Newsletter #121

Well, not a lot has happened since Friday but MCIVTA does contain some opinion, a Why Blue and a bit of rumour! Dave Shepherd has kindly offered to give his opinions on the similarities between our current start to the season and Everton’s last year. He has some interesting things to say and doesn’t have an axe to grind! Looking over the WWW page, one area which needs improving is our review of videos. Currently only three have been reviewed; anyone fancy giving doing a review of any of the other dozens of titles which have been, and are still being sold?

The very last MCIVTA emanating from the Alps (OK Zürich is hardly alpine I know!) will go out on Thursday 14th September. I will then be incommunicado (sorry for the Fish-ism Chris!) for about 2 weeks. During this time I’ll be setting up MCIVTA at home in Derbyshire and getting used to life as a UK taxpayer 8-(. During my previous absences i.e. holidays, both Svenn and Paul (Howarth) have done stints running the newsletter. If it comes to it we can do this again but Paul suggested that someone else has a bash at editing MCIVTA. This would be for about two weeks or maybe three weeks commencing with my departure. Adam does all the subscriptions so it would basically involve pasting contributions together using the MCIVTA template and sending the finished newsletters out. The main requirements are that your mailer can cope with the mailing list (currently 5 lists) and that you have an understanding relationship with your boss i.e. he won’t find out!

If you fancy having a go then mail me.

Next game, Arsenal at home, Sunday September 10th 1995 (live on Sky!)


According to GMR 7.25 this morning (Monday) – Liverpool’s bid for Jason McAteer has fallen through. They had offered cash plus Nigel Clough. It is rumoured that City are going to table a £1.5 million bid for him (Clough).

Tony Farrar (
Neale Hayward-Shott (
The Mole


According to The Sunday Express, City are interested in buying Nigel Clough. Apparently, Liverpool want to sell him to finance their attempt to buy McAteer from Bolton. I’m not sure if Clough would be good for City. Living in Nottingham, I often saw him playing for Forest, and he seemed like a good player, but he hasn’t really played first team football for 2 years now. I also think his father got the best out of him, and I’m not sure if another manager could do that.

Charles Pollitt (


According to SkyText, City are likely to make a move for Everton’s John Ebrell who has been transferlisted at his own request. The transfer fee is likely to be a sticking point as Everton are asking £2,000,000 for a player currently playing reserve team football.

David Yates (


GMR reports that City have offered £400,000 plus Paul Walsh to Portsmouth for striker Gerry Creaney. Portsmouth apparently want around a million for their top scorer last season.

The Mole


Hopefully Beagrie and Curle will make their first competitive appearances of the season tomorrow in a reserve team game against Barnsley. If they both come through the game without problems then they could both feature in the squad for the live game against Arsenal on Sunday.

Another move?

It appears as though AB and his counterpart at Pompey, Terry Fenwick, are in discussions to try to arrange a swap deal that would see Paul Walsh return to Fratton Park and Gerry Creaney come to Maine Road. However, the sticking point is the financial side of the move; Pompey want Walsh plus £1,000,000 for Creaney, whereas AB considers Walsh more valuable and is offering around £400,000!

Is this a good move? I don’t know. When Walsh first arrived his transfer was met with scepticism: was this a panic move? However, to give him credit he has never (OK, well almost never) let the team down and has done reasonably well. He’s now well over 30 but is that an excuse to get rid of a player, especially one who can play pretty well? Would Creaney fit in; has he ever played in the top (English) flight?

Martin Ford (


A little snip of interesting info that came to my attention is that the reason Niall Quinn did not make a move to Sporting Lisbon was that City could not afford to pay outstanding contractual obligations of £700,000 to Quinn himself and therefore he stayed. City have set aside in the accounts £5m to service contractual obligations to players. I would be interested to hear if anyone could corrobarate or dispel such information.

I have a suspicion that Swales (was he really a successfull businessman?) did untold damage to the club, in poor business decisions and contracts, that we will suffer from for a while to come. The same source as above also told me that Swales and Boler were still the two largest shareholders even after the takeover.

On a different tack completely I would be interested in where MCIVTA gets to in printed copy. Ashley related a while ago that distribution is 370 but I for one pass on a paper copy to my father-in-law who has been known to send it to a friend in Jersey who I believe passes it round several of his mates. Any similar experiences would be gratefully received and we could perhaps get some idea of real readership.

Neale Hayward-Shott (

Mail Neale if you regularly pass MCIVTA on in written form. Apart from anything else, it would be good to be able to tell a sponsor that MCIVTA reaches ‘X’ people over the internet and another ‘Y’ via printed copies.



Lee says City can’t afford to make mistakes in the transfer market and that he wouldn’t dream of buying a British player for big money (isn’t this AB’s domain?). He goes on to say that foreign players are better and cheaper (not so Bergkamp, methinks). He says that it may be Christmas before AB gets the dressing room sorted out. Franny’s loyalty to Ball is also reaffirmed with the confirmation that he will stay manager as long as Lee is at the club. He states that this includes the scenario where we are relegated this season :(((

Ball is quoted as saying “It’s going to be a long, hard season” (It all sounds like the product of a long, hard ‘drowning our sorrows’ session after the Everton game to me).

Ken Foster (


Franny Interview: in the Mail on Sunday Lee has said that Ball is the man to take us to the promised land, that he will still be manager even if City are religated and that if Ball goes so does he! Franny also reiterated the view that the current transfer market is barmy and there is no way that City will pay millions for “average” players, hinting that overseas players offer better value for money.

IMHO, if Ball wishes to make an investment he should go for Birmingham’s Ricky Otto, a winger who is not afraid to take people on, get stuck in and create chances.

Yours in Blue,

David C. Bradbury (


I asked Dave Shepherd who did the ‘Everton View’ match report on last week’s game for his thoughts on City’s season. Dave knows quite a bit about the game and it’s good to get an outsider’s view of our current situation.


Trust me, I’ve had enough practice watching relegation candidates recently to know the difference between a dead loss and a misfiring one. As we found out with Royle after Walker, management is 10% skill and 90% charisma. The players hated Walker (or in fact Williams, his assistant), so they didn’t play. The same bunch under Royle has only lost 7 of 38 games! I can’t believe Ball is not full of what it takes to be a success… World Cup hero, legend on the field both north and south… Lancashire breeding…

The first 20 minutes showed that he can get effort out of them… now it’s self-confidence. Through the sick jokes last year we held on (foolishly?) to memories of 1983 when we were in deep shit by Christmas but went unbeaten and won the cup in 1984, and the League & ECWC the year after. Of course this kind of stuff never happens twice, but bugger me if we didn’t hit UEFA-qualification form and win the Cup conceding only a dodgy penalty!

Why not City?

Why not indeed. The team is not a propped up Division 2 side (Boro) or a mickey mouse makes good side (Wombles), so as long as the financial side is healthy, it is only a matter of ringing changes until one fits and City take their place in the top half. If that means Ball can’t do it and has to go, so be it, but the trick is not to get the best manager on paper, but the one who the players would die for.

Money itself can’t buy championships. The Rags proved that for years. But money can buy you security. EFC were on the verge of a Birmingham type plunge to obscurity, not because of the results but because of the death of John Moores; fortunately cash men stepped in and we are safe ‘for the forseeable future’. We have to put up with a circus of marketing rip-offs, but until it’s compulsory to wear a 50 quid shirt or the season tickets cost 550 plus a bond commitment, the ordinary fan can turn a blind eye.

I take it Franny has the financial side secured? If so, there is nothing to fear. As I preached to quaking Blues, the real disaster would not be relegation, but poverty. Relegation can be cured by money, time and promotion. Poverty is a ticket to Leyton Orient and Torquay United ever year.

The non-similarity is the fans. This time last year we got huge crowds and passionate support. This was under Walker! We were convinced the silver fox would turn it around given time. Attendance was up and excitement was up. Every game was fascinating. I have never had such an exciting season end to end, and doubt I will again.

It was very sad to see City fans accept defeat so quietly. I mean getting mad is no help, but every time EFC conceded a goal last year the support seemed to get louder! OK it’s been tough to stomach the Rags’ success, but one of our songs says “we don’t care what the Red Sh*te say” and that attitude prevails. We are a better club with better fans, so league tables and pot counts don’t matter. Same goes for City. With that pride, and a knowledge that success comes and comes fast to those who can keep the pot boiling with plenty of cash, the club ends up feeding itself, because people want to help and be a part of it.

Enjoy your season. Keep a wise head – don’t credit the abusers, but remember who they are and remind them to eat their words when inevitably the wheel turns. Unless there are behind the scenes problems like we had with W+W, your chances of relegation are miniscule, and your chances of staying down non-existent.

Dave Shepherd (


To get an appreciation of the task that Ball faces, try dividing the current squad into three categories: Players who you’d always have in the starting eleven, adequate replacements and promising youth, and the rest who should be sold ASAP. Here’s my assessment, but I’m sure you all have your own opinions:

  1. Players who you’d always have in the starting eleven:
    Coton, Curle, Symons, Kinkladze, Beagrie, Flitcroft, I Brightwell, Rösler, Walsh.
    Total: 9
  2. Adequate replacements and promising youth:
    Immel, Margetson, Kernaghan, Edghill, Phelan, Lomas, Brown, Kerr, Quinn.
    Total: 9
  3. Should be sold ASAP:
    Summerbee, Dibble.

The above list is far from complete, but I reckon that eighteen players are of first team quality. Given that fourteen players are on duty for any individual game it’s clear that our squad of genuine first team players is painfully thin. Ball reckons that the first team squad size should be cut to thirty-two. There are obviously some promising youth players that I have not mentioned, but the gaps that need to be filled are blindingly obvious. It’s going to be a long job.

Yours in Blue,

David C. Bradbury (


I’m a life-long Blue, born and raised in the shadow of the Kippax. I attended the primary school facing the ground on Claremont Road. As a kid, I spent every Saturday of home games chasing after cars: “Can I mind y’car m’sta?” Quite a lucrative business at 10-20p a car when crowds averaged 37,000. After collecting the 50p to pay entrance into the game, I spent until 2:30pm making a few pounds extra to spend on football cards and stickers. Do you remember those stickers, 10p for 5? Why was it in every third packet was a Greenoff brother and every United fan at school had the City badge and wouldn’t swap?

I grew up watching the likes of Barnes, Kidd, Watson and Big Joe. Those were the days when Helen was just a snip of a young girl who’d kiss “Big Joe” before every game. She would ring her bell to encourage the team and not to sound out another “please hold on for dear life to a slender lead with twenty minutes to go”. City were contenders and not just making the numbers up.

My view on the trouble at City stems from the inability of our coaching staff to nurture the talent our scouts provide. Why do we sell the good’uns and keep the duffers? Who apart from Barnes, Bennett, Lake and Hughes have had skill or class? Sure we can find wonderful athletes who have great potential but we expose them too early, demand too much and don’t sufficiently develop their technique to allow them to blossom and fulfil their potential whilst at our club. Take David White; speed, power and a fair ability but no idea of how to do anything but run and shoot. He had little heading ability, limited dribbling skills and his movement left a lot to be desired. Why didn’t the staff try to address these shortcomings? He was on the books for over ten years! Yet I saw little improvement in his technique. I trust he will be a valued addition to Leeds’ push for Europe and cause us no end of problems at Maine Road this season.

I’m sure that everyone is aware of the list of quality we have let go. Consider the potential of a team that might have been. We are left with a team of patchwork players with no spirit and little prospect of success. The policy of buying to keep us up for one more season has to stop! We have to start to build a team that will once again make us contenders. The purchase of players should be of players who will be part of the team for five or more seasons, not just a stop gap to keep the millions from Sky coming in. If we go down, so be it. The argument that we may not come straight back up may be true but if we are not good enough to gain promotion from the First then we hardly deserve to be in the Premiership at the moment.

I had hoped that my first offering would be on a positive note; after a shocking start to the season it’s only old wounds that have opened up and I am once again dismayed at the goings on at the Moss Side Academy. Here’s to a pint on our first victory soon coming and a reversal of fortunes before a bleak winter sets in.

Paul Whelan (


My parents are due to arrive in the UK in mid November. During their 3 months trip they will be visiting the new store to stock up on things for me. My mother will love the time being a Blue for some 60 years; on the other hand you guessd it, my father is a Rag and will probably hyper-ventilate and vomit, but this is life. If around that time someone could meet them at the store it would be great, oh and take a rag with you in case the above happens.

Thanks guys for the match reports; to me it’s like being there for the first time in 20 years.

Mal Lomax (


Song for Maine Road: Buzzcocks’ “Somethings Gone Wrong Again”.

Paul Newton (


Tony Book was presented with a £3,000 electricity bill by Francis Lee. Lee told him “you were the last person in the Maine Road trophy room 19 years ago and you forgot to turn off the light.”

David Yates (


No matches due to this weeks England international at Wembley against Columbia.

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Paul (x2), Dave (x3), Ken, Neale, Tony, The Mole, Charles, Mal & 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 #121