Newsletter #705

If anyone out there ever really expected the team to make our lives easier, then they’ve once again been disappointed; the Blues seem, quite irresponsibly, to be intent on prolonging the agony to its maximum. Saturday saw us take a deserved 1-0 lead, fail to take some fairly presentable chances, and then develop a mammoth crisis of confidence in which they collectively forgot that we needed a win. Despite the Hammers’ efforts though, we still took all three points thanks to heroics from Nash (especially), Tiatto and Granville. Strangely though, despite Todorov’s impassioned pleas to his God as chance after chance was miraculously saved, I didn’t develop that awful knot in the pit of my stomach. Here we are in Relegation Land and everyone seems to be having a ball! Even Match of the Day managed to be entertaining, as Alan Hansen lambasted that hopelessly biased twerp Trevor Brooking for being, er well, so hopelessly bloo*y biased. Even as the replay showed West Ham’s goal to have been justifiably disallowed because Suker was blatantly obstructing Nash, he was still whining away in the background like an old woman. On second thoughts, perhaps that’s offensive to old women.

We have Peter’s News; three match reports; City Diary; more on Jimmy Grimble; and much opinion, particularly with regard to a suitable adjective for Mr Keane.

Next game: Ipswich away, Monday 7th May 2001 (BSkyB live)


Part I – West Ham at Home: result and Reaction

Goater Winner Keeps Hopes Alive: Manchester City are still clinging to their hopes of Premiership survival. Defeat against West Ham at Maine Road on Saturday would have sealed relegation, but a first-half Shaun Goater goal gave the Blues victory. Goater struck after 23 minutes of an opening period in which City were the better side, although there was an element of good fortune surrounding the goal as Hammers’ goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was wrong-footed by a deflection off defender Ian Pearce. But the second half was a different story and City were indebted to Carlo Nash, who produced a man-of-the-match display to deny the visitors. And the three points, coupled with Saturday defeats for Coventry, Derby and Middlesbrough mean that the Blues could still maintain their top-flight status.

Royle Admits City Were Lucky: Manchester City grabbed a vital three points in Saturday’s Maine Road clash against West Ham. But Joe Royle admitted that his team had been fortunate to win the game. City led at the break but survived a second-half barrage as the Hammers missed some good chances while goalkeeper Carlo Nash emerged as the Blues’ hero. And Royle reflected that for the first time in the league this season, his team had earned a victory they hadn’t deserved on the day – though he felt his side should have been further ahead at the interval. “We were lucky. I’m glad to say that and it’s the first time I’ve said that this season”, he commented after the game. “The game should have been over – we should have been two up and that would have killed it. But in true City fashion we started giving the ball away, got nervous in front and a combination of a little bit of luck, Carlo Nash and some misses gave us three points for a change.”

Redknapp Laments Hammers’ Misfortune: Harry Redknapp saw his West Ham side lose at Manchester City on Saturday despite creating a host of chances in the second half. But the Upton Park boss was in philosophical mood after the game. Redknapp said that Joe Royle had admitted to him after the game that City had enjoyed “more luck in this match then we’ve had all season”. But while the ex-Bournemouth manager agreed with that assessment, even claiming that Svetoslav Todorov’s disallowed goal should have stood, he also recognised the contribution to his side’s downfall of City goalkeeper Carlo Nash. “I don’t know how he saved them,” reflected the Hammers’ manager. “He saved the first one from Todorov with his feet. He dived one way and it’s hit him on the foot. For the volley I don’t know where he came from, he’s come out of the clouds. It was incredible, wasn’t it?”

Part II – Transfer News and Rumours

Kanchelskis Returns to Rangers: Andrei Kanchelskis has completed three months on loan at Manchester City. And the winger has now returned to Glasgow Rangers. It had been envisaged when Kanchelskis arrived at Maine Road that he could join the Blues in a permanent deal this summer. But that prospect has now receded after the Ukrainian-born star lost his place in the City starting line-up. The former Manchester United player didn’t even make the bench for the weekend game against West Ham, the last of his spell with the Blues.

Kennedy the Latest to Pledge His Future: Several Manchester City players have already avowed their intention to stay at Maine Road even if the Blues are relegated. And Mark Kennedy is the latest to pledge his future to the Blues. Kennedy has had a stop-start campaign, and after first being left out of the side both for tactical reasons earlier in the campaign then had a three-month injury lay-off in the New Year. But the Irishman has earned a recall in recent games, and he hopes to play a major rôle for City next season – whether in the Premiership or the Nationwide League. “I want to stay,” he confirmed. “If the worst happens I want to help the club back to where they belong.”

Galaxy the MLS Club Tracking Wanchope: Rumours surfaced last week linking Paulo Wanchope with a move from Manchester City to the American MLS. And it’s now emerged that if the striker were to head for the US, he would be earmarked by Los Angeles Galaxy. Wanchope has said he would like to stay at Maine Road whether or not the Blues are relegated, but his future is uncertain. He is still on the transfer list, and his future will be decided in the summer. The rumours linking the ex-West Ham player with the Galaxy have intensified since the Los Angeles outfit are set to play in the World Club Championship in Spain this summer. They have been given dispensation to sign new players outside normal MLS transfer windows and are thought to be keen to land a new front man.

Part III – Miscellaneous News and Views

Haaland Angry at Newspaper Stitch-Up: Alfie Haaland has claimed that he has no feud with Roy Keane. And the Manchester City skipper is furious at a report in a tabloid newspaper which claimed that he was attempting to escalate the row with his United counterpart. Sunday’s News of the World showed a picture of Haaland walking past a wall sprayed with anti-Manchester United graffiti. But the photograph was taken from footage in a TV documentary shot months ago as the Norwegian showed a camera crew from his homeland around Maine Road. And the 28-year-old denied claims in the accompanying text that he had questioned Keane’s mental health following the incident which led to the Irishman’s dismissal in last week’s Manchester derby. “I’ve never met the writer Rob Beasley, I’ve never even spoken to him,” said the former Leeds star on his personal website at “I’ve said all along that I don’t hold a grudge against Roy Keane and I want to forget about the incident.”

Nash Determined to Keep His Place: After an unhappy first game against Arsenal, Carlo Nash has enjoyed a fine start to his Manchester City career. And the ex-Stockport man is determined to remain the Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper next season. Nash earned rave reviews on Saturday after making several crucial saves in the second half of the game against West Ham. And though he recognises that Nicky Weaver will provide fierce competition, the 27-year-old hopes to keep his place in the City side. “I have got in the team on my own merit and I am hoping to instil in the manager enough confidence to keep me there,” he said. “I am delighted to have kept my first clean sheet in the Premiership and I was proud of my performance against West Ham.”

Alfie Set for Knee Op: Alfie Haaland has injured a knee and needs a cartilage operation. But the Manchester City skipper will continue playing through the pain barrier until the end of the season. Haaland was troubled by the injury during Saturday’s win over West Ham, but battled on until he was substituted by Laurent Charvet in the second half. And Joe Royle confirmed that the Norwegian will have to undergo surgery. “Alfie’s knee was sore after five minutes,” explained the Blues’ boss. “He’s got a cartilage problem which will need surgery.”

Joe Hoping for Ipswich Repeat: Ipswich has been a happy hunting ground for Joe Royle. And with Manchester City needing to take points from next Monday’s visit to Portman Road, the Blues’ boss is looking for positive omens from his past successes in Suffolk. As the manager of Oldham, Royle saw his side clinch promotion to the top flight with a win at Ipswich in 1991. And a Portman Road victory enabled his Everton side to clinch Premiership survival in 1995. So the Blues’ boss is hoping to clinch a hat-trick of vital successes in next Monday’s televised clash. “It’s not been a bad ground for me and let’s hope it stays that way,” he commented after Saturday’s win over West Ham. “We have two very difficult games left, but the teams above us will be looking over their shoulders.”

Four Fighting to be Fit for Ipswich: Manchester City go to Ipswich next Monday in a game which will probably be vital to the Blues’ hopes of Premiership survival. But Joe Royle will be waiting on the fitness of four key players ahead of the game. Shaun Goater, Paulo Wanchope and Alfie Haaland all picked up knocks in the win over West Ham, but each man is expected to be available for selection at Portman Road. However, Paul Dickov’s injury is rated as more serious. The Scot sustained knee ligament damage during Saturday’s game, and at this stage the former Arsenal trainee is rated as the most likely of the quartet to miss out when City go to Ipswich.

Gleghorn Axed as Witton Boss: Nigel Gleghorn has seen his first foray into management end in disappointment. The former Manchester City player has been sacked by Witton Albion. Gleghorn has lost only 14 games as Witton boss in almost two seasons, but after narrowly missing out on promotion from the Unibond League First Division last season, he has paid the price for failing to inspire another promotion challenge this time round. The 38-year-old becomes the second former Blue to be sacked as manager by a local non-league club in quick succession. Mark Ward was recently axed by Altrincham.

Part IV – Reserve Team News

Unlucky City Lose Mini-Derby: Manchester City played one of this season’s two remaining reserve derby matches last Thursday. And the Blues were unfortunate to come away from Old Trafford on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline. City were the better side for much of the encounter and carved out more chances than their Manchester United counterparts. But though Leon Mike’s 32nd-minute goal levelled Danny Webber’s opener for the home side, it was the Reds who notched the winner in the second period through midfielder Mark Wilson.

Part V – The Battle to Beat the Drop

Current State of Play: With Bradford now relegated, the final two Premiership relegation places will be filled by two of the following five sides:

West Ham (currently on 39 points with a goal difference of -7); Middlesbrough (pts 38, goal diff -1); Derby (pts 38, goal diff -23); Manchester City (pts 34, goal diff -22); Coventry (pts 33, goal diff -26)

Remaining Fixtures:

West Ham: Southampton (home); Middlesbrough (away)
Middlesbrough: Bradford (away); West Ham (home)
Derby: Manchester United (away); Ipswich (home)
Man City: Ipswich (away); Chelsea (home)
Coventry: Aston Villa (away); Bradford (home)

Each team will play its first fixture on Saturday, 5 May (apart from City, who go to Ipswich on Monday, 7 May) and its second fixture on Saturday, 19 May.

What Each Team Needs to Survive:

The following analysis assumes that no bizarre scorelines result in drastic and improbable changes to current goal difference.

West Ham cannot realistically be caught by Coventry and will avoid finishing in the third relegation spot if: (a) they pick up one more point; or (b) if they lose both remaining games but at least one of the following occurs: Middlesbrough also lose both remaining games; Derby pick up fewer than two points from their last two games; Manchester City do not win both of their remaining games.

Middlesbrough will stay up if: (a) they win one or draw both of their remaining games; or (b) if they lose both remaining games but both Manchester City and Coventry fail to pick up two wins; or (c) if either Manchester City and Coventry do not win both of their remaining games and Derby lose both of their games.

Derby will stay up if: (a) they win at least one of their last two games; or (b) they draw both of their last two games and at least one of the following occurs: Manchester City fail to win one of their remaining games; West Ham lose both their remaining games; Middlesbrough pick up no more than one more point; (c) they pick up one more point but Coventry fail to pick up six points and make up the goal difference gap and Manchester City fail to win at least one of their remaining games; (d) they lose both remaining games but Coventry fail to pick up six points and Manchester City fail to pick up four points.

Manchester City will stay up if: (a) they pick up six more points and at least one of the following occurs: West Ham lose both their remaining games; Middlesbrough pick up no more than one point; Derby pick up no more than two points; or (b) they pick up four more points and Coventry fail to pick up six points and Derby lose both of their remaining games.

Coventry must win both of their remaining games to have any chance of survival. They would then stay up if at least two of the following occur: Manchester City fail to pick up six more points; Middlesbrough fail to pick up a single point; Derby lose both of their remaining games or pick up no more than one point if Coventry also remedy their inferior goal difference.

Next Weekend:

On Saturday, 5th May: Coventry will be relegated if they fail to win at Aston Villa. Should they win, they will nevertheless effectively be relegated if Derby win at Old Trafford on the same day and Middlesbrough earn at least a draw at Bradford. Manchester City could also effectively be relegated on Saturday but only if Derby win at Old Trafford, Middlesbrough win at Bradford and West Ham earn at least a draw against Southampton.

On Monday, 7th May: If the issue has not been resolved 48 hours earlier, City will be confirmed as relegated should they lose at Ipswich. Even if Middlesbrough have lost at Bradford on the Saturday, their superior goal difference would mean that City will effectively be relegated if they draw and Derby have earned at least a draw at Manchester United.


The bottom line is that four points from the last two games is the minimum City need to survive. So if City lose either or draw both of their two remaining matches, they will be relegated irrespective of other results.

While it is technically still possible for both City and Coventry to survive, this scenario is extremely unlikely – it relies on both City and Coventry picking up six points and both Derby and Middlesbrough taking none from their two games (or, at a push, Derby earning one but Coventry ending with a better goal difference). So catching one of the three teams above them will almost certainly be irrelevant to City if they themselves are overtaken by Coventry. Coventry must be strongly favoured to beat Bradford at home on the last day of the season, so victory for Gordon Strachan’s men at Aston Villa on Saturday would mean City would go into the Monday game at Ipswich knowing that only six points from the two remaining fixtures would give them a realistic chance of finishing above the Midlands club.

Of the teams immediately above City, Derby appear the most likely target to overtake given their poor goal difference and difficult remaining fixtures. To finish above Derby, City need four points if Derby lose both games or six points provided Derby pick up only one or two points. City currently have a better goal difference than Derby, and if City lose neither of their two remaining games while Derby win neither of theirs, this state of affairs will inevitably remain unchanged.

ODDS – The Totalbet website at offers the following odds on each team being relegated:

West Ham – no price given
Middlesbrough – 33/1
Derby – 5/2
City – 1/7
Coventry – 1/33

Peter Brophy (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. WEST HAM UNITED, Saturday 28th April 2001

7 points out of 9 is championship winning form. Having resigned myself a few weeks ago to not getting another point (never mind another win) this season, City are now seemingly determined to prolong the agony by delaying again and again that final moment at which we get relegated. Can’t we just get on with it?

Saturday dawned fine and bright in some part of the world I’m sure, but it was chucking it down in Manchester. Before the match started I was confidently predicting a 4-2 win for the boys, the optimism apparently being caused by having been hit on the head by a hailstone a bit too hard. Nash unsurprisingly kept his place in the side and there was a welcome return for Tiatto. Full line up was Nash, Tiatto, Granville, Howey, Dunne, Kennedy, Whitley, Wiekens, Haaland, Dickov and Goater. Subs were Weaver, Charvet, Huckerby, Wanchope and Grant. Lomas wasn’t playing for West Ham as he’s been injured for a while and nor was Kanoute, but Di Canio was, as were Carrick and Joe Cole (quote from a West Ham fan in the services at the M1/A50 junction: “Don’t believe what you hear about that Cole, he’s rubbish.” Wish we had that sort of rubbish in our team).

The game started full of huff and puff with chances for both sides. Dickov was running himself in to the ground, chasing every ball and battling away as usual. He had a shot on goal almost immediately from the kick off, which was followed by a shot from Carrick for West Ham which Nash luckily managed to get a hand to as it was probably just going to go in the bottom corner. Phew. We did look dangerous in the first fifteen minutes – Tiatto sent some good balls into the area, most notably from a free kick which unfortunately Hislop managed to hold on to. Tiatto was tremendous on his return, running around almost as much as Dickov.

We had a good comedy moment after 15 minutes when Charvet started warming up, then took his tracksuit off ready to come on. The only thing we could think of was that someone (Howey?) was carrying an injury and Joe thought he was calling to come off – in any case whoever it was must have made it plain he wasn’t going anywhere, so Charvet sat back down (to the accompaniment of 33,000 sighs of relief…).

After 20 minutes we (probably deservedly) took the lead. The ball broke to Dickov in midfield, who did really well under pressure to squirt the ball out to Haaland who was rampaging (honestly!) down the right. Haaland hit the ball first time straight to Goater, who was lurking in the penalty area. Goater’s shot brought back lots of memories of Lee Bradbury (btw anyone see him against Blackburn on Sunday? He hasn’t changed) as he mis-hit it completely. Luckily Ian Pearce was standing in the way of the corner flag, as that’s where the ball was destined to end up, and shinned it into his own net. 1-0. Dodgy own goal, smashing. Hope the “Save Chip” banners made it on to the screen for Soccer AM next week.

We were all over them after that. Stuart Old Man Of The Hills Pearce was forced to head the ball out for a corner after a good ball in from Kennedy, then first Dickov then Whitley missed good chances to tap the ball in. Howey almost scored from a corner but was denied – again – by Hislop just before half time. Even Haaland was having a good game. Nigel Winterburn went off and was replaced by some bloke called Svetislav Todorov who had a silly headband, and whose name the announcer just could not pronounce.

Half time 1-0.

We almost scored straight from kick off at the start of the second half. This time Kennedy beat Song for pace, skill and commitment down the left and flashed a cross over but Carrick (who the West Ham fans in the services did rate highly) cleared the ball off the line. A few minutes after that there was an almighty scramble in the area – bodies, and balls (ooer) were flying everywhere but when the ball finally did fall to Haaland his shot was too weak to beat Hislop, who was being a real git and managed to get a hand to it. For the last half hour of the game though, the real City returned. With Derby, Boro and Coventry all losing a win would be vital to our hopes of staying up. The players seemed to suddenly realise how important the game was as they started playing with all the football skill of a 5Kg bag of potatoes. Dunne, who is usually extremely reliable and who has a nifty turn of pace for a big lad, was having a shocker as he kept getting caught for pace again and again. Haaland came across to cover him at one point and slipped flat on his backside – I know it was slippy out there but he’s supposed to be a footballer not a flipping ballerina. Todorov was clear on goal, but somehow Nash managed to clear the ball with his trailing foot as he dived. Nash then came out a couple of times to clear the ball away from Todorov as he was racing into the area, giving all those members of the crowd that had been there against Villa little heart attacks. First Tiatto cleared the ball off the line (we all thought it was in) then Nash saved at point blank range from Todorov, again. Next it was Granville’s turn to clear off the line after a corner – Nash was taken out completely by Richard Dunne (dozy bu**er) who backed into him and made them both fall over, but luckily Granville was awake enough to head the ball away. Finally West Ham did get the ball in the net from a corner, but luckily the ref had spotted an obstruction on Nash as the ball was floated over so had already blown before the ball hit the back of the net. The bloke in front of us reckoned he’d heard the whistle blow and knew it wasn’t a goal, but that was a load of cobblers as he was just trying to wind us up even more than we were already! It was terrifying.

All those memories of the end of last year when Blackburn kept hitting the post and bar were flooding back. Charvet had come on for Haaland (who by the way got a standing ovation from the crowd as he left the pitch, who says we’re fickle?), Huckerby and Wanchope for the completely knackered Dickov and Goater, and all were involved in the desperate defending as we hung on to the lead. We were being battered. With 90 minutes on the clock Todorov really should have got the equaliser that West Ham deserved. As the ball came over from the right he was completely unmarked in the area but could only put it wide of the right hand post with Nash (for once) beaten. No wonder there are so many bald people supporting City. The announcer must have been thrilled though – after the nightmare he had with Todorov’s name when he came on I doubt he’d have said his full name had he scored…

Somehow, I still don’t know how, we hung on for the win. And what a win. Despite miserable old Trevor Brooking’s sniping on Match of the Day we played far better than West Ham in the first half and should have been two or three up before they started to come back at us. If we’d played like that a few more times this season we would not be where we are and be having to rely still on other teams losing games. We were 100-1 to stay up before the game – I won’t be putting any money on that I’m afraid as it’s still a heck of a task ahead of us. If Derby and Boro win next week we’re relegated no matter what we do – but at least we’re making a fight of it and that makes me feel prouder than I can ever express in words. As does the attitude of the fans, who were superb yet again on Saturday. I can’t make it to the Chelsea game unfortunately but I – in common with countless thousands of others – will be there again next season no matter which division we are playing in. Because we’re Blue.

Sharon Hargreaves


MANCHESTER CITY vs. WEST HAM UNITED, Saturday 28th April 2001

So it’s one down, two to go and three left to catch. Except for Everton’s result it was a near nigh perfect weekend. Ipswich is possibly the tougher of the two games left, but nothing less than a win a week today would surely save us a nail-biting last game against Chelsea. The match started off with City looking sharp and ready for the goal we desperately needed. Early skirmishes saw City totally dominate down the left flank with Granville, Tiatto and Kennedy all giving the West Ham defence no end of problems. However, it was a break from the right which saw City take the lead. Alfie raced clear of Stuart Pearce and pulled the ball across the penalty area for the right hand side and the Goat stole in to score with a huge deflection off Ian Pearce – now the announcer gave it to the Goat, but this morning Gruniard gave it as an o.g. (as I believe did Grandstand). Whatever, it was a goal that we so richly deserved and the team seemed to be playing with plenty of confidence.

West Ham’s only real chance was a shot that Nash turned onto the outside of the post and on the half-time whistle Granville’s header was well turned over by Hislop. Half-time draw was made by Bruce (Les Battersby – Coronation Street) Jones. The second-half started with City (arriving around 2 minutes after West Ham had taken the field) looking slightly edgy. Maybe someone had told them the half-time scores. Anyway West Ham were increasing their pressure on City and for much of the second half City were encamped in their own half. Nash pulled off a few decent saves, Tiatto cleared off the line with his knees. Nash then pulled off a point blank save from Todorov (City announcer struggled with Todorov’s first name – Svetoslav) which flashed across the face of goal. Alfie should have given City a 2 nil lead but made no real contact with the ball and Hislop palmed it away to safety. City brought Charvet on for Alfie (who had tried to Keane one of the West Ham players moments before) – actually Charvet had been ready to come on in the first half before the Goat’s ‘goal’, but Joe changed his mind, and then he changed his mind before bringing Charvet on in the second half – not sure what was going on there!

Suker came on for the ineffective Diawara and proceeded to fall over in the penalty area and have a game of push’n’shove with Howey. City had already replaced Dickov and the Goat with Wanchope and Huckerby, but neither had enough time to make a real impact. Todorov should have done better after Nash spilled a shot, but blazed the ball wide from a yard out and Huckerby and Wanchope got in each others’ way and Paulo shot weakly into Hislop’s arms. The final whistle was greeted with much jubilation as were all the results (except for Everton) and is this the first time that Man U have received a huge cheer for winning?

Scores as always.
Nash 10 – Superb, made no mistakes; as the Guardian puts it when commenting on Nash’s curry supply, “City may reflect that if he helps them stay up he should be awarded the Freedom of Rusholme’s Golden Mile”
Haaland 8 – A good game and supplied the cross for the goal, looks more comfortable at right-back.
Dunne 8 – A solid game and made one excellent tackle from Di Canio when he looked certain to pull the trigger.
Howey 8 – Another great performance by the man who should be skipper.
Granville 9 – A great header that was saved well, and a headed clearance off the line.
Whitley 7 – Solid game but often got the wrong side of West Ham players.
Wiekens 9 – No wonder he is top of our Opta stats, he had one of his inspiring games that justifies Joe’s selection of him.
Tiatto 8 – Superb in the first-half, but drifted out of the game as West Ham dominated in the second. Looks good in a central rôle.
Kennedy 8 – Put some good crosses in and looked threatening whenever he got the ball.
Dickov 7 – Ran his heart out, but apart from one shot in the first half didn’t really create a lot.
Goater 7 – Scored/assisted the goal, but was often a lonely figure up-field.
Charvet 6 – Came on for Haaland eventually, but didn’t do an awful lot.
Wanchope 5 – Came on and leap about a lot, but fluffed a chance he should have done better with.
Huckerby 5 – Ran around very quickly.
Grant – Sat on the bench.
Weaver – Sat in the bar… sorry, sat on the bench.

James Walsh (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. WEST HAM UNITED, Saturday 28th April 2001

Pre-match opinion was divided on whether it would be kinder to lose this one and put us out of our misery, or to win so that the faint hope could flicker on to Portman Road. You can never be confident of victory these days, but my theory was that we’d win this one and then lose to Ipswich. We’ll see.

Kicked off towards North Stand: Nash; Granville Howey Dunne Haaland; Kennedy Tiatto Wiekens Whitley; Goater and Dickov. On the bench were Weaver, Huckerby, Wanchope, Charvet and Grant. Within about ten seconds Dickov had a shot on goal blocked by Shaka Hislop but the early balance of play was reasonably even. Tiatto had clearly learned his lesson from his three-match ban because it must have been all of five minutes before he launched his first two-footed challenge. Fortunately Ian Pearce has been studying at the Di Canio school of sportsmanship, and talked the referee out of penalising him. Gradually, West Ham started gaining the upper hand: a long shot from Carrick was touched onto the post by Nash; Di Canio, lining up to shoot, was dispossessed by Dunne so elegantly that he stood there for a moment blinking and trying to work out why the ball had vanished. The lack of movement that’s been so worrying in recent weeks was starting to worry us again. Then, Dickov put the ball out to Haaland, who crossed the ball in a couple of feet behind the incoming Goat. Shaun reached a leg backwards and managed to push a shot to the far post; the sporting Ian Pearce obligingly redirected it towards the near post, utterly wrongfooting Hislop and giving us an unexpected 1-0 lead.

This revitalised the team, and left us nonplussed. “What are we meant to do when we’re winning at home?” someone asked. “Maybe there’s some instructions in the programme.” Dickov was taking corners, which was good because his corners look dangerous, whereas his impact in an aerial melée is rather limited. Kennedy, however, couldn’t get out of the habit of wandering over to the flag every time a corner was given; this led to some interesting short moves between the two of them, which looked just a little more spontaneous than one would have liked. In fairness to Kennedy, he was working hard for a change, once tracking back to form the last line of defence against Joe Cole and not only tackling the lad but even getting him booked.

West Ham brought on Svetoslav Todorov in place of Winterburn, much to the discomfiture of the announcer, who clearly wouldn’t have held down his job in the days of Kavelashvili and Tskhadadze. Actually, everyone found him hard to deal with; unlike the off-form di Canio and the anonymous Diawara, he started creating chances almost immediately. None of them came to anything though and we had the last chance of the half as Howey hit the bar from a corner.

Nash came out for the second half having changed from his black shirt, which looked like a West Ham player, to his green one, which looked like a match official (could have grabbed a spare away shirt, then he’d only have risked confusion with a visiting Martian). Both teams were giving away a good deal of possession; our main culprits were Dickov and the usually-reliable Granville; on their side, the villain was Rigobert Song, who’d apparently found a pair of Lee Crookes’ old teflon boots in the dressing room. Good to see our friend Christian Dailly; the thought crossed my mind that if it hadn’t been for his goal at Ewood, we’d probably be celebrating promotion to the Premiership just now, rather than going through this agony. A good cross from Kennedy was headed behind by Stuart Pearce; the resulting corner was scrambled agonisingly off the line as Haaland tried to turn it in. A goal would have calmed a few nerves; instead, we settled in to a period of injury-time defending.

A half-hour period, actually. Todorov put in a good run, blocked by Nash. Todorov was one-on-one with Nash, who pulled off a remarkable save with a trailing leg. A corner bobbled around and was cleared off the line by Tiatto’s knees. Todorov hit an unstoppable shot from five yards, and Nash stopped it. Charvet, Wanchope and Huckerby replaced Haaland, Dickov and Goater. Nash was knocked over at a corner, stayed down a moment waiting for the free kick, realised he wasn’t going to get it (rightly; it was one of our lads who’d clattered him), started to get up, saw another shot coming in, saved with another waving leg, and watched in disbelief as the ball was again headed off the line. Davor Suker came on (Davor Suker! He may be a bit past it now, but I have never seen a player whose body language more clearly says “I am here because I am going to score a goal”). We were making a few chances on the break but never looked convincing even three on two, and invariably the ball came back again. The minute hand on my watch got stuck. Tiatto got his yellow card (could just give it to him before the match and save time during play).

The clock reached quarter to, with no sign of movement from the fourth official. Ian Pearce had an extended injury, and we breathed for a bit. Uncle Norman offered round his angina spray. A bloke called Hayden Foxe came on; I was going to be very rude about his stupid orange hairdo, but I’ve just been struck by the thought that it might be a natural affliction. If it is, mate, give Freddie Ljungberg a call and ask him where he gets his done. Him or Fabien Barthez. The clock reached ten to. Huckerby and Wanchope got through again, again couldn’t score. At our end, Dailly, di Canio and Todorov bore down on the goal. Di Canio’s shot was parried by Nash straight to Todorov, who faced an open goal from six yards out, and with unerring instinct lifted it high into row Z. We took another shallow breath. Redknapp and Lampard hugged each other in disbelief. A long, long four minutes of added time crawled by. Another attack. Finally, the whistle.

We’d worked for that win, all of us, so it was good to be rewarded by excellent results from elsewhere. It felt strange to be cheering a United victory; it’ll be stranger to be willing them to win all through next Saturday afternoon. Suddenly, Derby look vulnerable and Coventry’s surge seems to be spent. Much of the analysis on GMR assumed that we’d find it easier to beat Ipswich at Portman Road than Derby would at Pride Park, which the rational side of me tends to doubt. Still, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t prefer hope to glory.

Come on, United!

Dorien James (


Take a look at this page of caricatures of Taggart:,8555,479519,00.html

The fact that I did the top picture has nothing to do with it. Honest.

Alan Bates (


First, apologies for the mistake in last week’s edition. To those (including you, SWB in sunny Altrincham) who spotted it, yes I know it was Paul Power not Mike Doyle who went to Everton and scored against City. I had been talking to someone called Doyle when I sent it, hence the error. To the gentleman who wrote to say wouldn’t Frank Swift have been more likely to ride his motorbike down the A5 not the A6 from Fleetwood to watch City at Wembley in 1933 – possibly so, but no he certainly didn’t use the M1, nor can I help you with your question about bus numbers in Bolton. I think you should stick to watching the Wanderers.

This week in City’s history, 30 April – 6 May.

30th April: In 1921 City played Bradford Park Avenue for the second time in a week (won 2-1), the war-time practice of teams playing each other home and away on consecutive Saturdays being continued for a few seasons into the early 1920s. Peter Doherty got a hat-trick in the 6-2 defeat of Leeds in 1938, but City were still relegated that season; they went down with more goals scored than goals conceded, the only team to have done this. 1959 saw a late and narrow escape from relegation, City were beating Leicester 3-1 at Maine Road when the news came through that West Brom had equalized against Aston Villa and their game, which had kicked off fifteen minutes earlier, had ended in a draw – sending Villa down and keeping City up. This day in 1994 saw the last game in front of the old Kippax, a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, goals from Uwe Rösler and Paul Walsh were the last the Kippax saw standing up.

30th April, 1977: the affair of the disappearing penalty spot. City went to Derby with hopes of beating Liverpool to the championship but the 4-0 defeat was a big setback. It was 0-0 at half-time and if it had stayed that way (and if the last few results had been the same) City would have won the title on goal difference. Brian Kidd had a header kicked off the line and was soon afterwards sent off, Kenny Clements kicked Kevin Hector and got booked, Power was booked for whacking Derby’s full-back across the shins, as was Dave Watson who had been tormented by Archie Gemmill all afternoon. With Derby winning 3-0 Gary Owen tackled Gemmill in the penalty area and won the ball, only for the referee to complete City’s frustration by giving a penalty and book Owen for complaining. It was then that no one could find the penalty spot, and the groundsman had to come on with tape-measure and paint to put it back. Corrigan went the right way but it was 4-0 and City finished the season in second place, one point behind Liverpool. Another game with Derby was sometime around this date in 1976, when Colin Bell made his first attempt at a come-back after his injury by Martin Buchan, with Francis Lee in the Derby side. Bell lined up at full-back and during the game Lee made a late tackle on him. Derby should have had Charlie George in the side but he was injured and was seen standing up near the dugout with his arm inside his sweater like Napoleon. It was 4-3, Paul Power & Joe Royle scored and Tueart got two, one of them a long run from inside his own half with Lee chasing him but unable to catch up. And Mike Doyle was sent off for smacking Leighton James in the face.

1st May, 2000: Joe Royle was named “manager of the month” for April and Robert Taylor was rumoured to be on the verge of a call-up to the Scotland squad, his mum having been born north of the border. In 1972 City won 1-0 at Altrincham in a friendly.

2nd May: Dave Bennett in 1981 (vs. West Brom) and Imre Varadi in 1988 (vs. Crystal Palace) scored their last goals for City. On this date in 1972 City lost 1-2 in the semi-finals of the Manchester Senior Cup. Their opponents? Eccles United. David White scored three times in a 5-2 win at Oldham on the last day of the 1991-92 season.

3rd May: Another 5-2 win to end the season, at Stoke in 1999, and Kinkladze’s last game for City, but Portsmouth’s win at Bradford meant relegation to the Third Division for the first time in City’s history.

4th May: Alan Oakes played the last of his record 668 games for City before moving on to Chester, a 0-2 defeat at Old Trafford in 1976. Another club record was set when Tom (Thomas Clark Fisher) Johnson scored in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool in 1929, that being his 38th of the year in 40 appearances. On the eve of the Cup Final Bert Trautmann was named Footballer of the Year in 1956. In 1966 Colin Bell scored at Rotherham to give City a 1-0 win and get them promoted to the First Division. And in that last game for Alan Oakes in 1976 Michael Docherty played his first game (of just eight) for City, when his father Tommy was managing opponents United.

5th May: last match of the season in 1996 and relegation from the Premiership looming. City went 2-0 down at home to Liverpool who looked embarrassed to be scoring goals against them. A (doubtful) penalty converted by Uwe Rösler and a Kit Symons goal made it 2-2, but that was all and City were relegated amid infamous scenes of confusion in the closing minutes as to whether a point would be enough to keep them up, Niall Quinn shouting from the touchline that they had to win. Joe Corrigan, as Liverpool’s goalkeeping coach, would later describe the City players crying in the tunnel after the game. In 1969 Neil Young scored the only goal of the game at home to Newcastle, ending the season as City’s leading scorer for the second year in succession. In 1956 City won the Cup, beating Birmingham 3-1, the famous Trautmann final. Best picture from that day was of Roy Paul standing with his son and the Cup at the end, the lad holding a programme in one hand and gripping the handle of the Cup with the other, his rosette pinned to his new jacket bought specially for Wembley. And one of the best goals ever scored in a Cup Final was City’s first, by Joe Hayes in about the second minute. Birmigham’s players never touched the ball after Trautmann rolled it out, Don Revie flicking the final pass from the wing through his legs and Hayes burying his shot. Bobby Johnstone’s goal for 3-1 made him the first person to score in consecutive finals. Wembley tickets cost 3 shillings and sixpence.

6th May: City vs. Bournemouth in 1989, promotion from Division Two beckoning but not yet assured after City had had a 3-0 lead and drew 3-3. Promotion would have to wait another week until Morley’s goal at Bradford.

Regarding the piece in MCIVTA 704 about anti-Irish sentiments in MCIVTA, the writer might appreciate an incident of a year or so ago in McCormack’s pub in New York. All the staff and a good part of the regulars are from the Emerald Isle, and one Saturday when the place was showing Arsenal vs. Man Utd the crowd included an Arsenal fan from London who hated MU and all their works with a passion, and didn’t much care for Mr Roy Keane in particular. Keano, who had been putting himself about throughout the game, launched a particularly gruseome tackle at one of Arsenal’s finest, whereupon the Gooner leapt to his feet and screamed “you dirty Irish b*****d!”, quite forgetting where he was. He looked around to find the place had gone very quiet and the owner, an ex-Gaelic footballer, smiling over at him. He hasn’t been back since.

Finally, a belated word about the derby. The only place showing it live in New York was Nevada Smith’s, a big, dark nasty place, and a staunchly Red hangout. Getting to it involved a dawn trek through the East Village past the detritus of the night before – drugged-up party goers heading home, the homeless shuffling into McDonald’s, and NYC sanitation crews distributing the smelly contents of the garbage cans evenly between the trucks and the sidewalks. Just like Piccadilly really. Anyway, about the match. First time I’d seen Luke Chadwick up close. He is frightening. There was an 18th century Hapsburg Emperor whose genetically produced lower jaw stuck out so far he couldn’t chew his food, and Chadwick must have the same problem with his upper teeth. He ran into a City player face-first and you expected to see bite-marks in the blue shirt. The bar was full of Vodafone shirts, one of whom kept roaring “I love you United, I’m not from Manchester, I’m from Singapore” which might have been a rare demonstration of irony if his accent hadn’t so plainly been South Effrikan. When they got the second penalty and Barthez wanted to take it there was briefly the vision of Nash saving it and Barthez falling over and the ball being thrown downfield for Wanchope to chase and boot into an empty net. At the end the early morning shift of Vodafone shirts drifted out and a second lot came in for the tape-delayed showing. City fans thought it might be a nice idea to watch it again and pretend not to know the score, kept up a good show of “oohs” and “aahs”, and when the first penalty was given wondered about making the Reds a “bet you $100 he misses it” offer. They were too smart for that, one only said “I’ll do 20” – but you can’t take advantage, can you? 1-1 wasn’t bad in the end, though it’s probably too little too late.

Ken Corfield (


Manchester City will be sending a team to play Port Vale in a testimonial for Martin Foyle on Wednesday 9th May at Vale Park. kick off 7.30. As many of you will know, Foyle scored twice against City last season, but at least City won both games 2-1, so maybe we owe him one! Tickets are available from Vale Park at £7 for adults and £4 for concessions. If you buy in advance you get the souvenir programme thrown in, but cash gates will be open on the night for those people still travelling back from Ipswich. Robbie Williams and Ant’n’Dec will also be guesting in the match, but I don’t know which team they will be playing for! Incidentally, I am not saying the pitch is heavy, but it would make a suitable setting for a rematch of the battle of the Somme. Expect a few strains for our last match of the season vs. Chelsea!

Jim Curtis (


I’d better be careful this week, don’t want to offend anyone!

W   elsh,
E   nglish,
S   cots (& Irish) all
T   errific!

H   umour
A   ll
M   inorities!

Steve Maclean (


Just a quickie to say what fantastic support we had on Saturday, best it’s been certainly since Sunderland, and probably Birmingham. Why can we not be like that every week? It’s worth a point at home!

To the players: great fight, why couldn’t we have done that back in December/January, we would be well and truly safe by now.

It’s been great away from home this season but at home it’s been hard work. I still can’t see us getting out of it now but if we finish with 2 wins and still go down we are in good stead for next August. We are a much better team, most of them want to stay, and Division One gets worse by the year. If by some miracle we make it, then we have to get things right before August.

Finally the plug

Me, Sikpupi, who some will know from BV, and a couple of others have set up a new message board called Talkin’ City. It features a message board and will see improvements in the coming months with more regular news items, and fan articles. Please feel free to have a look, post a message, whatever. Though the board is free to post on, membership is recommended as to avoid being bombed by idiots we have the option to turn it to members only, though this is only likely in extreme circumstances.

Thanks, Paul Stevenson a.k.a. ChinnorBLU (


I thought some readers might want to know why the Jimmy Grimble video is so expensive – this is a reply from Blackstar after I suggested that they might have got their price wrong! I’m waiting for 6 months!

Hi Brian,

Thanks for getting in touch.

I know, the price does seem to be some kind of fantastic site error doesn’t it! I have to tell you though that this is actually correct and that ‘There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble’ is actually priced at £73.29!

The reason that it is such a high price is that popular titles such as these are often released at a ‘rental price’ initially by the distributors. This is when the video sales are initially aimed at the video rental market. Video rental companies buy titles like these and then make their money back by renting them out to people like you and me.

The good news is that rental prices normally fall to a ‘sell through’ price rougly 3-6 months after the initial release date, so if you are interested in buying this from us keep an eye on site. This should be priced at a more manageable £15-20.00. As soon as we have any news on a sell through release date, this will be advertised on site for customers to order/pre-order.

I hope this has helped explain the situation for you.

If you need anything else clarified for you or you have any other queries just let me know and I will be happy to help you out.

All the best,

Lynne Fyfe, Customer Care – The UK’s biggest video store

Brian Connell (


Like Malcom Plaiter, in MCIVTA 704, I am anxiously awaiting the release of Jimmy Grimble on video (though preferably DVD). When I did a search at Blackstar before Christmas I noticed that the video was advertised for release in February, but at a whopping £74.99! So I emailed their Customer Services section and asked why it was so expensive. I was told that this was the price for the rental companies. The video/DVD for the general public will be released about 3 to 6 months after the release of this version, and will of course be at a more affordable price. As you will be saving over £60, I think it is worth waiting a few more months before buying. By my reckoning the release date should be very soon, and I can’t wait!

Madeleine Hawkins (


A friend and fellow-Blue recently heard that Terry Neill’s bar is now defunct, having gone into liquidation. Can anyone verify the truth or otherwise of this? If true, is there an alternative venue for London Blues to congregate? I would like to watch the Ipswich game among my fellow sufferers if possible. If no-one can recommend a better location, my local (The Station Hotel – opposite Hither Green station) is a good bet for SE London-based Blues. Maybe see you there.

Pat Moore (


After the weekend’s results, we are all aware of the situation regarding us and Derby (2 defeats for them will leave us with a win and a draw being sufficient as long as Coventry fail to win one of their games, whereas if Derby get either 1 or 2 draws, we need 2 wins) but has anyone considered the other possibilities? Not wishing to tempt fate but if Middlesbrough lose at Bradford (Dean Windass deal permitting!) and West Ham lose at home to Southampton on Saturday and we then go to Ipswich and win, the situation would be as follows (regardless of what Derby and Coventry do!): We would be on 37, Boro still on 38 and West Ham on 39 and Boro play West Ham at the Riverside on the final day, so if we beat Chelsea we stay up (because a draw between Boro and West Ham would mean we overtake Boro and a win for either side would leave the other one below us!). Hope this makes sense. Keep the faith.

Keith Bolton – Warrington (


Don’t know who was on the switchboard at Maine Road on Saturday morning, but they were dead helpful. My eldest was three last month and I decided that it was time for his first game. Feeling that the trip to Maine Road, and the fayre on offer, was too much to ask even of a Junior Blue, the right opportunity had final presented itself. City’s U-17’s had been drawn away to Derby in the Academy Cup. Anyway, I phoned up Pride Park and they knew the game was on but didn’t know where or when. Sorry, end of story. Stunned by their ignorance of such a hallowed fixture, I turned to Maine Road. They again knew nothing, but rather than turn me away as an unsatisfied customer, whoever answered the phone said she could try some of the Academy staff on their mobiles at home. I went on hold and after a couple of quick hello’s to let me know she was still trying, she returned with all the facts. Baseball Ground at 11.30. Bit later than I hoped but never mind. We could at least make the first half and shoot off at 12.15.

I’ve now been to the Baseball Ground as many times since it closed as I did when it was open! Twice for the record. The number of times that different incarnations of the future of Man City have played there of late. Entering via a back gate, we ended up being shepherded on to pitch and found ourselves in front of City’s dugout. Where who should we meet but Paul Power and Frankie Bunn? Both took the time to welcome Jude to his first game. Naturally he was overwhelmed and stared at a passing earthworm. True to my prediction, we only managed the first half, as Jude ran out of steps to climb and sheep to count, being the former home of the Rams and all that.

As for what I saw of the game, we looked pretty good. We had far more shape than they did. Spread the ball around, using the full width of the pitch, with, particularly Willo Flood looking authoritative in central midfield. Worth mentioning at the back was Glenn Whelan. He and Shaun Cartwright dealt with anything they were presented with. When I left we were 2-0 up. Nice finish for the second by Adie Orr. Despite having a defender hanging off him, he beat the ‘keeper in a one-on-one.

Postscript. Gutted to find out that it finished 2-2. No idea how?

Andy Noise (


When God finally recognises all my sterling qualities and arranges for me to win the lottery I shall employ a beautiful nubile blonde; not for any carnal purposes you understand. Certainly not! Her only duties will be to spend the half hour before my morning session with the newespaper using her curvaceous bottom to warm the lavatory seat. You have your fantasies. I have mine. At my age a warm lavatory seat is better than sex. You may ask “Why a beautiful, nubile blonde? Surely the colouring and attractiveness of the seat warmer doesn’t matter?” You may go on to point out that there are perfectly effective electrical devices for warming lavatory seats which are much cheaper than nubile blondes. To which I reply. “Who won this blo*dy lottery? You or Me?”

I reckon God owes me a big lottery win as a matter of Divine Justice. After all, he made me a City supporter and a lifetime of suffering deserves some reward. When barmy Glenn Hoddle lost the England job for saying that disabled people were suffering for sins committed in a previous life, the wiseacres tut-tutted and commented that he was a religious nutter only just this side of being placed under supervision and care in the community. If he had said that a previous life of debauchery and shame meant that the miserable sinner was condemned to a lifetime of helpless passion for the most fickle, unpredictable, maddening organisation on the planet, those same wiseacres would have sucked in their breath and nodded in agreement. So who was I in previous life? Caligula? Attila the Hun? Fred the Red? Surely not the last. I may have sunk low but not that low. Conversely: What about the unwashed? Was Ferguson Mother Teresa? Nah. He’s too ugly. Was Beckham Florence Nightingale? I doubt it. He’s not manly enough. Keane of course was a Neanderthal. He still is. However, any City supporter is an optimist by definition. Perhaps it works the other way round. Maybe we are suffering in this world to receive the rewards in the next. Think about it. When a good Moslem hands in his dinner bucket he spends eternity being cosseted by forty beautiful Houris (I love that word cosseted; “Fancy a quick cosseting Darlin'”). Beats farting about sitting on a cloud strumming on a harp doesn’t it? The Norsemen had Valhalla. and it was full of Svens.

Many years ago when I reported for National Service (ask your father), I filled in the ‘Religion’ question on the induction form with. ‘Orthodox City Supporter’ only to be told. “What we don’t need is Effing comedians. What we do need is potato peelers. Get scraping!” Now is the time for the revival of that religion. The fate of all new religions is to be mocked and scorned and for its adherents to be persecuted for their beliefs. No change there then. But like the Christians with their harps, the Moslems with their Houris and the Bhuddists with their Nirvana we shall get our reward in the afterlife. The Vikings – Valhalla had lots of singing, fighting, drinking, rape, and pillage. But you can get that any Saturday night up Rochdale Road (incidentally what is pillage?).

As I see it. Anybody who has suffered like we faithful should be able to order our own Paradise to fit. If you lack imagination, just pinch the best of everybody else’s. For instance; you could have a pillow fight with your forty Houris, whilst listening to fighting Vikings singing to the accompaniment of massed bands of harpists. For my part I will settle for an Executive box at the Nou Campe watching City slaughter the Unclean in the final of the European Cup. Of course I would have a pint of Boddys in one hand and young Sophia Loren in the other. The Uggies would be paying for their life of pleasure in this world by being at the same game sat in pouring rain with a pint of London beer in one hand and Nobby Stiles in the other. The trouble is that as they are mostly Cockney and queer, they would probably enjoy it.

Bob Ellis (


I’ve not had time to do a match report; what with studying, work and major house renovations, so tonight’s contribution is a bit of a cheat.

Back in MCIVTA 691 (12 March), I reported some ‘end of season’ predictions taken from the Manchester Evening News. The updated figures – as if you need reminding of our predicament – are here.

Team: opposition (points) – MEN final prediction – (my final prediction)

Coventry: Villa (0), Bradford (3) – 33 (34)
Currently on 34, so let’s say 37 final.

Bradford: Boro (1), Coventry (0), Liverpool (0) – 22 – (didn’t bother)

Boro: Bradford (1), West Ham (3) – 41 – (39)
Currently on 38. I’d like to think it’ll stay that way.

Derby: Man Utd (0), Ipswich (3) – 42 – (42)
Currently on 38, think it’ll stay that way.

Everton: Cheslea (0), Sunderland (3) – 42 – (42)
Safe currently on 41.

City: Ipswich (1), Chelsea (1) – 42 – (36 but hoped for 39)
I was a bit too optimistic. Ipswich is going to be a tall order, though I quite fancy us ‘doing’ Chelsea. Currently on 34, a possible 38 points.

38 points would leave us ahead of Coventry (that’ll teach ’em for damaging my car) and level with Derby & Boro. Unfortunately Boro have a far superior goal difference of -1 compared to our -22 and Derby’s -23. It’s down to us and Derby, and a little help from our Red colleagues across town and Ipswich.

Still, the benefit of my studying is that I am remarkably chilled out and philosophical about the whole thing and shall be wafting my lavender oil around on 5th & 19th May.

Heidi Pickup (


I was going to write a hymn to our brave, ballsy and not unskilful performance against The Prawns; then MCIVTA came in and the “Joe Tendency” got up on their soapboxes so I feel I have to take up the cudgels once more in defence of my article setting out the case against JR, which seems to have got up certain of my fellow Blues’ noses in a big way.

Let me say from the outset. I just wanted to try to put things in perspective, admittedly a somewhat neggy perspective. After two successive promotions a lot of people were ready to canonize Joe; there is a “Joe Tendency” ready and willing to overlook the man’s limitations out of gratitude for our rapid rise up the league. While I wouldn’t want to “do a Swales”, I felt I had to ask “can Joe cut the mustard as a Premiership manager” and I have to say, having considered it in some depth, “I don’t think so”. I do understand the financial aspects and the limitations on our spending power – we certainly can’t go out and spend £73 million like Captain Tampax (and if we did, we’d have done a better job – even Ball would have done a better job with that sort of loot!) – and yes, if we could have bought T.Henry/M.Babbel/S.Hypia and a couple more we’d have been okay but we didn’t have the money. It doesn’t take a chartered accountant to suss that out. But Joe for me has lost it in his team preparation, his selection, his bizarre substitutions and, having gone out of his way to strengthen the defence, we are landed with almost the worst goals against record in the PL.

The Reg thing was a fiasco. Carlo Nash, a decent ‘keeper should have had a game long before he did. It was evident four games into the season that we needed some craft in midfield but no attempt (or none publicised) was made. Everything he’s done latterly tells me he’s lost the plot. I think if I was still a season ticket holder I’d be going hairless. Comments of Joe’s like the one I headed up my article with seem to reveal that he is not at the races tactically. In fact very little the guy says makes sense – though I do realise you don’t pick managers for their verbal fluency and erudition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unappreciative of what JR has done. But let’s not kid ourselves, there was a fair amount of good fortune involved, at critical moments. And, I have to concede, some ill fortune this year that’s robbed us of a few points. So I’m not against Joe – I’m against self-delusion. Having considered everyone’s counter arguments – and I had great e-mails from D.James and Martin Beckett (plus his terrific counter attack in McVittie), I would be prefectly willing to see out a five-year plan with Joe at the helm, I suppose fair is fair. But put it this way – if you are to ask me do I think we’ll achieve mid-table stability in the PL at the end of say another 3 years of JR and I’d have to say “No, I don’t”.

Declan Carty said “What if every City fan thought and voiced their opinion like you do? What sort of club would we be following then… eh?” And my answer is exactly the same sort of club as you, me and everyone else are following now. All I was doing was trying to put JR into some sort of accurate perspective – take out the sentiment and evaluate his performance as a manager.

Having done this, I’ve come to the conclusions that Joe a) probably won’t keep us up, b) possibly won’t even get us back next year, and c) he’s not Premiership class as a manager. What am I supposed to do? Keep quiet about it?

Without (hopefully) anyone else getting on my back, let me put it to the test. Ask yourselves:

  1. Do you think our performances this season have been a) about what youexpected, b) better than you expected, c) worse than you expected.
  2. Do you think if we go down that Joe will get us straight back up next year?
  3. If he gets us up, do you have the confidence that he’ll keep us up?
  4. Do you think that the club will be in the Premiership in 4 years’ time with Joe andhis crew in charge based on the evidence of what you’ve seen this season.
  5. If your answers to the above are largely negative, would you a) kick Joeout now, b) kick him upstairs, c) give him another year, d) give himanother 3 years.
  6. If your answer to 5 was a), should you be ashamed of saying so inpublic?

And before anyone starts telling me what my own answers are, let me tell you I’d be happy to abide by a majority verdict. I’m not saying, Bob Burnup, “sack the manager”, I’m saying “I don’t think Joe will do it for us”. Why should we shy away from criticism? We pay our money and expend our emotions for godsakes. We’re entitled to criticise. If the club hung on to Royle out of a sense of loyalty I’d be proud of them. If they hung on to him because they think he’s the man for the job well okay, let’s give it a go. I might think they’re mad, but let’s run with it if that’s what the fans want. I’m just asking “Is it?” And I’d rather see JR kept on as manager than kicked upstairs – that makes no sense at all. What would he do? In the bad old days, we had a director (Ian Niven?) who was grandiosely styled “Director in Charge of Car Parking”. Of course he was a Swales puppet. Presumably in the Bernstein era the job is being done by a pensioner with a peaked cap and a wheel clamp! On another matter – I agree with every word of what Irish Blue says (I’m an Englishman living in Ireland). Let’s keep racism out of it. Keano would be a great player, a dirty b*****d and a total turd if he came from Surbiton, Stockport, Cork, Singapore or Outer Mongolia.

CTID, Ernie Whalley (


Sorry Malcolm, just because a film is made about our beloved Blues doesn’t make it a good film. In fact, I can honestly say it is one of the worst films I have paid to see (I wish I had had your free ticket!). It was released to limited general release as the distributors obviously knew it had limited appeal. I saw it one Thursday afternoon at the Trafford (sorry) Centre and apart from the cleaner who stopped for a long fag, I was the only person in the cinema. The film itself is tedious and totally unbelievable, don’t waste your money on it, it will be on Sky soon no doubt. I, for one, will not be watching.

Joe Ramsbottom (


Yes Mr Name Witheld (Green Blue), I think you are being over-sensitive.

Maybe we don’t refer to their nationality when we berate the Nevilles and Beckham, but then as Englishmen maybe by default we are calling them “ugly English cretins” and “English thickos” without saying the word. As Englishmen, isn’t that even more dammning of the fact we do not like them?

Here’s one for you.

Thicko Englishman David Beckham falls during training and hurts his back. Ferguson walks over and has a word in his ear.
Thicko Englishman Beckham goes home and is met at the door by Thicko Englishgirl.
Posh: “What’s the matter babe?” she says.
“Quick, get your coat, we’ve got to go to church” says the Thicko Englishman.
“Why?” says the Thicko Englishbird.
The Thicko Englishman Beckham replies “Mr Ferguson said I need to see a choir practice”.

Happy now?

David Kilroy (


In reply to the man with no name… How do the ugly English Neville cretins get into the national side? They’re crap – at least Roy the dirty b*****d is half decent as a player, though his lack of brains (à la overated English thicko Beckham) lets him down every time. Actually, when you think about it, the Rags, though begrudgingly talented, are significantly ugly when you consider the Nevilles, ‘Vesuvius Face’ Chadwick, Stam, ‘Can’t score for England’ Cole, & ‘Kick Me’ Butt.

That should make the man with no name happy.

P.S. I hear Keane is considering retiring from playing to support Millwall! Good fit!

Chris Loveridge – Hawk (


I agree with the Irish Blue (name withheld) who objected to the subtle racism bandied about re. Roy Keane. The man is a thug, bully, cretin and (now we know he never looks Alfie in the eye when they shake hands) a coward; but being Irish has nothing to do with anything.

Andy Conway (


Dear Name Withheld By Request / Green Blue: Racism in MCIVTA? I’m assuming the ‘ignorant Irish wifebeater’ remark you mention is a reference to Heidi Pickup’s match report (MCIVTA 703) where she actually calls Mr Keane a ‘cowardly woman-beater?’. Please be more specific if you can – racism is too serious a charge to be carelessly thrown about.

P.S. I’d just like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Ashley, Geoff, Peter and everybody else who contributes to MCIVTA. I’ve been on the far side of the planet (NZ) for the last eight months and – besides listening to Sportsworld on Short Wave in my tent at 5AM – MCIVTA has been my only contact with City throughout this difficult season. Cheers!

RJ Long (


Someone who used to post on Blue View as “Carlos Fandango and his Super Blue Wheels” is requested to email me, as someone wants to get in touch with you but has lost your contact address. If you read this or you know Fandango can you either mail me or him to ask him to get in touch.

Paul Stevenson (


If anyone can recommend a place to watch City’s game at Ipswich on Monday, 7th May in Dallas, please e-mail me at the address below.

David Shindler (


Recent results from to 29 April 2001 inclusive.

28 April 2001

Coventry City         0 - 2  Liverpool             23,063
Derby County          1 - 2  Arsenal               29,567
Everton               2 - 1  Bradford City         34,256
Leeds United          2 - 0  Chelsea               39,253
Manchester City       1 - 0  West Ham United       33,737
Middlesbrough         0 - 2  Manchester United     34,417
Newcastle United      1 - 0  Leicester City        50,501
Southampton           0 - 1  Sunderland            15,249
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 0  Aston Villa           36,096

League table to 29 April 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  35 15  2  1 49 11  9  6  2 28 14 24  8  3 77 25  52  80
 2 Arsenal         35 14  3  1 43 12  5  6  6 16 22 19  9  7 59 34  25  66
 3 Leeds United    35  9  3  5 27 19  9  5  4 27 20 18  8  9 54 39  15  62
 4 Ipswich Town    35 10  5  3 29 14  9  0  8 24 24 19  5 11 53 38  15  62
 5 Liverpool       34 12  3  2 35 12  5  5  7 25 25 17  8  9 60 37  23  59
 6 Chelsea         35 12  3  3 42 19  3  6  8 20 22 15  9 11 62 41  21  54
 7 Sunderland      36  8  7  3 21 14  6  4  8 20 23 14 11 11 41 37   4  53
 8 Aston Villa     36  7  8  3 24 18  5  7  6 19 20 12 15  9 43 38   5  51
 9 Charlton Ath.   35 10  5  2 29 14  3  5 10 17 35 13 10 12 46 49  -3  49
10 Newcastle Utd   34  9  2  5 22 16  4  5  9 18 30 13  7 14 40 46  -6  46
11 Tottenham H.    36 10  6  2 28 15  2  4 12 14 34 12 10 14 42 49  -7  46
12 Southampton     34  9  2  6 22 19  3  7  7 12 22 12  9 13 34 41  -7  45
13 Leicester City  36  9  4  5 24 21  4  2 12 10 25 13  6 17 34 46 -12  45
14 Everton         36  6  7  5 27 25  5  1 12 15 30 11  8 17 42 55 -13  41
15 West Ham United 36  5  6  7 21 20  4  6  8 20 28  9 12 15 41 48  -7  39
16 Middlesbrough   36  3  7  8 16 22  5  7  6 25 20  8 14 14 41 42  -1  38
17 Derby County    36  8  6  4 22 23  1  5 12 13 35  9 11 16 35 58 -23  38
18 Manchester City 36  4  3 11 19 29  4  7  7 20 32  8 10 18 39 61 -22  34
19 Coventry City   36  4  6  8 14 23  4  3 11 20 37  8  9 19 34 60 -26  33
20 Bradford City   34  4  6  7 19 26  1  3 13  9 35  5  9 20 28 61 -33  24

With thanks to Football 365


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Peter –
Subscriptions: Geoff –
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 #705