Newsletter #1123

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest


A short, and early, edition today. We have a couple of great season round-ups, thanks to Joel and John.

Opinion on players, manager, Europe, marketing, a missing flag and the Points of Blue meeting.

Next game: TBA

OPINION: END OF SEASON BLUES I

Don’t know why am starting writing this. Don’t know what I want to say, nor even if whatever I am going to say, actually needs saying. But here I am, and here we are.

Another season over, and another summer beckons. It’s almost serene. This year, the summer we are entering into is one of almost ‘issue abandon’ – it’s a nice change is that.

It would be naïve to start getting too giddy, and dumping all that much hard-fought-for City fan energy into an entity, whose only consistency is indeed inconsistency; after all we all know what City do – don’t we? And it does take me personally the whole summer break to re-energize those Lower East Stand batteries.

I do however, feel somewhat different now 2004/2005 is over. I’ve got a warm glow. A peaceful calm and demeanour, which isn’t for once a show of my lack of interest. I am utterly interested. I am totally committed, thoroughly still Blue. But I feel happy. I don’t want to lose myself in the stupor of something that always lets you down; you’d have thought we’d have learned, but I feel comfortable and almost happy with my lot.

I know I said that when KK was appointed and we all felt that it wasn’t going to get much better (admit it) – but we’d been up and down like a fiddler’s elbow then. This time it truly is different. I emailed John Wardle a couple of days before the ‘announcement’ – as I had scared myself into believing that if it was going to be anyone – it was going to be City who’d shoot themselves in the foot (unfortunately, not D. Mills’ foot either) – you have me to thank fans, that Stu got the job…

It’s as though someone has collated the collective thought patterns of virtually every Manchester City fan and squeezed them into our new boss’ head. Do we have a Manager who notes that the aforementioned Danny Mills isn’t very good – so drops him? Do we have someone who hasn’t given another rolling contract to the appalling player McManaman – because again he isn’t very good? Decided to not throw SWP right back into it on his return from injury? Brave that – and if that isn’t status building? The very fact that that team – who earlier on in the season was Shaunie – was responding favourably is commendable.

Can you remember under Royle/Keegan/Ball/ et al – baying for subs to be made – when it was that obvious that you’d be furious when it didn’t happen? With Pearce I just can’t even see him not seeing that obviousness. He’s clued up – and that is very, very important.

I was ribbing a colleague who supports the other lot – after the club that was ‘not for sale’ – got sold. He retorted that we’d already convinced ourselves that Pearce was some footballing genius. Robbie – you could’ve confirmed it a whole season too early for me. Ah well, I can wait.

The truth of the matter is: we will look at this season as a relative success, just because Stu got that job. He will see it as: he should’ve have the job earlier. Roll on August.

Future England manager here folks, and it’s us, not some other benefactor, finding that out first.

That is why I feel quietly confident this time. Enjoy the break – you deserve it. And remember We’re Mancs – not Yanks.

Joel Perry – Lower East Stand <j.perry(at)mondiale.co.uk>

OPINION: END OF SEASON BLUES II

And so the season draws to its conclusion (hope I don’t sound like Mel in Coronation Street) and what do we have?

City

We had a team who were heading towards nowhere quickly and could have been relegated, such was the lack of motivation in the squad.

We had a bunch of players that were, seemingly, not good enough apart from Shaun Wright-Philips and a couple of others, which would be debated by others as to their worth.

We had little to be optimistic about next season as our new manager has little or no money to spend on new players.

Then suddenly, we have Stuart Pearce. We now have a squad showing not only that they have lots of talent but, given the right direction and motivation, are capable of sustaining good, solid, professional performances every week.

I’ve been watching my beloved City since 1962. My first game was against Cardff City at Maine Road in the Second Division (no glory hunting here then) when my older brother took me and we stood in the old uncovered scoreboard end. He got fed up with lifting me up to see the game so, in the end, I saw very little of it. But even through the Bell/Lee/Summerbee years when City had a great, great team, even when winning loads of trophies, we still could not be classed as consistent. Now I feel that we will get a good, balanced performance from the lads every week.

I was too young to appreciate the appointment of Joe Mercer and even if I had known who he was, there was no evidence of what was to come from the great man. But now, for the first time in the history of supporting City, I am excited by the appointment of our new manager. Never before has a manager come in and done what he has done in such a short space of time. And I really don’t think that it is a flash in the pan. I’ve always maintained that the Premiership, outside the top 2/3, is not that good and Everton have proven that with solid displays most weeks and look what they’ve achieved. OK, it may take something special to get into that top elite, but remember, we would have been happy to avoid relegation this year, and look at the optimism now!

All football supporters go into a new season full of optimism and we are no exceptions but this time, I really think that we can do something.

Whoever Stuart Pearce manages to bring in, they will fit into our club and not the other way round.

We may have to sacrifice our traditional ‘all out attacking’ that we have been used to for many decades but I, for one, would be glad to see some boring 1-0 wins, along with some good performances. If Stuart Pearce adopts what he learned at Forest, I doubt if it will be boring.

Reserves

I have had the privilege of seeing some of the Academy players coming through recently. Most notably Willo Flood, B W Phillips, Lee Croft, and Nedum whatsit.

But don’t think it ends there folks. Oh no, just as 12 years ago, when them across the road had literally one after the other coming through into the first team, well now it’s our turn and believe me, there’s enough coming through from the Academy and reserves, and quality, not just numbers, to ensure City’s future for a number of years. They just need managing in the right way.

Atmosphere at Eastlands

I think that it is no coincidence that the atmosphere at the ComStad is measurably better since SP took over. I think that answers itself.

Debt

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting a bit tired of hearing about this £62 million that we are supposed to be in debt. Isn’t that the figure quoted on the last balance sheet, last year! Well let’s do a bit of adding up, shall we?

We got £7 million for Anelka, we have had over 40,000 at all league games this season (OK, a large portion were season ticket holders). Sales of merchandise, programmes, City magazines, new shirts last year, money from the Premier League, money from Sky, and more recently, money in before the deadline for season tickets. If, when the balance sheet is produced this year, we are still at £62 million in debt, or near, then I suggest that we really are in trouble. But my guess is that the overall debt will be reduced, and let’s not forget that the club took out a loan of about £20 million to develop the new stadium in a way that suited the club. Plus, John Wardle is lending the club money in, what is described as, a structured, manageable debt which, plainly speaking, means that we can afford the payments.

SWP

What a pity we didn’t get into Europe as I feel that would have cemented SWP’s future at Eastlands for at least another year. I, like everyone else, will be mortified if he leaves this summer. And yes, he’s said this and that in the papers but, money talks. Let’s hope that we can hold on to him for another year, get into Europe, and offer him what he really should be doing, playing European football, but with us.

One footnote. Shaun writes in the recent programme that he feels that the City fans love him because he came through the Academy and that we always like to see our own developed players coming through. Well, yes Shaun, we do. Coming through the Academy does help your popularity. But there is one other element that makes you so popular at City. It’s because you are f**king brilliant Shaun!

Football Pink

And so the Football Pink has now printed its final copy. They announced last week that the decision was taken because football was no longer played at traditional times. What they really mean is, United’s games are no longer played at traditional times so, therefore, they see no point in producing the paper as they can’t put in United’s result’s often enough!

I read in today’s final edition Paul Hince’s memories of the paper and he said that they had evidence that United’s fans didn’t buy the Pink when United lost and so, therefore, lost circulation when United got beat but when City won lost or drew, their fans still bought the paper. Interesting.

I will have mixed feelings about the Pink going as I looked forward more to the local amateur football that gets very little coverage (I can read about City anywhere these days but I still bought the Pink). Plus the fact that I know that the majority of the people at the Manchester Evening News must be Reds. You only have to look at the balance of the coverage.

The Future

I am glad that the board did not appoint SP immediately after KK’s departure. I didn’t want SP as manager as I have seen too many ‘Quick fixes’ in the past. They did exactly the right thing in giving SP a chance and if it didn’t work out, we could still look for another manager. For once, well done the City board.

But, eventually, it became obvious that despite the short space of time, relatively SP is the man for the job and a great job I feel that he has/is going to do for my fantastic club. It’s interesting to hear SP say (and he actually said it a few years ago at the end of the Division 1 Championship season) that he didn’t understand what was going on at City and why there was such a depth of feeling at the club. It’s only when you are ‘in’ the club, that you can understand.

SP has summed it all up. We are ‘in’ this club and only we know why City are so special.

Many thanks to Heidi and Co. for running this forum.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: EUROPE

Spurs seem to have secured the UEFA Cup place via the Fair Play League; apparently Arsenal finished top. Don’t know any of the other placings.

So our only way to get into Europe next season is going to be in the hands of the Scousers and the sympathetic footballing authorities allowing them as winners into the Champions’ League, which will hopefully allow us into the UEFA Cup.

Keep on dreaming.

[Do we want to creep into UEFA through the trapdoor, or rather qualify on merit? – Ed]

Tony Ward <anthony.ward(at)baesystems.com>

OPINION: IS THE HONEYMOON OVER?

After a great finish to the season, all coming from Stuart Pearce with his passion and motivation bringing the best out of all the players, the honeymoon is over and the real hard work will start next August when the 2005/6 season starts.

For Stuart Pearce to get into the top six he has got to get help (cash) to find a quality striker; a second rate striker will not help. Robbie Fowler did not impress when he first joined City, but after Anelka left he started to show form. His missed penalty is best forgotten, and Robbie Growler has promised to not just “growl” next season but to “roar”.

If Stuart Pearce has a top striker in mind, he cannot snooze, for he could lose. Growler needs a very good partner up front.

It sounds like MCFC are doing everything they can to keep Kiki, who has proved himself to be part of the City team to succeed.

Let’s not get blinded by the great finish to the season, for other Premier clubs will all be strengthening their squads, none will be idle.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: HOW FAR?

I went through the full range of emotions on Sunday and ended up feeling as if I’d been burgled.

I was doing a spot of spring cleaning on Monday and came across this from 23rd October 2001. I think it puts into perspective just how far we have come…


Of homes games played this season, City have:

Played 7
Won 4
Drawn 2
Lost 1
Scored 16
Conceded 8
Goals for avg. 2.28
Goals against avg. 1.14
Points per game 2

This puts City fourth in the table based on home results.

Of away games played this season, Grimsby have:

Played 7
Won 2
Drawn 1
Lost 4
Scored 10
Conceded 18
Goals for avg. 1.42
Goals against avg. 2.57
Points per game 1

This puts Grimsby 13th in the table based on away results. And what does this all mean?

Well, statistically, City will score 2.425 goals, Grimsby will score 1.28 goals.
We beat Watford 3-0; they lost 3-0 (both home).
We beat Crewe 5-2, they beat them 1-0 (both home).
They drew with Preston at home, we lost 2-1 to them away.
We drew 2-2 with County at home, they drew 3-3 away.
We drew 0-0 at home to Sheff Utd, they lost 3-1 away.
We lost 4-3 away at Coventry, they lost 1-0 away.
They beat West Brom 1-0 away, we lost 4-0 away.

Aside from our worst home result (lost 4-0 to Wimbledon), we have played 6, won 4, drawn 2 and lost 0, scored 16 (2.667 per game), conceded 4 (0.667 per game) and gained 14 points.

Aside from their worst result (lost 5-0 to Palace) Grimsby have played 6, won 2, drawn 1 and lost 3, scored 10 (avg. 1.667 per game), conceded 12 (2 per game) and gained 7 points.

Taking all of this in account, City will win 3-1.


Sheesh – Analysis on a match versus Grimsby, 4-0 losses to West Brom and 2-2 draws with County, and we kick and scream over a missed penalty and still finish 8th in the Premiership?

Andy Moss – Tennessee Blue <tennesseeblue(at)comcast.net>

OPINION: MILLS MAULING

What is it with City fans that they always need at least one player to pick on? For this last season it is obvious that Danny Mills is the scapegoat. Against Boro, Danny played some fantastic through balls. However, as soon as he misplaces a pass then everyone’s on his case. It doesn’t seem to matter how many of Barton’s go astray (no, I’m not having a go at him by any means, just using him as an example), he will never get slated. In all the years I’ve watched City, this has been the case. As for Danny, he is a far better full back then Nedum Onuoha is at the moment. I’m sure Onuoha will make an excellent centre half, but as a right back he’s way behind DM.

Anyway, I’m sure most of you won’t agree but to back up my case then look at http://skysports.planetfootball.com/optastats.asp?clid=43&clubname=Manchester+City&cpid=8 where you will find that DM has the 4th best pass completion percentage at the club, the 2nd best cross completion and is only 1 assist behind SWP and is the 4th highest in the team. Every issue someone slags him off in this newsletter for his passing – maybe he deserves an awful lot more credit. Strange as well how one of the best defences in the Premier League can get by with such a poor player in the team isn’t it?

[Some City fans do have a long history of voicing their displeasure at fullbacks, and I agree Nedum’s “usual” position is at CH – Ed]

David Bowl <dbowl(at)btconnect.com>

OPINION: FOWLER

Robbie Fowler: is he a Growler or a Howler? On the day that Robbie Fowler signed for City his overall performance has not what we really expected.

I firmly believe that there was friction between Anelka and Fowler; there were remarks from Fowler that Anelka had arrived late for training, but when he (Fowler) arrived he was the one to get fined; this aggravated Fowler that Anelka got away with it. Fowler only played well when not on the pitch as the same time as Anelka, and vice versa. Sadly, Kevin Keegan could not resolve the problem of two Prima Donnas. After Anelka left it’s only then that Fowler started to show any form.

When he missed the penalty it was not just the Boro fans that cheered, but I feel sure the bookies cheered (not suggesting Fowler missed on purpose).

Next season Robbie Fowler has said he will make up for it; he still has that chance to play for Stuart Pearce and become a real Growler. Robbie Fowler has the skill, it’s up to him to use it in every game and not just when he feels like it.

I’m sure all City fans will give Robbie their best support next season; we all want to see him at his best, a real Growler.

Come on Growler!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: MARKETING PLOYS

When the marketing bigwigs decided to kit the team out in next season’s away kit against Boro, they might as well have come out and said we intend to go down the same road as the Rags.

By forcing merchandise on the supporters because they do not trust them to buy the kit, shows them to be anything but true Manchester City supporters themselves, who respect genuine fans.

Marketing is important, but hard sell is not needed when dealing with Man City; the Rags’ imminent demise shows what greed and mismanagement of trust can do.

Let’s not go down that road, because we have all laughed at Yankchester Utd’s attitude to merchandising; we have massive support, and the relationship should not be based on profit.

Gary Sullivan <gary(at)ferodo60.freeserve.co.uk>

OPINION: BADGE/KITS

I was never a great believer in changing the badge at all but even the level of debate at present is getting to me. I firstly believe that if we were going to update it for the modern era, then a design that looked like a coat of arms from the mid-1700s wasn’t the way to go. Unless I’m unaware of some United connection, I’d suggest City spend a few grand on commissioning Peter Saville, the best graphic designer of his time and the man responsible for some of Factory Records’ best-known stuff, next time an update is needed.

Secondly, if an animal was going to be used that reflected our Mancunian roots, how about the one that is already used by the City of Manchester: the bee? To take this idea further, if we want a striped away shirt that is Manchester through and through, how about amber and black? Few teams, if any other, to my knowledge in UK football has ever used this set of colours. There is one big Bolivian club that plays in amber and black. Their name? The Strongest.

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: MISSING FLAG

The big flag passed around the ground before and during the Boro game “Man City The Most Loyal Fans In The World” has gone ‘missing’ during/after the game.

If anyone has any idea what happened to it, can they contact me please. Phone 0161 292 2525 or email.

Howard Burr – Secretary, Reddish Blues <reddishblues(at)btinternet.com>

POINTS OF BLUE

Minutes of Points of Blue meeting with club officials, 3 May 2005 at COMS.

For club: Alistair Mackintosh (Chief Executive), Sara Billington (Head of Operations), Paul Tyrell (Head of Communications).

For fans: Dave Miller (co-ordinator), Steve Parish (Warrington OSC), Tom Ritchie (City ’til I Cry), Stephanie Ferraioli (Chorlton, Prestwich & Whitefield), Sarah Rooke (Planet City), Joy Maddock, Graham Walker (Winton), Ged Isaacs (Prestwich and Whitefield, King of the Kippax), Phil Barber, Alex Channon (Swinton CSA), Sue Wallace (King of the Kippax).

Matters arising from last meeting with club

Branding at COMS. This was tied up to some extent with community use of the stadium, and for other sporting events (e.g. for rugby matches). This was an issue for Sport England but (although it brought in shared income) City needed to protect the playing surface. The issue remains delicate, but some pressure from fans (e.g. to city councillors) may help. PoB is working on the wording of a draft letter.

Atmosphere. Some changes have been made to style of music, but the club welcomes any ideas for improving the atmosphere, and feedback when changes are made. The club has already brought in two companies to come up with ideas, but the club doesn’t want “cheesy” stuff like music after goals (PoB agreed). 3,000 season ticket holders had asked to change seats and this may mean that parts of the ground are each developing their own “style”, which may help (e.g. as singers gravitate to the same area – which, it was pointed out, could happen more easily with a standing section).

Away match prices. It was the view of most clubs that having away fans present was part of the atmosphere, and part of what differentiates live matches from watching in the pub.

Ticketing. (a) Overall the club reported few serious complaints about the £10 c.c. charge, perhaps because the basic price was frozen. (b) Re the “bullying” tone of reminder letters for season tickets, the club’s view was that writing the letters and phoning s.t. holders was essentially a service to remind people who had not realised they might be unable to keep their seat (with 3,000 looking to change). (c) As PoB had suggested, the club had reduced the time for s.t. holders to claim away tickets, so opening up sales earlier to other categories.

Programme sales. Some mystery about selling out at some matches (e.g. Birmingham), and availability of back issues through Programme Master. To be investigated by club.

Policing/Stewarding – club asked for details of particular complaints.

New Stuff

Pre-season tour. Details will be announced in the next day or two.

Removal of fencing round B of the Bang? Scheduled for May; still some tests to be done.

Supporters’ group events at COMS – the club wants supporters’ events atCOMS and will aim to price-match similar quality venues.

Would Kevin Keegan appear at a match to be thanked? Not at the moment, he’s indicated he wants to leave Stuart Pearce a clear run.

Broadcast contract. Contract negotiations are obviously confidential, but quality of the product from broadcasters is a prime concern.

Somewhere to meet before the game? The idea of a “beer tent” was raised; however, licensing for football was different to licensing for other events. Re: toilets outside the stadium, the availability of toilets in adjacent buildings would be investigated.

Should we enter the Inter-Toto Cup? Yes, said PoB. No, said the club, the playing management felt it was too disruptive to normal pre-season preparations.

Do stewards pass on complaints about out-of-order stuff? Yes – they have procedures for doing it (so complainants should ask them to fill in the form).

Charity policy. Paul Tyrrell explained the club’s charity strategy (available from him by email <paul.tyrrell(at)mcfc.co.uk>. There are four nominated local charities, but the club receives up to 1,000 requests a month (a good number from two particular local health-service charities, and many “round robin” requests – schools in Dorset are not a priority). The club would welcome discussion with supporters’ clubs over distribution of proceeds from charity events.

Once again, club officials were thanked for their time and frankness (some of their comments cannot be minuted – you have to be there!).

The next PoB meeting will be early in the new season.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)ntlworld.com>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0405.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[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

http://www.uit.no/mancity/ 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 http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mancity.net/osc/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) and “The International Supporters’ Club” (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/article.asp?article=111845&Title=International+Supporters+Club&lid=Membership).

[6] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. The Fans’ Committee has been relaunched as “Points of Blue”. It has appeared on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

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

The GMR pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/gmr/sport_intro.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://www.mcfctv.com/.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://canadatvsoccer.tripod.com/Fixtures.htm, http://www.foxsportsworld.com/named/FSW/Index/Soccer, and http://www.soccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,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 http://www.uit.no/mancity/players/

[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 http://www.ofex.com/ (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 http://www.mcfcstats.com/.

[13] Where can I find a list of City-related websites?

Try Wookie’s Lair: http://www.wookieslair.com/modules.php?name=Web_Links


DISCLAIMER
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, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1123

2005/05/23

Editor:


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on Pinterest