Newsletter #1008

Quite a small edition tonight. A match report on the Wolves game from Rich Fenton, a couple of opinions on KK and a request. According to Arthur Cox on the radio this evening KK will be back with us on Wednesday. Heidi’s off on her hols for 1008 and 1009 so I have offered to stand in for her. Keep the articles coming to the same address.

Next game: Southampton, home, 3pm Saturday 17 April 2004


Can we panic yet?

This is one fixture I had in the run in as a guaranteed 3 points. Wolves are staring at relegation and the squad of mix and match players and bargain basement hunting was surely destined for a return to the Nationwide. Our home results have been poor but we have been playing well. In travelling to the ground the optimism of a big win to bury those previous home frustrations was boosted by the ridiculous low odds Ladbrokes were offering on City first scorers and a City win; how wrong could I be?

This was the worst City display I have seen all season; this was compounded by the fact that we are 6 games away from the end of the season and relegation is a distinct threat, yet the team played like Premiership survival was secure and going through the motions of an end of season game. There was little or no passion, commitment or desire to win against a side that really should have been there for the taking and by beating them would probably condemn them. Instead all the commitment, graft and desire came from the team playing in Gold and Black. Defensively City were lost; every time Cort or Camara got the ball Distin and Dunne were running scared. Dunne was particularly awful today (a big, fast direct striker gives our centre halves awful problems – see Yakubu, Marcus Bent, Alan Smith). One truly worrying thing was that City could do nothing to stop it. In our coach’s/manager’s wisdom, our subs’ bench was Arason, Sinclair, Macken, Wanchope, Barton – so if we got an injury to any of the back four or we needed to change things around because it wasn’t working then we were simply stuck. Such decisions just show our tactical naïvete; why not put trusty Wiekens on there or one of the promising youngsters that are getting good reserve reviews each week?

In addition to a back four that was having a torrid time, the midfield battle was being lost to a Wolves midfield that had zero creativity but what it lacked in creativity they made up for in running and passion. Bosvelt stemmed the tide but SWeeP is never going to command a midfield battle, Sibby went missing too often and McManaman was utterly spineless. In a six-pointer like this you know the battle is going to be won in midfield, yet our coaching staff, management, whoever just seem to fail to notice or forget this!

The game itself (I’m sure for any neutral) was entertaining as the number of goals, penalty miss and fine saves made by both ‘keepers made it so. The highlights on The Premiership certainly made it look that way without showing the lowlights of some truly awful defending and passing. I won’t whinge about the penalty decision and the push on SWeeP before the first goal as that would sound like excuses and do Wolves an injustice; they were the better side and deserved all 3 points!

Player ratings:

James – 8/10 – MoM – made some fine saves and a great spot kick save. Not sure if he can be blamed for goals 2 and 3 as we had plenty of chances to clear.

Sun – 6/10 – Exposed defensively sometimes but at least he was one of the few that showed pride and commitment; he also put some quality crosses into the box going forward.

Distin – 5/10 – Not as bad as Dunne today but not great – completely failed to get hold of the two Wolves strikers.

Dunne – 3/10 – Awful game from Dunne Monster. Clumsy, indecisive, couldn’t clear his lines and was frightened stiff of Camara and Cort, a dire performance. Hopefully this is a one off as he has been one of the better and most consistent players this season.

Tarnat – 5/10 – Good delivery for goals and looked much more willing to try to push forward.

McManaman – 3/10 – Worth his weight in horse manure… Champions League? You’re having a laugh!

Bosvelt – 5/10 – Played holding rôle reasonably well and put some timely tackles in, but was overworked from Wolves midfielders who all grafted whereas ours simply didn’t.

Sibierski – 5/10 – Took his goal well but again disappeared in the second half – could have helped Bosvelt out more in midfield.

SWeeP – 6.5/10 – Stole us a draw and was (as ever) full of running and commitment. Took another clattering (again!) after which he became a lot quieter.

Fowler – 3/10 – Awful today – seemed to have lost that rhythm he found in Dec-Feb, too intricate and too slow, which was obvious when he elected to shoot early when put through clean on goal. Didn’t have the fight and chasing he usually shows. Why do he and Macca do that “pally thing” and always look for one another around the box – it’s like watching schoolboys playing to their mates!

Anelka – 5/10 – This is probably controversial but I thought Anelka was okay today, he was winning things in the air and took his goal well, should have done better with the missed sitter and could have worked harder when he lost possession (which he never does), but considering the complete lack of service, certainly there were a lot worse than him today.


Wanchope – 4/10 – Ineffective. Didn’t boost us when he came on, which a substitute striker needs to do in a game like this.

Barton – 4/10 – Gave away a clumsy challenge that led to the free-kick that they scored from, gives away possession far too often.

Crowd – 2/10 – I thought given the atmosphere at the derby and the fact this was a must-win game that the crowd would have really got behind the lads. We didn’t. When Wolves scored the second goal there was so many people slagging off players it was unreal (I have never heard so much even in the Ball years!). What is the point of slagging a player off when he’s on the pitch – what is it going to achieve? It’s at this point in time we need to get behind the team to lift them (a few in Upper East did, but we were by far outnumbered by the snipers and whingers). Everybody pays their money and is entitled to moan at the overpaid muppets on the field but do it in the pub at the end of the game; when they are on the pitch get behind and try and lift them – you never know it just might work; hurling abuse certainly won’t!

In my honest opinion the three teams that have visited CoMS so far this season that have given us the biggest problems are Portsmouth, Leicester and Wolves – why is that? None of these teams are blessed with an abundance of talent yet each has come and outplayed us. Why are we not able or prepared to play against teams that are physically going to out muscle us, how many teams would have had more success had they not come to frustrate, play for the draw and nick a win (which comprise of most)! Also what is wrong with our team; when we fall behind to Wolves 2-3 and coming back from 0-2 and no-one wants to pick the ball out of the net and urgently get back at them, where were the players winding each other up and where were the celebrations when SWeeP equalised!? We have a team with no leadership, no creativity, no balance and no game plan but at least the players get a nice healthy paycheck at the end of each week. I can only hope that after today’s performance they wake up and realise they are in the midst of a relegation dog-fight. As for that contingency plan Mr Wardle, we may just need it!

Rich Fenton <rich(at)>


I listened to this game on MCFC radio, a game which almost became a disaster for City.

I must be honest; I was feeling for all the City supporters who were inside the stadium. Some more nails were lost today, some fans started smoking again, and others went for an early drink on the way home to relax their frustrations. Others checked to make sure that pacemakers were working properly.

The supporters had to endure a lot, a Wolves lead of 0-2, then City made it 2-2. Wolves missed a penalty but went ahead again 2-3, and it sounded as if Wolves were going to win the game, and deservedly.

But in almost the last kick of the game in comes Shaun Wright-Phillips to score and rescue a point. The point earned today was a very important point.

If you are a superstitious person then you knew that this was going to be Arthur Cox’s “third” draw.

It sounds as if Spurs will be up for the fixture on Monday after the rollicking Pleat gave Spurs players after the Everton game which his team lost 3-1.

So come on City, you have got to do better than today’s display, we know that you can do it (writing this on Sat.).

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I would like to make a few points regarding the contribution from Stephen Miller.

First, it is not the point whether Stephen Miller or one of the readers could make a better job than Keegan; it’s unlikely that any of us would ever be asked. What is at issue here is whether someone who is suitably qualified could have done better. Given some of the decisions Keegan has made there is no doubt in my mind that other football managers would have done a whole lot better. One has to say this season is slowly turning into a disaster – it could become an unmitigated one.

Second, we have the usual anti-Eyal tirade. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Berkovic situation one has to say the whole thing was appallingly handled by Keegan (reminded me of Royle and Terry Cooke). In fact, Berkovic withdrew his transfer request but was never properly played after that. As to Berkovic’s use to the team I would only bring to the readership’s notice the comments made by Schmeichel on Radio 5. He said that when Berkovic played well then City played well. Anyone who believes that City have not missed Berkovic has not been watching the same games that I have seen. What kind of a manager rips out the heart of his creative midfield and replaces it with the likes of McManaman?

Dodgy Strikers? Just how many chances has Fowler missed this season and how many one-on-ones has Anelka missed? Fowler’s misses have cost us points – I mention the games against Liverpool and Chelsea as examples.

Dodgy defence? Well, if Stephen Miller can only recall Arsenal’s own goal (Lauren? pushed in the back by Sinclair, a game which Arsenal won) then he has a selective memory – how about Jihai’s howler against Leeds which gifted Viduka a goal? What of the goals Seaman gave away, e.g., against Arsenal? And we had no experienced goalkeeper in reserve because Nash had been sold off. If our defence is so good how many clean sheets have we kept?

Midfield – yes, we have Trevor Sinclair playing as a left sided midfielder. Yes, he did feature there for England when no other fit players were in the squad, but he does not play there now. Sinclair is right footed – very right footed. We already had a right sided wing back – he’s called Shaun Wright-Phillips. We let Huckerby, a left sided player, go. Who could have predicted that McManaman would be poor? Well here is one person who did – and I got an eyeful about it on these pages! Anyone who saw this poseur interviewed by Gabby Logan a few weeks ago will know he is a waster. I recall Keegan stating that McManaman was a mate of Fowler’s and would help him play. Really? Well it’s not worked out that way. In my view the only really successful purchases Keegan has made this season are Bosvelt (Barton could learn such a lot from him) and James, while Sibierski has been a limited success given he only cost £750,000. Van Buyten would make a huge difference if we could get him – but Keegan has gone on record as saying van Buyten will go to a big club!

Relegation? I don’t know whether we will be relegated. It’s going to be a close thing. We’ve not been able to put together a winning sequence. Stephen Miller and I depart radically on whether Keegan should be in his position next season. I believe not. Some of his decisions this year have been dreadful. Further this man has what seems to be a chronic physical problem. Anyone who has had a bad back – and Keegan’s sounds pretty serious to me (as someone who has run Pain Clinics in the NHS) – will know how disabling they can be. This might be the time for him to quit such a high pressure job as being a Premiership manager. I sincerely hope that he gains some relief. As for a replacement how about either David O’Leary, a man known to bring the juniors through – just control the chequebook, or Mick McCarthy, a man who is City through and through and has even got Jeff Whitley (not one of my favourite players) playing reasonably well (just tackle and use a short pass), well, when he isn’t chopping the opposition down.

There, rant over. Both Stephen and I do have one thing in common. We both love Man City and I’m sure when hearing results like the Wolves one we feel sad, if not a little mad, in the American sense, too.

Ian Burgess <i.burgess(at)>


Why Keegan should leave?

  1. He claims the ambition to play in Europe.
    • We were in Europe and failed miserably.
    • We’re closer to relegation than to Europe.
  2. Results
    • The poorest run in the Premiership.
    • League results against the current bottom five: Pompey 1-1,2-4 Wolves 0-1, 1-1, Leeds 1-1, 1-2, Leicester 0-3, Blackburn 3-2, 1-1.
  3. Money
    • Spent more money than any City manager for meagre results.
    • Club is in dire straits financially thanks to Kev.
  4. Players bought
    • This year looking at the side, everyone knew we needed to sortout the defence and get a good ‘keeper. Rather than do that, Keegan sold Jensen and boughtTarnat. He left us in the same spot as before. No cover and no options in the back.
    • Rather than bring in a top ‘keeper, he got Seaman. I hate tobreak this to Keegan, but if Wenger thinks that Seaman is done, then I would believe Wenger.Keegan learned that the hard way.
    • Fowler – for all that Fowler has done recently, his form wasbought at the expense of the club. He was carried by the side for a year, and the debt incurred isstill being carried.
    • The midfield – Keegan brought in 5 midfielders when themidfield was functioning relatively well:Sinclair, Bosvelt, Sibierski, McManaman, and Reyna.The only wise buy of them for me was Sibierski, captain andcentral midfielder for a very good side in France and he was cheap.Reyna has had injury problems before and played little last year,McManaman hasn’t been playing, and Sinclair didn’t show anythinglast year.
  5. Strikers
    • We started with no cover up front.
    • When other strikers were healthy, Keegan stuck to hisautomatic two of Anelka and Fowler.
    • No one else has been given a chance like Fowler was given.Huckerby and the Goat didn’t get 10matches on the trot much less 30. Macken and Wanchope won’teither unless Keegan leaves or we go down.
  6. Pigheadedness
    • The Berkovic affair.
    • Substitutes too late in matches.
    • Same again up front every match.
    • Wiekens, Goater, Huckerby, Howey, Carlo Nash, Vuoso. I haveserious questions about how they were dealt with by Keegan.

It all adds up to one thing. It can’t be all be an accident. Any club with ambition would sack Keegan. Any manager with class would resign.

R Yates <rhy1066(at)>


After the Wolves game Arthur Cox (Manager on the day) reportedly said “City were nervous”. David Jones (Wolves Manager) said “Wolves were hungry for a win!”; that says it all.

Why aren’t City hungry for a win?

I just hope City are hungry for a win against Spurs and the rest of the games this season.

The players are supposed to be hungry, it’s us fans that are nervous.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is this coming Wednesday 14th April at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport starting at 8.00pm (doors 7.00pm).

Our confirmed guests for the evening are ex-City player and skipper Andy Morrison and James H Reeve.

Admission, which includes a free raffle, is just a £1 for all CSA/OSC Members, £2 others and all kids are free.

As always everyone is welcome.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


11 April 2004

Newcastle United      0 - 0  Arsenal               52,141

10 April 2004

Birmingham City       1 - 2  Manchester United     29,548
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 2  Leeds United          26,611
Bolton Wanderers      2 - 2  Aston Villa           26,374
Charlton Athletic     1 - 1  Portsmouth            26,385
Chelsea               0 - 0  Middlesbrough         40,873
Leicester City        0 - 2  Fulham                28,392
Manchester City       3 - 3  Wolverhampton Wndrs   47,248

9 April 2004

Arsenal               4 - 2  Liverpool             38,119
Everton               3 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     38,086

League table to 11 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         32 13  3  0 33 13 10  6  0 29  9 23  9  0  62  22  40 78
 2 Chelsea         32 10  3  3 29 13 12  2  2 29 11 22  5  5  58  24  34 71
 3 Manchester Utd  31 10  3  2 33 13 10  2  4 25 18 20  5  6  58  31  27 65
 4 Liverpool       32  9  2  4 26 13  4  8  5 22 22 13 10  9  48  35  13 49
 5 Newcastle Utd   32 10  4  3 30 12  2  9  4 15 21 12 13  7  45  33  12 49
 6 Birmingham City 32  8  4  5 24 19  4  6  5 14 19 12 10 10  38  38   0 46
 7 Aston Villa     32  7  5  3 20 15  5  4  8 21 23 12  9 11  41  38   3 45
 8 Fulham          32  8  4  4 24 16  4  4  8 20 24 12  8 12  44  40   4 44
 9 Charlton Ath.   31  6  4  6 24 25  6  4  5 18 15 12  8 11  42  40   2 44
10 Southampton     31  8  4  4 19 11  3  5  7 15 18 11  9 11  34  29   5 42
11 Middlesbrough   32  6  4  6 19 19  5  5  6 18 20 11  9 12  37  39  -2 42
12 Bolton Wndrs    32  4  8  4 18 18  5  3  8 18 32  9 11 12  36  50 -14 38
13 Everton         32  8  5  4 26 17  1  5  9 15 29  9 10 13  41  46  -5 37
14 Tottenham H.    32  8  2  6 29 24  3  2 11 12 27 11  4 17  41  51 -10 37
15 Manchester City 32  3  9  4 24 20  4  3  9 21 26  7 12 13  45  46  -1 33
16 Blackburn R.    32  3  3 10 22 30  5  4  7 21 24  8  7 17  43  54 -11 31
17 Portsmouth      31  7  2  5 24 15  1  5 11  9 31  8  7 16  33  46 -13 31
18 Leeds United    32  5  5  6 20 25  3  2 11 14 38  8  7 17  34  63 -29 31
19 Leicester City  32  2  9  6 15 26  3  4  8 26 31  5 13 14  41  57 -16 28
20 Wolves          32  5  5  5 18 30  0  5 12 12 39  5 10 17  30  69 -39 25

With thanks to Football 365

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[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

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[12] Where can I find match statistics?

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[13] Acknowledgements

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Newsletter #1008