Newsletter #1162

Don brings us a round up of the Blues’ international news, a naughty ex-Blue, and a bizarre allegiance by Blondie to the team.

We also have report on the reserves, Dario’s view when he finally got to CoMS, plenty of opinion on smoking and early kick-offs and a number of requests from far flung Blues.

Mads is kindly stepping in to take care of the next 4 issues, so keep your articles coming to the regular address of <editor(at)>

Next game: West Ham United, home, 4pm Sunday 16 October 2005 (TV)


General News

International Relations (1): A couple of City players are not flavour of the month with their national coaches, if press reports are to be believed. Sarah reported last week on Ben Thatcher’s falling out with Wales coach John Toshack. The debate has rumbled on into this week, and this time – the Thatch has struck back. Thatcher claims a “gentleman’s agreement” not to air their differences in public has been broken by Toshack’s decision to explain the problems between them last week when he announced his squad. Thatcher said in the South Wales Echo: “The manager has questioned my commitment and credibility in public and I feel I have no choice but to defend myself and tell the truth. The manager said I was scared of reprisals following the clash in Cardiff last October when I was banned for the incident with Polish midfielder Kamil Kosowski. Nothing could be further from the truth than to say I was scared. I have never bottled anything in my life and I am not going to start now. I would have absolutely relished a battle in Poland, that’s a major part of my game. Above all I will not be spoken to by anyone in the manner he spoke to me on the phone, the whole tone was in a taunting fashion accusing me of ducking out of the game and asking why I was doing that. The manager asked me why I was not coming down to South Wales and I said to him that the Manchester City doctors had informed the FAW that I needed to rest the ankle.” Ouch, sounds like Toshack may have lost another squad member. The last player Toshack upset, Robbie Savage, then weighed in with: “There’s talk about people showing commitment, but John Toshack walked out after four days on the first attempt at the job,” said the Blackburn player. “So it amazes me how he can criticise Ben’s commitment.” On a more positive note, Stuart Pearce praised his full back. “In my eyes he has been one of our most consistent performers,” SP commented. “I know full well that he plays and trains when possibly he shouldn’t, and for a manager that’s a delightful trait to have in your players. The fact that he nearly left was more down to his family situation, certainly he likes it here and doesn’t want to leave the club. As luck would have it, his wife and family are more settled in Manchester now, so the fact that he might have left was a bit of a red herring. He’s always been in my plans, and at the end of last season he showed his professionalism by being patient when Steve Jordan had his position through form. I think he’s done pretty well for us this year, his form’s been consistent.”

International Relations (2): And now we have the tale of a second disgruntled Blue. Setanta’s website brought news that Stephen Ireland allegedly vowed not to play for his country as long as Brian Kerr is in charge. Apparently Stephen fell out with Kerr when on under-17 duty for his country in October 2002 – Kerr was coaching the youngsters at the time, and after leaving Master Ireland out of the first two games of a tournament, the lad decided to return to City. A friend of the teenager told the Irish Independent that Ireland “has said that he won’t play again for Ireland as long as Brian Kerr is there”. Another report compared our burgeoning midfield talent to Mr. Roy Keane – both born in Cobh, a small harbour town near Cork, and both played for the junior sides of Cobh Ramblers, before heading off for top English clubs (I refer of course to Nottingham Forest and Manchester City, natch – thanks Peter Carlisle).

Nod for Nedum: It’s not all gloom and doom on the international front – Nedum Onuoha has been called up into England’s Under-21 squad for this week’s European Championship qualifiers against Austria and Poland. The 18-year-old was watched by boss Peter Taylor recently and was suitably impressed enough to offer Onuoha his first call-up, saying: “I saw him play for City in Carling Cup against Doncaster and though they got beaten that was the first time I saw him live. I was very impressed and at his age he is only going to get better and I am delighted to have him on-board. He looks confident, he is the right size and he clearly has a lot of ability so hopefully he’ll come into the squad, enjoy it and do well.”

Barton’s Best: Let’s keep that good vibe going a mite longer, shall we – Joey Barton has been named Player of the Month for September, in recognition of two goals and improved performances on the pitch and possibly to mark an upturn in his behaviour off it. “The exciting thing for me is that I’ve been recognised as an individual from a team, but I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for the team behind me. It’s a great credit to them, the lads have worked really hard. If things are right off the pitch, then there’s a great chance they are going to be right on the pitch. I don’t know what part that’s played in things, but outsiders looking in will agree it’s played a massive part in my performances on the pitch, and long may it continue.” SP is pleased for the Scouser of course: “To win it over these two months is a big achievement for the lad,” he said. “The whole team started the season well, so it’s a good achievement for him to win it. I’m seeing a maturity about him, not just on the football pitch, but off it as well. It’s a good start for him, but it’s a start, and there’s a long way to go but we want him to be at this football club for a long time to come.”

Roll Up, Roll Up! It’s not for me to say, of course, but perhaps there’s been a hint of concern shown this week by the club at falling attendances. Remember back in the dark days of Division Two, when City ran a “Kids for a Quid” scheme? Due to inflation and our top league status, City now bring you the 2005 version, “Kids for a Fiver”. According to the website, clubcard holders can get in to “City’s Halloween thriller with Aston Villa” for the princely sum of one blue drinking voucher. Credit to the club for at least trying to tempt the missing fans back, I guess.

Reserves Rumbled: The table topping Reserves came a cropper on Wednesday evening, as Sunderland’s second string inflicted a first defeat of the season on Steve Wigley’s boys. Irish forward Daryl Murphy scored the only goal of the game in the 73rd minute with a powerful left-foot strike. Ishmael Miller had been unlucky on two occasions before the goal, having a header cleared off the line and a powerful shot curling just wide in the 40th minute. Wigley said later: “We didn’t threaten enough, but I don’t think either team did, to be honest. I thought that one goal would win the game. We’ve had a good run, but it’s come to an end, and in the circumstances I’m a little bit disappointed. Nicky Weaver’s come back in, he dealt with everything they put into the box, and then young Micah’s just slipped and their boy’s come in and done well. For the possession we had we did not create enough opportunities, we did not work their goalkeeper and we didn’t link up well enough.”
Team: Weaver, Logan, Collins, D’Laryea, Richards, Wallwork, Croft, Laird (Johnson 76), Miller, Bennett (Sturridge 66), Hussein. Subs: Schmeichel, Obeng, Marshall.

Dreaming of a Decent Song: You’d have to have a heart of glass not to be in rapture over this story. Picture this, from today’s soaraway Sun: “BLONDIE star DEBBIE HARRY has given her blessing for Manchester City footie boss STUART PEARCE to use her 1979 punk rock hit Union City Blues as a new anthem for his team. Former hardman England defender Pearce – nicknamed Psycho in his playing days – is a huge fan of Seventies punk” (I thought it was “Union City Blue”, but no matter). Now I’d never wish to quibble with the man who Johnny Rotten once described as “The fifth Sex Pistol”, but Stuart, what about another Blondie platter, perhaps inspired by 1976’s overhead kick maestro, the King of all Geordies himself? I refer of course to “Denis Denis”. One way or another, whatever song is chosen to send the fans atomic, it’s got to be better than running out to canned applause on a Sunday, girl (cheers to Tom Rhodes for the story and for the songs!)!

Transfer News and Gossip

Hart Warming to City Move: Shrewsbury keeper Joe Hart could be on his way to the City of Manchester Stadium according to the Daily Mirror. The England Under-19 international is attracting plenty of interest with his displays for the League Two club and SP was spotted at a Shrewsbury game last month checking on the young shot stopper. A fee of £1 million has been mentioned. Pearce is said to be at the head of the queue as he looks for the long-term successor to David James. Birmingham City have also shown an interest in the 18-year-old.

Ex-Blues’ News

Ward of Court: Former City midfielder Mark Ward has been sentenced to eight years in prison for drug trafficking. Ward was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply. A police raid at a house Ward rented on Merseyside in May uncovered cocaine with a street value of £645,000. Upon sentencing Ward, Judge John Phipps said: “It is indeed regrettable to see a former professional footballer of your ability reduced to this. Since your retirement from professional football 10 years or so ago life has been difficult for you and you have very much fallen on hard times but you have got yourself involved in drugs trafficking.” Ward’s barrister Nicholas Johnson commented: “It is a matter of very great regret to Mark Ward that things have come to this. His has been a spectacular fall from grace.” Ward joined City from West Ham United in 1989, as Howard Kendall strove to build a team capable of surviving in the top flight. After 67 games for the Blues, Ward followed Kendall to Everton. He ended his playing career with spells at Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic (thanks Norvall Crutcher).

Mike’s on His Bike: Thanks to Peter Carlisle for spotting word of SWP’s former reserve team strike partner, Leon Mike. Leon made his début for Leigh RMI, coming on as second half sub against Workington in the Nationwide North (the League below the Conference, methinks). After a spell in the SPL with Aberdeen, Mike joined the North West Counties League side Mossley at the start of the 2003/04 season. He scored 35 goals in two seasons before a move further up the League pyramid.

Reactions and Comments

Mills Boon to City: On Sunday night I dreamed that I had sat in front of my telly-box and had seen Danny “Lobotomy” Mills magically transform into Danny “Zidane” Mills, and score a sensational goal from 34.8 yards. Pure ridiculous fantasy of course, but wait – what’s this I read in the Monday morning press? “Danny Mills’ stunning strike set Manchester City on the road to victory and kept Everton rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table.” So it was true. After a turgid first half show by both teams (that’s 11.15AM kick-off times for you), a marginally better second half looked destined to be a stalemate when the new Zizou struck. Darius Vassell added a second with virtually the last kick of the match. The phrase “wonder goal” was then used by both managers – home gaffer first: “There were not a great deal of chances in the game and then Danny Mills comes along and scores a wonder goal – and it was a wonder goal, make no mistake. It was absolutely unstoppable. Pele would have been proud of a strike like that. It was an absolutely incredible strike. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t play with as much tempo as I would like and we didn’t pass the ball as well as we would like but it is a good result for us and we will take it. We can now go away and work on things we can improve and hope to do them better next time.” Not wishing to be outdone, Everton manager David Moyes chipped in with: “We are obviously short at the moment. We can’t score any goals. We got one against Dinamo Bucharest in midweek and our performance was much better then. It gave us confidence coming into this game, but we didn’t create enough going forward. It is the responsibility of the whole team, not just one individual or the attackers. We knew we weren’t playing as well as we should be, but we were still in the game until a wonder goal from Danny Mills changed it.”

New Mills: Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce singled out Danny Mills for praise after he scored the opener in their 2-0 win over Everton. Pearce was delighted with Mills, whose form has forced him into the starting XI. “Whether you are in the team or not, I have told all my players they will get a fair chance,” said Pearce. “Danny did extremely well in pre-season and I had no choice other than to pick him on those performances. He can certainly hit a ball and while you have to give him credit for the goal, his overall performance was one of the best he has produced since he has been here.”

That’s the Wonder of You: The manager was naturally delighted after securing the win. “We’re all pleased,” said Pearce. “As results go if you keep a clean sheet and score two goals at one end, with one being a wonder strike, then I’m delighted. There are a lot of things we can get better, the tempo’s got to be better and the passing’s got to be better, and maybe we have got to mix our game up a touch more. A couple of weeks ago we played ten times better than that and got beaten 1-0, today it was a bit scrappy at times, but amongst that were some good performances. Our back four gave us a great platform to win a game, Stevie Ireland played with a maturity way beyond his years and Lee Croft gave us a massive lift when he came on.” Pearce revealed that he’d had to change his team selection close to kick-off when Claudio Reyna called in sick. “Stevie was playing today, Joey was on the bench because he wasn’t fully fit this week. Claudio came in with a neck problem, and he was picked to play in this team but we made the decision that we were not prepared to play a half fit player. If there’s someone champing at the bit to come and play, we’re not prepared to hold them back. Crofty gave us a lift when he came on, and Stephen’s played with a maturity way beyond his years today. My two centre halves were outstanding today, nothing got past them.” And for a final word on Mills’ goal, SP was asked if the full-back had ever shown an aptitude for long range shooting whilst training. “No, never! We don’t encourage that sort of thing from Millsy!”, Pearce joked. “Credit to him, it was as good a goal as you’re going to see this season.”

Views of the New Zidane: Afterwards Mills was happy to focus on team issues. “It was nice to score – but more importantly the team’s won,” said the former England right-back. “We needed to get back to winning ways and we were disappointed to lose the last three games. We played exceptionally well against Bolton and couldn’t score… and then we’ve lost to Doncaster and Newcastle. But we’ve been working hard and doing the right things.” He added on Sky’s PremPlus: “We are going in the right direction and we bounced back today. This is all about the team today.”

Squad News

Jamo Jamboree: There were plenty of pictures of the beaming faces of gaffer and goalkeeper this week, as David James put pen to paper on a one-year extension to his current contract. The deal will see DJ stay with the Blues until the summer of 2007. Stuart Pearce couldn’t contain his happiness at the news. “His form over the last two years has prompted me to sit down and say, ‘Where do I get a better goalkeeper than David James?’. For me he’s in the top six goalkeepers in the Premiership. In some ways he’s played a big part in our defensive record over the last couple of years, and I fully expect that to go on for the duration of his contract. He’s a very fit boy for his age, there’s not an ounce of fat on him, he’s professional in his manner and outlook, and he just wants to do well, so it’s a just reward for that.” James revealed how content he is at the COMS, and how his relationship with the fans inspires him. He said: “It’s fantastic, the faith that the club have shown in me has been a confidence booster, but also there’s an understanding of how the relationship between myself, the gaffer and the team is gelling. We’ll keep looking forward, and I’m very happy. I go back to the corresponding home fixture last season against Everton, which was just after the Austria game. The support and response I got from the supporters then was awesome, it really, really was awesome.”

Lofty Aims for Crofty: Mr. Pearce has said he is impressed with the recent form of Lee Croft. “Lee’s just got to have that consistency and say to me, ‘I’m good enough to be given a start’,” mused the chief. “I need to see that consistency in the reserves on a 90-minute basis. Certainly for a short period of time, Lee can give an excitement to the crowd and to myself as well. I still see him as learning the game, but the opportunities are there. He’s getting more and more football, and the more minutes he has on the pitch, the more experience he gets he will understand what’s expected of him at that level. Until I deem he’s worth a start, he won’t get one but if he keeps doing the right things when he gets his opportunity then he’s going to push me in the right direction.”

Fowler’s Foul Back: SP has announced that Robbie Fowler will not require surgery on his troublesome back. Fowler, 30, had a scan this week and it is thought the problem can be solved without the need for an operation. Pearce said: “Robbie has seen a specialist and he is of the opinion that he won’t need surgery. It is a case of building him up and making sure he is pain-free when he does come back. The problem we had before and why we decided to drop him away from training, you could tell from his physical demeanour he just wasn’t right. The back was causing him a problem by doing what he was doing. The physios will look after him and bring him back hopefully fully fit.”

Musampa’s Musings: Kiki “Chris” Musampa wants to make his loan from Atletico Madrid permanent. “I must say, I’m very happy here both as a player and living in England,” he told the club magazine. “Everything about the club is great and I’ve had great support from the crowd, which is very important. But as for my future beyond this season, I’m just going to have to wait and see what the club want to do. I’m feeling at home, now. I feel better and better each week and if this loan move becomes permanent in the future I’d be even happier.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


We travelled north east on Wednesday night to the Stadium of Light and made extremely good timing to arrive there in two hours, but unfortunately not time enough to visit the beach. Just as well given the numbers of people and cars turning up at Sunderland’s stadium for an evening of off-pitch entertainment designed to promote the launch of their new away kit. Free footballs, shirts galore, a stage, music and free entry to the reserve game, which was a pretty good initiative. Most of the Sunderland junior fans who were there didn’t realise there was a game on or who the “away” team were but were astounded to realise we’d come “all the way from Manchester”.

Once inside, the glare of red seats from the three empty stands and noisy buzz from the hundreds of kids hit us. The non-football enthusiast could have been forgiven for thinking this was a C4 documentary on “Fat Camp for Kids”. We’ve never seen so many sweet munching and fizzy drink guzzling overweight kids in one place; maybe it’s the red and white stripes that are so unflattering, but it was a rather worrying sight.

Attention turned to the pitch and the City team warming up. The return of Weaver in goal and a bit of a mix around with the usual reserve team due to injuries or internationals gave some of the younger still players a chance like Wallwork, Logan, Johnson, Marshall and Sturridge. Line-ups as usual below. Sunderland had also fielded a young team, with the only real recognisable experience in Stubbs and Murphy.

To use the old footballing cliché, this really was a game of two halves. City dominated in the first, with the better of the possession, play and chances and Sunderland, well they did the same in the second. All good things must come to an end and Wigley was looking mighty frustrated from his touchline vantage point.

Within the opening minutes, Miller ran down the right and into the area after collecting a ball from young Logan (younger brother of ex-Academy player Carlos, usually left back, but playing right back tonight) but was tackled by Christensen. Laird had a chance 5 minutes later when an excellent pass from Croft to the edge of the area found him one-on-one with Murphy but shot straight at him. Sunderland were struggling to contain our midfield, with the left and right flanks being run by Hussein and Croft and the ever effective Jonathan D’Laryea (or De L’Oreal as the announcer called him) in the middle.

On their couple of breaks of the first half, Weaver was called into action for a Sunderland corner, which he caught easily and showed no signs of the recent back injury that has kept him out. Murphy sent a diving header in from a McFarlane cross, which went wide. A City corner saw Collins deliver the ball onto the towering presence of Richards, who nodded it into the ‘keeper’s path.

Miller was later brought down on the edge of the Sunderland area, and Collins’ free kick again aimed for Richards but had a little too much power and neither he nor Miller could get to it. Another corner and Miller’s header was deflected by a Sunderland player onto the bar and into the ‘keeper’s arms. Frustration building as we had the better of the chances, but weren’t making the most of set pieces. In the last action of the half, Hussein escaped down the left, cut inside and shot but again Murphy was there.

Nil-nil at half time and a chance to have a chat with our old Academy pal Carlos Logan, who is now at Darlington, and was there encouraging his brother and the City boys.

No changes for City after the break, although they must have been given Horlicks rather than Lucozade as we switched off and stopped attacking. Weaver was called into action on a number of occasions as Sunderland’s Daryl Murphy started to launch his one-man attack, with headers and shots being powered in but fortunately either going wide, just over or into the path of the advancing Weaver. In a brief response, Hussein nicked the ball from Stubbs, passed to Croft who chipped the ball, which the ‘keeper managed to nudge over the bar.

Bennett then made way for Sturridge as Wigley decided we hadn’t quite got enough fire power with the lone Miller up front. On 73 minutes Daryl Murphy again took advantage when a moment’s inattention from Richards allowed him through in a one-on-one with Weaver, which he hit fiercely low down to Weaver’s right. 1-0 to the Black Cats.

Laird then made way for Johnson and we fought back, as Wigley changed formation, bringing Croft to the left and Hussein to the right. Croft combined with Johnson on the edge of the box as he hit a shot straight at Murphy. It wasn’t to be and the game finished with the first City defeat of the season, a 1-0 win to Sunderland, and a long and tiring journey home.

MotM: Jonathan D’Laryea; the midfielder caused numerous problems for Sunderland in the first half with another solid display.

City: Weaver, Logan, Richards, Wallwork, Collins, Croft, Laird (Johnson), J D’Laryea, Bennett (Sturridge), Hussein, Miller.
Unused subs: Schmeichel, Obeng, Marshall.

Blackburn: J Murphy, Taylor, Smith, Stubbs, Christensen, Martin, McFarland, Woods, D Murphy, Graham, Davidson.

Heidi <editor(at)>


Manchester, England 30th September – 2nd October 2005

What a beautiful weekend! Finally me and my Italian Blue friend Matteo flew to England to attend our very first game at the new City of Manchester Stadium. Landed in the ‘home soil’ on Friday ‘noon, we were in time to get the MCFC Experience and Museum tour: what an amazing football stadium, it looks like a theatre! A kind City official guided us in the museum, showed us the suites and the boxes (I’ll buy one before I die!) where we took some special pictures and then led us onto the pitch [what the hell was needed to write my own name in the Walk of Pride?].

Not bad as a start! I wasn’t sure to have enough time to do it, I am pleased I got it. Entering the museum reminded me how special is our Club! I could not miss a first ‘tour’ of the new Reebok City store, just to settle! It is largely improved since the Maine Road one and the Joe Mercer Way behind it looked impressive.

Obviously we woke up very early on Sunday for our strange kick-off time. We just went to Maine Road in the past and I was so anxious to watch a game in the new stadium. Often I have read in this newsletter how much we lost changing the ground in terms of atmosphere, there’s no doubt Maine Road was a legendary place. Eighty years of football, all those narrow and intimidating streets around, many memories, the ground of our last trophies: it goes without saying the place was special in City fans’ hearts and it wasn’t easy to accept to move. Some will agree, some will not but I do think it was a brilliant move: the place will put the Club in the new century. Don’t get me wrong: I am very traditionalist, I would have not moved for any reason but in the meantime I have to concede that the City of Manchester Stadium could be a key factor in transforming City in a football force throughout the next seasons! We are a Club much rooted in the past with a bright hope to the future and playing football in such a ground certainly will improve also the image of the one and only Manchester club!

After another visit to the store (it’s always nice to spend some money), the game. We passed through the turnstiles around 30 minutes before the kick-off and attended the touching tribute to Helen: such a huge fan, she embodied the significance of being a Citizen. I will always remember the splendid applause of the people; it was a sinking feeling and while I was clapping my hands I did hope City would win in her honour.

First half. Not the best of the season I’d say. You have to know that, from the Portsmouth game onwards, Sky Sport Italia televise all the City games so apart from WBA and Sunderland I’ve missed any [Birmingham away was anyway on the telly incidentally]. Don’t know why but it seems the Blues never start a game with the grit and determination I would hope. They need time to settle into the game. Unfortunately Reyna and Thatcher didn’t play so Stephen Ireland played as a starter and Stephen Jordan came back at left back. Maybe during the first minutes I was taking a look to the people around me, the stadium, the flags more than to the pitch. Then me and Matteo began to exchange ideas on why City did not open the play, putting pressure on the ‘bottom of the table’ scousers, letting David James kick towards the Toffees’ area without passing and moving the ball in the proper way. I thought it was a strategy by Stu: missing the midfield maestro Reyna, it was wiser not to put too much responsibility on Ireland at the early stage of the game. The boy, however, looked nervous.

For the rest, no running on the wings and the forwards left alone up front. I can’t understand why Sibierski is picked for all the games or maybe I’ve understood well: we are short as a squad. Sib is nowhere near being a decent footballer and in all honesty… could someone please tell me what’s his playing rôle? He’s poor at the centre, at the wings, as a striker. Never mind. The opposite flank is not much better. Forgive me but Kiki doesn’t seem to have better inspiration than the Frenchman. Rarely I watch him dribble his direct opponent, speeding up the play and putting some good crosses.

What a good partnership instead at the centre! Joey is a very good player, our “little Steven Gerrard”: he always shows determination, he has no fear, he can score goals (d’y know what I mean Rags?), clever passes and a general sense of being a leader of the team. Even if he has let us down with his behaviour in the past I think we have to back him. If he stays calm he can be our captain in the future. Stephen Ireland now. What a little gem. Pure class. He looked brilliant. The best playmaker possible since Berkovic and Ali B. I know it’s early to say but if he put his feet down, he can really become a great footballer. As I wrote maybe he looked nervous at the start but the more the minutes passed the fitter he seemed at the centre of the park. Always putting down the ball, choosing the best option to pass it, he was clearly wanted by his colleagues and that showed how much faith all players put in him. I don’t know if he will become regular first team material during this season because also Claudio Reyna is playing so well but I do hope Stu can find a place for him in the starting XI in the near future. He simply deserved it. It’s always clever to field talented players!

Everton hardly looked threatening in the first half because our back four were very good. Praise to our defensive duo: Dunnie and Sylvain show great agreement. We have got one of the best defences in the league…that’s always a good thing.

Second half I was hoping to increase our pressure and so it went. What an impact, Mr Lee Croft. Another proof of how good the Academy is! He broke the game with some running on the right wing, speeding up the game’s intensity, delivering great passes! If he plays like this there’s no reason we have to keep on fielding players like Sibierski! After showing some potential to score with our Andy/Darius partnership always on the move, the inevitable happened. Don’t you really think it was possible for City not to win this game after me and Matteo travelled the 1848 km distance from our hometown Ravenna and Manchester didn’t you? All this kind of faith had to be repaid. Danny Mills’ thunderbolt from 30 yards was a good way to repay the Blue faith of these two Italian mads! Would you believe it? Danny Mills scoring one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in front of my eyes. 1-0, What a joy, what a sense of liberation, what a celebration! Twenty minutes from time, the full back fired home and put City in front. The same way Millsy scored a screamer, some time after, Sylvain cleared off the line a Weir effort. It’s obviously our credit, mine and Matteo’s. If we didn’t travel probably Everton would have scored! Dear Psycho we do wait for a few words of thanks. At the end of a game that will always be in my heart, Darius Vassell [note Darius is the English translation of Dario, my name] closed the account. Thank you Boys in Blue indeed!

Player Ratings: I would write my ratings but I do agree totally with Rick Fenton ones so I think it’s better to stop here.

What can I say? City won, I was there and I am feeling my City love growing and growing! I will definitely be back, maybe for an away game this season, surely the next season come September 2006. My vacation in Manchester was beautiful and for that I would like to thank publicly my mate Duncan for being so friendly to us. Also all the guys we’ve spoke to throughout the weekend were so kind, at the store, at the museum, at the ground!

Thank you City family, we’ll be back!

[Excellent Dario, glad you made it over and got the tickets! – Ed]

Dario (and Matteo) <ghigas1972(at)>


I’m referring to MCIVTA 1160, about the initiative about smoking and fitness. I’ve wanted an excuse for this message for a while. Perhaps a blanket ban on smoking in the whole ground might be a good way for the club to set an example of its own. It would maybe throw light on what a smoke-free atmosphere can do. The club has no money to make on smoking as it doesn’t sell tobacco-related products so there’s no reason why not.

The children of smokers would see the effect on their irate parent, which would hopefully deter them ever starting. Not to mention what these pent-up smokers could add to the atmosphere – they’d channel their withdrawal symptoms into unadulterated noise. Worth considering!

Stopping people smoking in the seats has led to scenes on our concourse (East Lower) like the Haçienda circa 1988 (ok, nearly). In summer, a ghost of smoke starts to seep out of the entrances over the seats, so you inhale it even if you avoid the concourse whenever possible, which I do. I wonder whether the secondary smoking I do in that 10 minute spell is better or worse than the odd whiff of the odd Hamlet in the seats that you’d get previously.

I gave up smoking 5 years ago. I know I’ll get flak from the smokers telling me I’m hypocritical having been a smoker myself but while we joke about damage to health, I’m an unrepentant bossy ex-smoker and I don’t care; even if I still smoked, I’d still feel sick by walking around the concourse at half-time.

If pro-smoking City fans were stopped from smoking in the ground, they’d still turn up; it doesn’t stop people going on holiday on long-haul flights or travelling regularly on trains. And I know which of the two addictions is stronger, City or Ciggies… I gave up the ‘tabs’, but never City.

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)>


We seem to be slipping, of late. Now that Stuart’s (managerial) honeymoon period is well and truly over, I’m concerned some of the players may be reverting to their lacklustre performances from last season under the ultimately ill-fated Mr Keagan.

Stuart can only do so much from within the dressing room and also from the touchline.

I feel the next dozen games will speak volumes for the side, in terms of the players’ desire to do well not only for themselves but, more importantly, for the club.

I personally have every conceivable confidence in Stuart’s permanent rôle as manager; he seems a great guy who appears to have genuine dedication to Manchester City’s cause, in every respect – probably more so now, in his new rôle, than as a player.

I wonder, since SWP cannot make the bench at Chelsea, perhaps Stuart could move swiftly to sway a “loan” deal for the rest of the season – what a coup that would be! We still badly need a player of his calibre.

However, it is imperative we maintain the overall promising start to this season – and, if it takes defenders to score our goals, then, so be it…

Graham <ride4311(at)>


Watching ESPN STAR, the sports provider out here in Asia over the past week, I heard two City related matters of interest.

Firstly, on their programme called ‘Football Crazy’, which supposedly takes a light-hearted look at football, they had a Top 10 list of the most difficult names to pronounce in the Premier. Our very own Geert De Vlieger and Jonathon D’Laryea featured in the top end of their chart.

Secondly, on their programme called ‘Football Focus’, which is a discussion programme, featuring Gavin Peacock this week as one of pundits, they were discussing Roy Keane’s career and who would replace him. Apart from their repeated showing of possibly the worst over the top blatant foul of all time against Alfie Haarland – would anybody like to volunteer any candidates for the title of worst ever foul – one of their pundits suggested our very own Joey Barton as the best option to take over from Keane and while I don’t think it would ever happen, it says a lot about the way Joey is now being viewed by those outside of City.

Peter Carlisle <Carlisle(at)>


Seems it wasn’t the Chinese audience that dictated the early kick-off; here’s the reply from the Premier League:

“Many thanks for your email. The change was necessary as Everton are now playing Dinamo Bucharest in the UEFA Cup on Thursday September 29th. After a meeting between senior officials from both Clubs and the local police in Manchester, it has been agreed that the game will be switched to an 11.15am kick-off on the Sunday. Thank you for your comments, and I hope the response helps. Kind regards,”

Obviously this was a standard response, as it hasn’t been updated since the game took place. So it seems that the club, which has deemed it appropriate to pipe chants through the club’s tannoy, is to blame. As with the piped songs, this is another example of a measure being introduced that will never be welcomed by the fans. Is it a case of “we’re not really here” as far as the fans’ representatives at the club are concerned? How can we stop the suits doing what they want with our club?

Murray Withers <murraywithers(at)>


I recall a tactic used by Barcelona (albeit for entirely different reasons) when they staged a game at one minute past midnight. I’d even prefer this to the hangover hell I experienced on Sunday.

I know this is going to sound a bit extreme, but I’ve even lost patience with games kicking off at 3pm in recent years. I loved the games at 6pm against Watford and the 5.15pm against Chelsea last season, not just because we won both times (and a certain Stuart Pearce made his début for us against the Hornets), but because I had the whole of my Saturday daytime to have a lie-in and see Football Focus and still spend a few hours in the pub, go to the game and then go straight out afterwards.

A classic ‘Leo Sayer’ both times!

It has been said that away fans would suffer but if Watford or Chelsea fans were going to get home at more or less 10/11pm from a game ending around 4.50pm, then they might as well get home at midnight/1am.

By the way, it’s a nice touch that a game allegedly timed for Chinese audiences gave them all but three minutes of one of the two players they wanted to see. Although in terms of Croft’s contribution, they did get to see Lee Win Points. What a cultured player, he killed my remaining SWP-related pain. I had three hours’ sleep due to a Saturday night that got a bit too ‘lively’ and just like the game against Liverpool at home last season, Croft’s introduction injected some style into a mainly awful game and won it for us. Money on him playing for England before he’s 25 would be money well wagered.

Marc Starr <marc.starr(at)>


Don’t know if anybody is interested, but 45 teams have appeared in a Football League Cup or FA Cup semi-final since MCFC last appeared in one in 1981. 27 of them have appeared in at least one of each. City are one of only 3 of the current Premiership teams who haven’t appeared in a semi-final since 1981. The others are Charlton and Wigan. If Stuart Pearce reads this, please bear this in mind when this season’s FA Cup comes round in January. We are desperate for some success!

           Lge Cup  FA Cup      Total
Liverpool     10       8         18
Arsenal        7      10         17
Man Utd        6       9         15
Tottenham      5       7         12
Chelsea        5       5         10
Aston Villa    6       2          8
Everton        2       5          7
Sheff Wed      4       3          7
Nottm Forest   3       3          6
Middlesbrough  4       2          6
Luton Town     2       3          5
C. Palace      3       2          5
Sunderland     2       2          4
Southampton    1       3          4
Blackburn      3       1          4
Bolton         3       1          4
Leicester      3       1          4
Wimbledon      2       2          4
Sheff Utd      1       3          4
Watford        1       3          4
Newcastle      0       4          4
Ipswich        3       0          3
Norwich        1       2          3
West Ham       2       1          3
Oldham         1       2          3
Leeds          2       1          3
West Brom      1       1          2
QPR            1       1          2
Oxford         2       0          2
Coventry       1       1          2
Tranmere       2       0          2
Birmingham     2       0          2
Burnley        1       0          1
Walsall        1       0          1
Bristol C      1       0          1
Swindon        1       0          1
Stockport      1       0          1
Brighton       0       1          1
Plymouth       0       1          1
Portsmouth     0       1          1
Chesterfield   0       1          1
Wolves         0       1          1
Wycombe        0       1          1
Fulham         0       1          1
Millwall       0       1          1

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


Did anyone else see this report in the Daily Star (Soccer Shots Page 58) today?

“POMPEY boss Alain Perrin is trying to sign Kriss Musampa, brother of Manchester City midfielder Kiki. Striker Musampa, 17, plays for Congo side Daring Club Moteme and was recommended by Pompey’s African scouts.”

Is it a wind up?

Roy Waddington <roy(at)>


Just a further reminder about the next meeting of ‘Points of Blue’, which is being held on Tuesday 11th October at 6:30p.m. Meet in the main reception at COMS.

The meeting does clash with a reserves game. If you are keen to get to that, but have a point you feel worthy of putting to the club, then please call in at 6:30 prompt and we will do our best to get it onto an agenda.

Dave Miller <dave(at)>


London based City fan would love the chance to go to the last City game at Highbury, game is sold out on Anyone with any tickets available please let me know. Tel 07769742351 or email.

Thanks, Steve Simlo <ctid123(at)>


Two seats together for Aston Villa at home available. Fantastic seats 15 steps to bar, level with 18 yard box. Level 3 gate G/J east stand.

Can be picked up in Manchester on the day, or after West Ham game.

Stuart <bollarks(at)> no, really!


I recently moved to New York City. Are there any City fan clubs, or Blues who get together in the area?

Many thanks, John Parkinson <jparkinson(at)>


I’m a Canadian Blue, recently moved to Vancouver. Wondering if there’s any supporters who ever get together to watch City.

Jeremy Milloy <jmilloy(at)>


I may have dreamed this, but is there a pub in the Stoke/M6 area that lets City fans in on their way to away games? Does it still exist or was it something I heard wrongly? Can anybody help? Thanks.

Neil <fleets(at)>


I’m off to a land down under on my jollies and will be missing the following televised games: West Ham and Aston Villa.

Does anyone know where I watch these games, and any others not on $ky, with fellow Blues in or around the Perth area of Australia?

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


Need a greeting card? Visit this site and send the Blue Mooned one!

Ernie Barrow <BritCityBlue(at)>


League table to 05 October 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          8  4  0  0  9  1  4  0  0  9  1  8  0  0  18   2  16  24
 2 Charlton Ath.    7  1  0  2  3  5  4  0  0  9  2  5  0  2  12   7   5  15
 3 Tottenham H.     8  2  1  1  3  2  2  2  0  6  3  4  3  1   9   5   4  15
 4 Manchester Utd   7  1  1  1  3  3  3  1  0  7  2  4  2  1  10   5   5  14
 5 Bolton Wndrs     8  2  1  1  3  1  2  1  1  6  5  4  2  2   9   6   3  14
 6 Manchester City  8  2  1  1  4  2  2  1  1  5  4  4  2  2   9   6   3  14
 7 Arsenal          7  4  0  0  9  1  0  1  2  1  3  4  1  2  10   4   6  13
 8 Wigan Athletic   7  2  1  1  4  3  2  0  1  3  2  4  1  2   7   5   2  13
 9 West Ham United  7  2  1  1  8  3  1  2  0  3  2  3  3  1  11   5   6  12
10 Middlesbrough    8  1  1  2  2  6  2  1  1  7  5  3  2  3   9  11  -2  11
11 Blackburn R.     8  2  1  1  4  4  1  1  2  3  5  3  2  3   7   9  -2  11
12 Newcastle Utd    8  1  2  1  2  3  1  1  2  3  4  2  3  3   5   7  -2   9
13 Liverpool        6  1  1  1  2  4  0  3  0  2  2  1  4  1   4   6  -2   7
14 Portsmouth       8  0  3  1  2  4  1  0  3  3  5  1  3  4   5   9  -4   6
15 Birmingham City  8  0  1  3  3  8  1  2  1  4  4  1  3  4   7  12  -5   6
16 Aston Villa      8  1  2  1  6  6  0  1  3  2  8  1  3  4   8  14  -6   6
17 Sunderland       8  0  2  2  4  7  1  0  3  2  4  1  2  5   6  11  -5   5
18 Fulham           8  1  1  2  4  5  0  1  3  3  8  1  2  5   7  13  -6   5
19 West Brom A.     8  1  0  3  6  8  0  2  2  1  7  1  2  5   7  15  -8   5
20 Everton          7  0  0  3  0  4  1  0  3  1  5  1  0  6   1   9  -8   3

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
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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.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1162