Newsletter #1260

A game of mixed fortunes on Sunday as we managed to score a goal at both ends, but ultimately lost 4-2 to Blackburn. Oh well, there’s always the cup to look forward to.

Tonight we have the second part of Colin’s excellent series on City Finances, some hints from Macclesfield Town’s Supporters’ Trust, opinion on youth and the leavers, and finally sad news this weekend that George Heslop passed away. Condolences to his family and friends.

Next game: Chesterfield, away, 7.45pm Wednesday 20 September 2006 (League Cup)


The Annual Report and the AGM

Firstly, thanks to everyone who gave me feedback. It was very positive and has encouraged me to carry on in the same vein. So here’s the next instalment, covering what goes into the Annual Report and what happens at the Annual General Meeting.

Like any business, Manchester City plc prepares annual accounts. With them being a public company, these accounts are sent to shareholders and are made generally available to anyone else who is interested. The link for these is as follows: These follow a fairly standard pattern as required by company law and market regulation. So what’s in there and what does it all mean? I’m going to concentrate on the general headings here but I will go into the 2005 figures in more detail in subsequent articles.

Taking the 2005 Report as my template, the first page (2) details the directors and the various advisers – our main bankers, auditors, solicitors, etc. Nothing terribly remarkable here – all our advisers are well known and very reputable companies. Brian Bodek used to be a partner at Kuit, Steinart, Levy, one of the solicitors we use. He left in 1998 but is still listed as a consultant.

The next few pages (3-7) contain the Chairman’s Statement. This is a report on the past year written by John Wardle and sums up our financial performance, on-field performance and other items of interest. In most company reports, these tend to be pretty formulaic, with little illuminating comment. It should be noted at this point that these accounts cover the year to 31st May 2005, which is our financial year-end. However, any significant changes between then and the finalisation of the report have to be reported. One such change was the sale of Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea, for a guaranteed £21 million, and Wardle talks of his surprise at SWP’s sudden change of heart.

One of the statements that is revealing concerns the uses of the proceeds from that. These include investing in the Academy, reducing outstanding borrowing and paying off all outstanding instalments on players purchased in previous seasons. Oh, and whatever’s left might be spent on new players. So, in other words, goodbye to any lingering hopes we might have had that the sale represented a superb opportunity to build a strong squad that could capitalise on our eighth place finish. He makes it clear that he considers it more important to strengthen the balance sheet than the team.

He also talks about reducing the debt and backs it up with some figures to show how our debt is reducing. Net external debt, he tells us, is down from £50 million in 2004 to £38.5 million and total debt down from the oft-quoted £62.2 million in 2004 to £57.7 million. So that’s good isn’t it? Well in the next article I’ll discuss our debts but in the meantime make a note of what you think our total debt really was in 2005. The answer might surprise you.

The next few pages (8-15) are the Directors Report and associated statements. There is some detail about each director although it doesn’t make it clear whether each director is executive or non-executive (as it should). I talked about the difference between the two in my last article and identified which directors fell into each camp.

The Report is in a pre-defined format but there are some interesting bits worth noting. Firstly, each director has to formally retire and offer themselves for re-election every three years and in 2005 it was Brian Bodek’s turn. This is usually fairly straightforward but some of you may remember that Magnier and McManus were able to put pressure on the Manchester United board by voting against the re-election of a couple of retiring directors. We can see that, just before the year-end, Ashley Lewis resigned as a director.

The next section on Substantial Interests is really important. It lists any shareholdings known to consist of 3% or more of the total shares. This means we know who the major shareholders are and whether there have been any changes from the previous year. Generally speaking, any significant changes would have to be reported at the time they occurred, rather than waiting until the accounts are published. Therefore we already know that Mark Boler became a member of the Board earlier this year.

The first section on Page 10 (Corporate Governance) is particularly interesting in this report. It details how the company ensures that it is managed correctly at the highest level. They should comply with something called the Combined Code, which sets out best practice in this area, and they should be able to demonstrate how this was achieved during the year in question. So they talk about regular board meetings and scrutiny of the financial results to ensure any problems are identified early.

The Combined Code talks about the establishment of committees to ensure that proper financial controls and suitable accounting policies are in place (the Audit Committee) and one that covers all aspects of directors’ and senior management remuneration (the Remuneration Committee). These should both be made up of at least two non-executive directors, according to the Code. The Audit Committee should ultimately ensure that a Chief Executive and/or Finance Director are looking after the financial side of things properly but look who’s one of the two members of the Audit Committee: it’s none other than Alistair Mackintosh, who is our Chief Executive (and therefore an executive director rather than the non-executive suggested by the Combined Code. So effectively he is checking his own work, particularly as he was also our Finance Director previously (and still is to all intents and purposes). Up to 2005, Ashley Lewis had been on the Audit Committee but he was no longer a Director at this point.

I wrote to Alistair Mackintosh to query this after the last AGM and he replied that our external auditors were happy with this. However, he did not make it clear how they had indicated this. It could be that he meant that they had not said they were unhappy, which is not quite the same as specifically saying they accept the situation. It will be interesting to see if the position has changed in the next report.

The Remuneration Committee report takes up the next few pages (12-14) and this is another safeguard designed to ensure that the executives and senior managers don’t simply award themselves inflated salary and benefit packages. There is a section on share options, which are supposedly a device to reward executives for their performance by giving them a stake in the company, potentially at an advantageous price. A share option gives an executive the chance to buy shares within a defined time period at a fixed price. Mackintosh therefore has the ability to buy up to 200,000 shares at any point up to March 2010 at 45p each, regardless of the market price at the time. If the market price were significantly in excess of 45p then this would be a very valuable benefit but it is clearly not in his interest to pay 45p for shares that anyone else can currently buy for 29p. The incentive, from his point of view, is to push the share price up via attracting external investment at a suitable price or superb financial performance.

The final part of this section details the shareholding of each director and their remuneration for the year. Mackintosh received a salary of over £170,000, a bonus of £50,000 plus a £10,603 contribution to his pension fund. Page 15 is a statement of the directors’ legal responsibilities.

Page 16 contains the Auditor’s Report. The auditors are an external, properly qualified accountancy company (in our case KPMG). They are supposed to ensure that the accounts presented fairly represent the true state of affairs of the company. They will have examined the accounting records and checked that the accounting policies we use to state the figures are appropriate, prudent and take into account all foreseeable circumstances. They will ensure that transactions have been properly recorded and reflected in the accounts. So, for example, they would want to be sure that our attendance figures are recorded accurately and that all the associated revenue from those tickets had found its way into the accounts.

As a former auditor myself, I had to do things like count millions of bricks in a brick-maker’s yard (as the correct stock figure is critical) and stay in a casino all night until seven in the morning to ensure that the cash and chips were properly counted and balanced. So if you see someone in a suit and tie going round with a clipboard during a game counting heads, you know what they’re doing! The auditors will (or should) have questioned the directors on key matters, where required and their answers will be reflected in these accounts. I’ll talk about some of the accounting policies in subsequent articles but at this point will say that there can be many different ways to represent the financial situation of a transaction or asset and these can have a material impact on the figures. Therefore it is important that an appropriate policy is used.

Finally the auditors express their opinion that, in this case, the accounts fairly represent our financial situation. This is not an absolute, cast-iron guarantee that things are OK though as a board determined to misrepresent their figures (e.g. Enron) will do so. KPMG (one of my former employers, I should add) are one of the biggest and most reputable accountancy firms in the world but even they can get things wrong. They signed off the accounts of another former employer in 2001, just weeks before this company collapsed in a big heap! This is still all subject to legal proceedings so I’d better not say any more. If they do uncover material irregularities then they should say so in the auditor’s report but someone adding up their expenses wrong is not usually going to affect anything to any great degree.

The auditors are engaged by the directors but carry out their work on behalf of the shareholders, who have to formally re-elect them every year at the AGM. They can also be changed by the directors if they feel the situation warrants it. It is most important that the external auditors are seen to be independent of the directors. Therefore it would not be appropriate for a close relative of one of the directors to be responsible for the independent audit. It could be seen as a little surprising that the Manchester office of KPMG is the one which carries out our audit, as this could involve City fans on the auditors’ staff having access to details that other fans don’t, even though they have a strict duty of confidentiality. However, when I think about it, if we were to use the London office there is the danger that too many Manchester United fans could potentially be poking their noses into our books so, on the whole, it’s probably safer using the local office.

The rest of the report contains the real meat and bones, i.e. the figures. I’m going to cover each section in detail in subsequent articles but there are the accounts themselves, consisting of three financial statements, plus the associated notes. The financial statements follow a prescribed format. The first (Page 17) is the Profit and Loss Account and this shows our total income and expenses during the year under review, together with the equivalent figures for the previous year (Page 18 is to do with property valuations and their impact on our profit or loss).

The second major financial statement (Page 19) is the Balance Sheet and this shows our assets (i.e. the things we own or are owed) against our liabilities (the things we owe to others). The third and final statement is the Cash Flow Statement. This reveals how much cash we actually generated or consumed in total in the year. I’ll discuss this in more detail later in the series but it is important to be aware that a company can report healthy profits but not actually generate any cash and, for a football club, cash is crucial as we need it to fund transfers. In some ways it is the most important and revealing of the three statements.

If you have a copy of the accounts or are viewing them on-line, you will see a column called “Notes” in all three statements and figures in this column. These are references to the final section which, not surprisingly, is the Notes to the accounts (Pages 21-38). They say the devil is in the detail and this section is the Underworld. There are explanations of the accounting policies adopted and more detailed explanations of some of the figures in the accounts. Therefore you will find in here how our turnover is split between gate receipts, TV income and other income, plus many other items of interest, including details of our debts and how we pay for the stadium.

So that is the Annual Report. When this has been issued and shareholders have had some time to digest it, it forms one of the central parts of the Annual General Meeting. This is a statutory meeting where the shareholders are invited to attend and have the chance to question the board and generally takes place in December at CoMS. Typically there will be a number of formal pieces of business:

  • A vote on the adoption of the accounts. This means that theshareholders get the chance to say whether they agree with the accountsas presented. Any contentious items can be queried with the board atthis point.
  • A vote to re-appoint the auditors (or appoint different ones)
  • A vote on the re-election of directors. Each director has to stand downand offer himself for re-election on a regular basis and ensuring acouple of directors were not re-elected was how Magnier and McManussignalled their displeasure with the Manchester United board. Withclose to 50% of the shares in the hands of two directors, there wouldneed to be a serious fall-out between Boler, Wardle, and Makin to do thesame thing at City.
  • A vote on any other resolutions presented by the board. This could bean increase in the number of shares issued or a change to the rules ofthe company to allow them to do something they couldn’t do before.Sometimes these can be seemingly innocuous but have a sting in thetail. Some will require a simple majority (i.e. over 50%) in favour butsome more far-reaching ones might need two-thirds or three-quarters ofthe votes in favour.

As far as the voting is concerned, you can (if a shareholder) turn up in person and a few hundred did last year. You can request that your vote is cast a certain way or that someone else has the ability to cast a vote on your behalf as they see fit. As I said, this is the one real chance you get as a shareholder to question the board and hear what they have to say and the City AGM has been the scene of many a verbal bloodbath in the past!

At the last AGM, Stuart Pearce gave a short speech about the playing side and answered some questions but no discussion of individual players and their contracts is allowed. Finally there was an open Q&A session but it only lasted half-an-hour. The questions range from the serious (the SWP transfer) to the banal. The board should come out of this session feeling they’ve been put through a mangle but have succeeded in justifying their actions to shareholders. They had a very easy ride in 2005 but hopefully, with all this knowledge MCIVTA readers will have, they will have to earn their money at the next AGM.

In the next article I will be discussing the financial situation regarding CoMS and analysing our debts. I think I can assure you of a fascinating read!

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Never one of the fastest or most gifted of players – however, a dependable “stopper” in the annals of big, tough, centre-halves. He always wore the City shirt with pride – players of today should learn from that, if they would be willing to let go of the “greed” factor; somehow, though, I doubt it.

George & Dave Ewing – two stalwarts of the club.

Graham Mills <ride4311(at)>


Seeing that Danny Mills has gone to Hull City is the last straw!

Last season, Stuart Pearce bemoaned his lack of depth in the line-up, blaming his lack of numbers for that horrible end-of-season tailspin. He vowed to strengthen the line-up this year.

So far he has brought in 10 players but released 11, Mills being the latest departure. What is going on? Vassell is out for a couple of weeks with his injury, Dabo’s serving a three-game suspension and Thatcher’s gone for another month, we’ve scored just one goal in four games?

James and Cole are released to Portsmouth (and James hasn’t conceded a goal in four games), Sibierski goes to Newcastle and scores the winner in their UEFA cup tie, I could go on but what’s the point?

City can’t strengthen their team until January, they are letting experienced players depart and they are woefully short on the bench. Plus we have a totally punchless forward line. Danny Mills played great in his sub spot against Arsenal and he has a ton of experience in settling the side down so we let him go.

This team is imploding. We couldn’t beat Reading, I will be surprised if we get anything from Blackburn (even with their European fixture) and the offensive talent is questionable.

Dark days at the COMS.

Keith Sharp <keith(at)>


Much has been made of Micah Richards’ petulant tantrum on being substituted at Reading on Monday night, and it seems that the knives are out with some sections of the City support. For them, tossing the sacred shirt to the ground and appearing to spit on it is treachery, the ultimate act of disrespect that a player could show to a club and its fans.

Incidentally, I’m far from convinced about the spitting allegation having seen the footage again on the invaluable YouTube (invaluable, that is, when the footage doesn’t involve you, but that’s another matter). To me it looked like it was more the by-product of his hissy little fit. If you look closely you can also see snotty bubbles forming on his nostrils with each anguished wail. OK, I made that last bit up. Anyone who’s played football will know that excess fluid forms in the mouth after running your knackers off for the best part of 70 minutes. Granted, with my Monday night team it’s usually vomit and tar ridden chunks of lung, but that’s not the issue.

Back to the point I started roughly 37 minutes ago (bear with me readers. It gets better. Actually, no it doesn’t. Sorry), it would be immensely hypocritical of me to chastise Micah (or Mee-cah, as some insist on calling him) for his actions. When I first saw that yellow abomination of a kit my initial instinct was to throw it on the floor and spit on it. I mean, c’mon, Manchester City in yellow?! Nice to see the marketing men pee years of tradition down the drain in search of a quick buck. Still, that extra revenue should service the interest on the debt for, ooh, a week or so. What next? Playing crucial home games in a dark blue away kit?! Eh? Oh.

Indeed, Richards is no stranger to controversy. This is the player, after all,whose first word on national television was “fcuk”. On the BBC! On the day ofthe Lord, in the slot usually reserved for Songs of Praise! Fantastic. MaryWhitehouse must’ve been spinning in her grave. Not even famous ‘rebels’ suchas Johnny Rotten or Ollie Reed can top that. To be fair, what did GarthCrooks expect when thrusting a microphone in the face of a young seventeenyear old lad who had just scored his first professional goal? At that age I’dprobably have mumbled something about being misunderstood and the hiddenmeaning behind Ian Curtis’ lyrics so I think Mee-cah was reasonablyarticulate in the circumstances.

There’s no question that Richards was out of order in his actions, and I’m sure Pearce will have had words. We’ve all had Ballack-ings at work, and it’s not nice. But when your boss is Stuart Pearce? Man, I wouldn’t liked to have been in Micah’s shoes on Tuesday morning. In fact, it’s a good job Pearce is our manager, as I suspect there isn’t another man alive who could intimidate the brick outhouse that is Richards.

Anyway, I’m sure when I started this piece I had a point to make. Ah yes, that’s it. It would be wrong of City fans to persecute Richards for what he did. He screwed up, but he’s a young lad (it’s easy to forget given his assured performances in the sky blue, or putrid yellow, that he has only just turned 18) and will learn from his mistakes. How many of us regret things we did at his age? And yes mum, as I know you’re reading this, I still deeply regret flooding the house in a drunken stupor after winning the Division One title in 2002. Sadly, that’s not artistic licence; it actually happened, as I’m reminded at every bl**dy Turner family do from here until eternity.

He’s one of the best prospects we’ve had for a long time (since, ahem, Gary Mason. Joke) and was understandably aggrieved to have been substituted when he was one of our better players on the night. I mean, what greater diss was there to have been taken off ahead of the abject Reyna or Corradi? So let’s get behind the lad and give him our full support. One more exclusive interview with though Micah, and I might not be so forgiving…

Ric Turner <ric(at)>


I am a founder member, and indeed on the board of the Macclesfield Town Supporters’ Trust (uUntil the forthcoming elections at least).

We were founded in reaction to the £300,000 fine that the club was hit with by the FA last January and our members raised more than 10% of the value of that fine.

Now the danger is over, the Trust is still there but is working as a voice for the fans and has a good relationship with the Club.

We are amongst the top 10 shareholders in the club and have a membership numbering roughly 20% of the match-going fanbase.

There is a feeling amongst many that Trusts have to be continually at loggerheads with the people running the club, but we have shown that they does not need to be the case.

Clearly the actual numbers involved at City would be far higher to make any real impact, and we had the ‘benefit’ of a crisis to kickstart us but with so many dissenting voices amongst fans of City, a Trust could be an excellent way forward to bring the club closer to the fans.

An independent organisation, who has some share ownership, either by pooling existing share ownerships or buy purchasing them via membership fees, can wield real influence within the club itself.

It gives individual fans with grievances a chance to make their point to those at the top allowing both big and small issues to be taken up with the ‘powers that be’.

Not to mention the availability of an army of keen supporters should a real crisis hit the club in the future.

Whether the club is ‘non-committal’ at the moment or not, it should have no bearing on whether a Trust is established. As long as there is no immediate agenda against those currently running the club, they will soon see the benefits.

Tommy the Silkman <silkmen_online(at)>


Denton Blues are delighted to announce that Shaun Goater will be attending a special meeting on Wednesday 27th September at Denton Cricket Club.

The evening will commence at 7.30pm, with Shaun doing a Q&A session plus book signing and photos as his biography “Feed the Goat” is published, which will be available on the night at a discounted price.

The event is by ticket only and is open free of charge to MCIVTA subscribers or OSC members with a valid membership card. Please contact me for further details and confirmation of tickets.

Heidi <editor(at)>


Hi from Maine Road FC,

We were formed as a Rusholme supporters’ branch in 1955 and we are a group of City fanatics who are desperate for help from our fellow Blues.

We play in the North West Counties Football League and on November 4th we play FC United at Stalybridge Celtic in our home game against them.

The are expecting to bring 3,000-4,000 to the game and we are trying to raise interest among the Blue 3/4 of Manchester to get a decent following for the team on the day. Our average home gate is less than 100.

City are away at Charlton and we are hoping that a few hundred of the fans who are not going South would like to follow a mini Blue team against a very Red team.

We play in sky blue and still have the old badge on our shirt.

Ticket details will be announced on our web site in the next week or so

Many thanks, Andy Kinsey <maineroadfc(at)>


17 September 2006

Chelsea               1 - 0  Liverpool             41,882
Manchester United     0 - 1  Arsenal               75,595
Blackburn Rovers      4 - 2  Manchester City       18,403
Tottenham Hotspur     0 - 0  Fulham                36,131
West Ham United       0 - 2  Newcastle United      34,938

16 September 2006

Charlton Athletic     0 - 1  Portsmouth            26,130
Bolton Wanderers      0 - 0  Middlesbrough         21,164
Everton               2 - 2  Wigan Athletic        37,117
Sheffield United      1 - 2  Reading
Watford               0 - 0  Aston Villa           18,620

League table to 17 September 2006 inclusive

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

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
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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 Radio Manchester (née 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 Plus Markets Group web site 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] I hear there is a TV programme specifically about City?

InsideMCFC is broadcasted by ChannelM. It is available on the SkyDigital (ch.203) and NTL (ch.26) platforms as well as being transmittedtraditionally within the Manchester area (ch.39). In addition, theprogramme is available to watch via the web. More details and schedule:

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 #1260