Newsletter #553

A Cityless weekend meant our lead at the top has shrunk. However, we’ve a match report from our under 19s’ game against the Rags which makes pleasant reading. Hopefully their success at this level will be repeated many times over in the future.

BSkyB opinions are still coming in thick and fast. I wish I hadn’t started numbering them with Roman numerals; I get a bit dodgy after VIII. Anyway, the comments in favour of the deal are now outweighing those against.

We’ve got Charlton, Barnsley and Huddersfield coming up, which should make for an interesting few days. If we can go into Christmas near the top of the table, and then strengthen our squad in the new year, I think that would be most satisfactory.

Next game: Charlton Athletic away, Saturday 20th November 1999


Rivals Profit From City Postponement to Close Gap

Three of City’s promotion-chasing rivals profited from the Blues’ inactivity this weekend to close the gap at the top of the table. Charlton Athletic managed a 5-2 win at Grimsby on Friday evening and are now only a single point adrift of Joe Royle’s team with a game in hand. And on Sunday, Huddersfield’s 3-1 victory at Nottingham Forest saw the third-placed Yorkshire side move to within a point of the Londoners, although they’ve played a game more than City and two more than Alan Curbishley’s side. Barnsley’s 3-1 win at Fulham on Saturday takes Dave Bassett’s men fourth on 31 points, five points off the summit from the same number of matches as the Blues. That Barnsley’s gain was Fulham’s loss was some consolation for the Blues as the Cottagers remain in sixth position eight points off top spot. There was also cheer from Ipswich’s failure to break the goalless stalemate at home to Tranmere on Friday, a result which keeps the East Anglians fifth in the table, ahead of Fulham on goal difference.

Mixed Injury News Ahead of Three Six-Pointers

A fortnight from now, City could either be surging clear at the top or be back among the pack after three crucial matches in the space of a week. For the fixture list has given the Blues successive games against the three other teams currently comprising the top four in Division One. A sell-out visit to Charlton begins the crunch period next Saturday, and is followed by successive home clashes against Yorkshire opponents as first Barnsley and then Huddersfield cross the Pennines on, respectively, Wednesday 24 and Saturday 27 November. The Blues could have some of their walking wounded back for the match at The Valley on Saturday with Shaun Goater and Gerard Wiekens making good progress, but there’s currently little optimism that hamstring victim Mark Kennedy will be fit before the weekend. In addition, Andy Morrison will see a specialist on Thursday about his knee problem. Incidentally, recent postings on Blue View have indicated that Scandinavian-based fans may be able to see the Charlton and Huddersfield games live. Anyone in Scandinavia who’s interested may wish to check their channel guides for live Nationwide League Saturday afternoon football (see also Patrick Edlund’s posting below).

Sunday Striker Links Look Unlikely

Sunday newspaper reports have linked City with former Yugoslav international striker Anto Drobnjak, while there are claims that the Blues could still land Ipswich striker David Johnson. The 31-year-old Drobnjak is currently playing in the French Second Division with Sochaux, but Joe Royle’s stated preference is for players whose best days are ahead of them. Meanwhile, reports in Ipswich claim that City have agreed a £5 million deal with the Suffolk club for former Manchester United junior Johnson, but it’s hard to imagine George Burley being keen to sell one of his biggest assets to a promotion rival.

City Target Impresses Nationwide Audience

On the day that Gillingham chairman Paul Scally claimed to have turned down three Manchester City bids for his top scorer Bob Taylor, the player himself impressed the watching national audience by scoring twice against Bournemouth. The match was Sky’s selected live Friday night Nationwide League game and Taylor’s two-goal salvo helped the Gills to a 4-1 win. The striker has now scored 15 goals this season and not surprisingly Scally is claiming he doesn’t want to sell the man who could shoot his club to promotion. However, it’s thought that the Gills’ chairman might change his mind were he to receive an offer he couldn’t refuse, though with prudence the transfer watch-word at Maine Road notwithstanding the recently-announced deal with BSkyB, it must be doubtful if that offer will come from Manchester City.

Wigan Agree Fee For Brown?

Saturday’s Manchester Evening News claimed that Wigan Athletic have been watching two City players as boss John Benson bids to strengthen his promotion chasing squad. The Second Division leaders have plenty of cash courtesy of multi-millionaire backer David Whelan and Benson has made a midfielder a priority. And in the last couple of weeks the Latics have been strongly linked with City’s transfer-listed midfielder Michael Brown. It’s now reported that Wigan have agreed a fee for a midfielder and are trying to persuade the man in their sights to agree to drop to Division Two. The scenario appears to fit ex-England under-21 man Brown, who’s been sidelined at Maine Road this season amid speculation that Joe Royle is unhappy with the player’s lifestyle.

Arsenal Waste Time Watching Weaver

Reports from London claim that Arsenal goalkeeping coach Bob Wilson ran the rule over City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver in the Blues’ match at QPR last week, but the Londoners are sure to be rebuffed if they make an approach for the England under-21 star. The Gunners are said to have targeted Weaver as a replacement for long-term number one David Seaman. The England goalkeeper is set to leave Highbury when his contract expires at the end of the season, and understudy Alex Manninger has failed to impress. However, neither Weaver nor City have shown even the remotest desire to part company. The player last season signed a four-year contract at Maine Road and has constantly spoken of his happiness at the club. City, of course, are in a position of financial strength following the deal with BSkyB and prospective share issue announced recently and Joe Royle has hailed his young goalkeeper as likely to follow in Seaman’s footsteps and become a regular in the national team. In the circumstances, then, Arsenal seem to have no chance of luring a player rated by City fans as a worthy successor in the club’s line of goalkeeping greats.

Hignett, Nilsen Back Up For Grabs?

Two men Joe Royle has tried and failed to sign in the last year could be available again. Barnsley’s Craig Hignett, who expressed a keen desire to sign for the Blues around a year ago, has been linked with a move away from Oakwell, while summer target Roger Nilsen, who eventually moved to Austrian side Grazer AK, has failed to settle in Austria. Barnsley manager Dave Bassett admitted he’d be reluctant to part with the man signed from Aberdeen by former Tykes boss John Hendrie, but commented, “Small clubs like Barnsley sometimes can’t afford to turn down offers.” The Blues have been mentioned as one club who could be interested in Hignett, along with his former club Middlesbrough. The player increased his stock with a star performance in the win at Fulham on Saturday. Meanwhile, when Nilsen left Spurs in the summer Joe Royle had the former Sheffield United man tagged as a possible solution to City’s problem left-back slot. However, the Norwegian’s ability to slot in at centre-half could see the City boss look in his direction if speculation that Royle is looking to strengthen in this area proves to be accurate.

Reilly Set for Rovers as Mason Moves on Loan

City youngster Alan Reilly, transfer listed last month, looks to have found a new club already. The 19-year-old has been training with Bristol Rovers and he could join the Second Division promotion-hunters this week if manager Ian Holloway is suitably impressed. The young left-back would be pleased to switch to the Memorial Ground, and said, “Joe Royle told me I was going on the transfer list but I was pleased when he said Bristol Rovers had asked about me. The most important thing for me now is to find another club, and if Rovers were able to offer me something I would be quite happy.” Meanwhile, Gary Mason has completed his loan move to Hartlepool but the 20-year-old Scot didn’t feature in the 1-0 win over Chester on Saturday.

Academy Boys Triumph in Derby Clashes

City under-17s and under-19s each won 2-1 in their respective away games against Manchester United on Saturday. For the elder age grouping, Leon Mike was the hero, grabbing two goals, one from the spot, as the Blues came from a goal down to win. And while the most important thing is that the youth policy produces players for the first team, the City Academy staff will be delighted with wins over the old enemy, since potential recruits often judge the success of a club’s youth system by match results. It’s evidence that after years of playing second fiddle to Manchester United in this regard, City are beginning to offer Old Trafford much more serious competition. Indeed, while clubs are banned from publicising results at under-16 level and below, I understand from very well-placed sources that when the clubs have been in head-to-head opposition recently, the Blues have definitely had the upper hand.

Players Back Donachie’s Preparation Innovation

The City players have been talking about the benefits of Willie Donachie’s new routine before home games – but skipper Andy Morrison revealed that it once almost saw the Blues miss the kick-off. On the initiative of assistant manager Donachie, the Blues now warm up at a local school rather than on the Maine Road pitch, and the players are ferried back to Maine Road in a mini-bus shortly before kick-off. Donachie has been explaining the thinking behind his new idea, which is backed by stars such as Ian Bishop and Mark Kennedy. “I felt the players were going out to warm up on the pitch and they weren’t really happy,” said Joe Royle’s second-in-command. “There was a lot of pressure from the crowd. So we go to a gym at the school [to do the same exercises] and everyone enjoys it.” However, on occasions the team bus is forced to weave frantically through the match-day traffic to arrive in time for kick-off and on occasions it seems that they cut it very fine indeed. “It’s a bit like Wacky Races at times,” admits captain Morrison. “At one stage last season we thought we weren’t going to make it back. It was eight minutes to kick-off and we were ready to jump out of the bus and run.”

Tiatto Stars in Aussie Defeat

Australia lost the first of the first two home games against Brazil at the weekend but City full-back Danny Tiatto had the consolation of being named the home side’s star man. Meanwhile, another City man also impressed in another team’s colours, with Chris Greenacre on the mark to notch his third goal in two games for his temporary employer Mansfield Town. But as with Tiatto, it was a day of mixed fortunes for the Wakefield-born forward – the Stags lost 2-1 despite the on-loan City striker giving them the lead.

Tskhadadze Set for Reserve Return

Georgian international Kakhaber Tskhadadze will make his long-awaited return to action in the reserves against Oldham tomorrow night. The big defender has been missing since damaging his cruciate ligament against Fulham in August 1998. However, according to manager Joe Royle it’s still too early to offer any guess as to when ‘Peepo’ might be ready for an outing in the first team. Some reports have cast doubt on whether the ‘King of the Air’ will ever regain full match fitness. News Re-Vamp

The City International Supporters’ site at has been carrying MCIVTA news bulletins for several months, adding the latest stories to the site from the current issue. Now, thanks to the technical wizardry of David Scally (Blue View’s ‘Scall’), news will be added to the site on an ongoing basis, with the two most recently-written stories appearing on the site’s front page and the ten newest items listed on our news page at We plan to have a news archive up and running shortly. We hope that our efforts will provide City fans who have the time and opportunity to browse on the internet with a literate and intelligent independent news service rounding up the latest events at and rumours surrounding the club. The bi-weekly MCIVTA news will essentially comprise all stories added to the site since the previous issue was sent out. Any constructive comments are welcome – please address them in an e-mail to the site administrators at

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER UNITED UNDER 19s vs. MANCHESTER CITY UNDER 19s, Saturday 13th November 1999

With the Stockport game being off, I went down to the Cliff on Saturday morning to watch our under 19 stars trounce the Scum 2-1. And ‘trounce’ is the right word, as United simply were not in the game.

Few people were there, maybe 300, though Joe was there. Paul Power was coach and was impressive in his touchline guidings to the players. He didn’t swear once and was very encouraging to the players, giving sensible advice, and telling them not to foul.

City started poorly but United took the lead against the run of play through the pacey Webber, who caused our centre-backs Day and Holmes problems whenever United (rarely) counter-attacked. City improved as the half went on, with Leon Mike a constant threat up-front.

We deservedly equalised on about 35 minutes after an excellent move involving the winger Chris Shuker, who put Etuhu clear down the wing. His cross was pin-point and Leon Mike headed in. City continued to dominate into the second-half, with Day, Killen, and Mike all going close. The winner came after a terrible challenge on Chris Killen after he had outpaced the United centre-back to the ball. Mike converted the penalty (60).

City let United back into the game and their number 5 was allowed a free header in the dying seconds which he inexplicably put wide. Overall the victory was well-deserved. City hadn’t played well, but it was obvious that they had good players with a lot of promise. United, meanwhile, were very poor.

Stephen Hodgson – made one good save but had little to do.
Greg Duff – right-back little troubled and looked solid.
Rhys Day – a bit disappointing. Not decisive enough in the tackle, though strong in the air and comfortable on the floor.
Shaun Holmes – Impressive coming forward, good in the air. The better of the centre-halves on the day.
Stephen Jordan – Paul Power kept telling him how well he was playing. Certainly won everything in the air.
Darren Garfield – Right-winger rarely got in the game.
Terry Dunfield – Definitely will play in the 1st team. He is the Under-19’s ‘Ian Bishop’. A superb touch, great vision, up and down, puts in tackles here and there, very skilful. Not always in the game and quite little, but his promise is there to be seen.
Dixon Etuhu – Played badly but looks as if he could be quite useful if he applied himself.
Chris Shuker – Did some good things, and looks quite useful. Also gave the ball away a few times though.
Chris Killen – A big disappointment after he got a hat-trick on his reserves début. Looked OK, won a bit in the air, tackled well, but didn’t really look threatening.
Leon Mike – Man of the Match. Strong, pacey, runs with ball, beats players. If he can sort out his first touch (poor) he would be ready for the 1st team now. Has the advantage over Wright-Phillips (didn’t play) in that he is big and strong on the ball. Difficult customer for any defender.

Overall: Some decent players for the future. I quite fancy us for a decent run in the Youth Cup this season. First time I have ever seen us beat United at anything (I’m 19) so I was a happy man afterwards.

Mark Braude (


Apologies for the lateness of this review (and subsequent reviews) but I was asked if I would take over the task so I’ve got some catching up to do. For obvious reasons I’m not going to cover match reports as they are, by now, well out of date, but will briefly cover important things in the diary and try to do a good job on the main interviews within each mag. So, here goes!

Issue 7

Diary: 26 January to 22 February 1999

Automatic promotion aimed for… Peepo resumes training… two former City players sadly pass away – Arthur Mann at 51 and Joe Hayes at 63… the win vs. Millwall lifts the Blues to 7th in the table… Super Kevin Horlock is sent off at Bournemouth for “aggressive walking”… following his sending off in the same game Jamie Pollock is stripped of the captaincy which is handed to Andy Morrison… JP does give AM his full backing… AM chuffed to bits! Peepo has yet another setback… Gio watches the Blues at the Macclesfield home game… but he does looked somewhat bored in the accompanying photo.

Walking in a Wiekens Wonderland

Gerard has just had his tee-shirt released. The article says it’s been 15 months since his last interview for the Mag in which Clark has left, Joe has arrived and we’ve been relegated to Division 2. Injury prevented him playing in Joe’s first match but he was soon able to prove he should be in the side. He thought Joe’s call for him to receive international recognition was flattering but was some way off, he felt that playing in the lower leagues wouldn’t really help his chances – international teams tend to pick from the top leagues. He played with Davids & Kluivert in the Under-21s. He felt that his form suffered some inconsistency due to his changing positions but now he enjoys playing alongside Morrison… he can now play the ball along the floor where as Morrison takes care of the headers. He felt the Stoke home game could prove a turning point in the season. At the time of the interview Sunderland were interested in signing him but although he was flattered he wanted to stay at City because he was settled here – he didn’t rule out playing at the higher level with City in a few seasons’ time. He did say his friends and family were upset at relegation but they all felt he was at the right club. He concluded by saying the ‘P’ word was banned but felt the club could go up.

David takes on Goliath

A very busy man is our chairman as Mike Barnett found out! Mr Bernstein was amused that fans were telling him he and the Board were doing a great job after a few wins! He said it wouldn’t mean much until City were back at the pinnacle of the English game. He recognises that the club needs stability off the pitch to enable to the team to perform much better on the pitch but knew there was still a lot to be done. The club were relegated not long after he took over as chairman but felt there wasn’t much he could have done much to avoid it, although he did allow Joe to buy both Goater and Pollock. He said that he was fitting in his other commitments to run alongside his City commitments although this was initially proving difficult!

Mr Bernstein was born in St Helens although raised in London – his family had to move during WW2 but his love for City has never died. Although he says he sees himself as a supporter, he realises the decisions he makes for the club must run the fine line between being a supporter and a director. He says that where the fans look forward to the next game and the next month, he has to look further forward… he wants to get things right and get the club back to where it belongs.. the stability is beginning to show and he’s pleased but we are still losing money and the playing staff needs to be trimmed even more – he did stress that the club wouldn’t sell players he wanted to keep. Even with gates of around 27,000 the money through the gate still doesn’t meet the club’s requirements so other forms of revenue needed. Due to talk of fresh investment at the time of the interview, a £10 million transfer kitty was being bandied about. As the Chairman said, £31 million gross was invested in players which were not really needed. He is continually being told by opposition directors that City shouldn’t be where we are but investors who want returns are not interested if the club isn’t in the Premiership. Any money which does come into the club is channelled into propelling the club into the Premiership. In this interview the move to Eastlands was still being discussed.. the lease and design but all being well, at the time of writing, Mr Bernstein felt the team would indeed run out at Eastlands in August 2003.

Westminster Branch Opening

As a member of the London Branch but exiled here up North I was interested to read our Chairman Julian Cooke’s account of the opening of the Westminster Branch as he covered it in Mike’s absence. Various MPs were in attendance as well as Howard Davies (a longstanding member of the London Branch) and our own Chairman Mr Bernstein (honorary member of the London Branch), plus Eddie Large to name but a few! Paul Goggins blamed our losing the 1974 Cup Final on Ted Heath delaying his resignation from office – he hoped a second term in office for Labour would allow City to get back to the Premiership. It was also suggested on the night that the Gardners Arms be moved brick by brick to Eastlands! Julian ended his piece by saying he, Andy and Ray concluded the evening by visiting the House of Commons Chambers to witness a lively debate!

Awayday Blues

This covered the Bournemouth away game and was written by Don Price and Co. from the Prestwich and Whitefield CSA. Next time lads have a coach with a loo! I agreed with their sentiments about not being able to get into opposition social clubs; I only ever managed to get into Ipswich and Norwich but that was quite a few years ago! They too weren’t impressed with the ref.

Where are they now?

Mike Barnett went through 30 ex-players (too numerous to precis here!) including Bob Brightwell – has he ever played for Coventry? Bareee… the oldest 19 year old in town… Geraldine… sorry Gerry Creaney, at the time of writing he was at Notts County and did appear for them a few weeks later at Maine Road… Margetson (then of Southend)… Buster (then of Bristol Rovers)… Uwe… Gio…. Kit Symons and Scott Thomas who at the time of writing couldn’t be traced.

Tommy Booth

One of City’s greatest ever servants the piece said (hear hear to that!), but the nearest Tommy ever got to being a full international was to sit on the bench when Joe Mercer was England manager. Tommy said that his dad and Harry Godwin joked on the night he was born that he would be signed up for City. At 15 his dad insisted he learn a trade so he did so whilst appearing for both the A & B teams. He did sign professional terms, became youth captain and then soon after joined the first team. He recalls at the tender age of 18 scoring the goal which took City to Wembley and being taken on a drinking spree in Manchester… not being used to drink he was soon legless and was put in a taxi home, falling out of said vehicle at 4/5am wondering why there were flags & banners everywhere… he soon realised. However, his mum wasn’t impressed, gave him a lecture, a clip round the ear and sent him to bed! The following morning, after only a couple of hours sleep he had to give interviews with a banging hangover! He says he doesn’t remember much about the Final itself although he does remember Tony Coleman’s now legendary comments to Princess Anne!

Big Mal returned in 1979 and Tommy enjoyed working with him but he felt that too many good players were sold out and the youngsters maybe pushed too hard. Tommy left City in September 1981 for PNE for £30K; 5 years later he became player manager alongside Brian Kidd. His experiences seem to have put him off management for life because he recalled the time there were 24 directors on the board… and the time when the directors preferred to spend 30K on a new wall instead on investing in a new talent Tommy had discovered – a young Dennis Irwin. After this Tommy left and set up business with his brother. Regrettably this wasn’t successful and at the time of the interview he was working with Granada TV Rentals. To conclude the article he was asked for his most difficult opponent – Derek Dougan. His favourite back four colleague? Dave Watson.

Obituaries for Arthur Mann & Joe Haynes

An excellent appreciation was given by the Club Historian – John Maddocks.

Match reports – those covered were Stoke away, Millwall home, Bournemeouth away and Macc at home.

Carol Darvill (


A stateside view of the Sky investment in City.

Murdoch is an enormous presence in the USA, and based on his corporate record in sports here I have come to two conclusions. One, City fans might have quite heartily enjoyed the results had Sky succeeded in buying that other lot. Two, we are safe as long as there is no chance whatsoever of Sky acquiring a larger share of City.

About two years ago, Murdoch’s American business bought the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, one of the wealthiest and most successful in our more comprehensible descendant of cricket (on a recent trip to London I bought ‘Manchester United Ruined My Life‘ and enjoyed it much more than I expected to, but I absolutely couldn’t comprehend his descriptions of the cricket matches). Within weeks of the purchase the people who had run the Dodgers for much of the last two decades were out on the street. A few weeks later, an out of contract star was signed to the richest contract in the sport’s history. By the time the season was a month old, it was clear that the Dodgers were going nowhere, and most of us were giggling at their plight. In recent weeks, the team offered another huge contract to a player and can now claim the two highest paid baseball players in the world (on the order of £6 million per year), but are still no-one’s pick to win anything next year.

On the other hand, reduced debts and new money for players has got to help.

CUMACS (City Unless Murdoch Acquires a Controlling Share), Ken Osgood, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (


I do not hate Rupert Murdoch. I support City. Always have and always will. I am not a Spy. I have written for MCIVTA before. Dave Barker is a Pimp etc.

I have seen various articles in MCIVTA slagging the old man off. It is not really about Mr Murdoch at all. Vic Wakeling (Head of Sky Sports) and Tony Ball (Chief Exec) are the main players here. Contrary to popular belief Big Roo does not have 666 tattooed on his head. He is simply a very astute businessman. If Sky’s exec’s decide to invest in City then they can obviously see us doing well for the future. Our Rag association was all to do with having a TV bargaining chip should the combined rights to the Premiership be ruled unlawful. That is the reason why so many media companies scrambled to buy stakes in leading/up and coming clubs. Now that the combined Premiership TV rights have been ruled lawful, the focus turns to the bidding war that will ensue next time the contract comes up in roughly 2 years’ time.

I think that the acquisition of 9.9% shares in City is great business. Mr Bernstein has been saying for ages that he would only cut a deal that was right for City. I believe wholeheartedly that this deal is right for City. To quote Ray Bardsley in MCIVTA 552 “when was the last time you saw Murdoch/Sky back a loser?”


Having worked at Sky for three years now I can honestly say that is as rare as rocking horse sh*t!

The team is doing very well after such a long time down with the dead men. A capital injection of a reputed £10 million would help eat into our debts and reported £1 million interest per year. Not to mention provide funds for Joe. Sky gets a man on the board and gets to control our media rights. What can be wrong with a well established media company with a proven track record controlling our media development? Maybe we should take over the ticketing as well and get rid of the clowns who made Wembley such a disaster for so many. Can’t do any worse! I only wish that people at the club would stop spouting off about the money. How many muppet chairmen are now rubbing their hands in glee knowing that we have cash to spend (Paul Scally anyone?). Let’s not use this money to pay silly prices for duff players.

Direct your abuse to me below.

Paul (CTID) Odusanya – World Domination Department (Paul.Odusanya@BSkyB.Com)


Did we undersell ourselves? Does anyone know how much BSkyB paid for the 10% stake in Leeds? If the figure is comparable, then well done Mr B for attracting quality investment.

Simon (


Simple Fact:

If we refuse Murdoch’s money, we will not affect the disgusting situation with TV rights, match times etc.

Simple Question:

Given a choice, would you rather be on the side of the powerful and wealthy, or those that are left out in the cold because they weren’t good enough to wield any weight?

I don’t think it’s a difficult decision. Football is a business, and if we want success, we must stop looking away from the commercial realities in disgust. Arguably the two best sides in the country are part-owned by BSkyB, and I’ve got news for everyone – that is not a coincidence. The more tough decisions Mr. Bernstein makes, the more respect I have for him (when would any of us have addressed Franny as ‘Mr. Lee’? We don’t need a hero or a character as chairman – where has that got Villa, or Everton?). Long may his reign continue.

Jon Marshall (


I, like many of the other Blues, winced slightly at the thought of Murdoch & Co. slipping in behind the boardroom doors at Maine Road. However, it’s time to wake up. The good old days of footie, when the only money other than through the turnstiles was “Arthur’s Corner Store” sponsoring the match ball are gone. They will never return either and we have to face that.

Like it or not, football is big business these days and since when were most financial backers actually interested in whatever it was they were investing in? If Manchester City are now termed a “good investment” by Murdoch or MacDonald’s who are we to complain? Let’s not forget that they are only a good bet because of their success on the field by Joe, Willy et al and the remarkable turnaround of David “The Digestive” Bernstein (McVittee’s own “Biscuit”!) and the current board.

I could ramble on about politics and the 80’s-90’s doctrines that led the game that we all grew up with down the corporate path, but I won’t. It’s done, I don’t really like it, but there is no going back now and we either put up with it and turn our club into a major player again, or leave it as an also-ran. Change isn’t always a bad thing. Roll on the Premier League, the C.O.M. Stadium and everything else that comes our way. We deserve a little good fortune and any opposition fan who dislikes us for that, just doesn’t know the whole story and is best left ignorant.

To call on an old advertising slogan that went out with football as we knew it; “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”.

Andy Gascoigne (


MCFC vs. Barnsley (24/11/99) and MCFC vs. Huddersfield (27/11/99)
Tickets are now on open sale.

MCFC vs. Stockport County
This fixture has now been re-arranged for Tuesday 7th December 1999, kick-off 7.45 p.m.
Tickets dated 13/11/99 will be valid for this new date. If you cannot attend this game and have already purchased tickets, a refund will be given. A very limited number of tickets remain.

Wolves vs. MCFC
Friday 3rd December 1999, Kick-Off 7.45 p.m
Allocation: 2,635
Prices: £14.00 Adults, £9.50 Juniors/OAP’s (U16)
Application form: ‘M’
Tickets are now on sale via post to Regular Season ticket holders with a Birmingham away stub from this season. They will then be available to Regulars with no stub still via post, from Thursday 11th November 1999.

MCFC vs. Swindon
Saturday 18th December 1999, Kick-Off 3.00 p.m
Category ‘A’ price game.
Tickets are available via post to Citycard holders from Saturday 20th November 1999.

MCFC Ticket Office (


Just in case anyone is confused by the tickets for the Charlton match: the map on the back has got south at the top!

To avoid the traffic: Charlton station is 3 minutes walk from the City end of the ground, 15/20 minutes from London stations.

Trains from Charing Cross at 12, 27, 42, and 57 past each hour. From Cannon Street at 04, 34. From London Bridge at 04, 08, 19, 34, 38, 49.

Return at 04, 34 to Cannon Street, 07, 24, 37, 54 to Charing Cross (all call at London Bridge).

Steve Parish (


Swedish television, TV4, will show the game between Charlton and Man City on Saturday. They have also made something about Joe Royle that they will show before the game starts.

Patrick Edlund (


Don’t know if you guys are getting coverage of the Under 17’s World Cup over there in the UK (due to England not being in it), but I do hope that Joe Royle has his scouts watching the talent on show, namely:

Landon Donovan (USA) – midfielder currently with Bayer Leverkusen
Ibrahim Attiku (Ghana) – midfielder whom Bayern Munich are chasing
Guzman (Paraguay) – already signed with Serie A side
Fretes (Paraguay) – awesome midfielder
Da Silva (Paraguay) – awesome striker
Perelta (Uruguay) – awesome striker
Brazilians and Spaniards are all spoken for I think. Some of the African players are a joy to watch. They’re strong, hard to knock off the ball, fast, skilful and clinical finishers.

I hope Joe is watching seeing as he is keen to promote our youth policy and build a good future for City. This tournament is an ideal place to find the talent to continue that focus. Southampton and West Ham scouts were pictured in the local papers watching games over the weekend. Be there or be square Joe!

Chris Loveridge (


I’m from Singapore and have been supporting City since 1981, the year they reached the FA Cup Final. Although they lost in the final (after a replay), it was the way they played that endeared them to me. And also the determination that home grown youngsters like Ranson, Reid & Caton showed during those two matches.

City have not achieved much since then, either in the league or cups – in fact they have not even reached the semi finals of either the FA Cup or League Cup since 1981. But I have never regretted supporting City. In Singapore, every soccer fan supports one of the so-called big clubs like Man U, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool. I know of hardly anyone that supports City, even when they were in the First Division (now Premier). My friends say I am mad to support a ‘losing team’. They will never understand that supporting a team means supporting them through thick and thin, and not just supporting them when they are successful. I remember back in 1985 to 1988, there were many ‘fans’ here who supported Everton because they were extremely successful then. I hardly know of anyone now in this country who supports Everton. Also, in 1995, after Blackburn had won the league, people emerged in the streets wearing their jerseys. Again, I hardly see anyone wearing their jerseys now. It would probably take them another 20 years or so before they start wearing them again.

The point I am trying to make is that whichever team one supports, they must support them throughout their life. As City have not been very successful recently (an understatement), I can imagine the unbridled joy I would feel should they finish in the top 5 of the Premier league or win one of the Cups. It is my dream to watch them ‘live’ in Singapore in either the FA Cup final or Worthington Cup final so that more people would become aware of City in this country.

My brother is a United supporter. But United have been so successful of late that he does not even bother to watch them play mid table or bottom teams in the Premier League because he knows they would probably win (in Singapore, three matches in the Premier League are shown ‘live’ every weekend and either one or two other matches are shown on delayed telecast). If City do win promotion to the Premier League, you can be sure I would be glued to the television set throughout those 90 minutes for any matches shown involving City.

I think that the real reason for City’s demise during the past two decades lies in the fact that they have had a poor record of selecting their managers coupled with the fact that very few good youngsters have come through the ranks. Apart from John Bond, all the other managers are what you would call ‘run of the mill’ managers and they all have had poor records in the transfer market. For instance, £3 million for Bradbury, £1.6 million for Alan Kernaghan, £1.4 million for Kavelashvili, £800,000 for Creaney, £1 million for Clough, the list goes on … However, in Joe Royle, I truly believe City have found the right man at long last! He is the saviour! All his signings have been class signings.

I have watched City on two occasions this season (the matches against Ipswich and Birmingham were shown). They seem to play too much on the left flank. I am afraid that teams in the 1st Division have now sussed out the way City play and would put many defenders on City’s left hand side. We do need to vary our play more, and use Cooke more often on the right. If City do go up this season, all the years of supporting City would have been worthwhile.

P.S. By the way, does anyone have a spare copy of the City vs. Gillingham match? I would be prepared to pay the postage and all incidental expenses for the tape.

Michael Chong (


I am an Ulsterman living in the Falklands. When I was a youngster I was football mad. All my friends supported Man Utd and Tottenham. I just liked football. Everybody told me these were the best teams in the world. I didn’t even know there were others until I discovered Match of the Day and The Big Match. So when I was pushed into supporting a team it was going to be a team that, if they were on the T.V., I would stop playing myself to go and watch them. That team was Manchester City.

They played great, attacking football with players of a class to make it pay dividends (30 years is a long time in football or anywhere). Not only that but they had a guy playing for them called Colin Bell. The greatest player I’d seen. My Spurs mates told me Jimmy Greaves was the best player. He was good but not as good as Colin Bell. United fans said Law – I liked him but he wasn’t the best player I’d seen, Charlton – who bored me as much as Leeds and Arsenal, and Best who I’d watched in the flesh, if you will, at Windsor Park and did not rate him at all. You could argue that the players round him were rubbish but let’s face it; Pele or Beckenbauer would transform any team.

My decision had nothing to do with Utd. In fact I only realised the significance in these terms when the first Manchester derby after my decision was coming up.

Allan Wilson (


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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]Martin Freeman,

Newsletter #553