Newsletter #66

Another absolutely dire result and once again the press chorus burst into its ritual ‘Horton’s job hanging on a thread’ song. The speculation has been so intense over the last few days (no doubt compounded by BH’s curious decision not to appear at the press conference after Tuesday’s game), that Lee has seen fit to make a rare statement (about Horton). A board meeting is scheduled for today which was meat and drink to our press chums who were working themselves into a frenzy writing BH’s obituary. Horton will indeed face the board but Lee insists that there is no question of him being given the boot. There is also a whole page on BBC teletext today in which Horton does his now famous ‘backs to the wall’ piece about not being a quitter and assures the world at large that he definitely will not be resigning.

No game for a week so I’ll send the next MCIVTA out when it’s full. If you want one soon then get writing … Reviews, Why Blues, Memories etc 8-).

This one reaches 199.

Next game Crystal Palace away, Saturday 1st April 1995.


WIMBLEDON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Wednesday 21st March 1995

Another important, “winnable” match for City who were looking to ease their relegation worries with another 3 points. For once we were going into a game on a high after the glorious comeback from 2 goals down on Saturday. Wimbledon would be missing England defender Warren Barton and Alan Kimble, so we travelled south in confident mood. Arriving at a near-deserted ground at about 6:30pm, we went to the Prince George pub where there was no trouble getting in this time, unlike our previous visit to Selhurst for the ill-fated Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final.

On returning to the ground, there still weren’t that many people around but once inside, it was clear that a reasonably large contingent of Blues had turned up, probably about 1,000 given that the attendance was just over 5,000. There was no significant change in the state of the under-construction Holmesdale Stand since our last visit; this must surely be the slowest rate of construction at any ground in the country!

John Foster replaced the suspended Ian Brightwell at right-back in an otherwise unchanged City side, with Niall Quinn and Nicky Summerbee on the bench. The first 15 minutes saw both sides hoist long balls into their opponents’ penalty area, which were comfortably dealt with by both defences. There was a modicum of excitement as a loose ball in the City area looked like falling to a Wimbledon player but TC dived in bravely at his feet to gather the ball. After this period, City started to play a bit more football, keeping possession with short passes in midfield. The Dons seemed content to concede the midfield to City, defending deeply just outside their own penalty area. City’s first chance of the game came halfway through the first half, when Beagrie’s run ended with a shot to the near post, which was saved by Sullivan in the Dons’ goal. For all the possession City had in the midfield, they never looked like penetrating a solid Dons defence which had only conceded 1 goal in the last 3 games. Their tactics may result in them conceding very few goals but they won’t score many either. The main threat came from long throws by Vinny Jones, usually aimed at the head of Marcus Gayle to flick on into the 6-yard box. One of these eluded TC but thankfully dropped wide of the far post.

All in all a pretty dire first half; those who thought the Norwich and Everton games were poor would have been lost for words about this “performance”. The main point of interest was that 3 balls had been lost during the first half, one over each of the two sides and another into the building site at the Holmesdale End! Referee Rodger Gifford had seemed particularly whistle-happy during the match but hadn’t bothered booking anybody so the fouls just carried on. It was nothing dirty, just niggly fouls, some of which I hadn’t even noticed. Wimbledon’s defence looked very solid and I couldn’t see us scoring a goal; a nil-nil draw looked to be on the cards and to be honest, I could live with that.

The home side came out with much more ambition for the second half and started to get on top. A good run down the left flank resulted in the ball being pulled back to Jones at the edge of the City area who contrived to miss an open goal. It was only a brief respite, as four minutes later the Dons took the lead. After having 2 corners headed behind by Vonk (who was winning just about everything in the air), the third corner resulted in a goalmouth scramble where several shots were blocked before defender Andy Thorn smacked the ball into the roof of the net from 8 yards for his first goal of the season.

City were clearly getting nothing from midfield, with neither Simpson, Flitcroft nor Gaudino managing to impose themselves at all. On 63 minutes, Summerbee replaced Simpson, giving City two wide players. This did make a slight improvement, the extra width in City’s play causing the Dons a few problems although no notable chances came City’s way. In a bid to change this, Quinn came on for Gaudino in the 72nd minute; this improved things again and we actually started to carve out a few half-chances. Unfortunately, it was Wimbledon who managed to convert one, Elkins hitting in a glorious shot from the corner of the City area after a Jones long throw.

City pressed to get back into the game, aiming at Quinn from all angles. A Summerbee cross reached him 6 yards out in front of goal but his flicked header was just past the far post. Curle’s long balls down the middle were almost invariably intercepted by Jones, who had an excellent game in a filter rôle just in front of the Dons’ back four. City looked most like scoring on the break, when the home defence was stretched. Unfortunately, whenever the ball was played forward, it was held up, giving time for the defence to regain its compact, effective form. City’s only other decent opportunity came when Quinn and Rösler were 2 against 2 but Quinn chose to have a go from 25 yards rather than pass. City were booed off at the end of another dismal performance in London, although the crowd had tried their best to get behind them throughout the match.

After the game, Brian Horton declined to attend the press conference for the first time in his 19-month reign at City. There is a board meeting on Thursday at which his future may well be discussed. I overheard a conversation involving City’s fan-on-the-board, Dave Wallace, in which he was asked “when are they going to get rid of him then?” He replied that he didn’t think anything would be done this season unless we get into a really dire position, although the big test would be the next game, again at Selhurst Park, against Crystal Palace. From that comment, I don’t think he knows any more than the rest of us, but his personal view was fairly clear when he followed up with “but the bastard always seems to win the big ones.”

Highlight of a dreary evening was watching “The Commitments” again on the coach on the way home!

Final score: Dons 2 City 0

Paul Howarth (


Francis Lee stated last night that Brian Horton’s position is not on the agenda for today’s (Thursday) monthly board meeting.

Paul Howarth (
John Shearer (


Read in the Pink on Saturday that Paul Lake has played 4 games for the junior sides and has come out of it OK with just some swelling to the knee. The swelling is expected and Horton is leaving it up to Lake to say when he wants to play Reserve team football. Wears a bandage when playing, but physio reackons that is just psychological

Kevin Duckworth (


The Daily Star follows the line which other papers have done, with the fact that BH is on his way out. Can’t say that I am suprised, though it would seem safer if they waited until at least the end of the seaon; a managerial change now could rock the boat just as well as it could keep City up. Though BH might not be capable of managing a big club(?) like City (Kinnear said we should be challenging U****d for the title!), it does seem unfair on the man, if he is just dumped by the wayside now rather than at the end of the season.

More speculation that Quinn will join Aston Villa tomorrow for around 1 million pounds. I know it’s been said before, but that would leave us very lightweight upfront for the struggle ahead. There are also worrying reports that Blackburn are about to swoop for Flitcroft in a 4 million pound raid! It might sound silly, but that might well be true. What with Lee seemingly run out of money and with ample replacements in Gaudino, Summerbee, Lomas, Simpson(?), Lake(??).

Oh well City do do it like City know best.

Jim Walsh (


So City surrendered down at Selhurst Park, just to make life a little more difficult for the remaining few games. It sounds like the team just rolled over and died.

Now the crux of the matter. It looks like BH’s head is once again the chopping block; he’s being called to a board meeting to explain the pitiful performance by the team. Once again the press are speculating about BH’s imminent future. At the very crucial part of the season, this will only undermine the confidence of the team. Why can’t the press just leave City alone? BH to his credit has tried never to let his personal future interfere with team matters. From the way the press appear to be hounding him I wouldn’t be surprised to see him gone in the closed season (if not earlier).

Also, with transfer deadline day only 1 day away (Thursday), it’s been reported that City could be losing the services of Niall Quinn to Villa, for 1.5 M. That would leave City short of an experienced attacker, in this crucial time. Also (this particular one I think (hope) can be taken with a pinch of salt) it’s been mentioned that Blackburn sent a spy to watch Flipper and value him at 3 M!!! If he goes just who will fill into the midfield, who’s experienced to play there?

Just when we need to buy, City look like they could be selling (but I suppose that would make good sense to a businessman like Frannie).

Martin Ford (


According to Radio 5 this morning (Weds) the pressure is mounting on BH following the 2-0 defeat at Wimbledon. He refused to give a press conference last night after the match and is due to meet Franny Lee tomorrow. Surely we can’t sack BH at this stage of the season?! Let’s hope Franny is not panicked into any rash decisions.

Steve Tobias (


Rumour has it that Blackburn are about to table a bid for Flitcroft. This is supposedly going to happen before the transfer deadline today (Thursday). Hopefully he’ll stay as letting him go would severely damage our chances of staying up!

David Lamb (


The following was taken from the fanzine ‘This Charming Fan’ by kind permission of Phillip Gatenby:

Former Seventies favourite Peter Barnes has lost his job as manager of Manchester City’s Social Club, just three months after being appointed. A spokesman for Greenall’s Breweries said that Barnes had left his job “owing to outside commitments”.

The former England winger refused to elaborate on the statement other than to say that he was “disappointed”. City’s managing director Colin Barlow said: “It’s a shame but there is nothing we can do about his situation”.

Another example of City letting some outsiders run what the Club should be running!



Finally my thoughts on the Liverpool match – I’m firmly in the Brian Clough camp on things Liverpudlian. If it hadn’t been for the activities of a load of pissed up late arrivals, some ticketless lunatics and the ineptitude of the South Yorkshire Police we wouldn’t have a tragedy to remember and I wouldn’t have to sit in a seat designed for a pygmy when I attend Maine Road.

Liverpool should have ensured that they had either a home game or a blank Saturday if they want a remembrance service at 3pm. The fact that they refused a Good Friday match at one stage highlights the attention-seeking tendency which afflicts a fair number on Merseyside. When’s the memorial service for Heysel?

Even the Rags, who managed to turn an air crash into one of the great marketing campaigns of the twentieth century, have managed to play on the 6th Feb when it falls on a Saturday.

Roger Haigh (


The game was dire, diabolical, abysmal, dreadful. And Horton didn’t attend a press conference after the game, the first one he’s missed since being at City. Attendance at 5,000 odd was the lowest in the Premier League this season. Watching on teletext would definitely have been at least as exciting.

However, the London Blues did meet before the game – Russ Jenkins, Roger Sharp, Adam Joinson and myself. I went with a Tottenham fan (mind you he did buy a City cap on Saturday for the Wednesday game) and a football challenge has been issued by the Spurs emailers to play the City emailers. Russ is the contact for this – I’m no longer eligible as everyone knows my age now.

John Shearer (


Regarding players unfortunate to be victims of the Maine Road Morons – how about Mike Doyle, Alan Oakes, Glyn Pardoe and Neil Young? They all got loads of stick from the crowd in their early days in the first team. Probably the worst treatment ever handed out was to Ian Bowyer, who went on to achieve all the things we would want for City. Unfortunately he did it with Nottm Forest.

Roger Haigh (


TITLE           Dicks Out - The Unique Guide to British Football Songs
AUTHOR          Larry Bulmer and Rob Mills
PUBLISHER       Chatsby Publishing
                PO Box 252
                Tunbridge Wells
                Kent TN2 3XL
ISBN No         1 874546002
PRICE           £5.99

Being a stranger to the shores of Old Blighty for most of my life, I relished the chance to do some background reading on the institution that is the British Football Song. Firstly, I must stress that the copy I read was published in 1992, so some of the chants seem a little out of date, and don’t include such gems as “Who Bombed Old Trafford?… Uwe, Uwe, Uwe’s Dad”. Nevertheless, it is an incredibly interesting book and provides a valuable insight into the diversity (and humour) of those terrace anthems. The book itself is divided into sections dealing with distinct geographical regions; London, North-West and the like. Not every team is included as some are deemed either “too small” or “too quiet” to warrant a mention (e.g. Bolton, Wimbledon etc.). Thankfully, the section on City is fairly comprehensive and provides those non-Manchester based Blues (e.g. me!) with translations for the chants which were previously shrouded in Mancunian accents!

So what’s in the book for City fans? Well to start with, the authors go into a fairly in-depth analysis of the roots of our famous “Blue Moon” song. Apparently, their research turned up the fact that us Blues weren’t the first to bring the song to the football terraces. They claim that “Blue Moon”, originally recorded by the American group The Marcels and later covered by Bob Dylan, was in fact first sung by Crewe Alexandra supporters, though they go on to quote that Crewe adopted the song “in their homely and endearing world of crap crowds and underachievement… However, it’s obvious to all and sundry that it was City’s followers who popularised the song and made it their own”. The book then goes onto give the full set of Lyrics for our most famous anthem, and since we only ever seem to sing the first verse at The Academy (and in the Main Stand’s case not at all!) I’ve written them down for those of us who might not know all the words:

Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone,
Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own.

Blue Moon, you knew just what I was there for,
You heard me saying a prayer for,
Someone I could really care for.

Then suddenly they’ll appear before me.
The only one my arms could ever hold,
I heard someone whisper “Please adore me”,
And when I looked my moon had turned to gold.

Blue Moon, now I’m no longer alone,
Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own.

And there you have it. Most of the rest of the section on Man. City (5-6 pages in all) tends to follow the pattern of describing our dislike for the rags and the chants that accompany it. Here’s a few other ditties that have echoed around The Academy at one time or another:

Blue Moon, you started singing our tune,
You won’t be singing for long,
Because we beat you 5-1

This was sung after the famous 5-1 win over the rags in 1989, but may go out of circulation now after the rags‘ win at The Swamp this year.

Old Trafford they say is a wonderful place,
But I know it’s really a f**king disgrace,
And as for United they should be,
Shovelling s**t on the Isle of Capri

Can’t say I’ve heard this one myself, but then again I’m more the Nirvana generation then Bob Dylan! Here’s another one I haven’t actually heard sung but some of the more “mature” Blues might remember it.

In 1962, we fell into Division Two,
The Stretford End cried out aloud,
“It’s the end of the Sky Blues”,
Joe Mercer came, we won the game,
We went to Rotherham, we won one nil,
And we were back in Division One.
Since then, we’ve won the League,
We’ve won the Cup,
We’ve played in Europe too (and won!),
And when we win the League this year,
We’ll sing this song for you.

Ahh the Good Old Days!!

There is of course plenty more where this came from, but hopefully it gives some sort of idea about the nature of the book. Basically “Dicks Out” is a sound read, but it does appear a little dated at times. Though this does have the flip-side of providing younger Blues with an idea of songs which were flying around Maine Road before they were born. I don’t think any football fan would be totally happy with the entry on “their team”, and the entry on City is no exception. The book does miss out some classic City chants but I guess we’d probably need a book all to ourselves to fit them all in. Overall an enjoyable, interesting read for only a fiver… and half of that goes to charity!

Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi (


George Poyser died recently. A copy of an obituary from the Independent was published in the last King of the Kippax. I remember the “Sack Mac” campaign to get rid of Les McDowall in the early sixties (no, this doesn’t make me the oldest subscriber). George was the assistant manager, so it was hardly a great leap forward when he was appointed manager. It was during his managership that crowds fell to 8,000 and City sank to mid-table in the second division. He seemed a pleasant enough character, but not up to the job at hand (things don’t change much over the years!). Probably the high spot of his management was the three successive home matches against Huddersfield, Rotherham and Scunthorpe which saw City score 5, 6 and 8 goals. The next home game was against the top team in division 2 (Sunderland, I think). As you would expect in such circumstances, City attracted a full house and got stuffed.

Roger Haigh (


I popped a little item off to the strange stories page ( last night, and another strange story came back to me; however, I think I would like someone to confirm this, as it could be my memory playing me up again.

At a 3rd Round FA Cup Game against Reading, at Maine Road – I think it was either the year we last won the FA Cup (1531?) or the year after – we got a penalty, at the Platt Lane end. Franny (for ’twas he) placed the ball on the spot and turned round to prepare for his run up. As he was walking back, Tony Coleman had a rush of blood to the head, decided he was going to take it, ran up and belted the ball over the bar.

Result? Well, of course, we drew 0-0. I think we won the replay handsomely, 4 or more to 0.

Any of you other oldies out there recall this?

Jeremy Poynton ( or


Tue Mar 21
Wimbledon           - Manchester City 2-0 (0-0)
Wed Mar 22
Manchester United   - Arsenal         3-0 (2-0)
Nottingham Forest   - Leeds           3-0 (3-0)
Queens Park Rangers - Chelsea         1-0 (0-0)
Southampton         - Newcastle       3-1 (0-1)
Tottenham           - Liverpool       0-0 (0-0)
Blackburn            34 23  7  4 70-29 76
Manch. U.            35 22  7  6 66-24 73
Newcastle            34 18  9  7 56-36 63
Nottingham F.        35 17  9  9 56-38 60
Liverpool            32 16 10  6 54-26 58
Leeds                33 14 10  9 44-33 52
Tottenham            33 14 10  9 52-42 52
Wimbledon            34 14  6 14 41-54 48
Queens P.            32 12  8 12 50-50 44
Sheffield W.         35 11 10 14 43-46 43
Coventry             35 10 13 12 37-53 43
Norwich              34 10 12 12 33-38 42
Manch. C.            34 10 11 13 43-52 41
Arsenal              34 10 10 14 36-40 40
Chelsea              33 10 10 13 40-46 40
Aston Villa          34  9 12 13 46-48 39
Everton              34  9 12 13 37-46 39
West Ham             34 10  7 17 33-44 37
Southampton          32  7 15 10 44-51 36
Crystal P.           32  8 10 14 23-34 34
Ipswich              33  6  5 22 31-75 23
Leicester            34  4  9 21 36-66 21

With thanks to OddMagne


Thanks to Roger, Kevin, Steve, John, Martin, Jim, Roger, Paul, John, David & Jeremy.

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 #66