Newsletter #941

Last night’s opening game of the competitive season saw us ease comfortably to a 5-0 lead against Total Network Solutions with the return leg due in Cardiff on 28th of this month. Goals from Anelka, Distin, Sinclair, Sun, and Sommeil. The stadium looked even more magnificent lit up against the skyline for the night match.

Tonight we have Don’s news summary on the happenings this week, great match report of the Barça game thanks to James, continuing woes of the ticket office and other teething problems, which will have to be sorted out soon and the usual requests.

We travel down to The Valley on Sunday for our opening game of the new Premiership campaign against Charlton.

Next game: Charlton Athletic, away, 2pm Sunday 17 August 2003 (TV)


General News

TV Star Seamo? Could it be that his regular post match grillings from John Motson and Co. have given David Seaman a taste of life after football? The former England keeper appears in the new BBC 1 sports agent comedy, Trevor’s World of Sport on Friday. The BBC are about to start filming the latest series of the once-funny laddish TV sports quiz show, “They Think It’s All Over”. In an effort to bolster the flagging format, two new team captains have been installed. Former cricketer Phil Tufnell is one skipper, while it’s rumoured that the other will be our very own David Seaman. The pair replace Gary Lineker and David Gower.

Reserves Held: The Reserves kicked off their FA Premier Reserve League campaign with a home game against newly promoted Wolves at Hyde on Tuesday, August 12 (7pm). Asa Hartford’s team were held to a 1-1 draw, with new signing Antoine Sibierski rescuing a point for the Blues.

Transfer News and Gossip

What’s New for Metto and Macca? Reports from the West Midlands suggest that Wolverhampton Wanderers are still keen on signing Lucien Mettomo. Wolves’ boss David Jones is said to be close to an agreement with City, with Wolves’ Chief Executive Jez Moxey commenting that “We’re still talking to City and I wouldn’t say it’s cut and dried.” Mettomo’s agent, the ubiquitous Willie McKay, says the defender’s transfer should be sealed within the next few days. “The Mettomo deal should happen soon. He impressed at the Confederations Cup and there were a number of clubs chasing him. Wolves have been watching him for a few months and Mettomo was keen to stay in England if he moved on,” he added. Speaking of persistent rumours – the one linking Steve McManaman to a Manchester move won’t go away either. Fuel was added to the fire when Real Madrid confirmed that Macca may be one of the players who leave the club, as Real are anxious to buy a new defender. Real’s sporting director Jorge Valdano said: “The club is waiting for players to leave in order to sign a new defender. I don’t want to be too hard on the players who didn’t play on the tour, but they know what their situation is and we have to look for solutions so that the squad is reduced to the size we want.” McManaman has failed to hold down a regular spot with Real since joining them on a free transfer from Liverpool in July 1999, but has maintained he is happy to remain with the club.

Reizig’s Damp on City Move: With Barcelona in town last weekend, the speculation began over the future of two Barça defenders who might have stayed in Manchester. The old link between Michael Reiziger and City emerged once more, while Carles Puyol was linked with a move to another club in the area (no, not Stockport County – guess again). KK soon quashed the Reiziger rumour – “That’s gone now,” he said. “Michael came over and we tried to take him on loan with a view to signing him. He is a wonderful player who can play in several positions and he just cruises through. But that’s passed us by and we’ve got to look beyond it.” The player himself sounds happy enough to stay at the Camp Nou, now that his old team mate Frank Rijjkard is in charge of team affairs. “There is nothing in the stories I have seen in the newspapers,” commented the full back. “I have read the articles and they have surprised me because I want to continue at Barcelona. I am very happy at Barça and I believe that this season we are going to win a title after three years when we have won nothing. I hope that we have luck and we can bring joy to the fans.”

Berko Still Blue: KK has made it clear that Eyal Berkovic could still have a future at the club, after the Israeli playmaker played a crucial rôle in City’s defeat of Barcelona over the weekend. Replacing the departing Ali Benarbia after half an hour, Berkovic provided the inspiration for the victory. “I think from the day Eyal put in the transfer request it was a gut reaction to a situation and a big mistake,” the former England coach said. “When he asked for it I just put it in my drawer but someone from his side announced it. I now have to think long and hard where we now go with Eyal. I’ve now gone out and bought a replacement in Antoine Sibierski.” Keegan added: “Eyal deserves a second chance but we will see where we go. So long as he keeps playing like that I would love to have him here. I don’t think he has ever let us down on or off the pitch.” KK says that he’s hardly been inundated with offers for Berko. “I have not had any contact from any club about Eyal since he went on the transfer list,” he stated. “The situation is he is a Manchester City player until someone wants to buy him and offers the right sort of money. But as we saw against Barcelona, he is a wonderful player and fits in well with the way we play.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Whitley Misses Out: Jeff Whitley has made a less than auspicious start to his career with Sunderland. The Black Cats began their life in Division One with a 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest, and young Jeffrey was nowhere to be seen. Apparently Whitley and fellow midfielder Sean Thornton were dropped for disciplinary reasons. A power cut meant an alarm call failure for the midfield duo, which caused them to miss a training session on Friday and Mick McCarthy, while accepting their explanation, said that it was “no excuse”.

Arise, Lord Disco Pants! Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the achievement scale – Niall Quinn has been awarded an Honorary MBE, in recognition for his services to international football and for his charity work. Quinn received the award at a ceremony in the British Embassy in Dublin on Wednesday. He drew widespread praise for donating the proceeds of his benefit match to charity. “Niall Quinn’s initiative of donating the proceeds from his testimonial match between Sunderland and Ireland last year to children’s charities led to his idea being adopted by a number of other players,” said a British embassy spokeswoman.

Way Down in Weymouth: Neil McNab is still enjoying life in Dorset, apparently, and is even considering becoming Steve Claridge’s Assistant on a permanent basis. I’m grateful to James Walsh for updating me on the ponderings of the man they called McNab the Crab (well, my mates and I did at least, whilst offering ‘constructive critcism’ from the Kippax in the 80’s). From “Assistant manager Neil McNab says his future will be sorted in the next few days. McNab initially joined the Terras in July for a month while he considered a coaching offer in the United States. But a delay in receiving a visa to move aboard has meant the former Exeter City manager looks likely to remain with Weymouth for the coming season. He said: ‘Although I initially said I’d only be here for a month, I’m enjoying every minute of it and would be very happy to stay and work with Steve. The situation has dragged on for quite a while now and if I don’t hear any news on my visa in the next few days I think it’s safe to say I’ll remain with Weymouth.'”

Reactions and Comments

Switched On by the Blue Camp: In the build up to last Sunday’s opening COMS fixture with Barcelona, KK made it clear which nickname he’d like for the new stadium. “I am very excited that Barcelona are coming here,” said the City boss. “Someone said to me ‘They’ve got the Nou Camp, we’ve got the Blue Camp’ and that might catch on. It is the right game to open the stadium. It will be a good test for us and it will serve a variety of purposes, not least that it will be a very good game. I think these players can play against the likes of Barcelona.” The Boss Man wants the Citadel to become a fortress. “This could be the catalyst to take us forward again,” he said. “We know that our fans are passionate and make a lot of noise. But with 50,000 people in here it will sound even louder than Maine Road. The key is how our players convert this into a ground where rivals fear to come. A lot of people will be switched on by this and the big players will enjoy playing here. You have got to be good enough to counter that and with the players we have here, I think we will.”

Blues Beat BarÇA! City put on an inspiring show to beat Barça 2-1, with the City goals coming from Nicolas Anelka and Trevor Sinclair. “It was a day of many emotions for everybody,” said the City boss. “Obviously, the biggest emotion was for the memories of Marc Vivien Foe and the minute’s silence. It was very emotional for the people who knew him and even for those who didn’t because of what they had heard about him and how he had been portrayed. For Ali, I don’t think we would be in the Premiership if he hadn’t have walked in to this club two years ago, so it was a lovely farewell for him. I thought the crowd gave him a great reception. Shaun Goater got a chance to say another goodbye – a final one this time – and I know he enjoyed it because he came and told me. We then played one of the best teams in the world and I thought it was a really good workout for us, as it was for them. So a lot has been achieved. There certainly looked more than 36,000 out there today, but I think this stadium will be the making of this Football Club. We are the luckiest team in the world to have a place like this and we’ve got to make that work for us as we did today.” Of the game itself, Keegan commented: “You cannot read too much into friendlies, but I thought we played some great football against an excellent side. What surprised me is how many problems we caused them. By the end of the game we could have scored another two or three goals, so I’m really pleased. But I’m not going to get too carried away. We have got TNS on Thursday which is a completely different game, yet more important. So we have got to carry the momentum with us.”

So Farewell Then, Shaun and Ali: Shaun Goater was introduced to the crowd before the game and of course received a rapturous reception. “I can’t thank City fans enough for the way they have supported me. It was great to hear ‘Feed The Goat’ one more time!” said the Bermudian, who is now leading the line at Reading: “The stadium is unbelievable, a really magnificent place for the team and the fans and I am sure everyone will enjoy it and be proud of it. Straightway you can tell there will be a special atmosphere.” Ali Benarbia was made captain for the day and played the first 25 minutes of the match before being substituted by Eyal Berkovic. The Algerian also paid tribute to the club and the way the fans treated him. “Of all the clubs I have played for I have probably enjoyed Manchester City the most,” he declared. “The fans and everyone have been terrific to me.” The Algerian midfielder will now ply his trade in Qatar, but he does expect to see the side he served so well play in their new home from time to time. “When I came we were in the First Division and now the Premiership so it was all worthwhile. The new stadium is magnificent with a superb atmosphere and the chairman has told me that I can come back any time to watch games.”

Walking in a City Euroland: City’s first UEFA campaign for nearly a quarter of a century got off to a solid start, as TNS were vanquished 5-0 at the COMS last night. The goals were scored by Trevor Sinclair, SWP, Sun Jihai, David Sommeil and Nicolas Anelka, “I was very pleased with the way we approached the game but you have got to do that. We will play against better sides than TNS in this competition, I’m not being unkind to them, but those sides will do similar things. Five-nil looks a good beating, but we had to work for every goal and they were a credit to their manager,” KK later mused. “They played everyone behind the ball and only one player up front, something top European teams will also do and nobody will show more purpose than TNS in doing this.” The Boss Man promised that his team would be taking the second leg seriously. “We will go there with our strongest team and look to finish the job off properly,” he said. “It is 25 years since Manchester City were in Europe and a lot of our supporters will be making the trip, so they are guaranteed a gate of 10,000 already. TNS showed that they are a well prepared organised team. The scoreline might suggest a good beating but we had to earn every one of those goals. They deserve credit for continuing to do what they were good at and not get sucked into doing things they weren’t and we expect them to do the same again in Cardiff.” TNS coach Ken McKenna blamed individual errors for the City goals, including a couple of blunders from goalkeeper Gerry Doherty, a lifelong City fan. “There were two goalkeeping errors but that is why he is playing for TNS and not Manchester City,” said McKenna. “Last year we were 5-0 down after the first-leg to the Polish side Amica Wronki. We threw everything at them in the second match, got to 2-2 at half-time, then eventually lost 7-2 and then got slated by the Welsh FA. I think we need to take that into account when we look at the second leg in a fortnight’s time.”

Squad News

What A Difference A Week Makes: Last week Chris Shuker scored the final goal in City’s comfortable 4-0 defeat of Rochdale. Fast forward a few days, and Shuker has been sent out on loan to the Spotland club. By the Saturday, he is leading the ‘Dale line in the opening fixture of the Nationwide League, a home game against Yeovil Town. Chris did not enjoy a good day. He had a number of chances to score, but failed to do so as Rochdale slipped to a 3-1 defeat to Yeovil Town. New Rochdale boss Alan Buckley is keen to extend the month-long loan deal for Shuker. But Buckley insists any decision on the 21-year-old will be down to KK. “The lad’s a bright player, very alert and very quick. My kind of player,” said Buckley. “I’d like to think we could keep him for as long as possible, but Kevin might have other ideas. Kevin knows he’s safe with us and we’ll have to wait and see, but Chris and Paul Connor have the makings of a good partnership up front, while Kevin Townson has down well for us pre-season and it’s ideal competition for places.”

Sibierski Settles In: Antoine Sibierski is looking forward to making an impact on English football. “It has been very easy for me to fit in here and, though other clubs were interested in signing me, City were always my priority. It is a popular club not just in Manchester but in football,” said the new recruit. “People speak highly of City and like the style of football that they play. Of course, Kevin Keegan being the coach is important. He is a big name all over Europe and players know that he likes to play the game in a certain way. I am sure my style will fit in with that.” Sibierski revealed that he had sought advice on the move from Arsenal’s Sylvain Wiltord, an old friend who is godparent to one of Sibierski’s daughters. “Sylvain told me that English football would suit my game, and that Manchester City is a tremendous club with great tradition and wonderful supporters. But I knew that already,” he added. “For me, Manchester City is a very, very big club and when Kevin Keegan called me I knew straight away that I wanted to come here. There are excellent players at the club. Although I have never played with Sylvain Distin, Nicolas Anelka and David Sommeil I have played against them and know how talented they are.” When asked to describe his style of play, the 28-year-old replied “My position is between midfield and the forwards. The more I get the ball the better I like it. My job is to find the strikers, though I don’t mind scoring myself. I like to feel that I am not a selfish player. The team is always the most important thing for me. There are always two words that are in my head, and they are `work’ and `humility’. In football or in life these are special things for me. It is important to work hard on behalf of team-mates and others. I need to play for the team. The most important thing in my working life is the club. Hopefully I will play a part against Barcelona on Sunday. I enjoyed watching City at Rochdale during the week. What I saw was a team in which everyone tried to play passing football.”

Another Pie, Robbie? To the outside observer, Paulo Wanchope would seem to be the ideal man to partner Nicolas Anelka. The Chopper has now scored four goals in pre-season games (including a stunning volley in the ‘Probables vs. Possibles’ game, apparently), while Robbie Fowler seems to be struggling with his fitness, and has hit the net just once this summer. KK sees things differently, however. Fowler has the hunger to succeed, while Wanchope is not yet at full fitness. “I have talked to Robbie and he and I know these kinds of criticisms happen. He has all the answers at his disposal on the pitch,” said the Great Man this week. “He can always answer his critics with his feet and I always feel that is the best way. I hear what people are saying and some of it is ridiculous and some of it makes sense. As a player he just has to get on with it. The minute as he starts scoring goals and that we start winning matches it will stop. This is the most important preseason that Robbie has ever had because he has missed so much and the one thing he has done is work very, very hard and maybe it will still take him a week to peak. Robbie’s fitness levels are coming on leaps and bounds he just needs goals now. I think he is getting closer to full fitness, there is no doubt about that. He has loads of desire. Anyone who knows him knows that. People who don’t may think differently.” He revealed that he is not rushing Paulo Wanchope to full action, following his chronic injury problems. “I don’t think Paulo is quite there yet in terms of 90 minutes but as everyone saw on Sunday against Barcelona he is a handful and when he came on it took us on a bit which wasn’t easy to do because we were already playing quite well against a world-class side,” Keegan said. “Paulo has worked so hard, if anyone deserves a little bit of luck and a little bit of time away from injuries it is Paulo Wanchope. I would say he is only a week or two way no more than that. He is there and there abouts. I think it will be a case of whoever I put together when the teamsheet goes in, the opposition is going to think ‘they could score goals against us’.” Wanchope has spent more time than ever at home in Costa Rica over the past 12 months. “It’s any player’s worst nightmare to be injured for so long,” said the player. “I’m very grateful that City still want me in the squad after a whole year of being injured. It’s really great that they like me. They must still think that I’ve got the potential to do well for them.”

Don Barrie (


There’s only one Gary Brabin – or is there another?

When I saw the TNS player list in one of the newspaper websites I recognised the name Gary Brabin. A quick search of old MCIVTAs on the website found this reference – 7th Aug 97, MCIVTA 318. This was after a night when City lost a League Cup tie to Blackpool in a penalty shootout – City’s deciding miss was by new (record) signing Lee Badbuy.

“I write in response to Ken Foster’s enquiry about Gary Brabin’s performance in the Blackpool friendly. Gary Brabin is a fat Julian Dicks. He’s a lard @rse. He makes Pavorotti look like Kate Moss. Get the picture? This man is fat. He looks like your typical beer swilling Sunday Leaguer (a bit like the Frog in the new Nike ad). He came on as you say in the 65th minute, and almost immediately went straight through a City player (don’t know which poor sod it was, somebody on the left I think). The ref had a lot to say but probably thought that as it was a friendly match, Brabin was probably just trying to be friendly, so he let him off. Then not two minutes later, as the ball was played in the air towards the Blackpool area, Brabin performed an overhead bicycle kick clearance, leaving a crater the size of The Grand Canyon as he crashed to the ground.”

I wondered if it was the same player. Having seen the man in person last night I think it probably was.

P.S. Here’s another quote from the same piece – “I honestly believe that Lee Bradbury is the final piece of the jigsaw”. Hmmmm – I think the jury returned a verdict on that one quite quickly. Does anyone remember writing that?

Roger Haigh (


Again I fail to get a match report written in time for Monday’s edition of MCIVTA. It’s a good job I don’t work as a journalist, although maybe it’s because I work that I fail to get things written in time. In my defence, my PC is away having a new CD player fitted. Playing the game on the Sunday has, however, messed my week up as I still keep thinking that today is Monday; will have to get used to it with the number of games cropping up all over the shop.

Anyway, journey down from the North East was complete with the most terrific storm I’ve ever driven in (I’m using terrific as an antonym). It was the fact that at 10.15 am it was pitch-black that gave me prior warning of what was to come. Then the sky became alive with lightning and the rain was so heavy and loud on the side of the car that you couldn’t hear the thunder. So travelling at 30 mph on the A1(M) with the majority of the traffic parked up with hazard lights on it really does have to be something worthwhile that makes you press on, but City in the new stadium was that worthwhile something.

Wandering from Piccadilly to the ground, it became apparent that rather than cooling the place down, the rain (that had now dissipated) had instead created a sauna-like atmosphere. Once inside the ground, having had no problems with the card on the gate, it was noticeable how wide the concourse was. The gap between the food/beer/toilets to the entrance to the seating area is quite large, although at full time there were still long queues of people trying to get out of the stands. Once we’d found our seats the pitch looked magnificent, with the pitch embedded sprinklers providing pre-match entertainment.

Other pre-match entertainment came from the release of blue and pink balloons as part of City’s Genesis Appeal (must have pleased the police spotter plane overhead). Bruce “Les Battersby is a fictional character so he isn’t really in jail” Jones was on the pitch to assist with the launch of City’s support for the appeal.

We then had the unsurprising news that the game was to be delayed by 15 minutes, although if you were a Sun reader (I’m not but someone at work is) you’d have thought we were all locked out. I’m not sure whether the Goat was presented to the crowd before this announcement, but whatever another City player to be classed as a legend stepped onto the green turf for his final farewell (nice of Reading to allow him the time off to attend). There was still time for a rendition of Faure’s Requiem (I think? Is this the adopted tune for next season? I hope so), some fireworks, and a woman singing the national anthems of both nations. We then had a minute’s silence for Foe that was preceded by a lovely round of applause from all those within the City of Manchester Stadium.

City lined up Seaman, Sun, Distin, Sommeil, Tiatto, Sinclair, Bosvelt, Benarbia, Wright-Phillips, Fowler, Anelka. So a surprise inclusion for Tiatto who seemed to have some Vaseline over his left eyebrow. The bench was filled with Dunne, Nash, Horlock, Barton and Wiekens, at least that was what was announced despite the fact that Wanchope, Macken, Berkovic and Sibierski were all present.

Funnily enough it was Tiatto who nearly opened the scoring. Breaking down the left flank, he put a cross that was a little too deep, so deep in fact that it only just sailed over the corner of post and crossbar with the ‘keeper stranded. Barcelona then proved what a classy side they were as great build up saw Kluivert through on Seaman, but age hasn’t withered Dave’s legs yet and he raced out to block the ball with his legs.

Ronaldinho even tried a cheeky chip, but he was unable to get his foot under the ball and Seaman grabbed onto the chip. Needless to say there were much-amused looks from Seaman and Ronaldinho to the incident.

Benarbia was constantly moving and looking for options, obviously making the most of his 30 minutes on the pitch. Yet it was from a set piece that City nearly took the lead, as a corner was floated to the middle of the box where a rising Sommeil only just headed the ball over the goal for a goal kick.

Benarbia left the field after his allotted 30 minutes (fortunately he’d found someone to look after his child, as it was beginning to look like he’d have to run around the pitch with his baby in his arms) to a standing ovation; unfortunately he was replaced by Berkovic, whose entry onto the pitch was greeted with a few boos. As if to prove to the crowd he wants to play his football in Manchester, Eyal became instrumental in all the good things that City created.

It came as no surprise that City took the lead, with Berkovic managing to thread the ball between defenders and Anelka ran onto it before slotting it past the ‘keeper and into the corner of the net. Anelka ran off to the far side of the stadium where a large bare-chested City fan hugged him and then shook hands with Berkovic. As the half ended City were well on top, with Sinclair and Tiatto causing major problems down the left and Berkovic probing in midfield.

The half-time draw was carried out by someone, not sure who, and the second half started with “Weymouth Kev” (my companion for the day, seeing as how his wife’s having a baby next month it’s likely to be his last City game for a while) turning up with an opened bottle of Coke. Kev reasoned that with a new stadium standards would be higher and he was convinced that the steward was just providing a service by opening his bottle for him, but no they wanted to keep the top in case he decided to fling it at the photographers who were getting in his way.

The second half saw Barcelona control the game with some neat passing manoeuvres and with the introduction of Saviola they had a little more movement up front for Ronaldinho and Kluivert to work with. It was indeed Saviola who scored the equaliser as Sommeil lost Saviola who’d drifted in behind him, Seaman went to ground early giving Saviola the simple task of chipping the ball over him for 1-1. The build up to the goal was quite spectacular and considering it was a friendly everyone applauded what was a well-worked goal.

With substitutes happening a rapid pace (Kluivert receiving good applause as he was replaced) KK decided that Macken and Wanchope needed a good run out and they came on for Anelka and Fowler. Macken looked sharp and his holding up of the ball helped City to stem the Barcelona threat, but it was Wanchope who created the most excitement amongst the City fans. A few deft touches and the odd flick of the leg, left most of the crowd drooling or laughing as defenders became bemused by the antics of Paulo indeed there is only One Paulo.

City regained the lead as Berkovic played Sun into the right hand channel, Sun’s first time cross caught everyone out and Sinclair was free to head the ball into the net after clipping the very inside of the post. 2-1 and City were on fire. The impressive Sinclair was replaced by Sibierski, Barton came on for Bosvelt and Dunne came on for Sommeil. It was Sibierski who was the first to nearly extend the lead; as the ball dropped to him on the edge of the box he teed it up from his right to his left foot and unfortunately could only volley it into the arms of the ‘keeper.

Dunne then decided to try no nonsense defending against Ronaldinho, and in juggernauting Ronaldinho to the floor, the Barcelona bench decided to take the Brazilian off. After a little bit of jokery that he wanted to take the free kick as only his finger was hurt, Ronaldinho came off to a standing ovation… not sure he’s a Blue, but it was all amusing. The resulting free kick was smashed high over the bar; maybe he should have stopped on to take it.

Wanchope almost made it 3, but his header hit the post and rolled into the arms of the ‘keeper. Wanchope then found himself his own box from a corner, and he teeded up a clearance for right foot to left foot, before volleying it clear. If KK wasn’t grey already, he will be if Paulo carries on like this through the season. Paulo then found himself free at the right end of the pitch, but in taking his chance too quickly, the ball flashed wide of the goal for a goal kick from the right edge of the box.

The final whistle greeted a great City performance. The positives are that City seem to have a good, strong team, with Sinclair, Tiatto, SWeeP, Sun and many others impressing. The strength in depth is a lot better than last season and there are signs of real optimism for the season ahead watch us now getting tonked 4-0 by Charlton.

James Walsh (


These blue tassly things seem to be creating a few different ideas. Elaine Taylor reliably informs me that “The blue plastic tassel contraptions are to pull across to stop the light shining on the reporters/commentators’ computer screens.”

Which is odd when I consider it further as in Block 125 (where we reside) the Spanish journalists were not offered this luxury. Perhaps they were deemed to be used to the sunlight whereas the likes of Paul Hince isn’t!

Andrew Keller meanwhile suggests they are to stop the drinks ban. Thought that was Man City Council but never mind.

The most effective drinks ban was the bar staff in the Frannie Lee bar – did it really take over 40 minutes to serve about 10 people (yes it did Scott and it was less than ten people!)? Why not adopt a cinema style service (e.g. UGC at Bolton) where it is self service. Apparently one of the nearby pubs has adopted this stance. All you do is bung your plastic glass under the tap and press a button, jobs a good ‘en, pay the bar staff.

Love the ground; it’s hard to believe that we were watching City beat Barça in such resplendent settings compared to what we were watching just a few years ago. Does anyone know when the other three stands will be given a name? Voted on the website yonks ago for a name but it seems to have been forgotten about. It’ll be strange to slum it at away grounds who have old school stands, OT for instance ha ha!

Goat – nice to say tara; hope he bags a load for Reading.

Ali – he’s still great. Good luck mate.

Foe – what a poignant farewell. Got you right there. Any news on a memorial statue stand name etc.?

Warning Sign by Coldplay sums up how I personally feel about these two guys: “… the truth is I miss you… I realised that you were an island…”

The team: Paulo should be starting; he is magnificent. I think this means I don’t have to comment on Robbie. SWeeP will be a real star this year. The Elk will be top scorer again but bust 20 the form he is in. Sun is a different player in a 442; good for him, I don’t think he needs replacing. Tiatto was fantastic against Barça. Tarnat injured? Sinclair on this form will shut up the whingers and get a regular place for England. Sibierski looks very comfortable on the ball, like the brief look we had of him, looks the part. Eyal will be a loss if he goes. When was the last time we had two really solid reliable centre backs like Capt Distin and Sommeil? They look great together. Spunky, world class stop against Kliuvert; nice to see him properly tested. Joey Barton looks like he will benefit from experience this year and probably come really good next year. Bosvelt, he looks tremendous. Macken looked well with Paulo. They played as a partnership; just think how much better the Elk would be if he had a partner alongside of him rather than 15 yards off the pace.

Intro music – how about Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash? Come on Eyal, rip up the transfer request; you know you want to! Seems they have gone for some scary classical operatic thing? Not being a scary operatic fan I haven’t a clue what it was.

Looking forward to the TNS game. Oh sorry, got to have a minor moan. My girlfriend was going to get tickets for TNS; she isn’t a season ticket holder, Citycard holder or member of staff any more. The notion of having to go personally to the box office is garbage as they work office hours; she and most others work office hours. Consequently she was not able to get a ticket. City have made it almost inaccessible for people to buy tickets on a casual basis for this game. Why? Why can’t they offer tickets over the phone or on the Internet? Anyone know? Will this change for future games?

Oh no moan 2. I said previously the new City tops are great; just go and buy one. Great they are even if they are a mid 80’s rip off and £30 at all the Soccer shops (Arndale/Bury etc.) but the quality of the material is terrible. Mine pulled after only being worn twice and Dave 1’s (girlfriends dad) top will look like a mohair before the end of the season. Great top, snide material. Hope the material is different on the red/black stripe ones otherwise I for one won’t be splashing the cash.

Bring on the TNS!

“We are still the West stand!”

Scott Moore (


“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good”

Seaman: Because of Barcelona’s desire to walk the ball into the net just because they could, many of the attacks which may have resulted in shots from mortals, were snuffed out by our “robust” defence before reaching DS. Had little to do most of the game but did it well when called upon. Includes last ditch parry late in 2nd half when collective intake of breath from those in the West Stand caused the pitch cooling louvres to open for a fraction of a second when we thought they had scored.

Distin: Wow! A real centre half and skipper. He’s the size of the Outer Hebrides; quick (remember Ruud?); will get better OPTA stats than Berkovic if we continue to play the ball out from the back like we did today; loves to overlap onto either wing like… well, no other centre half I have ever seen. Small criticism; both he and Sommeil seem to offer a mixture of man-marking and zone defence but without seeming to let the other know which and when. On numerous occasions, they were both either marking 1 man, or worse both marking no-one. This led to some foot races which could have been avoided, but a very promising partnership nonetheless.

Sommeil: As above, confident on the ball and great in the tackle. Rarely does the ball squirm out for second phase ball for the opposition.

Sun Jihai: Back to the promise of early days. Tenacious in his harrying of first Overmars, and then Ronaldinho (despite being dumped on his backside by a double-twisting, step-over, shimmy with pike); great on the overlap and excellent crossing.

Tiatto: If he’s sorted his red mist head out, then this is the type of DT performance we can look forward to. Final distribution a little bit off, but defensively awesome. Every time either his man had the ball, or on the occasions when the rest of the defence broke down, he was there to get something on it and make a nuisance of himself. Unsung hero. MOM for me.

Bosvelt: Who? Anonymous. Kindest thing I can say is apparently he is the hardman and I guess that part of your game is gone in a friendly. My jury is not merely out, but is in a hotel for 6 months deciding the damages in a Jeffrey Archer libel case (on previous form of my match reports of Horlock and Foe, he will go on to be the player of the season).

Wright-Phillips: Where to start? Link-up play was a joy to watch, movement off the ball likewise, their defence didn’t know where he was going to turn up next. If he scores a couple early doors this season, it will be light the blue touch paper and stand well back. KK has already said he views him as his 6th striker. On the dribbling front, he has gained a little more upper body strength and is all but impossible to unglue from the ball. I say all-but impossible, because the only times he did lose it were in our half, which set up counter attacks. I think he was in carnival mood, and enjoyed taking on the Barça midfield so no real issue. For those overseas who haven’t see him of late, imagine where you would expect the club to have developed him to, and add a bit on.

Benarbia: Elvis has left the building. So long and thanks for all the fish.

Sinclair: How many MCIVTA contributors over the years have wanted to see someone proud to wear the shirt? I may be being naïve, and it might have more to do with an England shirt than the sky blue variety, but I am chuffed to bits with Sir Clive’s attitude. Have only seen this performance and the one on Eurosport vs. Feyenoord, but he seems to want it and is still more than capable of delivering it by the looks of things.

Anelka: Remains different gravy to most of the Premiership, but only when amply supplied by the kind of balls Berkovic is, or Ali was, capable of delivering. Seemed to take his goal well but couldn’t see from the top right hand corner of the West Stand. Apart from the goal, his good movement and link-up play with Fowler went unrewarded, but difficult to get fully revved for a friendly.

Fowler: Robbie, Robbie, Robbie. Like your namesake, everybody loves you, but you keep f**king things up. First touch, sometimes sublime, sometimes substandard. Movement off the ball innovative and instinctive but still fruitless (is it me or are people not passing to him as frequently in the final third?). I am a huge fan, and he deserves the chance to prove himself, but when does one draw the line without destroying his patently fragile self confidence? One incident summed up Robbie’s day. The Elk sold a fabulous dummy mid 1st half, letting the ball run up the touchline, but Fowler just didn’t read it. Robbie’s head went down, and I suspect in his mind he could see the Liverpool Fowler chasing it to the by-line to pull the ball back for the grateful Anelka. Meanwhile, the Elk simply fumed on the halfway line, literally hopping mad. “Quel domage”. Robbie is still all promise, but right now it’s a bit like watching a heavyweight boxer who has gone one round too many, and one who may not return to the promised land. Get him back on the bugle!

Berkovic: Spoilt b#st#rd, but still our best player by a street. He’s been trouble everywhere he’s been so suck it up KK, sort him out, give him what he wants while we groom SWP and Antoine Sibierski. Anyone else out there lost a battle to win a War?

Macken: Loves the Blues, is a Blue, was great at Preston. Didn’t play long enough to judge today, but enough plus contribution vs. Feyenoord to warrant continued persistence.

Wanchope: In a week which sees the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean in the UK, Paulo continues his swashbuckling pre-season antics. We got some trademark, newborn-baby-giraffe-on-the-ice style dribbling which totally confused the classy defence of our visitors; raids to the wings to bang crosses in; fabulously timed runs to the far post to connect with a SWP cross and be denied by the upright; not to mention 3 consecutive dragback turns on the edge of the box to lose 3 defenders before losing control after a collision cause by his head being in one Manchester postcode and his feet in another. Genius, and totally unpredictable. According to KK, he doesn’t think Paulo is fit enough to play 90 minutes yet. I do not think he and Anelka would necessarily play any better than Fowler and Anelka, but which would you rather try and defend against? The Goat played very well with the Elk, which may mean we don’t need to persist with the traditional little and large combination à la Keegan and Toshack. It’s not as if the Elk is a target man and Fowler picks up the knockdowns now is it? I think both the Elk and Paulo are good enough with the ball at their feet to give it a bash. Thoughts welcomed on that combination.

HMS Dunne: God Bless her and all that sail in her. But seriously, he’s a good lad now and Arsenal apart, played well last season. Seems destined to warm the bench unless he gets paired with Distin and Sommeil reverts to right-back. Can’t see it but at least it’s good to have cover for two positions in one player. Bit like Tiatto covering Tarnat and Sinclair up the left.

Barton: As long as he keeps his elbows to himself he still looks good. Wonder if Keegan has studied the tapes of Spurs away and Feyenoord and had a word. The last thing we need is to be playing another bunch of matches with 10 men. On the footballing front, got played around 2 or 3 times, so he needs to work on his positional play, but on the positive side, you can’t buy that kind of enthusiasm and there are a good number of calm heads around him, to keep him out of trouble. Another top prospect, not gone to seed over the summer thank God.

Antoine Sibierski: Looked the part, despite being a bit young to be a Keegan signing at 28. Kept the ball well, played some great stuff long and short, and nearly capped it with an impudent, dropping volley from the edge of the box which was well saved. Looks good, especially if Berko ejects teddy from the pram and decides that he cannot follow the Keegan sponsored roadmap to peace and b***ers off to Portsmouth.

A few other observations despite being a 3 times reviled type of City fan (I’m a new season ticket holder, originally from Yorkshire, who lives in London).

Come on feed the Goat: Shaun received the ovation he richly deserved. Marc Vivien Foe: Impeccably observed 1 minute’s silence.

Singing: First round to the South Stand. They got off the mark with an edged single to third man with “We’re not really here” followed by four through extra cover with “Ronaldinho is a Blue…” (spoiled by the M word). They then ducked a bouncer from the Nouveau Kippax (East Stand) who taunted, “Two tiers, you’ve only got Two tiers” before hooking a six with “Are you watching TNS?” as the second goal went in. On the sad side, I didn’t time it but, I think the M word took less than 5 minutes to make an appearance.

Ticketing: Apparent shambles which will lead to some serious public order offences if not resolved by the Portsmouth game by all accounts.

Car parking: Heard some complaints on GMR about not being allowed out of the car parks until all pedestrians have cleared the area. Could it be a ploy by GM Police and MCFC to encourage people to use public transport? Or were they timing how long it takes to get rid of a large football crowd in preparation for later in the season when there could be conflict with away fans? I hope all those who do drive to the match continue to park close to the ground leaving me a space in town before getting a cab or bus up the hill! It does seem a bit rich if you have paid for a space though. Debate will no doubt rage.

Catering: Didn’t partake as queues looked mental on tier 3 of West Stand, but I am sure like all other issues bemoaned on GMR this evening, they will sort themselves out.

Sponsorship: Taking a look around at the names on the stands we are now a “very attractive product” to use the horrific current vernacular. In old fashioned terms, let’s hope people will want to come and play for us and want to stay.

In conclusion, as previously stated in these pages, I became a City fan because of the size of the old Kippax, and Maine Road and the history and the irony of it all, but apart from the glass-half-empty brigade mawking on about pies and parking, didn’t the rest of you feel good walking down those spirals, having just beaten one of the best sides in Europe?

As another visionary Mancunian once said of another groundbreaking Mancunian structure:

“The Hacienda – Build it and they will come” – (Rob Gretton)

Have a great season.

Mick Maynard (


Seeing as though most people, I’m sure, will be eager to write their match reports about the Barcelona game, I thought I’d give the McVittie readers a slightly different perspective of the day with the experience I found in this, the first game at our wonderful new home.

We set off from a cloudy Morecambe Bay about 15 minutes earlier than a Maine Road game and, en route, were told via mobile phone that it was raining buckets at the stadium. The decision to wear shorts and short sleeved shirt was looking decidedly dodgy therefore but no matter, my skin’s waterproof I thought! Once we arrived at the A57 Flyover we assumed we’d start hitting the traffic, but no. All was well and the road was remarkably quiet. Sure there was traffic, but no gridlock, which I thought might happen. It was the same on the approach to the stadium; driving between the stadium and ASDA, there was hardly anything. The time was around 1.30pm, about the same time as we’d arrive at Maine Road, which by now was usually getting fairly busy, car park wise.

I did notice, ominously, that the brown sign on which was marked “Home Coaches” had been covered over. It looked permanent too, wonder what that was all about? Still a right turn past ASDA and we were in the Velodrome car park. £5 for cars and £20 for coaches; which would we be charged for seeing as we were in a minibus? As it happened, we were charged car price, so that was one plus point. After parking easily it was then the shortish walk to the stadium, although the large gates across from the ASDA access road were shut, so it was a walk around to the entrance behind the East Stand. By this time it was 2pm and a look in “ReebokCity” was in order. There was a queue although it moved very quickly and we were in within 5 minutes. A good look round, and a chat to Janice and at around 2-30 we entered the stadium. Smartcards working, the turnstile clicked and the gentle spiral was negotiated. Programmes at £2.50, for which there was a large queue despite the fact that there was another seller further down the concourse with no one buying off him (must remember that on Thursday) and 5 or 6 tills on the catering concession meant some refreshments were had pretty quickly. Into my seat to be told that the game would be held up 15 minutes owing to traffic/crowd congestion. Looks like we made perfect timing then!

Then the game. Not sure if it was me, but the entrance music was about 10 times as loud as the previous tunes that had adorned the PA system. The chap in the complimentaries next to me told me what the tune was but I forgot!

The game was very entertaining, with Ronaldinho getting an extremely warm welcome, as did Michael Reiziger. The first song by the crowd was “Who Let The Goat Out” after Shaun Goater made his appearance and despite there “only” being 36,500 in the stadium, there was quite a noise, especially when City came close on one occasion. There was truly that “Big stadium” feel to it.

Half time came and time to give it the old “Can I get served before the second half begins?” test. Well they passed with flying colours. Again not a capacity crowd, but a burger (very hot) and a bottle of cola (fairly cold) were obtained and taken back to seat well before the second half began.

Once the game was over it was back to the minibus to find the main road deserted. It seemed too good to be true, and so it proved. The police had stopped all traffic on the road to allow the large mass to leave the stadium without risk of being run over. The line of traffic from the velodrome didn’t know the reason for the hold up though, so, if you were waiting and seething, that was why!

Leaving the car park was slow, of course, but that’s to be expected, although on the whole, once we got moving, we stayed moving, not like the gridlock that was Claremont Road, Princess Road and all other routes from Maine Road.

Was I impressed? Not half. A great day in my opinion, matched by the quality of the football, and if Eyal Berkovic still wants to go after that occasion, he really is a sandwich short of a picnic!

Lance Thomson (


After my whingeing a couple of weeks ago about the new signings, just wanted to say that I’ve had a bit of a change of heart – I dunno if it’s the hot snap or the signing of Sibierski or the emails I received telling me to cheer up, but I’ve been overcome by a sense of uncontrollable excitement and expectation for the new season.

Sibierski was exactly the signing I’d been hoping for – a ball player who can score goals and who I’d already heard good things about. I think KK’s got a cracking deal on him too.

From what I saw on the telly exiled down here in Landan village, the stadium looks nothing short of breathtaking – I can’t wait to get up there. And the buzz that the squad seems to be getting going following the strong form in the friendlies is proving to be infectious. Can’t wait ’til Thursday.

Hup the Blues! Jon Marshall (


I attended the opening game against Barcelona on Sunday and enjoyed the game and the wonderful new stadium. The architecture is stunning, the views are fantastic and the atmosphere promises to be very loud when we play our first competitive matches.

I have, however, two gripes. Firstly, where is the scoreboard? I remember the artist’s impressions with a full house and a big T.V. screen. I understand the cost may have been prohibitive but we have just moved into the best stadium in Europe but we don’t even have a scoreboard. Is it too much to expect a scoreboard in a brand new stadium?

My second moan is about the lack of identity outside the ground. There is nothing to suggest Manchester City F.C. play at COMS, nothing! I understand there is not going to be a big neon sign on the stadium, why not? All signs proclaim “Sportcity”, none say MCFC. Even on the glass main entrance the etched badge is barely visible. As I approached the stadium on Ashton New Road, the first thing I saw was a massive flag-type advertisement for Key 103, fixed to the end of the South Stand. Whilst understanding the fact we need sponsors, where is the proud boast that this is home of Manchester City? City really must do something about this and soon. Can you imagine any other club not having any name signs up?

On the big Sportcity plan signs the MCFC logo is there. It’s at the bottom, barely 12 inches high alongside Sport England’s logo. Is the lack of branding on the outside something to do with Sport England? If it is, we should know and we should tell them where to go. The Commonwealth Games were a massive success and the stadium was a really important part of that success, but let’s not forget that the stadium would never have been built if we had not agreed to move in after the games. The fallback plan at the time was to build an entire temporary stadium if a permanent tenant had not been persuaded to move in. Does Sport England think the stadium is still theirs and they don’t want us to think it’s ours? Either way, it is our new home and we should be shouting it from the rooftops.

Come on City, the stadium is great but it could be perfect. Let’s have some name signs, some flags and a scoreboard or two. Let’s show the rest of the country what this stadium is, the home of Manchester City.

I feel a lot better now.

Mike Nolan (


Paulo Wanchope is pushing Robbie Fowler to partner the “Elk” up front.

It looks like Robbie Fowler had better put in some extra training; we all know that he’s capable for he has proven this in the past; he has got to deliver the goods for Manchester City. Kevin Keegan went out of his way to sign Robbie Fowler, now get off your butt Robbie, you owe it to the man who gave you this chance, and to the fans who expect it.

I will stick my neck out and say Fowler will come through for Manchester City!

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


I cannot believe that a top club in Europe has yet picked up, who I consider one of the best creative midfielders I have ever seen in the last ten years. Kinky is his name and in the dark days of watching the Blues a few years ago he was the shining light of often dismal performances. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances Kinky has been unlucky at clubs he has played for since he left City. I was not too impressed with Joe Royle’s decision making when he got rid rid of him because he was clearly our best player and made watching City at the time bearable. A Russian friend of mine who played pro. football in Russia rates him very highly and he is a big hero, back in Georgia.

He is a player with skills and qualities most Premiership players can only dream of having. He is pure class and I believe City would be missing out on a big opportunity not to sign him, as indications are that he wants to come back to the faithful. I think he was wrongly blamed for City’s demise; it was the c**p around him that was to blame for such inept performances. He simply played with a group of players who could only dream of matching his skills.

I am surprised Keegan does not take advantage of this situation as he is clearly able to manage such a fantastic talent. I can only imagine the wonderous Kinky providing players like Anelka with opportunities to score and take us to the top six. Maybe we should start a petition “Sign Kinky”. I regularly watched City team’s of the late 60′ and early 70’s and for me he would walk straight into any of those teams.

As many Blues have noted it looks like Eyal is on his way, which I find very disappointing. Anyone remember his performance at the Sty last season? He was the best player on the pitch and worked his ‘nuts’ off.

So please join me in encouraging City to sign him! If there are any ideas on how we can influence the situation please let me know. At the moment I can only dream of having him back at the new stadium. Such talent rarely graces football, it is the time to bring him back where he was adored by most true City fans as was one of our greats and can be again.

Kinky appreciation society – Dave Lamb – a Mancunian Blue telling the worldand especially NZ that the one true Manachester club is the Blues or in most cases,educating the ignorant/numbskull glory seekers that call themselves Reds (


Over 3 weeks after sending in a postal application to obtain tickets for the away game with TNS, I found this morning that there was no record of the postal application I sent in. In the interim, I had phoned the ticket store twice to ask about the progress of the application only to be assured that there were lots of tickets and everyone would be able to get one. Everyone, that is, whose application hadn’t been lost!

Also, the postal application we sent a couple of weeks ago for Blackburn tickets has also been lost. We were then informed that we should re-send the postal applications despite the fact that the tickets are now on sale to Citycard holders (so much for having a season ticket eh?). Fortunately, we have now called the ticket line and just booked these tickets (TNS and Blackburn), but the ticketing operation does not seem to have dug itself out of the hole it occupied for the last two seasons, during which time we have been interacting with it on an almost weekly basis obtaining tickets (or not) and tracking the progress (or lack of it) in season ticket applications. There are some notable exceptions (i.e. very helpful and responsive staff), but the majority of staff do not seem to have a “joined up” view of the world in terms of what a customer would expect and the way that they would expect to be treated. Maybe, if you had lost the application sent in by a customer, it would be helpful to try and get it sorted there and then so that the customer had the goods they had requested, rather than just suggest they re-send their application.

Or maybe we’re all just “scallies” trying to “pull a fast one” 🙁

I wonder if John Harvey-Jones is due to do any more of his “Troubleshooter” series? If so, maybe we could petition the television company to make the City Ticket Store one of its subjects. I know that the systems are all new and that there is potentially an increase of 30% in the number of tickets to be dealt with but a) they should have anticipated the increase in business and not make it our problem, b) there are no more tickets to be dealt with for away matches, and c) it was like this long before the new systems.

Also, I’d like to second the opinion of Chris Ryder in MCIVTA 940 as regards entry to the Barcelona match. We had booked the Barcelona game for all 4 family season tickets at the same time and when we got there, 3 tickets activated the turnstile and one did not. When my ticket failed to work the turnstile I was also directed to the long, long queues for the ticket office. There was no way that anyone could just let you through the turnstile! Fortunately, this left one adult inside the ground with the children. If only one of us had gone with the children (which would have left a 5 and 7 year old stuck in the ground on their own) I think that a serious bout of Tourette’s syndrome would have resulted. Thankfully, one of the guys on the turnstile helped me find a wandering supervisor who could issue a temporary ticket when presented with my booking confirmation stub (i.e. a piece of paper). His hand-held system seemed to indicate that I had not booked but the paper stub confirmed that I had. Tell me again, what are the benefits of a paperless system 😉

Having been to the TNS match last night, they have now armed the people on the turnstiles with tickets that allow them to operate the turnstile and let people in. Thank God that someone at the club has a bit of common sense. Why they could not have done this in the first place is beyond me (is it that the people on the turnstiles are presumed to be untrustworthy in that they might let people in for free or just that nobody thought there would be a problem?).

Working in the software industry, I find it really difficult to justify to anyone why there were so many fans put in this situation. From a technical point of view, what happened about system testing, end-to-end testing and scalability testing? In procedural terms, did they really think that “paying customers” would be happy to be sent (potentially half way round the stadium) to the ticket office to get any issues sorted out? Either they bought the sales pitch of the company providing the ticketing system hook, line and sinker or they were extremely short sighted or ill-advised. It would really help the club if someone with a voice in authority tried being an ordinary fan for a couple of months (the managing director of one of the firms I used to work for would call in from an external phone to make fake enquiries in order to see how well they were dealt with).

It was good that they delayed the kick-off, but why did they have to say that it was due to “Congestion around the ground” when it was because people were still queuing to get their ticket problems sorted out? Why do they have to lie? Why can’t they say “problems with the ticketing system”? We’re adults, we can accept these things more easily if people do not try to bulls**t us about it.

I am not unrealistic in that I expect such a system to work first time. However, I would question 1) the level (or validity) of the testing performed on the system, 2) the adequacy of the contingency planning, and 3) the portrayal of the issues to the customers (I know, we’re “fans”, not “customers” so we lose the right to be treated as “customers who could go elsewhere”).

Andy Longshaw (


Beer in the bars. Amazing, I was at the Commonwealth games and experienced a similar frustration, each staff member pouring beers one by one as ordered. City should invest in the “Pleasure Machine” as it is called at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium. If my memory serves me correct, four plastic cups are lined up on a conveyor belt, moved under 4 taps automatically, filled near to the top, and rolled slowly on to a second tap, given a bit of time to settle then topped up. The taps are placed far enough apart so that there are four rows of beers on the machine at one time, meaning it produces 16 pints every 2 minutes or so.

Paul Calder (


First of all, did anyone else have any problems using their mobile phones in or around the ground? I had (allegedly) full network coverage, but could not send or receive any calls or text messages.

My second point is the public transport. I fully appreciate the need to ensure that everyone can get away from the ground safely, but to have a backlog of buses waiting to be given the all clear to move by some little fascist in c**p Farrah trousers, was too much. To ensure safety for the occupants of the bus I was on, the driver had to close his doors, which, when you consider the temperature it was on Sunday, and add the fact it was a full bus with no air con, I’m sure you can imagine how unpleasant the whole situation was!

Finally, my grandfather played for City in the late 30’s and early 40’s, and I was kind of hoping somebody, somewhere, has some team pictures I could get a copy of. I managed to see a team piccie in the Osbourne with my late dad, and therefore am very interested in having a copy for myself and the family. My grandfather’s name was James (Jimmy) Hope, and played in the same side as Frank Swift. If anyone has any pictures / memorobilia, can they please drop me a line?

Niall Hope (


My lad’s home shirt has lost the little transfer thingy, which is just above the left hip. Granted, it’s never been off his back since it arrived but then again, no problem experienced with previous incarnations. No other problem areas but given the sponsor’s situation?

Tickets… imagine that you’ve just valeted your car ’cause it’s c**p and being chopped in and found the Citycard renewal envelope under the folded-down rear seat, which wasn’t folded down. Anyway, there does not appear to be a transparent way to obtain a Citycard de-novo via the website. Is there? My 14 year old son is a Junior Blue – just – since about 4 hours old. We live on the Isle of Man and a match involves airfare and goodwill on the part of family/friends or ferry and car; either way, ’tis a shedload of dosh and has to be organised much in advance. Does anyone have any thoughts, which would be mightily appreciated?

TIA, Garry Higgins (


I sit in the lower tier of the south stand on row BB so I am 3 rows from the back. Excellent view.

Some things City need to get right soon!

  1. Unable to hear the announcements as there are no speakers in this area.
  2. Sort out the bars.
  3. Let’s have some City signs outside the ground (will give us some identity!).
  4. Get the old scoreboard from Maine Road as there is a lack of it in this stadium.

Sorry to moan but we need to sort this out. We all pay good money to watch our beloved team and deserve the best!

CTID, Lee Armitage (


Teething troubles apart (and wasn’t this a dress rehearsal for the real thing to identify the problem areas anyway?), what a delight to arrive at a City match without having dog litter under your shoe heel, not being accosted by youths on bikes asking to mind your car (or your windows will be put in) or by the pond life that are ticket touts? To be able to actually see the COMBUSTED from afar whilst approaching adds to the general build up and atmosphere and the sea of Blue and White was an eye opener. Could we not have a few very large flags adorning the main entrance on match days to break up the battleship grey drabs of the exterior? What a good idea to have the roaming overhead banner before kick-off. I saw some people collecting this afterwards; does anybody know if this is to be a regular occurrence?

Yes the service areas do need attention. Why not erect simple barriers that the North Stand used? This allows people to get served ‘in order’, keeps the direction flowing and there is no problem leaving the area and spilling half of your shady by trying to get through 9 layers of sweaty Blues waiting to get your place at the bar.

We should give the club time to address these issues but a plea. Can the club make an announcement to the effect that they are considering various options?

CTID, Steve D (


Having arranged to park at a (secure) school, we went in search of a local pub. We’d been advised to try the Derby Arms on Ashton New Road but were disappointed to find that we must have a pass to enter the pub… ideas for alternatives appreciated.

We decided to try the stadium to see if things had improved since Maine Road; the queues were not too bad at the time, even though we had just missed Happy Hour, which finished at 2pm. Does anyone know if this is going to be a regular occurance?

At half time we toddled off to the bar again and joined the queue; the poor guy behind the bar could not speak English, read the price board, use the till or had any idea what a shandy was – I’m afraid I am not joking. Three people were served in the quarter hour we waited, we were next in line when the team came back onto the pitch so at that point we gave up.

It seems that the season ticket allocation has been a farce once again; we are not the only ones to have suffered, one of my colleagues lost a seat due to Sky moving to the front of West stand – this has still to be sorted.

Finally – we love the stadium, the toilets are a massive improvement (yes I’m a bird) and we can’t wait for the league proper to start.

Janet Tobin (


Just thought I’d mention that whilst we have a top shelf, fantastic new shiny stadium, we have no litter bins inside or out so it is soon going to get tarnished! Chip trays, bottles etc.

God help us when opposition fans arrive… please can someone pursue this with the club?

Also, my wife informs me – nice toilets but no mirrors! It is a girl thing…

Wonder if these have been forgotten in the directors’ area?

Stevie Bennett, Warrington (


Hmm, not too sure about a Mexican wave, how about a Eastlands wave? Not to sure that it would do the City fans’ street cred much, but the place needs a bit of atmosphere.

The stadium is awesome, but something needs to be done about the bl**dy parking. Sunday we parked on Grimshaw lane, no problem then, but guess what, Thursday it was all blocked off. We ended up parking on the velodrome, for a fiver. Not too bad but not if you have astma, arthritis or any other minor disability that prevents you from walking half a bl**dy mile to the ground, and getting out was even worse, with the exit from Asda blocked by those poxy people on motorbikes. The only other gripe is the lack of pubs in the area. Let’s hope Wetherspoons opens one up sooner rather than later.




Initially I had no idea that Phil Woosnam, a name I remember when I was a kid, was related to Max Woosnam about whom I submitted an article in MCIVTA 939. Now I find, courtesy of David Butler (MCIVTA 940), that Phil Woosnam also played for City, albeit once only.

Following further investigation I have found an explanation as to why he apparently left City to join Leyton Orient. The following is taken from Aston Villa: A Complete Record by David Goodyear and Tony Matthews.

Inside-left Phil Woosnam won 17 full international caps for Wales after earlier appearing for his country at Schoolboy, Amateur and Youth levels. He also represented the Football League. Born at Caersws, Montgomeryshire, on 22 December 1932, Woosnam spent four seasons as an amateur with Manchester City, appearing in one league game, while studying at Bangor University where he gained a BSc. He was then called up for National Service and joined Leyton Orient, first as an amateur (1954), and later as a professional (February 1957), after assisting Sutton United and following his decision to give up teaching Physics at Leyton County High School. He spent four years at Brisbane Road, during which time he appeared in 108 league games (19 goals) and was then transferred to West Ham United for £30,000 in November 1958. With the Hammers, Woosnam produced some scintillating performances, and in four years at Upton Park he played in 138 league matches, netting 26 goals. In November 1962 Villa secured his services for £27,000 and immediately he became a big hit with the Villa Park faithful. Surprisingly, in the summer of 1966, Woosnam packed his bags and left Villa Park, joining the Atlanta Chiefs as coach-manager. In January 1969, Woosnam was appointed Commisioner of the NASL and it was then that he took Vic Crowe over to the States as his assistant. In 1969-70 Woosnam coached the USA World Cup Side. In English league football, Woosnam, with his tightly cropped hair, appeared in a total of 358 games and scored 68 goals (1952-66).

Perhaps we need an item on relatives who have played for City. This was certainly one relationship I had never heard of before.

John Clancy (


Warming up for the Manchester derby (getting in some early Christmas slating):

I opened the Sunday Pink the other day to find pictures of Tim Howard and Roy Keane in my face. Naturally, I didn’t bother reading the piece, but feel sure it was about the fact that, whilst Howard has Touret’s syndrome, Un!ted have finally got around to admitting that Keane has been having a lifelong battle with TerWats syndrome – we could have told them that for nothin!

Two attempts at chants:

(to the tune of Tom Jones’s ‘Sex Bomb’)

Bluecamp, Bluecamp,
From the Bluecamp,
We’re Man City from Bluecamp,
(or Comstad instead of Bluecamp)

And, for those more reflective moments, (to the tune of Kumbaya)

From Bluecamp we are Man City
From Bluecamp we are Man City
From Bluecamp we are Man City
Oh Lord Man City – (or – We are Man City)

Rick Eagles (


Kevin Cummins,
24.95 GBP

Wow! As Kevin Keegan says on the back: The best and most intimate portrayal of an individual football club ever produced. I bought this book on Sunday at the Reebok City (ugh!) shop at the Blu Camp (ugh!). It’s absolutely incredible. I’ve been looking at it in all my spare time since then. We sat in the pub on Sunday evening looking through it. The combination of alcohol and this book is a potent mixture that guarantees a few tears.

The pictures are beautiful. The way they are used in the book is superb. There is a page of nine pictures from the derby of absolute mayhem. Next to it are two beautiful bored looking girls wondering if anyone is ever going to come down to their stall to buy a pie.

The photos of the Gene Kelly look like something from an old fairground. There’s some fabulous photos of fans, with and without tattoos. There’s a great one of a guy nursing his can of Stella and another one of a fan proudly showing off his City logo on his phone screen whilst his mate looks at him pityingly.

Great match action in the way I’ve never seen a match photographed. Great pictures of Maine Road showing the old signs and the jumble of styles that made it such a warm place to be. Puddles everywhere. There’s an absolutely stunning set of pictures of Marc Vivien Foe with Sylvain Distin that make you realise how much the players must have loved him and how he’ll be missed.

All the photos are in rich colours almost as if they are challenging your senses to remember if in life everthing was so vivid. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Anyone who went to the game on Sunday will have realised that there is nothing there to remind us of Maine Road.

The people who run the marketing department at MCFC are idiots. They should buy some of these photos and put them around the Blu Camp to remind us how lucky we are but more importantly to ensure we don’t forget where we’ve come from and how those traditional values should never be forgotten.

Buy this book and weep. The link with the past has been captured beautifully in this incredible book. It is already a testimonial to time’s spirit past.

Mike Stearman (


Cheers for offer of Charlton ticket. Unable to call you back as number inaudible on message and my mobile doesn’t record missed calls for some reason. Have managed to get ticket elsewhere but thanks anyway.

Simon Hope (


I am looking for two Charlton tickets, please call 07712 676943 or email the address below.

Andrew Goodman (

Please can I request that if anyone has a spare ticket for the Charlton game to give me a call on 0786 798 3932 or email me at the address below.

Nigel Bakhai (


I’m planning to fly to the UK for the Aston Villa game and wonder if anyone have a spare ticket. Mail me please.

Thank you!

James Jolly (


If anyone is interested in viewing the photos that I took at the game on Sunday, click on the link below:

Madeleine Hawkins (


I purchased The Sam Barkas bar sign from the Maine Road auction (with an even older sign underneath) – anyone know which stand it was in and when it was put up?

Kevin Bould (


The first televised game of the season in North America will be the away match at Blackburn on Monday, August 25th. The game is live on FOX Sports World at 3:00 pm EST.

The Setanta site ( doesn’t have any Premier League matches on their schedule, but it does say that they have rights for UEFA Cup matches so keep an eye on it for future rounds.

The full US TV schedule for the next two weeks is, as always, at

Martin Price (


As a result of calls on various websites, emails and talking to MCFC and other authorities involved, together with the amazing response from fans worldwide (as diverse as China, Japan, Australasia, USA, throughout Europe) and from rival clubs, it was decided to launch an appeal fund which would help to fulfil Fo