Newsletter #253

Another win and lady luck appears to be smiling on us after a long absence. There are two match reports and two match views. There’s also news from the Platt Lane Correspondent, another good Why Blue and some humour.

MCIVTA 254 will go out Wednesday evening as I’ll be away all day Thursday.

This one reaches 1,194.

Next game, Oldham Athletic away, Saturday 21st December 1996


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BRADFORD CITY, Saturday 7th December 1996

Att: 25,035
Ref: Trevor Jones
Team: 4,4,2.

McGoldrick    Brightwell    Symons    Rodger
 Summerbee    Lomas    Kinkladze    Heaney
           Dickov        Rösler

Subs: All used – Jeff Whitley (Heaney), Kavelashvili (Dickov), Crooks (Rösler).

Due to traffic problems (M602 and the Parkway still!), I was running behind time for the game. As I parked up close to Maine Road a squirrel jumped down from a tree to tell me that because I had turned up late for the first time ever(!), City had decided to score 2 goals in the first 10 minutes. I couldn’t believe my bad luck. I mentioned my dilemma to the stewards on the way in and they fell about laughing. Humour has returned to Maine Road, and not just at the A.G.M.!

As I took my seat ready for the feast of goals, guess what? Yep, Bradford started to dominate proceedings. The most alarming consequence of this was Margetson’s inability to deal with any sort of cross ball. They had a big ox who stood in front of our ‘keeper at every set piece, and frankly, looked as if they would score every time the ball was lofted into our area. We needed somebody like Steve Bruce to give this guy a whack. As it was, Margetson started flapping before the crosses had been delivered. One of the softest goals I have seen at Maine Road resulted from a corner when the ball was gently nodded in unchallenged. The woodwork saved us on a couple of occasions after this.

In general we had a 50/50 share of the play without ever looking as if we would add to our lead. I was impressed by the performance of the two full backs McGoldrick and Rodger. On one occasion Gio gave the ball away carelessly while attacking and the resulting break almost brought about a goal. McGoldrick went over to Gio and gave him a real tongue-lashing. Make this guy captain, quick!

Half Time: 2-1.

The second half continued in the same style with Bradford scoring in similar fashion to their first except this time we failed to clear our lines when in no danger, gave the ball away and they scored from another cross ball with Maggy flapping. Waddle and Cowans were getting a lot of the ball in midfield and dictating the play. Although Gio was doing quite well, Lomas was having a shocker. City retook the lead when Gio put Summerbee through on the right wing. His low cross was missed by Dickov and Rösler but Jeff Whitley who had just come on for the ineffective Heaney, slid in at the back post and squeezed it over the line. After this Lomas missed an open goal and we hung on as Waddle tired.

Final score: 3-2.

Apparently, Franny has refused to back Phil Neal with any concrete promises and Colin Todd is being tipped to take over. Phil Neal’s interview on GMR was the only sense I have heard coming out of Maine Road this week. He was bemoaning the fact that we were broadcasting the news of a £12 million cash injection and that any player he was trying to sign for £750,000 would now be closer to a £2 million valuation.

A final note: The programme had a report of the fans’ committee meeting on 28/11/96 where it was revealed that Cup tickets for season ticket holders could now be purchased by credit card and that next season’s season tickets would be available by direct debit. Also, if anyone wants to buy shares in the club they can be obtained from the stockbroker Alan Dewhurst, Tilney and Co. Tel: 0161 832 1300 (fax: 0161 832 3878)

Margetson 5
McGoldrick 8
Brightwell 6
Symons 7
Rodger 7
Lomas 5
Summerbee 7
Kinkladze 8
Heaney 5
Dickov 6
Rösler 5

Subs: Whitley 8, Kavelashvili 8, Crooks 7.

Ken Foster (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BRADFORD CITY, Saturday 7th December 1996

I could flaming well scream at that team!

How much more do we have to put up with? OK so we won but any positive reaction to the result will only mask the fact that the team is absolutely s***e and papering over the increasing cracks! The best team on the day didn’t deserve to lose and to be perfectly honest Bradford could have easily stuck at least another four goals past Margetson. Something has got to be done and pretty sharp or else we’ll only start to slide down again.

Why is it that Neal who was a member of the all-conquering Liverpool team of the 70/80’s and was managed by the likes of Shankley, Paisley and Fagan, can’t seem to get the defence sorted out? Also why does he berate players in public, didn’t he learn anything when at Liverpool? I can never remember a Liverpool player being openly criticised by their manager.

So onto the game…

City started brightly enough with Gio scoring from the spot after he was felled in the box after only three minutes. Then Dickov made it 2-0 after Rösler’s cross had been fluffed by the Bradford defence, which left Dickov to thump the ball into the roof of the net. So 2-0 after approximately 15 minutes. City should have been safe but somehow you knew it wouldn’t stay the same, especially after recent games (W.B.A. etc). Why is it that the team look uncomfortable when they should be cruising?

Bradford did come back into the game, firstly hitting the bar and then scoring from an inswinging corner. I honestly thought Waddle had scored direct but it looks like Steiner got the telling touch. I remember the last time Margetson conceded a similar goal against Everton; we ended up getting thrashed 5-2! As soon as that went in I thought we’d get beat. Waddle and Cowans were running the game, Waddle providing excellent passes that City just couldn’t cope with. In fact Bradford could well have gone into the break leading but from a couple of goal-mouth scrambles following corners, the two efforts were blazed high and wide. So it was with relief that City went in leading, although I had a sense of impending doom (every the optimist).

No half-time changes and as usual the pitiful team talk as City came out with very little fight and Bradford seemed to take total control of the early stages of the half! Soon the Citys were on level terms, once more from a telling Waddle cross. His pinpoint inswinging cross was met on the 6 yard line by an unmarked Steiner and he eased the equaliser home. While Bradford celebrated, the collective heads of the City team dropped; surely this is where we need a motivator to get the team going again! Usually the captain does it but I’m afraid Symons isn’t in that class.

I expected it to be all hands to the pumps and try to weather a Bradford onslaught. Fortunately City managed to sneak another goal and thus give themselves a chance. Gio and Summerbee interchanged passes on the right wing before Gio slipped a ball through for Buzzer to cross. His low cross was missed by everyone except Whitley (who had just come on as a sub), who manged to squeeze the ball home from an acute angle past the despairing dives of the Bradford defence. To put it mildly the lad was slightly pleased! At last someone with pride and feeling for the club (but for how long?). What surprised me though was the fact that someone other than the ‘strikers’ was in the area. that’s been half the problem for the Blues, not enough support in the box!

However the game was still not safe, with Bradford once more having lots of play; indeed they nearly got a deserved equaliser when Steiner headed another Waddle cross onto the crossbar in the last few seconds. The reflief at the whistle was immense and the players came over to applaud the fans. However, as my mate said ‘Don’t come here, you don’t deserve any applause, you were crap’ – my sentiments exactly. Nothing seems right with the team. Maybe a few more with Whitley’s feelings could take the Blues a long way?

Martin Ford (


Things started encouragingly enough with no sign of the names Clough or Wassall on the team sheet, but hang on a minute… Rösler’s still there and Whitley and Crooks on the bench! Now I get it, play like a donkey all season and keep your place… have a blinder and make a swift return to the bench! It’s beyond me, but hell, who am I to argue with logic like that?

By the way I thought we were coming up to Christmas not Easter ‘cos surely Chris Allen’s defence of our Nigel (MCIVTA 252), was a wind up?

Anyway, onto the match. Despite seeming to concede the midfield we suddenly found ourselves two goals up. Cue knowing looks all round. There was no pattern or shape. Little movement off the ball but at least a bit of fight and we needed that as it seems with most teams in this division they were big and physical, getting away with what they could, which was plenty. Sure enough they pulled one back, much to the delight of their impressive away following and although we went in at half-time 2-1 up the natives were restless.

Shortly after the restart Bradford were level and if Asprilla’s celebrations versus Metz merited a booking then the whole Bradford team should’ve been sent off as they disappeared into the North Stand to the acclaim of the Tyke travellers.

Thankfully City didn’t give up and the introduction of Whitley brought immediate reward as he cooly slotted home from a tight angle after good work from Gio and Summerbee. There was a lot more shape about City as Whitley provided solid support for Lomas in the centre. Heaney had impressed in parts but never got to the by-line to produce crosses. I really can’t see him as the answer to our prayers. He looks like another journeyman who’ll sit on our books sapping away at our limited resources. What’s the point buying him when we’ve got Phillips, and hopefully Beagrie to return? Surely someone proven like Waddle, who impressed throughout, would be a better investment?

City clung on and looked for the points in an exciting finish which saw Bradford go close on a number of occasions. Kave got an extended run (5 minutes) and looked good. Play this man please. All in all the points were vital and some encouraging signs, but Bradford are below us!

Form guide:
Margetson – none too inspiring.
McGoldrick – talks a lot, captain?
Rodger – solid enough, dangerous going forward and good left foot.
Lomas – led by example, bit rash at times.
Symons – looked better alongside…
Brightwell – impressed.
Summerbee – not as bad as people make out but he needs dropping. Had another go at the fans… apparently.
Heaney – beat his man two or three times, then beat him again and again but no cross!
Dickov – worked hard, shouldn’t have been the one to come off.
Rösler – should have been the one replaced.
Kinkladze – quiet by his standards but still instrumental in two of the goals.
Whitley – hard worker, good passing, movement, awareness etc. I guess it’s back to the bench for Jeff!
Kave – makes space very well. I think we’d see a more “interested” Gio if his countryman gets an extended run.
Crooks – nice to see a City player with a bit of presence, he must be at least 5 ft 10! Who says size isn’t everything? I think it might be in this league.

Finally, with regard to Christine’s idea about a Dutch style band. It could be great but would need some organisation. The Sheffield Wednesday/England lot were mightily impressive at Anfield.

Paul Monaghan (


A win but not a performance I would like to see again. First 20 mins or so City were superb. Blatant penalty after a couple of minutes and a well taken, if slightly fortuitous goal on about 12. Schwarzer was looking crap, kicking worse than Dibble’s. Then we conceded a s***e soft goal from a corner (Margetson’s fault?) and the confidence drained out of players and fans alike. City proceeded to play b*****ks for most of the rest of the game. They never picked up Bradford’s overlapping full backs. Second goal was also pants, especially as their sole tactic all afternoon had been to hoof it into the box for their big number 10. Bradford also hit the woodwork at least twice and should have scored at least one more. I haven’t got a clue how our third went in but Whitely got it and I think he’s ace, so I don’t care. Corners are complete s****e. I couldn’t bring myself to watch any of Bradford’s because they always looked like scoring. A hell of a lot of work needs to be done on defending set pieces.

Margetson – apart from first goal looked sound. 7
McGoldrick – good to see him trying to stop fans booing Buzzer but otherwise nothing special. 6
Rodger – didn’t do much at all, kept drifting inside. 5
Symons – better but lost out on so many aerial challenges. Not an inspiring captain but who else is there? 6
Brightwell – too short to be a centre back but anything’s better than Wassall. 6
Lomas – won virtually every ball we won in midfield. 7
Kinkladze – not in it for most of the game. One moment when he beat two men, looked for someone to pass to and everyone was standing behind him going ‘wow he’s good isn’t he’ summed up much of City’s play. 6
Summerbee – simply can’t run fast enough. Looked ok going forwards but never tries the difficult ball. Is it true that he’s only in the team because Mike says he must be? A rumour I’ve heard several times. 6
Heaney – I thought he was crap and lacked pace. Recommended by AB, need we say more? 4
Dickov – tries but he’s not the answer as he won’t score enough goals. 6
Rösler – also played quite well but didn’t have many shots. 6

Whitley – played better than Heaney and he’s our only player not afraid to shoot from distance. 7
Kav – didn’t do much but should be given some starts. 6
Crooks – had no time to do anything.

All in all it’s a win and we need those. Can we go two games unbeaten though? I won’t be able to see them for a while as I’ll be back in the footballing hotbed of Bristol but straight wins would be nice.

Thomas Bodey (


Middlesbrough are believed to have watched Michael Brown for the fourth time since his return from injury this week when he played for the reserves in the victory at Edgeley Park on Wednesday. Brown has scored in the last two reserve games and the rumour is that Middlesbrough are about to make a bid of about £1 million for him. Phil Neal is thought to be interested in one of Boro’s fringe players so a swap deal might be in the offing. Could that fringe player possibly be Jan Aage Fj