Newsletter #907

Hello all.

As Heidi is away on business, I’m filling her shoes. Although I must admit they are a bit tight, and I’m not used to heels :o)

Anyway, plenty of news and views, especially about Blue Nose and Calamity James, and a good Why Blue from Barry.

Thanks to Don and Paul as usual for what is otherwise a quiet issue.

Must be the weather!

Plenty of action to come over the glorious summer sunshine of the Easter break, so we expect to have a packed issue 908, keep those articles coming in to

Next games: Tottenham Hotspur, away, 3pm Friday 18 April 2003 (tv)
Sunderland, home, 3pm Monday 21 April 2003
Countdown: 24 days


General News

Great Dane to Exit the Stage: Peter Schmeichel has announced that he will retire at the end of the season. Writing in his column in The Sunday Times, the 39-year-old said: “You’re supposed to wake up every morning and look forward to the challenges of the day but now my body is not happy any more. I’d always promised I’d move on when this moment arrived. It’s time to end my playing career. It has taken a month of soul-searching to make this decision, the most difficult of my career. My retirement has come in phases. I left Manchester United in 1999 so that I could play somewhere less hectic and have more time to recover between games. It’s hard to accept that at 4.50pm at Maine Road on May 11 the final whistle will sound on more than just another game and another season. There’s a time to let go, to get on with my life. It’s over.” Schmeichel added that he could no longer ignore the danger signals coming from his own body. “My joints are worn, and although nothing needs replacing yet, it might get to that point if I keep playing.” Schmeichel had initially planned to retire in 2001 when playing for Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon. “An old boys’ match in Denmark changed everything – there was no spark in the game, it was just a social occasion, and I realised I wasn’t ready to give up the thrill of competition,” the Denmark international explained. “So I came back to England and enjoyed these past two years with Aston Villa and Manchester City. This time I’m ready. I’m even ready to try playing for fun.” Schmeichel won five Premiership titles with the Reds, along with three FA Cups, a League Cup and the 1998/99 European Champion Clubs’ Cup. He also played for Denmark 129 times, and was instrumental in their victory in the 1992 UEFA European Championship. The highlight of his year at with City was probably captaining the team to victory in the last ever Maine Road derby in November.

Title Clinched: Just to show that City are capable of winning trophies, the under-19 side confirmed their capture of their regional divisional championship. They were run close by Nottingham Forest, who won their last four games to leave City needing four points from two games to clinch the title. The Blues duly achieved this with a notable double, beating Liverpool 1-0 on Friday, then overcoming Stoke City 4-0 three days later. The under-19’s now go into a play-off semi-final with Blackburn, with the winners to play either West Ham or Aston Villa. The eventual winners receive the National Championship (thanks to Mr. Dickens for these details).

Interim Only: Interim Chairman John Wardle insists that he does not want the post on a permanent basis. “It feels like I have been doing the job for about 17 months,” he told BBC GMR. “The chairman’s rôle doesn’t suit me, I would much prefer just to be a supporter and help out whenever I can. When David Bernstein left it was natural for me to bridge the gap because I knew what was going on at the club and continuity is important. People have asked me to stay on, which is very nice, but while I will stay with it until the end of the season, after that we have to look very hard because we don’t want any more upsets.” He was quick to scotch rumours that Chris Bird would be invited back to the club in the summer. “Chris Bird put in five very valuable years at this club. When he came here, the club was on its backside and he hauled it round. The same could also be said of David Bernstein but I very much doubt either of them will come back,” he said. Wardle confirmed that no decision had been made regarding the manager’s close season transfer budget. “We need to see how the season finishes and then talk to Kevin,” he said. “He will no doubt tell us how he feels and what he would like but there have been no big decisions yet, we still have that to come.”

When Doves Cry: City have announced the line up for the final match day at Maine Road on May 11. It doesn’t sound like Oasis will be gracing the hallowed ground, as the musical festivities are to be headed by the Doves, with support from the Sounds of the Blues Brothers. Doves’ frontman Andy Williams, a confirmed ‘Blues Brother’, can’t wait. “It’s an absolute honour for us to be asked to play at Maine Road at the last ever game. I think it was probably about 20 years ago that the truth sank in that the three of us would never play football there, but now we’re doing the next best thing! The place holds many memories for many people, so here’s to all the top times, and the not so good times!, and to our future success at the City of Manchester Stadium.” Outside the ground roving bands and face painters will help to add to the party atmosphere, while there is expected to be a parade of past City greats. John Wardle commented: “Maine Road and the surrounding Moss Side area have proved a wonderful home for the Club for the best part of a century, and we intend to give the stadium a great send off. We owe our loyal fans a great debt of thanks for their continued support here over the years, and this day of celebration should prove a fitting tribute to the many memories we share of Maine Road.” The post match entertainment will immediately follow the final whistle and is expected to last approximately an hour. Tickets for the game against Southampton are not yet available, further details will be confirmed shortly.

Defeat for Reserves: The home form of the Reserves continues to disappoint, as they lost 1-0 to Liverpool at Hyde’s ground. This was the fifth consecutive home game that the City reserves side have failed to win and are now ten points behind leaders Aston Villa and only four games left to play. Markus Babbel scored the game’s only game after 6 minutes, following Carlo Nash’s failure to deal with a corner. Team: Nash, Jihai Sun (Orr 60), Jordan, Whelan, Howey, Bischoff, Flood, Elliott, Vuoso, Horlock (Croft 60), Shuker. Subs: Ellegaard, Tickle, Gilder.

Transfer News and Gossip

No Decision on Belmadi: KK has decided to take a longer look at Djamel Belmadi, whose loan period ran out on April 14, the same date as City’s option to buy the Algerian international. So far the £3 million-rated midfielder has started only two games and made three substitute appearances, and after an impressive home début against Fulham, has struggled with injuries. KK therefore wants to give Belmadi further time to prove his worth.

Search for a Smikes Successor: With Peter Schmeichel’s retirement now confirmed, the speculation has begun on whether KK will bring in an experienced goalkeeper for next term. David James of West Ham Utd. has been mentioned yet again, but his availability will surely depend on whether the Hammers are in the Premiership next season. Other names in the hat include Leeds’ Nigel Martyn, Jussi Jaaskelainen of Bolton and Sunderland’s Thomas Sorensen.

Ex-Blues’ News

Bernie’s Back: Somebody was clearly impressed by David Bernstein’s work with City – the former Blues’ chairman was appointed to the Board of Wembley National Stadium Limited as a Non-Executive Board Member. Many problems and delays have beset the Wembley project, so Bernstein’s experience of overseeing the move to the City of Manchester Stadium will be a welcome addition to the North London scheme. WNSL chairman Michael Jeffries noted “This is a key appointment, which strengthens the board in the area of stadium operations and underlines our commitment to redevelop Wembley Stadium to the highest standards.”

A Week in the Life of Badbuy: What a funny old week for our old hero Lee Bradbury. As reported last week, Bradbury scored for Sheffield Wednesday before returning to Portsmouth after a month’s loan. He promptly found himself back in the Pompey side, and scored the opening goal – against Sheffield Wednesday. A win for the South coast club would have secured a Premiership place, but the bottom Division One side beat the top club 2-1. Portsmouth were finally promoted on Tuesday, after beating Burnley 1-0 at Fratton Park.

Reactions and Comments

Fun in the Sun (Almost): The last ever Saturday game at Maine Road produced less than sumptuous fayre, as City drew 0-0 with Middlesbrough. “It wasn’t a great game but there were some good performances for us and I thought Joey Barton was exceptional,” declared Special K. “We kept a pretty good and tight line at the back but our creativity was very limited and up front we were not firing. To be fair to Jon Macken and Shaun Goater when they came on we got a bit more of a foothold in the game that Nicolas Anelka and Robbie Fowler had managed. When they came on at least we started looking like the home team. In the first half you have thought Middlesbrough were the home team, they had a lot of possession and our play broke down a lot.” It was the double substitution of Fowler and Anelka that provoked most comment in the weekend press, as well as the cheers engendered by the departure of Kev’s “dream team” strike force. “The crowd pay the money and have the right to react in any way they want,” he stated. “I have never ever criticised a crowd and I never ever will. If they want to get behind the team that helps a lot but sometimes if they feel, for whatever reason, they need to do something different then players accept that. They get cheered when they do well and sometimes there is the opposite if they do not do so well. I have the right to change things if they are not working,” continued Keegan. “I do not question their effort but I am looking for one of them to create something out of nothing. I still believe in them but it is difficult to make a case for them today. I gave it the best part of an hour. They are both quiet lads but very different to each other, which I believe is one of the keys to a good partnership. Robbie Fowler will be much better with a full pre-season behind him. He hasn’t just missed one year, he’s missed three because he was injured when I took him to Euro 2000,” he said. “As for Nicolas, he was outstanding for us in the early part of the season. Now he needs a bit of help.” Boro boss Steve McClaren was happier with his team’s performance, insisting he never thought they were in danger of losing an unbeaten record, which now stretches to eight games. He said: “I was pleased with the way we controlled the game. City never looked like scoring and our play was excellent until the final third. Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu in particular were excellent. They are there to keep clean sheets and Fowler and Anelka going off is a sign they did their job well.”

Bye Bye Wing Backs: One of the more interesting moves of the day saw Keegan try out a 4-4-2 formation, with Distin and Sommeil at centre back, Dunne at right back and Wright-Phillips playing left sided midfield. “It wasn’t forced on me and probably would have been easier to stay with a three,” explained Keegan. “I had a discussion with Arthur Cox and Derek Fazackerley and said that as things weren’t going too well it was probably time to change things. We have stuck with the system mainly because the players have always known that system. But I thought against Middlesbrough we looked quite solid at the back. I thought David Sommeil and Sylvain Distin both played very well and it gave us a nice solid base, so I was pleased with them. I will definitely persist with the system and eventually we will go to a four. We have never had the players at this club to do that all fit at the same time. A lot of the things that I saw in the game against Middlesbrough I liked though there were one or two things which disappointed me. I thought we would get more possession in midfield and get out a bit easier from the back. But Middlesbrough worked hard with two exceptional centre backs and they are where they are because they have a solid foundation.”

Delighted Distin: City’s latest skipper, Sylvain Distin, sounded like he was comfortable with the new defensive system. “I think it is easier than playing three in the middle,” he said. “It is the first clean sheet for a long time so perhaps that is how to sum up the change in system. We talked about the change in system with the coaches. It was their decision on the change and we worked hard on it during training. It was not a really good game against Middlesbrough but the result was a point and a clean sheet after such a poor run of results.” Distin also reinforced his manager’s praise for Joey Barton. “The performance of Joey Barton is not just good for him personally but also for the team. He has become and important part of the team. He is a good example to other young players in the squad. They know if they work hard they will get their chance.”

Squad News

Joey Signs New Deal: Joey Barton has capped an exciting couple weeks by signing a new one year contract. The 20-year-old made an impressive début at Bolton, then followed up with a Man of the Match award for the Middlesbrough match. “Joey has just signed for another year. He is on the fringes of the first team and the idea of a year’s contract is to let us see if he does well. I have explained that to his agent,” revealed Kevin Keegan. “But if he does not do well he really doesn’t want to be stuck here as a twenty-one-year-old when he could be playing elsewhere. I think football has gone very short term in that respect. There is no doubt Joey is improving and he now feels part of the first team squad, which is something he couldn’t have said a few months ago.” In the current uncertain financial climate that football is in, KK reckons that longer term contracts will not be favoured by clubs. “The idea of giving players in the future five or six year contracts I believe will be a thing of the past, unless they are absolutely exceptional,” said the Boss Man. “I don’t think a long term deal is good for anyone. Maybe it is the way I feel but at this club I would rather players play for contracts. We have got Richard Dunne on a contract until 2005/6. He, apart from Nicolas Anelka, has got the longest deal. Richard signed a six-year contract at the time. I am not saying there was anything wrong with that, but the thinking has now changed. If Joey Barton does well he will get his rewards. If he does not then he is free to talk to other clubs next Christmas. I don’t think the players will lose and I have told them that. If they don’t do well then this way they will not have a millstone round their necks. There are a lot of players, not just at this club, who have got contracts way beyond what they wish they have.” Robbie Fowler has paid tribute to his fellow Liverpudlian. “Being a fellow Scouser we travel together and I have become very close to him since I signed for City. I am not surprised he took his chance so well at Bolton. I have witnessed him in training and you can see the ability and the desire. Until the weekend I had never seen him in a game and I think he was by far the best City player on the pitch. He was the shining light. It was just a shame that he had to make his début in a poor Manchester City performance but I am sure there will be more games for him. I watched Stevie Gerrard grow up into a player at Liverpool and there are some similarities with Joey, right down to the haircut. They are both competitive players who are very good on the ball and Joey is improving all the time. What Joey has to do is make sure he listens to the right people and not get carried away. I know he comes from a level-headed family and will keep his feet on the ground. He is hungry to learn and confident enough in his own ability to try new things but he basically just wants to play football. I genuinely don’t think the trappings and fame that go with Premiership football are that important to him. He is a lad who just loves football. Joey is a down to earth and it bodes well for him and Manchester City.”

