Newsletter #599

After a fantastic set of results on Saturday, both at Maine Road and elsewhere, City were well set to go 7 points clear of Ipswich today. Things were going according to plan with a minute of the first half to go, but City then contrived to discard a 2-0 lead, finally coming away from Fratton Park with a point. Ipswich play tomorrow, and if they win, the gap will be down to 2 points with 2 games to go; Barnsley are 4 points behind but have no game in hand. Mathematically, City need to win both their remaining games to be sure of second place, but realistically speaking, a win and a draw will almost certainly prove sufficient given the superior goal difference. So, all looks set for another coronary experience – health warnings all round!

Special thanks to Mrk James for getting a Portsmouth report to us.

Next game: Birmingham City at home, Friday 28th April 2000


MANCHESTER CITY vs. TRANMERE ROVERS, Saturday 22nd April 2000

Those of you who have been regular readers of this fine electronic journal will know that throughout last season and up until the turn of the year this season I have provided regular match reports.

For a whole range of reasons, mostly a lack of time, I haven’t been able to do match reports since around Christmas time. However, such is the magnitude of what now faces us, I thought I really must make the time for the last couple of games.

My website is still up to date and has details of all results and trends and it certainly makes interesting reading. It’s been consistently accurate all year in forecasting that we would make our holy grail. You can check it out at >

Anyway moving on, whilst Tranmere arrived at the Academy safe from relegation due to their win against Port Vale during the week, I arrived with my trousers around my knees, having walked one of the most peculiar routes to the ground from where we had parked our car. Regular readers will probably recall that I must undertake such pathetic routines, because if I don’t then City will lose.

Of course in a season that has delivered beyond our dreams and wildest expectations, you can imagine that this now involves me in making sure that some pretty bizarre rituals are followed on match days. And so it’s with some lack of dignity and regard for personal safety that I throw off my trouser belt before leaving home, drop my trousers and make my way to the ground. As the last games have approached and the prospects of an automatic promotion place has looked tight, we have had to take even more care to follow exactly the same route, stop at exactly the same shops and even buy and eat things that we don’t want – such is the narrow minded myopic world of the football fan.

I should move onto the game and by way of pre-match preparation I visited the Tranmere web site and read Tranmere boss John Aldridge Tranmere saying “At the moment you can’t get bigger than an away game at Maine Road. There will be 32,000 fans there and it is a fantastic place to go. I have been there a few times this season to watch City and they have really impressed me. Joe Royle has got some good quality players together who like to play football and they play football very, very well.”

It’s only fair to say that whist we do have some good quality players, he’s actually quite wrong with some of the facts that he suggests. Now I don’t want to be too pedantic but it seems silly to suggest that you can’t get a bigger away game than Maine Road – has the man never heard of the Maracana, or the Nou Camp? And not only that, there hasn’t been a single game this season when we have had exactly 32,000 fans there – enough then of pre-match preparation and good humoured pedantry.

We arrived at the Academy a little damp from a sudden downpour that caught us as we made our way from The Gardeners, where a couple of pints of Guinness had been well received. As we walked to the ground we made all sorts of calculations of promotion possibilities – what if Ipswich won and Barnsley lost or if Barnsley won and Ipswich lost, or what if they both drew their games and so on. Little were we to know that we would leave the ground a couple of hours later with the maths a lot easier to work out and the prospects of touching the holy grail a whole lot more realistic.

On to the game itself, and as ever a fairly minimal report with regard to the actual football. Tranmere looked quite smart in blue shorts, and white jersey. Although I say white jersey, it actually had thin vertical stripes on it and most bizarrely of all, the name of a fish emblazoned across the front – well I suppose Wirral is a plaice isn’t it? Smart white socks finished off the Saturday afternoon outfit. Tony, Alec, Barrie and Paul officiated. Unfortunately for Paul he hails from Rotherham. There were two flags in use and they were yellow and red. Tony, a raw materials buyer from Darwen, blew a whistle to signal the kick off.

The match magazine cost £2.00 and had 48 pages, page 48 (back page) indicated that the match ball sponsor (Beejay & Co) is located in Old Trafford.

Moving on, another fine crowd at Maine Road (32,842) had no doubt who was best in this game. It was City by a mile; a good start saw us get straight into Tranmere and within 10 minutes a piece of football magic from Goater that required determination, imagination and skill saw The Goat grab his 28th of the season to send Maine Road wild. Basically he chased on to the Tranmere ‘keeper who should really have collected the ball, the ‘keeper panicked, Goater got it and from an angle that seemed pretty much impossible, he fired home to set us on our way. It was a fitting reward for Goater to score an audacious goal on his 100th outing in a City shirt.

Although we had control of the game it seemed difficult at times to get though the frequently well-worked offside trap. On a day when refereeing left something to be desired, it seemed that although we should score more it might be a case of having to settle for just the one.

The second half saw a sharper looking City side and for me Tiatto had to be the Man of the Match – he really was impressive (and has been I think for some time), Kennedy had more space than a NASA moon shot and looked lively although he seemed to struggled at first to weight his crosses accurately. Spencer Prior just looks better and better with each game. And Dickov as ever seems to have more energy than the rest of the team put together.

Although a slightly slow start to the second 45 it soon perked up and City controlled the game from the midfield. Whitley was looking pretty sharp and found himself up front a couple of times and was in fact unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions before he eventually wrapped the game up in the 72nd minute.

Taylor came on for Dickov for the last 20 minutes and not only looked much fitter than of late but showed enough to let us know why Joe has bought him. Taylor himself was unlucky not to get the ball in the net when he headed just wide. Although City had been much the better team, the result was really all that counted today and we got that and got the results that we wanted from further afield. You don’t need me to tell you that we are now four points clear with just three games to go. It was the end to a great week, and on a day when the scum collected the silver it was good to reflect that you only get silver when you’ve lost the gold.

A good set of results on Monday and from the Ipswich game on Tuesday could make the Academy the only place to be in Manchester on Friday night.

This report is also posted on my bluenews web site along with performance statistics. You can check it out at <>

Tony Burns (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. TRANMERE ROVERS, Saturday 22nd April 2000

I definitely felt somewhat tense at the prospect of this fixture. It was one of those ‘banana skins’ that could leave us in a very difficult position. On the other hand, we knew that City could give us something to cheer about.

The line-up was:

Edghill, Jobson, Prior, Tiatto
Whitley, Wiekens, Horlock, Kennedy
         Goater, Dickov

City started well, immediately getting forward and putting the Tranmere defence under pressure. On the other hand, Tranmere at the other end were getting nothing out of our defence.

In the event it was a terrible mix-up in the Tranmere defence that resulted in City’s first goal. A defender tried to get the ball back to his goalkeeper, and he hesitated long enough for Goater to nick the ball, and he managed to get the ball in the net virtually from the bye line. Excellent.

The rest of the half was at times a bit frustrating. Kennedy attempted a number of crosses, many of which were agonisingly overhit and resulted in Edghill and Whitley having to run to try to stop the ball from going out for the throw.

Half-time, and City looked to be confident. The first bit of good news came through – Barnsley losing 2-0, Ipswich still at 0-0. During the break, the news came through that QPR had scored! Could this be our day?

The second half started and City seemed to lose control a bit. Having said that, Weaver was still pretty much redundant in our goal, I think his most active involvement was punching the ball from a corner kick. Certainly I was expecting more from Dave Challinor in terms of the throws, but he only once sent the ball into the penalty area.

Then City got on top again, Jeff Whitley coming close with a header and then scoring from a Kennedy cross. From there on, the game subsided a little, although Robert Taylor came on and nearly scored a third, heading just wide.

News that Ipswich were further behind at QPR and that Barnsley were 3-1 down came through. JR brought Bishop on for Kennedy (probably saving Kennedy for Monday) and then Pollock on for Whitley (probably ditto) and City were able to see the last few minutes out. Horlock nearly managed to grab a goal, but his shot was blocked.

All in all, City coped well, although I suspect that, with nothing much to play for, Tranmere were hardly much of a threat.


Weaver 7 Nothing much to do, did what he had to well enough.
Edghill 6 Defensively very good, passing still going astray.
Prior 7 Solid defensive performance again, a very good buy indeed!
Jobson 7 Another good, solid performance at the back.
Tiatto 8 Were it not for the Goat, would be my player of the season – now works well with Kennedy and is a real asset to the team.
Whitley 8 Everywhere on the pitch tackling, took his goal well, seems to be more confident there.
Wiekens 7 Played his part well, some very good passing.
Horlock 7 Could have scored at the end, otherwise solid.
Kennedy 6 Marked down for a series of wildly overhit crosses, otherwise, he seemed to make more progress against the Tranmere defence.
Goater 7 Quieter than of late, but took his chance very well.
Dickov 7 Was all over the place, took on the defence and caused them all sorts of problems.


Taylor 6 Not much chance to show his new level of fitness, nearly scored.
Bishop 7 Seemed to bring some organisation to the midfield when we were seemingly not quite as ‘in control’.
Pollock 7 OK, not much time to show but seemed solid enough.

Someone was definitely smiling on us today. Theoretically, we can be assured of promotion if we win and Barnsley don’t on Monday, and Ipswich lose on Tuesday. In any case, so long as we win on Monday, then the promotion party is back on for the Friday night game against Birmingham!

See you there!

Euan Bayliss (


PORTSMOUTH vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 24th April 2000

Most definitely a case of 2 points dropped rather than a point gained as City splutter their way to share of the points at Fratton Park.

The afternoon began in glorious sunshine as the boys ran out, resplendent in their red and black away kit. Joe Royle, as promised, had made a few changes. Pollock in for Horlock, and Dickov rested up front in favour of Bob Taylor. The game started at a high tempo, with City forcing 3 corners in the first 10 minutes, all of which were predictably wasted.

Kennedy was seeing a great deal of the ball, and his crosses into the area were causing a certain amount of discomfort for Pompey’s defence, while City’s back four were mopping up everything in sight. A cross from Edghill saw Taylor head just over the bar before City scored on 26 minutes. A Kennedy corner on the right was half cleared, and after making an excellent tackle, Wiekens hooked the ball back in for Spencer Prior to glance a header in for his 3rd goal for the Blues.

City were now beginning to stamp some authority on the game, and the huge City following were in great voice, mimicking the Pompey fans’ rather limited choice of songs.

On 40 minutes, a Portsmouth corner was easily cleared by City, and following a gorgeous long ball from Wiekens out to Kennedy, the City winger managed to get it across at the second attempt, for Fat Bob to stab home a vital second.

What joy! This was proving to be easier than expected. Unfortunately, we weren’t counting on the abysmal refereeing abilities of Paul Alcock. If people are expecting the standard of officiating to improve should we climb into the top flight, then today’s performance by the man in black proved that at any level, referees can be awful. After having played 2 minutes of the previously indicated 1 minute of injury time, a hopeful ball was hit into the City box where it hit Bob Taylor on the arm. Surely a case of ball to arm (Bob would have needed lightening reactions to move his arm out of the way), but Mr Alcock deemed it a penalty. Lee Bradbury, who couldn’t hit a barn door at 5 paces when he played for us, duly slotted the penalty home. City didn’t have time to get the ball out of the centre circle before Mr Alcock blew for half time! The City players surrounded the referee as they walked off, pointing out what time it was on the Fratton End clock.

Now City have never been a side that are comfortable holding onto a lead, particularly away from home, which makes the way we played in the second half all the more disappointing. Instead of going forward as they had in the first half, we sat back in a vain effort to hold on. Portsmouth were there for the taking, as had been proved already, but as we sat deep in our own half and lumped long hopeful balls up to Shaun and Bob, the game became extremely scrappy. The one chance we created, saw Bob Taylor’s one on one strike turned onto the post by the ‘keeper. Bob was replaced by Dickov, while Horlock came on for Kennedy who was a virtual spectator in the 2nd half.

City’s cause was not helped by Paul Alcocks’ atrocious decisions. He seemed intent on giving free kick after free kick to Pompey just outside the City penalty area, whilst City players were being left flattened with no protection at all. With time ticking away, it looked more likely that City would hang on, as the ball was spending most of the game in midfield, but unfortunately for him, Richard Edghill proved to be City’s Achilles heel again! Having been dragged out of position into the box, his sliced clearance flew out to the left, straight to the winger he’d manged to shackle so well for 84 minutes. His first time cross was met sweetly by Lee Bradbury for his 2nd of the game. I seem to recall it taking him something like 3 months to score 2 goals for us, but 35 minutes was enough against us.

After that there was no way City were going to score again, and only a flying save from Weaver and a header from Jobson prevented us going home with nothing. I know this probably sounds downbeat, but having taken a 2-0 lead against a very average side, and faced with the prospect of automatic promotion, we really should have done better. Plus points – Tiatto, Prior, Jobson & Whitley were excellent, whilst poor Edghill just provides more ammunition for his detractors. The lad can play well, the last 3 games have proved that, but his mistakes are proving to be very costly. There is no harm in hitting Row Z Richard! As if to mock us even more, as the final whistle went, the blazing sunshine turned to rain, and the ensuing cattle market style exit from the ground left City fans wet and frustrated.

Come on Palace!

Mark James (


Monday evening news: Portsmouth result and effect on league position. Reaction (and Ipswich’s result against Palace on Tuesday) to follow in the next edition.

Bradbury Brace Denies Blues

After forty minutes of this afternoon’s match at Portsmouth, Manchester City looked set to move within touching distance of the Premiership. But the Blues let slip a two-goal lead and had to settle for a draw – thanks to a Maine Road old boy. City went ahead on 26 minutes through Spencer Prior and doubled the advantage courtesy of Robert Taylor’s flick from a Kennedy cross five minutes before the break. But Lee Bradbury, the Blues’ one-time record buy, scored a penalty in first half injury time after Taylor had handled a Justin Edinburgh cross. Then it was Bradbury again, six minutes from time, who earned a share of the spoils for the home side. And the irony of seeing his side claw back such a deficit won’t be lost on Pompey boss Tony Pulis, the man whose Gillingham side lost a two-goal lead against the Blues at Wembley last May.

Ipswich’s Tuesday Match Now Crucial

Manchester City were within six minutes of a vital victory at Portsmouth on Easter Monday. But Pompey’s equaliser means Ipswich are five points behind the Blues with a game in hand. The Suffolk outfit don’t play until Tuesday evening, when they have a televised home match against Crystal Palace. And a win against the Eagles would take George Burley’s men to within two points of City, setting up two tense final weekends of the season. Barnsley, meanwhile, maintained their own hopes of cashing in should their two rivals slip up with a 2-1 Oakwell victory over Norwich. The Tykes now have four points fewer than Joe Royle’s men from the same number of games.

The following was written before the Easter Monday visit to Fratton Park.

Goater, Whitley Seal Win Over Tranmere

Manchester City earned three crucial promotion points at Maine Road on Saturday afternoon. Goals from Shaun Goater and Jeff Whitley helped the Blues to a 2-0 win over Tranmere. Goater gave City the ideal start when he slotted home from the narrowest of angles. The Merseysiders scarcely threatened, but the Blues didn’t make the outcome safe until Whitley slotted home a Kennedy cross in the 72nd minute. In the second half, Joe Royle brought on substitutes Taylor, Bishop and Pollock for Dickov, Kennedy and Whitley with a view to keeping his players fresh before Monday’s trip to Portsmouth.

Royle Refuses to Count Chickens

Joe Royle admitted that he “couldn’t have asked for a better set of results if I had picked them” after his Manchester City side moved ahead in the race for a Division One promotion place on Saturday. But the Blues’ boss is looking no further ahead than Monday’s tricky trip to Portsmouth. Royle refuses to tempt providence given his club’s chequered recent history, and he knows the south coast club will present a stern test after easing away from the relegation zone under new boss Tony Pulis. “This is a tough game, maybe the toughest of the run-in, and I’ve seen what’s happened to this club before,” said the City manager. “All I will say is give us six points and we’ll take some passing.”

Aldo Backs City Promotion Bid

John Aldridge saw his Tranmere side beaten at Maine Road on Saturday. And the former Liverpool striker then backed Manchester City to clinch a return to the Premiership this season. Aldridge admitted his side were second-best on the day and had no complaints at the final scoreline. And the ex-Irish international feels the Blues would be worthy of a place in the top flight. “They’ve got themselves a great chance of promotion and they deserve it,” he said. “So do Joe and the fans, but it’s a pity for our division. You want to be playing big clubs like City, but we’re all a bit selfish.”

Burley Not Giving Up Yet

Ipswich Town saw Manchester City move four points clear on Saturday in the race for an automatic promotion place in Division One. But manager George Burley is refusing to concede that his side are destined for the play-offs. The Suffolk club suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat at QPR to concede vital ground to the Blues. But Burley is determined to make life as difficult as possible for Joe Royle’s men. “There are three games to play and everything still to play for,” he said defiantly. “We are already guaranteed a top-six place and we will be giving it everything to try and get into second.”

Bosses Hail Goater Strike

TV evidence proved that referee Tony Leake was correct to award Shaun Goater’s opening goal for Manchester City against Tranmere on Saturday. And the Bermudian’s strike was hailed by the opposing managers – both former international strikers. Tranmere goalkeeper Joe Murphy claimed he was already in possession of the ball when dispossessed by Goater, but the Wirral club’s manager John Aldridge said, “There was nothing wrong with what Goater did. He did exactly what I would have done in the same situation.” Joe Royle, meanwhile, commented simply that, “It was a terrific goal.”

City in Double Transfer Link

Manchester City look set to bring in fresh faces in the summer and as a result are being linked with players on a regular basis. And the latest speculation surrounds Rangers’ winger Andrei Kanchelskis and Doncaster goalkeeper Andy Warrington. Russian international winger Kanchelskis is out of contract in the summer, and the Blues are now rumoured to have reached an agreement to bring the player to Maine Road if promotion is won. And the fact that the Ukrainian-born star will be available for free would enable the club to afford the reported £25,000-per-week wage package for the ex-Manchester United man. Meanwhile, with reserve goalkeeper Tommy Wright a free agent in the summer and yet to sign a new deal, the Blues are said to be eyeing replacements. Both City and Sheffield Wednesday are reported to have watched Warrington on several occasions with a view to a summer transfer.

Goater Set for Personal Acclaim

Shaun Goater’s goals have given Manchester City a great chance of winning promotion to the Premiership this season. But the Bermudian front man could also win his share of personal accolades. For Friday’s Manchester Evening News reports that the 27-goal striker is firmly in the running for both the PFA Division One Player of the Year award and the divisional Adidas Golden Boot for top scorer. And the 30-year-old is also in contention for the paper’s Sports Personality of the Year award and for the City supporters’ Player of the Year award. However, he’d no doubt swap all the personal adulation for a chance to play in the Premier League next term.

Hartford Wants Maine Road Return

Manchester City have not yet decided on a venue for next season’s home reserve fixtures. But coach Asa Hartford is keen to return to Maine Road. The Blues have played at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields this season, having also hosted games in recent years at Witton and Altrincham. But Hartford is keen to use the club’s home ground, and says, “With all the technology available these days, I would have thought the pitch at Maine Road could be used for more games.”

Pre-Season Plans Taking Shape

Manchester City will be keen to hit the ground running next season – whichever division the Blues are playing in. And plans for the pre-season build-up are already taking shape. In the last two years, the club has only played friendlies in England in the summer build-up, while the previous year four English-based matches were supplemented with a trip to Scotland. This year, the Blues could be heading further afield, with director Chris Bird admitting that talks are under way over a potential three-team tournament in Bermuda involving the host nation and Sunderland. There is also likely to be a trip to Ireland, with Joe Royle said to be keen to take his team to the Emerald Isle.

City Plan for Tough Premier Task

The financial resources needed for promoted clubs to give themselves a fighting chance of remaining in English football’s top flight are increasing every year. And Manchester City have already made plans to see that the necessary resources would be made available if the Blues won promotion. Football analyst William Davies of Capel Cure Sharp believes that relegation next year would be a disaster for any club. “With the new TV deal on the horizon which will dwarf the 7 million pounds Premiership clubs receive now, no club can afford relegation,” he explained. And chairman David Bernstein admitted this week that he intends to “bring in fresh capital to give the manager ammunition” to improve the squad. Meanwhile, director Chris Bird explained that the club is working with the club’s media partner BSkyB to make itself a force in the field of e-commerce and also has longer-term plans for a dedicated club TV channel.

No Comment From Toms Ahead of Pompey Clash

Joe Royle’s blast against female match officials caused something of a stir earlier in the season. And for the first time since their manager’s outburst, the Blues come face-to-face for the first time this season with referee’s assistant Wendy Toms in Monday’s trip to Portsmouth. The City boss criticised Toms’ appointment for the Worthington Cup final between Leicester and Tranmere in February. And for that reason, the Dorest-based referee’s assistant is sure to be under the spotlight when the Blues visit Fratton Park on Saturday. Toms has issued a “no comment” statement in the run-up to the game, which has plenty of edge already. The Blues will also come up against one-time Maine Road record signing Lee Bradbury, while Pompey boss Tony Pulis was in charge of the Gillingham side pipped so dramatically by City in last May’s Division two play-off final.

Kennedy’s Plea to Republic Boss

Mark Kennedy featured for the Blues against Tranmere on Saturday. And the match against John Aldridge’s side could be the first of four for the Republic of Ireland winger in the space of a week. For Kennedy has been called up by his country for a friendly against Greece at Landsdowne Road on Wednesday – two days after he’s due to play for City at Portsmouth and only 48 hours before another crucial promotion battle against Birmingham at Maine Road. And while the 23-year-old would normally be delighted to represent his national side, on this occasion he’s hoping boss Mick McCarthy will allow him to put City first. “I am not relishing four games in a week,” admitted the winger. “The international could have come at a better time.” Kevin Horlock has a similar conflict of interest, having been named in the Northern Ireland squad for a friendly against Hungary.

Peter Brophy (


T   hree
R   emaining
A   nd
N   ow
M   aking
E   ven
R   oyle
E   motional

Steve Maclean (


Members of the Essex & Suffolk CSA will be meeting at Seabright’s Barn, Galleywood, Essex for a short meeting and the Big Match City vs. Birmingham (it could be the clincher!). Any Blues in the area are more than welcome to attend. We once a again will be running our Time of First Goal Scored competition which will have a Jackpot of £16.00 + half of the takings on the night, not bad for 50p a go. More details are available from Ian Whittaker (Chairman) 01245 465075 or Paul Gallagher 01708 787227 or 079 8019 5243 or Hope to see you there!

P.S. Essex & Suffolk are 100% behind the promotion push and the “Team” that have given us the oppertunity to be pushing for that promotion both on and off the field. Come on you Blues! Come on you Blues!

CTID, Paul Gallagher a.k.a. Paddy O’Blue (


P   romotion
O   ptimism
R   epressed.    Does ....
T   his
S   coreline
M   ean
O   ur
U   ndoing?
(T  wo  acronyms left -
H   ooray!

Steve Maclean (


Some of you may remember at the start of the season, I invited MCIVTA subscribers to take part in a predictions competition (Just for fun) that I was running for a local Junior Football Club, “Gidea Park Rangers”. As the season draws to a close I will be bringing you an “if it ended now” slot to whet your whistles for next season’s competition. Watch this space! I had only six (surprisingly) MCIVTA participants for the 99/00 competition. If it ended now the scores would look like this (bearing in mind that the play off winners obviously cannot be decided at this stage, we are using 3rd and 4th places respectfully as a guide):

Gary King 34 points, Duncan Madden-Ross 34 points, Andrew Gibbons 27 points, Chris Jones 26 points, Kevin McMeeking 24 points and Scott Thompson 21 points. Each player had to predict 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Top Scorer (League Only), 18th, 19th and 20th in the Premiership. 1st, 2nd, Play-off winners, 22nd, 23rd and 24th in Div 1. 1st, 2nd, Play-off winners, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th in Div 2. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Play-off winners and 24th in Div 3. Worthington Cup winners and Runners up. F.A. Cup winners and Runners up.

Next season’s competition is being run as a fund raiser for the Essex & Suffolk CSA and will be thrown open to MCIVTA subscribers (many thanks to all at MCIVTA for their support), so if you think you know your football, this will be where to prove it. There will of course be regular monthly updates in MCIVTA.

Paul Gallagher, Secretary, Essex & Suffolk CSA (


City versus Birmingham City
Live on TV Friday 28th April at 20:00
The Blarney Stone, Nieuwendijk 29, Amsterdam

As well as being Queen’s Day eve, could this be our promotion party? Either way a great time is guaranteed! Hope to see some new faces there too.

If anyone needs a lift to Amsterdam from Dordrecht or the Rotterdam areas, maybe that can be arranged too. R.S.V.P. Ian and Maggie 078 6932044

Ian Hawthorne (


Yet again the Stretford obsessed media rewrite history. Simon Bird in the Express on the 22nd April reckons Denis Law went from Old Trafford to Torino for £100k. He’ll be telling us next that the 1968-1974 side of Best, Law & Charlton were better than Bell, Lee and Summerbee when the record books show otherwise.

There’s nothing like getting your facts right!

Simon Moorhead (


I am doing a vote for this season and I would like everyone to vote at Note: the address given in MCIVTA 598 was incorrect.

Chris Craddock (


Taken from Steve Claridge’s Nationwide League Column on the Sky Sports Web page:

Which team do you think have got the loudest crowd, I reckon Newcastle United?

“Have to disagree with you there – Manchester City’s fans give their team ear-splitting support. We once lost 4-3 at Newcastle when Alan Shearer scored the winning goal in the last minute. St James’ Park was loud – but not quite Man City standards.”

David Kilroy (


The much-acclaimed tracking system hasn’t been implemented yet, but it might come into play next season. I’m not sure of the reasons for this delay, but I do know there’s some sort of system working now; how effective it is goes to show with the use of ticket stubs for recent games…

I think the reason why it’s not working is because the equipment in the office is pretty old, and seeing as though we’re moving in a few years, there’s no real point spending all that money on some computers that will only last two years… Eastlands will have new computers and stuff. It’s the same with most things that need improving at Maine Road, they won’t spend money improving things when we’ve moving in two years. We’ve got to make do and mend.

David Scally (


Just thought people might be amused by the following extract of forthcoming attractions at the Bridgewater Hall. Thursday 4 May 2000 7.30pm

Nanci Griffith and the Blue Moon Orchestra
Straight from the heart of Nashville,`the Queen of Folkabilly’ celebrates two decades of musical roads travelled with a collection of songs that span her entire career. Touring to promote her new album The Dust Bowl Symphony, Nanci Griffith sings with honesty and warmth and has never sounded better.

Jack Millington (


Just a comment on Jim Curtis’ plea from the heart, with which I have every sympathy. Years and years ago. City used to have a voucher system for match tickets. For the home matches you bought your programme and inside was a voucher which you cut out and stuck to your voucher sheet (the voucher sheet was inside the first two home league matches). Then you either went to watch the reserves when City were away, bought the programme (is it still a one-page ludicrous thing?) and stuck the voucher from said programme on your voucher sheet. If you went to watch City at the away match instead of watching the reserves (in those days it was same day, same time), you cut the front off the away program and attached that to your voucher sheet. It worked a treat, all the true fans got priority for the ‘big’ matches. Whats wrong with bringing it back? Just a thought on a serious problem.

Jack Millington (


‘Singing in the rain’ as I was for this one in my fetching white mac. Thought City dominated the game without really getting out of second gear. Tiatto for me was man of the match, but thought Edghill played very well defensively even allowing for a couple of wayward passes; he even had a couple of shots which at Twickenham would have resulted in an extra ‘score’ each! With a 10-goal superior goal difference to Ipswich, 5 points should see us up as they can only get a max 9 points now. However, 3 more wins by us and 3 losses by Charlton would be nice!

Dave Barrow (


Oh no! Not Lee Badbuy! This is the mother of all cliffhanging seasons again. Keep the faith everyone says, and I do, I do. Yeah, course we’re gonna do it, Joe knows all and I take back some (most) of the (minor) criticism I made in earlier McVitties. Edghill, what a star, come on Regggggg! Fat Bob! Fat Bob! Drove up from Wexford today fuming ’cause all those stupid buggers on RTE Red radio could find for me was “in Division 1 Stockport lead Swindon by two goals”. By the time I got to Dublin all I knew was Barnsley and Brum had won. Clicked on Ceefax, all the text was fragmented:

"Pors    th   Z   Ma   it  "

Rang Blue Daughter and Blue Son-in-law, where are they… ah yes… Portsmouth. Tried Club Website, the server’s down. Rang guy in Wine Merchants, ah yes he’s a Blue – closed for bank holiday. And when normal service is resumed what do I get? The Lee Badbuy show, that’s what! Keep the faith. Being a Blue is hell, or did I say that before somewhere? Best to Cahal, Steve Willis, HS (owe you an email) Dave K the Blue bug, Jack M, Simon Curtis, Bartley (see you soon), Big Matt@siralexmyarse and all the other great people who’ve enlivened my year and kept me sort of sane. Not forgetting Ash, MCIVTA Contributors’ social? Augustish?

CTWDTTEWAT (City till we do things the easy way, and thereafter), Ernie Whalley (


I think that it is about time that there was a reunification of both The Official Supporters’ Club and the Centenary Supporters’ Association. Not for any particular reason other than “We are all on the same side again, Aren’t we?” Both do a fantastic job, hats off to Anthony Horton and Frank Horrocks and their respective committees etc. for jobs very well done. But just imagine, a bigger voice with twice the firepower! Does anybody else agree? I’d be interested to find out, after all the breakaway was a Peter Swales or Franny Lee thing wasn’t it? I would point out that this is a personal opinion and in no way reflects the views of committee/members of Essex & Suffolk CSA.

Paul Gallagher (


To ease the tension today (and not being in Portsmouth) I went to see Luton Town vs. Wigan, partly because it gave me a chance to see Terry Cooke and possibly add some more to the conspiracy theories. To say he was disappointing is an understatement; he was really poor on the day and did not re-appear after half-time. Perhaps he was carrying an injury? Whatever the truth, Wigan were a better team in the second half without him.

Peter Kewley (


A few issues of MCIVTA ago, Phil Hartley gave us the “irrefutable scientific proof” that City’s going up. I kept Phil’s predictions, with me, all the time and I prayed that it would work.

5 games after, Phil has the exactly right results for all City games. The right number of points for Ipswich (simply switch the outcomes of the WBA and Stockport games and all his predictions are correct) and for Barnsley, well they did worse that his predictions, so it is fine! Was it JR who said after the Grimsby game that football is not an exact science?

Well done Phil, even if the results don’t go our way for the last three games, it is quite an achievement to have predicted the outcome of 5 consecutive City games!

Blue Moon… Malek Tabbal (


Continuing the debate about certain players receiving stick from sections of the crowd, it brought to mind similar situations over the years when there was a marked increase in City players receiving abuse by home fans during some of the bigger matches. In my opinion this was, and still is, due to ‘big game’ fans who used to turn up for the odd game pi*sed, and evidently thought it was part of their job to heckle certain players who had unfairly or otherwise gained a reputation as generally being ‘below par’, or made crucial errors in the odd match.

Since early last year when most games at Maine Road have become either sold out or near to capacity, the ‘big gamers’ seem to have returned full time, still carrying on the time-honoured tradition of being a major pain in the a*se and a liability to the team. I, like every other City fan, have certain reservations about the team, but know it achieves absolutely nothing to slag the players off during a match. Why not save the whingeing till afterwards in the pub? Failing that, why not bother turning up at all, giving the chance to more impassioned supporters to attend?

Larry Higgs (


Could you possibly get a better day of results than that? Maybe if the Rags had lost at the Dell it would have improved the day more, but I’ll take a 4-point gap at this stage… no hiccups at Fratton Park please (Bradbury may surprise us all and have a blinder… nah that’s highly unlikely isn’t it?). A lot of good strikers suddenly up for grabs… Cole, Ole, Suker… out of our price range though! 3 matches or maybe 2 away from the Premiership; bit like a good dream really looking back. Long may it continue.

Chris Loveridge – Hawk (


To relieve some of the end-of-the-season tension, I have decided to write this little note about the Rags, and more specifically, about that “great” game against Real Madrid at the Swamp. We deserve a little break from this nerve-wrecking race for automatic promotion. Who knows where will we be when Monday evening comes, and you’ll read this article, but hey, we have clinched a play-off spot for sure! It can’t be that bad. Back to that great Wednesday night at the Swamp (I, of course, watched it on TV!). Well, too bad that the Rags rallied and scored two goals (McManaman gave away a useless penalty kick, I felt that 3 or 4-nil would have been a nice drubbing) but the Rags’ defence was in total shambles. What joy also to see the most arrogant B*****d of them all, Bean Head, score an own goal under no real pressure! The next day, I went downtown to buy that lovely black Real shirt, but I found out that it was too expensive, nearly 100 USD, so it is OK, I’ll keep the money for City’s away shirt, which I find nicer than the home shirt! I love the laser-blue color but I don’t like those white bands on its sleeves. The black and red away shirt appears more classy! By the way, I have the impression that I have spotted one guy wearing the “Kappa” City blue shirt with a Real Madrid scarf, among the celebrating Madrid fans. Was I dreaming or what?

Thinking of that Real Madrid win (should we send their supporters a thank you and good luck note?), I came with the following conclusion: the level of refereeing in the Premiership is dreadful! After all, maybe the only reason the Rags were so convincingly beaten against Real was that the man-in-black (or was it green) did not came to their rescue when they needed it? I am so used to referees giving the Rags let-offs, that each time Real scored, I was waiting for the referee to disallow the goal for some obscure reason. In the Rags’ last games in the Premiership, I remember the following “incidents”:

  1. Against the Hammers at the Swamp: Imaginary penalty for the Rags whilethe score at 1-1; after the penalty the Hammers were drubbed.
  2. Against Boro at the Riverside: while the score is 1-0 for Boro, a goal forRicard disallowed because of pushing and shoving between Brian Dean and YapStump! At 2-0, it would have been difficult for the Rags to go back intothe game.
  3. Against Sunderland at the Swamp: while the score is 1-0 for the Rags, butthe game is still somewhat tight, Phillips is sent crashing down bycan’t-be-more professional foul from Yap Stump. Red card sure. Of coursenot, we are at the Swamp, remember. The Rags eventually win 4-0.
  4. Against Real Madrid at the Swamp: Real is a decent team and Collina adecent ref. Result: U****d out of the runners-up league (that is actuallyturning into a Spanish Cup!)

If Watford had such breaks each time they were in some trouble, they would be challenging now for Europe. After all, it takes a little incident or wrong referee decision to change the whole momentum of a game. Who among us could forget Wilkie’s decision when Frontzeck touched Bone Head (with the ball about 10 yards away) a few years ago in a Cup tie at the Swamp?

Finally, apparently, there were only 1,500 Rags’ supporters for the win against the Saints. Was it due to ticket sales restriction, or is it the normal number of Rags that travel to away games?

Cheers and Good Luck for all, Keep the Faith, Malek Tabbal, Beirut (


Are there any City fans in the South Derbyshire or Burton upon Trent area that would like to set up a supporters’ club? If so could they e-mail me before the Brum game and if they don’t have tickets then we could meet up for the game on TV.

Chris Craddock (


I could really do with some help.

I am off to Dublin on Friday the 28th April and will miss the Birmingham home game and hopefully the promotion party. I’ve been trying to find on the Net if the Dublin City supporters have anything organised over there, without much luck. I was hoping that I might be able to join them and watch the game. Unfortunately there are only two of us out of seven lads going that are Blues and typically it was a Red that arranged the trip. I would be grateful for any info or contact numbers.

See you in the Premiership.

Cheers! Ian Twemlow – North Stand, Block R, Row 17, seat 25 (


I’m over in New York next weekend and was wondering if the Birmingham game is likely to be on the box over there. I’m not sure how likely this is bearing in mind it’s going to be a Friday afternoon in New York. Any information regarding bars that have televisions showing any details of English football would be appreciated.

John Wilson (


Well, it’s difficult to explain…

I usually lose the plot almost immediately after beginning the explanation… many I’m sure think I’m not “Blue” at all, but rather “green” and from Mars!

I’m jealous as hell of those lucky enough to get to Maine Road on a regular basis, supporting the team week in week out, with pride, passion and nonsensical loyalty. I live in Surrey, which can make things difficult for a “Blue” – I’m sure you understand what I mean 😉

Not being able to get to the ground regularly, doesn’t mean that exiles like me are any less passionate in our support, just slightly less privileged.

Anyway, for me, it all began when my parents decided to move for the first of many times, when I was about 3 or 4. We left the footballing hotbed of Peterborough for the delights of Manchester. We stayed there until I was about 8, when the family continued on their travels, but by then, there was to be only one colour!

Manchester was great. We lived in a nice house on a quiet street, close to the local park. We had a colour TV and loads of other football mad kids to hang out with. It was a place of major firsts – new schools, best friends, mischief, girls and of course a first trip to a real football match.

Now my dad loves sport and I’ve been lucky enough to inherit his passion (and some ability). Like many people, I will tell you that I was a pretty good player in my day. I represented the school, the local club, the local pub and all the county teams I could play for. Basically, if I could get a game, I was there. And yes, I had trials for a couple of league clubs too! Given how much we moved around, that’s a lot of teams I’ve played for! Alas, I never made it to the big time, which I blame solely on having to move to Saudi Arabia at a time in my youth, when you either get picked up by a club or you don’t. I’m sure that the phone call from The Academy would have come, if only I’d been in the country!

Despite the nomadic lifestyle and moving abroad when I should have been starting my apprenticeship, my dad has been a good rôle model. He’s successful, looks after his family and can always be relied on in times of need. For every major decision I’ve had to make in life, I’ve always asked him for an opinion. He’s rarely wrong, so I rarely ignore it when he hands out advice.

Having spent all the hours that God sent, kicking a football against the back of the house, playing “kerby” in the street or more likely over at a friends house (Peter Lambert (sp?) – remember me?) playing “3 and in” or “headers and volleys”, dad decided it was time to take me to a football match. It was Maine Road and I’d have been about 7.

Thank God, dad never chose London Road, home of his beloved Peterborough United, as my first “big match” experience. We went “home” to Peterborough often enough, to visit family, so it’s fortunate I’m not Blue of a different kind. I could have ended up a “POSH” fan and when you think about it for a second, I’m sure you’ll agree that I was very lucky.

I’ve no idea who City played that first time I saw them, dad thinks it was Wolves, but I think it was Derby or Liverpool. Some things I do remember vividly.

It was I think a very sunny day. I remember worrying we wouldn’t get in, as there seemed like a million other people were going to the game as well. Boy, did they make one hell of a racket. As we went through the clicking turnstiles, you could hear the crowd singing. As you walked up the steps, the noise just got louder… at some point I remember getting knocked over in the rush and dad lifting me up, carrying me up to the top of the steps… and then it hit me, the spell of Maine Road had been cast and I’d been well and truly caught.

There was the biggest, widest, greenest football pitch in the world. The biggest stadium, filled with “millions” of people shouting “City, City, City”. It was so loud! I could hardly see a thing, but I didn’t care. This was completely different to what I’d seen on the TV. This was real football. From then on, there was only one possible outcome. I was a Manchester City fan.

As for the game, I’ve no idea what the score was. I think Joe Corrigan saved a penalty with his legs. The guy next to my dad kept swearing his head off and the bovril dad said you had to drink was terrible.

Anyway, that day was one of the few times I’ve totally ignored my dad’s advice. I remember him saying afterwards “you don’t want to support this lot son”.

We moved away from “Manchester” when I was about 8, but by then I’d seen City play enough times to know the team inside out. I guess it helped that we were quite a good team in those days, but I don’t think it really mattered how good we were. To me, City, were and have always been “the greatest football club the world has ever seen”. At 7 years old, you’ll believe almost anything about your club! At 30+ nothing’s changed!

Wherever we moved to, I harboured dreams of emulating my hero, Colin Bell, and playing number 8 for City. I still do! Didn’t matter if I was living in Saudi Arabia, America or Surrey, I always thought it would happen. I stopped playing football a few years ago, but I’m still convinced that Joe is going to give me a ring, maybe now though it will be to join the coaching staff rather than a spot in that midfield.

I haven’t been to Maine Road for ages, despite living in the UK for quite some time. But, writing this has made me think it’s time I bl*ody well got up there. I try to see City play whenever I can. With TV it’s easy, but I go to the London games when I can. I was lucky enough to be at Wembley last year for “that game” and had one of the best seats in the house. What a day.

Some may say that not going to home games makes me a follower and not a fan, but that’s cr*p. City have fantastic fans all over the world. I often wear my City shirt when I’m abroad and it’s amazing how many ex-pat City fans come running over to say hello. Bangkok, Mauritius, Dallas, Oz, everywhere. Doesn’t matter where you are, you still love the club.

I try to do my bit for the cause, indoctrinating my young godson at his christening. He is the proud owner of a large City shirt, with plenty of room to grow into it, much to the consternation of his Tottenham/Wimbledon supporting parents. He’ll be 7 soon too and his mom and dad won’t mind me looking after him for a weekend. Now there’s a thought.

Now, just close your eyes for a few seconds and remember that first time you saw City play.

That’s why I’m Blue.

Thanks dad.

Ian Brown (


Please note that today’s games are not listed or included in the table!

Recent results to 23 April 2000 inclusive.

22 April 2000

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

21 April 2000

Charlton Athletic     1 - 1  Portsmouth

League table to 23 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  3  4 36 15 12  6  3 41 24 27  9  7 77 39  38  90
 2 Manchester City 43 16  2  4 47 17  8  8  5 24 20 24 10  9 71 37  34  82
 3 Ipswich Town    43 14  3  4 36 17  8  9  5 29 24 22 12  9 65 41  24  78
 4 Barnsley        43 14  4  3 46 21  8  6  8 38 42 22 10 11 84 63  21  76
 5 Birmingham City 43 14  4  3 35 16  7  6  9 28 27 21 10 12 63 43  20  73
 6 Huddersfield T. 43 14  5  3 43 19  6  6  9 17 24 20 11 12 60 43  17  71
 7 Wolves          43 14  5  3 42 20  5  6 10 17 26 19 11 13 59 46  13  68
 8 Bolton Wndrs    43 12  5  4 40 25  6  8  8 23 23 18 13 12 63 48  15  67
 9 Fulham          43 12  6  3 29 12  4  9  9 16 25 16 15 12 45 37   8  63
10 Blackburn R.    43 10  8  3 31 15  5  8  9 21 29 15 16 12 52 44   8  61
11 QPR             43  9 11  2 30 20  6  5 10 28 31 15 16 12 58 51   7  61
12 Norwich City    43 10  6  6 24 21  3  9  9 18 25 13 15 15 42 46  -4  54
13 Tranmere Rovers 43 10  7  4 33 24  4  4 14 20 40 14 11 18 53 64 -11  53
14 Sheff. United   43 10  6  5 35 21  3  7 12 20 45 13 13 17 55 66 -11  52
15 Portsmouth      43  9  5  7 33 22  4  6 12 19 38 13 11 19 52 60  -8  50
16 Grimsby Town    43 10  8  4 26 23  3  3 15 13 40 13 11 19 39 63 -24  50
17 Nottm Forest    43  8 10  4 27 18  4  3 14 20 34 12 13 18 47 52  -5  49
18 Crystal Palace  43  6 11  5 31 25  5  4 12 22 39 11 15 17 53 64 -11  48
19 Stockport C.    43  7  8  6 28 28  4  7 11 20 36 11 15 17 48 64 -16  48
20 Crewe Alex.     43  9  5  8 26 28  4  3 14 16 35 13  8 22 42 63 -21  47
21 Walsall         43  6  6 10 25 34  4  7 10 26 39 10 13 20 51 73 -22  43
22 West Brom A.    43  4 11  6 21 25  4  7 11 18 34  8 18 17 39 59 -20  42
23 Port Vale       43  6  6  9 26 27  1  9 12 21 37  7 15 21 47 64 -17  36
24 Swindon Town    43  5  6 11 22 35  3  5 13 13 35  8 11 24 35 70 -35  35

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 #599