Newsletter #590

Well, back in the editor’s chair after what seems a very long absence indeed. I was due back on Monday, but was prevented from putting MCIVTA together, courtesy of a stay in hospital. After surviving the vagaries of transatlantic air travel relatively unscathed, I found it much more difficult to survive a simple 18-mile journey home from Alderley Edge to Whaley Bridge! Suffice it to say that I’ll be looking for a new car shortly, and my right kneecap will probably be setting off every metal detector that I pass through on my next transatlantic trip! Any ideas on how much compensation I should claim for having to miss the Charlton and WBA games 🙂

I’m now back at home and will be doing MCIVTA for the foreseeable future. Please send all articles to me here at:

This issue has Peter’s news summary; two match reports, one for Charlton and one for Stockport; as well as opinion and a Why Blue.

Thanks to Steve Bolton for stepping in at the last minute (literally) and sending out MCIVTA. If you sent me something and it hasn’t appeared, please resend it and I’ll make sure it’s included in the next issue. Also, thanks for the City chat to Kev from Bramhall who sits in BB Upper and was in Ward D3 (Stepping Hill) with a sliced open hand.

Next game: West Bromwich Albion at home, Saturday 26th March 2000


City Salvage Point – But Lose Ground

City scored first and last in a 2-2 draw at Stockport on Tuesday evening. But the point didn’t stop the Blues from dropping to fourth in Division One following the midweek fixtures. Jamie Pollock gave City an early lead but County rallied to lead 2-1 at half-time through goals from Moore and Flynn. And the Blues were within eleven minutes of a demoralising defeat when Richard Jobson headed home a Richard Edghill cross to snatch a point. Barnsley overtook the Blues with a 1-0 win over Fulham on Tuesday, while on Wednesday, Ipswich ended their own dismal run with a 2-0 victory at Tranmere. Both sides are now two points ahead of City from one more game. Meanwhile, Birmingham are still two points behind Joe Royle’s men, also from one extra match. The Midlanders went down 1-0 at Blackburn this evening to a last-minute Damian Duff effort.

Royle Rues “Awful” Spell

Joe Royle wasn’t a happy man following his team’s draw at Stockport on Tuesday night. The City boss felt that his players allowed a winning position to slip from their grasp after a perfect start. Jamie Pollock’s early goal gave City the lead and seemed to be a platform for the Blues to go on and claim a first win in seven outings. But Royle was furious after a poor spell at the end of the first half, during which Ian Moore and Mike Flynn ensured it was County who had a half-time advantage. And as a result, Richard Jobson’s equaliser left Royle a relieved man. “To be honest I would have settled for a point at half-time,” he admitted, “because for 20 minutes in the first half we had been awful.”

Prior: City Succeed Where Others Failed

Spencer Prior has completed a £500,000 move from Derby to Manchester City. The 28-year-old has turned down other moves this season but had little hesitation in saying yes to a switch to Maine Road. Prior rejected the chance to join Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield in recent weeks and had also attracted interest from Bradford and Scottish side Hearts. But he was delighted with the transfer he eventually landed. “I don’t consider this a step down,” he enthused. “Manchester City is a Premiership set up.” Joe Royle, meanwhile, has no doubts over the quality of his latest recruit. “He’ll be a terrific asset being quick, big and strong,” explained the City boss.

New Boy’s Leadership Credentials

Andy Morrison’s protracted absence has left the City side sorely lacking players with leadership qualities. But the gap should soon be filled – and not by the skipper’s return from injury. New signing Spencer Prior is the man set to assume Morrison’s mantle, and the acquisition from Derby is looking forward to the challenge. “I suppose as I have got older and more confident, so I have been able to take more responsibility,” the ex-Norwich and Leicester player told the Manchester Evening News. “I have learned how to organise and shout a bit but I don’t want anyone thinking I have come to City to take over the show. I am here to do my best for the team.”

Vaughan Completes Forest Move

Tony Vaughan has joined Nottingham Forest in a pre-deadline move. The defender sealed his permanent City Ground switch after the Blues reached a compromise with the Midlands club over the fee. The Manchester-born defender actually began his career with Ipswich before returning north in the summer of 1997 for a £1.35 million tribunal-assessed fee. He played in 58 league games for the Blues in his first two seasons but added only a single substitute appearance this term before falling out of favour. He impressed on trial at Norwich and in a three-month loan at Cardiff but neither club was prepared to meet Joe Royle’s asking price – a situtaion which looked set to be repeated as Forest boss David Platt failed to agree a fee for the player following another successful loan. It’s thought the two clubs reached agreement on a figure of around £350,000.

Fenton Moves but Russell Stays

Nick Fenton has finally completed his on-off loan move to Bournemouth. But Craig Russell has rejected the chance to make a third temporary switch of the season after spells at Darlington and Oxford. Fenton will stay at Dean Court for the rest of the season, and will gain more senior experience to add to the 13 league games he played in a stint at Notts County earlier this term. However, striker Russell has rejected a loan transfer to Scottish Premier League outfit St. Johnstone. However, with the Scottish transfer deadline still eight days away, the Perth-based club could make another attempt to land the Jarrow-born front man.

Royle in Talks Over Goater Call-Up

Manchester City could be set to miss striker Shaun Goater for more matches in the crucial promotion run-in. Joe Royle is set for talks later this week with Bermudian coach Clyde Best over whether the Blues’ top scorer will feature in his country’s World Cup qualification bid. Goater scored a hat-trick for a ten-man Bermuda in the first leg of the tie against British Virgin Islands two weeks ago. That game ended in a 5-1 win for Best’s side but on Sunday, they fared even better, winning the return 9-0 despite missing the City front man and the island’s three other professionals. Royle is hoping that fact will persuade the Bermudian coach that he can spare Goater for the two-legged tie against Antigua and Barbuda in the next round, which clashes with the Blues’ trips to Swindon and Grimsby. And there’s an even more worrying potential conflict at the beginning of May if the Bermudians progress – the first leg of the following round is scheduled for 6 May, 24 hours before City’s last league game of the season at Blackburn.

Goater Salutes Fan Passion

Shaun Goater is a man in demand, viewed as central both to the Blues’ promotion quest and to Bermuda’s World Cup bid. But the man who according to Joe Royle is “not for sale at any price” has already vowed that firing his club into the Premiership is his top priority – and it’s a challenge he’s enjoying. Goater has bagged 25 goals for the Blues this term to silence his critics among the Maine Road faithful. And he’s delighted with the response from the Blues’ support. “We know what is at stake and the atmosphere is brilliant,” the City top scorer told the Manchester Evening News. “I just feel it is wonderful to be here right now and to be in possession of that jersey.” Goater’s failure to find the net at Stockport on Tuesday was a rarity in recent weeks – he’s now notched 19 goals in his last 21 games for the Blues plus a hat-trick in his one outing for Bermuda in the same period.

Goater Faces Heartbreak Choice

Shaun Goater may have to retire from international football if he’s to play a full rôle in the Blues’ promotion run-in. Reports from Manchester sources are claiming that the Bermudian authorities are not favourably disposed to entreaties from club and player for him to be omitted from the island’s World Cup fixtures. Bermuda face Antigua and Barbuda in the next round of their qualification tournament, and the indications are that they want Goater to link up with the squad – in which case he’d miss vital games for the Blues at Swindon and Grimsby. The Manchester Evening News reports that the City top-scorer feels his international team-mates could fare perfectly well without him. But City are powerless to prevent any call-up, so if the Bermudians don’t agree, the striker’s only way of staying at Maine Road would be to withdraw from the squad himself – and risk his international career being over.

Weaver Call-Up Takes Total to Six

Five Manchester City players received call-ups last week for forthcoming representative matches. And the total of Maine Road men on international duty next week has risen to six after Nicky Weaver’s selection for the England under-21s. Kevin Horlock is in the Northern Ireland squad for a friendly in Malta on Tuesday, with Jeff Whitley joining reserves Richard McKinney and Shaun Holmes in Sammy McIlroy’s under-21 party. Danny Tiatto’s selection for Australia’s friendly in Czech Republic made a total of five City players on duty, and now Weaver has been chosen for the England under-21 team’s play-off against Yugoslavia in Barcelona. The Blues’ goalkeeper may lose out to Ipswich’s Richard Wright for a place in the starting eleven, however.

Weaver Nets Umbro Deal

Despite his uncharacteristic recent lapses, Nicky Weaver has followed up his excellent début season with an equally assured second term. And the City goalkeeper is starting to see the commercial benefits of his displays. Weaver has now signed a five-year glove and boot deal with sportswear firm Umbro, who are obviously keen to retain the services of a player tipped for the big time by many good judges. The player’s manager and goalkeeping coach, Joe Royle and Alex Stepney, have been joined in the last few months by former England manager Bobby Robson and current national team boss Kevin Keegan in highlighting the 21-year-old’s potential. And Umbro have moved smartly to ensure the Sheffield-born star is on their books as he achieves further progress.

Striker’s Crash Course in Fitness

Joe Royle says that Robert Taylor won’t reach peak condition until the start of next season. But the Blues are still making the 29-year-old work hard on his fitness in the interim. Taylor has been sidelined for a variety of reasons since his arrival from Gillingham at the end of November. And the player has often looked short of match sharpness. But after a few days’ intensive rehabilitation work on a calf injury, the ex-Brentford player has returned to the City team and played his second game in three days at Stockport – where according to many he looked visibly tired. “He was shattered at the end [of the Lilleshall stint] but it would have done him the world of good,” Royle told the Manchester Evening News. “He has had, and continues to have, a crash course in fitness and the next thing he needs is continuity.”

Killen is Reserves’ Two-Goal Hero

Manchester City reserves continued their fine run with a 2-0 win at Preston last night. And it was one of the Maine Road juniors who inspired the victory, as Kiwi Chris Killen continued his excellent progress. The youngster grabbed both goals as the City second string continued their fine form. The Blues have now lost just two games in their last fifteen at reserve level and are favourites to take the Pontin’s League Premier Division title. And Killen has now notched six Pontin’s League goals in seven outings, justifying the recent decision to award him a new two-year contract.

Season Ticket Sales Pass £1 Million Barrier

Manchester City have received 6,000 applications for season ticket renewals for next season. And that means that the Blues have already banked more than £1 million in advance takings. The club has opted this year to continue its discount scheme whereby existing holders who renew before 31 March receive a discount. And the number taking advantage of the offer is expected to double in the next week. The club is treating the figures as an endorsement from the fans of the direction in which the Blues are headed, with director Chris Bird telling the Manchester Evening News, “The large numbers who have bought their season tickets early, before they even know which division we will be in, demonstrate the great faith they have in the team under Joe Royle and the club under David Bernstein.”

Kick-Off Switch for Grimsby Away Game

Manchester City have already had to rearrange several games this season for a variety of reasons. And now there’s news that the kick-off of the away game at Grimsby has been brought forward. The Blues still visit Blundell Park on the originally scheduled date, Saturday 15 April. But the match will now start at 1.05 p.m. The switch has been made on police advice, with the fear being that to allow City fans a significant amount of drinking time in Cleethorpes before the game could be inviting trouble. The match is likely to be of more importance to the Blues than to their hosts, who look set to end the season in mid-table.

Suits Endure County Fury

Blues’ fans who purchased corporate entertainment packages for Tuesday’s match at Stockport got more than they bargained for. For the City suits ended up sitting in the Cheadle End – home to Stockport County’s most vociferous fans. More than two thirds of the 700 who took up the hospitality offers had allegiance to the away side and things turned nasty when Jamie Pollock gave Joe Royle’s men the lead. The resultant celebrations saw many of the fans subjected to a barrage of abuse, spitting and coins from the County faithful, and things were so bad that many of the City visitors left the ground at half-time. Stockport secretary Gary Glendenning admitted his club had lessons to learn from the incident but claimed he’d had assurances from all companies purchasing hospitality packages that their guests would be home supporters.

Screening Proves a Damp Squib

Manchester City showed Tuesday’s game against Stockport live on a big screen at Maine Road. But the venture didn’t prove a success, attracting only 3,412 spectators. It was the second recent occasion on which the Blues have beamed an away game back to Maine Road. But this time, the attendance figure fell well short of the near 10,000 who attended for the transmission of last season’s play-off game at Wigan. However, director Chris Bird had already said that the club was screening the game as a thank you to fans, not as a profit-making scheme.

Student in Screening Mix-Up

Manchester City’s screening at Maine Road of the away match at Stockport may not have drawn many fans. But one amusing story did emerge from the night’s events in Moss Side. The Manchester Evening News reports that a student turned up and paid for entrance into the ground – only to ask to leave again when he found out that the match was taking place six miles away. The embarrassed Stoke fan, who refused to reveal his identity, said he saw the crowds and fancied taking in a match. Those of an uncharitable disposition might suggest that he still witnessed a better atmosphere than he’d have experienced watching his own team.

Defensive Poser – Who Makes Way?

New boy Spencer Prior is set to make his City début in Saturday’s Maine Road crunch match against West Brom. But it’s still unclear as to who’ll make way for the ex-Southend, Norwich and Leicester man. Unless Joe Royle springs a surprise with a tactical switch to three central defenders, either Richard Jobson or Gerard Wiekens will stand aside. And the boss’s choice is no formality. Jobson has figured in 39 successive first-team games – far more than would have been expected from the veteran at the start of the season – and one school of thought is that the ex-Oldham man may need a rest. However, some fans have felt that Wiekens’ form in recent weeks has fallen short of his own high standards. Whoever he replaces, Royle will hope that last season’s player of the year at Pride Park will help the Blues’ rearguard regain its early-season air of impregnability.

More Changes As Winning Formula Sought?

Joe Royle could make more team changes as he searches to recapture the winning blend. The Blues take on West Bromwich Albion on Saturday after a run of seven games without a win. Danny Tiatto missed the Tuesday night draw at Stockport but may come into contention for a place either at left back or on the left wing. Meanwhile, Ian Bishop has been substituted in the last two games, raising the suspicion that Royle has still not settled on his best midfield line-up. And if Lee Mills defies the odds to recover from his rib injury, he could feature up front, with Royle admitting that both Shaun Goater and Robert Taylor looked jaded at Edgeley Park. In addition, of course, someone will drop out to make way for new defender Spencer Prior.

City to Face Four Baggies Débutants?

Manchester City face a West Bromwich Albion side fighting for its First Division life at Maine Road on Saturday. And the Midlands club have been busy in the transfer market ahead of the vital clash. The Baggies made four new signings ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline. Striker Bob Taylor has returned to the club from Bolton while Tranmere midfielder George Santos has also joined. And in defence Chelsea’s Neil Clement, who’s arrived on loan, and Port Vale’s Tony Butler completed the quartet. The Blues will have their own débutant in the match in the shape of Spencer Prior but the other recent Maine Road arrival Lee Mills is likely still to be sidelined by his rib injury.

Peter Brophy (



Ohhhhhh! It started so brightly. Easy parking, a couple of beers in the Robert Peel, exercising our lungs in a singing competition with County fans (that was a draw too). Standing upright behind the goal. Blues everywhere around the ground, great atmosphere. A goal after 7 minutes… but all in all it was a very disappointing evening. City started with the same team that had earned a point against Charlton, but for Granville replacing an injured Tiatto. Tony Grant took Granville’s spot on the bench, otherwise it was as you were.

The game started at a rapid pace with the ball seemingly a hot potato, as neither side was able to hold onto it for more than a couple of seconds. But then Kennedy decided he’d try to skin his marker, which he did with ease. His cross was headed back across goal by Bob Taylor and up popped Jamie Pollock to side foot in from close range. A simple, but classic goal. It’s a shame that the Blues quickly forgot the best way to attack County. The game reverted to a frantic affair but it was noticeable that County were coming away with virtually every 50-50 ball. City were far too frantic; Bishop couldn’t exert his influence and consequently we lost all shape. Danny Granville was all over the place, not in a positive way I hasten to add. He was making pointless runs, being dragged out of position and generally looked all at sea. Kennedy tried a ‘cheeky’ back heel in midfield, which was intercepted and with one pass, Ian Moore broke free of our ‘offside trap’. Wiekens chased gamely but was nowhere near catching his man, as Moore placed the ball wide of Weaver. Oh well, maybe we’d start playing now!

Unfortunately we didn’t start to play and indeed, we probably got worse. I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that if we concede a goal, we seem to try to force the issue and get one back straight away. Now that’s Ok, so long as we keep our shape and continue to play football, but we don’t! The ball is launched in the general direction of the opposition’s goal, bypassing midfield and not using the flanks. This sort of ball is food and drink to a decent centre half pairing and Flynn and Gannon were decent on the night. We run forward with no particular purpose until the ball comes back at us, with usually only Wiekens or Jobson in our half of the field. Weaver made a double save from yet another County quick break but it looked as if we were going to get in at half time all square. Until that is, the ball hit Mike Flynn’s back from a corner and it was 2-1 to our Stockport chums! Following the first 7 minutes our first half performance was poor. Only Jamie Pollock looked up for the battle and he did his best to tackle, show composure and score another goal. It was a shame that he was still criticised by several Blues around me.

The first period of the second half was more of the same, as County nearly hit us on the break again. However, following the introduction of Dickov for Bishop and the injury to Jim Gannon in the County defence, we finally began to play a bit. As the game wore on Kennedy became more of a force and (sometimes with 3 markers) was able to deliver a decent quota of crosses. Finally it clicked: Stockport were uncomfortable when defending crosses! We created a few very decent chances. Jobson had a powerful header saved, Carlo Nash diverted at least 3 crosses which were heading towards City forwards. Finally from an excellent cross from Edghill on the right, Jobson headed powerfully into the bottom corner. 11 minutes to go. Time for a winner. Still we pressed and Jeff Whitley had a fairly weak shot cleared off the line. County hit us on the break right at the end, but 2-2 it stayed.

A draw was definitely the ‘right’ result based on the performance of both teams, but for us it has got to be viewed as another 2 points dropped. We created chances at the end, but overall this was a mediocre performance. As mentioned above, Pollock played well, Kennedy did well for the last 20 mins or so, Dickov did OK from the bench, but that was it really. Granville was very disappointing and didn’t appear to contribute anything to the game. The lack of pace/organisation of the centre of our defence was exposed yet again. But overall what was most disappointing is that we didn’t get the basics right or do the simple things. We won so many games earlier in the season 1-0 down to dogged defending and hitting back on the break or from a set piece. Now we are playing rush football and leaving ourselves wide open at the back. Not so long ago, we passed through midfield and Bishop was able to dictate the pace of the game. Not tonight! Our first goal was from a cross, but we failed to get the ball wide again until 20 minutes from the end, when we again caused Stockport problems. Today JR has bid for Spencer Prior from Derby, who on the basis he signs (and is fit!), will probably replace Wiekens on Saturday. However, a ‘new centre half’ will not be the answer; we need to get back to basics – play the ball through midfield, to the flanks, pass and move, run at the opposition with the ball (hope Tiatto is fit for Saturday), attack as a team and defend as a team. Get that right and we can still ‘do it’. No more slip ups at home and at least 2 away wins, will I feel get us there. Fingers crossed.

Phil Hartley (



First match report for a long time, here goes… I honestly thought we’d lose this in the same way that we’d lost against QPR – you know, play really well, tons of possession, loads of chances but lose to a couple of daft goals. Which would have been all very well but I don’t want to go through the play-offs again thank you very much. We set off very early (so that’s what 7am on Sunday looks like) and got to Maine Road far too early. After hanging around for three hours (I was driving back so couldn’t even go for a few jars) we finally made our way and sat down. Imagine our surprise when we saw not one, but two Bob Taylors – one on the pitch and one masquerading as the blimp floating above… OK that was a bit mean but Taylor really should think about having a chat with Pollock for some dieting tips. The City line up was Weaver, Edghill, Tiatto, Wiekens, Jobson, Pollock, Bishop, Kennedy, Whitley, Goater & Taylor. Lee Mills was nowhere to be seen and the subs were Wright, Wright-Phillips, Granville, Dickov and Horlock.

We started off really brightly, lots of attacking the Charlton end and not letting them settle on the ball at all. This was one of the best starts City have had for a while – normally it’s lasted the first ten minutes and then we’ve sat back, but this time we did keep pushing and pushing them back. Taylor had a good chance after about 10 seconds (or so it seemed) – a ball came across to him on the edge of the area and he showed the skill and finesse that we’ve come to expect from him (oops no, sorry, confusing him with someone who hasn’t been permanently injured since he got here) to turn his defender and shoot just wide. Seriously though, it was a good touch and he used his strength and size well to turn away from the defender. That was about the last shot the ref allowed him to have though. Not long after that Kiely came out to collect a ball under pressure from Goater and handled outside the area. Goater went mad, the North Stand went mad, the referee looked at the linesman, the linesman looked bemused then suddenly remembered what the stick thing in his hand was for and waved it madly. I’m not entirely sure what the rules are here – I assume that as there was a defender with Goater that Kiely was deemed not to be the “last man” and therefore that’s why he was shown only a yellow and not a red. We could have done with him going off though, he’s a pain as he’s actually quite good – and he pulled off some extremely good saves later in the game. Wiekens had a scorching (scorchio!) shot that went over the bar and wide and took out about four people in the North Stand, such was the pace behind it. Don’t worry though – it went in the Charlton section not the City one.

We continued to pressure Charlton and to have the best chances. Pollock rose like a salmon (that’s been on a crash diet) to meet a Kennedy cross and placed a header perfectly that Kiely somehow managed to get his fingertips to – told you he was a pain. The only Charlton “attacks” of the first half hour resulted in them being caught offside 3cm inside the City half – including one where someone was about 6 miles offside in the area. The ball went in the net from someone else but the linesman had flagged straight away, luckily as our defence was nowhere near any of the Charlton attackers at the time. We finally got the goal we deserved after about half an hour. Someone (Bishop?) played the ball into space in front of Goater, and Goater released a right foot volleyed shot that was going just over the bar. Except that it didn’t – somehow at the last moment it dipped under the crossbar; we only realised that it had gone in when the North Stand went mad. Yippee! A true class striker’s goal, and who cares that it went off his shin? I reckon he meant it.

Charlton looked really rattled now, especially in defence. Their tactics at this stage consisted of falling over whenever tackled to try and win free kicks and pushing Taylor in the back whenever he went up for a header – you’ve got to hand it to them, shifting Taylor’s bulk (even if it is in mid-air) is no easy feat. It was then so so cruel when they equalised – a shot from outside the area took an awful deflection of someone’s shoulder and into the net. Weaver never moved, there was nothing anyone could have done about it. They didn’t deserve it for a second.

Charlton spent the last five minutes of the half complaining to the ref and linesmen, gesticulating wildly at them and each other and their bench, and generally making prats of themselves. No wonder they were booed off at half time, along with the ref who by this time had taken a real dislike to Taylor. Unless it was just that he didn’t believe anyone could shove him over either.

We weren’t on top as much in the second half but we still could have won it. Charlton were limited to trying to catch us on the break – unfortunately they had rather too many chances to do this for my liking, Wiekens and Jobson were found lacking for pace far too often. I thought Wiekens in particular had a poor game – he couldn’t cope with Pringle’s pace when he came on and was caught out of position too many times. Unsurprisingly, Edghill was getting most of the stick for our defensive frailties, the poor lad had a good solid game at the back but no, he can’t do anything right for some people. I could tell he was playing well as it was halfway through the second half before the moron in our section of the Kippax that really really hates him was able to stand up and howl abuse at him – normally it’s a constant feature of sitting where I do. We had two real chances to wrap up the points though. Firstly Whitley passed to Goater from just inside the area instead of shooting himself – why oh why oh why I just don’t know. Then Tiatto (who was kicked really hard about 5 minutes into the second half and had a blinder after that) ran almost the full length of the pitch – Taylor couldn’t quite get on the end of the pass into the area. If he lost that extra weight he’d gain those few metres he’s missing at the moment, as apart from his lack of fitness he did play well. He’s a far better player than Peacock, for example, as he does actually read the game and anticipate passes, which is where Peacock is poor. It’s a shame we can’t combine Peacock’s youth and enthusiasm (and not-being-fat-ness) with Taylor’s intelligence, but there you go.

Bishop was replaced by Granville with about half an hour to go and obviously wasn’t happy to leave the pitch. Fair enough Ian, but you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind by walking off at a snail’s pace so get off quickly and let the others carry on without you, please? Kennedy moved across to the right and Granville and Tiatto linked up down the left. At first taking Bishop off seemed like a bit of a strange thing to do, but I think Joe did the right thing – the game was there to be won and with two wide players we had more of a chance of scoring than with Bishop playing his holding rôle in midfield. Bishop had played some woeful passes by the way, I hope the person who wrote into Mcvittee last week was counting the passes completed ratios of Edghill and Bishop as he said he would as it would be very interesting to see the results. We had loads of pressure in the last few minutes, Charlton had a couple of breakaway chances which Weaver did well with – one in particular should have been a goal but luckily Pringle was as good in front of goal as he’s been every time I’ve seen him, and shot weakly straight at Weaver. Phew. We didn’t manage to scrape anything from any of the 97,000 corners we had in the last five minutes so had to settle for a point. At least Ipswich lost.

This was a good performance. We’ve 10 games left now, it’s all in our hands and if we can play like that we’ll win most of them. I just hope we don’t go to Edgeley Park and lose or something stupid like that, it would be just like us to put in a crap performance after more than holding the team top of the league who everyone keeps claiming are far and away the best in the division. Which brings me to my final point… no-one who watched the game can have failed to have noticed that a) it was a good game b) it was close c) some of the football played by both sides was very good d) the teams at the bottom of the Premier League (Southampton and the like) would have struggled to have beaten teams playing as well as that. So imagine our surprise then when, as we were nearing Cambridge and home, we heard a summary of the match from that old favourite and die hard Macclesfield Town (yeah right) supporter Alan Green. I paraphrase here somewhat as I can’t remember his exact words, but try this:

“Charlton should have won this game easily. They had four chances to wrap it up in the second half. City’s passing was woeful. Goater waved his right foot weakly at the ball and fluked a spoon shot into the net, past Dean Kiely who was unfairly booked in the first half when Goater handled the ball and pretended it was him.” (OK I might have made that last bit up, back to the real summary) “Charlton were by far the better team and looked true Premiership class. City were most definitely not Premiership quality and haven’t a hope of staying second until the end of the season”.

What planet was he on? Goater did what a striker should do, he connected with the ball and send it goalwards – which is more than Robinson did for their equaliser. If our goal was flukey what on earth was theirs? If they had good chances to win it what about ours – Whitley passing instead of shooting, Taylor just failing to connect with a pass, Kiely tipping shots from Goater over the bar? Even Alan Curbishley, who isn’t normally slow to complain if he feels his side should have done better than they did, said that it was a good close game and he was happy with a point. What is the matter with the man?!

Still, at least Norwich won the battle of the carrot crunchers, hope Alan Brazil was suitably upset ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Sharon Hargreaves


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the CSA will be on Wednesday 12th April at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport, starting at 8.00pm and our confirmed guest is Branch President Gerard Wiekens. Everyone is welcome.

We are also holding and “End of Season Race Night” at The Ash Hotel on Saturday 29th April starting at 7.30pm with the proceeds being split equally between The Guide Dogs for The Blind Association and our Juniors’ Christmas Party. If anyone/Branch would like to sponsor a race then please e-mail me.

Please note that as of Friday 17th March the Reddish Branch e-mail address has changed from and will now be:; would you therefore amend your mailing list accordingly.

Howard Burr (


You could read MCIVTA without there being any amusing acronyms, amusing pop song lists, amusing birth date scores, or amusing wouldn’t it be strange ifs…

Keith Riley (


Give him the spectacles and the large white collar – it’s Harry Hill.

Peter Birbeck (


The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) is looking to appoint two people to co-ordinate the work of its Fans’ Embassy before and during the Euro 2000 tournament.

Fans’ Embassies (or information and advice centres), have been mounted by the FSA at Italia 90, Euro 92, Euro 96 and France 98. They have been primarily aimed at travelling fans.

For Euro 2000, we again envisage a mobile Embassy staffed by a team of volunteers, gathering and disseminating information to fans on a range of issues, and providing an independent, authentic fans’ voice to the media and organising authorities. The FSA is this year working in collaboration with the England Members’ Club, National Federation of Football Supporters’ Clubs, and is funded by the Home Office and commercial sponsors.

The two posts – a Co-ordinator and Assistant Co-ordinator – will be paid on a freelance contract, and based on completion of appropriate tasks. It is envisaged that this will essentially be a full-time commitment (and during the tournament more than that!).

Both posts will be paid a fee of £2,000 per month, the senior post for three months, the junior one for two months. The senior post-holder will be expected to start as soon as possible and in any case no later than 20th April, the junior post by mid-May. Both post-holders must attend the Volunteers’ Training Day on Sunday 30th April. Before the tournament the successful candidates will be expected to be working from home. Phone bills and other expenses will be paid and mobile phones supplied. The post-holders will be abroad continuously from 8th June until at least the end of England’s involvement in the tournament – the Final is on 2nd July.


There are a range of tasks to be undertaken by the team. We ask you to demonstrate at least some of the qualities/skills/experiences listed below. Please submit a CV and written statement (maximum 700 words) in support of your application by Thursday 30th March to: FSA, P O Box 11, Liverpool L26 1XP, marking the envelope ‘Euro 2000 post’, or by fax to 0151 737 2385. Any queries about the application can be addressed to Paul on 07939 594732.


  • A commitment to football and a democratic independent voice for fans.
  • Ability to speak any or all of French/Dutch/German.
  • Experience of media-handling, interviews and/or presentations.
  • Experience of managing teams under pressure.
  • Experience of writing, editing and/or producing written publicity materials.
  • Experience of outreach work, advice and information provision.
  • Experience of working on football or related campaigns or other similar activities.
  • Good IT skills.
  • Possession of a clean driving licence.
  • Experience of liaison and negotiation with a variety of agencies such as Police, local authorities, funders.
  • Ability to produce concise written reports.

Interviews will be held in Leeds on Monday 3rd April.

Volunteers Still Needed!

The FSA’s operation also relies on a committed volunteer team. We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated volunteers who can fulfil 3 or 4 of the following criteria:

  • Experience of advice or information work.
  • Experience of campaigning with football fans’ organisations.
  • Experience of travelling with football fans, especially abroad.
  • Relevant foreign language abilities.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Experience of teamwork, particularly under pressure.
  • IT skills.
  • Media experience.
  • Driving experience, especially abroad.

We require prospective volunteers to be available for at least a week at a time during the tournament if possible. Prospective volunteers should also be available to take part in the Training and Selection Day in Leeds on Sunday, April 30th.

For a volunteer application form, ring the FSA on 0151 737 2385 or send an email to me at the address below.

Alison Pilling (


I am sorry to report that our recent slump in form is all my fault. It was 2 days after our win against Forest, just after lunch and I went to wash my beloved ‘City til I Die’ mug. While in the process of carrying another 3 mugs balanced precariously on a plate, I tripped and in slow motion the sacred mug fell to its death. All the other meaningless mugs survived; as you can imagine I was distraught and stood staring at the broken pieces for about 30 seconds, not knowing what to do with myself. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to pick up the pieces, I thanked each piece as it went into the bin for its loyalty over the years. The mug was a bit frayed round the edges as the City til I die was barely visible but it had been through thick and thin with the team. I had often thought about replacing it but just couldn’t bring myself to do it as I thought it might have a bad effect on the team. Anyway, I went to the Souvenir shop the next day and purchased this flash little number with metallic paint and the badge in the sun with lightning etc. I thought nothing of it until yesterday (day of Stockport match), when it dawned on me that if City didn’t win it could well be this mug. But I gave it one more chance and lo and behold we drew 2-2. So when I came into work this morning I cursed the mug and have put it in the cupboard for good. I did think of smashing it, but that was giving it the easy way out, so I have put it in jail if you like. All City fans please forgive me and I hope now this curse has been lifted and we can get back on track.

Neil Chadwick (


Two police officers are coming to visit me next Thursday 30th March at 11am. They want to ask me about my complaint to them regarding the actions of some of the officers on duty that day (Barnsley). Got anything to add or want to join in? They are coming to my home in Romiley, Stockport. Tel: 0161 406 6790 – if you never hear from me again you know who is responsible!

Mark Redgrave (


S  tumbling
T  owards
O  rdinariness -
C  hubby
K  ingpin
P  ollock
O  ffered
R  espite
T  emporarily

Steve Maclean (


  • Brooklyn Beckham grew up to support Liverpool.
  • Roy Evans got another manager’s post.
  • Phil Thompson had a nose job.
  • England ever hosted another World Cup.
  • Millwall fans were human.
  • Watford stayed up.
  • Graeme Souness was manager of Celtic.
  • Freddie Ljunberg didn’t look like Sid Vicious.
  • Jonathan Woodgate didn’t look like Ian Curtis.
  • Ron Atkinson was poor.

Brian Morrison (


Having a nostalgic listen to ‘Ain’t Been To No Music School’ by the Nosebleeds this morning, I was reminded that front man Ed (Banger) Garrity had a track on the ‘Blue Moon’ compilation. Said song is one ‘Kinnel Tommy’. Anyone know what the link with City is and why it was included?

Andy Noise (


Can anyone tell me the last time that a match official asked the “assistant referees” to actually act like assistant referees and flag for decisions as they saw them rather than just running the line. While there are always going to be some refereeing errors in a game, it was great to see a ref. who gives some responsibility to his linesmen, and made (in my opinion) a very welcome difference to the game.

Ric Allen (


Deary me. So standing toe to toe with Charlton and giving as good as you get still isn’t quite enough for some of us. A great game, great attitude, great support and, considering the shaky run of late, fantastic to see City cutting through the league leaders and really putting them under pressure. We were opened up at the back because we were going for the win. Yes, Wiekens and Jobson have plenty of wobbles, but we can dominate the opposition enough to protect them for most of the time. As said last time I was moved to write in, why all the wailing (Ernie, pull yourself together, mate!)? Look how far we’ve come, look how the likes of Whitley and Tiatto are performing and bask in the glow of the monumental resurrection of the Blues.

Honestly, some of us will never be satisfied. And off we go again with the “we’re all going to die next season” scenario. Shout the lads up and then let’s see what needs to be done, for God’s sake. What are we supposed to do; whimper “we’re not quite up to this, we’d really quite like to finish 10th this year” or bust a gut to get back up where it matters?! Did anyone stop and have a look at Charlton for a minute? 13 points clear with Martin Pringle up front! We should worry… are the Charlton faithful hoping their glory season comes off the rails because Pringle can’t break through a wet bag? Are all the Newtons and Jones going to get them into the UEFA Cup next year? Are they in any way bothered at this juncture? Nope. Rick Eagles, on the other hand, makes an excellent point for us exiled Blues.

The lucky 32,000 that get into Maine Road each home game are shouting for the rest of us too. I have made it back for the Blackburn game where the atmosphere was electric and the Walsall match where it wasn’t. I’d be there every week if my bank manager and girlfriend would allow it, but sadly they don’t. Those there can lift the team, there’s no doubt about that, and they need that lift more than ever now. You lucky sods who get in have to shout for the rest of us, as we chew hard into bar tables around the globe! We are all there in spirit, every one of us, living with the exquisite tension that comes with supporting a team going into the final straight with a good chance of promotion to the Premiership. Our Blues, dead and buried 15 months ago, in 2nd spot with ten to go. Now that’s progress to make the heart leap.

Simon Curtis (


This isn’t really a match report because you’ve probably read enough of them about this game by now. This is a collection of thoughts.

I thought we did ok. Charlton had the clearer opportunities to score but we looked the better side. They’ll definitely get relegated from the Premier League after the end of next season. We may not.

Edghill had a good game because he didn’t have to play as a right winger, right-sided midfield player and right-back in the same game.

Tiatto is great.

Robert Taylor is a big lump. I stand by my bet, struck soon after he came to us, that he won’t get 6 more goals this season. What is more, last Sunday, the big slow lump didn’t even win the ball in the air against Charlton’s own big slow lumps.

Bishop is a class act and should never be substituted (even when he’s injured), because he’s one of the proverbial ‘his one touch could change the game’ type players.

Whitley is not good enough and, try as he certainly will, he ain’t gonna get any better.

Wiekens and Jobson look tired and, though both good enough for this division (just), aren’t going to be nearly good enough for any league higher.

If we do get promoted, and the other teams seem to be conspiring to allow us to, can I get a trip to Jupiter, or somewhere further out of town, when we play the Salford team?

Simon Fink (


If anyone had said to me before Sunday’s clash with Charlton that it was possible to hear a more bigoted view than that of a certain mr brazil, I would have laughed in their face. Imagine then my amazement (and outrage) upon tuning in to Radio 5 Live and listening to a commentary which amounted to little more than a contest to see which of the two idiots concerned could slag City off the most over the 90 minutes. The worst of the pair was Alan Green, I think, dunno what the other guy’s name was. Nothing and no-one, it seemed, was free from ridicule – they had a go at the state of the pitch (intriguing when you consider the nearby Swamp, don’t you agree?), the fans (who are apparently fickle and don’t cheer enough – yeah, I was confused too), the manager, Bob Taylor merely for being fat (fair enough, some might say, but they did manage to giggle like schoolboys about it at least a dozen times during the game), Kennedy for only being able to use his left foot, and basically the entire team with the exception of Ian Bishop, whom they reckoned is the only player we have with any class at all (well, he is good, but what about Kennedy, Weaver et al?). On the subject of Mr Weaver, according to these clowns he’s nothing special, and the only reason he’s been getting positive press is because he’s always having to come to the rescue of our “dozy defenders” (N.B. I concede this last point, but can’t they see this only goes to show just how good he really is?).

To be fair, however, neither commentator seemed to have a good word to say for Charlton either, the general consensus being that “if these are two of the best teams in the First Division then I don’t think the Premiership teams have anything to worry about”. At the end of the match I was left with the impression that it had been an absolutely dire affair from which neither side had deserved a point, from either the skill or passion point of view. Since then I have read and heard several reports describing it as “a tense clash”, “an entertaining encounter” and similar. So who’s right?

Oh, by the way, the ref came in for an incredible amount of stick as well, which I believed at the time may be justified – since then however I have read reports of how fair he was – can anyone who was there or saw the game on Sky shed any light on this matter?

CTIDFLTBC (City ’til I die from listening to biased commentaries), Jenny Williams (


Re Ernie Whalley’s Piece on the Charlton Match. No Ernie. We can’t compete with Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, Liverpool et al at the moment. But, at the moment we don’t have to. We certainly competed with ‘certainties’ Charlton; it should have been 3 inside 15 minutes. Or were we at different games? Here’s my elbow to your cynicism and let’s see when we get there next August.

CTLSLLWP (City Til Luton Starts Looking Like Woodhouse Park), Jack Millington (


I have been asked to compile a piece for the City programme for the last home match (vs. Birmingham) on the 30th anniversary of City winning the ECWC. I’ve been asked to seek the views of the players who appeared in that match. What I would also like to do is include a few comments from supporters who attended the match. In fact I’d like to hear from anyone at the Prater stadium that night whether a player, fan, official etc. What I’m looking for is just a few lines on what it was like; your views; how you got there; and general stuff about how you got here/problems etc. Naturally, I’m unlikely to be able to include a great deal of detail in the programme, but a few quotes from anybody present will help to bring it to life. Email me with your views if you were there.

Gary James (


Any Blues in Leeds? Getting bored of watching games by myself. I have a mate with a pub who will show games if we can get numbers up.

Nina (


Are there any Blues in South Africa? I will be working in Jo’burg indefinitely as from next Monday and would like to team up for beers etc. with any Blues out there or in Cape Town. Indeed will any Blues be travelling to any games from SA (looks like I will!).

Martin Reynolds (


This is a plea for help in finding pictures of the great Man city players. I have been asked to paint a picture of about 40 of the club’s most successful players as a montage design. I have already done this for Leeds United. My problem is getting suitable photos; so far all I have is “The Blues”, a concise history by Dean Hayes, and I have to say the photos are hopeless. I really need good clear photos, ideally full length. B&W are ok so long as they are not blurred. Straight on mugshots are no good as the idea is to show the players in heroic action or at least in heroic pose! The reward for this help? A large copy of the very limited edition print, signed by all the surviving players featured in the painting (worth at least £250). I have a list of the players required if you can help.

Yours sincerely, Simon Smith (


I was hoping to take my dad to see City at least once this season so I’ve been looking ahead at the fixtures and all the games that are being played in Yorkshire/Lincolnshire areas. As it’s my dad’s birthday on the 18th April I thought that the Grimsby game would be a good one to go to, so I’m asking anyone out there if they are able to get hold of a couple of tickets.

If you are a season ticket holder who is unable to go could you get your alloted tickets and pass them on? The reason why I’m asking season ticket holders is that I emailed the city ticket office and they told me that the only way to get tickets would be to ring up on the 1st April and see if there are any left, this is after the season ticket holders’ and Citycard holders have got theirs.

I suppose I’m hedging my bets by asking but I thought I might be a bit more successful if I asked you all out there.

If you can pass on your ticket I would be grateful and you would certainly make a die-hard City fan a happy man. You can contact me by email at or give me a ring on 01759-373120.

Thanks again for reading this, Andy Wright (the man who got it a bit wrong about the “” website, sorry). I certainly am CTID.

Andy Wright (


In 1951 I was 6 years old and my dad had just got out of army hospital (the one in Leeds – Armley). And he said to me (I’ll never forget it ’cause my mam was working shifts and I thought we would get in trouble). Anyway he said come on, there’s a match on (this was a Wednesday afternoon … no floodlights in those days) let’s go. Six years old and surrounded by all these brilliant guys who just wanted to enjoy life. What a start to football. Haven’t a clue who was playing, whether it was United or City. Didn’t matter. I was footbll nuts. No more ‘Real-time’ for ages.

1953 dad is (probably) dying from his war stuff. But he buys mam a TV. Everyone watches the Coronation (anyone remember the Street party in Egerton Street?), but my memory is of watching England playing Brazil at Wembley and the Brazilians did what would now be called throwing their toys out of the pram – only highlights and 4-2 for England). Then my next match ‘live’. My dad, explaining to me what a special player Tom Finney was (how much for him now? Anelka at £23 million and about a billion plus Man U plc, plus plus for gentleman Tom). Don’t know the score, but enthralled again. By now I’m about 9 and we are going to Maine Road one week and Old Trafford the next. Dad telling me all the stories about how Old Trafford got bombed and why United had to play at Maine Road. How United were once so skint City had to pay their wages for them. And how he hated people who cheat in life. This was about 1954. I remember him saying to me as I queued up at the scoreboard end (now the North Stand) “If you’re only going to watch one team, pay half-price”). It makes me smile now, a generation of gentlemen who would be sad at today’s values. Talk about crowds, we were passed down to the front to sit by the wall. No segregation, no hassle, Just grown men and kids all together. That was the year I became a Blue.

When you watch City and United and City win all 3 games (I think it was 1955 but I’m getting old so I might be a year or two out). That was for me, I was going to be a winner forever :} Amazingly, the next year was the first time I ever went to matches (at home) on my own except for the away match at Old Trafford, and who do I bump into at half-time? (76000 people there and no segregation) yep My mam. And 1955 my second away match… Wembley. Jimmy Meadows, Bobby Johnstone, crying all the way to Wembley chippy until a Newcastle guy gave me his programme. Different days, different people. 1956, and Billy Spurdle getting injured in the Semi. Then he got ‘Boils’ on his neck? Different lifestyles then I guess. Getting to meet Bobby Johnstone and Jack Dyson on the train down to London (no Ferarris for the guys in those days). Drawing at Newcastle the next year and losing after extra-time in the replay in front of millions of Blues… there were so many of us. Still are I expect …. but it was the sheer crowds at Maine road that got me. And everyone a gentleman. No need for segregation or need to get rid of racism. I’m Blue ’cause I grew up with fair minded people who absolutely adored their football (thanks dad).

Jack Millington (


Recent results to 22 March 2000.

22 March 2000

Blackburn Rovers      1 - 0  Birmingham City
Charlton Athletic     4 - 0  Grimsby Town
Norwich City          0 - 2  Swindon Town
Queens Park Rangers   0 - 1  Crystal Palace
Tranmere Rovers       0 - 2  Ipswich Town

21 March 2000

Barnsley              1 - 0  Fulham
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 0  Sheffield United
Huddersfield Town     2 - 1  Nottingham Forest
Port Vale             1 - 2  Walsall
Portsmouth            2 - 0  West Bromwich Albion
Stockport County      2 - 2  Manchester City
Wolverhampton Wndrs   2 - 0  Crewe Alexandra

League table to 22 March 2000 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Charlton Ath.   37 14  2  3 33 12 11  4  3 37 21 25  6  6 70 33  37  81
 2 Ipswich Town    38 12  3  4 32 17  7  8  4 26 20 19 11  8 58 37  21  68
 3 Barnsley        38 13  3  3 41 19  7  5  7 32 37 20  8 10 73 56  17  68
 4 Manchester City 37 12  2  4 37 16  7  7  5 21 19 19  9  9 58 35  23  66
 5 Birmingham City 38 13  4  2 34 15  5  5  9 24 26 18  9 11 58 41  17  63
 6 Huddersfield T. 38 13  4  2 40 16  5  5  9 16 24 18  9 11 56 40  16  63
 7 Wolves          38 12  4  3 36 17  5  6  8 17 24 17 10 11 53 41  12  61
 8 Bolton Wndrs    38 10  5  4 34 21  5  7  7 16 17 15 12 11 50 38  12  57
 9 Fulham          38 10  6  3 24 12  4  8  7 15 22 14 14 10 39 34   5  56
10 QPR             38  7 10  2 23 16  6  5  8 26 27 13 15 10 49 43   6  54
11 Blackburn R.    38  9  7  3 25 14  4  7  8 19 27 13 14 11 44 41   3  53
12 Sheff. United   38 10  5  4 34 19  3  6 10 20 36 13 11 14 54 55  -1  50
13 Norwich City    38  9  4  6 22 20  3  8  8 15 21 12 12 14 37 41  -4  48
14 Tranmere Rovers 37  9  5  4 29 21  4  3 12 18 34 13  8 16 47 55  -8  47
15 Crystal Palace  38  6 10  3 28 19  5  3 11 20 36 11 13 14 48 55  -7  46
16 Stockport C.    39  7  8  5 28 27  4  5 10 13 28 11 13 15 41 55 -14  46
17 Grimsby Town    38 10  5  4 25 22  3  2 14 13 37 13  7 18 38 59 -21  46
18 Portsmouth      38  7  5  7 27 20  4  4 11 17 34 11  9 18 44 54 -10  42
19 Nottm Forest    38  8  8  3 26 16  2  3 14 16 34 10 11 17 42 50  -8  41
20 Crewe Alex.     38  7  5  7 21 22  4  3 12 16 28 11  8 19 37 50 -13  41
21 West Brom A.    38  4  9  6 16 20  4  6  9 14 28  8 15 15 30 48 -18  39
22 Walsall         38  5  5  9 20 27  4  6  9 22 34  9 11 18 42 61 -19  38
23 Port Vale       36  5  4  9 20 23  1  8  9 19 30  6 12 18 39 53 -14  30
24 Swindon Town    38  3  6 10 18 32  3  5 11 11 29  6 11 21 29 61 -32  29

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 #590