Newsletter #179

Another packed issue, with two match reports, loads of news (some unwlecome), even more opinion as well as a nice Why Blue and some Red Humour.

I was down at Platt Lane today and met the Platt Lane Correspondent, passing on your many thanks in the process. Many of the first teamers were absent but Rösler was there… limping! The latest news doing the rounds is that Kavelashvili will not be picked for the Bolton game as he’s playing for Georgia in Cyprus on Wednesday, apparently Gio isn’t. I hope this is a little bit of brinksmanship on City’s part and that he really will play. Who cares if he has never played with the rest of them, he’s a prolific scorer and regular international and it’s not as if Ball has a difficult decision to make in dropping someone.

This one reaches 699!

Next game, Bolton Wanderers away, Saturday 30th March 1996


WEST HAM UNITED (4) vs. (2) MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday, 23rd March 1996

“Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants Are The Best…”

Cor blimey guvnor, it’s a trip to the East End. Would we manage another point or would our usual London jinx return? There were lots of Blues amongst the sell-out crowd to find out. Arrived in good time to visit the Boleyn Tavern which was packed with a good mix of home and away fans. The jukebox even belted out a few Oasis songs to make us feel at home.

We were in the lower tier of the new Centenary Stand for the first time and I was in the second to back row, below the overhanging upper tier. However, unlike at Chelsea, it was still possible to see the pitch when everybody stood up, something that happened a lot in this eventful match. Unfortunately I was sat next to a bit of a nutter. Anybody who has seen Jasper Carrot’s “nutter” sketch will know what I mean. He seemed to think there was a colour clash between the dark claret shirts of the Hammers and our sky blue shirts. OK so their sleeves were blue but it was a much darker shade than ours. He also managed to slag off virtually every decision referee Keith Cooper made; I regard Cooper as the best referee in the country and I thought this was another exemplary display by him of how games should be refereed.

The first half saw quite a few chances for both sides in what was always a fairly even encounter. Iain Dowie’s was the only name on the scoresheet though, heading powerfully past Immel from 6 yards after Dicks’ effort had been cleared off the line. City’s main problem was once again in the last third though; we simply didn’t get enough players forward. Some great crosses came in from both flanks but there was nobody there to convert them as the ball skipped through the Hammers’ goal area. Uwe never seemed to be in the right place to capitalise and when he finally got on the end of a good ball from Frontzeck, he completely mis-hit it. The best chance fell to Keith Curle though, from the penalty spot. It was awarded just before half time when a run by Gio was ended by a trip from the third defender in his path. Curle stepped up to take the penalty, hit it hard, low and to the ‘keeper’s right (first time I’ve ever seen him put it that side) and Miklosko made a brilliant save. Keith’s now missed the last 3 penalties we’ve been awarded in the league and I think it’s time Gio took over. After all he takes them for Georgia.

The second half continued in much the same vein with chances being spurned by both sides. It looked like we were never going to score when the ball was cleared off the line and then to make matters worse Dowie scored again. Hughes swung in a corner and Dowie got in front of his marker again to head in at the unguarded near post. City replaced the off-form Rösler with Quinn and the similarly out of sorts Frontzeck with Hiley; there was a slight improvement as Quinn put himself about a bit and was able to bring other players into the game. An unusual moment came when Dicks went charging through the middle on a break and was legged up by Kinkladze. It should have been a booking really but apparently Dicks (who revelled in his rôle as captain for the day) pleaded on Gio’s behalf and he escaped with a telling-off.

A big turning point in the game came after another foul on Dicks, this time by Lomas. It was his second bookable offence (both of which were justified) and he didn’t wait to be shown the red card before trooping off. This was the cue for City to try to make a game of it. Miklosko gifted us a goal straight away, dropping a shot from the very impressive Hiley right at the feet of Quinn who could hardly miss. City threw caution to the wind and pushed forward with almost reckless abandon looking for the equaliser. Needing extra bite in midfield, Cheesy came on for Summerbee (who had had a good game) and we even left two players upfield when the Hammers got a corner – we don’t normally do that when we’ve got 11 men on the field!

It was do or die as City laid siege to the Hammers goal. It inevitably left big holes at the back and in the 83rd minute Dicks restored the two-goal advantage with a blistering 25-yard drive after good work by former City favourite Michael Hughes. A minute later it was 4-1, a 30-yard crossfield ball from another former City favourite Ian Bishop sent Portuguese substitute Dani through on goal. He looked to have taken the ball too wide but cut inside Hiley and Symons and carried the ball right into the 6 yard box before calmly slotting the ball under Immel from a tight angle. A rout looked to be on the cards but City scored the only other goal; Hiley chipped the ball in to Quinn who, with his back to goal, flicked the ball around his marker and volleyed home with his left foot. Why can’t he do that more often? It was the last kick of the game as there wasn’t even time for the centre to be taken. We weren’t sure if the game had ended 4-1 or 4-2 until the PA announced that the goal would stand.

Sloppy defending at set pieces cost us this game. Apart from that we looked comfortable with our three central defenders. At two-nil and a man down the system went out of the window and we let another two in whilst chasing the game. If we’d converted some of the chances earlier in the game we wouldn’t have been chasing it. Rösler, Frontzeck and Curle all had poor games. Curle’s penalty wasn’t bad really but his overall performance was well below his normal standard. We cannot afford to carry players any more this season. Curle will probably get another chance as there’s no obvious replacement but I hope and expect Hiley and Quinn to start against Bolton.

Paul Howarth (


Of the match, City started brightly with passes finding their men and Buzzer making numerous good runs down the right. West Ham seemed to have no confidence after their Newcastle defeat and I was wondering how many City could score – as usual a very dangerous thought. Buzzer spurned an excellent chance when put through by a slide-rule pass from Geo and Rösler failed to effectively get on the end of anything. Rösler didn’t help matters by giving up when anything went wrong.

The difference between the two sides in the end was that Dowie was a far more dangerous striker than Rösler. He was on his own up front and converted two headers. It must be said that City’s defending of crosses was atrocious. We will go down unless it is sorted out. Geo, realising the ineptitude around him, managed to find a hole in the defence where there was none and skipped in between Bilic and Williamson(?) to get tripped. Curle, who had a nightmare throughout, fluffed the penalty.

Plenty more incident in the second half of which others will describe I’m sure. Lomas should get fined for the unnecessary late tackles which got him sent off (red card was totally justified). He played quite well, dominating midfield but I guess the sending off will mean he misses as many as four matches and that may cost City dear, especially without Flitcroft.

This will have been the easiest game for City to win all season. West Ham were not up for it and City tried to play measured, patient football which floundered on the fact that there was only ever Rösler in the box for any crosses and he was crap. Anyone could see that we needed more people getting in the area – Ball probably realised this but Clough is just too slow. City let them into the match giving away a soft goal and suddenly West Ham thought they might as well enjoy themselves. The three centre back formation is not effective with our players unless they support midfield and someone in midfield gets forward once in a while. City desperately lack pace up front – I can’t think of another Premiership side with less. Perhaps West Ham but at least Dowie is good in the air. Our only hope is Kavelashvili but I understand he is not going to play until the Rags.

My final comments are on our support. There is a fine line between passion and thuggery and our lot are stepping over the line IMO. Anger was strongly vented against the referee (who was excellent apart from one corner not given) and particularly opposition fans. I had to put up with neanderthals next to me sticking their fingers up with faces of twisted hatred the whole match (and this has been the case for most recent games I’ve been to). I don’t go to that many games (5-10 a season, mostly away) but it’s only this season I’ve found it to be so bad. It was a disastrous game for City but I and one or two others applauded the excellent goals from Dicks and Dani. What happenned to the good-humoured City fans of recent times who knew how to enjoy away matches when we did alright and accepted defeat with some humour? After the match City fans that I saw walked back to the tube station kicking at washing machines outside a shop and pushing locals (not West Ham supporters but anyone who happened to be passing) walking along the pavement. It may be a minority but it’s a substantial minority. With these fans City fully deserve to go down.

Kiron Chatterjee (


Keith Curle has been found guilty of misconduct by the FA regarding his remarks to referee Paul Alcock after the recent game at Goodison Park. He has been fined £500 and warned about his future conduct.

City have completed the signing of Scott Hiley from Birmingham City. The transfer fee was £250,000. Hiley had been on loan until the end of the season but has clearly impreseed the management with his contribution so far.

Garry Flitcroft’s transfer to Blackburn is expected to be formally completed at a press conference this afternoon (Friday). Michael Brown is expected to take his place in the side to play West Ham tomorrow.

Gerry Creaney and Niall Quinn were on the mark for the reserves last night as they won 2-0 away at Aston Villa.

The Mole


Against West Ham Steve Lomas was sent off. This means that he misses the Manchester derby. Also apparently Mikhail Kavelashvili is unlikely to play against Bolton. Georgia are playing a friendly on Wednesday and he is unlikely to arrive in time.

Salford Blue – Tony Farrar (


Rumour has it that Inter Milan are about to offer around seven million pounds for Gio. I wonder what the papers would make of that? When Flitcroft was sold last week we were told to expect a storm of protest from the City fans at Upton Park; not surprisingly (to me anyway) it didn’t happen. However, if City were to even consider an offer for Gio I suspect there would be a riot at Maine Road. There’d be no need for the media to stir anything there. I recall when Lazio announced that they were going to sell Beppe Signori in the Summer that there were 5,000 angry fans outside the ground within an hour of the announcement. The club reversed their decision to sell. Likewise, we simply cannot afford to sell Gio – he is totally irreplaceable – without him there’s virtually no creativity in the side. I expect he’ll want to leave when his contract expires and go to a club with a good chance of winning things but until then we must keep him. Being a non-EC national, the Bosman ruling probably doesn’t apply to him (I’m not a lawyer so don’t hold me to that though) so we should still get a transfer fee even when his contract has expired.

Paul Howarth (


In a national telephone poll conducted last week by ITV Teletext, Gio was runner-up to Eric Cantona as “best foreign player in England.” The full result was:

1. Eric Cantona       (31%)
2. Georgiou Kinkladze (27%)
3. Ruud Gullit        ( 8%)
4. Denis Bergkamp     ( 7%)
5. David Ginola       ( 6%)
6. Faustino Asprilla  ( 5%)
   Anthony Yeboah     ( 5%)
   Dwight Yorke       ( 5%)
9. Juninho            ( 3%)
   Others             ( 3%)

The result may have been affected by the fact that United have far more fans than anybody else and that Gio’s wonder goal was fresh in people’s mind last week but nevertheless it shows that our “secret weapon” isn’t a secret any more. I’d have voted for Ruud Gullit personally.

Paul Howarth (


When something traumatic happens in life you often wonder why it has happened to yourself. it is difficult to understand that God moves in mysterious ways for the good of mankind.

Adam is my stepson, 6 years old and I love him to bits, except like all 6 year olds who don’t know any better, he is a United fan. One of the first chants he learnt was 5-0, 5-0. You wil appreciate why I haven’t mentioned this before.

When I returned home that fatefull Sunday from OT, in total dispair, Adam sat on my knee and whilst I put my hands round his throat, he calmly told me that he had watched the game on telly. My fingers tightened, he gurgled, “You know I think United are cheats.” My hold relaxed. “I’ve been thinking, I don’t like cheats, so from now on I am going to be a City fan, can I have posters of City players rather than Thomas the Tank Engine in my bedroom?” Oh glory, the room has a photo of evey single City player (including Colin ‘Yes he was better even than Kinkladze’ Bell). At Medlock Rangers U7 football training sessions, he is one of only four players who wear City shirts, but he wears it with pride and honour.

If anyone else has had the same tramatic problems as myself, I would be only too happy to offer free counselling.

Kevin Duckworth (


An article from Friday’s MEN that amused me… it seems even the FA don’t realise that there’s only one team in Manchester!

Soccer City Cash Storm, by David Skentelbery

Angry councillors in Trafford are to demand cash from the Football Association to offset the £37,200 bill they face arising from the Euro’96 tournament. They are fuming because grants are being paid to Manchester City Council – the official host city for the championships – while Trafford is being left to pick up the bill.

Finance chairman councillor Pauleen Lane said: “We know Manchester is getting grants. There is a pot of TV money available from selling TV rights. But the FA designated Manchester the host city – possibly because they were not aware that the Old Trafford ground is in Trafford and not Manchester. We are the highway authority and are responsible for road signing, litter collection and visitor information services. We are left with the bill – but none of the millions that are available.”

To add insult to injury, signs reading “Manchester – Host City Euro’96” have been erected on Trafford’s lamp posts. Councillor Colin Warbrick said: “This is a bit rich – we must tell the FA that Trafford is the host as far as the playing of the matches is concerned.” Councillor Dave Quayle added: “This should not be costing Trafford money when there are megabucks around.”

Trafford is expecting a huge influx of soccer fans for the five games to be played at Old Trafford in June – particularly the quarter and semi-finals on June 23 and 26. It expects to spend £10,000 on road signs, £6,000 on litter collection and £12,000 on visitor information services. In addition councillors have agreed to spend £6,000 on a floral display with a “Euro’96” theme in front of the Town Hall. Chief executive Allan Lewis said: “Public safety is being given the highest priority. An additional concern is to ensure we uphold and promote the good image of Trafford and that of the region.”

Glenn Kirton, Euro’96 tournament director said: “The FA put £140,000 into a fund, along with £100,000 from the government, to be administered by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and distributed to the host cities. Manchester has been offered around £30,000. Trafford should be getting in touch with the AMA administration.” The money is intended to compensate authorities for expenses involved in entertaining visitors to Euro’96.

Paul Howarth (


Nick Leeson has been receiving his copies of MCIVTA for a while until some things went wrong some time two months ago.

First, there were rumours that he has been siphoning the bank’s money into his own secret Swiss accounts. This made the law firm representing him more wary of ‘unnecessary contacts’ Nick has, like me.

Then the associate who was helping me with forwarding the copies to Nick, a guy named Ian, decided to leave the firm shortly after. I could not find anyone who would cooperate with me on this. I told a girl, another associate, to contact me if Mr Leeson ever asked for his usual diet of information on City, that is MCIVTA. She said she thinks the firm might not agree to act as a “messenger” even if he wants the MCIVTA. She was not very friendly, telling me that they are his “legal advisors, not his messengers.”

I have been trying very hard to get the copies to him personally since but to no avail. I have a lawyer friend in another firm who could help (indirectly) but that is still being worked at.

By the way, he sent his thanks when he first received the copies. He seemed to like the information very much as Ian used to call me to ask if the new issues are already available.

Nizam M Idris (


I’ve taken a few notes from MCIVTA 178 and thought I’d stick my few penneth worth in.

Right, as we are all aware Flipper has departed (well depending upon medical outcome and actually signing the contracts) to the moneybags in Blackburn. Before I give my point of view I’d like to wish him good luck. As for the deal, the majority of Blues I know are quite happy that he’s left, none have actually come out and said that they’re devastated he’s leaving. From a personal point of view, I think he’s been playing pretty poorly for the last couple of seasons. This season though must have been one of his worst. He’s not anything like his old self, he doesn’t get forward enough to support the strikers (management tactics?), his passing has been pretty astray, he’s been picking up far too many bookings (and he’s gonna have to serve another one at Rovers after the Soton booking!) and worst of all he’s anonymous on the pitch (doesn’t do anything). In the Soton game, he was totally outworked by Lomas and couldn’t put any authority into the game, his bad pass led to their goal. He just wasn’t like the old Flipper I admired. Maybe it is time to move on, maybe a new club will bring out his talent again, good luck.

Also Gary Fones claims a reason why Garry was called Flip-flop, something to do with a poor 2nd half and disappearing somewhere. Well I’m sure the real reason is down to the announcer at Twerton Park. When City played Bristol Rovers in the League Cup, Garry came on as a 2nd half sub (or was it during the team line-ups?) and much to the amusement of the City following the announcer completely screwed up his name and ended up saying Flipflop (or something very close). Was anyone else at Twerton Park that night who can back up my story?

To Andy Gascoigne, stick it out, we know that the Rags are the ‘best club in the world ™’, but we also know that we support the right team (says me who’s in turmoil as to whether I’m gonna get another season ticket). Maybe if you bring Leza (the Italian Babe) to a game she might change her mind, stranger things have happened. I bet she’s an AC Milan fan as well (or maybe Juve), definite glory hunter :-))

At last, Jim Egan has pointed out the flaws in the Soton disallowed goal. When the ball was played, a Soton player was offside and most importantly he was on the same side as to where the pass was intended. The linesman wasn’t to know he wasn’t going to get the ball, what’s he supposed to do, wait and see what evolves!

Also, as we regularly receive reports from the training ground correspondent, there’s one question I’d like to know. Just how long and what sort of training do the players undertake? I’m only asking because AB has claimed that the players are the fittest that they can be; funny how most of them look knackered in the 2nd half!

Martin Ford (


So far this season City have sold 14 British players to other clubs in England, and bought 4 foreigners (Gio, Immel, Fronz and Kavli). Including Rösler we now have a team consisting of mostly foreigners, and are without any major contenders for a place in the English EC96 squad (ok; maybe Clough).

Until the sale of Flitcroft I wasn’t really bothered by the high number of foreigners in the team, but as we let one of our very own home-bred boys with U21-caps under his belt, and a great prospect for future success, go I was terrified. It doesn’t make sense to let a 23 year old boy out of the gate, even if his play this season has been under par, and we still get £3.2M for him. This only means that he’s worth a lot more! Think about it. You all know Garry can do better than this season. As a matter of fact; if we were in the top 5 of the table, Garry would be considered as one of the best midfielders in the business. I admit to not being one of his biggest fans but he’s a True Blue and that counts more than all the Cloughs in the world! IMHO you’re all asking too much too early when you say it was better to sell him while we could still get something for him. Garry will continue to grow and in a few years he might be worth double!

On the other hand I know Ball and Lee needed money (fast). They have bought quite a few new and good players and it’s costing money. Hopefully the sale of Garry is not to cover old debt, but to look forward towards a player like Le Tissier, who seems not to be enjoying his rôle at Southampton this season.

My hope is that City to do well in the future. I don’t believe it is good to bring too many foreign players into the team. The buying of Clough, Symons and Phillips was a step in the right direction, the selling of Garry the opposite. Hopefully we’ll not regret it!

Svenn Hanssen (


Why, oh why are we letting Flitcroft go?

I am very surprised and disappointed to see the club let our second most prized asset, and our best English player leave. I know that Paul Whittaker for one would not be bothered if we had eleven foreigners in the side, but I definitely would be. When one thinks of City as a family club, you do expect some of the players to have come up through the youth ranks and not to be full of people with unpronouncable names from places people haven’t heard of, let alone visited.

Seriously, at the start of the season, not many people who did not know about him would have been enticed to Maine Road to see some cut-price (he was – considering how good he is) Georgian, and only since he has been getting the publicity he deserves is Kinkladze’s name in the starting line up likely to boost attendances. This is a problem which I see as very real if we do not want to become like the Rags and not care about the fans and Manchester in general. Also, if it is shown that we are letting the best of our home-grown talent leave, how many talented youngsters will opt for a more stable surroundings, where if they get in the team, they could be in for many years to come, such as U****d.

My persinal feeling about Flitcroft’s contribution to the midfield, having only seen City on two occasions live since the end of September, is that he brings an extra dimension to the play, as whenever we are really pressurising the opposition around 30 yards from goal, there is never anyone to pass to. Flitcroft is excellent at dropping five or ten yards to give an option for a pass, thus enabling runners to move into the space he has left behind. Noone else in the side seems to do this, other than Flitcroft and Gio and I feel that the side will sorely miss him at least the next year or so.

Anyway, good luck to him, he probably should take advantage of any opportunities he gets to join a club more likely to win things in the near future, for although it pains me to say it, we’re not.

Ric (


With all the hype surrounding Flipper’s departures I thought I would contribute my penny’s worth. Here are a few goods reasons why it was good to sell him:

  1. He’s been at Maine Road since he was 12 and needs a new challenge.
  2. He was given the opportunity to talk with Blackburn beforedeciding anything and he chose to do so, which indicates awillingness to move.
  3. He does not score enough goals for a top quality midfield player.
  4. We have some very good replacements with the recent additions inmidfield to our squad.
  5. City need the funds as we have bought quite a bit recently.
  6. Our recent problems have not been in the midfield but up frontwhere the new Georgian could possibly solve these problems.
  7. When we sell Quinny this money could contribute to another qualitymidfield player if we are to consider buying another midfielder.
  8. Flipper is never going to be a very skilful player, a good graftermaybe but never a very creative player that can score many goals.
  9. By now he should have reached his full potential and if this ishis full potential then he’s never going to be a world beater.

I hope I have not upset many people with my comments but come on you sentimentals, we must accept reality and look to the future. Remember when Keegan sold Cole to the Swamp he was crucified by the fans; who do you think got the best deal between those two clubs now?

Here’s to our great team this season, to our survival and a great season for 96/97. Good luck AB, you have the balls and have certainly proved yourself so far; we’ll judge you more closely at the end of this season.

Claude Nuttall, Cape Town (


Being new to the ways of the Blues. I have only really seen Flitcroft a couple of times a season but he always seemed to me to be a player who always promised and never quite delivered. We always hear how he has been an England U-21 but it was quite clear how he never progressed up a level. He also had to live with the pressure of being City’s best player for so long; he was expected to carry what was essentially a poor City side. At Blackburn he won’t have this burden and so may flourish.

Looking at it from City’s point of view to get £3.2 million for him would seem a fair price and with us desperate to balance the books as MCIVTA 178 showed, it would appear to be good business. Whether Ball sees any of this money must be in doubt I would think and if he does get to use it, hopefully he will put it to good use. The obvious need for a striker may have been addressed with Kinky’s mate but I feel we also need a right back – Summerbee doesn’t convince me. We can then push him forward again into midfield where he can use his new found defensive skills. His crossing also seems a bit dodgy; if we could offload him for a couple of million that could be used to buy a solid right back and a winger; at centre backs Curle and Symons look good. I’ve only seen Frontzeck on his début where he looked excellent and I haven’t seen Hiley. Midfield needs stiffening; I don’t know if Lomas is up to it. Buster needs a prolonged spell in the team but I don’t know if a relegation battle is the best time for it. Uwe needs to start scoring. Clough is a star, he and Kinky could form a lasting partnership once they get a pre-season behind them. Overall City should be good enough with these players and the poor form of those around us.

Does anyone know where I can get a T shirt with just “Kinky” on it? I’m next at home next Thursday so I’d appreciate a reply before then. Many thanks.

Phil (


It seems that there is divided opinion in the UK as to whether the influx of quality foreigners is a scourge or a blessing. Perhaps I can offer a solution to make everyone happy… It’s clear that these players have greatly improved the overall standard of the Premier League, but possibly at the expense of some of our own talented youngsters who now have less chance to come through and flourish in their own right. And so while the future looks good for the Premier League (sorry, Premiership (?)), the future looks bleak for the English national team. Here’s my plan – the FA rounds up several hundred of the sauciest young female soccer fans from around the country and then organises discos, parties, trips to the country and romantic dinners at which said group is present. Invitations to these events then find their way into the lockers of all the star foreigners in the league. What better for a lonely young athlete in a foreign country than the company of an attractive (and athletically inclined) young woman? It’s got to be better than playing snooker with Frannie Lee… So anyway, the FA just lets nature take its course and hey presto! in about 20 years we’ve got hundreds of Kinkladze Jnrs, Ginola Jnrs, Yeboah Jnrs etc. roaming the league and all with UK passports!!! Think of it, a master race of English born soccer stars! And with their backgrounds in horse racing I think our very own Francis Lee and Alan Ball are just the men to mastermind the operation. In fact… well, is Gio really only playing snooker and watching videos round at Franny’s place? And why do we keep getting foreigners on loan for short periods of time? It makes you think…

And on a different subject entirely, although I didn’t see the game against Southampton (since I’m on the wrong side of the Atlantic – although I did sit and watch the Soccernet scoreboard update every few minutes for nearly two hours), my dad made a good point about the offside goal when I talked to him on the phone on Sunday. He reckons it was a good call because although the guy in the offside position wasn’t in the play as it turned out, his presence on the far side clearly affected the positioning and movement of the City defenders who would otherwise have been able to pay more attention to the guy who did put the ball in the net. He also said he’s seen goals given this season (in non-City games) when a player in an offside position was blocking the goalkeeper’s view of the ball when a player further out shot and scored. Again, a clear case of a player in an offside position not being in the play if you only consider where the ball is, but clearly affecting the outcome and therefore “interfering”.

P.S. “Come on CITY! Come on CITY! Come on CITY!” (they don’t write ’em like they used to)

Mike Maddox (


Just when you start to feel a bit confident and then we get flogged by the Hammers. If this game proved anything it was that we shouldn’t sell big Niall. Although Kavelashvili could give Uwe a boost, I don’t think we can get by with only two strikers. Yes, City need to cut the wage bill but we are already painfully thin up front, and what happens in Kavelashvili arrives, scores a hat trick and then breaks a leg?

I’m not happy to see Flipper go but at least we’ve got some depth in midfield (Lomas coming good, Gio always bloody good, Brown, Clough, Summerbee, Phillips). And I think that someone who puts his heart into a game like Quinn does will always be an asset. Why upset the apple cart in the middle of a relegation battle by telling one of the most committed and experienced players to go and train with the reserves? And besides, how much will we get for him?

City have to stay up. Firstly because there are more than enough clubs that could keep us from coming back up. Secondly because Inter are getting a £7.2 million bid together for Gio and thirdly because they’ll never be shown on telly over here. :@(

P.S. An open letter to Keith Curle about spot kicks:

Give Up!

Andrew Inman (


  • Why does Dowie always score against us? I realise that turning round in the box and seeing him may well strike terror into the players’ hearts but I think they should be able to cope with it by now.
  • Flipper. Probably a good deal for him and the club. But – why not wait ’til the end of the season? Or did his contract expire then? I suspect not – else why would Blackburn not wait? I know hindsight is a fine thing, but was it not obvious that Lomas would immediately get sent off after selling Flipper?
  • One newspaper report say that Kavelashvili will not be ready for the Bolton game. Anyone know if this is true, and what the problem is? Is he missing some bits?
  • Uwe. Uwe. Sigh … I think we should be playing Niall from the start of games rather than Uwe – I think a break would do him good (well, he can’t get any worse can he?); also, Niall is at least scoring some of his chances.
  • Asprilla. What the &*(*& is Keegan up to? I can only assume that:
    1. He and Gillespie have had a bust-up.
    2. and/or he is totally pig-headed, and unable to admit that he has made a terrible mistake.
    3. His brain has been taken over by evil forces at the Swamp.
    I guess MotD viewers will have seen the total confusion that now reigns up front in the Newcastle team – ironic that Ferdy should be the PFA Player of the Year, in the light of the fact that he has more or less stopped scoring since the advant of the Colombian madman. Also, Beardsley has been put out wide – just the position he is known to hate, after being immensely effective for Newcastle pootling around behind Les. All I can say, is I suspect Fungusface is laughing his socks off.
  • Ceefax are rumour-mongering about a bid from the pit of filth for Gio. This cannot be. I await F.H.Lee on this matter – the ousting of Wighead would seem a minor rumpus if this took place.

Hughes was booked for the 14th time this season at the weekend. He was quoted as saying “This has never happened to me before.” I wonder why?

Glad to see Ashby sorted out the result at the Swamp again. Would have been a shame if they had only drawn :-((((

And finally, nothing to do with God’s game, but this rather fine quote from the Kiwi’s cricket captain re Shane Warne was in this morning’s Independent Sports supplement.

“He could smuggle the sunrise past a rooster.”

Bit over the top calling Mike Gatting a rooster, wouldn’t you say?

Up the Blues. Keep on twitching, folks.

Jeremy Poynton (


I’m just wondering where are our ambitions lie… surely selling Flitcroft was not a good move for the team? For City’s bank balance and for Garry himself, yeah sure… but where does that leave our future? Are we gonna end up like Norwich and Wimbledon, selling our stars for financial gain? I wasn’t too bothered until I read last night one of those ClubCall pages on Teletext which said “Man.City : Georgi £6.8 million link.” Needless to say, this has got me a little worried, especially since I’m still drooling over that goal last week. I’m writing in the hope that somebody might be able to explain, and basically tell me it’s nothing to do with selling the most gifted young player around. Please?!?

Always Blue, Jamie Evans (



It’s somewhat ironic that the day after AB declares a surfeit of midfielders that Steve Lomas gets sent off, meaning that he misses the derby match. Could this signal a panic signing of a latter-day Gerry Gow to take over the ankle biting rôle in midfield?

I’m not particularly sorry to see Flitcroft go (especially at the price). He was an outstanding schoolboy player who took a comparatively long time to reach the edge of the first team. He was then a fixture in the England under-21 team but never seriously challenged for a spot in the full squad. He’s either a chronic underachiever or just incapable of reaching his full potential playing at Maine Road. Flitcroft has only shone when his physical strength has set him apart from his peers. This is no longer the case in the Premiership. He might have the proverbial “good engine” but he also has a first touch like a donkey, couldn’t time a tackle to save his life and is anything but one of football’s thinkers.

In view of the numerous midfielders Blackburn have recently signed – Bohinen, McKinlay and Fenton come to mind – coupled with Harford’s comments that he now has 24 first teamers and needs a couple more, I don’t think Flitcroft will grace the Blackburn first team on more that twenty five occasions between now and the end of next season. I hope his career doesn’t nosedive the way Paul Stewart’s did when he left the Academy.


It’s remarkable what a live game on Italian TV can bring out of the press. In view of the rave reports of Gio over the past few weeks it’s not a surprise that the Spaniards and Italians would like to part with millions of pounds for his signature. I’ll own up to being sceptical about Kinkladze fitting into English soccer after his first ten games but I’m more than convinced of his skills and ability now.

I hope that City don’t sell for the reason that Kinkladze will be vital to City for many years. I think it more likely that the line of thought will be “why sell for £7M now when we might get £10M next year?”

Referees at the Swamp

Can anyone confirm the rumour that United will be playing in green with a thin black stripe next season? Also, is there any truth in the speculation that John Fashanu is working as a referee-liaison officer at the Swamp?

Roger Haigh (


With games running out for City, today’s game took on a significance that many of the players seemed oblivious to. Two key factors have now emerged. If City are to survive, then they must pick up at least one win away from Maine Road before the end of the season, and West Ham was surely an opportunity better than most to achieve this. The other factor which gets thrown into this equation will be the readiness for battle of new Georgian acquisition Kavelashvili. By the time he arrives his mission will be simple, score the goals to keep City in the Premiership.

Uwe Rösler was the man last season whose goal haul assured our survival and you could make a case that his spurt of goals alongside Walsh the previous season had saved us then. But that was then, that was when Uwe was brimming with confidence, tigerish, deadly in the air, and a sniffer in the six yard box. How his powers have deserted him so completely, in such a short space of time, is as frustrating and confusing to him as it is to us, his still loyal band of followers. For against West Ham the only decent contact he had was when he kicked the post in anger having spurned yet another gilt-edged opportunity. The situation City face at present is such that the first team is not the place to be searching for the elusive killer touch; this does not mean that it should be the end for Uwe at City, the present situation simply dictates that it is not the right time, and certainly not the right circumstances for such woeful form. He’ll be back.

Kinkladze on the other hand is such a rich source of opportunity for City. After a first half performance which was bordering on being merely tidy, he exploded, a piece of exquisite skill beat Julian Dicks, before a run at the heart of the West Ham defence, and put simply, they had no defence against him. The result? A certain penalty. Kinkladze got up, dusted himself down and walked away. Curle walked forward, and hit a damp squib of a penalty. Steve Bruce used to hit penalties for United but he ceded responsibility to a more powerful weapon, Cantona’s right foot. The act of a real captain, foregoing personal glory for the benefit of the team. As for who should take the City penalties, well it is so obvious it barely deserves pointing out.

I dwell on this point because it was the defining moment of the game. The timing was critical, and given that City were soon out of it in the second half, it was the moment when an opportunity too valuable for personal pride to be sacrificed against was squandered. That it took a moment of bone headedness, from the already cautioned Steve Lomas, to ensure that he too will be missing critical games during the run in, confirmed what we already knew. That when it comes to talent, City have what it takes, when it comes to nous, too many players seem oblivious to the pressing and urgent requirements of a club mired in a relegation battle.

I had a brief chat, if you could call it that, with Georgiou Kinkladze; he did not seem to understand much, but when, finally, I asked him about his friend from Georgia, he gave out the briefest hint of a grin. I think, no I really hope, no I prey, Georgiou knows something good about Michael.

‘Better than me’ Kinkladze described him to Alan Ball. At this particular moment of crisis ‘better than what we have got’ will do for me.

Paul Lakin (


He has yet to make his début for City but already many of us are pinning our Premiership survival hopes on him. With Alan Ball’s public criticism of Uwe Rösler after his misses on Saturday, are we to assume that last season’s hero is up for sale? Slagging him off in public certainly won’t do him any good but maybe Ball has given up on him? Niall’s brace of goals after coming on as subsitute will certainly have helped his case for being the Georgian’s partner next season. What of this season though? Kavelashvili will probably be playing for Georgia in their friendly against Cyprus this week (Gio won’t) and is unlikely to arrive at Maine Road until Friday. Bearing in mind that it took Gio a couple of months to settle into the side and get fit enough to last 90 minutes in the English game, I think it’s unlikely that the new boy will even be on the bench on Saturday, let alone in the starting line-up. Much is expected of him already: claims that he’s better than Gio give him a hell of a lot to live up to. We mustn’t expect too much too soon, however much we need it.

Paul Howarth (



I think selling Flitcroft for £3.2 million was not a bad deal. He hasn’t played well for a long time, certainly nowhere near the standard that he had reached a couple of seasons ago when it got him into the England U-21s. Against Southampton he had me (and those sat nearby) screaming blue murder at him for all his mistakes and missed opportunities – probably because he had previously raised our expectations, admittedly. While I couldn’t see him improving much at City, I hope (and expect) that he will do well at a new club but never get beyond being a fairly good but unexceptional player, and it was better to sell now while he was still worth a bit.

This raises two issues though:

  1. Why do City turn very promising youngsters into fairly mediocreplayers? Let’s hope that players like Phillips don’t suffer the samefate. We also seem to have a habit of letting young players go wholater turn out to be very useful – Ashley Ward, Giggs…
  2. Other clubs could afford to sell a player like Flitcroft and havea few left behind ready to leap into his boots; with Lomas’s sendingoff at West Ham, we are left with few options. I’m not lookingforward to seeing the likes of Butt and Keane taking the piss out ofa Lomas and Flitcroft-less midfield. Has Ball got someone in mind – alate plunge into the transfer market perhaps? There must be someoneas good as, if not better then, Flitcroft available for much lessthan £3.2 million (Neil Lennon, late of Crewe and now of Leicester?- see point (1) above!)?


Quinn’s brace at West Ham demonstrated how much more use he is to us than an off-form Rösler, and how much better he plays when Rösler isn’t around messing everything up. I think all his diving and complaining, and his inability to hit the target, have earned him a lengthy spell on the substitutes’ bench – or even in the reserves? Look what that did for Summerbee, who I reckon must be our most improved player this season (pushed close by Lomas?)

And why not try some youth team strikers? There must be someone worth a go (Finney scores a lot … oh, we gave him to Swindon for nothing, didn’t we (see point (1) above)). I don’t rate Creaney (who does?) but maybe the number of goals he has got in a minimal number of often substitute appearances suggest that his lack of class should not stand in the way of a run in the team, if the only other alternative is Rösler.

Team Selection

I feel that Alan Ball’s team selections are becoming worryingly erratic. Surely everyone feels Hiley is better then Frontzeck (who looked to be at fault for one of the Hammers’ goals, doing his ‘I’ll just plunge to the earth instead of challenging for the ball’ act). And we desparately need some width. Playing Brightwell as a third centre half worked well against Southampton in the first half; why not stick to this, allowing Hiley and Summerbee to push forward down the wings (Buzzer seemed to revel in this formation). Of course, this would only work if the centre-backs were encouraged to come forward one at a time to join the midfield: Symons is probably the best at this, but let’s face it that is partly because Curle couldn’t pass water let alone a ball.

Clough has proved himself to be the intelligent player we knew he was but what has surprised me most is his tackling and tenacity: he and Lomas (with Brown as understudy) could patrol the midfield allowing twinkle-toes to strut his stuff. Assuming Kavelashvili is as good as his press, he could partner Quinn up front. Or perhaps even Phillips: someone suggested this recently and I think that having a player who can run at defenders in the striking rôle is crucial.

Alternatively, play with a natural left and a natural right-sided player – and get that ball into the danger area. No two people will ever agree on team selection but surely one person can agree with himself? Whatever Ball goes for, he must stick to it. It is no good pursuing flexibility in both teamwork and individual players if that leaves no-one sure what is going on.


Georgia for the World Cup! Anyone know whether / where you can get a Georgian national shirt?

Matt Varley (


That very question was put to me by a City fan I met recently: “Are you from Manchester?” he asked, somewhat stunned to meet a fellow Blues supporter in this anti-footy nation, where, thanks to bloody Sky TV, the Rags are televised almost as often as the Dallas Cowboys. When I replied in the negative, with a clearly Yank twang, he shrugged and said: “Well, I feel sorry for you then. I had no choice. My dad was a City man. I was born that way.”

My excuse? Well, if I wanted to fabricate some justification, I could tell you that it was fate, being born in 1969 to coincide with City’s last F.A. Cup triumph. Or that I fell in love with Rodney Marsh when he played in our ill-fated North American Soccer League. Or that I live mere minutes from Manchester Avenue in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood (which is the truth, but not the reason I’m a true Blue).

Since we’re obliged to be brutally honest in the MCIVTA — as evidenced by those contributors who feel obliged to say we’re relegation-bound no matter how well the side plays — I must confess. It was, it was, it was .. the uniform. That’s it. The beautiful blue of City. Why Blue, indeed.

The first time I saw it was in 1980, the days when the whole kit, from head to toe, was light blue. I was in Israel visiting family, as I did every other summer of my youth, and starving for sports. Back then, without CNN International, there was no way to follow baseball or other American pursuits in a country like Israel, which showed maybe two hours of local and European sport per week on its state-run channels. So I begged my grandparents to find me something — anything — written in English for me to read. All they could locate was Shoot, which quickly became my bible. I was 11 and a youth soccer player, so I quickly got interested in the English League. So what if I’d never heard of any of these teams or the players or the British terminology? It became an obsession, waiting for the Thursday delivery of a new Shoot to the local newsagent.

One problem, though. I had to pick a team. How? Who? I had no allegiance to any sector of the land. Liverpool was an obvious choice, since they were employing an Israeli full back named Avi Cohen at the time. Right off, I knew I hated United. But, for some reason, I was drawn to the strip on the back cover of that first issue. I don’t even remember who was pictured, maybe Kidd or Hartford. All I know is that I loved that light blue.

And there you have it. I came home a City fan — for life. Of course, there wasn’t much City info waiting for me. Internet access, cable TV or even a newstand that would import magainzes from the UK were all years away. For a good decade, Shoot was all I knew, the copies that my relatives mailed me from Israel and, ultimately, an expensive subscription my uncle arranged during my senior year of high school.

Thankfully, though technology, I’ve been able to follow City much closer the last five years. Various sports channels have been running the Premiership’s one-hour highlight show since about 1990 (as far as I know). Cyberspace provides more reading material than I could want. And Los Angeles, with so many transplanted Brits, features several pubs that show matches live on satellite for $5-10 — albeit Newcastle and the Rags every damn week.

In September, with the captain of my adult-league side — yes, we wear a light-blue shirt, and, amazingly, I had nothing to do with it — I’ll be making my Maine Road début. Don’t know the dates yet, but we plan to spend three weeks touring the country, hopefully watching a match of some sort every day. It’ll be my first trip to England, but I should be easy to spot. Just look for the guy dropping 500 quid at the Manchester City Souvenir Shop.

Until then, I await the April 6 derby and the season finale with Liverpool more than any other matches, since those are the only two I’ll get to see — to go with our two previous satellite appearances, a 1-nil loss to Tottenham and the Frontzeck Affair vs. United. I urge the naysayers in the group to remember how lucky they are. If by some misfortune City fail to avoid the drop, at least you’ll get to watch them next season. Footy might be ready to boom in this country with Major League Soccer about to début but I don’t expect to see local stations carrying an Endsleigh League highlight show anytime soon.

P.S. — It’s a damn good thing Kinky is playing so well, and he better keep it up. I can’t believe Lee passed up the chance to bring in Hagi on a transfer from Barcelona earlier this year (Ronnie Ekelund !?! Thanks so much). That’s a move City should have made at any cost; why didn’t Lee call Oasis for a loan? Hagi is lost at Barcelona because they have too many good players and he can’t get the ball enough. With us? He’d absolutely dominate. How great would it be to see him keep possession for hours and then pick out the heads of Quinn and Uwe at will? Dare I say it — forgive me, I won’t see Kinky’s goal for another few days — Hagi is better than Boy Georgiou. When (if?) Oasis comes in, Hagi and Rush would be my buys.

Marc Stein, Los Angeles, CA, USA, (


I thought this might amuse; however it’s probably nearer to ther truth than we think. Origin uncertain, but possibly someone on the NUFC list.



United Membership Number : __________________
This number can be found on back of Official United Megastore Club card, probably blu-tacked to your headboard, underneath pictures of Lee Sharpe and Pamela Anderson. You don’t have a girlfriend do you? Thought so.

Cost of membership? £_____
How much are you prepared to pay next season? £_____
Even if it doesn’t guarantee you any tickets for any of the games? £ ___
Sorry, I forgot. You get free admission to United reserves games. In Bury. And a badge. Bargain.

Your Preferred United Kickoff Time: Sunday 4pm / Monday 8pm

Your home town: London / Basildon / St Ives / Manchester (like really)

Your big match seat: Sofa / Armchair / In bed (with Giggsy bedspread)

Your view: Biased / Blocked (picture of Eric) / Blocked (beer belly)

Have you ever considered going to Old Trafford? ___

Where were YOU when United were s**t?
TICK all of the teams that you’ve supported over the past five years:
Blackburn Rovers ___ Leeds United ___ Arsenal ___
TICK all of the teams you’ll be supporting next year?
Newcastle United ___ Glasgow Rangers ___

Number of your mates who now support United? ____________________
Number of Mancunians (if any): _
Number claiming to be lifelong United fans? ____________________


Number of punches thrown by Cole, Keane and Butt? _____

Number of times Cole, Keane and Butt told ref to F**K OFF? _____

Define, in your own words, the meaning of the phrase “rôle model”.

Number of yellow cards United got? _____

Number of red cards United got? _____

Number of disciplinary points accumulated this year? _____

Take time to express your true feelings of pride at these statistics. In fact why not set up your own internet page just to broadcast the fact? And while you’re about it. let’s hear why Eric shouldn’t have been kicked out of football again…


1. Number of decisions that go United’s way when they’re losing? ___

2. Number of incorrect and blatantly biased decisions? ___

Does Total 2 minus Total 1 equal zero? It does? Thought so. Now define the word “cheat”. Extra marks for using the word “bribery”.

Tick HERE ____ for your very own personalised copy of the Official Salford Refereeing Alliance Handbook
If United are losing, how many minutes does “injury time” last?

CIRCLE   1   2   3   7   25   120   9538

Just why do BSkyB TV host, update and sponsor the United WWW page?
Just why do the BBC hold shares in Manchester United PLC?
Just explain the concept of fair and unbiased football coverage. Go on.



Eric Cantona ___  (does your mum starch your collar before you go out to
                   play in the local park?  Do people laugh?  Thought so.)
Nicky Butt   ___  (even if he's been suspended for half the season)
The Referees ___  (get United more goals than Cole and at half the price)
Bryan Robson ___  (as you probably don't know that name of anyone else who
                   plays for United)


Name the next player rumoured to be “on his way to Old Trafford” (speculate as much as you like, Ferguson won’t be buying anyone).

Name the next youth player you’d like to see approached by United. What underhand, illegal tactics and incentives should be employed this time?

Now, amaze all your friends by turning Sheep Shit into King in just ONE season with “The Cross Pennines Transfer Request” kit. Truly astounding! Available at your local United Megastore and endorsed by Howard Wilkinson.


What colour would you like next seasons kits to be?
Home kit:
Away kit:
Second Away kit:
Sunday Afternoon kit:
Monday Evening Exclusively Sponsored by Ford and Sky WWW page kit:
Midweek Print-your-own-Money European Super League kit:

Do you intend buying them all? You do? Thought so.


  1. How much did Andy cost? £__,___,___,___,___,___,___,___,___.00p
  2. How much? You must be joking???
  3. Number of shots Andy had during the season??? ___
  4. Number of Andy’s shots that hit the bar? ___
  5. Number of Andy’s shots that hit the post? ___
  6. Number of Andy’s shots that hit the corner flag? ___
  7. Number of Andy’s shots that hit the keeper? ___
  8. Number of Andy’s shots that hit the roof (of the stadium)? ___
  9. Number of Andy’s shots that hit the bar (of the nearest pub)? ___

Now add up the totals for questions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. They should add up to the total for question 3. They do? Thought so.

Which ONE of the following DID Andy Cole manage to hit this season?
Back of the Net ___ Decent Cross ___ Barn Door ___ Opponent ___

BSkyB’s best excuse for Andy Cole missing an open goal this year?

Russ Jenkins (
Roger Sharp (


Saturday, March 23 1996

ARSENAL                 2-0    NEWCASTLE UNITED          38,271
CHELSEA                 1-1    QUEENS PARK RANGERS       25,590
EVERTON                 2-4    WIMBLEDON                 31,382
NOTTINGHAM FOREST       1-0    LIVERPOOL                 29,058
WEST HAM UNITED         4-2    MANCHESTER CITY           24,017

Sunday, March 24 1996


Monday, March 25 1996

SOUTHAMPTON             1-0    COVENTRY                  14,461

Mon 25 Mar

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Manchester United     32     20    7    5     59    30        67
Newcastle United      30     20    4    6     55    28        64
Liverpool             31     17    8    6     60    27        59
Aston Villa           32     16    8    8     46    30        56
Arsenal               32     15    9    8     44    28        54
Tottenham Hotspur     31     14    9    8     40    31        51
Everton               32     13    9   10     50    38        48
Blackburn Rovers      31     14    6   11     47    36        48
Nottingham Forest     30     12   11    7     40    40        47
Chelsea               32     11   12    9     37    35        45
West Ham United       32     13    6   13     39    44        45
Leeds United          29     11    6   12     35    42        39
Middlesbrough         32      9    9   14     29    42        36
Sheffield Wednesday   32      9    8   15     43    51        35
Wimbledon             31      7    9   15     46    63        30
Manchester City       32      7    9   16     26    49        30
Southampton           30      6   10   14     29    43        28
Coventry City         31      5   12   14     37    56        27
Bolton Wanderers      32      7    4   21     35    62        25
Queens Park Rangers   32      6    6   20     28    50        24

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Ric, Martin, Russ, The Mole, Svenn, Claude, Phil, Mike, Marc, Kevin, Andrew, Tony, Kiron, Nizam, Jeremy, Jamie, Roger (x2),Paul (x2) & Matt.

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #179