Newsletter #1090

As we bid adieu to Anelka after one of the most protracted and denied transfer dealings since the Fowler move, we welcome new loan signing Musampa, Thatcher is back (did he ever go?) and Negouai (that most exciting signing) also leaves on loan to Coventry. A full news round-up of ins, outs and maybes tonight, together with all things happening City-wise from Don.

The youth team progressed through to a fifth round tie of the FA Youth Cup against Wolves, report tonight thanks to Gavin.

We also have continuing opinion on ‘things’.

Next game: Newcastle United, home, 7.45pm Wednesday 2 February 2005


General News

The Life of Bryan: The M.E.N. gave us an update this week on Bryan Richardson’s alleged interest in joining City’s board. The paper claimed that Francis Lee had been making representations on Richardson’s behalf – Lee has had a meeting with current Chairman John Wardle over a possible rôle for the former Coventry City Chairman, who is a friend of Frannie. The paper quotes Richardson as saying: “I am very interested in getting involved in a football club. I don’t think that is anything new but what I would say is that there is no point unless the level of finance is in place.”

Three’s Company: Three boy Blues have been called up for England’s Under-20 squad to play Russia at Charlton in February. Nedum Onuoha, Bradley Wright-Phillips and winger Lee Croft have been selected. England coach John Peacock has hinted that both Nedum and Beep will win their first caps in the match. “Bradley’s been playing at a high level and Chinedum Onuoha is another new cap and he’s a year younger, so that’s pleasing. This match is a great chance to have a look at how the new caps will do on the international scene.” Meanwhile Willo Flood has been called up to the Republic of Ireland 18-man squad for their international clash with Portugal.

Euro 2005 Fixtures: The draw for the Women’s Euro2005 Championship was made at Eastlands this week. England are in a group with Denmark, Sweden and Finland, who are the host nation’s first opponents on Sunday 5th June. Chief Executive, Alistair Mackintosh remarked that: “It is a genuine honour for us that the City of Manchester Stadium has been chosen as the venue for England’s opening fixture in this tournament. We look forward to welcoming both teams to the Stadium and hope it provides a winning start to a very successful campaign for the host nation.”

Oh Ashley! The under-18’s beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 last night to book a place in the Fifth Round of the FA Youth Cup, where a date with Wolverhampton Wanderers awaits. Brighton took the lead last night on 20 minutes, and survived for another 40 minutes until Ishmael Miller poked home the equaliser. City secured victory in the final minute of the game when Ashley Grimes struck the winner. “I am delighted to get through it was a very difficult fixture,” remarked Jim Cassell. “I have been telling people all week it would be difficult; we had to shore up at the back with a fifteen year old kid following the late withdrawal of Micah Richards through flu. It was a bit of a struggle at the end and I did not think we were going to score, we could not deal with the movement of Robinson but I am glad we are through.”
Team: Schmeichel, Wallwork, Williamson, McDonald (Russell 74), Onuoha, Williams, Etuhu, Johnson, Grimes, Miller, S Logan (Sturridge 59). Subs: Matthewson, McGinlay, Marshall.

Wright Left? Sven-Goran Eriksson has hinted that he may hand a rôle to SWP on the left of England’s midfield. Eriksson said it could be possible to accommodate the winger by playing David Beckham in a central rôle. “David now for one and a half years has played central midfield for Real Madrid so of course it’s possible,” stated the England boss. “He could do that maybe for the national team as well. That depends on the way we want to play.” But he then added that Sweep might play on the left flank in the forthcoming friendly against Holland. “It’s not his best position but I’m sure Shaun Wright-Phillips could also play on the left, I’m quite sure about that. Even if, for Shaun, it’s better to be on the right. Probably I’m going to pick him and we will have two practice sessions. We’ll see if he starts or if he comes on in the second half, I don’t know that yet. He’s doing better and better and he deserves to be in the squad and maybe I’ll decide to play him as well, I don’t know. He’s played second striker sometimes and he’s clever so I’m sure he can play to the left but probably his best position is to the right.” KK thought that this was good news for Shaun – any place in the team is better than no place. “My instant reaction was that it’s good news for Shaun because it means he’s going to play,” Keegan said yesterday. “He can play anywhere and, for me, he might be the answer to the left-side problem that has been there with England for years, going back to before I was in charge and Glenn Hoddle was in charge. No doubt about it – he can play anywhere, except centre half and goalkeeper, that is. Once he gets in that England team, I don’t think he’ll come out again. He has to be in the England side and, if that means a bit of compromise, playing on the left-hand side or wherever, so be it. Obviously he can play on the right if they want him to, but I think he might surprise Sven Goran Eriksson with just how well he can play in that position. Why shouldn’t he be the answer to that problem?”

Transfer News and Gossip

Kiki Deal: He hadn’t been mentioned in the news journals till Sunday morning, but Netherlands and Atletico Madrid winger Kiki Musampa has joined City on a six-month loan deal. Musampa started his career at Ajax ten years ago where he spent two years before moving to Bordeaux. After a further two years the Holland international headed for Spain and Malaga where he spent three years, making seventy five appearances and scoring seventeen goals. The twenty-seven year old joined Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2003. The winger started the first six games of this season under Atletico’s new coach Cesar Ferrando, but has since slipped out of the first-team picture. He was pushed further down the pecking order by Atletico’s recent signing of Jesper Gronkjaer. “I had a look around here and must say it looked good,” Kiki told Sky Sports News. “Everything looks big and, immediately, you have the impression that it is a big club. George Boateng, Clyde Wijnhard, Mario Melchiot and Nordin Wooter are my friends who used to play in The Premiership. In this six months, I am here first of all to help Manchester reach their objectives. I am willing to give all of myself to help the club. After it, God only knows. I can play in midfield or on the outside as a winger, especially on the left side as I’m left footed.” [Thanks Matt Thomas and Henk Timmer]

So Farewell, Then… At long last, the saga is over. Almost. Fenerbahce have reportedly agreed a fee with City for Nicolas Anelka. The Turkish outfit have been chasing the French striker throughout the transfer window and are finally close to securing his signature. Reports earlier in the week had suggested that Fener were prepared to pay €4.7 million (£3.26 million) to take Anelka on an initial six-month loan, with a view to a permanent arrangement. The size of the fee has not as yet been announced, although the latest reports suggest that the fee is nearer the £7 million suggested last week. A City spokesman said tonight: “Manchester City and Fenerbahce have agreed a fee for the transfer of Nicolas Anelka. The club will make no further comment until the transfer is complete.” The People reported last Sunday that Anelka had snubbed a £6 million switch to Newcastle.

The Left Back’s Back: With Ben Thatcher’s move to Fulham all but completed, Friday’s papers were full of speculation over who the replacement would be. KK revealed that Spanish full-back Juanfran was indeed a target. Mr K. also said that he wanted two more players on loan. “Juanfran is one of the players we are looking at. There are not a lot of left backs around and he is quality, but it may be just a bit too expensive for us. We are being reactive rather than proactive, at the moment, but at least we are looking to strengthen. I’m confident I’ll get one in, there’s a good chance I’ll get two and if I’m really lucky and say my prayers, then I might get all three.” SV Hamburg’s Christian Rahn certainly wasn’t Eastlands bound. He joined Bundesliga.2 title contenders Cologne after rejecting a move to City. “We are very happy that Christian snubbed better offers and decided to join us,” stated Cologne chief Wolfgang Overath. “His decision proves how much confidence he has in the club.” Then all of a sudden – Ben Thatcher was back. “Ben underwent a medical examination at Fulham last week but unfortunately negotiations between the two clubs have not reached a successful conclusion. Consequently the player will not be joining the West London outfit,” explained Paul Tyrrell.

No Thank You! The Mirror would have us believe that “Graeme Souness is set to tempt Manchester City with a £7 million bid for star defender Sylvain Distin after they rejected his £5 million offer. The Newcastle boss initially turned his attention to Bayern Munich’s Sammy Kuffour after City’s snub – but the Ghanaian now looks to have opted for a switch to Italian giants Inter Milan.” Next bright idea: Craig Bellamy’s Newcastle bust-up started speculation that a swap deal for Distin was on the cards. Luckily this remains speculation.

Spurs Keane on SWeeP: Also rumbling on from last week: Spurs were now said to be ready to offer £10 million plus Robbie Keane for SWP. New Tottenham boss Martin Jol believes Wright-Phillips is the man to boost Spurs’ push for Europe this season, according to the News of the World. It also seems that Mido will be joining Spurs soon. The long-time City target is expected to sign an 18-month loan deal with Tottenham. Spurs will also need international clearance before Mido can be selected, although the Egyptian said he was delighted to help the club’s attempts to qualify for Europe.

Ex-Blues’ News

You Plonker, Rodney: “Ohhh Rodney” Rodney Marsh was sacked from Sky Sports on Tuesday after making “inexcusable” remarks about the Asian tsunami disaster. Marsh made the comments during a phone-in on Sky Sports 1 on Monday night. His Sky Sports bosses reviewed what he said on the live programme and decided to terminate his contract. A Sky Sports spokesman said: “During the live night-time phone-in, Rodney made comments that were offensive and inexcusable. An apology was made within the programme and Rodney’s comments were edited and removed from later transmissions. These remarks should never have been made and Sky would like to offer its apologies to those who were offended.” The 60-year-old, who was known for his outspoken views on football, insisted he did not intend to offend viewers with his comments. Marsh said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence I caused by my thoughtless and inappropriate comment I made last night. My intention was to make a light-hearted football joke. I entirely respect Sky Sports’ position and would add my apology to everyone concerned at Sky. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues and senior executives who have been brilliant to me and always supported me during my time at Sky. I am hugely disappointed in myself for letting them down.”

What’s the Story, McMahon’s Glory: Peter Reid’s former midfield enforcer at City, Steve McMahon, has been appointed coach of Perth Glory in Australia’s domestic soccer competition. He has recently worked as manager at Swindon Town and Blackpool, where he resigned last year after four seasons. “I see a move to Australia as a tremendous challenge for me,” McMahon said. “The potential is limitless and I’m confident I can play a rôle in this.” Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana announced the appointment Tuesday, saying that signing McMahon was a boost for club and Australia’s new A-League competition. “Steve will bring a wealth of international coaching exposure to the club from an illustrious and long playing career,” Tana said. Soccer Australia closed down its former National Soccer League last year and is relaunching its A-League this season with eight clubs.

Goat Going Back? No, not to City, silly! Shaun Goater is said to be a target for Rotherham United. Goater was a prolific scorer during seven years at Millmoor following a move from somewhere in Trafford in 1989 before he became the Maine Road legend that was The Goat. The Bermudan international has fallen out of favour at Reading this season and with new signing Les Ferdinand back from injury, is set to be allowed to leave the Madejski Stadium.

Reactions and Comments

Relegation Fears? Call for City! The charitable institution known as the “MCFC aid scheme for Distressed Football Clubs” was in action yet again last Saturday. West Brom notched their first league win under Bryan Robson at City’s expense. Kevin Campbell marked his home début to fire Albion into an early goal. Albion doubled their lead late on, when Ronnie Wallwork’s diving header rounded off a sweeping move that left City’s so-called defence in disarray. Referee Graham Poll removed any hope of a City revival by wiping out Richard Dunne’s thunderous shot from a free kick, ruling that he had not signalled for a free-kick to be taken. Poll is not what you’d call media shy, and couldn’t wait to appear before the television cameras to explain his decision and claimed it was all down to the Blues’ choice to take a ‘slow’ free kick and to wait for the whistle. “Any situation where you have a free kick around the penalty area, we have what we call a ‘ceremonial’ [Pardon Mr. Poll?]; I will immediately ask the players do you want it quick or slow?” Poll explained. “In this situation it was Robbie Fowler on the ball and he said ‘we want the ten yards’. I then held the whistle up, it’s ten yards, the ‘keeper sees me, I get the wall back the required distance and I take up a position where I can view what I need to view. I’m bringing my whistle up and I think it’s Richard Dunne comes up and thunders it into the net. Well, unfortunately, I hadn’t blown my whistle so we hadn’t restarted playing according to the law. Very simply, if it is slow, they ask for it slow, then they have to wait for the whistle. In the Arsenal case Thierry Henry said ‘can I take it please’, I said ‘yes, take it’, my arm comes out so that’s a signal to re-start play.” If nothing else, KK is always honest in his analysis of a match, so the Boss Man brushed the incident aside saying that: “The disallowed free kick really didn’t matter. Everyone was ready but the referee. The goalkeeper dived, the wall was back but it is not a major incident. It was 2-0; if it had been 1-0 we might have questioned it.”

No Creativity: One controversial incident couldn’t mask the fact that overall it was a pretty limp showing by City. It certainly didn’t fool KK. “It was a very disappointing result. We have lost to a team that had to win and we knew that before kick off,” he said. “We have only taken one point off them and were unlucky when we played them at home but I don’t think we can say that we were unlucky on Saturday. Maybe 2-0 flattered them a bit because for a home side they did not have a lot of possession. But they did the thing that is crucial in football matches, they scored goals and we didn’t. We huffed and puffed but I never felt that we got ourselves into the situation that made me feel that there were goals in us. We had near misses and half chances but we never got a hold of the game in such a way that we really looked like we were going to win the game. I have told the players that there were three or four players missing in the match and in a team game like this we need all eleven. Shaun Wright-Phillips at the moment looks like the only player who can create something for us, and we can’t keep relying on him like that,” said Keegan. “We weren’t good enough. We had two or three players missing tonight, and our other big weakness was that lack of creativity.”

Not Tired: Unfortunately lack of space means I can’t bring you the thoughts of WBA manager (and Reds’ former Captain Coffee Mate) Bryan Robson. Shame. Instead, let’s hear from midfielder Paul Bosvelt. “Losing points against the weaker sides has been the story of our season, and the last one as well,” he said. “There has to be a reason because it is happening too often. We have three tough games coming now but those are the ones we have been performing well in so we hope to recover quickly. We have ten days now before the next contest against Newcastle so we should be fresh although I have to say while I cannot speak for the rest of the team I am not feeling tired. We had a week between Palace and Saturday’s game so we cannot use that as a reason for performing so poorly. We still have a problem defeating the sides were are expected to defeat and I don’t know why that should be. It is not complacency but it is definitely happening too often. We started off poorly on Saturday,” he added. “There was a lot of bad passing and then we made life more difficult for ourselves by conceding a goal. Albion had something to hold on to and made the pitch smaller and smaller and we couldn’t find a way back. The same thing happened against Oldham when we couldn’t come back against a side we should, with due respect, be beating. We have to cure that if we are to progress. We have to make sure we start every game at a high tempo. Even when they fall behind the best sides find a way back. The only time we have fought back is against Newcastle and then we lost the match. Perhaps we have to be stronger mentally. On Saturday we never seemed to get going. We couldn’t find the space or the speed and range of passing that we would like. We were not able to give the lads up front any time or room. We were so slow in our build up at times that we gave West Brom time to reorganise and get behind the ball all the time and defend their lead.”

Squad News

Goals Please: KK has reacted to the impending departure of Nico with a call for goals from all parts of the team. “We have had a fair spread of goal scorers but I would like the centre backs to pitch in with a few more from set plays. It doesn’t matter who scores them really,” he said. “Jon Macken is finding it tough to score at the moment, he is not getting in those positions to get goals but if they fall to him he can finish. Otherwise Antoine will pitch in with four or five a season and I think Joey is capable of getting four or five a season; after that anyone who gets two or three is great.”

Retirement Hint: Hold back those tears gentle reader – Steve McManaman insists that he will not sign a new contract unless he is fit enough. The former England international is out of contract in the summer, but he has struggled with injury all season and been limited to just four starts. McManaman now insists that even if he is offered a new contract by KK – he will only accept it if he is happy with his own fitness. “At the end of the season, I will sit down with my wife and family and talk about whether I am going to carry on or whether I will retire,” McManaman said on Sky Sports. “I do not want to carry on playing if I have an injury and if I knew I was injured I wouldn’t sign a new contract. That is not my style and I don’t think my reputation deserves it either.”

Negouai Sent to Coventry: Christian Negouai has joined Championship side Coventry City on a one month loan. The twenty-seven year-old is set to go straight into Coventry’s squad for their FA Cup fourth round clash with Newcastle at the weekend. The former Charleroi player who joined City in 2001 from the Belgian side has made just two appearances for the Blues’ senior side this term and was sent off in the Boxing Day defeat at Everton. He converted from a midfielder to a striker this season and has scored six goals the Reserves.

Wattereus Flows On: Ronald Waterreus has spoken on the club website of his delight at extending his time with City. The thirty four year old signed up with the Blues in August until January of this year. But now the former PSV shot stopper will stay till the summer. “It was not a difficult decision and that’s because I like the place. It is a nice club to play for, a good area with great people around,” he said. “It is a whole new environment for me. I had been in Holland for fifteen years and there is a time that you want to see something different. At first it was a short term deal but half a season is to short a time to make an impression and that is also why I wanted to stay. I could have done something else but I wanted to stay and give it my best for the next six months. Perhaps I may get into the team, perhaps not. But I am here to challenge David James for a place in the first team. I want to give it my best shot and I hope that if the gaffer thinks I am the better goalkeeper he will put me in. I will be thirty five in the summer and I just want to give it my best shot during the remainder of the season. I want to show everyone that I can do the job if I get the chance.”

[Note – Sarah Longshaw will be bringing the News Summary to you next week – any contributions should still be sent to the regular news address below]

Don Barrie <news(at)>


A game that had all of the crowd wondering which way the tie would go as Brighton took a first half lead against the run of play from Jake Robinson. City only got into the game after Man of the Match Richard Martin, Brighton’s goalkeeper, failed to deal with a long range scuffed shot from Ishmael Miller. City then pressured the goal for long periods but couldn’t find a way past Martin until the ninetieth minute, when Ashley Grimes finished with an exquisite chip into the far corner of the net.

City started the brighter of the two teams, but with the late withdrawal of Micah Richards, who had been struck down with a bout of flu and replaced by emergency centre-half, Clayton McDonald, this gave City a slight nervousness about their play. City had a goal disallowed in the second minute though when a Grimes free kick was challenged by Miller, on Martin, who spilled the ball and Kyle Wallwork followed in to put the ball in.

Miller then made one of his trademark runs down the left but could only find the side netting this time. The game then drifted for a little while as City failed to get a grip on the midfield.

Then the unthinkable happened; for the second match in a row in the Youth Cup, City went behind to lower league opposition. Brighton’s Wes Fogden picked up a loose Michael Johnson pass and sent a ball beyond the City defence for Robinson to chase onto and with his pace he got in front of McDonald and finished low past Schmeichel in goal.

City then tried to get right back into the tie with Kelvin Etuhu making a strong run down the right and striking a fine shot but Martin stood firm. Then Etuhu turned provider, but Miller failed to keep his header down from Kelvin’s perfect cross. But that was all City could muster as Brighton gained in confidence and pressed City back for the remainder of the half.

The second half failed to spark to life for City, so a tactical change was made on 59 minutes when striking prodigy Danny Sturridge came on to replace the mainly ineffectual Shaleum Logan. This allowed Grimes to drop deeper and take up his more suited rôle as the midfield talisman.

This change immediately paid dividends and within two minutes City had levelled thanks to Martin making his only mistake, one that proved costly to him and his team. Kelvin made yet another strong run down the right, cut inside and played a short pass to Miller who quickly moved to make space for himself to fire a shot at goal. He failed to make a true connection and it looked to all the world as if Martin had it covered, but he somehow allowed the ball to sneak through his hands and into the goal.

Brighton then made a tactical change to put ten men behind the ball and try to soak up the pressure and hit City on the break, which they did to tremendous effect as they frustrated City on numerous occasions and nearly took the lead again with more than one effort.

Clayton McDonald was obviously feeling the effects of playing his first game at this level and looked jaded and so was replaced by right-back Matthew Russell, and Kyle Wallwork was moved into the vacated centre-half position.

City then started a ten minute spell where they threw everything at Brighton and hit the woodwork on two occasions, but our failure not to score was purely down to the heroics of Martin who commanded his area like a seasoned professional and his shot stopping ability was second to none as well.

Indeed, substitute Sturridge, could have walked away with a hat-trick within a five minute spell had it not been for Martin. He first tipped an effort onto the bar, then saved a lob from just under the bar and finally got down well to a low drive after initially clawing away another Miller thunderous top corner tight angle special.

Even our captain, Nedum Onuoha, was denied a goal after he powered a header downwards but Martin was quickly down with his body behind the ball. He was, however, powerless to prevent the winner as only a goalkeeper of at least 6’6″ tall might have got a hand to Grimes’ goal-bound effort. Grimes had picked up the loose ball from a tackle and made a run towards and into the right hand side of the box. He then was able to look up as he gained half a yard on the defender and then with power and precision, lofted the ball exquisitely into the far top corner to finally pierce their defence.

The referee kept the crowd guessing as he played six minutes of time added on, which allowed Brighton to push everyone forward and twice Schmeichel had to save City from taking the tie to extra time.

City now have to arrange their fifth round away tie with Wolverhampton Wanderers, who had beaten Barnsley 2-1 in their previous round to progress.

City: Schmeichel, Wallwork, Williamson, McDonald (Russell 74), Onuoha (capt.), Williams, Etuhu, Johnson, Grimes, Miller, S Logan (Sturridge 59).
Subs Not Used: Matthewson, McGinlay, Marshall.

Brighton: Martin, May, Rents, Chamberlain (Fraser 48), Mountford (capt.), Lynch, Fogden (Leach 90), Carey, Gatting, Robinson, Cox.
Subs Not Used: Sullivan, Jarvis, Hinshelwood.

Att: 582.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


Thought I’d give you some news from Holland on our new signing.

Musampa has had very good spells at Bordeaux and Malaga and a good last season at Atletico, but has been mainly on the bench this season. He’s a pretty good football player with a lot of depth in his game, coming in front of goal a lot and an immense workrate. Type Shaun Wright Phillips, less talented, more adult and in my opinion could be one of at least two good passing and creative midfielders we’d need to get those forwards in position (without them running a half marathon to get there first).

I’ve nicked this little passport form another Dutch football site:

First name:     Kiki
Family name:    Musampa
Date of birth:  20-07-1977
Place of birth: Kinshasa, DR Kongo
Nationality:    Netherlands
Club:           Atletico Madrid
Season  Club                    Games   Goals   League
1994/95 Ajax                    1       0       Eredivisie
1995/96 Ajax                    17      1       Eredivisie
1996/97 Ajax                    24      5       Eredivisie
1997/98 Girondins Bordeaux      16      4       Liga 1
1998/99 Girondins Bordeaux      17      1       Liga 1
1999/00 Malaga                  13      2       Primera Division
2000/01 Malaga                  11      3       Primera Division
2001/02 Malaga                  37      9       Primera Division
2002/03 Malaga                  35      8       Primera Division
2003/04 Atletico Madrid         26      2       Primera Division
2004/05 Atletico Madrid         8       0       Primera Division
Total                           205     35

Frank Heukels <frank.heukels(at)>


We are playing with only nine men and have been doing for some time. As much as I want Macken to succeed, he isn’t going to. I am afraid his level is one division down.

As regards Sibby, he must be the most frustrating player to watch. He has the skill but no effort, concentration or determination; he always seems to choose the wrong option.

Can we not mate Macken and Sibby? That would give us one player with strength and skill? But seriously…

My solution: Mills out and replace him with Nedum, Bradley W P up front with Robbie and Flood on the left. Let’s be honest, we ain’t going down so rather than waste money now, wait till the summer and let’s have a proper look at the kids. They can play with no pressure on them without fear of relegation.

As regards Nic, we do play better as a team without him. He is pure class, no question, but the team always seem to put in extra when he doesn’t play, as if they know they have to perform and can’t just give him the ball and expect him to do wonders.

David Kay <david.kay(at)>


I’m reading all these arguments between the Keegan supporters and the anti-Keegan army. Surely it is plain that everybody is entitled to write an opinion and I think also that different ideas and points of view shouldn’t divide the real City fans. All of us express our feelings in the name of this wonderful club and all the people reading or writing this newsletter love City. Please don’t quarrel, dear Blues!

I agree with many of Marc’s ideas. I don’t think it is wise to remember every time that spell in Second Division; it’s clear we shouldn’t have played in that bl**dy league, it was shameful we were there and it’s not possible to regard KK as a great City manager only because of our (nearly) safe position in the Premiership. He was given much money to strengthen the squad in the recent years and as I wrote some time ago, he bought many, many players at the ends of their careers.

It is also true that it takes a long time to build a great team, unless you have Abramovic as Chairman, but I don’t think that buying old players is a right way to do it. I totally agree with Marc when he said that if Keegan had all the senior players fit and/or money to spend in this transfer market window our youngsters wouldn’t have played many games this season! I think, from a strictly football point of view, that all the injuries to Trev, Macca, Reyna, Thatcher, etc. was a benefit for the team, even if I’m obviously disappointed for the guys!

Many matches were played so poorly! I saw the horrendous FA Cup clash at Oldham here through Sky Italia; how the hell can we lose such a game against the ‘mighty Oldham’, get out of the FA Cup and hear ‘our’ manager saying that was better this way because we don’t have a deep squad to perform both in the Premiership and in the Cup? I hope he was kidding. Who is to blame to have bought so many injured players, to have sold other key players, letting the team down and with so few ‘cover players’ for the so called senior lads? I think a manager of a club like City should think of the Cup as a real target because this club hasn’t lifted a trophy since 1976 and if you think of all the average teams that have reached Wembley or Millennium in the recent years it is incredible; we played there only to escape from the Second Division!

In the last two days we signed Musampa and sold the Elk if the news are right. Hopefully we can re-invest part of that money buying Craig Bellamy. I think he would be a great finisher to play alongside Fowler. The £7 million would be a good price, hope it is true! Anelka is a great forward but by now he is not committed to our cause so I think it is right to sell him before his contract is over… at least we can be paid some valuable money.

P.S.: Has anyone got DVD copies of past seasons’ reviews?

Ciao, Dario <ghigas1972(at)>


I’ve been following the latest editions of MCIVTA with particular interest. The Keegan debate still rumbles with plenty of mixed feeling. Somebody stated recently that Keegan wanted to ‘take us to top six in the Premiership in five years’. We all remember this so why the pessimism? I can’t think of any City fan that I knew who felt this was under achieving. We were all looking forward to the ride. I remember having to compose myself on the M60 such was my delight on hearing the news that Keegan was going to be at the helm! We are still on course for that and hopefully it will be achieved. I seriously don’t know what we expect at times or think we are entitled to. Something has changed our expectations over the years and I don’t know what. Maybe it was Keegan suggesting that we could be top six last year (that was ill-advised but is just the optimism that we love).

It has all been said before regarding the transfer appointments and disappointments. Subscribers have mentioned examples of other clubs’ misdemeanours in the transfer market. Look at Djemba Djemba and Kleberson? How much did they cost between them and there are many more throughout the Premiership just like them.

I was interested myself to see that some of the so called ‘lesser’ clubs who apparently get by on a shoe-string budget have spent somewhere in the same region as us so it is all relative. The Vuoso situation will always grate just because we never seen him play in the first team but as for all the other bum signings, at least they had been bought for a purpose but just haven’t worked out. Sh*t happens.

Who’d have thought that McManaman was going to be as cr*p as he has been, that Reyna was never going to be fit, that Macken was never going to make that step up, that Sinclair was going to be both cr*p and unfit? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I liked Sibbi initially but again, it now looks like he may also not work out. The point I am trying to make is that I never saw it coming with any of these signings. Who could? I have to say that I like Robbie Fowler; can’t help it I’m afraid but at least he does appear to be coming good at last and his workrate recently has been first class.

There are two criticisms of Keegan that I do agree with. One was the lack of chances given to youth until it was forced upon him. Whichever way you look at it, that was definitely the case. Jordan has been a revelation (minus header against West Brom – let him off being first game back) this season as have all the other lads. Bradley looks promising as do Flood, Onouha etc. Quite promising considering Shaunie and Joey are already established. Let’s hope this is just another learning curve from Keegan’s perspective.

The second criticism was his announcement that he intends to leave when his current contract expires. I think that this can only have an adverse effect in his final season and also restrict his ability to bring in new players. That said, if he had stated that he may extend his contract (basically lied whilst the City board actively searched for a replacement) at some point there would have been indecision at the club, rumours, gossip, Chinese whispers etc. and the end product may have been worse. At the end of the day he signed a five year contract, which he looks like he is going to honour. If he is asked about what he intends to do after that, which he surely is going to be, what is he supposed to say? In fact, forget the second criticism; I’ve talked myself out of it!

Also, with our Academy producing the goods, let’s forget about the young players that got away e.g. Stephen Elliott. I for one don’t really give a s**t about how many he’s scoring at Sunderland! Good luck to the lad and I sincerely mean that but who cares about his weekly exploits? He plays for another club. I don’t mind hearing about how ex-players are doing just out of interest but we only seem to bring up Stephen Elliott when he scores just to make ourselves feel bad or as a route to slag off Keegan. Why? From what I hear we did everything we could to keep hold of him other than offer him the one thing that he dearly wanted; guaranteed first team football. We never write in and say ‘I believe Elliott had a right stinker this week’ do we? I’m sure he has them though. Human nature I suppose but let it go. Let’s concentrate on who we have got.

This brings me to Anelka. He is a class act and I just wish he could be happy playing with us. But I suppose he just wants more than what we can currently offer him i.e. Champions’ League or at the very least Europe. I do agree that we shouldn’t just give him away and I hope he understands that, is patient and gives us his all in the interim. Booing won’t help the situation, that’s for sure. I just can’t see it perking Nic up. He is currently a City player and as such we should give him our support. After watching City against Middlesbrough just before Christmas and West Brom the other night I was screaming out for him. I know there have been a few games (especially Palace) where Fowler has looked superb and Macken has looked ok but we do need someone else to come in if Anelka goes and that I’m afraid won’t be easy. Most certainly not in the January transfer window. He does drive me to despair at times but he is a match winner and we need as many as them as we can get.

Finally, I’d just like to say how refreshing it always is to see Keegan’s post-match interviews. You’ve got to like the man. Thank God we have him as our manager compared to some of the other moaning b******* (Fergie, Wenger, Souness; even Allardyce and Curbishley) out there. His honesty and humour will always be welcome.

A few more good players in key positions (left wing, creative midfielder, centre forward if Nic goes) and we’re top six or thereabouts so let’s be optimistic.

Noel Wilkes-Wells <Noel.Wilkes-Wells(at)>


If If If If If – as the famous saying goes if the queen had B*****s she’d be king.

I am fed up of the bias in so many posts and the fact that in particular the anti-Keegan faction tailor everything to suit their own arguments. Let’s look at the facts and view things based on facts.

Fact 1: When Keegan took over we were a poor side relegated from the Premiership.
Fact 2: When Keegan took over we were a club who would have generated about £25 million per year less turnover than we do now.
Fact 3: When Keegan took over we were only 2 years out of Division 2.
Fact 4: When Keegan took over Barton was an Everton reject, Dunne was fast becoming the footballer he shouldn’t have been (Division 2) and Sweep looked like he may just make Premiership standards.
Fact 5: We are a team that in the last 25 years has only once made more than 2 seasons on the trot in the top flight before Keegan.
Fact 6: We have spent a lot of money in the last 4 years on players but crucially we have not spent greatly above average for the teams currently in the Premiership.
Fact 7: We are currently in the top half of the Premier League.
Fact 8: We are in our third season in the Premiership.
Fact 9: We have dropped points to teams lower than us in the league this year: Albion, Norwich, Blackburn.
Fact 10: We have beaten some teams below us in the league this year: Palace, Southampton, Pompey.
Fact 11: We have lost to some teams higher than us in the league this year: Everton, Liverpool.
Fact 12: We are the only team to beat Chelsea in Britain so far and we also got points at Highbury and Old Trafford.

So let’s stop blaming everything bad on Kevin and saying everything good is despite him, or let’s stop saying the opposite. Kev deserves a fair amount of credit for all the good of the last 4 years and also a fair amount of the blame for games like at the Hawthorns. I am just glad I wasn’t getting MCIVTA through some of our seasons as if this is the slagging a manager gets for on balance being successful, what on earth would the moaners have said about Ball, Clark, Neal, Coppell, Frizzell etc.?

Richard Williams <moonchester(at)>


Paul Jones, and a number of other people, are clearly quite worked up about where they believe City should be at the present moment in time. Personally, I don’t think that it is unreasonable to look at where the club was 6 years ago. I agree, if we look at the ‘size’ of the club in terms of its support, history, infrastructure, or any other measure you care to use, compared to other league clubs in England, City should not have been in the third tier of the professional game.

Unfortunately, none of these factors count towards league placing, and the fact remains that in the 1997/98 season the playing squad was one of the worst in City’s history, and the way that they played that season, despite a brief rally when Joe Royle came in, meant that on the strength of the performances on the pitch relegation was deserved.

If only it were possible to pretend that that season hadn’t happened. We could pretend that we didn’t know who Ged Brannan and Jason van Blerk are. But there is no getting away from it – it did, and in terms of the history of a football club, and more particularly in the terms of the turnround of a club, 6 years is not really that long a time. For any club to go from finishing 3rd in that division to being established in the top flight in 5 to 6 seasons is a pretty remarkable achievement, whatever the size of the club. As a comparison, Fulham were promoted in style that year (manager: K Keegan) and whilst they now look relatively safe, survival in the league is probably their number 1 priority. Their survival has been achieved by big transfer spending – Van der Sar, Malbranque, Boa Morte, Diop etc. cost them decent to big money, and that is ignoring their own personal transfer disaster with Marlet. Considering that in the intervening period City have recovered from another relegation, the position that the club is in today looks even more remarkable.

It is reasonable to be angry with the past poor management of the club. My own view is that the start of the decline was the moment that Peter Reid was sacked and replaced with Brian Horton. Whatever the cause of the original decline, it is impossible to ignore the fact that poor management made a lasting impact on the club – Forward with Frannie and all. Yes, perhaps if the management had not been changed we would have made good progress, and might now be one of the top 4 or 5 clubs in the league, but it was, and we aren’t.

However, we are now under a decent manager whose record shows that he achieved promotion at the first attempt and since then has established the club in the Premiership. Why is it then that an apparently growing number of people think that the manager who has made a huge contribution to the stability and indeed rescue of the club should be relieved of his duties? Because under his guidance the team plays better against ‘bigger’ clubs than ‘smaller’ ones sometimes? Because the level of performances is not always consistent? Because not every player in the team would stroll into a Champions’ League team?

In addition to this, exactly what is it that a new manager would achieve? Would a new manager take us instantly into a Champions’ League, or indeed UEFA place? Yes, Keegan has spent a relatively large amount of money. Had he not done so I have no doubt that we would now not be in the Premiership. The teams above us have, barring perhaps 2 exceptions in Everton and Charlton (only 1 of which have been out of the Premiership recently), spent vastly more, and there are teams below us who have spent more as well, as Newcastle and Birmingham fans will no doubt testify. If you’re unhappy with 9th in the Premiership, at this moment in time, and bearing in mind recent history, where do you reasonably consider that the club should be? Would you be happy if we had lost at home to Chelsea but had instead beaten West Brom away?

It is true that we are not yet challenging for trophies, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. There’s no point dwelling on what could have been; we must look to the future and continuing to make progress. In 6 years from now I would hope that the club is in Europe every season and looking to win trophies. Keegan has given us a start towards that, and can continue to build a base whilst the board ensure that the right person is found to succeed him.

Chris Turner <chris.turner(at)>


Apologies for extending my 15 minutes of fame. I am not suggesting that P&W should be treated more favourably than any other branch, but I suppose being in Manchester obviously helps.

My commemts were really aimed at the public relations function at the club. If I am not mistaken, the idea of PR is to promote the product and leave the public with a good feeling about the product – no doubt PR people out there can put me right if that is not so.

The perception is that City have always had a good relationship with the fans, but this is beginning to be undercut.

As I stated previously, three of the directors are regular attendees at P&W, but again I would ask them to look into what is happening, particularly the lack of response to correspondence. If nothing else it is simply poor manners.

[Agreed Brian, it is highly frustrating to get no responses back to simple requests, even if they were to be negative – Ed]

Brian Leigh <B.Leigh(at)>


Just got back from a bizzniz trip to LA – and whilst sat in the Toi Thai restaurant on Sunset Blvrd, looked up, spotting a huge Rolling Stones poster, which stated they were playing at Manchester City Football Ground – Maine Road, Manchester. Steel Wheels Tour ’89 if I’m correct?

Great to see – and I wonder if a certain William Duffy had something to do with its Blu-Tacking?

P.S. At the derby, every time that lot shout “united” – instead of replying with the usual “sh*t!”, let’s just shout “STATES” in return – Genius. It’ll well eff the ‘stockbrokers’ off!

Joel Perry – Kipp-ex <j.perry(at)>


I know it’s late, but here goes…

Any chance of 1 ticket for the Chelsea match?

I’m flying over from California February 2 and can make arrangements for purchase at the Newcastle match or by phone. Tel (+1) 714 342 4899 or email at the address below.

Michael Sayward <mancty(at)>


Does anyone know of any bars in Prague that show football as I am off in search of cheap beer and continental football as we are out of the Cup.

Paul Semple <paulsemple2000(at)>


Next meeting of the Fans’ Committee/first meeting of “Points of Blue” will be on the evening of 14 February – yes, we know it’s St Valentine’s Day – at COMS. Time not quite yet confirmed (early enough to still make a romantic meal), nor the date for a delegation to meet with club officials (but likely to be 23 or 24 Feb).

Please let me know if you intend to attend. Representative organisations are particularly asked to circulate branches/members, and if this is likely to result in a lot of extra attendees (purely to secure the right size room), please advise me. However, publicity in the Newcastle magazine and elsewhere will emphasise that the initial meeting is open to all fans.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


24 January 2005

Blackburn Rovers      0 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      20,056

League table to 26 January 2005 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         24 10  2  0 25  3  9  2  1 23  5 19  4  1  48   8  40  61
 2 Arsenal         24  7  5  0 29 12  8  1  3 24 13 15  6  3  53  25  28  51
 3 Manchester Utd  24  8  4  0 22  6  6  4  2 15  8 14  8  2  37  14  23  50
 4 Everton         24  8  1  3 15 12  5  4  3 13 13 13  5  6  28  25   3  44
 5 Liverpool       24  8  1  3 20  9  3  3  6 16 16 11  4  9  36  25  11  37
 6 Middlesbrough   24  6  4  2 19 12  4  3  5 20 21 10  7  7  39  33   6  37
 7 Charlton Ath.   24  7  2  3 20 13  4  2  6  8 20 11  4  9  28  33  -5  37
 8 Tottenham H.    24  4  3  5 22 18  5  3  4  7  8  9  6  9  29  26   3  33
 9 Bolton Wndrs    24  5  3  4 14 11  4  3  5 17 20  9  6  9  31  31   0  33
10 Manchester City 24  5  4  3 16  9  3  3  6 14 17  8  7  9  30  26   4  31
11 Aston Villa     24  7  3  2 19  7  1  4  7  8 22  8  7  9  27  29  -2  31
12 Newcastle Utd   24  5  3  4 20 19  2  5  5 15 22  7  8  9  35  41  -6  29
13 Fulham          24  5  1  6 15 20  3  3  6 16 20  8  4 12  31  40  -9  28
14 Portsmouth      24  5  2  5 16 16  2  4  6 10 18  7  6 11  26  34  -8  27
15 Birmingham City 24  3  4  5 13 11  3  4  5 14 19  6  8 10  27  30  -3  26
16 Blackburn R.    24  2  7  3 13 17  3  3  6  8 17  5 10  9  21  34 -13  25
17 Crystal Palace  24  4  2  6 13 12  1  4  7 14 25  5  6 13  27  37 -10  21
18 Southampton     24  3  7  2 18 16  0  2 10  7 23  3  9 12  25  39 -14  18
19 Norwich City    24  2  5  5 17 23  0  6  6  6 23  2 11 11  23  46 -23  17
20 West Brom A.    24  2  5  5  9 19  0  5  7 10 25  2 10 12  19  44 -25  16

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0405.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
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[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.

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Newsletter #1090