Newsletter #131

What next I wonder? If anyone had said that we’d end up with 1 point from 24 then I’d have taken a bet with the most lucrative odds against. It’s difficult to see where we go from here though banging some goals in against third rate opposition this week would be a start. New manager, new players, decent team on paper and we’re in a worse position than ever, seemingly. I for one have no idea what to do and I’m bloody glad I’m not the one who is responsible for doing something about it. I was pro Ball and still am though I do find it worrying that Uwe has gone on record saying that not even Ferdinand could score with the system which Ball wants them to adhere to!

We’ve a couple of match reports from which the correspondents draw some encouragement. There’s also a nice article on the Platt Lane complex and the first of a series (hopefully) of ‘Dear Mr….’ letters from Paul Kent! Let’s at least hope we can do the business against Wycombe. If anyone fancies a natter at half time then I’ll probably be around Kippax AA Upper, Row 37, Seat 21 wearing the limited edition MCIVTA T-shirt! 8-))

Anyone fancy doing a Why Blue or are you all too depressed?

Next game: CCCup (2nd rnd, 2nd leg) Wycombe Wanderers at home, Wednesday 4th October 1995.


NOTTINGHAM FOREST vs.MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 30th September 1995

“Wycombe, Wycombe, You Are Next!”

Nobody really expected us to get anything here, including the Forest mascot who confidently predicted a 3-0 home win. “That sounds quite reasonable,” said his interviewer. City returned a sizeable number of unsold tickets for this game, hardly surprising given City’s current form and the £17.00 price tag for seats in the lower tier of the Bridgeford Stand, opposite the new Trent End.

City started well enough, keeping possession well and taking the game to their hosts who in turn looked quite useful on the break. It was Forest who opened the scoring on 10 minutes when City failed to clear a ball 6 yards out after Immel had saved well. Jason Lee reacted first and slid the ball home underneath Immel. City’s heads dropped for a while and we looked very edgy at the back. Symons and Immel misunderstood each other and ended up giving a corner away when there should have been no danger; fortunately nothing came of it.

Brian Roy’s pace, control and off the ball running was excellent and he was a constant menace to the Blues. A foul on Roy by Brightwell on 40 minutes resulted in him being the 6th or 7th name in the ridiculously-fussy referee’s book and this was by no means a dirty match. Tackling seemed to be prohibited and within a minute Brightwell got himself sent off by kicking the ball away after another decision went against us. Lee had been booked earlier for a similar offence so there could be no complaints about inconsistency.

Kinky was looking good, controlling the midfield for us and really getting involved. Beagrie got plenty of service out wide but failed to get any decent crosses in so chances for Rösler and Creaney were few and far between. Overall though, not a bad first half performance.

Forest doubled their lead straight after the restart, Lee pouncing on another rebound from a blocked shot after a corner. The home fans started singing “who needs Collymore when we’ve got Jason Lee” but I bet they’d swap in an instant if they had the chance. For the next few minutes Forest looked like they’d run riot but City buckled down and tried to pull themselves back into the game. For the next 30 minutes City’s 10 men took the game to Forest and created a few chances, the best of which fell to Summerbee (on for Creaney) who crashed a shot against the post after good work by Rösler down the right flank. In this form, Summerbee should soon be back in the starting line-up and it’s quite possible that Creaney will take his place as the target for the boo-boys’ attention.

Forest looked to exploit the space left by Brightwell in City’s defence on the break and went on to score a third goal with an excellent passing move which tore through City, culminating in a neat one-two finished off by Steve Stone from 12 yards. This was pretty harsh on City, who had put in a much-improved performance, though still nowhere near good enough to compete with a side of Forest’s class. Most of the travelling Blues sat in resigned silence through much of the game but there was a small group in the corner that kept singing throughout, sometimes getting behind the team, sometimes sarcastic and occasionally IMHO a little over the top. I thought that chanting “We’re s**t and we know we are” whilst the lads were battling away and playing better than usual couldn’t possibly do anybody any good apart from our opponents.

So, a record seventh straight defeat, bottom of the league with only 1 point from 8 games and our heaviest defeat of the season so far, yet I didn’t feel too bad. Maybe I’m already resigned to our fate? There were encouraging signs in this game; we weren’t as bad as most of the press said and we at least had some chances to miss in this game. Take heart, we’re not down yet.

Final score: Forest 3 City 0

Paul Howarth (


NOTTINGHAM FOREST vs.MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 30th September 1995


A great crowd from both sides turned up to watch what should of been an equal sided game. The score flattered Forest and the worst performance of the day was the ref’s first half performance. I am biased. However, 9 yellow cards and a red (all but one came in the first half I think) was a disgraceful show from a ref in a game that was anything but dirty. The ref did ruin it when he sent Brightwell off after half an hour – from then on it was no contest. The ref was oversensitive and the City fans were well in order to complain.

City played twice as well as last Saturday (if you read my report you will know they couldn’t have got worse). Positive points were the improvement in attitude – even when 2 down we kept on attacking and even had shots at goal! Summerbee played very well when he came on – playing against Pearce, he got round him many times and produced quality crosses. Hopefully this will start to end the criticism he has been having (of which I myself can plead guilty). The guy has ability but needs confidence – this is where us fans can help – get behind him not against him – at least during the game.

Negative points were that we gave the ref opportunities to hand out cards. Even though the guy on Saturday was a nutter, we still have the worst disciplinary record in the league (source: Forest programme). Additionally, until Summerbee came on we had no right wing. This meant all our attacks were funnelled via Bearie which was both predictable and partly futile as Beagrie was not having a great game. We must have two wings in operation to spread the play and to keep our options open.

The crowd were great. There is a crazy sense of humour around at the moment. When we were taunting the Forest fans – “Where were you when you were sh*t” – we quickly turned this into “Where were we when we were shi*t”.

We applauded the team off the field.

Next week it’s the Rags. I am nervous when watching this live but having to listen to it on the radio will be unbearable. Here’s hoping!

Martin Reynolds (


The Forest game showed up the deficiencies in our team. One is that we are completely lacking in ideas. We never had a quick break all game! We were slow in attack, there was no movement off the ball and every move went through Kinky. The last one would not be bad if it wasn’t for the fact that every move went through him two or three times! We need to vastly improve our attacking play if we are to do anything.

One improvement would be a bit of pace in our attack. This is an obvious problem. Watching Liverpool against the Rags an Sunday showed that there is a place for the slow, patient buildup but not as the first and only option. Liverpool slow things down only when a quick attack is not going to work.

Defensively we are not as bad as results suggest but a ball winner in midfield would improve things. The loss of Brightwell to a card-happy ref was a blow but we seemed to cope fairly well with this loss and Symons had a good game. Curle, though, was constantly losing Roy.

Individually, the only players to come out of this with credit were, IMHO, Kinky and Summerbee. Kinky was at the heart of every attack and was let down badly by a lack of movement ahead of him. Summerbee replaced Creaney after 52 minutes and actually played quite well. He attacked his defender and got some decent crosses in. He’s played a lot better this year IMHO. He actually gave us a decent option on the flanks as Beagrie had a poor game.

Overall, AB needs to work on the pace of our attacks and to get some movement from our players. A ball winner in midfield and someone with pace (either winger or midfielder) need to be found. Other than that our main problem is confidence and with M*n U*d, Liverpool and Leeds to come, a good win against Wycombe is essential.

David Lamb (


From the Independent (Monday 2nd October 1995):


…the Birmingham referee, whose free use of his yellow and red cards at the Nottingham Forest vs. Manchester City game made a mild mannered occasion look like a bloodbath. His performance showed up yet again what seems to be an alarming variance in standards among Premier League referees this season.

I was listening to the match on Piccadilly Gold and it was very apparent that he had decided to keep his cards in his pocket in the 2nd half, booking only Curle for what the commentator claimed to be the only challenge worthy of a card the whole game. On Sunday, I watched a little bit of the Inter vs. Napoli game on Channel 4 and it appeared that you could get away with any tackle almost without a booking. If these are FA specific directives to referees following last year’s various incidents, then what is the point if UEFA does not propagate them?

Robert Watson (


Just came across the ClubCall WWW page, URL which included this bit of tittle-tattle:


Manchester City have been much in the news recently as the newspapers continue to suggest that crowd favourite Uwe Rösler will leave Maine Road. The City fans would be outraged by any sale of the German international but under-fire manager Alan Ball is apparently keen to rebuild the side and he needs cash to do that.

Rösler reportedly interests Everton and a host of Bundesliga clubs but surely City would demand a massive fee for their super striker. Dean Saunders was mentioned as a likely replacement but Galatasary have said they are reluctant to sell the Welsh forward because he has made a good start to his new career in Turkey.

Now Wimbledon ace Dean Holdsworth is rumoured to head Ball’s list of possible targets. Everton are also in the hunt for Holdsworth but Wimbledon have slapped a massive price tag on his head, claiming he will not leave for less than £6 million. That sort of fee could deter City and delay any move for Rösler.

The club are also furious with the latest Nike advertisement which features returning hero Eric Cantona “apologising” for only scoring once in the 5-0 demolition derby last season. City hope the offending piece will be cut and it should certainly fire them up for next week’s derby encounter.

City faced a crunch match with Nottingham Forest and disappointed once again to remain rooted to the foot of the table. Jason Lee scored twice and Steve Stone added a third for the hosts as they cruised past a City side reduced to ten men by the dismissal of Ian Brightwell. All is revealed on City Clubcall.

Paul Howarth (


A quick flick through the record books at the weekend failed to reveal seven successive defeats for the Blues in past seasons. Can anyone find a longer losing sequence?

At the start of 1980/81 season the Blues had four points from 36 after 12 matches. They finished twelfth and were runners up in the Cup. The only difference was that Malcolm Alison was at the end of his second spell at Maine Road while Alan Ball is starting his managership. Ball can console himself with the fact that things can’t get worse!

Apparently the Rags hold the record for the worst start to a season with twelve losses round about 1930.

Roger Haigh (


The “David Bradbury” referred to in MCIVTA 130 is not me. I look nothing like Garry Flitcroft for a start. The only thing I write for is Electric Blue (the fanzine not the porno mag!!!)

I agree with what somebody said about getting some Georgian players; Eastern Europe is full of good players at the moment. Recent results in Europe 😉 show that British football is lagging behind the rest of Europe and this gap is getting bigger. That’s where we should look for new players.

Dave Bradbury (


Those subscribers unlucky enough not to be able to get to the ground, or even those who do, might be interested in developments at the Platt Lane Training Complex.

I went to live on Platt Lane in 1932, when the present City Training Complex, or at least part of it, belonged to the Manchester Police Athletic Club. The high privet hedge has been replaced with wire mesh and the entrance moved from Platt Lane to Yew Tree Road. Wednesday afternoon was always the time for the Police team to play – one of the stars was an old City player Jimmy Heale. I can remember him now pulling down a cross from the wing and smashing in a thirty yard goal, all seemingly in one movement! During the years a frequent visitor, when on leave, was the great Frank Swift. I wonder if any other supporters, when they talk about Uwe’s father bombing the swamp, realise that one of his mates also bombed our present training ground. High explosives landed in the middle of the playing area and also destroyed two houses on Yew Tree Road adjacent to the car park. Dozens of incendiary bombs dotted the whole area.

In 1979 The Police Athletic Club move to Hough End and City bought the old ground. Up until then City had trained at Cheadle Rovers’ ground which was a 12 mile round trip; it didn’t seem to interfere with the “Glory Years” though!

Since 1979 the complex has been greatly expanded to cover an area of around twenty acres which is about the size of ten soccer pitches. The complex is used for “A” and “B” Lancashire League fixtures on Saturday mornings but no matter how much sand is put down and how many drainage channels are dug the pitches are notoriously prone to resembling Lake Windermere whenever we get more than a shower. There are two all weather pitches, one half size and the other full size, neither of which are used by City themselves for the regular morning training, but are used by the local community most days after 4 p.m. and often late into the evening under floodlight.

The first team squad train on the grass pitch away from the road and the car park. Having watched a fair number of training sessions I am quite impressed with the approach of Alan ball and Asa Hartford – well organised and structured. Poor old “Kinky” must learn some English though; he’s excused press ups when he doesn’t know stop/go, right/left or black/white.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the complex is the new facilities area which is a modern, pleasant building where the old one used to stand. Now two stories high it contains physio treatment rooms, changing rooms, offices, toilets, large entrance area and two first floor rooms which will contain bar and restaurant areas. It will be open to the local community after 4 p.m. and hopefully to relay closed circuit TV of away fixtures.

Application has been made for a new Astrodome to be built over the former bowling green. This will provide two 7-a-side pitches for soccer and also an indoor bowling green and spectator area.

On match days there is parking for around 300 cars at 3 pounds a time. Part of this area has been tarmacadamed and numbered for parking season ticket holders. The remainder of the surface is hoped to be done later this season. The restaurant is also supposed to be open after matches once it has been fully equipped.

City, along with Manchester Corporation, are to be congratulated on providing such an excellent sporting facility for people in the community. It has been funded mutually and deservedly must rank as one of the best training areas of any club in this country. Steve Fleet who is a former City Keeper is the manager of the complex and he is assisted by Paul Eddleston who is usually to be seen on match afternoons supervising the car parking arrangements.

Last season Jimmy Heale was one of the former players presented to the crowd before a home match. I wonder if he still remembers pulling down a cross from the wing and crashing in a thirty yard goal, all seemingly in one movement, but that was where I came in …

Brian Wood, c/o Neale Hayward-Shott (


I am one of your disciples. Not actually out of choice but because my supplier of Saturday afternoon entertainment, one Francis Lee, decided for me that you were the right person to get my heart beating, my hands clapping and my backside warm from leaping out of that expensive blue seat at all the goals we are going to score.

Now I am not one to instantly criticise unlike many of my close compatriots, more of them in a later letter, but let’s face it: You do not have the ready smile of a Joe Mercer. You do not have the swagger of a Malcolm Allison. You do not have the absolute effrontery of a John Bond, the trickery of a Howard Kendall, the poppy eyed sincerity of a Brian Horton, the drinking capacity of Billy McNeill. In fact what do you have going for you?

Well there is that squeaky voice. The rumour is that you picked up that particular attribute when turning up as a younger member of Alf Ramsey’s squad. You were taken aside in the showers by a fairly mature Jack Charlton. Jack then explained to you that football was a man’s game and then deposited his knee in your groin. Real footballers don’t have red hair, and god forbid, white boots.

Ah! Jack Charlton. Now there was a footballer. All the grace of an Orangutang, his arms and legs flailing as he deposited another ambitious forward to the Elland Road turf. He and Norman represented everything that we came to know and hate of the Revie era. What would we give now for a Charlton and Hunter back-pairing? I can still actually remember the day when Jack Charlton came up against Mike Doyle in one of those exhilarating 1-1 draws that Leeds seemed to specialise in away from home… Can you remember who came off worst?

But to present day matters.

Now Alan, this is not an auspicious start is it? What I need from you, speaking as a disciple, is a sense of direction. I want to know what you are asking the players to do. What it is that you visualise as a football team playing well, and to your orders.

From what I have seen thus far it seems to be a “get out there and do your best” situation. These people need more than that. Terry needs to know whether he should or shouldn’t go forward, and if he does, what he should do with the ball when he gets there.

I am not a subscriber to the school that says the manager picks the team and then it is down to the players on the day to make it happen.

Obviously without decent players then there is not much you can do, but you don’t actually have a bad bunch. Certainly they are no worse than what Brian Robson has to work with, but Middlesbrough obviously have a different sense of purpose and destiny and believe they have places to go and things to prove.

You can see the effect that Glenn is having on Chelsea, Kevin is having on Newcastle, Joe is having on Everton. Gerry on Spurs. I don’t want to support a faceless football team (like Leeds or Sheffield or West Ham). I want some flair and direction to follow and get me out of my seat.

What I need from you is to drill into the team your expectations. I think Peter Reid was great at this. Unfortunately his view of good football and mine differ significantly, but we were a hell of a difficult team to beat in his day.

Peter’s view was that football was all about tackling. And boy did we tackle. I think that Steve McMahon, god bless him, has/had a sliding tackle with the longest entry trajectory in English football. If you saw Steve drop his shoulders within twenty yards of you, you got rid quickly. You still got tackled but that’s the fun of the chase.

So what is your view Alan? How do you see your perfect team playing? Will it be a team with guile and energy? Will it be a team with flair and style? Or will it be a team in the Endsleigh League? I need to know quickly as my diary for next season is filling up and I’d like to get my priorities sorted.

Your Fan (at the moment)
Paul Kent.
Row L Seat 14
B Block…

Paul Kent (


Imagine my surprise on entering Manchester International Airport’s brand spanking new Terminal 2 when I was confronted by yet another example of the Rags’ plans for world domination. The lounge bar is titled ‘Busby’s Bar’, subtitled ‘Sporting Heroes’. At first I thought this was all in very bad taste, you know, the Busby Babes and airports but obviously the PR men at the Swamp overlooked this connection in their dash for the big bucks. Somehow, the management at MIA think it perfectly normal to convey the impression that MUPLC is the only team in Manchester. All was not lost however, as the barman who smiled politely when I asked him where the ‘Mercer Bar’ was, turned out to be a Kippax season ticket holder! Apparently, they have to wear a sports shirt as part of the job and he’s frequently seen serving in his City top.

Similar contributions always welcome! – Ashley


I’m writing to say that I fully agree with what Mike Maddox had to say in MCIVTA 130. City have displayed a staggering inability to do even the basics of pass-and-move this season. When somebody plays a sideways or even, shock-horror, a backwards pass, there are inevitably sighs and moans from the crowd; one man who sits near me regularly yells “forward!” when this happens. Do these people not realise that a ball played forward when there is nobody in a position to receive it is simply a ball to the opposition? It’s very difficult for the opposition to score if they don’t have the ball. Just watch any top side (particularly in European competition) and you’ll not see them giving the ball away with aimless punts upfield. It might not be as exciting to watch as “English” football but surely a more patient approach which brings results is to be preferred?

How often can you remember City scoring from a ball played upfield for a striker to chase? It’s not very often is it? Far more goals come from accurate passing to players moving into space, be this through the middle or down the flanks. If such a pass isn’t on, we should keep the ball until such time as it is, rather than hitting and hoping. Kinky always looks to play the good pass; the fact that he so rarely plays one is more a reflection of the lack of movement around and in front of him than on his ability, which in my mind at least, is not in doubt.

I’d like to see us playing with more width going forward too i.e. regularly playing at least one winger. Unfortunately, Summerbee’s form hasn’t been good this season (until very recently at least) and Beagrie isn’t yet fit (he shouldn’t even have been on the bench against Middlesbrough IMO). Why not play Scott Thomas? He’s enthusiastic and not afraid to take people on. Since all three of our goals so far this season have come from crosses and we’re all aware that out strikers’ main strengths are attacking the ball in front of them rather than having to hold the ball up whilst waiting for support, this has got to be something worth trying.

Paul Howarth (


I went to watch Luton vs. Portsmouth yesterday (30/9/95), mainly to check up on the ex-City contingent. Walsh had a good game and scored an opportunist’s goal; throughout the match he was his familiar self: never stopped running, tricky without quite achieving as much as he promised. On balance, I still think City could do with him now. He is always likely to create an opening and I don’t see too much creativity in City’s play these days! Our other ex, Fitzroy Simpson started the game with plenty of neat touches but faded in the second half in what looked like a very poor Pompey side.

In general having read the Guardian and Observer this weekend it looks like we really have to admit that Lee has messed up badly over the Summer. It is suggested that he is living in the past too much and that he may resent the high costs of/and rewards that modern players get. He may be putting the club on a better financial footing long term but what guarantees are there that we can bounce back from Division 1? Football clubs are more than businesses. According to the papers there is a touch of arrogance in Franny that may make it hard for him to admit to mistakes- à la Ball. As for the latter it is reported that his rapport with the players is not good in the sense that they need a softer touch sometimes (i.e. when in the present situation) as well as the kick up the …

There is plenty of speculation in the press this weekend that (although he might have a ‘job for life’) AB might leave under his own steam if things don’t improve soon. Who wouldn’t welcome BH back now?

Peter Kewley (


We might be playing crap and have more chance of scoring in a brothel, but yes we’re top of the league!!!!!

With the various bookings and sendings-off we are top of the disciplinary points table (or bottom depending upon how you look at it). And here was I thinking that we weren’t good at anything.

Obviously Ball is trying to model City on the Leeds team of the 70s, but maybe someone should point out that we don’t have enough half decent players as it is, without half of them being suspended.

I’d also like to add my thoughts on whether going down is a good or bad thing. IMHO it can only be a bad thing. No we don’t have a right to be in the Premier, and we haven’t been a big club since the early seventies, but to go down will be a disaster. Firstly we will lose what good players we’ve got, secondly supporters will stop paying for the dubious “pleasure” of watching City, and thirdly the manager will have to make numerous signings. This will all cost money, something FL keeps telling us we haven’t got, but surely it’s better to get ourselves into debt now and stay in the Premier (and have a chance of paying off the debts) than go down one (maybe more!!) division and then get into debt, thus going back to the days of the eighties when we had to sell every good player we had just to survive.

Finally, how can anybody contemplate selling Rösler, which is what a few subscribers seem to be suggesting. Knowing AB’s brilliant sales technique, he’d probably swap him for another lame, drunken scotsman. Even if we did get a reasonable price for him there is no way we could replace him for under £5million!!!!!

Adam Houghton (


Saturday, September 30 1995

CHELSEA               1-0    ARSENAL                31,048
COVENTRY CITY         0-3    ASTON VILLA            20,987
LEEDS UNITED          2-0    SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY    34,076
MIDDLESBROUGH         2-0    BLACKBURN ROVERS       29,462
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR     3-1    WIMBLEDON              25,321

Sunday, October 1 1995

EVERTON               1-3    NEWCASTLE UNITED       33,080
MANCHESTER UNITED     2-2    LIVERPOOL              34,934

Sunday, October 1 1995

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost   For Against   Points
Newcastle United       8      7    0    1     17     4        21
Aston Villa            8      5    2    1     12     5        17
Manchester United      8      5    2    1     16    10        17
Liverpool              8      5    1    2     15     7        16
Leeds United           8      5    1    2     14     9        16
Arsenal                8      4    3    1     10     5        15
Middlesbrough          8      4    3    1      9     4        15
Nottingham Forest      8      3    5    0     14     9        14
Tottenham Hotspur      8      4    2    2     14    11        14
Chelsea                8      3    3    2      9     7        12
Wimbledon              8      3    1    4     13    16        10
Queens Park Rangers    8      3    0    5      7    12         9
Sheffield Wednesday    8      2    2    4      8    11         8
Blackburn Rovers       8      2    1    5     10    13         7
Everton                8      2    1    5     10    13         7
Coventry City          8      1    3    4      7    17         6
West Ham United        7      1    2    4      7    11         5
Southampton            7      1    2    4      7    14         5
Bolton Wanderers       8      1    1    6      8    18         4
Manchester City        8      0    1    7      3    14         1

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to David (x2), Paul (x2), Brian, Peter, Robert, Martin, Adam & 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 #131