Newsletter #172

Not much ‘real’ news but plenty of excitement in the press about City and Oasis. Sounds to me like they’ve been guessing what the club and Oasis were talking about when all they knew was that a meeting had taken place.

Flixton Red has sent his extensive view of the Derby goings-on; it’s going to be a tadge controversial but it is his view and it’s probably broadly representative of what the other side thought of it all.

Next game, Blackburn Rovers at home, Saturday 2nd March 1996


Spotted this on the Sky Web site:

Manchester City boss Alan Ball is to take two Exeter City trainees on trial at Maine Road. Ball worked with Nicky Medlin and Barry McConnell during his two and a half years as boss at Exeter and says he wants to see how the youngsters have progressed since then.

Paul Howarth (


With immediate effect, reserve team home games are to be played at the ground of Witton Albion, which for those who don’t know, is near Northwich in Cheshire. Many other Premiership clubs have moved their reserve teams to other grounds already in a bid to preserve the playing surfaces at their grounds, and this is the reason why City have done likewise. FA Youth Cup games will still be played at Maine Road though.

The Mole


I don’t know how true this is but according to Radio 1 this morning (29/2/96) City are discussing terms with a possible new sponsor. The name to appear on the Holy Blue shirt could well be OASIS – yes, that OASIS.

I’m not sure if this is a good idea – remember all the press headlines last time we changed sponsors, “Oh Brother” and the likes. If we were to change sponsors and then hit a rough patch (quite probable), would the headlines read “Oasis dries up for City”?

P.S Nice to hear the WonderWall (City version) being sung on the radio this morning.

Jon Walsh (
Roger – The Blue Kiwi (
Paul Coleman (


A couple of City/Oasis stories in the press this week; firstly rumours that the show at Maine Road on 28th April may be disrupted by various hooligans from other clubs who are irritated by the band constantly singing City’s praises. Since fans of several clubs were mentioned, I doubt that there’s much in this story, unless there’s some national association of footy hooligans that I’ve not heard about 😉

Second and more importantly, Oasis are apparently interested in becoming City’s shirt sponsors. The club’s current sponsorship deal with Brother, worth around £200k per year, expires at the end of the season. There have already been discussions with the club, who could expect a big surge in replica kit sales if the Oasis logo is splashed across the front since the shirts would become fashion items. The band’s new single “Don’t Look Back In Anger” went straight into the singles chart at number 1 this week.

Paul Howarth (
Jeremy Poynton (


By David Maddock of ‘The Times’

OASIS, the rock band at No 1 in the charts with their single Don’t Look Back in Anger, are negotiating to become sponsors of Manchester City Football Club. If a deal is struck, then the most famous name in British popular music at present will be emblazoned across the front of the team’s sky blue shirt.

Francis Lee, the chairman of Manchester City, confirmed yesterday that he held a meeting with Noel Gallagher, the band’s songwriter and guitarist, last week. The football club is sponsored by Brother, the electronics firm, but the £650,000-a-year contract is close to expiring.

Lee is conducting negotiations to secure a new deal and although talks are continuing with Brother about a renewal of their contract, he revealed that he has also talked with Gallagher, whom he met last week. It is understood they discussed a package that will involve the band in a joint-sponsorship deal with another company that will see Oasis named as sponsors on the shirts.

“I met Noel Gallagher and we talked about sponsorship,” Lee said. “We are talking with Brother, but it is no secret that there are other parties interested and we are talking to them as well. Noel seems interested in becoming involved and we welcome that.”

The band members are diehard supporters of Manchester City. Gallagher and his brother, Liam, the group’s lead singer, come from Burnage, a suburb of Manchester close to Moss Side, where the Maine Road stadium is situated. They recently opened City’s new £6 million training complex and were delighted to find that an executive dining area was named The Oasis Suite.

Oasis have also announced two concerts at the club’s Maine Road ground in April, with the 40,000 capacity selling out within hours of going on sale. They regularly attend City’s home matches.

Any deal would offer a strong financial incentive to City. With clever marketing, their football strips could be sold all around the world. Oasis are at No 3 in the American music charts and look likely to become the next English name to crack that market.

Manchester City are still heavily involved in negotiations with Brother, and were keen to stress last night that a deal could be struck with the electronics firm. If, however, talks are not fruitful, then Oasis would follow the lead of Elton John, the pop singer who became chairman of Watford Football Club.

Colin Gorman (


Francis Lee today denied rumours that Oasis are set to become City’s new shirt sponsors. He acknowledged that there had been meetings between club and band but said that they were about a completely different matter. City’s current sponsorship deal with Brother is one of the longest-running partnerships involving a Premier League club and both parties seem keen to extend it still further.

The Mole


City have joined a long list of top clubs showing an interest in Kettering striker Carl Alford (24), the leading scorer in the Vauxhall Conference with 23 goals so far this season. Denton-born Alford joined Kettering for £25k from Macclesfield two years ago and recently turned down a £100k move to York City after Spurs and Nottingham Forest showed interest. Last week he had a trial for City, playing in the reserves’ goalless draw at Preston, and earlier this week scored for England’s semi-professional side in their 4-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.

The Mole


The 95/96 FA Cup 5th Round Derby certainly couldn’t be described as anything less than interesting! In fact it was an uncanny reminder of some of the 70s blood and thunder Derbies. A good atmosphere walking to the ground, the sporadic fist fights on Warwick Road, a mass of nervy coppers… ahhh, just like the old days.

It was refreshing to see a City side perhaps somewhat more equipped to compete than in previous years. City fans could have taken solace in the emerging form of Kinkladze and Symons, and the presence of new personnel, such as Clough, obviously fully committed to Ball’s new cause. The squeaky midget has also installed a harder defensive edge and better organisation to this side than either of his predecessors ever managed to achieve. Ball may well at last be turning a corner, I’m not sure whether it’s the right corner or not but at least he seems to be doing something of substance. The true measure may lie not in superheated one-offs against United but against other opposition, that’s where City’s survival rests.

City came out suitably pumped up for a Derby game and forcefully took the early initiative. Indeed, their enthusiasm knocked United off their stride for substantial periods of the half. However within minutes, Cantona, Keane, Brown and Quinn had all let the atmosphere and excess adrenaline get the better of them. Clearly, Brown and Keane both still have important lessons to learn. However, any manager motivating his side to the extent that Ball did has to expect fireworks either from his own side and/or the opposition, that’s the trade-off. Neither side were taking prisoners on Sunday, but what do you expect from a Manchester Derby? … an exhibition of Corinthian Casual ideals? Dream on.

In what was a scrappy first 20-25 minutes, City carved out a fair share of the play for themselves, eventually being rewarded with a well-taken goal. Rösler’s nicely-judged lob was created as much from Quinn’s foraging for the ball (and pulling Pallister out of position) as Kinkladze’s sharp passing. I’m still wondering what exactly Schmeichel was doing 10 yards short of Rösler yet 15 yards out from goal. Although United had a fair amount of possession, they found it difficult to break past City’s well-marshalled midfield sentries. Ball clearly wanted to make life difficult for the Reds in the middle whilst ensuring that Rösler and Quinn denied the full-backs easy opportunities to get forward and cause trouble.

So, how was the game balanced before the penalty incident? Much has been said about how well City played up to this point and some recollections claim City were thoroughly dominant. In an effort to avoid subjectivity let’s look at the facts. Before the penalty, United had 15 attacking passes, runs or crosses into the box; City had 9. United forced 5 corners; City just one. Both sides had managed 2 off target attempts on goal and one on target. City were 1-0 up.

This doesn’t seem to support the perception that City were poised to extract retribution for last season’s 5-0. However, it has to be said that City looked more dangerous when hoisting the ball up between the untypically nervy pair of Bruce and Pallister. When City attacked, United defenders were usually facing their own goal. However, when United attacked they faced a side standing just where Ball had put his Subbuteo figures before the game,… defending in touch with each other and in depth. Nevertheless the contest was perhaps far more even at this stage than many Blues may be prepared to concede. Any ‘dominance’ was marginal.

But what about the actual penalty decision? Let’s get something clear: virtually everyone in the ground was surprised at the decision. In fact, Keane was convinced the ref. had blown up for City. The contentious issue isn’t that Frontzeck never laid a hand on Cantona but that the referee blew up for a not uncommon (and often unpunished) contact at corners. The German made an error of judgement, there was no need for the contact. With Wilkie a mere 5 yards away, the German’s risky actions clearly back-fired. Alright, he didn’t sever Cantona’s head with a meat-cleaver, but I suppose being seen to impede a player counts as a foul. It’s a bit like speeding… everyone does it, everyone knows it’s illegal and when you get caught you feel like a right prat and the punishment seems entirely unjustified! Even if you’re doing just 75 mph on the motorway, you’re a bit daft doing it when there’s a copper right behind you holding a radar set the size of Jodrell Bank!

As far as Wilkie’s motivation for the decision is concerned, how can Ball justify his post-match conclusions? The absence of a shout from United players or crowd couldn’t possibly have influenced his decision. What’s left? The oppressive effects of OT itself? In truth, we’ve had the grand total of five league pens awarded in the last four full seasons at OT (exactly the same record as City have at Maine Rd!). I remember Ball suggesting something similar in October but highlighting the absence of away fans; this time there were 7,000 Blues in OT. You can’t have it both ways!

Was the penalty decision really the pivotal point of the game? Well, I’m not entirely convinced. City couldn’t have maintained their pace of the first 15 minutes. It would have been impossible… just go and look at the tapes of the previous several derbies. In each, City started strongly, chasing everything like dervishes, then ran out of legs shortly after half-time and got a real chasing. The 2nd half ran true to recent form or did it?

I don’t for one minute believe that the City players who had come out so fired up in the first half would lie down so easily just because of the penalty decision. I think it’s more likely that at half-time Ball felt he could stop United from scoring again and take ’em back to Maine Road. And I suspect that he gave instructions to shut up shop and ride any storm out. Let’s face it, on the evidence of the first half he had reason for such confidence. But defend deep at OT and let United have the ball and you’re in big trouble, even when they’re playing crap. Perhaps if City had pushed up more in the 2nd half and defended not just the front of the area, the tie might still be alive. Remember, we’ve failed to score at OT only once this season, and that was against an unadventurous Villa side with the league’s meanest defensive record. City, on the other hand, have kept just one clean sheet away from home in the same period.

In all honesty, I think the upcoming game at Maine Road will be a better display of football. Both sides will desperately need the 3 points. City will have Phillips and Flitcroft back and Quinn may have been transferred out by then. Ball won’t be able to able to adopt the same tactics, especially if City are still in trouble by then. But true to form, the last 20-25 minutes will be decisive again. Which way, I don’t know… I reckon it’ll be too close to call.

Finally, I have to mention two examples of the more unpleasant aspects of Sunday afternoon. A considerable number of City fans (I estimated approx. 25% of those present) had the pleasure of precisely 39 seconds of ‘Dambusting’ before Sharpe pulled the mains on the flying display. Whatever sympathy any neutrals present felt City deserved for the apparent injustice of the penalty decision largely evaporated with the Munich taunts. Gaping metaphorical gunshot wounds opened up in the feet of those responsible. For me it’s almost like a ghost’s been exorcised. The Munich chants will no longer serve to wind me up but will only remind me of a most succulent moment of almost divine retribution.

What was immeasurably worse than this was the behaviour of a small number of City fans during the minute’s ‘silence’ for Bob Paisley. Some Blues are already suggesting that the catalyst for the problems came from the ‘Rags’. Those of you who were there, like myself and 42,000 others are well aware of exactly what happened. Those events, together with the 1994 Anfield / Busby disgrace, did absolutely nothing to enhance the reputation of City supporters. They did bugger all to honour the memory of Bob Paisley. If you can’t recognise a worthy opponent what’s the point in turning up to watch football at all?

When are some City fans going to realise that Munich was indeed a Manchester Tragedy!!! Not just one restricted to the Red side of the city. Have they all forgotten how masses of fortnightly City visitors to Old Trafford mourned with the rest of Manchester? Busby once wrote a famous page in Manchester City’s footballing history and yet is now vilified for his later success across the city. Crazy!

Born in the old St. Mary’s hospital, as close to St. Peter’s Square as you could get, I’m proud to be a Mancunian. Although far from perfect, the Manchester melting pot has often shown a damn sight more religious, social and racial tolerance than many places in Britain. Yet I’m constantly ashamed at how fellow Mancs can so easily and gratuitously abuse one of our community’s great disasters. The moral high ground City fans uniquely claim in Manchester was finally swept from beneath their feet on Sunday.

Paul Howarth’s letter in MCIVTA 169 is a brave and uncompromising comment on the behaviour of some of our fellow supporters and Mancunians. He himself sets a fine example of committed and dignified support for his club. City are lucky to have him.

Flixton Red


The latest offering is a good deal more topical than the last and has Cloughie’s mug on the front. The big interviews are indeed with the new boys, Cloughie adnd Frontzeck. Clough talks about his miserable time at Anfield and his hopes for City and his own career. Frontzeck, who apparently speaks excellent English tells us why he has come to England though neglects to say that he wasn’t exactly going in the right direction in Germany (he was in the reserves). He also tries to debunk his hardman reputation which he says was based on a single season when he had a lot of harsh refereeing decisions to put up with… no change for him here then! The third main interview is with Colin Bell to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his signing. Much of this is old ground but interesting nonetheless, he still doesn’t really exonerate Buchan!

The youth team supremo Neil McNab enlightens us as to how the teams are run and the internal setup. He makes a good impression and I got the feeling that the youth teams are in good hands.

Latest on the merchandising front is a limited edition poster entitled ‘Roll With It’, a painted montage of over 50 City players, in very similar vein to the one on the Centenary Brochure.



Soccer America in this weeks’ edition reported that former Blue boy Maurizio Gaudino has been convicted of insurance fraud in Germany. Apparently the G man was helping friends to report their luxury cars stolen in order to collect on insurance claims. Gaudino pocketed $4,693 himself, but his friends’ claims came to $130,700. Prosecutors had demanded a 28 month jail sentence, but Gaudino got away with a 3 year suspended sentence and a fine of $120,700.

Re the “twinning” with Cork City reported in the last issue: I feel vindicated. My article calling for just such an arrangement in the English game met with some derision, especially from certain rabid Port Vale fans. But the twinning with Cork City is just the kind of arrangement I was talking about. I think it’s like will soon become the norm.

Tim Parkinson made a comparison of Niall Quinn to Roger Davies in his article last issue. I must say that having watched Roger here in the States for 4 years I think the comparision is valid. The first thing I thought about Quinny when I saw him on the telly 2 years ago was “Hmm. He reminds me of Roger Davies.”

Finally, re Mr. Wilkie: He reminds me very much of a ref from the old days-in the North American Soccer League.

Dave Bara (


Just as it seems we’ve all got used to calling the Georgian maestro “Geo” instead of “Kinky”, it seems we’re going to have to change again, though only the spelling this time. City are soon to unveil a new range of Kinkladze merchandise under the name “Gio”. Apparently that’s what his mum calls him so it must be right!

Paul Howarth (


Any Blues out there from London/South East, or anyone else who’s keen, want to meet up for several beers (why lie and say the one!) before the Arsenal match?. Any suggestions for a suitable pub?. E-mail me if you’re keen, and get your drinkin’ shoes on!.

Roger – The Blue Kiwi (


Does anyone on the list know where I could pick up BBC on SW or FM here in Austria? Sky is available in a pub here in Vienna but I am losing pounds of sweat here every Saturday (no harm really :-)) waiting and ringing home for the results of all the games. I think BBC radio 5 is only on LW so I am probably out of luck.

As a fervent Cork City fan as well I can confirm that AB has indeed made a good decision in using Cork City as a nursery club. They won the league here a couple of years ago and the standards of football here would match (depending on the team of course, a mid-table 1st division English club. Many English clubs use the LOI (League of Ireland) clubs as pre-season warm up games and generally get a good run for their money and do not always win.

Cork City have had their troubles in recent months (change of ground and losing Chairman in controversial circumstances) but the team has a good groundswell support and would expect 1,500-3,000 supporters at a game every week.

I would be glad to answer any further queries on the club should any Blues out there be interested.

