Newsletter #218

Main issue today is the possibility of a players’ strike due to the PFA’s perception that the lower divisions are not getting a fair share of the readies on offer. I must admit that I have sympathy with the PFA on this issue, and although I don’t want to miss any football with my new satellite system, I hope that players in the Premier will support their less fortunate colleagues in the lower divisions. I’m bothered that we’re rushing towards an ever diminishing number of “superclubs” and playing into the hands of the sponsors and corporate hospitality faces. The game wasn’t made for these people and won’t be nurtured by them in the long term. They will use it while it suits them and then move on and real fans will lose out, as, in my opinion, is already happening. Any views on that before the season starts?

Next game, Plymouth Argyle (away), Saturday 10 August 3:00pm


City have had a £500,000 bid for Damien Mori turned down by his club Adelaide. The sticking point doesn’t seem to be the fee itself, just the instalments in which it will be paid. City have offered a first instalment of £250,000 but Adelaide want £350,000 up front. Rather reminiscent of the Christian Dailly deal isn’t it?

Meanwhile, City have turned down a £1 million bid for Niall Quinn by Sunderland. City’s asking price is £1.3 million which IMO is a bargain.

Scott Hiley’s recovery is taking longer than expected and he will not be taking part in the games at Exeter and Plymouth. Although his injury is expected to have cleared up by the time of the Ipswich game, he’ll have had no match practice and is therefore very unlikely to play. Ipswich captain Tony Mowbray is also out of the game (and several others) so we’re not the only ones with injury problems.

Paul Howarth (


I was down at Platt Lane today (6/8) and had a chat with Richard Edghill who said that it would be about two weeks before he could start full training, so there is no chance of him being fit fot the start of the season. At the moment he is doing stamina work with Robbie Brightwell. Whilst talking to Edghill he referred to Ball as “Smiler” because nobody has seen him smile for six months (miserable little bugger).

On the pitch the first team were playing a practice match against a reserve team including Niall Quinn and Nicky Summerbee. The first team line up was:

          Kernaghan     Symons       Frontzeck
Brown           Lomas             Clough           Phillips
            Rösler              Kavelashvilli

So, it appears that Ball is going to start the season with three at the back.

I watched the game for about an hour (in the pouring rain) – it was 0-0 when I left. The first team were very poor, they lacked any sort of shape and ideas. Michael Brown was “lost” on the right hand side, he didn’t know whether to go forward or back and got little help from his team mates. Clough was completely out of touch, giving the ball away at every opportunity. The rest were very quiet and had very few attacking ideas. So, with a little more than a week left before the start of the season it looks as though “Smiler” has got a lot of work to do on his Masterplan to get us back where we belong. I was optimistic for the coming season until today – I hope that things improve when the real stuff starts against Ipswich.

Keeping the faith (just), Stuart Ormson (101357.1763@CompuServe.COM)


PFA members are to be balloted next week for strike action in their dispute with the Football League over TV money. In an interview on Radio 5 Live, Niall Quinn said he thought that as many as 90% of players would support the strike as the PFA did a lot of good work for the players.

In an interview on Sky TV, Alan Ball was asked whether he expected Gio to stay at City. He replied that he did, as the Georgians are very loyal, but he added that if things didn’t go well this season, City might have to let him go as he deserves a bigger stage than Division One. So, if we have a poor start to the season, expect Maine Road to be deluged with faxes from enquiring clubs and lots of interesting rumours like the one about a swap with United for Cole and a few million quid. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that eh?

The Mole

The above point made by Alan Ball proves one of two things; either he is totally unaware of probably the most bare-faced turnaround of the century perpetrated by non other than… yes, you’ve guessed it, surprise surprise, a Georgian, name of Stalin, or he really does tell a good porky…




The season is almost here, and I am deeply concerned. But not about our chances in Division One — I know we’re going straight back up, on the strength of Uwe’s first 30-goal campaign — it’s the bleeping strike talk that’s keeping me awake at night.

On the verge of finalizing the plans for my first-ever visit to Maine Road, the last thing I want to be reading about back here in the States is a possible players’ strike in the lower three divisions. I just saw yet another Reuters dispatch to suggest that this catastrophe might actually happen, in which PFA chief Graham Taylor says such an action “seems inevitable.”

I guess that would be a typical setback for a true Blue — root for the club from afar for 15 years, finally get the means to go see them live and then find out when you get there that there’s no team to watch. That, of course, won’t make it any easier to accept if indeed the players walk.

I’d love to see some postings from the veteran observers in our group with their feelings about the likelihood of a strike. If we were talking NBA or NFL or any other American pro league, I’d say bank on it, but I’ve been told by a few of the boys that English League footballers would never pull this kind of stunt.

Other questions: Would this proposed strike affect only televised games? If so, are City safe in September because they don’t have any TV matches next month? And if it only affects TV games, why aren’t Premiership teams involved? And what about the League Cup match on Sept. 18, is that also at risk?

If possible, please keep me abreast of the latest developments by posting updates in MCIVTA. And perhaps our club contact has some insight?

Thanks for the help, Marc Stein in Los Angeles, CA, USA (

I’m sure we’ll keep you in touch with the news, but could someone let me know if Graham Taylor has found a new niche at the PFA, or did Marc mean to say Gordon Taylor?



Well firstly I have to say it’s good to be back. For all of you subscribers out there – appreciate this bulletin! I’ve just been ‘offline’ for a couple of months and it was murder not knowing what was going on.

Anyway onto the more important issue of football. First can I ask just what the f**k is going on with Niall Quinn? First he’s sold, then he’s back. He’s playing for Selangor, he ‘s playing against Scarborough! Can anyone provide any clarity on whether he’ll be with us next season? For what it’s worth I reckon it’s crucial he stays. He’s already started bagging the goals this season, and considering he only played a handful of full games last season his goal ratio was better than, a quite shocking, Rösler. Niall’s height and experience would be invaluable weapons in the Nationwide League, and we should seek to use them.

On the subject of Keith Curle, I agree that he was a loyal servant to the club and deserves a ‘wish you well’ from Blues’ supporters. However, his last two seasons were shockers and I’m not sorry to see him leave.

Sky were reporting today that we’ve put a £400,000 bid in for Damien Mori from Aussie, though his club are waiting to receive all the money before they’ll let him leave. Seems as if our financial status is even well known on the far side of the earth. Naturally as a Kiwi (based in London) I’m a tad concerned at the thought of buying Australians (shouldn’t they be practicing their rugby?), but would love to hear some local opinion on what this player’s like!

And finally… any thoughts on the prospect of buying the Nigerian Olympic team? They’re all under 23 and oozing talent. Fairly cheap too I’d imagine. And don’t worry we’ll go straight up, and Champions too I reckon. Keep the faith,

Roger – The Blue Kiwi (


Blind Faith. As the new season approaches, as usual I am convinced of success this season. Last season was the first time I ever truly believed at the start that we would do nothing, and for the first time ever, went to games anticipating defeat (once in the ground I usually “feel in my bones” that we’re gonna win against whoever the unfortunate opposition are – clearly, my bones rarely reveal the future!). Anyway this year my confidence is boosted by the pre-season activities in Division 1.

The fact that we have not chopped and changed our squad is a huge advantage over the teams like Wolves and Birmingham, who you would have thought would have learned the error of their ways. To maintain the squad almost intact from last year provides stability and familiarity. The quality is in the squad, but it’s whether they gel as a team and whether each individual shows enough determination, commitment and pride to fight for the club and for their place in the team. If any of the players feel as gutted as us supporters about being where we are, then we will be the Nationwide Division 1 Champions. That is my faith, blind perhaps, but true to the cause.

Up the Blues!

P.S. Paul Burns -Can your mail me direct.

Andy Davey (


It is interesting to note other subscribers’ opinions re Curle and our future in Division 1.

Firstly, my opinion on Curle for what it’s worth is that:

  1. He was never ever a captain – why on earth he was everappointed captain in the first place was beyond me. I wasunder the impression captains are supposed to lead theteam, organise and encourage – he failed to do any of thesethings – he couldn’t even communicate with his own defence.I even feel that due to the lack of a real captain at theclub City have suffered even more than they perhaps shouldhave.
  2. His form to be honest has been verging on embarrassing -his distribution is dreadful – yes he did have a couple ofgood years but really his time was up and £650k doesn’t seemtoo bad to me. The mention of Kernaghan by a subscribersurely isn’t too bizarre to imagine as a replacement – iseem to remember him returning from his loan period atBolton a decent player but for some reason never appearingagain (much).

Secondly, Division 1 should be a doddle – subscribers have mixed feelings but I have seem most teams in Division 1 last season and the standard is laughable. I am living in Reading now so I got down to Elm Park on a number of occasions. There are probably 2 teams apart from the relegated Premier teams that could cause any problems – the main one being Sheffield United, the only team that really looked a good side (and that’s against Reading and look where they finished). The quality of players at Maine Road compared to most of Division 1 are just in another class – the only thing that can prevent a runaway success in the Division is of course that squeaky voiced excuse for a manager – that’s my only concern.

Dave Zech (


A crowd of around 5,000 (including 1,000 Blues) packed into St. James’ Park Exeter to see City win 3-1 on Thursday evening. City started well but took until the 39th minute to take the lead. Niall Quinn received the ball with his back to goal, turned and curled the ball into the corner. At half time Margetson replaced Immel and had to make three good saves in the first eight minutes of the second half as City seemed to lose their impetus. In the 51st minute McConnell equalised for the Grecians but City restored the lead when Gio Kinkladze set up Steve Lomas. Mikhail Kavelashvili wrapped up the victory with City’s third goal. City used numerous substitutes during this game, including I think Jeff “ball skills” Whitely.

The Mole


It was widely reported on Thursday that City had rejected a bid of £5 million for Gio Kinkladze from Sheffield Wednesday. However, City secretary Bernard Halford said that no bid or inquiry had been received from the Owls. In another case of one half of the club not knowing what the other is doing, Alan Ball confirmed that a bid had indeed been received and rejected. The bid would have to be in the same sort of area as that paid by Newcastle for Alan Shearer, and even then it might well be rejected, said Halford.

It seems that Niall Quinn has played his way back into Alan Ball’s plans. He’s now played in four pre-season games and scored in all of them. “I’ll find it very difficult to leave him out”, said Ball. “He’s done exactly what I asked of him.”

Paul Howarth (


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

Thanks to The Mole, Paul, Andy, Roger, Dave, Kerry, Stuart & Mark,

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.

Leo Fewtrell,

Newsletter #218