Newsletter #34

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Being away for the last 6 games (played in typically idiotic FA style in 17 days, OK, I admit one might just have been a CCC tie!) has been a mixed blessing. After months of sending out streams of transfer speculation, barely had my terminal stopped humming than the big one happened! I got to see the CCCup victory on TV which was a performance which made you proud to support City but which was sandwiched by a run of disappointments and my first trip to Maine Road (Villa) since well, er, some considerable time shall we say!

Well, here we are in ’95 and things are looking a lot better than this time a year ago. Having said that, we have only managed a meagre 2 points from the last 18 so we have to be careful. It was always going to be a very difficult festive season for the Blues which was why we really had to get results against the Gunners and the Hammers which we singularly failed to do. The other fixtures were always going to be an uphill struggle bar Aston Villa where we again managed to throw away a 2 goal lead. Having seen a couple of games over Xmas, I must express sympathy for Horton as the defenders fluctuate between excellence and slapstick, seemingly without rhyme or reason.

We have Newcastle & Liverpool ‘live’ reports from Paul but we still need reports from the Blackburn and Villa games, however cursory. I’d try a Villa report myself but my offspring decided that Christmas Eve would be a good day to hurl my specs to the floor so I spent the entire game squinting. It didn’t however affect my ability to slag the referee off even though I couldn’t really see what had happened 8-).

For those who can’t get Sky, before the Blackburn game they showed a nice 15 minute article on Bert Trautmann including an interview with the man himself and quite a bit of old footage as well. Nice to see old players getting some coverage.

We have now attained the 100 mark and I’ll be doing an article on distribution shortly.

Next game is Notts County away (FA Cup 3rd round) on Sunday 8th January.


MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’

NEWCASTLE UNITED vs MANCHESTER CITY 2nd January, 1995

Twelve days after our memorable Coca-Cola Cup victory at St. James’ Park, we headed north with an even weaker team to try to repeat the feat. We were without Ian Brightwell, star man in the Cup match and IMHO City’s best player in the last couple of months who was suffering from a calf injury. City lined up with Dibble in goal, Summerbee at right back, Phelan at left back, Vonk, Kernaghan and Foster as three central defenders, Lomas and Flitcroft in the centre of midfield, Beagrie and Rösler in front of them but free to move just about anywhere and Walsh as a lone striker. Beardsley and Lee were back for Newcastle which was worrying given the effect Beardsley in particular had had in the first Coca-Cola Cup game at Maine Road. As he was making an earlier than expected return from injury, there was always the possibility that he would be unfit though.

As it happened, he looked fit enough but wasn’t given the space he had at Maine Road and was therefore unable to make the same impact. The match seemed to follow a very similar pattern to the Cup replay, the first ten minutes being quite even but with City having a slight edge. After that the home side started to dominate and carved out a few chances. Dibble saved very well from a Beresford header, reaching back to tip it over the bar. Other shots were held well, which was a good job because the Newcastle forwards always followed up to latch onto rebounds. City were clearly happy with a 0-0 draw, with nobody in a hurry to do anything and Dibble doing some quite blatant time wasting. Phelan took so long over a throw that it was given to Newcastle.

After half an hour there were two contentious incidents within the space of a few minutes. Firstly, Kernaghan was adjudged to have brought down Kitson (or was it Beardsley?) when clear on goal. The referee consulted the linesman, gave a free kick to Newcastle just outside the box and booked Kernaghan. I thought it looked like a decent tackle and in any case the Newcastle player didn’t go down until several strides after the challenge. What I can’t understand is why Kernaghan wasn’t sent off. If it was a foul, which the referee clearly thought it was, surely the offender had to go? It was definitely a clear chance on goal. Anyway, the free kick came to nothing but a few minutes later Newcastle had a penalty after Vonk was adjudged to have pushed Peacock out of the way to clear a cross following a corner. There was definitely shoving by both players, nothing compared to some other challenges by both sides which had gone unpunished earlier. I felt it was a sympathy decision by referee Alan Wilkie (Co. Durham) in view of his not sending off Kernaghan. Ruel Fox stepped up to take the penalty having scored from one on New Year’s Eve at Norwich. Dibble had obviously done his homework as an identical effort from Fox was parried and then cleared by Vonk. City didn’t create any worthwhile chances in the first half, though they had also looked less like conceding a goal (other than the penalty) than they did in the Cup replay, so the 0-0 draw that City seemed to desire still looked a likely outcome.

In the second half Rösler swapped places with Walsh to become the lone striker and Newcastle continued where they had left off in the first half, totally dominating the play. The chances continued to appear; Kitson had a close-range shot well saved, Lee had a couple of twenty-yard efforts which went narrowly wide and there was an amazing escape when Bracewell’s shot was deflected by Hottiger onto the post and across the 6-yard box where Foster managed to clear the ball just before Cole or Kitson could prod it home. City created some chances themselves in the second half; Vonk had a powerful header from a corner blocked well by Srnicek and Walsh’s delicate lob went just over the bar, though Srnicek looked to have it covered. Vonk hobbled off with 15 minutes to go after injuring himself making a clearance. Simpson came on into a midfield position, Flitcroft taking Vonk’s place at the back.

As with the Cup replay, the last ten minutes saw Newcastle push forward more and City started to look dangerous on the break. Beagrie was too tired to come back and defend and Walsh stayed forward more to help out Rösler. City nearly stole the points near the end with the best move of the game. Summerbee, having a fine game as an attacking right back, broke down the wing whilst Walsh charged down the middle, taking the only defender with him. Beagrie was in acres of space on the left and was screaming for the ball; Buzzer’s cross was perfect but Beagrie’s first-time left foot volley flashed just wide when it looked like he had the time and space to control the ball first. In the end, another fine defensive display from City saw us take home a deserved point. Not many teams will come to St. James’ Park twice without conceding a goal, even if they do have lady luck on their side.

Man of the Match: Dibble – will keep TC out on this form.

Final Score: Newcastle 0 City 0

By the way, it took us until 5th March (31 games) at QPR to reach 30 points last season.

Paul Howarth

MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’

LIVERPOOL vs MANCHESTER CITY, 28th December 1994

The omens didn’t look at all good for this game; we were following on from three successive league defeats against an in-form Liverpool side at a ground where we’ve won only once in the last 40 years. Quinn and Foster had picked up knocks in the Boxing Day defeat by Blackburn, Walsh was suffering with a septic mouth ulcer, Beagrie still hadn’t fully recovered from his bruised hip and to cap it all there were little more than 400 City fans to get behind the lads in a crowd of 38,122, comfortably Liverpool’s biggest attendance so far this season. An away allocation of just over 1% of capacity is scandalous – even United manage to find nearly 1,800 spaces for away fans which at least gives them some sort of chance to make themselves heard. Sounds like I’m making excuses already doesn’t it? There were actually a number of Blues with the home fans, including some from Bergen in Norway who I met at Maine Road before we set off (saw them again at Newcastle too). The new Kop looks quite impressive with about 12,000 red seats (still doesn’t look as big as the Kop at Hillsborough or the Holte End at Villa Park) though I read in ‘Through The Wind & Rain’ (Liverpool fanzine) that it’s very cramped and doesn’t feel particularly stable under the weight of all those fans!

So, the scene was set for another Newcastle-like backs to the wall defending job and that’s exactly how it turned out. Much to our surprise (and relief) Walsh and Beagrie both agreed to play despite their poor health so at least we’d have an outlet. After Phelan’s impressive second-half display against Blackburn I was surprised to see him in a more central position, as a second line of defence on the left with Beagrie doing many of the traditional left back jobs. Ian Brightwell and Alan Kernaghan continued their central defensive partnership which has looked quite good despite the recent results and Steve Lomas was right back, helped out by Summerbee who was a bit further forward. Flitcroft and Gaudino did the grafting in midfield with Rösler and Walsh up front.

The first half saw City defend well, restricting Liverpool mainly to speculative shots despite the fact that they had virtually all the possession. Ian Brightwell was magnificent, just as he had been at Newcastle. He and Kernaghan were invariably there to block passes and shots to and from Rush and Fowler, who was distinctly unimpressive. Beagrie and Phelan managed to keep the in-form McManaman subdued, Lomas and Summerbee doing equally well against Barnes on the other side. Anything that did get through was handled well by Dibble who didn’t drop a thing. At the other end a strong Liverpool defence of Jones, Babb, Ruddock, Scales and Bjornebye coped very easily with the little we threw at them; any crosses sent across were gathered comfortably by David James in the Liverpool goal. At half time I thought a nil-nil draw was quite a likely prospect and I was fairly happy with that.

The second half continued in a similar vein until disaster struck in the 55th minute; Babb hit a cross over from the left side and Phelan got on the end of it, smashing a very powerful header past Dibble who made a superb effort to save it but the one hand he got on the ball wasn’t enough. Just what Phelan was trying to do I don’t know because if he was trying to knock it wide or over the bar he missed by a long way. The Kop won’t have seen many better headed goals (Ian Brightwell’s o.g. at Brighton in the promotion season was one) and they graciously chanted his name and cheered him whenever he subsequently touched the ball. A shame really because other than that he had a good game.

Vonk replaced the exhausted Gaudino which was a strange move since Simpson was also on the bench. City never really looked like getting back into the game but there was always hope (remember Niall Quinn’s injury time equaliser in 1990?) until Liverpool were awarded a penalty in front of the Kop ten minutes from time when Rush was fouled. I couldn’t see the incident very well from the other end so I can’t say whether it was a fair decision or not but it followed one of those goalmouth scrambles where everybody’s trying to hack the ball away, the sort we got away with against the Magpies. Robbie Fowler (15 league goals already this season) stepped up to take the penalty and hit it well enough but Dibble guessed well and pulled off a brilliant save, just one of many he made in the second half. It looked like it wasn’t going to be Fowler’s night. Wrong again… two minutes later he cut inside from the right wing and hit an unstoppable swerving shot from about 20 yards. Dibble saw it coming all the way but no goalkeeper on earth would have saved it. Many of the City fans applauded the goal, it was that good. It was just a case of how many Liverpool would score then, such was their dominance. Fortunately City held out without conceding any further goals. I don’t think there are many Premiership sides who could live with Liverpool in this form (they went on to dominate the game against Leeds at Elland Road on New Year’s Eve) so considering the team we had to put out I don’t think this was too bad a performance or result. At least they didn’t get five like they often used to!

Final Score: Liverpool 2 Manchester City 0

Man of the Match: Dibble, just edged out Brightwell in the second half.

Paul Howarth

INJURIES NEWS

City’s defence for the FA Cup game against Notts County could be a shadow of its former self. Already ruled out are Curle (hamstring), Hill (Ankle ligament), and Ian Brightwell (calf strain). Edghill is also suffering with a knee ligament injury picked up in the derby defeat. The worries don’t stop there, Vonk and Foster also picked up injuries in the draw at St. James’ Park. Vonk has damaged an ankle, while Foster has a bruised shoulder; they are both doubtful with Vonk being the most serious of the two. So, City could face Notts County with a bare minimum defence although some recent sterling displays by patched up City defences have got the right results, so it’s not all doom and gloom. With the FA Cup tie on Sunday and the all important CC Cup quarter final the following Wednesday it’s crucial not to get any further injuries between now and then.

Martin Ford

NEWS

City have applied to enter the Intertoto Cup, a competition run by UEFA during the Summer which potentially provides a route into the UEFA Cup. Maybe the management don’t think we’ll win the Coca-Cola Cup?

Colin Barlow has come out in favour of a winter break in the football season in line with most of the rest of Europe. He appreciates the tradition of Boxing Day and New Year matches but says that 5 games in 12 days is a ridiculous amount and has contributed to our injury problems with 7 defenders currently out.

The Mole

DERBY TICKET NEWS

The programme for the Aston Villa game detailed the ticket arrangements for the forthcoming derby game at Maine Road on Saturday 11th February. Prospective ticket purchasers must be members and provide three ticket stubs from different home matches this season, a scheme used in the previous two seasons. However, an additional measure has been taken which will help to reduce the numbers of away fans buying tickets and also boost attendances at the preceding and following low-key fixtures against Leicester City (25th January) and Ipswich Town (22nd February) respectively; the price of the tickets also includes admission to the aforementioned games. A similar scheme has been used in Sheffield derbies recently and there were many protests about the costs. The ticket prices for the Manchester derby do actually represent quite a saving on three normal match tickets so it’ll be interesting to see the reaction to this scheme. The prices are as follows:

Main Stand blocks B & C      £38.00
All other Main Stand blocks  £35.00
Main Stand Obstructed View   £30.00
Platt Lane & North Stands    £29.00
North Stand Obstructed View  £23.00
K/L Blocks (Junior/OAP)      £12.00
Family Stand Adult           £17.00
Family Stand Junior/OAP      £12.00
Kippax Stand Adult           £23.00
Kippax Stand Junior/OAP      £15.00

Tickets are available now. The middle tier of the new Kippax will not be ready in time for this game. In fact, at the current rate of progress, I can’t see it being ready in March either.

Paul Howarth

YOUTH GAME

People may like to know that there’s an FA Youth Cup game at 2pm on Saturday at Maine Road, a good chance to see if the youngsters are any better than the dismal crop we’ve had in the last few seasons.

Paul Howarth

REFEREES & CONSISTENCY

Sitting here in boring old Helvetia, the only chance I get to see English football is European games so most of what I get is via MCIVTA or newspapers. This meant that although I was not entirely unaware of the ‘crisis’ facing refereeing in the UK and the general shaking of heads which greets the majority of decisions these days, I hadn’t actually seen any firsthand. One aspect of refereeing today appears to be the sheer inconsistency which seems to be the order of the day and this was brought home to me by the games I watched over Xmas.

In the Blackburn game there was a tussle for the ball between Rösler and Le Saux on City’s left touchline which seemed from my unbiased (8-)) viewpoint (and that of my impartial fellow Sky viewer/mate) to be just a bit of pushing and shoving. When Rösler appeared to be winning the engagement however, Le Saux booted him right across his midrif, a yellow card in its own right. Rösler, being Rösler, wasn’t about to take it lying down so he got up to tell Le Saux what he thought of the challenge. Luckily the ref was there to intervene but this didn’t stop Le Saux from shoving Rösler in the face, he even had to reach over the ref’s arm to do it! Well we thought, that’s a red but let’s hope he doesn’t book Rösler out of some misguided sense of fairness. Rösler indeed remained unbooked but amazingly Le Saux as well, an absolutely unfathomable decision. To rub salt into the wound the ref later gave Blackburn a free kick on the edge of the box from which Le Saux of all people, scored. It was a great freekick but where was the foul? Sutton appeared to back into Brightwell and they both fell over. Somehow the ref adjudged Brightwell to be the culprit which seemed very harsh. Giving a team as gifted as Blackburn a freekick in that position for an extremely dubious offence is not far short of awarding a penalty.

Squinting at the Villa game I did get a reasonable view of Flitcroft getting into the book for a full-blooded challenge; at least a player knows that flying in like this is likely to see a yellow card produced. In the second half however, I got a front seat view of a Villa foul, this time unpunished. Beagrie had the ball almost next to the corner flag and neatly tricked the incoming Staunton only to be brought clattering to the ground by a challenge that resembled a train crash, it wasn’t nasty, just clumsy (Martin thought Beagrie made it look worse than it was). Quite bizarrely the referee attempted to make the players shake hands; what was he thinking of? I can understand this after a set-to but all Beagrie had done was stand there and get fouled by the opposition player, he made no attempt at retaliation. Beagrie was having none of it and got the full support of the fans which culminated in a crescendo when it became apparent that there was going to be no yellow card. Justice was however, done when Rösler rocketed in a powerful header from the resulting freekick. The same referee had earlier let off Teale after he had semi-assaulted Rösler though I couldn’t quite see how serious things had been, maybe someone else can enlighten us, the newspapers certainly thought him lucky to get away with it.

If you have rules, however daft then at least consistency would let everyone know where they stand.

Ashley

OPINION

The next week will be crucial for City’s high hopers this season. Two away Cup-games will give us the answer to where we’re going, and with Horton showing tactical inexperience in many games this season, what do you all think the outcome of these games will be??? We have won any of the last 7 games and against Newcastle Horton tried a 5-4-1 formation. Summerbee in the right back position doesn’t sound promising to me! Hopefully Curle will be ready for the game against Palace. And whatever happened to that new German?

If you were manager, what team would you like to see entering the field? Most likely Horton will try out the 5-4-1 formation again. IMHO Ian Brightwell should play in defensive midfield, if Curle gets fit to fight again.

Svenn Hansenn

APPEAL

I was in the Man City souvenir shop last Saturday and picked up a copy of their brochure. There are several books and videos on offer which were new to me and haven’t been reviewed for the WWW page as yet. Has anybody read the following books or any others for that matter and would be prepared to review them?

  • Joe Mercer: Football with a Smile……. by Gary James
  • The Battle for Manchester City….?

Ashley

FANTASY CITY TEAMS

Has anyone thought about putting together a City `Fantasy’ team (squad of 13) for the last 25 years. Here’s two (very attack biased) for starters:-

Corrigan, J            Coton, T
Book, A                Phelan, T
Curle, K               Pardoe, G
Watson D               Booth, T
Doyle, M               Gow, G
Hartford, A            Mackenzie, S
Marsh, R               Silkman, B
Bell, C                Deyna, K
Francis, T             Rösler, U
Lee, F                 Young, N
Summerbee, M           Barnes, P
Tueart, D              Hutchison, T
Law, D                 Coleman, T

Steve Maddox

RESULTS & LEAGUE TABLE

Sorry but the results haven’t yet been updated, I’ll include them when they become available.

As of 3rd January 1995

Pos    TEAM            P  W  D  L  F  A   PTS
 1. Blackburn Rovers  22 16  4  2 49 18   52
 2. Manchester United 23 15  4  4 44 19   49
 3. Liverpool         23 13  6  4 44 19   45
 4. Nottingham Forest 23 12  6  5 36 23   42
 5. Newcastle United  22 11  7  4 40 24   40
 6. Tottenham         23 10  6  7 39 34   36
 7. Leeds United      22  9  6  7 29 27   33
 8. Norwich City      23  9  6  8 21 23   33
 9. Wimbledon         23  9  5  9 28 37   32
10. Sheffield Weds.   23  8  7  8 30 31   31
11. Manchester City   23  8  6  9 33 38   30
12. Chelsea           22  8  5  9 29 30   29
13. Arsenal           23  7  7  9 26 26   28
14. QPR               22  7  6  9 34 38   27
15. Southampton       23  6  9  8 34 39   27
16. West Ham United   23  7  4 12 21 28   25
17. Coventry City     23  6  7 10 21 40   25
18. Crystal Palace    23  5  8 10 15 22   23
---------------------------------------------
19. Aston Villa       23  4 10  9 27 33   22
20. Everton           22  5  7 10 21 31   22
21. Ipswich Town      23  4  4 15 25 47   16
22. Leicester City    23  3  6 14 22 41   15

With thanks to Riku Soininen

WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
http://www.uit.no/mancity/


Thanks to Paul, Martin, Svenn, Steve & The Mole.


DISCLAIMER
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, birchaw@oci.unizh.ch

Newsletter #34

1995/01/04

Editor:


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