Newsletter #240

A very quiet week, so quiet in fact that the club have officially rubber-stamped it! The major news is the tragic death of Chelsea Vice-Chairman Matthew Harding in a helicopter crash, returning from the away fixture at Bolton. Several people have suggested that we send our condolences to the Chelsea list. If people support this then please mail your name to Tony Hulme ( who will send a letter on behalf of those who do.

Other than that, we have news of a prospective internet footie tournament, opinion, and an evocative Why Blue. More Why Blues are welcome.

Please note that this game kicks off at 1.00pm; match reports are welcome!

Next game, Wolverhampton Wanderers at home, Sunday 27th October 1996


Watching the live broadcast of a German Bundesliga 2 (comparable to Nationwide D1) match, I learned that the substitute goalkeeper of my team (Kaiserslautern, just as unlucky as City to be relegated last season) is being linked to Man City. His name is Marc Schwarzer, he’s an Aussie and there’s not much more to be said of him. He only ever played once for my team, showing a not quite convincing performance. Okay, he’s strong enough on the line, but got a couple of problems coming out of his goal. However, he’s young enough to improve and he probably just lacks a bit of first team experience. According to the TV, he has already travelled to Manchester to complete a test training.

Anyway, just thought you’d like to know,

Thomas Colnot, a German Blue (


Winger Peter Beagrie hopes to be back in action by Christmas, according to an interview in Thursday’s MEN. A shin fracture and acute tendonitis have kept Beagrie from being fully fit for over a year now but at last he can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Beagrie says in the interview:

“For the first time in 16 months I am able to walk without pain, and I cannot begin to tell you what a relief that is. The last 16 months have been a nightmare for myself and my family. I have to admit that I have not been the easiest person to live with while I have had this worry on my mind about whether I would recover my fitness. I have been haunted by the thought that if I had been fit and flying and doing my bit on the wing, we might have been able to avoid relegation. But I can promise you this: When I do return I will be a better player after what I have endured. I will be fitter, faster and stronger, both mentally and physically. I really pushed myself hard for over 2 hours yesterday and there wasn’t even a suggestion of a reaction when I woke up this morning. Even the surgeon who performed the last operation says that he doesn’t need to see me for a further six weeks – and that is another very encouraging sign. I will be stepping up my rehabilitation programme over the next four weeks and I have set myself a target of a return to first team soccer by Christmas.”

Paul Howarth (


I’ve been talking to our contact in the club about the rumours linking several players to MCFC. The reports in the press have suggested at least six names, each allegedly commanding interest from the club with a view to signing them. The official line from within the club is that whilst the scouting staff will of course keep looking at talent wherever it can be found, Steve Coppell will not be rushed into any short term signings. He sees most available players as ordinary, with exorbitant price tags attached; why buy such players when he apparently thinks that he has the “bare bones” of a decent side and is beginning to build a more complete picture of what he has (and has not) available to him. In short, our contact says “don’t expect to see too much movement in the transfer market for the next few weeks.”

Match re-scheduled:

Although not 100% certain, it is very likely that City’s home game against Oxford, on Saturday 9 November will be moved to Wednesday 13 November, 7.45pm kick-off. This is because the Georgians will be called up for international duties. Confirmation will not be until 10 days before the match.

Steve Bolton (


Neil Shipperley, the Southampton striker, has been transfer listed. The 22-year-old ex England u-21 international is up for grabs for £1 million. I would sell Rösler to play this guy any day.

Ross Young (


This note is just to announce (for diaries etc.) that there will probably be a mini internet-footie tournament on 15th December. This is being arranged by the Rags (same people we played 2 weeks ago) and will probably take place at the Armitage Centre for 3 hours; MCIVTA FC, the Rags and two other teams can participate.

Something along the lines of:

  • 2 1/2 hour semis.
  • 1/2 hour rest.
  • 3/4 hour 3rd/4th place play-off.
  • 3/4 hour final.

The other two teams could be Leeds and Wednesday who are in the process of being asked.

More details will be announced as and when we get them.

Martin Ford (


I think it would be a nice gesture to pay tribute to the Chelsea vice-chairman Matthew Harding, who tragically died after, having watched his side get beat 1-0 by Bolton today; though I am a true Blue, our thoughts go with his family.

Stephen Marks (


I read with interest Tony Hulme’s question of the value of his 1970’s Subbuteo players; can I suggest he call Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford who no doubt based on his team’s performance last Sunday would pay a fortune for Tony’s players.

I’d buy your Jag now Tony!

Anyone out there with video highlights of City’s games this year?

Tim Morgan, “US Blues” (


For the last few years now it seems our beloved team has been plagued with bad injuries, usually involving long absences, therefore putting pressure on the chairman to buy make-shift short-term players. I’m not too sure on the current training and physio situation, but surely something can be done to eradicate this problem? Just take a look at our defence without Edghill and Hiley. If we had a more injury-friendly training schedule perhaps we could see a settled team which can work together and hopefully bring some sort of success. Just look at the likes of the Rags who (unfortunately) have little injury worries, considerable success, a ****** of a manager who always complains about the ref when they lose, and all they have to worry about is how many of their players are suspended.

Here is my team of ex-Blues from the last 9 years;

  1. Coton
  2. Hinchcliffe
  3. Phelan
  4. Hendry
  5. Curle
  6. Flitcroft
  7. White
  8. Walsh
  9. Moulden
  10. Gaudino
  11. Phillips

4-4-2 formation with one winger – David White because we used to win games when he played on the right wing.

CM Watson (


As the football scene in New Zealand is limited (to say the least), recent developments in the transfer market (I didn’t actually realise we had one) have made the headlines. You can forget Shearer and your continental imports, Miramar Rangers have just signed Justin Fashanu. Yes, the 36 year old that I can only remember ever scoring “that goal” for Norwich against Liverpool in what seemed like the sixties will join us for the summer league. No one actually knows who he is outside of football circles and then only ex-pats with long memories.

Also, in the trying to make mountains from mole hills category is the fact that Denis Betts, the ex-Wigan and now Auckland Warrior Rugby League player is destined to play football (yes soccer) for Mount Maunganui during the summer. He seems to be a talented socer player and had a time as an apprentice for United, poor boy.

Now if we could only get more rugby and league players to switch to soccer we could have some fun. I could imagine Jonah Lomu making an excellent bodyguard for Gio as he is 120kg, 6’5″ and would make most countries’ 100m relay squads.

This is headline news (small country)

Howard Pheby (


Is anyone going to the Southend game? Is there a meeting place?

Russ Jenkins (


Here are some thoughts after the game on Saturday and after reading people’s recent comments on the chances of promotion:

  1. First – who writes the stuff that gets onto Ceefax? Sentences like‘City turn on the style’ did not spring to mind after the Norwich game. Wewon, and just about deserved to win – but the team looked shabby and the goals(especially the first one) owed more to luck than judgement. We had anumber of chances but never looked like capitalising on Norwich’s weakdefending around the box. Meanwhile, we defended in numbers, but withoutany discernible system. I can’t remember catching Norwich offside at anypoint in the game – a statistic that says a lot about the lack oforganisation at the back. Coppell apologised (on GMR) to City fans for thefrustrating nature of the game but he felt he had to do something about thetendency to leak goals. We need to do more than bring people back innumbers and we desperately need someone to take charge of things at theback.
  2. Despite these doubts, I still think we can go up. This is a weakdivision where squads are small and as soon as teams get a few injuriesthey can quickly drop down the table. Port Vale nearly managed to make theplay-offs last season despite being firmly rooted to the bottom of theleague for at least the first half of the season. There is always hope in Division 1(although less so for Port Vale right now).
  3. Finally – has anyone else come away from Maine Road feeling that theatmosphere was lacking in recent games? I haven’t been a regular in recentseasons. Maybe that’s what makes the atmosphere seem so strange (I triedto send this last night and failed – so I missed the deadline, but otherpeople have already commented on the cricket match-like atmosphere at MaineRoad).

Steve Hinchliffe (


I was really upset to read so many articles slagging off Manchester United in the last issue of MCIVTA.

It was clear from the match on TV – I live in Crawley but really am a Utd. fan – that the team could not see each other in those reddish grey shirts. Besides Newcastle cheated by scoring so many goals and the ref did not help coz he should have disallowed the first and given Cantona a penalty. That Albert cheated by kicking the ball when our Danish goalie wasn’t ready. I am a real Utd. fan and have 3 shirts. I went to Manchester once and have a picture of Ryan Giggs so I know all about football. You City fans don’t know about supporting a team properly; it cost me a fortune going to W H Smiths for all those mags each month.

I even went to the football cafe in London once and saw those shirts so stop slagging Utd. I know all the team, there is Giggs, Danish goalkeeper, Cantona and those foreign ones and that one with the red hair and Hughes and Best – and what about Charlton and Law – they don’t seem to score much though.

If anyone wants to buy a shirt signed by someone who saw a match once please contact me – I’m selling all my shirts and buying a Newcastle one – that Beardsley is really cute and Albert is a hunk.

By the way my alter ego has all the City mags but no spares so na na na na Ashley Birch.

See you at Southend, Andy Birkin (


Any Chicago Blues out there? I’ll be there for a few days in the week ending Friday 8th November and wouldn’t mind having a few beers and a natter one evening. If anyone fancies a beer, drop me an email.

Ashley (


I was born April 18th 1956; a few weeks earlier City had won the FA Cup beating Birmingham City 3-1. Of course that was a long time ago, ermm well 40 years in fact, so as far as I know all City’s trophies were won in the first half of my life.

My early childhood was spent in an area called Reddish, but despite its name it was, as I was to learn, solid Blue. I was a raggedy-arsed kid in those days, and I learned to live by my wits, i.e. if some of the big kids accosted you they would say “Do you support City or United?” The correct reply in these circumstances was to say “City”, but ever a sucker for a good hiding, I once bought a packet of sweet cigarettes, you know those white things with a blob of red on the end, and they had these cards featuring famous football players… call me dyslexic if you will, but I was convinced that the bloke on the card with a red and white shirt played for… S U N D ermmm LONDON! yes! that was it…

Haha! So once more I was accosted.
“Who do you support?”
“London” I replied proudly.
Now this answer caused some perplexion on my would be attackers… viz. “London?”
“No such team.”
“But there has to be.”
“No there ain’t” and as my would-be attackers debated the point as to whether there was a football team from London, I departed. Y’see You had to be smart to survive.

My footballing career:

I cannot play football. I am totally uncoordinated, but that did not stop me from playing left back in the school team for a good few years. My game play tactics were simple. I’m left back.. I stay left back. And so, as the other kids on the team chased the ball around the field like a swarm of bees, I resolutely stood my ground, only ever going towards the ball if it encroached on my patch. Basically I was a lazy t**t… but it worked, it really did. Mr. Hargreaves the PE teacher would sometimes blow his whistle and say “Look at Brierley! he knows his position” I was amazed. Just by standing still and only going for the ball when it was in “my bit” I was the ace player! Not being the selfish kind I imparted this basic knowledge to my fellow Right back. Hey! it worked for him too!

A good defence needs rapport. The problem was the goalie. I told him: “me and him are going to get the ball if it ever comes near us.”

The goalie sniffed; “I don’t wanna be in goals,” he whimpered. Now that’s true. I played in goals once, let 7 in and the rest of the team blamed me. Bastards. As a tried and tested left back I decided, with my fellow right back, to cheer up the goalie. We decided to make mud pies in the goal area. This was a bad mistake. Mr. Hargreaves spotted us, blew his whistle, and went, livid-faced to our muddy playground. “Do you think”, he shouted, slobbering, “that City and United players” he gasped – “make mud pies!?!” We sniffed abjectly. “No sir. mm no.” I was dropped from the team. I was made to play with the other kids, and I never ever played for the school again. That was when I was 10, fortunately for me, it was England winners 1966, World Cup Willie nougat bars and stuff like that. England 4 W Germany 2 … I knew England were going to win all along of course, and this rekindled my interest in football.

It was several years later that I actually went to a proper football match. It was a carnival atmosphere, well umm no it wasn’t. The fixture was Stockport County vs. Torquay (0-0), Friday night is County night and all that. Despite the match being completely abysmal I was hooked, and craved more, and soon I went to my first ever league match at Maine Road. City vs. Coventry. This is more like it I thought as City cruised to a 3-0 lead, the Blues looked invincible; then it was 3-1, soon 3-2, Hang On! What’s going on here? Anyway, Dennis Tueart popped up to score City’s 4th… ahh! Everything was OK again. It was a little taster for me that you “can never tell with City.”

And so I became a regular, standing on the Kippax. My favourite moments supporting City include the ’76 League Cup win vs. Newcastle, the 10-1 vs. Huddersfield and the 5-1 vs. the Rags. Going to away matches was always an adventure, I remember in particular the 76/77 opening match of the season vs. Leicester… 7,000 of us that day!

Up until last season (95/96) I was a season ticket holder in the Umbro stand, but these days I am living in Georgia, USA, and so more than ever I appreciate the efforts of the organizers and contributors of MCIVTA.

P.S. I have persuaded my Fiancee, Tracy, to be a Blue, and for a special treat while we are honeymooning in England I’m taking her to see City vs. Oxford.

David Brierley (


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

Thanks to Howard, Martin, Steve (x2), Thomas, CM, Tim, Stephen, Russ, Ross & Paul.

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 #240