Newsletter #717

Thanks to Heidi for stepping into the void at short notice.

It seems amazingly quiet at the moment, considering we have a new manager who will undoubtedly be looking to make substantial changes both behind the scenes and on the pitch at Maine Road. The sole news of note is the departure of Spencer Prior to Cardiff, though this is only at the ‘agreed bid’ stage as yet. I well remember Spencer’s arrival, and particularly the way he slotted into a defence which just didn’t look capable of allowing us to go all the way and secure an automatic Division 1 promotion berth. It seems strange now to think back at how calm and fleet he looked, with excellent positional sense, only for him to then look a good couple of yards short of the pace at the next level up. Perhaps his departure is a sign that our defence, even though relegated, is a good deal better than it was a year ago? On the other hand…

This issue has Michael’s News Summary; a report from Heidi on the new Nationwide TV coverage; a call for players for McVittee FC to play the Rags; and news of a new web site.

Next game: to be announced


General Stuff

Well the news is that things haven’t actually changed and nor will they. The confusion reigns as far as City’s training facilities go. Club P.R. spokesman Chris Bird has emphatically denied that City will return to Platt Lane for training purposes. Bird said “There has been a nonsense story floating about that Kevin Keegan is to take the team back to to Platt Lane, but it is simply not true”. City set up at Carrington which had previously belonged to the University of Manchester, at the start of last season. It has a greater number of training pitches than Platt Lane. Estimates have City’s total bill for the new training ground topping the £2 million mark when all developments are completed. City have more work in place on the quality of pitches and further updates on the changing rooms and gym facilities. In addition to this there are apparently plans for the Academy to have new changing rooms and a café for spectators and families. Bird did also add that Platt Lane is still part of the club’s future. The latest on this is that we are currently awaiting planning permission for a second dome.

Club Blasts Hate Mail

This weekend City have condemned an alleged hate campaign directed at certain officials at the club. Deputy Chairman John Wardle has publicly denounced the perpetrators. The chief targets of the campaign are apparently PR Officer Chris Bird and former legend Dennis Tueart. The correspondence is said to criticise staff changes within the commercial department and alludes to the dip in the share value of the club. In addition to this there is some added criticism of Tueart and Bird’s business records. Chairman David Bernstein initially decided to ignore the correspondence but it seems that Wardle, a close friend of Tueart has had enough. Strangely enough the correspondence is also said to include some positive aspects, including particular praise for the current youth and Academy set up and the involvement of former chairman Francis Lee in youth development.

Ins & Outs

I think we’re going to have to wait until all the footballers come back from their holidays, as until then it looks as if we are bereft of any concrete news regarding new signings; otherwise it’s just the familiar batch of speculation involving more of the same, with a few new contenders entering the fray.

City have been linked with ex-hod carrier, Halifax and Fulham battering ram striker Geoff Horsfield. The particularly large and aggressive forward is 27 and currently at Birmingham City. Last season he was used intermittently as Trevor Francis has in recent years bought as many strikers as we’ve bought centre halves. The fee would be likely to be around £3 million. The Brummies’ managing director Karen Brady has said there is no substance in this story and that no official approach has been made. As with many of the linked players, Horsfield spent time under Keegan’s management at Fulham.

Another supposed target Gary Speed is said to be poised to sign a new contract at Newcastle this week. In the midfield area, there is speculation that Tottenham’s unsettled Tim Sherwood could be a target for City. Sherwood, formerly of Blackburn Rovers, may welcome a return to the North West and is thought to be surplus to requirements at Glen and Eileen’s Spurs.

City Linked with Dad’s Army

The drinking culture around Maine Road appears to be engulfing the journalists as the ex-Magpie links continue. Depending on who you read we are about to swoop for David “Because I’m worth it” Ginola. The ageing but talented winger is supposedly available for around £1 million. Ginola is currently unsettled at Aston Villa after little more than a season in the midlands; let’s face it who else could live in Birmingham for more than a year! As previously stated this is dependent on which you read, as other sources claim that no such deal is likely. What is clear though is that John Gregory has never been happy with Ginola since his arrival; rumours have it that Ginola’s signing was actually Villa chairman Deadly Doug’s work.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Just who do the drinking culture inspired incumbents at Maine Road need to bolster the squad; apparently none other than recovering alcoholic Paul Gascoigne! The ageing pop star (remember, Fog on the Tyne) had a few decent games at Everton last season before succumbing to injury problems. Rumour is that for financial reasons, Everton will happily release him on a free. Gascoigne is reported to be in a clinic in recovery so I imagine that wage negotiations haven’t yet begun.

And another one. Various rumours have us linked with a former Newcastle player, quelle surprise! The former Belgian international Phillipe Albert. News on Albert’s whereabouts is scarce but he has apparently been released on a Bosman.

City have accepted a bid from Cardiff City for Spencer Prior. The fee is thought to be £650,000. Prior, now thirty, has yet to agree terms with the Second Division outfit. Prior cost City £500,000 in March 2000 and helped us secure promotion with a few handily timed goals. In the First Division he played nine and scored three. This season he started as a regular centre back alongside Steve Howey; unfortunately his limitations were shown and we went out and bought another dozen centre backs. Finally the arrival of Richard Dunne saw Spencer’s days numbered and after a discussion with Big Joe in May he was put on the transfer list. On top of this City have the emerging Rhys Day waiting in the wings and squad pruning seems the order of the day. Prior’s Premiership style wages are seen as the only stumbling block to a move but the assistant manager at Cardiff is a former teammate of Spencer’s from his Norwich days, Ian Butterworth.

There is even more speculation on the make up of Keegan’s backroom staff. Chris Waddle is another name on the list, whilst the position of goalkeeping coach could yet be filled by a former Blue unhappy with the desparate lingering upheaval at his current club. Step forward one Tony Coton, once unfairly ousted from the Maine Road Academy by the ginger peril, Alan Ball. Coton, as you may be aware, is goalkeeping coach at ManUre.

Former Blues’ News

Ex-trialist and reserve midfield playmaker Dino Topmöller has joined German Second Division side Bochum. Topmöller joined City from Saarbrücken and had a few impressive outings for the reserves but was released by Joe Royle who felt that the German was down the pecking order, behind Terry Dunfield and Dickson Etuthu.

Michael Leafield (


Well I plugged a new message board a few weeks ago on MCIVTA, called Talkin’ City; we had a good response and have decided that there was a place for a whole website based round the message board, so Talkin’ City has now become a website in its own right. We have supplied details to the major search engines and are going to build the site up slowly. We are aiming to have a pleasant site aimed at every Blue, whereever you are, whilst keeping a sensible grip on the content posted on the site. At no point do we intend to make any money doing it, it’s just for fun for all you Blues!

We now have our own URL’s…

There is a download page which will gain more stuff as and when we get time to do it, the message board obviously, a links page (anyone wanting their site on the links page please email us at, we are working on doing a City news page. We are serialising some work from MCIVTA’s own Peter Brophy (which looks like being a very good read). We can have on-line polls (you can even make your own up). We have also been lucky to obtain a sponsor in A1-webnames which will allow us to make the site better and bigger over the next few months.

So please come and pay us a visit, everyone is welcome. We’re not here as replacement for anything, just as a new alternative.

Thanks to MCIVTA for allowing the plug.

Paul Stevenson, on behalf of all at Talkin’ City (


At the recent AGM of the NFFSC (National Federation of Football Supporters’ Clubs) we had a presentation by ITV Sport – the new home of Nationwide action. I thought you might be interested in what’s happening because it will affect us.

The Football League have granted rights to ITV Sport for coverage of Divisions 1, 2 and 3 next season with live games to be shown on Thursday and Sunday evenings as opposed to the current Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. There will also be a Division 1 MotD on Saturday evening. There will be a flat payment per club with at least one game per club being shown live. Additional payment will be made to clubs appearing on more than one occasion. The TV companies and the Football League decided to abandon Friday night action as ‘people were not interested’. This decision was based largely on research they did in a web-based survey on viewing habits. The respondents said they did not want Friday night football. The obvious conclusion to draw from this was that people want Thursday night games instead. I can assure you (à la Mrs Merton) there was plenty of lively debate about this decision.

180 live games will be shown over the season, with 60 Division 1 games and something like 20 each in Division 2 and 3. There will be 40 Champions’ League games, 15 Worthington Cup, 40 Premiership PPV and 20 Nationwide PPV (I know that doesn’t add up to 180, but I was getting confused by this point). ITV Sport say the price for this channel will be announced shortly and that it will be cheaper than Sky Sports (currently £13/month).

ITV Sport will be selecting the games to be shown shortly after the fixtures are published. First to be chosen will be the August-December games, then in November they decide and announce the January-Easter fixtures with the end of season games of interest being decided at Easter. They hope this will give people enough time to rearrange their travel plans etc.

They have now promised to discuss with the Football League the selection of the Thursday night fixtures in terms of distance travelled for away supporters (I can just see us drawing Portsmouth) because, in essence, the Thursday evening games will be Saturday fixtures moved forward. The inconvenience to those travelling supporters – be it to home or away games – just didn’t seem to cross their minds.

All this from a girl who prefers her action ‘live’ – I don’t even have Teletext!

Heidi Pickup (


Good folks of the Blue persuasion,

The MCIVTA team, otherwise known as McVittee FC (that’s right folks, ordinary people like you and me, who read this newsletter and contact each other through the ether) are playing their first match of the season this coming Sunday 17th June, kick off 11:00am, the opposition, the Red hordes from Home Counties, Ireland and all points East, otherwise known as the Man U. The location is the Armitage Centre.

All are welcome to come along; if you fancy playing, bring your boots and a City shirt. If you fancy watching then come along, who knows a City team might beat a United team. If anyone wants directions, I’ll supply them upon request.

C U all on Sunday, Martin Ford (


Well – call me a moron but if I had to make a choice; stay up with JR or go down with KK – damn it if I wouldn’t choose the latter… my biggest ’70s hero in control- it’s a dream come true! Go for it KK – all the way this time!

All the best – Fredrik Teurnell-Charlez (


In the 2001-2002 season are City games going to be shown on Sky Digital? I had a discussion with one of my workmates and he thinks that they will be shown only on OnDigital. Can anybody clarify this as I will have to ditch my “Sky” and go with “On”.

Looking forward to the new season under the charge of “King Kev”; hopefully we will see some entertaining football this season.

CTID, Lee Armitage (

HUMOUR – Top 100 Quotes of the Season Part III (50-26)

50) “Wes Brown must nearly be our top goal scorer” – Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson reacts with good humour to his defender’s latest own goal, against Southampton in May. United had already won the Premiership.

49) “He is a good manager with a lot of experience with Lazio and other clubs. It should be good, it will be good – we have got many good players and they will become a good team. I think it will be a good thing” – David Beckham thinks Sven-Goran Eriksson is good.

48) “I am not Jesus, I cannot change people’s heads, but if you have problems because you are human, it can help to see someone like Paolo Di Canio has done the same” – Paolo Di Canio sets an example.

47) “We’ve tried to sign several players but other clubs have got some in. It’s a bit like the girl you fancy being attractive to someone else, so you’ve got to be crafty and hit the dance floor before everyone else” – Crystal Palace boss Alan ‘Disco Stud’ Smith.

46) “We’re a team of nobodies trying to mess up the system” – Leeds boss David O’Leary in February ignoring the fact he’s spent all those millions.

45) “Darius (Vassell) is not as elegant as Dwight Yorke, and he’s certainly a bit quicker. And another thing… Darius is normally in his own bed at 11 o’clock at night” – Villa boss John Gregory embarrasses his young striker.

44) “Rebecca has refused to play football because she feels it is a sport for boys and it is a thuggish game. My wife and I think she could be scarred later in life. It is also played by people who are of a slightly different disposition from me and my family. They are yobbish” – John Martin of Salford doesn’t want his daughter playing nasty football.

43) “Tempo, now there’s a big word” – ITV presenter Barry Venison displays poor letter-counting ability.

42) “Paulo Wanchope is totally unpredictable, but you know what you’re going to get when you buy him” – Newcastle’s Alan Shearer swaps ‘uninteresting’ for ‘unintelligible’.

41) “At all the clubs I have been with I have been an instrument of inspiration to the players. I am here to accomplish a mission. I believe in God and I believe my mission will be accomplished in the name of God. From Saturday Derby will be on a different level” – Taribo West arrives to save Derby from oblivion.

40) “Wash ‘n’ Go, Wash ‘n’ Go, Wash ‘n’ Go” – Aston Villa fans greet David ‘Loreal’ Ginola.

39) “I love Italy. I have been lucky to do well against Italian teams. I love the people here. I come to Sardinia on holidays, my bambini have grown up here” – Leeds boss David O’Leary. It’s not clear if the bambini in question are O’Leary’s children or the playing staff of Leeds United.

38) “I tried it in Chinese the other night and drew some characters. It looks good and Victoria was impressed, but I copied it off a Chinese menu so I probably had fried rice, salt and pepper ribs and hot and sour soup over my arm instead of Victoria” – David Beckham on his ‘Victoria’ tattoo.

37) “I promise we will be up there with United. I believe that so much that I will kill myself if we are not challenging them” – Leeds’ Olivier Dacourt raises the stakes.

36) “This guy is unbelievable. I’m going to put £100 on him to win the Eurovision Song Contest” – Scottish comedian Andy Cameron after goal machine Henrik Larsson’s hole in one during Tom Boyd’s testimonial golf match.

35) “I like Dundee. It’s like Grimsby” – Well intentioned Dundee manager Ivano Bonetti.

34) “It is now fashionable for expectant fathers to be with their wives at the birth” – Thoroughly modern Scotland boss Craig Brown explaining the absence of Billy Dodds for the Croatia game.

33) “Wanchope took his goals well and he’s a lovely big boy” – Former Manchester City boss Joe Royle (while still at Maine Road).

32) “We can’t risk parking there for fears that they will nick our cars” – Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler fosters relations with the travelling community. A band of gypsies had set up camp at the Gills’ training ground.

31) “I can play anywhere on the park. I’m a bit like that in bed, too” – Liverpool and England’s Steven Gerrard, uninvited, conjures up distressing mental images.

30) “It can’t be Sunday every day. There are also Mondays and Tuesdays” – Philosophical Manchester City star (albeit briefly) George Weah.

29) “I really like the clothes he wears, apart from my underwear. He keeps pinching my knickers” – Victoria Beckham on her famous hubby’s dress sense.

28) “I don’t think it was too much of a blow to us when we lost him. Of course he made mistakes when he was here and everyone recognised that. He was a good player but maybe lazy and it was easy to say he made many more mistakes” – Paolo Di Canio pays, er, tribute to Rio Ferdinand.

27) “It was like a game of roulette and Wigan were holding all the aces” – Motherwell director Pat Nevin after the English club lured Ged Brannan south.

26) “More and more footballers’ wives will cheat on their husbands because they are never at home” – Barcelona’s Emmanuel Petit reveals his innermost fears, perhaps too publicly.



I would just like to say thank you to all the people who sent me mail regarding the white away shirt I was after. I now have my much wanted white away shirt which was almost under my nose. Thanks again everybody. Darren.

Darren Evans (


Contributions: Ashley –
News & Rumours: Michael –
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 #717