Newsletter #1190

City came back in style on Saturday to trounce the Rags 3-1 in a game that showed commitment, passion, and skill from the Blues and petulance, comedy defending, and whinging from Sour Alex’s Reds. We have some excellent match reports and plenty of views on the game tonight, and what a difference for the débutants in Riera and Evra.

Latest transfer rumours have us after a 20-year-old Greek striker for over £4 million. Hope he was watching the derby to realise what competition he has.

Next game: Bolton Wanderers, away, 3pm Saturday 21 January 2006


A View From The East Stand

Just wanted to try to give all of you who couldn’t be there a taste of what it was like on at CoMS on Saturday. Travelling to the ground thinking about people like Barry Anderton in the Far East who would be settling down to watch after a night out and John Pearson in California who would be getting up in the early hours. Hope it was going to be worth it.

First disappointment was as we took our seats. The referee was supposed to be Mark Halsey, one of the better referees, but I got a sinking feeling when I saw Steve Bennett out on the pitch warming up. He is too petty and whistle happy for my liking and we potentially faced a derby game that was going to be stop-start, with one free kick after another and plenty of yellow cards. Albert Riera is out there warming up and looks a little like Neil Young. Hopefully plays a bit like him as well. Kiki Musampa is also there and will be clearly be playing some part after speculation in the press about his future.

As ever the ground is half full until a few minutes before kick-off, which doesn’t help the atmosphere but the noise starts as the teams enter the arena. Riera starting is the main surprise. Also we have no reserve goalkeeper. The reading out of the United team is drowned out by a howl of boos and whistles but all the City players are cheered to the rafters as their names are announced. The game kicks off and the noise level is immense.

The first thirty minutes are fairly uneventful. City are let down by some poor passing and Cole and Vassell are not making much impression. We are nervous, as we know that if they go one up we are unlikely to pull it back. However, the defence do seem to on top of their game, which is just as well when players like Giggs, Rooney, Ronaldo and van Nistelrooy face them. United are clearly at their most dangerous when Rooney has the ball, he is so strong and direct. However, he has had a go at the referee a couple of times and we hope that he will do something stupid before too long. The United supporters are very quiet but we are joking that they must be tired after their early start from the South.

It looks like being all huff and puff but no goals as we come towards half time but Sinclair strikes to send the crowd wild. For one moment we think it isn’t going to stand as the referee doesn’t move but there’s no flag and we are one up. The look of sheer delight on Sinclair’s face as he celebrates in front of us tells its own story. When he said it was better than sex he definitely meant it! There’s little to compare to drawing first blood in a derby but we all know it’s City and anything can happen with nearly an hour still to go. Sure enough, Rooney breaks through but James denies him with his legs. Then, unbelievably we go two up. There seems little danger as we have the ball on the edge of the United box but Vassell suddenly burst past the hapless Silvestre and the ball is in the net. Have to keep looking at the scoreboard and pinching myself.

Then, one of those moments that sums up why everyone hates United. Evra goes down about 20 yards inside the United half clutching his face. United have the ball but don’t play it out and it comes to Barton who plays it straight out of play about 10 yards inside the United half. The crowd howl at him, feeling that if they’re prepared to play on then we should. They take the throw in and a normal team would kick the ball back to James but not our friends from Old Trafford. They kick the ball out for a throw in very deep down in the City half so they’ve effectively gained a considerable advantage from our sportsmanship. The crowd goes berserk. On the stroke of half time Rooney’s temper snaps and he has yet another go at Steve Bennett after City get a decision. The yellow card comes out but he carries on – surely it must be a red now. Even after he eventually walks away he is still clearly abusing Bennett. What happened to the directive about swearing at referees? As the whistle blows for half time the City fans (who have all been on their feet for the last ten minutes) roar their approval. It gets even better as the teams go off when Gary Neville goes over to Rooney and gets a thump in the chest for his troubles.

It’s the second half and surely they will come back at us but it’s City who are fired up. Rooney has lost it and is nothing like the threat he was in the first half and surely his red card is just a matter of time. However, Ronaldo beats him to it with a lunge at Cole after Jordan has tackled him. We are all screaming “Off, Off” but don’t expect anything more than a yellow at best. We are amazed and delighted by the straight red and the show pony goes off to a massed chorus of “Cheerio, Cheerio, Cheerio?” Yet again Rooney is abusing the referee and Ferdinand is right in his face yet still no more cards. Whether they are fired up or we just sit back, they now have their most dangerous spell and that ace goal poacher, van Nistelrooy, gets one back with 15 minutes to go. It’s nail-biting time now, surely we are not going to throw it away against ten men? Dunney is injured and goes off and Onuoha is on. Riera is clearly looking tired and is replaced by Musampa, with Fowler replacing Cole and we know how he likes to score against United.

