Newsletter #642

Well, the trepidation I felt at the prospect of playing in the Premier League is gradually dissolving. Although yesterday’s game was largely a dire affair – apart from 15 minutes in the second half – I couldn’t help but feel a little comforted by the sheer awfulness that was Middlesbrough. This is a team that has been assembled at great expense, but turned in a performance that would easily have been excelled by almost every side that visited Maine Road last season. In that situation, a point has to be two dropped, but at least we came back from a goal down – though that itself was yet another gift.

This issue has three match reports (one from Maine Road and two from the TV); a summary of MCFC’s Annual Report from Martin Reynolds; and some opinion and comment.

This one reaches 3,435.

Next game: Wednesday 20th September 2000, Gillingham at home (WCup)


International Supporters’ Club Set for Launch

The Manchester City FC International Supporters’ Club will be launched on 30 September. The scheme gives fans from around the world a better chance of gaining tickets to see City at Maine Road. In addition to a chance of gaining priority tickets, other benefits include quarterly newsletter, keyring, City yearbook and an e-mail newsletter. And fans joining the scheme make a contribution to the club’s future, with £1 from each membership donated to the Youth Academy. This is a scheme for the fans run by the fans in conjunction with MCFC. Look out for more details on or on

Wanchope Saves City A Point

Manchester City are twelfth in the Premiership after the weekend’s action. The Blues were held 1-1 at home by Middlesbrough on Sunday, but had to come from behind to earn their point. After a dull first half in which both goalkeepers remained untroubled, the visitors took the lead when defender Gianluca Festa headed home a corner in the 55th minute. The arrival of substitute Ian Bishop shortly afterwards, however, inspired the Blues to produce their best spell of the afternoon, which was rewarded when Wanchope diverted Danny Tiatto’s lobbed through-ball past Boro ‘keeper Walsh. The on-loan Walsh palmed a George Weah header onto the crossbar and the impressive Jeff Whitley struck the frame of the goal with a fierce drive but City were unable to force the extra goal Joe Royle felt they deserved on the balance of play.

Royle – We Should Have Won

Joe Royle felt his Manchester City team showed character in coming from behind to draw with Middlesbrough on Sunday. But the Blues’ boss was nevertheless disappointed that his side failed to take all three points from the game. Royle admitted that the City display failed to reach the same heights as in the recent away fixtures at Elland Road and Anfield. But while he also conceded that the first half of the match against Bryan Robson’s men wasn’t a great spectacle for the 32,000 crowd or the watching Sky TV audience, the City manager thought that the Blues were still the better side on the day. “We deserved to win but it wasn’t exactly a sparkling game,” he reflected. “I suspect there were a few people asleep at half-time.”

Boro Relieved With A Draw

Middlesbrough arrived at Maine Road for Sunday’s game against Manchester City feeling a draw would be a good result from the game. And the Teessiders duly headed back to the north east satisfied with the point they gained. Boro were missing a number of key players, including Alen Boksic, Christain Karembeu and Gary Pallister. And in the light of his team’s injury problems, assistant boss Viv Anderson was moved to reflect, “Considering the amount of players we had out a draw was good for us.” Anderson was less happy with striker Hamilton Ricard, whose dissent led to a City free-kick being moved forward ten yards – and saw Boro further punished when Danny Tiatto delivered the ball into the penalty area for Paulo Wanchope to score.

Jobson “No to Third Loan Offer”

Richard Jobson has recently turned down the opportunity to join Stockport and Nottingham Forest on loan. And now the City defender has disappointed another club interested in acquiring his services on a temporary basis. Jobson has rejected the chance to rejoin Oldham Athletic, where he was an integral part of the Boundary Park club’s successes under Joe Royle. But while the City boss says he’s happy for the veteran to stay at Maine Road, the 37-year-old is said to be willing to leave on a permanent transfer if a new club offers him a two-year contract – his current engagement at Maine Road expires at the end of this season and is unlikely to be renewed. A Sunday tabloid claimed that First Division high-flyers Bolton could finally tempt Jobson away from Maine Road on a temporary basis, although it is unclear whether there is actually any basis in the story.

Royle Refutes West Link

Rumours in recent days have claimed that Taribo West could be about to join Manchester City. But the Nigerian will not be signing for the Blues. West is available from AC Milan on a free transfer only eight months after moving to the Italian giants from city rivals Inter. But Joe Royle has moved to quell the speculation that Maine Road will be the defender’s next port of call. Some reports had claimed that Royle may offer the 26-year-old a trial spell but the City boss has ruled out even that possibility. “I’ve been approached by seven agents about Taribo and said no to them all,” he asserted.

Tueart Impressed by New Boy Ritchie

Paul Ritchie has made a big impression in his first few senior games for Manchester City. And the Scotland international’s form has delighted City director Dennis Tueart. Ritchie adds versatility to the Blues’ rearguard with his ability to operate as a left back, as he has so far, or in a more central rôle. And the quality of the defensive aspect of the 25-year-old’s game has caught Tueart’s eye. “Defensively he looks very sound, never allowing a forward time,” the one-time City winger told the Manchester Evening News, “and he does impose himself on the opposition early on, which is important.”

Notts County Set to Land Fenton

Nick Fenton’s Manchester City career appears to be coming to an end. And the 20-year-old is poised to return to Notts County – a club he’s already served on loan. Fenton ended last season with a temporary spell at Bournemouth and returned to Dean Court for the first month of this term. The player returned to Maine Road when the Cherries decided they couldn’t afford the fee to make the switch permanent, but County are in a better financial position and are reported to have agreed to pay £150,000 for the ex-England youth man. The player impressed the Midlands club during a three-month loan spell in the first half of last season, and after failing with a bid for the youngster on the eve of the transfer deadline the Magpies look set to enjoy better luck this time round.

Weah Happy to Fight for Place

George Weah returned to the City starting line-up on Sunday after being on the bench for the last two games. But the Liberian is taking nothing for granted, and knows he has to earn his place in the team. Weah came on as a substitute to score at Liverpool last week, and some commentators interpreted the player’s post-match comments as a sign of discontent over his initial omission. But the 33-year-old has dispelled such talk by affirming simply that he knew he could pose problems to the home team’s slightly porous-looking rearguard. “Mr Royle is a nice person and a very good manager,” said the one-time World Player of the Year, “so if he thinks I should be a substitute that is fine. What I have to do is keep focussed and concentrate on my game.”

Wiekens Offered New Deal

Gerard Wiekens has had an excellent start to the season in the Manchester City midfield. And the Blues are reportedly keen to keep the Dutchman at Maine Road for another four years. Wiekens is under contract to City until the end of this season. And the club is keen to prevent a player who’s adapted well to life in the Premiership from leaving for nothing next summer, with media sources in Holland claiming that the player is now thinking over the offer of a four-year deal. Joe Royle will be hoping that the club’s return to the top flight will convince the 26-year-old he can achieve his dream of international football by committing to an extended stay with the Blues.

City Bid to Tighten Up

Manchester City have conceded more goals than all but one other side in the Premiership this term. And Spencer Prior knows that the Blues must quickly remedy that state of affairs if the club is to prosper in the top flight. City have leaked twelve goals in five games – and have been averaging almost two goals against per match even after the opening-day horror show at Charlton. However, Prior believes that performances are improving – and that hard training ground work will soon bring even greater rewards. “People must remember that we have a relatively new defensive unit,” said the ex-Derby man. “We are doing a lot of stuff in training working on things and I thought we did reasonably well at Liverpool despite conceding the three goals.” Joe Royle, however, was disappointed by his team’s defending at the corner from which Gianluca Festa gave Middlesbrough the lead in Sunday’s televised Maine Road clash.

Royle Slams Striker Rumour

Manchester City are set to lose George Weah and especially Paulo Wanchope to frequent international call-ups this season. But Joe Royle has dismissed one Sunday tabloid’s suggested back-up target. Several strikers have been linked with the Blues over recent months, but a new name entered the frame at the weekend, when it was claimed City have been watching Rochdale’s Clive Platt. The 22-year-old joined Dale from Walsall in the summer of 1999 and has scored 13 league goals for the Spotland outfit, but according to the City boss, the Blues have no interest in the Wolverhampton-born striker. Meanwhile, City have also been linked with another Third Division player in Macclesfield midfielder George Abbey, although it’s not clear whether there’s any more truth in these stories than in the Platt rumour.

Blues Land New Physio

Manchester City have recruited a new physiotherapist. But that doesn’t mean the end of Roy Bailey’s Maine Road career. Bailey has been senior physio at Maine Road since the late 1970s, when he stepped up to the rôle after originally assisting Freddie Griffiths. He’s held the position ever since, apart from a two-year absence in the mid-1990s, and will remain a valued member of the Blues’ medical staff despite the arrival of Rob Harris from rugby league outfit Wigan Warriors.

Royle Happy With Turnaround

Manchester City couldn’t have made a worse start to the season, suffering humiliation in the opening match at Charlton. But Joe Royle is happy with the way his side has bounced back. Speaking before this weekend’s action, Royle expressed particular pleasure with the way his men beat Leeds at Elland Road and then four days later gave Liverpool a fright at Anfield. And the City boss believes those displays demonstrate that the Valley horror show was a one-off freak. “I am happy with the way the team is playing,” he said. “When you think of the first day nonsense which we had at Charlton to the way we have played at two of the hardest places to go to, I am delighted.” Royle also felt his players should have beaten Middlesbrough at Maine Road on Sunday, and his only complaint at this juncture is that his team’s performances have warranted at least three more points than have actually been won.

Kennedy Adapting to New Rôle

Mark Kennedy hasn’t produced his best form so far this season. But the Irishman is confident that he’ll soon adapt to the new demands being placed on him by the City management. Rather than playing as an out-and-out winger, Kennedy will usually be asked to line up as one of three front men. And he’s happy to make the change in the interests of the team. “I’ve had a lot of chats with [coach Willie Donachie] about the new system we’re playing,” he explained. “I’m not playing as a left-winger any more. We’re playing 4-3-3 and when we lose the ball they want me to tuck inside and make four in midfield.”

Royle Slams Divers Again

Joe Royle has denied that his diving outburst after last week’s game at Liverpool was aimed at one player in particular. But the City boss has continued to speak out against what he sees as a blight on the game. Royle says that the conventional view that foreigners are responsible for most of the theatricals in English football is no longer true. And the City boss says that the current position contrasts markedly with his own playing days. “In my day if a player went over to get someone into trouble with the referee they would have been seen as unmanly,” he reflected. “It just wasn’t done but now it happens all the time with players looking to get others into trouble and in the extreme sent off.” After the weekend visit of Middlesbrough, when referee Stephen Lodge showed leniency more than once over shirt-pulling from the visitors, Royle was left wondering whether his own instructions to the City players to be honest might in fact be counter-productive.

Weah – Togetherness Is Our Strength

George Weah believes that dressing-room disharmony at his former club Chelsea caused the downfall of coach Gianluca Vialli. But the Liberian says that the atmosphere among the players couldn’t be more different at Maine Road. Weah ended last season on loan at Stamford Bridge and picked up an FA Cup winner’s medal in May. But the 33-year-old draws a contrast between the behind-the-scenes difficulties at the London club, and the excellent spirit which he believes will see a successful Manchester City team emerge. “I think everybody underestimates us. We are a good team, and getting better every day,” he claimed. “Our strength is our togetherness. We all pull together and everybody knows that we are all equal, and treated accordingly.”

Changes On Cards for Gills Tie?

Manchester City are back on the knock-out trail this week. The Blues play the first leg of their Worthington Cup second round tie on Wednesday, and face familiar opponents, with Gillingham providing the opposition. The Kent outfit make the trip to Maine Road in good spirits, having taken four points from their last two league fixtures after a difficult start to life in Division One. And with City having tasted success in both the 1999 play-off encounter at Wembley and the pre-season game between the sides two months ago, Andy Hessenthaler’s men will be keen to put on a good show this time. The Blues look set to be without Gerard Wiekens, substituted against Middlesbrough with an achilles injury, while Royle may also shuffle his pack to rest other key players. Meanwhile, there’s unconfirmed talk that deposed skipper Richard Edghill may be given an outing as City look to build a significant lead to take to Priestfield for the second leg on Tuesday, 26 September.

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MIDDLESBROUGH, Sunday 17th September 2000

You may be interested to know that the Middlesbrough club shop sells away kit cushions at £7.99, pink jester hats at just £3.00 and Premier toffee at £2.50. For a price of £7.50 you may also buy two ‘Tackle Boxes’ – I’ve no idea what they are but you can buy them online. The reason I start with that information is that it is more exciting than the Middlesbrough line up and the unsmiling Mr Robson.

Another strange day at the Academy I suppose, and although disappointing to come away from the game with only one point, I am, on balance pleased with how things are going for us this season.

First of all it was disappointing after the magnificence of our win at Leeds and our near miss at Liverpool, but whilst Joe sets his sights high (and he’s right to do so) I’m going to be content if we stay in the Premier.

Low aspirations maybe, but it will do for me this season. Already this season I think I’ve seen enough to say that we’ll stay in the Premier and my own forecast is for a finish around position 10 or 12.

Enough of that then and on to the game.

I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with going to watch football at 4.00pm on a Sunday, it just doesn’t feel right. The fuel shortage of the previous week made no impact on the attendance and in fact our pre-match visit to The Gardeners had borne this out even before we arrived at the entertainment palace of the North.

In the event the final crowd was just a little over 32,000. Below capacity because the Middlesbrough lot had been unable to sell their ticket allocation; either that or they just hadn’t been able to make it to Manchester from their poor Catherine Cookson type homes.

Middlesbrough is a strange place; I’d been there about six weeks ago and my advice to you, especially if you have time to kill at the run down train station, is to take your own supplies – there’s just nothing there. The place is like some run down Victorian theme park with little action and little to invite you to it. Much like I suppose, the Middlesbrough team that had the pleasure to play at Maine Road yesterday.

Jonathon (our resident seagull) was fairly still yesterday, just moving gently from side to side, high above the Kippax. His grey and dull plastic features looking positively radiant against the poor, sunken eyed folk who had travelled down from Teeside. I saw many excited children marvel at our plastic bird’s features as parents pointed it out, thrilling at seeing wildlife and – explaining that Manchester folk are an odd lot and don’t eat ‘game pie’ like they do back in Middlesbrough. In any event it was a pathetic turn out from the away fans and the support of their team during the ensuing contest also proved to be pathetic. I think the best they could muster was “there’s only one ‘Boro, there’s only one ‘Boro” which is not only dull but clearly incorrect. But what the heck if you’re still waiting for the provision of statutory education and all that comes with it (including geography books) perhaps they do really think there is only one borough.

I know that they do have some form of schooling up there as the official web site of our opponents describes the work of the Football Club to help a local Primary school to introduce Citizenship into their curriculum. The club’s education co-ordinator is quoted as saying “Football provides several good links to the key topics and the sessions encourage participation in games and drama, as well as written work, ensuring that the children are enjoying themselves as they learn.” Odd then, that if that is the case, why are Middlesbrough involved, there’s not much to enjoy watching that lot.

Anyway onto the important detail. For such a dull grey homeland the players were very nicely turned out in bright red and white sports strips. Despite the odious colour, the strip is actually quite pleasing on the eye. The white centre hoop/panel sets off the matching white shoulder panels and white side panels on the shorts. All players (without exception) had chosen to wear the shorts above the knee. Red hose completed the outfit (all players chose to wear the hose below the knee). Just one question though. Where exactly is Middlesbrough? I know it’s a poor place, but is it in Wales? The reason that I ask is that the crest of the club seems for the entire world to be a Welsh dragon. Perhaps readers can advise.

As to the football, well it was average stuff really. Most of the game was fought out in midfield, with little in the way of smooth, elegant play. Our forwards were not getting great service in the first 45, and it wasn’t until Bishop came on that that really changed. Overall the first half was a disappointing, lacklustre game. During the game we had a couple of what I thought were incredibly blatant penalty calls, first for Tiatto and then for Weah, but Mr Lodge (the referee) was having none of it.

Weah turned it on again and produced a few magic moments and to be honest was unlucky not to hit home as a rocket shot skimmed the corner of the upright. Around about the 55th minute the favourites of the dullards in the Gene Kelly stand took the lead with a fine diving header from Festa. This sparked the Blues into an immediate offensive and we came close a couple of times before Wanchope cleverly lifted the ball into the net from a Tiatto chip. Other fine efforts from Weah and Whitley should have got us the points but it just wouldn’t happen. I have no doubt at all that it was Bishop who made us look so different. He brought a relaxed and thoughtful style to his play that we had lacked in the first half and that is needed by the likes of Weah and Wanchope. I’m not writing anything else about the game, other than to say that Dickov was sharp when he came on for Weah.

Overall a disappointment; a win would have lifted us up the table into 7th or 8th place, but we’re above Chelsea, Sunderland and West Ham and who, this time last year would have thought that would be the case?

Still it could be worse, you could be a Man U fan facing the long journey home back to Surrey, Essex, Singapore, etc.

For your information Mr N Barry acted as fourth official.

Tony Burns (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MIDDLESBROUGH, Sunday 17th September 2000

Finally our TV showed a match of Blues! It was 4 years I couldn’t see live on Italian TV a match of Premiership of Manchester City. One only other match I watched in this period on TV but it was the 4th round of FA Cup of last year against Leeds Utd.

The first half wasn’t good, City wasn’t good with the ball, Boro did a good pressing against our player with the ball and too much time we lost it, but luckily they aren’t a good team, without a decent striker and with a Paul Ince who was a good player but now the weight of the years is all on his body. They had only one good chance with O’Neill or someone else who was challenged by Weaver. Our ‘keeper hit the ball, but watching the scene better on TV it was clear it was a penalty. Towards the 25th minute of first half they stopped the match and started with the beginning of the 2nd half. The commentator said there were two clear penalties for City, but they didn’t show them. However, after 10 minutes played Boro scored with a header from Festa. In truth the blame for this goal was on Wanchope who was near Festa and let him hit the ball alone.

And now started the match of Man City. The players played a fantastic passing game that gave us many occasions, the goal of Wanchope was probably offside, however the pass of Tiatto (I believe) was very good and Wanchope anticipated Walsh. After this goal the leadership of City on this match grew enormously. Weah headed towards the goal but Walsh saved it, Whitley (a very good player even if sometimes he asks too much from his foot…) hit the post, and Wanchope did the same some minutes later. The crowd tried to give more strength to the players but they finished their energies and the match closed so 1-1.

I liked very much Ian Bishop, I believe we need player in the midfield who knows how to pass well because in the first half Wiekens and Whitley lost too many balls. Bishop is good, but I know he is too old and he hasn’t the energies to do all matches. Weah is a fantastic professional but he has not to be used in every game. Dickov and Goater (when he’ll be back) can be good alternatives. Kennedy did a good match (O’Neill suffered all the match his attacks) but sometimes he tried things too much difficult. Wiekens is a defender, I can’t believe Joe Royle put him in the midfield, if Wiekens has to be our central midfield I believe we have to come back to buy someone, but who? The defence did well but Boro played without Boksic and I want to judge them against stronger attacks. However, if we play as in the 2nd half we can do good things this year.

CTID, Simone (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MIDDLESBROUGH, Sunday 17th September 2000

First live match of the season, and what a relief to have Andy Gray back in place of the moaning Brazil, who no doubt would have had plenty to complain about with this one.

City were kept waiting an age in the tunnel before Boro emerged from the dressing room – the first of Robson’s underhand tactics or was he completing his pre-match refreshment? Anyway, the signs were ominous from the start – City kicked off, Weah gave the ball away and we didn’t get it back for about three minutes. Very little happened in the first half – a couple of promising runs from Kennedy without the crosses to match, a one-two between Weah and Wanchope that Paolo just failed to control. Weaver was in action only twice, once to dive at Mustoe’s feet and deflect the ball for a corner and again to save a shot from twenty-five yards that went straight at him (he dropped it – luckily Deane hadn’t bothered to chase it in). Wiekens was injured early on and eventually made way for Tiatto, Kennedy switching to the right. Tiatto was almost instantly hauled down in the box after outpacing Fleming, but the referee proved entirely consistent throughout the match, turning a blind eye to every tug on a shirt or arm round the neck (and there were plenty). City’s passing was woeful, which meant very little reached Weah or Wanchope, but the defence looked quite comfortable, winning everything in the air and breaking up the very occasional sortie forward by Boro with little difficulty. The last five minutes of the half looked slightly more promising – Wanchope did at least get a low skidding shot on target, Walsh gathering it after a bit of a fumble. Weah was pulled back to prevent him reaching a cross – again no penalty. Half time at least gave those of us at home the chance to laugh at Chelsea.

Boro brought on Ricard in place of the comically inept Job for the second half, and we instantly began to lose everything in the air without anything very threatening coming from it. Weah produced a classy turn and venomous shot which just skimmed over the bar – and then Boro scored a sucker goal. Corner to the far post, Festa got ahead of Wanchope ten yards out, firm header, 1-0. Andy Gray was puzzled about Haaland having a go at Weaver, but Nicky has to take some of the blame; with no defender on the post Festa had in effect a free net to head into, Weaver staying in the centre of the goal instead of moving across with the flight of the ball.

By now it was raining heavily, with the Gene Kelly stand beginning to resemble a Ku Klux Klan rally as the white coats and hoods were handed out. Bishop came on for Horlock and at last City began to have some shape and movement in midfield. Kennedy produced a perfect cross with his right foot which resulted in several close-range shots being blocked (including an ambitious backheel from Wanchope) before Whitley fired just wide from the edge of the area. Ten minutes after Boro’s goal Whitley ran into the back of Ricard but no free-kick was given. Ricard complained so loudly that the referee blew up to book him for dissent. City were given a free kick (technically it should have been a dropped ball as no foul had been committed), the Boro players failed to retreat and it was moved forward ten yards (but still only just over the half way line, so all this stuff about it costing Boro the win is a bit far-fetched). The long ball was half-cleared, Tiatto lobbed it back over the advancing defenders and as Walsh came to collect a telescopic leg shot out and flicked the ball past him. This produced only a muffled cheer from the couch as Wanchope looked a mile offside, but as the City players kept on celebrating it became clear that this really was the equaliser. The replay suggested that it probably was offside, but very very close – a split second before and after the ball was played Paolo was level with a defender on the far side, but not as it actually left Tiatto’s boot.

For the next few minutes City looked like winning it, with Boro looking increasingly panicky under the pressure. Walsh turned over a powerful header from Weah, Whitley hit a screamer which Walsh turned on to the angle of post and bar, and then had another long-range effort curl just wide. Dickov came on for Weah and hit a left-foot shot just over after a typical surge into the area. And then it went all quiet and disjointed again for the last ten minutes as Boro recovered some composure, leaving a mixture of disappointment and relief. Disappointment because there won’t be many worse teams coming to Maine Road this season and we have to make the most of them; relief because when we went behind it really did look like one of those days.


Weaver 6. Hardly anything to do, partly at fault for the goal.
Haaland 7. Strong and competent, would have liked to see him getting further forward.
Prior/Howey 8 each. Looking to be forging a good partnership, though this was far from being the sternest of tests.
Ritchie 7. Strong in the tackle and good awareness but some of his distribution – well, if it had been Edghill there’d have been moaning.
Whitley 7.5. Sky’s man of the match for his effort, and fair enough. But we need more consistent passing from midfield.
Wiekens 7. A reassuring presence in front of the defence, which would have been vulnerable to breakaways after he went off if Boro had been so inclined.
Horlock 6. Disappointing today. When he’s not at his best it seems to affect the whole team as he’s the only source of penetrating passes from midfield when Bishop’s not playing.
Kennedy 7. Reassured after increasingly negative comments in recent reports. Created space for potentially telling crosses on both wings even if the end result wasn’t quite up to his usual standards.
Weah 6.5. Occasional touches of class but doesn’t look hungry. We can’t expect pace at his age, but a bit more involvement is needed.
Wanchope 7. Totally unpredictable, magic touches interspersed with frustrating failure to play the simple ball. Doubtful if anybody else in the Premiership could have scored that goal.


Tiatto 6.5. Showed as soon as he came on that he could beat Fleming for pace, then didn’t try it again. Perhaps still feeling his injury.
Bishop 8. We looked a different team when he arrived. Has to play at least in home matches.
Dickov 7. Usual 110 per cent.

Piers Pennington (


I took the liberty of writing about City’s shambolic state of financial affairs a few years ago, so it only seems right that I have another crack at it given things appear to be improving. Although I am a chartered accountant, these are purely my own views and I am sure that others will have other opinions on how to interpret the accounts.


Nice and glossy this year – obvious that this was printed with a view to taking it to the city institutions and to get City quoted fully on the stock exchange. However, on speaking to their advisors it was apparant that football stocks are out of favour at the moment so we will have to wait.

Chairman’s Statement

John Wardle has become deputy Chairman charged mainly with the new stadium (I think he is one of the guys from JD sports) and Andrew Thomas has resigned. The Board of Directors does look much ‘slicker’ than that of a few years ago! Great praise heaped on Joe, Willie and the team. The financial overview shows a strengthened balance sheet and bank borrowings being “effectively eliminated”, which is pleasing. Section on praising the supporters – not often that you see the customers of a plc company praised at all. We now have 120 supporters’ clubs. The plan is to inform supporters of the progress of Eastlands in the new year. On the community front 100,000 school kids took part in MCFC related community scheme activities from 140 schools. The chairman concludes with encouraging messgaes of “Our financial position has and will improve dramatically” and “We now have a real opportunity to take our club back to the top of British football and nothing will be spared to achieve this.” Sounds good!

Report of the Directors

We still made a loss of nearly £2 million. Shareholdings over 3% are as follows: JD Sports Directors (25%); Steven Boler’s (trust) (19%); Sky TV (10%); Franny Lee (7%); Greenalls (5%). We donated £28,000 to charity. Chris Bird and the new Finance Director Mackintosh have been granted a wedge load of options, which should make them rich if and when the company is fully floated on the stock exchange. Most of the Directors hold shares in City – £400,000 with Bernstein to £30,000 worth with Dennis Tueart. The amazing thing is that only Chris Bird (£103,000) and the Finance Director (£92,000) got paid a salary – the others work for free!

Profit and Loss Account

Turnover (i.e. cash through the door) increased by 38% to £17.5 million (compare that with Rags PLC turnover of £111 million!). We got £7 million from gate receipts, £1.3 million from TV and £9 million from things like merchandising – this is a vast improvement on last year. We have 44 players as at 31 May 2000 who earned £9.5 million – that’s an annual average of £215,000 or £5,000 per week – but that includes both the big earners and the full time apprentices. We don’t pay any corporation tax because we don’t make any profits – my guess is that we may make a profit this year.

Balance Sheet

We value our players at a total of £7.7 million – very prudent. We have nearly £2 million in the bank in cash (compared to virtually nothing last year). We signed a deal with Manchester Council to take a 250-year lease on Eastlands and Maine Road will then be owned by the Council.

Cash flow statement

We paid back £5 million of loans during the year and issued £13 million of new shares which brought in well-needed money.

My Conclusion

It looks very positive – I like the Chairman and the rest of the employees appear to have their heads screwed on for once. I may be sentimental but I still need to be convinced over the Eastlands move – especially the financing arangements with the council i.e. I believe that the agreement over the gate receipt difference between the actual attendance and 33,000 is split somehow with the council – this kind of limits the upside when we get big crowds.

I am also very concerned that that Eastlands will lack atmosphere – I reckon that the money may run out to turn the running track between the stadium and the pitch into seats after the Commonwealth games and we will be left in the lurch – I hope I am wrong.

This year the Sky money will start flowing again. We need to make sure that this continues as the wage bill for this year will start to increase. I was surprised to find that the share price is 74p… thought it would be much higher… so football is very much out of favour within the City of London at present.

If anyone wants to add to these comments, please feel free to do so.

Martin Reynolds (


The reserves’ second home game of the season against Leeds will now take place on Thursday 21 September, not tomorrow as originally scheduled, due to Leeds’ involvement in a European match this week. Kick-off 7pm, Ewen Fields, Hyde.

Hope for a good attendance again.

Heidi Pickup (


There is a school of thought that says that it is necessary to suffer to achieve the highest goal. Well the first meeting of the campaign committee was an example of that! The committee held its first meeting as scheduled on Thursday evening amidst the middle of the fuel crisis. Of the eight full members only four could attend, and two of us live here! After much sweat and toil, those that could make it on the few fumes they had left in their petrol tanks (OK, OK so I’m ramping the drama up a bit!), have managed to draft a letter to the club asking for a meeting to discuss the possibility of Neil receiving the testimonial match he should have received many years ago. The other members of the committee have been appraised of the contents of the letter and have added their approval to it.

Hopefully by the time the next meeting is held the fuel situation will have returned to normal and we should be able to hold a full meeting. The full list of committee members is as follows (in no particular order): David and Vanda Cash, Heidi Pickup, Mike Wagstaffe, Paul Hince, Gary James, Neil Rimmer, and Clive Hamilton sitting as an independent member. So it’s wait and see time now. We are all hoping the club respond favourably to our request for a formal meeting to discuss the issue, but whatever the outcome, we’ll keep all the McVers informed of progress as time goes on. On behalf of the committee can I also take the opportunity to thank everyone for the support you have given us so far. I understand that several people have already mailed and written to the club asking for them to support our campaign. Please can we ask you to continue to do that.

Dave Cash (


Wow… sorry, that’s all I can say. I’ve seen City win at Wembley and was at Blackburn last May and at no time was I speechless (far from it, I didn’t shut up for a week!) but MCIVTA has just left me so. You may recall I asked if anyone knew where my mate could see the Blues whilst in Florida. The issue came out late on the 14th and by the 15th I had received 4 replies. Cheers guys, you’re the business.

Finally, Sky’s Soccer AM this morning had a Post Bag feature, the guy who brought the mail in was a black lad in a Liverpool strip called E-mail Heskey and as he walked on he fell over! This was repeated as he left. For the faraway Blues this was a reference to Sir Joe claiming (rightly) that a certain unnamed Liverpool player was diving to get City players booked. Nice touch Sky.

Nigel Pickles (


I just wanted to let everyone know that the ‘Boro game on Sunday is going to be the first City game I have seen in 4 years. After moving to the States, City went and got themselves relegated a few times and seeing as though coverage for football outside the Premiership is non-existent, I have had to make do with following the Blues over the Internet. Checking the web every 10 minutes on a Saturday to see the latest score is not exactly as an ex-season ticket holder wants to follow his team but I had no choice in the matter.

Anyway, thanks to all at the club, I can now see them on Pay per View here, and I am foaming at the mouth for Sunday’s game against ‘Boro. Believe me, 4 years of not seeing the Blues, no matter how crappy they might have been at times, has certainly been a pain the ass! So, come Sunday at 11.00am I am at last proudly showing off City to my American mates, so that they can see just who the hell I have been worshipping for so long.

I have also just seen that the derby game has been made a Sunday morning kick off… this is also on PPV here and I’m going to have to get up to watch the game at 6am – oh the joy!

Anyway, roll on Sunday.

CTID, Steven Kersh (loving Florida but missing City)


The new shirt’s ok as a fashion item so long as the team don’t have to wear it too often. But what’s with the Visa card below the “Eidos”?

Lance Thomson (


I’d just like to thank Ms Gerrard (6 days) for her Why Blue. I reckon it’s the best we’ve had in all the time I’ve been reading. Reminds me of when my first was born 6 years ago; I played it cool (married to a Kent Girl – they don’t really understand) but my mother delivered a City teddy bear on Day 2 – catch em young.

Alan Holt (


A very, very good performance overall – spoiled by poor refereeing and one defensive lapse by Wanchope who made up for it later by scoring a great poacher’s goal. On another day we would have won by a hatful. Still, on the plus side the defensive unit looks as though it is gelling together very nicely and we really should have no problem staying up. It is very annoying though to realise that one mistake cost us 3 points. Some work still needs to be done, however, on picking up opposition players running from deep but it is getting better week by week.

As to refereeing, just what do City players have to do to get a penalty? Joe keeps telling them not to dive but referees just don’t seem to be interested in giving us penalties. We had three good claims and at least one should have been given. If this continues much longer we may as well start diving like most other Premiership teams – ’cause it’s the only way we’ll get a decision in our favour.

As to defending, one has to ask the question – should City have players on both posts when defending a corner or wide free-kick? Or should they continue to rely on markers picking up their targets 100% of the time? If a player had been on the far post, then Festa’s header would easily have been cleared. Until the defence has totally gelled as a unit, I believe we should choose the 2nd option – but it is a difficult decision as this means you have to have players assigned to marking particular areas of the penalty box as opposed to picking up individual players.

There were some other really good points that came from the game. Tiatto and Jeff Whitley were magnificent at harassing and winning the ball in midfield and Kennedy played well on the right. He closed down the opposition players well while defending and it looks as though he could be a better player on this side of the pitch as he can both go inside and outside the defender!

CTID, Richard Mottershead (


I may be moving to Dallas and was wondering if there were any City fans out there that I may contact?

Deepak Aggarwal (


Research Officer (caseworker)

The newly launched Supporters Direct unit is seeking to appoint a full-time Officer to undertake case work and share general research and administrative duties. Supporters Direct is based at Birkbeck, one of the Colleges of the University of London, sharing premises and other facilities with the Football Research Unit. You will be part of a team working with football supporters’ groups to help them establish democratic and mutual organisations to become partners in the future of the clubs they support. Applicants should have a commitment to the democratic ideals of the Supporters Direct initiative, with appropriate research and organisational experience.

Salary range: £18,909 to £23,569 pa (inclusive of London Weighting), depending on qualifications and experience.

Closing date: Monday 25th September 2000. Interviews the week of October 2nd. Post to start as soon as possible, to March 31st 2003.

Download the job description and application form from or phone 020 7631 6740 or email or send a large (A4) sae to Supporters Direct, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX.

Steve Warby


I have been a long time reader but now as a first time writer. I have been a blues boy ever since my first trip with my granddad to Maine Road 21 years ago. I went there normal and came home with a City kit, City scarf, City mug and of course Joe Corrigan gloves (what an idol).

I wonder if anyone reading this can help? I am trying to find a way of getting update game results through my mobile phone but as yet have been unsuccessful. If anyone has any ideas I would be grateful.

Paul Thompson – A Proud City Supporter (


Recent results to 17 September 2000 inclusive

17 September 2000

Chelsea               0 - 2  Leicester City
Manchester City       1 - 1  Middlesbrough
West Ham United       1 - 1  Liverpool

16 September 2000

Arsenal               2 - 1  Coventry City
Aston Villa           2 - 0  Bradford City
Charlton Athletic     1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur
Everton               1 - 3  Manchester United
Leeds United          1 - 2  Ipswich Town
Southampton           2 - 0  Newcastle United
Sunderland            2 - 1  Derby County

League table to 17 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 Manchester Utd   6  3  0  0 11  0  1  2  0  6  4  4  2  0 17  4  13  14
 2 Leicester City   6  2  1  0  3  1  2  1  0  3  0  4  2  0  6  1   5  14
 3 Arsenal          6  3  0  0  9  4  0  2  1  3  4  3  2  1 12  8   4  11
 4 Liverpool        6  3  0  0  7  3  0  2  1  4  6  3  2  1 11  9   2  11
 5 Tottenham H.     6  3  0  0  7  3  0  1  2  1  4  3  1  2  8  7   1  10
 6 Newcastle Utd    6  2  1  0  5  2  1  0  2  2  4  3  1  2  7  6   1  10
 7 Aston Villa      5  1  1  0  3  1  1  1  1  3  4  2  2  1  6  5   1   8
 8 Charlton Ath.    6  2  1  0  6  1  0  1  2  5 10  2  2  2 11 11   0   8
 9 Leeds United     5  1  0  2  4  4  1  1  0  2  1  2  1  2  6  5   1   7
10 Everton          6  1  1  1  6  5  1  0  2  4  6  2  1  3 10 11  -1   7
11 Ipswich Town     6  1  1  1  3  3  1  0  2  4  6  2  1  3  7  9  -2   7
12 Manchester City  6  1  1  1  6  5  1  0  2  4  8  2  1  3 10 13  -3   7
13 Coventry City    6  0  1  2  1  5  2  0  1  5  4  2  1  3  6  9  -3   7
14 Sunderland       6  2  1  0  4  2  0  0  3  2  8  2  1  3  6 10  -4   7
15 Middlesbrough    6  0  1  2  3  5  1  2  0  7  5  1  3  2 10 10   0   6
16 Southampton      6  1  1  1  6  5  0  2  1  3  4  1  3  2  9  9   0   6
17 Chelsea          6  1  1  1  6  6  0  2  1  1  3  1  3  2  7  9  -2   6
18 Bradford City    6  1  2  0  3  1  0  0  3  0  9  1  2  3  3 10  -7   5
19 Derby County     6  0  3  0  7  7  0  1  2  5  7  0  4  2 12 14  -2   4
20 West Ham United  6  0  2  1  3  4  0  1  2  3  6  0  3  3  6 10  -4   3

With thanks to Football 365


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

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #642