Newsletter #1149

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Another good team performance on Saturday, with goals from Barton and Cole, saw us take all three points back from St Andrews and continue our unbeaten run under Pearce to double figures. We have reports and views on the game tonight thanks to Dave, James and David.

We also have continuing opinion and tips on the new website, Macs and commentary. Together with transfer views, and an interesting piece from The Grauniad as we prepare for the trip North to face McCarthy’s Sunderland.

Next game: Sunderland, away, 19.45 Tuesday 23 August 2005

MATCH REPORT: BCFC 1 MCFC 2

Happy to come away from the stand that time forgot with the points. It was similar to last year in that the match could have gone either way. A bit of fight from our lads will hopefully prove the difference between our team this year and last. Sad Brum fans’ only song of note was ‘utd’. Ground transformation complete into modern day sterility, but nice to see the ticket prices reduced £14 on last year; their board are listening and acting on complaints of away support.

I thought their team had a bit of talent at their disposal. Forssell is a quality player, wasted there, as well as the lad Gray on the left and Upson at the back. However, they seem to be a confidence team. By having to play more openly at home, rather than the grind witnessed last week and many times before at the Bluecamp, football eventually flourished. Joey Barton for me has added a new dimension to his game with some of the football he played. His short game was an absolute joy at times, and he seems to be our midfield. Reyna shows progress, but is a short term fix – I feared the worse when he went down injured. Trev and Kiki continue to tread water with the former sinking quicker than the Dreadmister, in my opinion. Good in places, but not enough to help a challenge for the league. I’d love to see some quality introduced and can’t wait for Stephen Ireland to be eased in; on the bench today, but for now behind Sinclair, Kiki, Sibierski (!) and Reyna. I expect he and Barton will make up a quality centre pairing, and hope it happens sooner rather than later.

Good to see Dunne back, Jordan pulled off another match in the centre for us. I find myself drawn to the support of Danny Mills again. Targeted by boo boys, but he battled admirably against two or three down his flank, with sporadic cover from Trev, who should have pushed on Clapham every time in my opinion. Dunney came over to cover for the goal as I remember it, but Forssell’s footwork was too much even for our most accomplished defender. Back to Mills, he was still flying down the wings with late runs in the game; I just hope his passing stays simple, and accuracy improves. I think the competition at full backs is what we need throughout the team.

Up front, Andrew Cole was sheer class, playing tirelessly for the team, but Darius was a touch too anxious to open his account against his former rivals. Still good to see the mobility and no doubt Vassell will pass more often than not, if he continues to get the sort of encouragement he received from AC when obvious passes were not made.

We lack strength in depth and three or four key signings would make the world of difference to us. It may take time to evolve, but I feel those places are now obvious – wide left with pace and centre creative midfield, and a further quality centre half and striker. I would hope some of these materialise in this window and not next. There are internal candidates that I hope may prove themselves, but we still need some quality bringing in from outside. It’s good to see us looking at the likes of Malbranque, but please keep it quiet before we sign them as we are starting to look a touch desperate by doing business in the papers.

Long may the fighting qualities, good team spirit remain. Long may the travelling Blues continue to ousting the Brums of this world. Bring on Sunderland…

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)kisit.co.uk>

MATCH VIEW I: BCFC 1 MCFC 2

I have become somewhat disillusioned with the Premiership of late and thought this fixture had dour written all over it. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised by the game. I thought both teams played attacking football, the game was open, some nice pieces of skill on display and obviously best of all 3 points for City in a fixture that I would have settled for 1. The doom and gloom merchants will be quiet for at least a couple of days because based on this performance I think City have quite a bit going for them. Everyone looked up for it and worked hard for the whole game – I think SP has significantly improved desire and fitness. Anyway here are my ratings:

