Newsletter #166

Big issue this evening, with a belated QPR report from Rob and reports on the Coventry game, tons of opinions and snippets, and another good Why Blue. It was frustrating to concede a goal so late and of course, that man Dublin once again; although I’d like to loathe him, he is in fact a very pleasant bloke, probably why the Rags sold him! You can almost feel the excitement building up to next week’s replay. The next three games are the most crucial of the season; when we come out the other side we’ll know exactly where we’re going?

Lastly, I’d just like to draw people’s attention to some photos on the WWW Home Page. These are action shots and can be found in the picture archive under that link. These have been provided by a subscriber who is a professional photographer (read on) and are really excellent, well worth taking a look at. Thanks go to Eric, Paul and Svenn.

Next game, Everton away, Saturday 10th February


COVENTRY CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, F.A. Cup 4th Round, Wednesday 7th February 1996

“Snowball the linesman…”

The pitch covering at Coventry’s Highfield Road ground was sufficient to ensure that the game went ahead this time, although the playing surface was very uneven and had large areas covered with sand. Such surfaces often help to provide great drama but in this case the assistance of the pitch was not required.

Traffic in the West Midlands was surprisingly light so I arrived at the ground just before 6:00pm and proceeded to the Rose and Crown pub plugged in MCIVTA 165. Despite the fact that the place was nearer 20 minutes’ walk away from the ground than 10, it was packed with Blues sampling the many well-kept ales on offer.

Arriving back at the ground some time later, I just caught the team being announced over the P.A. system. As expected, there were only the two enforced changes from the side that beat Q.P.R. on Saturday. Brightwell replaced the ineligible Frontzeck and Brown replaced the cup-tied Phillips, both straight 1-for-1 swaps with no positional shuffling. There was another excellent turn-out of around 4,500 Blues despite the prohibitively expensive tickets (18 quid each), mostly looking forward to a 5th Round derby after dealing with the challenge of Coventry.

City kicked off and had not managed to advance more than about 5 yards into the Coventry half before the home side took the lead in the second minute. Whelan forced a corner, and when Shaw’s shot subsequently deflected off a defender’s foot into his path, he neatly clipped it over the advancing Immel to momentarily silence the visitors. Uwe glanced a free header well wide shortly afterwards but it took the best part of half an hour for City to recover from the early setback. During this time, Coventry had several flowing attacking moves with which they could have increased their lead but Immel was rarely troubled due to stout defending and wayward finishing.

As the half wore on, City clawed themselves back into the game and came close to equalising after 30 minutes when Clough hooked the ball over his shoulder but just wide of the far post. A few minutes later, Clough provided the through ball which led to the equaliser. Rösler and Kinkladze raced clear of the not-quite-square-enough back four and when Rösler’s low cross was fired in towards the Georgian at the far post, David Busst was in the right place to slide home his third own goal of the season, giving Ogrizovic no chance.

This seemed to rejuvenate City and two more good opportunities soon followed. Rösler floated a chip over Ogrizovic but just over the bar and then Gio did one of his trademark runs right through the Coventry half before being scythed down from behind by Dublin. TV replays suggested that he may have got the ball as well as the man but we’ve seen many players booked for challenges like that (particularly Brightwell and Flitcroft) this season so it came as a major shock when referee Ashby and his linesman declined to award us a penalty. The City fans were incensed and the linesman in front of us was pelted with lumps of snow by irate fans throughout the remainder of the half as a chant of “snowball the linesman” went up.

Coventry nearly restored their lead with a rehearsed free-kick which ended with a glancing header flashing narrowly wide. Why is it our set pieces never look rehearsed? Half time came and we were left to reflect on what had been a pretty poor half. Both sides had packed midfield and chances for either side were few and far between. The half time entertainment was courtesy of the Sky Blue Belles, a very young formation dancing team. Their co-ordination was better than it was in August but it seems the locals are sick of them as they took the opportunity to practice their snowball-aiming on the poor girls. Needless to say the City fans applauded them warmly for their efforts (the Belles that is).

If the first half was poor, the second was abysmal. For the first half hour the only high spots were a run by Kinkladze after a Curle punt which ended with the Georgian uncharacteristically mis-controlling the ball and shooting tamely wide, and a quickly-taken free kick from just outside the box by Dublin which Immel parried comfortably. With 11 minutes to go, City’s best move of the game led to Flitcroft’s first goal of the season. Some neat passing between Clough, Summerbee and Lomas resulted in Lomas getting to the bye-line and pulling the ball back. Twice Dublin blocked his efforts but on the third attempt the ball span up into the air by the penalty spot and Flitcroft beat Strachan to the ball, contorting his body to volley home underneath Ogrizovic. Cue massed celebrations from the travelling fans who were now in really good voice.

Summerbee fired a drive just over the bar shortly after following a spell of keep-ball in the Coventry half. The home side didn’t look like getting back into the game as City seemed to be doing a good job of playing out the remaining time. With the fans’ whistles ringing in the referee’s ears in the second minute of injury time, Whelan won a midfield tussle with Brown and fed the ball to Strachan who raced into the City area. His low cross was met at the near post by Dublin (he always scores against us) who clipped the ball over Immel and in off the crossbar from barely 3 yards. Now it was the home fans’ turn to go wild. From the kick-off there were about 10 seconds more play before the final whistle went. It had been that close. Had it been a league game and 2 dropped points I’d have been really gutted but with a replay at Maine Road to redeem the situation it wasn’t too bad.

