Newsletter #755

Our visit up the M6 to Deepdale, televised live to the masses, saw yet more humiliation as we lost 2-1 to PNE. There was quite simply nothing from the team. An incensed Berkovic finally decided to seek retribution on yet another dubious refereeing decision by prodding him in the chest with the resultant red card. Temper, Eyal.

And so we look ahead to Grimsby on Tuesday night and hopefully a change in fortune from the last 4 league results.

Tonight’s issue has a super match report, Ken’s diary, plenty of opinion, the usual requests and part II of Chris’ Why Blue.

Next game: Grimsby, home, Tuesday 23 October 2001 7.45pm


22 October:
It’s Bert Trautmann’s birthday (1923). The German mark was in the grip of a catastrophic inflation, prices doubling in a morning then trebling in the afternoon, so Herr & Fraulein Trautmann must have had a rough time of it with young Bert coming along just then. In 1955 Bert kept goal on his 32nd birthday at Birmingham, where Joe Hayes, Frank Dyson, and Faulkner scored, but the Brummies got four of their own. City 4 U****d 1 in 1921. In 1980 City had their first league win of the season on this date. Although they’d beaten Stoke and Luton in the League Cup, their Division One record was Lost 8 Drawn 4, until Mackenzie, Daley, and Reeves gave them a 3-1 win over Spurs at Maine Road. Another victory over Spurs on this date in 1994, when Brian Horton’s City team beat Ossie Ardiles’s side 5-2, with goals from Walsh (2), Quinn, Flitcroft, and Lomas.

23 October:
A year ago today and City were 10th in the Premiership after Danny Tiatto’s goal near the end secured the win (2-0) at Southampton. Two years ago today Richard Edghill scored his first City goal (apart from his penalty in the shoot-out against Gillingham) when City beat Blackburn 2-0. Mike Doyle & Francis Lee scored as City beat Sheffield Utd 2-1 in 1971. Neil Young scored two and Ralph Brand got the second of the two goals he scored, total, for City in the 3-0 win at Preston in 1965. In 1897 City beat Darwen 5-0.

24 October:
It’s Asa Hartford’s birthday (1950). Joe Hayes made his début in 1953, playing at outside-right against Tottenham in London, where City lost 3-0. In 1956 Joe was in the Charity Shield match against the Blues’ Manchester neighbours, who won 1-0. City 8 Burnley 3 on this day in 1925, with Tommy Browell scoring five (but see three days later).

25 October:
It’s Shaun Wright-Phillps’s twentieth birthday. City’s game with Barnsley at Hyde Road was abandoned in 1902 with City leading 5-0; they still won the replay by 3-2. Gerry Gow had his first game, at Brighton in 1980 where City won 2-1 through two goals from Dennis Tueart. Mike Doyle scored the winner at home to Wolves in 1969, with one G.H. Mundy making his third and last appearance in a City shirt. 1958 and George Hannah scored at Newcastle against his old club, but City lost 4-1. In 1996 City lost 4-0 at Anfield in the League Cup, though worse was soon to follow there.

26 October:
The Manchester derby was televised live for the first time, a 1-1 draw. In 1925, three days after beating Burnley by that score, City lost 8-3 at Sheffield Utd. Inconsistent? Never.

27 October:
There was a 3-3 draw with U****d in 1990, after City had led 3-1 with 15 minutes to go. In 1965 City drew 0-0 with Norwich. 34,000 saw the game, City were on top of Division Two and headed for promotion, and it won Malcolm Allison ten pounds off Paddy Crerand who had told the City coach that City were a “dying club” and bet him that they’d never get above 30,000 at Maine Road. Billy Meredith played his first game, a 5-4 defeat at Newcastle in 1894.

28 October:
City and Celtic drew a friendly 1-1 in 1953 at Maine Road. In 1981 was the first match in England to be decided on penalties – City’s League Cup tie at Stoke, which finished 2-2 on aggregate but which City won 9-8 after Joe Corrigan saved the 20th penalty kick. In 1972 there was a 0-0 draw at Highbury, though an Arsenal defender knocked a City shot up onto the crossbar, the ball bounced down and over the line before being cleared, and the referee gave no penalty and no goal.

Finally, on this day in 1995 City went back to Anfield to face Liverpool after being knocked out of the League Cup there and were thrashed 6-0. It was the match which ended with Rösler throwing his boots to the crowd (“unused” he meant) and which Alan Ball said he had “enjoyed”. Some time later Granada TV showed one of those police video programmes filmed at night in the streets of Manchester, with the cops in hot pursuit of a couple of suspects who had fled from them at high speed. Chased all around Manchester and through the suburbs, the bad guys’ car sped across the East Lancashire Road through a red light, and smacked into the side of a car coming along the East Lancs towards the city. Luckily no one in that car was injured, and the cops helped the occupants out and led them to the kerbside where one chap shakily announced that they were on their way home having been to Liverpool to see the match. Hearing this, one of the bobbies slowly surveyed the wreck, then turned to the dazed survivors. “Ah,” he said with that dry wit they must teach in police college, “you lads haven’t had a good night, have you?”

Kenneth Corfield” (


I must of all start off with a thanks to Paul Cross for scoring me two tickets from the match, and a big apology to Clive Schofield – look unless you send me the tenner I’ll keep on going as my jinx must end soon 🙂

Anyway, City started with Mettomo in for the injured Howey but otherwise it was a predictable line-up (in no particular order) of Weaver, Mettomo, Pearce, Wiekens, Dunne, Benarbia, Tiatto, Granville, Etuhu, Huckerby and the Goat. Our seats were in the old directors’ box, which comprised of wooden roof, wooden floor and a thin drainpipe the ran straight down in front of us to the terrace below. Obviously in comparison to the other three stands I presume this must be the next one to be developed, but as grounds go Deepdale is quite amenable to this level of football. The Preston crowd were quite up for it and with the drum and bugler on good form they easily out-sang a rather quiet City contingent.

City started the first half playing from right to left with the City fans behind them (I think it was from the Bill Shankley Stand to the Alan Kelly Stand – for those who know their Deepdale). Early exchanges saw City hoofing long balls up to the Goat who isn’t very effective with his back to goal, and even less with the centre-half’s hand around his neck, but like most refs this season I suggest that he should be popping in to Specsavers this morning. It was noticeable that although the formation was the same, City’s two wing-backs Granville & Dunne played a lot deeper than against Stockport and both defences coped well with the big hoof up-field. Huckerby managed to get the ball in the net but it was ruled offside although TV replays were inconclusive (according to both Blue and Red watchers); to be fair the lineman’s flag was up quick and Huckerby didn’t seem too bothered (unlike his reaction against Stockport). However, on 38 minutes City took the lead, with Berkovic feeding the Goat who in turn played it across the box to Tiatto – his ball into the box saw Huckerby racing in to place it beyond Moilanen into the back of the net. Cue wild celebrations from the City fans and stunned silence from the Prestonites. Huckerby had deserved that goal and he worked really hard down the left hand touchline, constantly causing problems with his pace and ability to shield and hold the ball up.

Half time came with Weaver only having a one-handed flick-on to keep his hands warm. Half-time entertainment saw Rodney ‘cost us the championship’ Marsh and some other blokes presumably carrying out the half-time draw; mind you he did appear from the opposite side of the tunnel and the PA was so poor in our stand that I wasn’t too sure why he was there. A little lad later appeared with 1920 something which I presumed to be the winning number, but quite what the winning prize was I’m not sure.

Second-half saw City playing towards the City fans, but Macken and Healy seemed a lot more alive and it came as no surprise that Healy managed to get behind Mettomo and smash the ball past Weaver. Cue lots of singing, drum banging, and a increase in pressure on the City goal. Goater had the ball in the net after being fed by Benarbia, only for the goal to be ruled out due to an offside flag for Benarbia, again it was the same linesman who had ruled out Huckerby’s goal (sic) in the first-half but my feeling was that Benarbia had just strolled beyond the last defender when he received the ball. On 67 minutes Weaver had a goal-kick that landed somewhere in the Preston half of the field, Macken picked the ball up around the centre circle and smashed a 50 yard shot over the retreating ‘keeper and into the top right-hand corner of Weaver’s goal. At this point the Preston fans went mental as did the Preston bench, with Moyes taking his cap off in a salute to a finish that was out of the top drawer. Personally I felt Weaver was a little slow in getting back, but TV watching commentators felt that I was being a bit too harsh.

City changed things, bringing off the leaden footed Benarbia and replacing him with Berkovic. It was Berkovic who decided to try to link defence to attack by picking up the ball, running and then passing forward, rather than the aimless hoofs that had frustrated Benarbia. City were pressing, but Keegan deciding we were needing even more threat threw on Dickov for Pearce, with Wiekens picking up the captain’s armband. Dunne started pushing more down the right and seemed more comfortable to be playing alongside Berkovic, but by this time the ex-Rag Healy had been replaced by Cresswell as Preston looked to keep the game under wraps. However, with full-time closing Huckerby ran onto another through ball and his heel was clipped as he raced into the box, before colliding with the goalkeeper. In my mind (and my dad’s mind, who was sat next to me) it was a case of was it in or outside the box. Mr Dean (the now well known partially sighted referee – allegedly) gave a free-kick for Huckerby’s challenge on the ‘keeper; an incensed Berkovic said something to the ref resulting in a red card, then a bit of pushing and shoving saw Goater booked for increasing his lead in the goalscoring charts and Huckerby booked presumably for diving or lying on the floor injured for too long! Berkovic lingered to see the TV replay and seemed rather cheesed off as he ambled down the tunnel. TV watchers were split 50:50 with the two Blues claiming a penalty and the two Rags typically claiming a dive; a free-kick would have done me at least. With Huckerby limping, Keegan brought Colosimo on to much cheers from the Preston fans who thought the game was over, but they didn’t have long to wait with Colosimo having no touches as the final whistle went. So 2-1 it finished to a side who we should really be at least drawing against. The Goat doesn’t seem comfortable playing with Huckerby (here’s hoping Wanchope’s back soon). Etuhu seems out of his depth at times; although a good prospect we possibly need a more seasoned player in the centre of the park, hopefully someone right-footed as we really caused Preston problems when Dunne and Berkovic linked-up down the right. With Macken still on the transfer list, would like to see Keegan add him to the shopping list along with Koumas.

As always here are the scores.

Weaver 5 – Kicking was poor and was caught out for the second goal, seems a little more confident and for that reason should stay between the sticks.
Granville 6 – Played well and seems to relish his wing-back rôle.
Pearce 5 – I’m not sure if he is nearing the end of his career; he is a natural captain, clears up mistakes from our centre-halfs, but is prone to giving the ball away or long hoofs up-field.
Wiekens 4 – Just isn’t good enough, please someone put a bid in for him, his headers were all straight up in the air and his passes go straight to opposition players.
Mettomo 5 – A big bloke who isn’t too bad in the air but sometimes his passes are poor, maybe it is a bit too soon to judge him?
Dunne 5 – Isn’t a wing back! Good, solid centre-half but has no pace to play as a wing-back. Charvet, Edghill or Colosimo must surely come into this position (obviously excluding injury).
Tiatto 6 – Harries players, ran well with the ball and upsets opposition fans – usual performance. Managed to restrain Berkovic from lamping the ref.
Benarbia 5 – A couple of good touches but drifts out of matches too much; it doesn’t help when the ball is played over his head.
Etuhu 5 – As mentioned, he is a quality player of the future, with future being the key word.
The Goat 5 – Isn’t going to score when the ball is played high up to him. The only time he managed to come deep without his marker was for Huckerby’s goal.
Huckerby 7 – My man of the match (for City), deserved his goal, deserved a penalty/free-kick and looks a lot more confident since his inept performance against Wimbledon.

Nash, Horlock – Warmed up a bit.
Dickov 5 – Didn’t do a lot; ran around, was unsurprisingly involved in the pushing and shoving after the Huckerby incident.
Berkovic 6 – Links better with the defence than Benarbia but managed to get himself sent-off for mouthing off – no doubt a fine to follow as well as a lengthy ban.

James Walsh (


So here I am on Sunday night with a bottle of red wine after a soggy afternoon in Preston wondering where it is all going wrong. Are we missing the enigmatic Paulo? Yes of course we are but if we have automatic promotion pretensions we should be able to cover his loss. The dearth of an attacking ‘edge’ in recent games is obvious – the whole damn thing is just getting too predictable. It isn’t the players with the ball who are letting us down, it’s the players who aren’t moving and looking for space that are, and now Ali appears to be being ‘found out’ (mark him tightly) and what have City got… well at present not much.

At half time on Sunday I thought we had the game wrapped up and a 2-0 or 2-1 outcome looked the most likely result. But two goals in about 15 minutes from a pretty average Preston team (mid-table next May) and maybe their 2nd goal was a speculative effort, but at the end of the day Preston deserved their win. Thinking about it, Stockport and the equally boring Blades came and got the result they wanted – come on Kev and the team, we are better than the last three performances.

Whinge over with.

What a super Why Blue last Friday. I’m probably 5 years younger than the writer but what a brilliant evocative piece of writing – it brought back memories of UCP and Kardomah Cafes, Football buses on Lloyd Street and parking your bike for an old threepenny bit at the terrace houses round the ground. Roll on part two.

Richard Cooper (



If as I hope you do, you read this newsletter, Four-Four-Two now please!

Just got back from Preston, spent half the day stuck on the M62, rain, rain and more rain, then a second half performance that defied belief.

Preston were dead and buried at half time, but no. So why don’t we finish teams off when we have chances, and why why why do we give them room to play?

4-4-2: try it next Sunday at Forest, for me and the other 6,000 who will follow anywhere. Give us something to shout about. We know how well we can play, we’ve seen it earlier this season. On our last 3 performances we won’t even make the play-offs.

I know the refs have been appalling but there can’t be many more bad ones left that we haven’t had, and even with crap refs we still should beat Sheff U and Preston. Roll on Wolves and Crystal Palace, they should sharpen us up a bit.

Enough whinging, I will be there on Tuesday night, and next Sunday (what a crap time to KO) and then the joys of Barnsley (can’t wait) and their ever helpful police service.

Come on City, Started great, let’s play a bit eh?

CTIDODTTAG (City till I die or drown travelling to away games), Mike Brown (


The last few games have shown us how frustrated City have become, from the sideline and our manager Kevin Keegan, to the players on the field, to the supporters who expected more. So many fans when they heard of the appointment of Kevin Keegan said “We will have promotion locked up by Christmas”: do they still think that? I still think we shall get promotion, but not unless we get a quality striker.

I have said this for a long time, so far it’s the midfield and defence that has been changed in the transition of a Joe Royle team to a Kevin Keegan team. As much as I was a Joe Royle fan, I support Kevin Keegan 100%. I said at the time if Joe had to go then Kevin Keegan was a good man to have as our manager.

It’s early days yet and the transition might take a little longer than us fans would like, certain injuries don’t help the cause, but that’s why we should have a quality striker ready to play. The Goat claims he cannot play without Wanchope on the field. Come on Goat you have done it before without him!

Despite recent setbacks I still feel at the end of the season we shall be there for promotion but as I have said before, getting out of this division is not going to be easy; every game we play to some of these other teams is like an FA Cup final to beat City. And other teams now know to close down our midfield is the way to frustrate us.

Kevin Keegan you have a project on your hands, and all us City fans are behind you to do whatever it takes to get promotion. Dennis Tueart needs to give some real special support!

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


A very interesting week and further proof that the chairmen of Coventry and Birmingham don’t have a clue. Wolves’ horrible home form finally catches up with them although more a case of them falling back to the pack rather than any great move forward by the rest.

Now to the issue of Crystal Palace. As all of you remember (yeah right!) from my own Why Blue, in my first football life I was Palace fan with a strong interest in City. I’d love to see them go up with us. Their home win over West Brom and away win over Wolves move them up considerably. An away win at Burnley midweek would also continue that climb. Every year you get a team that achieves above expectations. Normally they fall back to the pack. We’ll see how Palace continue to do over the next couple of weeks. It’s early yet.

Finally, City fall out of the promotion places this week. Memo to Kevin, Landon Donovan…

Projected Final Positions results through Sunday October 21. The number in parentheses is their current league position.

01 Coventry (04)
02 Wolverhampton (02)
03 Birmingham (07)
04 Norwich (03)
05 Preston (12)
06 Burnley (05)
07 Manchester City (09)
08 West Brom (06)
09 Wimbledon (11)
10 Bradford (15)
11 Nottingham Forest (10)
12 Crewe (16)
13 Crystal Palace (01)
14 Watford (14)
15 Gillingham (20)
16 Portsmouth (08)
17 Sheffield Utd (17)
18 Grimsby (18)
19 Millwall (13)
20 Sheffield Wednesday (21)
21 Barnsley (22)
22 Rotherham (19)
23 Walsall (23)
24 Stockport (24)

Wallace Poulter (


Thanks to Andrew Brooke for clearing up the Alan Black mystery – it was really puzzling me. I guess I should have figured out what was going on when Alan avoided talking about his “City career”. Ha!

Interestingly, just yesterday morning I spoke on the phone with Andy Black’s son (Andy Jr.), who I had been put in contact with by Guernsey Blue Geoff Collins. He confirmed that Andy had never been known as “Alan”, and had never lived in Toronto (and incidentally passed away some years ago). He also said (better be sitting down for this next bit) that he “wasn’t a City fan” (I didn’t pursue this line for fear of hearing mention of that other lot that claim affiliation with Manchester)! However, Andy said his younger brother is a mate of Paul Dickov and some other current Blues, and they hang around regularly in the team’s favourite restaurant (he did tell me the name, but of course I forgot it).

Bill Buffam, West Chester PA (


I have been reading your articles with much interest; I wonder if anyone knows that City had an Andy Black playing for them in 1973? Could win a few bets perhaps but I think he only got as far as the B team. You could check up on that.

I find your newsletters very good and informative, as living in Australia for the last 32 years you miss quite a lot, although being connected to McV gives me a lot of info. I have been a City fan for 60 years, my son 40 years, my grandson 22 years, my great grandson brainwashed just starting, oh and my mother 90 years. My dad, God bless his soul was a Red, enough said.

Yours, Ray Gibbons (


Thanks for including the memories from Mr Wiseman.

The boards advertising H.D. Moorhouse Cinemas (HDM) were above and on the face of the old under the terracing entrances. He is correct in that early birds got great views sitting on the wall on which they were hung, but I seem to recall deafening noises from energetic heels being kicked against the metal advertising boards if you stood anywhere near. I wonder was this firm our first sponsor?

Anyone remember the “Pal – the hollow ground razor blade” adverts, which used to be heard between records you could choose to be played (an era when not many folk had gramophones).

I think Andy Black played alongside (Jimmy?) Heale whom I think was a War Reserve policeman.

One pre-season memory I have is going with my dad to one of the many ladies who “minded” your bike during the match and you booked your place (season ticket holder had then a different meaning). Nearer the ground places were the most sought after.

Peter Holland (


Last week I attended the Prestwich & Whitefield Supporters’ Club. In attendance was the man himself, KK. He answered any questions put to him, he spoke about his past, even his birthplace, he spoke about the future with Manchester City, he spoke about Dickov, he said he was without doubt one of the nicest, most dedicated blokes he has ever met and that he has a future with the club once he regains fitness, he spoke about players not pulling their weight, he also said he has just signed a Dutch ‘keeper, 18 years old, who he rated as a real star.

Just wanted to say what a fantastic night, what real gent Keegan is. There were 350 people plus in attendance about 50 kids and he sat there and signed autographs and chatted to every one of those little faces came away glowing; it a real treat. We even played his sad record; with that I think to say he was embarrassed was an understatement.

Mike O’Brien (


Any of our fantastic subscriber base know anything about this ex-Blue?

A bloke at work was given his sky blue (number 6 – he thinks) shirt when he worked with him as a roofer in Alta Loma, California, where, I gather, the great man lives.

Just wondering.

Dave Atkins, Temecula, California (


We will be holding our October meeting this Thursday (Oct 25th) starting at 8pm. The venue will be Great Brickhill Cricket Club. If you’re coming to the meeting, why not bring a friend (supporters of all clubs welcome except one!)?

Please contact me if you’d like more information, or travel details etc.

Steve Maclean, Secretary, Milton Keynes branch, Manchester City FC Supporters’ Club (


Wasn’t Chris Wiseman’s story the most evocative “Why Blue?” ever?

[There’s more, see below – Ed]

Any pubs near Warrington showing the match on Sunday?

Steve Parish (


Why would David Beckham make a good waiter? He can carry ten mugs at a time.

The seven dwarves are working down the mine one day when the roof collapses. Snow White runs to the scene and shouts through the rubble “Is everyone OK?” A weak voice came through the smoke saying “Man United are going to win the Champions League!”

“I guess Dopey’s alright then”, says Snow White.

Jim Sim (


From that day onward, my father and I were City to the core, going to every match, getting to know those who often sat near us, though once or twice my dad splurged and took us into the four shilling seats, lower down, close to the reporters and their black telephones and the directors’ boxes, where, after Christmas each year, the cigars would be brought out. I’d never seen anyone smoke a cigar before. Occasionally you’d see a dressed-up woman in the boxes – very rarely anywhere else in the ground.

We also, though this is now harder for today’s fans to understand, went every other Saturday to see Un*ted play at Maine Road, after Uwe’s granddad had made OT fit only for the reserve teams of each club. They were a good team then – exciting, Manchester-based – and the rivalry was mostly friendly. Most City fans I knew at school and elsewhere were pleased when they won the Cup in 1948. But, in spite of some overlap, there was always a difference between the crowds for City and Un*ted. There was passion for both, but there was a friendlier, more human side to the City fans – a sardonic, resigned humour; a peculiar kind of wit; more generosity to opponents. And Un*ted had no Frank Swift, bantering with the crowd. For I already had my first major hero! United crowds grew impatient more quickly, were more intent on winning, and I never “felt” their results the way I did with City. Two incidents confirmed my allegiance.

Once I went alone to a Un*ted vs. Bradford cup tie, and there were, if I recall, nearly 82,000 people there (anyone confirm this – my memory may be playing tricks). I was still young and found myself standing at the very back of the Platt Lane Stand, unable to see. A couple of men tried to help me by lifting me up onto a barrier a bit further down, but two Un*ted supporters (rosettes) pulled me off it and told me to f#ck off. This was the first nastiness I’d ever experienced at MR. Then, in another match, I saw Jack Rowley, Un*ted’s centre-forward, charge a defender over and while the man (Huddersfield Town?) was still on the ground, deliberately kicked him hard in the belly. Again, I’d never seen anything like that, and knew that Alex Herd or George Smith or Andy Black would never have done such a thing. The City team and crowd were simply more generous of spirit.

Sometimes my dad and I went to OT, and later MR, to watch the reserves. There were always several thousand there, and you could stand or sit where you wanted. Back then, too, there were no barriers at all outside the Main Stand, even for first-team matches so, if my dad couldn’t go, I’d stand behind Swifty’s goal in the first half and walk round to the other goal for the second. I was, very soon, because of my hero-worship for Big Frank, a goalie at school, and played against other schools. St. Bede’s was my first “international!” I was always a goalie after that – at school, in the RAF, and at University. I watched my idols – Swift, and later, and to an even greater degree, Bert Trautmann, like a hawk, looking at what they did, for there was no coaching for goalies back then. The day Swifty ruffled my hair is another memory I’ll never forget, as is Bert’s signing a photo for me.

The crowds were huge in those days, but there was little violence on or off the pitch. When a player “had his name taken,” it was a very big deal, and not at all common. A sending-off was extremely rare. Cynicism hadn’t invaded the game the way it has now, perhaps because the players were on ten quid a week (12 for a win) and not prima donnas, and, in society in general, reeling after the violence of the war, sportsmanship was not wimpy or a joke. A Roy Keane would have been banned for life. When West Ham, Newcastle and Portsmouth came to MR, the City crowed would always applaud the (exotic to us) singing of “Blowing Bubbles,” “Blaydon Races,” and the Pompey chimes from the few visiting fans. The only real unpleasantness resided in the toilets at the ground, awash about an inch deep, hot and fetid, fag-ends floating on the warm, shoe-penetrating sea of slash. The walls round the ground had big painted signs on – “Commit No Nuisance” – which were often ignored!

When my dad couldn’t make it, I’d take my maroon Royal Enfield and leave it in one of the scores of “Cycles Stored 4d.” backyards behind the Platt Lane Stand. I’d even walk sometimes through Platt Fields. When those marvellous days of going to MR with my father stopped, in the 50s, because of his health, I abandoned the Main Stand and went to the Popular Side (with my best friend from school, David – who’s posted on MCIVTA several times and who is still a very close friend). Later, we were to play in the same team on a tour of Ireland. Today we share the joys and griefs of 55 years of City watching by e-mail or visits.

That first life-altering day in March of 1947 had been like discovering a new religion into which I poured all my emotions, hopes, dedication and loyalty. It remains one of the clearest memories of my life. Little did I know that, once hooked, I was to stay hooked and, to mix a metaphor, condemn myself to a ride bumpier than I could have imagined, for the rest of my life. I was lucky, though, because, in the 1940s and 50s, City had, for all their mixed results, a top team and some great players. It was one of their two golden ages since the war. For me, Bert Trautmann shines the brightest. He’s still the finest goalkeeper I’ve ever seen play the game, for all sorts of reasons, though it was really hard for many ex-servicemen to accept him as one of our own. Bert simply played his way past their uncertainty with his brilliance – athleticism, confidence, distribution, grace, reflexes, bravery, authority . I’d love to write 100 pages on Bert, but will just ask if any here recall his penalty save at the north end against Liverpool? Lambert took a long run and blasted it a foot above the ground heading towards the bottom corner like a rocket. In those days the goalie couldn’t move until it was kicked, but Bert not only stopped it, but got two hands to it. Perhaps you have to be a goalie to know how incredible that was. Lambert just stood and applauded. There was a photo the next day in the paper from behind the goal (remember the photogs sitting on the grass each side of the goals with their huge cameras?) and it was even more spectacular seen frozen like that. Bert saved 2 out of 3 penalties in one match at Ewood, too. We don’t have many major heroes in a life – he was, and remains, one of mine. The only ungraceful move I ever saw him make was when he threw his sweater on the ground after being sent off for dissent by a prissy referee.

In front of Swifty and Bert there are scores of players I remember for all sorts of reasons – a great goal, an awful injury, a huge mistake, an act of sportsmanship, etc. So many great Sky Blues, all part of my life, never to be forgotten. City were unique – I think Ballymena was the only other team to play in Sky Blue back then – and I worshipped them. Of course, as I grew up into teenage years, there were rivals to City in my life. David and I played hours of Subbuteo. The bike-racing on the outdoor track at Fallowfield drew me every Tuesday night – Reg Harris, world sprint champion, was, with Frank and Bert, a major hero, as were, later, Guy Mitchell, Ken Colyer and various movie stars. Saturdays, until I was 13, meant the kids’ matinee at the Regal on Stockport Road in the morning, then errands for my mother at the shops, Maine Road, the pictures in the evening in Levenshulme, Longsight, Burnage, West Didsbury, etc. And, when girls so deliciously intruded into all this, dances in Church Halls or occasionally at the Levenshulme Palais. In short, Saturdays were bloody magic!

At school we had City vs. Un*ted duels at push-penny on the master’s desk before class, as well as good-natured taunts. I was furious that the United kids chanted “Rowley passed to Mitten, Mitten passed it back. Pearson took a flying shot which knocked Big Swifty back. They laid him on a stretcher, they laid him on a bed, they took him to the hospital and this is what he said. Two black eyes and a busted nose and all my teeth knocked down my throat – no more football for me, I’ve had it, no more football for me.” That I remember it today shows its impact! And I knew no anti-Un*ted song to counteract it with. I learned the word “Rags” at school in 1951 or 1952, though the explanation I was given was less savoury than the usual “dressed in rags” definition. But the taunts soon meant little, as City put together a fine side in the mid-1950s, about which more in a minute. The names, of both great, good and sad, come back – Haddington of the thunderous free-kicks, the oddly brilliant winger “Stingray” Sambrook, who suddenly stopped being brilliant, Roy Little, once so tormented by Stanley Matthews that he feigned injury to be spared further humiliation, Sproston, Barkas, Herd, McDowell – the older pre-war veterans, Emptage of the stutter-step, Andy Black, who once scored from outside a crowded penalty-area with a header (and those leather absorbent, lace-protruding balls were incredibly heavy to head), Bobby Johnstone, Ken Barnes and Don Revie – brilliant creative midfielders- the two superb Welshmen, Roy Paul and Nobby Clarke, George Smith, his wounded arm from the war obvious, Spurdle, Hart, Fagan (Joe and Paddy), Joe Hayes, Broadis – so many. To watch them was a privilege, but it was also a privilege to see the greats in opposing teams. I think of Matthews, Tom Finney, Wilf Mannion, Freddy Steele, Raich Carter, Peter Doherty, Sam Bartram, Stan Cullis, Billy Wright, Bert Williams, Tommy Lawton, Stan Mortensen, Bobby Langton, George Hardwick, Jackie Milburn, Joe Mercer (I was at MR when the Arsenal players carried him off on their shoulders, as it was his final Arsenal match and the whole stadium roared its approval, and men round me were openly crying, Blues as well). It was a great era for soccer in Britain.

Chris Wiseman, Calgary, Alberta (


Recent results from 19 October 2001 to 21 October 2001 inclusive.

21 October 2001

Preston North End     2 - 1  Manchester City       21,103
Coventry City         1 - 0  Crewe Alexandra       15,788

20 October 2001

Birmingham City       4 - 0  Bradford City         25,011
Burnley               3 - 3  Barnsley              14,690
Grimsby Town          0 - 3  Watford                5,506
Millwall              3 - 3  Nottingham Forest     14,154
Portsmouth            1 - 0  Sheffield United      15,538
Sheffield Wednesday   2 - 1  Walsall               16,275
Stockport County      0 - 1  Rotherham United       6,616
Wimbledon             3 - 1  Gillingham             8,042
Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 1  Crystal Palace        26,471

19 October 2001

Norwich City          2 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  20,465

League table to 21 October 2001 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Crystal Palace  12  6  0  1 21  5  3  0  2 11 11  9  0  3 32 16  16  27
 2 Wolves          13  2  2  2  6  6  6  1  0 17  5  8  3  2 23 11  12  27
 3 Norwich City    13  6  0  0 12  2  2  1  4  5 13  8  1  4 17 15   2  25
 4 Coventry City   13  3  1  2  7  5  4  2  1  8  4  7  3  3 15  9   6  24
 5 Burnley         13  3  2  1 19 14  4  0  3 11  8  7  2  4 30 22   8  23
 6 West Brom A.    13  4  0  3  8  4  3  1  2  8  8  7  1  5 16 12   4  22
 7 Birmingham City 13  4  0  2 14  5  2  3  2  9 11  6  3  4 23 16   7  21
 8 Portsmouth      13  4  0  2 12  8  2  3  2 11 10  6  3  4 23 18   5  21
 9 Manchester City 13  4  2  1 16  8  2  0  4 14 16  6  2  5 30 24   6  20
10 Nottm Forest    13  5  2  0 11  4  0  3  3  4  7  5  5  3 15 11   4  20
11 Wimbledon       13  2  3  1 12  9  3  1  3 12 11  5  4  4 24 20   4  19
12 Preston N.E.    13  3  2  1 10  5  2  2  3  7 13  5  4  4 17 18  -1  19
13 Millwall        12  3  1  1 12  6  2  2  3  7  9  5  3  4 19 15   4  18
14 Watford         12  4  2  1 16 10  1  0  4  4  8  5  2  5 20 18   2  17
15 Bradford City   13  4  0  3 18 14  1  2  3  4 10  5  2  6 22 24  -2  17
16 Crewe Alex.     13  4  1  2  6  8  1  1  4  6 12  5  2  6 12 20  -8  17
17 Sheff. United   14  2  3  2 10 10  1  4  2  4  6  3  7  4 14 16  -2  16
18 Grimsby Town    14  2  2  3  5  9  2  1  4 10 18  4  3  7 15 27 -12  15
19 Rotherham Utd.  14  1  4  2  7 10  2  1  4  7 11  3  5  6 14 21  -7  14
20 Gillingham      12  3  0  3 13  8  1  1  4  5 12  4  1  7 18 20  -2  13
21 Sheff. Wed.     14  1  3  3  7 13  1  2  4  6 13  2  5  7 13 26 -13  11
22 Barnsley        13  2  3  2 10 12  0  1  5  4 15  2  4  7 14 27 -13  10
23 Walsall         13  2  2  3  5  7  0  1  5  6 15  2  3  8 11 22 -11   9
24 Stockport C.    13  0  1  5  5 11  1  3  3 13 16  1  4  8 18 27  -9   7

With thanks to Football 365


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[8] 01/02 Season Match Day Theme Tune

The music the teams run out to at Maine Road this season is “Nightmare”, by Brainbug, and is available on the Positiva label.

[9] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to John Arnold for providing the information regarding match day music and to Ian Bell for pointing out the alternate live match commentary service.

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[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #755