Newsletter #422

Good result on Saturday, with four match reports and a matchview for those who couldn’t make it. The only news is that Goater will be absent for tomorrow’s Worthington Cup game as he’s been sick (literally) all weekend; Brown, Conlon and Wright have been added to the squad. This issue also has plenty of opinion, indeed more from Jeff Berens and Simon, all of which I’m happy to publish, as both have valid comments to make and are doing it in a sensible and non-adversarial way. There’s also another good Why Blue.

Just a quick personal comment on Saturday’s game. Firstly, it was great to be back amongst an animated and supportive crowd, particularly pleasing as City – at times – played a neat, probing, passing game which requires patience! Secondly, to add to what others will say in their match reports, Goater’s goal was definitely over the line from where I was sitting; Vaughan had a clear penalty not given when he was blatantly shoved as a cross came in; Weaver’s fingertip save was really top drawer; and lastly, is it me, or is Gary Mason really Ian Bishop after some placental/DNA/calf embryo/human growth hormone rejuvenation therapy! Anyway, enough of what I think, onto what you think…

Next game, Notts County away, Worthington Cup, Wednesday 12th August 1998


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BLACKPOOL, Saturday 8th August 1998

After a seemingly endless wait, the season finally started on Saturday. We set off at 9.30 from Cambridge and travelled through some of the worst traffic ever, so didn’t arrive at the ground till after two; sorry to those I’d arranged to meet in the Parkside, but for once I didn’t want to miss the kick-off. We had sunshine all the way until we got to Manchester when the skies clouded over – surely not a bad omen? The ground was full, the stands were buzzing, even the bloke who sits in front of me had a smile on his face at the start of the game and that doesn’t happen very often. Ah, it was nice to be back.

City got a rousing reception from the 32,000 plus sell-out crowd, such that it was difficult to believe that this was the same team that had plunged us into such despair at the end of the last season. Royle had kept faith with the three-striker format that had worked well in at least some of the friendlies, and had also included Young Nick Weaver and Gary Mason in the team. The full line up was Young Nick Weaver (for so he will ever be known), Horlock, Vaughan, T’dadze (that’s what they called on the TV line up before the game, and I still haven’t learnt how to spell it so I think I’ll stick to that), Wiekens, Edghill, Pollock, Mason, Dickov, Goater and Bradbury. Subs were Young Nick Fenton, Danny Allsop and Jim Whitley.

City started with all the possession and some good moves forward. I think a lot of us were nervously keeping an eye on the clock, remembering the Portsmouth game last year, but as soon as it reached 3:07 we could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that at least we were already doing better than last year. The atmosphere was good, there was plenty of singing and it took a good 20 minutes before the crowd started getting nervous. The Blackpool chant of “stand up if you hate Preston” didn’t get much support, not too surprising really. There weren’t too many chances for either side early on, City mostly wasted the possession they had and the two runs into our half that Blackpool managed to make were dealt with extremely competently by Wiekens and Young Nick Weaver, who settled in well. After about 25 minutes Edghill took a throw in down by the corner flag between the North Stand and Kippax. Dickov took up the ball, ran towards the area and was fouled horribly on the edge of the box by two Blackpool defenders who both stopped, expecting the free kick to be given. Dickov carried on though and passed to Goater who kicked the ball goalwards. From where we were, right at the other side of the Kippax, it looked as the ‘keeper had saved it but the linesman decided it had gone over the line and the goal was given. 1-0, phew.

City then sat back and allowed Blackpool to come back into the game. Mason was having a promising début but seemed a little nervy at times, giving the ball away in positions where there really was no danger. He wasn’t the only one though, and it was from a mistake by Dickov that Blackpool’s best chance came. They poured forwards in numbers, shooting aimlessly goalwards, and from a bit of a scramble one of their forwards did hit the bar. He was miles offside though, but having seen some of the naff decisions that linesman had made earlier in the half I’m sure a goal would have been given. He was wearing orange, it’s not as if he was difficult to pick out against the crowd!

City did seem to wake up a bit after that and controlled the remainder of the half, earning themselves a standing ovation at half time in the process. Pollock had a good, hard shot tipped round the post by the Blackpool ‘keeper (whose kicking was even worse that Wright’s) just before half time. Bradbury and Dickov in particular had run round as if they’d had rockets shoved up their bums. No subs were made at half time and City continued to dominate the second half. Dickov had a good chance that went just wide and it was from some more good work by him that the second goal came. He ran with the ball for about half the pitch, saw Bradbury screaming for it to his left and passed it through the defenders for him to side foot the ball into the net under the diving ‘keeper. Both the team and the crowd started to relax, and it was probably at this time that the best period of play happened. Wiekens and T’dadze had the defence well under control, Vaughan was playing like the player Clark thought he’d signed as opposed to the one he’d got and was going forwards well. Bradbury, Goater and especially Dickov were causing the Blackpool defence problems by running around so much, and Pollock and Mason in midfield were linking up well. Mason in particular showed some real flashes of skill in the second half once his nerves had calmed – he could do with a hair cut though, it’s very off putting watching his hair bouncing around when he runs! Blackpool never really looked as if they were going to score. Their best (only?) chance of the second half came when someone hit a lovely, fierce shot from the edge of the area that was superbly tipped over the bar by Young Nick Weaver. It was probably the only save he had to make all game and he made it exceptionally well. Bradbury was taken off about five minutes after he scored, I can only assume to rest him ahead of the cup tie on Tuesday, and Jim Whitley came on. I actually thought City looked more balanced when he came on, and the midfield had really started to dominate by then. The (deserved) third goal came not long after, with more good work from Dickov who crossed the ball into the area. One of Vaughan or Pollock, couldn’t see which even on the TV replay later, had a header pushed onto the post by the ‘keeper, but T’dadze was there with an unstoppable header to score the third.

It did quieten down after that, a bit more sloppy passing from all concerned meant that the match as a spectacle was more or less over, but there was no chance of Blackpool taking even a consolation goal from the game. Allsop came on for Dickov in the last couple of minutes but didn’t have any time to make an impression.

Final score: 3-0

It was a good result, if not a great performance. A team with more presence up front would have troubled us considerably more than Blackpool were capable of and there’s plenty for Royle to work on – especially Edghill. Is this really the same Edghill who played so well when he first started? He’s never been too good at going forward or passing but before he’s always looked half decent at defending, not on Saturday though. I hope it was just that he wasn’t quite fit, as I don’t remember him as being slow but he was caught out for pace far too many times. For once people didn’t get on his back – that won’t continue for too long so he’ll have to improve. There were lots of good points though – the spirit in the team seemed to be right at last and at times they did show what they were capable of. Pollock managed to make it through the whole game without being booked which is a fair achievement for him. Vaughan seems to improve with each game, Wiekens is a class above and in Young Nick Weaver and Gary Mason we’ve got two good prospects for the future. T’dadze is obviously playing for his future at the club and won’t have done himself any harm on Saturday. Dickov was superb, never stopped running all game and just shaded Vaughan for my man of the match. At the end of the game the players all gathered in the centre circle and congratulated each other before saluting the crowd and running off the pitch together. Nice to see, long may it continue. Fulham on Friday will be a far sterner test.

Sharon Bennett


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BLACKPOOL, Saturday 8th August 1998

It seems only yesterday that I was crying into my pint as the news we were relegated hit home. The thought of the World Cup cheered me a little, only to find myself crying into my pint as Beckscum cocked it all up. Now it’s the dawn of a new season, will my pint be filled once more? It’s too early to tell.

I arrived at Maine Road about 2 o’clock, the ticket office displayed signs saying sold out! The crowd was the biggest opening day crowd at The Academy for 7 years (Liverpool was the last one), amazing considering all that’s happened. In total there were 32,134 of us, the biggest Division 2 crowd for 20 years (for the trivia buffs, the largest was Sheff Wed vs. Sheff Utd).

Jo Blakeway tried getting the crowd excited by doing a big build up which seemed to flop. The new kit was worn with pride around the ground and you could pick out every one of them. It looks pretty fearsome.

Blackpool kicked off and the noise was tremendous. City soon began to play a fairly good-looking game. Building the play up from the back reminded me of Liverpool, and if it came to nothing the ball came back and it all started again.

Blackpool rarely troubled us and had one shot hit the bar. We seemed to be in control. Nicky Weaver looks like a very sound ‘keeper, reminiscent of some of the great City ‘keepers. Edghill unfortunately is still not the quality player he was built up to be a few years ago. I feel that once Tiatto is fit, Edghill will struggle to get a place. His crosses went amiss, hit the first man etc. and he seems scared of being tackled.

Gary Mason played out of his skin. He looks like a seriously good player and young with it. His link between midfield and Dickov up front worked wonders, as Dickov also played a blinder. After much City pressure the first goal finally came with Goater getting the ball over the line before the Blackpool ‘keeper scooped it out. The linesman gave us the goal. With only a few minutes left till half time Blackpool came back at us but we held off.

Half time: 1-0 the City.

We came into our own in the second half. Blackpool rarely got the ball and for a 10-minute period they only touched it twice. We finally got a break down the middle and Dickov picked up the ball. He could have finished it himself but passed out right to Bradbury who picked his spot and scored, 2-0. Joe Royle looked quite happy at this point. As we pushed forward more, Blackpool never seemed likely to score. Again City came forward, can’t remember if it was a corner or a cross but after several scrambles in the box Tskhadadze put the ball home.

That’s how it finished, 3-0. A good, sound result which will set us up for the season.

Weaver – 8 Thought he was very good.
Tskhadadze – 7 Very sound at the back.
Wiekens – 7 Again played well.
Horlock (?) – 7
Edghill – 5 Sorry but he is very poor.
Mason – 9 Played very well on his début.
Pollock – 8 Looks good as the captain and he looks like he has lost weight.
Jim Whitley – 7 A bit quiet at times, but again maturing well.
Dickov – 9 Played with passion and never let up. Superb performance.
Goater – 7 Looks a bit slow but it’s early yet.
Bradbury – 7 Looks a bit nervous still, but again it’s early. Glad he scored.

Allsop came on for a few minutes and from what I saw of him pre-season he looks ok as well.

I like the new formation, it works well. There’s a long way to go but I think that there’s only 3 teams to worry about, Notts County, Stoke and Fulham. We should walk it this season.

CTTIMTD (City ‘Til I Meet The Devil), Andy Holgate (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BLACKPOOL, Saturday 8th August 1998

Some time in early July my wife and I sat down to decide whether or not to renew our season tickets. When logic and reasoned argument failed to achieve the required resolution we resorted to ‘Scissors, Paper, Stone”. This too proved to be a deeply flawed method…

“Best of three”

“OK – best of five”

“S**T! Best of…”

The Kippax looks magnificent, a swarming mosaic of laser blue, sun-splattered with black and yellow. A familiar face grins ‘hello’ and then disappears behind a meat and potato pie he now wears like a grotesque false beard. Another familiar face appears to inform us that, after ten years as a season ticket holder he hopes a change of seat will bring a change of luck.

Off to the left a beach ball bobs haphazardly over the bright orange surface of a healthy contingent of Blackpool supporters and I’m beginning to feel just a little ashamed, after all it was me that ‘lost’ the game of Scissors, Paper, Stone. But wait, all is not lost, in about three hours or so I will be able to soothe my blistered pride in the cool breeze afforded me by the utter slagging off of yet another miserably woeful and inadequate City performance.

Oh S**T! S**T! and thrice S**T!

The game started well enough, we looked nervous and lacking in imagination and our attack displayed the speed and penetration of a Tesco trolley. However, ominous tell-tale signs were beginning to emerge to convince me that all was not going well.

There was an unfamiliar ‘solidity’ in defence and a growing ‘calmness and sense of control’ in midfield, and what was that little Scots pillock thinking of as he skilfully rounded the Blackpool defence and picked out Goater for our first goal, when it was obvious to the 32,000 plus crowd that he had been blatantly obstructed and the proper course of action was to hurl himself to the ground for a good whinge?

Then we were back on more familiar territory; the opposition had a period of possession (managing to hit the bar from six yards) that had me fumbling for the panic ‘fast forward to full time button’. A futile gesture, there being almost an hour left to play and the absence of any such button on the cap of the bloke sitting in front of me.

Twenty-odd minutes into the second half Goater made the fatal mistake of dropping back to help the defence. He picked up the ball and found Mason who in turn, instead of whacking it in the general direction of no-one in particular, choose to play a long, controlled ball to Dickov (again!) just inside the City half. He in turn carried the ball at pace to the edge of the Blackpool penalty area and laid it off to Bradbury who, deprived of any real alternative, hit the ball into the net.

There is currently great debate across the nation concerning the number of foreign players plying their dubious trade in the English league. Their case is significantly compromised by the unpronounceable Georgian, Kakhabar Tskhadadze. Just where did this man get the idea that midfielders, let alone defenders should support the attack in open play? Did no-one show him videos of the last two years and explain that the huge gap between the City attack and the rest of the team represented the only opportunity the ground staff had to re-seed sections of the pitch during the playing season?

Yes, we are in Division Two, Yes, it is the first game of the season and yes I have just demolished a rather large single malt whiskey but there was something rather special for me about Saturday, apart from the team’s performance, special and a little disturbing – It was us, the crowd.

City have for several years at home put out a side in excess of twenty thousand, only a dozen or so privileged or skilled enough to make it to the green bit. However, the bulk of the twenty thousand sit, watch and panic. On Saturday the team made every attempt to play as a disciplined, controlled unit, not the headless chicken approach that typified many of last year’s performances.

But on Saturday when the ball was passed backwards or held, waiting for a better opportunity, the crowd surrounding me at least, groaned even when 2 nil up. Only when 3 nil up, with ten minutes to go, did the crowd see this retention of possession as an indicator of our superiority and cheer every touch of the ball. The crowd did also, however, visibly lift the team on Saturday and was it my imagination but it seemed to me that when the final whistle blew the team did not want to leave the pitch. It seemed as though they wanted to stay to share the joy, to make that moment and feeling last for as long as possible. City have always looked better than the opposition (at least for the last 2 years) when we chose to play football and not to be just work horses.

So let’s support them when they play well and keep a rein on our nervousness and impatience when things are not going our way and there will be many such occasions in the course of a season. We’ve gotten used to losing and it’s easy and almost cosy; this must end and be reversed this season, and Saturday was the best of all possible starts.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer but it’s the only way to start a feast (did I really say that?).

P.S. Kevin K (a.k.a. Curly) – Get Well Soon.

Peter Capes – “City ’til Saturdie (at least)”, c/o Averil Capes (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BLACKPOOL, Saturday 8th August 1998

It’s truly amazing what a couple of months off can do. It seemed like everyone on their way to Maine Road on Saturday (myself included) was filled with a sense of almost totally illogical optimism. Things seemed to definitely be going our way when Vince Miller didn’t appear for the pre-match announcements (not that his replacements, Jo Blakeway and the bald bloke, are any great shakes either).

What happened next will live with me for a long time. As the teams came out, the whole of Maine Road went absolutely and totally bonkers. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that if we had won the double the year before then the reception given to the players could not have been any better. What will actually happen at our great club when (if) we ever do win anything I cannot begin to imagine.

City kicked towards the North Stand in the first half and started very brightly indeed without troubling the Blackpool ‘keeper to any great extent. We definitely looked well and truly up for it. Not many chances created until after 25 minutes Dickov battled away near the by-line on the right hand edge of the area. He dispossessed a Blackpool defender, seemed to beat another and fired in a low cross along the edge of the six yard area. The ball bypassed one of the ‘Pool central defenders and found Goater unmarked, who just about managed to stretch out and stab the ball goalwards. The ‘keeper got his hand to the effort but only after the ball had crossed the line. There seemed to be some uncertainty as to whether the referee had given it but then he saw sense and the place went crackers again.

In typical City fashion we then seemed to ease up a bit. There was a definite turning point on 35 minutes. City were caught square and suddenly three orange shirts outstripped the chasing Wiekens. Fortunately the Blackpool forwards seemed to get in a right muddle about who was going to grab the headlines, allowing City to get back. The ball still fell to Clarkson who smashed in a shot from about eight yards but fortunately his effort hit the bar and flew over into the Platt Lane end.

Just before half-time Dickov found some space on the edge of the area and his placed shot deflected off a Blackpool boot to only just loop wide of the left hand angle of post and crossbar. The resultant corner fell to the edge of the area where Pollock half volleyed a good effort that was tipped round by the ‘keeper.

So 1-0 at half-time and although it hadn’t been a classic City performance, we had, apart from Clarkson’s chance, looked reasonably comfortable.

City again looked lively at the start of the second half without creating many clear-cut chances. On the hour Dickov fired in a good effort. Gary Mason was having an impressive début in City’s midfield and a couple of minutes later he fed a beautiful through ball to Dickov who sprinted away through the middle. The ball seemed to get stuck under his feet in the box and after a touch from a Blackpool defender the ball fell to Bradbury about twelve yards out; he bent a placed shot past the ‘keeper’s right hand for 2-0. Bradbury peeled off to the Platt Lane and we had the game sewn up.

Bradbury was replaced by Jim Whitley after 68 minutes, which seemed a strange substitution to me. My guess was that it was designed to build his confidence up by using the ‘quit while you’re ahead’ principle. He got a standing ovation as he left the field which won’t do him any harm I suppose.

On 74 minutes Edghill cut-in from the right-hand side and fired a low shot from the edge of the area but straight at the ‘keeper.

The best moment of the match came on 80 minutes. Dickov was released on the right flank and whipped in a curling low cross onto the edge of the six yard area. Three City players threw themselves at the ball, Vaughan getting a touch which saw the ball flash past Banks in the Blackpool goal but loop back off the post. Fortunately the following-up Tskhadadze met the ball with his head to nod the ball into the net.

The last ten minutes saw City stroking the ball around to cries of ‘Ole’ and Weaver make a good tip over from a late Blackpool effort (his only real save of note).

So, so far so good. This was a good win without City ever playing as well as they can. Man of the match for me was Paul Dickov who ran himself into the ground and created all three goals. The most surprising thing is that, despite being made 7-4 favourites for the title and the expectations of a crowd of over 32,000, City actually, for once, came up with the goods! The obvious question is whether the players will be as keyed up for a less than capacity crowd on a miserable Wednesday night in December. Personally I believe that if we can get off to a flyer then natural momentum alone will carry us through. Roll on Fulham on Friday night!

CTID, Bruce Walker (


At Maine Road on Saturday I have seen the future, and it is called: Gary Mason.

Skilful and composed beyond his years, this was the best competitive début I have seen since Kinkladze’s against Spurs. If we’ve got more like him coming through, then I am certain we’ll reach the heights again.

All that, and he was wearing the No.7 shirt … thank you God!

Steve Maclean (


Rather than give a straight report, which others will probably do better than I could, I’d like to make some brief comments on the match. Much will be made of the fact that Blackpool were poor, so we didn’t have much to beat (see Stephen Brierley’s snide report in Monday’s Guardian, was he actually at the match?). I thought they were just outclassed. After all the negative stuff in MCIVTA over the last couple of weeks, this was an encouraging performance with some half-decent football, especially in the 2nd half.

The 3-4-3 formation looks very positive, and if there are gaps in the defence at least it’s because players are trying to get forward. The forwards have at last cottoned on to running off the ball with interchange of positions and Dickov terrorised their defence. In midfield, Mason looks a real find and I hope he’s put on a long contract before the Premiership scouts come down. In defence, I thought Tschadadze stood out and when Edghill was having a torrid time in the first half, not being able to do anything right, our “King of the Air” gave solid support. He should be taken off the transfer list. Vaughan also looks much improved though a bit dodgy on the turn.

Obviously, we can’t afford to get too carried away with this result. I’m not rushing off to put money on the 100 goals and points double. But after last season’s dross, we were looking for a bright opening game and, apart from a pretty dire spell after our first goal when we handed the initiative back to the opposition, the fans got their money’s worth. Fans themselves gave full backing to the team, with plenty of opportunity to sing “Blue Moon”. Newly found team spirit was evident, especially when Bradbury scored and he was engulfed by teammates. I think his substitution a few minutes after was due to suffocation.

My marks out of 10:

Weaver (6) struggled with crosses in 1st half, one good save from a rising shot in the 2nd.
Edghill (5) total nightmare in 1st half but did at least keep working.
Horlock(6) nothing special, crosses too close to goalie.
Tskhadadze(8) “he’s found his level” was the rather cruel comment near me; I thought he had a fine game with some unfussy defending and, of course, he was following in for the 3rd goal.
Wiekens (7) immaculate as sweeper on the ground, but needs to be more aware of high balls, their shot which hit the bar in 1st half was a result of his missed header.
Vaughan (7) stuck to his opponent throughout and unlucky to be yellow-carded.
Mason (8) quiet in 1st half, but imposed himself in 2nd and ran midfield, excellent début.
Pollock (6) several mishit passses, but always available in support to a Blue in possesion, hit one fine shot in 1st half which their ‘keeper did well to save.
Goater (7) neat touch, didn’t have a good view of his goal but I’m sure it was over the line! Good signing this.
Dickov (9) defenders just couldn’t handle him, set up 1st goal after refusing to fall over and was a nuisance to the opposition all afternoon, really up for it.
Bradbury (7) one of his better games and I hope his goal gets him going.


Jim Whitley (6) fairly tidy.
Danny Alsopp (6) just a few minutes at the end to relieve Dickov, looks strong and pacy.

Several attacks foundered on dreadful decisions by the officials. The assistant referees didn’t seem to know the offside rule and the referee missed opportunities to play advantage. He also let Blackpool get away with some rough stuff, notably one bad hack at Goater which fortunately didn’t lead to injury. I suppose this is how it’ll be for the season.

So I reckon we’re on the road to recovery, but being City it won’t be straightforward. Unlike this time last year, when the Portsmouth match quickly showed our poor quality, I’m now looking forward to the next match.

Rob Simmons (


Well to be honest, City deserved to win, they took their chances, although there weren’t too many. I thought the first goal was a bit harsh, Dickov fouled Bardsley and I am not even sure the ball crossed the line. I would have thought 2-0 might have been fairer, but Blackpool were too lightweight up front to trouble the City defence. City should do well at home, but may suffer a bit at some of the more unwelcoming grounds like the mighty Bloomfield Road. I don’t know his name but your midfielder with the long hair looked good [Mason – Ashley]. The atmosphere was superb for a Division 2 match and I thought the Blackpool fans were brilliant.

Disappointed but not despondent Blackpool fan.

BTTGFOMH (Blackpool till the ground falls on my head), Peter Duerden (


Woke up Sunday morning: “Oh what a Blue-tiful morning, Oh what a Blue-tiful day.” Went to the shop and got my usual Sunday papers plus the Pink (not done that for years). Spent a sunny afternoon reading the reports and at tea time heard the Rags had lost 3-0, what a great score-line: “Oh what a Blue-tiful morning, oh what a Blue-tiful day.”

Woke up today (Monday): “Oh what a Blue-tiful morning, Oh what a Blue-tiful day.” Popped into work, all the Rags were very industrious, heads down working very hard. Not even a few choruses of “3-0 , 3-0, 3-0, 3-0” could get a response.

Spent the rest of the day driving around town. Do you know how many Rags wearing shirts I saw, well I’ll tell you: one. I even had to drive past old Trashville and only saw a kid wearing a Brazil shirt (didn’t they get beat 3-0?). Do you know how many Blues I saw wearing shirts t-shirts, hats, tracksuits etc.? Well I’ll tell you: hundreds. “Oh what a Blue-tiful morning, Oh what a Blue-tiful day.”

I drove down the motorway and even the workmen appeared to be wearing jackets that were half familiar. “Oh what a Blue-tiful morning, Oh what a Blue-tiful day.”

I don’t know how long it’s going to last but I’m going to ride it for as long as I can.

CTID, Peter Astbury a.k.a. Newton (Oh what a) Blue (-tiful morning) – (


(by Noel Bayley – editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet)

It was great, wasn’t it? 3-0! Okay, so we were only playing Blackpool, but lest we forget, they are in the same Division as us and if you’ve got to play them… well, you may as well beat them. And that crowd too. Surprised or unsurprised? A bit of both really. Seasoned campaigners expected it to be big, but not that big. If nothing else, that’s one in the eye for the Premier League, Sky, the tacky tabloids etc. It must p**s them right off to see that not everyone agrees with their hype and people continue to turn up in their droves at The Academy. Of course, the writing will be on the wall in the coming weeks. Will crowds remain high or will they dwindle to a more manageable 28,000? Even so, anything over 25,000 should fill all Blues with pride because I think, in many ways, most Blues do go against the grain; they have got enough wit and intellect to stick with their team, unlike those that were swanning about yesterday afternoon in their new Rag shirts apparently unaware that their alleged heroes were playing at Wembley at that exact time or the tens of thousands that went missing from Everton, Newcastle and ‘Boro in recent years only to present themselves at their respective ticket offices once things improved. So what if City have got no money, they’re in debt to the tune of millions and they haven’t bought any players of note? They’re still our team and we still love ’em come what may, unless your name happens to be Simon, of course (see a recent MCIVTA).

Overall it was the perfect weekend with the Rags losing by a similar score to an Arse team (Geddit? Yes? No? Never mind!). Hopefully, the bubble’s finally burst for the b*****ds, but how I loved Sheringham’s miss, Beckham’s barracking and the hapless Crap Stump who looks anything but a £10,000,000+ player. PSV must be p**sing themselves laughing all the way to the bank. Having said that, given that Stump was an electrician until just a few short years ago, perhaps the bent butcher’s boy himself, Martin Edwards, can find him a bit of rewiring work to do? Just a thought.

Ron Atkinson has always made me laugh (always unintentionally admittedly), but his drugs ‘expose’ in The Mail On Sunday was nothing short of pathetic, given that he didn’t actually expose anyone. If Fatko has suspected that drugs have been doing the rounds in the Premier League for some time, then why has he waited until now to reveal, well, not very much at all? Of course, his book is due out soon, but what’s the betting Fatko doesn’t get around to spilling the beans?

P.S. Thanks to everyone who wrote re. subscriptions. I’ll get back to you all.

Noel Bayley (


The new Nationwide Web site has come online this week; it has a number of improvements since season and is certainly worth checking out:

Paul Howarth (


I saw a bloke this evening wearing a Chicago Bulls vest. Quite instinctively I said under my breath ‘Bloody Red B*****d’ Anyone else experienced this reaction?

Daniel Marcus (


Man, I don’t seem to be able to get used to the new “winged” crest (logo or badge or whatever) thing for the world! Just out of curiosity… who had the stupid idea of changing City’s “old” crest to the lame “new” one? Did the fans have a say in the change? I certainly hope not…

Very Sincerely Yours, E Solomos (


Well, it looks as if my thoughts were right, we do seem to have a lot of City fans which don’t have a clue, and are so besotted by the club that they just cannot see the true FACTS.

Firstly can I just point out that a few people had said I am not a City fan. Last year a spent £1000 on 2 tickets in the top (third) tier of the Kippax (MEN Suite), prior to that I have had season tickets for many years, prior to that I have been visiting Maine road every other Saturday since the age of 6 with my dad (I am now 31). Enough said?

So can you please reframe from calling me a Rag, as this is the biggest insult anyone could say to a Blue; I will Always be CTID, but please see the light!

FACT :- City lost more money than any other club in the NW on their last annual accounts

FACT :- City are ranked 74th out of 92 English Clubs on paper

FACT :- Wigan, Stockport and Bury made more money than City last year

FACT :- City’s Chairman lives in London, and visits 2 days a week

FACT :- City have sold any recognisable players of quality close season, and apart from Gio, all on free transfers

FACT :- City have bought no players close season

FACT :- City have no money, despite 30,000 very loyal fans

Now, can you start to see where the problems are yet? Hello, is that little light switching on up there? Come on Blues, we are the most loyal fans in the country but don’t be so besotted in this club that you can’t see where the major problems are. Just read the above facts again and have a tiny think for one second.

(a second pass) Have you got it yet? Did anyone say “The Board Room”?

When FHL took over as chairman (against my will, as I already knew what an arrogant man this was), he was interviewed on GMR radio and said “these players are just overpaid fat cats.” My head fell into my hands. The chairman’s first day in charge and what has he done? He just publicly slagged off all his staff! From then on it went down & down & down and now…

FACT :- Division 2

FACT :- No Players of any quality

FACT :- No money

FACT :- No players of any quality will want to come to this club, even if we had money

So is there any light at City?

Yes, most definitely, but it is all down to the boardroom. The club is in financial s**t, and the best time to buy any business is when it’s up s**t alley. Now is a perfect time for City to bite the bullet and get this club sold to big money investors who understand the running of PLC’s. But to do this, the current shareholders need to sell their stock at prices well below what they paid, and without ‘Fan Power’ they won’t do that, because they are greedy money-grabbing private individuals who are taking the p**s out of you.

The problem is the board cannot run this club, because they don’t know how to. Anyone who disagrees with that, please try to argue against the facts, and I will try not to laugh too much.

The next problem is they won’t sell the club at an investor’s price because they want to take your money.

Next, they believe City is worth more than it actually is.

Next, why sell when they are taking huge directors’ fees anyway!

Solution :- Find an investor, then use Fan Power to get the board out.

But this time Blues, Don’t pick a poxy £10 million horse racer man (FHL), we need a business consortium with in excess of £300 million in resources. Then we can get back on course.

P.S. By the time you read this, we will have played Blackpool in front of the only full house of the season, and if we have won, you will all be saying that I talk bollox. That’s the sad thing about the whole situation!

Simon (


I seem to have annoyed Simon, don’t I?

I wish I had more time to respond to some of the things he said, but I am a touch busy at present, so will just respond to a few points – I have been a Blue for the best part of 40 years, so I have had lots of experience of the good, not so good, and of course the terrible times that the Blues have put us through.


It strikes me that your answer to the problems is – sack ’em all… not very constructive. You criticise very well, but what solutions have you put forward – none, not a one! Perhaps if you had done more than “moan” I may have taken you more seriously, but even your response to my “huff” was only more “moans”. I did say that I would reserve judgement until Xmas – again, what is wrong with that? I didn’t mean that I will then stop supporting the team until they do better, obviously I meant I will wait until the team has played 20 or so games, then I will be able to decide if:

  1. they are still s***e, and despair sets in
  2. they are OK but not good enough to win promotion
  3. they are even worse than before
  4. they actually play with pride and commitment, and as a result – go up

I still can’t see what’s wrong with this logic.

Where did I say that I was happy with the Blues’ plight? I actually think the major difference between us is that I believe the players will make the difference to our fortunes (and that includes some – Bradbury maybe, who haven’t remotely done their stuff yet) rather than the suits in the boardroom. Again, what would you do to the boardroom, besides sack ’em all? Who would take over this struggling, but not dead, club? Forget that stuff, it ain’t going to happen.

What we need is stability in the boardroom, and particularly that Joe Royle is given a few years to rebuild the team. If you are right, then the above solution will kill what’s left of the club – what a load of Bo***cks!

I have to say that I enjoyed the silly day out on Sunday at Preston – yep, same old City, but a bit of fun nevertheless, and our own penalty shoot out! I always did like the local pre-season friendlies, but after the unfounded optimism following the 3-0 romp at Burnley the week before the start of last season, Tranmere was just a warm up, this Saturday is when it matters.

Finally, I have had a number (OK, not sack loads) of messages from people who agreed with me, and I wasn’t the only reply in the McVittee, so don’t try to imagine that you are a typical Blue, they are the ones who will turn up in their thousands for the games.

I realise that you believe what you are saying, but it still sounds like a load of garbage to me. Do you really want to be a fairweather fan? – that’s sad!

This will appear after the Blackpool game, I hope that the team have done their bit to prove you very wrong.

Lastly. I am moving to Derby in early September, and wondered whether there is a Derby branch of the Blues’ supporters club?

CTID, Jeff Berens (


Forget your little tantrum and get a season ticket. If you don’t you know you will regret it for the rest of your life. Surely a 23-year relationship is worth saving, however bad things look at the present. Not watching a team when they are at their low point is the very thing we hate the manure fans for. If we do turn it around you will be forced to say ‘I used to go all the time but I can’t get the tickets any more’ like the b*****ds we all despise.In order to return to the fold you will have to jump on City’s “bandwagon”.

And finally in your reply to Huff Berens you use the acronym TID’ – prove it

Hope you see the light but if you don’t good luck anyway…

John Denton a.k.a. Fat bloke (


A friend of mine went to work in Albania a while ago and asked me to get MCIVTA for him and pass it along as he is a fervent Blue. Being a Newcastle supporter I was understandably dismayed at his request but being a nice chap I eventually conceded to his request.

Worse still I read the damn things before I sent them on to him.

Anyway, the point of writing is to wish you luck in the forthcoming season. We suffered in much the same way as you did a few years back so I can truly say I know how you feel. We were lucky a certain Mr Hall chipped in with his pocket money but he only did so because of the systematic and deliberate actions of thousands of fans to rid ourselves of a family run, ineffectual, dismal board.

I wouldn’t even think to advise you how you are going to get out of the mess that you find yourselves in, after all you know your history far better than I would wish to but your salvation does not rest in buying season tickets and shouting CTID week in, week out. If as many fans as the newsletter suggests are going to turm up next season actually buy tickets the message to your board is clear. Why do anything, the mugs will buy this crap regardless.

Man City won’t be allowed to fold, trust me. Stay away, save your money and wait for the board to desert then begin to rebuild from scratch. It’s not easy, I know, I stopped going to St. James for almost two years after an uninterrupted run of 17 years and I wasn’t alone.

City are exactly where they deserve to be. Poor management and poor players have seen to that. I really do hope that you can change your fortunes and get back into the Premiership, God knows after last season Newcastle could do with a few more teams to play that we could be certain of beating.

One last thing before you all howl at me to mind my own business. Spare a thought for us poor Geordies, we have to face another season of trying to translate Happy Ken’s mumblings into a recognisable European language (according to my friend in Albania the locals understand him perfectly). So you see, we are all in this together.

P.S. I don’t suppose you’d like to buy Robert Lee would you? No, I guess even Royle ain’t that gullible <sigh>

Fred (


By all accounts we were not too impressive on Saturday against Blackpool. All I heard on Radio 5 “606” were grumbles. Would our supporters have been happier if we had lost but played superbly? Isn’t winning while not playing well the usual sign of a team that are going to go on and win the League?

John Wilson (


I have just listened to the Blackpool match via the Man City Internet site while on a seismic vessel off Thailand. The quality of the stream was good with few drop outs or “Net Congestion”. Does anybody know where the commentary team come from i.e. are they from MCFC or a commercial radio station? The commentator did not sound like Mr Clarke.

For the future it would be good to hear post- and pre-match views from the fans and players as per Picadilly Radio, for those unfortunate enough to be in the UK or Manchester. I log into the Internet site daily and find it a good source of information on our great club.

Excellent win, very pleased the manager has introduced some young lads, all we need is a few good wins and confidence will be sky high. 31,000 cannot all be wrong!

Stephen Burt (


Hooray for three points, and top of the table too! Let’s make the most of it! However, we shouldn’t forget that this is no more than the we, the fans, deserve and we should bounce back to Division One. I will enjoy this season with the rest of you but once we gain promotion (if we do!) I will be putting this one behind me and pretending it never happened. Let’s be honest it isn’t much to be proud of, winning a few games in the old Division 3! The business with Simoan’s outburst has got everyone going and I have to say that I agree with a lot of what he says, but I am sure everyone else will agree that true fans could not turn their backs on City even if they wanted to! I will stick with them whatever happens even if it makes little sense, and it seldom does!

Still, even though we have some rubbish in our team (I would rather play with ten men than include Dickov!) at least we didn’t waste as much as the Rags on one player… Stam really does take the biscuit… I laughed so much at the Charity Shield game!

Come on City we’re on a roll!

Adam Davey (


Do you know of a site which shows the goals on the net? Last year there was but this URL is out of date or not there. Does anyone have an address?

Graham Lord (


City fans around the world will no doubt be happy to learn that Mike’s City Service is now available at

The site brings City fans AVI and MPG video files of City’s goals through the season. There is also an archive of historic videos and pictures. And what better way to start the season than the three goals against Blackpool?

Mike (Mike


I’ve thought about trying to write a “Why Blue” for a while, but have always thought that I would struggle to answer the question. However, I’ve noticed that many of the “Why Blue’s” in recent weeks have tended to start something like “There’s no real reason… I’ve been Blue for as long as I can remember”, so now I don’t feel so bad about starting mine the same way.


There’s no real reason… I’ve been Blue for as long as I can remember. In fact, that’s probably not quite true – it clearly had something to do with my dad indoctrinating me from the moment I was born. The first time that dad took me to Maine Road I must have been about 5. My sum-total experience of football up to that point had been based on kicking a ball around in the back garden being watched by adults sitting on sun-chairs, so of course, when dad told me that we were “going to a big football ground”, I naturally assumed that he meant a very big garden, with lots of adults on lots of sun-chairs. Emerging, wide-eyed, into the North Stand still ranks as one of my greatest moments ever. No idea what the game was, no idea what the result was – all I remember was that bloody great stadium, and all those people.

And that was that. I pretty much went to every home game from that time (sometime during 1976-77 season having, of course, just missed out on a chance to travel to Wembley to see us win something) until I left Manchester at 18. The years up until about 1980 are all a bit of a blur. I remember that we were good. I remember that it always seemed to me that whenever we kicked towards the North Stand in the second half that we won. I remember truly magical nights of European football in ’78-’79 when it seemed like Maine Road was the centre of the Universe. I think I remember Mike Doyle’s testimonial. I remember someone knocking my half-eaten “Curly-Wurly” out of its wrapper when City scored a goal once – that was very traumatic!

And then, all of a sudden, it was 80-81, and heady days indeed. Sticking a bag-full past Norwich, that wooden stand at Goodison which sounded like it was going to collapse when everyone stamped their feet at once when we equalised, playing football on the M6 whilst stuck in a massive traffic jam on the way to Villa Park, and then – oh glorious day – watching PP curl that beauty into the top corner. By the time Tommy Hutch’s head met that ball, I knew I had found life’s true meaning.

Enough said. The following 17 years and 75 minutes have been the standard tale of woe, hopeless optimism, self-delusion, enormous pride in very small achievements, unswerving loyalty in the face of total disaster, genuine belief that it can’t get any worse followed by genuine disbelief when it does, and… well we all know the story.

Looking back, the 8 years between ’81 and ’89 were pretty good, relatively speaking. Relegation didn’t seem so serious in those days (I’m sure that was the perspective of youth), and it seemed that we could always get promoted anyway, and have good fun stuffing rubbish teams like Huddersfield on the way. And, of course, even if we weren’t the best team in the world, then neither were the Rags, and so heads were always held high at school.

I’ve not spent much time in Manchester since I was 18, but the Saturday to Saturday rhythm of a dedicated City fan has never left me. I’ve always managed to get home for the big games, and, of course, they’ve almost all been complete disasters e.g. Liverpool, QPR, Spurs, Middlesbrough, Un***d… need I go on? I kept my ticket stub for the Liverpool match, saying, jokingly at the time, that I could show my kids a ticket for the last match City ever played in the top-flight. Hmmmm.

I now find myself living in Haifa, in northern Israel. I left the UK midway through last season – the last game before I left was Oxford away (0-0, and the most incident-free 90 minutes of football I have ever seen), and it was obvious then that something pretty bad was on the cards. I made it home for the QPR game, and was back in Israel on the fateful day, at work actually, since Sunday is a work day here, keeping in touch on the phone and on the Net.

It’s basically still pretty easy to keep in touch with goings-on, through the Internet, MCIVTA (nice work by the way), Sky News, and of course, the devoted efforts of my dad to cut out and send every article from the MEN and Sunday Papers. The West Ham match was live on telly here – same old story… livened up by the fact that the overseas commentary team thought that Hartson’s disallowed goal in the 8th minute had been given, and so, as far as we knew, the score was 1-0 for about 20 minutes after that until they realised and changed it back. Our celebrations were, in typical City fashion, cut short immediately when the Hammers waltzed through and banged in a legitimate goal.

I don’t think anything will ever change my support for, and love of City – certainly nothing as minor as getting relegated (again), or being completely pants. It’s been nearly ten years since I had a season ticket, but I still feel completely at home at every game (home or away) that I attend. One thing that I’ve always been able to gloat about over Rag mates is that I never have to go to a game alone, and I certainly don’t have to humiliate myself begging for tickets from people I hardly know just to end up sitting next to a load of total strangers. City games have always been enjoyable socially, despite (or maybe because of?) the often paltry offerings from the pitch.

I can’t understand where my excitement, expectancy and optimism for the new season comes from. All I know is that it’s there. I tuned into the World Service yesterday afternoon to find that:

  1. City/Blackpool was the live commentary game – surely the first time a N’wide D2 game has been.
  2. The crowd was 32,000 – the second largest in the country.
  3. We were winning.

Unreal. We’re all part of something pretty unique despite all the s**te.

CTIAO (City Till It’s All Over)

Greg Swimer – Haifa,Israel (


Cox (11)
Stein (29)
BURNLEY                 2-1    BRISTOL ROVERS
Payton (2, 31)                 Cureton (8)
Sale (90)
GILLINGHAM              0-1    WALSALL
                               Carr (og 33)
                               Salako (19)
Goater (26)
Bradbury (62)
Tskhadadze (79)
Corazzin (17)                  Kavanagh (pen 7)
                               Robinson (63)
                               Crowe (83)
Holt (90)                      Richardson (8)
                               Farrell (21, 26)
Appleton (2)
Rankine (23)
Nogan (60)
                               Shaw (16)
WREXHAM                 3-0    READING
Connolly (35)
Legg (og 50)
Ward (61)
                               Davis (35)

With thanks to Soccernet


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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.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #422