Thursday, 29 March 2007

IT'S A FIX - NEWCASTLE

30) SATURDAY MARCH 31st : NEWCASTLE (AWAY)

Newcastle formed in 1892, into div 1 in 1898, staying until the thirties. Back up in ’48, ups and downs in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, just missed the title in ’96.
Regularly won trophies until ’69, 5 league titles, 6 times F.A.Cup winners, Euro Fairs Cup winners ’69.
Names and famous fans are : Milburn, Gazza, Waddle, MacDonald, Ant and Dec, John McCririck, Tony Blair.
High profile connections include Wyn Davies, George Hannah, Peter Beardsley, Steve Howey, Stu Pearce, Sylvain Distin, Darren Huckerby, Andy Cole, Kevin Keegan, Antoine Sibierski..
Glen Roeder’s squad includes : Given, Moore, Onyewu, Solano, Parker, Emre, Taylor, Milner, Dyer, Martins, N’zogbia, Luque, Duff, Bramble, Sibierski, Butt, Babayaro
This season so far : At COMS in November it was a dull 0-0 draw in front of 40,571 (2,767 Geordies) as we maintained our home record of 6 without defeat (those were the days!).
Currently they’re in 11th place with 37 points from 30 games and 7 wins 5 draws and 3 losses at home. They’re out of all cup competitions, latest was losing at AZ in the UEFA.
BIG moments : Losing in the 1924 semi-final 2-0 (Billy Meredith’s last game); the ’55 Cup Final 3-1,with 10 men, but winning the league title in ’68 with the 4-3 win AND beating them 2-1 in the ’76 league cup final with Peter Barnes’ goal and Dennis’s overhead kick.
Facts: We opened up St James’s park in 1905/06 season with a 2-2 draw. In the last game of the 25/26 season, after losing at Wembley 1-0 to Bolton, we lost 3-2, missing a penalty (Billy Austin) at 2-2, and being relegated.
Wind-ups: It’s wearing a bit thin now, but ‘Where were you when you were shite?!’ does still wind ‘em up.
Our form at St. James’ Park : Last season in September we lost 1-0 to a Michael Owen goal, our third loss in a row as we dropped to 6th spot
Only 5 league wins in total post-war up there, and since winning the title in ’68 we’ve had just the one league win, 1-0 in 2001, in 18 attempts!
Post war attendances have ranged from 16,450 in 66/67 to 65,798 in 46/47.
Groundwise: No change to the magnificent, but lop-sided St James’s Park since our last visit. We’ll be housed in the usual corner where you’ll need oxygen to reach the top tier. They’ve kindly let us sell at the ground in the past couple of seasons, thanks to the politely written request from our resident Reverend, so let’s hope the same applies this time….
Comment : Who’d have thought that after the 1955 Cup final our clubs, and there’s more than ours, would turn out to be the worst run and biggest underachievers in the English game. They are without a trophy now since 1969, and us since 1976. We don’t do well up there, but if we can continue our ‘Boro form you never know. Last draw was in 94/95 so we’re due another.
Glen Roeder or Stuart Pearce who’s first for the sack?

STATS: 66 pre-war and 77 post-war make it our 144th league meeting, and results up there are:- Played 38 - Won 5 - Drawn 7 - Lost 26.
Last Pot: Euro Fairs Cup Winners Cup 1969.
Last attendance: 52,280 (2,524 City)
Where were they when they were shite? – Crowds down to 10,000 in the early 80’s, but still averaged around 18,000. Cuurrently their crowds are holding up, whilst all around are falling…
Their current home average : 50,363, slightly down
Away day Zines: The Mag – swaps with KOTK – professionally done, and sells loads! True Faith, and Talk Of The Tyne.
Route: (Steve P’s) :M62, M1 (North), A1(M) / A1 to A1(M) jn 65, then A1 (Gateshead, Newcastle). After 6 miles take slip road left, following "Gateshead, Newcastle Centre" (A184), then continue over Tyne Bridge (A189) into Newcastle, continuing into Blenheim Street and to the ground. Parking around Blenheim Street or around A186 Westgate Road (which is an alternative route back to the A1 - but you may well meet traffic from the Metro Centre).
About 145 miles from Manchester.
Pubs: Be wary. ‘The Strawberry’ Strawberry Place; The Leazes Inn, Barrack Road; The Hotspur, Percy Street; Scruffy Murphy’s’ by the Eldon Centre; ‘Akenside Trader’ in Dean Street; ‘Bodega’ and ‘Tilly’s’ on Westgate Road; ‘Crown Pasada’, ‘Cooperage’ on Quayside.

Monday, 26 March 2007

UNCLE RYAN'S PROBLEM PAGE

Seasonal blues.

Dear Uncle Ryan,

What do you think of City’s season?
(Stu, Manchester)

Dear Stu,

It was summed up by Joey Barton mooning at Goodison Park: cruelly exposed at the back, little cover in the middle and nothing at all up front, Nicky Weaver’s intervention saving us all from further embarrassment.



Veiled threat.

Dear Infidel,

What do you think of the veil?
(Osama, Rusholme)
Dear Osama,

I think there is a place for it in football. Yes. Think of how many players could benefit from wearing them. Gary Neville – for obvious reasons. Wayne Rooney – the veil would hide that ginger beard and cover his mouth when he swears. Much of City’s first team can hide their faces after another shameful performance. As for the Chairman – the prices he makes us pay to watch that garbage, he might as well dress like a highwayman.



Teamtalks

Mmmmyyyesssss, Ryan,

What would political leaders be like as football coaches?
(Jeremy, London)

Dear Jeremy,

Team talks might sound like this:

Tony Blair: Right, er, chaps. Settle down. I want you to be forward-thinking and take the middle path. Do not go down the left, I repeat. Do not go down the left. And watch out for that Iranian lad. He’s got a trick or two up his sleeve.

Gordon Brown: I want a cautious approach. Prudence is paramount. If you think I’m dour, look at Ferguson. He makes me look like Laughing Boy.

Jack Straw: don’t hide your faces, however nasty the crowd gets.

Harriet Harman: I’m going to impose a quota of women and gay men on this team. If we then go on to lose, I’ll blame Mike Newell.

David Cameron: if a team mate scores a goal, go on. Give him a big hug. And then, to help the environment, we’re all going to plant waccy baccy trees on the Alan Turing Way.

Iain Menzies-Campbell: is this soccer or rugby football?

Michael Howard. I want to see blood on those shirts. Hmmmm.

Vladimir Putin: stop the supply to the Ukrainian.

George Bush: I’m gonna play Samaras up front. On his own. Ha! Ha! Ha! I was just kiddin’. I’m playing Corradi.

Charles Kennedy: Where’s the Colin Bell Bar?

John Prescott: stuff the tactics. Where are the pies?



Moonlighting

Dear Uncle Ryan,

Do you think it's acceptable for the City manager to moonlight as the U-21 boss?
(Steve, London)

Dear Steve,

Let's face it. What he's doing is not unusual. In dole offices all over Manchester, there are guys who sign on and do jobs. I think it's called multitasking.



2007/8 Season,

Dear Uncle Ryan, What do you think City need for next season?

(Concerned Fan, Colin Bell Stand)

An A-Z of Barnsley.



Renewable energy,

Hey, Dude,
With plans to introduce windmills to generate electricity for the stadium, what other ways are there to generate power?
(Hippy, Hale Barns)

Dear Hippy,

Wave power: Psycho

Wind power: the Chairman

Solar: Barton. When he moons, he only wants to show us that the sun shines from his.. (that’s enough, Ryan- Ed.)

The loos could be tapped for gas.

Failing that, I know some scallies in Gorton who could connect the stadium to a free power supply. What they do is dig..[that’s quite enough, Ryan-Ed.]



Draws

Mon Cher Oncle Ryan,
With proposals to replace 0-0 draws with shoot-uts, what would be a good way to force a result?
(Michel, Zurich)

Dear Michel

Alex Ferguson: play extra time until united score.

Jose Mourinho: have a fashion parade. The most stylish manager wins.

Sam Allardyce: see who’s carrying the most cash. The manager with the biggest wad wins.

Gordon Strachan: what’s wrong with a good old fashioned punch-up in the car park?

Arsene Wenger: I have never seen a 0-0 draw.

Dennis Wise: I’d say we’d count ourselves lucky to get 0.

Paul Jewell: have a pie-eating contest.

Neil Warnock: the first manager to get sent to the stands wins.

Martin O’Neal: play bong. The first manager to say y- or n- loses.

David Moyes: play stare. The first guy to blink loses.

Martin Joll: everyone smokes a nice Netherlands cigarette, then, hey, the 0-0 won’t matter, for sure!



Dive! Dive! Dive!

I am a Royal Navy submariner. Upon approaching enemy targets, our vessel can completely submerge in less than half a minute. Impressive, eh?
(Submariner S Staines, HMS Premiership, Portsmouth)

Dear Submariner Staines,

When Cristiano Ronaldo approaches an enemy target he can go down in less than a second. Beat that, sailor boy.



I’m not bent.
Give us a tenner and I’ll tell you why.
(Sam, Bolton)

Er….

[Read Uncle Ryan, and much more in the next issue of KOTK - on sale this weekend.]

Friday, 23 March 2007

Rag Joke - real toilet humour

A Man United fan walked into a public toilet where he found two cubicles, of which one was already occupied. So he entered the other one, closed the door, dropped his trousers and sat down.

A voice came from the cubicle next to him:
"Hello mate, how are you doing?" The rag thought it a bit strange but not wanting to be rude he replied
"Yeah, not too bad thanks." After a short pause, he heard the voice again
"So, what are you up to mate?"Again he answered, somewhat reluctantly it must be said. Unsure what to say, he replied
"Umm, just having a quick poo.. How about yourself?"
The rag then heard the voice for the third time .....
"Sorry mate, I'll have to call you back. I've got some d!ck head in the loo next to me answering everything I say."

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

DENNIS CHAPMAN

It was a privilege to attend the funeral of Dennis on Monday at Acton Parish Church. A quiet, dignified service with lovely dedications from his son and grandaughter, a little insight into the the life of a family man with 'traditional values' - kind, gentle and loving. Many in the congregation were loyal City fans, wearing their colours with pride, in support of the man who was a familiar gentleman to many, a good friend to some, and a source of apparently endless information on all things Blue to others. It was lovely to talk to his family afterwards and feel that even in a tiny way, we too had been part of his life.

Monday, 19 March 2007

A win!



Busy week for the Ed media wise with a 5-Live interview/argument about Stuart Pearce, with Alvin Martin and an Evertonian, who were both in a bar down at Cheltenham . Alvin’s part of the old boy network so can be forgiven for reckoning that Pearce is gonna be a great manager. As for the Evertonian saying we should stick with him like they have done with Moyes (5 years and won eff all) – well we all know that Everton fans, who we don’t usually have a problem with, are still embarrassed about their ‘Kendall Out’ petitions just before he won them a few trophies in the 80’s. Then it was Talksport, and then, on the same subject, up at 6.30 am for a radio interview with BBC Radio Manc at Eastlands. So, glad that’s all over with.

Middlesbrough. The ‘A (as in away) team’ assembled at a pre-arranged meeting point, five of us, in reasonably optimistic mood. Got the hilarious text message from a rag saying that City fans were being urged to get on their mobiles whilst driving as it would be the only 3 points we’d pick up all day.....
In the morning papers it was Distin this time having a pop at Dunney saying how upset the foreign players were at his criticisms last week – aw.
So we searched for omens. Well we did beat ‘Boro for the first time in ages this season. Mick had 2 City shirts on, ‘cos it was cold. We had garlic bread on cheese at the Little Chef, a steak sarny (with onions- no girls on board!) - at ‘Boro, and I had new glasses, so that should do it!? Cold wind up there, and it was back to the hardcore City fans in good spirits and giving good support. Micah went off with a limp, then second half 1-0, Distin with the longest backlift in the Prem. “are we on for a breakaway, can we score TWO in a match?”, I asked, “Oh yes!” 2-0 Mpenza’s first, as everyone turned round and had a laugh. I don’t care if ‘Boro did have one eye on Monday’s game at O/T, a win’s a win, and that was massive. So it came to pass that we had a good journey home, and we don’t get them very often, particularly from ‘Boro. So more of the same City please.
Round and about Bolton got a penalty at 4-0 down at O/T. West Ham won dubiously at Blackburn. Chelsea beat Sheff.Utd 3-0 and Hulse is out. Wigan drew 0-0 at Fulham, so we went up to 15th place and 9 points clear of 3rd bottom Charlton, who beat Newcastle today 2-0, so back to 6 clear…..ooooooh.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

EDITORIAL MUSINGS



Joey in trouble again, after an altercation with a scouse taxi driver. Police investigating, probably hoping it’ll be settled amicably with a few bob. Never a dull moment eh…..

We’ve had Pearce telling us in the press that when he took the job he knew it would all go wrong, and lack of investment is now catching up on us – despite thanking his Chairman for being allowed to sign players on high wages.
Then Dunney saying we shouldn’t have been looking for a UEFA place considering the investment. Erm, ‘scuse me but that’s what we were told the club were aiming for. So how come stories like this get through our protective press team, who seem to be more interested in bullying a young female student over a prospective interview in KOTK? I await the plethora of excuses……


Chelsea, was a scary one. We just needed to get past it and at least put in a performance. And we did. On and off the pitch – despite the bitter disappointment of Sunday. The fans gave 'em great backing. Micah a bit na├»ve for their penalty, but the big clubs always get them. Where was Nicky? There were a few stories circulating, let’s hope we get the real lowdown soon.
Half time I had the usual chats, being told that the club aren’t replying to fans' letters, and not accepting that the main reason for non renewal of season tickets is performances on the pitch.. Some good performances, some strange substitutions – explain ‘em Stu. Vassell, Hamann, Sun off. Samaras, Miller, Dabo, on. Why?
City Social was closed after the game – or so it was apparently announced at half time – we went anyway, and it wasn’t closed at all! The right hand don’t know what the left hand is doin’!
So will we get a decision by the Board, or will they wait until after Saturday? No bets.

Patrick McGurk writes to KOTK : "In the aftermath of yet another City shambles (at Blackburn) I renew my subs, with a heavy heart. However having enjoyed many ‘Laughs Out Loud’ moments with KOTK (and especially Mr. Burfield) here’s to another 5 issues. All of Burfield’s pre-season predictions have come true! How come Stuart Pearce could not see the limitations (‘non-existant strike force’) which Burfield and so many others noticed.
All the best, Pat.

IT'S A FIX - MIDDLESBROUGH

29) SATURDAY MARCH 17TH : ‘BORO (AWAY)

Boro’ were formed in 1886, and joined division 2 in 1890/91. Ups and downs throughout their history, into the third at one point, almost going down the tube, playing home games at Hartlepools, and now established in the Prem since 97/98, thanks to Chairman Steve Gibson’s astonishing backing. They’ve won one Cup in their history, but been runners up here and there
Famous smoggies include, Free’s Paul Rodgers, Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown, Bob Mortimer, Jack Charlton, Wilf Mannion, . High Profile connections Johnny Crossan, Danny Mills, Alan Kernaghan.

Jolly decent chap Gareth Southgate’s squad includes : Schwarzer, Wodgate, Pogatetz, Xavier, Taylor, Boutang, Arca, Morrison, Downing, Viduka, Ayegbeni, Jones, Parnaby, Davies, Lee, Rochemback, Euell, Christie, Johnson, Turnbull, Huth, Riggott, Cattermole…

This season so far : At Eastland in October we had a rare 1-0 win, Dunneyboy doing the biz, in front of 36,720 (725 ‘Boro) . Currently they’re in 12th spot with 36 points from 29 games with 8 wins 3 draws 3 losses at home. In the cup they’ve got a replay at Old Trafford in the 6th, having been robbed by a dubious penalty at The Riverside to give the rags a ‘Desmond’

Our form up there : Last season it was a 0-0 draw on New Years Eve. Prior to that it was one draw (1-1 in 2001, Tiatto’s disallowed goal) in 7 meetings. Post war attendances have ranged from 7,737 in 84/85 to 45,000 in 49/50.
Biggest moments : They can’t take away from us the League cup semi win in 1976, 0-1 up there and a big 4-0 at Maine Road.
Comment: What can you say about ‘Boro? Nothing! But what we can say is let’s hope they rest a few big guns and we give it all we’ve got because we don’t half need a result. Charlton are at home to Newcastle, so we also need the Geordie’s to do us a favour, and I’m not convinced they will….

Groundwise: No change to the Riverside. Watch out for us selling zines, the stewards do?! Hope we're sinsing 'Pig Bag'.
Stats : 52 pre-war and 57 post make it our 110th league meeting.and up there it’s : Played : 28 won 4 (1-0 in ’49, ’54, ’65, 2-0 in ’78) drawn 10 lost 14
Last attendance : 28,022 (1,297 City)
Last Pot : League Cup in 2004
Their Current average home attendance : 27,749
WWTWTWShite : Averaged 5,135 in 84/85
Away day zines : Fly me To the Moon;The Boys From Brazil
Pubs: Dodgy, unless you know otherwise.Route: M62, M1, A1(M), to jn 49, then A168 to A19, approaching Middlesborough, follow A66 signed Middlesboro,

Peter Reid

Have I fallen asleep for a couple of weeks, I think I must have and today is really April 1st. I have read in the Daily Mirror that Peter Reid is being lined up to take over from Stuart Pearce for the remaining ten games to "Save the Club" I aint even going to fall for this one as its obvious the Daily Mirror hates our guts. But just in case John Wardle happens to pick up a copy of the Mirror and suddenly thinks "Hmm, Peter Reid eh, that's not a bad idea" Just Don't, OK, Just Don't!

Tony Petrie

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

DENNIS CHAPMAN

Editors and friends of KOTK are saddened to hear that Dennis Chapman failed to recover from his recent heart attack. He died on Sunday, aged (amazingly) 79. Famed for his extensive programme collection, Dennis was a life-long City fan and he and his wife were a familiar duo, ever present at games home and away, always smart, always gracious.
KOTK editor Dave has recently been in contact with him as a source of vital information on games played in the 1957/58 season. Despite having packed everything away in preparation for house removal, Dennis went to a lot of trouble to find the relevant match reports and present them in meticulous order. This was Dennis as we saw him - happy to help a fellow Blue, no matter how distant the connection, and Dave never had the chance to thank him properly.
He was a true 'City gent'.
The funeral will take place on Monday at 2.30pm at Acton Church, Nantwich. Let's give him a blue-bloodied send off.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

AWARD FOR CITY TONIGHT?

Big Ed writes: We are going to be bombarded with United's 50 years in Europe - starting tonight.
We all know that without City' s floodlights none of that would have been possible, but something that never gets a mention is why they never had floodlights.
[Ed- City allowed Utd to play under the Maine Road floodlights - as they didn't have any! - in the early rounds of the European Cup in 1956/57 - otherwise they couldn't have played midweek games and may possibly have been unable to enter the competition. No truth in the rumour that they will be presented with a replica set of City's floodlights before tonight's game!]
Well, in an article in the Football Pink '53 to '55-ish Matt Busby wrote that he could never see a competitive match ever being played under floodlights and they would only be used for training purposes.
I used to go in the Social Club and when anybody mentioned what a good manager Busby was, this little old fellow would get the article out of his wallet to argue the case.

IT'S A FIX! CHELSEA

28) WEDNESDAY MARCH 14th CHELSEA(HOME)

It’s the re-arranged game from Saturday February 24th

Formed in 1905, joined div 2 in 1905/06. Loads of ups and downs from 1st to 2nd., came up with us in 88/89, and stayed ever since. League champs in ’55, 2005 and 2006. R/up in 2004. 3 times F.A.Cup winners, 4 times runners up. Twice league cup winners, once runners up. Twice Euro cup Winners Cup winners.

Some names/connections : Embankment, Flower show, Pensioners, Kings Road, The Shed, …Clive Allen, Colin Viljoen, Gordon Davies, Terry Phelan, David Rocastle, Max Woosnam, …Suggsy, David Mellor, Tim Lovejoy, Richard Attenborough, SWP….

Jose’s squad includes : Czech, Terry, Carvalho, Diarra, Makelele, Ferreira, Essien, Lampard, Robben, Drogba, Shevchenko, Cudicini, Hilario, Geremi, SWP, Mikel, Kalou, Boulahrouz, Ballack, Bridge, A.Cole, J.Cole (out til August)

This season so far : At the Bridge on the opening day of the season it was a Sunday game with a 4pm kick off for TV which we lost 3-0. Goals coming from Terry, Lampard, and Drogba. Corradi being sent off. Crowd was 41,953 with only 1,446 Blues present, the rest of us refusing to pay the £46 quid ticket prices, amongst other things.
Currently they’re in second place with 63 points from 28 games – 9 points behind United, with this game in hand - and 9 wins 2 draws 3 losses away from home.
They’ve just won the Carling cup final, beating Arsenal, still in Europe and in the FA Cup 6th round have come back from 3-1 to draw 3-3 with Spurs. So, hardly a crisis. They’ve had injury problems with both goalies involved in horrendous challenges at Reading – imagine if City players had done that, we’d never have heard the last of it. Joe Cole’s out and Terry’s been missing for part of the season, so they’ve had a few hiccups. Added to this the media’s been at it, stirring up a rift between Mourhino and Abramovich. Finally the bitter rags who go apoplectic at the very mention of the word ‘Chelsea’ (try it) have been putting it about that they’re the most hated club in the country and not them. Only believed by themselves of course, and Fergie angered all Liverpool fans by daring to infer that “even Liverpool supporters want united to win the title”.

Our home form v Chelsea: Our 1-0 win in 04/05 was our only win in 11 meetings since 1991 – 2-1, and that was our first in 6 meetings since the 6-2 in 77/78. Prior to that Chelsea couldn’t do a thing here, just the 4-1 in 1967 since the war. Last season it was a 1-0 loss to a late Joe Cole goal in December.
Post war attendances ranged from 6,406 Simod Cup in 86/87 to 53, 322 in 1972.
Big results : Losing the 1971 Euro Cup Winners cup semi 1-0 home and away, and the Full Members cup final 5-4 in 1986.

Comment : No doubt the players will be almost afraid of coming out, after Blackburn and recent home performances. However, we’re not expected to do anything in this game, so the pressure’s off a little bit – but we still expect a decent performance. Only that will stop more abuse from frustrated fans. So, we supporters can relax, take it easy, play our part (even tho’ it doesn’t seem to make a scrap of difference – but more constructive than booing, surely) and never mind Jose’s coat coming from Matalan, paper planes, or assisting the rags’ title hopes, etc., We need the points, or at the very least a glimmer of hope.

Stats : 40 pre war, and 83 post make it our 124th league meeting and post war here it’s :
Played : 41 won 15 drawn 12 lost 14
Last Pot : Prem title in 2006
Last Att : 46,587 (2,846 Chelsea)
WWTWTWShite : Averaged 12,672 in 82/83
Their current home average : 41,476

BLACKBURN REFLECTION

a bad start with the Dunney interview in the press slagging off the foreign forwards etc. Hey that bonding in Dubai did ‘em a world of good!
Big turnout of Blues, 7,000 ish and sold out. 4pm kick off, on Sky, so plenty of time for everyone to get tanked up, and they were. We played well until just before their goal when we started to back off and let them dictate the play. Didn’t think we had much chance until they were down to ten men, but we couldn’t make it pay, so out we went. Yeah a bit of effort, puzzling tactics and substitutions, we’ll never get a better chance to reach a semi-final.
Angry scenes at the end, but I went out a few minutes early as I’m not a loyal fan according to someone on the MEN site who calls himself David Bennion! Cheers to everyone who told me they’d had a good laugh at that one.
So where do we go from here. No Tony Book type to take over, Wigley, Jackett? I don’t think so. The Board need to bring in a caretaker until the end of the season and hope that the new manager syndrome will help us pick up a few points to keep us up, then see what the summer brings.

RANT FROM OZ

I thought I had to write after sitting watching City put me to sleep (at 4 in the morning in Australia) against Blackburn. Out of the cup for another year…am I surprised? No way. Am I shocked at how we went out? Yes.

Simply, one of most abject performances in all my time as a City fan (since '89 I might add).
I can't watch them anymore. I don't even mind that we lost, but the way we lost. Just awful.

I would however like to discuss the theory of Pearce having unforgivably wasted money....most famously said by pinhead Andy Gray lately on Sky....... although gorgeous George Samaras does fit into that category....let's look at the line up in Sunday'spiss weak game

Weaver (youth system or near enough bought at a young age)
Richards (youth system)
Dunne (has been at club for ages from Everton)
Distin (Keegan bought him if I remember correctly)
Jihai (Keegan I think, certainly not Pearce)
Barton (youth system)
Hamman (bosman or near enough and rubbish)
Ireland (youth system)
Ball (loan)
Corradi (1m pounds? and rubbish I might add)
Vassell (2m pounds and fast but inefficient and with less confidence than my kitten)
Bench:
Beasley (loan)
Samaras (4m + 2m add ons including 500k I am led to believe if we make the Champions league! not likely)
Mpenza (loan)
Trabelsi (bosman)
Issakkson (2m or a swap for the 2m we got for David James)

Also not playing tonight, surprise surprise Dickov (bosman).

He (Pearce) could be accused of bad judgement but not overly wasting money.
If you shop in a store that is virtually free, ie Cheap as Chips, The 100 yen shop, Primark......... you get shit. To me that isn't bad judgement, that is freaking obvious. Trabelsi may or may not be up for it, but if anyone can point to a better Bosman that WAS available, then let me know.

On top of this, he had to get rid of Mcmanaman aka Mcmanawoman, Reyna aka the crab, Mills aka lazy git, Fowler aka Fatty, Thatcher aka nutter, Sommeil aka roll around like a pork chop away to Blackburn, Sibierski aka oh my god he’s ordinary etc who were on huge wages. oh yeah, and Shaun Wright-Phillips, Andy Cole, Lee Croft, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Flood etc...

The only players he definitely wanted out the door were Sibi-bloody-erski and Mcmanaman. You could argue he wanted the others out, but that is only in relation to the money coming in, and if he can’t spend it…well who knows if he should have shipped out the likes of Thatcher and Croft. They certainly are not setting the world on fire elsewhere, but which of our players are at our club?

Pearce's fault? I don't think so.
Pearce out of a job?
Tactically, maybe he deserves to be, but not for wasting money. There was 1 clear stuff-up in Gorgeous George though, I will accept that. Whilst he might have skill, I might have skill, but it takes a bit more in a league where elbows and testicle grabbing are commonplace. I don’t think Gorgeous is ready, and if he cost 1m, than great buy, but spending the entire kitty on a young import is just daft.

I had the pleasure of meeting Pearce at a supporter’s club function almost two years ago now, before we sold SWP, and he struck me as highly intelligent and a great man, even if he did say pound for pound the best player at the club was Claudio Reyna.

Tactically though, it is starting to look a bit pear shaped to me. Against Rovers, when they had the likes of Pedersen and Bentley causing all sorts of problems down the flanks, we had Sun and I think Ball. You’re kidding me! You are kidding me! Tell me you’re kidding me. Ball is a defender, was he in defence? He didn’t look it, the TV said he was in left midfield; Sun was I don’t know where, and I don’t know where to put him either, but not there!

I have had enough of Moon man Barton taking all the free kicks as well, why I am at it. Is he seriously so arrogant and does he hold such standing amongst the players that he can take everything! Tell me this is a bad dream. Dunne would do a better job, as would Trabelsi, Christ anyone would offer a little variety; it can’t be that hard to put in a ball that threatens.

As for Corradi lasting 82 f****** minutes, that is the last straw. Blackburn are down to ten men after 60 odd minutes, and it takes Pearce until the 82nd minute, when we still have not produced one shot on target, to turn to Steve Giggley and say “you know I think this isn’t working…is it possible that a slow cow like Corradi isn’t going to cause them too many problems today?”. Yes, Stuart, it is possible.

And don’t get me wrong, I love the guy (Pearce). His hands are tied, but some things just can’t be ignored.
Why have Trabelsi on the bench for such a game? Why choose Sun Jihai? What about Hamman, has he done anything to warrant a first team place? Last time I saw, he gave the ball away for a Reading goal? He makes Titus Bramble look composed.

Why not play Sun at right back even though he struggles and put Micah into midfield? Why not play Sturridge? Why not make a sub when it isn’t working, as clearly it wasn’t. Why? Why? Why?

Why? Because no one at this club really knows what is going on.

Why can’t we loan players from English clubs instead of ones from freaking leagues where the game is completely different? Why does Arsenal send Bendtner (who Milan are rumoured to be chasing) to Birmingham and not to us? Why? Cause we don’t do our homework.

Why does Walcott get found out by everyone in England as the next big thing when we knew about him 12 months earlier? Why, cause we don’t do our homework and scout him properly.

Why does Lita not get signed when we have the opportunity? Why because people at the club couldn’t judge a good player if they smacked them in the face with a wet fish shouting “I’m alright guv, just gimme a chance!”

Any man who says Reyna is pound for pound the best in the club when we, at the time had, SWP, Richards, Ireland, Joey and Dunne at the club is not a great judge. I am sorry; it hurts to say, but Stu, you don’t know a good footballer when you see one. You were a great footballer, you had a bigger heart than anyone…but that doesn’t make you a good judge. Unless we are going to have a Director of Football buying players then we need a good judge.

I remember Mourinho once pointing out why a Portuguese signing Spurs made couldn’t work in the Premier League and why he would work in other leagues. It made sense, it was right. Gorgeous can work in other leagues, but with 6m quid we needed three fast, fit, strong, skilful players. Not him. I don’t blame Pearce for having no money, I said to my friends way back when we bought Anelka that we were spending money we didn’t have, I blame the board. But given a choice between spending 300,000 on Hamman, and spending probably 750,000 on Lita at the time, then bugger me if the latter doesn’t seem like a more intelligent buy. If we have almost 6m for someone like Mido, why don’t we make right some wrongs and buy the likes of Giles Barnes, Routledge, Nugent, Soares, Hoskins, etc

I don’t care if they are overpriced being English; they surely understand the demands of the league more than Corradi and George and, like half of the Spurs squad, will go up in value.

One more final thing, if I see us linked with one more bloody keeper I am going to personally get on a plane to England, drive up the M6 turn into COMS, find Stuart Pearce and settle once and for all whether he can get angry anymore in the presence of others. How many do we need?????? 4…5….would 6 be enough? How many have Arsenal got?

We are officially awful and the City fans on TV were crying at the end of this Blackburn game. I know why.

If it wasn’t for our debt, I would quite fancy relegation so we can have a clear out. As it stands, we will be worse off then Leeds if that happens. Please keep our youngsters, and please buy someone worth more than a pound, not someone who costs more than a pound, but who is worth more than a pound. And at the same time, get a coach or manager who has some freaking idea what to do, when after even 30 minutes we haven’t had one single freaking shot.

I don’t even know what I am saying. I am frustrated. Maybe I have contradicted myself. But I hope you see my point.

Rant over.

Jinky, Australia

Monday, 12 March 2007

Blue Humour - Rag Joke

A typical Rag 40 something, having split from his latest girlfriend, decided to take a holiday.

He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life, that is, until the ship sank.
He found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts.
After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore. In disbelief, he asks,
"Where did you come from? How did you get here?" She replies,
"I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed here when my cruise ship sank."
"Amazing," he notes. "You were really lucky to have a row boat wash up with you."
"Oh, this thing?" explains the woman.
"I made the boat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."
"But, where did you get the tools?"
"Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."
The guy is stunned.
"Let's row over to my place," she says.

After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls off the boat.
Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumb struck.

As they walk into the house, she says casually,
"It's not much but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like a drink?"
"No! No thank you," he blurts out, still dazed. "I can't take another drop of coconut juice."
"It's not coconut juice," winks the woman. "I have a still. How would you like a Pina Colada?"

Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts, and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces,
"I'm going to slip into something more comfortable.Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the bathroom cabinet."

No longer questioning anything, the rag goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, a razor made from a piece of tortoise bone. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside a swivel mechanism.
"This woman is amazing," he muses. "What next?"

When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines, strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.
"Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him,
"We've been out here for many months. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for?" She stares into his eyes.
He can't believe what he's hearing.

"You mean . . " he swallows excitedly and tears start to form in his eyes.


"Don't tell me you've got the United game on Sky Sports!!?"

FAQ's of THE SUPPORTERS' TRUST

After yesterday's game I felt ashamed to be a City fan. Ashamed of the players' performance; ashamed of the manager's tactical inadequacies, the coaches woeful absence of any signs of any - erm - coaching, the board's cowardice in never facing the fans, the administrators' inability to administrate properly, or even keep damaging remarks - from our captain, of all people! - out of the press......... I could go on... and on.
But there is a small ray of hope starting to break through the ever darkening gloom in the form of the Supporters Trust.
Today they sent us their FAQsheet and asked us to include it in the blog.
So here it is.
Keep the Faith, Sue

MCFC Supporters Trust – FAQ sheet


Q. Is it true that you've got financial backing that allows you to potentially purchase 10 - 15% of City's shares?

A. We have been talking to many shareholders and non-shareholders who are willing to back the Supporters’ Trust and our initial talks suggest that we have the backing to potentially purchase/own 10 – 15% of City shares, if and when they are available to purchase.

Q. If so how much would that actually cost?

A. The price obviously depends on the market at the time of purchasing but we have had an offer of financial backing which is a seven figure sum and several shareholders have indicated their willingness to back the trust with their existing shares, which doesn’t involve any monetary amount.

Q. Where have you got the backing from; whose money is it?

A. We have been asked to keep the identity of these people confidential and we must respect that request. However, they are City fans and we would stress that the Trust is not a front or “stalking horse”.

Q. Is the club aware that you have this level of financial backing?

A. As yet we have not met with the club but we are aware that they are following our developments closely and should therefore be aware of this fact.

Q. To what end are you considering buying shares?

A. One of the aims of the Trust is to provide the fans with a voice and a stake in their club, via ownership of a percentage of the shares. The Trust’s ultimate aim is to gain representation for the fans on the board. However, this would have to be agreed by our membership, who would have the final say.

Q. Is it true that there are approximately 33% of City shares with no board level representation?

A. The figure is actually around 50% as Francis Lee & Sky together have 17% and they do not appear to be represented on the board. The rest of the unrepresented shares (the 33%) are owned by shareholders with an individual stake of less than 3%. These include thousands of ordinary fans who hold the shares, not for financial gain, but to own a small piece of the club.

Q. Do you intend to represent them? Have you actually spoken to these people/got their backing?

A. We have not spoken to ALL shareholders as yet, but we have spoken to some that do not have any board representation. We intend contacting as many as we can in the near future. We can only represent those that want us to do so.

Q. Is Chris Bird and/or Bernstein involved in any greater capacity other than providing the media with ambiguous quotes?

A. Bird and Bernstein are both shareholders in their own right and have supported the Trust vocally, but are just two of the many shareholders we speak to regularly. Neither have any informal or formal role in the Trust.

Q. Is there a concern that a Supporters Trust that owns (potentially) 15% of the club and represents a further 33% (so virtually half the club in total) would be seen as a block to any potential takeover bid/investment?

A. It’s unlikely we would ever get to that overall level. A good figure would be around the 17-20% mark as that should guarantee a Director on the Board (for example Mark Boler currently sits on the Board with around 18.75%) and a holding of this size could block any potential investor from achieving the 90% level of ownership that would enable them to take the company under total control, like the Glazer family have done at United.

Clearly the club needs investment at the moment but we also need the right investment to move in the right direction. If someone wanted to invest in City but didn't want any involvement from the fans, then you might have to question their motives but if someone wanted to invest and was comfortable with the fans owning a slice of the club then obviously we would welcome this person with open arms as long as the investment was sustainable and didn't saddle the club with more debt.

There is another angle to this however. Most deals have a condition that they will only go ahead once they are guaranteed to have 75% of the shares. With the fragmented nature of the Manchester City share ownership, although an investor could get 50% of the shares quite easily, they might struggle to achieve the 75% level. A group that could influence a significant block of shares would actually be very useful to a potential investor.

Again, this is an issue that would ultimately be decided by our membership as it’s a one-member, one-vote organisation where no one member has a greater say than any other member.

Q. Is it only possible for a club to have one Supporters Trust? If not then what would happen if a second was created? Would this dilute your 'power'?

A. Across the football leagues and Premiership there are currently no examples of a club having two Supporters Trusts.

Q. Following on from Colin Savage’s publishing of some financial information via GMR it is rumoured that GMR were put under pressure by the club to never have him (or anyone Trust related) on again. Is this true?

A. BBC Radio Manchester, the Manchester Evening News and other media outlets all have strong relationships with the Club. We understand that these are important relationships, and appreciate the airtime and column inches we have received to date.

In fact BBC Radio Manchester have had both Colin Howell and Colin Savage on their station in recent weeks and the MEN has reported several articles on the trust and we hope to build on the relationship we have with all media outlets.

Q. Is it also true that there was an attempt to ban Ian Cheeseman from the AGM following on from said interview?

A. We are not privy to any discussions that the club may have had with Ian nor can we comment on the arrangements for the AGM. However Ian Cheeseman is a shareholder in his own right and is therefore free to attend the AGM and in fact did so.

Q. Another rumour is that the club has undertaken background checks on all people involved in the Trust, true or conjecture?

A. We understand the Club has been looking closely at those involved with the Trust. While we would have preferred to have direct relations with the club, we welcome any discussion or focus on those involved with the Trust. Any investigation they might do will simply reveal that we are all dyed-in-the-wool Manchester City fans with no ulterior motive other than our passion for our club.

Q. Why doesn't the club like the Trust? What are their concerns/fears?

A. The club has made a commitment to meet with us once we are formally constituted. Again, whilst we would have liked to have had a dialogue as we developed the Trust, we look forward to our first formal meeting in the weeks following March 4th.

Also, we understand that Alistair Mackintosh has an excellent relationship with Phil French, the Chief Executive of Supporters’ Direct.

Q. Will you try and turn us into Barcelona where we vote for the directors and all have a say?

A. Who wouldn’t want to be Barcelona! Seriously, they are a model example of a supporter run club but we're not aiming for a 100% owned fans club but one where we can have a significant shareholding in the fans’ name that gives the Trust the right to vote in a Director to represent their interests and give them a voice at Boardroom level.
Q. If the trust was successful who would represent us on the board?

A. It is up to the membership to vote on who they want to represent them and although we would want someone with the rights skills to put our case at Boardroom level, the final decision would be put to a democratic vote.

Anyone in that position would be there by right, not just as a token presence and we feel it is important that whoever it is has the ability to contribute something concrete at that level.

Q. Would the shares have to be pooled so that the people with them would 'lose’ them to the pool and therefore the rights to attend the AGM?

A. At the moment someone with say £100 worth of shares doesn't have any real say in how the club is run but if the Trust brought together 1,000 shareholders with £100 worth of shares then they have a greater say as a group. People don't have to gift their shares to the trust; they can keep the ownership of them and just proxy the vote to the Trust.

There may also be other ways of achieving the pooling but we will not force anyone to hand over the ownership of their shares unless they genuinely want to do that. Even if you proxy your vote to the Trust, you are still the legal owner of the shares and still have the right to attend the AGM.

Q. Would the trust consider selling any shareholding they build up to facilitate a takeover by someone that was insistent on buying up 100% of the club? Or alternatively, would they use their shares to effectively block such a takeover?

A. As mentioned previously, this would have to be put to the membership to vote.

Q. Would a takeover have a detrimental effect?

A. We would hope for the right sort of investment package, one without massive debts attached but until there is a firm proposal we cannot say.

There is speculation in some quarters that there may be a creeping takeover of Premiership clubs by US sports franchise owners, in order to introduce a similar structure to the one that exists in the NFL, for example. Opinion is sharply divided on whether this would be a good thing or not.

Q. What about the cost involved of becoming a founder member?

A. The average cost of membership throughout the country is around £10 per adult, which seems reasonable. There would also be discounts for Senior Citizens and juniors and possibly a Family package. However, this would all have to be decided upon formation and voted on by our membership.

Q. What about the existing supporters groups?

A. We have tried to make it clear that our aims are totally different from, but do not conflict with, the two main existing supporters’ groups, the OSC & the CSA.

A number of us are members of our local branches and three are very heavily involved with the OSC & CSA via those branches. However, as individuals they also see that the Supporters’ Trust offers something that complements the work that the existing groups do.

The Supporters Groups do a great job on the social side and of course organise tickets and travel for matches but we would like to deal with the club at a different level and would not tread on any areas the existing Supporters Groups deal with.

There may areas where there is some overlap on occasions and we may agree to co-operate or agree to differ. That will be subject to the wishes of our respective members. However we are all City fans and we would certainly resist any attempt to freeze out or favour any one group over another. All the groups are different in character but all offer us a way to get more involved with our club and we encourage fans to do that, in whatever way they feel comfortable.

Q. Can the Trust function without the co-operation of the club?

A. We would hope to co-operate with the club but our existence is totally independent. Those of you who were at the open meeting will have heard Jon Keen, the Reading Trust board member, say that the club were initially sceptical. However, even though they can’t gain influence via shareholdings, they now attend the monthly senior management meeting.

We have heard a similar story from the Arsenal trust. These clubs (and others) have realised that their supporters’ trusts are credible, constructive and serious groups. As we intend to be.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Blackburn 2 Manchester City 0

So we exit the FA Cup at the 6th round stage again. I doubt we will ever get a better chance of reaching a major final than that which we were presented this year. Championship opposition in the opening three rounds and modest premiership opposition in round 6. I doubt we could get to the final even if we were offered a bye through to the semi final. I predict that Blackburn will draw Watford in the semi final and then become this years sacrificial lamb for Man U or Chelsea. As for City's performance, It was not as bad as it could have been, but worse than I expected is the best I can offer. Sylvan Distan can go now as far as I'm concerned. He had a stinker and passed the ball out from defence to a Blackburn player at least three times. In my latest KOK offering, I argued that we are safe from relegation, after watching our forwards struggle to hit a barn door from three inches away, I'm beginning to wonder. When we first appointed Pearce, I said to a friend that I wasn't impressed as he hardly set Notts Forrest alight in his spell as manager there. I gave him the benefit after his bright start when he took over from Keegan, but after seeing him waste yet more of our precious cash on rubbish, I say GET RID ASAP, bring in a manager and make it clear there's no money, but plenty of young talent to work with.

Tony Petrie

Thursday, 8 March 2007

IT'S A FIX - BLACKBURN

27A) SUNDAY MARCH 11th:BLACKBURN (AWAY)
KO 4PM : F.A.CUP 6 :

In this round last season we lost at home to West Ham 2-1
Prior to this it was:
1993 4-2 home loss to Spurs.
1988 4-0 home loss to Liverpool
1981 2-2 draw at Everton then the 3-1 win at Maine Road
1969 beat Spurs 1-0 at Maine Road
1966 drew twice with Everton, 0-0 at Maine Road, 0-0 at Goodison, lost 2-0 in 2nd replay at Molineux.

We fancied Plymouth or Watford, as did everyone else, and inevitably they drew each other. Blackburn drew at Arsenal and won the replay 1-0 at Ewood. So, giving us a slightly better chance, and certainly a shorter travelling distance.
We’ve played ‘em quite a few times in the cup : 1907 1st round 2-2 away (20,000) lost 1-0 home (30,000). 1914 3rd round, won 2-1 away (41,250). 1934 3rd round won 3-1 home (54,336) 1969 5th round won 4-1 away (42,315) – so on the last two occasions we’ve played ‘em in this competition, we’ve gone on to win the cup! They’ve won the cup 6 times between 1884 and 1928, and were finalists last in 1960, losing 3-0 to Wolves.

Mark Hughes’ squad includes : Friedel, Samba, Nelson, Emerton, Tugay, Mokoena, Berner, Bentley, McCarthy, Nonda, Dunn, Brown, Khizanishvili, Henchoz, Todd, Gray,Gallagher, Jeffers, Roberts, Peter, Nolan, Pedersen, Derbyshire, Warnock…Savage, Ooijer, Reid all injured,

This season so far : Currently in 10th place with 40 points from 29 games, with 7 wins, 2 draws, 5 losses at home. They’re out of the Carling, and UEFA cups.
At Ewood in September lowly Blackburn went one up through a Sinclair own goal, Joey equalised, they went ahead just before half time but an Ooijer own goal then made it 2-2 at the break. But a promising first half only made for a woeful second as we went down 4-2 and our worrying away form continued. Gate was 18,403, only 2,807 City fans were prepared to fork out the ludicrous £34 ticket prices – Bolton paid £15 a few weeks later.
At COMS the other week it was a poor 3-0 loss..

Our form at Blackburn : Plenty of lows at Ewood, three 4-1 defeats in the early 60’s, but a few highs too with the most memorable being the 4-1 promotion clincher in 2000. 37,400 in 50/51 highest att and 12,900 lowest in 62/63
In the last 6 league visits we’ve managed 2 wins 1 draw, and 3 losses..

Groundwise: Once held 61,783, now 32,000 and no changes since our last visit. We’ll have the total Darwen end, upper and lower, where the ticket prices are now £15 - hence the complete sell-out. Standing room only on the hill!
Last season's KOTK problems with their stewards and Safety Officer were sensibly addressed at this season's game, and we expect the same again on Sunday.

Away Day zine: ‘4,000 Holes’.
Comment : Nothing much to say about t’Rovers really, they don’t like Burnley much but not as much as Burnley don’t like them, and Accrington are more famous now than they are.No great rivalry with City or the fans, though they have got Mark Hughes as manager to hate.
Form-wise we've no chance - just like in the '81 semi-final v Ipswich, which we won 1-0.
So we need vociferous support to carry us through to our first semi-final since then - and the right team selection and tactics from the manager!

Route: Various , but country route is A666 through Bolton, ground on right about a mile after M 65 j 4.
Parking: Car Parks and on street, takes ages to get away.
Pubs: Fernhurst on Bolton Road, near the away end. Will misdemeanering of the female flashing nature go on again? The Golden Cup, Bear Hotel, The Navigator, near the station.
Stewards: Stop us selling inside and outside.

OPEN MESSAGE TO THE SUPPORTERS TRUST

To the Supporters’ Trust working party

Dear fellow fans,

I would like to dispel what seems to be some awkwardness amongst the working party regarding my brief experience as fan on the board.
This was brought to my attention after the Open Meeting, and also during the radio discussion on the following Tuesday evening – which was excellent, by the way.
I don’t know why the M.E.N. chose to include my name in the mealy-mouthed report they produced, or why that should cause someone to question my loyalty as a City fan in the M.E.N. ‘comments’, which were otherwise well-informed, pertinent and far superior to the original report.
I am the first to admit that the original fan on the board experiment disappointed some people, myself included. There were many reasons, but primarily, as Colin Savage pointed out to Andy Buckley, I served as F.O.T.B. by invitation and was only allowed to participate at the club’s discretion. The same applies to P.O.B. and any other supporters’ organisation.
The difference now is that a fans’ representative from the Supporters’ Trust would have a legal right to join the board once the necessary qualifications re share ownership are achieved.
When the Trust team speak of having a person ‘of the right calibre’ to represent City fans I wholeheartedly agree, and I don’t take this as a personal criticism, but a statement of fact. The future role of a Trust representative will be at a much more sophisticated level than that which existed ten years ago. I did the best I could, when the opportunity arose, with limited resources and restricted access, and have tried to continue a dialogue between the fans and the club through the Fans’ Committee/Points of Blue ever since.
I am enthusiastic about the formation of the Manchester City Supporters’ Trust and I offer my support. This initiative is long overdue.
Keep the Faith, Dave Wallace.

Monday, 5 March 2007

IS THIS THE WAY FORWARD?

Supporters Trust Open Meeting March 4th

It was the day following our dismal defeat to Wigan – a ‘must win’ game – which saw the first real demonstration from a small crowd shouting “Pearce Out!” at the end of the game.
I expected a good turnout for this meeting. It seemed to have been well publicised in the media and hundreds of leaflets were distributed at the game. Whatever, approximately a hundred turned up on a wet, miserable day to hear what was on offer. Seemingly the only hope of saving our club from oblivion, or a Yankee takeover, was about to be explained to us.

James H. Reeve was the MC, and even he had an air of funereal gravity about him, as it is hard to lift the gloom which has been gathering amongst City fans for some time.
James revealed that Stuart Pearce had asked him to report back on the content of the meeting as he is genuinely interested to know what the fans are thinking [so get round the supporters clubs, Stu – and take a few players with you – read the fanzines, the blogs and websites].
Messages of support from David Bernstein and Chris Bird were read out, basically wishing everyone good luck in their endeavours.
Colin Howell briefed us on the reasons for the Supporters Trust proposals: the fact that City had always been regarded as a family club, but has now lost that quality; high prices; inconvenient kick-off times, and lack of communication have all contributed to us losing die-hard fans at an alarming rate.
More involvement in the running of the club just might help us to make City great again.
The Trust would aim to give the fans a voice, an opportunity to work in partnership with the club, to be involved in the decision making and form a shareholding group on a democratic, one member/one vote basis.

Dave Boyle, from Supporters Direct [and, to his credit, one time listener and contributor to the late night radio programme of James H] , was the first guest speaker.
He explained that his organisation was a government initiative to help supporters to set up Trusts and that he would help fans to do just that, if the decision was taken to go ahead. He explained that Trusts are basically co-operatives with legal rights and responsibilities. Brian Lomax, who formed the first Trust at Northampton (and inspired some City fans during the ‘Free the 30,000’ campaign to do the same, but it sadly came to nought), is seen as the inspiration for many Trusts, and he now heads Supporters Direct.
There are currently eight Premiership clubs which have Supporters Trusts – including Arsenal – so they are not just for small, or struggling football clubs, or only for ‘times of trouble’. Reading are far from being ‘in trouble’, but have the second biggest Trust in the country. They are not single issue bodies.
Dave was at pains to point out that there is something much deeper about a football club that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Deeper than who runs the club, or who plays for the club, or its current fanbase. It is generational, and we must preserve it for future generations.
A Supporters Trust is formed as an industrial provident society and it must be democratic, inclusive and affordable to all. No money can be made out of it by any individual; it has a legal framework and auditable accounts.
What the trust can achieve is ultimately for the fans to decide, but through it supporters can gain a sense of ownership, a sense of involvement and a sense of community. Fans already have a moral ownership of their club, but the trick is to turn that into a legal ownership.

The second speaker was Sean Hamil, director of Celtic Supporters Trust, who pointed out the strange anomalies of the football ‘business’ in that, despite huge financial turnovers most were in deep debt. Football is a unique cultural asset which must be protected from takeovers by parties who do not appreciate this fact.
American football is OK – in America. Not here.
There has never been so much money in football as there is now, yet clubs have never made a pre-tax profit. Alan Sugar tried to run Spurs as a ‘proper’ business – but soon realised that football ‘is not a normal business’. Current thinking is that the only way to make money out of a football club is to turn it into a USA franchise. This would inevitably mean even less involvement for fans – the banning of fanzines for instance – attempts to merge clubs from the same town/city (!) etc.
It is critical to form Trusts now.
Football fans have many gifted professionals amongst their ranks, successful businessmen/women who understand the concept that in this instance you put your money in, without getting anything out.
Any decent investor would need to know that the fans are with them, and once the Trust has formed more investment interest would come forward.
In conclusion Sean reminded us of the real value of fans – the fans who are currently walking away from the game – by quoting Jock Stein who said “Football without fans is nothing”.

Jon Keen, from the Reading Supporters Trust was next to speak and he explained the characteristics of their club…... certainly not a club in crisis. Reading had a traditional supporters club which was good at raising money and pouring it into the club with no thanks, and no recognition. When the club moved to the new soulless stadium it lost its familiar surroundings and the heart went out of supporting Reading. The brand new stadium was a quarter full.
So a steering committee was formed to discuss the aims and objectives of forming a trust and, after 6 months’ discussions the Reading Trust was launched.
Their fans have no chance of buying shares – 98.7% are owned by Madjeski, something of an egomaniac, who asked the fans what the running of the club had to do with them (!), but the Trust realised that they had to establish credibility by being totally professional. Fortunately the Chairman of a Building Society, who was also a die-hard Reading fan, retired at about that time and became the Chairman of STAR (Supporters Trust at Reading), ensuring that it was properly democratic, legally accountable and non-confrontational with the club. It is now one of the largest trusts in the country with a 3,000+ membership and taken seriously by the club.
Monthly meetings with the management board enable them to share ideas and build mutual understanding and the Trust is much more careful with money raised – not handing it over without having a say in its use eg. the Academy, or support of local underprivileged kids etc.
Reading is a traditional club with a small, loyal fanbase. Currently there are no ‘big issues’ with the club, but the Trust exists as an ‘insurance policy’ in case things do go wrong.

The final speaker was Colin Savage, whose ‘account of the accounts’, and his concerns therein, appeared on MCIVTA and raised the interest of Ollie Goddard which in turn led to the efforts to revive interest in a Supporters Trust and the whole series of events leading to this meeting.
Colin re-emphasised that this would not be ‘just another supporters club’ and he outlined the 5 main aims:

1. to strengthen the bonds with club and community.
2. to foster stewardship and accountability
3. to improve communications between the club and fans
4. to facilitate and promote supporter ownership
5. to give as much work to local companies as possible.

Colin went on to elaborate on these points.
Stewardship refers to accountability, and would mean strengthening the board, answering the perennial AGM question (which is never answered satisfactorily) “What do the directors do?” We currently have no financial director and no marketing director.
Communications between club and fans, shareholders, the local community needs attention and clear vision.
The fans need to be sold the vision; asked for feedback; see that feedback acted upon.
Is there a long-term plan. What is it?
There is a clear link between performance on and off the field. We need more road shows, more supporters branch visits and more honesty, said Colin, concluding with the apt phrase “avoid spin, it doesn’t wash”, but there only seemed to me who found that funny!

Finally, it was made clear that the Trust, if formed, would be there to encourage ownership of a significant shareholding, thus achieving representation on the board as a right. After all, it is we, the fans, who have to live with the long-term effects of decisions made at board level. The Trust would seek out and vote for the right calibre of person to be the representative and would also aim to ensure that the club attracts the right kind of investment which will benefit the local community as well as the club itself.

There was then a short Q&A session which went as follows:-

Q: Contact with the club – when will this be made?
A: The members of the working party have been in contact with the club from day one, and continue with this contact.
Q: Some of the aims need increasing – eg 50% of the shares?
A: There are legal restrictions to adhere to. Fans might want more involvement short term – if so they should get involved with the working party. The trust will represent the fans democratically – one member, one vote.
Q: Has there been any effort to contact shareholders?
A: Yes – those owning more than 25%.
Q: Has anyone put themselves forward to sit on the board?
A: No. It must be someone with sufficient expertise (someone like David Bernstein). There are many highly qualified professionals amongst City fans, but it’s not so much who the person is, as that the kind of person voted into the position would be able have an honest dialogue. Today’s ideas are draft proposals. As a point of interest, Arsenal don’t have a board member, but have monthly meetings with the board.
Q: Would a takeover have a detrimental effect?
A: Until there is a firm proposal we cannot say. We would hope for the right sort of investment package, one without massive debts attached and we fear that an American franchise would eventually reduce football to the level of WWF.
Q: What about the cost involved of becoming a founder member?
A: Reading have a fee of £10 per adult, which seems reasonable, but would be decided upon after formation.
Q: What about existing supporters groups?
A: We would like to see more active involvement, but no preferential treatment for any one organisation. Communication is vital.
Q: Can the Trust function without the co-operation of the club?
A: We would hope to co-operate, but would exist anyway – hoping to achieve our own credibility.

There then followed a vote on whether or not a Supporters Trust should be formed.
It was carried unanimously.
The meeting closed with thanks to all who had spoken - most of whom had travelled a long way – and an announcement that the next big meeting will be on March 18th at Mary Dee’s.

I have to say the whole event was carried off with great dignity. There was a very mixed audience – admittedly including the usual suspects – and the questions asked were intelligent and the answers given (more in depth than I’m able to report here) were well-informed and honest – how refreshing is that?!
It was pointed out to me afterwards that a certain Mr Paul Tyrrell had been present throughout, seated at the back of the auditorium. What a pity he didn’t make himself known so that the question of what the club’s response might be could have been put to him direct.
Well done to all who helped to get the show on the road. It was clearly the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication. Let’s hope that plenty of City fans come forward now to help lighten the load as this idea gets off the ground.
Keep the Faith,
Sue


MCFC Supporters Trust Website http://mcfcsupporterstrust.blogspot.com/

Sunday, 4 March 2007

D'YOU BUY DUBAI AS A GOOD IDEA?






No-one could have roared us to victory. The only roars heard at Eastlands yesterday were roars of derision.
Wigan home. In the week there’s been news that Frankie Bunn has joined Tim Flowers and Iain Dowie at Coventry (deserting rats ship a sinking - re-arrange )wouldn't it have been simpler for them to have stayed put and Pearce/Dowie done a swap!? (giving us new manager syndrome) Eric Steele has taken over as goalkeeping coach. Jihai Sun tells everyone in the Mirror he can’t wait to get home, as he doesn’t understand English culture and didn’t know that his kids should’ve taken a cake in to nursery on their birthday. Ridiculous. City pay his wages whilst he swans about for 12 months without kicking a ball. Manc has a massive and integrated Chinese community, couldn’t he have asked someone for a few basic rules? Doubt if anyone would condemn him as a social outcast for not producing a Birthday cake anyway.
As for the game, we were fresh, or was it too laid back from Dubai, should have treated it like a cup tie, a 6 pointer, yet put in an excuse of a performance again. One time pretend target, whilst Pearce was snatching the under 21 job, Folan, scored against us, again, Nicky dithering, (are you watching Eric?) Sturridge brought on for 2 or 3 minutes, ridiculous – far too much pressure for the young lad - and we dropped to 4th from bottom. Charlton got a point at Watford, so we’re now only 6 points clear and in deep, deep trouble. Luckily too, West Ham lost at home to Spurs., but at least they did it with a bit of style, and were desperately unlucky.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

ROAR US ON TO VICTORY!

WE'VE JUST GOT TO WIN THIS ONE TODAY, SO LET'S GIVE THE PLAYERS FULL VOLUME SUPPORT. LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BLOOOOOZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And then tomorrow let's make it a BIG turnout for the OPEN MEETING at the RENOLD THEATRE, Manchester University, 2pm to see if the way forward for MCFC could be to form a SUPPORTERS TRUST. If we don't give it a go, we'll never know.

Friday, 2 March 2007

OI, REF!!!!

TONY PETRIE WRITES (to be published in KOTK149)..... Just as it looked as though the row between Wigan boss Paul Jewell and referee Phil Dowd, was petering out, a similar accusation of refereeing bias toward the big clubs has been made by the Lille boss against the referee in the Lille vs. Man United Champions League game. Jewell rightly pointed out that Dowd’s incompetence in his refereeing of the Arsenal vs. Wigan game could cost the club £50 million in lost revenue if they fail to remain in the premiership. Dowd denied Wigan one of the most blatant penalties probably since we last played at Arsenal. The penalty incident happened whilst Wigan were 1-0 ahead and with only ten minutes to go. To rub salt into the wounds, Dowd then refused to allow Wigan to bring back onto the field an injured player, forcing them to play with ten men and whilst down to ten men Arsenal then equalised with the player making the cross, clearly in an offside position. With Wigan completely rattled at having to take on Arsenal and the referee, “the Bummers” went on to score the winner with two minutes left. Dowd has been criticised for his handling of the game and it’s been suggested that he will be relegated to the championship for a couple of games as punishment. This hardly seems much of a punishment when you consider that if Wigan are relegated by one point, they will have to spend at least forty six games in the championship. Just a few days later it was the turn of Lille to experience what we in the premiership have to put up with most weeks. The French club are furious that Giggs was allowed to take a free kick before they were ready and were so incensed they threatened to walk off. Add to that a legitimate penalty claim that was turned down and a good goal disallowed and you can understand their frustration. The British press were of course behind United stating that the goal was legal. It may have been legal, but it was about as sporting as pitching Jack Bodell with Mohammed Ali. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it had been the other way round and the French club had scored in such a fashion, but of course the referee would have disallowed it. What must be even more frustrating for the French team is that in the French League, such bias is not shown, as there is not the same gulf in class and wealth in their league as there is in the premiership (in France there are 20 points separating the 2nd placed team and the bottom club. In England there are 41 points separating 2nd and bottom placed) so the apparent bias to the Reds must come as a culture shock to them. Fulham were also quick to complain of refereeing bias when United beat them 2-1 at Craven Cottage. Whilst it’s easy to get carried away and for managers to blame every defeat on refereeing bias, these three incidents are good examples of the depth of feeling in this country that every other club outside the top four has at the treatment that they get from the elite loving referees. If we were to piece together the evidence of bias against the smaller clubs, just from writers in this magazine alone, it would be enough to condemn Phil Dowd and his refereeing mates. I’m pleased that Jewell’s decided to risk all and is refusing to let the matter rest in an attempt to bring home what most football fans see, week in week out that some premiership referees look bent. Now Lille manager Claude Puel looks to be highlighting the bias in Europe too. Someone tried to defend Dowd by pointing out that in the Arsenal vs. Blackburn cup tie, Arsenal were also denied a blatant penalty, but that decision came when the score was 0-0 early in the second half so there was still plenty of time for the Gooners to score. The penalty incident in the Arsenal/Wigan, game came when Wigan were 1-0 up and with ten minutes to play. A second Wigan goal then would almost certainly have sealed the game, so there is no comparison in the two incidents. In the Lille/United game, Lille have been made to look the villains by their threat to walk off the pitch in disgust and the crowd trouble that erupted. The question is how much longer are we are going to stand for it. I think that the time has come for all the clubs in Europe who are not in the G7 group to also join together and stand up for their rights. If we don’t then we are in danger of becoming a bit like those turkeys in Bernard Mathews’ sheds. The remaining eighty-eight clubs in the English league and those lightweights that qualify for the Champions League are there only to satisfy the needs of the top dogs, but without us it would be a very boring league and cup competition. Whatever the big clubs turnover is and no matter how far ahead of the rest of us they may appear to be, they need us more than we need them. If the big clubs in each country were to disappear up their own backsides tomorrow, those of us left would still be going to games week in week out, but how long will 70000 armchair reds keep tuning in to watch Manchester United take on Barcelona for the twelfth time in three months for the Matt Busby Memorial Challenge Trophy or the Sir Bobby Charlton Hair Transplant Cup? The injustices and downright bias shown toward the big clubs need to be tackled and that can only be done by the remainder gathering evidence and, if necessary threatening strike action. Because one thing is certain, if nothing is done, in ten years time there may not be a Football League and to prove the point the Premier League have dropped the words FA from their logo.
(Tony Petrie is a regular contributor to KOTK fanzine)

Thursday, 1 March 2007

FA CUP and SEASON TICKET RENEWALS - or not!

Rags scraped through at Reading, becoming the second Manchester team to reach the sixth round. Boro went through, so did Blackburn, observed by Paul Dickov and Stuart Pearce, so we’ve got the short trip to Ewood Park a week on Sunday.
Hopefully third time lucky for us this season. With luck Blackburn’s enlightened attitude to ticket pricing will extend to City fans for this match…..?!
Meanwhile the season ticket deadline looms – a couple of months earlier than it used to be, so are the club about to get the shock of their lives, and finally come to the conclusion that maybe they should take on board some of the comments made in the latest issue re season ticket renewal and the current poor relationship between club and many diehard fans.

It's aFIX!!!!! SATURDAY MARCH 3rd : WIGAN (HOME)

SATURDAY MARCH 3rd : WIGAN (HOME)

Formed in 1932, elected to Football League in 1972 replacing Southport. Lived the Whelan dream by moving up the leagues, making the Premiership last season.

Some High Profile connections between the clubs, well there was Carl Bradshaw, John Benson, Freddie Pye, and…Fred Eyre, and now Carlo Nash. Plus Sam Barkas became their manager in 1957 and his ambition was to top the Lancashire Combination and gain entry to the Football league, and they all dreamed on…..
Wigan is also famous for Rugby League, George Orwell, George Formby, The Verve, and the Pier.

Paul’s Jewell’s in the crown include Kirkland, Nash, Hall, Boyce, Unswoth, Baines, Skoko, Landzaat, Kilblane, McCulloch, Heskey, Agbahowa, Filan, Taylor, Pollitt, Cotterill, Granqvist, Johansson, Haestad, Folan, Valencia, Baines, Camara, Scharner, De Zeeuw, McMillan…

This season so far : At the JJB in October it was a 12.45 pm kick off for TV, they charged us £36, so only 1,961 Blues showed up and Whelan later admitted it was too much and promptly dropped prices to £15. Needless to say, our chance to give ‘em an ‘up yours’ failed as we capitulated, again, to lose 4-0. 4-0 to the bottom club with some woeful performances from our overpaid tossers, who, at the time, were thought not to be fit to wear the shirt..
Wigan picked up since then, and are now on 29 points with 3 wins 3 draws and 8 losses away from home.

Our form in Manc v Wigan : Last season we beat them 1-0 in the 4th round of the cup, courtesy of an Andy Cole goal against the run of play with Wigan having one eye on the Carling Cup Final and fielding a weakened team.
In the league a few weeks later in March we managed a 1-0 loss as we dropped to 11th place staying on 40 points with McCulloch netting their goal, though we had our eye on the Monday night 6th round F.A.Cup tie with West Ham. Pearce brought Samaras on, who was playing well at the time, who got injured and thus missed the Monday game as our cup dreams faded and died

Comment : 5 points behind us after their defeat at Arsenal and ours at Portsmouth, the gap is now even closer with their point at Watford, and the three points they picked up against Newcastle at home.
So, a big 6 pointer, and we need to roar the lads on as if it’s a cup tie….

Stats : In total we’ve now played Wigan 12 times.
Twice in the F.A.Cups 1971 (won 1-0) and last season (won 1-0)
Three times in the League cup.- 82/83 (1-1 away, 2-0 home). 2002 away (lost 1-0)
Twice in the league div 2 98/99 (won 1-0 home and away) Twice in the div 2 play off semi-finals 98/99 – (drew 1-1 away, won 1-0 home)
Three times in the Prem – 2005/06 (lost 4-3 away, 1-0 home) and lost 4-0 away earlier this season. So this is our 13th meeting, and we’ve lost all 3 Premiership clashes so far
Last Pot : None, but reached the Carling Cup final last year, but lost 4-0 to rags


Last Attendance : 30,811 (4,842 Wigan) cup; 42,444 (2,842 Wigan) League

WWTWTWShite : Well supported as a non league club, but not since?
Their current home average : 17,641