Newsletter #1916

Well we didn’t pick up the trophy but you would have to say our participation in the Audi Cup was nothing but invaluable for our preparation for the new season, seeing all our new players make a positive impression and starting to see the formulation of the Pellegrini playing style.

It was just a shame the first 30 minutes against Milan was not a League game against the Rags!

Some interesting articles tonight though it is with sadness that I have to report the sudden passing of former winger David Wagstaffe today after a short illness.

We have had some beautiful tributes recently for Bert and George. Those of you who remember him, your memories of David would make for a touching read for us all.

Next Game: 10 August, Arsenal, Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, 15:00 BST


Many will be familiar to me saying “In Mancini I trust”. The times that I never said it were during the scuffles with Mario Balotelli; of course I was a fan of Mancini and disappointed when he was sacked, but it is more understandable now.

After the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini, I said it would have to be something special for me to ever say “In Pellegrini I trust”.

It has come much sooner than I ever thought it would: “In Pellegrini I trust”.

The main reason for this is how Pellegrini has got morale in the dressing room, how he is getting the best out of Edin Dzeko, great to see Richards back and in form, and no complaints from any City player, but more of them saying that they like Pellegrini; it goes a very long way.

The new players that are fitting right into Pellegrini’s jigsaw, they are blending into what is going to be a fantastic team.

I am writing this before the Audi Cup Final against Bayern; after seeing that first 30 minutes against AC Milan, it was absolutely brilliant. Of course, conceding the 3 goals towards the end was not good, but on the day forgiving. Loved the attacking football!

I am, along with other City fans, looking forward to an exciting season.

In Pellegrini I trust.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <BritCityblue(at)>


David James cites Joe Hart for ending his career at City. Jamo was brilliant at City and never made one error was a great goalie, but to cite Hart as the reason for his demise: twaddle mate.

Jamo couldn’t wait to clear off to the South Coast, chase the money (at the time) and live on the South Coast close to his girlfriend (I refuse the use the term partner unless it is in the business sense) and play for Portsmouth.

To cite Hart as the reason for his demise is a cheap shot and tarnishes himself.

One other point I’d like to make M’lud is that it was Joe Hart who displaced Shay Given much to his chagrin and consternation at the time, but was a decision well justified.

Sorry Jamo take that back…

CTID! Phil Lines <phil.lines(at)>


Totally disagree with the statements concerning Arlo White.

For starters, he is a Brit and a former BBC presenter. He was the TV/Radio commentator for the Seattle Sounders for a couple of seasons and did a good enough job to be given the National role with NBC.

He’s always seemed very prepared and has done a good job on both the Seattle and National games I’ve watched him present. No cringe moments (as listed by Mike), which is not true from some of the announcers I’ve heard in the 38 years of football I’ve seen since being over here.

CTID, Tim Hamblin <tim.hamblin(at)>


This is an article I wrote many moons ago in the local paper regarding a one man show about Bert Trautmann. It was almost 5 years ago and I still remember the show vividly.

Worth another airing I think in MCIVTA…

As a BTW – We should start a campaign that the new South Stand should be called the Bert Trautmann Stand (ED – what a splendid idea!)!

A capacity crowd in the jubilee rooms of Altrincham Garrick Theatre witnessed a compelling and heart-warming one man performance by Bill Cronshaw dedicated to the German International and Manchester City goalkeeping legend; Mister (Herr) Bert Trautmann.

Bill Cronshaw, a sprightly 60 something gentleman well versed with holding an audience’s attention took to the stage and engaged with the crowd for 90 minutes (split in to two halves of course) and spoke of an era, a time and a true City legend a bit before my time so was a very interesting history lesson for me and many of us as well as an entertaining piece on “Bert”.

A little background to the tone of the show: My brother and I were born in the 60’s and so had parents (born in the 30’s) who witnessed the war as children. Whenever we got a rollicking or misbehaved the folks would trot out the clichés: “you be thankful you’ve got that, in our day we never had orange juice, bananas, chocolate, ice cream” (insert whatever). “What do you mean you think doing homework is tough, try doing it a freezing cold air raid shelter in the middle of winter oh and as for watching TV we didn’t own a bloody radio till 1958” – So many conversations with the folks ended up like the Monty Python “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch. Our complaints were just smacked out of the ground like a Kevin Pieterson ‘6’. It did, however, make us better negotiators in life. In truth, looking back as I now speak to my own kids in the same way although in a more amusing tone as opposed to scolding but it does have the same effect, Ipad, Ipad, you want an Ipad, we never had a colour telly until 1973.

Bill’s tone was similar to men and women of that era and it maintained that funny ‘Les Dawson-ish’ consistency throughout the show. An amusing but just slightly jaundiced delivery; a modern equivalent would be Jack Dee without the mean streak.

Bill opened with a contemporary view of City (contemporary in 2008) and regaled us with a couple of stories. The first one was about the FA cup game at Sheffield where we conceded a goal when our defender mistakenly tried to clear a balloon into the stands. The name of the player in question – you’ve guessed it – Ball! Then the multi billionaire from Abu Dhabi takes over the club two days before there is a Wall St avalanche and we tripped into a worldwide financial crash. With a smile and wink he says “Sheikh Mansour, welcome to City”. Some early jokes, some early good laughs, one nil to the comic and the audience were on his side.

Without giving too much away, he told of stories growing up in post war Britain, playing football on bomb sites, back to back terraces, the nit nurse, the introduction of high rises, rationing until 1955 and of course the characters of both City and United fans in Manchester where he grew up. He spoke about how it was to be overweight, milk bottle glasses and rubbish at football (I tick two of those boxes) and so was always banished to the posts to be the goalie when it came to a kick about.

“Ok then if I’m in nets – I’ll be Bert”.

His recall of the talk amongst the men in the pubs was possibly the funniest: one scene takes place on the day after the signing of Bert. The mood of post war Britain and the reaction to City signing (in 1949) a former German paratrooper who took part in the London and Manchester blitz was of course very controversial and many Jewish fans sent back their season tickets and left the club in disgust. A particular match at Craven Cottage got national attention and since London bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe’s bombs, the fans of many London clubs (not just Fulham) came to the match to give Bert a hard time but his talent shone through and he was applauded by both sets of fans at the end of the game, despite City losing 0-1. Possibly the best result there could be, save after save after save he made that night with gasps from the crowd as Bert plucked the ball out of the air, but only once out of the net.

There was (and still is) a widely held view in Germany that the “regular army Fritz” (the oppo to the British Tommy) was OK, respectable and doing his job and was a long way away from the powers that be that formed Hermann Goering’s SS and were in no way part of the final solution. Simpleton Brits of course found (and Sun readers today) still find it difficult to separate and lump all Germans as former nazis etc.

In one segue Bill assumes the part of a typical bloke in the bar drinking a pint and playing darts…

“Only City can sign a Nazi to be in nets, honestly only our club would have a member of the 3rd Reich to guard the posts, it’ll be the death of the club, I won’t be going again, pint of bitter please Mary…”

Fast forward a few years when Bert won player of the year award, umpteen clean sheets and an FA Cup medal; the same chap playing darts again pipes up:

“Best decision City ever did signing young Bert, quite the best goalie we’ve ever had at this club, at this rate we may win summat, all those people who mocked his signing look foolish now don’t they? Pint please Mary…”

A few bits of sound archive: radio announcements, a bit of crowd chanting, a few old photos on a projector and a couple of costume changes here and there added a bit more to the monologue without distracting from the show and of course culminating in the cup run that ended up where Bert broke his neck and we beat Birmingham City.

Any true “old school” football fan would enjoy the show and it’s worthwhile going to see but it’s even better if you are at least one of the following:

  1. City fan
  2. Remember the 40’s and 50’s
  3. German
  4. A goalie
  5. Fond memories of Bert

I had the pleasure of having a drink with Mr. Cronshaw after the show and quizzed him on how well the show is received in different parts of the country. I said: “You can expect full houses in the North West with either City fans or people of an age group who remember a more respectful chav free England but how about around the country”. BC: “I thought the same but I play club theatre sized venues 40 to 100 people and I usually sell out over two nights; here in Altrincham it’s been full every night for 5 nights with capacity for each show, I’ve sold out in Exeter next week.”

I’ll be Bert has very much a cult following, I’d certainly go and see it again. I think it will go down well at Edinburgh; I don’t think it will win any prizes but well worth a trip. Let’s hope Bill and Dreamshed productions decide to do it again.

As a footnote, I’d love to see “Bert – The Movie”. I think it would be fascinating to see WW2 from the other side. I think Britain is ready for that now. I said to my dad once, “Are you ready to let the Germans be accepted back into the human race now?” I shamed him into agreement. Think of the story: a man born in Bremen in the 20’s, joined the Luftwaffe, fought on the Eastern front, captured as a paratrooper and then escaped from a Russian POW camp. Later given the Iron Cross for bravery, a court martial resulting in three months in an army prison for performing a practical joke on a sergeant he didn’t like, then almost sent to a firing squad when caught by the Americans, sent to a POW camp in Lancashire, then refusing to be repatriated after the end of the war and chose to play football for St Helens, marrying a local English girl then working on a farm, playing for City, receiving serious abuse on the terraces in London, the Bert Trautmann Cup final, a broken neck and then the honour of an OBE… I think it’s a ripping yarn. Jude Law – He looks the part in “The German Patient”.

I’ll be Bert… but CTID Phil Lines <phil.lines(at)>

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Newsletter #1916