Newsletter #562

The main news since Monday is yet another setback for Tskhadadze, this time breaking his kneecap. City face Swindon on Saturday, and must almost certainly do without Nicky Weaver who has a severe bout of flu. Other news in this issue concerns an exhibition of City memorablia, a squad update from Stuart, much opinion and two Why Blues.

Next game: Swindon Town at home, Saturday 18th December 1999


Tskhadadze Devastated by New Injury Blow

Kakhaber Tskhadadze faces another long absence after being stretchered off with a broken kneecap during the Blues’ reserve game against Stoke on Tuesday. The Georgian suffered minimal damage to his cruciate ligament, the cause of his near-18 month absence from first team action, but the new injury is to the same knee. And though the current talk is of the player being back in training in a matter of months, the news must raise some doubts over whether the joint will be strong enough to allow Tskhadadze ever to return to top-level football. The latest setback is a devastating blow for the ex-skipper of the Georgian national side following a long and painful battle to recover from the original injury. The news overshadowed a 3-1 win for City in the fixture against the Potteries club, with Danny Allsopp, Chris Killen and Rhys Day the Blues’ scorers.

Vaughan Cardiff No-Go

City defender Tony Vaughan has returned to Maine Road at the end of his three-month loan spell at Cardiff City, with manager Joe Royle explaining that the Welsh club was unable to meet the Blues’ £450,000 asking price for the ex-Ipswich man. Royle told the official City website at that, “A deal with Cardiff cannot be done at the moment as it is a bit steep for them, which I can understand.” But Vaughan didn’t feature for the Blues’ second string against Stoke earlier in the week, because, in Royle’s words, “He has played a lot of games recently and we have others to give games to.” Meanwhile, midfielder Gary Mason will spend a second month on loan at Third Division Hartlepool.

Brown Back From Pompey

Local radio station BBC GMR has reported that Michael Brown has returned to Maine Road a week early from his loan at Portsmouth. If true, the news will have come as a blow to City manager Joe Royle, who had been hoping that the transfer-listed former England under-21 man would seal a £500,000 switch to the south coast club. Brown started well at Pompey despite some indifferent team performances. However, his chances suffered a major setback with the sacking of Alan Ball, the manager who while at Maine Road four years ago gave the midfielder his City début. And it now appears Brown won’t have the opportunity to impress the next incumbent of the Fratton Park hotseat.

City in Kappa Legal Battle

As was already disclosed in the club’s latest accounts and at the City Fans’ Committee meeting in November, the Blues are in litigation with former kit supplier Kappa UK, whose contract with the club ended this summer, earlier than planned. The three-year deal was terminated after two years, and Kappa has claimed damages of £719,000 in respect of lost royalties in the final year of the contract. The Blues allege that the appropriate figure is “significantly less” than the amount claimed and have also issued a counterclaim for £339,000 arising from losses caused by late deliveries of stock in the first two years of the arrangement. A Kappa spokesman is quoted as saying, “There is a lot of money at stake here. The contract was written in Scottish law so both parties have had to employ solicitors from north and south of the border. Legal costs are already high and the likelihood is that the matter will drag on for a few months yet.”

Cup Sky Date Confirmed

Manchester City’s home FA Cup fourth round tie against Leeds United will be played on Sunday, 9 January with a 2 pm kick off. The match has been moved from the previous day owing to its selection for live Sky TV coverage. While the screening will benefit the Blues in financial terms, it may not be such good news given the team’s habitually poor record in front of the cameras. Readers will remember Kieran Casey’s research in the last issue of MCIVTA, which revealed that City have won only 13 of 59 matches screened live by Sky, ITV and BBC dating back to 1984.

Cup Draw Highlights Sky Ownership Issues

City’s pairing with Leeds in Sunday’s FA Cup draw has once again highlighted BSkyB’s multiple shareholding policy. And in theory the FA could refuse permission for one or both of the Blues and the Yorkshire club to play on in this season’s competition. Following the acquisition by Sky of stakes of more than 9% in each club, the FA had already written to the City board asking for assurances that Sky’s involvement wouldn’t affect the integrity of competitions involving the Blues. Interest in the issue has been heightened following the news that two clubs with Sky involvement will meet in the FA Cup but it’s thought highly unlikely that there will be any repercussions.

Youth Cup Date Confirmed

The Blues’ second round FA Youth Cup tie at Bradford will take place on Friday, 14 January with a 7 pm kick off.

City Fanzines’ Annual Xmas Session

The annual Christmas drinking session organised by City fanzines Bert Trautmann’s Helmet, Chips ‘n’ Gravy and City ‘Til I Cry will take place on Saturday following the Blues’ game against Swindon. The festivities will begin in The Osbourne or The Gardner’s after the match on Saturday before continuing in the city centre. Editors, contributors and readers of the three publications will be in attendance.

Dickov Comeback Delayed

PCity striker Paul Dickov has suffered a minor injury setback. The Scottish forward had been expected to make his reserve team comeback against Stoke on Tuesday but hadn’t shaken off the knee injury which has sidelined him since the end of October. It had been thought that a successful return for Dickov could see last May’s Wembley hero earn a place on the bench when City take on Swindon at Saturday. The player’s revised target is now to have a run-out in the reserves’ Manchester Senior Cup tie against Oldham next week with a view to playing a part in the festive programme. Meanwhile, Joe Royle is expected to make at least one change up front for Saturday’s game, with Robert Taylor, cup-tied against Chester, replacing Lee Peacock.

Weaver Doubtful for Swindon Clash

Goalkeeper Nicky Weaver has a dose of ‘flu and is City’s major doubt for Saturday’s Maine Road clash with Swindon. Manager Joe Royle has admitted that he’s “not optimistic” about the England under-21 international’s chances of featuring in the game. If the manager’s gloomy prognosis proves correct, it will mean a rare taste of the first team spotlight for Northern Ireland man Tommy Wright. Wright has featured in only one league game for the Blues since the spring of 1998, though he played in 16 Second Division matches on loan to Wrexham last season and sampled Premiership action three times in a temporary stint at Newcastle earlier this term.

City Aim to Get Back on Track

The Blues aim to put an end to the recent run of three straight league defeats when Swindon visit Maine Road on Saturday. Notwithstanding recent results, City will start favourites, with the cash-strapped Wiltshire side currently languishing at the foot of the Division One table. However, Joe Royle is wary of taking the opposition lightly. “I hope we get back to winning ways against Swindon but there are no easy games,” the City manager told the club’s official website at “They did very well against Charlton at the weekend and were unfortunate to lose. Don’t take anything for granted.” The Blues will hope to prolong their good league record against the Robins, having lost only three times in fourteen previous fixtures and scored an aggregate of nine goals without reply on Swindon’s last two Manchester visits.

Peter Brophy (


It took me so long to recover from all the excitement of the game on Sunday that I didn’t manage to get a report written in time for Monday night’s McVittee – oh OK I’ll own up, it was really because it was our work’s Christmas party and the offer of free food and wine was too much for me… Anyway, no-one could really have called the game exciting, the highlight for us was trying to guess whereabouts the border between England and Wales was and whether it crossed the pitch or was just in front of the stand. You’d think they’d draw a line across or something wouldn’t you?

Chester’s ground is really little and quite sweet; after some of last year’s horrendous dumps it was almost nice to go to a small new ground that didn’t look as if it had been originally intended for storing hay until someone had the bright idea of using the muddy bit in the middle for playing football on. The floodlights could do with being a bit brighter though, it did get murky towards the end of the game. It took us a while to work out which row we were supposed to sit on as it wasn’t particularly clear – there were seven rows labelled A to F (think about it) – should we count down to row C from the top or up from the bottom? What had happened to row G? Why was there so much bird poo all over our seats? Why had I forgotten to take a jumper or a scarf with me? How can one normal looking sky dispense so much rain?

City lined up with Weaver, Edghill, Granville, Wiekens, Jobson, Horlock, Pollock, Bishop, Kennedy, Goater and Peacock. Amongst the subs were Crooks, Whitley and Allsopp – I didn’t hear the rest. Once the terminally depressed bloke on the tannoy had given us all the necessary information about not standing on black tarmac in case of an emergency, the game got underway. The lad next to me was convinced we’d win 12-0. Even I couldn’t see us losing this one although I wouldn’t have put any money on their not scoring. To begin with we looked far far better than them – although obviously fired up for the game they were far below City on skill levels and their ‘keeper looked really dodgy. Still it took nearly 20 minutes before we scored – a cross from Kennedy, good movement from Goater and a toe poke between the ‘keeper and the centre half who looked as if they were getting in each other’s way.

I really did think that that would be the signal for a walloping, but unsurprisingly we let Chester equalise. I couldn’t really see what happened as it was way down the other end, but it did look as if we’d had several chances to clear the ball before it finally ended up in the net. After this we really let them drag us down to their level. Any pretence at trying to play football disappeared and it was hoof the ball as far as you can time. Luckily most of the hoofs (hooves?) from Chester were straight over the top of the stand behind the goal into Wales, probably took out a few sheep at the same time. Half time was 1-1, a couple of people around us booed but soon shut up when glared at. Kennedy managed to leave the pitch at half time with both legs intact despite the best efforts of the Chester right back who seemed determined to end his career. I’d just said how sorry I felt for this lad – who only looked about 14 – having to cope with Kennedy, when he went in for a tackle on Kennedy that, had it connected, would have meant Kennedy being carried off on a stretcher. The lad was eventually booked in the second half for an equally bad tackle in midfield – if he’s the standard of footballer that Chester are having to resort to these days it’s no wonder they’re propping up the rest of the league.

Granville was subbed for Whitley at the start of the second half. We’d hoped this would mean a more attacking line up for City but it didn’t really seem to be the case. Bishop was guilty of giving the ball away far too many times when trying to play out of defence and even Wiekens started making mistakes. I thought Goater played really well, often coming out to the right wing to win the ball from the Chester defenders, but Peacock didn’t particularly impress me as he never seemed to be in the middle for Goater to then pass to. Ah well. According to one report I read the day after Chester should have won the game and would have done if it hadn’t been for two “wonder saves” from Weaver. Ahem. I’m not denying he made two good saves, but for both of them the ball was hit straight at him and you just don’t expect Nick not to catch that sort of ball do you? Whoever wrote that particular report obviously thought we still had Tommy Wright in goal – I wouldn’t expect him to catch a train never mind a slippery wet football coming at him at speed.

Anyway, finally we scored another, an inch perfect pass from someone (Edgy? Wow) onto Bishop’s head for one of the most unlikely goalscoring combinations of the season so far. After that Chester crumbled, and the lad next to me was swearing until the final whistle that we could still score 12. We did get another 2 – a Kennedy cross for Goater and a fourth goal which we all thought was Goater but which eventually went down as an own goal. Boo. He’d have deserved a hat trick.

So then, not exactly a convincing performance and a flattering scoreline but who cares? We’ll lose in the next round anyway but at least Chester got a bit of money off us. They’d reacted to not being allowed to swap the game to Maine Road by raising ticket prices by £2 and I don’t blame them in the slightest, ridiculous decision not to give them the chance to make a few quid if you ask me. They obviously played above themselves against us as if they had been playing like that every week (that vicious little thug of a right back excluded) they wouldn’t be in the woeful position they now find themselves. Still, I wish we wouldn’t allow ourselves to be dragged down to playing that sort of football when we are patently much better than that – I’d have been happier with a Chelsea-demolishing-Hull style of game but I suppose you can’t have everything.

Dear Father Joe Christmas, can we have another six goal win against Swindon please? I promise I’ve been a good girl all year and haven’t sworn at City too many times…

Sharon Hargreaves (


Further changes since last time:

Tommy Wright back off loan from Newcastle
Tony Vaughan back off loan from Cardiff
Nick Fenton loaned to Notts County
Danny Granville signed for £1m from Leeds
Gary Mason loaned to Hartlepool
Jim Whitley returned from loan to Blackpool
Danny Allsop back off loan from Notts County
Chris Greenacre on loan at Mansfield
Craig Russell back off loan from Darlington
Alan Reilly free transfer to Halifax
Lee Peacock joined for £500,000 from Mansfield
Bob Taylor joined from Gillingham for £1.5m

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Steven Hodgson
Richard McKinney
Gerard Wiekens
Tony Vaughan
Richard Edghill
Lee Crooks
Nick Fenton              On loan to Notts County
Danny Granville
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Kakhaber Tskhadadze
Andy Morrison
Shaun Holmes
Murtaz Shelia            Transfer Listed
Kevin Horlock
Jamie Pollock
Mark Kennedy
Gary Mason               On loan at Hartlepool
Jim Whitley
Michael Brown            On loan at Portsmouth
Ian Bishop
David Laycock
Terry Dunfield
Christopher Shuker
Terry Cooke
Jeff Whitley
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Danny Allsopp            On loan at Notts County
Gareth Taylor            Transfer Listed
Shaun Wright-Philips
Leon Mike
Christopher Killen
Bob Taylor
Lee Peacock
Chris Greenacre          On loan at Mansfield
Craig Russell            Transfer Listed

Second year trainees:

Greg Duff (defender)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)

First year trainees:

Stephen Jordan (defender)
Andrew Pavey (midfield)
Stephen Parkhouse (striker)
Rhys Day (defender)

Stuart Reynolds (


This is a joke, right? According to newspaper reports, we can soon expect to see Manchester United the musical.

Full Story:

14 December 1999

Andy Howell (


by Noel Bayley (editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet)

Several months ago, Tommy Muir kindly invited me to his pub – The George & Dragon in Cheadle – where he had put his collection of City memorabilia out on display. It is indeed an impressive collection and not for the first time, we got round to talking about the need for a City museum, both to commemorate and celebrate City’s history. There had long been a feeling amongst some City fans (myself included) that the club weren’t interested, especially as important items had ‘disappeared’ from Maine Road only to wind up in auction houses. Tommy suggested that it might be an idea to mount an exhibition just to show the club’s directors how many City-related items, collectibles etc. were out there, in private hands.

The question then was when and where. I thought the best place would be at Maine Road itself – possibly on the Upper Level of the Kippax – and then it couldn’t be ignored, but obviously that would require the club’s consent. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Chris Bird agreed to the idea in principle and following a meeting with Tommy, myself, Phil Noble and Gary James (Kevin Cummins has pledged his support too, as have some former players), he outlined a plan for an exhibition to be held next summer. The club have been extremely supportive of this venture and while they intend to tie the exhibition in with an Open Day, it is hoped that City-related items will be brought out of sheds and lofts, dusted down and displayed for all to see, mindful of the fact that a museum will be incorporated in the new stadium when we move there.

So if you have got Billy Meredith’s toothpick or Bert Trautmann’s neck brace, Dave Watson’s Status Quo albums or one of Maurizio Gaudino’s Ferraris, now’s your big chance. It is expected that publicity will be forthcoming shortly.

This is taken from the new issue (issue 29/Millennium Special) which is out on Saturday and includes:

  • An exclusive interview with Kevin Horlock
  • Worthy’s look at England vs. Scotland matches
  • Andy Noise on loan players
  • Hugh Ryden’s review of ‘City ‘Til I Cry’
  • Kevin Cummins on City souvenirs

For more information, see

Noel Bayley


Make a note in your diaries (everything will be getting blurred in a week or so, so you won’t remember) of the next branch meeting of the “Nearly Famous” Essex & Suffolk CSA. Meeting to take place on Friday 21st January 2000 at the usual haunt, The Duke of Wellington Public House (the village hall was pre-booked), Hatfield Peveral, Essex.

Call Ian Whittaker 01245 465075 for details or send me an e-mail.

Paul Gallagher – 01708 787227 or 07980 195243 (


Just a plea here to other Blues: I cannot believe the amount of stick being shelled out towards the team and Joe Royle after the current run of defeats. I felt as sick as the rest after the Stockport game, but choruses of ‘boos’ are not required. Let’s rewind one year, when we had just lost at Wycombe Wanderers, and let’s look at the current position, second from top of Division One, with a better squad and a full house each week (not that we weren’t getting full houses last season of course). Let’s all be honest, if you were stopped on the way home from the Wolves home game in August, and asked the qusetion ‘would you take this league table after 20-odd games in December?’ the likelihood is that you would, despite having to stomach a local derby defeat in Stockport’s cup final.

Please get behind the team, or we will run the risk of pi*sing Royle off to the extent that he thinks that it is not worth carrying on with the abuse. Then what would happen? We might re-appoint Alan Ball, who might sign Fitzroy Simpson and Lee Bradbury, sell Weaver to United, and give Kennedy away on a free. Unlikely I know, but let’s get behind Joe and Willy and stop being so spoilt by victories that we can’t handle the odd crap performance and subsequent defeat.

Thank you.

Richard Ellor (


The following was sent to Bill Borrows and is written by Adam Brown, a United fan. It is of interest with regard to the ‘rule breaking’ allegations etc.

I think there are huge problems in this for City. Regardless of the other issues, it’s a terrible deal for them:

  • the deal is only worth £7.5 million, which although useful is not a decisive figure in terms of promotion;
  • £2.5 million of that is for the media agent deal, so they are effectively valuing the club at £50 million(£5 million = 10% of the club). This is cheap, especially if they go up and considering they are to get a 250-year leaseon a new stadium which they don’t have to pay for.
  • BSkyB will easily make their money back from their commission which theywill effectively negotiate for themselves, money which City, with theproper advice, could get themselves anyway;
  • it hands control of TV rights to BSkyB at a time when it is veryuncertain how the next negotiations will pan out and, because of their rôleas media agents, will reduce competition (and therfore the price) of City’smatches, further reducing revenue;
  • it hands control of all other media to Sky at a time of great uncertaintyin relation to, for instance, Internet webcasts of games etc. (very likelyas soon as broadband delivery is rolled out);
  • if there is a collective deal, City will be paying Sky 30 per cent of anyincrease to Sky, which could be a huge amount and will put them at adisadvantage to other clubs.
  • Oh, and it’s Murdoch – the MMC were quite clear that they didn’t trusthim in relation to what he might do to the PL and structure of football,and that’s good enough for me.

If I were a City shareholder I would be very concerned. Plus, if the FA and PL impose their rules properly, they could face expulsion from competition.

There is another, more serious, scenario suggested to me by Soccer Investor: Sky can use their 10 per cent stake to call an EGM at any club they have holdings in. Thus, if Sky failed to get the PL deal they could then appeal directly to shareholders over the heads of the PL, possibly ending the PL and even initiating a Sky-owned league. Boards at Plc clubs have a legal obligation to go with whatever offers their shareholders the best return and that could be Sky. This is the doomsday scenario, but, given the vital importance of football to Sky (they would have gone under long ago without it) is not beyond the bounds of possibility. Depressing, innit?

Adam Brown (


Being an ex-pat City fan in Los Angeles, it broke my heart to hear that someone could treat a (presumably) Holland’s meat pie in such a cavalier fashion. We are given the rare treat of a pie in sunny southern California and would certainly never waste such a rare treat on a Neanderthal. I would never waste a Holland’s Pie as I long for such treats. Nowadays they are limited to occasional visits to the Academy and of course family.

Jon Heavis (


Regarding Kieran Casey’s stats on City’s appalling televised record, I must add another defeat in keeping with his trend. I lived in Turkey for a couple of years in the early 90’s and there was a live English game every Saturday afternoon. We were never on and I didn’t have a telly anyway. Anyway I was staying in a hotel one weekend, and b*gger me, City-Sheffield Wednesday was the featured game. The players obviously knew that the game was on live somewhere as we suffered our only defeat in a nine game run.

Andy Noise (


On December 30, Barrow AFC will play host to Winsford United in a UniBond Premier League game. Nothing special in that I hear you say, well, perhaps not, but this will be the last senior football match played in the United Kingdom before the dawn of the new millennium, and as such, quite a claim to fame. If you’d like to attend the game, it will be played at Holker Street in Barrow-in-Furness, kicking off at 7.30pm. For a club that very nearly went out of business in the close season, this is a great chance to put Barrow AFC on the football map, and as such I’d like to invite all football supporters to come along. The game is not all ticket, it is a long time since games at Barrow were.

If you can’t make it on the night, but would like a copy of the commemorative programme, they are available for £2 (including postage) from the club at Barrow AFC, Holker Street Football Ground, Wilkie Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria LA14 5UW, for those outside of the UK, you can email the club on <>.

Ralph Sheppard, Editor of the Holker Street Newsletter, New Zealand (


From MCIVTA 561:

While the latest developments don’t by any means show that it’s certain athletics will move into Eastlands, it’s now clear that the City fans who initially dismissed the story out of hand didn’t do so from an informed perspective.

