Newsletter #1022

A short issue tonight given the Bank Holiday; we have more views on the end of season and Elliott linked with a move to Sunderland.

Next game: Bury, away, 7.30pm Wednesday 21 July 2004 (friendly)


Where did it go wrong?

Well, when KK broke David’s rule of transfer management No 1: don’t buy a player from Terry Venables. This was probably the biggest mistake KK (and any board members who egged him on!) has made while at City. At a stroke this decision:

  • Cost us (probably) the best Chairman in the Premiership and brokepotentially the best management partnership at the club since Mercer andAllison (which had its tensions too);
  • Added to our debt and wage bill;
  • Brought in a striker who was about a season off returning physically andmentally to Premiership sharpness;
  • Created a striking partnership that negated the skills of one (or maybetwo) of the best strikers in the Premiership;
  • Perhaps created the nuclei for the development of cliques within the playingstaff, and
  • Demoted two dedicated City strikers (note: I’m not blaming Fowler himselffor any of this, simply the decision to buy him)

Then we lost our midfield; Foe was tragic but, like van Buyten now, he was by no means certain to have remained with City; Benarbia, who knows what happened? A complex character but certainly not a triumph of man management. Likewise Berkovic. Jensen? So a hasty rebuild, which hasn’t delivered so far.

The defence was already somewhat dysfunctional but we had now added similar midfield and striking qualities and finally brought in a ‘keeper who was adequate behind a good defence but was out of tune with our defenders.

Pre-season, lots of low profile games avoiding the lure of the Asian market. In tactical football terms I’m neutral on this but if we want the cash to spend on players then we are missing a great opportunity to capitalise on an economy that is growing amazingly. If we don’t want to travel then why not invite Dalian (or even the Chinese national team) to play at COMS and televise in China? [If it’s good enough for Stockport County… – Ed]

Amazingly, despite all this, we started the season well and then came the clay pigeon shoot before the game at Southampton and Anelka was dropped/ politically injured. From then on we had a strike force that spurned chances better than anyone else in the league. Fortunately we got David James, who probably saved our season, and briefly with van Buyten we even looked to have a half decent back line. Also we started to see that Fowler could play with Macken quite effectively (the Manure game was probably the closest to the “old” Fowler we’ve seen) and more recently we’ve seen signs that perhaps Anelka might be able to team up with Wanchope. So despite some bad luck, some perverse decisions (like giving Berkovic to Harry Redknapp just before we played them) and some interventions by Alan Wiley (I note that he has only refereed one Premiership game since his malevolent display at Leeds) we live to fight another day and… hope springs eternal!

Despite all I’ve said above I still want to see KK at City because he produces sides with flair and unpredictability. I can’t see anyone supporting City because they want to follow a team that dominates everything. In fact I expect that most of us would be uncomfortable with such domination (chance would be fine thing!). Look at the league up here in Scotland if you want to see how a league dominated by two teams (and with structures in place to prevent that changing) ruins the whole game.

So where’s the hope? Well, SWeeP’s performances must give hope, even if he has been playing as a lost cause much of the time, and we have potentially two contrasting striking partnerships. Plus not having cash to spend may (like Anelka’s suspension after the Arsenal game?) be a blessing in disguise. We need to find a couple of defenders; van Buyten would be the choice but if not and even if so then perhaps a couple of the youngsters might come through (Jordan, McCarthy?).

With Anelka and Wanchope as the striking pair we can play a standard 4-4-2 (if we can find a couple of defenders to play alongside Dunne and Distin for the back four!). I’d have SWeeP, Bosvelt/Barton, Sibierski, Sinclair/Reyna in midfield and would play fairly narrow with the aim being to get the ball to Anelka/Wanchope somewhere near the penalty area and letting them create chances from there (it’s not much use putting long crosses into the area for them on last season’s showing). With Fowler and Macken up front the emphasis would be on putting more crosses in and I’d play 3-3-2-2 with SWeeP and Sibierski just behind the front two and with Sun Jihai, Bosvelt/Barton and Sinclair behind them but playing wider. Both of these set-ups would be capable of holding their own in the Premiership. The 4-4-2 formation would be better against the top teams where the unpredictability of Anelka and Wanchope would make planning defensive tactics difficult whist the 3-3-2-2 would probably be better against teams with midfield/defensive weaknesses. The ability to change formation and keep the opposition guessing would certainly be a bonus.

Ah well so much for fantasy football. I’ll look forward to my first visit to CoMS with my 92 year old dad to watch England and Iceland and then… roll on next season!

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


Mick McCarthy, manager of Sunderland, is reported to be interested in signing one of City’s future stars, Stephen Elliott, who although scoring 11 goals in 15 reserve games was never given the opportunity to play in the senior side because of players like Anelka, Wanchope, Macken, and Fowler ahead of him and City finishing the season so close to relegation that KK could not afford to risk playing our young stars.

With pre-season games coming up in about a month the last thing we want to see is a future star leave before being given his chance in the senior side.

This will be a test to see if Kevin Keegan has any ambitions about our young stars; if this player is allowed to leave, I feel fans will be very upset. The odds are that all our young stars won’t make it in the senior side, but to never be given the chance, that would be a disaster.

City have one of the best academies in football, and it has already produced SWeeP and Barton; more to follow we think.

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Further to Andy Clark’s comments in MCIVTA 1021:

Fancy buying two players whose job is to spend too much time in the treatment room!

Never mind “shouldn’t have sold Berko”, we shouldn’t have left him in the reserves while the two above and Sinclair were failing in precisely the area concerned, incisive midfield play.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


I bought a Cameroon sleeveless top that they used in the African Nations’ Cup a couple of years ago, and have been looking to get “Foe 17” on the back, with a small 17 on the front near the badges. I’ve seen a couple of similar tops knocking round at a few games, but don’t know any shops that print names and numbers in yellow, as most of them won’t do anything other than black or white. Can anyone help?

James Roberts <jamesandmichelle(at)>

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 #1022