Newsletter #519

The first post-match, pre-season issue, if you see what I mean! City are off to a less than flying start, but, as evidenced by four match reports, there are plenty of reasons why this game ended in defeat. Joe Royle too, wasn’t at all despondent, mainly I think due to it being our first game (not match fit), and he did field 21 players, and not in the way most of us might have expected!

This issue also has some nice eulogies to ‘Big Daft Dave’ (thanks to all those who wrote to me). Although I’m far too young to remember him personally, he certainly appears to have been a player who found his way into many Blues’ hearts.

Lastly, thanks to all those who responded to my plea for a guest editor – I’ll be contacting you all shortly.

Please note that all news for the next 2 issues should be directed to Geoff Donkin ( as Peter is away.

Next game: Halifax away, Wednesday 21st July 1999 (Friendly)


BURY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 18th July 1999

‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’

[A longer reflection on this game and what it indicates for City’s prospects appears at]

It was fairly predictable, really. After the euphoria at Wembley only 48 days before, there was no way City’s next game, in whatever circumstances it took place, would be able to compete in terms of drama and excitement. Given that warm-up games are often treated as fairly meaningless kick-abouts anyway, a pre-season friendly at Gigg Lane would inevitably prove anti-climactic.

I was well aware of this, of course, but the knowledge made no difference to me – my Wembley-induced enthusiasm hasn’t yet had time to wear off in this most uncommonly short close season. I’ve arranged a holiday abroad before I start a new job in London at the beginning of August, so the first pre-season match would be the only one I could attend. Thoughtfully, Joe Royle cancelled the game at Burnley and arranged a replacement fixture which was particularly convenient for me – a direct trip on the Metrolink tram from my parents’ house in Sale up to Bury. It was arguably quicker than driving but in any case allowed for the possibility of a civilised couple of pints both before and after the game.

This was also a weekend which saw a visit home by my sister, who now works in Germany. She’s never been quite such an obsessive fan as I am, but she used to have a season ticket in her school days and still keeps an eye out for the City. When she and her fiance turned up on our doorstep an hour before my dad and I were due to set out for the match, I saw an opportunity to try to revive her interest. Though her better half, a Liverpudlian with an allegiance to the reds of Merseyside, was keen to attend, Sarah was adamant that I hadn’t picked a fixture enticing enough to tempt her. Most fans looking at the result will think she wasn’t a bad judge.

That said, while the first pre-season friendly is hardly a reliable guide in itself to City’s fate next season, it could nevertheless give some indicators of how Joe Royle intends to approach the new season. And, of course, it meant a return to the live football experience (albeit not for a match of any consequence) after a gratifyingly short break.

City line-up (first half): Weaver; Jim Whitley, Morrison, Crooks, Edghill; Brown, Pollock, Horlock, Kennedy; Taylor, Dickov

City line-up (second half): Wright; Crooks, Wiekens, Jobson, Vaughan; Cooke, Jeff Whitley, Bishop, Russell; Goater, Allsopp

Ironically, though this was a fairly low-key game, it was watched by a crowd of 4,500 – quite possibly one of the larger attendances at Gigg Lane this season. Not surprisingly, the numbers were swelled by a good turn out of Blues, with the visiting fans accounting for over two thirds of the gate. The City fans started in fairly good voice on a bright, pleasant afternoon. The match also marked the first appearance of the new kit, which on my first viewing in the flesh was surprisingly pleasing to the eye even if the shirt’s predominantly white sleeves still seems a little alien to the club’s sartorial traditions. No doubt I’ll get used to it, though. For those of us who bother about these things, the City players who appeared all wore their squad numbers.

Joe Royle, for reasons with which I sympathise, treated the game as an extension of a training exercise, replacing at the break ten of the eleven players he fielded in the first half. By that point, the Blues were deservedly two goals down. Someone told me that Bury had been in training for two weeks longer than City, and it certainly looked that way. Although the first real chance of the match saw Gareth Taylor head wide from a good position, the Shakers were by and large first to the ball and took the lead on sixteen minutes, Lutel James following up to score after his initial effort had been blocked by Weaver. The pattern continued with Darren Bullock blazing over from a good position, before the second goal duly arrived eight minutes before the break. A lovely finish it was, too, Adrian Littlejohn meeting a right-wing cross with a left-footed volley across Weaver and inside the ‘keeper’s left-hand post. City roused themselves briefly, Taylor hitting the post from close range following a clever move involving Kennedy and Edghill, but there was no disputing the justice of the scoreline at the halfway mark.

The City side which returned after half-time included only Lee Crooks of the eleven who featured before the break, but it was still Bury, with ex-Maine Road skipper Steve Redmond on as a substitute, who resumed looking the brighter. The Shakers went close twice, with a header narrowly over the bar and a shot fractionally wide, before the Blues came back into the game and on fifty-six minutes reduced the arrears. A perfectly weighted through pass from Jeff Whitley sent Danny Allsopp clear. His first effort looped goalwards off the ‘keeper’s legs, allowing the Australian striker to follow up and score. With Bishop pulling the strings, there ensued a period of City territorial dominance, and the Blues knocked the ball around with some aplomb for the only spell in the game. Clear-cut opportunities were conspicuously absent, though – thanks in part to a couple of marginal offside decisions. As the game drew to a close, however, the Blues reverted to type and Bury’s ascendancy resumed. With around fifteen minutes remaining, the Shakers had sent on a novice goalkeeper, and though he may have touched the ball, my dad and I were both unable to recall him doing so.

On the face of it, then, it was a far from inspiring day and it certainly wasn’t an auspicious début for the new kit. Oddly, though, I enjoyed it – with no league points or place in the next round of a cup competition riding on the result, I felt fairly sanguine about the defeat. My appetite for live football was whetted and I’m still looking forward to the new season.

Ostensibly, Saturday’s events don’t augur well for success next term – we were, after all, clearly second best to a side relegated two months ago from the division to which we’ve just been promoted. However, it’s probably unwise to read too much into the match, just as it proved unfounded to draw confidence from the successful pre-season under Frank Clark immediately before relegation. And it has to be said that City’s performance certainly didn’t indicate that the management regarded the result as a priority, and though I felt there were conclusions to be drawn from the match, they were all points which were already evident – for instance, I’m not sure we’ll find a partnership which is potent at Division One level from the strikers on the books, while we still, as we have for years now, need a decent left back. Meanwhile, there are still eight players competing for only two starting places in central midfield so Joe will have a selection dilemma. Bishop and Jeff Whitley were probably the two who did themselves most good at Gigg Lane.

We already know that the competition next year will be much, much tougher. We’re up against clubs with recent Premiership pedigree and players of top flight quality, like Blackburn, Forest and Bolton. Then there are the nouveaux riches like Fulham, Portsmouth and Huddersfield, whose financial muscle will make them hard to match. Clubs like Birmingham, Wolves and Sheffield United, even if the latter two are subject to financial strictures, have the stadia and potential support to feel they could do justice to the Premiership. Even the likes of Barnsley and Charlton have had a taste of top flight action and will be keen to return. I rather take with a pinch of salt Joe’s claim that, while there’s a big difference in the grounds, the quality of the teams is not dramatically different.

I don’t think for a minute that the defeat at Bury should be the cause of great recriminations. We already knew, or should, even in the post-promotion euphoria, have known that repeating the feat next season would be exceptionally tough. We also know that for the whole of Joe Royle’s spell in charge the team has been in transition, and while major strides have been made, much remains to be done. My own view is that there will certainly be three worse teams than us next year, and with the improvement in spirit at the club, we should avoid a repeat of the disasters of 1997-98. However, if club officials are serious when talking about a push for promotion next year, I feel we’re still some way off.

In team terms, the ideas I’ve set out above are those I’d have listed before the Bury game (off the field is another matter, and I’d still like to see concrete evidence that financial and ownership issues have been resolved – there’s no sign of this yet). Just because there wasn’t immediate evidence at Gigg Lane that the faults have been repaired doesn’t mean that they’re not in the process of being remedied, or that the club isn’t aware of what needs to be done. As I’ll be unable to attend any further pre-season games, I won’t see whether we’ve made any strides in this direction until we kick off the campaign proper against Wolves, and even after Saturday I can hardly wait.

Peter Brophy (


BURY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 18th July 1999

Firstly, don’t panic! Right from the start this was obviously a fitness exercise rather than a game we needed to win, as evidenced by the fielding of virtually 2 separate teams, 1 in each half. The new home strip made its début and you know, it’s not too bad in the flesh. I’d still prefer an all blue shirt without the white sleeves though. Also the squad numbers were revealed for the first time. Whether they are the final choices for the forthcoming season, I’m not sure but I would guess that this is indeed the case. The team that completed the end of the season mainly had the 1-11 numbers, with Dickov being allocated 9, Morrison 5, Horlock 6, Bishop 8. Mark Kennedy was 34 (!) so we obviously still retain a large squad. Weaver and Wright shared an unbadged, unsponsored goalkeeper shirt, so presumably Le Coq Sportif have not yet completed its manufacture. The first half team was as follows: Weaver, Jim Whitley, Crooks, Morrison, Edghill, Brown, Pollock, Horlock, Kennedy, Dickov and Taylor. As mentioned above, this was a training exercise, so it’s unfair to criticise individuals. However, Jim whitley did not look comfortable at right back, and the Crooks/Morrison partnership would need working on (both Bury’s goals were due to misunderstandings in defence, although I must say that Littlejohn’s spectacular volley for their second was something special).

Pollock did his best to get the team driving forward, Dickov was as you would expect. New boy, Kennedy got in a couple of tremendous crosses and tackled back quite well. We hit the woodwork a couple of times and that was that. The second half team was; Wright, Crooks, Wiekens, Jobson, Vaughan, Cooke, Jeff Whitley, Bishop, Russell, Allsopp and Goater. Immediately this group looked more comfortable, due in my opinion down to that man Bishop. We always play better with him in the side. Crooks looked far more accomplished at right back. Forgotten man Jobson was OK. Jeff Whitley displayed some nice touches and Allsopp’s pace clearly caused Bury’s backline some problems. In fact it was a move started by Bishop, set up by Whitley and finished by Allsopp that got our goal.

Again, I wouldn’t read too much into tactics. Both teams played 4-4-2, but the wingers (one in each half) were not utilised as often as they should be). I’m looking forward to seeing Cooke and Kennedy working in tandem, but the rest of the team have to ‘get used’ to having 2 wingers again. I would guess that Royle will use the Halifax and possibly Bristol City games in a similar manner to this one (i.e. a team for each half). I think that by the time the Everton and certainly Stockport games arrive, we’ll see something more akin to the team likely to start against Wolves. A good Blues turnout (about 3,000 in a crowd of 4,000) made for a good atmosphere.

Phil Hartley (


BURY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 18th July 1999

The announcer at the start of the game said City were going to field two totally different sides, one for each half of the match. Bury won the first half 2-0, we won the second half 1-0. I make that 1-1 – enough said!

Back to reality – you have to put this game into perspective, it was only a friendly match and the first game the lads have played since that emotional day at Wembley, so in reality no criticism should be pointed but I can’t see Jobson, Russell, Pollock and Wright impressing much this season.

The players ran out in their new kits and to be honest I like it. A good turn out by the faithful – around 3,000. Terry Cooke was supporting a new hair style – blonde streaks but apart from that everyone looked the same! Bury had demolished their Cemetery stand and it did look like a cemetery with heaps of soil all over the place.

The game started at a slow pace but you could see Bury were more up for it than City. Lutel James scored after 16 minutes to put Bury 1-0 up. In the build up to this goal two Bury players were clearly offside but the ref played on and James scrambled home after hard work by Morrison who tried in vain to stop him but only succeeded in bundling James into the back of the net.

City responded well and Taylor was unlucky with two headers that hit the bar and post. Mark Kennedy had a quiet début but did show a few flashes of skill, I think he will do well this season.

City then sat back and let Bury dictate the game, then before you knew it, Bury scored again to make it 2-0 in the 40th minute. Adrian Littlejohn scored with a powerful volley which flew past Weaver. Straight after this second Bury goal someone shouted “we want the other team”! The humour, I love it.

Half time came and a raffle was made by the master of ceremonies who must have been a relation of Norman Collier! He kept on blaming the microphone!

The teams came out for the second half with only Lee Crooks a survivor of the first half. Again, like most of the first half City were happy to let Bury dictate the pace but in the 57th minute City pulled one back. Crooks picked up the ball at right back and passed to Jeff Whitley in the middle of the park who did a 1-2 with Bishop, Whitley then threaded a great through ball for Allsopp whose pace took him past Steve Redmond (remember him?). Allsopp shot straight at the goalkeeper but the ball bounced up off the goalie and Allsopp followed through to head City’s first goal of the season.

The remaining 30 minutes were dictated by Bury but you could clearly see City were not yet match fit.

Anyway, next stop Halifax on Wednesday!

For the record the teams versus Bury were:

1st Half                 2nd Half
Weaver                   Wright
Jim Whitley              Vaughan
Edghill                  Crooks
Crooks                   Wiekins
Morrison                 Jobson
Horlock                  Jeff Whitley
Pollock                  Bishop
Brown                    Russell
Dickov                   Goater
Taylor                   Allsopp
Kennedy                  Cooke

Duncan Madden-Ross (


Just thought I’d send a few lines about Saturday’s friendly with Bury. I also have a few questions that maybe someone out there can shed some light on.

Question 1 – If Joe Royle has spent all summer banging on about the team spirit and how the players had formed an understanding between each other why did he play half the first team and some reserves in the each half rather than his strongest team in one half and then the reserves in the other half? Especially the fact he keeps going on about 2 bloody wingers then only plays one in each half! Is that his game plan for the season?

Question 2 – Joe keeps telling us how well the youngsters are doing and how “If they’re good enough they’re old enough” but we didn’t see Gary Mason, Nick Fenton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Leon Mike or Terry Dunfield (?) on Saturday! But we did see Richard Jobson!

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the Bury Friendly for what it’s worth.


Nicky Weaver… Looked OK. Made a good save before the first goal but had no chance with the rebound or the second.
Verdict: Still number one.

Tommy Wright (wrong wrong)… I’d forgotten how scary Tommy is when he kicks, he quickly reminded me and this was only a friendly. I hope I never have to see Tommy in a first team game again in my life.
Verdict: Bring on Steve Hodgson.


Jim Whitley… a central midfielder playing at right back, looked lost, kept getting dragged out of position, felt quite sorry for him because Joe had forgotten it was Jeff who did quite well at right wing back the season before last, no chance of a place in the team if Joe plays him there.
Verdict: Looks surplus to requirements.

Lee Crooks… played in the centre in the first half and right back in the second (even though Joe has told us he sees Lee in midfield?). Lost in the first half, kept getting dragged into the right back position (maybe Jim’s fault), played well in the second, solid at right back, got the number 2 squad shirt, so when we buy a left back (ha ha ha) we’ll have Edgy playing at right back in the number 3 shirt and Lee probably up front or in goal?
Verdict: Looks solid at right back, almost certain of a start with the lack of a left back.

Andy Morrison… Didn’t look like his normal self but that could have been because Lee kept getting out of position, made a few wayward passes but looked strong in the air (as usual), good to see the rage counselling hasn’t worked when he lost it with one of Bury’s strikers. My spell checker came up with ‘Moron’ as a suggestion for Morrison but I wouldn’t tell him … would you?
Verdict: Not his normal self but will be I hope.

Richard Edghill… Didn’t look comfortable with Lutel James (we should have bought him), run ragged and turned inside and out, looked glad to reach half time, didn’t link up with Kennedy much but that’s probably to be expected at this stage.
Verdict: Not a left back, but the best left back we’ve got.

Gerard Wiekens… Looked OK with Bury’s reduced attack in the second half, didn’t really have too much pressure to handle, caught with his arms all over a few Bury players but as with Morrison should be OK after a few games alongside his regular centre back partner.
Verdict: Hopefully will continue from last year with Andy.

Richard Jobson… was Nick Fenton injured? Didn’t do anything wrong, didn’t need to do much at all really, he’s got to be at least 5th choice centre back so won’t be seeing much of him this season, will anyone buy him?
Verdict: Dead wood and if we can sell him.

Tony Vaughan… played at left back (surprised?), must have been glad Lutel James was taken off (did I mention he was quite handy?), got skinned a few times, never looks happy there. His squad number was very high, is the writing on the wall?
Verdict: Not happy at left back and who can blame him?


Michael Brown… stuck out on the right wing, completely wasted. Is the writing on the wall for Michael as well? Started to move inside a lot towards the end of the first half as he got fed up of not having the ball. Looked better inside making a few runs at the defence, definitely better on the day than either Horlock or Pollock when he moved into the centre.
Verdict: wake up Joe, play him in the middle where he belongs.

Kevin Horlock… his contribution was summed up by the fact my mate didn’t notice he was on the pitch until 25 minutes into the half (and we were sober). Made no contribution, very frustrating because we know what he can do, he’ll get in the team ahead of Brown because of Joe but on this performance he won’t deserve it.
Verdict: Underachieves too often, hope he shows what he can really do this season.

Jamie Pollock… see Horlock. Didn’t make much of a contribution, didn’t make any telling tackles or runs, had a few long range shots which as usual threatened the locals’ cars but not Bury’s goalie.
Verdict: sell him and cash in if we can.

Mark Kennedy… eagerly awaited but a disappointment. He has no right foot which is very worrying, at one point I was embarrassed as he ran from the left touchline to the right touchline looking for a pass with his left foot even though there were several options on his right foot. Continually failed to beat the Bury full back on the outside and was lost on the inside because of his right foot problem.
Verdict: Extremely worrying!

Terry Cooke… played like Terry Cooke, some flashes of inspiration, neat passing and linking up well with Lee Crooks, combined with a few over hit or misdirected crosses. If he plays well this season City will play well, can use both feet which is a relief considering…
Verdict: I’m glad he’s not a Mun**h anymore!

Jeff Whitley… added bite to midfield, looked like he really wants a place in the team, got stuck in and combined well with Bishop. Set up the goal with a Brownesque run at the Bury defence, definitely contributed more than Pollock or Horlock, keep him and play him.
Verdict: Looks up for it, if he’s playing well enough deserves a shot.

Ian Bishop… superb passing and vision. Added some much needed creativity and imagination to our play, made all our other midfielders look embarrassing in comparison.
Verdict: class! Thought he was past it last year, and I’m so glad I was wrong. Could be the difference this season if he stay fit.

Craig Russell… played out of position on the left wing, didn’t look happy there and he never has before either. Give him a go up front because he’s better than Taylor and Goater.
Verdict: wasted on the wing and probably won’t get a look in.

Strikers … and Gareth Taylor

Paul Dickov… ran his heart out as usual. Looked sharp and the Bury defence struggled with him, unfortunately he had no-one up front with him.
Verdict: poor Paul will be our only threat if we don’t buy a striker.

Gareth Taylor… a compete and utter waste of space, he couldn’t strike on a picket line! Missed his obligatory 2 free headers and generally did nothing.
Verdict: utter rubbish – sell him if we can find anyone stupid enough to buy him.

Shaun Goater… tries hard but is too clumsy, control is abysmal, bouncing off knees, shins, elbows and his nose I think. Didn’t have a shot on goal and will not score 20 in Div. 1.
Verdict: better than Taylor but who isn’t, too clumsy, will not make it in Div. 1 Joe!

Danny Allsopp… a bit of muscle and a bit of pace, took his goal well at the second attempt and was unlucky not to get a second. Made some intelligent runs and might work well with Dickov.
Verdict: give him a go with Paul, a hundred times better than both Taylor and Goater. Joe will probably sell him.

Overall, from these showings I’d go for:

Crooks    Morrison    Wiekens    Edghill
Cooke     Bishop    Jeff Whitley   Horlock (because no-one performed there)
               Allsopp     Dickov

Look familiar? Of the rest Brown would be fighting it out in the centre with Jeff, Russell given a go up front instead of Danny and Vaughan given a go in the centre of defence.
Sell: Jobson, Jim Whitley, Goater, Pollock and Taylor and we would at least cut the wage bill if not boost the coffers much.

Oh how about giving Danny Tiatto a run on the left wing? Looks alright going forward even if he can’t defend, from what I’ve seen he looks a better winger than Kennedy.

Gary King (


Royle Upbeat Despite Bury Loss

Joe Royle wasn’t too downhearted following City’s defeat at Gigg Lane in Saturday’s opening pre-season friendly. The Blues fielded an entirely different team in each half of the game, with the players on view before the break conceding a two goal lead thanks to strikes for Bury by Lutel James 16 minutes and Adrian Littlejohn on 37 minutes. Unfortunately, the second half side couldn’t emulate the Wembley performance, pulling back just the one goal thanks to Danny Allsopp on 56 minutes. Despite the scoreline, however, Joe was in a fairly philosophical mood. “It’s still early days,” he said. “I’m disappointed but we’ll improve. At least we’ve got a game under our belt.”

Squad Numbers

Anyone keen to order a new Le Coq/Eidos replica shirt bearing their favourite player’s name and number may wish to note that, on Saturday’s evidence, it appears that the following squad numbers have been allocated:

1 – Weaver; 2 – Crooks; 3 – Edghill; 4 – Wiekens; 5 – Morrison; 6 – Horlock; 7 – Brown; 8 – Bishop; 9 – Dickov; 10 – Goater; 11 – Cooke; 12 – Allsopp; 13 – Wright; 14 – Taylor; 15 – Russell; 16 – Pollock; 17 – Jim Whitley; 18 – Jeff Whitley; 21 – Vaughan; 25 – Jobson; 34 – Kennedy.

Boss Praises Unsung Hero

Joe Royle has placed on record his appreciation of the contribution of the player he regards as City’s unsung hero. For while players like Nicky Weaver, Gerard Wiekens and Terry Cooke all received media attention and fans’ plaudits for their rôle in the Blues’ promotion success, Royle feels that the vital rôle played by Kevin Horlock received scant recognition. Referring to Horlock’s performance in the play-off final, the City manager said, “Kevin played at Wembley how he’s been playing for months. His 10 goals from midfield last season proved vital to our promotion chances and heaven knows how many he created for others. He has great vision and an educated left foot which can drop the ball on a sixpence.” With such faith in the player, it’s not surprising that Royle is backing Horlock to shine in the First Division. “There is no doubt in mind Kevin has the ability to play at the highest level and I’m sure there is a big season in store for him,” enthused the City boss.

Blues in Granada Rumour

Following Granada’s acquisition of a 9.9% stake in Liverpool for £22 million, there are strong rumours that the hotels and media giant is looking to enter into similar deals with other clubs. Analysts see significance in the fact that Granada has acquired just under 10% of the Anfield club’s shares, since any individual or company is allowed to own a number of shares below this threshold in more than one club. Granada, which also owns the Yorkshire/Tyne Tees TV company, is long said to have been interested in Leeds United. And given current developments in the market for televised football, it’s reckoned that the company could be interested in developing relationships with other football clubs even if it does manage to get its feet under the table at Elland Road. With many expecting that within the next couple of years, clubs could have the right to sell any home game not covered by a block deal along the lines of the current Sky arrangement, media clubs are currently desperate to grab a piece of the football action.

The most dramatic evidence was BskyB’s failed bid for Manchester United, though Sky still have their feet under the table at Old Trafford and own a significant block of shares. With other television companies not wanting to be outdone, there have also been rumours that Arsenal are in discussions with Carlton and Aston Villa with Central. Meanwhile, American cable company NTL has reportedly renewed its interest in Newcastle United, having originally decided to scrap its bid in the wake of the collapse of Sky’s Manchester United takeover. It certainly appears that Granada’s strategy is to build up a strong portfolio of several clubs in its transmission area, and City are rated a strong TV prospect owing to the club’s outstanding support base. For these reasons, the idea of a partnership along similar lines to the one it’s secured at Anfield could on the face of it appeal to Granada, especially given the relatively low cost of a 9.9% block of shares in the club.

City Linked with Derry Move

Sheffield United’s Shaun Derry has reportedly become City manager Joe Royle’s top transfer target. The defensive midfielder joined the Blades a year ago from Notts County after figuring in a Division Three championship side at Meadow Lane, and was highly rated by Steve Bruce, the manager who signed him. However, Bruce has now decamped to Huddersfield, and new Brammall Lane boss Adrian Heath has been told he must sell before he can buy. It’s thought that Derry is one of the players Heath would be prepared to offload, and a bid of £600,000 could be sufficient to tempt the ex-City player to do business. Be this as it may, I’d still doubt whether the reports of City interest are true. Royle has a multitude of midfielders at his disposal, and unless there are several departures from the City engine room it’s hard to see him aiming to make further recruitment for the position. Incidentally, the club has poured cold water on claims that either Georgi Kinkladze or Uwe Rösler could be set for a return to Maine Road. Meanwhile Joe Royle has also denied interest in Everton’s Michael Branch, who had a change of heart last week after initially turning down a move to Portsmouth only to find that the south coast club had signed Tottenham’s Rory Allen instead.

International Supporters’ Club

MCIVTA subscribers should already have received a mailing concerning the formation of an International Supporters’ Club. Presumably most of those who are interested in the venture have already registered their interest, but anyone who still wishes to do so should e-mail

Halifax – Preview

City’s second pre-season friendly sees a visit to The Shay to face a Halifax Town side which was comfortably dispatched at Maine Road in last season’s FA Cup. However, the Yorkshire club has made changes since then, with former City player and lifelong fan Mark Lillis taking over as manager. As his team trounced City’s First Division rivals Grimsby 3-0 last Friday, the game won’t be a formality for City, and any Blue of around thirty or over will already have uncomfortable memories of the Blues’ last visit to Halifax. On a rainy January day in 1980, Malcolm Allison’s millionaires (by some distance the country’s most expensive, if far from most accomplished, team!) were unceremoniously dumped from the FA Cup by a team struggling in the lower reaches of the old Division Four. If I log on from Montreal on Thursday morning to find City have lost, it will re-open some uncomfortable old wounds, so let’s hope the team performs with a little more verve and gusto than at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

My Absence

As hinted at in the previous item, I’ll be away for a week from Wednesday 21 July, so Geoff Donkin will be doing the news for the next two editions of MCIVTA. Please send any news or rumours for MCIVTA to Geoff at

Peter Brophy (


The Man City Desktop theme can also be found at the following theme site:

Theme World give really good/honest reviews of new desktop themes. It has just come on line and should soon have a complete review. There’s also lots of tips and help on hand at this site. It can tell new users of desktop themes exactly what to do. There is a very handy FAQ page that will help.

Man City Desktop Theme II
The Sky Blue Menace!

The Man City desktop theme has now been registered with Winfiles.Com and can be downloaded direct from the following:

Many thanks to Colin Surrey for hosting the file whilst my site is under development.

Paul Odusanya (


Jack Straw has categorically denied press speculation that his plans to lock up individuals with severe personality disorders will include any of the ‘fashion accessory’ Man Utd seekers who have no plausible reason for this disease. Despite the temptation to rid the genuine football world of this infectious disorder, ‘spin doctors’ at the Home and Foreign Office have advised him of the potential negative consequences. They include:

  1. the potential loss of votes in the South of England, and
  2. the increased financial cost of providing protection for ouroverseas Embassies from misguided demonstrators.

Graham Jones (


For those of you in the Buxton area of Derbyshire, there’s a new branch of the Official Supporters’ Club being opened soon. The Chairman is Mick McMahon, the Landlord of the Blazing Rag where the meetings will be held (appropriate name eh!). The next meeting will be on Wed 4 August at a time yet to be decided (I’ll post it here). If interested phone Mick on 01298 23154. More details of guest appearances and events will follow shortly. What else have you got to do on a Wednesday night?

Gary Sullivan (


I was most pleased to read in The Australian newspaper (National broadsheet in Oz) a huge swipe at the money grabbing visit of Manyoo. On the 15th July (the day after the peril arrived), the “Melba” section of the publication had a good few swipes at the overpaid mercenaries, over here to play two friendlies, for several millions of $AUD, in front of crowds exceeding 80,000 in both Melbourne and Sydney (although strangely I don’t know a soul here who would even cross the road to watch them). The basis of the Socceroos (Oz national side) hasn’t bothered turning up for these games (no Kewell, Viduka, Okon, or Zelic), so our very own Danny Tiatto is going to get a game on the left wing, with Lazaridis, playing left back(?).

Stop Press: Watched the first match live on TV last night, along with commercial breaks every ten minutes during the play (unheard of here). Manyoo won 2-0, but should’ve had Butt (punched opponent) and Berg (bad tackle from behind) sent off first half. Tiatto looked okay, provided three or four poor crosses from the left wing, but had a scorching diving header which was pawed over the bar by Bosnich. He also went in studs showing on P. Neville, Yorke and Irwin (well played son) but he remained cautionless, but in the 82nd minute, he slipped over and had to come off with what looked like a groin injury.

Anyway back to the article, which included sub headings such as “United Against” and “Consumer Goals”. The piece was closed with two very amusing jokes, which presumably have done the rounds back home, but it was nice to see them printed in the national press in Oz.

  1. Question. What do you have when 100 Man Utd fans are buried up to theirnecks in sand?
    Answer. Not enough sand.
  2. Question. What do Man Utd fans and sperm have in common?
    Answer. One in 3 million chance of becoming a human being.

I was delighted to see this as you can imagine, especially because the rest of the media here have been sucking up, and drooling at the prospect of having the “best club side in the world” (bag ‘o sh**e) visiting these shores.

Onto other matters. I almost wrote in before Xmas (whilst mid-table) with a “What might have been City XI”. It was very similar to the City team of the nineties from a few issues ago. I think I had Lakey at right back though (did he ever play in the nineties?). This made me recall Steve McMahon’s comment after being asked (upon joining City) what he thought of Paul Lake, (he hadn’t seen him play, surprisingly due to injury), and he said “if he’s half as good as everyone around here thinks he is, he’s a great player”.

I also agree with the suggestions for best City goals. There are a couple which I recall that I thought were beauties, which I don’t thnk have been mentioned yet. Firstly, Ian Brightwell’s against Leeds in one of the 4-0 drubbings of them at Maine Road in the early 90’s. It was either during the run in of the season that Leeds won the title (after that match Rags supporters were thanking Blues for handing the title to Manyoo, fortunately Leeds held their nerve and the Rags bottled it big style), or the following season. It was the final goal, which was scored after City broke from their own penalty area after a Leeds set piece. Brighty played a 1-2 with Sheron and then played it to the right wing where Quinn(?) then threaded a through ball behind the Leeds defence, for Brighty to charge onto and he drove it into the bottom right hand corner past Lukic (Day?). The celebrations on the pitch were magnificent, with Brighty blowing kisses to the Kippax, where we were all going mental.

The second one was the winner in the FA Cup v QPR (4th or 5th round) at Loftus Road, by David White, in front of the City fans. There was a goal kick (?) down the middle, Quinn turned McDonald and slid the ball to Sheron who first time rolled the ball wide to Whitey on the the edge of the box and he smashed it into the the top right hand corner past the helpless Roberts (to whom the QPR fans used to chant, sheep, sheep, sheep sha*ger in an endearing way – lovely that). It was a great match this one, we won 2-1, despite the fact that Flitcroft played centre back in place of the injured Curle, Ray Ranson was playing and Phelan was skipper (just after his court case). Vonky starred in this game too, but we had to thank Ferdinand and Allen for missing several sitters early doors.

Sorry for going on. Keep up the good work MCIVTA.

David Chambers – Dude, NSW Blue (


I know many people have probably already read it or know about it, I just thought I’d let everyone know what a good read Bleak and Blue is.

I bought that and ‘Cups for Cock Ups‘ to guide me through a week in Fuerteventura and they just about managed it.

Cups for Cock ups is written by a blatant Rag, and even though there seems to be a few valid points of interest in there, Ashley Shaw who wrote the book is intent on making incessant digs as to how good his team is compared to us.

‘Bleak and Blue’, however is a well worth the read, and not just to pass a week on a bleeding windy island.

Craig Winstanley’s suffered as much as everyone else and fortunately has managed to retain his sense of humour.

If you don’t know, it charts 22 years following City from the seventies all the way through to the relegation down to Division 2.

And no I’m not his agent, publisher or the author himself, but I was impressed.

John Bradley (


Yes, everybody called him Big Daft Dave, but we loved him anyway. He could kick a ball out of any ground, it didn’t matter where he was stood!

J Heavis (


Yes “Big Daft Dave” was a general comment on Dave. The centre half with the biggest heart but little footballing finesse. A defensive clearence was a thump from his huge boot as far as possible, usually in the direction of the directors’ box. He was the recipient of many a tongue lashing from “Bert” when his huge swinging kicks missed the ball entirely. I remember him connecting with a shoulder charge on Matthews (Sir Stanley that is) which lifted Matthews off his feet and onto the wall. Dave apparently didn’t hold with this fancy footwork. I do vaguely recall him scoring goals from corners using his height and muscle in the days of Revie, perhaps others may be able to recall in detail. Condolences to the family of a fondly remembered City son.

Colin Benbow, Tasmania (


I just thought I would cheer up fellow Blues after Saturday’s disappointment against the Shakers, to the fact that we can look forward to six points against Nottm Forest next season; they were here playing my local team Bray Wanderers on Friday and drew 1-1. Bray have just been relegated to Division 1 of the league of Ireland, and could have won the game. Mr. Platt did not look too happy, he has a lot of work to do at Forest. The newly formed Wicklow branch of the City Supporters’ Club are meeting in Katie Gallaghers on the sea front in Bray on Tuesday the 20th of July, at 8pm,any Blues in the area would be very welcome. Kindest Regards.

Paul Fegan (


I was greatly saddened this morning to read in MCIVTA of the death of Dave Ewing. It was like hearing of the passing of an old friend. Yes, Ashley’s father was right. We did sometimes refer to him as “Big Daft Dave”, rather more often as “Big Dave”, but that has to be put into context. In the fifties, when Ewing first appeared on the Maine Road scene, football supporters lacked the aggression towards their own team that came in about twenty years later. We moaned about the shortcomings of our players and might well tear our hair out over some of their mistakes, but by the next Saturday they were forgiven by most of us. One reason for this might be that the players were earning less than many of those watching them. Things have changed somewhat. It may be hard to grasp in the currect climate, but “Big Daft Dave” was an affectionate appellation, as was his other nickname, “The Tank”.

My own father lived to see Dave Ewing arrive in the team, and I think he was a little embarrassed at the early performances of this big, clumsy, rawboned Scot, all elbows and knees. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t live to see Ewing blossom (strange adjective to apply to him!) into one of the most reliable defenders in the (old) First Division. Dave Ewing could handle most of the big, bustling centre forwards of the day. A clash with Trevor Ford was something to look forward to weeks in advance. The ones that caused him problems were the nippy forwards who would push the ball past him and sprint away before he had chance to impede their progress. One in particular springs to mind: Charlie Wayman of Southampton (and I think he also played for Preston), who always seemed to run him ragged. Another was Stan Mortensen, although he could run rings round most centre halves. I recall one incident in a game against Blackpool, when Stan Mortensen flicked the ball past Ewing and left him standing. A desperate Dave reached out and grabbed the waistband of Mortensen’s shorts. Mortensen now had a choice: he could continue his run on goal and lose his shorts, or give up the chase and retain his dignity. He chose the latter course. Today, Ewing would have been rightly sent off (he was, after all, the last defender), but the noise of about 40,000 fans roaring with laughter persuaded the ref to award Blackpool a free kick on the edge of the area. I can’t remember whether Dave was booked (it did happen to him occasionally) but he certainly remained on the field.

I’ve said that he blossomed into a reliable defender. I think his best games were in the Cup runs of 1954-5 and 1955-6. My souvenir brochure of the first of those seasons claims that “this burly Scot… has performed admirably since he now allies skill to natural physical qualities”. A nice turn of phrase! And dead right, too. Once again, I’m going to bore some of you by referring to that greatest of games: the 1955 semi-final against Sunderland. In those days, Sunderland were the team to beat. They’d cost over a million pounds, which was unheard of, and they were physically extremely strong, verging on the brutal. Not only that, they had the unpredictable Len Shackleton up front. Ewing played his heart out that day, and it was largely thanks to him that we survived the onslaught after Roy Clarke’s solitary goal. The final of the following year saw probably his finest hour. From the moment that Bert Trautmann broke his neck, Dave Ewing took charge. Without displaying undue finesse (in fact, ‘finesse’ is not a word one readily associates with Ewing), he protected the injured goalkeeper, booting and heading the ball clear from the marauding Birmingham forwards, who obviously scented blood, seeing the City keeper tottering around his area. I’m sure he was the toast of Manchester that evening, and maybe even won over some supporters of other clubs who had slated him in the past.

Some time ago I submitted my all-time City team to MCIVTA. I feel a little guilty now that I included Dave Watson at centre half instead of Ewing. My reason for doing so was that Watson possessed a class that Ewing never aspired to. But that isn’t to say that we didn’t love him. He was a stopper, and he usually managed to stop. Perhaps not always strictly in accordance with the rules, but we were proud of him. He was one of ours. City through and through. If any member of his family is reading this, please accept my sincere condolences and at the same time rest assured that Big Dave Ewing will hold a special place in the affections of all City followers who saw him play.

David Buxton (


Here is the front page quote from a local free rag posted through my mum’s door this week. The Bradford Star says, “A football chant has been turned into a pop song to mark Bradford City’s arrival in the big time. Alan Silson, former guitarist with million selling rock band Smokie, has recorded his own version of City Till I Die. The track will be released as a single next week and has been adopted by the club as its official song for their first season in the Premier League.”

Now correct me if I am being stupid but this “adopted” song sounds very similar to the one invented by the fans of Manchester City Football Club three years ago. Maybe the mighty Bantams should stick to the appropriately named Birdy Song (also probably sung by million selling Smokie). De-de-de-de-de-de De-de-de-de-de-de And shake your bum, your going down. Thieving Yorkshire B’stards.

James Nuttall (


Reading the memories of special Rodney Marsh goals in recent MCIVTA’s caused me to recall that two of my own favourite Marsh moments concerned incidents when he didn’t actually score a goal. The first came in the Maine Road ‘Derby’ of 1972-73, won comfortably – as it usually was in those days – 3-0 by the Blues. With City cruising and three up in the closing minutes, Rodney sent the crowd into raptures by running the ball deep into the corner where the Platt Lane and Main Stand join up and proceeded to torment and generally take the mickey out of three United defenders, juggling and shielding the ball and playing it off their shins for a whole succession of throw-in’s. The united defenders were furious. They looked like they wanted to kick the great man into Row Z, but with the referee hovering, they couldn’t go near him. “Oh, Rodney, Rodney” boomed round the ground and the crowd obviously loved what was around that time the annual humiliation of the Reds.

The other incident occurred when Marsh seemed to beat half the visiting team in a slow, mazy dribble before drifting a casual 25 yard lob over the stranded goalkeeper – only to see the ball drop onto the roof of the net. Rodney then turned, threw back his head and spread his arms wide as if appealing to the heavens while the crowd behind the goal rose as one in a standing ovation. Incidentally. City won 1-0 that afternoon with a rare goal from our present coach Willie Donachie – one of only two he ever scored in a long career with the blues. Great memories of Rodney Marsh – a terrific entertainer.

Two things to say after reading MCIVTA 517.

Steve Parish – Alex Harley’s goal at O.T. in 1962-63 was City’s third and winner, not the second. City led 2-0 at half-time through goals at the Stretford End from a Peter Dobing penalty and Joe Hayes. Denis Law scored twice in the second half to level it at 2-2 and then, with United pushing for a winner and City under the cosh, Harley knocked Old Trafford sick in the very last minute, breaking away onto a long clearance down the middle and racing between two Reds defenders before hammering the decider past Dave Gaskell.

Info for Simon Fink regarding details of the 3-1 win over Liverpool which he requested. It was actually in the ’77 – ’78 season and the goalscorers were Mick Channon, Brian Kidd and Joe Royle. All the City goals came in the second-half at the North Stand End after David Fairclough had shot Liverpool into a first-half lead. Joe Royle’s goal was a cracking shot past Ray Clemence from around the edge of the area, scored when the referee played advantage after Peter Barnes’ long run had been halted by an Alan Hansen trip.

Neil Woodhead (


Re John Lim’s “Why Blue?” on the order of scoring in the 68 OT Derby. I was there, but hardly remember the details of the game at all (whereas I can remember things like the pelican on the roof at Maine Road against Leeds…). I checked the archive, and my reliance on “Manchester City, a complete record 1887-1987” is now a bit suspect because they had the order of scoring as Heslop, Lee, Bell… So I double-checked and John’s memory has it, which suggests that the lists of scorers in “The Complete Record” doesn’t necessarily give them in the right order.

Back to that match… BBC Radio 4 (so long ago it might have been “The Home Programme”!) covered the match in a documentary “More Than a Game” with the pre-match stuff, and goal commentaries spliced with crowd noise. I recorded it off the tranny with a mike onto a 3-inch reel-to-reel tape. Any historians want to copy it? When Lee took over as chairman I let GMR have it, but they only did half of it onto cassette and couldn’t find the commentary on his penalty, as they didn’t realise a two-track reel-to-reel could record both ways on the tape!

Steve Parish (


Best City goal ever, a very personal thing for most people, why did just that one goal etch itself into my memory banks? It is not really a great goal and as it was disallowed it didn’t even count, but I’m sure it made an impact on the game. Now if memory serves me correctly (not always the case as shown in the last couple of McVittees):
The glorious 4-3 game against Newcastle that gave us the championship so many moons ago. “Scored” by the one and only Nelly Young (how many great left footed long range goals did he score), but why did this one stick in memory? Because he “scored” with his head and I cannot remember Nelly Young even heading the ball before, please correct me if I’m wrong. At what point in the game this happened I cannot remember now but for some reason it has stuck with me thru the years.

To any Stockholm/Sweden Blues, after a few unofficial meetings since Xmas of a group of Stockholm based City fans we are about to make things offical from August. If interested get in touch at

One theory I put forward at our last meeting was the fact that certain clubs play a certain style of football and only get success with that style, L’pool have to play like everyone expects them to play. George Graham will not get success with Spurs if he makes them play like the Arsenal. Spurs have their own style of football within the club. Arsenal themselves play their own way and acheive success with it. The City teams that have won things have had a certain style, something that belongs to the club, something which is just there and until we have the players that can reproduce that something, success will not become a reality. With Cooke and Kennedy on the wings, we may well be on our way to reproducing that something.

As always, many thanks to all involved with McVittee and especially to all that submitted articles on the day we had at Wembley, to be able to convey the emotions we experienced that day in the written word was really fantastic, you have a gift, keep at it.

Forever Blue, Ron Smith (


In response to David Gordon’s question about the sacking of Tony Pulis, I spoke to a good friend of mine who is a season ticket holder at the Gills and asked if the fans were aware of the facts. He informs me that apparently Pulis had tendered his resignation before the Wembley meeting, but had then retracted it a short while later. The Chairman has said that Pulis was shown the door for a non-football related reason and that it was personal between himself and Pulis. There are a number of rumours circulating but the real reason is not public knowledge yet (or is it?).

On the subject of the new kit, which I have yet to see (and I’m sure it is very nice too!) I can’t help but agree with Graham Jones comments. As for me, I thought the last one was superb and probably the best design in the Nationwide League. I appreciate that the sponsor has changed, but can someone tell me why we have moved on from Kappa so soon?

Stephen Phillips, Folkestone Kent (


So the Rags have becomee ISPs – looks like an anagram to me! PISs, just about right. Now I have my City themes off Paul, how about someone designing a little City player as a Microsoft Office assistant? Better than that stupid dog and paperclip! There must be a fortune to be made by someone doing a Rag one. That would be OK as long as it was designed by a True Blue, and did something obscene when the user made a mistake.

Roll on the season, I’m desperate for some footie.

CTID, John Stewart (


Following on from the very successful first meeting of the A34 Winchester branch of the Centenery Supporters’ Club a couple of weeks ago, we have another meeting arranged for monday 26th July in the “Willow Tree” in Winchester at 7:30pm. New members will be very welcome. Becoming a member can only be a benefit, the branch can help with tickets for home and away games and travelling to matches.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Andy Stevenson (


All this talk about our worst XI of the 1990s has prompted me to share this sad little secret from my life, which I’m sure you’ll all find very interesting. About 6 months ago, my best mate bought a Sony Playstation, and invested in a copy of Fifa 99. Well, as anyone who’s played it will know, there is no City team (only Premiership for the UK) so I took matters into my own hands and went about creating a City team.

I took over Charlton, changed their name and kit colours (ooh! dig that red and black striped away kit!) and then proceeded to sell off all their players and buy in any ex-City player I could find in all the European teams. It took me all night (I told you this was sad), but, to my surprise, I got nearly a full squad.

The interesting thing is how the players are graded for their skills. Some are plain rubbish and never get a game in the first team unless there have been so many suspensions that there’s no other option (I do pick up quite a lot of red cards, but it’s more to do with slippery fingers than any inherent nuttiness in the players). Others are pretty good and more than a match for the big boys.

There were no ex-City ‘keepers, so I chose Shay Given, because we did once think about buying him. I also tried out Michael Oakes because of the family link, but he was pants so I gave him back to Villa. Shay does the business for me.

My three-man defence consists of (don’t laugh): Kernaghan, Hendry and Phelan. Unbelievable, I know, but these guys are rock solid and go in hard. Cover for them comes in the shape of Vonk, Hiley and Jobson, but they’re a lot weaker.

Midfield: Michael Hughes, Lomas, Kinkladze, Frontzech and (wait for it) Ingebrigtsen. The latter is one of the best players on the pitch! He makes lots of daring raids down the wing and supplies most of the assists; pretty good header too. Covering for these are Flitcroft (poor), Gaudino (pants), and Groenendijk (never had a game in three seasons).

Up front we have Rösler and Kavelashvili. Uwe is in devastating form and it’s a disappointing game if he doesn’t get 4 or 5 goals. David White is available, but is rarely needed.

Now, as it stands, the team isn’t quite good enough, so, as manager, I took it on myself to buy a few ringers, which, if you’ve taken over Charlton, means you don’t have much money left (note: take over a rich team next time). However, with the pittance I had, and some careful research, I was able to buy some good quality journeymen at knock-me-down prices. Which means that Lomas has lost his place to Robert Lee, and Keith Gillespie and Gary McAllister offer solid midfield cover (it’s still hard to push out Frontzech, though, because he’s soooo good). Up front, Kavelashvili lost out when I rescued Sean Dundee from Liverpool reserves. This guy is an impressive striker and has formed a good partnership with Uwe (but when I told my Liverpool supporting nephew this, he pi*sed himself laughing, because, in the real world, Dundee is rubbish).

So that’s it, my Fifa 99 Man City squad. They’ve just lost out on an historic treble, having won the first two championship seasons. the latest season saw them in top spot for much of it, only to bottle it big style losing four of the last five games and settling for third place (what can I say? The pressure got to me!). In their first season they were champions over teams like Celtic, Villa and Fiorentina. Season 2 saw them dominate teams like Juventus, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Chelsea, Marseille and Liverpool (the latter having to settle for second place on goal difference as the Blues picked up their second championship in a row). This time, however, they just weren’t good enough for champions Galatasaray and second place Barcelona, but were superior to Vasco de Gama, Roma, Fiorentina, Dortmund and Flamengo, amongst others.

I shall be looking at Joe’s transfer dealings with interest. Looks like I’ll have to sell someone in order to bring in Mark Kennedy, but I’ve checked his stats and he just isn’t as good as Ingebrigtsen! Maybe Hughes will have to go? The main reason for sharing this with you, though, is to reflect on how the players are graded. I don’t know who’s responsible for the points system for individual players, but the fact is they regard Ingebrigtsen, Frontzech, and Kernaghan as far superior players to Lomas, Flitcroft and Gaudino! It’s a funny old (virtual) world.

So there you have it. It’s sad, but it keeps three young men off the streets at night, and that’s what counts.

Andrew Conway – Birmingham, UK (


I’ve read a number is contributions to MCIVTA about the new shirt and they all seem to be negative.

One fan wrote ‘I thought the new colour was an inspiration for today’s younger fans who are the ones who generally buy the shirt’ in reference to the laser blue of the old Kappa kit. Well, I am one of the younger fans (I’m 16) and after seeing the shirt today I just can’t see what people don’t like about it. It is stylish and I think it is very individual and I’m proud to call it a City shirt.

The main gripe seems to be about the ‘radical change’ – the white stripe down the sleeve. This is just a single white stripe down each sleeve, it is fantastic and adds to this shirt greatly.

The remarks of the fan who said that he wouldn’t be seen in ‘a pyjama designer’s nightmare’ was going a little bit over the top. It is not an ‘overly busy design’ and it is certainly not unfashionable. It is stylish and I’m sure that any football fan would be proud to wear this shirt. Also, how can the colour scheme of Blue and White be ugly? What other colours would you expect ‘Joe Royle’s BLUE AND WHITE army’ to wear?

It isn’t a cheap and nasty effort and I don’t know what all the complaints are about. If the design had been exactly the same as the old kit with just a new sponsor and Le Coq Sportif down the sleeve instead of Kappa you would still have criticisms because then they’d be ‘unimagintive’ or ‘ripping off the fans’ because all they’ve done is changed a few words on it. I can’t wait untill the beginning of the season to see the team in this fantastic shirt and I’ll be placing my order for it soon.

Sarah (


I was lucky enough to be attending a conference last week at Manchester University (nice of work to pay my expenses for a week back home).

Club Shop

I went to the Maine Road club shop twice, the first time I was buying the “City are Back” video for a True Blue exiled to California, and then to have a look for something for myself – I mean, the new kit is coming out, and all the Kappa stuff is bound to be going cheap? Ha! Nothing at all, it’s either been sold, or it’s still full price. But the service! What a joke – I waited 10 minutes to buy the video, and there was only one other customer in front of me at the till, and then 5 minutes to buy my MCFC cap, again 2nd in line. The thing is that there are plenty of staff, but their job seems to be to walk past customers 3 times without making eye-contact and carrying one sweat-shirt backwards and forwards! They definitely need a course in customer service.

New Kit

The new kit was on display, and they were taking deposits for collection on Aug 7th. I will say that no new kit ever has ever pleased me at first, so I may feel differently in a few months, however, I just don’t like the Ipswich Town style sleeves at all. The blue is slightly paler than the laser blue (my favourite!), but white stripes on the sleeves! Who designed it? Mostly I think that it is fairly nondescipt, I can’t see the fashion victims buying it – like the ones who bought the Kappa kit, but I’m probably wrong, and once I see the fans in it I’ll get used to it – I even like last season’s away kit one year on! Maybe we need the scrumptious Lara Croft to model it for us? In fact, does anyone know what plans are afoot to make use of the City/Eidos/Lara link?

Joy oh Joy

As for my conference, well I considered it my duty to let as many people know who the “Only Football Team to come from Manchester” was. I was rewarded when we went to our official dinner at Granada Studios Baker St set. Imagine my joy (even before the wine) when I saw three Fingland’s coaches including the team coach (used by the team to get to and from Wembley and many many other games) Oh happiness! During the trip I tried to show everyone where Maine Road was, but we couldn’t see it. The trip back made up for it though – the coaches set off from Granada in convoy, but for some reason our coach left the others when we turned onto Princess Parkway, not exactly the most direct route back (the other coaches went the quickest way). I was trying to point out where the Academy was to anyone near enough to me (of course, we were all a bit p**sed so it was loud and good humoured) when the coach turned left. We’ll see it soon I said, thinking this is as close as it gets, but no, it then turned onto Lloyd St North, and I realised we were going to pass Maine Road! And we did, the coach turned into Maine Road and past the ground – Yesss! I even got some Dutch guys to cheer with me (they were Ajax fans, but sadly not fans of Gio). As I got off the coach I thanked the driver profusely (I would have kissed him if he had been a she!) and asked him why he went that way, he said “Well I thought that this bunch of foreigners ought to be shown where the best club in Manchester live”. It made my week.

Homesick already.


I am moving to Norwich in September – I know about the Kings Lynn supporters club branch, but anyone know any Blues in Norwich itself?

Till I die, Jeff Berens (


Even though I was born, and spent the first 6 months of my life in Shropshire due to my parents’ jobs, I grew up in Altrincham as my father was originally from Sale and his job bought him back to the area. I was a confused youth and for some reason supported Wolves. But in the late seventies my father came home with a brown package that changed my life. It was a year’s subscription to the Junior Blues. I still to this day don’t know why he bought it me, as he has always supported the other side. Inside was a silver and blue City scarf. Junior Blues one side and Man City the other, a small certificate and my first edition of the Junior Blues magazine (which I still have in pristine condition).

That Christmas I eagerly opened my stocking to find a white and blue City hat. I couldn’t understand how Santa knew I was a City fan. I later found out my Gran had knitted it.

Twenty years on and now living in Cyprus with a Greek Cypriot wife. I have found my mission in life. Every time I get asked where I am from, and I answer Manchester. The immediate reply is Manchester U—-d. . In which I reply… No, City!

The mission is to educate all the Cypriots. I have bought my wife a City top and donned my car with MCFC stickers. And myself plus another City fan who lives out here and I met by accident whilst watching the Wembley play-off final in the ‘ACI-Sixties Bar’ in Kato Paphos, are trying to sort out a Paphos Supporters’ Club. I haven’t seen him since but sure I’ll bump into him again when the next match is shown on Sky. So if there are any City fans in the Paphos area let me know. Thank God Sky are showing some of the matches!

Matthew Grandage (


My first visit to Maine Road was at the age of 4 when my dad hijacked me to see City play Sheffield Wednesday in 1956 on the pretext of babysitting, I grew up worshipping Bert Trautmann and I even earned the nickname Bert while playing goal for Bury Derby School. Unfortunately, I emigrated to Canada just as City was hitting their stride in the late sixties but have cheered for them faithfully through good… and usually bad. I was thrilled to see them beat Gillingham and get back to the First Division and hope that better times are ahead for the Sky Blues. One of my most vivid memories of watching City was when my dad took me to see them play Tottenham in 1962. Spurs were going for the double and expected to beat City easily. Early in the game my dad sent me to get him a cup of tea and and a pie. Whilst I was in line I heard all these cheers and thought Trautmann must be having a good game keeping City close. Imagine my surprise to get back to my seat and find City winning 3-0! They eventually won the game 6-2, an example of when they were rubbish they could still pull off a surprise. I’d love this memo to get posted in your section and I’d love to here from other City fans in Canada.

Keith Sharp, Toronto, Canada (


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Geoff –
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 #519