Newsletter #1220

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It’s been a long time since I had the honour to step into the Ed’s Chair. And with the last 11 years (oops, make that 12) of roller coasting with the Blues on the Internet fresh in my mind, I must say the Ed’s office seems a bit smaller than I’d expected, and the Chair is old and torn at the edges. I really think we need to send a bit of gratitude (at least) to Heidi for coping with us for so long. It’s a heck of a job to do for free!

So, over to the fun part (er, make that; not so fun part): Fulham came to visit the Blue half of Manchester without a single away win this season. Sure enough, City delivered a game of missed chances, gave away a 1-0 lead and ended up losing 1-2. You got to “luv” it I guess. Every time we have the chance to help someone, we oblige. When Arsenal go hunting for a winning streak record and only need one more against City – we deliver. A few weeks back Portsmouth needed a win to kick start their resurrection campaign – we threw in the towel. Oh, hasn’t Owen scored for like 295 games before meeting City. Surely a hat trick is not enough? See that short bloke over there with the sixpence and a T-shirt that says “I’m a Football Genius”? Let’s make him Manager. And so it continues.

No match report yet so I’ll just mention the game with a few words. I must admit that City didn’t deserve to lose against Fulham; we had the chances and were unlucky at our own end. Samaras should have nailed our second but missed the target, and Vassell also had a decent chance to add to our record. Still, we threw it all away by sending the whole team up for a corner in injury time, from which Fulham eventually came back for their winner. I agree with Pearce that we should have shut up the store. Well it’s too late to do it at the post-match press conference.

Over to this edition of the MCIVTA: There are some mixed feelings about the team and the man in charge. I have to admit that we are worse positioned now than we’ve ever been (short memory I know), but I would really like to see where Pearce can take us over a 3-5 year period. But I do have a question for him: “In all your time as a player, did you ever listen to the guy jumping up and down at the side-line, waving his arms, pointing his fingers and shouting his head off?” Just wondered.

Ah, and last but not least. Tom Ritchie managed to get quite a few people going with his comments a couple of editions back. Tom could perhaps have written the piece in a more precise manner. Still, I found the irony setting getting quite clear towards the end. Apologies from the MCIVTA Ed. for not pointing that out to the ones that got back with remarks that in most ways agreed with Tom’s original feeling. Nevertheless: I’ve decided to close the lid on that one. As my old teacher (RIP) used to say: “Svenn – If you’re going to play with irony you’d better know what you’re doing.”

Next game: Arsenal, home, 7.45pm Thursday 4 May 2006

OPINION: THE CLUB, THE MANAGER AND THE TEAM

As I stomped away from Eastlands on Saturday deriding myself for being a terrible father and husband in that, once again, I subjected my wife and sons to a public outburst of shouting, gesticulating and profanity after the final whistle, my thoughts gradually turned to why I am currently such a frustrated and despairing individual and to those who may be responsible for my current ire. Ultimately it is me that is responsible (why oh why didn’t I put the family silver and mortgage on the dead cert of Fulham getting their first away win? – aaarrrgghhh!) but City’s current and future state is the major factor in my lack of status quo and sudden bouts of Tourette’s-like behaviour.

Perhaps I never fully forgave the disgusting and blatant commercialism of the wearing of this year’s away kit against ‘Boro during last season’s finale and the team coming out for the lap of ‘honour’ with fresh ‘kit launch day dated’ shirts – an action that I found so distasteful I refused to even go in the club shop for six months, never mind buy the bl**dy kit! If only the brains behind that particular gem of an idea put some thought into why the 4th best supported English club, who is in a supposed Top 20 European club ‘rich’ list and calls one of the best stadium in football its home, cannot get any major external investment, then perhaps we could actually look to raise some serious money instead of subsidising wages and sick pay for overpaid, under quality and injury-prone players with fans’ hard earned cash.

Still, never mind eh, Mr Macintosh? You know we’ll always be here to squeeze yet another quid out of. The abuse of the supporters’ loyalty to raise funds has progressed beyond what could be construed as enthusiastic club backing to downright exploitation. The sad thing is that the ever so clever Chief Exec has arranged the financial stability of the club based on long term loans secured on the guaranteed future attendances at CoMS but by lack of investment in the squad under Pearce and the aforementioned screwing of the supporters for every last dime, the club is alienating many people such that future attendances are maybe not-so guaranteed as they once might have been. The board are guilty of taking the tremendous and often unappreciated support for granted in the worst possible fashion.

On the playing side, OK, so the run we are on is bad and the ‘Boro and Fulham (to a slightly lesser extent) performances were dire but in all frankness our form since November has been fairly awful and is a direct reflection of the quality and depth of our current playing squad.

The sale of SWeeP and lack of replacements of quality made the difference between us perhaps punching above our weight last year and being more reflective of our current quality this year. Sure, Pearce has made some strange selections and decisions over the last few months but I feel this has been because he is desperate to try to get as much out of his underachieving players from the laughably small squad he has to choose from.

Perhaps if the squad wasn’t so small, Pearce wouldn’t have offered extended deals to the likes of Reyna and Sibierski who are both synonymous with the lack of pride, passion, urgency and quality that our 1st team squad is riddled with. Both these players being amongst the worst of the guilty parties for high wages, being injury prone and plain being just not good enough. Add the names of Thatcher, D Mills, Sun, Musampa and Sommeil to those two and you can see why we are where we are. Distin and Barton are considered to be two of our better players but I still don’t think they are worth the size of contracts they are after. Again, if we had a bigger squad perhaps we would have the luxury of allowing the over-inflated ego that is Barton to move on. Saturday saw two centre backs playing at full back and latterly our right midfielder up front with our £6 million 21-year-old uncut diamond. Hardly something a club with a well balanced squad of depth would have to resort to. All quality teams have a spine of true class running through them from front to back. We have a smattering of very decent players in certain positions spread across the side and some youngsters of genuine top potential but a spine of 4 to 5 top class players? Sorry, but no.

My only major criticism of Pearce this year would be of his lack of appointment of an Assistant Manager. Everybody needs people to bounce ideas off from time to time and a true assistant would help to spread the load of responsibility – a good Manager strung out too thinly is only as effective as an average Manager. Tim Flowers is a great coach to have in the team but Fazackerley has always been Keegan’s man and Pearce should have his own man directly alongside him.

I guess it’s not all bad news, Nedum looks good and hopefully back towards fitness, Micah has been a revelation and a breath of fresh air and I like the look of Riera too – he just needs a couple of decent midfielders alongside him and a good full back behind him. On the right, Tricky Trev has had a bit of resurgence this season but in truth doesn’t have the pace to take on full-backs any more and maybe now the best days of his career are behind him. Croft would seem to be an ideal replacement, given a run in the side and I like that he runs at defenders but SP obviously doesn’t think so – even Willo got the nod over Crofty for the bench on Saturday or did he pick up a knock for the ‘stiffs’ in midweek? Sadly, Willo, enthusiastic as he is, is never going to make a top right sided midfielder as long as backside points down, though he might make a good attacking full-back as he certainly has the energy, work rate and commitment that other more senior players appear to lack.

Pearce’s after match comments on Saturday concerning the bad run ‘focussing of attention of others outside of his office’ are a very thinly disguised dig at the board for lack of backing and frankly I can’t blame him. Shame that Wardle and Co. backed KK (out of fear he would quit, before the time came that we wished he would?) with silly money for silly players (in some cases) but are not prepared to back a Manager who I believe would spend the money very wisely, bringing the top quality players we need to our club. As much as I respect John Wardle for what he has done for City it is ironic that his extreme paucity now is the wrong policy just as much as his backing of KK to waste £6 million+ wages on Fowler was wrong and cost us the best Chairman we could have wished for.

I will be eternally grateful to John Wardle and David Makin for saving our club when we nearly sank without trace and therefore being the start of where we have got back to today but we are at a major crossroads again and the lack of investment in the team might put us on a path that we dare not even contemplate. Too many similarities to the crossroads we were at with the squad containing Curle, Phelan, Quinny, Rösler and Kinky – some good players on mega wages but no investment to add quality around them (Kinky could have been world class with a minder or two to look after him and win a few tackles). Take those players out through injury or sales (to cut the over inflated wage bill) then you were left with Frontzeck, Creaney, Buster Phillips, Symons, Clough, Immel, Hiley etc. We all know where we went from there and how quickly and it’s just too hard to consider anything remotely like that ever happening again. You might say I’m over dramatising the situation but I do think it is that serious.

Even if Pearce gets some money, we must be realistic enough to think that it’s not going to be tens of millions but we need enough to purchase 2 new full backs, 2 central midfielders and another striker at the very least and that includes keeping Riera for the time being too. Arca, Whitehead (Sunderland), Robinson, Gera, Davis, Andy Johnson (WBA), Pennant, Upson, Izzet, Dunn (Brum) are just players from the relegated clubs that would improve our poor squad dramatically. Add to that the likes of Villa’s unsettled Cahill, Wigan’s Jason Roberts, Preston’s Nugent, Cardiff’s Jerome, and Palace’ Johnson and you could argue that the players are available at affordable prices to improve our desperately thin squad. £2.5 million for Bullard and we weren’t even bidding?! l really do hope that Pearce gets the sort of funds he needs as without it we are certainly doomed to season of struggle and fight to avoid the worst failure – am I the only one gauging who is coming up from the Championship to see if City at least will be the fourth worst club?

Sadly, I fear Pearce will get nowhere near the finance that is required and us fans will in turn get a season of struggle and strife that we don’t deserve, a couple of over the hill Bosmans (Dickov – you must be joking!?) as well as another new kit to buy.

[Lots of opinions there. But if I had to choose between Terry Phelan and Sylvain Distin I know who I’d pick – every time… – Ed.]

Neil Higson <neil.higson(at)btinternet.com>

CITY vs. UNITED IN THE SIXTIES

Colin, following your mail and mention on MCIVTA, I’ve checked and we didn’t have a testimonial/friendly against United in the mid-sixties, but we did have:

12/3/60 - City 1 Utd 3 friendly (att: 29,476)
15/4/64 - Manchester (City/Utd combined) 5 International XI 4
          Bert Trautmann Testimonial (att:47,901 - more like 60,000!)

But the game I believe you first attended was the Duke of Edinburgh Cup played at Maine Road on 7/5/64 – Prince Phillip was the guest of honour and the game was staged to raise money for the Variety Club. It was the first derby match attended by a leading royal and the game was anticipated to be watched by 60,000. However, appalling rain (in Manchester, surely not!) limited the attendance to approx 36,000. United won (Denis Law captained the Reds) and there was a pitch invasion by thousands of children (according to one report).

City had renamed the Directors’ Box the Royal box for the evening.

Hope this answers your question.

Gary James <garyjames(at)tesco.net>

THE TEAM

Surely a good coach is someone who can get the best out of average players? SP appears to do this; the only real problem is that the players he has are worse than average. If he does not replace or sort out the defence then we will be relegated next season.

Sam <Duxbury(at)safesystems.co.uk>

THE TEAM II

Hard though it is to believe… mission accomplished! When Keegan left I felt Pearce was the only choice as he knew what we had in reserve after the inevitable sale of SWP to keep us up this year. He did it… however:

  • We are doomed.
  • We are a selling club, we have no money. We will regret the dayBernstein left for years to come and unless we find investment willgo down. Barton and Distin will leave, and unless your surname isRichards don’t bother putting it on your shirt, he’s too good for us.
  • We will average 38,000 next year. Please tell me I’m wrong!

Alistair Shaw <shawalistair(at)yahoo.co.uk>

THE TEAM III

With the season coming to an end and no European place for next season, please do not say there is nothing left to play for: there is the prize money for every position in the Premier League, a place that Fulham overtook City for that extra prize money at the end of the season.

There is also the pride of winning a game, and the players fighting to stay at City next season, and be part of a great club, a sleeping giant just waiting to be woken up.

A disappointing result versus Fulham. I cannot say more than that, being that I was not able to see the game.

I have mentioned before that it would have been a good idea to have brought Sir Bobby Robson to the club, being that Stuart Pearce is a young and learning manager. Ireland saw that, and with their new young manager have Sir Bobby as their advisor. Is it not too late for Sir Bobby to be a City advisor? He has such a wealth of knowledge about the game both in England and in Europe. MCFC need someone like Sir Bobby upstairs.

Stuart Pearce will be the first to admit that this has been a learning season. Up until the run to the Christmas games, City looked very much like a team destined for a place in Europe. Then came the controversy of Joey Barton asking for a transfer and the distraction from playing the game on the pitch.

After the Christmas came all the injuries, and all at the same time. It would appear that this really hurt the team; it’s not that easy as a player to come back with the same form they had before an injury.

Stuart Pearce just did not have the squad equipped for the English Premier League.

Looking on the bright side, from the squad not having the numbers, in came Micah Richards, a quality find.

Come next September the club are looking forward to signing Daniel Sturridge, who will then be 17 years old and able to sign professional terms. MCFC must keep the rich clubs away, and Daniel himself must surely see what has happened to Shaun Wright-Phillips at Chelsea, so the opportunity of first team football is greater with City.

Stuart Pearce has his work cut out for him getting a team together that can produce a better finish to our season than has just happened. First, some players have to leave, no mention of which players from me, but some do stand out. I doubt that there will be much money coming in from transfers out. The team needs 4 or 5 quality players; the midfield has been lacking in creativity.

I still support Stuart Pearce 100% as the manager/coach of City, and I truly want him to stay at City for many seasons to come, that is the confidence that I have in him.

It’s a tough job for Stu looking at Bosmans, he needs more support from John Wardle and the Board so that Stu can bring in a couple of very good players.

More investment is needed at the club; I guess we need a true City supporter to win the lottery.

Come on you Blues, two more games to play, give us something to end the season with!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

MAINE ROAD

Gareth, I took these last October. Have just pasted a couple onto the Front page of my site http://www.mcfcstats.com/

Looking from the corner of North Stand and Kippax towards the Main Stand:
Maine Road October 2005

Zooming in on the supermarket trolley and football. Very sad!
Maine Road October 2005

Looking from forecourt corner of Main Stand and North Stand (Ticket Office) towards left side of Kippax:
Maine Road October 2005

Steve Kay <steve(at)mcfcstats.com>

MAINE ROAD II

In response to Gareth Croke’s question about what’s going to happen to our beloved Maine Road… I do believe if you type the words “Maine Road Development” into Google, it might tell you that 400 homes, a school, shops, etc. are to be constructed on the site.

About a year ago, also, a large stone ball was laid on what was the site of the centre spot, by Mike Summerbee and others, which will form the centrepiece of a courtyard in the middle of the development.

Try these links for some of the artist’s impressions:

http://tinyurl.com/o3lao
http://www.manchester.gov.uk/people/images/issue23/regen.jpg
http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/men/news/s/164/164645_plans_win_support_for_maine_road_goal.html

Helen Hardman <hellsbells_mcfc2003(at)yahoo.co.uk>

ERNIE’S BACK

Great to see Ernie back, missed his missives whilst he has been ‘away’ from McVittee – welcome back Ernie! I did try to send a message personally, but Ernie, you are blocking my email address!

Nice to see City keeping to tradition – Fulham with no away wins all season, come to Eastlands and promptly leave with a victory – shaking head in despair, should have put a tenner on it at Ladbrokes!

Ah well, here’s to next season’s assault on a European place!

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

ERNIE’S BACK II

Looking beyond the fluff…

As always MCIVTA has provided some fantastic examples of navel gazing over the last few weeks and as Blues we always strive to find gloom in any nook or cranny.

Is it just coincidence, but Ernie returns from the wilderness and we win?

Knackers to signing the next Venezualan midfield genius and his sister’s boyfriend for £10 million – just make sure that Ernie contributes to MCVITA once a fortnight and European football is secured. I bet the Statto Anoraks must be able to confirm that our points have been gained when the Kippax bard has been delivering at least 100 words of wisdom per MCIVTA.

Keep the faith!

CTJWWTSWC (City ’til Jimmy White Wins The Snooker World Championship), Ian Lloyd <iandotlloyd(at)gmail.com>

POINTS OF BLUE MEETING

Just a reminder that the last ‘Points of Blue’ meeting of the season will be held at the Stadium on Tuesday, 2nd May. Meet in the main reception at 6:30 p.m.

If you’ve got any burning non-playing issues you want to get off your chest before we all break up for the summer, then get yourself down there.

Dave Miller <djm68(at)fsmail.net>

BLUE-BOY “HITMAN HATTON” ENTERS THE RING

One of Manchester City’s biggest fans takes to the boxing ring at the BankNorth Garden in Boston, USA.

Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton (England) takes on Luis Collazo (from Brooklyn, New York, USA) for the World’s Welterweight Championship. This will be Rick’s first fight in the USA, let’s hope that there will be many more.

If you are in North America, the fight will be on HBO May 13th, live from 9-45 PM (EST).

So be you at home, or in a pub, or lucky enough to be at the fight, cheer on our City fan, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton.

If you are in the UK, or other parts of the World, if you know how to watch this fight, please let our fellow City fans know by forwarding the details to McV (with the editor’s permission of course).

Come on Ricky!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>

ENGLAND WALLPAPER FOR THE WC

With the Premier League season coming to a close this weekend, attention will be heading to the World Cup in Germany. If you are an England fan and would like a wallpaper for your PC with some of the England players and the first round fixtures, a nice one can be found on the BBC Sports/Football web site under World Cup 2006.

[There were so many Rags on those wallpapers that I didn’t dare to include the link – Ed]

You can also print a wallchart of the full list of fixtures of World Cup 2006. Also on the same site you can hear the group Embrace sing England’s World Cup song, “World at your feet”.

I feel sure that not all City fans will also be England fans, so whichever your country team is; good luck!

Come on England!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)aol.com>


RESULTS

30 April 2006

Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      36,179

29 April 2006

Chelsea               3 - 0  Manchester United     42,219
Birmingham City       0 - 0  Newcastle United      28,331
Liverpool             3 - 1  Aston Villa           44,479
Manchester City       1 - 2  Fulham                41,128
Middlesbrough         0 - 1  Everton               29,224
Wigan Athletic        1 - 2  Portsmouth            21,126
Charlton Athletic     0 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      26,254

League table to 30 April 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W D  L  F  A  W D  L  F  A  W  D  L F  A   GD Pt
 1 Chelsea         36 18 1  0 47  9 11 3  3 25 11 29  4  3 72 20  52 91
 2 Manchester Utd  36 12 4  1 33  8 12 3  4 35 26 24  7  5 68 34  34 79
 3 Liverpool       37 15 3  1 32  8  9 4  5 22 16 24  7  6 54 24  30 79
 4 Tottenham H.    37 12 5  2 31 16  6 6  6 21 20 18 11  8 52 36  16 65
 5 Arsenal         35 13 3  2 44 11  4 4  9 14 17 17  7 11 58 28  30 58
 6 Blackburn R.    36 11 3  3 28 17  6 3 10 20 25 17  6 13 48 42   6 57
 7 Newcastle Utd   37 10 5  3 27 15  6 2 11 19 27 16  7 14 46 42   4 55
 8 Bolton Wndrs    36 10 4  3 27 12  4 6  9 20 28 14 10 12 47 40   7 52
 9 Wigan Athletic  37  7 3  9 24 26  8 3  7 19 22 15  6 16 43 48  -5 51
10 West Ham United 36  8 3  7 28 24  6 4  8 21 30 14  7 15 49 54  -5 49
11 Everton         37  8 3  7 20 20  6 4  9 12 27 14  7 16 32 47 -15 49
12 Charlton Ath.   37  8 4  7 22 21  5 4  9 19 30 13  8 16 41 51 -10 47
13 Fulham          36 12 2  4 30 21  1 4 13 16 35 13  6 17 46 56 -10 45
14 Manchester City 36  9 2  7 25 17  4 2 12 17 26 13  4 19 42 43  -1 43
15 Middlesbrough   35  7 5  7 28 30  5 2  9 19 26 12  7 16 47 56  -9 43
16 Aston Villa     37  5 6  7 18 19  4 6  9 22 35  9 12 16 40 54 -14 39
17 Portsmouth      37  5 7  6 16 21  5 1 13 20 38 10  8 19 36 59 -23 38
18 Birmingham City 37  6 5  8 19 20  2 5 11  9 29  8 10 19 28 49 -21 34
19 West Brom A.    36  6 2 10 21 23  1 6 11  8 32  7  8 21 29 55 -26 29
20 Sunderland      35  0 4 13 10 33  2 2 14 13 30  2  6 27 23 63 -40 12

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Svenn Hanssen)         : 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://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[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]Svenn Hanssen, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1220

2006/05/01

Editor:


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