Newsletter #872

Monday night’s game has produced plenty of talking points, we’ve Don’s news round-up on that and other City happenings.

We also have some excellent match reports from different perspectives, so thanks to James, Colin, Frank and Dave. The reserves were also in action this week at Liverpool drawing 1-1. Gavin has sent us his review on that game.

Plenty of reading then including opinion, updates and requests to keep you indoors and occupied on these chilly nights.

Tonight we are also welcoming a new member to the McVittee team – Madeleine Hawkins – as Subscriptions Coordinator to replace our retiring Geoff. Madeleine has contributed to McV over the years so many of you will ‘know’ her. Thanks to Geoff for all his hard work over the past few years.

We visit 11th placed Charlton on Saturday. Hopefully we’ll be trading places come Monday.

Next game: Charlton Athletic, away, 3pm Saturday 14 December 2002


General News

FFF Ban Anelka: Does it get much pettier than this? Having failed in their attempt to persuade the FA and FIFA to suspend Nicolas Anelka, the French Football Federation (FFF) has taken matters into their own hands. Still smarting at Anelka’s refusal to join the French national squad for last month’s friendly with Yugoslavia, the FFF announced on Friday that “the discipline committee met on Thursday and decided to ban Nicolas Anelka for two league games according to the rules of the French federation.” This ‘ban’ only applies to Anelka’s appearances on French soil, and does not affect any City matches. So the French have banned Anelka from playing… in a country where he doesn’t want to play. It all makes sense now.

Kicked by the Balls: The FA Cup Third Round draw was made on Sunday afternoon, and boy did those numbered balls deliver a kicking to City. Liverpool will visit Maine Road on Sunday 5th January; kick-off 1pm, with the game being shown live on BBC1. “My first thoughts are that it is a great tie for both sides,” said Kevin Keegan. “If you are going to go through to the next round then five Premiership sides will already have gone out because of the draw. When we played Liverpool earlier this season in the League and were beaten 3-0 the scoreline didn’t really do us justice. We were better than that and the early goal which we gave away set a pattern for the play which suited Liverpool. We will have another go at them and give it our best shot. I am not saying we will beat them but we will give them a game again.” The last FA Cup meeting took place at Anfield two seasons ago, when Liverpool triumphed 4-2, while Liverpool’s last FA Cup visit to Maine Road took place in 1988. The Reds beat Mel Machin’s team 4-0, and went all the way to the Final, where they ended up losing 1-0 to Wimbledon.

The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways… There have been a couple of City-related ecclesiastical tales this week. First of all, as reported by Stuart Wells in MCIVTA 870, there was the “JESUS IS A CITY FAN” story, concerning ITV’s new ‘controversial’ drama. Apart from being the scene of the second ascension, Maine Road also featured in a religious service on Sunday, which claimed to be the world’s biggest nativity play. The crowd (or ‘congregation’) numbered 15,000, and they soon found that they had been co-opted into the performance of the story of the birth of baby Jesus – Radio 5 Live said that there were approximately 5,000 shepherds on display. An eleven-day old girl played the part of the infant deity.

China in Your Hands: Anyone who saw Sun Jihai signing autographs for a large group of Chinese fans at the end of the Sunderland game will realise that our defender is very popular back home. Director Chris Bird is heading for China in the New Year with the club set to extend their interests in the Far East. Bird is to oversee the opening of a trio of big city merchandising outlets in Shanghai, Dalian and Beijing. “This is not about landing in China, selling shirts and then disappearing,” stated Bird. “We are committed to a long term relationship with China. We are a club that is one of the most watched in China on television and we are well perceived over there. We are keen to develop a grass roots relationship and a long term business relationship. I will be talking to television companies over there about a City Magazine programme, we will be furthering the establishment of a Chinese language website and talking about developments in youth football. I will be stressing to the Chinese that we are in the relationship for the long haul and not to make a quick profit.” City have already made a start and published Sun Jihai’s diary in Mandarin on the club’s website. Bird continued: “If you want to grow as a football club then it is vital to secure as many revenue streams as possible – including those outside the UK.”

Reserves’ Run Ends: City Reserves’ run of seven victories came to an end at Chester’s Deva Stadium on Tuesday, when the Blues drew 1-1 with Liverpool. City had fallen behind to a first half penalty by John Walsh, but Darren Huckerby earned the Blues a point with a seventieth minute strike. Team: Murphy, Flood, Paisley, Loran, Mettomo, Barton, Huckerby, Wright-Phillips, Vuoso (Whelan 77), Kerkar (Croft 68), Shuker. Subs not used: Ellegaard, Onuoha, Browne.

Transfer News and Gossip

Keegan Coy Over Transfer Targets: Boss Man Kev has been discussing his transfer options come the January sales. He said: “With the money that we have available we have to see how we can stretch it. If we can pay over three years instead of two, that could make a big difference. We will look at the players we want and we will prioritise them. If we say we must definitely get a certain player then we will do that and see what money we have left. That might knock out our second choice because of the cost, so it is then an accounting job. We may not get any of our first two or three and we may decide if we can’t get the quality then we will stick with what we have got until the end of the season. If that is what we have to do, that is what we will do. There will be no spending for the sake of spending.” Later in the week KK was saying “Bringing in two quality players could make a great deal of difference. You have to bear in mind that at no stage this season have I been able to call upon Paulo Wanchope, Jon Macken, Nicky Weaver or Christian Negouai because of injuries. Barring setbacks, Macken, Weaver and Negouai should be fit and available for selection sometime next month. Wanchope is working hard in his rehabilitation programme and we should have him back by the end of February. If I can bring in two new players in January and the other four return to action it will be the equivalent of having half of a new team at my disposal for the remainder of the season and that would be a major boost in competition for places.” Keegan later said: “In an ideal world, I want to bring a striker in when the transfer window opens in January. But that doesn’t mean to say – football being what it is – that it will be more difficult for Darren Huckerby, Shaun Goater, Jon Macken or Paulo [Wanchope] when they come back. All it means is that there is another opportunity to forge a partnership with someone and, of course, we may decide to play three up sometimes – a lot of other sides do. Players mustn’t always see other players coming in as the end, it could be the beginning of something.”

Van the Man? Surely Not! Your News Editor nearly fell off his chaise longue on Sunday morning, when confronted by the Sunday Mirror’s exclusive that KK was about to make a bid for Feyenoord’s “unsettled star” Pierre van Hooijdonk. A fee of