Newsletter #274

A rather quiet week, with the good news being that we have tied a deal up for Tommy Wright, though not a straightforward one! We have a belated match report, news from the Platt Lane Correspondent, a nice little anti-Rag treatise from a Singapore newspaper, some opinion and another Why Blue (more needed please!).

I’m still fishing for match reports as they are still thin on the ground at home – perhaps if they won…! Let’s hope last weekend was a hiccup and that I actually get to see a goal at Maine Road!

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


I was unable to get this in before the previous issue but I thought I’d write it anyway. However, beforehand I’d like to say something about the ticket situation. Anyone who got there at 8 and queued for 5 hours must have been in the wrong queue. I agree that they should have done something with the ticket stubs from previous games but how? Do they have a steward there checking you’ve got 5 stubs or something? Anyway you’d just have people outside the ground after the previous games offering to buy stubs off you as there was before the possible Rags replay last year. It would stop any Boro fans buying tickets for other parts of the ground though. On that note how can an all-season-ticket-holding ground fail to sell out its allocation of tickets? Pretty poor I reckon.

The match itself. If Boro were worth a goal then we were worth two IMO. I was in line with both the goals and the penalty incident and I would have given none of them at the time. I thought Bob and Juninho were both miles offside and that Ravanelli just fell over in a pathetic dive. I also thought the Brown decision was very harsh until I saw it on TV. The Festa incident as well – what a cheating b*****d. It was well screened from the ref but he can’t book him. Surely it’s a sending off or nowt? How come Blake (and Wright?) got sent off when the other bloke dives but a genuine incident is missed?

Our Cup luck I suppose. Can City cite Festa after the game like you can in rugby, and do Boro have to take any notice even if we do? I also reckon Ravanelli should have been booked, even possibly sent off, for the amount of times he was complaining to the ref. For City, I thought Ingram looked the weak link in our defence but everyone else played pretty well, the break just wouldn’t come. There were few chances in the whole game and I thought Juninho was the best player on the pitch and always looked dangerous even if he tried to be pretty cheeky with quick throw ins etc.

I hope Stockport whip them on Wednesday because if they play like they did against City they’re there for the taking. Play like that in the Premiership and they’ll go down.

On an Alan Hansen note – was I the only person who thought he said ‘Justin Edinburgh deserved to win the game’? I rewound it a couple of times and I presume he said Middlesbrough but I’m not convinced.

The after match incidents. I thought some of it was sparked in the Platt Lane (sorry ‘Umbro’) end as there were some Boro fans in one of the boxes. When they started cheering after they scored, food and coins and stuff was thrown at them and it looked like getting quite ugly. The police didn’t move them of course as they were in the bloody box. I bet if they were in the stand they would have been ‘moved for their own safety’. Why do we have to sell boxes to them? Surely we didn’t need to? Afterwards as I was walking back up Claremont Road there was some glass throwing outside the Sherwood and a few twentysomething skinheads causing a bit of a rumpus. The police were in quickly (in very large numbers) with vans, men and mounted and then they trotted the horses up the street forcing everyone to walk quite smartly away from the incident. The vans also went whizzing off down Wilmslow Road shortly afterwards as well. I don’t see the point in the violence and I was walking back with a Boro fan and we were chatting to a City fan about the game fine (he thought we were both Boro) so why can’t everyone be like that? Then again it has to be sheer stupidity and you’re really just asking for it if you walk up the middle of Claremont Road in your Boro shirt and scarf chanting ‘Wemberly’ anyway. IMO that’s just as stupid as throwing glass at a police officer.

Anyway this is now ridiculously long so I’ll make the final points short. Why are we arsing around with the Wright deal? Let’s just sign him. What the hell did we want Bart-Williams for anyway? Will we ever buy a left back? Will we finally sell Dibble? Will we sell any of our unnecessary stikers? Did we just buy Kav to keep Gio happy and when the king goes will he go to? Cheers for reading all this if you managed it

Thomas Bodey (


GMR reports on Tuesday 18th February 1997 that Frank Clark has finally sorted out a permanent deal for Tommy Wright. Tommy will become a permanent City player after March 1st. Tommy will therefore miss the Bradford game. He will be needed at Forest as cover for the suspended Mark Crossley. The fee involved was believed to be in the region of £450,000.

For the time being Nigel Clough will remain at the City Ground on loan, though a permanent deal is expected when the recent problems at Forest are sorted out.

Tony Farrar – Salford Blue (


Wednesday 19th February: GMR reports that City’s attempt to make Dalian Atkinson a permanent signing may be made a possibility after today’s FIFA hearing. Atkinson has had contractual problems at his current Turkish club. Hopefully these problems may be sorted out at the FIFA hearing today. If so, then City are thought to be interested in signing Atkinson.

Tony Farrar – Salford Blue (


GMR reports that City must wait about 6 days before they will know the outcome over Dalian Atkinson. His Turkish club are witholding his registration papers. FIFA next meet in 6 days time and then hopefully this saga will be sorted out.

Tony Farrar – Salford Blue (


I was interested to read various comments about the queues for tickets for the Middlesbrough game. Being a season ticket holder I spent about half an hour in a queue approx. 50 yards long myself.

When City reached the final in 1955 (vs. Newcastle United) it was announced that Cup Final tickets would be on sale on Sunday morning at 10am. The Saturday before the queue stretched for nearly 2 miles (yes 2 miles!). It began outside Maine Road and went along Claremont Road to Heald Place, along Heald Place to Platt Lane, over Platt Lane to Yew Tree Road, along Yew Tree Road past where the training complex is now to Hart Road and along Hart Road to Wilbraham Road. I can vouch for the truth of this because I lived on Platt Lane and from our attic window I could see the queue snaking up Yew Tree Road.

Does anybody else actually remember queuing for tickets? Unfortunately we lost the game 3-1.

It was after this that City began issuing tokens in the match programme and so there has never been anything like it since.

In the last issue Ashley asked about an ex-Blue named George McDonald who is now a landlord. The only McDonald I can remember was the ex-Coventry full back and I think that he played for us under Bond.

P.S. I was proud of the lads last Saturday.

via Neale Hayward-Shott (


In response to your question in MCIVTA 273, there were skirmishes on Claremont Road. As I walked back to Wilmslow Road, there were several groups of lads hanging around the Yew Tree Road/Claremont Road junction, presumably waiting for the Middlesbrough fans to be released from the stadium, or for the coaches. The Police basically cleared Claremont through horse charges and some graceful use of vans. The last I saw, people were dispersing, although there was a determined looking group hanging around outside the Sherwood.

I didn’t see anything more serious than this, although it may well have gone on elsewhere.

Chris Poulson (


“When United they lose, united we win”

This is a snippet of an article written by a journalist with the above newspaper (clearence given):

Although many Singaporeans were disappointed that England lost to the Italians in the World Cup qualifying match, the rest of us were relieved that England did not win. In particular, it was a relief that Manchester United’s David Beckham did not score.

Had David Beckham scored, we would have been reminded constantly about his goal – in the office, canteen, coffee-shop and even church. The sad fact of life in Singapore is that there is no running away from United fans.

There seems to be one almost everywhere and they all seem to have one purpose in life: to depress others with the exploits of the Red Devils.

My friend Handsome (not his real name, surely) who is otherwise a nice chap, even went to the extent of borrowing from the late Liverpool manager Bill Shankly to irritate another friend Coma (definitely not his real name), who is a supporter of United’s bitter rivals, Manchester City.

“There are two good teams in Manchester,” said Handsome to Coma, “Manchester United and Manchester United reserves.”

Yet another friend, Murugiah, used to respond to “Muru”. But since United’s resurgence this decade, he has answered only to “MU”. Many schoolboys prefer to call themselves “Beckham”, “Cantona” and “Giggs” after United stars.

I have enough friends who are United fans to be constantly reminded of United’s recent success.

A few Sundays ago, my dentist neighbour flashed his Colgate smile and said: “My United won. So how did your Spurs fare?” Spurs just happened to be the team that United beat. Minutes later, he was in his apartment and playing loudly, on his CD set, “Glory, glory Man United”.

Whoever it was who spoke about neighbourly love did not have a Manchester United fan as a neighbour. Thankfully, the dentist is the only United fan in my block of nine appartments.

