Newsletter #1011

Apologies for the delay, tad busy with work.

We have plenty of news, views and opinions tonight as we go into tomorrow’s crucial game against Leicester.

Next game: Leicester City, away, 3pm Saturday 24 April 2004


Pre-Match Gloom

Financial Woes: Even before the Southampton game, there was depressing news on the financial front. Both the Independent and the M.E.N. ran articles showing the parlous financial state of the club, and predicted a dire future should City be relegated. Here’s an extract from the Independent’s article by David Conn. “The last accounts, to May 2003, show City’s debts and liabilities totalling £104 million, and since then, the club have taken out a further £13.7 million loan. They lost £15.4 million, following £14 million the previous year. The wage bill was £35 million, which has increased, sources say, to over £40 million, after Keegan signed expensive names including Steve McManaman, Trevor Sinclair, Claudio Reyna and David James, for a total of £7.7 million, while offloading promotion soldiers Kevin Horlock, Steve Howey, and the talismanic Shaun Goater, for far less… Anelka looks certain to be sold at the end of the season, but City still owe around £7 million to Paris St-Germain, five of the seven instalments in which they agreed to pay for him. Shaun Wright-Philips, who has played spiritedly this season, looks about the only other saleable player but, as the one youth graduate who has been played regularly by Keegan, his departure would be unpopular, reminiscent of the sale of Garry Flitcroft in 1996, a surrender which prefaced City’s slide to the Second Division… In the last accounts, City’s liabilities exceeded their assets by £10.4 million, calculated by valuing the squad at £38.8 million, which looks very high for Keegan’s collection. Some Premiership clubs have reduced their valuations because of the collapsed transfer market, and with City having announced a loss of £13 million for the six months to November 2003, their next accounts, due to be calculated at the end of May, are likely to reveal a loss above £20 million and a still larger deficit.” The Evening News reckoned that relegation would cost City £30 million in lost revenue, and cited clubs like Ipswich, Bradford, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday who have not coped well with demotion from the top flight.

Barton Bounced: Friday also saw coverage of Joey Barton’s alleged remarks about his lack of first team football. “I can only think of three or four times when I have come off the pitch having had a bad game. I know I’ve been suspended after getting sent off at Spurs and accumulating too many bookings. I have to sort out that side of my game. But, from a football point of view, I do not think anyone has been as consistent as me this season. Right now we are not playing well and not getting the results as a team. When I was playing I had to take too much responsibility on board. It should be two or three years before I have the experience to tell other people what to do but that’s what I ended up doing. I have not had anyone around to take that responsibility from me. It would have been better if I had someone like Stuart Pearce telling me what to do rather than me having to do it to others. That should be the responsibility of the senior professionals – but the senior professionals did not do that. I am not going to play brilliantly every game or be a leader in every single match. Maybe I have tried to do too many people’s rôles rather than just doing my own job. We lost Peter Schmeichel at the end of last season and he was a real leader, really vocal. We lost that when he went and we have not replaced him.” After the Southampton game, there were reports that Barton had “stormed out” of the COMS after being omitted from the squad for the match. KK denied having a row with Barton, and said: “I’m not sure you put young inexperienced players into a game like that. I just feel that experience is going to pull us through. Joey is training well, fit, able and willing. But he’s just got to wait for his opportunity.”

Match Day Gloom

The Smell of Fear: Southampton manager Paul Sturrock claimed he could smell the fear at Eastlands as his side sent City closer to the drop. Kevin Phillips followed up James Beattie’s opener with a second-half double as the Saints emerged 3-1 winners against a toothless City outfit who now have only Leeds between them and the relegation zone. “You can smell the fear”, he said. “Their home form has not been what it should be and with the quality of players they have Manchester City should be in a different part of the league to the one they are in now. That makes people nervous. Decision-making becomes difficult and the supporters got on their backs, which doesn’t help confidence. As an opposition team, you have to play on that. I have seen it once this season already at Sheffield Wednesday. At Hillsborough, there are 20,000 fans sitting there not liking what they see and it affects the players. It is exactly the same at City only in a different league.” KK was none too impressed with Sturrock’s analysis. “If he says there was fear, quote him because I don’t think it is the right word,” said the Boss. “There was tension in the players. Passes that they would normally make quite easily seemed hard and we need to show more composure and a bit more confidence. It is not the result we wanted but our destiny is still in our own hands. It would be worse if we were looking for other teams to help us. I would be the last person to criticise our fans,” added Keegan. “At half-time I told the players they were fortunate to have supporters who have stuck behind them for so long. But they love the club, pay their money and do not want to see us drop out of the Premiership. You don’t want to hear it but I fully understand why it happened.”

Down But Not Out: KK vowed that the Blues would not give up in their fight to avoid the drop to Division 1. “It is always disappointing to lose at home. It is disappointing to lose a game that if you set your stall out and do things properly you will win,” said the manager. “Southampton to their credit came and played very well. But we allowed that, the way the game panned out we allowed them to relax. They are not in danger of relegation and not seriously involved in what is going on at the top of the division. They were able to do the things that we couldn’t do. They picked out the better passes; they were more in control of their own game. We are down but we are not out. We need strong minds, total commitment, players being very much together and you need one or two of them – and it doesn’t matter who they are – to lift the rest because invariably you do not get 11 players playing well at the same time.”

After Match – Even Gloomier

The Players are Revolting: Following the Southampton match, the press spent two days giving details of a so called ‘players mutiny’. Apparently it began in the dressing room immediately after the game, when David James was reported to have berated a number of his team mates over the standard of the defending in front of him (anyone who saw Southampton’s goals might well have agreed with James). Then unnamed “senior players” cancelled Monday’s day off and insisted on holding a post mortem on the match, then an extra training session. The players allegedly requested KK to name his team for Leicester much earlier than usual, so that the team had time to work on defensive strategies. Many journals considered these moves to be a criticism of the manager’s methods. More cynical reports suggested that the players’ sudden concern over their Premiership futures was financially based – half the squad have ‘performance related’ contracts. If the Blues are relegated, these players face a 30% reduction in their wages. Whatever the motivation for these behind the scenes moves, it can only be heartening to hear that the players are putting in extra work to rectify the slump.

“Play for the Corners, Lads!” You know things are bad when The Ginger genius is dug up for an opinion. Former City manager Alan Ball was asked for his views by the Southampton Echo. “If I was still associated with Manchester City I would be a very worried man,” said Ball, who luckily isn’t still associated with the club after guiding the Blues to relegation in 1996. “Kevin has gambled on signing older players on big wages, like Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Trevor Sinclair, and it hasn’t really worked out for him. The club are 60 million pounds in debt and you have to hope for their sakes the club doesn’t end up going the same way as Leeds. Relegation would be horrific for City. The fans have spent time in the First Division recently and they don’t like it. The players are under pressure when they play at home because, as I know full well, there are huge expectations at the club. But they have won only twice in 23 matches – the statistics are absolutely shocking and they say something is seriously wrong at the club.”

Bernstein Bid: Former chairman David Bernstein was reported to have made an offer to return to the club, but was turned down. “In view of the extremely serious situation which the club finds itself in I decided to see whether the club would be interested in my returning with immediate effect,” said Bernstein. “I believe I could have made a difference. An approach was made by an intermediary and it was turned down. I am disappointed but hope and pray that the club’s results over the next four matches are enough to save us.” Bernstein made the offer after requests from City fans. In turning Bernstein down, Chairman John Wardle said: “What we need at the moment is stability. This would cause upheaval with four games left in the season. The stability we have among the staff, including the players, would be destroyed. The board we have in place is more than capable of running the club and no changes are needed at this time. I don’t see what anyone else could bring to us to help the current situation.”

Don’t Panic! The members of the Prestwich and Whitefield supporters’ branch got a surprise extra guest at their meeting on Tuesday. KK turned up to accompany expected visitors John Wardle, David Makin and Trevor Sinclair. As the meeting was for normal people, no members of the press were allowed in, so Wednesday’s newspapers relied on branch chairman Don Price for what was said. KK played down talk of a rift with some of his players. Price was quoted as saying: “Kevin said in any industry you have differences of opinion. Some people are not going to be happy with certain things but what you do is sit down and discuss it.” Price added: “The manager said he had no intention of leaving the job that he came to do. He is as disappointed as anybody that it has not happened for the team and that certain players have not performed as well as he knows they can. It was a case of the manager, the chairman and the fans all agreeing that we have four games to do the business. Both the manager and the chairman were very honest in their answers. There is no point in having blood letting now. That can be done in pre-season, if need be. The bottom line is that 300 people showed they were fully behind them. That is brilliant from my point of view.”

Mack Wants to Lead Attack: Jon Macken has been talking of the pain he feels over City’s predicament, especially as he cannot break into the first team at the moment. “No-one likes losing and this is hurting,” Macken told BBC GMR. “I can see it in the eyes of my family and friends. They are all big City fans and they are getting more down each week. It’s doubly frustrating for me because I feel I can help the team perform better and a get a few goals that can help them win matches. The odd game I have been in, I feel I have done enough to warrant a start every now and again but obviously it hasn’t come. But the time for talking is over now. It is up to the 11 men who start on Saturday to get a win because the Leicester game has turned into a massive one for us now. Leicester won’t lie down and die,” he said. “They still believe they have something to fight for and they are quite capable of beating us because they have done it this season already.”

General News

Terror Target? As if talk of mutiny at the club wasn’t bad enough, next we had reports that “a football ground in Manchester” had been a possible target of suicide bombers. This speculation emerged after six men and a woman were arrested in Greater Manchester on Monday. Three other men were arrested in Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “It is part of an ongoing operation that has been under way for some time and will continue in the future. This is the first action that the public have become aware of as it is overt, but nothing should be read into that. At this time we have nine men and one woman in custody. They are in police custody and will be interviewed as part of the ongoing inquiry.”

At Least the Reserves Won! City’s Reserves beat league leaders Aston Villa 2-1, thus denying Villa the chance to clinch the League title. Villa took a first half lead, before second half goals by Bradley Wright-Phillips and Stephen Elliott secured the win. Team: Ellegaard, Flood, Jordan, Barton (Collins 68), McCarthy, Onuoha, Croft, Whelan, Elliott, B Wright-Phillips, Tiatto (Tandy 68). Subs: Timms, N D’Laryea, Ireland, Laird.

Back at the Helm: It seems like years ago, but it was only last week that KK finally returned to work after his back problems. “It has been a tough three weeks for me because of the problems I had before,” explained the boss. “I don’t think until they opened me up and had a look in there what the problems were that I had. I still thought in the back of my mind that I could get back for the Villa game, which was stupid of me. But now I really felt in the last couple of days that I have been ready to get back here and do my job. That is to get out to the training pitch and walk around. I can’t run and I can’t kick a ball yet. I don’t need to do that, but I do need to be out there with the players. I tried to do it on a buggy before I had the operation. I believe now that I shouldn’t have gone even to the Leeds game as I was in so much pain. But it is all sorted now; I am back and raring to go.” There had been some thought that Keegan would use his ailment as a reason to step down in the Summer, but the Boss Man was having none of it. “You have to ignore the way some people have been speculating about what I will do. I have read things that supporters have said and some of it is very hurtful,” he said. “I have had quite a major operation on my back and I have got to have time to recover, I am a human being. But I am back now and we will see it all through here, don’t worry about that.”

Strip Change: City unveiled their new home strip this week. The new kit will be worn for the next two seasons, has again been designed by Reebok and will carry the Thomas Cook logo. Managing Director Alistair Mackintosh said “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Thomas Cook through the first 12 months of our partnership,” said Mackintosh. “The addition of the shirt branding to their sponsorship package for the remaining two years will enable both Manchester City and Thomas Cook brands to reach a wider global audience. We are also confident that the new look and advanced technology of Reebok’s design will prove to be a huge hit with players and fans alike.” It was later reported that City had received orders for 1,000 replica home shirts within 60 hours the kit launch at the weekend. A new away kit will be launched in the summer.

Transfer News and Gossip

Pair Liverpool Bound? It’s all been speculation of players leaving the club this week I’m afraid. Liverpool are said to be interested in signing Joey Barton. According to the Daily Star, Reds’ boss Gerard Houllier will make a move for Barton in the summer. Barton is a good friend of Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, which could be enough to bring him to Anfield. Liverpool have also been linked with Shaun Wright-Phillips, as have Arsenal.

No Great Loss: Steve McManaman is considering a move to Qatar at the end of the season. According to the Daily Express, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid ace will not be offered a new contract with City and is ready to move to Qatar.

Don Barrie <news(at)>


Villains Vaunted Title Denied

In a game where Aston Villa only needed a point to clinch their much deserved title after they had been runaway league leaders from the first few games, the visitors were denied by a City side that have underachieved this year. Villa rolled out their big guns to confirm at least the title point they required, but two second half goals from City’s young strike partnership of Stephen Elliott and Bradley Wright-Phillips overturned Villa’s one-nil half time lead from a good curling shot by Peter Hynes.

Villa had an experienced strikeforce of Dion Dublin and Swedish international Marcus Allback, and City’s centre half partnership of Paddy McCarthy and Nedum Onuoha had their hands full to try to contain them. So it was no surprise to see Villa start the stronger and Man of the Match, Kevin Ellegaard, pull off some great saves to deny Dublin and Allback from scoring.

City’s first chance didn’t arrive until the twenty-fourth minute when a Joey Barton free kick found the head of Wright-Phillips, but he was unable to direct it on target. Four minutes later Joey dispossessed Dion Dublin in City’s penalty box, but then instead of clearing the danger, he tried to dribble the ball out and Dublin came back at him. Joey had a slight case that he was fouled, but Dublin did make contact with the ball and it ran through to Hynes and he curled a great shot off the inside of the post that even the in-form Ellegaard had no chance of saving.

City then pressed forward for the next five minutes, winning their first corner of the match in the process. Good work from Glenn Whelan then presented City and Elliott their best chance of the half when a short cut back cross from Whelan went to the feet of Elliott, but he shot straight at Stefan Postma, the giant 6’6″ ‘keeper. Glenn also had a good chance to level the scores from a Barton corner, but his half volley at the back post just sailed over the bar. Glenn nearly levelled proceedings right at the stroke of half time, this time from a header from a Lee Croft cross, but again he couldn’t find the target.

City came out from the break with all guns blazing and Barton being the heart of City’s drive forward. Nine minutes later he attempted an audacious shot on the volley from forty yards that wasn’t far off beating Postma in goal. Four minutes later Joey made the pressure tell by sending in a good pass to Lee Croft that curled directly into his path to allow him to run in, behind the Villa defence and square the ball to Wright-Phillips who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

This forced Villa into putting more pressure onto City’s defence as they could obviously see that City were going to press for a winner. Ellegaard’s fine form was again called upon on sixty minutes when he had to get down well to an Allback strike; he was only able to parry the shot though and Stephen Jordan’s half clearance fell to Villa’s Steven Davis; his shot clipped the top of the bar and went out for a goal kick. Four minutes later, Kevin was at his best again when he denied Peter Whittingham after he had played a good one-two with Dublin on the edge of the area.

Then came the decisive moment of the match when again Barton sent a defence splitting pass forward for Elliott to run onto, but he was hauled down, just outside the area when he had a clear run at goal. The referee had no choice but to send Rob Edwards, the offending player, off. This was a surprise to the City faithful as the referee had spent most of the match not penalising Villa’s persistent niggling fouls and picked up on many of City’s minor infringements. The resulting free kick unfortunately led to nothing.

Immediately after that, Barton and Danny Tiatto were substituted, to be replaced by Paul Collins and Jamie Tandy respectively. It was Paul’s first touch three minutes later when he send a long ball over the top of Villa’s defence, now joined by Dublin as their makeshift centre half, that was static and allowed Elliott to knock the ball past an onrushing Postma and finish sweetly from a tight angle and send the four hundred City fans cheering with delight.

Wright-Phillips nearly doubled City’s advantage when he made a strong run at the defence, passed to Tandy and he carried on his run and got the ball back from Tandy, but his shot just went wide. Three minutes after coming on, Luke Moore could have levelled for Villa with a neat turn and shot on the edge of the area, but his shot went narrowly wide. Right at the death Elliott tried a good long range effort to try to take the pressure off City’s defence as Villa pressed forward to gain the equalizer and the single point they so dearly wanted, but it wasn’t to be.

I’m sure they will enjoy gaining that point so much more when they play Birmingham in their next match. As for City, we now need to win our remaining three matches to finish in third as Manchester United, who currently occupy third, won their final game of the season last night against a young Newcastle team to take them eight points clear of us.

Ellegaard: Masterful display between the sticks, good kicking as well. MoM. 9
Flood: Quite quiet from his first game back from his loan at Rochdale. 6
Jordan (capt): Defended really well, a couple of rash tackles that he got booked for. 7
Barton (68): An inspirational twenty odd minutes after the half time break. 8
McCarthy: Defended really well yet again and was harshly booked. 8
Onuoha: Not quite had that spark, but a good game nonetheless. 7
Croft: Could do so much more, but wasn’t too wasteful with the ball this time. 7
Whelan: Worked hard and always chooses the right options. 8
Elliott: Put himself about and scored a fine goal, yet again. 8
Wright-Phillips: Good goal, deserved help from the ref for being pushed so much. 8
Tiatto (68): Another quiet game from the Aussie, not enough for first team action. 6

Collins (68): Great ball over the top for Elliott, linked well with Tandy. 7
Tandy (68): Ran at the Villa defence at every opportunity and put some good balls in. 7
Not Used: Timms, N D’Laryea, Ireland.

Villa: Postma, Delaney, O’Connor, Edwards, Cahill, Whittingham, Cormell (Nix 86), Davis, Dublin (capt), Allback (L Moore 78), Hynes (Foley 86).
Not Used: Henderson, Aaritalo.

Att. 411.

Gavin Cooper <blueboy(at)>


My oh my. If I’ve ever seen a worse performance than this, I’ve wiped the trauma from my memory. Even our plummet to the Second Division takes on a rosy glow by comparison. Possibly the players were all thinking “up to now we’ve worked hard, played well and got nothing; maybe we’ll do better if we loaf about and play like donkeys”. But I think that’s too generous. Let’s face it, every single one was thinking the same thought: “I wonder who I’ll be playing for next season?” 3-1 flattered us.

I like Keegan. Despite all the evidence of the last six months, I still believe that he can take us to great things if we can get out of the current mess. But he’s out of ideas and has even abandoned his utter candour. Instead, he’s talking dross and clutching at straws.

In his post-match interview, I heard him assert that the team “had been doing the running”. Hogwash. There was hardly a moment when two of them were in motion simultaneously. And, wait for it, that Southampton were “more relaxed than us because they had nothing to play for, so could play better when we were nervous”. Oh my God! Two of our four remaining matches are against teams with absolutely nothing to play for. We’re doomed!

So what would I do? The team’s only chance is to get the crowd back on their side and lift their confidence. Never mind “quality”, reputation, salary or ego. We’re talking relegation dogfight here. I would start by choosing the ones that will play for the shirt, and those with something to prove. That makes Macken, Sinclair, Barton, SWP and Wanchope. I don’t care if Barton gives the ball away and gets red carded. I don’t care if Sinclair gets arrested for impersonating a footballer. I don’t care if Macken needs to practice against a bigger barn door. I just want them to look like they care as much as I do.

Next, I’d put in the most committed and capable of our itinerant journeymen. For me, that’s Sun, Dunne, Sibierski, Tarnat, and James. Finally, Distin because Wiekens can’t be match-fit. But captain? As in committed, loud-mouthed bloke who organises the squad, lifts morale and sticks a rocket up their ar*e if they’re slouching? Maybe I’ve misunderstood the word. Barton isn’t ready yet. Go for Sibierski.

On the bench: Anelka. Plenty of strikers make do with twenty minutes against tired legs. Arason, obviously. Tiatto, as soon as he can walk without the aid of a stick. Wiekens, who has never complained or let us down in seven years. Bosvelt or Reyna, toss a coin, who cares?

And the rest? Oh, you meand Fowler and McManaman? Robbie “on a different day he could have had a hat-trick” Fowler? On a day in the last century, maybe. Sadly I seem to miss all the games where they’re nearly back to their best. Send them off home for the rest of the season and get the lawyers working on how to fire them without having to subsidise their property empires for the rest of the decade.

And if the masterplan fails and we go down anyway? Who would I sell? None of them. A season in the First Division would do the lot of them a power of good. If they don’t like it there, they can always go down again and see if Luton and Scunny are more to their taste. We’ve been there before. We can do it again.

Dorien James <dorien.james(at)>


Now that things have cooled down a little, OK hands up who was not frustrated and kind of angry after the City versus Southampton game (I don’t see any hands up)?

In truth the season is not over yet, and like it or not the only City we have will be playing at Leicester on Saturday; it’s the same players who beat the Evil Empire and the comeback team against Spurs, so why can’t the same players beat the teams in the last four games? The pressure will be on Leicester as well as us so there are no more excuses left, that means we have got to win.

The games that have been played this season are history, the only games we can cheer for are the last four, we have got to get the players to respond! If we fail to stay in the Premier League I think there are many of us that shall air our feelings. But we don’t want that to happen so let’s give the last four games rallying calls to try to do our part to help stay in the Premier League. It’s a team game and many players have been made scapegoats for losses and I feel rightly so in many cases, I don’t disagree.

So come on fellow City supporters, let’s do our thing, the players, management, and board room cannot blame us for lack of support.

City have let us supporters down with false expectations and promise of better things, and have failed; the only thing now is survival in the Premier League. So it’s up to all the players to get off their ar*es and play for the badge and their own pride.

Come on you Blues, it’s survival time.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


After one of the worst performances I have seen for a long time, it’s time changes were made. A few weeks back I defended KK regarding the team; after the 4 games with AC in charge I was feeling that I was on the right track with the reasons for our strange tactics and defensive frailties. However, with KK back at the helm it looked just as bad and with zero motivation and desire, which are KK traits. Plan of action:

  1. Sack Cox and Faz
  2. Sell/swap/bin Fowler
  3. Play Anelka and Sibierski up front – Macken or Paulo to come on if not working
  4. Find a right back
  5. Find a captain

If KK won’t accept that AC and DF aren’t up to the job then he has to go too, they cannot be defended. How can AC inspire a team, have you heard his post match interview? Why does the only midfielder that does what he is meant to do (Bos) gets subbed every week? Then brings JB on to give the ball or a free kick away, nice plan.

DF cannot organise anything, let alone our defence. Has to go. Robbie Fowler has been treated incredibly well by the City fans. People knew he was struggling and gave him time, it looked like it was paying off but the last 4 games he has been horrific, the ball just doesn’t stick and heads straight back to the defence. Anelka/Fowler cannot play together, let’s try something else.

AS wins nearly every ball in the air. He misses the goal a lot but has presence up front. Stop wasting him in midfield and get him up front in place of Fowler, see if the Elk can run off him. Also allows us to bring Danny Tiatto in, why is he not playing now he is fit? We need a right back that can keep the pressure on Sun. At present regardless of how bad he is there is no one to come in. This needs to be addressed. SD is not a captain. Unfortunately there is no one in the team that is. Can we clone and mix Ali B with Andy Morrison? That would do the job.

Team for Leicester

Sun     Dunne   Distin  Jordan
SWP     Bos     Reyna   Tiatto
        Elk     Sibierski

Subs: Arason, Wanchope, Wiekens, Sinclair, and Barton

Couple of final points. Leave the Elk alone! Watching games where the traffic policeman and the scouse landlord are picking up their cash for no effort and everyone is on the Elk, can Macca and Fowler do no wrong? The Elk is lazy at times, but he is usually in the middle to score. RF and Macca haven’t had an attacking effort all season.

Eyal B is not and was not the answer, gets 45 minutes before being dragged off at Pompey at the moment. Read the Joey Barton interview, talk about Billy Big Boots. He thinks he is Steven Gerrard. He isn’t, he is an average player that has gone backwards. He cannot tackle cleanly, he cannot pass the ball accurately, he is not the answer. Have a think back over the season to how many daft challenges on the edge of the box, have a think about how many fly in the goal from the resulting free kick, quite a few. I’ll give you Spurs and Wolves for a start.

I had been optimistic until Saturday. The lack of fight, desire etc. made me want to throw up. How KK has turned us from poor Premiership team to a good 1st Division team to an ok Premiership team to this shambles so quickly is some achievement.

Glyn Owen <Glyn.Owen(at)>


First visit to the new home of football, brought my 13-year-old son to his first game in Manchester (poor sod). I am from Southampton and was visiting relatives in Wales so we decided to catch this game (first mistake), took train from Rhyl (second mistake, nearly 2 hours), spoke to women from Manchester on train who told me it was a 5 minute walk to stadium (third mistake). Arrived at Piccadilly both wearing our shirts with pride, rung my sister who with her husband and my nephew are all Saints season ticket holders and also attending today’s game. Told her I would be there in 5 minutes as I was walking to stadium, and then had laughter in stereo, another city supporter said more like 45 minutes and even my sister had been told that it would take at least 40 minutes. Started talking to a couple of blokes, one with a young son, told them it was our first time to the new stadium, they told us quicker to catch a taxi, so we jumped in with them – things looking up? Approached stadium, fantastic, awesome. Got out of taxi and what a sight to see, said to son well worth the money and time (how stupid am I?).

Went into ground, rung my sister and saw them in away section, found our seat row A pitch side, not everybody’s cup of tea but who cares? I was there, could touch the hallowed turf (if I wanted to be thrown out, hang on I wish hindsight was an actual gift).

Game started; we looked good for the first 35 minutes. Anelka should have scored (maybe he is used to being caught offside and therefore expected the inevitable). At this point said to son we will either hammer Saints or get beaten by the odd goal. Saints’ first attack, goal. Oh sh*t here we go, then the fans start. I have to say at this point that I appreciate that the fans have paid vast sums of money; for instance I paid £100 plus for the day but getting on the players’ backs does no good during the game. I appreciate that they are professionals but do any of us understand or have had to deal with 30,000 plus swearing and screaming insults at us?

Well I have decided to keep this short as we all know the result, oh and with regards to mistake 2, I had to leave the ground 20 minutes early to guarantee catching the train back to Wales so missed Anelka’s goal. Still, I have got the memories of our 2-0 victory at St Marys to keep me going.

CTID, Paul Edwards <paul.edwards15(at)>


I have watched and listened from afar to most of the games and it is obvious to me that the problem is not with the strikers. If we cannot get them the ball, keeping chopping and changing them will not change anything. Even with the lack of creativity in midfield, Anelka is still among the top scorers in the Premiership. That should tell us all something.

After watching Berkovic’s team display their passion this weekend for Pompey I realised what was missing. No, it’s not Berkovic, it’s the passion. Even if Tiatto is a loose cannon he, with Joey Barton, wakes people up! Fowler is still a Premiership class striker but with no service he must getting frustrated. Perhaps with KK back, Super Kev will wake them up (if he is not heavily medicated). The problem we have is not playing well against bad teams. Well, all we have left to play are bad teams!

We can only hope that they are worse than us if we don’t win at Leicester. Let’s see the team that started the season finish it in the style to which we were becoming accustomed.

J Heavis <JHeavis502(at)>


Has KK decided that he doesn’t want to manage our beloved club anymore and instead of just walking, like the papers have suggested since day one, he has obviously decided that he wants to be sacked?

You may think these comments are a bit extreme, but how else can you explain:

  • Buying old, past-their-use-by-date players who can no longer do the jobtheir reputation suggests.
  • Continuing to play a strike partnership that is obviously never going to gel.
  • Allow our only creative player to leave, for nothing, and replace him witha lazy scouser.
  • Continue to play the same tactics, formation and team week-in, week-outhoping that it will work eventually.

and worst of the bunch:

  • He not only drops our 2 biggest fighters at the club (Tiatto & Barton), buthe wants to get rid of both in the summer.

Barton for me has been the 2nd best and most consistent player this season, only being pipped at the post by SWeeP. He has that aggression and will to win that has made the likes of Keane (forgive me), Viera and Gerrard the best midfielders in the Premiership. He is certainly captain material, once he gains a few more years’ experience. So what does KK do? Drop him into the reserves until a buyer arrives!

Personally, and I don’t think I’m the only one, would rather see KK and his band of has-beens leave before Joey Barton goes.

CTID, Steve Cummings <mc.fc(at)>


To take everyone’s mind off City, here is an England football brain teaser that I have made up whilst researching for the website, to find players with City links who have won England caps:

“7 players have gained an England cap whilst with 4 different clubs, and the 3 players who have done the same whilst at 5 different clubs. Name the players and the clubs they were with when they won their caps”

A Clue: all are from the last 30 years or so.

Send your answers in an email.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


If you have ever wondered why nothing ever changes in terms of producing a team that is truly worthy of the greatest supporters in the country, the answer is, because everybody involved within the club knows the fans are going to turn up come rain or shine, and have done for years.

The only reason Man City are still just about breathing, is due to the massive support shown to them, and perhaps the only way to make people sit up and take notice, is for maybe the manager and players to under perform in front of an half empty stadium.

Why should anybody make the greatest effort for the supporters when they will still get paid a handsome wage, whatever the results?

Gary Sullivan <gary(at)>


I would just like to wish the team all the best for this weekend’s clash with Leicester. I was critical of Keegan during the year but like others I will put that aside until after the season is over. I believe this weekend’s game is the key to our survival this year. Go Blues!

Steve Toews <stevetoews(at)>


I know it’s easy to be wise in hindsight but I find it puzzling that there was ever any talk of qualifying for the Champions’ League this season. Because, while I agree that the squad is under-performing, I do think it is weaker on paper than last season.

Some of these changes have been out of KK’s control. We sorely lack the athleticism and presence of Marc Vivien Foe (RIP) and Benarbia’s retirement has left us with a lot less guile. But other alterations to the playing squad – and these are decisions made by KK himself – have been woefully lacking in judgement.

McManaman’s form overall this season has been a let down and I’m sure few of us would have predicted that. But how many of us really expected the signings of Sinclair, Sibierski, Bosvelt, Reyna and Seaman to improve the team?

Watching any City game where they’re a goal behind or struggling to break down a team is just depressing – because you look at the bench and who do we have who can change a game? Is swapping Bosvelt for Reyna really going to open things up? Does Sinclair coming on for Sibierski fill you with anticipation?

And, more importantly, didn’t the sight of Berkovic and Huckerby (and even The Goat) warming up on the sidelines scare opposing defenders more than one of Barton, Reyna, Bosvelt, Macken, Sinclair?

Frankly, looking at a club that has 58 million pounds worth of debt, you’d expect to see far more creative talent at City than the has-beens and never-will-bes that currently litter the squad.

Having said all that, the time for creativity has gone. Wth 4 games left we need our scrappers to get us out of trouble. Get Barton and Tiatto back in the team, I say.

Neil Gibbons <neilgibbons_(at)>


With all the doom and gloom around perhaps this will help to put a smile (if a little ironic) on people’s faces. Here are some of the alternative names that appear on the Microsoft Word spell check for some of our players:

McManaman – Merchantman
Distin – Distain or Distant or Destiny
Van Buyten – Beaten
Wiekens – Weakens
Tiatto – Tattoo
Bosvelt – Bossiest
Anelka – Angela
Tarnat – Tyrant or Tarmac
Macken – Mocked
Wanchope – Wan Hope
Jihai – Jihad (particularly worrying bearing in mind recent terrorist developments, have I uncovered a sinister plot?)

More disappointing perhaps are the alternative names for some of the players we have let go:

Berkovic – Heroic
Goater – Gloater
Huckerby – Hacker

Phil Jones <philbluejones(at)>


Here’s another piece from the Dutch press on the trials and tribulations of City.

Fear of the drop By Sjoerd Mossou, Algemeen Dagblad, 17 April 2004

Now that Arsenal can start planning celebrating winning the Premiership, the tension is building at the other end of the table. Six clubs are fighting desperately to avoid the drop.

In East London the doom scenario is plain to see. West Ham United were relegated out of the Premiership last season, totally unexpectedly, and did not manage to crawl back up. The team was weeded out and the club can only hope for a return this season via the play-offs.

“I don’t even want to think about it”, says Paul Bosvelt. His club Manchester City is, just like the Hammers last year, thought to be too good for relegation, but the danger threatens. “We have a lot of quality, but if like us you are just two points from safety, the fear creeps into the club. You can feel it. It will stay tense until the very last day of the season.”

Bosvelt and Co.’s problem lies within the boundaries of the city. The brand new City of Manchester stadium is very imposing, but seems to bring the team only bad luck. Up to now City have only won three games at home.

“And we’re not playing badly”, argues Bosvelt. “We give points away through individual mistakes. I don’t think any other team has played as many drawn games as we have. Few teams are better against us, but we still don’t win games.”

According to Arjan de Zeeuw, a defender at Portsmouth (another team under pressure) “in the last few seasons clubs seemed to just drift away unexpectedly. Manchester City must be very careful of that scenario”.

Bosvelt: “I don’t think that will happen to us. One win, and you’re on the way up again.”

Sarah Humphrey <sj_Humphrey(at)>


Players revolt at Keegan’s methods

Daniel Taylor, Tuesday April 20, 2004
The Guardian

Even in Manchester City’s darkest days it has never been known for the players to request extra training, but yesterday they turned up on a day off ready for some hard graft and even harder talking. Fourth bottom and two points above the relegation places, the squad decided it did not make sense to relax at home and turned up to make it clear to Kevin Keegan that they were unhappy with his coaching methods.

The whiff of mutiny is in the air and the players, who were fleetingly top of the league in late August, have pressured Keegan into enforcing a more rigorous approach.

They also asked him to name the team for Saturday’s match at Leicester earlier than normal so they can have more time to prepare together, particularly in defending set pieces and high balls. The message was that changes have to be made.

There is a financial motivation, too, given that half of Keegan’s squad have performance-related contracts, meaning they will have to take pay cuts if they are relegated.

Unwittingly or not, however, it will be construed as a vote of no confidence in Keegan’s methods. It is difficult to think of another manager who has been told where he is going wrong by his own players.

Keegan appears to have welcomed the input and accepted the demands, but he will also know that it does not look good at the end of a lamentable first season at their new stadium. This had been the one in which he expected to build upon last year’s ninth place and challenge for a Champions’ League place.

Saturday’s home defeat by Southampton means they have won two of their past 23 league games, and Keegan has been subjected to claims of dressing-room divisions and cliques.

As for his future, City’s board are dismayed that a team who cost more than £50 million have found themselves in such a precarious position. Nevertheless Keegan’s relationship with the chairman John Wardle is strong and there is a school of thought that he would not necessarily be sacked if they are relegated.

In such a scenario it is all but inevitable that Keegan would resign, but having failed to re-establish the club it is not unthinkable that he will leave the club in the summer regardless of what happens.

Ray <ray(at)>


City match vs. Leicester due to be shown at the Brookdale pub in Failsworth; e-mail me for directions if needed.

Oh and to all the moaners and whingers out there, without KK we would not have attracted a lot of the players we have signed (bad or good) in the first place.

And if we were to decide that Mr Keegan is not the man to lead us to European supremacy and follow that well tried city solution of sacking the manager, we would (a) Struggle to find a manager willing to take on what was, apart from David Beckham’s marriage counsellor, considered the most difficult job in football, and (b) only be able to attract players who are perhaps not at the peak of their careers i.e. Pele, Vinny Jones, Maradona. And Steve McManaman (whoops). So instead of whining and booing the players (whether they deserve it or not) let’s prove that we are, as many people say “the best supporters in the world”; get behind them and look forward to next season in the Premiership.

Adrian Platt <Adpmcfc(at)>


SWeeP should be given a central midfield rôle, because he’s industrious, and nippy around the right areas, also he has the talent to do some real damage.

Come on you Blues.

Gary Sullivan <gary(at)>


We now have a team of MCIVTA readers entered in the CSA 5-a-side football competition. Many thanks to Steve Thorpe for organising a group of McV readers to represent these esteemed pages. Good luck to Steve and the lads on the day.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>


Wonder if anyone can help. Just moved to Bacup. If anyone wants to share a lift to City or knows of any Bacup Blues that put a bus on could you please get in touch with me. Sadly have to go to the remaining two games! I’d comment about the last fiasco but what’s the point?

Scott Moore <scott(at)>


All Blues who will be in Dubai on Saturday 24th April are invited to ‘Goodfellows bar’ at the Regal Hotel, Bur Dubai (near Ramada Hotel).

We expect the Leicester game to be shown live. Drinking starts from 17.30pm (local time).

Everyone welcome.

Bill Hill <william.hill(at)>


20 April 2004

Manchester United     2 - 0  Charlton Athletic     67,477

League table to 21 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         33 14  3  0 38 13 10  6  0 29  9 24  9  0  67  22  45  81
 2 Chelsea         34 10  4  3 29 13 12  2  3 31 14 22  6  6  60  27  33  72
 3 Manchester Utd  34 12  3  2 36 13 10  2  5 25 19 22  5  7  61  32  29  71
 4 Liverpool       34  9  3  5 26 14  4  8  5 22 22 13 11 10  48  36  12  50
 5 Newcastle Utd   33 10  4  3 30 12  2 10  4 15 21 12 14  7  45  33  12  50
 6 Aston Villa     34  8  6  3 23 17  5  4  8 21 23 13 10 11  44  40   4  49
 7 Charlton Ath.   34  6  5  6 25 26  7  4  6 19 17 13  9 12  44  43   1  48
 8 Birmingham City 34  8  4  5 24 19  4  7  6 16 23 12 11 11  40  42  -2  47
 9 Southampton     33  8  4  4 19 11  4  5  8 19 22 12  9 12  38  33   5  45
10 Fulham          34  8  4  5 27 20  4  5  8 20 24 12  9 13  47  44   3  45
11 Middlesbrough   34  7  4  6 22 20  5  5  7 18 22 12  9 13  40  42  -2  45
12 Bolton Wndrs    34  5  8  4 20 18  6  3  8 20 33 11 11 12  40  51 -11  44
13 Everton         34  8  5  4 26 17  1  7  9 16 30  9 12 13  42  47  -5  39
14 Tottenham H.    34  8  3  6 30 25  3  2 12 12 29 11  5 18  42  54 -12  38
15 Blackburn R.    34  4  3 10 23 30  6  4  7 25 27 10  7 17  48  57  -9  37
16 Portsmouth      33  9  2  5 28 16  1  5 11  9 31 10  7 16  37  47 -10  37
17 Manchester City 34  3  9  5 25 23  4  4  9 22 27  7 13 14  47  50  -3  34
18 Leeds United    34  5  6  6 21 26  3  2 12 14 43  8  8 18  35  69 -34  32
19 Leicester City  34  2  9  6 15 26  3  4 10 26 33  5 13 16  41  59 -18  28
20 Wolves          34  6  5  6 21 32  0  5 12 12 39  6 10 18  33  71 -38  28

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0304.07]

[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?

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 #1011