Newsletter #1102

A very poor game on Monday night; we have views and opinion as expected tonight. For the majority, the highlight was the début of Croft, who managed to impress fans and KK alike. The reserves were back into winning ways on Tuesday night, and I managed to dig out my notepad and get a report done.

Sarah has kindly stepped in for this week’s news and brings us all things City, including the Royle appeal, reaction to Monday and latest rumours.

Another break before our game against Spurs, although the reserves are back in action against Villa on Tuesday night at MiniCoMS.

Next game: Tottenham Hotspur, away, 3pm Saturday 19 March 2005


It has just been confirmed that Kevin Keegan has parted company with MCFC and Stuart Pearce is now in temporary charge of the team.

Thanks KK for a wonderful few seasons.



General News

Reserves Return to Winning Ways: After the first team’s 1-0 defeat to Bolton on Monday night, City’s reserves managed to beat Everton by the same score the following evening. BWP struck the woodwork twice in the first 10 minutes, before seeing his half-hit shot roll along the line and out again. After further pressure, Bischoff sent an unstoppable shot past Richard Wright. However, as is often the case with City, the second half bore no resemblance to the first and the reserves have Nicky Weaver to thank that they didn’t surrender their slender lead.

One Man’s Missed Fortune: Joe Royle as been told by the Appeal Court to pay back the money that he was awarded previously after having been sacked by Manchester City when they were relegated. Three Appeal Court judges ruled unanimously that the £422,819 Mr Royle received must now be returned to his former employers. The Blues will also benefit from a tax refund of £177,181. Joe will also have to pay the Club’s costs for the trial. City’s Deputy Chairman, Brian Bodek, was understandably delighted with the result and believes that ‘Mr Royle was properly compensated by the Club at the time of his dismissal following our relegation from the Premier League in 2001.’

No Regrets! Joe Royle says he has no regrets about taking Manchester City to court, despite being ordered to pay back more than £400,000 to the club. But Royle said afterwards: “When I was given the money after the earlier case, City suggested it go to charity, so I assume they will adhere to their own suggestion. I don’t want to become embroiled in a war of words and the final line is this is going to the House of Lords. I don’t have any regrets about the way this has gone because the legal system is there to be used.”

It’s a fix! City’s final game of the season has been moved to Sunday 15th May. The match vs. Middlesbrough will kick off at 4pm (as will all other Premiership matches on that day). City have yet to beat Boro at home since returning to the Premiership.

Transfer News and Gossip

More Gossip than News: Former Celtic star Lou Macari has backed Bhoys’ boss Martin O’Neill as the perfect replacement for Manchester City manager Kevin Keegan, who has confirmed he will be stepping down at the end of next season. Macari believes “the City job would be a real challenge to Martin. Most of the speculation you can dismiss as froth but I wouldn’t be too sure about the City link. I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. I believe Martin could turn them around. The thought of Fergie and Martin battling it out in Manchester is quite a prospect indeed.”

McCarthy hopes to find f(l)avour at the Walkers Stadium! Paddy McCarthy has tired of waiting in the wings for first team football and the 21 year old centre back has moved to Leicester for £100,000 (whether KK regrets this after Monday night’s injury driven selection challenges we will probably never know – though the fact that the boss reportedly approached McCarthy -and not vice versa – would suggest otherwise). McCarthy is now relishing the chance of regular first team football, having found it impossible to break into the City side.

Ex-Blues’ News

Dickson Sees Red: Preston North End (one of the big clubs in the area) have confirmed that former City player, Dickson Etuhu is to face a four match ban after being sent off in a reserve game for a horrifying two-footed challenge.

Reactions and Comments

The Wrong Time To Concede: (is there a right time?) City chief, Kevin Keegan believes that Bolton’s goal (from El-Hadj Diouf) on the stroke of half time was the worst possible moment for the Blues to concede. It came after a period of City pressure when a great chance for Robbie Fowler went just over the bar. Kiki Musampa headed just wide of the upright in the closing minutes of the match for a chance that could have given City a share of the points. However, there were few clear-cut chances over the ninety minutes for the Blues admitted Kevin Keegan and there was no sign of the City fightback that marked their win over Norwich a week before when they came back to win the match from a two goal deficit.

Experience Counts (for nothing!): Kevin Keegan also explained that he replaced Willo Flood at the start of the second half as he looked to bolster the side with experience. The nineteen year old, filling in for SWP – a hard task in itself, was playing his first senior game since coming on as a second half substitute in the FA Cup defeat at Oldham in January. But being a goal down at half time, the manager decided to shuffle his midfield and bring on Steve McManaman. “Willo has done very well and is a little bit more experienced than Lee Croft,” explained the manager. “I fetched Steve McManaman on at the start of the second half as Willo’s lack of experience was showing at times” (what a shame he hadn’t fetched on Croft, the one player who when he did come on with around 10 minutes to go, looked like he might be capable of making a difference). However, as KK went on to explain, the younger players shouldn’t be pushed too far too soon, in spite of the crowd’s desire to see them.

Macca Does Care: Well according to David James, the laid-back former Real Madrid star who has yet to make any real impact at City really does care about the club. The proof of the pudding, as they say. Meanwhile KK has commented on the divide between the top 3 clubs and the rest of the division, claiming that the star players only want to play for clubs where Champions’ League football is a real possibility (didn’t we just sell one of them?).

Squad News

Shaun’s All Wrighty: Shaun Wright Phillips has come through his knee op (on Monday) and is now starting his rehab, according to club doctor, Mark Whitaker. “We are not setting any targets but the prognosis is promising. It was the right decision to operate and we look forward to seeing Shaun in a City shirt again soon.” Joey Barton underwent a similar operation at the hands of Simon Roberts and returned to the starting line up after five weeks on the sidelines. Shaun’s absence does however, mean that some of City’s current youngsters may get their chance in the first team – Shaun himself made his début at seventeen and hasn’t looked back since.

Ben Back for Spurs? Kevin Keegan is hoping that Ben Thatcher may be back against Spurs on Saturday week. The left back was one of seven players who were unavailable on Monday night. The Wales international is one of three squad members who have been receiving treatment for a hamstring problem. Striker Jon Macken and Nedum Onuoha are also sidelined with the same injury but it is the full back who could be the first one back into the squad. Meanwhile, Antoine Sibierski got a dead leg in the game against Bolton but he should recover in time. Richard Dunne has a bit of a niggle, which he has had for a while but he is playing with it and just getting on with his game. Ben Thatcher may have a chance for the trip to London and of course we will have Stephen Jordan and Joey Barton back from suspension.

One for the future: City youngster Danny Sturridge, cousin of Wolves striker Dean Sturridge, scored the second and also the last goals as England U16s beat Wales 5-1 in the 2004 Victory Shield. Sturridge also won himself Man of the Match for his performance.

Miller turns pro: Ishmael Miller is the latest of the City kids to sign professional forms. The teenager made a huge hit in the reserves this season, scoring four goals in three starts. He also leads the Academy scoring charts with fifteen strikes from 24 outings in the league and cup.

Sarah Longshaw <news(at)>


FA Premiership – Manchester City 0 Bolton Wanderers 1
City of Manchester Stadium, Monday March 7th 2005, Kick-off 20:00
Attendance: 43,050

Team Changes: Barton and Jordan suspended, Shaun Wright-Phillips out for 6 to 8 weeks following operation on torn cartilage. Flood, Reyna and Sommeil start, with Croft and Bischoff on the bench.

Line-up: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Sommeil, Flood (McManaman, 46), Reyna, Bosvelt (B. Wright-Phillips, 68), Musampa, Sibierski (Croft, 83), Fowler.
Unused subs: Weaver, Bischoff.

Goal times: (45) 0-1 Diouf.

Bookings: Dunne (64). Sent off: None.

Referee: A. Wiley – 14th match in charge of City, first one being the 2-3 home defeat by Nottingham Forest in December 1997. Refereed the first leg of the Division 2 play-off Semi against Wigan in 1999, disallowed Tiatto’s solo wonder goal at Middlesbrough in 2001, and has been controversially involved in sending off three City players: Dunne at Newcastle in the FA Cup (2002), Anelka in the last minute at Highbury (2004), and van Buyten at Leeds last April. His record – W5 D3 L6.

Comment: With three enforced changes, City never got into any rhythm, failing to have one shot on target in the entire game (we’re still not missing Anelka are we, boo-boys?). Diouf tapped in what turned out to be the winner right on 45 minutes. McManaman replaced Flood at half-time, but seems to lack the confidence to have a shot on goal. Lee Croft made his début in the 83rd minute, and showed real signs of promise, being involved in a handful of positive moves down the right side.

The general consensus outside the ground was that City seem to lack spirit, motivation and ambition, and will do well to finish any higher than their current position. Fortunately we probably only need another win to be safe from relegation, so credit Kevin Keegan for stabilising the club, but with his matter-of-fact view of his own future, the fans share the players’ concern about next season. With £500,000 at stake for every finishing place in the Premier League, one questions the merit of “giving away” Nicolas Anelka before the end of the season.

The whole club needs a shot of impetus, momentum, incentive, motivation, call it what you like, because watching City at the moment is frankly a demoralising pastime. Psychic Phenomenon KK has gone on record saying that with only 3 teams having any chance of winning the major prizes, the Premier League will become boring and fans will vote with their feet. I’ve got news for you Kev, your vision of the future is with us now. Judging by the atmosphere at recent home games (yes, including the derby), most City fans are already bored and find it hard to motivate themselves out of their homes when your team only seems to play once a fortnight.

The Premier League Working Group will do well to address the decline in Premiership fortunes, including falling attendances, fear of financial ruin following relegation, rising ticket prices, poor standards of comfort in older stadia, lack of competitive edge and entertainment, live TV overkill, inconsiderate kick-off times, heavy-handed policing/stewarding, the thought of a Wednesday night FA Cup Final, and… the lack of club football at Easter!

MCFCstats: Lee Croft becomes the 1,045th City débutant, and it is the eighth début this season, after Mills, Thatcher, Waterreus, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Onuoha, D’Laryea and Musampa; City’s first Premiership defeat at home to Bolton.

Website update: Another 20 seasons (1930-31 to 1949-50) pasted onto the site, making 850 pages in total.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


I am sure there will be plenty of opinion about the match but I think we need to be realistic – we had 8 players missing through injury and suspension, coupled with Reyna’s comeback match and he had to play all 90 minutes! If Arse, ****ers or Chelsea were in that position all the papers would be full of it.

Personally, it was more upsetting that Bolton looked c**p a lot of the time and yet could qualify for Europe. I am not a Sommeil fan, it can’t have been easy for him coming back to the first team after so long, but he earns a lot of money and Onohua would not have had me shouting at the TV. Hopefully this 2 week break will get a number of players back and a chance for Reyna to gain some more fitness – he certainly had bright patches in the first half – and it may not be a bad thing for us to be away from home!

However, we also need to look at our defence because we are starting to ship goals, most of them sloppy, and we aren’t scoring, with the exception of Norwich, which is worrying too. It wouldn’t be City if we don’t know if we will end up just above relegation or in a European place!

Mark Ballentine <mark.ballentine(at)>


Before the predictable knives come out in the aftermath of a poor game on Monday night, let’s get a few things into perspective.

First, both City and the opposition were poor. Bolton took their only chance of the first half (a gift at that) whereas City didn’t.

Bolton came to do a job – that was not to lose the match. When a rare opportunity was presented they took it and to be honest it was hard to see how City would come back from it.

Injuries clearly took their toll last night but we have to look at how we failed throughout 90 minutes to trouble a Bolton side that only sporadically got into situations in our own penalty box.

City won’t qualify for Europe – I admire some fans’ optimism but we aren’t good enough and I can only agree with KK’s post match comments about the future of the Premier League.

Anyway I won’t moan and keep the faith ’cause there’s always hope!

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


We were bl**dy awful, how some players can pick up their pay packets this week is beyond me.

You can use all the excuses in the world, but some players are just not good enough. Why when we have one of the smallest squads do we get rid of a couple of the young ones that might serve City better?

I hate criticising my beloved City, but the second half was probably the worst 45 minutes I’ve seen, wouldn’t even make it when we were in Division Two. Boy we were awful, awful, awful, awful, and not very good either.

My sick daughter got up and watched the second half. I cheered her up a lot, she couldn’t stop laughing… at me!

Thanks City.

You gotta luv City, well.

P.S. Mark H in New Zealand give me a email re NZBlues.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


City’s second string travelled down the M58 to Southport for our match against Everton on Tuesday evening. A pleasant, if crisp, evening by the coast and one which saw us return to winning ways in front of a few hardy souls.

Line-ups below, but Croft (Figo) and BWP were in action following their appearances the previous night in the first team. The first half was all about City, as Everton struggled to get the ball out of their half.

Within 5 minutes midfielder Ireland showed his usual creativity and ran into the Everton penalty area, crossed to BWP who hit the post and the ball rolled out. The duo were back again within the first 10 minutes but BWP was again thwarted as his shot hit the crossbar, leaving Wright the Everton goalkeeper wondering just what sort of evening he was in for. Just after the half hour Bischoff, in an excellent piece of play, picked the ball up from near the halfway line and ran through to place a shot from about 30 yards out, which left Wright stranded. Easy!

We followed this up with another attack from Ireland, who crossed to Miller this time but Hughes intercepted and tried to head the ball into his own goal, saved only by the quick reaction of Wright.

There was a melée at one point, and a disallowed City goal but I was busy trying not to scald myself with the overly hot coffee so missed the detail on that one.

Everton managed just a couple of attacks and shots, which didn’t trouble any of the City defence as they were so far wide of the goal. We went into half time 1-0 up, but could easily have been 5-0.

The return saw Everton make 3 substitutions and a reversal in the pattern of play. For some reason City just weren’t attacking with the verve of the first half and Everton were allowed to run riot.

Fortunately Man of the Match Weaver was on form to make three excellent saves in quick succession as we switched off completely and Everton piled on the pressure with Hopkins and Plessis, and a Miller mis-header when he tried to put a free kick from Wilson into the City net, which hit the woodwork.

Into extra time (where the referee had borrowed Taggart’s watch), City did manage a blazing attack but Bennett shot over. Still, a win and 3 points keeps us in contention with the leaders.

This frenetic activity gave the Ipswich scout something to fill his report with, as he was there keenly watching the City ‘keeper – well if Ipswich get promoted, they’ll be needing a decent one although has big Joe the money to afford a back-in-form Weaver? One wag suggested the scout was only there to return Royle’s cheque.

Everton: R Wright, S Wright, Wilson, Hughes, Gerrard, Kearney (Vidarsson 46), Hopkins, Watson (Anichebe 46), Vaughan, Plessis, Boyle (Phelan 46)

Manchester City: Weaver, Warrender, Collins, J D’Laryea, Richards, Bischoff, Croft (Laird 81), Ireland, B Wright-Phillips (Etuhu 81), Miller, Bennett

Heidi <editor(at)>


James 7
Sommeil 5
Dunne 7
Distin 6
Mills 4
Musampa 5
Bosvelt 5
Reyna 5
Flood 5
Sibierski 6
Fowler 5
McManaman 4
Wright-Phillips 5
Croft 7

No comment.

Steve Maclean <1(at)>


Well I must admit that I was wrong.

Some time ago I wrote that I did not think that Lee Croft had sufficient Premiership potential. That was after Oldham’s cup match against Thurrock. Well, I’m glad to eat my words. I thought he had a fine game against Bolton in the Cup – even if he did commit one very bad foul; let’s say it was due to youthful exuberance.

Only about 10 minutes against Bolton on Monday but he looked slick, powerful and skilful. I’d thought he should have been preferred to Flood whom I think looks rather lightweight. I’m now convinced of that – and if KK has any sense he’ll use SWP’s absence to give Crofty some more time on the pitch.

Incidentally, reading Croft’s comments on the City website was interesting. He said how much Macca helped him on the pitch. I also remember reading that Macca had kept in touch with him to keep him motivated during his loan at Oldham (one wonders if KK or Pearce went to watch him). So perhaps those of us who criticize Macca should give credit where it is due.

In an absolutely dire game against Bolton I thought that Macca played reasonably well. And no, if I were the manager I wouldn’t offer to extend his contract unless there was a coaching element in it (JB has also gone on record as saying he’s helped him too).

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)>


Keegan. Not an opinion – a fact.

If I can help it, I never send in stuff of a ranting nature. Choosing the humorous side of supporting this esteemed establishment instead. But, enough is enough.

Keegan consistently expressed (on joining the club) that he needed to eradicate the ‘defeatist mentality’ that surrounded MCFC. He said “For too long there has been a too inconsistent regime” and “The expectancy of failure”. OK in the 1st Division that mate, and I will maintain that that was the most enjoyable, exciting season of football I have witnessed at Maine Road. Ever!

But in the Premiership? No, no. We keep saying we saying we ‘belong’ here, although it’s getting harder to justify! Yeah, we’ve had three seasons of inconsistency ‘in’ the Prem. But how much of the £460 per season has been enjoyable?

Travelling to that miserable industrial end of god knows where (love the ground, hate the place; actually no, I hate the ground too) has become as mundane as travelling to M&S for new underpants, for as little reward, unless the wife digs ’em of course.

My own personal disdain, is the by the by of course, and I don’t wanna moan, more than necessary.

Back to the ‘messiah’.

As a bloke, I like Keegan, he’s an affable character and aside from his footie, pretty impossible to truly dislike. Until a couple of months ago, KK admitted defeat. “I am now with the City fans, I share the same view as them, and cannot get around that defeatist mentality that surrounds this club”.

This, fellow sufferers, is where Kevin Keegan, has in fact “Fallen on his sword”. “Heart on his sleeve” maybe, but categorically wrong.

“The disappointment is as great as it could be. You feel you just want to get on a bus and get out of this place,” he told City’s official website after the cup defeat at Oldham. Why are comments like these wrong then?

Well, can you just imagine, Mourihno (or even, bl**dy Fergie) saying that in front of the Chelsea board? Can you ‘eckers-like’. It would be in finest brightest neon lights above the head “Failure” and off they go.

That’s why KK must leave our club, although in positionally a better state than when he arrived, in a precarious financial state with a playing staff that quite frankly, did not deserve their ‘second chance’ at the expense of my club.

Don’t bring Strachan, don’t bring Dowie, get O’Neill if you can and certainly don’t bring that absolute fool Allardyce.

Play the kids, till the end of the season; they will fight for a higher place than the garbage that started or came on against Bolton. It’s just so naïve to suggest that Macca, Reyna, Sinclair, Mills, et al will benefit my football club whatsoever. They are absolutely shocking footballers. No passion. Creaming the club. Well eff-off we don’t want you.

Dunnie, last night was the only player running forward with any conviction, and that’s where I’ll leave this airing of views. Enough said.

Joel Perry – ex-Kippax, virtually ex-football fan, yet ex-owner of another hard earned £460 <j.perry(at)>


Kevin Keegan has said he will stay until the end of his contract, and that there is no chance of him signing another contract, that he would walk away if the club tells him to, and shake John Wardle’s hand on the way out. I believe this is an invitation to fire him, what else can it mean? I have always been a Kevin Keegan supporter, but now I feel the time has come to part company.

Next season cannot be an inspiring season for the young players at City if KK stays. For the sake of the club now, MCFC must settle something with Kevin Keegan; if there is room in his contract to put him in a position upstairs then do it, but consideration to the next manager must also be made – would he like this? Maybe a clean sheet would be in order for the next manager. For the next manager to have some cash it might be that SWP will be sold, but I certainly hope that the next manager, whoever that may be, has a policy that concerns the youth at City.

Kevin Keegan complains that the squad is too small and yet he put himself into this position by buying deadwood.

It’s time for John Wardle to swallow his pride and change managers, or he might be the next one the fans want out. Now is the time for change; it appears that we are safe for EPL football next season, to be certain we need 2 more points.

Sorry if I am negative but for the sake of Manchester City’s future Kevin Keegan has to go; he himself has said he will not be part of the future at City so why stay? Sorry Kevin it’s time to go and watch your wife’s horses win some races. Good luck! Thanks for some good times beating United.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


You may be interested in the clips of Gio’s classic goal vs. Southampton and a goal from Steve McManaman (yes he used to score) along with lots of other goals at:


Tony Hulme <tttduk(at)>


I’m just looking at our huge squad list on the back of last night’s programme (and it is bigger than most clubs in the Premiership but a lot of it is goalkeepers and poor players), and wondered if the powers that be will re-jig the squad numbers? For example, Dunne is 22 but Reyna wears the number 6, the shirt normally assigned to a centre back.

Call me a traditionalist but I prefer the numbers to match the position. Give SWP if he is still there next season the number 7 as we don’t even have one of those at the moment.

I know that we can’t change squad numbers mid-season but I can’t remember if we have ever changed squad numbers?

Billy Watkinson <billy.Watkinson(at)>


‘Kinkladze: the Perfect 10’ is an excellent read despite the ominous parallels with SWP at the moment (was his operation really brought forward to prepare him for shipment to Arsenal at season’s end as several people said on Monday night?)

How about doing Uwe next David?

Mark Barratt <Mark.Barratt(at)>


The next meeting for Denton branch of the Official Supporters’ Club takes place on Monday 14th March, 8pm start at Denton Con Club.

Our special guests for the evening will be Andy Hinchcliffe and Paul Tyrrell.

For further details/directions please contact me by email.

Heidi <editor(at)>


Desperately seeking 2 tickets for Spurs – please email or call 07899 998 997.

Many thanks, Simon Hope <simonjhope(at)>


Don’t worry, it’s not another rant from our canary friend Delia! Just a message to Christine Lennon to get back in touch if you still receive “McVittee”. Thanks for the lift on Sunday and hope to hear from you soon!

Helena Murtagh <H.Murtagh(at)>


7 March 2005

Manchester City       0 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      43,050

6 March 2005

West Bromwich Albion  2 - 0  Birmingham City       25,749
Everton               0 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      32,406

League table to 08 March 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         28 10  3  0 25  3 12  2  1 28  6 22  5  1  53   9  44  71
 2 Manchester Utd  29 10  4  0 26  7  8  5  2 21 10 18  9  2  47  17  30  63
 3 Arsenal         29  9  5  1 39 17  9  2  3 28 15 18  7  4  67  32  35  61
 4 Everton         29  9  1  5 16 14  6  5  3 18 16 15  6  8  34  30   4  51
 5 Liverpool       28  9  1  3 23 10  4  3  8 18 20 13  4 11  41  30  11  43
 6 Bolton Wndrs    29  6  4  4 17 12  6  3  6 20 22 12  7 10  37  34   3  43
 7 Middlesbrough   29  7  5  2 22 14  4  4  7 21 25 11  9  9  43  39   4  42
 8 Charlton Ath.   28  7  2  4 21 15  4  5  6 11 23 11  7 10  32  38  -6  40
 9 Tottenham H.    28  6  3  5 27 19  5  3  6  8 12 11  6 11  35  31   4  39
10 Aston Villa     29  8  3  4 23 13  2  5  7 11 24 10  8 11  34  37  -3  38
11 Newcastle Utd   28  7  4  4 24 21  2  6  5 16 23  9 10  9  40  44  -4  37
12 Manchester City 29  5  5  5 17 13  4  4  6 17 19  9  9 11  34  32   2  36
13 Birmingham City 29  5  4  5 17 12  3  4  8 14 25  8  8 13  31  37  -6  32
14 Blackburn R.    28  3  7  4 16 18  4  3  7  9 18  7 10 11  25  36 -11  31
15 Fulham          28  5  3  6 16 21  3  3  8 17 25  8  6 14  33  46 -13  30
16 Portsmouth      29  6  2  6 19 19  2  4  9 12 26  8  6 15  31  45 -14  30
17 Crystal Palace  29  5  3  7 15 13  1  5  8 17 32  6  8 15  32  45 -13  26
18 Southampton     29  4  9  2 22 19  0  3 11  8 25  4 12 13  30  44 -14  24
19 West Brom A.    28  3  7  5 13 21  0  5  8 12 28  3 12 13  25  49 -24  21
20 Norwich City    29  3  5  7 23 31  0  6  8  6 27  3 11 15  29  58 -29  20

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1102