Newsletter #140

Well, apologies all round, it seems Monday’s lean issue was due to a hold up with email as by Tuesday I had 35 messages waiting for me. This issue is packed out with a Liverpool match report & praise, plenty of news and an opinion on just about everything. Also, apologies on the answer front! I used to try and answer people’s mail but time-constraints mean that I only answer specific questions nowadays with 450+ subscribers!

I’ll keep this short as it’s liable to tip the size limits and cause me more grief! Paul and I, as well as John Shearer and Roger Haigh will be at the Old Abbey at 1.15 – 2.30pm on Saturday; anyone who fancies a pint is welcome. If not then I’ll be at the steps to block AA (by the loos!) in the top tier of the Kippax (North Stand end).

Lastly, is it Christlansen or Christiansen?

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


LIVERPOOL vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 28th October 1995

“Alan Ball is a football genius”

Six-nil. Six bloody nil! The score on Wednesday may well have flattered the Reds but this time it was us that the score flattered. They could easily have had eight or nine goals. We were lucky to get nil. The only lessons learned from the midweek game were learned by Liverpool it seemed. There were over 12,000 more scousers at this game than the Coca-Cola Cup match, prompting chants of “where were you on Wednesday night?” from the 3,000 or so Blues.

With the M62 closed there was a severe traffic jam outside the city, so many people arrived later than they’d intended. Those arriving over 5 minutes after kick-off would have missed the only phase of the match in which we looked like we might get something from it. The only change to the team was that Flitcroft came in for Foster, Brightwell moving back to right back to accommodate him. During the pre-match warm up, I don’t recall seeing Uwe score. His headers went straight down, shots blazed wide, over or straight at Immel. A sign of things to come.

City kicked off and took the game to Liverpool, who struggled to gain possession. When they eventually got it, the ball was sent out to their right wing where Fowler and Redknapp were up against Edghill and nobody else. Not surprisingly, a cross came in unopposed, was met by McAteer who hit a hard, low shot which was parried by Immel. The ball bounced straight to Rush in front of an open goal. He didn’t miss. Three minutes gone, one Liverpool attack, one nil.

Two minutes later the game was over as a contest. Liverpool got a free kick just outside the box. Edghill was booked when he got in the way when Redknapp tried to take a quick one. Redknapp then tried again; his shot looked to be going wide of the far post but Curle stuck out a leg and diverted it in at the near post. Five minutes gone, two nil. It was going to be one of those days.

The Blues battled away, created one or two half chances and missed them, as usual. James had no serious save to make. Five minutes before half time Kinky was running along the edge of the Liverpool area, tried one sharp turn too many and fell in a heap. After a while Lomas kicked the ball out of play and Kinky was stretchered off. It looked pretty serious, maybe a twisted knee? Brown came on and City held on to their two goal deficit until half time.

Within two minutes of the restart it was three nil. This was the best goal of the day, a Goal of the Month contender. Mark Wright (he scored for Derby in our last 6-0 defeat in 1989, a few weeks before Mel Machin was sacked) came out from the back, did a neat one-two whilst running down the right flank, squared the ball for Fowler who danced round Brightwell and Symons before rolling the ball just inside the post and out of Immel’s reach.

The Reds were really up for it now and looked like they’d score from every attack. The fourth goal was straightforward, Ruddock getting in front of Quinn to power home a header from a corner. Ruddock was on as substitute for Barnes. The substitution involved McAteer moving up into midfield but Liverpool played exactly the same, hardly noticing the change. Collymore didn’t even make the bench by the way. The fifth goal came once again from Liverpool’s right flank, McAteer’s cross hitting Rush’s heel and bouncing behind Fowler and Brightwell. Fowler readjusted more quickly, turning and volleying the ball into the corner in one movement with Immel unsighted by Brightwell. The sixth goal was similar to the first, Immel parrying a Redknapp shot straight to Rush who scored his third goal of the season – all against us.

So, 25 minutes left, City in tatters and 6 goals down. If I was a Liverpool fan I’d be disappointed that the margin of victory wasn’t 10 goals or more. City tried to get the goal the fans were begging for and indeed managed to create a few half chances. Creaney came on for Brightwell and played up front with Quinn and Rösler, which split the home defence up a bit but still didn’t cause the Reds too many problems. Liverpool just sat back and tried to hit us on the break with more goal-of-the-season passing moves but the seventh goal just wouldn’t come.

At this juncture I’d have expected the legendary scouse wits to be having a field day but although the home fans made more noise than on Wednesday, it was left to the City fans to do the entertaining, with chants such as: “Alan Ball is a football genius”, “Edghill for England”, “We want one”, “We’re s**t, and we’re getting worse”, “We want Ellis back” (probably lost on the scousers, that one) and “What’s it like to be outclassed?”. Maybe they felt sorry for us? Many Blues left as the 4th, 5th and 6th goals went in. Those of us remaining sang “we can see you sneaking out”. Proper thing too.

When the final whistle came to put us out of our misery, Uwe came over and threw his boots into the crowd. Typically, the first one missed and hit a policeman. We spent the weekend wondering what the significance of this gesture was but the explanation turned out to be quite simple: he hasn’t scored for so long it’s time for a new set of boots.

Individually, there can be very few players happy with their performances. Summerbee was probably our best player. Immel isn’t holding shots and it’s costing us goals. He may be performing heroics but I feel it won’t be long before TC is back. Curle and Symons both had poor games, Curle particularly. Some sloppy passing from him could easily have let Liverpool in for more goals. The full backs weren’t too bad; Edghill was usually facing two players with no help from Lomas so it’s harsh to single him out for criticism. Lomas, Brown and Brightwell ran about a lot in midfield but weren’t comfortable on the ball, in stark contrast to their Liverpool counterparts. Up front, Quinn missed another good chance, sidefooting over and wide. Rösler didn’t get a decent chance. At least Quinn gets in the positions to score; maybe Uwe should look at the runs Quinn is making to get into these positions?

This has to be the most negative match report I’ve written, which is partly due to rushing it to meet the deadline but there was precious little to get enthusiastic about (apart from the good football played by Liverpool, the best side we’ve played this season including Newcastle) in this match. The overriding emotion I felt this weekend was despair. I cannot see what we can do to halt the slide. There’s no money, we don’t seem to be able to raise any by selling off the dead wood and even if we sacked Ball, who would replace him? If we don’t win both of our next two home games against Bolton and Wimbledon, I fear there’s no escaping the drop.

Paul Howarth (


Francis Lee, when asked if City would be interested in using the new Commonwealth Games stadium which will be built in Eastlands (just up the road from my house!) if Manchester gets the games (which seems likely), said it would be daft to leave it unused most of the time, and certainly didn’t rule out City moving in as tenants. It would be difficult to develop Maine Road much further (in terms of extra facilities around the ground), so a big, new site might seem attractive. However, I don’t think there’s much chance of us leaving Maine Road because (a) so much money has recently been invested in it, and (b) the site itself probably isn’t worth very much, bearing in mind its location. I personally would not like to watch football in a stadium which has a running track around the pitch either.

A rumour I heard last week was that City intend to erect some temporary uncovered seating (like the Shed end at Chelsea) in Windy corner (North Stand/Kippax) for use by away fans next season (it should take the away allocation up to the 3,000 required by the Premiership). If this is a success, the other end of the Kippax could get the same treatment.

Paul Howarth (


Apparently Thomas Christiansen is impressing AB but AB wants to see Christiansen’s medical records because he has already had two hernia operations. A possible £500,000 move looks on the cards. On Saturday Uwe Rösler threw his boots into the crowd to get rid of his bad luck and not because of his frustration at the lack of service from his colleagues.

Tony (Salford Blue) Farrar (


GMR today reported that Tommy Christlansen has gone back to Spain so it is unlikely that a permanent signing will be made for Saturday. Obviously you can read into this what you like e.g.:

  1. he has had enough already
  2. Barca reserves aren’t that bad
  3. f**k me I’ll just pop home to say goodbye to my mum

I hope it’s the latter

Good to see that Manc still have a chance of getting the National Stadium. Hopefully Friday will bring us the Commonwealth games; this might put enough pressure to bring the stadium to the North.

Tony (Salford Blue) Farrar (


How can you translate into typeface how pissed off you really feel about something? I know we have a range of smileys to help but none can express how dejected I feel.

Right on the team front, AB currently has a glut of injuries to contend with when trying to pick a team: Flipper, Kinky, Ian B & Phelan are all injured and are doubtful they’ll be sufficiently recovered to be picked for the Bolton game. However, with this only being mid-week I expect with enough treatment they’ll be fit enough to be considered and then unsurprisingly break down again. Why do City insist on trying to rush players back into first team duty when they aren’t fully recovered? Even though we’ve got the biggest squad in the Premier how come AB relies on the same old faces, even if they are injured, to make up the team? Does this show his lack of faith in the reserves?

More news… After Vonk refused to sign for Oldham, he has now rejected a month’s loan deal at Pompey!!

And more snippets… As we are already too aware, City have stated that they don’t have any funds available to buy any new players. However, it looks like Ball might be able to presuade the board to come up with the necessary £600K to buy Thomas Christiansen (apologies if this is spelt wrong), after he impressed Ball in a 30 minute practice game!!!! (can any player be genuinely judged in just 30 minutes?) AB has two other targets but it looks like he’ll have to sell to raise sufficient capital. His two targets are Nigel Clough and Gary Ablett. Liverpool will want around £1.5 million for Clough but Ball is hoping Joe Royle will do a straight swap of Ablett for Terry Phelan! Right, I’ve asked two Everton fans to sum up Ablett in one word and they came up with: Crap and Donkey.

So what is Ball playing at? Is he gonna build a team incapable of Premier survival but one that can challenge in the First division next season? Because some of these players aren’t good enough to get us to survive!


Martin Ford (


GMR reports that City have made a firm offer for Thomas Cristiansen but the player has gone back to Spain to consider the move. The same bulletin also mentions that Michel Vonk has refused a loan move to Portsmouth.

Teletext has a slightly different angle on the Cristiansen signing. It reports that AB watched him for only 30 minutes in a practice match before deciding to table a £600,000 bid to Barcelona. AB enthuses that although not available for the Bolton game he should be playing against Sheff. Wed. Given that AB has an excellent relationship with Johann, it seems we just need the nod from the player.

Ken Foster (
Paul Howarth (


Alan Ball says he wants three new players at the club in time for the Sheffield Wednesday match. Everton are apparently interested in a swap deal which would take Terry Phelan to Goodison Park, with John Ebbrell coming to Maine Road. Michel Vonk is said to be having talks with Peter Reid at Sunderland. Thomas Christiansen is discussing his possible move to City with his adviser.

The Mole


As it’s rumoured that John Ebbrell could be on his way to City, you all might be interested in what the Everton WWW page says about him:


  • Big blue heart
  • Enormous workrate
  • Gets to scoring positions


  • Stupid tackles, gets far too many cards
  • Abysmal shot, misses from about everywhere
  • No confidence in scoring positions, can miss virtually any chance

So he collects lots of cards and can’t score – he’s perfect for City!!

Charles Pollitt (


I’ve just been looking through the internet trying to find an address for Man City and the only one I could find was yours (Svenn’s). I want to get in touch with the club to tell them how impressed me and my friends were with the conduct of the Man City fans at the Liverpool game at the weekend.

Although things weren’t going too well for their team they kept their spirits raised and provided almost as much entertainment as the game itself with songs such as “we’re gonna score in a minute” and “we’re gonna win the league”. They were a credit to the game and their team and when the Kop sang “You’re the pride of Manchester” it was a sentiment echoed by all there.

I would be grateful if you could possibly get this message to either the Supporters’ Club or the club itself.

Thank you.

Tina Davies (


I didn’t make it to the Liverpool disaster, at least not the second one, but I would like to “set the record straight” regarding Uwe Rösler throwing his boots in to (or AT as some reports have suggested), the City end at Liverpool 0-6 last Saturday.

He categorically stated in the Manchester Evening News on Monday that he did this purely out of frustration at not scoring in the last four games with those boots and it was not detrimental to the City fans nor was it a gesture of submission. He apparently felt bad about having only a couple of chances per game and not putting them away, thus costing the club dearly.

It is hardly surprising that he feels this way when we are creating so little and in my opinion it shows how much passion he feels for the club. Maybe a few other players should take a leaf from Rösler’s book? … Also, one brief report in the MEN; Vonk is still at the club although we agreed a deal with Oldham Athletic. Apparently his wage in the City Reserves matches or beats any deal he’ll get from Oldham.

I’ll finish on a typically downbeat note: I see Bolton at home on Saturday as a cup final occasion. Either we win and create a sringboard for a new beginning, or we lose and face disaster…

Yours in hope… Ian (


Saw Molby interviewed during the Liverpool match last night. What about taking him on loan? He isn’t one of my favourite players by any means and is no use to us long term but he might be able to do a job securing the midfield over the next few crucial weeks. He doesn’t look likely to get back in the Liverpool team at the moment so is probably available.

Assuming we cannot buy at the moment, but we do need some experience bringing in, does anyone have any other suggestions of players who may be currently available to loan?

John Connell (


Can We Kick It? – No We Can’t!!!!

After listening to Bolton beat Arsenal on Monday night, I was rather jealous – especially as they managed to score a goal. Unlike Bolton, we have now only managed to score 3 times in the Premier League in 11 outings. That’s 990 minutes or 16.5 hours!!!!

If this isn’t bad enough, we have yet to score with our feet – we managed 4 in our Coca Cola Cup run but that was against bloody WW. It’s a simple fact that if we don’t start scoring goals quickly then we are doomed to play the Birmmingham Citys and Tranmeres of the First Division next season. Even if we win on Saturday we’ll still reamain bottom of the league – but I don’t think I can face Bolton fans taking the piss on Monday morning. I keep telling everyone that pretty soon we’re going to score a bagful against someone – let’s hope it’s on Saturday lads.

Did we really score 10 goals in a single game once?

Up The Blues!!

Jon Walsh (


(Your training ground correspondent)

Goalkeepers :

Andy Dibble has just bought himself a new house in Sale, South Manchester, for £300,000. He says that he has no intention of leaving City when his contract is so long and so good. Tony Coton has been ready to be selected for the first team for the past three weeks but as Alan Ball has not even enquired about his fitness presumably he is not aware of his availability. Presumably he is also not aware of the discontent TC is feeling at the moment and also his thoughts about asking for a transfer if he doesn’t get selected in the next few weeks.

Trials :

Counter to several recent reports Alan Ball has never discussed Hagi with anyone and so wages, whether City could afford them or not, was completely irrelevant. The Spanish under 21 striker, Christiansen, did appear at the training ground to show off some of his skills. He trained for no more than fifteen to twenty minutes, looked very sharp and scored a couple of goals. Most of his time was spent with Bailey getting a physical examination. As an aside he speaks very good English, so he wouldn’t have the problems settling in, as other recent signings. After training, Chairman Lee visited the ground and offered Christlanson a contract. According to Alan Ball, Christiansen does not come cheap. He has now returned to Spain to consider the offer and will give City an answer in two to three weeks.

Life in the reserves :

I asked one of the promising reserve team players what it is like playing with team mates from the first team :

The reserves lost at Barnsley because the team fell to pieces. It is useless playing the likes of Vonk and others because they are not bothered. It is not fair on the other players who are fighting hard.

Strangers :

One stranger seen training with the reserves was non other than AB Junior. Alan’s son is apparently recovering from a back injury and is using the facilities at Maine Road.

Neale Hayward-Shott (


Have just discovered your site (WWW), and as a Blues fan for 30 odd years, I found it interesting reading. I work as a press cameraman for the evening paper in Manchester, and this season I have found it quite difficult to get good action-pix of the Blues – mainly because there has not been a lot of activity in our opponents’ penalty area – at least I don’t use a lot of film at games this season. Do you remember Gaudino – apparently he was being paid £3000 per week – you have to pay a player on loan what his home club pay, so Hagi’s wages were not the reason he didn’t come. By the way, I understand Gaudino – who was having a bit of trouble with the law in Germany – is now playing for a Mexican club, while the authorities try to extradite him. I’m telling you all this because I can’t think what AB or FL can do to halt the slide. I reckon part of the reason for this season’s shambles lies in the way, and timing of BH’s sacking – I know a lot of the players were very upset and annoyed by it, and I wonder whether they are not giving 100%, subconciously or deliberately, this season.

Eric Graham. Manchester. UK (


Well, you all have basically said what I’d have said about the current situation, particularly Martin Ford’s idea of getting tough with the team. I must say that this is the worst City side I’ve seen as far as real talent. Gees, even West Ham look enviable. I’ve watched our players give some real effort to save the ball from going out of bounds, diving to save the ball, only to kick it to the other team. I’ve watched our men run in earnest to chase a ball, tackle hard, even win possession, only to pass it to the opposition. I’ve even seen Rösler miss some easy shots for a striker, not to mention Quinn. I personally have never rated Flitcroft very highly. He had some crap shots on goal that were inexcusable in the derby. Another Colin Bell my ass. Beagrie and Quinn are aging cripples. Even Curle looks the worse for wear these days. Pull out your old tapes of games of several seasons back, then observe this year’s team. I think poor Kinky and Immel are surrounded by pure crap. Gees, what I’d do to have Macca now! This team has absolutely no sense of what their team mates are doing. I blame Ball (and Hartford let’s not forget) for much of this, but let’s really face the fact that this team stinks as far as basic talent and insight. No wonder no one wanted the job!!!

So, with this in mind, suppose we were to get £10 million from a conglomeration of businessmen. Who would you buy? I’ve yet to reflect on this as I’ve just thought it up, but I can tell you, I would sell several players, even for cheap. Division One will not be good for us! Is it good for Norwich? Ipswich? Wolves? I love Quinn and most of the others, but man, these guys should have left seasons ago! I’d also sell Brightwell (fast), Edghill, Lomas, and Kernaghan.

My real reason for posting actually was to be optimistic and remind everyone that we have played a succession of tough teams, all the top clubs, and that with Bolton next Saturday, we have probably the most important game of the season!!!! For if we beat Bolton, we surely can rise to the likes of Coventry, Wednesday, even Wimbledon. Victories over these clubs would be a tonic for players and fans and might be all we need to get us on the road to staying in the Premiership.

But… after hearing the Bolton score last night, I’m back to shaking in my boots!

Yours in substansial pain…

Mark Luscombe (


Having taken advantage of distance from Manchester; the last MCIVTA (139) brought home to me the horror of being based near Manchester. Hats off to you guys. Now – some thoughts on comments in the last MCIVTA.

  1. We (the people) wanted FHL, and he wanted AB. We therefore have to stick with them. Agreed wholeheartedly – I suspect that AB’s statement that he ‘would not embarrass the Chairman’ is the let out he and Franny have – but it will be a mutual parting of the ways if it happens. To make a medical analogy, City have been getting sicker and sicker over the past 20 years. What we now have is a high fever, which will either finish us off, or see us come out the other end even stronger.
  2. Hagi – of course the club could have afforded him with the extra attendance he would surely have generated; but does anyone really believe he would have come to play for us?
  3. Fitness; report after report has noted that City have tired in the last 20 minutes or so of each game. Why is this? Even if they are playing shit football, they should all be super fit. No excuses here.
  4. Drop ’em all and let no-one assume they have a guaranteed place in the first team lineup (Bar Immel). Why not? We are at rock bottom, so it can’t be any worse. It is worrying that the likes of Flipper & Ian Brightwell, who one would have hoped to be City through and through are surely suffering badly at the moment.

Colleague at work brought me in a cartoon from a paper this morning.

Frame 1 – Manager in home dressing room, with three players in fornt of him (in sort of light blue shirts). Manager says … “As you’ll see”

Frame 2 – Same scenario, manager says … “After last week’s shambles against United”

Frame 3 – And again, except you can now see the backs of the players’ shirts. Manager says … “We’ve changed the names on your shirts”

The names now read “Wanker”, “Crap” and “Shit”. Not that funny really I guess, but probably not that far off the truth.

Bottom line (and here ends ‘Thought For The Day’)

  • There’s no money to be had easily.
  • Things may get a (lot) worse before they get better.
  • Down with the boo boys.
  • Up the City.

Jeremy Poynton (


I think Martin Ford raised an interesting point in the last MCIVTA about the 5-man defence employed by Kendall.

The current system is not producing goals and according to Rösler earlier in the season is never likely to. At grounds like Anfield where we are going to be torn apart currently, a defensive performance grinding out a draw may be the only solution. It would not be pleasant to watch, but neither is the sight of a defence being torn apart and Immel getting back-ache retrieving the ball.

We could not afford to adopt this for all games. Clearly we need three points (remember them) from some games, after all a couple of wins in our next three games would probably still leave us bottom.

However, grinding-out some draws and trying to beat the weaker teams may just arrest the current situation of ‘free-fall’ and restore some pride and confidence.

On a separate note following the success of the true blue prediction league, should we have a ‘predict what AB is going to say after this result league’?

Anyway, Saturday is always another day and City are masters of the unpredictable – let’s stuff Bolton at least (I think 1-0 would count as stuffing for our current purposes).

John Connell (


Clough is an OK player, but has he got any guts and determination? Having seen him for Liverpool a few occasions he seemed very lazy and slow. However, a move to City could turn things around for him. I still want David White back.

Tor-Kristian Karlsen (


Before witnessing the massacre on Saturday, I bought a copy of “When Sunday Comes”, a Liverpool fanzine. In their review of last season, the following was included:

WORST PLAYER – Nigel Clough

Perhaps a bit harsh? I don’t know. Nigel didn’t get much of a look-in, but did he deserve it? When given a chance he hardly looked like he was giving it his all, whilst his attitude when he wasn’t playing seemed to leave a lot to be desired. Will he still be around when you’re reading this?

Sounds like just the player for us!

Paul Howarth (


Whilst I agree that Hagi’s wages would have been covered by the increased revenue from ticket sales, I still think we were right to turn down the loan offer. If ever there was a “luxury” player, Hagi is it. Although he regularly turns on the style for the Romanian national side, he’s very inconsistent at club level. A couple of seasons ago Hagi was playing for Brescia in Italy’s Serie B (not even we are that bad … are we?) and would generally stroll around and do very little apart from smack in the odd free kick every now and again. Not the sort of player we need methinks.

Paul Howarth (


In an earlier edition I said that I thought our season started with the Newcastle game (due to all the summer problems we had). OK well we’ve had a slow start!!! Well, a week ago I was getting really edgy like everyone else, but think about the following.

A number of points:

I read in MCIVTA that Greenalls were not supplying the social club any longer?
Well, tie that into the rumour that an announcement on the structure of theBoard is due soon (next Board meeting?) and one could surmise thatGreenalls are coming off the Board to be replaced by A.N.Other. I wouldsuggest it is not the superstar-fronted lot but someone else. Sosignificant investment may be forthcoming. Just a thought.
Also, this morning in the Daily Telegraph it stated City werecontemplating a swap deal between Terry Phelan and Everton’s Gary Ablett.Now confirmed. Hmmm! don’t know about that one.
I suspect it is to do with players on long contracts with loyalty bonuses.I understand TP to be one of them, along with Dibble, Vonk, Quinny and 1or2 others (Curley?). So the conversation went something like “ok TP’s worth£2M and GA’s worth £1.5M, let’s swap them and you can pay TP’s loyalty bonusinstead.” “Right let’s make a bid for Cloughy!” Make sense?
Right, hot off Piccadilly news via my father, we are bidding for NigelClough. Can afford to pay for him now – considering 2 above.
Also also, Christiansen has been sent straight back to Spain because… he’s bloody good. Gone back to get his agent, brother, donkeyetc. and come back and play against Wednesday. Bally expects all three toplay against Wednesday on the 18th November.
Three go down right? We’re re-building right? Franny and Bally arehere for the ride right? Well fourth from bottom and we stay up (Right ?)having done a year of re-building, got rid of a lot of poor/averageplayers/sorted contracts, with the Club not in debt. Right? Now we floatCity, generating lots of revenue to clear rest of debt. Right? Also,tomorrow (Friday) 4:30pm the announcement for the Commonwealth Games ismade.Only Manchester in the running right? We get it right? New stadium -reasonable rent right? Colin Barlow travelling with the party making thedecisions right?

Now re-read all this and think calm thoughts. Franny is a shrewd cooky, knows what he is doing, right? Right!

Deep breaths all round and remember – Be Good Be Blue.

Mark Kennedy (


I presume Adam Houghton’s article was directed towards my earlier opinion on the current situation and Lee/Ball. I think Adam made many good points and I agree on many of his views. However, I want to clear up a few things.

FL: I admit I was too harsh in my criticism in my earlier aticle on FL, as Adam correctly expressed. He has definitely done a good job by “rebuilding” Manchester City as a football club, after years with chaos and abuse. Moreover he has put a lot of money available for the manager(s) to buy new players, paying large debts after Swales and he has financed the new stand. As we can all understand we are talking about many millions of pounds. Lee and his fellow investors have indeed done a great job, regarding the financial aspects of the club.

In the other article it sounded like I wanted to say the contrary, I expessed myself very awkwardly indeed. However, my critisim of FL’s relationship with AB stands. I am disgusted by the fact that he has assured AB that no matter what the results might be, he will still keep the job. I know the funny old english “joke” that being given the “vote of confidence” from the board/chairman, it’s a sign that you’ll be out of it the next week. But in this case the “vote of confidence” was given already before the start of the season, so we’re talking about an exception. What can we expect from the manager when he has been given this confidence of the chairman? “Even if we’ll go down you’ll be the manager”. Is it an incitement to work for your life..? If the board decides to sack AB against the will of FL, then what? Will FL resign? These are all hypothetical questions, but I think FL should treat AB the same way as he did with Brian Horton or whichever other manager. Even though AB is an old friend doesn’t mean he’s a good (or bad for that matter) manager.

AB: What has he proved so far in his managerial career? Nothing but relegations. However, it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be given the chance. Now I think he has been given the chance. Our squad isn’t as crap as the results tell us. We have almost a full team consisting of £1mill+ rated players, just look through the squad yourself. Most of our players would go straight into any other Premiership side.

With the players City have available at the moment, they should be contenders for a place in Europe, not heading towards Endsleigh. I blame the manager for not being able to take profit of all the great qualities which are to be found in this team. I suspect AB for not having the tactical/coaching abilities which are required to manage a big club. I am saying that based on the games I have seen so far this season. It seems to me the players are not having any tactics/instructions at all to work from. They look so casual and unstructured on the park; it’s simply terrible to watch. Has AB any knowledge of modern football? I am talking about the ability to make a team strongly organized and disiplined, analysing performances and opposition, make statistics on the game etc. Methods which are essential in continental football.

Being a football manager is not all about experience, but rather the ability to adapt and follow the development of football. I don’t think we are playing modern football under Alan Ball; he is to me a survivor of the old generation which will never ever again make any impact in the Premiership. English football is more and more moving in the direction of continental football and thus we need a new face to help us to follow the track. I don’t doubt that AB can give the players a “lesson” after poor performances and make them work hard on and off the pitch, but it’s not sufficient if he hasn’t got enough knowledge of modern football.

I agree that we all have to stand by the team now. Even though I don’t rate the manager I am as keen a supporter as ever. However, I don’t think we need to step down a division. Of course nobody has a God given right to stay in the Premiership, but do we have to give up without having tried all solutions? If we are going down it may not be so easy to come back into the top division. We’ll lose many of our best players and there are other big-spending clubs down there who are keen on promotion. Before we settle down with the thought that we are doomed, another man should be given a try in the “hot-seat”. I know it’s not the most attractive job at the present time, but I think Howard Kendall is available and would probably take the challenge. I know it won’t make me popular mentioning him, but he has saved us before and I am sure he could do it again. Trevor Francis is another candidate which I rate. Both the names I have mentioned have experience from continental football and are familiar with Maine Road.

AB please prove me wrong!

Tor-Kristian Karlsen (


Just a few thoughts (I’m feeling a bit depressed with all things blue at the moment, and I had to talk to someone…)

So, multi-million pound businessmen are going to save us from the drop, are they? Certainly, nothing short of a miracle such as this is required to prevent us falling through the trap door – but I read something in the Manchester Evening News the other week which I thought you might be interested in.

The two businessmen who started all these rumours were interviewed. They stated (again) that they represented a consortium who would inject substancial cash into the Academy if they all got seats on the board and ousted many of Lee’s backers. Mmmmm, I thought, sounds reasonable – for the cuthroat world of big business.

Then, however, they continued by stating (this is paraphrased!) “It is important that everyone realises that we do not have the money to inject into the club, but we know a lot of rich people who do. We are just acting as the honest brokers.” Aha, I thought, so it’s that easy! Right, well, I know all of you on MCIVTA (virtually) so how about it boys and girls, reach into your pockets, contact any wealthy friends you may have, and let’s get on the board! I’ll ring Lee – “Hello Franny, Matt here. Listen, I’ve got these mates who’ve got some cash – I haven’t, but you can only have it if I get a seat on the board …”.

Predictions (1):

If we don’t beat Bolton and Wimbledon in our next two home games, we will go down.

Predictions (2):

We are going to go down.

Predictions (3):

Never fear! We will terrorise the first division next season, running away with the championship easily, and embarking upon a superb cup run which will see us win the FA Cup between the twin towers, beating the likes of Liverpool and the Rags on the way. This will be sufficient consolation for having to watch games against Tranmere and Taylor’s tigers (or are they wolves?).

Lastly, I would like to know how we can go from such a good performance against Leeds to such dismal depths against ‘Pool. I know they are a class side, and few (if any) teams will take three points from them at Anfield this season, but surely questions must be asked about Ball’s ability to maintain a decent level of commitment and momentum? Not to mention his judgement of players’ abilities (Creaney for Walsh? :-< ). Tactically, he seems a bit naïve too. Hang on, aren’t these all the essential characteristics of a good football manager?

Oh – and the very last thing – Kinky was sublime against Leeds, why didn’t Match of the Day do him justice? (I know, we don’t play in red).

And honestly the very last thing: the worst thing about being relegated will not be the shame, or the taunts, or the loss of Rösler and Kinky, but the fact that we will be forced to listen to Elton F*****g Welsby, his hopeless sidekick Jim Bollocks, and that crap theme music. Oh God.

Blue as blue can be, (


Piccadilly’s phone in last Saturday was quite interesting to say the least. Apart from the odd barracking Rag and sadder than sad City fans, one person phoned up to proclaim he’d had enough. Elliot Rashman, manager of Simply Red phoned after hearing the result at Liverpool and basically spoke some truth, some hard truth at that. To summarise what he said, he stated that despite him being linked to a ‘take over’, he hasn’t got the money; Mick Hucknell keeps it all at the end of the day, but he said he knew a few people who did and he was going to speak to them this week. He said Michael Bent (?), linked with City last week was a no-mark and basically wanted some glory and had no money to boot. He said FHL was doing ok, turning City into profit etc, but slammed him on other matters. First, he attacked the board, which incidently still has all the old faces of Swales’ era. He said that there’s 15 people on the board who don’t have a single penny between them, either business or personal wealth. Not one of them would and could give City the much needed cash injection. He finished by saying that they all need to go and I can’t agree more. He called them incompetent for sitting back and watching us sink to the first division. Basically we all hear of FHL’s desire to stay out of the red, saying City will not go into debt, but as Rashman pointed out, has he, the businessman ever heard of investment? The words are the same, one shows heart and willing, the other stinks of the corporate mentality that MCFC PLC have adopted since Lee’s arrival. He called the PR of City for constantly getting things either wrong and telling the fans only half the truth, which I can believe. Apparently, on Saturday’s morning press, under-fire chairman FHL was quoted that some players needed to start pulling their weight. According to Rashman, these players that FHL quoted were either injured or have being playing in the reserves. Now called me old fashioned, but we can hardly blame the likes of Dibble, Vonk etc. for our downfall.

So will he organise anything to save us? Pie in the sky perhaps, but money is needed badly, keep FHL as chairman and sack the life long members of the board and inject cash and new faces now. I personally believe that Rösler will go now after throwing his boots into the City end at Anfield, I think he’s tired and disenchanted with AB’s tactics and who can blame him? Quality striker and not one single quality passer of the ball and I include Kinky in that statement.

On a lighter note, one City fan said to me that when Rösler threw his boots to the City fans on Saturday, he missed!

Tony Shaw – Blue and Pround but a little cheesed off with life! (


I just want to weigh in with a few comments on how I see things from afar. Firstly, to find out about the Liverpool result from a L’pool supporter who opens with “sorry about the result…” is very depressing. What can be done? Well I certainly don’t think Nigel Clough is the answer. If you look at how successful teams now play (NUFC, LFC, scum, etc.), they all play with pace. To have such slow players as Creaney and Quinn in the Premiership shows how out of touch we are with modern tactics. Look at who Newcastle have signed recently — Gillespie, Ginola, Ferdinand, etc, all of whom have incredible pace as well as skill. Now look at Creaney and Quinn. Hmmm. I know we have a budget and I think this loan signing is the way to go. How about a few more loans? I also agree with Martin Ford that a 5-3-2 is the way to go, to give the full backs some help as they obviously can’t defend well enough to play a 4-4-2. As for signings I’d like to maybe have a look at a few other out of favour types such as Mark Wright and Michael Thomas who should be able to give us some much needed experience and stability in the heart of the team.

One final thought: Should we go down (I still maintain some optimism) then what will happen? Gone are Flitcroft, Rösler and Kinkladze, and then who will get us out without a massive infusion of cash? That is why I think we desperately need to stay up and must spend now. Might as well spend and stay in the top flight as opposed to spend to get back in it.

C’mon Ball, sort it out tactically!!

Steve Barlow (


At the risk of offending the football purists who read this page, is it not about time we adopted a more ‘direct’ style of play in an attempt to reverse this terrible run of results? I am not advocating the long-ball tactics of the Reid/Ellis era, rather a simpler and sharper type of football to the one currently played. In a similar situation in 1989, Kendall pulled City away from relegation by playing a 5 man defence which was under orders not to muck about and move the ball forward quickly. I saw City against QPR this season, and it was obvious there was no Grand Plan for our players to follow. Given that AB has shown his minimal tactical know-how, perhaps Kendall should have a word in his ear (I never thought I’d be harking back to the good old days of Kendall, and I’m not suggesting that we sign loads of has-been Southampton players, it’s just an indication of how bad things have become). We need to use Quinn to take the pressure off the defence, only then will we stop conceding goals and start picking up points. In the process the team might gain some confidence, move up the table and be able to start playing the slick, attractive style which everyone wants to see and the players are capable of – as was demonstrated by the mauling we gave Blackburn last season. My team would be: (5 3 2)

      Summerbee         Symons   Kernaghan         Phelan
               Brightwell   Flitcroft   Kinky
                       Quinn      Rösler
      Subs: Margetson, Lomas, Beagrie.

We could really do with a ‘boss’ in the McMahon/Reid mould to run the show from midfield, but as a whole the team looks well balanced and should be able to support the front two quickly – especially with the ‘wing-backs’ given the freedom to go forward. Let’s face it, we’ll go down if something doesn’t change.

I would like to add the name of Nick Leeson to the list of famous City supporters. With his financial acumen and sure investment skills, I am convinced he would make an excellent addition to the board. On the subject of famous supporters, why is it that we don’t have an MP who purports to be staying loyal to his roots by turning up to Maine Road? Chelsea have David Mellor (and occasionally John Major), Forest have Kenneth Clarke and Sheffield Wednesday have Roy Hattersley. Not a very inspiring list I know, but ‘cool’ MPs are even rarer than a City trophy. In whose constituency is Maine Road? Does he/she ever go to games?

In desperation,

David Sweeting (


What a great week it has been for Manchester City Football club! We’ve been beaten twice by Liverpool, conceding 10 goals in the process. To make matters worse, Uwe removed his boots and threw them into the crowd. He left the field looking pretty pissed off and who could blame him? But all this pales into insignificance, next to the news that Man City rejected the loan of Georgi Hagi from Barcelona. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the same Georgi Hagi who was one of the outstanding players from the 1994 World Cup Finals? Okay, so there are risks involved in bringing Hagi to Maine Road. He may not adapt to the English game and we’d be no better off than we are now. Then there is the £12,000 a week wages, which is the reason Frannie said no to the offer. Okay, so it’s a lot of money, but doesn’t Mr.Lee realise that you have to speculate to accumulate? If Hagi were to come to Maine Road, I’d be willing to bet ticket sales would increase dramatically. You only have to look at what happened on Teeside with the arrival of Juninho. Season ticket sales went up and the club shop is selling thousands of Brazil shirts. Big stars generate money and Hagi is a big star. Even if the club did make a loss on the loan deal, it must be worth it to stay in the Premier League. We all know the financial implications of relegation, and the uncertainty of gaining promotion. This latest episode underlines Frannie Lee’s lack of ambition where MCFC are concerned. He seems to accept our relegation as inevitable, but then when you have Alan Ball as manager, it couldn’t really be described as anything else.

Charles Pollitt (


Yes, I know that we’ve hit rock bottom and that Ball should do this, and Ball should do that, the extra fans would generate Hagi’s wages, we had no tactics against Liverpool, Kinky is injured, Rösler’s pissed off, the full backs are still shite, we couldn’t score in a brothel, Ball will have to resign if we don’t beat Bolton blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc..


We are playing Bolton at home, followed by Sheff. Wednesday away and then Wimbledon at home. Games we could quite easily lose, but all these teams are going through bad patches and they are games we could win with a bit of help from the fans. I reckon we helped the team get a point against Leeds and we could do it again. It’s not unreasonable to assume that we could take 7 points from the next 3 matches. All is not yet lost!

Ken Foster (


2 more names for the list are:

  1. Rick Wakeman – reported to fly in for home games
  2. Jack Duckworth from ‘The Street’ my wife informs me he said so on Breakfast TVthis morning (31st Oct).

The last issue was like a Leonard Cohen LP – so depressing. There are some good things about City.

  1. We do not play in Red
  2. We are not called the Red Devils
  3. We can throw ourselves off the highest stand in the country at the end of the season.
  4. We have the best fans in the country – most are certified
  5. We like a joke (but enough is enough)
  6. We can easily remember all our goals
  7. We have 20K+ fans who are loyal even when things are as bad as now
  8. We are not called Un****

Andy Birkin (


This was in the Independent on Sunday, 8th October but I’ve only just got round to typing it in.

20 things City have that U****d haven’t

  1. A place in the 3rd round of the Coca-Cola Cup
  2. A chairman with extensive contacts in the wastepaper business (butchery is so messy)
  3. A manager with a World Cup winners medal
  4. A manager who took Stoke down into the third division proper for the first time
  5. Manchester-born supporters
  6. A ground in Manchester
  7. The undying love of Oasis
  8. And Eddie Large
  9. The eternal pleasure of having sent U****d into the second division with a goal from a back-heel by a former Old Trafford hero
  10. A bribery scandal: In 1905 Billy Meredith was banned. Worse, U****d signed him, and when his suspension ended he was joined by three other City players the club was forced to sell in an illegal payments case. The next year U****d won the title.
  11. A ground with a record attendance of 84,569 compared to Old T******d’s puny 76,962
  12. City don’t employ overseas strikers who kung-fu mouthy opposition supporters
  13. A far safer policy is to sign unknown Georgians, sight unseen
  14. City have given employment to twice as many managers since the war
  15. 23 September 1989: U****d, cocky from beating Millwall 5-1 the previous Saturday, strutted into Maine Road, to be sent packing by the same score
  16. In 1934 City won the FA Cup beating Portsmouth 2-1 in the final due partly to a player described as “the finest right-half ever seen at Wembley” – the 25-year-old Matt Busby
  17. City have never had to play a game at a neutral ground because of their fans’ misbehaviour
  18. City have won the League Cup twice to U****d’s once
  19. U****d may be ahead in the League Championship stakes, but where it really matters, the Second division, City have won six titles to U****d’s meagre two
  20. City have never been beaten 3-0 at home by York

A few notes of my own-

I’d rather we never had number 1

7, 8: More famous fans:

  • Nick Conway (Billy Boswell in Bread)
  • Kevin Kennedy (Curly from Corrie)
  • Billy Duffy (from The Cult)
  • Howard Davies (an MP, he’s chairman of some big organisation to do with Trade & Industry-can anyone help out here?)
  • and of course Mark Radcliffe & Lard, plus Bernard Manning as seen in MCIVTA 139

11: This is actually the record attendance for any game in England outside Wembley – it was against Stoke, I think – anyone got any more details?

19: Soon going to be 7-2

Ian Kay (


To add to your list of “famous” Blues there’s Mark E. Smith of The Fall; (for Fall afficionados only… is it me or is the second side of Middle Class Revolt blatant anti-Rags ranting?) As regards our current form, where’s Kenny Clements when you need him?

Charles Augarde, ex-Wallace Avenue, by the Welcome, now in flatland! (


In answer to Gary Fones’ request for famous City fans:

  • Kevin Kennedy (Curly Watts from Coronation St)
  • Johnny Marr (Ex guitarist from the Smiths)
  • Billy Duffy (Ex guitarist from the Cult-mates with Johnny Marr)
  • Nicole Scorcese (Billy Duffy’s Wife-also a Calvin Klein supermodel andmuch more attractive than either Bernard Manning or Eddie Large). Accordingto the Sun she said “My husband is a real Manchester Lad. He says womendon’t go to football. I think that sucks so I’m asking Maine Road to invite me”
  • Rick Wakeman-rumoured to be pumping £10 million in to the club (no chance!)and used to be the ex chairman of Brentford FC.
  • The ex chairman of the CBI-confessed his fondness for City on an editionof Newsnight (BBC2), Howard Davies. [Ashley]
  • Norman Wisdom?
  • A local radio advert in the North East for the Spastics Society features abloke with cerebral palsy who continually says how depressed he is. At theend he says why, because “I hate seeing City lose”. I assume he means ManCity and have every sympathy. Has anyone else heard this advert?

Geoff St George (


I seem to remember reading that Howard Davies, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England is a keen City fan. He’s an ex Manchester Grammar School pupil and now he has access to all that cash that we need! I wonder if he reads this?

Peter Kewley (


Shaggy has asked for our votes for October’s Premiership Player of the Month. As with last month (won by Tony Yeboah), send your votes to me and I’ll collate and forward them to Shaggy. Votes to reach me by Thursday November 9.

By the way, we’re not allowed to vote for our own players, though I doubt that anybody would anyway!

The award winners are listed in Shaggy’s Guide to the FA Premiership,

Paul Howarth (


Unfortunately, this joke applies to City (let’s hope it changes Saturday).

What’s the difference between a triangle and City?

A triangle has three points.

Jesse McClure (

I’m sure most in Britain will have heard this one but it probably hasn’t reached faraway places yet



Monday, October 30 1995

BOLTON WANDERERS       1-0     ARSENAL              18,682

Thu 02 Nov

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Newcastle United      11      9    1    1     27     8        28
Manchester United     11      8    2    1     23    11        26
Liverpool             11      7    2    2     24     8        23
Arsenal               11      6    3    2     15     6        21
Nottingham Forest     11      5    6    0     19    12        21
Middlesbrough         11      6    3    2     11     6        21
Aston Villa           11      6    2    3     13     8        20
Leeds United          11      6    2    3     17    13        20
Tottenham Hotspur     11      4    4    3     16    14        16
Chelsea               11      4    3    4     11    14        15
Blackburn Rovers      11      4    2    5     16    15        14
West Ham United       11      3    4    4     10    12        13
Sheffield Wednesday   11      3    2    6      9    13        11
Queens Park Rangers   11      3    1    7     10    17        10
Wimbledon             11      3    1    7     15    25        10
Everton               11      2    3    6     12    16         9
Southampton           11      2    3    6     11    20         9
Bolton Wanderers      11      2    2    7     12    22         8
Coventry City         11      1    4    6      8    21         7
Manchester City       11      0    2    9      3    21         2

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Charles (x2), David, Ian, Tony (x2), Ken, Paul, John, Matt, Tor-Kristian, Steve, Andy, Mark (x2), Jeremy, Jon, Eric, Geoff, The Mole, Ian, Neale & Peter.

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 #140