Newsletter #597

City started off Saturday’s game against Grimsby firmly where they left off against Crewe, quickly gaining the ascendancy and going one up in the first 6 minutes. However, the team then had a collective change of mind, conceded an equaliser, and in all truth were lucky to get away with a point. The day was rescued to some extent by Port Vale’s 90th minute equaliser against Barnsley, though Ipswich closed the gap to a single point with a 1-0 away win at Edgeley Park. However disappointing this result was, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that automatic promotion is still in our own hands – all we have to do is win our remaining four games!

This issue has 3 match reports (thanks); an explanation for the poor state of the pitch; more opinion on Edgy; numerous ticket requests (please no play-offs this time!); and a nice Why Blue from Romania.

P.S. The club has instituted a pre-booking scheme for season ticket holders for any potential play-off games. However, it’s rumoured that up to 1 in 4 season ticket holders have failed to receive their application form. If you’re one of those (I am!), a form can be downloaded from:

This one reaches 3,165.

Next game: Tranmere at home, Saturday 22nd April 2000


Ipswich Close Gap as City Draw at Grimsby

Manchester City gave the chasing pack a chance to close in to within a point of second spot after being held 1-1 by Grimsby in Saturday’s early kick-off. And Ipswich Town took full advantage by beating Stockport. City were given the perfect start at Blundell Park when defender Spencer Prior headed home after six minutes. But the Blues held the lead for only ten minutes before the Mariners hit back through midfielder Alan Pouton. The stalemate gave Ipswich and Barnsley the chance to narrow the gap between themselves and Joe Royle’s men. And the Suffolk are now breathing down City’s neck after their 1-0 win at Edgeley Park. However, Port Vale did the Blues a favour by keeping the Tykes three points off the automatic promotion pace following a 2-2 draw in the Potteries.

Royle Slams “Useless” City

Manchester City saw Ipswich erode the Blues’ three-point advantage in the race for second spot in Division One. And Joe Royle was furious at his side’s display at Grimsby, where City dropped two points to give the East Anglians a chance to close the gap. Royle was even more annoyed because Spencer Prior’s early headed goal had given the Blues an ideal platform. But the overall City display was so poor, he felt relieved even to take a point. “We were useless. I was disappointed because we were given such a good start,” admitted the Blues’ boss. “But in the end I was highly delighted to get away with a point. Our passing was poor on a good surface. Only Richard Jobson played anything like his usual standard for us today.”

Buckley – We Deserved to Win

Grimsby Town scored their first goal in more than ten hours of football to help secure a draw against Manchester City on Saturday. But Blundell Park boss Alan Buckley was disappointed only to take a point from the game – and felt that referee David Laws did his side no favours. The Mariners’ manager was delighted with his side’s display, and he felt his players shaded the encounter. “I was more disappointed with the point than Joe Royle – I thought we deserved all three [points] because we were more than a match for a team knocking on the promotion door,” insisted Buckley. “Our start was not good but the lads got fired up and fully deserved the point if not more.” However, there was anger in the Grimsby camp at the failure of referee Laws to act when Danny Tiatto appeared to bring down Kevin Donovan when the winger was through on goal.

Boss Looks for a Big Improvement

Joe Royle knows that to claim automatic promotion, Manchester City will have to produce far better performances in their four remaining games of the regular season than they managed at Grimsby on Saturday. But the Blues’ boss expects his team to bounce back against Tranmere next week. After producing commanding displays against Bolton and Crewe to give themselves the edge in the race for an automatic promotion spot, City’s lacklustre efforts at Blundell Park coupled with an Ipswich win at Stockport mean that the contest is once again wide open. But Royle expects his side to bounce back after the disappointment against the Mariners. “If this result jolts us back to our best some good will have come out of it,” commented the City manager after the game.

Grimsby Goal Hero’s Moment of Fortune

Grimsby Town were annoyed when referee David Laws failed to take action against Danny Tiatto when the City full-back brought down winger Kevin Donovan on Saturday. But Mariners’ midfielder Alan Pouton has admitted that his team also had some luck with a crucial decision. Shaun Goater looked to have secured the points for the Blues late on, but had his strike ruled out after a linesman flagged for offside. But Pouton admits it was his touch which played the ball on to the Blues’ top scorer. “When Goater scored I think I chested the ball into his path, I was relieved to see the flag go up,” admitted the former York player, who had earlier made himself a hero with the home support by notching his side’s first goal in over ten hours of football – with his first strike for the club.

Mariners Pay £30,000 For Crowd Safety

Grimsby Town instituted radical and much-publicised plans to prevent Manchester City fans from gaining access to areas reserved for home supporters when the sides met at Blundell Park on Saturday. And the scheme worked – but left almost 20% of the seats in the stadium unoccupied. The clash had originally been expected to draw a full house of around 10,000 to Cleethorpes for the first time since the Mariners increased ground capacity last summer. Predictions were scaled down to around 9,000 after the unusual ticket sales policy was unveiled. In fact, the eventual gate of 8,166 wasn’t even a season’s best, and the Mariners’ takings for the match were almost £30,000 less than the revenue they’d have had from a sell-out clash.

Last-Gasp Draw Punctures Tykes’ Optimism

The chase for the second automatic Division One promotion spot has become a three-horse race in recent weeks. But after a last-minute penalty prevented Barnsley from closing on Manchester City on Saturday, the Tykes’ star player has tipped the Blues to clinch second place. The Barnsley camp were fuming at the award of the late spot-kick, and after the game, leading scorer Craig Hignett admitted that dressing-room confidence has taken a knock. “If I’m being brutally honest, City will get second place and we will have to go up through the play-offs,” he admitted. “Ours is a very disappointed dressing-room at the moment.” With Barnsley losing their Premiership TV parachute money if they stay down for another season, there’s been speculation that one-time City target Hignett could leave Oakwell in the summer if promotion isn’t won. And Joe Royle recently confirmed his admiration for the ex-Middlesbrough man in the match programme for the Maine Road visit of Crewe.

City Clinch Play-Off Berth!

Manchester City dropped two points in their weekend trip to Grimsby. But other results on Saturday afternoon mean that the Blues are now guaranteed a top-six finish. After their 1-0 defeat at Norwich, seventh-placed Wolves are still on 65 points. And with only four games left this season, the Molineux outfit have a maximum points haul of 77 – two fewer than City now have. But the automatic promotion race, by contrast, is showing every sign of going down to the wire – even though Joe Royle is hoping to avoid any last-day tension. “I’m hoping the promotion issue won’t go to the last game but we’ll see,” said the City boss.

Injured Striker Returns from Loan Spell

Gareth Taylor has returned from his loan spell at Queen’s Park Rangers. The City striker picked up a calf injury against Crewe on Saturday and is unlikely to be fit to play again this season. The ex-Sheffield United player was transfer-listed in December after the arrivals of Lee Peacock and Robert Taylor pushed him out of the first-team picture. After rejecting a move to Dutch side Fortuna Sittard, the 25-year-old had a temporary stint at Port Vale before moving to Loftus Road under a similar arrangement. He scored once in two starts and four substitute appearances for the West Londoners, and Rangers’ boss Gerry Francis recently reflected that the move could become permanent in the summer – although the likelihood of this is now unclear.

Morrison Returns as Reserves Win Friendly

Manchester City reserves won their friendly against Altrincham at Moss Lane last Thursday. And skipper Andy Morrison appeared to suffer no reaction to his knee injury after playing for the first-half of the match. The big defender was making his comeback after being absent through injury since October. And with his general fitness apparently lacking, the former Huddersfield player faces a race against time to regain his match sharpness before the end of this season. But the news of his return will delight fans who had been worried by rumours that the injured knee could threaten the City captain’s career. Second-half goals from youngsters Leon Mike and Terry Dunfield earned a 2-1 win for the Blues after the hosts had led at the break. In addition to Morrison, the Blues also gave Lee Crooks, Robert Taylor and Lee Mills the chance to regain match fitness after lay-offs.

Skipper Continues Comeback as Reserves Chase Title

Manchester City’s second string can clinch the Pontin’s League Premier Division championship at Grimsby on Tuesday. But Blues’ fans will also be hoping the game will provide more positive news of Andy Morrison’s fitness. The City skipper is continuing his comeback bid in the reserves having played for 45 minutes in the friendly at Altrincham last week. But there’s no decision yet on how long he’ll stay on the pitch in Tuesday’s game. The Blues will clinch the title if they go one better than the seniors and win at Blundell Park, and City will field an experienced line-up. Danny Granville, Lee Crooks, Jamie Pollock, Tony Grant, Robert Taylor and Lee Mills are all also expected to feature.

City Plea to Irish Bosses

Manchester City will be hit by international call-ups at the most crucial time of the club’s season. And Joe Royle will be speaking to the managers of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the hope that the Maine Road players involved will be used sparingly. The Blues’ boss recognises there’s nothing he can do to prevent the selection of Kevin Horlock and Mark Kennedy for their respective countries – but he’ll be doing his best. “I will be speaking to Mick McCarthy and Sammy McIlroy to plead our case and ask for sympathy but in the end it is their decision,” Royle told the Manchester Evening News. “As international managers they are judged on results so I understand their point of view.” Both McCarthy and McIlroy had spells at Maine Road in their playing days and no doubt the City manager will hope for extra goodwill based on these connections.

Donachie Hails Reserve Team Boss

Manchester City reserves can claim the Pontins League Premier Division title with one win in their remaining two games of the season. And City assistant boss Willie Donachie is in no doubt where the credit lies for the second string’s successful campaign. Donachie explained that reserve-team coach Asa Hartford is often unaware of the players at his disposal for a particular game almost until kick-off time, which makes the creation of a winning unit all the more laudable. And Joe Royle’s second-in-command knows that the major reason for the achievement is the contribution of his former City and Scotland team-mate. “I’d like to pay tribute to Asa Hartford and the reserve team,” Donachie told the Manchester Evening News.

Jobson – Pressure Won’t Get to Us

The performance of Richard Jobson was hailed by Joe Royle as one fo the few bright spots from Manchester City’s draw at Grimsby on Saturday. And despite the loss of two points at Blundell Park, the veteran defender is still confident that the Blues will win promotion. Jobson has formed a solid partnership with new signing Spencer Prior, and according to some reports, it was only the central defensive axis which held Grimsby at bay in Saturday’s encounter. But the ex-Oldham and Leeds defender believes the Blues can get back on track against Tranmere on Saturday. “We’re unbeaten in seven matches and if we can stay unbeaten to the end of the season, we must have a great chance of getting the automatic promotion place,” said the 36-year-old. “Of course the pressure’s there but we can handle it.”

Royle Waiting on Injured Pair

Saturday’s trip to Grimsby has seen Manchester City pick up two new fitness worries. Both Gerard Wiekens and Mark Kennedy have missed training on Monday thanks to injuries sustained at Blundell Park. Wiekens has a sore back while Kennedy has an achilles problem. And while Joe Royle says he’s hopeful both players will be able to take part in next weekend’s Maine Road clash with Tranmere, it’s the Irishman who at this stage is giving more cause for concern. Meanwhile, Robert Taylor, who made his reserve return in last Thursday’s friendly at Altrincham, could be in contention for a place in the squad against John Aldridge’s men.

Young Athlete’s City Dream

Young athlete Nedum Onuoha has managed a haul of three gold medals at the Sports Hall National Athletics Finals in Birmingham. But the 13-year-old’s main interest is football, and he hopes to make a professional career in the game with Manchester City. The Harpurhey-based schoolboy is a confirmed Blues’ fan – and a highly-rated forward who’s bagged 33 goals in 27 games for the City under-14 Academy team this term. His progress is equally impressive in athletics, with one of his medals coming courtesy of a British age-group record in the triple jump. However, he’s likely to be lost to track and field, with his sports teacher at Oldham’s Hulme Grammar School confirming, “He’s football-mad, his whole life is football.” The talented youngster’s Maine Road favourite is Danny Tiatto, but as a striker he’ll be hoping to emulate his other soccer idol, Arsenal’s Kanu.

Football Remembers Hillsborough

Saturday marked the eleventh anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, when 96 Liverpool fans were killed in a crush at the Sheffield Wednesday ground at an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. And most football league games on Saturday started late as a mark of respect. The safety review which followed the disaster eventually led to the removal of terraces in England. And league fixtures on Saturday started at 3.06pm – the time when the tragic game was stopped, although dozens of fans had by then died. A memorial service was held in Liverpool, with a minute’s silence being held across the city. Manchester City’s visit to Grimsby, however, kicked off at 1pm, after a reqest from the local police, although a minute’s silence was observed before the match.

Season Ticket Fever as Sales Soar

Manchester City’s promotion fate is still unclear. But whichever division the Blues play in next season, it seems certain they’ll continue to be watched by big gates at Maine Road. Thousands of fans opted to benefit from the club’s discounted season ticket prices on offer before the end of March. And the club has now announced that sales for the new campaign have already reached 16,000. With existing season-ticket holders having until 31 May to reclaim their current seats, it seems certain that the self-imposed ceiling of around 23,000 will be reached with some comfort.

Ex-City Boss Linked with Robins

Former Manchester City manager Alan Ball looked to have left professional football for good when sacked by Portsmouth in December. But now the ex-Stoke and Southampton boss is being touted for a return at Swindon Town. Businessman Terry Brady, father of Birmingham MD Karren, heads a five-man consortium which is on the verge of buying the cash-strapped Wiltshire outfit. And according to Soccernet, a managerial change could be on the cards at the County Ground if the deal goes through, with Terry Venables joining Ball in being mentioned in connection with the job. The one-time World Cup-winner became something of a hate figure among Maine Road fans after presiding over the Blues’ relegation from the Premiership in 1995-96.

Play-Off Ticket Deadline Extended

Manchester City have instituted a scheme allowing season-ticket holders to pre-book tickets for possible play-off matches. And the club has extended the deadline by another three days to allow fans to benefit from the opportunity. Current season-ticket holders now have until Friday, 21 April to submit the application form together with season ticket vouchers TT and ZZ to MCFC Play-Off Scheme, PO Box 454, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs, ST5 OLT. Those who have not yet received the application form through the post will find it available for download at the official club website at

Peter Brophy (


GRIMSBY TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 15th April 2000

My second ever visit to Blundell Park turned out to have a number of parallels with the first, not the least of which was a below par performance from the Blues. A promising weather forecast was actually wrong and it was a cold, blustery day on the banks of the Humber estuary that greeted the members of the Beverley CSA that had been lucky in the draw for the 4 tickets we managed to get without resorting to the ‘Who wants to be a Mariner’ quiz – Mighty Mariner indeed! 30 miles down the road from Beverley, this was our shortest trip of the season, but the welcome was no better for us ‘locals’ than it was for everyone else. As popular as Romanian refugees with kids in tow, the travelling Blue army found that Grimsby (the ground’s actually in Cleethorpes to be pedantic) was to be dry in one respect only – the pubs around the ground were open to home fans only and even then open ones were few and far between. At least the chippies were more welcoming of our custom, though “Sue’s Chippy” seemed to have underestimated demand and the queue outside the door bore testament to the pace of service – one wag remarked he’d thought it was the queue to get into the ground! – but at least the fish’n’chips were good. It would never happen at the City Chippy though.

On my last visit I’d been a ‘pretend homer’ and gone into the John Smith’s Stand but on this occasion would get to appreciate the ground from the close proximity of the stand behind the goal with the 2,000 or so Blues who’d been lucky or determined enough to get a ticket. After an unusual tasting cuppa (better for warming cold hands than anything else) we settled into our seats, anticipating a continuation of recent good form. So it proved to be for the first 20 minutes or so; Prior made his goal from Kennedy’s cross look easy, a bit of a slow motion job that I fully expected the referee to rule out for no other reason than I wasn’t expecting us to score so soon. However, it went downhill from there, especially after they’d equalised at the end of a period that saw the ball pinging around our penalty area. In some ways it was a re-run of the last game I’d seen live at Barnsley, where we had plenty of possession but no penetration. We rallied a little before half-time but went in level.

The second half onslaught never happened. In fact, Grimsby seemed to have the better of the exchanges, and only some well timed interceptions from Prior and especially Jobson, the boot of Weaver and a not so well timed challenge from Tiatto kept them out. We thought we’d nicked it late on when Goater got the ball in the net but it was ruled out; don’t know why but a refereeing or linesman cock up could be the explanation as they were collectively crap all afternoon, especially the bloke running the line in front of the John Smith’s stand. Kennedy had a good curler from a free kick that might have gone in had he been further out, but in the end a draw was a fair result if not the one we needed. Then it chucked it down as we left the ground to put the tin lid on a frustrating afternoon.

Team Ratings:

Weaver – Not much to do aside from the shot blocked with his foot; I was at the wrong end for the goal but it sounds like he was not at fault. Kicked safely in a swirling wind.
Edghill – Competent game for me, but once again had his detractors. Crossing dubious.
Tiatto – OK defensively and got forward as the opportunity presented itself.
Prior – Good but not as good as some recent reports suggest. Clearly enjoyed his goal again, grinning from ear to ear.
Jobson – Very good. Read the game well and timely tackles on a number of occasions.
Wiekens – Seemed to lose his bearings a bit; kept over hitting the passes, misjudging the wind. Not as good in midfield today as recent reports have suggested he’s been in this new rôle.
Horlock – Not one of his better games. Couple of wasted corners in the first half that should have gone to the far post for maximum effect. Substituted by Bishop who didn’t contribute much more.
Whitley – OK. Harried and got stuck. Made the ‘keeper save acrobatically in the first half.
Kennedy – Seemed to lose interest for too much of the game. We thought he had the measure of the right back but it was not to be.
Dickov – Stayed upright most of the time and didn’t whinge to the ref. Again, not as effective as of late. Too many high balls played in to him when the conditions said ‘keep in on the deck’. Substituted for the largely anonymous Mills (evidence so far suggests he ought to go back to Bradford at the end of the season regardless of where we are).
Goater – The Goat was very subdued today. Mind you, the service wasn’t really there for him.

Referee – Dire. Gave what he shouldn’t have and vice versa. Hope we never get him and his team again.

Overall then we were crowded out after a good start and seemed to lose interest – criminal at such an important stage of the season. We really do look lopsided at the moment in midfield, and if Kennedy’s not on song we’re struggling. We need someone to use the right side of field – “Oh Terry Cooke, he’s not City anymore?” The atmosphere in the end was poor, with the crowd getting at the team far more than the performance deserved. The bloke next to me didn’t even seem happy after we’d scored and proceeded to slag the team off at every turn. Why do these people go to games? The proceedings were lightened by some of the singing, but we probably jinxed it with the “City’s going up” chant after our goal. The inevitable ‘sing when you’re fishing’ was complemented by “you’ve got smelly wives” to the tune of “knees up Mother Brown” and “where d’ya go when we’re not here?” ‘Town full of Mackerel’ was a nice variation on a standard. It couldn’t compensate for a disappointing performance though.

I’m hoping that by the time I next see them in the flesh (last game at Blackburn all being well) we’ll be up but it’s going to be tense.

Geoff Donkin (


GRIMSBY TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 15th April 2000

You really can smell fish as you pass the docks on the way to Cleethorpes for the ground.

An easy journey from Manchester saw us arrive in plenty of time for some light refreshment at the Leaking Boot public house. What we didn’t plan for was for Grimsby in their infinite wisdom to only open 2 turnstiles for away supporters, placing a steward outside the turnstile checking tickets (I thought that’s what a turnstile operator did?), all in a small alleyway. There was pushing and shoving and on the anniversary of Hillsborough, this part of Grimsby’s ‘safety’ operation was a disgrace.

Upon entering the ground (with the game already underway), it was clear that Grimsby’s ‘quiz’ for obtaining tickets in the home areas had largely worked, as the ground was far from being full. Annoyingly for those Blues who couldn’t get tickets, there were 2 areas which could have been easily segregated with a little forethought, which could gave contained at least another 750 or so fans. Anyway, we arrived in time to see City pressing forward and from a Kennedy free kick, Jobson rose at the far post, nodding the ball into the path of Prior who outjumped the ‘keeper for a 6th minute goal. Perfect start.

Shortly afterwards, Jeff Whitley hit a cracking shot from 20 yards, which was saved at full stretch. Things looked good! Unfortunately and for no reason that is easily identifiable, those were the highlights of our play until the last few minutes of the game. On 16 minutes, Grimsby scored their first goal for 10 hours with a nice volley following a period of sustained pressure where we had chances to clear, but were unable to do so. City, fielding the same team that had played so well against both Bolton and Crewe, just looked all at sea. Passes were going anywhere but the intended target, tackles were being missed, Tiatto was overelaborating and getting caught, Goater was pretty anonymous… it just wasn’t working.

Early in the second half, JR tried to change it by firstly replacing Horlock (who was probably the best of the midfield trio) with Bishop (no change) and then Mills replaced Dickov (who was probably the best of the forward trio), again no change. Grimsby had most of the attacking possession, but it should be noted that only when Weaver saved with his foot in a one-on-one and when Tiatto tackled/fouled a forward when he was last man (nothing given by the ref, thank goodness) did we look in any real danger of conceding another goal. Prior, although not at his domineering best did OK, and as has been widely acknowledged, probably Jobson was our man of the match with a solid performance.

Twice in the last few minutes we could have taken an undeserved victory away from the East Coast. Firstly Kennedy had a fierce angled shot saved and moments later, Goater bundled the ball into the net, but was given offside. This was a disappointing result and a very disappointing performance. Nevertheless, Grimsby have only been beaten on home soil 4 times this season and, with us performing so poorly, this has to be seen as a point gained. Promotion is still in our own hands and the Easter games, although unlikely to decide anything for certain, will have a major impact on our destiny. What is for certain is that the team must recall and recapture the way they played against Bolton and Crewe and forget about this performance. Four games and counting…!

Phil Hartley (


GRIMSBY TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 15th April 2000

Overall in the context of the season, this was perhaps a better result than at first sight. We started off very well and it looked like we would run riot; within 10 minutes we were in front. Kennedy cross, Jobson header, then a simple Prior header. There were further chances and we should have gone further in front.

However, as seems to happen all too often for me when we get an early goal and don’t follow it up, we slowly retreated, and with Wiekens playing further and further back (and not well either), Grimsby gathered in confidence and pushed forward. Their goal was either a very good goal, or crap defending, I can’t really say, but it had an inevitability about it. For the rest of the first half we defended (well enough) but every ball forward seemed to ping a yard away from its target and we would lose control. Sometimes the passing was awful.

To be honest I was glad when half time came because we were looking quite vulnerable. We all discussed the usual “JR half time boll*cking”, thinking we would be much improved. Sadly it didn’t happen; the players tried hard enough but nothing worked. Kennedy didn’t seem as though he was interested unless someone put the ball at his feet. When it was obvious that Bishop was coming on, everyone thought Wiekens would go off, and when it was Horlock there was some surprise. He wasn’t having a great game but was easily better then the other 2. Mills on for Dickov also seemed an odd one, because Goater was getting nothing out of their number 15, and looked tired. Dickov was doing lots of running and seemed up for it, but just wasn’t getting good service.

There was one free kick from Kennedy which swerved about 8 feet round the wall, only to miss by a foot or so, and the disallowed goal (Goater I think, but difficult to tell from the City end), but all in all it was a poor performance. Not helped by another poor atmosphere from the Blues; don’t know what’s happened away, it was brilliant until about Feb, but since then has been subdued to say the least.

One other comment: the pitch was excellent, it’s a shame we didn’t try using it for what it’s intended, but fair play to Grimsby, they didn’t really let us play.

My Ratings:

Weaver 7
Edghill 6
Tiatto 5
Jobson 8
Prior 7
Wiekens 5
Horlock 6
Whitley 5
Kennedy 5
Goater 5
Dickov 6

Mills 6
Bishop 4

Paul Stevenson (


I’m afraid that I know the answer, due to the fact that Bernard Halford gave the reason at a Fans’ Committee meeting. It’s because there wasn’t much rain during early spring, and then suddenly it all just poured out of the sky, and flooded the pitch. The flooding got so bad at times that even the Leeds United match was going to be called off. Also, the lack of wind getting onto the pitch doesn’t help. They’ve had to open the big ‘King Kong’ gates to let air into it. The third factor is that the pitch was re-laid in June last year; it was done so late because the team trained on the pitch for the Play-Offs, so it didn’t have time to settle in properly. It’s unlikely it’ll be re-laid before we go to Eastlands, so get your bags of sand out.

Paul Scally a.k.a. Alan Titchmarsh (


I can’t understand Blackburn’s attitude, they are unlikely to be in with a chance of play-off by then, and yet know we will almost certainly be needing something from it, so they give us a poor allocation; 6,157 is pathetic. Why not fill your ground, make some cash, and use it usefully to boost your own promotion campaign next season?

Then there’s City!

Why have they allowed so many people who haven’t been to away games to apply? OK I’ve no problem with regular season ticket holders having first chance but, what about those of us who been regularly at away games all season, not all regular season ticket holders, we are now excluded. I have only done just over half but I’m sure there are many others who have done most/all. Home games for me, and many others, are “away” games, and yet people who haven’t ventured from Manchester all season make the long trip to Blackburn.

Paul Stevenson (


Just read Peter Capes’ piece on the Edge. I have only one comment to make on this. If, if (fingers crossed, I’ll give up drinking God, honest), City do get promoted, then right back is one of the few positions Sir Joe will not be looking at to strengthen. Just to jog your memories, all the goals in the dreadful 5-0 at the Swamp came down City’s left, when Terry Phelan saw his ar*e against Kamikaze Zchelskis. The boy is alright. Leave him alone.

Jack Millington (


With respect to the article by Peter Capes in MCIVTA 596 I would like to agree totally with what he said.

I sit in the Kippax and on Saturday (when we were 3-0 up against Crewe), two guys behind me decided to start slagging Edghill off!? We’ve played the best football we’ve played all season over the last 2 games, Edghill’s barely put a foot wrong, we’ve won them both and that’s the best they can come up with.

So what about:

Kennedy – A sulker who plays when he ‘fancies’ it. Undoubtedly a extremely talented player who, when on form, is outstanding. However, he’s had plenty of ‘off’ days this season and on many occasions contributed nothing.

Bishop – Too big for his own boots, another quality player but seems to think he should just walk into the team. His reaction when he was subbed against West Brom at home was an absolute disgrace. We were 1-0 down and he just strolled off the pitch in a sulk!

Terry Cooke – Thought he could just walk into the team without putting any effort in. Played well last season until we bought him permanently and hasn’t showed any form since. Then starts slagging off the club when he’s loaned out to Wigan.

Edghill doesn’t have the talent of these players but he’s a defender and, as he’s shown when Joe’s played Whitley on the right of midfield, does that job more than well enough for this division.

If the players above showed half the determination, loyalty and effort that Edghill has, we would be fighting it out with Charlton now, not with Ipswich and Barnsley. For that matter, if the players above had received half the abuse he has they would have run off crying to their agents.

So as Peter said, why don’t we start to judge fairly or are people scared of who might not really come up to scratch?

CTID, Gary King (


If what we want transpires over the next few weeks, then surely an approach should be made to Davor Suker who is to be released on a free from Arsenal. Eleven goals in 14 appearances is pretty damn good. And while we are knocking on the door at Highbury, perhaps we could steal Lee Dixon, who could come “home” and end his playing days at his favourite club!

Chris Loveridge – Hawk (


Everything at Manchester City is on track, from the Chairman and the board doing a great job in the background, Joe Royle and Willie Donachie with the team on the field. The team itself playing with great team spirit (which gives City an extra man on the field, or so it seems).

The fans, still with the club through bad times, and now looking forward to the good times again (how many of us ever left when we went to Div 2? – not many). City have got class in every department.

The reserves ready to win their Division, all the young players at our Academy. A new stadium down the road. The future is bright for City!

Together we are the City of Manchester, the Blues! Come on you Blues!

P.S. Thanks to all the supporters who send in their view of the games each week.

Ernie Barrow (


Are there any Blues in the Sydney, Australia (eastern suburbs or afar) area who are getting together to watch the last few matches that City have to play? I know that Optus C7 show a few live matches. I’m fed up with listening to snippets on the world service radio broadcast (channel 630 A.M.).

If you can help, e-mail me on

CTID – A Blue oasis in a desert of Red, Andi Frodsham (


I’ll be in the Putney / Wandsworth / Battersea area on the Friday night when we play Birmingham and was considering watching the game in the Prince of Wales on the Upper Richmond Road. If there are any other gatherings of Blues in the area for that evening could you let me know where and I’ll bring some support. Otherwise I’ll go to the P of W in Putney and perhaps I’ll see you there. Also can somebody tell me where the city centre bar is in London which is quite often referred to in MCIVTA and whose name escapes me?

Let’s hope the Brummies’ visit is the one that secures promotion and that the Blackburn game is just a formality; I’m running out of finger nails to chew!

Come on!

Stephen Phillips – Battersea Blue (


Any Blues in Amsterdam meeting up for a drink and to watch the match against Birmingham on the 28th? Myself and my fellow Blue working out here in Nigeria are returning to the UK via the Dam that weekend.

Had the pleasure of sending one of my locals home from work the other week for turning up in a Rag shirt, cheeky sod. Have warned them all that wearing any item of Rag merchandise results in being sent home.

Midi (CTTWOARMBCOPBI – City till the wearing of any Rag merchandise becomes criminal offence punishable by imprisonment), Colin Middleton (


Probably a futile attempt… but is there a season ticket holder out there not going to Blackburn who would kindly donate their XX voucher to a poor Citycard holder who is still on the season ticket waiting list and goes to every away game he can get a ticket for (is that a flying pig?)? Please? Pretty please? No don’t throw up, just make my day.

Mark Redgrave (


Does anybody have 2 spare tickets for the Blackburn game?

Martin Josephson (


Are any Florida based subscribers aware if the Birmingham game is being shown live anywhere?

Great time to be on holiday…

Harri Kallas (


Can anyone let me know if any of the final City games will be shown in New York, and if so where? Come on lads, I need you to go up so I can watch you on Sunday night on Madison Square Garden TV, I can’t get Fox Sports World. And MSG only show the Premier League, and I’m sick of having to watch the Reds.

CTID, Steve Clowes (


Having just read MCIVTA 596, in particular Richard Ellor’s request, I too would be much obliged if anyone could make available a copy of the play-off final (Sky’s coverage). I just received a copy of ‘City are Back’ and would like to see the full game after missing most of it myself. I was playing in a Cup Final also that day and as a result missed the first half. I watched the 2nd half in the pub with my team mates (made up of Man U, Chelsea & Leeds fans) and after constant abuse, left the pub with 88 minutes played. Imagine my surprise when at home I tune into 5Live and it is 2-2 deep into extra-time! Anyway I saw the penalty shoot-out and missed the after match celebrations as I was doing my own celebration back in the pub.

So if anyone can help me out, please contact me.

Steven Page (


I was 16 in the fateful year 1980. The Iron Curtain, which separated communist countries (including mine – Romania) from Western Europe hardly let any information, newspapers or magazines reach us. I’ve always had a soft spot for English football, but at that time all I was hearing was Liverpool winning this and that all over Europe.

However, in March I took the risks (i.e. interviews with the Romanian Secret Police) and managed to find an English pen pal, who was sending me the Shoot magazine. As I became knowledgeable about English football, it was about time to choose my favourite club. Knowing this would be a choice for life, I thought the utmost care should be paid when doing it.

So, after a thorough search, I decided it will be City. The reasoning was absolutely logic: At the end of the 1979-1980 season, City had just escaped relegation and yet, Maine Road attendances were third to Liverpool and U????d. I said to myself that City’s are true Blue supporters and I should be one of them. I must admit it took me some time to realise that City and logic are like two parallel lines, with nothing in common.

It all started so brightly the following season, with City reaching the FA Cup Final and my name aired by BBC’s Romanian Service as I had won their football-forecast competition 1980-81. I did not have to wait too long until some guy from the Secret Police paid a visit to my home to gather information about my links with the BBC. My father “greeted” him and took him into my room (walls covered by “Shoot” posters) to explain that everything has to do with football. A personal interview followed at school.

I can tell you it was very difficult to rely on BBC World Service on Saturday afternoons to hear about City’s performance. I was annoying my parents and later on my wife because there was nothing they could to stop me from getting stuck to my radio. Before getting married, I somehow sacrificed a Saturday evening to take her to the disco (open hours in communist Romania were 18.00 to 22.00). It was the day City thrashed Coventry 5-1 and she had then realised how harsh it was for me to miss the radio that evening.

There are so many places I associate with the team’s success and failure. Crying in my bed on a Thursday night as City were beaten by Spurs in the Cup Final. I was in the Army, with no access to a radio, when City were relegated in 1983, so my father drove all the way to the barracks on Sunday to give me the bad news. Then I got so excited in 1985 about our promotion that I went to the campus’ disco that night wearing my City scarf – to everyone’s amazement. I’ve listened to the Bradford game in May 1989 as I was attending a rugby union test match: Romania vs. England. The 1996 disaster got my family and me parking by the motorway. I felt like driving to a funeral after the Liverpool game was over.

The magic moment eventually happened in 1991, when I have visited Maine Road for the last game of the season vs. Sunderland. The visit was repeated a couple of times in 1997, the proudest moment of my life being when I took my son to Maine Road for the Stoke game. I should thank now my friends and fellow City supporters Alistair Wade and the Chester Branch, Lionel James Major and Ian Cheeseman for always making me feel welcomed during my visits.

My son is now 13 and a life member of the Junior Blues. I am glad that the passion for City shall live for another generation in my family and I look forward to City winning promotion this year when I will celebrate 20 fabulous years of tears and joy as a City fan.

Valentin Cudric (


Recent results to 16 April 2000 inclusive.

15 April 2000

Birmingham City       0 - 1  Nottingham Forest
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 1  Portsmouth
Crewe Alexandra       2 - 1  Queens Park Rangers
Fulham                4 - 0  Sheffield United
Grimsby Town          1 - 1  Manchester City
Norwich City          1 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs
Port Vale             2 - 2  Barnsley
Stockport County      0 - 1  Ipswich Town
Swindon Town          3 - 1  Tranmere Rovers
Walsall               2 - 2  Crystal Palace
West Bromwich Albion  4 - 4  Bolton Wanderers

14 April 2000

Charlton Athletic     0 - 1  Huddersfield Town

League table to 16 April 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.   43 15  2  5 35 15 12  6  3 41 24 27  8  8 76 39  37  89
 2 Manchester City 42 15  2  4 45 17  8  8  5 24 20 23 10  9 69 37  32  79
 3 Ipswich Town    42 14  3  4 36 17  8  9  4 28 21 22 12  8 64 38  26  78
 4 Barnsley        42 14  4  3 46 21  8  6  7 38 40 22 10 10 84 61  23  76
 5 Huddersfield T. 43 14  5  2 43 16  7  6  9 18 24 21 11 11 61 40  21  74
 6 Birmingham City 42 14  4  3 35 16  6  6  9 26 27 20 10 12 61 43  18  70
 7 Wolves          42 13  5  3 40 20  5  6 10 17 26 18 11 13 57 46  11  65
 8 Bolton Wndrs    42 12  5  4 40 25  5  8  8 20 23 17 13 12 60 48  12  64
 9 Fulham          42 12  6  3 29 12  4  9  8 16 24 16 15 11 45 36   9  63
10 Blackburn R.    42 10  8  3 31 15  5  7  9 21 29 15 15 12 52 44   8  60
11 QPR             42  8 11  2 27 19  6  5 10 28 31 14 16 12 55 50   5  58
12 Norwich City    42 10  5  6 24 21  3  9  9 18 25 13 14 15 42 46  -4  53
13 Sheff. United   42 10  6  5 35 21  3  6 12 20 45 13 12 17 55 66 -11  51
14 Tranmere Rovers 41  9  7  4 31 23  4  4 13 20 38 13 11 17 51 61 -10  50
15 Portsmouth      42  9  5  7 33 22  4  5 12 18 37 13 10 19 51 59  -8  49
16 Grimsby Town    42 10  7  4 26 23  3  3 15 13 40 13 10 19 39 63 -24  49
17 Nottm Forest    42  8  9  4 27 18  4  3 14 20 34 12 12 18 47 52  -5  48
18 Crystal Palace  42  6 11  4 31 23  5  4 12 22 39 11 15 16 53 62  -9  48
19 Stockport C.    42  7  8  6 28 28  4  7 10 18 33 11 15 16 46 61 -15  48
20 Crewe Alex.     42  8  5  8 23 26  4  3 14 16 35 12  8 22 39 61 -22  44
21 West Brom A.    42  4 11  6 21 25  4  7 10 17 32  8 18 16 38 57 -19  42
22 Walsall         42  5  6 10 23 33  4  7 10 26 39  9 13 20 49 72 -23  40
23 Port Vale       41  6  6  9 26 27  1  8 11 20 35  7 14 20 46 62 -16  35
24 Swindon Town    42  4  6 11 21 35  3  5 13 13 35  7 11 24 34 70 -36  32

With thanks to Football 365


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News & Rumours: Peter –
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Technical Problems: Paul –

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #597