Newsletter #1820

Well the day is here. How have you been coping?

I’ve been largely trying not to think about it and not rising to the occasional smug jibe from Rag ‘friends’. I’m rather hoping the boys on the pitch do the talking.

A global audience tonight for the game, so if you are not there in person I do hope you get a good seat to watch and, wherever you are, if we get the chance… let’s Poznan!

Some interesting content today to warm us up. A nice focus on Sheffield, which is going through a similar battle between the teams as Manchester’s and a couple of historical pieces from Pete Kay and Arthur Hill.

Finally, a few last-minute requests for assistance/advice.

Ok then, here goes!

Next Game: Manchester United, 30 April 2012, 20:00


I received some correspondence from a fellow City fan who felt that everybody hates us. That is not my experience, and I replied with words to that effect.

Whilst there is some jealousy of City’s wealth in some fans of other clubs, the evidence of meeting fans, reading various chat rooms, and hearing phone-ins does not suggest that Manchester City and City fans are hated by many people.

Despite the jealousy and sense of entitlement amongst a lot of Arsenal and Liverpool fans I have still heard so many of them say that they’d rather we win the League than United. For years they have dealt with nasty, unsporting behaviour from so many Rags, and has not been forgotten in most cases.

I work in Sheffield, a city where most people support one of their local clubs. The day after our 6-1 win over the Rags a Sheff Weds fan stopped me in the street (I was wearing a City scarf) and said “I’m so glad you beat THEM”.

A Sheffield Wednesday supporter that I know told me that he is going to watch our match in the pub, wearing blue (though not a City shirt), in support of us! He expects that there will be far more people supporting City on Monday night.

Another Wednesdayite struck up conversation with me the other day over a cup of tea. He said “Great results for you last night. Hope you win it. I hate Man U.”

I asked him why. After all, how can anyone possibly hate Manchester United?

He replied, “They bully referees. Ferguson in particular. I don’t like their attitude” and then he paused. “They don’t play good football.”

I’ve had similar conversations on fans from the other side of the Sheffield divide. A Blades fan said to me the other week she’d rather we win the league than the Rags. There is no discernible alliance of “Uniteds” (The Blades being the original “United”).

There is a recurring theme up and down the country. Heading back from the win over the Baggies, the guard on the train went out of his way to tell us, out of the blue, “I hope THEY don’t win it”, meaning of course you know who. I always ask the question why, knowing the sort of answers I am going to get and he said “Ferguson. It’s the way he behaves.” The guard wasn’t even a supporter of a rival Premier League club, but he had experienced enough of Ferguson when his team, Leicester City, had played them in the top flight and he isn’t enamoured with his attitude down the years up to the current day. If anything you’d think this Leicester supporter would have an axe to grind with Manchester City, as we always seem to beat them, but no, there’s something about United that makes people up and down the country hate them.

Up and down the country people who support their local club are sneered at, abused and patronised by armchair or day-tripping United fans who have no connections to Manchester. Imagine you’re Pompey fan or Exeter fan and some numpty in a Manure replica shirt starts sneering at your club in the pub on a Saturday night. I’d wager that generally isn’t the case when fans of other clubs meet us.

Of course there is the odd United fan who can hold a sensible conversation over football but they are rare in my experience.

Much of the written press, pundits and some jealous fans hate us, but not the majority of fans in my experience. Most people can make their own minds up and can see beyond sections of the media whipping up bitterness and bile towards us. If there is any hatred towards us, it’s from Rags and also from embittered Arsenal fans, who are being ripped off by their club for season tickets, whilst they sell our best players to us. The latter should turn their ire to the Arsenal board, who are doing very well thank you at the expense of their own fans, many of who have been priced out of watching their team. There’ll never be that much love flowing down the East Lancs Road, and whilst we have experienced some hostility in Merseyside, it doesn’t stretch to a hatred of Manchester City.

Yes, there is jealousy amongst some fans of other clubs (they’d all happily trade places though), but many more people also want City to win the title because they cannot stand United. I have either seen or had had supportive messages from fans of Wolves (even since they got relegated on Sunday), Sheff U, Norwich, Liverpool, Chelsea, and even a Tottenham fan (yes, Tottenham!), who I play football with, implored us to beat United. I’m sure there are many more. Many sections of the media might hate us for breaking their cosy top four cartel, but not many of the fans.

City may be rich thanks to the Sheikh but we are not arrogant. We have banter with other fans but we don’t sneer at other clubs. We banter, we empathise. And that is one of the many differences between us and the Rags. Vive la difference!

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


We are pleased to announce that King Of The Kippax fanzine number 197, the 9th, and final one of the season, should hit the outlet at Aleef, corner of Cross Street and Market Street on Friday April 27th and the selling points around the Etihad at the United and QPR home games plus the Newcastle away game.

KK197 is a 52 page A4 issue with Mancini on the front cover saying “Ees impossible now, but we’ll fight to the end.”

This issue includes a Dennis Tueart interview on his book, chat with Joe Corrigan, Frank Horrocks tribute, should he go or should he stay? Tévez, Balotelli, Twitter, Uncle Ryan’s Ukrainian phrasebook, myths exploded, DCMS select committee report, monthly diary, leaving early and much more as you’ll have all summer to read it.

It sells at just £2.50 and can also be bought for £3.50 (inc. P&P) from King Of The Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh. Lancs, WN7 2HL.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


I was interested to read Phil Banerjee’s article in MCIVTA 1819 about the chap (Scott) from Dunfermline who is moving to Manchester for work and is a City fan.

Possibly the first person from Dunfermline to move to Manchester and become a City fan was my wife’s great grandfather, Andrew Niven. He played in goal for Dunfermline, later Dunfermline Athletic, in the 1880’s when a chap called Peter Hodge was the team coach (officially called Club Secretary).

Andrew moved to Manchester around 1890, we assume for work reasons. Eventually, in 1925/26 season, Peter Hodge became the Manager at City, two matches before the end of the season when they were relegated!

Although his playing days were over, Andrew contacted Peter Hodge and became a City fan. Thus started 6 generations of City fans. Andrew followed by John Niven, Ian Niven (currently Honorary President of City), my wife Olivia, my son Mike and my grandson James.

Pete Kay <pknw29683(at)>


Alex Ferguson drops Howard Webb for crucial derby match

Alex Ferguson has controversially dropped talismanic referee Howard Webb from Man Utd’s starting 12 for the crucial Premier League clash with Man City, and will instead hand a start to Andre Marriner.

Early reports indicated that crowd favourite Webb would line up for the league leaders, but news has now surfaced that Ferguson is to take a gamble on Marriner. Marriner, who has only made 3 starts for Man Utd this season, is a surprise selection by Ferguson, given Webb’s ability to pull highly contentious decisions out of the bag in big matches.

“Webby has put in some great performances for us in the past, but I feel the expectation levels of supporters could be too much for him on this occasion,” revealed Ferguson.

“I might put him on the bench as an impact referee in case we need one of their players sending off or a penalty deep into stoppage time.”

The news of Marriner’s inclusion has left United fans miffed given Ferguson’s criticism of his performance in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in 2009.

“It doesn’t make any sense not to include Webbo,” said avid fan John Henderson, who has lived in Plymouth all his life and whose only connection with Manchester is that he once voted for Bez when he was on Celebrity Big Brother.

“In games like this you want your best performers on the pitch, and Webbsio pulling the strings is as good as going into the game with a two-nil lead.”

“I hope that Ferguson has seen something in Marriner in training that suggests he can rise to the occasion.”

“If City have still got eleven men on the pitch at half-time then I’ll be singing Webbsyio’s name.”

“I’ll be singing it at the TV, but rest assured that the wife will be left in no doubt about how angry I am.”

Stephen Loss <Stephen.Loss(at)>


Feeling the tension?

Are you looking forward to Monday’s game? I’ve tried not to think about it too much, otherwise the nerves will start getting to me. It’s almost impossible, though, with friends and colleagues wishing us well and asking if we are going to do it. It’s been an exciting season (too exciting in some ways – I’d much rather be ten points clear!) as we have gone head to head (or is toe to toe?) with the Rags.

Meanwhile, 37 miles to the east of Manchester, another city, Sheffield, is in the throes of a titanic struggle for promotion from the third tier. It’s a battle that matches our own for passion, even if it doesn’t in League status. Two passionately supported clubs, with a fierce rivalry – both refer to each other as “t’pigs” are fighting over the remaining automatic promotion spot.

I lived in Sheffield for 24 years and have worked there for longer, so have made friends with fans from both sides of the Steel City. Throughout the season, I’ve seen the tension etched on the faces of Blades and Owls, and note the battle has intensified. Sheffield Wednesday lead Sheffield United by one point with one to play.

The Blades are traditionally the underdogs, though in recent years they have had the ascendency (under the staunch, Blades supporting, McCabe family), as Sheffield Wednesday suffered for years since dropping out the Premier League in the year 2000: the legacy of a serious over-spend by the Dave Richards regime. Richards, curiously, is Chairman of FA Premier League and a prominent (embarrassing, gaffe-prone) member of the FA’s Board and Chairman of the international committee. How do they do that? Add to that the fact that several companies that he was the director of went into administration or were disbanded. Richards even has a knighthood! Isn’t it strange how we reward failure in this country?

A few local businessmen have tried to revive Wednesday, but they stood on the brink of administration just over a year ago, and it has taken the shrewd serial-club owner Milan Mandaric to come in and save them from going into financial meltdown. He has made no secret of his desire to get Wednesday promoted at least one level, and possibly into the Premier League before selling on again, so optimism abounds on the North side of Sheffield.

The Blades, who draw their support mainly from the South side of Sheffield and the city centre (City fans who have been on away trips to Bramall Lane will know that their ground is just off Sheffield city centre), if I can generalise a bit, are not naturally so optimistic as their bitter rivals.

No Sheffield United fan that I know expected them to return straight back to Championship after the club cut back too far on spending, which resulted in relegation to the third tier at the end of last season. Furthermore, the appointment of ex-Wednesday player and manager Danny Wilson upset a lot of Blades fans and there was a demonstration in the car park as he was being presented to the press. He has, however, won over many fans with his calmness, dignity, pleasing style of football and, most importantly, excellent results (without the results, I don’t doubt that he would have had a very rough time!).

Under ex-City man Gary Megson, the Owls were expected to challenge, even if his style of play is not to everyone’s tastes. Still, he was popular with the fans, being a Wednesday supporter and former player in two spells with the Owls. His sacking after winning the Sheffield derby 1-0 was one of the more baffling decisions of the season, but his fate had already been sealed by the trigger happy chairman Milan Mandaric who had cited a previous mediocre run of results. But Mandaric will feel vindicated, as the Blades have been looking over their shoulders for some time now (sound familiar?) as Wednesday under new manager Dave Jones are on a hot streak, playing more of a passing game with a big, physical side.

With Ched Evans’ conviction, this intriguing fight for promotion now has an added twist, and their defeat at Milton Keynes Dons last Saturday suggests that it has hit them harder than they are letting on.

Do the Blades have another striker who can score the goals to propel them over the line? Their fans are very doubtful about this. No other player has got even close to Evans in the scoring charts. Supreme optimism (which in my experience is rare amongst Sheffield United fans) has turned to pessimism on the red and white half of the city.

The Blades fans (or “Unitedites” are they are also known) have worn a haunted look this week as the spectre of their hated rivals looms large over them. In contrast, the Wednesdayites can’t wait for the next game. They are taking extra tickets to go to their final away game at Brentford. Not that the Blades fans are showing anything other than solid support. The Blades are sold out for their trip to Exeter next week, and both the teams are expecting sell out for their final games.

So, who is going to do it?

United have gone quiet and look nervy. In contrast Wednesday seem to have the force with them. If I was going to bet, it would be on the Owls, but don’t take my word for it!

If Wednesday did miss out on the final automatic spot, I’d expect them to win the play-offs. They should be too good for any of the other teams over two legs in the play off semis and have already proved they are a big game players this season with a draw at Bramall Lane and a win over the Blades at Hillsborough. That all said, everyone knows the play-offs can throw up some strange results. It always helps when a team is in good form and Wednesday are a team in form.

In contrast, I suspect the Blades fans are right when they say that if they end up in play-offs they will fail to gain promotion. With their leading scorer gone, there is a feeling that the stuffing has been knocked out of them. The one thing they have in their favour is that they are team that has played the best football in the division (Champions Charlton are known for being rather defensive), which is a real departure from the direct game of Blades sides for the last twenty-odd years. Like Dave Jones, Wilson is a clever man-manager.

I hope both clubs go up this season. Whilst there are no divine rights, they clearly shouldn’t be in the third tier of English football. In fact it would be good for them both to get back in the top flight sooner than later. A few near away trips for us wouldn’t go amiss!

So there you have it. It’s managed to take my mind off our own issues… but only for a little while. I’d like to think that we can take the Wednesday “no-fear, let’s give our best shot” attitude to our battle. Bring it on.

Come on City.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Can anyone recommend a good bar to watch the derby in on Monday night in Johannesburg (Sandton area or thereabouts)?

Thanks, Martin Preston <martingpreston(at)>


Like many fans who live away, I have been unable to get 2 tickets for the derby but do intend on travelling to Manchester for Monday night… just to “be there”.

Can anyone advise… will the match be streamed on screens at the ground? Is there a planned get together for fans who want to “be there” and soak up some atmosphere in a next-best-thing styley? Or is it find a pub… of a Blue persuasion?

Thanks for any helpful advice.

Michael Sokol <mike.sokol(at)>


I will be in New Orleans, LA on Monday and wondered if there was a pub in the area where other Blues will be watching the big game?

Andrew Kirkman <andrew(at)>


Help – QPR tickets!

I know this is a long shot, but I am returning from Australia to see my family on 12 May and would love to see the final home game of the season. If anybody has any spare tickets I would be more than happy to take them off your hands.

John Durham <jdu(at)>


For those of us who can remember the end of the season in 1967-68, allow me to remind you and to bring to the attention of those who have the good fortune to be young enough not to have been around at that time, the scenario before the last games of the season.

City were away at Newcastle and needed a win to make sure of the Championship. Man Ure were playing at home against Sunderland and, if they won and City lost, they would win the title. The ding-dong of a match at Newcastle saw us win by 4 goals to 3, which meant that City won the title no matter what the score was in Trafford. As it happened, Man Ure lost to Sunderland, which made the celebrations even greater.

So, why this reminder?

Well, look at the fixtures.

In the last two matches of this season City play Newcastle away, and yes, Man Ure play Sunderland. Can history repeat itself? Is it an omen? Personally, I do not believe in such things, but it will happen!

Arthur Hill <R4L(at)>


24 April 2012

Aston Villa           1 - 2  Bolton Wanderers      32,263

League table to 25 April 2012 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 14  2  2 50 19 12  3  2 36 13 26  5  4  86  32  54  83
 2 Manchester City 35 16  1  0 51 10  9  4  5 36 17 25  5  5  87  27  60  80
 3 Arsenal         35 12  3  3 36 14  8  2  7 31 29 20  5 10  67  43  24  65
 4 Newcastle Utd   34 11  5  2 29 15  7  3  6 24 27 18  8  8  53  42  11  62
 5 Tottenham H.    34 11  3  3 35 17  6  5  6 22 22 17  8  9  57  39  18  59
 6 Chelsea         34 10  3  3 33 20  6  7  5 23 18 16 10  8  56  38  18  58
 7 Everton         34  8  3  6 21 14  5  6  6 21 24 13  9 12  42  38   4  48
 8 Liverpool       34  5  9  3 20 14  7  1  9 20 23 12 10 12  40  37   3  46
 9 Fulham          34  9  5  4 34 25  3  5  8 11 19 12 10 12  45  44   1  46
10 West Brom A.    35  6  2  9 19 19  7  4  7 22 28 13  6 16  41  47  -6  45
11 Sunderland      35  7  6  4 24 14  4  5  9 18 27 11 11 13  42  41   1  44
12 Swansea City    35  7  6  4 22 14  4  4 10 17 31 11 10 14  39  45  -6  43
13 Norwich City    35  6  6  5 26 27  5  4  9 21 33 11 10 14  47  60 -13  43
14 Stoke City      34  7  5  4 21 16  4  4 10 11 32 11  9 14  32  48 -16  42
15 Aston Villa     35  4  6  8 19 24  3  9  5 17 26  7 15 13  36  50 -14  36
16 QPR             35  6  5  7 23 25  3  2 12 16 32  9  7 19  39  57 -18  34
17 Wigan Athletic  35  3  7  7 15 25  5  3 10 19 35  8 10 17  34  60 -26  34
18 Bolton Wndrs    34  4  3 10 20 33  6  0 11 19 34 10  3 21  39  67 -28  33
19 Blackburn R.    35  6  1 11 26 32  2  6  9 21 41  8  7 20  47  73 -26  31
20 Wolves          35  3  2 13 19 43  2  6  9 15 32  5  8 22  34  75 -41  23

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1820