Newsletter #947

A couple of match views on the Arsenal performance and a match report on the rather “boring, boring Liverpool” reserve game earlier this week thanks to Gav.

News tonight includes details on the UEFA Cup progression, and Lokeren have today announced that we are to receive some 4,000 tickets as they bring in temporary seating to accommodate the hordes of Blues who will be travelling to the footballing hotbed of northern Belgium. We’ve also reaction to the Arsenal defeat, another well deserved award for our groundsmen and news on Nico’s “non” to France.

Plenty of opinion on recent performances, signings and the Southampton ticketing fiasco together with the usual requests and a splash of humour.

No game this weekend due to the internationals, but the reserves are in action at Hyde next Tuesday night against Bolton.

Next game: Aston Villa, home, 2pm Sunday 14 September 2003 (TV game)


UEFA Cup Special

Job Done in Millennium: The news week began with City’s first ever competitive game in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. City beat TNS 2-0 in the second leg UEFA Cup qualifying tie. KK effectively put out a reserve team, with only Paul Bosvelt starting from the first leg. The goals came from Christian Negouai (43 minutes) and Darren Huckerby (81 minutes). “We got another 60 minutes into Paul Bosvelt, which was encouraging and we also gave Willo Flood his début, so there were plusses, even if there weren’t many. We want to be optimistic and feel we can do well in the UEFA Cup this year. As well as that, we also feel we can challenge for a top-four slot in the Premiership” reflected KK later. Keegan confirmed that striker Jon Macken will be out for 10 days after turning his ankle at the start of the second half. The Blues’ boss was generous in his praise for our opponents. “Obviously, I don’t know the Welsh League that well but what I would say is that whoever wins the league title would do well to beat TNS,” he said. “They are very professional and work very hard for each other and will definitely be a force in their league this season. I told the players beforehand that TNS would not be coming here to make up the numbers and so it proved. They had a game plan and made it difficult for us, as they did in the first leg. They worked hard and were very dedicated to the cause. We didn’t create many chances against them as they did a very professional job and defended well.” TNS boss Ken McKenna remained upbeat, despite the seven goal aggregate deficit. “Although we were well beaten overall, especially in the first leg in Manchester, I am very proud of the players for the way they have performed,” he said. “A couple of defensive mistakes cost us in the first leg two weeks ago but over the 90 minutes in Cardiff I felt we deserved a draw. I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players. I think our performance justified playing the game there. The lads really enjoyed it and it’s something they’re going to remember for a long, long time.” Manchester City (3-5-2): Weaver; Dunne, Wiekens, Bischoff; Flood, Bosvelt (Whelan, 73), Negouai, Berkovic (Barton, 80), Tiatto; Macken (Wright-Phillips, 58), Huckerby. Substitutes not used: Distin, Sinclair, Sun Jihai, Ellegaard.

Lokeren Draw for City: Friday saw City drawn to meet KSC Lokeren OV in the first round of the UEFA Cup. The first leg of the game is scheduled for Thursday the 25th September at Eastlands, with the second leg in Belgium on October 15. KK pronounced himself pleased with a relatively short trip for the away leg – the Blues had been in a pool of teams that included representatives from amongst others, the Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia and Macedonia. KK’s musings on the draw were as follows: “It is a very good draw when you look at where some of the other teams have got to go,” he said. “There are longer trips and more difficult places to go – so in that sense the draw is a good one. The fact it is a Belgian club is the downside because Belgian football is very strong. The first game is at home and there are different views about whether that is a good thing or not – but I am just delighted we are in there. It is a bonus for us and we will enjoy it for as long as we can. I played against Brugge a couple of times when I was with Liverpool and they were a very strong side then, as they are now. We won a final against them (the 1976 UEFA Cup final) and I scored goals against them – and you have to respect them as players because there is no doubt the Belgians can play football.” Keegan revealed he may call on Philippe Albert, who played under him at Newcastle, for some tips on the opposition. “I might give him a call for some advice – but I don’t know which side of the fence he will be on,” he said. “He is a very good friend and I will be picking his brains. For scouting it is much easier than going somewhere like Macedonia or Moldova. My very first game in Europe as a manager with Newcastle was against Antwerp away. Everyone was bit uptight about it and we expected a tough game yet we ended up winning 5-0. It was a tremendous start to what was a wonderful adventure for us.” I’m grateful to Matt Thomas, who sent word that Lokeren are considering switching the tie to a larger venue. In the end, Lokeren decided to extend their own ground’s capacity with some Gene Kelly-esque temporary stands. The club also announced that City fans will receive 4,000 tickets for the game. “The only time we get an attendance like this is when we play either Anderlecht or Bruges,” said a Lokeren spokesman. “We are proud to be able to host this game and we will be doing our best to win but the most important thing is that everyone has a good day. Manchester City got into this tournament through the Fair Play table so I’m sure there will be a pleasant atmosphere.” Credit also to Old Pater Barrie, who reminded me that City once signed a player from Lokeren. Anyone remember who that player was? The answer is at the end of this News Summary.

General News

The Young Ones Shouldn’t Be Afraid: There were two noticeable inclusions in England’s under-21 squad this week. Shaun Wright Phillips has earned a recall to David Platt’s squad to face Macedonia on Friday night and Portugal at Goodison Park on Tuesday evening. The only newcomer in the squad is Joey Barton. “Kevin Keegan didn’t tell me about England until just before I went out against Arsenal because he didn’t want me thinking too much about it,” explained the player. “To be honest I would have liked to have joined up with the squad with a win against Arsenal in the bag and losing that game has taken the edge off things a bit but I am still excited, it is a great honour to represent your country no matter what the level. I am determined to stamp my mark on the squad. I don’t want to spend the next week watching from the stand or sitting on the bench.” David Platt admitted that he had taken a look at Barton on the recommendations by City team mate Trevor Sinclair and by Scouse lookalike Steven Gerrard. “I don’t know him well enough, but he’s given a good account of himself,” said Platt. “He trained well. In fact, I walked off the training pitch thinking ‘bloody hell’. It’s hard to step into international football, to go into your first call up and train in the manner he has. You need character and personality. What he has is great energy, more awareness on a football pitch than I gave him credit for, and he’s also shown me he has great personality. He surprised me. But then Trevor Sinclair had spoken to me about him, and the other endorsement came from Steven Gerrard, who knows him very well. If he (Gerrard) starts telling me there’s a player who will give you everything, he’s the type of person you take notice of. If he keeps training like he did through the week, I’ll have no problem putting Joey in the middle of the park on Friday. He strikes me as the kind of person that is not going to go missing in a game and let’s face it, we’re going to be playing on a poor pitch in Macedonia.” On senior duty this week – Paul Bosvelt, who features for Holland in their games with Austria on Saturday and the Czech Republic in midweek, while Richard Dunne is in Ireland’s squad to face Russia on Saturday. Trevor Sinclair has a knee injury, so will not travel with the full England squad to Macedonia. Sven Goran Eriksson hopes that Sinclair will rejoin the party for the midweek fixture with Liechtenstein.

Take That, Monsieur! The feud between Nicolas Anelka and French national coach Jacques Santini shows no sign of abating. It can only be good for City fans – the Blues get a fully fit and fully focussed Elk for the whole season, while we can sit back as the two men sling insults at each other. Here’s Santini’s contribution to the debate this week. “There are 1,200 French players and not all of them are eligible to play for France. The most ineligible is Nicolas Anelka,” said Santini. “I don’t have to judge Anelka’s performances. He’s not part of my plans. I’m not even trying to know whether he’s good or bad or if he’s left or right-footed,” he added. Ouch! – you can almost imagine Anelka’s nostrils flaring with disdain as he delivered his rejoinder: “I am not saying that he is a bad national coach, I don’t know, and I admit that his team works well. But I think that French team is a kingdom of the fake and falsehood. I am not saying that of the players, but the environment. I know this is hard to explain but this is what I have always felt in the way I was treated. People would tell me ‘good job’ while thinking the contrary. That is why I decided to stop. When people are not honest with me I cannot commit myself at 100%. I cannot give the best I have in those conditions. Very fast, I saw that they were trying to find the slightest excuse to sideline me.” Anelka revealed that KK had tried to get Anelka to reconsider his decision to reject international honours. “Keegan told me that I should not do this, that refusing the national team was not in the tradition of the game. But he respected my choice and realised that I felt better without the French team. I don’t regret anything, this is not my style. It’s good for the French team players if things are going well for them, they do their stuff and I do my own business.”

Blank at the Deva: Fielding a team made up mostly of Academy players, City’s Reserves side held their Liverpool counterparts to a 0-0 draw this week. Playing at Chester’s Deva Stadium, City handed full reserve débuts to Paul Collins, Jonathan D’Laryea and Karl Bermingham. City: Ellegaard, Warrender, Collins, Whelan, J D’Laryea, Jordan, Flood, Negouai, Bermingham (B. Wright-Phillips 59), Croft, Tandy. Subs: Schmeichel, Smith, Ireland, Lee-Matthews.

Grounds for Celebration: City’s head groundsman Roy Rigby collected the award for Professional Groundsman of the Year in a ceremony at Wolverhampton race course this week. The prize comes hot on the heels of City securing the title of best in the Premiership earlier this year. City were up against divisional winners Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hartlepool United and Cheltenham for the overall title. “We are very pleased and proud to have won this award for the club,” said Rigby. “The whole team have worked exceptionally hard throughout the past twelve months ensuring our players have the very best facilities on which to train and to play. We are very much looking forward to the challenge of replicating our success in our new home, the City of Manchester Stadium.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Reyna Cuts No Mustard With Coleman: It seemed that last week City would be welcoming either Claudio Reyna or Steve McManaman to the COMS. KK being the man he is – hey, let’s buy both of them! The USA international was the first to join. It was reported that Reyna was on his way to Fulham, but first news of his transfer to City appeared on Sunderland’s club website; “Sunderland midfielder Claudio Reyna is due to have a medical at Manchester City tomorrow with a view to completing a permanent move. The Club can confirm that after agreeing a £2.5 million fee with Fulham, elements of the transfer deal were altered at the final stage, which Sunderland could not accept.” Fulham manager Chris Coleman was clearly miffed and commented later that “Claudio was with us yesterday, having his photo taken in a Fulham jersey. I was even discussing with him what training schedule we would have for him today and he was going to take part tomorrow in some capacity. As far as I was concerned yesterday he was a Fulham player. Then two hours later I take a phone call saying there was a snag in the deal. Four hours later he was a Man City player. I am bitterly disappointed by the whole incident. As a club, we did everything correctly. We agreed a fee with Sunderland and we settled Claudio’s contract but somebody moved the goalposts at the last minute, and it wasn’t us. It’s not as if I can go back to my chairman and ask for more money for the player. We agreed everything and right at the last minute it fell through. I’m disappointed with everyone involved in the deal. He was with me at the training ground yesterday and then later that night he was a Manchester City player – that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. We’ve been working on that deal for quite a while, but that’s football.” You pays your money and takes your choice on which account of the deal you believe, but KK made it clear why he had stepped in snap up Reyna. “I can confirm that Claudio will be with us for a medical on Friday,” said Keegan after the TNS game. “I hope to get him registered by Monday, so that he will be able to for the next round of the UEFA Cup. He gives me options in several positions, he can play right back or in midfield and he brings with him a wealth of experience. He will prove an invaluable influence for our younger players as well.”

Macca Backa With Old Mukka Fowla! Was that the end of KK’s signing spree before that transfer window clanged shut? Was it chuff! Kevin Keegan next took the plunge on Steve McManaman, whose position at Real became untenable after new coach Carlos Queiroz told him that he had no chance of getting any first team action during the final season of his four-year contract. “We are delighted with the move for Steve as this shows our intent to continue to drive forward,” said Chairman John Wardle. “By bringing in players of the calibre of McManaman and Claudio Reyna, whose signing we completed today, we are showing a real ambition to progress.” McManaman told the Daily Telegraph that “I am very excited about joining City. After four incredible years at Madrid it was always going to be a hard decision where to go next,” he declared. “It was important to settle on something that is a great personal challenge where my experience could really contribute to a club ambitious for success. City are in a transitional stage but listening to Kevin talk about the club’s goals I got the strong feeling of momentum building towards success over the next few years. It is such an exciting time for City fans and I felt I could really offer something to the quest. I have worked with Kevin, Arthur Cox and Derek Fazackerley with England so it was like walking into a familiar situation.” KK was his usual understated self when describing his latest addition. “I still think Steve is world class and we will find out for sure over the next few months. We are talking about someone who has been playing for Real Madrid. If you are saying he has faded, you would have to say the same about Morientes and he is also world class,” Keegan added. “Real Madrid have a lot of quality in their team, so the fact he was given a shirt number and also got into the side for some key games last season tells me that the coach respected him. I did this deal because a great player became available and it made sense. Now I have the squad I want.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Gio ‘No’ To Scots Move: Will Gio Kinkladze ever find a club worthy of his talents? Dundee are the latest club to try to entice the Georgian twinkle toes to join them, but after holding initial talks with the SPL club and appearing to be keen, Kinky turned down an offer from the Dens Park club. A Dundee spokesman said: “With Kinkladze, we spent much of the weekend talking to the player and he indicated he was keen to come and he admired the style of football played at Dens. But, late on Sunday night, he told us that he believes his future still lies in the English Premiership and he expects to get an offer from there. So, at the moment, our hard work has not borne fruit. We are reviewing the situation and looking at what opportunities still exist.”

Brass in Pocket for Browne: Former City youth team striker Gary Browne has been given a trial by York City, who are strongly placed in Division Three this season. Manager Chris Brass watched the Northern Ireland Under-21 international play for the club’s reserve team, and did well enough to be invited back for Brass to have a further look at him.

Reactions and Comments

I Wasn’t Laughing… It was all going so well at half time. City were leading Arsenal 1-0, and had harried and hustled the Londoners into scoring an own goal to boot. It didn’t go quite as well in the second half – Arsenal turned the game in their favour, and the press picked on some shaky City defending for both Gooners goals. SWP took some press stick for losing the ball before Sylvain Wiltord’s equaliser, but KK was swift to defend his player. Keegan said: “If you look at the tape you will see Shaun trying to turn with the ball and losing it in a position where you don’t want to be turning past players. But from there you could argue that the ball should have possibly been cleared another two times. You can’t blame Shaun. If I am still saying to him in a year and half’s time: `You don’t do that there or you will be called a slow learner,’ then he will have a problem. But I think he will learn. It was a major mistake because it cost us dearly but to him, as a young lad, he was just trying to break and start another attack. To blame Shaun would be wrong, because although it started there it could have been cleared.” Then the Monday reports focussed on David Seaman allegedly failing to block the attack for Arsenal’s winner, when he had the chance. James Lawton in the Independent suggested that Seaman should now consider retirement. “The ball should never have got through to David,” said Keegan. “I’m sure he’s very disappointed to have lost, like we all are. But the thing David has to learn is that whereas Arsenal would have probably built on the lead we had and gone on to win the game, we’re not at that level yet. If we had a bit more composure and know-how, we could have embarrassed Arsenal. But we didn’t have that. A one-goal cushion against a side of Arsenal’s quality is simply not enough.” Keegan focused instead on the team’s inability to hold on to their early lead. “We were simply not good enough to win,” he said. “Our defending for the goals we conceded was almost laughable and they were poor goals for us to concede. We had three chances to clear the ball on both occasions but failed to do so. And when Arsenal took the lead, you felt they’d hang on to it. But when we led, you didn’t have that feeling. Arsenal were not playing at their best, but they have that quality all great teams have of winning when not at their peak.”

Wenger’s Hairdryer Treatment: Arsenal’s Martin Keown later revealed that manager Arsene Wenger had rallied his players at half time, but not in a boot kicking Sir Redface kind of way. “The manager asked us a question: ‘Did we really want to go on and win the title this year?'” he said. “‘This is where it starts.'” Wenger gave his impressions of his team’s performance. “I didn’t think we were determined enough in the first-half. We were playing within ourselves and lost too many battles,” he declared. “Our strikers were too isolated from the midfield. We were not dangerous and we weren’t playing how I wanted us to play. The boys want it but we weren’t sharp going forward and we needed to play in a different way. After half-time we did much better and created more chances. Manchester City played a more direct game than we had planned for and caused us a few problems. But once we got in front I always felt we were quite comfortable,” he added.

Squad News

Cagey Kev: It sounds like KK will be playing his cards close to his chest when it comes to team selection. “I have told the players that from now on, nobody will know what the team is until just before the game,” he said. “More importantly, our opponents won’t know either because I have so many options. I want to be able to look at my bench, to look at my squad and put out a side that the other team does not expect. I don’t want us to be predictable with people able to look and say that is his starting eleven. There will be no starting eleven here with the players that I have here now. I will mix and match. There will be the odd one or two who will stay in all the time but the others will get a rest now and then. I shall rotate the squad a little bit as that is what you have to do, especially if we are going to be involved in Europe and hopefully have a Cup run somewhere.” He was even cagey when asked where his latest signings will play. “I don’t want to say where Steve will slot in at the moment. I just am waiting for him to come and train with us and Claudio Reyna too. Steve will just give us so many options. He is streetwise and knows what the game is all about. He has been with the best club in Europe in the last four years. I know they have not won everything, but they have come close and he has come in and scored vital goals for them. It is only this season when they have brought in other players like David Beckham that he lost his place in the twenty two man squad, so he will be a big asset.” Can you give us a first month report on this season please Kev? “We have had a decent start to the season; we have won two away games but have not won a game at home yet. It is something to build on. A lot of teams in this Division would love to have the start we have had. I am really looking forward to working with these players. No one else is going to be able to strengthen until Christmas so we have to get on with it. I have a wonderful set of players and they will pick the team now by the way they train and they way they perform. At odd times I will be able to change it in a way that we might not be expected to.”

No One Is Safe: Sylvain Distin believes that no player is guaranteed a place in the starting line up after KK’s summer dealings in the transfer market. “When you want to compete at the top level you have to have the best players and you never know if you will play or not,” he said. “I believe it is the same at Arsenal and Manchester United, players do not know if they will play or not so you have to give your best in every match. It is perfectly natural when there are so many players in the squad. But it is always down to the individual. Only the best players will play so it will be down the players themselves if they play or not. Sure the manager can now rotate the squad. We already have a lot of games in the Premiership and of course the UEFA Cup adds to that. Players want to play in every game but sometimes our legs do not want to! It is very important to have a big squad.”

Shuker Stays: Chris Shuker will be staying at Rochdale for at least another two months. The 21-year-old midfielder first arrived on loan at Spotland in early August and has made six starts for Buckley’s side. Following talks with both the player and KK, ‘Dale boss Alan Buckley revealed all parties had agreed to extend his stay. “Having Chris at the club gives us good options on both sides and we are very pleased he has agreed to stay with us.”

And the Answer Is… The player signed by City from Lokeren was none other than the owner of the wickedest curly perm seen at Maine Road, namely the diminutive Scot Jim Tolmie, signed from the Belgian side in 1983.

Don Barrie (


Yes we played well in the first half but it took its toll in the second half when Bosvelt and Sibierski did look tired.

The really disappointing thing for me though was when Keegan put Tiatto on for Sibierski with about 20 minutes to go. The message that was being given out by this was “tighten up the midfield and try to hold on for the draw”. This isn’t Keegan’s way and it is not City’s way either. We don’t hang on for draws. We go for an outrageous victory or else we get thumped and lose 4 goals in the last 5 minutes.

We should have sent Berkovic on, not only sent him on when we go 2-1 down to try to save the game. He should have gone on to try to win the game when it was still 1-1.

We are City fans, we’re not used to holding on for draws, we’re used to winning or losing with all the emotion that goes with it. If we were fans that were satisfied with mediocre draws we would be supporting Southampton, Liverpool, Middlesbrough etc. (what a depressing thought).

I hope that Keegan has learned his lesson – don’t go against type – go for the win – who cares if we lose – it’s not hurt us in the past. We, unlike the Moan United fans can laugh at ourselves and our team. That’s why we all loved the Goat so much. He could miss sitters from a yard but he didn’t care, he got in to the same position again, not scared of another cock up and he usually stuck it in next time. Other players would have hidden, scared of missing again. The Goat was a true Blue player and although the new guys are more talented, will we ever take them to heart like we did the Goat?

I expect I’m not the only person that now has a second team called Reading, and how I enjoy seeing a Goat slice or mis-kick hit the back of the net.

We have a great manager and a great team but let’s still be City.

Simon (


Two games in a week on TV. Blackburn and then Arsenal.

Not a lot to say that hasn’t been said. Blackburn was a gritty display with three remarkable goals but the result could have gone either way. Arsenal, well I expected worse (sorry folks, not used to this new atmosphere of potential and success!).

I would only say that there is still a problem with the centre of defence and the rôle of the goalkeeper. Schmeichel took one approach, that of constant communication. Seaman seems very quiet in comparison. But it is an area that needs improvement. The two goals at Blackburn and the second Arsenal goal just seemed clumsy. I do wish Kevin had given thought to Upson when he was available.

Having said that, I feel very positive about Distin. I have a good friend who has been a season ticket holder for years who firmly believes that without Distin and Schmeichel last year it may have been City and not West Ham who went down.

Well we certainly will have a lot of midfield players available for the next game. It will be interesting to see how Kevin keeps them content. My worry is that Wright-Phillips may not be seen as much. Which leads me to my final comment this time. I’d like to think that we will seen one or two more local/club players break through this year to join Barton and Wright-Phillips. I think it contributes to a sense of purpose in a squad. But it will be tough given the recent signings.

So a good start and a chance for a decent run with the next few games on the schedule.

Best wishes to all and let me add that from 8,000 miles the stadium looks remarkable. I got two phone calls from a friend who was at the game, during the game, so it was nice to hear the atmosphere. I’ll be over this year sometime. I will never forget Maine Road but this stadium is exactly what we need.

John Pearson, California (


Dull Draw at Deva

Both teams fielded mainly youthful teams, due to international call-ups, for this away fixture with Liverpool in the Premier Reserve League held at The Deva Stadium, the home of Chester City FC. City handed full reserve débuts to Karl Bermingham, Paul Collins and one half of City’s starring young twins, Jonathan D’Laryea.

This game has to go down as one of the most boring games I have ever watched, where neither side did enough to threaten the opposition’s defence that they were going to score. It says it all that the men of the match for the opposing teams were their centre halves, Djimi Traore and Glenn Whelan.

The only real talking points were that the referee could have given a penalty to both teams within the space of a minute towards the end of the first half, when first Karl Bermingham seemed to be held down from a Willo Flood cross by débutant Carl Medjani. And for Liverpool when Danny Warrender seemed to barge number nine, Stephen Gillespie, in the area from a through ball by England international Danny Murphy.

Both sides created only one clear chance each, which both contrived to miss. Firstly, a good, fast sweeping move by City in the fifty eighth minute, which was started by D’Laryea in midfield. He sent a good pass out to the left for Jamie Tandy to cross well, which in turn was flicked on perfectly for Karl Bermingham to rifle home, but somehow he fluffed his shot; a minute later he was replaced by Bradley Wright-Phillips. Liverpool’s glaring miss came from Gerard Houllier’s new “Zinedine Zidane”, Bruno Cheyrou, when Danny Murphy sent him clear in the box.

City still await their first three points of the season and with only two points are giving themselves a much harder task to try to repeat last year’s challenge for the title. I think the story of the season so far has to be that the defence has looked mainly very secure apart from an odd mistake, but we seemed to be lacking that spark that can capitalise on more creativity.

Ellegaard: Had little to do, poor kicking. 5
Warrender: Didn’t get down the flanks and overlap enough. 6
Collins: Good début for the young left back, hardly gave the ball away. 7
Whelan: Won everything and did his best to be creative in a dire game. MoM. 8
D’Laryea: Did well in midfield on his début, much room for improvement though. 7
Jordan (capt): Ran Whelan close for man of the match. Very assured at the back. 8
Flood: Sent in a few good crosses like at the Millennium last Thursday. 7
Negouai: Not his best game, but on the whole we are seeing improvement from him. 6
Bermingham (59): Fluffed a great chance but worked hard, rarely gave the ball away. 6
Croft: Did nothing up front all night, was often very wasteful with his possession. 5
Tandy: Didn’t put the Liverpool defence under enough pressure. 5

Wright-Phillips (59): Was less effective than Bermingham when he came on. 5

Not Used: Schmeichel, Smith, Ireland, Lee-Matthews.

Luzi, Ostemobor, Whitbread, Medjani, Traore (capt), Murphy, Foy (Wilkie 45), Welsh, Gillespie, Cheyrou, Smyth.

Att: 1,128.

Gavin Cooper (


TNS… £20 per ticket, 6 hours on the motorways and A roads down from Manchester, £5 for a pint and a coke, £3 for a snide programme, dodgy cheese pasty. Boring, boring, boring, boring game. Can I have my money back please Kev? 10,000 in a stadium that fits 70,000, where’s the logic in that? It was embarrassing. The players at TNS were a disgrace, their attitude stank.

Weaver, not much to do, nice stop from long range effort.
Dunne, slow, knackered and useless.
Flood, looks good but reminds me of Buster Phillips in stature (6 stone wet).
Bischoff, looks OK.
Wiekens, same as usual.
Danny T, ran about a lot, which was more than most.
Bosvelt, utter garbage, the worst signing since the F word – I have changed my opinion on him in the competitive games, he is so slow he must have lead boots.
Sweep – thank God for a decent player.
Joey Barton – ditto.
Negouai – headless chicken, schoolboys have better positional awareness.
Macken – shambolic performance, every time he lost the ball he played injured, pathetic.
Huckerby – the worst I’ve ever seen him play, scandalous.
Berkovic – couldn’t be @rsed, like most of them.

Glad when the whistle blew for FT; it was the worst game I’ve ever seen. I would prefer to watch the reserves at Hyde – 15 minute in car and only a few quid.

Before this game I was optimistic about the strength in depth but they really were awful, we have nothing in reserve. Saw the u-17’s beaten at Maine Road by Leeds and there were players in that side that were better.

What a contrast this was to the Rovers trip, which was atmospheric and wonderful. Tarnat you are indeed God-like in my eyes!

Arsenal – played them off the park for 45 minutes but the game sadly lasted 90 so we were well beaten for the other 45 minutes. SWP skinned Cole and I have no idea why he was taken off. Bosvelt MoM! Please, he was the worst player on the pitch.

Reyna – played very well in the World Cup but is also very prone to injury, as if Macken, Chop, Weaver etc. weren’t enough.

Banana Man – Oh dear what a calamitous signing. He was prepared to sit on his a**e in Spain and do nowt, we don’t need his sort.

I feel that in the space of just a week our season has taken a turn for the worse. Squad rotation? Yes that worked great for Ruud Gullit at Newcastle, not!

I hope that things sort themselves out really quickly. As far as the Belgium trip goes I think we’ll leave it, especially if we murder them in the first leg.

So much for positivity! Maybe next time.

Oh yeah and one more thing. We went into Mary D’s before the Arsenal game and they were playing a load of Blue medley tunes, which were absolutely mad versions of City Til I Die, Blue Moon etc.; can you get these on a CD, they were hilarious?

P.S. I promise to be more optimistic next time!

Scott Moore (


I thought I would share my response to the Premier League following a reply to my complaint on the Southampton complaint of their ticket allocation, which of course they could not fulfil, for our final game at Maine Road.

If anyone would like to contact them, please email me for further details.

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 4:08 PM
Subject: Manchester City v Southampton

Dear Miss Revell,

I was grateful to receive your reply to my email of 11th June received on 28th August. I note your comments but find them baffling in the extreme.

I am aware of the fact that this being the last ever game to be played at Maine Road, a low key opponent was requested and that Southampton in turn asked for a full allocation as “a high demand for tickets” was indicated. I am also aware that Southampton brought to the FAPL’s attention that the Police had insisted upon a reduced allocation. I also note that other clubs playing their last ever games gave a full allocation.

However, what perplexes me is the fact that you have patently ignored the facts of the case and must ask if you have a hidden agenda.

You do not appear to have addressed the fact that it was on Police insistence that the allocation was reduced; they look at safety issues, which do not appear to concern you. The fact that Southampton fans brazenly sold tickets on the Black Market both on the Web and on the day appears to be of minor concern to you. You point out that this is against the Law yet earlier in your letter you feel it convenient to ignore it.

Southampton’s high demand for tickets resulted in a return of approximately 25% of their allocation, making a mockery of their earlier pontifications. Indeed, Mr Lowe the Southampton Chairman, so voluble prior to the game, immediately retreated into his shell when he saw the poor turnout from the Saints’ fans.

As for other clubs allowing a full allocation, how many of those clubs regularly filled their previous grounds? How many of their opponents peddled Black Market tickets? How many got more than the 1,300 given to Southampton whose previous away turnouts on this ground had been minimal?

However, what concerns me above all is that this whole fiasco takes no account of the fans’ safety. Have we not learnt from Hillsborough or Hysel? I quote from your letter “In this instance it was felt that the whole matter, if handled differently, could have avoided involving the safety committee”. God help us if this is genuinely your stance.

I am utterly appalled that you take supporters’ safety so lightly and am amazed that you fine a club for following Police and Safety Committee recommendations, a pat on the back would appear more appropriate.

I am extremely unhappy at your stance on this matter and intend to take it further unless I get a more serious and satisfactory response.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Barton (


Watched the Arsenal game on TV – great first half but the usual ball-watching in defence. I’d love to see what would happen if the defenders stood face-to-face with the opposition, so they could read their every move. Just a thought…

Anyway, what on earth was the point of the music just before the start of the second half? I’m desperately hoping that someone who was at the match can tell me that it was just my TV coverage that was playing the tune, but what I heard was that dirge taken from one of the (many) Vietnam films. Can’t remember exactly which film, and I’ll kick myself when I find out, but you know the tune – loads of violins, slow, sad, just the thing to depress even the happiest Manc on the day when the team’s one-up and the sun’s shining. Well it worked, didn’t it. Get something more lively and positive, quick, or give the team earplugs!

Mel Clegg – Norway (


Well, it was good to see our game in Australia vs. The A**e, but with a crowd of 46,000 can someone please explain to me why I saw many empty seats, are the bar queues that long?

Tim Berry (


In response to the queries about Juan Carlo Osorio. He has left, with it would appear, to be some rancour. When asked if he had left during an interview on GMR, KK’s response was a curt “yes”. He refused to comment any further. Juan Carlos wasn’t saying anything either.

Oh, whilst I’m on, it’s Eastlands for me!

CTID, Dot Keller (


Here’s a good idea, instead of moaning about the name of the stadium, why don’t the people who are doing the moaning put their hands in their pockets and send me a ticket to the next home match with travel expenses, and I promise to come up with a name within 24 hours.

[Nice try Antony, don’t see that working somehow! – Ed]

Antony – Israel (


A few weeks have now passed since we moved into the new stadium and the issue of what to call the stadium just drags on.

For me, and most of the City fans I know, emotionally and spiritually we are still “CITY… from MAINE ROAD” (I believe a small access road can be given the name by the corporation, to make it official).

Or how about New Maine Road?

John Lilly (


I have one ticket spare for the Villa game – West Stand Level 3 on the half-way line. Contact me on the email address shown below.

John Wilson (


Firstly, could I thank all who work on or contribute to MCIVTA for helping us exiles keep in touch with City.

Next, is there anyone in the London area, particularly in NW London, who wants to share my season ticket?

Other than the games against the Rags and against Newcastle, I shall only be able to attend infrequently and I hate the thought of an empty seat when someone else might be able to use it.

City ’til I Die!

Phil Peacock (


I will be in Denmark (at a conference nr. Aarhus) on Wednesday 24th September when we play Lokeren at home. Anybody know of anywhere in or around Aarhus that may cover this match on TV (do we know if any TV channels will be showing it)?

P.S. Why is this on a Wednesday? I fly back home on Thursday afternoon specifically to be there for the evening when I anticipated the match would be played! Does anyone who schedules football matches give a fig about supporter trying to plan their lives any more than 3 weeks out?

Andy Longshaw (


I’ll be in Dubai for the Villa match on September 14th. Any guidance on a good bar to watch the Blues gratefully received.

Mark Meadowcroft (


Can anyone tell me where to get the above ringtone for Siemens phone?

Thanks in advance, Joel Perry (


The appeal fund established in memory of Foe is progressing well and we are now able to give an update on how people can contribute:

Financial Donations

Any branch of HSBC

Account Name/Payable to: Marc Vivien Fo