Newsletter #1223

So the long awaited showdown at Manchester City has finally started. I refer of course to the news that Stuart Pearce has shown 10 players the door at COMS. Well; at least 4 of them were reserve team players, and 3 have not even made it to the first team bench on a regular basis. That leaves us with three reasonably well known players: David Sommeil, Kiki Musampa, and Albert Riera, who will have to look for other employment. Now why would Pearce rid us of almost every wide player we have in the squad?

Ok, so we still have Croft, Flood and Sinclair, but none of them impressed thoroughly this season. Even Riera looked half decent in some of the games, and Musampa had to re-invent himself in the centre of midfield. Could it be other reasons, yet to be discovered, that is driving our Manager? Is he paving the way for a “new” face?

Of course I would love to see Shaun Wright-Phillips back at the club, and if the press is correct, then he could well be back for a year long loan, or even on a permanent basis. The only bad thing with the latter is that we have to give away two promising youngsters to Chelski in return, including one who has proven his worth this season; Micah Richards.

The truth is that Micah was one of the few highlights of this season, and I firmly believe that he can even get better. Selling him to a bench in London would not do him any good, and the Lad even seems to enjoy his life with the Manchester Blues, so I would rather see him stay. And come to think of it; was it not SWeeP that demanded to move away to bigger and better things? How long will he stay this time? Until Arsenal have got their new stadium up and running, and Wenger has got hold of some more funds? I can’t really complain though, we did cash in on SWeeP and if we could get him back on a loan deal it would probably be the best for both him, the Club, and the two youngsters.

If SWeeP returns during the summer then it makes sense to cut loose players like Musampa and Riera. Now if we only could bring in Wayne Bridge as well. I read somewhere that Chelski would rather let SWeeP go to City than to Liverpool, since we’re not competing directly with them. Ah, such sweet talking and delicate use of words.

This issue includes a few flamethrowers against the club. Not everyone is happy with the way things are going. Are City moving in the right direction? Has the move to Eastlands been good or bad for the Club and the fans? Is it only money that is driving the officials? We also have Don’s news as usual. Grab a cup of coffee and continue reading!

Next game: I can hardly wait


General News

Germany Bound: After last week’s news of Claudio Reyna making the USA squad, comes confirmation that David James is in England’s 23 for the World Cup. One of the surprise inclusions was Arsenal’s 17-year-old boy wonder, Theo Walcott, who is yet to make a first team appearance for the Gunners. This prompted some wags in the media to point out that, given his appearance as an outfield player in the UEFA place showdown last May with Boro, DJ had more Premiership striking experience than Walcott! Luckily SP chose to concentrate on James’ goalie skills. “If you were chiselling out a goalkeeper from scratch, you would want someone of David’s size and stature,” said Pearce. “He really looks after himself, he hardly misses a game and has been pretty consistent for us through all the time he has been here. Probably, he has made more errors for England than he has with Manchester City. But, as a goalkeeper, he knows he is in the spotlight and every error he makes will be highlighted. He was in the top three in our supporters’ player-of-the-year standings, which is normally a pretty good guide and now he will be going away for the summer no doubt looking to put Paul Robinson out of the England side if he can.” Note – these comments were made before the Blackburn game – other headlines were made by the omission of SWP, who didn’t even make the standby list. We’ll never know if Shaun would have been included if he’d been playing regular first team football with City. Suffice to say, this time last year, Sweep was even in contention to replace David Beckham in the England team. Perhaps coincidentally, the first report of a potential suitor for Shaun has been made this week- apparently Rafa Benitez is willing to fork out £14 million to take Shaunie to Liverpool. SP has been quick to offer his support to the newly named England manager, the florid faced former protégé of Fergie, Steve Maclaren. “Steve gets my full support,” said Pearce. “I will phone him in the next few days and wish him all the best. City is an open club and I will do as much as I possibly can to help him.”

End of Season Thoughts I: As the season ends, all football managers look back and try to summarise what went right and what wrong. SP is no exception. “With the lack of confidence in the side at the moment, I think that all the players have been looking forward to getting away from it and putting their feet up,” says Pearce. “One thing for sure, as we have seen with many other clubs in the Premiership, it is a long old season, and you either start badly, are poor in the middle or poor at the end but the one thing for sure is that every team ends up having a bad run at some point. Ours has gone on for too long. I can understand a four or five game bad run, but this has gone on too long.” He agreed that the season’s slump revolved around a few days in March, when City lost to Wigan in the league and West Ham in the Cup. “In some ways it is a shame because if we wind the clock back a month and a half, we had a real feel-good factor in the club leading up to the West Ham cup tie. I cannot belittle how much that defeat has turned our season.”

End of Season Thoughts II: The Reserves had a lot more reasons to be cheerful, finishing third in their league behind Aston Villa and the Trafford folk. Steve Wigley was in upbeat mood as he reviewed his first year in charge. “All in all there’s been a lot of plusses over the season”, he said. “The opportunities that have presented themselves to the players have been great. Marc Laird didn’t play the first five games of the season and I’ve seen him grow in stature all year, culminating with a place in the first team squad. And we’ve got some good young kids coming up from the Academy, some good young kids here that have progressed this year, and some good young kids that have gone in to the first team. I look around at other clubs and I think we’re healthier than them in that department. We’d have liked to have been a bit closer to it in the final reckoning but we just missed out. After the Liverpool game I said to them ‘don’t leave a bad taste with the last game of the season’. We had a horrific result not too long ago against our big rivals and we didn’t overreact. We were disappointed and I’ve seen a group of players so disappointed together, but what they’ve done is go unbeaten since then. They didn’t panic and they believed what they were doing. It sharpened our minds a little bit as well, which helped us in the way we rounded off the season.”

Persie’s Peril: It’s reported that the Football Association have written to David Sommeil following allegations he was racially abused by Arsenal’s Robin van Persie. During the first half of City’s 3-1 defeat to the Gunners at the COMS last Thursday night, Sommeil informed referee Graham Poll that van Persie had racially abused him, prompting the official to speak to representatives of both clubs at half-time. The FA are now awaiting Sommeil’s response before deciding whether to launch an formal inquiry. “We went to see Graham Poll at half-time and he informed us there had been an allegation of racial abuse,” confirmed SP. “None of my players mentioned it to me at half-time or after the game but if someone does come and speak to me about it, it will be taken very seriously.”

Shanghai Surprise: City’s season may have gone into meltdown, but the new term will start with a case of the “China Syndrome”, as they’ll be involved in a pre-season tournament in Shanghai. The Blues will play two games in a competition that also includes Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid (will Kiki Musampa be playing against us by then?), Kashima Antlers and hosts Shanghai Shenhua.

Transfer News and Gossip

Ten Chopped: Psycho’s rebuilding programme swung into action today, with no less than 10 players being released by the club. The most high profile players to climb on board the deadwood stage are David Sommeil, Kiki Musampa and Albert Riera. We might have guessed that Mr.P. was planning a clear out by the tone of some of his comments earlier in the week. “I will be speaking to all the players individually today. They will all have an allotted time to come in,” he said. “There will be a whole day of meetings. I will be speaking to my staff members and the chairman and chief executive. They will be talking to every faculty in the club. I am always open-minded and looking to improve the playing staff and the coaching staff. We will be making various changes around the place in the summer anywhere we deem fit, and after today we will know a bit more.” So now we know phase 1 of his changes. Sommeil, 31, was signed for £3.4 million from Bordeaux by Kevin Keegan in January 2003 but has not been a regular under Stuart Pearce. SP has also decided not to extend Musampa and Riera’s loan deals from Atletico Madrid and Espanyol. Goalkeeper Geert de Vlieger, defender Mikkel Bischoff and Finnish midfielder Tuomas Haapala are also moving on. Reserve team players Ian Bennett, Karl Bermingham, Paul Collins and Michael Ward have also been told they are surplus to requirements. And the Evening News claimed that SP would also like to get Danny Mills off the wage bill and he may consider loaning out the right back. Pearce was giving no clues as to the identities of the players coming in, but did say that “We just need one or two new faces in, and hopefully we can get a couple of players with a touch of leadership.”

Distinctly Odd: There’s been mixed messages over the future of Sylvain Distin this week. I quote from the Evening News: “SYLVAIN DISTIN and Joey Barton could be the big-name casualties as Stuart Pearce plans a Manchester City summer clear-out.” This is in stark contrast to the report in the Sunday Mirror that claimed that the Frenchman will pen a deal keeping him at Eastlands until 2009. SP said: “We have spoken with Sylvain again and I have been told that he is happy with what we have offered. He hasn’t actually signed the contract yet but we expect him to do so now we have reached an agreement with his advisers.”

Lasse Come Home: Reports in Holland claim that City have been checking on Heerenveen forward Lasse Nilsson. The Swedish attacker has enjoyed a fine season and has been linked with a reunion with former Heerenveen team-mate Georgios Samaras. Nilsson scored nine goals this term for the Eredivisie side, but is more noted for his technical ability and was wanted by AZ Alkmaar. But AZ baulked at the £4.8 million asking price for Nilsson and it is unclear whether City would be willing to meet that figure.

Shopping at Aldi? Down in the bargain basement: Bernard Mendy has emerged as a possible target for SP. The ex-Bolton Wanderers defender could leave Paris Saint Germain during the close season and is believed to be keen on a return to Premiership football. French reports claim City have requested information on the right full back’s situation and are awaiting developments. No doubt Danny Mills is equally interested in the destination of the 24-year-old French international… Thursday’s Daily Mail brought equally interesting news for Mills’ partner on the left side, Ben Thatcher. City are being linked with the Reds’ Quentin Fortune, out of contract in the neighbouring Borough’s club.

Oh Brother! “SWP IN LOAN RETURN” is a headline sure to quicken the pulse of most City fans – unfortunately it’s a cunning plan only in the head of Bradley Wright Philips! “I’d love to see my brother back at City, at the very least on loan,” Beep told the M.E.N. “I try to persuade him all the time. I try to get him in the office to sign him up. I’m sure he’d like to come back but it’s not up to him.”

Ex-Blues’ News

Nuts to Boris: Or vice versa – this story was held over from last week, due to lack of time. It isn’t every day that a former City player is head butted in the groin, live on UK terrestrial TV, but lo, it occurred last week. During a charity football match at Reading’s Madejski Stadium, Maurizio Gaudino had the indignity of suffering a rugby style tackle from Tory politician and professional media buffoon, Boris Johnson. Mr. Johnson’s attempt to stop his German opponent involved a rhinoceros-inspired charge at Maurizio, culminating in Johnson’s head careering into Gaudino’s gonads. Johnson, who was taking part in the England v. Germany legends game, said later: “I’m a rugby player, really [ya don’t say, Boris!], and I knew I was going to get to him, and when he was about two yards away I just put my head down. There was no malice. I was going for the ball with my head, which I understand is a legitimate move in soccer. That was a lot of fun,” he concluded. “I rather fancy doing it all over again. Do you think they will let me?”

Goat Out to Pasture: A predictable headline perhaps, but it’s going to be the last time we can use it. As Piers reported in MCIVTA 1222 on Monday, a sizeable contingent of City fans made the trip to Roots Hall, Southend on Saturday, to watch the legend that is Shaun Goater play his last ever professional match. Reports suggested that between 200 and 500 Blues went to bid farewell to the Goat, playing against another of his former teams, Bristol City. Although he failed to score, the Shrimpers won the game and secured the League One title. A clearly emotional Goat said afterwards: “Coming off it was hard to contain my tears. The send off I got from the three sets of fans, thanking me for my services and for the person I have been in football, is the best ever.” The good burghers at Bermuda’s Royal Gazette claimed that the only disappointment for Goater is that his mother couldn’t make it. “It is a shame, I wanted her to come down,” said Goater, who has been struggling to contain his excitement all week. “She didn’t want to fly alone over here and I can understand that. I am going to make sure she gets to see the DVDs and all the pictures, though. There is going to be plenty to show her after this. And I want to say thank you to everyone who is making it special to me, people don’t realise how much we, as footballers, appreciate the support and the goodwill.”

Fowl Up for One More Year: Although Middlesbrough took a fearful tonking this week in the UEFA Cup Final, the Bitter Blue in me couldn’t help thinking, “If Robbie Fowler hadn’t missed that penalty vs. Boro, that could have been us being stiffed by Sevilla”. Meanwhile, somewhere along the East Lancs Road – Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez confirmed that Fowler would sign a new one year contract at Anfield. Fowler will put pen to paper on the deal next week after scoring four goals in eight games since lightening the wage bill at City in January. Benitez said: “This is fantastic news. Robbie has done really well and he deserves this. He has scored some vital goals for us and he has worked really hard. I am delighted to have him with us for next season. He is an important member of our squad.”

Royle Reign Over: Ipswich Town have parted company with manager Joe Royle after a disappointing campaign in The Championship. The former City boss took charge at Portman Road in October 2002, but saw his charges finish a disappointing 15th in the table this season. Town chairman David Sheepshanks told the club’s official website: “Joe and I have met and agreed that this is the right moment to go our separate ways. The parting is entirely amicable. I would like to place on record our warm appreciation and thanks for the tremendous job that Joe has done at Ipswich during his tenure, managing the club initially through turbulent times and building a side that reached the play-offs in two out of the last three seasons.” Royle himself added: “I would like to thank everyone involved at Ipswich Town – the fantastic staff and the players for their support and for giving their best at all times. As the chairman said, we part extremely amicably and I wish the club, its staff and the supporters nothing but the very best for the future.”

Reactions and Comments

Pipe Knocked for the Ninth Time: City finished their season on the crest of a slump, as they suffered their ninth defeat in their last 10 Premiership games as they signed off with a 2-0 loss at Blackburn. The visitors made the brighter start but fell behind when David James dropped Sergio Peter’s corner and Zurab Khizanishvili gratefully slotted home. Shefki Kuqi bundled in Brett Emerton’s cross to extend Blackburn’s lead. City struggled to find a response even when Rovers had Kerimoglu Tugay sent off with half an hour to go. “The performance was very poor, the first half was symptomatic of the run we are on at the moment, they have not had a shot on goal and we have contrived to go in one-nil down,” mused SP. “With the confidence lacking as it is it knocked our pipe out a little bit. There was something here for us today if we had kept our shape a little better. It’s the nature of the game, eight or nine months ago we may have gone in a goal up, but that happens when you are on bad runs.” The Blackburn manager Mark Hughes was pleased enough: “Today’s performance typified our season as a whole – real determination allied with great skill. The players were magnificent as they have been all year. It has been a season of hard work and achievement. I demanded a performance out of the players and that is what I got. As a group they have been great to work with all season and we have enjoyed it.”

In a Stu Over the Future: “I’ve got a lot to do this summer, we have lost too many games like this,” said Pearce, when quizzed over his plans to strengthen for next season. “We need to bring in the right players and harness what we can in the current squad. Some of the big players we have relied on in recent years need to have a look at themselves. Of course, there will be pressure on me from the start of next season, but the club also needs leadership on the pitch and I know if I don’t get it right I will lose my job. Finishing in the bottom half of the table is unacceptable. It has been a very poor run. Everyone at this club is looking for a break from each other and I am aware of what needs to be done this summer. “

Sommeil’s Spit Spat: It’s been a busy week for David Sommeil. Just three days after his controversy with Robin van Persie, Sommeil was accused of spitting at Paul Dickov. The Frenchman was later involved in another of the game’s controversial incidents on the hour, which resulted in a straight red card for Tugay. The former Turkey international launched himself into a tackle on Sommeil. Hughes said: “I honestly didn’t see that. I was trying to organise a couple of substitutions at the time, but I have since spoken to Tugay and he said he didn’t catch Sommeil. But the player was not our favourite person at the time anyway because he was involved in an unsavoury incident with Paul Dickov in the first half. Paul showed real control to stop the situation escalating, with their player hardly covering himself in glory.”

Squad News

Rich Pickings for Richards: If you’re looking for bright spots in this grim and dim old season, then the form of Micah Richards has been a rare moment of brightness. The Boss certainly has certainly clocked Micah’s progress. “He joined us in the last pre-season from the Academy and did reasonably well in the pre-season games”, said SP. “Our thoughts were that if he could be around the place and maybe push for a reserve team spot he would have done well. He did that, and was the best player in the reserves for five or six months, and due to injuries he got more of a chance to be around the first team. His performances were extremely good and he managed to get into the first team at the back end of the season. He has done well, and I am pleased for him because he is a good kid, he has a smile on his face but he works hard with a smile on his face and that’s what you want from your players. He’s a testament to how well the Academy system has worked, coming up here maybe a year before his time but he has showed everyone at the Academy and here that he is good enough to stay here.”

For Knee’s a Jolly Good Fellow: We’ve had the first whisper that Andy Cole’s considering retirement, although he hopes to fulfil the terms of the contract he’s about to sign. If he suffers a repeat of this season’s injury nightmare, Cole has indicated he’ll call time on his 18-year career. Despite missing the final 10 weeks of the season with a knee injury, Cole said: “I’ll most probably sign my new contract this week. My knee is good at the moment and I’m keen to get back as soon as possible. But I don’t know if it will be my last contract. Who knows? I’ve not enjoyed the back end of the season as much, with the injury and not being able to perform how you want to perform.”

Don Barrie <news(at)>


As we shuffle dismally away from Eastlands, like a tramp who’s been beaten to the last fag end, it’s maybe time for reflection. For me there is something new about this season’s disappointment, because there’s something else compounding my misery. Alienation. I no longer seem to be part of things – having Moonchester as a mascot seems suddenly highly appropriate. I feel helpless to alter events, and frustrated that those who do have influence on all things City, seem remote from the ‘foot soldier’ fans. Far from rallying the troops to prepare for a fightback, they appear to be partying in a style that even Nero would consider irresponsible.

Our exit from the FA Cup was catastrophic on many levels and yet, apparently, it merits no more than a shrug of the shoulders in some quarters. A minor hold-up for the gravy train travellers who peep through the misted window – steamed up with the anger of fans like you and me – to check that the slight diversion won’t interrupt the flow of fine wine and gastronomic fare.

Modern football is all about money, we know that. Players are paid obscene amounts and still ask for more. Businessmen, corporations and some chairmen invest huge amounts, and are still asked for more. The fans buy the tickets, programmes, City mags, food, drink, clothing and memorabilia – and are still asked for more.

And we pay. With extortionate bank rates (think of the bank charges on season card sales), so that the banks can make huge profits and waste them ‘entertaining’ rich clients, who’ve made their stash buying cheap and selling dear – to us. They in turn buy into the ‘corporate entertainment’ idea with a flash private box from where they can survey a magnificent stadium (if not a magnificent team) in which the poor bloody foot soldier fans provide a suitable backdrop. We’re the ‘extras’ in this football epic. Pushed around, told where to go, what to do, to shut up, put up, and don’t stand up, or get out. And we pay for the privilege.

Going to the match as part of corporate entertainment is a dream. Great food, plenty of drink, warmth, comfort, hobnobbing with celebs, superstars, legends and current team players recovering from injury. The game itself becomes almost incidental. A bad result eased by a free-flowing bar. A world without discomfort.

It would seem that the comfort zone now spreads throughout the club hierarchy, and to some extent I blame the move to Eastlands. I blame it because the players are now more isolated from the average fans than ever before – even the bus to away games has blackened windows, so that, as it manoeuvres into the tightest access allowing the least possible contact with us daft sods, they could all be giving us the finger from inside, as we cheerily wave our heroes to a hopeful victory.

But it’s more than the new stadium. It’s a new attitude. Ask Don Price and his fellow Supporters’ Club officials – people who give so much of their time and energy to MCFC.

Supporters’ clubs have been spectacularly snubbed since we left Maine Road and players are only to be reached via the ‘Fans Forums’, where all questions will be restricted by ‘time available’ and other excuses for vetting, and will ultimately amount to little more than ‘What’s your favourite hair gel?’

Everything is stage-managed. From the AGM to ‘Points of Blue’. No awkward questions, no criticisms, no suggestions for reform. Only fake ‘positivity’. Anything else merits the ‘call yourself a City fan?!’ response.

I’ve never been to a ‘Fans Forum’, but I’ve heard them described as ‘Nuremburg rallies’, where the audience is manipulated and teased along so that, even in our darkest hour, they leave believing that everything in the garden is rosy, we’re just having a little bit of bad luck at the moment. I heard that at a recent forum a questioner raised the issue of the return of Dickov.
“Is it true?”
“Would you like it to be true?” “Oh, yes – great player” (or words to that effect)
Cheers from the assembly.
Total dismay from my informant.
Smirks from the top table.

I have been to a Points of Blue meeting. The club officials tried the age-old Bernard Halford fob-off. When we didn’t accept it and persisted with our arguments, they tried the timeshare salesman’s ‘you’ve hurt my feelings’ act, and we didn’t accept that either. The officials seemed aghast by the audacity of the challenge to their authority. I felt like a shifty, work-shy employee who’d been caught with her hands in the till, yet had the gall to ask for a rise. I didn’t feel like a paying customer asking for a bit of consideration. The meeting ended quite sourly, but, astonishingly, some suggestions were acted upon, so persistence paid off. But complaints were made and assurances were given that MCFC employees wouldn’t be similarly harangued in the future.

Around the same time, KOTK received an e-mail asking the editors to join other fanzine editors and Mr Tyrrell for occasional lunches at COMS, for informal discussions. We declined, on the grounds that (a) for all sorts of practical reasons (like work?!) it was impossible and (b) we felt it would undermine the work of POB, and we would take our chances with our fellow fans at these meetings. We received a response once more reminiscent of the upset salesman technique, and no acknowledgement of the impracticalities of the idea.

I don’t know if any other fanzine editors accepted the spider-to-the-fly invitation – certainly not Tom Ritchie of CTIC – but I hope they didn’t.

At this point I think I should say that I’m not some jealous wannabe. Although I think it’s very pleasant, on special occasions, to be able to ‘do the corporate bit’, it’s not my choice for most of the time, but I don’t begrudge anyone who prefers their football gift-wrapped. But our swanky new stadium seems to have gone to the heads of some people. No matter how bad things get on the pitch, the players, managers, coaches are still back-slapped indulgently and the party rolls on. Meanwhile, hands up all those who thought that the ‘City Social’ would be the equivalent of the old Maine Road social club? Think again. No chance on a matchday, and if you call in during the week, make sure you’ve plenty of time to spare, especially if any club officials are holding a working lunch, because they will get preferential treatment.

So where do we go for a bit of pre-match socialising? Nowhere. Because it’s the aim of the club to get us inside as early as possible, to sample the ‘delights’ of City catering – at City prices. No thanks. The club ought to see the real pre-match delights of Mary Dee’s and ask why they can’t come somewhere near the prices, service and general goodwill (minus the ‘Munich’ songs, however!).

But the club officials – and I mean those at the top, because I suspect there are plenty of employees at COMS who are embarrassed to be associated with the current regime – are only interested in one thing, money. Oh, and their own over-inflated positions of course.

Now the club has a problem. Attendances are falling. Long-standing City diehards are not renewing their cards for next season. The club are giving away more and more complimentary tickets to hide the fact that there are too many empty seats. I know of people who’ve never been to a football match in their lives, but who’ve been given tickets through work and have come along ‘to see what it’s like’. They are unlikely to know any of the City chants, or recognise any players, or play their part in creating any sort of atmosphere, and will leave if they’re bored – or, in some cases don’t even turn up in the first place ’cause it’s raining’. The club don’t know how to raise money on terms that we understand – like ‘kids for a quid’ at low profile games; half price beer if you get in the ground early; ‘bogoffs’; lower cost food, but more plentiful supplies; programmes on sale at half time; merchandising stalls on the larger concourses; balloons, posters, badges, whatever, at pocket money prices, etc. The current regime only know ‘posh’. They display no respect for the rest of us and they continue to party behind their blinds, their minders and their huge egos. And they persist in courting the fickle fancies of corporate entertainers, few of whom are even fans of football, never mind City. They will leave as quickly as they came, when the novelty wears off, and when a half empty stadium fails to provide any atmosphere.

And no-one’s noticed the foot soldiers are already retreating.

Sue Wallace; submitted by Dave Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


What a good point Neil Haigh makes.

“Making millionaires out of very ordinary players”; that just aboutsums football up these days.He also uses the phrase “Throwing money at this club”.

Not so very long ago, a team from Salford nearly went out of business, had to use our ground because theirs was out of order due to some German football fan who didn’t like us (I wonder if he specifically had Old Trafford bombed because he, like us, didn’t like them; maybe Adolf wasn’t that bad after all – just joking folks).

They also had to use our ground for European games bacause they didn’t have floodlights!

So how did our poorer neighbours end up so wealthy, and we, a so called better run club, end up where we are?

Well apart from the Munich disaster, which stimulated mass support nationwide for them, there was no difference. In fact, in the middle of the last century, City were getting bigger gates!

Let me just point out something. If City had a 100,000 capacity stadium, and they were challenging for honours all the time, they would fill it week in and week out. Believe me. And if they got to a cup final, the full capacity of the Millennium wouldn’t suffice.

So where did it all go wrong?

Swales! That’s where. And one long succession of poor managers, followed by more poor chairmen picking more poor managers making poor acquisitions. It goes on. It still goes on.

So when Neil Haigh says “Throwing money at the club”, it hits home with me. I stopped my season ticket in 1995, my last game, you guessed it, a home defeat. I’ve been since then but once or twice a season when I fancy a day out and a beer. I certainly don’t use the match as my focal point for the day out. I would usually be disappointed if I did. I’ve even done the corporate thing and had the 4 course meal. They happened to win that night so a good day all round. But how many times have you gone home disappointed? Are you loyal or just plain stupid? You accept mediocrity. I did. But after many years of following City home and away since the early sixties, then seen a succession of disappointments and let downs, enough was enough. I might as well have put my five pound notes (now it’s twenty pound notes) straight down the grid outside my house.

You accept the way that you are treated at the stadium. You have a moan but you still go. Do you not realise that you are a customer? B*****ks about being a supporter. You are buying a product, just as you buy the City shirt. If the shirt is shoddily made, do you take it back or do you say, “Oh it doesn’t matter, it’s for the club”?

You are a mug. The club know it. They play on it. You will keep coming back for more, year after year. A few little moans here and there they accept.

But when the money dries up, then they will take action. But it won’t because you keep paying.

Now Sky Sports have had years of ripping people off, Setanta get their chance to do the same in addition.

So now, to see all the games in the comfort of your own home, you have to have Sky Sports, PPV, and now, Setanta. What next, the rebirth of OnDigital with even more subscriptions? Pay, pay, pay. That’s all they want. And what do we get back? Nothing.

Do you realise that these prima donnas get paid more for a day than you do for a month? Do they care about you? Of course not. You’re just a source for their wealth.

There are numerous pubs all over the country now showing City matches on Saturday afternoons and you can sit in comfort with your mates, have a pint, not get told to sit down all the time, have a laugh, and it’s much more fun. I’m out of the habit of going to games and I don’t miss it one little bit (I thought I could never break away, so passionate a supporter was I years ago).

Choose what you do with your coin carefully.

John Nisbet – much happier and financially better off <nisbet1957(at)>


Picking up on the stories about the Blues at Southend’s promotion game.

The local footy programme featured Southend (here in Kent they have to grab what they can!); it was wonderful to see the great man celebrating again. I saw the Goat being fed many times at MR and without him at Wembley we would be living in a different world. “Can’t trap a bag of cement” – who cares? King Colin he ain’t but Shaun must be part of City folklore for as long as the moon is blue. I wish him a happy retirement, a true gent and a great example of the sort of player (in attitude if not skill) that MCFC should look for.

See ya Shaun, one of the real heroes on the sacred turf of Moss Side.

Nigel Gibson <nigel.gibson2(at)>


Bon soir Blues everywhere!

As we begin to survey the wreckage of a once promising 2005-2006, we can at least be secure in the knowledge that MCFC’s top flight status is assured for another season. Talk about damage limitation.

This will be as crucial a close season as the one when Mad Kev opened the wallet with that passionate gleam in his eyes following our Benarbia inspired Division One berserker. Much as he made some desperately bad signings, calibre of the likes of Foe and Anelka were vital in establishing our squad rapidly.

Since we became an essentially selling club over the last two years, SP has an unenviable task in lifting morale and rebuilding what has become a tired, stretched squad with restricted options and limited value. He has made a statement of intent this week with what I sense is an initial clear out. Whatever the individual misgivings, we have finished in an unacceptable position and something has to be done to arrest the situation. However, Mills, Reyna, Thatcher, Sibierski, Sinclair and Sun Jihai (our now generally accepted China FC – “Financial Connection”) can consider themselves very fortunate to be still at City. For now…

I would also like the backroom staff positions reconfirmed. Particular attention should be paid to scouting where I believe/guess/think that Graham Carr, formally of Spurs is still at the helm. Or is he? I never hear of his presence throughout Europe.

And so, SP will have to move quickly to bolster the squad before the World Cup increases player values. Meanwhile, could it be that the upcoming Shanghai Shenanigans following the Sun Jihai contract extension mean that we might be picking up some extra stars on our shirt with an MCFC Chinese takeaway?!

Following Dave Clinton’s brilliant assessment earlier this week, here’s my view. If City’s board are serious about making our club great again then they are going to have to back SP and make some big moves and spend some big money. It’s a financial risk that I see as absolutely vital in order to compete at this level or we sink. Simple as that.

Barton. Get rid. Has been supported to the hilt by the club and remains transfer listed at his own request. Any player who declares that during his time at MCFC can do one as far as I am concerned.

Incoming. Let’s get some Brazilians in. Juninho at Lyon, Lincoln at Schalke. Both make things happen. Already Bayern, as with our badly missed opportunity DvB, are in for Lincoln. The Premier League and the wages we could offer would be a major bargaining tool. Thomas Gravesen for Leader, enough said. I would even consider swooping for Coupet of Lyon and France. A brilliant ‘keeper whose stock will rise this summer. The Dabo at Lazio and Mendy at PSG links are are also welcome.

Kit/Image. Dark Blue?! Yellow?! Get rid. Not MCFC and never will be. If it’s not too late to avoid what the identi-kit nutters at Reebok are planning for us, let’s have sky blue and white at home and red and black stripes away.

Stewarding. From what I saw on TPS against Arsenal, keep it relaxed and let the Maine Road voices be heard.

To conclude Blues, let’s grab those flashes of passion and the good things done at the club we’ve seen occasionally this season and build on them. The rest is history.

I walked around the club with my daughters when the Gooners game was postponed and realised more than ever that everything is in place for Manchester City to take off. If the board can match the determination and loyalty that the fans have shown for decades by building on bold moves such as the Samaras signing, then there’s no reason why we should not take off led by the honest and focused Stuart Pearce.

Bring it on!

Johnny Baguette, France <raz.bradbury(at)>


I am getting sick and tired of critics having a go at David James. This Calamity James stuff is getting tiresome.

I watched his miscue against Blackburn on TV and that’s what it was – a miscue. He had possession of the ball, fell into Micah Richards and spilled it. An accident that was unfortunate but does happen.

And then you watch that Arsenal clown Lehmann let 45-yard free kicks skip past him against Wigan and no one says anything.

True, James has had his misadventures in the past but considering the lack of cover he receives, I still rate him as a top-class goalie.

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <keith(at)>


Well we lost to Blackburn and seemed to be clueless judging by the reports. The Arsenal game we tried and the crowd atmosphere was second only to the derby match. The team tried but neutrals I know have always said that City play better against the bigger teams as they try more. The effort against Arsenal was there to see but alas endeavour alone will not beat the likes of Arsenal who are just too quick and precise on the break.

Defenders: too slow witted and drawn out of position/ball watching and, rated as he seems to be, Distin is (a) not skipper material and (b) so left footed even I would have worked out to play to his very weak right side.

Midfield: we lack both a true battler/holder (sorry, Barton does not do this well enough) as well as the creative playmaker. Sinclair just does not have the pace any longer and Crofty looked much more lively against a tiring Cole etc. What does Riera do after about 30-40 minutes as second halves he seems to invisible!

Up front: Samaras I am not sure about. Promised early on but has looked plain slow and poor ball control/choice making (maybe come good next season?). Cole will help next time to bolster Vassell and Samaras.

I honestly think we will struggle next season and if we finish where we did this time I suspect this will be about right. Whether we get enough poor teams below us I am not sure given the success of Wigan and West Ham. The truth is, apart from the leading 4 teams in the Premier League, the rest could all be interchanged; look at Spurs, who are not leagues ahead of City. We need to take stock and hope that Stuart P doesn’t just talk the talk but is able to truly motivate and get more out of players. There will not be lots of money as attendances have dropped and will do again next year. I just want to see the passion (from the players) and from us fans who go to each game as it feeds off each other.

Enjoy the summer folks!

David <DArthur945(at)>


If Andy Cole was fit and Fowler would have stayed we would have proven goal scorers and we had the chances, God knows. As it was, we had Vassell, all pace not much else, Samaras, slow it down till everyone gets back and then shoot wide, and we created more chances than almost everyone else! Let’s not discuss this season much more.

SWP for England? Well he couldn’t play for Chelsea but that does not restrict lesser unproven players; even an out of form Andy Johnson is better? But not as good as an Arsenal junior reserve? Best midfield in the world? Which four? Surely not Hargreaves?

I hope I am wrong.

P.S. I have finally stopped listening or watching with my “lucky” T-shirt and my “lucky” breakfast of Costa Rican Arabica coffee, Blueberry muffin and Rice Krispies with Del Monte mixed fruit. Any suggestions for “lucky outfits”? Back to porridge, toast and tea. I could go back to smoking with another season like this!

J. Heavis <JHeavis502(at)>


You may have seen the “Fink Tank” article:,,7973-2156540,00.html

which tries to work out the value of the manager’s contribution to each Premiership team, by working out a measure of team strength based on results and dividing this by the player wage bill for each club (to even out the overall amount of money each club has). Based on results this season, SP is dead last.

I guess that most of this is due to the slump, but where are we in the wage bill table? After a bit of searching on the web I found this:

Average Wages 2003-04 in £ millions:

1  Chelsea       115
2  Man U          77
3  Arsenal        70
4  Liverpool      66
5  Newcastle      45
6  Man C          38
7  Tottenham      35
8  Aston Villa    34
9  Everton        33
10 Blackburn      31
11 Fulham         31
12 Charlton       30
13 Middlesbrough  29
14 Portsmouth     26
15 Birmingham     23
16 Bolton         23
17 West Ham       23
18 Sunderland     17
19 WBA            12
20 Wigan           6


This is from the most recent Deloitte and Touche Annual Review of Football Finance, June 2005. The wages figures lag by a year, so the wage bills of the promoted teams will be higher than shown.

I couldn’t find any more recent wages figures, but after getting rid of Fowler and friends a reasonable guess might be we’re now well behind Spurs, similar to Villa, Everton, and probably Middlesbrough, but still ahead of Charlton, Fulham, Bolton, Wigan etc. So the Fink Tank (and SP from what he has said) is right, based on wages paid we’ve underachieved massively. The football managers article says that over a season results are basically directly related to the level of wages paid, which I guess you would expect.

Looking at the figures (and guessing what they might have been for last season) I think you could draw the following conclusions:

  • We (or any other mid-rank club) have no realistic hope of gettinginto the top 4 unless any of them screw up big time.
  • Unless we screw up (which let’s face it has been known!) we should notget relegated as we should be able to outspend the promoted teams andthe likes of Wigan, West Ham, Bolton – ah.
  • In wages paid we’re probably still at the top end of the mid rank, butthere’s likely not that much (£5 million?) between the top and bottomof the large middle group.

So why did we finish at the bottom end of the middle group, rather than the top end where our wage bill says we should be? We all have our views, but personally are I think there are 2 main reasons:

  1. The goals dried up after Andy Cole got injured.
  2. We lack physical presence, pace, and running power in midfield.

These should be fixable without big transfer spending – we need a proven, experienced striker on a short term deal (e.g. someone like Hasselbaink) and 3 or 4 combative, hard working midfielders who can give the defence more cover, which is basically what Wigan, Blackburn, and Bolton do (not pretty but in the middle of the Premiership that’s what you need and who cares, we need the results). If these had been in place we could easily have got 10 more points and a respectable finish.

If SP is to be blamed, I think his main error was to end up with a midfield full of skilful but lightweight ball players – Barton is the only one who’s really up to the physical challenge. Whilst many of these were Keegan’s players, SP missed the opportunity to get the balance right last summer. I think he’ll fix it this time.

Tim Ollerenshaw <cityblue(at)>


Congratulation to David James who has been selected to be in the England squad; he has worked hard all season and deserves being selected.

I feel sorry for Shaun Wright-Phillips who was not selected for the England squad, but then again it was his choice, or be it that he was advised wrongly to join Chelsea, and then sit on the bench for so much of last season, with little playing time to show off his skills.

How much longer will SWP remain at Chelsea? A rumour is that Liverpool have offered £14 million for him; that would be a £7 million loss to Chelsea if it happens.

We now enter what has been called the “silly season”; we all hold our breath for some quality signings.

Stuart Pearce will not have much time off during the summer break; there’s a lot of work to get a team together for next season, and more in the image of his team.

Until then we will have the World Cup to watch, and to cheer on our countries’ teams.

Come on England! And USA!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


A friend and I are going over to Germany for the World Cup. We as yet, haven’t managed to sort out accommodation. Does anyone live in Cologne, Hannover or Dortmund? or even at a stretch Belgium… ?

We have tried everywhere looking for accommodation, and as the flights we got were so cheap we had to just buy without having accommodation. If anyone has a garden that they wouldn’t mind lending us for a few nights at a time, we will be taking tents over so as to give us a few extra options.

All help will be greatly appreciated.

Dave Ford <>


Football pundit Fred Eyre is visiting Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre on Wednesday 17 May for an evening of stud-sharp stories about the beautiful game. The free event, which takes place in the purpose built Performance Space between 6.00pm and 7.30pm offers a humorous glimpse of Fred’s career highs and lows.

Fred’s sporting life began full of promise when he became Manchester City’s first ever apprentice. He never made their first team. In fact, he seldom made anyone’s first team. Injuries played a part but limited talent was the greater curse. He did, however, find he had a rare talent for sports writing. Fred’s book Kicked Into Touch was first published in 1981. It quickly developed a supporters’ club of its own, selling over a million copies. The new edition, Kicked nto Touch (Plus Extra Time) has been completely revised, extended and updated and is ready to be introduced to a new generation of football fans.

Kicked Into Touch forms part of Oldham Libraries Literature Festival, which runs from 15 May – 27 May 2006 at Library venues across the borough. The Booked! Festival includes an exciting array of sporting talks, activities and demonstrations. For more information about Fred Eyre’s visit, to book a place or for further details of the complete festival timetable, call Helen on 0161 770 8016. Most events are free but booking is required. Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre is located in the Cultural Quarter, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL.

Cathrine Twite <Catherine.Twite(at)>


I’ve no doubt all City supporters are seriously down following our end of season run but on Saturday night I was privileged to be part of all that is good about Manchester City FC.

My supporters’ association organised a fundraising Gala Dinner in the Citizens Suite at our home ground. Amongst the people supporting the event were Stuart Pearce, Alex Williams, Ian Cheeseman, Neil Young, Tommy Booth, Paul Tyrrell, Stan Horne, Peter Barnes, Mike Doyle, Andy Morrison, plus a few names that escape me.

James H Reeve proved to be an excellent MC for the evening and was well supported by a brilliant after dinner speaker and a comedian, both life long City supporters.

Various departments of the club, supporter branches and many club sponsors provided a host of fantastic raffle and auction prizes for the event. A few thousand quid was raised for two good causes and a good night was had by all.

For me the highlight of the night was when a guest, Armani Sheku from Sierra Leone (officially the world’s poorest country), addressed the audience to thank them for the support given to his version of Manchester City in his home country by our supporters. That support includes many items of kit and financial support. It was truly a humbling and inspirational experience.

The night reminded me that football is much more than results and players’ salaries, it also restored my faith that City supporters and our club are truly a community with a world wide impact. I thank all who worked so hard to make the night a success and those who supported it including more than a few McV readers.

Football is a fantastic game and we all want our team to win but there’s more to life than football and Manchester City FC in its various guises provide that extra bit. I wish all McV readers a long and happy summer break and look forward to reading your comments, whatever they are.

Alex Channon <channons(at)>

MCIVTA FAQ [v0506.02]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Svenn Hanssen)         :
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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]Svenn Hanssen,

Newsletter #1223