Newsletter #1270

Many thanks to Euan for doing a sterling job over the past couple of weeks in getting McV out.

We have the final part of Colin’s financial articles, together with plenty of opinion tonight on the state of the team, the club and the fans.

Next game: Middlesbrough, home, 8pm Monday 30 October 2006



This is (thankfully, you may say) the last in the series on the finances and accounts. I will summarise the position and give you some pointers to what to look for this week when the accounts are published. Before I get into the bones of this final article I’d just like to re-iterate why I did them. There was clearly a desire within parts of the City supporting community to understand the real financial state of the club. Much of this was due to a lack of detailed knowledge of financial issues. Published accounts of public companies are supposed to give investors relevant information on those companies’ finances but that only works if you understand what you’re looking at. I also understand that many people couldn’t care less. I never claimed to be an expert but I admire people that have the ability to simplify a complex subject.

In the first article I talked about the share structure of the club and who the major shareholders are. There are four holders of more than 3% of the company and many smaller shareholders. Since then the price has drifted and you can now buy shares for 24p each and sell for 21p. Anyone can buy the shares, via a stockbroker. The Supporters’ Trust have had enquiries about buying the shares and we plan to publish contact details of a stockbroker that has indicated that they will not require a minimum contract value (although there will be a small minimum commission charge). There have been no significant changes in shareholdings or the composition of the board since then.

The next article covered the structure of the annual report and the business of the AGM. I expressed concerns about aspects of the club’s corporate governance, namely that our chief executive is a member of the audit committee, in contravention of the major guidelines on the subject. The board had a very easy ride at the last one and while I don’t want a return to the friction of the latter days of Peter Swales’ reign, the board are there to be challenged.

Next up was an article about the stadium and the debts. The stadium is leased from Manchester City Council and the term of the lease is 250 years. We pay the council on a formula based mainly on attendances in excess of those achieved at Maine Road and the estimated total liability under the terms of the lease is shown in the balance sheet. The stadium is shown in the accounts as though we own it and this is correct under the applicable accounting standard. However, there are many unanswered questions about this topic and neither the club nor the council seem in a hurry to expand our knowledge.

I told you that we have two main sources of borrowing. The first is two long term loans secured on our future income streams and these are being paid back over 15 and 25 years. It was interesting to note that in his recent podcast, Alistair Mackintosh was saying that we have used the stadium for securitisation in contrast to what the accounts say. So there’s a question for the AGM.

The other source of borrowing is the loans from John Wardle and David Makin, totalling £19.2 million. These attract interest but we don’t pay it. John Wardle had to introduce an additional £7 million during the previous year and the suggestion is that this was required to replace the season ticket money that had to be ring-fenced and therefore we couldn’t use for operational purposes. This ring-fenced money was offset against our total debt but I would query whether this was really appropriate as much of the £7 million would be used to pay interest, rather than capital. So apart from a repayment of £2.2 million, being the first of two repayments of another outstanding debt, and £700,000 paid off one of the secured debts, our debts weren’t reduced. In fact they effectively increased with the introduction of the extra £7 million by John Wardle.

The fourth article looked at the Profit & Loss account and analysed the three main sources of income. Ticket receipts are actually third, behind TV and commercial income. Our wages were £37.7 million and around 62% of turnover. This is generally regarded as on the high side of acceptable in the crazy scheme of things in modern football but this was the sixth highest figure in the Premiership and we certainly didn’t see that translate into top six performance. I also explained the difference between cash and accounting transactions and tried to explain the concept of depreciation/amortisation. I also explained how we calculate the profit or loss on the sale of players and that, although we showed a large loss, this is not necessarily disastrous in the larger scheme of things.

In the fifth article on the Balance Sheet, I showed how the different types of assets and liabilities were set out and what some of the figures meant. The nature of how assets and liabilities were accounted for, which may not relate to their “true” value. Football clubs’ assets don’t reflect the market value of players so this can be misleading. Also the treatment of the stadium as though we own it tends to skew the balance sheet. Ideally, I would like the club to give us a clear and unequivocal statement about the actual value of the lease to us and what we can and can’t do with it. This could have a crucial bearing on our true financial position and as whether our actual asset value was greater or less than the value of our liabilities.

Finally, there was the cash flow situation. I explained that despite our huge £60 million income we struggled to generate any net cash and therefore this prejudiced our ability to sign players where the deal involved large cash payments. In a very speculative piece, I also made the assertion that I believed our day-to-day cash flow meant we had to renew season tickets so early as we were short of cash by that time and, if I was right, this could be a major problem if we were in trouble at that time and many people were reluctant to renew.

If you want a really good bullet point summary of the 2005 figures, please read David Hamer’s report in MCIVTA 1186.

So that’s a brief look back but what about the accounts we should see this week? I hope they’re better than the performance against Wigan.

2006 Pointers

I will be doing something on these when they see the light of day but would encourage everyone to have a good look themselves and ask questions, based on what you hopefully now know. What should you be looking for?

Read the Chairman’s Statement carefully. He talked about the proceeds of the SWP sale in 2005 (even though it was in the following financial year). There were clues even then that investment in the squad and reduction of the unsecured debt were not high on the list and that much of the cash might well be spent on more mundane purposes. He should be spelling that out in detail this year, as well as telling us what the board’s strategy is going forward.

Something else to look for will be in the Directors’ Report. Look for the make up of the Audit Committee, which should consist of two, suitably qualified, independent non-executive directors. If one of those is still Alistair Mackintosh then serious questions need to be asked of the board and our auditors. I know I am not alone in being concerned about this. I have heard that the board consider that they have sufficient numbers and experience to do their job but if they can’t find a suitably qualified non-executive to sit on the Audit Committee then they clearly haven’t.

The accounts should show an overall profit but this will be mostly due to the sale of SWP for a guaranteed £21 million. This is pure profit as he cost us nothing. Take that out and see where that leaves us. Look at operating profit and the breakdown of income and the level of wages. Fowler, McManaman, Bosvelt, Tarnat, and Anelka all left before or during the financial year and you would expect the wage bill to have been reduced significantly. But comments from Mackintosh recently suggest it hasn’t, so where’s the money going?

Compare gate and commercial income to the previous year. It wouldn’t surprise me if gate income has fallen. Now any normal business seeing their receipts fall would reduce prices or otherwise offer better value to attract customers. But what do football clubs do – increase prices, that’s what. City also angered season ticket holders like me by stopping our exclusive period for claiming cup tickets.

The level of debt is clearly a key item of concern. What we need to know is how much we still owe Wardle and Makin. Last year it was £14.7 million to Wardle and £4.5 million to Makin. The big question is whether any of the SWP money has been used to repay any part of these loans. This can be easier said than done but the answers can be found in the note on Borrowings listed under Shareholder Loans so read these carefully.

Finally, look at the cash flow statement. We had a huge influx from the SWP sale so take that out to see how we actually did over the year. It is a complicated statement to read but you need to work out how much cash we have generated (and it should include the SWP money so take that out) and how much of that has been because we managed our money well or because it had to be introduced via loans or other external financing.

I hoped you have enjoyed these articles. I’ve had direct and indirect feedback from a great number of people. That has ranged from the “So what” camp (thank you Mr Heavis) to some that claimed my articles were too simplistic. The latter charge has a ring of truth to it but I don’t have the knowledge to satisfy people in that camp and it wasn’t aimed at them anyway. But most has been supportive and appreciative and if I’ve helped just a few people to cast a more informed eye over our accounts then I’ve achieved what I set out to do. I may well have got things totally wrong or missed something obvious and, in one case at least, I jumped to an incorrect conclusion until corrected but I never promised you that I was a financial wizard.

I also started these well before I got involved with the attempt to form a supporters’ trust and these articles are totally separate from that activity. However, there is a clear connection between the two. As a supporter and shareholder I want to understand what the board are doing to bring success (or avoid failure) and how we are building for the future. If I believe that the board is doing the best it can for my club then I will support them wholeheartedly and so should we all. I would love to be able to walk away from the AGM thinking that the board had been giving a good grilling but had succeeded in convincing us that they were on the right path. So December 7th (as I hear the AGM will be) should be interesting.

My sincere thanks to those who took the time to read and disseminate them and also to the handful of people who really helped me to understand what I was looking at. And, of course, to MCIVTA for publishing them.

[Thank you, Colin, for taking the time to research and write them – Ed]

Colin savage <colin(at)>


Player verdict

That was the most dire excuse of a performance as I’ve ever seen. It ranks alongside QPR à la Jamie Pollock or Lincoln City pre-Morrison. I exonerate Barton and Johnson performance-wise. Similarly, the set up of Richards and Mills, given their youth and experience, was just wrong. It must have said to Mills I don’t think you’re good enough to play the place we’ve bought you for, so go to an ‘easier’ position. What message will Richards take from it? He’d be a better partner for Barton and provide desire in the middle than he is as centre half.

Dunne had a proper bad day at the office. He has, however, given enough to this club to believe that it will hurt deeply. His usual reliability deserting him in an inexperienced set up. I like Dunney and have seen enough of him not to kick the boot in.

The rest were bad. Even Weaver. Not for the goals, but the lack of urgency. He has enough in his locker to want to speed the game up. He has the ability to be better and requires more time to get properly fit at this level. He currently looks 80% of the ‘keeper he was and to be talking about England says more for the state of English ‘keeping. Jamo being the stand out option for me, still. He never let City down on the pitch – that’s not to say he hasn’t by moving along with our former no.9.

The jury has been out on Corradi. Yesterday, my jury made up its mind. He was woeful and needs taking out of the side.

Samaras is not and will never be a left midfielder. He is finding it hard

enough to be the centre forward he always will be. Ineffective yesterday. Let him learn his trade up front.

Hamman is Steve McManaman all over again. Pay his contract up and send him packing to MLS with Reyna as soon as possible.

Sinclair has not had a game in the last three years to justify £2 million and the salary we pay him. He was hiding as always. The odd game he has had, when the rest of the team has played well, is the minimum performance he should be giving every week. He is not good enough to be a senior pro at City and this display was another in a string to make the point.

I feel for Jordan. Blue through and through and gives his all. He didn’t play well, but as his mate who rang in to GMR pointed out, he is being asked to run the left side of the whole pitch. Samaras did drop back, but it only seemed to add to the confusion, rather than relieve any pressure.

Vassell looked to add a new dimension early on. He soon tired. Not unexpectedly, but he soon needs to rediscover the England form if he is to have a future here.

To my horror, I found myself willing Dickov to be brought on. The very source of me picking and choosing – you may recall I said that I would send my season ticket back if we sign him. I had to eat my words, but resolved to pick and choose this year, rather than the usual blind loyalty. His performance was shocking, embarrassing and the reason I have never thought him fit to wear City’s shirt, and I include the Gillingham game. He is not good enough to play.

I don’t fault his commitment to be, say, a good coach. However, running round not been able to catch opposition players, whinging at anyone who’ll take notice of him and starting a running battle with the ref is just plain embarrassing. I noted Leighton Baines ignoring him after a crass challenge and just getting on with the free kick. He is there to be ignored. Of his cross which did hit a defender’s arm, he should have broke the net from 9 yards. He has never had the ability to do that. I feel he covers his limited ability by bemoaning the ref. Chasing players down was his only suit, a quality not lost on the one and only Shaun Goater. He does not even have the pace for that today.

The performance proves we should not be affording to let a performer like Distin go. However, we cannot afford to keep players who just want to be where the money is. To regenerate a set of players hungry for success for Manchester City I would see him go. He now embodies the Murdoch era of football we are in. A once firm favourite of mine – take note Joey you are in the same boat. Oh for the £2 million needed to sign the class of DvB who wanted to play for us. He has since moved on at £6 million cash profit for Hamburg, but what price their status?

We are not playing as a team. If we had prepared a week for that, I am not sure what had been observed. Wigan were woeful and will be at the bottom come the end of season. We were significantly worse.

Fan Verdict

I saw many of the usual suspects yesterday. Faces who were at Mansfield in the Full Members or whatever it was. The bare bones and even they questioning why they were there. Let’s not kid ourselves that prices kept the fans away. People would still beg, borrow or steal to see a Paul Simpson trying his nuts off for the cause; a Garry Flitcroft giving it all for the shirt; a Mike Doyle or Doris Power every time they played, for ferks sake! 100% is the minimum commitment, you don’t have to have the ability of Gio Kinkladze to have the fans behind you.

The whole Wigan experience was surreal. A competitive first team game being played with all the sprirt and support of a pre-season. 1980 City tickets sold. We sold two and half times that for the last visit. The same 50% has fallen off the Blackburn following. People are now voting with their feet. The loyalty having been betrayed by underinvestment and greed. Football is about much, much more than money; and yet that is the be all and end all of football today. Horrific.

Yesterday was the first time I have realised we have such a poor away following. I should have twigged at Chelsea. I didn’t go to Blackburn or Everton. I would have been ashamed of saying that as recently as last year. However, as a supporter, am I now expected to give my all in supporting a team of players who at best are using us a stepping stone. We are Manchester City! Nothing less than the best should be expected.

I suspect that is the reason many over-loyal fans have stopped turning out. It’s just too much. We are down to a hard core, who can afford the prices, being asked to make mugs of themselves in supporting players who clearly are not arsed. The one thing that I cannot abide is disloyalty. I expect every player in a Blue shirt to want to succeed with City and make a success of the club, in turn themselves. Not the other way round. Generationally, the penny is dropping.

We are Manchester City! Yet most now have seen nothing more than a laughing stock with flitting significant wins. A significant minority who resorted to ‘We’re Shit and We Know We Are’ to and in response to Wigan can also get to ferk. That was a real nadir, a point where I question the years I’ve given my all in following my team, Manchester City! You lot singing that were a real embarrassment, along with the team.

My expectations still are of a team capable of challenging for every game they play. So too, I expect that of the fans. I know it’s good money people have paid. But I do not want to be part of a support who caves to anyone, let alone Wigan. ‘You’re Not Fit To Where The Shirt’ never more appropriate, ‘We’re Gonna Win The League’ part of famed humour; but capitulation on and off the field is well below what I expect of being a Blue.

The Board

I do not think it is all down to the manager. I think he has strong potential and I would love to see him at the head in 10 years. But surrounded by the ilk of Wigley and Fazackerly he will not get us out of our current malaise.

It’s easy in hindsight to trace things back to the Fowler/Bernstein. However, too many said it at the time. Fowler/The Goat, the same. For me now, today, this whole shambles has to be laid at an under ambitious, under investing and mismanaging board. I’ve not forgotten the embarrassment of wearing the shirt for a full year with the name of a defunct company on; or raising hopes in buying supposed class to be followed by not being able to muster £2 million for the aforementioned DvB.

Pearce for all his faults could be the mainstay of a successful outfit, if he wasn’t shopping in Primark. Alright you might get the odd decent bit of clobber on the cheap. However, you also get a wardrobe crock full of s**t. That’s what we have.

Selling SWP sent out the message to our Academy, ‘when you’re good enough, you can move on’. Is that what all the loyal fans patiently watch and support our Academy protégés for? No.

With no obvious replacement, Sinclair has had an easy ride. Fit and you play, no matter how abject a performance. A senior pro on senior wages, yet goes hiding and is often outshone by younger and hungrier players in the team.

Whilst Anelka eventually resorted to type, his skill and class were neither replaced or built on whilst he was at the club.

Too many people have gone unaccountable for their mistakes. What is our scouting system doing? Graham Carr, is he still there? Since 2002, the buys have been shocking and unrelenting. It’s only for the Academy that we have anything to support. Good prospects need complementing with proven quality. Not necessarily on the cheap either. Our scouting system is the mainstay of every makeshift agent world over. Repeated failure without admonishment.

The set up we have is reaping what it has sewn. I commend Wardle and Makin for stepping up when they did, but we need funds to replace quality. Not capitulation from dross. Si recently replaced the adage, ‘you can’t make a silk purse from a Sow’s ear’ with ‘You Can’t Polish A T#rd’. Never was it more apt.

My answer. Lower ticket prices, and fill stadiums to increase revenue. Take calculated risk, not blind faith in unproven players. We have kids better than most of the European class we’ve had to endure. Seek hedge fund funding, not new buyers. 20% of the £500 million investment secured over the road to fund Glazer would give any hedge fund a much better return and a team for the supporters to support. I am not sure we have the board to do this. Like our team they lack creativity, bottle and ambition. Is that a coincidence?

Well p****d off.

Whatever you do, stay Blue!

Dave Clinton <daveclinton(at)>


I’m sure there’ll be plenty of debate regarding the Wigan episode. The only word I can think of to summarise city on Saturday is pathetic!

Can anybody out there tell me how many own goals Dunne has scored whilst in a city shirt? Is he in the Guinness Book of Records? Will he be bringing his own video out in time for Christmas?

You’ve got to laugh I suppose. I urge anybody with a couple of spare minutes to go on YouTube and type in Jamie Pollock in the search box. Now that really was a classic. Also see the Chris Brass own goal. Brilliant!

If you’ve got a bit more time try Kinkladze or Goater – it will bring back lots of happy memories and help to erase the memories of the Wigan nightmare. Be warned it can be quite addictive and you can spend ages on the site.

Another question: Has any other Premier League team ever found themselves 2-0 down within 3 minutes of the start of a Premier League game? What has happened to Pearce’s ability to motivate? Samaras on the left wing is about as much use as the legendary “Buster” Phillips.

Steve Horton <stehorts(at)>


Gee you poor beggars, supporting both England and City. Thank goodness the match was delayed till 7.30 am on Sky. Would have been spitting chips if I had to get up in the early hours to watch that rabble. The cardboard cut out we have of a striker!

Where to from here? Well I guess life goes on and it’s a holiday in New Zealand tomorrow, but the buck stops at Stuart Pearce. We complained about some of Kevin Keegan’s signings and now the same must be said for Stuart Pearce. Some wouldn’t even grace a Sunday league team in New Zealand let alone in the Premiership. I often wonder about a player that has had plenty of clubs, never stays long as any of them; why should we sign him, and if as reported we have one of the highest wage bills in the Premiership, I think we should be looking at the trades descriptions act! The problem with English football as I see it over here, is that there’s too many foreign players plying their trade and only about half of them as any good.

Are they better than a young English player? Someone from the lower divisions? It seems that ‘buying foreign’ is the name of the game now. Where are all the English players in the Premiership? There used to be one or two foreign players in a team, now there are one or two English players in a team, sometimes none. Klinsmann and Ardiles could really play, some of the ones signed these days, well I think are a complete waste of time and money!

Oh well, there’s always next week. Have many times have we said that?

P.S. City fans are everywhere, I was walking in a shopping mall wearing the red and black away shirt, when a guy came up to me and said, “that was the best shirt” he’d seen. He was from Manchester no less.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Well, yet another miserable performance on Saturday, with a justifiable end-result. In all fairness, an apparently good, solid job, by a well-prepared Wigan outfit.

What a complete shambles put out by Manchester City!

No doubt there will be complaints from some that the players were subject to boos when leaving the pitch; but, quite honestly, what can the players and club rightfully expect, when those on the field serve up this dross – all at the monetary expense and not-insignificant amount time spent by the travelling fans?

The attending fans have a right to their opinions and also a right to voice their opinions, surely; perhaps today not in the most constructive of ways but, once again, the players are not being too constructive on the pitch. It all begins and ends with the players.

I feel the fans do indeed have every right to vent their displeasure by shouting out “You’re not fit to wear the shirt!” etc. Not that this gets through to the players, though, is evident enough but at least it allows the fans to vent their displeasure, somewhat, when justified.

Overpaid and underperforming seems to be the way, now, for some players of today. For how much longer, though, will the public put up with this?

It’s a pity City’s players, at least, are not paid according to their performance, via consistent and realistic base-pay levels, together with appropriate win/draw bonuses; if the way they paid was truly reflected in they pay cheques, I believe you’d see the City players playing rather differently than of today. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out, due to the business mentality of today.

Stuart Pearce and his staff have, once again, got their work cut out for them during next week’s training. Something has to be done and quickly, to stop the rot.

Graham Mills <ride4311(at)>


The game versus Wigan must go down as one of the worst games of football that City have ever played.

It’s easy to say that the two goals inside four minutes took it out of the City players, but there was never any fight back, and the quality of the football played by City was embarrassing.

I remember some years back the New Orleans Saints in the NFL, were playing so bad and could never win a game, but the fans never did boo the team; instead the New Orleans Saint fans showed up at the games with large brown bags over their heads. Maybe our City fans should do the same thing until we get a team that goes out to win games, and plays some decent football.

I tried so hard to find something positive about this game, and all I could come up with was the referee’s final whistle to give me some relief from the torture of watching such a game.

Sorry but I am probably too kind with my words compared with those used by some City fans who travelled to Wigan and paid to see the game, I feel sorry for them.

Whatever, always stay Blue.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I have to add to last week’s MCIVTA subject about the Scouting system. John Hetherington asked about City’s scouting network in Ireland, which I hope is better than in Scotland, where I believe City have done away with watching schoolboy players. I emailed the Academy earlier this year, regarding a player I have watched locally for the last 3 years. As I am involved in youth football in Aberdeen, I believe this lad is a “cut above the rest” and well worth having a look at. Despite giving my time to inform City about the player, I did not even receive a courtesy email back from the club, which would have taken 2 minutes even if they were not interested.

The lad has since been invited to train with Rangers and spent 3 days of the mid-term holidays training with the Glasgow team. He obviously impressed the right people and instead of returning to Aberdeen on the Friday, he was invited to stay in Glasgow over the weekend and play in a youth gixture against Celtic on the Sunday. This lad already had “feelings” for City having visited Carrington, done the Stadium and Museum Tour and watched City beat Liverpool 1-0 (Musampa last minute) while visiting Manchester with his boys club. However, City’s loss looks to be Rangers’ gain and I for one am saddened by the non response from “my” club.

I am not knocking the Academy who do a fantastic job but there are a lot of good, young players worth looking at in Scotland and in my opinion City should be showing an interest.

Ian Bell <Kylsandra(at)>


To J. Heavis, your comments drove me to put fingers to keyboard.

Let us consider what a “fan” is. Is “fan” short for fanatic; somebody who has an obsessive enthusiasm for something or someone? If so, I was a “fan” for nearly seven years when I didn’t miss a single home or away game in 327, and that included Lokeren and Groclin away, along with the Millwall away game where City fans were banned. I used up most of my annual leave on half days here and there travelling to and from away games. City took priority over family holidays. Don’t tell my wife, but my obsession meant I probably spent over £1,500 a season being a “fan”, buying a programme at every match, buying all the shirts, shorts and socks (I have around 30 different City replica shirts at the moment). The thing that kept me (and the other four in my car) going to the far ends of the country on cold Tuesday nights, was because we felt we had an empathy with the club but more importantly the players. Also, football was fun, matches were exiting, when City lost it was because the other team played better than us, and our players generally showed 100% passion to the club. Somehow, money wasn’t a factor because we weren’t in the Land of Milk and Honey for years. We had real heroes like Shaun Goater and Shaun Wright-Phillips. We are talking 1997 to 2004 “ish” here, when the club was promoted or relegated six seasons out of seven; when it was nigh on impossible to get a ticket for an away game unless you hadn’t missed any of the last ten.

Credit is due to the Board for not dismantling the team when we were relegated after one season in the top flight, and appointing Kevin Keegan who took us back at the first attempt when we won the First Division Title under King Kev.

But then it all changed, probably after that final game at Maine Road. Local lad Jon Macken became our record signing. Then the rot began to set in when Keegan started making up the squad numbers with overpaid foreign journeymen that you’d never heard of. Sadly Stuart Pearce has continued the trend, albeit without being given the “wedge” that Keegan had. There were exceptions of course with the likes of Ali Benarbia (the law of averages says if you buy enough lottery tickets you are bound to win a prize sometime). But because we were now in the PL (Promised Land or Premier League – take your pick) it was like we’ve got to buy big and pay big wages, and the club thought that the early full houses would continue forever. The signing of Anelka was good and bad. Good that we’d bought a world class player that raised the profile of the club, but bad that we were splashing the cash and playing Russian Roulette (without a Russian to bankroll us). It was at this point that I worried about the long term future of the club. I had got serious. I have said it before here, but in my opinion the blackest day in the recent history of the club was when we signed Fowler and our best Chairman in years left along with Chris Bird. Anelka, a model professional and thoroughly nice (but shy) bloke to those who came into contact with him, seemed to have his nose pushed out by Fowler, and all of a sudden players’ wages seemed to become the talking point, and no doubt a source of discontent in the dressing room.

It was here that I started to lose interest, as did many others. After a brief fling in Europe, and two or three consecutive seasons in the Premier League, it was becoming clear to the “fans” that the only thing that mattered to every Premiership club was to finish fourth from bottom or higher to keep receiving the Sky money, so we could pay the wages of good old Robbie and the other recent imports. The price of away tickets for the likes of Birmingham bloody City reached £40, and “fans” began to question the value they were getting for their hard-earned money, and many reluctantly stopped going to away games. The home attendances began to fall as some season ticket holders didn’t renew, and I decided to stop being a “fan” when asked to cough up £35 to sit in the Arthur Wait stand at Palace (complete with five portaloos to serve 2,500 City “fans”. This stand wouldn’t look out of place on the Antiques Roadshow.

With my obsession broken, I returned to being a “supporter” (unless J. Heavis tells me differently), and continued to “support” the club financially by renewing the two season tickets I have for my son and I, but picking and choosing my away games (no financial loss to City as I saw it). I continued to “support” the team vocally by attending every home game and almost all the away games, even though the entertainment factor was diminishing. Nonetheless we renewed last season and I went to Doncaster to keep my proud record of not missing a City Cup game since 1998, only to be humiliated. We went to Oz last October and I missed my first home games for eight years, but didn’t feel in the least bit sad or guilty.

As we all know, last season ended on a downer, but too late for most of us who had already renewed for this season. The way this season has started, combined with the atmosphere surrounding the club, the lack of commitment and passion shown by most (not all) the players, and lack of communication from the club about its financial strategy, has resulted in many thousands of unhappy City fans. I just couldn’t be ar*ed going to Chesterfield (the right decision as it turned out), and so my last “run” has ended. I haven’t bought either of the new shirts yet either, which even amazes me.

After reading Colin Savage’s excellent articles, I think I speak for most City fans when I say that I am eternally grateful to John Wardle and David Makin for their financial support of the club (I dread to think where we might be now without them). However, I think they should know that there may well be a cashflow problem next February, because my son and I will not be renewing our season tickets, along with almost every season ticket holder I speak to. The recorded attendances mask the truth because all season ticket holders are included in the count even if none of us turned up. If the attendance were those entering the ground on match day, we would have recorded an attendance of less than 40,000 by now.

The club need to make a statement on their “strategy”. Is it to survive another season in the Premiership and wipe out the debt? That would appeal to me, because I couldn’t bear to think about life without Manchester City, but I would speed up the process by reducing the wage bill too. Stop importing these money-grabbing nobodies on Bosmans, get rid of the disruptive want-aways like Barton and put your faith in the kids who have something to prove and something to repay to the club for supporting them through the Academy. Give them long term contracts to restore some stability to the place. The worst that could happen is that the club is relegated, but at least we’d go down fighting, and it will get the fans behind the team again, knowing the passion has returned. Parity of salaries will return once the last of the big earners has gone, meaning team spirit will be optimised. This plan might bring hope, because at this precise moment there is none!

This wouldn’t make me change my mind about renewing next season by the way. That’s partly because going to live football matches is a habit, and I am out of the habit. I now play golf every weekend, spending some of the money saved by not attending away games. It’s partly because there is far too much live football on the TV and I know I can probably watch City live in the pub, or on my PC. It’s partly because there is too much money being pumped into football but being sucked out again. It’s partly because of the teams in the Premiership. I am not motivated to sit watching matches other than against United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, so I will pick and choose my games and save money, meaning that the Ticket Store and Marketing will have their work cut out to get people to the games.

Will I still be a “supporter” then J. Heavis? Or perhaps just a “follower”, or “admirer”, or “devotee”, or “enthusiast”, or “aficionado”?

P.S. I have never left a match before the final whistle.

Steve Kay <steve(at)>


I cannot believe the comment of “Does everybody else quickly scan through the boring financial reports?” made by J Heavis in the last issue of MCIVTA.

Colin has obviously put a huge amount of time and effort into constructing those reports and I for one have found them very interesting. If fact far more interesting than your pointless “Stop Moaning” contribution. Just because you don’t have the mental capacity to understand his reports doesn’t mean to say they rest of us don’t enjoy them. Thanks Colin, I appreciate your work.

David Bowl <dbowl(at)>


No, I’m not referring to the Keystone Kops pairing we have up front, who spent most of yesterday at Wigan slipping over at the most inappropriate moments, but to the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud who is attributed with the saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

So are we all insane? For years fans of Manchester City would argue “Absolutely, how else could we cope with supporting this club?” but on a serious note, I see few signs of a different result as we just keep doing the same things over and over again. So how can we possibly expect to get a different result?

This on the back of yet another away trip, another defeat, another performance with as much predictability as rain falling in Manchester and Chelsea buying anyone who is remotely linked to them. The tag of ‘away day losers’ is proving ever more difficult to shift with performances and attitudes like we saw at Wigan. Charlton fans – have no fear, we are on our way. Predictable, you see.

So what are we doing differently to engender a different result? This is a serious question, because if things don’t start to change, our run of 1 win in 16 away games becomes 1 in 20, 25, 30 because we won’t get a different result and where will that leave us come April/May?

When clubs have needed that different result, the obvious action to change has throughout the ages been a change of manager. But for every example of success – Aston Villa this year, same players, change of manager, different result – there is also an example of regression, Charlton at present. So we could go either way. For the record, I desperately want Pearce to be successful. Sick of the revolving door that has for so long been synonymous with MCFC, a period of stability is so needed and I would love a crystal ball to see how we would be getting on in say 5 years’ time with him still at the helm. But with Freud’s words ringing in my ears, no change same (poor) results.

I don’t run a club, I don’t profess to know the answers, but should Pearce be looking for some experienced assistance and help? Remember by managerial standards, his reign is still in its infancy and he’s far from mastering his trade as results are showing. I don’t want to see Pearce go, but something about the management of the football team needs to change – and I am not counting on Beanie.

As for the playing staff, well wouldn’t you and I just love to get stuck in and ring the changes? But we are where we are, at least until January, although reading Colin’s excellent articles, I think we may be about where we are in February too. So if we can’t get that different result by physically changing the players, then what can we change?

Again, I don’t profess to be the master tactician, but we are so telegraphed in what we do that no wonder other teams can pick us off. I don’t know of a single other club that allows the same player to take every single free kick and corner with the same predictable result. What happened to left foot out-swingers, right foot in-swingers? I know Joey likes to be seen as a leader and, fair play to him, he does shoulder a lot of responsibility during 90 minutes but come on, who really gets excited when we have a corner or a set play 30 yards from an opponents’ goal? We have lost a lot of the guile and craft that used to create chances and has made us a team that struggles for a Plan B, as was evident yesterday and so many times this year. Plan B involves change (there we go again) and we seem unable to find it.

I’m sure the emotions will be running high after yesterday and that there will be some calling for the most radical of radical changes, I hope that when the players and Stuart get together in a day or two that some sensible thought is given to what can be done differently. Because folks, unless we all condemn ourselves to the nuthouse and admit insanity, doing nothing is not an option.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

Let sanity prevail. I look forward to MCIVTA’s thoughts on change.

Mike Sokol <mike.sokol(at)>


To the guy who said I had no right to critisize Stuart Pearce (some months ago) because I didn’t have the qualifications, I’d just like to say that I still haven’t got my coaching badges or what have you. I bided my time. I hope he’s satisfied with City’s ‘progress’ under Pearce (with all his paper qualifications) – because you only have to look at the websites to see hardly anyone else is. This team with Pearce and Wigley in charge are a total shambles. To lose 4-0 to Wigan Athletic is a disgrace. Have City improved since last season? Well we have beaten Arsenal I suppose but from that I see we have scored 6 league goals this season while our wonderful manager has allowed 2 strikers to leave – if Boro can tell various suitors that Viduka is simply not for sale we could have said the same about Andy Cole. It is very interesting that some senior professionals have not wanted to remain at the club – James and Cole had good relations with the supporters as has Distin. Presumably it’s not only cash that motivated them. If they thought we weren’t in for another season of struggle they might well have stayed. Pearce’s moves in the transfer market are proving disastrous – the players appear to be injury prone and they were acquired so late that it’s been difficult to integrate them in to the team. Pearce insists on playing players out of position even after they’ve produced in their preferred position (Samaras). He persists with players who just do not perform (Sinclair) and then bloods juniors in a game against Wigan who everyone knows are a very physical team. Chris Waddle on Radio 5 Live commented that City were unbalanced (Samaras wide left? I ask you!) – were simple long ball merchants and were headed downwards. I’m sure there’ll be contributors on here who say they still have faith in Pearce – why, God only knows. Good luck to them, I say. If we keep Pearce and Wigley in charge we will be relegated. The only good thing Pearce has done is to have got rid of Sibierski (plays for Newcastle only occasionally). Apart from that we are a team in decline. If we lose Distin in the January transfer window what’s the bet Micah and Joey will be next out of the door? Time to get shot now before Pearce does to us what he did to Forest.

Ian Burgess <i.burgess1(at)>


I thought about putting my feelings about the Sheffield United game in, but managed to control myself However, enough is enough! How long are we going to have to put up with this passionless, clueless, couldn’t care less so-called bunch of footballers we have got at the moment? We have a manager who oozed passion out of every pore when he played the game and I believe he still does, but why can he not get his team playing the same way?

Another thing that is driving me nuts is why are we playing Samaras on the left when we need goals?
Why does Barton take all the dead balls when he is crap at them?
Why do we hoof the ball up the field at every opportunity when even Sheffield United tried to pass it through the midfield?
Why when we hoof the ball up the pitch is there no-one within 30 yards of the forward receiving the ball?
Why do our central midfielders believe that, when the opposition have the ball, that they should go and stand with our defence, leaving the opposition to pass the ball around?
Why have we no pace on the wings? Or, barring Vassell, Why do we have no pace?
Why is the ball like a hot potato to our players when it comes to them?

I could go on but what is the point? The problem I have is that these faults have been there for all to see for a long time. The questions I have posed also show problems with the manager: lack of pace, lack of tactics, persisting with crap players. They also show problems with the coaching, hoofing the ball, lack of a passing game, hopeless dead ball moves. They also show lack of leadership on the pitch, midfielders standing with the defence. All around, I am afraid to say we look a team doomed to relegation, and it is not for lack of decent players, it is a lack of attitude, tactics and confidence. I know we currently have a lot of players injured but surely the players we have are good enough to beat the likes of Sheffield United and Wigan; obviously not.

I am afraid that this all leads to the manager. I say afraid as I am a Stuart Pearce fan, and would love him to turn it around, but he has to do it soon. He has to drop Corradi and Jordan, sell or get rid of Reyna and Thatcher and in January find players who have real pace and ability for wings. Our biggest problem is the paper thin squad, just 24 outfield players, 10 of which are listed as defenders. With a fully fit squad we could go with Isaakson, Trabelsi, Dunne, Distin, Onuoha at the back, and wouldn’t be a bad defensive line up. Samaras and Vassell up front, pace and height but there is still the doubt about goals. However, in midfield I could only say that I would have Richards on right side of the centre midfield, and that is our biggest problem. Our midfield, and check the City website, is rubbish or we have not seen enough of them to know for sure but let’s say we went with Sinclair on the right, I know all about his weaknesses but who do we have? Richards and Dabo in the centre, this could actually give us strength in the centre and in Richards a player who might actually run with the ball and get in the box supporting the forwards, and I suppose it’s a choice between Beasley and Miller on the left. Now that side does not look too bad, in fact we could frighten a good few sides with it, but who would we have on the bench? This is another major problem because not many of the remaining defenders are good enough and certainly not the two remaining forwards. Midfield there are those who would argue for Barton, though not me, and Hamman to be on the bench, but his lack of pace goes against him. So now we are bringing the kids through, I only hope that the current situation does not have a detrimental effect on them and the come through and kick us on, because we need to start winning soon or I truly believe we will be relegated on our current form.

If Stuart is to turn it around he needs to stick with 4-4-2; we just look disjointed playing 4-5-1 and the forward is isolated. He needs to instil his passion into them; it was suggested in our pub that he could knock seven bells out of one of the team as an example of what would happen if they did not perform – Jordan was a popular choice. The team need to talk to one another, no make that shout at one another and show that they are a team with passion and not a bunch of losers who are taking the money and the p**s out of the club.

I am not looking forward to the Middlesbrough match, as I believe we could have the lowest Premiership gate since the move to the COMS, and we know the match is hardly going to be a thriller. But I hope they surprise us and do a typical City and put in a performance just when you don’t expect it.

Please Psycho gives us a team and a performance, with passion and ability, that we can be proud of, prove all the doubters wrong, and I am afraid that I will be joining them if things don’t change, and turn it around. Get rid of the chaff, and bring in some real class in January.

Just don’t give us any more crap performances.

CTID or top myself to end this misery, Steve Hunt <steve.hunt803(at)>


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: get rid of Sylvain Distin. How can anyone believe he is any good? Let Dunney run the defence with some of our younger players who will show some pride.

Once he has gone we will see he is just another player taking a wage. Yes he will be better somewhere else.

Sam Duxbury <member(at)>


The trouble with this Manchester City team is that there are too many “has beens” in the team who have a contract with high wages. These players do not have that hunger to improve for they are just playing out their last days of football whilst collecting a high wage, laughing all the way to the bank.

When the transfer window opens, if John Wardle, Bryan Bodek, Alistair Macintosh, Dennis Tueart, and Company do not help Stuart Pearce to bring in some talent who have that hunger to improve, it will take its toll on the club, it’s a case of pay the piper now, or a lot more later on.

The Academy have some young talent coming through, but we cannot wait until they are all ready for the first team. At least Stuart Pearce is ready to give players like Michael Johnson a game; pity that the first game he was selected to play in was with older players who never showed up to play.

We are terrible away, in fact pathetic; at home the defence has been playing well not to concede a goal, but the strikeforce cannot score.

Improvement is called for.

Come on you Blues.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


In response to Dave Lees’ article I have to say I can’t agree more!

Being a die hard Blue, I currently live in Germany and have a season ticket for DSC Arminia Bielefeld. Now they’re not the greatest club by any means and are a bit ‘City’-esque but the great thing about home games (and away too) is the atmosphere created! Half an hour before Kick off, the ground’s packed, drums beating, songs blaring out etc. and it really is quite impressive. I attended the Portsmouth game earlier this season and the atmosphere was a bit of a let down. I used to love going to Maine Road and for want of a better cliché when the north stand along with the Kippax started singing it made the hairs on the back of your neck stand! We need to create that atmosphere again.

Personally, I don’t like the club’s ideas on standing etc. There should be an allocated space i.e. next to the away fans where the club say if you want to sing, stand etc. that’s the place to go. After all, the rest of the stadium are likely to join in with the chants then. It’s a great stadium but there’s no fear factor there – away fans make more noise at times. I went to the 4-1 derby game and the atmosphere there was amazing and it should be like that every week. I don’t think it’s solely the fans that are to blame, I think it’s club politics etc. but we need to recreate the atmosphere left behind at Maine Road.

Ideally the Premier League should bring back standing – look at the Bundesliga: all stadiums have standing, there’s never any problems, and it really does create an awesome atmosphere.

Like Dave said – arrive a bit earlier, soak up the atmosphere, join in with the singing and make COMS a place to be feared. That’s got to have a positive effect on the team!

Matt Cummings <mcfc1985(at)>


People might be interested in the attached from an Arsenal site, which has been passed on to me, but this issue affects all football fans.

Ray Wentland <quixotic(at)>


I’m desperately in need of help in securing a ticket for the Liverpool game in Anfield as I doubt there will be any left for general sale. I’ll be in Liverpool for that weekend with a group of about 20 guys who all support Liverpool. Is there anyone out there with a spare ticket who can help me out? Not trying to be greedy but if I could get 2 tickets that would be even better. A friend who dislikes the ‘Pool also wants to see the ‘Pool being beaten and will be supporting City with me for the day.

Alternatively is there any season ticket holder who will not be applying for tickets that could apply for me? Please email me if anyone can be of assistance.

Thank you, Paul Connor <paul.connor(at)>


What can anybody tell me about the latest of our youngsters to break through, midfielder Michael Johnson, and who would you liken him to?

Peter Carlisle, Bangkok <Carlisle(at)>


The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is on Wednesday 8th November at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport, at 8.00pm, and our confirmed guests for the evening are the one and only Colin Bell and Ian Cheeseman from BBC Radio Manchester.

Admission is free to branch members on production of their current membership card, non-members are £2 for adults and a £1 for kids – as always everyone is very welcome.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


22 October 2006

Manchester United     2 - 0  Liverpool             75,828
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  West Ham United       36,162
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      27,662
Middlesbrough         1 - 0  Newcastle United      30,060
Reading               0 - 4  Arsenal               24,004

21 October 2006

Wigan Athletic        4 - 0  Manchester City       16,235
Charlton Athletic     0 - 0  Watford               27,011
Chelsea               2 - 1  Portsmouth            41,838
Everton               2 - 0  Sheffield United      37,900
Aston Villa           1 - 1  Fulham                30,919

League table to 22 October 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd   9  4  0  1 10  2  3  1  0  9  3  7  1  1  19   5  14  22
 2 Chelsea          9  4  1  0  9  3  3  0  1  6  2  7  1  1  15   5  10  22
 3 Bolton Wndrs     9  3  1  0  5  0  3  1  1  5  4  6  2  1  10   4   6  20
 4 Arsenal          8  2  2  0  8  2  3  0  1  7  2  5  2  1  15   4  11  17
 5 Portsmouth       9  3  0  1  6  1  2  1  2  7  4  5  1  3  13   5   8  16
 6 Everton          9  3  2  0 10  4  1  2  1  5  4  4  4  1  15   8   7  16
 7 Aston Villa      9  3  2  0  8  3  0  4  0  3  3  3  6  0  11   6   5  15
 8 Fulham           9  2  1  1  4  4  1  3  1  7 10  3  4  2  11  14  -3  13
 9 Reading          9  2  1  2  5  8  2  0  2  4  4  4  1  4   9  12  -3  13
10 Blackburn R.     9  2  1  2  7  7  1  2  1  2  4  3  3  3   9  11  -2  12
11 Liverpool        9  3  1  0  8  2  0  1  4  1  9  3  2  4   9  11  -2  11
12 Middlesbrough    9  3  0  2  5  7  0  2  2  4  6  3  2  4   9  13  -4  11
13 Tottenham H.     9  3  1  1  5  3  0  1  3  1  7  3  2  4   6  10  -4  11
14 Manchester City  9  2  2  0  3  0  0  1  4  3 13  2  3  4   6  13  -7   9
15 Wigan Athletic   8  2  1  1  7  4  0  1  3  4  7  2  2  4  11  11   0   8
16 Newcastle Utd    9  1  1  2  5  6  1  0  4  2  7  2  1  6   7  13  -6   7
17 Sheff. United    9  1  2  1  4  4  0  1  4  0  8  1  3  5   4  12  -8   6
18 Watford          9  0  3  1  5  6  0  2  3  2  7  0  5  4   7  13  -6   5
19 West Ham United  9  1  1  2  4  5  0  1  4  2  8  1  2  6   6  13  -7   5
20 Charlton Ath.    9  1  1  3  3  6  0  0  4  3  9  1  1  7   6  15  -9   4

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[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 #1270