Newsletter #168

Apologies for the mishap with MCIVTA 167a; firstly I sent it out empty late at night and on the next try the machine played up. For the next few issues I’ll be mailing the newsletter to Paul who’ll then be sending MCIVTA out and searching for the glitches that have been plaguing us of late.

Looks like we are in for a windfall on Sunday. Apart from our share of the gate receipts, the game is televised and the Mirror was today quoting a figure of £500k; whether that is believable or not is another question entirely.

Apologies for my not replying to all those people who submitted to this issue; I’ve just arrived back from a work’s meal in Knutsford, it’s 12.00pm and I’ve drunk too much!

Next game, FA Cup, Manchester United away, Sunday 18th February 1996


MANCHESTER CITY vs. COVENTRY CITY, F.A. Cup 4th Round Replay 14/2/96

City 2 (1) vs. Coventry 1(0)
Att: 22,412
Team: Immel, Brown, Symons, Flitcroft, Curle (Creaney), Summerbee, Clough, Kinkladze, Lomas, Rösler, Quinn
Unused Subs: Beech, Margetson

My fears about closing the North Stand to City fans were brought into perspective when we passed the ticked office at 7.30pm. Thousands of people queuing to buy tickets. The 3 sides of the ground open to home fans filled up as the kick off approached but I’m sure some people must have given up and gone home. I heard rumours of Junior North Stand Season Ticket holders being asked to pay full price for the Kippax. I think they were offered reduced price tickets in the week, but the Oasis situation may have put people off until the last minute. Certainly the ‘credit card line’ has been an absolute nightmare.

The game started with City adopting a 5 man defence with Flitcroft as sweeper. Brown was at left back. AB said afterwards that the formation was dictated by injuries but I couldn’t see his logic. We could have brought Ingram back in or played Brown (as he did) and continue with Lomas, Flitcroft, Clough and Gio in midfield. We were at home for Christ’s sake. The effect of the tactics employed was that we surrendered 75% of the pitch to Coventry and were just soaking up pressure and hitting them on the break. We restricted them to long range shots apart from one occasion when Brown was caught upfield and Strachan got in behind him and crossed for Whelan who had got in front of Curle and only had to side foot in. Fortunately for us, he put it wide. Niall had another of those (he can’t miss) one on one’s, only to see his shot pulled well wide again. Soon afterwards Uwe won a corner and following Niall’s flick down, Clough hammered home from short range. In spite of our defensive look, we looked quite dangerous on the break, although Coventry were dire. Brown was putting in a Trojan performance at the back and making a few useful forays forward. Clough and Kinky were effective without being spectacular and our new look central defence dealt comfortably with anything that came their way.

Half time came and I was desperate for a more attacking policy in the second half. On the restart Clough fed a nice ball through to Uwe. Niall’s momentum (running from a deeper position) gave him reason enough to take it off his team mate’s toe and he took it on a pace or two before directing a well placed shot, low to Ogrisovic’s left and just inside the post. 2-0! Why were we still nervous? Flitcroft came forward on occasion and the game developed into a real blood and thunder cup tie with lots of end to end stuff. We had several chances to increase our lead. Uwe was the most guilty party, being put through by Kinky, Clough and notably Brown after a tremendous solo run. He missed them all with shots hit too early and too innacurately.

At the other end the Coventry sub. Nil Lamptey hit a rasping 20 yard drive against Immel’s post and then Dublin missed an open goal that put all Niall’s into the near miss category. The whole stadium guffawed with laughter at the outrageous miss. Coventry’s meagre number of away fans did quite a good job of trying to lift their team. Curle picked up a bad looking knee injury with about 10 minutes to go. He was making a good run forward before being clattered on the blind side of the ref. Creaney came on to replace the skipper with Quinn moving back into defence. Coventry scored after Dublin headed against the bar and when the rebound dropped to his feet he had a simple job of clipping it over Eike who was still on the floor from his attempt at saving the header. Coventry pressed hard for the last couple of minutes, and as much as I loathe him, I must admit that Strachan was at the heart of anything that looked even remotely dangerous. We hung on for victory and began to either (a) lick our lips or (b) wet our pants at the prospect of Sunday’s match. I am quietly confident, but something at the back of my mind keeps telling me that Alan Ball may be a ‘Schizophrenic Football Genius’.

Ken Foster (


Got down to the game nice and early for a couple of pints and a parking space designed to get me home before 11.00pm. The game was preceded by a minute’s silence for Bob Paisley which curiously lasted 40 seconds! City started off with an odd formation which had five across the back, the new boy being Flitcroft! What’s more, Brown was at left back leaving a midfield of Clough, Kinky and Lomas, with Uwe and Niall up front. City were ragged for the first 15 minutes and I really thought that we’d be extremely lucky to see anything resembling football in the entire 90 minutes. The main bright spot was Brown who several times took on the full back and got good crosses in; perhaps we’re going to have two half backs and no full backs next season?

There were very few clear-cut chances in the first half, a hard drive from Telfer from over 30 yards and best of all, Quinn who was once again put clean through (by Kinky) with only the ‘keeper to beat; result – he shot wide. The crowd was very upset by this and quite a few people around us were getting agitated (us included!). The deadlock was broken by a Summerbee corner which was met by a fairly good Quinn header which Ogrizovic could only palm down to the waiting Clough who made no mistake from 7 yards out. Cue celebrations…

The second half saw a very different City and after 2 minutes we were 2 up when Quinn took the ball off Rösler’s toes, made to shoot to Ogrizovic’s right and when the goalie had momentarily moved that way he clinically beat him to his left, and what’s more, got the ball in the net (cynicism and sarcasm here for those who can recognise it!). The crowd erupted and we heard quite a few songs which have been long dormant. The next 30 minutes were all City: Rösler had a good header flash wide, a crashing shot from 25 yards saved, and a couple of other chances. Coventry weren’t really in it, but did look lively towards the end after Curle had been substituted after taking a heavy knock on the knee. This necessitated Quinn dropping into the back four, Flipper moving to midfield and Creaney coming on. Coventry meanwhile, brought Lamptey on who looked sharp and made a considerable difference. He left his marker after 5 minutes and unleashed a beauty which beat Immel and ricocheted back of the post leaving it vibrating. Their best chance came when Quinn lunged at Salako who rode the challenge and crossed for the unmarked Dublin to hit the ball over the bar from 4 yards out; this brought gleeful chants of Deee—on from the Kippax. Coventry finally scored from a cross with 3 minutes to go, with Dublin once again free, hitting the bar and burying the rebound.

To be honest, Coventry never really threatened and although some people were biting their nails I personally didn’t feel they had it in them to get another goal. One annoying aspect of City’s play was their constant holding up of the ball when a good break was on, they just don’t seem to be able, or even want to try to catch the defence on the run, Kinky excepted.

Ball was on GMR afterwards praising the team and saying how well they’d done having to play three systems in one match and how they’d defended well with a makeshift centre back. Well, that was one more system than yours truly spotted though perhaps Flipper moved into midfield before Curle went off.


Immel 7, some great stops but he creates danger by not coming for crosses.
Summerbee 7, good defending and one great run and shot.
Symons 7, dependable as ever.
Curle 6, gave the ball away twice in dangerous situations though one may have been due to injury. Looks likely to miss the game at the Swamp.
Brown 9, excellent defensively and offensively. He looks a real class prospect and we have to nurture him carefully.
Lomas 5, ran around a lot, got booked and gave the ball away frequently, pretty poor performance.
Kinky 7, a couple of those trademark runs but he appears to have deveoped a bad habit of not releasing the ball early enough.
Flipper 6, out of position but he did a decent though unspectacular job.
Clough 7, A few nice touches and he knows where the goal is.
Rösler 7, I’m still unconvinced as to his suitability in this side. He looks very slow but he did get in two very good headers and a couple of dangerous shots.
Quinn 6, He looked very slow, missed a good chance (completely) and generally looked ineffectual.

I hate to think of what will happen if we play like this at the Swamp; we’ll almost certainly not score and as we all know, they can!



BUPA should now be considering increasing their health insurance premiums for City fans! There must have been more heart attacks at Maine Road in ten minutes than in the rest of the world put together.

Why can’t we do anything the simple way? A nice 2-0 win would have done my heart a lot more good than last night’s performance. But no, that wouldn’t be City. Anyway, we’ve done the hard bit now and apparently we’re playing some team from Salford who think they’re the best in the world (their own small world called the swamp)… Should be easy if you ask me!!!!!!

City’s performance last night was far from perfect, but at last we have a team that will fight ’til the end. After a shaky start (probably due to a formation that I definitely couldn’t work out) we began to exert some control on the game, with a steady defence and some creative midfield play. The only problem was that it fell apart as soon as it reached the attack. Quinn missed a sitter (but not the worst of the night… thanks Dion!) for a change and again Rösler had problems staying on his feet. But at no point did either of them give up trying.

After about half an hour Quinn dropped a pass from Buzzer in the box for Clough to turn and shoot past Oggy. The relief was unbelievable. Then it was Quinn’s turn to make ammends with a nicely taken goal after some confusion in the Coventry defence, just after the start of the second half. That should have been it, as we closed up shop for the night, with the only threat being Dublin’s presence in the air, but this was well controlled by Curle and Symons. The problems started when Curle decided to make a run up the field and injure his knee. This meant that Quinn was dropped to counter Dublin, which really didn’t work, and eventually Dublin got the goal (next time I’m having some money on him to score against City – and hopefully I’ll lose it). The last five minutes were unbearable but we got through it.

A special mention should be made for Brown. The guy seems to get better every match, and last night he was superb. His tackling was formidable and his runs down the left side were a wonder to watch. Maybe Kinky has been giving him lessons! Kinky himself seemed to be avoiding the rough stuff (probably on AB’s orders) but on the runs he did make he had the Coventry players falling over themselves, and some of his passes were sublime. He is a pleasure to watch. Clough, who has turned out to be a bargain, played a large part in last night’s victory with constant talking and intelligent play. He might not be the fastest player in the world but his brain makes up for it. Finally Flitcroft, was playing out of position but had a superb game mopping up around Curle and Symons, and his distribution out of defence was excellent.

So, roll on the Rags (at least I’ve got three days of happiness!). I’m off to thaw my feet after queing for tickets this morning, and then I’m having my fingernails replaced ready for Sunday… I think I’ll need them.

Adam Houghton (


Well, we`ve finally finished Coventry off, in a nail-biting finale, and could we finally beat U****d? I`d rather not think, but let’s get on with the game. Dion Dublin, again, what is it with him? He has now scored in virtually every meeting between the two sides. Well at least they didn`t win!

Eike Immel, 8, I still regard him as one of the best shot stoppers in the country.some excellent saves.
Steve Lomas, 7, Alright.
Curley Keith, 9, Did a very good job on marking Dublin, got injured towards the end (I hope it`s not too bad!)
Kinkladze, 8, Some excellent touches, now I can see just how much we missed him against Everton.
Quinnino, 8, How come he never scores easy chances but manages to score the hard one?
Flitcroft, 8, started off playing as sweeper, where he looked much more comfortable.
Symons, 9, I don`t need to say much more!
Brown, 9, Did very well, considering he was playing on his opposite side!
Clough, 9, looks to be a very good buy. Scored the important early goal.
Rösler, 8, A sound game.

Subs: Creaney, 7, I want Walshy back!
N.U. Beech, Margetson

Final score: City 2 : Coventry 1
Clough, Quinn : Dublin

Substitutions: City: Creaney (79), Coventry: Lamptey (56)

Barry Foster (


Tickets went on sale this morning for Sunday’s F.A.Cup tie at Old Trafford, so I was down at Maine Road by 7:30am to take my place in the queue. With some people having camped overnight and others joining in the hours before dawn, the queue already extended from the ticket office beyond the main entrance and round to the back of the Umbro Stand. As is usual on these occasions, people whiled away the hours waiting by reminiscing about previous derby matches; some of the older people present came up with fascinating tales of victories at the Swamp whilst the younger contingent gasped in awe. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

More and more people joined the queue by the minute and you could see their faces drop as they’d turn a corner and still there was no end to the queue. As it approached opening time (9:30am) the temperature started dropping and by the time I reached the front of the queue at 10:50 it was bloody freezing!

With 6 windows open and stewards managing the queue, it seemed that the ticket office people had actually got their act together. Not quite. I went to window 6, handing over my money, application forms and season ticket books. “Two seats, upper tier please” I said as the chap behind the window put my application forms with the others in the drawer next to where he was sat. “Could I have your surname please?” he said, which I duly gave him and he typed it into the computer. He then started flicking through the two season ticket books I’d given him and eventually declared that I didn’t have the right application forms in the book. “Didn’t you put them in the drawer?” I asked. “No, no, that was something else.” Oh dear. “I gave them to you with the money and the books” I pleaded but it was plain to see they weren’t there on the desk. Panic time. I started rooting about in my pockets for the priceless scraps of paper but the pockets were empty. My season ticket books were pushed back towards me and it looked like he was on the verge of getting a steward to lever me away from the window when he decided to do a quick check on the serial numbers of the season ticket books and the top application forms in his drawer. They were the same. “Whoops, my mistake. Sorry sir.”

Much relieved having got my hands on the tickets, I headed off home for a nice, warm brew before going into work for the afternoon. It’s a good job I don’t have a heart condition though or I may not have made it past the ticket office! See you on Sunday – we may not have much of a team left to send out but the boys won’t be lacking vocal support.

Paul Howarth (


City have an advert in tonight’s MEN advising fans that only personal applications for tickets for the FA Cup 5 will be accepted due the short notice of the game.

Only regular season tickets holders (5th year and onwards) can apply, after filling in application form ‘T’, only 2 apps per person, 1 ticket per app.

Ticket prices are £18 or £9 for junior/oaps in the Upper East stand or £13 or £6.50 in lower East stand.

Tickets go on sale from 9.30 Thurs 15th Feb.

Regular season ticket holders (Held 5 yrs or longer)   9.30 am Thu 15 Feb
4th year season ticket holders                         9.30 am Fri 16 Feb
3rd year season ticket holders                         1.00 pm Fri 16 Feb
2nd year season ticket holders                         9.30 am Sat 17 Feb
1st year season ticket holders                        11.00 am Sat 17 Feb

If there any tickets left (oh yes I’m sure there will be hundreds) Membership card holders can apply from 1.00pm Sat 17 Feb.

Hopefully I’ll see some of your there early Thursday morning!

Martin Ford (
Stephen Bolton (


I’ve just read on the Sky pages (very dire!) that Tony Coton may be playing in the 5th Round for the Rags as the blonde fella has a re-occurring elbow injury. If we beat Coventry it should be interesting.

I also heard via gossip at Goodison that if Coventry win they get 9,500 tickets whereas City would only get 6,000. Apparently the police would require extra segregation.

Mike Sharp (


Ball pointed to his lack of resources for a tie that was destined to shape his struggling side’s season — and is praying that the injury list eases before Sunday’s showdown at arch rivals Manchester United. “People will probably only read that we were hanging on and that saddens me,” said City boss Ball. “But I was pleased that my team came through a situation where we’ve had to play three systems in a single game. I have had people playing in positions where they’ve hardly played in their lives, and I have got to admit we have ridden our luck.”

Ball was forced to play midfielders Garry Flitcroft and Michael Brown in defence and saw skipper Keith Curle limp off, with striker Niall Quinn forced to revert to an unfamiliar centre-back rôle. He added: “The situation has got even worse tonight. Flitcroft is now suspended, Curle is struggling and we’ve also got Ian Brightwell out with an injury. I just hope that things clear before we face United but we’ve earned our right to go to Old Trafford and will give it our best shot.”

Andy Birkin – Crawley Branch (


Former soccer manager Malcolm Allison has been shown the red card by a radio station after complaints about him swearing on air. The one time Manchester City and Middlesbrough boss was sacked by Tyneside based Century Radio after his blue comments during a match commentary. Mr Allison, part of the station’s commentary team since the station was set up, swore on air as Newcastle United striker Les Ferdinand broke through the Middlesbrough defence during Saturday’s game.

Andy Birkin – Crawley Branch (


At the replay between City and Coventry, Salford University City fans will be trying to start off a new song for Clough. It is based on the Beatles song “all you need is love” but instead of saying love you say Clough. We sit in the North stand; sing along if you hear us!

J.T.Coogan (


Just read an article in the Mail where AB is quoted on tonight’s game as saying “…(Strachan) is too old anyway. He should be finished and sitting on the bench with me, arguing like a couple of old muppets”. This answers a lot of questions and just goes to show his real talents/qualifications and what he can do when he’s finished here.

Heidi Pickup (


From Modest Ken Ilworth’s Guide to Footy –

Man City supporters (at least 2 in NY) have been making a name for themselves again with their songs. At Blackburn Rovers, the Man City fans sang their classic ‘Blue Moon’ for about 10 minutes in a temperature of about -10C. And now they have copied Oasis’s Wonderwall, changing it into “Alan Ball” with lines such as “And all the roads you travel down are winding” converted to “And all the goals Kinkladze scores are blinding”. And, finally, something worthwhile seeing at Maine Road: Oasis are huge Man City fans and will be probably be playing a concert at Maine Road as a testimonial for one of the City players (Paul Lake) who has recently retired after a 4 year battle against knee injuries. It’s also possible that the retirement of Paul Lake from football will mean that he’ll be getting back together with Carlton Palmer (Leeds) and the Brazilian Emerson who was linked to Arsenal earlier in the season to resume his musical career. Perhaps ELP might be the support act for this gig at Maine Road. I’m sure that we all agree that though football is the poorer for the retirement of Paul Lake, overblown pompous progresssive rock is the winner…

Alan Arenson (


This weekend’s games on international satellite are Nottm Forest vs. Spurs on Monday and… yes, you guessed it the Rags vs. City on Sunday. Any City fans in my area (Jacksonville Florida) are more than welcome at my house to watch it ‘live’, 11.00am EST is the kick-off time I believe.

After receiving a few phone calls off mates after the game, they went on to tell me their plans for Sunday and wanted me to spread the word through this page. All the Blackley Blues plan on taking a load of blue and white balloons to let go as the teams run out, just as we did in ’87 when we played them in the Cup. It’s a cheap but very effective way of turning the Swamp into a sea of blue and white and a way of really pissing off the cockneys and even the players. I remember Bryan Robson going around stamping on them just before kick off.

All of you lucky enough to go, sing your hearts out for the lads! We have to outsing them! Let’s hope the team does us proud in front of the world and shows everyone who the real team and who the real fans in Manchester are…. May the force be with you! 🙂

Paul Whittaker (


Just to say When Saturday Comes have now got a web site at

I’m not sure how quickly it’s updated but it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s nearly as comical as watching City!!

Adam Houghton (


I felt I had to write in and mention what I think has been the unfair slagging off of Richard Edghill since he has become injured and am wondering why he has been included in everyone’s top ten of City players to be transferred. If he was this bad, then why did Arsenal offer two million for him last season?

I know that I have not got to the Academy as much this year due to the restraints of studying in Newcastle, but having seen him play many times at right-back and once or twice at left-back, this is not someone we want to get rid of. Do you really think that in three years time Frontzeck will still be playing at Maine Road? With any luck, Edghill will have progressed into an international class defender, as if you remember Terry Venables called him up into a training squad along with Flitcroft midway through last season.

Richard Allen (


As an addition to Keith Hursthouse’s comment on how everyone seems to want to take the piss out of City, I’d like to mention a section on the Clubcall pages that I saw a few weeks ago.

“News with Stu” is an innocuous little section that raises a topical “issue” and asks people to mail in their view and possibly win a £20 voucher as a prize. Just after the Bosman ruling it was about “Will foriegners kill the English game?”

Stu, in playing devil’s advocate, basically said teams like City were shamelessly destroying the English game by playing so many foreigners (i.e. 1 R Ekelund) and predicted that this might lead to clubs like U****d ditching their youth programs.

If this isn’t enough to make you laugh (i.e. convicted youth-poachers – the Rags, being held up as defenders of the English game) the supporting evidence of former youth programme stars like Ryan Giggs will. No mention of clubs like Blackburn and the Rags blowing the English transfer market out of the water either.

I sent off a reply, but I don’t think I’ll win somehow.

Andrew Inman (


I’ve not contributed for some time so here goes: First I must say thanks to everybody for their contributions and special thanks to Ashley (and others) for all the hard work. I think the quality of MCIVTA is getting better and better. I do subscribe to King of the Kippax and it doesn’t compare!

Now for the bad bit… I have to agree with Akiva (167) that there seems to some complacency creeping in. I have only seen 4 complete games this campaign (I live in Luton – yes I know it’s not that far), QPR and Coventry away early in the season and Blackburn and Nottm Forest courtesy of Sky down the local pub. The early games were desperate stuff (QPR made us look awful) and maybe I’ve missed some gems but I don’t think so. Have we really had one good performance this season? Possibly Villa? Recent games seem to suggest that we have not made much progress at all. The results do not show a revival despite Manager of the Month awards.

In my job I get to see several papers and the general opinion was that the Everton match showed us to be a team likely to go down. The referee was terrible and the sending off was a dire decision but the result was more than just. Even Ball said he wouldn’t like to have paid to see the game (I seem to have heard that before).I can only hope that we were suffering a reaction to the cup result.

Looking at the league table I am really concerned – can you see us beating the likes of Coventry, Southampton, West Ham and even Wimbledon? I can’t, on present form and the gap to other sides is getting wider. We still don’t have the players (I’d love to be proven wrong) and the responsibility on some is getting too much. Is it my imagination or is Kinkladze showing the strains of the season already? I know it’s negative but Coventry might do us a favour if they dump us out of the cup on Wednesday. I can’t face another pasting at OT, and we need to concentrate on the Premiership. I certainly don’t subscribe to the belief that a season in Division 1 could be good for us any more with the financial structure of the game being what it is.

Enough of these depressing thoughts! Everybody keep up the good work and maybe soon I’ll be wondering what made me write this rubbish!

Peter Kewley (


There has been a running theme in MCIVTA lately bemoaning the funeral march that passes for an atmosphere at Maine Road and applauding the good humour and fervour for the Blues at away games. The question has been… “Why?”.

Simple answer: all seater stadia.

I hate sitting at a football match. If you’re a season ticket holder, you know you’re going to be sat next to the same bore, idiot, loudmouth, whoever at every game. If you buy tickets for each match, you will be lucky to get four of five of your friends together.

If you stand on a terrace every week, you know where to go if you want to shout and sing. You also know where to go if you want to watch in studied quietness. On the Kippax, you could always quarantee a sing-song, a laugh, a dirty joke because of the crowd mentality. You could mingle, find your friends or avoid them, compare hangovers, make sure the kids get down the front, nip out early for a pie at half-time without disturbing 30 other people…

Nowadays, this element of the crowd which always drove the atmosphere at home games has been dispersed to all ends of the ground so it is hardly suprising that the atmosphere has been dispersed as well.

One solution proposed by various clubs (City included?) has been “singing areas” where like-minded supporters can sit together – Aled Jones not invited. It would be interesting to hear from clubs which have tried this and whether it brings any of the atomsphere back. I doubt it will help that much – why do you think opera singers perform standing up?

Seats are invariably designed for people five foot tall. Made out of plastic that would be rejected for school chairs, they are an excuse for clubs to charge an extra 10 quid for the same product – and it feels more like a product than Football with a capital F. They are a product of the loins of the Devil.

We all know the Taylor report forced Premiership and Division One clubs into removing terraces because of the tragedy at Hillsborough. The assumption behind this was that terraces are inherently unsafe.

My opinion is that this is absolute rubbish. If terraces are properly controlled, which they were not at Hillsborough, I think they are much safer. The only time I have come close to injury at a football game was when I tried to stand on a seat (because I couldn’t see) and fell off. The only time I felt scared on the Kippax was after a derby when it was obvoius too many people had been let in. I do admit that this is hardly scientific proof but I never saw anything in the Taylor report which fully justified this safety aspect.

Personally, I think that seats have been introduced to combat hooliganism, which sometimes co-exists with “the crowd mentality”. They have also killed off home support. Which has the reverse effect of allowing away supporters to dominate the atmosphere at games.

Which is why I only go to away games. Living in London doesn’t help much but I used to stand on the Kippax for loads of home games when I was in Coventry and the train takes just as long from there as it does from Euston (true, fact fans!).

James Nash (


I don’t get chance to see City much but when the weekly roundup is on Sky, even if we haven’t scored I like to see the sky blue and white strutting their stuff. When I have seen City it’s been that Edghill and Lomas have had a pretty good game. Lomas in particular has set up some good goals recently (Flitcroft & Rösler). So can you believe my astonishment that Akiva Goldblum suggested Lomas was ‘surplus to requirements’ in his submission to MCIVTA 167.? I don’t know many of the players who are in the reserve teams but surely let’s just axe a reserve then and keep the good youngsters like Edghill, Lomas and Brown.

Also Frontzeck £300k+ (ageing German has-been) Branco Free (Brazilian international) What are you doing Alan? Even if you had to pay Branco £10k a week that would work out to be the same ast £300k plus a weekly wage for Frontzeck.

Andy Garside (


Firstly, I have a confession to make. I’m not exactly a City fan. I’m actually a Port Vale fan (but we all have our crosses to bear). In the absence of a PVFC internet page, I often browse through some of the articles sent in by various subscribers to the service (I share an office with a City fan). Most of the things I read I have quite a lot of sympathy with. I’ve always had a soft spot for City, ever since I ‘supported’ them in the 1981 Cup Final. One of my worst memories in football was going round the back of our house after the replay to have a kick-around and having to listen to next door (who were having a Bar-B-Q) playing ‘Ossie’s Dream’ over and over again (I didn’t even know if they were Spurs fans, but that didn’t matter). The next week at school saw loads of kids who previously had been Liverpool fans mysteriously become Tottenham fans (how fickle children are – after all, Liverpool only won the European Cup that season).

Another reason why I quite like City is for the seemingly obvious reason that they aren’t Man Utd, and as most of my mates at school were United fans (this was Stoke-on-Trent after all, not that far away from Salford) after the Spurs fad had died down, then City were a good stick to beat them with (you even used to beat them occasionally in those days). My only visit to Maine Road was at the beginning of the 1988/9 season, to watch you lose 4-1 to Oldham. I don’t know how many people out there remember the game, but Paul Lake scored the City goal, and it left you bottom of the 2nd Div. (after losing the first game 1-0 away to Hull City). Mind you, you did manage to achieve promotion that year, as did Vale (from the 3rd Div). Our paths have crossed occasionally down the years. We lost 2-1 to you in the 1991 FA Cup 4th Round (the winning goal being scored by Clive Allen). In addition, we have collected a few of your cast-offs – Alan Oakes (albeit after a long and distinguished career), Darren Beckford (who was sold initially for 13,000 pounds – raised through a ‘buy-a-player’ fund), and, more recently, Andy Hill (who I would rate as one of the best players to come to Vale Park for years).

What I really like about City, however, is that they are a recognised ‘big’ club who shun some of the excesses of 1990s football. This, I think, is why the media take a dislike to you. You are not Man U/Liverpool/Spurs(thank God), but still have the potential to upset the apple cart for the media darlings. I read the comments of Nick Cavanagh with interest in relation to the Super League in Europe. The fact is Nick that we have a Super League here domestically, and clubs like Man City who are in the Premiership will have to recognise that for 1968 to happen again, then things have to change. I would argue that the football authorities must examine the current situation and ask themselves whether every club in the league has the potential to go as high as they possibly can (which should be the basis for football in this country). All the clubs who are now top of the tree grew out of fairly humble beginnings, and, if you look at the way football has developed, the English game is at its healthiest when different clubs are fighting for the honours – there is a wider pool of potential England players, and the communities these clubs are based in reap some of the benefits of this success. Over the years, clubs like Burnley (in 1960), Ipswich (in 1962), Derby (in 1972/75), Notts Forest (1978) have won the title through buying wisely, selling astutely, bringing on local youth players, and did not have to resort to the grotesque antics of Blackburn and others. The chance must be there for these clubs, and for clubs like City to win the league. I know that this is not the 1960s or 1970s, but we cannot keep going as we are, with promoted clubs getting relegated immediately, millions being spent on average players, wages sky-high, youth policies in tatters, foreign players dominating the game. Clubs cannot develop young players, for example, because their youth systems are bankrupted by debts created from buying overpriced players. I would argue that the following things need to be done:

  1. Abandon the Blueprint for Football – it simply hasn’t worked. ThePremiership is such in name only, the England team (who are now atthe apex of the domestic game) have failed to qualify for a WorldCup, and looked generally unconvincing in friendlies.Allow the League to resume overall control of the top division- the FA is a joke. Take the standard of refereeing, for instance,which the FA refuses to do anything about. The FA submits to the bigclubs over every issue, and is generally ineffectual. I was one whothought that is the top of the domestic game would benefit fromcontrol by one body, but it just hasn’t worked.
  2. Place a ceiling on transfer fees (not affected by Bosman) and,more importantly, on wages. Look at players like Paul Stewart -nobody wants him because he is on ridiculous wages (and partlybecause he’s crap, of course). These players therefore languish inreserve sides, unable to get into the first team, and only joiningother clubs on loan because they are unwilling to take a pay-cut.It’s like the George Eastham case in reverse. Smaller clubs who oncewould take players on frees (usually at the end of their careers),and would benefit from this, now are unable to take these players on.
  3. Re-introduce the system where visiting sides automatically receivea share of the gate receipts (where the rot set in, as far as I’mconcerned).
  4. Re-negotiate the TV contracts. In the light of the Lords’ judgementon the rights of Sky to take over major sporting events, this may bea door which is beginning to open (after years of being shut). Eachof the terrestrial TV companies (and Sky) should have highlights/livematches from all of the divisions, with each club receiving TV moneyon the basis of their league positions. In essence, TV’s influenceshould be gradually reduced, if possible (if that means slightly lessmoney, so be it).

I hope these points create some debate, and I also hope City manage to stay up.

Mark Bailey (


Reading J.Poynton’s contribution to the last MCIVTA I was struck by a strong feeling of agreement regarding what he said about European football and the “Big clubs deserve a place in Europe because, er, they’re big” debate. Like him I was struck by the hypocrisy of the enterprise, particularly the fact that the regular complaint that “We don’t/didn’t compete with Brondby/Barca/Whoever because our players didn’t have enough time to rest and prepare themselves owing to the cluttered domestic fixture list” swiftly vanished. It has been demonstrated lately (by the fact that a couple of weeks’ snow has completely buggered the fixture lists) that there probably are too many domestic fixtures – why, therefore, do the likes of Arsenal want to give themselves more matches? The answer, obviously, is that they get more dosh from having (say) a Serie A club come to play than (say) Wimbledon or Bolton or whoever.

And then what? Well, in a few years’ time the big clubs (after a bit of dreary mediocrity against continental clubs) will demand and force through another division-shrink in order to boost their tries in Europe. Because by then we’ll be more used to gangs of EuropeanSuperClubs(tm) having their own way, there won’t be so much opposition – and because of their increased wealth and power, they’ll be able to do it that much more easily. “Sleeping Giants” like Wolves, Birmingham City and (whisper it) MCFC will find it increasingly dificult to get back into the big time – Blackburn Rovers might well be the last in the league’s history. Meanwhile, the Swindons, Lutons, QPRs of this world will be forced into the lower divisions – which will swiftly become part-time.

However, that won’t matter because the top 6 or 8 teams in the country will be amazing – and their bosses will tell us that we never had it so good. I saw Crewe Alexandra vs. Southampton last night and it seemed to me to demonstrate what we should be trying desperately hard to protect (If you don’t know the plot, Soton were 3-0 up after about 25 minutes and appeared to have it sown up – but CA kept their heads and played Attractive Passing Football, getting 2 back to rapturous applause and arguably being unlucky in the end not to equalise or even win). Six thousand people making a noise louder than most Maine Road crowds getting fully behind a bunch of teenagers and getting them almost to humiliate the bigger club. If we’d drawn CA and not Wycombe in the CCC then we probably wouldn’t have got to Anfield, but anyway. OK, it wasn’t brilliant football and both teams had chronic problems (CA’s defence and Soton’s lack of drive) but it was the sort of drama that would vanish if the EuropeanSuperClubs(tm) got their way, because small clubs wouldn’t have the support and big clubs would be able to field World Cup standard teams.

It looks to me like it’ll end up like the situation in American (so called) Football, where the clubs’ owners can do whatever the ***k they like, along the lines of moving towns to wherever will give them low rent on a stadium or whatnot – the competition is utterly predictable and the soul has left the game.

Sorry if you’ve heard this before – a bit of a pub rant, I know, and much too long… but it’s important, and if we don’t keep aware of what’s going on then we might wake up one morning to discover that what we like about the game has been sold down the river.

Roly “Cheerful” Allen (


I bumped into a bloke I used to play ball with today. He used to run around training in a Liverpool shirt with a big number 5 on the back thinking he was Alan Hansen. Today he was wearing a Rags coat, so I asked him what the story was and he told me that he got sick of Liverpool not winning the league these days.

Good job some of us have morals eh? or Maine Road could be a pretty lonely place on a Saturday afternoon.

I’m not one for making rash predictions but I recon this is City’s year for the Cup. Rags 0 – 1 City (Clough 52 minutes)

Paul Coleman (


With regards to the ex-member of the City staff who appeared in Razzle mag (top shelfer for those who know better). Which issue did she appear in? Me and my flat mate have bought three copies so far and still no joy! I guess we’ll have to keep on buying it I suppose.

Tony Shaw (


I noticed there was a Viz top tip in a recent issue. The latest Viz has another, roughly saying:

Manchester United fans, order your Newcastle shirts now as it looks as though they’ll win the league this year.

Paul Newton (


With another meeting with the scum on Sunday, here’s a joke I heard last year (you may already have heard it) – and it’s a bit long.

The Day before the Manchester derby Alex Ferguson phones Alan Ball

Sorry Alan we have got a virus going round the club and we haveonly got two fit players, we will have to cancel the match.
Come on Alex you can’t cancel at such short notice.
O.K, since it’s you we will play the match then.

The next day Man Utd take to the field with two players, Eric C***andhalf and Tony Coton. At half time the teams go into the dressing rooms with the match at 0:0

S*** Eric it’s my wife’s birthday and I forgot to buy a present, I’lljust nip to town now and be back by the start of the 2nd half.

TC goes to town (in his kit), buys a present, and gets stuck in a traffic jam on the way back, re-entering the ground on the final whistle. He goes into the dressing room and finds EC in tears with his head held in his hands.

What’s up Eric?
I got sent off for punching ze ref.
Bloody hell, what was the final score?
We won 1:0

Of course this is pure fiction and MU are going to win f*** all again this season.

Jason Hart (


Well, it’s all in the bag (almost).

Unfortunately I can`t claim to have been inspired by a certain City goal or a fantastic cup victory (I was 4 when we last won something).

I was born in Ashton-U-Lyne equidistant from City, the Rags and Oldham, so perm any one from three. My brother was lucky (?) to be in a class at school which was predominantly Blue hence I suppose it’s partly his fault.

My first memory of actually supporting City comes from my sixth birthday. I remember my dad coming back from town with this bag as a present. To my disgust it was a shiny plastic red thing with big white writing. With no disrespect to my dad, it looked tacky and cheap (Rags all over). My dad wasn`t really into football and thinking about it now, his mate was probably trying to turn me to the “Dark Side”. Fortunately, the “Force was Strong in this One” and I sent the bag and my Dad packing to get me a blue one. Hence I received my classy blue bag that while probably costing the same, just didn`t look as cheap and nasty as the red thing. I still remember the bag standing out like a beacon for good amongst a pile of red s***e on the yard and in the cloakroom.

I was the only Blue of any note all through my classes in school. I was constantly under pressure even though I wasn`t really with it until my dad took me (atoning for his earlier error in judgement) when I was 12. My first three games were Cardiff, Carlisle (both 2-1) Cambridge (5-0). As other lesser mortals fell by the wayside (in more ways than one) I remained Blue throughout.

I got my first season ticket for the princely sum of £24 in the North Stand. The following season I graduated to the Kippax where I have remained in about the same spot since, even with the bloody seats. Half way line just below where the wall used to be. That’s when away matches started. The Rags was my first, a 2-2 draw after being two goals down and a trip to Wembley (my one and only) the day after. Blackpool with Lake’s goal was nail biting as was Huddersfield and Wolves, enter John Gidman. I`ve watched some crap when I think about it.

The pleasures of mixing mates, booze, girls and City came with college and have remained ever since. The Albert in Rusholme every other Saturday (or whenever we play) is now a grand tradition. I even managed to do a dissertation on City as part of my Geography degree (I`ll type it up again soon and send it for your delectation).

City now serves a focal point for entertainment in life. Let’s face it, over my 14 and 15 years the team has been crap. If it wasn`t for the good friends I have made through City and the crack at away games I probably would have packed it in long ago, well maybe. Footballing highlights have been strictly limited to the 10-1 and 5-1, sad really. Other highlights have however come from away games such as having to run very pissed at Cardiff (and meeting Roy Castle on the way), Sheffield several times (two of my best ever nights out), getting the car robbed in Huddersfield (and trying to get a lift from the team), and Colin Hendry passing us a beer from the team coach as he drove by when we beat Norwich to stay up.

Recently this love of City has been ably assisted by Oasis giving us much more to be proud of. Kinklazde has given us something worth watching on the pitch for once also. I`m about to start teaching and I promise you all I shall do my upmost to protect young Blues from having to put up with Red propaganda in the classroom. I promise to be totally professional and hand out detentions should any Reds get lippy and give the Blues self esteem.

To sum up I have remained a City fan because we are the best bunch of fans in the business and a least we sometimes try to play football. The question for me is one voiced by Nick Hornby. “Did the club form the personality or did the personality find the club?” because if ever there was a club to match my persona it’s the old Moss Side Academy.

(Everyone welcome to buy me a beer in the Albert).

Gavin Hodge (


Monday, February 12 1996

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR       0-1    WEST HAM UNITED           29,781

Mon 12 Feb

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Newcastle United      25     19    3    3     49    20        60
Manchester United     26     15    6    5     47    29        51
Liverpool             26     14    7    5     50    22        49
Aston Villa           25     13    6    6     34    18        45
Tottenham Hotspur     26     11    9    6     33    25        42
Blackburn Rovers      26     12    5    9     40    28        41
Arsenal               26     11    8    7     34    25        41
Everton               26     11    7    8     39    28        40
Nottingham Forest     26     10   10    6     35    35        40
Chelsea               26     10    9    7     30    26        39
Leeds United          25     10    5   10     31    37        35
Middlesbrough         26      9    6   11     27    33        33
West Ham United       25      9    5   11     27    35        32
Sheffield Wednesday   25      7    8   10     35    39        29
Southampton           25      5   10   10     25    36        25
Wimbledon             26      6    6   14     36    52        24
Coventry City         26      5    9   12     33    49        24
Manchester City       26      6    6   14     16    36        24
Queens Park Rangers   26      5    3   18     19    40        18
Bolton Wanderers      26      3    4   19     24    51        13

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Martin, Steve, J.T., Richard, Tony, Andrew (x3), Mark, Heidi, Peter, Mike, James, Paul (x3), Roly, Alan, Barry, Jason, Gavin,Adam & Ken.

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 #168