Newsletter #693

Saturday was a game we all had down as a ‘dead cert’, ‘must win’, ‘ought to win’, 3 pointer. Sadly it wasn’t to be, and the Blues came away from Valley Parade with a single point, as well as a damaged reputation off the field. Middlesbrough are now 4 points clear after an unlikely win at Newcastle (especially as most of it was played with ten men), not an insurmountable gap by any means, but ominous all the same.

The fast-aproaching transfer deadline has seen an upsurge in speculation, with Kennedy, Morrison, Edghill, Taylor, and Prior linked with bids. Doubtless the first is idle chatter, partcularly given the derisory amount offered (£1.5m). This issue has no match report I’m afraid; a SAFE Update; and opinion.

Next game: Aston Villa at home, Saturday 31st March 2001


Part I – Bradford Away: Result and Reaction

Draw Sees City Lose Ground: Manchester City earned another point in their survival battle on Saturday, drawing 2-2 away to Bradford. But Middlesbrough’s win at Newcastle leaves the Blues a daunting four points away from safety with only eight games of the campaign remaining. Things looked good for City at Valley Parade when they led 1-0 at the break, Gerard Wiekens having shot home from eight yards after Steve Howey’s knock-down from a free-kick. But strikes in quick succession by Blake and Ward for the home side early in the second period, ironically after Joe Royle made a substitution of defensive intent by replacing Darren Huckerby with Jeff Whitley, saw the Blues facing defeat against the Premiership’s basement club. Shaun Goater’s 70th-minute effort avoided that indignity, but the failure to take all three points from the fixture is a damaging blow to survival prospects – especially in the light of the result at St James’ Park.

Royle Laments Defensive Blunders: Joe Royle admitted that a 2-2 scoreline when Manchester City visited Bradford at the weekend was the “result neither side wanted”. And the Blues’ boss blamed slack defensive play for his team’s failure to earn a more palatable outcome at Valley Parade. Royle had seen his side take the lead in the relegation battle – only for the hosts to turn the game on its head early in the second period by scoring twice in the space of five minutes. And the City manager felt that some of his players were guilty of assuming that the match had already been won before the break. “We got nervous after we’d gone in front,” he reflected. “Maybe some of the players were guilty of thinking they could hold on for a 1-0 win.”

Ward Still Hopes City Will Stay Up: Ashley Ward scored the Bradford goal that denied Manchester City three points on Saturday. But the lifelong Blues fan still hopes his first professional club will confound expectations and stay in the Premiership. Ward has struggled since joining Bradford from Blackburn last summer, and Saturday’s strike was his first for the Bantams – after seven months at Valley Parade. But the Middleton-born striker says that while, as a professional, he’d happily see City relegated if it ensured Bradford’s survival, he has remained a fan of the club he followed as a boy so would be disappointed if Joe Royle’s men took the drop. “If they were relegated and we stayed up, which is about a million to one now, it wouldn’t bother me as a professional footballer,” he reflected, “but it would hurt as a supporter if they went down.”

Fans Arrested for Racist Chants: Manchester City produced a disappointing performance and result away to Bradford on Saturday. And off the pitch, things were also far from rosy for the Blues, with the behaviour of some ‘fans’ discrediting the club. As was widely reported in the UK media, four City supporters will appear at Bradford Magistrates Court on Wednesday after being charged with racist chanting at the match. And a further 26 fans, 17 of them with an allegiance to the Blues, were arrested for public order offences in and around the ground. A police spokesman was quoted as saying, “Problems were caused by a minority of fans intent on spoiling the event.”

Part II – Transfer News and Rumours

Royle Plays Down Transfer Hopes: The transfer deadline is now less than a week away. But Joe Royle is cautious over the prospect of Manchester City bringing in any fresh faces to help in the club’s relegation battle. Royle says that the Blues have been monitoring players and that he has identified men he’d like to add to the Maine Road playing staff. But the problem for City is that clubs are reluctant to release their greatest assets at this stage of the campaign. “There are players I have an interest in,” says the Blues’ boss, “but I’ve had no indication from the clubs that they will be available.” Notwithstanding the City manager’s comments, some sources still insist that City could make a pre-deadline swoop for Wimbledon’s Norwegian midfielder Trond Andersen.

Ostenstad Stays for Rest of Season: Egil Ostenstad has completed just over a month of what was intended to be an initial two-month stint with Manchester City. But the Norwegian’s stay at Maine Road has already been extended. Ostenstad hasn’t yet started a game for the Blues, having made just three substitute appearances since arriving from Blackburn, but the ex-Southampton man looked sharp in the second half of the weekend game at Bradford. It’s thought he may now be in line for a starting berth when Aston Villa visit Maine Road on Saturday week, and Joe Royle has acted to ensure that the 29-year-old remains with the club at least for the remainder of the campaign – much to the pleasure of the player himself. “The loan was due to run out in a couple of weeks time,” he told the official club wesbite, “but it has been sorted out and I will stay until the end of the season. I am delighted and now want to get my first start in the season.”

City “Not Tempted” If Ipswich Bid for Kennedy: Mark Kennedy is the subject of reported interest from Ipswich Town. But it’s claimed that Manchester City will refuse any bid from the Suffolk outfit for the Irish international. Kennedy was a major influence in the Blues’ promotion campaign last term, scoring eight goals and also notching fourteen assists as the Blues returned to the Premiership. But the ex-Millwall and Liverpool star has seen his season disrupted by injury this time out. However, Joe Royle has always maintained he’s one of the 24-year-old’s greatest admirers, and is unlikely to be tempted by an offer from Portman Road – especially at the £1.5 million price-tag being mentioned in the press.

Transfer-Listed Edghill In Demand: Richard Edghill could make a £600,000 move away from Manchester City ahead of this week’s transfer deadline. The full-back is said to be interesting four First Division clubs. Edghill lost the City captaincy and was dropped early this campaign. Having made a brief comeback in January, he was then transfer-listed after once again being consigned to the reserves. Now Blackburn, Bolton, Watford and Portsmouth are all said to be keen on signing the former England under-21 player, with Graeme Souness’s Blackburn apparently rated as favourites to land his signature.

Blades Still Eye Morrison Move: Sheffield United had already failed in an attempt to sign Andy Morrison on loan. But the Blades could this week return with a bid to land the Manchester City defender on a permanent basis. Morrison turned down a £150,000 move to Bristol City after failing to agree personal terms. But though the ex-Huddersfield man has admitted he would be disappointed to leave Maine Road, Joe Royle’s decision to listen to offers for his former skipper seems to indicate the player has no future with the Blues. Sheffield United are keen to reinforce their back line after a serious injury to Lee Sandford, and could now be willing to meet Royle’s valuation.

Prior Linked With Forest Switch: Spencer Prior almost signed for Nottingham Forest before joining Manchester City last year. But with the 29-year-old unable to hold down a starting place at Maine Road, the Midlands club could make a renewed attempt to secure his signature. Forest are just outside the play-off zone and are reportedly keen to land the ex-Derby man to boost their promotion hopes. But boss David Platt’s hopes of completing a £700,000 deal this week appear remote. Joe Royle is already in the process of offloading Andy Morrison, and with Paul Ritchie still the subject of fitness worries, the City manager would see his defensive cover seriously stretched if he were to accept an offer for Prior.

Burnley to Try to Keep Taylor: Gareth Taylor has already impressed Burnley boss Stan Ternent during his loan spell at Turf Moor. And now the Clarets will attempt to retain the Manchester City striker’s services. Taylor created an immediate impression on his Burnely début, when he was instrumental in the win over runaway First Division leaders Fulham. And then the ex-Sheffield United man notched the only goal in the away win at Watford. Now the Lancashire outfit are keen to boost their slim play-off aspirations by ensuring that the 28-year-old stays with the club until the end of the season.

Royle “Considered Collymore Swoop”: Stan Collymore has quit football after failing to settle in Spain with Real Oviedo. But Joe Royle has admitted that he considered a bid to persuade the controversial striker to prolong his career with Manchester City. Royle has always maintained he’s a big admirer of the former Nottingham Forest man – and almost landed the player when in charge at Everton five years ago. The Blues’ boss feels he would have been able to get the best out of the talented front man, so concedes he was tempted when the Cannock-born star’s move to Spain failed to work out. “Missing out on him is still something I regret,” said the City manager, “and when I heard that he was retiring out in Spain I really thought about going for him again.”

Part III – Miscellaneous News and Views

Spanish Trip “For Work, Not Play”: Sixteen members of Manchester City’s senior squad have headed off to Spain for a sunshine break. But Joe Royle insists that the players won’t be taking it easy while they’re away. With no first-team fixture scheduled for next weekend, City are training in the resort of La Manga. And the City manager believes that a change of scenery might do some of his players good. “A change can be a rest,” he explained. “We are going into the last phase of the season. If it perks one or two up then great.” Several players have been left behind, however. Egil Ostenstad has stayed at home as his wife is due to give birth this week, while Paulo Wanchope, Mark Kennedy and Kevin Horlock have remained in Manchester to boost their respective drives for full fitness by playing for the reserves on Tuesday. Meanwhile Richard Edghill and Andy Morrison, the two players most likely to leave the Blues this week, have also not made the trip, and Royle himself will return to England in midweek if need be to conduct any pre-deadline transfer business.

Royle – We Haven’t Lost Heart: Manchester City may be in a perilous position at the foot of the Premiership. But Joe Royle insists the players and management still believe that the Blues can survive in the top flight. Royle concedes that many fans and pundits saw Saturday’s trip to Bradford as a must-win encounter for his side. And with City having failed to notch a victory a Valley Parade, only supreme optimists are expressing a belief that relegation will now be avoided. The Blues’ boss, however, is still thinking positive. “People have written us off and will continue to,” he said, “It’s only natural. Maybe one or two of our fans have lost heart but we haven’t.”

International Disappointment for City Pair: Paul Dickov and Jeff Whitley were both due to represent their countries next week. But the Manchester City duo have now both withdrawn from their respective national squads. Dickov had been called up by Scotland for the matches against Belgium and San Marino but will miss out after picking up an ankle injury in training which also sidelined him as the Blues visited Bradford at the weekend. Meanwhile, Whitley was in both the full and under-21 Northern Ireland squads for double-headers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria but twisted a knee after coming on as a substitute at Valley Parade. Both players have travelled to La Manga with the rest of the City squad for this week’s training camp, where they’ll receive treatment from physio Rob Harris.

Weaver Called Up for Under-21 Squad: Nicky Weaver is one of three goalkeepers in the latest England under-21 squad. The Manchester City man has been called up for the game against Finland on Friday. Weaver will be vying for selection ahead of Paul Robinson of Leeds and Coventry’s Chris Kirkland when Howard Wilkinson’s team faces the Finns at Barnsley’s Oakwell ground. The former Mansfield player was on the bench as Robinson won the vote for last month’s friendly against Spain, when England suffered a heavy 4-0 reverse.

Wanchope to Fly Out for Costa Rican Qualifier: Paulo Wanchope hasn’t tasted senior match action for almost two months. But that hasn’t prevented Costa Rican from calling on the striker for their latest World Cup qualifier. The Costa Ricans take on Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday, and Wanchope will fly out on Wednesday to join up with his international team-mates after boosting his match fitness by playing in City’s reserve game on Tuesday evening. It’s still unclear as to whether the ex-Derby and West Ham player will start the game, but as he is highly rated by his national coach it seems certain that the 25-year-old will play at least some part in proceedings.

Maine Road Set to Host Rugby League?: Maine Road will become a rugby union venue when Manchester City move to Eastlands in 2003. But rugby league may also be played at the Blues’ current home on a regular basis. The ground will revert to the ownership of the local council when City start their long-term tenancy at the Commonwealth Games stadium. And rugby union outfit Sale Sharks have already been selected as the preferred tenant for Maine Road once the Blues have left. However, the Sharks are currently undertaking a feasibility study into the prospect of other sports being played at the venue – and a newly-formed Super League club is one possibility. “The study is nearing completion,” revealed Sharks chief executive Peter Deakin, “and its findings promise to be interesting on just what can happen and what can be played at Maine Road.”

Beagrie – City Need a Miracle: Peter Beagrie retains a great affection for Manchester City despite having left Maine Road three years ago. But the winger can’t see his old club clinching survival in the Premiership this season. Beagrie moved from City to Bradford, where he remained until he joined Wigan earlier this season. The 35-year-old says he regards the Blues supporters as the best in the country and has fond memories of his time with the Blues – but even so, he’s tipping Joe Royle’s men for relegation. “I’ve still got a tremendous affinity with the Man City fans – for my money, they’re the best and most loyal there are,” said the ex-Everton man, “but they need a minor miracle if they are going to stay up. It would be a massive setback if they went back down.”

Part IV – reserve News

City Look to Continue Unbeaten Run: Manchester City reserves are in action against Liverpool at Hyde on Tuesday. And the Blues will be looking to extend their current sequence of nine games without defeat. The City line-up will feature Kevin Horlock and Mark Kennedy, who are both keen to boost their match fitness with another outing for the second string and have therefore stayed at home as their colleagues have jetted out for a training camp in Spain. Paulo Wanchope will also be in the City line-up before flying out to represent Costa Rica, while Richard Edghill and Andy Morrison will also play assuming that neither man has completed a transfer away from Maine Road ahead of the game.

Peter Brophy (


This week in City’s history: 19th-25th March.

19th March: City went into the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970 by beating Acedemica Coimbra of Portugal 1-0 at Maine Road. With City through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1955 after Johnny Hart’s goal beat Birmingham in the sixth round a week earlier, Hart broke his leg in the 0-0 draw at Huddersfield and missed the semi-final and final and most of the next sesaon. In 1966 Colin Bell played his first game for City and scored in the 2-1 win at Derby in Division Two. Bell had two 25-yard shots saved but his goal was a lucky one, a defender’s clearance rebounding off him into the net. Reports of the match describe Derby’s half-back Ron Webster as the game’s best player, City’s Johnny Crossan (he “covered little more ground than the linesman”) as the worst. City also had “the sturdy, non-stop Oakes (who) stood head and shoulders above the rest” and George Heslop (“rugged but ponderous”) in defence. Neil Young made it 2-0 after Bell’s opener, rising to meet a cross from Summerbee. This was one of Neil’s fourteen League goals that season, making him City’s leading scorer and taking City to the Second Division Championship.

20th March: City played their last competitive game in Europe on this date in 1979, going down 1-3 (2-4 on aggregate) to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the UEFA Cup. In 1999 City played (it’s to be hoped) their last ever game in Essex, beating Colchester United 1-0. Shaun Goater got the winner.

21st March: Denis Law in 1960 and Niall Quinn in 1990 each scored in their first games for City, Law in a 3-4 defeat at Leeds and Quinn in the 1-1 home draw with Chelsea.

22nd March: Denis Law scored twice but City lost 2-3 to Birmingham in 1961. Matt Busby scored his first league goal for City at Newcastle in 1930.

23 March: City played New Broghton in a wartime Western Regional League fixture in 1940, and lost 2-3. It was the first season they’d played each other since 1899. Peter Doherty scored, which wasn’t unusual, and so did full-back Eric Westwood, which was (an old, old edition of the annual “Big Book of Football Champions” shows a frame by frame photo display of Westwood as Stanley Matthews’s foil, missing tackles and obligingly fallng over as Matthews demonstrates the art of wing-play).

24 March: Jimmy Meadows scored on his home début, a 4-1 win over Leeds in Division Two in 1951. Peter Dobing got a hat-trick on this day in 1962 (4-0 at West Ham). City lost 0-6 to Lincoln in 1894 but won the corresponding fixture a year later by 11 goals to 3. On 24th March, 1956 City played Tottenham at White Hart Lane a week after beating them in the semi-final of the Cup. Towards the end of the Cup tie Bert Trautmann had preserved City’s 1-0 lead by grabbing the leg of a Spurs forward and bringing him down in the penalty area, and escaping without punishment. As a result he was fiercely abused by the Tottenham fans throughout the League game, which City lost 1-2.

25th March: Paul Hince, now of the Manchester Evening News, scored both goals in the 2-2 draw at home to West Brom in 1967. It was his first game for City and his only one that season. Ten years later Glyn Pardoe had his testimonial match, a 4-2 win against United.

Ken Corfield (


I’m feeling a bit negative right now, despite our away point, Newcastle’s missed penalty has tipped me over the edge.

B  oro
R  esult
A  ggravates
D  epression
F  ull
O  f
R  elegation
D  read.

Steve Maclean (


An Evening With Nick Leeson

The next meeting of the Essex & Suffolk branch of the CSA will take place on Friday 23rd March from 8.30pm at The Seabrights Barn, Galleywood, Chelmsford, Essex. With special guest Nick Leeson, the evening will be an informal question and answer session. There will also be a raffle for a signed City ball plus other prizes. For further information and directions contact me at

CTID, Cliff Shelley – Essex & Suffolk CSA (


In reply to Tim Holgate’s request.

I’ve got some good wallpaper and pics in the past from the Wookie or links from that page. Try

David Kilroy (


The campaign SAFE (Standing Areas for Eastlands) has been running for twelve months, working closely with the Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association, attempting to over turn the Government’s policy requiring football stadiums to be all seated. Phill Gatenby, aged 38, a season ticket holder at Manchester City for 20 years, is SAFE’s spokesperson.

First, let me make clear that we do not support a return to terraces as we all remember them. We wish to see implemented small, limited sections of standing areas designed to rigorous safety specifications and criteria.

When the Taylor Report into the disaster at Hillsborough was released in 1990, technology to improve safety at existing terraces was not available. However, eleven years on, the technology does now exist and is being used very effectively in Germany. Fans here are able to stand for domestic games and the standing areas are easily converted to a seated area for games in European competitions to satisfy UEFA guidelines.

The biggest difficulty we have faced is the misinformation given from the football authorities, who have been hostile throughout. First we were told that UEFA required domestic games to be played in all seated stadiums. This was incorrect. Then we were told that Government legislation would take years to overturn. There is not any Government legislation, it is a regulation. Then the German stadiums were described as dilapidated and would be replaced by all seated stadiums. We went to Germany ourselves and dispelled that myth. It has been claimed – without any evidence – that standing areas would ‘bring back hooliganism’. Now we are told that it would prove too costly to implement. At every turn, the goalposts have been moved. Yet despite the opposition, requests to meet the football authorities either in person or for a debate has always been met with silence. The authorities appear to be too afraid to discuss the issue openly.

So why introduce safe standing areas? Well, for a number of reasons – firstly for consumer choice, many fans (and a growing number of clubs) want standing areas – and, as we know from recent events at Old Trafford, fans currently do stand in a seated area. This is both unsafe and annoying to those fans who want to sit down and is causing conflict. Then there is the double issue of access into stadiums. Many fans are locked out of full stadiums each week. Standing areas will increase the capacity, allowing more fans in. There are also fans who are denied access financially. The cost of attending Premiership games is out of financial reach for low waged and younger fans. Admission into standing areas in Germany costs 50% less than the cheapest seats. Finally, the atmosphere – sadly missing at many stadiums today – will increase in a standing area, whilst also removing the conflict issue.

One leading figure who is very supportive of an open and meaningful discussion is the Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey. Despite criticism from her boss, Chris Smith, Secretary of State and sections of the media, she bravely stood by her views, accepting that this issue is not going to go away and should therefore, be debated. Hoey instructed the Football Licensing Authority (FLA) to visit Germany and report back to her. Two weeks before their visit, SAFE financed our own visit and reported back to Hoey and the football authorities. We awaited the return of the FLA and to meet with all parties to discuss openly the two reports. Unfortunately, Chris Smith had other plans. He met privately with the FLA and without consulting anyone – even Hoey, he issued a statement through the media.

We felt that was appalling, but what was even harder to accept was that his statement couldn’t even be described as a ‘spin’ on the FLA’s report – it was plain misinformation.

In his statement, Smith claimed ‘The team of experts (the FLA) concluded that the accommodation at Hamburg would not be appropriate in UK conditions and it is doubtful that existing UK stadia could be converted to accommodate German practice without compromising safety standards.’ The FLA’s report actually stated ‘This system could, with certain modifications, comply with safety standards required in England and Wales’. Of course, these modifications would, presumably, add to the cost, a point that Smith was keen to raise. He added ‘It may be technically possible to make it reach UK safety standards, but this would entail the effective rebuilding of entire stands, if not grounds.’

This raises two points. Firstly, yes, there will be a cost to clubs who have already spent millions redeveloping stands or built new grounds. But that is an issue for the clubs concerned, not the Government. Secondly, Smith’s comments totally ignore the fact that there are indeed seven clubs (and allegedly Wembley too!) in the top two divisions who are in the process of building new stadiums – with many more redeveloping existing stands too. These new developments, at the moment, are just pieces of paper. Paper that only need adjusting to implement a safe standing area at very little extra cost.

The only correct fact from Smith’s statement was that he admitted ‘The Government does not think that German stadia are unsafe’. Therefore, it is now up to the Government to set the safety standards required for a safe standing area – and give those clubs that want to implement them, the choice to do so if they are prepared to meet the costs to match safety standards demanded. This will then enable fans to choose how they want to view their football in a safe environment – to the satisfaction of everyone. What are we waiting for?

Phill Gatenby (


I do a lot of travelling. I am fed up with being sat next to, or opposite, pseudo Rags. This is only the latest in a long line of having to put up with it, ’cause protocol, and maintaining my career, decrees it. Last week I was in Northern Italy. In the evening my colleague and I were joined at dinner by a fellow, well spoken, Brit who is doing some IT consultancy work out there for us. At some point in the conversation I mentioned my allegiance. He said “Perhaps I should go then”. I looked at him and said “Don’t tell me I’ve come all the way to Italy and am sat with a Red” (thought I should be polite, as I was on business). He said “Yes”. For a laugh I said “So which part of London do you come from?” He said “Shepherd’s Bush”

I rest my case.

CTINHTSWARFDEA (City till I never have to sit with a Rag for dinner ever again), David Kilroy (


Following Andrew Dixon’s justified clarification and Dave Cash’s opinion, I feel further clarficiation is needed to avoid any confusion – I would hate exiled Blues and non-s/t holders to be labouring under similar delusions.

As a second generation (and third family member) season ticket holder accounting for some 30+ years of attendance, I am fully entitled to my gripe at the increases. As Andrew rightly points out, the sudden clamour for season tickets post 1999 is not without coincidence our return to the ‘promised land’. Had I not spent hard earned money, and time, and travelled to Division 2 grounds, Division 1 grounds I’d shut up, but in reality I know I (and others) have had an increase of nigh on 30% in 3 years, not 5.5% per annum as Dave claims, far outstripping salary increases and inflation. It isn’t about cost per game opposed to occasional tickets, I know more than I would like to about ticket price structures UK and Europe wide, £300 is a lot to stump up in one go whether you’re a single person or family and watching MCFC or PSG. The fact that we are asked to renew for the 4th season in a row, without knowing which division we will be in should not be ignored.

The increase percentage wise is bl**dy outrageous; incidentally there was an increase last year, prices were not ‘frozen’, and if you were there on the terraces at the Southampton game or spoke to members of supporters’ clubs as I do, around 90% of opinion is the same. Residing in the east of Manchester, a traditional Blue area, many people are struggling to make ends meet as it is. How often have you kept quiet when your public transport pass or council tax has increased by even 5%? Exactly.

Let’s get things into perspective. There are currently 23,000 season ticket holders at Maine Road, and up to 10,000 City card holders. Given there is an allocation of 3,000 tickets to away fans, this means a potential shortfall of 1-2,000 tickets should (and this is rare) everyone take up their entitlement. To say there are reasons for not having a season ticket, fair enough, but I know of many people in the same position as Dave who have “consortium” tickets, thus spreading the cost and ensuring they get to at least some games and have done so since way before the waiting lists came in. You have to be quick off the mark as a city card holder to get the tickets, but quite frankly they are on ‘open sale’ for home games. Home tickets are hardly like gold dust. It’s beginning to sound like the familiar record we hear from the Rags: “I’d go but I can’t get a ticket”. Home tickets are on sale 6 weeks before a game, and on each occasion I have needed an extra ticket for friends or family members (without a City Card) I have always managed to obtain one (don’t worry dad, I won’t put you through another Leeds repeat!). Away tickets, now that’s an entirely different matter.

To claim we get “preferential treatment on all club activities and products” is absolute tosh. What do we get as season ticket holders:

  • Guaranteed entry to each home league game for your seat.
  • Free entry to each home league reserve came (and by my 3-year experienceand reckoning about 300 people actually take this up and turn out in thecold and rain).
  • The opportunity to sign up to a direct debit scheme whereby we areautomatically given our seat for cup ties (Worthington or FA or both) -downside being you don’t know the dates or opposition. We pay full pricefor these tickets including a handling charge – it is only fair to getfirst dibs on the cup ties given our loyalty.
  • Not to forget the 5% discount in the Superstore should we wish to deckourselves and our possessions out in replica kit, wallpaper, mouse mat, airfreshener etc.
  • The majority pay up before 31 March, despite not knowing which divisionwe are in, because the club (as at today), do not know what the finalprice will be.

I’d like to know what other “preferential treatment” people get, as we certainly don’t!

I really don’t care what season tickets for rugby or cricket cost, or TWGC(TM) – for the latter we aren’t in the same league and the others are quite literally different ball games – and the majority of Blues I know couldn’t give 4’X’ either, football is our game, City is our club and we’re entitled to our gripe after financing them for so long.

Hopefully, now that the facts are known, our position is clearer.

Heidi Pickup (


I’ve not seen much discussion regarding the Sunderland/Charlton situations whereby both of those clubs have gone down, won the Division One title at a canter a year later and survived easily in the top flight thereafter. Arguments for and against?

Lance Thomson (


Are we a sinking ship? Well not quite but there is some water down below. It’s not over till the Fat Lady Sings, but she is on the side of the stage clearing her throat. All is not lost yet, but we sure needed to win at Bradford.

Although we all probably feel the same a little downhearted, we must not give up, still 8 more games to go, but no question we have got to play better. What’s wrong? The club offers the players a £30,000 bonus to keep us in the Premier League, maybe they should have said we will take 30,000 away from you for not doing your job; a bonus is for success, not to avoid failiure.

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


What can I say? Not much hope now. I don’t understand what is wrong with Royle. How can he take Huckerby off 10 minutes into the second half and replace him with Whitley? Surely he didn’t think we were set for the win? Then we let two quick goals in and he has to change things. A salvage operation against bottom of the table.

If that wasn’t depressing enough we now have another two week break before we can try to correct things. We play Villa who are the team that couldn’t score if they were in a brothel. No doubt that will be a 3-3 thriller with the Angel getting his first goals for them.

The defensive record is not good enough despite the team improving in this department since Christmas. However, the poor performances put out earlier in the season by this department is going to cost us. We now are struggling to score and we need to do this with better results than recently as we now have no chance of catching Derby.

Our only hope seems to be catching Everton, who are in a similar freefall to us. Realistically though I think it is the bottom four as it now that will be the same come the end of the season. I just hope we are the team that are fourth from bottom.

Confidence has got to be low and the players are off to Spain for a break. Oh how they deserve it. Butlins would be more appropriate. I just hope that it does do them some good, I wish I was rewarded for doing such a crap job by my boss. Somehow I can’t see that happening though.

I think someone should make a stand at a big club and say from now on the whole first team squad get an average wage and then the money will be made up in the team’s performance for winning, goals scored, conceded and the like. If they don’t get the results then they don’t get the money. We would see a lot more commitment every game. It is just a thought but it would make things more interesting as there would be a bit more blood and guts as I don’t think there is enough about. Anyone else think so?

Maybe I am too negative but how can you be positive with the tripe being dished up by Royle and co? It looks like we are going to leave it too late, and go down possibly without a fight. The writing has been on the wall for months and Royle hasn’t recognised the fact. I hope we stay up but if we don’t he needs to stay as he isn’t too bad a manager outside the Premier league. The guy just isn’t cut out for the top flight though and he is totally useless with money.

However, if we stay up I hope he can prove me wrong. We don’t need to change the manager at the drop of a coin as the past has proven. Yes, I’m not a Royle fan but if he can get it right for City I’ll be happy and only pleased to say well done. But in this day and age I can’t see that happening.

Before anyone jumps down my throat I’d just like to ask this. What do we as City fans expect? Personally I don’t think we could expect more than mid-table Premiership mediocrity. We would never break into the top six like we did in the early 90’s. Royle has taken his time steadying the ship as we should never have been in the third. He lost a season there and nearly made it longer.

The squad is becoming larger again and there are still a lot of dead wood. This summer will be interesting as I’d like to see who we can get rid of if we stay up. As if we go down there will be a lot of them trying to jump ship and despite being under contract this won’t stop the good players leaving.

Keeping a grip on the faith but my fingers are getting shorter as the weeks go by.

Mike Lloyd (


How frustrating it can be to watch a City game… City seemed to be the better side on Saturday – until they scored and then what happened? Do they really think they can defend a one goal lead against any Premiership team (even Bradford)? Goater looked lost and I think if we are to have any chance of stopping up they we’ve got to drop him to the bench at least.

Anyway I think City can still beat the drop but we have to do something we haven’t done all season; win two in a row and then get at least a point at Leicester. I think 9 points from the next 3 games will see us climb above both Boro and Everton and with the following 2 games against the Rags and Gunners it’s the only chance we have. I think we could even beat the Rags if we are on a 3 game win streak. Anything but a win in our next 2 games and we are down.

CTID, Colorado Blue – Paul Faulkner (


Hello, my name is Brett and I am from Toronto, Canada. I am looking for a Manchester City jersey that I think they wore in the mid 90’s or so. It’s a blue jersey with the name ‘Brother’ across the front and it had black short sleeves with the Kappa symbol running down the sleeve. I cannot find this jersey anywhere and I was hoping someone might know where I can find this. I know it isn’t available in Canada or the USA and I am surprised that I have not been able to find it anywhere in the UK either.

If anyone knows anywhere that might still carry this jersey I would appreciate it very much if you could write me back.

Thank you very much, Brett Haley (


Crazy request I know, but…

I’m entertaining a couple of our US cousins in London first week of April. They really want to see the Arsenal/Valencia game. I’m trying every conceivable option to get 3 tickets. Can anyone on the list help or give (helpful) suggestions?

Jon Fielding (


Anybody know where I’ll be able to watch it? I’m off there on Wednesday until Sunday.

If you know please could you Email me on the address below. Ta very much.

David Severn – Cheadle Blue (


Recent results to 18 March 2001 inclusive.

18 March 2001

Aston Villa           0 - 0  Arsenal               36,111
Liverpool             1 - 1  Derby County          43,362

17 March 2001

Bradford City         2 - 2  Manchester City       19,117
Charlton Athletic     1 - 2  Leeds United          20,043
Chelsea               2 - 4  Sunderland            34,981
Manchester United     2 - 0  Leicester City        67,516
Newcastle United      1 - 2  Middlesbrough         51,751
Southampton           1 - 0  Everton               15,251
Tottenham Hotspur     3 - 0  Coventry City         35,606
West Ham United       0 - 1  Ipswich Town          26,046

League table to 18 March 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  30 13  1  1 42  7  8  6  1 26 12 21  7  2 68 19  49  70
 2 Arsenal         30 12  3  0 37  8  3  6  6 10 21 15  9  6 47 29  18  54
 3 Ipswich Town    30  8  4  3 25 13  7  0  8 19 23 15  4 11 44 36   8  49
 4 Sunderland      30  8  6  1 18  8  5  3  7 19 22 13  9  8 37 30   7  48
 5 Leeds United    30  7  3  5 23 19  6  5  4 21 19 13  8  9 44 38   6  47
 6 Liverpool       28 10  3  1 29  9  3  4  7 19 22 13  7  8 48 31  17  46
 7 Leicester City  29  9  4  2 22 13  4  2  8  9 18 13  6 10 31 31   0  45
 8 Southampton     29  9  2  4 22 15  3  6  5 12 19 12  8  9 34 34   0  44
 9 Chelsea         29 10  3  2 39 17  1  6  7 13 20 11  9  9 52 37  15  42
10 Charlton Ath.   30  9  4  2 24 11  2  5  8 15 31 11  9 10 39 42  -3  42
11 Tottenham H.    30  9  5  1 26 11  1  4 10 10 27 10  9 11 36 38  -2  39
12 Aston Villa     29  5  6  3 18 14  4  5  6 13 16  9 11  9 31 30   1  38
13 Newcastle Utd   29  7  2  5 19 15  4  3  8 15 26 11  5 13 34 41  -7  38
14 West Ham United 30  4  6  5 18 15  4  5  6 17 23  8 11 11 35 38  -3  35
15 Derby County    30  7  6  2 19 17  1  5  9 12 28  8 11 11 31 45 -14  35
16 Everton         30  4  7  4 20 20  4  1 10 11 24  8  8 14 31 44 -13  32
17 Middlesbrough   30  3  6  6 15 18  3  7  5 18 18  6 13 11 33 36  -3  31
18 Manchester City 30  3  3  9 17 22  3  6  6 16 27  6  9 15 33 49 -16  27
19 Coventry City   30  2  6  7 11 21  3  3  9 15 30  5  9 16 26 51 -25  24
20 Bradford City   29  2  5  7 13 24  1  3 11  7 31  3  8 18 20 55 -35  17

With thanks to Football 365


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Technical Problems: Paul –

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #693