Newsletter #566

The last Division One league table of the 1900’s sees City come out on top with a total of 51 points. It’s amazing to think how far we’ve come in such a short time, and how many of us would have gladly taken 35 points and 10th position at the outset in August. City set about Grimsby as if their places in the Crewe game depended on a double-digit scoreline. Sadly, after the first goal, the Blues lost their way and then gave away an horrendous goal – a real gift this one – to let Grimsby get a scent of a point. The second half didn’t improve much until the introduction of Tony Grant (circa 10 minutes to go) – he looks a classy player to me – who quickly made an impression with a vicious volley and some neat ball work. City fairly bombarded Grimsby for the last ten minutes and justifiably got the winner courtesy of a Horlock screamer from 18 yards.

We have a couple of match reports, a match view (also a match report from the WBA game), and some opinion.

Anyone fancy sending in their Why Blue, the end of the Millennium sees me completely cleared out… or should that actually be the end of the 1900’s 🙂

Next MCIVTA, Monday as per usual.

Next game: Crewe Alexandra away, Monday 3rd January 2000


Horlock the Hero as City Move Clear

Manchester City had to thank a man who was almost omitted from the starting line-up for the 2-1 win over Grimsby at Maine Road on Tuesday. Midfielder Kevin Horlock was the man whose two-goal salvo, including a last-minute winner, secured a four-point lead at the top of the table for the Blues. Manager Joe Royle admitted after the match that he’d changed his mind over the starting line-up as he travelled to the ground. The City boss had intended to stand by the men on duty at West Brom 48 hours earlier but instead left Jeff Whitley on the bench so that the side benefitted from Horlock’s extra firepower. The decision was vindicated in the opening minutes, with the Northern Ireland man putting the Blues ahead. And after Stacy Coldicott’s goal had put Grimsby on terms before the break, the ex-Swindon player grabbed his second in the final minute to seal a vital win for the home side.

City Cash In As Rivals Clash

The fixture computer ensured that City would have a chance to steal a march on at least one of their closest challengers on Tuesday when the two sides immediately below the Blues faced one another at the McAlpine Stadium. The Blues kicked off against Grimsby a little over an hour after the end of Huddersfield’s encounter with Charlton. And with the Terriers having lost 2-1 to the Londoners, City’s win over Grimsby has left Joe Royle’s men four points clear at the top of Division One. Steve Bruce’s side stay in second, ahead of Charlton on goal difference, but the third-placed Addicks have a game in hand over both Huddersfield and City. A further point behind are Ipswich, who have played the same number of matches as the top two, while in fifth place are Barnsley, a point adrift of the Suffolk outfit but with a game in hand.

Mariners’ Boss Bemoans Luck as Royle Savours Victory

Grimsby boss Alan Buckley felt his side were unlucky to leave Maine Road empty-handed after Kevin Horlock’s late strike condemned his side to defeat on Tuesday. But City’s Joe Royle felt that the midfielder’s winner gave the Blues a merited three points. “I thought we were worth a point and I am so disappointed for my players and I couldn’t have asked any more of them,” lamented Buckley. “It is very difficult coming here because the crowd is like an extra man at times. You are always under a lot of pressure but I thought we coped well.” Royle, however, praised his side’s never say die attitude, which ensured a winning end to a successful year. “It’s been a great year for late goals and it is the sort of thing that never used to happen for us,” reflected the City manager. “They tend to go in when you are doing well and up at the top, but when you are down at the bottom you don’t get breaks like that.” Meanwhile, the Blues’ boss defended full-back Richard Edghill, whose error allowed the Mariners back into the game. “Richard made a mistake and he knows it,” said Royle. “There are fans who don’t appreciate what he does and were quick to make their feelings known. As far as I’m concerned he gets a raw deal off some people.”

We’re the Best “At the Moment”, Says Joe

Joe Royle has been taking issue with the Sky TV pundits who have labelled the Blues’ promotion rivals Huddersfield and Charlton Division One’s best footballing sides. The City manager pointed to the league table as evidence of his own team’s credentials, telling the club’s official website at, “We were described on Sky today as being unhappy because Charlton and Huddersfield are the two best footballing sides in the Division. I would dispute that because we are top of the League and that is where the best side at the moment is.”

Royle Hails Strength in Depth

Joe Royle believes that the strong Manchester City squad he’s assembled could be the key to the Blues’ promotion prospects. City beat Grimsby on Tuesday despite missing the likes of Andy Morrison, Mark Kennedy and Robert Taylor, but Royle still felt he had quality in reserve. “We had three major players missing which makes the win all the more impressive,” said Royle. “When I looked at our bench, with the likes of Tony Grant and Jeff Whitley on it, it shows how far we have come in the past year. I’m delighted with the strength of our squad.” Royle feels that the addition of £450,000 new boy Grant is a particularly important acquisition, and the City boss has already remarked that the Liverpool-born midfielder’s passing ability will be an important asset to the Blues.

New Boy Out for Three More Weeks

City striker Robert Taylor is unlikely to figure for the Blues again before mid-January. The recent signing from Gillingham has been laid low by ‘flu and will be told by manager Joe Royle to take his time getting fully fit. Taylor has already missed the festive games against West Brom and Grimsby and is almost certain to be absent again when City visit Crewe on Monday. And with the big front man cup-tied for the following week’s clash against Leeds, his earliest possible return date is the home clash with Fulham on January 16. The news means that either Paul Dickov or Lee Peacock will partner Shaun Goater at Gresty Road, with last season’s Wembley hero the favourite to win the vote after returning to action with two Christmas substitute appearances. Mark Kennedy is also likely to be back in the side at Crewe following the calf injury which sidelined him for Grimsby’s visit. Danny Tiatto is the man likely to make way.

Taylor Ready to Prove His Worth

Robert Taylor’s first month at Maine Road has been disrupted by an ankle injury, a dose of ‘flu, travels between Manchester and Kent, and the birth of his second child. But the ex-Gillingham striker is hoping that the upheaval is now over and he can concentrate on making an impact at Maine Road. Taylor will soon move into a new home and hopes that his more settled domestic arrangements will enable him to show the kind of form he was producing for Gillingham earlier in the season. “The transfer meant a lot of upheaval,” he admitted. “We have now found a new house up here and hopefully that will help me settle more easily.” Manager Joe Royle also believes that the front man will be at his best once he’s come through the transitional period. “He has had a lot to sort out with the move and his new baby and now he has got the flu,” explained the City boss. Even if Taylor has recovered from his current malady in time to face Crewe on Monday, he’s unlikely to be called on to face the Railwaymen after not training for the last week.

Blades Eyeing Permanent Brown Move

On-loan Michael Brown could make his temporary move to Sheffield United permanent. The Blades are said to be keen to keep the City midfielder after the end of his loan spell, but much will depend on the fate of their top scorer Martin Smith. The Yorkshire club are in the midst of a financial crisis and can only meet the Blues’ £500,000 asking price for the out-of-favour Brown if they raise the money from player sales. And thirteen-goal marksman Smith, out of contract in the summer, is the most likely man to generate transfer funds for the Sheffield club’s boss Neil Warnock. The ex-Sunderland player has already turned down Charlton because he wants to stay in the north, and he may be offered the chance by Bolton. The Wanderers are reportedly willing to pay £500,000 for the player but the move is currently in doubt owing to an impasse over personal terms, and Nottingham Forest, who’ve had one bid turned down by the Blades already, could step in with an improved offer.

City Backing Anti-Drink-Drive Campaign

City stars Andy Morrison and Shaun Goater were featured in the match programme for the game against Grimsby as part of the Blues’ promotion of the “I’ll be DES” campaign. The scheme encourages fans to nominate a designated non-drinking driver when watching games live or in a pub. While there’s no suggestion that drink driving is more of a problem among football fans than among any other interest group, recent research has indicated that around half of fans under thirty visit the pub before a match. The initiative, which enjoys government backing, is the brainchild of The Portman Group, a body patronised by several major brewers which was set up to promote sensible drinking. City skipper Andy Morrison praised the DES scheme, commenting, “For a huge number of fans, enjoying a drink before the game is part of the ritual. It shows great insight that the message is being delivered where it might make a real difference.”

Allardyce Looking to “Do a City”

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce says that City’s promotion charge last year is an example of what his own team needs to produce if they’re to go up this term. The Blues, like the Trotters this season, went into Christmas in mid-table but then embarked on a run of only two defeats in 26 matches to claim promotion in dramatic fashion at Wembley. Allardyce was then manager of Notts County, one of the teams beaten as the Blues surged up the table to third place, and he knows that his new club will have to generate similar momentum if they’re to regain the Premiership berth they surrendered the season before last.

Fenton Ready to Return

On-loan defender Nick Fenton will play his last game for Notts County in the Magpies’ home game with Burnley on New Year’s Monday. The match will see Fenton complete his three-month Meadow Lane loan period. Reports indicate that the 20-year-old has been regarded as a success by the Nottingham club, and with Tony Vaughan transfer-listed, he could enjoy more first-team opportunities at Maine Road in the event of injuries to any of the Blues’ first-choice trio of Gerard Wiekens, Richard Jobson and the soon-to-be-fit Andy Morrison.

City Bid for Fifth Straight Win

After City’s dip in form which saw three straight league defeats around the turn of the month, the Blues have arrested the slide. And Joe Royle’s men start the New Year with a trip to Crewe on Bank Holiday Monday bidding for a fifth straight win. City’s last visit to Gresty Road also came on a bank holiday, with the Blues sliding to a 1-0 defeat on Boxing Day 1997. That dismal season, of course, culminated in a disastrous relegation for the club, but hopefully on this occasion a very different result will be the prelude to a very different outcome in May. Whichever team takes the points, however, the respective records of the two clubs this season indicate a low-scoring affair. Crewe have scored only eleven goals and conceded a miserly nine in their twelve home games so far, while from the same number of matches on their travels, the Blues have found the net twelve times and seen their defence breached on only ten occasions.

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. GRIMSBY TOWN, Tuesday 28th December 1999

This report finishes with a performance outlook as I consider our chances of an automatic place, but first the report.

It was great to be leaving home for the match knowing that if we were to win we would stay on top, irrespective of results anywhere else. It was even better when we heard that Huddersfield had lost at Charlton in their match that had kicked off at midday.

We had left home much earlier than usual for this match so that we could meet up in The Gardeners and have a beer before the match. We took my nephew with us and had arranged to meet up with my father in law, my brother and his wife. The ticket for my nephew was a Christmas present and I had thought that a trip to The Gardeners for Guinness and song would help with the pre-match build up and I wasn’t to be disappointed.

In the way of pre-match portents, I had not done a great deal other than try to think of something that Grimsby was famous and interesting for. To be honest this proved quite difficult.

I knew of course that the town had something to do with fish (at least in the past) and I knew that at one stage it had been an important seaport. Once I had found out that it has the National Fishing Heritage Centre I decided that was quite enough and that I must make a point of never going there.

I can barely begin to imagine the response from my family to the question “does anybody fancy a day out at the fishing heritage centre?” – it’s just not inspiring is it?

As a good luck portent on Monday evening I had taken a bag of fish cakes (battered) from the freezer, and left them on the kitchen worktop as though they were to be cooked and take part in a meal. I then made a point of saying out loud “let’s have sausauge instead of fish cakes” and then with something of an elaborate flourish I picked up the fish cakes and slammed them back into the freezer drawer. My rationale for this being quite straightforward: the fish cakes represented Grimsby and that in allowing them to make it to the kitchen worktop they had almost been selected for the evening meal (this represented their attendance at Maine Road) by putting them back in the freezer in such a rough way merely represented the punishment that the Blues would dish out later on the field of play. The logic of this is undeniable, as you well know. You know the final score in advance of reading this so tell me it didn’t work! Added to that my beltless trousers and it’s clear that we can all influence results.

Just in case you doubt this, let me just tell you a sobering tale about the Stockport match. I wasn’t able to go as I was out of the country (as you will know from my previous contribution to MCIVTA). My wife took my children and despite their intense protestations, she seemed quite happy to ride roughshod over all the elaborate match traditions and rituals that my children and I know are an essential part of any game.

In fact, I was horrified to find out just the other day that as they walked from the car to Maine Road that she did two things that clearly cost us the game. The first and worst (in my opinion) was that she saw and then picked up a 2p piece from the ground. She did this despite my childrens’ strong vocal protests that the 2p could easily represent two goals for our opponents and that ‘dad wouldn’t have picked it up’; unconvinced, she pocketed it!

Secondly and in a complete rubbishing of tradition and pre-match preparation she would not go into a local shop near the ground to buy some sweets that can be said to represent the opposition and then ritually eat them as they made their way over the last few yards of tarmac to Maine Road.

Added to that the probability that she would not have been prepared to let her jeans fall down mid way through the match and I’m sure you can see a pattern being established that meant realistically we were never going to beat Stockport.

Anyway, moving on, we had a great laugh in the pub and laughed as we made our way to the ground. The reason for our mirth – quite simple, the outfits the Grimsby supporters were wearing. They wore rubber aprons with wooden chopping boards tied on the back, apparently simulating the typical working garb of a Grimsby fishmonger. In any case the stench was unbelievable. They just reeked of fish as they got out of their trawler shaped cars, each with nets draped from the rear (the cars, not the Grimsby folk). It was certainly a good idea to make sure they were in the open Gene Kelly end as at least there was a chance that the stink of their work wear would drift away. Even the seagull tethered to the Kippax was forced to vomit at the stench that came up from below. But all in all, a moment’s pause for credit to the fish smelling mariners who did make it to the academy. Our opponents have the worst average home attendance in the league (apart from Crewe) so fair play to those who had made the trip.

