Newsletter #1424

Don’s news round-up brings us reaction to the Pompey game, the continuing transfer rumours including Jo, Ronaldinho and Johnson and news from the Academy.

We have some more great 40 year memories, and news hot of the press in Hong Kong about the friendly game in May.

Finally, for any NW based Blues at a loose end on Sunday 27 April there is a charity match of Peter Barnes’ City veterans versus the RAF at Ashton United, 2pm. Former captain Andy Morrison is one of the City vets due to play.

Next Game: Saturday 26 April 2008, 3pm, Fulham (home)


A ‘Sven Out’ Update:

No Pressure is Awful: Prior to the Portsmouth game, there was no let up in the media over Sven’s alleged shaky position at the club – the journals were still frothing over Thaksin’s less than wholehearted support for his Manager reported last week. Sven, ever the diplomat, batted away most of the probing questions this week, but did allow some veiled criticism of the owner to slip out. For instance, Sven said: “It would have been better if he had not said what he did at this moment. But it [his remarks] is out there. If that is his opinion, it is okay. It is not a big problem for me. I will do the job as if those things had not been said.” Asked if he will be seeking assurances about his rôle, he said: “I already have assurances. I have a contract, so there is nothing to discuss about my situation. There is always pressure – that is why you want jobs in football. I like it. I had one year off and there was no pressure at all. That was absolutely awful.” S-GE insisted he is only interested in improving his team on the field and said: “We need to invest more money on players – that is part of the project. If we do that, it will be fantastic as we all want success. Everyone is looking forward to that happening and I am sure we will be better next season.” He added: “This is a new team, a young team and you can see signs already these players are capable of winning trophies in the future. It is my job to concentrate on the team and the players to make sure we win games. Dr Thaksin thinks this side will be better next season. He also thinks he and the people around him will be better as they will understand football better.” The Guardian was convinced though that Sven was heading for clear-the-air talks with Thaksin, talks which may play a significant part in determining whether their alliance at the COMS was to continue.

Star Man’s ‘Support’: With the press in this mood, any comments likely to show City as an unhappy ship would be seized upon. So we were greeted with headlines such as “ELANO DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ERIKSSON’S MAN CITY FUTURE”. When you read the Brazilian’s quotes, that wasn’t quite what he said. “Like everybody else, I have the Internet and follow what’s going on,” he told the Guardian. “We all have a responsibility to Eriksson but, whoever is manager, we have to do our best. It won’t make any difference to me personally.” Elano did later say that he would be “sorry to see him go” as S-GE was always willing to listen if he had a complaint. “I have always been free to express myself to him and explain my worries. But whether he will be here or not is not up to me. It’s somebody else’s responsibility.” The midfielder doesn’t like Sven’s 4-2-3-1 formation, or being played on the left of midfield. “It’s not my position,” he said. “My strengths are not to tackle and compete for the ball. I have had a chat with the manager because I wasn’t happy.” So he must have been thrilled with popping up at right back versus Pompey. Sunday morning saw some more emollient quotes from City’s no.11, when he revealed: “My form dipped because of a muscle injury, but I’m playing now where I like to play and I’m getting back to my best. I’m looking forward to being even better next season, because now I know what it is like in England. I will be prepared for the difference in pitches, the weather, everything. I know people always expect me to do well but that is not a problem for me. I will always work hard for the team and give my best as I feel settled.” As for his Manager: “The manager is an excellent person and I owe him a great deal.” And of the team performance this season, “I understand the Club have never had more points in the Premier League. That is good but we need to win our remaining games if we want to play in Europe,” he said before ending: “I am happy at this club and so are my wife and family. When my mother came over to visit, she did not want to go back. So now England is my favourite national team after Brazil.”

Spanish Eyes Eriksson: Despite his comments to the contrary, there was still plenty of talk of Sven having an exit strategy. Last week, he was off to Benfica, this week – Valencia. Their coach Ronald Koeman was sacked this week, so leading the Sun amongst others to claim that Sven would be jumping ship for Spain. The Sun are claiming that the Spanish side have been taking a keen interest in the recent goings on at Eastlands. The squad are in disarray after a terrible La Liga season, and the report claims that they are prepared to trump the wages Eriksson receives at City to secure his passage to Spain. The sale of the club’s current Mestalla stadium would free up a massive amount of transfer money for the Swede to spend. Sven didn’t respond to these claims, preferring to calmly analyse City’s season, and to admit he’d made the odd mistake. Eriksson said: “The first season in the Premier League is very tough mentally. It’s been a good lesson. Maybe during Christmas and New Year we trained too much. That’s my fault. Maybe I should have given them some days off to keep them in better shape mentally.”

Royle Assent: For an outsider’s view on the goings on, some papers turned to former City player and boss Joe Royle. He came out strongly in support of Sven. Royle believes it would be madness to dispense with Eriksson’s services. “It would be a shame if Sven was sacked after just one season,” said JR. “The club have been showing all the signs of stability and the last thing they need is more upheaval. Sven has changed the team, changed the way of playing and changed the attitude of supporters, who were disgruntled. The fans I meet are all happy with a top 10 finish, the derby wins and most of what they have seen.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Suk it and See: I kid you not – City are still in with a shout of signing Ronaldinho, after the deal purportedly done with AC Milan failed to materialise – it seems that the Serie A side failed to agree a fee with Barcelona. Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani admitted preliminary discussions for a player had not been successful. “Yesterday we had a conference call but the figures have not been right,” Galliani told Sky Italia after Milan’s 5-1 win over Reggina. “Maybe Ronaldinho won’t come.” Robert De Assis, Ronaldinho’s brother and agent, had agreed personal terms with the Milan. But Galliani’s comments made ears prick up at Internazionale and MCFC. Comments attributed to City’s ‘Executive Director Taweesuk Jack Srisumrid’ confirmed that talks had taken place with Barça. “What we will look to do in the summer is to further boost the squad, bring in top-quality, internationally recognised players,” Taweesuk told The Daily Telegraph. “Superstars would help fill the stadium and help our global branding. Primarily, we must win on the pitch – it can’t be a gimmick. We’ve had discussions [with Ronaldinho] but we’ll see how that pans out. We’ve looked at a host of players. Man City having discussions with superstar players used to be unimaginable, but not now. It won’t be a galacticos strategy, but older famous names. We want to build around the team we have.”

Permit to Go for Jo: If you believed some reports this week, City are in talks with CSKA Moscow about a record £20 million swoop for their Brazilian striker Jo, after Dr. Thaksin gave the go-ahead for the huge offer to be made for the Russian-based hitman. The Daily Mail claims that the 21-year-old has been among Sven’s targets for some time now along with team-mate Vagner Love and Sevilla’s Luis Fabiano. Indeed, Russian newspapers are now reporting that Jo has agreed terms with City. He will be the most expensive player that City have ever purchased, their current transfer record being for Nicholas Anelka in 2002 (£13 million). Should he sign, City would need to resolve potential issues regarding obtaining a work permit for the striker. While he is expected to be a regular face in the Brazil international first team, Jo has not played in enough matches for his country over the last two years, an FA stipulation for work permit applications. So let’s see how influential the regime at City really are, shall we?

Gunning For MJ: The rumours concerning Michael Johnson’s imminent departure aren’t going away. His name is constantly being linked with Liverpool, and now Arsenal are said to be in the hunt to sign him. Perhaps the source of these suggestions is easy to trace – the Sunday Mirror claims MJ’s advisers think he’s underpaid. Sven was asked about the Liverpool connection. “I have heard that same rumour ever since I joined the club last summer and we have still not been contacted by Liverpool,” said the Swede. “It was only last summer that Michael signed a new contract and we have already said that we will talk about another one when this season is over.” He added: “These kinds of stories do not annoy me. When you live in football you also live with rumours.”

In for Inler: City face competition from Liverpool for the capture of £8 million-rated Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler this summer. The Udinese star, 23, has been in great form in Serie A this season and has been watched by a host of Premier League clubs, with Liverpool and City following him closely. Udinese president Giampaolo Pozzo said: “Many clubs have asked about him but a couple from England are particularly keen. But we would want at least £8 million for him because he has been brilliant this season.” But don’t hold your breath about Shaunie Wright Wright Wright returning to the COMS in the summer. It’s been reported that SWP wants to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea despite manager Avram Grant’s plans to sell the winger back to his former club. And another purported City target, Werder Bremen star Diego, says he is keen to stay with the club. “Since I have been at Bremen I feel that I am going through the best moment of my career,” he said. “I have even been recalled to the Brazilian national team thanks to my performances at Werder. I am fine at Bremen, I have got adapted perfectly well so I don’t see any reason for wanting something different,” he told Gazeta Press. “I am still under contract for three more years; I don’t know if I will continue here for so much time but what I am sure of is that I want to play with Werder for at least one more year.”

Grayson Won’t Shut That Door on Dickov: Blackpool manager Simon Grayson has said he is undecided on whether he will try and keep on-loan striker Paul Dickov with the club next season. The Seasiders manager wants to wait until the end of the season before he makes a decision on which players will be coming in and out of the squad at Bloomfield Road. Grayson told the Blackpool Gazette: “Paul has done very well for us but I am not going to comment on any players until I know which division we are in next season and what sort of budget I have got. You know that he will bring endeavour, enthusiasm and an all-round enjoyment of football, and he has been a big success for us.” Grayson is probably right to be cautious, because many news sources claimed this week that Dickov is in talks with Toronto FC. So a final hurrah in the MLS could be on the cards for Dicky.

Within Spitting Distance: A host of Premiership clubs are queuing up to take Kenwyne Jones off Sunderland’s hands. The Sunday Express says Jones is attracting interest from City, Chelsea, Portsmouth and Arsenal, despite only scoring seven goals this season. Jones moved to the Stadium of Light eight months ago for £6 million and signed a four-year deal. I thought Sven had signed a big bustling centre forward in January, but what do I know? Now here’s a scary thought – lots of newspapers are saying that City are also considering that foul tempered, shaven headed expectorator, Bolton striker El-Hadji Diouf (News Ed. pauses to shudder at the thought…). Some Sunday tabloids claim that Thaksin fancies signing this oaf, rather than the manager.

After-Match Reactions and Comments

The Tactical Genius and the Makeshift Defence: The clouds of speculation may have lifted just a little from above Sven’s head, after City’s fighting 3-1 victory against Portsmouth last Sunday. Darius Vassell put City in front after a defensive mix-up on 10 minutes, with Martin Petrov doubling the lead with a deflected strike two minutes later. Pompey were a man down just before half-time when Hermann Hreidarsson was sent off for impeding Darius Vassell as the City forward ran through on goal. Later, Benjani sealed the win against his old club with a fine, low strike. Prior to the match, there was quite a surprise in the team selected. Sun Jihai’s late withdrawal meant Elano started at right back. Apparently it’s a position not unfamiliar to the Brazilian international who played for most of his career in his home country as a full back. S-GE was pleased with his side’s efforts – and was particularly heartened by Benjani’s display leading the line. “I think we played a very good match,” Eriksson said. “Benjani was working very, very hard and missed some chances but at the end he scored an important goal for us, he deserved that. I think it’s great for him to score against Portsmouth as well.” Asked if the win was important because of Thaksin’s recent criticism of him, he said: “Not for that reason. He said something, if he means it or not I don’t know, I will see him next week. This was important for the team, the club, the fans and with three games to play, we still have a small possibility to play in Europe so that’s good.” And what of his surprise choice at the back? “Elano at right-back? I think he did well – very well. If we need that for the rest of the season or next season, then I think he can do the job and he showed that today.” So watch out Micah and Charley!

He’s Behind You! Garrulous Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp slammed his side for giving away two cheap goals. “It was an unbelievable game, considering the way both sides were set up to play,” he said. “There were chances at both ends. We gave two terrible goals away and had a mountain to climb. We got a goal back to get back into the game then had a man sent off, and even then we had chances. I felt we should have had a penalty when Defoe was fouled. Then we hit the post. There were chances galore, and we gave a poor third goal away.” While the penalty issue still rankled, clearly his biggest complaint was with the defending, not least the James-Campbell mixup that saw City open the scoring. “You have to deal with that ball,” he barked. “Someone has got to take responsibility, they are two fantastic players but one has got to open their mouth and clear it, put it in row Z. It’s one of those things. They have been fantastic at the back but today we allowed them plenty of chances.”

Ronald Who? Darius Vassell is still trying to convince us that he’s better than Ronaldinho, with his second goal in as many games. “We’ve been looking for a result like that, especially at home, to lift the fans, lift the team and lift the players.” The former England striker admitted he gambled for the goal when David James was caught out. “I think we caught the ‘keeper out a little bit and I thought if I got to the back stick I’d have a chance. I was in the right place – I may have been offside – but they all count.” Vassell admitted Hreidarsson may have been unlucky to see red. “To be honest, I don’t think I was going to get to the ball. I think it was a foul but maybe not a sending off.” With an hour gone, Richard Dunne succumbed to a persistent hamstring problem, which meant a début from the subs’ bench of the Academy’s 26th first team graduate, Sam Williamson. What an exciting day for the player, who told the club website: “It felt really good. Not so long ago I thought that I wouldn’t ever really play in the first team because my contract is up in the summer. So just to get the chance to play was great, even if that’s my one and only appearance then it’s been such a great experience. I’ve been thinking about what I’m doing to do when I leave here, but hopefully now I could stay, or at least I’ve had the chance to put myself in the shop window.” Williamson only found out he was in the first-team squad when coach Derek Fazackerley told him on Friday. “We’d been out training, and I’d been training with the first team, but I wasn’t expecting to be involved. Afterwards, Derek Fazackerley came up to me when I was having my lunch and just told me I was in. So it was a bit of shock and I thought: ‘Right, change my plans for the weekend then!’ I thought he was joking at first.”

Squad News

Hart Beats on England Door: Former England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence reckons Joe Hart’s progress this season make him one to watch in national terms, in the future. He said: “The England goalkeeping situation is a lot better than it was four or five years ago. We have got a lot of young ‘keepers who have got into their first teams, are improving and their dedication to the job is superb. There is Joe Hart at Manchester City and I have to congratulate Sven-Goran Eriksson on his bravery in putting him in at 20 and telling him he is in basically for the season. It has taken enormous pressure off him and Joe knows if he does make a mistake, he will still be in the side the following game and that has shown in his performances.”

Trippier Happier: Ian Barton has written to us, asking for an update on Keiran Trippier, who was carried off towards the end of the second leg of last week’s FA Youth Cup Final. Glad to oblige Ian – according to the report on the club’s website, Keiran’s injury wasn’t bad as it seemed at the time. And I quote: “Luckily for the City right back, his injury wasn’t as bad as first feared and it didn’t stop him from joining in with the cup celebrations, even being piggy-backed around the pitch at one point… Thankfully Kieran should make a swift recovery, as Jim Cassell told us: ‘He’s not going to be fit for the weekend but it doesn’t look to be too serious. Kieran’s had a terrific campaign and he’s available for next year, as a number of the boys are, so it would have been sad if it had ended with a really serious injury.'”

Send for Shaleum: Captain Richard Dunne will undergo a scan on his hamstring injury amid fears he could miss the rest of the season. The Irish international limped off after 54 minutes of the Portsmouth game on Sunday and City are now braced for the verdict. So let’s hope Micah’s recovery is on track. It also means that Shaleum Logan has been recalled from his loan spell down the road at Stockport County. Sven confirmed Logan’s return, saying: “He started back with us today and I spoke to him this morning and he’s happy to be back here. After the game on Sunday we had only three defenders and he is our player so we had to bring him back.”

So, You Want More?

‘Owzat, Sven? There was a long and interesting interview with Sven in the Independent last Saturday, and jolly entertaining it was too. It’s too long to paraphrase here, so I suggest you read the online version at The article touches on the Owner’s perceived ambivalence towards the Manager, and Sven explains how he deals with pressure. Sven is said to be reading a book on Chairman Mao (although the paper makes no comparisons with that Chairman and our Chairman). Find out about Sven’s long-standing admiration of Liverpool FC, and his burgeoning (well sort of) knowledge of cricket.

Andy’s Handy: Former U****d coach Andy Welch has joined City’s Academy setup. He was responsible for the development of coaches with the Professional Football Association before moving to Leeds United. He later joined da Reds and worked at Royal Antwerp. Academy chief Jim Cassell has welcomed Welch to his coaching team. “Andy has worked extensively within youth football throughout his career and we are delighted to have him with us,” said Cassell. “Not only will he fit in easily into our existing structure but we hope he will be part of our Academy development for many years to come.”

Held in Reserves: City’s two Reserve sides have been in action this week. The Pontin’s League version won 3-0 away at Wrexham, despite the opposition having old boy Jeff Whitley in the ranks. Goals from Abdi Ibrahim, Jack Redshaw with a penalty and James Poole gave the Blues a comfortable victory.
City: Clegg, Robinson, Morris, Paldan, Brown, Tsiaklis (Carter 71), Cieslwicz, Ibrahim, Redshaw (Hulme 61), Poole, Cunningham (Mancini 87). Unused subs: Varga, Johansen.
Meanwhile, the Premier Reserve League side finished their season with a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium. Adam Clayton (isn’t he in U2?) give the Blues the lead after 44 minutes, a lead they were only able to hold on to until 70 minutes when Tom Craddock equalised. Good news about City’s favourite Bulgarian injury case – Valeri Bojinov upped his comeback from knee-knack with a robust 78 minutes of hot soccer action.
Team: Isaksson, Obeng, Williamson, Marshall, McDonald, M.Daly, Clayton, Mouritsen, Nimley (Poole 70), Bojinov (I.Daly 78), Moore. Unused subs: Martin, Ramsey, Cunningham.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


In reply to Steven Davies – ah yes, I remember that day as if it were only last week! Is it really 40 years? That’s right, my eldest wasn’t born then. He is now 39 and he doesn’t remember any trophies of note.

Back to Newcastle. A few of us hired a mini bus and my poor husband was the driver so he couldn’t really celebrate. Do you remember in those days we could go in the Newcastle Social Club? What a terrific atmosphere it was in there before the match. There was no trouble at all. We could also go anywhere in the ground we wanted (except the seats, but who wanted to sit down anyway?). We were behind the goal where we scored in the second half and where Frannie scored and celebrated his goal. It was all a bit tense during the match when Newcastle kept coming back at us because we would definitely win the league if we won the match, despite what the Rags did, whereas if we didn’t win and they did they would win the league. They were playing Sunderland at their place and we didn’t have any means of knowing how they were going on. As it turned out they lost so it was immaterial in the end.

This was the first time I ever went on the pitch. I took a piece of turf and planted it in our back garden. Also, I always know in quizzes what year Cliff Richard was no. 1 with Congratulations because Newcastle very kindly played it for us after the game.

Then what a fantastic trip home it was down the A1. We stopped off at a pub at Scotch Corner that was full of celebrating Blues and made a great night of it.

Dot Keller <dot.keller(at)>


I was nearly 15 and my memories of the day are a tad hazy but I do remember I went with my mate and his dad. The journey up to Newcastle seemed to take an age but we didn’t mind.

I remember standing at the top of the terrace behind one goal and, as there was no segregation then, I stood next to a huge Geordie coal miner. Of course I gave him verbals every goal we scored but he managed to give as good back with each of the three Newcastle goals.

Having said that, at the final whistle he hugged me and wished us the best and I remember drinking Long Life out of a plastic mini trophy on the way home. Happy days and hopefully coming back with super SGE.

Joe Ramsbottom <joeramsbottom(at)>


I was at the Newcastle game in 1968. I nagged my dad for days to let me go and he eventually managed to pair me up with a couple of his mates from work who took me under their wing. Dad and his mates all worked for British Rail so we went by train on the cheap.

Manchester was the centre of the football universe in those days. City had won promotion in 66. We’d won the World Cup and now City and United were competing for the league championship. And it all came down to the final day. I remember the Newcastle game was a real roller-coaster and incredibly exciting.

United, wouldn’t you believe it, stole the limelight a few days later when they won the European Cup. Ah well. We always live in their shadow.

It was a tremendous season. I saw the City vs. United games where I bravely waved the sole City scarf in the Stretford End Paddock, and I also went to the famous Spurs game on ice. Franny Lee, Colin Bell, Big Mal and Joe Mercer. Terrific.

P.S. My uncle George Smith is, I believe, still the oldest living former-City player. In his mid-to-late 80’s now.

Dave Smith – Ottawa <dsmith(at)>


I can’t really remember much either (but I have trouble remembering anything these days). I was at college at Sun’land at the time so didn’t have far to go to the match. The atmosphere was quite amazing, Newcastle fans very friendly, I don’t think they minded losing, preferred us to get the title rather than Utd. Also, City/Newcastle seemed to have had some great games in the past, a good relationship and, of course, rivalries were friendlier in those days.

The match was a 7 goal thriller but strangely I never really had any doubt about the result even though any City supporter would know nothing is ever settled till the final whistle.

What I do remember (I think) is a police dog demonstration either before the game or at half time and Cliff Richard’s “Congratulations” being blared over the loudspeakers at the end of the game. Strange what happens to the mind over time.

Returned to the north west to teach in September, at Macclesfield. Being a new teacher I couldn’t even afford to get in to Manchester to watch City very often (turned down when I applied for a mortgage on a three thousand seven hundred fifty pound house) so had to settle for Macc, who were themselves going through a purple patch in non-league. So having watched nearly every City home game, including reserve games for many years, I basically missed most of the glory years. Never thought at the time that we would still be waiting for our next League (Premier) title forty years later.

On another topic, great to see the success of the youth team and the wonderful crowd. Anyone remember City outplaying United in the Youth Cup semi at Old Trafford and losing? Can’t remember the year but it must have been early to mid 60’s. I believe the crowd at that game was even bigger.

Finally, while on the nostalgia kick, how many more of you old-timers used to watch the Beswick Brass Band marching round and hope the guy was going to drop the staff (sorry, don’t know the technical term) when he threw it in the air. Nasty thought!

We have to be honest (well, I guess we don’t have to) and accept we’re not the best team in the world but we know we are the best club in the world. Being a City supporter really is like being a member of a very large, special extended family and I love the way MCIVTA keeps us all in touch.

Phil Booth <psbooth(at)>


We were living in Sheffield at the time, a stone’s throw away from Bramall Lane, and quite handy to also get to Hillsborough, Forest and Leeds, not that handy though as I got to Leeds at ten to three and found myself locked out for the only time ever in my career as a City fan and missed the 2-0 defeat.

We usually travelled over ‘the snake’ on a Friday night for home games with the front end knocking and the head gasket blowing on the Hillman Imp, staying with family, but obviously did it there and back on the night as we swept Wednesday aside on a Thursday(!) night (1-0) and Everton (2-0) on the Monday as the news came through that West Brom had thrashed United 6-3 (we just heard the six and roared, it never occurred that United might have got seven!) and we dared to dream.

We had friends over on the following Saturday and went round Chatsworth House spending an excruciating afternoon sweating on the result at White Hart Lane. It was 3-1, United beat Newcastle 6-1, I think, and the newspaper headline was ‘This team (Newcastle) won’t stop the new Champs’. Oh don’t.

So all week the papers were scrutinised and permutations worked out. We travelled over to Manchester on the Friday night in a rare incident free journey dodging sheep and hoping the red light wouldn’t come on to indicate no water. I was solemnly informed by the brother-in-law that “City have never won at Newcastle”. “Rubbish, I saw them win there in 1960, 1-0 last game of the season, after I’d been to eleven away games without seeing a win”. He knew nothing about, and had no interest in, football whatsoever, still hasn’t, but has recently become a United fan and has even convinced our niece, Ruth, that he’s been one all his life. Typical.

So I went up to Newcastle with John, an ex working colleague from Archibald Edmeston and sons in Patricroft plus a couple of mates, in John’s Cortina, couldn’t risk the Imp. As we approached the ground the Geordies were giving us the thumbs down and we took up our position on the open terrace opposite the main stand, we’re in the crowd somewhere behind the pic of Mike Summerbee scoring the opener. We had a bit of banter with the home fans and as the teams lined up Wyn Davies gave Franny a wave, which Franny didn’t see and I worried it might wind Wyn up. It didn’t but Newcastle went straight upfield and hit the bar. City scored, they equalised straight away, we scored again and they equalised again as their fans behind the goal chanted “runners up” to us.

Second half we went into a 4-2 lead then Franny scored a fifth but the ref for some unfathomable reason disallowed it. With 5 minutes to go they pulled one back and it was pure torture before the final whistle went. The Geordies told us that we were the best team they’d seen all season, which was nice. We’d done it. Champions, and after all the disappointments of the late fifties and early sixties it was a day I never thought I’d see. As we left the ground I spotted Les Lloyd from my old team Ringlow Park and I shouted “give us a kiss Les”, which took John and his mates aback. Les was (inevitably) an ugly bugger, too, and I’ve never seen him since, but you do these things.

So celebrations all the way home where the girls had decorated my Imp with sky blue and white ribbons so I then had to drive self consciously around the Manc suburbs wearing a great big smile. Oh and United lost at home to Sunderland, and they may not have even finished as runners up but Liverpool lost their game in hand. If I remember right, if they’d won that and we’d lost at Newcastle the ‘Pool would have been Champs. with 57 points.

So, back to Sheffield on the Sunday night, then back to Maine Road on the Monday for the hastily arranged friendly with Bury, promoted from the Third division. We were tipped off that we were going to sign a Bury player, Alec Lindsay we thought, but he signed for Liverpool and we got Bobby Owen.

Dave Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


My thanks to Steven Davies for inviting the ‘old timers’, who were present at Newcastle on the occasion of the final game of the 1967/68 season, to write in. Yes I was there with my good friend PH (initials only to protect the innocent), but I would like to share my memories of highlights from the whole season rather than just that one game.

In June, 1967 I had returned to England from abroad, after 12 years, to begin studying at UMIST. I had taken up residence at Woolten Hall in Fallowfield, so was within walking distance of the Maine Road ground. The first game I watched there was a pre-season friendly against Borussia Dortmund. Mike Doyle from Stockport featured in that game with a brace of goals. What a player he turned out to be, with one of my friends referring to him as a ‘one-man hatchet squad’. Things started looking good when they played Nottingham Forest at home with a very dominating and classy performance. When Francis Lee arrived from Bolton he fitted in quickly and then we really started to rumble.

One of the outstanding performances was the home game against Spurs, who had Jimmy Greaves in their team. It has sometimes been referred to as the ‘ballet on ice’, because the pitch resembled an ice rink. City adapted to those conditions much better than Spurs did, and it seemed like the ball was moving along a conveyor belt as the players passed it between one another. It was remarkable to watch.

I remember the first derby game at home was close with the City fans chanting “Shalalala Summerbee” and the swamp dwellers retorting with a deafening roar of “who the effing hell is he”. However, nobody then realized how fortunes would change, because by the time of the return game in March, City comprehensively outplayed them with a 3-1 victory. My everlasting memory was of Colin Bell striding out of midfield with the ball at his feet and blasting an unstoppable shot past Alex Stepney, a goal that Bobby Charlton would have been proud of. It was then that my group of friends realized that the championship was within reach, almost ‘in the bag’.

The climax was of course the 4-3 victory at Newcastle, which was the most thrilling way to finish it off. But the nice thing about this team was the fact that the manager, coach and about 95% of the players were English, with many of them hailing from Greater Manchester, Liverpool and the surrounding Cheshire countryside. For me, who was watching my first ever season of first division football, it was gratifying and a privilege to be there. Ah yes, but will those days ever return?

Philip Vangass <philipvangass(at)>


Did someone ask if anyone was at Newcastle? One of the best days of my life!

We were at Tottenham the week before and as I am sure everyone else said if we win we are going to Newcastle.

Well we did and the rest of that weekend went into history! We drove there in our Fred’s mini and (I won’t talk about the game we all know it was the best game ever seen). We got really drunk at Fred’s old army mate’s local in Stockton and showed up at his house at midnight with fish suppers. His wife made tea and bread and butter and never batted an eyelid!

We spent the night and drove back through Leeds with all the paper reports taped to the windows! I came home with a piece of the turf in a Newcy Brown bottle, which grew for a couple of years till my mam threw it out when I was away! A weekend never to be forgotten!

Jim Heaviside <jheavis502(at)>


To John Shearer, that little story you portrayed in MCIVTA 1423 about your memories of the Newcastle game back in 1968, makes me (born in 1967) feel very jealous of your opportunity to witness such a great occasion.

Well done, a great account of what must have been a truly magic time. Cheers.

Neil Heitzman <Heitzman_Neil(at)>


A lot has been said in the press and on the terraces about Dr Thaksin’s alleged comments about getting rid of Sven at the end of the season.

But, from what I’ve read Thaksin said that: ‘The second half of the season has been disappointing and he will review the season and the people involved at the end of the season’.

Well let’s analyse his comments.

Firstly, surely every chairman will analyse how their respective clubs’ seasons went and also the people involved. However good or bad their season was, it’s part of improving a club.

Secondly, Thaksin did not mention Sven by name, all he referred to was all the people involved (that can mean everyone and anyone from the tea lady to the boardroom). Once Sven sits down and explains that the size of the squad and injuries at the wrong time hit us hard, Thaksin will understand and put an end to all this speculation.

So in my opinion we can all relax, sit down and enjoy what’s left of this season and look forward to some quality signings coming in during summer to add to some of the Academy lads joining the first team squad.

John <jpipka17(at)>


So Tom Ritchie thinks selling Manchester City to our foreign owner is the best thing since sliced bread. Get those cheap Thai sunglasses off and stop smelling the banknotes. Do you honesty think that he has our best interests at heart? Hell no, and when he’s finished with his little game he’ll be off quicker than Christiano Ronaldo down the wing.

I’ve been in business over thirty years and nothing comes without conditions one way or another. You asked whether we were better off under Francis Lee and John Wardle. Maybe, maybe not, but I’d trust them far more than I trust the present owner.

Money buys success? Maybe, but the best players at Man Utd and Chelsea were English (United Kingdom) and most were there before the money explosion that has gripped our game. Do you think United have done any better under their foreign owners? Good heavens, they were the biggest thing in football before all this happened. Grant’s faced with the sack, Liverpool are in turmoil, even Sven might get the chop. What price do clubs have to pay?

But then, you’re probably satisfied with beating United twice in a season.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


City’s Hong Kong friendly date has been confirmed, our beloved Sky Blues will play the South China FC Invitation Team on Thursday, 22 May; timing of the match totally sucks, 6pm on a bl**dy Thursday!

The City game will be followed by the main event of the night, Juventus vs. South China FC First XI (yes, we’re just the supporting act of the event, and expect the ‘Zebras’ to overwhelm us Razor Blue shirts). As the seating for this game is fixed, I would love to purchase tickets with any fellow HK Blues to have a little “away section”.

Further details can be found here May any fellow Blues in Hong Kong interested in going to the match together, please feel free shoot me an email or call (852) 94945972.


Calvin Chan <mcfc(at)>


League table to 23 April 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  35 16  1  1 43  6  9  5  3 30 13 25  6  4  73  19  54  81
 2 Chelsea         35 11  6  0 33 11 12  3  3 27 13 23  9  3  60  24  36  78
 3 Arsenal         35 13  5  0 36 11  8  6  3 30 18 21 11  3  66  29  37  74
 4 Liverpool       35 11  6  1 42 13  8  6  3 20 13 19 12  4  62  26  36  69
 5 Everton         35 10  3  4 29 14  8  4  6 21 15 18  7 10  50  29  21  61
 6 Aston Villa     35 10  3  5 34 20  6  7  4 33 25 16 10  9  67  45  22  58
 7 Portsmouth      35  7  8  2 24 12  9  1  8 24 24 16  9 10  48  36  12  57
 8 Manchester City 35 11  4  3 26 17  4  6  7 16 24 15 10 10  42  41   1  55
 9 Blackburn R.    35  7  7  4 23 18  6  6  5 22 25 13 13  9  45  43   2  52
10 West Ham United 35  7  5  5 20 20  6  3  9 17 22 13  8 14  37  42  -5  47
11 Tottenham H.    35  8  4  5 45 31  2  8  8 19 27 10 12 13  64  58   6  42
12 Newcastle Utd   35  8  5  5 25 24  3  4 10 17 34 11  9 15  42  58 -16  42
13 Wigan Athletic  35  8  4  5 21 15  1  5 12 11 34  9  9 17  32  49 -17  36
14 Middlesbrough   35  5  5  7 17 22  3  7  8 14 27  8 12 15  31  49 -18  36
15 Sunderland      35  8  3  6 20 18  2  3 13 13 36 10  6 19  33  54 -21  36
16 Bolton Wndrs    35  6  5  7 21 18  2  3 12 11 34  8  8 19  32  52 -20  32
17 Reading         35  8  2  8 19 24  1  3 13 18 41  9  5 21  37  65 -28  32
18 Birmingham City 35  5  7  5 24 20  2  3 13 16 37  7 10 18  40  57 -17  31
19 Fulham          35  4  5  9 20 31  1  7  9 12 27  5 12 18  32  58 -26  27
20 Derby County    35  1  5 11 10 33  0  3 15  7 43  1  8 26  17  76 -59  11

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
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 Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née 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] 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

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 #1424