Newsletter #112

City avoided defeat in their latest friendly up at Raith Rovers (with virtually no media coverage – I had to ring ClubCall to find out the score) but although we suffered no further injuries, I find it strange that neither Rösler nor Beagrie were selected. Hopefully both will play the full 90 minutes on Saturday as both are very short of match practice.

Ashley will be back from next Monday but as he’ll have lots of things to catch up on, it’s probably best if I put together one last edition early next week before handing back the MCIVTA reins. So, keep the contributions coming in, and if anybody went to the Raith game, your thoughts on the match would be much appreciated.

Next game: Heart of Midlothian, away, Saturday 12th August

Contributions to: Paul Howarth (


Tonight’s MuEN reports that City have already lifted a trophy before the season even gets underway. City’s youngsters romped away with an under-19 tournament which ended in Leicester on Sunday. Ten clubs took part in the competition, including Tranmere Rovers, Burnley and Dynamo Kiev, with the winners of two 5-club groups going through to the final. The Boy Blues comfortably topped their section, with 15 goals in 5 matches, including beating Burnley 1-0 in the final, the match- winner coming from 16 year-old Alan Bailey who has just signed on YTS forms.

The Mole

NEWS – BALL’S FAMILY (Tuesday 8th)

Reports from local press and TV in Southampton say that vindictive Saints fans have been harassing Alan Ball’s family, who still live nearby. They are upset over his departure and have sent letters to his house and have even voiced their opinions to his wife and daughters as they go about their daily business!

Tim Starns (

NEWS – CANTONA (Tuesday 8th)

Ceefax reports that Manchester U****d have announced that Eric Cantona put in a transfer request on Monday, and that this has been refused by the club. It stated that Cantona’s disillusionment with the FA enquiries into his appearence against Rochdale was the cause of his desire to leave.

Surely if Cantona goes Ferguson will be in real trouble?

[ Cantona has since been persuaded to stay at the Swamp - Paul ]

Dan Rigby (
Paul Newton (


According to SKYTEXT Lincoln are interested in David Brightwell; the fee would be around 200,000 pounds.

Tim Starns (

NEWS – VARIOUS (Wednesday 9th)

Beagrie is fit enough to play against Raith after his shin splints. Dibble’s recovered as well so he’ll also play.

Margetson should be back in training come the middle of next week.

Also, AB has rejected bids from Lincoln and Mansfield to sign David Brightwell and Adie Mike (respectively) on loan, with a view to a permanent move. AB wants the clubs to come back with the cash as they know how much each player will cost.

Martin Ford (

NEWS – VARIOUS (Wednesday 9th)

Good news on the injury front: Beagrie will play tomorrow and both Dibble and Margetson should be fit for the first game of the season against Spurs, who have injury problems of their own – Anderton has a hernia and will be out for 6 weeks, and both Armstrong and Sheringham are also injured.

One of the possibilities for a new City ‘keeper is no longer available: Shaka Hislop has left Reading to join Newcastle.

The Mole

NEWS – VARIOUS (Thursday 10th)

Didn’t think anybody would be going to the Raith game so I called ClubCall to see how the lads went on. The line-up was:

         Edghill  Ian Brightwell  Kernaghan  Phelan
           Summerbee   Flitcroft   Lomas   Simpson
                    Griffiths     Quinn

Subs: Mike, Thomas, Foster, Vonk plus an unnamed trial ‘keeper.

So, no Peter Beagrie and no Uwe Rösler, who are presumably being saved for the Hearts game. The game finished 2-2, the City scorers being Flitcroft and Simpson. City were leading 2-1 right up until the virtually the last kick of the game when they conceded a penalty. The attendance was just under 2,000, probably due in part to Raith having played a home UEFA Cup tie on Tuesday evening. The good news is that no new injuries have been picked up by City, though apparently a couple of Raith players needed stitches during the game.

Other news:

  • City have now sold 23,000 tickets for the opening game against Spurs, with the Maine Road capacity currently standing at just under 31,000.
  • David Brightwell has gone on loan to Lincoln City for a month with a view to a permanent move.
  • City are hoping that Georgiou Kinkladze’s work permit will come through on Friday so that he can at least make a substitute appearance at Hearts on Saturday. The relevant DoE committee were sitting on Thursday afternoon so there is good reason to be optimistic.



I wonder if quiet words have been spoken to certain agents!!! Or is it that C*nt*na is bewildered with what has happened at OT; how can you really justify selling three players from a very successful team and not replace them?

I suppose the FA will bear the brunt of the ‘responsibility’ if Eric does leave, after all they did break the rules, didn’t they? They forced him out by hounding him. I mean what right have they got to check up about him playing in a game against Rochdale, when he was banned from any competitive football?

The rags told the FA there were no linesmen and the game didn’t last 90 minutes. So I assume the FA considered it as only a practice game. OK it might not have broken the rules but it certainly bent them. And if it was only a practice game then why did they involve another team, knowing it might lead to problems? Wouldn’t it have had the same effect if they’d played the youngster/junior or even trialists? The rags knew what they were doing and were certainly IMHO trying it on!! But has that back-fired with C*nt*na request to move?

Who’s next to leave? Keane, Pallister, McClair, Giggs, Sharpe? It does make you wonder though, what’s the motive for selling Hughes, Ince and Kanchelskis? In footballing terms it’s very strange, but in business terms it’s great, £13+ million raised, wages and other perks cut off the wage bill… so what is running the club now, footballing glory or financial greed?

Martin Ford (


Re your comments in MCIVTA 111 about info on the Pubs etc. at away places: I heard a 15 minute programme on the BBC the other day, I think it was called “Book Review”, in which a lady was discussing her new book which addresses the subject of friendly pubs, facilities at the grounds etc. I remember that she was talking as a fan of Cambridge Utd, but I believe she had researched all the English grounds. I’m sorry I have no better reference for you like the title, but you are in a better position to chase it down that am I.

John Clarke (jclarke@CHEMVAX.PRINCETON.EDU)


I have made up a wee map of the area surrounding Tynecastle with a guide to the friendly pubs around the ground. Please e-mail me direct if you want a copy.

[ The map is now available on the WWW:                  ]
[ ]

Tats the Jambo (


Despite the appointment of a new manager in the pre-season I cannot muster much optimism for the new campaign. I’m glad that our failure to appoint a new manager soon after the season ended kept us out of the transfer market, £8 million for Stan Collymore, £6 million for Kanchelskis, good players admittedly but poor value at those prices, surely?

I have very little faith in Alan Ball’s managerial capabilities. True, Joe Mercer was a success after achieving little elsewhere. However, one has to remember it was Mercer’s partnership with Malcolm Allison, whose radical coaching was a key to the Blues’ success, that made City great. Look at how Allison failed miserably in his second stint at Maine Road.

So, I predict (another) grim season for the Blues, I would be surprised if we finished in the top half of the table. I reckon for most of next season we will be vying with the likes of Bolton for our Premiership place. And Lee will sack Ball at the end of the summer after mounting pressure from the fans. And United will do the treble, winning the League, FA Cup, and UEFA Cup.

Jon Robinson

[ After I queried this example of unbridled optimism (ahem!), Jon ]
[ changed his mind - about United ... - Paul                      ]

I agree about United, they’ve sold their best players and haven’t bought anyone to replace them. They’ll probably try to rely on the youngsters but as we’ve seen ourselves over the years, young players tend to be inconsistent. I hope we can beat United this season; our recent form against them is embarrasing.

Jon Robinson (


I think Alan Ball will do a good job. He should fit in well with his friend Frannie and potentially they could form a very useful management team. But I don’t see that our squad is strong enough to perform consistently; it’s certainly big enough, but lacking in top quality.

Ball, himself a great midfielder, should bring out the best in Lomas, Flitcroft, Simpson and Kinkladze.

I think we will still struggle at the back. We need a quality ‘keeper to back up Coton. Someone mentioned Thorsvedt, he’d be ideal. The rest of the defence is OK, but nothing special. We could use a commanding centre back to partner Curle (when he’s fit).

I don’t think Ball will play with 2 wingers, maybe just one or sometimes none at all- relying on a give and go style; that would give us some stability with more men behind the ball that we’re used to.

Rösler’s enthusiasm is always going to provide goals, so will Quinn’s aerial power and so will Walsh’s skill. I’m optimistic that we will have a better season than the last couple, avoiding any relegation struggle, but think we’re at least 3 quality players short of a European place. Without any signings Ball could potentially get the best out of the squad which would see us playing brilliantly at times and scorching up the table, only to fizzle out.

But, hey it’s a new season and my heart is full of hope; wouldn’t it be lovely to lift a trophy! If we haven’t yet got the quality we can make up for it with commitment and enthusiasm. I really hope so.

Tim Starns (


Hate to be unoriginal, but I’m slightly nervous/pessimistic about the coming season. While other clubs have been buying up big, Franny’s been throwing money around like a man with no arms (i.e. not at all, really). What’s really changed from last season except the replacement of Gaudino with the elusive Kinky George?

IMHO I think City’s fortunes are going to rest heavily on Alan Ball’s shoulders. If he can’t lift a team that is virtually the same as the one Horton had, I think he’ll come in for a lot of flak. On the positive side, I personally think his appointment was sound, and, if he got the Saints up to the middle of the table, he should be able to do as good (if not better) with City.

A bit more spending is needed though, especially on a good ‘keeper. Coton’s getting on and, though I think Margetson could start to shine given more experience and a bit of confidence, he’s not really what we need NOW! Whoever we get should be proven as well as young, as the team is really full of more “experienced players” than bright young things. Thorsvedt’s good but old and I have the same reservations as Martin (Ford) about Martyn (Nigel), especially for £2 million.

Andrew Inman (


Just what is it with City? All summer we make only one major signing, but it appears to be quite a coup. We do it in plenty of time for the new season. Given the number of foreign players arriving on these shores, a work permit should be no problem. He’s young, a quality player, and an international to boot. What do we do? Send him home for three weeks (more like four now), while we sort out the formalities. Then, it appears we haven’t even applied to the D.o.E. for the permit. Remarkable City, even by our standards. If they want proof of his international credentials why doesn’t Franny send them the f****n video we’ve all heard so much about? He scored memorable goals against a home nation less than a year ago. Are there no soccer fans at the D.o.E. or is it just another case of total incompetence with the management of the club? I fear the latter and it doesn’t bode well for the new season.

Mr Angry, Paul Monaghan (


Anyone care to fill in the missing pieces in the staff and player lists? How about the player review that started a while ago? Is it the defenders this time?

[ I received some views on the full-backs from David Lamb in June ]
[ but haven't had time to update the WWW yet. If anybody else     ]
[ would like to state their opinions (strengths/weaknesses etc)   ]
[ of the current full-backs, please do so. It helps us to present ]
[ a representative view of the players on the WWW - Paul.         ]

I especially miss facts and info about Francis Lee (as a player/chairman).

Svenn Hanssen (



Grew up in Shrewsbury, played rugby, but was taken by my dad to see an exhibition game at the Gay Meadow by the RAF Benevolent Fund. Included Mortensen, Lawton, Matthews and Trautmann, quite impressed. Joined the Fleet Air Arm in ’48, still played rugby. Leaving the RN in ’60, I worked at Harwell and still played rugby until ’62 when I found that too many injuries were interfering with my life! I joined Manchester University Physics Department in ’65 and moved to Cheadle. By this time I had two sons who were interested in football. We were taken to a United vs. Spurs match. It was OK but Old Trafford was Hell! So we started going to Maine Road.

Maine Road Days

We started off in the Platt Lane stand but soon moved to stand with “the lads” in the Kippax, much more fun! Our first match was towards the end of the ’65/66 season and we were at the top of the 2nd Division. We arrived late for a game vs. Middlesbrough, and we were already a goal behind. The game was fairly tame for the most part, but, towards the end, Johnny Crossan who hadn’t done much work up to then suddenly took charge, and we had three quick goals to win the match. It was typical of Crossan; he wouldn’t chase the ball often, but if someone gave him the ball in front he was very effective. We won the 2nd Division and you all know the rest; there were some real Glory Days to follow, we didn’t miss many home games and made it to quite a few away games too.

After those days I was True Blue and found that I had bred two very Blue sons! Bell was, of course, brilliant and I feel privileged to have watched him at his peak. FL scored some big blast volley goals that always reminded me of one I saw at the Gay Meadow by Tommy Lawton from a waist high cross from Stan Matthews, who had dribbled his way from just outside his own penalty area! Mike Summerbee was no slouch either. I still think that Mike Doyle was one of the best at a sliding tackle that I’ve ever seen. An Alan Oakes long range shot on goal was a thing of beauty. In those days TB was very solid and brave at the back too. When the World Cup came, we managed to see some great games, and I remember us driving over to Lymm to see the Brazilian training camp. By the way, I knew that area well from my days at HMS Ariel at Culcheth, and at HMS Blackcap at Stretton (Long gone now).

A Remote US Life

In mid-season of 70/71, I was “Brain Drained” to help build the Fermi National Accelerator Lab near Chicago, but the boys stayed in Cheadle and were then old enough to get to the games on their own. This helped me keep in touch with the feats of that great team.

Over the years I have kept in touch by reserving Saturday mornings to listen to the BBC overseas service which includes a 20 minute live commentary, on some occasions of a City match even. In ’75 I took an appointment at Princeton University, and found the BBC reception much easier here on the East Coast. Nowadays with the advent of cable, I get not only the wrap up of the Premier League goals etc. (a few days late, and with that terrible music!) but a complete tape of one of the big games too. Last season I managed to get the critical match at Blackburn on tape. That’s fun to watch on a hot summer evening in New Jersey. My two sons Simon and Roger live in London and Oxford respectively, and of course I come to the UK often; when possible we go to a game, my last was at West Ham last season.


I only recently got up on the net, and I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be in such close touch with the trials of us Blues “Via The Alps”. I’m sure I will be one of your most attentive readers.

John Clarke (


Thanks to The Mole, Tim, Dan, Paul (x2), Martin, John, Jon, Tats, Andrew & Svenn

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.

Paul Howarth,

Newsletter #112