Newsletter #596

An air of expectation surrounds the club at the moment, but appears somewhat surprisingly to be a lot less tense than might have been imagined only a couple of games ago. City face another test on Saturday away to a Grimsby side who are on a poor run, but who have been a difficult side to beat on their home turf this season. Tickets for the fixture are keenly sought after, with even the ‘Times’ producing an article on Grimsby’s efforts to ensure that City fans aren’t sold tickets intended for Grimsby fans. Elsewhere, the reserves won against Wolves, and now require just a single win from their two remaining games to ensure the title.

There’s Peter’s News; a squad update; a Grimsby club quiz (!); opinion on Edgy and two Why Blues.

Next game: Grimsby Town away, Saturday 15th April 2000


One Step at a Time as Skipper Returns

Andy Morrison will taste his first match action in almost six months as the Blues send a reserve side to Altrincham for a Thursday evening friendly. But the City skipper is refusing to be drawn on when he’ll return to the senior line-up. Morrison last featured in the win at Port Vale on October 30, and his failure to make his anticipated early New Year return date sparked rumours that his knee injury could even be career-threatening. The 29-year-old is set to play for 45 minutes in the Moss Lane clash, encouraging hopes that he could boost the Blues’ promotion chase by featuring for the seniors before the end of the season. But the big defender is taking one step at a time. “Obviously to play a part in the final games would be a bonus,” he told local radio station BBC GMR. “But at the moment all I am thinking about is my first game.”

Taylor Return Delayed Until Thursday

Robert Taylor will make his reserve comeback for Manchester City in Thursday’s friendly at Altrincham. The former Gillingham striker wasn’t ready for Tuesday’s Pontin’s League clash against Wolves. Taylor has suffered from a nagging calf problem for the last two months, and hasn’t featured in the first-team since being substituted at half-time against West Brom at the end of March. He was originally expected to feature for the second string on Tuesday, but should instead return in the Moss Lane clash 48 hours later – a match which will also give recent Maine Road trialist Kevin Ellison another chance to impress the Blues as he lines up for the Robins.

Royle Hoping for Full Squad Luxury

Joe Royle has already been boosted by the return to fitness of one of his squad this week as Lee Crooks came through his reserve return on Tuesday. And the City boss is hoping that tonight’s reserve friendly at Altrincham will bring more good news. Lee Mills looked short of sharpness in his substitute outing against Bolton last week. And after scoring in the Pontin’s League win against Wolves on Tuesday, the on-loan Bradford front-man will be given more match practice against the Robins. Mills will partner Robert Taylor in attack, with the ex-Gillingham player bidding to show that he’s over his troublesome calf injury once and for all. And the best news of all is the comeback of skipper Andy Morrison. However, the City captain has said he faces a tough battle to regain match fitness before the end of this season – although he’ll be better placed to judge after his run-out at Moss Lane.

City Linked with Bosman Duo

The guessing game has begun over possible City summer transfer targets. And the Blues are being linked with two men who will be available on Bosman free transfers at the end of the season. Tuesday saw reports that City are showing an interest in QPR’s former Ipswich and Arsenal striker Chris Kiwomya. And it’s also been claimed that Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Danny Sonner could be on Joe Royle’s shopping list. On the face of it, neither would be a buy to particularly excite the City faithful, and there’s no solid evidence as yet of serious interest in bringing either player to Maine Road.

Consistency the Key for Donachie

Willie Donachie feels that the Blues are good enough to clinch promotion from their current favourable position in Division One. But the Maine Road assistant boss knows that to make the dream a reality, the players have to maintain the quality shown in recent games. Donachie has been heartened by the Blues’ displays in the last two crucial fixtures against Bolton and Crewe, when six goals were scored without reply. And the former Scotland full-back belives that City’s dressing room camaraderie could be a big influence in maintaining current form. “Consistency is the key to success, if they keep it going they have a good chance,” Joe Royle’s second-in-command told local radio station BBC GMR. “The big thing is the spirit amongst the players.”

Trialists in Cassell Confusion

Jim Cassell puts in plenty of extra behind the scenes work at Platt Lane. And the Blues’ Academy Director has been telling of a recent case of mistaken identity involving two African trialists. Cassell told the Manchester Evening News that he felt sorry for the Ghanaian pair, making their way in an unfamiliar country. So the former Oldham youth boss offered to give them a lift home to their digs in Sale and chatted all the way. On arrival, they offered money plus a tip for what they assumed to have been a taxi ride – unaware that this was the man they had to impress if their trial was to produce positive results.

Boss Taking One Game at a Time

Promotion fever has broken out among Manchester City fans after the Blues moved clear in the race for Division One’s second automatic promotion slot. But Joe Royle is looking no further ahead than his side’s next game. Royle, of course, has seen it all before, taking Oldham into the top flight by winning automatic promotion in 1991. And the City boss knows he simply needs to focus on taking three points from Saturday’s trip to Blundell Park – a task he feels will be far from easy. “Don’t get carried away,” he cautioned. “The supporters are floating but it’s a hard game at Grimsby.”

Royle Gives Players Time Off

Manchester City have won their last four games in the space of two weeks to move ahead in the race for the second automatic promotion slot. And Joe Royle rewarded his senior players with a two-day break. Royle was relieved that his team showed no after-effects of their midweek exertions against Bolton when beating Crewe on Saturday. But the Blues’ boss then asked his troops to rest and gather their strength for what’s sure to be a tense promotion run-in. City go to Grimsby on Saturday bidding to continue the form which has seen them win four successive matches, scoring ten goals and conceding only one.

Kennedy Facing Hectic Schedule

Mark Kennedy’s return to form has been a major factor in City’s current run of four straight wins. And not surprisingly, the Irishman has kept his place in his country’s squad for a friendly against Greece on 26 April – no doubt to Joe Royle’s displeasure. Kennedy is due to be in action for the Blues twice in the three-day Easter programme, with a home game against Tranmere on 22 April being followed up by a visit to Portsmouth 48 hours later. And on Friday, 28 April, City face a crucial promotion showdown when Birmingham visit Maine Road. The winger will fly out for the game after playing for the Blues at Fratton Park – just as in a similar situation in August, he joined up with the squad for a Wednesday match after being in action for the Blues against Nottingham Forest on the Monday afternoon.

Two More Join Kennedy with Unwanted Call-Ups

Kevin Horlock and Jeff Whitley have been called up for a Northern Ireland friendly on April 26. And that means three senior Maine Road squad members have to fit travel for pointless international fixtures around their engagements in a crowded club programme. The midfield pair have been named in Sammy McIlroy’s squad for a game in Belfast against Hungary. And they join Mark Kennedy on representative duty, after the winger’s call-up for the Republic of Ireland’s match the same night against Greece. The Blues play at Portsmouth 48 hours before the trio will be in action for their countries and against Birmingham 48 hours after – though it’s unclear quite why the respective national federations have organised worthless friendlies when most of their players have similar club commitments.

Bookies Slash City Odds

Manchester City have won four games in a row to boost the club’s hopes of automatic promotion from Division One. And bookmakers have been quick to reduce the odds they’re offering on the Blues joining Charlton in next season’s top flight. City have now supplanted Barnsley as favourites to claim second spot, with‘s partners Bluesq quoting City at 10/11 to win the prize. Closest challengers Ipswich and Barnsley are rated at 9/4 and 11/4 respectively, while of the outsiders, Birmingham are priced at 25/1 and Huddersfield at 50/1. To open an account with Bluesq and receive a free £10 bet, click on the banner on the front page.

Sky Pundit Backing Blues

The Division One promotion race is set for an exciting conclusion, with attention focusing on who’ll accompany Charlton into the Premier League. And pundit Andy Gray is backing Manchester City to take second place. Writing in the Internet daily Football 365, Gray predicts that the battle for runners-up spot will be closely fought. But the ex-Aston Villa and Everton striker feels that Joe Royle’s men have the edge. “They’ve got the scent of the Premiership in their nostrils now, have strengthened their defence with Spencer Prior and just might have the momentum to pull it off,” he explained, before reflecting that any of the promoted sides would have to spend big to survive next term.

Wiekens Enjoying New Rôle

Gerard Wiekens recently lost his place in the City back four to new arrival Spencer Prior. But the Dutchman has found a new lease of life with a switch to a midfield rôle. In his first game in his new position, Wiekens was rated man-of-the-match against Bolton by Joe Royle. And the summer 1997 signing from Veendam produced another assured display against Crewe on Saturday. But the 27-year-old isn’t taking his place in the side for granted. “There are two places available in the central midfield and we have so many big names in line for those positions that it is an honour to play as one of the two,” he told the club’s official website at

Prior Targets Three Clean Sheets

Spencer Prior has played Premiership football for most of the last seven seasons. And City’s recent buy from Derby believes that maintaining the team’s recent defensive solidity is the key to a quick personal return to the top flight. The Blues have conceded only one goal in the four games Prior has played, and have shut the opposition out completely in each of the last three fixtures. And although the Southend-born defender was delighted by the quality of City’s passing game in last week’s win over Crewe, he feels that it’s remaining uncompromising in defence that will unlock the door to the Premier League. “I think if we can keep three more clean sheets before the end of the season, we will be promoted,” he told the official club website at

Weight-Watcher Weaver Wants a Woman

Nicky Weaver has embarked on a fitness regime, losing half a stone in the last three weeks. But the City goalkeeper has explained that there’s one thing missing from his life which would help him to shed the pounds. Weaver had seen his weight rise to 15 stone, and with City players weighed regularly, was unable to hide the fact from boss Joe Royle. The England under-21 man blamed a diet of junk food since moving into his own house in Cheadle at the start of the year and has taken remedial action – he’s turned to his mother to teach him to cook healthy food, he’s given up drinking in the week and is working out regularly. However, there’s a different solution he’d prefer. “The ideal would be to have a girlfriend who’d cook for me,” he admitted to the Manchester Evening News, “but it’s finding the right one which is difficult.” He’s unlikely to be short of offers!

Reserves on Verge of Title

A strong Manchester City reserve side beat Wolves 2-0 at Hyde on Tuesday. And the result leaves the Blues almost crossing the finishing line in the race for the Pontin’s League title. Lee Mills and Shaun Wright-Phillips were on the mark for the Blues, who fielded an experienced line-up also including the likes of Lee Crooks, Danny Granville, Jamie Pollock and Tony Grant. Huddersfield beat Birmingham on Wednesday to keep the title race alive, but even so the crown will come to Maine Road if the Blues win one of their two remaining games. City face Grimsby away on 18 April and Oldham at home on 25 April.

Collective Belief Leaves Chairman Hopeful

David Bernstein is hoping to be at the helm of a Premiership club in a few weeks’ time. And the City chairman is optimistic that the sense of togetherness of players and fans at Maine Road these days can help to make his dreams a reality. Bernstein has been delighted with recent displays, which have left the Blues in pole position in what appears to be a three-way fight for second spot in Division One. And he’s optimistic that the Blues can beat Ipswich and Barnsley to the prize of a promotion without recourse to the nerve-wracking end-of-season play-off lottery. “There is a feeling that the team and the supporters are coming together at just the right time, that everyone believes in what is happening and that together we can achieve our objective of promotion,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “We have got over the Maine Road syndrome where the crowd seemed too much for the team.”

Academy Hoping for Premier Boost

Manchester City’s first team are bidding to reach the Premiership this season. And success for Joe Royle’s team in their promotion quest could have a major impact in all areas of the club – including at youth level. The Blues are hopeful that the Youth Academy will start to provide a supply line of quality young players for the senior side. And Academy Director Jim Cassell feels that a step up to the Premier League for the first team would help boost the quality of his intake even further. “There is no doubt we have to be in the top flight,” he explained to the club’s official website at “The next step for us is to attract the very best and you can quite often only do that if you are in the top flight.” Meanwhile, chairman David Bernstein has commented that promotion could provide a vital financial boost, supplying “more ammunition for every aspect of the club.”

Academy Progress Delights Bernstein

Taking all age groups into account, Manchester City won 70% of their Academy fixtures this season. And David Bernstein believes the figure shows the club’s future is in good hands. The Blues are investing an annual £800,000 in the youth set-up at Maine Road. And though this amounts to a smaller investment than that made by some of the largest Premier League clubs, according to Bernstein it compares favourably to the expenditure at many top-flight outfits. The City chairman is delighted with the work being put in by Academy director Jim Cassell and his assistants, telling the Manchester Evening News, “I am very pleased with the way the academy is going. I think Jim and his staff have done a tremendous job over this last year or two.”

Chairman Does His Bit to Help Academy Prosper

Manchester City are hoping that the club’s Youth Academy will produce future stars to save millions in the transfer market. And the Blues have been working hard to secure the necessary funding for their youth policy – with the full backing of chairman David Bernstein. The club’s commercial department has been working hard to secure sponsorship to help the Maine Road junior section, while on Saturday, a special dinner was held in Manchester with the aim of making money for the Academy. A total of £15,000 was raised – with a sizeable chunk coming from the pocket of the City chief. He paid £750 for a signed England shirt during a charity auction.

Commercial Boss – I’ll Be Back

Manchester City commercial manager Geoff Durbin is leaving the club. But he’s promised that he’ll remain a keen follower of events at Maine Road after his departure. Durbin is quitting Maine Road to take up a new position with Lancashire County Cricket Club. And he’s looking forward to his new challenge. But he told the Manchester Evening News on Tuesday, “I look forward to coming back regularly [to City] as a fan.”

Kinkladze Cash Row Could Bankrupt Dinamo

It’s almost five years since Georgi Kinkladze left Dinamo Tblisi to come to Maine Road. But the Georgian outfit are still suffering from the repercussions of the transfer. For a percentage of the fee paid by the Blues was due to be paid on to the player’s previous club, a smaller Tblisi outfit. Dinamo’s cash problems have seen the payment delayed but now their rivals will wait no more. It’s thought that the one-time crack European outfit’s only hope of avoiding bankruptcy is to sell their training ground to pay the US$300,000 still owing.

Royle – Mariners a Tough Challenge

Manchester City fans will pour into Cleethorpes in their thousands on Saturday expecting to see Manchester City affirm their promotion ambitions. But Joe Royle feels that opponents Grimsby Town will be a hard nut to crack. The Mariners have picked up only two points in their last six games – and have set an unwanted club record by failing to score in any of those fixtures. But as far as Royle is concerned, it would be a mistake to assume that the Blues are in for an easy ride – and the task will be all the more demanding for the home side’s desire to emerge from their slump. “The trip to Grimsby will be difficult,” insisted the City boss. “They haven’t won for six games and haven’t even scored during that period so that’s going to make our task that much harder.”

Royle Set to Name Unchanged Team

Joe Royle is set to give a vote a confidence to the players who’ve given Manchester City a real chance to claim automatic promotion. The City boss will stand by the players who earned the recent victories over Bolton and Crewe when the Blues visit Grimsby on Saturday. The only slight doubt after last week’s win over the Railwaymen was over the fitness of Gerard Wiekens, who was substituted as a precaution last Saturday. But the Dutchman is expected to be fit once again to fill his new midfield rôle, allowing Richard Jobson and Spencer Prior to continue their partnership at the back. A victory at Blundell Park would see the Blues close to within two of the club record 26 league wins in a season, previously achieved in 1946-47.

Grimsby Ticket Test Keeps a Step Ahead

Grimsby Town have already taken police advice and moved the kick off of Saturday’s match against City in a bid to maintain public order. And, as has been well publicised in recent days, the Mariners are also taking other steps to keep the peace. The telephone quiz on matters Grimsby for fans wanting to buy a ticket in the home section for Saturday’s match has already made the headlines. And the test has even been dubbed ‘Who wants to be a Mariner’ in some reports. However, City fans hoping to land a ticket by doing research to find answers to the questions already asked should beware. The Mariners are keeping one step ahead of the game, and are producing a new set of questions every day.

No Grimsby Tickets on Sale on the Day

Grimsby Town are taking all possible steps to prevent Manchester City supporters from infiltrating home sections of the ground when the teams meet on Saturday. And the Mariners’ latest measure is a ban on matchday ticket sales. As with all City allocations for away games, the 2,000 or so tickets sent to Maine Road sold out almost immediately. And the Mariners have been so worried about the prospect of Blues’ fans gaining access to home areas of the stadium that they’ve devised a quiz to test whether applicants for tickets are genuine home supporters. However, further action has still been deemed necessary. “We will stop selling tickets at 5pm on Friday,” promised Grimsby spokesman Steve Wraith. “We urge supporters to either get or book their tickets by then or face missing out.”

Coyne’s Incentive in City Clash

Danny Coyne will be a man with a mission when he faces Manchester City at the weekend. The Grimsby goalkeeper could be in line for a recall to the Welsh international squad for the forthcoming friendly against Brazil. The Mariners have problems scoring goals, but Coyne has been in fine form at the other end, keeping clean sheets in his last two games. And Mark Hughes has given the ex-Tranmere stopper plenty of incentive to impress when the Blues visit Blundell Park on Saturday. “I know they [Grimsby] have a couple of big games coming up in the next couple of weeks,” said the Wales boss. “I don’t know a great deal about Danny’s situation but we’ll be taking a look at him.”

Grimsby Clash “Will Not Sell Out”

Grimsby Town have almost 2,000 tickets left for Saturday’s visit of Manchester City. And the indications are that some will remain unsold when the game kicks off, with a gate of around 9,000 currently expected. The Mariners have a capacity of 10,033, having added more than 1,000 temporary seats last summer. But with strict security in place to ensure City fans don’t gain entry to home supporters’ areas, the ground is unlikely to be filled. However, Grimsby believe they’ve followed the right policy – and in any event expect a gate to top their season’s best so far, the 8,742 for the Boxing Day visit of Barnsley. “At the start of the season we forecast an 8,000-plus crowd and we’ll get that,” said Chief Executive Ian Fleming. “We might not sell out the game because of it, but it is about putting the safety of the fans over short-term gain.”

Mariners Hope to Reach Safety Target

Alan Buckley has set his Grimsby Town team a target of 50 points to seal their Division One safety, and wants to reach the mark as quickly as possible. And the Mariners’ boss knows a win against Manchester City on Saturday will achieve that goal. Grimsby looked set to have achieved their manager’s target already but a miserable, scoreless six-game run has seen minor relegation doubts linger at Blundell Park. And there’s a warning for the Blues in that if the Mariners do secure their First Division future with a three-point haul in one of their five remaining fixtures, it’s likely to come in a home game. They’ve suffered only four defeats on their own patch (the same number as City) but have picked up only twelve points in 21 away games.

Peter Brophy (


Next meeting of the Dublin branch will take place on Tuesday 25th April next at 8.30pm at Plough Bar, Abbey Street, Dublin 1. The venue is 5 minutes from O’Connell Street and opposite the Abbey Theatre. Annual function celebrating twenty-five years of keeping the Blue faith alive in Ireland will take place in Royal Dublin Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 on Friday 2nd June 2000 @ 8.00pm. Tickets now on sale £18 each. Special guests to be notified.

Bartley Ramsey (


Our goalie, who art our guardian, Weaver be thy name. Thy Wiekens cover as thy Prior does, in midfield as in defence. Give us back this day our Andy Morrison. As we forgive those who Edghill’d against us. And lead us not into the play-offs… But deliver us from Ipswich, the Barnsley, the Brummies. For thine is the Kennedy, the Dickov, the Goater, For ever and ever, Blue Heaven!

Phil Bradbury (


Latest update has more on the youngsters round and about Maine Road. Many thanks to Andy Noise for the info.

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Steven Hodgson
Richard McKinney
Gerard Wiekens
Spencer Prior
Richard Edghill
Lee Crooks
Nick Fenton                 Loaned to Bournemouth
Danny Granville
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Andy Morrison
Shaun Holmes                Transfer Listed
Kevin Horlock
Jamie Pollock
Mark Kennedy
Gary Mason
Jim Whitley
Ian Bishop
David Laycock
Terry Dunfield
Christopher Shuker
Terry Cooke                 Loaned to Wigan
Jeff Whitley
Tony Grant
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Danny Allsopp
Gareth Taylor               Loaned to QPR
Shaun Wright-Philips
Leon Mike
Christopher Killen
Bob Taylor
Lee Peacock
Craig Russell               Loaned to St Johnstone
Lee Mills                   On loan from Bradford

Last year’s U19 still at club, not sure if on pro contract:

Greg Duff (defender)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)
Andrew Pavey (midfield)
Stephen Parkhouse (striker)

Last year’s U17 still at club:

Stephen Jordan (defender)
Rhys Day (defender)
Gary Furnival
Barry Hogan
Dixon Etuhu

This years U-17’s:

Tyrone Mears
Paddy McCarthy
Steven Paisley
Damian Joyce
Glenn Whelan
Gary Browne
Rico Richards

Stuart Reynolds (


So I’ve done it. Returned to Manchester after a self-imposed exile in London due to work etc. I thought I’d write a quick ‘Why Blue’ for those distant supporters of the Pennine persuasion to tell you how the city is alive. I don’t know whether it’s me or not but I feel Manchester is undergoing a renaissance and is striving to get its act together. Or maybe it’s all the money that’s being pumped in with the run up to the Commonwealth Games. All the old factories are being converted into hotels, conference centres and apartments, the tram is being extended to the Airport and there are loads of new bars and clubs to relax in after a hard afternoon at the Moss Side Academy. Don’t get me wrong, London is ok, but over developed and full of the lost souls and Red-supporting tourists. I just needed to get back to where the people are down to earth rather than being from another planet.

For all those at Terry Neill’s Bar (Holborn), keep it going and if you feel you need to escape London do so. City and I will be back down south for Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, West Ham, Wimbledon(?), Charlton(?) etc. hopefully sooner rather than later.

On a darker note. From my new office window I can see the heart of darkness growing like a corporate space ship out of the Trafford skyline, so I think some kind of blinds are in order. Though I can see the Boddingtons brewery through the other window.

So the answer to Why Blue? is surely ‘Don’t ask stupid questions’.

Keep it going lads, five straight wins would be nice.

The renationalised Manc – Rick Slater (


Just got off the phone to Elland Road. There is a fund for the families. Please make cheques payable to “The Leeds United Memorial Fund”


Leeds United AFC
Elland Road
LS11 0ES

Via Football Administrators’ mailing list


The following article was takne from the Times:

There is no friend to ask, no 50-50 chance and certainly no studio audience to assist as you sweat on the phone, just 3 questions away from the ultimate prize – a ticket to see Grimsby Town at home.

In Grimsby’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – Who Wants to be a Mariner? – the Chris Tarrant soundalike at the end of the line asks “What is the club mascot?” You answer “Harry the Haddock”. The would-be Tarrant replies “I’m sorry, you won’t be going to Blundell Park, I was looking for The Mighty Mariner”. Sadly for Town, it is not so much demand from their own fans that has prompted the Tarrant-style inquisition but the extremes to which MCFC supporters are going in order to see their promotion-chasing side. City’s 2,200 allocation for the First Division encounter away to Grimsby on Saturday sold out in 3 hours. That left 7,500 sales to home supporters, but asking them for ticket stubs from previous matches or proof of residency in Grimsby failed to deter City’s 10,000 strong travelling “Blue Army”.

Steve Wraith, Grimsby accounts manager, said “We had uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all with supposed Grimberian qualification, all after tickets. To weed out the City people, one of the staff started asking callers to name our assistant manager (John Cockerill). When they couldn’t, they’d get all flustered and angry. We then compiled a list of 30 questions which genuine Grimsby followers should be able to answer. Get 3 out of 3 correct and you get a ticket for the game”. More than 400 callers, most posing as Town fans, have stumbled over questions such as what town is Blundell Park in (Cleethorpes) the food outlet outside (McDonalds) and two squad players with the same surname (David & Richard Smith). Several guessed right the stand with the players’ tunnel (Main Stand) only to trip up on where Grimsby’s new stadium is to be built (Great Coates).

Security is the key concern, with tickets in home areas of the ground reportedly selling on the black market for £50 and Grimsby supporters being offered large sums. “We’d rather have the odd empty seat than the small percentage of visiting supporters who might be out to cause trouble, as happened when some City fans got into home areas at Huddersfield” Wraith said. While supporters of City, who are second in the division, continue to bombard the Grimsby websites and bone up on trivia, they should be aware that the questions above are now outdtated. Wraith yesterday devised another 30, some even more devious. Like Tarrant’s millionaire, the jackpot of a Grimsby ticket is proving just as elusive.

The Times, 11 April 2000.

Heidi Pickup (


Thanks for the many messages from the true Blues from UK. Note that I am sports journalist. Will everyone send me their messages to my mail at

Keep it up boys. We are there soon.

Regards and thanks, Monaf Hossenbaccus (


I’ve been catching all the recent goals on Fox Sports World here in the US. I don’t want to comment on the games or the team… it is all too tense and I want this season to be over as soon as possible.

But I did want to ask whether anyone knows of the reason for the poor state of the pitch? In an era when most league pitches look pretty good even in April, Maine Road looks very under the weather – sparse grass in parts, cutting up easily. Has something specific caused this?

I will keep my inquiries to such mundane matters at the moment – I keep redoing all the possibilities over the last five games but it all gets too stressful – predicting what City could, or couldn’t do, in any particular game is just asking for trouble. I also keep looking back at a couple of home results and thinking what if they had won instead of drawing or losing – but you can become completely deranged that way.

Good luck to us all in the next few weeks.

John Pearson (


I am taking part in a charity golf day at Rufford Park Golf Club, Nr. Newark, Notts on Tuesday 18th April. A part of the day will be an auction of sporting memorabilia. One of the lots is a signed football by this season’s team. If anyone is interested in putting a bid in for this, please email me at the address below, with your bid and a contact address / phone number. All monies will go to Beaumond House Hospice, Newark, Notts.

Thanks and CTID! Cliff Shelley (


When there’s nothing left to boo, you’ll always find someone to boo it!

In a week when City began to play the kind of football we all hoped they were capable of and in doing so found themselves three points clear in an automatic promotion place, I found myself getting increasingly irritated and not a little angry.

I sit in the Main Stand and I know the stewards a few weeks ago spoke to a bloke a few rows back, prompted by complaints from some fans, about his comments regarding a certain Richard Edghill and his contribution to our season.

I have noticed over several months this individual sits in silence until Edgie has the temerity to make a mistake. No, I take that back, he has been moved to vocalise when another player is at fault, it only requires for Edgie to be looking in his direction.

Edghill, you’re C**p, S**t, F*****g, – get ‘im off Royle!

Well, he kept his own council for a few weeks but it’s clear he is rising from his slumber and a broadside of vile invective is fermenting in his overactive spleen.

I can’t believe he sits there just waiting, no praying, for a mistake from the Edghill. Would he perversely hope for a City defeat just to prove the righteousness of his opinions?

Saturday evening was unbelievable. My wife and I were driving home listening to the radio (GMR). When some cove comes on and talks to Wilf McGuinness (Ginnis) and I think David White. Bearing in mind that Wilf Mc is as Blue as custard, imagine my disgust at having to sit through a conversation that goes something like this:

City Fan? – I’ve been a City follower for two hundred and four years and Edghill is the worst right back I’ve seen in seven hundred years of following football.

Wilf McGuiness – You’re second in the division, you’ve won three on the trot…

City Man – He’s the worst passer of a ball I’ve seen in twelve million years.

Wilf Draught-Guinness – He’s a good defender and City has one of the best defensive records in the league.

City Man – He is the most ineffective taker of throw-ins since the earth began to cool.

Wilf McGuinness – For God’s sake man get behind your team. Next call please.


Hello Yea! Hello Ere! that Edghill, e’s bobbins ‘n e?

Oh for crying out loud!

I suppose that in every bunch of supporters there will be those that would boo a yoghurt carton. City’s boo-boys haven’t gone away. Deprived of a ‘legitimate’ reason for booing, they appear to have collectively settled on Richard Edghill. I seem to remember an article in McVittee to suggest that Edghill’s passing was no worse then other defender’s and even if it was – who boos the Bish when he goes through one of his frequent sloppy phases – and remember he’s paid to pass and be our play-maker?

Against Bolton and Crewe I thought that Edghill played very well in all departments. Our defensive record is pretty good and Edgie has only missed a handful of games. Yes he has made mistakes but so have all the players. Weaver in particular has cost us valuable points – but you’ve got to judge a player objectively, across a period of time. Edghill has been denied this. Some seem to lavish an extraordinary amount of attention on his mistakes in particular and choose to ignore at their convenience, all the solid defensive work he has done as well as occasionally successful contribution he makes to the attack.

If, and it’s a big if, Edghill drops more than most, I think it’s because, on many occasions he’s had to carry more in the first place. Edgie has not got the benefit of a winger and relies heavily therefore, on the support of others. I can see his dilemma, go forward and risk getting caught out of position without support or hit a long ball, which even for a good passer is a fifty-fifty option.

I’m afraid Edghill is the victim of an undeserved witch-hunt and as such, his would-be critics are beyond reason, intelligence and objective thought.

The fault is not with the player, look at some of the others that have been on the receiving end:

Quinn – you donkey!
Summerbee – you lazy b*****d!
Lomas – you headless chicken!
Goater – take your pick! (I’ve used most of them! and now regret opening my mouth – except when being excessively, but rarely, witty)

But it isn’t just City – what about Sheringham and Cole down the road? I’m sure that at every club in the country there is at least one player at any time, that a section of the crowd think of as badger kak and unfit to wear the shirt. Add to these the usual quota of sheep and lager, it doesn’t take long for a reputation to stick and for a player to believe that there is nothing that he can do to make these people view him with any sense of fairness. And Edgie has been with us a long time – A reminder/legacy of the bad old times?

Perhaps some people are getting a bit nervous – and remember it only takes two City fans to start talking and within 20 seconds and the conversation will turn to the team’s history of instability and its volatile nature and how we can throw everything away at the last minute. How nice to have a ready-made excuse and a scapegoat at hand, to take the blame.

You’ve paid your money and have a right to comment – but judge on all that you see and judge fairly! City’s current position is in no small measure thanks to Edghill as much as any other player this season – and if they give Player of the Season awards based on the amount of crap he had to put up with, then Edgie’s name is already on the trophy.

If City hold their nerve we can continue this conversation in the Premier Division – that’s the place to discover if Edghill, or any other player for that matter, can cut it. If the fans can hold their nerve then let the Premiership witness and envy our well-earned reputation for loyalty and humour.

Peter Capes (City – because I choose to be –


Can anyone suggest any websites to download a video of Dickov’s goal at Wembley where they show more crowd reaction? All the ones I’ve found mainly relate to the goal itself. I am trying to relive what it was like – I can vaguely recall a sense of great pandemonium following by a fat man trying to french kiss me, amidst a shower of scarves and programmes from the upper balcony. Failing that, has anyone got a video of the whole game on VHS, with full Sky build up and after match reaction? I haven’t seen any of the build up on TV and would love to get my hands on it to relive Alan Brazil’s alleged mocking when we went 2-0 down. I know that I should really be concentrating on this season buy I am s****ing blue lights and need something to take my mind off the forthcoming three and a bit weeks.

P.S. I am proud to say that I started a ‘one Richard Edghill’ chant at Swindon. Yes, he couldn’t pass his way out of a paper bag, but let’s get behind them all for the final ‘push’!

Richard Ellor (


Help! As a second year season ticket holder I will have no chance of getting tickets for the Blackburn game – I have helped out fellow Blues with spare tickets loads of times, a few times via MCIVTA – surely some kind soul must be able to sort me out a couple? I will pay £50 for two if that helps.

Richard Ellor (Rich@APR-LEASING.CO.UK)


I am wondering if any Melbourne Blues will be getting together to see the last games of the season. If so – where and when?

Also glad to see one of the Melbourne Blues (Danny Tiatto) is getting some good raps…

Roy Hunter (


Does anyone have a spare ticket for the Tranmere game? Perhaps a season ticket holder who’s going on holiday? Or something. Please contact me at the address below.

Mike Carver (


Call me on 077-1836-4305 if you can sell me one ticket for the Birmingham match (North Stand) or even better, two tickets together in any stand. In return, I have two spare tickets together in the City end for the Portsmouth game. I’m available on my mobile until 8.00PM Friday 14 April. I will not be back ’til late Friday 21st April.

Any swap can be done at the Tranmere game on 22nd April.

Chris Pilkington (


Does anyone have a spare ticket for the Portsmouth game? I only confirmed too late (on Monday) that I was going to be free on the day, and the tickets were all gone! Please e-mail me if you’ve got one to pass one along; I’ll pick up the costs, of course.

Toh Hsien Min (


Well – I’d first like to say that I had one of the greatest weeks of my life. Ever since I arrived into Manchester (Nov 99) I have been thinking of every way possible of getting back. Defection, marriage, and a company transfer have all been considered. However; I will be taking 8 hours of classes next fall so I can qualify for a British-American (BUNAC) exchange. I have decided that I will probably be leaving for England in June of 2001.

Destination => Manchester

Let’s just say that my 3 days in Manchester were simply amazing. I got to see City beat Barnsley and then saw an awful match – we lost to Huddersfield. During the trip I met loads of great people and got to stay on Fallowfield Road. I loved it. When I move to Manchester with this programme, I plan on moving back to the area I stayed in. The only difference is the stadium will probably be gone. Am I right? I stayed with three crazy Mancunian birds I met at a pub. When you walked outside their flat you could see the stadium. All of them being Blues’ fans!

I support Manchester City Football Club because they have the style and panache I am looking for. I am enticed by grit, loyalty, and perseverance. The first football match I ever saw live (exchange student/London 94) was City vs. QPR. I found myself sitting in the QPR section rooting for City. I got some pretty bad looks. When City scored the whole stand of City supporters stormed the field. I’m not an advocate of violence, but I was mesmerized by the scene.

The next few years I was purple. I supported United because in the States you can’t get live coverage of City. My heart was Blue – but my actions were Red. Like someone who’s embarrassed after a drunken stupor – I’d like to drop the United thing. It’s embarrassing.

I came back to the team when they were in the middle of the Second Division. They worked hard last year and we achieved greatness at Wembley. I downloaded the goals onto my computer.

One of the main reasons I’m moving to Manchester is to see City play. I plan on bringing over a decent amount of money so I’m going to try and get season tickets. I don’t think I would be able to live with myself knowing City are playing and I’m not watching. I’m really proud of what they’ve accomplished lately. I can’t sit here and say I know everything about the history of the club. It’s hard when you live so far away and your dad only knows of Pele.

My plan is to work in Manchester for 6 months and try to renew my blue card. I’d really like to live over there for about 3-4 years. Whether in sunny Arizona or Moss side, I look forward to taking my son or daughter (no kids yet!) to see them play. I really like basketball and American football – but it just doesn’t compare to English football.

That is why I support the Blues.



First of all, thanks to my soulmate (maybe known to one or two of you), Pete Hargreaves, a Red (hope that word gets printed without censorship) for introducing me to your publication – thanks for all your efforts in putting it all together.

It started for me circa 1965 (I was 10) – most of my mates were not Blues, and I was foolish enough to ask my dad (God rest his merry soul!) to take me to O.T. I will never forget the look on his deranged face when he blurted out “I’ll break your f******g legs before I’d take you to that dump – you’re going to see a real team play”. My mum’s face was a picture – he’d never used language like that in front of me before, although for the next 20 years at Maine Road, it became commonplace.

He worshipped Mike Doyle for 2 reasons: 1. He was ‘ard, and 2. He hated the Reds. The old man dragged me all over the country watching the Blues until my entire life revolved around them. He would even argue the toss that Santa’s suit was really blue, such was his hatred for the Reds. He would embarrass me sometimes at away games – we always used to stand up (sometimes fall down if he’d had one for the road); he’d find a nice policeman, tell him about the shrapnel in his leg from a war wound (ha!) and cadge a place near the front.

So – turn the clock forward to 30th May last year – (on my birthday!) – 89 minutes on the clock and I thought of him – Why Blue!? – but, the rest is history!

Footnote: I spent some time at the (in)famous Priory clinic for being stressed out last year, and I got talking to another patient there. I mentioned my love of the Blues (ironic eh?) and he told me he was also Blue. He said “There are loads of Blues in here” enthusiastically – I laughed – he looked at me somewhat perplexed (true tale). Says it all.

CTID, Graham Jamieson (


Posh Spice and David Beckham were sat in front of the television (in her underwear) watching the six o’clock news. The headline feature was a man who was threatening to jump off the Clifton suspension bridge on to the busy road below. Posh turns to Beckham and says “Dave, I bet you £5,000 that he jumps!” to which Beckham replies “£5,000! Done” The pair shake on it and continue watching the commotion on the TV. Sure enough, the man jumps and hits the road below with a loud thud. Beckham takes £5,000 out of his pocket and gives it to Posh. “I can’t take that from you, Dave” she says. “I was cheating. I saw the five o’clock news so I knew what was going to happen. I can’t accept that money”. Beckham replies “No Posh. The money is yours fair and square. I was cheating too, I saw the news at five. I just didn’t think he would do it again!”

Andy Howell (


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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 #596