Newsletter #91

Still no news on the manager front though the weight of rumour/opinion seems to be moving away from Rioch. Whoever it may turn out to be, I for one am fairly convinced that he’s already telling Lee what he can and can’t do in terms of transfers. Barlow has said that the new manager will be announced at the end of this week so we’ll have to wait and see.

The rumour mill also had Uwe booked to appear in Guido Buchwald’s testimonial yesterday (Wednesday) but he wasn’t on either team. There was however, a consolation (see later).

We have another ‘Why Blue’ and one waiting in the wings so if anyone wants to put finger to keyboard, there’ll be space next week. Lastly, no one has given their opinions on the defenders named in MCIVTA 90. If you have time over the weekend to jot down your thoughts on these players then please do.


DREAM TEAM vs. GERMAN NATIONAL ELF (ELEVEN), Wednesday, 31st May 1995

Imagine, if you can, being exiled to a far corner of Europe throughout the whole of the football season. Then imagine being in a town where you can’t get Sky Sports via cable. Terrible isn’t it?

So imagine how thrilled I was to get a mailing from Ashley saying that Uwe was playing in a German National 11 for Guido Buchwald’s testimonial, and that the whole thing was live on a German station that I do happen to have on the cable package here in Hungary. At last, some live action from Uwe.

So, I tuned in and strained to see who was playing, unable to rely on the commentary as my German is non-existent. Couldn’t make out Uwe anywhere but Klinsmann was definitely there, scoring almost as soon as I switched on to level it 1-1 between the German National Elf and (Guido Buchwald’s) Dream Team. An irritating lack of close-ups meant I was having a great deal of trouble picking out Uwe and my support was switching between the two teams at every case of mistaken identity.

Alas, Uwe was not in the team, either team. I don’t even think he was in the ground. But a certain midfielder for the Dream Team seemed familiar: tall, dark, handsome (no, not me), occasional flashes of brilliance. The close-up duly came and, blow me down, it was Maurizio Gaudino!

I was firmly behind the Dream Team now, even though Guido Buchwald wasn’t as faithful and changed over to the National Elf at half time! Very strange. I don’t remember them doing that in the testimonials I saw as a kid.

Anyway, it’s difficult to give a good account of a match on the night when everyone you know phones you up. But the whole thing was pretty light hearted, except for Klinsmann getting booed every time he touched the ball (why?).

Probably because he hails from Stuttgart (the game was played there) and they see him as a traitor going to the loathsome Bayern Munich and not back home – Ashley.

Gaudino seemed pretty tired, wandering around midfield for ages and then suddenly bursting into swift attacks (sound familiar?). His ball control seemed excellent, though his team mates didn’t seem to understand how to respond to him as he set about taking the defence apart (sound familiar?); so many of his spurts of creativity ended in a team mate losing the ball and a disconsolate stroll back to midfield (sound familiar?).

Anyway, he was responsible for setting up at least one of the goals, a beautiful run into the box from the right with all the defenders expecting him to blast it. Instead he chipped it, exquisitely I thought, so that it sailed almost in slow motion over the box to a team mate (Bobic) who stuck it in. Class. 3-1 to the Dream Team.

However, they threw it away, and lost 4-3 due to a late surge by the National Elf.

The Dream Team let them win (IMO), probably it was scripted as it was the German national side not a select eleven. Other stars playing alongside Dino were Rudi Voller and the gifted, if rather old Pierre Litbarski – Ashley

Gaudino is obviously a great footballer and we need him, though has he got the stamina for the (very poor) English game? I think a team has to be built around him (though I don’t think George Graham is the man to do it).

Yesterday also brought the news that Chelsea have bought Gullit. Now why don’t City pull off these kind of moves?

Also, if any of you share a similar predicament, why not tune into Eurosport for Eurogoals. No Premier League action at all, but the Spanish league brings you the delightful Celta who not only look like City (sky blue shirts, white shorts) but have a defence who do a fine impersonation of the Keystone Kops. Almost like watching the real thing!

Final score: 3-4

Andrew Conway (


Teletext on 3 are reporting that Francis Lee expects to appoint the new manager by the end of the week. He is quoted as saying:

“We plan to have things in shape by the end of the week. We know what we want and we will be in a position to make our next move. While there is no pressure on us, we want the new man to look at things and get ready for next season.”

Funny how this statement comes the day after the completion of the play-offs.

Kevin Hopkins (K.Hopkins@Cs.Nott.AC.UK)


Colin Barlow said today that Bruce Rioch had not applied for the City job and that the club hadn’t approached him.

Dave C. Bradbury suggested that an overseas manager might be in the frame: how about Bobby Robson (currently at Porto)? That’s a name I’d love to see at City.

The Mole


According to the latest issue of True Blue, a newsletter for the Scandinavian Branch of the Supporters’ Club, number of members has increased by over 10% this season to around 450. Not bad in a mediocre season or what? Another “interesting” rumour is that Uwe’s got a Norwegian girlfriend. He apparently met her during pre-season training here in Norway last summer.

Lastly, papers here report that Kåre Ingebrigtsen is returning to Manchester on November 1st to fulfill his contract with City, lasting until next summer. For the time being he is Norway’s best paid player – guess who’s paying his salary? He’s looking forward to Christmas shopping in England as he doesn’t think he will have much playing to do. Apart from that, Ingebrigtsen has had a good season so far playing for Lillestrøm (the Norwegian season lasts from April to October) and was picked for the first time in 2 years for the Norwegian squad against Malta next week.

Lars Ivar Naess (


The identity of Mr X is still a mystery following the assertion in much of the press that Rioch will be the next manager of Arsenal (wants to move back down south apparently). City say that he never applied for the job but that an announcement will be made later this week, presumably to remove the mask of mystery from the face of Mr X.

Meanwhile the acquisition of Dino on a permanent basis has been thrown up in the air by him being charged with fraud :-(( Eintract Frankfurt have said that the deal should be unaffected by the legal comings and goings… but then they would wouldn’t they?

Meanwhile Franny (presumably with the blessing of Mr X ;-)) has made an inquiry about John Collins, who wants to leave Celtic.

The Guardian states that Quinn was sold for “just under 2 Million”. This seems like good business; although our squad is large, the number of players of genuine first team quality (even though Rösler rightly got a place ahead of him, Quinn does fall into this category) is a bit thin for my liking. Hopefully, this will be rectified over the summer.

Dave C. Bradbury (


I was talking to a fellow City fan at the weekend, and they reckon George Graham is definitely going to be our new manager. They said they have the info from a good source, and it would explain Quinn’s willingness to move (Graham isn’t the biggest Quinn fan is he!?).

Like many people have already stated, I too will be sad to see Quinn leave us. He has served us well over the years and he is one of the few players who is actually proud to wear a blue shirt. I wish him luck in his future career.

Charles Pollitt (


GMR say that Big Fat Ron is the new favourite for the City manager’s job 🙁

City are still hoping to sign Dino, despite the fact that his trial will be during next season and he’s facing a custodial sentence should he be convicted. Dino claims that he’s innocent and Franny says he believes him!

Ruud Gullit has completed a free transfer to Chelsea. The 1-year deal consists of a basic wage of 10k per week; with his signing-on fee, this goes up to 30k a week!

The Mole


May I just say that the play-off final at Wembley was one of the best games that I have ever had the pleasure to watch. I was in the Reading end, and the atmoshpere was absolutely amazing, especially after about twelve minutes! The game was a great advert for football and even though Bolton won the game in the end, the atmosphere was very special and it is something I will never forget, as it was my first visit to the twin towers! Hopefully City can get there soon, if only to shut up the Rags and also, the games against Bolton next season will be quite something!

James Barton (


The tension is killing me. Every morning I wake up to worry about whether this is to be the day of the new appointment. When I arrive at work I check to see if a new MCIVTA brings news. After each meeting I ring Clubcall to see if there’s any developments. It’s nerve racking. I think it’s affecting my mental health. Last night during lovemaking I found myself wondering whether Todd might come on his own, leaving Rioch to go to Arsenal. Whilst in Court (I am a barrister) I couldn’t help thinking that it was odd that Colin Barlow had said that an appointment will be made by the forthcoming weekend (3rd June) but also that no other manager had been approached. How can he be sure of an apppointment if nobody has been approached or does he mean that the new manager is Steve Coppell who is not a ‘manager’ as such? Please Mr Lee relieve me of this stress.

Johnathan Seitler (


It now appears as though the Quinn deal to Sporting Lisbon is all but complete. The strange thing however is the transfer price; it ranges from somewhere like 1M right through to 1.7M. Another interesting item is that according to the Sunday rags (papers) Quinn was still owed his signing on fee from 5 years ago!! Also mentioned (in another rag) was that City didn’t want to pay Quinn a loyalty bonus from the transfer and wanted all the money to help towards the purchase of Gaudino. Whether the ‘loyalty bonus’ and the signing on fee are in fact one and the same I couldn’t tell, but it does look like City owed Quinn something!!!

Good luck to Niall; although he’s struggled over the past season following his knee injury, I don’t think anyone can deny his willingness to work for the club (although on some occasions his play was pretty poor), so good luck to him and hopefully he’ll invest his 7k a week wisely (how much is Guinness in Lisbon? ;-))))

On another point, it seems very strange that City are delving into the transfer market with no official manager in charge, unless David Moss has enough power to actually buy and sell players, rather than keep the team ticking over. Does this mean that the new manager has been give the reigns ‘unofficially’ and is preparing his squad, or is it that Lee wants to tie up the loose ends before his new man is officially given the job and had his blessing to complete the transfers?

Martin Ford (


In MCIVTA 89 Andrew Mitchell stated:

On the transfer front, it was mentioned in the press last week that Adie Mike and Andy Hill have rejected new contracts. It has also been suggested that Fitzroy Simpson, Martyn Margetson and Ian Brightwell will reject new contract offers. Good riddance to bad rubbish methinks. With the money these transfers will bring in (tt will obviously not be much)…

Surely if a player is out of contract then they can go for nothing?

It would be better to give them a contract with a clause agreeing that they can go on the transfer list (if they really want to go) and will be sold when a minimum bid is received.

Look what has happened over the years with players like David May. How much would Blackburn have got if he had still been under contract? Such a clause was used in Jürgen Klinsmann`s case which allowed him to bugger off home after Bayern came in with a bid of £600,000.

Mark Hampson (

As far as I know, when a player is out of contract then if the clubs can’t agree a price it will go to tribunal. The price will of course be lower. Can anyone clarify the situation here?



I read with interest that Gaudino has, according to reports, been charged with involvement in that car smuggling ring… he will face court action and this possibly scuppers any move to City.

While on the subject of transfers I see Niall has gone to Sporting Lisbon, all I can say is good luck Niall and we’ll miss you. In his time at Maine Road he delighted many with his goals (especially the many against U****d), but he received undue criticism from some City fans. I can only say I was glad to be sat next to the Niall Quinn fan club (sic) at the QPR match.

Jim Walsh (


First and foremost I want to say thanx to Niall for all his service to City. The big Irishman has played his heart out for the Blues over the last few years and I for one will be sad to see him go. Like other MCIVTA correspondents I agree that Quinn hasn’t quite been the same since his injury but I still must say I question the logic of selling him. The reason? Well, if either Walsh (who’s gettin’ on) and Rösler gets injured then who the F**K do we play up front? A great team should have class players in their squad to step into the breach when people get injured; just look at those scumbags from Stref**d. At present we can rely on Carl Griffiths who looks OK but has spent way too many months in the reserves already, or the invisible man to fill the gaps if our current strike force gets injured. I just pray we use some of Sporting Lisbon’s money to buy another class striker – it’s a shame Chelsea beat us to Gullit.

Now another point. Am I the only person out there who thinks Gaudino is crap and a total waste of money? For me Dino lacks the one thing a midfielder needs above all else and that’s guts (also determination and the ability to get stuck in). Almost every time I’ve seen Gaudino this season he’s spent the majority of the game drifting, letting people like Flitcroft do twice the tackling in midfield. So he’s got brilliant technical skills? – so what!!, it’s no F**kin good if you only look interested for 15% of a game.

Finally I’ll stir the pot by saying my home country (New Zealand) will wipe the floor with the opposition and win the Rugby World Cup – no problems! On the subject of the All Blacks, maybe City could buy Jonah Lomu as a winger for the Blues. He’s 6ft 5in, 18 stone, and can run the 100 metres in 10.8 sec. He may be a rugby player but it sure would be fun to see him come up against Vinny Jones, Mark Hughes etc. next season! Be Happy, Be Blue,

Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi (


Well, I noticed I got a name-check from an Everton fan in a recent issue of MCIVTA, so thought that it’s time to write my own “Why Blue” story and perhaps explain why I haven’t been seen on the net for a while.

Like many of MCIVTA’s readers I’m not a native Mancunian (I was born and bred in Edinburgh). However, I’m probably a little different, having discovered the joys of supporting City a little later in life than most. When I was a kid, I never went to games but took some interest in watching on the box. I went to University in Bristol and went to my first game there – Bristol City vs. Swindon in one of the fierce South-West derby games. The game itself was pretty dreadful stuff, and this was in 1987 when there still seemed to be a fair amount of trouble. The match was followed by running battles in the park next to Ashton Gate. I can’t say I was highly impressed with this introduction to live football.

After that, I came up to Manchester in 1988 to do some post-graduate work at the University. I was living on Lloyd Street South, the next street along from Maine Road, about fifty yards from the Main Stand. I’d watched the crowds assembling on a Saturday afternoon and one day, at a loose end, I went along and sat in the North Stand to see what it was like.

It was a chilly December afternoon and City stuffed Bradford 4-1. They were playing what I’d call “real” football – wingers out wide attacking the full-backs, some good crossing, and goals! It was also at the tail end of the inflatables craze and I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the ground. This was more like it! After that I was hooked. I watched a few games in the North and Main Stands, then got myself a membership card and stood on the Kippax. That was where I really began to enjoy myself. I didn’t make that many games that season but I can remember sitting in my back yard in the sun listening to the radio the day that City gained promotion.

During the 89-90 season, I discovered on the net. I think it was still in its early days then (some veteran please correct me if I’m wrong), and was a great forum for discussion and some good-natured banter. I started posting snippets of news, gleaned from the local press, and then decided to brave a couple of match reports. The response was amazing – Blues from all over the world mailed to ask questions about how City were getting on. I also heard from a couple of local fans (Martin Ford and James Nash), and we started up our own small mailing list, swapping rumours and opinions about what was going on at the Academy. We’d meet up occasionally for a drink before the game, at first in the Clarence on Wilmslow Road, but latterly in the Welcome on Dickenson Road – a pub I’d recommend for a pre-game swill. I’d moved away from Rusholme then, but was more than happy to trek across town to see the Blues. We were joined on our little forum by John Pearson, one of our Californian exiles, and I had the pleasure of meeting up with him during a conference trip over there. If that’s not the “global village” in action, I don’t know what is!

While this was going on, City continued in their own, inimitable fashion. I suppose supporting Scotland through those seventies World Cup campaigns was good training for the time I’d spend at Maine Road. I could never understand it as a kid – a collection of some great individual players, but put the dark blue shirt on them and they couldn’t catch a bus! As an adult at Maine Road, I began to see what it was all about – football was not a game to be enjoyed, but suffered. Nick Hornby writes about this superbly in Fever Pitch, so I’m not going to try, but one of the things I enjoyed about Maine Road was the attitude of the fans – always prepared to have a joke (usually at their own expense), and being stoically resigned to the yo-yoing form of the Blues. One week they would play superbly, the next week a dire 1-0 loss.

I was certainly hooked, and took up a season ticket in the Kippax during the 91-92 season. Sixty-five quid it cost me (a point I’ll come back to later). I was also getting more adventurous with the match reports and tried to post something from most of the home games I went to (I didn’t go to away games). I think sometimes I imagined myself as some top sports reporter, hunched over a notebook in a camel hair overcoat, furiously scribbling my words of wit and wisdom. Not quite the true story perhaps!

For the next two years I kept up the season ticket and had some great times watching the Blues. From the many highs and lows, I’d certainly pick out the two 4-0 thrashings of Leeds. The first time round there was a real feeling that the fans wouldn’t mind if we didn’t win as Leeds were vying with United for the title. After the first went in, it looked like we were going to beat them and possibly help to hand it to the Rags. Once the goals kept on coming though, nobody minded – City were really playing and they didn’t care. Then when it happened the next year (after much talk in the pub about “remember last year?”) well, that was almost too much!

Another moment was a game against Blackburn in, I think, the 92-93 season. A couple of terrible defensive mistakes gave Blackburn a two goal lead after fourteen minutes but there was an incredible feeling of confidence in the crowd. Sure enough, City came back and ran out 3-2 winners. That feeling of utter confidence was hardly ever present at Maine Road but for some reason we were all sure what was going to happen. In many ways, I think that’s part of the attraction for me of live football. As you watch someone belt up the wing and stick in a great cross to the far post, for the next five seconds or so, you and the other twenty-odd thousand around you can tell the future. You can see what’s going to happen, and you know that the ball’s going to end up in the back of the net. The feeling is there sometimes when watching on the box, but it’s no comparison really.

The low point is I think obvious. The FA Cup débâcle against Spurs. I’d seen very little evidence of the kind of behaviour that had put me off on that first visit to Ashton Gate but then suddenly it was all happening in front of me. I suppose it was partly understandable – many years of frustration and a fairly inept display by City, but it was very sad to see. Just a couple of hours earlier we’d been sitting in the Welcome, with Spurs and Blues fans happily drinking together, then all this. I’d have been disappointed with the defeat in itself, but all the trouble put it in perspective.

To return to the highs, the top match for me was the famous victory against those titans of the football league, Derby County! Near the end of the season and a win would put Derby down. Quinn scored early on, and then after Coton was sent off for a challenge against Saunders, he stepped into the goal and pulled on the green jersey to face the penalty. A friend’s sister had come up from Derby for the match, and her face was a picture as Quinn dived low to his left to tip the Welshman’s attempt past the post. The Kippax erupted, and after that moment, Quinn was the hero. From the resulting corner, he came fifteen yards off his line and took the ball, knocking the County front line flying in the process. City scored a second through David White in the second half, and Niall only slightly blotted his copybook when the defence let him down and allowed Derby a late goal. Certainly an afternoon I’ll remember, although the evening is a little hazy!

Quinn has always been one of my favourites at Maine Road, and not just for that penalty save. He’s always seemed to be a model professional, loyal to the club and honest about his own performances. If City had a few more like him I think they wouldn’t do badly. The only problem with him I felt was that once City had their backs to the wall, too soon they’d revert to the long ball up to Quinn. How many times have we seen him trudge back up the park after chasing a lost cause?

I’m afraid this story has a rather sad ending though as regards my going to Maine Road. Some time ago when the suggestion of all-seater stadia was mooted, I proclaimed that I’d stop going. After trying the North and Main stands a few times, I’d decided I was definitely a standing fan. Admittedly, being six and half foot tall helps in being able to see, but one of the reasons I really enjoyed live football was the crowd atmosphere, which I felt was lacking in the seats. So when it finally happened, after much agonising, I decided that I wasn’t going to renew my season ticket for the 94-95 season. It’s not just the seats – I think that over the last couple of years, the treatment of football fans by the football authorities has been poor, with very little consultation of us, the “customers”. Not to mention the price. That first season ticket cost me 65 quid. The next year it was 85, and after that 135 (although that was admittedly not the cheapest one could have paid). That’s not quite in step with inflation I think. The Premier League – a whole new ball game? Hmmmm. Don’t get me started on that one. Some may accuse me of being a “fair-weather” fan, although given City’s performance over the brief period I was watching them, I think an “overcast with probable showers” fan would be a more apt description! I suppose I’m lucky in that having only spent a few years on the terrace, I was able to make that decision. I’m sure that for many, it’s simply impossible, and it’s the loyalty of those supporters that the clubs are, in my opinion, abusing.

I did make a couple of games this season. I went with a friend (not my choice, honest!) to Blackburn to see Rovers trouncing Ipswich, and saw the 0-0 draw with Newcastle at Maine Road. The first game was strange. We sat high up in the Main Stand, and yes the view was great but there was very little atmosphere. At first I though it was perhaps because it was Ewood Park, but then at Maine Road it was the same. Quiet and subdued, and even though in my day I’ve been known to offer a little “encouragement” and suggestion to the players on the park, I really didn’t feel into it. Someone offered the comment that it was like Newcastle were at home. Maybe that’s the way it’s going. As the game becomes more and more geared to corporate hospitality and top class entertainment with great facilities, the home fans will become less vocal. Meanwhile, the travelling fans are still the die-hards, who’ll sing their hearts out all afternoon. A couple of seasons ago, a friend came along to one of the aforementioned Leeds games. The last time she’d been to a game was Elland Road many years before, and she remarked that compared to that, there didn’t seem to be much singing or crowd reaction going on. I know that many things on the terrace were not good in those days, but I wonder what she’d make of it now…?

I’d still count myself as a City fan though, and keep an interest in how the team are doing, mainly now through the mailing list and listening to the radio on a Saturday afternoon. It’s not been a great season, although there’s definitely the nucleus of a good side there. I was well impressed by Rösler when he arrived at the end of last season and he’s continued to show good form. Like Quinn, he seems to have his heart in the right place and a respect for the fans. I was a little sorry to see Horton go. Although not the best manager in the world, he had made some reasonable buys and has never really been given much to play with in financial terms. After all the to-ing and fro-ing of the Swales years, some continuity is needed now. Let’s hope that we get it and next season is one to remember.

Sean Bechhofer (


Thanks to Sean, Martin, Mark, Charles, Kevin, The Mole, Lars Ivar, David, James, Jim, Roger, Johnathan & Andrew.

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 #91