Newsletter #1224

Sorry for the delay but I finally managed to put together this week’s first issue. As with the previous ones, this issue also consists of a few contributions from dissatisfied fans growing impatient with the “Current State of Affairs”. I know a few people will probably disagree – but in my view the fans expressing their dissatisfaction are well within their rights to do so, and what is better than to do it while we’re still a Premiership club? Moaning in the 1st Division doesn’t help at all. By then it will be too late.

Fans pay big bucks to follow their team, and when the team doesn’t deliver we should stand up and express our feelings. Still, I will be the first to admit that City did show a few glimpses of greatness this season. We did well in the opening third, and had a decent run in the FA Cup. If we had won a few games towards the end and finished somewhere around 10th place, I guess quite a few people would have been more hopeful regarding next season. Funny how a few wins can turn things around.

City ended last season on a very, very poor streak. Changes have to be made and new players have to be brought in. If this was not clear at the start of last season (our squad was always thin), it was crystal clear towards the end. I am not going to point my finger at individual players saying who is playing badly and who is not. But I must come to the defence of two players in particular that have been under fire by the fans lately. Both Antoine Sibierski and Sun Jihai have behaved like true professionals during their time at the club. Unlike a few others, they have been more than happy to put on the blue shirt and show their commitment, and they do not moan in the papers if they get dropped for the next game. They have even put in some sterling performances during the last season (remember Sib. against Birmingham?) and hopefully they will do it again when the next one starts.

Since we are now starting to shrug off the dust from last season and prepare ourselves for a few months with transfer speculation, I have decided to start this issue with a bit of humour. The first item shows a picture of what you’ll get as a season ticket holder at the Swamp. Brilliant stuff!

Next Game: Wrexham (away friendly) July 19th 19:45 GMT


View from new seats recently installed at Old Trafford (£665 per season ticket).

Obstructed view?

Jill Bates <Jill.Bates(at)>


I have to say I am extremely concerned with the current predicament we have at City.

I have been a City fan since birth, or if truth be known, probably before given my family background. Since the first day I went to Maine Road in September 1959, I have been completely besotted by City and it pains me to say i am really worried right now even though we have been in much worse positions. I suppose the really worrying part is that the fans appear to be totally disenchanted and are departing by the thousand, whereas in the blackest days of Division 2 we were totally committed and probably should have been.

I am Chairman of the West Yorks Branch of the CSA and know from our own branch how the fans are feeling and anyone with half a brain can soon pick up the feeling of apathy everywhere. In the past my mates and I would normally attend around 75% of away games; this time round it was about 15%. I am aware that to date we have sold about 25,000 season tickets and this is alarming when one considers that when we moved we sold 36,000 in the first year. I am aware from sources within the club of the fact that crowds at the Fulham and Arsenal games were in the low and high 30’s. I am afraid that this will become the norm. I am also concerned that the club is losing its touch with the fans, which was always one of the things that set City apart.

I have an awful feeling that the club “is fiddling while Rome burns”. I accept that the debt has to be serviced but for the past couple of years we have been assured that it is manageable, yet having sold our best 2 players in the last 18 months we are not and have not replaced them with anything like similar quality. As a businessman I know that if your assets deteriorate then the end product is bound to suffer. There appears to be only one strategy and that is debt repayment.

I do not believe that the whole answer to our problems is to go on a huge spending spree but I am firmly convinced that unless substantial strengthening is undertaken then we will face an awful relegation scrap. This must not be allowed to happen. I do think that the time for action is now; if the Board leaves things then we will be faced with the unedifying prospect of barrel scraping in early August. I feel that Stuart Pearce should be given a fair crack of the whip and although our youngsters give hope for the future, they could crash and burn if not supported by good quality experienced pros.

As for the matter of investment, we are constantly told that the club is looking but to no avail. Sources tell me that there have been a number of approaches who have finished up going elsewhere.

The last thing I want is a “Swales Out” type scenario but I think the genuine fears and grievances of the supporters, if presented in a constructive fashion, should be put to the board.

Sorry for rambling but there could have been more to say.

Ian Barton <Ian(at)>


Fantastic articles by Sue Wallace and John Nisbet. Is it me or is life in the Premiership getting more and more depressing?

Spurs have just announced a massive £34 million sponsorship deal over 5 years with some global casino outlet who did have talks with “The Franchise”. This follows a similarly large payout from Puma, who will make their kits from next season. This will clearly be critical in the continual improvement at Spurs over the last couple of years. That’s not streets behind the £50+ million deal “The Franchise” have got with some American insurance company, yet they have sadly achieved far more than Spurs!

Now does anyone as unbiased as me on these pages actually think that Spurs are a bigger club than City? Shouldn’t we be using them as a yardstick? How are they managing to punch so far above their weight in the financial stakes? OK they had a considerably better season in the league than City but aside from that, their achievements in the Premiership to date have been anything if not modest. They’ve even flirted with relegation on one or two occasions!

So the gap gets wider, we have a couple of years left on our earth shattering circa £4-5 million 4 year deal with Thomas Cook! No doubt the club have some arrangement lined up with my local bookies and we’ll all be entitled to one free bet a season!

To make a serious point though, don’t the club need to stop thinking so small? I know that Spurs are a London club but that shouldn’t count for everything (although it probably does!). We have a bigger ground and larger support – deals even amounting to half of what they have would surely help us to perform better in the transfer market? We’re always talking about how extra investment is so critical to the club’s future aspirations but doesn’t this start with simple things like sponsorship etc.?

Help somebody show some light!

Graham Keller


Right, here we are and here I go. My anger is rendering me hateful towards MCFC. I can barely call them ‘us’ at the moment. How long will it carry one like this? I thought I was long in the tooth when it came to the Blues. It appears I am not – hence my writing this.

We have had, as I’m sure you’ll agree, a crap season. Hope was instilled at the end of last season when Mr Pearce took over, but how quickly that faded.

I don’t blame Pearce – in fact I have the utmost faith in the guy. He’s clever, passionate, reasoning, and getting there. Then again, so am I.

He’s making changes – which I’ve no doubt will make some advances in terms of acquiring successes beyond this season at least. The backroom reshuffle. Clearing out those we cannot afford etc. And yes, Riera is irritating – but the guy’s hands are tied.

I hear things that don’t maintain those early ‘important’ promises when he took over. Pearce has no money. I’m sick of hearing it but it’s true.

The board will not release any more funding. Hence, characters like Sibierski, Jihai getting renewed deals. They are squad players that are within our budgets (sorry their budgets). We are afforded their wages. Pearce’s squad is so depleted that he’s being scared into keeping them – by the board – who won’t loosen the purse strings. And he’s got them already so let’s extend our woe alongside their contracts.

I can see why Barton is annoyed – if Sib is getting £20,000 a week. Everyone – everyone including Sib – knows hoe garbage Sib is. Barton isn’t much better in my opinion. I want Barton out. In fact I want him out so much it hurts me. Him out, Marlbranque in perhaps? Barton playing out of his skin against Arsenal – in the deluded belief that he was getting himself on Arsene’s shopping list – pah!

City fans have had the p**s taken out of them, not by the Red lot from elsewhere, but from City themselves.

Wardle and his mates are creaming my club. Tueart and Co, are sat there on their £500,000 salaries, milking my my football club for every penny they’ve got and that’s wrong. With this going on around him, I feel very sorry for Stuart Pearce. I just hope he doesn’t get so effed off with it he walks out – with our dumb-assed board still at the helm and Pearce gets the job of the decade with a well-run football club. And we are back at square minus 10.

The days of Chris Bird and Bernstein were the most buoyant for MCFC: Bernstein, lovely bloke, sacking his friend Joe Royle to take the club further. KK was probably a kick back – and we lost Bernstein because of Keegan. Both he and Bird loved City and what does City get back? A chairman of a football club – who does not want to be the chairman of a football club. Genius.

I could go on – I can’t be bothered – my season is over. Thank God. And here’s one for the poindexter. We can blame Fowler for the loss of Bernstein and Bird. We can also blame the clown for the appointment of Steve ‘I’m not quite bald yet’ McClaren. Because if the f*%^,$@£ Scouser had have done what all footballers are capable of and stuck that penalty in the back of the net – taking us into Europe – that smirking goof wouldn’t have been anywhere near the running. What a joke. I hate football.

I’m getting a season ticket for crown green bowling. And you can smoke watching that.

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


Axing of 10 Players: Are you kidding me? A threadbare squad that was crying out for numbers in the twilight of the current season and the big solution is to axe another 10 players? Given only Sommeil was a first team player we actually owned, but it is hardly shrewd business sense to buy a player for £3 million and let him leave for nothing when he has had far from the woeful season some of our other defenders have enjoyed. And to do this without getting our most experienced defender’s signature on a contract extension seems like a very Manchester City way of doing business. Like him or not, Sommeil filled some very important holes this season and Nedum and Micah, while talented, are inexperienced and everyone knows that defending is a learned art rather than a gifted talent.

Sweep: Brilliant player, dynamic ability, best talent at the club since (insert name here). All true, and not shockingly one of those players that every team needs. His ability and talents were severly curtailed at Chelsea; not only were they unaware of how to use him but they forced him into an outside rôle that takes him away from every exceptional gift the lad has, and limiting opportunities probably played a part in this. Back at City? Screw opinions, he is exactly the catalyst our midfield needs; we could spend millions getting together some good solid players who will give our midfield some bite and even propel us in the top half, but it is the players who provide inspiration that turn a loss into a draw or a draw into a win, and sadly since the injury to Andy Cole, we have lacked anything approaching that. This is, along with other buys, the policy that will turn 15th into a possible European spot, or a decent run at a cup (QF is not decent, not for my club).

Midfielders: Speaking of midfielders, we need to quit with the policy of buying potentials, buying “uncut diamonds”, and with gambling on older players with injuries. We need what I like to call “known quantities” and not just one or two, we need 4 midfielders minimum. Our midfield is looking well woeful at the moment and, with a couple of key injuries, could be featuring the ever splendid talents of Sibs and Sun on a long term basis, maybe even with Thatcher on the left wing. Even without injuries, how much cover do we have now with no definitive left winger, a central and right wing player that are well past their best and a greedy little Scouse b*****d that wants out? Hardly the stuff to make our dreams come true is it? A successful team is not based on eleven players – hell, we had 11 decent players this season – it’s based on roughly 22 players. Not all of them will be superstars, like Jordan/ Barton (haha)/ Sommeil, but all of them will fall into the first 11 with a minimum of disruption and without the Internet boards lighting up like Guy Fawkes night when a certain player is in the starting line-up. I think we know who I am talking about.

Signing Rumours: Who’s the 16th richest club in the world again? Surely not City with the rumours that the towering pillars of talent such as Quinton Fortune and Paul Dickov are heading our way? This is some sort of joke right? A club with the incredible potential City currently have and this is the best we can attract? I am sure every fan of every other club in the top flight is thinking “glad we’re not City” when you hear of such signings being the best we can offer to the paying public. I am sure that John Wardle is being cautious knowing of Keegan’s overspending and you only have to look at Leeds for an example of what could potentially happen should you go on a happy happy spending spree, but surely this cautious attitude was not how he amassed his wealth and he must find his balls, dust them off and loosen the purse strings to allow Pearce to do what needs to be done. Otherwise, 15th place will look a mile up instead of a mile down come Christmas.

Samaras and the Youngsters: Is anyone else completely unconvinced by Samaras? Okay, he needs time to adjust and there are brief glimpses of talent there, but on the whole I am totally unimpressed with him so far. I fear we have bought another Anelka in attitude, with his seemingly brilliant ability to not only seem uninterested but also eliminate himself from the game entirely. Maybe I’m wrong, God I hope I’m wrong, but I fear he may be on the stepping stone that is City for a lot shorter than people think. In terms of successes this season, at least we can all look to young Micah. Brilliant talent, great athletic ability and apparently already in the crosshairs of the big boys. As for the rest, I doubt the likes of Croft, Flood, BWP and sadly, Ireland will make it. There is no doubt that each of them possesses certain talents, but at this level of football they need to be closer to the complete package than a player with one or two checked boxes. I guess the saddest of the lot is Willo, who has a bunch of attributes that would excite any manager, but lacks the physical presence for the top flight; then again I have heard a rumour that there is a soon to be Chelsea outcast and hopefully, 2nd time City player. As for the others, BWP and Croft both have a first touch that makes me cringe and Ireland lacks anything remotely approaching a defensive trait.

Pearce: As you may or may not know, I am not Stuart Pearce’s biggest fan. However, in saying that, the man himself is nothing short of admirable. He is hard working, honest and loyal, something every goddamn footballer could learn from. And now the Goat has retired, the game is short another true gentleman of the game. Pity, some players could use a dose of reality. Now, on to the bad stuff. We had an awful end to the season and contributing it to were injuries, or the learning curve, or the house of Aquarius being in the cusp of Saturn. Whatever, we needed points, we needed wins and the more I saw Pearce, the more I thought he was out of his depth, trying to get a losing club back on track. An Allardyce, Jol or even McClaren would have pulled deep, played ugly football and ground out a 1-0 win, just to turn the tide. Psycho looked rather like the robot from Lost in Space flailing his arms aimlessly on the sidelines whilst no-one paid him any attention. Personally I thought this stemmed from a selection process that pretty much pens itself. Maybe a game without the likes of Distin, Dunne, Sinclair, Samaras and Vassell wouldn’t have yielded a result from that contest, but the next time they got back to playing, they’d rip a team apart knowing their place in the starting eleven was no longer carved in stone and they’d have to perform to be selected. Maybe a bad idea, maybe not, but one thing for sure, trying would not have hurt us anymore than losing 10 from our last 12.

Barton: What more can be said, ball is in City’s court and they apparently are calling for a change of ends. £4 million seems hardly fair compensation for all the c**p the lad has caused over the last few years and he has managed to pay City and us, the fans, back with the pointy end of a dagger between the shoulder blades at every opportunity. Burn out a player’s eye, give a young kid a kicking, try to glass one of our top defenders (have you guys heard that one yet? I had mates in the b***dy bar when it happened, great story) and getting a fine or suspended fine must seem like a slap on the wrist to a lad who can apparently knock back £28,500 a week. And of course, it’s not really £28,500 a week because mostly it’s bonuses he has to earn by doing his bl***y job. Jeez, let’s hold onto this lad for all our worth. In fact, let’s ignore the potential signings that would make his job easier in order to give him a huge signing bonus as well. F**k him and the horse he rode in on. I don’t care that he is a decent player, I don’t care that he is part of our crop of talented youth players or that his peak is 5 years from now and he may return to the COMS with a better club and give us a good old serving. He, and his agent are not everything that is wrong with the game, but they certainly are ranked right up there and the sooner he gets a karmic kick in the arse the better off the game will be.

Okay, bit of a long one, but I haven’t posted in a while and it allows things to build up.

Agree, disagree? Fair enough, you probably have a point there.

Vincent Ryan <bluemanx(at)>


I know just after the final game of the season is not the best time to submit my first article of the season, but Neil Haigh’s defence of the Board in MCIVTA 1222 made me so angry that I have been forced out of my training for the World Cup (sitting in front of the TV, doing absolutely nothing) to respond.

I don’t think I have ever been as concerned about City since Adrian Heath was our best option up front. I hate to say it, but it’s a total travesty, and one man is responsible: not SP, not French Tony (although he comes close), not even Wardle, but the real man behind our club; the invisible David Makin, the ‘D’ of JD Sports.

Makin is Wardle’s ‘other half’ and to be fair, like Wardle, he is a passionate and long-time City fan. However, unlike Wardle, despite his huge share interest in the club, he chooses to remain invisible (and not in a ‘fan of the invisible man’ kind of way), and let Wardle take the flak for a pathetic season. It was Makin who organised the coup to get rid of Big Bernie, and every decision since, from sacking Keegan to letting SP step up to the plate, has required his approval.

But as a ‘Chairman’ team they offer the club nothing. They have made ‘loans’, not given any cash to the club, and anyway, even if they did, neither have the kind of money to make any difference, as under their joint management, they allowed the debts that we are all too familiar with, to top £60 million, and only a Russian oil billionaire or family of Floridian millionaires can now offer us any salvation.

When Bernie slammed the till shut on Keegan’s utter recklessness, they pushed him out and pulled it open, allowing Keegan to spend on trying to bring his aging Euro 2000 England squad to City. Like so many of us at the start of Keegan’s reign, they too fell under Keegan’s charismatic spell. That was what Big Bernie saw – at the end of the rainbow was a tactical void. But Makin and Wardle were unable to be anything other than loyal fans. Great for running the supporters’ club or the City Social, but tragic for running the boardroom, where you need a level of disconnect to be objective and to tell your manager when enough is enough.

As Chairman, you also need credibility with the markets and the City and I have no doubt that if we had Big Bernie still in charge, we would never have spent £60 million on third rate journeymen, we would never have let SWP go, we would have found a serious investor and allowed SP the investment to show us that he is indeed the manager to secure some silverware for our beloved club.

Well, that’s the rant over. I know that Big Bernie would return if Makin and Wardle left, and he would sort out the mess. It make take a season of hanging on down there in 14th or 15th, but it would pay off. Remember, under Bernie we climbed out of the 2nd Division and into the Premiership, secured COMS and established the Academy. Not a bad legacy?

Miles Webber <miles.webber(at)>


Working away on the computer, as you do, I had a flash of inspiration as to a possible name of one of SP’s so called heavy hitters that he is thinking about.

Can you name me a player who would like to return to Manchester and who is currently with a relegated club, albeit on loan?

This player would certainly sock it to Barton although given the names of those who have left this week, his centre midfield position does not fill one of the spaces left by any of the leavers. At City I am sure that we would give him the support to enable him to show the skills that dazzled 2002WC! Plus, rumour has it that the reason he always wears long sleeve shirts is because he has a City tattoo! No idea if correct rumour or not?

What about it, Nicky Butt being one of SP’s big hitters?

Graham Lord <gooch(at)>


Hello, hope you can help me with a bit of research. I have a Manchester City handkerchief that appears to be quite old but I cannot date it accurately. It is white with 2 blue borders and shows all the players and staff. R Chatt is the trainer, J Broad is the assistant trainer, Directors are J Royle, S Anderson, H Dobson, P Moon J E Chapman and A Alexander.

Without naming all players (and there are quite a few), S J Hoad, W Smith and A J Goodchild appear on this item. Any ideas as to the date it could possibly originate from? I inherited this from my late parents a few years ago and has just been stored. I think it could possibly be 1920’s or possibly a little earlier but I would be guessing.

Hope you can possibly shed a little light for me.

Mark <Brierley523(at)>


I would like to say a big thank you to all the people behind MCIVTA; it is always interesting to hear from Blues around the world. The season went TU after the Wigan/West Ham weekend and we can only hope that SP learnt big time from the experience.

For the duration of the World Cup I decided to create a blog about following England as an ex-pat I would really welcome any comments or insights from Blues around the world as we approach the World Cup, despite the non appearance of SWP as I still find it incredible he isn’t going to be there.

Remember, next season can only get better; the future is bright, the Future is Blue.

Ian Ferguson <ian(at)>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Svenn Hanssen)         :
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Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
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[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.

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Newsletter #1224