Newsletter #45

Just the tonic we needed and Gaudino looks better and better. This issue is already pretty full so I’m sending it out once again on a Monday. If anyone else has a Villa report they’d like to do please send it for inclusion in the next issue. Hopefully I will also get a report from their mailing list so we can see it from their perspective.

Don’t forget to add you email address and name onto the end of your message, it’s easier on me!!

Next game Southampton away, Saturday 5th February 1995


MANCHESTER CITY vs. ASTON VILLA, FA Cup 4th Round, 28th January 1995

There was a pitch inspection at 9:30am after a heavy (for Manchester) bout of snow and sleet the previous day but there was never really much chance of this game being a victim of the weather. The morning was bright and sunny, only clouding over and raining lightly well after the match was under way. Villa were on a roll after only two defeats since Brian Little took over and a good performance midweek against Spurs. A large contingent of Villa fans, occupying 80% of the Kippax, resulted in a noisy atmosphere; football needs a big away following to help generate this, a lesson that will hopefully be heeded by those clubs who currently give small ticket allocations to visiting supporters. There was a big contrast in the receptions given to the two goalkeepers; Bosnich, in goal for Villa, was roundly booed by the City fans in a show of solidarity with the Germans – his appalling challenge against Jürgen Klinsmann on Wednesday had gone unpunished by the referee despite the fact that he missed the ball and knocked Klinsmann out cold. The Villa fans booed Klinsmann, accusing him of taking a dive; maybe these were the same Villa fans that sang “let him die” back in September 1990 when Paul Lake suffered the first of his career-threatening knee injuries? At the other end, Tony Coton was back in goal for City and he received a rapturous welcome with a chorus of “England’s number one” echoing round the ground. Coton had only been back in training for a few days and had had no match practice in the reserves but was still preferred to poor old Andy Dibble, the hero of so many of the games in TC’s absence. Dibs must be wondering just what he has to do to keep his place. The goalkeeping position was City’s only change from the Leicester game, so we lined up with Summerbee, Dave Brightwell, Curle and Vonk at the back, Gaudino, Flitcroft, Ian Brightwell and Beagrie in midfield and Walsh and Rösler up front.

The referee was Joe Worrall, regarded by many as a United fan. He was wearing all black which clashed badly with Villa’s horrible black and green striped away kit, though the players didn’t seem to have any problems distinguishing between the two. He and the linesmen missed what appeared to be a number of foul throws by Villa players and a neck-high challenge by Fashanu in the first half also went unpunished. In his defence, he let the game flow, playing advantage whenever possible and he didn’t book anybody, not even when a long sliding tackle by Curle took Yorke and not the ball during the second half.

Villa had a great chance to score almost straight from the kick off (sound familiar?). A terrible ball out by Vonk went straight to a Villa player; the ball reached Taylor, who put Yorke through but his snapshot flashed just wide of the near post. Shortly after that, a long ball down the left from Staunton was flicked on by Fashanu to Taylor, whose weak shot was easily held by Coton. Staunton’s distribution was to cause City problems all afternoon but to their credit they tried to close him down and let Ugo Ehiogu play the ball out instead; good player that he is, like Curle, his distribution left a lot to be desired. Anyway, five minutes gone and City could easily have been 2-0 down.

However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom; City were playing some good football themselves as they had in the first hour on Wednesday. Walsh, Gaudino and Summerbee were combining well down the right, exploiting an out-of-position Shaun Teale, pushed wide by the form of McGrath and Ehiogu in the middle. It was Ian Brightwell who unlocked the Villa defence in the 7th minute with a well-judged lob over the left side of Villa’s square back four. Walsh ran onto the ball and hit it first time on the half-volley past Bosnich to delight the home fans.

Straight from the kick-off, Villa attacked down their left flank with Staunton, who fired in a low cross-cum-shot which TC just got his fingertips to. The ball went out for a corner, passing inches in front of the outstretched leg of Saunders. Villa went on to dominate the possession in the remaining 80 minutes of the game but the three chances missed in the first 10 minutes were to be the best they’d come up with until second-half injury time. Whilst we were soaking up the pressure against Newcastle, the magpies looked like they could score any minute but this time there wasn’t the same threat. The presence of Coton seemed to settle the defence a little (or maybe it was just me feeling more confident about our ability to defend a lead these days?) and it was City who looked more likely to score on the break. A good move involving Summerbee and Walsh down the right sent Gaudino through; his shot from a similar angle to that from which Walsh scored beat Bosnich but flew just past the far post too. Rösler was furious with him for not squaring the ball but Gaudino was right to shoot.

Villa continued to keep the ball during the second half, firing in crosses from all angles which were fairly comfortably dealt with by the defence and Coton. City’s main threat came down the right flank on breaks, the left flank being unusually unproductive due to presence of the more defensively-minded Dave Brightwell at left back and Beagrie’s visible lack of energy. Running through ankle-deep water throughout the second half on Wednesday must have taken its toll on him. Hopefully he’ll have chance to recover this week as the team have flown out to Portugal to recuperate. City’s next chance came when a Villa corner broke to Gaudino on the edge of his own area; he ran straight through the middle, Walsh made a great run off the ball down the left flank taking out a defender and Gaudino hit the ball out right to Flitcroft; he played the ball back into Gaudino’s path and with only Bosnich to beat he smacked the ball towards the near post this time, instead of going for the bigger gap at the far post. Bosnich saved well but Gaudino should have scored. If he can improve his finishing he’ll be a tremendous asset to the club. Alan Hansen singled him and Walsh out for special praise on Match of the Day and well-deserved it was too.

The rain came down during the second half and the Villa fans were not impressed. “It’s just a poxy s**t-hole”, they sang, to which the retort was “if you can’t speak proper [sic], shut your mouth.” During the first period there were repeated attempts by the stewards to get the visitors to sit down but there’s not much point really. The only way in or out of the stand is from the front at the moment, so there’s a constant stream of people walking along the front, going to the toilet, getting a hot-dog etc. during the course of the game. Hence the people at the front have to stand up to see what’s going on and with the shallow rake of the lower tier, that means that everybody behind them has to stand up too. There were a couple of announcements over the PA that standing up was a breach of the safety regulations and that people would be ejected if they didn’t comply. It occurred to me that no such warnings are given in the West Midlands.

Villa had what looked like a good chance to equalise when a low cross by Saunders found its way to Taylor after Vonk had slipped but TC charged out to block his shot brilliantly. As it happened, Fashanu was stood on the goal-line and was given offside, so it wouldn’t have counted anyway. Another good move by Walsh and Gaudino, who seem to be developing a good understanding, led to a cross by Gaudino which was just too high for Walsh to convert. With five minutes to go, Quinn came on for Walsh which seemed a strange substitution; Beagrie was clearly knackered whereas Walsh looked fit as a fiddle. Quinn was used in defensive mode, adding presence in our own box as Villa flung everything they had at us. With Foster, a regular centre-back, on the bench it seemed a peculiar move.

Deep into injury time, Tommy Johnson, on for Yorke (who had been facing the might of David Brightwell ;-)), floated in a deep cross that deflected off Curle’s head. Coton flung himself to his right to push the ball away but it fell to Staunton who fired another shot in towards goal. The ball cannoned off Coton’s chest and onto the near post and was then knocked out for a corner by Summerbee. That was virtually the last kick of the game and so it’s City who face another trip to St. James’ Park for the 5th Round.

As the Villa fans filed out of the ground, a group of them kicked over some hoardings and looked to be heading for a confrontation with the City fans at the front of the North Stand. I didn’t hang about to find out what happened but I suppose it would have been on the news if there had been any serious clashes. It’s sad to see that some people still can’t take defeat and, remembering the Palace game, that applies to our fans as much as Villa’s.

Paul Howarth (


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

A bit late but so was I that night. I left Stevenage in fine weather at 3.30pm to go to Maine Road (2.5 hour drive normally). Further north it started snowing, the Pennine roads were closed and I was in one of the 5,000 vehicles stranded on the M62. The last 40 miles of my journey took 9 hours, arriving home at 4.00am. Only the news of the Fouling Frog maintained my spirits during the long periods of inaction.

Roger Haigh (


The Irish papers today (Sun 29 Jan), are full of reports that Niall Quinn is officially up for sale. Brian Little is the No. 1 candidate to buy him and he wants a quick deal as he is desperate to have him for the Villa-MU game. Niall had a meeting with BH on Friday evening and was told he can go.

Terry Phelan is also rumoured to be on his way but I don’t know where. Everything will be cleared up whae the players come back from a golfing holiday, somewhere around the Med.

Shane Kelly (


Newcastle         - CITY
Man U             - Leeds
QPR               - Milwall/Chelsea
ShefWed/Wolves    - Leicester
Burnley/Liverpool - Wimbledon
Spurs             - Luton/Soton
Watford           - Palace
Everton           - Coventry/Norwich

Steve Tobias (


Terry Phelan has officially been made available for transfer. Offers are invited.

City are away to Newcastle in the 5th Round of the FA Cup (that’s the one before the quarter-finals). A daunting prospect but I don’t think they’ll be relishing it either. The only other ‘big game’ of the round is United vs. Leeds so I think we’re highly likely to be ‘live’ on television :-(( Let’s hope we can do to them what Spurs and Middlesbrough have done to us recently, i.e. knock us out of both Cup competitions in the same season.

Paul Howarth (


Terry Phelan has been transfer listed. Horton has practically said he has no future at Maine Road and Phelan is moaning about some pay deal or other struck when Reid was manager. Wonder how much we’ll get for him? 2 million in today’s market? If anyone wants him!

The Big Fat Ron issue rumbles on… he could yet be taking over at Coventry where Phil Neal is not the most popular of people right now. City are said to be taking a “long-term interest” in fatso although they have backed BH for now.

I didn’t make it to Manchester on Saturday so I popped down the road to see the goalless game between Cov and Norwich. Quite a good match with some woeful misses and one brilliant save by the Norwich substitute keeper Marshall, reminiscent of Gordon Banks. I was sat just behind the goal and you can see me applauding (leather jacket, two rows back) on Match of the Day. Fame at last! 😉

James Nash (


It has just been confirmed that Newcastle vs. City in the FA Cup will be screened live by BSkyB. The kick off will be at 1:00pm GMT on Sunday 19th February. The BBC will be showing Rags vs. Leeds from 3:00pm.

The Mole
Phil Knight


Well …

Brian does it again eh? I guess you don’t get to see the odd (very odd) post-match interviews with him? The more I see of him, the more I believe his heart and soul is in City. It struck me yesterday that maybe Franny should make a formal public statement about his future – but then, who wants a vote of confidence from the chairman?

The Sun reports this morning that Phelan is transfer listed; no surprise that, and could well be intended to fund buying Gaudino. He got rave reviews for Saturday’s win and apparently wants to stay at City (like Uwe, he is apparently delighted by the City fans), and would cost around 1.5m. Mind you, I can’t see us getting that for Phelan now. TC had a great game; in fact from the MoD highlights he kept us in it – and I am sure that he will have a beneficial effect on the defence as I think he is a more vocal goalie than Officer Dibble.

I’m not wild about getting Newcastle again – why do we always get the teams we have met in the League Cup? But then, I guess they won’t be over the moon about it (but probably not sick as a parrot?).

Rags fêted in the papers for their stunning 5-2 defeat of Wrexham (whose fans apparently, after going 1 up, were singing “Are you Chester in disguise?”). So much so in fact that one Sunday didn’t even have a report of Blackburn’s win on Saturday, and neither did the Guardian this morning. They didn’t print my letter – but have had a number of letters on the subject of EC, some taking their line and others opposing it fairly vehemently. The more I think about this whole incident, the more I think it is down to the media hype about the swamplife, in cahoots with Ferguson, who are convinced that one European Cup makes a great club – there were Rags interviewed outside OT before the cup game stating that U****D are “The greatest club in the world”. Uh? I think they actually believe it you know? Cantona should have come to Maine Road – at least we have a sense of humour and can keep things in proportion. Another thing most of the papers have ignored is the appalling and constant abuse that Shearer got in the recent OT farce – but then he’s English, so I guess it wasn’t racist. Hmmmm

Jeremy Poynton ( or


Tickets for the derby will be available on a single match basis (presumably due to poor sales) from 9:30am on Tuesday 31st January.

Prices are as follows:

Main Stand blocks B & C : Sold out
Main Stand other blocks : 15.00 pounds
North Stand             : Sold out
Platt Lane Stand        : 13.00 pounds
Family Stand            : Sold out
Kippax (adult)          : 11.00 pounds
Kippax (junior/OAP)     : 8.00 pounds

Tickets will be available to 1994/95 membership card holders (numbered 10001-13433, 40001-47500 & 516501-520000 only) who present 3 different home match ticket stubs and who have had their membership cards in attendance at 6 home games, for each ticket purchased to the Ticket Office from this season’s fixtures. Sorry if anybody doesn’t understand that but that’s what it says in the Villa programme.

Paul Howarth (


I must say that the Cantona-thing is getting a bit out of hand here. I remember Sammy Nelson showing his buttocks to the crowd in the seventies, and other incidents where FA did take some action. As I see it a one year suspension is not too big a punishment. Last week a norwegian ice-hockey player deliberately threw his stick into the crowd with such force that a 17 year old spectator broke several teeth, and another was hurt in the eye. The player now faces a 3,5 year ban. As for Cantona, he’ll probably be sold or go on loan to a club in another country.

Svenn (


As a result of the fan-kicking incident at Selhurst Park, Manchester United have suspended Eric Cantona from the first team until the end of the season and fined him twenty thousand pounds, which probably amounts to two weeks’ wages. This is the maximum amount he can be fined under the terms of his contract. Cantona will continue to play for the reserves, which is good news for Bury FC as there are likely to be increased crowds for the United reserve games which are played at Gigg Lane.

Meanwhile, the FA have charged Cantona with misconduct, bringing the game into disrepute; a serious charge by FA standards. He has 14 days to respond. The police may also wish to press charges against Cantona and Ince in due course.

Paul Howarth (
John Shearer (


The point I wish to raise is the Manchester United Evening News stand on this issue. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the “city of dreams” (m/cr) for the last week, so I’ve been partaking in a nightly dose of Utd propaganda via the aforementioned newspaper. On opening Friday’s edition, I “walked” straight into the worst example of propaganda I’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of. It went under the following title :-


So the Manchester United Evening News obviously had this in cold storage for months. Here was article based on 2 pictures of Eric Cantona “in his local” looking all “sweetness & pie”. Additionally the piece was based on quotes from customers & staff of this public house, all whom were informing us of what a lovely, friendly person he really is!!! Now if this article wasn’t prepared months ago in readiness for the inevitable – then I’ll believe that Tony Grealish was the best midfielder Manchester City has ever had!!!!!!

All I can say is, I wouldn’t like to see what Eric does on a Friday night at last orders when he can’t get served!!!! Or perhaps his local never gets busy because, I quote, “it’s definitely a red pub, & always will be” – therefore it’ll always be “dead” as all their lot come up from London. Which raises the question – wasn’t it a bit dangerous for Eric to “lay into” a spectator at a game in London as the person could easily have been a demented “United fan” who hadn’t realised which team was which due to him being a glory hunting, part-time “supporter” who should be supporting a team almost as equally sad i.e., Arsenal!!!!!!

A.Brown (c/o


It looks like MUPLC are going to get away with it again. Despite rumours of a 25 match ban for Eric ‘Bruce Lee’ Cantona, the club have decided only to ban him for the rest of the season, indicating that he may even play in reserve games. The FA will, of course, do their spectacular impersonation of a plate of quivering jelly and just go along with the Rags. Money has spoken. As for the Police, well, a legal expert has expressed astonishment that both Cantona and Ince weren’t arrested for assault as soon as the game was over; for them to say they’ll be talking to Cantona in a few days is highly unusual (obviously a bitter barrister). So I doubt we’ll be seeing any legal proceedings for Cantona’s assault and battery.

On top of this, Palace have actually banned the fan who was attacked, for the rest of the season. Presumably this is for shouting at a player in order to provoke him into excessive violence. Why they don’t just ban all fans is a mystery. Perhaps it was the tabloid reports that have tried to portray Matthew (not Ian, blame Sky) Simmons as a hardened criminal. The fact is, it doesn’t matter if he’s a mass murderer: all he did was swear at a player. Cantona is the criminal but when in doubt, blame the victims.

Would any other club have got away with this? Answers to your nearest newspaper.

Andrew Conway (


I feel the general opinion on the Cantona incident expressed in MCIVTA on Friday was somewhat OTT. I know he plays for them but I feel City fans should try and remain as objective as possible when considering what should happen to Cantona. I wouldn’t dream of condoning his actions and I too feel he’s managed to escape punishment on occasions but I think the ban imposed on him is sufficient and he should be left alone to serve it.

On the other hand, I can’t help feeling a certain amount of contentment in the fact that Man Utd have lost the services of one of their better footballers. Let’s hope we can stuff them next week and then put them out of the cup if they manage to reach the later stages.

Phil Knight (


Q: What do Camilla Parker-Bowles and Eric Cantona have in common?

A: They both had a leg-over at the Palace.

David Whitwell (


In light of the letter to the Guardian, I though parts of its City – Villa report might make interesting reading…

“Horton behaves like a man who has just had 28 cups of strong black coffee, jumping off the bench as if he has sat on a whoopee cushion, challenging decisions and berating players. His after-match press conference is dominated by the wide-eyed glare and staccato speech of one who is in a hurry, with no time for those little words that link sentences and make them flow… [snipped] …In the best traditions of dogs and owners Horton’s team confronts life with the same intensity, with little time too for the links that make the game flow… [lots snipped] …In the dressing room his [Gaudino’s] equally exhausted teammate Rösler turned to Horton in similar cultural amazement. “Up and down, set pieces, English football”, he spluttered with a lack of linking words Horton would have been proud of. “Yes Uwe”, the manager replied. “That’s English football” Or, more precisely, Horton football.”

According to Match of the Day, Horton ‘joked’ that the result will give him a “couple more games”. Is there anything Fanny should do to help his manager’s position (apart from the dreaded vote of confidence)?

Also, according to the Sunday People, Terry Phelan has been transfer listed (again…?)

Adam Joinson (


This is the story of the match that never was for me. After continually phoning the ticket booking office for 2 days & finding it constantly engaged, I decided to go down to Maine Road Wed pm to buy tickets.

There were 5 counters open for the sale of Leicester, Villa & derby tickets and a queue approx. 100 metres. After waiting half an hour in the rain and moving about 10 yards, I gave up the ghost as I had to go back to work. I continued phoning dial-a-ticket but again constantly engaged.

There were under 22,000 there at the game and I don’t think I was the only person who missed both Leicester & Villa because of poor admin.

In the end, I got rid of my frustrations by managing to get hacked to bits playing Lacrosse.

Kevin Duckworth (


There is much comment at the moment about the City team and its deficiencies. In my opinion the team would be on a much sounder footing if the occupancy of the two full back positions could be sorted out. I know that injuries have been a big problem but many of the occupants of the full back spots have been tactically naïve in the extreme.

What is needed to improve the defence immeasurably is a pair of full backs who can defend competently and remain in position when the team defends. If a team plays with two wingers there is little point in having a full back like Phelan bombing up the wing, not receiving the ball and being out of position when the opposition break. He has no concept of responsibility to his teammates.

A simple tactic to beat City is to have a wide player on the right wing and to hoof the ball up to him at the first opportunity. Odds are that the fullback is out of position, the central defenders cover the absentee, the other full back covers the central defenders (perhaps!), the shape of the team disappears and a goal results. If Wimbledon do it, it’s route one. If the Rags do it, it’s a marvellous flowing break from defence. Either way it’s a goal against.

Andy Hill might not be every one’s first choice but he’s a much better bet than many of the recent occupants of the full back spots.

Roger Haigh (


4th round results

Man Utd         (2) 5 - 2 (1)  Wrexham
Millwall        (0) 0 - 0 (0)  Chelsea
Tranmere        (0) 0 - 2 (1)  Wimbledon
Man City        (1) 1 - 0 (0)  Aston Villa
Nottm Forest    (1) 1 - 2 (1)  Crystal Palace
Portsmouth      (0) 0 - 1 (0)  Leicester
Coventry        (0) 0 - 0 (0)  Norwich
QPR             (1) 1 - 0 (0)  West Ham
Luton           (0) 1 - 1 (0)  Southampton
Newcastle       (1) 3 - 0 (0)  Swansea
Sheff Wed             vs  Wolves
Leeds           (2) 3 - 2 (0)  Oldham
Sunderland      (0) 1 - 4 (0)  Tottenham
Watford         (1) 1 - 0 (0)  Swindon
Burnley         (0) 0 - 0 (0)  Liverpool
Bristol City    (0) 0 - 1 (0)  Everton

Premier League

Jan 28, 1995   Blackburn - Ipswich          4 - 1

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Thanks to Svenn, John, Paul, Kevin, Steve, Jeremy, Shane, James, Andrew (x2), David, Adam, The Mole, Roger & Phil.

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 #45