Newsletter #152

This issue has plenty in it, some rumours, a new player (!) and a ‘layman’s’ analysis of the recently published accounts; they make very interesting reading! Thanks to Martin Reynolds for taking the time to do this for us. We also have a Why Blue and hopefully a solution to some of the mailing problems which have been plaguing us of late!

Does anybody know the current Premier League rules concerning foreigners? I know that UEFA allow three but is this also the rule in England; just how many foreign players are allowed to play in a Premier League match?

The next issue of MCIVTA will be on Tuesday as I’ll be at the match on Monday!

Next game, Nottingham Forest at home, Monday 18th December 1995.


It seems that some of you once again had problems with issue 151, this time part ‘b’. This looks like it was caused by the age old ‘line-length’ hiccough. When I paste an article into MCIVTA, it could have originated anywhere and consequently will have a variable number of characters per line. If I paste in something sent to me which is composed of more than the usual 78 characters per line then, when I send it out my mailer will ‘word-wrap’ the line such that all characters in excess of 78 on a line will appear on a second line beneath the first. The problem arises when there is a line of 79 characters and the last is a full stop (period). This word-wraps to create a single full stop on a line by itself. Here is the crux of our difficulties. Some mail systems interpret this full stop as a ‘stop’ and truncate the message.

So, how do we avoid this? The best solution is that people try to send messages of 70 characters per line or less; it’s usually a fairly simple task to alter line length. I’d be grateful if people could try to check this out.

If anyone keeps getting truncated mail then please mail Paul and he’ll attempt to sort it out.



Lots to report from GMR this afternoon:

City are now £19 million in debt due to the vast loans required to finance the new Kippax Stand, it was revealed at the AGM today.

Paul Lake (who has been on full wages for the last five years) is expected to make a statement about his future in the next few days. Alan Ball says he’s worked hard but will have to concede defeat.

Eike Immel has been signed until the end of next season.

Oldham want Michel Vonk for another month but City say he can’t go out on another loan period; Oldham will have to buy him. City intend to give free transfers to many players at the end of the season as they simply can’t offload them.

Peter Beagrie has been strongly criticised by Alan Ball: “He doesn’t seem to want to get fit,” says Ball, who has also been enthusing about Kinky: “he could become the best player in the world.”

The Mole


Alan Ball has accused Manchester United of poaching City’s top youngsters according to a report in the Daily Express today. Recent examples include Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, both of whom spent time at City’s centre of excellence before moving to Old Trafford. Steve Flitcroft, younger brother of Garry, is the latest to switch to the Reds, who are already the subject of an FA investigation following complaints from two other clubs (Arsenal and Oldham I think).

Paul Howarth (

The MEN & Teletext now report that City are refusing to play any more U15 & U16 games against the Rags until the matter is resolved. Apparently, City received a letter from the Rags asking to give Flitcroft a trial which is perfectly legitimate. However, since opening the letter in June, Flitcroft has failed to turn up at City’s centre of excellence. The inference is that United have poached him. If true then they will have to compensate City; however, the Rags say they have done everything properly. This probably means that they have done whatever they needed to to secure a promising player and please their shareholders!



Sky text report (Monday 11th Dec) Peter Beagrie has picked up an achilles tendon injury and will be out of training for several weeks.

Andy Davey (


Seems that City think that Paul Lake’s career is over:-

‘Meanwhile, there is sad news that Paul Lake appears to have lost his battle against injury. The former City skipper has been out since suffering a second cruciate ligament injury in August 1992. Boss Alan Ball admitted: “Paul is fighting a losing battle. It is a tragedy that someone of his immense talent will have to give up football.”

David Goodman ( or


City have signed Ronnie Ekelund on a 2-month loan from Barcelona with a view to a permanent signing. The player, who is currently recovering from a back problem, scored two goals at Maine Road last season when playing for Alan Ball’s Southampton side. Ekelund is a Danish attacking midfielder.

Oldham hope to sign Michel Vonk permanently tomorrow (GMR).

The Mole


I live in Southampton and all my Saints pals were drooling away a few weeks back that Ekelund was on his way back to England. He is a hero in these parts; his neat passing and attacking play made him an overnight success before his failure to have a back operation made it impossible to insure him and he returned from his loan. I was half joking when I told my mates that if he did return he’d play for City as he was a pal of Alan Ball, but the Saints fans were optimistic he’d join them… then in stepped Birmingham; they had all but snapped him up when he had a problem with his accomodation(!!).

I’m told that Ronnie never had back surgery, but instead had some kind of injection that burnt out the nerve, but he must be fit enough for insurance. His signing is very good news; he’s a great player and he’ll do very well, I hope his injury hasn’t affected him and we can sign him permenently!! Quality player!! 🙂

Tim Starns “Quality Where it Counts” (ITDCTS@HANTSNET.HANTS.GOV.UK)

He’s only 23 as well, so is a good prospect.



The Albanian defender Eduard Abazaj was seen at Platt Lane and I believe City are having a look at him. He is certainly a useful player and played for Boavista and Benfica in Portugal. He is 27 and a left sided, attacking defender.

He was wanted by Bury and Lincoln after trials but they could not afford his wages. He is a free agent and would only cost the club a salary. The biggest obstacle to him is City’s surplus of foreign players.

Anyone with any inside info. from the club?

Nick Mills (



I got hold of a set of MCFC latest accounts, and having qualified as an accountant decided to give it the ‘once over’. If you are in no way interested in the accounts then please by pass this section; if not then read on I will try to be brief and pitch it at a ‘layman’s’ level. I must however add that this is merely a personal interpretation and it would be improper for anyone to base any financial or other decision on this commentary. I have not had the benefit of comparing the accounts to other clubs’ accounts e.g. Rags/Spurs etc. due to time. Additionally I am not an expert at football accounts (which have their own quirks etc.)


We look in a pretty bad state – yes we are making profits but we have massive debts and the cash flow and assets are poor. The AGM was held on 12/12/95 so I will expect some additional comments from people who were there. I think the accountants/auditors have changed since Swales’ days – this will undoubtably have brought some fresh ideas.

Directors of MCFC

FHL has brought in a bit of accounting strength with 2 x FCA’s and an ACA – to you and me guys who know the business aspect of things rather than a Swales follower.

Chairman’s Statement

Enough has been said on this. The only additional comment I have is that we have moved to a PLC which is often seen as a step towards a full listing and an offering of shares to the public – watch this space.

Report of the Directors

FHL has restructured the company quite extensively – a result of this has been that it is tricky to compare the accounts year on year e.g. the year end has changed, the creation of a PLC and a separate MCFC company – it’s all very confusing so don’t worry about it.

FHL owns only 13% of the share capital – more than the other directors but it would be interesting to know who owns the others.

Report of the Auditors

We get an unqualified report (but then so did Polly Peck and BCCI).

Consolidated Profit and Loss Account

This account is commonly seen as a good indicator of profitability which is partly true.

We got £11m in from trading activities etc. I note that we make £4.5m from gate receipts, yet slightly more from commercial activities. The fact that we pay £5.85m in wages concurs with FHL’s statement on wages/receipts.

We made a profit of £203,759 – we should not place too much reliance on this – we should be looking at the cash flow.

Consolidated Balance Sheet

This is effectively a snapshot (as at 31/5/95) of the assets and liabilities of ‘the club’.

We have fixed assets of £20m – largely Maine Road – I wonder whether we would get £20m if we tried to sell it though?

We don’t include any of our players on the balance sheet (i.e. consider them an asset). This is a contentious isssue in football accounting – I think that the Rags and others do include them. It would be interesting to see how much the players were valued at (I’d consider half of them to be liabilities!).

Did you know we have 1000 shares in TSB bank? Always something to fall back on! (‘”we’ll offer you Rösler and the TSB shares for Platt”‘).

We owe over £12m – this is stunning – we have a bank overdraft of over £7m and we owe a similar amount to ‘trade creditors’.

Directors’ loans amount to £2.4m which is one way of approximating the amount of cash FHL et al have put in!

Consolidated Cash Flow Statement

Analyses the cash and not the profit! – Companies mainly go bust because of cash flow – even though they are making profit.

We had a net outflow of cash of nearly £0.5m – this is worrying and has to change to ensure future profitability. We pay a similar amount in interest!

Basically £8m of cash went out last year – Kippax etc. – this was partly financed through new loans and by the issuance of shares etc. – but we still went further into the red by £4m.

Notes to the Financial Statement

This section is usually where one can really appreciate how good or bad the company is – however, vital info is usually disguised in jargon etc.

The bank overdraft is £7.3m – we should be turning this into a loan a.s.a.p.

We are employing either management consultants/tax specialists to perform some sort of project/s – and have paid them more than £50k – this could either be an investment for the future or a damage limitation exercise.

FHL has a salary of nil (!) from MCFC, though one of the Directors (Barlow ?) is on £75k p.a. – it appears that Swales (or an outgoing Director/s) got paid £61k p.a. and received £70k for loss of office (a small price to pay!).

Unable to work out the salaries but our wage bill is £5.8m and we employ 130 staff (53 players). This works out at an average wage of £40k (unrealistic analysis as Flipper is probably on £250k and the tea lady is on £5k).

There is £4m+ of provision that is not in the accounts (but has to be disclosed) for signing on fees and loyalty bonuses that may have to be paid. This is a huge liability and I am surprised these are not in the accounts as creditors (would like to see the actual contacts first though) – no sign of performance bonuses though!

MCFC have been requested by the inland Revenue to “prepare a report on tax sensitive issues” – i.e. we are being investigated for bungs etc. – however, this is happening to many other clubs in the Premier League


Insufficient info. and a change in the accounting infrastructure mean that an adequate interpretation cannot be done. Given that, my key messages are:

  1. We have lots of debt; it is poorly structured and the interest is huge.
  2. Our main assets (players) are not considered.
  3. The accounts give the ‘flavour’ that the bad times have gone; itis being turned around financially and there is business knowledgeat the top to enable this turnaround.
  4. It looks like shares in MCFC will be offered to the public in the future.

Hope this did not bore anyone to death. Please give me a shout for further information/corrections etc. and once again don’t place any reliance on this information – it is a personal comment given ‘without prejudice’ (which means you can’t sue me!).

I wouldn’t mind purchasing a small amount of shares in the club if anyone is offering (this is definitely my heart and not my head talking).

Martin Reynolds (


The AGM was held at 11.30 a.m. on 12th Dec in the room at the top of the new Kippax stand. There must have been at least 300 shareholders seated with another 50/60 standing.

The usual press were there, Paul Hince, GMR and Piccadilly. Vince Miller – he who stands in the middle of the pitch at half-time – and I had the pleasure of standing next to Denis Tueart.

Franny chaired the meeting. Initially it was purely of a technical/formal nature.

  • The Accounts etc were adopted.
  • The directors of Manchester City plc i.e. Lee, Barlow, Thomas, Bernstein and Lewis were all re-elected.
  • KPMG were re-appointed as auditors.
  • A special resolution re. shares was passed.

After this, the meeting was opened up, but due to the nature of such a meeting it was going to be difficult for members to be too critical. Franny avoids direct answers to contentious questions and turns it back on the questioner in a way that can cause them embarrassment.

The first comment was not too serious; it was suggested that as the Rags do not let us have a proper ticket allocation for the Premiership game there, then we should do the same. [ Cheers ]

The next comment was much more serious. Manchester City Football Club plc is controlled by Manchester City plc; thus the 5 aforementioned directors effectively control the football club and this shareholders’ meeting has no control over that company. That company has 13 directors, many of whom are from the Swales era. One member asked why they are still there and noted that a number of them live out of Manchester, even abroad, many are of pensionable age and they do not seem to be putting money into the club. He asked the same question last year and again Franny fobbed him off. But why are they there? It does seem like an excellent question deserving a proper answer.

There was then some discussion about the accounts and the massive borrowings. The main result of it all is that we can forget serious money transfers. Franny stated that there are no problems with our bankers. Franny then got a little confused; he stated that Turnover can be seen from the Balance Sheet [actually the Profit and Loss Account] and then confused debtors [they owe us] with creditors [we owe them] but no-one seemed to notice! He was also asked about the T.V. revenue, but again the answer was rather hazy.

It was then pointed out that director A.M.Lewis has no personal shareholding – why? It was finally admitted that he is a nominee for Boler & Swales – that went down well!

At the AGM last year Franny had promised a new scoreboard within a matter of months. This year, he explained, it would be in situ by late Jan/early Feb 1996 and that the problems had been due to residents’ objections. It will probably be in the corner of the Umbro/Main Stand.

Similarly there were complaints about the p.a. system. Seemingly, it was a disaster when Bert Trautmann opened the Kippax, against Villa. Vince Miller went into a long explanation saying that it was a new system and that it had worked wonders on the Friday when tested. In the event, the aerial/receiver was placed in the tunnel and became surrounded by too many people thus the problems. It has now been moved to the T.V. gantry and he promises wonders against Forest on Monday.

The final question concerned the National/Commonwealth stadium – will we go? We support the application but as it could not be opened until 1999 at the earliest then really it is too far away to make any decision. We will see if it is beneficial at the time but will still own Maine Road so could revert if needed.

With that the formal meeting closed.

Alan Ball was then invited to answer questions and I have to admit that I felt that his handling of the meeting was excellent; he seemed very open and honest and seems to care.

Edghill is seeing a specialist and Foster is to have his shoulder pinned – it is quite possible that neither will play again this season, but do not expect a big money buy; the money is not there as stated already.

Ball admitted that Franny had set up the Kinky deal [Ball wants us to call him GEO as that’s his favourite name – touching]. They praised him to the hilt and feel that he is a bargain at £2m. [They noted that Whelan has just gone from Leeds to Coventry for the same amount]. His mother is coming over soon to look after him. Some wag wanted to know which position she will be playing!

The Christiansen deal is off – Ball felt that he and particularly his advisors were messing us about too much and his heart was not here.

There was discussion of the youth policy. Ball likes the Ajax method [T.V. programme of a few weeks ago] but we will not pay the parents of potential stars to get them to sign youth forms. Other clubs were mentioned for doing that and poaching [it’s been in the press and on the radio and I don’t want a libel case!]

Ball spoke about when he started here. There were 42 pros – too many, and some of them are just collecting the money and have no pride in playing due to the nature of the contracts. The impression was that he has had to sort a few of them out and let them know he is in charge. He also stated that they are now as fit as they can be, implying that that was not so before. He mentioned the pre-season game at Hearts where there were problems but did not elaborate [if you were there any chance of a reminder?]

Phelan went because he wanted a 2 year extension to a contract that had 2/2.5 years to run. Franny would not allow that and Chelsea have given him a 4 year deal.

It looks as though there will be lots of free transfers offered at the end of the season, but any player still in contract does not have to go if he does not want to so there may still be wage problems for some time to come. However, Franny strongly implied that all new contracts will offer small basics and good bonuses for first team appearances and winning – sounds a much better idea. Ball congratulated the PFA for having done a good job for the players over the years but of course that has effectively screwed the clubs [and the fans?]

According to Ball, Rösler is fully committed to us and is a good player to have around but Ball is pushing him hard not offering sympathy and a consoling hug! Rösler will play against Forest if fit and Creaney has been informed.

Beagrie has not been fit since Ball arrived and still isn’t; I got the impression that it may be partly psychological but he is still wanted by us.

Finally, we can expect a statement in the next 4/6 weeks from Paul Lake but it does not look like good news.

All in all, an interesting way to pass an hour or so [thank you Stephen for your proxy so I could get in] but probably of most interest is the view from the top of the Kippax; go and have a look if you get a chance.

Brian Leigh (


He had no commitment to the club which was clear to me at the first game of last season (94-95) at Highbury. Since then he was utterly inconsistent (some might say crap), a trademark of a player with no passion for the club that pays his wages. The fact he allegedly played a blinder for Chelsea demonstrates this; he now has to make an impression. Does anyone else remember Rocastle doing the same, and where is he now? There was a rumour about his physical condition which I won’t divulge for fear of libel claims!!

Listening to radio commentary of the Chelsea-Newcastle game, Phelan’s passing was still pretty woeful hence I believe they are dubious “blinder” claims. However, apparantly Gillespie had trouble getting past Phelan, which didn’t happen in the derby games if I remember correctly. Is Phelan mentioned in the bung allegations?

Whatever happened to Andy Hill, a consistently average right back until Edghill and Foster squeezed him out of the team? I always rated him above Edghill (at the time they competed for the position) even though Edghill was much quicker.

[We sold him to earlier this season to Prt Vale for 150k, Ashley]

Would Donkey Brightwell look more suitable at left back than Ingram? What about Kernaghan at left back? Or is our only option to rejuvinate (with a left peg) Ray Ranson .. again?

Andy Davey (


Snooping around the labyrinth of alleyways called Moss Side to get to the Holy Shrine I came across some interesting news which might interest some Blues out there.

  1. City are not planning, and will not plan a ground move within theforeseeable future. The plan for Maine Road is to improve the NorthStand and make it resemble the Umbro Stand. Then the Main stand willbe refurbished (the roof anyway) to make it a three quarter stand + theKippax. A source inside the ground told me…The thought of City playing anywhere but Maine Road is ridiculous.We are not made from the same mould as Wimbledon!!!!”
  2. Neil Pointon is back at the Holy Ground… reports are he willsign from Oldham for £250,000 before the end of this week.
  3. Ladbrooks have cut City’s odds of winning the FA Cup to 15-1. Agood bet I say as I think this is our year for the Cup. I’ll be atFilbert Street on the 6th… anybody else going? I can get tickets,but only in the Leicester End… they are £12.
  4. The Christiansen deal is definitely off; Bally is now concentratingon bringing one of three players into the squad… a young Nigerian fellow who I’ve never neared of, but plays in the Bundesliga,a young Brazilian who is also being tracked by the Rags, andsome noddy from Lincoln who is a converted striker (from leftback) and has scored a massive 6 goals from 22 outings (sounds likeclass to me!)
  5. I don’t think I will be able to make the Xmas meeting as Ill be inBirmingham (sad, I know) so is there any possiblity of getting ameeting for the new year… maybe before the derby game? I say this asI’m sure everyone will be at that game.
  6. My offer of passing on stuff to players is slowly being takenup… a very nice man from the USA has requested some, as have a coupleof screaming mad girls from London… you know who you are… just tosay the messages have been received!!!!
  7. Shock, horror, God forbid, No, I’d rather watch the Rags thansuffer what may well be the worst thing since Paul Lake’sinjury… David ‘Donkey’ White was at Maine Road the other day… Ihope it’s not for talks, and he was just visiting old friends… can’the make new ones in Sunderland and stop giving me heart attacks?

Any replies to me please, and happy bloody Christmas.

By the time I get back from my ‘business’ trip to sunny Brum (England’s second city!!!!) I want to hear all the latest news, as being down there is like being in isolation (just ask Graham Taylor!)

Gareth Foster (


According to the listings in When Saturday Comes, Electric Blue is now called “Bert Trautmann’s Helmet”. The address for the fanzine has also changed, now being 217 Dumers Lane, Radcliffe, Manchester, M26 2GE8 (that postcode doesn’t look right though). Each issue is one pound, cheques payable to N.E.Bayley.

Incidentally, When Saturday Comes now has its own “Half Decent Website” under construction at

Paul Howarth (


I pinched this table from one of Tuesday’s tabloids (I hope I typed it in ok) but I guess we should blow our trumpet whilst we can. It actually makes interesting reading:

                W       D       L               F       A               Pts
Tottenham       4       2       0               7       3               14
MAN CITY        4       1       1               6       5               13
Newcastle       3       2       1               8       6               11
Everton         3       2       1               7       4               11
West Ham        3       1       2               8       8               10
Man Utd         2       3       1               12      6               9
Aston V         2       3       1               9       5               9
Arsenal         2       3       1               8       6               9
Middlesboro     2       3       1               7       4               9
Chelsea         2       3       1               5       4               9
Leeds Utd       2       2       2               6       6               8
Blackburn       2       1       3               12      10              7
Nottm F         1       4       1               8       12              7
Sheff Wed       1       3       2               12      14              6
Coventry        1       2       3               13      14              5
Liverpool       1       2       3               4       6               5
Southampton     1       2       3               4       8               5
Wimbledon       0       4       2               8       12              4
Bolton W        0       2       4               3       9               2
QPR             0       2       4               2       7               2

December looks like a hard month – what with so so many injuries and suspensions. A couple of wins would be fantastic!

Robert Watson (


As I am a frequent reader of the Italian sports paper “La Gazzetta dello Sport”, I happened to read an article commenting on Italy’s opponents in their WC qualification group. Georgia was obviously one of the countries being commented upon. When they commented on the stars of Georgia they wrote; “First of all two foreign located players; Timour Kespaja, 27 year old striker with ever lasting energy who plays for AEK Athens, and Georgi Kinkladze, 22 year old attacking midfielder, tracked by Boca Juniors (Argentine side), tested by Real Madrid but ended up with Manchester City. In the home country he is being called the Rivera of the Black sea. Last year, rumours were saying that Milan was interested to sign him, but the rumours were never confirmed by the Italian club.” Not too bad being compared to one of the greatest Italian players of all time! Personally I think Kinkladze can become one of the greatest. He has got everything a player in his position needs. At £2 million, he must be the bargain of the season!

Tor-Kristian Karlsen (


I’ve just seen news on the City homepage that Paul Lake may be ready to call it a day as far as playing is concerned. Although deep down we all knew this might happen, I think everyone secretly thought that one day he might come back to claim his rightful place alongside the City greats.

I’m particularly gutted – Lakey is a friend of my brother and is a really nice bloke. One positive aspect is the fact that I got to see almost every single home game he played in during the late eighties.

I knew he was only on a week-to-week contract at Maine Road and that he was going to make a decision one way or the other near Christmas, but I honestly thought that he might just surprise everyone and appear on the sub’s bench.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, Lakey is the best player I have had the pleasure to watch in a City shirt – it’s a nightmare to think that shite players like Bruce and Pallister will still be playing and demi-Gods like Paul Lake will not!!

Just imagine the midfield we could now have with Kinky, Flitcroft and Lakey – mouthwatering or what? I just hope that they organise a testimonial for him as he’s been through a hell of a lot – 14 operations in five years cannot have been easy.

Jon Walsh – Chairman, Paul Lake Appreciation Society (


Injuries and suspensions have shown that AB has got no more than a wafer-thin squad. City desperately need a strong central midfielder and a decent full back. So here are the snips:

  • Michael Thomas (28) – midfielder who can’t get a place in the Liverpoolsetup. Strong tackler with an eye for goals. Could tutor Lomas. Price: £1 million.
  • Chris Powell (26) – steady Southend full back. Is attracting interestfrom Barry Fry (who’s not!) Price: £800,000.
  • Kevin Formby (24) – promising left back at Spotland. Non league-playerwhen Rochdale spotted him a couple of years ago. Price: £300,000.
  • Toddy Orlygsson (29) – Icelandic mdfielder, getting star-ratings afterthe switch from the flank. Out of contract with Stoke. Price: £500,000.

Gorm Andresen (


Celebrity Blues – Paul Calf / Steve Coogan

All Steve Coogan fans know that Paul Calf is a Manchester City fan. What many MCIVTA readers are failing to spot is that Paul Calf being a City fan is simply an attempt to portray all City fans as sad no life individuals living in poverty on council estates. The stark reality is that Steve Coogan himself is actually a Rag – yes that’s right a steaming, dirty, band waggon red bas***d. Paul Calf being a City fan is therefore quite clearly yet another attempt at having a go at Manchester City Football Club. Not the funniest part of his act I feel. As for having him as our President – I think not.

Paul Walsh

Walshy has been mentioned a number of times in recent issues – firstly because of the transfer speculation with Sheffield Wednesday and secondly, someone mentioned that he might have been worth keeping around as maybe a “supersub”.

I was lucky enough to attend Paul’s leaving do which took place at the Orange Tree Pub in Altrincham, Cheshire and was attended by most of the players and Brian Horton – no sign of Alan Ball. I had a drunken chat with Paul and story was basically that he felt that he had maybe only another season or two of first team football at Premiership level left in him, whereas he felt that he could keep on going perhaps another five years or more in a lower division. So, when Alan Ball went in for Creaney and Walshy was asked about a possible move in the opposite direction it was something he had to seriously consider.

No way would a man of his attitude be happy to sit on the bench and earn the money – he is a real footballer with a love of the game (unlike many) and had to take a long term view for his own sake. Unfortunately for City that meant a move for him away from the club. I think that most will agree he was an asset and added more to the squad than Creaney has. Rösler was visibly upset that Walshy left as I think many of us were and I think that it is clear that had he remained at the club he would still be figuring in Alan Ball’s plans for the current season at least. Personally I feel that the deal was bad business – Creany clearly is not half the player Ball thought he was but who knows – we may only have seen him have several bad days!

Current Form

It is pleasing to hear everyone talking about current form but I just wish there was a greater air of caution. How many times in the past have we put a good string of results together only to end in tears once more? Think back only to last season – placed sixth at Christmas and finishing only one place above the drop zone. I am sure many of us thought at this time last year that we were destined for European football in 1995/96 but we fell away badly for whatever reason.

I don’t think that anyone would disagree that given a fully fit squad our team could compete with most in the Premier League. However, there is little strength in depth (good cliché) and just imagine what could happen if, given those players that are already out, Kinky and Symons were injured over the coming weeks – beyond comprehension.

So it’s fingers crossed I’m afraid. Looking to the immediate future, if talentless Blackburn can put seven goals past Forest so can we. They too are suffering with having people out so let’s hope we can break our bogey again with Sky TV in the same fashion as last year’s Blakburn game at Ewood Park.

Joel Adams (


The full back problem is now coming to a head.


Bring back Clive “the jive” Wilson from his over extended jaunt down south. I heard he was injured and therefore not playing for Spurs after they picked him up for buttons from QPR in close season. Subject to fitness, the Moss Side genius should be brought back to share his wealth of experience; we had no right letting him earn in London, and his natural skill (style) with the first team and our `too early to be blooded’ talent. Before he settles in!

Second raid on N.London: Buy Lee Dixon, a much documented boyhood Blue. Quality enough, and surely now he’s at a price even we can afford.

Ian Brightwell should be given the tackling/running/grafting rôle in midfield he was always meant to play in, in my view. Remember Arsenal being reported to want him at £3million, when only the likes of teams from Manchester and it’s neighbouring City would pay over £2m for players other than forwards?

Sell Flitcroft to Blackburn whilst he’s is still worth a few Bob. Re Bob, if you’ll excuse the intended confusion. With the impending return of Lakey, you know it makes sense!

Dream plan for the future:

                          Coton  (Europe in mind)
           Dixon                           Wilson
                          Curle    Symons
           Brightwell                      Lake
           Summerbee                       Beagrie
                                                It even looks good on the
                Subs:   Immel                   screen, never mind the pitch.

Sell: Flitcroft, Rösler, Creaney (to Oldham for a bag of nuts).

Nurture: Foster, Ingram, Brown and the like. To take over and play in a team wanting to fight for City (to endorse Franny).

And if you think I’m crackers, check the mirror to see where your loyalty is coming from?

Dave Clinton, Audenshaw, Manchester via Toronto (temporarily)(


Gather we have just got Ronnie Ekelund on loan for 2 months. As the saying goes, “Up yours, Barry Fry” :-)). Good move this, in the light of current & forthcoming suspensions; also, I was quite impressed by his spell at Southampton last season.

Affiliation as an ‘official’ branch of the Supporter’s Club: Well, as Groucho Marx said – “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member”. As far as a ‘president’ – well, if it were just a figurehead – as per the Rector of Edinburgh University, which post has been held in the past, I believe by such people as Stephen Fry and John Cleese (?) – well; why not? Also, given that Steve Coogan is in fact a Rag, unlike his creation, well that would be quite a neat irony. But it’s no big deal to me either way.

Anyone fancy England’s chances in Euro ’96 after seeing Holland last night? Shame AB isn’t a mate of the Ajax manager as well …

Jeremy Poynton (


It started after the Cup Final of 1981. I was 9 at the time and I had previously supported Liverpool because my dad did and regularly took me to Anfield where I sat in the main stand in total awe of the Kop. I later discovered that this wasn’t actually just for the Kop but any huge bank of packed terraces. The actual match never interested me that much as Liverpool always seemed to win and do it with an air of arrogance that irritated me.

When Tommy Hutchinson headed in his now infamous own goal I found myself wanting City to win a contest that had previously been of no interest to me. In the replay Ricky Villa dribbled his way through City’s defence and in doing so cemented my support for City.

The only problem with supporting City was my location. Due to my father’s job we continually moved around the country. Up until I was 12 I had lived in at least 7 different towns, which meant that it was impossible for me to support my local team because I simply didn’t have one for long enough. In 1984 we finally settled in Wigan, a town renowned for its rugby rather than its football. It was here that I bought my first City strip and promptly got a kicking for wearing it during a games lesson by some United supporting colleagues from another class. This didn’t help my cause at all as my mum was convinced that every football match erupted into violence, which meant that I couldn’t go to watch City as she didn’t want me to go alone.

The following season my dad took me as a treat but we sat in the main stand. I clearly remember staring at the Kippax for the entire duration with a heavy sense of wanting to be amongst the singing masses. I can’t actually remember who we played. It might have been Huddersfield or Sheffield Wednesday, a Yorkshire team for sure, but the match didn’t actually stick that well in my memory. I remember we won 1-0 but got pissed on for the whole match which astounded me as everytime the opposition hit the bar or came close the noise from the Kippax was unbelievable as they tried to rouse the Blues to hold on.

The season after the Full Members Cup Final my sister who was now living in Moston met a lad from Manchester who just happened to be a season ticket holder. I remember the first conversation we had was about Wembley and losing 5-4. Of course I gave my seal of approval and they got married soon after. It was my brother-in-law who first took me to the Kippax. Before the game I was really worried about when to sing, how would I know the words and more importantly would I have to if I didn’t want to? I was terrified as I stood staring up the steps behind, as everybody seemed to know everybody else, and here was I, a Kippax virgin looking like a rabbit caught between oncoming headlights. I plucked up a bit of balls and bought myself a pint of dutch courage from the Denis Law bar/shed. It was here that my fears were realised and went. The bloke next to me started talking to me. Before I could answer my brother told him and what seemed like the whole world that it was my first time. The ground opened up, I went bright red and fell into a big chasm. After a couple of seconds though I realised that rather than ridiculing me this bloke was going to take me under his wing and tell me the best place to stand. I ended up at the front as he thought that the pushing when City scored might scare me and I had better take it slowly. The noise was fantastic and I remember wanting to sing but feeling a bit self conscious which just disappeared when I realised that the voice next to me was in fact my brother singing away without a care in the world.

Up until two years ago I had a season ticket for every season. Even at Uni here in Sunderland I still managed to get to all the home games and a couple of away games. When I finished last year I couldn’t afford a ticket and only managed a couple of games. I started to go to watch Sunderland when I found out that Reidy had taken over. Last season they gave me a bit of a lifeline because I needed to watch football every Saturday.

I got a job in the summer which doesn’t pay brilliantly but enough to pay for a ticket and my travel down to the game so this season was my first in the new seated Kippax which felt very strange. The atmosphere is still brilliant and it’s good to see that the famous sarcasm and impatience of us Blues is still in evidence.

On the subject of Franny Lee’s input into the club I don’t think that there can be any greater testimony to his commitment than the Kippax. Everybody will agree that standing terraces do create a better atmosphere but at the same time it is time that we were treated with the respect that we deserve. It seems to me that Franny realises that we are the club’s greatest asset and this is reflected in the atmosphere that the club gives off to its fans. Success can only be built on firm foundations. Blackburn are the living proof of this with a team that is only ever strengthened by big-money buys and a shit ground that is rarely full with an atmosphere that’s positively pathetic. Where are they this season? We have a ground that is going to be one of the best in the country, the best supporters anywhere and a youth policy that could in time prove to be a gold mine. Let’s hope that the Alan Ball’s style of play continues to reap rewards and maybe teams will begin to be wary of playing us again.

Proud to be blue…

Mike Barry (


Monday, December 11 1995

EVERTON               3-0    WEST HAM UNITED        31,778

Mon 11 Dec

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Newcastle United      17     12    3    2     36    15        39
Manchester United     17     10    5    2     35    17        35
Arsenal               17      8    6    3     22    11        30
Middlesbrough         17      8    6    3     19    11        30
Tottenham Hotspur     17      8    6    3     23    17        30
Liverpool             17      8    4    5     29    15        28
Aston Villa           16      8    4    4     20    12        28
Nottingham Forest     15      6    8    1     25    22        26
Leeds United          16      7    4    5     21    18        25
Chelsea               17      6    6    5     16    18        24
Everton               17      6    5    6     22    19        23
Blackburn Rovers      17      6    3    8     27    24        21
West Ham United       17      5    5    7     17    23        20
Sheffield Wednesday   17      4    6    7     20    25        18
Southampton           17      4    5    8     16    26        17
Manchester City       17      4    3   10      9    26        15
Wimbledon             17      3    5    9     23    37        14
Queens Park Rangers   17      3    3   11     12    25        12
Coventry City         17      2    6    9     22    36        12
Bolton Wanderers      17      2    3   12     15    32         9

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to The Mole, Mike, Gareth, Paul, Andy, Robert, John, Joel, Martin, David (x2), Brian, Jeremy, Nick, Tor-Kristian, Tim & Gorm.

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 #152