Newsletter #1237

Plenty more rumours tonight summarised by Don on the transfer front; this week’s links are Sidwell, Malbranque and Gravesen (again), with Jordan and Weaver allegedly targets of other clubs. City are upping the reserve ante next season, and Reyna has decided enough’s enough – for Uncle Sam.

We have opinion on salaries, signings and a request for the annual 5-a-side tournament.

Next game: Wrexham, away (Friendly), 7.45pm 19th July 2006


General News

A True Gent: It hardly seems possible, but three years have passed since the death of Marc Vivien Foe. MVF collapsed whilst representing Cameroon at the Confederations Cup in 2003, and this week Chairman John Wardle laid a wreath at the Memorial Garden by the COMS to mark the anniversary of the tragedy. “Marc will never be forgotten by this club. He was a true gentleman, and is still missed by everyone who met him,” commented Wardle.

Second Seconds: City have announced that they will enter a second reserve team next season, in the Pontin’s Holidays League. Changes last summer to the structure of some of the Academy leagues were deemed by City to be disadvantageous to certain age groups, so the Academy think that entering the Pontin’s might be the answer. Let Jim Cassell explain: “We are a bit disappointed with the change of system. It means the Under 17 and Under 19 age groups have been shifted down to Under 16 and Under 18 age groups. We had been looking at different methods to give the first year lads a game and the best way to continue their development was the Pontin’s League as playing in games gives the boys the best education possible. It’s an open age competition and that possibly gives Stuart a chance to use the league to bring players back for the first team. We believe it’s well worth the experiment and we will review it in a year to see how it has gone.” Gregor Rioch has been drafted in to manage the side. “Gregor was previously a part time coach with us before going off to manage Koge in Denmark for a year. We thought he needed some experience and his year in Denmark will help him with that no end,” explained Cassell.

Transfer News and Gossip

Sid-Well Set for a Move: Steve Sidwell is a target for City according to reports on Sunday. The highly-rated 24-year-old midfielder has just one year left on his Reading deal and is unhappy with the new contract offer he has received from the newly-promoted Royals. Sidwell, also wanted by Charlton Athletic, said: “Reading are in the Premiership now, not in League Two – where some people at the club think we still are – and the club needs to be run like a Premiership club.” But Reading have been putting off Sidwell’s suitors. “He has a clause in his contract that allows any club meeting the valuation to speak with him”, confirmed a Royals spokesman. “However, that does not mean that we have to accept the bid. Our talks are ongoing and we hope to have it sorted over the next couple of weeks.”

Weaving Home – Again? Sheffield Wednesday are in the market for a new goalkeeper, and are expected to turn to Nicky Weaver or Arsenal’s Mart Poom. Owls’ boss Paul Sturrock is on the lookout for a new ‘keeper after David Lucas left Hillsborough, and Sturrock insists he does not want to be “scrambling for a goalkeeper a week from the start of the season”, so is keen to get the ball rolling and will approach Arsenal and City this week. Weaver spent 3 months on loan at his home town club last season, and he is facing increased competition for his number two spot from Kasper Schmeichel and new signing Joe Hart.

Going East Insteed: West Ham are thought to be favourites to land Fulham midfielder Steed Malbranque. The French midfielder has become one of the hottest properties in the Premiership this summer and according to the latest reports, Hammers’ boss Alan Pardew has won the race for his signature. Fulham are keen to keep hold of the 26-year-old, who still has a year left to run on his contract, but after the player turned down a new deal, the Cottagers are ready to let him go to the highest bidder. City have been tracking the player for the last 12 months but West Ham have nipped in and the chance to play UEFA Cup football looks set to sway his decision. Fulham will hold out for a fee in the region of £4.5 million for the player, who has also attracted interest from Aston Villa and Middlesbrough.

And In the ‘Miscellaneous’ File… reckon that Stephen Jordan could be on his way out of the club, with Fulham, Portsmouth and Sheffield United all considering bids for the defender. Unless another left back joins the club soon, you’d think SP wouldn’t be so keen to lose Jordan, who’s only just recovered from an ankle injury. Elsewhere, City have again been linked with a move for Real Madrid midfielder Thomas Gravesen as SP steps up his search for new players. This is in spite of the signing of Ousamane Dabo last week. One league Gravesen won’t be joining is Italy’s Serie A, according to his agent. Asked about a move to Fiorentina, John Sivebaek said: “It does not sound particularly interesting. In case you look at which four clubs are involved in the big scandal in Italy, you will notice that Fiorentina is one of them.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Fit for the Fight: Albert Riera is talking up his chances of impressing next season, now he’s back at Espanyol after his loan spell with City. Riera did not do enough during a six-month spell a permanent move but the winger is not sorry he made the move. “In England I had a positive experience and I played more there than here,” he told Marca. “Now I am sure that at 100%, I have a place in the Espanyol team.”

World Cup Report

He’s So Retiring: It looks like this might be the News Summary’s last World Cup report, because now that Claudio Reyna’s USA have been eliminated, City’s only player at the Mondiale is England reserve ‘keeper David James. So unless something cataclysmic happens to Paul Robinson, we won’t see any on field action from any City boys. And speaking of Captain America, he’s announced his retirement from international football. “For me, the right time is now,” Reyna said. “The next World Cup is far away. I just wanted to play this as the last World Cup. I’m probably done. I decided that before the World Cup. It was clear that four years was too much time for the next one, so it just makes sense to stop now. It’s a good time to stop playing at a good level.” Claudio was asked for his international highlights. “Playing in World Cups are definitely milestones,” Reyna replied. “I would have been happy to play in one when I made the first one in 1994. To make four is something beyond my dreams. I would have never thought that growing up. Those have definitely been highlights, and 2002, getting to the quarter-finals, was an amazing turning point for the programme.” USA coach Bruce Arena paid tribute to his skipper. “When we look down the road to the day where we eventually win a World Cup, Claudio is still going to be remembered as one of the greats and one of the pioneers,” said Arena. Of particular concern to City fans was the sight of Reyna hobbling off in America’s last game. “My guess is that it is nothing serious,” Arena reassured us. “It is just a sprain. Just three or four weeks. But we don’t know yet.”

Psycho’s Coming Home: SP has stressed that his spell as a World Cup pundit on ITV is not interfering with his work as City manager. He’s been back home a number of times during the tournament, which allows him to spend some time with his family, and to attend to numerous City-related matters. “I needed to see my family in the summer and I would have gone to Germany to see some matches in some capacity anyway so having the opportunity to do some TV work has fitted in quite well. I have done it in two-day blocks, which has allowed me to get over to Manchester and to see my family, so I think I have worked it quite well. I don’t see myself as a pundit over there in any way, shape or form. I’m a manager who’s watching games at the World Cup because I’m enjoying it and finding it educational. Hopefully it will improve me as a manager.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


With regard to Don Barrie’s article, I feel the same about the ridiculous earnings of players today.

The local Football paper in Barcelona recently did an article about what the Barça players earned last season and divided it by the number of games they each played.

It worked out on average at £125,000 per game. That’s £84,000 per hour.

I bet City’s lot got near £50,000 per hour last season.

It leaves a very funny feeling in your gut, and Don’s summary says it all.

Patrick Knowles <pjamk(at)>


After biting my tongue for over a week now, I feel I have to say something about the comments made by Dave Knowles about the staff at the club who support other clubs.

Yes, some staff don’t support City. Some don’t support any football team. However, it doesn’t matter one bit when it comes to their professionalism. Every single person who works at that football club is 100% behind the club, their employers and work as hard as they can for the club. I could reel off plenty of examples of staff who don’t support City putting in hours and effort that is so far beyond the call of duty. We are leaders in almost every department in relation to other football clubs in the country. Marketing, Press, Groundstaff, Sales, City in the Community, Ticketing (yes, ticketing: despite the reputation that office have, we have one of the best ticketing systems in the country) are all recognised as some of the best in the country. In these departments are people who work damn hard, most often with poor pay and have to suffer some abuse that is enough to send someone to draft a resignation letter.

What do these people get in return for their labour? Grief because they don’t support City. I think it’s time to take a step back and consider whether that matters at all.

And how this debate spiralled from someone who doesn’t like the new kit is a remarkable feat of literacy. The new kit is blue, is has the City crest on it, has the sponsors on it. Isn’t that all that matters?

Having re-read my comments, and thought about it, I have just realised, I’ve never heard anyone say anything positive about the employees of Manchester City Football Club. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that I think every single one of those people who work for Manchester City are doing an excellent job. Long may it continue, because aside from what’s happening on pitch, we have an extremely well-run football club staffed by excellent and dedicated people. You (people in general, not just you Dave) will moan at these people, give them abuse – and having heard some of the abuse the staff get, it’s shocking – and moan that they should be sacked for reason x, y and z.

I’m not a member of staff, but I know a lot of people cooped up in those offices, and I just felt I had the need to stand up for them, because they won’t, they’re too proud and too busy to do that.

Steve <s.jay45(at)>


There is still no news that I have heard about Sylvain Distin or Joey Barton signing a new contract; anyone else heard anything? Since both have another year on their present contract, I guess that we can take it that both will be City players next season, unless something happens in the transfer market soon.

Rumours are in the media about MCFC having an interest in midfielder Steve Sidwell of Reading, but Reading have said he is not for sale. Do you remember how our Goat was treated by Reading? He only needed that one more game that would have paid MCFC another £500,000 because of a clause in the contract; of course it never happened, and our famous Goat went to Southend FC.

Steed Melbranque of Fulham has several clubs after his signature, including City, Liverpool, Newcastle and West Ham, but he has yet to sign for anyone.

In today’s game, everything seems to depend on the team’s midfield being strong to attack, and defend when needed, so I hope that another midfield signature, if there is one, will be more of the attacking type of player. My wish list has always been Steed Melbranque, but maybe I’m just a dreamer?

Stuart Pearce says he is looking at several players whilst in Germany with ITV. Who knows, he might see a player who has the potential but has not been outstanding, for if someone is outstanding their value will have shot up. With Stuart’s budget this could put certain players out of his reach. I think that Stuart’s experience with ITV will benefit him as a manager; seeing various formations and set pieces can only bring good.

I would like to make a comment about the pitch at COMS. Don’t get me wrong on this one for I feel that all the groundsmen have done an excellent job, and deserve high praise. But are all the designs that are made with cutting the grass (i.e. circles etc.) beneficial? The groundsmen must really work hard in what they do. I was watching the France vs. Spain game and the grass was cut across from side to side, It went through my mind how this should surely help the fourth officials and referee when there is an offside, or there is not an offside, for the grass lines, which are so many feet apart, must benefit the officials when making their decisions.

After all the fuss about the new kits, having said what I feel about the new home kit, now I say that the all new black away kit looks good, and has that look of aggression about it, and maybe it’ll intimidate the opposition whilst away from home.

Now back to supporting England, come on!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Andy Longshaw’s Ode to Graham Poll… pure genius.

Bernard Molyneux <bernardmolyneux(at)>


Last year, a few Blue mates and I enjoyed playing in a summer 5-a-side football tournament at Platt Lane complex. I think it was organized by the Centenary Supporters’ Association, but I’m not sure.

Does anybody know if the tournament is running this year? Any details? If not, does anyone have any details of any other football tournaments running this year that we could enter?

Matthew Maxey <matthewmaxey(at)>

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 #1237