Newsletter #1121

A memorable final game to the season: great atmosphere, some near misses, good goal, bizarre substitutions, penalties, nail-biting final minutes and some daft refereeing but a UEFA spot was not to be. However, we have finished 8th, which is a tremendous achievement – how many would have thought that was possible back in March?

Tonight we have plenty of opinion on the Boro game, the future, the kit, and the usual requests.

Many thanks to Mads for ensuring continuity over the last fortnight and a big thank you as usual to all behind MCIVTA for keeping us going through our 11th season. Thanks also to all who have contributed over the season, it is what you make it.

Next game: TBA


City gave it everything they could to win the game versus Boro, but fell short. Let’s not be hard on Robbie Fowler for missing the penalty in the 90th minute that could have given us victory. Robbie Growler has given City a very good season.

Here are the stats from the last game of the season:

                City            Boro
Possession      60%             40%
Shots           10              4
Bookings        2               4
Fouls           12              16
Corners         10              3

So you can see how City dominated the game, but did not get that all important goal to win the game.

I think it told John Wardle and the MCFC board of directors how important it will be to sign a quality striker in the summer, when Stuart Pearce had to bring on David James to use a striker. Bradley Wright-Phillips is not ready yet, but I feel sure he will be a good one in the future.

I don’t think that any City player can be blamed for not winning the game; instead I would like to congratulate Stuart Pearce and all the players for giving us all an exciting finish to the season, thank you.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Robbie must be feeling gutted – and so might some of us. I, for one, am delighted that we have achieved our highest ever finish, with a hint of a promise of things to come next season,

So what if Robbie missed a penalty! Nine games ago we would all have settled for 8th, wouldn’t we?

Congratulations to SP, Robbie and all involved, in what turned out to be a pretty good season, and something to build on.

Add in the fact that jammy West Brom owe us 5 points next season – Hello Europe is not too wild a shout.

Stuart Wells <stu(at)>


Very disappointed that the team wore the new away shirts on Sunday. This was nothing but a cynical marketing ploy which, in my opinion, backfired.

Firstly, the atmosphere that had been building up to kick-off was suddenly deflated – there we all were, in our sky blue, ready to support our boys and they turn out in a completely different colour.

Secondly, there were at least two or three instances when our players passed to the referee, having mistaken his dark shirt for that of another City player.

The commercially oriented day continued with the lap of honour and the wearing of the new away shirt with the launch date on the back. I’m very sad that the advertising men seem now to be dictating this sort of thing, on a day which should have made us proud of our players, as footballers not mobile advertising hoardings.

[It was a bizarre decision, it didn’t help that Mr Styles was dressed the same either – Ed]

Hilary Roberts <hils(at)>


Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fearful man:
Affliction is enamour’d of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity.
(Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 3)

Much moaning and wailing yesterday as Robbie’s penalty was saved. Uncle Norman reflected on the 45 years he’d been going: “It’s always the same. You can rely on them to let you down.”

There’s a bit in Romeo and Juliet where Romeo is blubbering about being expelled from Verona so he won’t see his bird any more, and the friar reminds him how much worse it could have been:

What, rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive,
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;
There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,
But thou slew’st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
The law that threaten’d death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
Happiness courts thee in her best array;
But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench,
Thou pout’st upon thy fortune and thy love

Let’s just count wherein we are happy:

  • Four teams were fighting for survival. We weren’t.
  • A relegated chairman was being pilloried for getting through seven managers in three years. He wasn’t ours.
  • We had our highest Premiership finish ever.
  • We’re on our longest unbeaten run for years. It won’t end for another three months.
  • We saw David James play up front. Brilliant!
  • We saw Nicky Weaver back, and as good as ever.
  • We haven’t been bought by Malcolm Glazer.
  • We beat Chelsea.
  • We were unbeaten at Old Trafford, Highbury and Stamford Bridge.
  • We’ve seen Shaun Wright-Phillips at his best ever. He hasn’t been sold so far.
  • Half our team is home-grown. There’s more to come.
  • The senior players look like they care, and feel like they belong.
  • We don’t have to watch Middlesbrough every week.
  • Stuart Pearce is our manager.

UEFA Cup? TNS and Groclin? Thursday nights on Channel 5, live from Moldova?

I’ll take what we’ve got, thanks.

[Here, here! – Ed]

Dorien James <dorien.james(at)>


For some reason, since Mr. Pearce brought stability and competency to City’s performances they have stopped showing the games over here! We did get the Charlton and Liverpool games but that has been it. So I have had to follow through a friend phoning from the home games and the Internet.

Although I am very, very disappointed with the final result today, I am not going to let it get me down for too long. I don’t think the reason we missed Europe is down to a missed penalty but down to a lot of dropped points (against poor teams) before March. I suspect most teams, bar Chelsea, could say that (and even Boro had a miserable run) but we have all spoken to the poor home form of the last couple of years. The new manager seems to have done a lot to sort this out and if he is responsible for the fact that only Chelsea, Arsenal and United gave up fewer goals, then he deserves a medal for this alone. He has also made it sadly clear that no matter how long Kevin stayed there would not have been any real improvement in results. Had Peace been given the job even before the Bolton game…

I wish him all the best. It was the right move for the club but I don’t think we should expect the earth from him straight away. Which brings me to the reason I am writing. I can’t for the life of me figure out this debt issue. No matter how much time passes, or what happens with transfers, we seem to be at 62 million in debt. Why has the figure not changed all season? Home crowds have been excellent, the Premiership money is useful, yet all the reports keep chanting the same figure. My A level economics from 1967 can’t work this out. I also keep reading that the debt is very manageable. Now what on earth does that mean if the first thing Pearce is told is that there is no funds. Any chance Howard Davies is on this list-serve and can explain structured debt?

The fact that a year on from Keegan being told there is no money, Pearce is told the same thing is a cause of some concern for me. There has to be a limit to how far this current squad can improve unless, Croft, B. Wright-Phillips (and one or two others) really can make the step up. It seems a very defeatist attitude for the club to continually say there is no money for new players. I realize some will say it is a realistic attitude but has there been no planning over the last year to free up some funds? Clubs all around City will be strengthening over the summer.

But I am sure we will hear more about this and on who should leave and who should be brought in. For now I am delighted in the improvement in form and consistency since Pearce took over. I don’t think he should lose a lot of sleep because of this last game. I hope he is able to find a couple of players over the summer (forward and midfield). It seems as if Wright-Phillips will stay and that must be a boost.

Meanwhile let me get back to reading about the antics on the other side of Manchester–:)

Best wishes to all and many thanks once again for all at MCIVTA for keeping us all up to date about the Blues, no matter where we live.

Roll on August.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


What if Fowler had scored, what if we’d drawn three of the ten games we lost by a single goal, what if, what if.

Well, another season has come and gone and all things considered it wasn’t that bad. We finished eighth (sixteenth last season), won 13, drew 13, lost 12, 47 goals for, 39 against and 52 points for our highest place in the Premiership.

Defensively we were really solid, and we finished eleven points and eight places better than last season. So I thought I’d hand in my report card, based on what I have seen of City on Sky (gee you’d think there was only one team in playing in Manchester as far as Sky TV are concerned, but that’s another matter entirely!). So here goes:

David James – Superb most of the time, very average the rest, pity about his outbursts concerning Kevin Keegan; they lacked class.

Nedum Onuoha – Looks the goods, one for the future, glad some young players are getting a chance.

Sylvain Distin and Richard Dunne – Superb combination, best pairing in the league. Richard my player of the season.

Ben Thatcher and Stephen Jordan – The old and the young, both steady.

Danny Mills – Least said the better.

Shaun Wright Phillips – A gem. Hope we keep him.

Joey Barton – Well done Joey, so you think you are Zidane, still got a way to go my friend, but a great improvement.

Claudio Reyna – Looks good since back to fitness, hope for a whole season!

Kizito Musampa – He looks a class player, but sometimes you wonder, maybe it’s just his style, but I’d try and keep.

Antonine Siberski – A bit like Musampa.

Robbie Fowler – Has been great, really feel for him, need a decent striker to play with him.

The rest – Bradley Wright Phillips, Lee Croft should get more time.

Jonathan Macken – May be better in midfield, has got some nice touches, but needs to learn how to score again.

Nicky Weaver – The forgotten man, glad he’s back in the squad, would like to see him have a run.

Well what do we do for three months, master football in Christchurch will have to do, but at fifty five it’s getting harder and harder. We need a couple of players, a striker to go with Fowler, and a creative midfielder.

If Liverpool wins the European Cup is there another spot open?

And what if we wore our home shirts for our home games. Why did we wear our away strip to a home game?

Thanks for some great memories this season, thanks to Heidi and co for their hard work, and stay Blue.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Another season over and at least we didn’t struggle at the end. I wonder if anyone knows which players are out of contract this summer?

We all know McManaman’s contract will be up (hallelujah) – but who else can Pearce look at? I notice from some of the tabloids (which I consult before buying my Times or Telegraph) that it is speculated that we will be going for Steve Stone (why?) and Henri Camara – quick but in my eyes another Luther Missit.

Surely we can do better than those two?

Finally I heard on Sky that we may get a place in the UEFA Cup through the Fair Play League – I thought Norwich were top of that.

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)>


Us Blues can always be guaranteed to come up with the odd little ditty when it comes to chants. For example, our second half response to Portsmouth’s constant version of Amarillo was splendid. However, it may not be very original, but the chant from Chelsea fans vs. Man Ure “you’re just a town full of City” was just perfect.

Well done Chelsea, congratulations on the Premiership and all.

Hopefully by now City will have qualified for Europe and let’s hope that whether we have or not, come next season, SP can do what Moyes has at Everton.

Keep the faith, Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


For all those who complain about the food at CoMS, just be glad you don’t go to White Hart Lane.

I went there to watch the FA Vase final between AFC Sudbury and Didcot Town on Saturday (accompanying my brother-in-law, who is a regular attender at Didcot’s games). We decided to get our food in the stadium – well although one could get the regulation burger or pie – there were no chips. Further, all tops from cold drinks were taken away as a ‘security measure’ (I ask you – talk of paranoia – at the FA Vase). Now admittedly the bagel concession stall was closed – but no chips. Really isn’t football at all! Blimey, you can even get chips at Didcot’s games as well as at Abingdon United.

What is the Premier League coming to? Next it’ll only be prawn sandwiches (now who was it who said that?). For those who are interested in the result and didn’t consult the non-league section, it was Sudbury 2 Didcot 3 (that’s 3 in a row where Sudbury have been the bridesmaid and not the bride!).

[Similar story at the FA Vase last year, which was at Birmingham City – Ed]

Ian Burgess – Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit <i.burgess(at)>


After reading the responses to the articles I sent in to MCIVTA 1116 and 1117, I must respond directly to a number of the comments made, purely on the grounds of clarification and to share with you guys a first hand account given to me by one of our own, someone who was actually at a meeting where this very subject of the club badge was discussed – our own Rick Eagles!

(Thank you for this Rick, as it so perfectly spells out exactly what happened at the time)

That’s for later, however I must firstly address comments made by Graham Keller and Steve McNulty.

Graham, you mention in your letter that I undermine my argument for moving forward by going backwards when I refer to continuing with the Red/Black stripe away shirt, I feel the need to clarify this point and in some way also to put forward more clearly my thinking. In my article I referred to the following and I quote:

“Now just clarify a design point; when I work on any design project albeit corporate or packaging, I look at the what’s called ‘a heritage of the brand’. This is all historical background; in this case it is perfectly acceptable to incorporate this into the brand or crest.”

What everyone who has responded to this point has missed is that I’m also talking about not just the badge but everything connected with the club; there is nothing wrong with looking at the successful period of the club as it is referred to and the away colours are very much associated with this; it’s part of our heritage! In fact why is it that the club and the kit manufacturers keep coming back to this colour/design? Because it reminds us of success as it was then!

Historical fact!

Also Graham you said the following:

“Well both this and the round badge were synonymous with the club’s most successful era of the 60’s and 70’s. Yes things move on but a badge or emblem is what you identify with the club. As I was growing up that always symbolised City to me – apart from the coat of arms of Manchester, which was used for cup final occasions – a rarity indeed!”

(In fact again as a point there have been a number of slightly different variations of the round badge over the period it was used)

I too at one time felt the same way as you have described above and do look back from time to time, but for me the old badge became tainted (though I still wore my colours with pride) after what happened for most of the 80’s and part of the 90’s, except when Peter Reid was manager (I’m sure someone is bound to pick holes and split hairs with this comment as well?). The club became a joke on the field and off the field in the media, up and down like a yo-yo from one year to the next (I was greatly interested by Nick Durham’s account on this, as it mirrored my experiences as a suffering Blue, working in Yorkshire at the time) while watching the Rags go from strength to strength and everyone taking the p**s out of the club and the faithful like us who supported the club no matter what!

Yes we thrashed them 5-1 in 89, look where they went after that!

Oh I’m sure we all have our individual stories!

What’s important here is that the club for the first time in years is moving forward and we have something to be proud of (not that we were never proud). What I mean is that there is a whole generation who now know only the new identity, like my nieces and nephew and it’s great to see them get excited about the team and the club, as they are surrounded by people who follow the Rags.

In addition and with Rick’s help by way of confirmation, I too discovered that dispensing with the old logo was all to do with copyright and the fact the club did not have the rights overall with its Badge/Logo/Identity, which is very important given now that licensing is a very important part of day to day business, especially merchandising.

Now my response to Steve McNulty, MCIVTA 1117; a historical point of clarification mate!

Peter Swales was not the chairman during our successful period of the mid-60’s and early 70’s! It was in fact a gentleman called A.V. Alexander! Peter Swales wasn’t even on the board then, he didn’t become chairman until 1973. I have my programmes from that period, which will back this up!

With him at the helm we only won one trophy in 1976 and yes for the most part he was a disaster, except for when Tony Book was manager, Peter Reid and John Bond for a time (remember him?).

A section from the article says and I quote:

“Manchester City were once among the greats of English Football, but now the Sky Blues have been relegated to the ranks of has-beens. What went wrong? And it all could have been avoided but for the ego-driven management of their former chairman, Peter Swales.”

It then goes onto to say…

“The current period of seemingly inexorable decline can be taken to have started in 1973 and with the words, ‘Peter Swales becomes chairman’

There is then a detailed listing year by year from this and in the piece it details where he admits how he didn’t have a clue what to do!

For reference please go to the following link, which explains in great detail the mess he created and subsequently handed on to Francis Lee, well we all know how that ended:

This article is by Bill Burrows. So Steve there is the proof that backs up my argument and statement!

Point of reference: without Graphic Design, you wouldn’t be able to do a number of things which guide us all every day and I could go into a long list, but I won’t. However, Graphic Design being the Art of Visual Communication it is these days, then a lot of things would cease to happen and confusion would reign it we did not have designers providing the professional service they do.

Please keep that in mind the next time you are looking for signage to get off the motorway, time tabling, booking on the Internet, education books for your kids, company stationery, television viewing, TV times (to show you when Coronation St is on, maybe for some, not me), CD’s/DVD’s, even buying your favourite cereal, these are day to day things, created by Graphic Designers.

And when I see poor design (like the kit efforts from Reebok) I will say this is c**p and they can do better, but the only way for this to happen is if enough people contact the club or John Wardle to say “C’mon enough is enough”!

(Yes it touched a nerve but I don’t care, I’m proud of being a Graphic Designer, can you say that about your job?)

Thanks also for the quip about and I again quote “I now understand why my old gran told me never to trust Red fans, lawyers or graphic designers.”

Funny, I have heard this used a number of different ways, they have a good one down in this part of the world, where it goes “Realty Estate Agents, Lawyers and Whinging Poms” (Prisoners of Motherland Security) and also as point of typo reference mate, there should be cap letters on Lawyers and Graphic Designers, maybe you could offer up what you do for a living Steve? Purely for reference of course!

Also before I forget I’m Mancunian born and bred not Aussie! I have only moved here in the last eighteen months, and believe you me there’s nothing that gets the Aussies going more, it’s when the Brits start having a whinge in particular when there’s an Ashes series on the horizon!

Now as promised earlier, the info I received from Rick Eagles and I think this will put this whole discussion into perspective: it went as follows:

With regards to the badge, I happened to be at one of the early meetings of the Stretford branch of the City Supporters’ Club on a night when Francis Lee (not long into his chairmanship of the club) was the invited guest. He was asked about the badge by a disgruntled fan and replied very forthrightly that it was a business decision, which saw the new, very different, club crest having been properly registered, thereby ensuring that any item bought with it on would see money coming back to the club in royalties.

Now, I’m sure there are ways round such issues for unscrupulous retailers/street vendors but he underlined his point by saying that things bought, at that time, with the traditional badge on were making no money at all for the club – on that basis, I think he made the right decision. Whether he got it right, in terms of design, is another matter.

I don’t know whether the old design had lapsed in terms of copyright (Peter Swales didn’t seem to have his eye on such things – he sold the rights to the club shop to the people who ran it for years and Franny Lee bought those back so that money could come to the club instead of to private individuals). The badge, as you observed, has a European feel to it and, you never know whether or not F.L. was influenced in this by Allison – I was told that M.A. brought the diagonal ‘sash’ to the away shirt (broad red and black diagonal stripe on white shirt, in one version, seen with purple and yellow colouring mixed into the design) – he did this apparently because it gave a continental flavour to City, an image, he wanted to cultivate


(Courtesy of Rick Eagles)

Finally on the kit issue I agree with David Butler; if we don’t buy the kits in the first place, then the club and the manufacturers will get the message. After seeing the latest drab, colourless effort churned out by Reebok on the City Store site (why does it look like we are getting Bolton’s cast off ideas?), stick with the best!

So there, I have said my piece and I think I will get a stiff drink and watch the sun go down!

Peter <pgvw(at)>


I have a suggestion for the club badge.

Keep it like it is but put the picture of Malcolm Glazer in the middle of it. You know, the one that they print with him laughing. I wonder who he is laughing at.

We know, don’t we, boys and girls?

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


In MCIVTA 1116 John Nisbet poses a question about a cup tie at Maine Road in the 70’s. Well either I was there or it happened twice!

As I recall it, the teams came out for the 5 minute kick about, the ref and linesmen come out, take a look round and the next thing is the City team all leave the pitch… then out they come again in changed strip. Now it is so long ago but I think it was the magenta change strip, not the red and black stripes.

Others things I can’t remember include who the opposition was, what the score was or how good the meat pie was!

Fred Bullock <frederick_bullock(at)>


City’s mascot Moonchester will be running the Great Manchester Run this Sunday – 22nd May – on a 10k route through Manchester city centre and the lower depths of Trafford where some other small team play. He’s running for St Ann’s Hospice in Cheadle, who provide care and support for people with life threatening illnesses. They not only provide superb medical care, but also peace of mind and support for patients, their families and friends in their final days and weeks. It needs £8.75 million a year to stay open, but for the people who use it, it’s priceless. As you can imagine for an alien with size 20+ boots, it’s going to be hard to run on earth’s gravity, so any donations to help him along would be much appreciated. You can go to to sponsor our Blue friend. Or if you’re after a good day out, get yourself down to the city centre, there’s plenty of things going on that day.

Heidi <editor(at)>


The next meeting of Denton Blues will be on Monday 23rd May, 8pm at Denton Con Club.

Our special guest for the evening is Paul Power, so we hope you can come along and join us for another excellent Q&A session.

For details on directions etc. please contact me directly.

Heidi <editor(at)>


The Dublin branch of the OSC is holding its 30th Anniversary Bash on Saturday 28th May 2005 in Wynne’s Hotel in Lower Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre.

A three course meal will be the prelude to much drinking, dancing and merriment. It is hoped that Willo Flood will be in attendance on the night but this has not yet been confirmed by the Football Club.

Tickets are selling at a very reasonable 20 Euro, and are now available to non-members. The night kicks off at 8.00pm and will run until 1.00am. The usual DJ has been booked.

If anyone would like to attend, whether you are an Irish Blue or a Blue visiting Dublin on the weekend in question, drop me an e-mail and I can organise tickets for you.

Bartley Ramsay <bramsay1(at)>


We are pleased to announce that Failsworth branch have now got our website up and running. If anyone would like details on Failsworth Blues, meetings, guests etc. please contact me.

Alan Hanlon <alan(at)>


15 May 2005

Birmingham City       2 - 1  Arsenal               29,302
Bolton Wanderers      3 - 2  Everton               27,701
Charlton Athletic     2 - 2  Crystal Palace        26,870
Fulham                6 - 0  Norwich City          21,927
Liverpool             2 - 1  Aston Villa           43,406
Manchester City       1 - 1  Middlesbrough         47,221
Newcastle United      1 - 1  Chelsea               52,326
Southampton           1 - 2  Manchester United     32,066
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      35,797
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 0  Portsmouth            27,751

League table to 15 May 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         38 14  5  0 35  6 15  3  1 37  9 29  8  1  72  15  57  95
 2 Arsenal         38 13  5  1 54 19 12  3  4 33 17 25  8  5  87  36  51  83
 3 Manchester Utd  38 12  6  1 31 12 10  5  4 27 14 22 11  5  58  26  32  77
 4 Everton         38 12  2  5 24 15  6  5  8 21 31 18  7 13  45  46  -1  61
 5 Liverpool       38 12  4  3 31 15  5  3 11 21 26 17  7 14  52  41  11  58
 6 Bolton Wndrs    38  9  5  5 25 18  7  5  7 24 26 16 10 12  49  44   5  58
 7 Middlesbrough   38  9  6  4 29 19  5  7  7 24 27 14 13 11  53  46   7  55
 8 Manchester City 38  8  6  5 24 14  5  7  7 23 25 13 13 12  47  39   8  52
 9 Tottenham H.    38  9  5  5 36 22  5  5  9 11 19 14 10 14  47  41   6  52
10 Aston Villa     38  8  6  5 26 17  4  5 10 19 35 12 11 15  45  52  -7  47
11 Charlton Ath.   38  8  4  7 29 29  4  6  9 13 29 12 10 16  42  58 -16  46
12 Birmingham City 38  8  6  5 24 15  3  6 10 16 31 11 12 15  40  46  -6  45
13 Fulham          38  8  4  7 29 26  4  4 11 23 34 12  8 18  52  60  -8  44
14 Newcastle Utd   38  7  7  5 25 25  3  7  9 22 32 10 14 14  47  57 -10  44
15 Blackburn R.    38  5  8  6 21 22  4  7  8 11 21  9 15 14  32  43 -11  42
16 Portsmouth      38  8  4  7 30 26  2  5 12 13 33 10  9 19  43  59 -16  39
17 West Brom A.    38  5  8  6 17 24  1  8 10 19 37  6 16 16  36  61 -25  34
18 Crystal Palace  38  6  5  8 21 19  1  7 11 20 43  7 12 19  41  62 -21  33
19 Norwich City    38  7  5  7 29 32  0  7 12 13 45  7 12 19  42  77 -35  33
20 Southampton     38  5  9  5 30 30  1  5 13 15 36  6 14 18  45  66 -21  32

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1121