Newsletter #143

After much spluttering the Phelan deal has gone through (apparently!) but as yet, no sign of exactly who the money will be spent on though there is of course some press speculation! Also, it’s not clear exactly how much this deal is netting, as Neale Hayward-Shott got a figure from Phelan himself which is radically different than that reported in the press. This issue also has two great contributions from faraway places, Ten Great Goals from Oz and an exceptional Why Blue from the USA as well as loads of opinion & discussion and more news from Platt Lane!

Also news of an MCIVTA Xmas get-togther!

This goes out to 489.

Next game, Sheffield Wednesday away, Saturday 18th November 1995.


This morning’s (Saturday’s) Independent says that Phelan has gone for £750,000, and Ball has to wait until the outcome of a board meetig on Tuesday to see if he will get the money for another player. The player he is after is supposed to be Nigel Clough. Is he really what we need? Don’t we need a ball winner in midfield, someone to win the ball then give it to Kinky? Peter Reid or Steve McMahon are the style of player I have in mind, but obviously not them. We need someone, as Francis Urquhart said, to “put a bit of stick about”, i.e. make the other team a bit wary.

Gary Thompson (


Terry Phelan’s transfer to Chelsea gas finally gone through after club & player came to an amicable settlement regarding the monies due to Phelan under the terms of his contract. The transfer fee is said to be three quarters of a million pounds, representing a substantial loss to City.

It is rumoured that the transfer money will be spent on Exeter City forward Martin “Buster” Phillips. Whilst managing Exeter, Alan Ball once predicted that Phillips would be Britian’s first ten million pound player. I wonder what proportion of that fee City can afford?

The Mole


Apparently The little speedster is now only netting us £750,000… one might still question Hoddle’s judgement. No doubt, however, he will magically be transformed into a player of real quality who will make 3 goals when Chelsea next come to Maine Road. But that’s life eh?

R.S.Allen (


I have reserved a private room (the 40 club, which is upstairs in the MCFC Social Club overlooking the function room) at Maine Road, for a meeting of the Internet Blues on the 23rd of December before the match against Chelsea.

I think it would be a great opportunity to get together as many of the faithful who subscribe to MCIVTA (and their friends) if only to make sure we all have faces!

If anyone out there wants to come, entry to the club costs a quid. I would like those intending to come to let me know so that I can make appropriate arrangements with the management (my sister and her husband), bar staff (probably my nephew) and caterers (no relation), dependant on how well attended the meet will be.

I hope as many of you will make the effort for this match as possible and come along.

Malcolm Plaiter (

I’d like to thank Malcolm for coming up with this idea and putting it into action. For my part, I think it’d be great for us to see the faces behind the keyboards. The Social Club is of course, right next to the ground which means that it’s a really convenient place to meet. If only a few people show interest then we’ll just be having a few pints but if more people look like they’ll be coming then Malcolm will sort out something on the food provision front. Please support Malcolm and if you intend to come then drop him a line so he can gauge how many will turn up.



(Your training ground correspondent)

Terry Phelan
Terry was back in training at Platt Lane on Friday (10th) after having talkswith Chelsea. I have it on the best authority, TP himself, that his transferfee from Wimbledon was just under £2,000,000. A clause in his contract statedthat if City transferred him he would receive £300,000. Chairman Leeoffered him £100,000 and they came to an amicable agreement – circa£200,000. TP does not mind going south but wants his contracthonoured. TP believes that Ball wanted him in his first team but it wasChairman Lee who insisted on the sale “at any price.”
Legal Action
Brian Horton and sidekick Moss are taking City to court for a £150,000settlement of their respective contracts. Chairman Lee says “We will paywhatever the court decides Brian Horton is due.” The case goes to court thisweek.
“B” Team Derby
A truly superb match took place this morning, Saturday 11th, at Platt Lane.Rags “B” 2 – City “B” 1. City played well and would have earned at least adraw had it not been for an inspired game from the Rags’ goalkeeper, makingat least half a dozen world class saves. His day was marred when he was sentoff five minutes from time for handling outside the area and received anovation from the, mainly City, 1000 strong crowd.
City have an excellent “B” team and have won twelve games this season. Evenmore encouraging is the fact that nine of them will make up the Youth Teamfor this year’s Lancs Cup and F.A. Youth Cup. Watch out especially for theprogress of a left winger Aled Rowlands who will certainly be one of thestars of the future. Encouragingly he has just signed a three year contract.

Neale Hayward-Shott (


Yes, I can confirm what you all heard! I have at home a book called “Football in the Dock” (can forward details, e.g. Author, ISBN if anyone is interested) which discusses the history of bribery and other offences at length. I think what Roy Paul was describing is mentioned in this book, also some other infringements by City in the past – one of note involved Billy Meredith I believe; I think he and some other City players were banned from football, and ended up signing for the Rags at the end of their ban – may be wrong about this last detail. Can’t recall if the bent butcher gets a mention – probably not, as his alleged infringements weren’t directly connected with football, but I was always convinced he must have bankrolled the Rags from his activities.

Jeremy Poynton (


Yes, I too saw the program where the bribes were mentioned. I said to Jackie “Roy Paul has just admitted taking a bribe.” “Who’s Roy Paul?” asked Jackie looking up from her book. Anyway, I’ve pieced together 2 books. The Playfair fixture lists for 1954-55 and the Rothman’s book 1970-71. The Rothmans book gives the results for each season but not the match dates, so assuming the matches were played at their appointed dates – Manchester City’s last game of the season was away to Villa. Villa 7th-ish. City 6th-ish, so it’s not that one (City lost 2-0). However, the penultimate game of the season City were at home to Blackpool. The bottom of the table read (remember only 2 points for a win and 2 go down):

Blackpool       Pld. 40 Points 36
Cardiff         Pld. 40 Points 34
Leicester       Pld. 40 Points 33
S.Wed           Pld. 40 Points 24

Result – City 1 Blackpool 6 (six) thus making Blackpool safe. I have to say this is not conclusive. There may have been some rearranged fixtures somewhere although in the “olden” days things did run as per programme an awful lot more than today. Conclusions – I think he took the bribe. Well he actually admitted it anyway. I suspect it was the Blackpool game. For those who want to know the end of the story the final table looked like:

Blackpool       Pld. 42 Points 38
Cardiff         Pld. 42 Points 37
Leicester       Pld. 42 Points 35
S.Wed           Pld. 42 Points 26

All very sad. Consolation – City beat the Rags 5-0 at the Swamp in that season.

John Shearer (

Paul came up with the Blackpool game as well but he also thought that Roy Paul said that the final result was 1-2 which would exclude it. Did anyone else hear the 1-2 mentioned? Maybe he was stating a game near the end of the season rather than at the end?


I can’t remember Roy Paul saying the final result was 1-2 but he may well have done. The only game City lost 1-2 at home that season was against Portsmouth, scheduled for November and Portsmouth finished 3rd that season. All a bit inconclusive I’m afraid.

John Shearer (


Regarding Jon Walsh’s question in MCIVTA 142: In 1930-31 Manchester United started the season (Div. 1) with 12 games without a win. Still a British record ๐Ÿ™‚

As for the Roy Paul thing, in the 1954/55 season City lost 1-6 to Blackpool in their second last match of the season. Blackpool stayed up with three points to spare over Leicester. What really disgusts me is that City ended up one point behind the Rags, and only seven points behind the winners, so if this bribe-stuff is true…

In the 1951/52 season City lost 1-3 to Stoke in the last match of the season. Stoke beat Huddersfield by three points to stay up. Don’t know if Huddersfield lost their last match.

In the 1957/58 season City lost 1-4 to Newcastle, in their third last game of the season. Newcastle shaved Sunderland off on goal difference, to stay up. The match before City beat Sunderland 3-1. However, by then Roy Paul had gone to Worcester.

These are the only incidents involving City-defeats to bottom-flyers in the dying matches of the 1950ies, as far as I can see.

Svenn Hanssen (


Sent this letter (below) to Francis Lee, after the Liverpool `match`, and received a response.

Dear Mr Lee,

This may appear to be just another one of those `gripe` letters, which I`m sure you’re receiving in quantity at the moment but please spend a little of your time to read this.

I`ve only been a serious `City fan` for two seasons now; I live out of Manchester, but have worked in the City centre for six years, hence the reasons for supporting `your` team; myself and my wife (and the rest of the `travelling army`) have given the Blues backup where required, paying gate entry fees of up to £17 (Forest’s ground). The likes of myself are paying for this team, the likes of myself are paying for your lifestyle, the likes of myself are providing employment for Alan Ball.

I feel let down.

We provide support in numbers; it’s difficult to stay away, as City is a team with such character, with such characterful players. Messrs Rösler and Kinkladze are stars. Uwe would die for his cause, I just get the feeling after the `game` I witnessed at Anfield that we have lost him. I for one don`t blame him, I wouldn`t be prepared to continue working for an ailing company, I would make efforts to get back into the bright lights, and let’s face it, Manchester City is now becoming a tool of ridicule, for anyone south of the border.

