Newsletter #8

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We have match reports in which our previous thread about a thin squad comes home (or should that be away?) to roost and rather sooner than we expected! There is some interesting discussion of Lee’s willingness to keep players and invest in new ones in order to build a good quality squad and further in that regard, rumours. Also… everything you ever needed to know about MCFC goalkeepers!

I still feel that to get a balanced view of a game we need reports from at least 2 and perhaps three different perspectives so if anyone out there can get us a further Leeds article or fancies writing up the Barnet game or for that matter any game, please don’t hesistate.

Martin Ford quite rightly points out that the best way of trying to deal with someone attempting to incite a flame war (see MCIVTA 7) is to either agree with him or take the piss out of yourself. Good advice but I’m afraid I was feeling a little mischievous on Friday!

This post is going out to 35 people and the mailing list FAQ is yet to appear!

Barnet at home on Wednesday… CC Cup (still the League Cup to many).


MATCH REPORT

LEEDS UNITED vs MANCHESTER CITY (1st October 94)

LEEDS’ LABOUR PAYS OFF

Perhaps the Leeds manager, Howard Wilkinson, was being economical with the truth in describing his side’s performance as honest. It was also largely bland, unenterprising and ineffectual but he neglected to mention such minor matters.

City were a team ravaged by injury, illness and a fear of leaving home that would make a hermit seem adventurous. They invited defeat, yet Leeds had neither the wit nor rhythm to muster much of an advantage.

Both sides are in the top half of the premiership and in its way the contest was the perfect antidote to those too easily prepared to assume that glittering stadia necessarily nurture football to match.

There was hardly any authoritative figure on either team, though the captains, McAllister of Leeds and Tony Coton, came closest. McAllister is short of his peak form but his energy, not quite sustained to the end, usually makes him worth watching.

TC made his habitual 2 or 3 significant saves, though he was powerless to prevent the goals, both from Noel Whelan. The 19-year-old forward made impressive ground to meet a cross from Gary Kelly, whose surge up the left after a City corner was to be a deceptively exciting moment, and in the final minute turned and shot alertly in the area.

Wilkinson was objective enough to observe that his side were not firing on all cylinders. Brian Horton said: “It was just frustrating. We’ve got injuries. Half the lads have had flu, some of them did well to get through the game.” It was tempting to wish that some of them had stayed in bed.

Adapted without permission from the Independent.

Phil Knight

OPINION, MATCH REPORT & RUMOUR (I)

Why are City destined to continue their current dreadful performances away from home? At Maine Road they have created and played a style that the current list of visitors have failed to come to terms with (3 wins and a draw) but away from home it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the team can’t cope or lack the fight to win. I suppose Saturday’s defeat can be explained partly due to injuries and illness. Most of the reports and limited highlights shown on MoTD gave the impression that City had done little to merit any reward from the game.

The team was missing Curle, Rösler, Walsh and Edghill; Beagrie and Flipper were forced to play even though they hadn’t recovered from their bouts of ‘flu. City seemed almost certain to suffer another defeat. Even though Lee claims the squad is too big, why City were forced to play players who were unfit or lacked first team experience? I know it’s only four away games gone but only one point is a very poor return and remember we were actually relegated by failing to win any away games once (am I being alarmist or is relegation a possible threat?)!

The first goal came straight from a City corner, Leeds cleared it (they had 11 men defending the corner), Garry Kelly took the ball up-field and beat a challenge from Phelan on the Half way line and raced into the box with only Brightwell as the covering defender. The ball was squared across the box and it was left for Whelan to score. There were four Leeds players in the box and only Lomas was anywhere near the play!!! Whelan grabbed his second in the final minutes just to add insult to injury.

Now the speculation….

According to some of the Sunday tabloids City are prepared to dip into the transfer market and have around 4 M (stlg) to spend. Lee’s claiming that City can get anyone and match the other big premier teams when it comes to buying?

One of the sundays claimed that City are preparing to bid 4M for Matt Le Tissier. I would welcome his move to Maine Road but at a cost of 4M, it’ll leave the club short of funds if they need to buy again. However in the MEN, Horton has rejected the report he’s preparing to buy Le Tissier, but he is looking at another player and is willing to smash the clubs transfer record (Oh sh*t !!!!). Who, we’ll just have to wait and see?

Could Macca be on his way out of Maine Road? Once again the press have reported an argument between Macca and Horton and hinted Macca could soon be on his way out.

McMahon has completed his FA coaching course, so he might be looking for a club that’s prepared to offer him a position of player/coach. So will we see another departure from Maine Road and another experienced player leaving the squad?

The way McMahon’s been playing though this season maybe the sooner he leaves the better. He’s played some pretty poor matches which everyone will agree haven’t been upto his normal standards; is his age finally catching up on him?

Barnet on Wednesday; let’s just hope that City can get their game in gear and see off Barnet and get into the next round. I wonder if City will make this game hard work and take the tie to extra time?

Martin Ford

RUMOUR II

Key 103 (local Manchester radio) reports that MCFC are ready to smash the club’s transfer record. With 4 million pounds available, MCFC are reportedly linked with Matt Le Tissier.

Antony Sou

RUMOUR III

A report in today’s Guardian reads:

‘City in Market for class midfielder’

Manchester City’s manager Brian Horton hopes to solve the team’s creative problems in the midfield with the aid of a large cheque. Just how large is a matter for discussion. On Saturday City’s chairman Francis Lee revealed that 4 million pounds would be available to sign Matthew Le Tissier.

Yesterday, however, Horton said he was not interested in buying Southampton’s England international. “Le Tissier is obviously a very gifted player, but he tends to play in a free rôle behind the strikers and I have to ask whether he does that job any better than Paul Walsh does for us.”

However, despite the dearth of quality midfielders generally, Horton did confirm he was in the market for someone special. “The player I am looking for will be right out of the top drawer,” he stressed.”There is no point in signing a player just for the sake of it.”

Personally I think they should try and sign Tugay (from Galatasaray). He’d cost a lot less than 4 million and is one of the best midfielders I’ve seen this season. David Platt would also be quite welcome at Maine Road!

Steve Tobias

OPINION

I certainly agree that Tony Coton’s availability, or lack thereof, will be an interesting litmus test on what Franny really has in mind for the club. Perhaps I am just a natural born pessimist, but with all of the reshuffling going on among the divisions, the most important consideration these days is staying up. Once down, it might be hard for even a good club to get back up, as there are going to be a large number of First Division (I have never adopted the new numbering system in my own parlance) clubs who won’t be in the First Division in years to come (or perhaps more accurately will be in the new First Division!). Tony probably turns three one goal away losses per year into draws, and probably steals at least one win away from home. Though City are off to a “good” start, what have they really done save for going 3-0-1 at home against four teams who all figure to be contenders for the drop? Without looking at the fixture list, I am fairly certain that the number of “easy” games remaining is not great. Those points that TC’s steals might yet spell the difference between getting out our maps of Grimsby next year and not – though, in truth, it looks as though there are a sufficient number of pitiful teams out there to keep up safe.

Bob Kelley

OPINION

It seems things are ‘in the wind’; if McMahon goes then that’s another of our most experienced players. I remember audibly whincing when I heard the Blues had signed him as he was one of the players I frequently used to cite as being an example of what was wrong with the English game, i.e. all physical effort and bruising tackles (IMHO). Having said that, he certainly fought for City and made a major contribution in the escape from relegation as did a similar figure a decade earlier namely, Gerry Gow. I would certainly welcome his replacement with a more fluid, thinking player but will it happen?

Bob Kelley highlights the fact that we have only beaten poor teams at home and there will be much stronger visiting teams to come. He is also right to say that this season is crucial, the TV money is irrevocably and overwhelmingly heading for the pockets of the (reduced) Premier League teams which means that going down will be a much grimmer prospect financially than it has ever been before. So, let’s see a couple of quality players… please!

Ashley

OPINION

Firstly, regarding the ballot for the Supporters’ Representative on the board; a ballot paper was included in the programme for the Crystal Palace game. The other candidates were Cath Knott (assistant secretary of the Supporters’ Club), Alan Tapper (a publican and vice-chairman of his local Supporters’ Club branch) and Frank Horrocks (general secretary of the Supporters’ Club). I think the ballot result shows just how much closer the fanzines are to the fans’ views than the official supporters club are. If anybody wants to contact the winner (Dave Wallace), write to him at the address of his fanzine, “King of the Kippax”, given in the FAQ.

As to whether City are the first club to have a fan in the boardroom, I doubt it but no other names spring to mind. Fans have certainly been involved in elections though; some Charlton fans created a political party to fight local elections as part of the campaign to return to the Valley, after Greenwich Council had been less than helpful to the cause.

Paul Howarth

WHY BLUE? – ALAN ARENSON

My reasons for supporting City are not all that clear to me – If I remember correctly – it is over 20 years that I started – it may have had something to do with Frannie Lee. I used to get ‘Shoot’ magazine and saw that he featured on a regular basis. I also liked the colours. Living in South Africa, with no ties to England, it made no difference who I supported. City were a good team, made the news regularly and so I started following their progress. Then =46rannie came to South Africa to play for a team that I did not support. However, I saw him, was impressed, and have stuck with City, for better or for worse, ever since. Naturally, I am very happy to have him in the driver’s seat at Maine Road and hope for better days.

I have only been to Maine Road once, and not to a game either. In 1979, I was going to England on vacation and wrote to the club, Tony Book actually, asking if I could attend a training session. He replied saying that I could, and when I arrived in England, contacted them to set it up. I arrived at the ground to be told that my luck was in, they were playing a training match at the stadium, that I could watch, talk to any of the players not involved in the game, and would be introduced to the team afterwards. It was great watching the team train, I chatted at length with an ex-South African – Colin Viljoen, who had recently joined the team and met some of my “heroes”. This brings me to a question. That day I also had a lengthy conversation with Roger Palmer, who had also played in South Africa at one stage. He was subsequently transferred, I think to Oldham. Any idea what happened to him? Also are any other of the “greats” eg Dennis Law, Colin Bell, Joe Corrigan, still involved with the club? I noted that Mike Summerbee may be playing some sort of rôle.

Alan Arenson

ANSWERS TO GOALKEEPERS QUESTION

Perry Suckling (not a good keeper)

Paul Cooper should not have a question mark. He was playing for City when we beat the scum 5-1 – Who could ever forget!

Steve Tobias

Two more city goalkeepers:

Niall Quinn – I can’t remember which match it was but he definitely saved a penalty.

Nigel Gleghorn – I think it was against Walsall when we came back from 2-0 down to draw 3-3.

Mike Hempstock

In MCIVTA 7 the question was asked about city keepers with league experience. What about out-field players who have gone in when the keeper has been dismissed/ injured? Who could forget Niall Quinn’s penalty save?

Other replacements I can think of were Steve Redmond and a left-back whose name escapes me (senility setting in!) – he played in the ’81 cup final.

John Connell

Perry Suckling, Ken Mulhearn & Harry Dowd are the only three additions I can think of; Joe Corrigan was always my favourite though. I remember a save he made against Allan Clarke of Leeds at Maine Road… ah, those were the days!!!!

Steve McDonald

> Tony Coton
> Andy Dibble
Nigel Gleghorn

Alright a bit dubious but he helped City in the promotion run-in a couple of times when replacing the injured Dibble (Walsall away and Palace home)

Niall Quinn

Derby County (h)

> Martyn Margetson
> Paul Cooper (?)

Remember who conceded the goal in the 5-1 victory and saved City a few times in the Bradford promotion game?

Barry Sidall

Barry played a few games at the start of a season, late 80’s if I remember correctly, I know he definitely played at Anfield.

> Eric Nixon
> Perry Suckling (?)
Bobby Mimms
Mike Stowell

Both on loan, not sure if they should be here or slightly earlier in the list, but I think it’s about here.

> Alex Williams
> Joe Corrigan
R Healey

Don’t know his first name.

> Keith MacRae
Harry Dowd
Ken Mulhearn
> Bert Trautmann
>
> (I'm embarrassed and ashamed to reveal my lack of knowledge this way)

Don’t be, it’s the only way to learn about our ‘great’ team

> Anyone able to help?

Hope my suggestions have helped. I’ve slightly altered the sequence in which they appeared

Martin Ford

Here’s what I think is a comprehensive list of City ‘keepers since the great Bert Trautmann:

Tony Coton
Andy Dibble
Martyn Margetson
Paul Cooper       (8 games at end of 88-89, including Bradford!)
Mike Stowell      (end of 87-88)
Eric Nixon        (most of 85-86 & 87-88)
Perry Suckling    (most of 86-87, 2 games 87-88)
Bobby Mimms       (3 games early 87-88)
Barry Sidall      (half a dozen games at end of 85-86)
Alex Williams
Joe Corrigan
Keith McRae
Ronnie Healey
Ken Mulhearn
Harry Dowd
Alan Ogley
Bert Trautmann

I can also remember stints in goal by Niall Quinn (who saved a penalty!), Nigel Gleghorn, Steve Redmond and Bobby McDonald.

Paul Howarth

ANSWER TO ANDY DIBBLE QUESTION

Dibble always puts up a great show when he gets his chance. I only get to see him now when he gets in the first team at the cost of an injury to TC. He is a good goalie but obviously somebody didn’t like him that’s why TC was bought. Maybe that goal against Forest harmed his chances more than we realise (or was it the revalations about his antics with some lady he met at a PFA do?). I’m surprised he’s stayed at Maine Road considering the way he was treated by Reid/Kendall, training with the youth team, even though a seasoned pro!!

Martin Ford

Regarding Andy Dibble’s capabilities in goal, I’d rate him as an excellent ‘keeper prone to the occasional cock-up and a bit dodgy on crosses floated in from the corner of the penalty area, which I’ve seen him misjudge on a number of occasions. To put his capabilities in context, recall the reactions of the City fans when Tony Coton was signed. The general opinion was that we had a perfectly capable ‘keeper in Dibble and what we really needed was a striker. Coton was seen to be an unnecessary purchase and was not exactly Mr. Popular. After about 6 months at Maine Road, he quoted the City fans as being his “most difficult opponent” in a feature in “Shoot” magazine. On the other hand, Peter Reid rated youngster Martyn Margetson as being better than Dibble, relegating Andy to the “A” team. Although Martyn is a very promising young keeper, he’s never been as good as Dibble in my opinion.

Paul Howarth

FAQ ADDITIONS?

Possible additions in the “Club Honours” section are:

  • Record scorer (1 season)
    Tom Johnson 38 goals D1 1928/29
  • Record scorer (aggregate)
    Tom Johnson 158 goals 1919-1930
  • Record victory
    This is often given as City’s 11-3 victoryover Lincoln City (H) in division 2 on 23 March 1895. Itmight be worth changing the 10-1 to “Record Margin of Victory”.
  • Record Attendance
    84,569 at Maine Road on 3rd March 1934for an FA Cup 6th Road tie against Stoke City. This is thehighest single attendance for any club game other than a finalplayed in England.

It might be worth mentioning that Bournemouth’s equalizer in the 3-3 draw came from a penalty in the 7th minute of injury time, and that Crystal Palace were leading Birmingham 4-0 at half time.

I’d also mention that when Peter Reid was sacked, City had won only six (not totally certain of this figure – will check) league games since the turn of the year, so to say that he was sacked after only four games is a little unfair.

Paul Howarth

Thanks go to Alan, Martin, Phil, Paul, Bob, Mike, Steves (x2), John and Antony.

Ashley Birch, birchaw@oci.unizh.ch

Newsletter #8

1994/10/04

Editor:


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