Newsletter #177

Two match reports plus two matchviews and plenty of comment on ‘that’ goal. Anyone who was there will count themselves lucky to have witnessed it, undoubtedly one to tell your grandchildren about! Important were the three points at a very crucial juncture, against the team immediately below us, a dictionary definition of a 6-pointer.

More good news is that Kavelashvili is on his way, let’s hope that he’s as good as he’s supposed to be; with the chances we make he could be onto a very good thing.

Anyone fancy sending in a Why Blue, we’ve another good one here but it’s the last one I have… all welcome.

This one reaches 686

Next game, West Hame United away, Saturday 23rd March 1996


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SOUTHAMPTON, Saturday 16th March 1996

Team: Immel, Summerbee, Brightwell, Symons, Curle, Frontzeck (Hiley), Lomas (Quinn), Flitcroft, Kinkladze, Clough, Rösler.
Unused Sub: Phillips.
Formation: 5-4-1.

As my season tickets were on loan, I queued up with the rest of a very patient gathering in the almost static lines outside the ticket office. Although we started to queue at 2.05 p.m. we were still about 5 people from the front at 3 o’clock. The word was that lots of scallies were pushing in at the front. Where were the stewards? This interminable wait was briefly abated by an elderly lady handing out leaflets about the Maine Road ‘atmosphere’. To summise the leaflet, it basically said ‘we don’t have an atmosphere any more at Maine Road, do something about it and start singing.’ My sentiments entirely. After purchasing a ticket at 3.05 p.m. we found another massive queue to actually gain admission to block P of the North Stand. Eventually at about 3.10 p.m. we walked in to our seats right behind Eike’s net (so crap view) to see Neil Shipperley bearing down on us. Kit Symons appeared from nowhere to take it off him though (the first of many sighs of relief). Brightwell at sweeper was doing a good job but it was one way traffic with our defence stifling them when they got near the box. Did anyone notice that Brightwell seemed to have a sort of bouncy blow dry and one of those stupid Robbie Fowler nose jobs (I’ve read that this tape makes you breathe easier at walking pace but that once you break into a jog you have to breathe 100% through the mouth anyway – maybe we should give one to Uwe :-))?

Whatever happened to the supposed trimming down of the squad? With Guiseppe Mazzarelli now included we now have a full squad from numbers 1 to 31 with the exception of Tony Coton’s number 1 shirt. Hopefully this will soon be supplemented by Kavalashvila at no.32. There was, however, no place for Mazzerelli in today’s squad as we lined up for a game (in which we had to attack) with a sweeper again! The job fell to Ian Brightwell this time and although he did the job admirably, I have to say that this system leaves me squirming in my seat. I mention Mazzerelli because it sounded from the commentary at Chelsea that he may be quite a useful acquisition. Why Hiley on the bench? If AB is not sure about Frontzeck’s fitness then Hiley should have been on from the start and this would have freed up another place on the bench.

Our first threat came when Gio drifted into the centre and sent a 30 yard thunderbolt against Beasant’s bar. On another rare breakaway Flitcroft lashed a ball out to Summerbee who set off down the wing before slipping the ball through to Clough. Beasant could only parry it and Gio had the simple job of tapping it in. 1-0 for us against the run of play. We took heart from the goal and soon after King Kladze went on one of his dribbles. I counted 5 defenders in his wake and his chip to beat Beasant was as cool as you like. Summerbee had a great shot saved and Southampton’s only reply was a cross to Le Tissier who should have headed it first time but instead tried to take it on his chest and Symons tidied up. Curle was having a torrid time against Shipperley and frequently gave the ball away. 2-0 at half time and I thought we would abandon the sweeper system and go for another couple of goals at least.

We started the 2nd half brightly enough (sweeper still there) and continued to press. Clough put Rösler through for a 1 against 1 but he took it too wide and shot against a defender. Offside anyway. As most of the action started to take place at the other end of the field I’m afraid my view from low down was none too illuminating but with Southampton starting to do all the attacking I feared the worst. Southampton brought on Watson (attacker) for a defender and began to totally overrun us. Has Ball never heard the saying ‘the best form of defence is attack’? Sure enough Watson went past Lomas and Frontzeck on the halfway line as if they weren’t there and ran directly into the box without a challenge. He passed to Tisdale who calmly knocked it past Eike, giving him no chance. We then started time wasting. Summerbee was booked for delaying a throw in. Then on another occasion Summerbee was pulled up for a foul throw. Southampton took the throw again only for it to be disallowed for another foul throw. Then Summerbee got it back and was penalised for (yes you guessed it) a foul throw. Bizarre. The ref. (Jeff Winter) was very fond of slow motion arm signals with a little flick of the wrist at the end (the first Refereeing Poseur?). He was booking people all over the shop for very minor offences. City’s time wasting (with the excruciating ploy of taking the ball to the corner flag included) was rewarded with what seemed like about 10 minutes of stoppage time. During this time Southampton scored again. The linesman had flagged early for a player in an offside position to whom the original ball was aiming for. It didn’t reach him and their sub. ran through our defence to slot the ball home. Although it was technically a correct decision, I would have been very annoyed if it had been given against City. My brother was sat with head in hands when I told him it was offside, and with some relief we carried on with our usual ‘run of the mill’ City heart attacks.

How we won this game I don’t know. I know some football experts like this system but I for one hate it. I know we need the points but what happened to our flair and enterprise? All I can say is thank God for Georgi. Without him today we would have been buried. And to all those who say we have to start fighting instead of playing football (Paul Hince etc.) all I can say is Bollocks!

Final Score: 2-1

Ken Foster (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SOUTHAMPTON, Saturday 16th March 1996

Along with everyone else I’ve found myself using that well-worn cliché “it’s a 6-pointer” over the last few days. I was in a 2-pint happy mood when I entered the Kippax but as I took my place I began wondering just what sort of mood I’d be going home in. Southampton started brightly, obviously intent on getting an early goal and taking all 3 points. City were never really troubled with Brightwell playing as a third centre half. City slotted into their passing game and soon opened Southampton up with some tantalising Summerbee crosses which eluded Monkou and unfortunately, Rösler as well. The first magic moment was when Gio side-stepped a defender and unleashed a dipping drive which beat Beasant and crashed against the crossbar… cue applause.

The sole danger at our end was a Hall (?) header which was fairly tame and straight at Immel. Their most dangerous striker was new boy Keith Curle who played some unbelievable balls to Le Tissier! Rösler and Hall were booked for a little affray off the ball; Rösler for pushing his chest out after Hall had pushed him in the chest.

Frontzeck was frequently up over the halfway line and Buzzer was playing in his usual wing back rôle, even appearing upfield in the middle of the park. He skinned the left back repeatedly but Monkou is a consummate header of the ball and didn’t really look like he was going to let Rösler in. Despite this, Rösler looked more dangerous than he has of late. Things got livelier when Clough set up Summerbee whose stinging drive was turned round the post by Beasant. After around 35 minutes we scored after Buzzer once again ran straight at Southampton, passed inside to Clough who shot hard to Beasant’s right; he could only parry it and Gio had the simplest of sidefoot tap-ins to score. It was two a matter of minutes later when Kinky decided to take ’em all on on his own; he ran straight at them, skipped past maybe five and arrived in the box with only Beasant to beat. I expected him to slide it underneath the ‘keeper but he quite brilliantly scooped at over him to score. One of the best goals I’m ever likely to see but then again, at this rate there’ll be another along shortly.

At half time it was almost impossible to move in the Kippax as almost everyone watched the replays of the goals on TV. Southampton came out to attack but didn’t look too threatening until City inexplicably decided to let them have the midfield. Even then nothing transpired ’til around 65 minutes when Tisdale (allowed to run) received a through ball from Watson and finished in style. City were really dreadful at this stage and it only seemed a matter of time before Southampton scored again. Quinn and Hiley then replaced Lomas and Frontzeck. We started to regain control and forced a few corners. A ludicrous episode occurred after Buzzer was booked for timewasting whilst attempting to take a throw; nobody came to him so you really had to feel sorry for him. A few minutes later he advanced to take a another throw, the ref. blew and gave it to Southampton for stealing some yards. A Southampton player then attempted to take the throw where Buzzer had dropped it; the ref. blew again for taking it from the wrong place. Buzzer steps up to take the throw and the ref. blows again for taking it from the wrong place. Eventually a Southampton player walks up, advances 4 yards and successfully carries out this difficult manouevre!

There was high drama in the last few minutes when Robinson scored from a Dodd cross; I couldn’t believe it but glanced up to see the linesman’s flag waving. The ref. walked over and pronounced the goal offside. He was surrounded by a posse of Southampton players and as Watson retreated he must have mouthed something as the ref. pulled the red card and sent him off. A fan appeared on the pitch, whether City or Southampton I don’t know but there was no attempt made to remove him. Watching MotD highlights clearly showed a Southampton player in an offside position beyond Robinson so the linesman definitely made the right decision. When the final whistle blew it was with great relief. Three very valuable points but in truth we should have buried them.

One last thing: some Blues on the very top tier of the Kippax unveiled a big blue flag and hung it over the edge of the tier. Nobody’s sight was obscured but the ‘jobsworth’ stewards decided that it had to be removed; have they no discretion or are they just officious; try not to be so petty next time please!



My first visit to Maine Road this season and I was feeling very nervous with 6 points at stake. I was very keen to experience the Kippax for the first time but in the event was unable to get in and only obtained a rather poor Main Stand ticket near to pitch level (I must learn that you have to book in advance these days for top class football!).

This was only my second time in the ground since the new stand was opened; last time I was mightily impressed, but this time (perhaps it was the rain?) the reality of the limitations of the ground was apparent. It simply isn’t big enough, looks very uneven and even the Kippax doen’t look as big the second time around. Still, it was good to see a full house (a few empty seats in the Saints’ enclosure). I won’t attempt a full match report – my view wasn’t good enough – but here are a few thoughts. Since the first games of the season (I saw 2 away games) City have made real progress. After a shaky start in which Curle was a bit ropey, particularly with his distribution, the Blues played some really good football with a lot of one-touch stuff, in the Liverpool style, without the final cutting edge – apart from one Georgi Kinkladze. Southampton weren’t in it. Georgi’s first was simple enough, tapping in from a Clough shot after a lovely pass from Summerbee, but the second I will count myself fortunate to have witnessed ‘live’ (here, I’m straining not to get too carried away). Although my seat was a ‘poor’ one, Georgi’s dribble started just in front of me and carried on past 5(?) men before the most exquisite chip over the ‘keeper. We were all on our feet before the ball entered the net just knowing we were seeing something special. I can hardly believe our luck in having such a player (at last) who makes you feel that special excitement when he gets possession. The last time I can remember such feelings, well it was a bloody long time ago…

Anyway, before the game I had been expecting a real heart-stopper of anxiety and here was half-time approaching, City 2 up and actually looking like getting more! Still there was this nagging doubt… The second half came and things looked comfortable for a bit; the Saints were pressing but didn’t look too dangerous until the substitute injected some real fight. He left Frontzeck for dead and before we knew it they had got one back and were suddenly all over us. The familiar City of panicky defence were with us again. A couple of substitutions seemed to steady us until the finale – another of those increasingly long added-time nightmares. When Saints got their ‘equaliser’ I wasn’t too concerned because the linesman right in front of me had his flag up for about 20 seconds before the ball was put in the net. However, watching the T.V. later I had to have some sympathy for them. If that had been a decision against us I would have been a bit aggrieved.

Overall, a reasonable performance with one outstanding individual matchwinner. I have some doubts about Immel still (don’t we all?) and Frontzeck looks like someone who used to be good but has lost all his pace (Hiley looked better for the short time he was on). Uwe runs his socks off but we need a cutting edge still. Summerbee had one of the best games I’ve seen him play this season going forward, but defensively I’m not happy with him. Really I should forget all criticisms and say thanks for being there to witness ‘that goal’. ‘He can do that’ said Ball on Match of the Day. I think he needs to learn some new vocabulary because I get the feeling that we will see some more gems like that from Georgi.

Peter Kewley (


Being a student based at Portsmouth, I saw City draw 1-1 at The Dell (the night before one of my finals), and win 2-1 yesterday, in my first visit to Maine Road this season. What can you say about Kinkladze? Sheer brilliance. I’ve never seen anything quite so breathtaking as his second (probably to become legendary – though I do think there’s going to be more where that came from). The funny thing was that you could sense he was going to score. I was in the Umbro Stand and it seemed that everyone could sense this was going to be the one, after the nearly efforts against Newcastle. When he picked up the ball and danced round the Southampton defence, the whole stadium held its breath… he was one on one with Beasant, another collective gasp!!! Then he chipped, the ball seemed to go in slow motion, but what a roar!!! The man took a three minute ovation.

As for the rest of the match, well I thought Buzzer had a good game and the team dominated most of the first half, except for a shakey few minutes at the start. There is one question though: does Curle always give away the ball so regularly? Only catching most highlights on Sky, I’m not really in position to know. Not that Curle shirks any of his defensive duties but he does seem to adopt a position at the back of midfield as a link man, when passing from wing to wing, and he is not comfortable on the ball in such situations. Time after time Flitcroft, Lomas and Clough would basically have to fetch the ball from Curle, who always seemed to be putting City in danger. It was good to see he and Symons playing with quite an understanding together. Whenever I’ve seen Kit play at Portsmouth he always looked classy and solid, but never flash, and it seems he’s moved up a level and is looking even better. He took a bit of booing from Saints fans at the Dell for being ex-Pompey, so it was nice to beat them, just because their fans are so fickle.

After half time City looked decidedly wobbly. Kingkladze was not getting the ball and as a result City just stopped ticking. In fact they only start looking anywhere near their best when the man is involved. After sustained pressure, City caved in and conceded a goal, Curle backing off, and backing off, and backing off… After the goal City looked almost panicky, and Cloughie kept looking over to AB for guidance. In fact City were still asleep after the restart. What they needed at that time was a couple of fireworks up their collective arses. Quinn and Hiley came on for Lomas and Frontzeck, and the match was back to stalemate after things going too much Southampton’s way. What was witnessed next was stupid. The ref. Winter made the ‘list’ already, for booking Uwe for being ‘palmed-off’ rugby style, and for booking Buzzer for ‘looking not to waste a throw in’ in a bizarre incident in front of the Kippax which consisted of three (?) foul throws. Winter decided that 45 minutes wasn’t enough and Southampton needed more (a bit like QPR vs. Rags). The match got super-competitive and basically the ref. lost control and tried to regain it by dishing out yellow cards. Well Winter, you are a load of ‘pants’ pal. Teams in relegation battles don’t need bookings in time added on, let alone sendings off. The goal was offside, but instead of blowing up, he carried on and sent a player off, which was a terrible decision. I actually felt for the Saints at that point. You don’t need refs who get good, competitive players banned just because of their own lack of ability to control a match. Now both teams will have disciplinary problems in a relegation run in, for what was never a dirty game. This problem with referees has to be sorted out. They’re having far too much influence on the outcome of the league… if you didn’t know better (?), you’d probably say that they’re being paid by Ladbrokes, or some other rich source who has a keen interest in the outcome of the Premiership.

Anyway here is my team rating:

Immel (7) ; must stop kicking the ball to smallest man on the pitch (no. 7). every goal kick; it puts City under pressure in midfield.
Summerbee (8) : whatever it is he takes to make him play like that – can I have some?
Frontzeck (6) : solid first half – got forward in the second only to be left stranded when Saints scored.
Curle (7) : good defender, bad distribution of the ball though.
Symons (7) : stout, reliable.
Lomas (7) : competitive but increasingly ineffective in the second half.
Flitcroft (7) : played that little ‘dummy’ really well all game… good competitor though.
Clough (8) : quiet, but put the shot in to enable Kinkladze to knock in the rebound. He got city out of many sticky situations at the back with clever passing (basically bailing out Curle).
KINKLADZE (10) : full marks, even if he was quiet in the second half. The man is a growing genius. The best goal I have ever witnessed.
Rösler (7) : even though he’s not playing near his best, he was super-competitive all game, which is a credit to the man who is struggling to time runs etc. at the moment.
Quinn (7) : came on and made Southampton pull back, effectively stopping Monkou an co. marauding through the midfield. Also gave Immel something to goal-kick at.
Hiley (7) : looked comfortable on the ball and blended in in difficult circumstances.

Ref: Winter (3) Pants.

All in all a great game for two reasons – Kinkladze and three points – well worth the 500 mile drive from Pompey and back, and cost of hire car. I suppose I’m lucky really. The first home game I see this season, and Kinkladze scores a blinder. Maybe I’m good luck…

Yours, still estatic, Dan Manton (


Bernard Halford was in the programme and in the MEN speaking out against some City fans who have been selling ticket stubs to touts outside Maine Road who will then undoubtedly go on to use them to buy tickets for the derby. Halford has now introduced more restrictions to beat them; applicants will have to show their membership cards and all the names on the ticket stubs must match the membership card.



According to the ticketcall line, our last game of the season (Liverpool at home) has been moved forward a day to the Sunday with a 4pm kick off. And that can only mean one thing. Yes our Friends at Sky T.V. will be joining us!

James Fleming (


Georgian striker Mikhail Kavelashvili has agreed to join City; the fee will be paid in instalments depending on the number of appearances he makes and could total £1.4 million. City now face a race to get him signed and registered with a work permit before the transfer deadline on March 28th.

Paul Howarth (


Albanian defender Eduard Abazaj has returned to Benfica after failing to break into the first team during his two-month loan period at City.

Paul Howarth (


City have confirmed that the Kavelashvili deal is definitely going to go through and they have been assured that that his work permit will be processed before the March 28 deadline. Great news! Speculation surrounds the future of Niall Quinn at the club; Sunderland are one of a number of clubs still interested in the big Irishman whose place at City must now be in serious doubt.

Garry Flitcroft’s booking on Saturday means that he now faces his third suspension of the season. Alan Ball was in a good enough mood to joke about it: “if we had as many points as Garry we’d be in Europe already” he quipped.

The Mole


I would like to announce the questionnaire page on the City-WWW: The page may change its layout to become more like the Predictions League, but for starters check out your knowledge about City by answering this week’s question.

Svenn Hanssen (


Peter Ball (no relation I hope) summed it up in The Times:

“If Southampton felt hard done by, when their resentment has cooled they might acknowledge that they were beaten by the goal of the season – or any other season – from Georgi Kinkladze … (his) second was sheer fantasy, with three or four defenders left tackling thin air as he weaved through to face Beasant. The finish matched the approach, a little chip mixing cheek and artistry in equal proportions.”

David Yates, Maldon UK (


Since my job here at Cornell University involves the daily use of some of the most powerful computers in the world, including the Cray T3D parallel processing machine, I thought I’d take the opportunity to run a simulation of the rest of the season in the Premiership.

The Model:

Each player on each team was rated by seven variable parameters involving experience, previous performance at this stage of the season, recent form, long term form, ability to perform under pressure, rôle in the team, and a combination of other random and extrapolated statistics. These values were then combined with those of the other team members and additional factors included such as club stability, the referee and linesmen (including subs where necessary), projected weather patterns and the predicted spread of flu and stomach viruses in the British Isles over the next two months. Each remaining game for each team was then played out in 5 minute segments and all the results compiled into a final table.


The program took 14 hours (just over) to run when spread across 64 processors and required almost 22 Mwords of memory. Unfortunately I think I made a mistake in the code because City ended up with -2.34 points for the season and came 6th.


Massively parallel processing was not shown to be useful for predicting the outcome of football games and my time would have been much better spent writing an important report for my boss – so I just made some wild guesses and have City finishing with 36 points, above Coventry (34), Wimbledon (32), QPR (28) and Bolton (25).

Mike Maddox (


I just want to ask if any Blues in the Southern Ontario area would like to get together to watch the Derby match on April 6th. I live in London but can easily get to Toronto or Windsor or anywhere inbetween. Presumably the match will be on satellite somewhere. Please e-mail me.

Stuart Barlow (


Hope this is of some interest. I got this from the Russian Football Info Service. Good to see Kinky making the headlines.