Newsletter #1897

Welcome to the pre-derby issue.

Which all seems a little strange. The usual emotions of fear, dread, excitement and (worst of all) hope. However, compared to the equivalent fixture last season, it is not quite the same. Let’s face it, last season’s game was, arguably, the most significant game in our history.

Which throws up an interesting debate. What has, genuinely, been the most significant game in our history?

Good luck if you are there in person tomorrow evening. Sadly I won’t be, but know you will be joined emotionally by us all!

Next Game: That Lot, Not in Manchester, 8 April 2013, 20.00


I read Dave Lees’ article in MCIVTA 1896 about City fans sneaking out before the end of the 4-0 thrashing against Newcastle and cannot agree with him more. I was at my only home game of the season (I now live in Hampshire) and how anyone would bother leaving a match early is beyond me. Personally I had paid £148 for tickets for my wife, two kids and me; if I had left 5 minutes early my calculations would tell me I had wasted £10.22 of the ticket price alone (current ticket prices a gripe for another day).

It did remind me of a trip I made with a mate to Upton Park many years ago.

I travelled from Ealing in West London (on this occasion a really long trip thanks to the railways virtually packing up for the weekend) and met a mate who lived in Docklands to go to the match. We found a City pub and started asking for tickets; we always did this in those days and we never paid over face value. This day, however, it took a long time to get tickets. Eventually we got an adult and a child ticket and thought we would just have to take our chances. So, feeling hungry after the trip and ticket hunt, I ordered a couple of pies to be told that they had sold out; I was also told that there were no other pubs locally that I could get fed in without getting a kicking, so had to settle for a liquid lunch.

We went to the match, a bit worried about my kiddies ticket, but got in without any problems. After all this effort this had better be a good one. Needless to say we were awful! West Ham out-played us all afternoon and we found ourselves 4-1 down in the 84th minute, Niall Quinn had pulled us back to 1-2 earlier, but two goals in two minutes had secured them the win. “Come on let’s go” my mate said. “You must be f****** joking” I said, “I’ve spent about two and a half hours getting to this godforsaken part of London, spent another hour getting tickets (with little or no help from you!), gone without lunch ’cause they can’t even buy enough pies in the pub for a decent away showing and had to pretend to be under 16 (I was in fact 28) to get in and you want me to go before the final whistle? Pi** off!”

Then, in the last minute of the match, a speculative cross was floated over to the edge of the D, the sort of useful place City put most of their crosses into in those days! This was met on the volley with his left boot by Niall Quinn and flew into the top corner; it was without doubt the best goal I ever saw him score and I saw him net a few. I turned to my mate and said, “there you are, the best goal we will see all season and you wanted to be walking back to the station?!”

I know this does not match leaving early in 1999 or 2012, but I still cannot understand how anyone would go to all the expense and effort to go to a 90 minute football match and leave before the end. Why not just stay at home in the first place, do the garden and save yourself a fortune?

Mind you, as my mum always said, there’s nowt so strange as folk!

St. John Cox <stjohn.cox(at)>


I think Steve Burrows may have misunderstood where I am coming from in his piece in MCIVTA 1896. Put another way, he may have misdiagnosed my condition. Either that or he is on the wind up!

I do, though, share his excitement of a prospect of another FA Cup semi. You wait 30 years then two come along…

Fantastic. I still cannot believe what has happened to our beloved Manchester City.

Success is not a God-given right. I don’t know any City fan who believes that. I have never believed that or written that and I don’t know where Steve got that idea from. Just because Sheikh Mansour has showered City with funds beyond our dreams does not guarantee or entitle us to success either. I am very aware of where we have come from.

Like many City fans I did the hard yards, having watched City in three divisions and seen us get relegated five times in 32 years (82/83, 86/87, 95/96, 97/98, 00/01). The slippery slope to relegation in 1982/83 with so many players lacking confidence was a real eye-opener about how much psychology plays a part in the game. Players who had won their first three games gradually lost confidence. I saw the worst game of football I have ever seen when we lost 0-1 at home to an inept Bury side in 1998 (the day when the season ticket holder ripped his ticket up on the pitch and dropped it like confetti – Frank Clark’s last game). I was at York in December 1998 when we lost 2-1 and fell to our lowest ever position, i.e. 12th in the 3rd Division (let’s not have any of this “League One” nonsense, we’re in League One now because that’s what Premier means). I also watched Stuart Pearce’s team fail to score a League goal at home after Jan 1st which was a bizarre form of torture. We all deserve a medal (and at the time needed something “medicinal” to suppress the pain) for putting up with that mind-numbing tedium! But we shouldn’t be judged by those dark days.

We have no God-given right to be in any division (I have often thought of fans of a similar sized club like Sheffield Wednesday who have had not one, but three spells in the third tier) but I never want to experience relegation again. I don’t even want us to struggle ever again. I’d love to see City fulfil its potential and be a top club for many years? Why not?

City are in a very lucky position right now. MCFC have the best owners we could hope for. They have brought us a wonderful manager, coaching staff and players, not to mention treated the fans well generally and are building a sustainable football club with the Etihad Campus infrastructure. I agree with Steve that this is a long term project and I’m delighted that Sheikh Mansour is treating it as such. We all want the best for our beloved City.

This current City team play beautiful football to savour and I and others have reflected that here in MCIVTA many times. They worked incredibly hard to qualify for the Champions’ League, win the FA Cup and most significantly bring City’s third Championship in our proud, if turbulent history. Roberto Mancini has done a great job to make this team winners and tactically he has been very good, but that doesn’t mean that he is perfect. He makes mistakes too but that doesn’t mean I want him out, or City to become like Chelsea in the revolving door policy. We have a lot to be grateful to him for and I want him to be here for a long time. I have also criticised bad performances as well (e.g. Southampton, Everton this season), and have no regrets about that either. I call it as I see it like anyone else. That does not make me or others blinkered, ungrateful (far from it) or short-termist as Steve puts it. Like many others I strive to be objective when I write, even though I am just a fan of this club (not a journalist). It cannot be all praise and there has to be a balance.

I’d agree that a minority of fans in forums have a knee jerk, short-termist view and some are very ungrateful, ridiculously calling for Roberto’s head. I don’t think very many of us at MCIVTA fall into that category. Maybe Steve should reread what I and others have written a little more carefully before passing judgement. Steve of course is entitled to his opinions (and wouldn’t it be dull if we all agreed?).

Last summer was an opportunity missed. Of the five new signings, only Nastasic has been a success so far. Rodwell has enormous potential but his young career has been blighted by injury. Garcia is improving but has to do a lot more to convince he can fill de Jong’s or eventually Barry’s boots. Maicon, for all his excellent attitude and great skill, has suffered from injuries. Scott Sinclair, bless him, for all his quiet dignity, is not good enough to get into this City side – in another era he’d have been a better bet than Steve McManaman or in days of yore Peter Bodak or Martin “Buster” Phillips but we don’t have a Dr Who style Tardis (Ed – Time And Relative Dimensions In Space!) to put young Scott in.

Last summer we should have signed a couple of top class players to build on what we had, i.e. build from a position of strength. Of course, last summer has gone now but if we want to progress and challenge for honours next season we need a minimum of three top players in (striker, central midfielder with pace, winger/playmaker). That’s not a God-given right. That in my opinion is a reality, because as we and others have found out, if we stand still, we fall behind.

Wanting the best for our club is very different to being ungrateful, short-termist or blinkered. If being objective and wanting us to be the best we can be is a “disease” as Steve describes my Cityitis affliction, I don’t intend to go off sick if I can help it. In fact I am more likely to breathe all over you in MCIVTA and I am sure our discerning readership have a well developed immune system to cope with it.

Er, Nurse!

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


The Southport branch of the Supporters’ Club is running a coach to the semi-final. We’ve a few spare seats at £35 each for anyone who would like to join us.

We usually pick up in Southport, Ormskirk and at the Shell garage at the junction of the M6 and the East Lancs Road. Please email me if you’re interested.

Roger Haigh <Rogerhaigh(at)>


6 April 2013

Reading               0 - 2  Southampton
Norwich City          2 - 2  Swansea City
Stoke City            1 - 3  Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 2  Arsenal

League table as at midday 7 April 2013

                        P / GD / Pts
 1 Manchester Utd      30 / 39 / 77
 2 Manchester City     30 / 29 / 62
 3 Tottenham Hotspur   31 / 15 / 57
 4 Arsenal             31 / 27 / 56
 5 Chelsea             30 / 27 / 55
 6 Everton             30 / 12 / 51
 7 Liverpool           31 / 19 / 48
 8 West Bromwich Alb   32 / -1 / 44
 9 Swansea City        32 /  1 / 41
10 Fulham              30 / -3 / 39
11 Southampton         32 / -7 / 37
12 West Ham Utd        30 / -9 / 36
13 Norwich City        32 /-19 / 35
14 Stoke City          32 /-11 / 34
15 Newcastle Utd       31 /-15 / 33
16 Aston Villa         32 /-24 / 33
17 Sunderland          31 /-10 / 31
18 Wigan Athletic      30 /-20 / 30
19 QPR                 31 /-23 / 23
20 Reading             32 /-27 / 23

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v1112.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

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

The official club web site can be found at and the official club Twitter page at The club also has a facebook page at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

The Official Supporters’ Club and the Centenary Supporters’ Association have merged to become the Manchester City Supporters’ Club ( The club also recognise the Manchester City Disabled Supporters’ Association (

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website under the “Fans” heading (

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

Live match commentary can be found on the club website. The Radio Manchester pre- and post-match phone-in is available on the web at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premier League games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. A useful site for North American viewers is

[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:

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

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[11] Do any squad members have their own Twitter accounts?

A list of genuine player accounts is maintained at!/MCFC/players

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth historical analysis try

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Newsletter #1897