But The New Paper [a local tabloid] is not so lucky. Last Thursday, the tabloid carried a letter from 45 United fans who accused it of United-bashing. They took offence with TNP’s Feb 5 front cover which was a big letter U. Above the U was the word HEADS and at the bottom the word LOSE. It was an ingenious way of projecting United’s F.A. Cup loss to Wimbledon through a Marcus Gayle header.

The fans, of course, failed to see the lighter side of it. “The paper bashes Manchester United FC each time it loses a game,” the Manchester United supporters’ letter claimed.

And why shouldn’t TNP “bash” United when it loses? It is the club which is supposedly the “world’s greatest, best loved and supported club”, so winning is not news.

It is not news when a dog bites a man (unless the man is Alex Ferguson). But when a man bites a dog (quite likely Eric Cantona), it is news.

United losing is good news – if only because you will not have to hear it repeatedly from a United fan. In fact, some of us non-United fans are thinking of forming a club to celebrate such occasions. We’ll be calling ourselves Manchester-bashers United.

Note: square brackets are mine.

See, you are not free from the spoilt Rags (a.k.a. glory hunters) even when you are some 10,000 km away from the Swamp. At least some of us are sane enough to get this article printed.

Up the Blues, Nizam Idris (


After a fruitless search for a City screen-saver, I downloaded a smart little program from the Net which simply flicks through pictures in a subdirectory on your hard disk. Combine this with any of the City-piccies on the MCIVTA home page, and you have a fairly smart screen-saver.

The Website addresses are as follows:-

Screensaver prog:-

City piccies:-

Dan Ellingworth (


Just a quick note re MCFC membership cards:

When I got mine it came dated for season 94/95, then /97 added in biro; is this something anybody else has got? If it is a thing they are doing for lots of people then I can’t believe that they can’t/couldn’t afford to get some up to date cards printed! It doesn’t build up confidence in the financial standing of the club does it (pre-Boler investment)?

Stay true Blues, Sam Lowson (


FYI from Reuters World News Service…

Search for perfect pie hots up

LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuter) – British soccer fans have once again voted with their stomachs in a competition to find the nation’s tastiest pre-match pie.

The contest, supported by Total Football magazine, has attracted more than 1,000 nominations with five clubs — Walsall, Kilmarnock, Hibernian, Blackpool and Newcastle United — making the final shortlist.

A variety of different fillings have been brought to the judges attention this year, notably Walsall’s spicy Balti pie, described as “one of a kind and fantastic on a cold Saturday afternoon.”

The steak pies at Kilmarnock and Hibernian have also received rave notices for their thick, tasty Scottish gravy, while Newcastle’s mince pies are threatening to land the club their first trophy under Kenny Dalglish.

Pastry texture, taste and value for money are among the qualities the judges will be examining later this month, but shape is also being taken into account.

The organisers, who claim the shortlist indicates a clear north-south divide in eating quality, insist the ideal pie should be a “manageable” size and possess a concave shape “so a portion of mushy pies or beans can fit nicely on top.”

Tim Edmondson (


These are the Man City-related ones which appeared in an article on the Derby mailing list:

“Let me get this straight – if Ron Saunders goes, so do I”
Peter Swales, Man City Chairman 1973. Saunders left the following year, Swales hung around for a further 22.

“We hope he will see this club through to the next century”
Peter Swales, on Peter Reid signing a 3-year contract in Feb ’93. By Sept ’93 he’d been sacked.

Tim Edmondson (


Martin Ford, Come on give the Blues a break. They were desperately unlucky to get beaten by Middlesbrough. There won’t be another relegation battle. Frank Clark has turned the team around and still has another £9 million or so to spend. Maybe the play-offs are a bit optimistic but next season we will be up there.

Thomas Rance (Ttrance@AOL.Com)


Saturday morning, USA time and we were sat around the TV waiting for the game to start. It never even crossed my mind City would lose. My daughter in her City top asking questions only 6-year-olds can, which are impossible to answer and come at a rate of 3 per minute.

After the game, silence, my wife knew something was wrong after Boro scored becanse it went so quiet. She said afterwards at least our guests didn’t slash the leather sofa. If I’d have thought about it I would have.

What can I say… Stay Blue.

Tim Morgan (


Even better than the MS word spellcheck (MCIVTA 271, brain hotrod etc.) is the Anagram genius –

Rearranging the letters of ‘Manchester City’ gives:

  • Hey! trim accents.
  • My! the nicer cats.
  • I my erect snatch.
  • I am thy crescent.
  • My! Cheers! in tact.
  • Ya! Christ! cement.
  • Enact chemistry.
  • Tiny, erect chasm.
  • Cast in the mercy.

And many more if you have the time…

Jason (


I am a season ticket holder and was unable to get my seat because I was working away as I could not get in touch with the ticket office. A mate of mind tried to get us both a ticket on open sale but as he only had his lunch hour, no chance. How come Wembley can sell out in two hours? How do they cope? I think it’s about time City came into this century and started to use some modern technology. My friend did say that there was a sign over the ticket office giving instructions and gasp(!) a fax number, but again they assume you have time to go to the ground. Come on Frannie, get some phone lines installed or use a tele-sales company for big games. I suggest that when City get their web site on line the McVittee clan should bombard them with requests to get this sorted.

John Colburn (Woodford) (

As far as I know, there will be a facility to buy tickets via the WWW. This will actually be an email form which will be converted to a fax and then sent to the club. This means that people without a fax machine, but with access to the WWW will be able to use the fax line.



For information and in answer to Jim Parsons’ question: My son and I went to the Brighton (Fans United) match wearing our colours. I saw no other Blues there but plenty of other fans.

The turnout was good with all the Premier League represented and most of the 1st Division. Great turn outs by Charlton, Southampton, Palace, Wimbledon, Norwich and Portsmouth. If you see any pics of a City fan in 4-4-2 it’s my son.

Andy Birkin (


The only other McDonald, apart from the wonderful full-back/goalkeeper, Bobby, to play for the Blues, was: R. McDonald, 56-63. Five league appearances and one F.A. Cup. No goals (According to MCFC: A (n In) Complete Record.

Kevin Cummins (


Just a few lines to thank everyone who helped me out with where to go for “retro” shirts. I have at last found a shop who stock the blue home shirt with the round neck, short sleeves and badge in the centre of the chest. It was only £20.00 and was from the City Shop on the corner opposite the City Social Club at Maine Road. It is 100% cotton and has washed OK so far.

Tony – the tattooed retro donkey – Hulme (


I am a student at Salford University and as part of my ‘Research Methods in Contemporary History’ module I have to do a group project with a title ‘Manchester. Old and New’. Being a True Blue I have decided, as group chairman, to look at the historical and social impact of Football in Manchester. Unfortunately this means we have to have a look at Stretford FC as well. What we are going to do is look at the histories of both clubs from the working class roots of the 1880’s to the present day. What I need is some primary source accounts from people who were at important games, events etc. concerning City. I only started watching City in ’87 so my own testimony is a wee bit limited. If anyone can send me info on this or anything to do with the Blues’ history I would be grateful (oh and I suppose the same should be said about the other team).

Thanks for the support. Up the Blues. Down the Reds.

Tony Peachment (


I thought that Manchester City were the first profesional team, in 1924, to wear Umbro kits. Why then are they planning to stop this tradition? I thought that Umbro and Man City had a thing between them anyway?

Jon Cawsey (


First of all I am a 34 year old native New Yorker who has supported the Blues for almost 20 years now. How, you ask, did an American lad who had no connection at all with the city of Manchester come to support Man City? That is by far the most common question I get asked by fellow supporters whenever we meet – whether it be here in the USA or in England. I get over to see City once or even twice a year.

About 20 years ago football, or soccer, was extremely popular here in the USA. There was a team called the New York Cosmos who played before 75,000-80,000 people for big games. Oh by the way, a guy named Pele was in the team among other world-known stars.

Each week there was a TV show called Star Soccer. They showed 60 minutes worth of a top match from the English First Division. It was quite incredible and I never, ever, missed a week. I had to make a choice as to what team I should adopt as my own. Tough choice it was. Being the different sort of kid I was I didn’t want it to be a London side. No, that was too easy. I watched a lot of games. I was leaning towards Liverpool but I thought against it. After all, they were winning everything in sight at the time – much too easy. I can’t be a frontrunner and had to be different. There were two teams in Manchester I saw. I never cared for United – didn’t even know who they were. At that time City had some pretty good sides. I think the first year I became hooked was 1976-77. That was the year we cocked it up and finished second behind Liverpool. I can’t remember where they finished but it was below City. Another thing I liked about City were its kit. Those sky blue shirts really caught my eye. Also, at this time a guy named Dennis Tueart came over to play with the Cosmos. Dennis was one of the most popular players the Cosmos ever had. He ran his heart out, had guts and never stopped trying. New Yorkers love those types. I remember something Jimmy Conners said when asked about the main difference between the US Open and Wimbledon. He said “In NY they love you when you leave your guts on the court. At Wimbledon they make you go out there and clean em up.”

After knowing Dennis Tueart that was it. Manchester City it is. What a choice!

The next season it must have been, I wrote to the match programme at Maine Road searching for pen pals. I got a few responses. If I supported United that never would have happened because their minders don’t allow them sharp instruments like pens and pencils. Anyway, to this day I am still in touch with one of those people – Mick Thompson from Rochdale. We are about the same age and he is as Blue as they come. Whenever I come to England he lets me crash at his house in Rochdale. Although he lives over 3,000 miles away I consider him to be a very close friend.

We kept in touch for many years and I came to England for the first time in 1982 and saw City beat Stoke 1-0. David Cross scored and I stood in the Kippax. Still I wasn’t sure what it was all about until my next visit which was some years later. It was a glorious September afternoon and it was my first derby match. Well, we won 5-1 and the rest is history. That’s when I was really hooked.

Unfortunately, there have been more bad times than good. Sometimes it is quite convenient to be a City fan from 3,000 miles away. But I couldn’t have picked a more interesting team to support and that’s why I am Blue until I die.

Any Blues that want to get in touch, feel free to email me – especially Blues in the USA or Canada.

Frank Fariello (


Full-time scores and scorers for Saturday, February 15 1997

BOLTON WANDERERS        2-2    SHEFFIELD UNITED          17,922
Paatelainen (4)                Fjortoft (7)
Fairclough (20)                Katchouro (55)
CHARLTON ATHLETIC       2-2    BARNSLEY                   9,104
Nicholls (1)                   Hendrie (48, 90)
Lee (88)
GRIMSBY TOWN            2-2    HUDDERSFIELD TOWN          6,197
Widdrington (5)                Stewart (44)
Lester (57)                    Edwards (48)
NORWICH CITY            2-4    WEST BROMWICH ALBION      14,845
Sutch (65)                     Peschisolido (9, 56, 68)
Adams (pen 78)                 Sneekes (49)
OXFORD UNITED           3-1    OLDHAM ATHLETIC            6,868
Graham (og 34)                 Graham (72)
Purse (42)
Jemson (89)
PORT VALE               2-2    IPSWICH TOWN               6,115
Mills (40)                     Mason (9)
Porter (pen 43)                Stockwell (69)
SOUTHEND UNITED         2-1    STOKE CITY                 4,625
Thomson (34)                   Harris (og 70)
Rammell (89)
                               Tuttle (17)
                               Veart (72)
                               Dyer (73)

Up to and including Saturday, February 15 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers        33     18   11    4     69    44        65
Barnsley                31     15   10    6     53    37        55
Wolverhampton Wanderers 32     16    7    8     44    31        55
Sheffield United        32     14    9    9     54    38        51
Crystal Palace          31     13   10    8     59    33        49
Norwich City            32     14    7   11     46    48        49
Stoke City              31     13    7   11     40    43        46
Ipswich Town            32     11   12    9     45    41        45
Portsmouth              32     13    6   13     38    37        45
Port Vale               33     10   14    9     40    38        44
Oxford United           32     12    7   13     45    41        43
Queens Park Rangers     32     11   10   11     44    45        43
Tranmere Rovers         31     12    7   12     43    42        43
Swindon Town            32     12    6   14     45    42        42
West Bromwich Albion    33      9   14   10     54    58        41
Huddersfield Town       33     10   11   12     39    46        41
Charlton Athletic       31     11    6   14     35    43        39
Reading                 31      9   10   12     40    48        37
Birmingham City         29      9   10   10     32    33        37
Manchester City         30     10    5   15     36    43        35
Southend United         32      7   11   14     30    56        32
Grimsby Town            31      7   10   14     40    55        31
Bradford City           32      7   10   15     30    49        31
Oldham Athletic         30      6   10   14     31    41        28

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions: Stephen –
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 #274