Newsletter #893

The main news as we end the week occurred off-pitch when City Director Chris Bird today announced his resignation, giving the MEN plenty to speculate about. Don’s news summary captures this late development and the fall-out from the weekend’s game together with all the goings on in and around our Club.

We’ve also some match views and opinion on the Arsenal game, an excellent round-up of Blackpool & Fylde branch evening with Bernard Halford, together with stats, a few requests and other opinion.

Finally an update of the FAQ which includes a link to player website information. This one goes out to 3,285.

Next game: Blackburn Rovers, away, 3pm Saturday 1 March 2003
Countdown: 73 days to go


General News

Bird Flies Coop: Managing Director-Development Chris Bird has resigned from his post, the club announced today (Thursday). The Board will meet next Wednesday to discuss the resignation. The forty-year-old was brought to the club five years ago by John Wardle. Bird was made Chief Operating Officer in 1999 when he became a Director of the club, and was recently appointed as a joint Managing Director. The Evening News claims that there is a boardroom split between John Wardle and David Bernstein. The Wardle camp, which includes Wardle’s business partner David Makin, Dennis Tueart and Bird, are keen to back KK’s spending plans to progress the club. The more cautious approach is said to be favoured by Bernstein and Alistair Mackintosh. Ever optimistic, the M.E.N. foresees civil war breaking out at the club. “After five years of relative stability following the fractious Peter Swales and Francis Lee eras, the Bird bombshell will now lead to a power battle between the two factions,” it opined today. Bird has to give 12 months notice, so it remains to be seen if City will release Bird sooner.

Reserves Flounder: The Reserves surrendered their unbeaten run and their place at the summit of the Barclaycard Premiership Reserve League, after losing 1-2 to Bolton Wanderers at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground. Wanderers scored their brace either side of half time, and City’s only reply came from a Shaun Goater tap in on 69 minutes. There was further injury misery for Jon Macken, who injured his leg after crashing into advertising boards, and for Gerard Wiekens who hurt a thigh muscle. Sylvain Distin was given a run out to ensure his match fitness ahead of the Blackburn game, and lasted 70 minutes before being substituted. Team: City: Ellegaard, Whitley, Jordan, Distin (Flood 70), Bischoff, Ritchie, Barton, Wiekens (Browne 80), Macken (Vuoso 80), Goater, Shuker.

Youth Cup Date Announced and Reserve Fixtures: City’s FA Youth Cup quarter final tie with West Ham United will take place at Ewens Fields on Tuesday March 3, kick off 7.00pm. The reserve team’s home clash with Middlesbrough, originally planned for that evening, will now take place on Friday March 7. Meanwhile the postponed home game versus Everton is now on Friday 28th March and the away game at Bradford will now be played on Thursday 8 May.

Seventh Heaven: Perhaps it was the effect of the weekend drubbing, but KK sounded almost pessimistic about City’s long term prospects. Luckily for us all, it didn’t seem to last long. He thinks it improbable that City will ever join the Champions’ League elite in his time as City manager. “You won’t hear me saying anything about catching Arsenal and United during my time as manager at this club,” he said. “I have never said that we can get into what I call the ‘elite group.’ Playing in the Champions’ League teams like Manchester United and Arsenal are being given another twenty million pounds a year to be better than us,” he stressed. “You don’t have to be a genius to work it out, but money does help in this game and their managers have assembled top quality squads and are prepared to do everything to win matches. But if you say that Everton can finish in Europe, if you think Blackburn can finish in Europe, Charlton can finish in Europe along with Spurs then you have to put us in with that, but not after the defeat by Arsenal.” On the state of the game today, Kev pondered, “English football has changed. Clubs in the Champions’ League are getting £20-£30 million to keep ahead of us. They have a lot of money to spend and if you compete against them for a player they can generally offer more in wages in addition to the lure of a chance to play in the Champions’ League. In any other business, the situation would be investigated by the competition authorities but we have to keep trying to earn the right to get in.” Some of the Keegan bounce soon returned however – “Everything I have said about this club in the past is achievable,” said Keegan. “You have Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Newcastle in one league and then there are the likes of ourselves, Southampton, Charlton, Everton and Blackburn scrapping for the other couple of European places. We can finish around those teams although maybe I’ll have to re-assess the situation – now we’ll aim for seventh.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Careless Hands: It sounds like KK is planning for life after Schmikes. Although Peter Schmeichel has not yet given a definitive answer to the club, the signs are that the Dane will not be accepting City’s offer of a further year’s contract, after the player expressed fears that he will not be fit enough to face another season of top flight football. The press have reported that Keegan is on the look out for a replacement goalkeeper. First candidates mentioned were Turkish international Rustu Recber (who has also been linked with Arsenal), Czech Republic international Peter Ceh and a couple of unnamed Frenchmen. Then the headline “CITY TO SWOOP FOR ENGLAND ‘KEEPER?” appeared in the M.E.N. If you thought of Nigel Martyn of Leeds United (safe experienced goalkeeper, probably available on the cheap from the K-Mart of the West Riding, namely Leeds United), then award yourself null points. The report suggested that KK in fact had set his sights on David James of West Ham. In James’ favour – (a) He has international experience, and has played for three Premiership clubs. (b) On his day he can be a magnificent shot stopper. Points against – (a) He is custodian of the most porous defence in the Premiership this season. (b) He has a history of making unforced errors, and has cost his side a number of goals this season. (c) His nickname throughout English football is “Calamity James”. Keegan will make a move for the 32-year-old if West Ham are relegated, according to the reports. We all know that KK likes the challenge of moulding “difficult” players, so this would indeed be quite a test of our Maestro’s powers.

To Be A Pilgrim? Boston United would like to make Paddy McCarthy’s loan deal into a permanent one. The Dublin born defender has recently completed three months on loan at York Street and impressed boss Neil Thompson during his 11 games, which saw United lose just four times. “I want him here and a deal has been put to them so we will just have to wait and see how things develop this week,” Thompson said.

We Want Reiziger! Following the complete demolition of City’s right side defence last week by Arsenal, it was heartening to read that “City Chase French Full-Back” in the Sunday tabloids. Rather unexpectedly it was for the left back position. City were chasing Julien Escude of Rennes, with the Blues allegedly making a £4 million bid for the player in the summer. Escude has been linked a couple of times with Worthington Cup Finalists Trafford Wanderers, and was expected to join them until the player injured himself whilst walking his dog. Since the departure of Laurent Charvet, City have been short of accident prone French full-backs, so Escude will no doubt be a welcome addition to the squad.

Shuker Off: Chris Shukur has joined Walsall on a month’s loan. It was reported that the Liverpudlian was spotted at the Bescot Stadium earlier this week, while manager Colin Lee has said he is looking to bring some pace into his team with a loan signing. Five of Shuker’s six appearances for City have been off the bench, and he scored his sole first team goal in the Worthington Cup clash against Notts County in the opening months of the 2001/2 season. He made his Premiership début when he came on for the final thirty minutes of City’s opening day defeat at Leeds and was then handed his first start of the campaign when City drew 2-2 with Blackburn at Maine Road. KK described Shuker as an “exciting prospect. We have patiently allowed him to come through our ranks and his game has come on in leaps and bounds in recent times.”

Loran Goin’: KK has announced that Tyrone Loran will not be returning to City when his loan spell is finished at Tranmere Rovers. “Tyrone has gone now. We loaned him out to Tranmere until the end of the season when his contract with us expires,” explained Keegan. “We had to make a decision on Tyrone before Christmas. Sadly we didn’t think that he had improved that much. He has a great attitude but when you look at what we have got in that position you can see the strength which we have.” Loran went on loan at the end of last year but was injured in his first game for Tranmere. He has now recovered and was in the side last Saturday which beat Blackpool 2-1.

Ex-Blues’ News

Grecian Tragedy For McNab: Neil McNab’s short tenure as Exeter City’s head coach is over. With the Grecians currently bottom of the Football League, Chairman John Russell dispensed with the services of McNab and his assistant Gary Bennett (another ex-Blue). Exeter won only four games under McNab, who commented: “I have enjoyed my time here although it was only for four months. I am just disappointed not to have got Exeter out of the position they were in. Although we have lost our last five matches we did well when we went eight games unbeaten and I really hope the club stay in the Division.” On Saturday, Exeter City entertain Bristol Rovers, who lie one place above them in the table.

Hodgson’s Choice: There’s news of City’s former reserve goalkeeper Steve Hodgson this week. It seems that he’s popped up in my locality, at Unibond League team Leek Town, where he’s been offered a contract. The 21-year-old was signed earlier this month on loan from Nuneaton Borough, and has conceded just one goal in four matches and has done enough to persuade the club to award the Macclesfield based youngster a contract. Hodgson was an England Youth international in his time at City, but the nearest he came to the first team was as a substitute in August 1999, in a League Cup tie at Burnley. He was released by the Blues at the end of 2000-2001 season, and was picked up by Macclesfield Town (thanks to Ralph Shepherd for this item).

Reactions and Comments

Gunned Down: Those of us who attended the Arsenal game will long remember the pummelling given to City by Arsenal. In the opening 19 minutes especially, the Gunners simply ripped City’s defence to pieces. What could KK say after this defeat? Naturally he began by praising the opponents. He said that it was “quite possible” Maine Road had just witnessed the new champions of England and Europe. “I thought they would win the Champions’ League when we played them at the start of the season and nothing happened today which changed my mind,” he continued. “They are on a different planet to us. I have watched them play quite a bit and they are an exceptional side. They have good balance, got a lot of pace and when they aren’t having one of their better days, they have five or six individuals who can work a bit of magic or race past someone and score a goal. That is a tremendous armoury.” Keegan explained why he had begun the match with an attacking midfield three of Belmadi, Berkovic and Foe, which the Daily Telegraph in a nice contemporary touch had compared to Lord Cardigan’s Charge of the Light Brigade in 1853 (I kid you not). “We have had a two week rest and they had a midweek game so I thought we’d have a go and see if we could get them on the back foot. It didn’t quite work,” he added with uncharacteristic understatement. “I won’t spend too much time looking at it again – it was bad enough watching it live. But for the first time in a while, I will have to show my players the first 20 minutes again because there are some harsh lessons to be learned which could stand us in good stead for the future. We got sucker-punched four times. They were at their most dangerous when we had a corner and after the first 20 minutes it was just damage limitation. Whoever wins the Champions’ League are going to have to be one hell of a side because they have got everything”, he said. “They break with pace and in Thierry Henry have a player who can score goals from nothing. It would be a foolish man to bet against them in the Premiership.” Believe it or not, City actually had their moments going forward, as the statistics revealed in next day’s “Observer” newspaper. The Blues had nine shots on target, which is their highest total in a league match all season. Keegan had a word for Robbie Fowler, who was showing signs of sharpness in the latter stages. He said, “Robbie was very unlucky and we could have been talking about him having scored a hat-trick in the second half. I am not going to criticise him for his lack of sharpness because I knew that was the situation and he has to be allowed to come through that.” Of Richard Dunne, who endured a torrid first half, KK observed that, “It was just one of those days. I brought Richard off but it could easily have been one or two others. Richard has come a long way this year but has struggled in the last couple of home games. But he is still only 23 and he will be back. He has to take this setback on the chin and show the same sort of character he did to return from his previous problems.” Keegan was fulsome in his praise for City supporters in the thrashing, “I thought the fans were unbelievable today.” said Keegan. “At any other ground in the world, not just in this country, at any level, you’re booed off at 4-0 down at home, and yet we weren’t. We’ve got the fans, we need the team now.” added the Boss Man.

Wenger’s Words of Encouragement: Arsene Wenger was politeness itself following the rout. “I told the players at half-time that it was not over,” said Wenger. “If City made it 4-1 or 4-2 they could come back. So the fifth goal was important. We played some fluent football, kept our concentration and did a professional job. City are a good side going forward. Not everyone comes to Maine Road and scores five goals and we needed to play very well to do that and I was delighted with our performance,” he said. “In my opinion, City have a good side, have won a lot of games and they will do so for the end of the season. They were unlucky because we took our chances and have been threatening to do that for some time. They were also found our goalkeeper Stuart Taylor in very good form and I think he showed that he has a great future and very quick reactions. Kevin will be down at the minute but he is a good coach and I know what it is like to be on the end of these defeats. He is a good coach and will bounce back.”

We’ll Be Back! Captain Steve Howey thinks that the team will respond positively to the Arsenal performance by impressing in their next game. “City fans will expect us to put this behind us and give a good performance against Blackburn and we will. We are very disappointed but by the same token we can say we have played the Champions of the Premier League. They are the best team in the League and on Saturday they proved that emphatically. You tend to pinch yourself and say is this really happening as we were 3-0 down after fifteen minutes and 4-0 down after twenty minutes. If you stop Thierry Henry, which is difficult enough, there is Wiltord, Bergkamp and Pires still to deal with. You can stop one or two but they still keep coming at you. We are a side which is not possibly designed to defend from midfield. We have players who give us a lot more going forward and that is something we have to live with. When you are playing against the quality of what they have you find it very difficult because we felt for a period in that twenty minutes that no matter what we did they were just carving us open.”

Squad News

Sacre Bleu! Anelka Le Rouge? Many thanks to Norbert Crutcher, who sent in the following item for the BBC Sports message board. “ANELKA MAKES SHOCK MAN UTD CLAIM – Manchester City’s French striker Nicolas Anelka has claimed that he could have joined rivals Manchester Utd. hours before his transfer to Maine Road. Anelka claimed the Old Trafford club equalled City’s offer for the frontman but Anelka rejected saying he was not interested because of their ‘management skills’. The 24-year-old told a French magazine: ‘According to my agent, he told me that Man Utd. had made an offer same as City’s and I was very flattered. The chance of joining one of Europe’s biggest clubs comes once in a lifetime but thinking about it I believed the management style of Mr Keegan was much better for myself rather that of Mr Ferguson.'” He revealed he was the number one target of the 56-year-old Ferguson and to help the Scot for an all out assault on the coveted Champions’ League. Anelka continued saying: “Sir Alex wanted to win the European Cup and I was the striker he wanted to win it but I had my heart set on City and also Mr Keegan understands much more than any other manager I’ve played under, that being no disrespect to Arsene Wenger who I admired a lot.” The Frenchman has been a revelation since joining the Maine Road side, scoring 11 times this season.

All We Are Saying is Give Alf A Chance: KK was reported to have offered a “Maine Road lifeline” to Alfie Haaland, when the boss said that he’ll give the midfielder six months to prove his fitness. This is surprising because the club gave Haaland six months notice only last week. Another interpretation of KK’s comments is that he’s trying to help the Norwegian get fit enough to play elsewhere, but judge for yourself: Keegan said: “Alfie has six months to prove his fitness and we will do everything we can to help. But he won’t be training for another three months.”

Broken Chopper: Paulo Wanchope must be the unluckiest player in City’s first team squad at the moment. Having recovered from his serious knee injury, which has kept him out of action since the summer’s World Cup, the Chopper has now dislocated his shoulder in training, and is out for the rest of the season. Kevin Keegan described it as a “freak accident,” then explained that “Paulo dislocated his shoulder in training on Sunday. He will be out for the rest of the season. It is a big blow for us and for him. Paulo had worked so hard to get back fit again. It is a real body blow for him. But these things happen in football. Just when you think, like he did, that you have turned the corner this happens. He was back in training and training very well with us. It was a complete freak accident, an innocuous thing. His shoulder came out when he fell. It went back in pretty easily, which is usually a good sign, but now he will have to have surgery.”

Don Barrie (


The Arsenal game was shown live in Australia and without doing a full match report, here are a few reflections.

Can’t blame Nash for any of the goals but Dunne was AWOL for the first three and Howey not much better. As much as I like Sun Jihai, he does tend to get caught out of position a bit due to his wandering upfield. SWP is the same, so we are a bit weak defensively on the right hand side. Sommeil didn’t really do much wrong and neither did Jensen but they didn’t feature much in the game. Belmadi and Foe were very disappointing in midfield and gave the defence little protection (still not convinced about Foe, should we buy him? Belmadi needs more time to show what he can do).

Berkovic was superb, as ever, and Anelka was good in parts though I noticed he tends to be a bit greedy at times when he should be making the easy pass. The big plus from the game for me was the fact that Fowler is beginning to show signs of his old sharpness. He was unlucky not to score at least one and could have had a hat trick against a lesser ‘keeper (5-4 would have been hard on Arsenal though!).

It’s the same old Keegan dilemma – great going forward but naïve defensively. Let’s just hope we can get that sorted out and stop giving away all these stupid goals. 4-4-2 would be a better option, without Dunne and Howey and with a new right-back.

By the way, when was the last time we conceded 5 at home? I remember Everton in the early 80s but have a feeling it might have been Liverpool in the mid-90s.

Martin Rayner – Melbourne (


Well, weren’t Arsenal awesome?

I mean, I thought we played quite well but in the first 19 they had 5 attacks, 4 shots and scored 4 times. But whatever their lethal attack, their defence is an object lesson for us. Simply because they and the midfield funnel back when they are being attacked. It’s been proved time and time again that you can give teams the wings as long as you bottle up the middle with numbers – you learn this playing for a works team or a half decent pub side so wtf can’t the likes of City’s defence and midfield cop on?

Sad to say but Dunne and Howey will have to go. I still think Lucy, with a bit of confidence in him, would be a better bet than either.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Fowler buy but he covered a lot of ground, making many smart runs with and without the ball on Saturday.

Where’s Bischoff? Everyone seems to like him – surely he’s got to be worth a run out now? He can’t be worse than D and H.

I’m still a believer in Sun Jihai – I think KK got it wrong tactically. And Jensen had a great game – will the knockers finally get off his back?

I’d like to see Sun in the Superkev slot with Wrighty on the right, particularly against the c**p teams and maybe, for the moment, bring Wiekens in and play him as a sweeper against the good ones.

Still a great season.

Re Peter Llewellyn’s contribution, I’m beginning to like the sound of Eastlands more and more. A City ground wouldn’t be a City Ground without a damp corner to pen the sheep sh*ggers and pie-eaters in at cup-ties. So let’s hear it for the New Gene Kelly, all together now… da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-dada-dada…

CTID, Nice to see Ashley making a comeback, regards to all.

Ernie Whalley (


Great to see so many City fans being positive about what happened last Saturday. Arsenal are a team you can play well against and lose 5-1 and if you play badly, you will certainly lose by at least that. Nice to see the Arsenal fan applauding the City fans for their sporting attitude, but let’s try to do the same when we actually expect to win, and stay behind the team for what has already been a better season than most expected, and let KK continue his rebuild. It ain’t going to work every week yet.

Dave Kilroy (


Just had to write in and try and get all the City whingers to think before they write in to your excellent MCIVTA.

I was at the game on Saturday and was as depressed about the result as any fellow Blue was, but the criticism of Dunnie is only shameful, they have short memories. Dunne was far from his best on Saturday, like a lot of the players, but I thought the idea of playing wing backs was to help their defence; I did not see Sun Jihai do this once on the right hand side in the first half on Saturday. I know he made a fantastic tackle in the second half (on the left). [Fair comment Tony, Sun seemed to be “ball watching” too much in the first half – Ed]

This season Dunne has had his problems but when he came back into the side he was one of our best players and last year he was one of our best players even though we attacked a lot more than we defended (I was at 12 games). I would like to say I stayed right to the end on Saturday and in the end I applauded city for showing their pride to their club and Arsenal for showing where we hope to get to soon.

The address at the end might give away where I’m from but if we are going to be critical of players we have to be fair to all. The wife taped it for me and Andy & Robbie backed me up, so even that has to be a first.

Tony MacManus – Co. Wicklow Blue (


TEAM          PTS   FORM (MAX=18)
Arsenal       83.33 14
Newcastle Utd 80.11 15.33
Man Ure       78.33 14
Charlton      65.83 12.5
Everton       64.67 10
Chelsea       61.33 08
-------------------------- Probable Euro Qualification Threshold
Liverpool     56.33 08
-------------------------- Possible Euro Qualification Threshold
Tottenham     56.33 08
Man City      55.78 10.67
Southampton   54.00 09
Blackburn     51.94 07.17
Aston Villa   51.67 10
Leeds Utd     47.33 08
Fulham        44.28 06.17
Middlesbrough 41.03 03.83
Bolton        33.22 04.33
Birmingham    33.17 02.5
West Ham Utd  30.50 04.5
West Brom     26.56 03.33
Sunderland    20.67 01

City’s slide continues – though we have played the top 3 in our last 6 games – we now miss Europe by a point (if 7 qualify). Charlton continue their impressive run and are now predicted to be playing Champions’ League footie next year! Southampton and Leeds’ league form is now starting to suffer as a result of being in the cup. Bolton and Brum still to survive at the expense of improving West Ham – with all the bottom 5 having less points than we did last time.

Blue Anorak a.k.a. Richard Mottershead (


Our (Blackpool & Fylde branch of the Supporters’ Club) guest this month was Bernard Halford, 30 years in post as Club Secretary. He brought Bert Lister with him. Bert, who now lives in Blackpool, was at City from schoolboy in 1954 until he moved to Oldham in 1960. Typically, the ex-City player done good. Bert scored 81 goals in 135 games for the Latics. He is now a member of the City Former Players’ Association and regularly goes back to Maine Road. Both Bert and Bernard were great value. I will try to remember some of what was said and hope you find some of it interesting.


The two met at Oldham, where Bernard was secretary before Malcolm Allison persuaded him to join City. Within weeks of moving to his new job, Malcolm had gone and the pattern was set. Bernard told us that times were hard at Oldham. He remembered a time when they couldn’t afford to buy soap for the players’ dressing rooms, so when they played away they would collect the soap provided by the home team and take it back to re-use at Boundary Park.

Clubs have to provide a brand new match ball for each game. Oldham couldn’t afford to buy one every fortnight and so Bernard used to take the ball to a mate of his who would spray paint it white ready for the next home game. He told us that if the ball was kicked into the crowd and didn’t come straight back, there would be no replacement chucked on to the pitch from the dug-out. The players would have to wait for it to be returned from the terraces.

City Managers

Of course, Bernard talked mostly about City. He has worked with 20-odd managers and as we already know he got on with them all apart from Ron Saunders. He is particularly sad that Kendall didn’t stay longer. Bernard can recite the date he arrived and the date he left. In the 11 months Kendall was manager we only lost 5 league games. Apparently, there was a chance that he might have returned at one stage. There have, after all, been quite a few occasions when the situation vacant sign has been up. However, Bernard says that when Kendall came to watch the team he received so much abuse from the crowd that he decided not to return.

Foreign Players

The first major import was Kazi Deyna. Bernard went over to Poland to secure his release. He told us that whilst he was playing in Poland, Deyna was treated like a king. As soon as it was known that he was leaving for Manchester, he was stripped of everything, including his passport. Bernard said he queued at the embassy for another but his visa ran out in the meantime. With guns pointed at him, Bernard had to leave Poland. He had to go back to London, get another visa and go back again.

Deyna spoke no English. Bernard had to do everything for him. He remembers going out and buying cutlery and other items for Deyna’s house. When Deyna turned up at the ground he would leave his car in front of the main entrance, drop his key on Bernard’s desk and say “Park car”. Once, he was dropped to the reserves. In those days the Central League games started at 2.00. Bernard realised that Deyna wouldn’t know about the earlier kick-off but he couldn’t get hold of him to tell him. Sure enough, Deyna arrived late and we played the first 25 minutes of the game against Everton Reserves with 10 men until he made it on to the pitch.

On another occasion a police car, in pursuit of Deyna’s car, was involved in a serious accident. When Bernard told him that he was in trouble with the police, “Not my fault police can’t drive” was the response.

Nowadays, new signings from abroad receive a pack containing all information about Manchester and England that they might need. That includes details of hotels and restaurants, places of interest and such things as advice not to park your car where there are 2 yellow lines painted on the road. Inevitably, the fines drop through the letterbox. Bernard has them paid and deducts the cost from the players’ wage.

He told us that, as you might expect, most of the players have fantastic home entertainment systems at home, including huge TV’s and satellite systems. Bernard said he received a lot of puzzled looks when he asked them all how many had TV licences.

When it was announced that Robbie Fowler was finally going to sign, the players were waiting for him to turn up for training for the first time. When he didn’t arrive (he was signing the contract) there was much merriment when it was announced to our squad that he had gone for his first French lesson.

Last Game

Premier League rules require 3,000 tickets to be made available to away fans. Southampton have duly asked for 3,000 tickets. Bernard says that the police, with crowd safety in mind, are thought to be considering that on that occasion the away support is restricted to Block UU (the Gene Kelly) only. In matters of safety, the police view prevails. The same thing happened of course with Pompey for the final game of last season. So Soton may only receive 1,363 tickets. I imagine that City are not trying to dissuade GMP.

Arrangements are still being made for the final game. Kick-off is 3.00. Pre-match entertainment is likely to start about 1.00. Afterwards, the celebrations will continue and ex-players are keen to be involved. Bernard says that celebrations will be curtailed if the crowd attempt to get on the pitch or start trying to unscrew their seats. City have undertaken to hand Maine Road over in good condition and will have to make good any damage caused.

New Stadium

There will be about 5,500 tickets available for sale for each home game. The Citycard system is likely to continue.

The stadium and pitch should be ready on 1st August. It is hoped that there will be a friendly match to commemorate the opening against overseas opposition. That match will be used to give fans chance to familiarise themselves with the layout of the COM Stadium.


Starting the season after next, the Academy teams will be U-16 and U-18. City, Tottenham and 2 other clubs voted against the change. The best player Bernard has seen in a City shirt is Colin Bell.

After the away derby, Bernard said that Shaun Goater was absolutely elated in the dressing room. He asked Bernard if he was going up to the Boardroom to see the Chairman and Directors. When the answer was yes, “Tell them that the Goat’s been fed” were his instructions.

Finally, after that same game City had 13 players on international duty. The Club has to arrange travel for them all. The players have to join up with their squads 48 hours before the game. Playing the game on Sunday caused more problems than usual. Jihai Sun (who, incidentally pays his own way because the Chinese football authority has no money) had to be in Beijing to prepare for a friendly against Brazil. At first Bernard believed that there was a flight at 8.30 on Sunday evening from Heathrow and so he thought he would have no trouble getting Sun down on the shuttle from Manchester.

But Bernard found out that the Heathrow flight wasn’t running and the only other option was a flight from Manchester at 3.55, via Copenhagen. Check-in being 2 hours before departure, Bernard contacted the airline and obtained permission for Sun to arrive at 3.10. Next he had to arrange transport from the ground through all the traffic. And so it came to pass that shortly before the match finished, with Sun still on the pitch, Bernard left his seat to meet a motorcycle and rider parked with permission from police and the club’s insurer, outside the Utd. superstore. Ten minutes after leaving the pitch (he still had a shower!) Bernard was helping Sun on to the back of the motorbike in front of thousands of curious Cockneys and Scandinavians. The player safely made it to the airport with 15 minutes to spare. I forgot to ask, but I hope he got a game after all that.

John Marsland (


Just a brief note covering the lack of a roof over the bottom tier of the stadium. I am am a regular fan but have read everything i have been able to get my hands on about the new stadium.

The roof, and whole stadium, has been designed to let the grass grow. What grass needs is sunlight, air and water.

The question is do you want to stay dry for the five or six games a season that it rains and watch the team having to hoof the ball because they are playing on a ploughed field, see Chelsea, Villa, the Swamp and Newcastle? Or do you want top see football played as it should be, on a good flat grass pitch?

I will be in the bottom tier at the new stadium and I go with the second option. I’ll be wearing a coat and hat when it rains, no problem.

Alistair Walker (


Well done Ashley Birch. I’m never one to ring up to phone-ins, but I nearly turned back down the M56 on Saturday night and waited for Fred Eyre to remove himself from his position of greatness and deem me with his presence. Who does he think he is?

Obviously opinions are like @”£%holes, we all have one. It’s just a pity that we had to put up with both the opinion and the aforementioned on Saturday. Whilst we all have high hopes for Macken and feel Goater deserves his place amongst City folklore, does he honestly believe that either could do a better job than Robbie? Does the Great One not know that Macken is still returning from an injury more serious than Fowler’s? He was actually pontificating over the fact that Fowler should be dropped until we had cemented or lost the chance of European football. Most of us live in a Blue haze but recognise that this is slightly too far for us this season. Surely getting Fowler games and building up an understanding with Anelka is far more important in the long term? What made it worse is that everyone around me thought that Fowler looked sharper, was hungry and didn’t give up.

Thank goodness we didn’t have the usual Keegan out / tactically naïve call. Fred would have been straight into Bernstein’s office, sorry he would have asked Bernstein to come and see him and give him the job there and then.

On the subject of pundits, apart from the excellent Gary Owen the best one I can remember was Paul Lake. He knew the game inside out, talked sense and wasn’t afraid to tell it straight. If GMR are reading this, next time I’d prefer Fresh Air than Fred Eyre.

Mark Robison (


Just read in the Manchester Evening News about a demo by the Red Rags trying to get kick off times back to a three o’clock kick off. Maybe all fans in all divisions should join in? Let’s get the footy back to where it belongs, and tell Sky that the fans want the traditional kick off time back. It’s a pain in the a**e when a game is a Sunday kick off or a midweek kick off. The air of expectation is not the same when we all know the results because other teams have had an early shower. After all, it is the fans who pay to watch the game live at the stadium. [Sounds like the Football Supporters’ Federation “Keep Saturday Special” campaign – Ed]

Also read with Interest the article on Chris Bird resigning, hope to God that this doesn’t mean that we are to have a few more unsettled seasons, after all the yo-yo rides of the past few years. The club have managed to have five years of relative stability, it would be an awful waste for it all to go down the pan.

P.S. was it only me who thought City played well against the Wenger boys? OK we lost 5-1 but still some good footy played.

CTID, Salty (


As a subscriber of MCIVTA in Norway l have only good things to say about the newsletter. Match reports and player-ratings from youth- and reserve-matches is something l really enjoy. What l do miss is the diary you had earlier about what happened on the exact date years ago. lnteresting and memorable. Wish that could be brought back.

[Ken Corfield very kindly, or madly, agreed to do the diary a couple of seasons back. He completed the full 12 months, which meant that only current information would be added. The back issues can be found on the website – Ed]

Jan Inge Hommen (


Mike Stearman writes… “The choice of 33 for Robbie Fowler is the number currently puzzling numerologists. Has he chosen it because 3×3 = 9? Or, as someone said to me on Saturday: it’s because his nickname is God – and the son of God was crucified at the age of 33. One to ponder over anyway.”

Erm… his nickename is actually Cod! Check his facial profile! 33p a pound at Smithfield market…?

Joel Perry (


What do other fans think about the treatment of Alfie? Should some sort of benefit event be organised by either Club or fans?

Peter (


Blue Moon Ring Tone, suitable for most Nokia phones with the composer facility.

0 PRESS & HOLD 7 8 PRESS & HOLD 5 # 8
7 9 9 0 8 6 8 7
1 # * PRESS & HOLD 7 * * PRESS & HOLD 7
6 7 9 0 4 # 8
5 # 6 PRESS & HOLD 5 #
PRESS & HOLD 5 # 4 # 5 # 9
0 3 8 4 #
1 # 3 9

Tempo = 112

CTID, Steve Lewer (


24 February 2003

Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 1  Fulham                34,704

League table to 26 February 2003 inclusive.

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal         28 12  1  1 33 13  6  5  3 29 17 18  6  4  62  30  32  60
 2 Manchester Utd  28 11  2  1 26  9  5  5  4 19 17 16  7  5  45  26  19  55
 3 Newcastle Utd   27 12  1  1 25  8  4  3  6 20 24 16  4  7  45  32  13  52
 4 Chelsea         28  8  4  2 28 12  5  5  4 21 17 13  9  6  49  29  20  48
 5 Everton         28  9  4  1 22 13  5  2  7 15 20 14  6  8  37  33   4  48
 6 Charlton Ath.   28  7  3  4 23 18  6  3  5 16 16 13  6  9  39  34   5  45
 7 Liverpool       28  5  8  1 20 12  6  2  6 19 16 11 10  7  39  28  11  43
 8 Tottenham H.    28  8  4  2 26 17  4  3  7 15 21 12  7  9  41  38   3  43
 9 Blackburn R.    28  6  5  3 19 14  4  5  5 15 18 10 10  8  34  32   2  40
10 Southampton     28  7  5  2 18 11  3  4  7 11 17 10  9  9  29  28   1  39
11 Manchester City 28  7  1  6 24 24  4  4  6 15 19 11  5 12  39  43  -4  38
12 Aston Villa     28  9  1  4 21  9  1  4  9 10 23 10  5 13  31  32  -1  35
13 Middlesbrough   27  7  5  1 25 16  2  2 10  8 15  9  7 11  33  31   2  34
14 Leeds United    28  5  2  7 14 17  5  2  7 20 20 10  4 14  34  37  -3  34
15 Fulham          28  8  2  4 19 11  1  5  8 13 24  9  7 12  32  35  -3  34
16 Birmingham City 28  4  4  6 14 19  3  4  7 11 22  7  8 13  25  41 -16  29
17 Bolton Wndrs    28  3  7  4 19 21  2  4  8 12 24  5 11 12  31  45 -14  26
18 West Ham United 28  1  6  7 13 22  4  2  8 17 31  5  8 15  30  53 -23  23
19 West Brom A.    28  3  4  7 12 19  2  2 10  9 24  5  6 17  21  43 -22  21
20 Sunderland      28  3  2  9  9 20  1  5  8 10 25  4  7 17  19  45 -26  19

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.09]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup) :
News/rumour (Don Barrie) :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul) :
FAQ (David Warburton) :

[1] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, 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:

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels.

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

The music we run out to at Maine Road is “Nightmare” by Brainbug and is available on the Positiva label.

[10] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[11] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[12] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to John Arnold for providing the match day music information, to Ian Bell for pointing out the alternate live match commentary service and to Damian Quinn, Stephen Webb and Roger Haigh for the Satellite TV info.

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 #893