Sunday, 29 April 2007

KEEPING THE FAITH

Pleased to see that David Mooney is still loyally supporting his team, and maintaining a sense of common decency during these miserable times.
The latest issue of King of the Kippax was on sale at the ground for the first time yesterday. Taking a wider look at the problems we face is an article by DAVE CASH called 'Keeping the Faith', with which many City fans will empathise. Here is an excerpt:-

Looking back it makes you wonder what has happened in such a very short four seasons. Whereas Maine Road was old and ugly, Eastlands is new and ugly. For me it did not start out that way though. The season we moved into Beswick, I looked and saw a beautiful stadium, state of the art facilities, views to die for (no more restricted tickets which meant sitting behind a three-foot wide post, which in reality meant not seeing 90% of the game). However, in a little over thirty-six months my view has changed. Eastlands, and I loathe the name with a passion as it means nothing ‘City’, has become an edifice. It is a blank wall of endless concrete and grey painted steel, featureless, bland, dismal. Go past it on a rainy winter’s day and see if there is anything remotely ‘lovely’ about the place. It looks closed and uninviting although it does retain an air of mystery. Like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory people wait in wonder for the ventilation louvers to open to get a peep inside, to glimpse the pitch, but of the human aspect there is scant else to see.. In short it is dark forbidding and frankly not very pleasant. It is a bit like the current management really. Short of digging a bloody great moat and installing a drawbridge our wonderful management couldn’t be more isolated if they tried. Ok, so it has stopped the damaging leaks of information to the press but, to a large extent, it has completed the feelings of alienation and isolation that the fans were starting to feel already.

Now given all of the above, you would still expect that the fans would be loyal, but now we start to turn the screw. Season ticket prices, whilst held this year are still nearly double what they were at Maine Road. Performances on the pitch are at times so poor as to send a glass eye to sleep (I give you both Watford and Charlton at home, 0-0 draws played for the majority of the game like volleyball). I know we do not have a pot to piss in, but frankly our movements in the transfer market have been pathetic, with only Mpenza looking like a decent piece of business so far. Rumours of star players going to the s**t continue with little or no rebuttal from the ivory towers, and on recent past evidence it isn’t hard to believe that anything and everything is up for sale if the price is right. None of it is helping to inspire the faithful nor engender any feelings of loyalty.

I have warned in the past that there is only so long that you can keep making the pips squeak before they start to die. The disaffected will not be manning the picket lines this time, like they did during the Swales-out-days. This time the exodus will be almost silent. There will be a few rumblings, like the earthquake shower a couple of years ago, but mostly the only sound will be the shuffling of slippered feet as in dribs and drabs fans walk away. It has started already. Season ticket renewals are down. I speak to people now who have had tickets for thirty years and are, for the first time, considering not renewing. If it were one or two then you could be forgiven for saying “so what”, but it isn’t. As the numbers increase, so attendances will start to fall. The next generation won’t have dads and uncles (sorry if that sounds sexist) pushing them along and teaching them how to support a club that underachieves, like ours does, therefore no next generation.
It’s like when you were a kid playing out at tea-time, as it starts to get dark and one or two of your mates have to go in, so you start to lose interest when there aren’t enough of you for a decent game of ‘Ticky-off-the-ground’. You sit around for a while kicking stones until it dawns on you that you’re the only one left and then you too wander off home. That is how it happens when a few of the diehards start to care less. Then those that have always been a bit less enthusiastic quietly slip away too, but no one notices them leave until there is no one left. The club ignores this at their peril. Personally I think the penny has started to drop with some of the powers that be, but in all likelihood for purely commercial reasons rather than any sense that they are killing the club with their lack of communication, lofty attitudes and pure unadulterated greed.
DAVE CASH
Read the full article in the latest issue of King of the Kippax. It is the 150th issue and is packed with diverse opinions, predictions, previews, reviews, jokes and jollies which will keep you entertained throughout the close season.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Fans Support.

I would like to send out a message to every single one of those fans who left early, abused Samaras and booed at the end of the home game against Aston Villa.

Fuck off. We don't need your misery, cynicism, doom-and-gloom nature in our stadium. If you were one of those who sat back and said "I saw it coming" when the free-kick was scored, or one of those who shouted words such as "crap", "poof", "waste of space", "useless", "shite" or "fairy" at Samaras, or one of those who groans when Sinclair warmed up, or one of those who constantly moaned that ball was played in the air (without time and/or space for the player making the pass to control the ball), or one of those who have come to the stadium to find things to moan about, then please never come and watch City home or away ever again. We don't need you.

I had the pleasure of sitting in front of a Samaras-abuser (some absolute horrible things were said about him, some homophobic comments, a lot of things that were libellous) and if it wasn't for the doom-and-gloom merchant in front of me, I would have spoken up.

He was shouting out some of those lovely words and phrases I had previously mentionned and Samaras hadn't done anything wrong. There was one point when he was on his own in the centre, surrounded by three Villa defenders and he played the ball out to the right wing, but Barton couldn't make reach it. That set off a round of abuse, despite him having no support, no hope of getting any support and no confidence.

Now, moving on to the pleasant old chap in front of me, who was spouting out nonsense for 80 minutes (thankfully, he left after 80 minutes and I sincerely hope that he never returns to the Stadium). On condeding the free kick, he spent the five minutes after to goal moaning that there weren't men on the posts and how there HAVE to be men on the posts for such free-kicks.

Does he not realise that in doing that, every Villa player in the box would be played onside?

I realise, though, that by this point he was looking for things to complain about. He'd managed to moan that Samaras was too soft before he'd touched the ball, he'd managed to moan that Sinclair couldn't do anything before he'd fully stripped off, he'd managed to moan that Vassell couldn't finish before he'd had a shot, and he'd managed to moan that people were leaving early before promtly leaving early.

If you can't find it in you to do anything other than moan - or at least say constructive comments - then please do fuck off and never come and watch City again. A club that is down on its luck, that's struggling to score and struggling to perform doesn't need abuse. It needs support.

So, if you're not going to support the team through the bad times, then stay at home. 20,000 people in a stadium supporting a club is better than 40,000 moaning and groaning. Stay at home, or shut up and support. It's your choice.

David Mooney

Thursday, 26 April 2007

IT'S A FIX! - ASTON VILLA

SATURDAY APRIL 29TH VILLA (HOME)

Formed in 1874… dominated in the 1890’s… always a 1st Div club pre-war… down in 1936 for 2 seasons… post-war ups and downs as far as the third, and back finally in ’88, where they’ve stayed ever since, despite City-esque managerial changes. under departed Deadly Doug

Honours: 7 times Div 1 Champs (last in ’81); 7 times FA Cup winners (last in ’57); 5 times League Cup winners; Euro Cup winners once; Euro Super Cup winners once.
Famous fans include Nigel Kennedy (who?!), Simon Inglis, High profile connections are : Joe Mercer, Frank Carrodus, Adrian Heath, Stan Horne, Ken McNaught, Ron Saunders, Martin O’Neill, Barry Stobart, Billy McNeill, Darius Vassell.

Ex Blue Martin O’Neill’s squad : Sorensen, Mellberg, Laursen, Bouma, Bardsley, Barry, Petrov, Young (big buy from Watford) Gardner, Moore, Agebonlahor, Taylor, Hughes, Maloney, Berger, Carew, Cahill, DavisOsborne, Samuel, McCann, Ridgewell,

This season so far: Villa are out of all cups, and are currently in 11th place with 43 points from 35 games and 3 wins 8 draws and 6 losses away from home.
O’Neill came in for O’Leary, and did well with the squad he inherited and turned ‘em into a team, but it was surprisingly down to new manager syndrome, and they’ve disappointed since, dropping down the league, just clear so far of the relegation mire.

Our form v Villa in Manc:
At COMS last season in October we had a 3-1 Monday night win on Sky TV, Vassell 2 and Cole as we hit 4th spot.
Then it was the 5th round of the cup, 2-1 replay win.
P/W attendances have ranged from 20,935 (85/86) to 52,869 47/48)
4 wins in the last 4 for us plus the cup tie, and they’ve only won 1 in our last 13 league and cup visits. In fact in our last 16 meetings home and away + 3 cup ties they’ve beaten us just twice.

Biggest games were winning the 1934 semi 6-1 (but at Huddersfield), and the ’72 Charity Shield 1-0 at Villa.Park

Comment : Villa staff have been extremely helpful to KOTK in our quest for a match report from season 57/58, much more helpful than other clubs – particularly Birmingham, Everton, Burnley, Portsmouth etc.- so we thank them for that.
You’d expect us to collect the points as usual but we surely can’t keep beating them can we? Ok – yes, and the first goal at COMS since New Years Day maybe to set us up for the rags, bring ‘em on!!

STATS: 58 pre-war and 77 post, make it our 136th league meeting in Manc P/W it’s:-
Played 38 Won 17 Drawn 11 9last in ’95) Lost 10.
Last Pot: League Cup 1996
Last attendance: 42,069 (1116 Villa) Lg, 33,006 (3,218 Villa) Cup.
WWTWTWShite? – Averaged 15,237 in 85/86
Current Average : 35,994

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

R.I.P. Alan Ball


World Cup winner Alan Ball has died of a heart attack at the age of 61.



RIP Alan



ALAN BALL FACTFILE
Born: Lancashire 12/05/1945
Playing career: Played for Blackpool, Everton, Arsenal, Southampton, Philadelphia Fury, Vancouver Whitecaps (player manager), Blackpool (player manager), Southampton, Eastern (Hong Kong), Bristol Rovers
Made 975 appearances in a 21-year career
Managerial career: Portsmouth, Colchester, Stoke, Exeter, Southampton, Manchester City, Portsmouth
Honours: World Cup (1966), league title (1970)

Sunday, 22 April 2007

JOEY'S RANT

Maybe Joey Barton's post-match rant will be as significant in the long run as that from David Makin, which resulted in a change of leadership at City and ultimately put his business partner, John Wardle, in the hot seat as chairman.
Joey appears to have said no more than the fanzines, unofficial websites, supporters club leadership (well, some of them at least), some loyal employees, long-standing season ticket holders, individual fans, and now the Supporters Trust have been saying for a long time.
All messages of concern to the club are met with a brick wall. Fans rarely receive a reply other than a standard 'fob off'. We are all tired of banging our heads against that brick wall. Even today no-one has yet come forward, representing MCFC, to respond to Joey's words.
The following is just a sample of the correspondence we've been receiving at King of the Kippax over a long period of time, and it bears a striking resemblance to Barton's rant, although it was written some weeks ago.

My frustration with MCFC is turning to despair, anger and a degree of resignation. There seems to be consistency in fans' (and your contributors') views on what is wrong and what needs to be done. But the management and the board just don't seem to get it or don't want to get it. Permit me a bit of a rant..

1. What direction is the club taking? What is the Board's strategy? Are we building something (if so, what?) or are we going to develop exciting players at the Academy to sell them to balance the books.... but then spend the money on high wages of ordinary older players (usually Bosmans) who contribute little and don't stay long (thankfully in some cases). Is success defined as "not being relegated"?

2. We have needed someone who can put the ball into the back of the net , plus a creative midfielder all season. I would have expected that filling these gaps would have been top of the transfer agenda. But when the music stopped in both the summer and winter transfer windows, we had not got what we needed. We looked very naive in the handling of the Cole and Mido episodes.

3. We seem to miss (or be unwilling to take a chance on) young outstanding lower League talent which is on our doorstep (Ashton, Nugent, Foran, Hulse). SP's transfer dealings have yielded more disappointments than successes.

4. The work ethic and the attitude of some of the players we bring in is all wrong. Is this because the management does not check the players out for these attributes (or lack of them) before bringing them in? Or is it poor man management by SP and his staff?. Sam Allardyce seems to take players from all over the world and in some cases with chequered pasts. He gets them working and playing as if the success of BWFC is the most important thing on earth. Why does this not happen at City?

Rant over. Thanks if you bothered to read this far... and good luck to you and KOTK.

I. HICKSON

Friday, 20 April 2007

ED'S VIEW - ARSENAL


Arsenal away, on another lovely warm night, when the coach driver took us on a trip round the partly demolished Highbury before parking up near the Emirates. Most City fans were impressed with the stadium, as was Alan Gowling on Radio Manchester last Saturday, when he visited with Bolton - but he didn’t think it was as good as the ugly Old Trafford. You couldn’t make it up could you? Personally I didn’t rate it as highly as Eastlands. No spirals and red seats - I mean! - but they were padded and comfy!
Suppose we did quite well, but still a defeat. The only consolation being the ten mile tailback on the south side of the M6 as the rags made their way back to southern parts. Shame!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

IT'S A FIX - WATFORD




SATURDAY APRIL 21st : WATFORD (AWAY)





Formed in 1891, joined 3rd division south in 1920/21. Ups and downs including spells in the 4th, and cup wins over the rags. Into the first in 81/82, runners up in 1983, cup finalists in 1984, and into Europe. Down to the old third then up for one season in the Prem. in 99/2000
Names/famous fan is Elton John, John Barnes, Luther Blisset, and high profile City connection is Tony Coton, Nick Leeson
Adie Boothroyd’s squad includes: Foster (boo), Demerit, Shittu, Mariappa, Francis, Mahon, Powell, Smith, Priskin, Kabba, Bouazza, Lee, Doyley, MacKay, Henderson, Bangura, McNamee, Cavalli, Williams, Chambers, Stewart..

This season so far : At COMS in November it was an excruciatingly boring 0-0 draw. They were terrible and we came down to their level. Currently they’re rock bottom with 23 points from 33 games, with 3 wins 7 draws and 6 defeats at home and looked doomed after suffering a major blow when goalscorer (remember those?) Marlon King was ruled out for the season from the start. Different story in the cup though, reaching the semi-finals, imagine that Blues, but lost 4-1 to the rags, so we won’t be applauding the F.A.Cup finalists onto the pitch.

Our form at Watford : Our last visit was in 2001/02, the promotion season under KK, when on a wet and windy January Sunday we won a little luckily 2-1 with goals from Wanchope and Helguson og.

Comment : I do like Adie Boothroyd, but after the loss at Arsenal we could do with getting back to winning ways, and should have a good chance today. Hopefully it’ll be an entertaining game, like Fulham, with not too much pressure on either team.

Groundwise : No change to Vicarage Road since our last visit except we just get half the stand behind the goal, not the full end. Thought they may have replaced the old eyesore stands down the sides by now, by now. But no.
Capacity : 22,000 (up to 4,500 for City)

Stats : 11 league games, all post war make it our 12th league meeting, and at Watford ere it’s :
Played 5, won 1 drawn 2 lost 2
Last pot : None
Last attendance v City : 17,074
Their current average : 18,665
WWTWTWShite : Averaged 4,609 in 75/76 (19,488 in 82/83)
Away day zines ; Clap your hands, stamp your feet
Steve P’s Route : M6, M1 (Long 40 mph section past roadworks between jns 6 and 10). At M1 jn 5, take 3rd exit, A4008 Stephenson Way (signed Town Centre). After
about 1½ miles, the road goes under a railway viaduct. At next roundabout take 2nd exit, A411 Beechen Grove. Continue left into one-way ring road past High Street station (signs for A4145 West Watford), then left into A4145 Vicarage Road, then a left-right-left dogleg back into Vicarage Road and the
ground is on the left. (It’s next to the hospital so just follow hospital signs.)
Parking : Street and in and out of the allotments
Pubs: Mac’s Bar, Fearnley Street; Moon Under Water, Hgh Street;
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Sunday, 15 April 2007

ED'S VIEW - LIVERPOOL


It was Liverpool at home yeterday, during the week when they made the Euro cup semis (as did the rags, beating Roma - who ‘Boro beat last season, so obviously not up to much, and 2 of their goals went in off the post!). It was hot, hot, hot – and we were treated to an uninspiring radio broadcast from the manager before the game. Boring match but another welcome point, and what could be better afterwards than popping into the Social for a thirst quenching and well earned drink? Too bad for us ordinary fans, it was only open for hospitality types today.
And another marquee has appeared. This one’s not the embryo casino, or beer tent, but a Manchester University overflow exam room. So no probs with the wind blowing this one down then eh?!
Anyway Fulham, after sacking Chris Coleman (why are chairmen so astounded that City beat their teams that they have to sack their managers?), lost under new guy Lawrie Sanchez at Reading, and West Ham at Sheff. U. That, plus ‘Boro losing at home to Villa, kept us in 12th spot, so no worries. Today Charlton lost at Everton and Wigan drew at home to Spurs, so we’re still 9 points clear of the 3rd bottom placed Charlton. The cup final is, predictably, rags v Chelsea (well done SWP for setting up the winning goal).

Th£re is nothing quite a$ wond€rful as mone¥…

On Thursday 18 January 2007, a decision was announced that would segregate the Premiership from the Championship once and for all.

It was revealed that the Premiership television rights would bring in approximately £625m, to be shared out amongst the clubs in the league, depending on their final position.

Premiership winners are expected to get £50m, while the club which props up the league at the end of the season should get something in the region of £26m.

Just to give you some sense of scale to this, current Premiership winners bag £30m for their troubles.

We’re heading into the dawn of the “European Super League”. The same clubs will continue to win their respective leagues and continue to get richer. With this added money, they will continue to buy the better players and therefore win their league again. It seems unlikely that anyone will make like the fat kid on a BMX and break the cycle.

Soon, we’ll get to the stage where the Premiership will be much more exciting in the mid-table than the bottom or the top. In fact, I’m willing to bet that, if this deal stays longer than expected then we will soon be able to accurately predict where each of the top sixth would finish.

What few people seem to realise, though, is that this is likely also to be true for the bottom three teams. Working on the principle that the three relegated teams will have enough money in the bank to buy a squad which will see them promoted again, then the same clubs will be up and down from the Premiership and the Championship.

This could be extremely detrimental to the clubs which don’t get promoted this season, because they’re unlikely to be able to compete with those relegated.

The new TV deal will take place over the seasons 2007/08 to 2009/10. The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: “This deal really does take us on to another level.”

Nobody can say he’s not right. Not only will the Premier League be an entire level above everyone else, there will be an impenetrable barrier in between.

How can anybody think that this deal will be good for English football? OK, so the likelihood is that the Champions League quarter finals will contain four English teams, but that’s not good for English football on the whole. It’s good for the top four.

None of the everyday fans seem to understand the extent of which the damage of this deal could be. The most that people seem to know is that their club will get enough money to wipe their debts.

Even so, they seem to think this is fine because everything will be hunky-dory at their club. The Premiership wins and everyone else loses – it’s their fault for not being in the Premiership after all, so sod them.

I have tried phoning both the FA and the Premierleague to get their opinions, but the former told me to deal directly with the latter and the latter referred me to somebody’s (I no idea whose) voicemail. Part of me thinks that I was forwarded to the correct person’s phone but they weren’t at their desk, but, the usual cynical me thinks I was fobbed off and won’t get a return call.

So, where exactly is this money going to go?

Without a wage cap in this country, players are likely to be earning sums of money each year that you or I can only dream of earning in a lifetime.

The Premierleague even has the cheek to claim that the money will filter through to the lower divisions, given time.

It’s no surprise that this deal was kept quiet until it was finished, especially as it concerns the top league in this country and the potentially damaging effect it could have on the rest. Eric Idle was right – there is nothing quite as wonderful as money and it really does make the world go round.

David Moon€¥

Saturday, 14 April 2007

IT'S A FIX - LIVERPOOL

Liverpool were formed in 1892 when Everton vacated Anfield. Ups and downs until back to div 1 904/05, where they stayed until dropping into the 2nd Div in 1954, for an incredible 8 seasons, returning under Shanks in ’62, and the rest is history.
They’ve won 18 league titles (from 1901 to 1990); 5 times Euro Cup winners; 7 times FA Cup winners (65 to 06); 3 times UEFA/Fairs Cup winners; once Euro Super Cup winners (77/78); 7 times League Cup winners (‘81 to ’03).
Names and famous fans are: : Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Keegan, Toshack, Souness, Grobelaar, Rush, Dalglish, Barnes, Anelka… Beatles, Cilla Black, Elvis Costello, Echo and the Bunnymen, Pete Wylie,
High profile connections : Matt Busby, George Livingstone (our first Scottish international, I presume!), Steve McMahon, Paul Stewart, Mike Robinson, Mark Seagraves, Joe Fagan, Mark Kennedy, Paul Walsh, Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Keegan, Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Didi Hamann.

Rafael Benitez' squad includes : Reina, Carragher, Agger (dooo doo doo), Finnan, Sissoko, Alonso, Gerrard, Kuyt, Bellamy, Riise, Dudek, Pennant, Hypia, Zenden, Fowler, Gonzales, Crouch, Kewell, Garcia

This season so far : At Anfield in November it was a narrow 1-0 defeat for us, Gerrard scoring for them in the 62nd minute whilst we never looked remotely like scoring.
They’re out of the domestic cups but cock-a-hoop at beating PSV, 4-0 on aggregate and meet Chelsea in the semi-final of the Champs league.
Currently in the Prem they’re in 4th place with 60 points from 32 games with 6 wins 3 draws 7 losses away from home.
They’ve recently had the Riise/Bellamy bust up and were also taken over by the Americans and big plans are scheduled with finance and new stadium etc. – as if they need it?

Our form in Manc v Liverpool : Last season we went down 1-0 to a Riise goal spoiling our decent run against them making it 3 wins 5 draws 2 losses in the last ten.
Post war attendances ranged from 17,975 in 70/71 to 70, 640 in the F.A,cup 5th round in 55/56.

Other moments: Biggest games were the League cup semis of ’81, when we were robbed 1-0 at M/Rd (Alf Grey) and murdered ‘em 1-1 at Anfield

Windups: ‘We’ve got more scouse than you… one song ….you’re just a bunch of Spaniards’ and usual stuff.

Comment : Not the really scary Liverpool we once knew, but they have enough quality in their squad to cause us problems. Our recent record isn’t too bad though, so you never know….

STATS: 64 pre-war and 77 post-war make it our 142nd league meeting and here p/w it’s:
Played: 38 Won 10 Drawn 11 Lost 17.
Last Pot: Euro Champs Cup 05.
Last Att: 47,105 (2,834 L’pool)
Wwtwtwshite : Av’d 22,742 in 31/32
Their current home average attendance : 43,673

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

ED'S VIEW - FULHAM


Fulham, away, on Easter Monday. We were greeted in the papers with David James saying that, despite Pompey beating them, he hopes united win the title rather than ‘scabby Chelsea’. Did the man learn nothing during his time in Manchester about this despicable, detestable club from over the way? James then in a minority of one.
A slight concern about the traffic on the roads, which proved to be unfounded, and it was a good run 'darn sarf'. Lovely day in London, free parking nearby on a Bank Holiday, and a pre-match stroll through the park on the banks of the Thames. The usual pleasant situation outside the ground with very friendly stewards and home fans. Well plenty of foreigners too, a bit like at Old Trafford.
We were right at the back of the stand, row (boot it in) UU (not Z), and it looked promising. And so it was. A couple of gorgeous moves saw us go 2 up before half time and Nedum had a great header saved. So a happy half time until those famous jobsworth words rang out - “you can’t sell those in here” Rules are rules of course and when people get on their high horses the regulations cannot be interpreted sensibly. Shame, but we sold out anyway!
Second half we added another as the Darius Vassell song rang out, so 3-0 up with half an hour to go and cruising. They got a consolation goal to make it 3-1, and Samaras and Sinclair came on for the last 5 or ten minutes or so. Nuff said! but we went home happy with a good run back to KK Towers. The win put us into 12th place on 40 points from 32 games and 9 points clear of the drop zone, so an amazing turn around since the Blackburn debacle, mainly due to Mpenza, Ball and Johnson coming in. Lessons learned Stuart??
So a quick check on the KK competition shows that 3 were right on us getting 40 points after 32 games -, Shaun Fawcett, Martin Ligo, and Benjamin Walter.
Also re the rags fun and games in Rome last week Scholes was rightly sent off, and if he was the first rag to be sent off (was he?) this season, then Barrie Stoddard, Steve Radcliffe, and Ian Allcroft were right on.
Cheers, Dave (KOTK Editor)

Sunday, 8 April 2007

DEAD MAN WALKING

The following piece is taken from an article by HOWARD HOCKIN in the latest issue of KOTK (No. 149), which is on sale now.....

Sigh. Here we go again. The endless cycle of hope and despair that is Manchester City Football Club. I’d say we’ve all been here before, but to be honest, I haven’t. We’ve been worse. We’ve been in more debt. We’ve had lower crowds. We’ve had worse players (dig up some old programmes, and weep). We’ve had worse managers too. But I have never felt like this.
Personally, I think Pearce has lost the fans now. The match day experience has become so tiresome, so unrewarding, and to be honest, an inconvenience, that I have not renewed, and I am not sure I will do.
I can’t blame the club for all of this, like some do. Football as a whole is in the doldrums, at the top level at least, and throwing more money at it will only make it worse. The big clubs get richer and richer, do everything in their powers to maintain the status quo, and the gulf widens. City could get a top manager with a £50 million transfer kitty in the summer, and the best we could hope for is to push for 5th place, or just maybe, 4th.
It is ALL about money now. We go without a goal for 2 months because the overriding necessity is that we stay in the top league. Forget silverware, honours, playing in Europe. The absolute bottom line is: don’t get relegated. And it is on that basis that City, and many other premiership clubs, are now run.
And to be honest, it would be so much more fun in the Championship. A probable promotion push, more games, better away trips for less money, more atmosphere, more goals, more excitement. Shame we’d be almost bust.

And when I am moaning, which is most of the time, I can’t help but go back to the ridiculous deadline for season ticket renewals.
A City supporter sent an e-mail to the club, asking why the deadline for season ticket renewals was so early. He got this reply:

The reason for the deadline date being in April is due to the technology of the stadium. As all the turnstiles are activated electronically with swipe cards, we need to request the season cards from the printers with enough time to spare before the beginning of the new season.Also, as many season card holders request seat moves, we need enough time to make the changes and request new cards. Best Regards, Customer Services

It is hard to know where to begin with this pitiful excuse for ripping off the fans. I wonder how Manchester United manage to process double the number of season tickets in half the time? Can you seriously believe that it takes longer to produce a swipe card than it does to send a booklet out to everyone? If I turned up the day before the start of the season with £400 cash and asked to purchase a season ticket, you can bet your bottom dollar they could do it in ten minutes.

It is a pathetic excuse. And if they knew this before moving into the new stadium, and they should have done, then the new technology should have been declined, if it meant ripping off every fan every season.
IF I renew, and it is a very big IF, I will send a cheque in June, for the pre-deadline amount, and tell them to take it or leave it. I suggest other late renewers do the same, because there is no chance they will turn it down, and if they do, they have lost my custom for good. H.H.

IT'S A FIX - FULHAM

EASTER MONDAY APRIL 9TH : FULHAM (AWAY)

Formed in 1880, joined Div 2 in 1907/08. Ups and downs between 2nd and 3rd before making the 1st Div in 48/49 (3 seasons) and 58/59. After going down in 67/68 (a very good year) they came up from the 4th in 96/97 when Al Fayed took over and made it to the Prem in 2000. No honours but F A Cup finalists in 1975.Names and famous players are : George Cohen, Bobby Moore, George Best, Al Fayed, Jimmy Hill, Tommy Trinder, Ray Brooks, Johnny Haynes, Wolfie Smith, and high profile connections are Kevin Keegan, Rodney Marsh, Kit Symons, Chris Coleman, Gordon Davies, Andy Cole, Michael Brown
Funny moment: Andy Morrison on Stan Collymore!
Chris Coleman’s squad includes : Niemi, Bucanegra, Christianval, Rosenior, Brown, Smertin, Queudrue, Davies, Radzinski, McBride, Diop, Lastuvka, Knight, Pearce, Routledge, Helguson, John, Dempsey, Voiz, Montella.
This season so far: we had a fairly comfy 3-1 win at COMS in November, Corradi notching 2, can you believe, and Barton 1. 35,776 (509 Fulham) John replying.
Currently, after their 4-1 loss at Everton, they’ve dropped to 15th place with 35 points from 32 games and 6 wins 6 draws and 4 losses at home.

Groundwise: No change since last season to one of the original riverside stadiums. We get a good sized area in the temporary stand next to the neutral section – with its cute pillars, and beware of a squash coming out!
Our form at Fulham: Last season we blotted our copybook with a 2-1 loss, Lee Croft notching his first goal for us but Malbranque doing the damage for them. This made it just two losses in our last 11 meetings (0-3 in 98/99, being the other) and 3 draws a win and a loss in our last 5 visits. Post war attendances have ranged from 6,874 in 84/85 to 33,581in 51/52

Wind ups :Erm….passport for Al Fayed. Town full of…..

Comment : Always an enjoyable trip to Fulham, with it’s setting in the park next to the Thames. Usually there’s a chance of a result, so fingers crossed, for a point or three as our good away form continues, hopefully. Chris Coleman’s under pressure, now they’ve dropped a few points and worse his missus has had him under surveillance for playing away - even though they’ve won only once on their travels!

STATS: 8 pre-war and 35 post-war make it our 44th league meeting, and down there, post-war, it’s:-
Played: 17 Won 5 Drawn 4 Lost 8.
Last Pot: None – never won eff-all!
Last Att: 22,241 (3,249 Blues).
Wwtwtwshite?: Averaged 4,057 in 90/91
Away Day Zines: There’s Only one F in Fulham, Where Else We…
Their current home average: : 21,983
Route: Our usual route to Fulham. M6, M42, M40, A40 (or M1, A406 North Circular to A40 at Hanger Lane Gyratory, then toward London), A40 Western Avenue becomes Westway. After A219 junction take slip road to A3220 (right at roundabout) - this used to be the M41. Right at first roundabout to A402
to Shepherds Bush Green, and left into A219 Shepherds Bush Road. Continue to one way system under Hammersmith Flyover and take A219 Fulham Palace Road. (KK has preferred this to going onto the M25 then the M4 past Heathrow then
hitting traffic at Chiswick roundabout and at Hammersmith.)
On A219 Fulham Palace Road, after Fulham Cemetery on left, any street on the right leads to the ground. On street pay parking. (There are side streets to avoid the traffic, but with one-way systems, it's not easy).
But after the game we recommend heading east toward B317 North End Road, then north to A315 Hammersmith Road, and right toward Kensington, and left on A3220 back to the A40.
Parking: On the streets, but be early and careful. A nice walk in the park is recommended.
Pubs: South of the river – The Duke’s Head, overlooking the Thames (the pub, not his head), but 20 minutes from the ground; The Crabtree on Rainville Road, and The King’s Head on Fulham High Street.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

ED'S VIEW - CHARLTON

In a week where we saw sorry sights in Rome, and Seville, plus Stevie Ireland complaining about the way his new contract negotiations were going, it was good to get back to Eastlands on a sunny Good Friday evening. Despite some good moves in the first half City degenerated into their usual home form and couldn’t add to their New Years Day goals, and total of ten all season at COMS. Three points could have put us virtually safe, but at least the one keeps Charlton and Sheff. U. 6 points behind.
Over at Goodison, the Toffees whipped Fulham 4-1 - even bloody Everton can now score goals, (bet they had more than one up front though!?), keeping the Londoners on 35 points and making it an even more interesting one on Monday.
Today, Saturday, Chelsea cut the rags' lead to 3 points, beating Spurs - which gave them an unfair advantage according to Fergie. West Ham won at Arsenal, Newcastle at Sheff. U., Villa at Blackburn. ‘Boro beat Watford, Bolton won at Wigan so we dropped a couple of places, but Wigan are now in deep doodah.
At Fratton Park, a strange event occurred – a united player was given offside, yes it’s true. Pompey went one up, and then the funniest thing you’ve ever seen – camel gob instead of smashing the ball into an unsuspecting woman’s face in the crowd, as is his want, poked it past Van the nearly man, and they finished up losing 2-1. Hilarious.
Last week the Mirror (b*stards) was full of the rags winning it at Eastlands (something we Blues spotted about last September!!??) so we’ll see……

Friday, 6 April 2007

IT'S A FIX - CHARLTON

FRIDAY APRIL 6TH : CHARLTON (HOME) :KO 5.15PM :

Game brought forward to Good Friday

Formed in 1905, joined div 3 south in 1921/22, made the 1st in ’36, runners up to us in ’37, cup finalists in ’46, winners in ’47, down in ’57, then downs and ups, brief appearances in the 1st and Prem, despite being homeless for a while, sharing at Palace and West Ham and fighting a political battle to get back to the Valley, and have consolidated since 99/2000.
Names and famous fans are: Sam Bartram, Eddie Firmani, Jimmy (the fixer) Gauld, Jim Davidson, Michael Grade and high profile connections include Tommy Caton, Malcolm Allison, Paul Walsh, Steve McKenzie, Ron Saunders, Ben Thatcher

Alan Pardew’s squad includes : Carson, Hreidarsson, El Karkouri, Young, Thatcher, Holland, Song, Ambrose, Thomas, Bent D, Bent M, Randolph, Rommedahl, Hasselbaink, Bougherra, Reid…..
.
This season so far: Early season turmoil with Dowie who was replaced by Pardew, sacked by West Ham. Ironically West Ham appointed ex Charlton boss Curbishley, and Dowie is now at Coventry and has taken on Tim Flowers and Frankie Bunn.
Down at The Valley in November we lost 1-0 to a Darren Bent goal, despite late pressure, as they registered a rare win.26,011 (2,238 City)

They’re out of the cups and are currently in 18th place with 30 points from 31 games and 1 win 3 draws 11 losses away from home.

Our form in Manc v Charlton: Last season in February we won 3-2 with goals from Dunne, Samaras and Barton, with both Bents replying for them, in an entertaining game.
So 2 wins and a draw in the last 3 home games. Post war attendances have ranged from 8,409 in ’65 to 47,285 in 84/85
Biggest Manc. moment : The 5-1 promotion game in ’85.
Wind ups : Come in a taxi/on a skateboard

Comment : They’re still 6 points behind, but this is still a monstrous no-lose game. They pack a punch up front, but we're a bit more potent with Mpenza up there. 3 points would see us virtually safe, one would keep them in place. Eyes will be on Ben Thatcher on his return to COMS. Will he stay on the field? Gung Ho then and may the Spirit of ‘85 be rekindled…please
So it’s a not quite must win but definitely a mustn’t lose game

Stats : 4 pre-war and 49 post make it our 54th league meeting and up here it’s ;
Played :26 won 13 drawn 5 lost 8
Last pot F A Cup in 1947
Last Att ; 41,347 (472 Charlton)
Where were they when they were shite? Averaged 5,104 in 84/85
Their current home average. Att. :26,032

Sunday, 1 April 2007

HOW WAS IT at Newcastle?

A fine sunny day in Manc as we set off ooop Norf, again. No real omens, but we were catching Newcastle, maybe, at a good time so a point or three was on the cards. Usual build up of traffic around Washington but we made it through and parked up with time to spare. Stewards told us we could sell 'zines outside, but we would be ejected if spotted selling inside. Only omen was my new watch – I broke my old one trying to put the hour on last week!
The journey up those stairs was as daunting as ever but after only one rest arrived safely. Not as many Blues there as previously, and you somehow feel a bit lost in that high corner of the ground in a low key- feeling game, lacking atmosphere.
Just before the teams came out AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ was blasted out – how long was I trying to get City’s hierarchy to use it at Maine Road? (substitute 'City!' for 'Thunder!') Quick glance at the programme, and ‘Club History’ caught my eye, for all the wrong reasons :
"Manchester City have been in the shadows of their rivals and neighbours United for as long as virtually any fans still alive can remember. Their last league title in the original first division came in 1968 when they took the prize with a charismatic last day 4-3 victory at Newcastle, although from then until United’s Premiership title in 1993, they could claim to have won the Championship more recently than the men in red".
So there you have it. The view from a one club city, by Conrad Leach, is that another club’s history can only be measured against that of their neighbours. If we do a ‘club history’ on Newcastle, I don’t think Sunderland or Middlesbrough (their nearest ‘neighbours’) EVER get a mention even though these clubs have won trophies since Newcastle’s last in 1969. Still, Gateshead are quite close too!
Teams took to the field and there was Nedum at right back. Having read somewhere that he was out for the season, we have to apologise for mis-informing you in KOTK 149. Sorry. Official news, bah.
They had a goal disallowed for offside, flag up miles before the ball went in the net, then Emile hit the crossbar. Lots of movement in our end, Blues up and down, in and out of the seats. Dull first half, but we played OK. Second half we weren’t quite as good after Hamann went off replaced by Samaras who was useless, giving the ball away, setting up Newcastle attacks etc., and then big E made it a winning 1-0 with about ten minutes to go. We rode our luck after that going into panic mode, but a good 3 points. Good job, as Charlton and West Ham won. So we’re up to 12th on 36 points, and the two daunting North East trips to places where traditionally we do badly have turned up trumps. So where does that leave us? Just a few points nearer to safety, and feeling that little bit better. Do we eat our words about Pearce yet…….???