Newsletter #679

It’s a welcome relief to report that City have progressed through to the next round of the FA Cup – at the expense of Coventry – and will now travel to Anfield. The first half was a nightmare, with the Blues being totally overrun in midfield and especially down the right-hand side. We were lucky not to be two down when Joe finally made the tactical switch to counter the continual Coventry threat. I wouldn’t claim that this was a magical transformation, but there was a clear difference between the performance before and after this switch. The second half saw little threat from Coventry, and we actually started to put some pressure on them. Wanchope was substituted, a decision that no-one could quibble with as he had been absolutely atrocious; he then promptly spat his dummy out. On came the Goat and in the dying seconds, he steamed in to send the ball into the net. Many say that Goater is not a Premiership player; however I beg to differ. He’s looked poor when we’ve been hoofing the ball up to him, but when the ball is coming in from the wing he looks a different player. If we can open our play out and deliver balls in, then I’m sure he will score. The parallels with Rösler are obvious: he looked a livewire striker, but was reduced to impotency when Beagrie was injured and Walsh was sold, and the ball was continually hoofed up to him.

Ah, and I shouldn’t forget to mention that Mr Wanchope has been shown the door after his latest display (both on and off the field)!

We have plenty of news and opinion, but no match report I’m afraid. If anyone can do one for Thursday’s issue then it would be much appreciated. Please remember that MCIVTA is much the poorer without a match report; please don’t rely on others to do one.

Lastly, please note that articles for the next two issues should got to Geoff Donkin.

Next game: Liverpool at home, Wednesday 31st January 2001


Please note that I will be unable to do the next two issues of MCIVTA. However, Geoff has kindly agreed to step in, so please send all articles for MCIVTA 680 (1st Feb) and 681 (5th Feb) to Geoff Donkin at:



Part I: Breaking News – Wanchope to Leave

City List Wanchope After Sub Row: Joe Royle played down talk of a rift with Paulo Wanchope after Manchester City’s weekend FA Cup match against Coventry. But on Monday the club announced that the Costa Rican has been transfer-listed. Wanchope appeared to gesture at Royle after being replaced by Shaun Goater in the 71st minute of Saturday’s game. And then the 24-year-old stormed down the tunnel into the dressing room. The City manager initially dismissed the incident as a heat-of-the-moment reaction, but in the light of Monday’s news, the matter was clearly much more serious. It seems that Saturday wasn’t the first time City’s record signing has reacted badly to being dropped or substituted, and the feeling at the club seems to be that his continual tantrums can only be detrimental to team spirit. Clearly the news will have a major impact on the Blues’ transfer policy – with Paul Dickov injured and Wanchope apparently having no future at Maine Road, the need for a new front man has become urgent.

Joe, No Choice but To Let Paulo Go: Joe Royle has taken the shock decision to place Manchester City’s leading scorer on the transfer list. But the Blues’ boss says he had no option in the light of Paulo Wanchope’s conduct. Wanchope’s angry reaction to being substituted against Coventry on Saturday was the final straw for Royle, who says that he’s had a series of rows with the Costa Rican. “I’ve had a long think about it over the weekend,” the City manager told local radio station BBC GMR, “but the reaction to his substitution was one of several incidents we’ve had with Paulo which we’ve kept in house. Paulo didn’t say anything when he was told he was transfer listed.”

Wanchope “Wants to Rescue City Career”: Paulo Wanchope has been transfer-listed by Manchester City. But the Costa Rican is still hoping that he can rescue his Manchester City career. Wanchope has had a row with Joe Royle, who sent on Shaun Goater in place of the club’s record signing in Saturday’s Cup game against Coventry. But the player’s agent says that the 24-year-old didn’t ask for a move – and doesn’t want to leave the Blues. “As far as Paulo’s concerned it’s the manager’s decision and he’s disappointed,” his agent told online news site “But he will continue to train and hope things resolve themselves. He still thinks he has a future at the club and hopes that things turn round for him.” Scottish giants Celtic have already been mentioned as the most likely destination for the player if he does leave Maine Road.

Part II: FA Cup Result, Reaction and Draw

Last-Gasp Goater Seals Fortunate Win: Shaun Goater headed Manchester City into the next round of the FA Cup on Saturday. The striker powered home Tony Grant’s corner in second-half injury time to give the Blues a fortunate win over Coventry. City started the game in poor form, and it was the visitors, inspired by Welsh international striker Craig Bellamy, who looked the likelier side to score. But though the Midlanders had by far the better chances, a replay had started to look inevitable until substitute Goater intervened at the death with the game’s only goal. The Bermudian’s strike also sparked crowd trouble among the Coventry supporters. The away fans’ ticket allocation was for those sections of the North Stand normally reserved for the home support and some of the visitors attempted to move from there through the empty ‘J’ block to attack the Main Stand.

Royle Admits City Were Lucky: Manchester City may have clinched a victory over Coventry at Maine Road on Saturday. But even Joe Royle conceded that it should have been Gordon Strachan’s men who progressed to the FA Cup fifth round. Royle said that once he changed the City formation in the first half, the Blues’ display improved. But he admitted that, even so, his side was lucky still to be in the FA Cup competition after the visitors created the game’s best chances. “We didn’t deserve that today,” he reflected. “For the first time this season, we have ended up with something that we didn’t deserve. I had to give Gordon a bear-hug and just say sorry. I held my hands up, but that’s football.”

Strachan Proud of Players Despite Defeat: Gordon Strachan saw his Coventry side’s FA Cup hopes come to an end at Manchester City on Saturday. But the Midlands club’s boss was far from displeased with the efforts of his players. The Highfield Road boss has come under pressure recently after a string of poor displays by his team. But Saturday’s game was one where even Joe Royle admitted that bad luck was responsible for Coventry’s disappointing result. “It was hard to speak to the lads after the game,” lamented Strachan, “but I was proud of them.”

City Praise Stewards After Crowd Disturbance: Manchester City’s last-gasp winner in Saturday’s cup tie sparked crowd trouble among the Coventry fans at the game. But the Blues were satisfied with the way their stewards reacted to help to quell the disturbance. After Shaun Goater’s goal, a small contingent of the near 4,000-strong band of travelling Coventry fans attempted to move across to the Main Stand to attack home supporters. Eventually stewards and police officers were able to push the aggressors back, and Chris Bird says that police praised the club’s security arrangements. “I won’t comment until I’ve seen the police report,” said the City director, “but what I will say is that we are very pleased with the actions of our stewards and they have been commended by the police.”

Coventry Chairman’s Life Ban Pledge: Coventry City fans were involved in violent scenes at the end of Saturday’s FA Cup defeat at Manchester City. And the Midlands outfit has pledged to impose life bans on supporters involved in the trouble. The FA will look into the weekend’s events but as police have absolved the Maine Road club of any blame for the incident, the governing body is unlikely to take any action against the Blues. And Coventry are also likely to escape censure given the previous good record of their fans. But Highfield Road chairman Bryan Richardson is promising to weed out those who have tarnished his club’s reputation on this occasion. “We will ban from our ground for life anyone identified as being involved in the trouble,” he vowed. “We will do everything to assist the police in their investigations – this sort of behaviour has no place in football.”

City Hope Cup Progress Is No Omen: Manchester City moved past Coventry into the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday. But the Blues will desperately be hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself. City encountered the Midlands club at the same stage of the competition in 1996. And the Blues also won through narrowly on that occasion, with goals from Nigel Clough and Niall Quinn sealing a 2-1 replay win after the sides had drawn 2-2 at Highfield Road. In a parallel with this campaign, the two teams were also fierce relegation rivals five years ago – and it was Coventry who had the last laugh, staying up on goal difference at the Blues’ expense.

Cup Fift Round – Liverpool Away: Manchester City have been rewarded for their FA Cup win over Coventry with one of the hardest possible fifth round draws. The Blues must travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool. The Merseysiders, who are also City’s next league opponents, have already progressed to the Worthington Cup final and went through to the next stage of the FA Cup on Saturday with an impressive 2-0 victory at Leeds. The sides have been drawn together three times in English football’s premier knock-out competition, with the Blues coming out on top twice. City won the ties in 1956 and 1973, needing a replay on each occasion, but Liverpool notched an emphatic 4-0 victory in the 1989 quarter-final. While most of this season’s fifth round ties will be played on Saturday, 17 February, Liverpool have a UEFA Cup engagement against AS Roma the preceding Thursday meaning the Blues’ visit to Anfield would always have been switched to Sunday, 18 February irrespective of whether the game is selected for television coverage. However, the match will kick off at 4 p.m. on the Sunday afternoon to allow for live screening by ITV.

Part III: Other Transfer News and Rumours

Boss Confirms Transfer Hunt Still On: Manchester City have landed Andrei Kanchelskis on loan to boost their survival fight. But Joe Royle had said even before the transfer-listing of Paulo Wanchope that the hunt for new players is continuing. Royle has high hopes for the Ukrainian-born winger, who played for the Blues’ boss with great success at Everton. But the City manager has also told satellite TV network Sky Sports that he still has his eye on three or four other specific targets – and is keen to conclude at least one further incoming deal before long. Midfield has hitherto been supposed by most observers to be the area of the team most in need of a fresh face, although Monday’s developments mean that a striker is now a clear priority.

Wallace Move Hits a Snag?: Manchester City have signed Andrei Kanchelskis on loan from Rangers. And there are reports that the Blues could soon make a second raid on Ibrox in quick succession – though it now seems that the possible deal has hit a snag. Rod Wallace has been linked with the Blues several times over the last few months, and the 32-year-old is out of contract in the summer and so is available for a nominal fee. It’s reported that the player has held talks with the Blues, but that while Wallace wants a permanent deal, Royle is keen to sign him only on a short-term contract until the end of the season. Bolton and Everton have also been mentioned as possible destinations for the one-time Southampton junior, but rumours of City’s interest have been the most persistent.

Dickov Again Linked With Move Away: Paul Dickov recently denied any knowledge of a prospective move away from Manchester City. But one of this Sunday’s tabloids is again reporting that the Scot could be on his way out of Maine Road. Dickov has been mentioned as a possible target for clubs in his native Scotland, with Edinburgh rivals Hibs and Hearts both said to be interested in the 28-year-old forward. But the latest speculation features an English Premiership club, with Walter Smith reckoned to be considering a bid to take the one-time Arsenal junior up the East Lancs Road to Everton.

Frenchman the Answer in Midfield?: It was reported at the weekend that Manchester City were to take Frederic Brando on trial from Marseille. But the Blues have now decided to monitor the player in his domestic competition. City have been looking to sign a new midfielder for some time and, after failing to land West Ham’s Steve Lomas, have been linked with Hearts’ Colin Cameron and Celtic’s Paul Lambert – while reports of interest in Sheffield United’s Curtis Woodhouse haven’t died down. But now it seems the answer to Joe Royle’s problems may lie abroad, with the official club website at stating that City are still keen on Brando even though it’s been decided a trial is not the best way to take matters forward. Despite his popularity with the Marseille crowd, the tough-tackling 27-year-old does not figure in the long-term plans of new coach Javier Clemente. The ex-Toulon, Monaco and Le Havre man is out of contract at the end of the season, so will be available on a free transfer if he impresses the Blues’ scouts in forthcoming Marseille games.

Baggies Set to Come Back for Grant: Tony Grant was handed his first Manchester City start of the season against Coventry on Saturday. But West Bromwich Albion are still hoping to land the ex-Everton man on a permanent basis. Grant’s successful loan spell at The Hawthorns ended just over three weeks ago. But even though the Baggies and Barnsley were interested in signing the midfielder in a £400,000 deal, Joe Royle decided he couldn’t afford to release the 27-year-old. However, following the Blues’ signing of Andrei Kanchelskis, Albion manager Gary Megson is reported to be considering another bid for the player.

Darlington Eyeing City Reserve Players: A former Manchester City player was in attendance as the Blues’ reserves played at Newcastle last week. Darlington manager Gary Bennett was running the rule over four City players he may be interested in signing. Bennett enjoyed a long and successful playing career at Cardiff and Sunderland after leaving Maine Road for the Welsh club in 1981 without having featured at senior level. But now the 37-year-old is at Feethams and is thought to be interested in transfer-listed pair Jim Whitley and Shaun Holmes. Meanwhile, he’s also said to be keen on loan moves for youngsters Rhys Day and Leon Mike.

Part IV: Miscellaneous News and Views

Howey Wary of Shearer Return Date: Alan Shearer has targeted Newcastle’s home game against Manchester City as the date of his return from injury. But Steve Howey is hoping that the ex-England captain will not have returned to fitness by the time the Blues visit St James’s Park. Howey knows Shearer well, with the pair having been Newcastle team-mates for four years before the defender’s move to Maine Road in the summer. And the centre back is only too well aware of the threat the prolific striker will pose to the Blues if he plays in the game. “For me, [Shearer] is probably the best goalscorer this country has had over the past decade,” said the Sunderland-born star. “He is an exceptional player to whom you can’t give an inch.”

Wright-Phillips Lands Another Accolade: Manchester City have endured a disappointing season on their return to the Premiership. But one bright spot for the Blues has been the emergence of Shaun Wright-Phillips – and the youngster’s potential was recognised again last week. Wright-Phillips was named Young Sports Person of the Year at the Manchester Evening News Sports Awards 2000 ceremony held last Thursday evening. There were further awards for City stars with Alfie Haaland and Shaun Goater both picking up monthly prizes for their achievements last year, while the main award went to Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham.

Kanchelskis Hedges His Bets: Andrei Kanchelskis has indicated that he could join Manchester City on a permanent basis if he inspires the Blues to Premiership survival. But it appears that the Russian international would ideally like to revive his Rangers career once his Maine Road loan spell is over. Kanchelskis says he was upset to find out about his move to City through the newspapers. But he’s delighted to be joining up again with Joe Royle, the manager for whom he scored 20 league goals in only 52 games at Everton. The flying winger says that while he’s loved his time in Glasgow so would be reluctant to leave, he could be tempted to the Blues if they’re still in the Premiership next term – and providing that Dick Advocaat makes clear the player’s Ibrox days are numbered. But for now, the ex-Manchester United star is happy simply to have the chance to sample senior action again. “At my age, I need games and I have that chance at Manchester City,” explained the 32-year-old.

Royle – Andrei Keen to Arrive: Andrei Kanchelskis arrived at Maine Road on Monday to help in Manchester City’s survival struggle. And Joe Royle says that the 32-year-old is looking forward to the challenge facing him with the Blues. Royle will assess Kanchelskis’ match fitness before deciding whether to pitch the Ukrainian-born star straight into Wednesday evening’s game against Liverpool. But the Blues’ boss says that the ex-Manchester United winger is raring to go. “When I spoke to him, he said he was up for it, is looking forward to it – and is not cup-tied,” reported the City manager.

Alfie – Players With Welcome Andrei: Andrei Kanchelskis is to arrive at Manchester City at the start of this week. And Alfie Haaland says that the players are pleased that the winger is joining the club. Haaland says that the Russian international’s prospective team-mates are all aware of his quality. And the City skipper believes that having the ex-Manchester United man on board considerably improves the Blues’ prospects of Premiership survival. “Kanchelskis is certainly one of the quicker ones, and I look forward to seeing him in action,” said the Norwegian. “Everyone knows what a great player he is when he is at his best. He is sure to get a warm welcome from the lads.”

Manchester Derby to Kick Off at Noon: When Manchester City welcomed neighbours United in November, the match had a Saturday morning kick-off. And the return at Old Trafford will also have an early start. The game, which is scheduled for 21st April, will now begin at noon and will again be screened live by satellite broadcaster BSkyB. The fixture could see the home side, already runaway Premiership leaders, bidding to clinch the title. But the result is likely also to be of great importance to the Blues in their survival battle. City will have only three further matches following the derby date, with a trip to Ipswich sandwiched between home games against West Ham and Chelsea.

Part V: Liverpool at Home – Team News and Preview

City Look to Overturn the Odds: According to Joe Royle, Manchester City need five more wins this season to assure Premier League safety. But the Blues will have to be at their very best to notch one of those victories in Wednesday’s home game against Liverpool. The Merseysiders have already reached the League Cup final and the FA Cup fifth round, where they’ll host the Blues in a game less important to Joe Royle’s men than this week’s. But Anfield boss Gerard Houllier will also see the game at Maine Road as crucial – Liverpool are fourth in the Premiership table but would go second if they won their game in hand, so the Frenchman knows a win over City will boost his side’s bid for a Champions’ League qualifying berth. The 5-0 League Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace and Saturday’s 2-0 success at Leeds in the FA Cup demonstrate how formidable a task the Blues face against opponents for whom a resurgent Robbie Fowler is currently offering a fearsome attacking threat.

Goater Set to Replace Wanchope: Manchester City are set to make at least three team changes for Wednesday’s home game against Liverpool. The Blues have Steve Howey and Danny Tiatto available again after suspension, while Shaun Goater will start in attack. Paulo Wanchope is certain to be dropped after being made available for transfer, with Goater being reinstated to partner Darren Huckerby. Meanwhile, Danny Granville appears to be the man most at risk if Tiatto is recalled – though the ex-Leeds player would be unlucky to be omitted after being voted man of the match against Coventry. The reliable Howey appears a certain starter but Richard Dunne is doubtful after hurting his ankle on Saturday, while Laurent Charvet, who played for an hour as a substitute against Gordon Strachan’s men, is out of contention with a recurrence of his achilles injury. As for the rest of the line-up, much will depend on whether Joe Royle deploys a four-man or five-man defence and whether new boy Andrei Kanchelskis starts the match or is on the bench.

Murphy Injury Blow for Liverpool: Liverpool won through to the fifth round of the FA Cup at Leeds on Saturday. But the victory wasn’t achieved without cost, with midfielder Danny Murphy picking up a knee injury that will keep him out of this week’s visit to Manchester City. Murphy has been in fine form of late, notching several important goals from midfield including the winner at Manchester United in December and a double in the recent League Cup semi-final romp against Crystal Palace. However, Joe Royle won’t be allowing Murphy’s absence to raise his hopes too much. The Liverpool bench at Elland Road underlined the strength of the squad at Gerard Houllier’s disposal, with international stars Christian Ziege, Nicky Barmby, Jari Litmanen and Emile Heskey named as the Merseysiders’ four outfield substitutes against the Yorkshiremen.

Peter Brophy (


Late January – early Feburary has traditionally been the time of the fourth round of the Cup, as the final entry in last week’s diary showed, with the 1956 Southend and 1962 “Denis Law six” at Luton games. The City Diary also remembers these other cup-ties from this time of year.

On January 29 Joe Hayes (see below) and Don Revie scored when United were knocked out of the 4th round in 1955, and City put ten past Swindon Town, Bobby Marshall getting five, in 1930. Still in the 4th round City won 2-0 in a rare encounter with Accrington Stanley on January 30, 1937, and on January 31 1968 won 7-0 at Reading in a 3rd round replay, a performance which produced lavish and sporting praise for City over the Reading tannoy system as the crowd left Elm Park. Febuary 1, 1913 saw the highest attendance, at least officially, at the old Hyde Road ground as nearly 42,000 crammed in for a 0-0 Cup draw with Sunderland.

In the league this week:

Jan. 29: Francis Lee’s three goals in the 5-2 win over Wolves put City top of Division One in 1972 (finished 4th).
Jan. 30: Trevor Francis and Kevin Reeves each scored twice to beat Birmingham 4-2 in 1982.
Jan. 31: Uwe Rösler’s goal got City a 1-1 draw at Southampton in 1996.
Feb. 1: City were hammered 4-0 at Stoke in 1975 with Keith MacRae in goal, but won 4-1 on this day in 1958 with three from Billy McAdams and one from Colin Barlow.
On February 2 1991: Niall Quinn’s goal beat Norwich at Carrow Road, a season when the Blues finished 5th.
Feburary 3: Ian Brightwell scored in the 1-1 derby draw at Old Trafford in 1990. In 1979 Mike Channon, Brian Kidd, and Peter Barnes gave City a very good 3-0 win against Spurs at White Hart Lane (a match in which City fans standing on the old terraced area down one side of the pitch delighted in singing “Dirty Northern B******s” after a couple of hard tackles had upset the home crowd).
Feburary 4: Arthur Mann, of the 1970 League Cup winning side, and Joe Hayes died on this day. It’s the anniversary of Joe’s two goals at Cardiff (3-3) in 1961, and of his equalizer at Aston Villa (2-2) in 1957.

Ken Corfield (


Some of you may remember me. I’m the Derby fan that receives MCIVTA for my City-supporting friend Chris the Luddite.

Well we were obviously looking forward to this game. Much joshing and p**s taking leading up to the game. Couldn’t do the Boxing Day fixture (family nonsense for us both) so a visit to Pride Park was a must. So in the car we went with two other Derby fans (Steve and Jez) from Oxfordshire.

Predictions in the car ranged from 0-0 (Chris) to 3-1 (Steve, ever hopeful). I actually got the result correct (for probably the first and only time!).

Heard that there were 5,000 City fans due. Great, we thought, loads of atmosphere and hopefully a hat full of goals. Wrong.

The Observer article quoted in MCIVTA 678 must have been at another game. I thought the City fans were very quiet (for them). They only really got going after the equaliser. I think the Observer guy mistook the chanting that went on for most of the last 15 minutes of the first half and through half time as from the City fans because it was coming from the away end of the ground. But it was the Derby fans I’m afraid.

Well the game was absolutely s**t. No argument on that score. I agree with Richard Cooper (via Andy Noise) that your best players were Howey (good [if unchallenged] goal), Ritchie and Prior (still a Derby hero judging from the reaction of the Derby fans before and after the game). SWP is going to be a star. I always thought he might do something special when he got the ball. A diamond in the rough.

The ref was a hopeless whistle freak. Gave fouls for one tackle and not for identical ones moments later. I don’t think he was biased to one side or the other. Definitely a penalty for the foul on Wanchope mind you.

I thought the sides were pretty even (on crapness) and so did Chris. We were missing five first choice players (Kinky, Eranio, Johnson, Strupar and Rigott) so I think we have some excuses for the lack of much skill and invention.

Perhaps you might permit me, as an independent observer, a few comments on your side. Well the signs aren’t good. It’s been said many times in MCIVTA about the lack of midfield invention. This seemed to me to be the main problem. The “purchase” of Kanchelskis may help with this but I agree that Howey should be the captain. Haaland was anonymous in a game where his more workman-like skills should have been more obvious. The defence looked quite good but was hardly troubled too much. Christie’s pace caused a few problems though.

Chris feels that the side was promoted too early and perhaps a season more in the First Division might have made the transforming of the club from a 2nd Division side to a Premiership one more smooth. It would have certainly have enabled Joe to buy players over a season and bed them in one or two at a time rather than the bulk buying he’s had to do to try and survive in the top division.

The problem both clubs have is that the sides just above us (Everton, Middlesborough and Southampton) are all beginning to pull away and it seems as though you might perm three out of four and, perhaps, bearing in mind it looks like Coventry and Bradford are doomed, one from two! It’ll go to the wire.

Martin John (


In MCIVTA 678, Richard Cooper writing about his trip to Derby: “From the car park to Prideless Park looks pretty close but after a 15 minute country hike along the banks of the Trent it seemed further away than it did 10 minutes earlier.” Poor Richard, if you were walking along the River Trent you must have been going to either City Ground, Nottingham or worse still the Britannia Stadium, Stoke. And I would not wish that on anyone!

I hereby claim my GCSE in geography.

Jim Curtis (


May I introduce myself as a Boro fan. I wrote to MCIVTA early in the season asking for help towards the production of a commemorative publication in connection with the 100th League game between our teams. I received, gratefully, all the help I needed and the publication is nearly finished, it just needs info from the game on 03/02/01 (now there’s a date!).

The booklet includes facts, figures, and match reports relating to games between the two clubs. It will be very similar to a well received publication I did for the 100th Boro/Arsenal game last season. As last time it is not my intention to make anything out of it but instead proceeds will be passed to the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It is well known to Boro fans that Willie Maddren was a victim but a further connection this time is that Middlesbrough born Don Revie also fell to the disease. Don Revie’s playing career saw him at 5 clubs but it was with Manchester City that he played more games and scored more times than he did anywhere else.

The booklet will reproduce contemporary match reports of the first and 100th League games and the record wins for both teams; a listing of all results, scorers, and crowds; and further listings of the most appearances, greatest goal scorers, venues; and miscellaneous points of interest.

The cost of £1 will include a small donation to the fund but subscribers are invited to include an extra amount, entirely at their own discretion, as a further contribution. Should subscribers be happier to send the extra payment direct to MND Association then that is not a problem, their address for direct donations will be included.

Subscribers should write to Nigel Gibb, with their payment, at 3 Park View, Yarm, TS15 9UB.

Name (To be shown on commemorative envelope)
.....................................Post code....................

Nigel Gibb (


We have an attendance higher than our stated maximum capacity? Could it be a game when the only away fans where in the Gene Kelly stand so the seats normally reserved for the police in the North Stand were given over to Blues? To be sure we would need to know what game the ‘rogue’ attendance was for.

CTID, Richard Mottershead – Anorak (


Luton v. City (Youth Cup) – Milton Keynes OSC

Milton Keynes Branch of the OSC are gathering in massive numbers to support the Youth Team when they finally play at Luton on Wednesday Jan 31st.

We’re meeting up in the ‘Bedfordshire Yeoman’ at 6-30 (7pm kick off).

We’d like to completely fill the ground, but we’re a bit short… So if you can’t get a ticket for the Liverpool match at Maine Road, or you’re anywhere near the Luton area, come along and join us! Give me a call if you want more details (01327 350411).

Steve Maclean, Secretary, Milton Keynes Branch, Manchester City FC Supporters Club (


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the CSA will be on Tuesday 20th February at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm (directions available if required). Our confirmed guests are Dave Wallace – editor of the King of the Kippax, Ian Cheeseman – BBC GMR and Phill Gatenby – Spokesperson for Standing Areas For Eastlands (S.A.F.E.). If you have an opinion on standing areas at Eastlands (and surely every City fan must) or you would just like to know a bit more about the S.A.F.E. campaign, then you will be made more than welcome.

CTID, Howard Burr – Secretary, Reddish CSA (T:0161 292 2525


I was wondering whether anyone knows if Joe Royle has had a tinker with the highly realistic football management sim Championship Manager? I say this because I have been peering into the crystal ball (Championship Manager) recently, and can reveal that no less than three City players are set to appear in the 2002 World Cup Final! England will field Carlo Nash and Darren Huckerby, whilst Paul Ritchie will be playing for Scotland. Also, we can expect a transfer bid of £5.25 million from MUFC in March 2001 for R Edghill… it’s all starting to make sense now Joe.

Stephen Thomas (


We are working on to give you access to another free email service – YOURNAME@CITYSUPPORTER.COM. Please try it, see what you think and let me have your comments. We are in the very early days of putting this together so please stick with us as “there is so much to do and so little time to do it.” You know how it is…

Bob Young (


Apparently Sven Goran Erickson was at Maine Road on Saturday not just to watch Weaver but to also look at City’s excellent pre-match training facilities and superb state of the art stadium, whose four sides definitely do match.

I like imagining the look on George Weah’s face the first time someone told him that that’s where City warm up. “What?” says George, “at A.C. Milan we used to have personal trainers who give a full body massage followed by a warm up in a fully electronic state of the art gym. We then go onto the pitch for 20 minutes to get used to it.” Andy Morrison interrupts: “Here, George, we like to fit 20 blokes onto a 16-seater mini bus, and weave through a possee of p*ssed up fat skinheads shovelling meat pies and cans of red stripe down their faces, to enter a primary school gymnasium with metal bars on the windows to stop the local hoods from getting in. Once we’re in, we then drag out wooden benches and play head tennis, whilst trying to avoid knocking over the plant pots on the window ledge. When we’ve finished, we squeeze back on the bus, ensuring that we all get cramp and are therefore cr*p for the first fifteen minutes of the match. Meanwhile, we like to let the opposition warm up on a nice, wide pitch and acclimatise to the surroundings.”

The national stadium should also be modelled on Maine Road, although I think that the royal box should be in those temporary seats that City have put over the ‘king kong’ gates. Also the exterior of the ground could also be modelled on Maine Road, with wide gangways being swapped for a labyrinth of narrow streets covered in dog sh*t and discarded hot dogs leading into several hundred suspicious looking back yards where hefty after match beatings can often be attained.

Oh, and the Wembley commission should also build a massive car park, with only one exit, ensuring that every b*gger is trapped for 2 hours after the game.

Richard Ellor (


Football dog-coats!

Bobby likes his Toon-coat so much he has set up a website offering other dogs the chance to don their team’s colours… he can now make a dog a soccer dog coat for any team.

  • Poop-pockets optional
  • Personalised
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Win a soccer dog coat at the Daily Star’s website or at We have been/are/will soon be featured on The Ant And Dec Show, The Big Breakfast, Viz Magazine, Match Of The Day magazine,,, The Sunday Post, SportFirst newspaper, The Weekly News, Tyne Tees T.V News, Anglia T.V.’s A Knight With O’Brien, The Northern Echo,,, The Evening Chronicle, The Herald And Post… and these are only the places he knows about.

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Being based in South Australia we have the small luxury of a live game now and then on Foxtel (Pay TV). One problem that exists is that Fox plays one game from each week’s round, of which the teams are noted. The other is the “Game of the Week” in which the teams are not noted; my question is do you guys in the UK know what these games will be – Fox can’t even tell me the day before! If so, would it be possible for someone to put in this email if and when Man City will be featuring.

Remember people you can’t force someone to do something but you can encourage anyone to do anything! So come on people let’s get behind the team and give them our full support rather than finding faults.

Keep the Faith, Bronson Justus (


My thanks to Jim Curtis for my geography lesson in the “Whitty” on Saturday. Obviously I should have known that had I been by the Trent in Stoke wearing a City shirt I would have had 1/2 a breeze block sticking out of my head, and thanks for your directions from the Whitworth to Maine Road.


The first half was pretty dreadful – the ability to find a blue shirt was non-existent. I know the enforced changes caused yet another formation but it was a bit “Sunday League”! The second half improved and during the last 10-15 minutes I thought we were the most likely to score.

Top marks to Tony Grant, my MOTM, along with Huckerby, Granville and Morrison. The introduction of the Goat picked things up a bit and what a super goal. Charvet I think deserved more than the 5 out of 10 most newspapers credited him with. I hope the near future return of Kennedy and our signing of Andrei will create more chances as I’m certain the ‘long ball’ route has got us absolutely nowhere.

Two sour points – come on Paulo – your show of petulance was unnecessary, you were never going to set the game on fire! And unbelievably the Coventry fans – I never thought they were that way inclined. It’s a pity a few City fans felt obliged to run across to join in.

But spirits lifted – working in Salford I think a few impersonations of Barthez doing his “school crossing” act in front of Di Canio will make Monday morning a bit brighter.

Richard Cooper via Andy Noise (


Okay, everyone can see that what we have lacked in recent times are creative midfield players. Everyone knows it, and everyone has been saying it over the past few weeks, usually followed by something along the lines of, “but they’re not easy to find nowadays”, right?


Granted, I don’t see too many King Colins strutting their stuff at Gigg Lane every Saturday, and I bet not many people who have gone to Bramall Lane in recent times have seen many players fit to tie the bootlaces of one Tony Currie (now there was a player I would have loved to see in a City shirt, but that’s another story). But let’s be a bit more imaginative and creative ourselves, shall we?

A little quiz for you. Let’s start with an easy one – choose the correct answer.

Q Where is the next World Cup going to take place in 2002?

  1. In the shed at the bottom of next door’s garden?
  2. Skegness
  3. Outside Piccadilly railway station
  4. Japan/ Korea

Okay, I hope that you got that right – now we’re off and running. Next one.

Q Where are Japan and Korea?

  1. In Asia
  2. Behind the bathroom washbasin
  3. Exactly where you left them last night

So, let us assume that you got that correct too. Asia it is then. And we all know that the most popular “football team” (I use the phrase in its loosest sense) in Asia is ManUre, right?

True in lots of places, like Malaysia and Thailand, but not, I’m delighted to say, in Japan. No, the scum are still relatively unfollowed here, although it is relative, but suffice it to say that it is normally possible to say that I am from Manchester, without getting “oh, Man U” etc., blah, blah, blah, in response.

So, who is the most popular team here?. Well, over the last twelve months or so, it would be Roma. Before that, it was Perugia. The more astute amongst you may see a pattern here. Both in Italy, and both have employed Japan’s most famous player, Hidetoshi Nakata. All over the country, you see replica shirts, bought for between £50-75, with Nakata’s name emblazoned on them. Not to mention hats (£20), scarves (£20) and down jackets (£100), all in Roma colours.

In fact, it’s patently clear that both Roma and Perugia have pulled off a marketing coup of epic proportions, as the sale of club goodies has paid Nakata’s transfer fee and salary several times over, simply because he is the first Japanese to go abroad and really crack it. So, a top international player for nowt doesn’t seem a bad idea to me!

The kids here are like anywhere else, they want sporting heroes to worship, and someone like Nakata is seen to be playing in a “real” league, at the top level, and he fits the bill perfectly. And, the best bit is, a huge proportion of the kids here have (too much) money to spend as well, especially in the cities like Tokyo (population 13 million) and Osaka (6.5 million) so it is a merchandising man’s dream.

At the moment, there are no Japanese players in the Premier League (although I think West Ham have just signed someone from Osaka). So, the opportunity is there for an ambitious club (like City, I hope) to secure their place as the most popular Premier League side in one of the richest countries in the world, with a population of 130 million, and to get exactly the type of creative players we are looking for, with their transfer fees and salaries probably covered by selling replica goods, into the bargain.

Sound good, eh? Even better, there are two players here who would grace any soccer field in the world with their creativity and flair coming from midfield, topped off with a few goals into the bargain. One left footed, one right, both internationals, and around the right age, in their early 20’s. And mark my words, these two are going to be the creative cornerstones of the Japanese World Cup side in 2002, and how good would it be to have two City players in the World Cup, playing for the home nation?

My only query about either player would be concerning their strength, and the ability to play week in, week out in the Premier, but, hey, you can work on building up strength – they did it with Nakata in Italy. You can’t teach pure creative talent.

So, come on, Joe, have a look at Shunsuke Nakamura of Yokohama F Marinos and Shinji Ono of Urawa Reds, because they are precisely the kind of creative midfielders that we don’t seem to have in England at the moment (exactly what everyone seems to say that we need at this very moment), and they probably wouldn’t actually cost the club anything in the long run.

And best of all, if we got these two to come to Maine Road, I know that when I tell people that I am from Manchester, they will say “City” and not the other lot allegedly from the city. Imagine how good it would feel to know that I did my bit to help save the good people of Japan from a fate worse that death, repelling the Red plague before it ever really got a chance to take hold with its pernicious infection!

Incidentally, I have only been able to get to Maine Road once in the last couple of years, and the score was City 5, Everton 0. So, I am obviously the lucky talisman that is needed at Maine Road over the coming few matches, and therefore if anyone wants to pay my airfare home every weekend (every other weekend would be acceptable, at a push) then let me know.

Steve Cowan (


It doesn’t really suprise me that Wanchope has been shown the door.

I think that if Joe has one valid criticism it is that he can’t handle those players with an ego. Joe’s “Prima Donnas” don’t last five minutes. I live in the Carribbean and play friendly games with the lads here. To a large extent, it’s part of the culture to become excited and passionate about seemingly small issues – like being taken off – I’m not defending Wanchope, but I think Joe has to realise that everyone else doesn’t think like him – “passionate, my @rse” I can hear him saying.

He tends to surround himself with “good lads” who “knuckle down” and “Fight for every inch” etc. Yet when we have a player who is gifted or classy, they invariably find their way onto the bench, then the transfer list.

It started with Kinky (although the reasons there were probably more valid) and carries on through to Weah this season (and remember, our first couple of months in the Premiership saw us mid-table – we’ve added just six points more in the last 13 games!). Wright-Phillips was touted as one of our best players, but now he is being “rested” (rested? – he’s not Jobbo!).

What happened to Terry Cooke, who helped haul us out of the mire, only to be axed so quickly without as much as an explanation? Not surprising if his form, if not career, has nosedived without any help. Some players can react to the “just get ON with it lad” and “you were SH*T today” motivation, which Joe & Co seem to be singularily capable of, but others need encouragement in a different manner, to bring out the best in them. More than one way to skin a cat, Joe. Old School.

Bishop is about to be offloaded, saying that the boss doesn’t think we will be “playing our way” out of games for the rest of the season. Does that mean we have to put up with the type of games we saw vs Coventry, when the newspapers were scathing of our lack of quality?

I think Joe has done a great job and don’t want to see him go, but someone has to wake him up to some of these tactics before he turns into the Maggie Thatcher of Maine Road.

Andy Gascoigne (


Ben Stafford in MCIVTA 678 makes an excellent point about Joe Royle. I know of not one genuine City fan who wants to hound the Big Fella out of the club. However, Joe has made his intentions clear that he wants to retire in a few years’ time. Managers always want at least 3 years to prove themselves, so why not get a younger, fresher face in now to work with Joe & Willie so that he knows the club, the tradition and gets a feel for the place (I say this on the premise that Willie would not want to be boss)?

You can’t make this comment without throwing a couple of names in the frame. So how about one of the Davids, Platt or Moyes?

As much as I’d like to see this happen I don’t believe it will. I believe Joe’s only real weakness is his stubbornness. How many times have we seen players shunned because Joe’s had a spat with them? Left out, not for the good of the team. The only exception to this rule being Tony Grant. Two weeks ago he was in the stiffs now he’s our saviour!

Oh and Ernie Barrow was spot on too. Howey for skipper!

Whatever happens, be true, be proud and be Blue.

Mark Robison (


Good grief, I return from 3 weeks in sunny, warm Cape Town to an email tray full of doom and gloom. Blimy I think I’ll slit my wrists…

Hang on, no I won’t. Weren’t Sunderland relegated a few years back and they’re now 2nd in the Premier League (and did they sack their manager?)?

The chairman is dead right, Joe must stay – regardless of whether we stay up or go down. We’re where we are now ’cause we sacked the manager too frequently in the past. To sack Joe now would fulfil Swales’ dream of MCFC being the worst ‘Big’ team in the land.

I still think we might stay up though – ’cause I’m ever the optimist – now where is that 1/2 full glass of beer I started 5 minutes ago…

CTID, Richard Mottershead – Anorak (


With the recent news of Paulo Wanchope being transfer listed, I firmly believe that Joe Royle is the driving force behind City’s downfall. Granted, he did a good job getting us up the past two years, but he’s not Premiership managerial material. Royle is better off as a Division 1 manager than a Premiership manager simply because he does not know how to handle big name players. I’m not justifying Wanchope’s reactions, simply stating that a more exprienced manager would have handled it better. Royle has yet to prove his worth in the Premier League and he’s hurting City.

With the possibilty of Wanchope leaving our talent up front is sorely lacking. Who are we going to rely on? Goater and Dickov, in my humble opinion, are not Premiership starters, and Huckerby has yet to prove himself. I don’t want to sound like I’m anti-City here, it’s just the opposite, I love City. The thing is that I can’t stand to see a manager, who has yet to prove himself on this level, be City’s downfall yet again. Let’s be honest here, Royle has not done so well in the transfer market. Our midfield is more defensive than offensive, our defence is well not all that good, and lastly our forwards have not produced. When you have talented players like Weah and Wanchope, people expect them to produce the results, but the fact is these men need support from the midfield, something which has been sorely lacking this season. Let’s just hope we can survive, or maybe a drop would be in our favour; we regroup, find some better management and make a strong push like Charlton did.

CTID, Armando Testani, Binghamton, NY (


This topic is obviously going to do the rounds with us again now that Kanchelskis (I never could spell it!) has signed for us and it has had its first airing in MCIVTA 678. It follows on closely from Simon Mayo’s Radio One show the same day. On the show he has a feature, The Good The Bad The Ugly, and you are supposed to guess what the character is. Well one witty Blue asked; “Is he the good that is Manchester City, the bad that is Kanchelskis who used to play for Uni**d and scored a hat-trick against us or the ugly that is the reported £40,000 per week wages he is on?”

The debate has only just died down after Terry Cooke signed but it has me thinking… am I the only guy who doesn’t care about his past as long as he does the buisness for us? I remember when Denis Law signed for us in the 70’s. Perhaps he was slightly different as he was a Blue long before he was Rag and he was just returning to the fold. The difference though between then and now was that he was treated like a hero by Maine Road even before he scored that goal. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain players I never want to see in laser blue but Andrei, why not? Mind you, I have to say that or I may just end up with a horse’s head in my bed! We certainly need a right sided player to add balance the side and with Kennedy out for a few more weeks he will also add width which is very evidently lacking at the moment. Oh and one final thing, if anybody sees a brown envelope lying around Maine Road… it belongs to Joe!

Nigel Pickles (


Am I dreaming or something? What is this I hear about Wanchope leaving? Is this just a stunt to make the jersey-sale increase, to release the “star” players one after another (it’s like; first I got the Weah one, then I settled for the Wanchope – soon I’ll have half the squad in the storeroom). How come players like Fowler, Sheringham, Zola can accept to sit on the bench/get benched, something that seems to be an impossibility for the City “stars”!? Maybe we should have gone for Robbie Keane – if not only for his habit to score against us… no – pull out the dough, buy Henrik Larsson, Jason Euell or someone else without that superstar ego (does anyone remember that I mentioned Johan Mj