Newsletter #835

Plenty on new stadium, whinging athletes and info on Hamburg.

Must dash, so please read on.

Next game: Leeds United, away, 17 August 2002


I’m just about coming round again after this weekend’s jaunt to Hamburg. The trip was fantastic, the stadium very impressive (can’t wait till we’re in somewhere that good), and the Hamburgers were great hosts – I swapped tops with a huge long-haried, denim-waistcoated local after the game who I normally would cross the road to avoid. I won’t write a match report as others can do so better, and there wasn’t much of any note to report (except that Anelka is just about the fastest player I’ve ever seen in a City shirt, and Distin could well turn out to be a great buy).

However, one thing did get me going sufficiently to write in, and it wasn’t anything I saw down the Reeperbahn. Over 3,000 City fans travelled to Hamburg. The team didn’t play particularly well, but fair enough it was a friendly and we’ve already got enough injuries as it is. But after the final whistle, all but two of them turned round and trotted off without even a passing glance to the City faithful. Even they, Anelka and Distin, simply clapped their hands together a couple of times where they stood. Not even Keegan came over. Considering the considerable expense and effort of getting over there for a couple of days, never mind the pretty lacklustre performance, surely it was only decent to come over and applaud the fans? To make matters worse, SV Hamburg proceeded to walk round the pitch with a huge banner saying something like “Join us in the new season, we play for you” or similar. Whilst it didn’t ruin the trip, it certainly took the polish of it for a while.

Dougie (


13 Things To Do On The Official Manchester City Supporters’ Coach Trip To Hamburg:

  1. Arrive at Maine Road to find fellow Blues stood around the coachpointing to a broken windscreen, learn that said breakage was causedby a thrown object and “there’s a replacement coach on its way”.
  2. Arrive in Dover, go through customs only to find that the coach has a flat tyre.
  3. Wait an hour for a tyre fitter to arrive from Folkestone – a townthat is only “down the road”. Miss the ferry you planned to get as aresult.
  4. Take a further 10 hours to travel from Calais to Hamburg becausethe driver has taken a “quicker route” – on advice from a lorrydriver – which means driving towards Hannover. If you check youratlases at home, you will find that Hannover is anything but “on theway” to Hamburg.
  5. Arrive at the hotel at 11.00pm – some three hours later than youare told on your itinerary – after the restaurant had closed. Consoleyourself with a few beers in the hotel bar.

    Total time on road for first leg: 23 hours
  6. Get told that the coach will be picking you up from the hotel at4.30pm to take you to the AOL Arena, but you have the option of“making your own way to the stadium”. As a result, only eight peopleboard the coach at the hotel resulting in the potential problem of60-odd Blues not knowing where the coach is parked at the stadiumonce the match has finished. Find out that this is indeed whathappens as we wait a further hour-and-a-half looking for Blues whoare wandering around the AOL Arena looking for our coach after thegame.
  7. Get a bit apprehensive when our coach is the only English coach inthe middle of a car park full of Germans.
  8. Watch City fluff chance after chance at the game (see variousmatch reports).
  9. On the return journey, after not having to go into the “cowshed”at Dover customs to have the coach searched and hence avoid furtherdelay, pull into the first bus stop in town to be told that the coachhas “sprung a leak”.
  10. Learn that when the mechanic has fixed the problem, anotherproblem appears thus adding to your delay.
  11. Get stuck in a 5-mile tailback on the M1 due to an overturnedlorry and get held up for a further 60 minutes.
  12. Half-bake on the coach as the air conditioning will not work.
  13. Arrive back in Manchester at 10.30pm – some 7 hours later thanyou were told on the itinerary.

    Total time on road for second leg: 25 hours

Apart from the utterly shambolic journey – I’m sure there’s more minor disasters that I have forgotten to mention – thanks to matters beyond our control, a coach that has seen better days and a lack of communication between travel company rep and his customers, the whole experience did have its memorable moments: seeing 3,000 (confirm please) Blues travel all that way for a friendly match; the Hamburg fans – very friendly and welcome back to Maine Road anytime, although I don’t think they’d bring anywhere near 3,000; the hotel – best place I’ve ever stayed in!; being in the truly wonderful AOL Arena and knowing that City’s new stadium will be even better; last but not least, the other Blues on the coach who, despite the constant barrage of mishaps, kept spirits up and still managed to have a laugh at it all!

Karl Florczak (


After watching the PNE and Bury games, I was wondering who might get the nod for the big kick-off.

Obviously now Carlo in goal (I think he is the pick of the three anyway), Howey, Distin, and Sun who really impressed me both defending and going forward. Definitely SWP and probably Tiatto as wing-backs.

Ali, Eyal and Super Kev in midfield – I’ve nothing against Foe but it would be great if Kevin could keep himself in the side, although with Foe’s disciplinary and international commitments, he will probably play more games the the Cameroonian(?) anyway. Up front, Anelka must really start, and Macken just about shades it.

For the bench, Huckerby must surely feature, Shuker impressed and I think is worth a try, the Dunney-monster, and Jensen plus goalkeeper no. 4 (Ellegaard or Murphy?).

I’ve never been looking forward to a season this much before.

CTWPAFS (City till Wanchope plays a full season), Chris Ffelan (


I’m really annoyed that any world-class athlete – who should have a more informed perspective on the inner workings of sport – could be upset at City being handed the City of Manchester.

How many more millions of pounds will 30 (or so) football matches per season bring in to the city in various forms of revenue in the very long term? I presume it’s a lot more than a few athletics meets. What else were they going to use it for? And if there was anything else in mind, would it being turned into a football ground make staging those ‘other’ uses more difficult?

Please, someone, take me to task if I am wrong in thinking that a self-supporting sport club that attracts up to 48,000 people to that many ‘events’ per year can make less money than heavily-sponsored athletics events, even if there were more than one per year. Surely not? Often they require money for the visiting participants to be housed, unless it’s only the Commonwealth Games and Olympics where athletes aren’t given accommodation.

I may be wrong but does the fact that it was deemed a better idea financially to give it to City have something to do with it not being big enough to be classed as a national stadium where we might have both football and athletics? Wembley comes into this somewhere, doesn’t it? Lack of faith in the north west and a failure to see that a London location is irrelevant where attendance is concerned – I refer to Wembley being half-full at best for many full internationals, even World Cup and European Championship qualifiers.

By the way, the Barcelona Olympic Stadium is the home of RCD Espanyol, which I am sure a few people know about. I don’t claim that the Barcelona Montjuic complex was in financial trouble and I know Espanyol sold Sarria to real estate companies to clear debts but their ground was an 80,000 seat stadium and it has surely been of benefit to have those Espanyol fans (not to mention mirth on the part of the Catalan ‘Ayuntament’ to have the club of the Royalists renting a space off them, ha ha!).

Someone put me right if I am wrong.

While I’m here – if Carlo Nash plays and develops into his 30s in accordance with how well he has done, I’d expect England honours for him before he’s 35. Schmeichel may have been good but can you imagine a calm influence like Nash or Schmeichel’s screaming to have a better effect on Howey, Dunne and Distin? Dunne would just wait until the end of the first game. And eat him.

Marc Starr (


When we were kids there were always times when you heard the phrase “I want what they’ve got!”, usually accompanied by stamping of little feet.

Not once in the build up to the Commonwealth games has anyone spoken out about the decision for City to move into the stadium the following year. Indeed, everyone has considered it to be an excellent compromise with MCFC, the Council, Games organisers and the city of Manchester in general, all benefiting.

Now several ‘personalities’ have decided that it would be good for their minority sport if they could keep the stadium as an athletics venue. John (head thicker than neck) Inverdale seems to think City are a small concern. Jonathan (holier than thou) Edwards reckons it would be criminal to rip up the track etc. and Noddy Radcliffe says, because she won her only track gold at the games, that the stadium should be given to athletics and City can go buy another. To think I actually cheered these people on!

These self-righteous cretins would do well to realise, that without the deal with MCFC that the building of such a magnificent stadium would not have been financially possible. They would have had a far inferior stadium which would then have struggled to exist once the games were over.

Maybe these millionaires (wasn’t it once an amateur sport sic.) would like to dip into their own pockets and help finance a new national stadium? I believe that the MCC have a bit of ground in Moss Side that they could have for a price. They could then happily do whatever they want when they visited the venue once a year. Inverdale could enter the ‘Head the Shot’ event and Edwards could ‘Catch the Javelin’.

As for Radcliffe, she won the London marathon this year. Maybe she wants to be given London!? Yes, I know I’m being childish now, but they started it!

Athletics! Get orf my land.

Stuart Wells (


I have a comment on the new stadium thread and it’s about the athletes and others who think that MCFC are taking a selfish occupancy of the stadium and not recognising the athletes’ needs. Well clearly, it is simply not possible to stage athletics in this stadium because there just aren’t any events on their calendar that don’t already have a venue. Domestic events are already accommodated at Birmingham, Sheffield, Gateshead etc.

There is one other big factor that the athletes are overlooking. That is that both the City of Manchester Stadium and the Commonwealth Games would never have taken place had MCFC not agreed to move into there after the event. Bit of a chicken and egg situation really. But if the athletics fraternity are really committed to their campaign for a stadium then they have a wonderful once in a lifetime opportunity in the shape of Wembley. Well, it seems someone needs a hell bent excuse to spend a whole pile of cash on a new national stadium so let them take their argument there. If it’s strong enough then they will be successful.

It will be interesting to see exactly what real support they get for their case as a national sports entity. They put on a great show in Manchester and they do deserve a better deal than they seem to have.

Now – bring on the football!

Barry Husband (


This was something I came across, some of Eric Hughes’ (coach of Sale Harriers) comments may need checking out in terms of validity but it’s interesting in light of all the recent athletes’ comments.

Eric Hughes, the team coach of Sale Harriers, has been working closely with Sport England and the City Council to give Manchester its new, top class athletic venue. “I can understand exactly why the athletes like Jonathan Edwards and Paula Radcliffe want the City of Manchester Stadium to remain as it is now and become the national stadium for athletics,” says Hughes. “All the athletes have said that they have never performed in a better arena or in front of the crowds which have been packing out the stadium every day. But those athletes are not acquainted with the full facts. To obtain the funding for the stadium from central Government, Sport England and the Lottery, the Council had to guarantee that they would have an anchor tenant to occupy the stadium once the Games were completed. They couldn’t and wouldn’t risk having a £110 million white elephant standing there unoccupied in east Manchester after the Games had moved on. So, in fact, if Manchester City had not agreed to move across town, Jonathan and Paula wouldn’t have had a stadium to win their gold medals in! We hope to have the new indoor and outdoor venues up and running as early as October. Once the Games have been completed, work will begin immediately into turning the main stadium into a football ground in readiness for City’s arrival at the start of the 2003 season. The athletics field will be removed and the soil will be dug out to a depth of around 20 feet which will enable an extra 10,000 seats to be installed. You have to remember that Manchester City had a big input into the building of the stadium. It was always designed as a football ground that could be converted into an athletics arena, and not the other way around. The soil that will be taken up will be banked right around the warm-up track and will then be landscaped with grass and trees. In effect, we will create a natural outdoor stadium. The banks will provide a wind-break and create perfect conditions for the athletes and will also provide ideal viewing for spectators during the summer months. We are not abandoning our headquarters in the south of the city at Wythenshawe Park. We will share both facilities and probably have three outdoor and three indoor matches a year at the new venue in east Manchester, which will also be used as a training facility by the North West’s elite athletes. The important thing is that the new centre in SportCity will be a community facility – a permanent legacy from the Games and part of the £90 million that is being spent on regenerating that part of Manchester. As an athletics club we will work with the City Council’s Leisure Services and try to improve the health of youngsters in Manchester. A wonderful spirit has been generated in Manchester by the Commonwealth Games. There has been a massive upsurge in interest in athletics. We don’t want that to die.”

So, not only will the athletes get to keep the warm-up track, they will also get a 200 metre indoor track (in the sports hall next door to the main stadium, currently being used for squash).

Phil Lines (


I also saw some of the whinging over athletics losing its magnificent new stadium. When will these people realise athletics is a minor sport that gets elevated only when there is a major tournament like the Olympics, World or Commonwealth games, and how often will they be held in this country? Come to think of it the powers that be did bid, and win, the World games and then decided they couldn’t build a stadium by 2005. Guess we could have always left the COMS empty till then. It certainly wouldn’t have been filled in the meantime. Witness the derisory crowds for the 3A’s prior to the games.

More importantly, apart from the fact City will maintain the stadium, thus lifting the burden from the Manchester council-tax bill (I’m sure those people would have been happy to pay for a few elite to use the stadium every 12 months or so), let us not forget the real attraction to the council of ripping out the athletics track. Manchester City Council will receive a percentage of any gate receipts above MCFC’s average gate (which at the time of moving will of course be no higher than 34,000). Given that, when we move into the stadium and assuming we’re in the Premiership that will be 48,000, or close to, most home games. Therefore the council will receive a percentage of 14,000 rather than 4,000.

I have no idea what the percentage is, but let’s say it is 10%. At an average of £20 per head that would be £28,000 per home game. Multiply this by 19 league and maybe a couple of cup games you’re looking at about £600,000 per year extra income to the council, on top of losing the cost of maintenance.

Not quite the gift it has been dressed up as, but a pretty sound deal for both sides. Of course it probably helps if your Chairman is called David Bernstein and the Leader of the Council is called Howard Bernstein. No apparent sibling rivalry there.

Dave Kilroy (


I understand that Manchester City Council will get about 50% of the gate money provided by the excess capacity of Eastlands over Maine Road.

Excess capacity is 48,000 Eastlands – 34,996 Maine Road = approx 13,000.

So they get the gross gate money for 6,500 seats at the new stadium.

Assume that next year the average seat price is £25 (conservative I think) and also assume we get near capacity gates for league matches whatever league we’re in; they get (say 95% full):

0.95 occupancy x 6,500 seats x £25 x 19 home games for City in the Prem.

That’s approximately £3 million per year for Premiership league matches.

This is £3 millon p.a. esacalating at beyond inflation (as football admission prices do) for the length of the lease: 250 years.

They also get whatever income they can from the use of Maine Road plus the income from any home cup matches plus income from the use of the stadium for community purposes, which is part of the contract.

We know it’s a good deal for City but it doesn’t look too bad for Manchester Council taxpayers either to me.

Have I got this right?

Peter Llewellyn (


Having spent a lot of the last 2 years visiting brand new stadia (I wish it was ‘stadiums’ too), I can only say that the people of England should be thanking Manchester City for ripping out the track, and taking the stadium off their hands:

  1. Athletics is a fine sport but let’s face it, the chances of therebeing more than one major athletics event being held in Manchester inthe next four years are slim to none.
  2. Even if there were one held, the maintenance and probablyresurfacing of the track in the meantime would negate the takings forthe (mythical) event (though maintenance would not be taken intoaccount and a profit would be announced).
  3. If said athletics event were a runaway success, there would be amaximum of 6-7 sellouts of 38,000 for the event. City will fill theplace 7 times with 48,000 before the paint has a chance to fade.
  4. If City were not to move into the stadium afterwards, the onlyviable Commonwealth Games stadium would have been a smaller athleticsstadium with larger temporary stands and smaller permanentfacilities. The stadium quite rightly received rave reviews from allinvolved with the Games, but the scale of the stadium was onlypossible because City would move in and operate it afterwards.

So the sweetheart deal offered City is also a good deal for the Council. They get a money-eating facility with little prospects for regular income off their hands, and once City move in, responsibility for its success or failure lies with City, not the Council. The council, while taking all the credit for the success of the Games, has side-stepped the “Games Hangover” – being saddled with a white elephant stadium that continues to be a drain on taxpayer resources.

On the subject of the concessions in the stand, I believe they will be substantially different when city move in, as the concessionaire for City has not built their facilities yet – hence the beer in cans, not from the tap. And the beer will definitely not be Stella…

Paul Calder (


Having read the contributions about the new stadium in MCIVTA 834 and visited since, I felt compelled to share my observations…

Firstly, in response to Paula Radcliffe’s comment, “Surely Manchester City can build another stadium and give this to us as a present”, I would argue that the stadium will not get enough use to justify its existence. Has she seen the seen the grey, run down grafitied mess that was once The Olympic Stadium in Barcelona? It is now hardly used and in a right mucky old state. Oh, and there was a football pitch in the middle! I can understand the athletes being excited about the track, but if it isn’t given to City, it will end up being neglected and ultimately being used as a practice field by pub football teams just like Barcelona. MCFC will give the stadium the TLC, noise and (dare I say it) glory that the City of Manchester Stadium deserves.

My venture to our new home was to see the Rugby 7’s. Before I went I was deeply concerned about what the view would be like, but I could see all the action clearly from the East “Kippax” Stand. I was sat in front of a Man U(Nike)ted PLC supporter, who seamed to agree with Paula Radcliffe, he told his fellow Red, over the phone, “There’s no way City should have this, it should stay as an athletics stadium, this is far too good for City!” Then he had to concede in the end “The atmosphere when we come here for derbies will be amazing!” I agreed with him on the latter view and really enjoyed the fact that he was clearly jealous! The view was absolutely staggering, as was the crowd noise (when the “Rugger” crowd were asked to make as much noise as possible by the voice on the PA system at half time, because they weren’t too loud while the sport was on!). I commented to my girlfriend that it will be even louder when it’s full of City fans, especially in The North Stand. The Man U(Nike)ted PLC supporter laughed his head off when I said this, but it was the sort of laugh a villain in a Bond movie makes just before the expression of his face changes as he realizes that is luck has changed Bond is about to seal his fate!

There seemed to be ample catering and toilet facilities (the toilets were pristine, I wonder how long that will last when we move in!?). They had ran out of cheese and onion pies, and when I looked through the menu for alternatives, I was shocked and horrified to find that prawn sandwiches (with mayo) were available! I hope these are right off the menu in 12 months’ time! When we were back at our seats I informed my girlfriend that selling prawn sandwiches at City’s new home was a crime, and then tried to explain the relevance of this “delicacy” (slightly louder than necessary so that my Man U(Nike)ted PLC “friend” could hear me); despite nudging me and telling me to shut up, I got my message across, and the Red supporter shut up until we found ourselves joining forces, both cheering in vain for Wales who got trounced by New Zealand.

When I got home I saw Stuart Hall on the BBC. When asked how pleased he is that his beloved Blues are to inherit The City of Manchester Stadium he responded by saying he’s an old romantic and that he prefers Maine Road. So do I Stuart, I’ll miss the way that Maine Road appears in the middle of streets of terraced houses (I’ll never forget the words of West Ham supporters saying “it’s just like F***ing Coronation Street” when we beat them in 2001) with the view of Kippax and Main Stand as you approach Maine Road, the 1,000’s of blue shirted followers disappearing into little streets on the way to Maine Road, I’ll miss going straight from Maine Road to Al Bilal (you can pick your own favorite Rusholme curry house), I’ll miss The Parkside for pre-match beers, the pie shop on Lloyd Street, Sahal Takeaway (try the Pakora at Sahal everyone) and even Pandits newsagents. Phil Lines quoting Bob Dylan summed it up in MCIVTA 834 last week: “You’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a changing”. Yes they are, and this stadium is clearly the best thing we can do. Paula Radcliffe and friends, thanks for coming, now please shut up and let us enjoy it!

Steve Webb (


Unfortunately I only got to see pictures of the Commonwealth Games on TV but loved the look of the new stadium in any case and was proud of my home city for putting on such an event. My parents attended one of the evenings and having been regular visitors to Maine Road over the years were extremely impressed. Roll on 2003/2004 season and a stadium that will put others in the shade. Whilst on holiday in France I got talking to a couple of PSG season ticket holders and discussed our recent signings with them. They confirmed what we already knew about Ali and said they were hugely disappointed when he left. Distin they said was an extremely classy player and they thought Anelka was a steal. They reckon Anelka is due a hatful of goals and with Ali supplying the ammunition we should again score plenty this season. Foe they also rated extremely highly having seen him in the French league.

Rick Stott – Oslo Blue (


Whilst eagerly looking forward to taking up my seat in the magnificent new stadium, I must sympathize with the points raised regarding the country not having a home for athletics and no real hope on the horizon for a National Stadium in the south. I have always thought from the beginning that the powers that be have been a little shortsighted and surely in this day and age with the technology at hand, the stadium could have been built higher with the seats in the lower tier retracting over the running track for Football and the seats retracting back under the middle tier for major athletics events.

If the stadiums in Japan can be moved away from the pitch then surely this would have been easy to carry out? It could have been the home of athletics, as I am sure the main reason the athletes want to stay here in Manchester is because of the inspiration they received from the Manchester public.

Come to think of it I am sure given the choice the England football team would rather play here as well; I think Wembley is a dead duck and the other options are costing more to talk about than what the City of Manchester (or is it Manchester City) stadium was built for. A brilliant piece of business, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck just looking at it, no wonder they don’t want to leave it.

Tony Roberts (


Well, I’m just back from holiday on the Côte d’Azur – a French-looking mum and toddler got off our bus in Antibes, carrying a City-crested plastic rucksack. Official merchandise or are we famous enough in France now to be ripped off? Sadly I’d not noticed the bag when they got on, or I’d have asked…

Steve Parish (


Does anyone know whether HRT3, the Croatian sports channel, cover the Premiership and if it does, will they have City vs. Newcastle? I’ve emailed the channel itself but they reply to me in Croatian. No good to me.

Joe O’Brien (


With all this talk of the new stadium, which is looking absolutely fantastic, I was wondering if anyone knows what plans the council have for our beloved, soon to be ex, Mecca, that is Maine Road. There was talk of Sale Sharks moving in at one point but this seems to have gone very quiet. Can anyone shed any light?

Matthew Howden (

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.02]

[0] How do I contact MCIVTA?

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] What are MCIVTA’s publishing 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] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

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

[5] Where can I find out about the 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] Where can I find information about our new stadium?

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

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

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] Are City’s goals available on the net? has available for download, usually within 24-48 hours of a game being played, all the goals from City’s matches.

[9] What’s the music the teams run out to?

The music we ran out to at Maine Road during the 01/02 season was “Nightmare” by Brainbug and is available on the Positiva label.

[10] 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 #835