Newsletter #129

So, here I am in sunny Derbyshire and connected up to the internet/infobahn/information superhighway or whatever else the media decides to call it this week. Methinks I’ll stick to plain old email! I’m afraid at least a part of this issue is going to be devoted to the new scheme of things, firstly so that everyone knows what’s going on (novel for Blues I admit) and secondly, so that we can get MCIVTA working as efficiently as possible. This latter sentence sounds unnervingly like management/consultant-speak but merely reflects that the move to an evening-operation forces a certain amount of structure onto us and even the dreaded deadlines!

Thanks to the people who’ve sent in donations. I haven’t replied as I’ve naturally been under pressure and also, I know more are still to come. When all are in I’ll write to all concerned saying what the end result was and what the money has bought.

Next game, Nottingham Forest away, Saturday 30th September 1995


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MIDDLESBROUGH, Saturday 23rd September 1995

Team: Immel, Edgehill, Phelan, Curle, Symons, Lomas, Brown (Beagrie), Kinkladze (Summerbee), Brightwell (I), Rösler, Creaney.

Honeymoon Over!

I felt that this would be AB’s day of reckoning. Not many of the excuses could wash for this match. Why was I so nervous? I had the feeling that our whole season rested on this match. Flitcroft’s absence was obviously worrying AB and he packed the midfield with 4 players and started off playing Edghill on the right wing! I think Brightwell was meant to cover the hole this left behind him. A novel idea really. Edghill is so crap that we may do better with no right back at all. In spite of these tactical manoeuvres I thought we played quite well in the first half. We had all the play, forced lots of corners and had several shots (hard to believe I know, but true nevertheless). The best attempt came from Kinkladze whose long range effort was tipped over by Walsh. We looked quite dangerous coming forward but still no killer pass. Rösler was getting frustrated again and Creaney looked as if he’d just come out of the pub. The midfield played well without imposing themselves decisively.

Middlesbrough scored when Barmby beat Edghill on the half way line, laid it off to Hignett who attacked the box, played a neat one-two with Fjørtoft whose delightful back heel opened us up. A shot-cum-pass left Barmby in the clear to slot home. No tackle from a City player in the whole move. I got to see the goal again at half time on City’s closed circuit TV and it looked a shade offside, but the camera angle was inconclusive. 1-0 down at half time after looking the better team. Mind you, this was only Middlesbrough and they didn’t look any great shakes apart from Barmcake. Nice to see the City fans have got their sense of humour back though. After Borough scored their fans chirped up with a rendition of ‘Going Down, Going Down…’ (repeat as necessary). The City fans responded with ‘So are we, so are we…’

Like most of the other games this season, we started the second half poorly. Kinky disappeared, Brown got tired, Edghill started playing accurate passes to any Middlesbrough player in range. It was dire. Creaney was falling over the ball and Uwe gave his shirt to a linesman. Fred Karno’s at Maine Road. AB got a lecture from the ref. for protesting too vehemently when the ref. gave a free kick for an innocuous challenge from Symons. Something had to be done. Brown and Kinky were replaced by Beagrie and Summerbee. Lo and behold we started going forward again. Summerbee in particular was going past defenders at will and putting some decent crosses over. He rattled the bar with a peach of a shot and I nearly hit the roof of the North Stand because I thought it had gone in. In fact it had done a ‘Geoff Hurst’ and come out again (Shit! was the cry). Our pressure did not bring the much needed rewards and the players went off to a chorus of boos.

We were beaten by a mediocre side. Edghill needs to be dropped/sold/forgotten about as soon as possible and I was distinctly unimpressed by Creaney on this showing. He looked as if he’d be more at home playing for Salford Snooker. Apart from that, no grumbles really. It’s what being a City fan is all about.

Marks Out of 10

  • Immel (7) didn’t have to do much.
  • Edghill (4)
  • Phelan (7) looked to have regained his form.
  • Symons (7.5) solid.
  • Curle (6) a bit shaky at times.
  • Kinky (7) faded badly.
  • Brightwell (6.5) unspectacular.
  • Brown (6.5) ditto.
  • Summerbee (8) a resurgence maybe?
  • Beagrie (7) should have started.
  • Rösler (6) Frustration City.
  • Creaney (5) Prove me wrong Gerry. Please!

Ken Foster (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MIDDLESBROUGH, Saturday 23rd September 1995

Maine Road
Attendance: just over 25000
Referee: G. Willard (Worthing)

Manchester City

        Edghill Symons Curle Phelan
    Brown (Beagrie 62) I.Brightwell Lomas
         Kinkladze (Summerbee 71)
            Rösler Creaney
[ UNUSED: Margetson ]


Cox Pearson Vickers Whyte Morris
 Hignett Pollock Mustoe Barmby
[ UNUSED: Whelan Moreno Moore ]

Hey, there’s no doubt. City are going to win this one! Confidence was abundant on the way to the ground. Two-nil. Two-one. What’s your prediction?

  • 2min: Throw-in to City near Boro by-line as ball is adjudged to have rubbed Cox’s chest on the way through (after Rösler had been unable to keep the ball in). Resultant throw passed all the way back to Curle!
  • 6min: Through ball by Brown – Walsh gets there first easily.
  • 9min: Curle loses ball, Fjørtoft through. Lomas chases and then wins a free kick, presumably for Jan’s arm use.
  • 10min: Kinkladze collects bad Boro pass, to Brown to Phelan who comes inside. Terry’s shot is blocked but it falls to Rösler near by-line. Uwe’s cross is deflected gently into Walsh’s arms.
  • 12min: Cox’s cross adjudged out off Fjørtoft – decisions are going City’s way!
  • 14min: Rösler turns marker and crosses ball to far post. Just too high for Creaney.
  • 15min: Hignett sees yellow for taking Kinkladze out whilst in full flight. Free kick: pass to Kinkladze whose shot is deflected for a corner. Another short corner: Kinkladze to Lomas to Kinkladze – cross – Symons header off target.
  • 16min: Ball played from left hand side of City box. Fjørtoft flicks ball back to Hignett who plays ball through to an unmarked Barmby. Nil-One! I was too far away to see if it was offside though I did notice Barmby look for a flag and a lot of City defenders claim. I awaited TV confirmation and it was not conclusive. Ball quote from the paper “Everyone saw it was offside – every man and his dog saw it shouldn’t have been allowed!”
  • 17min: Foul on Lomas. Curle strikes free kick over and wide.
  • 22min: Lomas passes to Creaney who back heels to set up Edghill. Edghill’s cross is too long and Rösler fails to keep it in.
  • 23min: Creaney plays onto Rösler who goes down too easily for me.
  • 24min: Another short corner – Brown to Kinkladze to Brown – shot half blocked rolls to Walsh.
  • 25min: Kinkladze to Edghill – his cross too close to Walsh who claims it in front of Rösler.
  • 26min: Brightwell tackle – passes to Creaney. Rösler slants his run and is very unhappy when Gerry takes it himself – his deflected shot is saved.
  • 27min: Barmby cross easy for Immel. Immediately throws out to Phelan. City break. Edghill’s cross too long again, Creaney keeps it in but then concedes a throw.
  • 30min: Fjørtoft turns and shoots – deflected for a corner. Sloppy defending by City, Barmby unmarked passes to Fjørtoft – his shot curls nicely – hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing up for Pollock(?) to head over.
  • 32min: Edghill booked for shirt pulling.
  • 36min: Uwe surrounded at corner, wins a throw. City then win a corner.
  • 37min: Brown corner too low – knocked out as far as Edghill in a central position. Edghill smacks it one and Walsh tips it over.
  • 38min: Boro free kick in their box but they lose the ball up field to Kinkladze. Kinkladze is fouled by Hignett. Hignett blocks attempt to take free kick quickly and is booked.
  • 40min: Brown turns and shoots over from outside box.
  • 41min: Edghill cross knocked out to Kinkladze – who stumbles a pass to Phelan. Phelan is downed by Pollock. Free kick: Kinkladze pulls back to Brown who hits a soft shot past and over the goal.
  • 43min: Contrived City free kick doesn’t work. Not quite sure what it was meant to convey.
  • 44min: Rösler concedes free kick after challenging Pollock?(number 6).
  • 45min: Lomas takes ball out of defence, passes to Creaney to Brightwell to Edghill to Rösler who is onside. Uwe turns and shoots from a poor angle. Saved!

So to half time. The game had been ok-ish. Yet again City had the majority of the play but less of the real chances.

Half Time Score: Manchester City 0 Middlesbrough 1

  • 47min: Fjørtoft gently lobs ball into box for Barmby who turns inside defender and shoots. Saved at second attempt at near post by Immel in front of a rushing Pollock.
  • 48min: Short City corner, Kinkladze to Brown to Kinkladze. Ball crossed and pumped out to Edghill who loses the ball and then concedes a free kick for tugging.
  • 50min: Lomas plays ball to a speeding Phelan on the wing; his cross is knocked out for a corner by Pollock (number 6).
  • 53min: Phelan run, turns inside and runs across edge of area, passes back to Lomas who sprays shot wide and over.
  • 55min: Edghill upturns Fjørtoft after having been turned near the side line (away from any danger).
  • 57min: Good City build up finished with cross, easy for Walsh.
  • 58min: Phelan crosses – looked like hand ball to me! (Penalty turned down) Ball out and Barmby fouled. In the intermission, ref. goes for a chat with Ball in the dug-out.
  • 60min: Lomas sees yellow for a challenge I didn’t really see.
  • 61min: Whyte booked when he dived in City’s box and protested.
  • 62min: Beagrie on for Brown.
  • 67min: My leg has gone to sleep and that’s probably not all! It wakes up with alarm bells ringing. Cox receives great ball from Fjørtoft on far post. Beagrie is far off – he doesn’t look match fit. Cox tries to bury with his first touch. Volleys past post when he had a free shot and plenty of time.
  • 68min: City cross and hits Vickers’ foot. Ball caught by Walsh on goal line. Unintentional pass back!
  • 69min: With City pressing, Boro break and have a situation with a 6 on 2 advantage. Cross blocked by Symons.
  • 70min: Fjørtoft takes ball and Curle to by-line and gains corner. Three Boro corners later, Lomas nicely plays ball out of defence and plants it long for a Rösler chase. Rösler and defender exchange tugs. Linesman flags. Rösler penalised. Rösler offers shirt to linesman and is booked for dissent. Rösler is told to put his shirt back on by ref. Kinkladze who has been quiet in the second half is substituted for Summerbee.
  • 72min: Barmby plays ball into Fjørtoft. Ball squirms under Immel and into net. Offside, phew!
  • 74min: Corner conceded by Whyte. Rösler not far away from connecting with resultant corner.
  • 75min: Summerbee cross blocked. Resultant corner I think involved a foul on the keeper. Not sure.
  • 77min: Beagrie loses ball to Barmby. Phelan upturned by Cox having prevented the danger.
  • 78min: Brightwell shot well over from just outside area.
  • 80min: Fjørtoft falls over Curle and gains free kick outside City box. Hignett takes and his cross is too long. Goal kick.
  • 82min: Beagrie has two attempts at crosses, both blocked. He has had little joy so far. Summerbee cross blocked for corner. Symons header easy for Walsh from corner.
  • 83min: Beagrie gets his cross in, eventually falls for Summerbee who hits it beautifully but City’s luck determines that it will hit the underside of the bar and be hit to safety by Boro. So, another corner and another header by Symons. It looked a yard past the post to me with Walsh beaten. Walsh furious with defender.
  • 85min: Fjørtoft turns and shoots just inside area skilfully. Immel palms away. Barmby penalised for offside when I didn’t think it was. Perhaps this was a delayed reaction by the linesman of 69 minutes!
  • 87min: Rösler appeals for penalty but it is turned down. Edghill cuts inside and is miles over with ambitious effort.
  • 88min: Beagrie overhead cross – looked like it just needed a touch. Edghill crosses from right side which Walsh gathers easily.
  • 89min: Beagrie crosses again but it is knocked out. Boro break. Fjørtoft plays ball through for Hignett but Immel strikes ball away just outside box. The ball goes straight to Fjørtoft; Jan chips but it is a couple of yards wide with Immel beaten.
  • 90min: Edghill cross but Walsh takes it off Rösler’s head.
  • 91min: Barmby played into corner of six yard box but Immel saves – ball speeds across the face of the net.

Final Score: Manchester City 0 Middlesbrough 1
Goals: Barmby (16)

I’m not quite sure how to describe this feeling. I said I was gutted after the Arsenal match. This is worse. I have seen every home match this season and City shouldn’t have lost one! Probably Everton is the exception but Quinn had that great chance to even the score. City lack communication in the final third. Creaney didn’t look wonderful. Edghill looked woeful. Curle wasn’t great. Phelan and Symons looked good. Rösler is getting few good chances. Summerbee looked good coming on as sub. On reflection, there only looks like two people who can score goals for City. Rösler and Symons!!!

It wasn’t a dirty match. There was about eight cards shown which I think is ridiculous. Woe woe woe. Perhaps I’ll go on holiday soon and City will start winning!

Robert Watson (


SkyText report that Borussia Dortmund are still interested in Uwe Rösler. A move to the German champions would probably be a good career move for Uwe, and given City’s current state and Uwe’s publicly-expressed disappointment at the sale of Paul Walsh, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something come of this.

The Mole


It’s all very well for the manager to offer platitudes in the match programme, but Alan Ball would do well to adopt a more “tell it like it is” approach. Stating that “things are not necessarily as bad as they seem” before your team are out-fought, out-manouevered, out-skilled and generally out-played by recent newcomers from the first division just makes you look stupid and does nothing to endear you to the fans. Equally, attributing City’s abysmal form to a run of “decisions that have gone against us” is ridiculous. OK, Quinn didn’t commit a foul and Arsenal should not have had the free-kick from which they scored; the fact is that they still had to put the ball in the net, which they proceeded to do. And does anyone else remember Wycombe’s DeSouza being booked for diving after Edghill blatantly brought him down in the area, rather than getting a penalty? To say nothing of the disallowed goal Wycombe scored which many a ref. would have allowed. The decisions were certainly going our way that day.

City’s current impression of a lift (this weekends Guardian: what is the difference between Manchester City and a lift? A lift doesn’t take seven months to go down) has nothing to do with decisions and everything to do with atrocious football. The Blues had much of the possession against Middlesbrough and a handful of periods of pressure – the best of which saw us take three corners in quick succession. However, at no point did we look like turning this pressure into goals. I can only remember their keeper making one save all match, from a long-range effort by Edghill. We seemed to lack creativity and any form of attacking incisiveness – a failing that was contrasted by the well-worked goal that Middlesbrough scored in the first half. Defensively we played fairly well, but were made to look pedestrian by Barmby’s goal – and as the match progressed got caught more and more frequently on the counter-attack. Brown made way for Beagrie, who was hailed as the messiah but still doesn’t look fully fit. Summerbee, a late replacement for Kinky, played possibly the best ten minutes he ever has done in a blue shirt, getting round behind defenders, crossing, winning corners, and striking a shot fromn outside the penalty area that smashed onto the cross-bar, down to the goal-line and out again (where are the Russian linesmen when you need one?). In the end, however, City were ineffectual and were lucky to finish the match only a goal down.

I feel that our problems have more to do with a failure to play as a team than with poor individual performances, although we could do with an experienced midfielder to take responsibility and someone to make good forward runs. Nevertheless…

Individual Performances:

Rösler 6
Uwe had a few runs on goal but always with a defender or two athis shoulder – he seems to have lost a bit of pace recently. He wasso disgusted with the linesman indicating he had fouled in one suchsituation that he charged over to the touch-line, ripped his shirtoff and offered it to the man in black. Perhaps I should have givenhim a couple of extra points for artistic merit. He ran well,pulling defenders with him, and never gave up – but didn’t reallyever have a clear-cut chance.
Creaney 3
One or two clever flicks that would have looked good had his team-matesbeen expecting them, but generally a poor performance. Let’shope it was début nerves and that there is much better to come, orBall will have made a terrible mistake in exchanging Walshie for him.
Lomas 4
Got stuck in, showed one or two flashes of skill but still does agood impression of a headless chicken at times.
Brown 4
In patches, looked like a good midfielder, but a bit light-weight andlacking in confidence.
Brightwell 3
I like Ian Brightwell, but he had a stinker – giving the ball awaytoo easily and always passing backwards from his midfield positionthereby putting his defense under pressure and failing to becreative. I think he should be playing right-back instead ofEdghill.
Kinky 5
Nice passes, used the ball fairly well, but needs more quality aroundhim before he can shine and we can know his true potential.
Beagrie 4 (sub. on 75ish minutes)
Greeted like a hero but didn’t supply the qualty of cross that we need. Needs more match fitness.
Summerbee 8 (sub. on 80ish minutes)
If he played like this for ninety minutes every week, he would soonwin over the crowd. Perhaps Ball will be able to get the best fromhim?
Edghill 2
Lamentable. And he got booked again.
Phelan 6
Our best player for much of the game when going forward, but as aconsequence tended to leave a hole behind him.
Symons 6
A good, solid display. Looks like a good buy.
Curle 6
Stong and classy at the back, and ventured forward a number of times -presumably in frustration at the pitiful way those in front of himwere playing. In doing so, he gave his team-mates a lesson inghosting past opponents, but doesn’t know when to release theball and always ran out of space.
Immel 6
Made some very good saves, but marred the performance by kicking theball to Fjørtoft and was lucky not to be chipped.

My apologies if I have missed out any noteworthy incidents but my head spent much of its time in my hands. Things are definitely as bad as they seem, Alan.

Matt Varley (


Another match, no more points, and matches against Forest, Liverpool, the rags and Leeds… looks like 1 point out of a possible 33 at the end of it! So it’s not a case of if we go down but when we go down. Quote of the century has to be AB’s in the match programme… “things aren’t as bad as they first seem” No they’re f***ing worse!

I’m not going to slag AB off (much as I would like to) as it seems as though he’s here to stay. One of the main complaints that myself and several other subscribers have had in the past few weeks is that the effort from the players has been non-existant but I’m happy to say that, with the odd exception, City gave 100% against ‘Boro. However if a team has no tactics the majority of players run around like headless chickens and even if we had the best players in the world we still wouldn’t have won on Saturday. Throughout the whole match I couldn’t work out what City’s pattern of play was supposed to be (and neither could anybody sitting around me).

We must be the only club in England that has two wingers on the bench, who could have opened up the game and given City some width. Summerbee may be playing shit at the moment but he can still get those crosses in, unlike Edghill, and he has more chance of getting through this bad patch by playing first team than playing reserves. In midfield Brightwell made his presence known, although I still have my doubts as to whether he’s a midfielder, and Kinky set up some nice moves, but he still looks shell-shocked as would anybody coming into the present City side. Up front I think Rösler had a good game considering the service he was getting, and at times made some good runs, something which I haven’t seen him make for a while! However both strikers seemed to have no understanding (only to be expected this early in the partnership), but the worrying observation was that both players were always arguing with each other and seemed reluctant to pass the ball to each other! I honestly feel that if we had Walsh we might have got the goals we needed (as well as a linesman that knows when a player is offside!). I have to ask why AB felt fit to sell one of our best players.

So all in all the effort was there but until AB can focus it, we don’t stand much chance of winning a game. At the end of the day we are a very mediocre side in a very good Premiership.

Finally I’ve heard that City are interested in buying Barry Venison… could be just what the doctor ordered.

Adam Houghton (


Just thought that I’d write a few lines to give my personal view of Saturday’s goings on. This was my first match this season and hence was the first time I’d sat in my season ticket seat in block AA of the middle tier of the Kippax. Actually, I ended sitting in my mate’s seat one along towards the North Stand which was a bad move. Although my perspective only changed slightly, this seat brought me into earshot of two dickheads (apologises but I think this describes them to a tee). It took them about three minutes before they were onto Ball: ‘Ball ya wanker’ echoed out every 2 minutes and was only discarded by the appearance of everybody’s favurite pariah… Buzzer. At least I had the satisfaction of them attempting to explain away his excellent shot, difficult when the guy’s so crap! I’m not a man of violence but I was getting thoroughly pissed off with these two tits and will undoubtedly be compelled to have words with them if it continues. This could signal the end of MCIVTA as their combined weight can only be described as significant compared to yours truly; dire consequences could result!

Pardon me but aren’t we City supporters? Isn’t the definition of being a City supporter that we support City? Highly illogical thinking I know, but there you have it! Who needs an away allocation; we’ve got our own very vociferous one in the Kippax. Whatever we think about the player/manager/chairman it’s our job to get behind them on matchday (IMHO)!

On to the match. I thought City played some good football and easily deserved to win 2-0. The midfield seemed to be working at last (the attack not) and Lomas was much better, plenty of commitment and worked hard to find Kinky. Kinky looked very good but was anonymous in the second half and was justifiably substituted. Middlesbrough were painfully average (excepting Barmby) and must be relegation candidates; why the hell did he sign for them? Of course we should have beaten them but we didn’t; our luck is out and this was illustrated perfectly as Buzzer’s excellent shot hit the bar and bounced out after 90 minutes (plus the suspicion of offside with their goal). Several players were booked, almost all (Edghill excepted) for nothing, this was a very clean game.

Immel (7)
No chance with the goal and had only one other save to make really.
Edghill (5)
Looked OK going forward but again made a rash challenge. Hisdistribution is a joke. Where is Foster?
Phelan (8)
Great going forward and has got it back defensively as well. Iwas all for selling him but he now looks a much different player than lastseason.
Symons (7)
Solid performance and some hard challenges; bargain buy.
Curle (6)
Little dodgy but to his credit this was more pushing forward toget the equaliser.
Lomas (8.5)
Loads of commitment, looked like his old self.
Brown (5)
Brightwell (5)
Kinky (8; first half, 4; second half)
Great skill and vision, looked sheer class but seemed to forget that you need the ball to shine in the second half.
Rösler (6)
Tried hard but never seemed to be making the runs at the right time.
Creaney (4)
Fell over a lot and looked ineffective.
Beagrie (7)
Beat his man (men) as usual but his crossing was poor.
Summerbee (8)
New player at the club, beat his man several times, lookedcommitted and rattled a cracking shot against the woodwork; we must buyhim!

Overall, good display up to the box, very unlucky.



My first visit to Maine Road this season and I was highly impressed with the view from the Upper Kippax stand. Such a stand allows you to look at the strategy and positioning of the teams etc. Quite frankly City did not have any. It is a big thing to say but I think I am honest in saying that this was the worst City performance that I have ever seen in over 20 years of watching the Blues. This includes a number of very bad games (even when we got beat by Stretford last year our attitude and performance was better).

The local press and other papers saw a number of positive points in City’s play but I disagreed with them totally. There is no confidence in the side and I have seen each player perform twice as well as Saturday. I could not believe it when, for example, Lomas was quite happy to settle for a corner rather than run in on goal (albeit at an acute angle). Myself and a number of people around me saw that as one of the worst pieces of ‘football’ that I have seen for a long time.

I was extremely disappointed with the game. I know that we can (and will) do better – it’s all a question of time. We cannot ‘afford’ to sell Flitcroft or Rösler – we need to add, and if that involves taking out a £3-4m loan that so be it.

Bally looked distraught after the match and I don’t blame him. With the way we are playing we may find ourselves getting really murdered by more than one of the next 4 teams we are facing.

However, City are addictive and for some strange reason I bought 2 tickets (£17.00 each!) for the Forest game.

Am I mad?

Martin Reynolds (


Houston, we have a problem!

Fortunately for whoever was cast adrift in Apollo 13, Alan Ball wasn’t in charge of the rescue mission.

Saturday’s performance against Middlesbrough was another catalogue of incompetence. The back five didn’t do too badly. Their goal looked offside – even from the North Stand end of the Kippax, but the rest of them were appalling.


Rösler is badly out of sorts. Is he fit? Does he think he’s better than he actually is? He made his mark (no pun intended!) by giving 100% in every game and being a more mobile front man than Niall Quinn. I know his favoured striking partner has gone but that’s no excuse for what appears to be apathy. Perhaps AB’s ranting and raving has upset him?


So he’s finally been dropped and it’s all down to the fans. There has never been a more popular signing in living memory than Summerbee junior. The fact that the fans are on his back is solely down to the fact that he’s an A1 gutless bastard. If hide and seek was an Olympic sport he would win a gold medal for hiding every time! I’ve seen four matches so far this season where I’ve had a very clear view of the way he hides behind the opposing full back. Edghill’s distribution is pretty bad at the best of times, but he’s not helped by having the invisible man in front of him.


Is someone having a good laugh at our expense with this one?


I can only echo Paul Howarth’s remarks about money. Where has the money come from to sign all the recent acquisitions and build a new stand? It certainly isn’t funded by ticket sales or souvenir shop receipts.

Ball has bought four players already. Horton bought Summerbee, Kernaghan, Griffiths, Walsh, Rösler and Beagrie. Gaudino cost a fair amount of money while on loan. Reid and Kendall bought Phelan for about £1.5 million more than he was worth, Curle, Quinn, Simpson, Pointon, Ward, Clarke, Holden, Coton, Vonk, Hill, McMahon and probably others. There has never been a shortage of money for transfers. It’s debatable whether the money has been well spent.

Moaning and whingeing

No-one has a divine right to success – not even the lepers from the swamp. It’s obvious that players won’t improve their performances when their constantly criticised by the fans. Sure, we pay our money so we’re entitled to an opinion, but at the end of the day it’s not very productive.

AB might be a tosser as a manager with no record of success anywhere. However, he’s right when he says that there is no pride in the team. We could have told Brian Horton that couldn’t we? If he’d noticed it, he might still have a job on this side of the Pennines. The difference between the good teams in the Premiership and the dross isn’t the ability of the players – it’s down to pride, confidence and tactics. Ball can’t install pride, but he can build confidence and he decides the tactics (not too well so far). All the moaning and griping just gives him an easy option – it’s all down to the fans!

The performances of the reserves in the last few years have been appalling. This is another manifestation of the “no pride” syndrome. How a team of players with Premiership aspirations can turn in such crap results against the likes of Grimsby and Rotherham reserves is beyond belief. It’s good to see that the reserves have started winning this year. Perhaps the message is getting through to someone?


On the box last Wednesday Elton Wellbiased suggested that City could part with Flitcroft and Rösler to raise £10 million. Who could we replace them with? I saw Andy Booth play for Huddersfield recently and he’s going to be a top player. He’s an England U-21 international already – from Division 2. He’s strong in the air, quicker than anyone at Maine Road (maybe with the exception of Curle and Phelan), aggressive and extremely hard to knock off the ball. The going rate seems to be £3 million. It might seem heretical to suggest selling Rösler, but if the money’s right, why not? Having seen Creaney’s home début, £3 million would be an absolute bargain if Creaney’s worth £400K and Paul Walsh.

As for Flitcroft, he seems to be going backwards in terms of his development. He’s yet to play a killer pass this season and seems to be quite content going anywhere but towards the opposing goal. A replacement isn’t too obvious. I would have liked to see Draper at Maine Road, Matt Holmes is also the type of midfielder in over abundance at Ewood Park but sadly lacking at the Academy. Both have moved and are no longer available. I’m pretty sure that Nigel Clough isn’t the answer. Tony Henry at Oldham is a good scrapper, but we need something more constructive. Lee Makel is, apparently, on weekly terms at Ewood. Anyone fancy the oversized Dane from Anfield? Apparently City scouts checked him out on his loan début for Barnsley.

Final thought

I was tuning in a new TV to a video at the weekend. To check everything was working I put in the Bell, Lee and Summerbee video and the first thing on the tape was an interview with Joe Mercer, recorded at the end of the sixties. He was asked about City’s success and he said “We do simple things but we do them quickly. We are also extremely fit.” Today’s team could learn from that.

Roger Haigh (


Some of you may have already noticed that the headers on recent MCIVTAs have changed. Firstly, they no longer include the addresses of all the people on that particular section of the mailing list and secondly they originate from a new address. This is because Paul has set up a semi-automated mailer for MCIVTA. Instead of me having to send out the mail to everyone on the list and also having to process the updated lists from Adam, all I have to do now is mail a particular MCIVTA issue to the address that Paul has set up and this machine will then redirect it to all people currently on the mailing list. This naturally saves me (and Adam) time and money (on-line time).

What this means for you lot out there is that the mail is not coming directly from me, so to submit an article to MCIVTA it should be mailed to me directly and not sent using the ‘reply’ function of your mailer. Inevitably this will happen from time to time, a situation which has already been envisaged by Paul. The mail program is in fact capable of identifying such mail and redirecting it to me but it is however, not intended that it functions in this way, merely that it fields the occasional submissions which have been sent to it by error. Clear as mud? Good.

So, all MCIVTA articles should come to me and the subscriptions should continue to go to Adam. In addition to fielding misdirected mail, the mail program can also send bounced mail messages to Adam and also allows Adam to update the mailing list automatically. Paul has done a great job in writing this program and setting the whole thing up so, many thanks to him (and Svenn for helping with the testing, plus others, you know who you are!).

Finally, Adam has been away for two weeks on holiday so there has been a backlog of subscriptions etc, so, if you know someone who’s been trying unsuccessfully to subscribe then all should be OK by now.

MCIVTA is at:




There has been an attempt by both the Gutter Press and to a certain extent BBC Radio 5 to try to artificially create a bigger crisis at Maine Road. They have been suggesting that the fans’ patience will not last much longer. They have pointed out what happened to Swales and Horton etc… I don’t think they can pressurise anything on the City fans who are (by a vast majority) right behind the manager and chairman. As last year’s fan on the board Dave Wallace said “AB would soon know about it if the fans had turned against him.” You’re always going to get a few jokers shouting for blood after a few defeats. How can the fans’ loyalty be questioned after we have endured the following with a smile on our faces:

  1. AB blaming the ref. for our defeat at Newcastle (they should have had 5 before Edghill was sent off).
  2. He was apparently annoyed when the City fans started shouting “Ey Ay Adio, we’ve had a shot” after Summerbee’s late effort at Wycombe. Where’s your sense of humour Bally?
  3. He bought Gerry Creaney.
  4. He is considering listening to offers for our best players.
  5. He used to wear white boots in his playing days.

You may be forgiven for thinking these points were enough to cause outrage amongst City fans. But no, we are still right behind him. There are so many good points that outweigh these trivial matters though:

  1. He has bought Kinky and Kit.
  2. Says he is desperate to make City a successful team again.
  3. Told Radio 5’s Eleanor Oldroyd that she was a very silly young lady.
  4. Blamed the ref. for the Arsenal defeat (spot on with that one).
  5. Used to have a garage in Blackley.
  6. Ran on the pitch to blame the ref. for the Middlesbrough defeat (Sorry that’s not true but I couldn’t think of another point).

I can reveal to Bally that the reason we are losing our matches is that there is a curse on Maine Road. Not only are we getting the wierdest refereeing decisions in the Premier League, but also last week 3 of our stalwarts went down with serious illnesses. Stan Gibson (groundsman) was taken to hospital with a minor stroke (this happened as he was working on the hallowed turf!). Tony Book got a severely infected toe and was taken into the local BUPA hospital and so missed the Newcastle trip. More worryingly, John Clay our P.R.O. was rushed in with a brain haemorrhage. The good news is that all 3 are on the mend although Clay’s condition is still a worry.

The only way to exorcise this curse would be for City fans to turn up at the ground in large numbers when there is no game on. This situation could arise for instance if Man Utd. (generous souls) were to allocate us no tickets for the derby match and the only way to watch the game would be to erect giant screens at Maine Road for the purpose of letting some of our fans see the action. The exorcism would only be fully accomplished, however, by remaining in the ground until City win the match in question and leave only after the final whistle has blown (the ground was half empty with 10-15 minutes to go against Middlesbrough).

Ken Foster (


I did mention in appealing for donations that MCIVTA would be constrained to a certain extent by the fact that I will only be able to put it together in the evening. What I intend to do is mail issues on Monday and Thursday evenings which will then be read on Tuesdays and Fridays, respectively. What this means is that match reports really need to be with me (if possible, grovel, grovel!) by Monday evening otherwise they are not going to be read until Friday, which is rather late. In some ways this is a retrograde step but is really an unavoidable consequence of the growth in the numbers of people on the list.

Now 418!!!



While I was in the “city of dreams” over the summer I had the pleasure, or pain, of getting to see City on 2 occasions. The 1st was one was the home fixture against Everton. Obviously after the season’s first few games I wasn’t too optimistic, but with it being my first fixture of the season my expectations began to rise as I made my way into the Platt Lane, sorry the sodding Umbro Stand. Anyway, as the game progressed my thoughts drifted back to the corresponding fixture last season. That game ended up with a pretty impressive result for us; at the end of it I remember thinking: good result, good goals but we are not as good as the result makes us look and, yes it’s easier with hindsight, I think we’re going to struggle. Well after this year’s game I thought: bad goals, bad result and this time we’re not just going to stuggle but we are going down – of that I’m pretty certain. During that game it was obvious by various incidents that the Everton fans had joined the ever growing number of groups of away fans who have a joke out of City’s dealing with away fans. When will we have a home game when there aren’t away fans sprinkled around the ground! To make it worse there was the usual collection of away fans in the boxes above the Umbro stand, who decided that we might like some of the food they’d been kindly supplied with! When this happens in this stand there isn’t much we can do, but here’s a warning. If similar incidents happen around the new Kippax boxes then there will be trouble as they can be easily entered from the general stand.

Bringing up the Kippax moves me onto my second source of depression. The 2nd game I went to was the Arsenal game; this time I was to be in the new Kippax – why did it take us so long to build a new stand when Celtic can build a marvellous new 26,000 stand in half the time and even worse Middlesbrough(?) can build a whole ground! Even worse, ours isn’t even finished – no catering, no ceiling inside the stand (all the pipework etc. is clearly visible), and finally is it only me or will the underside of the main roof of the stand always look unfinished until they cover up the steel work?

Anyway this message (essay) is getting far too long and depressing. Is it just me that finds these things so infuriating and thinks that really nothing changes from “Swales’ time” (not that I’d ever want him back !!)

Andy Brown (


As I sit here Sunday morning after the Middlesbrough horror which has led to the record books being rewritten as far as City’s worse run, I ponder over the future for the Blues.

Over the weekend some guy on BBC2 was talking about sport on TV and about Sky TV pinching everything. For Coronation Street fans Sky have just made a bid for the soap. No thanks to Murdoch and his Sky TV I believe sport in general and in particular Premier League soccer is being ruined. The division is one of the “have and have nots” i.e. those who have a wealthy sugar daddy and those who don’t. Unfortunately City either have in FL a not so wealthy sugar daddy or one who is too shrewd to plough in the £50 million required to put us within the top 6.

One could predict the top and bottom half of the Premier league easily without a degree in fantasy football. Already the predictable plodders are at the bottom (except perhaps Blackburn who after yesterday’s 5-1 result will soon be in the top half).

What is the answer for City? Relegation did Newcastle some good – another big club that was in the slumbers for so long. I believe that relegation this season would be the end of City for ever as a “big club”, the reason being that once down we are not going to get some benefactor to buy success for us and the chance of us bringing the nucleus of a brilliant team from the youngsters is equally remote. I remember all the oohs and ahhs when we had Tommy Caton, Nicky Reid etc. or at the Rags’ Fergies Fledglings – a young team will not have success without a balance of experience. If we are to stay in the Premiership we will be fighting to the wire more than last season.

Face it, every season will be like this until Rags, Liverpool, Newcastle, Arsenal, Everton & Blackburn (maybe Spurs) are all invited off to join a European super league exclusively on Sky. Then we’ll be relegated to the Endsleigh league which by then will be a second rate / part time league thanks to some Brussels lawyer.

I do not wish to appear a cynic but if City are to be a big club now is the time to poach Dalglish and give him an open cheque book. We cannot wait any longer as football in this country is very soon going to change for ever and not for the better. Please, please Franny Lee either put your hand in your pocket or admit there is nothing there so we can find someone to pump the club with money. For those who say you can’t build with money you are right but a handful of managers can and Dalglish is the one.

Daniel Berger (


A request from Shaggy…

I’d just like to remind everybody that we’re nearly at the end of September and I’d like a vote on player of the month from each of your mailing lists. Voting will start on Monday 2 October and end on Friday 6 October so remind your mailing lists now. You can vote for any player other than those who play for your own team.

For anyone who hasn’t already seen it, the results of last month’s vote along with a summary of August are contained within my Premiership FAQ pages in a file called aug.htm.

The address of the pages themselves is


If anybody would like to vote, mail me and I’ll pass the name of the player with the most votes on to Shaggy on behalf of MCIVTA subscribers.

Paul Howarth (


Sep 23, 1995   Arsenal         - Southampton      4 - 2
               Aston_Villa     - Nottingham       1 - 1
               Blackburn       - Coventry         5 - 1
               Liverpool       - Bolton           5 - 2
               Manchester_C    - Middlesbrough    0 - 1
               Sheffield_W     - Manchester_U     0 - 0
               West_Ham        - Everton          2 - 1
               Wimbledon       - Leeds            2 - 4
Sep 24, 1995   Newcastle       - Chelsea          2 - 0

Total Sep 24, 1995

 1. Newcastle        7     6   0   1    14  -   3    18
 2. Manchester_U     7     5   1   1    14  -   8    16
 3. Liverpool        7     5   0   2    13  -   5    15
 4. Arsenal          7     4   3   0    10  -   4    15
 5. Aston_Villa      7     4   2   1     9  -   5    14
 6. Leeds            7     4   1   2    12  -   9    13
 7. Middlesbrough    7     3   3   1     7  -   4    12
 8. Nottingham       7     2   5   0    11  -   9    11
 9. Wimbledon        7     3   1   3    12  -  13    10
10. Chelsea          7     2   3   2     8  -   7     9
11. Tottenham        6     2   2   2     8  -   8     8
12. Sheffield_W      7     2   2   3     8  -   9     8
13. Blackburn        7     2   1   4    10  -  11     7
14. Everton          7     2   1   4     9  -  10     7
15. Queen's_PR       6     2   0   4     4  -   9     6
16. Coventry         7     1   3   3     7  -  14     6
17. West_Ham         7     1   2   4     7  -  11     5
18. Southampton      7     1   2   4     7  -  14     5
19. Bolton           7     1   1   5     8  -  17     4
20. Manchester_C     7     0   1   6     3  -  11     1

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Andy, Ken, Dan, Matt, Andy, Paul, Robert, Martin, The Mole & Roger.

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 #129