Newsletter #794

A 3-1 victory at Gresty Road on Tuesday night (Benarbia, Huckerby and Goater) sees us officially ‘top of the league’ with 89 goals, 80 points, a game in hand and the Goat hitting the big 3-0.

Tonight has Don’s news round-up, Crewe match report from Jonathan, reserves report from Gavin, plenty of opinion and more than a few requests.

Saturday finds us with a novel 3pm kick-off against Crystal Palace, ahead of next week’s trip down the A6 to Stockport.

Next game: Crystal Palace, home, 3pm Saturday 16 March 2002


General News

Europe and the Fortress of the North: Deputy Chairman John Wardle has outlined the Board’s strategy for success in the next few years. “We feel we will only be back where we should be and we will be looking to strengthen the club in all areas and achieve our ultimate ambition which is European football,” stated Wardle, whose financial backing has been crucial since David Bernstein became Chairman. “In the first season back in the Premiership, we hope to be mid-table but in the second and third years we need to be starting our Euro march. When we move to Eastlands we want it to be the fortress of the north, just like Maine Road has been this season. We want other teams to be frightened of coming to our ground and playing Manchester City.”

Di Matteo a Blue: It’s amazing isn’t it? As soon as a club starts having a modicum of success, the celebrity fans start crawling out of the woodwork. Former Chelsea star Roberto Di Matteo has publicly stated his boyhood allegiance to the Mighty Sky Blue Warriors. Di Matteo, recently forced to retire from playing the game due to injury, was speaking on Radio 5 Live on Sunday. He stated that growing up in Switzerland in the late 1970’s he was a fan of Tony Book’s City team, indeed he sported a replica kit of that era. Who knows, perhaps as he wore the Sky Blue shirt of Lazio, he was secretly fanaticising about being Brian Kidd, Peter Barnes or even (God forbid) Jimmy Conway. Thanks to Our Neil for this story.

Academy Stars on England Duty: City’s duo of Lee Croft and Dorryl Proffitt helped England’s Under-17 beat their Scottish counterparts 3-1 last week. Croft set up the third goal before being substituted near the end, while Proffitt played for the last quarter of an hour.

Reserves Win: City’s reserve team finally played their Manchester Senior Cup tie with Oldham last Thursday. The game finished 1-1, but the Blues triumphed 4-3 on penalties. City are guaranteed a place in the Final, but Oldham must beat U***** this week to claim the other spot. Yesterday a young reserve team went to Middlesbrough and gained a creditable draw. Alioune Toure’s second goal for the reserves cancelled out Allan Johnston’s opener for the Boro. City’s website points out that the reserves have now lost only once away from home this season. Team: Murphy, Mears, Jordan (Furnival 59), Whitley, McCarthy, Paisley, Browne, Negouai (Whelan 26), Toure, Dunfield, Shuker (Gilder 78). Subs: Westwood (GK), Kilheeney.

City Aid Bury: Bury FC are experiencing huge financial difficulties at the moment, and are facing extinction unless they can find sufficient funds to pay creditors. To this end, both Manchester clubs have donated towards the “Save Our Shakers” campaign. Boss Kev is a passionate supporter of the lower league clubs, recognising the vital rôle they have in developing new talent. “Myself and the players are putting in £2,500 and putting our names on 250 seats at Gigg Lane,” said Special K. “That is what the players and the staff wanted to do. There was no hesitation. I am afraid this kind of problem may be a continuing thing in football but if we cannot be seen to help clubs, then who will? The lads agreed that the money came straight out of their fund. We will see if we cannot help them raise more money playing a game there sometime in the near future.”

I’ll Drink to That: Bearing in mind the players’ reputation for, ahem, socialising, what sort of company would you not want City to be sponsored by? Guess what, the latest business to be linked with City are none other than Boddingtons, the Manchester brewers. The Blues are said to be on the look out for a new sponsorship deal, as their three year agreement runs out with Eidos in the Summer. There are no proposals for any of the team to appear in future Boddingtons’ commercials, although the thought of City running out sporting the legend “The Cream of Manchester” is an appealing one. The club is denying that there will also be a change of kit supplier next season. Adidas were reported to be favourites to provide our kit, but the Blues insist Le Coq Sportif have a further year to go on their deal.

Kick-off Changed: ITV Sport are at it again. Owing to the scheduling requirements of the Digital TV station, the kick off time for the home fixture with Barnsley on 6 April has been brought forward two hours, and will start at 1pm kick off. reckons that City’s last four games will now be televised.

Transfer News and Gossip

Wanted: Sober, Responsible Stand-In for Weaver: The weekend press were sure who KK wanted to sign to replace the injured Nicky Weaver. The papers thought that City would make a £2.5 million bid for Fulham’s Maik Taylor. Taylor, signed for Fulham by Super Kev 5 years ago, has lost his place this season to Dutch international Edwin van der Saar. Taylor’s agent dismissed this story as “speculation”. Next came 30-year-old Boukar Alioum. Currently at Turkish club Samsunspor, Alioum was a team-mate of Lucien Mettomo in the triumphant Cameroon side thatrecently won the African Nations Cup. On Thursday afternoon, however, Kevin Keegan announced that the Blues would not be signing the player. “Boukar Alioum has gone home, he went home on Thursday morning, so that signing will not happen,” confirmed Boss Kevin. The search continues.

We Want Justice! According to some reports, City have been given permission by our chums in Trafford to sign Nigerian midfielder Justice Christopher for a fee in the region of £500,000. Christopher’s club, Royal Antwerp, are a feeder club for the Rags, so any transfer has to be sanctioned by Sir Alex. The player said, “This is a dream. Kevin has told me I will get my chance in the first-team – which is important as I want to go to the World Cup. Kevin was one of my idols growing up and I loved the stadium, the club, the players when I visited. The level is much higher than Antwerp.”

Search for a Striker Goes On: “I am looking for another striker,” announced Kevin Keegan last week, “It doesn’t stop with Jon Macken.” So the speculation begins, who will KK splash the cash on? The press reckon that Boss Kev wants this next striker before transfer deadline day in late March, and boosted by the potential revenue from season tickets sales and monies to be made in the Premiership, that he will have a £25 million kitty to play with. Heady stuff. The strongest rumour surfaced in the Daily Express, which claimed that Keegan would bid £10 million for the Leeds striker Robbie Keane. Leeds boss David O’Leary claims he has been told to reduce his playing squad, following a relatively unsuccessful season for the Yorkshire club. KK also (sort of) confirmed that City had checked out Crewe’s Dean Ashton, along with many other players. “Arthur Cox and I watch hundreds of players and you would be a fool not to watch someone like Dean Ashton and the other lad up front, Rob Hulse,” said the Boss man. “They are a good pair in this division and have done very well. They are players we are watching and I am sure other clubs are, too, but just because we are watching them doesn’t mean we want to sign them. It is our job, and Arthur’s in particular, to make sure that if there is talent out there that might improve us we know where it is and how it is doing. Dean Ashton fits the profile of the sort of young striker we are looking at but so do about 40 other players. There are a lot of players out there who fit the profile, some of whom will be coming up on Bosman free transfers and some of whom will cost millions of pounds.”

Not Robbie Savage, Please! One of the more scary press pieces at the weekend had City in a race with Tottenham Hotspur for the services of former Rags’ reserve Robbie Savage. Savage, who was voted the least popular player in the Premiership by fans last season, is said to want to leave Leicester City if they are relegated. Priced at £5 million, Savage is wanted by Glen Hoddle to replace Rangers-bound Tim Sherwood. Spurs are welcome to him.

Wilnus Link: Dutch football magazine Voetbal International claimed this week that Ipswich Town’s defender Fabian Wilnis will be given a free transfer at the end of the season despite having a contract until 2003. A number of English Premiership and Division One clubs are mentioned as being interested, among them MCFC. Wilnus has been unable to command a regular place at Ipswich this season, and the signing of Sun Jihai must make a City approach unlikely. Thanks to Frank Heukels for the story.

TC on Trial: It sounds like this might be a good week to go to a party at Bramhall Lane. Former City star Michael Brown has been joined at Sheffield United by none other than his fellow socialiser Terry Cooke. Cooke has joined the Blades on a week’s trial, encompassing two reserve team games. TC knows the city of Sheffield well, as he spent two loan spells there with rivals Wednesday. The nearest Terry has got to first team action came in the home game with Rotherham when he was an unused substitute.

Down in Davie Jones’ Locker Room

The temperature has risen somewhat this week, as the press have tried to stoke up a feud between KK and Wolves’ manager David Jones. While City have cruised to four wins in just over a week, Wolves helped us by twice losing leads. Having twice taken the lead against Nottingham Forest, Wolverhampton drew 2-2, followed by a similar score last Saturday against Birmingham City, where a two goal lead was sacrificed by half-time. It was at this point that the fur began to fly…

KK Turns up the Heat: Speaking after the Bradford match, Boss Kev sallied forth with quite a comparison. He reckons that City are a better team than his Newcastle side that gained promotion in 1993. “This team is better than that Newcastle side, and that is saying something because they were special. That was a hell of a side that went up, but I’ve signed some great players for City and I feel we are a stronger squad with more competition for places – though they will have to prove that if and when we get into the Premiership. We have got a win mentality in the side now that wasn’t there earlier in the season. I think the character and ability of this side is not in question and we have learned to hang in when we need to. We have shown a great spirit, particularly in the last two matches.” Following City’s climb to the top of the League on Friday night, KK came out with a comment that I’m sure his old chum Sir Alex would have been proud of. “Wolves now have to react to us being in front. Everybody has been talking about the run Wolves have been on recently, but just look at ours. It has been fantastic. Things are coming together nicely, but I want to win this championship. When we go to Wolves it will be a big game anyway. It would be great to be in the Premiership by then, but then we have a little matter of winning the Championship and I would like this side to win the title.”

“I Would Just Love It…” Wolves went back to the top following their draw at St. Andrews on Saturday. Mr Jones was obviously keen to reply to KK’s comments, and launched into the following speech “Kevin can say what he likes, but we are back on top. City have games in hand, but they have to win them. We think we have got the best side, although I’m sure a few other managers would say that about their own sides. But we’ll keep plugging away and City have got to come to us next month for the decider. Our target is to get enough points so we’re in a position where we can’t be caught.” Is the Wolves Boss losing his cool à la Keegan in 1997? Here’s hoping…

Reactions and Comments

Macken’s Dream Début: Not a bad start for City’s record signing at Bradford last week. Coming on as a late substitute for the Goat, Macken hit the post with a header, then scored with a rebound off the Bantams’ goalkeeper. Afterwards Macken said, “Of course, it was a dream start for me. If I could have written the script it would have gone something like that but I thought Shaun Goater and Darren Huckerby were fantastic. The pair of them worked so hard all night creating chances for each other and the team, and that is sometimes just as important as scoring goals. I was just in the right place at the right time. The reception I got from the fans was unbelievable. It is not hard to settle into a club when you have backing like that from the supporters and when the lads are as friendly as the ones here at Maine Road. It was great of the boss to give me a taste of the action and nice to wrap up the points. When it is 1-0 you are always vulnerable to a breakaway or a deflection or something and we needed that second goal. It was quite a straightforward chance that I scored with, and I was disappointed that the earlier header didn’t go in. It should have done. I will not be expecting to start at Crewe next week. If I do it is a bonus. I am here to learn and ease my way into things. The main thing is that the team keeps winning.” [THIS WEEK’S KK JOKE ALERT] “I don’t know what took him so long,” jested our hilarious Boss Man. “He tried to get one earlier hitting the post within a minute of coming on. He is going to be a great asset for us, but he will have to wait. He got a little taste against Bradford and got himself a goal. So he won’t have to go into a full match when he makes his first start and worry about getting off the mark.”

Opposition Praise – I: First up with praise of the Blue Machine this week was Bradford’s manager Nicky Law. Law thought however that the game turned on the loss of Bradford’s centre half Andy Myers. Darren Huckerby scored within a couple of minutes of Myers leaving the field. “If he [Myers] had been on the pitch I don’t think Manchester City would have scored their first goal. Whether we tried to play Huckerby offside, or whether it was just his pace, I don’t know”, commented Law. “The players have have gone out there with a good attitude and they have applied themselves well, and that is to their credit, but we have gone down to a very good side. Man City missed two or three really good chances to kill off the game, and as long as it is 1-0 you are still in there, but then of course Man City scored their second goal in stoppage time. If the lads do as well as they have done tonight I am sure they will get something out of our next game at home to Birmingham City. Birmingham are a good side, but they are not as good as Man City.”

Kev on the Bradford Win: KK was as quite pleased with the show by City at Valley Parade last Friday. “Bradford City worked their socks off in the first half and made it very difficult for us, but I felt they couldn’t keep that up,” said Keegan, “their midfield players harried us and fought their way back when they lost the ball, but in the second half we should have scored more goals. Their goalkeeper Alan Combe played fantastic, and the post also helped them out. I think we deserved to win and we could have had more goals. Ali Benarbia is a wonderful player and we are lucky to have him at the club. He made three or four chances four us. Stuart Pearce is 40 next month, he’s been a fantastic signing for us; he has done everything I hoped and more. I told him I wanted him to get the dressing-room right, it wasn’t right for some reason, and then get the players thinking together as one, and then I told him ‘you have got to gain respect in what you’re going to do’ and that is what he’s done all season. I don’t think he’s had a poor game for us.” Boss Kev thought that “We’ve made some quality signings. I have signed a lot of good players, but no-one better than Niclas Jensen. It is all coming together nicely, but I want us to win the championship.”

Spiritual Shaun: City’s favourite livestock animal has finally claimed his thirtieth goal of the season. Pouncing for City’s third goal on Tuesday, Shaun Goater became the first Blue to reach the thirty mark since Frannie Lee in 1972. Kevin Keegan said, “Shaun has had a struggle getting there, but it is behind him now. He has to look ahead now. He kept working hard at Crewe and kept trying to get hold of the ball in what was a difficult game for us.” An emotional Shaun later paid tribute to the fans. “What one can say about our supporters that hasn’t been said before,” he acknowledged. “I wanted to shake the hand of every single one of them and thank them for lifting me when things have not been going so well. It was almost a spiritual feeling. I felt so at one with them and so happy that I could have just walked out of the ground with them at the end of the game. Unless you have experienced thousands of people chanting your name then it is very difficult to describe how it makes you feel. It seemed an age between the goal against Sheffield Wednesday which took me to 29,” he continued. “It had been going through my mind that I might not reach 30 and with the gaffer bringing in Jon Macken there was extra pressure.” Shaun Wright Phillips paid his own tribute, saying, “I wanted him to score that goal so much it was unbelievable. Shaun is a great calming influence for everyone. He has helped me a lot since the days when I was in the Academy. He deserves all the accolades.”

Opposition Praise – II: Crewe’s Dario Gradi was obviously impressed by what he saw at Gresty Road on Tuesday. “They are the best side we have seen here this season,” he remarked. “It was good experience for us and I genuinely don’t think we were far wrong, but they caused us so many problems up front. They were a better side than Everton. Very good tactically and they had players whose passing and movement kept us on the back foot. We thought we would mark Benarbia man to man but that didn’t quite work out. We were punished, but we have no complaints.”

Kevin’s Post-Crewe Comments: Kevin thinks we’re almost there. “Two wins and a draw would probably be enough to get us out of the division, but we want to look for more than that. We want to be champions,” said Keegan after Tuesday’s result. He praised the strikers, who “did well throughout but the way they combined for the last goal was great. It is always good when you see your front two thinking of each other like that.” Kev was realistic about the performance at Crewe. “I wouldn’t say it was an outstanding performance but it was an excellent result. We took our chances when we got them. We didn’t create that many. It was a professional performance and I was pleased with the effort we put in.” His final word was reserved for the Algerian wizard. “Ali Benarbia’s goal was sensational and deserved to win any football match. You don’t see many players like him in this division or any. He made the second one as well. He has been very influential for us again. I don’t think that will surprise anyone as he is a player of immense talent.”

Squad News

Happy Shaun: Shaun Wright Phillips is one happy chap at the moment. “Of course I am flattered when someone who is so well-respected and knowledgeable as our gaffer, Kevin Keegan, says he thinks that I will play for England, but I can honestly say it has not entered my mind,” said Wright-Phillips. “The only thing I am bothered about on the pitch right now is making sure we win the First Division title. Of course it is a long term ambition to play for my country, I am sure that it is every footballer’s dream but I know that will only come if I am playing well for Manchester City week in and week out.” Tales of a new extended contract are at the back of Shaunie’s mind. “I don’t concern myself with that,” he said. “I just want to concentrate on playing well and winning matches. I know the club will look after me.”

Tiatto to Stay: Danny Tiatto has stated his desire to extend his stay at City, in spite of the recent purchase of Niclas Jensen. This was predicted as the end of the Australian’s tenure at Maine Road, but Danny is having none of it. “I have two years left on my contract and everything is fine,” reported Tiatto. “I have spoken with the manager about my situation and I plan to stay here as long as possible. I definitely regard the arrival of Niclas as a good thing. If two or three players are competing for each spot, then it tends to bring out the best in everyone. I don’t mind reversing rôles with Niclas and I appreciate that no-one is guaranteed to start every match. The manager is building a strong squad here for the Premiership and a squad that will allow him rotate certain positions if, and when, we are promoted.”

Getting Better All the Time: Paulo Wanchope’s absence from the first team now amounts to six games, but KK is sure that the Costa Rican striker is almost back to full fitness. “Paulo won’t be in the squad for the Crewe game,” said the boss “But he is now ready to train. He needs probably a week’s training before coming back into contention. There is no long term worry about the injury it is just that we have been cautious. Hopefully that will be rewarded by having him fit for the last six or seven games of the season.”

Where To for Gerard? Gerard Wiekens wants to assess his future with KK, but not before the summer. The Dutch defender has played 21 times so far this season, and his appearance against Bradford was his first in almost two months. “It is frustrating for me like it is frustrating for any player who is out of the team,” he said. “Being on the bench is not so bad but not being in the sixteen is a different proposition. I will speak to the boss about my position when the time is right and that is in summer.” The boss is sympathetic to Wiekens’ position. “Gerard is a great professional,” he acknowledged. “He found himself out of the side when he was playing well and that is not easy for anyone. I guess he was disappointed but who wouldn’t be. He is one who never complains.”

Don Barrie (


Kevin Keegan was spot on when he described this performance as “professional” rather than agreeing with the superlatives thrown at him by Ian Cheeseman. City were only fleetingly flustered by the neat and tidy Crewe side, whose good work all came from the excellent rumoured City target, Dean Ashton.

Earlier this season at Maine Road, Crewe had given City a real fright, matching the Blues in every department until a rampant Darren Huckerby inspired an undeserved 5-2 victory late in the game. There was no such trouble at the Alexandra Stadium.

Crewe started brightly and might have forced Nash to make a save had it not been for delays in shooting from City-mad Colin Little and Rob Hulse (twice) allowing the defence to block their route to goal. City though were playing with swagger, building from the back, and giving the impression that comes with a confident team that even if they scored, we’ll score more. After 20 minutes, the possession began to be all City’s and they pressed forward more resolutely, Goater’s shot being cleared off the line.

In the 28th minute the breakthrough came, and it proved that you defend from the front. Hulse lost possession carelessly in his own half to Niclas Jensen. The Dane fed Benarbia who shuffled forward on the left hand side. With Crewe defenders backing off, Benarbia carried the ball to the edge of the ‘D’ and, seeing the space he was being afforded, curled the ball into the top far corner. A quality finish that even in the home end I felt totally comfortable applauding.

Benarbia missed an easy chance for two minutes later when he blasted wide of the net from 12 yards with just defenders on the line. But by now City we dominating and the only surprise was that it took to the 45th minute for the second. Benarbia sliced the Crewe defence in two to find the swivelling Huckerby, who despatched the ball across the ‘keeper into the bottom corner. It was a good goal for Huckerby, who had struggled all night to escape the attentions of his man marker Sodje, who is one of the few people in this division who can match him for pace. He will have learnt a bit about what next season might be like!

The half time talk was about how many City would get. However, as usual, the sight of Rodney Jack struck fear into their defence. Why this innocuous player, not considered good enough by even the Crewe fans, should strike fear into City every time we see him is easily explained… he is frighteningly quick. And so it proved as Dunne failed to clear into touch leaving Jack a run down the right. Nash came, decided to go back, fell over at the edge of his area, and was chipped by Jack. The talisman had done it again and Crewe were somehow back in it.

Crewe then threw the kitchen sink at City. Nash made a couple of decent saves, but also flapped at numerous crosses and much of City anxieties were of their own making. Double relief then with 10 minutes left as a Huckerby back heel set up a crisp Goater finish from the edge of the area. Shaun had his 30, and City secured their win. Not quite in the style that had been expected, but professionally done, just as the manager had called it.

Jonathan Haggart, Thanks to Talkin’ City (


Reserve Team Brave Baltic Conditions at Billingham

A young City side travelled up the A1 and A19 to non-league ground Billingham Synthonia to earn a credible draw against Middlesbrough, who also fielded a young side onlooked by Steve Mclaren. The likes of Marlon Beresford, Festa, Gavin, Ince, Ricard, Whelan and Campbell who played in the home fixture in December at Hyde were now absent. Their only recognised first team players in this return fixture were Dean Gordon, Alan Johnston and recent signing Mikkel Debeve. A deserved lead was taken in the first half by Middlesbrough from a goal from Alan Johnston in the twenty sixth minute. City equalised through a great solo effort down the right by Alaine Toure on fifty two minutes.

The match started off quietly as both teams tried to find their feet, with passes going astray on either side. It was Middlesbrough though that found their range first with some good work by their left winger Stewart Downing (who played well against us in the Academy games in previous years). It was on thirteen minutes that the few of us City fans thought we were about to take a losing scoreline. Downing was found free on the left side of the edge of the penalty area to fire a rasping shot, which fortunately for us somehow found its way onto the post. We had a brief foray up the field which led to a shot by Toure going wide of the post a couple of minutes later but it was all Middlesbrough at this point and they took a deserved lead on twenty six minutes. A left hand cross by Downing found its way to an unmarked Alan Johnston at the back post and he fired past an impressive Brian Murphy. He is getting better with every game. To such an extent I feel that as we are only First Division not Premiership yet, he is extremely adequate cover for Nash and might question Keegan bringing in a loan ‘keeper just to sit on the bench who might be disruptive to the team ethos.

This domination prompted Christian Negouai that he no longer wanted to play a part in this match and persuaded Asa Hartford that he had picked up a knock. He was replaced by young Irish talent; Glen Whelan. This seemed to stay the one way traffic and city started to come back in the game. On thirty one minutes we won a free kick thirty yards out, just left of centre and half the team gathered round the ball, including Whitley, and we all prayed that he was not thinking to be any part of the move. The eventual indirect kick was passed to Dunfield by Shuker to pass the wall but only to see it fly inches over the bar. On thirty eight minutes Middlesbrough won a corner, which saw a half cleared cross fall to Debeve who volleyed towards the top right corner; Murphy, who obviously did not see it till the last minute amazingly tipped it over the bar. The half finished with City being awarded a free kick on the edge of the area, which looked like it could have been a penalty as the offence brought Toure down in the box. The referee, who had loved his whistle right from the kick off, harshly booked Parnaby for the challenge. The resulting free kick ended up hitting the wall and as the ball cleared the Middlesbrough area the ref. blew for half time.

Interestingly enough the club bar was a large, well furnished affair, which is more than can be said for the stand above it; it had little bench seating that looked older than the stand and was therefore mainly standing. As this was the case I chose to make my vantage point in front of the stand behind the shale running track, as standing was the slightly warmer option on this cold evening.

Another fine save by Murphy from Downing four minutes into the second half from a free kick seemed to bring thoughts to City that they were in for another hard forty five minutes. That was, however, the last time that they would trouble Murphy, who came out confidently to collect every cross thereafter that they fired in. And it was only three minutes later that City grabbed their equaliser. Murphy found Tyrone Mearsm who slipped the ball to Toure on the halfway line and ran at the Middlesbrough defence down the right on and into the penalty area, where he drove a shot towards the far post; Bradley Jones could only parry the shot onto the inside of the post and it rebounded past the line and into the net; one all. This led Toure to run off to celebrate; not towards the stand but to the far corner of the pitch, which was surrounded by a tree line; at the time it seemed really bizarre but very amusing as to his choice of direction!

It had been a quiet night for Shuker up to this point and he had not been on any of his defence destroying runs. It would later transpire that he was carrying a niggling injury and would go off later in the half. This meant that it was left to Toure to take on the mantle of running at their defence and this led to him tiring himself out as he ran out of steam at about eighty minutes. So as the final minutes ticked by with less pressure on their defence, Middlesbrough started to come back into the game but fortunately enough for us they were not able to carve out any clear cut chances. Also, with Murphy on top of his game, their crosses never found a Middlesbrough head. As play went into injury time Toure managed to find some energy from somewhere and made a great run down the right and crossed into the box but unfortunately Gary Browne could not quite connect with it; had he done so, it would have been a lovely late winner. It wasn’t and the game finished with what was really the right result for both teams. Let’s hope next week’s trip to Newcastle Falcons’ ground proves at least as rewarding.

Middlesbrough: Jones (GK), Close, Gordon, Debeve, Parnaby, Murphy, Wilkshire, Hudson (Capt), Dove (46 mins Cade), Johnston, Downing.

City: Murphy (GK), Mears, Jordan (59 mins Furnival), Whitley (Capt), McCarthy, Paisley, Browne, Negouai (26 mins Whelan), Toure, Dunfield, Shuker (78mins Gilder).

Subs not used: Westwood (GK), Kilheeney.

Goals: Johnston (26), Toure (52).

Gavin Cooper (


Just a short word to support John Cox in MCIVTA 793. I can’t understand why anyone would want to write off a “goal scoring machine” just because he’s going through a lean patch! He’s scored 30 goals so far! 30 goals and some supporters want to get rid of him! Insane.

I know that he misses chances too, but at least he’s there to miss them. As long as he keeps getting involved he’ll always score goals. In Division I or the Premier League.

I like Huckerby but he’s always offside and he’ll never score 30 goals in a season, no matter how many games and for which team in whichever division he plays.

We need different kind of forwards, like Huckerby, the Goat and Wanchope. And possibly Macken, too.

I can’t see why we would want Jari Litmanen, though, as in Nick Morley’s rumours. 10 years ago, perhaps, but now he would be #5 in the pecking order or possibly #6 so I can’t see why he would want to join us either.

Feed the Goat!

Andreas Larsson (


Have you noticed that at least 7, but usually 8, of the players starting each game have all been inherited by KK from The Royle era? Makes you wonder who the weakest link was.

Isn’t life wonderful?

Ron Smith (


In reply to Bill Burrows I can confirm that Sven Goran Erikson was not at the Coventry game. I was also on the same plane home as Bill & Sven but had the pleasure of meeting him in the lounge before the flight (courtesy of admission to the ‘posh’ lounge due to air miles clocked up on this route with work). He had in fact been at the Everton game but I did tell him he ought to have a look at SWP as he is certainly better than anything he would see at Everton. He seemed to agree with this with a wry smile.

He was also good enough to sign my programme, but, due to too many free drinks in the lounge and on the plane, I failed to get the programme home with me!

St. John Cox (


Good to see that the massive influence of Man City invades everywhere. The scene: the Middlesborough/Everton FA Cup match on the telly. The time: the beginning of the second half. The event: the BBC put up the piece of screen information telling of Everton’s two substitutions. However… the fact that two Everton players have gone off is not supported by a picture of the Everton crest but the one belonging to our glorious team (and I am not saying that it’s a glorious crest – bring back something simple – in fact, the old one wasn’t bad!). Funny old thing, someone at the Beeb suddenly realised, and the image disappeared before the names of the players who had come on was shown.

Hope they weren’t trying to make comparisons with ours and Everton’s style of play – I think we’ve moved on just a bit from there!

Mel Clegg (


Oh dear. As one of the original critics I have to take issue with Wallace Poulter.

He said “Player for player I’d take Derby over our boys. We need to upgrade at most positions, the B&B boys notwithstanding and Keegan needs a war chest of £30 million. Nonsense says the masses. Sacrilege say others.” He then proceeds to crow about Keegan getting the cheque book out. B*ll*x sez I.

Let’s deal with the crow ‘starter’ course:
Even with John Gregory now at the helm of the ‘good ship’ Derby I still say City are still better than Derby. The table doesn’t lie and they are still second bottom and will be very lucky to escape the drop. I’m very grateful that they took a point off Man Ure but they were very lucky. Our FA cup adventure proved that we are nearly on a par with Newcastle (and they’re fourth in the table).

And as to the crow ‘main’ course:
It doesn’t take much to realise that Kevin would spend cash to cement a top half finish next term. To compete in the Premiership you need a big squad – you have to rotate to rest players and cover for injuries (remember that that Keane monster lurks around Ye Olde Trafford ‘swamp’ and he will always try to snap our players’ legs off with a well placed stamp). In light of this I predicted to Wallace (in a non MCIVTA email) that we would buy:

  • A goalkeeper
  • A defender
  • A midfielder
  • A striker

And surprise, surprise we’ve bought a defender (Sun) and a striker (Macken). Over the summer we will also buy a top class midfielder to complement Benarbia/Berkovic and a goalie and possibly another striker (I’m not sure that the Nigerian chap “Judge” who we’re linked with is the midfielder by the way).

Nice try Wallace, but I think I’ll leave the crow to you.

CTID, Anorak (


I wonder if anyone else has noticed a possible case of déjà vu (all over again)?

If (a big if I know) City win their next four games at Bradford, Crewe, Stockport and at home to Palace, we will be on 86 points.

Winning the following match would put us on 89 points, and if in the same time period West Brom and Millwall both lose a match their maximum for the season would be 88 points, meaning we would be promoted on that day.

Our opposition? Rotherham.

Joe Mercer came, we played the game,
We went to Rotherham.
We won 1-0 and we were back into Division 1.

Could this be the start of another run the likes of which we haven’t seen since ’68 to ’70?

Frank Newton (


Hoo-blurry-ray the Kippax is being brought in line with us supposed rich folk in the Main Stand. About time too. The Kippax is a far superior stand with better facilities but has always had cheaper season ticket prices, which couldn’t possibly be sustained in our symmetrical new stadium.

So our accountant chairman had to decide whether to lower Main Stand prices or raise the Kippax.

No prizes for guessing which one got the vote.

Does anyone out there feel that their loyalty has been rewarded? I don’t but I don’t care much. City are worth watching now and this has been the best season of pure football and goals for decades. Thank you Sir Kevin.

I wonder what a good season ticket seat at Chelsea or Arsenal would cost in 2002/3?

Peter Llewellyn (


The win at Gresty Road reminds me to ask our supporters in Crewe. Who was Gresty?

My gran was named Gresty and she came from Nantwich and we need a contact. I am an old supporter; saw my first game at M/R in 1935. She lived on Thornton Road and a City fan’s parents now live there. Coincidence huh?

CTID! Stan Glaiser, California Blue (


I am a Mancunian refugee living in Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland. It would be great to watch televised games with other like-minded supporters. Are there any in the Clare/Limerick regions?

Thanks, Kevin Marrinen (


If anybody has spare tickets for the Wolves game, 2 of, this would be greatly appreciated.

David Ford (


Is there anyone who has a spare Wolves and/or Gillingham ticket for sale? If so – I’ll buy it (I’m a 3rd year season ticket holder but tickets sold out before they got to me). If anyone has got one please contact me on one of the 2 e-mail addresses below.

Jeremy Barber ( or


I am desperate for 1 ticket for the Nottingham Forest home game on Easter Saturday. Does anyone have a spare ticket for the game for anywhere in the ground? If so, I’d be more than grateful. Obviously I’m prepared to pay for it!

Mark James (


We’re getting together on Monday 25th March (7pm onwards) at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, 42 Circular Road (behind Boat Quay) to watch a couple of videos from recent games on the big screen, and to chat about the feasibility of setting up a Singapore / South East Asia Supporters’ Club. If you’re interested, please drop me a line so I can give indicative numbers.

Thanks, John Riley – Hong Kong Bluey (


I am in Nothern Ireland on April 1st so, unfortunately, will miss the Wolves game. Does anybody know if the game is being shown in any of the following areas: Newcastle, Castlewellan, Ballynahinch, Kilkeel, Banbridge or Belfast or anywhere in County Down?

Many Thanks, Nigel Gorman (


Are there any bars in Ireland showing the Wolves away game? I’m travelling from Dublin to Tralee around then. Would like to sit in a Blue bar.

Thanks very much, Simon Moorehead (


Recent results from 10 March 2002 to 13 March 2002 inclusive.

12 March 2002

Bradford City         1 - 3  Birmingham City       13,105
Crewe Alexandra       1 - 3  Manchester City       10,092
Portsmouth            1 - 2  Wimbledon             13,118

League table to 13 March 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 38 15  3  1 51 17 10  2  7 38 29 25  5  8 89 46  43  80
 2 Wolves          39 12  3  4 32 15 11  6  3 38 20 23  9  7 70 35  35  78
 3 West Brom A.    38 12  3  4 26  8  8  4  7 19 18 20  7 11 45 26  19  67
 4 Coventry City   39 12  3  5 32 16  8  2  9 25 24 20  5 14 57 40  17  65
 5 Millwall        38 12  3  4 35 19  6  7  6 23 22 18 10 10 58 41  17  64
 6 Burnley         38  8  6  4 31 24 10  4  6 29 26 18 10 10 60 50  10  64
 7 Birmingham City 38 11  3  5 34 18  6  6  7 22 26 17  9 12 56 44  12  60
 8 Preston N.E.    38 10  6  3 35 18  6  5  8 22 32 16 11 11 57 50   7  59
 9 Crystal Palace  39 11  2  7 38 22  7  2 10 27 35 18  4 17 65 57   8  58
10 Norwich City    38 12  5  1 29 12  5  2 13 21 35 17  7 14 50 47   3  58
11 Wimbledon       38  6  8  4 23 18  8  5  7 30 28 14 13 11 53 46   7  55
12 Watford         39  9  4  6 33 24  5  6  9 22 22 14 10 15 55 46   9  52
13 Gillingham      38  9  5  5 32 22  5  4 10 21 34 14  9 15 53 56  -3  51
14 Nottm Forest    39  7 10  3 22 15  4  7  8 20 22 11 17 11 42 37   5  50
15 Sheff. United   38  6  8  4 28 23  6  6  8 14 20 12 14 12 42 43  -1  50
16 Portsmouth      39  9  4  7 35 29  4  6  9 21 34 13 10 16 56 63  -7  49
17 Bradford City   38  9  1 10 39 37  4  5  9 22 32 13  6 19 61 69  -8  45
18 Rotherham Utd.  39  7  9  3 28 25  3  5 12 19 33 10 14 15 47 58 -11  44
19 Sheff. Wed.     39  5  6  9 24 32  5  5  9 18 30 10 11 18 42 62 -20  41
20 Crewe Alex.     35  7  5  7 18 29  4  3  9 18 28 11  8 16 36 57 -21  41
21 Barnsley        39  7  9  4 33 30  1  6 12 18 43  8 15 16 51 73 -22  39
22 Grimsby Town    39  7  6  7 25 25  2  6 11 13 36  9 12 18 38 61 -23  39
23 Walsall         39  8  4  7 23 23  1  6 13 18 40  9 10 20 41 63 -22  37
24 Stockport C.    38  2  1 16 12 39  1  7 11 22 49  3  8 27 34 88 -54  17

With thanks to Football 365


[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup) :
News/rumour (Don Barrie) :
Subscriptions (Geoff Donkin) :
Technical problems (Paul) :

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 #794