Newsletter #787

A sterling performance by a 10-man City team last night at St James’ Park saw us lose by a goal to nil and exit the FA Cup. A result which we didn’t deserve, and the level of play led to much praise from Newcastle fans, manager and media alike. The faithful who made the journey were not disappointed and I’d just like to thank our coach driver for getting us home quickly (auditioning for Speed 3) and the club for helping so many of us get there.

Tonight sees some excellent match reports including a ‘live’ first report from Laura, a couple of ‘match views’, opinion on KK and a handful of requests.

Next game: Walsall, away, 3pm Saturday 23 February 2002


After 4 hours in the car we finally came along the motorway about three miles away, and on the top of the hill in the city centre you could see the ground; it looked big from there but it got bigger as we got closer. When we’d parked we met up with a Matt (moose), Jamie (Uwe), and Anne (Jamie’s wife), but we couldn’t find a pub that let children in. So we went to a restaurant, called Charlie’s Chinese Restaurant, that was an all you can eat buffet.

After that we went to the ground and walked up loads of stairs and out to where the stand was. It looked a lot bigger inside and because we were sat on the very back row we had a really good view.

In the first half, both sets of fans were singing and the football was reasonably equal, even after we’d had Dunne sent off. The City fans then started to sing “We only need 10 men”. Weaver played well and made a few good saves and we had a few good chances too like Darren Huckerby’s shot which rolled slowly to the goal and just went past. During half time we met up with my dad’s friends Tony and Helen who had come by coach.

In the second half Richard Edghill came on for Darren Huckerby. The Newcastle goal, which was scored by Solano, came quite early and it set the City fans going again, singing louder than the first half, after which City started to play better and started a reasonably long spell of pressure on the Newcastle defence. Most of the chances in the 2nd half came from the left, one cross going to Kevin Horlock who headed the ball just wide of the post. City had more chances that were either saved or went wide. At one point Newcastle had all 11 of their players in their box defending. Just before the end of the match Danny Tiatto came off for Christian Negouai, who went up front with Wanchope.

I don’t think City deserved to lose the match because they were on top for most of the second half. Even my friend Katie who I’d been sending text messages to all game and who is a Newcastle fan said that she thought we played really well.

We finally got home just after 2am, and had to be up for school at 7.

Player ratings:

Weaver – 7
Dunne – 6
Howey – 7
Ritchie – 6
Wright-Phillips – 7
Jensen – 7
Horlock – 9
Berkovic – 6
Tiatto – 7
Wanchope – 8
Huckerby – 7
Edghill – 6

Laura c/o Paul Stevenson (


Games against Newcastle are rarely tame. My first visit to Wembley saw us lose 1-3 in a game where we had to play all but twenty minutes with ten men (sound familiar?). Not a sending off in this instance but an injury to Jimmy Meadows in the days before substitutes were allowed. You’re right – I’m talking about the last century.

Two seasons later we were again drawn against them in the Cup. After a draw at St. James’, Maine Road was packed for the replay. City 3-0 up before half time and strolling into the next round. Maybe strolling isn’t the right word, as the pitch was a real mudbath, and one on which the Newcastle captain, Jimmy Scoular, thrived. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an inspirational performance to lift a team, as Scoular thudded into tackles and yelled his team on – I swear the steam was rising from his balding head and tree-trunk thighs. 3-3 at full time won’t surprise too many of you, but it certainly knocked the stuffing out of us fans. A Bobby Johnstone goal put us ahead again in extra time, only for us to concede two more and go out of the Cup. Looking back after all these years, it must have been one of the finest matches in Cup history, although I can tell you it didn’t feel like it at the time.

By the late seventies I was living in Leamington Spa with a young family and not much money, and didn’t often get a chance to see my beloved team – perhaps three or four times a season at Maine Road. I did, however, make the trip to St. James’ Park for the final league game of the season in the hope that City might just pip Un*t*d and Liverpool to the title. After an extremely nervous and highly entertaining ninety minutes, City triumphed 4-3 and were First Division (today’s ‘Premiership’) champions. The return journey south was made more difficult by having to dodge the City supporters running down the middle of the road, waving scarves and banners.

In the early eighties it was just City’s luck to travel to Newcastle when a charismatic manager had taken over – a young chap without coaching experience, called Kevin Keegan. Both teams were in the Second (now ‘First’) division, but City were expected to win comfortably. I wasn’t there, but had the dubious pleasure of listening on the car radio as a youngster called Waddle tore us apart and sent us home 0-5 down.

Last night saw me glued to the TV, not optimistic of a victory, but just hoping that City would be able to leave the north east with their heads held high. An emotional KK arrived to be greeted with a battery of photographers one would more likely associate with Naomi Campbell.

After twenty minutes of promising play, with Huckerby causing most of the trouble down the left, we were dealt a crushing blow, although I must admit it was of our own making. Bellamy, whose skill and speed are almost (but not quite) enough to make you forget his off-field activities, found a wide gap through the middle of our defence and was bearing down on Weaver when Dunne decided to slow him down by grabbing his shirt. I was reminded of an occasion many years ago when our centre-half Big Dave Ewing grabbed the shorts of an escaping Stan Mortensen in a game against Blackpool. Mortensen had a choice: he could run on, leaving his shorts behind, or stop and retain his dignity. He decided to stop. A free kick was given once the referee had stopped laughing, and Ewing remained on the field. Last night, Bellamy flung himself to the ground in the fashion of today’s players, and Dunne was rightly sent off. I would have preferred it if Bellamy had been allowed to proceed and try his luck against Weaver.

I sat back, dreading the beating we were about to take. Although Newcastle may not be quite good enough to take the title, they are certainly one of the most positive attacking sides in the country, and I didn’t see how a makeshift City ten would survive. It was bad enough having to start the game without three of our regulars. With a gutsy display of defending and the odd counter-attack we did survive up to half time.

Our manager, who is supposedly tactically naïve, took off the menacing Huckerby, who had missed the one reasonable chance in the first half, for the supporters’ favourite Edghill, which made me think we were going to attempt to hold out for the whole of the second half. I obviously don’t know my Keegan. The move was a master stroke and almost worked, as the dangerous Robert just about disappeared from the game. Maybe Edgy muttered a few threats in French into his ear?

City’s second half display was magnificent – they were definitely the better team and deserved to come away with a draw. Some of the close control shown by SWP and Wanchope was unbelievable, and Berkovic was prompting throughout with his accurate passing. I shouldn’t really be mentioning individual players as this was most certainly a great team performance without a weak link and bodes well for next season, if we keep our heads and gain promotion. The Newcastle breakaway that led to the only goal of the game wasn’t shown very clearly during the match. Trevor Brooking muttered something about City maybe feeling that Jenson had been fouled but there were no revealing close-up replays of the incident where Solano got away from him. Afterwards, they managed to find some better pictures, and it looked to me (biased as I am) that Solano flattened Jenson with a charge in the back. That just adds insult to injury. Weaver’s attempt to stop the goal was a bit reckless and might easily have led to a second sending off, but he made up for it later with an excellent display of goalkeeping.

Having just praised our manager’s tactical nous, I must add one small word of criticism. Doesn’t he know that the substitute who might have turned the game in the final few minutes was Paul Dickov, and not the ineffectual Negouai?

When I started watching this match I was praying that we wouldn’t be annihilated. By the final whistle I should have been delighted that we hadn’t been. In fact I was left with a feeling of injustice. We didn’t deserve to lose but once again these two teams had produced a most entertaining match without any real malice anywhere on the pitch. And those of you who were crawling into bed at about three in the morning after the long journey home – thanks! We could hear you and I’m sure the players and manager could, too.

Roll on next season and two more games against the Geordies.

David Buxton (


The Ayrshire jungle drums reported that City were staying at Turnberry in the build up to this game – perhaps Keegan was hoping that the Ayrshire air would have the same effect on City’s cup fortune as it’s having on Ayr United’s. In the end that was not to be but if this performance was anything to go by then City are not far off being a good Premier League side.

The key events were Dunne’s sending off, Solano’s goal, some desperately near misses for City and some good saves from City.

Overall no complaints about the referee – really Dunne’s sending off was inevitable and he probably saved a goal – is it better to be 1-0 down with 11 men or 0-0 with 10? Perhaps later in the game the latter choice would be preferred but with 65 minutes left probably not.

Solano’s goal – didn’t get a good view of what Solano did to Jensen but suspect that if it had been the other way round Jensen might have joined Dunne in the early bath. Weaver should have done better but this was his only mistake.

Huckerby, Wright-Phillips, Wanchope and Horlock all came close to beating one of the best ‘keepers in the Premiership but it was just not to be. Surprised to see Huckerby replaced by Edghill at half-time – Huckerby had been the main threat to Newcastle in the first half – however, Edghill played Robert out of the game so it was probably the right move. For about 15 minutes in the second half City’s 10 ran Newcastle’s 11 ragged but didn’t quite get the reward they deserved and in the end we were grateful to Weaver and Jensen for keeping us in the game to the end.

Weaver had his best game for a while – should have done better with the goal – but made up with a couple of international class saves. Wasn’t tested with many crosses, which were mostly dealt with by defenders and was beaten a couple of times by shots that just crept wide; so not back to the Weaver of two years ago yet.

Overall City emerged with credit and if they can keep playing like this then we’re not far off the ‘2nd tier’ of the Premiership.

Dave Lewis (


Sorry to confuse Heidi and everybody else, but the TV viewer from Germany was actually watching the Preston match from his home in Hertfordshire. My E-Mail confuses people as I work for a German Bank. However, I did have an invitation from Cathal Whelehan to join the mailing list for German based City fans!

I suddenly realised that this is my fourth contribution for MCIVTA and the score presently stands at two victories and two losses (fantastic performance and result at Millwall especially and Preston, whilst disappointing result at Crystal Palace and last night at Newcastle).

One of my wishes in my last post was that City put on a good performance for the TV so that everybody could see how well City are playing. I may have been disappointed about the result but I was very proud of the team. No messing with Sky digital for this report as I was watching it on BBC.

With Pearce and Benarbia suspended, Mettomo not considered fit enough and Goater failing a late fitness test, City fielded their strongest team available:

Weaver, Dunne, Howey, Ritchie, Jensen, Berkovic, Wright-Phillips, Horlock, Tiatto, Huckerby, Wanchope.

City started off well and although they did not produce any clear cut chances, were able to restrict Newcastle to a Shearer shot which went narrowly wide. Huckerby had a couple of runs but the final cross was disappointing. In the 28th minute, Shearer on the half way line headed Bellamy clear of the City defence. Dunne, chasing after him, resorted to pulling his shirt before completing a rugby type tackle just before Bellamy reached the penalty area. Although the City players initially protested and the referee went to his assistant, there was no doubt that Dunne was going to get a red card. City cleared the resultant free kick and they went to a back four in the subsequent reorganisation. Berkovic, even before the sending off, did not seem to be getting into the game but for the remaining 15 minutes City seemed to be coping quite well.

In injury time, a sublime flick from Berkovic back to Huckerby sent him going from the left hand side to the penalty area and pushed it past an oncoming Given; I watched it go agonisingly wide of the post. I thought Alan Hansen was a bit harsh on Huckerby as it clearly was a good chance but it was not as easy as he made out.

The second half started with Edghill replacing Huckerby and Wright-Phillips going into midfield. Berkovic started controlling the game more and everybody was working very hard. Jensen got more impressive with each minute as he actually started to beat people. Bellamy continued to get caught offside; he makes Huckerby look intelligent in that regard. Berkovic played a through ball to SWP and Given saved with his feet and it went wide of the goal. Newcastle had more of the ball during this period and Weaver saved well from Hughes.

A long ball from Speed on the hour saw Solano push over Jensen and then reach the ball before Weaver and put the ball into the empty net. Replays clearly indicate a foul. I thought that this was the end of it being a competitive match. How wrong could I be? For 10 minutes City pushed back Newcastle and it was wave after wave of attack. Wanchope broke clear and shot high and wide. However, the replay showed that a defender got a last ditch block tackle in. Horlock headed narrowly wide from the resultant corner. SWP went on a run and just didn’t get past the last man. It was fantastic. However, Newcastle came back into the game and started creating chances. Jensen headed off the line. City took off Tiatto and brought on Negouai but it was not to be. Newcastle could have scored twice at the end but that would have been very hard on City.

It is very hard to pick out players as I thought they all played very well especially in the second half. You would not have thought that there had been any injury doubts as their fitness was fantastic. Howey, who has not played much recently, was really outstanding.

As a typical City supporter, I am not going to get carried away and start talking about next year. I was disappointed on Saturday when Wolves came from behind to win. City still need to concentrate and have the same attitude for the remaining games to ensure promotion. However, Keegan has combined a team playing great football with a determination to win and I am very proud. The City fans at the game gave the team a standing ovation at the end and the match was played in a good spirit and it seemed a tremendous atmosphere. The Newcastle fans gave Keegan a great reception and I think City fans are beginning to see why.

Richard Levy (


What a night! Firstly that the Newcastle United/Manchester City game was televised on BBC 1, which meant that although I am living in The Netherlands I could watch, in comfort, the best team in the world play one of their best games.

Sadly they didn’t get the goal they so rightfully deserved, although they gave 200% and un-nerved the Newcastle side for the whole of the second half. Kevin Keegan must have been so proud to have brought City to Newcastle, I know I was! They certainly didn’t let us down.

What teamwork! Even with 10 men they were the stronger side.

Kevin Keegan has certainly brought the magic back to Manchester City and with this team behind us the Premiership will be very exciting.

Annie van Schooneveld, Almere, The Netherlands (


Especially if I can’t get two tickets for the Walsall game! I’m a regular season ticket holder but was out of the country when these went on sale and it’s my birthday this weekend. I’ll go along anyway and try and blag one outside but if there are any spares out there I would be very grateful; it will save me spitting my dummy out.

Really proud to be Blue Sunday night, the spirit this team is now showing is awesome. We need to start playing with 10 men every week. I think King Kev has finally exorcised the Newcastle ghost and closed that chapter on his life. He’s got that game out of the way and out of his system and psychologically that’s better for him and us. I think you’ll find the bond between us and Kev will now get closer and stronger. One plea from the heart though, we need to start showing louder and more passionate appreciation of what he’s doing for this team and the club. This is the best football I’ve seen for years at Maine Road (the last being that purple patch under Horton with Walsh, Beagrie and all) but at times it seems we’re still suffering from our Premiership relegation hangover.

Norwich aside, I think we’ve been a bit tepid in our support at home this season. Let’s celebrate these last few games and really get behind the lads. Kev said recently that he’s getting to love City, well let’s make him besotted by the end of the season!

Ah, you can’t beat a bit of passion on a Monday morning, don’t forget those Walsall tickets now.

All the best, Andrew Dixon (


A bit misty eyed and a bit emotional due to a combination of van blonk and Kevin Keegan’s City. Aged 34, my most exciting time as a City fan has to be 80/81 – John Bond’s arrival and an incredible season which I’ll always most closely associate with Steve MacKenzie’s equaliser at Wembley – or Paul Power’s at Goodison – or Tommy Hutch’s diving header – or Tommy Booth’s winner at Peterborough – or the memory of Big Mal running out, arms outstretched to the howls of the Kippax before we stuffed Palace 4-0 – or John Bond falling on his back like a plonker trying to console his son Kevin after the 6-0 rout of Norwich – or Bobby Mac’s 2 in the quarter final replay against Everton at Maine Road – utter bedlam – never went to the semi but vividly remember listening on the radio to Mr Power’s arrow.

The point of all this ridiculous wallowing nostalgia for anyone who’s bothered to stick with it is that that was 1981, and I’ve never been so excited by a City team since as I am by Keegan’s City. This guy has changed everything. Bernstein must be given huge credit for having the vision and ambition to recruit someone with the stature that the club deserves, Tueart for persuading his mate to step into the breach, and above all Keegan himself for promoting a style of attacking football that has me puffing my chest out with pride more and more every time I see us play.

Without wishing to sound wise after the event I was completely made up when it was announced that Keegan was coming to City – thought it was the most exciting thing to happen to the club for aeons – and was amazed at the lukewarm reaction of a sizeable proportion of the fans – I just hope that now there’s a realisation of just how talented a club manager this guy is and that we show it to him because I think he likes to feel loved and boy does he deserve it from us. The thing is that I understand the suspicions of some of the fans – it’s a form of defensiveness brought on by immense and extremely prolonged suffering – it creates doubt that anything good will ever happen to us, and causes one to ask why a manager with his pedigree at club level would want to come to Maine Road. But the fact is we’ve got him and watching the reception those Geordies gave him tonight I just wanted him to know that he can be just as much of a legend at Maine Road – more so with our fan base which actually grew the worse we got, unlike the fickle North Easterners who are a byword for loyalty but were getting 10,000 when Keegan took over. Perhaps quite simply we’ve got him because we deserve him for all the s**te we’ve been through over the years.

Clearly we’ve a long way to go yet but at this moment I’m allowing myself – ridiculously no doubt – to think that maybe we’ve got a Clough or a Shankly or a Ferguson – someone who’s going to completely dominate the destiny of this football club and be remembered for decades. On the basis of what he’s achieved in only two thirds of a season it’s a possibility, and although it’s very early days, for now that’s enough for me – certainly I’ve never in my time as a City fan felt more strongly that the bloke in charge was the right one to give us something very special as I do now.

Simon Hope (


I am collating weird and wonderful bits of information about football clubs, their grounds, their supporters and the “strange” rituals they have before a game from around the world for a proposal for a TV programme, with the above title. Such as Northwich Victoria who play at Drill Field, the world’s oldest football ground in continual use, and Tronsco, Norway, is the most northerly city in the world with a football club, even though there is no daylight to play in from November to January. Sheffield FC, the oldest football club in the world, are trying to attract more women supporters by offering free manicures at half time, children are being offered free face painting and OAP’s a free half time mug of soup!

Any information is truly appreciated.

CTID, Peter (


As an overseas-based Blue I intend to buy a non-attendance ticket for the Sunderland-Ireland testimonial game for Niall Quinn and maybe there’s other interest from MCIVTA readers? For £10.00 you get a commemorative ticket plus programme for your donation to charity. For details on where to send payment, I’ve provided a link:

Thanks, Neil Adshead (


You can use this link to vote for the First Division select XI; no way is Mark Burchill better than the Goat! Prove them all wrong.

Paul Hyde (


Denis’ back-heel against United endured just over 26 years until The Goat’s equaliser when we were dead in the water at Ewood.

Paul Matthewson (


Recent results from 14 February 2002 to 17 February 2002 inclusive.

16 February 2002

Wolverhampton Wndrs   3 - 1  Bradford City         21,934
Birmingham City       1 - 0  Barnsley              19,208
Burnley               1 - 1  Nottingham Forest     15,085
Grimsby Town          1 - 0  Sheffield United       7,141
Portsmouth            0 - 0  Rotherham United      13,313
Sheffield Wednesday   2 - 1  Watford               18,244
Wimbledon             1 - 1  Crystal Palace        13,564

League table to 17 February 2002 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Manchester City 32 13  3  1 43 15  7  1  7 31 27 20  4  8 74 42  32  64
 2 Wolves          33 10  3  4 27 15  9  4  3 26 14 19  7  7 53 29  24  64
 3 West Brom A.    33 11  2  4 20  7  7  4  5 18 16 18  6  9 38 23  15  60
 4 Millwall        33 10  3  3 32 17  6  6  5 22 18 16  9  8 54 35  19  57
 5 Burnley         33  8  5  3 30 22  8  4  5 25 24 16  9  8 55 46   9  57
 6 Crystal Palace  34 11  1  5 38 19  6  2  9 21 29 17  3 14 59 48  11  54
 7 Coventry City   33  8  3  5 23 14  8  2  7 23 19 16  5 12 46 33  13  53
 8 Norwich City    33 11  4  1 26 12  5  1 11 18 30 16  5 12 44 42   2  53
 9 Birmingham City 32 10  2  4 28 12  4  6  6 18 24 14  8 10 46 36  10  50
10 Preston N.E.    33  7  6  3 31 17  6  5  6 21 27 13 11  9 52 44   8  50
11 Gillingham      33  8  5  4 30 17  5  3  8 19 29 13  8 12 49 46   3  47
12 Watford         33  8  4  5 31 22  4  4  8 17 18 12  8 13 48 40   8  44
13 Wimbledon       32  6  7  3 23 17  5  4  7 25 26 11 11 10 48 43   5  44
14 Nottm Forest    34  7  7  3 20 13  3  7  7 17 19 10 14 10 37 32   5  44
15 Sheff. United   34  5  8  4 25 23  5  5  7 12 18 10 13 11 37 41  -4  43
16 Portsmouth      33  7  3  6 29 26  4  5  8 21 29 11  8 14 50 55  -5  41
17 Bradford City   32  8  1  7 36 29  3  5  8 18 31 11  6 15 54 60  -6  39
18 Rotherham Utd.  34  6  9  2 24 21  2  4 11 16 30  8 13 13 40 51 -11  37
19 Barnsley        34  7  7  3 30 24  1  6 10 18 37  8 13 13 48 61 -13  37
20 Sheff. Wed.     34  5  5  7 22 28  4  5  8 16 26  9 10 15 38 54 -16  37
21 Crewe Alex.     30  6  5  4 13 20  3  3  9 17 28  9  8 13 30 48 -18  35
22 Walsall         33  7  3  7 22 23  1  4 11 14 32  8  7 18 36 55 -19  31
23 Grimsby Town    34  5  5  7 15 20  2  5 10 12 34  7 10 17 27 54 -27  31
24 Stockport C.    33  1  1 14 10 33  1  7  9 21 43  2  8 23 31 76 -45  14

With thanks to Football 365


[0] MCIVTA Addresses

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Comments concerning this FAQ should be sent to David Warburton using the address:

[1] MCIVTA Deadlines

Deadlines for issues are nominally Monday and Thursday evenings.

[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[3] Club Web Site

The official club web site can be found at

[4] Supporters’ Clubs

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club” (

[5] Fans’ Committee

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

[6] City of Manchester Stadium Progress/Web Cam

The latest information regarding the progress of our new home can be found at

[7] Match Day Broadcasts

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found here: An alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at: GMR Saturday Sport is also available live online between 1-3pm, and 4.45-6pm at

[8] City on TV

City’s games when broadcast on TV are generally carried by ITV Digital; provides a list of pubs that will be showing the games.

Granada television also has the rights to show a small number of games from the North West region. As Sky now carry ITV regional services these matches can be watched outside the intended region by “adding” channels to your Sky Digital receiver. Under “services/system setup” enter the following details: Frequency 10.891 – H – 22.0 – 5/6. Select “find channels” and you will be given a list of the available ITV regions. From here select the regions you want to add. In order to view the channels you have added, you have to make your selection via “services/system setup/other channels”.

[9] Goals on the Net has available for download, usually within 24-48 hours of a game being played, all the goals from City’s matches.

[10] 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.

[11] 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.

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]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #787