Newsletter #912

An excellent 1-2 win at Liverpool on Saturday as Houllier’s other short term employee Nicolas Anelka proved his point with both goals. Another milestone this season in that we were awarded a penalty and sees us nestled into 8th spot in the table.

No match report tonight, but plenty of opinion on squad, transfers, Maine Road memories, chants and a few requests.

We enter our last week at Maine Road, with thoughts on the weekend’s celebrations amidst Southampton’s continuing whinging about their ticket allocation.

Next game: Southampton, home, 3pm Sunday 11 May 2003
Countdown: 6 days


Liverpool had all the possession, almost all the shots on goal, we’re a dirty side who barely got out of our own half and must have been really lucky to score from our only two attacks.

Cheers for the fantastic service – particularly important when I’m working overseas.

Mark Meadowcroft (


MCIVTA 911 raised some interesting points… hmmmm, where to start.

Schmeichel’s absolutely right. I know it. You know it.

Gutted to see the Goat go – let’s hope he bags a hat-trick on the last day. I feel pretty much the same way about it as when Quinny left. There’s something special about the bond between the fans and a player as ungainly as the two of them. I think it’s because it takes them a while to find a club who really appreciates their abilities in spite of the lack of “style” in their play. They’re my two favourite players in 12 years of supporting the club.

As for potential summer targets, I’ve aired my views on Foe before. He’d be a massive waste of money. If we think Barton’s good enough, stick him in, give him three months, and if it works out, give him a long contract.

As for Carew… no no, I’ve heard of a good young striker… what was his name? Oh yeah, Vieri! Nonono, that wasn’t it… Ronaldo! Come on, as if Carew’s going to leave Valencia for City after a couple of very successful seasons in the Champions’ League and winning La Liga. I know we got Anelka last year, but he wasn’t exactly in form, and it was before the club had shown the lack of desire that losing a chairman and having a massive mid-season slump displays. I think we might find that Keegan’s name doesn’t prove the same draw this summer that it did last, and I don’t think cash will be that forthcoming. I also don’t have a lot of faith in the likes of Reiziger – if there’s one thing we saw this season, it’s that we need players with quality and desire. That’s why Anelka sticks out so much in our side. At Chelsea, there were two or three times when he got the ball and broke at pace, only to have the move break down because no-one even tried to go with him – and to say he looked dejected each time is a joke. Clubs where this type of thing doesn’t happen? Real, Arsenal, Milan… dare I say it, the Rags? It would appear that these are also the teams winning leagues. I’m almost glad Anelka hasn’t been scoring of late – it means it’s less likely he’ll have options in the summer.

So less journeyman, more commitment (Dickov’s scored a darn sight more than Fowler this season, you may note…), and another season of building for the future. Nice One.

CTID, Jon Marshall (


1. Schmeichel – Retain as goalkeeping coach. If Liverpool can have Corrigan and the Rags can employ Coton then we should keep Schmeichel.
2. Sommeil – Acceptable. One more season. But needs to improve very fast.
3. Jensen – Good First Division player and nothing more. West Brom perhaps?
4. Wiekens – Thanks for everything. Keep as a squad player for next year.
5. Distin – Good work but there is a penthouse suite of rooms for improvement.
6. Horlock – cf. Wiekens.
7. Huckerby – Really don’t know. Would love to see him given a chance to supply Anelka and Fowler. But why buy Gillespie when we have a better player in Huckerby?
8. Benarbia – Wish we’d bought him 5 years ago.
9. Wanchope – Goodbye. Fit in time for the World Cup. Yeah, whatever.
10. Goater – A 24 carat mistake to sell him. What happens if Fowler or Anelka get injured in September?
11. Macken – Believe in him. Could be a new Paul Stewart with the right support.
12. Weaver – Hope the club look after him better than they did Paul Lake. Still has time to fulfill his potential.
13. Negouai – Not up to it. See you later.
14. Berkovic – Not as breathtaking as Kinkladze but ten times more effective. Player of the Year.
15. Haaland – Time to retire Alfie. Sorry.
16. Ritchie – There might be nothing doing for him here but, for my money, a better bet than Jensen.
17. Sun – Too inconsistent. Brilliant and then exasperating, sometimes in the space of five minutes. Squad player.
19. Tiatto – Come back ASAP Daniel. Admittedly, we would be 15 miles away from the Fair Play UEFA Cup place if he had not been injured but we have missed his passion, determination and criminally underrated ability with the ball to feet. He is the heart of Manchester City Football Club.
20. Nash – The ‘Andy Dibble Memorial Award’ I’m afraid. Never going to be number one but then they said that about Joe Corrigan in the mid 70’s.
21. Vuoso – For the price of two Steve Daley’s it would be nice to see him play at least once.
22. Dunne – We’re all batting for you young man. Just get your head down and lose some weight you fat b*****d.
23. Foe – Taxi to Lyon! I’ll pay. See you later.
24. Howey – Too slow Stevie. Stoke City might be keen.
25. Mettomo – By no means Dave Watson but worth another chance. Probably.
27. Bischoff – Make or break this year our kid. We’re all watching.
29. Wright-Phillips – The brightest talent on the books. He has the lot. Losing him would be like selling Denis Law to Torino in the early 60’s and what kind of damn fool club would do that?
31. Belmadi – Can succeed if given a chance.
33. Fowler – Welcome to the home of lost causes. Jury out for six months.
34. Murphy – Same name as George from ‘George and Mildred.’ Extremely alarming.
39. Anelka – Please don’t become another Trevor Francis. Just wait a few weeks, other good players will arrive. I kind of guarantee it.
40. Shuker – Just not big enough to cut it at the top. cf. Mike Sheron, Paul Moulden and Mark Robins.
41. Barton – Most promising home grown player since Tommy Caton.

Bill (


City raised their game and beat Liverpool at Anfield. Brilliant saves from Peter Schmeichel kept City in the game, and Anelka scored the goals against his old club. This was a team well prepared by Kevin Keegan, they played with that desire to win! Dare I say it, Foe did not play.

For North American fans we might know the score, but to see the game it will be on “Fox Sports World” on Wed May 7th at 5pm EST.

Meanwhile, it has been reported from different parts of the World, City fans have been chanting in several well known Pubs “Feed the Goat”, practicing for our famous Goat’s final game and as captain of the team for the day.

In some parts of Manchester Fishermans Friend sales have increased ’cause of hoarse throats chanting “Feed the Goat!” We wish our Goat the very best wherever he goes, he’ll always be a “Blue Goat”.

Cheers (I’m out for some Boddingtons), Ernie Barrow (


The Ipswich Town F.C. site reports a possible exchange, Matt Holland will come to City in exchange for Shaun Goater and Gerard Wiekens.

This could be a good move for both clubs, being Ipswich cannot buy any players whilst in administration, Joe Royle knows both players so the “Goat” and Gerard could have regular football.

City will reduce their squad, will not spend money and Matt Holland is a very good player. We shall have to wait and see if this will develop.

Ernie Barrow (


I find the reaction of Southampton FC to their ticket allocation for 11 May laughable.

How can a fellow professional football club encourage the deduction of points because of the a ticket allocation? Their reaction is negative and suggests they don’t expect to win a game that will be of a very loud “home” atmosphere regardless of the amount of away support. It is ludicrous that they can then go on and consider suing City if they were to lose the game because of the impact the result may have on their finishing position and eventual prize money.

I don’t recall any such reaction when Luton banned away support for a few seasons, it therefore seems to me their motives are purely financial although how they will ever prove that their supporters help them on to results away from home I’ll never know.

Of course this is the famous Southampton travelling army. For many years renowned for its vociferous travelling support. How we all can recall the many occasions they have swamped the away end at Maine Road with many of their fans encroaching the home end, such is the demand for tickets! They’ve never filled the away end at Maine Road so who are they trying to kid?

Their situation at the Dell a couple of years ago is not at all comparable and the similar demand for tickets is also not comparable. This is a club that smashed its own record attendance when it moved into the 32,000 capacity St Marys! Give me a break Southampton and go back to where you belong – The Nationwide with the other small time clubs!

Graham Keller (


A quick drive around the vicinity of the City of Manchester Stadium will reveal some wonderful pub names in anticipation of the influx of Blues:

  • The Kippax in Newton Heath,10/15 minutes walk from the stadium and within 500yards of the Rags. first ground.
  • The Blue Moon in Clayton.
  • The Stadium on Bradford Road.
  • Summerbee’s, next to the ground.
  • The Bradford, now run by true blues.

At East Manchester – The New Town in the City, things are changing for the better.



In his Maine Road Memories, ‘Peter’ makes a strange selection, but one that certainly brings back memories for me.

He mentions only one player – Billy Linacre. Yes, he did come from Chesterfield, though whether he had a broken leg when signed I don’t know. He certainly broke his leg playing for City, then again playing for Middlesbrough against City at Maine Road. It must have been the late 1940’s, and I can still remember the stunned silence as the crowd heard the leg crack. Eric Westwood, our full-back involved in the innocent collision immediately stopped playing and called for assistance. Funny how some things stick in the mind.

I well remember the young lads beating their heels against the metal adverts over the ntrances – made quite a racket. I stood down at the front, so didn’t contribute.

Also I’d completely forgotten the Blackpool duck. What would be its chances of negotiating the white line unharmed these days?

I’ve submitted some of my own Maine Road memories over the years, so won’t bore you with repetition, but here are one or two fresh ones that might revive memories for some of the oldies out there.

I ought to make it clear that in the last 25 years I have only seen 2 games at Maine Road, both of them coincidentally ruined for me by Robbie Keane. Maybe we should go out and buy him? In spite of that, City’s fortunes have had a disproportionate influence on my life wherever I’ve been living, and I feel I am qualified to reminisce about my earlier years when I was a regular at home games and a travelling supporter for cup ties and some league games.

The first floodlit game I ever saw live was at Maine Road, where the home team scored 10. Unfortunately, the home team that night played in red and the opponents were Anderlecht in the European Cup.

The City ‘friendly’ against River Plate of Argentina, which turned out to be far from friendly. The two continents had rather different interpretations of the rules.

The sight of our great ‘keeper, Bert Trautmann, sent flying through the air by a shoulder charge from Trevor Ford (I believe he was playing for Sunderland that day). Ford then stroked the ball into the net and the goal stood.

The great Raich Carter kicking our skipper Roy Paul as he lay on the ground. Terrible that that is the only memory I have of one of the best inside forwards of all time.

The sight of Frank Swift bouncing the ball basketball fashion all the way to the centre circle, purely to entertain the crowd. Players of both sides (and also the officials) found it hilarious.

The most unusual occurrence of Stanley Matthews scoring twice in the same match (it could only happen against City!).

Seeing some of the great post-war teams before they fell on hard times: the magnificent half-back line of Portsmouth, with the outstanding Scoular and Dickinson; the flying wingers Mullen and Hancocks of Wolves, not to mention their half-backs Slater, Wright and Flowers; the fearsome attacking power of Derby County with the battering ram Jack Stamps and the subtleties of Billy Steel; Blackpool as one of the most attractive teams in the league (Mortensen, Matthews, Taylor).

Watching teams that are still at the top: Newcastle – always welcome visitors and a guarantee of a cracking game – impossible to dislike Milburn and Mitchell; the dour Arsenal with Alex Forbes leaving a trail of bodies in his wake (what would Scotland give to have Scoular, Forbes and Steel nowadays? or even just one of them?); the Blackburn of Clayton, Douglas, Dobing and England.

The Kippax when it was simply known as the Popular Side – uncovered terracing at that. In my early days, the majority of the crowd got soaked if it rained. The wettest day of all was against Notts County and Tommy Lawton. I see the terraced houses behind the ground are still standing – for a small charge we left our bikes in their back yards.

The three City players that stand out for me over the years are Swift, Trautmann and Bell. Is it significant that two of those players are goalkeepers? My all-time favourites are the cup-winning team of 1956 (I spend much of my time as a City supporter wallowing in nostalgia).

Over the years, several players have generated genuine affection, even if they weren’t all the greatest players we’ve had on our books. I’m sure many supporters will understand what I mean. There are some players we believe to be City through and through, and this compensates to some extent for any weaknesses in their game. Nobby Clarke was a skillful winger and whole-hearted trier and would get in my top City team; Albert Emptage, bless him, had only one trick, which involved persuading the opposing player that he was about to stop, but instead he accelerated away; Billy Spurdle strolled through a game with deceptive pace; Dave Ewing was as Blue as they come (and I mean sky blue, not the laser variety!); Neil Young was able to match the skills of his more illustrious colleagues, in spite of negative supporters; Shaun Goater and Paul Dickov of the more recent players spring to mind as whole-hearted triers, who have perhaps not received the full backing of their managers. It must be old age creeping up on me, but I would find it hard to name present players that mean as much to me as Revie, Paul and Johnstone, Watson, Summerbee and Lee. I’m sure Anelka is as talented as anyone we’ve had at the club and a better athlete than most of the forwards we’ve had over the years, but he has still some way to go before he can displace in my affections men like George Smith and Joe Hayes. SWP has the potential to join the elite band.

A couple of weeks ago I went round Maine Road for a final glimpse. Ostensibly I was taking my five-year-old grandson, but I don’t think I fooled anyone. It’s not really the same ground I remember – where is the advert for CWS pipe tobacco? We were led to believe that smoking that substance made Trautmann the magnificent player he was. There were no echoes of the Beswick Prize Band, with the forlorn figure of a young girl bringing up the rear. And what on earth has happened to the pitch? By April it should have been a sea of mud with the odd blade of grass sticking out. It looked fantastic – as if there hadn’t been a game played on it (a well-deserved award to the groundsman, I’d say). On a sunny Manchester afternoon Maine Road certainly didn’t look in need of demolition. And then I saw the away changing room and changed my opinion…

I drove my grandson past the new stadium, which is looking much less of a building site, and he seemed quite impressed. Incidentally, he’s football mad and has replica shirts for Michael Owen and Roberto Carlos. He lives over 600 miles away from me, so I don’t see him very often and I’d find it difficult to apply the persuasion necessary to convert him into a City fan. After all I’ve gone through over the past 58 years, I’m not sure that it would be fair to try. But there’s no harm in hoping.

David Buxton (


I’d like to add my own memories of Maine Road to those I’ve read in recent issues of McV. This may also come across a bit of a Why Blue but here goes.

Being 28 years old, some older Blues may appreciate I come from the generation of success starved Blues whose parents brainwashed them with stories of old such as days of beating U****d at Old Trafford and the winning of trophies (whatever they are!). You’ll be glad to know I’ve done an exemplary job with my son who knows all of the appropriate Blue songs that a 3 year old should be singing! Let’s face it, every true Blue has a responsibility to their children in the face of such adversity.

I don’t really remember my first game at Maine Road because my mum and dad took me from about the age of 4, investing in a season ticket that I have to this day. My first memory is a game against Bolton but that’s only because we recognised a Bolton fan in the City end at the time – I couldn’t possibly tell you what the result was. As I got older I obviously became more interested in the games than playing with my Star Wars figures or taking my own tour of the North Stand to watch the telly that was in S Block.

I remember the atmosphere that the Cup runs of 1981 provided and the goals that were scored, especially the six against Norwich and four against Palace and the performance in the replay against Everton. I also recall some bloke in the Kippax climbing up one of the pillars up to the roof for one game – perhaps he couldn’t see the game too well? The disappointment of losing to Liverpool in the League Cup and me getting involved in my one and only act of football hooliganism at the age of 7 on the back of some scouser! He offered me his scarf at the end of the game but my heart has always been Blue and the only Red I’ll ever wear is if it has a black stripe next to it!

Although success has not been a major factor over the last 20 years there have been many good (and some bad) times at Maine Road that I won’t ever forget. I was inconsolable when Radi Antic’s goal relegated us – the support that day was fantastic but I’ve never seen so many upset people as at that game – even subsequent relegations (I’ve seen a few) don’t compare.

The game against Charlton that won us promotion back to the 1st Division in 1985 when the size of the crowd was amazing and the memory of City fans celebrating with Charlton fans in their own end will live with me forever.

The reception Joe Corrigan (my hero) got when he came back to Maine Road with Brighton. The joy and the disappointment that was the Bournemouth game from being 3-0 up to 3-3 – only City. Who can ever forget derby day in 1989? I don’t think I ever looked forward to going to school so much on a Monday!

The 1990s had many great games and goals against the likes of Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool. Kinky’s goal against Southampton will always be special. The unforgettable season in Division 2 (3) and promotion seasons courtesy of Sir Joe and King Kev.

While much of it was overshadowed by boardroom nonsense, bad development of the ground and the decline of the club to its lowest ebb, I never questioned my loyalty to the club and if anything it got stronger. I can’t have been the only one – how many clubs can boast an average 30,000 in the 2nd (3rd) Division?

I have to say I am not too sad to be leaving Maine Road although I would have been against it 10 years ago and even now if things had been done differently. I’m a big believer in progress but the ground was effectively ruined for me when they rebuilt the Platt Lane End. I’ll always have the memories but the new ground along with the Manager elevates the club back to a level that it should never have fallen from.

I am excited at the potential prospect of European football , even if it is through the back door and frightening the life out of U****d next season. The progress we have made in the last 4 years. Let’s face it, where we are now compared to where we were? Things have gone off the boil of late but we have to have perspective and be patient – this season very definitely has been a success for me and I am glad to have a Manager with the ambitions of Mr Keegan. I’m glad he’s disappointed – but we shouldn’t be as I’m sure we will continue to make progress next season.

See you at CoMS and watch out for my banner (about you know who) if Arsenal can somehow win the league!

CTID, Graham Keller (


I spent the Easter week in England and for the first time in 3 years I saw City play from the terraces. The first game was at Spurs, and I sat among the City fans in the away end. I have to say the support was massive, hardly a pause between a chant and another. But I also asked myself whether we are the best fans in the world. Too many times Man United were referred to as “M”, and quite honestly, I couldn’t believe my ears. And I was simply disgusted by the fact that most of those chants were in full voice by the fans occupying the upper tier where I was sat.

I’m just 26 years old, so probably not old enough to know those days, but I’ve read Colin Shindler’s “Man Utd ruined my life”, just to have the knowledge that at the time the Reds were actually a Mancunian team, stranger to their contemporary commercial relatives and genuine local rivals. I’m talking about 22 players who felt the city of Manchester as their pride to fight for, something that is now lost throughout the world I think. Also I could be wrong, but I seem to remember that a former City player was in that plane.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that a plane carrying Ferguson and his players should crash, there would not be any reason to feel happy. It’s fantastic, great, marvellous, magic to enjoy their defeats and their failures, but that’s it. Nothing more.

I’d like to say that the word “M” is stupidly pronounced by a minority of us fans (same story in Italy when it comes to Torino’s FC Superga air crash, or Juventus’ Heysel massacre), but unfortunately at White Hart Lane my ears and eyes had a different opinion. What also makes me sad is that I’m pretty sure that those empty brains are Maine Road regulars, considering it takes some loyalty points to get to away games I believe.

And what about us and the fair play league… if we get to play in Europe, I don’t thing we’d be travelling either by train or coach… do you?

Good mums here in Italy like to say something like “Don’t wish someone what you wouldn’t like to be wished”, because of the fear that evil wishes can fly like boomerangs. And I’m sure this is the case in England as well.

Vanes Marzaroli (


The “M” word. I’ve been reading with interest the M emails. At a supporters’ club meeting earlier this year I raised the issue with the guest speaker and former Chairman, DB. He expressed concern that if it was made into a big issue it could backfire, bringing more publicity to the perpetrators, which in turn could make the problem worse.

So, the club is aware of the problem, doesn’t know how to handle it and is ignoring it in the hope it will disappear. It won’t. Interestingly, DB also mentioned that the OT derby (last Feb) was being playing on the anniversary of the air disaster and that he hoped City fans behaved. They did not. As the Times reported the following day, “Time was running out and Manchester City’s supporters were beginning to scrape the barrel. Tasteless chants about the air disaster seemed like a pitifully desperate response to an impending defeat…”. Embarrassed? Me too. I agree it’s a difficult problem to tackle but here are a few suggestions:

  • City publicly recognise the issue and that this is a City problem.
  • Match day programmes include factual information about M. Education,especially of the younger supporters, should help to eradicate the problem.
  • City runs a campaign similar to football’s “Kick It Out” anti-racismcampaign with similar penalties. The club must lead by example and take astrong stance.
  • A supporters’ campaign is started so that M chants are greeted withdisapproval e.g. by booing.
In the short term, attacking the issue head on may bring City and itssupporters some negative publicity. However, the club would be praised fortaking such a strong position and tackling such a difficult issue which intime would mean we could proudly say we are the “best fans in the world”without having to qualify the statement with “most of the time”.

[Agreed Justin, it would be a groundbreaking move were the Club to address this issue and, with the backing of the supporters, overcome it – Ed]

Justin Crewe (


Sorry to drag this rather tedious debate on, but I felt compelled to back Paul Carey up on this one, as no-one else seems to want to. I went to the West Ham game and felt it was a pretty decent performance, particularly considering it was a relatively meaningless, end-of-season, mid-table fixture. I may be no pundit, but from where I was sitting I thought we played some nice football, created plenty of chances and looked the better team for most of the game. It was hardly a classic, of course, but compared to the performance at the last game I attended (the débâcle at Chelsea) we looked like world-beaters! Well, that’s my oar in, for what it’s worth.

Patrick Moore (


It appears that rival fans are entering the name the stand vote. They are very keen for the new stand to be named after Colin Bell, namely the “Bell End”. I think the popularity of the vote for Colin may have been slightly distorted.

My vote goes to The Maine Stand.

Mark Jessop (


I know this is one of millions of requests, but does anyone have 2 tickets for the Southampton game?

Please email either address or call 0161 246 3996, 0161 277 9787 or 07745343968 (all have ansafones, yes I am that desperate!).

Andrew Keller (, or


Has anyone heard of what the car parking will be like at the new stadium for next season, either the officical MCFC car parks or others? There is no info on the official website about applying for car parking?

Nick Coen (


Are there any up to date pics of the new stadium? Is there an up to date site that I can access, and not just the club’s web page of artists’ impressions!

Graham Lord (


All City fans must wear a blue City shirt on Sunday, old or present, try to make the stands a sea of Sky Blue, also get your bananas out of the cupboard and bring them along!

Nick Morley (


May I thank all McV readers who attended the KK Charity Dinner organised by the Centenary Supporters’ Association held at Lancashire County Cricket Club on Thursday 1st May. Those who attended don’t need me to remind them what a great night we all had in the company of Kevin Keegan. Thanks to the generosity of City supporters everywhere we raised a magnificent profit of