Newsletter #273

Bitter disappointment down at the Academy, made much worse by some bizarre refereeing decisions. Latest news about Lomas is that he has a suspected broken nose; he apparently asked the ref why he hadn’t given Festa a red card, to which the ref replied that he didn’t see it. Lomie then asked him why he had booked him at all… no answer!

It seems that there was some kind of violence after the game, perhaps even organised by outsiders. There has been nothing in the press, did anyone see anything?

Teletext has Alan Hill denying any interest in the Wigan striker (see below) and the latest is that Dibble has been allowed to go to Sheffield United on loan, though with a quick recall clause due to the uncertain (still…) situation with Tommy Wright.

This issue has a couple of match reports and plenty of news and opinion and another MCIVTA FC practice game. Somebody sent me the URL of the OFEX www site which gives the latest MCFC share price. Apologies but I’ve forgotten who sent it; anyway, here it is:

This one reaches 1327

Next game, Swindon Town at home, Saturday 22nd February 1997


MANCHESTER CITY vs. MIDDLESBROUGH, F.A. Cup 5th Round, Saturday 15th February 1997

“I’m not bitter – much”

This match was always going to be difficult. With four changes to the team that beat Southend a week previously, had this been a league match, City would have been penalised for fielding an under-strength team. The City line up was: Margetson, McGoldrick, Ingram, Lomas, Symons, Brightwell, Summerbee, Brown (Beagrie 63 min), Crooks, Rösler, Kinkladze (Dickov 65 min). Clark’s new signings, Wright, Beesley and Horlock were all ineligible.

Middlesbrough: Roberts, Cox, Fleming, Festa, Vickers, Mustoe, Stamp, Whyte, Juninho, Hignett, Ravanelli.

For the first few minutes, City were very cautious, giving Robson’s team more respect than they should have. Eventually though it became clear that here was a team who could be taken. Middlesbrough came with the intention of winning, but their methods were untidy. They seem to have only one plan; once in possession, look up for either Juninho or Ravanelli and hoof it in their general direction hoping that they can make something of it. With one or two exceptions though, the City marking was up to this. Brightwell in particular stuck to Ravanelli quite well; indeed I think he was lucky not to be cautioned for his “close” marking, pushing, shoving and tugging at the Italian. Once or twice Ravanelli let his feelings be known in a display that at one point nearly resulted in a ten man brawl. Ravanelli did get clear a couple of times though, and should have scored both times. Once from a very dangerous low cross from the right which went skipping across the face of goal about six yards out. Ravanelli was running onto it but was just too slow. On the second occasion he had a free header on the end of a very good cross from Stamp, but from only six yards out, he put it wide. City too had their chances; perhaps the best fell to Summerbee, who lobbed a stranded Ben Roberts only to have Mustoe save on the line with his chest. Brightwell actually had the ball in the net but the flag was up for offside. I must say that I thought it was the correct decision but TV replays showed the goal to be good. There were no objections from the team so they must have thought it a fair decision too. Oh God. If only…

After 65 minutes of play, Gio limped off with a reported groin strain and was replaced by the energetic Dickov, who as ever, ran about hassling and holding off but failing to really influence the game.

Martyn Margetson deserves a mention. Knowing that you aren’t first choice must be depressing but he made two magnificent saves; one from Juninho was particularly spectacular.

In the end, it was pressure from City and some bad luck (and defending) that decided this tie. City won a corner, there was a poor clearance that fell to the feet of Juninho (it wasn’t a deliberate pass) who quickly released Festa on the right. One or two neat passes later , Fleming crossed to the back post where Juninho met it well to put Middlesbrough one up.

Now I don’t want to sound bitter but a few minutes before all this, Festa should have been sent off. The most blatant pull back and strike to the throat on Steve Lomas saw the Irishman on the deck looking as if he was out cold; when he got to his feet, I’m sure he didn’t know where he was. So dangerous and yet Festa only got a yellow.

City didn’t deserve to lose this, the team put all they had into it and came very close to putting out a very expensive group of players who could not really be called a team. It was a scrappy ill-tempered encounter that demonstrated that talented individuals guarantee nothing. Bryan Robson may have taken Middlesbrough into the Premiership but unless he demonstrates more management potential than his current tactics suggest he has, he is going nowhere. If I were a Middlesbrough fan I’d want him out, he has the power to do to them what the squeaky ginger git did to us.

Stockport meet Middlesbrough I think on Wednesday. If the County squad watched this match on TV, they will surely feel that another Premiership scalp is within their reach. Good luck to them. I’m going for 2-1 to the County.

Final Score: 0-1

P.S. was I watching a different game to the press? The Sunday Times says… “Juninho too slick for City.” The Sunday Telegraph, “Middlesbrough took their turn to show their plumage”, and maybe someone can explain the comment in the Mirror “Frank Clark is like Victor Meldrew, both feet out of the Cup”; written by a half-wit Rag or what? Robson says in the same Rags rag, explaining Juninho’s scoring talent “It’s because he’s so fit.” Does that mean Sally Gunnell could do it?

Steve Bolton (


Except for the result I thoroughly enjoyed the game on TV last Saturday. City gave everything and could consider themselves unlucky not to have earned a draw, even tho’ ‘Boro probably had more clear cut chances. I thought it was a game of 2 “sides” in the first half; City brilliant on the attack on the right side, and vulnerable and shaky on the defensive on the left.

Summerbee was excellent, uncannily reminiscent of his dad (except I didn’t see him really kick anyone, on or off the ball!), Crooks looks a terrific prospect, cool in possession with superb timing in the tackle and great vision, reminds me of a couple of defenders at Old Trafford…

To put things in perspective, I think City still have some problems if they are not only to get back in the Premier division but consolidate their position there. Some of the players do not look good enough despite the effort they put in. Without some class players alongside, I don’t think workmanlike players such as Lomas and Symons are good enough to carry passengers in the defence. I hope that Wright is a good deal more confidence inspiring than Margetson and that Rösler had a stinker because he looked a nothing player on Saturday. It was a shame that Kinkladze had to go off even tho’ he wasn’t allowed to show his best during the match; he seldom looked comfortable with the tight “Boro marking, but with more support when he gets the ball it’s so obvious he’s special. I do hope you keep him.

Finally, it was wonderful seeing the Maine Road pitch looking in such good condition (congrats to Stan Gibson), to see the terraced houses in the background behind the stands and some of the “old” faces from Maine Road like Asa and Roy Bailey. I was really homesick at seeing the place I enjoyed visiting from the late sixties and throughout the seventies.

I believe if the team play with as much commitment and passion as they showed last week, then you have every chance of going up and we will have what we deserve, two Manchester teams in the Premier.

Keep dreaming, Leo Fewtrell – Wythenshawe Exile (



Is it the shoes?! Or am I really attempting a match report way out here? Well after finally getting to see City play on TV for the first time this season, I thought I would share some comments on the match.

After some pre-game anxiety, the game was not coming in on the satellite at all, ol’ Scotty got the darn thing going and the game was on about 2 minutes into it. God only knows how much I was boiling over in excitement as I saw those wonderful blue kits parading up and down the field. I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I had seen them play. Maybe I should skip the notion that this is a match report and just plain ramble about how exciting it was. My only concerns were how City was going to stop Juninho and Ravanelli. Stop them they managed to do sometimes easily but other times at the edge of my chair. I felt the defence was playing poker at times against these 2 goal-scoring threats. At the other end, City did manage to penetrate on occasion and threaten the ‘keeper but no results. Then we have the offside call as City scored, on a free kick I think, which was soon dubbed the ‘4,000 mile away call.’ It wasn’t even close to being offside. To make matters worse, the television lost its signal 30 minutes into the first half and again there was anxiety. Scotty raised hell once more and the game was back on with a few uneventful minutes left ’til half time. So far I felt the game was building up and the second half should bring out a victor.

The second half began and it soon became chess, as I felt the game would fall into someone’s lap at the cost of the other team’s mistake. It would be in the 77th that Boro would be the team to go up, 1-nil. Juninho got himself open on the right side of the box and put the ball right under a sprawling Margetson. Only 13 more minutes and the game had ended. Is it really over? I wish the game could have lasted a little longer because I knew that as the City players headed off the field, I too would be going home but knowing that I would not be seeing City play for a long time to come. Why do I put myself through this torture? I need to leave the friggin States and move to Manchester. Maybe there is a graduate college there I could apply to? Anyway I enjoyed the game nonetheless. I want to take this moment to say hi to the other list members who were able to see the game there as well. It was great to finally meet Ian and Simon. I will be in touch with both of you soon. I want to thank Ian for my first City jersey and February’s issue of CITY magazine, although he stole the Gio sticker 😉 thanks very much Ian. We will see each other soon for a pint and some footy when you heal up.

That wraps up my Stateside report…

Rene’ Gonzalez (


Friday 14th February:

The charges of Indecent Assault against City ‘keeper Andy Dibble were today dropped by the complainant, just a few weeks before the case was due to go to trial. Dibble said “I’ve been through hell. I have had these rapist chants for the last nine months. It’s not very nice being called a rapist when you have not done anything like that.”

City’s attempts to sign Forest midfielder Chris Bart-Williams appear to be over. Although Forest’s board had accepted City’s offer, manager Stuart Pearce did not want to let any of his players go as he knew there would be no money available to replace them. It also seems that Bart-Williams preferred to stay at Forest rather than come to Maine Road. City are still trying to complete the swap deal involving Tommy Wright and Nigel Clough but there has been no movement so far this week.

Southend manager Ronnie Whelan has been reinstated by the club after they had originally suspended him and sacked assistant Theo Foley following the incident with the linesman at Maine Road last week. However, Whelan still faces an F.A. misconduct charge.

The Mole


The rights issue underwritten by Stephen Boler and John Wardle Associates has raised £11.8 million, £1 million more than expected. This is apparently due to extra interest in the club as a result of the improvement in the team’s fortunes under Frank Clark recently.

The Mole


Stuart Pearce has promised City a response to a £450,000 bid for Tommy Wright by Monday. City are keen to get him signed next week before his loan runs out, though with Forest having Mark Crossley sent off on Saturday, they may be reluctant to let Wright go just yet.

Paul Howarth (


According to GMR (Monday 17th February), City are looking at Wigan Athletic’s (and Division 3’s) top scorer Graeme Jones. The fee being mentioned is about £750,000. The player is supposed to be talking over personal terms.

For anybody who still wanted to go to the Bradford game at Valley Parade there are still some tickets left as at 11.15-17/2/97.

Tony Farrar – Salford Blue (


New signing:

It appears as though City are on the verge of signing Graeme Jones (26) from Wigan Athletic, for a figure of £750k. Jones has reportedly agreed personal terms. Jones is currently the Third Division’s leading scorer with 22 goals.

So it’s another signing. Obviously Jones has got a scoring pedigree but will the hike up two divisions be too much for him? Or could he in fact be playing against his old club next season (City relegated, Wigan promoted)? One thing I do find strange is that Wigan are willing to sell their top striker, when they are top of the league and currently chasing the 3rd Division title.

We’ve currently got Rösler, Dickov, Kavelashvili, Creaney, Kinkladze and now Jones as strikers. They can’t all play so who’s gonna make way?

Cash Injection:

If media reports are correct it looks like City could be a million pounds better off. The rights issue that Boler and J.D. Sports have backed to the tune of £10 million, could be valued at over £11 million. This is due to the Cup run, the shares’ values have risen (hopefully after the cup knock out the shares won’t plummet)!

Martin Ford (


Is there any truth in the rumours on the Leeds list that they’re buying Kinkladze?

A friend of mine subscribes to this and has been gloating that they’re still in the Premiership and that they’re going to rob us of one of our best players.

She wasn’t so impressed when they were going to buy Curle!

Louise Fielding (


Dan has managed to book the astroturf pitch at the Armitage so we can have another game: Sunday 9th March 3-5pm (it was the first Sunday afternoon available). So if anyone fancies a game then let me know.

Martin Ford (


According to Friday’s Daily Telegraph, it looks like the International Board are going to change football’s rules again!

Goalkeepers will not be able to handle the ball directly from a throw-in (I hope they only apply this to throw-ins by the goalkeeper’s own team – otherwise I foresee every team employing a long throw-in specialist).

Strikers who handle the ball into the opponents’ goal will be sent off.

‘Golden Goal’ extra time will be scrapped. The game will revert back to using two 15 minute periods of extra time, though the first goal scored in extra-time will count double in the event of a draw at the end of the game.

Your Daily Telegraph Correspondent, Richard Mottershead (


I was just leafing through the High Peak Reporter, the local (North Derbyshire) paper my mum gets, when I noticed something which might be of interest to Blues both near and far:

Apparently, the landlord of the ‘Lantern Pike’ pub in Little Hayfield (out on the road towards Glossop) is an ex-City player – George McDonald. On Thursday 6th February, he organised a grand reunion dinner for former players and people connected with the Blues. Players who turned up (those mentioned anyway) included Paddy Fagan, Johnny Hart and Roy Clarke, and the after-dinner speech was given by another former player and football author, Fred Eyre. It seems the dinner was quite an event; George claimed that there were quite a few City fans in Hayfield (maybe Mark Edwards [MCIVTAer] in disguise?) and stated that ‘once a Blue, always a Blue.’ So, sounds like a good place for a pint!

The paper stated that he played for City for 5 years in the fifties; can anyone confirm this or perhaps even give us a little background on him?



As printed in last Friday’s Daily Mirror:

Brian Clough has sparked a storm by tipping Nottingham Forest for relegation – and accusing Frank Clark of leaving the club in the lurch.

Clark quit Forest’s relegation fight eight weeks ago and immediately accepted a £200,000 salary to become Manchester City Manager. And Clough, who hand-picked Clark as his own successor in 1993 said “I can’t see Forest dodging the drop this season. Frank spent in excess of £10 million after taking over from me, so no wonder Forest haven’t got any money now. He bought some players who couldn’t play – players nobody else wanted to buy. In the end, for Frank it was a choice between resigning or going into the River Trent. Frank would have had problems. I used to walk on water. He would have sunk and drowned.”

Sour grapes I think after young Nige’ was sent back.

Were my ears deceiving me on Saturday or were both Juninho and Kinky introduced as “the best foreign imports in the Premier League”, on Match of the Day? Either we’ve sold him or the Match of the Day lot are getting a bit optimistic about our promotion chances. Also, Bryan Robson has said all week how he’d been planning his team around stopping Kinky in his tracks – you’d have thought that spending all that time sussing Gio out would have helped him pronounce his name a bit better – Kinkader I think he said in the post-match interview!

Geoff St George (


We might soon have a better ‘keeper at the Academy. No, City aren’t signing a ‘keeper but Andy Dibble might start on the road to recapturing his form. It’s been announced that the sex-charge case against him has been dropped. Let’s hope this means a lift in his confidence and spirits.

Martin Ford (


Time: 7.00am Saturday 15th February
Place: The Mad Dog in the Fog, Lower Haight Street, San Francisco
Match: City vs. ‘Boro – F.A. Cup 5th Round
Present: Jeremy and Jon Poynton, Eric Frost and a few other expat or distant Blues

Strange time of the day to watch football, although this was alleviated by a bacon sandwich and a pint of Guinness. We arrived as the match kicked off, grabbed seats, and went to the bar (as one does). Few other (clearly labelled) Blues were there, but as we awaited our beer, Eric introduced himself as I was wearing the Mcivta T-Shirt.

Game – well you all know the result, and I wasn’t that awake, so I won’t give a match report; I thought we were unlucky to lose – Bob’s goal was not offside, as a number of slow replays showed, and Festa should have gone off for thwacking our own Mad Dog, Stevie Lomas. However, I thought the sides were evenly matched but would like an explanation of where Buzza disappeared to after Gio went off injured – is Gio the only one who recognises his recent rehabilitation? I thought Buzza had a blinder in the first half.

And now – to concentrate on the League methinks.

Cheers, from sunny San Francisco, and, Eric – great to meet you.

Jeremy Poynton … masquerading in his brother’s email account of(


In answer to a question in MCIVTA 271 about who’s going to make the kits next year, I’ve been told by someone working at Maine Road that it’s going to be Kappa, and that a deal has virtually been sorted out. Has anyone else heard anything supporting this?

Robert Lewis (


In reply to Chris Hughes’ query about people buying tickets for the League and Cup games at once: unless there’s exactly the same amount of people buying tickets for both matches (not very likely), it’s quicker to have two windows selling tickets for both games than having one window selling for each game. Good point about the gaps in the Main Stand though.

Ian J Kay (


Well, out of the Cup again, but did we deserve it? Let’s briefly look at oor last four F.A. Cup exits…

This season – Brightwell scored a legitimate goal, then Festa should have been sent off, therefore he shouldn’t have been on the pitch to play a part in their goal.

Last season – Frontzeck/Cantona – ’nuff said.

1995 – Newcastle away – remember their first goal, the linesman flagged for offside, but the ref decided to play on allowing Gillespie to score following Dibble’s balls-up.

1994 – Cardiff – OK so we played crap, but Curle had a perfectly fine goal chalked off.

Unlucky – maybe, shafted by referees – definitely.

Liam Hosie (


Has anyone else found buying tickets for the Boro’ match an absolute joke? With no membership card or stub scheme in process, the task of getting to see the match was stress with a side portion of grief. The queues outside the ground on Wednesday stretched halfway down Claremont Road and the phone lines were impossible! One bloke we know queued from 8 in the morning ’til after 3 to get his and I know that if we weren’t (eventually) blessed with a jammy friend in ‘the know’ that we wouldn’t have been able to go this weekend. If you’ve sat through the dreary games all season then you should have priority for the big games. If we get any further in this I hope they start putting that stubs rule back in force otherwise a lot of the people who’ve stuck it out all season will just be disappointed.

Laura Turney


Frank Clark surely is a football genius. He’s seen the error of Ball’s ways as well as Asa’s, Phil Neal’s and Coppell’s although I attach no blame to the latter three (well maybe a bit to stressed out Steve). Went to Brentford, hardly vintage but we did look like 11 players who had met, and then Oxford which was majestic. Martin Keown was sat behind us and he couldn’t believe we could be stuggling when we could play like that. I did tell him it wasn’t like that every week! For me the best thing about the Watford and Southend games was that we didn’t crumble when things weren’t going according to plan. Typically, when the Watford lad was sent off we conceded a goal and then rather than buggering it up we sorted it out. One point though, what did F.C. say to Lomas to keep him so calm? Don’t mellow him out too much Frankie! A mate of mine at work told me that Clark was a great manager but he lacked motivational skills so initially I was worried. Thankfully I was wrong, what has he done to Summerbee and Rösler? I’ve never been a boo boy at matches although I have slated Nicky in the past for lack of effort. He’s got ability but there can be no excuse for a lackadaisical approach. So we’re off to Maine Road for the Boro game tomorrow and let’s hope the form continues! We have to go up or win the Cup to keep Gio – or both. See you can never keep a Blue optimist down. Which reminds me, when I was a kid my father built me a sailing boat (he was good like that, I can change a plug!) which was called An Optimist and it was of course sky blue; perhaps that was the first reason to be a Blue.

Finally, my wife was at the England game on Wednesday at some work dinner and who should be the after dinner speaker – the ginger prick himself. She said he did the usual rubbish about Lilleshall in ’66. How can the man have the cheek to go out in public? If I’d been there I’d have had to leave. Let’s hope he stays out of football, surely everyone now knows he’s a loser.

P.S. Did any Blues go to the Brighton game? Good to see a good turnout. Football needs this type of chairmen like we need the ginger whinger!

Jim Parsons – Jimcfc – (


Total disappointment and frustration just about sums up the result of the Boro game. Once more the team flattered to deceive, all pretence and no finish. Have we got too many in the team that lack the bottle for a big game?

Boro should have been there for the taking but no, City dominate the game without creating many chances. They paid Boro far too much respect and allowed them far too much room at the back without putting any pressure on them. I doubt if City had played for another 90 minutes they’d have scored; how can a ‘keeper be allowed to go through a game without having to make a save! When all is said and done, City weren’t good enough on the day and Boro took their chance, end of story.

Maybe things would have been different if Bob’s goal had stood (even from where I sat in upper FF I thought he was offside) and Festa had been sent off. However, they weren’t so any chance of glory is over for another season.

With this result we can wave goodbye to Kingladze, I honestly doubt there’s any way we can keep him at the Academy now. Even if he stays ’til the end of the season I doubt there’s any way we could keep him during the Summer! So we’re left with nothing to look forward to except another end of season relegation battle; play-offs, don’t make me laugh.

Thanks once more Blues for raising our hopes slightly and then smacking us in the face. I know we should be used to it but it’s still annoying!

Chesterfield, Wrexham and Pompey showed how it should be done!

Martin Ford (


I think the new stadium could work out well for the Blues if it is mangaed properly.

At the moment there has been a lot of talk how the real fans are being priced out of the game and how young kids who’ll become the fans of the future can’t afford to come. With a 60,000 capacity we could sell the tickets much cheaper and fill the stadium.

Also we could give free tickets to local school kids to encourage them to support us instead of the Rags. That is what Stockport County have been doing and we have been neglecting to do as someone mentioned in a previous MCIVTA.

A good example of how this has worked is ice hockey with Manchester Storm. Last season this so called minority sport was selling out the Nynex arena because the tickets were cheap.

As long as the retracting seats mean that there are no big gaps between the pitch and the fans, imagine what sort of atmosphere we could have with 60,000 fans. We could even let people sit where they want in certain areas and get a bit of the terrace atmosphere back.

Andy Davies (


I managed to get tickets for the ‘Boro game by queueing in the rain for three and a half hours this time and I used to have a membership card although I no longer do. If we win, the next round is almost certainly going to require a card so how can I get one? Do they last indefinitely/for the season or what? Without a membership scheme in operation how do they prevent ‘Boro fans getting tickets for other parts of the ground? Also, with regards to the ticket office, why can’t they open any earlier? They knew there would be a ridiculous queue so what’s wrong with opening at 9:00am instead? Or how about letting the fans wait inside the ground under a stand for a bit of shelter? This may well not be feasible but it would make sense if possible. Any answers would be appreciated and I’ll do my best on a match report for all those unlucky ones who couldn’t get in.

Thomas Bodey (


It’s really good to see the team getting their act together but something needs to be done about the ticket office, even if it is only to arrange a bloody canopy so people don’t get wet. I went on Monday to get tickets for the Boro game and it was nice to get a cup of coffee, but my sister-in-law went down on Wednesday, and waited nearly five hours, got soaking wet and no coffee. As to the Red Rags, it is nice to go in work and see their miserable faces, and a lot of happy Blue faces. BTW, does anyone know where I can get a copy of the Southend programme as my lad missed getting one.

Stephen Marks (


Now, I know that everyone’s still reeling from Saturday’s disappointment (19 winners of the Lottery, crazy!) but some of us have to come back to the real world and focus on work all too soon.

As my e-mail address betrays, I work at the BBC in Manchester and one of my colleagues, who is also my flatmate, is looking for people for a new show she’s working on called “Good Living with Jane Asher”.

What they are after is two teenagers who share a room but can’t stand the sight of their sibling’s posters etc. The cunning plan is that one would be a Blue and the other a Rag. Alternative suggestions are also appreciated such as Blur and Oasis fans etc. If your household is (a) in Manchester and (b) fits the bill then could you please get in touch with her.

Her name is Katie Brosnan and she can be contacted on 0161 244 3498 or else at

You’re all very kind. And I don’t care what Alan Hansen says, Uwe was not interfering with play. But let’s not mention Brightwell’s gentle persuasion of Ravanelli to introduce himself to the fine turf of the Academy.

Stay Blue kids! Mark Helsby (


Two blokes, one a City fan, one a Rag fan are sitting in the pub on a Saturday afternoon at 4.45pm. In comes a dog, walks up to the City fan and barks twice. “Oh no, City lost again” he says. “How do you know?” asks the Rag. “Well, when my dog comes in and barks twice I know City have lost.” The other bloke is a bit sceptical but on checking the teletext finds that City have indeed gone down.

The next week the same two blokes are sitting in the pub when the dog comes in and barks twice. “Oh no, City lost again!” On checking, another defeat this weekend. The Rag says “That’s a pretty amazing dog you have, what does he do when City win?” The City fan replies “I don’t know, I’ve only had him a year!”

Told to me by a Cornish Rag fan.

Sean Cable (


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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 #273