Newsletter #184


Jam-packed issue with match reports and matchviews of both recent matches, Flixton Red’s included. There’s also news from the club and tons of opinion on our present predicament. Additionally, we’re starting to get news from the club and there’s also the result of the March Player of the Month.

The MCIVTA ‘meet’ is low-key this time but nevertheless quite a few people should be turning up at the Social Club before the Wednesday game for a few jars and a natter – all welcome (see below). Sunday sees the inaugural MCIVTA F.C. turn-out which threatens to be the last for some people 8-)), again, if you fancy playing contact Rob Watson (address below).

Fingers crossed for the weekend and hopefully, I’ll see some of you then.

Next game, Sheffield Wednesday at home, Saturday 14th April 1996


The meeting of the Internet Blues will take place in the Manchester City Social Club behind the North Stand. The entrance is next to the souvenir shop. By identifying themselves as Internet Blues to the doorman they will be directed to the “40 Club Bar” on the mezzanine level adjacent to the function room (that’s upstairs !).

Due to the small number of people who have said they will attend, I have dispensed with the services of an exclusive barman, so if you want a drink please get it downstairs from one of the bars. There is a butty bar in the foyer for food.

I will be in attendance from about 1300hrs. on the door. There will be a small standard charge as before for entrance which I will collect on behalf of the club – just one pound – from each attendee. Children under 15 will be admitted free. Friends are as welcome as members and three points even more welcome.

Malcolm Plaiter (

MCIVTA F.C. – See You There!

This is the last message (obviously) before the first ever MCIVTA F.C. get-together this weekend. If you have said you would turn up please please please make every effort to do so. While I have been quite happy to receive your emails, it is actually Dan Rigby who has booked the pitch and parted with the money (in advance). Dan will be sending out his telephone number beforehand. In the unlikely situation that you can’t make it, please leave him a message.

Venue Indoor pitch,
Manchester University’s Armitage Centre,
Moseley Road,
Directions Available on request.
Date Sunday, 14th April 1996.
Kick-Off 15:00
Final Whistle 17:00
Cost 34 pounds split equally between everyone
Shoes No studs or astro shoes
Kit Please bring a white shirt and a blue one (unless anyone has any bibs?)
Strategy Fifteen people, that’s 3 teams of five. Two teams on, one team off. Rotate every twentyminutes. We’re going to be incredibly knackered by the end. Some of us unfitboozers are going to be feeling it after the first twenty.
Standard Generally poor.
Facilities There are excellent male and female (showering) facilities available.
Pub Scruffy Murphy’s Irish theme pub – which I haven’t tried – so I can’t slag it off yet!
Squad Ashley Birch, Steve Bolton, Jon Fielding, Gary Fones, Martin Ford, Adam Houghton,Paul Howarth, Tony Hulme, Tony Mc, Scott Moore, Dan Rigby, Colin Surrey,Mark Varley, Matt Varley and Robert Watson (15 in all)
Apologies Steve Millington, Paul Monaghan and Andy Roberts

I am sure we have room for a couple more last minute call-ups if they let myself or Dan know asap. There is no charge for people coming to watch – though the mind boggles why they would want to!

Robert Watson (


WIMBLEDON (3) vs. (0) MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 8th April 1996

“If you’re all going to Grimsby clap your hands”

After a draw at Bolton and a narrow defeat in the derby despite a much-improved performance, this was a game we really needed to get something from. A substantial proportion of the 11,844 crowd were Blues hoping to see the team achieve this objective. It was a pleasant, warm, sunny afternoon and the area around the ground was swarming with City fans well before the game was due to start. The Prince George pub close to the ground was absolutely packed and there were loads more Blues outside having a sing-song. Only a couple of minutes further away from the ground, the Prince of Wales pub (as suggested in MCIVTA) was so quiet you could get served straight away and have a seat too! No sign of any fellow MCIVTA-ers unfortunately.

And so to the team. It seems Alan Ball may have been picking up on some suggestions raised in MCIVTA, namely playing an orthodox 4-4-2 formation with Summerbee as a winger rather than a wing back or conventional full back. Ian Brightwell switched to right back and Michael Frontzeck retained his left back spot. Steve Lomas came in for Michael Brown in the only personnel change from the side that started the derby. Uwe started on the bench again and was joined by Buster Phillips and Alan Kernaghan.

The first half was quite even but very scrappy with few chances at either end. Both sides closed each other down very quickly and gave little opportunity for more expressive football. The Dons won most of the aerial battles all over the pitch and City’s two Georgians hardly got a kick. Wimbledon were clearly wary of Kinkladze and Cunningham did a very good job in stifling the maestro’s influence on the game. All City had to show for an uninspired first half performance were a couple of wild long-range efforts from the industrious Steve Lomas. Towards the end of the half a few mistakes began to creep into City’s play (like with United’s 3rd goal on Saturday) and from one of these Wimbledon took the lead. Frontzeck gave the ball to Jones, who gave it to Ardley; his cross was met by the unmarked Robbie Earle at the edge of the six yard box and Immel was unable to keep Earle’s powerful header out.

There was a definite lack of pride, commitment and urgency from most of the City players and I fully expected Ball to give them a rollicking at half time before making one or two changes. As the teams came out for the second half, it was clear that I was wrong about at least the changes – there were none. Within seven minutes of the restart it was too late anyway. Two goals came in quick succession, both down to a policy of getting the ball in the box and seeing what happens. City’s defence was a shambles for both goals and both Earle and then Ekoku must have thought it was Christmas, not Easter.

Only with the score at 3-0 did City seem to realise the severity of the position and start to show a bit of fight. Alan Ball made some changes, taking off Quinn (a chorus of boos rang out – Quinn looked our most effective player) and Summerbee for Rösler and Phillips respectively. City pinned the Dons in their own half for quite a while after this but still didn’t look much like scoring. When even Gio missed after being put through by his compatriot Kavelashvili (albeit under severe pressure from two defenders), you just knew City weren’t going to score.

Many Blues decided to leave and the others watched in stunned silence until about five minutes before the end when it seemed that a wave of resignation that we were doomed to relegation spread throughout the crowd. It was time to grin and bear it. “If you’re all going to Grimsby clap your hands” was followed by similar questions relating to trips to Tranmere and Southend. Some novel variations on “S**t ground, no fans” came out too – “No ground, no fans” was dedicated to Wimbledon and “S**t team, great fans” to ourselves.

In the last minute Uwe had a shot blocked by Sullivan, Phillips collected the loose ball, beat a defender and chipped the ball over to the far post where Kavelashvili was waiting. His header was well- directed but Sullivan was back to make sure of his clean sheet. No, we just weren’t going to score. Let’s face it, we didn’t deserve to. I’m not sure if this performance was any better than the visit to Loftus Road earlier in the season. There wasn’t much in it anyway. Playing like this, the only way is down. Some of the Wimbledon spirit is what’s called for. Are their players better than ours? I don’t think so. If our players fought for each other and applied themselves like theirs do, we could yet save ourselves.

Paul Howarth (


No full match report from me… how can you report a game in which City were so bad? Ironically, I approached this game with some optimism; Wimbledon might be considered almost safe and a relatively easy target for a side as desperate as City are.

A good City crowd were in high spirits before the kick-off (we were the whole of one side of the ground – not far off as many as the Wimbledon support). City fielded the same team that started the United game, with Rösler, Phillips and Kernaghan on the bench.

The first 40 minutes deceived us as both sides looked well matched, although City seemed to have few ideas going forward. Kinkladze was man-marked throughout and was finding it hard to get a kick against their no. 2 who followed him everywhere. There were a few worrying pointers as to what was to come though. The defence looked frail, and in particular, Frontzeck whose mistake led to the goal approaching half-time. This was a killer and morale seemed to drop afterwards.

A few minutes after half time and it was all over. It happened so quickly we were all stunned. Just strong running, power in the air and we were a shambles. It looked as though it could be the start of an avalanche. The reason it wasn’t was more down to Wimbledon than to us. Rösler and Phillips came on for Quinn and Summerbee, but it made no difference.

The fans were fantastic throughout but City couldn’t respond. This was a poor Endsleigh side performance. Surely Ball’s record has to be looked at now? There were so few positive points to find in this game, it took me back to the games at the beginning of the season. Who played well? Kinkladze was still neat and could have produced a goal with better players around him. Lomas, Clough and Quinn worked hard (Quinn was very unfortunate to be substituted- the decision booed by the crowd). Symons was OK. Kavelashvili played as though he was still in a foreign country (he’s not another Gio!), and the rest were awful or lacked bottle. Particularly Frontzeck – he shouldn’t be on the pitch again, there’s definitely something wrong with him. It was possibly his indecision and mistakes which started the rout. And against sides like Wimbledon you need a ‘keeper who can come off his goal-line more.

Sorry, but I cannot find anything good to say after this game. Going down… it looks a certainty. If we survive it’ll be down to others playing worse and that looks a very remote possibility.

Peter Kewley (


Having gone to Selhurst Park with some optimism that we could overcome the Dons’ somewhat bullish style of play, I left (could also make a case for this feeling starting sometime before the break) disheartened and despondent. Considering the games to come and the form of those around, I feel that the team’s survival in the Premiership is on that old cliché – the knife edge. The result remains to be seen and depends on whether the team can pick itself up. Sheff. Wed. should be a definite 3 points and the fact that neither Liverpool nor Villa have much to play for may enable us to scrounge 3 or 4 points. Let’s hope so.

A few thoughts about the game:

  1. The laid back/amateurish approach to defence has to be purged. You cannotrepeatedly give the ball away 10 yards out from the box; sooner or latersomeone is going to finish in style.
  2. Why can’t anyone seem to cross the ball into the danger area? Is Buzzerreally the best taker of the corners? Eike’s bad at kicking, but even hecould get it in the box.
  3. There was no heart. The team seemed to lack motivation once the first goal hadgone in. Surely once the game is in progress this is the captain’s job?Perhaps Saturday’s game took it out of them?
Ricky Wildman (


John Foster has strained a hamstring and will be unable to make his return to the first team on Saturday. However, Michael Brown has been assured of his place after being rested for the visit to Wimbledon. Keith Curle and Kit Symons collided during training (another symptom of a poorly-organised defence?) but it’s not clear how serious this is. In any case, Symons has been included in the Wales squad for their friendly against Switzerland next week.

The Mole


Questions asked this week:

What plans are there for Paul Lake’s Testimonial?

There are numerous events planned for Paul’s benefit, but few with a firm date organised. One that has been pinned down however, is a dinner at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on Saturday. Those without dates yet include a Testimonial Match, a golf event at a local course (to be shared with Brian McClair), a cricket day and various other functions organised by different supporters’ groups. The opposition for the testimonial match has not yet been decided, but Rangers, Newcastle and Sunderland have all been mentioned.

Was Nigel Clough bought with the concept of him perhaps joining the City coaching staff post-retirement?

There was no thought given to this at the time of the signing. However, City do tend to reward players with useful employment when the time comes (Asa Hartford, Buzzer Senior, Colin Bell etc…)

City stars in alleged gay barfracas. Is this true? (see MCIVTA 183)

Today (Wednesday) the Mirror published a retraction:

“On Friday we reported that Manchester City players including skipper Keith Curle had hurled anti-gay abuse and smashed glasses in a Manchester bar. Keith Curle has asked us to point out that he was not involved in, and did not witness, the abuse being hurled or the glasses being smashed. He did not cause any trouble and was not asked to leave the bar. We apologise to him.”

Our contact could not expand on that.

How do you buy shares in City?

To buy shares in your favourite club it seems that the first step is to write to the Chairman who will send you details. Honest! that’s what I was told.

Anything else?

The question of what will be happening during the closed season has yet to be resolved. It seems that it depends on where we are playing football next year. Premiership = China (possibly)… Endsleigh 1st = Chorley.

Extra news is that Mr Ball was not happy with the defensive performance during the visit to Wimbledon (no secret methinks) and we can expect a major shake up on Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday. The expected crowd for this match is 27,500

That’s about it, I haven’t attached names to questions this time, but I will in future unless specifically asked not to. If your question isn’t here it is most likely that our contact had to go away and find the answer for us. If this is the case, I’ll put it in a later MCIVTA. Keep the questions coming and let me know what you think of the format.

Steve Bolton (



FA Carling Premiership
Maine Road
Attendance 29,688
Referee: Mike Reed (Birmingham)

Manchester City


Summerbee Curle Symons Brightwell Frontzeck (Phillips H/T)
       Clough Kinkladze Brown
  Kavelashvili (Rösler 69) Quinn
[ UNUSED: Margetson ]


Manchester United


P. Neville Bruce (May 74) G. Neville Irwin
    Beckham   Keane   Butt   Giggs
              Cantona Cole (Sharpe 74)
[ UNUSED: Scholes ]


This was my first Manchester derby so I was quite excited. The atmosphere before the match felt a little more intense than normal. There is definitely a lot of fighting talk. I was also interested to see two Northern Irish flags in the Umbro stand and one Georgian flag in the Kippax – seeing as I recently found out what the Georgian flag looks like.

‘There’s only one Paul Lake’ and he parades before the tie (to an ovation) along with a couple of other Manchester derby veterans.

  • 01min: Summerbee (I think) trips Giggs outside City box. Beckham takes the free kick. Over the wall and over the bar.
  • 03min: Giggs plays a nice through ball to Cole on the edge of the box but Cole is just offside.
  • 05min: Frontzeck crosses to far post. Summerbee beats Irwin but only succeeds in heading it straight up. Nicky attempts to get to the second attempt but Denis on the floor appears to hold him with his legs. No foul! United break. Giggs’ cross to Cole blocked. Ball comes back to Giggs who hits a far post cross which Brightwell escorts away under challenge from Cole.
  • 06min: Keane plays a ball to the edge of the box for Irwin to run on for. Summerbee looks slow to turn and puts in a sliding challenge as Irwin approaches the by-line. Penalty! I was a stone’s throw from the challenge and must say that it looked worse on the TV. But either way it was a penalty. Cantona steps up. Immel goes to his right. Cantona hits to his right. Nil-One! Mass hysteria by 2,000 to my left. Some United fans are escorted to safety by stewards. You think that if they were clever enough to get tickets in the City area then they would be clever enough to keep their mouths shut.
  • 09min: Summerbee cross to edge of six yard box. Schmeichel collects but it looked pretty dangerous and Peter as normal has a lot to say about it.
  • 10min: Beckham cross knocked out for a United corner by Curle.
  • 12min: Brown charges down Beckham’s cross in front of the United fans. Penalty appeal turned down. United get the throw in.
  • 13min: Kinkladze fouls Butt (I think). Referee has words with the Georgian under the watchful eye of Keane who of course adds his opinion even though he was not originally involved.
  • 16min: Butt clashes into the back of Brown and gains a free kick, for what? United take the free-kick quickly. Cantona crosses to Cole who gets there just before Summerbee. Cole tries to nudge the ball past an oncoming Immel but Immel saves. Cole clashes slightly with Summerbee and they have a staring match.
  • 17min: Kinkladze is escorted by three United players and wins the free-kick trying to turn (and being tripped by one). Kinkladze takes the free kick long into the box. Quinn gets in behind Bruce and gets a good header on target. But straight at Schmeichel.
  • 19min: Cantona comes deep into the United half following several too square passes across the back. Cantona releases a long cross-field ball to Beckham but Quinn has tracked back!!! and intercepts.
  • 24min: Summerbee is slow again and Symons ushers Giggs out for a City goal kick.
  • 25min: Curle takes Giggs near the City box and carries the ball up to half way. Curle finds Quinn but Gary Neville goes through him from behind and sees yellow.
  • 27min: Curle is booked near half-way for Cole falling over. I mean honestly! If this was a foul and warranted a card then the previous one should have been red by comparison.
  • 28min: Brown trying to make room to shoot loses the ball near the United box. United break. Beckham races up the right. Curle goes across to Beckham with Frontzeck trailing behind the play. Beckham crosses to the far post where Cantona is criminally unmarked. Eric takes one nice touch to set himself up. Immel comes out and Eric shoots amazingly wide of the far post when he should really have scored. Criminal indeed!
  • 31min: City corner appears to come off a United arm. Quinn gets up well at the far post but heads over.
  • 32min: Nice balls skills from Quinn and a neat pass to find a breaking Clough. Move ends with Kinkladze hitting a curling shot from the edge of the box but a couple of yards wide of the far post.
  • 33min: City break through but check their advance to wait for support I guess. Ball finally wide to Frontzeck at edge of the box who blasts over from an angle going for glory. A cross might have been a better option.
  • 38min: Kinkladze cross. Quinn gets underneath it. Kavelashvili comes to support but Quinn regains his balance and shoots wide.
  • 40min: Brown fouled by Butt wide on the left. Kinkladze shuffles forward marshalling the troops right and then passes it simply to Frontzeck on the left. Frontzeck crosses and Quinn is up well to head it down. Kavelashvili about a yard in front of Quinn swivels and shoots the ball past Schmeichel. One-One!
  • 41min: While much of the stadium and half the team are celebrating, United attack. Beckham goes over from Frontzeck but Butt picks up and carries the ball. His cross finds Cantona who slides it past Curle to an unmarked Cole. Andy Cole hits not the sweetest of shots but nicely placed just inside the post past Immel’s advance. One-Two!
  • 42min: Quinn penalised at the edge of the City box for hustling Beckham.
  • 43min: Beckham rounds Kinkladze and crosses. Immel takes high in the air and is immediately body-checked on his return to earth by Cole. Symons has words with Cole. Cole is booked by the referee and protests his innocence. He didn’t even contest the ball or his feet leave the ground. Ridiculous!

Half-time score: Manchester City 1 Manchester United 2

Uwe leaves Bruce behind

United probably had the upper hand for the first half. City had as much possession but United had that really good Cantona chance wasted. I was disappointed to see City lose the lead so quickly after they had equalised. The tannoy announces that Liverpool are losing and Newcastle are drawing to much jubilation from the United fans.


  • 46min: Phillips awaits the restart to take Frontzeck’s place on the pitch. Ferguson has words with Phil Neville probably about how to deal with Phillips. City automatically feed Phillips wide on the right. Buster crosses. Quinn goes up but Kavelashvili gets there first, takes it on his chest and shoots from an angle, only a couple of yards from goal. Schmeichel makes a vital save without knowing much about it at the time. Result: City corner off Schmeichel’s face.
  • 47min: Kinkladze rides first Cole’s and then another vicious challenge.
  • 50min: Clough tries to round Butt. Nicky comes away with the ball and is challenged by Brown who is given a yellow card for his challenge(?)
  • 51min: Curle passes the ball straight to Giggs. Giggs finds Cantona in a central position just outside the box. Cantona plays a simple but effective square ball for an onrushing Butt who hits the ball wide and over.
  • 55min: Brightwell passes straight to Butt. Butt finds Cantona at the edge of the box but Eric is almost immediately tackled by Symons.
  • 58min: Cantona crosses. Cole heads back across the box for Butt. But Symons is there and tackles Butt, conceding a corner.
  • 59min: Brown’s cross is dropped by Schmeichel under pressure from Quinn but Peter manages to hold it at the second attempt.
  • 62min: Summerbee rounds the outside of Irwin and then cutting in towards the box is obstructed by Irwin. No free-kick given. Ball rolls out for a United goal-kick.
  • 63min: Kinkladze breaks through the middle of the United midfield. Irwin gets a last ditch tackle/toe in and the ball just goes past the United post with Schmeichel stretching. Kinkladze slowly gets on his feet having been sandwiched between Irwin and (in my opinion fouled by) Keane.
  • 64min: City corner floated in by Summerbee. Quinn up. Off the line by Phil Neville.
  • 65min: A third City corner eventually comes out to Phillips who strikes his shot from the right but it is too close to Schmeichel. Schmeichel throws out to Cantona. United break. Brown gets the ball but downs Cantona outside City box. United free-kick is taken by Giggs. Ryan hits the ball over the wall and curling over the goal.
  • 67min: Rapturous welcome for Rösler on for Kavelashvili.
  • 69min: Clough spreads the ball wide for Rösler who turns and crosses. Comes off Phil Neville’s arm for a corner. Summerbee takes the corner kick. Quinn up yet again and connects. Ball goes past the post. City get another corner so I guess it much have been deflected. Corner played in and comes out to Brown who shoots. Michael’s shot is deflected across to the far post where Symons is beaten to the ball by another United defender. Another City corner is then wasted.
  • 71min: Clough in centre midfield plays a lovely ball right over Bruce’s head for Rösler to run onto. Bruce looks a little cumbersome like he is carrying an injury. Rösler cuts inside and unleashes a great strike into the corner of the goal. Two-Two! Rösler runs out to the bench like he is making a point. A couple of German flags appear in the crowd.
  • 73min: Manchester United make a double substitution. A centrally placed Cantona starts a move, wide to Giggs. Eric moves to the far post where the cross is just a little in front of him and he doesn’t manage to reach it.
  • 75min: Quinn tackles Cantona from behind cleanly !!!!
  • 76min: Phillips sandwiched between Butt and Phil Neville.
  • 77min: Cantona (central again), plays ball wide for Giggs to race onto. Giggs looks up, shoots and the ball shoots straight in the top corner of Immel’s near post. Two-Three! Words fail me. Giggs wheels away in celebration.
  • 78min: Symons concedes another corner in the presence of that dangerous Beckham.
  • 80min: Beckham goes up for a header against Brown near half-way and wins free-kick?
  • 81min: Clough plays Rösler through again. Another good chance for Rösler to score but he hits the shot straight at Schmeichel’s legs when a chip might have been better. Irwin belts the rebound out for a City throw. Ferguson and Kidd anxiously stand with their feet just on the playing area itself.
  • 82min: Quinn flick on. Irwin boots the ball away just before Rösler can get there.
  • 83min: Clough ball for Quinn played on for Phillips. Buster’s cross is not great but it falls nicely for City. Quinn dummies and Clough volleys the ball straight at Schmeichel. A City supporter near me shouts ‘Schmeichel, you Danish prat!’ which seems a strange racist thing to shout when you have a team with several different nationalities represented.
  • 86min: Curle in the box and Brightwell supplying the cross. Curle in fact gets onto the end of it and heads it just past the post. Possibly covered by Schmeichel.
  • 87min: Yet another very leisurely taken United throw-in. Ref does nouwt!
  • 88min: Brown is rugby tackled by Beckham trying to get the ball back near the City corner flag.
  • 89min: Rösler cross deflected for a corner. Next corner comes out to Phillips. Buster’s cross is deflected for a corner by Gary Neville’s head. Next corner is played into six yard box where Schmeichel smothers but does not gather. Clough releases ball from under Peter’s body but no City man is there to finish the ball off and United get the ball clear.
  • 90min: Quinn knocks the ball forward and Rösler is almost onto it but Gary Neville gets there and heads it back to Schmeichel.
  • 91min: Quinn is penalised for feet up when May was bending low to head ball.

Full Time Score: Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3

One thing is for sure. Manchester United knew they had been in a game. A game in my opinion that neither side deserved to win or lose. Rösler’s goal was a peach but Gigg’s was even better. And then Rösler could have squared it again but allowed Schmeichel to make the save by hitting it at him. City were beaten by a terrific goal if that is any consolation. As my mate pointed out afterwards, it is the kind of goal that it is hard to imagine anyone (apart from Kinkladze) on the City team from scoring.

Robert Watson (


Kave;ashvili celebrates his goal

Just a few more observations to add to last issue’s reviews… Summerbee had an absolute nightmare against the Rags. The penalty he gave away was atrocious – he had plenty of time to see what Irwin was doing and track back more quickly, and even failing that he could have forced him out or conceded a corner. And the ‘misunderstanding’ with Clough that gave Cantona possession and led to their winner – from Giggs running into our right-back position which Buzzer couldn’t get back to in time – that was hospital football. Nice one, Nicky. I know everyone makes mistakes, but to make two like that in one match – and such an important match – smacks of a lack of commitment to me. Bring in Cheesy, that’s what I say – although I haven’t seen him play (is he a right back or midfielder, and how does everyone rate him?)

Frontzeck also had a nightmare. He is very slow and was constantly being caught out of position. I don’t remember him making a single tackle, and some of his attempts to do so were laughable. A couple of good crosses, and one did lead to a goal – but not enough to justify his place in the team. I suppose we didn’t have an alternative – having lost Edghill, Foster and Hiley to injury. Perhaps we simply don’t currently have the ‘wing-backs’ needed for a 5-3-2 formation – Frontzeck is certainly predominantly defensive – in which case Ball’s tactics should be questioned (and mine becaue I thought this was a good idea a few weeks ago – although when Hiley was playing).



Immel 6 A few good stops, but stayed on his line for too long for Cole’s goal – perhaps because he thought Curle or Symons would get in a challenge.
Summerbee 2 S**te, and gave away two goals. Thanks for coming, mate.
Symons 7 Solid as usual – it was unfortunate that the only real mistake he made led to Cole’s goal – he or Curle should have got a foot in.
Curle 7 See above – did better with possession than usual, tackled well.
Frontzeck 5 Gets 1 extra for crossing for the goal. Too slow – the Rags ran rings around him. And after his mistake against Wimbledon… Not what we need.
Clough 8 Played a crucial rôle in linking defence and attack. -1 point for not taking the ball off Summerbee properly, and giving the Rags possession. Great pass for Rösler’s goal.
Brown 8 Fought hard all match, didn’t give the ball away as much as usual, and did well as an emergency left-back. +1 point for handballing in the area right in front of the Rag fans and getting away with it!
Kinkladze 6 Fairly ineffective – he was marked out of the game. This will happen to him all the time now, and he needs to figure out a way of coping with it (why is it that the Rags were so good at taking Gio out of the game, and we were so bad at nullifying Cantona?)
Brightwell 6 Played well in some tight situations but left Cantona too much room for Cole’s goal – he was stood in front of him, but not challenging closely enough.
Quinn 8 Won most things in the air, worked hard all match, and linked up very well with Kavelashvili.
Kavelashvili 9 (Called Kave in the programme!) His movement is exceptional (something which City have been crying out for for ages); he is quick, skilful and intelligent. The way he linked up with Quinn was remarkable, given that this was their first match together. A début goal in a derby, and nearly bagged two – but decided to rearrange Schmeichel’s face instead – and who can blame him for that?
Rösler 9 (on for Kave) Brought on as a sub with something to prove, he moved well and scored a wonderful goal. He still isn’t as fast as he used/needs to be, though – and I wonder how long he will stay at City if he is often on the bench? While Quinn and Kave are playing so well, that’s the place for him, though – keep showing the manager up!
Phillips 8 On for Frontzeck at half time. He gave the side much needed attacking flare down the flanks, played a glorious ball into Kave with his first real run (which led to the face rearrangement) and was a constant threat. Should have started.

So, our fate is no longer in our hands: even if we win all our remaining matches (some chance) we could still go down. It’s not quite over yet – we now have a massive game on Saturday which we must win, and maybe four points from the last nine would be enough if other results go our way. I feel sick.

See all you MCIVTA FC-ers on Sunday.

Matt Varley (


Having had the luxury of watching the whole game a couple of times now and not just the BBC United’s edited highlights here’s my view:

No question about the penalty. City then pressed forward. Frontzeck had space time and time again on the left with Gio and Brown picking him out. Frontzeck had one chance; he blasted over when he should have squared it to Gio. The Rags are fast on the break with Butt in particular looking impressive and running the show. Brown really battled well, got stuck in and stood up to the “do you wanna scrap” Keane, Butt and Beckham. Could anybody please tell me what Brightwell was doing? What orders did he have? What position was he in? If he was supposed to be marking C*ntona why wasn’t he crunching tackles in, being a spoiler, trying to wind C*ntona up? C*ntona is still a time bomb waiting to go off; he almost snapped at Clough in the second half. He’s only been behaving himself recently as things are going well. I thought Brightwell was a good athlete? He looked knackered, with Butt and Beckham leaving him for dead. I’m not a big Lomas fan but we missed him.

Quinny got the wrong side of Bruce but could only plant the header straight into red noses’ hands. Gio’s mate looked a bit lost but took his chance well. Summerbee had no pace or imagination when attacking Irwin. He just kept trying the outside and Irwin read him like a book. I really question his effort and commitment over the season. Has anyone ever noticed Summerbee rarely celebrates when City score; he did it again recently at Bolton, no emotion at all. I read he was a Rag?

Bruce should have been booked when he tried to take Gio’s head off with his elbow. No whistle. The second half started with Gio’s Mate having a great chance but it hit red nose in the face. Gio had a quieter game. I think we all expect him to play like he can every game and it just isn’t going to happen. In defence of him though, every time he received the ball there was 3-4 Rags within 15 yards of him. He did have one run; Bruce went for his knee as he skipped by, Keane slid in with a crucial tackle. Rösler came on and scored a cracker; he also had a one on one with the ‘keeper but red nose again saved. At 2-2 City looked like the only team who were gonna score another when Buzzer and Clough ran into each other, C*ntona feeds Giggs and he scores a brilliant winner. Still we came back at them forcing several corners. Curle flashed a header wide, Clough had a shot through a crowd of players that if it was a foot either side it would have been in; instead it lands right into red nose’s arms. We were well worth a draw.

Just a couple of points. Why can we play well against the Rags, Blackburn and Newcastle and play p**s poor against West Ham, Bolton and Wimbledon? Why can Fungus Face Ferguson get his team fired up and ready for battle week in, week out and Bally can’t? Secondly, why is it when we get a youngster he’s “one for the future” but when the Rags get youngsters they are ready now and play like they are 30? What a sh*te Easter! Three games to play though and who knows. I’m not giving up hope. I’ve just read City fans are snapping up tickets for Saturday like mad. The fans’ loyalty at Maine Road is incredible. Are City fans ever going to get the success we surely deserve? City fans truly are the best in the country.

This week’s live games on satellite are Rags vs. S’hpton on Sat 13th, Newcastle vs. Aston Villa on Sun 14th, Arsenal vs. Spurs on Mon 15th and Liverpool vs. Everton on Tues 16th.

Paul Whittaker (


Few footie punters in Manchester would, in all honesty, have hazarded a guess on the winner of the weekend’s crunch Derby. It was, arguably, Manchester’s most important meeting of Red and Blue for years. The pre-match stats highlighted how tight it might be…

United, on an unbeaten run covering 16 matches, were the Premiership’s deadliest team away from home. On the other hand, City have in recent weeks posted notice of their intention to fight their relegation battle all the way to the tape. Unbeaten at Maine Road in the League in 1996, they’ve certainly given Blackburn, Newcastle and Southampton a hard run for their points (despite Merrington never seeming to get any decisions at Maine Road! 🙂 ). If City’s first three months in the league are ignored then their record is that of a mid-table side. It reads P21 W7 D8 L8 Pts29. Do the appropriate maths and that puts City where Chelsea are now (that is 10th, not somewhere inside Stamford Bridge!). To cloud the issue even further, there was the threatening prospect of, and no greater motivation than, potential cataclysm for the loser.

Saturday’s Derby provided further evidence that the gap that existed between the clubs over the past several seasons was closing. In the end, United weren’t to have the luxury of the space that has, in the past, arisen from City’s tactical naïvety. However, it didn’t look like that in the first half hour. United appeared sharper, quicker and hungrier. They used both flanks well, with Beckham, P. Neville and Irwin causing the City defence frequent problems, particularly on the break. The advancement of Frontzeck and Summerbee up the wings, had left juicy big holes behind them for the United wide men to run into. The City full-backs seemed pretty isolated and never appeared mobile enough to accomplish either their offensive or defensive tasks with any great conviction.

The crowd only had to wait for seven minutes before the first major incident of the match. The rash tackle by the man with the face like a bag of spanners on Mr. Benn was ill-judged and highlighted Summerbee’s deficiencies as a full-back. Mr. Reed’s decision was one of the easiest he’d have to make. Cantona stroked the spot kick away as clinically as usual. This was a bitter pill for City to swallow so early on. It clearly rocked the home side yet gave the Reds the impetus they needed to dominate the early part of the first half. Only 5 minutes later, Mr. Reed obviously had his own personal safety in mind when he declined to award another penalty when a P. Neville cross struck the raised arm of Brown.

Although Kinkladze and Quinn went close on occasion, United looked the more organised and dangerous. Yet they were rewarded by only two clear scoring chances in the first half hour. Cole’s cracking take and shot only marginally troubled Immel. After 28 minutes, Cantona, only 10 yards out and with only Immel to beat, uncharacteristically wasted Beckham’s fine searching pass. However, United’s failure to capitalise on their midfield control and possession was punished five minutes from the break. Despite being covered by P. Neville and Beckham, Frontzeck lobbed a long cross into the centre of the United box. Gary Neville misjudged his leap and gave Quinn, lurking behind, a simple opportunity for cushion a header down for the onrushing Kavelashvili. The Georgian turned neatly in the 6 yard box to beat the Dane’s outstretched right hand.

The Kippax had mere seconds to savour the equaliser before United replied with a fine passing move and score. From the restart, Butt slipped the ball to Cantona on the edge of the City box, the Frenchman turned and exchanged 2 passes with Cole. The short one-twos completely mesmerised an admiring yet totally static Curle, who kindly let Cole through to poke an unconvincingly struck shot just inside Immel’s left-hand post. City were again on the back foot, having to resist concerted United pressure until the break.

The opening minute of the second half saw a neat City move that put Kavelashvili clear inside the United box. He lashed a fierce shot in on target, only to see Schmeichel’s throat make the vital save. This near miss preceded a 15 minute period marked by some good attacking moves primarily by United, with decent lay-offs by Cantona, Giggs and Butt being wasted deep in City territory. In the 60th minute, Cole unusually beat Curle to a high ball into the box and knocked it down for Butt. He collected, ran into the area but, with Immel exposed, failed to get a shot away due to a combination of Symons’ fine tackle and his own poor control.

This scare jolted City into more effective action. Ball’s disposal of his 3-5-2 formation for a more conventional 4-4-2 began to pay dividends. Kinkladze nearly broke through after easily evading a Bruce lunge, running to the edge of the area before a combination of Keane and Gary Neville denied him a shooting chance. Phillips, on for the second half, showed what an excellent prospect he is, with several good runs down both flanks. In fact, it was the resulting corners that started City’s fightback. Quinn, grafting as hard as ever, connected with at least 2 or 3 corners in succession whilst only forcing one goal-line save from Irwin.

Rösler, brought on for the tiring Kavelashvili, needed only 4 minutes before equalising with a fine move and shot. Receiving the ball out wide on the left from a deep-lying Clough, he made up ground to the box, ignored the waiting Bruce and fired a stunning shot past the ‘keeper from 20 yards. Strangely the goal simply alerted United to the dangers of perhaps even dropping all three points. A fine Keane cross for Cantona and an awful Sharpe cut-back in the area for a City defender were United’s best replies until Giggs’ moment of brilliance. On the edge of the City box with the prospect of having to round Curle to get a good sight of goal, Giggs accepted Curle’s invitation to shoot. His scorching strike burnt Immel’s fingers before entering the top left hand corner of the net. Stunned silence and disbelief ensued from supporters of both sides.

Although Sharpe laid on a further cross for Giggs, the remainder of the game belonged to City’s desperate efforts to save at least a valuable point. A well-saved shot from Rösler in the clear, Clough’s saved effort through a crowd of players and Curle’s close header from a series of corners were City’s final breaths in the dying moments.

On balance, this was one of the better Derbies in recent memory. City showed that they certainly have the mettle to stay up if only they can stop conceding soft goals. Quinn and Symons were the pick of a clearly committed side. If Ball gives the team some substance out wide and makes an effort to attack then the future may not be that bleak. Brown and Kinkladze certainly appear to be learning the more agricultural aspects of Premiership football, while Kavelashvili shows enough promise to possibly bring back memories of Clive Allen. City were beaten by a good side in good form, who were as guilty as City of not making the most of their opportunities. United are a fine counter-attacking side who have the ability to soak up lots of pressure yet then hurt opponents on the break. As Saturday showed, pressure doesn’t win games alone, it’s the ability to convert it into goals that does.

Flixton Red


The Maestro

25 sets of votes for March. No prizes for guessing who won. My brother has a theory that Kinky never turns it on away from home. Can anyone recall any good performances by the maestro away from Maine Road (Leeds and Middlesbrough maybe)?

The full result was:


1st Gio Kinkladze 61 votes (50%)
2nd Niall Quinn   18 votes (15%)
3rd Kit Symons    13 votes (11%)
4th Steve Lomas   10 votes ( 8%)
5th Nigel Clough   9 votes ( 7%)
Others            12 votes ( 9%)


Other players to receive votes were: Immel, Summerbee, Hiley, Brightwell and Brown.


A quick plug for the questionnaire page on the WWW. Nobody got last week’s question correct, and I must admit I’m struggling with this week’s poser. Name in lights if you get it right!

Any ideas for AB’s mooted clear-out? Here’s my 2 penneth for what it’s worth:

  • Curle (£500K)
  • Rösler (£900K)
  • Summerbee (£400K)
  • Creaney (Free)
  • Kernaghan (£200K)
  • Beagrie (£200K)
Ken Foster (


I was sorry to learn that that this chap couldn’t get a ticket for the derby when he called at the ground.

Not having a membership card on him, had he been able to produce any form of photo ID and his name had been on the stubs then I’m sure one of the windows would have sold him a ticket.

The problem was we were under strict instructions from the police and Maine Road security not to sell tickets to anyone unless we were absolutely convinced that the buyer was a genuine City fan, that they were who they said they were and that the tickets would not be passed on to a Redneck. All tickets sold carry the code of the person selling the ticket, so should any of the tickets end up in the the hands of touts, or of Rednecks involved in any fracas, serious questions could be asked of the seller which could conceivably result in dismissal.

The situation was as frustrating for us; most of us in the office are City fans too. And there was a degree of flexibility when faced with reasonable requests. But some City fans had been selling their ticket stubs to Rednecks prior to the Southampton game, which is why we were instructed to ensure that this stub was included. Rednecks have also been known in the past to join the membership scheme prior to a derby game in order to obtain a ticket for the match. This was the reason a fan couldn’t join the scheme and then immediately purchase a derby ticket.

My advice is, apply for a membership card next season; some sellers sold tickets on production of the cards to fans who didn’t have the Southampton stub.

Also, keep your head and be civil. One punter, when told of the restrictions at the window, immediately went into a tantrum, hurling abuse at the seller and throwing his card at the window before storming off just as the seller was preparing to relent and sell him the ticket. If he’d been cool for a minute more he’d have got one.

Lastly, providing your request is reasonable (unlike the request from two members of a visiting Norwegian football squad who requested 15 tickets for the derby, or the chap that asked to have his tattoos accepted as validation of his loyalty) put your request in writing, address it to the Ticket Manager and hand it in at the window. He isn’t a job’s worth, he’s a fair and reasonable bloke and providing you can convince him that your request is genuine you stand a chance of getting the tickets.

Despite our dismal performance yesterday at Wimbledon (why Phillips didn’t get 90 minutes I just don’t know) I’m still sure that there’ll be at least three derbys next season and we’ll stuff the Rednecks once and for all.

It isn’t over ’til the fat lady sings… which accurately describes Steve Bruce if you ask me.

Mark Burgess (


Is it just me or were there far fewer Rags in City areas of the ground during the derby this year? I reckon that in the last few years 10% of the fans in home areas of the ground have been Rags but this year there were hardly any at all (except those that keep themselves to themselves which you can’t count in any case) other than those in the boxes and on the very top tier of the Kippax, which are apparently open to visiting fans anyway. I think the ticket office should be congratulated on this achievement (after all the ticket office doesn’t get praised very often) which undoubtedly led to a less hostile than usual atmosphere this year. Unfortunately, as City were losing for most of the time, the atmosphere was also quieter than usual. C’est la vie. Anyway, whilst I sympathise with Andy Birkin’s plight in being unable to get his tickets, I fully support the actions of the ticket office staff in doing their level best to ensure that only City fans got tickets. And did you really expect to be able to turn up at Maine Road the day before the derby, without even a membership card and get a set of tickets Andy?

Paul Howarth (


I suggest the Witton Arms, on Witton Road near to Witton station, about 2 minutes’ walk from the ground. From the away fans’ turnstiles, head away from the ground along Witton Lane until you reach Witton Road. The pub is across the road – you can’t miss it. I suggest the smaller bar, on the right as you enter the pub.

Paul Howarth (


What’s the story with Uwe? After watching highlights of the derby I think everyone noticed him angrily gesticulating at somebody in the crowd. Was he having a go at the fans or AB? Anyone got a scoop? Also as relegation is looking increasingly likely, can anyone tell how many of our “big name” players (hahaha) will stick around for Endsleigh football?

George Larcos (


How do I buy (if I can) Man City Shares? It helps if you feel you own a part (albeit small) of your favourite team.


Is anyone who is playing footy on Sunday going by car, or on the bus along Oxford Road? If so is there a chance of meeting me and my dragon… sorry wonderful girlfriend in Manchester and show us where to go/offer a lift? We are willing to pay for the lift down to the ground.

Any offers, please ring 0161-247-1807 (ask for Tony between 13:15 and 20:00), or 0161-247-1845 (ask for Helena between 8:45 and 16:30). Thanks to one and all see you all hopefully on Saturday.

P.S. can anyone help us get two Villa tickets for the last away game? If so please call the above.

Tony Hulme (


Yep folks, I was in Manchester last Saturday afternoon, shopping for shoes with the wifey, good move I think! The trips to Radio Rentals at half time to confirm City losing 1-2 made my shopping trip seem better, cost as much as a ticket in the end, and she was happy! Though I am not! You have got to face it now, we are in deep, deep s**t! 3 tough games.

Reasons/wishful thinking why we will be staying up:

  1. We have 2 games at home, granted one is the Scousers, but they mightlook for an injury free time having the Cup Final to look forward to andshould finish 3rd so Europe beckons, anyway. If we play hard and roughwe could win that, provided Rush doesn’t play ‘cos he always scoresagainst us!
  2. Villa away is a problem, should aim not to lose and hit them on thebreak, that is the way they play, but can you trust us to defend! I don’tknow? I will be surprised if we get a result there!
  3. We must/have to/should win versus Wednesday, no two ways about it. Theyare pretty clear now and hopefully will play like mid season – Crap!We should go for all out attack, fitness and suspensions permitting!
  4. Bolton will go, QPR should go and either Coventry or Southampton willhopefully fill in the 3rd place!
  5. We have Kinky! He should score or at least create.
  6. The view from a Rangers supporter on the City team to stay up!


                                1 - Immel
                      Don't let long range shots at him!
    2 - Brightwell                                   3 -  Hiley
(make him a full back for now)(get Frontzeck to teach him to tackle/shadow)
                         5 - Curle     4 - Symons
              (1/2 years left - SELL)  (Next City Captain BEST defender)
         6 -  Lomas            7 - Kinky             8 - Brown
       (Ball winner for Kinky) (STAR!!!)      (Ball winner like Lomas)
                        9 - Clough
               (in a Peter Beardsley role)
 11 - Buzzer.........0r.......................................11 - Philips
    (Width guy Summerbee or Buster depending on opposition or form)
                                  10 - Kavelashvili
                           (Another John Aldridge -Hopefully)
Subs - Rösler  - swap with 10
     - Foster  - star in the making
     - Margetson - get ready for when Immel finishes.


Sell: Quinn a.s.a.p. Kernhagan, Creaney

Buy: central defender to replace Curle, right back so Brightwell can cover the midfield ball winner position and get Andy Saville from Preston!

Well that is City sorted out, we might do it this year but we need more for next season!

Richard D Frost (


After a poor Bank holiday weekend for City I thought I would air my views on a few points. The derby defeat on Saturday was a terrible result which was compounded by the fact that both Coventry and Southampton registered wins. Added to our defeat by Wimbledon on Monday and QPR and Bolton winning on the same day it now looks like a miracle will be needed for us to survive with all of these clubs being within 2 points of us in the table with some having games in hand. With only three games remaining against Sheffield Wednesday, Villa and Liverpool we will probably require a minimum of 6 points to ensure survival. This is a lot to ask of a team which has only registered 3 wins this year.

It is still possible for use to retain our Premiership status but only if we start playing to the strengths of the players we have at our disposal. For starters if we are going to play either Rösler or Quinn it will be necessary to play with wingers. Anyone who has watched City this season will be able to realise that Quinn and Rösler as a partnership was never going to work. Buying this new Georgian is a step in the right direction and the partership of Quinn and Kavelashvili looked to be promising on Saturday, though if they are to be successful they will need the service of wingers to get the best out of Quinn, if not both of the players. City in the second half against U***** on Saturday looked like a different team to the one that started the game. This was because of the introduction of Phillips at half time who gave us the width we had been lacking. I would like to see the results if we were starting games with both Summerbee and Phillips playing on the wings.

This brings me to my second point which is the defensive situation. Scoring goals is not are only problem. Our defence leaks far too many goals. I am sick of us going into the lead or drawing level only for us to let in a soft goal from the kick off like we did against U*****. As far as I can see it there are two problems with the defence. Firstly Nicky Summerbee is not a full back, he is an authordox winger as he has rightly stated and he is only in the full back position because of injuries to John Foster and Richard Edghill this season. I believe that Summerbee is a good player and all he needs is a good spell in his proper position for him to be a valuable member of the team. However, in defence he is a liability due to his poor tackling and defensive awareness. This was perfectly illustrated by the penalty he gave away on Saturday and his sending off against Bolton in the previous game. The second problem I see with the defence is Curle. I must admit I was a fan of Curle originally but I think his marking, heading and passing are not up to scratch. He doesn`t direct the defence properly either.

As I see it the solution to these problems is the following formation:


Foster      Brightwell      Symons       Frontzeck
Summerbee   Kinkladze       Lomas         Phillips
                Quinn     Kavelashvili


Subs: Rösler, Clough, Brown

Here’s praying for a win on Saturday

Andy Mitchell (


Despite appearing up for the Derby game, I have the feeling that even if we had scored 20 goals, the Rags would have scored 21. Mind you, it was good to clock Uwe’s goal and touchline demo, plus Kalashnikove showing that it is possible to be a striker and be in the right place at the right time. Hope he hasn’t been too put off by his first two games.

As for the Wimbledon game; well, I seem to recall that after the same fixture last year, Franny said that if he had seen any of the team out walking when he was in his car, he would have driven into them. Guess he must be chasing them back up the M4, M5 and M6 still. Pathetic. Clearly Frontzeck has used his few weeks at Maine Road to forget how to tackle – I thought he looked quite competent in his first game, but am revising that opinion quickly – this can be the downside of ‘cheap’ foreign players. And Keith Curle also seems to be forgetting how to defend. Oh for a Colin Hendry to partner Kit Symons. And oh for some competent full backs – they, above all else will be the reason we go down if we do.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any idea what the two Liverpool clubs have got against us? Why do they seem to be incapable of taking even a point off most of our fellow-strugglers? Liverpool’s performance against Coventry was limp to say the least, and as for Everton – are they really challenging for Europe? It alarms me that Bolton and QPR are putting in good performances – we may no longer be able to rely on having to battle our way away from the third relegation spot.

Three baddies from the past and present.

1. Trevor Francis, at Wednesday.

For – 1) pissing EC off, and 2) refusing to sell David Hirst to the Rags (where he could have spent 4 years injured), and thereby enabling the purchase of said EC, and 3) those 2 injury time goals when they were 1 up at OT.

2. Howard Wilkinson

Well, that’s bleeding obvious innit?

3. Kevin Keegan.

For being a bighead, and handing the Rags the Championship this year. That said, I put on my fair-minded footy fan’s hat and say that Cantona has won the Rags the Championship more or less single-handed this season (still hope I am proved wrong). He has been outstanding, his behavious has been a surprise, and he even seems to try to help out the completely inept Andy Cole (and his goal last Saturday just shows what bad shape we are in :-((). Mind you – I still think he bottles it in Europe, and that will be tested again next season I guess.

So. I reckon we are doomed, doomed. All I can hope for is that the Kinkmeister stays, in which case we will hopefully just be on loan to Div 1, à la Forest, and return refreshed and revitalised.

Going down, going down, going down … but at least it’s easy to get to Swindon, Reading and maybe Oxford {yechhh – the dreaded Cuckoo Lane end)

Jeremy Poynton (


I’ve been quiet for a few months now, just watching the results and slide into 4,000 seater stadiums. I know we’re supposed to be Blue and just put up with it, but I may just be coming to the end of it. I saw the Chelsea and Wimbledon games here in London. We are the worst team (apart from Bolton) in the league. If we can’t scrap a result (3 points IMHO) against this dross then we may as well let them turn the Academy into Tescos to redevelop the area.

Yesterday was my worst ever experience of being a 25 year City fan. Against the Wombles!!! They were bad, but we didn’t have a clue. I thought about doing a report, but would have smashed the keyboard. I had just recovered after I almost lost it and wrapped the car up listening to the Bolton game. I can’t take this any more.

After the support we’ve given we deserve better than the succession of idiots we’ve been saddled with. Don’t talk about the nice football and Kinky this and Kinky that. We can’t compete and don’t deserve to stay up. We don’t have a defence. How many times this year in big games, have we scored and then given one away inside 2 minutes? You can’t expect one or possibly two players to keep us afloat. Without Kinky we’d have been bottom since Feb.

I really don’t think we can be too hard on Ball (except for that ludicrous start to the season), but he’s not as sound a manager as say Peter Reid. Even in the crap seasons and even less money we were in the top 6. I don’t think we’re in the top 6 in Manchester now. We don’t have any bite and are looked at as 3 points too often. We will go down now and deserve it. I can actually see us beating Liverpool but Sheffield will take 3 points.

Taking all things as equal, I think Swales has damaged the club in a major way. Franny is doing his best to pull it together, but this will take time. This is at best an interim, at worst the end until we get some real money. We need some investors and a real quality management team. We couldn’t afford George Graham and he wouldn’t want us. But we need his defence. Then we could see the midfield play. Scoring 2 against the Rags and 3 against the Toon should have been enough… but not with the donkeys we have in defence. Curle has never been the figure everyone makes him out to be. As for the day off, few beers, and abuse in the gay bar report… day off? They get paid too much, have an easy life and aren’t good enough for a day off. What we need is commitment and pride. Looks like the Rags got us back for the Law backheel at last.

We’re going down, the Rags will win the league. ‘Best get your roadmaps out again and look for Port Vale and Grimsby, while I get the gas on in the oven.

Depressed and devoid of anger, Huw Thomas (


I have to agree with Ashley’s introduction to MCIVTA 183. We’re down. I was confident coming into the Easter weekend that we could earn at least 2 or 3 points. Silly me.

The Rags dicked us again – doesn’t matter how they did it, they just did it again like they always do. Three North London Blues listening in on Radio 5 Live had made a pact beforehand that, should we win, it was straight down to Trafalgar Square for a quick dip in the fountains. The pigeons were untroubled and we remained dry, needless to say.

Then we played absolutle bobbins at Wimbledon. Not as bad a performance as Wycombe earlier this season but certainly on a par and a very efficient waste of fifteen quid. The one high point, I thought, was meeting an old friend (and Blue) from school who I had lost touch with. So I took his ‘phone number only to ring the next day and get “this number is not available.” Aarrggh! James Strang, where are you?!? Congrats on getting married anyway.

It was nice to see Niall Quinn apologising on behalf of the players for the Dons defeat but he was not one of the culprits. No, Niall, we are not going to abandon you. But the chants of “s**t team, great fans” rang more than true on Monday.

All that can save City now is other team’s results and the complacency of our last two opponents, Liverpool and Villa. Hopefully, by the time we go to Villa Park, both teams will be assured of UEFA cup places and – especially with Liverpool – won’t be trying too hard. Unfortunately, for that to happen, United will have to have won the league by then. Of course, if we don’t beat Sheff Wed, all of this is academic.

The only other thing that can save us is three gigantically improved performances on a level with how we played against Villa at home but with better finishing. On the evidence of the rest of this season, that looks less than likely. Prove us wrong, lads. Please!

James Nash (


As it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll be playing Endsleigh league footie next season, we might as well look on the bright side; at least we’ll get two decent days out at the seaside (if everything goes to plan). Think, we’ll have the delights of Blackpool and Southend in store, all that candy floss and rock in the north and the jellied eels and whelks in the south. ;-)))) I bet the league don’t make either of these fixtures a bank holiday game!!! We’ll get another of my favourite trips back, Carrow Road, now that’s usually a ‘good’ day out. Also it might give me a chance to get to several new league grounds (Tranmere, Southend, Huddersfield, Millwall, Charlton)

More bright side, we’ll get to see more games in a season, so maybe they can now justify the price hike. Won’t we get more ‘local’ games as well, quite a few Midland(ish) and Yorkshire teams.

I wonder if Peter Reid (and possibly Brain Horton) will send us a good luck card from the Premier? Will anyone finally realise what a bad manager Ball really is? Just how many clubs has he have been in charge of, that have been relegated?

How many players will acually leave the club if (when) we go down? Here’s my list (just off the top of my head): Rösler, Curle, Quinn, Clough, Symons, Kinky. I don’t care what anyone (within the club or outside) says, Gio will leave if we get relegated. He’s currently the star and quality player of our team and is certainly impressing many people, including the big name teams from the continent. It’s all very well Lee and Barlow saying he’s not going anywhere, but have they taken into account Gio’s feelings? Like any ambitious player he wouldn’t want to play in a second rate league, when the best leagues in the world are waiting for him. He’s a current Georgian international (and is likely to be playing against England in the WC qualifiers, I’m seriously thinking of going over to Georgia to watch England play) so surely the best place for him (or any international) is in the top flight. And if Barca or AC Milan do come and wave £7 million in front of the board, will they be so strong willed then? If would cover any deficit they face from dropping down a division, loss of sponsorship, TV/SKY monies, less fans going through the gates.

Just some thoughts…

Martin Ford (


Well, just 3 more games to the end of the season, and Bally has already stated that he wants to get rid of some of the crap we have at Maine Road, so I thought I would give my personal opinion as to who we should get rid of.

Andy Dibble (free to someone crap like Huddersfield, who are managed by someone called Brian Horton?)

Alan Kernaghan (for about 400,000 smackaroos to er… to Bolton)

Michael Frontzeck (that crap German one, who we were told was a `German International`, what the hell would Germany want with a donkey like that? Anyway we should sell him to Altrincham F,C. for £10.00)

Nicky Summerbee (when Foster gets back next season,he will be dropped, if he carries on playing like he is now. Sell him for about £1m.)

Curly Keith (who has played crap all season, is not a leader and cannot take penalties etc. Apart from that, nothing is wrong with him, sell him for about £0.5m)

Altogether, the total for the whole lot is £1.9m,not including the £10,00 for that German guy.

Who we could buy with £1.9m .. someone called Alan Shearer, have you heard of him?

Forever a light shade of blue, Barry Foster (


I went to the derby and can offer a slightly different slant to the proceedings:

It’s the loudest one I’ve been to since 1991, particularly the boos as the United team was read out, it was all very amusing.

There were the usual rants of – Ryan Giggs is … no birth certificate; Cantona you French tart; Bruce you old t__t, which all add to the atmosphere.

I actually thought the referee wasn’t as bad as some that favour United, but he did seem to ignore a number of handballs in our favour.

I like the rest of the ground was stunned to silence when I saw the ref point to the spot, but when they scored it was sad to see virtually everyone in the kippax (myself included) stand up and start looking for the inevitable Reds sitting amongst us. Luckily if there were any then they kept quiet long enough for the executive boxes to be heard celebrating loudly (why do the United fans appear to have so much money?). If the kippax could have got up there they would have, but luckily the police went up and shut them up for us.

Apart from that I thought the game was not marred by much trouble at all, apart from a few prats who ran down to the fromt when Giggs scored “they can’t do that, let us at them b_______s etc”. The stewards did a good job holding them back until they realised how stupid they looked. I saw the same group arguing outside with a poster seller “you can’t charge that, you b_______s” – so they obviously do it everywhere.

The worst thing about the derby was the optimism that it filled us with for the Wimbledon game….no more needs saying. As you all know we are lucky that other teams fared badly as well. Five teams all within 3 points – oh s**t only one of them I think has let in six goals in the last two games.

I’m glad Liverpool are in the FA cup and out of the title race because we are going to depend on a result against them. Nightmare scenario – this Saturday, United lose, Newcastle lose, Liverpool win, out of the bottom 5 we lose – need I say more?

More worryingly is David Pleat going to be responsible for us going down again, like in the early eighties? Also worringly what has happened to the Man City sugar – I used to like that.


I have been a City supporter for the last 35 years, yes I was at Newcastle 68, so City are well and truly stamped on my heart. The reason I’m writing this is because every time I turn on the football phone-in on GMR radio (Manchester), over the last few weeks, more and more people seem to think that Ball should go and we should get another manager in i.e.: George Graham etc.

To me this would be the worst thing we could do; for too many seasons the tail (players) has been wagging the dog (manager). The pressure for instant success at this club has become so obsessive it is now clouding peoples’ judgement. No one has the divine right to been in the Premiership, City included. Yes we are a big club with fabulous support, but the entire structure under Swales just crumbled away.

Francis Lee has come in and at last put some stability in the place by getting the commercial side back in the black and appointing a manager that right from the start of the season he said is going to be here for at least the length of his contract, and he has over the season repeatedly said even if we go down he is still going to be here. To me that was what was needed, the players know they have got to perform or they are out. Gone are the days that a new manager is going to come in and they will have a second or third chance, Alan Ball rightly or wrongly to some people got the job. I went to a supporters club night in Reddish, Stockport, Ball was guest speaker, yes he hasn’t got a successful track record, but he spoke more sense than a lot of the managers we’ve had in the past, he’s passionate about the game and City, and with knowing that the pressure is not on him for instant success, he can say what he really thinks about players when they are doing good or bad.

The signings he’s made have been good on the whole (Creaney and Frontzeck excepted), he inherited a large squad not good enough for the Premiership and on long contracts; it takes time to weed these players out, he needs time to get things right from the juniors right through to the first team, yes and I will say he could do a lot worse than follow the Reds’ way of doing business with the young lads. There’s not many managers hit the silverware in their first or even second season – just look at Ferguson’s record when he came to United.

I’ll be first to say it hasn’t worked after the next three or four seasons, but we’ve had seventeen managers since the war, for God’s sake let’s change tack for once and have some stability and get a strong base for the future. Let’s get behind the manager and the team in the next three crucial games, but come what may, relegation or not, I’m sure this is the right way for City to progress in the future with a sound club financially and top players like Rösler and Kinkladze, who wear the Blue shirt with pride.

Keep the faith, Terry Thiele (


Why is it that City continually tease us and mock us by tickling the relegation zone with a team of average to excellent players. Every year we are promised that the new arrivals show great promise and that this season’s new manager is the one to bring City the glory which we the supporters and the club deserve. We must be the most loyal supporters in the world, after watching Match of the Day last night (8/4/96) I was left wondering what the Leeds fans were complaining about. OK they’ve got Brian Deane and Worthington in their side but they’ve been in Europe, a Cup final and they’re not going to get relegated. City’s only chance of getting into Europe is if Niall Quinn enters the Eurovision for Ireland. I hate to moan, it’s been a long season interspersed with golden moments from Gio but in the end we could be playing Grimsby next year and the big matches will not be against Liverpool or the other crowd but against Birmingham and Norwich. The worst thing is that it will mean watching Elton Welsby again.

Andrew Mcgay (


Unknown Internet author: To the tune of Oasis’ Wonderwall…

Today will be another day I wish I’d never been a Blue
I’m sure we saw it all before when we went down to division 2
I don’t believe that any team has played the way we do,
Apart from Slough.

Last week we had a bad defeat
that we really could have done without
Felt sure that we were gonna score,
but again we left the field with nowt
I don’t believe that Bill Shank-er-ley could stop us going down,
Nor could Don Howe

And all the roads to Wemb-er-ley are winding
We ain’t got any silverware for shining
We haven’t won a single thing for over 20 years
And we won’t do now
Cos maybe, we should have got Liam Brady
But after all we got Alan Ball

Today was gonna be the day when I thought we’d sign someone new
But the deal crashed, not enough cash,
and he’d only ever played for Crewe
I don’t believe that anybody would sign in their right mind

And all the shots we have on goal go wider
No one ever seems to play a blinder
There are many teams that I would love to see us beat
But I can’t see how
Cos maybe, we should have got Richard Madeley
But after all we got Alan Ball.

Robert Watson (


Wed 10 Apr


Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Manchester United     34     22    7    5     63    32        73
Newcastle United      33     21    4    8     61    35        67
Liverpool             34     19    8    7     66    31        65
Aston Villa           34     18    8    8     51    31        62
Arsenal               34     16    9    9     46    30        57
Tottenham Hotspur     34     15   10    9     45    35        55
Everton               35     15    9   11     57    41        54
Nottingham Forest     33     14   11    8     45    43        53
Blackburn Rovers      34     15    6   13     49    41        51
West Ham United       34     13    7   14     40    47        46
Chelsea               34     11   12   11     39    39        45
Middlesbrough         35     11   10   14     34    44        43
Leeds United          33     12    6   15     38    48        42
Sheffield Wednesday   34     10    8   16     45    54        38
Wimbledon             34      9   10   15     51    64        37
Southampton           34      7   10   17     30    50        31
Manchester City       35      7   10   18     29    56        31
Queens Park Rangers   35      8    6   21     35    53        30
Coventry City         34      6   12   16     39    60        30
Bolton Wanderers      35      8    5   22     38    67        29


With thanks to Soccernet


Club Questions:

Thanks to Andy (x2), George, Peter, Richard, Mark, Jeremy, Ricky, Paul (x2), Malcolm, Huw, James, Tony, Matt, Martin,The Mole, Rob, Barry, Steve, Ken & Terry.

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 #184