Newsletter #600

I’m sure a fairly robust case can be made for calling just about any match a crucial fixture; however, Friday’s game really does stand out from the crowd. If we win then we can travel up to Ewood needing at the most a point, or if Charlton play to anything like the standard we know they can, perhaps needing nothing! Three points would put a tremendous amount of pressure on Ipswich, as they don’t play ’til Saturday. Conversely, a loss would surely give them a sight of the prize. Everything looks set for a nerve-jangling game, as Birmingham are a fairly good team (even without Rankin) and they still need a point to secure a play-off place.

This issue has a couple of match reports from the Pompey game, Peter’s News, news of a City scarf at the Swamp (!), opinion, and of course – ticket requests.

Please don’t forget those pre-match rituals tomorrow πŸ™‚

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


Ipswich Keep the Pressure On

Manchester City are now just two points clear of Ipswich as the race for the second Division One automatic promotion place hots up. The East Anglians beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Tuesday evening. David Johnson, a rumoured City target earlier in the season, scored the only goal of the game in the 25th minute to keep George Burley’s men in contention. And the result means that the Blues still need four points to be sure of promotion this season – assuming that the Suffolk outfit don’t make up an improbable goal difference deficit in the last two games.

Royle Blasts Pompey Ref

Joe Royle was disappointed to see his team drop two promotion points at Portsmouth after marching into a two-goal lead. But it was referee Paul Alcock who bore the brunt of the City boss’s frustrations. The official changed the course of the game with a penalty award to Pompey in first-half injury time. Lee Bradbury scored to halve the Blues’ advantage and set up his second-half rescue act for the home side. But the City camp bitterly contested the validity of the spot-kick verdict. “That was the turning point of the game,” said Royle. “We were well on top until then and I really don’t know whether the ball hit my lad’s hand or whether it even took place inside the area. I have my doubts about both.” Meanwhile, despite his negative comments in February about female match officials, Royle felt that referee’s assistant Wendy Toms had an “excellent” game.

Boss Still Confident Despite Pompey Draw

Manchester City dropped two points at Portsmouth on Monday. But Joe Royle knows that his side is still well-placed to go on and clinch automatic promotion to the Premiership. Barring a miraculous high-scoring barrage from Ipswich, the Blues would clinch second spot by taking four points from their last two games – even if the East Anglians manage two wins from their last two matches. And Royle is quite happy with that state of affairs, reflecting, “We are clear with two games left and as I’ve said all along I’ll settle for that.”

Bradbury Benefits from Penalty Practice

Lee Bradbury’s double salvo for Portsmouth denied the striker’s former club two vital promotion points on Monday. And the ex-City and Crystal Palace player admitted his first goal owed much to his spot-kick practice against the Blues’ goalkeeper in his days at Maine Road. Bradbury, who has invited City stars Ian Bishop and Paul Dickov to his wedding in the summer, was delighted to prove a point to the club where he’s regarded as a £3 million flop. “It was a really sweet moment scoring the equaliser in front of their fans,” he admitted. “I used to practice against Weavs and knew which way he would go. I thought he would remember that and decided to go the other way and it worked.”

McCarthy Praise for Born-Again Kennedy

Mark Kennedy has resurrected his career at Maine Road this season. And no-one is happier for the winger than his international manager Mick McCarthy. The Republic of Ireland boss gave Kennedy his break in the professional game when in charge at Millwall. And the former City defender is delighted to see his protege now fulfilling his potential. “I can’t think of a better crosser of the ball in the country,” he said, “although the test for him will come if, or when, they [City] get in the Premiership and he’s up against better defenders.”

Reserves End Season in Style

Manchester City’s reserves rounded off their season with a home win over Oldham on Tuesday. Goals from Chris Killen and Chris Shuker gave the Blues a 2-0 victory. The Blues had already secured the Pontin’s League title with last week’s win over Grimsby. However, the Blues could be playing in a different league next season if the first team clinches promotion, with Premier League clubs involved in their own reserve competition. Meanwhile, the Pontin’s League will be renamed next season as the competition will have new sponsors.

Morrison Injury Not Serious

Any slim hopes Andy Morrison may have had of returning to the City first-team before the end of the season have ended. The big defender picked up a minor knock in a reserve game on Tuesday. Morrison was substituted in the last minute of the Pontin’s League game against Oldham. But the City skipper had suffered an injury completely unrelated to the knee problem which has sidelined him since October. The player will now be hoping to be fit for the start of next season after managing only twelve league games this term.

City Ladies Set for Play-Off

Manchester City’s ladies team has already won the North West Women’s Regional Division One title. But the Blues now face a play-off for a place in the next rung of the women’s game. City must compete with Barnsley and Darlington, winners of the Yorkshire and North East sections, to see who goes into the Northern Combination. And captain Bev Harrop is confident the team can go up, then make further progress. “We’ve got the potential to get into the National Premier,” she said. “We have junior teams from under-10 level upwards and there are about 120 girls playing at the club now.”

Barnes Launches Amateurs’ Cash Scheme

Synthetic surface company Kik-Off has launched a drive to get amateur teams to use its floodlit, small-sided soccer centres. And former City star Peter Barnes is spearheading the initiative. The company has two complexes, in Cheetham Hill and Baguley, and will give local leagues cash every time two of their teams play for an hour at either venue. Barnes has become Kik-Off’s director of football and is pleased with his new rôle. “I thought it was a wonderful idea that I was delighted to put my name to,” said the ex-England man.

Willis Hails City Boss

Fast-bowler turned Sky TV cricket pundit Bob Willis is one of Manchester City’s celebrity fans. And the one-time England paceman will be one of the chief guests at a dinner to honour Blues’ boss Joe Royle next Wednesday. Willis, who will be joined by City legend Mike Summerbee at the Crowne Plaza on May 4, feels that the City manager is a fitting subject for the tribute. “I am a great admirer of what Joe has done for the club,” he told the Manchester Evening News. Ticket details can be obtained from Hilary Lindsay on 0161-431 8553.

Old Pal Aims to Help Joe

Barnsley could still pip Manchester City for an automatic promotion place if they win their last two games of the season and the Blues falter. But an old pal of manager Joe Royle will be doing his best to take the Tykes out of the equation. Dave Bassett’s men face a weekend trip to already-relegated Swindon in a fixture which would appear a formality for the Yorkshire outfit. But the Robins have beaten Tranmere and Fulham in their last two outings and boss Jimmy Quinn, a close friend of Royle, says his team will be trying hard to clinch the hat-trick. “Even though we are relegated we won’t be giving in,” the ex-Northern Irish international told the Manchester Evening News. “I can assure all City fans we’ll be doing our best to beat Barnsley.”

City Look Ahead to Vital Brum Clash

Manchester City’s players were given the day off on Tuesday after their Easter exertions. But the squad was back in training on Wednesday, preparing for a momentous night in prospect on Friday when City take on Birmingham at Maine Road in a live televised game. The Blues know that a win will go a long way towards securing the second automatic promotion slot in Division One. And Joe Royle is hoping that Gerard Wiekens and Shaun Goater will have recovered from the injuries picked up on Monday at Portsmouth. Mark Kennedy and Kevin Horlock should both be fit after being withdrawn from their respective international squads and after being a substitute at Fratton Park, the Northern Irish midfielder could return in place of Jamie Pollock. Meanwhile, after his goal against Pompey, Robert Taylor may once again be preferred to Paul Dickov.

City Looking to Hold Their Nerve

Manchester City are in the midst of a tense battle for a Division One automatic promotion place. And Joe Royle knows his team will have to hold its nerve if the prize is to be secured. Royle revealed there’s a determination at Maine Road not to throw away the hard work over the whole season that has left the Blues favourites to claim second spot behind Charlton. “We just have to stay calm and make sure we perform at our best and then we will be all right,” the City boss told the Manchester Evening News. “As I have said before we have no intention of throwing away the top two place we know we have earned by being so consistent all season.”

Royle Not Feeling the Pressure

Manchester City face one of the club’s most important games in recent years when Birmingham visit Maine Road on Friday. But Joe Royle, an old hand when it comes to pressure situations in football, is taking everything in his stride. The Blues know that a win over Trevor Francis’s men will take the club tantalisingly close to automatic promotion, and Royle says that his players are up for the challenge. And the City boss has learned from experience how to handle crunch games. “My nerves are OK,” he said, “I feel fine, I’ve seen these situations before and I try not to get too high or too low.”

Fans Can Be an Extra Man

Manchester City face a crunch game at Maine Road when Birmingham visit on Friday evening. And the Blues are counting on the backing of their loyal supporters to help spur the team to what would be a crucial victory. Joe Royle concedes that in the past, City have sometimes found their home crowd’s level of expectation more of a hindrance than a help. But he feels the situation has changed this season, with the Blues’ 50 points at home the best tally in the First Division. “I keep talking about the rapport between the fans and the team,” said the City boss. “We had players who could not handle the size of our crowds. Now we have players who thrive on it.”

Injury Doubts Ease Ahead of Brum Crunch

Manchester City fans have spent the week waiting anxiously for news of injured stars ahead of Friday’s visit of Birmingham. But three of the Blues’ injury doubts are now certain to play while the fourth may also win his fight for fitness. Kevin Horlock and Mark Kennedy will be available after missing out on international friendlies to rest their respective calf and achilles injuries. And top scorer Shaun Goater is likely to play after resuming training today, having sustained an ankle knock at Portsmouth on Monday. Gerard Wiekens may also be fit to continue in his new midfield rôle after also injuring his ankle at Fratton Park, with boss Joe Royle telling the Manchester Evening News, “We have plenty of options in midfield and Gerard will not play if he is not completely ready. At the moment I would rate him 50-50 with Shaun’s hopes considerably better.”

Peter Brophy (


PORTSMOUTH vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 24th April 2000

Why do I let them do this to me?

I live in the North – the North of Hampshire, so this game was something of a home fixture for me. Portsmouth is less than an hour down the road for me, so I was joined by my brother who lives in south London. Thanks for driving Neil. We often attend the London and other southern matches (like Crystal Palace last month). Often our only consolation on these trips is that “we’ll be home in an hour”, but today we were strangely optimistic. This despite my tragic record of not seeing City win in the flesh for (I think) eight years. City always let me down when I start to feel optimistic – but this is new City, so it won’t happen today, eh?

The approach to Portsmouth’s ground was reminiscent of northern grounds. We parked amongst rows of terraced houses, and we had to brave Pompey’s very own version of dog s**t alley – how it brought back happy memories of scraping s***e off my shoes on Yew Tree Road in Fallowfield. We also managed to park at the wrong end, so had to walk round three sides of the ground. The Portsmouth fans seemed a pleasant enough bunch however, and we heard lots of “we’ll do well to nick a point today” from the locals. As we reached the ground, the sun was shining and there were few clouds in the sky. This was a relief as the only uncovered stand in the ground was reserved for – you’ve guessed it – away supporters. The Scots pipe band soon bug*ered off the pitch, and out came the teams. We began in a 4-4-2 formation:

  Edghill   Prior  Jobson  Tiatto
  Jeff Whitley  Wiekens  Pollock  Kennedy
           Goater  R Taylor

This was my first sight of Spencer Prior, and I was immediately impressed by his height – no more problems defensively in the air then, I hoped. The first thing to strike me about Portsmouth was the brick outhouse of a centre half for Portsmouth, their no. 31, one Darren Moore. The man towered over Shaun Goater, and seemed to be about twice as wide as well. I also saw Jeff Whitley hugging Portmouth’s no. 12, who turned out to be none other than our old chum Lee Bradbury. In contrast to Moore, Badbuy looked smaller than I remember him – who knows, perhaps some of Bradbury’s bulk and height had been fiendishly transferred to their centre half. With the City fans sporting a fine array of Real Madrid memorabilia, the game began.

We began the game in good form, pressing Portmouth back into their own half for long periods. We had a spell of three consecutive corners, but didn’t threaten their goal too much with them. Our Robert Taylor looked cream crackered after the first five minutes. I keep hearing that he is yet again recovered from injury, but I fear we won’t see the best of him till next season. In order to avoid running too far, Fat Bob launched an awesome cross field pass into Kennedy’s feet, but nothing came of it. We were playing an effective game of waiting for them to come at us, then putting the ball quickly into our forwards. At the back, we were dealing easily with their feeble attacks, Nicky Weaver must be the best two footed sweeper in the Division.

We still had to register an effort on target, but that came after Fat Bob had a shout for a penalty turned down; the ball came out to Edghill who delivered a good cross (honestly!) onto Robert’s head, but the ball went over the bar. Pompey were definitely panicking with the ball over the top into the channels. Our first defensive wobble occurred a few minutes later, when Jobson was caught in no man’s land and Harper shot wide. I laughed out loud at the attempt by Fat Bob to gain a penalty a few minutes later, where he appeared to fall like a wounded wildebeast. He did however win a corner, which was pushed away; Wiekens mopped up the attempted clearance, crossed to Prior, whose header looped into the corner of the net. Boy, I think Spencer looked even more chuffed than the City fans – what a goal machine he’s become. Bob was involved in the next goal incident when he slam ducked the ball into the net. This fooled nobody, especially the referee, and FB got booked for his fisting tomfoolery.

All was moving serenely in our favour at this time. A long punt by Edgy caught their defence on the turn, leaving Goater with a chance to flick over the ‘keeper. The pass was slightly too far in front of Shaun, and his attempted lob landed in the ‘keeper’s arms. Pompey were still flashing occasional headers wide (usually from big Moore) and Nicky still untroubled. The Portsmouth fans did keep a good level of noise up through the game, and taunted us with “1-0 and you still won’t sing” which raised a laugh from our end. We soon shut them up – Kennedy once again being put clear down the left, crossing to the near post where fat (sorry) super Bob scored with a most amazing back heel. No wonder City fans were soon shouting “It’s just like watching Madrid”. Most of the rest of the half City played some excellent stuff – Pollock had a shot from thirty yards, a cross in was chested down by Goater into Whitley’s path, but the half volley was tame. Forty five minutes were up, and we were all thinking “two up at half time – we should double that in the second half”. But dreams were shattered. At the far end which City were defending, the ball was crossed, a big scream from, the home fans – penalty. Bradbury, bl***y Bradbury scored from the spot, despite Nicky guessing the right way.

Thirty seconds later it was half time. An excellent first half performance by City had been damaged by that last minute. A half time debate about what happened was settled by the chap next to us – his wife was in the Portsmouth end, so he called her on her mobile. She said that it had hit Taylor’s hand, but that he was clearly outside the area. I don’t know if Captain Edgy overheard this, but his protests carried on well after the half time whistle – no point arguing Richard – he wasn’t going to change his mind.

What happened in the second half? We began extremely nervously, and we were soon defending desperately. A Pompey corner was cleared, and a static City defence watched a long shot fly toward goal, which had Nicky scrambling; the shot went wide. Our midfield had completely disappeared, and both Whitley and Pollock had the idea of toe ending the ball as far away from themselves as possible. When would Bishop be brought on? The game went quiet for a spell, the highlights of which were a couple of speculative cross shots by Kennedy, a few cheers for Wendy Toms when we were given a couple of decisions, and watching the City subs signing autographs for young Portsmouth supporters.

Then suddenly, out of nothing, Bob Taylor is 25 yards from goal, having turned his marker. He wasn’t going to run was he? So, he launched a low curving shot which pinged the post. Still the midfield isn’t competing, but the only substitution sees Dickov replacing the enigma Bob. We were definitely wobbling as we retreated further and further into our own area. Prior pushed a header over his own bar to relieve the pressure. Wiekens had copped for a couple of dire late tackles, and he finally succumbed to injury with about twenty minutes to go. Bishop? No, Horlock came on.

City were now in sleep walk mode. We had one quick break which ended in a tame Whitley effort. When will he learn to shoot, or has he had his one effort of the season vs. QPR? The game became even more scrappy but more and more seemed to be happening at our end. Portmouth’s midget no.4 Harper shot well over in yards of space, Weaver then pulled out his one truly outstanding effort to save a certain goal from the head of Moore. The pressure was well and truly on. Richard Edghill did for us, I’m afraid to say. Under no pressure from a nearby opponent, Edghill planted the ball firmly into a Portsmouth player lying on the ground. He managed to plant the ball into the space vacated by our skipper, the ball came in and Bradbury yes bl***y Bradbury again scored. I wonder if Joe was looking at all three points evaporating as we all were, because for the last few minutes, Granville came on to play in left midfield instead of Kennedy.

By this time, the rain had begun, my notebook was in my pocket and I watched City hanging on against a truly average Portsmouth team.

Why does this blo*dy team only play for half a game? We dominated the first half, Portsmouth had no answer to us, we were caught out by a bad penalty decision, then we had no idea how to change tactics once Portsmouth had sussed us out and ground their way back into the match. I am truly worried about how we will cope next season, whatever division we’re in. The faces change as the years go by, but still City snatch disaster from the jaws of triumph whenever they can. Please not the play-offs.

Don Barrie (


PORTSMOUTH vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 24th April 2000

A sunny start to the afternoon, in this roofless stand, just a couple of seats away from Howard Davies and Colin Schindler(?). Not a particularly pretty game this. No free-flowing passing from potential Premiership teams has been seen at Fratton Park for some time and won’t be for some time to come I suspect.

City let themselves be pulled down to Portsmouth’s level and this became a game of few passes and many long balls. Having said that, practically all of the pressure in the first half came from City with numerous corners. The first goal, a result of Wiekens rescuing a lost cause on the right to cross for Prior to head well. The second, again resulted from a Premiership quality crossfield pass from Wiekens out to Kennedy, who held up well while Taylor got into a good position at the near post. 2-0. Two good attempts on goal. Both scored.

Cue some very brave, if premature, and jinx-inducing chants of “Going-up”. Why does Kennedy seem to enjoy celebrating goals on his own when the rest of the team mob each other?

The penalty was virtually Portsmouth’s first threat on goal. On a TV replay it looked a bit harsh with the ball just blasted at Taylor, but it was inside the area and these things happen. Edghill argued the decision long after the penalty had gone in (why bother?) and had to be pulled away from the ref at half time.

City let themselves down in second half. Creating only one decent opportunity – a through ball from Wiekens to Taylor who hit the post with two defenders on his heels. Apart from a couple of corners and a couple of wayward free kicks that was the sum total of City’s second half pressure.

In reply Portsmouth rarely threatened, although as the second half went on they did begin to fancy their chances. Two great spectacular saves from Weaver should have rung some alarm bells. Dickov came on for Taylor and injected some urgency but little impact. Horlock came on for Wiekens, who presumably was injured (no Bishop?).

Meanwhile the ball still pinged around meaninglessly with no one actually taking control. With six minutes to go Edghill in fact seemed to lose control, letting in their winger to cross for Bradbury’s near post header in a carbon copy of a goal he scored two days earlier against Charlton. It started to rain.

Players’ heads dropped in a way I haven’t seen since Dickov’s goal vs. Gillingham. It seemed an age before Weaver realised that there was still time for a rally, and picked the ball out of the net. He then ran around as many players as he could trying to charge them up for the remaining five minutes. To little effect. Indeed, Bradbury almost got his hat-trick with Weaver beaten on the edge of the box; only the timely intervention of Jobson saved the day. Granville came on for Kennedy. Showed a couple of touches but there was to be no famous revival against Tony Pullis again.

City paid the price of sitting back and trying to run out the game without making any serious attempts on goal. My award for Least Effective Player goes to Pollock. Award for Most Effective Player – Whitley. Vital contributions came from Weikens and Weaver, but for the full 90 minutes, Whitley worked tirelessly in midfield.

On the plus side, we’re now nine games unbeaten, and at any other time of year we would probably have gladly settled for a point at Portsmouth. It’s still in our own hands and we know City are able. It’s time for fans and players to conquer those nerves.

Ian Howard (


In honour of which trophy win was the following composed (by Harry, a season ticket holder) and handed out to the regulars on his row?

We usually see eleven men, when City play a game,
But they turned out five at Wembley pool, and triumphed just the same
With Tony Book, Joe Corrigan, Alan Oakes, Neil Young, Colin Bell,
They knocked out Crystal Palace and Coventry as well.
Then in the semi-final they really turned the screw,
They whipped the pants off Chelsea, by four goals to two.
They struggled in the final to master Swindon Town
But made it by two goals to one to win another crown
Six goals came from Neil Young and five from Colin Bell
To make it a round dozen, Alan Oakes got one as well.
And so on television, before ten million eyes
With a perfect exhibition, they carried off the prize.


Simon Moorehead (


At work, as well as the usual glut of armchair Rags (plus a few Bolton and County supporters), there is one Chelsea fan. In spite of the fact that we work in buildings only a few yards apart, we rarely see each other and communicate almost exclusively by email – he sends me stuff from the Chelsea mailing list (some of which is quite interesting and funny), and I send him bits from MCIVTA. It’s all friendly stuff.

About six weeks ago he put me in touch with a friend of his who wanted a City scarf to take to OT on Easter Monday! I was a little shocked, but I was quite happy to supply the scarf. I’ve been told that on previous trips to OT the Chelsea fans have sung “City are from Manchester” and it seems to wind up the Rags a treat! This guy, Solomon, is a favourite with the Sky cameramen as he looks so distinctive – he is about 6 foot 4 and has a “pineapple” on his head with a Chelsea scarf wrapped around it! So I bought a scarf which announced “City – we’re from Manchester” and handed it to Sol when I was on a day trip to London a few weeks ago. In spite of the fact that I am feeling very despondant tonight (having just heard the Ipswich result), I thought that MCIVTA readers would be interested to read an edited version of Sol’s submission to the CFC mailing list. I only wish I could share his optimism about City!

United, gloating about the title, then sang: “Let’s all laugh at Chelsea!” We laughed at them and their fans who come up from the south by singing: “City are from Manchester!” It was now time for me to perform my party piece with the trick up my sleeve. I then got up and waved my Manchester City scarf, which a City fan gave to me when she visited London the weekend prior. It said ‘Manchester City – we’re from Manchester’. What a reaction! All the Chelsea cheered and applauded. The Man Utd fans went wild almost like a red rag to a bull! I will never forget the looks on their faces. The ultimate insult. City will be going up this year and I waved the first City scarf at Old Trafford before the first Manchester derby next season! What a moment. First blood to Chelsea. We then went on to sing “1 man went to mow”

Well they had the last laugh though, due to matters on the pitch when Ed de Goey did a ‘Southampton special’. Instead of clearing the ball quickly, Yorke closed in and blocked his clearance into the net. We gifted it to them and gave them a present for their title party! Pathetic. The scum fans started singing “1 nil to the champions!”, which was followed by “Where’s your City Scarf!” I got up and proudly and defiantly waved it at them to cheers from Chelsea. We started singing “City are from Manchester!”

On my way to the tram station after the game whilst talking to Adam, someone ripped the Chelsea scarf off my pineapple on my head! It took me by surprise and they obviously recognised me as the bloke who waved the City scarf at them. I turned round and gave chase but the bloke ran into a car park full of other scum fans. I thought I was being led into a trap. Then I saw his mate who apologised. He was only about 12 or 13! I felt like a prat chasing after some kid at secondary school so gave up the chase.

The last time someone tried to nick the scarf on my head was away at Boro, but they failed as I was surrounded by their fans and was expecting something. This time I was caught unaware by school kids! When I got on the train I wrapped the City scarf around my pineapple. And guess who sat on the seat next to me for the journey back to London? A Man Utd fan! He proved once again the message on the City scarf.

(Report by Solomon Malcolm –

BTW, if anyone reading this finds the kid who nicked Sol’s beloved Chelsea scarf, please let me know!

Jules Price (


I am writing from the BBC and am wondering whether you have any info on London-based City fans who would be interested in taking part on the Beeb’s ‘Row Z’ (BBC Choice, Digital, Saturday Night 7:00pm, live). If you know of any, I would be really grateful if you could pass on the e-mail address here or the phone number 0208-225-9382. The show is a fans’ forum where supporters get to air their views and is filmed in Kings Cross.

Jon Blain (


Since the WBA game, I’ve been trying out a service that’s available to UK based footy fans with mobile phones. enables you to sign up for SMS messages to your phone each time there’s a goal in a game featuring your registered team. It’s pretty quick too, with news of a goal (though not the scorer) usually coming through to your phone within 5 minutes. Unlike some other score services on SMS, it’s free too and independent of mobile service provider, so no worries about supporting Vodafone!

OK I hear you say, who needs SMS when you’re at the game, listening to the radio or watching CEEFAX? Well, the obvious answer is that we can’t all have access to such channels of information all of the time, and this service could well be of interest this Saturday when we’ll all be wondering how Ipswich are doing (hopefully by then Barnsley won’t matter to us). I for one will be in London doing the sites and don’t particularly want to be glued to Radio 5 Live all afternoon just for news of the Charlton:Ipswich game, so picture the scene; my phone bleeps to inform me of a new message, I read it and react appropriately and every one around me wonders what the Hell is going on πŸ™‚

I’ve just registered as an Ipswich fan for the time being (I presume an e-mail to the sitemaster will suffice to unsubscribe after the game) and would recommend anyone who’s interested to sign up quickly to allow the system to process your number in time for Saturday. Then sit back and wait.

CTID, Geoff Donkin – BeverleyBlue (


It is a great achievement to win any league and the reserves deserve a lot of credit for winning the Pontin’s Premier League. However, this is where my knowledge of the reserves’ league ends. Is there anyone out there that could explain to me (and I’m sure a few other readers), how the Pontin’s League is structured. Where are the big boys? If City have just won the premier league, where are Liverpool, Arsenal reserves etc? Where can I find a website that posts a current league table? Thanks.

Stuart Wells (


Blues in and around Beverley not going to Maine Road on Friday but wanting to share the inevitable rollercoaster experience with like-minded souls, might like to make their way to the Lincoln Arms pub on Lincoln Way, Beverley (not the Beaver in the town centre that the CSA Branch usually meet at). There’ll be at least two of us there so the more the merrier. Get in touch if you need directions.

By way of advance notice, the next meeting of the Beverley & District CSA Branch will be at 8pm on 8th May at the Beaver pub, North Bar Within (near St Mary’s Church and the Saturday Market Place). Hopefully we’ll be reflecting on a season just completed with no more games to look forward to until the pre-season friendlies πŸ™‚

Geoff Donkin – Beverley & District 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 (


Just watched (Tue) the documentary on curry-holics in Manchester on Channel 4. Were there any Blues involved in the programme? It showed loads of lagered up Mancunians descending on one area to quench their addiction. Loved the Asian manager who tried to do the Noel Gallagher sneer, but it didn’t come off? One couple go to Goa and have up to four curries a day! Any Goa Blues seen two beached whales lately?

Stuart Wells (


If you only make one visit to a website today, for God’s sake make it – a whole site dedicated to the cherubic, gangly, toe-poking, oddly-shaped headed, prolific genius himself. There are loads of games and stuff where Shaun blows up Teddy Sheringham, and you can leave tributes. My own personal tribute informs Shaun that was I to have ovaries, I would undoubtably bear the great man’s young goats (kids?).


P.S. Thanks to everyone who offered their play-off videos to yours truly.
P.P.S. Anyone got a spare Blackburn ticket (ha ha ha ha ha, I hear you say).

Richard Ellor (


If there are any London Blues who are not able to get to the match, the Terry Neill Sports Bar has confirmed that it will be showing the City-Birmingham game on Friday. The address is 53 Holborn Viaduct, EC1 (0207 329 6653), nearest Tube Blackfriars or Farringdon.

Chris (


Is it just me or can anyone else smell a rat (sewer dwellers excepted) about the proposed van Nistelrooy (spelling?) move? My theory is that this so called ‘injury-scare’ is being blown out of proportion by the scum’s board so that they can reduce the transfer fee. Make no bones about it, he will join them. Just in a couple of months after they pretend to ‘pull out’ so that a panicky PSV will do all they can to offload a potential liability as quickly as possible. They’ll talk about taking a ‘massive risk’ on him (before PSV agree to a price several million pounds short of the original figure) to scare off any other interested clubs.

Probably just paranoia on my behalf, but nothing would surprise me considering their monumental lack of respect for the concept of sportsmanship. Come on, they shouldn’t be scraping for the odd million when they are the richest blo*dy club in the world!

Paul Youngson, Aberdeen (


Re. article by Malek Tabbel, Beirut – MCIVTA 599 – Thanks Real

I consider myself to be as passionate about my team as any other City fan – however, it is beyond me how any Blue can write with such great relish at this stage of the season about the fact that the team across the city happens to have lost a match. Big deal. If City fans continue to obsessed about our more successful neighbour at a time such as this, there really is no hope of us ever overcoming our deep inferiority complex.

Simon Hope (


I am looking for some fellow Danish City supporters who know if there will be a end of season party at Bloomsday’s bar in Copenhagen – or at some other location unknown to me!

If you know something please contact me!

Kasper Nymand (


Desperate plea for one ticket for the Blackburn game. If anyone can help me please can they contact me on

CTID, Claire Allison (


Has anybody got 2 Blackburn away tickets for sale, it’s for my brother-in-law who missed out when he sent in the postal application a couple of weeks ago. People can reply to my email address.

Many thanks, Terry Thiele (


I know this might be a tall order, but does anyone know of, or have a list of every result for last year’s Second Division matches, when City charged into the play-off? Not just City’s results, but every result? If you have the results for the past three years that would be even better! πŸ™‚

I am working on a database that I hope to put on my website in the near future. You will be able to check on team stats, best form, home/away form, final standing, result after a few games, trends etc. I already have the results for every game in this year’s First Division. Obviously this database will have a leaning towards City, but I hope to make it informative for all footy fans.

Any help appreciated, you will get a credit on the website. BTW: it will be for a personal website, not a corporate one.

CTIDATWFSA (City Till I Die, All The Way From Sydney, Australia), Andi Frodsham (


Had such a good crack at the Tranmere game with a couple of other Dutch Blues and Prestwich and Whitefield that I am over for Birmingham Friday, but ticketless. Any spare out there then ring my family in Manchester on 0161 798 5573 Friday or Email me Thursday night. Will treat the seller to Amsterdam’s Banana Bar if and when. Cheers. Bob Price.

Bob Price (


Why Blue? A sometimes complicated but for me very simple question to answer. Born in Ancoats, my dad took me to my first game when I was about five. I am afraid that, unlike many, I have no idea whom City were playing or indeed what year it was but it must have been around 1959/60. Dad, who was in the record league ground crowd of 84,569 at Maine Road in 1934, was one of those ‘true football fans’ who, although a big City fan, used to go to Maine Road one week and the Swamp the next with my Rag uncle. Fortunately dad never encouraged me to become in any way involved with the dark side.

Unfortunately, in the early days of attending matches I didn’t see that much football played. Couldn’t see because I was too short? Not exactly. Truth is I was so in love with City from the start that if the opposition scored first I would put my head down and ask dad to tell me when City equalised because I couldn’t stand to see them losing.

We moved out to the Stockport area (a Blue stronghold as Hoppy would say) when I was quite young, probably because our street in Ardwick was just about ready for demolition. Dad started to work on Saturdays so that was the end of me going to Maine Road for a while. He would take me to the odd game but couldn’t get tickets for the Cup Final of 1969 despite trying his best. I did however, manage to get one for the League Cup Final the next year courtesy of a teacher at school (Stockport School popularly known as Mile End). Trouble was it was in the West Brom end. When I was the only one around to cheer and wave my scarf when Mike Doyle equalised (I was past the ‘head down’ bit by this time) and a skinhead descended upon me; I managed to be so pathetic whimpering “I’m sorry. I’m only supporting my team” that he didn’t even hit me.

By this time I was playing Saturday mornings for the school (same team bus as Alan Gowling although he was several years ahead of me) and Saturday afternoon in the YOC league. Soon after it was Sunday mornings as well for Mile End Albion in the Stockport Sunday league. I carried on playing Saturdays and Sundays until the late 70s. Do I regret doing that rather than going to MR? Probably a bit, but I did enjoy playing and you only have your youth once. Besides if I hadn’t got that exercise I might now be as fat as some of my contemporaries. Anyway, eventually I ‘retired’ from Saturday football and became a season ticket holder on the Kippax with my mates Chris, Gary and Dave. I saw every game in the 1981 Cup run (including both finals at Wembley) and the Blues go top of the old First Division courtesy of Tricky Trev’s wondrous blast against Wolves on 28th December 1981, before departing for foreign parts in 1982.

If I thought that I was not as close to the team as I would have liked when I was playing football (although of course I had the MuEN, MotD, evening games etc), I was to get a shock living abroad for the first time. Initially I was restricted to checking for City’s result in the Monday morning edition of Bermuda’s Royal Gazette since telephone calls were bl**dy expensive due to the Cable and Wireless monopoly. After several years one of the handful of local radio stations (the one TV station at the time didn’t show any football) started to carry the BBC World Service which meant that at least we got the results live on a Saturday. With the advent of satellite we were eventually to get live games although it meant going down to the Robin Hood pub and starting to drink earlier on a Saturday than I would have done normally (something that has stayed with me I am afraid). I generally tried to get home for Christmas so at least I would usually make one or two games especially if we were playing a ‘local’ away game (e.g. Stoke). Nobody in Bermuda really understood why I had an inflatable banana there. It would be even tougher to understanding why I went to Stoke that Boxing Day in 1988 (oh my God is it 11 years ago?) dressed in full prison inmate gear (boiler suit with arrows) with a full head gorilla mask. However I am sure that there would have some degree of amusement seeing us thumbing a lift back to Stockport (still in full gear and mask with banana) after Hoppy (the man with the world’s worst sense of direction) had taken us exactly the opposite way to where the van was parked and we got left behind (if they’re reading this, thanks to the people who gave us a lift by the way). I am sure dad would have been looking down on us shaking his head in disbelief at our antics as he had died suddenly just before that Christmas.

In Dec 1990 I took my girlfriend to Forest with the lads. Chris and Gary taught her to sing ‘In 1962 me lads, we went to Division 2… etc.’ and I was hooked. We were married 18 months later. Five years ago we moved to the USA to a sleepy town in Connecticut called Redding (hence the BV name) and I was immediately back to square one as far as TV coverage was concerned. By this time the wife had bought me a short wave radio so I could still listen to the World Service which I continue to do. It was on this that I listened to us go down against Liverpool and Stoke. At least for the past couple of years we have had a Premier League highlights programme on cable here. Typically of course City must have known this was coming and conspired not to be in the Premier just so I couldn’t see them regularly.

And finally (thank God I hear you groan) to the present. It is amazing what a difference the Internet has made to being able to follow the club, especially for the overseas fan. Not only can I keep up to date with everything going on at the club on a daily basis but I can see the goals (thanks to Ian Simons) and have met many fellow Blues both on BV and subsequently in the flesh. I can also ‘commune’ with Blues on match days on ICQ and listen to the unbiased commentary of Gary Owen on the official site on the occasions when the Planet service is actually working. But I don’t think it’s solely because of the Internet that I am wrapped up in the club more than ever. Maybe it’s just me getting carried away from a distance but I think it is something to do with the atmosphere surrounding City at the moment. It helped being there the day we turned the corner against Stoke on 28th December ’98 (is it only 16 months ago and is there something slightly mystical about that date?) with Bongs and Chris. All of us thought that we were going to have to have a good drink afterwards to get over yet another disappointment when the boys came out in the second half and put on a performance from which they don’t seem to have looked back. This was followed by the trouncing of Fulham a couple of weeks later and we were on our way. I was also lucky enough to get back for the weekend with the Beaver (a Salford Blue who lives in the same town as me here) for Wembley; a day which will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Despite living some three and a half thousand miles away I am now a season ticket holder in the Platt Lane (the wife thinks I’m a nutter but didn’t try and stop me bless her) and will attend my tenth league match of the season this Saturday against Tranmere (a fact much admired by good old ChinnorBLU). Although I can’t make the Brum match because I am travelling on business; I have just booked to come back for the weekend against Blackburn. Hopefully I will be able to get a ticket and we’ll have a reason to party. I only wish the close season was longer to give me more time to save up.

The two people I feel sorry for in all this are my daughters. At the ages of three and four they have been able to sing “We love you City, we do…” for some time and have been wearing City kits for longer (as evidenced in the programme for the Leeds game). They will be going with me to MR as soon as possible and will have no choice but to follow the fortunes of the best club in the world with the greatest fans because it’s in their blood as it was in mine.

I apologise that this has gone on so long (not quite as much as Wheelie’s ramblings perhaps but too long anyway). The fact is I can’t sleep at the moment because I’m nervous about the Grimsby game on Saturday (of course by the time you read this you will know it was either another step on the way back to the promised land or one of those slips which we have come to expect from City – hopefully it was the former) and was in the office at 6am writing this as therapy.

In closing I would like to thank some people. Firstly Ashley and his colleagues for all the work they do in making this newsletter compulsive reading twice a week. Next Hoppy, Bongs and Chris for all the running around they do to and from Maine Road (and Huddersfield, Port Vale etc.) when I am ‘home’. And finally my long suffering wife Amanda who doesn’t give me cr*p every time I make a 7,000 mile round trip to watch a game of football.

Michael Warren – a.k.a. Redding Blue/RB on BlueView (


Recent results to 26 April 2000 inclusive

25 April 2000

Ipswich Town          1 - 0  Crystal Palace

24 April 2000

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

League table to 26 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.   44 15  3  4 36 15 12  7  3 42 25 27 10  7 78 40  38  91
 2 Manchester City 44 16  2  4 47 17  8  9  5 26 22 24 11  9 73 39  34  83
 3 Ipswich Town    44 15  3  4 37 17  8  9  5 29 24 23 12  9 66 41  25  81
 4 Barnsley        44 15  4  3 48 22  8  6  8 38 42 23 10 11 86 64  22  79
 5 Birmingham City 44 15  4  3 37 16  7  6  9 28 27 22 10 12 65 43  22  76
 6 Huddersfield T. 44 14  5  3 43 19  7  6  9 19 25 21 11 12 62 44  18  74
 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          44 12  7  3 30 13  4  9  9 16 25 16 16 12 46 38   8  64
10 Blackburn R.    44 10  9  3 32 16  5  8  9 21 29 15 17 12 53 45   8  62
11 QPR             44  9 11  2 30 20  6  6 10 29 32 15 17 12 59 52   7  62
12 Norwich City    44 10  6  6 24 21  3  9 10 19 27 13 15 16 43 48  -5  54
13 Tranmere Rovers 44 10  8  4 34 25  4  4 14 20 40 14 12 18 54 65 -11  54
14 Sheff. United   44 10  7  5 36 22  3  7 12 20 45 13 14 17 56 67 -11  53
15 Portsmouth      44  9  6  7 35 24  4  6 12 19 38 13 12 19 54 62  -8  51
16 Stockport C.    44  8  8  6 31 28  4  7 11 20 36 12 15 17 51 64 -13  51
17 Nottm Forest    44  8 10  4 27 18  4  4 14 21 35 12 14 18 48 53  -5  50
18 Grimsby Town    44 10  8  4 26 23  3  3 16 14 42 13 11 20 40 65 -25  50
19 Crystal Palace  44  6 11  5 31 25  5  4 13 22 40 11 15 18 53 65 -12  48
20 Crewe Alex.     44  9  5  8 26 28  4  4 14 17 36 13  9 22 43 64 -21  48
21 West Brom A.    44  5 11  6 23 26  4  7 11 18 34  9 18 17 41 60 -19  45
22 Walsall         44  6  6 10 25 34  4  7 11 26 41 10 13 21 51 75 -24  43
23 Port Vale       44  6  6 10 27 29  1  9 12 21 37  7 15 22 48 66 -18  36
24 Swindon Town    44  5  6 11 22 35  3  5 14 13 38  8 11 25 35 73 -38  35

With thanks to Football 365


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

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #600