Newsletter #76

Another double issue; I had a staggering 24 messages waiting for me this morning and it took quite a while to wade through them doing 5 mins here and there. We have another match report for the Liverpool game as well as a good, objective one from the Blackburn list. They also sent me several smaller mailings from their list which, although I haven’t included them in MCIVTA, show what an impartial and non-bitter lot they are and that’s not always the case.

There’s also plenty of opinion and a Why Blue. Talking of Why Blues, I already have another for the next issue and if anyone else wants to try their hand, please go ahead. Did anyone listen to Phill Gatenby on GMR yesterday? If so, any chance of doing an article (needn’t be long) on what he had to say?

The WWW page has been altered slightly so that the newly created Join the Manchester City Mailing List link now contains MCIVTA info, the current month’s issues and a link to the back issues. The Maine Road Diary link now contains a chronological day-by-day update of MCFC events and happenings (for the entire season) closely tied in with descriptions of the contents of all MCIVTA issues. All the links anyone could ever need are in here and this page should be invaluable to anyone wishing to see what happened when and which MCIVTA contains the relevant information. There’s also a History of MCIVTA page in there! Many thanks to Paul (Howarth) for all his effort and research.

This one goes out to 232.

Next game Newcastle United at home, Saturday 29th April 1995.


MANCHESTER CITY vs. LIVERPOOL, Friday 14th April 1995

Coming into this game I was still concerned about where the vital points would come from to save City from relegation. City haven’t exactly had a recent good run of results against our Merseyside neighbours, so I couldn’t see City getting anywhere in this game. City started unusually(?) well and could have scored in the first few minutes when Gaudino controlled the ball, beat a couple of defenders and then tried to chip James from about 8 yards out. Unfortunately the ball cleared the bar; I think a straightforward shot would have been better. Although City showed some fight they once again gave Liverpool far too much time on the ball, which with the likes of Barnes and McManaman could have been fatal.

City got the upper hand after 18 minutes, when Gaudino played a through ball for Summerbee, who ran into the box and hit a low, hard shot past James into the far corner. So City had deservedly gone 1-0 up; now would the defence manage to keep them in it? It was only a matter of minutes before Liverpool responded. McManaman got the ball on the left and as the City defence stood off him, he played a one-two with Fowler on the edge of the box before picking his spot in the far corner. So City had managed to stay in front for all of three minutes. When will City learn? The defence seems as useful as a chocolate teapot sometimes!

So half-time came and the scores were level. Although City had shown the better determination, I still felt that Liverpool would come out and do their usual job of beating City, especially if they were given as much time and room on the ball.

Another of Horton’s half-time talks was evident as City set about beating Liverpool, who in all honesty didn’t seem to have the heart for the game. The game turned into a procession of chances for City whilst Liverpool didn’t get to bother TC. David James was commanding his box and came for nearly every cross City threw into the box. He pulled off two superb saves. The first was from a Foster header following a corner; the ball was heading for the bottom corner until James somehow managed to fingertip the ball away. The second chance came from a Flipper volley which he managed to turn over the bar.

Inbetween these chances Rösler had missed a glorious chance to restore City’s lead when he headed wide whilst unmarked, from a Walsh cross. It just looked like City would never score. Then the German connection worked. Rösler picked the ball up on the right, ran into the box and crossed into the middle; his cross was met by Gaudino and his header flew into the top corner, giving James no chance. So, would City manage to hang on to this lead, especially with 17 minutes left? Although Liverpool played some neat football they never really tested City, so City managed to hang onto the lead for some much needed points.

Although City won 2-1 and showed some fight and determination, they still looked shaky in the attack. The defence needs to stiffen up or else better teams will take them apart. City won basically because Liverpool never really looked that interested in the game. I’m sure any other season would have seen Liverpool beat City quite comfortably.

Final score 2-1

Martin Ford (


Here are my comments on the match from my usual position on the Riverside (Walker Steel).

Rovers   2    City     3
Shearer 6     Curle (pen)  31
Hendry  39    Rösler       56
              Walsh        60


Berg    Pearce   Hendry   Le Saux
Kenna   Atkins   Sherwood Ripley
        Sutton   Shearer

subs: Batty (Atkins 78), Gallacher, Mimms


Foster     Curle    Kernaghan  Edghill
Summerbee  Simpson  Flitcroft  Walsh
           Quinn    Rösler

subs: Beagrie (Walsh 78), Brightwell, Burridge

The match was an 8 o’clock kick-off to accomodate Sky Sports coverage.