Contrasting Views: At the other end of the player age range, two veterans of our sojourn in the Second Division are facing up to life as squad players. Gerard Wiekens has admitted that he is unsure whether his future will be with the club, following a season of sporadic appearances for the Blues. “It’s not the first time in my City career that I have had doubts about my future,” he admitted. “I played for Veendam for seven years and played in almost every game in that time. Then I came here, and for the first five years, the same thing happened. I was always pretty sure that I would be in the first team. I have been dropped before but I have always come back again, but this is the first season I have been out as much as I have been, and it’s been hard at times. It’s difficult when you are doing well but cannot break into the side. I’ve been a professional for more than 10 years now, and I have been used to playing in big stadiums, so some reserve games were tough. I remember one against West Brom, when the conditions and facilities were tatty, and I was thinking ‘what am I doing?’ It is tough to keep going sometimes. But I am back now and hope to keep my place until the end of the season.” Facing a similar threat to his first team chances, Shaun Goater meanwhile is not prepared to give up his City status without a fight. Goater said: “I still see myself as one of the top two strikers at Manchester City. If I thought that I was third or fourth choice, I couldn’t prepare myself mentally for games. But I have always enjoyed a challenge and when new people come in, I’m up for the challenge of keeping them out of the team. If I play as well as I can, then I’m as good as most players and that’s what makes me look at the task ahead and go for it. It’s up to the manager and the only way to persuade him of my worth is when I get the chance to play or come off the bench. You are ultimately judged on the goals you score and that’s all I can do to get a regular place in the side. But the club has been brilliant for my career and I couldn’t find myself happier anywhere else in the world, that’s why I want to finish my career here.”

Berko Injury Woe Means No Go: Eyal Berkovic will not feature in either of City’s fixtures over the Easter period. The Israeli has not regained full fitness after his recent operation, and was substituted at half time in the Middlesbrough game. KK refuses to rule Eyal out for the rest of the season, however. “I don’t think there is too much wrong with Eyal and I am not going to write the season off as far as he is concerned,” declared the manager. “But it is a problem when players come back from injury quickly and are not doing the base training work. Eyal wasn’t himself against Middlesbrough and just couldn’t do the things he wanted to do. I said to him at half-time: ‘You are struggling aren’t you?’ And he agreed. He is going to have to have two or three weeks to see if he can get his problem right.” This means that Berkovic will also miss his country’s key Euro 2004 qualifying game with Cyprus later this month. Israel, who have four points from their first three qualifying games, have to beat Cyprus to keep alive their hopes of making the finals in Portugal next summer in a group topped by France. National coach Avraam Grant said: “I have no doubt that Eyal wants to play for the national team, but first of all he has to be fit.”

Worry for Weaver: Nicky Weaver has been in the United States this week to see the surgeon who has already operated three times on the goalkeeper’s knee, to find out if a fourth procedure is required. The 24-year-old has endured a miserable year since damaging his knee in a game at Birmingham in March 2002. “It is a rare injury and hopefully the specialist will shed some light on it. If I do need to have the operation then I will have it. I went through a programme last month working in the gym with leg weights and in the pool. Before I go to the States I will do some training outside and see how the knee reacts. I want to make sure we have done everything we can as going over there is a last resort. But hopefully I won’t need an operation. It has been thirteen months since I last played and if I do have this operation then it will be three months on crutches and that means another six or seven months at least before I am back. I just hope it does not turn into that as before I know it, it could be two years since I have played. I don’t want to get to that stage. If I do need this operation and have it next week then the good thing is I will be on crutches during the close season and will be able to start in the gym in pre-season. But it is hard to stay upbeat because just as I thought I was getting over it, back it came. The most alarming thing is that it happened due to a little knock. It wasn’t someone clattering into me; it was just a little thing that sparked it off. That is the most disappointing thing.”

Don Barrie (


Just heard from a good source from the gym the City team use – Holmes Place, Didsbury – that Darren Huckerby is playing for City on Friday. Please tell me this is true. If it is all I can say is welcome back goals.

Keith Taylor (


KK if you’re reading this please, please, please don’t go for Calamity James – yes he’s a great shot stopper, but his judgement for crosses and when coming off his line is atrocious/comical (depending on whether he’s playing for England or West Ham). Wouldn’t Nigel Martyn be a better option? He’d be almost certainly available on a free, or minimal fee. He’s only 36 – prime age for a ‘keeper and assuming that Nicky Weaver is City’s long term goalkeeper (he needs to get back to the form he showed in our play-off season though) an ideal quality ‘keeper to ensure some competition for the No. 1 spot. He’s an established International (23 internationals, 9 clean sheets), the reason he was dropped from the Leeds team was a reluctance to travel to the far east on a friendly tour immediately after sitting on the side-line for England in their world-cup stint in Japan, nothing to do with his form.

John Bellairs



Scousers Continue City’s Poor Home Run

An early goal by Markus Babbel from a mistake by Carlo Nash ensured that City have now failed to win their last five games at home. Indeed, the last time we won at home was when we beat title challengers Sunderland 2-1 back on the 21st January. Since then our reserve season has taken a downward spiral by only winning two of our last nine games and returning just eight points from a possible twenty seven.

Right from the fourth minute, City were up against it as they went down to a goal from a corner by Michael Foley, converted by Markus Babbel. He was gifted a simple tap in when Carlo Nash came out to collect the cross but just dropped the ball behind him, straight at Babbel’s feet. It had looked from the kick-off that City were hungry for the points when they won their first corner after only ten seconds, but as the final scoreline shows, that was not the case.

There is little to take from the game as City only appeared to have two players putting any real effort in after they went a goal behind. These two players were Kevin Horlock and much improved and eventual Man of the Match for the second game running, Matias Vuoso. It is really pleasing to see him showing some form and his recent efforts deserve a place on the bench in either of our next couple of games. But the sarcasm that Kevin Keegan displayed when the announcement of his Man of the Match award was given, leads me to believe unfortunately that will not be the case.

Both sides failed to dominate play and were unable to convert the half chances that fell to them due to good saves from both ‘keepers from shots from Vuoso, Glen Whelan and ex-City youngster Neil Mellor. Vuoso was also unlucky to see his header clawed away from goal, in very similar style to Seaman in last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final. City were then very fortunate not to go into the break being two nil down on the forty fourth minute, when Sun Jihai blatantly pushed Mark Smyth to the ground in the area, but the referee failed to give a deserved penalty.

The second half again saw neither side dominate possession and only half chances fall to either side. However, a fine save from Patrice Luzi on fifty five minutes from a deflected Stephen Elliott effort that was looping in just under the bar prevented the Blues drawing level. With five minutes to go, Carlo Nash pulled off a fantastic save to deny Smyth when Steve Howey went missing in defence as usual; Smyth created the time and space to shoot for the bottom corner of the net but somehow Carlo tipped it round the post.

With four games left, on this form they will be lucky to just to manage a top five position. We have to wonder if next summer’s purchases will yield a squad that gives options both for the first team and the reserves. Having the ability and strength in both teams allows young, talented players to play well in a strong reserve side and hopefully allows them eventually to progress to the first team. At present our second string squad seems to lack that spark.

Nash: His efforts were unable to help the team overturn his early mistake. 6
Sun (61): Once again I question is this man a footballer; he doesn’t think like one. 5
Jordan: Steady eddy at the back. 6
Whelan: Very poor game by the Irishman, kept giving the ball away. 5
Howey: He seams to get worse with each match played. 5
Bischoff (capt): Only marginally better than Howey. 6
Flood: Never really got into the game. 6
Elliott: Worked hard up front with no decent service. 7
Vuoso: Liverpool couldn’t get near him. MoM. 9
Horlock (61): Did his best to break up play and spread the ball about for 60 mins. 7.5
Shuker: Kept running down blind alleys. 6

Croft (61): Didn’t make a difference to the lack of service before he came on. 6
Orr (61): Doesn’t play regularly in the U19s – so why in the reserves? 5

Not Used:
Ellegaard, Tickle, Gilder.

Luzi, Vaughan, Butler, Foley, Raven, Babbel(capt)(Flynn 81), Potter, Welsh, Mellor (Gillespie 72), Berger, Smyth.

Goals: Babbel (4).

Att: 875.

Gavin Cooper (


For those that are still unsure about exactly where the new stadium is, here is a link to an aerial photo; the grey building to the lower left of centre is Piccadilly Railway station, the new ground is the large building site (very old aerial photo) to the upper right of centre.

Visited the CoMS a couple of weeks back, looks very good indeed. You can see it from a good way off, got a feeling from way back in time of sitting on the bus coming up Princess Parkway for a evening game and seeing the old floodlights blazing away in the darkness over Moss Side. I can imagine the same kind of feeling when the CoMS is all switched on.

Seems to be a very good selection of pubs fairly close, both large and small. I would think that a very large one called The Bradford a couple of blocks SW? from the ground would become the new Parkside.

Let’s hope the beer’s good (I second that – Guest Ed.).

And for Mr. KK, if he ever reads this, I had a dream, where you substituted the lazy walk about Foe with the hard working, chase everything, get back and help the defence, get forward and do your bit in front of goal Mr. S. Goater. Not the most obvious of choices but he can’t do any less then Foe.

All the best, Ron Smith (


I have noticed quite a few players in the Premiership that have some kind of greasy substance on the front of their jerseys. Patrick Vieria and Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal are two players that come to mind that I see every time with greased jerseys. I think it might be some kind of Vick rub, to help them breathe better. Another opinion is that it helps them get out of tight situations. What does the panel think?

(I thought they just had runny noses – Guest Ed)

Tony Moran (


I don’t often contribute to the forum but thought that my final visit to the hallowed ground (first visit for 10 years or so) warranted some action.

I can’t say why I am Blue but I always have been and always will be for my sins. From the earliest times in my native Benchill, all I can remember was that my brother (4 years older but not wiser) was a Red and I was a Blue. My first visit to Maine Road was in 1953-4 season with my father. I was 10 years old and my dad said that it was young enough as lads should be playing football and not watching it. Actually, I think that he was dead right – over the years, I’ve watched kids at matches and I think that they usually get bored. Anyway, the game was City Reserves vs. Bolton Reserves. Can’t remember much about the game other than that we watched it from the Platt Lane (before seats, of course) and that there was fair crowd – probably around 3-5,000. Don’t remember the score, but Ken Barnes was playing, as was John Savage, Bert Trautmann’s perennial stand-in.

My first real game was, strangely enough, City vs. Bolton – sometime around Christmas 1954. I think the score was 2-1 to the Blues. I recall that Dave Ewing had a head to head with Nat Lofthouse and ended up with a bloody bandage around his scalp. I saw another half-a-dozen games that season and, from 1955-6, became a regular with my father. We settled down on the old Scoreboard End, about halfway up, to the left of the goal. At the time, it was an amazing place to watch a game. The same people came week in, week out and, although they were City fans, they appreciated good play by either side. I recall a game when Matthews cried off fairly late and the crowd booed. In those days, unlike today, they wanted to see good players on both teams. Why not, we pay good money, so why not see the best?

I’m not going to go all through my City watching life, suffice so say, it’s had more ups and downs than the old Belle Vue ‘Bobs’. Ah, happy days, that included Saturday nights at the Aces when they were a power in the land.

My life has taken me away from Manchester for most of the last thirty-five years and now I live on the west coast of Ireland! However, as a birthday treat, my wife thought that I should see Maine Road one last time and bought me a ticket for the Middlesbrough game. Could have been better but, as a friend said, I was really there for the nostalgia not the football. When it was announced that City were going to decamp to the CoMS, I must admit to being a bit sceptical but now, having seen Maine Road again, I think it is for the best. The old lady looks really tatty now and none of the so-called improvements have been for the better. I used to have a season ticket in the North Stand but, with the passing of the years, had forgotten what an ill-designed stand it is. Ok, the viewing is generally good, but the facilities are appalling. I used to wonder what would happen to anyone caught in the bar/toilet area if a fire had broken out.

I have never seen the ‘new’ Platt Lane or Kippax before and just wonder what kind of designers City employed – they must have been sketched out on a ‘fag’ packet. The Kippax is staggering – it is an enormous and incredibly ugly structure and yet holds relatively few spectators. The old Maine Road was a purpose-designed stadium, really modern in its day. However, the integrity of its structure has been totally destroyed by the piecemeal nature of the various redevelopments. I managed to catch a sight of new stadium on the train into Piccadilly – it certainly looks impressive and I hope to see a few games next season.

I won’t bother to comment on the game itself, as others have already said all that is to be said – and that’s not much. Regarding the team, what a problem KK has to sort out. My host for the weekend was a long-term Liverpool season ticket holder and he told me that Liverpool fans had been demanding Fowler’s departure for two seasons before he left for Leeds. Everything that he said about Robbie was evident in this match – lack of pace, lack of effort, lack of fitness, lack of brains, you name it. If KK can bring him back from the dead, he will be a miracle worker (well, Easter is approaching!). I felt a bit sorry for Anelka – although he was fairly ineffective, he covered a lot of ground and received neither support nor service. Jon Macken looked good when he came on and he is one for the future but, sadly, Shaun is not. As for Paulo, I’m a bit sceptical whether we will see him in blue again – I reckon that he could be on his way during the summer.

It was great to see a 4-4-2 (of sorts) and to hear KK say on Radio Manchester that he would probably play this way in future. I thought that Distin and Sommeil were fairly impressive, although not unduly tested, and I reckon that Jensen will be ok playing full back rather than wing back, but I don’t think that Dunnie is cut out for this rôle. Agree with the comments about Joey Barton, he does look a decent player. Heard today that he has just signed a new 1-year contract – why only 1-year though?

There is definitely need for new blood in midfield. Ali will never be able to match the pace of the Premier, Eyal is good but a bit fragile, while Kevin’s day in the top class are numbered. Regarding Marc-Vivien, personally, I think that he is an excellent player but I don’t think that he will ever excel in English football – somehow, his style doesn’t seem suited for it. Anyway, it looks like he’s on his way.

Goalkeeper is a worry with Peter departing – mind you, I thought he looked a bit creaky on Saturday and was not surprised at the news. Nicky is an unknown quantity now, while Carlo is an excellent reserve but probably not quite top class. As for James, no way!

So, I reckon that City need to sign a top class ‘keeper, at least one full back, a couple of midfield players and at least one striker for next season.

We’ll see!

Barry Taylor (


Oldie With A Twist.

A young diehard City fan, who also happens to be a devout Catholic, goes to Rome with his mum. His big desire is to speak to the Pope.

His mum tells him that the Pope will be doing a run round Rome in the popemobile the next morning and that he should wear his City shirt as the Pope is a big football fan and may stop to talk to him if he sees his football shirt.

Next morning the lad is decked out in his City shirt and gets a place right at the front of the crowd. As the popemobile approaches it slows down and his heart starts to pound, but his excitement turns to dismay as it passes.

The dismay turns to despair as the popemobile stops further down and the Pope gets out and talks to a young lad in a United shirt.

The City lad, overcome with grief, goes back to his hotel with his mum and cries all night long. When he awakes in the morning he sees a United shirt on the end of his bed.

His mum comes in the room and says that he should wear it when the Pope does his tour of the City that day, to catch his attention as he obviously knows United from their European exploits.

The boy remonstrates and says he could never wear a United shirt, but eventually his mum convinces him it is the best way to get to speak to the Pope.

So sure enough the little lad wears the shirt and pushes his way to the front of the crowd. This time as the popemobile approaches his heart pounds as it slows down, and this time stops.

The Pope gets out and approaches him, leans forward, puts his hand on the lad’s shoulder and says “I thought I told you yesterday, p**s off back to London.”

Dave Kilroy (


I have 1 adult and 1 child ticket for sale for West Ham game. If anybody is interested let me know.

Anne (


Dear friends, I was hoping there may be a benevolent soul out there in City land who may have 1 or 2 unusable spare tickets for Spurs on Friday. Home for the weekend and am desperate to go. Any chance? Will work for tickets.

If not I’ll take any miracle tickets for Southampton! Flying home especially and not a sign of a ticket. Got the Saddam costume ready and everything. Happy to cough up (but not to touts) for the opportunity.

Hoping for the strikers to strike and the defenders to defend.

Carlos fandango and his super blue wheels a.k.a. Huw Thomas (


This is a request to anybody who will be getting tickets for the final game at Maine Road with loyalty points or whatever. Due to playing footy on a Saturday myself, I have no loyalty points. If anybody only has need for two tickets and could get a couple extra I would be very grateful. I will willingly pay any expenses and for your ticket as well.

Thanks in advance, yours desperately – Jamie (


Does anyone have a spare ticket for Friday? I can pick up outside the ground. Please call Gav on 07961 428 538.

Gavin Stewart (


Someone made the point recently about fellow MCIVTA readers offering each other tickets at cost price out of a feeling of friendship and fellow suffering etc. Obviously the Southampton game is somewhat special, but £250 for a season ticket which cannot be used! No thanks. Can anyone elee help me… please?

Chris (


Someone was asking (I think in MCIVTA 903)about Hammers fixture in Helsinki. You should go to bar across the railway station (at least if I remember correctly). I live in Turku so I’m not quite sure, but I think it is called Sports Academy or something like that). Other thing… are there many Finnish Blues out there? I’ve been following the club very closely for past about 18 years and in my time I’ve come across only handful of Blues. It would be nice to organize maybe some trips together ’cause currently I have to drag my fiancée to Manchester to see the games and she’s not too keen to spend for my beloved team (isn’t that a pity?).

Anyway I have to thank Heidi and everyone at MCIVTA for keeping us informed!

Antti Halm (


16 April 2003

Arsenal                       2 - 2  Manchester United      38,164

League table to 16 April 2003 inclusive.

                   HOME              AWAY          OVERALL
                   P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  34 14  2  1 35 10 7  6  4 28 21  21  8  5 63 31 32  71
 2 Arsenal         33 14  2  1 39 16 6  6  4 30 20  20  8  5 69 36 33  68
 3 Newcastle Utd   33 14  1  2 34 16 5  3  8 23 27  19  4 10 57 43 14  61
 4 Chelsea         33 10  4  2 34 12 7  5  5 26 20  17  9  7 60 32 28  60
 5 Everton         33 10  5  1 24 14 6  3  8 19 24  16  8  9 43 38  5  56
 6 Liverpool       33  8  8  1 27 13 7  2  7 22 22  15 10  8 49 35 14  55
 7 Blackburn R.    33  9  5  3 23 14 5  5  6 20 23  14 10  9 43 37  6  52
 8 Tottenham H.    33  9  4  3 30 21 4  4  9 17 26  13  8 12 47 47  0  47
 9 Middlesbrough   33  9  7  1 31 18 3  3 10 11 17  12 10 11 42 35  7  46
10 Charlton Ath.   33  7  3  6 24 26 6  4  7 17 20  13  7 13 41 46 -5  46
11 Southampton     32  8  7  2 22 14 3  5  7 13 19  11 12  9 35 33  2  45
12 Manchester City 33  8  2  6 25 24 4  4  9 15 27  12  6 15 40 51 -11 42
13 Leeds United    33  5  3  8 18 22 6  2  9 28 26  11  5 17 46 48 -2  38
14 Aston Villa     33  9  2  6 22 13 1  6  9 14 27  10  8 15 36 40 -4  38
15 Fulham          33  9  3  5 22 17 1  5 10 13 29  10  8 15 35 46 -11 38
16 Birmingham City 33  6  4  6 17 19 4  4  9 14 25  10  8 15 31 44 -13 38
17 Bolton Wndrs    33  5  7  4 22 21 3  4 10 14 27   8 11 14 36 48 -12 35
18 West Ham United 33  3  7  7 19 24 4  4  8 18 32   7 11 15 37 56 -19 32
19 West Brom A.    33  3  4  9 13 23 2  2 13  9 29   5  6 22 22 52 -30 21
20 Sunderland      33  3  2 11 10 24 1  5 11 10 30   4  7 22 20 54 -34 19

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0203.10]

[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. A good site for North American viewers is

[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]Gareth Foster,

Newsletter #907