James: 7 After the disaster midweek, I was pleased he had another solid game for City. Generally I think he has been excellent for City.
Mills: 6 Solid game for Mills. Tidy at the back and got in some good forward positions.
Jordan: 5 Clearly not comfortable as a centre half. I like Jordan but not in this position.
Dunne: 8 The kind of commanding performance we’ve come to expect from Dunne. City’s defence will look even better when Distin is back alongside him.
Thatcher: 6 Same as Mills. Solid without being spectacular.
Musampa: 7 Good game for Kiki. Full of running, defended well, looked good going forward.
Barton: 8 Great game for Barton. Just the right amount of aggression. Box to box stuff, got in good, forward positions including being in the right place for the goal.
Reyna: 7 Reyna is a class act. Cool head should help Barton. Tidy, good vision, but can he last a whole season injury-free?
Sinclair: 6 Sinclair is the kind of bloke I’d like to see do well for City, but I feel he has lost the pace that made him so dangerous. Still, today he showed a couple of nice touches, got to the byline a couple of times, and defended well.
Vassell: 6 Another guy I’d like to see do well at City but the contrast in striker’s instinct compared with Cole was apparent today. Great pace, nice runs, tricky feet but somewhat clueless in the box. Could be better employed on the wing.
Cole: 8 My man of the match today. Worked hard all game. He was a handful for the Brum defenders. Good first touch and a quality goal, could prove to be a great signing for SP.

All in all a good performance for City. Should give them the confidence to batter what is clearly a poor Sunderland team. C’mon City.

James Gregson <jpg37(at)email.byu.edu>

MATCH VIEW II: BCFC 1 MCFC 2

I was a bit surprised by this result, but it was a fair reflection of the game. Birmingham’s goal was rather against the run of play but revealed a back four not quite as sound as at the end of last season. Birmingham’s main tactic for scoring was to get within diving distance of the penalty area and throw themselves to the ground; fortunately the ref didn’t fall for any although he didn’t book any either – Pennant looked as though he might be trying Savage’s mantle on for size. City’s equaliser was well worked, a mixture of good anticipation and a kind bounce saw Barton with an easy tap in. The winner from Cole was a super strike that would have been in the top ten City goals for the last few seasons. So, 10 games in the Premiership without defeat – what was Arsenal’s record? Well perhaps not but certainly there’s hope that we can do as well as last year, if not slightly better.

Dunne was impressive and Cole and Vassell made the long ball look more productive that it has done in recent times, giving an extra dimension to our normal “football based” goals. No real poor performances, James recovered from his England escapade and made some good saves – not a Trautmann or Schmeichel in terms of commanding the area but he certainly doesn’t let us down. In midfield, if Reyna and Sinclair stay fit and keep form, we will hold our own there against most teams and with Distin back to join Dunne, that should provide a solid enough base.

David Lewis <dfl(at)microscopist.freeserve.co.uk>

OPINION: TEAM WORK

A fantastic team effort from City versus the Brummies, I do not think any City player on the day could be faulted for effort in this very good away win. In the 5th minute Danny Mills raced down the wing and crossed the ball only to see Cole’s header glance off the crossbar.

Birmingham scored the first goal in the 7th minute; considering that it was the ex-Rag Butt he scored a good goal, which David James had no chance to get at.

City kept pressing forward, and in the 20th minute it paid off. After some slick forward passing, Barton followed up to score after Vassell’s shot was blocked by a defender. In the 47th minute Andrew Cole scored what was a classic goal to win the game; his reaction after scoring was so cool, as if to say “I have been here before”.

I was impressed by the total team, playing for one another, and I must give credit to Danny Mills, who has had some stick in some recent games – he had an excellent game.

Some grrrreat news: Growler will be back in training this week. If he comes back and scores 15 goals this season, I make a promise I will buy his book, so come on Robbie Fowler, just do it!

Chelski might have the stars, but Stuart Pearce has got the Team.

Come on City!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: COMMENTARY

Great result for the Blues on Saturday at Birmingham, looked good on Sky Sports on Saturday night – alas, in a fit of insanity, I chose to go watch Lancashire in the semi-final at Edgbaston instead – the least said about that particular performance the better.

Therefore I shall leave the match analysis to others this week but what I did want to share, following on from recent MCIVTA opinions on Cheesy and GMR commentary wandering off the football theme, was some “Radio Gold” from the aforementioned Ian Cheeseman and Fred Eyre as I drove back up the M6.

At some point during the first half, Dunne has hoyed a clearance into the stands and the commentary went as such:

IC: Typical quality Richard Dunne clearance, not the finesse of a sand wedge but more the power of a 3 wood.
FE: Why are you always talking about food?
IC: I wasn’t, I was talking about golf.
FE: You weren’t, you said ‘a sandwich’.
IC: Sandwich? No, I said a ‘sand wedge’.

The rest you can imagine…

Priceless comedy you wouldn’t find on other radio stations following City! Looking forward to Stadler and Waldorf’s performance at Sunderland tomorrow.

Still lovin’ it, Mike Sokol <msokol(at)rentokilpestcontrol.co.uk>

OPINION: TRANSFERS

Sometimes I think the City board cannot win with some City fans. In the same article Martin Lever has a go at a Chairman who sanctioned the £50 million giveaway, conveniently forgetting most of the money wasn’t spent under this chairman, and then complains that SP hasn’t spent the £10 million allegedly available already. I think that as a first time manager, SP is trying to show some much-needed prudence in the transfer market. I think Cole and Vassell will prove good signings and he still has money and time to make a couple more – give the guy a chance. Incidently, perhaps you could tell me when we arrogantly proclaimed Malbranque was signing for City. One game into the season and SP’s honeymoon is already over for some of you.

James Gregson <jpg37(at)email.byu.edu>

OPINION: ATMOSPHERE

We must somehow get a standing section behind both goals for our fans. Imagine the noise/atmosphere we could generate with 2 Kippaxes.

With the right safety features, standing is no more dangerous than sitting. I for one would gladly pay more to stand than sit. Isn’t it a breach of my human rights (!) not to allow me to stand?

Forever Blue, Rob Fielding <rob.fielding(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: MCFC.CO.UK I

I agree with all those who criticise the new look website – I think it’s bl**dy awful and whoever conducted the research seems to have failed miserably (in all likelihood they probably didn’t).

The new look homepage is too busy, and mostly taken up with commercial rubbish. The content side of things could be vastly improved, although I don’t doubt that the redesign had more to do with commercial initiatives than any ‘user’ inspired ones.

Simon – exiled in the USA <AlienUK(at)aol.com>

OPINION: MCFC.CO.UK II

Have been reading the commentary on the new web site in the last few issues and although I agree that in the main the new site doesn’t look the best, as well as being difficult to find the info you want and navigate to it, I have a couple of other points:

  1. Agree with John Nisbet that the Sunderland site looks good – simple andpractical. However, don’t agree you have to navigate via another section toget to the fixtures and results on MCFC – it’s a link off the first page nextto the snippet of the table. Also, haven’t noticed the fixtures lagging -this may well be a cached paged served up by John’s browser or his ISP’sproxy. Try Ctrl-F5 to refresh once or a few times and you might find you getan updated page (works with IE and Firefox).
  2. Graham Keller said in MCIVTA 1148 it takes ages to load and almost freezeshis PC – one main reason it takes ages is because it often loads a largeflash file (ususally us scoring against the dark side!) as well as otherbandwidth-hungry images – as separate from simpler sites as above.
  3. Personally I don’t get pop-ups or haven’t noticed any getting blocked onmy Firefox browser.
  4. For Andy Chard having Apple Mac issues – try using a different browseravailable for Mac other than IE – suggest Opera, Firefox or even maybeNetscape. Haven’t got a Mac so can’t guarantee but worth a try if you havethe time. The response you got from the club means they aren’t designing thesite to be compatible with IE for Mac, as apparently the browser will nolonger be supported or kept current by Microsoft (and no doubt the mcfc.co.ukservers are Microsoft). They will continue to develop it for current browsersand probably only those frequently hitting the site (which would be largelyIE, perhaps Firefox).

I agree with John’s comparison where he uses a site that is easy to navigate, uncluttered and functional as a good example of what our site should strive towards to improve.

CTID, Simon Wardle <s.wardle(at)paradise.net.nz>

OPINION: MCFC.CO.UK AND BLUES NEWS

Have noticed that I no longer receive Blues News by email since the “New-Improved?*!” website was launched (pity it didn’t get launched into space).

I have looked through the MCFC website and cannot find a link for Blues News, so have to assume it is something that the club have ditched. If they have, shame.

Not being a techie, I do not know if the two are linked or is it just me? Anyone know what’s happening or am I the only one affected?

Steve Bennett <stevieb.3g(at)blueyonder.co.uk>

OPINION: MCFC.CO.UK AND MACS I

I am not sure what MacOS Andy is using but for me it works fine as long as you don’t use Internet Explorer; if you are using MacOS X use Safari or Firefox and it works fine. At a guess in OS 9 you could use Netscape.

I have to agree that the site is pretty poor (I work as a contract web developer and am currently at a company that pitched for the site; they do Charlton’s). There are a lot of politics involved.

If anyone can point me at a good football club website I would love to see it. It appears to be a difficult thing to get right for some reason or another, although they do raise a huge amount of money for the clubs.

Austin Harris <Austin(at)dotmail.co.uk>

OPINION: MCFC.CO.UK AND MACS II

Using a Mac is very like being a City fan – clinging to beauty and purity in a world that’s 90% oriented around the evil empire. It helps if you enjoy a being in a persecuted minority. So no surprise that anyone trying to get the City website on a Mac is going to end up feeling frustrated and hard done by. What did you expect?

On my Mac (OSX 10.2.8), the new City site works perfectly (as far as I can tell) using Safari. Microsoft have long since stopped developing IE for the Mac, claiming that Safari was much better and they couldn’t compete. This would explain why City’s web company isn’t too keen to fix the site to run under Mac IE. Safari is a free download from apple.com and is the best browser I’ve ever used on either platform. And it kills all the popups stone dead.

However, there are still a bunch of sites out there that don’t work at all under Safari, so it’s best to keep them both rather than switch completely.

Actually I think the new site is better than the old. I had no trouble finding the fixtures and I no longer get betting prices left scrolling all over my screen.

Dorien James <dorien.james(at)btinternet.com>

OPINION: MCFC.CO.UK AND MACS III

Further to Andy Chard’s comments about the new website’s compatibility issues with Mac computers, the short answer is – don’t use IE! Simplistic as that may sound, IE for Mac OSX was never going to be a supported product for any length of time. Apple and MS struck a relatively short term deal whereby Apple included IE as part of the ‘core’ OSX package for OSX versions 10.1 (and I think 10.2) only. This was partly because Apple were at the time yet to launch their own browser, but Safari is now fully operational and part of the core OSX.

I use OSX version 10.3 and Safari (v1.3) works just fine with mcfc.co.uk. I’ve also been using the latest version (1.0.6) of Mozilla Firefox with the club’s site with no problems. Both are far quicker to start up and load pages than IE ever was, so two good reasons to use either. Safari is right there in the Applications folder, and you can get Firefox from http://www.mozilla.org/.

Question: does anyone know why the fixtures page (when you finally get to it!) does not tell you which games are to be televised? The old page did. Is this information available anywhere else on the site?

Gareth Lawrence <garethrl(at)mac.com>

OPINION: MCFC.CO.UK AND MACS IV

Apple Macs unable to access the City website? Not here. OSX user and I haven’t had any problems with it, apart from the sheer lack of navigability. If you are having trouble accessing it from a Mac, send me an e-mail, and I’ll see if I can sort you out. If it’s an Internet Explorer problem, I’d recommend you switch browsers – there’s plenty of alternatives out there in Mac land.

Ten per cent of the market? Steve Jobs should be so lucky. Three and a half per cent.

Sam Al-Hamdani <sam(at)imprintpub.co.uk>

OPINION: FOOTBALL + FANS = IDIOTS?

A great article appeared this weekend in the Guardian online at http://football.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9753,1551650,00.html, which I thought others might appreciate!


Football fans are idiots

Football is pricier, more uncompetitive and less atmospheric than ever. So why do supporters still lap it up, asks a bemused Sean Ingle.

“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot” – Groucho Marx.

Football fans are idiots. Or, to rephrase that sentence using less incendiary language: when it comes to football, intelligent people act stupid. And yes, that probably includes you.

After all, you remain hooked on a sport that has, over the past decade, become as competitive as a F1 warm-up lap – while at the same time taking ever-larger chunks out of your salary. Smart people would stand up to such exploitation. Football fans prefer to revel in their “hardcore” commitment.

Even if a match is shunted to some unholy hour to accommodate Sky, you think nothing of travelling hundreds of miles to sit in a stadium with all the atmosphere of a wake, to show loyalty to your club. The same club that’s always thinking of ingenious new ways to bleed you dry. When it comes to football, your rationality goes AWOL. You worship players who are at best indifferent to you, and at worst despise you. If a referee makes a dubious decision against your team, he’s a w**ker or a cheat. And if a journalist writes something you disagree with, he carries a vendetta.

Your idiocy doesn’t end there. For you take more interest in pre-season friendlies – games which are, without exception, about as meaningful as Gazza’s comedy breasts – than the growing inequality between football’s haves and have-nots and what to do about it. Which, in my book, makes you an idiot.

A prediction: Here’s what will happen in the Premiership this season: Chelsea, or Arsenal or Manchester United, will win the title. Liverpool will come fourth. One of the 10 or 11 teams who graze in mid-table will surprise us, but the rest won’t. And at least one newly-promoted side will go straight back down. Surprised? Appalled? Or just thinking: ‘Yeah, and?’

If it’s the latter, you perhaps reckon football has always been this predictable (“Didn’t Liverpool win everything in the 80s?”), but the facts don’t back that up.

Everyone remembers that Manchester United pick-pocketed the first Premiership title in 1992-93 – what seems amazing now is that Aston Villa finished second, Norwich third, Blackburn fourth and QPR fifth. And that’s not a skewed example – between 1985-95, 13 different clubs finished in the top three, exactly the same number as in the previous decade (and the decade before that).

In the last 10 years, that figure was just six [Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds]. And with Champions’ League money and Roman Abramovich’s hard-earned roubles swishing around, the gap between the rich and the rest is widening by the season. It used to be that if you lost less than seven games you’d win the league – but since Boxing Day 2002, when Manchester United lost to Middlesbrough, the eventual Premiership winners have lost just one league game between them (Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester City) in 95 matches.

But here’s the rub: despite being as predictable as a Jo Brand fat-gag, the Premiership is as popular as ever. Why? No really, why?

Another season, another price rise…

Oil prices and company directors’ pay-rises apart, few things in life are consistently more inflation-busting than season ticket price-hikes. But each May, most fans’ response is thuddingly predictable: a moan, a brief moment of contemplation, and then a question – do you take Visa or MasterCard?

Arsenal might just be able to justify charging £1,825, the most expensive season ticket in the Premiership, by citing market forces – but how can Millwall get away with asking £29 to watch their match with Sheffield Wednesday? Or Bristol Rovers with demanding £415 for a League Two season ticket? Because you let them.

As Stefan Szmanski and Tim Kuypers show in Winners & Losers, The Business Strategy of Football, demand for football in the UK – like cigarettes and booze – is price inelastic. That is, when prices go up, demand dips only slightly. Cue smiles in boardrooms across the land.

They wouldn’t stand for it on the continent. A cheap ticket for Borussia Dortmund costs under £10, Roma just £15, and a Real Madrid season ticket is a bargain £200. Fans stand up for themselves more in mainland Europe; in England they just roll over.

Oh what an atmosphere

So what do you get for your over-priced match ticket? Football that’s sharper and sexier than a decade ago? Yes, if you support the big four. But elsewhere the standard has dipped, simply because of the top clubs’ spending power. Ten years ago, for instance, Manchester City would have built their team around Shaun-Wright Phillips. Now he’s merely a Chelsea reserve.

The atmosphere’s become rubbish too. Go to a match 15 or more years ago, and by 2.30pm the terraces would reverberate with a Spector-esque wall of sound. Even if the game was dire, the chants and terrace witticisms would turn it into a spectacle of sorts – albeit one where hooliganism was rife.

These days at home matches, what usually happens? You get to the ground at 2.50pm, just in time to hear a local radio DJ induce a faux-atmosphere by shouting: “Are you ready? I said: Are you ready? Let’s make some noise!” Like sheep, the crowd responds, sings one song, and then settles back into silence.

The truth is, you probably only leave your seat only when a goal is scored, five minutes before half-time (to go to the toilet and scoff down a congealed pie in four bites or less) and, 10 minutes before the end “to beat the traffic”. And you pay £20, £30 or £40 for this? Every other week?

The loyalty card

Some fans will accept all the above, but defend themselves with the greatest idiocy of all. The loyalty argument. Simply put, you love your club, and believe that – on some level – there’s a bond between you, the players and your team. You’d follow them everywhere, perhaps even fight for them. Sadly, it’s not reciprocated.

“While the pros are polite to supporters, they think them fools,” wrote Rick Gekoski in his excellent book on Coventry’s 1997-98 season, A Fan Behind The Scenes In The Premiership. “I was reminded of a conversation I’d had with John Salako. ‘Fans,’ he said, ‘most of them are sad. They think the game is more important than it is, it says something about the miserable kind of lives they must lead. They get things out of proportion.’ Another player, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘Fans? Come on. Players hate fans.'”

I know one agent who tells his players, who mostly play in the lower leagues, to kiss the badge when they first score for their new club. “Most fans buy it every single time,” he chuckles. And that’s not all you buy. There’s the season ticket, the third alternative away strip, the premium rate text service to keep you abreast of your reserve striker’s groin injury, etc. and so on. When are you going to realise that when your favourite club isn’t counting your cash, it’s laughing at you?

Absence of reason and imagination

Football, as ‘creative’ advertising types never tire of telling us, is like a religion. They mean it in a positive sense – ignoring the fact that religion is antithetical to reason and rationality.

Examples abound. Whenever a star player leaves for a big club and more money, fans swarm onto Sky Sports News or the local radio, each spitting “betrayal” with Paisleyesque venom. The fact that they’d switch employers for a 200% pay rise without a millisecond’s thought seems lost on them. Meanwhile journalists who dare criticise a winning team – as acquaintances of mine did by suggesting Greece’s Euro 2004 win was bad for football and that Liverpool were dull to watch in the Champions’ League last season – receive a steady thud-thud of abusive emails and are accused on message boards of having a ‘vendetta’ or a ‘hidden agenda’. The truth is usually more prosaic: the hack’s verdict is just one opinion in a game awash with them. Nothing more.

Sadly, intelligent, measured comment from fans – always a sickly child – is now on its deathbed. It says it all when Radio Five Live’s 606, once the crème de la crème of football talk shows, is now a starchy mix of the vain, inane and the ignorant. And what DJ Spoony, the show’s regular host, knows about football could be written on the label of a 12-inch vinyl.

A few good men (and women)

That’s not to say intelligent, hard-working and crusading football fans don’t exist. Just look at Lincoln, where supporters were involved in part of a community buy-out in 2001 – attendances are up and so are profits. Ditto trust-owned Chesterfield, which has gone from £2 million in debt to break even, with the highest gates in 24 seasons. And then there’s Luton, who having escaped the clutches of John Gurney largely due to fans’ pressure and a skilful media campaign, now stand atop the Championship.

The trouble is, there are just seven clubs in the country owned by supporters’ trusts – while only 23 trusts have elected directors on the board. Mutual trusts need to become the norm, not the exception, and that needs fans to get stuck in.

Another problem is that supporters remain stunningly insular. When it’s your club being dragged over the coals, you fight tooth and nail. When it’s the club up the road, you merely shrug your shoulders. Most fans were rightly appalled by how the FA allowed Wimbledon move to Milton Keynes – but how many protested?

What is to be done?

Football, for all its faults, is still the best sport in the world. But it has become an increasingly ugly mix of Thatcherite greed and Gradgrindian inequality. It needs to be taken down a peg – and supporters are the best ones to do it.

So, here’s a plan of sorts. Start by refusing to become a slave to football’s pointless merry-go-round every summer. Take the transfer gossip pages with a pinch of salt (trust me, most of it really is made up) and certainly don’t bother frittering your money on pointless pre-season friendlies or the Intertoto Cup (you never know, UEFA might eventually get the message).

Instead, get out more. Enjoy the sporting summer: Wimbledon, the Open, the flat season, rugby league, cricket, whatever – all sports where Corinthian values haven’t yet been splayed by a pernicious win-at-all-costs mentality. If you took less interest in football, the media might too. And with any luck, football’s imperialism – an imperialism which dictates that gossip about a rich player going from one rich club to another is the most important story in the sporting world – might start to crumble.

Become smarter and less compliant. If Birmingham are charging £45 for an away ticket (as they did to Manchester United fans last season) just say no. If you think a Sky Sports subscription is too expensive, watch the games in the pub. If you’re sick of the Premiership, try watching your local club again. If you believe fans should be allowed to stand again, join http://www.safestanding.com/safe/index.php or organise a national standing day – let’s see the stewards try to stop thousands of you.

More importantly still, widen your focus to beyond your club. It’s not good for English football that we now have a three-teams-can-win-it Premiership. Or that TV money is more unequally distributed than ever. Or – as Lord Burns recently pointed out – that the Premiership clubs have undue influence with the Football Association. So get involved.

In short, it’s not necessarily a given that football will become more soulless and uncompetitive with every passing year. But the game needs your help. After all, no one ever changed the world by sitting on their capacious backside, eating a pork pie and shouting beetroot-face abuse at Wayne Rooney, did they?

Sent in by Mike Sayward <mancty(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: ILLEGAL APPROACHES

Regarding Ahsan Naeem’s statement that surely we would have checked with Malbranque’s agent before we made an offer: wouldn’t that be breaking the regulations on contacting a player within contract – he only becomes contactable when he goes under six months left – thereby leaving us open to action by the FA. Just a thought.

Sam Al-Hamdani <sam(at)imprintpub.co.uk>

REQUEST: CITY FORUMS

Now that Talkin’ City is dead, and Wookie’s Lair has been hacked, it seems crazy that there isn’t a decent forum for City fans to vent their spleen about all things City (and some things not City) when you consider how many City fans there are worldwide.

If I had the expertise in these matters, I’d happily set one up, but I don’t. I do, however have a registered web address at http://www.mcfc.info/ and if anyone is able to advise me on forum setting up I’ll happily use that address.

Lance Thomson <lnt(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: USA BLUES VIEWING

Every now and again there are requests from USA City fans for TV scheduling of Premiership matches. This is a useful site: http://www.soccertv.com/ showing scheduled Premiership matches shown on TV across USA and Canada. Also, http://www.setanta.com/usa has a link showing venues across the USA and Canada where Premiership matches can be seen.

For viewing information specifically in Southern California or Las Vegas MCIVTA readers can contact me at the address below.

Mike Sayward <mancty(at)hotmail.com>

REQUEST: P&W GENTLEMAN’S MORNING

The annual City fans/gentlemans cabaret morning will this year take place 10am-2pm before the West Ham game on 16th October. This year the venue is the world famous Embassy Club and the legendary Bernard Manning will be providing the entertainment. Tickets are only £7; buy 10 get one free or get 20 for only £120.

They will be sure to fly out: for more info email me or bell me 01617989994.

Don Price <cathdon.price(at)virgin.net>

RESULTS

21 August 2005

Bolton Wanderers      0 - 1  Everton               25,608
Chelsea               1 - 0  Arsenal               42,136

20 August 2005

Blackburn Rovers      2 - 1  Fulham                16,953
Charlton Athletic     1 - 0  Wigan Athletic        23,453
Liverpool             1 - 0  Sunderland            44,913
Newcastle United      0 - 0  West Ham United       51,620
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 0  Middlesbrough         35,844
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 0  Portsmouth            24,404
Birmingham City       1 - 2  Manchester City       26,366
Manchester United     1 - 0  Aston Villa           67,934

League table to 21 August 2005 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Tottenham H.     2  1  0  0  2  0  1  0  0  2  0  2  0  0   4   0   4   6
 2 Charlton Ath.    2  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  3  1  2  0  0   4   1   3   6
 3 Manchester Utd   2  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  2  0  2  0  0   3   0   3   6
 4 Chelsea          2  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  1  0  2  0  0   2   0   2   6
 5 West Ham United  2  1  0  0  3  1  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0   3   1   2   4
 6 West Brom A.     2  1  0  0  2  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0   2   0   2   4
 7 Manchester City  2  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  0  2  1  1  1  0   2   1   1   4
 8 Liverpool        2  1  0  0  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0   1   0   1   4
 9 Arsenal          2  1  0  0  2  0  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  1   2   1   1   3
10 Blackburn R.     2  1  0  0  2  1  0  0  1  1  3  1  0  1   3   4  -1   3
11 Everton          2  0  0  1  0  2  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  1   1   2  -1   3
12 Aston Villa      2  0  1  0  2  2  0  0  1  0  1  0  1  1   2   3  -1   1
13 Bolton Wndrs     2  0  0  1  0  1  0  1  0  2  2  0  1  1   2   3  -1   1
14 Birmingham City  2  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  1   1   2  -1   1
15 Fulham           2  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1   1   2  -1   1
16 Middlesbrough    2  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  2  0  1  1   0   2  -2   1
17 Newcastle Utd    2  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  2  0  1  1   0   2  -2   1
18 Wigan Athletic   2  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  2   0   2  -2   0
19 Sunderland       2  0  0  1  1  3  0  0  1  0  1  0  0  2   1   4  -3   0
20 Portsmouth       2  0  0  1  0  2  0  0  1  0  2  0  0  2   0   4  -4   0

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.01]

[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.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) 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. 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://www.foxsportsworld.com/named/FSW/Index/Soccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.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 #1149

2005/08/22

Editor:


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