“Informed perspective”? What are we talking about here? The “informed perspective” that says that to change the stadium to accommodate an athletics track and 65,000 spectators (for athletics) would more than double the size (and cost) of the stadium, or the “informed perspective” that says Manchester City Council is prepared to jump on a bandwagon, and still fancies a Manchester Olympic bid?

Why is the new Wembley unacceptable to athletics? Because they need 80,000 for an Olympic bid and the capacity for athletics is only 67,000 – more than the Independent on Sunday reckons could go in a revamped Eastlands! The author seems to have got the seats thing the wrong way round: retractable seats would go in for football, leaving still only 48,000 for athletics! The retractable seats idea is a red herring anyway – you could just as easily have permanent seats below athletics track level. Easier – because you couldn’t have steel supports for the athletics track resting on retractable seats but you could have them between seats set in concrete. The alternative (which maybe is what is meant) is that the retractable seats slide out over the athletics track, but then for athletics you’d have a vertical drop from the front seats to the track and no-one behind the front seats would be able to see the track!

To get a 65,000 capacity for football (like at Wembley) you would have 78/80,000 for football – are we expecting all-time record crowds to watch Manchester City at Eastlands? Can you imagine that? Playing a 2nd round League Cup match against Halifax with 11,000 in a ground the size of Wembley?

Then there’s the “informed perspective” that says that entirely redesigning the stadium (even for 65,000 for football) means breach of contract with MCFC plc. Why would the club want a full repairing lease on a stadium that would cost twice as much to maintain and would be filled maybe twice a year for City matches (vs. United and perhaps vs. Liverpool) plus one FA Cup semi-final?

The problem is that, other than for the Olympics, athletics does not need 80,000 capacity. And the problem for Wembley is that to seat 80,000 for athletics means a bigger stadium than the present one, with the football pitch even further from some spectators than it is now (unless, of course, you put it retractable seating under a removable athletics track and increase the capacity for football to 100,000 – at a far higher cost than the money available from the Lotteries Board…).

You can’t square the circle: it’s economic madness to build an Olympic stadium in the hope of getting the Games, and leave it unsuitable for football because the pitch is so far from the spectators. Even if get the Olympics and then build a stadium for it, afterwards you’ve got a stadium with an unwanted capacity for athletics and unsuitable for football, or remodelled for a capacity for football of 100,000 – which might be needed maybe three or four times a year. The alternative is to have a temporary Olympic stadium, designed (like the Dome) to be dismantled afterwards.

As for the City of Manchester Stadium at Eastlands – a bit of a mouthful, let’s call it “The Manc” – the infrastructure (parking, road capacity, public transport access) limits the size of stadium. The article suggesting it could somehow take 65,000 for athletics without a major redesign was not just uninformed, but unthinking.

Steve Parish (


Just thought you would be interested to read the following extract from Martin Kelner’s article in Thursday’s Gaurdian.

“There used to be a ready supply of former Manchester and Merseyside footballers ready to man the pumps in the leafier parts for the north-west once their playing days were over. But not anymore. Why should they waste their days lugging great heavy barrels around, and their evenings being bored rigid by someone who wants to relive the 1976 League Cup final, when they can flit from TV studio to radio studio, and be well rewarded for voicing their opinions, without ever having to pull a pint?”

1976 League Cup final eh? Last real trophy we won, such a long time ago. Can’t remember it, but oh to relive those times: Tony Book, Dennis Tueart, jumpers for goalposts…

James Walsh (

OPINION – 3,000+ I

Following Ash’s comments in MCIVTA 561, I can vouch that quite a few copies are forwarded on to people without email access. For instance I copy it on to 4 people who thoroughly enjoy the read, so you can be sure actual readership is probably nearer the 4,000 mark.

This is testament to the hard work and time put in by Ash, Steve, Paul and Pete and all the other contributors to make MCIVTA the success it is. Well done to you all and a happy festive season to fellow Blues everywhere.

Heidi Pickup (


It seems evident on recent performances, the Blues are badly lacking leadership qualities out on the pitch, due to the absence of the big man. Richard Edghill is not captain material and should just concentrate on his own game. I would suggest Gerard (Wiekens) would make a better captain due to his position at the centre of defence and he is a class player who would thrive on the responsibility, until Andy is back.

They are beginning to show signs of predictability, due to a lack of pace in central defence and a lack of authority. A captain is not there just to win the toss of a coin, he has to be commanding verbally and have the respect of his team mates. On the subject of predictability, Mark Kennedy is the biggest threat to the opposition due to his massive talent; stop him and you stop excellent service that Robert Taylor will eventually turn into an hatful of goals. They need Terry Cooke and Mark Kennedy in the same team now that Robert Taylor is here and in my opinion he needs to play alongside a quicker forward than Shaun Goater, which would allow the midfield players to play over or through the opponents’ central defence. Paul Dickov or Shaun Wright-Phillips would fit the bill.

We need more options if we are to gain promotion this year. Huddersfield are a threat and if we are to claim any of the top two places we can’t allow other sides to gain on us. Joe is doing a fantastic job and I don’t intend to undermine the excellent work he’s doing but I feel creating other options will keep us up at the top come the end of the season.

Gary Sullivan (

OPINION – 3,000+ II

The Committee and members of Essex & Suffolk branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association would like to take this oppertunity to thank Ashley and the team at MCIVTA for all their support throughout the year and offer our congratulations to them for achieving 3,000+ circulation.

Very best wishes for Christmas and the new Millennium.

Paul Gallagher (


I will be taking a vacation in Melbourne during the last two weeks of January or thereabouts. I am looking for some fellow Blue exiles down there who would enjoy getting together for a couple of adult bevvies. If there is a chance of being able to watch a game on TV, that would be welcomed as well as we don’t get City on TV here in America. Thanks a lot and CTID.

Frank Fariello (


I am a Preston Blue, and am thinking of setting up a Preston/South Ribble City Supporters’ Club. I only know of two other Blues in the area (hi Sarah!) and am trying to find out if there is any interest, as if there isn’t I won’t waste my time. E-mail me if you think it’s a good idea and you’d like to help/be involved. Cheers.

Andi O’Neil (


I was born in Moston 1974, My dad, a die-hard Glasgow Rangers fan, and my mum not caring about football. So I was probably always going to be a “Blue” but the day I was born it was confirmed. My mum’s sister had married a Red a few years previously, they had 3 girls and were still trying for a boy, so when I was born, this uncle was delighted and proudly proclaimed another Red being brought into the world and told my mum how he would take me to the matches when I was old enough. Thankfully though, my uncle really irritated my mum, so she decided that I was going to be a Blue at all costs, all baby clothes were sky blue and white and my dad promised my mum to take me to a City game as soon as I was old enough.

My memories of my first game are a little hazy, but I think it was at home to Sunderland in about 1982? A night game and we won 2-1; I remember me sitting on the white wall and my dad falling down some of the steps of the Kippax (?) with a beer in his hand and hardly spilling a drop (typical Jock). I only went to a few games a season after that when my dad could take me, even when I started to go on my own I managed few matches, my favourite memory being the 5-1. I was in the Manchester Evening news family stand for that and the ticket cost me £5 which I thought was a bit steep at the time, but worth it.

I then went away to University and stopped going to the games as finances wouldn’t allow, but after graduating in ’96 and starting work I started following my beloved team again. I now travel up with some other season ticket holders from Oxford, they have no connection with Manchester and their ‘Why Blues’ are very interesting. So that’s about it… 7 months after I was born my Red uncle had a boy of his own, and sure enough he was brought up a blinkered Red and even though we are as close as brothers we have had the occasional run in with each other and fought over the football. We now agree not to talk about footie when out together, but we both can’t resist a little dig when a result has gone the wrong way.

Billy a.k.a. Oxford Blue (


I was born in Stockport and brought up in Cheadle Hulme. My mother and father were not Mancs, my dad was, and is, a Rotherham United fan, bless him. He used to regale me with the story of how Rotherham missed out on promotion to the old First Division by a missed penalty and have never been close since. I had that ‘follow a lost cause’ blood in me. I had a leaning to the Blue side early on but it took much persuading in my early teens to get dad to take me to Maine Road.

My first game was in the FA Cup against Norwich at Maine Road. I sat in the Platt Lane End on the Main Stand side, about three quarters of the way down, City won 6-0. I made the misguided assumption that this was the way it was with the Blues. We went on to Wembley and the replay saga.

I held a Kippax season ticket for a while and would go to all the youth team matches, reserve games and many away games, but University loomed and in 1984 I moved to London. I picked up as many games in the capital and nearby as possible – who remembers losing in the cup at Brentford? Me and my inflatable shark, Feargal, visited most of the London grounds during the mid-eighties. Peter Barnes second time round at Plough Lane, FA cup ties at the Old Den. Evocative stuff.

The fortunes of the Blues have not been great in the two decades I have followed them, names like Ricky Villa and Raddy Antic and the nightmare of ’83 and D***d Pleat dancing on the pitch have haunted us for years. I remember being at Maine Road for the 5-1 derby but in all that time I don’t think I’ve seen a City squad that really looks like it is proud to wear the shirt, until now.

This little blip in form is nowt to get worried about. Roll on the Premiership. So far I own two City videos; 1989: the 5-1 derby, 1999: the Second Division promotion season, what say 2009: Premiership Champions?

CTID, Mike Taylor (


Recent results from 2 December 1999 to 16 December 1999 inclusive.

15 December 1999

Nottingham Forest     0 - 0  Fulham

14 December 1999

Crewe Alexandra       1 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs
Grimsby Town          1 - 1  West Bromwich Albion

League table to 15 December 1999 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Huddersfield T. 22  9  2  0 29  9  4  2  5 10 13 13  4  5 39 22  17  43
 2 Manchester City 22  8  0  3 22  9  5  3  3 10 10 13  3  6 32 19  13  42
 3 Charlton Ath.   21  7  2  2 19 10  5  2  3 19 14 12  4  5 38 24  14  40
 4 Ipswich Town    22  8  1  2 22 11  3  5  3 15 14 11  6  5 37 25  12  39
 5 Barnsley        21  8  1  2 25 10  3  2  5 14 23 11  3  7 39 33   6  36
 6 Fulham          22  5  4  2 11  7  3  6  2 13 11  8 10  4 24 18   6  34
 7 Stockport C.    22  6  5  0 19 12  3  2  6  8 18  9  7  6 27 30  -3  34
 8 Birmingham City 21  6  3  1 21  9  2  5  4 11 14  8  8  5 32 23   9  32
 9 QPR             22  5  6  0 19 12  3  2  6 13 16  8  8  6 32 28   4  32
10 Bolton Wndrs    22  6  3  2 21 14  2  4  5 11 12  8  7  7 32 26   6  31
11 Blackburn R.    21  5  4  2 16  9  2  5  3 10 11  7  9  5 26 20   6  30
12 Wolves          21  4  4  2 15  9  3  4  4  8 11  7  8  6 23 20   3  29
13 Tranmere Rovers 22  6  3  2 19 12  2  2  7 12 20  8  5  9 31 32  -1  29
14 Norwich City    21  6  1  3 11  8  1  6  4  8 11  7  7  7 19 19   0  28
15 West Brom A.    22  2  7  2 12 11  3  4  4 10 13  5 11  6 22 24  -2  26
16 Crewe Alex.     22  5  3  3 10  8  2  2  7 13 21  7  5 10 23 29  -6  26
17 Grimsby Town    22  6  3  2 14 12  1  2  8  9 23  7  5 10 23 35 -12  26
18 Crystal Palace  22  5  4  2 20 10  1  3  7 10 26  6  7  9 30 36  -6  25
19 Nottm Forest    22  4  5  2 16 10  1  2  8  7 17  5  7 10 23 27  -4  22
20 Port Vale       22  4  2  5 11 12  1  5  5 15 19  5  7 10 26 31  -5  22
21 Portsmouth      22  4  4  3 16 11  1  2  8  9 25  5  6 11 25 36 -11  21
22 Sheff. United   22  4  3  4 15 13  1  3  7 10 25  5  6 11 25 38 -13  21
23 Walsall         22  2  4  5  9 14  2  3  6 10 20  4  7 11 19 34 -15  19
24 Swindon Town    22  2  5  4 11 18  1  3  7  5 16  3  8 11 16 34 -18  17

With thanks to Football 365


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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]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #562