Newsletter #199

Nothing much has happened, but we do have two reports featuring Bally in Singapore, including an informal interview where he reveals news of a new Georgian signing! There’s also news of EuroNet 96; a list of USA subscribers, by no means exhaustive; and the answers to Steve Walker’s quiz of a few issues back.

Any more Why Blues out there?

This issue reaches 815.

Next game, Athlone Town FC, Friday 19 July 1996


As the deadline for season ticket renewals passed last weekend, City were surprisingly able to report that season tickets sales were actually up on last season, with over 12,000 sold so far. Club Secretary Bernard Halford said that it showed that City had the best, most loyal supporters in the country.

Niall Quinn was stand-in captain for the Republic of Ireland for their friendly against Croatia in Dublin on Sunday. His 89th minute goal earned the Irish a 2-2 draw, ending a run of five successive defeats. Alan Kernaghan was also involved, as a substitute.

Wales beat San Marino 5-0 in their first qualifying match for the 1998 World Cup but Kit Symons remained on the bench throughout.

Paul Howarth (


Has anyone else heard the rumours (apparently emanating from Andy Dibble) that the City board are lining up the replacement for Alan Ball already. They think that Graeme Souness is the man for the job!!!! Now I sincerely hope that this rumour turns out to be completely without foundation, as I think Souness is the one manager we could possibly get who would have worse man-management skills than Ball.

Steve Tobias (


With Euronet ’96 a little more than a week or so away, perhaps it would be a good idea to have a MCIVTA footy practice this weekend (8-9th June 1996). Anyone interested in partaking in such a session please let me know ASAP. Details to be sent out in the next MCIVTA but no doubt it will be the normal format on Sunday afternoon and at the Armitage Centre.

Apologies for the short notice – Robert Watson (

As the above is at short notice, it may just be that not enough can attend; however, it does look as though EuroNet 96, or at least MCIVTA’s participation in it will actually happen. We have enough players who want to play but more are always welcome (mail Rob). Details will appear either in MCIVTA or direct from Dan and Rob over the next week.



Mr (and Mrs) Ball is (or was as you are reading this) in Singapore from 30th May to 3rd June 96. Inbetween he will be conducting some coaching clinics for schoolboys and the Coaching Association of Singapore (school teachers) along with some interviews and a commentary for one of the local League games on Saturday. It is a public holiday today (Friday) here in Singapore and I was up early to catch Alan at the Padang, conducting the first of his coaching clinics – and true to form, I was the only one there not involved in the clinic. No other City (or Ball’s) fan was seen at 2 miles radius of the man 😉 When he first saw me in my City shirt, he gave me a smile and waved at me 😮

He started with some stretching, running and ball control. Then there was some circuit training and basic one/two touches drills. Finally a nine-a-side. He scored the first goal from 25 yards out with a delicate chip over the ‘keeper who was off his line (à la Kinky against Wales, not?)

Inbetween and at the end of the clinic, I had a chat with him for about 15 minutes. Nice man, friendly and always willing to answer my questions. I managed to get some info from the horse’s mouth which I think you might want to know.

He said although Uwe is not happy at City, Ball will not want to sell him yet. When asked if Niall and Curle are leaving, he said “do not listen to the newspapers”.

I begged him not to sell Kinky and Kit and also mentioned how committed Niall is to the team. To this he said that no offer has come to his knowledge so far for any players and the £3.75 million offer for Uwe is totally untrue. Finally, I asked if there will be any new players for the coming season. He gave me a clear yes. “Any names? He said, “I can’t pronounce his name… not many people can.” So is he the sweeper from Frankfurt? No is the answer. He is a midfielder from Tblisi, another Gio’s mate, recommended by the King himself. I asked where are we going to play him since we already have Gio, Brown, Clough, Lomas, Buzzer, Beags and Brightie in the middle of the park. He said we’ll have Gio to orchestrate the centre and the other Georgian will play attacking mid-fielder (!!). If this is true then I think there will be no place for Clough next season. He also added that there will be more wing-play and he might play with only one out-and-out striker. Can anyone suggest a possible first team line-up here?

When I asked if that means there will be no strenghtening of the defence, he said that depends on whether Curle stays or leaves. I asked, “A I right to say he is an unhappy man at City?” (and was ready to abandon ship as soon as we went down? – I did not ask him this). He said there are things to discuss with both Keith and Uwe. They still have a couple of years of their contracts to run.

So it looks like we need some answers, still. But if we are to believe the man, we will be getting another Georgian attacking midfielder and some changes in defence provided Curle leaves. Any comments?

P,S.: “We will be back before you know it,” said the man with the squeeky voice. I take that with a pinch of salt (sorry guys).

Stay Blue, Nizam Idris (


As a quick intro to myself let me say that I’ve been watching and supporting City for 40 years this year. One of the greatest times was winning the 2nd Division. I went to every game home and away. Getting the old Austin A30 over the Lakes to Carlisle was a bloody miracle! I think I pushed it further than I drove it that year.

On the 29 May I had the “pleasure” of meeting our manager in Singapore. I think he was quite surprised that about a dozen City fans complete with kit or T-shirts and 4 or 5 Junior Blues should have sought him out at a local supermarket. There was not much publicity and he is in Singapore promoting “Snickers” bars. Now don’t laugh, but he was to give a lecture to local players telling them about the nutritional value of this particular chocolate! Maybe that’s what he’s going to use as his secret training method in the 1st Division next season? Anyway he was not saying much, but he did repeat “we did everything but win that last match!” The most noteworthy point was his response on seeing my wife’s Uwe Rösler T-shirt. He was not a happy man, stating that Rösler had gone away on holiday right after the last game. Seems pretty sensible to me. Why hang around if the manager obviously dislikes you intensely? I would say it is definitely Ball or Rösler. They will not be together next season. Well I know who I want to stay, and he’s not in Singapore!

Alan Ball is to give “live” commentary on a local S-League match on Saturday night. Should be good for a laugh with that voice. Comments to follow next week. Stay Blue forever.

Peter Jackson (


With regard to those Div 1 clubs that may still have standing terraces next season, I suspect that Oxford will still have their infamous Cuckoo Lane stand open – they are due to have a new ground for the 97/98 season, and haven’t heard that they will be forced to shut it down next season.

Mind you, I suspect it will only hold 1,000 or so, as their attendance limit is pretty small these days. I have some fond memories of the Manor Ground; firstly I’ve seen City win there twice, the last time being the promotion season, when after being 2-0 down at half-time, we were 3-2 up 8 minutes into the second half, and won 4-2; also this was the only time I saw Paul Lake play. Secondly, I saw us win 5-2 in the Cup there, in I think 1975, Marsh & Law playing. Thirdly, it is one of the few grounds I have been to that I have seen games from all four sides of the pitch (Anorak alert!).

Also, Reading still had standing this last season; I’m not sure what their plans are, but that’s another possible ground where you may still be able to cavort without being carted out of the ground.

Jeremy Poynton (


To our friends overseas; if you plan to visit this country may I suggest that UK based MCIVTA-ers who are interested could help with accommodation and tickets. I for one will help, and if Nottingham is not too far away and not too many people come and they like lively children and a grumpy wife, and don’t stay too long… hell it’s the least I can do for the cause. I will happily coordinate any others similarly inclined to offer assistance. Please no holidaymakers, Blues only.

The MCFC social club is adjacent to the ground and a convenient meeting place to which I have unrivalled access. We have had a couple of formal meets there already and are welcomed.

Malcolm Plaiter (


As promised, please find a list of American-based MCIVTA subsribers compiled below. The common themes seem to be that most of them live in rather nice areas, and very few live anywhere near one another. Thanks to all of you who responded, and particularly those who did so in great detail. It was great hearing from all of you.

MARYLAND:       Benjamin Bloom ( - Annapolis
VERMONT:        Martin Prendergast ( - Burlington
PENNSYLVANIA:   Bob Kelley ( - Pittsburgh
                Richard Lane ( - Philadelphia
OHIO:           Bill Might ( - Cleveland
INDIANA:        Simon Hillier ( - Indianapolis
WISCONSIN:      Nick Cavanagh ( - ?
GEORGIA:        Hunter Sheridan ( - Atlanta
FLORIDA:        Paul Whittaker ( - Jacksonville
                Tony Andrew ( - Fort Lauderdale
                Stuart Booth ( - Miami
TEXAS:          Chris Deringer ( - Austin
ARIZONA:        Ian Caldicott ( - Tucson
CALIFORNIA:     Eric Floyd ( - Berkeley
                Mike Maddox ( - Davis
ONTARIO:        Stephen Barlow ( - London
                Mark Kozak ( - Stouffville

  • Mike Maddox is currently living in Ithaca, New York, but will be relocatingto Davis before the start of next season
  • Nick Cavenagh is currently in the UK, but will be in the Dairy State by thestart of next season.

Anyone else who wishes to be included is invited to drop me a note. Keep the faith,

Bob Kelley (


I do not often contribute to MCIVTA because I feel “unqualified” due to my 5-year exile from the UK but, I’d like to raise a couple of points now that the knee jerk reaction to relegation is subsiding and our thoughts wander to other things.

Like it or not, it appears that Alan Ball is staying. Thus in the interests of the club we really need to get behind the team from day one next season. We must put an end to this manager merry-go-round for which we are infamous.

I’d like to thank Ashley, Paul, Adam and all the other names behind the organisation and distribution of MCIVTA for the excellent work of last season, although your rôle next season is now much more important for us overseas blues because our coverage of the games in the local media (Australia & Papua New Guinea for me) will be almost zero. This will be the sole “real-time” link for many of us to the happenings at Maine Road and I owe you all a couple of pints next time I’m back. Is anyone planning to do match reports for the England games? I’m in Papua New Guinea for the whole of June and will not hear anything about the competition!

Referring to Andy Jowett’s comments in MCIVTA 198, we have to move to the new stadium if it is built. We are no longer one of the “big six”, and probably struggle to make the top ten. Only drastic action will halt the slide and stop us from becoming another Wolves or Birmingham City. The capacity at Maine Rd is too small and the stands are a hotch-potch of architectural cast-offs. I hate to say it but Old Trafford now looks to be the best stadium in England and they will have 54,000 sell-outs for almost every game next season. There will never be another FA Cup semi-final at Maine Road. If it would have been Euro ’76 or even ’86 there may have been matches held at the Academy but now, no chance!!

The final point is to thank Martin Ford for reminding me of a glorious day out in Oxford and standing in the Cuckoo Lane End watching what was certainly “a game of two halves”. City went in at half-time 0-2 down, looking crap and there was the general feeling that a good tonking was on the cards. The second half was an awesome attacking display by City and they tore them apart and scored 4 goals in quick succession which left me absolutely knackered and with that “proud to be Blue” feeling which does not happen too often anymore. Would anyone else out there like to recall favourite matches/moments like these? Another favorite was John Gidman’s very late equaliser in the FA Cup 3rd Rd at Huddersfield on a cold and dark January afternoon. What a celebration!!!!

That’s enough from one of the old raggedy-arsed Blues from Gorton as Mike Brierley referred to us. We are certainly a dying breed.

Neil Adshead (


I have been reading with interest the comments of the rest of the Blues fans and I would like to add my ten penneth.

  1. should Ball go: Not just yet, let’s see who he gets rid of first, thenlet’s see who he gets if anybody, give the guy half the season to provethat he can win away games then let’s see. Also I think FHL should pullAB to one side and tell him that bollocking players is not the way toget the best out of them. AB is probably a good coach but on themedia side of managing a team he is s..t.
  2. Who to get rid of. I think Summerbee, Immel, Frontzeck, Clough,Dibble, Margetson & Creaney should all go because they don’t cut themustard. Over the years City fans have endured gloom but if it means by goingdown, we get the belief and confidence (because confidence builds success)then so be it. This club is a sleeping giant; with a little success we cango all the way with huge potential.

Derrick Bradshaw (


Being a new subscriber to MCIVTA but a life-long Manchester City Fan including 3 (???) visits to Wembley with them and I’m still just turning 19, I thought I would contribute to the debate that has been going on about the team.

If you ask me, I think that Francis Lee has done nothing wrong in the short space of time he’s been there, one or two things that should have been handled differently but all in all, a good job.

Alan Ball should never have come to Maine Rd but now we’ve got him I think we will have to keep him for a few years, next season depending. He’s signed a few good players (so did Horton) but he has done nothing for the team; we still only have one set play, and the team still don’t understand Gio.

Talking about the team, there are a few players that should, and probably will, leave this summer. The players in mind are the likes of Rösler, Immel, Dibble, Curle, Frontzeck and Beagrie, All these players should bring a bit of money into the club. With this money raised we should be able to but players like Paul Gerrard from Oldham, a new centre half and also keep the bank off the backs of the club until our Premiership status is recovered.

I think the best way for us to get our status back quickly will be to get a tough away fixture as the first game, just to show the team that we won’t walk away with the league title, then a dead easy game at Maine Road, where we can murder the other team nice and easily to get the confidence flowing early on. Hopefully the goal difference will be good enough to give us the lead in the first division, which we can keep all the way to May. A good run in one of the cups (excluding the Anglo-Italian) would also help, getting a couple of Premiership teams will keep the lads a up to date with the style and speed of the top British league.

Hopefully next year Bally will play an old fashioned 4-4-2 formation with 2 full backs, 2 centre halfs, 2 wingers, a ball winner like Clough or Brown, Kinkladze as our attacking midfielder, a tall man up front to get those crosses down to the ground, and most importantly a goalscorer. This formation will give players like Phillips, Hiley, Edghill and Kavelashvili a chance to shine. It’s no use saying Phillips is too young, How old are the Neville Brothers, how old were Flitcroft, Lake, Redmond, Edghill, the list can go on?

When the season starts we should have a versatile, younger team which will be able to change to the different styles in the Nationwide Building Society Football League (sounds good doesn’t it? Not)

So on that sad day in August, when for many fans the reality of Nationwide football for Man City will hit them, I hope the team will look something as follows.

                      Gerrard (New Goalie)
Edghill            Symons          (New Centre Half)      Hiley
Summerbee      Clough               Kinkladze            Phillips
                   Quinn          Kavelashvili

This in my opinion isn’t the best team we’ve got at the moment but I think with its mixture of youth and experience, it will give the fans a great season to watch. It will also renew our deserved Premiership status (how could Leicester, a team we beat 5-0 last year, be better than us?) very very soon.

But that’s not all that’s required next year, we need our band of loyal fans to get behind the team on them cold, wet Wednesday nights to Grimsby.

And one more thing to say, Good luck to England in the European Championships.

Paul Chard (


I was disappointed to read Roger Haigh’s comments on the Munich film proposal. I have always been pretty sceptical about the honour/integrity of the United board but to say they have made capital of the disaster for 40 years is a pretty low shot and not worthy of this publication in my opinion. I also think the reference to the dambusters march was pretty crass too and betrayed a touch of envy and bitterness, again out of touch with the feelings of most Mancunians Red and Blue who were the real losers in 1958. If I have read too much into Roger’s comments then I apologise for an over-sensitivity that has not dulled for me and many others in almost 40 years.

Wythenshawe exile – Leo Fewtrell (


In the Summer I am moving for a couple of years to Boulder, Colorado and I would be grateful for some help in settling in from people who already live in America. Particular information that would be of use would be how to watch English/European Soccer on the telly, whether it would be possible to get to see City at all now that the First Division is on Sky, and other sources of info about the Blues (other than the excellent MCIVTA!). Moreover, if there are any Blues living in (or near) Boulder who would like to meet up for a few beers and talk about City, that would be great!

Steve Tobias (


Remember about two weeks ago, I set this quiz thing. Well here are the answers. I only received two entries. I hope more of you attempted the quiz and are just waiting for the answers.

  1. The last two European championship finals have ended in the same score.What was the score? 2-0
  2. The Geoff Hurst goal/non goal. Who crossed the ball?Alan Ball
  3. Who played for England in the 1966 World Cup and then had to wait until1977 for his next cap? Ian Callaghan
  4. Gary Lineker has scored four goals for England twice, against Spain in1987 and who else? Malaysia
  5. In 1968, Who was the first England player ever to be sent off? Alan Mullery
  6. In 1884, who won the first ever Home Championship? Scotland
  7. Three South American teams have taken part in the Rouse Cup.Brazil, Chile and who? Columbia
  8. Which one of the following countries have England not played against.Saudi Arabia, Equador or Qatar? Qatar
  9. What is the record winning margin in the FA Cup Final? 6-0 Bury – Derby 1903
  10. Which now First Division team kept the cup for seven years? Portsmouth
  11. Spurs have won the FA cup when the year ends in a ‘1’ howmany times? 1901, 1921, 1961, 1981, 1991 – 5
  12. Which was the last team to win the FA Cup for the first time? Wimbledon
  13. Which then non-league team won 1-0 at Burnley in the FA Cup in 1975? Wimbledon
  14. Which Player appeared against Spurs in 1981 & 1987 FA Cup finals? Dave Bennett – Man City – Coventry
  15. How many English club side have won the European Cup? 4 – Man U, Liverpool, Villa, Forest
  16. Name the former England World Cup captain who has managed Colchester? Mick Mills
  17. Which player, later capped by England, moved from Carlisle tothe Vancouver White Caps in 1981? Peter Beardsley
  18. Name the only English club to win all four division titles? Burnley
  19. Who plays at the Bescott Stadium? Walsall
  20. How many of the 1966 World Cup winning side went on to manage league clubs?Seven, but I’ve forgotten which ones – I’ll check it out.
  21. Which team went from 4th division to 1st and then back to the 4thbetween 1978 & 1986 Swansea
  22. When did Newcastle last win the top division title? 1927
  23. Who play at Field Mill? Mansfield Town
  24. How many World Cup finals have there been?I’ll accept 14 or 15 as the question can refer to the competition orthe ultimate match and as we all know there was no final final in1950 (don’t we?)
  25. Name the team, that during their first World Cup finals in1986, beat Uruguay 6-1 (sorry, couldn’t read my own writing)? Denmark
  26. Swindon won it in 1970, Blackpool in 1971. Name the competition? Anglo Italian Cup
  27. Name the four English teams that made the final of the CupWinners Cup between 1970-75? Chelsea, Leeds, West Ham, Man City
  28. Which country has played a full international in England but neveragainst England? North Korea
  29. Who are nicknamed ‘The Railway men’? Crewe Alexandra
  30. Topically, which club has John Gorman just left to be number 2 to Glenda? Bristol City

Steve Walker (


Down here in the smoke, on the rapid transport system known as ‘The Tube’, they have these small posters that line the walls as you go up the escalators.

There’s one around at the moment from our illustrious sponsors Brother featuring the company name prominently in large sky blue letters. It is an advert for their new range of printers and it features a picture of a girl with long straight black hair. The strapline is …curls are out… well it’s spelt differently, but it made me smile.

Steve Walker (


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

Thanks to Malcolm, Nizam, Jeremy, Peter, Neil, Leo, Steve (x2), Rob & Paul (x2).

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 #199