Newsletter #623

According to the club, the Amokachi deal is still very much on, with his arrival still delayed by the wait for a visa. Certain sections of the media are still publishing stories intimating that Amokachi has gone to a Greek side, but these are being viorously refuted by Maine Road. There’s also news of the death of Cliff Sear, who many will remember from the 1960’s. If anyone out there remembers Cliff well (or his exploits) or even knew him, I’m sure the rest of us would appreciate hearing more about him; this could take the form of an obituary or just anecdotes and memories.

This issue sees MCIVTA return to normal – at least as far as the ManYoo content is concerned:

For those travelling to Northern Ireland in the coming weeks, Joe Furl has done an excellent guide – including hypertext links – to Belfast’s hotels, pubs and eateries (at least those near to Windsor Park). Cathal Whelehan has also done a bit of detective work on the Lowry MCFC football scene that Peter mentioned as being up for auction a short while ago; there’s even a link to view this as a result! Other than that, we have an impassioned piece on the evils of the Premier League, as well as lots of opinion, humour, and an evocative Why Blue.

Next game: Saturday 22nd July 2000, Linfield away


City Still Await Amokachi Arrival

Daniel Amokachi has still to arrive in Manchester to train with City. But the Blues say the Nigerian will arrive over the weekend, and have rubbished renewed reports that the player will be joining Greek club Ionikos. Amokachi has been delayed in Istanbul as he tries to obtain a visa, and his non-appearance sparked claims that he would snub Joe Royle. However, the club has once again insisted that nothing sinister can be read into the situation. “We have been dealing with Daniel and his agent and no-one else,” said director Chris Bird. “We expect him here for training on Monday.”

Boss Pursuing Two Deals

Joe Royle has once again played down reports of imminent incoming transfer activity at Maine Road. The Blues’ boss has been linked with a host of players this summer, but insists that the only player he would have liked to sign was Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen. Royle is refusing to discuss the identities of potential targets, but he does admit to working actively to bring in two new faces. “What I will say is that at the moment we are pursuing two players of which one is a strong possibility and one is just a possibility,” he told the official club website at

City Linked with Move for Belgian

Manchester City have once again been linked with Joos Valgaeren. The Belgian defender is available for transfer from Ducth club Roda, and has been interesting Celtic this summer. Roda had originally put a £7 million price tag on the player, but would now reportedly accept a bid of £4 million – a fee much more to Joe Royle’s liking. Several British clubs are reported to have shown an interest in Valgaren this summer, with the Glasgow outfit featuring in the strongest speculation. However, with some news sources indicating that the Euro 2000 star would prefer to play in the English Premiership, the Blues could be well placed to complete a transfer should they choose to make a bid.

Target in Showdown Talks

Chris Coleman is set for showdown talks with Fulham on Friday. And Joe Royle could be keeping a close eye on the outcome of the Welshman’s discussions with Craven Cottage Managing Director Michael Fiddy. Reports continue to insist that Royle is interested in bringing the 30-year-old to Maine Road, although Coleman has also been linked this summer with Sunderland, Blackburn and Everton. It’s thought that a transfer to any of those clubs would see the player increase his salary substantially – and it’s claimed that he may ask for a move if Fulham don’t offer him a significant pay rise.

Russell Completes Scottish Move

Craig Russell has joined St Johnstone on a free transfer. The striker was released by City a week ago, and has clinched a three-year deal with the Perth-based club. Russell last featured in the City first team 18 months ago, and is delighted to have a chance to put his career back on track. “I can’t wait to get going,” he said. “Other players think the close season is too short but I’m desperate to get back playing again to make up for lost time.”

Fringe Players Won’t Be Sold on the Cheap

Joe Royle has reportedly been fielding plenty of enquiries this summer for players who may not feature in his plans for the Premiership. But the City manager insists that he’ll only sell players for a fair value. Andy Morrison, Danny Allsopp, Nick Fenton, Gareth Taylor, Paul Dickov, Lee Peacock and Jamie Pollock have all been mentioned in the press as possible summer transfer targets for other clubs. But Royle is under no pressure to sell to raise money for his own team-building, and confirmed, “We are in no rush. We do not need to sell. We are not in desperate need of cash.”

Royle Happy With Progress in Training

Manchester City’s players returned to training this week, ahead of the club’s return to the Premiership. And Joe Royle is satisfied with the progress made by his squad in the first few days back. Royle says that when he took Oldham into the top flight in the early 1990s, his overriding impression was of the gap in fitness rather than quality between the highest two divisions. And the City boss is determined his team won’t be found wanting in this respect this time out. “I know what to expect as I have spent five years there with Everton and Oldham,” he told the official club website at “It is a physical division and it will be hard but we will be prepared.”

Weaver – City Are Up to the Challenge

Nicky Weaver knows that Manchester City face a difficult task in the new season. But the England under-21 man feels that the Blues are equipped to consolidate in the Premiership. Weaver believes that the City fans have played a big part in the consecutive promotions of the last two seasons. And he insists that the backing of the Maine Road crowd can once again inspire the team – as long as unrealistic expectations are kept in check. “We have great fans who enjoy a good rapport with the team and I just want them to be realistic,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “No one is expecting us to walk it and it is important expectations are not too high.”

Haaland Expects Boom Times Ahead

Alfie Haaland’s three years at Elland Road saw Leeds United move from the pack to become challengers at the top of the table. And the recent City signing expects similar progress during his spell at Maine Road. Haaland feels that the Blues have the potential, on and off the field, to become a force in the English game. And the Norwegian is looking forward to playing his part. “It has been obvious to me from the moment I arrived that Manchester City are a big club – every bit as big as Leeds United,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “The players feel they are in at the start of something good. And I am delighted to be a part of it.”

Royle Nominated for Management Award

Joe Royle is one of eight nominees for the new National Football Awards ‘Manager of the Year’. The winner will be decided on the basis of telephone votes received from the public, and will be named in September. A campaign will be run on ITV and in the press informing the public of how to vote, and Royle faces opposition from Alex Ferguson, Dick Advocaat, Alan Curbishley, Martin O’Neill, Gianluca Vialli, David O’Leary and French national coach Roger Lemerre.

Former City Star Dies

Cliff Sear, who had a thirteen-year Manchester City playing career in the 1950s and 1960s, has died of a heart attack. The 63-year-old ex-Welsh international full-back featured in 248 league games and scored once for the club between 1958 and 1966, although he actually arrived at Maine Road from Oswestry in the summer of 1955, and left for Chester in April 1968. After finishing his playing days, Sear stayed on at Sealand Road and moved into coaching. He even had a brief spell as Chester manager in 1982 before taking a post at Wrexham. It was working with youngsters which gave him his greatest successes, and he was employed as the Welsh club’s Youth Development Officer up to his death. Sear was largely responsible for Wrexham’s recent success in their youth set-up’s application for Academy status, a rarity for a Second Division club, and he discovered some impressive talent, including Paul and Ron Futcher, Chris Armstrong and most notably Ian Rush.

City to Buy Wembley Turf?

The reconstruction of Wembley stadium means that the pitch will be ripped up – and the turf will be sold off to raise cash for charity. The spot from where Geoff Hurst scored his hat-trick goal in 1966 has already fetched £20,000 – and there are now reports that City want to get in on the act. The Blues are said to be interested in acquiring for the proposed club museum the piece of turf from where Paul Dickov scored his momentous injury time equaliser against Gillingham in the 1999 Second Division play off match.

Peter Brophy (


Welcome to Belfast fellow Blues. Here is my definitive guide to places to stay, drink and eat in Belfast. These are mostly City Centre/University area locations, which are all about 20 minutes max. from Windsor Park. Hope it is of some use!


Benedicts Hotel – 7-21 Bradbury Place, Belfast. Telephone 028 9059 1999
The Crescent Townhouse – 13 Lower Crescent, Belfast. Telephone 028 9032 3349 <>
Dukes Hotel – 65-67 University Street, Belfast. Telephone 028 9023 6666 <>
The Europa Hotel – Great Victoria Street, Belfast. Telephone 028 9032 7000 <>
The Belfast Hilton – 4 Lanyon Place, Belfast. Telephone 028 9027 7000 <>
Holiday Inn Express – 106 University Street, Belfast. Telephone 028 9031 1909 <>
The Jury’s Belfast Inn – Great Victoria Street, Belfast. Telephone 028 9053 3500
The McCausland Hotel – 34-38 Victoria Street, Belfast. Telephone 028 9022 0200
Malone Lodge Hotel – 60 Eglantine Avenue, Belfast. Telephone 028 9038 8000.
Madison’s Hotel – 59-63 Botanic Avenue, Belfast. Telephone 028 9033 0040.
Renshaws Hotel – 75 University Street, Belfast. Telephone 028 9033 3399.
Travellodge Belfast City – 15 Brunswick Street, Belfast. Telephone 028 9033 3555.
The Wellington Park Hotel – 21 Malone Road, Belfast. Telephone 028 9038 1111.

Public Houses:

There are many, many good pubs in and around the city centre and University areas. The main and most popular/well known are:

Robinsons and The Crown Liqour Saloon, both on Great Victoria Street opposite the Europa Hotel.
McHughs, which is beside the Laganside Bus Centre (near the Hilton).
Auntie Annie’s Porterhouse on the Dublin Road.
The Belfast Empire on Botanic Avenue.
Bob’s/Bob Cratchitt’s and Storm Nightclub on the Lisburn Road.
The Botanic Inn (Bot) on the Malone Road.
The Eg Bar on the Malone Road (opposite the Bot above).
The Fly and Bar Twelve on Lower Crescent off Botanic Avenue.
Magennis’s Bar and Whisky Caf