Newsletter #944

We emerge from the holiday weekend with 4 points thanks to a last minute equaliser by Sommeil at home to Portsmouth and a 2-3 victory at Blackburn tonight with goals from Tarnat, Barton and Anelka. This now sees us “top of the league” ahead of next Sunday’s visitors Arsenal.

Tonight we have match views of Saturday’s lacklustre performance thanks to Dave and Simon, a review of the Player of the Year awards held last week from Steve, international performances, the lack of coverage from ITV and the stadium debate.

Thursday night is the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the return leg of our UEFA qualifier against Total Network Solutions.

This one goes out to 3,302.

Next game: TNS, away, 7.45pm Thursday 28 August 2003 (UEFA)


Went to the game on Saturday against Portsmouth. I’m not very good at match reports when I’m actually at the game. And it wasn’t a very good one. Suffice to say we got caught on the break just when we were starting to dominate and my niece Tammy looked at me, and we both said “at least three today”. Well Portsmouth defended very well after the goal, and I don’t blame them for doing it, and we never looked like breaking them down. There just wasn’t any inventiveness (is that a word – it looks too long?). Sibierski seemed to be struggling with the pace of the game, whereas Tarnat looked class.

KK kept threatening to bring on Berkovic but didn’t. SWP didn’t have his best game for the club but his moves and turns are sometimes sublime. The most notable thing in the first half was how much everybody was willing Robbie Fowler to do well. It was always “Go on Robbie… Oh hard luck” If he does prove to be a failure it won’t be because of the fans’ backing.

Second half City played a lot better and the introduction of Wanchope for Fowler and Berkovic for Sibierski, I think, helped that.

SWP had a brilliant run that must have taken him past at least 5 players but pulled his shot all too reminiscently wide of the post.

Eventually Sommeil headed in the equaliser after a last 5 minutes that could have seen us score three, and did see two Portsmouth players booked for diving.

Portsmouth fans… loud but boring. “Blue Army”… when are these inter-bred morons going to learn a decent song? By the way, I now live with the six fingered brigade down here on the south coast.

One thing that worried me a little was the lack of segregation at the ground. A space three seats wide and no line of police or stewards is something I assume we will not employ for high profile games like the one against those who cannot be mentioned.

As for the stadium… one word… magnificent. It did feel like an away game at first but… magnificent.

I did the stadium tour on Sunday… magnificent.

The guide pointed out when we were in the Directors’ seats on the second tier that that was originally ground level. The whole of the first tier, the changing rooms, warm-up facilities, everything, has been excavated since. I thought at the time it had taken us a long time to move in. When you look at the scale of the work it’s a miracle we’re there already.

By the way does this article qualify me as a journalist because, something else I found out, we are the only club in the Premiership to provide a private free bar for the press.

I did sit in the press conference room and say “Mr Keegan can you explain the first goal yesterday”, which got a titter from the rest of the group. Pity Kevin wasn’t there.

P.S. Don’t go to the Reebok City Superstore, it hurts your wallet.

Dave Kilroy (


My first visit to the ground – it really is breathtaking and as far as I could see, all seemed well organised and professionally run. Congratulations and thanks to all involved.

I watched the warm up, which I always find interesting – I find you can see how players interact with each other. There seems to be particularly good rapport between Weaver and Seaman (perhaps this is to be expected, goalkeepers are notorious for sticking together) and Anelka and Fowler. I am particularly pleased to see that there appears to be a genuine friendship between these two, I remember Keegan saying when he bought Fowler that Anelka had been consulted as to his choice of strike partner. Perhaps co-incidence, but the relationship in the second half of the Portsmouth match between Wanchope and Anelka seemed a little spikey. That said, Wanchope did seem to liven things up (as he generally does).

In terms of perfomances, I’d offer the following comments for consideration. Overall team performance, we seemed to lack urgency. Very disappointing, I would have thought that the players really should have been up for this match. What we lacked in this match was someone who could dictate the pace – I think (from what I’ve read) that Bosvelt is that man. I hope so!

Seaman – Calm, quiet, collected. Good to see him annoyed rather than philosophical when Portsmouth scored. Doesn’t seem at all odd that he’s in the City goal. Needs some time to get a full understanding with his defenders. A couple of early mix-ups with Distin, who wasn’t having his best game to be fair.

Sun – Generally tidy.

Sommeil & Distin – I’ve to be convinced by this partnership, didn’t look great today.

Tarnat – I’ve read a lot about what a good player he is. Really disappointed on today’s showing. Played team mates into trouble on a number of occasions. Always seemed to be looking for the long ball, which rarely came off. Good free kick and a better second half. Hope he has a better match next time.

SWP – Full of running, couple of incisive runs. Good overall.

Barton – OK, he’s not the finished article, but terrier like for most of the match. Disappeard for periods, but will surely benefit from Bosvelt being around.

Sibierski – Appalling. If he thinks he can stroll around the pitch like that then he’ll not be at the club for very long. Added nothing and other players had to cover for him for most of the match.

Sinclair – Honest, 100% effort a couple of good runs and a great team player. Excellent signing who already looks at home.

Anelka – A frustrating game for him and looked to be disappointed when Fowler had been replaced.

Fowler – Injured early on, but took up good positions, unlucky a couple of times and a run of goals is not far off. Assume he was replaced at half time due to injury.


Berkovic – A vast improvement on Sibierski (I reckon I would have been though, and I’ve only got one leg). Added urgency and invention. Faded a little though.

Wanchope – Tricky, unpredictable and seemed to wind Anelka up a bit – not necessarily a bad thing. Had a couple of goes at SWP for not passing to him when in good positions. He’s got a hunger for a goals and a hunger to win. Enjoyed his performance in places and he certainly stirred some of his team mates up (shame he couldn’t awaken Sibierski though).

Simon Sharp (


Thu 21 Aug 2003

News of the Player Of The Year Awards, held tonight in the Executive Lounge of the City of Manchester Stadium. The prestigious awards ceremony, organised by the Manchester City F.C. Official Supporters’ Club (1949), was attended by Kevin Keegan and his management team, as well as the entire first team squad, with the exception of Trevor Sinclair and Paul Bosvelt (returning from international duty), and Paul Ritchie and Lucien Mettomo. The awards that were up for grabs were:

Most Promising Young Player:
Winner – NEDUM ONUOHA, who broke into the Reserve squad last season.

Young Footballer Of The Year:
Joint Third – Willo Flood, Mikkel Bischoff and Lee Croft.
Second – Joey Barton. Got my vote, and his turn should come next year if he only maintains the incredible progress made since making his début at Bolton.
Winner – SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS, who has now won the award for the third year on the trot (I think). A well deserved award for a player who continues to grow. Not in size but confidence. England U-21s loss is our gain, and David Platt needs to pay a visit to City to see the talent. Unlike the World Cup, Shauny cannot keep the trophy, and the good news for all the other budding starlets is that he is too old to qualify for next year’s award!

Player of The Year:
Third – Eyal Berkovic. Missing so many games through injury didn’t help his quest.
Second – Nicolas Anelka. A superb player, who seems to have found his spiritual home. Long may it remain that way!
First – SYLVAIN DISTIN. Got my vote, and was outstanding throughout the season, rarely missing a tackle. Apparently Sylvain is pushing Nicolas Anelka as the best footballer at City, and it shows by the way he moves upfield out of defence with the ball. How he cannot make the French team is a mystery, but like SWP, you won’t find us complaining! His day was made all the better by beating Joey Barton at head tennis!

Kevin Keegan made a speech at the end of the presentation ceremony: “What you see here now, is the strongest squad the club has had in most of your lifetimes. I think they (the players) appreciate what it’s like to play in front of supporters like you. There are very few clubs in this country, in the world in fact, that have better support than they do on a Saturday, and they know that. A wonderful stadium to look forward to this year, looking forward to Saturday all of us (a shout of ‘come on’ is heard from the audience). Don’t wind them up too much. We get players sent off when we do that, but this club’s making strides and we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re trying to provide you with what you deserve. I can honestly say that as a manager, I’ve never had better players to work with, and now we’ve got to work together, work on the team spirit, that can always be better, it’s good but it can always get better. And then, hopefully, it’ll be tough, but provide you with something that’s a bit more memorable than just some good goals and some great matches. We’d like to win something”.

Wed 20 Aug 2003

Trevor Sinclair’s 60th minute substitute appearance for England is the first by a City player since David White in 1992. As you read this, the redundant club carpenter is being gainfully employed, creating a wooden block with “Sinclair” in gold leaf, to slot into the International Roll of Honour Board that used to adorn the Chairman’s Lounge wall at Maine Road. Can anybody tell me where that work of art is now?

Steve Kay (


I’ve just watched Arsenal destroy Boro on the telly, and after our weak defending against Portsmouth is anybody else looking forward to next Sunday with a little bit of dread? Surely KK must see that on the right side of defence we are weak. Sun Jihai is alright going forward but poor at defending and Sommeil seems to ball watch while his attacker runs in behind, and as for poor Dunney, he is probably still traumatised from his recent meetings with Henry. I thought possibly Danny Mills could have been an answer (I know he’s nuts, but so is Danny Tiatto and it hasn’t stopped him) especially as he is available on loan, but he’s away to Middlesbrough!

So with a week left until transfer deadline, how about Babbel from Liverpool? He can play full back or centre half. Any other suggestions?

Sandy Fraser (


Living in Ireland, I had the chance to watch the Ireland – Australia match on Tuesday night, witnessing an excellent performance by Danny Tiatto. Danny partnered Stan Lazaridis in a flexible left flank, with the Birmingham player mainly dropping back into the full-back position, leaving Danny free to raid up and down the wing. However, not only did he do that, but he seemed to be in perpetual motion, popping up all over the pitch, supporting every attack, and even having Australia’s two best chances of the first half. The first came when he cut in from the left and hit a low shot that was well saved by Colgan, while the second followed a long clearance by Schwarzer that completely fooled the Ireland defence (mind you, on this evidence, not a difficult task) leaving Danny one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Sadly, he screwed the ball well wide, demonstrating why he is not a regular goal scorer.

Australia took the lead fairly early in the second half, when Lazaridis whipped in an excellent cross that was coolly controlled by Viduka before being smashed past the ‘keeper. For 65 minutes, Australia completely controlled the match with Tiatto, Emerton (looks a good buy for Blackburn), Okon and Bresciano dominating a poor Ireland midfield. Then Danny was withdrawn (he appeared to be limping slightly), followed fairly soon after by Okon, who was really putting himself about. Thereafter, amid a welter of substitutions, Australia lost their shape and allowed Ireland to score two simple goals – the first, a flicked header from O’Shea and the second from Morrison, who ran onto a long ball (looking suspiciously offside) before sliding it past Schwarzer (just).

Dunney came on with about 10 minutes to go, replacing Cunningham but had little chance to shine. I’ve seen most of the Ireland matches and it simply amazes me that successive managers have preferred the useless Breen (tonight showed why no one – except the woeful Sunderland – wanted him). Ok, Staunton always played out of his skin for Ireland and Cunningham is in a similar mode – steady without being spectacular, though I think really top class strikers will give him a tough time. But, on the evidence of the matches of the last couple years, Dunne (and Andy O’Brien, a second half sub for Breen) can count themselves unlucky not to be higher up the pecking order.

Finally, a word on Mark Bresciano, the Parma midfielder who I had not seen before: he had an excellent match, controlling the midfield with no little skill, including a shot from 25 yards that crashed against the bar. On this evidence, he looks a better bet than Macca (like another ex-Liverpool player, simply looking to pick up his pay cheque – after all, what ambitious player would be content to be a regular reserve, even with Real Madrid?) and Ferguson, vastly overpriced at £5 million.

P.S. Is there anyone around Co. Clare who’d be interesting in meeting up to watch TV games?

P.P.S. In case anyone missed it, Stephen Elliot scored a hat-trick for Ireland’s U.21’s away to Poland this week.

Barry Taylor (


On my new “super positive” note…

Glyn Albuquerque caused me to notice something in MCIVTA 943. How long is it since almost all of the fans would put forward the same starting 11, give or take 1 or 2?

Anyone disagree with 4-4-2? Thought not. Back four select themselves, as do SWP and our England international, and then it’s perm 2 from 4 in central midfield: 2 of comparable quality for the holding rôle, 2 excellent ball-players. Everyone agrees that Fowler isn’t worthy of a start but can understand why KK’s persevering, and as for the leaving the Elk out – are you barmy?

I reckon it’s got to be a sign that he’s building the squad in the right way, n’est-ce pas? It’s not often the fans have so much faith in the manager either.

Times are good.

Jon Marshall (


Love all the Stranglers references in the last issue. Seeing as punk and City shaped my formative years its great to see us old gits are still out there and keeping it real so to speak. Was that “mean to me” the b-side of the white EP or the Celia and the Mutations version? Also I’m sure there were more song titles you could have been used. Barbitching is an easy one. What’s that in the shadows? Wanchope and Fowler and maybe Special K’s lament after the Pompey game… “Something Better Change”. I could go on all day. Wonder if any UK subs songs apply… (er enough).

Andy – keeping the blue flag flying in the USA (


In response to Greg Lonergan’s post about the “coverage” City get on ITV’s “Premiership” programme…

I can’t agree more Greg, but we all emailed them via the ITV website last year and someone who posts under the name “Wazzaw” on the messageboard even started an online petition to sort them out. This petition went to other clubs in our position (i.e. not Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelski and United) but despite these efforts, those people at ITV would appear to have a purely commercial agenda and don’t want to show clubs outside the top five.

But worry not, next season Match of The Day is back!

Steve Webb (


In reply to Greg Lonergan’s comments about the Premiership, I feel it’s a disgrace that they show the same teams week in, week out. Even though the majority of people have already seen teams like the scum, Arsenal and Chelsea play that day live on Sky, they then repeat the same match in the evening! What makes it worse is that they then analyse the game for a good 10 minutes or so. We get about 2 minutes at the end of the programme even though our match might have been more exciting.

Even the opening credits make me want to turn the programme over. We get one quick clip of one of our players and we see the Scum players all the way through it, and to top it off we have to see that *!$% Keane lift the trophy too! I have already emailed ITV with my complaints and will continue to do so and tell numerous other City fans to follow suit.

[We were scheduled as one of the 3 featured games last Saturday, but dropped – Ed]

David Springthorpe (


I think I have suggested this before but I have a feeling that some forethought might actually have gone into the name. It’s called the City of Manchester Stadium. City play there. Just drop “of Manchester” – City Stadium – says it all really (and doesn’t make me think of baseball one bit).

Andrea Hanlon (


“I suggest something that is 100% Manc what about Peterloo! unique to Manc and a sense of history.”

Nah, it sounds too much like Portaloo!

Mark Burgess (


Firstly, I’ve decided it’s time to start making a contribution to all your hard work, reading it from Romania as I currently do has really brought me to appreciate the hard work that goes in to producing this mag.

I want to throw my hand into the ring on this debate of a name for our new stadium; frankly Blue Vamp has me on the verge of being violently ill.

We should call it SKY STADIUM – why not! Get Sky TV to give us a ton of cash as well! We play in SKY BLUE after all. Anyway that’s it, please all don’t attack at once!

Chris Womby (


My first visit to the new ground was for the Portsmouth match. The place is truly fantastic.

True to expectations, the team didn’t do what we all wanted them to do (a City supporting mate actually predicted 2 – 0 to Pompey before the game!).

As for the debate over the name, I say retain “The City 0f Manchester Stadium” for official purposes, and refer to it as the “City Stadium” in common parlance.

When all those international matches are being played there in the future and the media constantly refer to the “City of Manchester Stadium” it will be great publicity for the place and really upset Rags everywhere. Old Trafford already sounds so last century.

Peter Birbeck (


I have one ticket spare for the Arsenal game. Contact me on the email address shown below.

John Wilson (


The August meeting for Milton Keynes OSC will be this Thursday, the 28th at the usual venue of Great Brickhill Cricket Club. Meeting starts at 8pm. Looks like we are not on TV so we can follow progress from Cardiff via Radio 5!

Steve Maclean – Secretary, MCFC Supporters Club, Milton Keynes (


I’m currently spending a lot of time in St Petersburg, Russia. Are there any City fans in St Petersburg and Moscow? Please get in touch if there is anyone willing to meet up and watch City matches live by satellite.

Martin Lever (


Due to the short supply of programmes for the TNS home game my son was unable to obtain a copy. If there is anybody out there who has a spare copy or is willing to pass on a programme would they please contact myself on 0161 281 7517 or my son Brian on 0161 975 2938.

Thanking someone in anticipation.

Alex Channon (


My name is John Larmett and I am an ex-pat living in Perth, West Australia. Would like to get in touch with any of the Langley Blues, with whom I went to many away games 84-95, mainly Yelloways and then the hired van.

So if anyone knows where Dave Beswick, Mal, Terry and Paul Porter, to name a few are, please get in touch!

John Larmett – Heywood Blues (


24 August 2003

Aston Villa           0 - 0  Liverpool             42,573
Middlesbrough         0 - 4  Arsenal               29,450

23 August 2003

Newcastle United      1 - 2  Manchester United     52,165
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      27,423
Chelsea               2 - 1  Leicester City        41,073
Everton               3 - 1  Fulham                37,604
Manchester City       1 - 1  Portsmouth            46,287
Southampton           0 - 0  Birmingham City       31,656
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 1  Leeds United          34,354
Wolverhampton Wndrs   0 - 4  Charlton Athletic     27,327

League table to 25 August 2003 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal          2  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  0  4  0  2  0  0   6   1   5   6
 2 Manchester Utd   2  1  0  0  4  0  1  0  0  2  1  2  0  0   6   1   5   6
 3 Chelsea          2  1  0  0  2  1  1  0  0  2  1  2  0  0   4   2   2   6
 4 Blackburn R.     2  1  0  0  5  1  0  1  0  2  2  1  1  0   7   3   4   4
 5 Manchester City  2  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  0  3  0  1  1  0   4   1   3   4
 6 Portsmouth       2  1  0  0  2  1  0  1  0  1  1  1  1  0   3   2   1   4
 7 Birmingham City  2  1  0  0  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  1  1  0   1   0   1   4
 8 Charlton Ath.    2  0  0  1  0  3  1  0  0  4  0  1  0  1   4   3   1   3
 9 Everton          2  1  0  0  3  1  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  1   4   3   1   3
10 Tottenham H.     2  1  0  0  2  1  0  0  1  0  1  1  0  1   2   2   0   3
11 Fulham           2  1  0  0  3  2  0  0  1  1  3  1  0  1   4   5  -1   3
12 Southampton      2  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0  2  2  0  2  0   2   2   0   2
13 Leeds United     2  0  1  0  2  2  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1   3   4  -1   1
14 Leicester City   2  0  1  0  2  2  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1   3   4  -1   1
15 Newcastle Utd    2  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  0  2  2  0  1  1   3   4  -1   1
16 Aston Villa      2  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1   1   2  -1   1
17 Liverpool        2  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  1   1   2  -1   1
18 Bolton Wndrs     2  0  1  0  2  2  0  0  1  0  4  0  1  1   2   6  -4   1
19 Middlesbrough    2  0  0  1  0  4  0  0  1  2  3  0  0  2   2   7  -5   0
20 Wolves           2  0  0  1  0  4  0  0  1  1  5  0  0  2   1   9  -8   0

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.04]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

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

[1] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings.

[2] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[3] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[4] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club” (

[5] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. It has its own website, containing info about forthcoming meetings as well as minutes from previous gatherings.

[6] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The GMR pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at, whilst an alternate live commentary service, hosted by Yahoo, is located at

[7] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. A good site for North American viewers is

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

It’s actually a mix of two tracks. It starts with “O Verona” (from the motion picture “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet”) and leads in to “Barber’s Adagio for Strings (Ferry Corsten remix)” by William Orbit. The first part is available on the movie soundtrack (volume 2) and the second is included on a variety of CDs such as Kiss House Nation 2000, Galaxy Hit Mix, Cream Live, Ibiza Chill and Dance Nation 4.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

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

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

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

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the OFEX web site (registration required) or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to Damian Quinn, Stephen Webb and Roger Haigh for the Satellite TV info.

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #944