Newsletter #220

Well, no sooner am I back from deepest Cornwall than Quinn departs Maine Road and we’re almost straight into the new season. First of all I’d like to thank Leo for doing an excellent job with MCIVTA; I even managed to log on from a cybercafe to get a fix – makes a change to be at the other end and not know what’s going to be in the issue before I read it.

There’s news of two potential signings as well as the slightly contentious sale of Big Niall; this has already resulted in some opinion and will probably result in more. The Platt Lane Correspondent has a report and there’s a CITY review, and news of the Open Day. I’m clean out of Why Blues so please send ’em in if you’ve ever considered doing one.

Lastly, as the subscribership has grown exponentially over the last year, I should once again launch into a MCIVTA ‘Mission Statement’! This may sound uncomfortably like some tired old socialist crap and you could well be right, but here goes anyway. Basically, MCIVTA is as good as the contributions it gets and these come from the subscribers; and this is you! Although there are many regular contributors, there are no appointed reviewers or match reporters so if you fancy having a go then just send the fruits of your labours to me and they’ll appear in the next issue. The more views and opinions that come in, the better the picture will be of what actually happened on the pitch.

Here’s to the new season.

Next game, Ipswich Town at home, Friday 16th August 1996


After a quiet summer and with only days to go before the first game of the season, things are starting to happen on the transfer front (does this remind anyone of last season?). First and foremost, Niall Quinn looks certain to join Sunderland for an undisclosed fee; since City made it clear that the asking price was £1.3 million a couple of weeks ago and Sunderland announced this week that they were ready to meet this valuation, it’s reasonably safe to assume that £1.3 million is indeed the fee. A bargain if you ask me.

On the incoming side, two more players from Eastern Europe have been linked with City this week. First of all, Croatian international defender Elvis Brajkovic, a player who is out of contract with his club 1860 Munich and therefore available on a free transfer. Brajkovic, 27, was described in the Euro’96 programmes as “a highly skilful defender who is excellent in the air. Also adept in attack, particularly in free kick and corner situations.” He has been training with City this week and made quite an impression on AB: “He looked very useful. For a big man he is very quick and looks to have a good technique. I need to have a look at him in competitive match conditions before we make any decision about his future so he will be given a run-out for the reserves at the first opportunity.”

The other player of interest is Omari Tetradze, 26, a Georgia-born Russian international defender, currently with Mikhail Kavelashvili’s old club, Alania Vladikavkaz. City could be willing to part with what would be a record fee for a Russian player for Tetradze, though Alania will not sell whilst they are still in the European Cup. This may not be much longer as they are 3-1 down from the first leg of their game in Glasgow last week. He has attracted interest from a number of Italian clubs according to the (usually reliable) Gazzetta Dello Sport but it seems City may already have secured the first option on him. Tetradze is a very skilful attacking right-back, so watch out Nicky Summerbee. Unfortunately, Alania’s President, Gazzeyev, is said to be very reluctant to lose Tetradze’s services, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that he doesn’t block the move.

Thanks to Tor-Kristian Karlsen for the info on Tetradze.

Paul Howarth (


City have finally agreed a price with Sunderland for Niall Quinn. Sunderland have supposedly called a press conference at lunchtime to announce a big signing and they don’t come bigger than Niall (ho ho).

The fee is believed to be £1.3 million.

Some good news for us is that Curcic of Bolton is to leave our division and join Aston Villa. That is one threat out of the way.

Enjoy the game and here’s to the Championship.

Salford Blue – Tony Farrar (


Firstly welcome back to Ashley, and thanks again to Leo for all the good work he put in. Not bad for a Red! Well all the tabloids, and some of the major dailys today are carrying the news of big Niall’s £1.3 million move to Sunderland, and also stating that we’re interested in the Croation centre-back who goes by the name of ‘Elvis something or other’. I couldn’t spell or pronounce the surname, but just imagine the chants with a first name of Elvis! Also a couple of the London Blues are heading to Terry Neill’s Bar (High Holborn – Chancellry Lane nearest Tube) to watch the City vs. Ipswich game. Any other City fans who want to come along are more than welcome. We’re meeting up aroud 7.00. I think possibly some of the ‘Official’ London Supporters’ Club may also be there. Looking forward to the first win!

Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi (


Paul and I headed down for the Open Day on Tuesday for what turned out to be a quite interesting afternoon. Our impressions were that it was good for the families and to talk to the various non-playing departments (plenty of freebies on offer), but if you were after a natter with the players, a trip to Platt Lane when they’re training would have been more fruitful. I got the feeling that this was very much a ‘toe in the water’ event. It was certainly a good move to do it midweek as a weekend slot would have seen the place swamped; as it was, there were 7,000 there!

The organisation was a little bit off with no signs telling the assembled faithful where to get in and a late opening (10-15 minutes). The club probably underestimated the numbers turning up as there weren’t enough stewards there to keep people off the pitch and attempts to sign autographs by some players looked likely to result in death by suffocation! Ball, Lee etc. were there according to the MUEN but we didn’t see them, and neither did PR Officer John Clay, who Paul spoke to at around 5:30pm. He said that because City don’t have an official press officer, there isn’t a single point of contact at the club, which is why we get the impression that one half of the club doesn’t know what the other is doing sometimes. We did have a lengthy discussion with the ticket office people who wanted some feedback on the changes to ticketing. The former players’ association was worth a visit and I managed to get a book of mine signed by several mysterious and elderley gents who, after reading their signatures, turned out to be Bobby Johnstone, Paddy Fagan, Roy Little, Roy Clarke and Johnny Williamson – my father would have been ashamed of me!

Overall I’d say it was a pretty successful event and one that should be repeated but probably with some lessons learned on the organisational front.

Ashley and Paul


At last they’re back in training!

I was back down at the training ground on Monday and Tuesday. The team are still training at Platt Lane rather than British Aerospace as was mooted at the end of last season. After a gap of several months it was good to meet familiar faces again and perhaps a pleasant surprise to see both Quinn and Rösler still at Platt Lane. One change is that Kevin Bond is now in charge of the reserves.

Asa Hartford was in charge on Monday but come Tuesday AB was back in command as cocky as ever. One slight glimmer of hope was that I actually saw him talk to Quinn and even share a joke with him. One of my buddies, who is near a nervous breakdown at the thought of a season in Div. 1, asked Rösler if he was going: No 8-),

He asked the same question of Kinkladze: No 8-)),

He asked Quinn: Probably 8-((. (Thursday: this appears to be true as it has been widely reported that Quinn is to sign for Peter Reid at Sunderland).

There were two new faces, both with unpronounceable names, apparently on trial for a couple of weeks. Both are Croatian and played in the European Championships. One of the pair, I believe, is a potential replacement for Curle.

One rumour that appears to be gathering momentum, as has already been referred to in MCIVTA, is that AB s days may be numbered. I have been told, on fairly good authority, that AB will be given six games and that if we do not make a good start to the season he will be “promoted” upstairs and possibly George Graham brought in.

Maine Road Open Day

I went to the Maine Road Open Day on Tuesday 13th along with 4,000 to 5,000 other people. Typically, for City, it was completely disorganised with no stewards, no directions and a fifteen minute delay before the gates were opened. It was like scaling Everest, well perhaps Grasmere Fell anyway, walking to the top of the Kippax Stand. The view is tremendous in all directions and rather resembles that from the top of Blackpool Tower, though I did not feel compelled to return my Main Stand ticket in favour of a fortnightly helping of vertigo. Players on the pitch looked like midgets.

The top floor was laid out like a bazaar with one table for the Junior Blues, another for the ground staff but no mention of Internet or anything similar. I managed to have a chat with Chief Scout Jimmy Frizzell who is of the opinion that we stand a good chance of promotion this year.. but that if we don’t 8-((((. Jimmy bemoaned the fact that the rich clubs are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. He is now finding it increasingly difficult to find young talent in an area that is so much dominated by top Premiership teams with more money and brighter prospects.

The work on the Platt Lane Astrodome begins in October at a cost of £2 million. £1.4 million is being put up by the National Lottery Fund and the remaining £600,000 is split evenly between City and Manchester Corporation. City will use the facilities in the morning but it will be open to the whole community after midday for indoor bowls, five-a-side, treatment rooms, public gallery etc. After half an hour or so I descended the stairs to the ground floor, ignoring the overcrowded lifts. I sat and watched the players signing autographs and poor old Vince Miller pleading with supporters to get off the pitch, there’s a game on Friday, to no avail. As no-one seemed to take any notice I decided to walk out to the centre spot and see for myself what it is like. Awe inspiring. Even though the place is like a Camel (animal designed by committee) it is quite something to stand in the middle and look around. It is quite easy to understand how some of the younger players manage to feel nervous when they experience it for the first few times.

To the best of my knowledge this was City’s first open day, They were probably as surprised as any of us at the high attendance. I enjoyed the afternoon and hope that the rest of the season follows suit – but I confess that I have some doubts.

Neale Hayward-Shott (


The Predictions League is awaiting a flood of predictions for this upcoming truimphant season, usual rules apply.

Last season’s Predictions League will soon be published, both to those on my d-list and hopefully to the Web pages. Also, I extend my immense apologies to everyone awaiting the final outcome, it was a pretty close run thing right to the last game, but I won’t spoil the fun and reveal all here.

Martin Ford (


Issue 12

I managed to bag my issue before heading off for the wilderness of Cornwall where I was sure there would only be Rag propaganda on offer; apparently I could have got one in the metropolis of St. Buryan (population 12) if I’d have wanted to (see Jeremy’s article)! The cover shows Kit Symons modelling the new away kit plus George Michael designer stubble and deep, meaningful look; he also appears as a pull-out centrefold, a cheap trick to woo female supporters methinks!

Ball has a lengthy article, and talks a good game as we’ve come to expect; he even manages to make the Lomas ‘on/off’ move a positive ‘happening’! He gets asked plenty of pertinent questions and gives answers to all of them; hmm…!

For me personally, the most attractive article is on Neil Young, one of those players who was never successful enough to have remained in the media spotlight and who never wrote an autobiography. He has however, judging by the article, a plethora of interesting tales to tell and seems a genuinely nice bloke. Here again I had to sigh as he revealed how he was badly treated by the club who failed to give him a testimonial, staying away from Maine Road for 16 years before being coaxed back by Frannie (give that man a medal).

Club Historian John Maddocks once again does one of those interesting pieces based on his immense and detailed knowledge of the club, this time it’s a synopsis of all City’s pre-season tours abroad. An amazing and almost unbelievable fact is that we beat United in Paris in 1932 (5-1) with them masquerading as ‘Les Diables Rouge’!

Joanne Parker interviews 3 supporters who discuss the trials and tribulations of the season and give their opinion on the coming fray; a kind of pub conversation. The usual columns are also here, as well as a photo montage of the players back in training. Finally, there’s a piece on Hollywood movies (blue movies?), with the titles modified to apply to the Blues. This follows hot on the tails of the City sound-a-like song titles in previous issues; maybe I need a humour injection as I barely found these funny first time around; apparently I’m in a minority according to the article!



Any Blues out there that went to the Sunday concert would have enjoyed the following in person, the rest of us will just plain enjoy reading it (over and over again). I took it from the Oasis chat list.

Noel said before one song “Oh by the way Man Utd won 4-0” – everyone booed.

Liam: “C’mon, let’s ave a big ***kin boo for Man Utd”Boooooo

Noel: “Let’s ave another big boo for Man Utd”Booooooooooo

Noel: “Tell you what, let’s forget the songs and boo Man Utd all night.” Noel gets ready to start a tune when the crowd breaks out into a chorus of “Who the **** are Man Utd, who the **** are Man Utd…”

Noel just stood there, with his back to the crowd facing a speaker, then turned around and said “Let’s forget the tunes” and Noel and Liam began singing “Who the **** are Man Utd.”

To say reading that made my day was an understatement. Can’t wait to get hold of the bootleg when it comes out.

Good news/bad news for fellow readers in America. The good news is that English Premier league footy is to be shown on ESPN 2 this season. I believe it will probably be the taped 1 hour highlight show that was only available on area sport stations or satellites last year as compared to ESPN 2 which is available through most cable operators. The Live Premier games are still only available through a pub/bar with a satellite and a decoder. You can e-mail Shane O’Rourke at or call 415 437 1685 to find the nearest pub to you showing the games. This week’s games are Sat 17th Wimbledon vs. Rags and Sun 18th Southampton vs. Chelsea. The bad news is of course obvious, City won’t be on at all!

Good luck on Friday lads, I’ll be there in spirit and there in person for the Charlton and Barnsley games.

True Blue Paul Whittaker (


Great to come back after 3 weeks on holiday to find a whole heap of MCVITAs in my mailbox. And … what other club could have their mailing list run for a while by a representative of their fiercest rivals :-)) – rather like Sinn Fein having Ian Paisley edit An Phoblaicht (sp?) for a week or two (or there again, maybe not). Thanks Leo – great job.

Just a few thoughts and comments on recent issues.

Paul Howarth mentioned that one of the youngsters in one of the friendlies reminded him of Paul Moulden … anyone else see that Paul Moulden recently signed for Accrington Stanley – how are the mighty fallen.

Weird places to find the City Mag; if you think Milton Keynes is strange! whilst on holidays, I was shopping in St. Buryan, a village off the Penzance to Lands End ‘main’ road, and famous as the location of the shooting of the infamous film ‘Straw Dogs’ in which Dustin Hoffman plays the part of a true Blue holidaying in Cornwall who takes on the might of the local redneck Reds … no, actually, not true, but notorious in its time for its violence, when I saw two copies of the August City mag in the magazine rack. No red mags, Either from Stretford or Liverpool, just the City Mag.

I’m very pleased to find that the on/off Quinn transfer saga seems to have resolved itself – I must confess that the little faith I have left in Alan Ball would have received another blow if we had let Niall go. On the other hand, I was pleased to see Curle go, even at a loss of c.2m pounds. Given that he did play well when signed, I never really rated him, and would agree that the last couple of seasons he has been crap.

Up the Blues – Bring on Buster!

Jeremy Poynton (


With the unfortunate drop, City will not appear on Match of the Day or on Football Focus each week. I know that there is a deal with Sky but does anyone know of any plans to show a highlights version of the First Division similar to Football Focus or last year’s Endsleigh Football Extra (I think it was called that) on terrestrial television?

Reports have it that Bruce Rioch lost his job because it was either him or Ian Wright and he lost. Recently there has been a lot of speculation about Quinn moving, personally they have got the wrong man! Please correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t Rösler’s contract end next season? Do you think that with all the crap that went on last season will he stay? – pigs might fly!!!! What will the situation be like at the end of next season, no Quinn, Rösler able to move on a free, great forward line to re-enter the Premier League! Preferably we should be big enough to keep them all but if one has to go then at he moment they are looking at the wrong man.

Coming back to my point about Rioch, who would you prefer to see go: Quinn or Ball? If you ask me Quinn is literally head and shoulders above Ball. Personally I think we should go for George Graham for several reasons, the main one being that whenever a team attacks City, they always look like letting in a goal – hopefully Graham could try to reverse that trend like he did with the Arsenal. City to me at the minute seem too lightweight, let’s look at the Rags from Sunday’s game – they are ****ers but they were good. Now how many flair players do they have in their side? Cantona, Giggs and Beckham. City are playing the game wrong! Gio needs to play centre forward like the Frenchman does and not as an advanced midfielder, which then would enable us to have a solid midfield. The midfeild would have runners like Lomas, Brown, Foster and Clough fighting for two places and wingers like Summerbee, Phillips and Beagrie, when fit, fighting for two places. Gio is a great player but there are disadvantages to having such a player which City have not ironed out. Phillips will never be given the proper chance as his and Gio’s inclusion makes the the team too weak. He can’t play at wing back so that makes 5 at the back difficult. My team would be as follows:

Kernaghan            Symons         Frontzeck (Hiley when fit)
Summerbee     Brown          Lomas                  Phillips
          Gio                     Quinn

This team would get out of the First Division with style and at the same time create competition for places which is another thing that needs to occur in the squad: if you have a couple of nightmares then you’re out. This attitude needs to be instilled in several players just like it was to some degree last season with Rösler- are you listening Summerbee and definitely Frontzeck?

With regards the possibilty of the two new signings from the East, these are good news and would perhaps enable us to play 5 at the back but again where would the so highly rated Phillips fit into such an equation? As with Quinny, Bally you are insane! He is the kind of player who should be valued at a club, and one who is needed in order for us to get out of the Nationwide League. Why do you think Sunderland want him to sit on the subs bench? Some may think that he is a donkey but at the moment he is a needed donkey!

Quinn to stay! Quinn to stay! Quinn to stay! Quinn to stay!

Forever Blue – even when it can be frustrating! Graham Lord (


Time for a short grumble again I think, and yet again it’s to do with transfers.

Why have we sold Quinn? We probably need Niall more now than any other previous seasons, as he would have been perfect in the first division especially with the possibility of playing two wingers again. Hopefully he will thrive again under the management of Reid, and personally I wish him well at his new club and would like to thank him for being one of the few true professionals at Maine Road.

Next grumble is about money. Please correct me if I’m wrong but with the transfers of Flitcroft, Curle and now Quinn we have received in excess of £5 million. Could somebody tell me what has happened to this money? Have we bought Gary Speed whilst I was asleep or are we putting a bid in for Sinclair… or is this money being used to pay off some debts so we are more attractive to shareholders!

Final grumble is about Alan “football genius?” Ball’s willingness to part with money for largely unknown players from foreign countries. After setting the trend for buying foreign players maybe it’s time we started the trend for buying British players. I’m sure this may be a unfashionable idea, but if somebody doesn’t do it soon we’re going to see a lot of lower division clubs, which rely on transfers to survive, going bankrupt.

Now I’ve got that of my chest I’m looking forward to the new season and hopefully we can get some atmosphere going in the ground again. Bring back the bananas!

Adam Houghton (


Here’s my two pennys worth on City’s current state: I admit that I haven’t seen City in the flesh for a few years now but I feel the problems started well before that. Swales may have wanted the best for City but it didn’t turn out that way. Since Tony Book in 1979 we have had 10 managers which is about 20 months each (that gives Bally until about Easter!). As most of those managers have been sacked, the pressure on every new one has been immense. It has also meant that no decent manager would consider coming to City and then of course no decent established player would want to come either. The only sensible appointment was that of Peter Reid after Howard Kendall left but the way he was kicked out must have set us back another 10 years.

To my mind the only way out of this is for Franny Lee to show that he is prepared to give a manager a fair crack at the job (although to make up for how City must be viewed he probably has to give him a generous crack at the job!) I think that this must involve saying that after 3 years City must be on the edge of a place in Europe. So I was in favour of keeping Horton, not because he is a brilliant manager but because we would not be able to attract a better one (as I think has been proved). This also applies to Ball, although I hate to think of us failing to go up; if we ditch him at the first sight of trouble this season I dread to think who our next manager will be (Dave Merrington?).

The only plus point for Ball at the moment is that we seem to have hung on to Gio. If we also keep Uwe, Brown and Lomas I’m still optimistic but we also need confidence and to sort out the defence (that may be the same problem). A good thrashing of Ipswich should help!

To misquote John Cleese: “I can cope with failure; it’s the hope that hurts so much!”

P.S. Today’s Sun states that Middlesbrough are to make a £3 million bid for Brown. Best of luck to Niall, who can blame him!

Hez: a City Blue in Bristol (


Just a small bit of useless-ish information.

As is no doubt known to one and all that Niall Quinn has moved on to pastures new. The “undisclosed” fee of £1.3 million seems a reasonable price, if you support Sunderland. Who knows, maybe with his signing on fee Quinn will buy another horse and eventually make enough money to be a chairman of a football club. If so let’s hope he doesn’t give a friend the manager’s job (déjà vu).

Speaking of managers, or Alan Ball, for those of you are living in Ireland you may have heard an interview with Noel Gallagher this morning (Wednesday). Oasis are playing in Ireland at the moment… well last night and tonight in Cork. Anyway, not to loose complete track of myself, he was asked what his most recent dream was.

Seeing as it was on national radio he decided not to tell the world his most recent nocturnal thoughts (pity!) but he did say the most frequent dream he has is scoring the winning goal at Wembley against Man United. He proceeded to offer his opinion on AB. He made it quite clear that he and AB were not drinking buddies and he reckons he will be gone before Christmas.

Hopefully he will, but I also hope City are well on the way to leaving the Nationwide at that stage.

Dave Geraghty (


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

Thanks to Jeremy, Graham, Martin, Paul (x2), Neale, Tony, Roger, David, Adam and Henry.

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 #220