Newsletter #725

Yet again another quiet weekend. Still the same rumours bubbling up, but this time with more speculation on the position of Shaun Goater.

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


General Stuff

Three Absent From Training: Pre-season training finally began last Friday, with three of the first team absent. Paulo Wanchope is still on duty with Costa Rica; it appears that he is likely to remain in that state for a while (see next item). Danny Tiatto is still on World Cup duty with the Socceroos and young midfield playmaker Terry Dunfield, who made his first team début against Chelsea in the last home game of the season, is currently representing Canada in the World Youth Championships in Argentina.

Wanchope Ruled Out for a Month: City could be without first choice striker Paulo Wanchope possibly until as late as July 29th. This is because Costa Rica have been offered a place in the Copa America, replacing Canada. The tournament starts this Wednesday and will run until the end of July. If Costa Rica progress then Paulo could miss three of City’s scheduled friendlies and most of the pre-season training. Wanchope’s team are in a group with Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay.

Wanchope Wanted by Foxes? More Wanchope news in that one of the Sunday Comics says the forward was apparently being tracked by Premiership Leicester City, with a £3 million bid being lined up. Apart from the supposed fee not being enough, this is supposedly not likely as it is rumoured that the Foxes were worried about Wanchope’s potential impact on dressing room team spirit.

Goater After Talks: After the recent speculation that Wolves want to link up Shaun Goater with Mark Kennedy, it is reported in some quarters that the big Bermudian striker wants clear the air talks with Kevin Keegan. The Goat is thought to be rated at anywhere between £1.5 and £3 million. Chris Bird, City’s P.R. mouthpiece was cryptically quoted as stating “There was speculation that Wolves are interested in Shaun Goater, but I can confirm we have had no official approach from the club.” Familiar sounding denials from Mr Bird, as per his comments about no official approach from Wolves for now departed Kennedy.

Hold Up on Colisimo Deal: The Aussie defender has returned to Oz and has yet to sign the expected 2-year deal that City have offered him. Colosimo has discussed terms and was to have had medical, though a City spokesperson claimed that he hadn’t as yet done this. The player is thought to have gone home to sort out personal matters. ‘Shimo’ as he is known, is expected to return to Manchester within the next fortnight, where his signing is expected to be a formality.

City Linked with Japanese Playmaker: Earlier last week one Dutch football magazine had us linked with rising star Shinji Ono. Apparently he is an absolute hero in Japan and has been linked with Feyenoord, who baulked at his supposed £3 million fee. According to the magazine we are prepared to pay this kind of money.

Ex-Blues’ News

Carl Bradshaw and Peter Beagrie are about to join Scunthorpe United this week; Beagrie had also been linked with a move to Reading, or a potential player-coach rôle at Tranmere Rovers. City fans can view both in action in our friendly against the Yorkshiremen on July 24th.

Diminutive Welsh hitman, Carl Griffiths, whose City career was brutally hacked down by Kevin Ratcliffe in a particularly dour match against the crap Scousers at Maine Road, has joined Luton Town from Leyton Orient for £65,000.

Michael Leafield (


22nd July 2001 12:00 noon kick off

Another edition of McV and another update! I now have the squad of former heroes that the veterans’ team will be putting out. There are a few names that we thought would be playing that aren’t and a couple of pleasant surprises. The names as given to me and subject to availability are:

Eric Nixon,
Tony Henry,
Tony Towers,
Nicky Reid,
Andy Reid,
Frank Carrodus,
David Moss,
Paul Power,
Asa Hartford,
Barney Daniels,
Mark Lillis,
Jim Melrose,
Kevin Reeves,
Peter Barnes,
Keith Barnes,
Paul Futcher,
Paul Stewart…

Some great names in there and a couple of personal favourites. Tickets sales are going well so if folk are planning on attending, get your requests in as soon as possible. If only one quarter of everyone who subscribes to McVittee attended and brought a friend, partner, lover, child or even their spouse (sorry folks), we could fill Seel Park! Anyone who is coming please bring your flags and inflatables and let’s have a real retro-party, who knows we might even have a prize if anyone comes in fancy dress (Moonchester excluded!).

Once again tickets are available at Mossley FC Social Club or from Vanda and I at 9 Hawkstone Avenue, Droylsden, M43 7RU (enclose an SAE and a cheque!). Oh if anyone fancies sponsoring an advert or a player let me know and I can give the details out. Hope to see everyone there. Let’s make this a real success for one of our all time greats.

Dave Cash (


The Tribal Gathering weekend is now confirmed as the weekend 2nd to 4th November inclusive. The game is Gillingham at home.

Friday 2nd November 2001

The Welcome Party: This will be taking place at the Manchester Conference Centre in the town centre. The change of venue is due to the demand for tickets never being met. We can get up to 500 of us in this place and there’s two bars, so I think we’ll be OK. We can also apply for a late licence! It’s a little more expensive on the buffet front but the grub sounds really nice. I am looking to stick the to winning formual of a Q&A with invited City-related guests, disco/karaoke and buffet. City have also promised me some signed goodies and stuff for a raffle, with all proceeds going to the Youth Academy as usual. Final ticket prices for the party should appear over the next day or two, but I reckon we’re looking at about a tenner. This, of course, will include another of one of the highly original Tribal Gathering keepsakes.

Saturday 3rd Novmeber

City vs. Gillingham: City have allocated us a block of 150 tickets for the game. However, these will first be offered to members of the International Supporters’ Club, with the remainder on offer to everyone else. They will retail at face value, of course. Prices to be advised.

Tour of the ground: I am going to be speaking to the club with regard to a tour of the ground on the Saturday morning before the game, so look out for details on that too.

The “infamous” Sangam curry: I will be booking the 2nd floor of this restaurant again. We have been here the last 3 or 4 years now and this restaurant are very tolerant of us. Personally, I think they look forward to our singing. The number of attendees is growing each year as word spreads about the antics that take place at this particular event. Always an excellent evening. Oh yeah, the food’s not bad either, nor is it too expensive.

Sunday 4th November

5-a-side Tournament: Last year’s tournie was not as well attended as in previous years and we are hoping that we can get this particular event up and running to its former glory. Spider (of Blue View fame, a.k.a. EBuN) has very kindly offered to assist in the running of this and all people interested in playing in this tournie should contact him, via me, as soon as possible. As usual, this will be taking place at the Platt Lane Training Complex, usually around 11ish on the Sunday morning. I am looking to put a girls team in this year – bagsy I’m in goal – so come on birds let’s be having you…

Hotels: I am collating as much information as I can with regard to hotels in and around the area of the ground and will let you all have this information as soon as it is completed. What I can tell you at the moment is that the Manchester Conference Centre has a special deal for Manchester City fans (something like £29 per night based on two sharing), which is really good for the city centre. More details to follow.

As before, requirements for party and/or match tickets should be emailed to me at MCFCBIRD@AOL.COM in the first instance. I also need to know if you would be interested in attending any tour of the ground I “may” be able to organise and/or if you plan on attending the curry on the Saturday night and if you would like to play in the 5-a-side football tournament. Please give me as much detail as possible, because I need to start seeing what numbers we are talking about for the various events.

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Debs x (a.k.a. MCFCBIRD)


I was surprised that Ernie Whalley, whose contributions to MCIVTA I usually enjoy, should have decided in MCIVTA 723 to slag off ‘Fathers and Sons’, Colin (not David incidentally) Shindler’s book about the Summerbee family when he admits straight away that he hasn’t even read it!

Ernie appears to accept without question the views of Simon Hattenstone, whose hatchet job, masquerading as a review, appeared in the Guardian last Saturday.

Hattenstone’s criticisms of ‘Fathers and Sons’ seem to revolve largely around the following:

  1. The name Summerbee does not feature on the front cover of the book.
  2. The author is occasionally guilty of using the same phrases twice or even three times in the course of a 310-page book.
  3. He did not like Mr Shindler’s previous book about City.

I suspect that most people would regard these points as being rather trivial. Those who read the book are more likely to find themselves in agreement with Peter Brophy’s detailed and balanced assessment which appeared in MCIVTA 718.

Quite why Hattenstone, a Guardian journalist who regularly reminds us that he is a City supporter, should spend so much of what is supposed to be a book review on what borders on a personal attack on the author is beyond me. He tells us that he has never met Colin Shindler but appears to have quite a problem with him.

We can only hazard guesses as to why he takes every opportunity to attack somebody who, in ‘Manchester United Ruined My Life’, wrote an enormously successful book about supporting City. Simon and his mates may not have liked it, but the popularity of the book suggests that their opinion is not typical of City supporters.

Some of us still find it hard to forgive Hattenstone for his somewhat grovelling article about Ferguson and his biography a couple of years ago. I think Peter Brophy is a rather better judge of what makes a good book about football.

Never mind Simon, keep up with the writing – someday even you may write a bestseller.

Geoff Watts (


We all accept that the paymasters of football are the television companies. I don’t have a particular problem with this as all sports face an increasing demand for cash and TV for the popular sporting activities at least, is the main source. The problem us City fans now face (and this applies to the other Nationwide teams) is that without OnDigital we can’t see any of our “new” league either live or highlights. I don’t have it and sadly for the Granada and Carlton who jointly own it I don’t know of anyone who has it either.

A recent MCIVTA article setting out where football is to be shown in the forcoming season suggested that while the Nationwide will be shown on OnDigital exclusively at the start, there is a possibility that the league programmes may become available on the Sky platform as the season progresses. Is this the time to try to put some pressure on Sky to show the games? I accept that we will have to pay whatever OnDigital would charge by way of subscription and if this is £5-£10 per month then so be it. Should City fans through MCIVTA write or email Sky (we could get support from other Nationwide fans with this) to try to persuade them that there is a strong demand and we want them to do a deal with OnDigital to show all the the live and highlight programmes? Alternativley we could threaten to cancel our subscription to Sky Sports but this is a bit drastic. On the other hand (not too sure about this) I think if we dump Sky and take Ondigital we can get Sky Sports anyway (that’s what they seem to be offering). Do we have any media specialist who might help with this?

Alan Lingard (


Just a quick rejoinder to Neil Haigh who worries we may think he was taking advantage of having 20:20 hindsight. Not a chance Neil; 20:20 vision such as yours would require bottle end glasses! To suggest still that Gio and George would have made any difference is to ignore the evidence palpably demonstrated by both players since their departures. Mediocre doesn’t do justice to the contributions they have made. Another interesting comparison is where Neil eulogises the chairman as a man of principle when comparing him to a less pragmatic type personage, but later castigates the manager for holding “stupid childish” principles. As you said though Neil, this is the silly season but I’ll go along with your final plea for City to bounce back at the first attempt.

Leo Fewtrell (


Well someone has to reply to Neil Haigh’s article about Joe, and as I so often supported the guy, I suppose it might as well be me again.

The basic tenet, that we have had three years of bad management under Joe explains why many people look at fans and ask what they really want. Oh yes, winning the European League would be good, but unfortunately Joe took over when we were shooting towards Division 2, so that wasn’t on the agenda.

Ah, shooting towards Division 2, yes the ‘one more game by Gio would have saved us’ theory of football is absolute rubbish. Look at the results – ( and do the maths yourself, I’ve done it once and can’t be bothered, but the points per game gained by Joe without Gio was way ahead of the points per game won in all games in which Gio played. It is far more likely that we would have stayed up if Joe had taken charge at the Ipswich game on his day of appointment and played without Gio than if he had given Gio an extra game.

Sorry, I’m not and never have been anti-Gio, but in the context of the squad he found himself in at City he never delivered as the genius to win us enough games. Unfair expectations, maybe, but it is people like Neil who fire those expectations, and a string of managers ending with Joe found those expectations unachievable. Same at Derby, games in which he plays end up getting lost. He is not a player able to deal with relegation struggles, which was always his lot at City.

Next, which managerial genius does Neil suggest we should have signed way back in ’98. The queue wasn’t exactly long. Why not Neil may well ask, after all we had such a great squad of players, and there was a transfer budget of errrr, nowt. A short term directors’ loan made it possible for Joe to buy Goat, Jobbo, Bish and Jamie on the understanding that Gio would be sold in the summer.

Next, Neil seems surprised that our super squad didn’t wrap up Division 2 by Christmas, and I suppose looking at all those class players Joe inherited – all those goal scoring machines, crafty midfielders, rock solid defenders. Brightwell, Vaughan, Brannan, Bradbury – oh, the list of quality was startless.

Fancy having to go down to the wire at Wembley when left those riches to play with, and what a lousy spending record to get us there, wasting £1 million on Goat, Andy and Cooke; what a waste. And crikey, what failure only finishing runners up the next season having had the financial riches to add another two players to the squad.

Yep, Neil, that was a pretty lousy couple of years, only back to back promotions on a negative transfer budget.

Now, if you had left your criticism of Joe to his performance last season, well defend him I have already, but I never at any point deny he didn’t make big mistakes. Just that there were real life reasons for the mistakes. Maybe, just maybe, it was not possible to take that squad of ex-2nd Division players, add £16 million and get a squad capable of staying up. But I’ve got a feeling that my attempts to rationalise the reason for mistakes will fall on the deaf ears of one who thinks so little of the man in question. Regardless, we got relegated, Joe paid the penalty and we have moved on.

A few more points before I finish. Firstly, I think I can spot a flaw in your player appraisal skills if you honestly think that Brown and Cooke could have performed in the Premiership. Brown may make it sometime, but just because he plays well at mid-table Blades doesn’t mean much in terms of Premiership form.

And maybe the press accusation of naïvety reflects on the way fans don’t understand that there are things going on behind the scenes – like in any organisation – that make managing a football club slightly harder than looking at the programme team sheet and slagging off those selected.

Oh, and your idea of chairman reaction to managerial performance is certainly na