Newsletter #16

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We have a ‘live’ report from Martin for the QPR game as well as another from the QPR point of view. I’ve included a video review which I wrote and which is now in the Book & Video Review section of the WWW page. It’s appearing here firstly, for those of you who haven’t got Web access and secondly, to encourage anybody who has the inclination to get out your City books & videos and write one as well.

Saturday’s match is Coventry away 29th October ’94


MATCH REPORT

QPR vs MANCHESTER CITY (CCC 3rd round) 25th October 1994

Firstly I must apologise: I didn’t get inside Loftus Road until the game was a few minutes old, so I missed the opening goal (I expect most of the fans didn’t see it or weren’t expecting it!!)

I’d given myself 5 hours to get to Loftus Road for this Cup tie; that was a mistake – I should have known that wasn’t long enough!! I’d actually got to Shepherds Bush, parked up and was outside the ground making my way to the turnstiles when I heard a cheer, looked at my match and thought “nobody could have scored, it’s too early!!” Got inside the ground to learn QPR had indeed scored after just 14 seconds!! What’s the problem with the City defence? Total lack of concentration, I mean 27 seconds against Barnet and now 13/14 seconds against Rangers!!!! (Everybody claims no City player touched the ball but if you look closely at the TV pictures Edghill mis-controlled the ball).

I’ll start my report from when I got in the ground. To put it mildly City were totally outplayed for the first 20 minutes and just didn’t seem interested in the game. QPR had a lot of pressure but fortunately they couldn’t convert it into any more goals. City at last began to get their act together and get some pressure put on Rangers. They forced a couple of corners and eventually got an equaliser. Beagrie’s corner was headed out and it fell to Summerbee who volleyed it into the top corner. Jubilation, at last City had got back into the game and now maybe the team would realise the need to get on and dominate. Well that illusion was shattered within seconds of the restart. We’d hardly had time to settle into our seats when Rangers broke down the left and the cross was met by Sinclair at the back post, where he despatched the ball away. So, within the space of a minute the ecstacy had turned to agony. City were trailing again, but this goal must surely be blamed on the non-existent defence, they’d done the Aussie bit, gone walkabout!!!!

So how would City react to being 2-1 down? They still couldn’t quite get to grips against Rangers and went in at the break still trailing. There seemed to be the feeling of inevitability that this could be City’s exit 🙁

Horton must have given City a right kick up the backside at half-time because they came out with a bit more fight. What City needed was a quick goal to get back into the game and they certainly got the chance to draw level within a minute. Summerbee swung over a cross, Walsh challenged with Yates and McDonald. Walsh got a flick on and the ball was blocked with an outstretched hand, just as Walsh got sandwiched. Take your pick for the reason for the penalty, but I would say it was handball. After several minutes delay for treatment and ‘discussion’ by the Rangers players against the decision, up stepped Curle to level the scores at 2-2. Now would City give away another goal almost immediately? Well this time it was Meaker who tried his luck, he ran along the right wing unchallenged and finally unleashed a shot (déjà vu, not again), this time the shot crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced harmlessly away. City were definitely trying to hand the game to QPR.

Finally City managed to get the upper hand. Summerbee was once again involved. He ran down the wing before slipping the ball through to Walsh, his shot was blocked by Dykstra and the rebound was hooked home by Beagrie. Cue celebration, Beagrie and the fans, at last City had finally managed to forge ahead. Would City hold on this time or would they capitulate again? City were now beginning to get a real grip of the game and running QPR ragged. Once again it was Summerbee who supplied the cross that led to the fourth goal. His cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Beagrie straight into the path of the incoming Lomas, who made no mistake with a right foot volley into the bottom corner. So in the space of 20 minutes City had managed to turn the game on its head and now held a 4-2 lead that seemed a pretty unrealistic prospect at half-time.

QPR tried to get into the game and had a good chance when Gallen had a shot well saved by Dibble and Dichio’s follow-up was saved by Dibble as well. Dibble also saved from Dichio (?) when a mis-directed back header from Brightwell finished at his feet. QPR tried to get back into the game but only succeeded when Penrice’s header somehow beat Dibble and with three minutes remaining it was certainly backs to the wall. QPR forced City into some last ditch defending but couldn’t make a breakthrough. So City at last finished as victors.

They certainly made life difficult for themselves by conceding such an early goal, but once again the turning point was the half-time break. Horton must have to use the same battle plan (kick up the backside) to get the players to realise how hard they make it for themselves. If only City could learn to amke it easy on themselves it would be better for them and us the fans. City are certainly worth the entrance fee these days, and they certainly entertain. If only they would keep a clean sheet now and then.

The team played reasonably well. Lomas once again showed how he’s maturing in the central position. Summerbee provided a string of crosses which was good, but the one criticism seems to be his inability to beat his man. He seems more content to win a throw-in or a corner. IMHO he seems a bit lazy and doesn’t chase the ball as hard as he should. I wonder though if that’s what he’s been told to do by Horton? He needs to take a leaf out of Beagrie’s book, try to beat the man. Walsh and Quinn once again led the line well and Walsh’s willingness to chase lost causes is an example to the team.

QPR for their part were playing a very inexperienced front-line who although just put together played very well. The rest of the team let them down, they didn’t convert the pressure into goals and just can’t defend a lead. Unless they get more resilient then they could be looking down at relegation.

City matches these days are very entertaining and people say they are getting back to the sixties style of play. Lets hope it’s just as successful.

Cheers

Martin Ford

MATCH REPORT

QPR VIEW

You just knew it was going to happen. It was all going too well at the kick-off when Dichio passed the ball out to Sinclair who crossed in for Gallen to get the flick-on into the net. Shock and delirium followed. But that was nothing compared with what was to follow. It was a decent first-half. Meaker looked good on the right (shooting just wide on one occasion) and débutant Dichio seemed to be making his presence felt with some good linking with midfield.

I applauded Summerbee’s goal, a fabulous strike with the outside of foot, but was much relieved when Sinclair put us back in front before half-time.

So what went wrong? A very dodgy penalty decision after the break was a kick in the teeth from which the team didn’t recover. Beagrie made it 3 – 1 soon afterwards, which was followed by Lomas’s strike from Beagrie’s header. Garry Penrice came on for Barker and scored three minutes from time. What went wrong is that we never looked incisive enough in the second half to be able to overcome the pressure that City put upon us.

Look – City are by no means a great team. They are just playing similar football to that which we were playing two seasons ago. They used to play long balls up to Quinn all the time, but now they have different options in the form of Beagrie and Summerbee. In the second-half last night our only attacking options seemed to be long-balls from Dykstra, or speculative crosses over the top from Bardsley. Sinclair was anonymous in the second-half. Why??? Because he’s not 30ft tall so as to get to the balls going over his head. Barker and Holloway are not essentially bad players but they know only how to marshall, run, harry and tackle. There’s none of the creativity that there once was when Wilkins was fit and on form. All we get is square balls: Sinclair- Barker- Holloway- Bardsley followed by poor crossing. I’m not blaming anyone in particular (although you do have to admit that Bardsley is having a poor run of form, as the Beagrie goal displays), but the fact is we are not a footballing side any more!!!

There is only one person I blame. I don’t blame Francis (I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had gone to Wolves last season – loyalty can only be stretched so far). It seems at every turn he has been constrained and his best players taken away. Under Gerry, there has been a great team spirit and a great club spirit, that is until Sinton was sold. In my opinion, Gerry is a great man manager who, given the opportunity, would play the kind of football that we want to watch, and I believe, loves our club. Do we really want a journeyman manager like Brian Horton to control the playing side of the club? This is what will happen if recent correspondents to A Kick Up The R’s get their way.

Now is the time for action. I don’t want to sound melodramatic but the transfer deadline will creep up on us. And what then? Will Thompson give Gerry a paltry 1.5 million to save us from relegation? And who will get the blame?

We must force Thompson out of the club, otherwise things will never be any different, and we will always be a nothing club, a running joke. Now is not the time for games such as the reprehensible PORT. I call upon all people like the LSA, ITL and AKTURS to bring about concerted action to persuade Thompson to sell. Man City did it, and look at the improvement in both their football, and their self-esteem as a club.

Things must change. If Thompson will not protect his investment, we must protect ours.

WE WANT THOMPSON OUT!!!!!

Steve Sayce (I don’t half feel better after that…)

QPR List

NEWS

I’ve just heard that Sheffield United ‘keeper Simon Tracey will be training with City tomorrow and if he impresses, will go straight into the team on Saturday.

Looks like Paul Johnson (MCIVTA13) does indeed have a good source!

Cheers,

Paul Howarth

NEWS

The referee in the recent QPR v City Premership clash has upheld his decision to send off Andy Dibble, despite Brian Horton’s demands for new video evidence to be taken into account. With Martyn Margetson also starting a three match suspension after a recent sending off in a reserve game and Tony Coton still not recovered from injury, Horton has approached Sheffield United to enquire after their reserve ‘keeper, Simon Tracey. Tracey has been unable to force his way back into the Blades’ side after injury problems.

No news as yet this morning as to whether City have a ‘keeper or not (not that I’ve heard anyway).

Phil Knight

NEWS

The info mentioned is in regard to City’s live SKY games:

Along with the RAGS and Leicester games (10th and 20th Nov), City are now facing another couple of daunting live SKY matches. They’re both at home, here’s the details:

Arsenal, Monday 12th Dec (moved from Sat 10th) k.o 20:00
Blackburn Rovers, Mon 26th Dec (just the time) k.o 19:45

We’ve gotta win a live game sometime, so take your pick (I’d prefer the 10th Nov)

Cheers

Martin Ford

NEWS

The line-up for the Coventry game is much the same as it’s been for the last couple of matches, with the exception of two players. Simon Tracey makes his City début; he’s been chosen ahead of Margetson who hasn’t fully recovered from his back injury. The other change is the inclusion of Andy Hill at right-back, for the suspended Richard Edghill.

So the line up will be:


Tracey

Hill Brightwell (I) Curle Phelan

Summerbee Flitcroft Lomas Beagrie

Walsh Quinn

Subs (from): Margetson, Mike, Brightwell (D), Foster

The MEN has a paragraph mentioning that Vonk may have a chance of a new career at Wolves. Because I’ve got the early edition of the MEN it looks like they haven’t got all the details yet. It doesn’t mention if it’s a permanent move or a loan spell, so we’ll all have to wait. What I don’t like is that it could mean another experienced player moving on. Are City planning on getting several signings to fill the possible gaps?

Martin Ford

CCC DRAW

The draw was made a 7:20am GMT on 27th October 1994. The ties will be played on the 29th and 30th November 1994. The third round replays will be played on the 8th and 9th November.


Nottingham Forest vs Millwall
Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa
Oldham or Arsenal vs Sheffield Wednesday
Blackburn Rovers vs Liverpool
Manchester City vs Newcastle United
West Ham United vs Bolton Wanderers
Tranmere or Norwich vs Notts County
Brighton or Swindon vs Derby County

Paul Howarth

CCC DRAW

We’ve drawn Newcastle in the next round of the CCCup, at home thankfully. Should be a full house for that one (the ‘toon army beat the rags last night with 2 late goals so we could have had a derby!)

James Nash

Also received from Chris Egerton


COLIN BELL ARTICLE

Taken from FourFourTwo magazine, November 1994 issue.

Manchester City fans have 15-year-old Jon Bell to thank for the re- emergence of a legend on the Maine Road terraces. Colin Bell has just started watching the Blues again at the insistence of his son, and hopes soon to be watching the emergence of some of the YTS youngsters that he is helping to train at City. Bell senior probably won’t remember that when he signed for Manchester City from Bury as a youngster in 1967, manager Joe Mercer shouted: 42,000 pounds. What have I done?” What he had done was to sign a player who most City fans agree remains the greatest player ever to play for the club, who as a midfielder went on to make 490 appearances for the Blues, scoring 152 goals during his 11 years at Maine Road.

Tragically, during the last three of those years, Bell was a mere shadow of his former self. During the 91st Manchester derby – “Wednesday 12th November, 1975, 7.34pm. It’s etched on my memory,” remembers club secretary Bernard Halford – Bell’s career was effectively ended in a collision with United defender Martin Buchan, which injured his knee.

For two years, Bell battled against the injury, and against the realisation that he would never be able to recapture his old form. “At first I thought I’d recover, but after 18 months the penny finally dropped and I knew I’d have to retire. I did play a few more times but it never felt right; I just couldn’t travel at speed and I simply wasn’t good enough. These things happen in the game; it’s all part and parcel of playing.”

Bell finally retired from the game in 1978 to manage his restaurant in the outskirts of Manchester, after the chance of playing in America fell through. Despite the injury, he has nothing but fond memories about his time at City. His skill, stamina and power were instrumental in one of the most successful periods in the club’s history. Under the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison, City were League Champions in 1967/68, won the FA Cup the following year and captured the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1969/70. Bell also established himself as an England regular, winning 48 caps for his country.

His memories, however, are made of Manchester, and particularly of the welcome given to him by City fans on his comeback game after the knee injury, against Newcastle on Boxing Day in 1977. “I was a sub, and the fans had obviously seen me in the tunnel. A whisper started going round the ground and I came on to a standing ovation from 40,000 people. I had a lump in my throat. We were 1-0 up at the time and I didn’t get a touch, but the event lifted the players and we won 4-0. The fans were the best; they always backed me 110 per cent.”

Cheers,

Paul Howarth

NEW SUPPORTERS CLUB

I joined the Leamington Branch of the Manchester City Independent Supporters Association last night. The Association was formed during the struggle with old Wiggy Swales last season. The Leamington Branch has started this season and membership is roughly 30 so far.

Why Independent? The official Supporters Club backed Swales when it was obvious 90% of the members wanted him out. There were allegations of vote-rigging, and worse, ultimately leading to a split. Now the revolution at Maine Road is well under way, the animosity seems to have died down and there could be a reconciliation soon, with the Independent Association coming out the better.

The meeting was in The Oak Inn on Radford Road and about 20 or so people turned up which was not bad when you consider that it was meant to be held in a pre-booked club with Niall Quinn in attendance. Brian Horton wouldn’t let Niall travel so close to a game when he’s carrying a back injury. And we would rather see him stick a couple in the net tommorrow than crick his back coming to see us.

Anyway, we hope to bring Quinny down at a later date and he’s promised to drag (?) another with him. We decided to ask if that could be Paul Lake; the poor lad has gone through so much and we thought it would be a nice gesture to let him know we’re still rooting for him to recover from his injuries despite rumour having it that he’ll never play again.

The format of the meeting was rather chaotic but very friendly. Arranging dates for next meetings, travel arrangements and other organisational stuff passed off fine and as the pub got busier, we had to compete with the jukebox and people’s beer-fuelled conversations to make ourselves heard. There was a lot of moaning about the new ticket arrangements for home games (this silly ID card) and it appears the club know they’ve cocked it up and are considering changes.

A few interesting rumours… Uwe is still injured and won’t be playing at Coventry tomorrow. As well as being “the fan on the board”, KotK editor Dave Wallace now has his own column in the City programme. When still in charge, Swales sold the club logo to the owner of the club shop – for life! You may assume that the club shop generates income for the club and you’d be right but the percentages are so small and most goes into the owner’s pocket. It seems the club are trying to do something about it but the owner has a good legal position. They could always ask fans not to use it!

That’s all I can remember right now (remember this was in a PUB :).

James Nash (JAMES59@mdx.ac.uk)

REPLY TO QUERY

I think the person responsible for narrowing the pitch was Howard Kendall. If I can remember correctly, City did rather well after the width was reduced, and City ended the season 6th that year.

Nizam

VIDEO REVIEW (done for WWW Home Page)

TITLE           Soccer Legends: Lee, Bell, Summerbee
PUBLISHER       BBC Sports Video (1990)
NUMBER          BBCV 4418
RUNNING TIME    80 minutes
PRICE           £9.99 (1990)
NARRATOR        Tony Gubba
DEDICATED TO    The memory of Joe Mercer (1914-1990)

I bought this video just after its release back in 1990, one criterion being that videos are so cheap in the UK that you can almost afford to throw them away if they are rubbish and not feel too bad afterwards! Well, the risk was easily worth the money as this offering is a top quality product, which isn’t after all that surprising, as it is from the BBC. Having said that, it does start off with some horrendously tacky music reminiscent of some aged uncle attempting to play Vangelis on his Yamaha organ as well as containing some truly embarassing scenes of Lee & Summerbee doing Gilbert & Sullivan! Things get better and better though, the format is basically a chronological story interspersed with action, contemporary interviews and new interviews with Allison (alone) and Bell, Lee & Summerbee slumped together in flashy pool-side chairs, presumably at Frannie’s place?

So, we start off with Allison recounting how he managed to pull off buying the trio (modest as ever) and each one in turn shown scoring for the Blues and for England (not much choice for Summerbee!). There is footage of the Newcastle game with City winning 4-3 to take the league title. The quality is very poor, looking like it has been filmed through a steamed up bus window which is most likely due to film deterioration as I also recently saw United’s vs Benfica which was just as bad (same year). Still, it’s history and it’s there. We progress through the next season with plenty of interesting discussion on why they started so poorly, culminating in the FA Cup Final which has the first colour footage and of course Neil Young’s goal. Before the match, we have a gem of a contemporary ‘live’ interview which takes place on the touchline, revealing a long-gone amateurishness and shows just how much interviewers and delivery style have changed in the intervening 25 years! This use of old material (other than football) is inspired (IMO) as it gives a unique insight into those times with wonderful pearls such as Joe Mercer’s prediction that Colin Bell would become City’s greatest player since Peter Docherty!

We continue in the same style through the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup with loads of footage from English and European games including the win against Gornik Zabzre in the pouring rain in a half empty stadium. There is also quite a bit on Frannie’s participation in the ’70 World Cup and a claim from him that England were better than the ’66 team but more unlucky! What I liked about the video is the frank speaking involved, for instance, Summerbee makes it absolutely clear that he thought the signing of Marsh in ’72 cost them the league title because he totally changed the way City played the game by his mere presence. Additionally, there is mention of Mercer’s and Frannie’s less than happy departures with Frannie claiming that if he had been kept at Maine Road then City would have won the league rather than his new team, Derby County! Summerbee is once again candid, telling us that the administration handled things badly sending morale downhill rapidly.

Bell’s injury is covered in depth, with much poignant footage and surprisingly, a not altogether convincing statement from the man himself as to Buchan’s innocence. Unfortunately, Swales rears his ugly head at this point in a late ’70’s interview where he plays Mr Niceguy, desperately concerned for Colin, this comes across today as totally and utterly insincere!

This video is packed full of goals and moments to remember; Bell’s famous volley vs Chelsea, Stepney’s attempted save of a Lee indirect free-kick, Law’s backheel, Tueart’s overhead kick (B&W?) and bags from Neil Young to mention a few. There were things I had totally forgotten: the difficulty of watching football in Black & White; the terrible mid-70s fashions with Bell in bell-bottoms (ho ho) plus what looks like a pageboy haircut; the truly dreadful state of the pitches (and Derby’s wasn’t even shown) and above all, the brilliance and ferocity of Lee’s shooting.

I can recommend this to anybody who claims to be a football fan, the action is relentless but it’s much more than a catalogue of goals. The whole is enriched with numerous anecdotes and I must sign off with my favourite which was recounted by Mike Summerbee. He says that the City goalie Harry Dowd was reknowned for his total lack of interest in football and would have much rather been out plumbing than playing for City. He claims that Allison used to say to the bored Dowd at the end of the team talk, “Harry, we are playing Arsenal today and they’re in red and white”!

All the above views are my own personal opinions.

Newsletter #16

1994/10/28

Editor:


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