Newsletter #1007

News on the City front tonight that Keegan won’t be back in action until after the Easter break, despite earlier reports that he would be due at Carrington today. Rumours and links of Anelka’s impending departure and Spanish players are also reported this week.

We have match reports tonight as the reserves had yet another successful outing in a 2-1 win over Birmingham, plenty of opinion, and the usual requests.

Next games: Wolverhampton Wanderers, home, 3pm Saturday 10 April 2004
Tottenham Hotspur, away, 3pm Monday 12 April 2004


Mads, our subscriptions coordinator, has kindly agreed to take up the editorial rôle for the next two issues through to 15th April, so please keep your articles coming through to the usual address.


General News

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again: The media state that our absent Beloved Leader, KK, reported back at Carrington today (Thursday) to take training. The Bad Back Boss Man has been absent from the touchline during City’s draws with Fulham and Aston Villa, following treatment that left Keegan recuperating at home. His assistant Arthur Cox has been in charge in his absence, but it doesn’t sound like Cox is anxious to return permanently to the managerial hot seat. “I am not enjoying being the manager even for this short period,” Cox remarked. “I want nothing more than for Kevin to come back as quickly as he can. We are in touch by telephone and I am waiting for the call when he says, ‘I will be there tomorrow.’ Obviously, having been asked to do something like this, I am going to do it to the best of my ability. But I am very, very serious about not being a manager. If I wanted to be a manager, I would have been one six, seven, eight years ago because I was offered many jobs. I can’t run about on the training field and I can’t take the training like I used to. The job satisfaction for me isn’t as great if I can’t do that and that’s why I have not gone back into management.” We get the message, Arthur! Chairman John Wardle paid tribute to the reluctant stand-in. “Arthur has done a brilliant job but everyone knows Kevin is a great motivator and it will be good to have him back,” said Wardle. “He has been on the telephone every day, so he will be fully in the picture about what is going on.” Claudio Reyna can’t wait for Keegan to return either. “It’s not so much on the training ground where we miss the manager, because quite often he is away doing other work,” said the USA captain. “It’s on match days when you realise he is not there. He really motivates us before games and gets us going, so in that sense it will be good to have him back. We all realise his health is the most important thing, and he needs to take care of himself. But having him around could just make the difference for us and give us the lift we need.”

Manchester Senior Cup Final: Thanks to Heidi for confirming that The Manchester Senior Cup final has been scheduled for 7.30pm on Tuesday 11th May 2004, at The Swamp.

The Boy Can’t Help It: Stephen Elliott continues to find reserve team football much to his liking. He scored his eighth goal of the season as the second string beat Birmingham City 2-1. Glenn Whelan notched the first goal while Elliott bagged the second, as the Blues completed their scoring in the opening twenty minutes. Team: City: Ellegaard, Onuoha, Tiatto, Whelan, McCarthy, Jordan, Croft, Barton, Elliott, B Wright-Phillips, Tandy. Subs: Timms, Russell, Etuhu, McGinley, Williamson.

Chairman’s Cunning Plan: Chairman John Wardle has admitted the club have contingencies in place should they lose their Premiership survival fight – but he is confident they will not be needed. This sounds reasonable, bearing in mind that the club’s debts are said to be £70 million, and relegation could cost an estimated £25-30 million in lost revenue. “We have to be sensible about it,” Wardle told Sky Sports. “Contingencies are in place if required but I don’t think we will need them. We weren’t quite expecting we would be where we are today but next season we will do what we should have done this one. Hopefully we will get those two or three wins under our belt that we need, then we can reflect on this season and do the job next time.”

Transfer News and Gossip

Nico to Go: At least we know that Nicolas Anelka doesn’t have a “play me when I’m fit” clause in his contract, after Le Elk started the game against Villa on the bench. This triggered a wave of stories claiming that Anelka would be soon be on his way out of the club. Barcelona was again mentioned as a possible destination, but a more surprising candidate emerged this week – the Daily Mirror claimed that “Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed is set to £4 million bankroll a surprise swoop for Nicolas Anelka to replace Louis Saha.” If City are to sell the mercurial Frenchman, you’d hope that they’d eke out more of a fee than that! So who would replace Nico? The Guardian reckons that City have made inquiries about the availability of the Italy Under-21 striker Andrea Caracciolo of Brescia. Caracciolo, who plays alongside Roberto Baggio in Brescia’s attack, is strong and good in the air. The asking price would be around £5 million. The 22-year-old striker, who has scored 12 goals this season, said last week – “Now I want to concentrate on playing with Brescia and on the European Championship with Italy Under-21. However, I would like to move to a bigger club and sometimes I would also like to have an experience abroad.”

Defence Cuts in the Offing? Bayer Leverkusen are preparing a bid to bring Michael Tarnat back home this summer, according to reports in Germany. Coach Klaus Augenthaler was in England at the weekend and watched City’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. Augenthaler told German TV that: “Michael Tarnat is still fit, even if age is a factor. But maybe he can help us out for a year. He did play well.” The Mail on Sunday, which covered this story, claimed that Sun Jihai would also be leaving the Blues in the Summer. In other Sunday tabloid gossip – the Sunday People reports that Graeme Souness intends to beat City to secure Daniel van Buyten for Blackburn Rovers. A £5 million fee was quoted. According to the News of the World, meanwhile, City fancy Fulham defender Abdes Ouaddou, who is currently on loan at Rennes.

De Pedro Confusion: The saga of Javier de Pedro’s purported move to City rumbles on, with two wildly different reports on the matter. At the start of the week we heard ‘sources in Spain’ claiming that City were on the brink of sealing an agreement for the Real Sociedad winger. “I already have a team for next season,” was De Pedro’s comment on his future. Next we had reports of de Pedro being mystified by suggestions of a deal with the Blues. His agent, Francis Martin, insists that he has not spoken to any clubs yet. “We are a bit mystified as to where these reports have come from,” said Martin. “I have not spoken to anyone there, and neither has Javier. There have been no negotiations with any clubs.”

Ex-Blues News

29 Up: Paul Ritchie’s agent kicked up a bit of a stink last week when he claimed his player had been dropped from Walsall’s first team on orders from the boardroom. Agent David Baldwin claimed manager Colin Lee had received boardroom orders to drop the ex-City star for his 30th league appearance and thereby avoid triggering a clause in the centre-back’s existing contract which would entitle him to a new 10-month deal on similar terms. He said: “It’s an awkward situation, a difficult situation and one we don’t come across very often because there are few clubs who would stoop so low. Walsall have since made a new contract offer on terms nowhere near what Paul would be entitled to after his 30th game, so we have declined that offer and also an offer to basically pay Paul off. To be honest, I don’t really see how Paul can play for Walsall again after the board have made it clear they don’t want him on the terms they’d already agreed.”

Jason and the Silkmen: Former Blues full-back Jason van Blerk is now free to play for Macclesfield after receiving international clearance. The Australian defender signed for the Silkmen on transfer deadline day. He played for the reserves against Stockport in an attempt to build up his match fitness ahead of the Easter programme. Van Blerk’s manager is none other than Brian Horton, who was put in charge at the beginning of the month until the end of the season (thanks to Matt Thomas for the item).

Reactions and Comments

Defeat Avoided by the Reluctant Gaffer: On Sunday, a late goal by Sylvain Distin rescued a point for City at Villa Park – cancelling out Juan Pablo Angel’s first-half strike in a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa. Despite the late equaliser, Arthur Cox felt it was a case of two points lost yet again. “There was no sense of relief at the end, just a sense of disappointment that we hadn’t got three points,” Cox told the M.E.N. “We were well satisfied with the way we went about the job and the honesty with which we played, but in terms of the territorial advantage and possession we had we were disappointed that we didn’t get a win.” Cox also confirmed that KK had been consulted in the decision to drop Robbie Fowler and Nicolas Anelka. “Last week we started with Robbie and Nicolas and then changed them and yesterday we did the opposite starting with Paulo Wanchope and Jon Macken and both times it has worked for us so we are happy,” Cox said. “The idea behind the change was that we felt we wanted to get possession earlier in Villa’s half so we would go a bit more direct. In the first half we were satisfied with that but disappointed that we had not taken more advantage of what we had done. But we showed great commitment. Angel was clever getting behind Sylvain Distin for the Villa goal but it was very satisfying for Sylvain to score with what was a special header, a classic header. Both goals were a credit to the coaching staff at the clubs. There is no lack of confidence but there is a fear that is created by the position that we find ourselves in the league. Sometimes instead of being relaxed there is a bit of tension and players want to play something that is safe.”

Aitken Angst: It was a bit of an ongoing Assistant-Managers-going-head-to-head scenario after the game, as Villa sent Roy Aitken out to face the world’s press. “We didn’t deserve any more than a point,” said Aitken. “I thought we edged the first half, but City came back well in the second and deserved a point. It was a tough battle. We’re not happy with the way we played, we know we can play better. Obviously we will have talk about who should have been picking up Distin but that is something we can work on in the week – obviously we have to be more ruthless when we defend set-pieces. We have a lot of quality but have struggled with consistency this season. Overall though we have been happy with the progress we have made. I was more frustrated than disappointed. We didn’t play well at all today. We had set certain standards at Charlton and didn’t repeat those. We’ve been disappointed with the last two home games against Blackburn and now Manchester City, but I have to be honest and say a draw today was a fair result.”

Captivating Captain: Sylvain Distin featured in both goals in the game – he was supposedly marking Juan Pablo Angel as the Colombian headed Villa’s strike, while the Blues’ captain made amends by equalising on 82 minutes. “I think we didn’t play too badly apart from the goal we gave away and I accept responsibility for that,” Distin said later. “It was a decent point I suppose. I was in charge of Angel at the corner and I was disappointed that he scored. He has a reputation as one of the best headers of the ball at set pieces but even if he is the very best in the Premiership I should not have let him get to the ball first. It was sweet to get that equaliser in similar fashion. It was a great ball in by Michael Tarnat and I just got as much power and direction on it as I could. Apart from Angel’s header we didn’t give them too many chances to score and it was a pretty even game,” he added. “Everyone is in a positive frame of mind and ready to work hard to make sure we get the points we need to stay up. It is an easy thing to say but we have the job of going on the pitch and showing it and I think we did that at Villa. We changed the side around and that shows it is a squad game. Everyone needs to be ready when called upon.” Distin was asked for his opinion on City’s remaining matches. He said. “We have still got a long way to go if we are going to get out of trouble. We could win our next two games and still go down. We should have started playing to our potential long before now but it is better late than never. As captain, I have to try to keep the players together but it is hard because a lot of them have more experience than me.”

Squad News

McCarthy Reward: As reported last week, Paddy McCarthy has been rewarded by KK with a further year’s contract. McCarthy puts the improvement in his game to the time he spent on loan at Boston United. “I went on loan to Boston and things weren’t looking good for me here,” he says. “But since I have returned, I’ve just tried to keep my head down, work hard and hope for a break. I was really pleased when the gaffer rewarded me with a contract extension. I love it here and I’m one of a few lads from Dublin that have come over and all progressed through the Irish youth side. My time at Boston was great. I think I stopped progressing when I left the Academy. There was such a backlog of senior pros in line for a call up that it was really tough for me to get through. So I went and had a good three months at Boston. I had a chance to sign for them but I decided to come back and give it a go at City. It was nice when the gaffer said I had moved ahead of Mikkel Bischoff. It was a bit of blow for me when he signed because he is only a couple of years older.”

Focus, Focus! Paulo Wanchope has played in the last two first team games, and feels that his fitness is returning. The Costa Rican international has played just 67 times in four seasons with City, and is anxious to improve that appearance record. “I’ve had to watch a lot from the stands and while I’d prefer to be playing, I’m not that bad a spectator,” said Wanchope. “I’ve just had to deal with the injury. It is part of football and I won’t be the last one to suffer either. I just keep working hard to keep fit and now I’m ready and raring to go again. I have started back and that is the most important thing. I’ve played less in the last two years than other players who’ve made many appearances in that time, maybe it will mean more years for me in football than I might have had. But I want to play now and enjoy my time at this age and do my best and play for as long as I can. When I’m out injured, the only thing I’m not doing is playing football. Everything else stays the same. I have to keep focused about who I am and what I do. I have to act like an athlete at all times. My diet doesn’t change and I don’t eat or drink any differently. But I’m fit again now and there’s no feeling like being able to play and train properly again.”

And Finally… Another award for City as Programme of the Year. The Football Programme Directory who have run this award since 1974 have voted us Number One in the Premiership, beating Charlton Athletic (2nd) and Blackburn Rovers (3rd), and overall Programme of the Year in all divisions from which there were 78 entries in total. Congratulations to all concerned, especially Julia at Polar Group!

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Two early goals from City’s young Irish contingent, Glenn Whelan and Stephen Elliott, at Solihull Borough’s Damson Lane ground, the home of Birmingham reserves, were enough for City to rise to fifth in the table. Even though Birmingham were awarded a very debateable penalty from a fifty-fifty challenge outside the area on Stern John in the first half, his converted effort was not enough to stop City earning a well-deserved three points.

The only incident worth mentioning in the opening ten minutes was where Senegalese International Cisse was booked for a rash challenge on Whelan. Maybe that booking played on his mind when three minutes later, he allowed Whelan to dispossess him on the edge of the area and fire a good, low drive into the bottom left corner of the goal.

Five minutes later Kevin Ellegaard did well to claw away a Stern John header from a corner that bounced sharply against the ground and nearly looped away from Kevin in the goal.

Just a couple of minutes later, City doubled their lead after good work by Joey Barton on the left, who was able to turn Birmingham’s Tom Parratt, run to the dead ball line and cut a neat ball back into the box for Stephen Elliott to side foot past a despairing Ian Bennett in the Birmingham goal.

Then on twenty-seven minutes came a very controversial moment when a half cleared Stephen Jordan effort fell in front of John and Paddy McCarthy, bounced up and just out of the area, but Nedum Onuoha was able to come from John’s side and they both attempted to play the ball. They both ended up tackling each other and you could not really argue a case for the tackle either way. But it was plain to see to everyone inside the ground except the referee that the infringement took place outside the area. There were no appeals from John or any of the other Birmingham players either. Ellegaard dived the right way, but John’s penalty was converted well, with a fine struck shot.

As the teams went into the half time break, the heavy clouds above us let go with a twenty five minute saturation of the area. But at Solihull Borough, Birmingham are fortunate to have a playing surface that is well cared for and has good drainage, very much akin to our own Ewen Fields; so when the players were met with ten minutes of heavy rainfall as they emerged from the tunnel, they did not have to contend with balls that passed through energy-sapping puddles.

The second half saw City dominate the play and allowed Birmingham only one shot on goal all half; that effort fell to John, but his run and shot went wide. City on the other hand created a few good chances; indeed, Bradley Wright Phillips with his father, Ian Wright, looking on, could have had a brace with a near post header that rebounded off the base of the post and a good turn and dipping volley that Bennett did well to tip over the bar. The other chances both fell to City’s first half scorers, Whelan and Elliott, but Bennett was able to save Glenn’s effort and Stephen put his shot wide.

With the majority of City’s U19 squad away on a tour in Thailand, City were forced into fielding a very young set of substitutes. Indeed, all four of our outfield players were fifteen and are classed as schoolboys in the Academy. City’s next match next Tuesday against West Brom at Hyde is our first of three games in hand, and should we win on Tuesday we will climb to fourth in the table.

Ellegaard: Had very little in the way of saves to make but some good kicks. 7
Onuoha: Poor 1st half, improved a lot in the second half. 7
Tiatto: Reasonable performance from our soon-departing Aussie. 7
Whelan: Good goal and pulled all the strings in midfield. 8
McCarthy: Made some timely interventions at the back and good in the air. MoM. 8
Jordan (capt): Good performance from the captain returning from his 3 match suspension. 8
Croft: Ran down more blind alleys than a b/w gangster movie chase scene. 5
Barton: Did his 1st team chances no harm with a good display. 8
Elliott: Ran in the channels really well and was creative and scored again. 8
Wright-Phillips: Improved a great deal in the second half. 7
Tandy: Ran at the defence well and put some good balls in on occasions. 7

Subs Not Used: Timms, Russell, Etuhu, McGinley, Williamson.

Birmingham: Bennett, Parratt, Clapham, Hall, Carter, Kilkenny, Howland, Cisse, John (Hamilton 58), Barrowman (capt), Motteram.
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Howell, Reynolds, Blake.

Att: 299.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


It’s been some time since I last donned notebook, pencil and went off on my match reporting duties, so bear with me as I am a bit rusty.

City travelled to Solihull Borough’s ground near Birmingham airport on Wednesday night, a lovely little ground with exceptionally friendly and amenable staff (are you listening HUFC?). Before the game, we had the pleasure of a drink and chat with Cyril Regis and made sure he knew all our youngsters were terrible, as he was there with agent/scouting hat on. Several other scouts from the local Midlands and Potteries clubs were in attendance.

City’s line-up is below, Birmingham’s included Cisse, John, Clapham and Bennett. We started much the brighter side, despite their wearing a luminous yellow away strip, McCarthy first through on goal in 5 minutes but the shot went wide. Bennett hoofed the ball upfield for it to be intercepted by Whelan through to Tandy who was on sparkling form tonight down the left wing, through to BWP but again we couldn’t capitalise. Barton then decided he had enough of nice, passing football and went in with a karate kick that knocked Stern (Soft Tart) John to the floor and conceded a free-kick about 30 yards out. Barton was lucky not to get a booking. The FK was not a problem though as our centre halves in Whelan and McCarthy were dealing with everything Birmingham could put their way. Cisse was then booked for an innocuous challenge on Barton, or maybe the referee just didn’t like his haircut. Elliott was then hacked down on the edge of the area, Jordan took the free kick into BWP on the near post but again he couldn’t quite connect. On 14 minutes, following some nifty footwork by Tandy as he danced around the Birmingham defence, Whelan shot in from the edge of the area and it was 1-0 to City.

Back down to the other end, a corner to Brum but they fell like dominoes in our box and quickly gained another corner. Again Ellegaard was on his guard and caught the ball from a header by Soft Tart. It was becoming clear that the possession and game was going City’s way and if Brum were to do anything, it would be through a set piece. City were back on the attack, a throw-in from Croft to Elliott who knocked the ball on to Tandy, got himself into position as Tandy returned the ball to Elliott and he knocked it into the back of the net giving Bennett no chance on 24 minutes. 2-0 to City.

On 30 minutes, Onohua conceded a very soft penalty as Soft Tart did yet another dying swan impression. He miraculously recovered to take the spot kick, which Ellegaard couldn’t reach. 2-1. None of us could work out just how a penalty had been awarded, but I’ve asked Nedum’s mum to stop feeding him jaffa cakes as he must not realise his own strength.

Up to the end of the first half, City again had the majority of play and possession, causing problems for Brum’s defence as BWP tried a 30 yard shot, Soft Tart went to ground again, and Barton hit over the bar.

Half time and the heavens opened, we were treated to a thunder and lightening extravaganza accompanied by Solihull’s finest tunes.

After the break, City capitalised on their attacking play as Elliott shot wide, Barton had another wrestling match with Soft Tart, and BWP hit the post to groans from the City section of the crowd. Soft Tart was then replaced, and we put together some lovely passing football between Croft, BWP, and Elliott as they moved down the field although for some unknown reason Elliott just didn’t have a shot on goal – it could have been an easy 3-1 had he done what he usually does. With breaks coming from all sides as Tiatto advanced down the left, McCarthy and Whelan in the middle and Onohua on the right, Birmingham didn’t know where to turn.

Whelan and BWP then had consecutive chances on goal, but neither could capitalise. So final score a credible 2-1 from a relatively inexperienced City side. Didn’t manage too many notes in the second half due to the cold and wet, but the real action was in the first 45 minutes.

Ellegaard: 7, one or two flapping moments, but commanded his area well and wasn’t fully tested by Birmingham.
Onohua: 7, only because of conceding the penalty, an otherwise strong performance we’ve come to expect from the youngster.
Tiatto: 8, back on form and looking much sharper than his recent outings.
Whelan: 9, MotM, had a tremendous game from holding the back line to breaking forward and being our extra man up front.
McCarthy: 9, hard to choose between Paddy and Glenn for MotM, dealt with everything Brum tried.
Jordan: 8, another great game from the young captain.
Croft: 7, Figo was in and out of the game tonight, showing promise but not consistency.
Barton: 7, a few typical Joey reckless moments, but a solid performance.
Elliott: 8, this lad is class.
BWP: 7, not one of his better games due to poor finishing.
Tandy: 8, ran the left side with confidence, tackled and attacked as required.

Subs: Russell, Timms, Etuhu, McGinlay, Williamson.

Heidi <editor(at)>


Keegan – “Can’t do right for doing wrong”


Yes, I have seen my a**e! And I guess this is what you call a rant.

There seems to be a faction on here, at Eastlands and elsewhere on the Net, who honestly believe Kevin Keegan is, what’s the phrase? “a tactically naïve bottler”. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to mutter under my breath about his substitutions just like the next man, but do these lot seriously believe they could do a better job? I couldn’t.


Let’s start with their pitiful suggestions. What explanations have they tried to give us for City’s form?

Dressing room bust-ups? Let’s get this straight. Eyal Berkovic was tapped up by Portsmouth in the summer. They weren’t prepared to pay the going rate, so Keegan didn’t let him go. Dummy spat, end of story. I have never seen any sign of the alleged rift between the French and British players. Bizarrely, the folks who peddle this crap also tell us Keegan is “a great motivator, but…” etc. You can’t have it both ways boys.

Poor strikers? Are you having a laugh? Nicolas Anelka and Robbie Fowler are two of the finest centre forwards in the country. It was generally accepted that Fowler had found his form by December, so how do you explain the past three months? Honestly, I feel sorry for the faraway Blues who have to sift through this kind of rubbish.

Dodgy defence? Yes, we all remember the two occasions this year when defensive slip-ups have cost us points. Arsenal scored an unbelievable own goal at our place, and they’re top of the league.

Poor purchases? We’ll come to that…

The problem, for me, is in midfield. Surprise surprise, the place where Keegan has been doing his “ungodly tinkering”. Here is my analysis then: We can’t break teams down. Teams that have come to give us a game have tended to be dealt with. Add to that an excellent performance against Arsenal, and of course Chelsea (although I am loathe to mention our “luck” on the field). Teams that have come for a point have tended to get one, or more.


Why? Width. We have no serious left sided threat. As good as SWP is, or isn’t, and even allowing for a half decent ball through the middle, it’s far too easy for a four or five man defence to shut us out. We are limited to half chances, which our excellent strikers are then lambasted for missing. To break down a resolute, backs to the wall defence, you need to spread them apart, and this means having genuine options on both sides of the pitch.

Fine, very good. It’s taken me thirty odd games to realise this (although admittedly I have only seen half of them). I’m sure some of you have known for months. One man, though, knew it in July. You guessed it, Kevin Keegan. The “tactically naïve bottler”. Over the summer, lest we forget, Keegan lost three midfielders from, if not his first eleven, his first fifteen. Foe (RIP), Benarbia and Berkovic were all lost for various reasons.

While I was sure we would go out and buy a “new Benarbia”, Keegan knew something else before me. He knew that it simply wasn’t going to happen. He bolstered central midfield with a battler in Bosvelt and someone who could play a bit, in Sibierski. Then he tried to sign a left winger. A stroke of genius! Hey, he even got someone who had played on the left wing for England in the last World Cup. Let’s not forget that Sinclair started the season quite well, and so did City.


I don’t know what happened to Trevor, it’s been suggested that he may have had personal problems. When his form was obviously dipping though, Keegan realised he needed back-up and signed the only man available, Steve McManaman. If only he had gone for Steve Guppy! The bonus of McManaman of course is that he can also, allegedly, play in the centre. With the squad still a bit thin, experienced pro Claudio Reyna was added as back-up in midfield and (apparently) at right back.

So there you go, your rubbish signings. Who could have predicted that Sinclair and McManaman would both be utter sh*te? One or two I’m sure, but not me. That’s what came to pass though, and yet throughout our terrible mid-season run Keegan never once lost the plot. He kept looking for a way to work that left hand side. Anelka drifting wide? Possibly, but he’s no Thierry Henry. Fowler? A left-footer, but no. Sibierski? Nice idea, didn’t work. Tarnat as a wing-back? No…

Blood, sweat and tears? That’s what it’s come down to, yes. Fortunately “Keegan the motivator” has managed to keep these players’ heads up while “Keegan the tactitian” has tried, seriously, everything under the sun short of playing want-away psychopath Danny Tiatto.


So what now? We will stay in this league. I’m prepared to give any one of you odds of 10-1 on us going down, because I know this team better than the bookies and I know they will not be relegated. In the summer, I don’t know what will happen. De Pedro (a left winger! what odds?!) may be on his way. If not, I’m sure we’ll find one somewhere. I would like to see Anelka stay, but for the right offer he may be sold. On the evidence of the past three years though, I’m happy to let Keegan the “master tactitian, businessman and coach” make the decision for me.


Rant over.

Stephen Miller <stevie(at)>


So the Anelka “clause in the contract” rumour is blown out of the water. Wanchope and Macken had their chance to impress against Villa, but it was Anelka who ran at the Villa defence and started to cause problems. Anelka talks with his football and his goals. Please don’t start a campaign to sell our top scorer. I ask all the doubters one simple question: name another striker (who we can afford) that would have scored 20+ goals for us this season? Bearing in mind our inability to cross the ball (Tarnat excluded) or to take a decent corner. Anelka is our only option up front until we can sort out our approach play. If Sinclair decides to beat a few men and put some crosses in then that’s great. Likewise if we find a player in our squad who can put a threatening corner into the box, then this will suit one of our strikers who is good in the air. Until that time, we should put out trust in the players who can create goals from half chances, namely Anelka and SWP.

I’m also baffled by the fans who are asking questions about Paul Bosvelt. I agree that on occasions he has become tired in the final 30 minutes of a game, but it would be fascinating to watch all our games this season on tape and see how many crucial tackles/interceptions Paul has made. He is exactly what is required in the middle if we are to play the lightweight/creative types like Macca, Sibierski, Reyna. He is tough. He puts in tackles. He makes simple passes. Admittedly he tries a few creative balls that don’t quite work out, but so does every midfielder in the premiership. Paul Bosvelt has managed to do what Joey Barton is currently not up to: controlled aggression and stability.

Tarnat, another player who has come under unwarranted criticism. Rock solid in defence. Cleans up in the box when our centre backs fail to. The only player who can put a decent ball into the box (if only somebody could teach SWP). Should always take free kicks. If he doesn’t try a thunderbolt, he is the best player to put any kind of threatening ball into the box for Sibs/Distin/Sinclair etc. Always covers when Distin decides to make a run forward. Cleans up Macca’s mistakes. Gains possession on the left a lot more than Sinclair and Macca do. A good left sided defender is a hard player to find. We should keep this one as long as he maintains this kind of form.

There is no point slating players in our squad unless you feel we have an adequate replacement who is also in the squad. There’s plenty of time for “dream transfer” conversations when the season is over. The January transfer window closed long ago. Seven games remaining… get behind the players we are relying on to keep this club where it should be.

Get well soon Kevin and get back in that dressing room where we are in desperate need of those magical half time talks!

Andrew Ogden <Andrew.Ogden(at)>


I was looking at the league table this morning and pondering a few things. The most important thing to note is that with 7 games to go, there are 21 points available to us. Frankly, it’s time the master motivator started motivating his players. KK is just too damn nice. It should be made clear to the entire squad that they are playing for their individual and collective futures. We are still capable of putting a great run together, it’s as simple as that. If we can beat the Rags, outplay and outclass Chelsea, and put in similar performances against Arsenal, it’s time this team showed its heart. Lay down the law Kevin, it won’t hurt them. Those who stand up and be counted should be rewarded, and those that still can’t put together a decent performance should be let go. It’s that simple. I won’t start slating individual players because we all know who they are. We must put Wolves to the sword. I want to see Macken and Anelka playing together for 90 minutes on Saturday. ‘Nuff said.

So to fantasy football. There is one player, who will be available in the summer, who is extremely talented, who will fill the hole left by Berko and Ali, and who is currently playing some sublime football. Deco of Porto. He has stated many times this season that he will be moving on in the summer. Also, Diego, and Carlos Tevez. Brazilian and Argentinian wunderkids, both being linked heavily with Premiership moves. Again, both players with bags of ability as midfield playmakers. If we are serious about having long term European aspirations, then these are the type of player we need to be targeting. Of course they will be expensive and we have no money. But that’s why it’s called fantasy football.

The rumour mill is in overdrive at the moment and funniest of the week had to be the Elk moving to Fulham for 5 million pounds. This is so funny I can only wonder how hard it is to get a job as a tabloid football journo? If United paid £12 million plus for Saha, if/when Fulham approach us over Anelka, we will simply ask for the £12 million United gave them. Frankly, I think the truth is that no-one will have the money it would cost to buy the Elk. His value has increased since he moved to us. After all, he has scored 21 goals this season across all competitions, and the season isn’t even over. I think he’ll finish somewhere around the 25 goal mark. Players with that kind of a tally, who play in the Premiership, are worth vast amounts of money. I think our board, and our manager know that.

Finally, I’m hearing really good things about James Tandy; can anyone tell me what he’s like as a player?

Ahsan Naeem <ahsan(at)>


If Kevin Keegan wants to strengthen our squad in the close season, then if he is the only player he signs, he must sign Daniel van Buyten.

He should be bought at whatever the cost and immediately made captain of the team.

He is calm, intelligent, strong, great in the air and amazingly (for us) about 95% of his clearances actually go to one of our players, rather than just “cleared anywhere”.

We seem to be so much more of a unit when he plays and not only just at the back; he seems to ooze confidence, which spreads through the team. And if Keegan does want to improve our squad, then get rid of Reyna, Bosvelt and McManaman and dare I say it Anelka and with the money, buy the Goat back!

What the management and the Board do not realise is that Shaun Goater could instantly solve all our “atmosphere problems”.

Can you imagine the sound of “Feed the Goat” at the new stadium next year when he puts the 5th past Tim Howard? It’s what dreams are made of.

Richard Stoodley <Richard(at)>


We cannot always believe what we read in the newspapers for they are always looking for news, and the trouble being making their own news at times. The Daily Mirror reports that Fulham are trying to get Anelka for 4 million pounds; after we paid 13 million pounds this seems off the mark. But the way Anelka has been playing in his last few games his value will have gone down I fear, but no way to £4 million. Anelka would probably be best suited with a club like Barça, but he’s supposed to have said he wants to go back to London.

I have suspected that a lot of our troubles have been surrounding Anelka and Fowler not getting on together. We have all seen how we played whilst Anelka was missing from the line up, there was more determination in their game, a better team spirit. Fowler has been working his socks off be it with Anelka or not. Anelka’s goal tally is boosted by penalties; in truth he has not been that good scoring from the field of play. If Fowler had been taking the penalties his goal tally would have been higher too.

It’s time for KK to treat all players for what they are doing for the club now, and not living on a past reputation. The best thing I feel for City is to get as much as possible for Anelka, spend it on van Buyten, and hopefully have some left over to help the club’s finances.

Until the end of the season all players including Anelka have to play their best for the club that put the faith in them; it’s time to pay back MCFC.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


A belated congratulations on your 1000th edition, I thought J. Wardle’s comments very interesting; reading between the lines he seems to be keeping his options open (or those of the board) regarding the future of King Kev. I was encouraged to hear that MCIVTA was well read at the club, I would find it hard to believe that the board at O.T. would show the same respect to their fans’ views.

Although I agree with some of the recent criticisms about coaching and tactics etc. at City, I am sure that lessons should be learned from this season’s failings. King Kev is not prone to changing his way of doing things but I do feel that he should be allowed at least another season to get it right for a number of reasons.

All the successful managers have been given the time and support to get it right. I can remember when Manure were struggling at the bottom of the league and couldn’t win for toffee, the fans wanted Taggart out, the board stuck by him and the rest is history. Also we don’t have any choice because the money has been spent now so we have to see it through.

Anelka will probably leave one way or another at the end of the season but don’t be fooled into thinking that we will make lots on him; we will be lucky to get back what we paid for him in the present climate and as I remember we are still not half way through the instalments (over 4 or 5 years) that doesn’t leave a lot left for team building. I personally think that since he got left out of the side for the trip to Southampton and did a sulk, he cannot be bothered unless it suits him i.e. against his old team Arsenal etc. When he partners Robbie, it just doesn’t gel and Robbie hardly gets a kick. The team works best all round with Robbie and Macken, even though Anelka is probably the best striker on his day that we have had for decades, we are not going anywhere fast with him as a permanent fixture in the side.

If we all keep behind the team on match days and show our continued support I think we will stay up as we are basically playing well and there are worse teams below and around us with harder run ins; maybe we need to nick the odd win playing badly for a change.

Simon Challiner <saramay(at)>


The next meeting for Denton OSC will be on Monday 19th April at 8pm when our special guest will be Paul Tyrrell, Head of Communications at MCFC.

Please contact me for further details.

Heidi <editor(at)>


The next meeting of the Swinton & Districts branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is on Thursday 15th April, 8pm start at The Folly club, Station Road, Swinton.

Our confirmed guests for the evening are top City pundit Fred Eyre and ex-City captain Andy Morrison. Entrance is £1 adults, 16s and under free. Entrance includes a free raffle, which will include a donation from Andy Morrison. All Blues whether members or not are welcome.

For further info contact Alex Channon on 0161-281-7517 or email.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


If anyone has any comments, opinions or suggestions with respect to the official site, please let me know in time for the next web users meeting on 17th April.

Many thanks, Heidi <editor(at)>


5 April 2004

Leeds United 3 – 2 Leicester City 34,036

League table to 07 April 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         30 12  3  0 29 11 10  5  0 29  9 22  8  0  58  20  38  74
 2 Chelsea         31 10  2  3 29 13 12  2  2 29 11 22  4  5  58  24  34  70
 3 Manchester Utd  30 10  3  2 33 13  9  2  4 23 17 19  5  6  56  30  26  62
 4 Liverpool       31  9  2  4 26 13  4  8  4 20 18 13 10  8  46  31  15  49
 5 Newcastle Utd   31 10  3  3 30 12  2  9  4 15 21 12 12  7  45  33  12  48
 6 Birmingham City 31  8  4  4 23 17  4  6  5 14 19 12 10  9  37  36   1  46
 7 Aston Villa     31  7  5  3 20 15  5  3  8 19 21 12  8 11  39  36   3  44
 8 Charlton Ath.   30  6  3  6 23 24  6  4  5 18 15 12  7 11  41  39   2  43
 9 Southampton     31  8  4  4 19 11  3  5  7 15 18 11  9 11  34  29   5  42
10 Fulham          31  8  4  4 24 16  3  4  8 18 24 11  8 12  42  40   2  41
11 Middlesbrough   31  6  4  6 19 19  5  4  6 18 20 11  8 12  37  39  -2  41
12 Tottenham H.    31  8  2  6 29 24  3  2 10 11 24 11  4 16  40  48  -8  37
13 Bolton Wndrs    31  4  7  4 16 16  5  3  8 18 32  9 10 12  34  48 -14  37
14 Everton         31  7  5  4 23 16  1  5  9 15 29  8 10 13  38  45  -7  34
15 Manchester City 31  3  8  4 21 17  4  3  9 21 26  7 11 13  42  43  -1  32
16 Blackburn R.    31  3  3  9 21 28  5  4  7 21 24  8  7 16  42  52 -10  31
17 Portsmouth      30  7  2  5 24 15  1  4 11  8 30  8  6 16  32  45 -13  30
18 Leicester City  31  2  9  5 15 24  3  4  8 26 31  5 13 13  41  55 -14  28
19 Leeds United    31  5  5  6 20 25  2  2 11 12 37  7  7 17  32  62 -30  28
20 Wolves          31  5  5  5 18 30  0  4 12  9 36  5  9 17  27  66 -39  24

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.07]

[0] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Madeleine Hawkins) :
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?

At the start of the 03/04 season it was actually a mix of two tracks: Starting with “O Verona” (from the film “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet”) leading 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.

Currently we use a selection of different music, which seems to change each game.

[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

[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 #1007