Newsletter #48

We have two more interesting match reports from the Southampton game as well as news of Lakey’s return and a ‘Why Blue’ from Ade Bates in Oz. If anybody has any feedback on the last issue’s article on the City squad (by Shaggy), send it to me and I’ll pass it on to him.

There’s some nickname info in this issue; if anybody has any more then send it in and I’ll try to compile a definitive list sometime soon which I’ll include in MCIVTA for any corrections. Plus, we have a definitive list of 4 goals or more in a game.

And now for one of life’s strange coincidences! We are now up to 137 subscribers of whom I have met, precisely no one….or? I was having a discussion with Rob Clarke who works at Manchester Computing Centre and he happened to mention that he played cricket. I wondered whether we had ever played against each other as I used to play for a departmental team in UMIST in the early to mid 1980’s. Back came the reply as follows:

Taken from UMRCC v Biochemistry 16 June 1983

R.Clarke        b Birch 0
A.Birch         b Keech 2
Bowling figures: A Birch 4o 1m 4r 4w average 1.0,
                 R.Clarke wicket keeper 4 catches
UMRCC 62 all out
Biochem 60 all out!

In the return match Rob caught me behind. So amazingly, we’ve both taken each other’s wicket 12 years ago on the green pastures of Wythenshawe. Small World!

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


SOUTHAMPTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 4th February 1995

Well City really got out of jail here, stealing a point they scarcely deserved. When you look at the statistics and see that City conceded two own goals, you might think that we were unlucky but Southampton could have run out easy winners after they created numerous chances in the last half hour.

After a trouble-free journey we arrived on the bright, sunny south coast at 1:15pm, plenty of time to visit our usual drinking place, the Pensioners Arms. Ninety minutes later we were in the upper tier of the East Stand, the third different stand I’ve been in in the last three visits to The Dell. Hopefully the Saints will sort out the planning permission for their new ground soon because the crush for the toilets was worse than at Coventry. At least the view was OK, interrupted only by a single stanchion. The surprising team news was that Gaudino was relegated to the bench and we’d be playing with a five man defence. The line-up was: Coton, Summerbee, Curle, Kernaghan, Vonk, D.Brightwell, Flitcroft, I.Brightwell, Beagrie, Rösler, Walsh. Shortly into the game it became clear that Curle’s brief was to man-mark Le Tissier, a job he did well, following him closely wherever he went and severely limiting his influence on the game.

The first chance of the game came on 9 minutes when Walsh played Rösler though. He outpaced the Saints’ defence but mis-kicked his attempted shot from the corner of the penalty area and the chance was gone. Walsh was the target of abuse from the home fans who yelled “scummer!” at him whenever he touched the ball in the first quarter of an hour (for those overseas readers who don’t know, Walsh was a favourite with the fans of Portsmouth, Southampton’s local rivals). Not surprisingly, there was no reaction from Walsh and the abusers gave up.

The game was quite tight with little in the way of chances created apart from a few speculative and inaccurate long-range shots from Kernaghan, who looked desperate to score; maybe he’d seen the 50-1 odds in the programme against him being the first scorer and fancied a bet on himself? In the 24th minute Le Tissier hit a very good snapshot first-time which just went past the post but a minute later the Saints were a goal up courtesy of a terrible mistake by Tony Coton. Simon Charlton, about two yards in from the corner flag, hit a high, outswinging cross towards the near post. TC gathered it under no pressure but it slipped through his hands and dropped into the back of the net. He tried to claim that the cross had gone behind the goal line before it reached him but that was being a bit optimistic really. Not surprisingly, the home fans began sarcastic chants of “England’s number one”. It could have been 2-0 a couple of minutes later but a free header from 10 yards out flashed wide.

On 29 minutes, Beagrie picked up the ball on the right wing, cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot which was tipped over by Grobbelaar, who was the target of ‘cheat’ chants from the City fans throughout the game. From the resulting corner, Vonk got in a powerful header from 15 yards which was diverted by Kernaghan (standing on the 6-yard line) into the roof of the net, giving Grobbelaar no chance. Since the first goal of the game had been an own goal, Kernaghan would have won a bet on himself if he’d made one. He certainly looked very pleased!

The goal seemed to spark City into life and they had their best period of the game (until the last five minutes). Walsh had a good turn and shot which was well saved by Grobbelaar at his near post. Just before the break, Southampton got a corner which they took short, the move ending up with a good shot which went just over the bar. The goal kick was taken by Kernaghan, though Coton didn’t appear to have been injured. During the half-time break, Andy Dibble warmed up and we wondered what was up with TC. It turned out that TC had a knee problem and sure enough, Dibble came on for the second half, warmly welcomed by the City fans with “Wales’ number one”.

The first third of the second half was remarkably uneventful but that all changed on 60 minutes. Southampton got a corner on their left side which was once again taken short by Le Tissier. The ball was returned to him about 5 yards out from the goal line and before Curle could get back to him, he whipped in a low, inswinging cross towards the near post. Summerbee, guarding the near post, only managed to slice his attempted clearance into the goal. Le Tissier has initially been credited with the goal but I’m sure that the Premier League committee which reviews all goals will decide that it was an own goal by Summerbee. Shortly after the goal, Dibble pulled off a tremendous save from a 30-yard effort; Southampton had their tails up and were creating chances at will.

City are desperate for points now and something had to change. Vonk was replaced by Gaudino and City reverted to a traditional back four, Curle abandoning his man-marking job. Southampton were still well on top and nearly extended their lead on 75 minutes when a Le Tissier cross was headed just wide. Then Magilton tried to lob Dibble but his effort went just over the bar. A header from another corner went just wide and Magilton tried to chip Dibble again, with the same result as before. Dodd cut past Dave Brightwell and hit in a powerful shot but the ball just wouldn’t go in for the killer 3rd goal.

Gaudino wasn’t making much impact in the game and there was no sign of the promising understanding down the right flank that we saw against Villa last week. Beagrie was also failing to create much, although he was helping out Dave Brightwell at the back. As we entered the last 5 minutes of the game, City at last started to create some opportunities. Uwe was sent through with a chip over the Saints’ defence but the ball wouldn’t come down for him and Grobbelaar stayed up to make an excellent block on the German’s awkward volley, which had been heading for the top corner. Beagrie cut into the penalty area but blazed his shot over the bar; it looked like we were going back empty-handed. Finally, with 2 minutes to go, Beagrie sent in a cross towards the far post where there were 2 defenders against Flitcroft and Rösler. The City players split up, Flitcroft moving towards the penalty spot and Rösler going for the header. Both defenders went with Rösler but he still beat them to the ball, knocking it back to the unmarked Flitcroft who volleyed it past Grobbelaar and into the roof of the net. What a relief! Interestingly enough, I read an interview with Flitcroft in “90 minutes” in which he said that the arrival of Gaudino had meant that he couldn’t get forward into goalscoring positions as the German didn’t do much defending. Good job Flitcroft wasn’t back defending this time.

Overall, a poor performance by City who were outplayed in the last half hour but still scraped a point. The problem seemed to be the link between midfield and attack; all too often the ball would be passed back from midfield to the defenders who would then hit a pass straight to the forwards. These passes were often hard to control and rarely lead to an opening. Another question is why did we play such a defensive formation against Southampton? Against United or Blackburn maybe but we really need to be picking up wins against the teams around and below us in the table. There are now only 6 points separating Norwich in 10th place and Coventry in 20th place (34 and 28 points respectively) and with 4 teams going down, all of those clubs are in danger.

Final score: 2-2

Paul Howarth (


SOUTHAMPTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 4th February 1995

Got to the ‘Cow Herds’ pub about mid-day so at least had time to unwind and relax (hic) after our long drive. City fans had been moved from the new stand on the Archers road into the old East stand (?). We were on the upper tier which gave a pretty good view except for the far corner, which was obstructed by a support pillar!!

City came out with a five man defence, three man midfield and the two pronged attack. Gaudino, Quinn and Dibble made up the subs. With the suggestions that Flipper or Ian B would man-mark Le Tissier, it looked like the midfield would be given the run-around. As it turned out, Curle did the marking job on Le Tissier which left Flipper and Ian B to battle in the midfield. The line-up was definitely defence orientated.

As it turned out the man-marking by Curle was very effective and snuffed out Southampton’s chief play-maker for most of the game. However with LeTissier well marshalled, Southampton still managed to create openings through the other players; Coton had to make a couple of saves from long-range efforts. City’s chances were limited as well, this time to a couple of efforts from Kernaghan.

Just as the game seemed to be heading nowhere, Southampton took the lead. Fluke as it was, on the balance of play they might have just deserved it. Charlton, on the left, flung over a cross and we could only watch in stunned amazement as Coton, unchallenged, managed to fumble the ball over his own line. We just couldn’t believe that TC had erred so badly. TC started to protest but there was nothing to be done but get on and play.

City managed to level five minutes later. Summerbee’s corner was met by a powerful Vonk header and Kernaghan supplied the finishing touch to flick the ball past Grobbelaar. Who says City can’t score off corners?! TC was forced to make another save before half-time, before the teams left level.

At the break Quinn was testing Dibble out; it never even occurred that TC had damaged himself but when Dibs came all kitted out after the break, my initial thoughts were that TC had damaged his shoulder again (it wasn’t until the following day that it became apparent that it was his knee).

Dibs was the only change and the game progressed in much the same manner as the first half. Le Tissier was still being shackled by Curle, so Southampton had to find other means and outlets. Flipper and Ian B. didn’t seem to fully win the midfield battle. Dibs had to make a good full length save whereas Grobbelaar had been virtually unused. Southampton forced more pressure and a couple of chances went over or just wide. Soton managed to force several corners and managed to score in the 60th minute through another farcial goal. Le Tissier’s first corner was knocked back out to him and he swung the ball back towards the near post, where Summerbee stood guard. I don’t know what went through his mind but instead of knocking the ball down and then away to safety, Buzzer decided the best option was to volley the ball clear. I just couldn’t believe it (again) when his attempted effort was sliced high into the net past a startled Dibs. Two goals handed to Southampton on a plate. Le Tissier claimed the goal, but IMHO it was an o.g.!

So City had to get back into the game. They started to press more and more and forced several corners which came to nothing. Dino was brought on to replace Vonk and City reverted back to a flat back four, which meant Le Tissier was given more time and space, though fortunately he couldn’t create any clear cut chances.

In the final few minutes City pressed hard for an equaliser and it looked like the chance was gone when Uwe, clear on goal, saw his volley stopped by Grobbelaar. That looked like City’s last chance but as we all know City are the great unpredictables. Beagrie crossed a ball into the Soton box, Uwe out-jumped the defence and knocked the ball down for Flipper to volley home. So, from staring defeat in the face City had managed to get a draw out of the game.

The fans who had made the long journey were rewarded with a point. At least we hadn’t been beaten. The City players came over to applaud the fans, of which Kernaghan received a good reception; hopefully he’s over his nightmare and can carry on the good work.

Overall a draw was a fair result IMHO, although if City had lost I couldn’t have argued, except for the manner in which the two goals were given away. The defensive line-up had stifled the Southampton style of play but even then they created a few more chances than City.

City are now only 4 points clear of the bottom group of teams; they’ve got to start winning again or else we could be in for another relegation fight and with the run-in we might not make it this time!

Martin Ford (


It was reported last night on the local TV news (in Birmingham), that Niall Quinn will soon move to Aston Villa for 1.6 million. This will go ahead when it is confirmed that Fashanu is out for the season.

David Lamb (


Paul Lake has finally played in a competitive game; it was an ‘A’ team game against Blackburn Rovers and the MuEN has reported he came through it with no serious reaction, which is very good news for himself and the team.

However one point, what do they mean by ‘no serious reaction’? Do they mean he suffered from cramp as would be expected after such a long layoff, or did his knee show some signs of wear? I suppose I’m being a bit pessimistic. Hopefully he’ll be back in the first team soon!

Another bit of news from the MuEN. It looks like City are again searching Europe for another player. Once again BH is not willing to give a country or name but it’s understood that he’s a young midfield international, rated somewhere in the region of 3M. Once again City are looking at getting him on loan until the end of the season before trying to make the move permanent. However, they realise that his current club might insist on a straightforward transfer.

City are waiting until later in the week before deciding whether to risk TC in the ‘derby’.

Martin Ford (


Paul Lake has played 45 minutes in a competitive match for the A team and has suffered no reaction. He’ll gradually work his way through more A team and reserve matches until he regains his full match fitness. Meanwhile, on a radio phone-in, Paddy Crerand (of all people!) revealed that before Lake suffered his initial knee injury in September 1990, the managers of two top clubs had made offers for him but had been turned down. Their names – Ferguson (United) and Dalglish (Liverpool). Let’s hope Paul’s fit and ready for action soon!

The Mole


I was born in the Manchester suburb of Moston up near Failsworth on the Oldham border. My dad had been a mad keen Reds fan in his youth, following them up and down the country but by the time I was being born he had seemingly fallen out of love with football and stopped going. When I came of an age that saw me looking to go to a football match, I had to rely on my best mate’s dad to take me along with his own kids. Luckily they lived just up the road and even more luckily they were City fans. My first experience of Maine Road was sitting in the old Platt Lane, meat pie in hand (and I survived!!), watching the great game. This was in the mid 70s with players like Tueart, Hartford, Kidd (how I still remember his headed goal against Villa after a great team move), Booth, Owen, Barnes, Summerbee, Lee, Bell, Steppy Stepanavic, Mike Doyle – and all the rest who kind of merge in my memory into one blur of City players.

A few things that stick in the memory were in the season we were chasing Liverpool for the title; a cold winter’s midweek game against Liverpool, us up 1:0 and big Dave Watson headed into his own net. Aargh. The greatest I ever saw City play was in their first half demolition of AC Milan 3:0 after drawing 2:2 away (I remember listening to that game in school since it had been called off the night before due to fog and we were 2:0 up). In that first half we created poetry on the pitch to match anything written by the Bard.

Anyway, here I am now in Melbourne a long way from my beloved Manchester and Joey Holts bitter but thanks to this list I can keep in touch with the news from the Blues. There is also a Man City Supporters’ Club over here and in the annual supporters’ clubs cup, we beat Sheff Wed, St Mirren, West Ham, Liverpool (ha ha) and West Ham again in the final to take the trophy. In the last three years we have won, came second and won again. Here’s hoping City can do something similar!!!

A great 1995 to all the Blues wherever you may be around the world.

Ade in OZ

PS: Is James Stannage still on late night on Piccadilly? Used to love listening in!!

Adrian Bates (


Thought you might like this joke that is going around the Blue side of our office. Slightly PI [politically incorrect] but what the hell!

It was a couple of days after the Cantona incident at Crystal Palace when the very man himself left his home to go to O.T. As he arrived he felt a bit hungry and saw a hot dog stand in the forecourt. He asked the bloke for a hot dog and the bloke replied “Yes certainly that will be 200 pounds sir!”, to Cantona’s amazement. Cantona replied, “200 pounds you have to be joking I’m not paying that”, and stormed off. Cantona then went straight into the ground and saw Alex Ferguson, “Alex I think you better sort out the bloke on the hot dog stand outside he charged me 200 pounds for a hot dog. Alex replied “What are you moaning for, I paid 7million pounds for a black pudding”.

Ashley Hevicon


Yup SB‘s mine, but the way he’s playing might mean I’ll have to change it.

Flipper: I think that was covered by Paul Howarth (?) [Jeremy Poynton?, Ashley]. Bristol Rovers (away) CC Cup. As City brought him on as a sub, the announcer came out with the classic, “City’s sub, number xx Garry Flip-errr, Garry Flipflop” (or some such similar)

Buzzer: I presume he’s taking after his dad’s nickname. I would assume that his name came from the Bee bit of his name.

I’ve seen Bob for Ian Brightwell but as to why or where, I haven’t the foggiest.

That’s all I can think of at the moment but here’s some from the past:

Empty (Whitey), as in between his ears; if he had a footballing brain he might have been dangerous.

Clever Trev (Morley): I think that one came out after a 2-1 win at Barnsley. Trev was compared to a Brazilian player after some good control and turn before scoring the winner. Compared to Brazilians must make you pretty ‘clever’.

The Invisible Man: Mark Brennan. He used to be so inconspicuous with his play, then all of a sudden he’d appear and do something and then revert back to the former.

Martin Ford (


Nicky Summerbee: Buzzer
Pretty obvious this one, bees “buzz” in the Summer…

Ian Brightwell: Bob / Bobby
Don’t know where this one comes from (unless it’s a complimentary reference to Bobby Charlton, who had legendary energy and stamina) but I know the other players use this nickname.

Garry Flitcroft: Flipper
The only place I’ve ever seen this is in MCIVTA but I can confirm Jeremy Poynton’s anecdote in his Why Blue in MCIVTA 39, which offers a plausible explanation.

Paul Power: Gladys
When I first started going to Maine Road on my own, towards the end of Paul’s time with City, the people around me always referred to him as “Gladys”. I’d love to know where this one came from!

Colin Bell: Nijinski (don’t know if this is the right spelling)
Named after a racehorse with tremendous stamina.

Terry Phelan: Sonic
More than a passing resemblance to Sonic the Hedgehog when he’s steaming down the wing!

Carl Griffiths: Deano
Carl’s hero is Dean Saunders; the other players apparently call him “Deano” in training.

Paul Howarth (


Alan Arensen asked about the names of the players in the squad photograph on the WWW. They are:

Back row (left to right):
Nicky Summerbee, Ian Brightwell, Rae Ingram, Adie Mike, Andy Hill, Alan Kernaghan, David Kerr, Mike Sheron (now at Norwich), Alfons Groenendijk (now at Sparta Rotterdam), Garry Flitcroft.

Middle row (left to right):
Paul Lake, Steve Lomas, Michel Vonk, Martyn Margetson, Tony Coton, Andy Dibble, David Brightwell, Niall Quinn, Uwe Rösler.

Front row (left to right):
Peter Beagrie, Michael Quigley, Carl Griffiths, Richard Edghill, Steve McMahon (now at Swindon), Brian Horton (manager), Keith Curle, Fitzroy Simpson, John Foster, Terry Phelan, Paul Walsh.

The photograph is a cropped version of the official 1994/95 squad photograph, omitting Les Chapman (reserve team manager) and David Moss (assistant manager) on the left hand side and Eamonn Salmon (physiotherapist) and Tony Book (reserve team coach) on the right hand side.

The photograph was taken in front of the centre of the North Stand.

Paul Howarth (

Paul has created a ‘clickable’ squad photo which is now on the WWW page. Clicking the head of the player calls up the relevant information. [Ashley]


RAGS, well yes you’ve got the terminology right (Red Arrogant Gits); as to when in came about, I’m unsure of the actual time but I believe James Nash was responsible. He mailed me once and in the message referred to them as the RAGS!

Care to answer this charge James [Ashley]

Martin Ford (


Following Uwe Uwe’s recent four goal stunner, many MCIVTA subscribers have been speculating on when this last happened. I have spent half an evening poring over the Complete Record, and here are the facts (any inaccuracies are down to the book).

These are all the post-war fours (and mores):

18 January, 1995. Notts County. (h) 5 – 2. (FAC3)

23 April, 1991. Aston Villa. (a). 5 – 1.

29 October, 1980. Notts County (h). 5 – 1. (LC4)

22 January, 1977. Leicester City. (h) 5 – 0.

28 January, 1961. Luton Town (a) 6 – 2 (FAC4, match abandoned!)

10 January, 1953. Swindon Town. (h) 7 – 0. (FAC3)

14 June, 1947. Newport County. (h) 5 – 1.

6 April 1946. The Rags. (a) 4 – 1.

[According to ‘The Pride of Manchester’ this latter match is not counted as an official derby as although post-war, I think the league had not yet resumed, Ashley]

That is the complete post-war record. If anyone wants to research the pre-war record, have fun. I was so amazed by the games played during the war, though, that I decided to give you this little lot as well. For some reason, City’s footballers went goal crazy during this period. Were they trying to avoid national service or something!

24 March 1945. Crewe A. (h) 5 – 1.

27 September 1941. Wrexham. (a) 5 – 3.

Impressive enough but look at the three and a half year gap between those two. Now check out the 1940-41 season, when Messrs Currier and Herd went on a 4 month rampage!

11 January 1941. Rochdale (a) 6 – 1.

4 January 1941. Rochdale. (h) 9 – 1.

14 December 1940. Stockport C. (a) 9 – 1.

19 October, 1940. Liverpool. (a) 4 – 0.

Pretty amazing. But not, at the time, surprising, because the same two players had gone goal crazy the previous season. All of these four-goal stunners occured in the same month!

18 May 1940. Port Vale (h) 7 – 0.

13 May 1940. Crewe A. (h) 6 – 2.

11 May 1940. Port Vale (a) 5 – 2.

4 May 1940. Tranmere Rovers. (a) 6 – 1.

The Complete Record doesn’t give Currier’s first name or initial, as he isn’t mentioned on the Transfers page and doesn’t get a feature in the A-Z of City Stars. If anyone can provide further information on this undoubted City hero, it would correct years of neglect. If this man is still alive why hasn’t he been presented with the keys to the city of Manchester (along with George Smith for his performance on 6 April 1946)?

Andrew Conway (


Thanks to Paul, Adrian, David, Ashley, Martin, Andrew & The Mole.

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 #48