Newsletter #44

We have three match reports which believe it or not are something to take heart from! Other news is Cantona; it was the lead story on the BBCWS TV. Jeremy has written a letter to the Guardian condemning their apologist stance regarding Cantona, I for one hope that it gets printed though the likelihood of this happening is probably somewhat remote. If you’re a Quentin Tarantino fan or just plain into graphic violence, check out the MCFC WWW Home Page!!??!!??

Size constraints mean that it’s a two-parter again; sorry for the inconvenience.

Let’s hope we can get a good result on Saturday; it seems that the team are playing well and Gaudino is coming good. Although I don’t think Horton can be compared (tactically) to someone like Keegan, he has brought an entertaining style of play to Maine Road. Sacking him at this juncture could badly rock the boat and throw us even further into trouble especially as he seems to be very popular with the squad, which is no bad thing. We all know there are weak points in the team but we need time and continuity to build a sound base. Let’s hope Lady Luck smiles on Brian and the boys tomorrow.

Latest news Cantona banned ’til the end of the season by the rags.

Next game Aston Villa at home, FA Cup 4th Round, Sat 28th January 1995


MANCHESTER CITY vs. LEICESTER CITY, Wednesday 25th January 1995

As I set off for the game I had my doubts as to whether it would be going ahead; steady, though not torrential rain had been falling continuously since mid-afternoon, the Maine Road pitch isn’t what it used to be as regards drainage (a reserve game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch a couple of weeks ago) and Saturday’s fruitless trip to London served as a warning that fixtures may be postponed late in the day. A Leeds-supporting friend who went with me to the game had travelled over the Pennines from Doncaster that afternoon; his usual route over the Woodhead pass was blocked by lorries unable to make the final ascent due to heavy snow and he’d had to go back to the M1 and go over the M62, which was only just passable. The journey took 3 hours, three times as long as usual. Later on there was a 5,000 car jam on the M62 and later still it was closed. The weather probably accounted for the low attendance (a large group of Leicester fans arrived with only ten minutes of the second half to go) and it certainly had a significant bearing on the result.

As the game kicked off the pitch was definitely playable, with no obvious puddles and only the corners wet enough to hold the ball up significantly. Both sides came into the game with little form to speak of: City hadn’t won a league game since 3rd December at Ipswich and Leicester hadn’t won an away game all season, their best result being a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford over Christmas. Mark McGhee, the Leicester manager, was still to see his new side win although he quipped before the game that he’d never lost a game at Maine Road. Making his début for Leicester was their million pound signing, Mark Robins, the former Junior Blue and ex-United player who scored two goals on his début for Norwich City.

The first half was completely dominated by City, attacking the Platt Lane end. The ball hardly entered our half so I didn’t get to see a great deal from my vantage point near the back of the North Stand. City were playing well, causing Leicester all sorts of problems. Walsh and Summerbee linked well on the right, leading to many decent crosses from Summerbee and a number of jinking runs in and around the box by Walsh. Beagrie was also tormenting the Leicester defence though his tendency to beat players several times before attempting to get a cross in is beginning to irritate. Orchestrating the whole show was Gaudino, who looked to be ‘in the mood’ and was unlucky when his fierce shot cannoned back off the angle of post and crossbar in the 30th minute. Leicester for their part were defending doggedly, throwing men in to block shots and getting in some excellent last- ditch tackles, much as City had done at Newcastle. Still, it looked like it was only a matter of time before City would score.

The rain continued to pour throughout the game and the playing surface gradually deteriorated, notably down the Main Stand side, where the ball would frequently stop suddenly and make back-passes very dangerous things to attempt. I felt sorry for the poor souls in the still-uncovered Kippax Street Stand and was actually glad on reflection that Saturday’s game had been postponed, saving me from a similar soaking. City continued to carve out chances and miss them, Uwe being one of the chief culprits as he had been against Coventry. As half-time approached I thought that the most likely sequence of events would be that City would take the lead and then the match would be abandoned.

During the half-time period there were a grand total of three ground staff making a token gesture to improve the state of the pitch. Still it continued to rain. After the 15 minute break the teams came out and the game continued in the same vein as the first half, with City well on top. The middle of the pitch was now becoming very heavy but still City kept pushing the ball out to Beagrie on the left wing, the worst part of the pitch. Beagrie would try to run with the ball but it would hold up between his feet and he couldn’t get away from defenders after he’d beaten them with his customary trickery. The right wing, in contrast, was still eminently playable and the ball moved easily on the few occasions it was sent out there.

As the half wore on and we reached the hour mark, Beagrie and Gaudino looked to be worn out, their commendable efforts having got us nowhere. Walsh intercepted a back pass (stupid thing to try) but as he struggled to make headway through the water towards goal he was brilliantly tackled, one of a number of excellent tackles made by both sides during this entertaining game. There followed a series of ludicrous penalty claims by City fans in the space of a few minutes, all for handball against defenders who had had shots blasted straight at them at close range. Leicester realised that the ball just wasn’t going to go in for City and started to assert themselves. After a period of about 5 minutes where they were on top, including an amazing 6-yard box clearance when they looked certain to score, they did score. Draper’s chipped ball into the corner looked to be going out of play but it stopped dead about two yards from the line and Jamie ‘stupid haircut’ Lawrence had plenty of time and space to stop running, have a good look into the box, step back to give himself a decent run up and finally drop a perfect cross onto Mark Robins’ head at the edge of the 6-yard box. Robins got in front of Curle and his careful header beat Dibble at the near post.

Quinn replaced Ian Brightwell to give us some height to take advantage of the steady stream of balls flowing into the Leicester penalty area and it almost paid off immediately. Summerbee floated a ball in from the right wing and Quinn’s flicked header was heading for the bottom corner but dropped into the mud, slowed down and was cleared by a mixture of defender and post. This was City’s last real chance because after this, they decided either to knock the ball directly up to Quinn who was well minded by at least two defenders, or to play the ball out to Beagrie, swimming down the left wing. If only Billy the Fish played for City, things might have been different.

If anything, Leicester looked the better side in the closing period and only a brilliant save by Dibble from a shot that looked to be heading for the top corner kept the score down. The visitors kept possession well, denying City the chance to save a point. At the final whistle, boos rang around the ground but to be honest it wasn’t that bad a performance in this entertaining game in which both sides had played good football. A great many chances were created but Leicester managed to block them or save them or they’d go wide or hit the post etc. etc. The main bad point about the performance was the apparent lack of intelligence in dealing with the conditions; the right flank was the only decent part of the playing surface in the last half hour but only rarely was it used. The result leaves City in a perilous position, only 4 points above the relegation zone (albeit not as bad a position as Leicester, even after this result) and with four to go down and a dreadful last few games in the run-in, our season is reaching a crisis point.

Final Score: Manchester City 0 Leicester City 1

Paul Howarth (



In three words: ‘WET WET WET’. The clouds opened above Manchester and it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained. I desperately tried to get through to the club on the ‘phone before setting off and grew to know the engaged tone well.

I have never been to a game which has been called off but when I saw so many fans swimming towards the ground I was decidedly hopeful of play. Inside the ground the atmosphere was great, I probably thought this because I was surprised that so many fans had turned up.

First half: The game started with a long barrage of Leicester’s goal. Both Walsh and Rösler had great chances in the first twenty minutes. Walsh hit his shot across the goal and just past the post when you would have placed your mortgage on him scoring. Leicester were contained to fleeting attacks which broke down quite quickly.

Gaudino was very impressive (I have never had the chance to watch him before). From all reports his fitness and confidence is growing and it showed. He kept picking the ball up around the middle of the pitch and running with the ball at the Leicester defence. Flitcroft too had a good first half. He was through with the keeper to beat but Poole saved the shot. Later Flitcroft also struck a beautiful shot from outside the area (following a corner I think) which hit the bar. City could have been four up by now. Rösler had moments in the half but was well man marked by Hill.

All this time though the weather was playing its part. Passing the ball on the floor was quite hazardous with the ball holding up in the damp conditions. Running with the ball was better but in particularly marsh-like areas of the pitch people would lose their footing and thus the ball. Lastly there was the tactical ploy from the defence of belting the ball up field. Unfortunately, with all the pressure, City failed to convert a chance and at half time the game was goal-less.

Half time: Sat and watched a ground attendant try to roll some of the water off the pitch. He started from the dug outs and went across the pitch on the centre line. Each time he got about a third of the way across before he would have to turn back as the roller would be full of water and fairly heavy by then. At least it kept him (wet and) warm!

Second half: During the interval the pitch somehow deteriorated. The first half had been quite flowing and skilful whereas the second became a mockery. I came to the simple conclusion that the pitch was playable with the idea being that City were going to score. Like the first half City had the majority of the play. Leicester had a bit more of the play and Draper was working incredibly hard in the middle of the field.

Summerbee was linking up with Gaudino and sending decent crosses in from the right; mind you that side of the pitch didn’t look like it was below water. Beagrie however was having a torrid time. Everytime he kicked the ball it would only move about half a yard on his waterlogged wing. He kept taking on Grayson and on a drier pitch would have jinxed pass the defender about 4 times. Unfortunately due to the conditions, he found himself still with the defender to beat and the ball sticking to the surface. Beagrie did cut inside once and get a yard past the defender before unleashing a near post shot which Poole held onto.

McGhee was pushing his players forward from the sidelines. Leicester had a few decent chances including a shot which was going into the top corner which Dibble turned round the post much to my relief and amazement (in that he seemed to appear from nowhere to make the save). It wasn’t long after that it happened. A ball onto the right wing by Draper I think (which I reckon would have gone out normally but just stuck in the mud) was crossed by Lawrence to allow Robins to crown his Leicester début with a near post header. Dibble had little chance. The paper calls it a ‘sneak-thief’s prize’.

Beagrie cut inside again and shot. There was an almightly roar for hand ball and a penalty. Beagrie was convinced, pity the Ref wasn’t (I didn’t see the actual contact). Horton soon brought Quinn on for Flitcroft as a last ditch effort to save the match but Leicester began to play a bit more confidently and the match became more even with chances at both ends. Robins could have scored again but the ball ground to a halt in the mud whilst at the other end, seconds later, Summerbee crossed, Quinn jumped and missed the header. However, the ball was going inside the far post until it hit the ground and bobbled about a foot before Poole smothered it on the line.

Suddenly a coach load of Leicester fans arrived in the Kippax cheering! Guess they’d been held up in the weather. I saw some of them after the game and at least it looked liked they’d just had a bath fully clothed.

Steve Lodge, the referee, is quoted in the paper as saying ‘I admit that in the final 20 minutes conditions were just farcical. But we inspected the pitch before the kick-off and it was playable. It deteriorated but when we got so far into the second half, I just decided to carry on’.

I have been to see City about 5 times now and this is the first time they haven’t won! 🙁

On the train on the way home (the heater was working thank God), there were a couple of Blues’ fans worrying about the club going down. I tried to reassure them it wasn’t that bad, like we do have the points on the board and we did play well in horrendous conditions. They took some consolation in the fact that Cantona was sent off at Palace. In no way did City deserve to lose but some fans beside me at half time were sure that they would, after having control of the game in the first half and not making good of it.

Robert Watson (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. LEICESTER CITY, Wednesday 25th January 1995

It was cold and wet – well, what do you expect in Manchester in January? The problem was that it was very wet. Not a monsoon, just that consistent drizzle that Manchester seems to specialise in. Even before the start you could see water on the surface in the goalmouths and on the wing near where we were sitting in the Swales memorial bonsai stand (the Kippax has now got a skeleton of the cantilever on and it looks mightily impressive!).

At the start of the match it wasn’t too bad. The ball obviously wasn’t flowing as well as it might but it was OK. City started quite brightly with Walsh and Rösler looking dangerous. During the first half Gaudino had several wonderful runs across/towards the penalty area leaving 2 or 3 Leicester players in his wake. Unfortunately, for all our endeavour either it was punted away or the shots went wide/high. I got that horrible, creeping feeling that all City fans will recognise that this was not going to be our day. Yes, we were playing a naff team. Yes, we were playing good football. But yes, we were about as likely to score as Cliff Richards in a nunnery (not very likely I am reliably informed). Their keeper had to make a couple of saves and Flitcroft rocked the bar with a very good strike but still no luck.

By half time the pitch was getting silly. It was starting to remind me of Ipswich last season when it was abandoned. Hmmmm.

In the second half the football got quite dire. The ball would not run more than 10 yards on the ground and it was actually quite funny seeing Beagrie sway, jink and dart past the fullback only to leave the ball in a puddle 5 yards back. Backpasses were a no-no and Walshy almost profited from one but hit the keeper. Several Beagrie shots stuck in the mud (the one humdinger in the first half had to be pushed over). ‘Dino was starting to fade but Summerbee was having a good game and at least he knew that the best way to clear the ball was in the air. The best moments seemed to come when Uwe came back to win the ball and run at the Leicester defence.

Our defence was looking typically ropy at times when Leicester pushed forward but fortunately that wasn’t too often. Then, half way through the second half Brightwell (D) got caught by a ball behind him. It stuck in the mud by the corner flag an the Leicester player with the stupid haircut got there before him (speed was never one of Dave’s strong points). He crossed and up popped Mark “Bobbins” Robins doing a very passable Paul Walsh impression of the short man winning the near-post header. Ooops!

From then on we tried our best to make Leicester look good. We had a few more chances but you could tell in your water (and there was a lot of it about) that it was one of those nights. Shots went high, wide or about 10 centimetres if hit along the ground. Having said that, Bobbins almost scored again when a shot going slightly wide skimmed off a puddle and almost dribbled into the net. There were several blatant handling incidents in the penalty area (one by us 😉 ) but nothing was given – surprise, surprise.

At the final whistle, even the thought of death by hypothermia on their journey back across the Pennines (which last night resembled Siberia) could not dampen the spirits of the Leicester fans’ joy. I must admit that death by hypothermia would have been preferable to last night’s “entertainment”. I’m afraid that I have now given up on my attempts to get a ticket for the Villa match and will save up my reserves of humiliation for the visit of The Greatest Team on Earth ™ in their traditional Red/ Green/ Black/ Blue/ White/ Yellow/ etc kit.

I would say that worse things happen at sea but the Maine Road pitch was doing a very good impression of the sea last night despite Stan’s best efforts. I did consider mailing the result to George in Australia but I thought that I really didn’t want his suicide on my conscience.

Ah well, at least I got back in time to watch the French pillock getting himself banned for a very long time – every cloud has a silver lining.

Andy Longshaw (


For those MCIVTA subscribers who are exiled abroad and can’t get British channels on cable or satellite, here is the news!

He’s French, He’s shit, He’s never on the pitch… and he might never be again. Eric Cantona is the main news story in Britain today (Thursday) following his disgraceful attack on a Crystal Palace supporter during the Premier League match last night. The Hong Kong Phuey style scissor kick is the latest in the Frenchman’s dazzling repertoire. Supporters, TV viewers and teammates alike were left breathless as Cantona indulged his fiery temper in an exhibition of violence that was unbelievable even by his standards. It is now almost certain that his career is over with MUPLC, and it looks like he may get a life ban from English football by the FA. Ince, of course, couldn’t let him get all the glory and he had to go punching a fan as well.

Cantona received a red card during the match for one of his usual off the ball kicks at an opponent, then as he was walking down the touchline he responded to some verbal abuse from a Palace fan by flying into the stand feet first, delivering a Kung Fu kick to the guy’s chest, whereupon they both started punching each other. He was dragged off by stewards, only for half the players to congregate at the place of the incident, where Ince apparently punched a fan as well. Judging from the faces in the crowd there could have been a riot, as many angry supporters rushed down to the perimeter to hurl abuse at the Utd players. Cantona was also showered with a spray of tea as he was led away. Many people who were close to the incident though, were clearly shocked, including several children, particularly one young boy of about 8 years who was wearing a Utd shirt.

The FA delivered a statement 30 mins after the match; the Police have taken statements from nearby fans and are treating it as assault; so far (as of 4pm CET today), there’s been no statement from the Swamp. People are expecting them to suspend him but the FA will probably have to give him a ban, with many people speculating that it could be for life. It appears that the French FA may do the same, in which case his international career as captain of his country is also over.

The fan in question is apparently pressing charges for assault, as is another fan who was allegedly hit by Paul Ince (the television pictures are unclear at this point due to the crowd of players surrounding the incident.)

Andrew Conway (


As it happens (4.30pm GMT)……..

The English FA are to charge Eric Cantona with bringing the game into disrepute. This follows his attack on a supporter at Selhurst Park. Still being tight-lipped about possible punishment.

Adam Joinson (


MUPLC are to make a statement at noon GMT today (Friday).

Whilst the FA have charged Cantona with misconduct and bringing the game into disrepute, he may face tougher measures from the Police who have set up an incident room with 12 officers working on the case. They are assessing the injuries to Ian Simmons, the Crystal Palace fan who was attacked by Cantona and presumably to one other fan, a 48 year-old man, who was allegedly punched by Ince. Police want to interview Cantona within the next few days. If charges of assault are brought, both Cantona and Ince could face up to five years in prison, though this is the worst case scenario and looks unlikely.

While the FA called for “an early, unequivocal statement” from the club, they have had to wait a day and a half for any hint of a response. The MU board met in secret only last night, 24 hours after the game, and Martin Edwards refused to give any comment as he left OT. The French FA have responded much more decisively, however. Cantona is now “out of contention as both captain and player in the national team” for showing “behaviour incompatible with that of a sportsman.”

Rumours around OT last night were of a 25 match ban. This would take Cantona to the first half of next season, virtually a whole year. The incident has wiped 5 million pounds off MUPLC shares.

Reactions to the event have been unequivocal from all but MU fans. Paddy Crerand has wiped 5 million points from his ailing credibility by phoning the Littlejohn Show on Sky News and ranting incoherently that this is no different from the Brian Clout incident of several years ago, to which it must be said there’s quite a difference between a clip round the ear for a fan on the pitch and a player jumping into the stand to aim a chest kick at a fan. Crerand then asked Alan Mullery, the studio guest, to confirm that fans had become more volatile since the days when they were playing. But as Mullery, Littlejohn and everyone in football knows, fans have become less volatile since then. Tommy Docherty welcomed the new proposal to have players escorted from the pitch following a sending off. Alan Haynes, editor of the MU fanzine Walking Down The Warwick Road, said players and fans have always been out to get Cantona. These comments miss the point entirely. Cantona was escorted from the pitch, by a member of MU’s training staff. He chose to break free and run back five yards to attack a fan.

Short of handcuffing players who’ve been sent off, nothing much will prevent what Cantona chose to do. Also, it is ridiculous to say that players are out to get a man who regularly commits some of the most disgraceful tackles seen. To everyone but MU fans it looks as if Cantona is out to get every other player. This is what causes resentment from fans and it was another disgraceful foul that led to verbal abuse from fans at the Palace game; abuse which Cantona should be able to take.

A mother of two, Kathy Churchman, who was standing next to Ian Simmons as the attack took place has spoken this morning on Sky News about the fear she felt and the disbelief of her children, who have stayed away from school today because they can’t talk about the incident. She says Cantona was like a man possessed as he left the pitch. When he flew into the stand feet-first his boot missed her face by inches and left stud marks on her coat. If Cantona had slipped he might have hit her, any of the children nearby, or even have made contact with Ian Simmons’ head instead of his chest. Whether he is a great player or not is irrelevant; the point is, he could have killed someone, and the punishment for this has to be severe.

Andrew Conway (


Whilst travelling up to Stockport y’day I listened to a phone in on the Cantona incident; the vast majority said Cantona had to go, including some Rags. There were a few apologists (viz. the execrable Paddy Crerand who blamed the stewards) who came up with some pathetic exonerations including Tarantini, who apparently hit a spectator when playing for Birmingham (’70s!?), but what the whole incident has done I hope is to show up the myths surrounding MUFC for what they are – media generated shite!

Way things are going, the Derby should see the Rags without Cantona, Hughes and Keane – now if someone can knobble Ince before the game, then we might have a reasonably well-behaved team to play against. Incidentally (IncEdentally?) the police will also be interviewing Ince as a spectator claims he was hit by him. Guess there will be a long queue of footballers also waiting to claim GBH!

Jeremy Poynton ( or


I was up in Stockport yesterday seeing my Mum (and sniggering at the glum faces of all the little brain-washed rag kids going home after school), so took the chance to get a rare MEN. They were quite clear that the game should have been called off; if not at the start of match, then certainly at half-time. The report also noted that City played superbly well whilst conditions permitted; they should have been a good 3 goals up by half-time and that Gaudino had a great game, again, whilst conditions permitted.

I, too, have been mulling over BH and the future; I felt very glum when I saw the score on Wednesday night but the MEN & other reports made me think again. I agree that BH should be given at least to the end of the season and that nothing would be gained by sacking him before then. Whether he’s up to it long term, who knows. I really do think that he is tactically naïve; but on the plus side, we are playing good football again, the players (bar Phelo?) seem to get on well with him and from a distance, MCFC seems to be a happy outfit again. It will take longer than a season and a half to wash away the mess that Swales created.

Jeremy Poynton ( or


Hello all City fans out there.

City are now in the bottom half of the table, and when we look at the squad I am not suprised. This is how I see things:

We were very unlucky to loose Coton with injury but I think Dibblehas played well. Anyway, we are waiting for you TC.
There is no doubt that Keith Curle is our main man in thedefence and there is a big problem that he is injured all the time. I thinkKernaghan has improved but I can’t say he is worth 1.6 million. Edghill isyoung and promising but not good enough yet. I.Brightwell has played OK butI would like to see him in midfield. or at right back. D.Brightwell justisn’t good enough. He is too slow, his skills are bad. Phelan has to besold, in my opinion. If we sell him now, he will still be worth something. Ithink we should try to buy A.Hinchcliffe back from Everton. We also haveA.Hill in the squad, and if we can get anything for him, we should sellhim, he is crap.
the midfielders we have got now could be future stars.Beagrie is a brilliant player, when he is fit. He has great skills, puts ingreat crosses, and can take on the defenders. Flitcroft has played wellthis season, after a poor last season. He’s got a big future at Maine Road.The same goes for Lomas, a hardworking player who really wants to play forCity. Maurizio G. needs time to adjust to the English game but he isimproving; he might just be the man we need. I really hope City sign him atthe end of the season. Summerbee has been a bit disapointing. He looks a bitlazy, and it looks like he is suffering from the pressure of being “daddy’sboy”. However, I have faith in him and I hope he can get it right at Maine Road.
I am really impressed with Uwe R. His attitude to the game is fantastic, heworks hard and scores goals. What a great buy he was. Walsh started off thisseason very well but has struggled for a few games now. No doubt hiscontibution at the end of last season helped us to stay up but I think it’stime to look around for a new partner for Uwe up front. We could play bigNiall up front but I don’t think he is good enough. He is also the samekind of player as Rösler. In my opinion Horton should give Griffiths a fewmore chances, I think he played well last season, he scored some goals andremember that he’s a young lad with future ahead of him.

When it comes to Horton, I am not sure if he should stay or go. What City need is a bit of continuity and if Horton gets the sack, the new manager will have to start over again; what if we never get it right? Look at U—-d; they have had the same manager for years, even when he didn’t do well 4-5 years ago. We have to give our managers some time and breathing space.

Well, bye for now everybody, and remember blue moon will raise again.

Stian Smith (


Well lower than this I cannot sink; having endured all the taunts and jokes over the Palace result I now find myself in the unenviable position of having to go through it all again with, of all teams, Leicester City. Do City players really have any idea at the social purgatory we are put through every time there is a crap result? I think not!. Anyway, having listened to the game reports on the radio it seems like we had oodles of chances to win it and got stung (again) in the final stages. Maybe it’s just the aftermath of this result but for me Horton’s time is up. I’m fed up with plummets down the table, flirting with relegation and invisible silverware. To me the club’s situation in the league has not convinced me that Horton is the answer to City’s problems. I know it’s not just Horton’s fault, far from it, but you see I want to win something and I doubt if Horton is the man to achieve it. So I’m A Big Fat Ron Supporter? Not necessarily, but he is a high profile manager who could bring a trophy to Maine Road. As a youthful 25yr old I don’t remember all the old glories of 68, 69, 70. I was 7 the last time we won anything and I’m sick of seeing the rags get all the goodies. BFR may have been patchy at Man. Utd, Sheffield Wed, and Villa but during all those appointments he picked up silverware, which is more than we’ve done for the last 19 years. No matter what happens I’ll support City through and through; it’s just that I want to look forward to better times ahead and not just mid-table mediocrity. All comments welcome.

Roger Sharp (


On Horton, my initial reaction after Wednesday was boot him out despite having supported him in the past. Now the red mist has passed, I think it’s time for Franny to take him aside and tell him to pull his socks up or he’ll be out. If we don’t start winning league matches soon, he has to be sacked simply because we cannot afford relegation. One caveat to that; we must have a good replacement lined up. Unfortunately, BFR seems to be the only one around at the moment. I’m hopeful that with reports of the team playing well, we can start turning that into results and none of this will be necessary. Also, thankfully, some of the injuries seem to be clearing up and Paul Lake is starting another comeback.

It might all come to the crunch on February 11. A Derby victory could be just the spur we need. Or a defeat could spell the end for Horton!

James Nash (


I can’t say I’m completely surprised about City’s result last night – I mean, it’s City we’re talking about here! But f**king Leicester? Why do we bother, eh?!

Nah, I don’t think B.H will get the sack – or at least I hope not. If Swales was still in charge, he would have gone by now but I think Franny looks at things a little differently. Edwards gave Fergie a massive chance (like about five years), so I hope Horton gets the same.

Anyway, my attentions were distracted by a certain incident at Selhurst Park last night. The FA have got to do something about Eric, haven’t they?! You just can’t go around fly-kicking supporters if they gesture at you – even if they are Palace fans.

David Whitwell (


Letter to Guardian in response to appalling & sanctimonious leader on Cantona:

What an extraordinarily sanctimonious piece of writing, but at least it set the matter straight. Like the Hillsborough disaster, Cantona’s behaviour after being sent off was the fault of the fans. All football grounds are full of foul-mouthed racist terrace throwbacks, and Cantona’s reaction was “truly moral”.

Some points here. Manchester United as seen and portrayed by the media are an invention of the media; their alleged place in the national consciousness is as a result of the sad Munich disaster. Time and time again we hear about how “neutrals” are all rooting for Manchester United to do this, that and the other. Ian Ridley it was, I think, in the Sunday Independent, stated that “neutral onlookers” were sad that Shearer didn’t go to United to link up with Cantona etc. What he meant was that he was sad about it.

Who are these “neutral onlookers”? None other than you the press – football fans are not neutral about other teams, and least of all about Manchester United. And the reason for this is twofold;

One the media’s fawning portrayal of them, and secondly, the fact that they are modelled on their manager, a man whose sour public aspect and constant complaining has been passed on to his team. Why is it that Cantona’s undoubted talents and footballing intelligence were harnessed benevolently at Leeds United, but turned nasty after arriving at Old Trafford.

It is no accident that they have more bookings than any other team in the Premiership. Nor was it a surprise to football fans when Cantona lashed out in the Palace game – the surprise was that for a change he didn’t get away with it. Manchester United are loathed by other football fans for a very good reason – they are a loathsome club.

Jeremy Poynton ( or


In the wake of Eric Cantona launching himself two-footed at a member of the crowd incident it is curious that an anagram of Manchester United is

Meet stud near chin

(courtesy of Radio 5)

Steve Tobias (


Incidentally, there is a competition on Channel 4 Teletext to win a pair of tickets to the Derby. Look at page 451, play the multiple answer quiz game (quite fun if you’re bored) and eventually you’ll get to the page that gives you the 0891 number to ring. The call lasts about 2 or 3 minutes so cheap rate that’s one pound. The prize includes two of the “best seats in the ground”, an overnight stay at a Holiday Inn and a meal at Harry Ramsden’s Fish n Chip Shop!! I expect it’s for UK viewers only.

James Nash (


You may already know this but to get footie scores over the Internet:

Courtesy Dutch Teletext

John Shearer (


Jan 23, 1995   West_Ham        - Sheffield_W      0 - 2
Jan 24, 1995   Arsenal         - Southampton      1 - 1
               Liverpool       - Everton          0 - 0
               Leeds           - Queen's_PR       4 - 0
Jan 25, 1995   Aston_Villa     - Tottenham        1 - 0
               Crystal_Palace  - Manchester_U     1 - 1
               Chelsea         - Nottingham       0 - 2
               Manchester_C    - Leicester        0 - 1
               Newcastle       - Wimbledon        2 - 1
               Norwich         - Coventry         2 - 2

Total Jan 25, 1995

Blackburn       24    17   4   3    52  -  19    55
Manchester_U    26    16   6   4    47  -  21    54
Liverpool       25    13   7   5    44  -  20    46
Newcastle       25    12   9   4    43  -  26    45
Nottingham      26    13   6   7    39  -  28    45
Tottenham       25    11   6   8    41  -  36    39
Leeds           24    10   7   7    33  -  27    37
Sheffield_W     26     9   9   8    33  -  32    36
Wimbledon       25    10   5  10    31  -  40    35
Norwich         25     9   7   9    24  -  27    34
Arsenal         26     8   9   9    29  -  28    33
Aston_Villa     26     7  10   9    32  -  35    31
Chelsea         25     8   7  10    32  -  35    31
Manchester_C    25     8   7  10    33  -  39    31
Southampton     25     6  11   8    35  -  40    29
Crystal_Palace  26     6   9  11    19  -  26    27
Everton         25     6   9  10    25  -  33    27
Queen's_PR      24     7   6  11    35  -  44    27
Coventry        26     6   9  11    23  -  43    27
West_Ham        25     7   4  14    22  -  32    25
Ipswich         25     5   5  15    28  -  49    20
Leicester       25     4   6  15    23  -  43    18

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Stian, Paul, Robert, Andrew, John, Roger, Adam, Andy, Steve, Jeremy & David.

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 #44