Newsletter #1529

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Hopefully the UK based Blues enjoyed the bank holiday weekend – and apologies, as I’d totally forgotten to send MCIVTA out!

Match news and reaction tonight to last week’s game vs. Blackburn and the forthcoming derby, together with pre-season activities and the latest transfer rumours.

We have a match report on the Blackburn victory thanks to Phil, more of the 1969 cup final memories, loyalty points and the way forward together with the usual requests and an update on the MCFC Ghana links.

Next up as the Blues have belatedly hit a run of form comes the derby.

Next Game: Manchester United, away, 1.30pm Sunday 10 May 2009

NEWS SUMMARY

General News

Derby Day Desire: A run of four consecutive victories has left confidence sky high at CoMS and just at the right time with Derby Day fast approaching. On Sunday, the Blues visit Old Trafford in search of second win in Stretford in as many years and a number of senior players have told of their desire to win:

Vincent Kompany: “That’s (the 3-1 win against Blackburn) the fourth win in a row, including the Hamburg tie at home, and we have proved that we are a good side. We are doing what we need to do before a big game for us at United. I’m happy to say that it’s not just our home form that is good but the form in general, because in there you have the away win at Everton. Four in a row where you get a good result you couldn’t build any more confidence for the next game. I hope we can get nine points; I wouldn’t be playing football if I didn’t think we could win every game but hopefully six or seven will be enough.”

Stephen Ireland: “We’re all feeling strong at this stage of the season, rather than taking a dip, which is a brilliant feeling. We want to end on a high, and right now I feel the best I have ever felt. I feel fitter now than before, I am coming off at the end of games feeling that I could have run so much more. I hope that I feel the same going into the derby. We’ve got experts in all the right departments to help us out now, and we are getting stronger.”

Shay Given: “I’m looking forward to the derby. I have some great memories of playing Sunderland when I was at Newcastle. Those are the games you want to play in. I’m grateful to the fans, who have made me feel welcome – and if we can beat Manchester United on derby day, then I will be well and truly settled in.”

Nigel De Jong: “We won there for the first time in a long time last year and lightning does strike twice. I watched last season’s match on television and know what a huge impact it had in Manchester, so it would be nice to repeat that. For me this is one of the biggest derbies in the world, I have been aware of it since I was a kid and now I am part of it, I understand how special it is to the supporters and local people in Manchester – most of who are Blues! We have been playing well recently but we will have to step up our game another notch at Old Trafford on Sunday. We both need to win the game for different reasons and it should be a great contest. It would be great to put one over too on my international colleague Edwin Van der Sar. I’m sure there will be a bit of banter in the days leading up to the game.”

South African City Challenge: As a part of their pre-season preparations, the Citizens will travel to South Africa this July to take part in the prestigious Vodacom Challenge. The competition, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, has previously been won by Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United and should mark the Blues’ arrival on the big stage of world football. City will take on Orlando Pirates in their opening day of the tournament (18/07) before taking on the Kaizer Chiefs three days later (21/07). If the Blues are successful they could take part in the final on 25th July. Manager Mark Hughes gave his reasons for the club’s participation: “Our visit to South Africa for the Vodacom Challenge will give us the perfect preparation for next season. With the great climate, excellent facilities and the fanatical support behind the Orlando Pirates and the Kaizer Chiefs, our visit will also give our players a superb introduction to the country ahead of a return in 2010 with their respective countries for the World Cup.”

Executive Chairman Garry Cook spoke of the club’s honour to be invited: “Manchester City Football Club are delighted to have been invited to take part in the 2009 Vodacom Challenge. It’s a very exciting time for sport in South Africa, with the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Lions Tour and the 2010 World Cup just around the corner, and we are honoured to be involved. Playing against two of the biggest clubs in the country will not only be a tough challenge, but will also be a key component in our own pre-season preparations. Our visit to South Africa is not just about the football, we will be engaging with community groups in each of the Vodacom Challenge’s host cities and pooling knowledge from our own background with our award-winning City In The Community scheme in Manchester.”

Seventh Heaven: West Ham, Spurs, Fulham and City will all go head to head in the fight for a place in Europe next season over the remaining three games of this term and it is the league’s seventh spot that is proving to be most elusive. Though many have suggested that City’s run-in is the easier of the four, it’s hard to see how trips to OT and White Hart Lane can be considered as ‘easy’. No matter who the opposition are to come, Hughes believes that the City’s current momentum should carry them through and the club’s absence from this year’s UEFA Cup semi-finals could be a blessing in disguise: “The chase for seventh place now has our whole, undivided attention after Hamburg. We are having clear weeks leading into Premier League games so the only focus is that match, which wasn’t always the case this season. We’ve played 16 games in Europe, so some working weeks were quite fragmented. At times that had an impact on our performances at Premier League level. With the continuity we now have in training, and being able to prepare for every game as we would like, we anticipate having a good finish. I’ve been really pleased since (the Hamburg game at CoMS). People thought we would switch off until next season. But that night made us realise what a good team we are when everybody works hard and we’re at the top of our game.”

Squad News

Clayton’s Contract: Academy graduate Adam Clayton has signed a new two year extension with the club following an impressive season that has seen him appointed to the senior squad’s substitute bench. The 20-year-old believes that as a Blue himself, his only option was to sign a fresh deal with Hughes’ side and acknowledges that playing alongside Robinho and Co. can only be advantageous to his own development: “From playing with your mates at school to training with Robinho cannot get any better. It’s a dream come true, and especially for a City fan like me. It’s such a great experience playing against and training with these kinds of players. Someone like Didi Hamann is great to learn from in my position, he’s been in World Cup and Champions’ League finals and you cannot beat that kind of experience. Everything has changed. I’ve gone from being a kid to making a career for myself, now I have to produce the goods. Now there are three points on a weekend at stake, so you have to get out there and do it. If you put the hard work in, you will get rewarded and that’s what happened for me.”

Samba Psychology: Penalty taking is not something that English talent is naturally gifted at and yet Brazilian playmaker Elano seems to have it all figured out. The midfielder, who has never missed from the twelve yards in a City shirt, scored once again from the spot against Blackburn last weekend following similar penalties against Hamburg and West Brom. The former Shakhtar star has told of his passion for penalty taking and the mental games that play out as preparing for the kick: “There was a touch of cat and mouse. Carson asked if I was going to put the ball in the same place I had done against Hamburg in the previous match, so I told him, ‘yes, I am’. He stood close to his left post as I started my run-up, then he moved across to the middle, and I put it in the opposite corner. As I ran past him, I said, ‘it was a little bit different from Hamburg, wasn’t it?'” Of his impressive but inconsistent season Elano claimed: “Certain things left me disappointed in the past, but thanks to God, everything has now been sorted out.”

Inspiration for the Irish: Shay Given has been a City hero on various occasions in the past four months since replacing Joe Hart as the club’s number one ‘keeper but the Irish goalie does have a shocking confession to make: “Most kids playing the game have an idol and mine was Peter Schmeichel. He is probably one of the best goalkeepers of all time. I think it is good to have someone that you should strive to be or get anywhere close to. His presence and all-round aura as a goalkeeper was top notch. He developed standing up, the star-shaped jump and block which he said himself came from his days playing handball in Denmark. Since he used it a lot more ‘keepers have used it, myself included. It is about making yourself as big as you can in the goal and getting a block on the ball, and he was one of the best at it. He was an unbelievable goalkeeper and it was great to get the chance to play against him before he retired, to see him at the other end of the pitch. And now I give his son Kasper a lift home!” It’s a good thing that the Great Dane finished his career with the Blues otherwise Shay may not have admitted to his ‘secret’.

Roy’s Keane on Ireland Return: Former United and Republic of Ireland skipper Roy Keane has recently returned to management with Ipswich Town but ‘Football’s Official Hardest Man’ has recently been speaking of how he believes that Stephen Ireland is wasting his talent whilst in voluntary international exile: “When Brian Clough was manager and was trying to get Archie Gemmill to sign, he slept on the sofa. I wouldn’t sleep on Stephen Ireland’s sofa but I’d sleep outside his house to try and get him back. He would obviously make a big, big, difference to the Irish team. He looks happy in himself, playing for Man City. He’s been one of the most consistent players in the Premier League this season, in a team that has been inconsistent. What I would say to the lad, if I ever bumped into him in Manchester, I’d say ‘listen, your career is over before you know it, if you get an opportunity to play for Ireland under a good manager then go for it.’ He might have a reason and we have to respect that whatever it might be. But never say never. I’d keep persevering. If I was Trapattoni, I would literally sleep outside his house.”

Transfer News and Rumours

Arjen Robben: The rumour mill continues to churn out speculation that links the Blues with every world class name under the sun and, in a week where Fabio Cannvaro has seemingly rejected Manchester in favour of a return to Juventus, Arjen Robben is the latest. The Dutch winger has been told that he does not feature in the plans of presidential favourite Florentino Perez next season and having been linked with Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan side, Garry Cook has smelt a bargain. £18 million may be enough to entice the winger from the Bernabeu with City his favoured destination following a rocky relationship with Mourinho when both were employed by Chelsea.

Post-Match Reaction

Blackburn Rovers: In the battle of South America vs. Blackburn Rovers, Caicedo, Robinho and Elano came out on top. The Blues made it hard for themselves in the second half after an excellent end to the first where rather than build on momentum, the Blues conceded a penalty that gave Rovers hope. In the end, City simply outplayed Sam Allardyce’s men and for the fourth game running, the fans left CoMS singing the praises of City’s Samba boys; ‘Robbie’ and ‘Ela’. The manager told of the importance of the result and the position it leave the Citizens in for the final three games of the season: “There are three games left and we probably need to get something out of every one of them. Results elsewhere for the clubs in and around us probably didn’t go as we would have wanted. But we can only do what we can do, and we would love to get straight back into Europe. We’re pleased tonight because it keeps that little run going and four in a row doesn’t happen on many occasions. So we’ll enjoy it when it does happen. But then the focus will very quickly go on to the big game next week, and we’ll go in with good heart from a good performance. We knew what Blackburn would try and do and we found it a bit difficult to get a foothold in the first 20 minutes. It was being angled towards big Chris Samba up front and they were trying for second balls. We had to get the ball down and play on the grass, and once we did our technical ability came to the fore and we were able to create the chances and three goals. You want that intensity to be the same in the second half – invariably it never is, but we’re happy. We got the job done and finished comfortable winners.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)mcivta.city-fan.org.uk>

MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’: MCFC 3 BRFC 1

A good all round team performance, which was laced with moments of flair, saw Manchester City comfortably defeat Blackburn and move up to 8th place, hotting up the race for the last Europa Cup qualification spot.

With Pablo Zabaleta not quite ready to return from his hamstring injury, City were unchanged from the deserved win at Everton. Richards and Elano continued on the right, and Felipe Caicedo started again at centre forward. Little Big Sam persisted with pushing towering central defender Christopher Samba up front, whilst one of his more skilful attackers, Matt Derbyshire, continues his loan spell at Olympiakos. No surprises, then that Blackburn are playing dull football and fighting relegation rather qualifying for Europe. How Rovers fans must rue the day that Mark Hughes drove down the M61 to City. Blackburn dominated the game for the first twenty minutes without creating any clear cut chances. Whilst they outmuscled us in this period, they had no cutting edge, and in true Little Big Sam style, their chief tactic seemed to be to find the head of Samba and to kick Stephen Ireland as often, and as hard as they could. Amongst others, Tugay and everyone’s favourite pantomime villain, El Hadj Diouf, in particular, both had cynical hacks at City’s player of the season elect. It was as if they had been told to go and kick him deliberately. Perish the thought. I wonder where Rovers may have got that idea from? It was reminiscent of our derby match when Shaun Wright-Phillips was systematically and repeatedly kicked by Rags.

It wasn’t the most exciting opening quarter of the game but we had one scare as we survived a penalty appeal when the ball struck De Jong’s arm in the box. With Rovers lacking a genuine goal threat, City gradually worked a way into the game.

City won the match with twenty minutes of intelligent football that blew the visitors away. Persistence won a corner down the right in the 26th minute, Elano’s corner found Kompany and the ball was helped on to Onuoha who stabbed it into the danger area for Caicedo, who had time to swivel and score with his left foot. In the ensuing celebrations of his seventh goal of the season, the promising young Ecuadorian took his shirt off and earned himself a booking. It was a goal that his hard working, muscular performance deserved. Whilst City do need to buy a proven top class centre forward this summer, this shouldn’t take away from the fact that Caicedo is a valuable squad member who is improving with every game. His excellent attitude and work ethic will stand him in good stead in the future and he can look back with satisfaction on a year of progress.

Rovers tried to hit back but City added to the lead in the 34th minute with another move that was inspired by a ‘samba’ of Brazilian variety. Elano popped up on the left and floated a cross that Caicedo knocked back to Kompany, who found Robinho on the edge of the box. The Brazilian superstar cleverly threaded a shot through a forest of defenders low into the right hand corner of the net. It was a very well taken goal: his one-eyed media critics should also take note that it was his 15th goal of the season. Not a bad return for someone in his first season in English football.

Rovers could not muster an effort that troubled Given: Ooijer shot wide and Samba headed over from a teasing Diouf cross. By now, the tenacious De Jong and the excellent Kompany were dominating central midfield. Elano and Robinho were weaving their magic, with the former receiving warm applause when he went to take corners. Ireland was finding space as well as doing his share of defensive work.

Indeed, City were playing the better football: Kompany, Ireland and Richards being involved in lovely passing sequence. It was 3-0 on the stroke of half time after Ireland’s cross was handled by a Rovers defender after an intelligent pass by Robinho: Elano coolly converted from the spot for his 8th goal of the season. Have City had a more reliable penalty taker since Francis Lee?

Some of us wondered if this was this to be a repeat of the 6-0 thumping that Billy McNeill’s City dished out to Rovers in the 2nd Division back in 83/84? Unfortunately not as the second half was disappointing with City being pushed back by a Rovers team that was playing for pride. Samba had an effort blocked by De Jong but strangely was replaced soon after. His replacement Villanueva had an effort deflected over as City defended well as a team. At the other end, Elano’s intelligent pass found Robinho in the inside left position but his shot was just right of Robinson’s left hand post.

On the hour, and as expected, Caicedo was replaced to a deserved ovation by Valeri Bojinov. Rovers made a couples of changes and won a penalty after Onuoha caught Pedersen from behind. Given saved Diuof’s spot kick to his left and brilliantly stopped the Senegalese striker’s rebound, but Andrews was on hand to score the 2nd rebound. It begged the question, why our defenders were not there quickly enough. City should have had a penalty as well after Richards was brought down in the box, but referee Dean made another error. Richards looked dangerous, overlapping with pace down the right flank with a couple of forays when he crossed low into the box. He may have caused more problems later, when he was well placed down the right, after he skilfully shifted the ball onto his left. It was begging for a left foot cross. However, like many players he hasn’t developed his left foot and the chance was gone as he lacked confidence on his left, and the ball ended up going sideways then backwards. Without wishing to be harsh on young Micah, especially as he did reasonably well in this game, his left side is something for him to work on, as well as his positional play he has to learn when to make runs forward, to prevent being caught out of position as often as he does.

With Hughes replacing the tiring Elano with Martin Petrov midway through the second, it was surprising that Sensitive Sam didn’t get straight on the phone to his mate down in Trafford to whine about Hughes being ‘disrespectful’. Talking of manure, before the game, someone had propped up a piece of paper inscribed with ‘Man U’ up against some droppings that had been presented by a horse near the main entrance.

Direct football can be exciting, but Little Big Sam’s version of route 0.0001 is ugly and boorish. Despite having to endure this anti-football approach, the Blackburn fans, to their credit, remained good humoured throughout, and backed their team vociferously: ‘You’ve got Robinho, we’ve got Keith Andrews’ being a particularly good self-deprecating gem. The atmosphere was good throughout, and it has to be said that those fans who pushed for a singing section, were spot on, as it nicely complements the South Stand to enhance the atmosphere. There was time for Petrov and Bojinov to get some time on the pitch and they combined well with Kompany to fashion some crosses, but the second half was very much a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’.

No one is getting carried away. City won this match comfortably without playing all that well. In truth we only played well for twenty minutes in the first half the rest of the time we were well organised and worked hard, but that should be viewed positively. Mark Hughes is building something here. Team spirit is good and the team is developing a good shape, especially when we don’t have the ball. Yet again, demonstrating good management, Hughes did not leave the arena until he had shaken hands with every single City player: it was a solid team performance and the whole team contributed.

This win keeps us in the hunt and takes us unto next week’s Swampways derby in good heart. Let’s hope that City can be organised enough, and inventive enough to repeat last season’s triumph.

Ratings:
Given: Great double saves for the penalty. Another excellent, assertive performance from the Premier League’s best goalkeeper: 8
Richards: Some good interceptions, but still leaves gaps that better opponents would exploit: 6
Dunne: Solid, foot perfect and covered the gaps well: 7
Onuoha: An England call-up cannot be far away with this form, even if he did give away a penalty: 7
Bridge: Impressive in defence and going forward. Richards would do well to watch him as his judgement in knowing when to attack: 7
Elano: Another inventive, hard working performance that graced Eastlands: 7
De Jong: His running power and tackling ability were an important factor. Has a tendency to misplace the odd pass which can put us in trouble but always works hard to atone: 6
Kompany: His skill, physical presence and running was crucial in building the platform for City’s victory. Truly a class player and a leader: 8
Ireland: On the end of several cynical foul challenges but continued to work hard and combine well with his team mates: 6
Robinho: Beautiful, clever finish for his goal in a hard working performance: 7
Caicedo: Took his goal well and continues to work hard and improve: 7
Subs:
Bojinov: Some intelligent link up play with Petrov in particular in his half hour: 6
Petrov: Some good runs and searching crosses: 6

Att: 43,907
Refwatch: Mike Dean: got a few decisions wrong: 5
Best oppo: Stephen Warnock: Solid left back, good footballer: 7

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: ETO’O

A message to our Manager:

Dear Mr Hughes, having watched the Champions’ League semi-final tonight I implore you not to buy Mr Invisible, Samuel Eto’o. Even if we could get him for £5 million I wouldn’t pay 5 pounds for him. Quite clearly a player well past his best! Patrick Knowles (MCIVTA 1528) suggested he would score 20 goals a season. I don’t think so. He was anonymous against Terry and Alex over the 2 games.

We need to find the doppelganger for Diving Drogba without the sour grapes attitude especially if you continue with only 1 up front!

That’s who you need to concentrate on finding in the close season… oh, and a couple of decent defenders!

Jane Lees <sjleez(at)gmail.com>

OPINION: WHAT’S NEXT?

Joy for some, uncertainty for others, nothing for lots: The future of Manchester City.

My father and I recently went to see Manchester City play against Fulham. At 3-1 down, the man next to me said that he couldn’t wait for the summer when City could get rid of the “ponces” and replace them with the “perfect”. Well this of course is what is the main aim of Manchester City’s “project”, supposedly the plan to make Man City the greatest football club in the world, which will be harder than it sounds. The upcoming seasons from 2009-2010 will be the chance for Sheik Mansour and his fellow businessman to show that Man City should be taken seriously, which for this season, for sure, they haven’t.

Same old City…

Joy

So the summer will come, and all eyes will be on Man City and who they’re bringing in. The January signings, Mark Hughes’ first proper signings after the Abu Dhabi takeover, saw former Chelsea player Wayne Bridge, who has been fairly solid at left-back, Shay Given, the cheapest signing in January, and definitely the best value for money, and Craig Bellamy, who has been below-par in his performances and has under performed despite his high salary, which I might add pays for his chauffer! The signings, as Mark Hughes said, were to begin development of the “project” which has seen his team come to life in January from the bottom three, after a loss against West Brom, and have now risen into the top half and are now trying to gain 7th place, which will guarantee a place in Europe. However, with a dire away record, and inconsistency, the chances of Man City qualifying for Europe are slim, but not out of the question. Thanks to players like Stephen Ireland we have a fighting chance. With all the new signings, Stephen Ireland has improved his game dramatically and will definitely not be going anywhere in the summer, despite all the new signings.

Uncertainty

Obviously, the debate that has been ongoing all season is about Mark Hughes – “Should he be manager? Why is he still here? He’s ex-Man United, he should go”. Well that’s what he’s been facing and has been the most under-pressure manager of late, apart from Alan Shearer (but that doesn’t really count!), and to be fair, he’s had a hard job, and a finish in the top 10 is respectable despite poor results such as losses against Stoke, West Brom and Middlesbrough, just to name a few. However, good results such as a win over Arsenal, Aston Villa and Everton (away!) are also just to name a few. Sven Goran-Erikkson is seen by some City fans as much better than Mark Hughes, but even under the pressure from the new owners, Sven would crumble, especially after losing 8-1 in his last game in charge, a dark time for sure. But Mark Hughes deserves another chance. He will have unlimited money in the summer and his signings will have to perform, because if not, he could be gone by Christmas. But who knows, we could be challenging for the title next season, who knows…

Nothing

Michael Ball, Benjani, Felipe Caicedo, Ched Evans, Gelson Fernades – these are just a few of names who, if the club is to progress, will surely be considered for the chop from the club, especially with fresh new world class talent being bought in. Old veterans like Michael Ball and Danny Mills, who in fairness are old now, will go. This summer, a lot more players will be going, than coming. The club will never be the same, the days of having a limited budget are over, who knows, if Sven had the money, we might have seen his best friend David Beckham…

Even old favourites like Micah Richards and Richard Dunne, who have been in dire form this season, Dunne in particular, could be considered for removal from the club. The worst area in the Man City team is defence. The team have scored lots of goals, but have also conceded lots. Rumours are speculating already as to who City might buy and I haven’t heard a rumour that a defender is coming, that is where money should be spent. Bellamy and Robinho together cost over £50 million and the back four don’t cost even half of that!

Final Statement

None of us loyal City fans can say what is going to happen in the next few years; we could have brought in twenty new players, we could have had five managers, who knows. The future is uncertain for us all, especially the club…

Tom Woffenden <tomwoof(at)hotmail.co.uk>

OPINION: GHANA VISIT

Visiting the MCFC Babies in Ghana

Many readers of MCIVTA, MCFCfans, and other City forums will be aware of the Manchester City Babies in Ghana. The club is a youth football club run by Peter Amoabil, who is also the Representative of the Ghana branch of the Manchester City Centenary Supporters’ Association (MCCSA).

Alex Channon, Chairman of the MCCSA, launched a kit and funding appeal for the MCFC Babies in Ghana that many of you kindly donated to. That appeal began an association for me with the MCFC Babies that was to become the inspiration for setting up a charity to support youth football teams in Africa and beyond.

Well, after months of preparation, over a hundred e-mails back and forth to Ghana, gathering Manchester City kit and footballs from far and wide, missing flights and buses, finally here I am writing to you from Tamale in Ghana. What a huge relief to be here!

Peter met me at the airport this morning and it was an exciting moment. It feels like the beginning of a great journey. But it is one that I need help with and so I am starting the process of spreading awareness now.

The long-term vision of the charity project is to combine the desire of English Premier League clubs to raise their global profile with the genuine needs of less developed areas and communities. Supporting the creation and development of grassroots football is merely the vehicle through which we’ll try to address some of those needs. Clubs tend to have quite good charitable links within their local catchment areas. But many seem to be missing a way of helping communities further afield.

The fundraising concept is to create an umbrella fund of individual sub-funds for each Premier League club. Clubs and fans donate into their own club pot and once the pot reaches certain levels so grants and sponsorship can be awarded to genuine youth football club projects. The system would enable clubs and fans to follow the progress of the club they have sponsored, in much the same way as you can follow the MCFC Babies progress in Ghana on the web page we created for them (http://www.mcfcfans.co.uk/mcfc_babies).

The medium-term aim might be to arrange an exclusive partnership with a Premier League club, and being biased Manchester City is obviously preferred. The timing, credit crunch aside, couldn’t be better with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and City announcing their pre-season tour there. The club is deluged with charitable requests every week and such a charity would provide a means of centrally co-ordinating charitable efforts related to youth football outside the UK. But we need to make more progress in setting up first.

I have been researching this project now for several months. I have contacted many other organisations (The Craig Bellamy Foundation, Footballs4Fun, Streetfootball, FIFA’s Football for Hope) with a view to collaboration and exchange of knowledge. There is no point starting from scratch when partnering can deliver immediate results.

The research continues and the short-term objective is to learn as much as possible and establish track record by supporting the development of the MCFC Babies in Ghana. I will be sitting down with Peter, coaches and local football administrators tomorrow to work through our respective plans. The Babies will also play a match in the morning wearing their newly donated Manchester City kits.

So what can you do to help? Continuing to donate kit is very much welcome and there is an address on the MCFC Babies page for this purpose. But what is really needed is the time, dedication and commitment of willing volunteers. I’d be most grateful if anyone with charitable experience, administration, youth football experience, trustee experience, or just a general willingness to give up some time could get in touch.

I will continue to post articles to various outlets but you can also follow progress at this Soccer Babies (provisional name better suggestions welcome!) website, which is currently being developed: http://www.webjam.com/soccer_babies

In all of the trials and tribulations of supporting City, it’s easy to forget there are ways we can help those less fortunate than us through a mutual love of football.

Keep the faith.

Struan Malcolm <sm(at)mcfcfans.com>

OPINION: 40 YEARS ON

Me and my very best mate, Patsy Smith, met up the night before at the Turf Tavern, Heaton Park, Prestwich. Being two sensible 19 year olds at the time we limited ourselves to just 6 or 7 pints before catching the bus into Manchester to get the midnight bus from Chorlton Street bus station and onto London.

In order to settle our nerves before such a long journey and a big game we persuaded ourselves to force a couple more pints down our necks before embarking on the cultural visit to our capital city. Sadly, Patsy’s nerves got the better of him. Before we got to some godforsaken place called Stoke, Patsy got his head wedged between the two headrests on the seats in front and distributed the contents of an upset tummy on both seats. I knew he shouldn’t have had that packet of crisps, but would he listen to me?

I know you shouldn’t laugh, and I hope you won’t but Patsy’s head got firmly wedged between the two aforementioned headrests. It wasn’t easy freeing Patsy from his predicament but a quick slap on the mouth seemed to do the trick. We put this unfortunate incident down to a design fault on the bus and being the generous sort that he was Patsy refused to sue the bus company and no more was said of it.

The next thing I recall is waking up on Wembley Way watching the crowds walking to the ground. Driving through the crowd was that famous Finglands bus carrying God’s own team. Uncle Joe, Big Mal and all the lads instantly recognised me and waved enthusiastically in my direction, I politely waved back. On entering the famous stadium I was delighted to discover that the public conveniences were equal to the high quality I had become accustomed to at the back of the Kippax. Football’s not the same now without that gentle flow of urine around your ankles.

On taking up our places on the concrete terracing at the MCFC end it was nice to discover that the two Blues next to us were Bournemouth fans who had accepted the FA’s widely appreciated policy of distributing tickets to all and sundry providing you didn’t support either of the two finalists. The famous Wembley turf had a nice rural touch about it, closely resembling any number of farms I’d often passed whilst driving along the East Lancs Road.

The only thing I remember about the football was Nellie’s famous left peg latching on to Buzzer’s pass and sticking the ball past a helpless Peter Shilton. I saw the same youthful Shilts wiping a tear from his eye as the Leicester bus made the return journey along Wembley Way. The only decent quote worthy of remembering in the press following the match was the little scouse scally Tony Coleman asking Princess Anne to give his love to her Mam and Dad.

I’m hoping other MCIVTA readers will answer Matt Eastley’s request, we can’t be out done by Leicester fans.

I offer this contribution in memory of my best mate ever ‘Patsy’ (Harry Smith) who shared all the successes of the late 60s and early 70s with me but never made it past his 25th birthday.

Kind regards to all, Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)googlemail.com>

OPINION: 40 YEARS ON AND WHY BLUE

Growing up in the Rossendale Valley just outside Manchester in the 1960’s there were many teams to support, but my allegiance to the Blue half of Manchester started one cold but bright winter day (a rarity in Manchester) in 1966 when I was taken to Maine Road by my father and Uncle, both of whom were City fans. It’s a cliché, but I remember my first sight of the stadium and the pitch and that was it, the die was cast and I’d be City ‘Til I Died.

Maybe it’s genetic, but my father is a City fan and has been all his life. Coming from a family with 9 brothers and sisters, the family was split into Blue and Red. There was only one colour for me.

I used to go to most home games and loved the atmosphere, when you could stand and watch in awe. The Kippax End, a mass of blue and white cheering on their heroes every Saturday. 1968 saw City win Division 1 in a nail biting climax at Newcastle having been promoted the year before under the stewardship of Joe Mercer and the mercurial Malcolm Allison. They had put together a team that blended steely defending (Doyle, Oakes, Pardoe, Book), world class attacking midfield players (Bell, Young) and wingers (Coleman and Summerbee). Added to this was the scoring instinct of Lee and we thought we could “terrorise Europe” as Malcolm said, but a first round exit put paid to hopes of European glory in the heady days of 1969.

There was always a problematic position and although we had a great servant in goal with Dowd, the youngster was Joe Corrigan, not the most mobile ‘keeper and in his early days a little error prone. I remember standing behind the goal at Maine Road one Saturday in December with City 6 goals to the good against Burnley and one older, clearly inebriated fan that was yelling and trying to get Joe’s attention for the whole of the second half. When the seventh goal went in Joe eventually turned round to see who had been shouting at him, to be greeted by the immortal words “Keep your eyes on the ball Joe!” Even Joe saw the funny side of it.

January 1969 saw City draw Luton at home in the cup and scrape a 1-0 win, followed by a difficult away game in the next round at Newcastle. I had not been to many away games but we got tickets and sped up the M1 in my Uncle’s Ford Cortina (à la Gene Genie). I loved the atmosphere and familiarity of Maine Road but St James’s Park with 56,000 fans in it was something else – and terrifying as wave after wave of bodies pushed down the terraces with every attack. The result was incidental – I was pleased to be alive at the final whistle and City were still in the cup with a 0-0 scoreline. The replay at Maine Road was four days later, a night match with an ecstatic 68,000 fans cheering on City to a 2-0 win; dare I dream of Wembley?

My Grandfather was a Wembley aficionado: he went to England games and had taken me the previous year to see them play Scotland. He had also cultivated the friendship of a couple of league referees who became a regular source of tickets for the big games. I remember walking down Wembley way thinking I was the only Englishman in London; such was the fervour of the Scottish fans many of whom did not see the game having succumbed to Newcastle Brown Ale and whiskey.

Round 5 saw us drawn away at Blackburn, a local derby and a game unusually played on a Monday night. I remember leaving school early to get to the ground in good time. A great crowd of 42,000 saw a comprehensive win with Lee and Coleman grabbing two each as City overcame a half time 1-1 scoreline. Wembley was firmly in our sights now and March saw Tottenham at home in the next round. 48,000 turned up to see Lee score the only goal for a deserved 1-0 victory.

Semi-finals were played at neutral venues and Villa Park was chosen for our showdown with Everton. City had a very promising young centre half in Tommy Booth and I recall the elation amongst half the 60,000 crowd as he scored with a header in the 89th minute. That was it, we were going to Wembley to meet already relegated Leicester City.

Everyone expected City to win easily but Leicester had a young star player in Alan Clarke and some seasoned professionals who really did not deserve to be at the wrong end of the Division 1 table. Shilton in goal would be hard to beat and although we were on a high nothing was certain when supporting City; that was to become a recurrent theme for the next 40 years!

Grandad called in his contacts for tickets and on the 26 April, three generations of City fans boarded the 8.30 am train from Manchester bound for London and Wembley’s twin towers. Emotions were high, hopes equally so, but would my Saturday’s heroes lift the trophy?

My second ever walk down Wembley way was much nicer than the first as I heard the chants that graced Maine Road on a Saturday ring out around the famous ground. 100,000 fans, a sea of sky blue and red and black (our away kit) and in the distance the Leicester fans cheering on their heroes. National Anthems, Abide With Me, all the cup final traditions I had seen on TV and now here I was at Wembley watching my team in the FA Cup Final.

The game was open with Clarke going close early on and City counter attacking with raids down either wing by Coleman and Summerbee. Bell was tireless in midfield and Doyle was winning the midfield battle. I remember Summerbee skipping past two tackles to pull the ball back for Young who beat Shilton with a rifled shot high into the roof of the net.

Three generations rose as one to cheer what we hoped would be the first of many, but that was not to be and we spent an agonising 60 minutes willing City on. My relief at the final whistle banished the terrifying memories of that away day at Newcastle, we had done it, City had won the FA Cup.

The journey home on the train was one long sing song and the reception at Piccadilly Station in Manchester was even better than the walk down Wembley way. I watched the open top bus parade on TV the next day; this was my team and we had the cup.

The cup final win put City into the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970 and led to some amazing European nights at Maine Road as I went with my dad and uncle in the trusty Ford Cortina. One particular night in October we were playing Athletico Bilbao at home having drawn the first leg 3-3. Running late, we took a short cut only to get lost in the back streets of Manchester. Tempers were getting frayed. Only 20 minutes to kick off and then we saw the floodlights: off we went to arrive at – Old Trafford! More frantic Sweenie-style driving saw us arrive with the game 10 minutes old and City 1-0 up! We went on to win 3-0 on the night and go on to win the Cup Winners’ Cup in a very wet Vienna at the end of April.

That year saw another Wembley visit and triumph as we beat West Brom 2-1 after extra time in a thriller. I actually enjoyed that game more than the FA Cup final and it became another treasured Wembley memory.

The 1970’s saw me continue to go to watch City, but a move to University in Nottingham in 1974 and subsequent gainful employment meant fewer and fewer visits to Maine Road. City was a constant in my life and 5.00pm on Saturdays saw me glued to sports report to see how the boys had got on.

There were some tremendous highs and lows to come over the next 30 years as I followed the team from afar. Relegation, promotion and the rise and rise of the other Manchester team did nothing to change my support although football has changed dramatically since the days of Division 1.

The 1990’s saw me move first to Holland and then to Japan, which was just beginning to discover “soccer” with the J-league. Information on the club was sparse and hard to come by, and results were often gleaned from a late night phone call to my parents. Then I discovered something called e-mail and a lifeline of information in Manchester City Information Via the Alps or MCIVTA. Started as a labour of love by a fellow exiled Blue in Switzerland, this was a bi-weekly newsletter about all things City and fed an information-starved exiled fan.

My travels continued to Hong Kong, and the US and City’s fortunes see-sawed with no trophies, but lots of dramas! A return to Holland in 1999 allowed me to listen in real time to scores and even watch the odd game on TV and of course my son – who was then 4, was a Blue – a responsibility that I have not passed on without some trepidation. These were dark days indeed with City in the old Third Division with a new set of heroes in Dickov, Goater and Horlock.

Thirty years on and another chance to see City at Wembley. Not the FA Cup final, but the third Division play off final against Gillingham. Grandad had long since passed away, but he must have been helping with the tickets as the concierge in my hotel got me two tickets for the Wembley play off final.

Another walk down Wembley way, last time with three generations this time with a mate – but still the memories were there and the expectation higher – surely we could beat Gillingham and start to move in the right direction? A capacity crowd and as per usual with City, expectations dashed. Losing 2-0 with three minutes left I turned to my mate and uttered the fateful words that I had had enough. Never watching this team again – that was the end.

The rest of course is history. Horlock and Dickov score to level it. Extra time and we win the penalty shootout and promotion. How could I doubt that City would win? How could I turn my back on the one constant in my life for the last 30 years?

Another ten years on, still no trophies. A move to Australia and now Shanghai. Expectations as high as ever with the club’s newly found financial muscle and I’m still as wide eyed as that ten year old boy who went to Maine Road for the first time. I get to see most games on TV and even get up at 3.30 am to follow them in Europe – being City Till I Die really sums it all up.

Philip Gregory – Shanghai, China <ph.gregory(at)gmail.com>

OPINION: 40 YEARS ON

‘Fraid I wasn’t at the final, at least not in bodily presence, but I was in spirit. My wife and I together with our five children had moved to America in June 1967. America, in those days, knew very little about football – “Soccer” in their parlance – and cared even less. They did have a TV show on ABC called “Wide World of Sport” and, miracle of miracles, they were going to show a five minute excerpt from the English Cup Final on Saturday evening at around 5:15 two or three weeks after the event. Needless to say, I knew the result and wanted to see this very short but satisfying clip.

However, with five kids and a wife going stir crazy in the house, the family insisted on a Saturday afternoon trip to a nearby shopping mall, a novelty for us in those days. Sure enough, I only remembered the game on TV at around 4:30 pm and after herding everyone into the car took off like a bullet for home. We were less than a mile from our exit on the freeway when the State Trooper’s car came up behind, siren whooping and all lights flashing. It was obvious I was his target and I pulled over on to the shoulder. I got out my license and registration, watched him get out of the cruiser and approach my driver’s door. I wound down the window. “License and registration bud” he demanded. Having raised his dark glasses to read the details, his next question was “OK Mac where’s the fire?”

Desperate measures were needed if we were going to be home before the clip of the game was shown. Putting on the poshest English accent I could muster I came out with “You’re not going to believe this Officer but at ten past five, on ‘Wide World of Sport’ they’re showing Manchester City winning the English F.A. Cup. I’ve been a City fan man and boy all my life and I was speeding to get home to see the winning goal.” He looked at me in disbelief, looked up and down the highway and then handed the papers back to me. “Crazy English b@stard” he said shaking his head “Don’t let me catch you speeding again”. He walked away and got back in his car. I drove to our exit, made it home and turned the telly on as the announcer introduced the start of the game. Just watching Neil Young’s goalmade it all worthwhile.

John Parker <mumdadparker(at)yahoo.com>

OPINION: 40 YEARS ON

The 1969 FA Cup Final will go down as one of my personal highlights since being a long time Manchester City supporter and fan.

Back in 1969 I was serving aboard the Empress of Canada, which was a Trans-Atlantic liner between Liverpool and Canada, but when the winter came the ship cruised out of New York for the West Indies.

We were at sea when I heard on the faithful BBC overseas radio station that City had beaten Everton in the semi-final of the FA Cup. On board the ship the Liverpool fans were happy with the result, the Everton fans were naturally saddened by the result.

Right away I was planning how can I get home for the FA Cup Final? I finally made up an excuse that I had to get home on grounds for domestic relations. The ship’s captain said I could leave if I paid my own fare home from New York.

Now I had to get my fare together for my flight, plus some spending money for the final. There was a bookie on board ship, and I had read in a newspaper that back in the UK because of the severe winter horses could not go out and train, but one horse named Foggy Bell had been galloping on the sands. With the name Foggy Bell (and Bell playing for City) I had a bet on this horse in the Lincolnshire Handicap, it won at 20-1, this was my flight money.

I landed at Manchester airport in the morning, and immediately got a taxi over to the Social club in Maine Road with all my luggage. My friend Roy Clarke was very surprised to see me, especially with all my luggage. He wondered what was wrong until I said “I have just flown home from New York for the Cup Final, can you please get me a ticket?”

Being that I was the founder of the then Holyhead Branch of the Official City Supporters Club, Roy Clarke as President of the Supporters’ Club gave the Holyhead Branch two tickets, which in turn the members voted that I was to get the two tickets as I had deserved them.

I had another bet on City to beat Leicester; the odds by then were even, it was another winner! We left the City Social club late on Friday night, and all the way down the motorway there were cars and other buses’ horns making noises, and with their blue and white scarves flying out of their windows.

At Wembley I was behind the goal where Neil Young scored the winner. That night I went out to celebrate our win; I was in a pub that was back to back with the Cafe Royal restaurant near Piccadilly where the City team and officials were having their celebration. I shall never forget Franny Lee coming in through the back door to wild cheers.

Later that night I found myself dancing in the fountains of Trafalgar Square; I was young back then and I was so happy, being wet never ever concerned me until I found all my clothes wet next day, but I just laughed about it. The following Monday I had got myself a new job on the Irish Ferries. The whole experience, it certainly was one of the highlights of my life as a City supporter and fan.

More silverware soon please City.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: LOYALTY POINTS

I agree that the current loyalty points system is making the rich richer and the poor poorer! Basically there is a huge divide between those fans that go to all games and those who only go to home games. Perhaps season ticket renewal should be rewarded with a higher number of points at the beginning of the season? It does seem odd that Citycard holders can actually accumulate more points going to home games than season ticket holders. The Blackburn game is 20 loyalty points and yet season ticket holders are getting 10 points per game (is that right?).

To be fair, the effort and expense that the small but constant group of away fans make to get to away games should be rewarded with relatively more loyalty points. They may have a few extra points because their mates have used their card from time to time, but actually the main reason such fans have so many points is because they’ve been to a lot of games.

A City mate of mine has hit on a much bigger gripe that I have with the system, which is the crazy series of dates that the club comes out with for different levels of loyalty points before you can buy a ticket for an away game. This system led to the ludicrous situation for the Hamburg away game where there were fans in Germany without a ticket and a ticket office in Manchester trying to sell them. At its most basic level the system prevents a group of mates from booking a trip to an away game together without a serious amount of stress and risk. If one fan has 5,000 points he can sometimes get his ticket more than a week before his mates with 2,500-3,000 points. But a) he wants to sit with his mates; and b) he is reluctant to book his travel until he knows his mates can get a seat. But the fan with 5,000 doesn’t want to miss out so he buys his ticket anyway, knowing that he probably won’t be able to sit with mates with less points if they do manage to get a ticket. Travel planning becomes a nightmare, especially for games further afield and in Europe where flights are concerned.

The solution: Ask all fans wanting to go to a game to apply by phone, online, post or whatever means by one specific date and time. Groups of fans apply as they do now by quoting all the customer numbers at once so they sit together. Once the deadline has passed the ticket office then dishes out the entire allocation prioritising by the number of loyalty points. All fans are then advised at the same time whether or not they have been successful in obtaining an away ticket. Fans in a group who didn’t have enough points just don’t get a ticket as is the case now, only at the moment they have to wait ages to find out.

The benefits:

  • All mates in a group know at the same time whether or not they have a ticket sothey can immediately plan their trip and book their travel.
  • All mates in a group who had enough points actually get to sit together – betternoise at the game.
  • The club finds out much earlier what the demand for a game is; shhock horror wemight actually ask for increased allocations (or stop turning down offers ofincreased allocations) in time for us to take a decent crowd to games. The currentsystem makes the club blind to potential demand because it asks lots of fans towait before they buy.
  • Should help to prevent the Hamburg situation so this is particularly important ifwe plan to be in Europe more often.

The only downside I can think of, apart from United apparently using a similar system (interested to hear more if anyone can think of any) is all away fans booking their travel at the same time, which may hike prices a bit on that day. However, if you think about the current system, fans with much more loyalty points are getting much cheaper travel than those who have to wait for an extra week or more before they book. That has to be unfair.

Keep the faith.

Struan Malcolm <struan_Malcolm(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: MICHAEL JOHNSON

Before I give my thoughts, I need to state that I’ve decided to refer to Mr Mark Hughes simply as “the manager”. I don’t think he is good manager. I don’t think he’s a top coach. I do think he’s the man Garry Cook, and subsequently the owners, want and that between them they are unified in trying to take the club in a direction which appears to be making us into some bluer version of the Scum. Whatever, I don’t like him and I’m never going to call him ‘Sparky’ like some gob-s hack, so I’m referring to him by his official title out of respect to the office.

I was worried after Johnno missed out on any game time this week after returning for the reserves last week, complaining of “tightness”, which is the key symptom of a defective muscle that isn’t torn or bruised as far as I’m aware. It is barely better than the news we had before Christmas. Will he ever return? As the squad progresses with the expected influx of new players as well as Johnson’s fellow academy graduates who improve and gel month by month, will there be a place for him if/when he’s capable?

Well in the MEN this Thursday, “the manager” let on a little more on Johnson’s groin’s progress. Apparently the tightness would be expected “because he hasn’t played for so long”. Erm, yes an injured muscle does that. In fact that’s the reason for not playing with an injury. Playing through the discomfort affected the starlet’s reputation and performance at the beginning of the season.

The veiled threat that “Johnno cannot afford to have the whole five or six weeks off this summer”, “We expect to hit the ground running when we come back” I read from this that the delay is solely down to effort and fitness rather than the complexity of the injury, and this baffles me. This is a player who just twelve months back was on the cusp of stardom. The next Gerrard. The next Colin Bell even! So we are expected to think he’s not doing everything instructed by the hoard of physios and so on in order to at least play to his previous ability without being in pain? He certainly isn’t playing the part of a big time want-away, as Liverpool and other top sides aren’t banging his door down any more, whilst his team-mates talk of Europe and dreams of £40,000 a week contracts for reserve team players.

I remember this article quoting Bowen as being unhappy with Johnson’s mindset http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/duncanwhite/blog/2008/12/11/michael_johnson_the_manchester_city_star_who_lost_his_way, whilst I found one article by a journo who actually spoke to Johnson and shows a player getting knocked from many angles and not getting support for his injury http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/feb/05/michael-johnson-manchester-city-newcastle Both seem to show management that isn’t happy and a player who is going nowhere.

“The manager” stated that he doesn’t want to “have to ease people in because, by virtue of the hard work they have done this season, they should have the base that they didn’t have the year before.” Err, so this injury that still hurts cannot be healed because Johnson should have put in the fitness work. I don’t doubt that Johnson should be getting himself fit, but if it’s not healed then what does “the manager” expect? Is this an ultimatum? Or is Johnson just not meeting expectations? It doesn’t seem “the manager” is making any room for his long term injured considering the pressure on the team to perform. From that, are Petrov and Boj going to get integrated because they’ve both had much less influence than I would expect from them. As far as I can tell if you don’t hit the ground running in Hughes’ mind then you will founder, whether you’re fighting to be fit or not.

By directly comparing Johnson’s situation to Steven Ireland in the interview it makes me wonder if “the manager” is really. Ireland was fit and had an OK career excepting the fact that he had huge potential to be a bit of a muppet, when he decided to go on a quest to seek out the mystical ancient art of running faster and concentrating on the game (alright, it was a personal trainer in the Peaks not Fu Manchu, but he began last summer with average prospects and came into 08/09 a Football God. Same dodgy facial hair tho. I digress). All year Johno has only been mentioned in the press next to the words “groin injury continues to confound specialists”. Yes, that sounds to me like a man who is Rocky IV style training regime away from a spectacular return. So “the manager” seems certain that for Johnson, it’s all in the mind.

So is the tone of the management correct and a return is imminent with application from Johnson, is the injury still causing minor complications that Johnson can’t play around, or is it actually still a mystery and Johnson’s best chance of return is the use of West African magic? Clarification at least would be nice.

In Sparky we… make do until a full blown players’ revolt! 🙁

Paul Hunt <paul.h.a.hunt(at)googlemail.com>

REQUEST: REDDISH BLUES

The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is next Wednesday 13th May at Reddish Working Men’s Club, Greg Street, Stockport starting at 7.30.pm (doors 7.00pm).

Our confirmed guest is Nigel de Jong and senior officials from the Club. Admission, which includes a free raffle, is free to branch members and just £2 for adult non-members and £1 for juniors.

You’re advised to get there early as we’re expecting a full house.

As always everyone is welcome.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: CARL RAMSBOTTOM GAME

I’ve recently spoken to a member of Carl’s family regarding his progress and financial needs without being too intrusive, I hope. The situation is this:

Carl is back in this country near his home but is undergoing a long period of rehabilitation in hospital. He could well be in hospital for many more months. The prognosis is uncertain as yet but it is highly unlikely that Carl Ramsbottom will ever work again. Whilst his employers have been very supportive he is now on 50% wages and will eventually lose his job.

It is possible, or probable that his family will need to sell his home and buy another home that can be adapted to meet his future needs. All this will cost much money. With that in mind the ‘Carl Ramsbottom Appeal’ continues.

I have organised a 5-a-side football competition in aid of the Appeal. The details are this.

Date: Saturday 13th June 2009 commencing at 10-00am and ending at 1-30pm
Venue: Platt Lane Complex
Entrance is £25 per team. All entrance fees going to the Appeal. Cheques made payable to MCCSA and forwarded to me:

Alex Channon
‘Penalty Spot’
81 Milner Street
Swinton
Manchester
M27 4AS

Confirmation of your entry is when I receive your cheque. Closing date for entries is Saturday 30th May 2009.

I am looking for 8 referees to provide their services free so all monies raised go to the Appeal. If you are a qualified referee, active or non-active please contact me ASAP if you are willing to take part. If any of you know any such willing referees, please put them in touch with me.

MCFC have kindly covered the cost of us using the Platt Lane Complex. All enquiries regarding the 5-a-side should be directed to me.

Kind regards to all, Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)googlemail.com>

REQUEST: CHRISTOPHER MCARTY

I am trying to trace my old friend Christopher Mcarty, he was my best man at my wedding in 1981 when I moved away from Manchester to Horsham.. I can remember he and his father were city season ticket holder for years and lived in West Haughton, they bought Franny Lee’s old house!

Any information or details of how to find him would be appreciated.

Many thanks, Steven Whiting <dolphinbeach52(at)googlemail.com>

REQUEST: CHARITY PITCH DAY

Take your chance to Live the Dream and support The New Manchester Children’s Hospital Appeal. For a donation of just £350 you can play in:

The Legends Match
An afternoon 11-a-side game between two sides each managed by Mike Summerbee and Mike Doyle. You will be provided with full Manchester City kit, which you may keep and will get a full set of team and action photos.

or:

The 6-a side Team Challenge and Dinner
An evening 6-a-side tournament also played on the pitch with a former Manchester City player managing each of the 16 teams followed by a gala dinner at which there will be speeches, awards and a charity auction.

Features include:

  • Meet legends for photo and autograph signings opportunities
  • Change in the dressing rooms
  • Kit provided
  • Run out of the tunnel onto the pitch
  • Experience thrill of playing at one of the country’s greatest venues

For further information on this unique opportunity, call us now on 0845 888 0002.

Simon Clark – Football Nights Ltd, 1 Shorrolds Road, London, SW6 7TR <simon.clark(at)footballnights.co.uk>

RESULTS

4 May 2009

Aston Villa           1 - 0  Hull City             39,607

3 May 2009

Liverpool             3 - 0  Newcastle United      44,121
Sunderland            0 - 2  Everton               41,213

2 May 2009

Middlesbrough         0 - 2  Manchester United     33,767
Chelsea               3 - 1  Fulham                41,801
Manchester City       3 - 1  Blackburn Rovers      43,967
Portsmouth            0 - 3  Arsenal               20,418
Stoke City            0 - 1  West Ham United       27,500
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  35,832
Wigan Athletic        0 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      18,655

League table to 06 May 2009 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  34 15  1  1 41 13 10  4  3 22 10 25  5  4  63  23  40 80
 2 Liverpool       35 11  7  0 38 12 11  4  2 31 14 22 11  2  69  26  43 77
 3 Chelsea         35 10  6  2 31 12 12  2  3 28  9 22  8  5  59  21  38 74
 4 Arsenal         35 10  5  2 26 11  9  6  3 37 21 19 11  5  63  32  31 68
 5 Aston Villa     35  6  9  3 26 21 10  1  6 25 23 16 10  9  51  44   7 58
 6 Everton         35  7  5  5 28 19  8  6  4 22 17 15 11  9  50  36  14 56
 7 West Ham United 35  8  2  7 21 18  5  7  6 18 20 13  9 13  39  38   1 48
 8 Manchester City 35 12  0  6 39 18  2  5 10 17 28 14  5 16  56  46  10 47
 9 Fulham          35 10  3  4 25 13  2  8  8 10 18 12 11 12  35  31   4 47
10 Tottenham H.    35  9  5  4 19  9  4  3 10 23 32 13  8 14  42  41   1 47
11 Wigan Athletic  34  7  5  5 15 16  4  4  9 16 22 11  9 14  31  38  -7 42
12 Bolton Wndrs    35  7  3  7 20 20  4  3 11 20 31 11  6 18  40  51 -11 39
13 Stoke City      35  9  5  4 20 15  1  4 12 13 35 10  9 16  33  50 -17 39
14 Portsmouth      35  7  3  8 23 28  2  8  7 12 25  9 11 15  35  53 -18 38
15 Blackburn R.    35  5  6  6 20 23  4  4 10 18 35  9 10 16  38  58 -20 37
16 Sunderland      35  6  3  9 19 22  3  5  9 12 26  9  8 18  31  48 -17 35
17 Hull City       35  3  5  9 17 33  5  5  8 20 27  8 10 17  37  60 -23 34
18 Newcastle Utd   35  4  7  6 21 27  2  6 10 16 29  6 13 16  37  56 -19 31
19 Middlesbrough   35  5  8  5 16 19  2  2 13  9 32  7 10 18  25  51 -26 31
20 West Brom A.    35  6  3  8 23 30  1  4 13 10 34  7  7 21  33  64 -31 28

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0708.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Alex Rowen)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.mcivta.com/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.reddishblues.com/CSAWebsite/CSA.htm) and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/manchester_city/index.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at http://www.mcivta.com/players/

[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 http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1529

2009/05/07

Editor:


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