Newsletter #53

Well, that’s our hope of glory gone for another season; at least we still have an interesting run in to the end with the threat of relegation hanging over us 8-). If betting shops existed in Switzerland I would have put a fiver on Gillespie to score, as every other United reject has scored against us this season; Dublin for Coventry, Robins for Leicester! Perhaps we should make sure we buy them ourselves in order to avoid this embarassment. United seem to be able to put one over on us almost at will of late; are we plain unlucky or is it something worse like plain mediocrity! Whatever, once a Blue always a Blue.

My feeling is that the Ipswich game is the crunch for Horton; they (ITFC) are almost relegation certainties and anything less than a victory is unacceptable. I’ve supported Horton (more or less) over the last few months but the rot has to stopped. It is not just a case of a few bad results, they’ve been dreadful since mid-December and we seem powerless to turn ourselves round. I do feel that the team is basically a good one lacking a couple of defenders; we need motivating. If Horton goes then who? I personally am at a loss to suggest an alternative; would Frannie be so brave as to go to the continent?

All the above is my own personal opinion; as ever, feel free to express your own.

Lastly, apologies to all those people who got multiple copies of MCIVTA 52. Gremlins were at work Friday so curiously some people didn’t receive it whereas others on the same address list did! Hopefully, it won’t reoccur. I’ve also fixed the clock which means my message should now be timed correctly whereas previously they were timed 80 mins later than the actual time.

Next game Ipswich Town at home, Wednesday 22nd February 1995


Sun 19th February 1995

Being a South Wales exile Blue, I enjoyed seeing England beat Wales in Cardiff at the 15 man game in difficult circumstances, and I thought it was a good omen for the City game – but alas, this was not to be.

Missed the 1.00 start (who in Sky decides on these KO times? If it’s bad enough for me making it down the road to the pub, what’s it like for those loyal Blues who actually went to the game?). I watched the game at my regular, the Merlin Hotel in Pwllgwaun, Pontypridd (no comments please on the Welsh names!) with a couple of local Blues (good to know there are people in South Wales who have some taste in football teams) and many neutrals (none of the regular Rags had made it out of bed yet!)

After starting brightly, the Blues (or Dibble to be more precise) shot themselves in the foot and gave Newcastle the first goal. City were pushing out when Newcastle floated the ball over the City defence to their right wing, for their ex-Rag winger Gillespie to chase. Kitson was caught about 3 yards offside in the centre of the pitch, and the linesman rightly flagged. Meanwhile, Curle chased back and comfortably got himself between Gillespie and the ball, just inside the corner of the City box. Gillespie then proceeded to slide into the back of Curle with both feet (he may have touched the ball but only after scything through Curle) and the ball then went loose to Dibble on his 6 yard lina as Gillespie got up and ran at Dibble from the corner of the 6 yard box. Dibble must have thought that Curle had passed it back because he then tried to put the ball past Gillespie with his left foot (I still don’t know if he was trying to take it round Gillespie or if he was attempting a pass to Curle). Anyway, all he succeeded in doing was giving the ball to Gillespie who ran past Dibbs and put the ball into an empty net. As the Newcastle players and fans celebrated, most of the City players, particularly Curle, remonstrated with the ref and linesman, as did Brian Horton, who ran along the touchline to the linesman and the ref. However, it was all to no avail – the goal stood. Gillespie’s tackle on Curle was definitely a foul (if it had been the other way around the ref would have given a penalty) but unbelievably the ref ignored the linesman’s flag – Kitson was definitely offside, and City were 1-0 down. What Dibbs was doing I dont know, but he is fast becoming a liability, fluctuating between sheer brilliance and sheer incompetence (there’s no way he’s going to get back into the Welsh squad with moments of madness like this).

Anyway, all credit to City who took the game to Newcastle. The equaliser came on the half hour and was again the result of a goalkeeping error. City had a corner which went straight to their keeper, who dropped it under pressure into a crowded pack, straight to the feet of Uwe. He seemed to have his back to the goal so he instinctively turned and hammered the ball first time with his left foot through the melee of players in the box into the top of the Newcastle goal. He then ran to the City fans, ripped off his shirt and twirled it around his head (I think some Wrexham player also did this when he scored against Ipswich in the 3rd round of the cup). The other 2 Blues and myself were bouncing around the pub, so I’m not sure if Uwe got booked for his over- zealousness or not.

However, our celebrations were later to be proved premature as Newcastle came back at City to take a 2-1 half-time lead. They were by now playing some neat passing football and they took the lead again thanks to another Dibble lapse of concentration. After a period of Newcastle pressure, City cleared the ball straight back to the Toons and it was floated over the City defence again as they pushed out, this time to the left hand side of the box. Beresford (ain’t it amazing how ex-players come back to haunt us) ran onto the ball and appeared to cross it from just outside the 18 yard box. I say appeared to cross because the ball flew over the stranded Dibble, who was outside the 6 yard box, and into the far top corner, just beyond the reach of a retreating Curle. In my opinion, another defensive/goalkeeping error and another gift to the Toons.

The second half started as the first had ended, with Newcastle pressure, and Dibbs made a good save to tip an angled drive from Kitson against the inside of the post, the ball ricocheting along the City line and out for a corner. City now started to come into the game a bit more; they played some neat football in midfield without really threatening the Newcastle goal and the 2nd half was probably even in terms of possession. However, it was Newcastle who were to score the final and 4th goal of the game. Beardsley was put away on the left and given far too much room. He got to the bye-line and put in a cross which went right across the box, the City defence and Dibble. David Brightwell was at the far post and he had aeons of time to clear but amazingly he hesitated and Gillespie ran in behind him to knock the ball from a tight angle just inside the near post despite the attention of Curle and Dibble, who both could have stopped it but who both got in each other’s way.

After this, City never really looked like scoring; they played some reasonable football and looked comfortable on the ball but never really got the ball into dangerous positions. In the 2nd half, the only chances that come to mind were a speculative overhead scissors kick cross-cum-shot (from Ian Brightwell?) from the edge of the box (it sailed just wide and would have beaten their stranded keeper had it been on target), and a chance late on when Flitcroft was put clean through with a one on one with their keeper but shot tamely at him.

Overall, it was always going to be a difficult game and although City didn’t play badly, a Newcastle win was a fair result. The first goal should never have stood but it didn’t matter in the final outcome. Rösler was probably our best player; he looked hungry and took his goal well but didn’t see much of the ball. Gaudino showed flashes of skill but seemed to drift in and out of the game without stamping any authority on the match. Flitcroft beavered away tirelessly and Beagrie & Summerbee managed to get to the bye-line and put in some useful crosses (Beagrie does have this annoying tendency of wanting to beat his man several times before crossing though). The main City culprits I thought were Dibble, who I thought was at fault in the 2nd and 3rd goals besides giving them the 1st, David Brightwell who looked out of his depth and Quinn who never seemed to be in the game at all – on performances like this, City will not miss him even though he was our main man a couple of seasons ago. City certainly missed Walsh, whose running and skill on the ball would have unsettled the Toon’s defence.

After the game finished, I saw the first 5 minutes of the United-Leeds game on BBC1 and this was enough as the men in white gave the Rags 2 goals in the first 5 minutes. The fact that City were playing before Utd seemed set up and tailor made for us to lose and them to win, and I heard (although couldn’t quite make out) various derogatory chants from the Rags about us.

So, the only thing left to play for now is our Premiership place, and this looks very precarious now. The free flowing, free scoring attacking play of the early season (and the 6th spot) seems a very long way away now and I think relegation is a serious threat to us. I’m not making a knee-jerk, pessimistic reaction to the defeat – the points difference between the relegation zone and a respectable mid-table place is very narrow, but we must now win some league games – if we lose against Ipswich on Wednesday then I think City will really struggle to stay up, if you bear in mind 4 of our final 5 games are against Liverpool, Blackburn, Newcastle (again) and Forest. I think Brian should stay, even if we go down; who else can we get or will want to come to Maine Road?

Result 3-1

A dissapointed South Wales blue,

Ian Thompson (


Sun 19th February 1995

I decided to watch the game at a local pub with several other Blues, instead of watching the score on TV’s teletext service (with what I saw I might as well have watched it on teletext).

Both City and Newcastle favoured the attacking style, even though Quinn had replaced Walsh for City, which meant it was a fairly open game. I thought City might be in with a chance when Newcastle missed two glorious chances. Firstly Gillespie managed to screw a shot wide from six yards and then Kitson nutmegged Dibble only to see his effort roll past the far post. City didn’t let these chances phase them and came back fairly strongly and had a couple of shots. It seemed a pretty even game up until Newcastle’s opener. I just sat there in amazement as the events unfolded. Lee’s pass down the right wing seemed to be going nowhere (I hadn’t noticed Kitson offside in the middle), with David B covering Gillespie’s run. As the ball reached the edge of the area, Gillespie slid into Brightwell and appeared to knock the ball back to Dibble. Surely Dibs would pick the ball up? No, he stopped it and before he could hoof it away Gillespie was on him. Dibs then tried to flick the ball past him, only to see the attempt flicked back over his head and Gillespie ran on and headed the ball home. The City fans erupted, all calling Dibble and blaming him for the goal; at the time none of us had realised that the linesman had flagged for offside. Everybody was saying he should have kicked the ball away first-time, I believe he should have picked the damn thing up. These daft things always seem to happen to Dibs; is he really becoming a liability? I noticed Horton, Curle and Quinn all arguing with the ref and linesman. As I later learned, the linesman had flagged for offside but the ref had played on, which in its own right would have been pretty fair if he’d been consistent, but Quinn and Rösler were flagged and caught offside every time, even though were running back into play (under current FIFA regulations, they weren’t interfering with play so the game should have been allowed to continue!!!!!) To blame the ref and linesman is one thing but to be perfectly brutal Dibble botched it.

So, City were 1-0 down to a bizarre goal. They didn’t let this get to them and continued to pressure Newcastle. They eventually got some reward for their hard work with an equaliser from Rösler. Beagrie took a corner and Snricek fumbled the ball under pressure from Quinn and Rösler lashed the ball home to make it 1-1. As he celebrated without his shirt the pub was celebrating with him. City had got back into the game so all they had to do was control the game and see how things would turn out. Unfortunately City couldn’t hold on and fell behind again to a Beresford cross/shot. This goal was pretty soft; Beresford was marked by Buzzer junior but he still managed to play a one two on the edge of the box and beat Buzzer for the return, his cross/shot looping over Dibble and into the far corner. So, City were behind to two soft goals. They’d got back into the game after the first goal, surely they could do it again?

Unfortunately, once again, it was the lack of a killer touch in front of goal that was to be City’s downfall. They just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

So how would City fare in the second half? They came out and still showed some commitment towards getting back into the game. Gillespie nearly ended all hope but his shot was turned onto the post by Dibs and rolled clear for a corner. Dibble made a couple more good saves that kept City in the game. Just as City appeared to weather the early storm and get back into the game, the referee once again turned the game on it’s head. Summerbee ran into the box and was felled from behind by Beresford. Surely a penalty!? No, the ref waved play on again. This was obviously the sign that City weren’t ever going to get back into the game; if City had scored it would have made it 2-2 and all to play for. All real hope was lost in the 64th minute when Gillespie grabbed his second goal. Beardsley worked his way to the bye-line and crossed to the back post; there looked to be no danger as David B was there ready to clear the ball but he hesitated and allowed Gillespie to beat him to the ball and score. So, City had conceded three soft goals and there was just no way they could get back into the game. However, unlike previous games the players heads didn’t drop and at least put up some resistance. Towards the end of the game, Flipper had a great chance to make it 3-2 but his weak shot straight at Snricek just about summed up City’s misfortunes.

So City lost another ‘live’ Cup game. The really disappointing thing about the defeat was the three soft goals Newcastle had scored. Maybe if the first hadn’t been allowed to stand, things might have been different but the way the other two goals were conceded only highlights the defensive frailties City are currently suffering from. How long will it be before BH and Lee get the cheque book out and buy a decent defender? That’s the position that’s got to be strengthened before they start looking elsewhere.

So, with the distraction of the FA Cup now gone, what is left for City? Nothing, besides the ever impending fight against relegation.

Martin Ford (


Well, Newcastle needed to be at their best for this game and I think they rose to the challenge pretty well. During the first 10 minutes, Fox, Gillespie and Kitson all kept the City defence busy. During one attack, Gillespie drove a cross into the box hitting Kitson, who hadn’t been expecting it – the ball could have rebounded anywhere but ended up narrowly missing the upright for a goal kick. Kitson later managed to play his way into the box and roll the ball dangerously across the face of the goal – nobody was close enough to try and tap it in though. For the next 10 minutes City pinned us in our half, dominating the midfield, but to be fair not really threatening the goal. There was a fair bit of tough tackling from both sides – most of City’s midfield were keen to dish it out, while Beresford and Venison made some challenges that perhaps other refs would have punished.

Then came the goal that had been threatening to happen. City were flagged offside but the ref waved play on and the ball moved swiftly up field; Kitson was then flagged offside as Gillespie received the ball and City stopped as they waited for the ref to blow the whistle – fatal! Again the ref waved play on as Curle and Gillespie tussled for the ball and Gillespie brought Curle down hard from behind, no foul! The ball trickled to Dibble who hesitated long enough for Gillespie to pick himself up and run at him; Dibble tried to pass the ball back to Curle but the ball rebounded off Gillespie and into the net, Gillespie following it to give it a final, unnecessary header. The linesman found himself surrounded by Curle, Niall Quinn and Brian Horton demanding the cancellation of the goal but to no avail. 1-0.

City tried to come back and started winning a number of corners and making inroads into Newcastle’s defence. Beagrie in particular was giving Hottiger the run-around and Beresford was caught too far upfield a few times. Around the half-hour mark Beagrie fired in a corner, Pav came out to collect and fumbled it, dropping it more or less at the feet of Rösler; Peacock was off balance (by having his shirt tugged?) and Venison took a wild hack at the ball but Rösler made no mistake and cracked it into the roof of the net for the equaliser. This is usually a critical point for Newcastle, having a goal scored against them, and I hoped they would keep their heads up. No problems. Newcastle began to attack again and only minutes later, Beresford came storming towards the 18 yard box – after a delicious one-two with Beardsley(?) he floated the ball towards Kitson at the opposite post. Whether he miskicked or the ball was caught by the wind I don’t know but the ball arced into the net – none of the City defence had a chance. 2-1. The Toon continued to play some good stuff and had a few half chances before the break. Beardsley managed to break into the box and produced a carbon copy of Kitson’s earlier chance by rolling the ball across the face of the goal.

The second half started brightly, Newcastle creating pressure, largely through Foxy and Gillespie who were both having great games – and City playing some nice stuff in the midfield. Gillespie cracked a shot off the post (which actually turned out to have been a superb reflex save from Dibble) and later forced another save after a fairly close range shot. Beardsley again broke into the box and chipped directly across the face of the goal; Brightwell had this covered but seemed to think he had more time than he actually had – Gillespie slipped in and blasted in his second. 3-1. After this, things seemed to settle down a bit. Neither side really looked like scoring but it’s pleasing to see Newcastle knock the ball around a bit and not go all out for more goals (à la Athletic Bilbao). City probably ought to have scored through Flitcroft in the dying minutes as he was put clean through, but the best he could manage was a tame shot straight at Pav.

All in all then, a tricky game but I think Newcastle deserved the win. Good performances all round, except from Robert Lee, who was very anonymous. He did pop up a few times but mostly I had difficulty believing he was on the field! Marc Hottiger had a poor game and seemed to lose his man more often than not. Superb performances from Fox and Gillespie and honourable mentions must go to Kitson (who did everything except score!) and Beardsley.

Chris Burns (Newcastle WWW Home Page)


The only news in Friday’s MEN is about TC; if he successfully comes through a thorough work out then he will replace Dibble in goal. The other doubt is over Paul Walsh, who damaged his ankle in the derby defeat.

There’s also some bad news. Both Rösler and Beagrie have been suspended for two games after totting up too many disciplinary points. They will both miss Leeds and Norwich.

Martin Ford (


The latest name to be linked with the City manager’s job is Mick McCarthy, former City favourite and currently the Millwall manager.

Paul Howarth (


Just for those people who would like to see the back of Brian Horton, here’s a nice rumour from that beacon of journalistic excellence… The People. According to this tabloid, the next manager for City will be Mick McCarthy when (not if) BH is told to pack his bags.

Take your pick!!!!!!!!!!

Adam Houghton (


You’ve probably already heard this one but there are rumours of Mick McCarthy (ex City defender and now Millwall boss) being lined up to replace Horton. Millwall also have a tendency to let in silly goals, so it’d be nice to have some kind of continuity 🙁

Adam Joinson (


Some interesting discussion going on recently in MCIVTA. Here are my thoughts…

Why Steve Coppell? He hasn’t won anything to my knowledge. I don’t know why but I have a gut feeling he is right for City. He may bring the sort of discipline we need, he’s at the stage of his career where he should burst into the big time and he has a good media image. My one worry is that he may trim the wings of City’s footballing style. If he can manage to give us some steel, particularly in defence, without hampering our style too much, I’m all for him. Of course, we won’t know until we try. 😐

Lomas. What the hell is Horton playing at saying in the media “If I had my way he would no longer be a City player”. That is disgusting. Never mind what a young and inexperienced player may have done or said, that is no way for a manager to react. “No comment” would have been more advisable. Now I fear we will lose him. At least he’ll get to play for England that way (sorry, that was uncalled for).

England “fans” in Eire. My view of events… a few Nazis started some trouble and some beered-up young men thought it would be a laugh to give them a hand. Then the Irish police gave them a good hiding which they richly deserved. I think we can draw a lot of lessons from Lansdowne Road, starting with identifying, banning and prosecuting those who can be identified as troublemakers from TV evidence. The FA should provide as much funds as is required for this purpose because the money spent now will repay itself when (fingers crossed) a trouble-free European Championship occurs.

City’s financial situation… we all know it’s a mess and it’s nice to hear the details rather than be kept in the dark. But where do we generate new money from? Executive boxes? Match ball sponsors? Uwe Rösler duvet covers? Unless we can encourage investors, with real money to spend, there is no hope. “How?” is the important question and that’s where the debate begins. Generally, people who are prepared to invest in football clubs don’t mind losing their money as long as the club gets a high profile. Simple as that – it’s an ego trip for the investor. These sorts of people see Brian Horton as a liability because they’ve never heard of him (Not a reason for sacking him; 4 points out of 30 is.)

Reds at Maine Road… arrogant gits sums it up nicely.

RAGS… Red Arrogant Gits appears to be a nice re-working of an old nickname. You certainly can’t call them poor any more, whichever way you look at it. 🙁

Oh well, by the time this goes out, we’ll have beaten Newcastle and drawn the rags at home in the next round. And my name is Martin Tupper (Dream on!).

James Nash (


To lose in the Derby was bad but then to lose in the Cup was even worse. Nothing left for the season now except to avoid relegation – surely we don’t want those worries now? Horton’s position must be very shaky now but frankly Coppell as an alternative is not very inviting. Maybe we should look overseas for a top class coach?

We still need one good defender and midfielder and the team needs to start to play as a team. Do simple things and do them well.

Easy to say – less easy to put into practice!

Philip Gregory (


I am incredibly biased and think Steve is an excellent young player and one for the future. It therefore greatly saddens me to hear about this contractual issue. One of the reasons BH is probably still in his job is because he has had the support of the players.

The moment I read the article in the MEN I saw David May syndrome all over it. Steve showed his commitment in the match against Palace – first he tussled with Chris Coleman (I think) to receive an unfair yellow card and then he went for that near-fatal near post header. Now BH should show some commitment to Steve (and the other players).

Robert Watson (


As far as I know, Bob as applied to Ian Brightwell is a reference to his father Robbie rather than to the bald headed rag.

David Brightwell should be grateful no-one has picked up on the Anne Packer (Mrs B) connection! How many wingers would be worried by a full back called Annie?

Roger Haigh (


Looks like I should have looked before I leapt into the last time City won a derby debate. Alright I’ll hold my hand up and apologise for missing out on a few wins, sorry. However, when you look at when the matches were played, 75, 77 & 81, you can see how it did seem like an eternity. City just seem to have an inbred mentality that we’re going to lose the derby; why can’t we just be more positive?

Martin Ford (


I got the following request from a guy called Steve Cornish in the States; can anyone help out with information? [Ashley]

Noel Bradley was a mate of mine from college but played for City reserves in the early 80’s. I think he got transferred to Bury but I haven’t heard anything about him since then. Do you know anything about him? He played alongside some decent players who were being kept out of the team by the youngsters that Malcolm Allison insisted on playing. Let me know if you have anything. By the way, I’m afraid I’m a United supporter but I have been since I was a kid. I live in the States now but it seems as though everyone and their brother is a United fan now. Thanks for your help if you can!!

Steve Cornish (


Feb 18, 1995   Coventry        - West_Ham         2 - 0
               Sheffield_W     - Aston_Villa      1 - 2

Total Feb 18, 1995

Blackburn       28    19   5   4    60  -  25    62
Manchester_U    28    18   6   4    51  -  21    60
Liverpool       27    13   9   5    46  -  22    48
Newcastle       27    13   9   5    45  -  30    48
Nottingham      28    13   7   8    41  -  31    46
Tottenham       27    12   7   8    45  -  38    43
Leeds           26    10   9   7    34  -  28    39
Sheffield_W     29    10   9  10    38  -  37    39
Aston_Villa     29     9  10  10    41  -  38    37
Wimbledon       27    10   6  11    32  -  47    36
Norwich         27     9   8  10    27  -  31    35
Arsenal         28     8  10  10    31  -  32    34
Coventry        29     8  10  11    29  -  45    34
Chelsea         27     8   9  10    35  -  38    33
Manchester_C    27     8   8  11    35  -  44    32
Southampton     27     6  13   8    39  -  44    31
Queen's_PR      26     8   7  11    39  -  45    31
Everton         27     7  10  10    29  -  36    31
Crystal_Palace  28     7   9  12    21  -  28    30
West_Ham        28     8   5  15    26  -  37    29
Ipswich         27     5   5  17    29  -  55    20
Leicester       27     4   7  16    25  -  46    19

FA Cup 5th Round

Liverpool        (1) 1 - 1 (1)  Wimbledon
Everton          (2) 5 - 0 (0)  Norwich
Man Utd          (2) 3 - 1 (0)  Leeds Utd
Newcastle Utd    (2) 3 - 1 (1)  Man City
QPR              (0) 1 - 0 (0)  Millwall
Wolves           (1) 1 - 0 (0)  Leicester
Tottenham        (1) 1 - 1 (1)  Southampton

6th Round (quarter-final) draw.
To be played March 11, 12, 13.

Man Utd                vs QPR
Everton                vs Newcastle
Liverpool/Wimbledon    vs Tottenham/Southampton
Watford/Crystal Palace vs Wolves

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Ian, Roger, James, Martin, Phil, Paul, Adam, Chris, Robert & Adam.

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 #53