Newsletter #173


We have 2.5 match reports and some very interesting news on the transfer front. The latest craze in the Blue half of Manchester appears to be to come up with some remotely pronouncable nickname for the latest import, no success yet though!

It’s also ‘Player of the Month‘ time; send your votes to Ken Foster who coordinates it.

Lastly, if you intend to go to the MCIVTA Meet for a natter and a few beers before the Sheffield Wednesday game then please mail Malcolm (see below) as he really needs to be able to gauge numbers before committing us. Last time around 40-50 people turned up for what was a very informal session. This time we want to try to identify people a little better so that you’ll know who you’re speaking to; useful I know!

This one reaches 663.

Next game, Arsenal away, Tuesday 5th March 1996



Team: Immel, Frontzeck (Hiley), Summerbee, Symons, Curle, Lomas, Clough, Kinkladze, Flitcroft, Rösler, Quinn (Phillips).
Unused Sub: Brown

AB had a real selection poser for this match. Whether or not to stick with Brown and Hiley who were excellent against Newcastle, or bring back Flitcroft and Frontzeck after their suspensions. By opting for the latter the team looked to lack width and any real cutting edge down the left. Frontzeck had acres of space but looked distinctly unhappy going forward.

Blackburn opened the livelier of the 2 sides but didn’t really trouble Eike with anything resembling a decent attempt on goal. City took over after about 10 minutes but Blackburn’s policy of getting every man behind the ball began to frustrate us in the last third. They had done their homework on Gio and he was fiercely challenged every time he received possession. We had a legitimate appeal for a penalty turned down when Quinn was bundled over in the penalty area. Flitcroft was playing very deep and was hugely ineffective. As the half wore on City got more and more frustrated that their dominance wasn’t reaping any rewards. Frontzeck had a shot which he ballooned over and Lomas hit a long range effort wide. Gallagher (I think) missed an easy chance at the other end and Hendry had a shot well saved. Rösler and Quinn demonstrated a lack of understanding and pace. We obviously need to get rid of one or the other and try someone else up front (not Creaney though! What about Kinky’s mate with the unpronounceable name? We thought it would be hard to think a song up for Kinkladze. This guy’s name beggars belief!). All in all a very poor half with Blackburn the worst side to come to Maine Road since Wimbledon.

The second half was even more depressing as we ran out of ideas completely. Even more worryingly Blackburn began to control the match as they saw that their negative tactics had knocked the stuffing out of City. Flitcroft gave the ball away appallingly on the edge of the box and luckily the cross was too high for Shearer. Undeterred he chased after it and turned on the edge of the box with only Summerbee between himself and Immel. Buzzer backed off and invited Shearer to shoot, which he did magnificently with an unstoppable curler in off the post.

With Blackburn one up and 15 minutes to go, City began to find their spirit again and Summerbee started to get forward more. Blackburn were tiring and City were overwhelming them. Ball decided that it was time to bring on Phillips and Hiley and we suddenly looked dangerous down both flanks. Rösler had two excellent opportunities to score, one of which he headed against the post and then it hit Flowers’ leg and bounced wide. Our goal came when Rösler’s first effort was blocked and from the rebound his cross found Steve Lomas who made no mistake in planting his header to Flowers’ right. We continued to surge forward and were unlucky not to get a winner. A disappointing game overall though.

Final score 1-1


Immel 7 – some good saves but his kicking was as bad as ever.
Frontzeck 5 – out of touch; was he trying to control his aggression?
Symons 8 – superb as usual.
Curle 7 – handled Shearer quite well.
Lomas 8 – goal capped off another good performance.
Flitcroft 5 – well below par, bring back Brown (oh! we can’t he’s suspended for 2 games).
Kinkladze 6 – didn’t get a kick.
Clough 7 – tackled well but didn’t do a lot coming forward.
Summerbee 7 – forget defending, we need him on the wing.
Rösler 6 – didn’t gel with Quinn at all.
Quinn 6 – ditto.


Hiley 8 – I like him going forward.
Phillips 8 – AB must pick the right games for him. Should this have been one?

Ken Foster (



Before the game the main topic of discussion was how Ball would cope with a plethora of choices, Hiley or Frontzeck, Brown or Flipper? In the event it was back to the two regulars and out with the new boys despite excellent performances against the Toon last week.

Blackburn started off like they were on a £10,000 bonus to score within 10 minutes. There were frequently 9 players in our half but all their endeavours were largely fruitless with only a couple of long range efforts which were never really going to beat Immel. Newell went in the book after about 5 minutes for a bad studs up challenge which, although he protested verbosely, was entirely justified. A mere two minutes later he was penalised for another foul and threw the ball away in a fit of pique; if he’d been a Blue (with our luck) then he’d have been off but being on the opposing team he got away with it. Blackburn started to play very negatively and the Blues strung together some excellent triangular moves involving virtually the entire team. Despite all this attractive building up they had no polish up front. We got behind them several times but all to no avail. Frontzeck put in some good tackles but looked like he had orders not to venture over the halfway line. Blackburn had 2 glorious chances at the end of the half; the first was from a corner, from a cross which came in with Shearer clearly offside. I had a vision of a yet another goal as a result of a poor refereeing decision. Luckily, at the second attempt the ball came to three(!) Blackburn players on the back post who contrived to miss the ball completely. There was another chance which Newell (?) put over the bar from 5 yards. The half ended goalless and many around me seemed to think it a bad performance but personally I thought it was the best we could hope for against a strong, defensively-minded team when we have two very slow strikers.

The second half continued in the same vein but then Shearer awoke, cut inside Summerbee and curled an absolute beauty beyond Immel and in off the post. GMR afterwards claimed it had taken a deflection, but I’m not complaining. City tried to come back but Blackburn had everyone behind the ball; Kinky was having an off day and Quinn in particular looked awful. He was twice put through and had a pristine chance to cross to an unmarked Rösler but hit it straight to Flowers. I was getting mightily irritated by an idiot behind me who was barracking Quinn continually and mouthing off about how there had been no change in the team’s performance since the start of the season. Was he deranged? There’s absolutely no comparison between the football we played at the beginning of the season (it wasn’t!) and that which we play now. I don’t particularly rate either Quinn or Rösler but when they’re wearing a blue shirt then it’s our job to get behind them, not help the opposition. The only problem we have (IMHO) is that we don’t have the strikers we need to put away the chances. Quinn and Frontzeck were substituted by Phillips and Hiley respectively. This brought us more width and the two combined down the left as if they’d been doing it for years. The two guys next to us had great fun by barracking all the players and calling them Quinn to take the p*** out of the idiot behind us. They asked him if he was a Blackburn fan!

We put Blackburn under an awful lot of pressure and Rösler looked to have evened things up but his header hit the post with Flowers stranded and to our dismay bounced back to hit Flowers on the leg and then out to safety! We really tore them apart at the back and after a nice move, the outstanding Stevie Lomas headed the ball beyond Flowers, ecstasy! The next 5 minutes saw Blackburn in tatters and it’s still a mystery how we failed to score again. In the end we were very, very unlucky not to get all three points.

Overall, I thought we did well to get a draw. Blackburn are nought without Shearer and I thought they’d taken the point courtesy of him. We showed great fight and, if only we had someone quick and clinical then we would have finished them. Role on Kava, Kave, Klavekas…, the new Georgian!

Man of the Match… Lomas, great performance.



I don’t know about anyone else but I think Curle has been charged specifically so he can be proved innocent – that the FA know full well that it wasn’t him but want to make sure that Asprilla can have no (or fewer) grounds for complaint after the (probably) guilty verdict.

The Blackburn match – a couple of points:

  1. Once again (OK, not for very long periods of time, but for longenough) we showed that we do have one of the best midfields in thecountry. Blackburn looked highly mediocre in all areas except Hendry,Matty Holmes (surprisingly) and Mr. Shearer, and even thoughKinkladze was out of the action for long periods and Flitcroft lookeda bit uncomfortable (initially at least) we looked pretty solid.Clough was fab – his thought is spot on every time; unobtrusively,he’s always in space + support and makes good passes.
  2. Why didn’t we win? I think that with Kinkladze mostly out of it(by his standards, obviously) we missed our best attacking optionwhich are his defence-splitting passes onto Rösler’s toes. Instead,we relied too much on hoofing it up to Quinny and he was having a badgame – should have been substituted at half time I reckon. It was abit downheartening to watch after recent performances. And when wetried to cross in from wide they were either poor or Blackburn had themcovered. Having said which, on MOTD they showed a header from Rösler(which I couldn’t see being at the other end of the Kippax behindsome fat bloke leaving early) which only stayed the wrong side of theline by an alarming fluke. Flowers also had to save well from a Phillipsshot which had goal written all over it. Our goal was late in comingbut it was well-made and taken. Rösler took a lot of abuse from somespotty kids behind me for most of the match; that shut the littlebuggers up.

Arsenal’s midfield are shockingly bad at times so a “surprise” result is definitely on the cards – the problem is that, like Blackburn, they have strikers who will knock in 25 yard steamers without thinking twice and don’t blow open goals. Should be interesting.

Roly Allen (


I thought we started very brightly against Blackburn; passing the ball to feet where possible, although sometimes a lack of technique undermined a desire to put into practice AB’s desire for a passing team. We had spells where we held possession in midfield/defence, and waited for an opening to come. Clough was influential in this respect; on one occasion after prolonged possession of this sort led to an opening, he went round every player involved encouraging them to continue like this.

We also managed to penetrate their defence a few times with balls inside defenders rather than hoofing it upfield for a flick on, or crosses from wide. Kinky put Rösler through with a sensational ball, but Rösler’s lack of pace meant he was left with a tougher shot than he should have had.

However, in the last 5-10 minutes of the half we faded, Blackburn put us under pressure, had a succession of corners, and nearly scored, Curle’s face taking more punishment as Hendry blasted a shot into him from a couple of yards away. In the face of this pressure, our passing game gradually gave way to more grimly familiar long ball stuff.

Blackburn’s goal in the second half looked like a superbly taken effort from Shearer but I’m slightly worried about problems arising from playing Summerbee at right back. This is not an attack on the player who has improved immeasurably under Ball, but a questioning of the wisdom of keeping him in defence, especially when we have a newly arrived right back in the squad. The problem with Summerbee it seems to me is that he’ll follow the man he’s marking OK, but simply stands off him allowing the resulting cross/shot to be made under little pressure. This is certainly true for Shearer’s goal; I felt he tended to do the same against Ginola, although getting booked for leaping in early on didn’t help him. I may be making up evidence in support of this view, but I think midfield players are over-keen to help him out, allowing the player they should be tracking back with too much freedom. Lomas, I think, did this against against Man. Utd. and Newcastle, allowing room for Neville to cross for Sharpe’s goal and also Albert’s efforts leading to Newcastle’s 2nd and 3rd goals. This may be a load of rubbish, but these theories arise and gain great importance to us saddos in the pub after the game.

Anyway, back to reality, with a few views on individuals on Saturday. Symons made more mistakes than I’ve seen him make all season, but still played well and is a fantastic buy. Frontzeck looked a little dodgy; Hiley gave us more of an outlet on the right, but Frontzeck may be a little more solid when under pressure. Lomas played very well again, much less of a headless chicken than a few months ago and he and Flitcroft worked hard together. Kinky had a quiet game but in a team of limited creativity going forward he still poses the opposition more problems in a couple of moments than the other players over 90 minutes. He had a fantastic run in the last seconds, crossed for Rösler and we should have won 2-1.

I think we are now just a quality striker short of a decent, mid-table team. The crucial absence it seems to me, and those regulars around us at the match, is any pace up front. I have changed my opinions at various times as to who should be dropped (Quinn or Rösler) if we got a new striker. At the moment I think Rösler is giving us very little in terms of penetration, and Quinn’s overall contribution in terms of holding the ball up and taking pressure off the defence is much greater. Whatever one thinks of this, I think the news of a Georgian striker training with us is very encouraging, at the moment we’re really struggling to hit teams on the break because we’re so slow.

Generally, the last 3 performances have been very encouraging, players have improved and the impression is that AB is putting his ideas about the team into practice. How we cope with the loss of Curle will be a big test, but getting out of the bottom 3 should help shift some of the pressure. I would have thought that the team would be in considerably better spirits than in similar positions over the last 2 years. We are improving, there is no manager speculation, and we have a genuine world class player who can change a game so quickly that we always have a chance in every game.

Dan Rigby (


26-year old Georgian striker Mikhail Kavelashvili is in England for a few days and was training with City this morning. GMR reports that the fans watching at Platt Lane this morning reckon he’s “deadly”, which raised a smile on Alan Ball’s face. AB said that City have had him watched (he plays for Spartak Vladikavkaz, who gave Liverpool a good game in the UEFA Cup earlier this season) and have also seen videos of him which have impressed. He seems to link up well with Gio and if all goes to plan, City will sign him next week.

The Mole
Tony Farrar (


I’ve just got this from the wires:-

‘Manchester City are looking to link their brilliant midfielder Georgi Kinkladze with his Georgian compatriot Mikhail Kavelashvili … Kavelashvili, currently with Russian champions Spartak Vladikavkaz, has been training with City this week and chairman Francis Lee is now looking to secure his services. A former Tblisi player, Kavelashvili has also played alongside Kinkladze at international level and is Spartak’s top scorer with 13 goals in 26 matches. “We are delighted to have him here,” said Lee. “He’s training with the team for a few days and we hope to start talks with his representatives next week. He’s a wonderful player and Kinkladze tells us he’s quick, strong and a good finisher. Goalscorers are rare and when one comes along you have to move in for him.”

Also there is a rumored interest in Ian Rush (who should be good for another season at least.

My only concern is what will happen to Rösler and Quinn? Rösler has been overweight, slow and has made no impact all season. Quinn (who I really like) has been linked with many clubs this season and is a more consistent scorer than Rösler. I wouldn’t like to see either of them leave but it looks like Buster, Gio and Clough will soon start knocking them in!

Being stranded in Crawley and unable to get to many matches due to the prior calls on money made by the building society, I have been phoning the ticket office for tickets for the ‘rag’ match at Easter – all I get is keep phoning for the next 2 weeks and we will let you know when the tickets go on sale – surely they must know by now! If I ever manage to get tickets I’ll see you all there – is there a meet prior to the match? I made it to the pre-Chelsea one (first there :-)) and would like to get together with the ‘best fans in the land’.

Andy Birkin (Crawley Branch)


Alan Kernaghan has been recalled from his loan spell at Bradford City and is in the squad for tomorrow’s trip to Highbury as cover for the suspended Keith Curle.

Details of Keith Curle’s misconduct charges have now emerged: the first involved swearing at the referee after the recent match at Goodison Park and the second is for “shirt pulling and aggressive behaviour” in the game against Newcastle. He’s on his own for the first charge but not surprisingly the club are backing him to the hilt on the ludicrous second charge.

The Mole


There will be a formal (!) gathering of any MCIVTA subscribers and their friends at the Man City Social Club commencing at 1230 on Saturday 13th April prior to the Sheffield Wednesday game.

Please let Malcolm Plaiter know if you intend to be there. Entrance to the Social Club is £1 and a nominal charge of £1 towards the use of the facility is also requested (total £2).

In addition, anyone wishing to meet before the Alan Wilkie All Stars match and the Liverpool game should contact me and I can make suitable arrangements for those who wish to come – I will be there anyway.

The Sheffield game was chosen as tickets will be easier to get for this match.

Ticket info and reservations from Dial-a-seat 0161-227-9229 where credit card bookings are accepted. Tickets can be mailed (snailed) or collected on the day of the match or before, I believe.

Hope to have a big turn out…

Malcolm Plaiter (


I posted a request to the Russian Soccer Mailing-list asking for info on the new Georgian currently on trial at Maine road. Here’s what I got back;


> The guy is Mikhail Kavelashvili, Georgian national striker and I must say he
> is very good. Sometimes his dribbling is just outstanding. I don't know
> how he will fit in English football, however.
> Sergey Ukladov


Looks as if we are having a new wonderboy on our hands! I think he should take profit of the presence of Gio as Gio will profit from the new guy’s presence. It could certainly improve the performance of foreign players when they have another countryman at the club. I hope FL will sign this player; it will make the chances of keeping Gio better. I would also love to hear Alan Green and co pronouncing that name..!

Tor-Kristian Karlsen


Could anyone who wants to vote for the February Player of the Month, please email me by 9/10th March, so I can send in the result for inclusion in MCIVTA 175 on the 11th. Hope this ties in with Paul’s sterling work on the web site.

The games covered are:


(H) vs. QPR              2-0 Scorers: Symons, Clough
(A) vs. Coventry (FAC)   2-2 Scorers: Flitcroft, O.G
(A) vs. Everton          0-2
(H) vs. Coventry (FAC r) 2-1 Scorers: Quinn, Clough
(A) vs. Rags             1-2 Scorer: Rösler
(H) vs. Newcastle        3-3 Scorers: Quinn 2, Rösler


Please send in 3 votes in 1, 2, 3 order.

Ken Foster (


Gio’s Mate:

There was a large contingent of supporters watching Gio’s mate (Alan Ball couldn’t pronounce his name so he only referred to him as Gio’s mate) from Georgia go through his paces on the training ground last Friday (1st March). He is not a big lad, about the same height as, and build as Clough as far as I could judge but he looked really sharp. In the eight a side practice he looked like a world class striker and scored several goals against Eike (although I admit you don’t have to be world class to do that). According to local radio he is here for a trial period. Chairman Lee, Summerbee senior and Chief Scout Frizzell were watching him. Personally I would sign him up today. He could be as good a bargain as Gio himself. I was very impressed with the morning and there was a real buzz about the place.

Building Work:

The work on the new Astrodome will begin in May and will take six months to complete. A new office block to house all the admin. staff will also be built. Presently the admin. offices are on Hart Road, Fallowfield in an oldish looking house. When the two projects are completed the Platt Lane complex will contain two full size grass pitches, one full size all-weather pitch, a seven a side all-weather pitch, two restaurants, changing rooms, treatment rooms, the new admin. office block and parking for over 300 cars. The remainder of the present car park will be tarmacademed in the close season (they said that last year but only did half).

Neale Hayward-Shott (


Dear All,
Taken from the Football Fans Guide – how about the Finsbury Park Tavern, 263 Seven Sisters Road. Carlsberg and Tetley. Nearest tube Finsbury Park. Good mixture of home and away fans the book says.

John Shearer (


Just a word to say that Bob in Sydney has received all the invites from Blues in Sydney and will try (work withstanding) to turn up to the City Do announced and ring all others who have made contact.

Thanks. This is what it is all about!

Incidentally re: the Oasis kit sponsership, City could be on to a major coup here. Imagine all those American and European fans having a purchase with a difference. A sports top (trendy in its own right) but representing your own youth culture as well, now Oasis are getting big in these countries. Imagine the mid-west kid having that top. I have spoken to many American people on IRC and they think it would be a hit! It may be worth losing up front the initial amount from Brother but imagine the shirt sales worldwide and imagine the name CITY being a brand name! It could market millions in many ways and introduce many millions to City.

But imagine California Blues turning up to the game?

Matt Groarke (


I remember the Saturday afternoon problem very well from my exile in France a few years ago. Then, I could just about receive Radio 2 on a Saturday, but it was like listening to a pre-war crystal set, complete with fading and whistles, and then World Service carried the last 20 minutes of the match commentary, together with score flashes when they remembered. The results sequence which followed though made the weather forecast sound emotional – typical World Service.

However, things have changed. If anyone has access to a satellite receiver capable of receiving from the Astra Satellite, all the BBC radio programmes are now transmitted from this satellite.

Two “transponders” are used –

UK Gold (Transponder 23, frequency 11553H)

This then has the sound sub frequency changed –


                Radio 2        Audio frequency  7.74
                Radio 4 FM                      7.56
                Radio 5 Sports                  7.92
                World Service                   7.38


UK Living (Transponder 34, frequency 10979V)


                Radio 1                         7.38/7.58 (stereo)
                Radio 3                         7.74/7.92 (stereo)


This means that Radio 5 is available to anyone in Europe at least, possibly further afield. Reception is better than normal radio in the UK, with no interference, and high quality sound. Radio 5 covers football whenever there is a game, and often has coverage of the Blues’ games.

Although both these video channels are scrambled, this doesn’t affect the radio reception and you don’t need a Sky subscription to receive them. Most receivers can be retuned very simply, in fact the frequencies used are normally pretuned, you just need to know where to look.

Unfortunately, GMR isn’t on the sat.

If you need any further info, I will be pleased to help.

Brian Scott (Compuserve 100015.335 or


I’m an e-mail virgin and a computer disaster area, so this is a big risk for me, but did anyone watch The Detectives recently (English comedy series with Jasper Carrott and Robert Powell)? Me neither, but apparently there are 19 league football teams with different endings to their names in England, e.g.

  1. Manchester CITY
  2. Manchester UNITED

etc. However, we have found 20 such examples. Can anyone beat this sad yet addictive game?

Heather (


I have to agree that Neil McNab was a right ugly sod but I dispute the fact that he was our ugliest player. You may well remember a certain Mr Mark Lillis who was the ugliest bloke I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing anywhere, never mind just at Maine Road. Fans with relatively long memories may well remember the frightening faces he used to pull while attempting to chase the ball or (God forbid) score a goal. These were often depicted on the front page of the programmes in the eighties, probably by someone with a sick sense of humour.



I subscribe to the West Ham “newsletter” for a mate and have been following their search for the ugliest footballer. I just cannot understand the reason for debating a subject such as this when Steve Bruce exists.

Jim McNiven (


I generally don’t pay much attention to the claims that the media are wildly biased in favor of Salford U. This is primarily because:

  1. I live in the US, and don’t have to deal with it often, and
  2. I’d expect as much.

However, for those of you who get the opportunity to read the “match report” from whomever wrote Soccernet’s recap of Salford’s visit to Bolton, it is truly a virtuoso performance. Yes, I would expect that the team that got the six would generally receive pretty favourable coverage in any report of a 0-6 match; but I think that it is entirely possible that this author ejaculated at least once while penning this epic. In all seriousness, if you are in need of a chuckle, I highly recommend checking this out.



I hope I will not be accused of bias when I say how much I enjoyed Flixton Red’s contribution and agreed with his comments on the issues (not the game ’cause I haven’t seen it). Paul Howarth’s comments in MCIVTA 169 were equally welcome and added to the reputation of both the website and City fans alike. Similarly Flixton Red. His point about honouring worthy opponents was well made. His letter was of journalistic quality, but there was far too much integrity in the content…

Wythenshawe Exile – Leo Fewtrell (


Saturday, March 2 1996


COVENTRY CITY           2-2    WEST HAM UNITED           17,459
LEEDS UNITED            0-1    BOLTON WANDERERS          30,106
MANCHESTER CITY         1-1    BLACKBURN ROVERS          29,078
MIDDLESBROUGH           0-2    EVERTON                   29,807
QUEENS PARK RANGERS     1-1    ARSENAL                   17,970
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR       1-0    SOUTHAMPTON               26,320
WIMBLEDON               1-1    CHELSEA                   17,048


Sunday, March 3 1996


LIVERPOOL               3-0    ASTON VILLA               39,508


Sun 03 Mar


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             28     16    7    5     56    24        55
Aston Villa           28     14    7    7     39    24        49
Tottenham Hotspur     28     13    9    6     35    25        48
Everton               29     13    7    9     44    30        46
Arsenal               28     12    9    7     36    26        45
Chelsea               29     11   10    8     35    31        43
Nottingham Forest     28     11   10    7     38    39        43
Blackburn Rovers      29     12    6   11     43    34        42
West Ham United       29     11    6   12     33    39        39
Leeds United          26     10    5   11     31    38        35
Middlesbrough         29      9    7   13     28    39        34
Sheffield Wednesday   28      7    8   13     37    46        29
Wimbledon             28      6    8   14     40    56        26
Coventry City         28      5   11   12     35    51        26
Manchester City       28      6    8   14     20    40        26
Southampton           27      5   10   12     27    40        25
Queens Park Rangers   28      6    4   18     23    42        22
Bolton Wanderers      29      5    4   20     29    58        19


With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Brian, Heather, The Mole, Jim, Andy, Malcolm, Bob, Ken, Matt, Leo, Tony (x2), Neale, Roly, Tor-Kristian & John

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 #173