Newsletter #188

Next game, Aston Villa away, Saturday 27th April 1996


The new sponsors for the shirt should be the Milk Marketing Board (the way we’re going, we’ll be able to feature in a remake of that old commercial with the two young football-mad lads:

“if yer don’t drink yer milk, yer’ll only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley.”

“Accrington Stanley, who’s thar?”


I think Man City would fit in quite neatly there.

Heidi Pickup (


On Tuesday 7th May Manchester City are supposed to be playing Wrexham in Cliff Sear’s testimonial at the Racecourse Ground. It is yet to be confirmed: it all depends on Wrexham’s progress into the play-offs. If it does go ahead then hopefully it will be some sort of celebration as we may have secured our position in the Premier League just two days before. Alternatively it could be the last time we see Kinky in a sky blue shirt. It won’t be all ticket but if anyone wants any further details or wants to know the best places for a drink then use this link.

Apparently Chris Armstrong, Gary Bennett and possibly Ian Rush or Mark Hughes could be playing.

Brian Worrall (


The identity of the mystery “world class player” referred to by Francis Lee has now been revealed; it’s a third Georgian, captain of the national team, Kachaber Zchadadse, a defender currently playing for Eintracht Frankfurt.

On a different note, Alan Ball has refuted rumours that Eike Immel will be leaving the club at the end of the season. This is the first I’ve heard of any such rumour! Staying with goalkeepers, Andy Dibble is apparently wanted by U.S. Major League Soccer side New England, managed by Frank Stapleton. Dibble is thought to be surplus to requirements at Maine Road and is expected to leave the club at the end of the season. Stuart Pearson, now a soccer agent (and GMR’s remarkably unbiased IMO reporter for the Reds) has apparently approached Dibble on Stapleton’s behalf. Pearson also watched City’s reserves beat Port Vale 2-1, both goals coming from Chris Greenacre.

The Mole


  • He had a reputation for being a bundle of energy. What he lacked in size, he made up for in his ability to run all over the pitch for 90 minutes without a break. He seemed to be tireless.
  • He was one of the squad that won the ’66 World Cup. As a lad, I remember looking at the football kit he wore during the final. He had loaned it to a local store in Walkden, near Manchester, and they had it displayed in the window.
  • And wasn’t ’66 the year we won the 2nd division championship?

Dave Smith (



Height: 1.68m
Weight: 64Kg (in his playing days)

CLUB                  YEARS  APPS     GOALS
Blackpool           1962-66   146        46 (total from 2 spells)
Evertob             1966-71   208        66
Arsenal             1971-76   177        45
Southampton         1976-80   195        11 (total from 2 spells)
Vancouver Whitecaps 1980        ?         ?
Blackpool           1980-81                 (player-manager)
Southampton         1981-82
Eastern Athletic    1982        ?         ? (in Hong Kong)
Bristol Rovers      1983       17         2
Total                         743       170

Alan Ball was born on 12th May 1945 in Farnworth, near Bolton and was football mad from his earliest days. Growing into a talented player, he had trials with Wolves and Bolton but was rejected by both for being too small before eventually signing for Blackpool with the help of some persuasion by his father, Alan Ball senior. He made his début against Liverpool at Anfield in 1962, aged 17 and became a first team regular within 12 months.

He suffered from a short temper, especially in his younger days and was often booked for aggressive tackling or arguing with the referee. He had a “good engine” as people would say these days, showing tireless running all over the pitch. Despite his small stature, he was courageous and never afraid to get stuck in. In summary, a “pocket battleship” who always gave 100%. Never lacking in self-confidence, he’d add letters to his name when signing autographs, e.g. “Alan J Ball WIN”

His career progressed rapidly and he made his England début in 1965 against Yugoslavia. He went on to play in the World Cup in 1966 (as he occasionally is known to mention); his best game was the Final itself where he particularly excelled in extra time and set up the third goal for Geoff Hurst.

Ball felt his career was stagnating at Blackpool and so he moved to Everton for £112,000, a British record fee (there was interest from a number of other clubs including some in Italy too). Top scorer in his first two seasons with Everton, he was back at Wembley in 1968, losing to West Bromwich Albion in the F.A. Cup Final, although he made up for that disappointment with a League Championship in 1970.

He continued to be a regular with England, amassing a total of 72 caps and scoring 8 goals in the process. He was arguably England’s best player in the 1970 World Cup Finals when England tried unsuccessfully to defend their world crown. Don Revie made him England captain but after 5 more appearances his international career ended when he broke a curfew.

He joined Arsenal in December 1971 for £220,000, another British record fee. He was a top scorer with the Gunners too before moving on to Southampton after 177 appearances. As captain, Ball led Southampton back to the first division in 1978. Tow years later he left for a brief spell with Vancouver Whitecaps before becoming player-manager of his first club, Blackpool. However, things didn’t work out (to say the least) and he returned to Southampton after a few months. He left again in 1982 for a brief spell in Hong Kong before ending his playing days at Bristol Rovers.

Summary of managerial career:

Blackpool   1980-81  Div 3: 23/24 - Relegated.
Portsmouth  1984-85  Div 2:  4/22 - Missed promotion by goal diff.
            1985-86  Div 2:  4/22 - Missed promotion by 3 pts.
            1986-87  Div 2:  2/22 - Promoted.
            1987-88  Div 1: 19/21 - Relegated.
            1988-89  Div 2: 20/24 - Avoided relegation by 9 pts.
Colchester  1989     Div 4: 24/24 - Relegated.
(Assistant manager)
Stoke City  1989-90  Div 2: 24/24 - Relegated.
            1990-91  Div 3: 14/24
Exeter City 1991-92  Div 3: 20/24 - Avoided relegation by 2 pts.
            1992-93  Div 2: 19/24 - Avoided relegation by 3 pts.
            1993-94  Div 2: 22/24 - Relegated.
Southampton 1994-95  Prem:  10/22
Man City    1995-96  Prem:  ??/20 - Relegated?

N.B. Ball wasn’t in charge for full seasons during some of these years.

Paul Howarth (


Just thought I would follow up a couple of points that were raised in MCIVTA 186 & MCIVTA 187. I heard from within the club that Rösler was an arrogant basket and cordially disliked. Of course he’s not the first German to be suspected of that fault, nor the first one that ever flattered to deceive. Those who know their history will remember the Third Reich got off to a flying start. It’s interesting to see City going back to Timperley as they used to use that ground over 20 years ago for training when the Maine Road pitch was a swamp. Allison took them there.

We just had Mike Summerbee and Norman Whiteside out here doing a talk show and I can recommend the gig. They had both been swallowing truth drug all afternoon before going live at about 9.30pm and I thought Big Norman would struggle with his patter; however, to his credit he was both articulate and very funny. Buzzer of course had no problem having had an extra 30 years to become inured to the affects of alcohol but when I spoke to him next day after they had carried on ’til 4am he at least admitted that was a mistake, caused because he forgot he wasn’t young anymore… Apparently Norman is doing a turn at St. Peters Club, Firbank Road, Wythenshawe in the near future, at least according to my mum who read it in the parish magazine. When I asked him about it he turned a bit white and said something like “bollocks.” Don’t be surprised if he turns up absent that night as it appears he did somewhere else in Wythenshawe once before and it all went off. I must admit it doesn’t sound like the quaint old Wythenshawe I know and love. I suppose it might have been in the Conservative club though!

Finally, Alan Ball was a terrific player, the type everybody hated and wished was on their side. He never gave up and was a battler. Sounds just the type City need at the moment, not a whingeing self-indulgent posturing goose-stepper.Anyway, good luck to you all in the final stages, Manchester needs and deserves 2 teams in the Premier league.

P.S. Spare a thought for us Reds who are going through similar agonies at the moment… not. Good luck, keep dreaming.

Leo Fewtrell, Wythenshawe Exile (


I pulled out some video of the City vs. Spurs match at Maine Road last year and the late season away fixture at Blackburn. The fact is that the City side on display those days was far superior to anything AB has managed to put on the pitch this term. Lomas out of midfield, long ball on the wing (!) to Buzzer, cross to Walshie’s head, parry by the ‘keeper, Quinn to knock it in. That sort of play has been sadly lacking this year. The opportunistic squad which dumped Blackburn on the road bears no resemblance to the confused lot I’ve watched this year. The principle difference is in the manager’s style. Perhaps it’s too much to ask Ball to try a winger? The fact is Horton did more with a supposedly inferior squad than Ball has done this term.

I think Ball must go. If Horton was sacked for nearly getting the team sent down, surely Ball must go if it becomes reality?

Just one view from the Stateside.

Dave Bara (102620.1663@CompuServe.COM)


What has Old Trafford on a Saturday afternoon at 4.45pm got in common with Wormwood Scrubs?

They are both full of cockneys trying to get out.

Nigel Bate (


This week has been a quiet time at Maine Road with many players away on international duties. There is no team news available yet for Saturday’s trip to Villa. There weren’t many questions this week but here they are:


Tony Farrar wrote…

Is there any chance of setting up an international or European tournament at Maine Road or involving City in the pre-season? This would be similar to the tournament which involved City, United, PSV Eindhoven and either Fluminese or Flamengo, which happened about 8 years ago. With our international players would there be a chance to play say Dynamo Tblisi, Alania Vladikavkaz and Stuttgart? A similar idea would to be to play say English clubs like Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday and have a Northern tournament. I have not mentioned Newcastle and United here because they probably wouldn’t be interested unless they were playing Ajax or someone with a similar profile.

Our contact tells me that until the club’s destiny is sealed, nothing will be considered. The immediate aim is to stay in the Premiership; that is the only point of focus for the time being.


Mark Helsby asked, (some time ago)

Only a quick one this, but after listening to Radio 5 on the way home on Saturday I was wondering if Stuart Hall is a Blue or not?

This is the outline of what I was told:
Well yes, it seems that he is. Being a journalist though, he has to temper his enthusiasm to give the impression of neutrality. I was given a quote of Stuart’s by the club: That Manchester City Football Club is “A theatre of base comedy.” Make of that what you will!


That’s about it, but please; I really want to see those questions folks.

Steve Bolton (


Former City chairman (and still a significant shareholder) Peter Swales is in an intensive care unit after suffering two heart attacks. He is said to be improving.

The Mole


Although it may be a while since Garry Flitcroft left the club this is the first opportunity I have had to use the net since, and I am going to use it to express my disappointment at his sale.

When he first emerged into the team he immediately showed us his ability and got the Player of the Season award after only appearing for about half a season. At this point he was playing in midfield with Steve McMahon, and so he was much more able to play an attacking r^ocirc;le.

Many comments about him say that his career at City had stalled towards the end of last season and throughout this. However this has coincided with his midfield partners being Gaudino and Kinkladze. Whilst I do enjoy seeing such flair players in the team it has seemed to me that the more responsibility for defensive duties has fallen on his shoulders the less Garry performed.

His best performances over this period have been when he has been allowed to attack, and there was a considerable difference in his performances pre-season, where there was no “luxury” midfielder alongside him, and those in the Premier.

IMHO I think that he found himself pressured into playing in a manner which stifled him as an attacking talent, and led to his embarrassingly low strike rate. I honestly think if there had been a defensive midfielder signed after Macca left that Garry would now be an England international.

Sorry for that tirade; I just had to get it out of my system.

Also, did anyone get in to the derby in time to see the early warm-ups? A certain Mr Coton stood by the Kippax kicking the ball to Rudolf for about half an hour. I can see why you left Tony, you’re really making a name for yourself at that club. He took some stick from the crowd, and I’m not surprised. It really showed where TC is at United, not where he should be, a top level goalkeeper. A ball boy could have done what he was doing.

S Al-Hamdani (


Call me naïve but surely, when managing a football team, the difficult bits are selection, training, tactics and coaching. Surely simply avoiding hurting egos is the easy bit?

Rösler and Quinn are clearly pretty reasonable, articulate people. From what I’ve read of him Quinn in particular is pretty self-deprecating and modest about his achievements – and Rösler probably is as well, in German. They are rich beyond my most fabulous dreams, do the job millions would love to do, have good relationships with their “owners” (the fans) and don’t have to work overmuch. It must have taken a hell of a lot to get them as jarred as they obviously are.

Has this proved a problem for AB? Nope…

I do appreciate what Ball and Franny are trying to do, on and off the field, but AB’s man-management techniques must be about the worst in the western world. The thing is, no-one would care if he was the genius he clearly thinks that he is, but he isn’t, and he appears to be backfiring badly. When he does praise his players, he does so either so extravagantly that it’s impossible to believe him (e.g. Martin “first ten million pound British player” Phillips) or so faintly that it comes across as criticism (remember him on Kinkladze’s wonder goal vs. Soton – “He can do that.”). And all too often he criticises them, in the mass media when he’d be better off shutting up. I can’t help thinking that if he took a little more time explaining and a little less time ordering, we’d be now comfortably ensconced in mid-table mediocrity bliss.

Niall Quinn has gone on record as saying that it took the team half a season to work out what it was he wanted them to do. Clearly, not one of the world’s best communicators.

Last-minute team selections must be a bit jarring – but Keegan never declares his team any sooner either. The difference is that Keegan has a real gift for getting the best out of attackers and giving them the confidence they need to play well. They are able to cope with the strain because they know that he still rates them even if they aren’t picked. Rösler and Quinn know that every time they go out, whatever they try, they will be criticised for what doesn’t work rather than praised for stuff which might.

On a brighter note, Gerry Creaney is apparently doing nicely at Oldham.

Roly Allen (


I am sending this message to you, as I believe you may be a contact for your e-mail football list service. Please could you ensure the following message is relayed to your list.

Last Summer the Leeds Utd e-mail list formed a team and played a couple of 11-a-side matches, one of which was against Internet Hotspurs (following on from the success of this, Hotspurs have played several other matches). After the game I announced a plan (on BBC radio) for a knockout cup this year. Instead, I have decided to run a one-day tournament in the middle of Euro 96 called – EuroNet 96! This will probably take place on Sunday 16th June 1996, in Nottingham, or some other convenient location in the Midlands.

I am hoping to attract up to 12 teams, mainly from the UK, but hopefully with the addition of some European teams (probably representing their countries rather than clubs) made up of internetters who are across here for Euro 96.

It is the day after England vs. Scotland at wembley, so perhaps we may interest some marauding jocks into forming a Scottish team on their way home?

A suggested format would be 4 groups of 3, playing 20 minutes each way. Semi-final and final being 15 minutes each way.

There would be some pre-qualifying matches beforehand if more than 12 teams want to take part.

We’ll try to get sponsors (McEwans were interested when I spoke to them last summer) to pay for as much as possible and I would imagine there will be some media interest as well.

If there is no interest from Euro teams, then an alternative date after or before Euro 96 might be considered.

I will let you know of plans as they happen, but any comments would be helpful.

I would be interested to know if your list would like to take part and the e-mail address of your list contact if it isn’t you.

Dave Walmsley, aka Voice of Football, via Adam Houghton (


City’s bid to sign Georgian sweeper Kachaber Zchadadse looks set to fail according to reports in the German press. Zchadadse, currently playing for Eintracht Frankfurt but out of contract at the end of the season, is also wanted by F.C. Schalke and another unnamed Premiership club. The player was quoted as saying that he expects to be joining a top European club in the Summer, with a view to playing in European competition. Unless he’s thinking of the Anglo-Italian Cup, that’s not going to be us. After Georgia’s 5-0 defeat in Romania on Wednesday night, maybe it’s not such a bad thing anyway?

Paul Howarth (


I have received several more requests for spare tickets for both the Villa and Liverpool games. If anyone has any spares and would like to see a fellow MCIVTAer have them, please let me know. I will then forward your offers to the people concerned in the order that I received their mail. Thanks

Steve (


Club Questions:

Thanks to Heidi, Paul, Brian, The Mole, Dave (X3), Leo,Nigel, S Al-Hamdani, Roly and Adam.

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.

Steve Bolton,

Newsletter #188