Newsletter #719

Very little to report, just rumours apart perhaps from John Burridge (see below). Thanks to Michael for seemingly keeping the ball rolling out of almost nothing!

Next game: Halifax Town away, Saturday 21st July 2001 (3.00pm)


General Stuff

More clarification has arisen re the TV schedules for next season. The impending contract for the Nationwide League may have City playing on Thursdays and Sundays. ONdigital and a new sports channel called ITV Sports will have primary coverage of the Nationwide fixtures for the 2001-02 season, and without emulating the arrogance of our cross-town neighbours, it’s difficult to see a bigger television draw in the division than a Keegan inspired (?) City, therefore look out for the maximum coverage of our Blues on these dates once the TV companies have torn the forthcoming fixtures to shreds. There will apparently be a total of 65 Division One games shown next season exclusive to ONdigital subscribers, a channel which I think has a maximum audience of about 38 or so paying subscribers; if I were you I’d being having a quiet word with the landlord of your local hostelry re this. On top of this ITV Sports will show a Saturday early evening highlights show. In further addition to this, Granada TV will show five live Nationwide games next season, but with Granada’s propensity towards a bias in favour of Merseyside we may have the treat of Tranmere Rovers’ Second Division shenanigans to look forward to.

Keegan is to have the youth academy and first team train at the same location in future. Previously the first team (when not allegedly perusing the splendours of Castlefield) have trained at Carrington, whilst the Academy have stayed at Platt Lane. Hopefully this could lead to more pressure on the first team from the likes of Terry Dunfield, Leon Mike, Shaun Wright Phillips, Dixon Etuthu, Chris Shuker and Rhys Day, all practically on the verge of breaking through to the first team squad on a regular basis.

City have two youngsters picked for the forthcoming England under 17 squad to play Brazil. Daryl Proffit and highly rated attacking midfielder Lee Croft are the two successful players. The only other clubs to have two players picked are Newcastle, Everton, Nott’m Forest and Charlton; incidentally no players from ManUre have been selected.

More plaudits for the City Academy teams. The official website <> reports that one of our Academy teams narrowly lost on penalties in the semi-final of a tournament in Brescia. The competition consisted of two groups of four teams. In City’s group were Cremonese, Parma and a local side from the Brescia district. We initially beat Cremonese 2-0, followed that with a 2-0 defeat to Parma but thrashed the local team 6-1. This pitched us against Hearts in the semi finals who beat us on penalties after a 2-2 draw. The City team consisted of mainly under 13 and 14s and was apparently one of the younger entrants. There is another Academy tour scheduled in Switzerland at the end of June whilst the under 16s will play in Cologne in August.

Nice to receive some response re my dig at Man Ure’s locally based season ticket holders. Word is that a recent When Saturday Comes survey had them bottom of the Premiership table as far as percentage of season tickets holders being locally based.

Ins, Outs, Rumours

Danny Tiatto is being linked with a swoop by labouring North Eastern giants, Newcastle United. The fee is reported as being around the £6 million mark, with Glasgow Rangers supposedly still interested. With Newcastle’s widely reported financial problems, player exchanges could be the order of the day if an approach was officially made, Keiron Dyer, plus cash maybe?

The other bizarre rumour from the weekend is the promise/threat (?) of a return to English football by widely celebrated team player Pierre van Hoojidonk. The former Nottingham Forest runaway is still only 31 and is currently at Benfica. Van Hoojidonk is linked with ourselves, Wimbledon and Bolton. Reports say that the fallen Portuguese giants may be looking at a loan deal to get the troublesome but talented Dutchman off the payroll.

More interest in City’s wingers in the form of Wolves; the midlanders are reported to be ready to offer £2 million for Irish winger Mark Kennedy. Wolves’ boss Dave Jones is still on his holidays so no official bid has yet been made. The news is that Wolves (probably one of our main rivals next season) have about £10 million to play with.

Another runner for the goalkeeping coach position is none other than pitch line yogic maniac John Burridge. Budgie was on loan at City back in the early nineties and is City’s oldest Premiership professional player to have secured a first team spot. Burridge, aged 49, has also served under Keegan at Newcastle. His most famous moments in a Blue (Green) shirt were probably his bizarre warm ups as an unused substitute and his overly long but justified protestations at a blatantly handled goal by cheating Ugo Ehiugo in a bitterly contested 1-0 defeat at Villa Park.

Once hailed as the future of Scottish football, Charlie Miller is being linked with an approach by City. Miller began his career at Glasgow Rangers but left the club under a cloud after a bout of notoriety. He resurfaced at Watford and played in the Premiership for the Hornets before returning to Scotland and Dundee United. Reports say that he has had an excellent season and as a creative midfielder is obviously a talent that City would require. Dundee United claim to have received no enquiries re the player but Miller’s agent appears to be talking up the prospects of a deal.

Another potential recruit to the City backroom team is one of my former heroes, City forward, and lifetime fan Mark Lillis; anyone remember his celebratory antics when he used to run out on the pitch at Maine Road? Lillis left us to go and play for Derby and Aston Villa before dropping into the lower leagues with Scunthorpe United, ending his career if I’m not mistaken as a defender. After retiring he became Assistant Manager at Scunthorpe and eventually Manager of Halifax Town. He has most recently been employed as a European scout with Aston Villa.

Michael Leafield (


The dates for the MCFC Yorkshire Mill Town, North Lincs & The Wirral Pre-season Tour have been announced.

Saturday 21 July 3pm – Halifax Town (let’s hope the pitch is OK)
Tuesday 24 July 7.45pm – Scunthorpe
Saturday 28 July 3pm – Tranmere Rovers
Tuesday 31 July 7.45pm – Huddersfield Town (Jon Dyson testimonial)

One other game is due to be announced for the weekend of 4th August.

The game against Oldham (Earl Barratt testimonial), which was to take place in August, has been postponed as they are re-laying their pitch.

Heidi (


Gary Johnson in his argument against Nicky Weaver used a set of stats showing that in the crosses caught league NW was in the bottom 3 and stats prove everything so he must go. So what? If you are going to use stats to prove your point then at least make sure that they mean something. If he has caught 34 out of 35 crosses that is excellent; if its 34 out of 1000 then that’s crap (it can’t be % as Villa have 101).

When does a cross count? Would a Neil Poynton flag-to-flag special qualify? If you had said “he’s a fat ***ker and we need the money” then you might have got a bit of sympathy from me, but not when you get all “arty farty look what I can prove”.

Relegation was invented to make us know what PMT is like.

Also in MCIVTA 711, Matthew Knowles “come on down”; you said “Gary Megson, a City favourite”. Our survey said “Me bollix!” Judas’ chosen son maybe, but crowd favourite? A bit of poetic licence used here.

Read through to MCIVTA 714 and a lot of people are saying that JR should go due to his inability to function in the top flight. Fair comment. But more than a few of you have thrown names into the hat that, to me, beggar belief! Mickey Adams and Jan Molby are two that spring to mind as being viewed as fine upstanding experienced managers. Decency laws prevent me from venting further comment.

My thoughts on the sacking of Bailey as physio were mirrored by David Blyth and as he put it better I will say no more. On the sacking of Hurst, the quality of the purchases has been brought into question. Is this Hurst’s fault? Royle did no better at Everton when it came to buying players. Ferguson uses scouts, but the decision to buy remains his and his alone. With regards to Royle’s sacking: something was clearly wrong and and it would appear that JR could not deal with it in a manner that was acceptable to the board. We have witnessed the demise of someone who a few years back was England’s goalie-in-waiting. Liverpool scouts were a permanent fixture at City games until the weight gain and the lack of concentration led to a loss of confidence. What was being said to him at these critical stages? You hope it was all the right things but if it was “Shut it fat lad, it’s your round!” then that would explain a lot.

Finally, Berstein has a photo of a desolate teenage City fan which he takes to board meetings to remind them of the past and to stress the point that he knows there is no going back. This is not the way of a Swales or an Ellis.

Chris Murphy (


Ryan Giggs and David Beckham were both patients in a mental hospital. One day, while they were walking, they passed the hospital swimming pool and Ryan suddenly dove into the deep end. He sank to the bottom and stayed there. David promptly jumped in and saved him, swimming to the bottom of the pool and pulling Ryan out. The medical director came to know of David’s heroic act. He immediately ordered that David be discharged from the hospital as he now considered him to be OK. The doctor said, “David, we have good news and bad news for you! The good news is that we are going to discharge you because you have regained your sanity. Since you were able to jump in and save another patient, you must be mentally stable. The bad news is that the patient that you saved hung himself in the bathroom and died after all.” David replied, “Doctor, Ryan didn’t hang himself. I hung him there to dry.”

Deb Darbyshire (


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News & Rumours: Michael –
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Technical Problems: Paul –

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #719