Newsletter #433

An excellent result yesterday, bar Cap’n Jamie’s loose elbow; we have a match report and an encouraging matchview from a neutral observer. There are also four match reports from the Macc game: two conventional ones, a third rather unconventional one which even includes Tony Vaughan’s mum, and one from the Macc perspective! Additionally, Roger Lee has his first news summary; there is news of the Tribal Gathering, a transcription of the club’s Eastlands Stadium questionnaire; opinion and another good Why Blue (must think of some other way of describing them)!

Next game, Chesterfield at home, Saturday 19th September 1998


DERBY COUNTY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Wednesday 16th September 1998

Worthington Cup, 2nd Round 1st Leg

A really solid performance from the Blues at a cold and windy Pride Park, with high class defensive work from the assured Gerard Wiekens, Tony Vaughan looking worth every penny of the money we paid to Ipswich, Fenton excellent, flair and electrifying pace from Tiatto and the captain sent off; the pattern for the season continues and apart from the return of Pollock’s red mist syndrome, it does you good to see it.

(We saw it from the back row of the North stand, at the opposite end to the Maine Road choir, thanks to a typical performance by the City ticket office which had them asking me to do a 150 mile round trip to collect tickets to a ground that’s 10 miles from my home: ‘Can’t guarantee the post’ they said – the second leg tickets I ordered at the same time came the next day!)

Derby started strongly as you would expect of a Premiership side at home to what they thought was ‘lowly’ opposition. They finished strongly too in a fifteen minute frenzy of snatched shots, kept out by City’s defence who contained Jim Smith’s stars, leaving them frustrated and effectively beaten.

The rest of the match belonged to City; Derby fans around us, buoyant after Delaap’s rasping shot from the corner of the six-yard box beat Weaver in the early, nervy minutes, became more and more disgruntled as their side were snuffed out by a determined City. First they went quiet, then silent, became very grumpy and eventually walked out muttering about a poor performance – not from where I was sitting it wasn’t!

City’s goal came soon after theirs, a cross from the right reached Tiatto on the left of the box and, as we saw on DCTV at half time, he punched it with the outside of his left foot with such force that Poom could only push into the side of his goal – it was a classy, confident strike that sent the 3,000 plus Blues in the South stand wild with delight.

Goater had a goal disallowed for a close off-side call and, together with Bradbury and Dickov, was caught offside too many times in a first half that saw City take gradual control. Fenton, Jim Whitley and Edghill policed Baiano very effectively, not letting him settle on the ball. The wandering Wanchope was similarly frustrated, wherever he turned up, by Wiekens, Vaughan and Tiatto amongst others. Cannonball Carsley was kept at a distance by Pollock who played solidly and calmly in midfield until his elbow caressed Baiano’s nose with ten minutes to go.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, but City’s forward play wasn’t sharp enough, Goater gets himself into good positions but his feet aren’t quick enough to do what his brain tells them to. Bradbury, on the other hand showed us that he’s got good feet at times (the programme notes reminded us that our ‘ex-squaddie’ signed for City despite approaches from several Premiership clubs – Liverpool, Everton and Leeds). He went off to be replaced by Michael Brown who looks as good as he ever did and brought some more steel to the midfield.

Jeff Whitley also came on to help thwart Derby and leave them facing a real problem next week or indeed, next year – the Maine Road choir kept us entertained during the long silences from the home fans and, to the tune of ‘Blue Moon’, sang, ‘Next year, we’ll see you all next year’! The Derby fans were very friendly and clapped their hands loudly to show that they hate Man U. The match ended with Nicky Weaver’s name ringing around the ground after he pulled off a stunning save from a late close range shot. He performed brilliantly on the night and is destined to join the list of Maine Road goalkeeping greats.

Final score 1-1

Rick Eagles (


Not exactly a match report, more an impression from a Rotherham fan. I’ve been watching your lot 2-3 times minimum, for the last 4 years (strangely enough it started just as the rot set in!). I’ve not had much choice really, because I work with Andy Noise who regularly writes for “Bert” and forwards MCIVTA to me on a regular basis (I even wrote you a small piece on Chris Beech earlier on this season). As we live in Derby, last night’s game was an ideal opportunity to go and see City and to get back home before Trevor McDonald had had time to demist his specs.

Two years ago we were present at that never to be forgotten débâcle that was Lincoln, so last night was a blessed relief as City showed their true battling qualities to scare the s**t out of those pseudo Premiers**t arses ‘The Mighty Shams (c)’. It was the second time I’d been to “Pride Park” and on both occasions I have had to admit to being impressed with the look and atmosphere of the stadium (though £19 to get in for a poxy Bad Beer Cup tie was extortionate, as was the Visitors’ car parking at 3 quid a throw – cheeky bastards). Still, the match was worth it. City battled hard all the way to earn a creditable draw, and if ugly Pollock hadn’t got himself a red card they might have stolen it at the end… though Jim Smith is complaining of “complacency” from his charges this morning… out-fought is a better description, Jim.

The City fans are just slightly barmy and other than being amongst my own set of fans, I do enjoy the buzz of listening to and, believe it or not, getting carried away by the noise and fervour of the City supporters. Some excellent song based banter was on show:

To Alan Wilkie (Ref)     -  "You Red b*****d...!"
City - Derby             -  "Where were you when you were shit?"
Derby - City             -  "What's it like to play at Macclesfield?"
City - Derby             -  "We beat the Macc 1-0"

Incessant support throughout was the order of the day from the City hordes, with the Sheepshaggers sounding like choirboys in comparison. I had a great time!

As far as I can see on the playing side, there’s not too much wrong with City’s promotion challenge as long as this level of performance is maintained. Joe’s 3-4-3 formation seems to suit the players with little Paul Dickov proving to be a vital cog in the wheel, alternating between midfield and attack when required. And if more youngsters like Nick Fenton can be unearthed, then the future looks bright.

I thought that as a so called ‘unbiased’ observer(?) I’d give a quick rundown on your boys from last night.

Weaver – Looks good for a young ‘un and pulled off some good stops (particularly the one in injury time from Harper). Got caught in no-man’s land a couple of times on crosses. Excellent prospect.
Edghill – What’s the problem? He looks OK to me, but he had to endure all kinds of verbal crap from certain sections of the City fans. I know I don’t see him every week, but try to imagine being at work and having someone yelling ‘Useless F***ing W****er’ at you all the time!
Tiatto – Set off like a house on fire but faded after half time as Jim Smith decided to try marking him during the second period. Quick and tricky though. Scorer of a cracking goal that had some unknown from behind me jumping on my back!
Wiekensclassy performer who could play at a higher level… hopefully with City?
Fenton – Couldn’t believe it when Andy told me that he was only 18. God help ’em when he fills out and adds experience to his undoubted talent. All the attributes of an excellent defender.
Vaughan – Never been that convinced with him. Fairly solid, but for £1 million plus, I would expect a little more if I were you.
Whitley – Considering the kid has been in clink, he has done really well to make the grade. The type of ‘digger’ in midfield we could do with at Rotherham…?
Pollock – Hard B*****d who ran the game, until he decided to place his elbow in Baiano’s face. As captain he should know better. I hope Joe pulls his bits off because you need him.
GoaterOoh Shaunie, Shaunie… I was bursting for him to score, for old time’s sake. Still looks like he did at Rotherham… only a bit better, though he continues to do his ‘Bambi one minute, Ronaldo the next’ impersonation. Bear with him… 20-25 goals here we come.
Dickov – As mentioned before, a little dynamo who is the link between midfield and attack. All he needs to do is to score more goals, the rest is just fine.
Bradbury – Mmmm, I was just about to say to Andy how sluggish Bradbury was looking when he turned to me and said that he was looking more ‘up for it’ than usual! Bloody hell, for £3 million I’d expect a whole lot more. At Roth we have players who cost nowt and are on 400 quid a week who try harder… only just though!

So all in all a top night. You set off like a steam train and managed to keep that pace up right to the end… and that was just the fans.

CTIGMHB – City till I get my hearing back, Steve Exley – Up the Millers (


MACCLESFIELD TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 12th September 1998

And so it came to pass. The derby game we’d been “looking forward to” ever since the last game of last season. As I arrived, the area around the tiny Moss Rose ground was teeming with Blues, and I suspect probably for the first time, ticket touts. Tickets in the City end were going for £30, about three times face value. With the weather alternating between sunny and heavy showers, I wasted no time in getting into the ground and securing my position at the back of the terrace where I’d be able to deploy my brolly without complaints from people behind. There must have been quite a number of forged tickets about because by kick-off time the terrace was packed and there were still plenty of people still to come.

City wore the new away kit for the first time, lining up as follows:

   Fenton   Wiekens   Vaughan
Edghill  Mason  Horlock  Tiatto
     Goater       Bradbury

City were on the attack right from the start and won a corner in the first minute, though it came to nothing. The Blues continued to have the bulk of possession throughout but, as in previous games, still looked susceptible to high balls into the penalty area at set pieces. Indeed, one such high ball early on was met with a weak punch from Weaver, which was prodded back towards goal by Steve Wood. Thankfully it went just wide but it served as an early warning that the game might not be the formality that some people expected.

City got their passing game together and made a few half chances, only to see them spurned by the profligate Goater and Dickov. The little Scot has been trying to curl the ball into the top corner all season and almost without exception has put the ball over the bar. Another two or three attempts went the same way today, whilst the conversation on the terrace went along the lines of “has Dickov ever scored from outside the 6-yard-box?” Nobody could think of an example of this.

After half an hour Gary Mason limped off and was replaced by Jim Whitley, though it didn’t seem to make much difference to the way things were going. Tiatto looked to be City’s most likely source of inspiration, and his shot from just outside the area which was deflected wide proved to be City’s best effort of the half. Not surprisingly, the fans were not happy with City’s lack of creativity as the half time whistle went and one guy near me slagged off just about every player in the side. Still, we weren’t losing…

After an early scare at the start of the second half, City continued their domination of possession, attacking our end this time. A great pass from Bradbury put Dickov clean through but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he attempted to break the net rather than using the time he had to pick his spot. Soon after, a deep Tiatto cross found an unmarked Goater at the corner of the 6-yard-box but he was only able to head the ball into the side netting.

As the game reached its last quarter, Macclesfield seemed to realise that they might actually win the game themselves, becoming a bit more adventurous going forward. Winger Stuart Whittaker was brought on as a substitute, and provided a great cross with 10 minutes left only to see Tony Vaughan make a goal-saving clearance. City still made opportunities but couldn’t seem to find a decent shot to finish them off. Bradbury and Whitley both scuffed presentable chances, getting their efforts on target, but so weakly they presented no problem for Ryan Price, the home goalkeeper.

With four minutes of normal time left, Jim Whitley picked up the ball wide on the right, cut inside and forwards to reach the edge of the area, and with the fans behind the goal urging him to release the ball, he dallied … and dallied … and dallied before dinking the ball into the penalty area for Goater to chase. City’s “goal machine” eluded his marker, stretched out his legs and hit a low shot with his left foot back across goal and into the far corner. Oh the joy. Oh the relief. Mr. Leach, the referee, added on 5 minutes of injury time, but we didn’t really look like conceding the equaliser that surely would have happened last season.

So, Kevin Horlock maintained his 100% record as captain, Shaun Goater continued his scoring form despite what was not a good performance from him overall, and City recorded three straight League wins for the first time in … well, a long time. Not a vintage performance by any means, but credit should go to Lee Bradbury and Danny Tiatto who were City’s best players IMHO, Bradbury being more of a creator than a finisher in this game. With defeats for Stoke and Fulham this week, it’s been a good seven days for City despite this less than convincing performance.

Paul Howarth (


MACCLESFIELD TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 12th September 1998

Saturday? Should’ve been renamed Soggyday! Wot wevver (as we’d say where I come from). Having managed to coerce my long-suffering husband into queuing up with me for Wigan tickets to help our Branch out (London) and getting down to Maine Road prior to 7am (6.45 to be pedantic), we duly suffered everything the great British “summer” could throw at us! It drizzled, got dry, rained cats & dogs in rotation. It was also sunny, not for long though.. the brolly decided to spring a leak and queuing next to a drainpipe in the Main Stand did nothing for the old bladder! But the banter was good and allegedly there were 800 seats and 800 standing tickets to be snapped up! Er, somewhat wrong there, as the seats went within 10 minutes of the ticket office opening! Still, £7.50 to stand will do my stretched budget the world of good!

Home to dry out and have a cooked breakfast courtesy of the old man! Mind you I had to wash up! He fell asleep watching the Grand Prix final practice and I walked down to Bramhall station to get the train to Macc. It was sunny whilst I was walking and sunny when I bought my return ticket, but by the time I changed platforms it was hammering it down again! Luvly! I met up with Adrian our Travel Organiser who was staying up for the weekend on the train and we were due to meet Ray, our Treasurer at Macc station at 1.20pm (ish). Needless to say Virgin trains were up to their usual tricks and we were told his train was 40 minutes late (it was due in at 13.03). It finally turned up at 14.15! A mad dash for a cab ensued with the cabbie praying that we didn’t want the ground – sorry mate but we’ve come from Southend, Canterbury (via Manchester) and Bramhall for this, get on with it! Bless ‘im, he took the back streets so we got there at 2.30pm. Into the ground, grab the progs, visit the loo, jostle for position with the brollies – yep it’s raining again (cue Fleetwood Mac song) and wonder how the afternoon will progress.

I wasn’t one of those fans who said we would stuff Macc. but one of their fans, who is in the same archery club as me, had said to me the week before “if you don’t beat us 5-0 you are a very poor side”. I said I hoped we would, but I’ve been watching this lot too long to make rash predictions – I would have been happy with a point. The team was:

Weaver, Wiekens, Fenton, Vaughan, Edghill, Horlock, Mason, Tiatto, Bradbury, Goater, Dickov.

Playing in the new away strip certainly brightened up the day! We soon found out that this was not going to be a walkover by any means. Macc. were up for it and Sodje, old “bandana bonce” was in command, we wasted so many chances in the first half, Goater and Dickov were the worst offenders to be fair, although Tiatto also was guilty. The outfield was extremely fast due to the rain and balls were going everywhere, with two out of the ground for starters! The tackling by Macc. left a lot to be desired as young “Perry” Mason found out, having to be helped off by Roy Bailey and being replaced by Jim Whitley. Bradbury worked hard, as usual (give him a break folks please), but Goater looked slow. What is up with him? Edghill’s passing was, on occasions, woeful which turned the air round me rather blue, but Vaughan & Wiekens held firm at the back, Tiatto made some telling runs but I felt Horlock had a poor game – must have been due to the mid week international vs. Turkey.

The second half was much of the same although Macc seemed, to me, to be getting on top. We still got very little from the ref but that comes as no surprise in this division. No allowance was made for the slippery surface either. Vaughan and their number 4 were booked. Slowly City started to turn the game around, Dicky missed a sitter then tried to dig a hole in the turf and bury himself in it but failed. “Madge” came on for Dicky late in the half but couldn’t make much of an impact. But, thank Gawd, in the 87th minute Goater regained some brownie points by latching onto a Jim Whitley cross and sticking it in the back of the net! Sod the rain, sod the soggy jacket, bag and brolly, we have just got our three points! Yeee-harrrr! Hang on for the last three minutes boys (plus extra time), don’t blow it now! The good Lord must have been pleased too, cos the sun came out! “How much f***ing longer is he going to play?” came a voice from behind me. “Four minutes”, chimed in yours truly having seen the board go up. Why four minutes I will never know but such is life.

We did indeed hold on! Macc looked dejected – p’raps they’d have been happy with a point too! The lads celebrated and clapped us, we clapped and cheered back and made our way out of the ground. Right on cue as we just got outside for the half hour hike back to Macc. station it started sodding raining again1! Huh!

Marks out of 10 (my personal marks, you may or may not agree!)

Weaver 7 (still wobbles sometimes but he is learning)
Tiatto 8 (my joint Man of the Match with Wiekens for his efforts)
Wiekens 8 (still solid with only one noticeable cock up)
Fenton 7 (playing well)
Vaughan 7 (still improving)
Edghill 5 (needs drastic work on his crossing)
Horlock 6 (tired I felt but did his best)
Mason 6 (Whitley 7 – boosted the midfield when he came on)
Bradbury 7 (much better performance)
Goater 7 (would have been six but he did get the winner!)
Dickov 7 (works his socks off but needs to find them shooting boots more!)
“Madge” 6 (didn’t really have a chance to make an impact)

I’ve just managed to dry out. The Macc. fan wasn’t at archery on Sunday morning so haven’t had my ears pierced by one of his arrows – yet! Sure he’ll get me eventually! But, if we take the other three points off Macc. later in the season I should be safe.

Not the world’s greatest performance – as Joe’s said before “we’ll play a lot worse and win” – Macclesfield was definitely one of those. Oh, by the way, that was the first time we’d won three on the bounce since at least November 1995 and the highest we’ve been in any division for at least four years. I’m not getting over optimistic yet but let’s hope we can keep it up.

CTID as usual! Carol Darvill


With thanks to the MTFC WWW site

Shaun Goater broke the hearts of the Silkmen on 86 minutes after the Blues had bravely held out against a City team desperate to prove a point over their neighbours.

Goater’s goal came after a mistake by Darren Tinson let the big City forward in on goal. Goater held off Tinson before poking home from eight yards out, much to the delight of the huge travelling support, who were for the most part good humoured.

The look on Sammy McIlroy’s face as the ball crossed the line said it all. “I am absolutely gutted”, said McIlroy shortly after the match, “to give away a goal like that was tragic.”

Macc almost made a dream start. Almost straight from the kick-off, Nicky Weaver, the City goalkeeper, punched a cross straight into the path of Steve Wood, whose side-footed shot went inches wide of the post. This spurred the Mancunians into action. Moments later the action had transferred to the other end of the pitch, where Ryan Price had to be smart to knock a low shot from Goater past the post for a corner. Tiatto and the awful Dickov, who missed several good chances, went close but the Silkmen managed to settle the game down and the defence soon managed to get on top again, with Efe Sodje having yet another good game.

Neither side generated much in the way of chances for the latter part of the first half. The start of the second half was a different story, Sodje and Payne having to work overtime, not used to having to defend against three strikers, all three of which missed chances.

The missed chances, along with a vocal home crowd, gave the Silkmen a boost and the Blues soon got back into the game. Macc almost snatched it on 80 minutes, Steve Wood’s header rebounding off Nicky Weaver at point blank range no more than four inches wide of the post. The Macc fans were starting to believe that their team had done enough to hold out for a draw, when Goater’s goal went in and the hearts of Macclesfield sank.

In truth, it was a scrappy goal which decided a somewhat scrappy game which neither side deserved to lose. Neither side managed to impose themselves on the match and both forward lines failed to shine. Macc still need a strike force, City’s needs some shooting practice.

Match Facts

Macclesfield Town: Price, Tinson, Ingram (Howarth 55), Payne, McDonald, Sodje, Askey, Wood, Barclay, Sorvel (Sedgemore 68), Durkan (Whittaker 72)

Manchester City: Weaver, Edghill, Tiatto, Fenton A, Wiekens, Vaughan, Mason (Whitley, Jeff 31), Horlock, Goater, Dickov (Allsopp 67), Bradbury.
Unused Sub: Crooks

Scorer: Goater (86) for City

Bookings: Payne (18), Sodje (90) for Macc, Horlock (90) for City

Attendance: 6,381

Referee: K A Leach (Codsall)

Forwarded by Sean (


You mentioned lack of a match report from Macclesfield’s Moss Rose?

Well, from where I was standing (open terrace City end) I experienced the following:

A great view of the back of a 6ft skinhead’s MCFC tattooed neck; two fights between Blues including a rather delightful head-butting session; a joint being rolled/smoked/enjoyed by a Blue hippy in front of me who kept falling backwards as the weed took effect; constant pushing, shoving and moving; three increasingly exaggerated renditions of a ginger-haired midget’s fight with a Rag in town earlier (he had ended up decidedly the worse for wear); plenty of new swear words; torrential rain dripping off my new City cap onto my nose, reminding me of a super 1.5 hours spent in the open end at Swindon some time ago.

So, at half-time I decided that it was totally pointless even trying to see the game, so decided that a more preferable option would be to buy a burger (very good, far nicer than Mainestream Catering crap) and enjoy it with a superb view of the toilet facilities (not good) whilst listening to the crowd to try to ascertain what was happening.

I watched three or four kids climbing onto the advertising boards (20 feet off the ground), watched by two coppers who obviously didn’t care whether the kids lived or died, loads of drunk City fans buying burgers, then missing their footing whilst trying to return to the stand, sliding down a muddy embankment and ending up AoT on the floor surrounded by tomato ketchup and fried onions.

I then had a very interesting conversation with Tony Vaughan’s mother who I met in the Ladies’ Convenience (which interestingly was also being used as a Gents), contents of conversation not to be repeated for fear of embarrassing “Anthony”.

The goal “sounded” good anyway, nice one Goater! Incidentally, aforementioned Goater made an appearance at a recent Macclesfield Family Fun Day, on the Macc Branch MCFCSC stall, and was spotted “having a go” at Efe (“get that hankie off your head” bandana man) Sodge who he ended up marking in the match. Allegedly he said “I’m going to kick your f****** head in when we play you at Macc”! Great fighting spirit Shaun! Been taking lessons from Pollock?

So, to cut a long story short, the away end at Macc was far too full (surely unsafe) and apart from loads not actually seeing the game, in general a good day seemed to be had by all. It was a win anyway, which is the most important thing.

Ros Lawton (


Welcome to my first attempt as relaying all of the City news of the past week. Though I was born in Lancashire to parents from Salford (grandparents both Blue) and Central Manchester, I moved to Worcestershire when I was five, where I spent 15 happy years with Wolves, Baggies and Brum supporters and some Villa fans, but they were in the old Third Division then. I have spent the last twenty in the Hertfordshire, first near the Spurs training ground and the last nine deep in ‘Arse’ country. I discovered MCIVTA two and half years ago and found it a lifeline after years scouring the Sunday papers & TeleText for the odd scrap of City news. Until I can make contacts with ‘those in the know’, most of my news will be my re-write of stories sourced from the WWW. So as they say, “ere we go, ere we go”;

Highlight of the week must be the 1-1 draw against Premiership opposition Derby County. An excellent result away from home, though from the live commentary from both the City and a neutral site, City were a trifle lucky. After three years of the ‘Gypsy’s curse’ we deserve a break. A full match report is available at the excellent ‘Latest News of the Blues’ web site. Good to see ‘bargain buy’, Danny Tiatto scoring against Premiership opposition. See for a full match report.

TEAMtalk, which I quite like, despite some tabloid type stories, has a lot of news this week, visit the site for the full stories;

‘Stuart move ruled out’

Having the legacy of Frank Clark’s multi-million pound striker purchase hanging over him, Joe Royle appears too hesitant in his move for Sheffield United striker Graham Stuart. JR was linked with the 27-year-old some time ago but the clubs could not agree a fee. Manager speak for something or other.

‘Vaughan goes into extra time’

6″1′ Tony Vaughan appears to be having trouble in the air. In an attempt to get brownie points with JR, he and Nick Fenton (Nick eh! used to be Nicky in his younger days) have been staying behind ‘after school’ to improve his heading technique. Watch out for Nicholas Fenton, older wiser and eh!

‘City strike it rich’

Glad to see that City have sold all the 32 Executive Boxes in the Kippax Stand, which will generate £350,000 for the club. Jan (my wife) and I went for lunch at the last home match of the season (QPR) at the Millennium suite. There was genuine concern about redundancies if City got relegated? Just as there is support in the ‘trenches’ it shows that it’s there in ‘Corporate Manchester’. I just can’t help thinking what will happen to City when we get back into the Premiership, with the vocal, moral, financial support we have in the ‘old third’ division the ‘Sky’s’ the limit. Maybe not!

‘Stewart signs’

How the mighty have fallen. Former Manchester City striker Paul Stewart has signed a one-year deal with non-league side Workington. Just shows if you want to play football, anyone will do. I’m sure everyone wishes Paul all the best.

‘Fine Pollock’

After his second sending off this season, and a career total of three, Jamie Pollock faces a fine by the club; the incident marred an otherwise splendid performance by City.

‘City Share Price’

Not in a position to offer financial advice, or would to wish too. But