Newsletter #139

I’m afraid that this issue has to be one of the most negative ever, certainly since the Swamp débâcle of last year. Unfortunately we don’t have a match report as Paul has been pulled out at work but one will arrive for the next issue on Thursday. There is however, plenty of opinion concerning Ball and also the club’s refusal (apparent) to take Hagi on loan because of the size of his wages! Surely a star of his crowd-pulling potential could have had his wages paid by the guaranteed 2000 plus who would have turned up in addition to the current crowd?

The last time we got beaten by this margin was (Paul informs me) against Derby County, away in 1989 and that led to Machin’s dismissal. Just as I thought that it couldn’t get any worse it actually has, about the only saving grace was that it wasn’t the Rags! We have Bolton, Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday coming up and we really have to get 6 points otherwise we are doomed. These are teams we have to beat because, like us they’re poor and the rest aren’t.

For those of you who are relying on MCIVTA for the result, it was 0-6! and the scousers didn’t even score for the last 25 mins!

Next game, Bolton Wanderers at home, Saturday 4th October 1995.


Teletext reports that Cryuff also offered Hagi to Ball but City couldn’t afford his wages, a snip at £12’000! It’s rumoured that he could have been had on loan for a mere £500k but how much truth resides in this is unclear. Surely a player of his calibre would never consider coming to the bottom club in the Premier League?



Just to clarify a point about this Thomas what’s his face, well as much as you can from paper talk.

He was actually born in Spain, his parents are (surprise, surprise) Danish. He’s 22, and has represented Spain at U-21 level. And because Johann Cryuff can’t fit him into the Barca team (squad’s too big) he’s given him the oppurtunity to come over here. Hope this little helps.

Martin Ford (


I just wanted to write a few words about the new fellow Christiansen. I don’t know much about him, but what I know is:

Spanish citizen, but having Danish parents. As far as I remember, he was capped for Spain approximately two years ago, while he was playing for Barcelona B. At that time he had the choise of playing for either Spain or Denmark, due to his parents/his citizenship. Chose probably Spain not to be considered as a foreigner in the Spanish league. He has only played a handful of games for the Barcelona first team, but has been the leading scorer on the B team (playing in the second division of the league. Unlike the English league system the Spanish B teams are allowed to take part in the league, but cannot be promoted to the 1.div) the last seasons. Barcelona B are currently leading the 2.div so the quality of the team/level is very high. From what I remember he is a quick and skilful player, but not very physical. Not a player with the greatest work-rate. Typical South-European striker, who likes to wait upfront and run onto penetrating passes. Personally I think he could be a good signing as we need vision and skill up front, but I have a few questionmarks:

  1. Can he adapt to the English game?
  2. We can only play three foreigners, we have six…
    [I think this is only in European games [Ashley]]
  3. Is he fit enough?

But £500K sounds to me like a bargain.

By the way; As you know, we can see a live game from the Premiership every Saturday. Look which games they have picked recently:

  • Rags – City
  • Chelsea – Rags
  • Rags – Boro (tomorrow)

Tomorrow they were supposed to sceen Villa – Everton, but they switched to Rags – Boro in order to cover Juninho’s debut! And Juninho won’t play! Can’t believe it.

Tor-Kristian Karlsen (


I have already received numerous votes for the October player of the month. There’s still one match left folks!

The games covered are Wycombe (H), Man U. (A), Leeds (H), and Liverpool (Ax2). It is usual to vote for 3 players giving a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice but not compulsory. If you only vote for one he gets 3 points and that’s the end of it. Any votes should reach me by 8th November for publication in the newsletter on the 10th.

Ken Foster (


In the last edition of MCIVTA FL was criticised for not throwing his personal fortune into City, and his loyalty to City was then questioned. Firstly FL has come in to try and build City back into the formidable club we once were. The reason for this decline over the decades has been complacent directorship of several major shareholders in the club, who have been involved for nothing more than personal gain. After twenty years of abuse the club was on the verge of disappearing into obscurity, with a bank balance that would have meant bankruptcy in the very near future. Now can somebody please tell me why anybody should get involved in that sort of a business if he didn’t passionately support the club? FL is not one of the Walkers or Halls of this world, with vast personal wealth to waste on a football club. FL has come into the club, spent what he can, and has then set about rebuilding the financial side of the club so that in the future we will have the sort of bank balance which will attract the top players to our club. When Walker’s money runs out (if it ever does!!) will Blackburn be able to support a Premiership side? Probably not in my opinion, but with the support that City has, and given a solid financial backing, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be once again a force to be reckoned with.

Secondly, does anybody see Manchester’s answer to Donald Trump trying to buy City? Yes, it looks extremely likely that we might get relegated, but nobody has a God given right to stay in the Premier league. At least if we do go down we will be in a good position to push for promotion. If the club was in the financial mess it was less than two years ago I would not be so hopeful. Does anybody really expect FL to fix in two years what it took Wiggy 20 years to ruin?

As far as Alan Ball goes, I was initially one of his more vocal critics (and since then, I don’t mind admitting, my views have radically changed), but the fact now is that he’s here to stay! Getting rid of another manager will not solve the problem, as we have no money to spend on the new players he would want. Yes this is essentially the same side that beat LFC, BRFC and NUFC, but let’s look at the facts. Liverpool’s season was over when we beat them, having qualified for Europe, Blackburn were a team in decline (doesn’t Dalglish have a knack of getting out before the going gets rough!!), and the Newcastle result was due to Lady Luck smiling on us!!! Maybe we should also remember the Leicester, Chelsea, Crystal Palace… etc. games?

It was the fans’ choice that got FL installed, and we now have to accept his judgement. The only way we can effect things for the better is by getting behind the Boys in Blue on a Saturday afternoon.

Adam Houghton (


On to my main worry! How can we say we have not got any money to bring a player of Hagi’s quality to Maine Road? The maths are easy. You bring in a top foreign player (i.e. Gullit, Juhnino) and your season ticket sales go up and your attendances go up. You only need an extra thousand or so and that pays for the wages, so IMHO I don’t think he wanted to come, no matter what the papers say. The other guy is I think is Spanish even though he was born in Denmark and played for the Barcelona 1st team last season but is now in the reserves.

What do people think about Nigel Clough coming to City (he does not look like somebody that will inspire and turn things around, or will he?).

Just out of interest does anybody know any famous people that are Blues supporters. The ones I can think of are.

  1. Oasis (of course)
  2. Mark Radcliff (BBC Radio 1 – night time DJ [I put that in for our overseas friends and people that don’t listen to good music).
  3. Mark Reily “The boy Lard” (Mark Radcliff’s sidekick)
  4. Eddie Large (Groan!)
  5. Bernard Manning (Bigger groan!)

A few cool True Blues but does anybody know any more? Hopefully things went OK against Liverpool, don’t worry Bolton next week and I am going to go for the first time this season so we must at least score.

The ever optimistic Eccleston Blue

Gary Fones (


I have been a City fan since 1967, I’ve seen us win cups, go down, change managers more often than United change strip and be totally mediocre. This season must be the worst there has ever been. We should have no problems choosing our League goal of the season and the video highlights should last about 2 mins. I’ve just read the Sunday paper and apparently Ball enjoyed the Liverpool match – Rösler didn’t if the reports are correct – so what is wrong?

Ball came to City with an unimpressive record – but he appears to have been the only one interested in the job. We have had talk of selling most of the squad – no wonder morale is bad. The ‘fans’ have once again started barracking the players – how may good ones have left for the same reason? We are constantly linked to new players but none appear. Talk of money from Manchester businessmen and the Marsh/Americans – but no cash.

In short the club is a mess – no money, no morale, no leadership and fans who turn on players they do not like. We should get behind the team and support them no matter how bad they play – bring back the banana; at least we were known for having some of the best and most vocal support.

Andy Birkin (


I know how my friend, also called Ashley, felt last season – him being an Ipswich fan; he said he was glad when they got relegated because at least now he could watch them win a few games.

However, Ipswich had a team bought with the amount of money City spent on Phelan and Curle, our defensive lynch-pins, talking of lynching…

Creaney: why buy a player who is not ready for the Premiership? To quote Bally, I thought they had scouts to sort out the men from the boys so to speak, so why the hell did they spend money and give away Walsh when all they got was someone to play in the Pontins league, and looking at some of the results not very well!!!

I am purposefully avoiding the highlights on TV tonight ‘cos I can’t bear to watch City get thrashed.

What happens if the unthinkable, though looking likely, happens and we go down, who will want to stay?

What are these two businessmen doing about injecting some money into the club, anyone remember Michael Knighton? Or whatever his name was, the saviour of the Rags now plying his trade at Carlisle…

Talking of 10 great goals, maybe at the end of the season we will be able to buy City, the 10 goals of the 95/96 Season video – if we get that many.

I don’t suppose you know of any MUIVTA do you (-:

Nope, we’re definitely doing better on the Internet 8-)) [Ashley]

Riccardo Keefe (


For the first time in my life I put my life in front of City and turned down a ticket for Anfield. It looked more pitiful than ever. I get the feeling that things are getting worse behind the scenes at the club. It’s heartbreaking to think that life after Swales could be this bad. I’m even starting to think that the only hope is that we’ll be a better team next season in the first division. Sad, but the way things are at the moment I can’t see any other eventuality. Surely the club can offload a few players on the cheap; we can’t afford to turn down players with the ability of Hagi just becase we’re broke. In the long run there’s not much to say. If we don’t beat Bolton convincingly on Saturday then at least our morale will have hit the bottom.

Take care

Still Blue, but even after all these years learning to live with even more depressing results. I knew this season wouldn’t be the greatest but…


Jim Parsons (


The question of what to do next springs to mind on the back of Liverpool’s two emphatic victories. Granted they are one of the best clubs in the country, but they’ve shown everyone how to play the game, they do the easy things right and this makes the game look so simple. Isn’t it about time that AB modelled Maine Road on the Anfield school? Let’s get the basis things done right, let’s re-learn how to walk before we run.

Something drastic has to be done to halt the slide; here’s my thoughts:

We already know there ain’t sufficent funds to buy any players and sacking AB wouldn’t really serve any purpose, other than to appease us, the long suffering supporters. Unless someone is willing to invest millions in either buying FHL out, or just for investment there’s little we can do. However my course of action would be:

  1. Put every single player on the transfer market (and I mean everyone, including Rösler and Flitcroft).
  2. Forget tactics and ball control, they should already have these skills. I would put them through physical hell and get them a damn sight fitter. Make sure they don’t see a football until the day of the game.
  3. Drop every player, bar Immel, and then make them prove they are worthy of a first team place in training. It would give every other player at the club from reserves to junior a chance of first team football, and the second string might just have the guts and pride to keep City afloat.
  4. Make sure every player knows the meaning of marking and closing down. These two games against Liverpool showed how inept they are at both.

Suggestions 1 & 3 will sound harsh, but maybe the ‘pride’ of the current first team might be hurt enough to make them realise they can no longer piss around on the park and still get picked. After 10 goals in two games none of them deserve a place. Could it be the sort of kick up the back-side they need?

Also maybe to stop the rot we’ve got to seriously re-think the current tactics. Didn’t Kendall adopt a 5 man defence to try to stop the flow of goals and eventually keep us up? Maybe it’s time to do the same and play a defensive looking formations 5-4-1. Play Curle as the sweeper with Symons and Kernaghan as the central defenders, Phelan and Edghill as full-backs, but given the oppurtunity to push on. The midfield needs to be at least three players who can hassle the opposition and also defend which leaves one man free to support the striker. If the game goes well this formation could become a more orthodox 3-5-2 formation with the width provided by the full backs and the midfield available to support the strikeforce. So the ideal team would be (from the current crop of crap):

    Edghill Symons  Kernaghan   Phelan
        Lomas   Flipper Ian B

Subs: ‘Keeper (whoever), Quinn/Creaney/Have we got another striker/an attacking player, Utility player (errr, is there one)?

Just some thoughts and suggestions.

Martin Ford (


Whenever I discuss City with non-City fans the one thing they all seem to say is – basically we have the same team as last year (which although poor beat Newcastle, Liverpool and Blackburn); why have we gone from being a mediocre side to a laughing stock?

The downward spiral started with the mishandled sacking of Horton. Whilst decent teams spent the summer strengthening their squads, we spent our time looking for a mate of FL to manage the team.

AB has brought the same succes to City that he has ‘enjoyed’ at his previous high profile positions, Exeter, Portsmouth etc. Kinky was signed for him before he arrived, but to make his mark he sold Walsh. The Walsh-Rösler combination probably kept us up in the previous two seasons. We are left with a disenchanted Rösler and Portsmouth’s finest Creaney. To make up for the lack of an effective strike force we have a midfield so well drilled by AB that it doesn’t know if its coming or going.

It is hard to say what we can do for the best. Should we sack AB? This is probably an academic question since we probably cannot afford to sack him and who else would want to take over? Should we sack him anyway? His post-match excuses would be sadly missed (good to know he enjoyed watching Immel’s trips to retrieve the ball from the net). Random changes cannot make things any worse (Swales would know what to do here).

Can we buy our way out of trouble? We have no cash. We cannot even afford to take Hagi on loan. The fringe players Ball wants to sell are worth very little and are not attracting any interest.

Can we beat Bolton?

Can we score again?

John Connell (


So we’re currently in sh*t street, adrift at the bottom with just 2 measly points, playing sh*te, scoring bugger all goals, three all season in the league, whilst conceding loads, the manager is spouting a load of crap and even congratulating teams on tearing us apart and enjoying such games, he also blames everyone bar the team for inadequate performances and yet the chairman is still backing our manager. This begs a question: what did Brain Horton do to justify the sack?

With basically the same team as last season (OK, three/four changes) why are we in such dire straits? This time last season we had been banging goals is at home and were on the verge of the top 6. Now surely the league hasn’t improved that much over the year? OK, so BH nearly took us down, but he managed to get the team playing just when we needed them to (who can forget the Rovers match?). I know which team I’d prefer to watch, the one getting forward and scoring goals in entertaining games, rather the pathetic attempt we’ve got now!

I can’t see anyway out of the mess. Even if we beat those teams directly above us, there’s still teams far better in mid table to take the points away from us, before we even start thinking about the top half. 2 points from 11 games, another 27 games left, what are we realistically looking at to save us from the drop? Last season City got 47 points, of which 33(ish) were won upto Christmas. Can anyone see City putting together a good enough run to get into a mid-table position? Are we looking at an all time worst points tally for the first/premier division?

Am I just being over pessimistic? No, I think I’m being realistic. Until someone shows some pride in wearing the sky blue shirt and the manager gets things right on the field, it looks downhill all the way.

Martin Ford (


Approaching last Saturday, I’d been inclined to agree with Alan Hansen’s assessment, in the Radio Times, that Alan Ball should be given a fair crack of the whip, and would need at least eighteen months to begin to turn City into a football team capable of winning things. After watching our 6-0 drubbing by Liverpool, though, I tend to think that eighteen months is about what is needed for him to do irrevocable damage to the club. The only encouraging aspect of Saturday’s defeat was the way our supporters took the whole thing in good humour; the chants becoming steadily more self-deprecating as the “match” wore on, with the whole away section erupting en masse whenever we won a corner, and cheering any City passes which actually found their way to a blue shirt.

The most depressing aspect of the whole occasion for me was the fact that we’d been comprehensively beaten by the same side only three days earlier, and knew exactly what to expect. How can we be expected to retain any confidence in a manager who’s so stuck for ideas that he can do absolutely nothing to prevent an even worse thrashing after such a short time? There may have been a bit of media mischief in the reports of Ball saying that he sat back and enjoyed watching Liverpool showing how it should be done, but you do begin to get the impression that he thinks that the only way of improving things at Maine Road is to replace the present line-up with a team of superstars, and things will just fall into place. There are obviously improvements to be made in the present side but, as people keep pointing out, Horton managed to get much more spirited performances out of much the same players last season, including a memorable victory over Liverpool. Ball just seems to be displaying the classic attributes of a bad workman, plus a total lack of adaptability.

It’s difficult to see what can be or, rather, what is likely to be done about the present situation. Lee has already made it clear that he doesn’t intend to give Ball the shove while he remains chairman, and somehow Ball doesn’t seem as if he’s on the verge of doing the honorable thing and standing down. So we just have to sit tight — Lee was our choice, and Ball is his. Short of a miracle or, marginally more feasibly, us clubbing together to pay Hagi’s wages, I can’t see us avoiding the drop this season. I just hope we don’t fulfil our undoubted potential to sink without trace.


Martin Watts (


MCIVTA readers being the fount of all football knowledge, I figured this would be a good place to ask a question. What is happening to the number of teams in the various divisions at the end of the season? If the Premiership is shrinking again, where will they go? Surely the other divisions are too big already? With another couple of teams, there will be 50 matches a season.

Nobody seemed to know on the train this morning, so I’m asking here.

Chris Jones (


No not us! But .. do any of you out in Netland have a copy of “Lenin of the Rovers”? Some time back my car tape machine ate one of the two tapes comprsising it, and it is no longer available from BBC productions. We would dearly love to have it again, so if you have a copy, maybe you could mail me, and I will send you a couple of tapes, with cost of P&P.

Yours in hope

Jeremy Poynton (


Oct 28, 1995   Aston_Villa     - Everton          1 - 0
               Blackburn       - Chelsea          3 - 0
               Leeds           - Coventry         3 - 1
               Liverpool       - Manchester_C     6 - 0
               Manchester_U    - Middlesbrough    2 - 0
               Queen's_PR      - Nottingham       1 - 1
               Sheffield_W     - West_Ham         0 - 1
               Wimbledon       - Southampton      1 - 2
Oct 29, 1995   Tottenham       - Newcastle        1 - 1

Total Oct 29, 1995

 1. Newcastle       11     9   1   1    27  -   8    28
 2. Manchester_U    11     8   2   1    23  -  11    26
 3. Liverpool       11     7   2   2    24  -   8    23
 4. Arsenal         10     6   3   1    15  -   5    21
 5. Nottingham      11     5   6   0    19  -  12    21
 6. Middlesbrough   11     6   3   2    11  -   6    21
 7. Aston_Villa     11     6   2   3    13  -   8    20
 8. Leeds           11     6   2   3    17  -  13    20
 9. Tottenham       11     4   4   3    16  -  14    16
10. Chelsea         11     4   3   4    11  -  14    15
11. Blackburn       11     4   2   5    16  -  15    14
12. West_Ham        11     3   4   4    10  -  12    13
13. Sheffield_W     11     3   2   6     9  -  13    11
14. Queen's_PR      11     3   1   7    10  -  17    10
15. Wimbledon       11     3   1   7    15  -  25    10
16. Everton         11     2   3   6    12  -  16     9
17. Southampton     11     2   3   6    11  -  20     9
18. Coventry        11     1   4   6     8  -  21     7
19. Bolton          10     1   2   7    11  -  22     5
20. Manchester_C    11     0   2   9     3  -  21     2

With thanks to Riku Soininen



Thanks to Ken, Adam, Martin (x2), Gary, Tor-Kristian, Andy, Riccardo, Chris, Jim, John & Jeremy.

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 #139