Newsletter #231

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Well, firstly I have to say a sincere thanks to all those people who offered to help with a modem in some way, shape or form, and particularly to Malcolm Plaiter who delivered one on ‘permanent loan’ to my doorstep (I’ll get you inside next time Malcolm!). Also, I mustn’t forget Steve Bolton, who took over at very short notice and got a lot more than he bargained for!

This issue includes a match report (we really need more poeple to write them!), news, opinion and a Why Blue.

Next game, Lincoln City at home (CCCup), Tuesday 24th September 1996

MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY vs. BIRMINGHAM CITY, Saturday 21st September, 1996

MANCHESTER CITY IN “PLAYING QUITE WELL” SHOCK

                 Dibble
               McGoldrick
        Symons          Wassall
Summerbee  Clough  Lomas   Frontzeck
               Kinkladze
    Rösler          Dickov

I have to admit, my hopes weren’t high as I set off to this match – although Birmingham haven’t had a great start to the season, they’re still better than Lincoln.

Well, bugger me if City didn’t play the best they have all season… I mean, don’t get me wrong we’re not really good or anything, but the team battled and fought and looked interested and best of all, actually deserved the win. There are still some serious deficiencies but compared with what we have endured this season so far, we looked positively world-class.

We more or less dominated the whole game, with the exception of a 10 minute period in the second-half where we let Birmingham get back into it a little.

Birmingham are a very physical side, led by the weight (literally) of the ex-rag Steve Bruce, cheered on by a bunch of seat-throwing fans and managed by the rapidly balding Trevor Francis. They were a good workmanlike Division One side and City matched them physically (our downfall against Palace and Lincoln) and certainly out-played them, without actually troubling their goalkeeper too much.

In the first half Rösler managed to have a penalty saved (Bruce tripping Dickov), but the way City were playing you got the feeling that we would get a goal sooner or later. Lomas was going into every tackle like his life depended on it, Dickov chased everything and gave Steve Bruce a lot of trouble, McGoldrick at the back ran the show though – he was dictating much of our play, always available for Dibble to roll the ball to, and he very rarely lost possesion.

The second half was a bit more subdued and neither side particularly looked like breaking the deadlock. The Birmingham supporters were starting to get a little feisty and the police presence around them was stepped up. The hard-working Dickov was replaced by Whitley with a few minutes to go.

City never gave up hope and in the last minute a cross from the left was headed on only for Paul Furlong to put his hands up to stop the ball… penalty number 2 and a sending off for their full-back for pushing the referee. Gio stood up to take it and put the ball in the top corner. The game played on for a couple of verses of Blue Moon and ended with the sight of Birmingham fans throwing seats at the City fans in the North Stand whilst battling with the police and stewards… sad really. Still, it was the best performance of the season so far with honourable mentions for Dickov and McGoldrick… even Frontzeck did okay.

On the down side Clough looked poor – he’s not a great tackler and even his famed ball-playing skill seems to have deserted him at the moment. Rösler ran a lot but didn’t do much else (apart from miss a penalty) and Gio doesn’t seem to have recaptured the form he showed last year but he scares the opposition and always looks like he might do something.

I’m even looking forward to Lincoln on Tuesday night… well, nearly.

Final Score: 1-0

Matt Cadman (matt@aatw.u-net.com)

MATCH VIEW

After possibly the most depressing week I’ve ever experienced as a City fan, I turned up at Maine Road feeling fairly upbeat; astounding, seeing as I was fully expecting us to get thrashed. Although the radio had announced that all tickets were sold, there were quite a few seats empty, especially in Platt Lane. Despite this the crowd was a good one (nearly 27,000) and in good voice.

I was a little perplexed to see Buzzer on the pitch as I thought McGoldrick would have taken his place. It took me a little while to work out that McGoldrick was sweeper behind Wassall, Symons and Frontzeck. Surprisingly, it soon became clear that City were ‘up for it’; we were competing for every ball and stringing lots of passes together going forwards, and more to the point, on the ground! There were some particularly neat exchanges involving both Rösler and Dickov laying off balls played into them. We threatened constantly but never really made a clear-cut chance. Bruce looked slow, and sure enough, Dickov completely sold him one in the box and he obligingly left his leg out to send Dickov sprawling. There was no question about the decision; Rösler stepped up for the penalty, the goalie fainted one way and dived the other, making a good but undeserved save.

We went in at half time all square when our superiority should have seen us 2 up; typical I thought, even when we play well we get nothing out of it! Birmingham obviously got a talking to in their 15 minutes and came out even more aggressively. I was surprised to see just how physical they were, and unfortunately, the ref saw fit to let a lot of their challenges go without reaching for yellow cards. The second half was less lively, a bit scrappy but still fairly entertaining. Bruce was given a hard time by the faithful and was deservedly booked when he was dispossessed on the halfway line and put in a pretty late challenge on Kinky. With 1 minute to go they brought their sub on, one Michael Johnson; Symons promptly headed the ball into their penalty area and Johnson quite inexplicably handled it (apparently with both hands!). Poole, the B’ham left back saw red mist, hurtled over to the ref and pushed him really hard from behind. This was no small shove and it was inevitable that he would be sent off; he’s now in serious trouble with the FA and faces a lengthy ban. Kinky stepped up and buried it whereupon we experienced our usual 2 minutes of heartstopping waiting ’til full time.

The B’ham fans saw fit to start a mini-riot by ripping up seats and hurling them at stewards and the police. These events were appallingly reported on TV tonight (Monday) when it wasn’t made clear that no City fans were involved. I saw that a Brummie fan had posted a message to Blue View complaining about the awful penalty decision. All I can say is that I was sat next to a Brummie mate of Steve Bolton’s who said that it was a blatant handball!

The brightest point of this game was McGoldrick, he was superb as sweeper, calm, organising, always wanting the ball and then distributing it excellently as well. We looked a totally different team at the back and going forward. Even Frontzeck looked OK but still managed a booking for his traditional lunatic lunge!

Summerbee played excellently in the first half but lapsed back into his old ways of not running into position in the second half; he got a few rollickings from other players for this. Clough was simply awful and contributed nothing.

Ashley

NEWS – HUDDERSFIELD SWITCH, THE DOC, AND A NEW SIGNING!

City’s home game against Brian Horton’s Huddersfield Town, scheduled for Wednesday 20th November, has been brought forward to Tuesday 19th November as the Rags are at home on the Wednesday.

City have signed Arsenal’s Eddie McGoldrick on loan and he is likely to make his début against Birmingham City on Saturday. The game will be members-only for City fans as Birmingham have now sold their allocation of 2,500 tickets.

Former United manager Tommy Docherty has offered his services as a consultant whilst City find a new permanent manager. Speaking on Key 103, he said it was a genuine offer and all Franny needs to do is give him a call. “Manchester needs two big clubs” he said.

The Mole

NEWS – MACARI?

The Sunday People has an article linking City with Stoke manager Lou Macari. Although he has very strong United links, I feel that Macari is a good manager who could do a good job for us. However, I can’t believe that the Stoke board would give us permission to approach him.

Sheffield United chairman Mike McDonald is said to be considering reporting City to the FA after what he regards as being an illegal approach to Howard Kendall. This is alleged to have been after Dave Bassett’s decision not to come to Maine Road. Meanwhile, rumours that Luton manager Lennie Lawrence had resigned because he was about to join City as Dave Bassett’s number 2 (at Bassett’s request) have been denied by both Lawrence and his chairman, David Kohler.

The Mole

NEWS – ‘FIVE LIVE’ FOOTBALL FORUM

The first Five Live Football Forum will take place at the Platt Lane Complex at 7pm on Monday 7th October. The debate will feature “top-level guests from the world of football” and will be broadcast live.

For free tickets and to register your question, phone 5 Live on 0171 765 0823, fax on 0171 765 5373 or e-mail sport@bbc.co.uk.

The Mole

NEWS – RIOCH CLAIMS DENIED

Francis Lee has rejected claims in the Mail on Sunday that he approached Bruce Rioch about the City vacancy. “Either Bruce has been misquoted or he has a vivid imagination,” said Lee. “He wasn’t even on our shortlist.”

The Mole

NEWS – VARIOUS

On-loan Eddie McGoldrick has been cleared by Arsenal to play in the League Cup tie against Lincoln tomorrow. However, it is reported that Gio Kinkladze’s hamstring is troubling him again, which could force him to miss the game. Of course, this will add fuel to the fire of the theory that he is being kept out of the Cup games to avoid getting cup-tied, and thus increase his valuation. Payment at the turnstiles will be accepted in the North and Kippax stands for tomorrow’s game.

The names currently heading the bookies’ lists for the manager’s job are both former United players – Steve Coppell (who is reported to be interested) and Ray Wilkins, currently a player at Hibs. Various claims made in the Sunday papers have been denied by Francis Lee: firstly that neither Dave Bassett nor Howard Kendall were approached illegally, and secondly that Bruce Rioch had declined an interview. Lee said that Rioch hadn’t even been considered as it was public knowledge that Rioch wanted to stay in the South.

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

INTERNET BLUES F.C.

Would all those interested in playing for the Internet Blues please be aware that the full size practice game is now definitely on. It will take place at the Armitage Centre, Moseley Road Fallowfield (on the Astroturf pitch, no proper footie boots allowed), this coming Sunday 29th Sept, 17:00-19:00.

I’ve had several replies now, which just might stretch to an 11-a-side game, but anyone else wanting to come, either let me know (email) or just turn up on the day, everyone is welcome and hopefully everyone will get a game.

As for the Rags game, they seem quite willing to play on Sunday 13th October, once more I’ll let everyone know once the details are finalised.

One more, I’ve been given the email address for the Leeds United footie team organiser, so should I go ahead and try and get a game organised against them?

Martin Ford (MFORD@fs1.li.umist.ac.uk)

FRANNY HITS BACK AT CRITICS

Here is a press release which appeared in the programme for the Birmingham match. It offers an explanation of why nothing came of the Arab investment story.

“Various articles have appeared in the press recently which seek to give the impression that Manchester City have been approached by Middle Eastern investors with a view to a takeover of the club. One of the prominent articles of this nature appeared in the last issue of the Sunday Times (September 8th).

Manchester City confirm that they have never been approached by any Middle Eastern businessmen. The only approaches received by Manchester City have been from a firm of chartered accountants who confirm that they have been approached by, but do not act for, certain agents who have clients who might be interested in investing in the club.

One of these agents is a company which claims to act for Saudi businessmen whose identity cannot be disclosed, save that any names that have so far been mentioned in the press are incorrect.

As a public company, Manchester City cannot enter into discussions with third parties under the Take-Over Code without first establishing the identity of the ultimate investor and that he is in a position to finance his proposals.

Furthermore, no company can release confidential information in circumstances where it is uncertain who will have access to such information, particularly where it is also possible that the agents may be seeking to introduce an investment opportunity to people who have not yet been identified by themselves.

As the club have been informed that the identity of the ultimate `investor’ can never be disclosed, there is no prospect of the above approaches from agents proceeding further. Accordingly, any speculation that Manchester City is in discussions with Middle Eastern investors or is due to be taken over by such investors is totally without foundation.”

The programme also mentioned an interview given by Francis Lee to the Mail on Sunday, in which he said:

“If the name of the game at the moment is to knock Francis Lee and Manchester City, then fair enough. I’ll take criticism so long as it is constructive but I will not accept unfair diatribes and daft stories about this club.

To be frank, I’m sick of talking to idiots – the clowns I have met who were supposedly interested in investing in the club. Two or three were just in it for self-glorification. When it came to talking constructively, we didn’t get any further.

There is so much crazy speculation surrounding this club and you are the first to come to me in search of the truth.”

Regarding reports that City were around £20 million in debt and have no funds available for transfers, Lee said:

“The biggest assets of most clubs are running around on the field, i.e. the value of the players which cannot be included on the balance sheet. Our assets on the balance sheet are close to £30 million. If you take away our overdrafts and debts – which are around £18 million – and take into account the value of the players, Manchester City is worth around £40 million.

The backbone of the club is more solid now than it has been for a long, long time. The only problem is that our results on the field are not right. The moment we get them this club will be on its way.

The new manager will have a vital rôle in taking this club forward. We responded to a public appeal by George Graham to be considered. We made him an offer which would have established him as one of the top-paid managers in the game. We told him he would be provided with enough money to spend on new players. But what is enough for a manager? Is it £3 million or £33 million?

He said he thought at this time it would not be the best career move for him. To be fair, in the current climate, Leeds are probably right for him. But, in two years, I think he might recognise he made the wrong move.”

Lee also talked about how long he would remain at the club:

“If people don’t want me, they only have to tell me and I’ll go back to life in the fast lane. There are bound to be downs and aggravations but I have always believed you have to experience these before you can start to go forward.

Success has to be worked for and it is bloody hard work. A lot of people would like to see me fail because it would be the first time I have failed at anything. But it doesn’t bother me. I have had to put up with it all of my life.

The supporters have been brilliant and it is important that they should know that everything is right now for the club to go forward. There will be a day when the players are running around the ground brandishing a trophy. I’m sure I will see it and that may be the time for me to hand over.”

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

MACARI

I read this morning that Lou Macari is being touted as a possibility for the manager’s job. By coincidence I was also reading what Garry Nelson (ex-Charlton player) thought of him as a manager, in his book ‘Left foot forward’:

“… Lou Macari was the boss for part of my unproductive stay at Swindon in the mid-1980s. On the basis of that experience I’d hazard a guess that the fans’ enthusiasm for his return to the Victoria Ground is well in excess of the Stoke players’.

… For a start, Lou Macari has built up a fearsome reputation among players for the huge emphasis he puts on sheer running as the core of training.

… Losing him the popularity vote even more markedly, however, was Lou’s extracurricular activity of regularly turning up at the hostel where many players boarded to spot-check on who was out late, what time they were getting back and what state they were in when they did. Alcohol is Lou’s pet hate or, as some would put it, obsession.

… To my mind, still less appealing than Lou’s untrusting anti-booze snooping was the ‘vice’ he positively encouraged – to which, indeed, in some strange, almost compensating way, he seemed almost addicted. He wasn’t quite in the same league as the legendary Stan Bowles (‘A tenner says the next car round the corner is a ‘T’ reg’) but Lou certainly encouraged gambling. A sweep on the arrival time of the last squad member to turn up for training was the standard Swindon start to the day.’

Oh dear.

Jamie Goode (JGOODE@cibafound.org.uk)

A WIN!

A win, a win! So excluding Vale is that the best City have played all season? Mind you after some of the recent games anything would have been an improvement!

What I would like to know is how come City were prepared to give so much against Brum, but have been so pathetic in other games? I just hope this isn’t going to be a one game wonder.

The best thing about the game, other than Gio’s winning penalty, was the performance of Eddie McGoldrick. He was a revalation, someone who showed pride in pulling on the Blue shirt and was prepared to battle. I was expecting him to play out wide, so it came as a surprise that he played as sweeper and quite admirably as well.

I hope his enthusiasm rubs off on some of the other players, we need this sort of player!

At the end of the game he actually showed his appreciation to the fans, he came over and applauded the stands, something we haven’t seen in a while.

P.S. Anniversary, today 7 years ago we were thrashing the Rags 5-1; what a day, and we thought we were turning the corner!

Martin Ford (MFORD@fs1.li.umist.ac.uk)

MANAGER – THE NEW CONTENDER

Managed to grab a few days vacation in Cuba, to check out the man I think can steer the blues back to the Premier League. The big names have all turned away. But the biggest name, hasn’t been aproached yet!

Whilst surfin’, I stumbled across:- http://www.imagesmith.com/imagesmith/fidel/

A campaign to elect the great man as president of America!! They haven’t got him yet. So he must still be available! What can he offer City?

  • A “win or be shot” philosophy.
  • Really cool kit. Let’s see Umbro ruin that one.
  • Cigar stands. Never did like the pies anyway.
  • Players from Columbia, Bolivia, Argentina etc. at discounted prices.
  • Can operate on a tight budget. He’s survived for 3 years without financial support.
  • Long term leadership. Present position held since 1959.
  • Hasn’t got any firm “under table” offers from other clubs.
  • Won’t take any sh*t from FHL.
  • FHL won’t give him sh*t!!
  • Limited knowledge of soccer. Should fit right in at Maine Road.

Vive La Revolution! Dave Lees, Grand Cayman (davelees@CandW.ky)

OPINION – ‘ERE WE GOOOOOOOOOO!

When I wrote at the beginning of the week I forgot City were due to play Lincoln on Tuesday evening: now I too am joining the ranks of those who have perfectly happy lives apart from this one damn big burden!

But it will get better – City do come good about once every thirty years and we must be moving into that era soon. Whether any of us now contributing messages will ever see City win the League again must be questionable (I frankly admit that being alive in 67/68 is my lot!) – but I have to believe that the last few years have been so frightening that I’ll wake up soon and find that we are winning games.

On the other hand – there is this worry and it is that City have been on a slow, steady slide since 1981/82 and that, apart from a few good times, nothing has been done to reverse this slide. There has been a lack of direction, mission and purpose and it is beginning to get to me… and I am all these miles away.

Part of me wants to hop a plane over, come and watch a game or two, judge for myself and then… but why should I doubt all these reports about just how bad we are playing? This is one difference I have noticed this season – even this time last year, there were some reports that gave me confidence, that suggested improvement, that gave me a sense that there was a way forward… but now, I see no sign of improvement.

I am fed up – if this had happened to any other organization, interest, love affairs, I’d have said “ok that’s it – sod this… time to move on” – what is it about this hold City have over me – why does every game mean so much to me?

John Pearson, Stanford ( pearsonj@leland.Stanford.EDU)

OPINION – BALANCED VIEW

I don’t know what Blue View is but I support Ashley’s view. Many of us overseas fans rely heavily on the news and views of the contributors to MCVITA, with one of the most enjoyable parts being the diversity and balance of opinion. Please keep the independent views coming.

Steve McDonald (stevem@cadence.com)

OPINION – FRANNIE’S STORY

Before you ignore this one could I point out a couple of interesting facts about FHL. I know things are not right at the moment at Maine Road but what would you do if you were Franny, holding the same cards as him at this point in time.

  1. You employ your mate as manager. He’s rubbish but he’s your mate, you lose, you win,you lose, you lose, don’t worry lads things will pick up. Nothingchanges; eventually you give him the elbow, maybe it should have happenedmonths ago, maybe you shouldn’t have let certain players go, but he’s your mateand hindsight is a wounderful thing isn’t it?
  2. You advertise the position. A few C.V.s come in, a lot of media interest.George Graham is the one, saying how interested he is and looks at City tore-launch his career. FHL gets all excited, has talks with GG asks him to thinkabout it for a day or so, only to be let down a couple of days later by MrGraham saying it was a fair offer but No I’m on a retainer from Leeds and wasonly using you to promote myself. Apparently the Leeds deal was worth inexcess of one million pounds, to be quite honest I didn’t know they madeenvelopes that big (Humour?).
  3. The search continues, Bertie Bassett the next man. The ducking and weavingfor Mr Bassett goes on for a week or so, is he, isn’t he; the questions andthe great name of City are once again splashed all over the tabloid press.Finally the rumours suggest Bertie is signed and starts on Monday. FHL goesto bed a happy man thinking his search is over, only to get a call from MrBassett saying he’s had a change of heart and is not comming. I don’t know how truethe rumours are that he had almost signed on the line and discussedplayers with FHL and told Francis to go and buy a certain player on Fridayand Bassett will see him in the office on Monday (why did this happen?).
  4. A lot of to-ing and fro-ing has taken place since the departure of AlanBall; maybe it’s all Franny’s fault, maybe not, I don’t know but I hope theabove points out a few things to the less patient of our Blue family. Tobe quite honest I believe FHL quite rightly does not want to employ thewrong man, and I agree, as a true Blue for 27 years home and away (justhome and a couple of aways since the kids nowadays) I would rather havethree mangerless weeks of turmoil than employ some git with no pedigree forthree years of misery.

Any comments just drop me a line.

P.S Things are not over as I’m writing this: ‘I believe in miracle’ has just come on the radio. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Mark Turner (turnerm@genrad.co.uk)

OPINION – SOAP OPERA

I totally support your views regarding the Blue View “campaign”. I have felt, since I first became aware of MCIVTA that this is a great vehicle for expressing individual viewpoints – and as such I have occasionally availed myself of the forum you provide. I do not expect (or care whether) everyone agrees with my views, but I do welcome the ability to speak my mind on the subject of the Blues.

I do not want to sound elitist but it is true that the contributions to MCIVTA are often thoughtful and usually interesting to read. Blue View seems to cater to instant ‘chat”. Often the input there is more immediate and visceral. I want to retain the ability to sound off without fear or favour in MCIVTA, I do not think that we should organize a movement to influence or petition the club – but I do think that the club needs to fully recognize the strength of emotion amongst the fan base they have. I have been thoroughly disgusted by this week’s humiliations and believe that the officials at the club will only act when they are forced to. Nothing has happened yet that will make them take their responsibilities seriously enough to actually improve matters. They will only react appropriately when their revenue starts to suffer. I have sent to you 2 other pieces today (measure of my frustration). I am glad that they did not appear in MCIVTA 230 and hope that they will not appear in any other edition – they were not well thought out.

Always Blue, Mike Edwards (Mike9002@MSN.com)

OPINION – IT’S A LONG WAY BACK

Where does one start? I really don’t know what to think anymore. Is it the defeat at the hands of the mighty Lincoln City? No. Is it the fact that nobody wants to take charge of our club? No. Is it that we are in the bottom of a division that 12 months ago people said we were too good to be in? No. It’s a culmination of all the above and more.

It has been said so many times in these pages that we are a laughing stock and it’s true. For years now we have stumbled from crisis to crisis suffering humiliation and torture for no reward other than a good win here or a great goal there or a relegation avoiding victory that sends us all into raptures.

We haven’t had a decent side at Maine Road for many a year. Not since John Bond took us to Wembley have we really had anything to shout about. There have been glimmers of hope along the line, the Howard Kendall days were short but sweet and Peter Reid tried to carry on the momentum but in truth never had any backing from upstairs. Then things went downhill and I’m afraid we are at the nadir. Have no illusions we are in deep deep doo doo and no mistake.

It is a sad indication of the times when a second rate manager prefers to stay at Crystal Palace rather than come to City. He only lives down the road for God’s sake, you would have thought he’d have jumped at it. The biggest mistake Franny made was letting Bassett watch us play before making his decision. If we can tell that we’re crap then I’m quite sure that a bloke who actually gets paid for his footballing knowledge can see deeper into the situation. So who is left that will take a job that at least three others have turned down. Lets look at the options open. Kenny Dalglish, Johan Cruyff, Howard Wilkinson, Terry Venables, Brian Kidd. Not one of those highly respected managers would risk their reputation coming to the graveyard of coaches so we’re going to have to look downmarket… and so the nightmare continues.

When I was thinking about the content of this correspondance I tried to look on the bright side. Unfortunately I couldn’t see one. I could have mentioned Gio but he doesn’t care and won’t be there much longer. Our fans are great but short of turning up with your boots what more can you do to help that you haven’t done already? We have a chairman who claims to love the club but we had one of those before and hounded him out, possibly bringing about a premature death (who knows). No there ain’t no feel good factor about the only thing each and every one of us loves and it hurts – a lot.

We play Birmingham tomorrow and by the time you read this the result will be history. I hope I’m wrong but I’ve got a really really bad feeling about this one. Trevor Francis is coming back and we all know the alarming regularity with which ex-players tend to rub our noses in the dirt. I dearly hope I’m wrong about this. Luckily we have Eddie McGoldrick playing and I actually rate him quite highly. We might even win.

I’m not sorry about the things I’ve said. It kills me to put my heroes down but if you play with s**t sooner or later you’re going to stink (one of mine not Cantona’s). The real reason I am sending this is to make an appeal. At the moment I live in the Netherlands but from 30th of this month I’m going to the States to work. Harrisonburg, Virginia to be precise so if we have any MCIVTAers anywhere in that area please drop me a line in the next week or so and maybe we can go for a beer or three and put the City world to rights. Hopefully I’m going to get online but in the meantime my girlfriend will snail mail MCIVTA to me (I’ve not asked her yet but she is a love).

Always and forever Blue, Davey (Davey@bart.nl)

OPINION – CAMPAIGNS

I have to agree with your comments (Ashley’s) on the messages posted to Blue View. It seems to me that people are using this in completely the wrong fashion, and as you say, misrepresenting the views of others. It has been frightening to see the pure hatred aimed at Franny on these pages. I believe that this is a consequence of the successful campaign against Swales, so now there is a belief that this can be repeated as many times as necessary. People power is a great thing, but it, like any other form of power can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

I was also more appalled by the fervent calls for us to stay away from games. I don’t have that option living in Oz, but it is the last thing the club needs and can only lead to further decline.

As a side note, I have just finshed reading “Fever Pitch”, so for those embittered readers calling for Franny’s head, give it a read, and you will see that passionate fans of a “successful” club like Arsenal have been through the same pain and frustrations.

Pete Singleton (petesing@VNET.IBM.COM)

OPINION – VARIOUS

I entirely agree with Ashley and we must do everything we can to retain the goodwill of the club, particularly in these difficult times. From a personal point of view I also concur with his opinion as to FHL’s position. I believe he has done a good job getting the infrastructure right; to have to manage the organisation which may well be bust (certainly in cash terms) is no mean feat. However, he might help himself a little if he were to tell us more about his achievements at the club. There again I can accept that for commercial reasons this may not be the right thing to do. But if he can’t say then at least tell us he can’t say! Page 9 of the match magazine (vs. Brum) is a little more informative as is an article in The Sunday Times which lists our managerial merry-go-round (Perhaps it’s me getting on a bit but some from the list of past managers seems like only yesterday). Unfortunately, all the good work FHL has done has been overshadowed by his choice of AB as manager. With AB’s previous record I for one could not support this appointment, and without any shadow of a doubt AB was proven to be a complete disaster.

We really should be getting behind the players. The match versus Birmingham was a good improvement which I hope we can continue. At last we seem to realise that the finesse of the Premier League does not exist in the same quantities in the Nationwide and it was good to see on this occasion at least that we have cottoned on and are getting stuck in (why does Lomas keep pointing everywhere? He needs to concentrate on his own game, not that of others and why won’t he pass the ball to Gio?).

Now here’s something to think about. Many names have been connected with the job but some of us (Parkside) regulars have started a rumour of our own. I have floated this idea into his club’s website and I am eagerly awaiting some reaction! Who do we think? Well a first class player, excellent skills, dedicated to the cause, he would eat the opposition in this division but can’t command a regular place in the side. He has played with the best players and worked with the best managers, Dalglish and Keegan. He must surely have picked up some of the best tips. You’ve guessed it Peter Beardsley, let’s get him away from the North East, OK our lot might need to learn the language but its got to be worth giving it a go. Any thoughts?

Let’s Keep our heads up, and stay Blue: Alan ? (100573.1766@CompuServe.COM)

OPINION – THE DOC

Tommy Docherty has to be one of the greatest managers ever. Remember when the Reds went down in the mid 70’s, and what a team he put together out of nowhere? If he would like to stand in for a while, Franny Lee should really consider it carefully.

CI-TY!!

Matt Rayner (nwkengl@personal.eunet.fi)

OPINION – NEW MANAGER

I’ve been thinking about this long and hard. I think Tony Woodcock should be given the job. He wants it, he’s got the pedigree as a player, he’s been coaching in Germany – so he should know a thing or two! Give it to Woody Woodcock and let’s stop being made to look ridiculous by all these unambitious, wimpy, scared-of-a-challenge lightweights such as Graham and Bassett who keep turning us down.

Tim Starns (ITDCTS@HANTSNET.HANTS.GOV.UK)

OPINION – ‘LEE OUT’ CAMPAIGN

I have been utterly amazed and disenchanted at the way certain events have taken place this season. This campaign is a shallow knee-jerk reaction to a much deeper problem.

I was a supporter of Alan Ball until the end and still feel he was given a raw deal. I realise that I was not aware of problems in the dressing room, but most of the public comments made by AB seamed as though he had the interests of the club at heart.

Franny obviously hasn’t handled the situation well and I believe he should be a little bit more candid in his dealings with the press. If his ego could be deflated a little bit, I’m sure we would have a great chairman.

Having said that, there are still big strides to be made both on and off the pitch. The best policy for us as fans is to offer suggestions and/or constructive criticism through MCIVTA etc, so that the club can pick up on anything of interest. e.g. the arrangement with Steve Bolton where we get answers back from the club is fantastic. That is about as far as our involvement should go. I didn’t like the manner in which the ‘Swales out’ campaign was handled, and I’m sure that when he died, a few people had a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

My only suggestion would be to give the new manager 2/3 seasons at least regardless of results or fans’ wishes.

Ken Foster (kf737@vossnet.co.uk)

OPINION – MANAGERS

I can’t help it but I just can’t stand it any more. It’s bad enough being 1/3 of a world away from the action but to hear that City are considering ex-United players to manage the club is unbelievable.

Surely the main criteria for a City manager is that they utterly hate United and everthing associated with them?

I never liked Ball but he did build up the best team that City had fielded in years. Reid had the most negative City team I have ever seen and Horton had the consistently worst team.

One problem is that the rest of the league have got better at a faster rate. The biggest problem is that City can’t score goals and not much has been done about that for a couple of years. I say get a couple of goal scorers first, get a manager second (preferably a Northerner, not some wimpy Southern bastard).

Dave Humphreys (in agony, California) (dave.humphreys@West.Sun.COM)

WHY ALWAYS BLUE?

Can someone explain the phenomenon of remaining emotionally attached to a football team that has consistently failed to meet expectations? I have broken off relationships with women and walked away from jobs even though sex and money were at stake – but continue to remain loyal to a team for over three decades where far more grievous violations of trust have been committed. I am beginning to suspect the football equivalent of “battered wives’ syndrome.”

The strangest part of the attraction is that my own attachment to City began in the early 70’s when I went to see my home town Leeds Utd. maul another team and I left sickened by the sight of Billy Bremner stomping on the back of a downed player. Being a Leeds native, I hated MUFC and that night watched the Manchester derby match on Match of the Day, with City demolishing United in a thriller – featuring a spectacular City bicycle kick goal. I was hooked from that moment on and have made the Maine Road pilgrimage regularly since.

In 1989, I moved to Atlanta, GA and immediately gravitated to the hard luck Atlanta Braves baseball team. The Braves were the baseball equivalent of City today. The office would bet on whether the team would lose 100 games in a year. The team was rebuilding through its minor league system and a first class managment team. In 1991 went from worst to first in the most exciting sports year of my life. The Braves are now the baseball equivalent of MUFC. I now have a taste of winning and can share that it is a good experience. My wish is that City would invest in its youth programme and good management, and then be patient for the results.

Forever Blue, but seeking professional help, Alistair Deakin, Atlanta, GA (djgroup@atl.mindspring.com)

RESULTS

STOKE CITY              3-2    HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

Full-time scores for Saturday, September 21 1996

BRADFORD CITY           2-4    BOLTON WANDERERS
GRIMSBY TOWN            0-2    OXFORD UNITED
MANCHESTER CITY         1-0    BIRMINGHAM CITY
OLDHAM ATHLETIC         0-1    BARNSLEY
PORTSMOUTH              0-1    NORWICH CITY
QUEENS PARK RANGERS     1-1    SWINDON TOWN
READING                 1-6    CRYSTAL PALACE
SOUTHEND UNITED         0-0    POST VALE
TRANMERE ROVERS         2-3    WEST BROMWICH ALBION
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 1-2    SHEFFIELD UNITED

Full-time score for Friday, September 20 1996

IPSWICH TOWN            2-1    CHARLTON ATHLETIC

Up to and including Sunday, September 22 1996

Team                  Played   Won  Drawn Lost     For Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers         8      6     1     1      21    11        19
Barnsley                 7      6     0     1      15     6        18
Norwich City             8      5     2     1       9     4        17
Stoke City               8      4     2     2      13    14        14
Wolverhampton Wanderers  8      4     2     2      12     8        14
Crystal Palace           8      3     4     1      15     7        13
Tranmere Rovers          8      4     1     3      11     9        13
Ipswich Town             8      3     3     2      15    12        12
Queens Park Rangers      8      3     3     2      11    10        12
MANCHESTER CITY          8      4     0     4       9     9        12
West Bromwich Albion     7      3     2     2      12    11        11
Swindon Town             8      3     2     3       9     9        11
Sheffield United         6      3     1     2      12     9        10
Huddersfield Town        7      3     1     3      12    11        10
Oxford United            8      3     1     4      11     8        10
Portsmouth               8      3     1     4       6     9        10
Birmingham City          6      2     2     2       8     7         8
Port Vale                8      1     5     2       6     8         8
Reading                  8      2     1     5      10    20         7
Charlton Athletic        7      2     1     4       6     8         7
Southend United          8      1     3     4       7    14         6
Bradford City            8      2     0     6       6    14         6
Grimsby Town             8      1     2     5       8    18         5
Oldham Athletic          8      0     2     6       7    15         2

With thanks to Soccernet
Russell Town (russ@the-edge.u-net.com)

WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
http://www.uit.no/mancity/


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
Contributions: Ashley – mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com
Subscriptions: Adam – Adam.Houghton@sheffield.ac.uk
Club Questions: Stephen – sbolton@buxtonrd.u-net.com


Thanks to Steve, Alistair, Mike, John, Mark, The Mole, Paul, Dave, Davey, Matt (x2, Russell), Pete, Martin, Tim, Alan, Jamie, Keand Dave.


DISCLAIMER
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, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #231

1996/09/23

Editor:


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