Newsletter #198

More rumours about our captain and big Niall but nothing concrete as yet. The main thing in this issue is a poll that Paul, Ken and Mark Edwards have put together. This is quite a big effort on their part so please give it a bash if can spare the time. There’s also opinion and a Why Blue (more welcome!).

Next game, Athlone Town FC, Friday 19 July 1996


GMR reported this morning (Thursday) that Sunderland were expected to make a £3.5 million bid for the combined talents of Keith Curle and Niall Quinn. Could be just another rumour of course.

The Mole


Stephen Lomas recently won the Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year award. I believe that is what it is called and covered all sports – not just football. Is there no-one better? Well I guess it may have been following his injuries the year before that he has come back and re-established himself with Manchester City and Northern Ireland. This is true!

I suppose it was because Keith Gillespie wasn’t the bookies’ favourite ๐Ÿ˜‰

Robert Watson (

I heard this before but no-one seemed to know if it was true!



Francis Lee today denied the rumours that Sunderland were bidding for Niall Quinn and Keith Curle, saying that no offers had been received. “If we get a bid, the players will be the first to know”, he said.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough are rumoured to be interested in Michael Brown, who plays for England U-21s again in the Toulon Tournament this evening. Ray Kelly has been named in the Republic of Ireland U21 squad for their game against Hungary tonight too.

The Mole


Manchester City chairman Francis Lee has denied reports suggesting newly-promoted Sunderland have made a bid for Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn and captain Keith Curle. Lee has hinted that there could be a clearout of top players from Maine Road during the summer following the club’s relegation from the Premiership. However, he stressed that the club had received no approach from Sunderland manager Peter Reid.

“No-one has made an inquiry for Quinn or Curle. If they did, we would inform the player concerned,” said Lee. The future of a number of Manchester City players will be decided when manager Alan Ball returns from Canada, where he is holiday and is also talent-spotting.

“We have had two or three weeks to let things sink in since relegation. I will be talking to the manager when he gets back,” said Lee.

`We’ll have to look at what we’re doing next season and see where the changes are going to be made.”

Curle was Manchester City’s most expensive defender when he signed from Wimbledon for £2.5 million, while Quinn was rescued from Arsenal reserves by manager Howard Kendall for a bargain £900,000.

Mark Henshall (


Well Summer’s nearly upon us and it’s time to look back on the season we’ve just endured (don’t worry, it’s not compulsory). We’ve had Player of the Month and Player of the Year votes before, but since it’s the end of the season and there’s nothing else to do, we thought of a few extra categories too. Not only that, since we’re soliciting responses from a lot of people, we thought it would be interesting to find out a bit more about our subscribers and their opinions whilst we’re at it. This is just for interest, overall results to be published in a future edition of MCIVTA. If there are some questions you don’t want to answer (or are unable to answer, e.g. if you don’t know what the ticket prices are!), just ignore that question and go on to the next one. We’d like as many responses as possible as the results are more meaningful that way, so please try to spare us a few minutes of your time.


  1. City player of the year?
  2. City young (21 or under at start of season) player of the year?
  3. Most improved City player?
  4. Best match?
  5. Best individual performance by a City player?
  6. Best City team performance?
  7. Worst City team performance?
  8. Worst City player?
  9. Best opposing side?
  10. Best opposing player?
  11. Worst opposing side?
  12. Worst opposing player?
  13. Best away fans at Maine Road?
  14. Best performance by City fans, home or away?
  15. Best atmosphere at Maine Rpad (game)?
  16. Best new City song/chant this season?
  17. Highlight of the season (both off the pitch and on)?
  18. Worst experience of the season?
  19. Most ridiculous comment by player/manager/or pundit?
  20. Biggest waste of money in the transfer market (not necessarily City)?
  21. Goal of the season (as if we need to ask)?


  1. Where do you live (City/Country)?
  2. Number of games attended in 1995/96
  3. Were you a season ticket holder in 1995/96?
  4. Will you be a season ticket holder next season?
  5. Where is your “usual spot” at Maine Road?
  6. Opinion of facilities at Maine Road?
  7. Best away ground visited?
  8. Opinion of ticket distribution at Maine Road?
  9. If the National Stadium is built in Manchester, would you like City to move there?
  10. Are ticket prices too high/too low/about right?
  11. Who would you like to see City buy?
  12. Who would you like to see City sell?
  13. Should Ball go?
  14. Should Lee go?
  15. Favourite City fanzine (not MCIVTA)?
  16. Anything you would like to see in MCIVTA?
  17. What would you like City’s new away strip to look like?
  18. Favourite “other” football team?
  19. Will City win promotion next season?
  20. Any other comments?

The poll is being organised by myself, Ken Foster and Mark Edwards, with the task of counting the votes split between the three of us. However, all votes should be sent to me ( and I will then forward the votes on to Ken and Mark for counting and collation.

The results will hopefully be published around the end of June, in MCIVTA 206.

Paul Howarth (


A mate of mine was at the Northern Ireland vs. Germany game last night. He spoke to Steve Lomas afterwards. Apparently Lomas said that Maine Road wasn’t a happy ship (no surprise there) and that half the players don’t speak to each other (also no surprise, given that most of the squad is German and/or Georgian!). He said he was being head-hunted by Palace and Norwich. They can have his head, as long as the rest of his body stays at Maine Road.

Graham Mooney (


This is a mail to inform you that my page for Euro ’96 is up and running and can be found at

Thanks and please take advantage of the uploading facility for writing reports etc. during the tournament.

Shaggy (


This is your last chance to win a hard earned tenner by picking your 1,2,3,3 in Euro ’96 and emailing me your entry.

It would be nice to have a few more entries. We are not a long way into double figures yet.

Rules on

Jim Egan (


I have heard that the new away kit is basically white with a grape (i.e. maroon-ish) back and grape top fading down the shirt, to white… make of that what you will… I have also heard that the board are extremely dissatisfied with (M.U)mbro because of their links with The Team Of The Century and the millions of ££££££££s spent promoting them, to the exclusion of all their other clients. Expect a new kit manufacturer soon… probably the season after the coming one. City, as a lot of you probably know, have employed a designer, full time. It was too late for him to have any input into this new kit but expect City to revert to a more traditional look when the new agreement has been signed.

London Calling


Looked in the local rag today and was surprised to see that Alan Ball was here in Singapore conducting youth coaching clinics (therefore don’t expect Singapore to make any international impression for the next 15 years ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

There was an interview he gave the the local journos, mostly about England’s Euro’96 chances, and that the main reason that they would fail would be due to the local media. One interesting quote was on what could be England’s trump card, he replied “Team football, fire in the belly and great fan support. When we get all these together we are unbeatable. But will the press back us for once?” May be nice if he listened to his own words. At City he gets the great fan support but surely the fire in the belly and teamwork are the manager’s concerns?

Anyway, on City’s demise, AB gave the usual response: “A lot went wrong at the beginning of the season. I took over late, there was a new coach, a new assistant, no training ground, staff shortage, injuries [i.e. not my fault!]. We picked up two miserly points from 33 and never recovered [we did, but slipped up again!]. But we got better. And towards the end, we were decent [esp. against Wimbledon!]. We don’t deserve to go down to Division 1. We are superior for Division 1 football and we’ll be back to the top after one season. We’ll be back stronger because we had to take a step back to go forward [where have we heard this before?].”

As I mentioned in a previous edition, I thought AB should be sacked. I’m not confident in his abilities to take us back up and it scares me to hear him disassociating himself from the blame like this. Until he admits to himself that he has problems, he’ll never fix them [call me Freud!]. Anyway, it looks like we’re stuck with him and I’ll be more than happy to take a printout of this mail and eat it if AB takes us back up next year!

I guess that’s why they call it the Blues ..

Bluer by the day, Steve Slack (


Highlights from an article in The New Straits Times, Singapore:

Alan Ball recently arrived in Singapore, at the invitation of Snickers, to conduct football coaching clinics. He was here last year playing for a European side, which also included Ossie Ardiles in a charity seven-a-side football challenge. The whole tournament was a bit of a let down, maybe the only highlight was seeing Andy Booth (Huddersfield Town) and how good he was. Where is he now?

Alan Ball is picking England to reach the last four in Euro ’96 along with France, Germany and Russia. He agreed with the England manager’s selection. Also saying “There are two reasons why we should do well. First we are playing at home, and second, it is the passion of the people.” and he goes on to say “All of the England squad have been outstanding for their clubs, now they have to do it for their country.”

On the future of English football, he felt that the departure of TV was a waste. He said “Unfortunately in our country the politics of football, of life, has taken away the man we thought best for the game. We shoot ourselves in the foot in the English game. And the press… have done the game no good. They live for today. They have not backed the last four managers.”

On City’s relegation he said that things had started going wrong from the start of the season. “Two days before the start I had to go to Germany and sign on a goalkeeper. That is a measure of some of the problems we had from the staff to the players. By the time we got going it was too late. But we will be back. We are too strong for the first division,” he said. He also confirmed that his exciting signing, Georgi Kinkladze, was staying at Maine Road. “That is what I love about Georgians, they are loyal. We do not have enough loyal people left in the game.”

According to his fact file he has managed six clubs whilst only winning one major trophy, played for seven club sides and has won 72 England caps. His favourite teams are Everton and Liverpool.

So there you have it, take his quotes any way you like. For me I am changing my mind about backing England for success in Euro ’96 and putting the money to better use.

It is intersting to see his swipes at the English media.

As for his stance and his quotes regarding the national team, is he trying to create a new job for himself as “official spokesperson for the England squad” or just trying to get friendly with those old farts at Lancaster Gate?

Are there any more Georgians coming?

One thing is for certain, he isn’t on a spying trip for new players. The standard of the local ‘soccer’ here in Singapore is no better than the part-time leagues or even the youth soccer in England.

Missing English soccer already, roll on Euro ’96.

Stephen Fairclough (


So we’re still saddled with all the current players (term could be used very loosely) who ended the season. Although there’s been plenty of transfer talk, nothing solid has been forthcoming, mind you, would you really want to buy a player for millions when his team has just been relegated? End of season sale, hmmm, more like a giveaway for half the (unused) squad.

Was it really the News of the World (Sunday 26th) that reported that Saudi businessmen (oilmen) worth £50 billion were on the look-out to buy a footie team and they had been linked with the Academy? I’m sure this news was out last close season, however I read the report with interest. Even this report concerning overseas interest hinted that FHL would be kept on as a figurehead and that AB would be sacked. Great when even Saudi businessmen can see the folly of keeping AB (but that’s another point). The more I see about the club the bigger the mess and debts seem to be. If the club is really in debt to the tune of £18 million (thanks mainly due to the Kippax) or even anywhere near that figure, then FHL has gotta seriously start looking elsewhere for a major cash injection for the club and what better if rich sheiks are prepared to throw money around. In this day and age the chairman has gotta have money to compete, else they’ll be scraping around with leftovers from the transfer pile after the big boys have been around. From a personal point of view I’d be more than happy to welcome the potential of millions (billions) flooding into the club. However, this potential investment looks like it’s just the usual paper talk, with FHL denying any approach. ๐Ÿ™

More thoughts:

Right, most of us have become accustmomed to mediocrity and crap, season after season, year after year, yet we still find it in our hearts to support the Blues, with pride and much needed humour. What concerns me now is the generation of children the club could be losing forever. As adults we’re used to the idea of winning nothing (and could even say comfortable in the fact that City can be relied on to win nothing, don’t want glory to upset our cosy lifestyle!!) but can the youngsters of today be expected to support a 2nd rate team? How can you expect a young kid to want to support the Blues (except through family influence) when all they see is the flash of silverware from OT? I wonder how many kids have been lured away with the promise of trophies and fame? City have gotta realise they’ve got a strong fanbase, but the future doesn’t look good unless the team gets back into the top-flight and starts to impress again.

So, the debate rages on, should AB stay or go? The arguments on both sides are fair and just, but I’ve gotta come down on the side of letting him have another season. I didn’t agree with his employment, but let’s face it, at the time he was the best we could manage. Yes, yes I know he’s been involved with 5(?) clubs that have been relegated but he’s gotta be given another season to sort out the mess he’s put us in. Is one season really long enough to gel the team together, especially with the number of foreigners he’s insisted on bringing in? The team needs time to develop and adjust. Anyway, if he gets sacked we’re back to the the management merry-go-round again and besides, who would come to Maine Road to manage them, yes that old chestnut again? Let’s hope he can prove us all wrong and start City back on the glory trail; if not then this should be his last job inside football, he’s already been give numerous chances.

Standing Room Only. So will we be able to get back to our roots and once again stand on our ‘beloved’ terraces? As far as I can remember the Taylor report made all Premier and 1st div grounds all-seater by the beginning of the 96-97 (I think) season. However if a club was not in those two division by a date then they were granted two seasons’ grace (I think that’s how the ruling worked). There’s been speculation about the number of grounds that still have terraces, the ones I can think of are: Bolton, Stoke City, Reading (did they stay up?), Pompey and Oxford.

Bolton – the supermarket end – still available (extension granted) until the club moves to the new ground in Westhoughton.
Stoke – another end – like scoreboard paddocks at OT – not sure if they’ll need to seat it, was standing last season.
Reading – another end – are they trying to move? Mind you, three sides of the ground will need seating so maybe they’ve got an extension.
Pompey – another big open end – oops just read they need to seat the end – oh great no room but a seat!!!!! Aren’t Pompey moving as well?
Oxford – the Cuckoo Lane End – it’s a wonderful end!!! Happy memories of the 4-2 win.

So there you have it, the ones I can remember.

Also after watching the lacklustre England performance against the Hong Kong Golden (boys) did anyone else notice the lack of City shirts in the HK crowd?

Martin Ford (


I have been following the debate on MCIVTA for a few weeks now and finally felt the urge to contribute. I am a lifelong City fan having regularly attended home games from 1972-1981 and seen half a dozen games a season since then (my work takes me abroad for long periods).

Like many others I recognise the need for stability at the club – give the manager time to build a decent team. The problem is whether or not you have the right manager. In my book Alan Ball should have resigned at the end of the season. He managed the team right through the campaign having been handed a half decent team at the start. We now know that he also had modest resources to spend in the transfer market (Kinkladze, the other Georgian, Clough, Phillips, Frontzeck (but why ?), etc). The end result was total disaster. OK we put in a few stirling performances but on balance we were dreadful. I went to the away game at Wimbledon at Easter and came away convinced that we deserved no better than relegation – we were absolutely dire.

Looking at the individual players one cannot help but admire the likes of the Georgians, Quinn, Lomas and Brown, Rösler and Symons, they play their hearts out and deserve better. Yes, Summerbee, Clough and Curle were disappointing but my overriding conclusion is that it is the manager that is primarily at fault. I had the pleasure of meeting Quinn a couple of seasons ago and he is a genuinely nice guy. When somebody like him is upset by the manager then my reaction is that it’s the manager who is probably at fault. You don’t build teams by shouting at them, motivate players by threatening to sell them etc. This appears to be Ball’s style – no wonder his record is so bad. Does anybody really believe that he is the man to make us successful in the Premiership? I am sorry but I am not convinced.

Franny is learning the hard way – of course he must publicly support the manager but as a businesman he knows that we must improve quickly. My guess is that unless we are in the top 8 teams after a dozen games next season then Bally will get his marching orders!

There have been lots of rumours in the papers recently – can anybody shed any light on them?

  • Celtic offering £5m for Kinky
  • £50m arab money for City?
  • Leeds interested in Rösler etc.

Also, what has happened to the debate about a new stadium? The sports council are further delaying their decision re: the new national soccer stadium (to give Wembley yet more time to sort themselves out). Given that Manchester is guaranteed a new stadium for the Commonwelth Games it makes sense to make this the new soccer stadium as well. England playing in the north at last? In my opinion City should look to move to the new stadium. I think that a great atmosphere can still be created with a two tier stadium packing the regular 30-40,000 in the lower circle and building the track tight around the pitch. It would be wonderful to have a fully modern facility and we could offer low prices to students, OAPs and schoolkids to fill the place up. We must be ambitious and look to the 21st century!

Andy Jowett (


M(U)EN and the real world:

Clearly the local press does not live in the real world judged on the hype generated by the Rags. However, put yourself in the shoes of the circulation manager at M(U)EN who is probably on a fat bonus to achieve a given level of business.

If I were doing that job I’d have a new souvenir out every week and would ensure that container loads were sent to the heartlands of Rag support in South London, rural Dorset etc.

I think the M(U)EN is an abomination so I don’t buy it.


I read in the Sunday Papers (so it must be true) that Sean Connery is to play the part of Matt Busby in a film about the Munich air crash. The Rags have turned one of the worst sporting disasters into 40-year long marketing campaign, but this takes the biscuit. Such a film would be difficult to make without the involvement of the Rags. What a set of tasteless money grabbing bastards!

Exit stage left to the sound of the Dambusters March!

Roger Haigh (


(my mother said never trust anyone with transparent eyebrows):

I had to wait this long to give my thoughts on what’s going to happen next season. If I’d spoken sooner, all I’d manage would’ve been an occasional noun and the odd verb between masses and masses of loud and explicit swearing. Especially as Bob in the Postroom and Leeza Superbabe are gloating about their bloody double (they call me ‘Looser’, the bastards). Leeza felt sorry for me, until they lifted the FA Cup, then she gloated…

We’re in Div 1 – bummer and we have a manager who I really don’t think can pull us back to the Premier League. He is not very good is he – face facts, we’ve joined the ranks of the AB also-rans and with his track record he has no place whatsoever in charge of the Norton Fitzwarren Tawny Owl Scouts 2nd 11, let alone Man City. Man City, my bloody idols are being run by a managerial half-wit.

However, we also must face the glaringly obvious fact that he will be around for the start of the season (has he got photos of Franny’s missus in the buff with the Bolton reserve squad or what?). Now give him a couple of months – November at the very latest and if we’re any-bloody-where near the wrong end of the table we, as devoted fans must take action – I say we draw straws and the lucky winner shoots the little ****er. That said, if we’re bobbing along at the top of the table, mincing all opposition then yaaay for the little ginger-haired gnome, he’s the Saviour. Maybe he can do for us what he did for errr… Southampton (he didn’t relegate them did he?).

I agree though when we say “don’t let another new manager give us 3-4 months of hell” but how many other managers exposed us to the kind of nightmare that was the Beginning Of The Season? If we ‘abort’ a couple of months into the season and grab someone (not Graham) to bail us out, we’ll have enough time to stay in the First Division (!) – please let me be proved wrong.

P.S. In my “Championship Manager” I took over as the Maine Road supremo in 1994 and finished 4th in the league. In ’95 I won the Coca-Cola Cup, ’96 the FA Cup and ’97 the League – now in my 4th season, running 2nd in the league I just beat Barcelona and Red Star in the first two rounds of the European Cup and trounced Bradford City 6-0 in the FA Cup 3rd round. Beat that Bally!

Andy “Loser” Gascoigne, “Somerset Blue, the little cheese that likes to get relegated”(100567.1611@CompuServe.COM)


For as long as I can remember, on a regular basis, I’ve been asked “Why Blue?” I come from a Red background, on both my mum and dad’s side, apart from my granddad, although I never had the joy of visiting the Academy with him.

I had the usual attire of football mementos bought for me, the scarf, bobble-hat, shirt, wooden rattle (remember them!), much to the disappointment of the rest of the family. They thought I would eventually grow out of it. No chance! It was in my blood – once a Blue always a Blue.

At the age of 11 (1979) I did the unthinkable – I had my first visit to the Academy. It was wondrous. I was so overwhelmed I actually missed most of the match – so many people there – and all for the same reason – being Blue. So that’s how it started. I was hooked. I feel so proud to be able to say I’ve watched the likes of Corrigan, Power, Tueart, etc.

I attended most home matches between 1979-1984 and then in 1984 I met the fella who was to be my future husband. One of the first things I asked him was, yes you’ve guessed, Blue or Red? Obviously, being a Blue I’ve got good taste, it showed, he was Blue. The rest is history as they say.

I could go on for another couple of pages and go through all my favourite players, best matches ever watched but I won’t. We’ve all got our own favourites. What I will say is, I’ve taken a lot of stick coming from a Red background (especially in the last two weeks) but never once have I ever doubted being a Blue – and that’s what makes us Blues so extraordinary. We’re proud of our colour and stick together through thick and thin and one day we will be there, where we belong, at the top.

So “Why Blue?” with the odds stacked against me from birth, because there’s no finer feeling than knowing we are the greatest even in these depressed times. It’s all part of being a Blue, subjecting ourselves to the array of emotions we experience at the Academy every week.

Forever Blue – Penny Warburton (


As my Dutch mate can’t get a flight to Manchester under £400 (!!!), I now have a spare ticket for the Euro ’96 game on Sunday, June 9th at Elland Road. The match is Spain vs. Bulgaria so there’s a chance to see Hagi (what a salesman!). The ticket is going at cost price (£45.00) and there’s also a lift from Manchester (or North Derbyshire) if required. If you fancy the ticket please email me soonish.

Ashley (


For sale: Euro 96 tickets at face value for the Old Trafford, Elland Road and Anfield games, also quarter finals.

J.T.Coogan (


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions: Adam –
Club Questions: Stephen –

Thanks to Penny, Martin, Roger, Andy (x2), Shaggy, London, The Mole, Rob, Paul, Jim, Steve, Graham & Stephen.

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 #198