Newsletter #530

What a great start to the season. I’m saying no more, other than we are going up.

Thanks to all my Danish mates for sending me Why Blues. We’ll meet soon boys.

And to all you fellow Scandinavian Blues, how about a big Official Supporters’ Club meet sometime for a Sky match? Maybe in Stockholm or Gothenburg? I’m sure we could get a celebrity over such as Mike Summerbee, or even Bob Young if we ask nicely. Let’s mail Bob’s ISC page and see what the feeling is.

Apart from that. C’Mon City, nail that Bolton!

Allsorts in tonight’s digestive. Enjoy…

Matt Rayner (

Next game: Bolton Wanderers, Reebok Stadium, Saturday 28th August 1999, Nationwide League Division 1
Planet Commentary from 14:55


BURNLEY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, 24th August 1999, Worthington Cup 1st Round, 2nd Leg

The ‘5-0’ did me a favour I thought. I don’t like missing cup games as, if and when we do win a proper trophy, I want to be able to say that I followed our progress all the way. Nevertheless after the ‘5-0’, I thought that I could be excused last night’s trip. I started a small business last year (doing OK, but still not earning much personally), the missus started a new job a few months ago necessitating long hours being worked and meaning it’s usually my responsibility to pick up our lad, Dan, from nursery and feed and entertain him during the week. Therefore (sorry about being so long-winded), the result of this tie being in the bag meant that there were no difficult arrangements, logistic, financial or emotional to be made for the return leg.

However, the missus took a day off and I had missed my opportunity to get a ticket for the Bolton match (because of this damned postal system they’ve introduced). The lunchtime edition of the Manchester Evening News revealed that Shaun Wright-Phillips would play at some stage, and for the rest of the afternoon I considered the pros and cons of attending the match. The cons were pretty obvious; it was basically going to be a nothing game and indeed one that we may even lose due to the lack of importance. It was going to cost £11 to get in, plus petrol, programme and doubtless a beer or two. However, as the afternoon progressed, I found more and more reasons why it might actually be a good idea to go. Firstly, as mentioned above, I couldn’t get to Bolton, which would mean missing two successive local games. Additionally, particularly after the Norwich game was postponed, there were few games I was likely to attend during September (1 home league game for a whole month! Who decides these fixtures!?). Seeing Wright-Phillips and some of the other ‘fringe’ players seemed a reasonable excuse to go. The acquisition of a potentially valuable away ticket stub was also a good reason to go. But what swung it was to test the ‘Lucky Underpants Theory’ (LUT). I won’t bore you with the details of this at the moment (you probably have your own version anyway), but suffice to say, pre-season and 4 games in, there is a pattern! If I went to the game, it would have to be virtually straight from work, I certainly wouldn’t have a chance to get changed into my ritualistic match day attire, including those ever-so-important underpants which were in the wash following our exertions against Sheffield United. If we lost (so long as it wasn’t 6-0 of course) it wouldn’t matter and it would prove the LUT. If we won, it would free me from the bondage of ensuring that I had to wear those underpants every time I attended a match.

Decision made at 5.30pm and with the blessing of Mrs Hartley, I left at 6-30pm, making my way to Turf Moor. The journey was easy, as was parking and I expected to enter an empty stadium. This is half-correct as the official attendance was only 3,500ish and you could almost count the Burnley fans in the other 3 stands. But there must have been at least 2,500 in the City end. City fans again prove their remarkable loyalty – 5-0 up and we still bring the crowds. Maybe everyone was testing their own version of the LUT!

The match itself was predictably uninspiring, despite Royle trying to boost its importance by suggesting that anyone who didn’t ‘perform’ would not be playing on Saturday. I think that I can confidently state that, injuries permitting, even if Jamie Pollock for instance, had scored a hat trick and assisted a further 3 goals, he would not have been in the starting line-up on Saturday!

City used a worrying 4-5-1 formation, with Gareth Taylor (replaced by Allsopp halfway through the second half) as a lone striker. I say it was worrying because I have a feeling that Royle was experimenting with a possible ‘away’ formation, packing the midfield intending to make us difficult to break down. Although the formation worked in a defensive way (though against Burnley, remember), poor Gareth Taylor and indeed Allsopp may as well not been on the pitch. Although Taylor’s, err, inadequacies are frequently highlighted, you couldn’t blame him entirely for this particular dire performance. It must be difficult playing up front, unassisted by the midfield. I might be idealistic, but I would prefer to see City play our own game – 4-4-2, perhaps with one of the wingers withdrawn if we really do need to strengthen the centre of midfield.

City lined up as: Weaver, Crooks, Jobson, Wiekens, Edghill (back at left back whether he likes it or not), Cooke, Pollock, Bishop, Brown, Kennedy and Taylor. Allsopp replaced Taylor, Vaughan came on for Wiekens who had been booked and had suffered a nasty clash of heads and finally, Wright-Phillips (more in a minute) came on for Cooke with about 20 minutes to go.

Bishop was upended in the first few seconds and that was about it in the ‘passion’ stakes until a little flurry of tackles in the last few minutes of the half. A particular Burnley player (Little?) threw himself to the ground every time he got anywhere near our penalty area, we had a few half chances and that was that really. The second half wasn’t much better, although Pollock came more into the game and for me looked the best of the three central midfielders on the night. Cooke fluked the goal from a cross and was shortly thereafter replaced by Wright-Phillips, disappointingly as a direct replacement wide on the right, rather than up front with Allsopp. The little man displayed a few good touches and certainly looks a good prospect.

All the interesting things were generated by the City fans. A little pocket of vociferous singers goaded the rest of the City fans with songs such as ‘City, give us a song’ and ‘Are you main stand in disguise?’. There were a couple of other musical débuts;- ‘Burnley, they’ve got more players than fans’ to the tune of Blue Moon was amusing and ‘Ian Wright, Wright’s Son’, when Wright Phillips was introduced raised a smile.

Finally, even though we won without my ‘Lucky Underpants’, it was only Burnley and I’m still not convinced that I can risk a ‘proper’ match without them! Not much learned then!

Phil Hartley (


BURNLEY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, 24th August 1999, Worthington Cup 1st Round, 2nd Leg

A funny ol’ game this one, made all the brighter by a load of drunken Levenshulme Blues who insisted on singing and chanting for the whole 90 minutes. The crowd was 3,400ish and there must have been 2,400 Blues there. Burnley fans must have decided not to bother – not surprising when you’re 5-0 down and the club won’t drop admission prices. City started with Weaver, Edghill, Crooks, Wiekens, Jobson, Bishop, Brown, Pollock, Taylor, Kennedy and Cooke. The formation was 4-5-1, leaving Taylor up front on his own (what do you mean it’s not surprising we didn’t score more?). The game had all the anticipation of a reserve game, the main surprise of the first 10 minutes was that City had Burnley’s away shorts on (someone forgot to pack our shorts, professionalism at its highest. MCFCBIRD next to me insisted that City should have to play in their underwear instead of their shorts).

On to the game. City never looked in trouble during any part of this game. Burnley had a player Little who kept going down in the box, (Ginola would’ve been proud of his effect on English football). Throughout the game Jobson looked steady and solid and formed a good partnership with Wiekens. Lee Crooks seemed solid enough, but again I’m not happy with Edghill. He finds it hard to pass with any accuracy and I also find that he passes short to the wingers, putting them at a disadvantage. I hope Granville is on the way to recovery, because he does look like a Premiership left back. I prefer him to Tiatto, because he doesn’t get caught out of position as much, and his temperament is very good. Anyway…

Back to the game: the midfield was on top and my man of the match was Ian Bishop. He has a very calm head when others are flying in, his touch and vision are way above any other midfield player on the Maine Road books and he also looks fit and hungry. Brown and Pollock did a lot of huffing and puffing, and were both effective without being inspirational. The two wide players continue to be our best form of attack, whipping in crosses at regular intervals.

At half time as the as the players were coming out, Moonchester pointed at Little and started diving in the box. He did this numerous times (as had Little) and this for me was the best part of the night. Well funny. I suppose you had to be there really, Moonchester what a star.

The second half began, Taylor was taken off to be replaced by Allsopp who straightaway looked more effective. After 65 minutes Brown crossed in for Cooke who took the ball down well and chipped the ‘keeper, 1-0, superb goal. Wright-Phillips came on for Cooke and played out wide on the right. He is very fast and the Burnley players didn’t know how to handle him. He’s so small and quick and must be a nightymare (err… forgetting the shorts was bad enough Walter, but a “nightymare”? Ed.) for big defenders. If they touch him, he’ll go down. His shorts and socks met in the middle because he’s so small. City sang ‘You must be Niall Quinn in disguise’; I thought it was funny. He laid off a beautiful back heel, which was confidence in itself, and he could be a star this season. Chant of the night had to be ‘You’ve got more players than fans’. A good win but not much of a match. Jobson should be up to the task on Saturday and this was a big plus. Sorry I’ve not told you more about the game, but there really is so little to tell. Very uninspiring. Roll on the next round. Started wearing the brightest yellow woolly hat in the world, so come over and say hello. You will see the hat; you can’t bloody miss it.

Walter Smith (


BURNLEY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, 24th August 1999, Worthington Cup 1st Round, 2nd Leg

This game had all the ingredients to ensure that it wasn’t a football game to remember – City had already won the tie, both sides knew it, and so did the Burnley fans who stayed at home. I’d be interested to see the attendance breakdown, but of the 3,500 who attended, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least 2,000 were in the City end.

First of all, the starting line-up wasn’t as widely changed as I’d expected, lining up roughly thus:

Crooks   Jobson  Wiekens   Edghill
  Brown      Bishop      Pollock
Cooke                      Kennedy

City didn’t get out of first gear for the whole game. As far as I remember only one clear-cut chance was created, that was the goal, scored by Terry Cooke, and it was one of those ‘was it a shot? was it a cross?’ goals.

The only other bit of excitement on the pitch was the début of Shaun Wright-Phillips, who came on and had a kick around. He made one decent run which got a good cheer. But with the rest of the players on the pitch not really giving the game much effort, there wasn’t much of a chance for him to shine.

Also, Weaver earned his corn with an excellent acrobatic save at the end of the game. For their part, the Burnley players seemed happy to play time out and to favour the use of wide men, that it is.

That’s all for now…

Euan Bayliss, Leeds, England (, or


City Ease Through in Low-Key Tie

Realistically, Burnley were never going to overturn City’s five-goal first leg lead, and so it proved as the Blues booked their place in the second round of the Worthington Cup. A 1-0 City win at Turf Moor on Tuesday ensured a 6-0 aggregate triumph over the Clarets, Terry Cooke’s 65th minute goal separating the sides on the night. It was the winger’s last meaningful contribution before making way for the début of 17-year-old Shaun Wright-Phillips, and the youngster with the famous father was warmly greeted by the travelling fans. His senior introduction was probably the most significant event of a night that failed to catch the imagination of the Burnley public, the Manchester contingent accounting for well over half of a crowd of 3,647. It didn’t sound like those who stayed away really missed much, with City failing to approach the previous weekend’s attacking form and the Clarets managing only two efforts on goal worth the name – in the 89th and 90th minutes. Joe Royle fielded an experimental City side, featuring five players making their first start of the season. Whatever personnel we employ, it seems to be too good for Burnley at the moment, and Stan Ternent will surely be glad to see the back of Royle and his players.

Jobson Gets the Nod

It was one of the stand-ins on Tuesday night, Richard Jobson, who was singled out for special praise by the City boss. And the ex-Oldham man’s assured display has sealed his place as Andy Morrison’s deputy when the skipper serves his suspension in the weekend trip to Bolton. Jobson completed his first 90 minutes at senior level since April 1998 at Turf Moor, and Royle is obviously happy to see him back. “Richard was our best player on the pitch. He never missed a tackle or a header all night,” enthused the City boss. “Tony Vaughan came on and did exceptionally well and that shows you the riches we have in defence. But Richard will play on Saturday.” The clean sheet at Burnley was City’s fourth straight game without conceding a goal, and Royle appreciates the impact a solid defensive base can have on a team’s fortunes. “Defensive prowess is so important,” he reflected. “All the top teams like Arsenal and Man Utd do not concede goals. Now we have to aim to be a little bit more expressive up front.”

‘Keeper Signs as Mentor Makes Move

Ballymena goalkeeper Richard McKinney has completed his move to Maine Road. The 20-year-old had been expected to put pen to paper at the tail end of last week, but after a late snag, completion of the deal was only announced on Wednesday. Joe Royle has made a down payment of £15,000 but performance-based conditions could see the eventual fee rise to £100,000. McKinney, of course, was discovered by City’s number two ‘keeper Tommy Wright, and ironically the new arrival is now set to replace the Northern Ireland international on the City substitutes’ bench. For Wright has left Maine Road to join one of his former clubs, Newcastle United, on loan. And with the Magpies in the midst of a goalkeeping injury crisis, Wright played in their St. James’ Park derby defeat by Sunderland on Wednesday. His selection by Ruud Gullit means he went one better than £15 million substitute Alan Shearer, and the 35-year-old has now played as many league games for Newcastle as he’s featured in for City in more than a season. If his protege lives up to expectations, Wright may well not manage another appearance during his Maine Road career.

Reserves Lose Again

City reserves lost their second successive game, going down 2-1 in a home Manchester Senior Cup match against Oldham on Wednesday. The competition sees the Blues, Manchester United, Bury and Oldham face each other home and away in a round robin format, before the top two sides meet in the final. City didn’t make the cut last year, and got off to a bad start this time out with Terry Dunfield’s goal being cancelled out by strikes from the Latics’ Whitehall and Rickers. The City side included Tony Vaughan, Danny Allsopp, Craig Russell, Gary Mason and new goalkeeper Richard McKinney.

New Striker Link Surfaces

There was speculation earlier in the week that Wimbledon’s Efan Ekoku could be set for Maine Road, but this can be discounted after the 32- year-old striker joined Swiss side Grasshoppers Zürich in a £500,000 deal. The latest name to be linked with the Blues is Coventry forward Paul Hall. Coventry manager Gordon Strachan is said to be prepared to part company with the Jamaican international for £200,000 and reports claim that City could join Bradford, Wolves and West Brom in the chase for the player.

Royle Denies Pollock Approaches

Thursday’s Manchester Evening News claims that three of City’s Division One rivals are interested in City’s Jamie Pollock. The paper reports that West Brom, Wolves and Tranmere are all keeping tabs on the player’s situation and believes that Joe Royle would accept a bid of half the £1 million he paid for the player in March 1998. Paul Hince’s story goes on to claim that Tranmere have already had a bid of £200,000 rejected out of hand by the City boss. There appears to be some confusion, with the official City site at stating that it’s Stockport County who are supposed to have made the derisory offer. However, the official site does go on to quote Royle as saying he’s received no bids or approaches for the player. Meanwhile, Wolves manager Colin Lee has denied having any interest in Pollock.

Bank Holiday Fixtures – Forest and Bolton

City face a big bank holiday weekend with fixtures against opposition with recent Premiership experience as a visit to Bolton on Saturday is followed 48 hours later by a home game against Nottingham Forest. The last time Bolton played the Blues, in April 1997, their 2-1 win at Maine Road sealed the Division One title as the Blues headed for what at the time was a record-low league finish. Eight months later, visitors Forest chalked up a 3-2 win over City in a Christmas fixture as they, too, headed for promotion while City were in a vain battle to avoid escaping Division One in the opposite direction. It’s arguably a mark of City’s recovery in 1999 that the Blues (admittedly at a very early stage of the campaign) are now above both of them in the league table. Indeed, both are in something of a transitional phase – Bolton looking to rebuild after relegation from the Premier League and failing to bounce straight back, Forest with a new manager and after seeing the likes of Campbell, Cooper, van Hooijdonk and Stone leave the City Ground. Both fixtures are the kind of alluring game we missed so badly during the Division Two exile, and while each club will represent tough opponents, facing them also gives Joe Royle and his players a chance to show as justified optimism that they’re destined for greater things. By 5pm next Monday, we may well know more about City’s likely prospects for the campaign.

Kennedy to Sit Out Forest Clash

The Blues are set to be without Mark Kennedy for the bank holiday Monday visit of Forest. Kennedy is in the Republic of Ireland squad for a Dublin clash with Yugoslavia next Wednesday, and Irish boss Mick McCarthy has insisted that the Blues release the winger after Saturday’s trip to Bolton.

Peter Brophy (


Before I give my views on Planet’s Internet Real Audio Service, I have to add that I live in Khobar, Saudi Arabia where the phone lines are by no means perfect but “having said that” (emulating the England chief) if you read between the lines it can’t all be put down to bum phone lines at this end.

1st Game – Home vs. Burnley

As UK British Summer Time is 2 hours behind Arab Standard Time the game didn’t start for me until 9.45pm (local) so I had plenty of time to set things up after work. First of all I connected to 5 Live to test my Real Audio. Perfect at the standard 16kbps and likewise at the reduced quality 8kbps which the BBC offer for lower quality modems. Soon, of course, to those who are regulars of this service, you get the standard message that there won’t be any transmission because the BBC don’t hold the Internet transmission rights (more’s the pity, maybe! … read on). Just before the game is timed to start I connect to Planet. User then password okay. Then connected. Wonderful! But what’s this! Absolute silence on the audio trail.

How could this be? I’ve entered my username and password, got access and then (with bytes passing through my modem as expected) nothing!

I’ll try to re-connect to BBC to make sure my system is okay… Perfect connection… Hmm.

Okay, I’ll keep the Planet connection (minimised) online and try to keep up with the game on Sky and Soccernet (now sold out to ESPN for a not as good service – as I am an ESPN subscriber and still can’t get Premiership/Nationwide live games I have every right to complain).

20 minutes into the game the audio system bursts into life. Someone had decided to commentate on the game. Maybe his car had broken down. The transmission was advertised to start 5 minutes before the game, as always, but this more and more appears to be an image generated from the fixture table times and has nothing to do with reality.

Finally connected. Yes! The commentary, unfortunately, was abysmal. When it wasn’t broken by “net congestion”, a euphemism for lack of Planet bandwidth, the guy who was commentating could have been anyone from the ground with a mike shoved in front of him. Truly abysmal!

Half time. Well, actual half time, because the commentator had only been there about 25 minutes. Was I due some deserved half-time entertainment? Sadly not! As the half time whistle went… click… nothing… not even come back in 15 minutes, just click… then off.

What shall I do for half time? As I was in City audio mode, I went to and listened to Mike Summerbee’s extended interview from Jersey when he reckoned his lad would be a certain England player very soon afterwards. Bit dated now that one lads! But the important thing for me was a ‘perfect’ transmission. Not one byte was lost in the transmission between me in Saudi and the server in the UK. What does that say about Planet? To me it says if they haven’t got the bandwidth to cope with the required multiple access to their site then they should improve their kit or reduce their output quality to 8kbs to cope. City supporters don’t mind hearing the game in bum quality as long as they hear it! aren’t offering live transmissions but the principle of all this is that if I can contact perfectly then I can hardly blame Saudi Telecom for the fault with Planet.

Second half. Bandwidth improved if the quality of the commentary didn’t. If I wasn’t determined to write this article and stick it out to the end I would have given up long before now.

Fortunately, we won by a big score. That’s all I got from the commentary. Have I wasted my money subscribing to this system?

2nd Game – Away vs. Fulham

Well this was a normal Saturday kick-off, which meant that I could only catch the second half after I finished work, but I went home, got great bandwidth, and a reasonable commentary (courtesy of Radio Piccadilly). No Planet knocking here from me.

3rd Game – Home vs. Sheffield United

Also a Saturday (normal) kick off which meant I could only get there for the second half. In case anyone is wondering, in Saudi Arabia the weekend is Thursday and Friday. I tried to connect to the Planet server many(!) times (for over 1 hour). Never could connect. I could connect to the BBC as usual perfectly. If anyone connected to Planet for this game I would like to know via email please. I suspect Planet decided not to transmit “at all” (who cares!).

4th Game (Away vs. Burnley)

Logged on before the game. Plenty of bandwidth but no commentary before 21.54pm and the commentator (from Piccadilly) actually talked as if he knew the commentary was just starting. There is no excuse for starting the commentary 10 minutes into the game! I don’t know what Planet’s deal is with Piccadilly but I’m fairly sure the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. I’m happy enough with Piccadilly Sport’s commentary but they go off to Fraser Davies for commentary on other games (which went okay with the Internet Fulham commentary) but off-site comments tonight were just “—–“ with the commentator saying “… thanks for that Fraser”.

Generally speaking:

If someone wants to be watchdog of this service I’ll happily send my comments. Otherwise send them to me and I’ll do it. RealAudio can generate quite a decent log.

Jim (


Just a quick note, once again, complaining about Planet. As you would expect by now their coverage dropped out for the game against Sheffield, before the goal feast.

The Burnley game would not connect for about 20 minutes. Added to last week’s missing commentary, I have not had a word of explanation from Planet as to why the system went down, even though they must know. We have no form of redress on this matter as the coverage is “free” as part of the package. Blue View is littered with people complaining about Planet. But I doubt Planet ever read Blue View. I hope that giving them this bad publicity may get them to improve their game. Although I doubt whether they’ll read this either. Why have they got a story about last Christmas and a picture of Terry Cooke in a United shirt as an example of their coverage? I wish there was a different way of obtaining coverage, as I would love to tell them to stick it.

Paul Keelagher (

P.S. (Received Monday. Ed) Could you please add to my recent rant, about coverage dropping out, the fact that Planet (Hugh Middleton) have now given me a month’s subscription free. I thank them for that; I just wish they could guarantee a 6-0 win in that month. So if you have had trouble, complain! The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

(Ed says: Well. All you Planet subscribers should consolidate through Jim Egan. Planet sounds like cr*p to me, and that’s when it’s free…).


We went on an official tour of the holy ground last Wednesday afternoon and very good it was too – and great value at £3 adults and £2 children.

Anyway, after viewing the trophy cabinet and the changing rooms, followed by a sit in the directors’ box, we scaled the dizzy heights of the Kippax. You couldn’t miss the seagull swinging to the right of a glorious panorama of Manchester in the sunshine – and of course everyone wanted to know what it was there for.

Well there were no exotic explanations such as a hex on away teams (the bird swings on the edge of the Gene Kelly Stand where the away fans sit) – the seagull is the brainchild of the groundsmen who hung it up to stop the pigeons eating the grass seeds when the new pitch was being done.

We then went back to the directors’ lounge for a chat with Alex Williams, and a hold of the play-off cup and to take as many photos as we liked. What a nice friendly and approachable guy Alex is – a great ambassador for the club.

All the best to City fans everywhere.

Maria Handley (


After watching the Sheffield United game, and again after seeing the goals on “Nationwide Extra” (IMO the sending off was right, the penalty wrong), it emphasised how the combination of the wide pitch and the two wingers helped City to pull Sheffield United apart, allowing forwards to get into scoring positions.

My question: when the new Eastlands stadium is altered to become City’s new ground, will the width of the Maine Road pitch be taken into account when designing the new one? I would hope that with JR seeming to favour the use of wide men, that it is.

That’s all for now.

Euan Bayliss, Leeds, England (euan@bayliss.agm.net or


Craig Fielding: Are You Reading This?

Having been in Manchester for almost a year, I am now approaching the end of my MA course at the University of Manchester. The company I am working for in Singapore sent me to the UK for the course but it was my choice to forgo the chance to study in London School of Economics so that I can watch City.

Armed with a pair of season tickets for the promotion-winning season, I have to thank Joe Royle and the lads for giving me more than I have expected. I was expecting automatic promotion but the emotional experience my wife and I had at Wembley was simply unbelievable and I consider myself lucky to have made the choice to study in Manchester.

I have also sampled the tradition of pre-match curry with Ashley, Paul and Steve. Paul’s wedding was another highlight of my stay in Manchester.

However, there is still one thing that I intended to do here that I have not, and that is a reunion with the first City fan I met and talk – City in my whole life – Craig Fielding. He was working in Singapore in 1995. It would be nice to see him again and have curry, chat about the team, etc. like we frequently did when he was in Singapore. We even went to see Alan Ball when he was in Singapore for a youth football clinic during the close season. If anyone reading this knows the whereabouts of Craig, please get in touch with me at the email address below.

Ta, niz.

Nizam M Idris (


During a training course in Milton Keynes earlier this week, a colleague who is a Burnley fan and myself set off to sample the local footy. Northampton weren’t playing at home so we travelled to Kettering to watch them play Kingstonian only to be put off by the ridiculous £9.50 price, and so travelled on to Peterborough to watch Peterborough vs. Reading in the Worthington Cup (£9.00).

After getting used to being surrounded by people chanting UN-NOY-TED, we settled down to watch a fairly entertaining match despite the obvious lack of quality.

One player who stood out on the Peterborough side was their right back, Dean Hooper, who was obviously a crowd favourite. He was quick, got stuck in, had good positional sense, took free kicks and corners (and did this quite well), and was the best passer in their team. I’m sure that any transfer coming from the likes of Peterborough wouldn’t be too expensive, and I would like to see some decent cover in the full back positions. And from what I saw of this player, he would certainly give Mr Edghill a run for his money. Get your chequebook out JR.

Peterborough lost 2-1, but I it was still a good night (£2.00 on Darren Caskey to score 1st at 12/1 helped).

CTBFBC (City Till Barry Fry Becomes Chairman), Chris Ffelan (


Burnley Match Summary?

B lood
U nused
R eserves
(N ew
L ads
E xceptionally
Y oung)

Steve Maclean (


Like many other postings my story is not rational at all. Let’s take a trip back in time to the beginning of the 1980’s. My mum worked as a teacher at the local school. Each year the school travelled to London on a 7 days trip. Being a son of one of the teachers I had the opportunity to join the rest of the travelling party and experience the capital of England. Great stuff.

On this particular trip was my older brother who for some unexplainable reason was a Manchester United fan at the time and still is. I remember he was talking a lot about a great team from Manchester called United when we were younger. I was sure he was talking rubbish, like he always did at the time. I decided to find my own team and off course it had to be Manchester City.

I remember my mum took my brother and me to at the sport store next to St. Paul’s Cathedral in which I bought my first home kit. I was so proud. Beautiful blue colours – much nicer than the red one my brother wore. I was in a Blue heaven.

In the years that followed I always paid the sport store at St. Paul’s a visit just to make sure that this holy shop was all right. I haven’t been there for ages but I will go there next time I go to London.

Since then I have been faithful to City. Everybody at my football team seemed to support Liverpool, Tottenham or United. People laughed at me and said rubbish like: You are the most predictable loser on the pools coupon. What they did not realise was that I enjoyed every victory that City had whereas my friends expected their teams to win and didn’t get excited when their team won. They only experienced disappointment. What a waste of life! For me it was a real surprise when City won and I was jumping up and down with sheer joy.

When we played Stoke and eventually got relegated to Division 2 I went down to the local sports bar for the first time. A couple of my friends had promised to come along to watch the game, thus I was not watching the game on my own. Believe me. I thought I was the only Man City fan in Denmark. To my pleasant surprise I met other City fans in the pub. Among them being Brian (President of the Danish Supporter branch), Morten (well-known from Blue View) and his girlfriend Tanja.

Since Disaster Day we have really developed a great friendship based on Manchester City and in March 1999 I went to Manchester for the first time together with Brian, Morten and Tanja to watch my team in action. We met with all the guys from Norway and Sweden and had a fantastic time in Manchester.

Only 2 years ago I thought I was alone, but now I know that many more people are “suffering” from City-itis. The world’s greatest disease 🙂

Still Blue after all these years

Peter Arndal – Editor of – the Danish MCFC E-Zine (


Three Episodes of My City Supporting Life:

#1 – Re-igniting the Passion

We had been regulars in the early part of our childhoods. Dad had carried us both into the North Stand and we had one knee each, until we were old enough to qualify for our own season tickets. We missed few matches between ’73 and ’79. Then we moved away. East Yorkshire was a long way from Manchester. And, whilst we periodically made the trip, these became less and less frequent over the years.

I was 19, in my first year at University. My brother was a year ahead and had chosen Manchester based on the fact that he could watch City. We were only just beginning to get over the fact that when you are kids, you really hate each other. Years of torturing each other does that to the relationship. I suppose, then, that he got the tickets to the match and invited me along as a kind of reconciliation. Or maybe he couldn’t persuade anyone to go along with him. After all, City were not very good in 1989, and Alex Ferguson had spent countless millions on players of proven quality. Our expectations were not high. We both felt that a defeat by a small margin would not be a bad result. Anything, as long as we didn’t get whipped.

I still don’t really know what happened that day. There were few players in the City line up that were much good in First Division/Premier League terms. Which of them went on to get international recognition or even play consistently at the top level through their careers? Hinchcliffe – kind of. White – Mmmm. Bishop – in a way. I know Lake didn’t get the chance. But they played like men possessed. And once they got ahead, they smelt blood and fought for the victory with everything they had. It was not until the birth of my children (more than half-a-decade later) to surpass the emotion of the moment when that fifth goal went in. That day certainly re-lit the passion. We undertake the pilgrimage (now from London) approx. half a dozen times per season. Adding away matches, in and around London, gives enough to feed the addiction each year.

#2 You know you really support them when…

My brother, Chris, had a night out. He came in a little worse for wear in the early hours of the morning. Now I have cured my addiction to ClubCall and TeamTalk by the use of the Internet. Chris hasn’t. He must spend a small fortune on it. The thing is, like all addicts he tries to convince himself that he doesn’t need it, that he is in control. I’ll call now, he thinks, then that will do me until the weekend when I’ll get the team news before the game. However, once you’ve had a drink, this rational side of you is completely overwhelmed by the need to fulfil the addiction.

This night, then, he took his phone to bed. The mindset was to ring ClubCall before he went to sleep. The problem was that he fell asleep during the call. He awoke in the morning, 7 hours later, to the realisation that the call was still going on – presumably in a loop of the call. He needs to wait for the bill to confirm it, but I think that mistake will cost him about £250. And his first thought? That he couldn’t remember what it had said. So he called it back. Well, once you’ve spent £250 what are a few more pounds? And at least the money goes to the club (just glad he didn’t call TeamTalk).

#3 The Wembley Story

The last six months have not been a good time for me. My son, George, was stillborn on 25 March of this year. I know at least some of you will have been through this or have friends that have, so you know the devastation that it causes to your life. So my heart wasn’t fully in it, but I still had to go to Wembley to see City take the first step back to our rightful place. After all, George was a City fan.

I read of the many innovative ways people used to get tickets for the match. My solution was to throw money at the problem, and buy Corporate Tickets. So, a new enterprise “Jim Hayward Associates” was set up for the day and I took two clients (my dad and brother) along to the match.

There can be no-one reading this newsletter not familiar with the events of the day. Along with everyone else, at 2-0 down, I expected the worst. It seemed an expensive day at that point in time. My wife was at home and turned on teletext. At this point, she tells me, she clasped the necklace she wears that contains some of George’s hair, and asked him to do it for his dad. I’m still not sure how George got into Kevin Horlock’s left boot, or Paul Dickov’s right. I certainly don’t know how he got into the referee’s watch mechanism. He’s a clever little boy for 2 months. And I am very proud of him.

Jim Hayward (


My granddad ‘converted’ me to the Man City faith, when I was just 6; I’m now 15. Shamefully, I’ve never been to a City match, as no-one can take me, and my mates are all Man U fans, so I usually use your great letter to give me all the latest news on the ‘Mighty Blues’. I’m starting my last year at GCSE now, I’ll be 16 in September. I took practice GCSE’s last month, which I’ll be getting the results for next month (just before my birthday on the 18th). In my I.T. (Whassat? Ed) exam I actually felt like turning around and helping a struggling classmate behind me, just because I knew he was the only other City fan in my class – that would show the United fans!

I’m hoping to become a newspaper journalist, preferably sports, so I can spread Man City news around the UK! I’m currently applying to fulfil my journalist dream with a week of work experience at the Manchester Evening News newspaper.

Are there remaining tickets for any of City’s up-and-coming games – there I’ve said it! I really want to see a City game, I’m getting a City shirt for my birthday, so I can’t buy a ticket then. And that’s why I’m considering a paper round or ‘holiday job’ to pay for this urgent need. If anyone can please tell me if there are any tickets are left I’d be really grateful. I could then turn to my grandchildren when I’m 80 and say “Matt told me where to get tickets from… and the rest, children, is history!” Aaaaah… (Errrgh… Jonathan, you can still get a ticket for most games by just going to the ticket office on match day and, well, buying one mate! Check the official City site to find out if it’s sold out or not. Ed.).

I also have an older brother (he’s 20) who is a United fan, so you can imagine what our relationship is like! In fact, many a time I deliberately play his old United tape from 1989-90, just to show him the 5-1 thrashing. Aaah, Andy Hinchcliffe’s header was a belter! It was the best derby ever, and I’ve seen them all since then, my granddad was at that game y’know! Man U’s 5-0 match against us was horrifying, but I soldiered on. Battling through the pain after hearing it on the radio, fobbing my brother off with the excuse “we had a reserve goalie” – one Spencer Tracy, who was very poor I’ll admit, but it wasn’t entirely his fault unfortunately…

I remember the 5-1 vividly, Gary Flitcroft’s début own goal in a City video of mine, the classic Kin(g)kladze goal against Southampton. Aaaah, the Premiership. Just sit back and think of the past glories, and of the glories soon to come I say to myself, as someone on the Man City mailing list said at the start of the season, “we’re going home lads!” I really believe that the Premiership isn’t all that way from us, if not this season, maybe next. I still remember listening to my radio in my dining room, sitting on a chair in front of it hearing the commentator, can’t remember who it was – sorry, getting really excited as City sped to the Gillingham box in last season’s play-off final. I thought we were finished, before Terry Cooke (mmmm… Ed), I think it was, gave us a fighting chance. I kept saying to myself, “we can pull it back”, yelling at the radio “come on lads!” I knew this was to be the last chance. The commentator was an old City fan, I know that. His voice was getting much higher in pitch, my voice was closely behind. My mouth was dry, and then the longest second in my life, as the commentator mentioned Paul Dickov’s shot, the radio went quiet. No, I thought, we’ve missed… then the most relieving and excited voice ever squeaked out “yeesssss!!!!!”. Well, I jumped in the air and then slid on both knees on the floor, did that hurt! But it didn’t matter to me, it was the second most emotional City moment, behind being relegated and drawing with Nottingham Forest after leading most of the match.

Yes I’ve cried. I cried when we drew with Man United, I cried when we got promoted last season, I cried when we signed Mark Kennedy and Terry Cooke. Oh yes, tears of joy there! I’m happy that we found massive companies like Eidos and Le Coq Sportif, which solved our kit problem, God bless ’em and found a great manager in ‘JR’, the first great manager since Peter Reid.

Well, I’d better love you and leave you, as they say and say bye from Manchester.

CEWIIH (City Even When I’m In Heaven!)

Jonathan Daniels (


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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.

[Valid3.2]Matt Rayner,

Newsletter #530