Newsletter #47

This time we do have a Match Report from the denizens of the Dell and an additional one is promised. I was watching it by Teletext (not to be recommended) and had almost given up! Good job the boys hadn’t. I have been wondering what is going on re-Gaudino. Nigel (see below) seemed to think he wasn’t playing because of Horton’s draw-oriented tactics but the Southampton correspondent quoted ‘domestic problems’? I hope it was the latter as I personally can’t accept leaving a player of his quality out to get a draw. Doubtless many of you will disagree and say a draw is worth the price we have to pay for it. I just can’t forget the times Graham Taylor left his most talented players on the bench because of some perceived need to play in a certain way; maybe I’m too naïve to be a manager?

If there are more Southampton reports, please send them in and I’ll put together another issue. Anyone care to do anything on nicknames?

Next game Manchester United at home, Sat 11th January 1995


SOUTHAMPTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 4th February 1995

Having spent most of the week leading up to the game convinced that the South coast would be washed away by the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised that the closer we got to Southampton, the harder the sun seemed to be trying to break through the clouds. By 1.45pm, when we managed to find a parking space in a street close to the ground, the sun was shining brightly. Could the blue skies betoken our first league win since November? Harbouring such optimistic thoughts, we disappeared for a quick fry-up at an overly frilly local cafe.

As soon as we took our seats in Southampton’s tiny stadium, the sun became a rather less welcome visitor. If the man who laid out and designed Southampton’s ground had been a mad eye-surgeon wanting blind people for eye-transplant practice, he couldn’t have done a more thorough job of inflicting needless pain on the masses. Throughout the first half, two full tiers of Blues strained, hands over eyes, to see what was going on as the sun slipped slowly over the too-low roof of the facing stand.

Anyway, on to the match. After last week’s heroics against Villa in the Cup, Coton retained his place behind a five-man defence consisting of Summerbee, Curle, Vonk, Kernaghan and D.Brightwell. To make way for the extra player, Gaudino had been dropped to the subs’ bench, a decision which provoked much heated pre-match discussion. This was a team which had come to play for a draw, a tactic which really goes against the grain for most City fans. I’m normally one of Horton’s biggest supporters but in this instance, you’ve only got to look at the balance of quality in our squad to see that our best interest lies in attack. In short, Curle excepted, we just don’t have the players to defend.

Not that it mattered. After 25 minutes, during which Southampton had the best of the play (although Uwe shot high and wide with only Brucie Backhander to beat), Coton dropped the ball into his own net. A deathly hush fell over the City side of the ground; for most of us it was the first bad mistake we’d ever seen the big man make. The Southampton fans, naturally, went wild, with cries of ‘Dodgy keeper’ piling on the agony.

City now had to attack and after about 35 minutes their efforts were rewarded with a corner taken by Summerbee. Vonk got in a strong header unchallenged and Kernaghan smacked it into the Southampton net. 1-1. Now we could start playing!

But no. It was back to more of the same, with Curle man-marking Le Tissier and doing, on the whole, a very good job. City’s defensive unit clogged up the back half of the field, managing to restrict Southampton to long-range shots, one of which Coton flew through the air to tip over on about 40 minutes. As soon as he landed, we knew something was up (back injury recurring?) and sure enough he didn’t re-appear for the second half, his place being filled by Dibble.

The second half was a stinker. Those not struck blind in the first half were now praying for the roof to fall on them – anything less painful than watching both teams lose the ball in midfield and fluff the odd chance that came to them. Then it happened again. From a short corner on 65 minutes, Le Tissier received the ball and hooked it in to the near post. It was going nowhere, comfortably covered by the keeper, so Summerbee helped it in with a deft overhead flick. Naturally, our Matty claimed the goal. 2-1 to them.

City fans started baying for Gaudino to come on and after 10 minutes, in which the team seemed resigned to its fate, Horton finally acted, bringing him on in place of the lethargic Vonk. Gaudino then didn’t touch the ball for another 10 minutes, although the strength of his running caused concern in the Southampton defence and started to create holes which the superb Flitcroft looked like exploiting. Even so, we were leaving it late, and a handful of Blues had already started the long trek home when, on 88 minutes, Gaudino crossed, Rösler headed down and Flitcroft stole in and scored. City don’t often score vital late goals, so the crowd went wild in a mixture of shock and relief.

Overall, a poor performance based on flawed team tactics. Alan Kernaghan, though, was particularly impressive in defence, his well-timed lunges preventing many scoring opportunities for the Saints. Flitcroft looks very comfortable in midfield, and with Ian Brightwell playing the midfield holding rôle, could get forward as often as he obviously likes. Nice to come away with a point we didn’t really deserve, although against teams like Southampton we should really be going for the full three points. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nigel Kendall (


Some points from Saturday evening’s Southampton Daily Echo (The Pink).

From the front page:

SAINTS were held to their seventh draw in the last eight games when Garry Flitcroft struck a late equaliser to deny them a deserved victory over Manchester City.

Alan Ball’s men looked certain to win it when Bruce Grobbelaar pulled off a fantastic save to deny Uwe Rösler who burst clean through with four minutes to go but then with two minutes left, Rösler headed down a cross by Beagrie and Flitcroft fired home.

Saints had twice led. The first goal came on 23 minutes when goalkeeper Tony Coton pushed the ball into his own net from Simon Charlton’s cross but the home lead lasted just six minutes before City’s Alan Kernaghan nodded home the equaliser.

Matthew Le Tissier restored the lead on 59 minutes when his chip to the near post was helped into the roof of the net by Nicky Summerbee.

Taken from the match report with me chipping in [Alan]:

Manchester City gift wrapped Saints with two goals – one in each half – as first Tony Coton and then Nicky Summerbee helped in efforts by Simon Charlton and Le Tissier.

Jason Dodd returned from flu in place of Widdrington to enable Alan Ball to use a 4-4-2 formation spearheaded by Neil Shipperley making his home début.

City also made a tactical switch bringing in Alan Kernaghan back from suspension into a five man defence and leaving out mid-fielder Maurizio Gaudino who has had domestic problems.

The first real threat came from City as Walsh turned cleverly past Benali and slipped the ball through to Rösler running in behind the defence. He tried to chip Grobbelaar but miscued and sliced the ball past the post.

Most of the early pressure was coming from Saints but Kernaghan was too high with an ambitious 35 yard shot.

The first quarter of an hour was pretty stale stuff but after 23 minutes an astonishing fumble by Coton let Saints in. He protested either for the ball not crossing the goal line or going behind before it reached him. Beagrie and Walsh were the early threats from City and Kernaghan levelled.

Pretty dour first half all round I thought.

Coton was replaced by Dibble for the second half. Saints had the early play in this half and after a short corner from Le Tissier touched back to him, he chipped to the near post and Summerbee who should have cleared helped the ball in. I thought at this stage Saints had their best spell and Shipperley and Magilton (twice) missed good chances. With ten minutes to go Saints really needed to hold on as we badly need 3 points from home games but after a fantastic save from Grobbelaar with 2 minutes to go City scored their second.

It was a strange match for picking out players, City kept at it and had several chances, Rösler and Walsh were active and the defence OK but they did let our 2 in. City’s goals were a lot better but all in all I think a draw was a fair result.

With only 2 points between us we could both have a dodgy Easter.

Good luck anyway,

Alan Parrott (Saints List)


More news on the NQ transfer saga…

The latest I’ve read is that Quinn is on his way to Palace. Alan Smith wants him for the same reason as Wilkins, to replace a top striker. Smith realises that holding on to Chris Armstrong will be difficult, especially now that Kevin Keegan is on the look-out for a replacement for Cole. No price has been speculated on as yet but Smith is said to be prepared to pay the “going rate” for Quinn. Other commentators have speculated on a 4 million price tag but this is only gossip. All this news that I have about Quinn is authentic, as I’ve read it in an Irish paper that Quinn himself writes for (The Sunday World). Unfortunately, in Quinn’s column, he has said nothing about where he is off to, only that he is up for sale.

Shane Kelly (


I was in Glasgow on the weekend and the following was in the Sports paper.

‘Burns (Tommy Burns – Celtic Manager) has been at the centre of constant transfer speculation this week and denied reports that Manchester City asked for Tony Mowbray on loan.

He stressed: “The player is busy getting match fit in the reserves but if anything came up we’d leave the decision to him.”‘

Just thought I’d spread some more transfer rumours.

Anthony Johnson (


After the Palace débâcle I asked Shaggy (Simon Gleave) to write us an article giving his opinion as to City’s problems and possible players to be brought in [Ashley].

Having seen Manchester City fall apart at Crystal Palace in the CC Cup, one thing is clear – changes need to be made. So, where are Manchester City weak?

I rate Tony Coton very highly and although I’ve seen Dibblehave moments of pure farce, he is basically solid so there doesn’t need tobe any change here.
From the games I’ve seen Man City involved in, the left backposition is a serious problem. Terry Phelan is constantly caught upfieldand seems to have no positional sense whatsoever. The best left back thatI’ve seen outside the Premiership is Burnley’s David Eyres who is excellentat attacking down the wing while retaining the defensive ability requiredwhen his team are being attacked.
City need a passing midfielder with a bit of vision: how aboutAston Villa’s Garry Parker who is still as good as ever but has obviouslyfallen out with Brian Little (hence the offer of a loan move to Port Vale).
With Rösler, Walsh and Quinn, Man City have plenty of goodforwards but I’d have thought they ought to be looking around for a youngprospect as Walsh can’t have long left in him and Quinn isn’t exactly ayouth.

There are also a couple of players with great potential kicking around the lower leagues – Bristol Rovers’ Marcus Stewart is a 24 year old prolific forward who looks good enough to play at a higher level, Cambridge Utd have a 19 year old centre half called Jody Craddock who is as cool on the ball as any central defender I’ve seen.

Finally on the managerial front; how long are you going to keep Horton for? At the rate he’s going, you’ll be in the relegation zone before the end of February – if Ron Atkinson is available and willing to do the job, Francis Lee surely has to sack Horton and offer it to Big Ron.

SHAGGY (Simon Gleave,


If QPR are to buy Niall Quinn, it could be Rags’ money they’re using… the press are speculating today that United are interested in buying young striker Kevin Gallen from QPR for 2 million pounds. Gallen was credited with the first goal for QPR in our Coca-Cola Cup game but I’m still convinced it was an o.g. by Ian Brightwell (the TV replay is inconclusive and Brightwell would hardly admit it, would he?).

Paul Howarth (


It’s shocking but it’s true. I became a Blue simply to annoy my sister.

Growing up in the leafy calm of suburbia, you don’t get that much excitement. The only distinguishing brown patch on the lawn of Surrey life was the arrival of the Derby circus in Epsom once a year. The horse race itself was never much to look at but the people and atmosphere it attracted were. Everything from the anorak-clad bookies to the raucous throb of the fun-fair turned a boring stockbroker town into a cosmopolitan den of sin. Epsom has a nice clock tower and a good view of the North Downs from the racecourse, otherwise I would advise you to stay away!

By default, I should have chosen either Crystal Palace or Wimbledon as my team in 1977. I lived equi-distant from either ground; the Dons were yet to impress their stud marks across the big leagues and what’s worse, my maths teacher supported Palace so they were ruled out for starters. I seem to remember a brief flirtation with Bournemouth after I spent a wonderful (?) holiday there one year but it never lasted; a dirty weekend, if you like.

All the big boys at school supported Manchester United or Liverpool and I hated the big boys but not enough to choose City or Everton to get back at them. My big sister, however, was an ardent ‘pool fan and as much as I love her now, I hated her then! I remember thinking that she only liked them because they were successful. So, noticing that City were the team most likely to beat the scousers for the title, I plumped for them.

This decision was made purely on a short term basis to gain maximum effect. Things didn’t quite go according to plan. City cocked up the title and my sister gloated with glee. Not wanting to lose face, I had to keep up the support the following season. And the following season and the one after that and again and… and here we are now!

The first game I went to was, funnily enough, at Crystal Palace. 1978 (?) and we lost 2-1 or 2-0. Having pestered my father (an armchair Derby supporter) into finally taking me, all I can remember now is the young Palace fans taking the mickey out of me as the goals went in. I presume I sulked. But not until I was at a safe distance from those vicious little thugs ๐Ÿ™‚ I wonder if one of them now has size 15 boot marks on his chest?

As I grew up, the years went by and City won bugger all. Time and again I would promise myself that this was it and I would never support City again; this being after the latest woeful performance or shock exit from the Cup. I never shook the habit, though.

Maybe the biggest influence on confirming my City habit was my best friend at school called James Strang (his phone was disconnected last time I tried and I’ve lost his address in Brixton so if anyone knows his whereabouts, let me know!). We shared the “outsider” factor, me being the teacher’s son and him being the Mancunian in this wanna-be posh private school. Somehow, it made perfect sense that we both supported City. He got me going to games again, all away, like Fulham, Chelsea and even as far away as Brighton once though we got severely reprimanded for getting back late. One particularly fond memory is strolling through the muddy footpaths around the South Downs hitting back under-age slugs of Merrydown cider as we heard City (rather luckily) beating Portsmouth on the radio, all but ensuring promotion.

The worst times have been when we got relegated in the ’80s. I was in the family car, coming back from shopping on a Saturday afternoon, and got my dad to put the radio on. Within seconds, the news came through from Luton that the match was 0-0. We were safe. Then on came Stuart Hall, I think, to say that a last minute goal had been scored. I swear that he first said City had scored but then the horrible truth sank in. I certainly would never have predicted that one of the players from that fateful day would end up becoming our manager. I bore a grudge against Luton after that only finally relenting when they were relegated, though I would have preferred us to have done it.

Most memorable games… losing 5-4 at Wembley to Chelsea when I had left early at 5-1. The first of the two 4-0’s over Leeds. Niall Quinn’s hat-trick against the Palace. A tedious 0-0 Cup replay against Watford when I missed my train and ended up in East Croydon forking out for a taxi back home. Drawing 3-3 at Walsall after Alex Williams (or Eric Nixon?) was carried off and Nigel Gleghorn took over. Even the 9-man win at QPR this season. Best off the pitch moment… getting rid of Swales (I started a fanzine for one issue only, called “Wigout!”. The two other contributors lurk on MCIVTA!).

My big confession is that my first home game was only in 1990. Mainly because I felt intimidated by a trip to Manchester and it’s not easy to get to Maine Road and back from Coventry or Surrey, especially for a non-driver. Well, I’ve been to plenty since then, my best average being 1 in 2 a couple of seasons ago. I know that many Mancunians may never see me as a true Blue because I don’t come from Manchester. I simply say that I’ve supported City for the best part of 20 years. And don’t be so selfish in keeping the misery all to yourselves. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, if you don’t like it, it’s your problem. Tough!

Why do I keep the faith? Answers on a postcard to my psychiatrist. Seriously, I think it’s City’s unpredictability. You never get bored with them. They sometimes play good football, which helps. There’s little of the arrogance associated with the other “big” clubs. We can always laugh at the situation, however dire. Aw heck, you try and define love!

One more thing… I was born on virtually the exact day that City started their last successful title challenge. Maybe that is good luck or bad luck. Who knows? How many other people besides me believe that if they stop supporting City, we’ll win something the next season? Come on, own up!

James Nash (


Talking of City palyers who’ve scored 4 goals in a game, didn’t Brian Kidd get 4 in a game (1977?) against Palace at Maine Road? Or how about Dennis Tueart against Notts County in the League Cup (1980?) when City got to the semis under John Bond.

Martin Brookes (


On the subject of 5 goals, I have seen the deed by a blue but only in a friendly. I saw Jim Melrose score 5 against the Isle of Man XI on a very wet night in Peel (I think) in the “summer” of 1985.

Neil Adshead (


A local rag has just summarised the whole matter with the phrase “When the shit hits the fan”. I guess he’s a little disillusioned with the fouling frog.

Roger Haigh (


In reply to your nickname request I just thought I’d tell you about the recent coverage of the Notts County (replay) game by Picadilly Gold Radio. After the match the highlights are played (or replayed), which included one of Rösler’s goals (can’t remember which one ‘cos there were so many). However it went something like this…

“……and the ‘little genius’ has got the ball, and he passes it to the ‘wing wizard’. Now the ‘wing wizard’ puts the cross in and it’s… it’s Uwe Uwe Uwe Uwe Rösler… Uwe Uwe Uwe Uwe Rösler scores again”

Never mind nicknames… that’s poetry courtesy of Picadilly.

Adam Houghton (


Feb  4, 1995   Coventry        - Chelsea          2 - 2
               Everton         - Norwich          2 - 1
               Ipswich         - Crystal_Palace   0 - 2
               Leicester       - West_Ham         1 - 2
               Manchester_U    - Aston_Villa      1 - 0
               Nottingham      - Liverpool        1 - 1
               Queen's_PR      - Newcastle        3 - 0
               Sheffield_W     - Arsenal          3 - 1
               Southampton     - Manchester_C     2 - 2
               Wimbledon       - Leeds            0 - 0
Feb  5, 1995   Tottenham       - Blackburn        3 - 1

Total Feb 5, 1995

Blackburn       26    18   4   4    57  -  23    58
Manchester_U    27    17   6   4    48  -  21    57
Liverpool       26    13   8   5    45  -  21    47
Nottingham      27    13   7   7    40  -  29    46
Newcastle       26    12   9   5    43  -  29    45
Tottenham       26    12   6   8    44  -  37    42
Sheffield_W     27    10   9   8    36  -  33    39
Leeds           25    10   8   7    33  -  27    38
Wimbledon       26    10   6  10    31  -  40    36
Norwich         26     9   7  10    25  -  29    34
Arsenal         27     8   9  10    30  -  31    33
Chelsea         26     8   8  10    34  -  37    32
Manchester_C    26     8   8  10    35  -  41    32
Aston_Villa     27     7  10  10    32  -  36    31
Southampton     26     6  12   8    37  -  42    30
Crystal_Palace  27     7   9  11    21  -  26    30
Queen's_PR      25     8   6  11    38  -  44    30
Everton         26     7   9  10    27  -  34    30
West_Ham        26     8   4  14    24  -  33    28
Coventry        27     6  10  11    25  -  45    28
Ipswich         27     5   5  17    29  -  55    20
Leicester       26     4   6  16    24  -  45    18

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Nigel, Paul, Simon, James, Adam, Neil, Martin, Alan, Roger, Anthony & Shane.

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 #47