Newsletter #263

Quite a day on Saturday, not the result we’d all hoped for but somehow people actually seemed optimistic and Clark was given a wonderful welcome. There’s a match report, news of our Germans, plenty of opinion and a Why Blue?

This one reaches 1247.

Next game, Brentford away, FA Cup 3rd Round, Tuesday 14th January 1997


MANCHESTER CITY vs. CRYSTAL PALACE, Saturday 11th January 1997

“Buzzer on the wing”!

This was a game of shocks; the first was arriving in the Kippax and listening to the team news: yes, the man really did say “Creaney”!

Clark was given a fantastic standing ovation; it only lasted 20 seconds, probably because FC doesn’t go in for that sort of thing, quickly retiring back to the touchline. Creaney was actually in for Dickov rather than the woeful Rösler, and other changes were Heaney – now fit – and Ingram in at left back. This latter choice looked a bit rash to me as he was going to be up against the highly rated Bruce Dyer. I’d been talking to a Palace fan on Friday who’d been at their game against Port Vale; he told me that the Vale defence had no idea what to do with him and that he’d just wreaked havoc!

As the teams came out we were treated to yet another shock; it appeared that we had re-signed Michel Vonk! It took some time – about 75 minutes in my case – to come to terms with our captain’s new haircut! It even elicited a chant of “Oh, Vonky, Vonky” from the Kippax, so I believe. The game started ominously with Palace opening us up twice in quick succession but luckily for us, they seemed to be clueless when it came to scoring. After a rocky first 10 minutes, City settled down and began to build up; we were helped early on when their right back was booked, which gave Heaney a helping hand. Indeed Heaney could have scored when he dribbled through 3 players and shot from 25 yards. It was curling at speed into the top corner (maybe the angle of bar and post then!) but the goalie made a good save. After this the game degenerated into a bit of a midfield slog, the only bright moments being provided by Summerbee who worked hard all game and beat his man several times. McGoldrick was also ‘up for it’ and earned a deserved booking for a nasty late challenge.

Towards the end of the first half, Kinky collided heavily with Hopkin (I think). He lay on the ground for a long time, was stretchered off and then hobbled up the tunnel; we all feared the worst.

The second half was a much brighter affair. City took control of the game for long periods and had a couple of reasonable scoring chances. Rösler hit the bar with a header which bounced invitingly down but Rösler was more concerned in expressing his immense disappointment than trying to hit the rebound in! A neat move involved Creaney who turned a defender and blasted the ball goalward – please note, this means on target – eliciting a good save from Day. Meanwhile, Lomas had got himself into 2 good positions and totally wasted the opportunities with dreadful shots.

We finally took the lead after a free kick was floated in, the goalie was rooted to the spot and Tuttle headed powerfully home under pressure. After this, it looked like we would win but 5 minutes from time we managed to concede a goal in an almost identical manner (Ndah). For my money, the goalie really does have to come off his line in these situations, otherwise it’s just a lottery who will actually get their head on the ball.

City held on and we managed to put a stop to the run of defeats.

Points to note:

  1. Buzzer was ‘Man of the Match’; loads of effort, good crossing, wonseveral corners and looked like the player we thought we had bought!
  2. Creaney added another dimension to our game; we looked dangerous whenthe ball was crossed and he can get the ball on target when he gets a sniffof goal.
  3. Ingram played very well, he did a great job on the awkward anddangerous Dyer.
  4. We were treated to the season’s worse offside error (not given): thePalace player (Dyer, I think) was easily 15 yards offside and the linesmantotally missed it! He was so far offside that he was probably outside thelinesman’s field of vision. At any rate, I can’t think of any other excusefor not givng it!



Result: 1-1. City were 1-0 up with a fortunate own goal after some good pressure, Palace equalised with a free header from a corner.

City: 6/10 – A better performance than of late, quite consistent for 80 minutes but then played poorly and let in a rather soft goal in the last 10 with some dreadful defending.

Palace: 6/10 – Not a patch on their previous performance against City, but waited for us to make an (inevitable) mistake and took the chance well to earn a draw.

Crowd: 8/10 – 27,000-ish, very vocal at times, much more lively than recent matches and a great reception for Mr Clarke.

The Players:

  1. Margetson: 7/10 – Reliable and calm under pressure with a good 1st half save.
  2. McGoldrick: 6/10 – Looked far better playing further forward although a little bit wayward at times. Committed and vocal.
  3. Ingram: 7/10 – Played well with Symons, calm and reliable.
  4. Lomas: 6/10 – Typical performance with wayward passing, anappalling first touch and 2 truly awful attempts on goal, yetcommitted and rallied those around him.
  5. Symons: 9/10 – I think this was his best performance for ages,he was confident, commanding and played like a captain, even with thatbrutal haircut.
  6. Brightwell: 7/10 – Solid and played reasonably well under his16th(!) City Manager.
  7. Buzzer: 7/10 – He played far better than he has for ages,actually looked interested at times, he defended well and carved outseveral good openings. However, he still refused to take anyone on on theoutside, instead passing it every time back into midfield.
  8. Creaney: 7/10 – The Pieman played well and should never have been substituted.
  9. Heaney: 7/10 – At times looked excellent, especially with asuperb Kinky-like run in the 1st half, a good crosser of the ball,but was let down by not having enough good, early supply fromdefence/midfield.
  10. Gio: 6/10 – Created few openings although confident with theball (as always). Closed down players in midfield but got injured atthe end of the 1st half and didn’t play well afterwards.
  11. Loser: 0/10 – Does this man have a contractual clause that sayshe can’t be dropped or substituted? I cannot think of anyother reason why he is getting picked. Stunningly appalling in everyaspect, we might as well have played with 10 men. A complete jokethat he played and Whitley was on the bench for 75 minutes.


  • Crooks – Only on for a few minutes.
  • Whitley 7/10 – Only on for 10 or 15 minutes, but played well,including combining well with Kav on 3 occasions.
  • Kav 6/10 – Still trying to be a bit too intricate, but yetagain not given a proper chance. Read Whitley very well.

Ben Brookes (


A press release from one of the German press agencies has said (if my German is good enough) that Michael Frontzeck has had a fitness test with SC Freiburg with a view to playing for them for the rest of the season.

City have asked for DM250,000 – about £100,000 as a fee.

Brian Scott (


Eike Immel is back in training after recovering from his hip injury and he says he’s determined to fight for his place as City’s number 1 ‘keeper.

The Mole


Former City left-back Michael Frontzeck has found a new club – Freiburg – and has been sold to them for £250,000. Rae Ingram is likely to fill City’s troublesome left-back spot against Crystal Palace on Saturday, possibly wearing a mask to protect his face, which was badly injured in a reserve game a month ago.

Nigel Clough’s loan at Nottingham Forest has been extended by a month and City are getting ‘keeper Tommy Wright on a month’s loan in return.

The Mole


Gio Kinkladze is rated as “highly doubtful” for Tuesday’s F.A. Cup tie at Brentford after suffering a thigh strain in Saturday’s draw with Crystal Palace. He will have a late fitness test to decide if he can play. The Blues have not won any match without him since his arrival at Maine Road 18 months ago. Ian Brightwell and Rae Ingram were also treated after the Palace game but both are expected to be fit to play against Brentford, who are unbeaten at home this season.

Paul Howarth (


I’ve managed to get hold of some tickets for the Brentford game. Only problem is, I don’t know how to get there by tube, and are any of you meeting in a pub before the game? If you are then I know you will get this message on Tuesday morning, Please, please phone me on either 0181 983 5759 or 0973 658614.

Thank you and here’s to a good cup run!

James Talbot (


Good to hear some noise from the stands on Saturday but I wish people would think about what they’re singing sometimes. City fans should know better after the “We’re going up” at the Ipswich game, wasn’t “Bassett Bassett what’s the score?” bound to bring about the equaliser?

Nice to enjoy a match for a change!

Julian Griffiths (


I know these sites have been mentioned previously but as the subscribership is constantly increasing, there’s always someone who hasn’t heard.

  • My Blue Heaven –
  • Blue View –

Gary Newell (


Tony ‘the tattooed donkey’ yearns to be able to wear the old shirt designs. All is not lost; he will find that several of City’s old kit tops from yesteryear are available. He only needs to contact “TOFFS” (The Old Fashioned Football company). Their address is:

PO Box 71

Phone: 0191 4913500
Fax: 0191 491 3305

The ’96 catalogue shows the 1940s kit, ’56 cup final, 1960 home, 1969 away. I do not work for them – I am just a happy customer.

John Wilson (


(opinions are my own and no-one else’s)

I have lived in Belgium for the last 5 years. The last time I watched City was in Antwerp a few years ago, during their pre-season tour of Belgium and Holland. I started supporting City in the seventies, even though at the time I was living in Berkshire, and I followed them (i.e. travelled to games) until about ’84, then work and other things took over. Over here I watch FC Bruges, who are pretty successful and play European football more or less every season – I even saw them play Chelsea in the European Cup Winners’ Cup two years ago.

Travelling for work takes me to different places in Europe, and I always try (not always successfully because I normally don’t stay over the weekend) to watch a football game. On one such occasion I went to see a game in the San Siro stadium in Milan, and I regularly exchange souvenirs and discussions with Milan fans from work. Last season AC Milan got knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Bordeaux, losing 3-0. One of my Milan friends told me that the last time Milan lost by 3 goals in Europe was in ’78 (approximately), in the UEFA Cup, against: Manchester City!

This got me thinking back in time of course. As far as I can remember, that was our last European campaign, losing in the quarter finals against Borussia Mönchengladbach. I call that a respectable campaign, even though things had already started turning badly in the league. Also, again if my memory serves me correctly, Brian Kidd scored twice in Milan and we almost won the away leg, but Milan scored twice in the last five minutes to draw.

Then other memories came flooding back – mostly bad ones. I went to the Cup Final replay, and I could not have guessed City would do absolutely nothing over the next 15 years. I also went to that Luton game, and I will never forget the numbness of disbelief which followed – no amount of beer could dilute it. I thought that would have been a low point, never to be repeated. Little did I know.

Now we only have memories of success: Cup Finals (together with overhead kicks), chasing Liverpool for the league title, European football. Those days seem long gone, don’t they?

It disturbs me that City are even playing against the likes of Port Vale in a league game, but then to get an attendance of 30,000 and lose at home! What has happened? Have we really turned into such a sh**e team?

There is no answer to the p**s-taking from other fans; there is no consolation in watching Schmeichel perform (or otherwise) against Croatia and Newcastle, after listening to all the bull***t about him being the best goalkeeper in the world; worst of all, there seems to be no hope that things will get better. What is there to aim for this season? Avoiding relegation to the Second (really Third) Division?

I really hope that Frank Clark is the right guy, it’s about time after all that searching (or should I say scraping the managerial barrel?). I think the rôle of the board will be crucial in allowing him to function effectively, although I do not think that many of us have the patience to wait for him to do something. He must, in any case, dissuade any possibility of relegation, and quickly. Then I think he has a building job to do before the club can become respectable again.

The key will be who he buys, since apparently some money is appearing, plus realistically we will not be promoted so Kinky will leave I guess, bringing in more money. If the wrong players come in then we really are finished.

I hope he does not turn out like that d***head Coppell, who came to try the club for a few weeks, decided it was too difficult a job (or did he accept this as an interim contract while awaiting another offer?). I am not sure of the details, except that he knew how big the job was beforehand and through his actions left us even more in the s***e. Or Alan Ball, who simply has a lack of ability to manage a Premier League club. I must stress here that I do not put the blame solely on these individuals, because someone must have picked them in the first place, and therein lies another problem which unfortunately is behind closed doors and not very accessible to normal City supporters, especially those living abroad.

For what it’s worth, I would have liked to see Ruud Gullit as our next manager. He understands football, knows which players will fit in to which system, does not play politics, has no success (yet) as a manager and is therefore hungry. He is not only a motivator, but can bring class and flair as well as attracting players to come and play because of their respect for him, and the type of game he makes his team play. Just look at what he’s done for Chelsea: even though they may not win anything this year, if I were to come to London to watch someone play it would be them.

I hope that I am so out of touch with football in England that my pessimism is unfounded. Unfortunately, results don’t lie, and City’s results mean that they are, for the moment, in a truly desperate position for such a big club.

On a lighter note, it was interesting to read the experiences of the group of City fans who formed a band and played during the Port Vale match. In Belgium and also other countries many clubs have a small group of supporters who turn up for a home game with some musical instruments; I don’t know if they have a special invite. They normally start playing some football sing-along tune and the crowd (or rather the part who sing) join in to the tune and start singing the song or tune. I wasn’t at the Port Vale game, so I don’t know what the band played, but I guess any City band must be able to play to “Blue Moon”!

I think it would be a good idea to keep this going; it adds something different to the atmosphere. Although there are, unfortunately, always people who attempt to stymie and stifle innovation, I think this is the kind of thing which could end up spreading to other clubs’ supporters – I suppose now someone will tell me that it already has, but I have never heard a band play at an English game!

I hope that next time I contribute to this list it will be for a happier reason and during this current millenium. In the meantime I hope all City fans had a nice Xmas break and I wish you all a happy new year. My heart goes out to all of you who follow the team and have to suffer the bad performances rather than just listening to the results after the event.

Yours miserably, a remote City fan: Kai Polak (


It has been a while since I have contributed to Mcivta as I had decided to wait until I had something positive to say. After seeing such dismal performances over the last few months I had almost got to the point of giving up, and then came Saturday.

I was fortunate enough to be invited into the executive box and after 2 hours of free drinks I staggered out onto the balcony to watch the tremendous reception given by 27,000 fans to Frank Clark.

The first half was dire. There was plenty of effort on the part of City but obvious nerves meant that passes were constantly going astray. The Blues again never looked like scoring and looked quite happy to go in at half time level as the speed of Dyer was giving Rae Ingram a torrid time. There was a scare 5 minutes from the end when Gio was carried off on a stretcher.

Georgie returned for the second half but was substituted with 20 minutes to go. The game was a lot more flowing with City starting to string passes together. Palace’s attack was less convincing as Symons and Brightwell were excellent at the back with Eddie McGoldrick playing in front of them. However, the only way City would score would be by a Palace cock up and this arrived with a superbly headed own goal by Tuttle. We waited for the Palace onslaught but it never came. The defence looked in total control and in the back of my mind I was confident of a winning start for Clark (ok not exactly confident). Then with less than 10 minutes to go, it happened. The weekly balls up in defence allowed Ndah a free header on goal.

From then on there was only one team who would score but thankfully the referee blew his whistle after 5 minutes of injury time.

So what was there that can be termed as positive?

  • Nicky Summerbee had his best game of the season. He took his manon, was aggressive and covered a lot of ground. In short he played the waywe expected him to when he arrived from Swindon. Hopefully the next fewgames will confirm his new lease of life.
  • Gerry Creaney made some excellent first touches and with his goodclose control (yes honestly) could be a decent partner for Dickov.
  • Eddie McGoldrick was my man of the match. His passing was good,tackling dirty and organised the City midfield.
  • Symons and Brightwell were solid for 80 minutes of the game.

The negative aspects: for all the effort we never looked like scoring.

Kev Duckworth (


A few thoughts as I’m sure there’ll be plenty of detailed match reports from others in despair.

Symons (1st minute near-OG) and Ingram (loose ball behind Brightwell, Palace somehow missing an open goal) proved that the back line need a few games to get to know each other and the rudiments of defensive football. Buzz Margetson looked good, however: he can actually return back-passes “To Halfway And Beyond!” And Summerbee tried hard, I thought, not that many people in the Main Stand gave him any credit.

Lomas had an off day (let’s be kind); McGoldrick deserved his booking but then so did countless Palace players (and someone should tell the ref it’s still handball even if you’re wearing gloves); Kinky should have been left on for nuisance value; Heaney seemed scared to take people on; Uwe looked fitter than he has done for a while.

However, Palace were pretty poor on the day, and Frank Clark must know (if he didn’t already) that he’s got a job on. Remember though where Newcastle were 5 years ago!

P.S. Today’s Guardian mentioned “a training ground bust-up” between Kinky and Lomas. Any truth in it, details? Is Lomas sponsored by Blue Circle Cement?

Martyn Hansen (


Well, as usual we start with a whimper not a bang but I guess we should be grateful for a point! At least Stuart Hall gave Frank Clark a worthy welcome to the Academy, with one of his best ever interviews; started off by calling FC “Baron Hardup”, and carried on from there; now FC has a true feel for the job ahead – not only does he have to sort us out but he also has to deal with Stuart Hall.

I have to confess I wasn’t too keen on Clark; I would have preferred Sergeant Wilko but we have to take what we can get now, and at least FC is a real football manager (unlike some others, e.g. Ball). Guess I will just have to take the Franny approach, and say “In fact, Alan Ball / Steve Coppell / Frank Clark (delete as applicable) was my first choice for the job, but … “.

Glad to see the band got a warm Maine Road welcome; for the Ashton Gate derby (now infamous), Bristol City enrolled the Bristol School of Samba to play during the game, and add that famous Brazilian atmosphere; response? Well, ok at first, but then “Sit down, shut up” was all they got – despite being pretty good. In fact, the main singing stand at the Gate has had a drum, and occasionally a trumpeter, performing, and they have been accepted by one and all – and add greatly to the atmosphere – mind you, you can sit where you want in most parts of the ground, except for the annual all ticket match against Rovers, or ‘big’ cup games – guess the reaction might be different then – but the club have welcomed the musicians.

I’ll be at the Brentford game, and M4 traffic permitting, intend to check out the New Inn before kick-off – will try to seek out any Mcivta’ers there. Not too hopeful about this one – Brentford are unbeaten at home in the League this season, and I saw them early on at Ashton Gate, when they beat Bristol City 2-1 – in fact, it was a bit of a hit-and-run job, and they didn’t really deserve 3 points, but they are not a bad Division 2 footballing side; direct when needs be but quick and dangerous on the break – they got the ball out wide quickly, and whipped it in quickly to the dangerous Mr Asaba – so if we get a draw I shall be pleasantly surprised, and a win – well, yup, I’ll take that as well!

What a shame about Keegan, for all those loyal Newcastle fans; I seem to recall that when ours and Newcastle’s positions were reversed, and they were languishing at the bottom of the (then) Division 2, they were averaging gates of c. 10,000. All I can say is “Where were you when you were **** ?”. Someone at work asked me if I was disappointed that KK had resigned after we got FC installed; I said no way – didn’t want another manager who would flounce out when the going got hard (like in the top 5 of the league, still in the FA Cup, and a Euro quarter final – tough eh?).

Jeremy Poynton (


A quiz question from the Derby County Internet page following their recent game against Arsenal – any ideas out there?

“Regarding the last minute drama at Highbury: I remember some years ago, I think it was in the 79/80 season, the Rams were playing Man City at the BBG. Derby were leading 2-1 and City had a corner. The ball was well struck into the box and headed into goal by a City player. Amazingly, the ref blew the whistle for the end of the game 1/100 of a second before the ball crossed the line. No goal – and the Rams won 2-1. Great timing! A friend of mine, a City fan, would not speak to me for 14 days after that. Anybody else remember that particular episode, the name of the City player and ref.? Perhaps some of you are old enough to have been at that game?”

Tim Edmondson – for the Blues (


Anyone out there who knows where I can see English Premier League games in Atlanta, Georgia (former home of the Olympic débâcle) Please email me.

Trapped in the colonies and forever Blue, Brenden Patrick (


Has anyone got a spare ticket for the Brentford game?

Russ Jenkins (


In 1929 my father took me to see my first City game and from that time on I was hooked. Of course in those days they played and beat some pretty good teams like Arsenal, Wolves, Bolton and Villa.

I would think that any father who introduced his kid to City’s brand of football today would be hauled into court and charged with child abuse. I am appalled that City are being beaten by such clubs as Barnsley, Millwall and Oldham, teams that wouldn’t have been able to give the reserves a decent game in the glory days. Come on City, wake up and smell the roses again.

Harry Swift, Chewelah, Washington U.S.A. (


I recently discovered that because I subscribe to the City magazine, my darling wife has started subscribing to the new X-files mag. Unfortunately they both arrived together through the post on Thursday morning and to my amazement after 10 minutes of reading about alien abduction, zombie flu and people just blowing up for no apparent reason, I was actually reading the wrong one.

P.S. I’m led to believe Frank Clark since joining City is being taken to court by the R.S.P.C.A… for flogging a dead horse!

Mark ‘The truth is out there’ Turner (


Full-time score for Sunday, January 12 1997


Full-time scores for Saturday, January 11 1997

GRIMSBY TOWN            1-1    PORT VALE
READING                 2-2    CHARLTON ATHLETIC

Full-time scores for Friday, January 10 1997

STOKE CITY              1-0    BIRMINGHAM CITY

Up to and including Sunday, January 12 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers        28     15   10    3     58    37        55
Barnsley                26     13    8    5     45    30        47
Sheffield United        26     13    7    6     44    28        46
Wolverhampton Wanderers 26     12    7    7     36    23        43
Crystal Palace          26     10   10    6     50    28        40
Queens Park Rangers     27     11    7    9     38    36        40
Stoke City              25     11    7    7     33    33        40
Tranmere Rovers         27     11    6   10     36    34        39
Norwich City            26     11    6    9     35    36        39
Port Vale               27      9   11    7     30    27        38
Oxford United           27     10    7   10     37    31        37
Huddersfield Town       27      9    8   10     32    35        35
Charlton Athletic       27     10    5   12     29    36        35
Ipswich Town            27      8   10    9     34    38        34
West Bromwich Albion    27      7   12    8     43    44        33
Swindon Town            26     10    3   13     36    34        33
Portsmouth              28      9    6   13     30    35        33
Birmingham City         24      8    9    7     24    23        33
Reading                 27      7    9   11     30    39        30
Oldham Athletic         25      6    9   10     28    31        27
MANCHESTER CITY         26      8    3   15     28    41        27
Bradford City           28      6    8   14     26    44        26
Southend United         26      5   10   11     25    46        25
Grimsby Town            25      5    8   12     27    45        23

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


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

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 #263