Why do I feel that the higher echelons of Manchester City’s management is not providing the other third of the support required? The fans can see outclassed players on the pitch; why can you not see them yourselves, why is none of the gate entry being reinvested?

The way Manchester City is being run would strike fear into other private sector concerns; do your management teams not ask questions?

Please face reality, things are going wrong.

I hope you can provide me with a suitable response, I deserve it. I await your correspondence in anticipation.

Yours Sincerely
Colin Bailey

The response I received to this was…

I have read your letter and noted some points; there is a long way to go yet, your continued support would be appreciated,

Francis H Lee.

I also sent a letter to Uwe Rösler, as he threw his boots off after that game and I felt really sorry for him!!!

Colin Bailey (


The Guardian noted in their report of the Newcastle – Blackburn game that Blackburn have made the worst start to the defence of a Championship in 58 years. And who were those heroes of 58 years ago – Yes! No less than our own beloved Blues. Not only that, but we also got relegated, further proof that whatever we do, we do it with style.

Jeremy Poynton (


Thanks to the Electronic Telegraph, Monday 13 November 1995

Lee gives City time and money

By Mihir Bose

Francis Lee’s takeover of Manchester City, which has been shrouded in financial mystery, can now be publicly documented. The Daily Telegraph can reveal how much Lee has personally invested in the club, the total investment and the financial and management problems faced by City during and since the takeover almost two years ago.

Lee has invested £3.5 million – roughly half in shares and half in loan stock – into the club. By way of confirmation, he said: “Given that I’ve earned the money in the UK, am not offshore, and that I have paid tax on it, it means I’ve had to earn £5 million to invest that. Not many people have put in quite so much of their personal money, not company money, in a football club.”

Some of the questions about City’s finances have arisen because Lee’s takeover was very different to that of most other clubs. For a start the former chairman, Peter Swales, and his fellow director Stephen Bowler still have shares – Bowler 15 per cent, Swales about 10 per cent – and Lee’s consortium were careful to buy less than 30 per cent. Had they bought more they would have had to buy everyone’s shares. Even then Lee had to guarantee £6 million; £3 million to buy a parcel of Swales’ and Bowler’s shares, and a further £3 million in loan stock. The deal was structured so that £2 million was paid straight away and a further £million is due in February 1996.

The Daily Telegraph understands that the staggered payments were for tax reasons. “It was a result of mutual agreement between the shareholders selling shares and myself,” said Lee, who bristles at the suggestion that no money has gone into the club; since he took over some £14 million has been provided in various ways, though £1.5 million of this came from supporters buying loans to take up seats in the remodelled Centre Stand.

Lee defends the decision to spend £11 million on the Kippax Stand, arguing that without it the stand could not have been used. “We had no Football Trust grant, it was all used up for the previous stand construction.”

The accounts for the year to May 31, 1995 show that after losing nearly £6 million in 1994, Manchester City have made a profit of just over £250,000. This may not sound much, but Lee’s argument is that City hobbled themselves in the past by some very curious financial arrangements. For instance, the merchandising contract was franchised out for £60,000; it has just been reclaimed and Lee says, “Even if we’d won the double last year it would have made no difference.”

Contrast this with the £30 million that Manchester United get from merchandising and we have an idea of how far City have to go.

City, argues Lee, had the policy “of robbing Peter to pay Paul. When I got here I found we had the most complicated transfer contracts and the final £150,000 on one player who cost us £2 million was only paid recently after he had played 80 games – which is equivalent to almost three seasons.”

Despite City’s appalling start, they are averaging 26,000 crowds and Lee is hopeful that next year the turnover will reach £12 million and there could be a profit of £3 million. His problem is the short-term where he faces, “a Catch 22 situation. What we have to do is to get our wage bill down. All our gate money goes to pay the players and without TV and sponsorship we would be dead. We have to sell some players, but because they are so well paid and so highly valued we can’t get rid of them.”

A classic example was the recent failed deal concerning Michel Vonk. Lee wanted £500,000 and was prepared to drop the price to £375,000 in order to help Oldham meet Vonk’s wages. “But in the end he wouldn’t go. The agent told us Sunderland fancy him but they haven’t got the money. I said I can’t wait for Sunderland to come in.”

So, unable to sell as many players as he would like, Lee has found that the wage bill has increased as newer players have come in. So far this season Alan Ball has spent nearly all of his budgeted £3.5 million and Lee says: “We have had to buy extra players to strengthen the squad, our wage bill has gone up by £1 million this year when I would like to drop it by a million.”

One way out would be a spell away from the fevered waters of the Premier League and while Lee is confident that City can survive, relegation doesn’t seem to worry him. “We will eventually be successful, but in the short term it does not matter which way we go. It might end in relegation. If that happens it might help free the club of a lot of big wage-earners.”

“Some of them might say ‘I don’t want to play in the First Division’, some might say that ‘if we go down with my wages, they will have to give me a free transfer’, and some might be spurred by the First Division to resurrect their careers.”

Relegation is unlikely to threaten Alan Ball’s job. “When I brought him in I explained the situation and he knows we have a big task,” Lee said. “What we need are players who don’t treat a match as if it’s a day in the office. People understand what we are trying to achieve.”

Lee concedes that the problems he has faced mean that there is little or no chance of City getting to the stock market. “Manchester City is talked about as a big club. But it is not. It’s a big club in image, it’s got a big ground but its’income is very low. Unless we raise that we cannot match our image.”

Alan Arensen (
Adam Houghton (
Matt Varley (


This is a true story which brought a smile to my face after the Derby defeat.

A very good friend of mine works for a certain bookies. On this particular day he had the misfortune of working near the sty. The amount of bets placed on the derby that day added up to over £3000. The payouts were a grand total of £100 to a single bloke who had the first goalscorer.

Proof (as if it was needed) that when it comes to Gods Game the Rags don`t know their arse from their elbow. In the Rags’ defence though it’s good to see them putting their money where their mouth is.

Gavin Hodge (


John Shearer mentioned London & South East Blues attempting to meet up to go to games. At the Wycombe away game, a bunch of North London Blues met by chance in the pub outside the station after the game and have since attempted to keep in touch. Last I heard, we’re planning to meet up for a chat and a jar or two this coming Wednesday night (Nov. 15) and maybe catch some of the Ireland game on a big screen telly – the England game is bound to be crap! Anyone who lives within striking distance of Finsbury Park and wants to come along, drop me an e-mail and I’ll get more details for you.

Also, there are plans for a combined assault on the Villa game and – at Wycombe – there was even drunken talk of forming a (North?) London branch of the ISA (currently, London only has an Official Supporters’ Club). The ISA and OSA merger seems to have stalled permanently and I’m torn between either complicating the situation further or sending a signal to the OSA that this state of affairs is not good enough. That’s if we can manage to get our act together!

In response to Tony Shaw’s query: yes, Oasis have released a song called “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. I think it’s one of the tracks on the new album “(What’s the Story?) Morning Glory”. If not, it’s one of the bonus tracks on the new, rather good “Wonderwall” single.

Did anyone catch the “O-zone” on BBC2 a few weeks back? Oasis were being interviewed and one of the Gallagher brothers said he would like to be remembered as someone who wrote a few good songs, had a great laugh and supported a crap football team. A True Blue, then. ๐Ÿ™‚

James Nash (


Lee Dixon (of the Arse)’s Dad is one of us. Also at the QPR game I spotted John Stapleton of the BBC (I think he presents Watchdog or something similar) with what appeared to be his young son decked out in full City kit. By the glum look on Stapleton senior’s face I would guess he’s a Blue as well.

Incidentally, Howard Davies is now deputy Governor of the Bank of England. He lives in Putney, London and commutes up with his sons for home games. Any chance of a lift, Howie?

Derek Eccleston (


I think that on an episode of ‘The Time The Place’ (weekday mornings on ITV) I remember that John Stapleton declared his support for the Blues.

Mike Barry (


How on earth could anyone not know about John Stapleton of `The Time The Place’ on ITV or the newsreader Lawrie Mayer from Sky News being City fans? Obscure, but fans all the same.

Chris Holt (


Well, apparently Chantelle popped up on John Inverdale’s tea time programme on Radio 5 last week. Radio 5 had been trumpeting the fact that we can now email them, and the lovely Chantelle had apparently taken the opprotunity to bombard them with her post-modernist odes to the Rags and the Sardine man.

Seems that Inverdale had not grasped the fact that they were being spoofed, and actually invited Chantelle onto the programme. I don’t whether she was actually there, or whether it was a phone interview, but apparently she made her presence felt :-))

Jeremy Poynton (


Having travelled up to Manchester full of doom and gloom for the Bolton match, I’d like to add my views…

Ok, so we won, and the atmosphere when the single goal went in was unbelievable (has a cheer from one goal ever gone on for so long??!), but I must ask whether anyone who was there can honestly say that we weren’t witnessing two teams on the way down. City were the better team, but if they can’t kill off a team as poor as Bolton were on the day, what chances are there against higher quality opposition? Think about the teams we are going to have to beat in the rest of the season to get the 45 or so points needed to stay up.

Anyway, not wanting to be too depressing, I have a plan… Before the Bolton game, my last City games were the Blackburn and Liverpool games at the end of last season. I feel I must have played an important part in City winning these games so feel the only answer is for MCIVTA to club up and send me to all the remaining fixtures ๐Ÿ™‚ !!

Well, it’s worth a try…

And another famous Blue (so I’m told) is the guy who played Avon in Blakes 7.

Andy Lamb (


I have a question for everyone who remembers the last real successful season we had. I don’t mean struggling to scrape promotion from Div. 2 or a trip to Wembley in the Full Members’ something or other, but a time when we could have actually won something.

I am of course referring to season 1980-81. Great wasn’t it? But all of you who do remember those heady days, do you also happen to remember the first 10 or 12 games? If not, let me remind you. Pardon me if my stats aren’t exactly spot on but I seem to remember 3 points from those first 12 games. That’s one win and one draw in old money. Then we got rid of poor Malcolm Allison, got in his old mate Bondy who in turn brought in Hutch., Bobby Mac. and mad, bad Gerry Gow. Almost immediately we started winning games by the hatful. As a Kippax season ticket holder I will never forget the feeling of going to a game not wondering if we would win but how many goals we were going to win by!!!

That season was great as we went from strength to strength, reaching the League Cup semi and very nearly beating the then mighty Liverpool (Kevin Reeves’ goal in the home leg was completely legitimate and had the ref. not disallowed it I’m sure we would have won the tie). We reached the FA Cup Final (the semi at Villa Park was my fondest memory of watching City play and Paul Power’s free kick was Brazilian class). We also reached a position of safety in the League by Easter which was probably the most difficult task of the three.

So what of today’s situation. OK we can’t get rid of the manager as (a) he would require compensation that we simply cannot afford and (b) as so many have pointed out, nobody worth his salt would take on the job at the minute. We can’t afford to bring in players, we can’t even afford loan players’ wages for God’s sake. So the boys have got to knuckle down and if we grind out a couple or three good results like the Bolton win the confidence will come back you can be sure of that.

So come on lads and lasses get behind the boys and don’t get on their backs and who knows this time next year we will all be remembering the season 1995-96 but not really dwelling too much on the first 12 games.

Keep on smiling and cheers from Holland.

David Hofman (


A few lists I put together:-

Five Memorable Goals

  1. Paul Power’s 1981 Semi-final winner
  2. Steve MacKenzie’s 1981 Final Goal – should have been the winner
  3. 1976 League Cup – Dennis Tueart – The cross comes in, Booth heads it down – bugger me we’ve won something
  4. Jimmy Nicholl’s marvellous o.g. vs. The Rags in 1975 – my first derby!
  5. Nicky Summerbee vs. Bolton – just ‘cos we won a game

Five Bad Moments

  1. 1981 FA Cup Final Replay – particularly the oft-repeated Ricky Villa goal
  2. David Pleat’s dance across Maine Road
  3. The Rags beating us 5-0 last year
  4. Liverpool beating us 6-0 this year
  5. The 80’s

Five Players We’ve Had & Could Do With Now

  1. Colin Hendry
  2. Andy Hinchcliffe
  3. Steve McMahon (as he was 5 years ago)
  4. Colin Bell (as he was 25 years ago)
  5. Paul Lake!?

Five Players We Could Do Without

  1. Richard Edghill – Until he passes to other City players
  2. Gerry Creaney – Until he learns to play football
  3. Steve Lomas – Effort alone is not enough
  4. Michel Vonk – well obviously
  5. Anyone who gets £2000+ per week for playing in the reserves

Five Best City Chants

  1. We’re shit and we’re getting worse
  2. We’ll score again, don’t know where, don’t know when
  3. Alan Ball’s a football genius
  4. Ee-ay-addio we’ve had a shot
  5. “So Are We, So Are We” as a reply to the Middlesbrough taunts of “Going Down, Going Down”

Matt Cadman (


Ten favourite goals by the Blues is always going to be a hard task because of the many scored down the years, but I’ve chosen my ten for a variety of reasons and as before they go in chronological order.

November 12 1966 — Stoke 0 City 1
City’s first season back in the big league for a few years (soundsfamiliar) and in the middle of a run of good results. Stoke were a usefuloutfit in those days and it seemed that City were heading for a creditabledraw when, in the last minute, the ball was crossed in from the left andMike Summerbee flung himself at the ball and connected with a beautifuldiving header that gave John Farmer (a vastly underated player) in theStoke goal no chance.The travelling Blues who were mingled with the Stoke fans went crackers.Why was it memorable? Because some Stoke moron lobbed a bottle down theterraces and guess who got hit, but I didn’t care, we’d won.
May 11 1968 — Newcastle 3 City 4
Another Buzzer goal and the opener for City in probably the greatest matchI’ve ever seen them play in, and what a reward for winning it. I believethat Lee hit the ball in, low and hard from the right hand by-line andBuzzer crept in and swept the ball in to the goal at the near post. Sheerjoy that one. The only other goal I remember clearly from that game wasMcNamee scoring Newcastle’s third goal near the end, the one that had everyCity heart racing.
April 26 1969 — City 1 Leicester 0
The winning goal in the FA Cup Final, could there be a better goal? Neil Youngwas the scorer. Franny took a quick throw-in on the right, Buzzer receivedit, took it to the by-line where he shrugged off the Leicester full-backand laid the ball back across the penalty area to Nelly, who leaned backand thrashed it past the diving Shilton.
February 28 1976 — City 2 Newcastle 1
Another final, this time the League Cup and Dennis Tueart’s winning goal. Thebest League Cup Final goal? You won’t see many better as he launchedhimself at a cross, with his back to goal and his overhead kick went innear the post. Thanks Dennis.
May 7 1977 — City 5 Tottenham 0
Probably the game that sent the Spurs down that year. A piece of Peter Barnesmagic. He picks up the ball on the right just inside the opposition half,beats or dummies past the Spurs defence and comes face to face with PatJennings, not a keeper you give a chance to. As big Pat comes out, Barnesydummies to shoot and as the keeper falls he chips it over him into the net.Magic, Barnsey at his best!
September 13 1978 — Twente Enschede 1 City 1
My first trip abroad to watch the Blues play in the first round of the UEFACup in Holland. Dave Watson scoring with a typically powerful header from acorner. It was memorable for another item; when he scored I fell off theseat I was standing/jumping on and broke the plaster on my left leg.
April 11 1981 — City 1 Ipswich 0
A semi-final at Villa Park. City were a bit fortunate to have taken the EastAnglians to extra time. We were awarded a free kick outside the Town box.The wall was lined up and up stepped Paul Power to curl the ball around thewall and into the top corner. The corner behind which the Blues werestanding. It was bedlam on the terrace after that, magical!
May 2 1981 — City 1 Crystal Palace 1
I can’t even remember this goal, apart from the fact that Dave Bennett scoredit. It was the last time I would ever stand in the Kippax before I migratedto Oz and I can’t remember it, bloody hell. I did stay back after the gameand took a last long look around before a member of the friendly Manchesterconstablulary told me to piss off.
May 14 1981 — City 2 Tottingham 3
What more can be said about Steve MacKenzie’s goal to equalize Tottenham’searly goal? A peach of a volley after a head down from Tommy Hutch., itsailed in. Dare I say this was the best FA Cup Final goal ever? Pity welost. Also my last City game before coming down under.
December 23 1994 — Newcastle 0 City 2
Uwe Rösler’s opening goal for the Blues in thisLeague/Milk/Littlewoods/Coca-Cola Cup replay at St James’ Park. After tenminutes the ball broke to Uwe just inside the Geordie’s penalty area andsomehow he managed to squeeze the ball past the keeper. Up I went screamingand shouting, one of only two Blues in that particular stand. My Aussiewife told me to sit down, but I said “I didn’t come twelve friggingthousand miles to sit down” and went mental. As you may tell this was thefirst goal I’d seen the Blues score for ten years. (p.s. I did apologiseto my wife)

Bill Chapman (


I was born in Crumpsall Hospital and grew up in Manchester. My early life was spent in Hightown almost within sight of the obscene tower of Strangeways Prison. It was when I was about 2 or 3 years old that my dad began making footballs out of newspaper and string and began teaching me to trap and kick the ball. Not being a perfectly spherical object of course, the “ball” did not always go as my dad directed. He did not accept the deficiency inherent in the “ball” and kept me kicking and kicking until he approved. I didn’t complain. I just wanted to please my dad. He also introduced me to Maine Road. As tiny as I was, he took me to see City. I can still remember that first match. City in their light blue shirts and white shorts, and the opponents in white shirts and white shorts. I have always assumed that it was Coventry City, but that’s not necessarily true. Today (more so than is years gone), the colour of strip worn is not the “official” colours of the team. I recently saw Man. United on the tube and at first thought I was watching Everton or Chelsea!

Then we moved into a new house in Prestwich near Bowker Vale station. The end of the street was Manchester, but we were officially residents of Salford. That impacted me when years later I took the scholarship exams. My friends all went to Manchester Grammar or Manchester Central High and I could only sit for Stand Grammar. I failed, but later took the exam and passed for Openshaw Tech. However, I’m leaping ahead. War broke out and initially the FA stopped play (thank the Gods very briefly) but football was not the same after they resumed. So many players went into the forces and arrangements were made for “loaners.” If a league player was stationed in the area he was borrowed by the nearest local team. That’s when programmes were a penny, and very useful! By this time, I had been going to Maine Road every week, watching the first team and the reserves. However, with the advent of the war, the government took over Old Trafford for storage or something and United began playing their home matches at Maine Road. I suppose Old Trafford was rightly considered expendable.

Me and my dad were staunch City supporters. When I had saved my newspaper route’s pay, I bought a rusty old bike (new ones were unavailable) and rebuilt it with spare (used) parts. I called it my WASP (With All Spare Parts!) and joined my dad who had his bike and went all over to see City on the road. My mum objected to me being exposed to all kinds of weather and traffic but we went off anyway. Dad always had sandwiches (often watercress!) and a thermos of hot tea. We even went to Burnley to see a cup semi-final and just barely avoided being crushed to death. Thirty three people died before the game started. Saint John’s ambulance people were very busy that day, and so were the police on horseback who cleared the pitch for the game. It was played. When we got home (not knowing that anyone had died – my dad had told me that they had passed out) my mum had heard the news on the wireless and really was sick with worry. She had some very sharp words for my dad who was very quiet and listened, which was rare for my dad.

As for players, my dad’s favourites were Sammy Cowan, Jackie Bray, Eric Brook, Matt Busby and Sam Tilson. Dad told me stories (over and over again I might add) of what it was like to watch Eric Brook go down the left wing like a will-o’-the-wisp and dad claimed “Brooky” had a shot like it came out of a cannon. Dad always referred to “Little” Tilson as a centre forward who had magic rather than size. He also me told me that in 1934, Frank Swift (who was only a teenager) fainted in the goalmouth after City won the Cup by beating Portsmouth 2-1 at Wembley. Tilson got the winner.

My heroes were Frank Swift, Peter Doherty (who scored 21 goals in 1943-44 without appearing in many matches!) and Smith who played without a right hand and ran with his right arm behind his back. My favourite team was: Swift, Westwood, Fagan, Sproston, Emptage, McDowell, Wharton, Smith, Constantine, Doherty and Clarke. Then along came Linacre and Eastwood and Bert Trautmann. I have so many wonderful memories from Maine Road. Only two sides of the stadium were covered, the stands and one end. Everything else was open. When I was just a tot, my dad would sit on the rail (just behind and to the right of the open end goal) so I could watch my hero Frank Swift do his stuff. He was marvellous. Swift was in the army during the war and served in the 8th Army in Italy, France and Belgium. He had tried his hand as a police auxiliary constable before he was called up, but after about 15 minutes of traffic control at Market Street and Piccadilly (near Lewis’s) he packed it in and walked away leaving the traffic in a muddle!

I was a student at NYU in 1956 and was enrolled in a journalism course (by this time you’ll be wondering why I wasted the money!). I was touring the New York Times and stopped to read the news flashes as they came in by teletype. That’s where I read of the BEA crash in Munich that wiped out the Manchester United side and killed Frank Swift. I was in shock. Don’t know or remember how I found my way home. Even now I can feel the loss. He had watched me play at Belle Vue, and even patted my tousled head. I didn’t wash my hair for weeks afterward! I have a memory of a Man. Utd. ‘keeper playing at Maine Road that had his shorts torn by a City forward. Since I was behind the goal, I watched fascinated as the trainer ran onto the field with new shorts and his mates gathered around to enable him to change. Through a slight gap in the red shirts surrounding him, I saw a bright red moon! That’s when I realised that when you blush, you blush all over! I think his name was Compton.

We came to the States after the war and after City had won the second division championship and were promoted. For years and years I’ve had to be contented by sterile scores in the Sunday newspapers (if the newspaper needed filler) and lost track of the comings and goings of the players and the feel and personality of the team. But in 1958, I managed to get a job with Pan Am and began my career with the international airlines. In 1971 I joined Sabena as the Telecommunications & Data Manager for North America. As such I found that it was dead easy to get passes to the U.K. and a plan was born. Of course the pass privilege was not unlimited, so I had to pick my trips judiciously. Not by coincidence did my quick trips home coincide with with a Man. City appearance. I got back to Maine Road (didn’t recognize it at first) and to West Ham, Chelsea & QPR to name a few. I wore two buttons on my jacket. My City pin and a button that reads “I HATE MAN UTD” … I was never challenged!

I got off the airplane at LHR one Saturday morning. City were playing at West Ham and I handed my passport to the stern faced Immigration Officer at his little desk. He glanced at my place of birth and said “Welcome home.” His next question was how long I intended to stay in the U.K. I glanced at my watch and said “Oh, less than 24 hours.” Then suspicious, he quickly asked the purpose of my visit. I said I had come to see a football match. He said “All the way from the States?” I nodded “Yes.” He turned to the chap sitting over to his right and asked him if there were any important matches that day. He said “No.” Then looking at me, he challenged me to tell what match was so important that I flew over 3,000 miles to see. Quickly I thought (and the devil grabbed my brain) and I replied “Rochdale and Gillingham.” His jaw dropped perceptibly and in almost shock he said “ROCHDALE? ROCHDALE? I WOULDN’T CROSS THE BLOODY STREET TO WATCH ROCHDALE – LET ALONE FLY 3,000 MILES!” And he waved me through. I could almost read his thoughts – mad bloody Yank! Of course when I returned to LHR the next day to return to JFK, the chap checking passports and boarding passes saw that my passport had been stamped just the day before. He also asked why I had come to London. I told him the truth. To see Manchester City play at West Ham. He glanced up at me and grinned. “Wasted trip eh? They lost 1 nil didn’t they?” I just nodded. Just my luck he was probably a West Ham supporter. But now with the advent of modern technology (I can’t stand the terms ‘information super highway’ and ‘cyberspace’) I’ve found MCIVTA and it’s like finding a cool, clear oasis in the desert.



A new guy has moved into Manchester, and being a little bored on Saturday he decides to take in a footie game. Upon surveying the papers he sees that City are playing at home so he decides to go to the Academy (not knowing it’s Comedy). Upon nearing the ground he gets a little lost so decides to ask a local how to get to the ground. Being the friendly open sort of guy you get in Manchester the local gives him directions.

Mancunian: “Take the first right, follow the road, second left and then right again. You’ll be near the ground so you should then see some queues.”
Stranger: “Thanks a lot”
Mancunian: “You should see two queues, a long one and a short one, get in the short queue”
Stranger: “Why?”
Mancunian: “Because the long queue’s for the chippie”

Just keep smiling through, there’s nothing else we can do.

Martin Ford (


Overheard conversation:

FL: Alan I want you to go back to Southampton.
AB: But you said my job was safe Franny.
FL: It is. I want you to go back and get us a submarine.
AB: A Submarine? (said with suprise so imagine the pitch)
FL: Yes a Submarine. I`ve heard about 20 thousand leagues under the sea. We might be able to win one.

Gavin Hodge (


Some more City jokes (one of my own I hate to admit)…

British Rail have decided to start sponsoring City. BR think we’re a suitable team because of our regular points failures.

And one more from a newspaper…

In an attempt to bolster confidence, City arranged a training session where the first team had a practice game against some cones. The cones won 5-0.

James Nash (


Pedestrian to cop: I need directions. How do I get to Maine Road? I want to see Man City play.
Copper: So does everyone else!

A couple were going through the traumatic throes of a divorce when the subject of the custody of their 4 year old became the contended point. The judge said that since the lad’s future was at stake he would like to see the young boy alone in chambers. Once in chambers, the judge asked if the boy understood what was happening. The 4 year said “Yes sir, my mummy and daddy won’t be living together any more.” “That’s correct m’boy” said the judge “And would you like to live with mommy?” “No” replied the boy. “Why not?” asked the judge. “Because she beats me!” said the lad. “Hmm” said the judge, “Would you like to live with your daddy then?” Again the boy answered “No.” Again the judge asked “Why not?” And the little lad replied “Because he beats me too.” “Well then, who do you want to live with?” queried the judge. The young boy quickly replied “Manchester City FC, sir.” “Why Manchester City?” Asked the puzzled judge. “Because they don’t beat anybody” the boy replied.



None due to this week’s international games.



Thanks to Bill, Malcolm, Matt, David, Derek, Jeremy, Mike, Paul, Andy, James, Gary, John, Milt, R.S, Svenn, Neale, Adam, Alan, Matt (x2), Chris & Colin.

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 #143