Overall I felt that neither team deserved to win this match. It had been virtually devoid of goalmouth action and how much of the media seemed to think it was a good game is beyond me. City played with one up front again which really doesn’t suit Uwe and Coventry weren’t much more positive.

Reasons to look on the bright side:

  1. We’re still in the Cup.
  2. An excellent performance from young Michael Brown, who seemed much more at home in a wider left position than he does in his usual grafting rôle in the centre.
  3. I should also mention the appearance of Aled Rowlands on the bench for the first time. Although he didn’t get to play, his presence indicates Alan Ball’s confidence in him. From being the major weakness to the side, the left flank is now looking quite solid. Rowlands has been given Paul Lake’s old squad number, 31. Let’s hope he turns out to be as good as his predecessor but manages to avoid the injuries!
  4. Terrific strike rate: we had one shot on target and scored 2 goals.

Paul Howarth (


This is the first time I have written to MCIVTA. I felt I had to write something after watching last night’s match with Coventry. It’s not very often I see City play live, normally I only see them when they are on Match of the Day. Luckily the game was shown live in Ireland so I was able to watch the full 90 minutes. Somebody please tell me this isn’t the way City play every week. With the exception of a few moments of inspiration from Kinkladze we looked very dull, and this is not good bearing in mind we were playing a very weak team indeed.

Here are a few things I want to say about the match. First what type of formation were we playing last night? We had no width at any time during the match. Can anyone tell me why Phillips wasn’t playing last night? I was looking forward to seeing him play for the first time; from what I’ve heard through MCIVTA he seems a very useful player. Summerbee tried to get down the wing but it wasn’t his night.

Watching the T.V. it looked very much like Rösler was playing up front on his own; he can hardly be expected to do much damage if this is the case. Having said this he still battled on until the final whistle and could have got a goal near the end. The only player looking to support him in the first half was Kinkladze with Clough hanging back. In my opinion the rôles should have been reversed, with Clough supporting Rösler and Kinkladze hanging deep where he always looked more dangerous.

I have never been a fan of Lomas and last night did not make me think any higher of him. he should be dropped immediately. In the defensive front a few things to note: what the hell was Brightwell marking Dublin for? He played outstandingly considering the task he had; Dublin looked nearly a foot taller than him. Curle should have been the man to pick up Coventry’s most dangerous player. When I saw Brown was playing I was worried after hearing the match reports on him from MCIVTA. However, surprisingly he looked like City’s best defender on the night after Brightwell. He kept Strachan quiet for the whole match until the last minute, and we all know what happened then.

Nigel Clough looks a very good buy indeed. Alright he didn’t play great last night but he’s not match fit yet, give him a few more games. He tackled back and his vision is brilliant, it was his great through ball that set up our first goal. Kinkladze did not play well to his standards but still everything worthwhile that City did came through him.

One last thing to end on: I earlier said Rösler could have had a goal late in the game when he broke clear for an instant. Instead of going and trying for the goal he turned his back and let the whole Coventry defence come back. This was at 87 minutes. Maybe if he had of been a little more positive we might not have drawn the match. However it’s not fair to blame Rösler alone for what was overall a bad performance by City.

Delighted to hear a song to the tune of Wonderwall in the background but with the commentator I could not make out the lyrics.

Paul Connor(


FA Carling Premiership
Saturday 3rd February, 1996
Maine Road
Attendance: 27,509
Referee: Graham Poll (Tring)

Manchester City

 Summerbee   Curle   Symons   Frontzeck
Kinkladze Lomas (Brightwell 82) Flitcroft
   Rösler (Creaney 82) Clough
[ UNUSED: Margetson ]

Queen’s Park Rangers

Yates McDonald Maddix Challis
Quashie (Brazier 72) Barker Holloway Sinclair
Allen (Gallen 67) Hateley (Dichio 67)

A relegation battle we would hope to win, especially since QPR haven’t won in about eight games or so. Certainly, I was relieved to hear that Curle was pronounced fit (and I presume Quinn was not). I spent the rest of the pre-match warm-up and build-up admiring my neighbour’s make-up. She had obtained a City blue glitter nail varnish and applied it with great skill.

  • 01min: Lomas punt is won in the air by Clough against a much taller Maddix(?). Unfortunately, Clough (playing up front it seems) doesn’t keep his feet on landing. Suddenly the ball is played through by Hateley(? it all happened so fast) and Holloway is clear. Immel comes out and saves excellently with his legs. Frontzeck shields the ball. Hateley feels the need to roll over Frontzeck’s shoulder.
  • 02min: Rösler’s cross is blocked for a corner. Summerbee takes it and Rösler’s head is almost onto it. QPR clear..
  • 07min: The game has died for a couple of minutes. Quiet game. Quiet crowd. Maybe the word lacklustre is more appropriate? Curle intercepts a through ball and is then tackled. The ball is played through again only for Frontzeck to read the danger well and clear up the line to Phillips..
  • 09min: Uwe waits for Phillips to start his run up the wing. Martin finally understands his intentions and runs onto Uwe’s nice pass. Phillips’ cross is pulled back into the box in front of an oncoming Clough. Nigel gets a shot in under pressure from McDonald which gently curls wide of the far post (but still in play). Referee stops play. Both Clough and McDonald require attention. McDonald looks to have hurt his shoulder. Both re-enter the action after only a couple of seconds off the pitch having wasted a couple of minutes receiving treatment on the pitch..
  • 14min: Frontzeck heads clear in City area. Ball was quite low and he was endangered by some oncoming feet..
  • 15min: Quashie’s pass finds Sinclair who plays through ball for Hateley to chase. Immel gets there first..
  • 16min: Yates’ foot seems to catch Curle’s low header. Linesman flags and Yates gains the free-kick? Ball played in from outside the area. The City defence play statues and Barker’s shot skids only a couple of feet/yards wide..
  • 17min: Holloway loses 50-50 ball against Kinkladze then falls and gains the free-kick against Georgi, outside the QPR box..
  • 18min: Rösler and Maddix holding/tussle. Referee finally spots it and gives QPR the free-kick..
  • 19min: Referee gives another bad decision in my humble opinion as Rösler runs into McDonald and gains a free-kick..
  • 20min: A speeding Summerbee accelerates and weaves his way through three QPR players on the wing. Nicky finds Clough running into the corner of the area. Nigel crosses. It speeds behind Rösler but Kinkladze picks the ball up just outside the box. Georgi plays in Phillips just as a defender was upon the little Georgian. Phillips’ cross goal strike is excellently struck and hits the inside of the far post. The rebound is gratefully received by a helpless Sommer with Rösler lurking nearby..
  • 21min: Maddix recovers the situation by tackling Kinkladze when he had appeared to have got through..
  • 23min: Nice bout of passing play by City (is this what Alan Ball is trying to do ?) finally breaks down when a first time pass by Lomas is intercepted by Holloway..
  • 25min: Summerbee cross is contested by Rösler/McDonald. City win the corner. I couldn’t tell myself, and I wasn’t far away! Kinkladze takes it I think and hits it hard across the edge of the 6 yard box. Sommer comes and instead of punching palms the ball down. My view was that it actually skimmed Uwe’s head right in front of Sommer’s attempted punch thereby perhaps slightly changing the ball’s trajectory. Nevertheless, Clough near the penalty spot takes a step, turns and hits the ball goalbound. It wasn’t really that powerful but it takes a deflection on the way through the ruck of players and crawls just inside the right hand post. One-Nil! Nigel Clough! Instant hero!.
  • 26min: Holloway long range effort from 25 yards easy for Immel..
  • 27min: Sinclair crosses from near touchline to the near post. Good header by Bradley Allen but straight at Immel who takes it with ease. Hmmm. I wonder what would have happened if he had glanced it towards the far post?.
  • 29min: Summerbee cross is deflected off an oncoming boot and curls over the QPR box. Flitcroft keeps it in near the corner. Flitcroft ignores Phillips’ support and plays a 1-2 with Clough. However, on the return Yates appeared to handle the ball (Flitcroft would have been through) just inside the corner of the box. Of course it wasn’t given!.
  • 30min: Lomas cleans up, finds Clough who spreads the ball to Summerbee. Nicky’s cross disappoints as it glides out over the goal. It’s the first bad touch I have seen him make all day..
  • 32min: Maddix climbs all over Rösler. No foul! Mr Poll then gives Rangers a free-kick to the left of midfield, apparently against Summerbee for use of the elbow..
  • 34min: Lomas to Flitcroft, touches it round midfielder for Kinkladze to run onto. Kinkladze takes it up-field before spreading play to the ever confident looking Phillips. Yates blocks cross for a corner. Corner is taken short and pass by pass, the ball moves further away from the Rangers goal until it is with Curle in the centre circle..
  • 35min: Phillips 1-2 with Flitcroft. Martin’s cross is dangerous, but Rösler mis-times his jump slightly and heads the ball nearer the corner flag than the goal..
  • 36min: Frontzeck is hassled by Bradley Allen outside the City box. Allen falls over Frontzeck and adamantly appeals to the referee for a free-kick. The referee ignores him. I wasn’t sure!.
  • 37min: McDonald is booked for holding Clough. I thought this was a bit rough seeing as the referee had already let several incidents go which looked much more blatant to me. Free-kick is to the left of the box, Frontzeck knocks it in and QPR clear as far as Lomas who spreads it wide to Frontzeck again who crosses. Rösler is up but it hits the tops of his head and balloons high over the goal. It looked like he mis-timed his jump again?.
  • 39min: Summerbee brings the ball out of the City third and passes inside to Kinkladze. Lomas runs full pelt to the edge of the box and is not impressed when the ball has yet to be released. Kinkladze releases the ball instead to Clough whose cross is blocked by McDonald for a corner. From the corner QPR break until Frontzeck tackles Hateley..
  • 40min: Immel punts ball to an unmarked Yates!!.
  • 41min: Quashie rides Frontzeck challenge, then another challenge, squares to Sinclair, who touches the ball, looks up and unleashes a swerving drive which Immel palms away for a corner. Corner comes in and is hooked clear by Summerbee..
  • 42min: Summerbee is taken from behind by Sinclair who sees yellow..
  • 43min: Phillips crosses long but Rösler gets there and having tussled with Barker wins a corner..
  • 44min: Summerbee cross is easy for Sommer..
  • 45min: QPR free-kick just inside City third. Yates crosses the ball in and Hateley rises well to head the ball. Immel appears to be doing his Space Invader impersonation along the goal line and letting it go. However, the ball appears to spin a little on the bounce and hits the City post. Immel scrambles the rebound clear. It wasn’t confidence inspiring stuff. Ball upfield and Rösler gains his 4th yellow of the season for a foul against McDonald. Was his foot high? I didn’t see the incident. Two more cards and he will be suspended possibly during the season’s run-in fixtures..
  • 46min: QPR bang ball into City box. Frontzeck hooks clear for a throw-in..
  • 47min: City break and Frontzeck’s cross is easy for Sommer..

Half time score: Manchester City 1 Q.P.R. 0

Apart from the first 15 minutes and possibly the last 5 of the half, City have been dominant. I felt bad for Phillips hitting the post. It would have been a great goal with Sommer well beaten. City really need to get another goal though and seize the initiative in the second half (for a change)!

  • 46min: Clough threads a nice ball through for Rösler to run onto but Rösler is caught slightly offside.
  • 47min: Curle punts clear to Rösler who chests the ball down in the centre circle perfectly into the path of Kinkladze. Kinkladze runs up to the QPR box with Maddix hot on his heels. Sommer comes out and Kinkladze tries to chip it over him but doesn’t get enough height on it and Sommer saves.
  • 48min: Phillips breaks and comes inside at the edge of box. Martin shoots and Sommer spills it having looked like he was going to hold it. Rösler is flat footed a couple of yards away.
  • 49min: Lomas finds Phillips beautifully who in turn finds Flitcroft who feeds Lomas. Unfortunately Steve’s cross is miles too long.
  • 50min: Frontzeck tackles Sinclair when he looked like he was through at the edge of the box.
  • 51min: City corner. Kinkladze short to Lomas but referee wants it retaken. This time Flitcroft comes short and returns the ball to Kinkladze who crosses. Symons is there and heads it from about nine yards down towards the goal line between Sommer and Holloway. It looked like one of them would clear it but in the end their hesitation (leaving it for each other I guess) costs them a goal. Two-Nil! Mass jubilation! Blue Moon!
  • 52min: Kinkladze breaks and is obstructed by McDonald gaining a free kick.
  • 53min: Another City free kick when Summerbee is impeded by Challis.
  • 54min: Barker cross to edge of six yard area. Immel is rooted to the goal line. Ball passes a yard in front of Sinclair and another attacker (Allen possibly). QPR retrieve the loose ball and feed it back to Quashie who hits a screaming drive from outside the area. A stretching Immel pushes it around the post.
  • 56min: Kinkladze feeds Phillips who feeds the overlapping Rösler who is offside (again)!
  • 57min: Sinclair cross is too long. Summerbee clears ball to Kinkladze who is being held by Challis. Kinkladze loses ball and no foul is awarded.
  • 59min: Frontzeck fouls Bradley Allen. QPR Free-kick. Allen is furious with the offence and tells the referee at length probably hoping to earn Frontzeck a booking. Sinclair takes the kick. Over the wall. Immel stretches and palms the ball away from inside his left post. Ball goes out for a throw. The throw has to be retaken due to some misdemeanour between Barker and Kinkladze. I did not see it but it earned them both a booking.
  • 60min: Holloway escapes Rösler’s challenge but is unhappy about it. So much so that he appears to elbow Clough. Referee sees no infringement.
  • 61min: Immel punts ball into touch with a whole field to aim at.
  • 62min: Summerbee accelerates past two QPR players and crosses early towards Rösler, but it is cleared before it reaches Uwe.
  • 63min: Frontzeck heads ball clear just outside the City six yard box. Yates heads the ball back along the ground, gratefully received by Immel.
  • 64min: Hateley shoots wide from outside the box.
  • 65min: Frontzeck penalised in his jump against Hateley for the ball. Free kick five yards outside City box. Barker tries his luck and blasts it over the wall and ever-rising over the bar.
  • 67min: Ball played through to the edge of the area. Immel slow to come. Hateley coming. Summerbee awaiting Eike’s arrival decides to hook it clear with Immel now about a yard away and Hateley about two yards away. Immel stares at Nicky and complains to Curle. Curle is not impressed (with Immel I think)!
  • 68min: Curle plays the ball to Lomas who finds Kinkladze to take it up the line and clear of any danger. Having ridden a couple of shoves and a challenge, Kinkladze speeds away from four Rangers’ players including Sinclair. Challis seems determined to take Georgi out. Challis sees yellow. QPR replace both their strikers – Gallen and Dichio on.
  • 70min: Sinclair goes on an excellent run. This time he is too fast for Kinkladze. Sinclair shrugs off Lomas, cuts inside and crosses to far post. Gallen takes the ball on his chest nicely but before he can shoot, Frontzeck gets in a challenge and the ball rolls gently to one side where Immel picks it up.
  • 72min: Quashie goes off for treatment at the side of the pitch. Looks like he has had a knock on the head.
  • 73min: Frontzeck’s cross is cleared by McDonald under pressure from Rösler. Ball comes closest to Clough who is bundled over by Maddix about five yards outside the QPR box. Free-kick! QPR substitute Quashie. Kinkladze touches off the free-kick to Summerbee who blasts the ball into the wall.
  • 74min: Uwe accepts the ball and glides around two Rangers players. Barker challenges from behind and it looked like a dive from Uwe to me. No foul says ref.
  • 76min: Barker (again) goes in behind on Clough and sees yellow.
  • 77min: Kinkladze sets Summerbee free only for Nicky to be bundled over by Gallen(?).
  • 78min: Clough seems to be playing deeper now, perhaps even in midfield. Regardless, City are passing well and Nigel is integral to this. Frontzeck is fouled by Dichio who sees yellow for kicking the ball away.
  • 80min: Sinclair crosses. City defence looks vulnerable again/playing statues. The ball is cleared to Kinkladze who is challenged strongly by Holloway. No foul given! QPR cross again and this time Curle clears.
  • 81min: Immel comes. Immel sees. Immel punches!
  • 82min: Phillips crosses to the far post but no-one is there. Lomas tries to get there but to do so he has to run through Challis first. City double substitution. Creaney and Brightwell on.
  • 83min: Flitcroft appears to play the ball but sees yellow as Sinclair goes over on challenge near corner of City box.
  • 85min: Brazier (QPR sub.) crosses nicely but Sinclair is offside.
  • 86min: Sinclair cuts inside and runs along edge of City area. Sinclair turns brilliantly and shoots over. ‘How high do you want the bar ?’ appears to be the chant. Or was it ‘ball’?
  • 87min: Clough (I think) strokes a beautiful diagonal pass through for Creaney to run onto to. Gerry shoots powerfully from an angle and Sommer saves well.
  • 87min: Dichio fouls Frontzeck. He knows what is coming and starts walking off.
  • 89min: Clough stroking it about nicely in midfield again. Curle is the City last man with the ball and decides to take on the QPR attacker. I thought he had lost it (and he had) except the linesman gave Curle a free kick for an infringement.
  • 90min: Brightwell nutmegs defender brilliantly and crosses. QPR clear.
  • 91min: City cross. Creaney up well but QPR clear before it reaches his head. Clearance goes straight to Flitcroft who goes for a three point conversion.

Final Score: Manchester City 2 (Clough 25, Symons 51) QPR 0

There is little doubt that City were the better team although I fear to think what would have happened had one of QPR’s long range efforts gone in. Would heads have gone down? Some of the papers gave the man of the match to Kinkladze who played well but in my book the most impressive players in the City side were the home debutantes. Clough looked ok up front and played some beautiful balls in the midfield in the second half. Frontzeck had an excellent match although I can see him picking up bookings regularly. As for Phillips, what can I say? I cannot remember him losing the ball to Yates the whole afternoon (except for a corner or a throw-in).

Robert Watson (


There appears to be a tug-of-war developing between Howard Kendall and Peter Reid for his services. Can either of them afford him I wonder?

The Mole


Tickets for the Oasis show at Maine Road on 28th April are available from Friday morning and are £17.50 plus booking fee.

Oasis freephone 0800 614595 (120 lines) or 0161 930 8000, 0161 247 4666 0161 832 1111, 0161 227 9229

The Oasis Homepage is about to be radically altered and some of the multimedia stuff is about to be removed so if you want it be quick!

Julian Cooke (


For anybody going to the Everton game, I suggest the pub to meet up in is the “Royal Oak”, a spacious, modern pub not far from the ground.

If you’re coming up the East Lancs Road from the city centre, turn left just as you reach Goodison Park, as if heading for the main stand (i.e. the one opposite where the away fans go). The Royal Oak is about 150 yards down one of the streets to the left of this road, on the left hand side (can’t remember which street unfortunately, and I don’t have a Liverpool A-Z).

Anyway, if anybody manages to find it, I may see you there!

Paul Howarth (


Did I hear you say Internet?

It was a toss up whether to go down to the Platt Lane training ground on such a bitterly cold morning as last Tuesday 30th Jan. When I arrived the ground staff were chipping ice off the all weather pitch and I was told that the boys had departed for warmer climes i.e. Alan Ball s favourite country club near Pompey and more leisurely pursuits in preparation for the Soton game. As an aside I was told that, although Chairman Lee had played the whole thing down as a lot of nonsense, two players had actually been drunk and were causing a disturbance.

I joined a small group of dedicated supporters huddled near the central heating outlet pipes watching, through the mist, Alex Stepney, Nurse and Dibble going through the motions. It was all made worthwhile when one of the devotees mentioned Internet. Further conversation revealed the presence of Paul Whittaker (mancity@jax), over from Jacksonville, Florida and his brother. Greetings to you Paul, great to meet both you and your brother. I won’t add any more details of the morning as Paul promises to write an interesting article for a future MCIVTA edition on his week’s visit to the Academy – albeit to say that we also met again on Friday whilst watching the lads preparing for the QPR game.

Prospects are looking good at last!

Saturday was a truly great day. Three points from QPR, home débuts for Clough and Frontzeck and a nice display from young Buster Phillips. At last we appear to have got ourselves a competent left full back. For older readers, he reminds me of Les McDowell (circa 1950), who later became manager for thirteen years. Clough played well, scored a good goal and looks worth the £1 million. I wonder if this signals the transfer of Quinny, or would Clough and Quinn make a better pair than Clough and Uwe? Alan Ball in the programme says that he now has the squad he has been looking for. Perhaps he is right, only time will tell, there are a lot of tough games coming up.

Rumours about Quinny

It is reported in this evenings MEN (Monday 5th Feb) that Peter Reid is interested in Quinn. It also says that he probably doesn’t have the money to pay Quinn’s wages or to buy him outright so it is probably not a serious prospect.

Neale Hayward-Shott (


Not that there is much of a view at the moment as we are covered in about 6 inches of snow, but I just thought I’d throw my tu’ppence worth in about the outgoing players and a possible Kinky song.

It is well known that Bradford want Kernahagn on a full time basis, Dibble is still wanted by Barry Fry, and I’ve heard that Edghill (once fit) may be offloaded to The Gooners or possibly even Chelsea. So that’s three. How any Blues fan can seriously consider offloading Rösler is beyond me. He may not be a prolific goal scorer this season, but he’s scored more than Cole at the Rags and you don’t hear them saying get rid of him. Rösler has a presence that defenders worry about, and with attacking forwards like Cloughie and Kinky he is an asset, even if his tally isn’t up to much this season, him and Quinn are linking up better than ever in my opinion, and who is there to replace him? Name one player? Parlour? He’s OK, but not in the class of Uwe. Keep Rösler, I bet anybody if we keep him he will score 20+ next season…


  1. Kernaghan
  2. Dibble
  3. Edghill
  4. Beagrie (who needs him?)
  5. Creaney (bag of s**t)
  6. Kerr
  7. I can’t think of any more apart from a few reserves… Lomas! Oh yes, what a result that would be!

Oh yes, the Kinky song… to the tune of Blue Moon…

Kinky… we saw you standing alone,
Without a care in your heart,
Without a home of your own,
Kinky… what the hell can we say
Forever blue as they say
You score some wonderful goals
Kinky… the way you twist and turn
Leaves defences in bits
Especially Leicester – they are s**t
Kinky… your legend will forever live
The goals you score are no myth
With you the league will be ours…
Kinky… Kinky… Kinky…

Gareth Foster (


I had the fortunate chance of going home for 10 days last week, although under unfortunate circumstances, my grandfather being very ill with cancer. My grandad is a good man who played football in his early years with Stan Gibson. He watched a lot of football in the 30’s and 40’s when in those days people went to the Swamp one week and Maine Road the other. Thankfully he chose City early on, so the least I could do was to thank him personally for pointing us in the direction of Maine Road.

Saturday’s Cup tie was cancelled so I checked out the new City Store in the Arndale; this could be my bedroom, I thought… Brilliant! Stocked up on a few of the new Oasis style City t-shirts, badges and scarves. About £100 later we left!

Sunday we watched the Cup draw live, my brother jinxing us by saying “we’re going to get them you know!” In the pub that night, all the Blues were talking about the draw, when one typical Rag fan (who doesn’t even go to the games) started shouting his mouth off. One Blue stood up and said “the closest you’ll get to that match is if you lean over and turn the volume up on that telly!”

Monday I headed down to Platt Lane early, to watch them train – but no team. I had the pleasure of meeting the Platt Lane correspondent! A very nice gentleman who is very knowledgable about City. Keep up the good work sir, your articles are much appreciated. Had lunch in the new Oasis lounge, excellent set-up. good food, pricey but who cares if it will pay Gio’s wages! Went back to Maine Road for a look around the Academy. Stan let us walk around the ground taking lots of photos of the Kippax, dugouts, etc. Tuesday we braved the cold weather for the reserve game, a good 1-0 win with some promising youngsters coming through.

Friday went back to the training ground. I shook Gio’s hand and said “I’ve come from America to watch you play” he just nodded, signed a picture of himself and smiled. I don’t think he had any idea what I said, but I talked with a number of other players. Watched a light training session with about 40-50 people. Talked with the Platt Lane correspondent again, both of us wondering who the Mole is and was he amongst us? Lunch again in the Oasis suite surrounded by City players!

Saturday after buying a couple more T-shirts from the souvenir shop I headed for the Kippax. Great view – not a bad seat in the stand. Not a brilliant game, but three precious points. I like the back four, Frontzeck is strong, love to see him put Giggs and Cantona on their arses. Flipper was below par, Lomas was poor, Gio was quiet but looks class on the ball. Clough had a good game, just needs to get match sharp. Buster was excellent. Rösler hustled as usual, but for the main Maddix was too fast and powerful for him. Both goals had slight deflections but it’s about time we had a slice of luck. The referee lost control of the game for about 15 minutes in the second half; they had a little dirty bastard midfielder who should’ve been sent off!

After leaving the Kippax I quickly bought the two giant posters of the team and Gio and am happy to say they safely made it across the ocean and onto my wall!

P.S. If we beat Coventry won’t that be the most Mancunians at the Swamp this year? Just think of it, 10,000 Mancs in the away end!

P.P.S This week’s live games on International satellite are M’boro vs. Newcastle on Saturday 10th and Birmingham vs. Leeds in the League Cup on Sunday 11th.

Paul Whittaker (


And another thing… Today’s papers carried reports from yesterday’s UEFA meeting in Geneva that plans are afoot to double the number of English clubs entering Europe. The basic idea seems to be that in addition to the current entry routes, clubs with ‘good domestic records’ will also be eligible to take part. For example, Arsenal’s record in the CWC over the last few years means that they would almost certainly qualify for the competition next season – irrespective of their performance in any competition this season. The Rags would be guaranteed participation in the European Cup for the next few seasons – despite the fact that they have been s**te the last two times they have taken part.

In my view, this is a totally unprincipled and unashamedly money-grabbing proposal. Qualification should be based on performance in the previous season only, as it is now. The plan would mean that the supposedly ‘big’ clubs, a euphemism for ‘rich’, would play more often in Europe, be more successful, earn more money, and so on. Success would breed success, money would lead to more money, and the situation would become increasingly difficult for the other football clubs who would no longer be able to attract quality players or a fair share of coverage – something which is already becoming a problem.

This situation would be hardly much better than an alternative proposal, in which ‘major’ clubs would gain permanent representation in key competitions. Both are basically a rationale for consolidating the position of the rich clubs, and putting clear water between them and the rest. The domestic competitions would be devalued. The fans would have to pay increasingly high ticket prices – and they are already expensive – or, more likely in most cases, be faced with little choice other then buying a Sky dish and paying the viewing fees for each match.

If financial concerns are allowed to dictate the development of the game, it will be destroyed. The future of football looks grim: there will be a small number of huge clubs with stadiums designed around the executive box, who monopolise the market of quality players and the income from TV deals; most fans will only be able to watch on TV; domestic competitions will be over-shadowed by an endless stream of ties with similar clubs from different countries. And all this will be the work of suited executives with expensive lifestyles, who have no idea about the game or what it means to be a supporter.

And another thing… Who the bloody hell needs kick-ins instead of throw ins? And bigger goals? Some people just don’t know when to leave a good thing alone. The popularity of the game is no accident: why change a winning formula? There must be a bit of job justification going on: oh, this is my highly paid FA/UEFA/FIFA position and I had better do something, so despite the fact that I don’t know a gnat’s chuff about football I’ll start mucking about with it anyway.

Anyone interested in joining a underground guerilla movement please contact … Seriously, does anyone know whether there is a pressure group or something similar aimed at preserving football as it is?

And another thing… On a slighlty more optimistic/less Mr Angry from Manchester note, the article I read re the UEFA meeting contained a table of the records of Premiership clubs over the last five years, which I thought you might be interested in. I don’t mind admitting that I was surprised at City’s high position. The table indicates the total points accumulated over the last five complete seasons by all 20 Premiership teams, plus the average per season. If a club was not in the Premiership, no pints (or points even) were awarded for that season. Average position uses overall position for lower divisions (e.g. Bolton finished 14th in Division 1 in 1993-4, an overall position of 36th).

Team            Pts     Ave pts  Ave pstn
Scumbags        401     80.2     2.4
Leeds           340     68       6.2
Liverpool       333     66.6     5.2
Arsenal         333     66.6     6.2
Wimbledon       284     56.8     9.4
QPR             283     56.6     9
Man City        283     56.6    10.4
Aston Villa     280     56      10.8
Tottenham       267     53.4    11
Chelsea         260     52      12.2
Everton         251     41.8    13.2
Sheff Wed       249     49.8    10.6
Coventry        246     49.2    15.4
Soton           244     48.8    15.2
Blackburn       244     48.8    14.8
Nottm Fst       243     48.6    13
Newcastle       149     29.8    21
West Ham        140     28      19
Middlesbrough    44      8.8    25.2
Bolton            0      0      43.2

And another thing… I think that Clough is just the sort of player that we have been crying out for recently: a good link man who is creative, makes intelligent runs and scores goals. His performance against QPR was good, if a bit slow; against Coventry in the FA Cup he looked even better. With match fitness, he’ll become a key player.

His arrival does cause a selection problem, though. Quinn has missed enough chances to leave his selection under threat, but his all-round contribution has generally been good. With Kinkladze in midfield already, Clough really has to play as a deep striker – allowing either Phillips or Summerbee to play on a wing (although I personally feel that Buzzer’s return to form and his playing at right-back are no coincidence, and he should stay there) and the two tacklers – Lomas and Flitcroft – to remain. Unless, of course, Ball decides to play only one of them – but we would probably be a bit too attack minded.

Frontzeck looks a good acquisition – he made a couple of mistakes against QPR, but made a great many more important tackles with a touch of class. I think perhaps all we are missing now is a quality striker with real pace. Watching the FA Cup match against Coventry last night, I couldn’t help wondering what would have happened if we had Whelan instead of them…

And another thing… Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed an alarming drop in form in Curle? He keeps giving the ball away, giving away free-kicks, and losing concentration at crucial moments – witness Dublin’s goal in the 90th minute, when Curle had allowed him to get the wrong side. Time for a replacement?

Better stop, before I get sacked / use up a whole issue. Cheers, fellow Blues – and bring on Coventry (again!)

Matt Varley (Matt


I don’t know whether or not you’ve noticed what day the replay is on, but my girlfriend did last night!! It’s Valentines day! Oh well, she’s been to the Academy a couple of times already this season, and I even took her to see Leeds away (she supports Leeds). Anyway, we sat with the home supporters, and when Gerry with the pacemaker scored, a few City fans Jumped up, and the whole stand stood up and hurled abuse, I thought it was going to kick off, but the City fans were ejected by the stewards. Anyway, she commented on how nice the fans are at the Academy, and I agree. Over the past few seasons I’ve sat next to a Rags fan at the Derby when we lost 3-2, and only last Saturday, I had a QPR fan sat next to me. The Rags fan was quite nice, but he was dressed in what must have been the entire contents of the Stretford hypestore, so how the hell was he allowed in? At Leeds as soon as a City fan was spotted, he was out of the ground before he knew what had happened. So how come the City stewards allow blatantly obvious opposition support into the home stand?

Just thought I’d get that off my chest!

If you’re ever hungry in Wilmslow, pop into a cafe called “Crumpets” Its bang in the centre of town next to the church that was built a few years ago. Its run by a ginger haired bloke called Steve, He’s a Blue, and he gets loads of City players in, so he’s always good for a bit of gossip!!

Tim Humphreys (


If any overseas readers would like a copy of the 4th Round Cup tie vs. Coventry, shown live in Ireland, I have one spare copy. There’s also a brief interview with the new Irish manager and former City player Mick Mc Carthy. Not the most exciting game in the world but hey there are 4 goals.



Re. unruly behaviour en route to Soton in the Meon Valley Hotel and Country Club. I hear that around ten players wanted to join a private party for their late night drink. The hotel manager, who wore a dinner suit, refused to let them in and suggested that the lads have another drink in the Residents Bar.

A little while later came a song from the Residents Bar – “Who’s the b*****d in the black …….”.

The Vole


Ken asked about the “other” fanzine on sale at the QPR game; it was being touted as the first issue of a new ‘zine called “The Fightback”; it isn’t the first issue – it’s a re-launch. I didn’t actually buy it myself but I guess it’s by the same person that did it originally, a young chap by the name of Dante Friend who has had a regular column in KK recently. The original version stopped because he was publishing some particularly libellous (potentially at least) stuff and was likely to have been sued. One article in particular about Roy Keane springs to mind. I suppose I should get hold of a copy to update the FAQ really. I hope it’s better than his first attempt.

Paul Howarth (


I am feeling slightly pissed at the moment after experiencing the real ale festival, but I am writing regardless.

Last weekend I went home, and visited the Mecca for the visit of Q.P.R. I also went to see the team training on Friday morning. The notable exceptions were Quinn (injury), Curle (injury), Symons (***k knows), and Kernaghan (see Symons). Frontzeck looked like he could take Schwarzenegger and he wasn’t even playing properly!!

As regards the Mecca, I thought that Phillips, while obviously having all the skill in the world, can’t kick the ball into the box (he was the same in the reserves the other week). You know when you were about 5 and you started to kick the ball? Well, Phillips hits it about the same distance. With time though, and a few more pounds, I think he will turn into a fantastic player as his skill level is phenomenal. Clough looks a good buy – he never stopped talking throughout the match. I still don’t think we can play with Flitcroft, Lomas and Gio playing in the middle. We need another wide man as we are too predictable. I thought the first half was a bag of s**te, but in the second half we played really well.

Can you believe Coventry? Dublin scores in the last minute again? I was at the league match (which we lost 2-1) and that was bad, but in the 4th round of the F.A.Cup? I am completely gutted. Victory stolen from us in stoppage time. Ah well, that’s what you get for supporting City I suppose.

Got to go before I collapse in a drunken stupour (is that spelt right?). Stay Blue.

Scott Moore (


Having been in North Carolina (Country music heaven) in the States, for the last 2.5 years I seem to have missed all the Oasis hype. Last time I was in the UK Take That were on the top of the Music Charts (it’s only part of the reason I left), so I have been reading with great interest the traffic on this alias regarding the Oasis boys and their support for God’s own team.

This week they featured in an article in Newsweek (national magazine) and it looked like the photograph they used of the band was taken sitting in the seats at Maine Road!

Below is an Extract from the interview:

Interviewer: Famous american bands tend to hate being famous. What do you think of people like Nirvana and Pearl Jam?

Noel: If you can’t enjoy being in a job like this then you’ve got big ****ing problems. You know what I mean, it’s better than working in a car wash…? What do these ****ers want?

Seems like I could almost have been back on the terraces. Anxiously awaiting news of the Coventry game

By the way I understand that there is another recipient of this newsletter in Charlotte North Carolina (only he will know how unusual this feat is). If you are reading this let me know if you are ever travelling to Raleigh, I’ll stand the first round.

Steve McDonald (


Why Blue? … Why Not! I first started going to the Academy in the late 1940’s, as a very small boy. I had an old aunt whose brother played for City in the twenties, and she used to take me. She was that most dangerous of species – a raving Blue with a season ticket and an umbrella, which she used to ‘correct’ any nearby rival (or home) fan who dared to criticise any player in a sky blue shirt; nowadays she would be in police van by 3.05pm! When she grew too old to go to matches, she gave me the job of cycling from Blackley in north Manchester to Maine Road for every home game, then afterwards I had to give her a full match report (I didn’t use her season ticket though, as my mates and I had our own spot on the old scoreboard end – North Stand now). From there I watched the likes of Bert Trautmann, “Pull up at Dave’s” Ewing, Bobby “What’s wrong with living in a pub” Johnstone, Roy “you do that again and I’ll lay you out” Paul (that was to his own ‘keeper), Don “I’ll manage England one day” Revie, and others – including one Ray Willamson, the only player I’ve ever seen carried off on a stretcher during the kick in (no subs then). Marvellous images come to mind from that time – Roy ‘Nobby’ Clark’s solo charge through the thick mud of Villa Park to score the goal that put us in the 1955 final, only to have the heartbreak of Newcastle beating us at Wembley, then joy the next season as we won the cup against Birmingham (Trautmanns broken neck final).

By this time I was lucky enough to be working as a press cameraman for one of Manchester’s evening papers (there were two then), and I had the double joy of not only watching my Blues, but also getting paid (not very much at that time!) to do it. Then came the best years of all – the late sixties and early seventies, when I had the privilige of travelling with, and taking photos of, a bunch of footballers who enjoyed life as much off the field, as on it. Mike Summerbee and Frannie Lee, always trying practical jokes on the travelling journos, Colin (Nijinski) Bell reading about racehorses. Big Mal Allison putting ten bottles of champagne and a cigar on your room number (try explaing that to you editor!). Trying to keep TC (no not that one, winger Tony Coleman), out of trouble. That nicest of men, and great football manager, Joe Mercer, who would keep you up in a hotel lounge till 4am talking about football – and you wouldn’t realise the time because every word he spoke was good football sense – oh that we had him now. That wonderful day at Newcastle in 1968, when we won the Championship, Wembley ’69 – 1-0 against Leicester, that marvellous, wet night in Vienna, when TB lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup, all the European ties, the League Cup finals and the FA Cup finals later.

I just wish we could have some success in the near future for all the younger fans who were too young to remember the above – I’m sure it will happen again, for there’s no better feeling than being a Blue when you win a trophy, in fact there’s no better feeling than just being a Blue.

PS. As a journalist I am, of course, completely neutral, and unbiased.

Eric Graham, Manchester (


A joke from one of my Utd fan friends!!

With all the Germans now playing at City the ticket system has been changed to make them feel at home: You now sneak into Maine Road in the middle of the night and leave a towel on a seat.

Jason Hart (



Thanks to Eric, The Mole, The Vole, Gareth, Paul (x4), Neale, Jason, Rob, Scott, Tim, Julian, Steve & Matt.

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 #166