Newsletter #229

Ashley should be back on-line by the end of the week, so after Thursday’s MCIVTA all contributions should be sent to him. Until then however, please continue to send them to me. Thanks.

It looks like a new manager is to be announced shortly. There’s plenty of speculation about ‘Bertie Bassett’ (which I haven’t been able to confirm) and lots of opinion on other candidates for the post. For match reports, humour and news read on…

Next game: Tuesday 17 September 1996, Coca-Cola Cup Round 2 1st Leg, Lincoln City away.


If there are any Blues out there in MCIVTA-land who have or can get hold of copies of the pre-season programmes vs. Exeter and Plymouth that they’d be interested in selling to a Gortonian Blue presently holed up in a gold mine in the wilds of eastern Papua New Guinea, please get in touch. Also, thanks to Martin Watts of Belfast for the programmes from Cork and Athlone and I hope you enjoy the pint!

Neil Adshead (


I agree with the view that Howard Wilkinson can do a good job for us if we can get him. His record at Leeds was excellent overall. His dismissal is attributable to George Graham being a big buddy of the guy now in charge rather than one bad result against the Rags.

What concerns me rather a lot is where our youth policy is going. The reserves playing in the Pontin’s second division against the likes of Wrexham isn’t the way things were.

One thing Wilkinson can be proud of is his youth policy. Most of the top prospects now seem to play for the Rags or Leeds.

Dull as dishwater in after match interviews though.

Jim Egan (


Contrary to reports this morning, it seems that City are still interested in signing Oldham’s Gunnar Halle. Oldham wanted a swap deal involving Gerry Creaney but City would have required a cash adjustment which the Latics couldn’t afford. Hence, an outright purchase at £250,000 is possible.

A possible complication is that City could also be offering Creaney to Bradford City as part of a swap deal involving their highly-rated defender Marco Sas. However, it seems that some Premiership clubs are also interested in this player so I doubt that anything will come of this.

Niall Quinn has reported Francis Lee to the PFA regarding the City chairman’s comments shortly after the departure of Alan Ball. “Francis Lee alleged that we had been plotting against Alan Ball. He says we were trying to pick the team ourselves but if I had any influence on the picking of the team, surely the first thing I would have done would be to nail down my own place”, said Quinn.

The Mole


As you may already be aware, a challenge has been issued by the Rags’ Internet footie team for a game. The proposed date is Sunday 13th October at the Armitage Centre, I’ve had a few replies so far but nowhere near enough to manage a team, if you want to play then could you let me know so I can confirm the game with the Rags.

Also, it’s been suggested that prior to the game, the Internet Blues have a practice game where we can sort out some sort of formation and positions. Dan Rigby has provisionally booked the Armitage astroturf pitch on Sunday 29th Sept between 17:00-19:00. It would be much appreciated if I could have let me know if you are all available so I can then ask Dan to confirm the booking.

Martin Ford (


I have just got back to sunny downtown Crawley after watching the latest saga in the never-ending quest to become a Vauxhall Conference side.

Once again the City fans were great, singing their hearts out for a side who appear to be clueless and destined for disaster. We are Blue and proud of it!

The game started well with a swift attack from City which should have resulted in a goal, then it was Palace all the way. True the ref made some wierd calls but that is not an excuse. City do not have a defence – it is a total shambles. We must get stuck in and tackle; we cannot keep backing off and giving the opposition space to get shots in. Midfield are also a total mess – Gio is not performing every game – he gets marked out too often and is not getting the support he needs to create chances. Our strikers are average purely because they don’t get any decent service. Rösler is still falling over and Dickov is backing into players all the time, I realise he is trying to lay off balls but often there is no-one in support.

IMHO Ball destroyed the players’ confidence; sure we beat Port Vale but they are a crap team, Palace are a good Nationwide team and we just did not have a team to beat them. Nationwide games are hard fought physically and our players cannot cope with it. Frontzeck can but he is a nutter.

The main problem with the club is that from top to bottom it is a disorganised shambles. Lee has done sod all to sort out problems – we got Ball at the last minute and we have done nothing to improve the squad since last season. We need 5 Asa Hartfords on the team – players who are commited and get stuck in, someone who will give 110% for 90 minutes not mince around trying to play fancy football. We have no manager and Asa could do the job – I am not a Bassett fan but he or someone like him is what we need – we also need a manager who will stay – win games and build for success – no flash in the pan stuff but a steady progress, improving the scouting and junior teams as well. We will not get relegated but we will not be promoted this season unless there is a drastic change at the club.

Sell – Rösler, Clough, Kinkladze.
Shoot – Summerbee, Frontzeck, Immel.
Keep – Dickov, Lomas, Symons, Brown, Hiley.

Sorry this has been a rant but after 30 years supporting City this is the only time I have not been able to say things will get better; as a fan who gets to more away games than home ones I’d like to see us win sometimes. Today’s game was a joke – worse than the Wimbledon game last year, Palace should have put 5 or 6 past us.

Anyway, keep the faith, see you at QPR and Reading.

Always Blue, Andy Birkin (


Okay, so we’re in a crap division and we’ve had a disappointing start to the season, but let’s look on the bright side for a moment…

Had we played this badly in the Premier division we would have been obliterated! Isn’t it great that we can play this poorly and still be riding high in the upper end of the division!

Good old Alan Ball I say!

Oops gotta go, matron is here with my pills…

Anon (


A little boy from England had gone to Rome on holiday with his family hoping to see the Pope. Anyway, a couple of days after they’d arrived, the Pope was doing a tour of the city in his Popemobile. The little lad was a bit worried that the Pope wouldn’t be able to pick him out in the crowd, so his Mum said “don’t worry, the Pope is a footy fan, so wear your City shirt and he’s bound to pick you out and talk to you.”

So, they’re in the crowd, but the Popemobile drives past them and stops a bit further down the street where John Paul gets out and speaks to a little boy in a Man Utd shirt. The lad is distraught and starts crying. His Mum says “don’t worry, the Pope’s driving around tomorrow as well, so we’ll get you a Utd shirt and then he’s bound to stop to see you.”

The next day arrives, and the boy’s got on his new Utd shirt. The Popemobile stops right by him, John Paul gets out, bends down and says to the lad “I thought I told you to f**k off yesterday?”

Matthew Spence (


A report in Saturday’s Daily Star claimed that Francis Lee had been having talks with Terry Venables with a view to the former England manager taking the helm at City. Venables could be offered a stake in the club as an inducement to take the job. Venables is currently on a week-by-week consultancy job with Portsmouth and is known to have an ambition of running a club from top to bottom.

I doubt that anything will come of this as El Tel has a busy year in court coming up and can probably not afford to be away from London for very long. That is after all why he gave up the England job.

Paul Howarth (


Palace 3, City 1. What the hell is going on? This is basically the same side that fought so admirably to avoid relegation last year and yet now they’re playing like monkeys! I’m sorry, I don’t think I can take this much longer.

From a despairing Blue, George Larcos (


Here’s the considered opinion of Shaggy, our resident Palace fan. I swear I haven’t made this up.

Firstly, from our information (not always accurate), Dave Bassett will become your manager this week.

Next, Saturday’s game and I have to first apologise to anyone that came to The Ship for a beer as the landlord was only letting Palace fans in. There were some City fans in later as they were bemoaning how crap City were – something that I have to say from my viewpoint is absolute rubbish.

Saturday’s game was interesting – firstly Palace played superbly, stopping all your danger men and creating an incredible amount of chances. Now, this was not to say that City were a bad team because going forward, you looked very good (Lomas should be in midfield by the way – he is not effective enough at right back) and your defenders, I suspect are perfectly fine against teams without very pacy players which we have in abundance. Nigel Clough really impressed me although he was playing far too deep in the first half – his speed of thought was very noticeable and he and Kinkladze will run riot against some teams in Div 1.

So, all in all, I wouldn’t worry – you looked a better attacking side than just about anyone we played last season in this division and we were all agreed that you’ll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. We may have outplayed you but that is the best we’ve played in the last 2 years.

I’m afraid I’d have to agree with the City fans he spoke to myself!

Paul Howarth (


I’m going over to England again on Wednesday (18’th), so I was wondering whether there are one or two City supporters in the area where I’ll be staying who would fancy meeting at a pub for some pints and City talk? I’ll be staying in London for a month, so please send me an e-mail before 1.00 pm on Wednesday if anybody is interested. The area I’ll be living is Stoke Newington (North London), alarmingly close to Highbury, so if there are any Blues in North London, I’d be very pleased if you get in touch.

Tor-Kristian Karlsen (


According to an “Exclusive” in today’s Daily Mirror, Dave Bassett has been appointed the new City boss. Other newspapers are equally adamant that he has turned the job down. If anyone knows the truth, I’m sitting here with bated breath! 🙂

David Yates (


Dave Bassett looks certain to be the man to take the manager’s job at Maine Road. Although City will not make an announcement for a day or two yet, Palace appear to have resigned themselves to losing their manager. Bassett’s assistant, Ray Lewington, is also expected to be making the journey North, which casts doubts on the future of caretaker boss Asa Hartford.

Bassett’s track record is virtually a mirror image of that of Alan Ball, with six promotion campaigns to his credit so far, four with Wimbledon and two with Sheffield United. Last season he took Palace to the play-off final and only lost that in the last minute of extra time.

Paul Howarth (


Gio kinkladze yesterday signed a £500,000 boot deal with Diadora so maybe this means he’s happy to stay at city?

B.S. Aaron (


CRYSTAL PALACE vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 14th September 1996

“Bassett’s Last Stand?”

If, as seems likely, that this was Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett’s last game in charge at Palace before joining City, he certainly left on a high. His Palace side outperformed City in all departments.

After a long trip South which included a grand tour of the M25 courtesy of our coach driver, we arrived at Selhurst Park at about 1:55 p.m. and headed off to a pub called ‘The Ship’ where I’d hoped to meet up with some people from the Palace list. Unfortunately the bouncer on the door realised that we were City fans (not difficult as we weren’t trying to hide it) and refused to let us in. Thanks mate. Instead we nipped round the corner to the ‘Cherry Trees’ (which didn’t have such a paranoid admissions policy) and met up with some of the London Branch guys.

City’s line-up was unchanged from that which was so impressive at Port Vale on Tuesday, with youngsters Ingram and Whitley retaining their places and Lomas filling in at right back. We started brightly enough, having two decent chances in the first few minutes. First Dickov’s shot was blocked and then Uwe’s effort was well saved by the impressive Chris Day in the Palace goal. After this opening burst though, Palace assumed the upper hand and didn’t relinquish it until they were three goals up and had the game won.

The opening goal came in the 12th minute, set up by Bruce Dyer and finished by David Hopkin. Palace simply passed their way through City’s defence, Dyer had the strength to hold off Symons before teeing up Hopkin for a crisp shot from the edge of the penalty area. Dougie Freedman had struck the inside of the post a couple of minutes earlier but City had escaped that time.

Palace’s busy midfielders did what Vale didn’t – denying us time and space in midfield. We were unable to impose ourselves on the game and slipped back into the confidence-stricken, inept mode of play we saw in earlier games this season. The second goal, when it came, was no surprise. Once again Dyer was involved, this time setting up defender Leif Andersen (making his first start of the season) to power in a shot which Dibble got a hand to, but couldn’t keep out.

City had a big following again, most of whom had probably seen the same players perform so much better only a few days earlier. After starting out quite noisily, we were stunned into silence for most of the first half. I suppose it’s better than getting on the players’ backs.

Hopes of a turnaround in the second half were dashed after only 7 minutes. Brown had been replaced by Brightwell; Lomas moved up into midfield with Brightwell taking over at right back. Hopkin had the ball just outside our area, wasn’t challenged and was able to pick his spot, curling a shot over Dibble and into the top corner. Three up, the game won, Palace seemed to relax a little, drawing City into their half and then breaking quickly. Frontzeck’s lack of pace was obvious so he made way for Darren Wassall. Within a couple of minutes City were down to ten men; Symons and Freedman chased a through ball, grappling with each other before Freedman seemed to get away but was then clipped by the stumbling Symons. The referee had no option but to send the defender off as Freedman would have been clean though with only Dibble to beat. City reorganised by taking Brightwell back off (he probably wasn’t fit enough to have played anyway), bringing R