Newsletter #59

This edition is going out Tuesday morning with reports of the Norwich game from our side and also from theirs. Being a prisoner of teletext, I’ve come to realise just how mind-numbingly uninformed their correspondents occasionally are. I’m used to having to make do with reports which are literally a verbal expansion of the result with little or no description of the events i.e ‘City equalised through Simpson in the 85th minute to earn themselves a point which had looked lost….’ Clearly written by some anonymous scribe back at headquarters who was most definitely not at the match. Even the ‘Team News’ is becoming woeful but reached new depths on Saturday where City were described as being without the suspended Flitcroft (not true) and Beagrie (no mention of Rösler) and were in search of our first away win of the season (they meant year).

This one goes out to 176

Next game Chelsea at home, Wednesday 8th March 1995



This has widely been described as a dour match which had nothing going for it until the last ten minutes. Well it wasn’t a classic but I’ve seen far worse games than this. The afternoon started well enough when we arrived after a long journey to East Anglia to find the weather bright and sunny. With reports of heavy snowfall in the south and east of England, another late postponement was still a possibility when we departed. Arriving about 45 minutes before kick- off, we squeezed into the Clarence Harbour pub, close to the away fans’ entrance. As usual the main bar was packed with City fans but fortunately the lounge bar was relatively empty and it was possible to buy a drink and still have time to drink it before leaving in time for kick-off. Some fans had no such concerns, streaming in up to quarter of an hour after the match had started.

The only change from the side that played so well against Leeds last week was the return of Paul Walsh in place of Andy Hill. This also meant a change of formation, City playing a 5-3-2 with the full-backs encouraged to get forward whenever possible. The first half was quite even in terms of possession but the best chances came City’s way, Norwich being restricted mainly to long-range efforts. On 13 minutes Quinn broke clear but waited for support instead of shooting himself. Norwich’s unsuccessful attempts to play the offside trap looked like it might cost them a goal when another Quinn run beat the back line but once again it came to nothing. As the half wore on, the home defence got itself more organised and looked less likely to be breached, though a wayward back-header was very nearly caught by Dino on 35 minutes, Marshall just beating him to it on the edge of his area.

Towards the end of the first half, referee Dermot Gallagher made three contentious decisions which angered the travelling fans. Firstly he gave a goal kick after the ball clearly came off a Norwich defender. Then Quinn appeared to be pulled back after chesting a ball down close to the penalty spot and finally he waved play on when Marshall picked up the ball right in front of his goal after a Walsh cross had been intercepted by a defender. I thought the last of these decisions was correct but couldn’t see how the first two had gone against us.

Norwich came out for the second half looking much more determined and they immediately put City under pressure. On 53 minutes Coton made a brilliant save, tipping Milligan’s 15-yard volley over the bar. Dino made a great run from his own half, taking on and beating most of the Norwich defence before he was finally crowded out 10 yards from goal. The ball ran free to Simpson, whose shot was superbly saved by Marshall, Simpson blasting the rebound wide.

With twenty minutes to go, Norwich brought on substitute Mike Sheron who was warmly applauded by the City fans, though there were a few “City Reject” chants too. Soon afterwards, Quinn evaded a defender on the right touchline and broke into the penalty area but his shot was more akin to a back-pass. Within a minute, Buzzer made an excellent run down the right flank, taking on and beating his man for a change before crossing to the far post where Quinn’s looping header back across goal flew just wide of the far post. The next chance came at the other end from a Norwich corner, a powerful header going just over the bar.

At about this time, the Norwich fans began to get quite excited and it soon became apparent why. They borrowed the tune of “Blue Moon” and sang “8-0, the scum are losing 8-0!” We weren’t mis-hearing either. Ipswich were indeed losing 8-0 at Old Trafford. We’d met a contingent of Ipswich fans at Corley services (near Coventry) and we all wished each other good luck for the afternoon’s matches. There seemed to be little ambition or optimism from them though, judging by comments such as “I think we’ll need it [luck]” and “I think we’re just going to see what the stadium looks like.” Strangely enough, this was pretty well the first occasion I can remember the visitors outnumbering the northbound United fans at Corley.

This all seemed to spur Norwich on and they put City under sustained pressure in the last ten minutes. Former City player Ashley Ward broke free in the inside left position and burst into the penalty area, holding the ball up, waiting for support. He threaded the ball through to Jamie Cureton who hit a hard, low shot from just inside the box to Coton’s right and into the net. Pity he couldn’t carry forward his form of last week, where he missed two sitters late in the game at Ewood Park. With only 8 minutes to go that looked to be it for City. Indeed, it was Norwich who looked more likely to score again, going close twice in the space of a couple of minutes.

Considering the two clubs’ league positions, it was imperative that we didn’t lose so Griffiths came on in place of Vonk as City desperately looked for an equaliser. Vonk certainly wasn’t happy about being taken off but Griffiths got stuck in straight away, staking his claim for a first team place. City pushed more players forward and, much to our relief, it paid off. Kernaghan lobbed the ball forward into the box, Quinn held off two defenders and knocked the ball down off his shoulder, right in front of Simpson. The ball bounced once before Simmo volleyed it home with his left foot from 19 yards. Goalkeeper Marshall was unsighted by a number of players and the ball appeared to go between his outstretched arms. I think he’ll be very disappointed to concede the goal but Simmo must be delighted with his second goal in only his second start of the season.

With the score levelled, Dino made way for Andy Hill as City tried to make sure of the point. With both sides anxious to avoid defeat, the last couple of minutes were played out uneventfully. A draw was a fair result but it leaves both sides perilously close to the relegation zone. Star performers for City were Kernaghan and Simpson, who must be quite confident of retaining his place when Rösler and Beagrie are free from suspension next week. However, we played better last week and that is the sort of form we must reproduce in the next few games before the really testing climax to the season.

Final score: 1-1

Paul Howarth (


To be honest, this game didn’t promise much, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as bad as it was. Norwich haven’t won in the Premiership since New Years Eve and Man City had decided to play with a five man defence.

Only 16,000 or so fans were at the game, and this would have been even less if it weren’t for:

  • The glorious sunshine
  • Lots of kids (again)
  • The large number of Man City fans who had made the long trip to East Anglia.

Deehan’s squad selection was a little different from usual. Crook, who had been suffering from a knee injury, was fit, but kept out by Andy Johnson in midfield. Rob Newman was back in his more preferred rôle of central defence, rather than Spencer Prior. Thankfully though, Cureton was put up front with Ashley Ward rather than the luckless Sheron. Also, Darren Crowfoot was the reserve goalkeeper, with Simon Tracey having been dismissed back to Sheffield.

The first 45 minutes was the worst I have seen for a long time. The only two notable incidents were a Paul Walsh shot which was well saved by Andy Marshall and a potential penalty incident in the 38th minute. Niall Quinn and Rob Newman both went up for a cross in the Norwich area. To be honest, I think it was a penalty. From where I was sitting, it looked to me like Rob Newman had his arm around Quinn and across his chest, pulling him back, but the penalty was not given.

The second half was little better than the first half and was only because of the goals. The passing and general play had become laughable. At one point, Norwich received a free kick and kicked it straight into touch!

It wasn’t until the 82nd minute that a goal came. Darren Eadie won the ball in the air from Nicky Summerbee and his header went to Ward who flew(!) down the left. He pulled the ball back to the edge of the box to Cureton, who let fly with an amazing shot which earned him his second Premiership goal.

Norwich were only in the lead for four minutes. Alan Kernaghan played the ball up towards Quinn who headed the ball down to Simpson who hit the ball on the half-volley past Marshall for the equaliser.

1-1 was a fair result, neither side really deserved three points for such an awful display. The only bright point was the result from Old Trafford which was a 9-0 defeat for Ipswich at the hands of Man Utd (yes, nine nil).

Norwich are now firmly rooted in the lower half of the Premiership and are still only five points above the relegation battle. Norwich also have a nasty run of games coming up with teams like Arsenal, Newcastle, Forest, Spurs, Liverpool, Leeds and Aston Villa.

Marshall, Bowen (Prior 85), Polston, Newman, Bradshaw, Eadie, Milligan (Sheron 75), Johnson, Adams, Ward, Cureton
Crowfoot (GK)
Man City:
Coton, Vonk (Griffiths 85), Curle, Kernaghan, Summerbee, Phelan, Brightwell, Gaudino (Hill 88), Simpson, Quinn, Walsh
Dibble (GK)

                     Norwich      Man City
Total Shots:             9           10
Shots On Target:         5            4
Shots Off Target:        4            6
Corners:                 4            1
Fouls Conceded:         13            9
Offsides:                1            2
Bookings:                3            2
Attendance:     16,266
Referee:        Dermot Gallagher (Banbury)
EDP Top Canary: John Polston

Stuart Bamford (


BSkyB have elected to screen Manchester United’s last game of the season (West Ham away), which means moving it to 4:00pm on Sunday 14th May. “So what?” I hear you say. Well, since this could provide both clubs with an advantage (knowing exactly what they need to do to finish 2nd in the league, avoid relegation etc.), the FA have decided to have all Premier League matches that weekend kicking off at exactly the same time. Hence, our last game of the season (QPR at Maine Road) will also be at 4:00pm on Sunday 14th May.

The phrase “tail wagging dog” springs to mind…

The Mole


It appears that Brian Horton has offered 2.5 million for Stuart McCall of Rangers, or so the rumours in Scotland say. 2.5 million appears rather a lot of money for a player who must be approaching the end of his career; mind you, many may say heading towards Maine Road is pretty much the same thing. Who would he replace in midfield? Would he play at full back? Has anyone else heard this tale?

Paul Schofield (


More City transfer news. City have been linked in a 1 million pound move for Stuart McCall of Glasgow Rangers. McCall is now 30, and was the player who came off the bench for Everton to score in the 1986 Cup Final.

Other news is that Mike Quigley is indeed playing for Wrexham at the moment, and City are after two Russian brothers, but I can’t remember their names, will find out for tomorrow.

Jim Walsh (


As I come from Edinburgh I see Hearts and Hibs play quite a lot. Last Saturday in the Daily Record I read that Man City were ready to splash out 500,000 quid on Hearts’ defender Steven Frail; although he has improved over the last couple of seasons I feel he is not the right type of player for the English Premier and BH should look elsewhere.

Barry Smith (


Paul Johnson listed in MCIVTA 58 the run-in fixtures for seven of our rivals for the two remaining relegation spots (I think his assumption that Ipswich and Leicester are beyond hope is correct). Such is the closeness of the bottom half of the table that I think everyone from Arsenal down stands a realistic chance of going down, so Arsenal, Wimbledon, Villa, Coventry and Sheffield Wednesday should be added to Paul’s list.

Colin Gorman reminisced about a trip on “A” coach with Helen Turner; I have to agree with him that she liked the sound of her own voice (she played her interview on Woman’s Hour on the coach’s cassette player on one trip) but her heart was in the right place. She always tried to ensure that people who were travelling together actually got to sit next to each other on the coach, something that none of the other stewards did. She tried to encourage a family atmosphere on “A” coach, threatening to evict anybody breaking her rules. However, when it came to the crunch, she proved unable or unwilling to act. It was a trip to Southampton, always a good day out, so I’d actually persuaded my mother (a season ticket holder) to come along with us for a change. The trip south was OK apart from a few small sweets which were flicked towards the front of the coach by a group of lads at the back. City won the game 3-0 on a lovely sunny day and we were all in a good mood for the trip home. Unfortunately the dickheads at the back had other plans. The stream of flicked sweets became a barrage as they set out to annoy everybody on the coach, particularly Helen. Inhibitions thoroughly removed by a large intake of alcohol, they sang a range of increasingly obscene songs virtually all the way home. Neither Helen nor the other steward had much success in stopping it. My mother hasn’t been to an away match with the travel club since, although there hasn’t been any behaviour like that for a couple of seasons now. We go to some of the nearer matches (e.g. Sheffield) in the car which is OK but these lads’ “bit of fun” has cost City at least one potentially regular away fan. Helen stopped stewarding and going to away matches herself at the end of the following season.

On the subject of away fans, I think Jeremy Poynton missed the point somewhat about Ken Ramsden’s quote, “We [Man. Utd.] do not have a single segregated section capable of holding 3,000 fans.” The key word here is “single”. United have smaller sections such as the 1,800 seats in the corner they usually allocate to away fans, and larger sections, such as “K” stand which housed 6,000 Leeds fans the other week. What they don’t have is a section that will hold around 3,000 whilst being able to segregate them from the home fans. However, having said that, this situation is quite easily fixed by putting in partitions into an existing, large area, as many other clubs have done.

I find the attitude of United and Newcastle to the minimum allocation for away fans somewhat surprising. They may well have no trouble filling their grounds with home fans but they are also amongst the best supported clubs away from home too. The new ruling will be to the advantage of their travelling fans, who I am sure will welcome it. Both clubs claim that some current season ticket holders will not be able to renew their tickets next year as a result of the ruling. I don’t believe this for a minute. In order to take 3,000 away fans, United will lose 1,200 places for their own fans. Do they expect us to believe that they have less than 1,200 tickets available for non- season ticket holders every match? That must make it very difficult for the 120,000+ members who don’t have season tickets to get tickets! The situation at Newcastle is slightly different. Their ground, apart from the 800 seats for away fans, is filled with 34,000 season ticket holders. However, with both corners at the Gallowgate End still under construction, the extra capacity provided should mean that no current season-ticket holder will be disappointed. I’m sure that most fans of every club would agree that a sizeable contingent of away fans makes for a better atmosphere at any match; perhaps the clubs should listen to their fans before objecting to such ideas. They’re not even going to lose any money, as away fans usually pay at least as much as home fans for their tickets.

Karl Florczak mentioned his “soft spot” for Ajax; I too follow the fortunes of a European team, Internazionale of Milan. It started when Channel 4 started covering Italian football three seasons ago. I decided that I’d have to support somebody in order to make viewing more interesting, so I picked Inter because of some parallels I found with my beloved Manchester City. Most obviously, they play in blue and are currently in the shadow of their illustrious neighbours, AC Milan, who play in red. Inter have had (relatively) little success in the last twenty years, despite having a number of good players. Last season there was great optimism that a serious assault on the Serie A title could be made with the signings of Denis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk from Ajax and the Italian national team’s goalkeeper, Gianluca Pagliuca from Sampdoria. However, it proved to be their worst season in history domestically, avoiding relegation by only 1 point, though there was the UEFA Cup win to cheer the tifosi. This season hasn’t been much better, going out of the Coppa Italia against lowly Foggia after beating Milan home and away in a previous round, losing at the first hurdle in the UEFA Cup to Aston Villa and still in the bottom half of the table. However, all hope in not lost. In the last few weeks the club has been taken over by the son of one of the most successful presidents the club has ever had. I’ve never seen Inter play, even though they’ve played in England twice in the last two seasons (Norwich and Villa), but I have seen Ajax. They played Burnley in a friendly at Turf Moor a week after lifting the UEFA Cup against Torino in May 1992. A team featuring Brian Roy, Aron Winter, Wim Jonk, Denis Bergkamp and Alfons Groenendijk(!) beat Burnley, the 4th Division Champions 1-0.

One final point; Colin Gorman asked about Blue Print. I too used to enjoy reading what was City’s first fanzine but I fear that the squabbling between the ‘zines got so bad that they simply didn’t enjoy doing it any more. There were only three editions last season and none this season. A fanzine is a labour of love (much like MCIVTA really) and if you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to carry on, are you? Hopefully, BP will be remembered for the good things, the wit and humour, the inspiration for at least one of the other fanzines, the organisation of the fancy-dress events, notably at Stoke and Crystal Palace, plus the ploughing-in of profits to worthy causes for City-fans, namely the big flag that filled about a third of the Kippax and the plane that flew over Old Trafford at half time of a derby match trailing the slogan “MCFC – THE PRIDE OF MANCHESTER”.

Paul Howarth (


Some amusing media responses to the Rags’ magnificent, no superlative is superlative enough to describe it, trashing of mighty Ipswich ..

  • Worst performance since the start of the Premiership (Telegraph)
  • Ipswich … had given up tackling for Lent (Guardian)

Best of all, from the forthcoming bestseller, “The Wit & Wisdom of Alan Shearer”

“There are no easy games …. except perhaps Ipswich at home” (I love that)

Also, re former players, the Sun this morning (not to be missed on a Monday, execrable newspaper with quite the best football gossip weekly in their Monday “Goals” supplement). Apparently the Blackburn fans demand that Colin Hendry drop his shorts every game to expose his posterior to them. Aforementioned paper has a (full colour) shot of this fine sight – briefs left on (whatever happened to manly jockstraps?), I am pleased to say.

Jeremy Poynton ( or


There may be change of attitude in the media towards our red neighbours on the way. Two of the editorial pieces in the March 1995 edition of FourFourTwo show a marked deviation to the normal sucking- up. Chris England (an Oldham fan), in an article based on Tony Blair’s (leader of the Labour Party) comments about United changing their kit too often, said:

“… a politician who is prepared to launch an irrational tirade against Manchester United is the politician for me. Rather him than a man who could say ‘may the best team win’ when United are playing the team he’s supposed to support in the FA Cup Final. Not an occasion to sit on the fence, surely. If Tony was in No. 10 then Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have got a sniff of the New Year’s Honours List.”

“If United are only going to play in red for a couple of odd games a season between new kits, then they should change their nickname from the Red Devils. They could be the Green and Yellow Toads, the Referees or the Sheffield Wednesdays, for example. My own personal preference would be for the nickname ‘The Shit’ to acquire much wider currency, with perhaps an appropriate matching all-brown kit. I’m looking forward to next month’s letters page already…”

The main editorial, by Paul Simpson (no, not that one), concentrates on United’s rise to the position of “The team you love to hate.”

“Is this the year that Arsenal lose their permanent place in the nation’s lack of affections? Lucky Arsenal have temporarily misplaced their luck and may be losing something much more profound: their unchallenged status as the team everyone loves to hate. The challengers for this most unwanted of football honours are the nouveau- riche from Old Trafford whose sins are now so legion that politicians have begun to notice them.”

“The offences committed by Manchester United are many and varied. They are too successful, have won the double, are too rich, have players who whinge a lot and publish too many autobiographies, have too many strips (six in less than three years), have paid 7 million pounds for an England B international, are too photogenic to be a real football team and have several players who bear an uncanny resemblance to members of the cast of “Brookside”. But their biggest sins are that they have won the Double and that they have too many fans who think a season ticket is a television license.”

“The ‘offences’ don’t matter. Manchester United are the team everybody loves to hate; a fact which has little to do with the team itself. It is just a function of the fact that Arsenal have, of late, become too laughable to loathe. There will come a time when Arsenal will wipe the smile off the nation’s face but by then we may all have got too used to hating Manchester United. It is United, not Arsenal, who have the money and glamour that fans of smaller clubs envy. It is United who every fan wants their team to beat. Beating Arsenal isn’t the same thrill it was: since 1990, Bolton, Wrexham and Millwall have all done it. United’s stumbles are still rare enough to be a cause of quasi-national rejoicing: witness the reaction to Barcelona’s 4-0 stuffing of the Red Devils.”

“United’s players shouldn’t worry. Envy is the tribute paid to the successful by the less successful. Even if they stopped moaning at referees, if Eric Cantona never raised another foot in anger, they would still be unpopular. Arsenal, meanwhile, will have to win the League title six times in a row, winning all their games 1-0, to regain their old unpopularity. The other night, watching them lose 2-0 to Millwall in the FA Cup, I began to feel sorry for them. This was not an emotion I had hitherto realised I was capable of experiencing. But that’s the beautiful thing about the beautiful game: it always leaves you open to new experiences.”

All that and he hardly even mentioned the fans. Looks like our monopoly on being “bitter” is coming to an end…

Paul Howarth (


Without the aid of programmes or any kind of statistical records (maybe not a bad thing, it would be too painful stirring up the really bad memories!), here’s one (of many) nightmare City teams from memory :-

                           Keith McRae
  John Gidman        Paul Futcher     Aagie Hareide   Terry Phelan
  (Right Back)       (Centre Half)    (Centre Half)   (Left Back)
         Paul Sugrue                     Bobby Shinton
         (Right Midfield)                (Left Midfield)
Tony (?) Hopkins  Justin Fashanu    Ron Futcher        Jimmy Conway
 (Right Wing)     (Centre Forward)  (Centre Forward)   (Left Wing)

Subs: Perry Suckling (GK); David Brightwell (either full back position); Steve Daley (Midfield); Stuart Lee (Centre Forward)

Squad members: Barry Siddall (GK); Tony Grealish; Steffan Karl; Gary Megson; Colin Viljoen; Tony Cunningham; Mike Flanagan; Adrian Heath; Gordon Davies; Mike Robinson.

(Apologies to any offended Blues who saw any of these have a good game. Maybe they were not all that bad, but they go down in my memory as bad rather than good players).

So as not to end on a negative note, how about a ‘useful’ City team, not considering any of the City greats from the late 60s/early 70’s or from the late 70’s or any of the current squad :-

                             Alex Williams
Bobby McDonald   Nick Reid      Mick McCarthy  Dragoslav Stepanovich
(Right Back)     (Centre Half)  (Centre Half)   (Left Back)
Barry Silkman     Gerry Gow       Ian Bishop        Kaziu Deyna
(Right Midfield)  (Central Mid.)  (Central Mid.)    (Left Midfield)
               Trevor Francis              Jim Tolmie
                           (Centre Forwards)

Subs: Niall Quinn (Goalkeeper), Gary Bennett (Defence), Tony Grealish (for his great scything tackle on Norman Whiteside in an eighties derby), Clive Allen (Forward).

Ian Thompson (


I’d like to apologise for a couple of errors in my contributions to MCIVTA 58; to start with, the 11th April fixture at Tottenham is on a Tuesday night, not a Monday night. I was looking at a 1994 calendar instead of the 1995 one! Secondly, the father of Paul Conway (the Carlisle winger apparently watched by BH last week) was Jimmy Conway, not Joe Conway. Both errors are corrected in the WWW edition.

Paul Howarth (


Mar 04, 1995   Aston Villa     - Blackburn        0 - 1
               Leeds           - Sheffield W.     0 - 1
               Leicester       - Everton          2 - 2
               Liverpool       - Newcastle        2 - 0
               Manchester U.   - Ipswich          9 - 0
               Norwich         - Manchester C.    1 - 1
               Nottingham      - Tottenham        2 - 2
               Southampton     - Coventry         0 - 0
               Wimbledon       - Queen's P.R.     1 - 3
Mar 05, 1995   Arsenal         - West Ham         0 - 1
               Chelsea         - Crystal Palace   0 - 0
Mar 06, 1995   Aston Villa     - Coventry         0 - 0

March 7th

                   P  W  D  L  F  A PTS
  1 Blackburn R    31 21  6  4 64 26 69
  2 Man Utd        31 20  6  5 62 22 66
  3 Newcastle Utd  31 16  9  6 52 33 57
  4 Liverpool      29 15  9  5 50 23 54
  5 Nottingham F   31 13  9  9 44 35 48
  6 Tottenham H    29 12  8  9 48 42 44
  7 Leeds Utd      29 11 10  8 35 29 43
  8 Sheffield Wed  31 11  9 11 40 40 42
  9 Arsenal        31 10 10 11 35 33 40
 10 Aston Villa    33  9 12 12 46 46 39
 11 Coventry       32  9 11 11 33 47 39
 12 Wimbledon      30 11  6 13 36 53 39
 13 Chelsea        29  9 10 10 37 39 37
 14 Norwich City   30  9 10 11 28 34 37
 15 Manchester C   30  9 10 11 38 45 37
 16 QPR            28  9  8 11 43 47 35
 17 Everton        31  8 11 12 32 41 35
 18 Southampton    29  6 14  9 40 46 32
 19 West Ham       30  9  5 16 28 39 32
 20 Crystal Pal    30  7 10 13 21 31 31
 21 Ipswich Town   31  6  5 20 31 69 23
 22 Leicester C    30  4  9 17 33 56 21

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Paul, The Mole, Barry, Paul, Stuart, Ian & Jim Walsh.

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 #59