We are all dying for a third, as it will be a wonderful way to finish the game off, and even better if Fowler gets it. The whole stadium is on its feet for the finale. A couple of late attacks should have given us the killer goal but we waste them. The board goes up with 4 extra minutes, Ferguson and Queiroz are furious it’s not enough, whereas we are all groaning, thinking it’s three minutes too much. They get a free kick and all come up for it but it breaks down, we move the ball forward and it’s suddenly three against one. Vassell looks to have blown it but pulls it back for Fowler to bury it. Our prayer has been answered and we are screaming with delight, dancing and hugging each other while Robbie taunts the Reds, some of who try to get on the pitch. The final whistle goes but for me the best is yet to come. No one leaves and the whole crowd joins in with a rousing chorus of “The Boys in Blue”. When that’s over the familiar strains of “Blue Moon” come over the tannoy and the noise level goes up even further. You may catch it for just a couple of seconds at the end of the Sky coverage as the players are coming off. The singing doesn’t stop even as we leave the stadium with the concourse and the area outside CoMS buzzing with thousands bellowing out “Hello, Hello we are the City boys” and “City, City, the best team in the land and all the world”. Everyone is grinning and life is worth living. Bolton here we come!

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


I wonder why Sven-Goran Eriksson decided to watch the game between Arsenal and Middlesboredom this weekend. Had it not been for the injury of Pascal Cygan, he would have witnessed a team without any English players at all beat the heck out of what looked like a lacklustre side of Championship players. At the City of Manchester Stadium it was a different story. A set-up of established national players like Ferdinand, Neville, Smith and Rooney got thoroughly whipped by the England B-side with James, Vassell, Sinclair, Cole, Fowler and Barton in it. If the England manager had taken the train to Manchester instead of North London he would have had more lines in his notebook than just; “Ashley Cole made his comeback from injury and had a sleepy afternoon at left-back in a 7-0 trashing”.

Back to the City game! Tonight’s report is a great pleasure to write. In fact I had to delay it for 24 hours just to get my heartbeat down and a more objective view of what happened. It also gave me the opportunity to read some of the other reports and it struck me that again the media is focusing on what went wrong with United rather than what City did right. “Alex and Rooney clash with Referee”. “Fergie and Rooney facing FA rap”, “Fergie’s ref rage”, “United’s derby day disaster”, etc. What a load of rubbish. The important thing that happened in this game was that United were beaten by a better side, a side more determined to win, a side more capable of playing good, attacking football.

All right, so the game opened with United in control. For the first 20 minutes or so City had more than enough to keep themselves occupied inside their own half. I was happy to see that our captain was back to his usual self after the incredible poor performance against Spurs. And his partner Dunne was a tower on every high cross and corner. Together they were masters of the defensive work. Our full backs Sun and Jordan seemed to have the necessary calmness and intensity to their game so they never threw away a tackle but stopped any attempts on the wings as well. The only decent chance United managed to scrape together was a cross from Giggs after 20 minutes. That was missed by both Rooney on the near and van Nistelrooy (vNi) on the far post.

After 25 minutes the game play changed dramatically. United stopped their high pressure and the City back-four got more space and time to pinpoint their passes. This resulted in a series of good runs on the flanks for Sinclair on the right and our new man Riera on the left. United left-back Evra had a nightmare début and was no match for an impressive Sinclair in the first half. He was subbed during the second with O’Shea slipping down from the midfield although that didn’t seem to worry Sinclair too much.

Joey Barton had not been very accurate with his free kicks and corners throughout the first half, but after 31 minutes he made an excellent cross into the area. The ball was won by Neville under heavy pressure from Vassell, but the clearance only made it to our man Ireland just outside the box. He put the ball back into the box where Sinclair turned on the spot and smashed the ball into the side netting behind van der Saar. 1-0 to City.

United could have grabbed one back after 35 minutes when Barton lost the ball to Ronaldo in the centre of midfield. The Portuguese midfielder raced towards the City goal and laid the ball beautifully to Rooney but the shot was parried magnificently by the advancing James. A great save by England’s number One.

Our goalkeeper came into the spotlight again after 38 minutes. A free kick deep in the City half was punted forward by James. Sinclair out-jumped Evra in the air and the ball fell to Cole. The City striker put the ball forward to Vassell who turned away Silvestre and thumped the ball past van der Saar. City were 2-0 up and kept the momentum all the way into the half time break.

It became clear that Pearce had decided to keep the team deeper in the second half. City allowed United to get further up into their half, relying on Sinclair and Vassell’s speed to create chances on the counter-attacks. Barton and Ireland did a great job in the heart of the midfield and Riera was a welcome addition to our wide play. He had a cool way of keeping the ball at his feet and turning away defenders before making good passes to his fellow blues. He and Musampa may seem a bit similar (in how they approach the game), and it’s good to know that we are well covered in that rôle as well. The United midfield was all over the place, and young Fletcher looked like an old man towards the end of the game. It was only the gray hair that was missing.

It came as no big surprise when United got the first decent chance 15 minutes into the second half. Rooney sent away a shot from just outside the box that shaved the post to James’ right. At the other end Vassell made a dummy out of Neville (boy, has he had some nightmare derbies in the past). Vassell went all the way into the area but the finishing touch was not in place to do real harm to the Reds.

After 65 minutes Jordan slid hard into Ronaldo and ploughed both the ball and the Portuguese over the touchline. Ronaldo was not happy with the referee’s decision to only grant a throw-in to the Reds and when he played the ball too far ahead in the following move he jumped in madly at Cole with his studs knee-high. Luckily he did not make contact but was promptly sent off by the referee for the effort.

The sending off marked a turning-point in the game. Saha was brought on for Fletcher, and Rooney and Giggs moved into the centre where Fletcher and O’Shea had done so well – for us 🙂 – in the first half. City also had to make a change as Dunne limped off with a bruised knee and was replaced by Onuoha. After 75 minutes United managed to crawl themselves back into the game. It was a moment of magic from Giggs that was to bring the City supporters to the edge of their seats. He pinpointed vNi with a curling pass, and the Dutchman managed to collect the ball inside the area and sneak it between Sun’s legs and behind the baffled James. 2-1 and the heat was on again.

Pearce immediately responded by making his 2 remaining substitutions. Fowler replaced Cole and Musampa came in for Riera. I was wondering why the manager decided to do both his changes with 15 minutes to go. We were one more than United on the pitch, and had done pleasantly well in the 77 minutes that had gone by. Yet if another City-player was to get injured towards the end (like Dunne) we would be reduced to 10 as well. It seemed like a gamble to me.

One player that was not substituted was Stephen Ireland, and 10 minutes from the end the youngster showed that he was still full of energy as he waltzed his way past the United defence. He tried to thread the ball back to Fowler, but a United defender managed to scramble the ball away for a corner.

United looked more and more like a lost cause towards the end, and in the last minute of injury time the everlasting Ireland found Vassell with only one defender chasing. For a minute the striker looked to have missed his chance, but after turning with the ball inside the United area he laid it on a plate for Fowler to smack home our third goal of the afternoon. 3-1, game, set and match to the Blues.

James (8/10) Made a great save from Rooney in the first half to keep us in front. Not much to do after that. Made good passes to start off the City attacks.
Sun (6/10) Worked his socks off and was only at fault when vNi managed to find a space between his legs to grab a goal back for the Reds.
Dunne (9/10) Stopped Rooney and vNi every time. Took all the crosses and high balls into the area. Made the afternoon a stroll in the garden for Distin.
Distin (8/10) Great to see the captain at his best again. Showed how much faster he is than vNi and Rooney and dispossessed the strikers all the time.
Jordan (7/10) Did well on the left. I like to see Jordan in the derbies as he always gives 110% against the Reds.
Sinclair (9/10) MoM. One goal and won the ball that gave us the second. Made Evra look like a player coming from the Conference League (go Burton Albion).
Barton (7/10) Great ball to Vassell on the first goal. Made a blunder the minute after that nearly cost us the lead, but all in all a good performance from the midfielder.
Ireland (8/10) Impressive performance. Made the pass to Sinclair for our first. Was still lively towards the end and made the run that created the third goal.
Riera (7/10) Good début on the left. Showed the rest of the team that you could keep the ball at your feet and get away with it even against United.
Vassell (8/10) Just how I like to see him. Chased everything and gave the defence no time to rest. Stressed van der Saar on every occasion, scored one and set up Fowler for the third.
Cole (7/10) Assisting pass to Vassell for our opening goal. Had a couple of long distance efforts but didn’t get close enough to trouble the United goalkeeper. Made way for Fowler at the end.
Onuoha (7/10) Solid performance at the back.
Fowler and Musampa got only 15 minutes, but were involved in the last goal.

Svenn Hanssen <svenn(at)>


I saw this game on Sky while on holiday in New Zealand. I’m out here for my niece’s wedding which, in New Zealand time, preceded the game. So my brother recorded the match and we watched it a little later on Sunday morning (English evening).

I have to say that I regarded this game with some trepidation – especially after our first half performance against Scunny. I was hoping that SP would not select Sibi knowing that Sun was bound to be selected (come back Danny Mills all is forgiven). I should have known everything was OK since my brother had heard the result on the World Service and he seemed quite sanguine.

Off the game went. Very scrappy to begin with. Neither team seemed to be able to establish any fluency. Rooney was looking threatening (to City and the ref) and Jordan was tending to make mistakes. Thank heavens Ronaldo kept on running inside. For City, Riera showed some neat touches but little pace while Trev looked full of running and was beginning to dominate United’s left back. David Pleat (providing comments) was saying how dangerous Cole and Vassell were, especially when the ball was played to their feet.

Lo and behold out of nothing City scored. Long ball up to the United area, poor defensive header from Neville but more important some lovely control from Stephen Ireland. His through ball to Clever Trev reminded me of Eyal Berkovic’s to The Goat for his second against United at Maine Road. That tells you how good the control of the pass was – Trev turned and bang, in the net. Van der Saar didn’t have a chance. Who cares where Ferdinand was (probably counting his millions) or what Silvestre was thinking about (his new club?). We were ahead. After that, James made a superb stop from Rooney who seemed to be angry about something – not sure what. Another attack from City – good header from Trev from the right wing – lovely touch from Cole on to Vassell via Silvestre and City 2 United 0. I could hardly believe it.

Second half – Ronaldo sent off. From the slow motion it was clear he did not touch Cole but Pleat commented that had Cole not been aware there would have been a serious injury and so the sending off was legitimate. United pulled one back – nerves again. But then we had chances to score again – lovely shot of SP throwing the water bottle down after Vassell missed badly with Trev in the open. Unfortunately Dunne had to go off injured. Kiki and Fowler replaced Riera and Cole and, eventually, RF put it beyond doubt with a magnificent strike (great saving tackle by Ferdinand against RF just prior to his goal).

Great performance – and what a birthday present for my brother and I on our 60th birthday just a bit earlier in the month – sometimes the sun does shine on Capricorns! Good to see Kiki (looked fit again), superb performances from Distin, Dunne James and Stevie Ireland in the second half. Sinclair just shaved Man of the Match for me (over Dunnie who put in some great tackles). JB got better as the game progressed. More than anything though all the players gave it their all. Now let’s do it against Bolton and repay them for the highway robbery earlier in the season.

Ian Burgess <i.burgess1(at)>


I did crawl out of bed at 4.15 to see the game live out in California and, as my last posting indicated, I feared the worst. A nerve-wracking 90 minutes later I was able to go back to bed, happy, and once again realizing why I do what I do for a living and Mr. Pearce is the manager of City. A steady performance the whole game and, not matter how, it is always nice to beat United.

But I don’t think I am ready to take back all I said last time: we still need a central midfield player and another forward (and maybe another defender if Dunne is injured). I am sure the manager will not let Saturday’s result take his mind off the need to strengthen the squad and I continue to hope the board realize the need for funds.

And did we have another game on Saturday with no sub goalie on the bench?

But for a few days at least we can celebrate another derby win – finished in such fashion by Fowler.

With best wishes for a Blue Moon week.

P.S. I saw highlights of Chelsea-Sunderland. Am I right in thinking Wright-Phillips did not get a game again? I know it is all water under the bridge but I hope he is having serious talks with his agent who landed him in this mess.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


What a delicious derby win this was! It had all the ingredients that can make a single game like this so special.

Our recent results have been off-par and United were unbeaten in 11 games. Then Fungusface starts the pre-match wind-up with comments about lack of atmosphere at CoMS (as if there aren’t times when you can hear a pin drop at the Swamp).

Although the match itself took a while to get going, it was clear that both City and the fans were well up for this game. Some of our recent defeats have seen us fail to get stuck in but we were much better at this on Saturday. And there was lots of noise from all over the stadium.

The game was a little like the last 3-1. City worked hard and caused the United midfield and defence into making mistakes. Fungusface had selected débutant Evra and he was like a lamb to the slaughter. His first half was so bad they took him off at half-time. Plus Silvestre was run ragged by my MoM Sinclair. I had high hopes for him when he first came to City and it’s now beginning to show.

Our first goal came on the break and Vassell was offside on the original cross that led to the goal. Still, the man kept his flag down, which makes the goal even better because it wound up United even more. Our second came from a punt upfield by James. A knock on from Sinclair then a tap foward from Cole and Silvestre completely missed the ball. Cue Vassell to calmly place the ball in the net. Dreamland. I hate it when other teams score goals like this against us (Spurs’ second recently comes to mind). But it’s excellent when we can do it to the Rags.

At half time, according to some reports both Rooney and Fungusface were spitting blood and called the ref a f***ing cheating b****** in the tunnel. Nicely wound up then! Let’s hope there an enquiry and hefty fines/bans.

I expected United to come out blazing and for us to retreat into our shells but we kept on battling. Our attitude was typified by Jordan who took out Ronaldo with a wonderfully full-on two-footed tackle. Ronaldo was Mr Unhappy and a minute later took a lunge at Cole with studs showing. I’d have given a yellow but the man in black (yellow actually) showed him a straight red and United were incensed. This is what derbies are made of!

Van Horseface then got a goal out of nowhere but as United pushed for an equaliser in the dying minutes, Fowler comes on and scored a peach at the death. Even when he’s not at his best it’s worth putting Fowler on in games like this, just for the wind-up factor.

After the game come all the United excuses and suggestions from Fungusface that the ref enjoyed too much of City’s pre-match hospitality. So, let’s assume that refs are human. In the Blue corner you have an honourable manager who makes it known he thinks refs have a hard time and believes it’s wrong to criticise them. In the Red corner you have a man that verbally assaults refs on a regular basis. So, in those split second decisions when you decide to give or not give a penalty or decide to show yellow or red for a bad tackle, as you are human who are you more likely to favour? Not rocket science is it? I’m happy for the neanderthals at the Swamp to carry on like this. I love seeing Fungus’s face when he feels he’s been cheated.

On Saturday it was the icing on the cake of a fantastic win. Deep joy!

Paul Muschamp <paulmuschamp(at)>


Told yah we’d beat United and we should have played Robbie Fowler! Seriously though that was a performance that has been very sparse this season, with some players not performing. Okay we made mistakes etc. but we battled from go to woe and that’s all you can ask for in a team.

To Trevor Sinclair who said scoring in the derby is better than sex, well you scored on the pitch, didn’t you! The new fella Riera looks good, given the lack of playing time and only just meeting your team mates.

Well, where do we go from here? Hopefully upwards and onwards, we need this performance every week (well most weeks) and not just once in a while.

So well done, geez those United players are a bunch of whingers, talk about throwing the toys out of the cot, it’s lovely!

The only downside of this morning’s game (1.30am): the wife wasn’t too pleased when I just started shouting when we scored. Still some things you just have to live with!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


What sort of supporter am I? A chance to get a derby ticket via the points on my Citycard for the first time in years. Didn’t go out to watch it on Sky? Not even an armchair supporter? Pathetic. Unless? Let’s rewind 12 hours before kick off, yes, 1am in the morning as I arrive with my other half at the Royal Jubilee maternity hospital in Belfast (yes this is no thriller, I think you know where we are going in this tale!). 2.11am 9lb boy duly arrives. A few half laughs when I answer the question “have you a name yet?” from the nurses, with “whoever scores the winner for City later on”. As they notice my deadly seriousness the smiles disappear and a few “ohs” are the only answer now (I haven’t been supporting City for 37 years to be concerned what anyone thinks!).

Bed at 5am, first daughter in at 8am, both up at 9.30am and my thoughts naturally turn to… b****y hell I’m not going to see the game! I get an offer of a taped copy, which I begrudgingly say yes to as, let’s face it, we are going to get thumped, aren’t we? The texts come in, great omen a boy born on derby day and also remember avoiding Friday 13th by a couple of hours. I wonder what would have happened. Anyway, back to the important things, an unusual pre match build up, oh and a call from the other half that the wee Goatman is doing fine. Kick off time, I retreat to the kitchen with the one consolation of my new Freeview box there and Digital radio 5, rather than crackly radio.

After hearing Alan Green mentioning the different groups of “Norn Iron” fans there, a sudden wave of optimism hit me: there were so many portents, could we? As the first half progressed we couldn’t seem to get the ball but United didn’t seem to be carving us up either. Could we hold out for a draw? Then what, in shock, Sinclair, can’t be! Yes! So much want to be in front of a TV. What’s this? 2 nil! It can’t be? All of a sudden the thought Darius Trevor Ballentine mmm. Pacing up and down praying for half time and a clean sheet, yes! However, the doubts come back remember being 2 up before at half time and losing 3-2, stop it now!

Second half, pacing up and down again, then the realisation I have to take the kids down to the hospital to see their new brother and with the match behind a few minutes I will have to resort to the car radio. At least the match will be over before we get there, the girls would just have to sit with me in the car park at the hospital till it was anyway! The 2nd half progresses and young Ireland seems to impress (I thought it was about time to rest him – idiot Mark). Well on in the match, the daze of little sleep passes and I realise I don’t have a City shirt on. Quick remedy to that: on it goes and seconds later van Horseface scores. Oh no, omens! Do I take the shirt off again? Stuff it. City sweatshirt and baseball cap on and City-supporting girls bundled in to the car. Radio on. Have to stop at garage, quick in and out looking at couple of idiot United supporters who aren’t even watching the match (yes I know I’m not but I think my circumstances different) and on down the road. Slow traffic, seems we are constantly attacking but I just know there is going to be a killer blow to the day, there has to be. As a City supporter you know what is going to happen – an injury time goal for, yes you know Robbie! Hole punched in swerving car as girls scream in delight too, they know the score (forgot to put their shirts on too idiot!). Final whistle and the most relaxed and happy man in Belfast and the thought of Robbie Ballentine?

At this moment in time there are 2 votes for and 2 against but I don’t care because he is always Robbie to me from now on!

P.S. It may be late on the day after but I have seen the full recording of the match – will let others do their reports but one I am never ever going to forget. And if you ever hear about this Mr Fowler it might make your goal even more sweet now!

Mark Ballentine <mark.ballentine(at)>


When I spend ninety minutes of my life sitting in a hut in a small forest, following the oh-so-factual ‘live update’ on the BBC website (Live? I’ve seen more life in a rock. Where was the Guardian website’s man?), I begin to question whether I’ve made the right decisions in my life.

Not being at a derby match is one thing, but not even being able to watch it is something else (four hours to the nearest pub with a telly and a connection speed that’s as slow as a slow thing in thick treacle). It’s a strange feeling of being detached from reality, which is only brought to earth with a bump when the fans’ reports, pictures and comments begin to emerge on the websites


So, well done to all of you who made it to the game and created the atmosphere that I’m now reading about. Keep the faith. I really miss Manchester at times like these.

Mel Clegg, Somewhere in a Norwegian wood <mclegg(at)>


As a fan who watched at home, naturally, I’m delighted with the result.

It disappoints me though because a few weeks ago, I wrote that City can beat anyone, and that was proven on Saturday. Why, therefore, does it not happen against teams like West Brom etc.? This performance must be repeated more regularly.

Couple of observations, a stray pass or two apart, Stephen Ireland had a great game and set up the first goal with an instinctive and perfect touch to Clever Trevor to stick it away. What a prospect this lad is looking. I think that he could do with eating one or two of the half time pies to fill out a bit but not only is his passing generally good, it’s incredibly intelligent for a kid of his age. And let’s not forget that he is just a kid at the moment. What a future he seems to have.

At half time, Sky were playing ‘Hot In the City Tonight’ as the adverts came on and off. Fantastic. What a great song to be associated with. Maybe they could start playing it at the ComStad.

Trevor Sinclair has really set himself up with his comments about scoring against United is better than sex. Did you see him squirm when questioned about it after the game? Priceless. One for the archives.

Reading the comments on the MUEN website after the game, the vermin supporters confirmed why they are the most hated club in the world. United were poor, City played above themselves, the referee cheated, the list goes on. One thing that makes me laugh though is that one or two of them said after the 3-1 victory at Maine Road that we would live on that win for years. Well, what about the 4-1 twelve months later? And they’re at it again after this latest win. ‘We’ll live on it for years’. Ho ho ho. Well I for one have had my enjoyment now. Next for me is a game against Bolton and 3 points at stake so, they really are c**p. But then we already knew that.

Worryingly, Sven has been up to his tricks again and they are talking about a replacement manager. I expected this but not quite so soon. I hope that this has cropped up too soon for the FA to take the newspapers too seriously about Stuart Pearce who, it would appear, is favourite to replace Sven when he does eventually go.

On Sven, if I am permitted to vent a view in this ‘City’ forum, I think that the media treat our England managers appallingly. Bobby Robson, Graham Turner, Terry Venables, all did great jobs but the newspapers when they had nothing else to write about, were disgusting in their criticism of the National team managers. However, this current manager was never wanted by the England fans, was always a risk, seems to have no moral standards, is most definitely laughing his b*****cks off at us all with the obscene amounts of money pouring into his bank account, and seems to have no idea of how to manage his life let alone a national football tTeam. He comes over as a deep thinking individual who gets by with his silence and rare comments, so that the ‘mystery’ of what he is thinking covers up the fact that he hasn’t really got a clue. And when things go right (rarely) he scoffs at comments about his competence. He lives to fight another day. But really, we can’t blame him for taking the ‘dollar’ as it’s a bunch of (can’t print it)’s based in Soho square that are really to blame. Who on earth sanctioned his contract!

Rant over.

CTID, John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


The best news about the derby match is that we won without playing out of our skins. We were better than against Spurs, no question, but did we play as well as we did against West Ham, Villa, Birmingham, Bolton or Chelsea, (difficult for me to comment on the last of two as I wasn’t there but the reports were generally favourable even though we lost)?

It’s also fair to point out that we were lucky with the first goal (but not the second or the sending off) but hey, the boot’s been on the other foot before.

It seems that our equal sixth best home performance of the season – about as good as the Portsmouth game, but better than Everton, Liverpool, Albion, Blackburn and Spurs- was more than enough to beat our good friends. It was also true to see that while Silvestre, Ferdinand and Evra are capable of comedy defending, the graceless tantrums, whinging and excuse-finding afterwards are even funnier.

We now need to kick on in both the league and the Cup. Saturday’s match is now history. We’re at Bolton next weekend, and they should be our rôle models. They started last season well, had an even dodgier period than we’ve had around Christmas, but rallied strongly in the New Year. Top six and a big cup run (as long as we avoid Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool) should be our achievable target.

Mark Meadowcroft <Mark(at)>


FA Premiership
Manchester City 3 Manchester United 1
City of Manchester Stadium
January 14th 2006, Kick-off 12:45
Attendance: 47,192.

Team Changes: Cole and Vassell return to starting line-up. Albert Riera Ortega makes début.

Line-up: James, Sun, Dunne (Onuoha, 69), Distin, Jordan, Sinclair, Barton, Ireland, Riera (Musampa, 78), Cole (Fowler, 77), Vassell.
Unused subs: Croft, Sibierski.

Goal times: (32) 1-0 Sinclair; (39) 2-0 Vassell; (76) 2-1 van Nistelrooy; (90+4) 3-1 Fowler.

Bookings: James (76), Fowler (90+2).
Sent off: None.
Referee: S. Bennett.

Stat points: Albert Riera Ortega becomes the 1051st City/Ardwick débutant, and City’s first ever Spanish player. City now hold the upper hand in Premier League encounters with United this century. City have won 3, drawn 4, and lost 3, but have a superior 14-12 goalscoring record. United haven’t taken “6 easy points” off us since the 1995-96 season.

Website update: Riera’s photograph and autograph (taken as he arrived for today’s match) have been added to the site.

Viewpoint: Given that City have now won three out of the last four home matches against United, and the fact that they have won just one trophy in the last three and a half seasons, and the ordinary look of their squad, City fans can rejoice as we say “You’re not famous any more!” As for their “30 years” taunts, see my face, am I bothered? United fans just don’t get it do they? We can laugh at ourselves, but they don’t like it if we laugh at them. Proud to say I didn’t hear any “M*nich” chants from City fans, only aeroplane impressions from dozens of people in the away section. Sad, but not unexpected. United best concentrate now on that major trophy, The Carling Cup. Oh, and beating mighty Burton Albion.

FA Cup Third Round
Manchester City 3 Scunthorpe United 1
City of Manchester Stadium
January 7th 2006, kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 27,779.

Team Changes: Cole and Vassell rested. Sibierski and Fowler start up front.

Line-up: James, Onuoha (Croft, 46), Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair, Barton, Sun, Ireland, Sibierski (B. Wright-Phillips, 69), Fowler.
Unused subs: De Vlieger, Sommeil, Cole.

Goal times: 0-1 Keogh (17); 1-1 Fowler (48); 2-1 Fowler (56); 3-1 Fowler (pen) (64).

Bookings: None.
Sent off: None.
Referee: A. R. Hall.

Stat points: Joey Barton’s 100th appearance for City, who have won all 4 encounters with Scunthorpe United. 3-1 is now the 3rd most common FA Cup result for City, with twenty three instances, after thirty two 1-0 wins, and twenty seven 0-1 defeats. This is Fowler’s first hat-trick for City, and City’s first hat-trick in the FA Cup since Uwe Rösler scored four against Notts County in a 3rd Round replay at Maine Road on January 18th 1995.

Request: Has anybody got a decent photograph, and/or autograph on plain paper, of Yasser Hussein? If so, please send me a copy by email, and I will give a credit on his profile page.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


So in the last few days we beat Scunthorpe 3-1, and today we beat Man Ure 3-1.

Does that suggest that Man Ure are on a par with Scunthorpe?

A super performance today. I wish City were always so hungry,

Stuart Grundy <grundys(at)>


Whilst we were all no doubt pleased (relieved?) with the result in the FA Cup on Saturday against Scunthorpe, I was really disappointed with the attendance figure at COMS, dipping below 30,000 with vast gaps all around the ground. I certainly don’t blame City fans for staying away, and I don’t blame MCFC either, because their gesture in subsidising the ticket prices by £3 to a reasonable (ish) £15 for adults and £5 for kids was a move in the right direction. On Saturday, we were probably down to our hard-core members, and the future is not rosy, especially if you can count; attendances at the cup matches are falling away, witness the pathetic 11,000 figure for the Wigan versus Arsenal League Cup semi-final!

I think the issue is that the Premiership have believed in their own hype for too long, and overplayed their hand, and fans are totally aware that it is simply getting too expensive to watch football week-in and week-out. What I think is happening, is that people are stumping up for their season ticket every year, as per usual, ignoring the cost-per-match that this implies. However, when it comes to extra matches, we then look at the cost, and think it through with our wallets, and compare it to other forms of entertainment, it’s not a good comparison is it? And the truth is, it’s now getting easier and easier to get home matches for City, making a season ticket less of a priority than it ever was. If you give up your season ticket now, what home games will you actually miss?

However, this doesn’t fully explain the low attendance on Saturday because I think £15 for the FA Cup 3rd round is about the right price (I’d happily pay less of course) and accordingly, there may be extra reasons why so many City fans stayed away from this game. And few if any of these relate to the solid job that Stuart Pearce is doing in rebuilding our side after two years of total neglect: I hope SP didn’t take the low turn out personally.

Firstly, I think that by staying away, we are voting with our feet on the vast sums of money that footballers now earn. I actually resent any player earning more than £5,000 per week (and let’s face it that is still £250,000 per year!) unless they are exceptionally gifted (like Benarbia, Berkovic and SWP). I wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t sponsoring this, but the truth is I am: every time I turn up for a game of football, especially for a cup game that is not included in my season ticket price, I am effectively saying:

“Yes, it’s perfectly okay to pay Danny Mills £35,000 per week for five years, injured or not, and so much so, please have some more money off me for his benefit – can I come again next week and spend some more money?”

If Robbie Fowler should ever wonder why he gets a fair bit of stick off some City fans (not me by the way), then it is all due to the £40,000 wage he gets every week whether or not he plays. It’s not his fault that the people who run football are ‘that’ stupid to pay him this much, but he gets resented for it anyway – “…he’s only here for our money”.

Secondly, I think the game is up for the ‘fairness’ of football in England: every year, we now know that Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea will share all of the trophies between them, and no-one else is going to get a look-in. You only have to look at the last 10 years of the FA Cup to realise that as a contest, it is effectively over. Why turn up for the 3rd round, when you won’t be going to the final? Maybe that’s what the Wigan fans were thinking, even for a cup semi-final!

Thirdly, I think the ‘buzz’ of going to home games is slowly but surely dying away, and that’s thanks to the Taylor report and all-seater stadia. If the clubs want some atmosphere to come back to the game then they need to restore standing, perhaps behind each of the goals, to get things going. Most supporters stand up behind the goals now anyway, and for sure, The Kop does for every home match that Liverpool play. This is why I think away matches are still a buzz; they still have the ‘feel’ you used to get standing on the Kippax half-an-hour before kick-off, waiting for the game to get going. It’s no wonder all of our away matches sell out so quickly.

All that being said, let’s make sure we have a full house on Saturday, and that we make some noise!

Neil Haigh <city(at)>


I see two Bolton tickets are for sale in the last issue for close to 80 pounds. No wonder there are empty seats all over the place at those prices. I can get a season ticket here in Amsterdam to watch Ajax for that amount. Not that I would mind but still, that is a lot.

Bob Price <bob.price(at)>


In response to part of Don Price’s missive in MCIVTA 1189.

I am not one to necessarily support the club in their ticketing policies but I will do on this occasion. Don, you mention that it is not sold out with 5 days to go and question the ticket distribution therefore preventing a full house. Maybe it will be full, maybe not, but if supporters with City Cards don’t want to buy the tickets then they can’t possibly go on sale to ‘new’ Access Cardholders for the derby as that is effectively putting them on ‘open sale’, which would be a security nightmare as Man U fans would have the ability to get an Access Card and purchase tickets. They are on sale now for all Citycard Holders and for Access Cardholders who have been to a certain number of matches this season (although I think that this is a dangerous thing to do; when there were hundreds of Man U fans in the North Stand at the 5-1 in 1989, they obtained tickets by collecting ticket stubs around Maine Road from previous games as MCFC opened up tickets to fans with ‘x’ amount of stubs).

I tried to get a derby ticket at the last game at Maine Road but was unsuccessful, I was a Citycard Holder with over 150 points – how times change!

Keep the faith and here’s to a resounding 2-1 win!

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Just a bit of a think…

What happens if you’re a visiting supporter to COMS? What is stopping us having a system with proper tickets and getting shut of the s**te system that pertains now? Is the s**te system inherited from the Commonwealth games?

The ticketing system is s**te. Unless you understand it. Which means having to take the time to understand it. Which is a barrier to delivering tickets to those who are not in the know.

I have read MCIVTA for many years and still don’t have a clue how ticketing works. To the extent that I don’t feel able to access tickets. International CityCards were never transparent in their execution. It needed a dedicated tel no but I was never aware of such.

Plenty of RedS***e “supporters” seem to be able to access *some* games a season without having to do hospitality commitments.

There are plenty of us who want to come and see an occasional game(s) because it is something that we have to plan and save for. Why can we not do that without having to jump hoops?

Garry Higgins <balrog(at)>


Regarding the Stand-in ‘keeper point, ESPN came up with Danny Mills, Dave Kilroy came up with Steven Jordan, and Geoff Shreeves during the derby game came up with Dunney or Trickey Trev. So it seems like we have an abundance of budding goalies should the ever dependable, ever present (?) David James get injured.

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


  1. Nice Grauniad article today on Stephen Ireland:,,1686346,00.html
  2. No goalie on the bench on Saturday! Who would have worn the green shirt ifJames had been injured?

Bill Buffam <mcivta(at)>


Did anyone else see the 30′-long banner hanging from a bridge on the M56 going into Manchester this morning? Can’t believe it managed to stay up for so long, but in sky blue letters it said…

“F*&k Off back to London”


Neil Eaves <neileaves(at)>


I started supporting City aged 7 after seeing my first game on the TV, the 1969 Cup final. To me Neil Young is one of the greatest strikers ever, not some washed up singer.

Being a City supporter has mirrored my life with ups and downs but what a great up yesterday with the win over United.

Greatest City player ever? For me it has to be Colin Bell.

Dafydd Jarman – South Wales <ROCKY1V(at)>


15 January 2006

Wigan Athletic        0 - 1  West Bromwich Albion  17,421
Sunderland            1 - 2  Chelsea               32,420

14 January 2006

Manchester City       3 - 1  Manchester United     47,192
Arsenal               7 - 0  Middlesbrough         38,186
Aston Villa           1 - 2  West Ham United       36,700
Charlton Athletic     2 - 0  Birmingham City       26,312
Fulham                1 - 0  Newcastle United      21,974
Liverpool             1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     44,983
Portsmouth            0 - 1  Everton               20,094
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      18,180

League table to 15 January 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         22 11  0  0 28  6  9  1  1 20  5 20  1  1  48  11  37  61
 2 Manchester Utd  22  6  3  1 20  6  7  3  2 21 14 13  6  3  41  20  21  45
 3 Liverpool       20  9  1  1 17  4  4  4  1 12  7 13  5  2  29  11  18  44
 4 Tottenham H.    22  7  3  1 17  7  4  4  3 14 12 11  7  4  31  19  12  40
 5 Arsenal         21  9  1  1 27  4  2  3  5  7 11 11  4  6  34  15  19  37
 6 Wigan Athletic  22  6  1  5 16 15  5  0  5  9 12 11  1 10  25  27  -2  34
 7 Bolton Wndrs    20  5  3  1 11  4  4  3  4 14 16  9  6  5  25  20   5  33
 8 Manchester City 22  6  2  4 16 10  3  2  5 14 15  9  4  9  30  25   5  31
 9 Blackburn R.    21  6  2  2 15 10  3  2  6 11 15  9  4  8  26  25   1  31
10 West Ham United 22  4  1  5 15 15  4  4  4 14 16  8  5  9  29  31  -2  29
11 Charlton Ath.   20  4  1  6 13 16  5  0  4 13 14  9  1 10  26  30  -4  28
12 Fulham          22  7  2  2 18 12  0  3  8  8 18  7  5 10  26  30  -4  26
13 Newcastle Utd   21  4  4  1 10  8  3  1  8 10 16  7  5  9  20  24  -4  26
14 Everton         22  3  1  6  8 15  5  1  6  7 16  8  2 12  15  31 -16  26
15 Aston Villa     22  3  3  5 12 14  3  4  4 14 18  6  7  9  26  32  -6  25
16 West Brom A.    22  5  1  5 17 14  1  3  7  4 17  6  4 12  21  31 -10  22
17 Middlesbrough   21  3  5  3 15 17  2  2  6 10 20  5  7  9  25  37 -12  22
18 Portsmouth      22  2  4  5  6 12  2  1  8 10 22  4  5 13  16  34 -18  17
19 Birmingham City 21  2  2  6  9 14  2  2  7  6 17  4  4 13  15  31 -16  16
20 Sunderland      21  0  3  9  8 23  1  0  8  8 17  1  3 17  16  40 -24   6

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

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

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. 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

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the OFEX web site (registration required) or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

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

Try Wookie’s Lair:

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1190