Newsletter #510

The transfer treadmill grinds inexorably onward! Undeterred by Lee Sharpe’s second snub of the Blues, the press boys have been getting themselves into quite a state linking us with just about any player in the league who is either on the transfer list, or who might get put on the transfer list at any point in the next 10 years. Needless to say, the vast majority of these so-called ‘news’ items will turn out only to have existed – and transiently at that – in the degraded synapses of the tabloid sports reporters who wrote them. However, if I had to bet on one of the current crop actually signing, it would have to be Lee Briscoe, a player who impressed when on loan at Maine Road and who is available on a ‘free’.

MCIVTA’s internet footie team ‘McVitee FC’ will be trying to emulate our Wembley result this weekend, though hopefully not in quite as dramatic a fashion as that Sunday. Please try and get along to support them if you can. This issue also has the first article in what may turn out to be a regular feature, namely a search for old footie friends, ‘Missing Blues’. There’s also another fine Why Blue – more needed.

Please don’t forget that I’m off for the next 2 weeks (4 issues); please see below for details on the latest guest editor, Steve Biddick.

Finally, Peter Brophy reports on the elevation of a certain Wembley referee (Mark Halsey) to the ranks of the Premiership officials. However, and almost unnoticed, several other promotions have also taken place, including new entrants to the Football League refereeing List. Now most people would just read this and pass on; however, Mike Barnett wondered just who it was that made way for the lucky newcomers. Mike did a little bit if digging, and lo and behold, one individual who will sadly no longer be plying his trade is a certain Mr Brian Coddington, he of the famous ‘Horlock aggressive walk’ dismissal. Doubtless many a tear will be shed for Brian – shame they’ll be the consequence of hysterical laughter! There is a god, after all!

Next game: Burnley away, Saturday 17th July 1999


I’ll be away on business and other things for the next two weeks (Issues 511 to 514). Steve Biddick – who lives in Holland – has kindly agreed to take over editing MCIVTA for this period. All submissions for the next two weeks should therefore go to Steve at:



Sharpe Opts For Bradford

Despite last weekend’s reports that Lee Sharpe was set to move to City on his return from a holiday in Cyprus, the former Manchester United winger has chosen to sign for Bradford City. Weekend speculation had been that the player would on this occasion contradict the decision he made in March, when he elected to spend the remainder of the season on loan at Valley Parade in preference to Maine Road. Sharpe had, of course, gone on holiday to Cyprus without signing for Bradford despite extensive talks, and he was due to meet with Joe Royle on his return. However, Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond on Monday issued the player with an ultimatum to agree to sign by 5 p.m. on Tuesday or forget the move. Despite receiving in response a faxed offer from Maine Road, he duly expressed his preference for a probable Premiership relegation battle.

Sharpe’s decision has been presented in sections of the press as a snub for City. In fact, an informed perspective suggests that it’s merely a snub to City’s wage structure. Leeds had, of course, slashed the fee for Sharpe to take account of his likely pay demands, but even so he’s had to accept a drop of 20%. However, the rumoured weekly £8,000 he’ll pick up for the duration of his three-year deal at Valley Parade is still double the figure for City’s current top earner, Georgian defender Kakhaber Tskhadadze. It’s being suggested that the Maine Road board was unwilling to smash the club’s current wage structure for a player who has recently had a serious cruciate ligament injury and whose extra-curricular activities were the subject of frequent speculation during his time at Old Trafford.

Other Left-Wing Links Resurface

Following City’s failure to land Sharpe, the rumours linking the Blues with Stan Lazaridis and Scott Sellars have intensified. Contrary to some reports last week, Australian international Lazaridis hasn’t had talks with the club and he’s currently on honeymoon. It’s reckoned that the wheels may be set in motion on his return to England. Lazaridis, of course, also rejected the chance to come to Maine Road on loan, expressing his desire to fight for a place at West Ham. However, the player is now thought to have recognised that he faces an uphill battle to win a starting berth at Upton Park with Scott Minto and Marc Keller both higher up the pecking order for the left wing back slot. Meanwhile, Lazaridis is also said to find the prospect of playing at Maine Road more palatable following City’s promotion. The stumbling block may be the £1.5 million being quoted as the likely fee. The alternative currently being touted is a move for Scott Sellars, released by Bolton. Wolves manager Colin Lee has already declared his interest in the ex-Leeds, Blackburn and Newcastle man. Sellars has been a fine player down the years, but he’s 33 years old and is being rejected by another team in our division. The suspicion has to be that City would be better served by allowing Sellars to move to Molineux.

Serrant Move Dismissed

Sharpe was the second player to turn City down this close season, following Norwegian international left back Roger Nilsen. It had been widely rumoured that Newcastle’s Carl Serrant might be a target for Joe Royle, whose priority this summer was originally said to be a specialist left back. However, it’s now become clear that the club has no interest in Serrant, even though the player has been made available after failing to secure a first-team place at St. James’ Park. A possible alternative is 23-year-old Lee Briscoe, who has been released by Sheffield Wednesday. Briscoe, of course, was brought to Maine Road on loan by Joe Royle a couple of days after the City boss arrived at the club, and the player impressed a number of fans. At the time, he was filling a wing back rôle, and it was his attacking skills (capped by a goal at Huddersfield) which caught the eye. Whether Royle feels Briscoe is the man for a slightly more defensive full back position remains to be seen. If so, the Blues could pick up for free a man whose value was quoted as more than £1 million when the club inquired of Wednesday what it would cost to make Briscoe’s loan permanent.

Johnson Fancies City Switch

For the last few months, Joe has also made no secret of his interest in signing a front man, and following the failure of short-term signing Mark Robins to book himself a long-term Maine Road future, there still appears to be a striking vacancy at the club. The latest forward to be linked with a move to City is Ipswich striker David Johnson. Despite being born in Jamaica, Johnson grew up in the North West, and he’s attracted by the prospects of moving back to his roots. “I am very flattered [by City’s interest]. They are still a huge club,” he admitted. “I enjoyed living in the Manchester area and would welcome a move back.” Johnson began his career at Manchester United, where he played in the same youth team as Terry Cooke. He moved to Bury on a free and made his name at Gigg Lane, where his goals were instrumental in the Shakers’ promotion to Division One in 1997. An impressive start to the following campaign earned the player a £1.1 million move to Ipswich, where he finished top scorer last term despite missing a number of matches following a cartilage operation. It’s thought that Ipswich manager George Burley may be prepared to do business if City offer £1.5 million.

Other Transfer Speculation

City have been linked with Oxford’s Nicky Banger. The 28-year-old made his name as a striker at Southampton and Oldham but has more recently been playing wide on the right at Oxford. I haven’t seen Banger play since his days as a youngster at The Dell, but I’d really question whether a Division One journeyman would be the type of signing to take us forward … I have much fewer reservations about Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy, but there could be plenty of competition for his signature. Fulham are reported to have joined City, Ipswich, Norwich and Bradford in the hunt for the ex-Crewe junior … There’s still little in the way of outgoing transfer speculation, but if a new striker arrives, it’s reckoned 21-goal top scorer Shaun Goater could be under pressure. Brentford are said to be interested in the former Bristol City man, while his former club may wish to take him back to Ashton Gate should Ade Akinbiyi get his wish to leave.

Other News In Brief

The fixtures for the coming season will be released at 10 a.m. on Thursday 24 June and, if you don’t get them from another source first, should reach your respective inboxes within the following 24 hours courtesy of MCIVTA. The date for the third Tribal Gathering will be decided shortly thereafter – it’s proposed to centre the event round the most appropriate fixture in August or September … Referee Mark Halsey, who of course officiated in City’s Wembley play off and subsequently attracted Gillingham’s wrath, has been promoted to the Premiership panel of referees … Ex-City player Paul Lake has retired from his post as physiotherapist at Burnley for “personal reasons”. The thirty-year-old had been in the post for only a single season … City fans are being advised by the club to hold onto their ticket stubs for both home and away games next term. Presentation of ticket stubs may again be made a requirement for the purchase of tickets for in-demand fixtures.

Peter Brophy (


McVitee (Manchester City Internet) FC – PSINet League Title decider – Saturday 19th June – McVitee Need You!

Yes you!

This is the big one. The title decider is this Saturday and being the football team from this mailing list we need your support!

The Internet Football Association’s PSINet League title is due to be decided in a re-arranged match on Saturday 19th June in Birmingham.

The match between Man City and QPR will take place at 1pm at the Birmingham Civil Services ground (directions are below).

With a 100% record we just need a draw to take the title. If QPR win the title goes to them for the second year running (they did “the double” last season – League and WorldNet trophy – WorldNet is to be held in Leicester this year 16-19th July).

Directions to the game:

Get onto the M42 (from M6 or M40).
Exit at the A45(J6) and head towards Birmingham.
After about 1 mile, turn left at a set of traffic lights onto Damson Lane.
About 100 yards along, turn left, onto Old Damson Lane.
On your right, about another 100 yards along is the entrance to the Birmingham Civil Services where the game is to be held.

Birmingham International Railway Station is near; if you’re using a taxi, ask for Birmingham Civil Service on Old Damson Lane.

Make sure you make every effort to attend. We would really appreciate any support you can muster. Bring your kids, bring your gran, bring your neighbour – your neighbour’s neighbour – your neighbour’s neighbour’s dog and that bleedin’ bird that chirps outside your window at 5am and wakes you up. Just make sure you don’t come alone ’cause we want to scare ’em back down to London with the noise!

You can view details on the league, including the current league table standings, rules, affiliated members, and tournaments, on the Internet at:

The McVitee FC web site is at:

Thanks in advance to those who come along to cheer the boys.

Col Surrey – The Wookie (


Well either the tracking is out on the video or I’ve played it too many times, but the excitement lives on; Dickov turning away after scoring that goal, my mobile phone flying seventeen rows down the stand, kissing and hugging all around, and my shins killing me because of the crap seats at Wembley. I am an exiled Mancunian living in Sussex and the amount of fans down here would be a credit to any club, we have just started to arrange get togethers and visits to the Academy. Season tickets bought and price lists for mini buses. If you live in and around Littlehampton, West Sussex and would like to become involved then contact me.

Guy Tipton (


Calling all Atlanta Blues (I know you are out there)… Adrian is coming to town from Oz around July 10th… sounds like a good reason for a get together. Give me an email if you are interested. Note, I don’t have Florida Blue’s funny stories, so you guys and gals need to come out of the woodwork so that we can entertain our guest.

I suggest we head down to the Brewhouse Cafe in Little Five Points as it is football friendly, but if you have better ideas let me know!

Hunter Sheridan a.k.a. Dixie Blue (


Being a media whore, I have in my possession the entire Sky Play-Off Final tapes (both of them, including 45 minutes of unadulterated celebrations). If any other media whore out there has access to something like an amateur porn video reproducing facility, they are welcome to bootleg both of the ba*tards and give them away to whoever (as long as I can have 10x for my mates and family).

Obviously, if there is any copyright infringement then somebody else made all this up. And **** them anyway.

Bill Borrows (


I’m happily driving to Asda with my three year old son on the back when he suddenly bursts into song. Not the usual Postman Pat theme or even a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to me’. No, as the words come out of his mouth I swerve to avoid running into the back of the 86 bus as it pulls up at the lights. Francis continues to sing this song even louder causing me to lose control of my car.

I eventually pull up in the car park as the singing from the back seat continues unabated. I turn round and ask him why he is singing this song. He informs me that he likes it. ‘But you can’t like that song, we’re a City household’. This is ignored as he belts out ‘Glory glory Man United’ for the seventh time.

As I eventually reach home still reeling from the shock and disappointment of his choice of song, his mum informs me that this isn’t the first time that he has chirped out this tune. A chill wind fills our home as all my dreams of taking him to Maine Road to prop me up after a marathon after-match session fade away. All the months of him wearing a City bib, the letter from Francis Lee congratulating him on his choice of name, my collection of ticket stubs ready to be passed onto him on his eighteenth birthday seem wasted.

‘I like Man United’ he tells me as we embark on a mission to exorcise the demons from within his mixed up mind. ‘But blue is your favourite colour’ I say. ‘No it isn’t, I like red, I like Man United’. F***ing hell.

Just before Wembley I bought my niece a City shirt which is now being proudly worn in California. I decided to take a few pictures of him wearing it to try to convince him that he is a City fan, but he casually pulled it straight off and informed me that he didn’t like it. I still managed a photo but his face was so furious I’m surprised the developers printed it.

I know who planted this wickedness in his mind and the wheels are in motion to ensure that this living embodiment of evil is no longer in a position to poison such young minds. However, it may be too late for Francis. I’ve never bought him a City top but rest assured as soon as the new Le Coq Sportif top hits the souvenir shop I will be first in line to buy it, stitching it to his skin if that what it takes for him to wear it.

What have I done wrong? Can this dreadful situation still be saved? I cannot stand any more sleepless nights thinking about the day when he tries to get me to take him to The Swamp. I would welcome any suggestions from anyone who has found themselves in a similar desperate position.

Hoping for a miracle cure, Larry

Larry (


The following Early Day Motion (EDM) was tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 17th June:

“Alex Ferguson & Manchester United”

“That this House congratulates Manchester United on their unprecedented success for an English football club in winning the Premier League, the FA Cup and the European Champions’ League in the space of 10 days; further congratulates Alex Ferguson on his nomination for a knighthood; and believes it is a worthy recognition for his achievement in leading Manchester United to win 12 trophies in the last 10 years.”

What is more interesting is how many MPs have endorsed this blasphemy (a mere 8 out of 659) and, whilst it pains me to admit that all are from my beloved Labour Party (it is a working man’s game after all!), it is also rather amusing to note what constituencies they represent:

Terry Lewis MP (Worsley)
Huw Edwards MP (Monmouth)
Helen Jones MP (Warrington North)
Ashok Kumar MP (Middlesbrough South)
Stephen Hesford MP (Wirral West)
Alan Simpson MP (Nottingham South)
Norman Godman MP (Greenock & Inverclyde)

So a particularly strong showing from greater Manchester then! In fact the only Manc MP present, who admittedly proposed the motion, was the well known U****d fan, Graham Stringer MP (Manchester, Blackley).

Given the fact that we Blues have our own ‘official’ supporters’ club in Westminster I now think it’s time for Ivan Lewis MP and Paul Goggins MP to table an EDM endorsing City’s amazing Wembley feats and prove, once again, that people from Manchester (and New Zealand!) support City!

Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi (


How about this one then… what about a competition for the best one?

Alan (Ball!)


Steve Maclean (


After all the bitter and twisted comments from the Gillingham Chairman, Manager, press etc. a few points worth noting:

  1. The local Gillingham press was full of stories of “Gills to sack Pulis” two days after the match.
  2. Real supporters stay and cheer their team after full time at Wembley win, lose or draw(they also know at least a couple of the club’s songs).
  3. Here is the referee’s statement from their website.

Ref – I Got It Right

Wembley referee Mark Halsey today insisted that he was right in adding on Sunday’s controversial five minutes’ stoppage time which allowed Manchester City back into the game. The amount stunned Tony Pulis, suprised City boss Joe Royle and broke the hearts of thousands of Gills’ fans. Mr Halsey, a taxi-driver from Welwyn Garden City who could be added to the list of Premier League appointments for next season, is adamant that he got it right and hit back at his critics. He explained: “I carry two watches. One runs continuously, the other I stop and start. I timed City’s first goal at 88 minutes and the second two minutes into stoppage time. The people who are having a go at me tend to forget that there were six second half substitutions and four cautions. For each, I stop the clock. I also stopped it when one of the Gillingham players needed treatment for a head injury. If Gillingham think they were hard done by then I would point to their excessive goal celebrations. Carl Asaba ran off the pitch towards the Gillingham fans and would not come back. There were also lengthy celebrations when Robert Taylor scored with players running in from all over the field. Again, I stopped the watch as I did when Carl Asaba came off injured. And remember, he took a long time to leave the field.”

This should put the record straight; also in a another response to the drinking issue he states that he is a QPR fan, so if anything he should have been buying our fans the drink following the end of last season.

On a more sinister note, in the light of the Labour Government giving Ferguson a Knighthood I assume that the Labour Party (of which I have been a lifelong supporter, until now) will endorse the following behaviours from all companies.

  1. If your profits drop in a half year, put up the prices of your products so that you can pay full dividends to your shareholders.
  2. Exploitation of children by changing any marketing offshoots from yourproduct at least three times a year is OK.
  3. It doesn’t matter how you treat your customers; there are plenty more sad saps where they came from.
  4. Let your employees behave like brats and then condone their actions in the media.
  5. It is acceptable to hit women when relaxing after a hard day at work.
  6. Money is more important than people, greed is good, especially if you have a cash cow.

I know that the Knighthood was theoretically for the treble, but people like Edwards will see it as an endorsement of the way they all behave, I wonder if Paddy Ashdown is a Blue?

Ged Wilson (


Jack Millington says Bert Trautmann played for England. In fact it was for the Football League.

Steve Parish (


The press clippings have been cut and filed away. The Wembley bruises have faded. The tacky commemorative T-shirt hangs washed in the cupboard. The City are Back video is in the post. The hangover has abated.

It’s now over 2 weeks since we were promoted and despite all of the above milestones confirming what has happened, I still cannot explain properly how I felt before, during and after the play-off final. I even tried my hand at some poetry but couldn’t get past the first line: “Slow magic crawled through the air”.

For me, that perfectly captures the time warp that forty thousand Blues entered into as Dickov struck the ball towards goal in the 95th minute. We sucked in our cheeks like the Anfield Kop of old and hoped the impossible whilst expecting the heart-wrenching inevitable miss and all its consequences.

One second lasted an eternity, all sound was blocked out, vision blurred from frame to frame. Pure slow motion as the ball went… into the back of the net.

Frow slow motion to fast forward, everything all at once. A whirligig of emotional release and disbelief spiralling throughout the tunnel end. Every man, woman and child ten, twenty, thirty feet in the air, drinking lustily from the cup of joy. And noise, electric noise – inside and out – a scream from the depths of despair to the heights of heaven and everywhere inbetween.

When I looked up to see the end of normal time, I realised I had gone ten rows back and didn’t recognise any of the faces around me. I quickly made my way back to my “seat” for extra time and five seconds later – or so it seemed – penalties were upon us.

I couldn’t watch. I was torn between standing on my seat and watching the whole grim proceedings or sitting down and praying. I opted for the compromise of standing normally with most of the goal obscured by other people’s heads. This was as good as watching through half-closed eyes.

We scored then the noise returned only this time it was fiercer and capricious in intent, screaming “Gillingham, this is our net now, we own it, you will not score in it.” The noise won. City went up.

Physically, emotionally and financially drained yet happy. A strange, unique feeling for a City fan, happiness did finally come to soothe our frayed nerves that Sunday night. May it long outstay its welcome.

James Nash (


When writing and talking about City, where do you start? With me, like most others, it’s with tales of doom, gloom and disappointment about the way this club has let us down over so many years. I left England in 1992, a committed but disillusioned Blue and have been in Japan ever since, following City via e-mails from friends, the official web-site and the fanzines together with the MUEN Pink I get sent regularly.

Looking into the past, I had some great times in the heady days of the late 70’s watching everybody’s (under the age of 35) dream team with a Kippax season ticket for 6 pounds; to the topsy turvy 1980’s where salvation came in the form of epic Houdini-like performances at the likes of Brighton and Portsmouth, the memorable promotion game at home to Charlton (where I’m sure the crowd was around 55,000) and even occasional glimpses of what it’s like to be a happy football supporter under Judas and Peter Reid.

But what City overall have done to me over the years is to make me bitter, cynical and ridden with guilt. The guilt factor comes from forcing two people to become disciples to the cause. The first person, my brother has never seen a successful City team and has endured years of going home and away to suffer heartache and humiliation at the hands of those glory-hunting parasites.

He, like all other Blues under the age of 30 have never had anything to cheer about apart from the 5-1 (his first ever derby match). The other person is my mate Jeff in L.A. who incidently introduced me to this site recently.

While he gave me his American teams to follow – basketball’s Lakers and baseball’s Dodgers – traditionally successful teams boasting some of the world’s finest athletes, I gave him Manchester City in return, whose performances on the pitch led him to question me many times with one of your site’s favourites – “Why Blue?” and “why did you make me Blue?!” Reflecting on our discussions of Jeff’s City years… Alan Ball – who I will never ever forgive – the very mediocre Frank and the slide into obscurity, I’m amazed that he’s sticking to the cause – and a very healthy hatred for the Trafford Scum to go with it I might add.

I’ve written about these points in order to put my feelings about ‘that match’ in perspective. Granted, it was may be the most important game in our history and was won in arguably the most dramatic fashion ever witnessed at Wembley. But heroes? A club of our size should never have been in that Division in the first place.

We should have at least failing the Championship, been able to claim an automatic place which we failed to do and then only by the most amazing fortune managed to sneak away with a win and promotion through the back door. Don’t get me wrong – I would have loved to have been at Wembley (never seen City win there) – but the only thing I can relate to is the relief factor. I followed the match on the net and was sick with anger after Gillingham’s second goal; too tired and emotionally drained to feel any true joy after the final whistle and then philosophical after I turned my PC off at 4am in the knowledge that they’d done the job – without really delivering as usual. I refuse to buy into this new doctrine that has been spread by the club – expectations at the Mecca have been too high for many years; we have to set ourselves new targets for achievement and allow the players to develop etc. My (and I hope everybody else’s) expectations are for City to be in Premiership’s top 10 within 2 years, with a concerted effort to finally win a major trophy (does anybody know how many clubs have made it to a semi of a major competition since the last time we did it in ’81 – I think it’s about 40 teams!). Then and only then will will they be heroes – where I can hold my head up without any guilt and feel true pride the same way I felt about Tony Book’s boys.

Joe and Willie who of course were part of that team, seem to be doing a very solid job, but we’re still miles away from where we need to be. Even next year, I think the consensus of opinion is that only Weaver, Wiekens, Morrison, Horlock and Cooke can be guaranteed to perform. After this, there’s a couple of youngsters (notably Fenton and Mason) who might make it; and we’re left with a very dodgy assortment of squad players – hardly the things dreams are made of. On this basis, it appears Joe needs to buy at least 4 players in the summer (glad Lee ‘Mr. Speed’ Sharpe wasn’t one of them) and hope that we can snatch a couple of local youngsters who would rather play in their home town of Manchester rather than plying their trade out in Trafford.

We have to hope by all the assurances that ‘the corner has been turned’ means that players who play for City will have ability. Those players will perform to their ability on a regular basis and most important of all, realize what an honour it is to wear the sky blue shirt.

The class of ’99 has yet to prove any of the above – so I wait in judgement. While I’m waiting I’m going to get myself a tape of the match, a few bottles of wine and sit down in front of my TV with tears welling at the sight of 40,000 jubilant Blues in celebration.

Come on you Blues!

P.S. Tony Prince – a Didsbury Blue? Cheers! Heard Arthur has gone from the Royal Oak but the Marston’s Pedigree is still as good.

CTWWS (City Till We Win Something) = CTID I suppose, Phillip Walker (


The opera singer at Wembley was booed at Preston before it was known he was a Rag. More like he was booed because either (a) City fans don’t like opera, or (b) they do but realised he was no Pavarotti.

Steve Parish (


Forgive me if what I am about to suggest is familiar ground, but I wonder if you could install a section devoted to locating old ‘Blues’ via MCIVTA. All my old mates, of long standing, are all ‘Blue’. I’ve never cultivated Red friendships because I’ve always regarded people of such conviction with contempt. It annoys me that I don’t know the whereabouts of a pair of notable ‘characters’ of late 60’s, begin 70’s. I would appeal to readers of McVitie to help me trace the following:-

Malcolm Flitcroft – aged approx. 49-50.
School – St.Greg’s, Ardwick Green ’61 to ’66 inc.
Address – Woodhouse Park (Wythenshawe) to 1970, thereafter Moss Side. Yeh, where is he now?
We covered some miles together following the ‘Blues’ on Holts and Fingland’s coaches with Eddie Pannett and Arnie Bradley. Malcolm had an old coach horn that sounded like the Titanic, on a bad day, and functioned as a clarion call for ‘Blues’ on ‘away’ terraces and was as familiar as Helen’s bell, under the old Kippax roof and on the Scoreboard End. From the moment I became familiar with the name Garry Flitcroft, I’ve often wondered if…, but that’s just wishful thinking!

Tommy Hand – aged approx. 52-55.
School – Heaven & Hell (Manchester centre) and the Crown, Northenden.
Address – No fixed address prior to ’67, working at all sorts of fairgrounds all over the place. Lived at parents’ home Longley Lane, Northenden between ’67 and ’70. He reverted to his former life on the fairgrounds and was last seen, about ten years ago, on a ‘fairground’ at Prestatyn, North Wales. We travelled the length and breadth of England with Bernard Mellor on Mark Bittner’s ‘City Excursions’. Tommy’s trademark was a ‘cuff round the ear’ for any visiting supporter who’d have the audacity to stand on Tommy’s beloved Kippax and applaud the wrong team. Such cheek was an affront to Tommy.

I’m sure that there are many more estranged ‘Blues’ out there, and the extent of circulation of MCIVTA could be a fantastic medium for renewing old bonds.

Kippax Exile, Dave Lyons (


…is an anagram of Lee Sharpe by the way. “Sheep Dip” or “Real Sh*t” would be more accurate, though. I hope I’m not the only one who’s glad he signed for the Bantams. I’ve nothing against Cookie Boy, he never established himself as a first team Rag and has proven to be not only a good player but also committed to the cause. Having “ex-Rag” is something I wouldn’t want on my CV but he will have to learn to live with that. Sorry JR but one ex-Rag is enough, plenty, we are now full up with ex-Rags, there’s no room for any more.

It’s not a matter of who’s the best player for the job as far as I’m concerned. City must not start a collection of ex-Rags. David Johnson of Ipswich, also an ex-Rag, has been linked (rumour) with a move to City. City will inevitably suffer p**s taking from the rest of the league as well as the Rags that City has turned into “Manchester U****d’s Retirement Home” or even worse refer to City as “MU Rejects”. F*** off Lee Sharpe, I don’t want to see you in laser blue.

If JR or anyone from the club is reading this please see the sense in avoiding the signing of Rags, ex-Rags or anyone who knows them.

It would be devastating to the fans to see the team hailed as MU Rejects.

Peter Abbott (


You know that Colin Bell song to the tune of Yellow Submarine? Does anyone know how it ends? All I ever hear is No.1 is Colin Bell, No.2 is Colin Bell, etc., and it never seems to get to the end. Have I missed the point?

Yours in Blue, Daniel Marcus (


A Man Utd fan dies on match day and goes to heaven in his Man Utd shirt. He knocks on the old pearly gates and out walks St Peter in a City scarf.

“Hello mate” says St Peter, “I’m sorry, no Man Utd fans in heaven.”

“What?” exclaims the man, astonished.

“You heard, no Man Utd fans.”

“But, but, but, I’ve been a good man”, replies the Man Utd supporter.

“Oh really”, says St Peter “What have you done, then?”

“Well” said the guy, “Three weeks before I died, I gave 10 pounds to the starving children in Africa”.

“Oh” says St Peter “anything else?”

“Well, 2 weeks before I died I also gave 10 pounds to the homeless.”

“Hmmm. Anything else?”

“Yeah. A week before I died I gave 10 pounds to the Albanian orphans.”

“Okay”, said St. Peter, “You wait here a minute while I have a word with the governor.”

Ten minutes pass before St. Peter returns.

He looks the bloke in the eye and says, “I’ve had a word with God and he agrees with me. Here’s your thirty quid back, now fu*k off.”

Jonathan Tod (


Our family was always traditionally Blue, this dating back to the pre-‘Great War’ era. My uncle John was a fantastic all-round athlete. He’d had a couple of trial games in goal for City, but decided to pursue boxing because there was more money in it. The Blue die was cast. John perished with many of his mates and the cream of the Lancashire Fusileers on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula.

I was born in Withington on the eve of the fifties and brought up in Hulme (within comfortable walking distance of our arena) and when that area was cleared we moved to Northenden. This is only relevant in demonstrating that my formative years were spent within the bounds of my own hometown. My earliest recollections of City games are in the mid-fifties. With my dad, I went on the proverbial ‘charra’, from the Wellington, on Stretford Road, to such far flung, exotic places as Blackburn and Blackpool, with the local branch of the supporters’ club.

I seriously began to follow City upon the arrival of Joe and Malcolm. Remember Johnny Crossan? We were languishing in the old Second Division and this great old footballer and statesman Mercer arrived and brought his brash but brilliant coach Allison with him. All of a sudden (well it took a couple of seasons) we emerged from the shadow of our brilliant neighbours. Honestly, I’m not trying to wind you up, but the hype and the nonsense was already firmly entrenched, and you can form your own conclusions why. The team of Mercer/Allison, instigated by the old Albert Alexander shook Manchester and Europe to its foundations and took us places. There was a real buzz about the place, City doing it all on the pitch, Malcolm ruffling all the feathers off it and Joe earning our club even more admiration by appearing everywhere as an admired and respected pundit. The rest, they say, is history.

I am City through and through. In the history of our eccentric club I have experienced breathtaking highs and faith-shattering lows. My own personal high was City’s inexorable march to the ’68 title when after giving the Rags a seemingly comfortable lead, in the league, we absolutely shattered them on their own patch at Vomit Village. This despite an attempted murder on the ‘King’. I’m convinced to this day, that performance instilled the belief among players and supporters alike that the title was ‘on’ and disheartened the Rags so much that their one time impregnable lead perished and their season redeemed only before a partisan crowd at Wembley. For as long as I live I shall never forget the sheer ecstasy at Newcastle. We went there knowing our team had a mammoth task. We had to beat a team with virtually the best home record in the league, and our team had to coolheadedly win in the knowledge that the Rags only had to beat an already relegated, disconsolate Sunderland. I’ve heard many stories of that game and was it Bell or Summerbee who said that if you believed all the people who claimed to have been there then, then 50,000 souls must have made the trip from Manchester! Every City regular I knew at the time was there.

My departure from the Manchester scene coincided with the club’s abysmal treatment of Joe and the soon to follow ‘merry-go-round’ of managers and coaches. I have been spared the jibes first-hand resulting from our plummet from those heady days. Nowadays, my trips to Manchester are few and far between. However, when I do get over then it’s always timed strategically to get a couple of games in. My most recent game was the 4-0 York game, at whatever level, what a joy to see a City team score more than an odd goal! Compare this to a relatively recent game, for me, Port Vale (who the f….) on a Boxing Day together with 30,000 like-minded souls watching our beloved (pale comparison) team lose and freezing our cobblers off into the bargain. Our club, make no mistake, has been sick. We have only begun on our road to recovery. We owe thanks to Big Joe and Bernstein and whoever else in the corridors for stopping the rot and turning our fortunes but it’s nothing more than we deserve for our faith and commitment.

My mission in life, here in Holland, football-wise, is to educate the average Dutch supporter who has been led to believe that all things English must be Red (thanks to the tinted media) must look further. When Liverpool were doing well there was an abundance of ‘Pool’ replica shirts. Arsenal feature prominently because of their Dutch contingent. The Rags are far away the most ‘popular’ foreign club team due to the perpetuated myths. This is where football gets confused. How much is down to football and how much to showbiz and hype? If the boys were so likeable and approachable, then it’s a question I could pose to Giggsy, Dwarfy, Butty, Becky Spice and Rudy (the red-nosed ‘keeper).

I can’t blame the BBC entirely, the NOS or Ajax Hilversum Mafia in Holland, maintain a love affair with the Amsterdam club spanning four decades. They begrudgingly give attention to Feijenoord and P.S.V.(both red) when they can’t avoid it. By the way, 60% of the so-called Ajax supporters I come across, 110km. south of Amsterdam have yet to see the inside of the Arena (sound familiar?).

Despite all the propaganda, on both sides of the water, what sort of a competition would it be if the rest weren’t there? I desperately hope we have now turned the corner and can return to some of our former glories. All my old mates have seen it all and what City are capable of. We’ve seen it, we’ve done it and been there. If we never win a Mickey Mouse League Cup ever again we’ll go better dead than Red. It is phenomenal that a City so deprived of success can claim new generations of fans. In a society of dog eat dog, only first counts etc. it’s unbelievable that we command an average home gate in the region of 30,000 in what was effectively the Third Division.

However, we now have a nucleus of a City branch here in Holland, numbering some 25 or so individuals. Approximately half are Mancunians (I hate manc – who the hell came up with that one?) and the rest Dutch. I appeal to all Mancunians to put less emphasis on this pure Mancunian, thus City, attitude because our City enthusiasm is contagious and it’s clear to all regular McVitie readers that our fan base is widening (e.g. 500+ in Norway). Further, and I know I’m a fine one to talk after what I’ve already said, but sod it, let’s quit groaning and spend less time having a go at the insipid Rags. Let’s just quietly hope that Murdoch comes back with an improved offer and that it’ll be the downfall of both mercenary organisations.

New Season’s Resolution

For the coming season encourage all our players wearing the City blue. They’ve earned their chance and if they don’t make it then it won’t be through lack of encouragement from us. Don’t undermine them by getting on their backs. Keep faith all you Blues.

Met vriendelijke groeten, Kippax Exile – Dave Lyons (


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The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

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Newsletter #510