Kieran Daly (


Here are a couple more opinions on Scott Hiley in response to my request for info on RSS

  1. Colin: Yes. He’s even worse than Gary Poole.Seriously, he’s good going forward but awful in defensive situations.Remember Kidderminster beating us in the Cup? The winning goal wasdue to Hiley backing off the non-leaguer. He’ll be backing offAsprilla, Collymore, Wright and even Gordon Watson, so watch out Eike.Can’t defend. I suppose that means he’s an Edghill Part II
  2. Scott Hiley is great at coming forward but his defensive ability issomewhat lacking. I am a season ticket holder at Birmingham andrated him very highly. As you say he got injured a couple of seasons agoand was replaced by Gary Poole. Since he had had few chances in the team.If he can get back to pre-injury form then he is a great player.

Colin Gorman (


I have just been talking to a friend who is on the West Ham mailing list, and they are having a debate as to whether Iain Dowie is the ugliest footballer ever.

I personally would contest that he is not a patch on Neil McNab in terms of the frightening little kiddies stakes, but would be interested to hear others views on this. It’s no wonder that United have all the best youngsters (with a few exceptions) with McNab in charge of our youth team.

Richard Allen (


UK readers might like to know that Escape To Victory is on BBC on Sunday afternoon. If you don’t already know, this is a truly bizarre film about a football match between an Allied POW team and the Nazi all stars.

I don’t want to give the plot away, but the Allied team includes, I kid you not, Mike Summerbee. Kaz Denya is also in there as a ‘crack’ Polish POW transferred from the East just for the event. Oh yeah, and a Brazilian bloke called Pele plays centre forward…

…and Sylvester Stallone is in goal.


Mike Brierley (


Results and what was obviously a great game (against the brown ale supping Geordies) notwithstanding I felt I had to write and say that MCIVTA 171 must be the best issue ever. Wonderfully written match reports, intelligent comment on fan behaviour and compliments from the other side in Manchester (which I wholeheartedly agree with) – all go to make up the essence of MCIVTA.

Thanks go to all who contribute, MCIVTA is more than a lifeline to find out about the Blues; it is now essential and required reading. If there was a prize for footie writing, the assembled musings of our fans around the world would win hands down. Rather than the Whitbread prize, what say we start a Boddies prize for footie writing – Ashley can provide the reward from all the free pints he has been promised!

Anyway, big thanks to all who contribute and here’s looking for a stunning win on Saturday!

Philip Gregory, Kobe, Japan. (


I’ve just read that the FA is to charge both Curle and Asprilla for the incidents at Maine Road on Saturday.

If it wasn’t enough having w*****s as referees, it now seems they get a job in the FA when they retire. How anyone can charge Curle for the incidents on Saturday is beyond me. I will agree with anyone who says Curle should have got a yellow card for trying to pull Asprilla’s shirt off, but in no way was his behaviour violent. The problem now is that if Curle gets found guilty (which is not beyond the realms of possibility considering the dickheads at Lancaster Gate) he could be suspended for several games, when he will be crucial to our fight against relegation. Do you ever get the feeling that somebody in the FA (particularly the international committee) wants us to go down?

Finally I’d just like to say that Saturday’s game was one of the most enjoyable games I have seen in years. Maybe the people who say foreigners are bad for the English game should watch it sometime.

Adam Houghton (


Keith Curle is probably going to get banned. Now every time I’ve seen him play, he’s been solid but inconsistent and tends to lose whoever he’s marking. He has never looked too effective as a captain either. Now bearing in mind I’m basing these opinions solely on matches on the telly, does no-one else think this might be a good opportunity to tighten up the defence (which without fail looks shaky every time I listen/watch) by switching this Hiley bloke to the right and keeping Frontzech on the left? Just a thought. And for captain? Perhaps Quinn? He appears to be multilingual and could probably beam his motivating words down to the other players!

Phil Houghton (


Just a few lines to you all about the sudden return of something resembling an atmosphere at the Academy.

The first game I ever went to was back in the seventies and I was taken by an uncle and made to sit in the Platt Lane. I sat and watched in awe as the Kippax danced, sung and made away fans wish they had stayed at home with their Bovril; one day I said I would be in there, and so it came to pass. As soon as I could blagg my way out of going to the match with my uncle I was in there!

Over the next few years I slowly worked my way up the Kip, as the further up you went the closer you got to the people who started the songs, oh happy days when the sound of the Vikings with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, Colin the King etc wandered over the Academy. I too was there when the Kip came down and I, like so many said, it will not change anything, we’ll still be there singing, but it did. How many like me sat in the Kip when it first opened and felt wrong sat down trying to sing with children around, looking with frightend eyes at you when you sang too loudly. I then became a nomad, trying the Platt Land, the Main Stand and finely the North Stand, where at the moment I feel I have found my home. For the last few matchies my girlfriend and me have been in section N in or around row 13 and have found people who are willing to go home with no voice in their support of the team. They are also willing to praise and when needed have a word or two of technical support for a team member such as “kick the (pick a country) out of the game”, “for God’s sake buzzer you beat him once now cross the ****king ball” as well as many other cheerful chapes. Then came the NUFC match and I was transported back in time to a golden year, when our team was feared and respected at home as was our fans. They would out sing/chant/joke anyone who dared to enter the Academy. Our team had heart and would talk, yes talk to each other and would run themselves into the ground for the blue shirts.

Are the golden times coming back, well maybe not this season, but I feel next season the dragon will awake again!! But last Saturday must not be a one off, you have all proved that you can get behind the team so this Saturday and every Saturday let’s play our part!! And if someone does start a song, or stands up to get a song don’t treat him/her as a leper – join in. If you want a sanitised version then stay at home and listen to GMR/Radio 5. Let’s show that we are no longer frightened of Maine Road, it is after all our ground; let’s show that we are not just the best away fans, but the best fans!!!

I am sorry this has been so long, but like the team I think I have awoken from a very long sleep. If anyone would like to discuss this over a pint I will be in the Gardeners before/after the Blackburn game.

One last thing I have heard that (a) Curlie is up before the FA for attacking that nice Mr Asprilla’s arm with his head – is this true Tut Tut and (b) We have only got Scott Hiley until the end of this season; if this is true then someone tell AB buy him now !!!!!! And why is it after playing all season can Eike still not kick a ball over the halfway line and to a blue shirt?

Clough/Kinkladze/Phillips/Symons buys of the season. Brown/Lomas/Fipper just get better and better (anything to do with Clough ???)

Tony Hulme (


From MCIVTA 171:

> Anyone else think he should have been booked for having an offensive
> moustache ? Surely the worst tash in British football, and far more
> dangerous that Asprilla's elbow?

For those who were confused by it, it referred to Phillipe Albert’s truly hideous moustache. Since that MCIVTA, I am led to believe, Albert has also been brought before the FA on a disrepute charge ;-))

Jeremy Poynton (


Wednesday, February 28 1996

ASTON VILLA             2-0    BLACKBURN ROVERS          28,008

Wed 28 Feb

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Newcastle United      27     19    4    4     52    25        61
Manchester United     28     17    6    5     55    29        57
Liverpool             27     15    7    5     53    24        52
Aston Villa           27     14    7    6     39    21        49
Tottenham Hotspur     27     12    9    6     34    25        45
Arsenal               27     12    8    7     35    25        44
Everton               28     12    7    9     42    30        43
Chelsea               28     11    9    8     34    30        42
Blackburn Rovers      28     12    5   11     42    33        41
Nottingham Forest     27     10   10    7     35    38        40
West Ham United       28     11    5   12     31    37        38
Leeds United          25     10    5   10     31    37        35
Middlesbrough         28      9    7   12     28    37        34
Sheffield Wednesday   27      7    8   12     36    43        29
Southampton           26      5   10   11     27    39        25
Wimbledon             27      6    7   14     39    55        25
Coventry City         27      5   10   12     33    49        25
Manchester City       27      6    7   14     19    39        25
Queens Park Rangers   27      6    3   18     22    41        21
Bolton Wanderers      28      4    4   20     28    58        16

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Kieran, Richard, Adam, Paul (x2), Phil, Dave, Tony, Phil, Jeremy, The Mole, Colin, Flixton Red, Jon & Roger.

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 #172