Newsletter #804

Tonight’s edition contains a comprehensive news round-up thanks to Don, the player of the year do took place last night and no prizes for guessing the man who took the title: Ali Benarbia. We have a couple of reports on the ‘do’ thanks to Carol and John.

Our roving reserves reporter Gavin has been out and about with a write-up of the Bradford game. Also plenty of opinion on our new goalkeeper, other signings and prospects and a hatful of requests. We also have another Why Blue to add to the growing collection, any more out there? Finally the last few comments on the terrace songs debate.

Sunday sees us say farewell to Division One when Pompey visit, and a fair few celebrations. This game is not now on TV as was previously indicated due to schedule changes, crucial promotion games and a certain company going ‘bosoms skywards’ as somebody so eloquently put it.

Next game: Portsmouth, home, 2pm Sunday 21 April 2002


General News

Supporters Name Player of the Year: To no one’s great surprise, City’s supporters named Ali Benarbia as their Player of the Year on Wednesday evening. Kevin Horlock came second, Shaun Goater third. Young player of the year must have been an easy choice, Shaun Wright-Phillips, while Glenn Whelan was voted most promising player. Ali commented, “I am enjoying my football and life in Manchester very much and I want to end my playing career with City. I know the passion, belief and desire of the fans just by walking around and meeting them. We are all looking forward to the Premiership next season and will not be afraid. I have won the award but I couldn’t do it without my team-mates and I thank them very much.” His wish to stay with City may be granted, as KK has revealed he would like the board to offer the Algerian a longer contract that will keep him a City player for the rest of his career.

Blues in PFA Select Side: On Sunday the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) announced their select eleven for each of the top four English Divisions. Ali Benarbia, Eyal Berkovic and Shaun Goater were named in the PFA Nationwide Division One select side for this season. The players voted for these choices some time ago, which might explain the exclusion of the Blues pair who are currently in top form, namely Shaun Wright-Phillips and Darren Huckerby. Shaun Goater attended the ceremony in London on Sunday night, and said: “It is the greatest compliment which you can be paid. The people you play against week in, week out are actually voting so that is the biggest compliment that players can get. I am delighted for Ali and Eyal, too, because they have been outstanding all season and have made a real difference to the way we play and the number of chances the strikers have had.”

Shaun’s No Show: Three generations of the Barrie clan turned up at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium on Tuesday, eager to see Shaun Wright Phillips in action for England’s Under-21 friendly against Portugal. I had hoped to provide a report on our young sensation’s progress, but Shaun didn’t even make the bench! England lost 1-0, and were fairly poor for the first hour, until Peter Crouch, Jermaine Pennant and Jermaine Defoe were introduced to provide a target up front and a pair of speedsters down the wings. “What this game needs”, commented my dad, “is someone with a bit of craft in midfield, who can run at the defence.” A rather plaintive plea for SWP, methinks. Richard “De Boer” Dunne had a similar inactive week for Ireland – he had to return to Manchester on Tuesday with a hamstring injury, which presumably makes him doubtful for the Portsmouth game on Sunday.

Changes for Next Season: There will be some cosmetic changes to City’s home shirt for next season. Although the design of the shirt is to remain unchanged, a new sponsorship deal means that the name of First Advice Ltd, a Manchester-based financial services company, replaces Eidos, whose three year deal ends in the summer. The badge will also be of a slightly different shape, and the motto ‘Superbia in Proelia’ will be replaced by the words ‘Maine Road 1923-2003’

City Five’s Ireland Triumph: As mentioned in last week’s issue, the Republic of Ireland have qualified for the knock out stages of the UEFA Under 19’s championship, helped in no small part by a group of City’s youngsters. On Wednesday, Ireland drew 0-0 with Holland, with a team that included Brian Murphy, Paddy McCarthy, Glen Whelan, Steve Elliott and Stephen Paisley. The Irish now progress to the final stages in Norway in July.

Reserves Win Again: A young City Reserves team completed their League programme with yet another victory. The Blues’ second string beat Bradford City 1-0 at the Odsall Stadium, thanks to a goal from striker Chris Browne. The team, made up of Academy products, was: Murphy, Mears, Jordan, Dunfield, McCarthy, Paisley, Barton, Whelan, Killen, Browne, Shuker. Subs: Furnival, Westwood, Gilder, Croft, Kilheeney.

Transfer News & Gossip

Red Nose Gets Green Light: So a new goalkeeper is in place for next season – not, as widely touted for weeks, Ian Walker or more recently Marcus Hedman, but our old friend Peter Schmeichel. KK revealed his coup after the Gillingham game. To the sound of journalistic jaws dropping, Keegan said: “Peter Schmeichel will be playing for us next season. The deal is done, absolutely finished, he’ll be a Manchester City player next season and I’m absolutely delighted. Subject to a medical, Peter Schmeichel will be a Manchester City player next season. I had a meeting with Peter Schmeichel and his agent on Thursday and within 20 minutes, Peter decided he would like to come to Man City. He is a tremendous presence. I think the two goalkeepers we’ve got at this club and the two young goalkeepers we’ve got are excellent but they all know they can learn something from him and within a year, it’s up to them to show that improvement they’ll need to claim the spot for themselves. He’s a signing a bit like Stuart Pearce and if he can do as well as Stuart Pearce has, that will be tremendous. When he walks in the dressing room, when he walks in your club, you know he’s a tremendous professional. He’s got a winning mentality and you can’t have enough of that at the club. I’m sure Carlo Nash, Nicky Weaver, Kevin Ellegaard and young Brian Murphy, they’ll all be looking forward to working with him and seeing what he’s all about because he is still something special.” Schmeichel’s agent confirmed the deal later in the day. Paul Stretford said: “Discussions have been held with Kevin Keegan over the past few days. The club have put a contract together for one year which Peter is very happy with and he will join before the start of next season.” On TV on Sunday night, Schmeichel revealed that he had shaken hands on a deal with Kevin Keegan, and that he would sign some time during the following week.

Davids Deal Dead: One player not joining the Keegan revolution is Edgar Davids, although for a brief time on Friday it seemed that a deal was a possibility. Davids’ agent had fanned the flames of speculation on Friday, when he stated “Edgar considers the Premiership to be one of the premium leagues in the world. He thinks he can contribute to the Premiership and certainly to a club like Manchester City. I am not saying that he wants to go to Manchester City, there is a link, and obviously there are many clubs interested his services. Somebody like Kevin Keegan can give a club like Manchester City an enormous boost because of his name. He will be able to attract players like Edgar Davids because those players consider him equal to themselves. They are looking for a coach who can teach them something and, with Kevin Keegan’s experience, he is guaranteed to do that. Edgar has played in Italy for quite a while, and it may be in his interests to change leagues and start something new.” Just when it seemed that a world-renowned footballer might be on his way to Maine Road, the player himself snuffed out any possibility of a deal. He announced that he wanted to stay in Italy. “I want to remain with Juventus for two seasons more, in order to win things,” said Davids. “I’m 29, I’m reaching the peak of my game and I am still able to give a lot to the team.”

Niemi No More: A Scottish football website has claimed that City were on the verge of signing Hearts’ goalkeeper Antti Niemi, but pulled out once our old firend Schmeichel was captured. The site reckons KK had sought the views of Alan Hodgkinson, Niemi’s goalkeeping coach when the Finn was at Glasgow Rangers. The former Helsinki ‘keeper is also a target for Charlton Athletic.

Dunne Won’t Move: The guessing games have begun on whom KK will release this summer to make way for his planned new signings. Keegan has stressed that one player who is staying is Richard Dunne. “I have no wish for Richard Dunne to leave here. He knows what he has to continue doing to stay part of it and that is what he has done. He has been a tremendously consistent player on the field for us. I brought Richard back into the side when maybe I shouldn’t have. That shows you what I think of Richard Dunne. He is trying very hard to improve his time keeping which was not good enough earlier in the season. But what I am most concerned about always is the performance on the football pitch and Richard Dunne has been excellent all season. I have played him all season, out of position too at right back and I knew he wasn’t a right back and wouldn’t enjoy playing there. But he certainly played there to the best of his ability and did a lot of running for us. When he got back into the centre I think he thought that he better keep that position as he didn’t fancy right back again!” There have been suggestions that the Boss man wants the Dunney Monster to lose some weight, and move nearer to Manchester. “It’s not an order, it’s just what I would like to happen,” stated Mr K.

Rumours Round-Up – Weekend: The Mail on Sunday suggested that City had made a £12 million bid for Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips, although the ex-Blues boss was quick to dismiss the rumour. “Manchester City? How many clubs have been interested in him now? I’ve lost count because there have been that many,” said Reid. “I know Kevin Keegan well and if anything does happen he will come to see me first. There has been no contact between Kevin and myself over Phillips.” City and Aston Villa are supposed to be interested in Coventry midfielder David Thompson, with KK and Arthur Cox attending the Coventry/ Millwall clash last Friday to check out the £5 million rated player. It was a bit of a waste of time, as Thompson didn’t play due to injury. Coventry boss Roland Nilsson seemed to be resigned to losing his midfielder in the close season.

This Week’s Speculation: The Crown Court’s favourite son, Lee “It Wasn’t Me” Bowyer was allegedly spotted at Maine Road on Monday, leading to much press speculation about a possible move to City for the player recently found not guilty of a violent assault. It just so happens that Bowyer is in discussions with Leeds over a new contract, so the phrase “negotiation tool” comes to mind. Speaking of irritating footballers, Robbie Savage’s name keeps being mentioned in the same articles as the Laser Blues, as Savage has stated he does not want to play Nationwide League football next season. Nigeria’s 28-year-old playmaker Jay Jay Okocha is available on a Bosman this summer from Paris St. Germain, so guess who he’s signing for? Joe Royle once put out a Premiership team containing eight defenders, KK is clearly going for a similar number of ball-playing midfielders. City have watched Cardiff City’s 22-year-old defender Danny Gabbidon, but Bluebirds’ manager Lennie Lawrence has issued a “hands off” warning to City, as they say in the best tabloids. Kevin Keegan was also linked in a couple of Wednesday’s newspapers with Peru international striker Andres Mendoza – the 23-year-old plays for Belgian club Bruges.

Arrrghhh!!!! No!!! On Monday night, contributor Dave Blyth wrote “I’m just scared that our new defensive midfielder will be Paul Ince.” Well Dave, Wednesday’s Daily Mirror stated “City eye Ince”. Ince still lives in the North West, and is available on a Bosman free in the summer. Rearrange these words “freezes”, “over”, “hell”, “when”. Fortunately the chairman was reported saying a more polite version. “I don’t want to discuss individuals but Paul Ince is not a name we’ve mentioned,” said Mr. Bernstein, to the sound of universal cheering.

KK Fancies Some Maccarone: This is not a report from the Carrington canteen, but it seems Mr Keegan would like to sign the hottest young striker in Italy’s Serie B, namely Massimo Maccarone of Empoli. The striker would cost around £10 million, but is also interesting clubs all over Europe. Maccarone came on as a substitute for Italy against England last month, and won the penalty which secured the game for the Azzurri.

Ex-Blues’ News

Other PFA Selections: A trio of ex-Blues made appearances in the PFA’s Divisional select teams on Sunday. Mark Kennedy made it into the Division One selection, while the Nationwide Division Three choice contained two former City players in Scunthorpe’s Peter Beagrie and Chris Greenacre of Mansfield.

Reactions and Comments

Boss Praises Ali: It was clear who KK thought was the star of the show against Gillingham last Saturday lunchtime. “Some of the chances we created and missed were disappointing,” said The Legend. “But if that’s all I’ve got to be disappointed about at this time of the season, then I can live with that. We got a little bit casual and perhaps kept thinking that Ali Benarbia was going to keep creating more and more chances for us. But to be fair to him, he did because he’s a magical player. There were some special performances but there were one or two players who didn’t do themselves justice. That’s football though. It was a terrific performance against a side who you have to stand up and be counted against because they are a very genuine, honest team who reflect how their manager plays the game.”

Why No Dazza? After two hat-tricks in three games, you’d forgive Darren Huckerby for feeling a bit miffed about his omission from the starting line up. Huckerby did come on and score, and Bossman Kev stressed that there was nothing ominous to read in Hucks starting on the bench. “I just wanted to see how Shaun Goater would play alongside Jon Macken, that’s all,” he explained. “I didn’t want to play all three strikers here. It was tough on Darren because nobody wants to be left out but he’ll be back in the starting line up against Portsmouth next week.” Keegan wants to hit ninety nine points with a win in the final game next Sunday. “Some of the players are away on international duty next week,” he asserted. “We would like to have them back safely and I would like to beat Portsmouth because that would be a nice way to finish the season.”

Squad News

Coming Back: Paulo Wanchope has been given fresh hope that he may yet make the World Cup this summer. Paulo, the star striker for his nation Costa Rica, feared that he might have to undo a second knee operation of the season, but his visit to specialist Dr. Bergfield in the USA has been of some comfort. “Bergfeld told me there won’t be any problems over me playing at the World Cup and I will be in good shape when it starts,” said Paulo last week. He resumed training with the Blues last week.

Psycho Uncertainty: What will happen next in Stuart Pearce’s career? At the time of writing, no one seems to know. Early in the week, the reports were full of Psycho staying at Maine Road in some capacity. “He is an extraordinary fella,” said our gramatically challenged Superboss of his Captain. “I managed him between the ages of 39 and 40 and I dread to think what he was like at 29-30. Stuart has connected with the club and vice versa. He has done everything right and the respect he has got through that has made possible the connection with the fans and everyone else at Manchester City. It will be a shame if we cannot find a place for him here but if it is not right for Stuart Pearce then it’s not right.” The only doubt about his continued tenure at City seemed to be the fact that Pearce’s family resided 200 miles away in Wiltshire. A further doubt emerged on Tuesday, when Coventry sacked Roland Nilsson, and Pearce was immediately in the frame to replace the Norwegian as manager.

Choking on our Chips – A Schmeichel Special

“Waiting on Gillingham station we heard the news that we’d signed Schmeichel for next season… the disbelief on some fans’ faces was a picture, one fan nearly choked on his chips!” – Carol Darvill in MCIVTA 803.

The City Reaction: One wonders how Carlo Nash must be feeling this week, but at least he was making all the right noises when the signing was announced. “I really don’t know what to think. The manager has not spoken to me about the move yet so it will be interesting to see what happens. He is one of my heroes in the game. Everyone has got such respect for the big man I am sure that if I am part of the squad next season then he will have a lot to offer me. His style is unique and hopefully I can improve with him here. It is a challenge to rise to. But it is now out of my control so there is no point worrying about the situation I just have to get on with my own game. It will be interesting to see what happens, and things are largely out of my control, but Peter is one of my heroes. Everyone has such respect for him and if I am part of the team next season I am sure he will have a lot to offer me. We can learn so much from him, he has a unique style and he is someone I admire. Hopefully if I am here next year I can gain a lot of experience from him.” Shaun Goater was in no doubt about the transfer. “Schmeichel has great stature in the game and has been there seen it and done it and his arrival shows the club is not willing to stand still. His coming to City can only be good for our existing goalkeepers in terms of learning and for the rest of the team as well. You want your supporters right behind your players and I am sure ours will be behind Peter. He is a big game player with great experience and that is what we want.” The Danes at the club seemed pretty pleased about the move. Niclas Jensen said “Obviously he has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world for the last decade and his period with United was absolutely tremendous. The last time I worked with him was about a year ago and I certainly don’t think his powers have declined. It is great that Kevin Keegan is so intent on bringing in world class players to Manchester City and for me his signing of Peter is a good start.” Goalkeeper Kevin Stuhr Ellegaard also seemed pretty chuffed. “If my game does not improve with Peter here then I will only have myself to blame,” he said. The chairman gave the Great Dane a ringing endorsement. “His arrival excites me and I am sure it will excite the supporters,” he said. “He is a Stuart Pearce-type signing and a player of enormous stature. Peter Schmeichel, I am sure, will be a great influence not only on the pitch but also in the dressing room. He is not just a great goalkeeper but also a tremendous professional. I am sure the fans will be right behind Kevin’s judgement which has been so good since he joined the club and simply want us to put the best team possible on the pitch. The fact that Peter used to play for United is irrelevant.”

Chums of Pete: Schmeichel’s agent stated that “Basically it is a chance for Peter to work with Kevin Keegan,” he admitted. “He wants to play for one last season at the highest level, the terms and everything else were virtually agreed at our first meeting at the end of last week. It was just a question of rubber stamping the deal on Saturday because both parties really wanted to work together. Peter is delighted. Manchester is the city where he enjoyed the best years of his footballing life. Everybody knows what Kevin Keegan did at Newcastle and City is clearly a club that is going places.” Aston Villa’s former goalkeeper Nogel Spink had mixed views on the move. “He has given Villa a presence at the back and, if his hunger is still there, he will be an asset to Manchester City. I think if not then they might have a few problems because I don’t know how long he can keep that hunger. If I was one of the ‘keepers at City I would be very disappointed,” added Spink. Paul Parker, a team mate at OT with Schmeichel, had an interesting view. “Peter will certainly liven them up at Maine Road,” said Parker. “He’s very self-opinionated. He’ll want things done his way because he believes his way is the right way without a shadow of a doubt. You know where you stand with Peter and that’s why I got on very well with him. He was a King and a God in Denmark before he came over to England so he already had that outspoken side to him and self-belief when he signed for United. If a player hits one from 40-yard out of the blue he’ll look to blame someone. But for all his blaming people or having a go, if he made a mistake he became very remorseful and quiet and would hold his hands up to his own mistakes.”

An Apology

In last week’s news summary in MCIVTA I may have inadvertently suggested that I did not rate the Danish legend Peter Schmeichel. Owing to Mr. Schmeichel’s long association with Trafford Wanderers, I may have given the impression that I considered Mr Schmeichel to be a red nosed buffoon who was past his sell-by date. Phrases such as “the Dane with the russet proboscis”, and “Oh God, not him” were probably responsible for fuelling this erroneous notion. I now realise that Mr. Schmeichel is a towering presence who will bring his vast experience to bear on City’s return to the Premiership. Boss man Kev clearly agrees with my new found views. “The deal is done and I am absolutely delighted. He should be at the club next week and subject to a medical he will be with Manchester City next season. He is a tremendous professional and has a winning mentality and you cannot have enough of that around a club. I wanted to stop the speculation. I had a meeting with Peter and his agent on Thursday and in 20 minutes he decided he would like to come to City. He is a tremendous presence. I think the two goalkeepers we have here at the moment, Carlo Nash and Nicky Weaver, and the two youngsters we have are excellent. But they all know that they can learn something from him and with him coming on a year’s contract, it is up to them to show their improvement.” So if the man who has turned City from the “Dogs of War” into a free flowing team of Champions, tells me it’s a good signing, then I do too. I apologise for any confusion my previous comments may have created.

Don Barrie (


City Clinch Points at Bradford with a Late Winner

Bradford’s reserve team venue is Odsal stadium. Even though there was an old cow shed, the Bradford Bulls had long since departed this unique depressed bowl stadium. A scrambled goal by Gary Browne in the dying minutes of a dire game saw City’s young guns take their last three points of a satisfactory Premier Reserve league campaign. Bradford also lined up with a youthful side. This, however, was not meant to be the side that was to start as their older professionals failed to turn up, which made for some interesting guesswork as to who the young replacements were. No guessing that one of the absentees was one Mr Sharpe!

The game’s opening minutes saw the ink in my pen stay dry as neither team were willing me to write anything about them. The thought of summer holidays must have been playing on the players’ minds as they strolled around the pitch in the warm evening sunshine. It wasn’t until the thirteenth minute that I felt I could write some notes and it was in favour of Bradford as Stephen Paisley bundled over Gareth Grant in the City box but very fortunately for City the referee failed to give what looked like a deserved penalty. Minutes later saw good defending by Stephen Jordan to stop a penetrating run from Grant from a long pass. A bizarre situation arose on eighteen minutes when Tyrone Mears was forced to scramble into the stand to retrieve the ball as Bradford had only one ball boy!

It wasn’t until twenty five minutes that City won the first corner of the match and a further eleven minutes before we saw a shot on target and that was from Bradford. The half ended with no more incidents to comment except that I found out that Shaun Wright Phillips was not even on the bench at the Britannia Stadium. Thank god David Platt is not our club manager.

The second half did not get much better. Even the strong efforts of Tyrone Mears to drive the game forward for City were not reaping any dividends. A penetrating run by Mears on fifty one minutes and a good cross into the box saw a half volley by Gary Browne strike the crossbar and rebound to safety. So it came to seventy one minutes and Asa Hartford had decided a change was needed and so right he was. Stephen Paisley, who was just going through the motions at the back, was replaced for his second reserve game, Lee Croft. We originally thought we might move to the first team formation of 3-5-2 but Glen Whelan was told to slot back into defence and stay as the reserves’ preferred 4-4-2 formation.

Just as he had against Manchester United last week, Croft made an immediate impact. After picking the ball up from the right wing he rounded the Bradford defence only to see his shot scrape the outside of the left hand upright. City were now even more dominating play. Shots from Gary Browne and Joey Barton showed the young City side’s intent but were lacking that final coup de grace. A neat one two with Chris Killen and Terry Dunfield on the edge of the area saw Dunfield’s effort cleared away for a corner. Kilheeney’s corner found Croft on the edge of the box for a first time shot which goalkeeper Jon Worsnop, who is being released at the end of the season, failed to hold; Gary Browne stole in and was able to poke the ball home for his début goal at reserve team level after being so prolific with the academy’s U19 squad.

City did not rest on their laurels and continued to surge forward, but even with more effort they failed to score again. City deserved the win but you would not have predicted the same outcome as this was the same young team that had ripped Liverpool apart some weeks ago. At least it saw them end the league season on a high note and should see the team finish in the top half of the league. Fingers crossed whatever team is played, and it is almost certainly to be same against Oldham on Monday night, for the Senior Cup final. As all first team players are being released immediately after the Portsmouth game for either World cup duty or a long summer break.

Worsnop (GK), Brodie, Lee, Penford, Morgan, Haigh, Swift (Sanasy 79 mins), McGahey, Grant (Bentham 79 mins), Flynn (Long 68 mins), Forrest.
Not Used: Prudhoe (GK).

Murphy: Had little to do. 7
Mears: Even his inspiration failed to light a spark in this one. Man of the match. 8
Jordan: As assured as always. 7
Dunfield: Failed to make an impression. 6
McCarthy: Solid as a rock; should make 1st team squad next year. 7
Paisley (71): Not totally comfortable with play. 6
Barton: Wide midfield is not his position. 6
Whelan: Never got out of second gear. 6
Killen: All I can say is he held the ball up well. 6
Browne: Movement is improving, but lacking his usual eye for goal. 7
Shuker (81): Did not see him in first half, not big enough impact in second. 5

Croft (71): Another exciting cameo rôle. 7
Kilheeney (81): Helped to open Bradford up more. 7
Not Used: Westwood (GK), Furnival, Gilder.

Gavin Cooper (


Having missed last year’s PoY due to being depressed at getting relegated, I decided to go this year and enjoy the fairly relaxed, Championship atmosphere. Snag was I’d never been to the Manchester Conference Centre before and nobody could tell us exactly where the “do” was being held so after about 15 minutes of wandering around and asking we were finally pointed in the right direction. We found a table at the far end of the room, Joyce went to queue for drinks – she was not impressed with the service, five deep and the staff not appearing to be “with it!” Some people had been queuing over 20 minutes to get served and they weren’t too happy either! Food was also laid on with a selection of sandwiches, pies, pizza slices and chips at very reasonable prices but I decided to wait until after the presentations before eating.

Ian Cheeseman compered the evening and advised us all that the players would be sitting in a row with three to a table and he asked if we could all queue up at the table seating the players we wanted autographs/photos from, then once we’d got those we could then decide who we wanted to meet next and join the relevant queue! Queue jumping or pushing in was definitely not permitted! Not sure whether this would work but time would tell! The table layout was:

Table 1        Nick Weaver and Carlo Nash
Table 2        Stuart Pearce, Gerard Wiekens and Steve Howey
Table 3        Eyal Berkovic, Danny Tiatto and Ali B
Table 4        Shaun Wright-Phillips, Glenn Whelan and the Goat
Table 5        Darren Huckerby and Kevin Keegan

We were then given initially half an hour to get all our photos and autographs but this was thankfully extended. As you can imagine tables 2, 3 and 5 were the most popular! I gave up on table 5 and did 2, 3 and 4 instead! I must admit to having to ask who Glenn Whelan was – sorry Glenn! Had never seen him up close before but he’s a lovely lad, very affable! I felt sorry for Danny T who was sat between Eyal and Ali as I think he looked somewhat left out by some fans who only wanted photos/autographs from EB and AB! Personally I asked for autographs/photos from whoever was at the table I was in the queue for – courtesy costs nowt! It did get a bit frantic near the “cutoff” point with tempers getting a bit frayed and people being accused of pushing in or just pushing (including me but I hadn’t moved an inch – I couldn’t! ‘onest guv!) but everyone was dealt with and the presentations began.

First up was the well-deserved awarding of Life Presidencies for both Les Saul, past Chairman of the OSC and Frank Horrocks the current Secretary who is “hanging up his boots” this year. Very well done gents!

The next presentation was made by Jim Cassell and was the Most Promising Player award. This went to Glenn Whelan, who was prompted by Ian Cheeseman to make a speech – poor lad was rather embarassed!

The next presentation was for the Young Player of the Year. This was made jointly by Alan Galley, the OSC Chairman, and David Bernstein. Third place went to Tyrone Mears, second place to Chris Killen but the winner by copping around 91% of the votes was Shaun Wright-Phillips, who announced in his speech that (a) he wanted to win again next year (and yes he will still be eligible) and (b) wanted to stay at City forever! Aaaaahhh! Big cheers all round!

The final, and of course, main presentation was for the Player of the Year. Ali B was the obvious favourite, but let’s be honest, there were so many to choose from this season… Super Kev for his excellent backup in midfield, Dunney for his solid (in more ways than one!) performances at the back and also for scaring the life out of the opposition, and us on occasions, by belting up the wing and laying on some pretty decent passes that have led to goals! The Goat for scoring 30+ goals this season, the Huckster for having the temerity to try to catch him up! I could go on (but won’t). Third place went to the Goat – chants of “Feed the Goat” and “Who let the Goat out” resounded round the room whilst the man himself had that irrepressible grin on his face and enjoying every minute! Second place went to SuperKev (my personal vote on this occasion!) who was away on international duty but I’m sure he could hear the “SuperKev” song over in Ireland! The out and out winner was indeed the Algerian midfield maestro Ali B! Not quite as much of a landslide as SWP but almost 50% of total votes! He made a lovely speech in that wonderful accent of his (Joyce’s knees went to jelly but less of that!) and was soundly cheered and applauded by all! We were able to finally take photos of all the winners – just a shame the press photographers always seem to get in the way at the wrong time! Just hope all mine come out without too many heads or elbows in them.

KK was then invited to say something and he thanked the fans, the players (although he did almost forget Huckerby who’s bottom lip was jokingly quivering much to everyone’s amusement) and the board and his backroom staff for all their support and hard work during the year. He went on to outline his plans for the new season and his hope for new players (that was after jokingly calling the financial board members “stingy”!) – Peter Schmeichel was mentioned in passing with no adverse or positive reaction from any of the fans – and also for a good season next year.

David Bernstein rounded up the speeches by frightening us all with the fact there were only 17 weeks to the new season – steady on, let’s get this one finished first! We signed a new shirt sponsorship yesterday with First Action (I think, if I’ve got it wrong then apologies all round!) with a new badge commemorating being at Maine Road from 1923 to 2003 and the new away strip being revealed in a couple of weeks (according to the M.E.N.). He talked about his hopes for the new season and like KK thanked everyone for their support over the past year. He felt that this promotion was more satisfying than the Play Off win vs. Gillingham and the win at Blackburn, both being last minute, edge of your seat jobs – at least we can all relax on Sunday and enjoy the last game of the season with the presentation of the Division 1 Trophy.

The players, KK, DB, et al all departed at around 9pm, Joyce went up to the bar (don’t worry I paid this time) whilst I decided I’d better have some grub! Mind you quite a few people left soon after the players so by the time we decided to go at 9.30pm the room was half empty!

Overall a good do – congrats must go to Alan, Frank and Chris Wardle for their organisation and hard work.

Carol Darvill (


The Official Supporters’ Club presentation for the 2001/2 season was again held at the Barnes Wallis suite at UMIST. About 500 supporters were in attendance. Queues at the bar for first drinks were reminiscent of half-time in the Kippax.

We were told that the players would be sat in groups of 2 or 3 at a long table at the front of the room, and that we were to form lines in front of each group in order to obtain autographs and photographs. At about 7.35, the party of guests were introduced. First up were the Chairman and directors. All except John Wardle were present, I think. Next came the players who were introduced in field position order. First pair was Nicky and Carlo, both dressed in black. That is irrelevant, I know, but my wife thought they looked OK.

Next came Pearce, Wiekens and Howey, then Ali B, Berkovic,Tiatto and Shauney, followed by The Goat and Huckerby.

Then came the backroom staff, including Fazackerly, Hartford, Cox, Cassells and the Manager.

The lines were pretty orderly, in fact, and in the half hour or so allotted most of the requests for signatures and poses were satisfied. As it turned out, Glenn Whelan sat between Shauney and the Goat and Huckerby sat alongside KK.

The longest queue was for the last pair and the only supporters who were frustrated were those who joined that particular line last. The players willingly signed shirts, photos, books etc. and I thought that they happily posed for photos. Close up, I was struck by how young Howey looked. Sharon was predictably struck by the ‘keepers’ appearances.

Next came the presentations. First Tommy Muir, Les Saul and Frank Horrocks were honoured by the Supporters’ Club for their long service and support. Then Jim Cassells announced that Whelan was the recipient of the Most Promising Player of the Year award. Whelan declared that his ambition was to make the first team and that he was thrilled to be able to train alongside the established players daily.

Next up was the Supporters’ award for Young Player of the Year. Tyrone Mears and Chris Killen came third and second with two and three per cent of the vote respectively. Shauney received ninety-one per cent. He said that he hoped to win the award again next year.

The Player of the Year award went to Ali B. Super Kev came second with about twenty-three per cent of the vote. The Goat was third with about six per cent. The winner (here I paraphrase) told us that he loved City and was grateful to his team mates for enabling him to flourish.

On to the mike came KK. He first of all told us that he agreed with the Supporters’ vote, but then went on to say that all of the squad had made valuable contributions. He spoke, in turn, about each player present. Much we had heard before. He read my thought and told us that Howey is still being called “The Boy” despite nearing thirty. He spoke of the influence of Pearce, of the performance of Tiatto who had been asked to perform a different rôle this year, of the professionalism of Wiekens and in particular his reaction to being left out of the team on occasions and of his desire to see what Huckerby could achieve in the Premiership seven years after first signing him for Newcastle.

KK then thanked his backroon staff in turn, then the directors and chairman. He then thanked the fans and spoke of the two-way relationship between team and supporters. He acknowledged that the support lifted the team, but also pointed out that his players gave us plenty to shout about. He told us that he was aware that three goals against Pompey would see us equal the record set seventy-odd years ago, so Sunday should be worth watching. He finished by telling us that he thought we would compete next year, but that it would not be easy. Reassuringly, he said we would have to continue riding the rollercoaster. What fun we should have next year!

The chairman then echoed the Manager’s thoughts. He also agreed that we had chosen the right winner, but pointed out that any one of seven or eight players would have won the award had they performed at that standard in previous seasons.

The guests all left at about nine o’clock. We were left thinking that the days of the players mingling at such an event are over for now. Professionalism is the key word. No alcohol passed the players’ lips. The days of stepping over a first team regular on the way to the loo and generally having a merry old time are gone. If the price is performances such as we have season then I think it is worth paying.

John Marsland (


When City get the Championship trophy on Sunday it will be the one they last won in 1968 as leaders of the old First Division. As everyone knows, City secured the title on the last day of the season by winning at Newcastle on the same day as second-placed Man. United lost at home to Sunderland. The newspaper reports of City’s match that day wouldn’t surprise anyone: for example Eric Todd in The Guardian took up the “about time for the Blue half of Manchester” theme and paid due tribute to the players, management, and back-room staff. But what is surprising is how events at Old Trafford were described in the same day’s paper. Picture the scene: United losing but fighting back, news coming in of the fluctuating score at Newcastle, and at the end of it all came the announcement of the final score up there. The report describes it as follows: “Disappointment and chagrin there must have been among the United supporters but they had the good grace and enough breath and spirit left to give a rousing cheer when the result came through that City had won 4-3 and were the new champions.” A rousing cheer for City at Old Trafford!

Who’d have thunk it? But there it is in black and white (and red all over). As someone suggested in a recent MCIVTA, there was once more of a united city feeling in Manchester than there perhaps is today.

Ken Corfield (


First the confession: When KK was asked on live TV when the first of his signings was likely to take place and he replied that, “We signed Peter Schmeichel yesterday”, the guy in front of me was lucky not to get a gob full of my lager in his ear! I first checked the date and no, it wasn’t 1st April. Then I studied KK’s visage desperate to detect the hint of a smirk that would indicate a wind-up.

Since then I’ve looked at our latest singing objectively and come to the conclusion that I concur (KK will no doubt feel a lot happier now that he knows that he has my blessing).

On current form Peter Schmeichel is probably on par with our existing ‘keepers, each of whom have their strengths and weaknesses. I know that he is not the player he once was but I believe that City will benefit from his signing in three key areas:

  1. None of our existing goalkeepers command the penalty area in the sameway that Schmeichel dominates his. You’re more likely to hear a shout of“Excuse me” from a City ‘keeper than “‘Keeper’s ball!” On the pitch a ‘keeperhas to believe that he is bigger and better than everyone else. All our’keepers would do well to learn from him.
  2. Distribution. Schmeichel loves nothing more than to throw the ball outearly, and he does so accurately. We saw how Berkovic benefited from thistactic against Norwich when Nash threw the ball out to him early and hecaught the defence cold, ran half the length of the pitch and scored. Ithink there have been many opportunities this season for a quick andaccurate throw to test the opposition defence but they have mostly gonebegging.
  3. His presence as a player at the club generally will compensate for theloss of Pearce. While most people have focussed on which goalkeeper ormidfielder or striker we should sign, KK has addressed possibly the mostimportant position first. Team leader. The professional that every playerin the dressing room respects.

I’ve heard the doubters and understand the arguments but I think that KK has made a shrewd and vital signing.

Well done KK. Keep up the good work and some day you will know as much about football as we, the supporters.

Phil Sutton (


I don’t know if this is a good or bad signing My views of the man have always been heavily influenced by his spell of employment in Stretford. I can’t deny that he was probably the best ‘keeper in the world and he managed to organise and motivate a defence with two carthorses (Bruce and Pallister) in front of him. His contribution to Villa’s cause hasn’t been quite so obvious, and it has sometimes seemed that the bigger his mistake, the more he shouts at his defence. If he’s the best ‘keeper on the books next year he should be in the team; if he’s in the team and dropping clangers he shouldn’t expect too much sympathy from the terraces.

However, one positive point is that we won’t now be pursuing Ian Walker or David James.

Roger Haigh (


He is not a Rag reject. If you cast your minds back, he decided to leave them. He has now decided to join us.

He sounds like a perfectly well adjusted man to me!

Hugh (


It was interesting to see other views on the signing of Schmeichel from Villa and the generally positive mood of the whole affair. I will ponder this one over the summer as I don’t want it to spoil the Championship party celebrations that hopefully will last throughout the World Cup. Suffice to say, at the moment, I don’t think that I will ever accept him in a City shirt. I just wonder how SWP feels about City signing a player that so publicly and (in)famously racially abused his step-dad a few years ago?

Also, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who was feeling a little sensitive about the Sun Jihai chant.

Anyway, looking forward to ending my temporary exile in Poland for Sunday’s match. Bring the noise and let King Kev know how we feel about the season he has just delivered to us. On top of bringing in Ali, Eyal and Jensen, the transformation of players like Horlock, Dunne and Huckerby is nothing short of miraculous.

Iain Sellers (


I heard a lot of rumblings over the last few days that City are close to signing Lee Bowyer (Leeds) for £10 million. He was seen at Maine Road and Carrington on Tuesday 16th April 2002. Has anyone else heard anything?

Personally I think he is one of the best midfielders in the Premiership and I look forward to the day we sign him.

Steve Cummings (


I remember in the mid-90s we had a bloke whose name sounded a lot like Mozzarella. I can’t recall exactly what he was called but I did (rather drunkenly) try to start a chant of ‘Come On Cheesy’ at the Stamford Bridge away game that season. He came to mind today as I noticed we’ve been linked with a bloke called Maccerone and I thought the two would have gone well together. Maccerone is a bit of a headline writer’s dream anyway. Signing a new contract: ‘Italian Ace Puts Penne to Paper’. If he gets sent off: ‘Fusilli Boy’. And so on… (OK, I’m not very busy today).

Daniel Marcus (


As a fair indication of our Up and Down existence, until the mid-sixties City were the holders of the ‘record number of promotions’ to the highest level.

With a view to our more recent history, here is a question for our ‘Anoraks’:
Q. Where do City stand nowadays in the overall scheme of things regarding to the number of promotions and relegations? Surely we have reclaimed our crown?

Blue Moon over Holland too, Dave Lyons (


In response to Wen Yiduo’s concerns about the Sun Jihai song, I have to say that I lived in Ashton-u-Lyne for 18 years (up to 1985) and the only Chinese people I ever met owned chippys. So although I was always well aware that not all Chinese people everywhere owned chippys, it was a fact rather than a stereotype that the Chinese people I met did, in fact, have chippys. And some of them were very good chippys too.

However, if Wen Yiduo is still upset, perhaps I can offer an alternative version of the song… …Sun Jihai ai yippee, his dad comes from China (an industrial and nuclear power in eastern Asia with a population of 1.2 billion people, where the Tien Shan Mountains separate the Tarim and Dzundarian basins, and which was dominated by Mao Zedong from 1949 to 1976, during which time it experienced the disasters of the 1950s Great Leap Forward, and the 1960s Cultural Revolution. Although rapidly moving towards a market-oriented economy, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre underlined that political reform was not on the agenda, and even with the demise of veteran leaders in recent years, the Communist regime has yet to relax its grip on power) and although he might own a chippy, he could also be a doctor, or a solicitor, or work on the bins, ai ai yippee yippee ai.

Mike Maddox (


Does anyone know the complete song which follows the tune of “Come on Eileen” for Ali B?

Come on Ali
Oh we got him for free

Also, in reply Wen Yiduo (MCIVTA 803) about the Sun Jihai song – this is humour isn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with using a little irony when it comes to terrace humour given the number of Chinese chippies in the Manchester area. No one is spared this sort of comment when it comes to a footie song and as long as it isn’t racially offensive what’s the problem? If we start getting uptight about things like that where do we draw the line? You’ll be telling us we can’t slate our mates from Stretford or Liverpool next.

Graham Keller (GKMCFC@AOL.COM)


I agree totally with Wen Yiduo’s comments in MCIVTA 803 regarding the insulting song about Sun Jihai. I too despair when I hear morons coming out with stuff like this and then thinking they’re so funny! An individual has had to leave his homeland a long way away (China is quite far from Manchester) to live and work in a foreign culture where he has a limited command of the native language. I imagine those who sing about Chinese chippies and the like would wet their pants if they had to do the same. To them ‘seeing the world’ is probably going to an away match! Perhaps the new stadium should enforce some sort of IQ test so that ‘characters’ who spout xenothobic crap will not be admitted!

Alastair Watt (


I must object to Mr Lloydd’s joke about the supposed friendly between Eire and England. I feel this sterotypes us as never win failures whilst sterotyping the Irish as man-mountains. I also feel it pertinent to point out that stereotyping all Ipswich fans as tractor drivers is disgusting, as is suggesting all scousers are thieves, and all cockneys are (well we know what they are) as is sterotyping all Blackburn, Bolton and Burnley fans as having flat-caps, whippets and going to the match in a charabang, and as for the Yorkshiremen… well where are your sheep tonight?

The basis for football humour is stereotypical.

By the way have you ever counted how many Chinese chippies and take-aways there are in Manchester? I know for a fact they outnumber the number of English ones. So Napolean was wrong. We are not a nation of chippy owners (or was that shopkeepers?) anyway the Asian continent seems to have that one sown up. I for one don’t have a problem with it. They give a bloody good service and they’re open when you need them (unlike my chippy when it was run by an Englishman who, being from Surrey, was shut everytime you wanted something because he was at Old Trafford watching the match). Whoops. Just stereotyped people from Surrey.

Mr Wen Yiduo please don’t patronise me by calling you over-sensitive. I think you need to understand better the basic premise of football humour. It can be cruel, it can be insensitive. But, above all, when it is sung by your own fans, it is a measure of regard and recognition. If your own fans sing “humorous” songs about you it is a long way to being accepted. Start to worry when they sing songs that attack him as a player. They haven’t yet… I hope they never do… The jury’s out here. Personally I don’t think he’ll make it as a Premiership player. My opinion is based on what I’ve seen of him as a player, not on race. As for the song. OK I must be a racist because I think it’s bl**dy funny.

Dave Kilroy (


In reply to Wen Yidou. Don’t be so thin skinned! You just don’t have a sense of humour. Come back Wen Yidou!

Apologies in advance.

Graeme Nicholson (


Just a gentle reminder that our erstwhile hero Niall has a testimonial game coming up on Tuesday 14th May at the Stadium of Light against the Republic of Ireland team before they head west. Although this is officially his testimonial he is donating all profits to childrens’ charities – typical of the great man! Tickets are available from Sunderland AFC.

Joe Ramsbottom (


Are there any Blues out there in the Wellington area that fancy meeting up for a few celebratory drinks? Drop me a line if you are up for it.

Darren Rackham (


Two tickets wanted for the Portsmouth game. Please contact me by Friday evening if you can help.

James Smith (


After recently referring to Maine Road as ‘The Academy’, I started wondering how and when this term originated. After asking my dad and having a look on the FAQ, I’m no nearer an explanation, but I’m sure somebody out there can provide an answer!

Tom Willis (


Does anyone know the official or unoffical means to get your baby into a game? I’ve seen some parents bring in their baby blues and seem to have only booked 2 seats. I sit with a pal in GGU in the Kippax. My six month old daughter is screaming to see the Blues on Sunday and be there for the cup. How can I make her dreams come true?

R Young (


Growing up in Kent in the seventies, with a dad who was (and still is) more into cricket than football, my interest started with Kevin Keegan (and Liverpool – I’m afraid I chose the player, then supported the team). My interest remained somewhat sporadic, supporting England, watching televised cup finals and the like, until 1993 when I met my husband (a Blue of some 10 years or so) and was introduced to Maine Road (and Manchester City)… there was no going back. My first match was versus Everton, I don’t remember the score, though I remember Carl Griffiths’ goal (in front of the Platt Lane stand). We attended fairly regularly throughout that season, entertained by the likes of Paul Walsh, Georgi Kinkladze, Uwe Rösler, Steve Lomas, Niall Quinn etcetera.

However, the following year we moved to the footballing wasteland that is the South West. Adam (my eldest son) was born in 1996 on the day that United won the FA cup, after City had been relegated to the First Division – Junior Blue membership was inevitable, along with the choice of a City fan as godfather. Small children and long distances meant that our match attendance was somewhat limited (though we did try to visit grandparents when City were playing at home!). Joshua (our younger son) attended his first match at 18 months!

Last May we moved back northwards, to South Yorkshire, a mere hour or so from Maine Road – then KK took over at the helm for City – we were back at home matches as often as we could get (and I even went to my first away game against Bradford)… my dreams had come true – and how! What a season – what a delight to have been there – if only all those Reds I had taught in the South West could have seen me after the Barnsley match. What more is there to say – except Thanks! (and Kevin, please, please don’t sell Carlo!).

Sarah Longshaw (


[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 #804