Newsletter #628

City comfortably overcame Gillingham on Saturday in the friendly game arranged as part of last season’s Robert Taylor deal. Curiously, the two and a half positive match reports contained herein are in stark contrast to the media reports on the game in Sunday’s paper – read into that what you will! As far as news stories go, the Sunday press once again went into speculation mode, which resulted in the club today admitting that they were interested in Liverpool’s Titi Camara. Perhaps the most curious story appeared in the Pink Final with Joe talking about how he considered chasing self-confessed City fan George Weah!

This issue has a squad update from Stuart Reynolds; some reviews of last week’s preview showing of ‘There’s only one Jimmy Grimble’; Neil Young nostalgia; and much opinion – mainly on the MEN, music, and Neil Young.

This one reaches 3,323.

Next game: Wednesday 2nd August 2000, Burnley away


Kennedy Double Sinks Gills

Manchester City notched a third successive pre-season win on Saturday, keeping a third consecutive clean sheet in the process. The Blues won 3-0 at Gillingham thanks to two goals from Mark Kennedy and a strike from substitute Leon Mike. City led 1-0 at the break thanks to Kennedy’s left-footed shot from outside the penalty area in the 19th minute. Eleven minutes into the second period, the winger scored again – this time in less accustomed style, converting Robert Taylor’s cross with a rare header. Mike’s last-minute effort was a tap-in after fellow youngster Shaun Wright-Phillips’ fine run ended in a shot the home goalkeeper could only parry. The game, watched by a crowd of just over 5,000, saw Alfie Haaland’s first start in a City shirt as the Blues went one better than the 2-0 win at Priestfield in the 1998-99 season.

Royle Hails Three Stars

Joe Royle was delighted with the form of three players in particular in Saturday’s friendly at Gillingham. Mark Kennedy, Nicky Weaver and Shaun Wright-Phillips all earned the manager’s praise after the 3-0 win. Kennedy was the star of the show at Priestfield, and even surprised the City boss by scoring with a rare header. “Mark knows we love him here and he is an idol to the crowd,” enthused Royle. “To be honest though, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen him score with his head, I don’t think it’s in his contract!” Nicky Weaver made some fine saves to show why he was, in his manager’s words, “responsible for us having the best defensive record in Division One last season,” while Shaun Wright-Phillips also impressed after arriving as a 53rd-minute substitute for Paul Dickov. Royle didn’t rule out the diminutive youngster’s chances of facing Charlton in just under three weeks, and told the Manchester Evening News, “Even if he is not involved at the start of the season, I’ve got this feeling that it won’t be too long before his claims for a place at senior level will have to be recognised.”

Ehiogu Saga Dragging On

City are still awaiting a reply from Aston Villa after asking the Midlanders to name their price for Ugo Ehiogu. But the latest rumours claim that the London-born defender could also emerge as a target for West Ham – in which case the Blues may miss out on the player even if they agree a fee with Villa. Despite the insistence of Hammers’ boss Harry Redknapp that Rio Ferdinand is not for sale, Barcelona are said to be ready with a big-money bid for the England man. And it’s thought that if Ferdinand is lured away to the Nou Camp, Ehiogu will feature on Redknapp’s list of potential replacements. It would seem likely that the 27-year-old would opt for Upton Park over a move to Manchester if given the chance. As well as playing for a team which finished in the top half of the Premiership last season, he’d also be moving back to his roots by choosing the East London outfit.

Royle Eyeing Defender Alternative?

City still claim they’re hopeful of landing Ugo Ehiogu from Aston Villa. But Midlands sources claim that the Blues may be lining up an alternative in case the move for Ehiogu breaks down. Royle was spotted at a friendly between Wolves and Coventry last week. And observers put two and two together when the City boss left as soon as the Molineux outfit substituted Ludovic Pollet. The Frenchman arrived from Lens last autumn, costing £350,000 after an initial successful loan spell. He subsequently scored five goals in 39 league games in addition to forming an impressive pairing with ex-City star Keith Curle.

City Linked with Camara Swoop

Director Chris Bird has admitted that the Blues are interested in Titi Camara. But it’s thought that the Liverpool star isn’t top of Joe Royle’s hit list as the City manager bids to tie up a signing in the “next two or three days”. The ex-Marseille striker could be surplus to requirements at Anfield after the Merseyside club’s acquisition of Emile Heskey last season. It’s thought that an offer of £3 million could be enough to secure Camara’s signature – but the Blues might have more difficulty in meeting the player’s wage demands. The Frenchman is reportedly earning £30,000 per week at Anfield and would have to accept a substantial reduction in that figure if he heads up the East Lancs Road. The 27-year-old scored nine league goals last term in 33 appearances, of which exactly a third were as a substitute.

Blades Deny Swap Rumour

Sheffield United have denied receiving a bid from City for Marcus Bent. The ex-Palace and Port Vale man was linked again with the Blues at the weekend. Bent has been the focus of transfer speculation in recent weeks, having come to prominence with 15 goals in 32 league games after joining the South Yorkshire club last October. With City needing a striker and Blades’ boss Neil Warnock having admitted to an interest in Dickov, it was claimed that the Scot could be the makeweight in a deal taking Bent over the Pennines. However, Bramall Lane chairman Derek Dooley has moved to quell the speculation that his club’s finances could force a sale – although he did admit that manager Warnock could be tempted by a “substantial offer” for the Londoner. Meanwhile, the Blades have again been linked in the last few days with a move for their former striker Gareth Taylor.

Horlock Confident of Survival

Kevin Horlock has already experienced relegation from the Premiership once, when playing for Swindon in 1993-94. But the Northern Ireland international expects far better from Manchester City when the new season begins. Horlock feels that the Blues have a stronger base to build on, both on and off the field, than did his former club. And he doesn’t expect the team to have any worries at the bottom of the table. “There is far more quality at this club and I am absolutely positive that what happened to me at Swindon is not going to occur again,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “The minimum target is a mid-table position at the end of the season.”

Duo Set for Early Call-Up

International call-ups have been a feature of life for the Blues over the last year or two. And Joe Royle could see his squad deprived of key players even before the season begins. Kevin Horlock and Jeff Whitley are expected to be required by Northern Ireland when Sammy McIlroy’s side faces Yugoslavia in a friendly in Belfast on August 16. And while Royle is unlikely to be unduly worried about missing the pair in the testimonial game at Old Trafford the same evening, the City boss would no doubt be less than impressed if either player reports back injured from international duty.

Strong Reserve Side Beats Corby

Manchester City sent a strong reserve side to Corby on Friday evening, with Joe Royle making available all players who weren’t in the party of sixteen for Saturday’s first-team match at Gillingham. And the Blues proved far too good for the non-league outfit, winning 5-0. The comfortable scoreline was achieved thanks to a double from Lee Peacock and further goals from Gareth Taylor, Terry Cooke and Chris Shuker. Terry Cooke, Tony Grant and Jamie Pollock were among the players who weren’t chosen for the seniors – but Joe Royle said that nothing should be read into his team selection. The City manager expects to shuffle his pack as the pre-season games continue, saying, “It will be a case of mix and match as we get towards the two big ones towards the end of the pre-season.”

Double Disappointment in Milk Cup

City’s under-14 and under-16 sides each came close to victory in the Milk Cup in Coleraine at the weekend. But in the end both sets of the Blues’ youngsters suffered final heartbreak. In front of a crowd of around 4,000, Patrick Flynn gave the Blues’ under-14s the lead against Charlton but the Addicks levelled late on through Stacy Long. When the match was eventually decided by a shoot out, the same player scored the vital spot kick to seal victory for the Londoners. Meanwhile, the under-16s battled hard in their final fixture against the strong Turkish national squad and were unlucky to lose to an extra-time penalty.

Friendlies Continue with Turf Moor Trip

City reach the half-way point in their pre-season build-up on Wednesday, playing the fourth of their eight scheduled first-team friendlies. And the Blues visit familiar territory, taking on a Burnley side they’ve faced in each of the previous two seasons. City, of course, encountered the Clarets in the opening round of last term’s League Cup – and won 1-0 at Turf Moor after a five-goal rout in the first leg at Maine Road. The Blues had won even more convincingly in an away Division Two fixture the previous season, Shaun Goater scoring three of the six City goals on the night. On the face of it, then, the omens seem good for Joe Royle’s team to continue their unbeaten pre-season build-up as they face a team newly promoted to Division One for the second successive game.

Peter Brophy (


GILLINGHAM vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 29th July 2000

It was a very hot day for football, with plenty of sunshine in Kent, but City, judging by their line-up were taking the game seriously:

Edghill Haaland Prior Tiatto
Whitley Wiekens Horlock Kennedy
         Dickov Taylor

With Goater unavailable, this was probably our Premiership team on display. Just before the kick-off Weaver kicked the ball into the City crowd behind his goal and it promptly disappeared into the bag of a guy just in front of me. The pleas of one of the Gills’ staff for the return of the ball fell on deaf ears. More of this later…

City made quite a bright start, wearing the red and black stripes, with Kennedy and Tiatto very prominent down the left. There was a lot of possession but only a couple of long-range shots (both from Kennedy’s right foot) to show for it. City’s goal was only threatened once at this stage by a free kick, which Weaver dealt with easily. In fact the game was pretty one-sided, in our favour, with total midfield domination. On 19 minutes, the ball was hoofed over one of the stands and we were subjected to an amazing wait – it seemed like 5 minutes – as it appeared that Gillingham only had the one ball! Their own crowd joined in the fun with a refrain based on ‘Hitler has only got one …’ The wait didn’t do City any harm; the boys took the chance for refreshments and promptly scored. A free kick to the right of the area and Horlock shaped up to shoot but rolled the ball to his left instead where Kennedy was waiting to drive the ball low to the goalie’s right. A good looking strike but I’m surprised they didn’t close him down.

City were inspired for a time and Horlock forced a good save from the ‘keeper. There was one breakaway that required Nicky Weaver to be on his toes. After 38 minutes Spencer Prior changed his boots! Then Jeff Whitley went close as City still dominated. It was the final minutes of the half before Gillingham did much attacking but they could then have easily got a couple: first Weaver saved us and then the crossbar (in fact Nicky might have tipped the header onto the bar).

At half-time Prior and Tiatto were replaced by Jobson and Granville and the Gills made about 4 changes. They certainly seemed more competitive at the start of the second half and did most of the attacking for the first quarter. Wiekens looked lucky not to give a penalty away. Dickov then made way for Shaun Wright-Phillips for the last half hour and he did spice up the attack which in truth was poor.

Our second goal arrived against the run of play and there plenty of luck about it as Bob Taylor tussled clumsily (you know how he does) with one of their players on the right. This time the ball broke in Bob’s favour and he whipped in a low centre for Kennedy to head in. Five minutes later, Mark missed an easy chance for his hat-trick (right foot again). Mike was then brought on in place of Kennedy, but little Shaun was definitely our brightest hope up front. It was his mazy run which led to the ball breaking to Mike for an easy tap-in. 3-0 and the Gills had no way back.

Player comments: Weaver proved his worth again with some good saves. The back four didn’t have much to do but managed to look shaky on a few occasions. Haaland had a very quiet game and was a bit indecisive at times. Still, early days for him. Tiatto is one of my favourite players – I love the guy’s attitude! He hasn’t had much rest this summer but his enthusiasm was a joy. The midfield were very strong on the day and Kennedy was the absolute star. He looked our one Premiership player on this performance. The attack, without Goater, looked feeble. Bob might be a nice bloke but he’s not up to it: clumsy, slow and not even good in the air. One of Joe’s mistakes, I fear. Dickov was Dickov – he only looks good enough to be a sub. Wright-Phillips is a conundrum. He’s the only forward we’ve got who runs at defenders and he’s got real pace but is he big enough? Is there any hope that he’s still growing? Mike doesn’t look to be the answer to our problems up front – not yet anyway. Well, a good result but I’m not sure that Gillingham were much competition. We must buy a striker and, for me, the back four looked unsure of themselves under pressure. Let’s see how we get on against Everton.

A horrendous journey back to the M25!

Attendance: 5,300

Peter Kewley (


GILLINGHAM vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 29th July 2000

“Would the Manchester City supporters please stay behind after 90 minutes in case your team scores two late goals”, the announcer joked before the teams came out for this re-enactment of the historic match at Wembley. As it turned out, this was the only reminder of that famous day, as City outplayed a poor Gillingham side in front of a two-thirds empty crowd on this sunny afternoon in July. Wembley seemed a million miles away.

With the new season still three weeks away, I, along with 500 or so City supporters couldn’t wait to see the team in action again, and so descended upon a Gillingham stadium much improved from the last visit in March last year. After the practice run outs in Ireland, Joe Royle selected a team that, barring injuries or transfers, is likely to start against Charlton. With Haaland making his début alongside Prior in the centre of defence, City lined-up as follows:

Edghill  Haaland  Prior    Tiatto
Whitley  Wiekens  Horlock  Kennedy
          Dickov  Taylor

Although only a pre-season warm up, it was good to see the City players fighting for every ball and playing as if the result was important. With so much competition for every place in the side now, it was obvious that each player was out to impress. In the early stages it was all City. Gillingham hardly touched the ball, with the City midfield playing the ball around with quick one touch passing. Mark Kennedy was looking in fine form and continuously had the beating of the full backs. He had the only shots on goal in the first ten minutes, although both unfortunately fell on his right foot and went wide.

After a quarter of an hour the game was held up for nearly 5 minutes after the ball was kicked out of the ground, followed by chants from the Gillingham end of “One ball, we’ve only got one ball”. When eventually a second ball was found, Kennedy quickly dispatched it into the back of the Gillingham net, this time with his left foot after a short free kick from Whitley. 1-0 to City.

City continued to dominate possession for the rest of the first half, and Whitley should have made it two when he shot just wide after a good sprint into the box to receive a low pass from Taylor. With City in total domination, they began to relax and allowed Gillingham back into the game. Both Gillingham’s central strikers had chances when finding space between Prior and Tiatto, but on both occasions the angle was such that you just knew they wouldn’t beat Weaver, and indeed they didn’t.

More worryingly, Gillingham had two chances on the stroke of half-time, when from a corner Weaver tipped the ball onto the crossbar after a Gillingham player was allowed a free header in the box. As the ball rebounded back into play, an unmarked Gillingham forward headed over the bar.

At half-time, Tiatto was replaced by Granville and Jobson came on for Prior, alongside Haaland. After about 5 minutes of the second-half, Dickov went off injured, to be replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips. Shaun really looks the business now, and made an immediate impact with his speed and silky skills unsettling the Gillingham defence. After 10 minutes of the second half, Robert Taylor won the ball off the Gillingham defender out on the right wing and fired in a cross for Mark Kennedy to dive and head the ball past Vince Bartram. 2-0 to City and a really good goal.

Kennedy was having a great game and could have had two more goals, after creating chances for himself he shot wide, both with his right foot again. Gillingham had a few moments themselves but never really looked like scoring, and the pace of the game slowed to the usual tempo for a pre-season friendly. Shaun Wright-Phillips provided the only real excitement as the game petered out, and was constantly running at the Gillingham defence with pace and skill not seen since the days of Kinkladze. As at Wembley, City scored in the 89th minute. This time, young Shaun took on and beat three Gillingham defenders, fired in a low shot that Bartram could only parry out to Leon Mike (a late substitute for Kennedy), who passed the ball into an empty net. 3-0 to City

So a fine performance – solid defence and midfield, and with Kennedy outstanding and Wright-Phillips ready to be unleashed on unsuspecting Premiership defences, I’m sure we’re in for a very exciting season.

For what it’s worth, here’s my verdict on each of the player’s performances:

Weaver (9) Made some fine saves, and looks to be in form already. Weaver makes such a difference to the side that you are actually surprised when the other team score. If only he had been ready for the team in those dark and distant days of Martyn Margetson, and City wouldn’t have had the wasted season in Div 2.
Edghill (8) Looked very assured on the ball and didn’t do a thing wrong. Potentially the weak link in the City side with his tendency to carelessly give the ball away. If he continues with this kind of performance though, he should be OK.
Tiatto (8) Very committed, and carried on from last season’s vast improvement. Did one very poor attempted back flick when well placed, but I’ll excuse that as it was a friendly!
Haaland (8) Looked very confortable in the centre-half rôle. Very pacy and powerful in the air. Do we really need to spend £8 million on Ehiogu with Haaland able to play this rôle?
Prior (7) The two chances Gillingham had in the first half came when Prior went missing. OK besides that.
Whitley (8) As usual covered every blade of grass with enthusiasm and determination. A rather underrated player, who is essential to City’s style of play. I’m sure he’ll be a great success in the Premiership.
Wiekens (8) Looked comfortable in his newish midfield rôle. Didn’t win the ball by diving in like Horlock or Whitley, but preferred to close the opposition down with tight marking, only making the tackle when he knows he’s going to win it and rarely letting a player past him. I guess if City do sign Ehiogu, Wiekens will be the one to make way with Haaland moving into midfield. Personally, I’d like to see Wiekens given a chance in the Premiership as I’m sure he’ll be a big success.
Horlock (8) With such strong competition for places in midfield, Horlock played with a strong determination to keep his place in the side. Dived in for the 50-50 balls, and passed the ball around neatly with good first time touches.
Kennedy (9) Looks to be on fine form and all City’s best moves came through him. Two excellent goals and could have had more. Hope he hasn’t peaked too soon.
Dickov (6) Personally, I feel there should be a statue of Paul Dickov built outside the new City stadium, as that goal has become the pivotal turning point in the fortunes of modern day Manchester City. However, in this re-run of that famous day, Dickov had a really quiet game. Unsurprisingly jeered throughout by the Gillingham supporters, he didn’t really get into the match, before hobbling off injured early in the second half. Will need to play better if he’s to convince Royle that he should be starting every game.
Taylor (8) Didn’t really get any understanding going with Dickov up front. Both players prefer to play off the main striker and in the first half Taylor struggled to play the Goater rôle. Doesn’t appear to have that first yard of pace to put him into those goal-poaching positions. In the second half, he played a deeper rôle and looked far more comfortable. Good first touch, but whether he’ll be up to the Premiership is another matter.


Wright-Phillips (9) Reminded me of Michael Owen. Showed great pace and skill and must be pushing Dickov for a place in the starting line-up at Charlton. Biggest handicap must be his height. Being so small, I doubt if he’ll ever get on the end of Kennedy’s constant supply of crosses. That aside, looks a great prospect.
Jobson (8) Dependable as ever.
Granville (7) Didn’t do anything wrong, but doesn’t really generate openings in the way Tiatto can.
Mike (7) Came on late and scored. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Have since read reports that the scoreline flattered City. Don’t you believe it, City were worthy 3-0 winners.

Colin Jonas (


  1. Haaland fouled his opponent consistently, never gave the ballaway but never did anything overly-constructive with it either.Wouldn’t criticise him (after 1 friendly) and I’m sure he’ll befine, but he looked new to the side and was not as good as somehave suggested.
  2. Jeff Whitley’s passing was notably worse than anyone else’s, andhe was not at the races at all.
  3. No midfield cover on the bench (absence of Bishop, Grant,Pollock, Crooks etc.).
  4. Kennedy and Tiatto both looked impressive, whilst Shaun W-P wasa breath of fresh air as he ran at people with blistering pace.
  5. The overall performance was much better than has been suggestedin reports. I think I speak for a large number of fans when I sayI left well satisfied. We were generally composed and in adifferent class to our opponents, and we still have five friendliesbefore the real thing.

Scott Turton (


Follow the links to two City match reports from the U-16 Milk Cup competition; these are publised on the Belfast Telegraph’s web site.

Roger Haigh (


The next meeting of West Yorkshire branch of the CSA is Tuesday 1st August at The Globe, Rastrick Common. It will be our AGM and the meeting starts at 8pm.

Simon Clegg (


Changes since last squad:

Craig Russell contract paid up and subsequently joined St Johnstone.
Jim Whitley and Gary Mason transfer listed

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Steven Hodgson
Richard McKinney
Gerard Wiekens
Spencer Prior
Richard Edghill
Rhys Day
Lee Crooks
Nick Fenton
Danny Granville
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Andy Morrison
Shaun Holmes               Transfer Listed
Kevin Horlock
Jamie Pollock
Mark Kennedy
Gary Mason                 Transfer Listed
Jim Whitley                Transfer Listed
Ian Bishop
David Laycock
Terry Dunfield
Christopher Shuker
Terry Cooke
Jeff Whitley
Tony Grant   (Tony Tony Tony Tramp!)
Alfinge Haaland
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Danny Allsopp
Gareth Taylor               Transfer Listed
Shaun Wright-Phillips
Leon Mike
Christopher Killen
Bob Taylor
Lee Peacock

Last year’s U19 still at club, not sure if on pro contract:

Greg Duff (defender)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)
Andrew Pavey (midfield)
Stephen Parkhouse (striker)

Last year’s U17 still at club:

Stephen Jordan (defender)
Gary Furnival
Barry Hogan
Dixon Etuhu

This years U-17’s

Tyrone Mears
Paddy McCarthy
Steven Paisley
Damian Joyce
Glenn Whelan
Gary Browne
Rico Richards

Stuart Reynolds (


Man City reserve player, Chris Killen, has been picked for the NZ squad to travel to Malaysia for the six team Mederka Tournament. NZ’s games are:

August 12: New Zealand vs. Malaysia
August 14: New Zealand vs. Oman

And if they make it past the group stages:

August 18: Semi-finals
August 20: Final

In the other group (Group A) are: Cameroon Olympic, Ghana Olympic, Malaysia U-22.

Ralph Sheppard (


Went to the special screening of the Jimmy Grimble film at Planet Hollywood last night. It’s quite a funny (haha) film, which any City fan will be able to enjoy, but especially so if you went to school in Manchester. The funniest thing about it was Ray Winston’s Mancunian accent (the audience giggled every time he opened his mouth), whilst Robert Carlyle was memorable as the school’s PE teacher and football coach. The ending is a bit predictable, but it’s the kind of film that you would only ever want to have a happy ending anyway. All in all I would say it’s a good film and well worth a watch if you’re a Blue. Loads of football and shots of Maine Road in it. If you go and watch it, see if you can guess what my favourite line from the film was! And the soundtrack was excellent.

Alex Bracey (


Replica shirt sales are a huge and visible reminder of allegances bought, hearts worn on (short) sleeves, and of course a fan base’s willingness to be right royally fleeced. Some take the extra step of having favourite player’s names printed on their backs. A dedicated few use the shirts as cultural signposts to how City fits in the rest of their lives – ‘Gallagher’ and ‘Til I Die’ have both been spotted – to this group only, go out now and get ‘Jimmy Grimble’ printed up: in a months time you won’t regret it.

Last night I attended a West End preview of a new film (released on 28 August) “There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble”, and there’s no doubt it’ll be loved by the public generally and McVittee readers in particular. Starring Robert Carlyle, Ray Winstone and the lovely Gina McKee, it’s a film set entirely in Manchester and introduces the new talent of Lewis McKenzie who plays our hero, the 15-year-old Jimmy Grimble. Jimmy, a slightly awkward City supporting outsider has a thoughtful intensity that sets him apart from this U****d supporting peers at school just enough to make him the object of bullying. This ‘rites of passage’ movie follows how his footballing ability enables him to overcome both the bullying and his teenage anxiety over his own embryonic romance and his (single) mother’s more complicated one.

The film follows (and at times is narrated by) Jimmy from his first try out for the school team through to the climatic final of the Manchester Schools Knock-out Cup, played on the hallowed turf of Maine Road. It hasn’t got the bittersweet feeling (Brassed Off) of anxiety that accompanies my City support; but has got a sort of fairy tale theme at times with a running storyline about an elderly homeless lady and some improbable magic boots (very tongue in cheek). Comparisons will also inevitably be made with Full Monty (better Manc music, but less of it) and even When Saturday Comes, which it knocks spots off. It’s bright, warm, touching and on all too rare occasions has City’s black humour shining through (the blind programme seller saying ‘haven’t seen them score in years’, a U****d supporting groundsman (still could have beeen worse, might have been the announcer)) etc.

Overall, totally top film – in a month’s time we’ll all be talking about it; remember where you heard about it first. If you’re one of those who acted as unpaid extras (thank you) or not make sure you go to see it. Wear your City colours to the pictures and I look forward to hearing ‘There’s only One Jimmy Grimble’ being sung from the Kippax.

CTID, Brian Connell (


I took up the offer of viewing the screening of the new film ‘There’s only one Jimmy Grimble’ last night (27th July) at Planet Hollywood in London. I won’t go into the details of the film, as it will only spoil the enjoyment for those who will want to see it (not much of a review then!), but I will say that if you love football, British films and especially Manchester City then you certainly won’t be disappointed if you get along to the cinema to watch this one.

Fifteen year old Lewis McKenzie is definitely the star of the show as Jimmy. Most of the other cast are instantly recognisable and play their characters superbly although Ray Winstone will never sound Mancunian to my ears! To summarise, the moral of the story is City 1 U****d 0, and there is one line at the end in which (you if you’re anything like me) will make the hairs on your neck stand up.

The film’s opening date is 25th August, and I for one would highly recommend it. Oh yeah… the film also feaures the music of the Charlatons, Stone Roses and of course Mr Fat Boy Slim. I say let’s keep ‘Right Here, Right Now’. Why fix what isn’t broke? Also I’ll go along with the suggestion from James Walsh in MCIVTA 627 that Mark & Lard should be the new masters of ceremony at Maine Road. Maybe Fat Harry White could introduce the line ups and we could have ‘vague news’ of upcoming matches!

Steve Holt – Secretary MCCSA (A34) Winchester Branch (


The recent articles bring it all back – well the good times anyway. I only have vague recollections of the way Neil could frustrate by not going for the 60-40 balls (in his favour), and occasionally loitering without intent. The good moments far overshadow the poor ones.

Most famously we all recall the cup final winning goal of ’69. I was there, I was 15, it was a blur. But standing out as a beacon in my memory is one of the best goals scored at Maine Road. It was against Leeds in the season when I think they won the league and only lost a couple of games (City 1-3, and Burnley 1-5 stick out – maybe that was all they lost that year).

Anyway, Neil picked up the ball in a central position around half way, took a few paces forward and hit it with that sweet left foot of his. There was no doubt that this was going to trouble the goalie. Gary Sprake seemed to have it covered. He launched himself towards the top left hand corner of his goal as soon as it left “Nelly’s” boot… the ball however buried itself in the net by the top right hand stanchion. It was like watching Brazil.

Music: “It’s a Kind of Magic” (by Queen for those too young or too old) seems to fit the above and the feeling I get even now going to Maine Road. It rocks along with a great rhythm to clap along to. Although from the same album you might pick “Pain is so close to Pleasure” as being more appropriate.

Malcolm Plaiter (


As a follow up to the recent Neil Young articles, nobody, I think, mentioned “Youngy’s patch”, which was the area playing towards the Platt Lane stand. If Neil got the ball in the second half past the halfway line the points were guaranteed. Even now looking from the North Stand that part of the pitch from the Kippax half way to the penalty area we still call Young’s patch.

Just a note to Andy Noise – as the intro I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned the Turkish National Anthem!

Richard Cooper (via Andy Noise


Thought you might like a short review of the film, so here goes: received the email about the film just as we were leaving to go out on Wednesday evening. I asked my wife if she wanted to go, her response: “So it’s a choice of going to see a film about Man City or going to Chez Gerard followed by a trip on the London Eye? That’s a difficult one!”

So I arrive, alone, at Planet Hollywood and am ushered downstairs after signing a visitors book, headed straight for the bar which was fairly quiet (especially when you consider the booze was free!) and started chatting to a couple of people: one a City fan, Alan from Hemel, another a young lady from The Guardian who supported Luton. I’ll leave you to guess what the initial conversation was about! So two beers and some snacks before we were ushered into the screening room, it certainly wasn’t a full house, but there was a reasonable number. It was straight into the film, no ads, no trailers, just the way it should be.

Now the film… I assume you’ve all seen the email so you know what it’s all about and I’ll try to be as cryptic as possible so as not to spoil it for those of you who want to go and see after it opens on 25th August. However, young Jimmy is a lone City fan who appears to be a reasonable footballer but has very low self esteem. He is picked upon at school by “Gorgeous” George and his cronies, who are, you guessed it, Rags. It’s all about him getting through this bullying, finding his first love, becoming a soccer star and being an all round good egg, bringing the best out of the people close to him, in particular Robert Carlyle, who plays a chain-smoking disinterested sports teacher with a hidden past. Jimmy thinks his soccer skills are all down to a pair of boots given to him by a homeless lady, but we know better, don’t we?

Why is Jimmy a City fan? Well it’s all down to one Ray Winstone, yes, he from “Nil by mouth” etc. who plays a rôle I have never seen him undertake before and what an accent! It seem to be a cross between Liam Gallagher and Kathy Burke’s Manchester accent when playing Perry in one of the Kevin & Perry sketches. But he looks mighty fine in that City scarf. If you are a City fan it’s a must see; the hairs on my neck tingled when a view of a full Maine Road at a night match came on the screen, the setting is pure Manchester and the first football match is hilarious. If you’re not a City fan but you hate United, it’s well worth seeing because it is an amusing film with some classic scenes and lines. It’s not all about City though, there is a romantic thread running through the film, in fact his girlfriend has one of the funniest scenes in the film. The music adds to the atmosphere and includes a rendering of “Blue Moon”. Many thanks to MCIVTA for the email and to the hosts, whoever they were(!) and finally, without giving too much away… “the first derby of the 2000/1 season is Manchester City 1 Manchester United 0”.

Chris Szpak (


Just read through MCIVTA 627 and there are a couple of points I’d like to pick up on from David Godfrey’s Linfield ‘match report’. Firstly, his ‘running down’ of the opposition. The players at Linfield are a part-time, and only 2 games into their pre-season, and even though City are only at the start of their pre-season campaign, the superior fitness of the full time pros was there for all to see on Saturday. Also as he said, Linfield had just come off a very hard European tie the previous Wednesday having overturned a 1-goal deficit against a full-time Finnish side, only to concede a late late goal and crash out on away goals.

Secondly, he bemoans the lack of atmosphere. There was certainly no lack of atmosphere where I was seated. But then again, maybe he’s unhappy because it was the Linfield fans who were orchaestrating all the singing, despite seeing their side lose by 4 goals. The other City fans close to us in the Kop Stand certainly didn’t have any problems in joining in with the singing of the Linfield fans – ‘Stand Up if You Hate Man U’, ‘We Hate Keano’, etc. And finally, this is a football mailing list, not a political one, so what has the area in which Windsor Park is situated got to do with anything?

Jim Doran (


Oops! Just spotted a bijou glitchette in my Drogheda report. Before anyone emails me, I did mean Jeff Whitley.

Re: Music. Chemical Brothers would be interesting but on balance I think I’m in the Oasis camp. Okay the lads are pretty abject tossers in many ways but at least they’re Mancs, at least they’re Blue and ‘Roll With It’ is a blo*dy good rousing stomp. Unless anyone fancies that other Manchester Band, with impeccable Indie credentials/roots and oh-so-appropriate lyrics “Haven’t had a dream in a long time, and the ones I’ve had would make a good man bad, so for once in my life, let me get what I want, and God knows, it will be the first time…” Perfect for anyone supporting City 1977-99. For the Rags? Didn’t Man From Del Monte record something called “I wish I was born in/came from Manchester” or similar? Or the Beatles’ “Nowhere Man” or maybe The Kinks’ “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”.

Re: Mother(f-er) of All Evening Newspapers I worked for the M(U)EN for ten years. I’m pretty sure Bryan Brett was a Bolton fan. Mike Unger (Scouser?) certainly didn’t do the Blues any favours editorially. Two comps, both Rags who’d been there since they left school told me that when Tom Henry was editor he went to untold lengths to ensure that United copy always got more pre-eminence that City’s – bigger, bolder type, better positions. Also in my time, the Marketing/Promotions Dept. was Rag to the core and frequently went the extra mile for United. I’ve not seen their Rag website but the City section when I last looked was about as useful as Jason van Blerk’s goldfish. Bit early to ask for clemency. Endorse (2) of Nigel Timperley’s contribution completely. Behaving like blo*dy Rags is not on. And lay off Cahal and Simon, fellas the gear you sent me was great.

Ernie Whalley (


Atletico Bilbao 3 City 3

Young’s goal – I was sat in the main stand with the Spanish fans. Just normal in those days. Young, I swear, bent the ball in a way I’ve never seen before or since for his goal. Forget these new light balls which bend easily in one direction – Young’s shot bent in the vertical plane: from his foot it rose, dipped, and then – I swear – rose slightly again and utterly fooled the ‘keeper.

If you want the full story of that trip, this is from the first in a series on my travels in Europe, published in King of the Kippax many blue moons ago:

17th September 1969. Atletico Bilbao v. City.

Different competition, the Cup-Winners’ Cup, but free travel to Bilbao. Beat Spurs 3-0 in London, overnight to Paris, French rail strike threatening further progress, but make it to the Spanish border for Monday night. Try and find youth hostel. Eventually find it, no-one around, but lots of bunk beds. Wander round inside the place until suddenly confronted by owner who’s bought the hostel and it’s now his private home. Directed to new hostel rather than Spanish jail. Natives rather aloof. I’ve had 14 days to learn Spanish – not too hard if you’ve done French: just add ‘a’ to words instead of ‘e’. ‘Tengo una camisa roja y negra.’ (I have a red and black shirt). Stupid thing to learn – everyone can see I’m wearing it (funny how the red & black stripes caught on – the first time City appeared in them was at Goodison Park. All the City fans were expecting the all-maroon strip and out come this strange team in red and black. Stunned silence from Blues fans, then a chorus of ‘We don’t like red… we don’t like red!’).

Spanish Railways’ route to Bilbao goes long way round, so decide to hitch the 80 miles from the border. 5 hours to get half-way, so catch the local narrow-gauge train the rest of the way. Find out the fare for all 80 miles would only have been eight shillings (gosh, is it that long ago?).

Find boarding house. Book beds for B.R. colleagues coming next day. No tickets yet – only a letter from Maine Road saying I can get tickets at the ground before the match. This was in the days before hooliganism had been exported.

Wander downtown to San Mames stadium. No-one around. Suddenly hear English voices. Ascend stairs and interrupt press conference by Ronnie Allen, Atletico’s English manager – paving the way for Kendall and El Tel. ‘How do you cope with the language?’ ask the press boys. ‘Well,’ he says, ‘you say “What’s this?” and nut the ball and they tell you the Spanish for a header.’

They look at me. ‘Sorry to interrupt, but how do I get tickets for the match?’ Sent off to City team’s hotel on the hill over the town. Get three tickets for me and two mates arriving later. Spend evening at hotel. Rumour had it Joe Corrigan punched a bloke who’d offered one criticism too many. This in Joe’s shaky days after the early brilliance when they had to stop him giving away corners by touching over shots that were already going a foot over the bar.

Three more BR workers arrive on day of match without tickets. They don’t seem too bothered. Try the hotel. Team already out for day. So an hour before the match we’re wandering round trying to find someone to get tickets off.

I’m brandishing my letter on MCFC headed paper complete with my own Spanish translation on the back. Sudden excitement from Spanish official as I’m directed down a tunnel under the stand. They open this door for me, and I’m in the City dressing room. It’s the shirt and the letter! They think I’m one of the players got lost in the crowd! Surely the glasses gave it away.

Malcolm Alison not fooled. He knows I’m not the sub. Explain why I’m in the dressing room, 30 minutes before kick-off. ‘Any tickets, lads?’ he asks. Half a dozen comps in hand, I beat a hasty retreat. Three spare tickets given away to local urchins.

Tickets not together, but Spaniards in stand are friendly, sharing half-time wine from porro. Football the only winner. Bilbao are two up after 11 minutes but a Neil Young special brightens half-time even before the wine. Thank God for a common language. Gol! Cornair! Foul! (Phrase book said it was falta – obviously written for tennis players). Guy with porro still friendly even after Bilbao lose 3-1 lead to Tommy Booth and a late own goal. ‘Manchester City’, he says, ‘bueno equipo mas poco duro’. City, I thought, duro? Neil Young and Ian Bowyer? You should see Nobby Stiles, duro as nails and twice as daft.

Journey home not helped by allergic reaction to something in the paella. But if this is Europe, I’m all for it. Seal tie with 3-0 home win – Oakes, Bell, Bowyer. Into draw for next round. We get Lierse S.K. Who? Where? Belgium? Blowed if I’m going to learn Flemish; I haven’t even learned how to spit.

Steve Parish (


Mike Barnett’s condescending and arrogant response to Nigel Pickles absolutely sums up where the M(U)EN has always gone wrong.

Their problem is that they are totally unable to accept the fact that they are only a local paper and not a national (specifically the Daily Mail). Years of being sneered at by Guardian journalists has created a chip the size of Swamplands on each shoulder. The MEN see the Rags as a ‘national’ team and thus worthy of their slavering attention. City, of course, are ‘only’ a local team and therefore not fit for any positive coverage in such an august newspaper!

Finally, as an example of how ‘difficult’ the relationship between the MEN and the Rags really is, check out the fact that they were given exclusive pictures of Fabien Barthez on his first day at OT and all the nationals were banned. Oh you poor lovies…

It’s enough to make my blue blood boil.

CTID, Jeremy Morris – Minneapolis Blue (


I shouldn’t be doing this, I know. Like some other observers I am concerned about City’s lack of movement in the transfer market. But whilst I am totally behind Joe and David and the miraculous recovery they have brought about. For every Goat there is something that resembles goat’s cheese. Joe has not always made good buys. In fact there are a few who need good byes.

  • Gareth Taylor.
  • Terry Cooke.
  • Tony Grant.
  • Danny Granville?

Bob Taylor… jury’s still out.

None of them (other than Bob’s goal against Birmingham) can be said to have been majorly influential in getting us back to the Premiership.

Joe seems to have got us there with what we already had. So perhaps he’s right to go with the current squad and hope camaraderie and big hearts will get us through. I hope so, but like with Bob… the jury’s out.

Dave Kilroy (


(by Noel Bayley – editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet)

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a namecheck in MCIVTA 627 from no less esteemed an individual as City Magazine editor Mike Barnett re. the vexed question of the MUEN’s (oops!) bias, supposed or otherwise. It is an issue which Mike and myself have discussed on several occasions in the past and one which, clearly, we are never going to agree on. Mike has his opinion and I have mine, however tedious. Needless to say, they occupy opposing ends of the spectrum, although I admit to having been touched by the unswerving loyalty he showed towards his employers in the last MCIVTA.

It may also be worth mentioning that when I spoke to Chris Bird on one particular occasion (some two years ago), he assured me that he had been trying and would continue to try to improve the club’s profile in the MUEN. I wasn’t so sure, given that the Evening News had traditionally been regarded as Manchester United’s paper while the (now defunct) Evening Chronicle had always been regarded as the local City paper. Ask anyone who’s old enough; in fact, ask my dad or my uncle – neither supports City, but both were at the papers for all of their working lives!

Anyway, the upshot was that I told Chris Bird that when people started coming up to me at the ground to tell me that the Manchester Evening News was no longer full of fawning Rag stories (and not just on the sports pages, but in the news and business pages too), this was when I would accept that things had been turned around. So far, not a single soul has brought me any such glad tidings. On the contrary. Today I sought a fellow Blue’s views on the paper’s content. “Nine pages on the Rags, one on City and one on Stockport”, he replied without so much as batting an eyelid.

To be fair to Chris Bird, in the interview I did with him in March (see, he did go into some length about the relationship the club, Joe Royle and he himself have with not just the local rag, but with the nationals too. However, I would suggest, Mike, that you either re-read it or read it properly this time as I did not, “Preface a question to Chris with something like: I don’t read the paper myself but everyone knows it’s an anti-City paper'”, as credible as that may sound. Still, why waste valuable time rooting out a bona fide quote when you can simply fabricate one to suit your own ends in the time-honoured pro journalist tradition? No, I simply made what I thought was a reasonable point (even going as far as to back it up with a then recent example) thus: “I agree completely with you about the nationals and the point you made about Joe Royle, but I’m not so sure about the Evening News. I agree with you about the fact that we do have – the odd times I’ve seen it – the front page of the sports, but last Saturday City won at home and United lost away and City didn’t even get a mention on the front of The Pink. It was all United, not even a mention of the result or anything and it’s things like that that hurt people.”

To conclude, I realise that there are some whose jobs and positions of privilege etc. do not allow them the freedom of expression which those of us who produce ‘scurrilous rags’ (as the MUEN once described fanzines) take for granted, any more than they are afforded the carte blanche to criticise what is, after all, a pi*s-poor local rag. Nevertheless, I would suggest that it is actually those who consider the MUEN to be impartial who are labouring under a misapprehension. By way of a postscript perhaps, through his many contacts at the rag, Mike might like to throw some light on the wisdom of including an advert for Century Radio 105.4 which appears on page 52 of the MUEN’s Blues Review and which exhorts readers, albeit in decidedly poor English, to: “Listen to exclusive match commentary on all Manchester United’s home & away domestic games with Steve Bower & Paddy Crerand”! Like I said, it’s things like that that hurt people.

Noel Bayley (


I too saw that interview on Sky Sports and if not for pressure of work, would have happily sent a similar message. Though, I was too young to see him play but he’s one of the City legends you hear constantly referred to.

Why can’t a testimonial be arranged – after all the thirtieth anniversary of the European win isn’t all that far away?

How about a pre-season tournament – with the Rags and two class continental sides – maybe proceeds going to a good cause.

Maybe the first match in the new stadium could be a tribute match to great City players of the past and in particular to Neil Young.

Could the ideas be passed to the club…?

Chris Egerton (


With all the rumours going round in the Premiership, you’d have to say that City would be the most inactive and cautious of all of the clubs at present. Sunderland are buying everything in sight presently! We turned away from Koller, but how about Tore Andre Flo, a great striker whom Deportivo are after for £9m; what about Petrescu, proven performer who gets forward and scores goals, or Joachim who’s on the outer at Villa (perhaps a double signing with Ugo?). I mean the talk of Kitson, give me a break, we want to lift our spirits pre-season don’t we? And how did Derby get Bragstad cheap while we look to pay over 4 times the price for a non-international defender? I remain confident of a good effort this season, no huge expectations, just consolidate and push for top half but a Dickov/Taylor strike force in the Goat’s absence worries me somewhat. And from the dreams are free category, how about Kennedy on the left, Ginola on the right, Feeding the Goat… yup, that’d do nicely thanks!

Chris Loveridge – Hawk (


When this ‘pre-match rally the fans music debate’ started up, my initial reaction was a serious yuk.

  1. Do we as fans want our one-and-only to adopt North American (style!) pre-match hype?
  2. If you are a City fan who has managed to get to a home game and youneed additional music to get your heart pumping before a match please sendme your ticket. Just to see a road sign saying Manchester 63 miles isenough for me to dream of being inside Maine Road.

Anyway, nobody (unless I missed it) has voiced any opinions against this Retro-Bubblegum Stylie – Build Up the Fans’ Adrenalin. So that aside, the debate has developed and it seems that most people are interested and are putting forward lots of ideas, all of which are interesting but lacking in matching the music to the club.

To write an overview of the club’s history and character would wear out my keyboard and in addition only tell you what you already know so let’s bypass that and get to the Maine Point.

One of the best periods of City’s fans’ history was the inflatable banana period. Whatever happened on the pitch, City fans were synonymous with regarding a football match as a fun day out, atmosphere, devotion in the face of defeat and not being on the dark side. During that period we gained lots of respect and I can’t tell you how many Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Everton fans etc. have said to me that they like City and are glad we’re back in the Premiership.

Being back in the Premiership is a celebration and our master stroke is to put that into the pre-match music and the celebration of every goal but let us forget the macho crap of “We are the champions” which we are not. Let’s turn it into a fun party and be again model fans.

Bring out the inflatable bananas or a contemporary equivalent and strut to the drum roll and the powerful intro. of City riding in on the crest of a wave with the intro. music to Hawaii Five 0.

If you are too young and don’t know the piece of music check it out and row to it, it epitomises not only the club but also our celebrated return to the top flight.

Book’im Danno!

Peter Abbott (


Does anyone know if there is a instrumental version of ‘blue moon’?

The reason is that I am getting married in 2 months and was hoping to walk down the aisle to it. So far I have had no luck, does anybody know if such a thing exists. If so can you send me the artist/orchestra (please).

Sarah Dugdale (


George Suchette-Kaye, will you contact the Supporters’ Club Holland as soon as possible with regards up and coming events in Holland and trips to see City at Maine Road.

Ian Hawthorne (


A bit sad I know but, I’m looking for a City themed ringtone for my mobile phone. have footy ringtones like 3 lions etc. and of course a Rag ring tone and I’ve requested that they add Blue Moon to their list, but as yet with no luck. If any subscribers to MCIVTA feel like requesting Blue Moon I would be grateful for your support! Or alternatively if anyone knows of another way to get Blue Moon into my Nokia phone I’d appreciate any suggestions.

Gary Sowerby (


What is the purpose of the music? To lift the players or the crowd? Obviously a combination of the two would be ideal but 16 players prepared by Joe Royle and Co. will be ready to battle. Therefore we need the crowd to be whipped up into a Blue frenzy. What more suitable then than a collage of match reporting over the last few years. Strains of Dickov’s equaliser, Weaver’s saves, Kennedy’s wonder at Bolton and Goater’s goal at Blackburn. Behind that you could play any music you want as the crowd would, as they say, be up for it. After that wouldn’t it be easier for the team?

M Joyce (


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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 #628