Newsletter #606

I’m not sure whether the excitement of the last two weeks has had a lasting effect on me or not, as it seems quite strange to be sending out an issue that is less than 100k! Despite the miniscule size (!), this issue still manages to fit in some more very readable recollections from that Sunday; a programme survey; several responses to Alan Green’s acerbic writings; as well as a Why Blue. Still nothing of note on the transfer front, but there’s plenty of time yet. “Better a Mark Kennedy in 8 weeks than a Stan Lazaridis in two!”

This one goes out to 3,229.

Next game: To be announced.


Boss Expecting Squad Surprises

Joe Royle believes that, whatever the critics may feel, several of his squad have what it takes to prosper in the Premiership. But the Blues’ boss recognises that he may be surprised over which of his players rise to the challenge. Royle’s comments that he expects some of his team to surprise him and some to disappoint him in the top flight may indicate that he’ll make only a couple of signings in the summer, then dip into the transfer market when he can better assess the Blues’ requirements. But the City manager feels he already has a number of players of Premiership ability. “There are half a dozen, at least, of my players who I know will cope with the Premier League,” he said.

Stable Financial Base for Premier Return

Manchester City are returning to the Premier League in fine shape off the field. For after years of crippling debts, the club has put its financial woes in the past. The mid-season share issue has enabled the club to clear much of its debt, while the Blues can look forward to massively increased income now that top-flight football has been guaranteed. And there will even be a windfall of £1.5 million in the form of a bonus under the club’s media agency contract with Sky. Joe Royle certainly appreciates the situation. “The financial turnaround at City has been possibly even more dramatic than the turnaround on the pitch,” he told the Daily Express. “In two years we’ve gone from being £20 million in debt, and paying crippling interest on that debt, to being in the black. It’s amazing.”

Fans’ Belief A Crucial Factor

Manchester City fans have stopped regarding their club as a disaster waiting to happen. And the turnaround in supporters’ attitudes is something in which Joe Royle takes great pride. Before Royle arrived at Maine Road, the Blues had an unrivalled reputation for shooting themselves in the foot. But after two successive promotions, that’s all changed. “That was probably the hardest part, changing the fans’ belief,” reflected the City manager. “Because after five years of failure, disappointment, false dawns, they had rightly become a little bit cynical – and I don’t begrudge them that. But they believe now.”

Bradford Baulk at City’s Mills Fee Demand

Manchester City paid Bradford £175,000 to bring Lee Mills to Maine Road in March. And the Blues hoped to get some of their money back last week by asking for a fee to allow the player to return ahead of the Yorkshire club’s relegation decider against Liverpool. Manager Paul Jewell was considering fielding the 29-year-old front man in the game. And Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond was prepared to meet City’s demand for a fee of £125,000 – until Jewell decided that the player’s lack of recent match practice should count against him. “The manager was unable to confirm that the player was match-fit and, therefore, we will not be pursuing that option,” explained Richmond on Friday.

Steve Cashes in on City Success

Manchester City fans are still basking in the glow of success after a second consecutive promotion. And one local business has been quick to cash on the mood. City-centre sandwich bar Philpotts had its busiest day ever last Monday, selling 1,500 sandwiches, after creating a range of City specials – including Turkey Joe Royle Extravaganza, Nicky Weaver Super-Saving Humous and Salad and Mark Kennedy’s Left-Footed Roast Aubergine and Red Pepper Pate. “We have an Ipswich scout who comes in every day and I wanted to have a go at him,” explained manager Steve Jones, a City fanatic.

Royle Aims to Prove Critics Wrong

Some pundits believe that Manchester City’s Premiership stay will be a short one. But Joe Royle believes that his players will enjoy making their critics eat their words. Many so-called experts tipped against the Blues in this season’s promotion battle, and Royle was delighted to prove them wrong. And the City boss also feels he’ll have the last laugh next term. “One of the nicest feelings in life is proving people wrong – it gives you an enormous glow, believe me,” he said. “We love it. The players love it. It serves as an inspiration and we just love proving people wrong. And we are going to do it again.”

Veterans Given Contract Deadline

Manchester City have offered new one-year contracts to Tommy Wright and Ian Bishop. And now the Blues are waiting to see whether the pair will accept the deals on offer. Bishop indicated last week that he’d like to stay at Maine Road, but it had previously been rumoured that the 34-year-old would like a two-year arrangement. Wright, meanwhile, has been linked with Newcastle, where he had a spell on loan last August. City are reported to have given both players a week to decide on their futures.

City Set to Increase Capacity

With Manchester City’s move to the new Eastlands stadium only three years away, the club is reluctant to spend big money on Maine Road. But the Blues will add 2,000 more seats in time for next season. City have invariably played to packed houses this season on their way back to the Premiership, and demand is expected to be even greater next year. Now the Sun newspaper claims that the club has decided to raise ground capacity – presumably by adding more temporary seats in the corners between the Kippax Stand and the Platt Lane and North Stands. The new capacity will be 35,200.

Cooke Wants to Prove His Worth

Terry Cooke has returned to Manchester City after failing to make an impact on loan at Wigan. And the winger is hoping to force his way back into contention at Maine Road next season. Cooke remains on the transfer list, but is keen to revive his flagging career with the Blues after a disastrous personal campaign. “Terry Cooke is back with us, we have seen him and had a chat,” Joe Royle told the Manchester Evening News. “Terry wants to have a crack here next season and we have had no offers for him anyway.” Meanwhile, the City boss has admitted to the paper that some of his fringe players could leave the club. “There will be casualties, that is inevitable,” he admitted.

City Look for Financial Balancing Act

Manchester City are set to increase the club’s wage bill dramatically in the wake of promotion to the Premier League. But the Blues will nevertheless be prudent with their spending. While there’s no doubt that new players will be needed if City are to compete successfully at the top level, any major signing involves a degree of risk. So financial experts are urging the club not to allow costs to spiral out of control, a factor of which David Bernstein is already aware. “They need to spend money but it must be tempered by thought of what happens if it doesn’t work out and they get relegated again,” Richard Baldwin of Deloitte & Touche told the Financial Times. “They must do what a club like Leicester has done and make sure they still control their costs.”

Haaland Link Revived as Royle Starts Player Search

Alf-Inge Haaland was strongly linked with Manchester City earlier in the season. And with the Blues now having confirmed promotion to the Premiership, there’s renewed talk that the Norwegian could be bound for Maine Road. City were reportedly close to a deal to bring Haaland to Maine Road in February. However, after Joe Royle failed to agree terms with Leeds for the player, the ex-Nottingham Forest man earned a recall to the Elland Road senior side. But with boss David O’Leary said to be set for a summer spending spree, the versatile 27-year-old could become available. Meanwhile, Royle is said to have started preliminary discussions over two prospective targets.

City Eyeing Ipswich Pair?

Transfer rumours are hotting up as City contemplate life in the Premiership. And there’s renewed speculation of a possible double raid by Joe Royle on Ipswich if the Suffolk outfit once again suffer play-off heartbreak. Royle is once again being linked with the East Anglians’ midfielder Matt Holland and striker David Johnson. Both men have north west connections, with Manchester United fan Holland having been born in Bury while Johnson started his career at Old Trafford before moving to the Shakers and then Ipswich. However, even if George Burley’s men stay down, they’re not likely to release either player unless they ask to leave.

Goater Shortlisted for Nationwide Honour

Shaun Goater has had a magnificent season, scoring 29 goals as the Blues won promotion. And the Bermudian striker may yet add to his haul of awards. Goater has been short-listed for the Nationwide League Player of the Year award, which will be decided by the viewers of Sky Sports. The City striker is one of eight contenders for the prize, with others in the running including Ipswich’s Matt Holland, Richard Rufus of Charlton and Portsmouth’s Steve Claridge.

Bernstein – Investment Talks at an Early Stage

Manchester City have already admitted to being in talks with a potential investor after an approach to the club in April. But David Bernstein says discussions are still at a preliminary stage. City are currently weighing up the best strategy for raising funds, with a Stock Market flotation one of the options. And Bernstein believes that the Blues have sufficient “real critical mass” to buck the current trend of market scepticism of football shares. However, the recent overtures from a financial institution are also being pursued. “We’ve had an approach but it’s at a very early stage,” commented the City chairman.

Weaver Earns Under-21 Call-Up

Nicky Weaver has earned another call-up for the England under-21 squad. The City goalkeeper is in the party for the European Under-21 Championships at the end of May. The tournament takes place in Slovakia and Weaver is set to be the number one goalkeeper for Howard Wilkinson’s team. The Maine Road man’s long-term rival Richard Wright hasn’t been named in the party, with the Ipswich player expected to travel with Kevin Keegan’s senior squad for Euro 2000.

Royle Can Have “Job for Life”

Joe Royle will this summer have talks about a new contract with Manchester City. And David Bernstein has once again been underlining his determination to keep his manager at Maine Road for as long as possible. Royle has already indicated his intention to retire in four years’ time. But Bernstein is hoping that the ex-Oldham and Everton boss will reconsider, and it appears the club is prepared to commit to a long-term deal for the man who has plotted successive promotions. For when asked whether Royle could have a job for life, the City chairman said, “He can have whatever he wants.”

Leeds Deny City Smith Link

Manchester City have been linked with a big-money move for Leeds’ striker Alan Smith. But the Yorkshire outfit has moved quickly to deny any truth in the rumour. Elland Road chairman Peter Risdale said on Monday morning, “To my knowledge no-one from Manchester City has approached us about him but in any case we have not spent so much time and money on a youth policy to sell our young players.” City are also said to be interested in Liverpool’s David Thompson, but the Merseysiders would be expected to take a similar line over the England under-21 midfielder. Meanwhile, Saturday’s Manchester Evening News mentioned Barnsley’s Craig Hignett and Birmingham’s Gary Rowett as possible targets, though these moves would be dependent on the outcome of the First Division play-offs.

Peter Brophy (


The Football League released figures last week reporting an increase of gates in the First Division of 3.6% and in the Third Division of 2.9%. What they didn’t say that gates in the Second Division were down 11.2%, a figure due entirely to City’s promotion to the First Division. As the First Division gates were still up, despite Sunderland leaving the league, does this mean that we’re bigger crowd-pullers then Sunderland?

Mike Barnett, Editor, CITY magazine (


I’ve been talking to a friend about our club’s programme and he wanted my thoughts on how it could perhaps change and improve.

I figured a good place to start would be with a survey of how Blues feel about the programme. I’d really appreciate it if you could complete the following survey and also add any further thoughts or suggestions you may have.

Once completed please just simply email it back to me at the address below.

Many thanks, and here’s to next season’s 5-1 derby win!

Manchester City Programme Survey

Do you buy the City programme?
If so, how often?
If not, why not?
When buying the programme do you automatically buy it or do youactually look at the features listed on the cover, as you would with anyother magazine, and then purchase it based on what’s in that particularissue?
When do you then read the programme? E.g. at the game, or afterwards?
Do you keep you programme as part of a collection, as a souvenir or doyou discard it?
What features/articles do you read in the programme first, e.g.: Manager’scolumn / Statistics / Opposition / Feature Article? And why that particularfeature?
Are there any features of the programme that you consistently do notread? Why?
Are there any features that you would like to see added to theprogramme?
How do you rate the layout of the programme in terms of legibility? 1Very Poor. 2 Poor. 3 Average. 4 Good. 5 Very Good (additional comments welcome).
How do you rate the layout of the programme in terms of visual appeal?1 Very Poor. 2 Poor. 3 Average. 4 Good. 5 Very Good (additional comments welcome).
How do you rate the use of photography in the programme? 1 VeryPoor. 2 Poor. 3 Average. 4 Good. 5 Very Good (additional comments welcome).
Would you like to see more or less photography from games?
Would you like to see more or less photography from behind thescenes at the club?
Would you like to see more or less photography from, or featuring, fans?
Do you read the statistics section of the programme? If so, whichstatistics do you most read and do you find the information easy to read?
How do you feel about the design of the City programme compared toother football publications such as ‘City ’til I die’, ‘FourFourTwo’,‘Shoot’, other clubs’ programmes, the Manchester City monthly magazine andthe various City fanzines?
How do you feel about the standard and style of writing in the CityProgramme compared to other football publications such as ‘City ’til Idie’, ‘FourFourTwo’, ‘Shoot’, other clubs’ programmes, the Manchester Citymonthly magazine and the various City fanzines?
Are there any elements of fanzines that you prefer to the club’sofficial programme?
Do you like the current size of the programme? i.e. would you like1. More pages 2. The same as current. 3 Less pages.
Do you like the current proportions (cover size) of the magazine? 1.Much bigger (e.g. City magazine size). 2. Same as current. 3. Much smaller(e.g. pocketbook size)? Additional comments welcome.
Do you consider the programme to be good value for money?
Under what, if any, circumstances would you pay more for it?

Many thanks for taking part in this. If you have any further comments or ideas, I’d love to read them, so please include them with the survey.

David Chidlow (


“How do you know she is a witch?”
“Well, she can predict the score”

My American fiancee Heather decided two months ago that City would be her team, because: “They have the best fans, They never give up, do they? Plus that Nicky Weaver’s cute.”

Since then:

“God, that’s loud” (at Palace away, her first game)

“God that’s loud” (watching Sky on the 7th)

“They’ll win” at 1-0 down.

“They’ll score two more” (at 2-1)

“See!” (at 4-1)

“Told You!” (all night)

“So, can we get season tickets next year?” (constantly)

– so she might just be our new good-luck charm. She’s already advised me that we’ll draw 1-1 at home against the Scum next season. Heather can be reached at for any further requests for spells, castings or changing Rags into frogs.

P.S. She’s just told me that we’ll lose 3-1 at the Swamp. I’m starting a collection for her one-way ticket back home to Dallas.

Stuart Menges (


Well, we’re finally back where we belong! Still hard to believe isn’t it? But it’s true, incredibly true. Being an Italian City fan, I’ve been so lucky to attend 2 City games this season, namely the 6-0 thrashing against Sheffield Utd (maybe City could’ve spared a couple of goals for the game at Bramall Lane…) and the 2-0 win over Tranmere the day before Easter Sunday. So I can’t really complain, can I?

I’d love to thank all the City fans who live in this world. The ones who’ve had the chance to be physically close to the lads, by attending every game, home and away, but also all the fans like me, who haven’t been able to do so because of too many miles to cover, or because it was impossible to get hold of a ticket. It was difficult to stop the tears from pouring down as I saw all those City fans singing with passion all over the place at Ewood Park. No one, no one will ever be like us! Maine Road has suddenly got too small, and even if we tried to leave Manchester to look for something bigger, that wouldn’t be enough. Wembley? Anfield? Stretford? No thanks, it’s just worth staying in Manchester, and wait for the new stadium, even if a 48,000 ground capacity could just be not sufficent.

Before I go, I’d love to leave a message to all the Italian-based City fans. It doesn’t matter whether you’re English, Italian or whatever. A City supporters’ club is about to be born in a local bar. Meetings will be arranged regularly, and at least one trip to Maine Road will be organised next season. So, if you’re out there, just write to the following address:

Maverick Saloon
Via Ghinaglia 87/b
26100 Cremona

Or email me to the following address: and join us! We’ve been climbing a mountain, but remember mates, we haven’t got to the top yet. We’re just the best.

Vanes Marzaroli (


I have just finished reading the latest edition of MCIVTA. After reading all the stories about the Blackburn game, I have decided to send in my version. It may not be as exciting or as funny as some, but it is just as special to me.

I have been living in Florida for 3 years now and when asked if I miss England, the only thing I say is “No, just City!” Since I moved here I think I know more about City now and own more shirts/memorabilia than ever before. Luckily my American wife loves City almost as much as I do and hates the Rags as much as I do… what love can achieve!

Anyway, to the point of my letter. My Sunday morning. Time difference meant that the game would be underway when I woke up; not so, seeing as nerves got the better of me and I was up cleaning the house at 5.30am! After that, a brief walk for Georgie my black lab – wonder where his name came from! Eventually, the time for kick off approached, so I went to my computer, went to the City website to listen to the commentary… only to find that my Real Player had expired. I then tried to download a temporary file so I could hear the game but the computer decided otherwise.

So, it was off to the Sky Sports website and leaving on the ScoreFlash. The waiting is a killer, so I decided to call my dad in good old South Manchester. He told me it was 0-0 in both games: so far, so good.

I then checked the Scoreflash: s**t 1-0 and 1-0. My wife was already consoling me. I had hope though. I tried to explain to her and my father in law that this was not the City of old. After half time I called my dad again, still expecting the score to be 1-0, only to be told that it was 2-1… what! What the hell is going on! Get me on a plane right now! Well, the rest is history, but my wife had to spend the rest of the afternoon explaining to the neighbours why her husband was jumping up and down in the street with his dog (who was also going nuts – I swear he knew!), while clinging to his portable phone and singing Blue Moon to his family in Manchester!

I then went off to work with a big grin on my face but missing City even more!

At least now I can watch all the goals here every week, I get to see live Premiership matches and I will now but FIFA 2001 for my Playstation!

Anyway, that’s my story. Like I said, it’s not as funny or as memorable as some of the letters you have been getting, but it certainly was great for me!

By the way, if there are any Blues livving in South Florida, email me at RUDY502@AOL.COM

Take care, see you in the Premiership.

Steven Kersh, Florida USA (RUDY502@AOL.COM)


To add to the promotion celebrations, is delighted to announce the launch of the CityStat MemberZone service.

We’ve been fortunate to have a response from Blues around the world and we have tried to build the MemberZone in accordance with your wishes, and will continue to develop the site with your needs in mind.

At present, the MemberZone service has the following highlights:

  • Daily CityStat E-Paper. All the latest news, gossip and best of thenational press coverage sent every weekday straight into your In-Box inconcise, easy to use format!
  • Full career histories of every City player since 1891.
  • Fixtures, results, attendance, line ups and goalscorers for everycompetitive first team game since 1891.
  • Massive image, video and audio library – the largest City libraryanywhere on the Net.
  • Memory matches and star player memories re-lived, with the opportunityfor you to contribute and earn!
  • Fantastic City-related memorabilia to be won throughout the summer in ourextra-tough quizzes!
  • Travel information for every English soccer ground, including a “Good Pub Guide!”
  • Message Board for Blues around the world to keep in touch and discuss theburning issues of the day!
  • High quality links section putting you a click away from the best soccersites around.

As you can see from these selected highlights, this is a unique site dedicated to the Blues.

So, if you would like to sign up then go to:

or to see more: … and click on the “tour” button.

The costs involved in researching, developing and maintaining this service are high, so rather than bombard you with adverts, a small subscription fee is required after a week’s free trial.

However, we do promise value for money and we would like you to know that we are a “benevolent” organisation, i.e. We take no profit! – any excess is pumped back into the site for extra development and, of course, prizes!

What’s more, if you join before 25 May you get access to free $10 Barnes and Noble Bookstore vouchers.

We hope you wish to join us and our coverage of the Blues back in the Premiership!

Best regards, Philip Alcock – Founder of CityStat.Net (


When we equalised we screamed, then I reminded the kids that there was still 30 minutes to go and we’d taken a beating up to that point in the game. Let’s not count our chickens. 2-1 and I thought how typical it would be if we conceded two more goals to deny us promotion. 3-1 and I still wondered if there was time to concede 3 more goals. 4-1 and we screamed “Going up, going up, going up”. I still need a three goal lead and less then 10 minutes left to be able to relax.

Then, we danced around our living-room.

Later on Sunday night, we drove to Maine Road via Deansgate and Albert Square. How lovely to see the city thronged with City supporters in blue and white. Not a red shirt in sight. Give them their dues, they knew to stay away. We went to Maine Road but almost everyone had left by the time we got there so we decided to eat a curry on Wilmslow Road (the tarmac is an appropriate place to eat that stuff).

We drove back through town and were stopped at the lights on Deansgate by a group of celebrating Blues. They sang and danced and held each others’ arms aloft. We weren’t ‘in kit’ but when we showed these guys our City scarves, they burst into a loud, heartfelt, true “Blue Army”. It made the hairs on the back of my neck feel like they haven’t done for ages.

Even the sky was blue last Sunday.


P.S. Told you that Lump wouldn’t get 6 goals but this is not the time for that kind of thing.

Simon Fink (


On Saturday night (7 May) I dreamt that I was behind the counter in a hardware shop, not far from Ewood Park. A bloke in a flat cap, claiming to be on the ground staff at B.R.F.C. came in the shop and asked me for a paint brush with extra thick bristles and 10 litres of external white paint – with thickener. Paid his money and left. On his way out he said to me “thanks lad, and good day to Blue, whoops I meant you”. Now is that just the oddest dream or what? Back to reality – if that is possible. A top day was had down here in Gordon’s Bay – Cape Town. The match was shown live so we had a Braai, other Blues (them that weren’t, are now) and lots of liquid. I won’t go into the details of how everything went pear-shaped at about 5 in the evening and I still have no regrets about opening my vintage port or 3 litres of champs. Thanks to Ashley and the crew. Thanks to all the Blues everywhere that make City the team they are. Thanks to City for the madcap journey. Cut me through and it’ll say Blue.

Michael (


I just have to let other Manchester City fans know about this City fan on this side of the Atlantic. I first started to communicate with Dillon when he wrote to me because of one of my articles in a MCIVTA edition. We have kept contact for some time now.

Dillon is a student in one of the USA’s best universities: Notre Dame. He is from Texas. He made a trip in March just to see City and the rest of the set up of City. Well now, on this side of the Atlantic, he has got his own City website. I am so impressed I have got to tell all City fans about it, please visit.

He did this as part of his education; if this is what education is all about, here’s to education the Notre Dame way! Well done Dillon, you are a proven City fan. I do not think any City fan will say any different after visiting your City site – well done.

Cheers – I will have a double on this one – Ernie Barrow (


Well it’s been a week now since “judgement day”, and I’m still waking up every morning with a smile on my face, but who cares, our beloved Blues are back in the PL (the Promised Land) and how.

But my story begins on the morning after the Birmingham match, when along with City fans all over the world, we anticipated Charlton beating Ipswich before they picked up the Championship trophy; even a draw would do us as Ipswich had to win. Picture the scene, sitting in my car awaiting the Football League Division One results; these are given out after the Premiership, racing, hockey, and local sports news. Then he began: Charlton 1… Ipswich 3; b@@@@rds, I couldn’t believe it, so close and yet so far, then the pictures of the crowd invasion at Maine Road, oh Jesus hope that doesn’t come back to haunt us.

The week seemed to fly by; everyone I met kept telling me that we would do it, but what the feck do they know? The permutations were running through my head: if we won we were up, if we lost and Ipswich didn’t win etc. all went through my head, but we were playing away to Blackburn, they were at home to Walsall, who needed a point to stay up. Saturday was almost unbearable, I was invited to referee a local charity match which raised money for Telethon. Afterwards I went to the pub with them for one drink; 2am saw me staggering out of the pub and wandering home. I’d have no trouble sleeping tonight.

The following morning I woke up with the mother of all hangovers, neither Andrews nor Paracetamol could shift it; combine that with the dose of the Stretfords I had and you could see that it was going to be a sh***y day one way or another. My good lady wife asked me if I wanted any breakfast: “just a cup of tea and some toast please luv”, I said, as I tried to watch Soccer Extra on Sky. Up she came with a full breakfast; I downed it with difficulty. Lay in bed till 12, then the build-up started. Ray Wilkins (who is more famous for the Tango ad than anything he did on the pitch) said confidently Ipswich and Blackburn would win, B@stard. My four girls and my missus all donned City colours for the day, I dug out our branch banner; a tricolor (8ft by 4ft) with the words MAN CITY GALWAY sewn on, and also the City flag that I took off our coach back from Wembley last May.

I had tried all week to follow the advice of my great friend Jane (a.k.a. Arianna2) off the Internet, who reckons she adopted a policy of “I won’t be anxious over events over which I have no control”; it worked until I decided to wear my Le Coq City shirt, and as I was searching for my shoes in the cupboard out fell the Fila deck shoes I wore at Wembley so I put them on. I was too nervous to drive to Galway so Helena took the wheel, and off we set for the Western Bar, home of the Galway Blues. The bar was decked out in blue and white balloons by John the barman, just like it had been for the Birmingham game. The pub was packed full of Blues; it did your heart good to see them. Kick off came and the players looked more nervy than we did, Nicky was keeping them at bay and we had several appeals (in the Western anyway) turned down for penalties. The minutes seemed to drag themselves around the clock and just as it looked like we were going to hold on till half time, Jansen scored for Blackburn. Helena reckond that she could see how visibly shaken I was but told me not to worry.

At that I went outside into the sunshine with the branch secretary Tony. I told him I thought we’d blown it, but he said he thought it could be another Bradford. Back inside the second half, the news came through that Ipswich were winning 1-0; Sky showed the goal and celebrations, the pub went deadly silent and Helena reckoned she could see the colour drain from my face. She came up and kissed me and said have a little faith. The next 10 minutes or so were pure hell; my heart was pounding, the clock suddenly seemed to be sprinting away; Blackburn hit the post and crossbar, Amy my eight-year-old city nut began to cry – she thought the clock said 90 minutes, then it happened, an event that I will never in my life forget. Kennedy got the ball on the left, inside to Horlock, a first time cross and coming in from the darkside the goal machine Shaun Og Goater; it happens so quick but it seemed like it took years to happen… “GOAAAAAAAAALLLL!!!” The Western erupted, a huge mass of heaving bodies grabbed each other and I kissed everyone, male and female. The relief was tangible, it was in our hands again; glanced at the clock in the corner of the screen: b****cks – 30 minutes to go. The nerves reappeared, come on lads, keep ’em out.

A hopeful punt by Edghill, header back by Dailly, Kelly beaten… “YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!” I’m in dreamland. Kisses all round again. Now the lads begin to play, Kennedy 3-1 “YESSSSS!!!!” Dickov 4-1 “YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!” The songs start; we did them all with gusto. There was a particular heart-stopping rendition of “City… City…!” that matched anything I’ve heard. The Final whistle and the champagne flowed, all the heartache of the past few years vanished, standing in the same spot as when we went down to Division 2 again, I had tears in my eyes but this time they were tears of joy. The party spilled outside in the sunshine, singing and dancing, and flag waving, “WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE, WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE”

Howard McCarthy (


Before this year’s annual Floribbean Blues promotion celebration, at a date and location yet to determined, there will be a video showing, this Friday night, May 19th, of the game at Blackburn, to be held at the palatial South Miami home of Miami Blue (Stuart Booth). As Mrs B. is on vacation in the Motherland, MB has declared open house and any and all City (and Blackburn) fans in the area are invited. Email me for more details (highlights of the Brum game too).

Paul Duncan (


Noel Bayley in MCIVTA 604 was too kind about my elephantine memory. Of course it was to Colin the King, “the greatest inside-forward that the world has ever seen” that we sang. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would have sung “centre-forward”. One person’s nit-picking is of course another’s attention to detail. Football songs are inevitably an “oral tradition” and words get changed – personally I fail to see the humour in always changing “heart” to “arse” as in “Blue Moon” – but if there is a “correct” original version that should be what goes in the record. Now some might think it a bit sad for Steve Kay even to attempt to compile a definitive record of City chants down the years, but not me – it’s part of the club history (the fans’ history) so I’ll defend trying to point out the odd mistake, even though that may seem even sadder.

The song for Horlock I mentioned in 603 was in fact the “Super Mark Kennedy” song to “La donna e mobile” (the fat lady is alive and singing “Blue Moon”) which was well sung at Ewood. So much for the elephantine memory…

Steve Parish (


As at Sunday Evening 14th May 2000, The predictions players’ table looks like this:

Gary King, despite dropping 2 points, holds his position at Number 1 with 31 points.
Andrew Gibbens gains zero points and holds his position at Number 2 with 30 points.
Chris Jones drops 2 points but still climbs to Number 3 with 25 points.
Duncan Madden-Ross drops 5 points and slips to Number 4 with 24 points.
Kevin McMeeking drops 2 points and holds his place at Number 5 with 20 points.
Scott Thompson drops 2 points and still props up the rest at Number 6 with 19 points.

Points were dropped as a result of Bradford exchanging places with Wimbledon. Remember that we are treating the third placed teams in Divisions 1 and 2 and the fourth placed team in Division 3 as the play-off winners so things could still swing quite dramatically. Watch this space!

Paul Gallagher, Secretary, Essex & Suffolk CSA (



Events have shown you are miles wide of the mark about Joe Royle. That’s why he’s managing a successful football club and you’re a pundit, maybe? As for his attitude, maybe like a lot of fans are, he’s sick of you guys asking the same ridiculous, predictable questions and trying to make the facts fit your pre-written scripts – Manchester City the fallen giants etc? Joe’s put-down line on that brainless anchor man (Marcus something) on Sky Sports was a joy to behold! Keep scribbling, and try not to get too over-sensitive about Joe’s criticism.

Martin Styles, Cork, Ireland (


Mr Green,

I have just read your comments on Joe Royle. I wonder whether he sees you as many football fans do. As a self-opinionated individual who has become more annoying as his ego has developed. Maybe his inability to converse with you is proportionately equal. At least Joe Royle has not had the over-deluded grandeur to set up a web-site called “the voice of football”. By the way, if you want to listen to the voice of football, give up your Saturday job and watch Jeff Stelling on Sky Sports.


A City fan who has seen Joe Royle bring this club around, and seemingly have good rapport with other members of the press. It’s maybe time you stopped throwing your toys out of the pram because you get people’s backs up. Wow you just did it again. By the way (again) before you applaud yourself for being clever, I’m only assuming you’re still the same. I stopped listening to Five Live a long time ago, mainly because of you.

Dave Kilroy (


I am attempting to put a new computer football game together and I wondered if your readers could help with ideas? My idea is quite novel as unlike the usual computer games where you play the part of the team, in mine you will play the part of the spectator. It will also differ in one other way; instead of getting increasingly harder as you progress through the stages, my game will get easier.

Stage One sees you going into the final week of the season, your team are away for the last game to some team from hicksville and they won’t supply enough tickets for all your loyal supporters. Further, this game is the most vital game for many a year (well at least 9 months) and everybody wants a ticket. It is your job to obtain one. As you progress you can collect useful items like a mobile phone for ringing long-lost relatives or post codes and addresses for the said backwater town in an attempt to ‘con’ the ticket office etc.

Stage Two: having obtained your ticket, you now have to travel to the said hick town (fairly easy as it seems everyone else in the world is going to the same place). However, when you arrive you have to find a public house that is open and purchase alcoholic refreshment. This stage is nearly as tricky as stage one because it’s fifteen deep at the bar and they are all ordering doubles!

Stage Three: you now have to survive 60 minutes of hell before being able to relax. The final test is real easy. Upon hearing the final whistle, you have to dodge past numerous policeman and stewards to get onto the pitch. If you successfully reach the end of stage three you are immediately presented with a bonus round. You travel through a wondrous City that is bathed in Blue and along the way you seek to obtain objects to help your journey. These objects are either bottles or cans but all contain a wonderful magic potion that enables you to float on air. Your general aim is to party party party and if you are good at the game, nobody is going to stop you!

I must admit I don’t think it will catch on, it’s too unbelievable!

Nigel Pickles (


I had already booked a holiday in Lesbos (small Greek island) as I did not expect to happen what happened. However, due to modern technology, from the bottom of a valley, surrounded by mountains, on the South side of the island, I was able to connect to my colleague sat in the ground by our mobiles. I could hear him and the crowd as though it was ten yards away. Quite wonderful. Do not want to know what the bill will be.

Later on that afternoon, as we were sat in a bar, unknown to my colleagues I was with, I brought out my scarf that I originally wore as a eight-year-old, some forty years ago. It is about three foot long and includes maroon in the colours.

I could not wait to get back and view the video that a working colleague had taped for me. He is Gillingham fan. It was ironic that he taped the match the day after they failed to get automatic promotion. Should not be too much done when I get back to work!

Mike Collard – High Wycombe (


There were quite a few good “behind the lines” articles in last issue, not least from my mate Geoff who managed to stay quiet and calm throughout the whole of the match – a really remarkable achievement. This reminded me of a little anecdote told to me by my sister.

One of the consultants at her hospital is a Blackburn fan who tried in vain to get her a ticket for behind the lines (she almost wasn’t speaking to me at one point as I had a ticket in the City end!). As an aside, he didn’t go to the match as he reckoned we would stuff them as they were crap and they went to pot when they conceded a goal – prophetic words (but they weren’t crap for the first hour!).

Anyway, a few of his cousins went and one was sat next to a young woman on her own, who was very quiet and never moved when they scored. When the Goat popped one in, she didn’t move but he noticed a clenched fist – “You’re a City fan aren’t you?” he says – no response apart from a slight doubting grimace; “You are, aren’t you?”; still no response. “It’s all right, what do you think I’m going to do, smack you?” – faint smile in response. A line of conversation now developed.

When Dailly scored, the Blue again didn’t move apart from the clenched fist again. “Why don’t you celebrate – go on, you’ll be all right” – but the Blue obviously still thought better of it. Next thing Kennedy scores and up jumps the Blue shouting and screaming and she peels off her top to reveal a nice laser blue City shirt underneath – larging it big style!

The Blue and her mates actually ended up going for a drink with the Blackburn fan and his mates and I’ve heard quite a few stories about the Blackburn fans doing similar things – probably glad we’re out of the division as it will make it easier for them to go up and they hate the Rags too – as I was leaving Ewood, a steward I had struck up a conversation with asked us to “Give it to those Red b******s next season”!

Tom Farrington (


At the end of an exceptional 12 months, season and week:

Apologies to Mark Leibling (, who I told was being presumptuous when he registered his name last season claiming it would do for this one as well – you were right – now how about the lottery numbers? Big thanks to JR and DB who have turned this club around, all the board, training staff, players and everyone behind the scenes for making it all possible. Thanks to my boss, David, for putting up with the highs (and lows) of employing a City fan including receiving and distributing this fine journal. I sincerely look forward to us stuffing Leeds next season (although I think he’s really a closet Blue). Thanks to Steve and Joe, our security people and readers of this journal. Steve must be the only dual City/Ipswich fan around. Never mind, at least the team that matters did it! Thanks to the MCIVTA team and regular contributors for being there and believing and showing we’re not alone. Thanks to all at the Denton supporters’ club who have welcomed me to their fold (it’s not true what they all say about you) and finally thanks to my dad, without whom I wouldn’t have made it to the ranks. Although at times I may have doubted you, I know you’re never wrong. Are you?

To Blues everywhere, they’re not laughing at us now. Watch out world, we’re back.

Thank you.

Heidi Pickup (


Now that we’ve been promoted it seems that many people are keen to criticise us for one reason or another. On ‘Live and Dangerous’ on Channel 5, Steve Claridge said that there was no way that City were the second best side in the division. This in spite of the fact that we finished second and that we put six goals past his team this season. Let’s face it, a team such as ours that apparently has fantastic team spirit and is well-organised deserves to do well. It is surely a question of envy – if Portsmouth had spent a season getting great results by playing effective football, Claridge would be well pleased.

I know that I am glad to be in City’s position, rather than Ipswich’s – a better ‘footballing side’. Alan Green, meanwhile, has little time for our manager. He says that Royle is twitchy and hypersensitive and this seems to have coloured his opinion of City’s prospects next season. I must say that as a punter, who has never met the man, Joe Royle has never struck me as a particularly nice person; football managers need to be ruthless and, personally, I tend not to like ruthless people. I happen to agree with Alan Green that Royle is unpleasantly oversensitive to criticism (the interview with Royle last Saturday morning on 5 Live in the was a good example of this: “Hey, don’t get tricky with me,” he said, repeatedly, when asked about women in football, which the reporter had every right to do). But then who cares what he’s like in real life? His achievements for Manchester City have been not far short of miraculous and whether he’s got a nice personality or not is pretty immaterial to me (within reason, of course, i.e., assuming he’s not a psychopath or something).

Joe Royle has been an absolute godsend to Manchester City FC. As for City, let them criticise if they want to. We should enjoy it. They’re envious. This is one of the trappings of being successful again. They do this every season to newly promoted teams. Some friends of mine were saying last year that there was no way Bradford City should be promoted because ‘it’s obvious’ they’ll go straight back down again. Imagine being a Bradford fan at that time. Speculation is all part of the fun and look at how many times we’ve proved people wrong this season. Long may it continue! Here’s to a successful future for the Blues!

Daniel Marcus (


Well happy to say I told you so in Feb 98 when Joe and Willie were signed on! Really pleased City are back where they, and United belong, the Premier Division. I saw the Blackburn game live on TV over here and just knew City would win when the ball hit the woodwork the fourth time and back into Weaver’s arms. Divine intervention! Delighted for you Blue fans, and now looking forward to the derbies to come for many more years I hope.

Leo Fewtrell – Wythenshawe Exile (


I hope Steve is going to take up the fresh challenge of a whole new set of teams to wrestle with. He will be excused Charlton and whoever of course.

David Kilroy (


Does anyone have a copy of the game in the USA? I would love to see the action.

Andrew Kirkman (


A girl growing up in a small West County town supporting City? Whatever next! In 1968/9 I was a football fanatic – playing, that is, round the park with my school mates every minute possible. And an envied reputation for getting goals past our school goalie that bemused the boys. Everything was just fine until puberty started kicking in, and some of the boys made some lewd comments that offended me deeply. After all, wasn’t my prowess on the pitch more important than that? Suddenly feeling threatened and very self-conscious, I stopped playing.

So I cast about for any way I could still keep in touch with the game. My dad’s advice was to support a team, and by now it was cup final time with two teams playing that I couldn’t make an obvious connection with. Why not Bristol Rovers, said my dad, whose support for the Pirates spanned two generations? Mmmmmm, not good enough, thought I. So out of Leicester and Manchester City, who should I root for in the final, dad?

Luckily, having been brought up in Radstock and going to school in Bath, dad knew all about Tony Book and Malcolm Allison. He even told me that Tony Book still had links with Radstock Town FC, and that Tony had married one of my dad’s second cousins! Wow! Reason enough for any 11-year-old. Dad even arranged for someone to get me Tony Book’s autograph.

So I forgive my dad for not taking me to the testimonial at Bath when City were the visitors. He gave me the inspiration to follow City, albeit long distance, and that will never leave me. Last season, after 30 years of support, I went to Maine Road for the very first time (vs. York City), and have been several times this season – all home wins, too!

It might be a long, hard road sometimes following City, but the highs are worth every drop of pain along the way! I’m City ‘Til I Die!

Anne Mitchard (


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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 #606