Newsletter #155

Some news and a couple of match reports, just the thing to cheer you all up at Xmas… not! Due to our recent run of results the next two games have taken on increased importance; we’re back in the bottom three and playing opposition who will no doubt be our competitors come the end of the season. We should have Lomas back for Saturday which will hopefully herald a return to winning ways. I’ll put an MCIVTA out if I get anything before Monday and if not then it’ll probably be Wednesday or Thursday.

Next game, Southampton away, Saturday 30th December 1995.


MANCHESTER CITY vs. CHELSEA, Saturday 23rd December 1995

The big surprise was Gullit’s appearance after it had been extensively reported that he wouldn’t be playing ’til January. City omitted Ekelund in favour of Creaney. The startling thing was the formation which was 4-3-3! We started off well with a procession of crosses coming in from Buzzer which made the Chelsea defence look distinctly breachable. The play was exciting and even Creaney was showing a few skills in addition to Kinky’s usual repertoire. Chelsea soon came to terms with the formation and started to play a neat passing game which soon had our midfielders running round in circles. They had a few good chances but they are a team (like us) who are struggling to put the ball into the net so we were spared. Hughes looked a shadow of his old self and never really worried Curle.

Our best effort was an excellent overhead kick from Uwe which was goalbound, but was taken neatly by the experienced Kharine. The second half was all Chelsea and it was only a matter of when they would score, not if. We brought on Ekelund for Uwe early on and reverted to 4-4-2. Our defence was fairly solid but we lost control of the midfield completely. They passed beautifully and our play became very ragged with the ball being repeatedly punted out of defence straight to a Chelsea player. I had a spot of ‘déjà vu’ from earlier in the season. The goal finally came and unfortunately, it involved Ingram who’d played fairly well. He jumped in at Gullit on the left but Gullit cleverly rode the challenge and went on towards the box. Most Premier League players would have crossed but Gullit is class; he took the ball right into the box and waited for the man to run in. It happened to be Peacock, the pass was inch perfect and he had the simplest of jobs to slot it home. Immel had no chance. The most amusing scene was a good old tussle between big-arse and Curle which ended up as a kind of harmless wrestling match. Apparently, they are (were?) neighbours in sunny Prestbury where such behaviour is certainly frowned upon!

I felt we lost this game to a certain extent on the way we played Gullit. We had Brown around him but not really on him and Chelsea played an awful lot of their football through him. I felt that we should have tried to man mark him. Overall we deserved to lose this more heavily; they outplayed us for the entire second half.

Immel (7) Played well.

Ingram (7) Played well and made one mistake which unfortunately cost us the goal.

Brightwell (6) Looked very average; is he a Premier League player?

Symons (6) Dependable but there were a few occasions when Chelsea came right through the centre of our defence.

Curle (6) As for Symons.

Summerbee (7) Played well but had to spend too much time in midfield.

Kinky (6) Subdued; when he doesn’t play neither do the rest of them!

Brown (6) Ran hard but looked a little overwhelmed.

Creaney (6) Showed some nice touches but faded quite badly in the second half.

Rösler (7) Substituted when I thought he was looking better than of late.

Quinn (8) Held the ball up beautifully but was very poorly supported; he often won important headers but there were none of our players within a mile of him.

Ekelund (5) Looked lost but the match mag did say that he is short of match practice.



BLACKBURN ROVERS vs MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 26th December 1995

“Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone,
Without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own…”

Lots of Blues made the short trip up into Lancashire on a bitterly cold Boxing Day evening for this Sky-televised fixture. Despite the weather and live television coverage, the ground appeared to be virtually full. City abandoned the 4-3-3 formation tried against Chelsea, reverting to a 4-4-2 with Immel in goal, Summerbee at right back, Brightwell at left back, Curle and Symons centre backs, a midfield of Ekelund, Flitcroft (making a welcome return from suspension), Kinkladze and Brown, and Quinn and Rösler up front. Steve Lomas should return from suspension at Southampton on Saturday. Memories of the Easter Monday game here were fresh in the mind and we were looking forward to seeing City’s good away form continue. It wouldn’t be easy though, as Blackburn have lost only one home league game so far this season and had won their last 6 home league games.

Right from the start it was clear that both sides were playing for the win, committing players to attacking moves and leaving spaces at the back. City put together some neat passing sequences but it was the home side that created the best chances in the opening minutes, with Ripley beating the woefully out of form (and out of position) Brightwell on several occasions, whipping in good crosses too. One of these crosses was met by the normally deadly Shearer from only 10 yards out but his header was too close to Immel, who saved and held the ball.

Blackburn opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a move down the other flank, Newell finding Shearer 20 yards out from goal. He took one step inside to lose Curle, who gave him far too much space, and then fired in a powerful, low shot right into the bottom corner which gave Immel no chance.

The game continued in an end-to-end fashion and City came very close to equalising following a good move down the middle; the ball broke to Brightwell in acres of space at the corner of the penalty area but he screwed his shot across the edge of the 6-yard box. Quinn stook out a foot but couldn’t get enough contact with the ball to direct it in, seeing the ball bounce back off the foot of the post instead. Moments later Flitcroft forced an excellent save from Flowers with a good dipping shot from 25 yards. There were other half-chances for both sides throughout the half.

The referee was quite tolerant, letting a number of challenges from both sides go which would certainly have been given as fouls and maybe even bookings earlier in the season. One of these challenges by Batty resulted in Kinkladze (apparently he doesn’t like being called `Kinky’ and prefers `Gio’ or `Georgi’) having to go off for treatment but he was back on after a couple of minutes, minus a layer or two of clothing! Although he showed some great touches and good dribbling ability, he didn’t dominate the midfield as he had done at Leeds and Middlesbrough. Teams are closing him down much more quickly now and we must learn to exploit the spaces this inevitably leaves in our opponents’ defences.

At half time the teams went in with just the one goal separating them; a fair scoreline in view of the chances created but I felt the match could go either way in the second half. Unfortunately Blackburn scored again within 6 minutes of the restart; since we haven’t scored twice in any league game this season, that effectively killed us off. The goal came from, of all people, David Batty. Most teams would be happy to see him line up a shot as he had only scored 4 goals in his career up until this point. City’s defenders backed off as if to say “go on then, have a shot”, which he promptly did, hammering it into the top corner from 25 yards, giving Immel no chance once again. That took his career total to five goals. Three of those have been against City.

With the security of their two-goal lead, Blackburn kept the pressure on City with Ripley being particularly impressive, despite having both Brightwell and Brown to contend with most of the time. He hit the post as did Batty with another shot whilst the City defence was all over the place. Quinn tested Flowers with a good curling shot at the end of our best passing move of the half but he frequently had no support, nobody to profit from his knock-downs when he got the better of Hendry. Uwe pulled wide to receive the ball but was largely anonymous throughout the second period.

The game deteriorated into a midfield battle with chances few and far between, those that came mainly coming Blackburn’s way. It seems to me that City haven’t had a decent second half performance since the Villa game, something that along with our inability to score, needs to be remedied at the earliest opportunity. With 15 minutes to go, the City fans decided to make their own entertainment, standing and maintaining a chorus of “Blue Moon” until and after the end of the game.

Individually, there were good performances from Summerbee, Quinn and Immel (no chance with either goal). Kinkladze looked classy without imposing himself fully on the game, Ekelund was fitter and sharper than on Saturday but is still short of match fitness. Brown battled away well, helping out Brightwell (who was being given the runaround by Ripley) and also showing some good touches going forward. On a few occasions I mistook him for Kinkladze, so he looks a good prospect. It was good to see Flitcroft back; we’ve clearly missed him and his runs, both forward and tracking back with opponents. Creaney replaced Ekelund for the last 10 minutes and once again failed to catch the eye. Defensively we looked a mess. All too often we left players in acres of space; both goals came a result of backing off from oncoming opponents; whilst diving in would be reckless, surely we can be a bit tighter? I think Uwe is still suffering from ‘flu. I hope so anyway. Both of our next two games are six-pointers; it’s vital that we don’t concede any more ground.

Paul Howarth (


The thought of being at this game was certainly attractive but I had to fight off the lethargy induced by Xmas and the traditional excess. On the radio there were several warnings of severe weather and advice not to travel unless absolutely necessary; of course our trip fell neatly into the last category so we drove on! This was our first visit to Ewood Park and it certainly looks impressive though the architecture is neo-supermarket, a style much championed by Sainsbury’s PLC amongst others. We were there an hour before kick-off and the place was already teeming. As we entered the Darwen End I noticed Curly Watts (TV soap star) who immediately became the object of a chant… poor sod. The bogs get 10 out of 10, maybe we should have spent the entire match there? (just joking)!

We had about two thirds of the stand, a pretty good turn out. The lads started out with the old favourite of ‘Where were you when you were s**t’, a particularly apposite ditty for Blackburn fans. The first shock was that both Brown and Ekelund were in the side but no Ingram. It transpired that Summerbee was to play right back and Brightwell left back. The game started brightly with City stringing together some good moves and Flipper showing us how much difference he makes to the team. We’d barely got going when Shearer struck. He received the ball just outside the box, being very loosely marked; we had a great view as the ball swerved into the bottom corner to Immel’s left – he didn’t have any chance of stopping it really. City didn’t give up and attacked repeatedly, making the Blackburn defence look distinctly shaky. Ekelund was playing well and inspired one excellent move which ended with him (?) skewing his shot across the face of the goal where all Quinn had to do was slide it in but somehow he contrived to hit the post. Blackburn also looked fairly dangerous and Ripley regularly got the better of Brightwell with Shearer seemingly unmarked on a couple of occasions.

