Newsletter #1222

“Thank God it’s over”. This phrase seems to catch the general opinion to the fans in this issue. “Thank God the Season is over”. Ten losses in the last 12 games. Well what do you know, we’re talking nothing less than relegation material here. Still, we could not have done any worse than the three that actually went down could we? Birmingham, West Brom, and Sunderland are simply not good enough for the Premiership; so farewell – and see you soon…

This issue has a few end of season remarks; most are quite happy to see the back of the this season and a few are not exactly blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel.

An excellent review of the Goat’s last game is also in store, and even a Why Blue to top things off. Nice work everyone, and I haven’t even mentioned the last game against Blackburn, which we lost against 10 men. There you have it.

Next game: Don’t know – don’t care


If you were a neutral watching this game you would have loved it, for it was a fast paced game, with plenty of action.

Being a City fan I was of course disappointed with the result, but not disappointed by the effort from the City players.

Arsenal must be the best team on the break; their passing had precision and they attacked with such great speed, it was difficult to defend against them when City were committed to going forward.

City used the wings well, and Reyna in particular kept feeding Riera, and later Flood on the left. but it appeared that the Gooners were prepared to defend in numbers in front of their goal.

I was disappointed by the speed of Samaras, and he has to move faster in the Premiership next season; I do have the faith that he will improve.

The City team made a go of it, but just were not up to the strength of Arsenal.

This game will be a learning game for the City manager/coach, and players, of how to counter-attack on the break. However, we will need a couple of quality players in the team to accomplish this, not to say that some of our present team players are not capable.

With Arsenal having the Champions’ League Final coming up soon against Barcelona, I felt that maybe the ref Graham Poll did not want to give the Gooners any yellow cards on the night in case it should hurt the players in the final.

Except for the result, a strong effort from City.

Ernie Barrow. <Britcityblue(at)>


I am afraid this short comment on the Arsenal match spewed into a season review in a nutshell. I have added subtitles to try to make sense of it:

Arsenal: I could handle watching the type of display we produced against Arsenal every week. The minimum ask is pride and passion in the shirt. I have to ask why have we not been able to reproduce this kind of performance much earlier. Not many teams will have the clinical edge of Arse. Well none, including Chelsea. We will win the majority of games playing with this passion. Second to Arsenal’s brand of football is dignified, despite the moaning character of the team in their Captain’s image.

Players: The players have a lot to answer for in my book for their lack of endeavour over the course of this season, particularly the last third when it mattered most. Sinclair should have roasted the tiring Cole, but never did – that’s symptomatic of his City career. Not good enough.

Crowd: The crowd were superb in response to the relaxation of draconian stewarding. Sing up Kippax and give us in the Main Stand (Bell End) a shout next time please South (North) Stand! It shows the potential atmosphere that might be created with a modicum of success and removal of unnecessary rules.

Tradition: It was a sham of a procession at the end. The corporate grip on the soul of the club tightens with the denial of any first-teamers, following long standing tradition, throwing their shirts to the crowd. A reward for following team home and away; responding to the managers’ passion and pleas; and relegating my wife, loved ones and any other engagements into second place for nine months of the year. I wanted my nine year old nephew to learn the excitement of the tradition I experienced at his age. It did not happen. Suspicions of Fletcher’s interpretation of crowd control again?

The Board: Maybe the board could not give a flying f$%k for fans they embarrass with their continued under-investment and lip service anymore. Along with the wages we are paying to players of Sinclair, Reyna and Sibierski’s ilk (Seaman, the now resurgent Fowler [joke], McManaman et al of previous excursions), the product is not good enough. Has performance related pay ever ended up in deficit? Where would we be without the youth teamers who have brought the light to the consistency of Dunne, James, Distin and Barton (SWP) over the last three seasons?

Expectations: We deserve better. I believe the manager will get it right with or without better support. Support that will determine the length of time it will take to produce a club winning the honours I want and expect City to achieve. Support that could easily influence whether we hang on to an honourable and capable manager we should be keen to lead us to success.

Improvements: The league is poor and just minor improvement puts you in Spurs’ shoes. SWP, Jarosic and Gravesen would be my minimum requirement for next year. No proper midfield for three years is reflected in our business dealings – no real sponsor when First Advice went bump, but still rolled the imitation out. Unacceptable.

Underperformance: The embarrassment of not being able to buy a player of the calibre of DvB was shocking. When a player like that comes back for the final match of the season with the quality that was there for all to see, strings have to be pulled. Now I hear reports of a £14 million bid from Bayern for him. Now tell me how our investments in Vuoso, Macken, Fowler, Negouai et al look. Unacceptable. Performances such as this do not deserve salary hikes such as our Chief Exec still enjoys.

Questioning: It has been too much. Boro and the away kit débâcle last season clearly was a watershed in the life and soul of being City. Robbed of dignity by wearing an away kit at home to promote corporate sales, and robbed of at least a trip to Zante by the inept performance. I empathise with fans of significance who have changed their unswerving allegiance after all these years. Not just recent arrivals, but fans of long standing and proper commitment. I have not given up my season ticket as it is one of the remaining constants in my life. I do however, find myself properly questioning my commitment for the first time.

Football: Now the Reds’ spin off have been promoted, Maine Road have a natural rival next season. Now that has the sort of football appeal I want to be the soul of our club.

Whatever you do, Stay Blue! Dave Clinton


Two hundred or so City fans descended on Southend on Saturday to pay tribute to one of the all-time City greats who was to play his last ever game; as some of the papers reminded us, fifty years and a day after my first hero, Bert Trautmann, played on with a broken neck to win the Cup.

Some were wearing commemorative T-shirts, some sporting Goat masks; and since Southend had declared it Bermuda Bonanza day in Shaun’s honour, they encountered a fair few home fans attired in garish tropical shirts, garlands and other somewhat wild guesses about what Bermudian costume might consist of. Luckily everybody seemed pleased to see us and welcoming rather than resentful of another team’s supporters crashing their promotion party, and the Blues were careful to be (reasonably) respectful to their hosts, with “If you’re Southend for the Day clap your hands” getting repeated airings. The City fans were in fine voice, and as the Southend ticket office had helpfully allocated seats in the same block they were able to lead the singing at one end of the ground, which was needed from time to time as nervous silence descended (Southend still needed a win to be sure of finishing champions). Indeed it seemed to be the gatecrashers who started the chants of “Stand up if you’re going up” and “When the Blues go marching in”, which were taken up all round the ground. And inevitably the various versions of “Feed the Goat” and “Who Let the Goat Out?” were repeated throughout the afternoon.

Of course in an ideal world the Goat would have scored but it was clear from an early stage that he was unlikely to be fed. He was being played as a target man, his job to flick the ball on with head or feet for Freddy Eastwood or to hold it up for supporting midfielders. Unfortunately these often took a while to arrive (one of them being that other great City favourite Lee Bradbury who was switching from flank to flank – to be fair he did OK) – and Southend were second best for most of the first half. The only sniff of a chance for the Goat was an inviting head-high cross from the left, but as he barrelled in to meet it a defender just got there first to touch the ball away. Bristol City hit the inside of the post at the end of the first half – one of their forwards comically fell over his feet instead of tucking away the rebound – and Southend were quite fortunate to reach the interval still level. In the second half they began to take control and should have scored when the Goat played a team-mate in on the left side of the area, but he blazed wildly over the bar. Southend made two substitutions and ten minutes from the end the board went up again showing Number 9. The whole ground rose to give Shaun a tremendous ovation as he walked slowly to the tunnel, shaking the hand of everybody he passed. So no fairy-tale finish, but at least his team finished the job properly, scoring three minutes from time to seal first place. As the choruses of “Champions” competed with a spirited rendition of “Blue Moon”, Southend held on for the last few seconds and then started enjoying the usual presentation chaos.

Shaun came out to collect his medal, again to great applause, and as the lap of honour began he went over to the Bristol City fans, many of whom had stayed behind – this was of course the club he had played for before coming to Maine Road. Then he came over to the City section, hand in hand with his twin daughters who then shrank back nervously as fat bloke after fat bloke stumbled over the wall to engulf their dad in sweaty, beery embraces. All of this he took in great good humour, smiling broadly, shaking hands and allowing a carnival hat to be plonked on his head.

Eventually a kindly steward led the little girls away to find their mum and Shaun went off to join the rest of his team who by this time were at the far end of the ground. It was a fitting farewell to one of the finest characters ever to put on the sky blue shirt, someone who always gave his all, played the game in the right spirit, scored for fun against the Rags and seemed like a genuinely lovely and modest guy. So thanks Shaun Goater – the game is a great deal poorer for your retirement, but enjoy every moment of it.

Piers Pennington <p.pennington(at)>


Having only watched him from afar, Shaun Goater, now there’s a name that wanted to play for us. In the days of pumped up egos and inflated wages, it was indeed an honour to watch someone just wanting to play football. Shaun Goater was one in a million, a real gem. Thanks pal, you can enjoy life off the park now as much as you enjoyed life on the park.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Thank God for Sunderland, West Brom and Birmingham City. A season that promised so much yet fell so flat. I hope the club gets everything sorted for next season or we will have another frustrated year.

To those who have put together this site, many, many thanks. Over in New Zealand it makes you feel a little bit part of Manchester City.

Well let’s do it all over again next season!

Regards to all, Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


After the results from the last couple of months, I am pleased that this season has come to a close. I guess that we can all say that we are lucky that City had a very good start to the season. That good start to the season had us all dreaming of a place in Europe; little did we know at the time that it was to escape relegation.

Stuart Pearce has his work cut out for him during the summer; I feel that he should let about 5/6 players go, and this does not include Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin, whose future is still in doubt. Stu has to find about 7/8 players to make City into a competitive side for next season, and have a decent squad so as to rotate players, or have them in case of injuries or suspensions.

We must remember that City this season at one time were a side that beat United 3-1. Yes City do have some good players at the club, but changes are needed in a big way. The changes cannot be made without the help of John Wardle and the board who have got to give the manager the help he needs.

Good luck Stu!

Ernie Barrow. <Britcityblue(at)>


So, we lost, again.

Well, at least we didn’t go down – as the chorus line said to the lieutenant of detectives (oo-er missus, no don’t) – though the form was relegation material if ever I’ve seen it, and I have. Nine out of 10? Is this a joke? This is, in fact, firing form Stu, isn’t it sir?

Do I want him fired? No, actually, I don’t.

However, to the extent there is any truth in the oft-repeated “you’re only as good as your last result” Stu, your team, in light of its recent results isn’t fit to grace the bottom of my toilet bowl.

Fifteenth place, behind the giants of, oh, I dunno, Wigan (good job lads), West Ham, Charlton and The Coach and Horses Ladies “B” Dart Team, who have more life in them than that bunch of “fit fer nowt but th’knacker’s yard t**sers”. Bravo.

Perhaps, for next season, the powers-that-be can put Braille across the 18 and 6 yard boxes to let our strikers and defenders get an idea of what’s going on. Legislation under the EU’s Charter of Fairness for Accuracy and Brain Challenged Footballers seems like the ideal vehicle for this.

On a positive note I enjoyed the spin about we don’t or won’t have the money for good signings because of our lowly position. It only hurts when I laugh guv’nor. Hey, Stu, how about, “we don’t have the money to pay you useless w***ers your wages because of our lowly position.”

Nope, thought not. It’s not their fault you see, being sh**e, I mean.

Jack Buckley <Jack10000days(at)>


We’ve not had that many City games on TV here recently (thank God) but we did have today’s Arsenal game. A good try is about the best I can say and I am now in the state of having seen this kind of decline by City so many times in the past that I not only can’t wait for this season to end, I can’t wait for next season to end either. I just don’t see how we can get that much better without some real movement in and out of the club. I am hesitant to refer to individual players but we continue to have players in the squad who, by any measure, just aren’t good enough at this level. I don’t know how anyone can expect them to be good enough come August. There will be a few players back from injury (if they haven’t left for other clubs!) but I still don’t have a great deal of hope that we can get back to where we finished this time last year.

I came back home for the Sunderland game and said after that I didn’t think we would win another game. I was off by one game (unless something strange happens at Blackburn) but it is a terrible end to the season. I can’t really think any manager who could take the current squad further up the league so I now find myself with the same three questions I had this time last year:

  1. Can City keep their best players or will Distin and Barton leave? I make no value judgement on whether they are as good as they think they are but they are among the best City have.
  2. Will the Board find sufficient funds to allow the manager to strengthen the squad (which now seems to need much more strengthening that a few months ago)?
  3. Will Pearce get the right players?

Very, very depressing – not made much better by rumours of Paul Dickov returning. You might as well bring Dave Ewing back in that case or Vic Gomersall bless them. It smacks of real desperation if this rumour has any substance to it at all.

Roll on the end of season… and many thanks for another season of opinions and information from MCIVTA. As one last short retort to some discussion of a few weeks back, I gave up thinking professional footballers automatically knew more than me when Malcolm Allison returned to City for the second time and replaced valued, good players with duffers – expensive ones at that.

John Pearson <john.pearson(at)>


In the last MCIVTA, Peter Birbeck stated that “The City board has a poor record when it comes to supporting the manager”, which is a comment that I was not too happy with. Can anyone give me a single example, other than the current situation, where our board have held back from giving a (new) manager the resources they needed to get on with the job?

My perspective on MCFC since the 1980s is that Peter Swales, Francis Lee and David Bernstein actually gave their managers, whoever they were, whatever funds we had a available to build a side. And in virtually all of these cases, the money was simply squandered, with better quality players often given away to make room for their more expensive but less effective replacements. There are too many examples to cite here, but our record in the transfer market is truly beyond disgraceful, and shows a lack of professionalism that has been endemic in our club from top to bottom: but to be fair to the board, City have over the years, City have given our managers an awful lot of money to spend on players, but to no avail.

At the moment, City are really struggling, and could struggle even more as attendances are now falling, and a good number of City fans here seem to be getting to the stage where they are saying that “enough is enough”. I think this is probably because we are currently making millionaires out of very ordinary players, getting nothing in return, and bankrupting ourselves in the process. Personally, I don’t want to throw any more money at this club, due to the excessive wages the players are now paid, and I don’t really see how or why the board should think otherwise.

Whenever I hear or read City fans criticising our board, I want to ask them, “what increase in your season ticket price are you prepared to pay, to match the board’s ambition?” I for one am stretched as it is and I’m cutting back as much as I can, so I don’t want to pay any more than I do: sorry.

This is why greedy players like Joey Barton should be shown the door as soon as possible – he doesn’t need to earn any more money, he just wants the status symbol of a high salary, and this is a real insult to the hard working people who have paid to worship him, pretty much from day one (not me I should add – I hardly rate him at all).

Stuart Pearce is in a difficult situation because Kevin Keegan spent all our money and left us with a poor squad of players and massive debts to boot. This is why SWP had to be sold. Sadly, the renewal of contracts for Sibierski and Sun Jihai is indicative that either Stuart Pearce actually thinks they can play Premiership level football, or the truth that they are the best we can now afford. So let me just say, that on the positive side, these players coupled with Mills and Thatcher (and all of them bought by Keegan) will be perfect for forming the basis of a very strong Championship side in the very near future. And I honestly don’t think the board can do that much about it.

Neil Haigh <city(at)>


Dad and his brothers and sisters were born within spitting distance of Maine Road, and at one point one of my uncles lived on Maine Road in a house belonging to Manchester City. I was born and bred in Chorlton and City were my family’s team, but I didn’t pay that much attention at first, mainly to irritate my dad.

That is, until the 1981 Cup final, and I watched it with my cousins, dad and uncle and we all cheered and sung so much that I lost my voice and I couldn’t go to school the next day.

My ma wasn’t best pleased as I was only 8 at the time.

I begged my dad to get me a season ticket and take me with him, which he did, and I have been a season ticket holder since then.

I think the 1981 Cup final was a good place to start because itintroduced me to the highs and lows of being a City fan that I have beenexperiencing ever since.

Over the years girlfriends have come and gone but City remains in my heart.

Neil Hamnett (Chorlton)


Thanks to Gary and Colin for their memories of the Duke of Edinburgh Variety Club game at Maine Road on 7/5/64. This was a great chance for a battle against the Rags who were playing in Division 1 at the time we were plying our not too memorable talents in Division 2. It was indeed pouring down all night but that didn’t stop the lads from standing on the open end that we shared with our Stretford rivals for the duration of the game. The highlight was the coming together of the two “top hard men” from the respective groups. In the Red corner was a typical brute from Salford and in the Blue corner was our man with his walking stick to support his dodgy leg, injured in a ruck at a previous game. The big fight started with some gentle sparring until the natives got restless and piled in. The last I saw of our man was when the law (not Denis) moved in to break it up; he was surrounded by a dozen or so baying Reds swinging his walking stick like Davy Crockett’s last stand at the Alamo. Who won, I don’t remember but one thing is for sure – that old giffer with the walking stick that you sometimes sit next to at the CoMS may not be as innocent as he looks!

Programme picture here:

I don’t know what the attendance was that night but I think it was probably nearer to 20,000 than 30,000. If I remember right, Nelly Young scored for City with one of his trademark strikes but not enough though as I think we lost the game 3-1. It was just good to resume hostilities; the derby game those days was always a real humdinger. A few weeks earlier in April, the clubs had met at youth team level in the semi-final of the Youth Cup; the combined attendance was over 50,000. City’s up and coming half back, one Mike Doyle, had to mark a skinny little Belfast boy called George Best. We lost that one as well!

Good to see Ernie back in the fold.

Malc Hough <malcolm.hough(at)>


7 May 2006

Arsenal               4 - 2  Wigan Athletic        38,359
Aston Villa           2 - 1  Sunderland            33,820
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 0  Manchester City       25,731
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 0  Birmingham City       26,275
Everton               2 - 2  West Bromwich Albion  39,671
Fulham                1 - 0  Middlesbrough         22,434
Manchester United     4 - 0  Charlton Athletic     73,006
Newcastle United      1 - 0  Chelsea               52,309
Portsmouth            1 - 3  Liverpool             20,240
West Ham United       2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     34,970

League table to 07 May 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         38 18 1  0 47  9 11 3  5 25 13 29  4  5 72 22  50 91
 2 Manchester Utd  38 13 5  1 37  8 12 3  4 35 26 25  8  5 72 34  38 83
 3 Liverpool       38 15 3  1 32  8 10 4  5 25 17 25  7  6 57 25  32 82
 4 Arsenal         38 14 3  2 48 13  6 4  9 20 18 20  7 11 68 31  37 67
 5 Tottenham H.    38 12 5  2 31 16  6 6  7 22 22 18 11  9 53 38  15 65
 6 Blackburn R.    38 13 3  3 31 17  6 3 10 20 25 19  6 13 51 42   9 63
 7 Newcastle Utd   38 11 5  3 28 15  6 2 11 19 27 17  7 14 47 42   5 58
 8 Bolton Wndrs    38 11 5  3 29 13  4 6  9 20 28 15 11 12 49 41   8 56
 9 West Ham United 38  9 3  7 30 25  7 4  8 22 30 16  7 15 52 55  -3 55
10 Wigan Athletic  38  7 3  9 24 26  8 3  8 21 26 15  6 17 45 52  -7 51
11 Everton         38  8 4  7 22 22  6 4  9 12 27 14  8 16 34 49 -15 50
12 Fulham          38 13 2  4 31 21  1 4 14 17 37 14  6 18 48 58 -10 48
13 Charlton Ath.   38  8 4  7 22 21  5 4 10 19 34 13  8 17 41 55 -14 47
14 Middlesbrough   38  7 5  7 28 30  5 4 10 20 28 12  9 17 48 58 -10 45
15 Manchester City 38  9 2  8 26 20  4 2 13 17 28 13  4 21 43 48  -5 43
16 Aston Villa     38  6 6  7 20 20  4 6  9 22 35 10 12 16 42 55 -13 42
17 Portsmouth      38  5 7  7 17 24  5 1 13 20 38 10  8 20 37 62 -25 38
18 Birmingham City 38  6 5  8 19 20  2 5 12  9 30  8 10 20 28 50 -22 34
19 West Brom A.    38  6 2 11 21 24  1 7 11 10 34  7  9 22 31 58 -27 30
20 Sunderland      38  1 4 14 12 37  2 2 15 14 32  3  6 29 26 69 -43 15

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1222