadium, our Academy and the shareholders applauded the fact that we have invested in our Academy. The debts are now structured in a more appropriate way, with £44 million being the securitisation long term debt, which is backed by the long term asset of the stadium. Most of the remaining amount of debt is shareholder loans and I did note in the AGM the contribution made to the club by John Wardle and David Makin in that regard.” Mackintosh also revealed that the Board have granted KK the chance to boost his squad during the January transfer window – though without wholesale spending. Keegan will have to approach players in the final year of a contract, therefore free agents in the summer so available now for a cut-price fee. Speaking to shareholders at the club’s AGM, chief executive Alistair Mackintosh explained the City boss will have to be “creative” in his dealings. “Kevin was very clear that he understood his terms of reference,” he said. “We have a great scouting system and he has been scouring primarily France and Germany for appropriate players. We have to be creative. We have already invested significant amounts but it is certainly true that Kevin wants to add to the squad but it is all subject to the appropriate players being available. Kevin was tremendously supportive of the backing that the board has given him in his time here, but he continues to look for players to strengthen the team and he highlighted that is because of the nature of the injuries that we have got.”

General News

Let It Be Me: In an interview on GMR this week, Stuart Pearce made it clear that he would like to succeed KK as manager. “I feel like I am little bit more hands-on at the club this season,” he said. “I think my rôle at City is a step in the right direction without any doubt. Kevin has made it quite clear that in a season and a half he will be leaving this football club,” he continued. “You don’t have to be Einstein to realise that there will be a manager’s job available at a very good football club in this country. I will certainly be one that will be applying for that job. Whether the board deem me good enough to be the man to take the job I don’t know but by the time Kevin leaves I will have been here five years and they have had a very good look at me in that time. I can’t make decisions for the board but certainly if I was given the job then there would be continuity. They are aware of my feelings on the situation in regard to a successor to Kevin but in some ways it is out of my hands a little bit. It is down to the board. It would be a fantastic job for anybody, whoever it may be – I would like it to be me.”

The One That Got Away: Liverpool striker Neil Mellor has scored a couple of vital goals for the Reds in recent weeks, notably in games against Olympiakos and Arsenal. Mellor is a City fan, whose father Ian played for the Blues in the early 1970’s. Mellor Junior spent 6 years at his beloved Blues, before being released by City, an experience which he thinks helped him mature as a player. He said: “I am loving every minute at the moment, but I know from experience how fast things can change so my feet are staying firmly on the ground. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Maybe going through the heartbreak of being rejected by City helped me grow up a bit quicker than I would have done because I thought my dream of becoming a footballer was over. It was devastating because I had been with the club since the age of 10. I’ve really enjoyed the last month. I’ve had a chance, scored a few goals and it has given me a taste of first team football. I know I’m not the most attractive of players to watch and I know what people say. But my style seems to have been effective and that’s the important thing. The gaffer has told me to go out, enjoy my football and do my best. I still have two-and-a-half years left on my contract and he said that’s a lot of time to improve my game, and that’s what I want to do.”

Logan’s Run: On Wednesday evening, City’s under-18’s began their FA Youth Cup campaign with a 4-1 victory over West Brom at the Mini-COMS. The Blues fell behind to an early strike by the visitors, before goals from Shaleum Logan, Ishmael Miller, and skipper Nedum Onuoha, in the next 20 minutes ensured the Blues’ victory. In the closing minutes of the game Logan completed the scoring for City with his second of the night.
Team: Schmeichel, Wallwork, Williamson, Richards (Russell 87), Onuoha, Williams, Etuhu, Johnson, Grimes (Sturridge 87), Miller, S Logan. Subs: Matthewson, McGinlay, Marshall.

Transfer News and Gossip

Wheeling and Dealing: KK will have to do some clever deals in January if he wishes to strengthen his squad. “We don’t have a lot of money, if any, so we are waiting for the market to come to us – that is the way we are,” he declared. “I am still hopeful of adding to the squad in the New Year. There are many ways of doing a deal and there are going to be a lot of clubs with too many players in a certain area. I think there will be a lot of wheeling and dealing in the transfer window with clubs doing swaps. We won’t be overactive in there but I am hoping that by being clever we can get one or two in. I know it is very simplistic to say that as the getting together of agents and agreeing it is going to be harder. Nevertheless there will be some players on the move during this window and hopefully we will be in there trying to get one or two in. We were a small squad anyway before we got these current injuries. I don’t think there will be any players leaving here in the transfer window – how could we let anyone go? I have no doubt that there will be bids for some of our players but they will be ones that we don’t want to sell.”

Gerrard Hint: There was further speculation over a move to Liverpool for Nicolas Anelka, after reports suggested Steven Gerrard wanted the Pool to make a bid for the Elk. “I remember a few years ago when we were going for the title, Everton came to Anfield and nearly turned us over,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. “We were grateful to Nicolas Anelka that day. He was great for us when he was here. He was on fire for us at that time. He is another one of the best strikers in the world I have played with – and he proved it that day.”

Blue Future: Following the AGM-inspired headlines concerning his future, SWP made clear his intention of going nowhere. For now. When asked where the 23-year-old sees his future, he replied to Sky Sports News: “I think it’s Blue. I’m playing for Manchester City at the moment and that’s my main priority. I’m playing well for City and scoring goals.” Wright-Phillips penned a four-year deal with City at the start of the season, but is keen to dispel fears he could leave by signing a fresh contract. “There’s my intention straight away,” he added. “Like people say, football’s a funny old game. All I want to do is play for City and whatever happens, happens really.” [He also reconfirmed this last night at the youth game, reiterating his comments given to McV back in March. No going back Shaun! – Ed]

Update on Old Snippets: City have again been linked with an attempt to land Dean Ashton in the January transfer market, although they face stiff competition from Spurs. Ashton could be available for around £2.5 million, with Crewe Alex boss Dario Gradi admitting: “I’m sure that somewhere down the line Dean will want to move on to a bigger club.” Meanwhile, Auxerre’s Finnish midfielder Teemu Tainio is said to interest Glasgow Rangers. Previously Tainio, out of contract at the end of the season, has been linked with Tottenham and City as well. Tainio is thought to be keen to go to Rangers but said: “I have heard all of the rumours associating me with Rangers but I am not entirely sure what the situation is concerning the move.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Going Going Goat: Reading boss Steve Coppell has revealed that Shaun Goater can leave on loan, confirming the Goat’s own comments last week. Coppell told the club’s official website: “‘The Goat’ is testing the waters in terms of getting out and we had one inquiry this week that came to nothing. I said to him in the circumstances, I’d prefer to go with other people right now. It’s not nice for a professional to hear that and it’s not nice for me to say that either. He’s not happy but he understands and at this stage of his career he wants to play but it looks as if he’s going to have to go elsewhere.”

Hurry Up ‘Arry: It didn’t take him long, but Eyal Berkovic has admitted he would like to return to Southampton to play under Harry Redknapp once more. The Israeli began his career in the English game at Saints, then played for Redknapp at West Ham United. And following Redknapp’s controversial departure from Pompey and subsequent appointment at St Mary’s, the 32-year-old admits he would like to follow his mentor. “I’ve worked with Harry before and he knows all about me,” said Berkovic when he was questioned on a possible move to Southampton.

Reactions and Comments

Six Under Par: KK accepted that his side deserved to lose after they were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham in the Premiership last Saturday. City failed to create a single chance of note as they lost to a fine Fredi Kanoute goal, and not even the introduction of Nicolas Anelka as a substitute could rouse them from their slumber. “It was a very disappointing performance,” admitted Keegan. “We started off okay. But the longer the game went on, the more we were passing it around with no real purpose. We didn’t look to have a goal in us, and there will be a few players who will look at their personal performance and not be very happy with it. If we have five or six players below par we will get beaten, and that is what happened. Spurs created all the best chances and deserved their win.” Tottenham boss Martin Jol believes playing away suits his side after securing a third Premiership win on their travels. He said: “At home you have to take the initiative and away you can play on the counter-attack – maybe that suits us. They came in numbers in the last 20 minutes. We defended well but we should have killed them off earlier.” On Kanoute Jol added: “He did well and his strike with the left foot was wonderful.”

Just Get On With It: KK was asked how he felt about Nicolas Anelka seemingly being booed by City fans when entering the game as a substitute (MCVITA match reports on Monday suggested that the crowd were showing their displeasure at the wrong players being substituted). Da Boss gave a less than ringing support to his French striker. “If Nicolas wants to write articles about this football club and his situation then he has got to realise that in this country the press are going to pick out the bits they want and they will highlight them”, he said. “When a player starts to say that he wants to go to a big club, that alienates fans as Manchester City is a big club. I know we are not in the Champions’ League but he was brought in here to help us try to do that. Instead of writing articles that is what he should concentrate on, getting on the pitch and scoring the goals that will take us there. That is what he is paid to do. He signed a six-year contract here and he has still three years left. That is why some of the fans are upset. I feel the same way. But they know that Nicolas is a top-class player. Even if they did boo him, and I didn’t hear that, they know that he could have got us a goal in the game as they have seen it so many times before. Nicolas has to live with what he says as I have to in life and just get on with it.”

Squad News

Eager Weaver: City Reserves slumped this week to a disappointing 4-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers, but the headlines were made by Nicky Weaver who returned to competitive football for the first time in 16 months. Since appearing in the second leg fixture against TNS in the UEFA Cup last season, Weaver has undergone a number of operations on his damaged knee, culminating in a revolutionary cartilage transplant. Weaver reported no ill effects after the game, and looked forward to his rehabilitation. “My aim is to repay the club, particularly the chairman, for the amount of time, money and effort they have put into my rehab,” said the former England U21 ‘keeper. “Five years ago I might have sniffed at playing at Morecambe for the second team – not now. There are nerves and excitement; it’s a bit of everything rolled into one. It is well over a year since I last played but the over-riding emotion is one of excitement just to get playing again because you almost forget what it feels like to run out on a pitch. I will be taking this one stage at a time but the rest of this season is about getting back to match sharpness so that I can hopefully challenge David James for the No 1 slot next year and perhaps earn a new contract in the process.” added Weaver. “Possibly, I might have to go out on loan in the New Year, which will be good for me to get some first team games under my belt.” Weaver was not concerned with the defeat to Rovers’ second string, as he overcame the first psychological barrier of competing again in an organised match situation. “I could have enjoyed conceding 10 goals tonight because there are times when you think perhaps you are not going to make it to this point,” he admitted. “It would have been nice to win and maybe keep a clean sheet. But the main thing for me is to get through it and I feel fine. There was a time when I thought this day might never come, so it was a bit emotional when I ran out,” he added. “I came through well, my knee is fine but I have to say the groin and thighs are a bit sore. I did a lot more kicking than I expected I would but, yes, I am just delighted to get through it. The wind was sweeping down but I enjoyed it. It was a pity we lost 4-1 in the end but the main for me was to get through it.”

Dodgy Future for ‘Keepers? Nicky Weaver’s road to recovery may mean an uncertain future at the club for Kevin Stuhr Ellegaard. The Danish ‘keeper is out of contract at the end of the season and, as yet, there has been no move from City’s board to open discussions with Ellegaard, who joined the club in November 2001 from Farum. It sounds like the club are trying to keep all their options open with regard to their goalkeepers. “Kevin Ellegaard is in the last year of his contract and his agent has been on asking us what we are going to do with him,” KK confirmed. “We will let him know at Christmas because we will know exactly what’s what. He has played in the Premiership and we know he can do it. He has played almost every reserve game bar two and there is a possibility he might go on loan, too.” Presumably KK is waiting to hear what plans Ronald Waterreus has for the New Year. There have been contradictory reports on what will happen to the Dutch international. One source states that Borussia Mönchengladbach could make a move for Wattereus – the Bundesliga side are now coached by Dick Advocaat, who was Holland’s manager in Euro 2004 when Waterreus was part of his squad. Yet our Dutch correspondent Henk Timmer writes to say that reports in Holland suggest the ‘keeper fancies staying in Manchester. Waterreus is big mates with a horse faced individual from the other side of town, apparently.

Dunne Dunroamin’: Richard Dunne has made it clear that he ain’t going nowhere, following last week’s reports of Newcastle United’s interest. In fact the Irish defender wants to extend his stay at the CoMS, and there are moves afoot to achieve this. “My agent was in last week for a first meeting and hopefully something will be sorted out as soon as possible,” he said. “I definitely want to stay at City. I have really improved as a player here and really enjoy it here. I want to keep that going. I have played more games than any other outfield player this season with the exception of Sylvain Distin so I can’t be regarded as being a kid anymore. I have grown up a lot and the manager sees me as one of the most experienced players in his squad. I have to use that as added pressure to perform. I am a similar character to Sylvain Distin. We tend not to go shouting our heads off but we are both willing to learn. Over the last year, since David James came in, he has done a lot of talking and things have improved between us.”

More Bradley: BWP has penned a new deal with the Blues that will keep him at the club until 2007. The nineteen year old made his second Premiership appearance against Spurs on Saturday, and shortly after the final whistle he signed a two year extension to his current contract that was due to run out at the end of the season. “My current contract runs out at the end of this season and we started talking about an extension to it two or three weeks ago,” he explained. “We got is sorted out and I signed after the match against Spurs. There was never any question of me wanting to go anywhere else even if I was wanted by another club. I am so happy to stay here and don’t want to go anywhere else. I could sum it all up by saying that the new deal is a dream come true for me. It gives me more time to progress and that is very important. It is important too that I am familiar with the club and the players having come through the Academy.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


City’s 2004/5 FA Youth Cup campaign got off to winning ways thanks to a comfortable home victory over West Bromich Albion at Sportcity’s Athletics Arena. City scored four goals after going behind to an early strike from Rob Elvins. A brace of goals came from Shaleum Logan, one from rising star Ishmael Miller and the other goal was scored by the vastly experienced Nedum Onuoha, who took the mantle of team captain for the match.

City started one pace behind their opponents and so it was no surprise to see them take the lead on six minutes when their right winger, Chris Humphrey found space down the right and crossed an inch perfect cross for Elvins to head past Kasper Schmeichel and stun the expecting City faithful.

This woke City into some action, and within five minutes, they drew level again. Miller made a surging run down the centre and laid the ball off to Ashley Grimes, who cut inside the defender and sent his pass back in across the penalty area. Miller dummied the pass to allow Logan to run onto the loose ball and fire inside the near post from eight yards.

Albion immediately tried to come back into the game with a shot from Tom Barnett, but it went just wide. From that point on though, City made their quality count and dominated proceedings.

City’s second goal came from a good in-swinging free kick on the left from Grimes and Miller rose powerfully to head into the far corner of the net, giving Albion goalkeeper Luke Daniels no chance.

City’s third goal came from their first corner of the match. Dead ball specialist Sam Williamson struck a good cross in that the ‘keeper failed to reach and the ball was only half cleared; Logan headed the ball back into the danger area and Onuoha dipped cleverly and headed the ball backwards, looping over Daniels and into the back of the net.

The second half was much quieter in terms of chances created; West Brom obviously tried to restrict City any more chances as the contest was effectively over.

After an indifferent first half, Kelvin Etuhu showed decent form in the second and was the main instigator of City’s attacks. Indeed, he nearly got on the scoresheet in the fifty-seventh minute when Daniels saved his shot at the near post.

West Brom were very lucky to still have eleven men on the field when Jarded Hodkiss stopped a certain goal in the penalty area with his hand when Miller had cut a cross back to Grimes and he had half volleyed against the ground towards the goal. The referee, however, obviously thought that the penalty was sufficient punishment. Grimes was the player to take responsibility of the award, but Daniels got down quickly to save his spot kick.

City finally killed the game off as a contest with eight minutes to go when Miller used his powerful frame to hold off two defenders in the corner and passed the ball down the line to the unmarked Etuhu; he put in a fine, deep cross for Logan to nod past Daniels in goal.

City now await the winners of Woking versus Brighton for their fourth round tie at home, to be played by 22nd January 2005.

City: Schmiechel, Wallwork, Williamson, Richards (Russell 87), Onuoha (Capt.), Williams, Etuhu, Johnson, Grimes (Sturridge 87), Miller, Logan.
Not Used: Matthewson, McGinlay, Marshall.

West Brom: Daniels, Hodgkiss, Barnett, Forsyth (Manchester 43), Paskowec, Davies (Capt.), Humphrey (McQuilkin 63), Pringle, Elvins, Nicholson, Kelleher.
Not Used: Bateman, Downing, Baker.

Man of the Match: Ashley Williams (central midfield).

Att: 501.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


The Spurs game on Saturday was shown live on Irish TV, one of those where afterwards you wish it hadn’t been. Somehow City contrived to have all the possession but not create any chances, whilst Spurs counter-attacked well. Having seen the Boro game on Monday as well, it showed how reliant we are on SWP playing well now – he had a quiet game on Monday and was far too hurried on Saturday.

My view on the games is that there’s a real lack of balance in the side with Sibierski on the left; he tries hard but playing wide doesn’t suit him and he’s missing far too often. Another problem is that when Sibierski plays, every dead ball is aimed at his head and although he wins his fair share of headers, he’s just not a very accurate header of the ball, so the moves break down. He had a good chance at the end of the first half on Saturday but didn’t connect properly. It’s not just Sibierski, there’s very little creativity when Barton and Bosvelt play – almost every forward pass against Spurs was hit 40 or 50 yards, and only about 3 actually reached their target.

I’m not totally down, having seen how well we can play when some of the players gel like against Portsmouth, but it’d be nice if when things aren’t working we could see a change earlier than the last 15 minutes. And hopefully in January Keegan can bring in a cheap and cheerful left sided player. Andy Reid? Not likely, but he’d be a great addition. Or maybe give Flood a shot on the left; although I hate having wrong footed players out wide, it’d be better than the current lack of shape in the middle.

That’s my whinge over.

P Carey <pj.carey(at)>


So Stuart Pearce has designs on taking over from Kevin Keegan when he retires at the end of next season? Well, a few months ago I would probably have dismissed the idea out of hand but now I’m inclined to think there’s a lot to be said for employing him from within the club.

More than anything, it’s the timing of Pearce’s decision to throw his name into the ring that makes me think he might be an ideal successor. By going on the record so early, I wonder if he clearly thinks he could do the job already having seen how the club is run on a day to basis?

He’s clearly made an impact on the standard of our defending already, even if there’s still plenty of room for further improvement, and I do wonder if Pearce is maybe looking at the job Keegan is doing now and has no shortage of ideas for improvement, ideas he might feel it’s not his place to suggest now.

Let’s face it, when it comes to tactics and substitutions during the course of a game, he couldn’t really do any worse than Keegan, could he? Meanwhile, I’m sure we wouldn’t get the same old lame excuses from him about the other team just being “better on the day” like we heard again from KK after the sorry performance against Spurs.

No, it seems to me that Pearce has all the qualities we are currently lacking from the current manager: hunger, desire, passion, enthusiasm. I could even suggest the respect of the players, although maybe that might be a bit harsh on KK even if he does appear to give them an easy ride.

Besides, I’m not sure I totally trust the club to make the right appointment from outside the club, judging by the amount of debt we’ve accumulated in the last couple of years. We still seem to have this “massive club” complex where appointing a man with a big-name reputation and a huge salary is more important than considering the actual credentials and the enthusiasm of a successor.

Of course, we’d be taking a bit of a gamble by appointing Pearce because of his age and inexperience but the standard of football in this country has advanced so much in the last few years that many of the old heads have been left behind by younger, forward-thinking managers with revolutionary training techniques. And I include a certain Mr Fergsuon in that remark to some extent!

Take a look at the profile of so many current Premiership bosses: Alan Curbishley, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, David O’Leary, Steve McClaren, Steve Bruce (and maybe we’ll be talking about Iain Dowie in the same breath soon enough). They’re all in their forties and all of them represented a gamble for their respective clubs at the time they were appointed.

All of them gambles have paid off, though, so why can’t Pearce? As far as I’m concerned he’s a winner, he won’t suffer anyone who doesn’t aspire to the same standards he set as a player and he wouldn’t be crying out for this job unless he genuinely believed he could do it.

More to the point, he can start preparing himself for the job now to make the transition seamless and if the improvement in our defensive frailties is anything to go by, I’d start by giving him a more hands-on rôle in other areas of the pitch now.

Mike Holden <MikeHoldenMCFC(at)>


Sorry to appear to be jumping on the bandwagon, but this is only the second time I have written, the first one being a Why Blue. I have been a City supporter for over 45 years and I always will be. But being a City supporter is beginning to seriously wear me down. How many more miserable Saturday nights can I endure? After years in the doldrums, Kevin Keegan gave us fresh hope but that is swiftly disappearing.

I suppose it was at the end of last season when I found that the usual adrenalin rush waking up on match days first started to desert me. My whole week used to revolve around match days. Lots of season ticket holders near where we sat, said that they had had enough and that they wouldn’t be renewing. Even my brother, who is a year younger than me and just as fanatical, decided that he wasn’t going to part with his hard-earned cash any more. He would just go to selected matches. In fact he has only been to three home matches so far.

City have been inconsistent for many years when they are in the top flight. I don’t know what the answer is. Players seem to come here with big reputations and after a while decide to rest on their laurels. They don’t seem to give 100% every week. If the fans can see this why can’t the manager?

I have always been a supporter of Kevin Keegan in the past but I am beginning to think that his time has passed. I know that he has a lot of injury problems at the present time but can we really say that if these players were fit they would add anything to the team – I don’t think so. He likes to gives his favourites a chance – as we all do – but they have let him down – and us – time and time again and I fear that it is time for a change.

What I would like to see is the following:

  1. Kevin Keegan made up to Director of Football with a minimal input intoteam affairs for the remaining 18 months of his contract.
  2. Stuart Pearce made Head Coach and allowed to bring in his own coachingstaff.
  3. Nicolas Anelka allowed to go in the January sales (look what happened toEverton when they allowed their prize asset / prima donna Mr Rooney to go -from bottom of the league to second).

I will always support City – that feeling will never die, but at the moment I sometimes can’t be bothered if I miss a match or not. I have never had this feeling before, not even when we were in Division 2.

CTID, Roy Waddington <roy(at)>


Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to be sampling wines at vineyards in the Margaret River region in the south west of Western Australia. For the first time in 3 or 4 weeks, the City game was not being televised, so until Sunday morning when they give the results out on the radio, I was totally oblivious as to how City performed, or underperformed as it turned out. As a result a magnificent day remained unspoilt.

After recent improved (if only slightly) performances, and the hint of yet another new dawn, I was quietly optimistic that we would get a result. Maybe Keegan had finally woken up to the fact that City’s future lay with some of the excellent up and coming youngsters, and not the old crocks that he has accumulated at great expense to the detriment of the club’s finances and performances, past, present and future.

On hearing the score on the radio I was obviously disappointed. Maybe we had been unlucky, maybe we had met Spurs on a day they had excelled (i.e. like City against the Rags last year), maybe the ref was one-eyed and we were robbed. On arriving back in Perth I was straight on to the Internet to find out what had gone wrong. Nothing had gone wrong, it was business as usual, we had returned to normal. The comments on the MEN website had not changed much either: Sibierski has joined the ranks of Sinclair and McManaman who should never wear a City shirt again. Barton (who until recently was a reborn star) seems incapable of passing to any player who wears the same coloured shirt. Mills was a joke, Macken is not a Premier League player etc. The biggest criticism though went to Keegan and his total lack of understanding about how the game should be played tactically, who to play and in what position, and the substitutions he made and the time he made them seem to have left everyone totally bewildered.

Being far away from the action, MCIVTA, BBC and MEN websites are main sources of information on the Blues. The MEN website frequently has City “Polls” trying to gauge supporters’ views on various topics (which tend to be manipulated by those from the other side of town)… but none on Keegan himself. So I would like to get the views from genuine Blues on how they feel about Keegan as manager with the following questions:

  1. Are you satisfied with Keegan’s performance as City manager YES/NO
  2. Do you see City making progress under Keegan over the next 18 months YES/NO
  3. Are you happy with Keegan’s dealings in the transfer market with bothtransfers in and out YES/NO
  4. Do you think City’s younger players will be forgotten about when the likesof Sinclair, McManaman are fit again YES/NO
  5. Do you think Keegan should step down as Manager and give someone else atry YES/NO
  6. If Keegan does not step aside or resign, do you think the board shouldsack him YES/NO
  7. If Keegan goes who would you like to see replace him asManager/Coach?

Replies to me by email at the address shown. Just to get the ball rolling, my response would be:

1) NO 2) NO 3)NO 4) YES 5)YES 6)YES 7) Asa Hartford

Results to be published some time after Xmas. Christmas Greetings to all.

Andrew Ranson – Perth W.A. <Aranson(at)>


We’ve lost the plot so easily
Seems we just can’t count to three
Kevin says we’re short on players
We’ll have to say some extra prayers
The chairman sticking with his man
Hope one day he’ll find his plan

He shoots he scores well maybe not
And Macken runs around a lot
It’s easy for us to criticise
And easy for them to demoralise
Keegan tales of woe thrice woe
And it looks like the Sulk’s about to blow

My wife tells me that I’m sad
To love a team that can play so bad
Every week you sit and pray
That today will be your day
And every week your heart is broke
With Andy Gray more fun to poke

Come City come lads
And show some metal
Play some footie
Don’t let them settle
City are my pride and joy
So step down Kevin there’s a good boy



I would just like to thank those of you who took the time and effort to write supportive emails to me. I appreciated that kind of support more than you can ever imagine as I did feel very isolated by this incident. It just shows how passionate you lot are!

Through MCIVTA I have also found many witnesses willing to make statements about this, which is exactly what I needed. A young man who sits near me was also assaulted by a Police Officer that day and his father has also made a complaint about the behaviour of the Police at this game.

I have spoken to Peter Fletcher, the ground safety officer and he assures me that they will be fair and look at the Police and stewards’ reports after the Tottenham game and then he will decide whether to ban me or not. If I do get banned it is a minimum of 3 years. I supported City when they were in Division 2; I hope they support me now when I need them too.

I have my fingers crossed. And my toes.


I have just received a phone call today (15th December 2004) from Mr. Peter Fletcher and the great news is after reading the reports I am not to be banned – result! The sense of relief, I have no words.

Happy Christmas everyone! Once again a big thank you to you all. MCIVTA is brilliant.

[Good news Mark, what an awful experience to go through – Ed]

Mark Redgrave <leaguecup1976(at)>


I write in reply to Mark Redgrave’s piece in MCIVTA 1078 and totally agree with his comments. I too sit in the South Stand, 1 seat away from the aisle separating the 2 sets of fans. Constantly, after about 20 minutes, there is this sudden appearance of stewards (they appear from nowhere like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn) and Police. I sit on row J, which, by my counting is about 10 rows back from the front.

At the Spurs match, the stewards actually excelled themselves. They wanted the fans who were standing to sit down and kept mentioning the Council and their licensing etc. Now, I understand the Council’s view and the fact that MCFC have to implement the ruling – but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it, Mark mentioned ways in which the could approach it, however, the stewards have another way.

Instead of getting them to sit down at the front, therefore enabling others to see behind and sit down themselves, the stewards have been starting at my row – or further behind – to get us to sit down first! What a winner that idea is, but if we refuse to sit down – mitigating circumstances being that we can’t see – we are threatened with being thrown out!

Again, when we question things we are referred to the Council’s ‘stance’, but this rule clearly only applies to those sat on the first 15 rows up and about 8 seats across. The rest of the stand get to stand up all game.

Now for some bizarre admissions by a couple of stewards – 1 of them is asked to evict 10 supporters per game to try and get the message across. Also, after seeing one fan evicted for singing, wait for it, no – it’s nothing foul and abusive, anti-semitic, racist, sexist or any other’ist – his crime was to sing “stand up if you love City”. Now okay, it could be argued that while stewards are trying to sit people down, not the best song in the world to sing, but what if the Kippax start it off at the same time? Are we supposed to sit down and ignore it? Hell no, we will sing it! But a steward’s other confession was that they have been told to evict anyone who ‘starts’ to get the song going!

Again, does this apply to the South Stand? Next time KK or Mr Chairman moan about the lack of atmosphere, they need look no further that their own stewards and Manchester’s Police force. There was a time when you could speak to a steward/policeman without any fear of anything happening – now if you question something you risk getting marched out of the ground – even if you are explaining how you can’t see if you sit down!

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Anelka’s remarks of that he wants to play in the Champions’ League is a statement that we can all understand; most players would say the same. But when he adds to it that he wants to be with a “bigger club” than City, that was a big mistake on Anelka’s part. He hurt a lot of City supporters with that comment. Manchester City are one of the top six clubs in the attendance league, the Manchester City stadium is not just one of the finest in England but in the World. Sure, we are not a top six team yet, but Anelka was brought into City to help us be there; with his attitude we shall not get there.

I think it best for Manchester City and Anelka that we part company. Anelka is not cup-tied for the Champions’ League, and two clubs are supposed to be interested in Anelka: Liverpool, with the team captain Gerrard asking for him – he might get his wish, being that Liverpool want to hang on to Gerrard, and have striker problems through injuries. Barcelona are also in the market, another team with striker injuries.

Anelka has got some brilliance at times, and we must take our hats off to Kevin Keegan for making a great effort to bring the best out of Anelka, for at his previous clubs he was known as a troublemaker, and for two years Anelka has not been the bad boy of the past (unless it’s been covered up).

There are going to be mixed feeling from supporters about Anelka leaving, but one has to think what is best for Manchester City, no one player is City. With City’s financial troubles, Anelka’s fee is not going to help much, but it will at least free up some cash.

The player that City desperately needs is a midfield player on the left side. City will not have much cash to play with so the budget will be tight. The player I would take a strong look at is Andy Reid, who is not happy at Nottingham Forest. I think that Stuart Pearce has already looked at this player, no idea what his thoughts are. Spurs showed an interest in Reid last season, but Nottingham Forest did not want Reid to leave and so they added an extra million on top of what Spurs were prepared to pay, so the deal fell through. Reid has been playing for his country Ireland, so Richard Dunne should know about Reid.

It does not matter who our strikers are, be it Anelka or whoever they are, they can’t score goals unless the ball is put up front for them, they need the service. January will soon be here and we shall all know who goes and who will come in.

Come on you Blues!

[If any of our French based blues have access to a copy of the Anelka interview, which I have been searching in vain for, I would appreciate seeing this to make up my own mind about the mis-interpretation or otherwise of his comments by our glorious gutter press – Ed]

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Minutes of Fans’ Committee delegation with club officials, 13 December 2004.

Present: Dave Miller (chair), Steve Parish, Graham Walker, Paul Mullins, Simon Cooper, Ged Isaacs, Mick Curtis, Dave Wallace, Gavin Cooper, Phill Gatenby, Tom Ritchie, Mark Redgrave.

For the club: John Wardle, Alistair Mackintosh, Sara Billington.

  1. Dave Miller opened the meeting indicating that the idea was to relaunchthe committee, but with a different “brand” name; some people camerepresenting only themselves, but were members of other groups, e.g.supporters’ club branches. The club’s hope was for a group where people didrepresent others and ensured that meetings / discussions were reported back.
  2. Branding of the stadium. Alistair said City would have the place “as blueas possible”, but it had been funded by Sport England and was to be used forother events. There were also issues of EC regulations restricting publicsubsidies for private organisations. This led to “obscure ironies” – Citycould not (e.g.) have MCFC picked out on the seats but a commercial sponsorcould have its logo everywhere (e.g. Key 103 stand). The club would be happyfor fans to query the rules and press for a relaxation of the rules; e.g. asign saying “The City of Manchester Stadium – home of Manchester CityFootball Club” (with an attribution somewhere to Sport England).
  3. The club are keen to have more banners around the ground (in and out) -supporters’ clubs to be encouraged to have them made (and they can stay upbetween matches). They must be weighted to avoid obscuring people’s views;must be fireproofed. Anyone planning one to liaise with club or supporters’associations. One flag had drawn complaints re implied racism.
  4. Reserve team venue. Parking: there could be other functions on the site,so for consistency and commercial necessity, parking for the matches was onNorth car park. Floodlights had been adjusted to try and avoid dark patches.Use of main stadium was opposed on grounds of cost of stewarding, andpreserving the playing surface (when Sky pay up to £350,000 per televised match,they like to see green pitches).
  5. Pricing for home cup ties. A balance – City’s prices generally are in thelowest quartile, but player wages are in the top half. The opposition has toagree cup game prices. Arsenal prices were fixed before it was scheduled forTV (and why would Arsenal want lower prices, if the total revenue was less,and the extra supporters were all cheering City?). The club is making pricingdecisions on the reality of “price inelasticity” – i.e. reducing pricesdoesn’t add that many to the gate (not enough to make up the lost revenue onthe tickets you’d sell anyway). There are 88,000 registered cardholders atCity, and (changes in fan demography) more women, with the average age comingdown.
  6. Away match prices. Alistair is on a Premier League Working Group lookingat this; issues include “fiddles” on supposed similar pricing for home / awayfans, and relatively poor facilities offered to away fans.
  7. Season ticket prices. Club were told that a large increase, especiallygiven the product offered of late, would mean price resistance. Still, £30 oneach season ticket = £1 million.
  8. Scoreboard. Two state-of-the-art high-definition screens to show replayswould cost £1 million – not on the Board’s current list of priorities.
  9. Loyalty points. Generally felt a good system, except for people gettingthe points and selling on the tickets. Appreciation expressed by fans forKevin Parker’s work in admin of tickets via supporters’ clubs.
  10. Smoking policy. Not much discussion – it was felt that the City Councilwould soon seek a ban of smoking in all public places; the club mightorganise a smoke-free day, including health promotion and offering patches…
  11. Catering. Some problems, but City are at top of “league table” for saleson a matchday. To speed up payment, token scheme suggested, or use of cardsas “e-purse” (where you pay to “load” the card with money, then use thecard). Alistair reported that Rangers tried that, and made most money fromsupporters who loaded the card then lost the card!
  12. Programme sales. Shortages at some games in some areas – club baffled asthey always have programmes left. Further investigation by club (needs to bereported as and when it happens).
  13. Kits. Inconclusive debate about merits of this year’s away kit. Why notred & black? Because it was “an atrocious seller” – John Wardle says children(a big market for shirts) want fashion, not tradition. Club noncommittal aboutnext season’s kits.
  14. Safe standing. Reports from Atmosphere Action Group re planned day ofshowing support for safe standing (but not by persistent standing), and fromPhill Gatenby on Football Supporters’ Association pressure for a change inregulations. Contrast with standing at rock concerts, even if not safe.The club cannot condone standing in all-seater stadium, but is sympatheticfor challenge to present law. There were first-hand comments on allegedheavy-handed policing to enforce sitting at the last home match.
  15. Brief discussion on ways to maximise notice of the “group formerly knownas the Fans’ Committee”. To go in programme, as well as through OSC and CSA tobranches, and in fanzines and MCIVTA.
  16. No date for next meeting.

(Minutes to those on email list, to fanzines, MCIVTA, and on Talkin City; I’ll contact OSC and CSA to see how they want to disseminate information)

Also, if anyone has suggestions for a name for the “ex-committee”, let me know. We’d probably decide that by asking those on this list – my favourite so far is Points of Blue!

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


Manchester: The Greatest City – The Complete Official History of Manchester City Football Club by Gary James (2002 edition).

Is there any Blue out there who might have a copy of the above named for sale? Or know where I might get my hands on one? I bought a copy for a fellow Blue, but at the time and to my regret didn’t purchase one for myself. If anyone can assist could they contact me at the email below.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

[I understand from Gary that the version you refer to sold out in 3 months! There are not any plans to reprint, but an update will have to be done when we win the FA Cup this season! Another book that might be worth trying is Gary’s “Farewell To Maine Road”, which is still available from the MCFC store, and that follows a similar style to “The Greatest City” – Ed]

Michael Strupczewski – Cambridge Blue <mls1000(at)>or <m.strupczewski(at)>


One adult and two junior tickets available for the Everton boxing day fixture. Would make an ideal Christmas present?!

Please call Richard on 0207 477 7006 (daytime) or via e-mail.

Richard Ginty <richard.ginty(at)>


Anyone know of any bars on the West side of Manhattan, New York that show proper footy games where I can go and watch City vs. West Brom after Christmas?

If you do, let me know by email. And cheers, let’s hope we can watch the Blues stuff WBA!

Roderic Jones <rodericjones(at)>


Thieves broke into a Manchester United supporter’s house and stole two books, “The thing that upsets me” he said “is that I had not finished colouring them”

What would you get if Manchester United got relegated?
45,000 more supporters in London.

A City and United supporter are strolling along Deansgate in Manchester and suddenly the City supporter says “Whoooh, did you see that dead bird?”
The United supporter looks skyward and says “huh, where?”

What’s the difference between Shaun Wright-Phillips and a Mini?
A Mini can only carry three passengers.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


14 December 2004

Liverpool             1 - 1  Portsmouth            35,064

13 December 2004

Fulham                1 - 1  Manchester United     21,940

League table to 15 December 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         17  6  2  0 15  3  6  2  1 18  5 12  4  1  33   8  25  40
 2 Everton         17  6  1  2 11  9  5  2  1 10  5 11  3  3  21  14   7  36
 3 Arsenal         17  5  4  0 25 11  5  1  2 19 11 10  5  2  44  22  22  35
 4 Manchester Utd  17  5  3  0 12  3  3  4  2 11  8  8  7  2  23  11  12  31
 5 Middlesbrough   17  4  3  1 13  9  4  2  3 16 13  8  5  4  29  22   7  29
 6 Liverpool       17  6  1  1 16  6  1  3  5  9 13  7  4  6  25  19   6  25
 7 Aston Villa     17  5  3  1 15  6  1  4  3  7 13  6  7  4  22  19   3  25
 8 Charlton Ath.   17  4  2  2 12  8  3  1  5  7 19  7  3  7  19  27  -8  24
 9 Bolton Wndrs    17  4  2  2 12  8  2  3  4 14 17  6  5  6  26  25   1  23
10 Portsmouth      17  5  1  2 15 11  1  4  4  8 13  6  5  6  23  24  -1  23
11 Tottenham H.    17  2  2  4 11 12  4  2  3  5  5  6  4  7  16  17  -1  22
12 Newcastle Utd   17  3  3  3 16 16  2  3  3 12 16  5  6  6  28  32  -4  21
13 Manchester City 17  3  3  3 10  6  2  2  4 11 12  5  5  7  21  18   3  20
14 Fulham          17  3  1  5  9 16  2  2  4 10 12  5  3  9  19  28  -9  18
15 Birmingham City 17  1  4  3  5  7  2  4  3  9 12  3  8  6  14  19  -5  17
16 Norwich City    17  2  4  3 12 15  0  5  3  5 13  2  9  6  17  28 -11  15
17 Crystal Palace  17  2  2  5  8 11  1  3  4  9 13  3  5  9  17  24  -7  14
18 Blackburn R.    17  1  5  2 10 14  1  3  5  6 16  2  8  7  16  30 -14  14
19 Southampton     17  2  5  2 13 13  0  2  6  4 13  2  7  8  17  26  -9  13
20 West Brom A.    17  1  4  4  7 14  0  3  5  8 18  1  7  9  15  32 -17  10

With thanks to Football 365

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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

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[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?

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

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

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Newsletter #1079