Newsletter #1003

Three points dropped on Monday night as once again an inability to hit the back of the net and some dubious refereeing conspired against us as we went down 2-1 at Leeds. We have reviews of the Leeds débâcle, news on happenings down at CoMS, the run-in, winter breaks and Richard hobnobbing at a charity bash plus the usual requests.

Fulham are the visitors on Saturday as we continue our search for points and scramble away from the drop zone.

Next game: Fulham, home, 3pm Saturday 27th March 2004


General News

Being a Manager is a Pain in the Back: Don’t know if Alan Wiley’s performance had anything to do with it, but KK has been in hospital this week receiving treatment for an inflamed nerve in his back. “Mr. Keegan underwent a short course of treatment to alleviate an inflamed nerve. We expect him to join up with the squad at Eastlands on Saturday for our home game with Fulham,” explained a City spokesman. “In the meantime Kevin is managing team affairs while he is recuperating at home and he is continuing to oversee the team’s preparations for the Fulham game by maintaining regular contact with the assistant manager, Arthur Cox and other senior members of staff. After he left hospital the manager’s initial calls were to his assistant and the club chairman, John Wardle. In the meantime Arthur Cox will be looking after training and any other issues at Carrington over the next couple of days.”

Give Us a Break! KK supports plans for a winter break in next season’s Premiership but he wants it to be longer than the proposed 13 days if it is to work. “It is something I would welcome but the problem is what is a winter break, what do you call a break? Is it a week or two weeks?” commented KK. “Quite frankly if it is not going to be a month then I do not think it is worth doing and in England it is never going to be a month because of the competitions we have got and the commitments to the number of games. I guess the problem again is the big clubs, the ones who are playing in the Champions’ League, their players are playing in internationals and the Cup competitions as well. I just think it is the old story. They are trying to make rules to fit everyone and they never will. In England our best time to watch football is around Christmas and the New Year. In Germany people don’t go to football then. Germany still has a month but then they still get games postponed when they come back. Winter can come in February in Germany and England as easily as it can come in January. The weather doesn’t think it is the winter break so we will throw some snow at you! Sven Goran-Eriksson rang every manager, he rang me and I said yes I support it. He thinks it is for the players and I believe him on that one but it is not going make a major difference. I would welcome a week off with my family around Christmas and New Year, but the people we really should be asking is the supporters. They are the ones who pay for the game to be played. I know deals with sponsors pay a lot as well but the supporters also pay. Big occasions like the derby on Sunday make you realise how big football really is. And we can’t always do just what is right for the players. You could give the top players a week off every other week and they might play better but it is not going to be right for the supporters.” Claudio Reyna agrees with his manager. The midfielder said: “I experienced a winter break in Germany and while I was up in Scotland with Rangers, the SPL also experimented with one for a couple of seasons. I think it will help a lot and most players would be for it and would welcome the move. Six days off in the middle of the season is a long time to a player, even if it doesn’t appear that way from the outside. It will help teams tremendously, especially those in European competition.”

Anelka Returns for France: Well, sort of. Following last week’s apology to French coach Jacques Santini, Anelka did not make the squad for the friendly with Holland, but he has been put on standby for possible future selection. Sources at the French Football Federation confirmed that Anelka is back in Santini’s plans and that a fax had been sent to Manchester City inquiring about his availability for the match against Holland – this means that the 25-year-old striker is, at the very least, on the list of back-up players if there are any withdrawals. “Anelka has received a pre-calling up letter, which means he is now part of the list of players that can be called up,” explained Santini this week.

Former Director Dies: Former City director Chris Muir has died in a Blackpool hospice at the age of 75. Muir was invited on to the Maine Road board by Chairman Albert Alexander, and stayed on the board before standing down in 1994, after Peter Swales was ousted. After moving to Blackpool, he joined the board at Bloomfield Road and remained a working director until his illness. City secretary Bernard Halford said: “Chris was a lovely man who made a huge contribution to our club. He was particularly interested in the development of young players at Maine Road, and oversaw the youth policy, which produced players like Steve Redmond, Andy Hinchcliffe, David White, Ian Brightwell and Paul Lake.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Adios, Vuoso? Matias Vuoso’s career as a City player could be at an end, if this week’s reports are to be believed. Vuoso is currently enjoying a productive season on loan at Santos Laguna in Mexico, and KK thinks that a permanent deal may be in the offing. “There is interest in him out there,” the manager said. “We are just waiting to see if any of the clubs will come up with the sort of money that we want. Two things can happen. Either we get the fee we think he is worth, in which case he doesn’t come back, or else he comes back for pre-season. The team have not done all that well, but he has done ok.” The Boss Man reckons that Vuoso struggled to come to terms with the English game after his £4 million move to City. “The pace of the English game, the way it is played is completely different to Argentina,” said Keegan. “Invariably, it takes South Americans a year to settle. Now he has had his year. So next year will be a big one for him.”

Get Bent: Sunday tabloid gossip has reported that City are keeping an eye on Ipswich Town striker Darren Bent. The 20-year-old has previously interested Southampton and Newcastle United. After an injury-hit season, Bent has come to prominence again with a recent hat trick in Ipswich’s 3-1 win against Walsall.

Barça Bound? This week’s destination for our star striker? Why, Barcelona of course! Some of the more excitable rags (like the Guardian, no less) even claimed that Nico had secretly been taking part in Barca’s team building exercises for next season. Don’t quite follow the logic and logistics of that myself, it seems a bit early for next season’s preparations. Again City’s mounting debt was held up as the reason for the sale of the Elk. Barcelona’s director of sport Txiki Beguiristain denied any interest in Anelka, however. “FC Barcelona is not maintaining any type of contact with a view to signing Anelka,” Beguiristain said. “There are other open lines of work at the moment and they are not centred on English football.” Anelka’s compatriot, David Trezeguet of Juventus, is the other key target for Barça and they are working strenuously to bring the prolific front man to La Liga.

Stalwarts’ Farewell! Two more veterans from City’s three-division bungee jump will probably not be at the club next season. Danny Tiatto and Gerard Wiekens are set to leave in the summer, with KK admitting that he is unlikely to offer either player a new contract. The duo has notched up over 370 Blues’ appearances between them but both are out of contract at the end of the season. “Gerard Wiekens and Danny Tiatto know that it is unlikely that they will be offered another deal. I won’t talk to Michael Tarnat about his contract until probably April until we know that we will still be in the Premiership. We have to think like that.” Another player whose future is undecided is defender Stephen Jordan, who is considering an offer of a further year with the Blues but has yet to decide if he will sign. Paddy McCarthy meanwhile has signed a one-year deal to remain with the Blues. “Paddy McCarthy has worked and worked and never given up. He never spat his dummy out,” explained Kevin Keegan. “I have talked to him about maybe sometime going away from Manchester City to further his career but to stay here at the moment. He is a good trainer a real super lad and is getting closer and closer to the first team. It benefited him going out on loan. He went to Notts County as well as Boston United. There is no doubt that Paddy has a real good chance of making it here at Manchester City. We have offered him another year which he has accepted and we will take it from there. Stephen Jordan had the opportunity to go to Stockport and I told him to stay with us to the end of the season and that we would offer him something. We are going to offer Stephen another year but he his entitled under the rules to leave at the end of the season. We are still at the talking stage with Stephen and if he decides to go then we will wish him all the best. Again a bit like Paddy McCarthy as the club has moved up a notch, it hasn’t gone away from him.”

Best of the Rest: A brief round up of some City links this week. Everton and City are reportedly monitoring Albacete centre back Pablo Ibanez. Ibanez is under contract with Albacete until June 2005, and his release fee stands at £8 million. Middlesbrough and City are both trailing Dutch midfielder David Mendes da Silva. The 21-year-old is currently with Sparta Rotterdam, the club he started his career with in 1999. “Manchester City and Middlesbrough both know about David,” confirmed the player’s agent Eduard Burleson. “David is playing well and is attracting interest. NAC made an offer earlier this season and like him a lot, but the English interest is obviously hard to ignore.” A fee of £3 million would secure his services. Real Sociedad’s Javier de Pedro has confirmed that he has reached an agreement with a club for next season with reports in Spain suggesting his most likely destination is Bolton Wanderers. It is claimed Bolton have offered the left-sided wide man a contract although he has yet to sign it because he is waiting on Manchester City. Kevin Keegan is reported to have made tentative enquiries for the Spaniard and a switch to City would be De Pedro’s preference, according to

Ex-Blues’ News

I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow: Whither Georgi Kinkladze now? Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce has decided against offering a contract to Kinky who has spent the last month on trial at the Reebok Stadium. The 30-year old Georgian international has been without a club since severing his ties with Nationwide League outfit Derby County last summer and after a number of similar trial spells with the likes of Portsmouth, Leeds United and Greek side Panathinaikos the player was trying his luck back in the North West with Wanderers. “He can do somebody a job but I think that the way he plays and the way Jay Jay Okocha plays means they are too similar. I don’t think I could put them both in the same team because of the similarities in the way they play,” said Bolton boss Sam “Big Sam” Allardyce.

Villa Won’t be Held to Ranson: Ray Ranson’s name keeps popping up on the sports and financial pages, and it’s happened again today. Following his offer to invest in City, and the reported loss of millions in loans that Ransom set up for Leeds United, comes news that Aston Villa have rejected a reported £30 million bid for the club from former City defender Ranson. “Aston Villa has received a proposal to acquire the entire issued share capital of the Company,” said a Villa plc statement. “The board’s view is that it significantly undervalues Aston Villa and the proposal has been rejected.” (Thanks to U.E.McGill for this item).

Reactions and Comments:

Not So Wiley: “This is gettin’ monogamous” as Popeye once said. We could write the same match report every week – “City were beaten by [insert opponents’ name here], after dominating the match and creating numerous chances.” There was an added element of spice this week at Elland Road, as City succumbed to a highly dubious penalty award by referee Alan Wiley. Leeds’ winning goal came as Alan Smith hurled himself into the penalty box, after receiving minimal contact from Daniel van Buyten outside the area. Big Danny then received his second yellow card of the game for the “offence”. “It was a poor decision,” insisted an incandescent Mr. Keegan later. “I saw Mr. Wiley after the game and all I have asked him to do is look at it because he has made the wrong decision. If he has anything about him he will take a look and say he got it wrong. Although he cannot help us now, he can take the red card away. That’s all we can ask for because the game has gone, but he has said he will look at it and that he will be honest. But that’s the second time for us. The one at Arsenal I can half understand but the one tonight, no. I don’t know what Manchester City have done to this referee but it’s clear we’ve done something and it’s his fault that we’ve got nothing. It’s not his job to help Leeds United. They’ve got to get themselves out of trouble, but you cannot legislate for things like that. It’s just poor. Smith was outside the box, the ref has been sucked in. I’m not blaming Smith. All we can ask of the referee is that he takes the red card away. We can’t get the point back.”

What a Gray Day: The caretaker-boss of Leeds, Eddie Gray admitted that the penalty award was “debatable”. He added: “This was an important win for the club, especially with the new owners taking over. It’s good for the supporters and the players and hopefully we can get on at the club and look to the future. There’s a lot happened at this club over the last few seasons, but we’ve still got to concentrate on football, which is why I warned the players before the game they face 10 cup finals between now and the end of the season. Before the game there was a lot of tension and one or two of the players were a little bit nervous and although they know they did not play as well as they are capable of playing, they kept working away.”

The Never-Ending Story: Whilst KK was suitably outraged by the penalty award, he admitted that he was frustrated with a dominant performance that produced null points. “I would have been disappointed with a point,” admitted Keegan. “I can’t remember David James having a save to make. I think we defended very well but our finishing could have been better. The very least we deserved was a point. It is like making a recording over and over again. We were the best team last night and we have lost again. We have done that a lot of times this year. I just think we have been unlucky. People might put that on my gravestone. I felt sorry for the lads, they deserved something. They played some good football and competed well with Leeds. The best team went away with nothing but that is football sometimes.” Keegan also made a plea for the authorities to sort out the offside confusion. Leeds’ James Milner was standing five yards beyond the last defender, next to the post, when Stephen McPhail struck the opener from a free kick. “Until it is sorted out you can’t blame teams for doing it,” he declared. “You cannot tell me he wasn’t interfering with the concentration of the goalkeeper.”

Not Very Appealing: As the dust settled on Tuesday morning, City announced that they were lodging an official appeal with the Football Association over van Buyten’s dismissal. “We believe that Alan Wiley has made an incorrect decision in that no foul occurred and Alan Smith commenced his fall to the ground from outside the penalty area,” said a club spokesman. It seems unlikely however that Wiley will overturn his ruling on the incident. He is known to have watched a tape of the challenge three times before passing on his comments and is adamant his call was correct. “I saw Smith go past van Buyten and although there was initial contact just outside the area, I felt the actual foul – because Smith gets a bit of a trip – happens on the line or fractionally inside,” assessed Wiley. “The rules of the game say on the line is in the area and that becomes a penalty. I didn’t have to consult with my assistant. He put his flag across his chest which confirmed to me it was a penalty.” Perhaps Wiley had better enjoy his time in the national limelight, because according to the M.E.N. this week, he is in danger of being demoted to the Football League next season (then again, so are City). Wiley has having handed out 72 yellow cards in 18 matches this season, more than any other referee, and the body in charge of Premiership referees has the power to demote officials who are thought to have been inadequate over a season.

‘Ugly’ Dunne’s Call: As someone once said, “Damn! We’re in a tight spot!” following the defeat that left City precariously placed in 16th position, just three points above the drop zone. Richard Dunne thinks that City may have to cut out the attractive play if they are to stay in the Premiership this season. “We have played pretty football all year and it has got us nowhere,” said the 24-year-old. “If we don’t sort ourselves out we are going to end up in a relegation battle. The only way we will get out of this mess is by going back to basics. Sometimes I wonder if we think we are better than we actually are. There is too much passing and not enough end product. We are being too nice and it is becoming a pain. If it happens once or twice it is bad luck, this has been happening since October and that is bad play. Maybe we should lob the ball into the box and start fighting for it in there,” he said. “We need some scruffy goals, bouncing off the knee or anything just to spark us off. The performance against Manchester United shows what we are capable of but we have to remember the attributes that got us that result. Sheer hard work is the only thing that will help us now.”

Squad News

Shaunie for England! The SWP fan club has many members, including members of the staff as well. KK was asked about Sweep’s chances of joining the England squad, and said: “Shaun will have to gatecrash the squad a little bit, but as far as his performances on the field are concerned, I don’t think he can do much more. For me he is the best young player in the country at the moment, and that is high praise because I think there are a lot of good ones around. Sven-Goran Eriksson has a lot of good players to choose from just now, but you need utility men in every squad and there aren’t too many who can cover the number of positions Shaun can. I hope he makes it, but if he doesn’t, I have no doubt he will be in the plans for the World Cup in two years.” Racehorse owner and occasional footballer Steve McManaman agrees. Macca said: “Anyone who excites a crowd like Wrightie does, anyone who can beat a man and can go past players and score goals like he has this season, is always going to be first on the list. That’s what people like to see.”

Flood Alert at Dale: Willo Flood’s loan at Third Division Rochdale is going well. He has played twice for ‘Dale, in their 1-1 draw with Huddersfield, and the 2-0 defeat of Carlisle last Saturday. KK went to watch him at Huddersfield last Tuesday. “We have put Willo Flood out on loan to Rochdale and I went and watched him play on Tuesday night. He had a hand in their goal,” explained his all seeing Boss. “Willo is where Chris Shuker was two years ago. So he can go there for a month as it is for his development. We still think he has a chance here. We take a load of youngsters on and we promise the parents at the time when their kids are sixteen, seventeen or sometimes as young as nine or ten that we will do everything we can to make players out of them. That sometimes means doing everything we can to make sure they stay in the game at a level that is worthy of the work they have put in. And I believe we do that as good as any club. I think any kid coming here is treated with total respect. We work very hard not just for the ones who have made it here but the ones who are not quite good enough for us and we talk a lot to them about where they can go, what they should do.”

Dunnie: I’m a Dapper Dan Man! Richard Dunne hopes that the club can hang on to Daniel van Buyten in the summer, citing the improved defensive displays of the team since the Belgian’s arrival. “We feel that we have got a lot stronger at the back since Daniel has come into the side,” said Dunne. “It is a case of us just trying to maintain that improvement. It would be a great signing if he stays, because, although we have still conceded goals recently, I think we have looked a lot stronger. We have three big lads at the back and we are winning most headers. As a team we feel more solid since he arrived. I suppose his good performances are a bit of a double-edged sword, because the way he has been playing I guess a lot of sides will be trying to sign him in the summer – if Marseille want him to leave. If he stays I think we can be an effective unit, and that would only get better and better as Daniel’s English improves. He is starting to learn now and has the basics. A summer in English classes would do him the world of good though!”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Les Blues Murdered By Ref

He said I’m gonna buy this place and burn it down
I’m gonna put it six feet underground
He said I’m gonna buy this place and watch it fall
Stand here beside me baby in the crumbling walls
Oh I’m gonna buy this place and start a fire
Stand here until I fill all your heart’s desires
Because I’m gonna buy this place and see it burn
Do back the things it did to you in return


Today’s result was murder at daylight. It was a robbery in a crowded street. It was hijack on the motorway. What on earth happened tonight?

First minutes: City started brightly. SWeeP was played through by Barton after 12 minutes in a best of Benarbia manner. Shaunie got past the defender and from a much, much, much better position than against the Rags, hit the side netting. Well it was a taste of what to come I thought – this is only going to get better.

Leeds were abysmal in the first half. Though the referee Mr. Wiley (remember him sending off Anelka against Arsenal?) tended to blow his whistle every time Alan Smith hit the ground, and man does he do that often during a match. On one such occasion Leeds got a free-kick from the right. 23 minutes was passing on the clock when McPhail lifted the ball into the area. An offside placed Milner ran out of the way and the ball squeezed in at the far corner. James will be very sorry to see that in the replay tonight. But was the linesman’s flag up, no way. This was Elland Road!

After the goal Leeds decided to play it down a bit, nobody bothered to trot back when City got the ball, leading to numerous great opportunities for City to get back into the match. Anelka almost made a dummy out of two defenders, but decided to shoot weakly against Robinson, instead of giving the ball to the unmarked Fowler on the left. Still “Le Elk” managed to bring City back into the game with a stunning shot in the dying minutes:

The ball was played forward from the left. Sibierski flicked it into Anelka’s path with his heel, and suddenly the Frenchman could use his speed to advance a few meters and put the ball firmly in by the far post.

Half-time score: 1-1. City had more shots on goal, more corners, fewer fouls against, and fewer offsides. Leeds had a little more possession (52% against 48%), but hey it’s their home ground. It just didn’t look like it.

City started the second half just as brightly as they had the first. Sibierski got a clear header saved magnificently by Robinson to keep them in the game. And Anelka blasted the ball over the bar from a good position. Then van Buyten made an impressive run up field, played the ball to Anelka and still charged for the goal. Nobody had expected that and he was clear through, but it seemed like Anelka was just as shell shocked for he didn’t do the obvious thing and play the defender through. Instead he cut in and tried a shot that was blocked.

Now Leeds looked less and less capable of doing it for themselves. And City didn’t look capable of finishing off what must surely be the poorest team in this division. I suddenly understood that this was going to be another nail-biting experience.

Smith still played his rôle as badger, crawling all over the place. Van Buyten was constantly marking for the acting performances by the Leeds striker, but Mr. Wiley was on the wrong channel tonight.

After 74 minutes Smith was put through on the right. For once van Buyten was caught on his heels. He headed back and the players made contact. Van Buyten stamped his foot on the 18 yard line as to mark out his position, but the referee, now rapidly advancing from behind the midfield line ran towards the penalty spot. The contact may not have been the clearest in the Premiership, but as for fouls this was double up for City and the real foul was made by the man in green. Penalty – no way. But this was Elland Road!

Up stepped Viduka, sent James the wrong way, and won the match for Leeds.

Still Sibierski could have levelled the game when he made another clear cut header in the dying minutes. But Robinson gathered the ball rather easily. I always thought City looked better with 10 men than 11, and SWeeP was getting more space as soon Sun Jihai entered the field. But Leeds seemed to understand that the game was going their way. They found renewed strength and made some horrendous tackles to keep the time running. They even put the ball up against the corner flag to keep it out of play. This was at Elland Road…

Then it was all over. 1-2, defeat and despair.

Note for Kevin: Anelka might have needed a little lighter introduction to the game after picking daffodils in France the last few weeks. He didn’t look his usual sharp self. Robbie was nowhere to be found in the last 15 minutes. When we needed him the most he didn’t deliver. Macken or Wanchope should have got the nod at that stage. And remember to argue that red card. It was wrong to give the penalty and the red card on top of that is just injustice at its worst!

Svenn Hanssen <Svenn.Agnar.Hanssen(at)>


Alan Wiley 2 City 1

I am so angry – City played Leeds off the park for most of this game and were beaten in the end (as at Arsenal) by the decisions of Alan Wiley. Leeds first goal was a comedy from a free kick given for the type of challenge which went unpunished for most of the game. Milner was offside in the 6 yard box as the kick was taken. Anelka scored a great goal on half-time but did nothing else of note. City then played some tremendous stuff in the second half but Leeds threw themselves in the way of everything and our usual inability to take more than 5% of the chances we create meant that Leeds were still in the game. Then Mr Wiley earned his bonus by giving a penalty and sending van Buyten off as he and Smith came together outside the penalty area – Smith manged to propel himself into the penalty area before sprawling to the ground for Mr Wiley who wasn’t on the TV screen to award the penalty. My view was that it wasn’t a foul, both Smith and van Buyten were challenging for a ball that was equidistant to both of them and both had a right to hold their line, there was no contact inside the penalty area. This begs the question as to how Mr Wiley managed to be so sure from his position that the challenge was a foul in the area – of course he couldn’t – so why a penalty? But then no fair referee would have sent only Anelka off at Arsenal so perhaps he has other motivations or perhaps he’s just no good. Interviewed afterwards he said that the contact outside the area was not a foul but he “felt” that there was a trip in the area or on the line (like he could judge that!) – not good enough – he has to see that there was contact in the area and since there wasn’t he couldn’t. In either case the authorities should be worried. Mr Gray agreed that there was no contact in the area but could understand that as Smith went sprawling by the penalty spot he could see why the referee gave a penalty from his position?! If we are relegated in place of Leeds then Mr Wiley will be the cause. I’m also unsure about the morality of Leeds’ financial escape by largely walking away from their debts – unlike KK I hope they are relegated.

City flagged for a while after the penalty but when Sun Jihai replaced Bosvelt, SWeeP got a second lease of life and with a little more luck we could have got an equaliser, which still would have been less than our dominance should have earned. Sun Jihai and SWeeP make, in my view, the best right side attacking combination in the league so why aren’t we starting with them? With the present back three, Sun gets some cover for his defensive weakness whilst SWeeP gets more freedom to terrorise opposing defenders. The statistics also worry me a bit – why have we done better without Anelka? Sure, he’s a class act but so was Kinkladze and Frank Clark’s obsession with playing around him probably caused us to be relegated – let’s hope we don’t make the same mistake of thinking that any player is more valuable than the results.

Ah well, rant over, let’s try to get some sleep!

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


Two games in 24 hours saw City robbed of points by an inept referee and his assistants. City’s first team disappointment at Leeds the night before, was compounded yet again by a referee who failed to give a blatant penalty and his assistant disallowed a perfectly good goal for offside. City’s first half lead by a strike from Stephen Elliott was cancelled out early in the second half by a deflected Kieran Richardson shot that went in off Paddy McCarthy.

The first half was quite an even contest but right from the off, United showed their ability to play as dirty as possible with a cynical and late challenge by Paul Tierney on Lee Croft and he was rightly booked for the challenge. Neither team really created any clear openings in the first quarter of an hour. The first controversial moment of the match came on 19 minutes when Paulo Wanchope put Glenn Whelan free into the box only for him to be tackled from behind and bundled over just as he was about to shoot. The even more galling thing about the incident was that not only were City not awarded a penalty but Glenn was booked for diving.

Moments later Danny Warrender made a surging run and played a good ball to Paulo, who then in turn played a one two with Elliott on the edge of the box but Paulo’s finish was poor. A minute later though City went in front when, Glenn, at the heart of most things, surged forward and laid a good pass to Paulo, he tricked a couple of defenders and laid the ball square to Elliott who was free on the left and he side stepped and lashed his left foot shot into the bottom right corner.

On 35 minutes, young Stephen Ireland had to be replaced by the gangly Marc Laird after Stephen had obviously had a bad knock. The remainder of the half was mainly controlled by United with half chances falling to Colin Heath and Kenny Cooper, which Arni Arason got down to well on a few occasions. Also Richardson had a good chance but he sent his effort wide. The half ended with a good effort that Danny Tiatto should have scored from when Paulo played a short ball to Glenn who crossed well for Danny.

Bradley Wright Phillips replaced an out of sorts Paulo at half time. It was United who started the second half brighter and won a corner in the first minute. The corner was only half cleared to Jonathan Spector who saw his shot saved well at the near post by Arni. Four minutes later saw the United equalizer when Richardson was sent free down the right; he got near the by line and tried to cross to Cooper, but instead the ball ricocheted off Paddy and went curling over Arni and into the net.

That sparked City into life and from that moment they bombarded United with wave after wave of attacks. After a poor first half, Lee Croft was finding his feet, was switching flanks and causing the full backs many problems. City’s forward play was helped even further when Elliott had to limp off injured and Jamie Tandy came on to replace him. His increasing quality at running at defences has really improved this year; he’s just lacking a consistent quality final ball sometimes.

The second real controversial moment came on 87 minutes when Croft made a run into the box and Marc Laird played a well weighted pass to him. Croft shot straight at goal where Tommy Heaton could not hold the shot and Bradley beat the United defender to bundle the ball into the net. The referee’s assistant clearly has never read the rules of football and raised his flag to say that Bradley was offside. He came from behind the ball after goalkeeper and defender had touched the ball. Even using the old rules without active players, Bradley was clearly onside.

This was our third out of four instalments of mini-derbies where we still hold the upper hand by winning in the Senior Cup round robin match and drawing both league matches. Let’s hope we crown a good year at the lower level by winning the fourth and in doing so, winning the Senior Cup in the process.

Arason: Made some fine saves and distributed well. 8
Onuoha: Held the back line well and kept the ball well. 8
Collins: Another fine flank game by Paul, could be Tarnat’s replacement in 12 months? 8
Whelan: Ran the show in midfield, the reserves will miss him when he moves. MoM. 9
McCarthy (capt): Very unlucky with the goal, was strong at the back yet again. 8
Warrender: A good display from the growing in strength youngster. 8
Croft: Much better in the second half, looked up more and played the right ball. 8
Ireland (35): Didn’t shine in his half an hour that he played. 6
Elliott (70): Took his goal well, but referee gave him no protection. 7
Wanchope (46): A long way off first team action. 5
Tiatto: Awful first half, much better second half. Knows he’s going obviously. 7

Laird (35): Needs to push forward on occasions more, otherwise ok. 7
Wright-Phillips (46): Put himself about and was unlucky with his goal. 7
Tandy (70): Ran at the United defence well for twenty minutes and got stuck in. 8

Not Used
Ellegaard, Smith.

United: Heaton, Lynch (capt), Pugh, Tierney, Spector, Jones, Eagles (Picken 89), Fox, Heath, Cooper, Richardson.

Att: 1565.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


So, we’re back where we started thanks to Mr. Wiley and his inexcusable performance as a so-called referee. I hope that when he looks at the TV replays of his so called penalty decision that he is man enough to admit he made a mistake. Leeds were poor and deserved nothing from the game. As has happened so many times this season we have played the opposition off the park and got nothing. Surely the red card given to van Buyten will be rescinded, or will the idiots from the FA say the decision was correct and be spineless as usual and stand by their man?

Anyone watching the game must surely agree that was definitely no penalty. I really hope that Leeds go down now, and end up in oblivion as did Forest, Derby and Sheff Wed.

Let’s hope this result does not come back to haunt us.

Andy Armstrong – Florida Blue <AND_ARM(at)>


Once again, City has been robbed, but this time by that arsehole Wiley. It really is time for video evidence to be brought into the game. It works very well in rugby, and decisions that are being made by the referees are getting poorer by the game, not just in City’s game but right across the spectrum. The instant replays are shown straight away in pubs and homes across Britain, so it can’t be that hard to show it to the 4th official on the touchline.

Well I for one hope that Leeds get sent down, and they go broke after that awful performance as they are a load of cheating gits.

Come on you Blues, let’s start battering the remaining teams.

CTID, Steve <salty12(at)>


Just watched the latest débâcle that us Blues have a lifetime to endure. The Leeds match. Wiley Coyote has to be the worst referee in the country based on that performance. That is the biggest injustice yet as a Blue. How can ten valiant Blues compete against 14 cheating b****rds? Robbed in the next dictionary may say something along the lines of: play brilliantly, create loads of chances against a 5th rate team who can only hoof the ball and have two shots on target courtesy of unbelievably bad refereeing.

The foul given against Michael Tarnat was not a foul, unless breathing on the opposition’s sleeve ranks as an incursion in the FA book of cheats/rules.

The foul given against the best defender in the country Danny the Van was not a foul, furthermore this none foul/breathing offence was not in the penalty box!

Coyote turned a good football game (played by one footballing team and 11 cloggers and 3 blind cheats) into an absolute joke. Well done, hopefully the Mayor of Leeds will give him the freedom of the City. He is welcome to it and their stupid inner ring road. The only good thing about Leeds is the M62 west.

Repeat after me infinitum, “Cheat, cheat, cheat…”

Very unhappy and hard done by,

Scott Moore <scott(at)>


Having travelled to Leeds with my dad, I was expecting a post takeover onslaught from the home side. It never materialised and City controlled the game and possession for long periods, with Leeds rarely causing us any problems.

However, the resulting 2-1 deficit left me very frustrated with the officials and City for yet again wasting a hatful of chances – the story of our season that could have been so different if only we’d taken a fraction of the chances we’ve seen them miss over the past months. I have no idea what the solution is but we are worryingly close to the bottom three when we all know we shouldn’t be! Hopefully we will begin to win our home games and we will surely pick up points away from home if we continue to play as we are.

CTID, Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


Absolutely gutted with the Leeds result. For sure, the referee did us no favours. However, that’s part and parcel of the modern game, and teams have to compensate for poor refereeing decisions in the way they play. In our case, we have been nowhere near clinical enough this season, both in defence or attack. And I’m sorry to say that the buck has to stop with the coaching staff on this issue.

James Barber <barberj(at)>


Well, after the derby result and the resultant and justified euphoria, and all of us thinking we’ve turned the corner (how often have we seen this through the years?), we’re back down to earth again. If anything, then deeper into the mire! Here was a golden opportunity to put daylight between us and the deadmen, and where do we now find ourselves?

Answer is, with one foot in the quicksand, within one win reach arms length of the doomed group and with our new central defender (the one who does seem to be finally organising the defence) banned for a few games into the ‘run-in’! Why do City always shirk the chance to drive nails into coffins of corpses? It’s not just Leeds either (loveable parasites that they are, do their fans still hurl coins at the wheelchairs as they sprint to their bunkers?). City are always the good neighbour and a soft touch! I always entertain suspicions of such a result because I wonder if people have one eye on the programme for the next season and the prospect of a full-house against Leeds, or loads of empty seats during the visits of the likes of Norwich or the Baggies?

Most other teams are more businesslike and would be going full pelt for the 3 points now and let the strugglers sort it out amongst themselves. Having said all that, although I’m fed up of all the hard luck stories, I do feel that the referee for the Leeds game was a truly #$%&* enamel illegitimate in awarding a penalty for a shoulder contact and compounding it by issuing a red card for van Buyten. When you see all the pushing and shoving that goes on in the current game then this official’s decisions were nothing short of atrocious. Yet another case for the use of immediate video arbitration outside the lines!

Can referees incur suspensions?

Greetings from this side o’puddle.

Dave Lyons – Blue Moon over Holland too <davelyons(at)>


Just listened to the Leeds game and I’m left thinking that if we survive the drop, we’ll have a great season next time. Once again, as so many times this campaign, we have been by far the better team, only to come away empty handed. City are becoming a real hard luck story. I felt with tonight’s game, that this was going to be the most comfortable win of the season and that includes Bolton! But having murdered Leeds for most of the game, once again, we somehow contrived to lose. Thing is, there’s no one to blame, manager or players. The only observation I would make in this area would be the number of chances Sibby gets, and either has them brilliantly saved, as with the one at the start of the second half tonight, or he misses good chances, again, like late on tonight, or against the Rags in the cup.

Anyway, it’s getting too close for comfort now, but I can’t believe that this team, playing as well as they have, can really go down! I think we all accept that our defence is our biggest weakness, but there’s not really that much wrong with the squad, and I’ve certainly enjoyed some of the footy we’ve played, so if we can survive, and keep the best of this squad together, then with a couple of careful signings for next time, I feel sure we can be more of a force to reckon with.

Just want to add as an exile, that I thought the crowd were great in last week’s derby, and again tonight at Leeds, so keep it up guys, and I’m joining in with you, from a distance.

Andy Collins <Andy(at)>


I wrote recently to give my opinion on City’s failings this season, one of which was KK being too nice in his approach to management. On a number of occasions this season, his pre and after match comments have been to praise opposition, and prior to playing Leeds, I thought he would be over sympathetic to their plight. He commentated before the game that nobody more than us, were delighted that Leeds had for the time being saved themselves from going into meltdown (or words to that affect).

We are all aware he was one of the best players in the world, but if he does not start getting more ruthless he will not achieve a similar status as a manager. His complimentary comments obviously affect his dressing room approach, and I believe the players feel this, and it shows when they enter the game.

Fulham are up next, and Chris Coleman has been very ill, but Kevin should concentrate more on giving City a killer instinct, as opposed to feeling sorry for opponents. Also let’s remember the lower we go, the more chance we have of losing the young talent coming through, because they are not being given a chance in the first team, due to the struggle they now find themselves in.

Gary Sullivan <gary(at)>


Well it had to happen didn’t it! A mate of mine rang me up last week congratulating on the victory over United. I said thanks and that we’d loss against Leeds the following week, this is the glorious certainty of following our beloved team, a great result one game, a shocker of a result the next. I didn’t write this to moan but really to laugh (and cry) about the unglorious uncertainty (or is it certainty?) following Manchester City.

But with a shrug of the shoulders, life goes on doesn’t it? One observation to me, 12,000 miles away, is that do we play better as a team without Anelka? Now I don’t see much of City on the telly over here, we see four or five matches a weekend and usually United, Arsenal, and Chelsea and whoever is playing them. But our better team performances have been without Anelka (Southampton, Bolton, Chelsea, United) and I thought Macken and Fowler were doing quite well. Anelka looked very short of a gallop last weekend (which is only natural after a six week(?) lay-off); he might have been better used as a sub. in the second half. Still, his goalscoring record can’t really be questioned. Still, another week and another game, we’ll probably give Fulham a hiding!

But I’m still confident we’ll stay up, that’s my glorious certainty!

You gotta love City don’t yah?

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


I’m all for a winter break, not just from the players’ point of view but also the fans’ perspective. We should keep the games over Christmas, using Boxing Day and the 28th (or whatever) as the climax to the first half before shutting down the season for three weeks.

Let’s face it, football in January is crap nowadays. Crowds are down (embarrassingly so in the FA Cup), the weather’s cold and when did you ever last see a decent game at the beginning of a new year? I’ll tell you when, it was when the FA Cup was the FA Cup, like it used to be.

This season I attended both the Leicester and Tottenham games at home and despaired at how bad football had become as a match-going experience. Even the Charlton and Blackburn games in the league weren’t much better because nobody had any money to go to the pub before or afterwards.

Personally, I’d rather just hibernate from New Year’ Day onwards, watch a bit of telly and catch up on work I should have done weeks ago. Then could you just imagine the excitement as the return of the football draws closer?! That time of year might seem like the longest three weeks of your life but it couldn’t feel much longer than it does already anyway.

If they selected the FA Cup third round as the first game back, I dare say attendances for the competition would improve dramatically when people have had chance to sort their finances out and been starved of any action for three weeks.

Let’s do it, I say!

Mike Holden <MikeHoldenMCFC(at)>


I was invited to a charity quiz night in London, which was held 3 days after the derby. They used the format of “A question of Sport” and the hosts were supposed to be Stuart Hall and Alan Hansen. It was a black tie event and one of the main sponsors was Thomas Cook. I walked into the main room following Pat Jennings, Clive Allen and Chris Hughton. There were approximately 50 tables and each was allocated a sponsor and football team. I sat on a table which was allocated Ajax and we were given a scarf. Both Chelsea and City were sponsored by Thomas Cook.

It turned out Stuart was on his own (no reason given for Alan Hansen not turning up) but he opened the proceedings with his match report on the derby match, which was obviously done in his own style and made it quite clear afterwards that he was a City supporter. He then introduced various celebs including Dennis Tueart. After 2 rounds and the meal, I decided to take a stroll. Firstly I managed to swap my Ajax scarf for a City one and then introduced myself to Dennis who was sitting next to the Chairman on the Chelsea table!

I told him that I had seen the match and that it was my first visit to CoMS. He was especially pleased with the atmosphere and quite rightly cautious when I said that hopefully this should see us clear of relegation (I had a couple of drinks by that time). I said it was important to keep above the bottom 3 to ensure that we don’t lose our confidence and he said that the team spirit was very good at the moment. I explained that as a result of putting in a request in MCIVTA, I had managed to get a ticket for the match (many thanks to Piers) but he apparently hadn’t heard of McV (he should speak to John Wardle). I told him to make sure that we sign van Buyten and after a very pleasant chat he signed a menu for me and I went back to my table wearing the City scarf.

We then had a number of fundraising events including an auction. Amongst the many items were a signed City shirt, 2 tickets for a match involving City including hospitality and 2 tickets to the player of the month luncheon. Unfortunately all were out of my price range. Final 2 rounds and a respectable result for the table although Leeds won it. A number of jokes were made about the winners, which don’t seem so funny now.

I watched the game against Leeds on TV and once again City dominated without getting the result. Not only are we missing the chances but a lot of good build up play is being wasted by the final ball. Fowler started very well but faded especially in the second half and should have been substituted. I think I would like SWP to play in midfield as he is most dangerous running at defenders and he doesn’t get the opportunities playing at wing back. The problem with playing a back five and having a surplus of midfield players is he only has 2 spots available if SWP is in there. Back to a 4-4-2? Who would be a manager?

Referring to a couple of contributions a few weeks ago, my father and brother are United fans and at school there was always a lively banter. I am very much against singing of M songs (Frank Swift) and I can’t understand the hatred although the arrogance of United fans does them no favours. However, it was a fantastic experience to see a derby match again after a number of years. During the 60’s and 70’s I managed to see most of the games both at Maine Road and Old Trafford. By the way the stadium is great, the atmosphere was very good and I was losing my voice at the end of the match.

Hoping for 3 points on Saturday.

Richard Levy <richard.levy(at)>


It’s time for the FA to bring in a system where as a manager can have the right to review a decision by a referee.

I would like to suggest the managers can call a time out to review a decision just once in each half; you use it or lose it, and managers must not be encouraged to do it unless it’s a serious situation that warrants it. We don’t want the game to be slowed down like some American games. So only one time in each half, managers would not want to waste it on minor and trivial things. The review can only be for some infringement in the penalty area or for a disputed goal.

Why should the referees have the power to help relegate a team or not? And in some cases just simply make the wrong call because the referee saw it wrong. In today’s football the referee’s wrong calls can be very costly to a club and its players who earn a living playing the game. All us fans want to see is honest calls from the refs.

With today’s technology it’s time for change!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I came over from Philadelphia to watch the derby at Eastlands and what a great weekend I had, for which I should thank Andy, Sharon, Colin, my brother and I’m sure many more. As we all know the game was great fun and my voice took some time to recover. However, the match was not as clear to me as it should have been due to many factors including the emotion of the occasion, the night/morning before and the fact that I wasn’t wearing my glasses and so I went home (to the US) hoping to catch it on the telly. Eventually I found a replay of it and sat down to watch. There was just one problem – it was the MUTV feed, not the regular Sky one I was hoping for. Expecting, and mostly getting, the propaganda machine to roll into action I sat down and watched a great 90 minutes of classic derby action through the eyes of a Rd commentator and his sidekick Paddy Crerand. You can all probably imagine what it was like but there were some insights that I though I would share with you. Apparently, the dumb looking, spikey haired one on the left is called “That’s a free kick” as this was all they said every time the ball went near him; all of City’s goals were defensive mistakes except for the last one, which was a deflection; The only time City fans made any noise was after the third goal and, best of all, Paddy and his mate were ruing the bad luck they have been having lately culminating in a quote along the lines of “if that had been Un*&ed attacking that would have been flagged for a throw in” as Shaunie swept down the line to belt one past Howard.

All I could do was laugh. Again.

Richard Lane <richlane5(at)>


England vs. Iceland – 5th June at COMS

Just wondered if the above match would be the first to have 2 goalkeepers (James & Arason) from the same club lining up against each other in a full International match at their own stadium?

Jon Reese <jonandreareese(at)>


I have 2 spare tickets for the Villa game. Can’t go due to the date change. Contact me on the email address below if you are interested.

John Wilson <jcw555(at)>


Firstly, congrats on 1000 editions. Living in Tokyo this is the closest I get to finding out what real city fans are thinking. Please keep up the match reports fellas. Coming home in May and would love to be able to get 3 tickets anywhere in the ground for the Everton game (15th May). Otherwise I’ll have to buy them off some dodgy tout outside the ground. Here’s hoping.

Marc Bailey <BAILSY(at)>


22 March 2004

Leeds United          2 - 1  Manchester City       36,998

League table to 24 March 2004 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Arsenal         29 12  2  0 28 10 10  5  0 29  9 22  7  0  57  19  38  73
 2 Chelsea         29  9  2  3 24 11 11  2  2 28 11 20  4  5  52  22  30  64
 3 Manchester Utd  29 10  3  2 33 13  9  1  4 22 16 19  4  6  55  29  26  61
 4 Liverpool       29  8  2  4 22 13  4  7  4 20 18 12  9  8  42  31  11  45
 5 Newcastle Utd   29  9  3  3 26 10  2  9  3 15 20 11 12  6  41  30  11  45
 6 Charlton Ath.   29  6  3  5 22 22  6  4  5 18 15 12  7 10  40  37   3  43
 7 Birmingham City 29  7  4  4 19 16  4  5  5 14 19 11  9  9  33  35  -2  42
 8 Aston Villa     29  7  4  3 19 14  4  3  8 17 20 11  7 11  36  34   2  40
 9 Fulham          29  8  3  4 24 16  3  3  8 18 24 11  6 12  42  40   2  39
10 Middlesbrough   29  5  4  6 17 19  5  3  6 17 19 10  7 12  34  38  -4  37
11 Tottenham H.    29  8  2  5 29 23  3  2  9 11 23 11  4 14  40  46  -6  37
12 Southampton     29  7  4  4 18 11  2  5  7 11 17  9  9 11  29  28   1  36
13 Bolton Wndrs    29  3  7  4 15 16  5  3  7 18 30  8 10 11  33  46 -13  34
14 Everton         29  7  4  4 22 15  1  5  8 13 25  8  9 12  35  40  -5  33
15 Blackburn R.    29  3  3  8 20 26  5  4  6 21 20  8  7 14  41  46  -5  31
16 Manchester City 29  3  7  4 21 17  4  2  9 20 25  7  9 13  41  42  -1  30
17 Leicester City  29  2  8  5 15 24  3  4  7 24 28  5 12 12  39  52 -13  27
18 Portsmouth      29  7  2  5 24 15  0  4 11  6 29  7  6 16  30  44 -14  27
19 Leeds United    29  4  5  6 17 23  2  2 10 11 33  6  7 16  28  56 -28  25
20 Wolves          29  5  5  4 17 26  0  4 11  7 31  5  9 15  24  57 -33  24

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.06]

[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. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and also provides a guide to pubs in the USA showing football.

[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] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try or

[13] Acknowledgements

Thanks go to Damian Quinn, Stephen Webb, Roger Haigh, Martin Price, and Adrian Howarth 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 #1003