Newsletter #226

High farce at the Academy on Tuesday night when City’s tactics consisted of booting the ball up in the air; the major drawback being that the smallest player on the Charlton side was around 6ft 4ins! A truly dismal performance and one of the most drawn-out games I’ve ever witnessed; punctuated by a schoolboy goalkeeping error, Hiley being seriously injured, followed soon afterwards by his replacement, Kernaghan. To cap it all, the ref decided to give us a penalty and then Creaney came on to do his usual sub’s goalscoring act, and a brilliant one it was too. Unbelieveable jubilation after the second and I started to wonder whether it was all real or due some mind-enhancing drugs in the Maine Road beer; after all, it does now cost 2 quid a pint!

We’re now being linked with Wilkins but I have to say that this is probably mere speculation; Bassett seems a more likely candidate.

For anyone who fancies a natter, several of us meet up in the Old Abbey near the Dental School about 1.30pm, before the game. If you fancy coming along, the map is in MCIVTA 78!

Next game, Barnsley at home, Saturday 7th September 1996


MANCHESTER CITY vs. CHARLTON ATHLETIC, Tuesday 3rd September 1996

The worst performance on a football pitch I have ever witnessed… City lacked shape, confidence, leadership and flair. The crowd sat silent in disbelief, but soon the cheers rang out to the tune of ‘What the ***k is going on…’ City were booed off the pitch at half-time losing 1-0 to a poor goal from Charlton. Rumours circulated around about the reason Graham didn’t want to come to City being due Lee wanting to be in the dressing room before games and taking a hand in the management, but Graham wants to manage his way, with no interference.

Gerry Creaney hits the winner

Hiley broke his leg and was given a standing ovation as the ref made the stretcher bearers go around the outside of the pitch rather than straight across it. Hiley has a broken leg and it takes 5 minutes to get him round the pitch… this ref is very, very poor.

The ball was lobbed into the rafters of the Main Stand and never returned. Play was halted while another ball was found. No football arrived. They actually had no footballs on the touchline, so one was eventually produced from the dressing rooms after a minute or so. Thank God this game wasn’t on Sky 3 for all of Europe to watch as City’s bench bungled their way through the 90 minutes. Shouts of ‘we got rid of our Ball’ echoed round the stadium. Hiley’s replacement (Kernaghan) then got injured and had to come off. Things were getting to sitcom levels of stupidity. I was half expecting some clowns to run on, but the board of directors stayed seated!

After a poor second half with really very little to report, suddenly it happened. With 7 minutes to go, Dickov (watch this space – this man is going to be the new Maine Road hero) went down ‘outside’ the box and the ref awarded City a penalty. This was one of his better decisions; the ref had an appalling game. The Charlton team couldn’t believe it. Rösler launched it into the back of the net, all 26,000 fans went mad and the Charlton ‘keeper ran out of his nets and it looked like he was going to knock someone out. The Charlton players started to argue and fight amongst themselves as well as with the City players, Dickov in particular stirring things up, and a fight of minor proportions broke out. The game continued in its poor style and then 3 minutes later a free kick outside the box was given to City, this time thoroughly deserved due to a hideous tackle by a furious Charlton player. Three lined up, including Gio, Dickov and Creaney… Everyone thought Gio was going to hit it but Creaney stepped up and scored the most amazing booster free kick of all time. It really was a diamond; Charlton players began to riot and then I had to leave so as not to get caught in the traffic but the game was over. Someone commented that ‘The Honey Monster’ had been offered the manager’s job but had turned it down… Ho Ho…

Apologies for the rather lacklustre writing of this report but it really was the most disappointing game of football I have witnessed in 10 years. A win is a win at the end of the day, but one thing is for sure. This team is not going to get City back in the Premiership and if we keep selling players and replacing them with lower standard players then we are not only going to have the best ground in the first division but we’ll have the best ground in the second as well.

Dickov? Superb… Classy… Fast… Hard working… Left footed! Man of the match no question.

Immel? Appauling… Second Rate… Nervous… Two left feet!

Dibble? Go to jail… Do not pass go… Do not collect £200… Oh dear…

The saga continues. Maybe Francis Lee should look for another buyer for the club, although the share price has gone up from £0.70 to £1.50! Something is going right at least.

Final score: 2-1

Rob Llewellyn (


MANCHESTER CITY vs CHARLTON ATHLETIC, Tuesday 3rd September 1996

The joy of winning in the last minutes of a match, rather than our usual habit of losing at the last gasp, should not hide the dire nature of City’s performance. This was the worst performance I have ever seen from us, the players were nearly all awful and I have never seen any team seem so disjointed and drained of confidence. For 83 minutes we seemed a club in absolute crisis, a team hurtling towards the bottom of Division 1, and a support totally shell-shocked by what they were witnessing.

