Newsletter #666

The mood was distinctly upbeat at Maine Road last Saturday, thanks to an impressive performance against a woeful Everton outfit. Once again it was time to trot the seasonal favourites out, including the eternally amusing and apposite “You should have gone Christmas shopping”. If the Everton supporters had indeed gone Xmas shopping, they might have actually bumped into some of their own defenders, as they clearly weren’t present on the pitch. It must have been a truly depressing experience to watch a game they knew (apparent after 5 minutes) they were going to lose heavily, whilst being subjected to a downpour of biblical proportions. Even when they managed to string some attacking moves together, it looked like they could play for the entire day and still not score. Never mind, at least I got to hear “Shall we score a goal for you”, which I haven’t heard for some considerable time – well, Xmas is a time for reminiscing isn’t it?

This issue has several good match reports, a book review, lots on the 50’s song “Bless ’em all”, opinion and Blue humour.

Please send articles for Thursday’s issue (including match reports) to Geoff Donkin (see below for his address).

Next game: Ipswich Town at home, Tuesday 12th December 2000 (WC 1/4 final)


Please note that Geoff Donkin will once again be editing MCIVTA for the next few issues: 667 (Thursday 14th); 668 (Monday 18th); and 669 (Thursday 22nd). All articles to Geoff at:



Part I: City vs. Everton – Result and Reaction

City Thrash Sorry Everton: Manchester City ended their six-game losing streak in spectacular style on Saturday. The Blues beat Everton 5-0 at Maine Road to notch their biggest victory in over a year. Paulo Wanchope gave City the lead when he tapped in the rebound after ‘keeper Paul Gerrard only parried a Horlock free kick. And man-of-the-match Horlock was also involved in the second, with Steve Howey heading home the midfielder’s corner. Shaun Goater gave the home side a three-goal interval advantage, with substitute Paul Dickov and a Gary Naysmith own goal rounding off the scoring in the second period. City stay in 16th place in the Premiership table but after the weekend fixtures are now four points off the drop zone.

Royle Says the Win Was Coming: Manchester City notched their first league win in over six weeks against Everton on Saturday. But Joe Royle felt that performances were generally good during the losing run, and says he was confident a victory would arrive before too long. Royle says that the spirit in the camp never dropped despite poor results. And he says that the players always believed the win would come soon – though he admitted to a sense of relief once the three points were secured. “It was like some valve has been released in the dressing room,” he commented after the game. “But the heads never dropped [during the run of poor results] and someone was bound to get it sooner or later.”

Smith – City Deserve Credit: Walter Smith was furious with his side’s defending in the heavy defeat by Manchester City on Saturday. But the Goodison boss also acknowledged that Joe Royle’s men deserved praise for their display. Smith felt his side put the game beyond themselves in the opening period, giving away goals arising from a free kick, a corner and a flick on from a long clearance by Nicky Weaver. But he conceded that City took their opportunities well. “We never really started the game and conceded, from our point of view, three poor goals in the first half,” reflected the Scot. “But credit to City and they went about it the right way.”

Unsworth Backs Royle to Keep City Up: David Unsworth played under Joe Royle when the Manchester City boss was in charge at Everton. And the defender has no doubt that the 51-year-old will keep the Maine Road club in the top flight this term. Unsworth says that the Goodison players were disappointed to see Royle leave the Merseyside club. But the 27-year-old is happy to see his former boss enjoying success again at Maine Road. And having seen City in action, the ex-West Ham man is backing the Blues to survive in their first season back in the Premiership. “I do think they will stay up,” he claimed. “They have got the players and everything in place to stay in the top flight.”

Part II: FA Cup Third Round Draw

Cup Third Round – Brum at Home: Manchester City have been handed a home tie in the FA Cup third round. Birmingham will be the visitors to Maine Road for a match to be played on Saturday 6th January. The two clubs met in the 1956 final, a match famous for Bert Trautmann’s heroics. And the pair have also locked horns in big-match action more recently, with Joe Royle’s men completing a double over their promotion rivals in the sides’ league meetings last season. The second of those games, of course, was the memorable Friday night game at Maine Road which took the hosts to within one point of automatic promotion with one game of the campaign remaining. This term, City’s Richard Edghill has joined Trevor Francis’s team on loan, while there could also be a Worthington Cup semi-final meeting between the sides. Both are at home in the quarter finals this week and will face one another should they each be successful.

Paulo Misses Brum Cup Crunch: Manchester City will face Birmingham at Maine Road on 6th January in the FA Cup. But the Blues have suffered a blow with the news that World Cup duty with Costa Rica will force Paulo Wanchope to miss the game. The Costa Ricans finished their first-stage Concacaf qualifying group with a record identical to Guatemala’s. And the two countries will play off in Miami on the same date as City’s third round tie against the Midlanders. Joe Royle is philosophical over his top scorer’s absence, saying that he’s at least pleased the seven-goal striker will miss a cup rather than a league game. However, the City boss will be hoping that the player flies out after the game at Coventry five days earlier; in theory, the Costa Rican FA could require him to miss the New Year’s Day trip to Highfield Road.

Part III: Transfer News and Rumours

Royle Denies Weekend Transfer Gossip: Weekend tabloids linked Manchester City with a bid for a new striker, and claimed that two of Joe Royle’s squad could be set to leave Maine Road soon. But the Blues’ boss has denied all three stories. One report stated that City could be set to make a £5 million move for Lee Hughes, a prolific scorer at First Division level. But Royle has stated that he has no interest in the West Brom front man. And the City manager has also distanced himself from claims that Gareth Taylor and Danny Granville will shortly be leaving the club. Taylor was said to be a target for QPR while Granville was supposedly interesting Bradford City, but neither club has made contact with the Blues to express an interest in the players concerned.

Rumours Persist Over Strike Duo: Manchester City may have slammed five goals past hapless Everton on Saturday. But if the Sunday papers are to be believed, Joe Royle is nevertheless continuing his search for a new striker. One source claims that Royle is still eyeing David Johnson of Ipswich. The Suffolk club are said to want £3 million for Johnson – even though boss George Burley this week denied that the player was for sale. Meanwhile, the Blues are reckoned still to be monitoring Eidur Gudjohnsen’s situation at Chelsea. West Ham and Marseille are also thought to be keen on the Icelander.

Trialist Goes but Another French Link Surfaces: Manchester City have elected not to pursue their interest in Rennes’ striker Cedric Bardon. But after the club was linked with Bordeaux’s Lilian Laslandes last week, now another Frenchman is being mentioned in connection with a Maine Road move. Striker Bardon had a four-day trial in Manchester last week but has now gone home after failing to impress sufficiently for Joe Royle to take matters further. But the hunt for new blood is continuing, with the Blues running the rule over Laslandes when his club were in UEFA Cup action on Thursday. And now, City are being linked with Olivier Monterrubio. The respected weekly France Football says that the Blues are being linked with the left winger, who plays for current league leaders Nantes. Monterrubio was first touted as a possible target for Royle earlier in the season.

Toffees to Join Laslandes Chase?: Bordeaux striker Lilian Laslandes is said to be one of the names on Joe Royle’s striker hit-list. But Manchester City could face competition from a Premier League rival in the chase for the Frenchman. City have been linked with a host of strikers in recent weeks. And despite the welcome boost of Paulo Wanchope, Shaun Goater and substitute Paul Dickov all scoring in Saturday’s rout of Everton, Royle is still hoping to add a new front man to his squad. The Blues’ boss had Laslandes watched in last week’s UEFA Cup tie against Werder Bremen but Everton are also said to be showing an interest in the player and boss Walter Smith could be set to rival Royle if the City manager bids for the 28-year-old’s signature.

Mason Set for Pars Switch?: Gary Mason has had a trial at Dunfermline in the last week. And a local radio report is claiming that the young Manchester City midfielder has impressed the Scottish Premier League outfit enough for them to want to sign him permanently. Mason made a major impact when first drafted into the City senior side at the start of the club’s one-season stay in Division Two. However, the Scot was transfer listed earlier this season after failing to live up to his early promise at Maine Road. The 21-year-old’s only first-team action since featuring as a substitute for the Blues against Luton in April 1999 was during a loan spell at Hartlepool last season, and he’ll now be looking to get his career back on track north of the border.

Jobson Looking for Another Move: Richard Jobson has been attracting the interest of other clubs since being made available by Joe Royle last week. But the veteran defender has made clear that he’ll only leave Maine Road in a permanent deal. Jobson returned from a loan spell with Watford last month in which he played two games for the Hornets. And with Joe Royle now prepared to release the 37-year-old on a free transfer rather than just a temporary basis, the player is holding out for a permanent deal. That’s bad news for Division One strugglers QPR, who had made a move to take the ex-Oldham and Leeds star on loan.

‘Birmingham to Send Edghill Back’ Claims: Richard Edghill reportedly went on loan to Birmingham City hoping to earn himself a permanent move to the Midlands club. But it’s rumoured that the former Manchester City skipper will soon be back at Maine Road. Edghill is nearing the end of his first month at St Andrew’s. But with the full-back having been substituted at half-time in Saturday’s dismal 3-0 home defeat by Wimbledon, reports claim that Birmingham boss Trevor Francis won’t be looking to extend the player’s temporary stay or take up the option of sealing a £750,000 deal. Cited as further evidence for this hypothesis is Joe Royle’s refusal to allow the 25-year-old to take part in his temporary employers’ League Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday this week. Meanwhile, Danny Allsopp has been given permission to line up for Notts County against Wigan in Tuesday’s FA Cup tie.

Premier Rivals Linked with Wanchope: Paulo Wanchope has returned to form in recent games, bagging three goals in the space of a fortnight. But Manchester City’s leading scorer continues to be linked with a move away from Maine Road. Joe Royle admitted that he’d argued with Wanchope in the dressing room after last month’s capitulation at West Ham. And that sparked rumours of interest from Celtic and Fulham in signing the Costa Rican. Stories of the player’s supposed unrest surfaced again after the 24-year-old was substituted at half time at Chelsea a week ago, and Bradford and Charlton were touted at the weekend as possible interested parties should he move on in the near future. However, with the player back in form and having started the last three games, it seems inconceivable that Royle would be tempted to sell even if he lands a new striker soon.

Part IV: Squad News and Views

Dickov to Earn New Deal: Paul Dickov’s current contract with Manchester City has another 18 months to run. But the Scot is hoping that in the New Year, he’ll sit down and negotiate an extended deal with Joe Royle. Dickov has earned his place in City folklore after scoring crucial goals in promotion-clinching matches in each of the last two seasons. But many observers and fans alike suspected that the Premiership could be a bridge too far for the ex-Arsenal junior. However, after notching five goals in twelve starts and four substitute appearances this term, the 27-year-old looks set to earn the new contract he craves. “After Christmas I’ll be sitting down with the gaffer to discuss a new deal,” he revealed. “I’d love to stay here.”

Royle Hails Hero Dickov: Paul Dickov is set to negotiate a new deal at Maine Road in the New Year. And Joe Royle has hailed the Scot’s career resurrection as one of football’s most heart-warming success stories. Dickov wasn’t an automatic choice for City during the club’s Nationwide League exile, but has found himself involved on a regular basis in the Premiership this season. Having earned a first Scotland call-up, the 27-year-old has managed an improved strike rate in the league despite facing superior opposition. And Royle says that the ex-Arsenal trainee’s extended contract will be richly deserved. “I am delighted with Dicky,” affirmed the City boss. “He has improved with each season and has gone from someone who wasn’t always starting in the Second or First Divisions to an international who has a near one in two scoring average in the Premiership.”

Heart-to-Heart Puts Wanchope Back on Track: Paulo Wanchope sought reassurances from Joe Royle last week over his position at Maine Road. And after being told that he’s a vital part of the squad, the Costa Rican proved his worth with a fine display against Everton to delight his manager. Wanchope had been dropped after angering Royle with a sub-standard display at West Ham last month. And having fought his way back into the starting line-up, the 24-year-old was upset to be withdrawn at half-time in the match at Chelsea just over a week ago. But the Blues’ boss was delighted that to see the striker’s response against Everton, when the ex-Derby man notched his third goal in the space of a fortnight and posed problems throughout for the visitors’ defence. “Paulo has a superb goal-scoring record so far this season with seven in 16 starts,” the City manager told the Manchester Evening News, “and he is vital to our cause.”

Goat Justifying Royle’s Faith: Many fans and critics doubted whether Shaun Goater could score goals at Premier League level. But if the Manchester City striker continues to perform as he did against Everton on Saturday, the doubters will soon be eating their words. Goater’s well-taken strike against the Merseysiders took his tally to 45 goals in 92 league starts during his Maine Road career. And while all but the latest of those efforts came in the Nationwide League, Joe Royle is convinced that plenty more will follow in the top flight. “I thought he took his goal brilliantly,” said Royle of the popular Bermudian. “He will keep going in the right places, he will keep chasing lost causes. Nobody deserves that goal more than he does.”

Dunne Favours Central Rôle: Richard Dunne made his third start for Manchester City against Everton at the weekend. And the Irishman was delighted to feature in his favoured rôle against his old team-mates. Former Goodison star Dunne moved to Maine Road in October in a £3 million deal. And one of his biggest frustrations on Merseyside was that he was constantly played at right-back – a rôle he doesn’t particularly enjoy. But Joe Royle always intended to field the 21-year-old in a more central position, a fact appreciated by the player himself. “I know here that I will get my chance to play in what I consider my best position,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “My situation at Everton was different. When I played there it was as a right back and when I was on the bench it was as cover as a right back.”

Part V: Reserve and Youth Preview

Reserves and Youth Team Both in Action: Manchester City face a busy midweek. In addition to the first team’s League Cup quarter final against Ipswich on Tuesday, the Blues’ reserve and youth teams will also be in action. The City reserves travel to Bradford on Monday for a FA Premier Reserve League game, and will field a fairly inexperienced line-up given that Joe Royle is resting men who will be in the senior squad twenty-four hours later. However, while Gareth Taylor is missing, the Blues will still field several transfer-listed players with an incentive to star; Jim Whitley, Richard Jobson and Terry Cooke are all included, as is Gary Mason as the Scot waits to see if his hopes of a move to Dunfermline are realised. Meanwhile, the youth team travels to Fulham for their FA Youth Cup third round replay on Tuesday. Academy boss Jim Cassell felt his charges deserved to win the first game and even though he recognises the task is now a tough one still believes the Blues can progress.

Part VI: Worthington Cup Tie Team News

Goater the Main Doubt for Worthington Clash: Three Manchester City players limped out of Saturday’s win over Everton. But while two of the injured trio should have recovered in time for Tuesday’s League Cup tie with Ipswich, Shaun Goater is giving Joe Royle cause for concern. Goater limped out of the action near the end of the first half, shortly after the Bermudian had scored his first Premiership goal to put the Blues three in front. And with the 30-year-old having sustained a slight groin strain, he’s regarded as a doubt for the clash against the East Anglians. Alfie Haaland and Shaun Wright-Phillips were both also substituted after picking up knocks but Royle says he expects the pair to recover to face George Burley’s in-form side.

Prior and Bishop to Return for Ipswich Tie: Manchester City will lose the services of cup-tied duo Laurent Charvet and Richard Dunne for Tuesday’s Worthington Cup tie against Ipswich. And injury problems could force Joe Royle to make more than just the two changes against the East Anglians. Spencer Prior, dropped to make way for Dunne against Everton last Saturday, will deputise for the Irishman in the midweek clash, while Ian Bishop looks set to return to midfield. The Blues will hope that Alfie Haaland is fit to switch to right back in place of Charvet, although the Norwegian was one of four squad members who missed training on Monday. The others were Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jeff Whitley and Shaun Goater, with the latter rated the major doubt. The Bermudian has a groin injury and Paul Dickov stands by to replace him. Danny Granville and Chris Killen, returned from loan spells at Norwich and Wrexham respectively, have been added to the squad.

Post Script

eBLUEPRINT: The original City fanzine is now online at with a top City news service, fans’ forum, online poll and new features set to be added over the coming weeks. Anyone wishing to contribute, advertise supporters’ meetings or make general comments should contact Frank Newton by e-mail at

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. EVERTON, Saturday 9th December 2000

We arrived at Maine Road with not a little apprehension at what was to come. City seemed to be making a nasty habit of playing well for 45 (or in the case of Ipswich, 30) minutes and losing in the rest. No Jeffers or Gascoigne was a relief, though. We desperately needed a win today. The City line-up was thus:

Weaver, Charvet, Howey, Dunne, Haaland, Wright-Phillips, Whitley, Horlock, Tiatto, Wanchope, Goater. So – Charvet still in after all the recent criticism, Dunne in for Prior, and the tall, gangly front line of Goater and Wanchope.

City kicked off in positive mode. Charvet found his touch at finding other blue shirts at last, Wright-Phillips created panic in the Everton defence, and Horlock was effective in getting the ball around. After 15 minutes, City had pushed constantly and not quite got that breakthrough, when it happened.

City were apparently awarded an indirect free kick outside the area when Wright-Phillips had been shoved off the ball. Horlock seemed not to notice the ref’s hand as he went for the direct shot; fortunately Gerrard also seemed not to notice as he dived to parry the ball for Wanchope to hammer home.

From then on, even the most pessimistic Blue could see this game was only going one way. Ten minutes or so later, Horlock got a corner, and from it, Howey rose to head the ball home. We immediately saw a substitution – the ref having to go off for an injury.

Everton continued to look extremely shaky and City continued to push for a third goal. It came in direct fashion, Weaver booted the ball into Wanchope’s path, Wanchope’s exquisite header found Goater and the Goat held off Weir to bury the ball. Goater almost immediately had to go off, to be substituted by Dickov.

At this point all us poor sods in the Kippax got drenched as an enormous rain shower swept diagonally into us. Never mind, this was wonderful! Wright-Phillips deserved a goal, and probably should have scored at the very end of the first half; instead his powerful shot was well stopped by Gerrard.

So – half time, and City looked good for the three points. Everton put Cadamarteri on at the start of the second half, City bringing on Wiekens for Haaland.

Although Cadamarteri gave Everton a little more oomph going forward, they never really threatened, and City got their fourth goal to end the contest. Dickov got the ball and buried it after the Everton defence had been unable to deal with another marauding Wanchope run. At this point quite a number of Everton fans started to leave, to a mass chorus of “Cheerio, cheerio”.

The handful was completed when Charvet put in a cross that caused yet more panic in the Everton defence and one of them (later found to be Naysmith) put the ball into his own net. Of course, nothing is simple with City, they sat back and allowed Everton to have a go, with Weaver being forced into two excellent but totally unnecessary saves. However, I think the only way that Everton would have scored today would have been if City had put the ball in the net for them. Cue a chorus of “Shall we score a goal for you?”

So, a marvellous result, a real confidence booster for all concerned at City’s apparent ability to lose despite playing reasonably. Not least a great way for Wanchope and Charvet to answer criticism. And – a clean sheet.


Weaver – 7 – Nothing to do in the first half, nearly came unstuck after running with the ball to near the half line, also later on when trying to avoid giving a corner away, but two excellent saves late on redeemed his day.
Charvet – 7 – Much improved. Passed well, some of his long balls were spot on, tackled with confidence and did the simple stuff well. Still has to prove himself, but this a good start.
Howey – 8 – Probably the buy of the season, seems to be showing real confidence now, the Howey-Dunne partnership looks like the one that will endure. Not only classy and assured in defence, but is going to weigh in with a few headed goals too.
Dunne – 8 – Excellent game from him. Perhaps playing against your ex-club is a spur, but if he continues playing like this, Prior may find it hard to get back into the team.
Tiatto – 7 – A suitably rumbustious performance in front of his dad. Solid in defence and got forward quickly.
Haaland – 7 – All over the place, as usual, solid and commanding. Did what every captain should – allowed the rest of the team to play well.
Whitley – 7 – Another solid performance from Jeff. But when is he going to work out where the goal is? He keeps doing the hard part, but when it comes to putting the ball in the net, he fluffs it. More shooting practice required!
Horlock – 9 – A great game today. Passed the ball well and was deadly from set plays, his corners were particularly effective. A great free-kick to open the scoring (let’s ignore the ‘indirect’ bit!).
Wright-Phillips – 8 – Another excellent contribution from Shaun. His runs caused total panic in the Everton defence, perhaps should have capped this performance with his first goal. It’ll come… had to come off after taking a few knocks.
Goater – 7 – Took his goal well, could have had another but took one touch too many. Had to come off thanks to an injury.
Wanchope – 9 – Did it all and more today. Battled for the ball, found himself often with 3 or 4 defenders around him but still often either came away with the ball or found a blue shirt. More please!


Dickov – 7 – Suitably made a nuisance of himself, scored a great goal, had another good shot saved.
Wiekens – 7 – Came on for Haaland, quiet but effective.
Kennedy – 7 – Came on when the game was already won. Needs to do more to prove himself worth a starting place, didn’t get much service, but managed to cause some problems.

Overall, an excellent performance. Now let’s get our own back on the tractor boys on Tuesday night!

Euan Bayliess (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. EVERTON, Saturday 9th December 2000

Everyone knew this was going to be it. After a month of changing line-ups and not-quite-grabbed equalisers, everyone knew it was going to come right. Everyone except Everton and my Uncle Norman.

I placed my usual bets on 3-0 and 3-1 scorelines, and took my seat to admire our lads warming up on the pitch (are the schools still flooded?). Our lineup was Weaver, Tiatto, Dunne, Howey, Charvet, Horlock, Whitley, Haaland, SWP, Goater and Wanchope. With Bishop, Dickov, Kennedy, Wright and Wiekens on the bench, that made nine men who had played in the middle weeks of December 1998 – when we lost to Mansfield, lost to York, and were booed off against Bristol Rovers. And yet we were looking at a strong, confident team, with the option of three reserves who can change the shape of a game.

Our formation was – no, I’m sorry, that can’t be right. We lined up in 2-1-7, something I haven’t seen since primary school. As if knowing how hopeless the Toffees would be, everyone wanted to rush forward and score the first goal. The referee had to call us back for encroaching on the kick-off (one day it’ll be moved ten yards back). Within ten seconds Wanchope was through, looking for the fastest Premiership goal ever; of course we didn’t know that Spurs were just breaking that record at Bradford (for those who weren’t there, City were playing towards the North Stand, or, as the commentators say, from right to left – which is great if you know where they’re sitting).

SWP was, as usual, mesmerising, all over them. Paolo was only being controlled by getting two men to hang onto his shirt at the same time. Even Weaver was sniffing goals; eight minutes out he broke his personal best for walking the ball out of goal, reaching 45 yards before launching it upfield. It nearly wasn’t funny, as Everton sent it back almost as fast as he could run.

It wasn’t long before we got the reward we deserved. SWP, heading across field, was tripped 30 yards out. Horlock (why have you been away, Kevin?) launched a powerful shot which Gerrard could only parry and Wanchope tapped in. Brilliant.

“Are you enjoying this, Norman?” I asked. “I never enjoy it,” said Norman.

But Weaver was, catching one Tiatto backpass one-handed like a cocktail waiter. Up the far end, chances were raining down; Tiatto nearly lobbing Gerrard, Goater narrowly failing to control a superb through ball, a powerful backpass nearly finding the net. SWP won two – yes, two – headers, evidence not just of his fitness and timing, but also of the complete hopelessness of the Everton defence. It would be boring to list all our attacks, although it certainly wasn’t dull to watch them.

The twenty-third minute brought the first substition of the game, as the referee was taken off. Hard to understand, since he hadn’t been doing badly; it must have been tactical. We got another corner, Howey scored. 2-0.

“Are you enjoying this, Norman?” I asked. “Ask me when we get to four,” said Norman.

Even the new referee was joining in the fun, intercepting an Everton pass with a neat backheel to Horlock, who was nearly through on goal before Mr Richards decided it might be prudent to pull play back. The Everton support descended from silence into abject misery as sheets of rain fell onto the Gene Kelly. We empathised; it must have been dreadful to get drenched while watching such a dismal side lose 2-0 – oops, no, 3-0. Weaver up to Wanchope, one touch to Goater, one touch to back of net for his first Premiership goal. A great boost to his confidence; two minutes later he was replaced by Dickov, to a massive ovation. The rain got heavier; there was a slight worry growing that, with the ground already waterlogged, we might end up with the game abandoned. My other worry was for my 3-0 scoreline bet; I was on £110 if the second half stayed goalless. Fat chance.

We spent half-time discussing City’s share price. I should stress that I am totally unqualified to give financial advice, that I have a vested interest in talking up the shares I’ve just bought, and that anyone who makes investments based on an Internet newsletter deserves all they get. However, at 43p – down from over a pound when we were in the Second Division – they look a bargain to me. The company has a massive customer base with high brand loyalty (i.e. you), rapidly increasing revenues, is heading towards profitability, and has a strong management team. It might be the right moment to buy your loved one a few as a Xmas present. It’s also rather cool to go to the Ofex listings ( and see your own purchase listed as the total volume traded for the day.

Sorry, back to the match. After the break, Wiekens came on for Haaland, and Cadamarteri for Unsworth. Cadamarteri quickly showed himself to be the only Evertonian with any prospect of making anything happen. Dunne and Howey had ensured that the lone Campbell received no service whatsoever in the first half; Cadamarteri quickly put in two fast, incisive runs. We were still on top – SWP putting in a great 60-yard run, outpacing a much taller Nyarko – but there were hints of a contest emerging. Weaver seemed to have realised that he wasn’t going to appear on Match of the Day and might as well try for What Happened Next: he sprinted across to the corner flag to try to prevent a corner. Even had he reached it, a goalie who’s slid to a halt in the front row of the Kippax is not much use for defending a throw-in. Against a corner, he’s about as much use as… well, anyone remember Martyn Margetson? Luckily, if you get the marking right, you don’t need goalkeepers to defend corners. Especially if the opposition are pants.

Fifteen minutes in and Wanchope twisted and slithered into the box; his shot was cleared only as far as Whitley; Gerrard (again) parried when he should have held it, and Dickov hammered in the loose ball. Maybe I shouldn’t have gloated so much about buying my shares for 60% less than Norman got his; he was very quick to point out that I had had £110, I’d just lost £110. I didn’t care.

“Are you enjoying this, Norman?” I asked. “I’ll be more happy when the whistle goes,” said Norman.

The North Stand were rightly asking if we could play them every week, and, to prove the point, Alexandersson put one of their few chances hopelessly wide. Kennedy came on for SWP; I thought this was in the spirit of giving everyone a go, but it turns out SWP was a bit battered. Not as battered as Everton, though. Whitley won the ball brilliantly from a slow defender and was straight through on goal looking for number five. But the goal emitted that invisible force field that it uses when it sees him coming, and he shot a yard wide. It must be something psychological; he can pick out a running man inch-perfect at forty yards, but loses it completely when required to hit a target eight yards wide. If he can fix this, there’s no reason he shouldn’t score as many as Horlock.

A minute later and we had five anyway. Charvet put a good cross from the right – oh, it’s gone in. It was credited as an own goal, but I reckon it would have reached the net without Naysmith’s touch and should therefore count as Charvet’s first for us. The Everton defence didn’t bother reminding Gerrard that he was paid to stop that happening. It didn’t seem to matter any more.

North Stand were now chanting “Liverpool, Liverpool”, while around me shouts of “get yer heads up!” and “come on lads, we can win this” were raising the mood still higher. We still had half an hour to go. Records like season’s biggest Premiership win (6-0), biggest ever victory over Everton (6-2) and highest ever first-class innings (501) were clearly in our sights. Rather pointlessly, Everton decided to wake up at this moment, and most of the next 20 minutes was mostly up our end, with Weaver starting to take the match seriously and putting in some very good saves. Still, in the final minute, Horlock put in a great shot; Gerrard (yet again) only parried, but this time no-one was quite in the right place to put away the sixth.

Actually, I didn’t go home as ecstatic as I should. I felt slightly cheated that we hadn’t reached at least seven. I don’t agree with the common gripe that the media are all agin City, but I was a bit miffed that the news bulletins deemed our glorious result less interesting than Arsenal’s 5-0, Ledley King’s 10-second goal, and someone called Ryan Giggs hitting the crossbar. Surely if Morecambe against Cambridge merited 14 minutes on MoTD, our biggest ever Premiership win should have had more than 140 seconds?

Never mind; the last word was rightly with Sir Joe: “As an Old Evertonian, were you a bit disappointed by some of their defending?” Pause. “No, I was delighted.” Pause. Grins.

Welcome back, Ipswich. I don’t think you’ll know us.

Dorien James (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. EVERTON, Saturday 9th December 2000

“Shall we score a goal for you?”

I suppose that eventually someone was going to come to Maine Road and get a really good thumping – after all we do seem to manage to hand out at least one a season. It was especially sweet that it was Everton who suffered on the other end of this one. I’ve disliked Everton intensely since they damaged my telly 10 years ago (I chucked a pillow at it in a fit of rage when it was announced Kendall was returning there, missed the telly completely but knocked over a cup of coffee that was standing next to it. It went all over my bed, my lecture notes and the TV. I hate Everton).

Royle dropped Prior to the bench to bring back Dunne at centre half, and gave Horlock a start after his top performance at Chelsea. Full team was Weaver, Tiatto, Howey, Dunne, Charvet, Haaland, Horlock, Whitley, Little Shaun, Wanchope and Big Shaun. Subs were Dickov, Kennedy, Wiekens, Bishop and Tommy Wright. Everton had no-one worth mentioning – no-one who’d played for us either so they never did have a chance of scoring against us! We started off attacking the North Stand – where there were a fair few Everton fans sittiing quietly, obviously planning their robbing sprees for later. Oops, bit of Scouse stereotyping there, must stop that.

Everton were awful. I don’t remember them getting the ball in the City half in the first 15 minutes. To try to keep this report to some sort of an acceptable length I’ll limit myself to describing just the goals (and the appalling miss by Whitley, sorry Jeff but it has to be mentioned) as otherwise I’d be here for days. Horlock was taking corners as Kennedy was on the bench and they looked far more dangerous than the ones Mark’s been producing recently. Good old super Kev. After 14 minutes Everton had touched the ball twice, both times putting it out for corners. Little Shaun got the ball in midfield and skipped his way past a couple of no-hope Everton midfielders, before bouncing off Pembridge (who is about three times the size of him!); the free kick was duly given. Kev’s left foot stepped up and whacked it over the wall. Gerrard – who looked very iffy throughout the game, must have been something in the air affecting goalies on Saturday – could only parry it. In a manner most unlike City, Wanchope was following the ball in and shinned it, Goater-style, into the net. Woo hoo! We’re winning! I’ve forgotten what this feels like!

The second followed about 10 minutes later. Another good inswinging corner from Horlock landed plum on Howey’s head for one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score. He didn’t even have to jump for it and there wasn’t a challenge from any Everton defender. Shame.

Weaver then decided to liven the proceeds up a bit – obviously feeling sorry for the Everton fans, who were sitting there quietly minding their own business. The ball came to him after Campbell showed a great touch – not – and tripped over his own feet. Instead of calming the game down and playing the ball out to a fellow City player, Weaver went on a crazy run upfield. To almost the half way line. From where he miskicked the ball. To Campbell. It’s a good job Campbell’s rubbish – he kicked the ball at the goal so slowly that Weaver had time to run back and save it. Had we been playing any other team it would have been a goal – even Boro would have scored from that.

The third goal came courtesy of some more amateurish defending. Weaver threw the ball out half the length of the pitch – he’s got some throw on him that lad – where it was flicked on by Wanchope, who was again not challenged by anyone resembling an Everton player. Goater (not the fastest sprinter in the Premiership) ran on to the ball and very cooly slotted it past Gerrard. It was a true striker’s goal, showing composure and a good finish, but what on earth had happened to the Everton defence? Had they gone off on a trip to Blackpool? By now it was absolutely chucking it down so the standard of football did start to suffer, but only because City were starting to make the same mistakes as Everton were. They were even worse than Bradford. Harsh that isn’t it? But it’s true!

Goater limped off just after scoring to be replaced by Dickov, who made the usual nuisance of himself worrying at everyone’s ankles. Down boy. Half time came and went, Haaland was replaced by Wiekens. Unsworth, who’d been having a terrible time against Wanchope and Goater, went off to be replaced by Cadamarteri. We were expecting much better things of Everton in the second half – surely they couldn’t be as bad as they had been in the first half. And this is City, I don’t think anyone thought at that stage that three goals would be enough. Sure enough, up popped Dickov to oblige – the ball bounced in and out of the Everton penalty area for about five minutes before Dickov finally put it away. Alan Hansen would do his nut at the quality of that defending. Half the Everton fans left – must have been planning to get in plenty of robbing time before the end of the game. Oops sorry, did that stereotyping thing again.

Oh well we thought, we’ll settle for four. Everton finally woke up to the fact that there are normally two teams involved in a game and decided to try and play a little. Once again Weaver did his best to liven matters up. Instead of letting a ball go out for a corner he ran to the corner flag to kick it out for a throw in. Unsurprisingly Everton took the throw very quickly, while Weaver was still on his way back towards his goal – lucky then that his defence hadn’t lost their brains the way he had and managed to get back to pack the goalmouth. What was the lad on on Saturday? Howey had a real go at him later telling him to calm down, quite rightly too. I thought he’d learnt his lesson after the Stockport game last year.

Whitley should have had a goal after a through-ball found him in acres of space with only the ‘keeper to beat. Just get it on target Jeff, if he parries it then Wanchope will put in the rebound. You’ve got plenty of time Jeff. Just get it on target. Just don’t put it over the bar. Just get it on – ah. Past the post. Makes a change from Row Z of the Platt Lane I suppose (aargh).

City’s fifth came after a run from Charvet, who wasn’t nearly as bad as he’d been in previous games. The cross from the right towards Wanchope was deflected – just – goalwards by Naysmith and trickled agonisingly (for Everton anyway, tee hee) over the line. Five nil, lovely.

Weaver did have to make some saves towards the end of the game and – credit to him – did very well. Everton huffed and puffed but lacked a certain something (skill? ability? touch? finesse? a decent pair of lucky boots?) in the final third. They lacked a bit in midfield too – and come to think of it their defence wasn’t up to much. Once we’d scored five even I didn’t feel worried we could lose it from there. Why can’t we play them every week?

Honestly, this wasn’t a particularly good performance overall by City – we’ve played far far better than that in recent games. The difference on Saturday wasn’t the poor opposition that Everton proved to be – it was that we were taking the chances we created. Wanchope and Big Shaun linked well together in the first half. Little Shaun’s always a danger as he’s not afraid to have a go – hope he’s OK for Tuesday by the way as he was subbed for Kennedy in the second half. Charvet still frightens me and I’d much rather see Haaland at right back, but Howey’s developing into a rock at centre half and was ably assisted by big bloke Dunne on Saturday. Weaver wants a good talking to and to calm down a bit but you can’t question his shot stopping abilities. These were three very welcome points and it’ll be great if we can get revenge over the carrot crunchers on Tuesday.

Sharon Hargreaves


MANCHESTER CITY vs. EVERTON, Saturday 9th December 2000

I’d had a good feeling about this game for the whole week, I certainly felt we could win the game and I had an inkling that we’d secure a clean sheet. What I couldn’t have predicted was how well we’d play and how poor the Toffeemen would prove to be.

We started, as was widely anticipated, with the same line-up as in the previous game, with the exception of Richard Dunne replacing Prior at centre back. Hopefully it looks like JR has finally decided on his ‘best’ starting line-up and it will be good to see this team given a run. Sod’s law of course that there will be at least 2 enforced changes for Tuesday’s Worthy Cup match, with Dunne and Charvet being cup tied. Straight from the kick off the ball was given to Charvet, whose long raking cornfield ball dissected the Everton defence, with a pumped up Wanchope racing into the penalty area. Fortunately for Everton, Gerrard just gathered the ball in the nick of time.

We were playing some good stuff, virtually all of it in Everton’s half, but we needed a goal to settle us down. On 13 minutes SWP was cynically blocked by Unsworth 20 yards from goal. Super Kevin Horlock curled a wonderful free kick around the wall, Gerrard only able to parry the ball back into play. Wanchope scored from 3 yards, but it was pleasing that Goater was in the vicinity too. City players following up a free kick? Whatever next? Score form a corner? Well yes actually. From a Horlock corner, Howey rose like a salmon ™ to plant a header into the bottom corner for an easy, easy goal. We really had our tails up and were stroking the ball around well, but we also looked to have a cutting edge. Richard Dunne, who looked impressive all afternoon next to Howey, curled a 60-yard Koemanesque pass right into Goater’s path, but unfortunately the Bermudan hitman’s touch let him down and the chance was gone. Never mind, shortly thereafter, in a throwback to the Quinn/ White days, Weaver’s long punt was expertly flicked on by Wanchope into the path of Goater. Despite the close (possibly illegal) attentions of David Weir, The Goat held off his man and scored with his left foot from just inside the area. The build up was route one, but Shaun’s control, strength and determination, never mind the cool finish was a joy to behold.

Two goals in the last 3 games for The Goat (and indeed Wanchope too) is a very encouraging sign. Unfortunately, Shaun was obviously injured in the process of scoring his first ever Premiership goal and was replaced by Dickov almost immediately. Just before half time, more panic in the Everton defence almost resulted in a fourth, but SWP’s point blank shot was superbly saved by Gerrard. So 3-0 up at half time. I was praying that we didn’t come out with a ‘we hold what we have’ attitude, as Walter Smith was certainly going to have the paint peeling off the dressing room walls and, should they get an early goal, would we be able to survive? Wiekens replaced Haaland, who had been limping towards the end of the half, and Cadamarteri replaced Unsworth for Everton.

Thankfully we still had the taste for more and a mere 9 minutes into the half, Dickov scored our fourth following a typical Wanchope panic-inducing run into the box. Horlock crossed, Gerrard flailed at it and Dickov pounced onto the rebound. Our 5th was an own goal created by the pretty impressive Charvet, whose low cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Naysmith. Jeff Whitley had an excellent opportunity for a 6th, robbing Weir and getting himself and Wanchope into a 2 on 1 situation with the keeper. Jeff chose to shoot and almost inevitably hit the side netting. The ‘sensible’ thing to do would have been to have played in Paulo, but to be fair, you couldn’t blame him for going for glory.

Five up with almost 25 minutes to go, we naturally relaxed a little and Everton had their first period of pressure, with the previously redundant Weaver making good saves from Campbell, Gravesen and Cadamateri. Nevertheless we still looked in control and it was just reward that we were able to achieve a clean sheet to go with the 5 goals. This was a good team performance – everyone played their part, but for me Kevin Horlock was head and shoulders above everyone on the pitch. Kev sometimes get a accused of ‘going missing’ which I don’t actually think is necessarily the case; for me he supports his team mates and is usually available for an out ball or to make a final tackle or final pass. However, today he was playing a much more dominant rôle, demanding the ball, tackling, making cool, classy passes and of course was dangerous from set pieces. He really deserved a goal for his efforts.

As predicted, Everton fans wheeled out their one song “EVVV-ERRR—TTTONNN”, until they went 3-0 down and we didn’t hear a peep out of them. The atmosphere generated by us, the City fans, was excellent throughout, although you must question what it would have been like if it had been 0-0 with a few minutes to go. The team did their bit by scoring early, but undoubtedly we lifted them to greater heights with our vocal support – we need to do this all the time, even if things aren’t going to plan. So thankfully we’ve broken the poor run, and have opened up a little gap between us and the bottom three. We must keep this going as the next few fixtures do offer a chance of picking up some points and moving into the relative comfort of mid-table for the 2001 fixtures. Onwards and upwards!

Phil Hartley (


I have read several requests for ‘Blue Moon’ ring tones and have decided to provide a ring tone masterclass!

Those of you who have a phone with the ability to ‘compose’ your own ring tones can program in this little ditty (note this works on my Nokia 3210, I’m not sure if the same sort of system is used on other phones):

16a1    16#f1   1a1
16g1    8a1     16b1
8a1     4a1     16g1
1a1     16e1    8#f1
16g1    8#f1    4#f1
16e1    1#f1    16d1
8e1     16#f1   8d1
4d1     16b1    1d1

Then goto ‘options’ and set ‘Tempo’ to ‘100 Bpm’. You’ll find this rendition has the genuine ‘Kippax Swing’ to it.

How to input:

The first 7 keys correspond to the different notes. So:

1 = c
2 = d
3 = e
4 = f
5 = g
6 = a
7 = b

After you have put in each note, you may need to change its settings to match what I have given. As follows:

8  = Press to change the length of the note i.e. 16a1 / 8a1 / 4a1 etc.
*+ = Press to change the octave of the note i.e. 16a1 / 16a2 / 16a3 etc.
#  = To change between 16a1 and 16#a1 etc.

I hope you find this helpful. Plus you don’t have to pay for it like some of the ringtone websites!

Any requests for other City tunes?

Andrew Ogden – Oggy CTID (


The second string are in action – weather permitting – this Thursday 14 December, at Boundary Park when we meet Oldham Reserves in the Manchester Senior Cup. Oldham Supporters’ Club are offering a limited number of tickets for a buffet to be held in their Sponsors’ Lounge on the evening (£4 including match) and I am told everyone is welcome. Contact Oldham Athletic direct for more details.

Heidi Pickup (


Blue Moon Rising – The fall and rise of Manchester City

Title:     Blue Moon Rising - The fall and rise of Manchester City
Author:    Andy Buckley and Richard Burgess
Publisher: MILO Books
           PO Box 153
           Lancs BL0 9FX
ISBN:      0-9530847-4-4
Price:     £7.99

Cover Picture

OK – So there’s another “Blue Moon” book in the store, and this one is a bit different from the “Blue Moon” by Mark Hodkinson – mostly because it has an even better ending 😉 But while the “Down among the dead men” covers one hectic season (1998/99), this book spans the whole nineties from 1990 to 2000 chapter by chapter. It starts with the Swales empire and the Reid story. It goes on to describe the Lee take-over and the introduction of the “footBall genius”. It ends with the downfall and rise with Royle. It’s a great read and has some really tasty information for all of us that has been wondering what really happened behind the scenes.

For instance the first words spoken to the team by former manager Alan Ball is a real treat, reproduced by one of the players (Tony Coton?). Quite a few of the players have contributed to this book. Coton was one of them. He describes his last days with Manchester City from his perspective and it’s not the same story that was put forward by the management at the time.

Other players talking about their fortunes with City are Garry Flitcroft, Lee Bradbury and Michael Brown. But most interesting is perhaps the story told to the authors by the widow of Chairman Peter J. Swales. Swales’ biggest mistake was that he didn’t understand when to quit. But when football, and Manchester City is all your life you can’t help it – can you? Swales died of a weakened heart. Brenda is not the one to blame the take-over process for his condition, but you can’t help feeling that they must have seen it coming. Lots of the fans blamed Swales for 25 years in the dark alley, as his only trophy was the League Cup in 1976. But the years with his successor proved to be worse, and still both of them can only be blamed for playing their game more with their heart than with their head.

You could argue that the book does its best to portray everyone as good guys. Swales, Lee, Coton and Bradbury are all doing what they think is in the best interest of the club. Even Lee’s handling of Brian Horton and Swales sacking of Reid and Ellis are described with a careful, almost “reluctant” pencil.

Also the authors put their finger on the fans’ rôle in the happenings at the club. Both during the “Forward with Franny” campaign and the bashing of players like Bradbury and Edghill you get the feeling that the fans should have stood by the players during the hard times and that things could have turned out better if this and that had happened. Well it did in the end, and we are all grateful for that!

I would recommend this book to any City fan that would like to understand what happened during the fall – and rise – in the nineties. It gives a short glimpse of events and contributes to the stories from a different perspective. And in the end I understood the quote we often hear by Bill Shankley. “Football is not a matter of life and death – it’s much more important than that”. It most certainly was to Peter J. Swales.

Svenn Hanssen (


Talking to a French mate, he said this Tuesday’s ‘France Football’ newspaper had a piece in it that City were running the rule over Olivier Monterrubio of Nantes, current leaders of the French First Division. He’s a winger who plays on the left. He’s young, so that would fit right into JR’s way of thinking.

Sean Cable, Virginia, USA (


In response to recent correspondence I seem to recall that the opening lines to this song were as follows:

Bless ’em All – Bless ’em All
George Hannah, Joe Hayes and Roy Paul

Sorry but I can’t remember the rest.

Graham Hume (


I remember the Bless ‘Em All Song being sung. Correct version: Paddy Fagan – scans better than Roy Clarke, also Jackie Dyson, again ’cause it sings easier And yes, Johnstone certainly was prince of them all, a truly amazing player. My dad used to sing a song called “On the Ball City (never mind the danger)”. Never heard anyone else sing it. When I went to live in Norwich in the early sixties the local yokels were singing the same song at Carrow Road. I think Bless’em all started life as a World War One song for the army. It resurfaced in WW2 in a couple of scurrilous RAF versions. Jack Dyson was indeed a very tricky player, a good passer of the ball and had quite a decent shot. A bit more pace wouldn’t have come amiss; I remember him as a bit of a stroller. Was Billy Spurdle that tall? Don’t remember. Certainly Bill Leivers was a giant and a hard case, though didn’t have the sheer class of Jimmy Meadows who never played after Wembley ’55.

Back to today. Personally I don’t think there’s a lot wrong with Charvet. It’s more to do with the organisation of the back 3-4. Do they actually train together? Howey does look good but it’s easier in the middle than it is on the flanks, as anyone who’s played both positions knows. I’ve seen Dunne play quite a bit for Ireland. I don’t think he was a great buy. I agree with most recent assessments – we need a creative midfielder urgently. Finally, a note for Ernie Barrow. it wasn’t a slap on the legs mate. I couldn’t bear to read you so doomy-gloomy, I enjoy your cheerfulness and your essential niceness. You’re the opposite of me, I’m a bit of a cynical b*st*rd.

Ernie Whalley (


I have just read the right answer to the City song of the fifties. First of all my version was wrong, I liked the idea of putting in Roy Clarke (still a good friend of mine).

This is the version printed in the book “Manchester, the Greatest City”, page 199.

Bless’em all, Bless ’em all,
Bert Trautmann, Dave Ewing and Paul,
Bless Roy Little who blocks out the wing,
Bless Jack Dyson the penalty king,
And with Leivers and Spurdle so tall,
And Johnstone, the prince of them all,
Come on the light blues,
It’s always the right blue,
So cheer up me lads,
Bless ’em all.

So I hope no one voted for my version in the last edition of MCIVTA, I was wrong. By the way, the book “Manchester, the Greatest City” makes a great Christmas gift for any City fan, it has all the history with pictures of the club, I think it’s fantastic! The City superstore has the book.

P.S. Let me take this chance to wish City fans all around the world “Season’s Greetings” and a “Happy City new year!”

Ernie Barrow (


Let’s get it right chaps!

I think this was the definitive version of the 50’s song!

Bless ’em all, Bless ’em all
Bert Trautmann, Dave Ewing and Paul
Bless Roy Little who blocks out the wing
Bless Jack Dyson the penalty king
And with Leivers and Spurdle so tall
And Johnstone the prince of them all
So cheer up you light blues etc!

I’m not sure why Jack Dyson was noted as the penalty king, as I don’t think we (or anyone else) got many penalties in those days. If my memory serves me right, Jack suffered a broken leg, which effectively ended his football career, after a tackle in one of the pre-season Blues vs. Reds (the reserves, not those others) practice games. Who was the tackler? Again, if my memory is not playing tricks, it was our very own Bill Leivers! Can anyone confirm this or is dementia setting in? But Jack was a pretty good player and, sadly, the first of a select bunch of Blues who were cut off in their prime. David Shawcross, a cracking attacking left-half who had just played his first under-23 games when injured (against Wolves?), of course, the great Colin Bell and, finally, Paul Lake. Where would we have been if we hadn’t lost those four key midfield players?

Finally, a few comments on the present Blues (from TV viewing only). I think the comments on Charvet are a bit harsh. Although I’m not sure he’s that much better than ‘Reg’ (currently starring at Birmingham), I didn’t see that much wrong at Chelsea, apart from his fairly mediocre crossing. But that seems to be a malaise of modern football. How many times, even in European games do you see supposedly top players hit the first defender? Perhaps this is the reason for Beckham’s current ‘wonder-boy’ status? Forget the prejudices, he is a good player, not great but he can cross the ball. It doesn’t take a lot to be star in modern ‘team-based’ football. Mind you, his amateur dramatics in Graz on Wednesday confirm that he’s also an Olympic quality diver.

Watching on TV against Chelsea, it just seems to me that City’s main problem stands out a mile: the lack of one or probably two quality midfield players. One to play a holding game in front of the back four (the absence of this type of player is why opposing teams can sweep down the middle and score against us – like Hasselbaink etc.) and one to make the play. Everyone knows that Bishop’s best days are over, so why doesn’t Joe try to find a replacement? Not easy, of course, but essential. I’m afraid it’s going to take a lot of money to find a quality player but, now that quite a few quality teams are out of Europe, the chances should be better. Incidentally, people have asked why Bishop is not brought on from the beginning and then substituted in the second half. Easy one this – it’s an old football ploy to bring on a player who is slow (or getting to the end of his time) towards the end of a game when the pace has slowed down – makes sense when you think about it!

Finally, what about Alfie? It seems that he is a nice guy and, undoubtedly a trier but, honestly, a nothing player. I wondered last summer why he was not in what was a pretty ordinary (in fact, poor) Norway team. Now I know! No pace, no control, no finish, I could go on and on. There was only one person to blame for Chelsea’s first goal – see comment about lack of control. The ball should have been thrown to a forward player and Alfie should have been covering Spencer – basic football. And, for a player whose main quality is his tackling, I didn’t see him put in one good tackle on Sunday. In fact, I hardly saw one occasion when Chelsea were attacking that he was goal-side of their forwards. Just cast your mind back to the derby and the tackle that cost us the goal. This was typical, struggling to get back and tackling from behind.

Don’t complain about Jeff Whitley; with Alfie wandering aimlessly, SWP pushed either wide up or up front and Kevin fairly wide on the left (his best position), until Wiekens came on to play that holding rôle, he was City’s centre-midfield. He’s the best player City have produced for ages (I’ll wait a bit longer for SWP before going too overboard), don’t get on his back!

Barry Riley (


Re The Bless ’em all song. I think Jon Ogden had it right. But Bless ’em all was a song evry teams’ supporters sang. The City song at that time was:

City’s the team … we are the best team in the land.
Playing away games always in command.
May we lose a point or two, but we never do despair.
‘Cause you can’t beat the boys in the old light blue… when they come from Manchester.

Sung to the tune of a World War Two navy song called, I believe, ‘Bobbing up and down like this’ – don’t know who sang the original or who wrote it – not even I am that old – hee hee.

Jack Millington (


Copy of a letter sent to the letters page of Sport First last week. As it didn’t appear this weekend, I don’t think they will print it (I wonder why?):

Call me a Bitter Blue, but is Alex Ferguson immune to punishment for his totally outrageous comments? His latest, in a long line of vitriolic outbursts about officials and opponents came following Dwight Yorke’s challenge in the Sunderland Worthington Cup game, which resulted in Yorke rightly getting his marching orders. The tackle could have ended the opponent’s career, and, from the highlights I saw, appeared to be Yorke’s way of “showing his frustration” at not getting the protection from the referee that all Manchester United players should expect. After all, they are the World’s Greatest Football Team (copyright and patent pending). Ferguson’s comments stated that “a more capable referee would recognise the type of player that was involved in it”. Sorry Sir Alex, but there is nothing in the laws of the game (yet) that says any player who is a happy smiley guy, and is a pillar of the community, and plays for Manchester United, cannot be sent off at all, ever. Mind you, Ferguson is a law unto himself. I wonder if he would have had the same view had the tackle had been committed on Yorke, rather than by him?

In my opinion, as a fellow referee, Ferguson’s comment about referee Halsey’s capabilities are tantamount to “foul, abusive or insulting language”, which is punishable with a red card in itself. The powers that be should surely charge him with bringing the game into disrepute, as he has openly condoned Yorke’s serious foul play. Is Ferguson so blinkered that he doesn’t realise that referees are constantly assessed and officiate in the Premier League on merit? Perhaps it is Ferguson’s way of psychologically undermining all officials, so that they “do the right thing” when United are involved. Remember the unfortunate referee who had not read the script, and “forgot” that you do not award penalties against United at Old Trafford, and Andy D’Urso’s reaction when United players ganged up on him? I would have sent them all off.

Unless the Football Association take serious action against Ferguson, he will continue to launch these scathing attacks whenever something goes against his squad of apparent angels.

Steve Kay (


I am hoping the club will observe the requisite respect for one of its history makers on Saturday, albeit belatedly. It’s not like City to miss such a mark.

If not, a chorus of Bless ‘Em All from the faithful for the visit of Derby on Boxing Day would be a fitting tribute to a fans’ favourite.

I am too young to have had the pleasure. I followed my grandad in following the Blues, Jack Dyson was a big part of one of his teams. Respect is due.

Dave Clinton (


Is it just me or is our away strip a total mess, are we paying hippy abstract art students to design our away kit now? Bring back the successful maroon strip of the early 90’s (visions of the Quinn/White partnership still bring a tear to the eye).

Chris Loveridge (


Although the new facelift of the City Website might look pretty, does anybody else find it incredibly slow? Even with my direct LAN connection the pages take ages to load. I imagine with a slower connection it would be almost impossible!

I noticed this morning (Monday 11th) that the site has not been fully updated. The ‘next game box’ on the home page still shows Saturday’s fixture instead of the imminent thrashing of Ipswich on Tuesday night. I wonder how much ‘the academy’ are paying for this website and who is testing it? Also I thought our Costa-Rican superstar was called Paulo, not Paul as it says on the Everton report. Okay maybe I’m nit-picking now.

If anyone else has problems, please take the time to fill in the ‘Feedback’ form on the website and let’s get it sorted out!

One good point is the webcam at the new Commonwealth stadium. It shows the progress on site and is updated every hour – nice to watch our new home as it is being built.

P.S. Goater has some serious catching up to do to hit his 30 goal target! “Who let the Goat out? Who… who… who-who…”

Andrew Ogden – Oggy CTID (


In the Kingdom of Heaven, God went missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, “Where have you been?” God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, “Look Michael, look what I’ve made.” Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, “What is it?” “It’s a planet,” replied God, “and I’ve put LIFE on it. I’m going to call it Earth and it’s going to be a great place of balance.”

“Balance?” inquired Michael, still confused. God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth, “For example, Northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while Southern Europe is going to be poor, the Middle East over-there will be a hot spot. Over there, I’ve placed a continent of white people and over there is a continent of black people.” God continued, pointing to different countries. “This one will be extremely hot and arid while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.”

The Archangel, impressed by God’s work, then pointed to a large stadium in Manchester and asked, “What is that?” “Ah,” said God. “That’s Maine road, the most glorious place on Earth. The fans from Maine road are going to be modest, intelligent and humourous and they’re going to be found traveling the world, following their glorious team, they will be extremely sociable, and they will be known throughout the world as the best fans in the world. I’m also going to give them super-human, undefeatable players (I wish) who will be admired and feared by all who come across them.”

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed, “What about balance, God? You said there will be balance?”

God replied wisely. “Wait until you see the loud-mouth ba*tards I’m putting next to them in Trafford.”

Simon Hunt (


Anybody who knows where to find the FA Premier Reserve table on the net?

Harald Larsen (


Recent results to 11 December 2000 inclusive.

10 December 2000

Coventry City         1 - 0  Leicester City        17,283
Liverpool             0 - 1  Ipswich Town          43,509

9 December 2000

Arsenal               5 - 0  Newcastle United      38,052
Bradford City         3 - 3  Tottenham Hotspur     17,225
Charlton Athletic     3 - 3  Manchester United     20,043
Chelsea               4 - 1  Derby County          34,317
Manchester City       5 - 0  Everton               34,516
Southampton           1 - 0  Leeds United          15,225
Sunderland            1 - 0  Middlesbrough         47,742
West Ham United       1 - 1  Aston Villa           25,888

League table to 11 December 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  17  7  1  0 26  4  5  3  1 18  9 12  4  1 44 13  31  40
 2 Arsenal         17  8  1  0 22  4  2  3  3  7  9 10  4  3 29 13  16  34
 3 Ipswich Town    17  3  3  2  9  7  6  0  3 15 10  9  3  5 24 17   7  30
 4 Leicester City  17  4  3  1 10  8  4  2  3  7  5  8  5  4 17 13   4  29
 5 Sunderland      17  6  3  0 11  4  2  2  4  7 12  8  5  4 18 16   2  29
 6 Liverpool       17  7  1  1 19  7  1  2  5 13 17  8  3  6 32 24   8  27
 7 West Ham United 17  3  4  2 12  9  3  3  2 11  9  6  7  4 23 18   5  25
 8 Aston Villa     16  4  3  0 12  4  2  4  3  7 10  6  7  3 19 14   5  25
 9 Tottenham H.    17  7  1  0 17  6  0  2  7  8 20  7  3  7 25 26  -1  24
10 Newcastle Utd   17  4  1  3 10  8  3  2  4  8 13  7  3  7 18 21  -3  24
11 Chelsea         17  6  2  1 25 10  0  3  5  7 14  6  5  6 32 24   8  23
12 Leeds United    16  5  0  3 16 12  1  4  3  6 11  6  4  6 22 23  -1  22
13 Charlton Ath.   17  5  3  1 16  7  1  1  6  8 20  6  4  7 24 27  -3  22
14 Everton         17  3  2  3 11 11  3  1  5  8 17  6  3  8 19 28  -9  21
15 Southampton     17  4  1  4 15 15  1  4  3  7 13  5  5  7 22 28  -6  20
16 Manchester City 17  3  1  5 15 11  2  1  5  8 19  5  2 10 23 30  -7  17
17 Coventry City   17  2  2  5  6 13  2  1  5 10 19  4  3 10 16 32 -16  15
18 Derby County    17  1  5  2 10 15  1  2  6 10 20  2  7  8 20 35 -15  13
19 Bradford City   17  2  4  3  9 10  0  2  6  3 18  2  6  9 12 28 -16  12
20 Middlesbrough   17  0  3  5  7 15  2  2  5 12 13  2  5 10 19 28  -9  11

With thanks to Football 365


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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #666