Newsletter #653

This issue focuses mainly on Monday’s solid performance at the Dell (1 ‘live’ report, 2 TV reports and 2 matchviews), whilst the sole development of note this week has been the expected signing of Charvet, which presents Big Joe with a rather comforting selection dilemma. Jim Whitley has returned from Carrow Road, and speculation continues that Terry Cooke may have finally impressed someone enough for them not to send him home prematurely! We have an update on the Nelly Young campaign, as well as a squad update; an Evertonian’s opinion of Richard Dunne; plenty of requests; and a league table with the Blues in 10th place. Anyone care to tell us just how long ago it was since we scaled such dizzy heights?

Lastly, thanks once again to Geoff Donkin for doing a sterling job both editing MCIVTA and summarising the news.

Next game: Arsenal away, Saturday 28th October 2000


Dell DIsplay Disappoints Royle

Manchester City moved up into tenth place in the Premiership with Monday’s win at Southampton. But despite the 2-0 victory over the Saints, Joe Royle was unhappy with his team’s performance. The Blues took all three points thanks to fine strikes from Paul Dickov and Danny Tiatto. But Royle felt that goals of such quality did not belong in a generally undistinguished game. And the City boss noted that his side has produced superior displays already this season in matches where they have gone without reward. “I don’t think we played well tonight,” he conceded. “We’ve played better in other matches and got nothing for it. We were dogged and determined but didn’t perform at the level we can do by any means.”

Shearer Praise as Charvet Signs

Manchester City this week signed a defender for the fourth time in just over two months. And Joe Royle hailed new boy Laurent Charvet as a “quick, strong player with plenty of experience” who will be the final piece in the Blues’ defensive jigsaw. Charvet has cost City an initial fee of £1 million, a figure which could rise by another £500,000 depending on appearances. But senior Newcastle figures agree with Royle that the Blues have got a bargain. Head coach Mick Wadsworth said that the Frenchman will be a big loss to the Magpies, and that the north east club was only prepared to do business because the player will be out of contract in the summer. Meanwhile, skipper Alan Shearer believes that the former Cannes star will combine well with Steve Howey in the City rearguard – and the ex-England striker is sorry to see the 27-year-old leave St James’s. “I’ve been impressed with Charvet from the first time I played against him,” said Shearer. “He marked me well and I was pleased when I found out Newcastle were signing him because he is a top quality player and very talented.”

New Boy Turned Down Several Offers

Laurent Charvet this week became Joe Royle’s seventh signing since the end of last season. But the 27-year-old revealed he hadn’t been short of other offers before deciding to join the Blues. Charvet was wanted by City’s fellow top-flight new boys Ipswich and Charlton. And the Frenchman was also the subject of interest from several clubs in his homeland and even an Italian Serie A outfit. However, the ex-Cannes player had no hesitation in electing to come to Maine Road. “My friends at Newcastle advised me that City would be a good place to go,” he explained. “This club has a great past and big ambitions for the future and with the support that there is here I think we can go a long way.”

Cooke to Earn Permanent Move?

Terry Cooke is on the transfer list and appears to have no future at Manchester City. But the winger is making a success of his loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday and could yet earn a permanent transfer to South Yorkshire. Cooke has stayed with Wednesday for a second month, and has played a part in the Owls’ successive wins which have seen them threaten to move away from the First Division relegation zone. The ex-Manchester United player scored his temporary employers’ first goal in their 2-1 midweek win at QPR and has reportedly been impressing in recent weeks, leading to speculation that Hillsborough boss Paul Jewell will pull out all the stops to make the deal permanent.

Norwich Send Jim Whitley Back

Jim Whitley has returned to Maine Road. The Northern Ireland midfielder has spent two months on loan at Norwich, but the Canaries have elected not to prolong the arrangement or look to make the deal permanent. Whitley is on the transfer list at Maine Road and had been hoping that the stint in East Anglia would allow him to stake a claim for a permanent move. However, even though boss Bryan Hamilton said he’d be pleased by the player’s contribution, the returns from injury of both Phil Mulryne and Chris Llewellyn have ensured that the 25-year-old dropped out of first-team contention, and he’ll now return to the Blues’ reserves.

City in Unlikely Summerbee Link

Nicky Summerbee is not one of Manchester City’s most popular players of recent years. But one Internet source is claiming the Sunderland winger could be set for a surprise return to Maine Road. Summerbee has fallen out of favour on Wearside this season, and boss Peter Reid was prepared to allow the player to move to Bradford in the summer. The former Swindon player rejected the chance to go to Valley Parade but is still sidelined at the Stadium of Light, leading the somewhat unreliable Midas Soccer website to claim that he could be Joe Royle’s next City recruit.

Dickov Relishing Highbury Return

Manchester City face a daunting trip to Premiership title candidates Arsenal on Saturday. But one City player is particularly looking forward to the visit to north London. Paul Dickov, who is currently playing the best football of his career, started out at Highbury in the early 1990s. But he never really established himself with the Gunners and left for Maine Road in August 1996, the final signing of Alan Ball’s ill-fated managerial stint. Now the Scot has the chance to make his first return to a club he still holds in the highest regard. “I was at Arsenal for eight years and had a great football education there,” he reflected. “I still have a lot of friends there but now I’m only concerned with what is happening at City.”

Charvet Arrival Sparks Selection Dilemma

Joe Royle has a selection dilemma ahead of Manchester City’s weekend visit to Arsenal. But the problem is of the type all managers love to have – who to leave out. Royle, who saw the Gunners in Champions’ League action against Sparta Prague on Wednesday, has already promised that new signing Laurent Charvet will make his début at Highbury. But the City boss now has to decide who will make way for the Frenchman. It’s believed that Steve Howey in the centre of defence and Paul Ritchie at left back are certain starters, while Charvet will play on the right of the back four. And that means that Spencer Prior and Richard Dunne, who filled the right back slot in the win at Southampton, look set to battle it out for the right to partner Howey.

Arsenal Game Gets Big-Screen Treatment

Manchester City were allocated only around 2,000 tickets for this weekend’s game at Arsenal. And the Blues have decided to compensate by giving disappointed fans the chance to see the match on a big screen at Maine Road. The Blues have twice in recent years elected to beam away games back to their home ground, with the play off semi-final first leg at Wigan in May 1999 and last season’s league trip to Stockport getting similar treatment. And with away tickets likely to be scarce this season, the Arsenal game may not be the last. Admission prices are £8 for adults and £4 for children.

Reserves in Derby Action

The first Manchester derby to be played at senior level for more than four years is only three weeks away. But the City reserves don’t have to wait even that long to take on their closest rivals. The Blues’ second string have an away game against the Reds at Bury’s Gigg Lane in the Manchester Senior Cup on Thursday evening. Danny Granville, Richard Jobson and Lee Crooks will all be in action for City against a United line-up set to feature the likes of David May and Quinton Fortune, while transfer-listed duo Jim Whitley and Gareth Taylor will also be keen to impress for the Blues.

Peter Brophy (


SOUTHAMPTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 23rd October 2000

I extinguished my last ciggy as I was picked up at 6:15 for the short trip along the M27 to the Dell. No smoking allowed in a Saints car! At least they had got me a ticket and were driving. The best thing about being with them is the navigation aspect. Southampton is a blo*dy maze and parking is ‘just find somewhere’, so if you know the back streets then you’re not left with too long a walk to the ground.

As we walked the half mile we were passed by loads of City fans (was there a father and son offer on – lots of Junior Blues?), who seemed to be as lost as I admit I would have been. As we got closer, the noise level increased and the sound of “Who the ***k are Man United?” wafted out of The Winston pub which was totally dominated by City fans, and only 50 yards from the ground! Brilliant I thought! “Shall we have a pint?” I said. “No, we’re going to get our seats.” So forgive me, I would have loved to mingle, to feel part of the clan, to seek out some of the MCIVTA contributors even, but I followed my ticket into the ground. Seated at 7:20.

The actual blow by blow account of the game I’ll leave to Carol & Co but I can give several personal observations.

When Bish ran out to warm up he smacked Le Tissier on the arse as if to say “When you get a new team, give me a ring?” Richard Dunne is a big boy. Just the sort I stand behind in the queue for the carvery. How long before he gets a ‘grade one’ hair cut, like the rest of the defence? Paul Jones was practicing his clearances in front of me. He hooked every single one and had his training partners running all over the pitch to fetch the ball back. However, when the game was about to start he booted a ball towards the dug-out, hooked it, and hit a rather annoying, dog like mascot full in the head. There is a god.

The Dell is tiny. It was no surprise when Kennedy was on the bench, as this is not a winger’s pitch.

Kick Off. Every time there was a corner, the scoreboard flashed up, “Don’t get stuck in a corner, Come to Posh Windows”. Now we know what she does when she’s not miming.

First 20 minutes, Saints pressure. Me feeling nervous. I’m used to old City defending. But what’s this? Covering, organised, determined! Well done. 37 minutes. City break quickly, Whitley a perfectly weighted through-ball, Dickov one touch, then slotted across Jones into the right corner. Right in front of me! Now a condition for me having this ticket was that I did promise not to jump up when we scored. I lied. I covered my tracks by converting into a head hugging vision of despair whilst hiding my smile with my elbows.

Half-time. Saints left to boos from around me. What a good way to motivate them, I thought. Keep it up.

Second half. Le Tiss off. Scapegoat methinks. Saints hit so many cross field balls out of play, it was like they were surprised by how narrow the pitch was. City looked very secure in defence, had control with Haaland and Wiekens, and the endless running of Whitley and Dickov. Saints mounted a siege for the last ten minutes but were always exposed to the counter attack. What a peach when it came in the 92nd minute. Tiatto was released down the left and from the corner of the box let fly a bullet that left Jones grasping air. “Play for goal difference” came the cry behind me. ‘Yeah’, I thought, that’s City back square for the first time since the start of the season.

At the end Southampton were booed and abused as they left the pitch beside me, those fans who clapped were shouted at with “Don’t applaud that s**t”. Fans all over deserve to let their feelings known, and the way the Saints players bowed their heads as they trudged off, they knew the crowd was right. In contrast, as City’s players came off from thanking the travelling Blues for their usual dominant performance, the Saints crowd all stood and applauded us off the pitch. The comments around me as we went down the steps, were all about the disciplined display by City’s defence, Dickov’s passion and how they wished they had cashed in on Le Tissier when he had his good season five years ago.

The trip home was very quiet but at least they did take me home. Got in at 11:00. Talked the missus through it and then settled down to watch it all again on Sky. The result was still the same. Finally, a mention for the ref. We all slate them when they are crap so a mention for Alan Wiley who was excellent, and not just because he waved away a penalty claim when Whitley clearly handballed it in the second half.


Weaver (8) Still flaps a touch with crosses but superb tip overs. Not much to do despite Saints’ possession.
Dunne (9) Surprisingly quick, good in the air, passes well. Better check his pocket for Pahars when he gets back.
Prior (9) Marshalled the defence, constant talking.
Howey (9) One great block, good aerial presence.
Ritchie (7) Looked the shakiest of the back line but was part of a good unit.
Tiatto (6) Fell over a lot. Good wing back play and superb goal.
Wiekens (7) Smooth as silk when passing but must be more physical sometimes.
Haaland (9) Back in the centre. He covered the pitch with intelligent play.
Whitley (10) My man of the match. Not many out-do Dicky for workrate and passion.
Dickov (9) Does what we love him for. And scores goals now as well!
Wanchope (4) Lost possession when we wanted him to hold it up. Bad day. Hopefully one off.
Goater (for Wanchope) (6) Can’t judge as all the play was the other end by this time.

Stuart Wells (


SOUTHAMPTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 23rd October 2000

My first ever match report and a well-earned victory which moves us into the top half of the table. Before the game I thought the outcome would depend on how well we handled Marian Pahars and though he got involved in a few good moves in the first half, we shut him out pretty well in the second and the game eventually turned into a well-deserved and hard-fought victory.

City lined up Weaver, Dunne, Prior, Howey, Ritchie, Haaland, Wiekens, Whitley, Tiatto, Dickov, Wanchope (subs – Bishop, Goater, Kennedy, Wright-Philips, Wright). The commentators, assisted by former blue Paul Walsh at the game and Alan Mullery in the studio were wondering what the formation would be with the number of primarily centre backs in our line up, but it soon became clear that we were here to defend the point we started with and hit them on the break to try and get the win. If we take this approach with the likes of Southampton then I think we can expect to see it a lot more often in the remainder of the season against more highly rated teams.

Le Tissier unexpectedly got a start for Southampton even though not 100% fit, but the early moves from both sides were all high-ball based and the chances were very few and far between, with nobody seemingly able to put their foot on the ball. Gradually it became clear that we were leaving the onus on Southampton to make a game of it, being the home team, and it was only after 27 minutes that we had our first good chance with a header out from defence by Haaland which found Dickov, Whitley then Tiatto on the break with only a fine last ditch tackle by Saints’ skipper Jason Dodd saving the day for them.

Most of the Southampton moves were down their right flank via Stuart Ripley, but Ritchie was pretty much up to the task and whenever needed Steve Howey covered admirably. The defence looked really sound all night and the début performance of Richard Dunne in his unfavoured position on the right was excellent.

On 37 minutes we got the goal on the break we were hoping for. A neat through ball from Whitley to Dickov running across their back line, timing his run to perfection and shooting to the far post into the inside side netting. A superbly taken goal from our newly capped International who’s clearly brimming with confidence at the moment.

Other than the goal, Dickov was his usual enthusiastic self throughout, often linking well down the right flank with Dunne and always a thorn in Southampton’s side. Justifiably man of the the match for me.

Half time 1-0 :))))))

The second half started as Alan Mullery had predicted with Le Tissier being replaced along with Oakley for Davies and Marsden. A more attacking line up for the Saints. It mattered little though as our rearguard action was as resolute as ever with Dunne, Prior, Howey and Ritchie always covering for each other and getting in the necessary tackle whenever needed, ably assisted by Wiekens, Haaland and Tiatto.

Wanchope up front was having a torrid time of it, often stepping on the ball and looking lost, but also making some nice threaded moves from deep though he never ever looked like scoring. After 67 minutes he was, not surprisingly, substituted and we got to see our first view of the Goat in league action this season. Also not surprisingly, he got a great reception from the travelling Blues.

In a game like this, though, I refuse to moan about our strikers who are on a hiding to nothing. Wanchope did nothing of note and neither did Goater, but then again they’re strikers who rely on service and not magicians. The fact they were equally anonymous speaks volumes.

Southampton continued to press and a couple of times down the right they had chances, once when Ritchie slipped and once when Davies played a really nice controlled through ball but as ever we cleared well.

Weaver was flawless in goal and made a couple of great saves when required.

I thought we might have seen Kennedy at some stage but the Dell being such a small pitch and the fact we were in front put paid to that. Southampton brought on Beattie as an extra striker and were going long ball in hope of an equalizer when we got another break. It was already injury time before Whitley (again) threaded the ball to Tiatto whose tremendous shot from the left nearly broke the net.

2-0 :))))

That, you would think, was that. But with Prior going down with a knock and the ball sent back in, there was Richard Dunne with the saving covering tackle just when it was needed to keep a clean sheet.

Final score 2-0 and a well earned win.

I’m not going to try and give marks for the players individually. The team came with a plan. It worked and we go home with 3 points :))))

Keeper – Tipped by Mullery after the game as England Number 1.
Defence – Excellent.
Midfield – Fought for everything.
Attack – Thankless task. We were always going to win this on the break.

Jim Egan (


SOUTHAMPTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 23rd October 2000

A group of us watched this game in a strangely peach-coloured pub in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, which had laser blue toilets. Surely an omen. Our previous record of meeting up to watch games as a branch hasn’t exactly been good – I think we’ve watched about 8 or 9 games in total over the last couple of years and the only one we’ve won was the midweek game against Birmingham last season (Birmingham battered us for 90 minutes, Jobson popped up just after half time and bosh we won 1-0). Considering the percentage of games played that we have won over the last couple of years that record was frankly crap – good job we were playing Southampton then wasn’t it?

Despite all that had been reported during the day new boy Richard Dunne did start the game, with Kennedy dropped to the bench. Other than that the team was the same as against Bradford, with Haaland pushing forward into midfield. Goater, Tommy Wright, Bishop and Ickle Shaun Wright-Phillips joined Kennedy on the bench. Dunne is huge. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say it must be mostly muscle not fat, but blimey he’s a big bloke. The TV was shaking on the wall as he was running, he’s that big.

Southampton started out with all the possession. The only times in the first 15 minutes that City managed to win the ball off Soton (can’t be bothered typing Southampton any more, it’s too long. They should get themselves a shorter name. How about “City” – that’s a good name for a football team) either Wanchope or Tiatto gave it back to them. Wanchope in particular looked well off the pace in this game. I guess it’s all the international football he’s been playing – he should have a chat with Dickov and see how he manages to handle the pressure.

Pahars was dangerous, as expected, but luckily he only had Hassan Kachloul to create chances for. Apparently Kachloul hasn’t scored since the opening day of the season and frankly I’m not surprised. How many free headers and shots from 2 yards out can you put wide/over the bar/straight into Weaver’s hands? Having said that though Dunne needs to take a lot of credit here as he was shepherding Kachloul very well.

City’s best chances came on the break. The first of these came after a Soton free kick had been chased down and cleared upfield. Haaland went legging it down the left and put the ball through for Dickov, but a Soton defender had managed to get back and block the shot. At this point the Sky commentary team started waxing lyrically about how well City were dealing with set pieces and how our defence was a solid, settled unit! That wasn’t quite the same defence I was watching… Trevor Francis always did talk a load of rubbish though, and how can someone whose side’s just been beaten by Sheffield Wednesday dare to set himself up as an expert on football?

Anyway City did make a breakthrough about 8 minutes before the interval. Whitley picked up the ball in midfield and controlled it masterfully before putting a perfect ball through to Dickov, who span away from three defenders and ran the ball into the area before placing the ball past Jones into the net. I leapt off my stool and nearly went flying – those polished floors can be murder can’t they? It was funny – Soton must have had 70% percent of the play in the first half and we were winning. Tee hee.

Fat Matt Le Tiss went off at half time along with Oakley for Soton, for Fat Kevin Davies and some bloke called Marsden. I’d been drinking pints of blackcurrant and soda all night (I was driving, I hate watching City sober) so I think the E numbers were starting to do me some damage ’cause I was convinced Marsden looked like Jasper Carrott. He didn’t in the slightest – but then he didn’t look much like a footballer either. Do they really let over-40s register to play in the Premier League these days? Soton changed tactics at this point. Instead of pushing every ball out wide right to Ripley, who was then either relieved of his ball keeping duties by Dunne, if he was there, or put a ball across for one of our four centre halves to deal with, they pushed some of the balls out to the inside right to Davies. At which point he was either relieved of his ball keeping duties by Dunne, if he was there, or put a ball across for one of our four centre halves to deal with. Shows imaginative tactical thinking that doesn’t it? Ripley was subbed himself about half way through the half so then everything was going to the right to Davies. Nice one Glenda. Stupid Trevor then started going on again and again about what a good defensive performance this was by City. Weeell yes I suppose they didn’t let any goals in, but for the sake of all our nerves did they really have to let Soton have so many chances? Kachloul managed to get a shot on target in the second half – cracking shot as well actually, but not good enough to beat Weaver who tipped it over for a corner. Pahars tried to lift the ball over Weaver at one point but again he got his fingertips to it and pushed it over the bar. Good performance from young Nick – there was just one occasion when he punched the ball instead of catching it but other than that he looked very solid. We then had the biggest let off of the game. Whitley auditioned for the Manchester Giants basketball team, showing a neat control of the ball in the penalty area with him arm. Oops. The only person watching the game who didn’t think that was a penalty was the referee – phew! At one point the ball pinged around in the area for absolutely ages before someone managed to get a shot on target – Weaver did his best to try to stake a claim for the British gymnastics squad by catching the ball in mid air and almost turning somersaults before finally landing on the ground – with the ball safely in his hands. I reckon that was worth at least a 9.8.

Goater replaced Wanchope to a rousing reception but obviously needs a few more reserve games under his belt before he’s back to full fitness. I hope becoming a dad hasn’t softened his desire to win! The game really was finished off in style by Danny Tiatto. It was a truly wonderful goal – the ball broke to him on the left from Whitley (again) and he left the Soton defence for dead before rifling a superb shot into the far side of the goal. I reckon he was just trying to prove to Dickov that Aussies can score Brazilian style goals just as well as Scots can.

The ref then played about 37 minutes of time added on – or so it felt. The only person who wasn’t relieved when the final whistle went was one of the lads in the pub with us who’d have won £50 had the score been 2-1. Sorry mate.

In summary then, it wasn’t exactly a great performance by any means. However, the tactics were exactly right. Defend deep and in numbers and hit them on the break. How strange, a team managed by Glenn Hoddle being beaten for tactics – never happened before has it? We looked fast going forward which we never normally do – Dunne for all his size has a fair turn of pace (imagine how quick he’d be if he wasn’t carrying all that weight around!) and Dickov always runs his little socks off anyway. Tiatto’s overall performance was disappointing as he kept giving the ball away but we’ll forgive him that for the goal he scored – apparently he said to Royle when he came off that that was the first ball he’d kicked straight all night! Goater will do just fine once he picks up his match fitness and Dunne looks to have been a good buy.

I’ve since watched Arsenal play in the “Champions” league and there’s nothing there to scare us (ha ha). Roll on Saturday!

Sharon Hargreaves


The two most remarkable things about this televised outing were the heart-warming commitment our players displayed throughout and the amazingly lukewarm reaction to the performance Joe Royle managed in an interview later.

But, firstly to the game. Soton (don’t you just love that silly abbreviation) started fairly brightly but after two or three minutes it was obvious they would lose. Their passing wasn’t very accurate. Actually to call it ‘passing’ may be an exaggeration. City, on the other hand, apart from the odd aberration passed the ball well and whilst not looking at all threatening, seemed to be in control from early on.

For the first half-hour, Soton looked slightly more dangerous than us but as we looked as dangerous as a schoolgirl armed with only a hair-bobble and last week’s ‘Just Seventeen’, this did not alarm us armchair spectators.

We noticed that our new man, Dunne, is collosal. He must be 17 feet tall, 154inch chest and 120 stone but he didn’t look quite as slow as that description might suggest him to be. What is more he revealed a two-footedness (of which I am very fond), composure on the ball and a brain too. In all, we were impressed with him.

As the match progressed we really started to dominate the meaningful possession and pass the ball well. Still we created no clear chances until, after 38 minutes, Whitley sent Dickov a nicely weighted diagonal ball which the diminutive Scot ran on to and advanced to the edge of the box before stroking inside the right-hand post of the goal with the instep of his right foot.

And now I pause to say ‘I told you so’. Two years ago (and more but I don’t want to labour the point), I pleaded that Dickov was a great player and should be getting a game each week. He’ll never be a prolific scorer but his strentgth is that he is a fantastic irritant to the opposition. In that respect, I liken him to Niall Quinn. Quinn’s extremely difficult to play against because he’s so tall, a good header of the ball, gangly and ungainly. Well Dickov’s exactly the same! He’s small, fast and superbly well-balanced and the fittest footballer playing in England and so, I contend, very difficult to play against. I think he’s great and, no doubt at all, he’s getting better. If Fat Bob was worth £1.5 million (hang on while I fotfl) ‘Dicky’s’ (sic) worth £150 million.

Anyway, where was I? The second half? We controlled it very comfortably. They had a few shots that knocked out the corner flags. For us, Haaland screwed a shot wide; Whitley, who had a very good game and who has clearly been told to shoot more often, shot more often. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been advised as to the location of the goal or he thinks he’s playing Rugby when he does shoot. You get the picture. From a Dickov (?) pass, late in the game, Jeff rounded the ‘keeper and faced with an empty but quickly filling-up goal shot tamely at a Soton defender whose name is irrelevant.

In the 91st minute Tiatto scored a beauty. A diagonal pass from Whitley, a step or two to the edge of the box and a very well kept down rocket from his left foot left their ‘keeper clutching the ‘ampshire air.

Notable on the night was the incredibly high number of headers we won. I would estimate that our men won about 99% of contended aerial balls. Mind you, we probably have the tallest players in the universe but nonetheless, it was good to watch. And, The Goat got a few minutes at the end of the match. He didn’t do anything of note and truth is, looked a little out of touch but, as my kids angrily reminded me when I expressed such a comment, ‘it was his first 5 minutes this season’.

And so, I thought we played quite well but was amazed to hear Joe Royle, in an after match interview, dismiss the win as being the result of Soton’s slightly worse passing. What? He trotted out the ‘played better and lost’ phrase he’s over-used recently. To his comment I’d say we’ve played a lot worse and got stuffed as well. Anyway, I get worried when our manager isn’t happy with his players when we win. Is his eye on something else, I ask?

Got to give some points:

Weaver 7.5 (not really so convincing this season)
Ritchie 7.5 (quite solid and tall)
Dunne 8 (very tall and impressive)
Prior 8 (solid and tall)
Howey 8 (tall and solid)
Tiatto 7 (his goal apart, not that good really and not even that tall)
Wiekens 7.5 (reliable, tallish)
Whitley 8.5 (still getting better but shooting is hopeless)
Haaland 7.5 (looked a little tired towards the end but tall)
Wanchope 3 (tall but, sorry folks, crap)
Dickov 9 (not so tall but my favourite player, by a mile, since Rodney)

Subs: The Goat (for Wanchope) 6 (tall and I didn’t want to give him any less).

Finally, as we await the arrival of yet another defender, might I suggest we start looking for a striker at least as cover for, or as alternative to, the rubbery one we are playing right now? I am afraid I know why the West Ham fans went off him.

Simon Fink (


At 2.45am on Tuesday 24th October me and my 3 young lads, ages 14 and twins of 12 rose from our deep sleep to savor the moment of watching the boys in blue from Manchester live on cable TV (just the very reason why we are the proud owners of a 110cm Tele). So track suit bottoms on, feet on coffee table, we are entertained by Andy Gray’s wizardry on his new fangled screen TV and specialist video showing us every angle possible of some of the weekend action from the Premier. A huge improvement on his previous year’s gadgets showing terrible squiggly lines of players runs and footballs travelling into the net (however, he did over do it a bit on Dicky’s magic run for his goal).

First scenes from the Dell of our maestros was the lads coming out of the dressing room and the distinct impression that someone had dropped their guts as Nicky wafted his towel in front of his face looking totally overwhelmed by the smell?

Early impressions following kick off was that the Saints appear to have developed a fairly neat passing game as they strung together a few passages of possession, which certainly gave me the impression that they were in confident mood, not at all helped by Wanchope’s beautiful cross field pass to Kachloul – or what ever way it is spelt – resulting in a 20 yard shot which nearly troubled Nicky.

A few minor points on the game:

  • Early on Pahars was given too much room and could have caused a few problems.
  • City definitely won all the hard contests and their tackling had a real bite to it.
  • Would still like to see Joe acquire a ball player ’cause the midfield won a lot of ball but gave it away too easily.
  • The defenders worked and covered for each other and when the going got tough Wiekens slipped in behind the back twoto sweep up on a few occasions.
  • The three other midfielders were full of running and made sure theygot behind the ball when we did not have it. Never before at this levelhave I seen such effort from the boys.

Player performances:

Weaver: Surprisingly away from home, not a great deal to handle, especially crosses. I still get a bit worried though when he gets a pass back.
Dunne: Good début, looked comfortable on the ball, wait till he faces a left winger?
Prior: On soccernet he was stated as being “underrated by the fans” – Don’t think so. Very strong, got a foot or head to virtually everything and very brave.
Howey: Neat, comfortable no nonsense stuff, looked a little tired late on, must be his injuries of late.
Ritchie: Like the way he tackles and also no nonsense stuff, got caught out a couple of times in the 2nd half being dragged to the centre of the box and leaving a bit too much room for his opponent on the right.
Alfie: Big spirit, lots of effort one great run near the end when their ‘keeper beat him to the ball, could retain possession better.
Wiekens: Quiet game although being an ex converted defender to midfielder myself, I appreciate you do not always get the recognition your work rate deserves.
Whitley: This kid has improved dramatically, his work rate was outstanding, tackling fierce and produced a great pass for Dicky’s goal, with lots more good passing. Jeff needs to find time and put an extra effort in on his shooting. My man of the match.
Tiatto: Looking forward to his battle with Beckham. Worked tirelessly and looked like he could create chances. Great strike for his goal, one for the memory bank.
Dickov: When he plays like this why did Arsenal let him go, I have never seen a little guy lead the line with such presence, please continue. Goal was a gem, intelligent run, speed with control and delightful strike of the ball. Deserved Sky man of the match even though my vote went to Whitley.
Wanchope: The only disappointment of the match. Looked out of sorts, if he wasn’t given the ball to them he was getting in the way of his teammates, from the look on his face when subbed I think he knew it was an off day.
Goater: Not on long enough, although in the short time he was on won more headers than Wanchope. Needs more games.
Joe Royle: Always a smile and a joke. Says he was disappointed with the performance but I bet underneath was bubbling with joy at the three points and no goals conceded. Agreed with him, if we give the ball to Arsenal the way we did to the Saints we will be in for a far more torrid time.

Overall a very workmanlike performance which will need to be repeated when we visit all the teams presently above and below us with a better emphasis on ball retention. My kids chuckled at the City fan when he threw the ball past the Saints full back near the end of the game to waste a bit of time. They all retired to bed at 5.15am, getting up at 7 for school. As they are born Aussies but definitely bred English, loving Manchester City Blues they will have some great Why Blues to compose in several years’ time. Me, I stayed up and toddled off for a jog and thereafter drove off to work for 7.30am. It is 6pm here, now been up for over 15 hours, god I love you Blues!

Peter McDonald plus Jay, Guy & Brad, CTID for many years in our household (


The next home (Hyde – Ewen Fields) reserves game is next Monday 30 October, 7pm k-o, against Oldham in the Manchester Senior Cup.

Heidi Pickup (


The next meeting of the Cambs & District CSA branch will take place this Sunday, 29th October, at the Castle Inn on Castle Hill, Cambridge. To celebrate our three years of branch existence we’ll then go for a celebratory curry! For any more details contact me or

Sharon Hargreaves


I still have my programme from the City vs. Bury game in which Harry Dowd got injured and then scored and although any memories are dim (non existent) the programme provides some clues.

The Bury team No 8 is down as Bell and since I did not cross it out and scribble another name I assume he played. The Bury team pen pictures do not include anyone called Bell, and the write up about the visitors raves on about teenage star George Jones with no mention of anyone called Bell. It seems that if the King did start at No 8 it must have been one of his first games and possibly his début.

The programme is a bit thinner than today’s model but not bad for sixpence!

John Jennings (


The next 20 games are as follows:

Seven of the ten home games are against teams above us in the league; and
Eight of the ten away games are against teams below us in the league.

Is this good or bad?

And we are currently one win away from a place in Europe (ssshhhhh).

P.S. The derby game will kick off at 10.30pm on the Eastern seaboard in Australia, no problem with a few pre-match drinks!

P.P.S. The local football shirt shop has just got a stock of rip-off City shirts in (they cost $25 – £10) rather than the usual $20 ’cause they are still classed as rare!). I hope there isn’t a surge of plastics wearing them in Canberra.

Ted Boardman (


Dear Mr Royle,

Please ensure that Jeff is made to sing ‘Feed The Goat And He Will Score’ as I am becoming too anguished when Jeff has goal scoring chances.

Your faithfully

James Walsh

P.S. This is not a criticism of his all round play, which is excellent.

James Walsh (


A quick thank you to all the correspondents who posted back fairly and squarely on my controversial posting interpeating City’s recent history under Joe Royle quite differently to everyone else!

One thing’s for sure, you guys don’t know how much I really wish I could just back Joe to the hilt, and get on with it, like the majority here, but he keeps getting rid of my favourite players, one after the other! And I can’t handle it!

Take George Weah for example, I thought he was magnificent at Anfield and Gillingham; he was definitely worth a starting place in the team for my money. I also think that George actually wanted to play for Man City quite desperately, and he just couldn’t handle not being able to play the part with us that he wanted. Yet some fans now seem to want to send him away with a flea in his ear, revise their opinion of his contribution to the cause, when simply he wanted (and maybe expected after the Gills game) to play in City’s colours?

If he was an idle money grabbing sod, then picking up the money by sitting on the bench would be a real easy ride, and we should know, we’ve had plenty of those kind of ‘rent collectors’ at the club in recent years, haven’t we? If he’d walked without giving a damn, then we should get mad at him I think.

Some more thoughts on my standpoint.

For one, I actually prefer to watch quality players in City colours; try as I might, I can do not much more than truly respect the work rates of the likes of Whitley and Dickov, but compared to that, my pulse races whenever I see the likes of Gio and George on the ball for MCFC. Even on MotD now, I crane to see if little Gio is playing a blinder for Derby (guess what, he’s not playing and he’ll no doubt get the blame if they go down this season too).

For two, and more importantly, I genuinely believe that you need class players in the side to ‘cut through’ the opposition at the highest level. Hard work can only get you so far, and probably doesn’t pose a threat to teams like United and Arsenal… and that’s true, no matter how hard you try. At least the upcoming games against these teams might sort this issue out one way or another – we’ll soon see.

For sure, Joe has got the City players working harder than ever for each other and I respect this too, I’m just not sure that it ultimately makes much difference to how events eventually turn out.

I’ve posted a lot recently and will now take a breather but we live in interesting and exciting times as Blues, that’s for sure (I envied that magnificient Blue crew at the Dell… lucky b*****ds for being there!).

P.S.: Thanks for Steve Parish for clarifying my ‘pulling strings’ remark – absolutely right! Put it this way, against Blackburn, when Ward’s curler thwacked against the post and bounced into Weaver’s arms, I just knew there and then, that we could not lose, and that the game was totally ours! Did anyone else not feel this way?

Neil Haigh (


In response to the plea for divided family loyalties, in my own family both my mother and father are Blues, whilst my brother is a Rag. This is mirrored in my dad’s sister’s family where she is the only Blue in a family of Rags. However, my mother’s friend had a better trick as her son wanted to become a Rag after becoming disillusioned with the winless Blues. The lad’s mother agreed to him becoming a Rag, but refused to feed him until he turned back to the Blue side. After only missing one meal the distraught lad confessed his sins and said he would renounce his support for the Reds if it meant being fed again. I can proudly say that the lad has followed City ever since, there must be a moral in there somewhere!

CTID, James Walsh (


The Testimonial committee met last night (Wednesday 25/10/00) to review the state of the campaign so far and on reflection we were really encouraged by just how far we had come. Messages of support still continue to come in and many folk have pledged both to attend a game and write to the club expressing their support. What is most touching though has been that so many of those pledges to attend have come from people living far away from England. To all of you thanks very much indeed. It is that kind of commitment that will get Neil the match he deserves.

So to progress so far. The campaign has now started to get wide publicity, mainly through the WWW. Articles have appeared on and in Blue View. There is currently an electronic petition running on which we would urge everyone to sign and show the club just how much support there is out there. Electronic articles have also appeared in Team-Talk and on King of the Kippax web page. Articles should be appearing in several of the paper fanzines by the next home match.

The committee have met with Chris Bird and are informed that the club are giving the possibility of staging a game some serious consideration, however we must stress that the club have not committed to anything other than investigating the possibility and that they are under no obligation to do anything other than that. Chris Bird has issued the following statement to us: “We have now met with the Committee, and listened to what was said, and are now exploring the possibility of recognising one of our legends Neil Young and will be talking to the Committee again in the very near future.”

Whilst no commitments have been given or received, the committee remain quietly optimistic that the campaign will have a succesful outcome although much work still remains to do. In the meantime please can we urge any McVittee readers who support the campaign and have not yet done so to e-mail either ourselves (e-mail addresses below) or the club directly (cc ourselves) and express that support.

David & Vanda Cash (
Heidi Pickup (
Neil Rimmer (
Mike Wagstaffe (
also Paul Hince, Gary James and Clive Hamilton


Changes since last squad:

Andy Tunnicliffe on loan to Macclesfield
Richard Dunne signed from Everton for £3 million
Laurent Charvet signed from Newcastle for £2 million

Tommy Wright
Nick Weaver
Steven Hodgson
Richard McKinney
Gerard Wiekens
Spencer Prior
Richard Edghill
Rhys Day
Lee Crooks                   Transfer Listed
Nick Fenton                  Loaned to Notts County
Danny Granville
Richard Jobson
Danny Tiatto
Andy Morrison                Loaned to Crystal Palace
Steve Howey
Steven Jordan
Paul Ritchie
Shaun Holmes                 Transfer Listed
Laurent Charvet
Richard Dunne
Kevin Horlock
Mark Kennedy
Gary Mason                   Transfer Listed
Jim Whitley                  Transfer Listed, loaned to Norwich
Ian Bishop
David Laycock
Terry Dunfield
Christopher Shuker
Terry Cooke                  Transfer Listed, loaned to Sheff Wed
Jeff Whitley
Tony Grant
Alfie Haaland
Dixon Etuhu
Paul Dickov
Shaun Goater
Danny Allsopp                Loaned to Bristol Rovers
Gareth Taylor                Transfer Listed
Shaun Wright-Philips
Leon Mike                    Loaned to Oxford United
Christopher Killen           Loaned to Wrexham
Paulo Wanchope

Last year’s U17 still at club:

Gary Furnival      (defender)
Barry Hogan        (defender)
Steven Paisley     (defender)
Tyrone Mears       (defender)
Paddy McCarthy     (defender)
Damian Joyce       (midfield)
Andrew Tunnicliffe (forward, loaned to Macclesfield)
Gary Browne        (forward)
Lee Croft          (forward)
Brian Murphy       (goalkeeper)
Joe Barton
Kevin Whitehead    (goalkeeper, non contract)

This year’s U-17’s

James Almond
Richard Crawford
Mark Egerton
Phil Gider
Adam James
Ryan McDowell
Daniel McTaggart
Adie Orr
William Flood
Glen Whelan
Stephen Elliott
David Tickle       (non contract)
Ciaron Kilhenny    (non contract)
David Hodgson      (goalkeeper, non contract)
Shaun Cartwright

Stuart J Reynolds (


If you or someone you know looks like someone out of the Royle Family, go to:

The people who are needed are:

  1. Dad – big fat bearded bloke (not Bob Taylor)
  2. Mum
  3. Denise
  4. Dave
  5. Anthony
  6. Nana
  7. Baby David (maybe, if possible)

If you’ve got a picture of yerself, that’d be great – just email it to the address below.

Ta, David Scally (


I asked an Everton mate of mine his opinion of Richard Dunne following the transfer news. Here’s his reply (the bit about playing central defenders as full backs sounds familiar):

The fans are split over Dunne; I personally rate him as a centre half and not as a full back where Walter Smith has insisted on playing him despite the fact that we need a centre half in Richard Gough’s absence. I can’t understand the sale. Smith has once again shown his complete lack of tactical awareness playing midfielders at centre half when Dunne has been available, hence bad results against sh*t teams like Ipswich and Soton. The worrying thing for Everton is that we haven’t played anybody yet apart from ManU… it’s going to be a long, hard winter. I know we’ve had a crippling injury list but really Smith should have done far better with those still fit.

We should get to see the Southampton match here on the satellite channel ‘Football Total’ (V’a Digital). One of the consequences of our return to the big time is that all my Spanish workmates now see the City results in the local paper and comment on a Monday morning – for the last few years City info was much harder to come by. You can imagine the reception I got after the first day of the season. Here in Bilbao they appreciate what it’s like to live next door to the Rags since the national television seem to think the Spanish League begins and ends with Madrid and Barcelona (I suppose they’re not far off really!).

Duncan Bennett, Bilbao (


Joel Perry, Seat 46, row 7, Kippax BB Lower (


When did Big Joe swoop for Edgar Davids and when did he have his hair cropped, his goggles fixed and his name changed to Jeff? He’ll do me. What a buy!

Simon Curtis (


I just wanted to write in and say that while I was absolutely gutted about what happened with Weah, I completely bow down to the manager’s knowledge and judgement. While I thought that George had plenty to offer, I was disturbed by his comments in the national press saying that he “wanted Wanchope as his strike partner” – this both assumes a place in the squad, and also does nothing for team spirit – which I think everyone at Maine Road has come to realise is the most important attribute of any football team. Just look at Chelsea – they may well have won the odd pot and made sporadic Champion’s League appearances, but to say their form is patchy is an understatement. Also, looking at the table, we shouldn’t be settling for their rejects.

I think Dunne’s signing is a piece of excellent business – all the Everton fans I know are sick about losing him for £3 million, and I think that Charvet will prove to be a fantastic signing too. It is noticable that we have now got to the stage where “buying experience” means buying a quality, proven 27-year-old, rather than a quality 32-year-old. I think Joe is being very astute in his reading of the market, and success stories like Weaver, the resurgent Dickov, Alfie and the Goat just show how far the management of our side has come since the gaffer’s arrival.

CTID, Jon Marshall (


Are there any City fans in the Manchester area who are going down to Villa next Wednesday night and could provide a lift to two Aussie-based Blues (me and the wife, and she isn’t called Sheila!) currently in town. The train timetable is no good, hire cars have already given us grief and we are not members of the City travel club for coach travel (do you have to be?). We will contribute towards petrol costs and supply an excellent Clare Valley Shiraz for consumption after we progress to the next round. We’re looking forward to singing “Who, who, who, who, who… let the goat out” again, although I’ve been hoarse for the last three days!


P.S. – thanks to the Blues that provided info regarding obtaining match tickets.

Neil Adshead (


We are currently in the process of launching a new Internet radio programme called BBC Sport on Five Online. This will be broadcast on Saturday afternoons between 2.30 and 5 pm and will focus predominately on football. However, we want football fans to become more involved as: (a) Saturday guests in our London studio to comment on their team’s performance while watching a live television feed of their match, and (b) take part in mobile phone interviews with the studio presenters during the half-time interval and at full time. With this in mind I am looking for a Manchester City supporter for this week and following weeks to do either. Can you recommend anyone? I would be very grateful for your help. My telephone number is 07973 654 824. As I work as a freelance at Five Live I would also be grateful if you could send any email info to the following address as well as to the reply address.

Patrick Campbell (


Can I please ask if you would anyone who has a spare ticket for the Arsenal away game to contact me.

My mobile telephone no. is 0786 798 3932 and I would gladly reimburse them for the cost of the ticket.

Many thanks, Nigel Bakhai (


Saturday 11th November

West Ham away match ticket (one) available at face value (an extortionate £27) in City section. Anyone interested, please contact Mike Carver by e-mail at the address below, or telephone 020 7344 8888 (office) or 020 8670 3093 (home).

Many thanks, Mike Carver (


Recent results to 25 October 2000 inclusive

23 October 2000

Southampton           0 - 2  Manchester City

League table to 25 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 Manchester Utd  10  4  1  0 17  3  2  2  1  9  5  6  3  1 26  8  18  21
 2 Arsenal         10  5  0  0 11  4  1  3  1  6  6  6  3  1 17 10   7  21
 3 Liverpool       10  4  1  0  9  4  1  2  2  8  9  5  3  2 17 13   4  18
 4 Newcastle Utd   10  2  1  2  5  4  3  0  2  6  5  5  1  4 11  9   2  16
 5 Leicester City  10  2  2  1  4  5  2  2  1  3  1  4  4  2  7  6   1  16
 6 Ipswich Town    10  1  3  1  5  5  3  0  2  9  6  4  3  3 14 11   3  15
 7 Charlton Ath.   10  3  2  0  9  3  1  1  3  7 13  4  3  3 16 16   0  15
 8 Tottenham H.    10  4  1  0 10  4  0  1  4  5 10  4  2  4 15 14   1  14
 9 Leeds United     9  3  0  2 11  8  1  2  1  3  5  4  2  3 14 13   1  14
10 Manchester City 10  2  1  2  8  6  2  1  2  6  8  4  2  4 14 14   0  14
11 Chelsea         10  3  1  1 15  7  0  3  2  4  7  3  4  3 19 14   5  13
12 Aston Villa      9  2  2  0  7  2  1  2  2  4  6  3  4  2 11  8   3  13
13 Sunderland      10  3  2  0  5  2  0  2  3  3  9  3  4  3  8 11  -3  13
14 Everton         10  1  2  2  7  9  2  1  2  6  7  3  3  4 13 16  -3  12
15 Coventry City   10  1  1  3  3  9  2  1  2  8 12  3  2  5 11 21 -10  11
16 Middlesbrough   10  0  2  3  5  9  2  2  1 10  7  2  4  4 15 16  -1  10
17 Southampton     10  1  1  3  7 10  1  3  1  5  5  2  4  4 12 15  -3  10
18 West Ham United 10  0  3  2  5  7  1  2  2  7  7  1  5  4 12 14  -2   8
19 Bradford City   10  1  2  2  3  4  0  1  4  1 12  1  3  6  4 16 -12   6
20 Derby County    10  0  4  1  8 12  0  1  4  7 14  0  5  5 15 26 -11   5

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 #653