Newsletter #1094

A bumper issue tonight with plenty of views and opinion on the Chelsea game, the season thus far, and where to next.

Don brings us news tonight on our financial situation, honours for Blues old and new, international action and returns. We also have plenty of requests for derby viewing around the world.

Next game: Manchester United, home, 1pm 13 February 2005 (Foreign TV)


We are delighted to announce that John Leigh was the winner of last month’s competition thanks to for the Paul Dickov print. Congratulations to John, and our commiserations to the other entrants.

We will be running the second competition next week for the stunning Bert Trautmann signed print, again courtesy You can view the print on their website at More details will follow both in MCIVTA and on our homesite at


General News

We’re Not Leeds: That’s a relief, on many levels! Alistair Mackintosh was again denying rumours that City’s £62 million debt had left the club close to meltdown. He said: “It’s nonsense to suggest we are on the edge of financial meltdown, our debt is in control and manageable. We have a main debt of £44 million, which is serviced like a mortgage in that the repayments are structured over a mostly 25-year or 15-year period. And if you ask many clubs in the Premiership if they would take on a 25-year mortgage of £44 million for a 48,000-seat stadium like ours, they would jump at it. The bulk of the other £18 million is money loaned by John Wardle and given that he owns the club it would be strange if he calls the loans in. When I came here the fans would be saying ‘get your cheque book out’. That’s changed. They don’t want another Leeds and I can assure them that won’t happen here.” Mackintosh stated that KK will have transfer funds in the summer.

Hinchy’s Hopes for a New Boss: And continuing the gloom early on in the newsweek – Andy Hinchcliffe was widely reported to have called for KK to resign this summer. The former City defender BBC GMR: “What benefit do you get from this and what are you going to do for the next 18 months? If he’s going to leave, he should leave and I think the end of this season would be sensible. Kevin can walk away with his head held up and the club can move on and bring in somebody else.” Saturday’s Guardian quoted David James expressing concerns that the uncertainty surrounding KK’s future could have a detrimental effect on the club. “There has to be clarity,” pronounced the artistic shot stopper. “I, personally, would like to know. As it stands there is a cloud as to when he leaves. There is an area of uncertainty. We’re going for Europe and if we get there will it influence the manager’s decision or the club’s decision? Europe’s a big step for the club so do you want a man holding the reins when he is only going to be here one year?”

Flood of Honours: Willo Flood has been named the Irish Under-19 Player of the Year, making him the first recipient ever to win an award in three consecutive years. The former Academy player has made nine appearances for the Blues this season, scoring two goals. He was included in the Irish U21 squad for their friendly on Tuesday against Portugal in Rio Maior, but was not involved in the match, which saw the hosts triumph 2-0.

Not so Hard With a Seasoncard… City announced a freeze on season ticket prices this week for those fans who wish to renew before 4th March. There was some concern about the £10 charge levied for credit/debit card charges, which seems excessive although one wily fan has come up with an idea to get around the handling fee on the M.E.N. website this week. If anyone has tried this and found it works, please let us know! “One way around it is to purchase gift vouchers from the City Superstore with your cash or credit card (don’t think there is a charge) then go and use them to buy your ticket!”

Youth Cup Update: The date for the City Youth team’s next fixture in the FA Youth Cup has been confirmed. The under-18’s travel to South Staffordshire on Monday 21st February, to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, kick off 7.00pm. Meanwhile City’s Reserves were held 0-0 by second-from-bottom Sunderland at Durham last night. As the local report in “The Journal” stated, “Both sides had chances to win the game with the more numerous falling to City, but shots on target were a rare commodity.” Team: Weaver; Warrender, Collins, D’Laryea, McCarthy, Bischoff, Bennett, Ireland, Bermingham, Miller, Logan (Richards, 76 mins). Subs: Matthewson, Lee-Matthews, Richards, Williamson.

KK Looks Like No.2! On Monday, Hsien and Matthew alerted you to the Observer’s interview with SWP. The article included a picture of Sweep wearing an Arsenal shirt. No need to panic just yet, readers – Shaun was aged about 14 at the time! The other City-related item in the magazine concerned the dress sense (or lack of it) of certain Premiership managers. And I quote “SUITS YOU, SIR – From the horrors of the sheepskin to Malcolm Allison’s fedora, managerial fashion has known more lows than highs. We asked Polly Vernon, The Observer’s resident style expert, to assess, in the spirit of Heat magazine, the good, the bad and the Iain Dowie from this season’s Premiership… Kevin Keegan: serial offender. Here’s a man who has been trying for years (the Brut ad in the Seventies; that hair in the Eighties) but never gets it even nearly right. A black polo neck tucked into navy slacks on a no-longer-buff frame? The pocket crest? The belt that is neither thin nor fat enough to be any good? Involuntary shudder of distaste.” Ouch, and I thought the look of No.2, Robert Wagner’s character in the Austin Powers films, was a winner (sans eye patch, obviously). Guess I’ll have to bin that turtle neck and blazer ensemble!

Spare Tickets, Anyone Got Spare Tickets? Apparently there’s some match going on at the COMS on Sunday, a little local affair I’m led to believe. Word reaches us at MCIVTA High Command that tickets are still available for the game, available to existing Citycard holders only. You should either call the ticket hotline on 0870 062 1894 to book, or get down to the Ticket Store, which is open till Noon on Saturday.

Transfer News and Gossip

Turkish Bargain: I know, I moaned about how long the Nicolas Anelka transfer was taking, but it’s worth visiting one last time. According to Fenerbahce’s website last week, the Istanbul club paid only £5.35 million for our classy striker. This is at least £2 million short of the figure quoted in the UK, so let’s hope for City’s sake that the higher figure is correct. Fenerbahce’s German coach Christopher Daum said that he was confident Anelka would make a major contribution to the team. “It is both Anelka’s aim and mine to have him play once again for the French national team,” Daum said. “I am confident Anelka will find his place on the World Cup 2006 with quality players such as David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry.” You’ll be amazed to learn that Anelka’s mysterious groin strain had disappeared last weekend, allowing the Frenchman to make his début as a substitute for Fener’s visit to the Black Sea city of Samsun for Saturday’s fixture. The game finished 1-1.

Young Kev to Depart? The website report this week that Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard may return to Denmark after being told he will not get a new City deal. The Denmark Under-21 international signed for the Blues in October 2001 but has rarely featured in the first team and, as Sarah reported last week, has just returned from a short spell on loan at Blackpool recently. With KK having a number of options as back-up to David James, he has decided not to offer Ellegaard a new deal at Eastlands.

Ex-Blues’ News

More Reasons to Manage With Morrison: City’s colossus of the season in Division Two, Andy Morrison, has agreed to become the new assistant boss at Conference North outfit Worcester City. In his playing career Morrison made nearly 300 League appearances, also playing for Plymouth, Blackburn, Blackpool, Huddersfield, City & Crystal Palace, before hanging up his boots in July 2002. Morrison will be number two to former Stockport and Bury striker Andy Preece.

Mason Chips Away at New Deal: Gary Mason was 17 when he played his first game for City in the same season that Mr. Morrison graced Maine Road. After a couple of dozen games, Mason drifted out of contention for a starting place in Joe Royle’s side, and returned to his homeland to pursue his career. And now, aged 26, he’s still with Dunfermline, who have offered an improved contract deal as the club strives to tempt him to stay beyond the summer. Director Jim Leishman said there was no pressure on the player and no deadline imposed, although there has apparently been much interest from Walsall. Leishman said: “Like any good professional, he’ll be considering all his options, but he knows what we think about him. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens and we hope he’ll stay.”

City Legends Honoured: The second Hall of Fame evening was held at CoMS this week, and saw Sam Cowan nominated for the pre-1950s category, Alan Oakes as the post 1950s, Ken Barnes received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Malcolm Allison and Joe Mercer were awarded a special panel award for their managerial partnership.

Reactions and Comments

Save of the Season: On Sunday David James produced a world-class save in the last of five minutes of stoppage time to earn City a goalless draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are the only team to defeat the Premiership leaders in domestic action this season and they became only the third team to take a point at the Bridge thanks to James’ stunning save. A ten-minute spell before the interval aside, Chelsea had laboured to break down a City defence in which Richard Dunne was outstanding alongside his captain Sylvain Distin. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was philosophical after the game. “There is no reaction from me – it was an undeserved result for us,” he said, “because only one side had chances to score. We tried everything but City fought a lot and were a bit lucky. The championship is over 38 matches and some you win, some you lose, some you draw. Every point is a point gained and we are still nine ahead. I don’t know of any other club in Europe who has that lead. It was not a result that we wanted, but a point is better than zero. We tried everything to score but they fought a lot and defended well and David James made some incredible saves. But we have a nine-point advantage and that is still very good for us. I don’t know another country where a team is leading by that margin.” He added: “Before the game, we needed one draw and nine victories to win the league, now we just need nine victories.” Mourinho played down the absence of Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba through injury. “Even without them we had enough chances to win the game. I prefer to say my players were unlucky.”

Hard Work Pays Off: So a less than gracious view of the game from Mourinho, who the City fans taunted with cries of “Your coat’s from Matalan!” KK was not impressed by his churlish opposite number. “We came here with a plan and we knew we had to work very hard,” he said. “We did the little things well that made the big things happen for us. When you’re top and have lost only once, Chelsea are not going to get teams coming here and taking them on. Jose has got to give a bit more credit to opponents sometimes. It would have been a travesty from our point of view, from the work we had put in, if David James had not made that save in the dying seconds of the game. The fact they didn’t have Robben in the side makes a big, big difference to the way they play,” said Keegan. “So although you don’t want to see any player injured, you’re quite happy when they’re not playing against you. I don’t think it will stop Chelsea from going where they are going to go, but obviously if I lost that type of player, say like Shaun Wright-Phillips, I would be devastated.”

Well Deserved Point: Immediately after the game, KK said on Sky Sports: “We’re very pleased, obviously. Not many teams have come here and got something. We had one great chance, Robbie’s put the header just wide. Shaun did some great work down the left wing. But from front to back we defended very well against them. We more or less said to them ‘Come on, show us what you’re made of’. Apart from one great save by David James in the dying seconds of the game, we’ve defended and coped with them pretty well. On another day we might have opened them up a couple of times, but I’m very pleased with them. I’m pleased with the spirit. People who have knocked us for character in the past should maybe look at that again. I thought we deserved something here today. We had the courage to play a little bit. It might not have been a great spectacle, but for us it’s a well-earned point.”

DJ Puts Chelsea in a Spin: The first to be interviewed after the match were two of the star men for City at Stamford Bridge, David James and the M-o-M, Richard Dunne. “As well as I played, and it was probably my best game for City, I was even happier for the team because we worked so hard as a unit,” commented James. “We were superb as a team and I was just glad to be involved with it,” he added. “We knew what we would face and how good Chelsea are because the whole football world has been going on about it for the last eight months. But the way we played typified what we are capable of. People said that losing Nicolas Anelka in the transfer window would be detrimental to the side but we have brought Kiki Musampa in and we have a balance. The frustration is that we have now shown at Highbury, at Old Trafford and at Stamford Bridge what we can do and yet we have played West Brom no disrespect – twice and took one point. We cannot persist in that manner because it is not good. What we have to do is reproduce the Chelsea effort every week. We were superb from front to back and we didn’t just put up a brick wall, we played well going forward too and had chances of our own. It was a thorough team performance.” Dunnie added: “It’s just the way we are this season – we’ve done well against the good teams so it wasn’t much of a surprise that we could do that sort of performance. There were tackles flying in everywhere and everyone did their part to keep the point. We’ve improved on the defensive part of our game this season and today was one of those days where we all dug in and defended well.”

Shaun Starts! Sweep got to start a full international for the first time last night, as he began England’s 0-0 draw with Holland at Villa Park. He began nervously – he was caught in possession a number of times, and missed England’s best two chances in the first half. Both chances were from close range. He did begin to settle, and we saw a number of trademark runs at defenders, which must have made SWP feel a whole lot better. He was substituted after an hour. Personally, I put his nerves down to the fact that he had to walk out onto the pitch with the tallest mascot available, a girl not much smaller than Shaun (cheers FA) – close marking before the kick off! Sven Goran Eriksson said of our boy “I am absolutely not worried. I think he is very confident and I do not think he has those kind of problems. He did well. He is young, he is a talent and I am happy with what he did,” he insisted. “It is normal to be nervous when you start for England for the first time. His career has gone very quickly up and up, so I can understand that. But next time he starts, he will be less nervous.” Eriksson experimented with a 4-3-3 system, which drew considerable criticism from the pundits, but Sven insisted that “If you want to play Shaun Wright-Phillips, this is a very good system. Wayne Rooney is used to playing on the left with Manchester United. Then you have three central midfielders who are all extremely good footballers.”

Squad News

Robbie Rules: Robbie Fowler is flourishing in his rôle as senior pro and as the newly crowned number one striker at the club. No, really. This is according to his number one fan, Boss Man Kev. “Robbie has got his enthusiasm back over the last few weeks,” announced KK. “He is enjoying his football again, which is brilliant for him and us because there was a period not so long again when he wasn’t having a good time. He has always been a bubbly character but it is very hard to maintain that when you are not playing regularly and not doing yourself justice. Now, he is a totally different character and the only reason he has got himself back into that position is through sheer hard work. He has put in plenty of time on the training pitch and now he is getting the rewards. At a club like this, we are looking at four or five key players to point the way for the younger lads,” he continued. “Robbie Fowler is one of those players and in his own way, he will get his opinion across. He won’t do it in a serious way at times but it will come partly through what he does on the training ground, but more through his manner and the way he interacts with people. Robbie is a leader of a kind. He has certainly taken more responsibility for himself this season and also for the team. That has to continue, especially now Nicolas Anelka has gone. He is our main striker now.”

Welcomed Back: KK has expressed his pleasure at the return to the Sky Blue fold of Ben Thatcher, whose proposed transfer to Fulham fell through at the last minute. “I am delighted Ben is back,” said Keegan. “I didn’t want to sell him in the first place. It was only because of his personal circumstances that I agreed to it. The nicest thing was he knocked on my door when he came back in and thanked me for doing everything we could to help him. Ben accepts things haven’t worked out as he might have wanted but he is back now and has promised to give everything for us, which is exactly what I would have expected.”

Paul Calls for More: Paul Bosvelt’s contract runs out in the summer, and the Dutch star hopes he can stay for another season. “I have told the club I would like to stay one more year,” Bos said this week. “They promised me an answer within the next month, so I am waiting to see what they want to do. The main concern is my age but I think I have proved I am fit enough. I haven’t missed games through injury and my performances have been okay, so hopefully I will get the opportunity to stay on.” KK was hugely impressed by the veteran’s determination to establish himself in the Premiership. “When Paul first came here, it looked like the Premiership might be a little quick for him. But he has so much experience and it was incredible to see him go into the gym with the attitude of getting himself fitter. He realised the pace of the game was much faster than anything he was used to but he drove himself back into the team and drove himself forward to become a key player. He is an unsung hero because he is never going to drop his shoulder and go past people. But he does all those nasty, niggly little bits of tidying up that some players don’t know how to do.”

I, Claudio: There’s news of one of City’s crocks starting back on the road to fitness. Claudio Reyna is back in training. “Claudio trained with us for the first time today but it was only no contact work,” explained KK this week. “There is no chance that he will make it for the derby on Sunday but all being well could come into contention for the trip to Norwich. By then all being well he will have had a reserve game. He should be ready to play some part at Norwich with a view to being involved in the last ten games of the season. It is a big boost for us to know he is on the way back. He can not help us this week; he has only played six matches this season. He will have to have a couple of reserve games though the game against Middlesbrough is set to be postponed. From that point of view he could be like Nicky Weaver. He was fit for six weeks and only had a couple of reserve games. Things will have to fall in place for Claudio as he makes his comeback but it will be great to have him back.”

And Finally…

Best Site? MCIVTA and its homepage, the original City fans’ site (The Supporters Home Page) have been put forward in the vote for best football supporters’ sites, which is being run by You can find further details and vote for us here:

Don Barrie <news(at)>


You know when you get the feeling that everything will go OK today? Good hearty breakfast, won a tenner on the lottery, no traffic problems, arrive at my mates at Wimbledon in 3.5 hours from Rochdale, and a balmy warm sunny day in SW London. I said to my mate upon arrival that “I’ve got a good feeling about today”.

A few pints with some Chelski mates in the Alex on Wimbledon High Street and then onto the ground.

Now I love all of the hugely exaggerated opinion about City, some good, some bad, but when all is said and done I love this club and supporters more than words can say, no matter what happens. The day out at the Bridge was one to be enjoyed, as we went there as cannon fodder, with no pressure on us at all.

KK and the team drummed up a sublime performance, typical of our hugely inconsistent season, but one that typified the dogged pitbull, in your face game that we know we are capable of. This was not a backs to the wall 1-9-1 game plan played at s**t creek, but a hugely well-planned, well executed 4-4-1-1, with everybody to a man playing their part. Even Danny (Heather) Mills played his part. I have to make special reference to Dunney Monster and Distin. If Distin is worth £7 million, what price Dunney? Both played out of their skins and my player of the season, taking everything into account must be Dunney (well done Stuart Pearce).

The “Sit down Mourinho” chants that turned into “That coat’s from Matalan” as he stalked his technical area were worth the admission money alone!

A superb day. Outstanding performance, cracking result, and capped off by witnessing the save of the season from Jamesey.

Bring on the Rags.

CTID, Alec Witts <Awitts(at)>


A good, battling performance deserved a point even if we did need a bit of good fortune to achieve it. The reality was that we largely neutralised Chelsea in midfield and then managed to block the few chances they made, whilst missing the only real chance we made. Witnessed one of the best saves since Gordon Banks in the second minute of added time when James somehow managed to push away a full blooded 6 yard volley from Lampard with one hand; add to that an inspired interception by Dunne to take the ball off Gudjohnsen’s toe just as he thought he was about to score. Distin and Dunne really are a fine combination, James is as good an instinctive shot stopper as any I’ve seen since Harry Dowd but, like him, there are other parts of his game that leave me nervous. Thatcher and Mills were largely relieved of that which they cannot do, i.e. move the ball forward in a constructive way, and so did a good job blocking up our half of the field. Barton and Bosvelt similarly blocked midfield. SWeeP showed why he is worth twice the Rooney kid; not only can he attack but he can defend as well and he has a brilliant temperament – nothing less than £50 million in my view. Musampa showed the odd sign of capability but didn’t yet fully convince whilst Sibierski and Fowler presented just enough of a threat to stop the Chelsea defence relaxing. I think McManaman came on towards the end!

So well done all round – I love listening to Mourhino when he hasn’t beaten us.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


Good, gritty performance on Saturday and I would echo the comments that express confusion as to why we can go to Chelsea and draw 0-0 (and Old Trafford and Highbury) yet drop points all over the place against teams in the bottom half. If I could figure that out I’d be on the well paid speaker’s circuit!

I do have to admit a worry about Sunday’s game. I base this worry on the following observations over the last few games we have had on TV here in the U.S.

  1. What will be the line up without Bosvelt? We are going to miss him. Ikeep thinking of the possibilities and end up, each time, with a weakcentral midfield. I am assuming we will play two up front as it is at home.Mills for midfield? [I fancy McManaman will start, he’s always up for agame against the Rags and has done well there in the previous derbies, ifonly to wind up Gary Chuckle – Ed]
  2. Two up front? We are weak in this area even with all the effort thatFowler and Macken put in. I’d be willing to give Sib a go up front.
  3. Our bench. I wonder if Kevin declines to make subs because the qualityof those on the bench just isn’t good enough at the moment. More precisely,he seems to bring on Bradley W-P, who needs a lot more time, and McManaman,who seems to struggle. It is usually in the forward and midfield areaswhere we need the subs. But I would echo the thoughts that Jordan andOnuoha deserve more chances.

If I have got my results correct the only game we have lost by 2 goals was WBA and that is a tribute to how hard the team has worked defensively.

This all sounds a little defeatist and I don’t mean it to be. Last March’s game against United seem to have posed the same pre-game worries (and indeed did the first game this season) and it worked out ok. I made it over for that game but will have to be content this time to watch on TV.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


Got up early and watched the Chelsea game, and after about ten minutes I thought to myself, we’ve got a draw here, and as the game wore on I thought it would be cruel if we didn’t get something from the game (a big thanks to David James). When you see a team battle from the first whistle to the last, that’s all you can really ask for. I don’t really mind getting beaten by the Arsenal etc., well I do, but when everyone gives their all from the first minute to the last, that’s all a manager can really ask for.

Now I just ready the latest MCIVTA and gee (I wanted to say something stronger) you really can’t please some people can you? Still calling for Keegan’s head, moaning about how we drove Anelka away. Take the rose coloured glasses off guys, this is City, and after the not so distant trips to Gillingham etc., we at last seem to have some stability around the place. Okay, we still get those awful results and look like a 2nd Division side at times, but hey we’re mid-table, six places better than this time last year, ten or so points better off as well, and with two or three wins could be challenging for Europe.

And that just doesn’t seem enough for some fans; sure I’d like us to win the league, play in the Champions’ League just like everyone else, but let’s be a little realistic here. Yes, I know some players are donkeys, and Kevin Keegan sometimes looks disinterested in proceedings, but if we are that good them maybe we should be playing and managing this great club.

We all make mistakes, I don’t think Keegan would be afraid to admit he’s made some, the players certainly make them, as does the chairman down to the tea lady, but I don’t think you realize how lucky you are the watch Manchester City each week. I’ve supported City since 1965 and never seen them play live, and probably won’t.

Bring on United.

You gotta luv City, ‘cos I said so.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


This is my first contribution to MCIVTA for about 8 years, congratulations on continuing to offer an interesting and thought provoking read! Anyway, a few points to make:

Firstly congratulations to Andy Clarke on his eminently honest and sensible appraisal of the club’s present situation, which appeared in MCIVTA 1092 – which I agree wholeheartedly with.

Secondly, to respond to Glyn Albuquerque’s article in MCIVTA 1093 – I am sure everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I do wonder whether his player assessments are based on watching the same team that I watch week in, week out! For what it’s worth, my ‘counter-assessment’ is as follows:

James 8, Distin 8 & Dunne 9: In these 3, I believe that we have one of the most consistent and reliable defensive hearts in the Premiership. All 3 are regularly candidates for Man of the Match, and all 3 must be in the running for Player of the Season – particularly Dunne, considering the mess he was in not too long ago. There are only a few teams who have conceded less than we have, and to go to Stamford Bridge, Highbury and the Swamp and concede only 1 goal (which was a fortunate one) is pretty good going – as is going 25-odd games without losing by more than 1 goal.

Mills 7, Thatcher 7: Agreeably, these 2 are not the best going forward, and Mills in particular is prone to the odd ‘nightmare’ match – but on the whole they have both added a real solidity to our defending, and help to take the pressure off the central two. Remember, a year ago we were cursing Sun Jihai for getting too far forward and not getting back enough!

Jordan 6, Onuoha 6: Both are still young, but have done really well when called upon – I am impressed by Jordan’s defensive nouse and by Onuoha’s distribution. Both provide good cover, but in reality are not yet quite good enough to replace the existing back 4 in the starting line up.

Bosvelt 7: Has been a superb fulcrum for the team, quietly getting on and doing his job – always there for the simple pass and to help out at the back. I worry about him being suspended for the derby.

Barton 6: Overall OK, but not currently as good as we know he can be – seems to be permanently looking for the ‘killer pass’, and his distribution, particularly from free kicks, seems to have deteriorated. May be suffering from having to provide a creative rôle, which isn’t his real strength, in the absence of creativity elsewhere. Still young though, and will get back soon to where we know he can be. May benefit if we play Sibierski behind a single striker.

SWeeP 9: Unbelievable season, only real criticism is that we now seem to rely on him so much that when he isn’t firing, we are almost totally devoid of any creativity – hopefully Musampa will go some way to remedying this and provide a better balance to the side.

Sibierski 5: Has been poor, but has been playing hopelessly out of position due to our dearth of any decent left sided players (until Musampa arrived). Still has potential to do really well as a deep striker, particularly away from home. Hopefully a 7 or 8 by the end of the season!

Fowler 6: Has been much better of late, and I am a Fowler supporter, but I will reserve judgment until he does it on a regular basis and demonstrates that he is a ‘True Blue’. Giving Liverpool salutes to the United fans whilst in a City shirt doesn’t smack of total focus and commitment to Citeh – neither do the many rumours I have heard regarding his off the field attitude to Keegan and the Blues – may be better off once Macca goes! Should have the chance to shine now that Anelka has gone.

Macken 5: At times looks good, holds the ball up well and is good and strong; at other times looks hopelessly slow and out of his depth. I am not convinced that he is a genuine Premiership quality player, and I think he would struggle to get into most Premiership teams. Does however always try hard, but in an ideal world wouldn’t be in my starting XI, but a useful squad player.

BWP 6, Flood 6: Both look very promising, and play without fear. Both are ones for the future, and may well get a run of substitute appearances, and will provide good options on the bench, as well as injury cover, with Bradley in particular adding a spark to the team when he comes on. Have bright futures (particularly Bradley), and both will be very close to the starting XI by the beginning of next season. May be worth a punt of starting either of them in a few games – Flood to release Sweep in a more attacking rôle, and Bradley as a straight swap for Macken (with or without Sibierski as a deep striker).

McManaman 2: The crab/teapot/traffic warden – simply awful. His career seems to have ended with a whimper; with Citeh paying ? a week for the pleasure, which is sad for him and for us! As soon as Reyna and Jihai are fit, will be unlikely to make the bench on merit. Will probably go in the summer.

Musampa/Sinclair/Reyna et al: Not rated, for various reasons.

Keegan 7: Seems to be getting a lot of stick and not much praise recently. Has done really well with Dunney, the defence and bringing the kids along. Hasn’t really performed much worse than other managers in the transfer market, and has overseen a genuine and consistent improvement in the side since he joined. May possibly need another pair of hands to ‘kick on’ from here into the real upper echelons of the top flight.

Overall, probably 6 or 7 out of ten for the team. Defensively we are sound and concede far fewer ‘soft’ goals than we have in the past. With the signing of Musampa, we will hopefully be a more balanced side. I think we are somewhat lacking in the creativity department, and I worry about who is going to get the goals for us. Need to be far more fired up for the weaker teams, and need a ‘key’ to unlock teams who put 11 men behind the ball. We are also a little thin on the ground in squad terms, and seem to have few options on the bench when things are going against us (the blame for which is often claimed by the press and fans as Keegan being tactically ‘naïve’). With a more consistent record against the bottom 5, we are genuine upper level Premiership team, and should be pushing for UEFA Cup spots on a regular basis. If Sweep does go in the summer, we will need to spend the money wisely!

Thirdly and finally, I have been worried for some time that the thrill of watching my beloved Blues appears to be not quite what it once was. I am just as committed to supporting the Citizens as I always have been, but do not get the same buzz before or after matches as I did a few years ago. I would be interested in hearing if I am on my own here, or if the consensus is shared amongst other Blues. I am not sure what the cause is, maybe a combination of things, including the new stadium (although was absolutely banging against Villa); trying to get to the new stadium on those ridiculous buses; the continually rising ticket prices (paying £30 for dross such as the Spurs game); the Blues’ performances; or (and probably most likely) an overall drop in the quality of Premiership football – with survival being so critical that a breed of non-descript and very average teams play negatively away from home and we are left (often fairly unsuccessfully) to try to break them down. I do not really relish the games against a lot of the teams currently in the Premiership.

I would be interested in other fans’ view on these matters!

Anyway- keep the faith, and for God’s sake guys – cheer up and cheer on the Blues!

CTID, Ben Brookes <bbrookes(at)>


The discussion of who is going to replace Kevin Keegan after next season is slowly surfacing. It’s an important and necessary question, and every City fan has the right to have their say. In the end it will be the directors that decide who will be in charge, and even if every bulletin-board and newsletter in the world were unanimous, it’s hard to see that the directors will follow the fans in this case. Come to think of it; have they ever?

Put all the name-dropping and drooling aside. Let’s for one moment forget about the face, facts and curriculum of the new man that’s going to follow Keegan after next season. In my mind there is only one question we should ask ourselves: do we want revolt or revolution? I will try to describe the different approaches in the two alternatives as I see them:

Revolt: The aim with a revolt would of course be to make a sudden improvement to the current league position and make us a regular Champions’ League and Premiership contender. The best known (positive) revolt these days are Chelsea. A desirable outcome depends on a large amount of fresh money coming in, either by selling prolific players like SWeeP and/or getting in new owners who is interesting in clearing debts (£15-20 million) and putting fresh money on the table in addition (£20-30 million). A revolt would most certainly include bringing in a new Chairman and other major changes to the Board. The pitfall is that we could end up with a high earning, under-performing squad with players that are so expensive that no other club can afford to buy them if we need to make changes. It will be interesting to see how Chelsea deal with this situation in a few years’ time. A revolt is costly and a high risk project. You must have the right man in the right place at the right time for such a crusade. Does anyone remember the Allison periods during the 1970s?

Evolution: This approach would build upon the work done by Keegan and Pearce and is the natural choice if no dramatic steps are taken in terms of bringing in new funds or revamping the squad. It could also imply an even stronger emphasis on the youth policy and bringing up more players like Flood, Onouha, Jordan and BeeP. Yearly transfer funds would be limited (£6-10 million), and to a large extent dependant on selling before buying. This approach would probably not guarantee immediate success. Instead a few good cup-runs and a steady top 10 position in the Premiership could be the outcome. Silverware would be scarce. The downside of such an approach would be inability to attract new interesting (and expensive) players, and that the squad would have a very small nucleus and be very reliant on the few star players we are able to attract/produce. Also our main performers would sooner or later find it desirable to shift sides for Champions’ League and a regular place in the international arena.

Both approaches could of course lead to downfall. If the Board makes the wrong decision we could end up with another Ball or another Leeds. It’s very interesting to notice the focus on Keegan’s spending during his time in charge. He has in fact not been too bad in his dealings, if you take into account the goals he set for the club when he came here. He aimed for a top 6 position, and has already given us a taste of Europe. This is what he said he would do and to the Board it must be satisfying to know that we are almost there. It sure beats having to swing the axe all the time. We are now a club that is capable of beating anyone, especially the Rags. If we can add more consistency into the equation it is my belief that evolution would establish City as a top 6 club in the country by 2010.

Svenn A. Hanssen <svenn(at)>


Like most of us, I scratch my head at the perplexing issue of our inconsistent form. How the heck do we give a good account of ourselves at Highbury and Stamford Bridge, only to lose to WBA?

Is it Keegan’s fault, are the players really that inconsistent or could there be another explanation?

There is no question that players go through “peaks” and “troughs” from game to game. That’s simply human nature: no player can perform at a consistently high level throughout an entire season; minor variations are to be expected.

I think the real issue is the following: most teams switch their patterns or playing styles to suit their opponents from week to week. You see this occur in lower leagues and even other football codes. So, when we play the top clubs, we adopt a relatively defensive pattern and have shown that it is effective. The players know what to do and it works quite well. However, the converse situation is where the problem exists. Against lower ranked opposition, City adopt a more expansive style with the objective of winning the game (as opposed to not losing).

The difficulty occurs because our creative options are limited; once SWP is marked out of the game (which tends to be the norm), we have few, if any, other players who can regularly unlock a defence. Playing an expansive or attacking style however, exposes our own defence and sometimes we’re left chasing a deficit rather than winning from the start: how many times have we been picked off with the odd goal? Remember Norwich at home early in the season and more recently Newcastle and WBA.

So, I think the issue is not so much “inconsistent” players, but an inability to effectively adapt to the different patterns required from week to week.

How to rectify the above is part due to the coaching staff and part due to the players’ talents, or more specifically the lack of certain qualities. I’ve come to the view that we desperately need another creative midfielder. Hopefully, Keegan is of the same opinion.

Stay Blue!

George Larcos <ngl(at)>


Does anyone know the reason as to why City are charging £10 for season ticket renewals using either a credit or debit card?

Conveniently this is hidden behind a marketing campaign promoting the price freeze on renewals before March 2004. A nice little earner for City when you consider there are 30k+ season ticket holders.

Ruth Thompson-Davies <ruth.Thompson(at)>


In an article in the Melbourne Age today about Australia’s 1-0 win against Libya, Stewart Petrie, ex-Dumfermline striker, says that Aussie striker Nick Carle is amongst the best he has seen, which includes Henrik Larsson, Ronald de Boer and Franck Sauzee. Nick plays in Oz for Newcastle United Jets.

Any chance of City having a look at him before it is too late? Might be a cheap buy. We desperately need a striker, now that our defence is a bit more reasonable.

Stuart Grundy <sgrundy(at)>


As a regular listener to GMR and an avid reader of MCIVTA, I’m increasingly impressed at the number of supporters who have some good inside information, know a good source or have a good reliable contact within the club etc.

Well, I have a story that I think can beat them all but please keep it to yourselves. My wife used to attend an all girls school in the 1960s, I’m sure you’ll understand if I don’t tell you which one. Anyway a girl in the year below her once lived next door but one to an aunt of John Wardle’s. Truth is stranger than fiction but this girl married a guy from Yorkshire whose parents often went to the same pub as Kevin Keegan’s grandad. Hand on heart I can tell you they had three children and the youngest eventually landed a weekend job in one of John Wardle’s shops and there’s no chance I’m going to tell you which one. Now call this a coincidence if you will but whilst out shopping with my good lady a week last Friday we bumped into a good friend of hers who also helped out on her days off at the same shop.

Now whilst I’m not one to boast, I can say I am married to a woman who has some good connections. May I humbly suggest that anybody who really wants to know what’s happening at City contacts my wife but please don’t mention my name it’s all a bit hush-hush. I’m off to bed now otherwise the Easter bunny might not deliver my eggs and I have to be up early because I still haven’t written a thank-you letter to Father Christmas.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


This is just to say that MCFC official calendars are now reduced to 99p in HMV Market St, Manchester if people out there still are looking for them.

Martin Rajah <martin(at)>


So, after 260 fixtures having been played, there are now only 120 fixtures left in this Premiership season (12 for each team); so now is a good time to download “The-BIGGER-One” (the Man City & all Premiership team-progress file). ALL the results in the file are up-to-date to the 7th Feb-05. The Excel spreadsheet file; “The-BIGGER-One” is available as a free download at

Please visit the website to read the full list of the file’s features; basically, all you do is type in the scores (or your predictions) and all the statistical tables and graphs are instantly revised. It is ready with the date of every Premiership fixture for the season. Also available on the website is a completed statistical Excel spreadsheet file for last season.

The website has been checked out, and has a priority listing with (under the miscellaneous/other, listings). If you like the sheets, please tell your mates.

And what does the spreadsheet tells us City fans? The oxymoronic statement, that City are predictably unpredictable, is naught but a truism to all experienced City fans. We are already guaranteed to be the only team this season not to concede a Premiership goal to Chelsea, gaining four points along the way, yet we drop five points to relegation certainties West Brom.; and no true City fan will be the least surprised. Theoretically, we could end the season with 69 points, but currently, my spreadsheet is suggesting that City will stumble through to achieve between 48 to 50 points, with approximately equal numbers of wins, draws, and losses.

A fan of any other team in a similar situation would probably just about be reconciled to mid-table mediocrity: but us Blues spend one heart-beat calculating the gap between City and the last European spot, and the next heart-beat calculating the gap to the dreaded position 18. Oh, the joys of being a true Blue.

Mark Vincent <vincent(at)>


Following Tony’s link posted in the last edition, please let Joey B have a look as I would back him any time with master dodgy hips.

It is such a shame Paul Bosvelt is not playing as he would take Keane, Thickarooney and our little Gary Neville too. Roll on Sunday. Let’s get behind them and add a few men from the stands with our support!

CTID, Kevin Esplin <kevin.esplin(at)>


Mark Redgrave says he’s been supporting Rangers since 1979 – what happened then? He points to the fact that for him it’s tradition – well so was burning witches at the stake – but that’s just about faded out now.

He then says something about Billy Boys – is that do with a King or something and a War? Again not much to do with Manchester City.

Stick to something about that doesn’t marginalise and embarass your own supporters. Either that or we can take a vote and pick sides, why not after all it’s only a bit of fun?

Last year at Chelsea, City fans were abusing Damien Duff because he was Irish and singing ‘No Surrender’ etc. Is that acceptable?

Andrew Goodman <Andrew.Goodman(at)>


Hello, I am hoping someone out there can help. I am an international Man City Supporter looking for tickets to the March 7, Monday night fixture. I have contacted the club numerous times and seem to always get a different story! I don’t know what you can do, but any leads or tips would be appreciated. Thanks.

Kind Regards, Dan Brock <dbrock(at)>


For those of you stuck in the most isolated city in the world, a few Blues are meting up for the derby at the Mustang Bar in Northbridge, Perth, WA.

Big screen, cheep beers, even a dance floor to celebrate on at the end, so come and make it a crowd. KO at 9pm Perth time, see you there, wear your colours!

John Warrington <johnwarrington(at)>


In response to Stephen Epstein’s request for a place to watch the derby, I can be of some assistance. There is an Irish bar on the Gulf Ocean Mile that I was able to watch the Arsenal game in but I don’t know its name. If you drive down Oakland towards the beach and turn left, go past the Greek and Italian (Greek serves very good food) and it’s on your right. There is also a place called Waxy O’Connor’s nearby, which we were told always shows games if they’re on. Both pubs so not sure if they’ll be open but they are able to serve alcohol at that time in states. Incidentally are you Katie’s dad?

Adam Gardner <adam.gardner(at)>


Our annual “Thrash the Rags” party will be at the Rampant and Rose this Sunday.

Many who came to the pub for the match at the Swamp will be glad to know they have ironed out the satellite problems and have promised us we won’t have to go haring up to the Mad Hatter at kick off (pints in hand!).

They are showing the match live at 8am Sunday Morning. See you all there! For directions:

Richard and Colleen <r.barter(at)>


We shall be in Las Vegas 28th February when the Norwich City away game is shown on Sky. Does anyone know where in Las Vegas we should be able to watch the match on TV? Can anyone help please?

Keith Molyneaux <keithmolyneaux(at)>


I am after some help from MCIVTA subscribers. I have almost completed the thankless task of keying all 5,000 City line-ups, ready to start pasting onto the website. This has taken me nearly 100 man hours! What I need are details of all City’s unused subs from the start of the 1965-66 season to the end of the 1996-97 season. If you can help, or know of somebody who can, please get in touch. I can supply Excel sheets for any season, so all that is needed is to type them in.

Thanks in advance for any offers of help.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


KINKLADZE: The Perfect 10 by David Clayton
Paperback, 232 pages, 50 photographs, £9.95
Publication date: March 1st, 2005

For many Manchester City fans, Gio Kinkladze – ‘Kinky’ – was the greatest player to ever wear the famous sky blue jersey. The Georgian midfielder arrived in 1995 under the tutelage of Alan Ball for £2 million, arguably the best money the club ever spent, and within a few games had the City fans eating out of the palm of his hand with a series of breathtaking displays.

Despite his wonderful skills, he couldn’t single-handedly stop the Blues from being relegated at the end of his first season, by which time he was perhaps the most coveted player in Europe and had the pick of some of the biggest clubs in world football.

Yet, instead of jumping ship, he opted to sign a new deal and set about trying to help his beloved Blues back into the Premiership whilst subjecting himself to two, sometimes three markers, all with the simple mandate: stop Kinkladze by any means possible. Often hacked and bullied by seasoned opponents, he came back for more and played under a succession of managers in a poor team.

It seemed almost cruel that fan power convinced him to remain with the club for one more season when he should have been displaying his mesmeric talents in La Liga or Serie A, and by the end of his third season with City, his career had stalled as the club were relegated again, this time to Division Two.

Kinky’s days at Maine Road were numbered from the minute Joe Royle arrived as manager, with the new boss determined to offload a player he felt the club and fans had an unhealthy obsession with. The funds of his £5.5 million sale to Ajax helped keep the Blues afloat and able to rebuild and return stronger, while Kinky’s largely disastrous time in Holland further hindered his progress.

He returned to England with struggling Derby County and, after wooing the Rams’ faithful, took a chance on finding a new club in 2003. Trials at Portsmouth, Bolton and Leeds resulted in nothing and in late 2004, after almost 18 months without a club, he joined up with his old friend Temuri Ketsbaia and is currently playing for Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus.

Kinkladze: The Perfect 10 traces the highs and lows of this most gifted player, from his days in Georgia, Germany and Argentina, to his time at Manchester City, Ajax, Derby and beyond. It is a celebration of a career that should have been much more, with views from those who know him best. Uplifting and, at times, sad, the story of Gio Kinkladze will reveal the answer to the question often asked by the fans who adored him at the clubs he played for – was he really the perfect 10 – or not?

The Author: David Clayton is editor of the official Manchester City Magazine and has written several books on the club, including Blue Blood: The Mike Doyle Story (with Mike Doyle), Everything Under the Blue Moon, The Little Book of Man City and Maine Man: The Tony Book Story. He has also written two club annuals and assisted on the autobiographies of wrestler Al Marquette and former world snooker champion John Spencer, as well as writing for the Manchester Evening News and The Guardian. A lifelong Blue, he saw his first game in August 1977 and has been smitten and disgusted with his club – in equal measure – ever since. He lives in Chorlton with his wife Sarah and two children, Jaime Nicole and Harry Ethan. His all-time favourite player is Gio Kinkladze.

Available from all good bookshops from March 1st, or by mail order at the special offer price of £8.95 (RRP £9.95) post Free (UK only) from: The Parrs Wood Press, St Wilfrid’s Enterprise Centre, Royce Road, Manchester M15 5BJ.

The Parrs Wood Press <sport(at)>


League table to 08 February 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         26 10  3  0 25  3 10  2  1 24  5 20  5  1  49   8  41  65
 2 Manchester Utd  26  9  4  0 24  6  7  4  2 19 10 16  8  2  43  16  27  56
 3 Arsenal         26  7  5  1 31 16  9  1  3 27 14 16  6  4  58  30  28  54
 4 Everton         26  9  1  3 16 12  5  5  3 15 15 14  6  6  31  27   4  48
 5 Liverpool       26  9  1  3 23 10  4  3  6 18 17 13  4  9  41  27  14  43
 6 Middlesbrough   26  7  4  2 20 12  4  3  6 21 23 11  7  8  41  35   6  40
 7 Bolton Wndrs    26  6  3  4 17 12  5  3  5 18 20 11  6  9  35  32   3  39
 8 Charlton Ath.   26  7  2  4 21 15  4  3  6  9 21 11  5 10  30  36  -6  38
 9 Tottenham H.    26  5  3  5 25 19  5  3  5  8 11 10  6 10  33  30   3  36
10 Manchester City 26  5  5  3 17 10  3  4  6 14 17  8  9  9  31  27   4  33
11 Aston Villa     26  7  3  3 20 10  1  5  7  9 23  8  8 10  29  33  -4  32
12 Newcastle Utd   26  5  4  4 21 20  2  6  5 16 23  7 10  9  37  43  -6  31
13 Portsmouth      26  6  2  5 18 17  2  4  7 11 21  8  6 12  29  38  -9  30
14 Birmingham City 26  4  4  5 15 12  3  4  6 14 21  7  8 11  29  33  -4  29
15 Fulham          26  5  2  6 16 21  3  3  7 17 23  8  5 13  33  44 -11  29
16 Blackburn R.    26  2  7  4 13 18  3  3  7  8 18  5 10 11  21  36 -15  25
17 Crystal Palace  26  4  2  7 13 13  1  5  7 16 27  5  7 14  29  40 -11  22
18 Norwich City    26  3  5  5 20 25  0  6  7  6 24  3 11 12  26  49 -23  20
19 Southampton     26  3  8  2 20 18  0  2 11  8 25  3 10 13  28  43 -15  19
20 West Brom A.    26  2  6  5 11 21  0  5  8 12 28  2 11 13  23  49 -26  17

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0405.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
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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.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1094