I am still unsure of the exact formation, as it changed throughout the night. It appeared to be 3 at the back plus Clough playing as a sweeper with Rösler and Dickov up front. At a time of confusion and disarray at the club it seemed a very bad time to be messing with new formations. The players would at least have had some idea of what they were meant to be doing, and the team might have had some more shape, if we had stuck with the 4-4-2 formation that most of them have played most often.

Most players had personal nightmares but I think it should be borne in mind that a number of them are very young and would probably perform well if introduced into a balanced, confident side. There isn’t much point giving grief to players like Foster, Brown and even Lomas (who was awful). It just seemed to emphasise how we miss older, more experienced players like Coton, and especially Quinn, to help these young players through a tough time.

Anyway the game was very very poor, and we were outplayed by a team who are bottom of Division 1. Charlton’s goal was a product of Immel’s ineptitude and they should have had several more by the 83rd minute. For us to get, and score, a last ditch penalty when we had not looked like scoring all night was mad enough, but for Creaney to score from a “dazzling” set-piece, moved the whole evening into the surreal.

The only plus points were:

  1. At least we had not given up totally by the time of the penalty.
  2. Dickov looked very bright; he had a good first touch, was strongand got stuck in in every way (winding up half the Charlton teamafter the penalty) and looked like he was up for the long battleahead.

Had this match been played in the Swales era we would probably have had a riot.

Low Point: The Kippax singing “What the ***k is Going On” after 70 minutes.

High Point: The Kippax singing “What the ***k is Going On” after we’d gone 2-1 up.

God help us against the mighty Barnsley.

Dan Rigby (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. CHARLTON ATHLETIC, Tuesday 3rd September 1996

Wednesday morning and I should be happy. City won 2-1. The problem was that I went to the match and we were terrible.

        Hiley           Symons          Foster
        Lomas           Brown           Summerbee
                Dickov          Rösler

Subs: Margetson, Kernaghan, Creaney

They scored a bad goal, from Shaun Newton (No.7) in the 27th minute, they ripped our defence apart (which was poor to start with). Charlton could have scored another seconds after. I can’t even blame Frontzeck this time. The best player for me over 90 mins was Foster (now he’s got a hair cut). Dickov also gave 120%. Creaney also played well.

I keep saying if we don’t get on the players’ backs they may play better but in this case I am wrong, Brown was s**t , in fact if he didn’t have a blue shirt on I would have thought he was a Charlton player; he wouldn’t even get a place in the seven a-side team I play for. Come on Brown get it together.

Scott Hiley went over on his ankle and had to be stretched off to be replaced by Kernaghan just before half time. Kernaghan gave Immel a mouthful for not offering himself from a throw in. Not surprising really, a ‘keeper renowned for not liking to come out of his 6-yard box; last night the only time he moved between the posts was to come off the pitch.

Micheal Oakes (Alan Oakes’ son) is a good goalkeeper who also played midfield for England schoolboys so he could play outfield as well – open to any thoughts?

It took City ’til the 83rd minute to score from the spot. Two Charlton players were supposed to have brought Dickov down in the box (I’m not sure). when the ref pointed to the spot all hell broke loose, the ref made Rösler wait 3 minutes before taking the penalty, which he did and nearly ripped the net from the posts.

Then 4 minutes later Creaney took a free kick just outside the box that went though the wall and into the back of the net.

All in all it was a pathetic attempt from City.

The MUEN gave man of the match to Dickov and I don’t think I would disagree.

                MUEN                      GLEN'S VIEW
Immel           5                               2
Foster          5                               7
Hiley           5                               5.5
Lomas           5                               5
Symons          6                               5
Clough          5                               5.5
Summerbee       5                               5.5
Brown           5                              -2
Dickov          7                               8.5
Kinkladze       6                               5
Rösler          6                               4.5
Kernaghan       5                               5
Creaney         6                               5

Latest News: QPR have sacked Ray Wilkins… Mmm guess what I’m thinking.

Glen McLellan (


The Rags may like to think of the Swamp as the Theatre of Dreams, but we’ve got the Academy of Farce and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Things got off to a bad start when only two turnstiles were open at the North Stand and we were invited to enter through the away fans’ entrance! Then when Symons introduced the ball to the Main Stand television gantry, it appeared we didn’t have a spare to hand! 80 minutes of painful dirge (from City at any rate) followed, only to end in high drama with players fighting, fans on the pitch fighting and the referee escorted from the pitch to a standing ovation having given a woeful penalty decision which not surprisingly upset the Charlton camp. In between, City showed all those lucky enough not to have been at Bolton just how bad we can be.

  • Clough is not a sweeper, centre half or wing back.
  • Immel scores highly in the entertainment stakes, but is a positive health risk.
  • Gerry Creaney in midfield?
  • Rösler clueless, ditto Brown for much of the time.
  • No width, no pattern and worst of all zero movement. At times it wasan embarassment as players hung back rather than move into space toreceive the ball from throw ins.
  • Dickov ran his socks off but someone should let the defence knowthat he’s not as tall as Niall Quinn and pumping the ball aimlesslyupfield is not clever.

Charlton did the sid beaters. Then the referee lost it – maybe he’s after the manager’s job.

The rest as they say is history. Great entertainment for all the wrong reasons. Bring on Barnsley!

Paul Monaghan (


The Pantomime season came early this year, in the shape of MCFC vs. Charlton at Maine Road last night.

I’m sure that plenty will be written about this match, so I’ll be brief, but for God’s sake, what the hell was that all about? They say it ain’t over until the fat lady sings but, for those who hadn’t left early, we could certainly hear her clearing her throat in the wings with ten minutes to go.

Words cannot describe the abysmal performance City put in for the first 80-odd minutes. But, for once, the Gods were on our side and we were awarded the most dubious of penalites. I was sat in AA of the Kippax and had a perfect view of the proceedings, and no way was that a penalty. But who am I to complain? Yes, Charlton were robbed but it makes a bloody change that it wasn’t us! And as for Gerry “Fat Boy” Creaney’s free-kick: utterly brilliant! Fat Boy pulls it off! What a match.

I am reassured that it is unusual for someone who is healthy, in their twenties with no history of heart disease in the family to die from a heart attack, but I felt close a few times last night. Even though we had the jammiest of victories, it is painfully obvious that we are a crap team and please Asa, Franny, someone, sort it out and buy some decent players and stop us from being a laughing stock.

Finally, spare a thought for Scott “unlucky” Hiley. Unbelievable bad luck, looks like he’ll be out for the rest of the season.

Can anyone see light at the end of the tunnel?

God knows why, but Still Blue, Christine (


Were we really that bad?

The night started well enough with a superb curry in the Shere Khan on Wilmslow Road. Unfortunately that was the highlight.

I can’t give a match report but I can give my impressions.

We were s***e and for 80 minutes had no guts. Charlton were a good first division side fighting for every ball, stronger, quicker, and, significantly, more motivated.

We started nervously and looked terrified of losing. Losing I can live with but being really crap and having no pride is hard to swallow. You’d have thought Charlton was the home side. Was Alan Ball’s spectre on the touchline?

Only in the last ten minutes, after the gift of a penalty that never was, did we seem to get going. Did the crowd have something to do with it? They seemed to liven up after one section in the Kippax who started to sing “What the F*** is going on” was outsung by a chant of “CITY CITY” from all sides. Maybe if we started by getting behind the lads and giving them a lift we would enjoy their efforts more.

Uwe played as if he had no interest. I think his thoughts are in a different division. Gio was marked out of it mostly and we are over reliant on his performance – to the detriment of the rest. Maybe it would be no bad thing if they left. To witness two or three flashes of Kinkladze magic I’m afraid is far outweighed by the disappointment of a loss and ultimately non-promotion.

We must get a team together to get out of this division and move forward from that base.

Still the evening ended with a rousing chorus of “Blue Moon”, and who needs a manager when there are 25,000 of them at every home game.

Barnsley next. I am resisting the temptation still to go to away games.

BTW my mole tells me Dave Bassett was at the game and there was a board meeting before the match.

Malcolm Plaiter (


I spoke to Paul Lake on Friday and he’s been given a job at Maine Road as assistant to Roy Bailey while he trains to be a Physio. Nice to see the club looking after one of their own! Otherwise it looks miserable.

Jimcfc – Jim Parsons (


Ray Wilkins, who resigned from Q.P.R. this week, is the latest name to be linked with the City manager’s vacancy. The board will meet to discuss the situation early next week. The reason for Wilkins’ resignation BTW, was that he insisted on continuing as a player despite being only a week short of his 40th birthday. The Q.P.R. board thought he should restrict himself to management duties and from what I’ve seen so far this season, I agree with them. He’d certainly make a change from the abrasive style of Alan Ball though; the Rangers’ players looked visibly upset by his departure when interviewed on T.V.

The draw for the second round of the Coca-Cola Cup has paired City with Lincoln City. The first leg will be played at Lincoln on 17th September.

It’s feared that Scott Hiley has damaged his cruciate ligaments again, though this won’t be known for certain for a while yet. Alan Kernaghan has had a cartilage operation today (Thursday). Caretaker manager Asa Hartford has been looking to make some loan signings as defensive cover. No further permanent signings will be made until the manager’s position is sorted out.

Paul Howarth (


        Curle   Hendry  Warhusrt
Beresford Flitcroft Bishop Stewart  Hughes
        Sheron  Quinn  Simpson

Just a thought…

Colin Harris (


Surely it’s obvious who the next manager is going to be. A Mancunian who loves the club, has got some balls (not of the Alan variety), and maybe even a bit of money to feed into the club. Why else would a Gallagher stand up his beloved brother?! House-hunting, my a**e, Liam was having talks with Franny – that’s why he delayed his trip to the US for the Oasis tour! Let’s hear it…

Liam Gallagher for City Manager!

Andy Lamb (


I left for Florida with the desperate news that we had sold Quinny, and returned to the news that AB had resigned following the bad start. The Quinn sale got the fans’ backs up and it was obvious that AB would receive some stick if we started losing games. I don’t know the full situation with being away from home but Franny should have moved hell and high water to keep AB. The situation we are in now (up sh** creek without a paddle) is one that I only envisaged in my worst nightmare. You would have to be an idiot to take the manager’s job on with our managerial longevity record. I’m going back to Florida. Any of our American subscribers know where I can get a job?

Ken Foster (


I really hope the rumours about Kinky going are untrue. The problem seems to be that he is a jewel in an otherwise ordinary side. Too often I read match reports to find that close marking and attention from opposition players have kept him quiet. In a good side this should allow other players to shine, but it doesn’t seem to occur for us. Maybe if he was sold, City could purchase two or three quality players and this could give the side more flexibility and scope? God I hope Gio doesn’t go! The current side is good enough to be competitive in the Premier league, but management sees them playing like chumps week in and out. Hopefully that’ll change with AB’s departure.

Up the Blues! George Larcos (


Like many who read MCIVTA I was delighted when I read of AB’s resignation. I was reassured when I heard of George Graham’s interest in becoming our new manager. I was distraught when I discovered GG had turned us down. But this rejection from a man who should have been gagging to join us led me to think (dangerous I know!) that we as supporters and probably the management of the club are approaching this in totally the wrong way.

We all know the sad tale of the vast amount of managers over the last twenty years or so and the dismal lack of success in the same period. If we look for clubs that have had success during the same period the name of Liverpool has got to be in the list generated. What do we notice about Liverpool and their coaching staff? Well, when a new manager is required at Anfield, an appointment is always from within the club’s existing coaching staff. The only time they brought someone in from the outside (Souness) it was a complete and utter disaster.

So here we are looking for a new manager to lead us to glory. Why doesn’t FHL immediately think Asa is the man for me? Why do we need to scour the land for a replacement? Has this policy worked during the last twenty years?

We should be appointing from within, succession should be a formality. Now I’ve got to admit that Asa wouldn’t be at the top of my shopping list but isn’t that statement a sad reflection on FHL and the board? Why have we appointed people to our coaching staff that we have no confidence in? Surely one of the criteria for appointing an assistant or deputy is that if the boss is away for any period then the assistant assumes their rôle?

Not only do we need a new manager but we need a whole new structure to manage the team. So if suddenly we’ve got some dosh to throw at the manager why don’t we make some sort of audacious offer to someone like Cruyff, Beckenbauer or Dalglish to become Director of Football with a clearly defined rôle to sort out the structure of the coaching staff? Someone like Asa can do the day to day coaching of the first team with the Director having a steadying influence on tactics and team selection. Grooming younger members of the staff for the day when they will become manager of the first team.

If City are to become the great club they were during my childhood then FHL has to break the cycle of “let’s give this one two seasons to work a miracle!”

Stephen Booth (


What news of the managerial crises? Australian press reports that Kinky is unpopular with players, hence Quinn’s exit. I predict we win on the weekend 2-0. But by all accounts they are dreadful (Bloomberg reports the worst performances in 15 months and there have been some bad ones!).

Keep up the spirits.

Daniel Mulcahy, a fellow long-suffering City supporter since 1969 (


After reading various people’s opinions on Dave Bassett and Peter Reid (amongst others) in recent editions of MCIVTA, I feel compelled to add my own views to the debate.

First of all Bassett. In case nobody’s noticed, he’s now the manager of Crystal Palace, a team that play a nice passing game and don’t just hoof the ball up the field at the first opportunity. It’s true that his Wimbledon and Sheffield United sides were well known for their direct approach but let’s face it, he was using the tactics that suited the players he had available to him. What cannot be disputed is the team spirit and commitment he managed to build at these clubs. Last season he took over a struggling Palace side in 16th place in the League midway through the season and managed to guide them into the play-offs. Bassett is used to working to a tight budget, is known to have his differences with his current chairman, was in the crowd on Tuesday night and could well do a good job for us.

Now for Peter Reid. In MCIVTA 224, Fraser Davidson referred to Reid’s dismissal as our “4th really bad move.” In MCIVTA 225, Keith Hursthouse referred to the “good job” Reid did at City. I for one was delighted that Reid was sacked, though the dismissal itself could have been handled much better. I’ve written on this topic in MCIVTA before, so instead of boring everybody by repeating my views, here’s what John Burfield has to say about Reidy in the current edition of King of the Kippax:

It’s a funny old game isn’t it? Reidy up, City down. Well I’m not laughing and if I hear one more uninformed outsider making references to the tune of “You should never have sacked Peter Reid” then I shall insert something large and uncomfortable into them with great force. Let’s get this clear – Peter Reid was just about second only to Swales in his culpability for the club’s current predicament. Yes, we finished fifth in his first full season in charge but we were mid-table (just a handful of points above relegation) by the end of his second and our performances were getting more atrocious by the week (the 5-2 home defeat by Everton is still in my top ten s***e City offerings). Reid took Kendall’s highly promising passing side and wrecked it. He brought Sam Ellis in as coach (philosophy – t**t it down the pitch towards that tall striker), sold Colin Hendry and Michael Hughes for half of what we paid for Terry Phelan, and he bears absolutely no resemblance, in the type of football advocated, to the Peter Reid now doing so well at Sunderland. Reid has learned from his mistakes at City and I wish him well, but Sunderland fans don’t know they’re born, because if they’d had Reid and Ellis together, they would now be in Nationwide Division 3.

To that I would add that our youth system totally fell apart during this period and still has not fully recovered. Long gone are the days when City would get the best local talent. Reid also had well-known personality clashes with some players, e.g. Hendry and Allen. Both were sold at knock-down prices and Allen was forced to train with the youth team. Is that any way to manage a club? It’s clear that Reidy isn’t the same character now, but it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a change of tactics when the Mackems hit a sticky patch now that they have the option of using Niall Quinn in long-ball mode…

Paul Howarth (


Before Tuesday, when was the last time we scored direct from a free kick?

P.S. From December the Buckton Blues will be in Aussie, Perth to be exact. Can any Blues out there send me info on where I can make contact with MCIVTA while we are out there, cybercafes etc.

Bob Buckton (


Full-time score for Tuesday, September 3 1996


Up to and including Tuesday, September 3 1996

Team                  Played   Won  Drawn Lost     For Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers         4      3     1     0       7     3        10
Stoke City               4      3     1     0       7     4        10
Barnsley                 3      3     0     0       8     2         9
Norwich City             4      3     0     1       5     3         9
Tranmere Rovers          4      2     1     1       6     4         7
Queens Park Rangers      4      2     1     1       6     5         7
Wolverhampton Wanderers  4      2     1     1       5     3         7
Swindon Town             4      2     1     1       5     4         7
Bradford City            4      2     0     2       4     3         6
Manchester City          4      2     0     2       4     4         6
Portsmouth               4      2     0     2       4     5         6
Ipswich Town             4      1     2     1       9     7         5
Crystal Palace           4      1     2     1       4     3         5
Port Vale                4      1     2     1       4     4         5
Birmingham City          2      1     1     0       5     4         4
Reading                  4      1     1     2       5    10         4
Huddersfield Town        3      1     1     1       4     4         4
Oxford United            4      1     0     3       6     5         3
West Bromwich Albion     3      0     2     1       2     3         2
Oldham Athletic          4      0     1     3       5     9         1
Sheffield United         2      0     1     1       4     5         1
Grimsby Town             4      0     1     3       4     8         1
Charlton Athletic        3      0     1     2       2     5         1
Southend United          4      0     1     3       2    10         1

With thanks to Soccernet.

Russell Town (


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

Thanks to Andy, Jim, Ken, Rob, George, Christine, Dan, Glen, Paul (x2),Stephen, Malcolm, Daniel, Colin, Russell & Bob.

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 #226