Newsletter #687

Better late than never, but judging by the feedback my little warning e-mail got, you’re a superstitious lot that want McVittee to go out on Tuesdays in future as it appears to help us win – so much for my lucky underpants theory! I liked the story I read in “The Independent” about the minibus full of Blues that was looking for a Lottery ticket outlet; they declined the offer of a scratchcard, convinced their luck had changed so wanted a punt at the big one!

I know our win will have made a lot of Sunderland supporters happy and they’ll take some pleasure from knowing that a Mackem was central to our defeat of the Mags. Too often we’ve had to put up with ex-players coming back to haunt and score against us, so it was nice to see Steve Howey turn the tables. Although the reports I’ve read suggest he was man of the match, there was a lot of encouragement to be taken from the performances of the likes of Dunne, Kanchelskis and inevitably our favourite Aussie. Now if we could only win at home… See below if you’re in need of a ticket.

This issue has Pete’s news round up, ‘Subbuteo perspective’ reports from up in the rafters of St James’, news of an ambitious charity fundraiser and a wealth of opinion on the prospects for City turning a corner. Sound familiar?

Back to normal on Thursday so keep it coming.

Next game: Southampton at home, Saturday 3rd March 2001


Part I – Newcastle Away – Result and Reaction

Goater Strike Seals Vital Win: Manchester City gave their Premiership survival hopes a tremendous boost on Saturday. Shaun Goater’s 61st-minute goal was enough to earn the Blues three points at Newcastle – and take the club to within a point of 17th-placed Middlesbrough. City produced an outstanding defensive display at St James’ Park, with former Magpie Steve Howey earning man-of-the-match honours ahead of centre-back partner Richard Dunne. The pace and trickery of Andrei Kanchelskis, Danny Tiatto and Darren Huckerby frequently troubled the hosts, and it was the Ukrainian winger who played in Goater for the vital winner. Huckerby then missed a great chance to seal the victory, but the Blues held on for a crucial result, and moved closer to Terry Venables’ side after ‘Boro lost at home to Southampton.

Royle Hails Defensive Pair: Manchester City’s 1-0 win at Newcastle on Saturday was based on a solid defensive performance. And Joe Royle was full of praise for Steve Howey and Richard Dunne after the game. Howey had a broken toe but was determined not to miss the game against his former club, and the ex-England man produced an immaculate display. As a result, the Geordies rarely threatened Nicky Weaver’s goal, and the Blues were able to delight Royle by converting one of their opportunities at the other end to take the points. “Steve Howey was 10 out of 10 today, probably just in front of Richard, who was 9.5,” said the City manager. “Our goalkeeper’s not really had a save to make. I thought we defended magnificently when we had to and broke dangerously.”

Robson Blames Injuries for Defeat: Bobby Robson saw his Newcastle team go down 1-0 at home to Manchester City on Saturday. And the former England boss blamed selection problems for his team’s lacklustre display. Robson had intended to field Robert Lee and Gary Speed in his line-up against the Blues, but both men were forced to cry off at the last minute. And that left the 68-year-old hoping his side could scrape a draw against opponents he would normally have expected to beat. “I’d usually have more ambition than hoping to draw against Man City,” he said, “but I knew that with what we had out there, we’d find it a very difficult game.”

Part II: Transfer News and Rumours

Morrison for Wednesday Talk Continues: Joe Royle last week played down reports that Andy Morrison has played his last game for Manchester City. But speculation continues to link the big defender with a move away from Maine Road. Morrison was disappointed to be substituted for tactical reasons in the Blues’ FA Cup defeat against Liverpool and the former skipper was again missing from the City line-up at Newcastle at the weekend. Newspaper sources claim that Royle is willing to listen to offers for the player, and Sheffield Wednesday were thought to be interested in securing his services before manager Paul Jewell was sacked recently. It’s now claimed that Peter Shreeves, Jewell’s replacement at Hillsborough, is also keen to land the ex-Huddersfield star.

Mystery over Bishop’s Miami Deal: It was reported last week that Ian Bishop was set finally to seal his transfer from Manchester City to Miami Fusion. But now Sheffield Wednesday have claimed that they are in talks with the midfielder. Bishop had earlier rejected the chance to join Wednesday and a number of other First Division outfits, preferring the chance to see out his playing days in the USA. And it was expected he’d be unveiled by the Fusion this week ahead of pre-season training for the new MLS season, which begins at the start of April. But the South Yorkshire outfit’s official website has thrown doubt on the move by stating that the 35-year-old has had further negotiations over a prospective switch to Hillsborough. It’s thought that the player could also interest Barnsley and Burnley if he does eventually stay in England.

No Move for Paulo This Season: Paulo Wanchope is on the Manchester City transfer list. But the Costa Rican’s cartilage operation means he won’t be leaving Maine Road until the summer. Wanchope went under the surgeon’s knife earlier this month and will not be fit in time to make a pre-deadline departure. “Paulo won’t be back in training at least for a fortnight so there is no chance of him leaving before the transfer deadline,” reflected Joe Royle. “I can’t remember anyone buying a player when he’s on crutches.” It’s rumoured that the former Derby and West Ham star will attract bids from the continent in the summer, with French giants Marseille said to be one of the interested parties – on the recommendation of the 25-year-old’s erstwhile City strike partner George Weah.

Jim Whitley to Make Cobblers Loan Move: Jim Whitley is out of contract at Manchester City at the end of the season. And the 25-year-old will spend at least part of the period between now and then away from Maine Road. Whitley has been training with Cambridge, and was expected to join the Second Division side on a temporary basis. But the U’s have sacked manager Roy McFarland, throwing the move into doubt. And it’s now being reported that Northampton are set to step in to clinch the loan signing of the Northern Ireland international. The player’s City colleague Lee Crooks has also been at Sixfields this term, though his spell with the Cobblers has been badly hit by injuries.

Bird Plays Down Celtic Talk: Manchester City could face a battle to fend off interest from Celtic in a key member of the Maine Road staff. But the man in question isn’t one of Joe Royle’s players. The Glasgow club is looking for a replacement for departed Chief Executive Allan MacDonald, and head-hunters engaged by them are said to have compiled a short-list of four possible contenders. And the Blues’ Chief Operating Officer Chris Bird is reported to be one of those under consideration. However, Bird says he hasn’t been approached by the Scottish league leaders. “I am obviously flattered that a club of Celtic’s status are apparently showing interest in me,” commented Bird, “but I have not been interviewed for any vacancy at Celtic and nor have I had any approach.”

Part III: Miscellaneous News and Views

City Players in International Action: Four Manchester City players have been called up by their countries for friendly matches this week. But it’s not yet clear whether any of the Blues’ international contingent will actually be in action. Nicky Weaver is in the England under-21 party for a game against Spain at Birmingham City’s ground on Tuesday, but will start on the bench, with Paul Robinson of Leeds winning the nod to take the goalkeeper’s jersey. Meanwhile, Richard Dunne is with the Republic of Ireland’s squad for the Dublin friendly against Denmark, and Jeff Whitley and Tommy Wright have been called up by Northern Ireland for the home match against Norway.

Injured Trio Could Play in Reserves: Manchester City will be boosted this week by the return of three players to match action. Mark Kennedy, Paul Dickov and Kevin Horlock will all feature in a reserve game on Wednesday. The Blues’ second string face Bury at Gigg Lane in a rearranged Manchester Senior Cup tie. And Kennedy and Dickov will take part after recovering from their respective Achilles and knee problems. Horlock, who only returned to training this week after two months out with a broken ankle, has made sufficient progress to start the game – though the ex-Swindon man may not complete the ninety minutes. The City side will also feature Laurent Charvet, Andy Morrison and Richard Edghill.

Police Want Weekend Achohol Ban: Manchester City fans seeking to drink in the pubs around Maine Road ahead of next weekend’s game against Southampton could face disappointment. Police are seeking to ban the consumption of alcohol in the vicinity of the stadium. Greater Manchester Police have re-designated the Saints clash as a high-risk game, claiming that fans’ frustrations over the club’s relegation battle could spark violence – especially in the wake of incidents at the last two home games against Coventry and Spurs. And GMP have also applied for an order closing 18 pubs and off-licences around the ground from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Magistrates will make a decision later in the week.

Royle – Grant Can Win City Future: Joe Royle was prepared to allow Tony Grant to leave Manchester City earlier this season. But now the Blues’ boss has challenged the 27-year-old to earn himself a future at Maine Road. Grant’s days at City looked to be numbered when he was sent on loan to West Bromwich Albion before Christmas, and the ex-Everton man would have been allowed to join either the Baggies or Barnsley when the First Division pair showed interest in a permanent deal at the turn of the year. But injury problems for the Blues gave the player a chance to feature at senior level – and after several substitute outings in recent weeks, he impressed his manager when handed a first start of the season at Newcastle on Saturday. “The challenge is there for Tony and I told him to prove me wrong to show me that he should have been playing,” Royle told the official club website. “With performances like that on Saturday I will gladly hold my hands up.”

Strunz Quits After Failed Maine Road Trial: Thomas Strunz recently tried and failed to earn a contract with Manchester City. And now the German midfielder has decided to quit football. Strunz was released by Bayern Munich in November after is career with the crack Bavarian club was blighted by injury. The 32-year-old has since tried to convince FC Cologne, Spanish side Real Oviedo and most recently City to sign him, but after failing in his trial at Maine Road has opted to end his career. “I’ve realised that my time is over,” he said. “I will never be coming back again.”

Part IV: Players and Management on Survival Hopes

Several members of the Maine Road coaching and playing staffs have featured in press articles in recent weeks talking about the club’s battle for Premiership survival. Here’s a selection of what they’ve been saying:

“Many people have been writing us off and we’ve used that to our own good. It’s not nice being written off. I’ve heard things like we were lucky to go up in the first place and we didn’t deserve it and I reminded the players that they had a score to settle.” – Joe Royle explains how he’s been using the words of his team’s critics motivate the City players.

“I’d take 40 points now and sit on my hands and see if it is enough. The Newcastle win gives us a chance and a lot of hope.” – Royle speculates on how many points City will need to beat the drop.

“I’ve never thought anything different than we will survive. I think we’re too good to go down.” – Royle after the win at Newcastle, using a form of words that hopefully won’t come back to haunt him.

“We have still got the time to make a big impression but if it is going to happen, then everyone needs to believe it. Everyone has to be positive no matter what happens.” – Willie Donachie on the attitude City need to show in their survival fight.

“I want to help City stay in the Premiership for the fans. They have been amazing and have so much passion.” – Laurent Charvet, now recovered from his Achilles injury, after earning the praise of Joe Royle on his return to the City side as a substitute for flu-victim Alfie Haaland at Newcastle.

“It’s still a hell of a challenge to stay up but [winning at Newcastle] gives us more confidence for the Southampton game. We desperately needed that win and with Middlesbrough losing it brings them back to us because they were starting to creep away from us.” – Shaun Goater on what his winner at St James’ Park means for the Blues.

“We have great self-confidence and self-belief in our ability and always had. We will prove that by staying up. Our spirit is fantastic. Everyone mixes together and that is a big help when you get on the pitch. Here at City everyone feels connected. You cannot buy the kind of spirit we have at Maine Road.” – A confident Steve Howey on the dressing-room atmosphere at the club.

“The victory was a touch sweeter because it was Newcastle but that is not the important thing. We needed the points desperately. We have never doubted our ability to stay in the Premiership and that showed today. We are good enough to stay up, there is no doubt about that.” – Howey after finishing on the winning side against his former club.

Peter Brophy (


I have a spare ticket for the City vs. Southampton game on 03/03/2001. It’s in the Main stand and is going for £15.00.

If anybody is interested can they please email me at the address below.

Vicki Hensall (


“Steve Howey’s not a Geordie anymore” I think it says it all. Well yeah there was more to the match than just Howey, but it was his partnership with Dunne which brought our first 3 points since 1968 (or was that our last win in the league at Newcastle? I know it was 2 points in those days, and as an aside it was the last time a member of my family has been to Newcastle – good omen?). After securing a ticket via the London OSC (a big thank you to Carol), I caught the train from sunny Darlington to Newcastle. Once the train had arrived at Newcastle (overcrowded 2 train coach style train, you know one of those regional railways efforts) it became perfectly obvious that sun glasses were not required as the sky seemed quite dark, although it was still dry. After a wander around town and being disappointed that Eldon Square was a shopping centre (I thought it would be like St Ann’s Square) I ventured towards the ground. Like most ageing grounds, St James’ Park is very close to the town centre and surrounded by many houses, but although it is still under construction it is an impressive sight – this is what Maine Road should/could have been. Entry to the seats was via 300 flights of stairs (no lift that I could see) and once at the top the majority (if not all) City fans were puffing and panting. After a quick liquid refreshment provided by Mr Smith it was off to find my seat. The climb (pretty steep stairs) to the seats over it was time to take the view in and how impressive it was. I’m not sure now on reflection if it was a bit too high (though Sunderland fans had assured me beforehand that the Wearmouth Bridge could be seen), maybe a health/phobia warning could be put on tickets! Anyway, being up in the gods gave a Subbuteo feel to the proceedings and although the numbers were pretty clear, the names were a little less so.

The players came out for the start of the game and Howey got a nice reception on his return home (sic); “Steve Howey’s not a Geordie anymore”. City kicked off playing from left to right and surprisingly Newcastle played from right to left! 🙂 The first-half trundled on with the ground becoming more morgue-like as the half progressed (this is becoming a common trend); to counter this, away fans were all located in the upper tier of the Sir John Hall Stand, so I doubt whether the players could hear the great travelling support. In fact the Newcastle fans only came to life with a rendition of “If you hate Man United clap your hands”, obviously generated by the Blue hordes. Chances were few and far between in the first-half, with Goater having a shot blocked, Kanchelskis constantly turning Wayne Quinn inside out, Weaver clutching a half-hearted attempt from Solano and watching as a shot by Quinn dipped over the bar. So half-time and a huge cheer as the tannoy announcer read out Sunderland’s half-time score of 1-0 to Leicester.

Second-half started with a brief flurry of snow and the Newcastle fans came to life with a rendition of “Blaydon Races”. City seemed a lot brighter up front after the break and Grant just blazed over after being supplied by Kanchelskis, Huckerby was creating havoc down the left-wing and it came as no surprise that City took the lead. After awarding a free-kick in City’s half, the ball was played to Kanchelskis, who decided to run from right to left with the ball taking the defender with him; still running, he spotted the Goat lurking behind Hughes and played a superb pass to the Goat who took a couple of strides before placing it right-footed into the corner of the net. Cue wild celebrations from the fans, the Goat and probably the whole of Wearside – “Feed the Goat and he will score”. Suddenly City were right on top; without pausing for breath Huckerby had a tame right-footer which sailed wide of Given’s left post. Then a glorious cross by Kanchelskis into the box should have put away by Huckerby but he fluffed it with his left foot, when surely any connection with his right foot would have seen the ball sail in for goal number 2. Newcastle fans were stung into disgust at what they were seeing on the pitch, in fact one fan turned around and screamed at his fellow Geordies to get behind the team, but to no avail. Instead he was warmly applauded by the City fans and given a rendition of “There’s only one of you singing”, which went down very well and the fan took a bow before sitting back down. Joe then does what he always does and took Huckerby off and brought Whitley on to shore things up. Newcastle responded by replacing 3 players, but with the height and the crap tannoy I have no idea who went off except to say that Barton came on. The fans responded by cheering the rugby result and leaving before the final whistle – “We can see you sneaking out”. Despite a miss by Acuna (too bothered by the post than the goal), Howey blocking a shot with his ar*e and a blast over the bar by Barton, City hung on for all 3 points (it is too long since we last said that!).

Leaving the ground involved a guided tour as the entrance we came in was blocked by stewards and police. After wandering down the 400 flights of stairs we appeared in the middle of a snow storm/blizzard but who cares, this could be the turning point of our season – fingers crossed! The journey back was equally crap, with a big Virgin train being full of fans (did I pass David Bernstein on the footbridge?) so again it was standing room only. Delighted to hear that the Newcastle fans had a soft spot for us and hoped we’d stay up – who doesn’t love City? 🙂

Weaver 6 – Had nowt to do, but comfortably coped with what he had to catch.
Granville 7 – Looks confident and comfortable at left-back, good performance.
Steve Howey 10+ – Not a Geordie any more – stunning performance; I believe someone asked Rodney Marsh on Sky whether Shearer had had a kick, and Marsh replied no apart from the one up the backside from Howey.
Dunne 9 – As solid as Howey, our victory was built on the performance of himself and Howey.
Haaland 6 – Another poor performance, maybe affected by illness? Replaced by Charvet.
Tiatto 7 – A quiet game by his standards, but did what was required although he drifted inside a bit too often. Played some amazing cross-field balls.
Wiekens 6 – Is still crap, although looked good against the non-existent Newcastle midfield.
Grant 7 – Good, solid display and played some intelligent passes, may be the best of what we have at the moment.
Kanchelskis 8 – Still has periods of inactivity, but on the whole was excellent. Created the goal and was in devastating form.
Huckerby 7 – Now I like him, I like his pace but he doesn’t seem to able to finish. Should have scored in the second half but his paced always caused problems. Was replaced by Whitley.
Goater 6 – Poor vision, poor first touch, slow, leaden footed – then he scores and suddenly he’s a different player, loads of pace, springs in his feet, hungry for the ball. Let’s hope this is the start of a purple patch.

Charvet 7 – Played very well and I’m pleased for him, was probably the right sort of game to bring him back.
Whitley 6 – Didn’t do much, but didn’t really have the time to get involved.
Prior – He might never play again if Howey/Dunne stays free of injury and suspension.
Nash – He might never play if Weaver stays free of injury and suspension.
Ostenstad – He might never play.

“25 years and we’re still here”

James Walsh (


I enjoyed my day out in Newcastle so much that I have to share the experience with all at MCIVTA in the form of an almost match report. A combination of dodgy eyesight and a seat incredibly far from the pitch mean that a detailed commentary on the football action is not possible but I hope there is something interesting in the following blurb to interest one or two.

For the most observant of you out there you will recognise my name only from pathetic match ticket requests over the last few years and one only last week. My weekend in Newcastle was booked within a day of the fixtures being announced so imagine my dismay when the big Sold Out notice was hung outside the ticket office and no tickets allocated to my faxed request of a couple of weeks earlier. Feelers went out to a couple of contacts and a request to MCIVTA and within 2 days I had 4 tickets plus offers of 2 more. Since I only wanted 2 this left me with excess spending of £52 and a need to sell. When my original ticket request was honoured 4 days later I was left with 6 tickets in my hand and only 3 days before the match. Panic but at worst this would be an expensive day out and much better than missing out completely.

Excess tickets were shed at cost without too much trouble and match day arrived. Staying with friends in Durham, I shared a car with 3 Newcastle fans for the journey to the game, all good natured banter and with coat zipped up to the neck and hat in pocket I managed 3 pints before the game amid the home support. Walked up to the ground with about 15 minutes to kick off to find us all being squeezed in through a single turnstile. Just made it to the top of 100’s of stairs in time for kick off but quite a few people missed kick off and were still trickling in after 15 minutes of play. No real loss though since the first half was pretty dull with neither side really making an impression but there was nothing to jangle the nerves so I was quite happy.

Somehow Newcastle have managed to build a huge and impressive stadium but a lot of supporters are now a long way from the pitch and the view was similar to watching Match of the Day from the far side of a large pub. Couldn’t make out numbers on shirts never mind names so it took a while to confirm who was who and apart from Shearer the Newcastle lot were totally unrecognisable to me. City were fairly steady and the fans were making all the noise with no evidence of a song from the home support.

The second half had a lot more purpose and initially Newcastle seemed to come at us a bit. Nothing of concern for our defence though with “Oh Steve Howey… is not a Geordie any more” and Richard Dunne working better together than I have seen before and producing a Premiership performance at the back for a change. Midfield was less secure but we were not giving the ball away as freely as I’ve seen on other occasions and the boys were all working hard and not allowing Newcastle to play.

Tony Grant (I think) had a reasonable chance but on the whole neither team looked as though they would score and I was just beginning to think that a point away at Newcastle was not a bad result when ‘Oh Kanchelskis… is not a Munich any more’ made a clear break and against all the odds ‘The Goat’ put the ball away cleanly. I was so happy I thought I would burst.

From here on there was only one team in the match and a second goal from Huckerby would have sealed things once and for all. Confidence was clear in the team for the next 20 minutes and we played some promising football, even in midfield, and it was only for the last few minutes that the white knuckle ride of being 1-0 up gripped me with doubt.

As ever the support from the fans at an away match was superb. Where some of the songs come from I can only guess but they were sung with passion to the point that as I write this on Monday my throat is still very sore. A much stated comment but if we could get 30,000 at Maine Road singing like the 3,000 at away matches then we would have a fortress – let’s hope the boys can take confidence from this game and give us something to sing about over the crucial 4-5 games ahead of us. Our form over the next month or so will almost certainly seal our fate for the season and I know we are all praying. Personally I saw a level of commitment from the team on Saturday that has been missing these last few weeks and they were back to the kind of hard work that has produced our success over the last two seasons. Solid at the back and take the chances up front, please please please give us a run of 3 point Saturdays.

Leaving the ground I found my meeting point with the car driver blocked by a line of police who were intent on creating tension where there should have been none. I got away without incident and covered up prior to a pint hiding from the snow somewhere doon toon but would not be surprised if other MCIVTA subscribers report problems. The mood in and around the ground was very good and there was no sign of tension even when we were singing the usual array of ‘like being in church’ style songs. In fact the segregation inside the ground was more relaxed than I have seen at other Premiership grounds but seemed wholly appropriate. For some reason the police were expecting trouble this week when everyone I spoke to claimed that they only ever have trouble after Sunderland or the Scum visit them. Kept quiet in the car on the way back since the snow falling meant that getting the bus/train did not seem to be a good idea.

Hope the waffle was worth reading; if so I’ll write some more later in the season.

Adrian Coe (


I have been visiting Newcastle now for 5 years, driving my 2 kids to and from University. We agreed that if we ever got to play Newcastle, we would do all we could to get to see the match.

I have watched with interest the growth of St James’ Park stadium. Like the result of time lapse photography, each time I drove into Newcastle, it got bigger! It really is a magnificent edifice and we managed to get tickets to watch the match on Saturday. To prepare for the occasion, we had to go to a student haunt in town and I had a very respectable pint or two of local ale at £1/pint. It’s some years since I paid that for a pint. Once inside I was able to notice that it had changed somewhat since my last match there in 1968 (and yes, I do have some grass off the pitch in my scrapbook).

However, we were on row Y at the top of the Sir John Hall stand. This is the very back row of the “extension” to the stadium. The pitch was about 3 miles away and looked like a Subbuteo table. Even Howey and Dunne looked like midgets. Fortunately, I am in the habit of taking a compact pair of binoculars with me to matches, and was able to provide live commentary on the proceedings to all those around me. At half time I was able to scour the horizon and watch people going about their business in Holland. You could not hear any of the noise from the home fans (if they made any!), who appeared to be disembodied cardboard cut outs quite some distance away.

For this “out of match” experience they had the cheek to charge £26. God knows what the front seats cost! I suppose this is what it must be like at the top of the Swamp extension. No wonder there is never any noise from the 60 odd thousand. They are so far away from the pitch that the sound gets lost into the sky. Anyway, my message is that if we are still playing in this league next year, don’t bother buying a ticket in the sky if you like to be anywhere near the football.

And what about that snow that came down just as the game ended? Lucky or what?

Had that arrived an hour or so before kick off, we would have had a postponement on our hands and would have had to spend the whole day in the aforementioned pub!

Chris Ryder (


City play Bury in the MSCC away at Gigg Lane on Wednesday 28 February at 7pm. Weather permitting of course.

Heidi Pickup (


City Diary 26th February – 4th March.

This week in City’s history: two birthdays, a triumph, a disaster and a bit of Gary Owen.

26th February: It’s Colin Bell’s birthday (1946). On this day in 1889 Ardwick F.C. (soon to become Manchester City) played Newton Heath (later United) in a friendly to raise money for the widows and children of local coal-miners killed in a pit explosion. If any of the poor souls left behind were Ardwick supporters and went to the game they’d have been saddened again, for the “heathens” won 3-2.

27th February: In 1937 Fred Tilson got his second hat-trick in successive games as City beat Wolves 4-1 and went on to win the championship for the first time. In 1979 on this date Gary Owen scored twice in the 2-2 draw at home to Norwich. Saturday morning, 24th Feb. 2001 and “City go forward as the sleet swirls around St. James’s Park” – it’s Gary Owen again, commentating via the Internet on today’s game even as I’m writing the notes on his past one. Goater’s scored, Owen is shouting into the mike and the photograph of Dennis Tueart’s winner against the same opposition in the ’76 League Cup Final is propped up facing the computer to make sure City hang on. Which brings us to…

28th February, 1976: Peter Barnes running through the Newcastle defence, Tueart’s overhead kick, a half-back line of Doyle, Watson, and Oakes, Booth and Hartford in the team. Royle and Donachie too, and 100,000 inside Wembley! No Colin Bell, because Martin Buchan’s crashing tackle three months earlier had put him out of the side (and out of playing football, really), but this was the team that won City’s last major trophy twenty-five years ago today. The programme was 20 pence, they were still building ships on the Tyne, television series were starting to sentimentalise Geordies, and David Coleman was trying to sound like one by saying “NewCAStle” with deliberate emphasis on the second syllable. What comes back now about the game was how easy it was to get a ticket outside Wembley, having gone up there from west London on the morning of the match, and how low-key City’s supporters seemed afterwards. “You won, you’re meant to be celebrating!” some Newcastle fans shouted as the crowds made their way quietly back to the stations. It was their first sight of a cup in twenty years, whereas City’s attitude seemed to be “won the League Cup, that’s nice, it adds to the list.” No one expected it to be long before the next big success. And now it’s the silver jubilee of that day. Only another couple of years and on 28 February 2003 City will be able to mark the centenary of another piece of glory, the 9-0 thrashing of Gainsborough Town in 1903: Bannister, Gillespie, Meredith, Turnbull, and Threlfall shared the goals.

There’s no 29th February this year, but on this leap year date in 1992 Steve McMahon’s clever play made the goals for Niall Quinn and David White in the 2-0 victory over Aston Villa, for whom one Dwight Yorke missed an open goal.

1st March: Dennis Tueart scored four times from the penalty spot against Norwich in 1979, but only two of them counted as the referee made him take one penalty three times until he was satisfied there’d been no infringements.

2nd March: a hundred years ago today City lost 0-2 at Derby County.

3rd March: Fifty years ago today in 1951 City lost 0-2 at Brentford (Division Two). They were beaten by Wolves in successive years on this date, 5-1 in the League in 1973 when Rodney Marsh got the only goal, and 2-1 in the 1974 League Cup Final. Back in 1934 Maine Road had the record attendance for any football match in England outside Wembley, 84,569 coming to see, or try to see, the 1-0 6th Round F.A. Cup win over Stoke. In 1962 Peter Dobing scored three times at home to Spurs (6-2), Joe Hayes and Neil Young adding goals to connect two eras between them. And on 3rd March 1979 while Nicky Weaver was being born, City were at home to Bolton and won 2-1 through goals from Mike Channon and that man Gary Owen.

4th March: Two wins and a loss to Burnley all on this date in the mid-1960s, two Francis Lee goals at home to Arsenal in 1972, and a 0-3 defeat by Arsenal at Highbury in 1978, made memorable only by a plate of inedible cod and chips somewhere in Islington.

Ken Corfield (


On the 18th March, 3 Leyton Orient fans and myself are setting out to visit all 92 Premiership and Nationwide football clubs in 92 hours or less! Starting from the Arsenal ground on the 18th March and hopefully finishing at our own ground Brisbane Road on Thursday 22nd March.

The charities we are doing this for are the NSPCC and the Willow Foundation, a charity set up by goalkeeper and TV presenter Bob Wilson that helps give seriously ill people between 16-40 days out to remember and help relive the pressure of ongoing medication.

If it is possible to publicise this event in you fanzines or via the pages on Teletext it would be very much appreciated.

Donations can be made to: 92 in 92, PO Box 375, Waltham Cross, EN7 6UX

If anyone would like any further information they can contact us at

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


I promised to give further details on the launch of my new book when known, and can now confirm that it will be launched at Waterstones on Deansgate (Manchester) on 5th April 2001. Tickets are priced at £3, which is redeemable against the purchase of the book. The event will probably include a reading from the book, background information, and a question and answer session with Mark Brown (my co-author) and I.

Tickets for the launch are available from the Leisure desk at Waterstones on Deansgate (Manchester).

If the Waterstones Manchester event proves popular we may be doing others. We are also trying to drum up interest from the national media, and are keen to speak with national footballing journalists (particularly those who will be covering the England games in March).

If you missed the book details last time they are:

Title: “Atkinson For England”
Authors: Mark Brown & Gary James
Publisher: Empire Publications
Price: £5.99

Plumber and Sunday football manager Reg Atkinson applies to install the new undersoil heating at Wembley Stadium. This coincides with the dismissal of the England national team manager a mere 10 days before England are due to face Germany in a crucial World Cup qualifying match. England only need a draw to qualify, whereas Germany must win the match.

By a combination of errors and a case of mistaken identity, Reg is given the England manager’s job. Ron Atkinson was the man the FA wanted as a caretaker manager. When Reg realises it’s too late – and costly – for him to stand down and, despite efforts made by the bungling F.A. officials who appointed him to force him out, he is forced to lead an England side out at Wembley. I won’t spoil the ending – you’ll have to read it!

There is also a big City interest – a totally obsessed Blue runs the City-themed Kippax Hotel that is featured extensively in the book, plus there are lots of other Blue references. Although the book is humorous, much of the content considers how the Football Association appoint England managers and, although the idea of a plumber managing England is clearly farcical, it is true that the FA could appoint the wrong man (some would argue they always appoint the wrong man!).

Gary James (


The PFA has a Fans’ player of the year award. Details are at

The opportunity to nominate any player is available via the link right at the end of the voting page. At the moment Danny Tiatto is top of the Premiership list. Let’s keep him there!

Roger Haigh (


The Nantwich Branch of the Official Supporters’ Club have a meeting on Tuesday 27th Feb at the 3 Pigeons Pub on Welsh Row in Nantwich. Cheshire. Steve Howey our club president will make his appearance and take part in a question and answer session and draw the raffle. Pictures and autographs will also be possible. The meeting is open to all City fans as well as our members. Admission will be £1 which gets you a free go on the football card. A raffle will also take place at which we hope to offer a prize brought by Steve Howey and other items. A light buffet also available.

Graham Smith – Vice Chairman (


A brief update on a few things: Firstly, you can access the pictures from our visit to Germany on The stadium at Schalke 04 is still being built and is due to open in August.

Secondly, The Observer carries three features in today’s paper. In the news section, Denis Campbell has written a piece with an interview with the chairman of the FLA (who at present are in Germany themselves). Clive Shirling, the chairman, is quite in favour of safe standing areas and believes they could be introduced in Britain – ‘if they meet the tests we set’. Also, Gordon Taylor from the PFA and Labour MP Tony Clarke (who is also a director of Northampton Town) also are in favour of investigating safe standing areas. The political tide is turning very strongly…

Clearly the pressure is beginning to pay dividends. You can read the full interview on In the sports section, there is almost a whole page dedicated to the issue. The main feature is a selection of readers’ comments on the debate, 7 in favour, 2 against and one confused response saying we should just allow those fans who want to stand up, do so away from those who want to sit – but they must stand in a seated area! Speaking to contacts from The Observer, the response from the previous week’s article was 9 to 1 in favour of standing. The other article is by Simon Kuper, discussing Germany’s safe, popular and cheap terraces.

Finally, we send our kindest regards to John Motson, the BBC football commentator. During Thursday’s game at Anfield between Liverpool and Roma, Motson was keen to make a point about the atmosphere coming from the Kop. Whilst there was a slight delay in the game, ‘Motty’, as he is affectionately known, declared (with the Kop in full voice) that there were some who claimed that the introduction of seats into the Kop would have a negative effect on the atmosphere and that the crowd’s support tonight certainly dismisses these claims. The camera then zoomed full into the Kop to back up Motty’s claim – only for the viewers to witness the glorious sight of everyone in the Kop on their feet, yes, stood up creating the atmosphere described. Classic John, classic!

As I said, the political tide is definitely turning – so once again, please write to your MP, club chairman, fanzine, supporters’ association. Write to your local paper and try and get on your local radio.

Phill Gatenby (


It were the acronyms wot dun it!

N  ever
E  xpected
W  in.
C  an
A  cronyms
S  top
T  errible
L  osing
E  xperience?

Steve Maclean (


I wrote after the Spurs débâcle and stated that we would win soon as the law of averages said we were due to. So there, I said it and it happened, any victory is a good victory. The timing of this one couldn’t have been better as it’s the shot in the arm that has been required for some time. I just hope we don’t have to go another 11 games before we win again. Otherwise hello Nationwide and our first game in Division 1 probably against our friends from Bermondsey who look like gaining promotion.

Well it’s Southampton next and I doubt we’ll get a better chance between now and next season of back to back victories or a double in our favour. We need to get a run together and this is probably the best time to start one if we’re to hopefully climb out of the drop zone.

Interestingly a lot of pundits have said over this weekend that we may pull out of this. These are the same people that think Middlesbrough won’t go either. I wonder who they think will go then? After all Everton and Derby are the next nearest and have a bit of breathing space on us at the moment with a five point gap. Personally I’d like to see Captain Cripple and his mob of Geriatrics go down. One thing I have to agree with Joe Royle on is that he has said that the team that defends well between now and the end of the season will probably stay up. Only problem with this is we need to keep a lot of clean sheets as if we go to goal difference again at the end of the season things don’t look good and I think that in the past there has been more than one occasion where this has worked against us.

Rather interestingly Joe Royle is quoted this weekend as saying we’re too good to go down (a familiar cry) and that we’re not one of the 3 worst teams in the division. Does this guy not look at the league table? In this day and age where players are given a crash course in dealing with the press, it seems strange that nobody has pulled him to one side yet and said can we have a quiet word Joe? I hope come the end of the season he’s right but at the moment I feel we are no better than any side in the bottom 6 and that includes Bradford.

We are still in the bottom 3 and there is no point getting carried away over one game. We have to consolidate from the Newcastle performance as there was a couple of good pointers. A clean sheet against a decent team on their own patch, a finish of quality from a striker who apparently isn’t cut out for this level. Also, perhaps more importantly, we didn’t appear to have to rely on a decision that meant the difference in gaining a point or three from the game.

Let’s hope there won’t be as much swapping and changing of the personnel and formation between now and the end of the season. The defence sounded solid and kept Shearer quiet; even though he wasn’t match fit this is impressive. Kanchelskis played some lovely balls including the one to set up the Goat for the goal and if he keeps clear of injury and keeps this type of performance up we have a good chance of turning the corner.

I noticed there weren’t as many defensive players on show either. Maybe the naïve tactical genius at the helm and his coaching staff have at last realised we are better without a team of defenders. Is he showing an interest in winning games now rather than settling for a point before a ball is kicked? At least we look better going forward instead of the usual sideways and backwards movements of recent months that we’ve been treated to and are best reserved for line dancing.

I hope this is so, as the points total that was being talked about a few weeks back as a benchmark for safety is looking a bit low. It could be a record amount of points to stay up as Everton and Derby seem OK at the moment but us and Boro are struggling and if both sides put a good run together things will be interesting and nerve-wracking. Our first priority has to be to get above Boro and then to try and close the gap on the other two and if possible get in front of them.

One way or another I still don’t want those last day heroics.

Mike Lloyd (


This information is from a good source and is true.

When Manchester City got promotion from the 2nd Division to the 1st Division in the early 50’s, the then Chairman, Mr Alexander, called all the players into a room and said “Congratulations, now we can go out and get some good players”; all the players just walked out of that room. This is what I speculate happened at the end of last season: our chairman Mr. Bernstein said “Congratulations on a great job, I will give you all the chance to prove yourselves in the Premier League; you got us here, you deserve that chance”.

My feelings are we should have started to rebuild our team with better players in the off season. Now I don’t know, maybe the club tried to get certain players but failed (not all players needed to be replaced, the squad made stronger). I just feel the new players should have come at an earlier stage. The players we have now, I do firmly back to keep us in the Premier League, it’s just it’s taken its time to get to being this team. To beat Newcastle at Toon was indeed a great win, this team have had all the luck go against them, let’s hope from this point that has all changed. This win will give us all hope, even the Gloom and Doom Society. At last we drunk a beer to celebrate, not drown our sorrows. Yes I always have been behind Joe Royle and Willie Donachie, nothing will ever change that (at least nothing I can see in the foreseeable future).

What makes our newsletter so interesting is all the different views and comments, which can be very colourful at times, but we are all for one club, one team, City the best. And it makes no difference to most how we stay in the Premier League, or who does it, as long as we stay in the Premier League where we deserve to be.

Ernie Barrow (


Firstly I would like to say that much of the criticism of Joe Royle this season has, on the whole, been fairly unjustified. I am the first to agree that some of his signings have been questionable: Haaland, Weah etc. However, some of his signings over the past few seasons have been inspirational: Tiatto, Morrison, Dunne, Howey etc. Have there been any managers that have not made bad signings? Even Fergie has made some in his time at the Swamp.

What needs to be recognised is that Joe Royle has needed to make a lacklustre 2nd Division outfit that was going nowhere fast other than the Conference into a Premiership side in little under 3 years. Without having had huge amounts of money available when you consider the modern market, he has had to try to form a team capable of survival. Firstly, to have a successful team you need to have a solid defence, and I believe that with the likes of Howey, Dunne, Weaver, Ritchie, Nash etc., not only do we have a strong defence but one which, hopefully, can play together for many years to come and gain a great understanding. The midfield has looked poor this season with no players with an all round game, except possibly Horlock, but which quality midfield players have been available and in our limited price range? Also injury has decimated the attacking options in our midfield, along with others not living up to their potential (e.g. Cooke, who looked poor and half hearted at the start of the 1st Division campaign). Because of the lack of attacking options stemming from midfield, an attack that last season thrived on the supply it was gaining from the flanks has looked poor. We need players who can come into the side and add creativity and the ability to keep possession, which is why I feel relegation may ultimately be beneficial to City.

With relegation we would be playing alongside lesser teams who do not have the quality of Arsenal, United, Liverpool etc. and this would allow us to bring in some of the youth players who are so promising but not quite up to the demands of the Premiership, yet! With the likes of Killen, Mike, Shuker etc. I feel that City would be able to make a serious title bid next season. It would also hopefully combat the problem that has blighted us this season, a lack of knowledge of team mates. In Joe’s rebuilding of the club he has had to change things, and change them fast, which has led to the team not fully understanding each other, which has led to stupid goals, which have cost us vital points, Middlesborough and Coventry at home staning out. So, with a season in the First Division we can incorporate some of the youngsters and gain the understanding that has been lacking this season and hopefully come up stronger. I believe that this team below is the strongest we have available.

  Haaland      Dunne        Howey      Ritchie
  Kanchelskis  Tiatto      Horlock     Kennedy
     Wright-Phillips            Huckerby

However, we do not have an out and out striker to get on the end of the crosses that Kanchelskis and Kennedy could supply so maybe we would play Goater or Ostenstad instead of Wright-Phillips and put Huckerby in the hole in front of the midfield?

James Couper (


Have to agree with Paul Odusanya about Joe’s moaning: it makes him an easy target for the anti-City media brigade. I hope he had something positive to say, even praise for the ref, after today’s great result. Only one point behind the Smog Monsters – we can still stay up!

Martyn Hansen (


Following my misty eyed eulogising of Brian Horton during the last issue of MCIVTA, I found myself the target of John McFarlane’s weekly rant. I only wish he’d actually bothered to pause for a moment to read and understand what I’d actually written. Rather sweetly he took the trouble to pull out and present us with some statistics, but frankly so what? My only point was that as someone who was a Maine Road season ticket holder for most of the 90’s, in my view Horton’s side was the best to watch. I don’t care how many games Reid or Kendall’s teams won or lost – Reid’s team in particular was excruciatingly dull.

As for Ian Haigh’s comments, what can one say to someone who fails to recognise David Brightwell’s rightful place at the head of the long line of brilliant left backs who’ve graced the Maine Road stage during the past 20 years? And if you were one of the many thousand Blues at Loftus Road in the mid-nineties when we won a thrilling FA Cup tie 2-1, and Vonky scored the second with a brilliantly cunning toe poke, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that he is another City legend who does not deserve the kind of shabby treatment accorded to him by Mr Haigh.

Simon Hope (


Re Simon Hope’s article in MCIVTA 685 when he mentioned the Blackburn game away when we won 3-2 during Brian Horton’s reign.

I remember two other outstanding features that evening; firstly we went a goal behind when a weak long range shot skidded along the floor and under Tony Coton’s body – bloody hell ‘here we go again’ but oh no, the boys brushed that aside and set about the Rovers with gusto and a self belief that we could win the game. Where is that spirit now when we need it again?

Secondly, does anyone who watched the game on Sky remember the outstanding performance of Mike Summerbee in the guest spot? What a treat, I couldn’t stop laughing. The ‘Buzzer’ was full of ale and obviously three parts p-ssed. He kept spouting on about how the team feared no one and that City would actually turn over the champions elect on their own patch (he got that part right at least). When the co-presenter asked another guest a question ‘Buzzer’ kept interrupting and began spreading the word about City. When he was asked a question himself he merely said what he wanted to, not answer the questions and attempted to take the rise out of all the other people in attendance. You would have had to have seen this to understand what I am saying. To all of those fans aged late 30’s plus will remember Mike as the tough nut he was with the sweetest of right foots gliding past full backs as if they weren’t there, this was an eye opener. He was just like us now, an ordinary fan of City who liked a few scoops on match days and was going to enjoy himself no matter what.

It was rumoured that Francis Lee our Chairman at the time banned Mike from any more media work after this and probably bo**ocked his mate something rotten. Lee at the time was attempting to bring City out of the doldrums by purporting to be a meaner, leaner outfit and by being totally professional both on and off the pitch. He gives Mike the chance, he shows up p-issed as a fart and blows it big time! How would our potential new corporate clients have viewed this one? He hasn’t appeared on Sky TV since to my knowledge.

It’s great being a Blue, I don’t care what other clubs achieve, we are City till we die. I accept that we can be our own worst enemies and are the masters of the cock ups but hey, there are 35,000 other idiots like me so I am not alone.

Just thought an article about something other than the obvious plight at the present time might bring welcome relief. Lets have some more memories and ‘does anyone remember…’

Steve Denton (


It seems as though the Bish deal is signed and sealed, and he has been made captain. First game will be Saturday, April 7th at Lockhart Stadium, Ft Lauderdale. I’ll be there. Will you?

Paul Whittaker (

Ed – Looks like the Bishop’s move has reached a stalemate. You might have to wait for another knight to watch him. OK I’ll stop now.


I’ve lost the details of the Dutch branch of the Supporters’ Club. If anyone can do the honours?

Noel Bayley (


This one is for a Motorola Timeport P7389 (excellent tri-band phone that works here and in the US) which works reasonably well. Most of the other ringtones I have seen have 3 notes in the first line which sounds wrong to me, so I think this works better:

4 G-4 G-5 R2
F-2 G-2 A2 G-2 F-4 G-5 R2
D-2 E-2 F-2 E-2 C-2 D-4 E-5 R2
C-2 D-2 E-2 C-2 C-2 D-4 C-5

The number 4 in the top line sets the speed to fastest.

The letter is the note. The minus sign reduces the note by an octave. The number sets the duration of the note. The R at the end of each line is a pause.

Richard Jenkins (


Wonder if it can be explained why when using Real Player listening to the commentary on the Newcastle match and I am fretting with a minute to go, does my wife shout up that we have won? I shout back it has not finished as I am still listening to Gary Owen etc. There appears to be a minute delay; when you support the Blues it seems like an hour! Has anybody else noticed that or is it just me going mad?

Mike Collard (

Ed – It’s certainly not just you, but I’m not sure of the technical reasons for the delay. Anyone else?


Recent results from 12 February 2001 to 25 February 2001 inclusive.

25 February 2001

Manchester United     6 - 1  Arsenal               67,535

24 February 2001

Bradford City         1 - 2  West Ham United       20,469
Coventry City         2 - 2  Charlton Athletic     19,480
Derby County          1 - 0  Aston Villa           27,289
Ipswich Town          2 - 0  Everton               22,220
Leicester City        2 - 0  Sunderland            21,086
Middlesbrough         0 - 1  Southampton           28,725
Newcastle United      0 - 1  Manchester City       51,981
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 2  Leeds United          36,070

12 February 2001

West Ham United       1 - 1  Coventry City         22,586

League table to 25 February 2001 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  28 12  1  1 40  7  8  5  1 25 11 20  6  2 65 18  47  66
 2 Arsenal         28 11  3  0 34  8  3  5  6 10 21 14  8  6 44 29  15  50
 3 Liverpool       26 10  2  1 28  8  3  4  6 19 20 13  6  7 47 28  19  45
 4 Sunderland      28  8  5  1 17  7  4  3  7 15 20 12  8  8 32 27   5  44
 5 Ipswich Town    27  7  4  3 22 12  6  0  7 17 21 13  4 10 39 33   6  43
 6 Leeds United    28  7  2  5 22 18  5  5  4 19 18 12  7  9 41 36   5  43
 7 Leicester City  27  8  4  2 20 13  4  2  7  9 16 12  6  9 29 29   0  42
 8 Charlton Ath.   28  9  4  1 23  9  2  4  8 15 31 11  8  9 38 40  -2  41
 9 Chelsea         26 10  3  1 37 13  0  5  7 11 20 10  8  8 48 33  15  38
10 Southampton     27  8  2  4 21 15  2  6  5 11 19 10  8  9 32 34  -2  38
11 Newcastle Utd   27  7  2  4 18 13  4  2  8 14 25 11  4 12 32 38  -6  37
12 Tottenham H.    28  8  5  1 23 11  1  4  9  9 25  9  9 10 32 36  -4  36
13 West Ham United 27  4  6  3 18 12  4  5  5 17 20  8 11  8 35 32   3  35
14 Aston Villa     26  4  5  3 16 13  4  4  6 12 15  8  9  9 28 28   0  33
15 Everton         28  4  6  4 19 19  4  1  9 11 23  8  7 13 30 42 -12  31
16 Derby County    28  6  6  2 17 16  1  4  9 11 27  7 10 11 28 43 -15  31
17 Middlesbrough   28  3  5  6 15 18  2  7  5 16 17  5 12 11 31 35  -4  27
18 Manchester City 28  3  3  8 17 21  3  5  6 14 25  6  8 14 31 46 -15  26
19 Coventry City   28  2  5  7 11 21  3  3  8 15 27  5  8 15 26 48 -22  23
20 Bradford City   27  2  4  7 11 22  1  3 10  6 28  3  7 17 17 50 -33  16

With thanks to Football 365


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

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

[Valid3.2]Geoff Donkin,

Newsletter #687