Newsletter #189

Firstly, apologies for the delay in this issue; U-net went down yesterday evening so I wasn’t able to log on! All’s well now so here goes with this issue:

So, as predicted by some a long time ago, the agony lasts to the final game of the season. An excellent result on Saturday made crucial by results elsewhere. So, here we find ourselves once again, last game of the season, to stay up we need at least a draw and most likely a win; not impossible but attendance at the game is only advisable after a visit to your local GP for some cardiovascular drugs.

Thanks go to Stephen for taking over MCIVTA for a week and to Paul for juggling with the mailer.

It was wierd being out of the country (Germany) and thus out of the action for a week, even though there was precious little action as far as the Blues were concerned. The saving grace was that I didn’t see a single Rag for 6 days; apparently the lure of the Theatre of Dreams has yet to penetrate to Rheinland Pfalz. Things returned to normality with a jolt at Sudbury House in South Derbyshire on Friday when I came face to face with seven children on a school visit, three of whom were proudly sporting Swamp replikits!

This one goes out to 748

Next game, Liverpool at home, Sunday 5th May 1996


ASTON VILLA (0) vs. (1) MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 27th April 1996

“There’s only one Alex Williams”

The Villa fanzine “Heroes and Villains” previewed the match as follows: “A match against a team that isn’t very good, to say the least, ought to be a fine and fitting way to end a glorious season. An easy win in good weather in front of a big crowd should be the order of the day, with the added bonus of seeing the league cup being paraded around the pitch after the match. There’s just one small thing threatening to upset all these plans though. We’re playing Manchester City. They need the points in their relegation battle. And as we all know, Villa and City have got a noble and upstanding tradition of giving the points to whichever team needs them. I hope that things have gone well for City and they don’t have to rely on us to help them out, because we certainly won’t this time. If there’s one club at the bottom of the league that I really hope stay up it’s City, it’s a great day out there and their supporters deserve better than they’ve been getting. Villa to win, Coventry to lose and both teams to celebrate the relegation of Sky Blue City” [that’s Coventry City, in case you didn’t realise].

So, mixed feelings for the Villa fans who clearly remember Keith Curle’s totally unnecessary handball that got them back into the title race a few seasons ago. Arriving at the ground a little before 2pm, I headed for the Witton Arms but was denied entry as it was already full to capacity; a large crowd of City and Villa fans basked in the sunshine outside the pub, getting their supplies from the local off license instead.

Inside the ground the atmosphere was quite relaxed considering our impending doom. The Villa fans were in end of season mood and the City fans were there more in hope than expectation. Alex Williams took his place in the seats right behind the goal amongst the rest of the fans and was greeted with “there’s only one Alex Williams.” I’m sure he was blushing…

City lined up with three centre-backs, Curle, Symons and Brightwell; Summerbee returned as right wing-back and Brown switched to left wing-back, replacing Frontzeck who was relegated to the bench. Clough, Lomas and Kinkladze played in midfield and Quinn and Rösler were up front, so no place in the starting line up for Kavelashvili. Villa were without Southgate, Charles and Yorke, but with only one home defeat all season, would still provide stiff opposition.

For the first 10 minutes or so, Villa looked to be up for it and they pinned City into their own half but didn’t really trouble Eike Immel. After that City came more into the game but there was little in the way of goalmouth opportunities at either end for the first half hour, apart from a few speculative long-shots from Villa which weren’t on target. Kinkladze had a few runs at the Villa defence but they all ended with either a pass or a tackle at the edge of the penalty area and nothing came from them. The first save of any note that had to be made was by Eike Immel; Steve Lomas intercepted a cross but headed the ball powerfully towards his own goal. Fortunately it went straight to the ‘keeper who held the ball well.

Villa nearly opened the scoring again a few minutes later as the game burst into life; Kinkladze was penalised for his harmless-looking challenge on Johnson just outside the City area and the free kick was passed sideways for Wright to strike a powerful shot against the underside of the bar with Immel well beaten. This seemed to spark City into life and within the space of a couple of minutes we’d had two decent scoring chances. The first was a powerful 20-yard shot from Rösler which Bosnich couldn’t hold. Quinn couldn’t convert the rebound but he would have been offside in any case. The second chance came the way of Gio after Quinn tackled Ehiogu on the halfway line. The Georgian ran straight for goal but was forced wide by Paul McGrath and he sliced his shot high and wide. However, City’s main concern appeared to be to keep a clean sheet, and with the prolific Yorke missing, this looked a realistic proposition at half time.

“Ooh Aah Paul McGrath”

City came out with a more positive attitude in the second half, which, combined with Villa’s end-of-season apathy and a lack of ideas from their foward players, resulted in City having the better of the second period. Bosnich failed to hold a cross and when Clough hooked the ball back across the penalty area, Rösler attempted an acrobatic overhead kick whilst the ‘keeper was stranded; unfortunately he couldn’t keep his effort down and the ball flew over the bar. At the other end, a header from Savo Milosevic bounced wickedly off the sun-baked surface and had Immel scrambling to palm the ball away before it could reach the top corner.

City then forced a stream of corners which were all aimed deep towards Niall Quinn’s head. The lanky Irishman won most of them; Kit Symons collected one of the knock-ons and hit a powerful shot towards goal but it was blocked at the near post. Summerbee then decided to have a shot instead of crossing; his effort was well held by Bosnich though. The breakthrough finally came in the 70th minute. Brown charged down the left wing and hit a deep cross towards Quinn who headed the ball back across goal for Steve Lomas, who hit a strong header goalwards from six yards. McGrath tried to divert it wide but only managed to deflect the ball the opposite side of Bosnich, who had no chance. Twenty minutes to go; would we fall apart as usual?

At first the answer seemed to be “yes”. Almost straight from the restart Johnson broke free but was brilliantly tackled 12 yards from goal by man-of-the-match Michael Brown. There were a few half-chances before the end which probably looked worse from our vantage point low at the opposite end of the ground but City held on valiantly, without looking particularly uncomfortable. The closing minutes seemed to go by in slow motion but thankfully referee David Elleray played a negligible amount of injury time and the game was won. Cue massed celebrations from the Blues, most of whom weren’t aware that Coventry and Southampton had also won. Most of the Villa fans stayed behind at the end (it was their last home game of the season) to watch the League Cup being paraded around the pitch; this made for a conveniently quick exit back onto the M6 North to Manchester.

We’ve now got to repeat the trick against Liverpool on Sunday and hope that one of our rivals slips up. I was resigned to the drop after Easter but we’re still hanging in there. City wouldn’t have it any other way, would they?

Paul Howarth (


Francis Lee today dismissed reports that Alan Ball’s job is under threat as the team struggles against relegation. Lee was infuriated by claims that Ball’s future was being discussed by City directors at a meeting of the club’s powerful PLC board. “I don’t know where these stories come from and I don’t want to comment about it,” fumed Lee. “I had 18 months of this when people were trying to stir up trouble for our previous manager Brian Horton. I’m not going to have it again.”

The Mole


At the F.A. disciplinary hearing in Leeds today, Keith Curle was found not guilty of misconduct regarding the incidents with Faustino Asprilla in the game against Newcastle at Maine Road. Asprilla was found guilty on both charges (i.e. the elbow and the head-butt) but was let off with the surprisingly lenient punishment of a £10,000 fine and a one match ban (which will be the first game of next season).

The Mole


I was thinking about who I’d be voting for for “player of the year” and it occurred to me that as well as having our own poll for this as per last season, we could have quite an extensive end of season poll, featuring “Best home & away performances”, “Best newcomer” etc. We could possibly combine it with a survey, e.g. how many home/away/TV matches did you see etc.

Just a thought. Of course, someone will need to organise it …

Paul Howarth (


I know the whole thing is still on a knife edge, but you’ve got to hand it to the lads for their second half performance against Villa – and especially Michael Brown.

What a prospect he is. He was terrific going forward and his cross for the goal was excellent. But his tackle to stop Tommy Johnson scoring – shortly after City had gone ahead – was outstanding.

Despite the lukewarm reviews of the game on the radio and TV, I thought we were well worth the three points. If only we had shown this sort of determination earlier in the season.

I was sat in the Trinity Road stand in a sea of Villa fans. To their credit, they tolerated my frenzied celebrations in the 69th minute good-naturedly. And it was interesting to talk to some of them. They rated Kinkladze, of course, but for some reason they spoke highly of Curle. But remember that these are people who think ‘Savo’ was well worth the money at £3.5 million. I think he (Milosevic) is slow, cumbersome and not in the least bit dangerous.

They also absolutely loathed Staunton, which also surprised me. I thought he was always a pretty useful defender.

Oh, and some claimed they were quite happy for City to win on Saturday. They are desperate for Coventry to go down and were not impressed to hear Atkinson’s mob had somehow won at Wimbledon.

Let’s just hope their wishes are granted next Sunday!

Keith Hursthouse, Stroud, Glos, UK (


I can personally guarantee City’s safety. A month ago I had two recurring dreams over a week. The first was Southampton beating U****d with four goals being scored. The second was that City would beat Liverpool with three goals being scored. Kinkladze got two. I thought I’d better share this with someone as there is a white van pulling up outside!

Also, please put me in contact with whoever organises the MCIVTA football games that I have been reading about. I am a student in Leicester and live 20 minutes from Maine Road whilst at home. I can play a bit and I am schooled in the Jan Molby/Nigel Clough technique of football (walk pass walk).

Gareth Rogers (


City need us. From the moment our heroes run out onto the hallowed turf to the final whistle on Sunday May 5th they need us to be behind them. So let’s forget about all the things that have gone wrong and all the things that we don’t agree with. We can be that extra player; we, the supporters, can make a difference. I was so disappointed to hear certain players being booed; they are there to do a job, the manager has chosen them to play for our great club. Whether we agree with the manager’s decision or not the very least we can do is get behind our team. When I take my seat in the Kippax on Sunday I want you to help me to help them. Maybe some of our beloved players, and perhaps the manager, will not be with us next season but we will be there won’t we? Players and managers may come and go but real supporters are forever. Keep up the good work, City need us.

Mark Edwards (


Here’s another list of 10 Reasons Why from the Independent:

10 Reasons why Manchester City fans should be particularly nice to Liverpool this week:

  1. The Reds might take pity and spare them the ignominy of relegation next Sunday.
  2. Alan Ball needs no encouragement to go for a complete set – relegation with just about every club he has managed.
  3. Stoke fans might be spared from crossing his path again.
  4. As might Portsmouth’s.
  5. Liverpool could save their energies for the other half of Manchester a week later at Wembley.
  6. Otherwise Maine Road Masochists would be denied further beatings by the team they love to hate.
  7. The Merseysiders did after all let them have a quality midfielder in Nigel Clough.
  8. The First Division with all due respect, is no place for the likes of Georgiou Kinkladze.
  9. Francis Lee would be left with egg on his face after backing Ball without reservation.
  10. And Brian Horton would have the opportunity to embarrass him still further unless Huddersfield should pass them on the way up.

For those of you who didn’t get a ticket, the City team turned out in force for the Oasis concert at the weekend but then again so did Nottm Forest and Man Utd. Flitcroft was there (well he’s not doing much else at the minute) and seemed to be drinking lager for England – never without a glass in his hand for about 7 hours. There were a lot of other sports stars and showbiz types in the Main stand – a bit different from Saturday afternoon when the biggest star in the Main stand by far is Bernard Manning!

Geoff St George (


Just wondering if somebody out there could give us a “concert report” for the next edition, on this weekend’s Oasis concerts at the Academy; if they wore their City shirts, any references to City, players on stage etc. that sort of thing? Is it true they told the Rag players to p**s off and get there own tickets again whilst the City players will be VIPs? Let’s just pray it’s not the only thing City fans can enjoy this weekend. I’m praying we win and Coventry and Southampton get beat this weekend. If we do win I’ll be “mad for it” as Liam would say!

Upcoming games on international satellite Leeds vs. Newcastle on 29th and Forest vs. Newcastle on Thurs 2nd.

Paul Whittaker (


Well not that any of you care or anything, but I’m so excited/nervous I need to let it out. A year of exile Stateside is finally coming to an end for me this very weekend. I am returning to Manchester on Sunday morning. Timing eh? – About as close as Alan Ball’s teamsheet is to his chest. Straight from the airport to Maine Road (via the pub of course). See you there, I’ll be the one with the bloodshot eyes and no fingernails. Let’s hope it’s worth it. So here’s wishing everyone a great day on Sunday and hoping that Sheffield Wednesday go down (and we get to keep Uwe). And finally, just a word of thanks to everyone especially Ashley/Paul/Adam/Steve for all your sterling work in keeping me in touch. I owe you numerous pints each.

P.S. If anyone is ever in Chicago, the “Hidden Shamrock” (one of only two pubs that shows footy here) has a resident Blue called Ed. He looks like he should be in the Bay City Rollers, but don’t let that put you off. Go and visit him, he’s a nice lad and I do feel guilty leaving him alone here amidst the usual nauseating sea of red.

David A McLaughlin (


What’s the difference between a Man Utd fan and a shopping trolley?
A shopping trolley has a mind of its own.

Rob Llewellyn (


Sat Apr 27 1996

Queens Park Rangers 3   West Ham United   0
Liverpool           1   Middlesbrough     0
Wimbledon           0   Coventry City     2
Bolton Wanderers    0   Southampton       1
Sheffield Wednesday 2   Everton           5
Aston Villa         0   Manchester City   1
Tottenham Hotspur   1   Chelsea           1
Blackburn Rovers    1   Arsenal           1

Sun Apr 28 1996

Manchester United   5   Nottingham Forest 0

Mon Apr 29 1996

Leeds United        0   Newcastle United  1

Mon 29 Apr

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Manchester United     37     24    7    6     70    35        79
Newcastle United      36     24    4    8     64    35        76
Liverpool             36     20    9    7     68    32        69
Aston Villa           37     18    9   10     52    34        63
Arsenal               36     16   11    9     47    31        59
Everton               37     16   10   11     63    44        58
Blackburn Rovers      37     17    7   13     58    45        58
Tottenham Hotspur     36     15   12    9     46    36        57
Nottingham Forest     36     14   12   10     46    53        54
Chelsea               37     12   14   11     44    41        50
West Ham United       37     14    8   15     42    51        50
Middlesbrough         37     11   10   16     35    47        43
Leeds United          36     12    6   18     39    54        42
Wimbledon             37     10   10   17     55    70        40
Sheffield Wednesday   37     10    9   18     47    60        39
Coventry City         37      8   13   16     42    60        37
Southampton           37      9   10   18     34    52        37
Manchester City       37      9   10   18     31    56        37
Queens Park Rangers   37      9    6   22     38    54        33
Bolton Wanderers      37      8    5   24     38    69        29

With thanks to Soccernet


Club Questions:

Thanks to The Mole, Paul, Keith, Mark, Dave, Geoff, Gareth & Rob.

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 #189