Newsletter #713

Most of the news surrounds the fans’ and press’ reaction to the appointment of KK. This is more than adequately covered in Michael Leafield’s first ‘News Summary’ so I won’t repeat it here. Rather, I’d just like to welcome Michael on board, and hope that he gets as much enjoyment from doing it as Peter did. Other than the speculation, condemnation, hope and despair, there’s a report from Geoff Donkin from the Fans’ Forum; and a little bit of opinion.

Next game: to be announced


New Manager / New News Editor!

Well, here we are, news summary number one. Many thanks for the amazing job Peter has done over the years and I only hope that I can come somewhere close to his level of performance. I enjoyed Peter’s style and format of Summary so I’ll try and keep as close to that as possible and may I quickly apologise in advance for the following:

  1. Appalling punctuation: I thoroughly enjoy writing but punctuation is detrimental to my flow!
  2. Atrocious attempts at humour: as a news summary, I’ll try to keepthe whole thing as staid as possible but inevitably my own sad sense ofhumour may seep through.
  3. My inability to type the actual name of the Rags in any context.

Here we go; might be a bit patchy for a while but stay with me on this!

Keegan – Various Bits and Pieces:

City Chairman David Bernstein announced that Keegan was the club’s number one target despite heavy speculation in the week linking us with Mick McCarthy and David Moyes and the bookies having David Platt as favourite on Monday. It appears that for a change we have got our first choice, clearly backed up though by the controversial alleged timing of the initial approach to City’s new boss. Keegan has already inferred that he was sounded out on Sunday by Dennis Tueart, a day before Royle was sacked.

David Bernstein later in the week announced that City had received 20 “serious” applications for the vacant post.

Keegan Speaks:

The bulk of this weekend’s press reports cover Keegan’s reclusive period just after leaving the England job. He says “my family took to calling me Hadrian.” The long and the short of this is that in the weeks and months after quitting the England post, Kevin Keegan turned to DIY and spent so much of his time building walls that his family nicknamed him Hadrian.

City can be challenging for the title within five years claimed our new saviour to the various press reporters. “My track record as a League manager is as good as anybody’s” – In a typical Keeganism he continued: “Alex Ferguson’s will be better, but after that it’s right up there. I’m sure other managers have come here with the same dreams and visions that I have. The difference is, they’ve had their go. It’s history. Now it’s my turn.”

Keegan hinted at current squad abilities as he praises the pace of Darren Huckerby and says that Steve Howey would have played many more times for England if it weren’t for persistent injuries. He also said he looked forward to working with Danny Tiatto. But apart from these three and Nicky Weaver his knowledge of the squad is limited and needs assessing.

Keegan – Endorsements?

Eccentric sports reporter and long time City fan Stuart Hall rates Keegan as the man to win City promotion at the first attempt, incidentally an achievement never before matched in the club’s history (before you start writing in, the recent Division 3 to Division 2 success doesn’t count!). Hall describes Keegan as “a braveheart” and that “he should have been at Agincourt with Henry V”.

Independent Fulham supporters’ spokesperson Sam Sweeney has raised doubts about Keegan’s staying power. In a statement that appeared to contain some lasting disappointment as regards his departure from Fulham, she had good and bad points to say about the new City boss, stating that he might have done the decent thing and stayed playing golf a little longer but adding praise of his motivational strengths.

Various squad players have put their markers down and praised the new boss including Paul Ritchie, Nicky Weaver and Carlo Nash. Alfe Inge Haaland praised the signing of Keegan on his own website <> as “absolutely tremendous”.

Former City defender John Beresford believes that City will take the First Division by storm next season.

It also appears we weren’t the only club eager to bring Kevin Keegan back into the game. Other interested parties included his former club Southampton and the mighty Middlesbrough, with El Tel as Director of Football and Keegan as coach, where now for glorified tea boy, Captain Marvel? To add to these, this weekend leaked reports state that Aston Villa’s deadly Doug allegedly twice approached Keegan, once shortly after leaving the England job and again last week. Keegan turned him down on both occasions.

Other News – Ins and Outs?

The lack of a ‘midfield general’ has, along with right back, been the most glaring problem for City in the last campaign. Early reports say that we could be going for Robert Lee, Gary Speed (unsettled at Newcastle) or Lee Clark, recently promoted with Fulham. Problems being that Lee is due a testimonial at Newcastle and is linked with a joint managerial rôle with Shearer once Bobby Robson steps down, while Clark and Speed may not be keen to take the step down in division.

Renewed speculation re two other old targets has surfaced. Blackburn Rovers’ Jason McAteer is again linked with a move to Maine Road, McAteer can fill either a midfield or right sided defensive rôle. In a similar vein, ex-City star Steve Lomas is yet again a possible for this rôle, with the fee in the region of £3 million.

Speculation is still rife as regards backroom staff, with Keegan openly asking Willie Donachie to stay, Kev giving Willie a deadline of next Wednesday to decide. The names touted for coming to the club in a coaching capacity include the usual Keegan stalwarts, Derek Fazackerly and Paul Bracewell, with also former Blue Peter Beardsley linked with a rôle, though Newcastle appear to have scotched the latter with an offer of youth coach to Beardsley.

A possible quick return to City for Tommy Wright as a replacement for sacked Alex Stepney? Wright is due to leave Bolton Wanderers this summer and the rôle is one he has already has experience in.

One apparent newcomer is Juan Carlos Osorio; no, not a dazzling South American creative midfielder. He is currently fitness coach with the New York Metrostars. Not a lot of information on this one apart from he is Colombian and 39 years old! Maybe he can play a bit as well?

Reports in the Spanish press this week were linking Mallorca with City star(!) Laurent Charvet. Also rumoured to be chasing the unsettled Frenchman are Ipswich and Charlton. Obviously we haven’t seen the best of this particular player as the prospect of him playing in the Champions’ League (Mallorca) or the UEFA Cup (Ipswich) is quite possible.

Other speculation re incoming signings have us linked with Charlton’s Richard Rufus, a centre half; now that would be welcome addition to the squad!

Persistent rumours of a new young striker to sign: so far the two prominent names are Blackpool’s Brett Ormrod and Brighton’s Bobby Zamora; this one has been around for a few weeks and as with the arrival of Arthur Cox as chief scout, these may be on the back burner until the current squad is assessed. The Zamora link has purportedly come from a team mate at Brighton, but is B.K. (Before Kev).

Cardiff City are the latest club to be interested in City defenders Andy Morrison and Spencer Prior. Newly promoted Cardiff, under the stewardship of Sam Hamaan, have a reported £2 million to spend on players and a combined fee of £700,000 could be made. Additionally, Morrison is still being linked with Sheffield’s Utd and Wednesday and also still in the frame are Bristol City. But with Keegan stating that he likes his teams to have a natural leader on the pitch, there is hopefully still a place at the club for Big Andy.

Enigmatic striker Paulo Wanchope is reportedly linked with a move to Champions’ League finalists Valencia! The fee in the region of £4 million. His agent, the universally reviled Dennis Roach is reported to have met up with Valencia officials earlier this week.

Miscellaneous Stuff

In another pointer to the apparent booze culture at Maine Road, a central defender was said to have been late for training in the last week of the season. He turned up apparently worse for wear just two days before the last home game of the season against Chelsea.

Good news in that Academy youngster Dixon (Dickson?) Etuhu has signed a new deal. Etuhu has blossomed since the arrival of the now departed Dino Toppmöller; Etuhu feels that the competition for the midfield berth made him work harder and now wants to emulate his rôle model Patrick Viera.

City beat ManUre 2-1: City’s ladies team triumphed 2-1 over the evil empire’s female minions at Maine Road on Saturday. The result clinched the Northern Combination League Championship.

Ex-Blues’ News

A soft spot of mine this, following former Blue-shirted heroes.

Former Blue and occasional borrower of Andy Dibble’s car, Carl Bradshaw, has left Wigan Athletic on a free and is looking for a new club. Ex-City winger Paul Simpson was on target for Blackpool in their 4-2 victory over Leyton Orient at the Millennium stadium, and finally congratulations to Ian ‘Bob’ Brightwell. Always a Super Blue, helping Walsall to play-off victory on Sunday.

Michael Leafield (


It was a strange experience in some ways. Went straight to Manchester from work via the station to pick up branch chairman Tom Farrington, so ended up walking around a pretty much deserted but sunny MR in a suit and tie (yes Tom, engineers do wear suits for work) having parked up outside the main entrance – try that on match days. Downside was that the Blue Moon chippy was closed along with all the other usual match day retail outlets bar the corner kebab shop. Just as well I had the kebab (in spite of reservations about the combination of kebab and suit) as there was no scoff laid on at the Kippax, just fruit squash and coffee (no beer until after the Forum .. wonder why?).

Security for the event was pretty tight; we drove through the big gates at the corner of the Kippax and Platt Lane having been checked against the guest list, the first of three such checks – were we expecting mass gatecrashers in view of the day’s events? Didn’t get stopped by the TV cameras to give an opinion in spite of driving very slooooooowly, so it was on to the top of the Kippax… in a lift! None of your match day aerobics on the staircase tonight!

I’ve been in the Upper Tier of the Kippax a few times but never at the very top level in the Kippax Suite. The view was pretty impressive though I suspect verging on the Subbuteoesque on match days. The damage to the pitch wasn’t as bad as it sounded from post-Chelsea reports; the centre spot had gone but by no means the centre circle as some reports had suggested; nevertheless a poor state of affairs and a bad way to end the season. The bar was pretty full; I’m sure there were lots of people there who knew me by name but I didn’t really get the chance to put faces to Internet/e-mail names, though did pick out Deb Brown, Don Price and Howard Burr later in the proceedings. We were running late but by 7.45 we were sat down as Messrs Chris Bird (CB), Dave Bernstein (DB), Dennis Tueart (DT) and John Wardle (JW) took their seats on the podium. Wot no manager?

I suspect many of you will have heard some of the commentary on the ‘net or the highlights programme on GMR later that evening, but just in case here goes with an eyewitness summary. The first half of the event was perhaps a little stage managed, as we’d had to write down questions beforehand and someone decided which ones would be asked. I’d had a mental block about what to ask (sorry Heidi I forgot your list!) so ended up ringing Pete Brophy for inspiration (I’m sure you know the question was asked Pete, just not by me!). DB opened by summarising the season of disappointment, noting the big gap between Division 1 and the Premiership (and not just on the pitch); the poor home form; the 10 games where we’d scored first and lost; the many under performers that the £17 million budget had bought. He said he wouldn’t talk about the ‘booze stories’ or comment on board disunity, saying in effect, don’t believe what you read in the papers. He thanked Joe for all he’d done in the last 3 years, and when asked by one fan why he’d publicly said Joe’s job was safe only to sack him he asked what was he supposed to do? Three games to go that you need to win; would questioning the manager’s position have helped?

Apparently we’d had 30 serious queries about the vacant position, and DB said that KK hadn’t quite got his story right earlier in saying that he was approached the day before JR was sacked. The first contact between DB and KK had been on the Monday. Choosing his words carefully perhaps? Maybe DT talked to KK on the Sunday? Whatever, DB went on to say that there were no worries on the board about mystery bidders for the Boler estate or any other shares so no takeover likely then, the more so given the increase in share price that accompanied KK’s appointment. DB said the board is united; don’t believe all you read about it. There are no “kingmakers” and “axemen” on board; they all take decisions together and act together (obviously in response to stories that DT is real power behind board, getting JR appointed and then sacked and getting KK appointed) but not much doubt DT had a part in KK appointment, noticeable that it was DT’s hand that KK first shook at end of Q&A session.

A question was asked about the quality of the players bought recently and could we expect things to get better? DT stated that whilst the board was consulted, ultimately the manager should manage without interference. We can only hope KK’s judgement is sound. DB stated that KK had expressed a desire to have Willie Donachie stay on but as WD was incommunicado on holiday he’d not been in a position to comment on his intentions.

Asked about the future of the Academy (given KK’s binning of the youth system at Newcastle… of which more later), DB said he was pleased we had 15 internationals in the Academy, that KK was supportive of the Academy system and nothing would be done to undermine the set up.

Putting away supporters in the Gene Kelly stands? CB said the police preference is for home fans in these sections to ease crowd control and the club has to go along with this. Things will be different at Eastlands!

Players at branch meetings? Policy would be unchanged, and the ‘no shows’ of some players were acknowledged.

Negative vibes from the Kippax? DT noted the tendency to have a go at right backs, and suggested this was one area that supporters and their organisations could tackle themselves. Discuss, spread good vibes, discourage the detractors, etc. CB praised the rôle of the Fans’ Committee in getting views of fans across to the club and encourage others to participate in it.

At this point the East Yorkshire branch got its 15 seconds of fame as Chairman Tom asked what the board would see as constituting success in the next 5 years. DB suggested that we aspired to be a Premiership top 6 club, noting the three tiers in the Premiership, but we can’t be complacent about the task next season.

After about 25 minutes of Q&A, DB said that whilst he was sure we were keen to listen to him, we’d be more interested in meeting the new manager so in walks KK to a standing round of applause. No stage management now, with questions from the floor; KK’s a natural in a situation like this, if sometimes a mangler of words and syntax, and he was on good form. However, you could sense the room cringe when he use the M-word, only to be advised in short order by one fan never to use the M-word in connection with Manchester (and not man) City. He looked bemused by this advice and the consensus was that in future he’d call us a huge club, with CB promising to explain the M-word taboo to him afterwards (over a pint?). He’s keen to learn what the fans want, though whether he’ll act on fan feedback remains to be seen. He gave a personal account of his selling of Andy Cole and the widely seen scenes of him talking to Magpie fans outside St James, letting slip the words ‘fat b*gg*r’ and ‘Matt Le Tissier’ in the same sentence, before becoming more circumspect after DB pointed out that he was actually being recorded for GMR. Cue hilarity in the audience but KK wasn’t altogether pleased by the oversight. He confirmed that he wants Willie to stay if his heart is in it, would be bringing Arthur Cox in as Chief Scout given his good knowledge of the UK game and track record in finding gems in the lower divisions.

Interestingly, the only players he knows personally are Steve Howey and Darren Huckerby and you got the feeling they would be a significant part of his plans, so don’t be surprised if SH is captain next season and Huck is terrorising the 1st Division. He was asked about tactical naïvety and said “don’t believe everything you read about me. I don’t think tactics are mints…” (who was the woman who belatedly got the joke?) and about the youth system at Newcastle. It would seem that affair was the consequence of the Newcastle board’s attitude to signing on fees for young players and the lack of flexibility in the management of the Pontin’s League that led to kids being out really late after games, etc. In essence, he was saying he’d have kept it going but the board forced his hand, so it looks like the Academy is safe with KK. He said he wanted 16 to 19-year-old Academy players to train with the first team squad and he would be making that change, adding that whilst he didn’t know how much time JR/WD spent with Academy staff, he assured us that he would spend a lot, and probably more time than they did.

After about 45 minutes, proceedings were wound up, with DB saying he hoped we were all looking forward to the coming season and reckoned that we, like him, would love to be out there playing for City, enabling KK to get the final word: “if you don’t give me any money you will be!” He left with the directors to another standing round of applause, went off for his lesson on the M-word and was gone. Driving home, Tom and I felt fairly upbeat about the prospects for the future. True, with any change of manager there’s a risk of things going wrong, and a lot of people I guess won’t expect him still to be with us in a year (apparently you can get 2/1 against at the bookies and Tony Book was the last City manager to stay in the job for 5 years) but I favour giving him the benefit of the doubt. If nowt else we’ll be unlikely to see dour 1-0’s and more heart stopping 3-2’s and 4-3’s, we’ve got a big name who will raise interest in the club and perhaps attract players that JR would have been unable to. We could see a few of the kids given their chance if they are good enough and don’t be surprised to see an experienced midfielder/playmaker join, possibly Rob Lee/Lee Clark if KK, like most managers, goes back to players he knows; KK said Hucks was fastest wide player he has ever seen – could we see Hucks play on right side of midfield or roaming rôle on right side of a three-pronged attack?!

Here’s hoping! For the pessimists amongst us, may we point out that City appointed their new manager on St Jude’s day – the patron saint of lost causes. You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Tom Farrington – Chairman East Yorkshire CSA (
Geoff Donkin – Secretary East Yorkshire CSA (


If only we had waited another two weeks… we could have had William Hague.

John Wilson (


I have to say that I’m inpressed with the way Bernstein et al have dealt with the situation. From the Anne Robinson-style “goodbye” to Joe, to the speed at which his successor has been instated, all somewhat differing to Frank Clark hearing about his sacking on GMR and the subsequent farce. Decisive, City?

We all know Kev’s history (runs a garage, ex-wife lives around the corner, two daughters “Wooosie and Sooophie”), but is it good or bad for City? I have to say ‘good’ – tentatively – complete pre-season for him to get to grips with the squad (loosely termed) and try to do something. Buy any decent players? Well if a managers’ name can draw someone in, Keegan must be up there – hands up who wasn’t worried last year when we bought how many centre-halves just before the kick-off (Big Mr B included)?

Will we get back up at the first attempt, next year? We’ll see. What’s got to be good is that the style of football played at MR will be turned on its head, if KK’s past is anything to go by. For me, that’s got to be the best thing.

Most neutral fans were glad to see the back of us, this season, when in the past they’ve been – at worst – indifferent to us. Last season we became detested because of the grunting, grinding and punting way we played (I may have mis-spelled in there).

For all the shenannigans, Maine Road should now be an interesting place to watch this summer and let’s hope we make it count, come next May…

…just stay away from Radio 5 during Easter though, eh Kev?

CTID, Andy Gascoigne (


What a shame and a further slur on the City name. Bernstein has shown himself to be a sanctimonious hypocrite posing as a man of integrity and character, but ultimately unable to disguise the fact he is just another sad bullshi*ter. The money he promised Joe Royle last year never materialised and even given the undeniable poor judgement shown by Joe with some of his signings, many of these were due to the fact that with the money withheld fewer options remained.

The sacking of Roy Bailey is a further disgrace. Roy is an ex-player who City screwed up many years ago with an incorrect diagnosis and treatment for an injury which put him out of football. He has worked hard and done a good job over the years and I wonder what kind of responsibility he is supposed to bear for the team going down. Whoever City appoint in the future will be wise to beware with people like Bernstein around. There is an old adage stated many times by Mick Channon in his City days, “what goes round comes around.” and I hope I’m around to see Bernstein get his.

Leo Fewtrell – Wythenshawe Exile (


So Kevin Keegan will eliminate the drink problem amongst the players but will he create one amongst 35,000 fans? We wait and see.

Interesting that during one of the interviews with David Bernstein, he was asked if he was upset about the media reports on the goings-on at MR. His reply with very heavy eyes and downbeat manner was “Of course, but some of that is speculation”. Not a “Of course I’m disappointed about all the wild speculation”. It seemed to speak volumes. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but I got the feeling a lot of it is true. And to be fair to Bernstein I think he found himself in a no-win situation with the board baying for blood. Joe to his credit stood by his staff. To his possible discredit he would not accept there is a problem.

I think we can accept a number of casualties from those who forced Bernstein into this position. Bear in mind Bernstein, as one newspaper report recorded, is not an all powerful chairman like an Ellis or Bates. He is a minority shareholder who was given the position for what he is, the best chairman this club and many others have ever had. So he is somewhat at the mercy of the board if they are in unison. I mean he could hardly come out on Monday and say Joe has been sacked but it wasn’t my fault. In terms of casualties, I think Keegan will be given an A and B list.
A. Those beyond redemption… get rid… regardless of who they are.
B. Those who can be saved with the right discipline and management. Over to you Kevin.

Just remembered Keegan said that one of the things he is good at is helping players with problems that are not necessarily football related… hhhmmmmm!

Now why did he say that?

The king is dead, long live the king (Keegan’s real first name is Joseph by the way – didn’t know that until tonight)… have you ever read Karl Jung’s theory on Synchronicity?

CTID, David Kilroy (


For what it is worth, I would like to comment on Royle’s departure…

There have been numerous allegedly factual accounts circulating in the media as to why Royle was relieved of his duties at Maine Road. I do not wish to speculate on anything that has already been suggested; rather, I prefer to draw my own conclusions.

Two things reassured me that Mr Bernstein and the board of directors made the correct decision: first, the inept performance of the team, who, after 38 games were 8 points adrift of safety. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Manchester City team play football with such negative intent. Second, it had concerned me since the departure of Kinkladze that Royle might not be comfortable dealing with ‘star’ players. Kinkladze, Weah and Wanchope were all transfer-listed after engaging publicly with JR. Three star players and three public rows. Clearly, something was not working.

I like JR and I respect his honesty. Memories of Wembley ’99 and Blackburn 2000 will stay with me forever. I wish Joe every success in the future and wish him well wherever he goes next. The directors’ apparent change of heart since the ‘vote of confidence’ three weeks ago is not the issue. We will never know all the facts surrounding JR’s departure. Based on the players’ performances last season and Royle’s inability to communicate with his star players, Mr Bernstein and the Board have, in my opinion, made the correct decision.

Welcome KK and thanks, Joe, for some great memories.

Martin Lever (


Well, the white smoke’s faded and King Kev is firmly installed and breaking the seal on a brand new deck. Can’t say I’m surprised; young, track-suited managers were never our style – Malcolm was probably as near as we got to it. For what it’s worth, I had the opportunity to observe Kevin many years ago when he was a Liverpool player and a promotional jockey for Adidas boots. He was always pleasant, polite, punctual and professional. He gave more of his time than he was strictly obliged to, was great with kids (whether signing autographs or teaching them how to kick with the instep – maybe he could teach Shaun or Jeff!) also with fans, even real loonies. He never wasted your time, never made any prima donna demands. All in all a decent guy.

Let’s look at the positives:

  1. He had a good track record at Fulham and a pretty promising one atNewcastle until he got psyched out by wily old Taggart and blew it. He alsoworked for those nasty bas*ards Hall and Sheppard; by comparison DB is apussycat.
  2. He played at the highest level, and by fitness and dedication extendedhis own career at the top. I’m certain he will tread on the booze brothersand not allow young kids under his control to blow it. He knows theadvantages and importance of fitness.
  3. I’d say he could spot a decent player. He played with some greats. As aplayer himself he knew his own limitations and worked hard to minimizethem. And he wasn’t England manager for nothing – the major limitation ofKeegan’s England was the teams weren’t organised enough, Gascoigne was indecline and Beckham not quite ready. In all honesty, he didn’t have themidfield to do the job.
  4. He’s well liked and respected in the game. This might tip the balance inbringing good players in.
  5. He has a penchant for attacking football. A City team under Keeganshould be good to watch.
  6. Racehorses and cards don’t hurt fitness – booze and fags do.
  7. He has the respect and friendship of Tueart, who seems to be playing anincreasingly dominant rôle. This could be a positive factor in screwingmoney out of the board to improve the squad. I for one, am happy to givehim a go – though I’d maybe rather had McLeish or Moyes, or somebodylikewise qualified and schooled in the modern game.

CTID for the 47th season! Ernie Whalley (


As Nizam Idris said in MCIVTA 712, “only an insane man or a lifelong fan” would take the job. Well, as far as I am aware Kev is not the latter… Interesting also to see Rodney Marsh’s comments in the news section. I agree and do not see this appointment as a step towards the stability which David Bernstein espouses as the key to success.

Andrea Hanlon (


I was a little surprised about the appointment of Keegan. In my head I had images of Bernstein talking about “progressive management” and I was thinking what football manager fits the Bernstein model? The only one I could think of was Howard Wilkinson. Certainly not Keegan. Keegan’s strengths are his man management and his enthusiasm – which are the same strengths that Royle had, which were not enough to keep him his job.

Then I thought about Kevin’s ego. He chirps on about never applying for jobs, clubs always come to him. Then I thought about how he walks out of jobs at the drop of a hat – could he be the next Steve Coppell?

Finally I thought, well hang on, this is Manchester City, what else would you expect? Man City are the most entertaining club I know, not usually on the pitch, but the whole self destruction thing we’ve had since the 70’s. I think I’ve become a turmoil addict. What ever is going to happen it will be dramatic, it’s going to be a rollercoaster ride. Hopefully Keegan can get us playing some attacking, stylish football. I’m going to sit back and enjoy it; if he walks out, fine. If he stays and we play good football, that would be great. You could never accuse Man City of being a dull club.

Tim Starns (


Well on Monday I was as irate as hell that Joe had been given the push. However, in the cold light of day I have to say that chairman Bernstein is the chap to take us all the way to the promised land.

First – He has brought financial stability to the club. We now have no debts.

Second – He has brought managerial stability to the club. With all the talk of 12 managers in 10 years (including caretakers), let us not forget that Joe was at the helm for 3 years 3 months – an amazing feat for MCFC.

Third – The chairman backs the manager 100%. Even Joe said that he had no complaints on this score. If he wanted something, he got it.

Fourth – A rigourous end-of-season performance review is applied by the board to the team’s performance. Once completed, the findings are discussed with the manager. As it happens this year the board determined that 3 things needed to be changed. This was discussed by the chairman with Joe last Thursday over a curry. If Joe had agreed to these (I now believe reasonable changes), he would still be manager. Alas he said he couldn’t do this on Thursday – but was given the weekend to think it over. On Monday he still said no so the end came quickly.

Fifth – They determined to have a new manager in place quickly (unlike previous MCFC firings). And did so – Kevin.

Interesting, exiting times are ahead for us. I wonder what the betting is on Lee Clark being in our midfield for the start of next season?

Anorak – Richard Mottershead (


Dennis Tueart. Kevin Keegan (unemployed). Uncle Joe sacked as manager. Backroom staff sacked. Is it just me or does it seem that there is a connection between these 4 points?

Here’s how I see it.

The Meeting on the Curry Mile: Saturday

David Bernstein: Our attitude towards coaching needs to change to fall in with Premier League standards – Liverpool/Arsenal/ManUre etc.
Uncle Joe: I’m not having the backroom boys sacked.
David Bernstein: Not FCUK-ing likely mate.

The Stab-in-the-back meeting: Sunday

David Bernstein: Our attitude towards coaching needs to change to fall in with Premier League standards – Liverpool/Arsenal/ManUre etc.
Dennis Tueart: Dead right.
David Bernstein: Joe won’t stand for us firing the backroom staff.
Dennis Tueart: I’ll ring me old mate Kevin Keegan.

Now this is just my “Columbo-style” take on what’s happened at Maine Road. It just seems like an unusual move to fire the manager and the coaching/scouting staff, but leave the Assistant Manager in place: then hire a new manager a couple of days later. Now, we should know this: we’ve had a few changes of manager in the last 5 years or so. What happens is:

  • Manager sacked.
  • Assistant Manager takes over in an “admin” rôle.
  • New manager appointed.
  • New manager looks at backroom staff for “suitability for master plan”.
  • New manager fires old Assistant Manager and hires Assistant Manager from last club.
  • New Manager fires old head coach and hires head coach from last club.

Happens all day, everyday. The last few points, from the manager being appointed, takes a month, minimum. Strange eh? Wouldn’t it be a massive case of “hari-kari” if you sacked everyone without a replacement? It would be far more prudent to have a former England manager that everyone’s forgotten about to take over. He’s got a good training system, likes to bring in his own staff, he’s perfect.

Thing is though, everyone loves Uncle Joe. What you need to do is:

  • Sack the dead wood.
  • Kindly ask Sir Joe to step down.
  • Spin doctoring to make Joe look bad.
  • Wait a couple of days…
  • Publicly appoint the manager you gave the job to last week.

Radical changes are needed at City – as you will know if you watched the Arsenal home game. Different class. Even more worrying is the Ipswich game: even when we scored we never looked like winning it. Can “the big change” be done at City? Remember: different managers for different jobs – Joe for the “mighty club” from 2nd Division to Premier League. Brilliant at doing this. Joe’s never been a championship-winning manager though. Kevin Keegan – took “sleeping giants” from bottom of 1st Division to Premier League contenders in a couple of years (with the aid of a few quid). What’s to say that the once bitten Mr Keegan of England manager fame can’t do the same for us? He’s better than we could have hoped for in the situation that we are in now, that’s for sure.

David Ward (


It was obviously planned a few months ago, probably after the pi*s-poor results around Christmas. It all happened too quickly for it to have been an overnight sensation.

Tueart probably said to Bernstein, after a sherry or two, “If you get rid of Joe, I could get a big name for you”.

“But we need stability and continuity”, said the man at the top.

But, as the players’ pi*s-ups continued and Joe’s inability to discipline his boys continued, Bernstein thought to himself, “I could become a hero by appointing Den’s mate”.

So Bernstein continued to back the jovial scouser while secretly he plotted to bring about his downfall. Results went to perfection for “our Bernie” – imagine if we’d stayed up! How would he have been able to get rid of Joe then?

Bernie wanted relegation. Think about it. Royle is a big name but Keegan is a huge name.

For Bernie, read Swales. Plus ça change…

Martinez (


Having had 5 days to recover from JR’s sacking, and only one to recover from KK’s appointment, my views are as follows:

After all the news (if it’s true – can you trust the tabloids?) re the backroom binges at City, Bernstein was correct in the actions he had to take on Monday morning. I will be forever grateful to JR for making City a respectable club once again, and I wish him all the best for the future.

Is KK the right man for the job?

Can he mend what at the moment is an awful defence?

He is not world renowned in the art of defending is he? His “if they score 4, we’ll score 5” policy at Newcastle blew their title chances.

Can he train a midfield into a unit that knows where their colleagues are?

The number of teams that came to City and found the freedom of Maine Road given to them by our midfield was embarrassing.

I know we are in the First Division next season and our above weaknesses will not be capitalised on as much, but these problems will still be there.

And I guarantee that in his last season Mr Ferguson will bait KK constantly.

Will KK still be with us come November?

I hope I’m wrong – but I don’t think so.

Paul Little (


I wasn’t surprised to see that 110,707 pies were scoffed at Maine Road last season. What was the total for the non-playing staff and the fans? Andy Morrison hoping for a reprieve? Is he planning to drop 3 stone? The whole team is grossly overweight and that’s the reason for relegation.

Is it any coincidence that the managers of the top-flight clubs don’t carry an ounce of fat? – apart from Gerard Hula-Hoops who can be forgiven on account of the silverware and the fact that he is a nice bloke and he can pick a winner.

Then take a look at the players of the teams that have won the Premier League since it started – none of them overweight – all of them with the stamina of race-horses.

Shearer and Sutton / Cole, Yorke, Sheringham / Bergkamp, Petit, Overmars, Viera, Adams – all as thin as rakes.

The formula to get into the top half of the Premier League seems fairly simple. The players have to be as dour, dull and determined as the Neville brothers – wearing a frown on and off the pitch and having the occasional glass of sherry – they have to be marathon runners – then get some midfielders who can score and a striker who faces the opposition goal.

Was Joe Royle steering the team in that direction? He certainly got us back for a brief spell in the sunshine but seemed to be missing or unaware of the last and most important part of the equation.

Big Kev will hopefully concentrate on having super-fit, sensible players and get rid of any boozers. Boozing and fatness is the perogative of the fans not the players.

Mr Bernstein should personally weigh the players each week and dock their wages if they move from a certain target weight. That target should be ‘very thin’. As far as I can see, only Tiatto, Wanchope, Wiekens and Nash are not overweight.

The club should also change the badge by dropping the ‘Superbia in Proelia’ and adopting the Latin translation of ‘Fat, Drunk and Stupid is no way to go through life’ (Alan B’Stard MP, c.1990).

Finally, a general rant such as this wouldn’t be complete without a word on Feng Shui(?!). The Chinese believe that if your front door faces the South or West then your luck flows away every day with the setting sun. The more prosperous (lucky) angle is to have your door facing the rising sun in the East or North.

They also believe that buildings that are built facing a T-junction (facing down an opposite street) suffer the same problem – your luck flows away down the street.

I noticed on my last visit that the entrance to Maine Road faces South-West-ish and is opposite a T-Junction. By contrast, the main doors of Old Trafford face to the North-East-ish and no T-junctions in sight.

Hey, a billion Chinese people can’t be wrong! Somebody please tell us the angle of the main entrance to Eastlands and, whilst we’re at it, can anyone work out ‘Overall Team Fatness vs. final Premier League Position’. I bet it’s exactly the same order.

Rodney Marsh, if you wanted the job you should have just said so – stick to your knitting instead of sniping in public – City are primed for the top.

Billy Srinamnern (


I’ve been suffering through these last days of the season and into the close. I’ve kept my powder dry in the hope of finding some inspiration. Now after a while, where I haven’t submitted a match report or comment I feel the need to vent my spleen. This is a five-parter so for those of you who are bored already, thanks for your attention and best wishes for the season ahead.

Before I get into my diatribe I would like to thank all those involved with MCIVTA for their continued excellent coverage of all things City. Ashley, you do a great job and Peter, your reports have been proved incisive and not lacking wit or objectivity. I wish Michael all the best and can’t wait for him to put his stamp on the news summary; you have a lot to live up to but I look forward to your own interpretation of this craft. Being a City fan is as much about opinions as it is about (supposed) facts.

Now to the rambling.

Match Report: City versus Chelsea

I’ve always been rubbish at these. Copious amounts (well 2 pints) of bitter couldn’t offset the feeling of unease I had about this game. Eleven losses at home in a season and the visit of a team who needed a UEFA placing. The display of thanks in the programme and on the pitch before kick off smacked of resignation (bitter again?). Oh for a banner that said ‘Cheers for the support, let’s get stuck in!’ Everyone says we’re the best fans in the country. Enough of that, I don’t need that kind of glory and nor should the rest of us. This is my club, it’s our club, get on with it. I know Man U fans who feel just as strongly and hate the corporate types just as much, we just don’t have as many of them as there are at the Swamp or Arsenal or Spurs or whoever is doing well at a particular moment. God, there are people standing in the rain at Scunthorpe or Hartlepool wishing their team onwards; are we better than them? No.

This match report will be brief. We were pants. The one good thing about an end of season game is that you appreciate the football that is played. If we weren’t already relegated I would have been spitting feathers but I could just sit and watch and understand why we were never good enough. The teams were obvious, ours was full of journeymen, Chelsea’s full of ambition and talent.

Minute by minute is boring stuff, let’s just say in the first half Chelsea produced a move that had the crowd applauding the invention. It came from Chelsea, and yes, I applauded with those around me. No, it wasn’t the goal, just sublime movement and deft touch from Zola. Their goal wasn’t bad, we just made it look very good by our horrific defending. Five minutes before the half time whistle, I was in need of a visit to expel the poison of the season. Luckily I got to see the City goal on one of the TV sets in the Kippax. I don’t know how we got the corner but it was stuck in with great majesty by Howey. Everyone cheered; it meant nothing in terms of money but it goes to show – when football is played, if your team is losing 10 nil you still cheer the consolation they get. A consolation it proved to be; whilst City came out more organised in the second half, Chelsea remained the more dominant. I have to admit we counter attacked very well and were entitled to at least one penalty (from the two appeals). One for an obvious handball by Babayaro and another for a pull back on Goater. I wouldn’t have given one for the Goater incident, but I was very disappointed in the linesman for not flagging the penalty box handball which replays showed to be quite deliberate.

Chelsea scored their second when Hasselbaink was clear 20 yards out. He struck it straight at the centre of the goal but it hit some enormous hump in the pitch and bounced over Nash. Suffice to say, we lost again. Goodbye Premiership or First Division for those who can remember how things should be. The North Stand ran on the pitch and the ref ran like a ferret down a hole (tunnel).

The sacking of Joe Royle

I’ve been one of the many who felt that Joe was on the way to making us a better team. As they say, hindsight is 20-20. I was wrong, wrong big time! The doubts I had only surfaced when substitutions came into effect; he’d do something like pull off our most creative attacker when we were behind or put on another defender when we had just taken the lead. My only question is, when some weeks ago David Bernstein said that the club was undergoing its review of the season, why wasn’t Joe sacked? There was still a chance of survival. As for the other departures; I don’t know enough about Stepney or Hurst but Bailey! My God, this guy survived at the club without a physio qualification for years and oversaw or partook in a period of cruciate ligament damage the like of which no other club has seen! Tell me if I’m wrong. So, if he stopped Paul Lake from choking, he didn’t raise a dissenting voice to the 14 (?) operations that failed to save one of our brightest stars his career. Goodbye and good riddance.

The City Squad

I’ve pondered our squad for the last couple of weeks since relegation and barring the reserve/youth players of which I have little knowledge (Heidi please help), below are my thoughts.

To make it excessively complicated, you will find my ratings of the squad with the goal of a return to Premiership status. Those of whom I have left out you can surmise that I don’t think they even meet 1st Division standard (the winning kind). I’m going on a 4-4-2 formation.

Here’s the key; and yes they go in order of perceived quality.
(P) – Premiership starter
(PS) – Premiership sub
(1) – 1st Division starter

GK      -       Nash            -       1
GK      -       Weaver          -       1
RB      -       Haaland         -       PS
RCB     -       Dunne           -       PS
LCB     -       Howey           -       P
LCB     -       Richie          -       1
LB      -       Granville       -       1
RM      -       Charvet         -       PS
RM      -       Wright-Phillips -       1
RCM     -       Whitley         -       PS
LCM     -       Tiatto          -       P
LCM     -       Horlock         -       1
LM      -       Huckerby        -       PS
LM      -       Kennedy         -       1
CF      -       Goater          -       1
CF      -       Wanchope        -       PS

I guess this tells its own story. Guys like Edghill, Prior, Wiekens, Dickov are just not good enough no matter how much I appreciate their workmanlike nature.

The coming of Keegan

I’ll make this short and sweet. Bring on the goals and are we going to bankrupt ourselves again?

Why Blue?

In October 1976 I took pin to paper and stuck it in. It came up Liverpool. I have no idea where they were in the 1st Division at that time (not the top) but they became my team. Reason? I lived on a RAF base in Norfolk and was 6 years old and knew nothing about allegiances as my father hadn’t indoctrinated me. Success came speedy via the TV all the way up to 1989. From various home moves and branching out on my own I found myself living in Salford sharing a flat with a die-hard City fan that I worked with. I had moved up north in October 89 and so didn’t see the 5-1. I guess I’m one of the few who admit to not being there. The important game to me that made me a City fan happened in early 1990 after Mel Machin was sacked and Howard Kendall was installed as manager. I can’t tell you the date or the teams. City played Charlton at home and lost 2-1.

Was it the peer pressure from the workmates (the other 2) who all seemed to support City? No; I saw Paul Lake play and discovered a talent so remarkable I had to come back and see more. Wicked chance meant that by the time I saw his last true appearance for City at home to Villa I had become a Blue. The Kippax was my second home. I saw Lakey play in blue again; but the heartbreak came at Ayresome Park when Paul Robinson took our fresh new sub out at the knee. I’m sure Quinny couldn’t give a toss when he right-hooked the Boro git on the chin in front of the ref. Some things just have to be done. Ignorance and ineptitude cost Man City the England captain and star they should have had. I’ve stayed with City, even laughed at those who clambered back to their seats at Wembley after Horlock scored for not keeping the faith. All I have to say now is that I am truly City till I die and to the prat who sits in Kippax block GG row 44 seat 212; sit down! Your prancing about and obstructing my view of the game has made me impatient for the move to Eastlands where I’m pretty much guaranteed not to have to put up with your inane hollering and trouser adjusting ever again.

Cheers and best wishes to all Blues for the new season.

Dave Blyth (


I’ve just got used to the idea of relegation (and God knows I’d had a while to do that…) and now it looks like things have got even worse. I’m not totally surprised that Joe got the push – I’d always supported him even though I’d be the first to admit that there were areas of weakness and inflexibility in his management style. But then again maybe this was the opportunity for City to get a dynamic, tactically aware young manager who can assemble a successful team without spending millions – no, not David Moyes, but Kevin Keegan! Yes, that’s right, the Alan Ball of international management. A man with a record of success at two clubs with one thing in common – both Newcastle United and Fulham had chairmen with bottomless pockets, something you could hardly accuse City of.

So what exactly will King Kev achieve at ‘Man City’? He’ll break up the team we have now, spend the available transfer kitty on bringing in his own players – I live in fear of the sight of David Ginola crammed into an XXL laser blue shirt – and get the squad back up the size it was in Frank Clark’s day. Finally in about 18 months, when the going gets tough, he’ll do what he does best of all. Quit. While there’s no danger of having to pay out his five-year contract, the board will be left to ponder at great length as to who will want the job next. The worst thing about all this is that those in power at Maine Road have learned precisely nothing about what got this club in such a mess in the first place. If Joe’s sacking doesn’t demonstrate that, then the choice of replacement surely does.

Jaz Long (


Get your programmes (in Oz).

Brian Whitehead has set up a website at <> to help sell his programme collection; it’s worth a look.

Ralph Shepperd (


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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #713