Newsletter #230

Ok, in this issue we have a review of the August City Magazine, written by Ashley (who is now back on-line), match views and reports from Lincoln, lots of opinion and some speculation.

Please note

Ashley will again be in control of MCIVTA from the next issue onwards. Please forward all contributions to from now on (all modem jokes will now be appreciated).

Many thanks to all those who offered modems and other assistance. The response was brilliant.

Next game: Birmingham City at home, Saturday 21st September 1996


I’m greatly disturbed by developments on Blue View, which as a vehicle for exchanging opinion is second to none. However, exchanging views is one thing and running campaigns directed against the club is another, especially when the proponents misrepresent themselves as the entire readership of Blue View.

Frankly, it amazes me that people have the temerity to start a letter with: “We the contributors of Blue View”, when in reality, they are just “some of the contributors of Blue View”. Why they feel the need to identify a campaign with Blue View is beyond me; the inevitable outcome will be that Doug Bennett receives a legal letter from the club about Blue View’s use of the club crest and yet another supporter-run organ will be ‘persona non grata’ at Maine Road.

To be perfectly candid, my first concern was that any campaign perceived to have come from an Internet source would have repercussions for MCIVTA. No sooner had I finished mulling these events over, than I find out that a letter is winging its way to MCIVTA so that all and sundry can sign up.

I have to say, up front, that I’m totally against MCIVTA being used to run a campaign, or even being seen to run a campaign against the club, and I will resist any attempt to use it in this way. It took Paul and I a lot of hard work to convince Colin Barlow that we were sincere in our approach to the club, i.e., that we weren’t just another fanzine who’d end up villifying the club or the people who run it. There are already enough fanzines so what is the point of becoming another? Barlow trusted us, and for our endeavours, we have an official contact at the club and a decent relationship with them. I’m not willing to risk this for the sake of some crusaders who believe that they’re speaking on behalf of all City fans (sounds familiar!).

I hope it goes without saying that MCIVTA includes the entire spectrum of opinion about the club, and I can ensure you that it will continue to do so. By all means send your opinion and an address to write to but, an ‘open letter’ is stepping over the line and publishing it would be to the detriment of the subscribership as a whole.

Apart from that, I personally happen to fundamentally disagree that Lee is the source of all our ills. We need to take a good look in the mirror (me included); this is very possibly the lowest ebb, is this really the time to put the boot in?

I’ve probably opened a can of worms here, your views on this will however be more than welcome.



Issue 1

Yet another woefully late review of this month’s (probably last month’s by now) issue of CITY magazine. The magazine seems like some surreal offering, depicting a harmonious club just waiting in earnest to start the campaign that will inevitably lead to promotion. This makes a stark contrast with a reality which has seen Ball and Quinn depart, and everyone else plunged into despondency.

To start off, we have Buzzer on the cover, a man who was loudly booed against Charlton, as it appeared that he just couldn’t care less. He’s also the subject of one of the main stories inside, and those photos of him standing proudly in front of his rather plush house are hardly designed to make those people who pay at the turnstile feel any happier. Although players’ wages have never been a burning issue for me, those pictures somehow brought it home to me just how much they earn. Here’s one case where the verb ‘earn’ needs to be applied a tadge more literally! The article itself concerns the nightmare of relegation, how the players took it at a personal level, and how they plan to put us back where we apparently belong. Summerbee comes across quite well as a person; maybe he’ll improve as a player with a new manager?

Kev Cummins’ witty tale of his non-trip to see the Blues in China (which appeared in MCIVTA) is here, and another (I think!) article on Edghill’s battle for fitness. A backroom story focuses on the Maine Road medic – one ‘Dr Luft’. For years, the author thought it was actually ‘Dr Love’, which brought a few old disco hits spinning through my head! Luft is funny enough as it is though, it’s German for ‘air’! The last ‘biggie’ is on Kevin Bond, back at Maine Road in charge of the reserves; he surely can’t do any worse than Les Chapman can he? Bond seems to be a thinker so let’s hope he can put his ideas into practice. Bond was yet another victim of the boo boys but overcame the adversity to be voted player of the year in 1983.

The magazine now features a ‘diary’ section which details all the happenings during the last month, certainly something useful for exiles, and it does contain the odd snippet which didn’t make the news (or wasn’t allowed to) at the time. There are also short articles on Levenshulme Branch’s trip to Ireland and the Exeter trip from Buster Phillips’ viewpoint. John Maddocks comes up with more interesting stuff from the past (someone force that man to write the club’s history now!) – this time opening day fixtures. Lastly, there’s a funny attempt to look into the future by Steve Anglesey; a music video containing some City players, and the Why Blue-esque ‘Blue Chips’.

Quite an interesting read, but wait for the next one, plenty of water under the bridge as well as something on those Internet Blues!



Oh to be in England now that… er… um… City are falling apart completely.

I told myself that this year I would not go out of my way to watch Premier stuff on whatever US TV station picked up the rights but concentrate on reading about City’s climb back to glory.

Sorry, lads, I can’t do it. I’m off home in a while to watch Sheff. Wed versus Arsenal – tape delayed. I have to watch some English League and reading about City is agony.

But are we really surprised – the team that we finished with last year was really shaky. The question seems to be: how much worse are we going to get before we turn a corner? A new manager (if you had told me a few years ago that City would have Bassett at the top of a want list I’d have assumed you were joking!) is only one of many steps: a new youth policy, new players, etc. Speaking of managers, why would Wilkinson want to rebuild another team, especially one in such a sorry state of affairs as we seem to be?

Is it really this bleak… anyone out there offer some hope of forward progress? As one who was at the Swindon game in the 60s, when 8,000 plus turned up, I can’t stand to think that we might return to those days.

How you lot keep your humour is remarkable but then if you lose that characteristic with City the only option is homicidal maniac I would imagine.

I am supposed to be coming to UK in February… any chance City won’t be playing when I am there!

Your reports are great – keep them up. I am starting to question Shaggy’s insights into this game!

I’m off home to put my feet up, open a can of Boddys (strange, it doesn’t seem to cost any more over here!), and watch Premier League – and imagine that City will be back where they belong very soon (but the imagining only comes are considerable intake of aforementioned drink!)

John Pearson: Stanford, CA (


Oh dear. I am one of the City fans who normally supports from afar, and does not get to many games (about three in the last three years). But now that my eldest son is nearing 7 and the money worries are a little less, I decided it would be time to visit a few grounds in the south. The first game was the friendly at Plymouth as I was on holiday down there. We looked like a team of uninterested individuals, but it was only a friendly and I knew we would get better! Thomas, my son, spent most of the time watching the players warm up in front of us as it was slightly more interesting than the 22 dullards on the pitch.

Anyway onto the first ‘real’ game of football. I have read the reports all season and thought “It will change.” We arrived at Selhurst Park just in time for kick off, the noise from the City fans was excellent and scared Thomas to death. City then had two attacks, Rösler missing a good chance, his only one in the game. I was thinking this was going to be great, a hatful of goals and an easy win. It was, Palace stuffed us everywhere. I don’t really want to report on the game as it gets too depressing, but how and why the fans kept going is a mystery, the team is undeserving.

Some thoughts though: one bloke said to me on the way out “we should have bought Vinny” – well I was not going to argue with him because he was two foot taller than me and 10 stone heavier but I am not sure I can really agree with him, although I do understand his idea – City had no bollocks. Nothing changed from the Plymouth game, City still had this great idea of running away from the player with the ball, no matter what shirt they had on. If a City player had the ball then they had to chase after all the City players running away or bash (nice word) the ball as hard as they could somewhere, excellent football. If a Palace player had the ball we ran away and they scored. What we need is a physcologist / physchiatrist to find out what the hell Ball brainwashed our players into thinking football, and teamwork was about, and then we need a coach to tell them how to achieve the opposite.

Enough enough, I will be back at the QPR game because like the rest I am stupid, gullible and forever Blue.

Just a little thing I forgot to mention, 20 minutes into the game Thomas leant over to me and said “Daddy, I know why I don’t support City”!

Simon Cox (


I get the feeling that we are all the victims of some totally unfunny joke. Having just read tonight’s result, I am convinced that we are having the p*** taken out of us. What the hell is going on?? I don’t believe that Jesus could save us never mind Bertie Bassett or anyone else. This is unbelievable… the pits. Give me another bottle of rum… now!

Yours in total disbelief, Clive Tysoe – The Caribbean Blue (


Hello again. I thought I would write about my wonderful visit to Lincoln last night. Did anyone know it was in the middle of nowhere? Luckily, after farting around getting lost in the city centre, we missed the first 15 minutes (and Uwe’s goal unfortunately) so half an hour of crap wasn’t as bad as the full 45 minutes.

The second half was even worse. I felt all the desperation I felt when I went to the Bolton match. The “team” looked like a disorganised hotch-potch desperately trying to control/pass/keep possession of the ball and I felt like screaming. I am so annoyed that I wasted so much time and money going there. The chant, “what a load of rubbish” was too kind. They deserved to have rotten fruit thrown at them. Especially Summerbee. And Dibble. Has anyone else heard the stories about Summerbee Junior not giving a s*** about City, going out boozing and celebrating with the Rags and just being at Maine Road to collect his wages? I know someone who spoke to him and he admitted he was there for the money and nothing else. Do we really want people like this playing for us?

The number of Blues who turned up last night ought to have put that pile of useless garbage to shame, but they probably don’t care. They take us all for granted.

I honestly don’t know how we’re going to get out of this. If we carry on playing like this, we can definitely kiss Div.1 goodbye. It’s Beazer Homes League here we come.

Oh, and by the way, does anyone know why Nigel Clough was wearing the number 10 shirt last night? And where was Kinkladze? I went to the pub after 20 minutes of the second half last night and Celtic were playing on Sky. I was looking for Kinkladze either in the crowd or on the pitch! Nothing would surprise me.

Sorry to sound so despondent, but you would if you were me.

Still Blue, but looking forward to saving a bit of money by definitely not going to any more away matches:

Christine (


Ceefax yesterday (17/9) reported that Bassett has been in negotiations with FL and is almost certain to take the City job within the next 48 hours.

Darren Burke (


Shaggy, who runs the Palace list, sent Ashley this:

Bassett will definitely be your manager according to our sources at Palace – expect an announcement this week. Needless to say, Bassett and Noades don’t get on which is why he will leave. Personally, I’m getting pretty tired of Ron Noades who seems to wreck our chances every time things are looking good. Saturday’s match was our best performance in two years and a little stability with some money available for a striker is what we now need. Of course, what we get is upheaval (again) and being told that all the money has gone!

Bassett will be exactly what you need and I have little doubt that you will be promoted with him as manager. He is a tremendous motivator and as you could see on Saturday, he is no longer associating himself with the long ball game. Many of your players looked good to me but just weren’t up for the game in the same way ours were.

What worries me most on Bassett’s move is that the areas that City looked weak (defence, particularly full back and the lack of a winger) are exactly the areas where we are strong so I hope that Noades refuses to sell anyone to Bassett when he has gone. Bassett and Noades may not get on but the people who are really being kicked in the teeth by this situation are us, the supporters so the least Noades could do is put a block on anyone leaving.



Following the 4-1 defeat at Lincoln and the continuing managerial farce, I suggest we replace the Why Blue? with Why I’m still a Blue…

(A depressed) Adam Joinson (


OK, so it’s only the League Cup etc… However, the performance at Lincoln shows that morale at Maine Road is at an all time low. To start with a goal after 45 seconds and then capitulate to such an extent is inexcusable. Asa Hartford should not be allowed anywhere near the training ground again after his post match comment: “we’re a soft touch away from home, and it’s been like that for a long time. We knew they would put us under constant pressure and we prepared the team as best we could. But on the night, we couldn’t handle it.” Poor lambs, having to play in a horrible league, with lots of rough boys, every week and then, when they could be having a night off, like the teams we assume are our equals: Villa, Newcastle, Man U, Arsenal and Liverpool, that nasty Graham Kelly makes them go to Sincil Bank to play a team of no hopers like Lincoln. Wake up! If you can’t motivate the team Hartford, walk out now, because you are taking money under false pretences.

Where was Kinkladze last night? A hamstring injury, or left out of the team to avoid him being cup-tied when we sell him on? Most of the mugs who took time off work to support the Blues last night would bet on the latter. If you are the acting manager Hartford, you pick your best team. If Lee is still interfering so much, that we risk early elimination from a money-spinning competition, just to save Gio for Sheff Wed or whoever, you are not doing your job properly.

I and many others, renewed our season tickets on the strength of what now appear to be Francis Lee’s false promises. Bassett is not the long term answer. It is pointless getting it right off the pitch, with boxes, restaurants, bars, merchandising etc. if there is nothing to watch. On 23 September 1989, we beat Man U 5-1 with their fans chanting, “Fergie Out”. We dreamed of overtaking them. Seven years and five managers on, we are forced to face reality as we are humiliated by a team who, eight years ago were in the Vauxhall Conference. We are sick of Francis Lee’s platitudes. When we sing “We’re the pride of Manchester” we mean us, the fans. Our loyalty is being pushed to an extreme. We do as much as we can, it’s about time this was reciprocated by all at Maine Road. It is 20 years since we won a major trophy. I suspect this is the dawn of a similar barren period.

Kevin Cummins (


I am a lifelong Blue, and have been a regular subscriber to MCVITA for a few years now. However, this is my first serious contribution. Total despair over our current plight has driven me to the keyboard.

Saturday’s game against Palace was the first time I’d seen City this season. Here are some of my opinions, in no particular order.

  • City were woeful. Totally bereft of ideas, pace, fitness(?). We justdidn’t compete against a side who, admittedly, played very well. Only twoplayers erm. ‘impressed’: Dibble and Dickov. Seeing Dibble come out tocollect crosses was one ofthe few reassuring aspects of this game for me. He also made some finesaves. It could have been five or six. What Dickov lacks in height (which,let’s face it, is quite a lot) he makes up for in hard graft. Against Palace he was markedby a defender twice his size, so won nothing in the air. However, he ran for 90minutes, something some of the other players could learn from.
  • It’s not so much the losing that hurts, it’s the nature of the defeats.City do not look like a football team. In my opinion, they haven’t lookedlike a team since the (retrospectively) sad demise of Horton. Can anyonethink of a game last season which matched the passion and commitment shownagainst Blackburn at Ewood in 94/95, which we won 3-2?
  • Frontzeck is utterly useless. Does this man actually know how to playfootball? I have never, ever, seen him have a good game. I was so pleasedwhen he got sent off against Ipswich, because of his three match ban. Heshould be sold immediately. Come to think of it, can you think of anyonewho would actually want to exchange money for Frontzeck’s services? He’sprobably an extremely nice bloke, but someone should tell him that he hasno future in football. Alas, Frontzeck was one of AB’s purchases. Enoughsaid.
  • We have some good players who lack confidence and motivation. Anyprofessional drained of confidence will struggle. Who is to blame? Whocares! The problem needs sorting out immediately by employing a caring,sharing kind of manager who can do a job of work – come in Dave Bassett!One thing that amazed me about AB’s mercifully brief reign was all theshenanigens concerning his problems with players, such as Quinn and Rösler.Surely Francis Lee could have got players and manager together to sortsuch problems out amicably off the pitch? The petty bickering was deeplyunprofessional and symptomatic of the whole mess the club finds itself in.
  • I don’t really have much feeling either way for Francis Lee. Butconsider this. His first managerial appointment was Alan Ball. Why?
  • I have been watching City since 1974. I cannot remember a worse Cityside than this in terms of morale and disorganisation.
  • Things could get worse. Remember what happened to Wolves.
  • On current form, we have absolutely no hope of promotion. Even mid-tablecould be optimistic. I am a pessimist, but who wouldn’t be after lastnight’s drubbing by the might of Lincoln City? I fear the abyss beckons.
Spot The Pigeon

Onto lighter matters. In my youth I was an avid Genesis fan. Sad but true. Around about 1977, the group released an EP called Spot the Pigeon, which has actually got a couple of good tunes on it. I think the EP was originally only released in Canada, but became available as an import in the UK. Somewaht bizarrely, the cover of the EP has a photograph of Gary Owen taking a penalty against QPR at Maine Road. Several other players can be seen in the photograph, including Dave Watson. QPR were in their away kit (shirts with red and white halves, black shorts). The penalty was being taken at the Platt Lane end, and I am fairly sure I was at the match. Can anyone offer an explanation for this obscure bit of prog. rock/ Maine Road trivia? I can just about imagine Phil Collins being a Blue, but Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford or Steve Hackett? Presumably the EP title is a pun on spot the ball. The photograph may have been picked at random as a football picture.

Even in our darkest hour, stay Blue. Martin Brookes (


On Tuesday 17th September a true Blue called Charles Evans died after a life of highs and lows supporting City. This man introduced me to Maine Road and the joys (!) of being Blue and Saturday against Birmingham will be a difficult day at the Academy. A major performance by the team was all I could hope for on such a bad day and you all know the depths to which we sunk at Lincoln.

Does anyone have a contact at the club who could arrange a card offering condolances to be sent to his true Blue widow from MCFC to show that someone at Maine Road actually gives a s*** these days since it is increasingly clear that the 11 on the park do not.

Blue to the end. Adrian (

I can’t guarantee anything, but if you mail me with the address of his widow I will ask our contact what can be done. Some details of how long Charles had followed the Blues, his favourite players etc. would be useful.



It’s Tuesday night, 17 September, 1996. All City fans will remember this date, because this is probably our most embarrassing defeat for thirty years, yes even worse than Halifax.

It’s time we looked at what has gone on since Jan 94 when a certain Mr Lee was welcomed to our club with open arms.

  1. Lose at Cardiff on the day of his official appointment and get knocked out of the FA Cup.
  2. Just avoid relegation and then due to media pressure sack Brian Horton.
  3. After being linked with Graham, Toshack and Kidd amongst others, appoints Alan Ball.
  4. Don’t win any of our opening twelve games of last season.
  5. Get relegated.
  6. Sell virtually every established experienced first team player to cut the wages bill.
  7. Lose every game we play against the Rags, remember the 5-0.
  8. Allow Bernard Halford to suggest that Oasis are not the type of people City want to be associated with.
  9. Allow George Graham to take the p*** by claiming he’s interested in the City job when far, far too late, Ball “resigns”.
  10. Our big name manager appointment is going to be Bertie Bassett.
  11. Lost 4-1 to a very poor third division outfit.
  12. People like Colin Barlow, Bernard Halford, Jimmy Frizzell, and any other mate of Mr Leetake part in the job for life scheme,
  13. Decides to appoint a fans’ representative on the board, and then decides it wasn’tsuch a good idea when it becomes apparant that the fans have brains and startto ask simple questions.

What a record. Quite simply it’s a record of absolute and utter failure. It’s very easy to understand why Lee appointed Ball, two failures together.

If Mr Lee has an ounce of compassion for City he will resign now and never darken our doors again. Anybody or even nobody could do a better job than him. Enough is enough, if his intention was to humiliate City because of the way he was discarded so many years ago then he’s succeeded. Please go and go now.

Pete Jodlowski (


Eh how’s it going?

Dropping a line from Lotus land (Vancouver, British Columbia). Since I was a boy growing up in Manchester I’ve supported City through thick and thin. It’s hard to keep in touch while residing in the colonies, but I make do. The plight of City is nothing new and I have confidence that we will, with the help of the fans, get promoted back to the Premier. The team needs a coach and many suggestions have been made. I hope the decision is made soon and we get on with it. I ran into loads of City supporters at the last Oasis concert in Vancouver, and wonder how come none of them drop a line or two. I guess i’ll wait and see. Well here’s to a successful season! If anyone is visiting Vancouver drop me a line.

Still Blue! – Roshan Perera (


Fourbloody One – What are they trying to do to us? Just as you think it’s got as bad as it can get; nope – we can do worse than that guys, they say. I recall that when Franny took over, he said that City, when he was playing, was above all a happy club. Well, it’s quite clearly a very unhappy club now. Even Bassett on the Radio 5 news this morning sounded distinctly uncommitted as to whether he would be leaving the Palace.

Sort it out someone please; and to all you resident Mancs who are no doubt having to withstand merciless sniping from you-know-whos – my sympathy!

Sometimes I hate football. Today is one of those times.

Jeremy Poynton (


When Dave Bassett was rumoured to be taking over as Palace manager earlier this year, a number of people from the mailing list wrote to Ron Noades expressing their objections to this move. Everyone assumed that Bassett would change our style from the sweet passing game developed by Ray Lewington and install the old long ball.

7 months on and there is not a Palace fan around who wants to see Bassett go – he has not only retained our style of play but improved it. The addition was his obviously great motivational skills (taking us from 16th in February to 3rd place in May and almost automatic promotion). His only real weakness seems to be in signing players and this is where he and our chairman Ron Noades have fallen out. Bassett has signed umpteen Sheffield Utd players (mainly youngsters) and none have really worked out. The two first teamers, Carl Veart and David Tuttle are only now beginning to look adequate and Veart is still booed when his name is read out. At the beginning of the season, Bassett tried to sign Simon Tracey, the Sheff Utd reserve goalkeeper, and was blocked by Noades who said that Tracey’s terms were ridiculous. As it has turned out, we didn’t need him because Chris Day has turned out to be as good as he promised to be. This is where the real fallout has occurred.

So, anyone who thinks Bassett will play the long ball game should think again. He will turn Manchester City into a team and will get the more skilful (but lazy) players to make the most of their ability. Don’t be surprised to see a clear-out of players when he gets there either. All we’re hoping is that he is blocked from buying any of our young starlets because Palace have managed to build a decent side since the heart was ripped out of it by Alan Smith’s departure.

SHAGGY – Simon Gleave (


I`ve just got back from Lincoln after watching one team play football and the other team make up the numbers. After a fantastic start with Uwe scoring after 41 seconds the Blues played as if it would be a walkover and it almost was, for Lincoln. If the score had finished 7-1 it would not have been unjust. If Man City keep performing like this we can play Lincoln again next season – in the 2nd division!

Oh the joys of being Blue. Michael Carr (


LINCOLN CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 17th September 1996

“What a load of rubbish”

Well we don’t have Alan Ball to blame this time. City’s performance at Lincoln was even worse than at Bolton. With some of the games this season we could at least say that the opposition played quite well but this display was inexcusable. Lincoln City are in the bottom half of the old fourth division and they thrashed us 4-1. This, despite the fact that we scored in the first minute.

It was not a good night from virtually the moment we arrived in Lincoln. After crawling through the heavy traffic and getting in sight of the ground, it was still difficult to actually get to the ground since it is surrounded by various obstacles, both natural and man-made. Then there was the programme scam. The programmes were priced at 2 pounds but everyone who bought one at Lincoln’s last home game got a 50p voucher off this one. Thus us away fans got to pay extra. Welcome to Lincoln! Then we watched the players arriving. Where was Gio? All sorts of rumours quickly spread; hopefully the official explanation that he had a hamstring strain is true. In Lincoln’s social club “The Centre Spot”, manager John Beck read his team out. I’d heard of one of them (pardon my ignorance).

City lined up like this:

          Lomas  Symons  Wassall  Ingram
         Summerbee  Clough  Whitley  Brown
                  Dickov   Rösler
        Subs: Crooks, Margetson, Frontzeck

The match itself got off to a great start from our point of view. On our first attack, Dickov hooked the ball across the penalty area, the Lincoln ‘keeper hesitated and Uwe headed us into the lead from the edge of the goal area. “We’re on the march with no-one’s army, we’re all going to Wem-ber-ley” rang out from the 1,500 or so Blues. That was about as good as it got.

The game ambled along quite tediously from then on. John Beck’s side aimed a torrent of high balls into the City area, getting plenty of players forward to join in the scrap. At this stage City didn’t look too uncomfortable, though there was always the chance that something could happen. On the other hand, we were not a composed team. Clearances were usually just hacked away to nobody in particular, thus ensuring that the ball would soon be returned to the danger area. We couldn’t or wouldn’t play the game on the floor and this was of course to the home side’s liking as they must have been several inches taller than us on average. Without Kinkladze to hold the ball in midfield, City struggled to put more than three passes together all night.

With half an hour on the clock, the equaliser came. Lincoln broke quickly, crossed the ball in from the right flank and the unmarked Terry Fleming neatly volleyed home his first goal for the Imps, giving Dibble no chance. After this City seemed to go to pieces and were constantly in trouble from corners and free kicks around the penalty area. With four minutes to go to half time, Lincoln took the lead from one of these free kicks. The ball was floated into the area, Dibble came to get the cross but didn’t make it, leaving defender Steve Holmes a simple header. Many referees would have disallowed this goal as Dibble looked to be impeded but Mr. Furnandiz saw nothing wrong and allowed it to stand. Lincoln are actually a very physical side and it was this as much as anything that we couldn’t handle.

As is becoming the norm these days, the players were booed off at half time. A group of City fans started a “We’ve got a team that’ll get on your nerves” chant; little did we know that things would get worse in the second half. Only a minute into the second period and it was 3-1. A long throw was flicked on at the near post by Gijsbert Bos and it seemed to take a deflection off Michael Brown. Seemingly in slow motion, the ball looped over Dibble’s head, past Lomas’ despairing attempt at a clearance and into the net. We watched in shocked silence. City had so little to offer that I can’t remember the home goalkeeper having a save to make. Even mundane activities like trapping the ball seemed to pose problems for the Blues. City fans had clearly had enough and started a chant of “What a load of rubbish.” A few minutes later the ball went out and into the City fans. Nobody was keen to return it. Normally I’d have been incensed by this since we were losing but this time it didn’t seem to matter. We didn’t look likely to score and if we kept the ball then Lincoln couldn’t increase their lead! When a replacement ball eventually arrived, it was hurled into the City area, broke for the unmarked Jon Whitney who took two attempts to make it 4-1.

A steady stream of Blues left the ground shaking their heads. “We can see you sneaking out” came the cry from those that remained. I recall a similar chant at Liverpool last season. However, it’s one thing being thrashed at Anfield, quite another being thrashed at Sincil Bank. This was without doubt the most embarrassing defeat I’ve ever witnessed (I wasn’t at Halifax or Shrewsbury but I’ve seen us lose at Brentford twice). Losing to a 3rd Division team is bad enough, but getting thumped 4-1 takes the biscuit. At this rate we’ll be doing well to avoid defeat at Maine Road in the second leg next week, let alone recover from the three goal deficit. A disgraceful performance that I’d love to forget but probably won’t be able to.

Paul Howarth (


So we lost to Lincoln City… words fail me, I may be thousands of miles away from England but that hasn’t dulled the pain, Australia is full of pseudo Utd fans who just love to drive the knife a little deeper and give it a twist, which hurts even more because these people don’t even know where Lincoln City is or even which competition we were playing in. This is a report from today’s Telegraph Mirror, a local Sydney newspaper.


Third division Lincoln added to Manchester City’s misery with a shock 4-1 English League Cup second round win over the managerless fisrt division club yesterday. Manchester City were relegated from the top flight last season and their manager, Alan Ball resigned last month.

This is what the world thinks of us now. Please, please will someone help us. I don’t know what we need but whatever it is we need it pretty damn quick.

I guess that’s why they call it the Blues.

Matthew Spence (


City are looking to sign Wimbledon defender Andy Thorn, who is a free agent. He played a one-off game for Hearts earlier this week.

Eike Immel has flown to Germany for treatment on his hip. I suspect he may also be looking for a new job.

The Mole


Date : 19th September 1996

I’ve just come in to work this morning and found out that Bertie Bassett has turned down the job at Maine Road. Is there anyone out there that can tell me what the hell is wrong at City… After supporting this club for 20 years, I can honestly say I have never seen the club in such a mess. Manager after manager seems to be turning us down. Let’s face it, we cannot seem to attract a big name manager to Maine Road, which leaves the club having to take a gamble on a lesser known manager, and in my view I feel we can do a lot worse than to appoint Dario Gradi from Crewe… that’s if he’ll take the job.

Mind you the way things are going at the moment we could well be swopping Divisions with Crewe at the end of the season.

Yours completely disheartened, Gary Smith


GMR has just reported that Dave Bassett has turned City down.

Where do we go from here? Division 2 on current form.

The Mole



And Bassett has turned us down.

Thomas Rance (


Radio 5 have just announced that Dave Bassett has turned down the City job; interviewed, he said that he had a job to do at Palace, and that he had rung Franny who was said to be “devastated.” What next eh? Somehoe we have to find Romark and get him to lift the curse …

Jeremy Poynton (


Way back in the 60’s and seventies, football was for the fans. Those who went to watch games were the fans. Those that didn’t weren’t. Teams that could attract gates of 40,000+ were ‘big’ clubs, those that couldn’t weren’t. Simple as that.

Now work out the figures these days. City attract 25,000 for 25 games this season at around a take of £12 per person (only as an example) – total take through the gates this year £7.5M. Wimbledon attract 13,000 for 22 games at a take of £12 per person – total take through the gates this season £3.4M. Take away the overheads of the bigger ground, crowd control etc., add in a Dean Holdsworth at £4.5M, add in the full whack of Sky money, and who now is the ‘big’ club?

And this is a good year to be out of the Premier. We get 50% of the Sky Premier money, plus the Sky Div 1 money (new bigger deal). Next season, Premier clubs will get the full whack of the new Sky deal, widening the gap between themselves and Nationwide clubs.

Last year the Scum made a profit of £20M, while their take at the gates was £21M. In other words, the money to run the Swamp, and all who infest it came from other sources, television, merchandising and the like. We all go hammering on about no Scum fans coming from Manchester, but the painful reality is that lots of them do come from Manchester, but the thick layer of icing on the cake for them, and for all other would be big clubs is the potential army of ‘fans’ who do not attend games. The Guardian on Saturday had an interview with the Scum’s head of merchandising. He claims that their United mag is the country’s top selling sports publication (?). It even sells 40,000 to Thailand (in Thai). This is where the big money comes from. The couch potato, not the real fan who schleps around grounds like Sincil Bank, donating £20 to fourth division clubs’ finances.

For City to really make it, we need to be back in the Premier, with a winning side, with capital injected, and the ability to build upon the hard core 25,000. When pay per view comes in, it will not be those 25k who count it will be the x million who want to see City on the box who will matter. This is the carrot that is tempting the corporate financiers, Arab princes and the like. It is also the only realistic way that FHL is going to get his own investment back.

Stan The Man is one of the most outspoken contributors to Blue View, and he feels strongly that FHL is only in it for the money. For me, the jury is still out, and as each day goes by, with an even bigger balls up perpetrated than the previous one, I feel myself edging towards a guilty verdict. However, the one thing we do not have is facts (FHL’s fault admittedly), and I very seriously doubt the figures that are bandied around about the finances of the club. So I still try to concoct excuse for Lee.

Firstly FHL only has 29% of the club. Any options that he may have to increase that stake would be contingent upon him paying for them at some time in the future when the share price has increased to make the other shareholders feel well done by (e.g. an agreement to grant FHL another x,000 shares at £3 per share at any time up until Dec 31 1999. This would only be viable for FHL if the share price had advanced beyond £3, at which point the other shareholders would feel he was doing a good job). Without success as described above, the share price can only be maintained by hype, and hype is very hard to keep up for long. If he had wanted a quick turn, he would have bitten the Arab’s hand off.

Lee can only speak for this 29%, therefore reports of bids for 60% or 100% are misleading. To bid for 60% is the same as to bid for 100%. Any bid for 30% or more must be offered to all shareholders on the same terms. The board may have it in their gift to arrange for 60% of shares to be sold amicably, or any bidder may table an offer to shareholders directly, without the agreement of the board. This is a hostile bid, and should the bidder achieve a 50% hold, the minority shareholders are advised to take up the offer as well, otherwise they end up with minority stakes in a company where the only willing future buyer is the hostile winner, at possibly a much lower price per share (worked out as the total assets of the company divided by the number of shares in issue, no premium built in for what they are worth to third parties). The board cannot prevent hostile approaches, and must furnish full details of the company accounts to financial intermediaries.

In short, if the Arabs get no change from FHL on a friendly sounding, they need to sound out Boler, the Widow Swales or Greenalls for the low down on finances before going any further; if they think they like what they see, they satisfy themselves that at least two of these will accept an offer, and then they approach the Board with an unconditional offer for the company. The board and the bidder will appoint financial intermediaries, and it will be left to the two parties to decide whether the bid is to be hostile or agreed. If agreed, it is possible for any large shareholder to remain as such, with a mechanism in place for independent valuation of the shares, and a mechanism for getting out. The board may stay on if the bidder so wishes, but in the event of a hostile bid, it is usually on its bike.

Once again, I suggest that far from looking at a big fat profit, FHL may (and I only say may), be looking at making a big fat loss, when you consider the way he and people he has co-opted into securing loans to the club may be treated in the pecking order for repayment. Pity the poor bugger who invested £350,000 secured against footballer Frontzeck. If Lee were to agree to a bid for his 29%, he would want money for his shares and also for repayment of his loans. This could be where the large figures bandied around are coming from, and may indeed indicate the extent to which FHL is into the club. With talk of debts of £20M, he must be standing for quite a chunk of that in addition to the money he spent on Swales’ shares.

Two more points (hope I’m not boring you all). MCFC as a company has Ordinary shares in issue. These are the ones we are all talking about, they hold the voting rights. I believe there are also in issue other classes of shares (often called Preference, A or B shares). These carry no voting rights, and are usually issued only to raise extra money. I think that only holders of Ordinary shares get a full copy of the company accounts each year, with the owners of subsidiary shares only getting abbreviated accounts. Can any shareholders out there confirm this?

Also, could any shareholders out there arrange to post copies of the accounts (preferably full) to MCIVTA, so that the rest of us can bone up a bit on the subject. If there is a confidentiality problem, I am sure that we can arrange for an anonymous re-mailing to somewhere public. I accept that the published accounts will bear no relationship to those that the Arabs want to see, but I am curious nonetheless.

Secondly, does anyone know of the procedure for buying shares in MCFC? Is there a broker in Manchester who handles it, and what class of shares are available? What is the minimum practical sale? I am only interested in a very small symbolic holding (but preferably of voting shares).

Martin Beckett (


It has taken me until today (Wednesday) to stomach enough to put fingers to keys. What can you say, the players lacked determination, pride, commitment, and above all lacked skill against a Palace team that City should beat. The fans as usual were great, and one point that nearly brought a tear to my eyes was when all the fans were standing up clapping Blue Moon for about ten minutes after Kit had been sent off for falling over (perhaps the ref was hoping he’d get some TDK goodies after the game!). City have huge problems, not only on the field but in the boardroom as well. Franny is struggling, he’s scared the Arabs off, made City look pillocks with the way the Graham saga was handled, and (I think) is broke. Judging by the 4-1 drubbing against Lincoln, who we will be playing against in a couple of seasons unless they get promotion, Harry Bassett will not want to leave his skilful, committed players to come to our bunch of lazy prima-donna arrogant wa****s, why should he, I don’t think I would take the job. It’s all well and good blaming Alan Ball, but he’s gone, the players’ desire should have returned. If they didn’t like him, or playing for him, that should have gone now and they should be fighting for the likes of us. At the moment I can’t see a way out of this hole. As for Kinkladze, tell him to p*** off and play for another club now. I love the guy, but he doesn’t want to play for us anymore, I don’t think he made one tackle or one decent run. If we sell him now we might get £7m for him and could at least then get some decent Nationwide players that will put everything into the game instead of being a spectator that is getting paid for the privilege of watching s***. I honestly don’t know how long I can put up with this. I hope Harry does come because Palace are playing some great football at the moment and he has a proven track record with turning teams around, if he’s given some money he may do very well at City. Let’s hope so.

Keep the faith a while longer, James Talbot (


Well this is just a general rant about the dismal state of affairs we find ourselves in. I can honestly say that in the 16 years I’ve been following the Blues I’ve never felt quite so low as I do today. The Lincoln result was the final straw, or so I thought, but today the papers are full of tales of the imminent sale of Georgi Kinkladze and the latest Sky Sports report (9.15 – 09/9/96) has stated that Dave Bassett has turned down the job and we are still managerless.

Strangely enough I’m getting a little sick of seeing Man. City’s name plastered across the back of the papers for all the wrong reasons. For the first time I feel critical of Francis Lee, as I believe ultimately the buck does stop with him. I sat at the Palarse game and wondered just what the f*** has happened to our side. More disappointing than the result was the sheer lack of conviction and pride which most of the players showed during the game. I did seriously consider jumping on the pitch and asking for a game myself… at least I would try to give some effort for the team.

So where to from here?… I honestly don’t know. We need a manager now and some new enthusiasm (players) injected into the side, otherwise losing to Lincoln will become a fairly regular occurence in the divisions we will be playing in.

Still proud to be Blue – I just wish most of the players were! Roger – The Blue Kiwi (


Just heard that Bassett has turned down the job.

I am a well-adjusted person with a fine life. I have a nice house, beautiful wife, two smashing children (one girl and one boy). I have a superb job (with terrific prospects) and many friends. At 35 years old you would think I’d be happy.

Of course I’m deeply depressed. I really wanted George Graham to come. I thought that Dave Bassett’s record was fine (the high ball stuff was (a) some time ago (b) successful and (c) reflected the limited resources he then had). I even was prepared to swallow my hatred of Judas if he could get us back to where we were when he left us. They have all turned us down. I feel like I have been personally turned down.

It’s terrible. It’s ruining my life. Why can’t I kick the addiction to City? What is it about this farcical club that makes us stick with it and let it infuse our every thought, poisoning and shadowing any happiness that we might otherwise have had?

If I could blame someone it would be easier. If I could say ‘Lee out’ and mean it, it might feel better. but I can’t. I don’t see what else he could have done. It’s an inexorable decline from average to poor to shambolic. And we addicts have to suffer each and every painful step down the staircase of depression.

Don’t try to cheer me up: The next person to say that they’re glad that Graham turned us down because his style is boring or that Bassett was not committed enough to our pure football philosophy I swear I’ll kill.

There are thick black clouds and there are no silver linings. I’m sick of the MCFC gallows humour and the unbearable optimism. It’s like watching someone die. No, it’s worse. At least there, there is the prospect of a final resting place, a peaceful sleep. For us there’s not even that.

Get real. It’s bad bad bad and it’s gonna get worse worse worse.

And there’s nothing either you or I can do.

Jonathan Seitler (


Well it’s another day and another manager has rejected the honour of being manager of the ‘Theatre Of Commedy’. All I have to say is that the club deserves it and I have to say that as fans, we also deserve it.

The club deserves it because they give a manager about a year and a half before sacking them, and then try every legal move possible to stop paying money owed to the manager under the terms of their contract.

“So why do we fans deserve it?” I hear you say? Yes we are loyal to the club. Yes we attend in all weathers. Yes we attend when they play crap [in my opinion, this is all the time since John Bond departed]. Yes we attend when they are relegated. So why do we deserve it?

The answer is that we expect instant success, we do not give a manager any time to build a side. How long to we give our managers? About a year it seems, then 3 bad games and we call for their head. Even the Rags gave Spit [Alex Ferguson] 3 years before they started getting restless – and look where they are now.

We can call Peter Swales all we like, for his bad choices of manager. But why did he sack managers? – at least 75% were sacked in response to crowd unrest.

So next time we have a manager, give the guy a chance and get off his back.

P.S. Every fan who made Peter Swales’ life a misery should now hang their heads in shame. He may not have made any good managerial choices, but at least he loved the club – he sank millions into the club to try to gain success. Can the same be said of Francis Lee? – I think not.

Richard Mottershead


Just sitting here listening to Oasis and shuffling through the new City catalogue which arrived yesterday. Here in Seattle there are several City fans (I’m finding more every day), so I’m looking to possibly coordinate a local fan club to exchange videos, memorabilia, etc. I’m also willing to take orders from the catalogue for locals interested in making a purchase. So contact me at if you’re interested.

Also, my 2 cents worth, the new away kit is definitely an improvement over recent efforts, but it reminds me a bit too much of West Ham or Villa.

The ESPN2 cable network is now producing its own broadcasts of Premier League matchups every week. This is quite a step, rather than just picking up the Sky telecast on tape delay. Soccer has gotten good ratings here recently. No City though (sigh). Next season.

Dave Bara (


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Thanks to Christine, The Mole, Ashley, John, Simon, Clive, Peter,Paul, Adrian, Shaggy, Adam, Kevin, Daz, Martin, Roshan, Jeremy,Michael, Matthew, Thomas, Gary, James, Roger, Jonathan, Richard and Dave.

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 #230