City seemed to go off the boil after 30 minutes and Blackburn looked to gain the upper hand. Players were allowed to run at the defence and one particular occasion ended with Batty shooting across Immel and hitting the post. The referee came in for plenty of stick as Blackburn seemed to get away with quite a lot, particularly on Quinn. There are a fairly physical outfit and when the referee doesn’t get a grip then liberties are taken.

The second half was really all Blackburn. City lost the midfield battle and Brightwell was just dire; there were two occasions when he was 15 yards behind Ripley (yes, that’s 15 yards on the wrong side of him) and just ran half-heartedly after him! City conceded a second when Batty was allowed time and space on the edge of the box and struck a beautiful, dipping shot over Immel into the top corner. We were looking ragged at the back with Blackburn putting the ball through Ripley for him to repeatedly make a complete monkey out of Brightwell. The other wing was patrolled by Summerbee who had an excellent game. At one point I thought a thrashing was on but Blackburn are not the side they were a season ago and their finishing was poor. The last 15 minutes we spent bemusing the Blackburn fans by singing ‘Blue moon’; quite a feat to keep this up for a quarter of an hour. I haven’t experienced this for a long time and it was great fun. The football became irrelevant as we sang away to the end of the game!

Overall we were fairly poor; after a bright opening we fell apart in the middle and never looked like scoring. Brightwell was a liability, he looked like a third division defender marking an international winger, something which Ripley ain’t! Southampton will see Lomas back and hopefully Ball will move Brightwell back over and put Ingram at left back; although he is inexperienced, I’m sure he would have managed Ripley much better.

Immel (7) A couple of good saves but I thought he might have anticipated Batty’s shot.

Brightwell (3) My worst scoring ever! He was that bad! At one point he passed to Immel with Shearer and Co. 3 yards away, a total panic move if ever I saw one.

Buzzer (8) Another very good performance; he tried valiantly to play right back and right winger.

Symons (6) & Curle (6) Both looked like they were playing together for the first time. There’s no excuse for letting Shearer get the ball in so much space in front of goal, more than once as well.

Brown (6) Ran a lot but doesn’t have the experience to know what to do when the going gets tough. Often broke up moves (ours) by passing backwards.

Flipper (7) Played well but faded.

Gio(?) (6) Seems to be hanging around midfield and not going for goal again. Blackburn looked to have done their homework and tried to shepherd him across the park.

Ekelund (6) A lot better than Saturday, more involved and showed nice touches of skill.

Rösler (5) What can I say? Ran a lot but looked totally out of it (flu?). Quinny frequently won the ball but Rösler was nowhere to be seen.

Quinn (6) Won the ball well but had a couple of misses when he should have done better. He looks good on the ball until he’s in front of goal.



City have now completed the signing of Ronnie Ekelund and have registered him with the Premier League, so he’ll be available for selection against Chelsea. It remains to be seen whether City will challenge the FA’s three-foreigners rule in the light of the Bosman verdict last week, but Ekelund is virtually certain of a place since both Lomas and Flitcroft are suspended.

Paul Howarth (


The squad is reported to have had 17 players feeling under the weather due to a virus throughout the Club. However, the only names mentioned as suffering from these symptons are Symons, Curle and Lomas. None of these players are reported to be doubtful for the game so it looks like they will play.

Ronnie Ekelund has been registered with the Premier League in time for Saturday, but as of Friday morning the Club were still awaiting international clearance from Spain. If clearance comes through Ekelund will go straight into the side. No mention of whether the loan is for one or two months.

Martin Phillips is in the City squad. Terry Phelan will not play for Chelsea as he has a hamstring strain. Ruud Gullit is also out with a similar injury.

Let’s hope ’96 is a better year for the Blues’ fortunes. Thanks to Ashley, Paul, Svenn and the other contributors. Your efforts througout the year are appreciated.

Colin Gorman (


Colin Barlow was on both ITV & BBC local TV tonight (Friday 22nd) talking about the Premier League’s sudden decision (read on…). The press have been debating all week whether City would aim to play four foreign players in the light of the Bosman case which decreed the three-player limit illegal (in Europe). Barlow claimed that City faxed the PL for clarification and today (Friday) the news broke that the rule was to be scrapped with immediate effect. If I understood correctly, the three-player rule still stands but what has changed is that EU (European Union) nationals will not count as foreigners. Kinky is henceforth our only foreign player!

There has already been some adverse reaction claiming that clubs will reduce their investment in youth. Barlow denied this and stated that it wouldn’t happen at all, rather that people would stop paying ridiculous money for average English players and more talented individuals would appear from the continent. I can’t deny that this will possibly have implications for English players but as a fan, it can only be good to see a higher standard and more attractive players week in, week out.



Message to all City fans everywhere… Have a Merry Christmas with plenty of goals. Let’s look forward to a less nerve wracking New Year!

Sorry that I can’t get over for the meet. I will be over at Easter though. If only the BBC World Service would cover City a bit more on their Saturday second half commentary. Thanks to all who have contributed to the cause…

David Jackson, Los Angeles, California (


Having recently moved to the football hotbed of Hertfordshire from that other great footballing area, Kent, I ventured north to see my first City match since the 0-0 draw with Leeds. The game was versus Nottingham Forest and after seeing the team news, Kernaghan back in the side with Curle playing in midfield, I had mixed emotions. I thought the big match up would be how Rae Ingram coped with the in form Steve Stone.

As the game started the Blues were playing well and then Uwe scored after good work from Niall Quinn and Steve Lomas. Most of the first half belonged to City apart from two glaring mistakes which presented Forest with two golden opportunities. There was Immel’s miskick to Lee, and after a misjudgement by Ingram had let Phillips to the bye line, a free header put wide also by Lee. Forest came back into it during the second half and after getting the equalising goal, I left feeling that a draw was probably a fair result.

Then came the Chelsea match – how would Kinkladze vs. Gullit shape up? Well apart from the first ten to twenty minutes there was no contest as Chelsea seemed to run the game after the first half hour and it just seemed a matter of time before they scored. In the first half hour, Michael Brown was getting stuck in to Ruud as well as passing the ball around well with Georgi showing a clean pair of heels to the Chelsea midfield many times. Creaney played well linking up with Quinn and Rösler but in the second half it did show that Ekelund was not match fit and struggled to get into the game. By this time Gullit had taken charge of the midfield and it was his cross which led to the Chelsea winner. It was good fun however seeing Mark “Huge Arse” Hughes missing so many glaring chances!!

In the new City magazine, Alan Ball says that the City squad is probably the fittest in the league – well I don’t know if they’ve all got the flu but on these two performances the fitness of the team left something to be desired as they only seemed to play in the first half hour of each match. Let’s hope the next few matches give us some more to cheer about.

Geoffrey Clarke (


Saturday, December 23 1995

COVENTRY  CITY        2-1    EVERTON                16,639
LIVERPOOL             3-1    ARSENAL                39,806
MANCHESTER CITY       0-1    CHELSEA                28,668
MIDDLESBROUGH         4-2    WEST HAM UNITED        28,640
QUEENS PARK RANGERS   1-0    ASTON VILLA            14,778
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY   2-2    SOUTHAMPTON            25,115
WIMBLEDON             1-1    BLACKBURN ROVERS        7,105

Sunday, December 24 1995

LEEDS UNITED          3-1    MANCHESTER UNITED      39,801

Tuesday, December 26 1995

ARSENAL               3-0    QUEENS PARK RANGERS    38,259
ASTON VILLA           P-P    LIVERPOOL              --,---
BLACKBURN ROVERS      2-0    MANCHESTER CITY        28,915
CHELSEA               1-2    WIMBLEDON              15,238
EVERTON               4-0    MIDDLESBROUGH          40,091
SOUTHAMPTON           0-0    TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR      21,906
WEST HAM UNITED       P-P    COVENTRY CITY          --,---

Wednesday, December 27 1995

BOLTON WANDERERS      0-2    LEEDS UNITED           18,414

Weds 26 Dec

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Newcastle United      20     14    3    3     40    18        45
Manchester United     20     11    5    4     38    22        38
Tottenham Hotspur     20      9    8    3     26    19        35
Liverpool             19     10    4    5     34    16        34
Arsenal               20      9    7    4     27    15        34
Middlesbrough         20      9    6    5     23    18        33
Aston Villa           19      9    5    5     25    15        32
Nottingham Forest     19      7   10    2     29    27        31
Leeds United          19      8    5    6     26    25        29
Blackburn Rovers      20      8    4    8     31    25        28
Chelsea               20      7    7    6     19    21        28
Everton               20      7    5    8     27    22        26
West Ham United       19      6    5    8     21    28        23
Sheffield Wednesday   20      5    7    8     28    30        22
Southampton           20      4    7    9     19    30        19
Wimbledon             20      4    6   10     26    40        18
Queens Park Rangers   20      5    3   12     15    29        18
Manchester City       20      4    4   12     10    30        16
Coventry City         19      3    6   10     25    41        15
Bolton Wanderers      20      2    5   13     18    36        11

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to David, Paul, Geoffrey, David & 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 #155