Newsletter #513

Not surprisingly, this issue is somewhat on the thin side. Everyone, including JR has been taking time off… Stan Lazaridis perhaps excluded!

Take note of the first news of the next Tribal Gathering:- ‘The Tribe is Back’

Thanks to Robert Wild for his bit about bumping into Nicky Weaver in the street in Sheffield and to Andy Noise for his opinion about the squad in the run up to our return to the First Division.

Any contributions for MCIVTA 514?

Somebody else out there has a Why Blue?

Next game: Halifax away, Wednesday 21st July 1999


Part I – Transfers

Royle Return to Herald Transfer Activity: Joe Royle has now returned from foreign climes and will be behind his desk this week attempting to conclude the deals which will strengthen his squad in readiness for a Premiership push. The City manager has identified a number of potential targets and will be following up in the next few days. With most teams resuming training in the coming seven days, other managers will also step up their recruitment activity – meaning there may also be outgoing transfer movement in the not-too-distant future. Royle, assistant manager Willie Donachie and chairman David Bernstein were reported to have met on Monday to thrash out their strategy for the new campaign.

Ludden Set for City Move?: Speculation has intensified that Preston full back Dominic Ludden will be the man to fill the vacancy on the left of the City back line. The 25-year-old ex-Leyton Orient and Watford player impressed at North End last season after arriving on a free transfer. With manager David Moyes keen to strengthen his side after missing out in the play-offs, rumours have for several weeks pinpointed Ludden as a man who could be off-loaded to raise funds. Credence has been given to the speculation following the Lancashire club’s signing of Everton left back Adam Eaton, a highly-rated 19-year-old whose path into the Goodison senior side is blocked by Michael Ball. It’s thought that Eaton wouldn’t have contemplated dropping two divisions unless he’d been promised regular first-team action, which points to Ludden moving on to provide the cash for Moyes to offset some of his summer spending. There have been claims that before he went on holiday Joe Royle was in contact with his Preston counterpart over Ludden’s availability and the coming days are expected to see further contact.

City Say No Pollock Move Imminent: For several weeks now the smart money has been on Jamie Pollock departing Maine Road this summer. However, the Blues have denied weekend media reports that the player will be allowed to leave. The former Middlesbrough and Bolton midfielder began the season as the Blues’ captain but his campaign was disrupted by injury, while he lost the armband after his third sending-off of the campaign at Bournemouth in February. After being regarded as an automatic selection last August, Pollock couldn’t even make the bench for the play-off final in May. The player was said to have been upset by his omission and reportedly had talks on the subject with Joe Royle. However, while Saturday’s newspapers quoted Joe as saying Pollock would be allowed to leave to fulfil his ambition of first-team football, a club spokesman said on Sunday that the City manager hadn’t spoken to the press on the subject. In fact, it’s now being claimed that Pollock will meet with Royle next week, when the Blues return for pre-season training, and the latest rumour is that the player could stay. Reports reckon that the management could view Pollock’s top-flight experience as a valuable asset as City seek to establish themselves at a higher level.

Shelia Set for Swiss Rôle?: Transfer-listed Georgian defender Murtaz Shelia could end his Maine Road career by moving abroad, with two Swiss clubs said to be leading the chase for his signature. Shelia was made available last season having lost his place in March 1998 when he sustained a serious knee injury, and the player only made three appearances in 1998-99. Joe Royle elected part way through last season to play with two rather than three centre halves, with Wiekens, Morrison and Vaughan the prime contenders. With the likes of Nick Fenton and Richard Jobson also in the wings and Kakhaber Tskhadadze hopefully recovering from injury, the Blues see an opportunity to off-load one of their highest earners. While Shelia would prefer to stay in England, he’s attracting more interest from the continent, with one report suggesting he could be set to join compatriot Mikhail Kavelashvili at Grasshoppers Zürich.

New WInger Link: It’s unlikely that there’ll be any more news on the Blues’ rumoured bid for West Ham winger Stan Lazaridis until the player returns from his honeymoon later in the week. Should the proposed deal break down, it’s now being claimed that Joe Royle may switch his attention to Middlesbrough’s Alan Moore, who’s been made available by Bryan Robson for a reported £250,000. The 24-year-old Republic of Ireland winger was rated a hot prospect when he first broke through at ‘Boro but injuries and Robson’s expansive recruitment policy have seen the Irishman fall from favour. Moore spent a spell on loan at Barnsley last year and the Yorkshire side are said to be keen to sign the player on a permanent basis. West Bromwich Albion are also in the hunt.

Part II – Other News

Burnley Friendly Called Off: City’s pre-season friendly against Burnley at Turf Moor, scheduled for Saturday 17 July, has been cancelled after the two sides were drawn to face each other in the first round of the Worthington Cup. It’s understood that the decision to scrap the fixture was taken by Joe Royle, with Burnley keen to press ahead regardless because they expected a bumper crowd for the match. Hopefully, the cancellation will be an omen. Two years ago, in similar circumstances, Frank Clark elected to press ahead with a pre-season engagement at Blackpool. A few weeks later, of course, the Tangerines unceremoniously dumped City from the League Cup. Royle’s decision now means that the Blues have only four pre-season friendlies scheduled for the first team, so presumably will seek to arrange a replacement match. There were earlier claims that City were seeking to fix up a game with Oldham, while Monday’s latest is that there may be a friendly at Macclesfield on either Monday 2 or Tuesday 3 August.

Season Ticket Latest: The club has already sold 18,000 season tickets for the coming season, comfortably the best figure since Maine Road became an all-seater stadium in 1994. It’s reckoned that the club has already banked over £4 million thanks to the fans’ enthusiasm for the new campaign, and with almost six weeks remaining before the season kicks off at home to Wolves, the landmark 20,000 figure looks to be within reach. The soaring sales mean that City are almost certain, now that Sunderland have been promoted to the Premiership, to be the Nationwide League’s best-supported team next season. Indeed, in last season’s Division One, only five clubs managed even a single attendance higher than City’s lowest league gate of the campaign.

Sky Matches Confirmed: City’s support is helping to make the Blues a big TV draw, with a Sky spokesman recently admitting that the club’s appearances invariably draw much larger armchair audiences than the average for their Nationwide League coverage. It’s hardly a surprise, then, that five of City’s matches before the turn of the year have already been earmarked for screening. The season’s opener at home to Wolves will be moved to Sunday 8 August with a 1 p.m. kick-off, with the Molineux return being rearranged for Friday 3 December with a 7.45 p.m. kick-off so that it, too, can be televised. Sky have also elected to show City’s trips to Ipswich (Sunday 26 September, 1 p.m. kick-off), Birmingham City (Tuesday 19 October, 7.45 p.m. kick-off) and West Bromwich Albion (Sunday 26 December, 12 p.m. kick-off). Should City manage to force their way into promotion contention, we can expect plenty of further TV-motivated fixture changes in the second half of the season.

Bradbury Cash Hopes Receding: City have been hoping for months for a cash boost from Crystal Palace’s potential sale of Lee Bradbury. Palace still owe a sizeable chunk of the fee they paid last October for the man who is still City’s all-time record signing. However, the move failed to work out for the former soldier and he ended the season on loan at Birmingham City. Birmingham have an option to buy Bradbury for a cut-price £400,000 before July 1, which would be a boost for City since Palace have to use any transfer fee received for the ex-England under-21 man to pay off their debt to the Blues. However, as the deadline nears, there appears little prospect of the deal going through. The sticking point is reckoned to be Birmingham’s reluctance to match the player’s £6,000 weekly wage at Selhurst Park. Should the move break down, our old friend Alan Ball, armed with cash from a takeover at Portsmouth, is reckoned to be keen to take Bradbury back to his first professional club.

Players Set for Gentle Return: Following their play-off exertions in May, the City players will report back for training next week having only had a five-week break, three weeks shorter than the majority of the clubs in the division. However, it’s been decided that pre-season training will nevertheless begin on schedule. In view of the late and energy-sapping finish to the previous campaign, coach Willie Donachie will aim to ensure that the first few days aren’t excessively arduous. Bolton, whose season ended 24 hours later, have taken a different approach and decided to defer their own pre-season training for a few extra days.

Peter Brophy (


23 October 1999 – City vs. Blackburn Rovers – The Big One!

City fans from all over the world – this one’s for you! Anyone who doesn’t know about the Tribal Gatherings which have been going on for a couple of years now, listen to this!

City fans from all over the place will be gathering on the weekend of 23 October 1999 to celebrate our allegiance to the Blue Heroes. Last year Blues from such far-flung places as Japan, West Indies, Scandinavia, USA and Russia met up for a great weekend of fun and brother/sisterhood (and then of course there was the match!). This year will be even better! We’ve chosen the big one, City vs. Blackburn Rovers. It should be a cracker, so why not sign up now for TG3. We’ll have a weekend full of events such as a tour of the ground, a visit to the Platt Lane Training Ground (where we met David Bernstein last year), a Friday night gathering (without dodgy comedian this time, thank you for your comments on that one!), a 5-a-side footy competition (won by the London-based Blues if my memory serves me correctly, although my lot “the Rest of the World” scored the goal of the tournament, by Chippy), and I’m sure we’ll be able to squeeze a few pints of decent beer in somewhere!

So book the TG3 in your diary now!


As I write, City’s summer of transfer mayhem has yet to kick off. So far, all we’ve had are four youngsters released, Julien, O’Keefe, Daly and Allcock for the record. So what next?

Well, Joe has returned from holiday and will no doubt spring straight into action. Remember, the new season starts five weeks on Saturday and our first friendly is in less than three. So new players need acquiring and integrating sooner rather than later.

So where is he going to do business?


Apart from Daly going, little discussion. For my two penneth, I’d get rid of Wright and sign a more reliable deputy for Weaver. Imagine if Wright had had to step in for the play-offs…

Full Backs

Easy one this. We’re going to finally sign a left back. Little doubt here. That said, this has been the case the last two summers and we’ve ended up with Vaughan and Tiatto, a centre half and a winger. The rumour mill is offering left-back Dominic Ludden (Preston), Lee Briscoe and Earl Barrett (Sheffield Wednesday), Carl Serrant (Newcastle), Shane Nicholson (Chesterfield) and Lee Dixon (Arsenal, yes that one). Roger Nilsen (Sheffield United) and Kevin Sharp (Wigan) have already turned us down / decided to stay put. Expect Steve Harkness to be added to the list but have a pound on Briscoe.

As Joe sold all our full backs last Summer, expect none to depart this year, although Lee Crooks has been lined up for a midfield rôle (see later).

Centre Halves

Rumours concerning the arrival of centre halves seem barely worth starting as we have, including Crooks, nine with first team experience. So links with Crewe central defender Dave Walton, Stoke’s Lars Sigurdsson or Preston’s Michael Jackson (!) seem pointless.

Departures seem more likely with Shelia, Rimmer and Jobson presumably already scanning the situations vacant. From where I’m sitting, I’d try to get rid of Vaughan too. Yes, he filled in well, but the difference between him and Morrison or Tskhadadze (or Shelia!) and potentially Fenton is very wide.


Again, easy one this. We’re going to finally sign a left winger. Again, the media are happy to pair us off with any left footed touchline hugger who they can think of. So far we’ve had Lee Sharpe (Leeds United), Martin Smith (Sunderland), Scott Sellars (Bolton), Alan Moore (Middlesbrough) and of course Stan Lazaridis (West Ham).

On the outgoings front, well, as we don’t have a left winger, none can leave. So whatever Heaney and Tiatto are, they must be considering their futures. Certainly Heaney. The reserves will probably also lose the services of Morley, Reilly and Porteous, a motley collection of wing back cum wingers. The smart money must be on Lazaridis.

Central Midfield

Another area where we’ve an abundance of talent with seven (eight including Crooks) strong candidates for two slots. Again any rumours concerning arrivals e.g. Murphy (Liverpool) must be viewed with much doubt.

You can be confident that there will be a couple of exits though. The press have already shown Pollock and Jim Whitley the door. For what it’s worth, Pollock would be my first choice to stay. Until his operation last Autumn, he was our best player and even that brief appearance against Wigan in the play-offs was critical. He immediately added a decisiveness to the play in a game that was drifting away from us. He’ll raise the most money, though, so that’s probably that. Quite who will start the first game of the season remains intriguing. Bishop is class, Horlock supplies much needed goals, Whitley was outstanding in the play-offs, Brown was our most consistent player, the boss has already spoken of Crooks’ future in midfield, Mason is a workaholic with great potential, etc.


We certainly need some strengthening in this department too. Not exactly any surprise there either as the papers (and Teamtalk) have lined up every available forward for our perusal. These range from the decrepit, Mark Hughes (Southampton) and Dean Saunders (Benfica), through the usual suspects like Mike Sheron (Barnsley) and Michael Branch (Everton), the bizarre like Nicky Banger (Oxford United) and Trevor Benjamin (Cambridge United), the absurd Stan Collymore (Aston Villa) and Niall Quinn (Sunderland), the unlikely John Mullin (Sunderland) and Carl Asaba (Gillingham) and the `if we’re serious then these are the guys’ candidates like David Johnson (Ipswich Town) and Ade Akinbiyi (Bristol City). To be honest, I’d be surprised if any of the above joined us, but one of the last two would fit the bill nicely, at quite a price, though.

With Mark Robins already released and Chris Greenacre and Alan Bailey’s exits presumably imminent, I feel that more departures are required. Danny Allsopp can be filed under promising, so he’s safe. Youngsters like Shaun Wright-Phillips and Leon Mike have great potential but are a way off yet. So just how many of Shaun Goater, Paul Dickov, Gareth Taylor and Craig Russell are worth keeping? Goater is a great 2nd Division goalscorer and will probably be sold to one of the teams that we pipped last season. Dickov is probably safe as he is a hero. Russell seems doomed and Taylor should be.

So, there you have it. Another twelve to fifteen departures and at the most, four signings. A goalie and a left back on a Bosman. A mid-price left winger and a quality forward. Yours for £2.5 million, at least of which half financed by the outgoings.

Andy Noise (


A quick note to Neil Haigh who’s old enough to remember: Denis Law was a City player who then played for Man U. Terry Cooke is a Man U player currently playing for City. I think there is a subtle difference.

Kevin Cummins (


I finally believe it after thinking City lost the play-off final when I was in the south of France. I have got the video and seen the fixture list. I run a business in Oxford which for some reason has always had its colours as green and red. Anyway it was time for a facelift. After much reflection on Brer Rabbit’s tactics, I started discussion with the staff. I said we should brighten the place up and go for Brilliant Yellow. They were appalled. So with much reluctance I compromised. I agreed to having the place painted white and sky blue (well actually it is remarkably like laser blue). I know MCIVTA is no place for an advertisement but you can see the result at

John Wilson, Oxford


I currently work in Sheffield and was walking down the street, still hoarse from the previous Sunday’s Wembley showdown, when I saw a six foot blonde walking down the street towards me.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I the face of the person came clear and registered in my mind – Nicky Weaver! – the hero, the God, the inspiration behind City`s 2 defeats in 28 games.

“Nicky”, I cried, “I can’t believe it!” There I was stood in front of the towering 20 year old; a 24 year old man reduced to jumping up and down and screaming like a kid. Luckily I had a pen with me, and an old bill, so I duly asked for his signature whilst the 5’4” blonde girl he was with looked on in amazement (not that I noticed her much, she was OK, but I think you could do better than that Nicky!).

Anyway, as he was signing my bill we had a quick chat. Coincidentally he knows someone I know; but the mutual friend is nothing more than just an acquaintance. This however gave me the feeling that I could talk a little more.

“Great game Nicky, great season!” I blurted, “…give it 2 years, brand new stadium, Premiership; the only way is up – don`t be going anywhere!” I said.

“Don`t worry,” he replied having just signed my bill, “…I`m not going anywhere!”

I shook his hand and skipped on down the street.

Robert Wild, Sheffield (of Prestwich, Manchester)


Two Nottingham Blues travel to nearly every game. If your sister wants a lift she will be well chaperoned by me and my dad (combined ages 120).

Malcolm Plaiter (


I live in Canada. Twice over the last couple of years I’ve wanted a blow-by-blow live account of two very important City matches – Stoke and Gillingham – but have found it difficult to get up-to-the-minute news on the games. So how do ex-pats follow the fortunes of Man City from afar, without benefit of UK media coverage?

Here’s a list of the sources I know of, and perhaps other fans could add to the list?

  1. Blue View Internet site at messages on game status, relayed from fans who are actuallylistening/watching the game live in the UK.
  2. Real Audio commentary over the Internet – see details at
  3. There’s also a Man City “Chat Room”, I believe, on the Internet -does anyone have the address?
  4. On the Internet, The Electronic Telegraph provides all the UKfootball results and some match reports in the next day’s edition at

Can anyone add to the list – perhaps SW radio stations, or Greater Manchester Radio address?

Dave Smith


There is a big hole in the South of England as far as Supporters’ Clubs go. There are branches of the OSC or CSA in London, Reading, down in the west country and Sussex but none in the central southern region. Having sat on a train full of Blues on their way from the south to Waterloo on that glorious day then I know there are masses of Blues down here.

The Winchester (A34) based branch of the CSA has been around for a while, although on a fairly small scale. We are looking to attract new members, and will be having regular monthly get togethers. We will be having our first meeting next Monday evening (5th July – 7:30), at the Willow Tree in Winchester.

Anyone who is interested is welcome to come along, the more the merrier, pass the message on to any other Blues that you know in the area who don’t have email. Please email me and let me know if you are likely to be there, or need directions. Anyone who can’t make Monday but would like to be kept in touch with developments then let me have your email address or phone number.

Andy Stevenson (,01962 621707 (home) or 07901 911540 (mobile)


As a City supporter isolated in Toronto, Canada and surrounded by United supporters, I was thrilled by City’s amazing comeback win against Gillingham. At last, I had something to boast about! I have been a City supporter ever since my dad hijacked me during a baby-sitting assignment and took me to see City play Sheffield Wednesday at Maine Road in 1956 when I was four years old. Growing up, I used to worship Bert Trautmann and used to emulate him as goalie for Bury Derby School before we emigrated in 1967, just as City hit their golden patch. I have lived and died with the Blues since then and remain a loyal supporter and hope they can mount a resurgence that will take them back to their rightful place in the Premier League. One City game I will never forget was in 1962-63 when Tottenham were going for the double. They played City at Maine Road and expected to win easily as City, as usual. were struggling at the wrong end of the table. Anyway, my dad asked me to go and get him a cup of tea and a pie at the concessions. While I waited in line I kept hearing all these cheers and thought Trautmann must be having a great game. When I got back to my seats, City were leading 3-1 and ending up winning 6-2. Typical, City, even when they were playing badly, they could always pull off a surprise.


Contributions: Steve Biddick –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve Bolton –
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]Steve Biddick,

Newsletter #513