Newsletter #638

Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, given the number of times that Joe Royle has publically supported Richard Edghill in the past, this week has seen the manager remove the captain’s armband from ‘Reg’, and perhaps even more unexpectedly, drop him for the trip to Elland Road. Those who believe that Joe Royle has reluctantly recognised our shortcomings at right back had further grist to add to their mill, with City being linked with Newcastle’s young right back, Griffin.

This issue has Peter’s News; a perhaps provocative essay on ‘Cityitis’; more opinion on ‘Edgy’; and a Why Blue.

This one reaches 3,433.

If you’re attending the Leeds game, please consider doing us a match report, to help spread the writing load more evenly.

Next game: Tuesday 5th September 2000, Leeds away


Axed Edghill Loses Captaincy

Richard Edghill has lost his position as Manchester City’s team captain. And the 25-year-old defender will not be in Joe Royle’s side at Leeds on Tuesday night. Edghill became the butt of criticism from the Maine Road crowd in last week’s 2-1 defeat by Coventry and was substituted at half time to spare him any further ordeal. Now, the City boss has decided that the one-time England under-21 man will benefit from a longer spell on the sidelines – and that means Alfie Haaland taking over as skipper for the visit to his former club. “I have told Richard I’ve taken the captaincy off him and that he will not be playing on Tuesday,” said Royle. “I wanted to take him out of the firing line and relieve the situation surrounding him.” The move is bound to intensify speculation that the Oldham-born star has no future at the club, although his manager hopes that the defender will “settle down and get back to his best form.”

Edghill Vows to Battle Back

Richard Edghill may have lost the captain’s armband at Manchester City, and even his place in the team. But the 25-year-old defender insists he’ll revive his Maine Road career. Edghill admits he felt desperately low in the wake of his nightmare day against Coventry last week, when he was jeered by a section of the City support and substituted at half time after his own goal put the visitors ahead. But his mood has been lifted by supportive letters from fans – and now he just wants to put the episode behind him. “I’d like to thank all those people who wrote to support me,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “It certainly made me feel a lot better. Now I want all of this to die down so I can get on with playing football and win back a place in the side.”

Ehiogu Interest “Not Dead”

Weekend reports claimed that the protracted transfer saga surrounding Ugo Ehiogu could soon end with the defender making a move to Middlesbrough. But now it’s claimed that City could rival Bryan Robson’s side for the signature of the Aston Villa defender. The Blues have already seen a bid of £7.5 million for the player rejected by John Gregory, but Monday’s Manchester Evening News claims that the Midlands club could now be willing to off-load the Londoner in the light of impending changes to the transfer system. And Joe Royle is said to be keen to fight Robson all the way for the 27-year-old. West Bromwich Albion are believed to have reached agreement with Villa over the sell-on fee to which the Baggies became entitled when the defender left The Hawthorns.

Geordies ‘Reject City’s Griffin Bid’

Manchester City are said to have made bid of around £2 million for Andrew Griffin. But Newcastle have reportedly said they are unwilling to sell the 21-year-old full-back. The story seems to indicate that Joe Royle is keen to move quickly to add strength to his defensive pool given the current doubts over Richard Edghill’s future. Griffin is highly rated, having impressed at St James’s Park after he moved from Stoke for £1.5 million as a teenager. However, it appears that the Geordies are only too aware of the potential of the Wigan-born star and are determined to hold onto the player. The Blues have also been linked with another Newcastle defender, Frenchman Laurent Chilavert.

Berg Next on Royle’s List?

Manchester City’s hunt for further defensive reinforcements could see Joe Royle move for a man currently out of favour at Manchester United. Henning Berg is the man said to be interesting the Maine Road boss. Berg has played in only 66 league games, seventeen as substitute, in his three years at Old Trafford. The Norwegian, who has 72 international caps to his credit, is said to want a more regular first-team rôle – and is reportedly ready to leave the Reds to see his wish become a reality. The 31-year-old is interesting Celtic and his former club Blackburn, so Royle will face strong competition if he does move for Berg. Monday’s Manchester Evening News hints that the Scottish outfit are favourites to land the player.

Okpara Fails in City Trial

Despite signing two defenders in the last three weeks, Manchester City continue to look for defensive reinforcements. And a Nigerian trialist became the latest man given the chance to impress at Maine Road – but failed to profit from the opportunity. Godwin Okpara, who is due to play in the Nigerian Olympic squad, arrived to spend a few days with the Blues. The 28-year-old would have cost a reported £1 million from Paris Saint-Germain had City elected to follow up their interest but Joe Royle will not be taking matters further. Meanwhile, City’s hopes of bringing back Melchior Schoenmakers for another trial have disappeared after the player signed for FC Groeningen. The Dutchman returned home from Maine Road in August after injuring himself on the first day of his initial stint with the Blues but Royle was willing to take another look.

Clarets Linked with ‘Audacious’ Goater Swoop

Burnley have been looking for a new striker after their promotion to the First Division of the Nationwide League. And one of the men on the Clarets’ shopping list is thought to be Shaun Goater. The Bermudian striker’s 23 league goals last term were instrumental in taking the Blues into the Premiership. And Burnley manager Stan Ternent obviously feels the 30-year-old could achieve a similar feat at Turf Moor. However, even though City have signed George Weah and Paulo Wanchope this summer, the prospects of Joe Royle being tempted into a deal must be regarded as minimal. If the ex-Bristol City player left the club, Royle would have only Paul Dickov and a number of untried youngsters as cover and with Wanchope especially expected to be on frequent international duty this term, it seems inconceivable that the City boss would be happy with such a scenario.

Weaver Sits Out England Under-21 Rout

England’s under-21 side beat Georgia convincingly on Thursday. But City had no representative in Howard Wilkinson’s team after Nicky Weaver watched the whole game from the bench. Paul Robinson played in goal to give him a taste of representative football as England routed their opponents 6-1. And though it had been thought Weaver might play the second half, Wilkinson opted to use the Leeds man for the whole ninety minutes. However, the City player is expected to return for the game against Germany in October – a European Under-21 Championship qualifier, unlike Thursday’s stroll.

Morrison Vows to Win Place Back

Andy Morrison’s departure on loan to Blackpool has led to rumours that his City career could be nearing its end. But the big defender says he’ll return from Bloomfield Road to win back his place in Joe Royle’s starting line-up. Morrison, who played in Blackpool’s 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe on Saturday, says he still has much to contribute at Maine Road. And he is determined to return fighting fit from his seaside stint. “I will be a lean, mean fighting machine when I get back,” he vowed. Joe Royle has refused Blackpool permission to field Morrison in this week’s Worthington Cup match against Stockport – and Tangerines’ boss Steve McMahon says he wouldn’t bet against the player leading City out at Wembley later in the competition!

Double Injury Blow for Royle

Manchester City were hoping that their squad would soon be boosted by the return from injury of two key players. But the Blues will have to make do without Ian Bishop and Shaun Goater for a little while longer. Bishop’s hamstring injury has taken longer than expected to heal, and the 34-year-old will probably be absent for another fortnight. Meanwhile, Goater had hoped to return this week after his cartilage operation, but even though the Bermudian is desperate to return to action, Joe Royle is refusing to take any chances. “We don’t like rushing people after operations,” explained the City boss. “Shaun is a model professional but while he is desperate to play, there’s no point rushing and making things worse.”

Howey – Defensive Partnership Improving

Following his recent transfer to Manchester City, Steve Howey has become part of a defensive unit which has leaked goals at an unacceptable rate. But the ex-Newcastle player believes he and his colleagues will soon put a stop to that state of affairs. Howey has been paired with Spencer Prior in the centre of the City rearguard. And despite the tally of eight goals conceded in three league games, the one-time England international feels that the partnership is developing well – although he pledges that there’ll be plenty of training ground effort going into developing an even greater understanding and cohesion. “My partnership with Spencer feels as though it is getting better all the time,” he explained. “We have just got to work harder during the weeks between games until we form a partnership that is as tight as possible and that makes it as difficult as possible for opposing teams to score.”

City Set for Elland Road Shake-Up

Manchester City face the first of two successive daunting away trips on Tuesday evening. And for the visit to Leeds United, the Blues’ line-up could witness changes in both formation and personnel. It’s suspected that Joe Royle could switch to a system of three central defenders against the Champions’ League qualifiers, and with new boy Paul Ritchie reportedly looking short of match fitness in his reserve outing last week, veteran Richard Jobson may make a surprise appearance. Jeff Whitley would be the likely prospect to play at right wing-back in the absence of Richard Edghill, while Royle would also have to decide whether he could accommodate winger Mark Kennedy in another rôle.

Peter Brophy (


I think it was just prior to the 1998-99 season that Joe Royle, in an interview with ‘The Sunday Telegraph’, decried what he characterised as ‘Cityitis’.

This affliction, supposedly, has been incubating within the souls of many Blues over the course of decades of mediocrity and disasters on the pitch. Typically, as diagnosed by Dr. Royle, the patient is always reluctant to embrace success and the immediate future with optimism; on the contrary, he believes, in the words of P.G. Wodehouse, that ‘Fate is waiting round the corner with a blackjack in his hand.’ It is an irritating constant that these poor souls harbour a deep sense of insecurity and hopelessness. For example, (Colin) Shindler’s Gist can be summarised along the lines of: ‘I support City with all my heart but I don’t know why. I know I’ll be let down precisely because it is City and I feel so sorry for myself because I’m hooked and can’t shake the habit. In the caste system of football support, I am an Untouchable. Please feel sorry for me.’

Another symptom, identified by Royle, is the compulsion to measure all things City by comparison with certain vastly more successful and wealthy neighbours. It is impossible for these sad folk to sit still and await the arrival of an unmarked van containing an assortment of straightjackets, nets and kind burly men in white coats without expressing their angst and sense of inferiority fertilised by resentment and envy when sniffing the miasma of smug triumphalism wafting out of Old Trafford.

History seems to have conspired in preserving the virus. In May 1963, City, needing a last game win at West Ham to stave off relegation, failed to do so in a nerve-tingling 7-goal thriller which we lost 6-1; Utd of course, won the F.A. Cup. City’s 1968 Division 1 triumph was overshadowed, some say, by Utd. winning the European Cup. Similarly, our Wembley play-off miracle followed Utd’s Treble and, recently, our win at Ewood was treated as a footnote by the besotted national press in the wake of yet another United Premiership title. And so, it goes on and on and on.

So, what Royle was saying, in essence, was: ‘Look, we have a great Club which is now on its way back after years of underachievement. Let’s ignore the exploits of others, eschew envious comparisons and concentrate on our own development. Let’s devote our collective emotional energies towards willing the management and players on to better things. Above all, be proud and confident precisely because this is your Club. This is City.’

I have read every issue of MCIVTA since its inception and thoroughly enjoy reading the contributions submitted. Yes, criticisms of the team and individual players abound, but so also does an overall sense of pride in the Club and allegiance to the cause without recourse to constantly squinting with green eyes in the general direction of Old Trafford. Rather, I detect no sense of inferiority in these pages but plenty of gentle self-parody and frequent quixotic analyses of what makes us a breed apart.

In over 40 years of supporting the Blues, I can claim to never having succumbed to ‘Cityitis’ but I was sufficiently intrigued by Royle’s comments to go in search of evidence that would fit his diagnosis of the blight. Accordingly, I uncovered some comments in an article written by Jason Cowley of ‘The Times’ and published on November 17th. 1997. At that time, City were heading inexorably towards a second relegation and Division Two oblivion – fertile soil, indeed, for dissension, breast-beating, self-pity and general recrimination. The article was liberally illuminated by interviews with three prominent City supporters and, for reasons of space, Cowley may have been selective in his choice of quotations. In fairness to the trio, I should emphasise that I, in turn, have edited the print and, accordingly, I run the risk of reproducing excerpted comments that the interlocuters may claim are taken out of context in this piece. If, as a consequence, I have inadvertently misinterpreted their quote, I sincerely apologise; however, they always have the right of rebuttal.

The three interviewees were Howard Davis, then, as now, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Colin Shindler, author of ‘Manchester United Ruined My Life’, to be published the following Spring, and David Green, Film Director of ‘Buster’ fame. The general tenor of the questioning was along the lines of: ‘what on earth makes you support a lost cause like City?’ etc.

The three, individually and in concert, mused about the imperatives and loathings that governed their chosen alliegance.

Davis: ‘my work involves logic and rationality. Yet supporting City is clearly irrational But, no matter how bad it gets, I have this emotional attachment to them I cannot break.’ This is a laudably candid admission incorporating, as it does, a hint of self-deprecation but it does not answer the question ‘Why?’ Does an ignoble sour distaste for, and envy of, United provide an underlying motive? Aha! ‘(I am) a City rather than a football fan, would rather never watch another match than see United. I absolutely loathe them. What gets me about United is their ubiquity; you can’t avoid them. They’ve even got Bobby Charlton’s daughter presenting the weather.’

Classic preoccupation with United; classic ‘Cityitis’.

More in the same vein from David Green: ‘United have the edge. Look, City might have the rude and vulgar Gallagher brothers as supporters but, United’s star player, David Beckham, goes out with one of the Spice Girls. You see what I mean: it’s cooler having a player who goes to bed with a Spice Girl than famous supporters who are rude and disgusting. United seem to top City at every stage.’

This is all pretty negative stuff. Are there no compelling positives in being a City supporter? According to Colin Shindler, as quoted in ‘The Times’ – no. He unburdened himself in a fit of lamentation: ‘I rather like being an outsider, the whingeing bloke on the sidelines. I like the fact that City will always be seen as the other club in town.’ Way to go, Colin! Ever considered taking a part-time job as recruitment officer for the Junior Blues?

In fairness, again, it must be stressed that when these remarks were published, City, even by their standards, were in a desperate situation, and it was a depressing time to be a Blue. Indeed, I have reviewed City’s performance, or lack of it, over the past 30 seasons since 1970 and concluded that over that span of time, the Club’s average League position, overall, within the context of both the Premier and Nationwide Leagues is – 17th! This is pretty poor fodder to put before the faithful but, remarkably, the average league home gate during that period is in excess of 29,500! I cannot believe that Colin Shindler’s sentiments mirror those of this truly loyal army. One is tempted to mutter: ‘with friends like these.’

In the past 30 months, Bernstein and the Board, Royle, Donachie and the coaching staff have presided over a seismic resurrection of City’s fortunes. Does this mean that ‘Cityitis’ is now dead? Erno; not quite. Whereas Mr. Davis, in November 1997, was suitably self-analytical in his bewilderment and included the mandatory rant directed at Old Trafford Inc., the return to the top flight last May did not inspire him to wax lyrical on the prospect of City’s return to the ‘broad sunlit uplands’ of the Premiership.

On the contrary, in his article in the May 8th, 2000 edition of ‘The Times’, he cannot resist scratching the running sore so symptomatic of ‘Cityitis’, namely an unfavourable reference to City’s capabilities in comparison with those of – yes, you’ve guessed it – United. He writes: ‘only back in Manchester can one escape United’s marketing machine. Only on Deansgate and Market Street is Jamie Pollock seen as the equal of Roy Keane (erbut Mr. Davis does not claim to be a seer) the silky skills of Danny Tiatto considered on a par with the meretricious charms of Ryan Giggs and ‘Superbob’ Taylor (yup, it’s called compounding) rated a worthy rival to Andy Cole.’

Phew! Let’s be generous and attribute the content of this passage to Mr. Davis’ penchant for whimsy. However, in the best traditions of ‘Cityitis’, he then comments in sepulchral tones: ‘I can reveal that some of us have mixed feelings about being back in the Premiership. Because we do have an inkling why the equivalences (Mr. Davis is a Banker, after all) between City and United that I quote may not be widely accepted. There remains a yawning gulf of class between the top of Division One and the top half of the Premier League. It’s a gulf that has swallowed up sides with more talent than ours.’

So, in the immediate aftermath of City’s ascension, Mr. Davis’ vote of confidence in the Blues’ prospects amounts to a definite ‘maybe’. That’s the stuff to inspire the troops!

However, Mr. Davis is not done yet. He has cast his net widely and uncovered an hitherto undiagnosed strain of the ‘Cityitis’ bacillus which involves the fans! Well, we were not going to get off Scot-free were we? After a perfunctionary nod of appreciation, he has a real good ‘go’ at us poor emotionally-challenged saps. His ‘schtick’ is: are we ‘up for it’?

He sermonises: ‘It is conventional to say that City have the best / wittiest / most loyal fans in the League. Certainly, the attendance record in the past few years supports the latter claim. But are we just the sort of people who like to stop on motorways to watch while bodies are recovered from crashed cars; the fan as ghoul?’ Mr. Davis continues and cocks-up with aplomb: ‘Colin Shindler’s book ‘Manchester CITY (sic) Ruined My Life’ reached the national bestseller list but is widely reviled by true (my emphasis) City fans. They say they hate the title which plays into the enemy’s hands.’ I’m not surprised given Mr. Davis’ version of the title. What occurs to me is that Shindler’s book is not ‘reviled’, apparently, by Mr. Davis. Does this disqualify him from being a ‘true fan’?

Onward and downward: ‘but Shindler’s real crime is that he is on to the truth. We have defined ourselves in negative terms (have ‘we’, indeed?). We are not United fans, we are not fans who sing only when they’re winning. We are Rudyard Kipling fans who meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same. So the challenge of next season will be as much a challenge for the crowd as for the team. Can we become more like normal people who cheer if their team wins, and complain if they lose? Or have 24 years without a trophy so conditioned us to failure that, to succeed in the Premiership, we need not only a new squad but also a crowd transplant? I’m checking out Watford season tickets. They look like a team for me.’

If one discounts Mr. Davis’ puckish sense of humour, one accepts that it’s a free country and that he has the right to pen and have published such twaddle. I have a vision of him debating Watford’s prospects in the Nationwide, this season, with that master of mangled syntax – Graham Taylor. Riveting stuff! However, I suspect that I am not alone in interpreting his closing remarks as a gratuitous and patronising slap in the face to all Blues. He conveniently ignores the delirious joy of ‘normal people’ in greeting City’s triumphs, successively, at Wembley and Ewood Park. Similarly, he must have overlooked our grief when we drew with Liverpool and beat Stoke – only to be relegated on both occasions.

Mr. Davis’ ‘Cityitis’ holds no appeal for me. I much prefer, for example, the robust disdain of Walter Smith for all things United and Tony Burns’ gentle humour. There are many tens of thousands of ‘normal people’ in this world; they are a family called ‘City’ and, unlike our ‘three amigos’, suffer not from the virus but are irredeemably proud and healthy optimists.

Dafydd Goronwy-Roberts (


Don’t really want to open the music debate but isn’t Fatboy Slim the one who’s married to that Zoe Ball? I’m surely wrong?

Lance Thomson (


>It really is a total mystery why  "Bell-Lee-Summerbee" is not known as
>"Bell-Lee-Summerbee-Young."< (MCIVTA 637)

Not really: Bell, Lee and Summerbee played for England. Especially when the England team was Ramsey’s “wingless wonders”. Few people seriously thought Young should be selected for his country, though as the entire City team was English there were some cries of “City for England” (and given the Soviet tactic of most of the country’s best players playing for Moscow Dynamo it might not have been a bad idea). Pardoe was touted as a possible England player (as in “Pardoe, Pardoe, it’s off to Mexico, with Bell and Lee and Summerbee, Pardoe, Pardoe…”) but probably the only other player in that team who might be considered the best English player in their position was Tony Book, and he was deemed (wrongly) too old to start an England career.

Steve Parish (


Just rang Elland Road re car parking facilities and they must have assumed I was a Leeds fan as I was warned that City supporters have a reputation for violence and that I should be careful! Where are they getting this sh*t from? Should they be promoting this fear? It will all end in tears… again! Blo*dy Yorkshire.

CTID or City ’til I get my head kicked in by Yorkshire’s finest. Stick together! Mark Redgrave (


We will be Gathering at Web’s Pub on September 17th 11 am to watch the Boro game. Any fans not yet signed up for supporters’ club can do so after the game.

Web’s pub is on the north east corner of Dixie Road and Glen Erin Drive in Mississauga.

CTID, Peter Hallsworth (


Predictions Update

If the season finished now the results would be:

Desmond Morris     33 pts
Gary Osman         31 pts
Tony Dove          27 pts
Ian Reeves         26 pts
Julie Myers        25 pts
Colin Little       23 pts
Micheal Hornibrook 23 pts
Angie Masters      23 pts
Marie Saffill      22 pts
Tom Robertson      21 pts

P.S. The uptake for the competition has been quite disappointing from an email perspective anyway. If you’d still like to have a bash, then mail me for details.

Best Regards, Paul Gallagher – Secretary Essex & Suffolk CSA (


Strangely enough, after my prediction in MCIVTA 637 concerning a certain de la Cruz and how Mr Royle will buy him, nobody has phoned me up asking me to pick their lottery numbers. It did however set me thinking; if I am that good at making predictions, let’s try some more: Man Yoo will walk the Premier 20 points clear at Easter. Charlton, Ipswich and Bradford will tie for second spot and Leeds and Liverpool will win the two cup competitions. There that’s that lot jinxed, all I need to do is tell you where City will finish… No don’t go there I hear you cry… OK I won’t.

P.S. Can anyone confirm the rumour that City are holding Irish Folk Dancing nights at Platt Lane? Apparently tuition is free, you just have to bring your own Guinness and a Ford Fiesta!

Nigel Pickles (


It all boils down to this:

  1. The slagging off and booing are totally wrong and counter productive.
  2. But he’s just not good enough, and certainly not a captain. We cannot and must not carry him.

Whilst I’m writing, a couple of other random thoughts…

Quite a lot of the comment recently has been about what’s lacking in midfield. So here’s a lateral idea: why not try Dickov in midfield and see if he takes to it? If we played him on the right side he could also help to provide some of the sorely needed right-sided support to whoever takes the right back poisoned chalice. He could fit in nicely playing just behind the main strikers but I think the main catch would be his lack of defensive quality. Also a lot of players could be vying for midfield slots, but e.g. assuming 4-4-2 this could mean a midfield of:

        Kennedy     Horlock     Whitley     Dickov

On another topic, I can’t see any useful formation that included Weah, Wanchope and Goater all together. I think it leaves midfield too weak, even with a 4-3-3, plus they’d probably be getting in each other’s way. So unfortunately for the Goat, I think that means he’s bound for the subs’ bench until he gets a chance by way of injury, suspension etc.

Or, another variation on the midfield idea – why not try Kennedy on the right for a change, he might benefit from the change of scenery, plus this would give some more right-side support. Then wide midfield on the left we could play Granville, helping to make sure Tiatto doesn’t get too far out of position on his forward runs?

Finally, just to return to the Edghill debate, you may have noticed that the overall flavour of my comments would have been the opposite if I’d listedthe two points in reverse order. But I did it that way very deliberately!

Steve Maclean (


I never enjoyed going to watch England or followed their performances with any passion. From my earliest recollections as a lad in Ashton to my time living in west London, my real football purpose in life has always been reserved for City.

My first trip to see England at Wembley against Poland over a decade ago confirmed to me my opinion that this was some kind of big club for cockneys who were obsessed with having a pop at each other even though I knew many other clubs’ supporters were there. That said, now living in the French capital and with football very much in vogue, I decided to go and see the “Kelvin Koogan machine” when they came to town for the friendly against the World Champions.

At this point I have to get something off my chest. My mate went to use one of the temporary toilets outside the Stade de France on the way from the train station and I stood around with many other French and English fans to savour the atmosphere. Within seconds, the mood turned very ugly. Out of the streams of people making their way to the big space ship charged a mob of wide staring eyed nutters screaming “Come on Chelsea!” and “No surrender to the IRA!” They were ordinarily dressed men, mad with intent. They commenced randomly hitting bystanders, some without breaking stride and the most aggressive of them were called to order by a weasely sort who was obviously controlling their “operations.” I don’t want to bore you with this, so please forgive me for venting my spleen here, but it was so sad. It was all over in seconds as these things usually are, but what sticks in my mind was three or four of this mob of bullies screaming “You’re nothing, nothing!” at one frenchman they’d hit, before returning to the crowd. That’s ironic. There were young painted-faced kids watching this and for the first time in my life, I felt ashamed to be English. I’ve since read reports by the police that praise the good behaviour of most fans and that arrests were less than expected, but English hooliganism seems to be very much alive and well. For the life of me, I will never understand what motivates this madness.

Now, the game. Manchester City are back in the top flight, so perhaps another reason to renew my acquaintance with the national side, especially as the Premiership programme is always scrubbed for international matches. I tried to look at the game from a City perspective. Were there potential places for City stars that we could exploit? Er, hang on a minute, how many English players do we actually turn out these days? Hey Big Spencer? Reg Edgy? You give me Weaver! This is precisely my point. There are simply too may foreign players in the Premiership and as a result, our national team has stagnated. The time has surely come for the likes of Seaman, Adams, Keown, the hapless nasty Wise and the incredulous addition of “Sicknote” Anderton to be put out to grass and the youth of England to be given a chance to prove themselves. As much as I reckon that our Big Joe has got better credentials than Kelvin Koogan to do the manager’s job, it has got to be the worst job in football as you have little or nothing to choose from. The result is a desperately unbalanced side which is far too reliant on the defensive “old guard” who from where I was sitting, looked hopelessly one paced against the French attackers. In truth, as much as England gave a better account of themselves than in Euro 2000, I believe that had there been more at stake, we would have been thrashed. Some of the players became very frustrated at the French side’s high tempo passing game and their fouls would have been heavily punished in a competitive match.

In my opinion, the upshot of all this is that if the football law makers in England do not introduce a rule limiting the amount of foreign players to the benefit of blooding youth for the national team, then perhaps the clubs themselves could come to an agreement together. Certainly, any attempt by a club to act alone would be doomed to failure. Just how many of us would be prepared to see us regularly play our academy stars against the likes of Chelsea’s foreign legion and end up sacrificing our top flight status?

I mentioned frustration a few sentences ago. My friends watching the match on French TV told me that after the game, Lilian Thuram was being interviewed live in the tunnel. Mid sentence, he gets a shoulder in the back from the passing Keown. “Yeah? Yeah?” reacts the frenchman. Only for moments later to get barged by the ever lovely David Beckham. With rôle models like that, English football is indeed facing a crisis.

Phil Bradbury (


Here it is bluntly. Joe trusts Edge because over the season(s) not many goals are scored against City because of sustained pressure down our right flank. City’s problems for years have been down the left (painful this… remember Kanchelskis in the 0-5?). I personally don’t think we have had a class left full back since Glyn Pardoe, unless you count Andy Hinchcliffe’s brief sojourn. In other words, Edge is ok. If every, I repeat, every, other player has as few bad games as Edge we will be fine, and so will Edge because there will be no-one to moan at as the results will be good. As for the sick and racist abuse, prejudice is surely a pigment of the imagination! Just like xenophobia and the NIMBY culture is a product of limited or non-existant intellect. Besides getting that off my chest I’m still dead chuffed we’re back where we belong.

Jack Millington (


What is Manchester City? What is it about the club which merits our lifetime of loyal support? It’s probably not the players, as they stay a few years then move on. It can’t be the gound as we’re generally looking forward to the move to the new stadium. It’s certainly not the constancy of the manager. It’s not even the name Manchester City. My grandmother was a City supporter, but she always referred to the team as Ardwick, the original name from her childhood. The only two constants that are City are football and the supporters.

If the supporters are City then it’s absolutely right that we express our satisfaction or dissatisfaction on match days – the team are answerable to us. It’s tough for Reg at the moment because Joe Royle is asking him to do a job he isn’t up to and never has been; the “blame” rests with Joe. If Reg had a quality player in front of him then I think he’ll survive in the Prem. But if we’re served up dross we shouldn’t clap politely to save Reg’s feelings. Is David Bernstein so concerned about our feelings that he’ll give us a refund for a poor performance? Unfortunately life’s tough and Reg has got to ride it out, and he probably will.

Matthew Briggs (


Ok, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring about the Edghill debate.

I couldn’t make it to the Coventry game but I have heard gruesome match reports from mates who were there. I have to say I totally agree with the comments of Steve Kay, Peter Capes, etc. in the latest Mcvitee.

If I had been at the match, there is no way I would have booed Richard for his own-goal. The guy would have been distraught – who wouldn’t – and booing him every time he touched the ball would have been pointless, short-sighted and totally counter-productive.

Anyone remember Jamie Pollock’s own-goal against QPR a couple of seasons ago? Of course you do. Anyone remember Jamie getting booed every time he touched the ball after that? Or at every mistake since? And believe me, they have been numerous.

No. It’s just some people who have it in for the guy. I agree that we are all entitled to our opinion, we pay to see the game, watching football gets pretty emotional and it can wind you up, but I would never boo any City player when they were playing for my team.

Countless mistakes from other City players go “unpunished” by the crowd. How many times has Kennedy disappeared? How many times has Weaver had you on the edge of your seat with his so-called antics when he should have been playing for safety and hoofing the ball, rather than farting around dribbling? Anyone boo these players Course not (and I’m not saying you should!)?

It’s all been said before, so I won’t go on. I just hope that there’s a slim chance someone from the club may read Mcvitee and they can tell Richard that not everyone is on his back and most of the fans support him.

Just read that Joe’s taken the captaincy off him. Not sure if this is a good idea or not. I tend to think it probably is for the best – and to be honest, I never thought he was captain material and it was given to him as a “reward” for being at the club for so long. Some reward that turned out to be.

Let’s hope that Alfie is the man and he can keep things together.

As has been said before, let’s not start to destroy the team spirit that has built up so visibly over the last few seasons and get behind all the team, mistakes and all, over the rest of this tough season. And it will be tough. Let’s stick together.

Christine Haynes (


Joe Royle must show leadership or go, he is managing this club like a headless chicken or a one-winged ostrich. Get real Joe and recognise that their is a right side on Maine Road. City have two decent left-sided defenders in Tiatto and Granville with Horlick as cover, so what does Joe do? Buy left-sided defender Ritchie and leave him on the bench. Everybody and their dog knows that Edghill and Crooks are mediocre and won’t make the grade. To add insult to injury he sends a bargain world class player home – Ulysses. Joe, if you think Alfie will solve the right back position you are wrong; furthermore, why don’t you consider Terry Cooke on that right flank? Remember he has carried Edghill and Crooks before. There are mutterings that your system was played with great success by Arsenal; I remind you we are not Arsenal, and with the naivety you are showing you are no Wenger. Wise up Joe or come February you will have a worse record than Alan Ball.

John McFarlane (


I’m looking for Manchester-based Blues to help me out on City related stuff, match reports, gossip, rivalry on the stands etc. I’m over 3-4 times a season so hopefully we can meet up over a few pints! Please mail me off list.

Thanks in advance, Brian Leth (


An interesting question to say the least!

In any other field, we would have walked away years ago – probably to the “funny farm”.

A family moved from Wythenshawe to Littleborough, which I and numerous other children at the time befriended and they were/are massive Blues. The Harts came into our live circa 1976/77; I supported City already, through my cousin, but my first match wasn’t until 77/78 I think. At home to Everton, the score 1-0 (Brian Kidd). What sticks in the mind though was sat on the benches in the Platt Lane, watching George Wood (Everton goalkeeper), perform heroics with a dirty great gobstopper in his mouth (later found out it was an abcess). From that moment on I was hooked.

Standouts from that time were driving to Sheff Wed and flying in a Mini Clubman over a humpback bridge (believe me it’s true), eating tomato ketchup butties before a game and puking violently! I could go on and on!

I have to admit I hate the Rags, because when I started supporting City they were no better or worse than us but over the past decade you have to admire them even though the Nevilles are the biggest wan*ers ever to walk this earth!

I cannot think of another football team who have given me so much heartache and happiness. Luton ’84 in tears on the Kippax, and Wembley ’99 tears of joy with my wife and daugthter seeing a then 32-year-old man acting like a complete lunatic, nothing will ever surpass that moment of unbridled joy, not even Blackburn 2000.

The burning question for me though is – will I ever see my team win a meaningful trophy? I blo*dy well hope so.

This is my first time submitting an article and hopefully my last.

One last thing on the great Reg debate, just get off the guy’s back, and to Joe Royle buy a blo*dy decent right-sided midfielder (Kanchelskis is available). Ask yourself this question: how would you like to run up and down the right hand side, being a right back-cum-midfielder-cum-winger and then covering for a lazy-ar*ed Aussie!

Ask yourself…

Paul Jones (


League table to 3rd September 2000 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Arsenal          3  2  0  0  7  3  0  0  1  0  1  2  0  1  7  4   3   6
 2 Leeds United     2  1  0  0  2  0  1  0  0  2  1  2  0  0  4  1   3   6
 3 Newcastle Utd    3  2  0  0  5  2  0  0  1  0  2  2  0  1  5  4   1   6
 4 Coventry City    3  0  0  1  1  3  2  0  0  4  2  2  0  1  5  5   0   6
 5 Manchester Utd   3  1  0  0  2  0  0  2  0  3  3  1  2  0  5  3   2   5
 6 Leicester City   3  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0  1  0  1  2  0  1  0   1   5
 7 Everton          3  1  1  0  5  2  0  0  1  0  2  1  1  1  5  4   1   4
 8 Middlesbrough    3  0  1  1  2  3  1  0  0  3  1  1  1  1  5  4   1   4
 9 Bradford City    3  1  1  0  2  0  0  0  1  0  1  1  1  1  2  1   1   4
10 Chelsea          3  1  0  0  4  2  0  1  1  1  3  1  1  1  5  5   0   4
11 Tottenham H.     3  1  0  0  3  1  0  1  1  1  3  1  1  1  4  4   0   4
12 Liverpool        3  1  0  0  1  0  0  1  1  3  5  1  1  1  4  5  -1   4
13 Ipswich Town     3  1  1  0  2  1  0  0  1  1  3  1  1  1  3  4  -1   4
14 Charlton Ath.    3  1  0  0  4  0  0  0  2  3  8  1  0  2  7  8  -1   3
15 Sunderland       3  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  2  2  5  1  0  2  3  5  -2   3
16 Manchester City  3  1  0  1  5  4  0  0  1  0  4  1  0  2  5  8  -3   3
17 Aston Villa      2  0  1  0  1  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  2  0  1  1   0   2
18 Derby County     3  0  1  0  2  2  0  1  1  4  5  0  2  1  6  7  -1   2
19 Southampton      3  0  1  1  4  5  0  1  0  2  2  0  2  1  6  7  -1   2
20 West Ham United  3  0  1  1  2  3  0  0  1  2  4  0  1  2  4  7  -3   1

With thanks to Football 365


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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #638