Newsletter #1160

Plenty of opinion, some fine rants and a match report tonight, plus memories of Helen Turner.

News round up is provided with thanks to Sarah in Don’s absence.

Next game: Everton, home, 11.15am Sunday 2 October 2005


Helen – A Legend Off The Pitch: In response to Friday’s news at the sad passing of City fan and icon Helen Turner, the Club has been overwhelmed with messages and memories of Helen. Helen’s funeral took place today at Rochdale Cemetry with her family requesting that supporters wishing to attend should wear their shirts. Now the Club in conjunction with Helen’s family are discussing ways to celebrate her life prior to the players taking to the field on Sunday. But rest assured her bell will be heard again! Club secretary Bernard Halford summed up the feeling within the Club saying: “Helen Turner was probably our most famous and well known supporter. She was known throughout the country as Helen with the bell. She will be sadly, sadly missed and as supporters go – she is a legend.”

A Word In Your Shell-like… Graham Poll, City’s referee on Saturday, trialled a new hi-tech communications system during the match, which allowed all four officials to be in contact. The equipment, based on that used by the MoD in Iraq, found each official wearing an ear-piece, while the central system fitted into a football cummerbund. Poll’s press-to-speak button could enable an external assessor to listen to conversations between the ref and players and could also be used in the assessment of referees. However, the main benefit is the immediacy of communication between referee and linesmen as according to The Telegraph ‘tempers can flair in the time it takes the referee to get over to speak to his assistant’.

Late Kick Off: City’s home fixture against Birmingham City on December 17th will now kick off at 5.15pm and will also be shown on Premiership Plus in the UK.

Game of Two Halves: Although they notched up another win, this time over Blackburn’s reserves, Steve Wigley was not entirely happy with his team, particularly the slow start they made to the match. However, Ishmael Miller scored a penalty before half time and then Micah Richards converted Ireland’s free kick shortly after as City took control of the match.

Play At City! Football Aid, the charity that allows fans to play on their home pitch in either club’s home or away kit is gearing up for 2006’s matches. Fans bid for a shirt and the right to play for either the home or away team – each of which is captained by a City legend. Funds raised go to charity; as a result of the Football Aid event at Manchester City last year, Football Aid were delighted to award both The Genesis Appeal a grant of £1,000 towards the Breast Cancer Prevention Centre Appeal, and City in the Community a grant of £1,500 to help deliver football sessions for girls in primary schools in Manchester (note: It’s good fun, but to quote former City player, Andy May, when he captained the team my husband played in ‘It’s a big pitch and 90 minutes is a long time’ – more details from

Smoke-free City: Hot on the heels of other health initiatives such as Blue Pals Healthy Eating and Kick-It anti-drugs campaigns, City in the Community has launched a new programme with Manchester’s primary schools, to persuade them that smoking and fitness don’t mix. And to help get the message across, defender Danny Mills, has been explaining that he can’t afford to let cigarettes and smoking sap his energy. “As a Premiership footballer it is vital that I keep fit and healthy so that I can perform at my full potential”, Mills explains. “It’s in the closing minutes of matches when games are won and lost so it is important that I am fitter and have more energy than my opponent. That is why I don’t smoke – smoking damages your lungs, making it harder to run as fast or to keep going as long. I don’t smoke because I want to win!”

Gullit’s Style A Switch Off: Stuart Pearce learned a lot from his former Newcastle boss, when it came to how not to manage his players that is. City’s promising young chief has enjoyed an excellent start to his managerial career and has been praised for the way in which he treats his players, but this owes little to what he learned from the Dutchman, who largely gave Pearce the cold shoulder during his time at St James’ Park, leaving the City boss to reflect negatively on his time there. “I wouldn’t say we fell out. He made a decision – a decision not to play me or even consider me for the first team for around eight months or so,” said Pearce. Pearce believes that Gullit should have come clean about his plans to replace him with someone younger and that he should have helped him to move on. He is also unimpressed that some of Newcastle’s younger players were “coming up to me who saying Gullit didn’t even know their names, which I thought was damning. If you switch off from them, that’s not the way forward.”

I’m Free: Steven Pienaar, Ajax’s 23-year-old South African midfielder who will be out of contract next summer, may be able to leave the club as early as January, depending on how the team progress in the Champions’ League. However, there are reported to be a number of other European clubs also interested in watching him play Arsenal this week, with a view to making a move when the transfer window opens again.

Flood Helps Coventry Secure The Points: Willo Flood was on target for Coventry on Wednesday night against Watford – although there was an element of luck about his goal. The City youngster, on loan at the Ricoh Arena, drilled home Coventry’s second as they beat the Hornets 3-1. Coventry boss Micky Adams said: “We put Willo in for his energy and he came up trumps with his goal”.

Thatcher Falls Out With Wales: Defender Ben Thatcher has pulled out of the Welsh team for the Wales’ world cup qualifiers next month as he feels that “Comments and actions in the build-up to the England and Poland games have made his position within the Welsh squad untenable for the time being.” Thatcher withdrew from the squad last month due to a damaged ankle, but the Welsh FA insisted on having their own doctors check him over. Now Thatcher feels unable to play for his country and claims “The FAW has been made aware of my feelings and no effort has been made to redress the situation.” Thatcher, who has won seven caps, has not yet played under new manager John Toshack because of a combination of suspension and injury.

Dunne Call Up: Richard Dunne has been named in the Ireland squad ahead of their forthcoming World Cup qualifying double-header. Dunne has continued his good form for City this season and he played well for the Republic against France in their recent qualifier.

Reyna Reflects: Midfielder Claudio Reyna has reflected on the past week of results and stated the Club can makes amends over the next few games. “It was a bad week but we all realise that things like this can happen in the Premiership. We played well against Bolton, but not so much in the last two games, and the performance at St James’ particularly in the first half was probably the worst of the seven in the league.” The American star tried to pinpoint City’s failings at the weekend adding: “All over we were very hesitant, not only when we had the ball, but when we were defending as well and we paid for that in the end. We turned it around in the second half and played in Newcastle’s half but without creating too many chances.” But Reyna insists all is not lost despite the disappointment of the last two league games: “We can’t all of a sudden be all doom and gloom because we are still comfortably in the top half of the league and our next two matches are at home. We have to learn from our mistakes and put everything into the next game against Everton. It gives us a chance to get back on track. We still have a lot to play for.”

Injury (No) Worries: City’s forward line has been hit by a series of irritating injuries, but Stuart Pearce is hopeful that one of his major players will be fit in time for next Sunday’s clash with Everton. “We’ve got lots of little niggles at the moment,” said Pearce on Tuesday morning. “We’re hoping to have Coley back this week, Robbie is seeing a specialist today, Bradley will be a couple of weeks, and so will Nicky Weaver. The most disappointing thing is that they are mostly in the same position up front, that’s where we are missing them.” Cole sat out the Bolton fixture after reporting a slight hamstring injury, but according to the Manager his absence against Newcastle was a precautionary measure with the niggle being rated as only minor. “He was really pushing himself more so than the medical people to play in the first game that he missed. That was nowhere near a realistic target, a realistic target would have been to be fit in three weeks or so, and that puts us where we are now. The boy’s enthusiasm to play and not miss a game has really put him in the firing line.”

Fowler To Quit? Comments by Robbie Fowler this week, that he would quit once he is no longer able to compete at the highest level have led to speculation that he is about to announce his retirement. However, this week he is due to see a back specialist to try to sort out the recurring problems he is having, before any such decision will be made.

Sinclair Sidelined for 6 Weeks: City winger Trevor Sinclair will be out for an estimated month to six weeks. The former England midfielder was carried off after 22 minutes of Sunday’s encounter with Bolton Wanderers and had initially expected a two week lay-off. But a scan has revealed bruising in and around the knee for which Club doctor Mark Whittaker estimates “the recovery period will be four to six weeks for the injury although the good news is there’s no ligament damage.”

New Setback for Nicky: Poor Nicky Weaver must wonder what he has done to deserve such bad luck – the Blues ‘keeper has been hit with another injury blow after undergoing surgery on his back. But City boss Stuart Pearce is backing the injury-jinxed stopper to be back in the first team frame sooner rather than later. The 26-year-old ‘keeper’s career has been ravaged by injury so far. A knee transplant looked to have cleared his problems, until he broke his wrist in pre-season. Now he has undergone minor surgery on his lower back, which will keep him out of action for several weeks.

England Expects: Manchester City goalkeeper David James expects to be in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad if England qualify for next year’s World Cup finals. James who was dropped after the defeat against Denmark believes Eriksson would be “silly” to go to Germany without him next summer as his experience could be invaluable. “Of course I see myself playing for England again,” he told The People. “Sven definitely hasn’t shut the door and I know I’m still part of his plans. He could easily have said ‘David, you’re 35, thanks a lot but we are looking to the future.’ But he told me I’m still part of his plans and I’m confident I can put him in a position where he thinks I’m good enough to be included.”

Sarah Longshaw <news(at)>


City hosted their fourth home league game on the trot against Blackburn on Tuesday night at MiniCoMS. A cold and blustery evening, with the North West wind reminding us to get those winter coats out for the next game.

As usual, Blackburn’s reserves were a well organised, experienced and defensive side who forced Wigley’s men to fight hard through the first 20 minutes of the game to make their breakthrough, like Lord Kitchener at the Battle of Omdurman.

Blackburn laid siege to the City half for the opening part of the game. Although not creating any definite chances in the game, they were the threatening side and contained the City midfield’s attacking options of Hussein, Ireland and Croft. De Vlieger was commanding from the back, and has developed a passable Mancunian accent over the close season.

In our first proper attack of the game, which was a neat display from the midfield stalwarts of Croft and Ireland to Hussein as Jordan ran down the left, he cut the ball back hoping Miller or Laird had run through but miscued and Rovers were back. Steady play ensued, with neither side really having a chance until just before half time, Croft ran into the Blackburn box and was brought down by Taylor. The ref awarded a penalty, and to be fair it did look slightly unfair, but Amoruso’s arguing and petulance and his ensuing yellow card convinced me that we deserved it. Miller stepped up to the spot and drove the ball home fiercely to make it 1-0. Buoyed on by the breakthrough, we went off in seek of coffee and warm shelter and couldn’t resist a comment to Mr Hughes about what a good result at the weekend.

Schmeichel came out after the break to replace De Vlieger, in what was a precautionary move given his recent injuries and the news that Weaver is now out with a back problem. A few minutes later, and City were awarded a free kick on the right hand side, which Ireland duly despatched into the area and midfielder-turned-defender Richards headed home from the set piece; the ball seem to take an age to cross the line in the ensuing scramble. 2-0 to City and Blackburn were going to have to pull out all the stops to get back on top now.

They responded, and launched an attack that Schmeichel saved well from a Treacy shot from the edge of the area. City then regained control and young Miller nearly doubled his tally but Lee was ready and waiting. Ireland was then replaced on 60 minutes by Etuhu after yet another instrumental rôle in the centre. Etuhu is improving week on week, and was straight into the game and linking up with fellow Academy teammate Miller. But at 2-0 up there was only going to be one winner, and City were happy to keep things steady and take all 3 points to keep us “top of the league”.

MotM: Richards, dealt with everything at the back superbly and proved his weight in gold with his attacking and set piece delivery of a classic Micah header.

City: De Vlieger (Schmeichel), Warrender, Jordan, J D’Laryea, Richards, Sommeil, Croft, Ireland (Etuhu), Miller, Laird, Hussein.
Unused subs: Bennett, Collins, Johnson.

Blackburn: Lee, Kane, Taylor, Harkins, Amoruso, Todd, Peter, Byrom, Barker, Garner, Treacy.

Heidi <editor(at)>


FA Premiership
Newcastle United 1 Manchester City 0
St James’ Park
Sat Sep 24th 2005, Kick-off 15:00
Attendance: 52,280
Weather: Dry, calm.

Team Changes: Barton and Musampa replace Ireland and Hussein in starting line-up. Cole still out.

Line-up: James, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Sun, Barton, Reyna, Musampa (Ireland, 60), Sibierski (Croft, 75), Vassell.
Unused subs: De Vlieger, Sommeil, Jordan.

Goal times: (18) 0-1 Owen.

Bookings: Dunne (23), Barton (81). Sent off: None. Referee: G. Poll (8).

Stat points: 299th 1-0 away league defeat in the club’s history. This is the third most common league result after 1-1 (469 times), and 1-0 win (313).

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


I was sorry to hear of the death of Helen Turner, whose bell ringing was such a feature of City’s greatest era. I remember sitting next to her at an FA Cup tie at Hull in 1970 – quite an experience, not just because of the bell but because of the passion and volume of her vocal support.

My greatest memory of her though does not concern the bell. It was after a game at QPR in 1976, the season when they finished second. We lost 1-0 and Asa Hartford was sent off if I remember correctly.

On my way from the ground I passed a coach park close to White City tube station. Just by one of the coaches a mass confrontation was about to get under way between two large groups of opposing teenage supporters. The situation looked extremely ugly as threats and insults were clearly going to lead imminently to violence.

At this point the unmistakable figure of Helen got off the coach and yelled at the City lads “Oi you lot – get on this bloody coach – now.”

The masssed ranks, who had looked so hard a minute earlier, turned sheepishly and got on the coach without a word. I’ve always thought of this incident and smiled ever since, whenever her name was mentioned.

Rest in peace, Helen – a lady not to be trifled with.

Geoff Watts <geoffwwatts(at)>


I was sorry to hear the sad news of the passing of Helen Turner, in MCIVTA 1159. Like most of the faithful who attended the games at Maine Road over the years, Helen was an entertaining character to watch and it always amazed me the noise she could make ringing her bell.

She was an inspiration. It’s a pity we don’t have more special people like Helen supporting the game now (I’m also thinking of the current debate over the piped chants at games, what would she have made of this?). My condolences to her family from over the miles here in Oz.

I agree with Ernie Barrow, let’s put Helen’s name forward for the Hall of Fame, at least some recognition of not only her support of the club, but also her charity work?

CTID, Peter <pgvw(at)>


As a kid growing up watching City in the North Stand, my early memories were of this woman ringing a bell, especially at corners and sporadically throughout the game itself.

My mum and dad knew her as Helen, so naturally I thought she was a friend of the family!

In fact virtually all City fans knew her and all I can say is that it won’t be the same without Helen ringing her bell. She was City through and through home and away and hopefully the club will recognise that with some form of tribute.

Graham Keller <gkmcfc(at)>


My lasting memory of her was when on a trip home from Brighton she split me and my mate up on her coach, she made him sit at the front and I had to sit at the back.

We might have been a bit worse for wear but then again we were 34 at the time.

Andy Webb <Charlesalexhols(at)>


What a fitting day for Helen to pass away – 23rd September.

Everyone remembers the 5-1 date and now everyone can raise a glass for Helen on the same day every year.

Debs Darbyshire <dd(at)>


In response to Neil Haigh’s article in MCIVTA 1159 I would also like some City fans to put me right on Sibierski and tell me why he is still on the books. I have heard him described by TV and radio pundits as a technically gifted player but I think this is a left over from the reputation he brought from France. He obviously is liked by managers (both KK and SP), probably for his versatility, experience and ‘professional’ attitude towards training (i.e. he’s a yes man). Perhaps he is a good influence to have around the dressing room.

My own opinion is that he has bought time at City using a well used ploy. He arrived as a versatile inside forward and played in that position during his first year and was largely ineffective. At the end of the first season he said the City fans had not seen the best of him because he needed to adapt to the pace of the game and level of fitness required. His next regular period in the team was as a winger or midfielder where again he was ineffective. At the end of that season we get heart to heart interviews in the MU Evening News from ‘Sibo’ saying that the City fans had not seen the best of him because he has been played out of position.

I have seen enough of his supposed aerial threat to know that he is no top class target man. I saw him in the reserves against Middlesbrough recently and he was taken off, probably to save his legs for the next first team game. That is a kind interpretation as again he was ineffective and in front of goal could not kick straight or head straight.

When he plays at Premiership level he is often in the right positions but his attempts on goal are almost exclusively just over the bar, around the post or straight at the ‘keeper. He virtually never scores.

In a nutshell I don’t see his contribution but I expect he will safely see his time out to the end of his quite lucrative contract. Am I being too cynical? If so, can someone put me straight on this. Alternatively he could start by scoring two against Everton.

[It’s his 50pence head Bob – Ed]

Bob Burnup <bob(at)>


Neil Haigh’s comments are curious. It seems to me that neither Sibierski nor Sun would consider themselves out and out strikers. Partly our problem is down to three of our four main strikers (Cole, Fowler, and BWP) being unavailable. I know I have a soft spot for Sun Jihai – having been to Dalian – but he’s hit the bar twice in three games (one of them would have been a blinder by all accounts) and hit another volley perhaps a foot over the bar and we’re being told get rid of him because he’s not an out and out striker. In the Doncaster game he played four different positions and still found himself as the front man to hit the bar. Perhaps he looks different on TV than live but few City players give the ball away to the opposition less than Sun. OK defensively he’s not outstanding and I notice that since his injury he’s a bit less confident in going into tackles but I don’t see many who distribute the ball as intelligently as he does. He was a major influence on SWeeP and always seems to be around to take a pass from a colleague in trouble. He has a delightful fresh enthusiasm and is the most versatile player we have, no we should definitely keep him.

I’m also a bit puzzled by the Roy of the Rovers type statement – a shot that hits the bar/post is poor play rather than unlucky. Watch David Beckham taking free kicks, how many are on target? At best one in three and he’s one of the best in the world, so how can City players be missing because they are aiming at the posts? If they can aim at the woodwork and hit then they must be brilliantly accurate and shouldn’t have any problems with confidence.

I prefer Onuoha and Jordan to Thatcher and Mills but the latter two have done a job and still give reasonable cover. Of the others Croft and Ireland have done OK but haven’t really looked that much better than any of the others – personally I prefer Willo Flood.

No, I think Stuart Pearce has got about the right balance of youngsters, the problem of the last week has been primarily down to a striker shortage, here’s hoping Cole’s return will make the difference.

David Lewis <dfl(at)>


It’s hard to take issue with Neil Haigh after his thoughtful analysis but I happen to think the board have got it right. It’s important to get the financial state sorted out and if you can’t get into the black, at least you get the graph going the right way. Charlton should be our rôle model, not Leeds. There are exceptions to this rule, notably if you are the fiefdom of a massively rich uncle à la Chelski; or if you have managed to market yourselves on a global scale à la Rags and here I’ll say ‘kudos’ to them. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the b*****ds – team, manager, board (old and new), supporters, ground, ethos, the works but rated purely in business terms their achievements are mega. I’d rate financial stability higher than stability on the pitch – get the first right, it’s easier to achieve the second.

Next – the players. Sibs is a good footballer, a blind man should be able to see that, viz the pass for the goal against Manure. Problem is he’s just too slow for the Premiership. He was snail-paced when we bought him and he sure hasn’t got faster. He’d do a great job in midfield for some averagely capable Division One side. In today’s Premiership if you haven’t got 2/3 pacey midfielders you go nowhere.

Sun has pace. He’s fit. His trouble is technical – he just can’t tackle, other than by body checking – he’d make a great lacrosse player! I think he’s a really good sub, links well with a winger and gives us options going forward. I think we should retain him.

Thatcher is an averagely competent left back but that’s about all. Personally I prefer Jordan but only marginally. Neither is the real thing. But who else is there? SP has to play one or the other. Mills… don’t get me started, there’s nothing about his play that I like. Put Ned there, he’s class.

And finally, despite Neil’s elegant attempts to prove otherwise, we were unlucky against Bolton. Bl**dy unlucky.

Ernie Whalley <bluevalentine(at)>


It isn’t very often I now vent my spleen, but the “canned chanting” has spurred me into putting finger to keyboard for the first time in a year or so.

Regarding Paul Tyrrell’s recent quote in answer to the canned chanting that took place before, and even worse, during the Bolton game, every supporter I have spoken to is absolutely disgusted and totally embarrassed that Manchester City should sink to such depths in order to try to raise the atmosphere. Whoever sanctioned this action is badly misguided, as they are obviously not aware of the mindset of the City faithful. Did the powers that be not think how much ridicule this would cause us all in the pubs and at work? What is worse is that his quote makes out that it is a supporters’ group’s idea. What was the age range of these “supporters”? Four to six? I think the club is duty bound to tell us the name of the group who suggested this crackpot idea, as we suspect this is a smokescreen. So go on, who are they? Having spoken to a representative of the “Points of Blue” committee, they tell me they wanted the exact opposite, i.e. don’t even think about playing a chant after a City goal. The fact that Mr Tyrrell (Liverpool?) and Financial Director Alistair Mackintosh (Bournemouth?) are not even City supporters shows how far removed these people are from the City psyche.

Despite his extortionate salary, Mr Mackintosh has failed dramatically to turn over the stone that would reveal a massive foreign investor. I wouldn’t mind knowing the total amount of expenses he racked up speculating to accumulate around the world, but the truth is the true fans amongst us are chuffed to bits he failed in his quest. Thomas Cook type investments are fine. First Advice ones are not. Who wants the club to be a plaything for some businessman with a few hundred million burning a hole in his back pocket? I mean, where will Chelsea be in five years if Abramovich moves on? As for Mr Tyrrell, he could do worse than take a leaf out of ex-Operations Officer Chris Bird’s book. As a City supporter himself, Chris knew the importance of contact between first team players and the supporters’ clubs and encouraged it. He defended the club in the press, and had a good relationship with the fanzine editors. He realised that although they are controversial in their opinions, it is only because they care about the club. I thought the City ‘Til I Cry! T-shirt last season that proclaimed: “Hate Football, Love City”, just about summed up the feelings of many City fans.

The club may find this canned chanting fiasco will have a negative effect on the fans from now on, as we are obviously seen by the club as a bunch of “happy clappys”. I wouldn’t mind if this atmosphere issue was isolated to our club. It is for the Premiership to solve this problem. As you are probably aware, last September I intentionally broke a run of 327 consecutive home and away City games, which stretched back over 6 years. It was a painful decision, but I now feel as though I have my life back. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have considered doing anything that clashed with City, but I’m off to Oz for a couple of weeks with my wife in October, missing City’s last ever game at Highbury. I had become obsessed about not missing a game, but the truth is, the money rich Premier League bores the pants off me. The Premiership bubble has been deflating rapidly for the last few years, and no amount of puncture repair kits will save it in its current format.

The reasons for me staying away are exactly the same for every other fan who has stopped going to Premiership matches:

  1. Fact – Extortionate prices for substandard entertainment and facilitiesat most grounds. Loaded Chelsea fans pay less than £30 in our stadium,yet us “poor” Northerners have to stump up over £40 at Stamford Bridge.£35 for five portaloos at Selhurst Park between 2,500 away fans.
  2. Fact – Top-flight football is littered with overpaid journeymenfootballers who could pay off my mortgage in one week (it is taking me25 years of hard graft).
  3. Fact – Mostly over-the-hill, underachieving players having no passionor feeling for the club, no empathy with the fans, and no incentive todo well. No penalty for either playing badly or sitting on their bumsat home. Players like McManaman and Fowler (not likely to endearhimself to City fans with his comments in his autobiography, but whatdoes he care?) seeing out their contracts instead of doing thehonourable thing, and walking away with dignity.
  4. Fact – Total lack of excitement for Joe Public, due to negativedefensive tactics brought on by the fear of financial failure. Hometeams playing one up front. Clubs don’t want to win trophies any more,they just don’t want to get relegated. The Premiership’s biggestmistake was not to share some of their TV money wedge with the FootballLeague. The “parachute” money scheme softens the blow of relegation,but highlights the vast financial chasm between the two leagues.
  5. Fact – Absolutely no competitive edge in the Premiership. The sameteams win everything every year (Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal). Wechant “29 years and we’re still here”, but unless something changes,it’ll be 39 years and we won’t be here. Take us back to the warm bosomof the Nationwide!
  6. Fact – All-seater stadia kill the atmosphere stone dead. Fans gettingevicted for standing. Heavy handed stewarding/frisking making fansfeel like animals. The fun has gone.
  7. Fact – Time taken and cost of travel to away venues. £7 for streetparking a mile away from Stamford Bridge. £3 for a programme. Cannotafford a pie or pint inside the ground so I don’t know the cost.
  8. Fact – Total TV overkill encourages fans to sit at home. Sky’s FootballFirst has accelerated the process.
  9. Fact – Stupid kick-off times to suit armchair fans, but paying noconsideration to those travelling to the match. Is the Everton pay-per-viewgame, City’s first ever 11:15 kick-off?
  10. Fact – The transfer window has killed the excitement ofspontaneous transfers. Clubs with small squads suffer for months ifthey get a few injuries.
  11. Fact – Not that I am interested, but the Champions’ League isinstantly forgettable until the knock-out stages.

So will it change, or is this a football Armageddon? One thing that the football authorities have failed to grasp, is that the supporters will win in the end, and football will be bending over backwards to attract us back. At the moment most of us pay to watch live football and subscribe to Sky. The current trend of falling attendances will continue for all the reasons above, yet the number of Sky subscribers will not rise to any great extent. Premiership football will continue to become less appealing because money, not entertainment, is the driver for all clubs. Sky will continue to hike the monthly subscription, so more and more will cancel their contract. I am close to doing this now, and I’d love it, just love it, if we all did the same thing – agree a date, and phone Sky to cancel our subscriptions for two or three months. Ask yourself, when was the last time you sat and watched a live match on TV all the way through? When the next TV contract is agreed, still with Sky, it will be a dramatically reduced one (their excuse will be falling income and/or general apathy). This will mean less TV revenue for clubs, less incentive to appear “live” at “daft ‘o clock”, meaning less money to pay high long term contracts to the foreigners who so wanted to play in England (lies – they are only here for the money). Like a swarm of locusts they will depart these shores for the next big pay packet (though I doubt there are any countries left that haven’t been raped by these mercenaries). Because there will be less revenue in the Premiership, clubs will be forced to entice fans back into their half empty grounds to make ends meet. More emphasis will be placed on nurturing home grown youth who are passionate about the club. Because the players’ earning potential will be limited, they will concentrate on playing football and entertaining the “local” crowds, rather than wondering which terraced house in Toxteth to buy this week, or how many plasma TVs to order for the kids’ bedrooms. Because the players are earning less, agents will become a thing of the past, contracts will favour clubs rather than players, and we will be able to relate to players once more, as they will to us. Players may play for one club throughout their careers. As clubs strive to attract us back, they will make players more accessible to the fans. They will attend supporters’ clubs meetings, etc. There will be no need for heavy handed “Men in Black” security guards outside the main entrance (the clubs won’t be able to afford them anyway), because there will be very few overpaid Charlies. And those “superstars” that are still left in the game will be held in even greater esteem because they are playing for the love of the game and the club, not the money. Clubs will be able to reduce ticket prices dramatically (how does £10 for an adult and £3 for a child sound?). Some seating areas in the grounds will be replaced with safe standing areas (hurray from Phill Gatenby and the likes), so that more fans can be let in to compensate for the lower admission prices. And guess what? The atmosphere will return, because there will be excitement. Yes, evenly matched teams containing evenly matched players, contesting evenly matched games in evenly matched competitions. No fear of relegation, because there will be no mass exodus of players if it happens, just an opportunity to win the Championship of that division next season. A bit like it was 29 years ago actually.

So there you have my hair-brained vision of the future. The only problem is… it is not a dream. Because of the failed ITV Digital fiasco, it is reality already in the Football League. And in Germany, the Bundesliga attracts packed houses, £10 adult admission, standing areas, and great football with great atmosphere. I predict this may happen in the next five years, but I honestly believe the club are planning for the same eventuality. Now Keegan has gone, employ a hungry young manager with something to prove, who can encourage the kids. Reduce the debt as quickly as possible by cashing in on Shaun Wright-Phillips (and Anelka to a lesser extent). Tighten the purse strings, so no new costly long contracts or large transfer fees. Don’t renew current contracts before next summer, so we can reduce the wage bill further. Bring through as many home grown Academy players as possible, so we have a passionate young team, who are supported by enthusiastic fans. It could be great if it comes off. Then Mr Mackintosh can move onto his next financial challenge at his home town club.

So, Mr Tyrrell, which of the supporters’ “initiatives” are City planning at the next home game? Kenny Everett style pointy fingered foam hands under every seat?

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


I haven’t written in ages but the atmosphere or lack of at City has intrigued me. As Ernie Barrow says, this happens at hockey games all across North America where a large number of seats are sold ‘corporately’ and are an excuse to entertain clients.

Needless to say, true supporters rarely go to games anymore, even in Canada where it is as serious as football is in Manchester. Most fans just watch on TV now and this has led to the current labour problems as the sport loses ‘market share’ in the U.S. such that TV revenues now are decreasing and it is no longer a spectacle the corporates want to be seen at. It’s a catch 22 that football had better pay attention to or it will spiral downward the way hockey has here.

My suggestion would be to allow the return of designated areas where supporters can get in for a reasonable amount on the assumption that they will support the team and bring atmosphere to the ground. There will always be space for those who want to sit and watch, but the great attraction of British football is (or was) the atmosphere. Growing up in Canada, I will never forget how electric the atmosphere was at my first match on the Kippax at Maine Road, or the derby at the Swamp when there was still standing there. What will attract today’s kids? What a shame it is gone. Hopefully not for good.

Steve Barlow – Stratford, Ontario <mancitysteve(at)>


I’m 32 years old and have been a City fanatic all my life, I’ve had a season ticket since I was a teenager. City are supposedly one of the big teams in England but I’ve never even seen them reach the semi-final of a cup (I was 8 back in ’81). In that time most clubs in the top 2 leagues will have reached a semi-final, including Chesterfield when they were in the 3rd (could anyone compile a list of clubs who have reached a semi-final since City did?). In that time clubs like Oxford, Wimbledon and Millwall have reached cup finals. Our lack of success has never made me consider stopping going for a single second – ever.

However, 2 things in the last couple of weeks have:

  1. Chanting on the Tannoy. I’m still cringing. Utterly speechless. Desperate.
  2. 11.15am kick-off on Sunday. I never thought I’d do it but I’ve given myticket away. I’m staying in bed. I hope everyone else does.

How much longer are we going to let the people running football take the p!$$ out of us? We pay the best part of £500 for season tickets and get treated like fools. Look at the next 2 home fixtures after that. 4pm Sunday and 8pm Monday night. I want City to succeed as much as anyone but I’m having serious doubts about stumping up another £500 in March. Does anyone else feel the same? Good luck to City and Stuart Pearce for the rest of the season.

Steve Horton <stehorts(at)>


I’ve heard that there will be thousands of fans boycotting the early kick-off against Everton on Sunday by not going to the ground.

I just wanted to encourage people to also make an effort to boycott the Pay-Per-View coverage as well, as it is of course Sky that we should be most angry with. The only way they will reconsider these ridiculous kick-off times is if their viewing figures plummet. I have still not heard any attempt at an explanation from Sky for the 11.15 kick-off (the earliest ever in the Premiership!).

I think I will have a well-earned lie-in instead. Will probably not be a much different experience to watching the match anyway!

James Smith <james.smith(at)>


All supporters tend to watch only their own and not really the opposition’s performance, here’s proof from

James: Flapped a few times on crosses but was quick off his line. 6
Onuoha: Ran ragged by N’Zogbia. 6 What!?&*!@
Distin: Solid throughout, good pace. 8
Dunne: Dominated by Shearer in the air and too slow. 5 What!?&*!@
Thatcher: Never got involved. 5
Jihai: Got forward well but lacked quality on the ball. 6
Barton: Drove at United and tried to change the game, impressive. 8
Reyna: Overweight, overpaid – did nothing. 4 What!?&*!@
Musampa: Very quiet. 5
Sibierski: Went missing after his miss. 5
Vassell: Was he even playing? 4

Worth noting that their report and ratings are by Aphrodite, a 15 year-old Newcastle fan and a qualified football referee (boo!) and once played for a year as goalkeeper at Newcastle’s Academy. Aphrodite currently lives near Yarm, Middlesbrough (poor lad) and helps out Newcastle-Online in a number of rôles.

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


There is a superstition that bad things happen in threes; this superstition started in WW 1, when soldiers on the front line would light a cigarette, the first soldier would light the match, the enemy would see the light, then the soldier would go to light the second soldier’s cigarette, the enemy then had his gun at his shoulder, when the third soldier was to get his cigarette lit the enemy shot the soldier who was getting the third light.

Today someone would say cigarettes are bad for your health.

So if you are superstitious the three bad results are over and done with, Stuart Pearce must get his players prepared for the Everton game on Sunday.

All I can say is that I hope King Cole is fit to play, our only goal scoring striker.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Check this and spread the truth…

Joel Perry <j.perry(at)>


I am trying to contact Kieran P Daly, one of the contributors some time back. He wrote a piece on the web about 8 years ago about the re-release of the film Quadrophenia. I would like to email him about this. Anyone know how to get in touch with him?

Edward McGrath <epml2000(at)>


26 September 2005

Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  Fulham                35,427

League table to 28 September 2005 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea          7  4  0  0  9  1  3  0  0  5  0  7  0  0  14   1  13  21
 2 Charlton Ath.    6  1  0  1  1  2  4  0  0  9  2  5  0  1  10   4   6  15
 3 Bolton Wndrs     7  2  1  1  3  1  2  1  0  5  3  4  2  1   8   4   4  14
 4 Tottenham H.     7  2  1  1  3  2  1  2  0  3  1  3  3  1   6   3   3  12
 5 West Ham United  6  2  1  1  8  3  1  1  0  2  1  3  2  1  10   4   6  11
 6 Manchester Utd   6  1  1  1  3  3  2  1  0  4  0  3  2  1   7   3   4  11
 7 Manchester City  7  1  1  1  2  2  2  1  1  5  4  3  2  2   7   6   1  11
 8 Arsenal          6  3  0  0  8  1  0  1  2  1  3  3  1  2   9   4   5  10
 9 Wigan Athletic   6  1  1  1  2  2  2  0  1  3  2  3  1  2   5   4   1  10
10 Newcastle Utd    7  1  2  1  2  3  1  0  2  3  4  2  2  3   5   7  -2   8
11 Middlesbrough    7  1  1  2  2  6  1  1  1  4  3  2  2  3   6   9  -3   8
12 Blackburn R.     7  1  1  1  2  4  1  1  2  3  5  2  2  3   5   9  -4   8
13 Liverpool        5  1  1  0  1  0  0  3  0  2  2  1  4  0   3   2   1   7
14 Birmingham City  7  0  1  3  3  8  1  2  0  4  3  1  3  3   7  11  -4   6
15 Aston Villa      7  1  2  0  4  3  0  1  3  2  8  1  3  3   6  11  -5   6
16 Portsmouth       7  0  2  1  2  4  1  0  3  3  5  1  2  4   5   9  -4   5
17 Fulham           7  1  1  1  2  2  0  1  3  3  8  1  2  4   5  10  -5   5
18 West Brom A.     7  1  0  3  6  8  0  2  1  1  5  1  2  4   7  13  -6   5
19 Sunderland       7  0  1  2  3  6  1  0  3  2  4  1  1  5   5  10  -5   4
20 Everton          6  0  0  3  0  4  1  0  2  1  3  1  0  5   1   7  -6   3

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] 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.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[5] 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”.

[6] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. The Fans’ Committee has been relaunched as “Points of Blue”. It has appeared on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] 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

[8] 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

[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] Where can I find a list of City-related websites?

Try Wookie’s Lair:

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.

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Newsletter #1160