Newsletter #434

A disappointing result on Saturday, maybe something to do with higher expectations? Chesterfield were the most negative side I’ve seen this season (I did miss Wrexham though); their game plan consisted of defending in depth, combined with liberal helpings of tackling from behind. To cap it all, the time wasting was quite simply breathtaking; they were already at it after 15 minutes and must have wasted about 7 to 10 minutes overall. The referee seemed unable/unwilling to grasp the straw, letting almost all the bad tackling go and only adding time for that lost to legitimate injuries. He even bottled out of sending Vaughan off, when he retaliated after yet another late tackle from behind. The best moment’s entertainment came from the Chesterfield fans, who undoubtedly thought they’d won the cup! In truth, it was a great escape considering the possession we had.

At the end of the day though, the ref merely set the tone of the play; we can’t blame him for 2 missed sitters and several other good chances spurned, including one of those penalty things where the forward is apparently supposed to score! Is it any wonder that Royle is reported to be looking for a striker?

We have a match report, the news summary, some opinion and a Why Blue. More match reports needed; it’d be good if we could have 3 per issue!

Finally, there appears to be some confusing sorrounding Roger Lee’s news summary. Roger original suggested that people send him news items or rumours for incorporation into the summary. However, he appears to be getting quite a bit of opinion/general comments; he’s asked me to point out that mail to him should just be pure news or rumour.

Next game, Derby County at home, Worth Cup, Wednesday 23rd September 1998


MANCHESTER CITY vs. CHESTERFIELD, Saturday 19th September 1998

Before Saturday afternoon my only previous knowledge of Chesterfield was as a description for an over-priced but comfortable piece of furniture. The spectacle that failed to grace the superb surface of the Academy provided a stark contrast to that description, with the players looking cheap and uncomfortable!

Maybe my disappointment comes in part from having higher expectations of a good result than I have had for years. I guess I’m safe in saying that most of us travelling to Maine Road yesterday were confident of a decent display, a few goals and three points. We were frustrated and disappointed on all counts.

The day started extremely well. The sun was shining, my son’s team had a fantastic 13-3 victory in the morning and despite being thirsty I resisted the temptation to have a quick pint of warm beer at the Dennis Tueart bar. Another good crowd – 27,500 were there and that included, what is now becoming the norm this season, a reasonable number of away fans that made themselves heard throughout the game.

Despite Pollock’s red card in midweek he was in the starting line up. Weaver was replaced by Wright in goal as he has a groin strain. Goater, Bradbury and Dickov formed our now familiar front three.

The game started reasonably well, Chesterfield brought with them a style of play that explained why they have not won away from home this season. They were never fighting for three points, the 10 men behind the ball was the giveaway. Despite a reasonably bright start it was also obvious that City were not as sharp as they have been in every other home game this season. The story so far has been pressure on the opponent’s goal from the kick off with dozens of missed chances. Against Chesterfield we were not making the chances.

Despite our pedestrian start, it was Lee Bradbury who came close first; round about the 10 or 12 minute mark he collected a decent cross from Edghill and fired it on to the upright, only to see the visiting goalie grab it at the second attempt. Immediately after this young Fenton displayed some magnificent skill when he very neatly and very confidently stood firm to the advancing Chesterfield attack and with precision timing cleanly side stepped the ball from the feet of the advancing forward on the edge of the City penalty area.

There was a lot of stoppage time in the first 45 and Wiekens was down for some time receiving treatment from what seemed like an innocent clash of heads with one of our opponents. We shouted loudly for a penalty just after play had re-started but the referee didn’t see it.

Goater, looking his usual Second Division self, was unlucky to hit the bar and then to see his rebounded effort cross the line only to be ruled offside. From where I was I couldn’t tell whether it was offside or not, but the referee did seem to be well placed although he also seemed to take a long time to make it clear it was disallowed.

Within minutes of this we went down to a reasonable goal from the Chesterfield number 9. Tommy Wright made a fantastic reaction save but couldn’t hold it; unfortunately the number 9 was still in position to fire in from close range.

I’m not sure what dismayed me most, the shock of going behind at home for the first time this season or the most ridiculous of goal celebrations from the scorer. I can best describe it as a half hearted and half complete interpretation of how John Travolta might have interpreted a classic Bee Gees track if he was p****d and before he learned to dance. Whether it was the shock or thrill of scoring in front of 27,000+ people for the first time I don’t know. It was probably best summed up by my son asking me with a look of incredulity on his face “what was all that about dad?”

We were looking jaded, average and clueless. A sharp contrast to previous games in this campaign was that we were creating fewer chances. This worried me as our strike to chance ratio is abysmal anyway. Despite this we were back on terms within about 10 minutes. Bradbury, who was having a good half, headed perfectly into the net from a very good Edghill cross.

From then until the interval we were on top and should have made more of the 10 minutes to half time. Mr Goater missed a real sitter in an effort that must have been harder to miss than to score.

The second half was much the same. We were denied what looked like a good claim for a penalty by the referee (Mr John Brandwood from Lichfield) and looked less likely to score than in the first half.

Dickov, who was having a poor game (the worst I’ve seen him play), was subbed early on to be replaced by Allsopp. The reaction around me was that of agreement with Joe’s decision. We were poor, I think the best way of describing it was that at both team and individual level we looked jaded and tired. The passing was at times sloppy, with a real lack of ideas. Our front line looked lacklustre and I suppose what we got was exactly what it said on the front of the match programme – a Second Division fixture. Despite all this we were better than they were and we were the dominant team.

With about 20 minutes to go Goater, who had been successful throughout the match in proving his Second Division credentials, had a shot stopped literally on the line. We were well sighted for this and it didn’t go over. The Chesterfield player had expertly saved it with his hand and knew he had to take the red card. It was so close. Whilst it didn’t go over it was literally on the line.

Goater didn’t look like a man who was hungry for the penalty and to be honest it was a very poor kick and easily turned away by the goalie. 10 minutes later Edghill sent Bradbury away with a good cross only to see him miss when everyone else was sure he would score.

Final result 1-1. Our man of the match was Wiekens; he had another reliable game. The rest were poor; if playing well against Premiership opposition leaves us looking like that we need to forget the cup and get on with getting out of this league.

On the plus side we are only 0.6 points behind the average point target that we need to get us out of this division, so don’t despair. We have been watched by 169,009 people so far this season and the thing that I take comfort from, is that despite playing crap and going a goal down we didn’t get beat. Now that’s a different story than twelve months ago.

Tony Burns (Tony


The following was culled from the Derby list, to give us the other side of the coin:

Honours were even at Pride Park Stadium last night, as Derby County were held to a one all draw by workmanlike Manchester City in the second round of the Worthington Cup. It was a stuttering, disjointed performance by the home side, who showed their opposition and the competition the utmost respect by fielding their strongest possible side. Derby scored early and sat back too much, and were hit by a City equaliser midway through the first period. After that setback, the home side never really got back into their best stride, although the visitors did very well to weather a late barrage with only 10 men after Jamie Pollock’s 75th minute red card. No-one really shone for Derby, with Stefano Eranio and Mart Poom both looking out of form in their first starts of the season. Jim Smith will be looking for much better in the return leg at Maine Road next week.

As previously mentioned, Derby were at fairly full strength, replacing dislocated thumb victim Russell Hoult with Poom in goal, and bringing in youth star Steve Elliott into the defence for Spencer Prior. Lars Bohinen was rested in midfield, giving Eranio his first start of the season, and Darryl Powell came in at left back for the injured Stefan Schnoor. New signing Kevin Harper started on the bench after his recent move from Hibernian. Manchester City named an adventurous 3-4-3 formation, with a three pronged strike force of Shaun Goater, Lee Bradbury and Paul Dickov. They were without long term injury victim Kakhaber Tskhadadze.

The game started with the home crowd very subdued as the away fans mad as much noise as possible to urge on their side. The Derby fans didn’t seem interested in singing on their side, and the players did little to lift the spirits, Lee Carsley firing horribly wide when well placed from a Francesco Baiano pass. City had a chance at the other end through Goater, but Derby took control gradually, and went ahead in the eighth minute. Delap advanced from the right wing back position, exchanged passes with the tumbling Dean Sturridge, and finished with the skill and placement of a star striker, finding the top corner with a sweet cross goal shot. His first goal since joining the club in February and the crowd finally came to life. It seemed the Rams would be on for a hatful.

Not so. Derby failed to settle properly after the early excitement, and gradually let their visitors back into the game. First Bradbury from range, and then Goater from close in threatened Poom’s goal, and then up popped Danny Tiatto to score the equaliser on 27 minutes. Powell conceded a free kick for holding, and the initial kick was returned to the taker Pollock. His ball found the little wing back on the edge of the box, and he rifled the ball past Poom with the outside of his boot. Back to silence from the Derby fans and more slack play from the Derby players on the pitch. Paulo Wanchope did not seem interested in the game, and Eranio’s defensive inadequacies were exposed by the gaping holes left in midfield. The best chance of the half fell to Wanchope, who pulled off his marker and volleyed Sturridge’s cross into the ground. Weaver, a very dodgy ‘keeper, did well, to turn the flying ball over his bar and out for a corner. Tony Vaughan also had to clear from under his own bar as Derby threatened, but City held firm.

The second half brought a revitalised Derby, a side that actually looked like scoring, but, of course, did everything but. The finishing was dreadful from all over the park, and Derby will look back on a string of lost chances to take a lead to Maine Road. First, Wanchope shot over after Goater deflected a corner. Then, the Costa Rican played in Carsley with a super back heel. The Irishman was clean through, and he seemed certain to score, but he just snatched at his shot and miscued wide of the far post. Pollock came close at the other end before Sturridge raced clear of the defence only to hit the bar with a looping shot. He then missed an open goal as the ball flashed past him from a Baiano attack. He completed his hat-trick later on as he sent the rebound wide from a parried Delap centre.

Baiano, Wanchope and the desperately poor Elliott all let fly with long range efforts before Pollock’s red card for an elbow off the ball on Baiano. The referee didn’t see the incident, but his linesman recommended the sending off, gratefully received by the Derby faithful. The final fifteen minutes were a roller coaster ride of Derby pressure that still did not yield any goals. Harper was introduced for the final 10, and it was four minutes before he touched the ball. When he did, he looked dangerous, as Wanchope wasted one of his centres before Harper himself brought a stunning save from Weaver in the 94th minute. In the end, Derby could have won by a mile but failed to finish miserably. Improvement is demanded before Leicester.

Written by Simon Justice, submitted by Steve Maclean (


Another lost two points

Jamie Pollock has landed himself in more trouble after getting caught up in the controversy over the missed penalty which cost City victory over Chesterfield on Saturday. The City captain is the club’s penalty taker and should have stepped up to take the spot kick on 71 minutes after Shaun Goater’s shot had been handled on the line by Jamie Hewitt, earning the defender the red card. Goater asked if he could take the penalty and Pollock agreed – a change which backfired as Goater saw his attempt saved by stand-in goalkeeper Andy Leaning. Joe Royle would not criticise the decision to switch penalty takers, but both players apologised in the dressing room after the game. “Shaun was brave. He wasn’t down as our penalty taker but he insisted that he took it and wanted to put things right but he missed it and the lad who handled the ball gained by it,” said Royle. Hopefully those dropped two points won’t be as costly as other penalty misses last season.

Manchester return for ex-Blue

Former City goalkeeper Tony Coton could be on his way back to Manchester – as a goalkeeping coach the ‘Rags’. Rags’ boss Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he has invited the 37-year-old Coton to take over as specialist coach to Peter Schmeichel and Raimond Van Der Gouw at Old Trafford. Coton would dearly love to return to Maine Road but there is no opening at his old club with former United ‘keeper Alex Stepney holding the rôle of goalkeeping coach. Coton has fallen out with Sunderland, where he has been looking after the reserve side since being forced to give up the game because of a knee injury. As part of his dispute he is understood to be taking legal action against the Wearsiders and will be released from his contract at the end of next month. “Alex has offered me a position and we’ll have to see what is involved,” commented Coton, who left City to join United over three years ago after six years with the Blues.

Double this season?

City reserves could go top of the Pontin’s League First Division this week if they beat Sheffield Wednesday at Maine Road, and leaders Coventry lose at home to Grimsby. City reserves are currently second after three straight victories, three points behind Coventry, and with a game in hand.

Captain Pollock says sorry

Jamie Pollock has apologised to the City supporters for his sending off at Derby in the Worthington Cup last week. The City captain will be out of action for four matches, starting with the Burnley match on Saturday October 3rd and is currently scheduled to miss the meetings with Preston, Wigan and Lincoln. Not exactly leading by example!

City to spend another £3.5 million?

Joe Royle has hinted that he may be looking to a purchase another striker. Joe has been bemoaning the missed chances by are current trio of Goater, Dickov and Bradbury, though new boy Danny Allsopp has scored twice, from his only start to date against Bournemouth, plus seven substitute appearances.

Brannan to stay in Norfolk?

Norwich boss Bruce Rioch has confirmed that he will be trying to extend the loan spell of City midfielder Ged Brannan. Ged’s month’s loan ended last Saturday. City are looking for a fee of around £350,000 to make the move permanent.

City’s International Duo

From the school whose old boys include Sol Campbell and Michael Owen comes two graduates who we hope will make the same impact at full International level and still be wearing the City shirt. Leon Mike and Steve Hodgson are two out of sixteen from the ‘FA National School of Excellence’ who will receive their international caps on Sunday. Interestingly, a dozen out of the sixteen have signed up for Premiership clubs, perhaps Leon and Steve know something we don’t?

Roger Lee (


Before everybody gets too het up about Sky’s purchase of Man Ure and the impending arrival of pay-per-view live soccer, can we all remember one simple fact: The way the law stands at the moment, both teams will own the TV rights to a pay-per-view game. This means that if one team doesn’t agree to a game being televised, it won’t get televised.

As a result, away teams should be able to get at least 50% of the revenue generated from a pay-per-view game (including a percentage of the home club’s pay-per-view season ticket revenue). Better still, if smaller teams ‘United’ and held out against the bigger clubs (and that is a big if), then the away side could hold out to demand 60%+ of a game’s pay-per-view revenue. The bigger clubs would have to pay up or they wouldn’t get any revenue at all – and what would their shareholders think then?

While on the subject of doom and gloom, City’s fall from grace may be a blessing in disguise. Why? Because in January, if the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report on ‘exclusive’ sports TV deals decides they are an anti-competitive practice, then the Sky deal will become null and void: As a result, the total ‘pot’ of TV money will fall dramatically overnight, because every TV company will be able to buy some live football – for a lot less money. This leaves all the Premiership clubs in the mire – big time. A lot less money coming in and players, on lucrative contracts, that still have to be paid. Most teams will quickly become insolvent, unless they can find a way out the contracts they have signed. With a lean and mean City waiting in the wings, the future could be very, very rosy.

CTID, Richard Mottershead (


Not a full match report, just some comments on the match in general and the league table…

The first thing to say was that this was a classic case of 2 points dropped rather than 1 gained. Chesterfield pulled all 11 men behind the ball for most of the game, which handed the initiative to City but meant we had to use what guile and skill we could muster to break them down.

Some chances were created but overall the impression was that City were labouring to create an opening. In that sort of game it is vital that you take any chance you can get – so to toss away a penalty is totally unforgivable. I hope JR has some intensive penalty taking practice lined up this week – even if it is shutting the stable door after the Goat has bolted.

One other thing was painfully evident – we desparately need to inject more pace especially when breaking from defence. We just don’t seem to be able to stretch teams on the break because the speed isn’t there.

Looking at the league table, what worries me is that already Stoke and Preston are opening up a nice gap. If that continues then it means that the 2 guaranteed promotion spots are disappearing from realistic view already, which only leaves the play-offs to hope for. On current form City can make it into the play-offs, but knowing their famous unpredictability, how sure can you be that they wouldn’t bottle it?

So basically it means that, even at this early stage of the season, City just have to win the game in hand – i.e. away at Millwall, to stay in touch, otherwise it could be mid-table.

One final thing – the Chesterfield fans were absolutely superb on Saturday, their team can be proud of them. The best way to answer that is to make sure we out-sing them at their place.

Steve Maclean (


It’s always disappointing not to win at home, but for us to get promotion out of Division 2, I do think it is very important to win at home. The team has been playing very well, but should there be a “red flag” to tell us we are missing too many chances in front of goal, some that could be costly at the end of the season. Now is the time to do something about it, we need a player up front who will not miss all these chances. To be undefeated at home won’t be enough for the prize of promotion, we must win. In general, the team are trying hard and doing enough to win the games.

Ernie Barrow, CTID (


Why do City fans call Allsopp “Madge”?!

Chris Beattie (


Any City fans in the Miami/South Florida area are invited along to a get together planned for this coming Friday, September 25th (Hurricane Georges permitting), location being the Abbey Brewing Company, on 16th Street near the corner of Alton Road in Miami Beach. Two of us so far, I’ll be the one in heavily sweat-stained MCFC baseball cap, hiding the years of City related hair loss, or email for info.

S.C.A.A.T.Y. (Still City After All These Years), Paul Duncan (


Does anyone have any good Man City related screen savers?

Dan Nunn, Oxford (


For most of my life, I’ve been two things: i) Blue and ii) asked Why? Being 38 now, I can remember back to the mid-sixties when I was of an age when impressionable kids are open to all sorts of influences, football being one of them. I supported whoever won each week, so by association I was a winner in front of my mates (Rag logic). Kids can be so cruel to losers.

By the age of eight or so, I was looking to break out of the norm and was looking for a team to support full time. Obviously teams like Southampton and Bournemouth were popular local choices, but for some reason I wanted to be different. I wanted to follow a team that I enjoyed being associated with rather than because it was local. City dropped straight into this category because they were all-powerful, winning leagues, cups, everything. So I became Blue. It was only later I realised that I had made more of a commitment than I thought.

Things started well as I rode the crest of success, and when the trophies dried up City were still competing with the best. The local Saints and Cherries supporters had all changed to ManUre, Spurs, Arse and Liverpool supporters and back, and back again, but I stayed put. This loyalty at an early age seemed to generate a quiet respect and even relegation did not draw any laughter.

I went through the teenage years like most kids, except that my seventies was spent divided between City, T.Rex, City, Cromby jackets, City, Alcohol, City 1976, Girls, City, more Alcohol etc., and when the blur cleared I was 21 and what’s this? City in the F.A. Cup final. Great… well not so great.

Following the defeat caused by that off-balance bearded bloke, and the semi slump after, my resolve was tested. Even my parents were saying, “support your local team” (Southampton finished runners up round this time, but still a bit rich coming from a West Ham and a Millwall fan). This was when I realised that City is for life, not just for trophies, and I was finally a mature Blue. I rejected all temptation and strengthened my resolve, and in doing so noticed that this respect aspect was a bit of a buzz. All my chameleon mates seemed as interested in City as their team of the day, and I think they would’ve liked to change to City, but they realised that City was not a ‘switching’ team. I look at the new generation of success followers: ManU, Newcastle, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, even Blackburn a few years back, and cannot criticise too much because basically that was what I did thirty years ago. The difference is, that I’ll never change, I enjoy the aura surrounding being Blue and I’ll be ready when the good times return.

P.S. Thanks for beating Bournemouth.

Stuart Wells (


Blackpool         1-0 Luton Town         5,695
Nowland (87)
Bristol Rovers    3-0 Lincoln City       6,091
Cureton (48)
Hayles (65,73)
Fulham            3-3 York City          9,071
Cornwall (18)         Agnew (28,85)
Coleman (31)          Tolson (49)
Symons (55)
Gillingham        2-1 Burnley            5,702
Galloway (11)         Payton (31)
Taylor (86)
Manchester City   1-1 Chesterfield      27,500
Bradbury (37)         Reeves (28)
Millwall          2-1 Northampton Town   5,997
Harris (49)           Sampson (31)
Cahill (61)
Oldham Athletic   0-1 Preston North End  8,205
                      Appleton (7)
Reading           1-1 Colchester United  9,058
Williams (17)         Duguid (90)
Wigan Athletic    2-0 Macclesfield Town  3,839
Lee (24)
Barlow (pen 46)
Wrexham           0-1 Stoke City         7,290
                      Wallace (78)
Wycombe Wanderers 0-2 Bournemouth        4,267
                      Robinson (26)
                      O'Neill (31)

Second Division Table

Up to and including Sunday, September 20 1998

                                HOME            AWAY
                          P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
 Stoke City               9  4  0  0  7  0   4  0  1  9  5    24   16
 Preston North End        9  3  0  1 12  4   3  2  0  9  6    20   21
 Bournemouth              9  3  1  0  7  1   2  1  2  5  5    17   12
 Blackpool                9  4  1  0  9  3   1  1  2  3  8    17   12
 Luton Town               9  3  1  0  6  1   2  1  2  5  6    17   11
 Walsall                  8  2  1  1  8  6   3  0  1  5  4    16   13
 Manchester City          8  3  2  0  9  3   1  1  1  2  4    15   11
 Fulham                   8  2  2  0  7  3   2  1  1  3  2    15   10
 Bristol Rovers           9  3  2  0 12  5   0  2  2  2  5    13   14
 Millwall                 8  3  1  0  6  2   1  0  3  2  6    13    8
 York City                8  1  2  1  6  4   2  1  1  7  8    12   13
 Colchester United        9  1  1  2  2  3   2  2  1  8  7    12   10
 Wrexham                  9  3  1  2  9  7   0  2  1  1  5    12   10
 Notts County             9  1  1  2  3  4   2  1  2  7  6    11   10
 Chesterfield             9  3  0  1  3  1   0  2  3  1  6    11    4
 Gillingham               9  2  1  2  8  5   0  3  1  4  5    10   12
 Wigan Athletic           9  2  1  2  7  5   1  0  3  3  5    10   10
 Oldham Athletic          9  1  1  3  5  7   1  1  2  4  7     8    9
 Burnley                  9  2  1  1  5  4   0  1  4  3  8     8    8
 Northampton Town         9  0  3  1  3  5   1  1  3  5  7     7    8
 Reading                  7  1  2  0  5  2   0  0  4  1 12     5    6
 Lincoln City             9  1  0  3  6  9   0  2  3  0  7     5    6
 Macclesfield Town        9  0  1  3  0  3   1  1  3  3  7     5    3
 Wycombe Wanderers        8  0  1  4  2  7   0  1  2  2  6     2    4

Top Scorers

Up to and including Saturday, September 19 1998

                                     FA   Lge
                                Lge  Cup  Cup  Euro   Other  Total
Hayles (Bristol Rovers)          7    0    1     0      0      8
Goater (Man City)                5    0    2     0      0      7
Barlow (Wigan)                   6    0    0     0      0      6
Payton (Burnley)                 5    0    1     0      0      6
Rammell (Walsall)                5    0    1     0      0      6
Cresswell (York)                 5    0    0     0      0      5
Crowe (Stoke)                    5    0    0     0      0      5
Nogan (Preston)                  5    0    0     0      0      5
Kavanagh (Stoke)                 4    0    1     0      0      5
Clarkson (Blackpool)             4    0    0     0      0      4
Davis (Luton)                    4    0    0     0      0      4
Eyres (Preston)                  4    0    0     0      0      4
Cureton (Bristol Rovers)         3    0    1     0      0      4
Lee (Wigan)                      3    0    1     0      0      4
Shaw (Millwall)                  3    0    1     0      0      4

Dorien James ( &Patrick Alexander (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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 #434