The game started in the usual bank holiday drizzle with Rovers kicking off towards the Blackburn end. Rovers pressed initially but City seemed to come to terms with the conditions first and threatened with a succession of corners. The Rovers came back into it and, with the City back four pushing up, looked to exploit the space behind the back four. Kernaghan was booked for a through the back challenge on Shearer and looked the weak spot in the City defence.

On 6 minutes Curle turned the ball back to Coton under pressure and his right footed clearance (Coton is left footed!) was straight to Shearer 30 yards out. Shearer hit the ball first time and it nestled into the bottom left corner with Coton scrambling across goal too late. The feeling of the City players at this point seemed to be summed up by Edghill who just stood disbelieving shaking his head from the moment the ball hit the net until City kicked off.

Rovers looked to press home the advantage, helped by the ‘mare that Kernaghan was having, but didn’t manage to turn the pressure into a goal. As the ball was moved upfield by City a harmless looking cross was played into the box, Pearce grabbed hold of Quinn’s shorts and referee Keith Cooper gave the penalty. There was a lot of debate after the game, saying that the TV replay was not conclusive about the decision but from where I sat it was pretty plainly the right one. Curle stepped forward and stroked the ball into the bottom right corner with Flowers beaten.

The Rovers seemed to wake up a bit after this and really took the game to City. A period of pressure resulted in a corner on the right. This was hit near post by Ripley and deflected out to Hendry standing all alone to the left of the D. Hendry controlled the ball and lashed it into the bottom left corner. 2-1 !

Almost imeadiately the heavens opened and the drizzle turned into driven rain. City again adjusted to the change in conditions better, Walsh in particular making a number of runs at the the heart of the Rovers defence. By half-time the downpour had abated and Rovers went in with the lead intact.

The second half started with City making a couple of tactical changes. Curle and Kernaghan switched sides and the back four stopped pushing upfield as much. The match continued much as in the first half except that the loose ball always seemed to be picked up by City especially in the midfield area. With the ball over the top cut out by the depth of the City back four, Rovers seemed to be hitting long balls to the SAS at every opportunity with City picking up the pieces when they couldn’t control it. Quinn for City kept moving wide to receive the ball, drawing Hendry and Pearce apart. 56 minutes gone and a cross from Summerbee was headed out by Hendry to Rösler in the D; he hit it hard into the bottom right corner, 2-2.

Rovers pressed forward with more urgency, Kenna and Ripley switching wings, but still the loose ball was won by City. Four minutes later Quinn pulled Hendry wide and flicked the ball inside to Summerbee racing into the box. He shot low across Flowers who could only parry the ball out to Walsh. Walsh slotted the ball home to make it 2-3.

Another tactical switch followed with Le Saux moving to left wing and Kenna dropping back to left back. City though were rampant now; Flitcroft twice put the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed for offside and a push. Rösler receiving the ball in what looked to be an offside position beat Flowers but the ball rebounded into the ‘keeper’s hands from the crossbar.

With 12 minutes to go Batty was introduced for Atkins and Beagrie replaced the injured Walsh for City. Batty’s introduction seemed to pep up the rest of the Rovers but he never really got into the game. The Rovers pressed for an equaliser but didn’t create a clear chance. The final whistle went after around 4 minutes of injury time with the City crowd jubilant and the Rovers disbelieving.

On the balance of play City deserved to win. Especially in the second half, City wanted the result more and were a yard quicker to the ball. The Rovers looked tired and somewhat reminiscent of the game against Trelleborg. The lack of a true left winger was shown as the Rovers were limited in ideas going forward and Kenna is not a winger. With Sherwood and Hendry missing for the game against Palace perhaps we will see Gallacher and Batty return to start.

Flowers had his usual good game, making a number of good saves and having no chance (from where I sat) with any of the goals.

Both full backs were troubled by the pace of City’s wingmen and Pearce and Hendry were pulled apart by Quinn and Rösler. This has to be the shakiest performance by the back four for a long time. They never seemed to work out how to play City. Some of this could have been the slippery conditions, but not all.

Both Sherwood and Atkins had poor games, the ball in the centre always being picked up by City. Sherwood’s passing was off and Atkins reverted to his form of the start of the season when things seemed to pass him by before he reacted.

Ripley had a good game. Tackling back well and always looking to create something when he got the ball. He played better when he got back onto the right wing and it is a shame that he didn’t do that in the first half when the Rovers caused City lots of problems on the right anyway. With Ripley there they might have been able to make something of it.

Kenna is not a winger. He is quite good defensively but his crossing was well below par. On a number of occasions he was in space on the right and couldn’t put in the required ball. At times he looked lost out there, reminding me of Warhurst on the left wing.

Shearer looked frustrated with the service he got, but worked hard as usual.

Sutton played well but was knocked off the ball by the City centre halves and looked tired. He did produce some good footwork to create a couple of half chances and probably worked harder than anyone else on the field, but looks in need of a rest.

It was good to see Batty back on the pitch. Almost instantly he was involved in a bit of a wrestling match with a City player. He looked fit but needed to get on earlier to make a contribution.

All in all a disappointing performance, especially in midfield and at the back. Here’s hoping that it’s a one off and spurs them to do better against Palace on Thursday.

Mike Sheppard (Blackburn Mailing List)


The squad for the England get-together this weekend (no Premiership matches due to Internationals next week) is:

Walker    (Spurs)
Barton    (Wimbledon)
Howey     (Newcastle)
Hall      (Southampton)
Anderton  (Spurs)
Redknapp  (Liverpool)
Draper    (Leicester)
Cole      (Man Utd)
Fowler    (Liverpool)
James     (Liverpool)
Edghill   (Man City)
Unsworth  (Everton)
Dorigo    (Leeds)
Stone     (Nottm Forest)
Flitcroft (Man City)
Sinclair  (QPR)
Collymore (Nottm Forest)
Impey     (QPR)
Barmby    (Spurs)

Looks like an England “B” squad, with the exception of Anderton, who is now a regular first choice.

The Mole


Both Flitcroft and Edghill have been called up as part of the senior England squad get-together this weekend. Lets hope their experiences with the England team are more positive than Curle’s or White’s (remember?)

Adam Joinson (


Dino could miss part of the final relegation run-in to answer car theft charges. He is expected to fly back to Frankfurt later on in the month after the local prosecutor confirmed his involvement in the charges. Dino insists he is innocent; let’s just hope he is. Personally I don’t give a monkey dump whether he did it or not, just don’t let him end up in the Naughty Boys XI.

There is also news that Dino is ‘The Maine Man’ after City and his old club agreed on the £1.5 million fee. The paper made out it was all in the bag but I’m still not that sure myself; it can’t be can it, or is the FA’s buying and selling ruling only effective in GB? I may be naïve but am not sure. I hope we do get the fella as he is clearly a star.

Roger Davies (


I think you have every right to an opinion Ashley just like the rest of us who have views included in the pages; my opinion would maybe be different if you had opinions on every other page but as it is your comments are valid and done in the fairest possible way.

A few months ago when I felt that slippery feeling first coming on then the time was right perhaps as BFR was available and BH was losing games and still playing five up front – I think the time may have been right then. However, Franny stood by him probably for fear of ending up like Swales himself i.e. not injecting the cash, no immediate success so sack the manager and try again. This has happened year after year at Maine Road; Franny has had a lot of ba*** to stand by him and the fans have been pretty patient too. Only one or two isolated shouts for their heads but a lot of people have tried to be patient and see what happens. Franny and BH have had a bit of luck over the Easter timetable in that if we hadn’t won any points, the dreaded drop would have been a serious threat and then the fans would have probably changed their views and kicked off (not physically). The team has done us proud and made their own luck beating the Scousers 2-1 which has done us the world of good and taken us up to 11th but the next day’s results were ever so bad for us and have seen us back to 15th in the table. Last night I had the pleasure of watching our lads on Sky TV and saw us make a good, fiery start like we usually do when we’re up against it,

Then it all started to go dreadfully wrong as Kernaghan was quite rightly trying to rattle Sutton by letting him know he was there but went (quite wrongly) straight through the back of him in front of the ref. and was yellow carded after approx. 7 – 8 minutes. A second later he went up for a header with him, was nowhere near the ball and elbowed him in the back so the ref. had another word. Blackburn scored their first around that time too due too a terrible TC mistake and I was thinking oh Sh** here we go.

City carried on fighting and got what they deserved when Quinn was tugged by the shorts by Ian Pearce and the ref. pointed to the spot; the excellent Curle slotted home as cool as you like. Then, on around the 40th, Hendry scored a well struck shot from the edge of the area which cruelly spun under TC due to the weather. Uwe equalised on the 57th with a lovely, placed shot to beat Flowers and on about 71 minutes Summerbee made another excellent run and cross-shot which Flowers could only parry; who else but Walsh was there to seal the win and Premiership status (hoorah!). Flitcroft had two disallowed, one for offside and one for heaven knows what and then Rösler hit the bar; this after we took the lead when we would usually fall apart. In the first half there was a clearer penalty appeal unheeded and Hendry had to keep Walsh tight. We played with tremendous spirit and passion, especially Curle and Quinn but Rösler and Walsh played excellently too. Summerbee caused havoc down the line, Flitcroft and Simpson ran the midfield, Kernaghan did a great job with Curle silencing the SAS after an edgy start and Edghill and Foster were sound as I thought they would fall apart. Overall, an excellent display of courage, grit and classy football.

While I’ve been writing this you’ve mailed me twice; I’d better go and read it! Overall we could have really panned them and every time a ball broke loose it was a blue shirt who wanted to know; if we can play like this next season who knows?

Roger Davies (


Maybe I need a few more attacks of bitter depression? I watched the game with the attitude of “eh? City are playing well… no, I won’t get my hopes up; when are Blackburn going to score next?” At 1-1, some bloke who had just come into the pub asked the score so I told him and added that it looked a fairly even game. But this was drowned out by a big cheer from the group of Coventry and anti-Rag fans. 2-1. Right, I’ll keep my mouth shut then, I thought. Decided it would be a formality in the 2nd half so I played the trivia machine (did quite well!) within earshot of the TV. Bugger me if we didn’t score. Then I started getting nervous, hoping we could hold out for a point and I still couldn’t watch. 3-2!!! followed by two close shouts for 4-2; I had to watch from here. 2 mins 29 secs into injury time and we hadn’t conceded a late goal (or three) and no-one had been sent off and no-one injured beyond repair. Then I was thinking that Sky would say, “sorry, we counted the goals wrong.” But no, 3 points well won from the champions-elect and on Sky!! My next live game will be viewed at the Tut n’ Shive in Kenilworth if at all possible (won’t Sunday opening hours allow this next season?).

I can’t see this result helping the rags much. They’re still 5 points behind and Blackburn have 2 relatively easy games to play before the rags even kick a ball. If they win those two, they’ll be 11 ahead and Utd with a maximum of 12 pts left. Also, Kenny will point to our determination on Monday as an example for some of his players.

Now we have Newcastle and Forest coming up. What chance us taking 4 wins off the top 5? Newcastle seem to be slipping up a lot these days and Forest’s rare unbeaten runs have a habit of stopping when least expected. I’ll have to counterbalance that by predicting losses against Villa and QPR. 🙂

James Nash (


My first contribution by Tony Shaw, aged 28.

Following my introduction to the wonderful service that is MCIVTA, here are a few comments which may have been discussed previously; if they have I’m sure that I can add weight to the arguments.

Firstly, on Good Friday, the two ‘celebrity’ guests were, Rick ‘He takes his City top all over the world’ Wakeman and the great Gary ‘He cried all the way down the M6’ Owen.

I suppose my reasons for Brian ‘He looks like the magician off Tiswas’ Horton staying as follows:

I believe that BH is a good manager (shock); fair enough he lacks the experience but everyone has to find their feet in the big time. I can’t really think of any manager who hasn’t struggled at first (excluding the Anfield boys of old), and BH is no exception. The problem with most City fans is that they are sick of waiting: ‘we want it all and we want it now.’ After having what seems to be 50 managers in the last ten seasons, it’s about time we had some stability, at least 3 seasons with a single manager. Everyone knows the pitfalls of changing managers; personal differences lead to our best players ‘deserting’ the ship, most times through no fault of their own. Gary Owen and Ian Bishop are prime examples of managers’ wisdom over fans’ favourites. Who’s to say if we change managers at the end of the season that Uwe and the like will stay? They at least have a loyality to BH.

The recurring problem as I see it is that Joe Public sees City as a big club. This is in fact not true. We had a good spell some 25 years ago and cleaned up; the mess arrived when Wighead bought in bigtime. He successfully and single-handedly brought City down to being a small club. His appointments were to say the least bizarre. Everyone talks about BH as being a no-mark, but what about Farmer Mel? He was given the ‘impossible’ task of landing trophies too, like Brian is today. Mel had built up a strong squad, young, talented and probably on the verge of success until PJS ‘swooped’ for Kendall. The problem is there for all to see; we just don’t give our managers the credit they sometimes deserve.

I recently went out for meal in CocoToo’s in Manchester and had the delight of sitting next table to Mike Summerbee. After a few glasses of ‘pop’ we both had a good chat about the Blues (incidentally he’d had more ‘pop’ than me). He was saying this and that about the club, no real hot gossip, but he said two things that made me think. Firstly, Reidy did more damage to the club than Swales and secondly, Horton’s scared. He pointed out that (as if I didn’t know) Reid spent millions on defenders, uncapped, and still leaking goals even to this day. His style of football was ‘direct’, sod the fancy stuff, we’ll get a win any old way. This fact is true and no one can dispute that BH has brought skill and flair to Maine Road.

The second point, is about BH and his being ‘scared’. To be honest I think BH is absolutely petrified. Think of the pressure the poor guy must be under. Every City fan discussing in the papers and on radio who his successor will be. This does more damage than Reid or Swales could ever do. At the start of the season, we were flying high, playing what seemed to be ten up front and a goalkeeper and soon as we had a bad result, the pressure began… It then seemed to be ten at the back and one up front. And as everyone knows, since City cannot defend any more, we just attack; hence the victories against Liverpool and Blackburn. Two games that were so important for BH that he had to revert to the attacking style of football once more.

BH has made excellent purchases and although strapped for cash, bought well. The product of his buys is a winning, attractive City side… that is until we all dig in and start theorising about who’s next in line. I personally would give BH one more season and I think he’ll get it, not on the strength of our last two victories but on the quality of football that sometimes is displayed. I do think however that we have a problem in the amount of injuries our players pick up and I believe he might have to take some stick for his training sessions; then again I think TB is in charge of them.

Having read the above again, the words horse, high and waffle spring to mind… sorry!!

Also, for a laugh, after the Blackburn match, the Sky commentator turned to Mike Summerbee and said ‘Well what do you think of Blackburn’s chances now?’ Mike simply replied, ‘I’m here to talk about City not Blackburn.’ Top answer!!

Tony Shaw, Urmston, Manchester (


I’ve just returned from a week snowboarding in Meribel, so I missed the midweek performance against Spurs and the win against Liverpool. I am still looking forward to reading the Liverpool match report and I watched the win against Blackburn last night. It’s a shame we helped United in the process of winning but the win was more important. It reminded me of something Joe Kinnear said after the Wimbledon game. It was something like “City are a big club which should be pushing for honours every season, not just aiming to beat United.” Look at Blackburn; they’ve not beaten United this year, and they look certain to win the league. It is this sort of attitude we need in charge at Maine Road, and whilst Brian Horton may be good in a dogfight against relegation and playing the transfer markets well, we shouldn’t be looking at the bottom of the table but the top.

My choices for Player of the Year:

  1. Uwe Rösler
  2. Paul Walsh
  3. Niall Quinn

I have picked all three strikers, as they have all done a good job and should all be 1st team choices, as they were against Blackburn. We have so many good players now at Maine Road, we just need someone with the correct tactical nouse to guide us to honours.

Let’s hope we can now finish off the job and stay up.

Justin Hooker (


Joyous weekend; if only I could bet on the Blues. Unfortunately, it only ever brings bad luck.

This season my cry has been “Tactically Naïve” but I think the players have to take a good deal of criticism. The only “senior” pro at the club who has really done the right thing is Quinn, by keeping his gob shut when dropped and working hard. He seems to genuinely care about the club as much as himself. Curle can only be faulted on his distribution; why does he take free kicks? Coton is always fired up, although has he been watching Dibble recently (Soton and Blackburn cock-ups)? Walshy has the heart but his brain eludes him at times; he should be teaching the youth to pass and make space. Rösler drops his head too often but otherwise has been a godsend. Dino is great with the ball but needs to watch Jürgen to see how you can get it back from the opposition. Summerbee defends really poorly and doesn’t have enough fight; last night (Blackburn) he had the bottle to take players on and wow! It worked. Beagrie is much the same; if he’s not supplied with the ball he drifts out of the game. Kernaghan is coming on, but again can’t pass. Lomas and Flitcroft are both coming along nicely but are patchy. The worst culprit is Phelan, who has forgotten how to tackle and has a bad attitude; we should have sold him earlier this season. Edghill is back with a bang, Fitz is not very good although he did get stuck in last night. Vonk and Hill are only at best stop gap players. Anyway, the point is (in a long winded manner) that only Rösler has really progressed since the end of last season, mainly through his command of English. Brian I think is too kind; if you look at the good/successful people, like Dalglish, Graham and Alexander the Grump (guess who!) they are all nasty sods at the end of the day. He needs to start flogging them for poor performances, making them fight to wear the shirt. Look at Kernaghan and Fitz, loan spells have done them the power of good!

Full credit to them for that! Basically they have Cityiotis, performing as and when the 11 of them all feel like it on the day. Brian is honest, getting better and devoted to the job; he also has the players’ support; think what would have happened last night if he’d been sacked. He needs a Malcolm Allison to help him grow into a Mercer. Sounds mad? I think given time he will be the man we need. We don’t have money to spend yet and he’s giving it his all. With a wily tactician at his side I think the sky is the limit. If he has to go (I’m sure Franny has decided his fate come the end of the season already) then I guess Rioch and Todd are the men I’d like to see at Maine Road. We need people who are untainted by the big time. Atkinson or Graham have pasts; City must look to the future. Brian he’s barmy isn’t he! And why does he ask a question at the end of every sentence?

Jim Parsons (


After this weekend Ashley you write what the ******’ hell you like if that’s the effect it has! Seriously though, I agree with what seems to be the general line that you are more than entitled to offer opinions (controversial or otherwise), and should not feel constrained in any way by your editorial rôle.

As regards BH’s position, I have been worried for some time by the view that his fighting qualities and supposed transfer market nouse compensate for his tactical naïvete and lack of motivational qualities. Sure, a good manager needs the former but those last two are vital. However, in view of there being no one else of proven quality around and the small matter of the weekend’s results (and the style in which they were achieved), I think we stick with him until a dozen games into next season and then review the situation. After all, it’s terrible to think we’re still paying Reid. By the time we pay BH off and possibly buy out the contract of a new manager, we’d hardly have helped our dire cash crisis would we?

Finally, just a word on Kevin Duckworth’s suggestion of the Red Lion as a possible location for a pre-QPR get together. I think it’s actually in Withington but that’s nit-picking. As to it being a City pub… I have worked there on and off over the past couple of years and if you’d been in there when United won the Double, any self respecting Blue would’ve as they say in Manc speak… done one! It is however a very nice boozer where Red & Blue mix happily. Another suggestion a bit nearer the Academy would be the old Birch Villa opposite the end of Platt Lane in Rusholme. Newly refurbished and called Hardy’s Well it’s a bit cheaper than the Red Lion (and no need for a taxi)!

Long may the glory days continue!

Paul Monaghan (


I’m a 32 year old True Blue from Cape Town.

I have been a City fan since I first heard of them when I was 6 years old. My father was from Manchester and had been a City fan. He had served with the R.E.M.E. from 1942-1947 and then emigrated to South Africa in 1949 where he met my mother. Stories of Frank Swift’s incredible saves, City’s introduction of the W-formation with Revie and Doherty as key players (the evolution of modern football formations 4-3-3 & 4-2-4) and Roy Clarke’s incredible ability to hook the ball over the crossbar from inside the six yard box are still remembered. My father and I had later met Roy Clarke in 1984 when he had been running the M.C.F.C. Social Club and many footballing stories were shared.

Here at the tip of Africa I have been limited to watching City on videos purchased from a local sports shop or once in a “blue moon” via the TV-pay Channel. I’ve seen City live here in Cape Town when they toured in 1994. They beat Lightbodies Santos 1-0 in a trial match at the Athlone Stadium. I had also met all the players as well as Tony Book (for the second time; my father and I had been introduced to him at Maine Road in 1980). I have many relatives in the Manchester and Stockport areas, mostly Blues fans (some Reds, excluded from my will!!). I used to frequent the Fir Tree pub in Reddish Lane which was predominantly a City Pub. I had also been to George Heslop’s City Gates pub, opposite Belle Vue Racetrack which had been decorated with various City memorabilia and had a superb carpet with the City crest emblazoned across the floor in blue and white.

As in Norway and Switzerland, football fans in South Africa are predominantly United, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal. This changes from year to year and is dependant upon who are tops in the Premier or F.A. Cup. Some ‘football fans’ in S.A. support two teams. Only the ex-Brits stick honestly to their teams (S.A. boasts over 350,000 British ex-pats and an even larger contingent of 2nd generation Brits.)

I remember watching Cape Town City F.C. in the early 70’s when Tony Coleman, George Heslop and Francis Lee played here (on loan in the English summer). Frank Lord had been the Cape Town City manager and had had strong Manchester City affiliations. C.T. City were the top team at that stage. This was the first time that I had seen Manchester City players in action. Roger Palmer also guested for C.T. City towards the end of the 70,s.

I have been to Manchester on four occasions to see City but will never forget the first time I saw them play. My father and I had arrived at Heathrow on the 13th December 1980 at approx. 9h00. We made the trip to White Hart Lane to see City beat Spurs 2-1 in a league match. Phil Boyer scored for City. The atmosphere was incredible and my adrenalin had been pumping from when I had left my aunt’s flat in London. True, we do get large crowds to rugby matches here in S.A. and we have tremendous stadiums, but the charisma, singing, chanting and frenzy of the occasion is missing. I am also an England rugby fan so hopefully with South Africa hosting this year’s Rugby World Cup, Rugby fans here might learn something from the more emotional northern hemisphere supporters.

I had seen City at Maine Road frequently in 1984 as I was staying with my aunt in Withington and had legged it to Maine Road to watch the reserves in mid-week, City on Saturdays as well as the training sessions at their training ground.

1988 saw my return to England and to Manchester. City were in the 2nd then and saw them play many a match at home and away. Middlesbrough were always our bogey team. I remember losing to them at Ayresome Park. Those were bad times for City in the 2nd and heaven forbid that we go down this year!!!

I went to Euro’88 with eight other City fans to watch England on another unsuccessful European campaign. We had hired a van from Salford Van Hire. The trip was worth it though and the other lads were fascinated by the fact that I knew so much about City and that I was a City fan from Africa!!! I was nicknamed Voljoen (Colin Viljoen was a South African born footballer who had left Johannesburg and later played for Ipswich, City and England).

In Stuttgart, we teamed up with another contingent of City fans.

I am currently studying this year so will be at the books till December but hopefully will be able to return next year to support City and England in the European Championships.

Mike Hibbert (telkom11!


In response to Jesse McClure’s request for comments and feedback on violence, I don’t get to any matches at all these days but have seen for years in the pubs and clubs of Manchester the hooligan element with the ‘City’ pubs and ‘United’ pubs and once when I popped into the Cyprus Tavern, a notorious haunt for City hooligans, was nearly set up on by a bunch of thugs for wearing a pair of red kickers. I only popped in this place for a pint and am not a hooligan myself. Luckily enough someone spotted me who knows me by sight and sorted it out before it erupted. That unfortunately is the way these obsessive psychos think and see nothing wrong with their behaviour.

While coming back from a Easter break in Manchester to visit a friend in Shrewsbury I boarded the train at Piccadilly. As I took my seat I had to walk past a gang of about 8 young lads approx. 14 to 17 years old and every one of them had Armani, Timberland, Ralph Lauren, Stone Island, with the traditional white Reeboks on with compulsory crew cuts. They stuck out like sore thimbs to me as footy thugs but they were only kids; I couldn’t believe my ears as I heard them bragging about cutting people and asking one another ‘have you got a tool?’ and ‘has everyone got a blade?’ I got a bit paranoid at one stage as I had my City badge on and although they are only kids I would have stood no chance but they didn’t hassle me. It seems they were Olham fans going to Wolves and were going to stop off in Shrewsbury, cause a bit of havoc, go to Wolves and cause a bit more then back to Shrewsbury again as I heard them going on about it, only having one club and to ‘stick together’ this time. These lads seem to plan their journeys very well and are quite obsessive about it all; it is very, very sad that lads at such a young age are into this sort of thing. They know who they are looking for and don’t seem to want to hassle the average stranger, although I think if they would have seen my badge I could have been in trouble. They all had very strong Mancunian accents which tells me they’re probably from the Chadderton end of Oldham as ‘apparently’ quite a few hooligans who get obsessive like this are from smaller clubs now. Anyway, it is still there, hooliganism, it’s just that the press spotlights it now and again when it happens on a big scale. It seems kids like this are doing this sort of thing week in week out to each other, very sad.

Roger Davies (


Life In The Day Of Eric Cantona

A strange self-acclaimed God-like creature from a far distant universe but also claims to be French. Describes employment as “Belittling British footballers by playing for Manchester United.”; Hobbies include pretending to be a painter, not being able to understand English and wearing his collars up.

I wake from a tempramental genius of a sleep. A brain-rest full of artistry, brilliance and flamboyant Gallic flicks comes to its conclusion after interruption from 500 United fans sleeping in my garden. They follow me everywhere with adoration but giving me a round of applause for simply waking up is a little irritating. I stroll to the window, open it, look down on my people like Caesar and they chant “he’s red, got cred, he’s out of fucking bed. Cantona, Cantona.” I fill my mouth with garlic-phlegm and hurl it at the mob. They cheer as they get covered in my inspirational gob. I shake my head and close the window on these cretins. Their lives are so empty and I mourn for the audience that awaits me at my grass stage.

I stroll across the bedroom, tread on one of the kids’ stuffed toys and stamp on it until my foot bleeds. In the bathroom I shower alone, pushing out my proud chest to meet head on jets of water. I juggle the little Zest soap on both feet, on my head, shoulder, then bicycle kick it back into its dish. I step out of the shower and three hand-maidens towel me down, rub talc over my gifted body, dress me, so that my shirt collar stays up around my neck. I receive a phone call from Alex Ferguson, asking if it is at all possible that I might show for training this morning. I remind him curtly that “I play. I don’t train.” I have no need to punish the skills that seep out of every pore, by running round a pitch with clod-hoppers like Bruce and Parker. I cannot understand why they want to be footballers, because every time the ball comes near them they hit it as far away from them as possible. Me, I love to caress, stroke, tease and make love to the ball. That is why I get so enraged by defenders coming up behind me, trying to halt my love-making. I see it as ‘soccerus interuptus’. No-one likes a man trampling over you as you satisfy your woman and who wouldn’t return the favour with vengeance? I even retaliate with flair. A flick here, a stylish trample there and a flying acrobatic two-footed lunge everywhere.

I grab my sports satchel and have a hand-maiden place it exactly on my back, so that it falls into the arch created by my magnificent posture. I strut out of the house as my hordes of fans drop to their knees, hailing my exit by bowing Wayne’s World-like. I run over their bodies stamping on their heads. They yell “ooh aaaagh, Cantona.” Then they run round madly showing each other the cuts and bruises I have inflicted on their skulls as if they are works of art. And of course they are. I get into my sports car and I am immediately under assault from toilet rolls, which bounce off the roof. To my delight, the Cantona Worshippers’ Suicide Club apologise profusely then stab themselves through the heart and die before my eyes. I nod arrogantly to the rest to take note of their now deceased fellows and make the point even further via a hand-brake turn and drive through the crowd. I look in my rear-view mirror to see them chasing after me singing “He’s knocked us all down in his car.” These stupid English people.

My arrival at the United training ground is greeted by a trumpet fanfare and a chairlift from my team-mates. Ferguson gives me the thumbs up as a sign of thanks for simply allowing him to play me in his over-rated side. Roy Keane asks if he can stand by my side as I slowly get dressed. I explain to him that he’s only in the side as my bodyguard and that I have little respect for midfielders, as they are simply a means to my end. My end has been linked to some delicious females but I treat all that as part of the business. Only I know who I entertained. I make love to a woman, she faints and I sneak off into the night before she stirs again. She has been touched by “ooh-aah, Can-to-na.” and that should be enough without ever waking by my Adonis-like side.

By the time I have changed, the training session is over and I get dressed again to go and paint some hillside in a manner that is probably undeserving of a mere God’s handiwork. I carry a shotgun to my easel and blast away at the irritant supporters who cheer and sing at every stroke of my brush. I shoot seven of them screaming “Do not interrupt a genius at work.” Tiresomely they start another chant. “He feints, he taints, he even fucking paints, Cantona.” I feel in my blood it is time to move onto another country. There is no-one left in Britain that I haven’t touched, pissed off, insulted or moved in some creative way. I need a new group of people to toy with, but United will never sell me unless I can sleep with a player’s wife. Now that’s something to get up for tomorrow!

A bit risqué perhaps, but funny nonetheless.

Tony Shaw, Urmston, Manchester (


Thanks to Mike, The Mole, Justin, Roger, Paul, Jim, Tony, James, Adam & Martin.

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 #76