Newsletter #28

We have an Ipswich Town Report from Paul Felton who runs the Ipswich Town WWW and produces ‘Suffolk Punch’, their mailing list. I plan to send out MCIVTA 29 on Wednesday including the Arsenal reports; that means if you want the latest team news then the best place to look for it is late Monday afternoon on the WWW page.

There’s good news about Paul Lake who is set to make his final and hopefully successful comeback; City certainly seem to have kept things quiet on this front. I for one wish him all the best; if he can get back to anything like his old self then the team can only benefit. John Pearson has also written a few lines about Bert Trautmann; if anyone can’t access the WWW page and would like to read the Trautmann review then mail me and I’ll either send it to you or paste it in MCIVTA.

Apologies for the mistake re the Arsenal game, SKY screwed me yet again! Also, transposing the ‘Newcastle’ title to the Ipswich game, no one to blame there though!

Next game Arsenal at home, Monday 12th December




Breaking Point

The fans at Portman Road are a faithful bunch of supporters. They have turned up week after week to see their team get kicked in the teeth and it hurts them. This is probably because of the dire tactics by Mick McGiven last season, surely anything is better than that?

But, with only wins against Manchester United and Leeds at home this season and with Christmas just around the corner, the fans patience finally ran out after a 2-1 defeat by the boys from Maine Road.

Town have scored more goals than their local rivals Norwich so far this season and so it would be the defence which would come under close scrutiny again during this match.

Town have always had trouble at home when they go a goal down and so it was important to try and push City back into their own half of the field. But it was City who came out to attack.

It could easilly have been Ipswich who took the lead on the quarter of an hour mark. A flick forward by Paul Mason and subsequent slip by David Brightwell left Uraguayan Adrian Paz with a clear chance of scoring but the lively international fired wide of the post.

Had Ipswich taken the lead the whole match could have turned out so different. As it happened, five minutes later Town went behind.

It was Peter Beagrie’s initial shot which was blocked by Steve Sedgley that unfortunately bounced out to Flitcroft, some 18 yards from goal. His right foot shot gave City the lead which they had been threatening.

Ipswich failed to spark into life and it was only a matter of time before City scored again. Sure enough, City effectivly sealed the match just a few moments before half-time.

This time Quinn started the move in which Summerbee crossed the ball over a flat Ipswich defence for Uwe Rösler to nip in and score with a left foot volley. It was his seventh goal in nine matches.

Ex-Town star Alan Brazil described it as “the worst first half of the season” and I don’t think that many will disagree with him, not even the Town management team. John Wark said there was “no effort before the interval”.

The second half looked a lot brighter for Town fans but when you’re 2-0 at half-time and at the foot of the table, it was always going to be an uphill battle.

City seemed to settle into a more relaxed style of play. They can be forgiven for this when you consider that Ipswich have scored two or more goals in only three of their fixtures this season.

Ipswich were beginning to show some character, winning a string of corners to make the post-match statistics look as if a serious injustice had been done. For the record, Ipswich had nine corners and 11 goal attempts to City’s three and nine respectively.

It was really no surprise when Ipswich did finally get a goal back. In the 75th minute it was Mason, who had a particularly good match, who was found by an Adrian Paz ball to shoot through the crowded penalty box.

Town did have their chances to take a point but they were far too predictable and the City defence, far from convincing, handled all that was thrown at them.

While the second half of this match was promising for Town, it is no good playing well for only half a match – particularly if it’s the second half and you’re 2-0 down.

Paul Felton


News from the treatment room:

  • TC expects to be swimming in 3 – 4 weeks. The slipped discsare not thought likely to affect his career and will not beoperated on. The delay is to allow the torn muscle injury toheal.
  • Richard Edghill has damaged knee ligaments; it can’t be tooserious as he’s only regarded as “doubtful” for Monday’s gameagainst Arsenal.
  • Andy Hill took a “nasty knock” in the game against Newcastle;there is no forecast as yet for his recovery.
  • Bob (Ian) Brightwell is “probably OK for Monday”.
  • Terry Phelan is still having hamstring problems and will berested until it is completely healed. Maybe we’ll have forgivenhim for the derby by then?
  • Paul Walsh is over the worst of his ‘flu attack and was in watchingtraining today. Anybody reporting symptoms is being sent homeimmediately. Paul Lake was mentioned as being one of the ‘flu victimsbut (annoyingly) his knee wasn’t mentioned.

One other bit of news: the FA Cup game against Notts County has been moved back to Sunday 8th January as Forest will be playing just over the Trent on the Saturday.

The Mole


Former City player Ashley Ward is expected to sign for Norwich City later on today (Thursday). Ward, currently at Crewe Alexandra, will be teaming up with his former youth team strike partner, Mike Sheron.

The Mole


The following items were disclosed at today’s (Thursday) AGM:

  • Paul Lake’s 3rd (and final) comeback attempt will begin in thenew year. He is, apparently, as fit as he ever will be.
  • A new electronic scoreboard will be installed within a coupleof months.
  • The dressing rooms are being moved into the Kippax St. Stand; theexisting dressing rooms will be converted into extrahospitality areas.
  • The rights issue of 1.5 million shares will go ahead shortly.The club will need to show clear profit for at least 2 yearsbefore it can be floated on the stock exchange.
  • A “better atmosphere than previous AGMs” was reported (surprise!)

The Mole


It looks like Paul Lake might be on the verge of another comeback following from his horrendous knee injury. After the original injury failed to respond to treatment, City sent Lake to the States to under go an implant which seems to have been successful. Following on from this and another couple of injuries he suffered since, he’s been slowly recovering. Now it looks possible the Lake might play a competitive game sometime over Christmas or early New Year; this will all be under the watchful eye of Eamonn Salmon and the club’s orthopaedic surgeon. The surgery and implant are as successful as they can be now and there’s nothing more (surgically) that can be done; it’s just a matter of strengthening the knee.

On the bright side, John Salako and Ian Durrant (?) both underwent the same operation and have both successfully played since. The major doubt in my mind is whether the first attempt at curing the injury has done more damage than good. City knew of the operation in the States but decided to keep Lake in Britain to get the knee cure. This must surely have contributed to the delay in getting Lake back to full fitness?

Question: Would you have continued in the pursuit of getting back to full fitness, ready to play football again? Or would you have retired long ago? My personal reply would have been to quit. I know it’s Lake’s career and future that’s at stake, but after all the heartache and injuries he’s suffered I wouldn’t have been prepared to continue. That’s just my opinion; I will however wish him all the best in his recovery and hope that he’s back playing for City soon; he was a class act at Maine Road.

It looks like Lee is very serious about getting the club floated on the stock exchange. He mentioned it in the AGM last night and is confident that the first hurdles towards that goal have been cleared (it’s all to do with making voting and ordinary shares the same). I doubt if City would be as successful as the rags have been. How would the club be run? Would the banks and other financial institutions have the final say? Would share dividends be the ultimate goal at the expense of the team’s success? These points must be seriously considered before any venture into the City is started; once there, there’s no turning back.

Is Lee doing this to raise funds without having to give up his own money? Makes you wonder…

Martin Ford


I am not ashamed to admit that I was one who figured that this year would bring a nine month, relegation-related ulcer, with some sort of narrow escape at the end. As a result, I can hardly help smiling every minute when I think we’ve gone to 6th in the table. Of course, this is the club which managed to lead the league at Christmas and wind up away to Grimsby the following year, so I may get my ulcer yet. Any discussion regarding BH’s departure, though, seems as ludicrous to me as drawing the same team away to open the Cup three years running – a trick that Salford U. has somehow managed to pull.

I’ve seen no additional info. on TC. Is he in a six week holding pattern, or has he certainly shut down for the year (or ever)?

I have pretty much given up any hope of making my first trip to Maine Road over the holidays. I have a seat for the Rovers match but have no way to get there. I have decided instead to walk over to Stamford Bridge and watch Chelsea play some club from the suburbs of Manchester – I am staying about a mile from the Bridge during Christmas week anyway. I could try and get a ride up to Manchester with some Reds fans heading home after the match, but, of course, none of them would be heading to Manchester, would they?

I will get to see City at Anfield later on that week (it may be the next day), as I think the trains are running again by then. If anyone has a full fixture list for matches that week (12/24-12/30), I would appreciate having one, as I hope to get to a lower division match at some point – and I’m staying about a block from Fulham.

Keep the flag flying while I’m away.

[Any of the new subscribers able to help Bob (A transatlantic subscriber) get to the Blackburn game and back on Boxing Day make yourselves known, Ashley]

Bob Kelley, UK63@sysm.acs.Virginia.EDU


Some time ago in an early edition of MCIVTA, Eugene Montague (I think!) asked about why Quinn was playing for Eire and not for the Blues. The story later hit the headlines when Charlton and Horton became embroiled in some exchanges over the matter. A new subscriber, Shane Kelly reviews what probably happened [Ashley]

You say that one of your American Subscribers was wondering about the conflict of views between Jack Charlton and Brian Horton about the return of Niall Quinn to action. I think that it was simply a clash of opinions from two completely different personalities. As I’m sure you know, “Big Jack” is a brash, no-rubbish man and Horton seems to be slightly quieter. Big Jack asked Niall how he was and asked him if he thought he was fit to play. As any whole-hearted Irish international would do, Niall told Jack exactly how he felt and let Jack make up his own mind on whether or not he should let him play. Jack thought Yes, Brian thought No. As a result, Niall played and played very well. As usual with our Jack, this was the perfect time to “put the boot in” and told Horton what he thought of his assessment of Niall’s fitness in a way only Big Jack can. As in many of these episodes, it was the way Jack expressed his views that got up Horton’s nose I think. This sparked off a war of words between the managers, and the rest is history. This is what I think happened based on reading numerous reports on the incident.

Now, maybe someone could give me some information on Brian Horton. Things like, who did he play for and when? Was he a striker with a golden touch or a quarried, rough defender like Vinnie Jones? I know he managed Oxford Utd. before he came to Maine Road, but that’s about all I know.

Shane Kelly


After completing my review of the Trautmann biography, I wrote to John Pearson at Stanford who saw him play, to ask him what he thought about the great man [Ashley]

I saw him quite a number of times from the mid-50s until his benefit game. We have to keep in mind that City were not the most secure defensive team in those days (100 goals against when they also scored 104 is a case in point – no other First Division Team has ever done that as far as I am aware) and Bert was on the end of some terrible defeats. But I remember hearing people say many times that but for Bert it would have been worse!!

My pal who still has a season ticket at Maine Road shares the view of Bert being about the best there has been. His dad was finally won around from thinking that Swifty was the best.

Things that I remember about Bert: bravery, reflexes, distribution. Not to mention getting sent off (against West Ham?) and throwing his jersey at the referee!! I am not sure that positioning in relation to the defense was that important in those days (remember the rules back then!) – anyway when you had Bill Leivers, John MacTavish, Cliff Sear and others playing in front of you then refex saves became a normal part of the game!!!

I suppose in the All World Team to play Mars I would put Bert as goalie above all others. Banks as substitute. I enjoyed reading the biography. My counterpart at Harvard in the their international office has Bert’s original autobiography which I hope to borrow one day soon.

What I have never understood is why City turned such a cold shoulder to Bert afterwards.

One other thing. I understand that Bert played in some testimonial game in the late 70s (I think) at Maine Road. A friend of mine who is a red (but runs a Boddington’s pub in Glossop these days) went to the game and I remember him telling me that the old man was still making saves all over the place.

John Pearson


My sad mate is… me! When the rags won the championship last season, there was an advert in some of the papers the next day for Boddingtons bitter, whose slogan is “Pride of Manchester”. This full page ad was the normal one – a pint of beer and not much else – only with the beer coloured red. Naturally enough I saw red but, liking the odd pint of Boddies myself, decided to forgive them. The following week, after the rags completed the double, they printed a second ad this time with two pints of red beer. Well, this took the biscuit and I have since refused to drink Boddies ever again.

Someone suggested that when (if) City ever win another pot, Boddies might do the same ad with a blue pint of beer and I might just forgive them then. So far, I have lapsed once but only because someone else bought it for me by mistake.

I wonder if anyone is as bitter about this as me? (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

James Nash


I believe (though I may be wrong) that his booking took him to 20 points, one short of a ban.

Paul Howarth


No matches since last issue.

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to John, Paul (x2), Bob, The Mole, Martin, Shane & James.

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #28