Newsletter #845

No first team action this weekend due to the international games, but we do have reports in from our roving reporters Gavin and Rick who were at the reserves, U19 and U17 games over the past few days, so thanks guys.

We also have some answers on the “who’s in the net” query, offers of tickets for Arsenal – be quick, Oasis and Wham (sorry, West Ham), together with some Blue humour and finally another great Why Blue.

Highbury tomorrow night as Monsieur Anelka visits one of his former employers. Let us hope the result favours us more than our last couple of meetings.

Next game: Arsenal, away, 8pm Tuesday 10 September 2002 (TV game)


An experienced City line-up met with an equal strength on paper side at The Archibald Stadium. This was once New Ferens Park. City may have well thought that they were attending New Ferens as their absence in any meaningful play in the first half proved their undoing. Three goals conceded in the first half would kill City off. That scoreline in the first half did not flatter Sunderland as had it not been for better finishing, it could have been five or six nil.

City were strolling around as if they were playing a Sunday afternoon kick about in the park. Sunderland pounced on this laxity by City by controlling the game and causing the City defence numerous problems. The first goal arrived on 12 minutes when a right sided move by David Bellion led to a deep crossfield pass to Chris Brown, the son of seventies Sunderland striker Alan Brown . Seeing Nash off his line, he placed a deep shot to the top corner. The ball had no pace and from our angle it looked like Nash could have collected it. However, he stood motionless thinking it was going out, and it crashed into the net off the underside of the bar.

Sunderland were creating chance after chance. On eighteen minutes Loran was forced into a goalline clearance from Nicolas Medina. Their second goal came on 23 minutes when yet again good work by Bellion down the right led to a cross for Kilbane to head down past a diving Nash. Three minutes later came City’s first meaningful attack, which fell to Kerkar, whose shot was easily saved by Myhre. On 30 minutes came the goal of the game when Bellion ran at City’s defence and crashed a great shot into the bottom corner of the net.

The rest of the half did not produce another bright moment except we saw Vuoso limp off like he was glad to do so and be replaced by a more effective Gary Browne.

The second half was very similar to the first half although Nash decided he wanted to perform like a goalkeeper should and commanded the box much better and made some fine saves. Our first corner of the match finally came on 71 minutes although it led to nothing. Most of our chances fell to Kerkar and Myhre was up to the task when a shot on 77 minutes was tipped over the bar. Six minutes later saw a cross by Kerkar headed goalwards by Ritchie but be cleared off the line. A shot by City’s man of the match Tyrone Loran on 85 minutes went over the crossbar.

If City continue to play like they have done in the last two reserve outings they will surely be in the lower reaches along with Sheffield and Bradford in the league. A return to a younger team will reap more dividends as the older professionals cannot be moved on till January anyway and the Nationwide teams cannot afford to loan Premiership players.

Sunderland: Myhre (GK), Rossister, McCartney, Williams, Byrne, Medina, Bellion, Thirwell, Brown (Clark 76 mins), Kilbane (Black 68mins), Arca (Teggart 76 mins).
Unused Subs: Kennedy (GK), Graydon.

City: Nash, Shuker, Jordan, Loran, Dunne, Ritchie, Whitley, Vuoso (Browne 35 mins), Goater, Horlock, Kerkar.
Unused Subs: Ellegaard (GK), McCarthy, Paisley.

Att: 1,597

Gavin Cooper (


A strong City side, which included Glen Whelan and Lee Croft, now reserve regulars, won at AFC Emley high up in the Pennines.

A goal on 65 minutes by Willo Flood from a Jamie Tandy cross secured the well deserved victory. The pitch, unsuprisingly in the Pennines, is on a steep slope and City dealt with this adversity well. City would have been one nil down in the first half had it not been for a world class save from Kieron Westwood.

Huddersfield made their three substitutes in the second half to try to change things around but were unable to make any real difference.

Gavin Cooper (


Are You t’First Team in Disguise?

11 o’clock on a Saturday morning in Nottingham and, at this time of year, we should be setting off for Maine Road and a Kashmiri Spice chicken kebab before kick-off but no, play is suspended for England’s benefit and we’ll have to wait a while to see some decent football – it’s then that Dave spots that the Under 17’s are in town and so, despite Nottingham Forest FC’s best efforts to misdirect us – “Yes, they are playing, it’s at the Boots Sports Ground, 11.o’clock” – we find the venue – Forest’s new Academy Centre, Wilford Lane, 12 o’clock!

There’s about 80 of us there, mostly relatives of the teams, us two and a Gene Kelly regular who’s bussed it across from Sutton in Ashfield.

City are taller and bigger than the Forest lads but will they be as fleet of foot? We find out immediately as City kick off and they just want to get forward, get it in the box and past Forest ‘keeper, John Lukic (son of the ex-Leeds and Arsenal stopper? We reckoned he was a dead ringer, especially when seen stooping to retrieve the ball from the back of the net).

These early attacks came down the left wing through Carlos Logan and eventually brought the first goal, struck low past the despairing Lukic by Nathan D’Laryea, 1-0 (3 cheers, have we got time for a chant – what rhymes with D’Laryea?).

We’re seeing very little from Forest and what there was was dealt with ably by City’s ‘keeper, Ashley Timms. He’s big like Schmeichel, shouts like him and has a thunderous kick – he was well annoyed when the Forest number 7 scored through his legs from close range, 1-1.

City were not fazed by this lapse and continued to mount attack after attack, breaking down Forest raids into our half, working the ball quickly through and across midfield to the flanks and inside channels – we’re loving it! – wingers Logan and (Stephen) Ireland are having an early lunch of Roast full back and in the middle waiting for their crosses is Karl Bermingham, a strong, athletic number nine who is more Wanchope than Anelka and uses his chest, Paulo style, laying the ball off to team mates or using the same trick to create space for himself. His reward for good, hard work is the second, inevitable score fired in from around 10 yards, 2-1.

There was a third before half time when Ian Bennett placed a free kick from Horlock distance firmly into the top left hand corner of the net leaving Lukic with no chance, 3-1.

The second half saw a more determined Forest but it was soon business as usual and a wave of City attacks brought the fourth goal, this time from Craig Davies wearing the number 10 shirt. He seized upon a loose ball in the six yard box and slammed it home, 4-1.

Forest are making substitutions now. The busy, committed and skilled Forest number 10 (Nathan Jones) had been snuffed out by a ruthlessly efficient City defence so he went along with a frustrated full back wearing the number 3, Pearce shirt. He had managed the great man’s aggression but not his skill and was taken off before he was sent off.

None of this helped very much, when Forest do get forward, they’re now desperate and ballooning long range shots over Timms’s bar. It’s all over when City score a fifth. This one came from yet another free kick, which was floated in from the right and nodded in at the back post, just as it was about to go dead, by alert centre back Nedum Onuoha – 3 more cheers and what rhymes with Onuoha? 5-1 and never mind all this stuff about the future being orange, we know that it’s always been Blue and this particular shade was very bright indeed – football very much in the mould of the first team, quick, confident, one touch and very easy on the eye. A Stoke City scout seen amongst the “crowd” certainly would have had an eyeful and, no doubt a notebook full of up and coming youngsters – what a treat!

Rick Eagles (


I was at Maine Road in the late 60’s. We were in the old Second Division playing Bury… they had a young kid making his début – Colin Bell – who scored for them to put them one up.

In the second half City’s goalkeeper Harry Dowd injured his shoulder – no substitutes in those days – so Alan Oakes (who’s son is goalie for Wolves) went between the sticks. Harry had his shoulder strapped up and he went in the number nine slot.

Pressing for an equaliser late on, City won a number of corners and we got a headed goal from who else but – Harry Dowd!

As I recall both goals went in at what was then the Kop End, the weather was fine and the meat pies wonderful.

I have every reason to believe this to be true as I was there as I was at every game in those days – home and away.

Best wishes, Fred Bullock (


Keane “an amiable, self-depreciating man”? I think you mean self-deprecating, but shouldn’t it really be self-defecating? (Nicked from the film Kissing Jessica Stein).

Re: Request: Playing the Field

The most famous one was Harry Dowd breaking a finger at Bury when we were 1-0 down, centre-forward Matt Gray going in goal and (no subs in those days) Dowd scoring the equaliser (Feb 8, 1964)!

Re: Team Spirit (Berkovic vs. Tiatto)

Admittedly Eyal hasn’t looked 100% fit but he was superb at Leeds, and although he elected not to risk injury trying to redeem a couple of bad passes vs. Newcastle (after he tired in the second half), it was his going into a mel