Moving on to the game then, we obviously were a little disappointed that Kennedy was out (following his injury at West Brom) but we were still confident in the team, especially knowing that we had a great chance to extend our lead at the top as Charlton had beaten Huddersfield in the game that had kicked off at lunch time. There would be something neat about being at the top as we went into the 21st Century and I was to be thrilled and delighted later on in the evening when we were to realise that Leeds would take that honour in the Premier (well done Sunderland).

The Grimsby team had a neat kit – similar to Newcastle’s and Juventus and certainly looked the part of a professional football team, if not quite being able to play the part.

We started at a rush and were 1-0 up by the fourth minute. Horlock hit the first goal as he ignored the Mariners’ cries of ‘striker ahoy’ as he slammed the ball into the net. Goater (who looks more like Ronaldo as each game passes) was unlucky as he hit the bar. We were certainly on top as our midfielders dominated proceedings, but despite this we were unable to increase our lead.

It was with some disappointment that Weaver was beaten as the 30-minute mark approached, but even so I was confident that we would soon be back on top. It was not to be and we went into the interval at 1-1. City’s performance in the second half generally fell short of that in the first 45.

Dickov came on and looked his usual fiery self and Pollock continued to play well. The game ambled along and I thought the best we were going to do was get a point. That was until the last 10 minutes. City began to throw everything at their opponents and a period of sustained pressure was established. Tony Grant fired a superb long range shot only to see the Mariners’ ‘keeper save, but our pressure was rewarded in the last minute when Horlock hit an absolute cracker to send Maine Road into ecstasy. Once that had gone in it was only a matter of playing out the two minutes of stoppage time that the fourth official (Mr I. R. Davies) indicated was left. The whistle went and we went four points clear, not a bad set of results from our holiday programme so far then.

This wasn’t a vintage performance but it was good enough. We had another superb crowd – 32,607 had been there and I thought the referee (Mr Pugh, a project manager from Bebbington) had a decent game. Messrs Hancox and Pashley – red and yellow flags, had ably assisted him throughout.


So that’s the match but what’s the impact as we enter the New Year and push towards the holy grail of the Premiership?

Well the win moves our average points per game to 2.04, which is great and gives a forecast points finish of 94. If we do achieve that then we will get an automatic slot. Our strike rate remains low, average at 1.6 per game, but because of our low concede rate (0.8 per game) we retain a decent +0.8 goals per game difference and an actual of +19.

Attendance at Maine Road is now just over 416,000 and we continue to average over 32,000. Our goal trend is still up (but only slightly) and our goal against trend is also up. However, we don’t see convergence on current form so we can anticipate that we will retain a + factor, although I expect it to drop from its current +0.8. Our three wins on the run have started to change the win trend and although still a little troublesome it’s as good as we could have wished for.

It’s difficult to remember this time last year when we had just begun to turn the season around with the 2-1 win against Stoke, but we should remember it because it shows what a difference 12 months can make. The prospects look good for the promotion push.

I’m not sure what the situation is with Morrison but once he’s fit and available he will make a decent difference. Goater continues to improve and if we have a fully fit and available Kennedy, Cooke, Taylor, Peacock, Grant and Bishop I can’t see why we should have problems.

The fixture list looks decent although we will need to be on our guard at Crewe (look what they did to Huddersfield). The situation is such that if we can win seven of our remaining ten home games and say six of our remaining away games then we will go up. Obviously any additional points will help, but it really is do-able now – there’s lots of ways at looking at this, for example: if we were to win all our remaining home games we could manage with just two wins from our remaining ten away games and still get an automatic…

Perhaps the a very clear way of considering our chances is to say that if we can take maximum points from just 62% of our remaining games then we’re up.

Tony Burns (tony


MANCHESTER CITY vs. GRIMSBY TOWN, Tuesday 28th December 1999

The last game of the year, century, millennium. The boys had to serve us up with something special, did they not? I was delighted to see that the seagull hovered above the Kippax in a particularly benevolent looking fashion and I settled down to be entertained. City started like a house on fire. Goater looked like he wanted to get to 20 goals before the end of the year, Pollock was all over the place and it came as no surprise when Super Kev opened the scoring on 5 minutes. Bishop’s through ball split the Grimsby defence like a Terry’s chocolate orange that has been ‘tapped and unwrapped’ (sorry, it was either that or ‘a hot knife through butter’!). Kev took the ball in his stride and unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards. I really did think that we would be looking at a very high scoring game after this start.

Again we streamed forward, Tiatto (in for Kennedy) and Granville linking well on the left, Horlock and Bishop controlling the midfield and the aforementioned Pollock having an impressive game on the right. Peacock too had his best performance for us I feel. He showed pace, strength and a good touch. He still didn’t really look like scoring though and he does need to get off the mark soon. Defensively, the mobile Jack Lester was pretty well handled and 95% of the game was in the Grimsby half. But then, as it had to be in this landmark game, Edghill carelessly passed a free-kick to Lester, who accepted the gift graciously, passing to Caldicott unmarked in the box, who in turn passed the ball out of the reach of Weaver. Maine Road was stunned into silence. Edghill rightly held his head in his hands. From the kick-off, Richard got the ball early to be greeted by a crescendo of boos. However, for the first time, someone in the Kippax stood up and berated the detractors. This stance was applauded and thereafter the boos were drowned out by support and encouragement for our number 3. I’ve commented on Edghill before. He’s a decent defender, but his passing overall is poor. I am always suprised when he takes free-kicks rather than a better passer and I am also pleasantly surprised when one cross in 10 is a good one. This mistake was an especially ugly one, but it did seem to focus his attention for the rest of the game and hopefully he will learn from it. However, there is absolutely no benefit in booing a player for the duration of the game. If you must, do it at half time or full time but please not during the game. It’s hardly going to make the player perform better is it?

Anyway, for the remainder of the first half and a decent chunk of the second, Grimsby’s expectations obviously increased. Nevertheless, we still dominated possession and came close on several occasions. On the hour, Dickov replaced Tiatto in a move although understandable, nearly backfired. A positive move yes, but it destroyed our shape and our width, and it was noticeable that Grimsby were having more joy down the left with Tiatto removed. Dickov did quite well, harrying as usual and curling a nice shot just wide shortly after his introduction. With about 12 minutes to go, Grant was introduced for Peacock, with Horlock being pushed wider left and instantly we looked better for it. Grant was very impressive. Some nice passes, tackles and a brilliant 20-yard volley that the ‘keeper fingertipped away. We piled on the pressure, with the ball ping-ponging around the Grimsby box, but still it wouldn’t come. Then from a Granville cross, Horlock controlled the ball, swivelled and hit an unstoppable half volley into the roof of the net. Cue bedlam! Not quite Wembley ’99 proportions, but certainly the best celebrations seen since! Perhaps Horlock’s detractors now understand what Royle sees in him!

So in the final game of the millennium, you could not have written a better script to sum up City, if not over the last 1,000 years, certainly the last 100. Good attacking football at times, great goal, awful defensive error, nervousness, last minute winner, delight. The only possible difference in the script until last season at least, would have been a last minute goal for Grimsby instead! I still can’t bring myself to utter any of the ‘P’ words, but surely we are all going to have a very Happy New Millennium! All the best from me!

Phil Hartley (


A nice, bright start for City, the North stand began to relax and think up new taunts for those of us in the Kippax when on about 7 minutes-ish Horlock ran on to a through ball, out-foxed the ‘keeper and we were one up. And I thought we were the ones who were supposed to make such defensive errors? I was later proved right.

City looked determined and committed, a Grimsby defender paused to look up when clearing, Pollock charged, got the deflection and it fell to Goater who was unlucky to hit the bar. However, Edghill hooked the poor clearance to the feet of a Grimsby player, Wiekens and Jobbo were disorganized and Grimsby equalized. I then realized that you can hear people in the Gene Kelly stand, so I realized that during the Swindon game the Main Stand actually made more noise than the away fans! Is this a first?

The rest of the game was relatively dull, City had most of the possession, spending most of the game passing back the ball. Towards the end of the second half we had what seemed about twenty corners and at least ten opportunities to score, but we don’t expect to put away our chances do we, so we all settled for a draw, after all it’s about ruddy time we had a home draw; I’m beginning to miss them, having got so used to them in previous seasons. Ah well.

About a minute before the whistle, another positive attacking move. This time the ball bobbled about right, and Super Kev banged it home, 2-1 was the final score and I believe we are about to the leave the 1900’s 4 points clear in the 1st Division.

Super… Super Kev… Super… Super Kev… Super… Super Kev… Super Kevin Horlock (or rather Tony Horlock according to Ceefax).

Gareth Thomas (



We got to the ground in good time, despite a horrible traffic jam of traffic waiting to get off the M5, and also managing, I think, to park in a car park that was one of the furthest from the ground.

On the way to the ground we got talking to one of the locals. After apparently being amazed at the distance we’d come (Leeds), he asked why we hadn’t just watched it on TV? Ask a silly question…

I was very happy to see City wearing the red/black kit again. City lined up thus:

Granville, Wiekens, Jobson, Edghill
Kennedy, Whitley, Bishop, Pollock
          Goater, Peacock

Subs: Wright, Tiatto, Dickov, Grant, Crooks.

We started off pretty brightly. Kennedy was making some progress on the left, but was soon off. We thought it must be that he was still recovering from flu, but it seems that he suffered a slight calf strain.

Although we’d pushed forwards early on, West Brom nearly scored, being denied by a brilliant save on the ground by Weaver, who was bang on form again.

I thought that overall, the first half was quite even and either side could have scored. What was noticeable in the first half, and more so in the second is that when City kept the ball on the ground and consistently switched play about, the West Brom defence had real trouble keeping up. Most noticeably, Edghill and Pollock quite often were able to get a lot of space on the right. I really wonder what a fit and on form Terry Cooke could have done on that side. I’m sure that he would have been a real asset there.

0-0 at half time, and a definite feeling that with City playing towards their fans, it could only get better.

It did. In the second half, City played very well, passing the ball nicely and making space. Granville scored a lovely goal after being set free by an excellent pass by Goater. Then later on Goater beat the offside trap and was able to hold off a defender superbly before slotting the ball home.

On the other hand, Weaver was forced to make an excellent save, he tipped the ball onto the bar from a header. Also there was a very loud and confident appeal for a penalty, apparently for a push, which I didn’t see.

Having said that, later on, a West Brom player brought Goater down as he was breaking free, and could have been sent off. Instead he got a booking, and another West Brom defender could have gone for an amazing mid air collision, although I still don’t know who the victim was. There were lots of handballs which were missed as well.

Overall, a good performance. Proof positive that when City pass the ball around rather than just hoofing it upfield, they can really control the midfield and make space for themselves.

Performances of note came from Weaver, who was excellent again, Jobson, who did a great job of controlling defence, although I still think we miss Morrison, Jeff Whitley, who was back, challenging for everything, Bishop, whose play really helped us to control midfield. But the man of the match had to be Shaun Goater. He made one goal, scored a beauty, but also held the ball up well, battled hard, and made some excellent defensive challenges. This was one of his best performances for a long time.

Euan Bayliss (


Suggest a meeting on the 9th January in anticipation of the Leeds FA Cup match, presume it will be telecast on Cable or SBC as I know it is on Sky at home. Suggest the Penny Black on Boat Quay as a good meeting point, let me know.

Stephen Burt (


This is my first ever contribution to MCIVTA. I wish all of you out there a Happy New Year 2000 and thank particularly those involved in the writing, editing and sending of MCIVTA. Being an “overseas fan”, MCIVTA is so important for us to stay in touch with what happens at Maine Road as we do not often have the chance to see City playing on the tube! Actually, until I watched the Boxing Day game against WBA, I was about to give up on watching City on TV. The previous game was against Wolves and I must admit that the way City played at Molineux was so disturbing that I was expecting to see a red haired England 1966 football hero sitting on the bench as the City manager! Zap! Back to reality. Things look so bright and blue for the rest of the season! Keep up the good work!

Finally, is there any City fan over here in Lebanon? If yes, drop me a line and perhaps we could meet to watch the Cup tie against Leeds in some pub.

Malek Tabbal, Beirut, Lebanon (


Am pleased that Phil Hartley pointed out the Seagull Theory in MCIVTA 563, as I had been of the same opinion but nobody believed me. Still, it did momentarily shut the guys up on Tuesday when we looked like having a dire 1-1 game. Fear not, the seagull is back, I said. And lo, Super Kev did score again.

I rest my case.

Heidi Pickup (


G  ood
R  esult
I  mperative -
M  ade
S  afe
Y  Horlock.

Steve Maclean (


The Bluenews web site has been updated and has the latest match report from the City vs. Grimsby game. Also all performance tables updated and a mid-year performance review. Recent programme covers also updated and now includes the programmes from Stockport, Swindon and Grimsby games.

Home page has details of two books that are well worth a read.

You can check out the web site at <>

Tony Burns (


Bob Lawrence is of course quite right about when centuries and millennia start and end. As there was no year 0 AD, the first century was 1 to 100 and so on. Any religious importance is lost because the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus was probably five or six years ago (don’t ask how they counted wrong). Decades is a different matter because we don’t talk about being in the last year of the 200th decade, and decades have (in this century) been known (since the 20s) as the 20s, 30s etc.

It was a losing battle for the purists to maintain that the 3rd millennium didn’t really start till 1 January 2001, but I somehow expected that we’d still leave the century alone and not pretend that this is the last year of the 20th century. However, the media do seem to have conspired to pretend that after 2000 years of knowing when the century ends, in this present age of mass media and information, we’re going to get it wrong for the first time and have a century that’s only lasted 99 years. Whether ignorant people in previous centuries got it wrong I don’t know, but I remember it was just one of the things we were taught at school. The last year in the century is the 00 year. The Guardian even published a series of archive material from “the century” (1900-1999) which included an article from January 1901 about the century just started!

So now the question arises – do us purists (sorry, we purists) give in and say if the BBC says this is the last Auntie’s Bloomers of the 20th century it must be so? Or do we sound like pedants for pointing out what, with a bit of thought, has always been obvious? I’m certainly not going to spend all of 2000 correcting everyone who says it’s the 21st century. But it isn’t. Anyway, don’t we want City to be in the Premiership throughout the 21st century?

Steve Parish (


Brothers and sisters, first of all may I wish you all a prosperous new year, especially the MCIVTA team, who do an excellent job in helping supporters of God’s club, communicate through the Internet. The Lord is truly happy with the good work, being delivered by everyone concerned within the club (but not the chap who threw a meat and potato pie at a Stockport fan – such waste of food is unforgivable). The congregation have once again, proven their undying loyalty to the club, and under the guidance of Mr Bernstein and Mr Royle, they are are now witnessing the rebirth of this famous club (long may it continue). During this season of goodwill, it seems a good time to mention the devil worshippers, who can’t understand why their swamp pitch is starting to churn up. The reason is, they have shunned the work of the Lord for too long, the grass can no longer breathe due to the lack of nature’s sunlight. Maybe it’s because they actually believe in all the media hype, that the sun shines out of the players’ a***s (pardon me). I’ll leave you with a thought – Goodness will eventually overcome evil.

Gary – The Reverend Blue Boy (


So the end of millennium debate has found its way into MCIVTA! I can’t get excited about this 2001 argument. If the significance is religious then latest thinking is that it happened six years ago so we missed it. As far as non religious significance is concerned, which is the more interesting: watching the milometer in your car click over from 9,999 to 10,000 or from 10,000 to 10,001? Answer: Choose from:

  1. Every year is the end of a millennium! They just have different numbers.
  2. Any excuse for a good party!
  3. Who cares as long as the Blues keep winning!

Don Shore (


I think Bob Laurence and Tony O’Leary are wrong about this not being the end of the millennium.

  1. 2000 cannot be the end of one millennium and the start of the next and Iwould argue that in the same way 1990 was the start of the 90’s then 2000is the start of the 2000’s.
  2. End of decades have always been celebrated in 9 year not year 0, i.e. 1989was the end of the 80’s not 1990. Why should it be any different for amillennium?
  3. There are 10 years in a decade, 0 is the first year therefore 9 is the 10thyear, there are 100 years in a century 00 is the first year, 99 is the 100thyear. Surely it is the same for a millennium, 000 is the first year and 999 isthe 1000th year.
  4. If people cannot agree then why not just celebrate it twice? I have noproblems with that!

David Bowl (


Driving home from the match against Grimsby, listening to GMR, a City fan phoned in supposedly speaking for all City supporters in condemning Richard Edghill. I hate to disillusion him but he certainly does not speak for many fans in the Kippax who get sick and tired of the abuse he gets.

Richard Edghill plays for City – I support City – I support Richard Edghill. While he is playing for Man City, hurling abuse at him cannot help him or in turn help the team. Yes, he does make mistakes but so do other players but it seems only Edghill gets abuse. Could there be an element of racial discrimination in this constant ‘hatred’? After all it’s taken a long time for Goater (despite scoring on a regular basis) to be accepted and it can’t be a coincidence that he is also black.

I have supported City for 30 years and some fans have always felt the need to focus abuse on one particular player. Going back in time there has been Corrigan, Ian Bowyer, Summerbee etc. that have been victims. How would any of these so called supporters like to play in front of 32,000 fans with constant abuse being directed at them?

We are moving into the Millennium and it’s time to move on; why don’t we all get behind the 11 players that turn out in the blue shirt of Manchester City, kick racism out, and wouldn’t it also be refreshing to forget singing that old worn out chant ‘If you hate Man United etc.’, after all who are they?

Elaine Taylor (


I’d just like to wish all the MCIVTA subscribers, and particularly Ashley, a wonderful New Year celebration this year, and fingers crossed that City carry on in the new year as they are doing at the end of the nineties. Let’s all drink to a return to the Premier League where they belong, and 2 Manchester teams fighting for the major honours once again. Incidentally there could be a local holiday over here in Dubai on January 9th (all depending on the moon being sighted on time!) and if so I’m on a flight in the morning arriving in time to watch the game against Leeds, before flying back straight after. Fingers crossed as usually when I watch the Blues they win, excepting of course against United! Have a wonderful New Year and every best wish to all.

Leo fewtrell – Wythenshawe Exile (


I recall a few issues back somebody mentioned New York Blues but unfortunately I was doing some pre-Christmas cleaning of my mailbox and deleted the details.

If you are having another get together in early January or know of any good footy bars, please let me know and I can pass the details on to my wandering brother.

Heidi Pickup (


Recent results to 30 December 1999 inclusive.

28 December 1999

Barnsley              3 - 1  Port Vale
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 1  West Bromwich Albion
Crystal Palace        3 - 2  Walsall
Huddersfield Town     1 - 2  Charlton Athletic
Ipswich Town          1 - 0  Stockport County
Manchester City       2 - 1  Grimsby Town
Nottingham Forest     1 - 0  Birmingham City
Portsmouth            1 - 2  Blackburn Rovers
Queens Park Rangers   1 - 0  Crewe Alexandra
Sheffield United      2 - 0  Fulham
Tranmere Rovers       3 - 1  Swindon Town
Wolverhampton Wndrs   1 - 0  Norwich City

League table to 29 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 Manchester City 25 10  0  3 27 10  6  3  3 12 10 16  3  6 39 20  19  51
 2 Huddersfield T. 25 10  2  1 33 12  4  3  5 11 14 14  5  6 44 26  18  47
 3 Charlton Ath.   24  8  2  2 21 11  6  3  3 21 15 14  5  5 42 26  16  47
 4 Ipswich Town    25 10  1  2 26 12  3  6  3 15 14 13  7  5 41 26  15  46
 5 Barnsley        24 10  1  2 31 13  4  2  5 17 23 14  3  7 48 36  12  45
 6 Stockport C.    25  7  5  0 22 14  4  2  7  9 19 11  7  7 31 33  -2  40
 7 Blackburn R.    24  6  4  2 18 10  3  5  4 13 14  9  9  6 31 24   7  36
 8 QPR             25  6  7  0 20 12  3  2  7 14 18  9  9  7 34 30   4  36
 9 Fulham          25  5  5  2 11  7  3  7  3 13 13  8 12  5 24 20   4  36
10 Wolves          24  6  4  2 18 10  3  4  5 10 14  9  8  7 28 24   4  35
11 Tranmere Rovers 25  7  3  3 23 15  3  2  7 14 21 10  5 10 37 36   1  35
12 Norwich City    24  7  1  3 13  9  2  6  5 10 13  9  7  8 23 22   1  34
13 Birmingham City 24  6  3  2 21 11  2  5  6 12 17  8  8  8 33 28   5  32
14 Bolton Wndrs    24  6  4  3 22 16  2  4  5 11 12  8  8  8 33 28   5  32
15 Sheff. United   25  6  3  4 19 14  2  3  7 12 25  8  6 11 31 39  -8  30
16 Crystal Palace  25  6  5  2 23 12  1  3  8 11 28  7  8 10 34 40  -6  29
17 Nottm Forest    25  6  5  2 18 10  1  2  9  8 19  7  7 11 26 29  -3  28
18 West Brom A.    25  2  7  3 12 13  3  5  5 12 17  5 12  8 24 30  -6  27
19 Crewe Alex.     25  5  4  3 11  9  2  2  9 13 23  7  6 12 24 32  -8  27
20 Grimsby Town    25  6  3  3 14 15  1  2 10 11 28  7  5 13 25 43 -18  26
21 Port Vale       24  4  2  5 11 12  1  6  6 16 22  5  8 11 27 34  -7  23
22 Portsmouth      25  4  5  4 17 13  1  3  8 10 26  5  8 12 27 39 -12  23
23 Walsall         25  2  4  6 10 16  2  3  8 14 26  4  7 14 24 42 -18  19
24 Swindon Town    25  2  6  4 12 19  1  3  9  6 22  3  9 13 18 41 -23  18

With thanks to Football 365


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #566