Newsletter #648

So Ash’s off spending more time with his family and there the similarity with Kevin Keegan ends. I didn’t see the game myself as I was walking down Mount Snowdon at the time, but it sounds like the sheep were more entertaining. My Editorial stand-ins in the past have coincided with fun and games at Maine Road (I was here when Frank Clark and City parted company) and this time the curse has hit Wor Kev. Yes, a quiet weekend on the Premiership front but trust the English national team to make up for it.

This issue has a report from the England under 21 game, a summary of the Club’s AGM and Peter’s round up of the trivia, minutiae and gossip that inevitably fills the vacuum left by real news. There’s also the sad account of the recent death of a City fan in a hit and run incident.

Oh and finally, I’d like to thank my CSA Branch Chairman, Dominic for his kind vote of confidence in my qualifications to be a Blue I thought about publishing it here but modesty prevents me. You understand, don’t you Dom 🙂

Next game: Bradford City at home, Saturday 14th October 2000


Royle Happy Where He Is

Kevin Keegan’s shock resignation as England manager on Saturday even occasioned talk in some quarters that Joe Royle could be a possible successor. But the Manchester City manager appears to have ruled out the prospect. Royle, in fairness, would probably rate as an outsider in the race to succeed Keegan. But if FA chiefs did turn to the Blues’ boss to fill a position which is regarded as something of a poisoned chalice, it seems they’d find the 51-year-old unwilling to consider leaving Maine Road – at least judging by his comments to co-commentator Jonathan Pearce during Channel 5’s coverage of the Portugal vs. Ireland game on Saturday. “I’m happy where I am,” explained the one-time England striker. “England need someone who desperately wants the job.”

Joe and Agent Deny Weah Quit Claims

Joe Royle admits he’s had a difference of opinion with George Weah. But, contrary to some reports, the Liberian has not and will not quit Manchester City. Weah was reportedly upset after being substituted in the Blues’ defeat by Newcastle a week ago. And when the 33-year-old flew to Milan shortly after the game, there were rumours that he may not return. But the player’s agent says the striker needed to go to Italy to sort out personal matters – and that, as he’s happy at Maine Road, there was never any prospect of him refusing to fly back. In any case, the African player of the 20th century has held clear-the-air talks with the City boss, who says that the story has been blown out of all proportion. “We have had a chat, but everything has calmed down,” said Royle. “George was just a bit upset but we’ve gone through it together and he’s fine.” Weah attended City’s memorabilia exhibition at Maine Road this weekend.

Trio in Saturday International Action

Paul Dickov made his international début on Saturday evening. And the Scot was one of three City players who won full caps for their countries at the weekend, with two midfielders also in action. Dickov came on as a substitute for Scotland with around half an hour of the match remaining against minnows San Marino and the score still goalless. But although the City striker didn’t directly have a hand in the goals, matters improved for Craig Brown’s men, who eased to a 2-0 win. Meanwhile, Kevin Horlock and Jeff Whitley were in the Northern Ireland side which drew 1-1 at home to Denmark. Tommy Wright was on the bench for Sammy McIlroy’s side, having received a late call to replace the injured Fulham goalkeeper Maik Taylor. Meanwhile, for the two Maine Road men on under-21 duty there was less to be satisfied with. Reserve Shaun Holmes was in the Northern Ireland side trounced 3-0 by Denmark while Rhys Day was an unused substitute as Wales went down 2-0 to Norway.

Acuna Interest to Come to Nothing

Manchester City admitted on Friday that they would like to bring Clarence Acuna to Maine Road on trial. But the Blues have missed out on the Chilean international. Acuna has been linked with several Premiership clubs, and City director Chris Bird admitted that the club would like to take a look at the midfielder. But it’s now being reported that the player has agreed terms with Newcastle United and is set to sign for the Geordies shortly, as soon as work permit formalities are completed. Newcastle boss Bobby Robson had long led the chase for the South American, and moved quickly once rumours began that both the Blues and Manchester United had designs on hijacking the deal.

Agent – Solano Staying with Geordies

Manchester City last week rubbished reports that they could be set to swoop for Nolberto Solano. But even if the Blues were interested in the Newcastle wide man, there’d be little chance of a transfer taking place. Joe Royle flatly denied that he was preparing a £4 million bid for Solano. But in any case, the player’s representative says his client has no desire to leave St James’s Park – and that when the Peruvian does move on, he won’t join another English team. “He is very happy [at Newcastle] and if he ever does leave it won’t be for another Premiership club,” commented agent Simon Kennedy. “He could go to Spain or Italy, but certainly not in the near future.”

Cooke to Get Another Chance?

It had been widely thought that Terry Cooke had played his last game for Manchester City. But Joe Royle’s comments at the club’s Annual General Meeting have sparked talk that the winger could be given another chance at Maine Road. Cooke was made available in the summer only a few weeks after coming off the transfer list, and it was assumed that the winger had missed his last chance to earn a future at the club. The 24-year-old has since joined First Division strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, and Royle said he hopes the player “finds his form” at Hillsborough and returns to City the better for his month with the Owls – perhaps hinting that the ex-Manchester United junior could yet help solve the problem position on the right side of the City midfield. Cooke played his third game for Wednesday against West Brom on Sunday – and finished on the losing side for the third time during his stay in South Yorkshire.

Fenton Move in Jeopardy?

Nick Fenton is on loan at Notts County with a view to a permanent transfer. But the City defender appears to be finding life a struggle at Meadow Lane. Fenton impressed County’s backroom staff during a loan spell with the Nottingham side last season. But new manager Jocky Scott, who arrived in the summer, wanted to run the rule over the youngster himself before committing to a permanent transfer. However, the Magpies’ rearguard has been alarmingly porous in the last two games, leaking five goals at Walsall and another three at Wycombe on Friday. And that has led to talk that Scott may now look elsewhere for reinforcements to plug his leaky defence.

Killen Stays at Racecourse

Chris Killen has played only two league games in his month’s loan at Wrexham. But the New Zealander has nevertheless impressed sufficiently to persuade the Welsh club to extend the arrangement. Killen returned in the midweek Welsh FA Premier Cup clash against Carmarthen Town after suffering an injury setback in recent weeks. However, he had made a good start to his stint at the Racecourse, scoring on his début at Oldham, then having what was later shown to be a good goal disallowed in his next game against Rotherham. So Wrexham boss Brian Flynn, keen to see his side move up the table after a slightly disappointing start to the campaign, was relieved that both Joe Royle and the 19-year-old have agreed to prolong the loan for another month.

Careful Transfer Policy for Now

Manchester City have money available to spend on new players. But the current doubt over the status of the transfer system means that the Blues are set to adopt a cautious approach over signings. The European Union is pressing for a radical overhaul to the current rules – and has the power to enforce changes if the football authorities don’t act. And David Bernstein explained at last week’s AGM that the club will not take the risk of signing big-money players now only to find their transfer value drastically reduced in a few weeks’ time. The City chairman explained that the club has not imposed an embargo on incoming deals – but that there is a maximum figure for fees which the club will not exceed until matters become clearer. It’s thought that the Blues’ ceiling is in the £2 million range, though more could be known at the end of this month, when representatives from the football authorities have held talks with the European Commission.

Norwegian Focus in Transfer Hunt?

Willie Donachie has been busy scouting for players while the City senior side has a break from action. And the Blues’ assistant boss’s schedule hints that Norwegian stars are currently coming under the City microscope. Donachie joined Joe Royle last Wednesday at the France vs. Cameroon clash in Paris – where Cameroon defender Lucien Mettomo reportedly impressed. The St Etienne star has recently been the subject of interest from Blackburn and Middlesbrough, and is rated at £5 million. The one-time Scotland player then moved on to watch two club games in Norway before watching the Wales vs. Norway World Cup qualifier on Saturday, hinting at where some potential targets may be based; the Blues have already been linked with under-21 international full-back Ragnvald Soma. Royle’s number two then attended the First Division clash between Crewe and Birmingham on Sunday, where the home side’s young right back David Wright could have been one player under scrutiny.

Ritchie Relishes Premier Challenge

Paul Ritchie was disappointed not to be in the first-team picture following his move from Hearts to Rangers in the summer. But the Scottish defender is now relishing the challenge of the Premiership with Manchester City after his swift departure from Ibrox. Ritchie insists that he would have been happy to stay and fight for his place with the Scottish champions, but knew his days at the club were numbered when boss Dick Advocaat agreed to sell him to the Blues. Now, the 25-year-old believes that the challenge of facing high-quality opposition every week in the English top flight can only benefit his career. “Already with City, I’ve faced up to England’s Michael Owen and Emile Heskey, plus Mark Viduka,” he reflected, “although I missed out on going up against Croatia’s Alen Boksic, who didn’t play when we met Middlesbrough.”

International Contingent in Action Again

Several Manchester City players were in international action this weekend. And with the home countries facing a second round of games in the space of four days, a number of Maine Road men will be hoping to feature again. Paul Dickov will be hoping to follow up his international début against San Marino by being selected for Scotland’s game in Croatia, while fellow-countryman Paul Ritchie, who didn’t even make the bench in Rimini on Saturday, could have better luck this time with Christian Dailly injured. Meanwhile, Jeff Whitley and Kevin Horlock are favoured to start for Northern Ireland in Iceland, while Tommy Wright will again be substitute goalkeeper for Sammy McIlroy’s side. Finally, under-21s Rhys Day and Shaun Holmes are in contention for places in the Wales and Northern Ireland sides respectively against Poland and Iceland.

Youngsters Succeed Where Seniors Failed

Manchester City lost their last league game, going down to Newcastle United. But the club’s under-19 side this week gained a measure of revenge against the Geordies. The senior side were beaten 1-0 by Bobby Robson’s men at Maine Road in the Premiership fixture between the two sides, but Alex Gibson’s under-19s managed a convincing win over the north east club. The young Blues continued their positive start to the season with a commanding 4-1 away win.

Peter Brophy (

AGM (1)

The accounts have already been summarised in a previous edition of McV. The AGM official business was short and sweet, all resolutions quickly accepted including the re-election to the board of D Tueart and J Wardle. One new director was introduced, Mr Bodek (legal). The Chairman indicated that our 4 year exile from the Premiership had cost the club an estimated £40-50 million in lost revenue. There followed a Q&A session with all members of the Board taking part, here’s a summary of some of the more interesting ones:


  • New stadium is progressing well, it has cost the city council £100m.Deal with the council means that MCFC will only pay rent to the council ongates over the Maine Road capacity (32k).
  • Maine Road will revert to council ownership and the future is their decision.
  • 1st team training has moved to Carrington due to better facilities andmore privacy. The club have a 1 year lease with an agreed option to purchasesubject to planning agreements etc. Will continue to use Platt Lane foryouth/academy – “committed to the local community”.
  • Transfer of season tickets – S/T holders will be given first choice ontaking similar seats (i.e. with friends, groups who regularly sit together)but also first choice if they want to move elsewhere.


No individual players were to be discussed but having said that:

  • Right full back position (JR quipped he’d lost his bet, thought this would be first Q) – admitted they are looking at Charvet and a couple of others.
  • Shaun Goater – arranging private practice game to get match fit.
  • Andy Morrison – fully fit, playing in reserves games to see if he can cope with jump to this level. Wait and see if he gets his chance.
  • Terry Cooke – not at best last season, was pointed out that we gained promotion without him in the team. Hasn’t delivered what has been asked of him so far (currently out on loan to Sheffield Wed).
  • Dickov – gone from mainly reserve games in 2nd/1st divisions to regular1st team player in Premiership – has shown his commitment.
  • EU transfer system was discussed; Board agree that they will not hold out on the outcome if a new player is identified for signing.
  • England job was mentioned – JR “what have I done to deserve that”,revealed he has twice turned down job, and Ireland job once (hands off Mr Crozier after the weekend).
  • JR feels a top half position in the table is a realistic target this season – says he’s seen nothing to fear so far.
  • Worthington Cup – admitted negative comments were due to dire outcome of Newcastle game, feels fans deserve a good cup run.
  • Academy players (Mike, SWP, Killen et al) gradually being let out on loan to get league experience.


  • Design of the new home kit for 2001/02 has already started for July launch (most people’s preference including Mr Royle’s was for the early 70’s sky blue, round neck).Reaction to the new silver away strip quite negative from fans, which obviously doesn’t go down well with the Board.
  • Environmental issues raised – City are looking at the green globe scheme for the new stadium (anyone have any ideas what this entails?).
  • The star of the show was the old guy who has been attending for 74 years.1926-55 in the Kippax, and 56-now in the Main Stand. He was concernedabout people standing up and obstructing his view – which was fair enough.Peter Fletcher (security) said this was the biggest complaint club receivedfrom people and they were trying to make people more accountable andconsiderate to those around them, e.g. less able bodied, children or justthose who are short. The poor old guy says he misses a lot of each homegame – for example last week against Newcastle when he didn’t realise theball was in the opposition half and Kennedy missed a sitter until everyonesat back down and someone told him. He brought the house down. I reallythink after 74 years of attending games he should be given a seat on thebench, or at the very least in the directors’ box!

Overall a very good humoured and open meeting, showing the great rapport between fans and club. Can’t imagine that happening down the road.

Heidi Pickup (

AGM (2)

A cold morning, and the familiar sound of travelling shareholders asking for a warm cup of tea from the staff on arrival, to be told “you’d better sort it out with Bernstein mate, we’re not open for another 15 minutes”.

Whilst customer service is not the greatest, the AGM always provides the attendees with a diet of intrigue, comedy stand up and conflict. Sometimes riotous and sometimes mildly amusing. This year because things are going well off the field and reasonably well on it we missed out on the conflict, but in every other respect we struck gold.

Intrigue, well as usual, with their hearts very firmly in the right place the “small shareholders association” tried to stir up some trouble with the Chairman and shift the emphasis of praise for City’s recent financial “success” away from the board (who now want to pay themselves up to £200,000 pa for their rôle), and on to the fans. But even they were not their revelatory, conspiracy theorist selves – and stopped short of last year’s attempt to place Mr Halford the club secretary, on the grassy knoll as the second gunman.

Stand-up comedy came in the guise of the typically dry and sharp Joe Royle who in answer to questions about why he didn’t seem to hold Terry Cooke in the same high regard as most of the Maine road faithful, said – “well he played less than half the matches in the Second Division and we got promoted and he played very few matches in the First Division and we got promoted and now we are in the Premier Division he is on loan – what do you think?” But by far the greatest comedian was a very elderly gentleman who first started coming to Maine Road in the late 1920’s and was one of the first Kippax boys. His tongue in cheek plea to the board was for the provision of handguns around the ground so that he could shoot those who continually stand up in front of him when the ball enters the attacking half of the field. He realised that his was a selfish plea, but he hadn’t seen a goal in 2 years because of the “astronauts in the ejector seats” in front that now plague him. He finished to massive applause saying that he didn’t shift his season ticket to the Main stand in 1956 to be disadvantaged by jack in the box fans who despite there obvious love of the club often ruin his own enjoyment. He thanked the chairman for a letter he had recently received from his office and indicated he (the chairman) had extended his life expectation – again the tongue was very firmly placed in the cheek.

Overall a more sedate affair than normal – at my first AGM I witnessed Francis Lee and the manager of Simply Red nearly come to blows and also heard Franny say that if he didn’t bring success to the club in three years he would jump from the top of the Kippax – obviously not a man of his word.

Other highlights:

David Bernstein said that we need as much money as possible and any group could approach the club to purchase shares up to a value of 5% of the present shareholders’ funds (minimum stake is £50,000).

The chairman reaffirmed that we would be liable to pay a proportion of gate takings at the new stadium to the council only on the seats sold that took us over the present Maine Road capacity of 34,000.

Joe Royle indicated that the pursuit of Charvet is not dead.

Joe also accepted that the midfield lacked a creative spark, but asked the AGM if they knew of anyone who could fit the bill and who was available (Kinkladze springs to mind).

Joe said re the new away kit, that he would much rather play in the fluorescent green and blue that saw us win the play off final. The new home kit for next season was now being finalised and should be ready for purchase by next July.

Finally, I would recommend share ownership to any fan – you get a real access to the great and the good who preside over our club, an opportunity to ask hard questions in a way in which it is difficult for the board to back away from – and the football Q&A at the end is always worth the price of buying a few shares.

Neil Hughes (


Tragedy struck when a Middleton man – a devoted Manchester City supporter – travelled to Liverpool to try to see his team in action at Anfield. Friends and family have been left devastated by the death of “true blue” Garry Grimshaw, who was involved in a hit and run accident in the centre of Liverpool.

Although he had no ticket for the match, Garry, 39, of Bowness Road, Langley, travelled to Liverpool in the hope of picking one up outside the ground. But he was unsuccessful and phoned home to tell his wife Debbie that he was watching the match on television in a pub.

It was when he was leaving the pub in Erskine Street that he was in collision with a car. As Garry lay dying, the driver of the car allegedly left the scene on foot. News of his death has stunned his many friends in Middleton. His wife and mother were too distraught to speak, but his brother Michael spoke of Garry’s devotion to the team he had supported ever since he was a child. “Whenever he could he followed his team on their away matches … this season he was over the moon at their return to the Premiership and was looking forward to the big matches against teams like Liverpool”.

Garry, who has a 16 year old son Craig, had been football mad all his life, and a member of the Woodside Branch of the Manchester City Official Supporters’ Club (1949).

A fund raising day will be held in the Woodside Club, Langley, 15th October.

For more details or for contributions contact Jim Eyre, 36 Sadler Street, Middleton, Lancs M24 5UJ. Tele 0161 643 0942. email

Garry Grimshaw Benefit Day, Sunday 15th October 2000 12 noon till 5.00pm

Chris Woolley, IT & Public Relations Officer, MCFC OSC (1949) (


As I wasn’t “on duty” at Wembley this weekend, and having turned down the chance of a ticket (what a great judgement that turned out to be), we decided to have a visit to Pride Park on Friday night for the England-Germany U21 game.

Pride Park – superb stadium, excellent facilities, free “away fans” parking (only downside being a bit of a trek round to the ground and our subsequent home fans seating). Congratulations to the Derby ticket office – model efficiency with people being allocated a customer number for future bookings, tickets were only £10 each with a £1 handling charge for the block booking and delivered the next day in a rather smart wallet with offers and vouchers for local businesses/eateries.

Atmosphere – superb. Plenty of kids there. 30,155 attended with a quota of Germans. Loads of flags/banners from various clubs. Didn’t immediately spot any City fans, but our very own Moonchester was there along with many other mascots. Just who is the awful fluorescent pink prawn? Plenty of singing, and not a sign of trouble, booing or the now inevitable racist and provocative chants which exist at the “adult” England games – but that’s another issue and one which the authorities need to address seriously.

Game – play didn’t flow, very stop-start. We had a fair few near misses and a couple of times thought we had scored but either the ball hadn’t crossed the line or was miraculously cleared. Titus Bramble (Ipswich, but we’ll forgive him) scored our only goal just before the half time whistle. Stephen Wright (Liverpool) was sent off in 65th minute for an alleged two footed challenge, didn’t look like a red card to us. The ref – one Bruno Coue from France – had been renamed Bruno Trou de Cul for his bizarre decisions and complete ignorance of the German penchant for diving. Mr Royle would have been appalled. Unfortunately the Germans equalised on 87 minutes. Putting aside local rivalry, Wes Brown (Man Utd) was admittedly man of the match. A couple of players who impressed were our captain David Dunn (Blackburn) – midfield – and Clarke Carlisle (QPR) – central defender.

Overall – good game, good game. I was so glad to have chosen this rather than the big one which showed what a national disgrace the overpaid bunch of prima donnas which make up the England team are. Haven’t learned a darn thing on or off the pitch since Euro2000. That said, I don’t really see the U21s setting the world on fire in a few years time either. I’m hereby reclaiming my tenuous Scottish roots, although their first half being contained by a bunch of part-timers was almost as bad.

Talking of the Scots, I heard on the radio that Craig Brown had to ask the producer of TalkSport for Dickov’s tel no when he got his summons for the squad!

Heidi Pickup (


I don’t want to go over old ground, but John Macfarlane, you are wrong with your JR comments. Royle has virtually saved this club from extinction and without his shrewd purchases and tactical knowledge we would still be playing Lincoln and Wycombe. John sounds like a Rag when he says that he wants a change in the manager after a couple of games. Rome was not built in a day, Joe will need time. Bernstein (a superb judge of character) knows this, hence the long contracts for Joe + Willie.

Okay John, let’s sack Royle. Who do we appoint? Who’s available? Pay Vialli £3 million per year to turn our team into a load of foreign prima donnas who don’t speak English on the training ground? Venables, who would work 1 day a week and then probably embezzle all the money and sod off to Spain again? Or perhaps we could get Howard Kendall again to drink our bar dry, buy a load of Everton reserves then return back there once he’s bought all the dead wood for us? No thanks.

For John to even mention Joe in the same sentence as Alan Ballsup is utter sacrilege. If John doesn’t like what Royle has done (stopped up from watching Alan Kernaghan and Ged Brannan struggle against Crewe and Bristol Rovers, instead we are watching Weah, Wanchope et al tackle Leeds, Spurs, Utd, Liverpool etc.) he should go and join the rest of the spoilt brats, rich kids and tourists at Old Trafford. Not content with transforming the first team, Royle has helped sort out the youth team, and has also assisted in the development of former fringe players like Jeff Whitley. I got talking to a 16 year old lad after the Middlesbrough game, who City had brought over on trial from New Zealand. He said that he had spent an hour playing tennis in the gym with this fat bloke – only about 3 days later did someone tell him that his porky opponent was Joe Royle, this shows how down to earth the man is, and how he is not egotistical like 90% of Premiership managers – can you imagine George Graham doing that?

Have some common sense John, you are in the minority. Nobody is perfect. Yes, Joe will make what we consider to be mistakes. But how many of us thought it was a mistake to sign Goater? I did. How many of us were worried when he threw Weaver in against Blackpool 2 years ago? I was. How many of us were mystified when some scrum half from Huddersfield joined us on loan? I was. How many of us wondered why he signed Kennedy, who was basically a Premier League reject? I did. Yet all of those hard to understand decisions worked, just like some of his more recent decisions will. Has John not noticed that nobody is signing players at the moment? Royle would look bloody daft if he signed someone to play right back now, paid £3 million and then due to the Euro ruling he could walk away in 6 months. He is not that stupid. He is a clever man, a shrewd man, and that’s why he’s the boss and us amateur armchair pundits are forced to carp, criticise and evaluate every decision the man makes.

A final point – has any manager in City’s history been at the helm during such a massive U-turn in the club’s fortunes? Joe says that he thinks he can get City back into Europe – and I don’t care what you think Mr Macfarlane – I believe him.

Richard Ellor (Rich@APR-LEASING.CO.UK)

Football is a game of opinions, and John MacFarlane is therefore (I suppose!) entitled to his. But honestly. I just have to ask – are you for real, mate?!

I mean, let’s be honest, some opinions are so stupid that they aren’t even worthy of a reply, so with his last rant I just let it go. But it’s so hard to keep doing this. So come on mate, own up. Are you being sponsored by Ashley to liven up quiet weeks?!

[Just a joke, Ashley!!]

I can’t help feeling I’ve being tango-ed, because nobody can really be this idiotic.

Nigel Timperley (

I’ve finally got around to reading the latest issue of MCIVTA. I also just got through reading Mr McFarlane’s latest missive on Joe Royle… I’m sorry John but your a wind-up merchant aren’t you? You really are just writing in to stir up trouble because from where I’m sat your comments are total nonsense. A football club manager is a football club manager, is a football club manager. There isn’t some sort of holy grail that marks a Premiership manager out as being above the norm. Let’s look at Joe’s record. Since taking over the ramshackle mob he did he has taken us into the Second Division at a time when only a miracle approaching the level of the immaculate conception could have avoided it, then in successive seasons we have come back to the top flight of English football. Not bad for a guy who John thinks doesn’t have the stuff of which Premiership managers are made. Whether we stay there is much more dependant on the players on the pitch as on Joe’s prowess as a manager.

So come on John what exactly would you do differently from Joe? The right back position needs filling and again from my perspective it seems that all the reports in the press concerning transfer rumours hint at Joe looking to fill that place, only he hasn’t been successful yet in finding anyone to do so. Team selection, what would you do differently John? Perhaps play the reserve side that got stuffed 5-0 by Leeds the other week?

It’s very easy to criticise but when you don’t offer a reasonable suggestion to correct the thing you see as being wrong it makes me wonder whether there isn’t just a hint of pot stirring going on. I for one am very happy with Joe’s performance. I’m a little less happy with what is going on on the pitch and there are one or two players who frankly want rockets placing up their behinds. However I think Joe is just the man to do that. The board have faith in him, the club have faith in him and the vast majority of fans have faith in him. So come on John McFarlane tell us what he needs to do differently. As they say in Poker “Let’s see ya!”

So on to other things. TG2000 – what a great weekend! To all the folks we met, it really was good to see you all. Special mentions go to Cathal and Chiara Whelehan, soz about the cold mate! Bury Blue a.k.a. Jonathan Tod! Good to meet you, see you next time. Stuart Langley a.k.a. Cockney Blue – drop me your e-mail addy mate and we’ll keep in touch and finally to Hunter Sheridan a.k.a. Dixie Blue – it was a pleasure to meet you and the family – keep the faith out there in the States. To everyone else, see you all next year!

David Cash (


Steve Parish is 100% correct in what he says what he does when quoting the laws of the game. However, the 3 points I made were not strictly in the framework of the laws.

  1. The referee has overall charge of the game and can basically makewhatever decision he sees fit. Not all of these are quoted in stone in thelaws of the game. Therefore anything which the referee penalises someonefor with an indirect free kick has to be a non penal offence. When I saidthere wasn’t a list I gave examples, not a list; there is a differencebetween a list and a collection of examples. Perhaps I should have saidthis set of examples is not an exhaustive list! Law 12 does have a listof three but is that all the ref gives an indirect free kick for? I thinknot.
  2. When I talked about the ref generally giving a dropped ball when no onehas a particular advantage this again was a general thing not a law.Obviously if circumstances demand a stop of play then common senseprevails.
  3. When I talked about not needing to go off when there is a head injury,perhaps I failed to mention that when the head is attended to with no bloodthen the player has no need to go off. I think Steve has a little tunnelvision if he merely wishes to quote from the laws of the game but there ismore to it than that. There are directives from the FA and FIFA as well asthe referee’s own – dare I say it – common sense. I might add that aswell as being a former referee and qualified F.A. coach myself, myinformation comes from an ex Premier League referee who is now a NationwideLeague assessor and a current Nationwide League referee. I have no wishto enter into a debate with Steve but I was a little bemused by hisrhetoric as it had the tone of someone who could not bear to be toldsomething he didn’t know and therefore felt he needed to have a go at me.Open your eyes Steve and look at the bigger picture. There’s more to footythan a list of laws!

Lance Thomson (


People may have missed this one. Back in August a geezer called Brian(?) Alexander wrote in The Grauniad about loyalty and the lack of it these days and how football support has gone down the tubes because fans won’t cheer teams who don’t play local lads. What really got up my nose was who did he put on a pedestal as the shining example of loyalty? Steve Copout, that’s who.

I dashed off a reply but the Graun didn’t print it – so much for loyalty after all the years I slaved for the G&MEN group! Anyhow, here’s my reply.

Where has Brian Alexander been all these years?

Any football fan of post-maximum wage vintage knows, and has always known, that his beloved Blues, Greens, Polka Dots or whatever will dump on them from a great height if it sees fit – favourites will be sold, season ticket prices hiked, new cash cow kit devised. They also know that these same favourites, the guys who, on arrival say “it was always my ambition to play for Madchester Rovers”; who, three years later avow “Rovers fans are the best. I want to see out my career here”, have feet of clay. Come the start of the next season they pull on a shirt of a different hue and confide to The Sun or their website “I always had this secret dream I’d play for Ambrosiano.” From Revie to Overmars, same old story. The miracle is we take, year in, year out, the sort of abuse which, if meted out by a parent or lover would cause us to break off the relationship. Whatever the tryst between a fan and his/her club is based on, it’s not mutual respect. Maybe that’s why it endures, there’s a masochistic streak in most of us.

The end of loyalty? Ask any Manchester City fan. Years of inept directors, bad managers, woeful players, terrible facilities, chronic marketing and merchandising, what were we doing when the team was languishing in Division 2? Turning up, that’s what. Luckily, virtue does seem to have brought more than its own reward.

Brian’s proposition that fans don’t have the same feeling for foreign players is absurd. Shaun Goater (Bermuda, via Bristol) is a cult figure at Maine Road, more to do with the 29 goals he knocked in than his birthplace. Bert Trautmann was a German. Gio Kinkladze? We loved him – many still do, see him get a standing ovation when he comes back with Derby. And let’s hear it for Weah.

BA seems to have missed the point about United. It’s no longer a club, it’s a brand. Sticky, sugary sweet and successful. Heavily packaged, merchandised, advertised, promoted. As consumed by kids, worldwide. Remind you of anything else? Coca-Cola, perhaps? Apart from the colour of the tin/strip there other similarities, like the sinister covert influence concerning affairs in South America. What’s more, people, particularly pre-teens, are susceptible to this high profile jazz. That’s the way brands generate loyalty. Would you catch a brainwashed ten year old from Aldershot or Darlington forsaking ‘the real thing’ for dandelion & burdock? No chance. Though the latter is ultimately a more honest, traditional brew.

Curious that Brian sets up Steve Coppell as a model of loyalty. Isn’t this the man who left his beloved Palace to manage City, presumably money and ambition the driving force, only to depart after a brief tenure, giving no reasons, leaving the fans to ponder all sorts of rumours and innuendi (boardroom interference? Nervous breakdown?). Next minute, where is he? Back at Palace. Loyalty of a kind, I suppose.

Brian, get a life.

Ernie Whalley

P.S. After one of my recent missives to McVittee denouncing racist chants I got a letter from a Blue in Northern Spain. The two probably weren’t connected but the brief potted biography I sent caused me to wonder – describing himself as ‘a student of politics’ he said “I think the BNP is the best British party.” Is this guy legit or merely a nutter foisted on me by the loony far right? Anyone else had a similar experience?


Had a brilliant night watching the Gills 2nd leg with the Wicklow Blues; thanks to Paul Fegan and everyone for making me feel so welcome. Looking forward to my next trip down to Bray. Anyone visiting Dublin or Wicklow should get in touch with these guys they are friendly and hospitable and the pint in Katy Gallagher’s ain’t half bad either.

Ernie (


I wonder if anyone may be able to help me… I’m working on a new film about the Manchester scene and Factory Records and am trying to get footage of Manchester City; both football footage as well as hooligans and violence between 1978 and 1992 – do you have any contacts or could you point me in the right direction? If so, please e-mail me.

Rachel McClelland (


Anyone travelling to Southampton and needs a lift contact me on 0161 869 055 or email. I will be leaving Salford Quays around 1-ish on the Monday and will be leaving Southampton straight after the match.

Duncan Madden-Ross (


Dear all, I need one extra ticket for the Bradford game so I can educate the missus into the sordid ways of MCFC. City told me there was one seat left in the Platt Lane, but predictably when I rung Piccadilly Box office, it had been sold two days ago. Face value paid, almost anywhere in the ground.

Thanks, Richard Ellor (0161 876 1609 /


Does anyone have any information on the London OSC or any where Blues go for a beer in London?

Tim Holgate (


Referring to the recent article in MCIVTA 647 regarding the abseil off the Kippax, surely the first person to go, should be one Francis Henry Lee who did say he would jump off the Kippax if City were relegated to Division 2?

Mike Sheeran (


Immersed myself in Blue on Friday. Went to the AGM (boring first half hour until Joe let loose) then went to see (belatedly) Jimmy Grimble at the Trafford Centre. Only me and one other in the cinema. Honest opinion? Not a very good film at all. Poor acting by the majority of the cast, unbelievable plot, slow paced and poorly scripted. The ending was, however, terrific! Worth seeing for that alone? No. Wait until it is shown on TV, Would have made a reasonable 1 hour TV play, but a feature length film? No way.

Joe Ramsbottom (


From 25 September 2000 to 8 October 2000 inclusive.

1 October 2000

Arsenal               1 - 0  Manchester United
Chelsea               3 - 0  Liverpool
Sunderland            0 - 0  Leicester City

30 September 2000

Aston Villa           4 - 1  Derby County
Charlton Athletic     2 - 2  Coventry City
Everton               0 - 3  Ipswich Town
Leeds United          4 - 3  Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City       0 - 1  Newcastle United
Southampton           1 - 3  Middlesbrough
West Ham United       1 - 1  Bradford City

League table to 08 October 2000 inclusive

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

With thanks to Football 365


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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]Geoff Donkin,

Newsletter #648