v Sunderland 4-2
August 23rd 2000 att 34,410
City were not finished though. A long hopeful ball from Edghill found Wanchope and an interchange with Weah gave Wanchope a half chance he took gleefully to make it 3-2- (on the left)
Shortly afterwards Wanchope again interchanged with Haagland this time to complete his hat-trick and gave City a 4-2 lead.
Edghill had been replaced by Grant for the second half, Haaland dropping back Coventry packed their midfield and City found it hard to make progress, here Hedman again clearing from underneath his bar
A long free kick by Haaland found Tiatto whose precise lob caught the Middlesborough defence napping and Paulo Wanchope stole in to beat Walsh.
Sorry the picture is blurred. I was panning the camera following the action and pressed the button a fraction too soon ! ooops !
Paulo Wanchope practices his long jump technique jumping over Gillingham keeper Bartram in an early City attack
Below a corner on the right was won by Hope and Weavers eventual save was hammered into the City net by Paul Smith the Gillingham skipper. One nil to Gillingham -not quite what the watching 17,400 were expecting
With only 7 minutes to go City equalized. Kennedy's great ball inside the full back to Haaland and resultant cross put Gillingham in trouble and the half clearance was snapped up by George Weah seen above just about to hammer the ball home.
Not the best of displays by City but at least they go to the second leg on level terms.
With 16 minutes to go Newcastle's two subs, new signing Lua-Lua and Solano made progress on the right and a cross from Peruvian Solano found an unmarked Shearer whose header from close range gave Tommy Wright no chance.
A listless City had little to offer. Wanchope had a couple of half chances
and Kennedy missed a good chance but a lack of creativity in midfield is going
to cost City dear. Haaland is wasted at right back and we badly need a good
FAST attacking fullback on the right.
Other than the form of Wright there was little to lift the supporters.
Weaver had barely a save to make as City easily beat Bradford two nil.
On the left Dickov wheels away after hitting a volley past the Bradford keeper
for the first.
Below a Haaland freekick just outside the area is deflected into the corner for the second.
season post-mortem 2000 - 2001
I was just about to start on the summary when the news came through
about Joe Royles sacking from Maine Road and within days came news of Kevin
Keegans decision to become the next manager of City. After the disappointments
of this season at least we can look forward to more attacking football by
City next season. So what went wrong. Twelve home defeats tells the story.
A lack of confidence, fitness , creativity and poor buys and questionable
team selection were factors in a depressing season. Ok so the football was
generally better than the first division and City had their fair share of
bad luck but you have to make your luck and on too many occasions City were
pedestrian and lacked passion. They lacked a dominating and inspiring captain.
The passing and running off the ball was well below the standard expected in the Premier league.
Some of the individual performances were well below par. We had high hopes of Weaver in goal but his weight appeared to increase as the quality of his distribution and judgment decreased. Little effort appeared to be made to improve his distribution. No doubt a factor in the sacking of Stepney.
Charvet rarely played with any interest in the game and he always looked as though he was playing in a suit ! Pryor showed a lack of pace and made too many errors. Haaland started with great gusto but fell away badly. Whitely tried hard with plenty of effort but rarely showed any creativity or finishing power in the final third. Wiekens was just average and not upto Premiership standard. Horlock missed half the season through injury. Kennedy rarely reached his potential against the better defenders and he missed a dozen or so games through injury. Shaun Wright-Phillips showed lots of enthusiasm and effort and may improve under Keegan as will Dunfield who showed some neat touches in his debut against Chelsea. Dunne and Howey played pretty well in defence though I wish they were a little more mobile. Granville was about average and often linked quite well with Tiatto who once again was City's most reliable player. Danny T's enthusiasm, speed and never-say-die attitude made him City's best player on many occasions but it also got him into trouble - he was sent off twice and collected nine cautions. One yellow card more than Wanchope who kept up his reputation for being the most booked and most caught offside forward in the Premiership. One wonders what efforts were made to get him out of these bad habits. Wanchope is certainly an enigma. He needs the right players around him to get the best out of him and it will be interesting to see if Keegan keeps him. Goater as expected was not the prolific goal scorer we had hoped for in the Premiership. He tried hard but often lacked support and Royle never quite achieved the right blend of attacking players to create enough chances to cause the opposition problems except on a couple of occasions.
Though Paul Dickov was full of energy when he played (he was out with injury for a while) he never was able to really trouble opposing defenders. The signing of Huckerby brought a bit of speed into the attack but after a short run of games he too was sidelined. The loan spells of Kanchelskis and Ostenstad from Rangers and Blackburn to bring some life to the forward line failed to save City. One of the few midfielders with passing ability, Bishop, had few chances to shine and City let him go on a free transfer after Christmas. How City needed a younger Bishop. Grant had limited chances to show his passing abilities so it became painfully obvious to all but the management that the need for a midfield creative general was crucial to the retention of Premiership status.
Why then if City were to lose 16 million by being relegated would it not have been a good idea to have spent say ten to twelve million on a class midfielder before Christmas to ensure staying in the Premier League.
I am sure these and other interesting questions will be put to the board at the annual AGM later in the year.