Newsletter #400


Thanks for all the articles you have sent in over the last 3 issues I have edited, apologies to anyone who hasn’t made it in but I have been swamped with your contributions, the number of subscribers has also increased since relegation… All contributions for the next 2 issues should go to Jeremy at; hope to see some of you at the Reading tournament, and round the cow sheds of Division 2 (3) next year.


Very little going on in and around Maine Road at the moment, with Royle I believe jetting away for a holiday today. As we all know he said there will probably be two new signings at the most over the summer, with the priority being a left back, and surprisingly no likely bid for a ‘keeper, with Royle feeling that the geriatric Wright and the adolescent Weaver will be enough. And for those of you who cannot actually see me at the moment (which it has to be said is a sizable majority), I don’t mind admitting that I’m rubbing my chin in a very skeptical manner indeed. I’m not particularly worried that the squad isn’t good enough for Division 2 but if we get through the season without a goalkeeper crisis I’ll be amazed!

A name being linked with the troublesome left back spot is Danny Tiatto. Currently out of contract at a lower league European club (sorry, cannot remember the name) and loaned out to the mighty Stoke on a couple of occasions last season, Tiatto is thought to be at the very top of Royle’s hitlist of quality players. Shouldn’t mock though, we’re unlikely to be able to attract anyone better at the moment…

The biggest news this week though has undoubtedly been the war of words that’s erupted between Royle and Gio following the completion of his move to Ajax the other day. Kinkladze has had nothing but lavish praise for the club and its fans – even admitting that he cried when he learned that he wasn’t going to start the final game at Stoke despite being flown back – but has been somewhat more critical of his former manager’s decision to leave him out of the team on numerous ocassions. Georgi feels, as do many City fans (myself included) that had he played in those games we’d probably have got at least the extra point required to keep us up. This clearly touched a nerve with Royle and he’s today lashed out in, quite frankly laughable fashion. “His parting shot was like all the others, delivered from a long way out and hopelessly wide of the target.” This quote goes on, but I have to say at this point, just what is this guy on? Okay, he might have been trying to be funny, but the context in which he’s been quoted is deadly serious, and if he genuinely believes this then I genuinely fear for our chances of a speedy return to Division 1.

He continues, “Let’s get it straight; he played three times; twice he was totally anonymous and the other time he was abysmal. Any of our supporters who saw his performance against Port Vale would have seen exactly how commited he was to helping us escape relegation!” I assume he’s classing his performance against QPR as anonymous despite the goal, but leaving this aside I’ll say I was at Port Vale Joe mate, and yes, Gio had a bad game, but quite how he can be singled out for criticism and dropped is beyond me when the team – to a man – played some of the worst football I’ve ever seen. Why weren’t they all dropped? Why pick the one man with the ability to play a million times better and drop him, yet leave our destiny in the hands of the journeyman who class themselves as having had a good game if they manage not to put the ball in their own net? To my eyes it’s either because you don’t know the first thing about what you’re doing, or, more likely, you’re trying to make a mark and are prepared to gamble the happiness of some 30,000 Mancs if it’ll help you to do so. Can you imagine how big Royle’s already enormous head would have become if he’d turned things around after dropping Gio? I shudder to think.

As a result of David Bernstein’s smartly megotiated buy back clause many City fans are hoping that the Blues will march back to the Premier League and then will bring Georgi home in an event only rivalled by the Second Coming. How this farce will affect that dream remains to be seen but it now looks doubtful that if Royle’s still at the helm we’ll ever get to see the lad in a City shirt again.

I’ve written a lot about Gio over the last few months so I think I’ll put the issue to rest with a quote from the man himself. Until we sign him back that is…

“I admit I cried at Stoke. That day hurt, and this is a sad day for me. I enjoyed my three years at City and I’m upset to be going. One day, I’ll be back; it is possible…”

Steve McNally (



Appointment of JR as manager of Manchester City, a very disappointing day. Where is the foresight and inventiveness in the board to appoint someone perhaps a bit risky, foreign perhaps? (Do Arsenal run training courses?) A sign of things to come is Reading, who else can lose 3-0 there?

March/ April

Worst fears realised. Royle displays a lack of any man management skills as he tells Martyn Margetson (the only 1st team goalkeeper that is fit) that he should look for another club at the end of the season, what sort of motivation is that? He cannot handle Gio – the only player we have that is capable of turning a game; this inability to understand Gio shows a complete lack of empathy with City fans and the recent history of the club.

JR’s “dogs of war” philosophy is depressing; which decade is he operating in? Doesn’t it all sound far too much like the ginger squeaker? Examples of JR’s tactical incompetence include the substitution of Whitley at Port Vale, the dependence on Brannan (who he is now prepared to let go for a fraction of the price paid), and the treatment of Michael Brown who is surely a “dog of war” but with skill. The signing of Pollock results in us having an (admittedly committed) lunatic on the pitch for as long as it takes him to get booked (average 10 minutes) then just a passenger/ ungainly overweight crowd agitator who requires half the pitch to turn round in; balance this against 2 minutes of magic from the ostracised Gio.


Even worse fears realised, “Dog of War” Pollock costs us the match against QPR and it’s all out of our hands. The appalling substitution of Gio moments after his marker is redeployed is more proof (as if we need it) of JR’s incompetence. JR’s quote after this match is “well that’s City”: enough said. Anyone with any knowledge of City knows that Ball will have the last laugh and he does.

Later in May

Just when we thought it could not get any worse fears realised. JR’s outburst about Gio is absolutely disgraceful. For a Manager to criticise a player or ex-player in this manner is not only totally unprofessional but also a slap in the face for the vast majority of City fans who would have preferred to see the door left open for a possible (but unlikely) return of a player who has brightened up many otherwise dismal Saturday afternoons. We honestly believe that Gio loved City, his actions at the end of the Stoke game when he looked to the crowd and wanted to say thanks or good-bye are proof of this. We predict that with JR in charge City will finish in the bottom half of the table. We know that we will never again see the likes of Gio at Maine Road (or wherever) as has been said elsewhere. For an incompetent like JR to try and sour our memories of Gio is nothing short of scandalous. Let’s hope that this time next year we have a new manager (yes we’ve heard that argument before) and this time one that is appointed because he has talent, not just because he is readily available and an easy option. We had thought of not renewing our season tickets while JR is still in charge but as we renewed when Ball was there we had no excuse not to. We fancy a trip to Ajax as well. Hope this is not too depressing.

Graham Lister and Sue Yates


After 1 year of reading the fantastic MCIVTA, I thought it was about time I finally put pen to paper (or more accurately put fingertips to keyboard).

Being a blue exiled in London isn’t easy, but it is times like this that I begin to think it may be better than being in Manc. After 111 event-filled years, the worst has finally happened. I don’t know how all you out there feel, but I think I must still be in shock, because the terrible consequences of this season don’t seem to have sunk in yet. I’m still finding it impossible to believe that the greatest club in the land is in this predicament. I’m not going to go into my views right now on how or why this happened, but one thing I must say is that everyone I have met down in the south respects us Blues greatly. This isn’t just because we’re not United, but because they realise the support we show a team that frankly doesn’t deserve it 95% of the time. Real fans seem to know that we are the business and although they might like taking 6 points off us per season (except McMahon’s boys) they want us to sort things out. This is why most people I met wanted Everton to get relegated and us to stay up. What has made things even worse this week is that the only Blue where I work has just resigned to move back up North, so I suppose I’ll have to find something else to do for half of the day (not work that’s for sure!). Still, I can’t blame him too much, as he feels that City need him close at hand (what other club could generate such insanity?). Signing off now, no longer a McVittee Virgin, I’d just like to thank all at MCIVTA and all the fantastic Blues I’ve spent the year crying into pint glasses with, especially Adam & Emma Yates, Jim Nash, Roger Sharp, Iain Warren, Chris Egerton, Dave Gibb and Nick Edser: Keep the faith boys!

Finally, I’ll be at the Division 3 play-offs on Friday 22nd May to assess the opposition for next year, so look forward to a match report.

Daniel Yates (


According to the last set of figures City are some £7 million in debt. The “parachute payment” for dropping out of the Premiership has now ended. Some £1.25 million last season. The TV money for a 2nd Division club is maximum £300,000 against a minimum of £600,000 for 1st Division clubs. So City are £1.55 million down before they start next season.

Season ticket sales are some 3,000 down on the same period last season, a loss of £750,000, a total of £2.3 million down on last season. The average wage at Maine Road is believed to be £250,000 p.a. or 4 players for £1 million. So City need to lose approx. 10 players to make up for the short fall. Gio has gone as has Margetson as has Brightwell so still 7 to go. Gio’s transfer will leave debts of £2 million (7-5=2).

So the new season starts £2 million in debt and still 7 players to go. JR has said he wants another 2 players so that will make 9 more players to go either by sale or allowed to leave once their contract ends.

Club shares stand at £0.85 valuing the club at £28.05 million, a drop of £13.2 million is the last few months. Franny Lee bought the club for £7 million and took over debts of £7 million. He sold shares to the value of £10 million to Wardle and Makin and still has shares to value of approx. £3 million and the £7 million debt still exists (who said he isn’t a good businesman?).

The picture from a financial front is therefore poor and we would appear not to be in the position to “buy our way out of trouble”, and will have to basically rely on the squad we have.

What remains to be seen is how JR can work with the players he has and just how good are they?

Watch this space.

CTIMMOSD (City Til I Make Million On Share Dealings), Peter Astbury a.k.a. Newton Blue (


by Noel Bayley – editor of BTH

Forget City for a minute… the bleedin’ Rags have been at it again. The 1997/98 season hadn’t even ended, the ribbons weren’t even on the Cup and our nuisance neighbours were doing what they do best… whingeing. What have they got to bleat about? They might not have won any footballing trophies last time around but when it comes to stamping their feet and having little tantrums, they sweep the board with alarming regularity. And what was it this time? Well the poor darlings didn’t want to be bogged down with an irritating Charity Shield date against Arsenal just days before they’re due to play a bunch of east European goat herders in a European ‘Champions’ League qualifier or some such.

This is just the sort of mentality – peculiar to the Rags – that has made not only them, but their equally half-witted fans universally disliked. They can’t see it but the rest of us can. Small wonder then that a fanzine claiming to represent 91 League clubs and called ‘Stand Up If You Hate Man U!’ will be out soon. It should sell millions!

Indeed, it is about time the footballing world made more like the fans and gave it to the Rags good and proper. Has there been a sight more sickening than that of the FA and the media, not to mention opposing players and managers alike fussing and fawning over them in recent years?

In the meantime, there are few amongst the ragged hordes that can hold their own against a City fan in an argument. They just don’t appear to have the wit, the inclination, the intelligence… oh, I could go on all day! In fact, their only p**s poor argument is “You’re just jealous.” Jealous of what exactly? Having to buy a new shirt every fortnight? Having to make a twelve hour journey from Torbay and back every other week? Having no mates? Hardly.

Of course, I wouldn’t mind seeing City pick up the odd pot or three as the Rags have done, but try getting one of the great unwashed to admit that they were and – in all likelihood – still are, jealous of the success Liverpool enjoyed during the 1970s and ’80s. Are they jealous of Liverpool’s four European Cups? No siree! But you know what, if City ever did get their hands on any sort of silverware you wouldn’t catch me bleating about something so trivial as not being able to stand up at matches.

So, just to turn full circle, Arsenal ought to put the self-styled world’s greatest club in their place: tell them that they’re the new kids on the block now, it’s their ball, their game and the Rags aren’t invited. I’d much rather see Arsenal and Chelsea competing in next season’s Wembley curtain opener; after all they are the two most successful clubs in England at this moment in time. And you know what, we might get to see the Rags putting out a full strength team in next season’s League Cup; like they used to before they got that little bit too big for their boots. But then again…

* Congratulations to Arsenal by the way on their latest double.

Noel Bayley (


So it’s done and dusted, the Blues have once more covered themselves in glorious ignomy (is that right, being a thick Mancunian I’m not sure) and committed their worst crime ever in falling to the 3rd Division (that may not be the name anymore but it’s certainly where we are).

The clearout has claimed to begun but let’s face it, only those players out of contract have gone, Margaret, Bob, etc. Those with year(s) left can now sit back and take obscene wages for doing eff all, that is unless other clubs come in and take them off our hands. Even if we try to give them away our hands are tied with the simple actions of a pen-stroke when the contract was signed. There is no way we can cut the wage-bill unless these earners are got rid of.

Division 2 – illusion shatterer.

A lot of people are now expressing the opinion that City should walk away with the Division 2 title; with so many internationals and acclaimed talented players I would agree. However, it begs the question, if they couldn’t do it in Division 1 where teams are at least allowed to play some football, why should it be any easier in a division where the quality isn’t as good but the commitment and passion is higher? City might have to mix their style of play, kicking and playing their way out of the league. Jeremy has already expressed his reservation about the ease of escaping Division 2 and I’d certainly say it’s going to be harder than everyone imagines. Let’s face it, every time City play it’s going to be like a Cup final for the opposition. It’s their one big chance to bring a ‘big’ club to its knees. So let’s not count our chickens, but hope that Royle and the remainder of the players have the pride to get themselves out of the league. One year we’ll have to accept but any longer than that will only serve as the impetus to drive thousands of disillusioned Blues away from Maine Road.

At least this year we’ll have a chance at winning an unprecedented quadruple:

  • League Division 2 title
  • FA Cup
  • CC Cup
  • Auto WindScreens Shield!

It could be a long, hard season, 40 odd league, 20 odd cup game including the first rounds of every Cup competition, so let’s hope this fitness regime has brought the players up to full fitness!

FA Cup 1st & 2nd round against the minnows of the lower leagues and the semi-pro teams! CCCup 1st round against anyone other than the P*****r teams, Auto Windscreens, regional groups, then the regional knockouts, before the regional finals and then the final at Wem-ber-lee, or will work have started on rebuilding the dilapidated stadium?

Looking forward to the adventure from the North Stand, Martin Ford (MFORD@FS1.LI.UMIST.AC.UK)


I know the cloud of depression hasn’t yet had time to lift from most of us. I realise the prospect of Division 2 footaball is slightly less appealing than a roll-over lottery win. However, I was a little disappointed that the response to compiling the ‘Ultimate First 11’ has resulted, so far, let’s say, ‘not many’ replies – come on guys, the more people who respond, the more reflective the eventual team…

To recap – send me ( an e-mail of your ultimate 11 City team, out of the players we have remaining… The best of the best (???). Tell me the system we should play 4-4-2, 3-5-2 etc., tell me the positions of the 11 (right back, rather than just defender etc.) and give me three players who should be got rid of straight away. With enough repies, I might be able to compile the ‘worst 11’, and then see just how many times last season that team was played!

Paul Chronnell (


I’m a Blue living in Newcastle and there are a group of us who travel to the home games. If there is anyone who would like to join this merry band of followers in order to share jokes, costs etc., would you contact me.

Peter Higgins (


If we get enough interest we’ll do some City players. Have a look at; there’s some brilliant T-shirts featuring City players along with England and other national teams.

Sal (


McVitee FC is the Internet football team for Manchester City. Fans on mailing lists for football clubs are creating teams all over the country. There is a league which occurs during the normal football season where we play other Internet football teams from other clubs. There are also tournaments during the year, with a major one in Reading on the weekend of 18/19th July with up to 40 teams entering.

For more information about the Reading tournament, look at:

A new squad was started about 3 weeks ago to try to meet up regularly so we can enter the Reading tournament, but also to play in the league next season. We still need more players who can turn up and help us train on Mondays. We have had 2 8-a-sides and 1 5-a-side so far which is a good start.

If you are interested in playing for the team, or just turning up and training once a week, then could you email me at

Dave Barker (


Thought those not receiving the MEN might like the following by regular Andrew Grimes on the plight of City fans and observations on Rags echoing recent comments:

“I am sure that fans of City (author included) will swiftly come to realise that the relegation to the Second Division is a blessing in disguise. The humiliation promotes them to the highest degree of British sportsmanship. We now march into the grand old army of magnificent and defiant long-term losers, making us what we are, Britons to the core, hard as nails, heads held high. Anyone can support a club that keeps on winning. It takes guts to cheer on a team that is almost sure to get hammered. It’s also less boring. For the Rag followers, I feel intense pity. The near certainty of triumph has turned them into smug and fatuous twerps. There is a limit to the amount of bragging a man can do without becoming a bore. Rag fans gloated themselves above the limit resulting in being shunned today by all right-thinking people.”

And, as if to emphasise the creativity of those still purchasing Sharp goods, I passed the following graffiti through Belle Vue on the way into work:

No cups, No shields
We’re not going to Macclesfield.

So heads held high, chins up – it’s easy for those at work to mock but the number of laser blue shirts seen around and sympathetic City fans bumped into each day (do we have “sad gits” written on our foreheads, as we all seem to attract one another?) show that the support is there. Onwards and upwards, it really can’t get any worse can it? I used to work with someone who during interviews would ask which football team candidates supported. He would employ those who said City as “they will stick with you through good and bad times.” How true.

Anyway, off to Lincoln, Preston and the like. A good excuse to drop in on far flung relatives next season.

Thanks to all on MCIVTA (given all those non-Blues at work who sneakily read it, we are the best).

Heidi Pickup (


Basically I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Living in Manchester, and my dad being a big Blue meant that I had been overwhelmed with propaganda before I had the opportunity to make a decision of my own. I was kitted out with a City kit as soon I was big enough to fit into one and I didn’t wear anything else until I got the next City kit.

The first match I ever went to was against Nottinham Forest and it was the game before that infamous Luton game. I was seven years old and immediately hooked. Graham Baker scored and so immediately became my favourite player. An omen of things to come perhaps. Even though we lost this game I looked forward to the next, against Luton, with great anticipation, not fully realising the meaning of the game. Even though I was only seven at the time, I can still remember that goal very clearly, as we were sat in the North Stand. I can also remember the atmosphere around the ground and how it changed when that goal went in and how my dad smuggled in a bottle of brandy to get him through the game.

Apart from all this, I was still hooked by it all and have gone to the vast majority of home games over the last fourteen years. Typically, I missed the two best games, the 10-1 and the 5-1, but there are still many games that stick in the memory. The 5-1 against Charlton that got us promoted for the atmosphere, the 2-1 win against Liverpool under Peter Reid when we were top of the 1st Division.

What has surprised me about our current state of affairs is that in the mid 1980s it looked like the club could not get itself into a worse position with a very poor team and very bad handling of the club as a whole. Despite this we still managed to be challenging for promotion to the First. Now, with the club meant to be in a better financial position and with some big name players (which is in stark contrast to the mid 1980s) we find ourselves in an unthinkable position. It shows how far we have been left behind. I just hope that we don’t become another Burnley.

Living in Macclesfield is going to make it even harder to cope with. I asked one Macc. fan whether he’d be able to get me a ticket for the game there, and he said that they’d be no need as they’ll sell them on the gate. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that City could fill their ground with our normal away following. So expect fun and games anyone who tries to go to this one.

It’s not just that I’ve never seen City win anything, but they’ve not won anything during my lifetime. I was born a couple of weels after the 1976 League Cup win. Maybe it’s me being some sort of hoodoo on the club. If you hear reports of a twenty two year old jumping off the top of the Kippax, and then City become world beaters, you’ll know it’s true!

Idiots ask why I still support the Blues. After all, at least my dad’s generation saw us win something. They don’t understand that you can’t leave the Blues, especially in their greatest hour of need. I tell them now to watch that ‘Man Utd ruined my Life’ or read the book to see what it’s all about. Or alternatively come to Maine Road and be seduced by the demanding mistress that is Manchester City!?

By the way, did anyone see the Tuesday edition of the Daily Telegraph which had a review of Monday night’s ‘Made in Manchester’ and claimed that Liam and Noel were watching the Rags! And does anyone know if we are losing the Kappa kits next season, as was rumoured?

CTTWBAB (City till Tony Wilson becomes a Blue), Tim Mossey (


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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.

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Newsletter #400