Newsletter #275


Another good result at the weekend, though City’s failure to capitalise on a bagful of chances was a little disconcerting. This issue has a match report and match view, news of another bid for Lomie, and new season ticket prices (held at last year’s levels). There is some detailed background on Graeme Jones – a potential transfer target, negative publicity in the form of us charging for mascots, opinion and a Why Blue.

This one goes out to 1,345,

Next game, Bradford City away, Saturday 1st March 1997


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SWINDON TOWN, Saturday 22nd February 1997

Weather: cloudy, windy, dry.
Att: 27,262
Scorers: Horlock (16), Summerbee ? (66), Rösler (69).
Referee: M. Fletcher (Warley, W. Midlands).
Assistant Referees: B.D. Evans (Halesowen), D.R. Wood (Liverpool).


    Brightwell            Symons              Beesley
Summerbee        Lomas                       Horlock          Heaney
        Dickov (Greenacre 78)                    Rösler




Darras (Drysdale 73)   Seagraves    Culverhouse   Broomes
Robinson    Watson         Holcroft (sent off 33)     O'Sullivan
               Allison        Finney (Thorne 55)


Pre-amble …
A number of City old boys, playing for and managing Swindon, and a couple of ex-Swindon players now with City added some spice. Steve McMahon, who left City to manage Swindon in 1994, got a tremendous reception when he was introduced to the crowd. Earlier in 1994 of course, Nicky Summerbee had made the reverse trip. Mark Seagraves (spent 3 years with City after a £100,000 move from Liverpool in 1987) signed for Swindon last season from Bolton. Steve Finney never made it past City reserves but has carved a decent career for himself with Swindon. The last connection between the clubs was when City signed Kevin Hurlock for £1.5 million.

So to the match, I’m not very good at actual match reports, so this is more my impressions. My vantage point is in the upper Kippax block AA; my son and I have season tickets there and we love the view. Groans with the announcement of the teams … no Kinky. I was delighted with the defensive formation; even before the kick-off I felt confident that Swindon would have to be very good to break us down. Swindon, to my recollection, never had a direct shot at goal as it happens. The game was completely dominated by City, even before the sending off incident.

Under FC, City are getting more and more confident with passes played sensibly until a run is made and a more creative ball can be delivered. With Kinky missing, Rösler had a partner up front in Dickov, and they both worked very hard to create space for the midfield runners. With Heaney (his best game yet for the Blues) tormenting the Swindon right flank and Buzzer doing the same to their left, it was soon apparent that City were going to win the game with some ease.

The breakthrough, after 16 minutes, came when Lomas sent a cross to the far post where Heaney headed it back across goal for the unmarked Horlock to hook in his first goal for City (incidentally Horlock is still Swindon’s leading scorer with 8 goals). Horlock is going to be a good acquisition for us, he is sound on the left side of defence and makes tremendous runs to get into the opposition penalty area, something we have sadly missed since Flitcroft left.

Then came the sending-off incident. It started when (right in front of the dug-outs) the Swindon full-back tackled Dickov and they both went down in a heap. As Dickov got up, Peter Holcroft, the young Swindon central mid-field player had a rush of blood. Right under the nose of the referee he dropped Dickov with his elbow; bye, bye Mr. Holcroft. Commenting on the incident, Steve McMahon said: “The lad let himself down and he let the rest of the team down. It was the right decision and I have turned my back on it.” City were already comfortable and the incident just gave Ian Brightwell licence to attack as the spare man, and so the comfortable performance became totally dominant.

The second goal has been credited to Nicky Summerbee, I was right in line with it and it was a cross intended to bisect the gap between goalkeeper and defenders; it took a deflection of a defender’s heel and left Digby stranded (hence the question mark against his name in the ‘scorers’ above). However, if Buzzer can claim it so much the better. The move started with a ball out of defence to Rösler who shielded it well before slipping Summerbee the ball on the right side of the penalty area, and after a delightful shimmy came the cross/shot. The Rösler goal came after a sweeping City move, climaxed when Summerbee, in an identical position from where he had earlier scored, sent a sweet cross behind the Swindon defence for Rösler to power a header into the net. There were other chances to add to the tally, but easy 3 nil victories will do for me.

Overall, a convincing team performance in the absence of the maestro. A final word on Chris Greenacre making his début as a late substitute; he’s big and strong and looks a good prospect, he could even have made a dream start except for a very good save from Digby.

Final Score: 3-0

Keep the faith, Jack Millington (


Couldn’t really get into the spirit of this one, probably something to do with the boring arses behind and next to me who just told me to shut up every time I joined in a chant and to sit down even if everyone else around was standing up. Bring back a singing section or remove these tedious people to the Main Stand where they obviously belong.

The game itself was, despite a comfortable home victory, pretty uninspiring. Swindon never looked in it with 11 men, and when they went down to 10 it was all over. Their man was justifiably sent off for use of the arm (unlike Festa last week). For once a ref who handed out cards to the opposition, although I thought nearly all deserved it. Still, a few interesting decisions but not bad. Our formation must have been 3-5-2, either that or Horlock played out of position all game. He was wearing the number 3 shirt but I think he was playing midfield. It’s just as well Swindon didn’t have a right winger as Heaney would have been buggered. I thought Heaney was our worst player and I would have brought Brown on for him way before the end. The 3 man defence (as I shall presume it was) didn’t look too bad but they never really had any pressure to deal with. Only in injury time did Swindon have a shot.

Was this our first victory without Gio since he arrived? I have a feeling it was, but really Swindon were complete s***e. We must have been so incredibly unbelievably poor to lose to them before. Well taken goal by Rösler, slightly fortuitous one by Summerbee (possibly even an own goal and I thought he was trying to cross as he did for Rösler’s), Horlock’s looked a bit scrambled from a long way away, we hit the post and just dominated the game. A word about Greenacre who came on for his début. What confidence to try an overhead kick as your first strike on goal. He looks a bit like Gerald but more dynamic and speedy, could be good who knows?

This game basically confirms how crap the teams in this division are. Pompey at home should be interesting, two form teams meeting. Games in hand, play-offs possible but still unlikely.

Thomas Bodey (


I thought I’d chip in with a few ratings rather than a match report (no time):

Wright (6) He really did have absolutely nothing to do until the final minute when he almost contrived to fluff a corner. I can say with hand on heart that this was the least I’ve seen a City ‘keeper do in a long time.
Brightwell (7) I’m afraid that I consider Bob to be a big trier but not much else! he can’t pass and his usual strategy when in possession is to run 10 paces forward and punt the ball upfield. However, he effectively snuffed Allison out of the game, despite the fact that he is 2 feet taller. Bob is much happier playing in a flat back three, he looks much better than as a right or left back.
Symons (6) Again nothing to do as Bob had their only dangerous player.
Beesley (7) Looked very solid, despite collapsing twice under heavy challenges. Well-schooled in the Leeds safety first tactics of ridding the ball into the stands rather than risking a cock-up!
Summerbee (8) Looked great again; he scored a flukey goal, made another with a mazy penalty area run and looked to beat his man all the time.
Lomas (7) I was surprised to see him on the pitch, especially as the TVs in the Kippax didn’t have his name displayed.
Horlock (7) Never looked really dominant but he does make excellent runs, one of which resulted in the goal, a neat finish.
McGoldrick (8) My vote for Man-of-the-Match; he cajoled, shouted, sought possession and was the all-round midfied general. Best performance yet from him.
Heaney (7) Played well and frequently put in some dangerous crosses. He has the knack of arriving at the back post at the crucial moment; he hit the post when it seemed easier to score with exactly this sort of run.
Rösler (6) Didn’t look dangerous at all, but after he scored, his confidence seemed to return and he brought an excellent save from the goalie with a shot-cum-chip from the edge of the box.
Dickov (7) Ran his socks off, fended off defenders well but holds the ball up too long and just doesn’t look a natural goalscorer to me.
Greenacre (7) In contrast to Dickov, Chris looks like he will be a true striker; he tried an audacious bicycle kick as his first attempt, and brought a good save from the goalie after a nice run onto space and a sharp turn.

All in all, City always looked like they were going to win convincingly; however, they really should have had 5 or 6.



City are to ask the Football League to extend their season because of a fixture pile-up. City face having to play nine games in the last four weeks of the season due to international fixtures. Club secretary Bernard Halford said: “Short of extending the season, it’s difficult to see how all of these games can be fitted in.”

Paul Howarth (


City have announced the prices for 1997/98 season tickets purchased before 31st March 1997, and there is no increase over the prices charged for season tickets purchased at the same time last year. The prices which will apply after 31st March have not yet been disclosed.


Main Stand blocks B and C                 £280.00
Main Stand blocks B and C, Juniors/OAPs   £200.00
Main Stand block G, OAPs only              £95.00
Main Stand other blocks                   £260.00
Main Stand other blocks, Juniors/OAPs     £190.00
Kippax Stand upper tier                   £250.00
Kippax Stand upper tier, Juniors/OAPs     £175.00
Kippax Stand lower tier                   £200.00
Kippax Stand lower tier, Juniors/OAPs     £140.00
Umbro Stand                               £220.00
Umbro Stand, Juniors/OAPs                 £170.00
Family Stand                              £150.00
Family Stand, Juniors/OAPs                £100.00
North Stand                               £200.00
North Stand, Juniors/OAPs                 £145.00
Junior Blues (North Stand), Adult         £175.00
Junior Blues (North Stand), Junior        £115.00


The club have also announced a scheme to allow season ticket holders to have tickets for home cup ties sent to them automatically and be paid for by direct debit, one of the suggestions made in a recent MCIVTA. A one-time joining fee of £4.00 will be charged for this service. Whether there will be an option to decline tickets for certain matches if unable to attend has not been mentioned.

Paul Howarth (


In an article in the Swindon programme, Michael Brown stated that he had told Frank Clark that he did not want to leave City. Brown’s contract expires at the end of the season and he has been unable to reach agreement over a new one with the club since last Summer. “The manager is now going to talk to the chairman and hopefully the situation can be quickly resolved,” said Brown.

City’s away game at Tranmere Rovers, originally scheduled for 15th February but postponed because of City’s Cup tie against Middlesbrough, has now been rearranged for Tuesday 15th April, 7:45pm kick-off. Tickets for the original fixture (unreserved seats) are still valid and are now on open sale. The home game against Grimsby Town which was scheduled for 14th December 1996 has yet to be rearranged.

Paul Howarth (


The following appeared today (24/2/97) on Ceefax:-

The football league have rejected pleas from clubs to take the Nationwide season into extra-time.

Several are worried about fixture congestion with Manchester City unhappy that they will lose players to World Cup ties over the Easter programme.

Wrexham and Stockport are also worried after their great cup runs. “There is no question of the season extending beyond the scheduled final weekend of May 3/4 and all games will be played” said spokesman Chris Hull.

Well that just about cocks it up for us then! It’s nice to know that we are getting all the help we need from the Nationwide League.



Coventry have confirmed making an enquiry about City’s Steve Lomas, whose present contract runs out at the end of the season. He has already turned down a £3 million move to Wimbledon earlier in the season but, under the terms of the Bosman ruling, could move abroad on a free transfer during the Summer. City are thought to be ready to discuss a new contract with the Ulsterman.

City’s plea to extend the season due to fixture congestion (primarily due to forthcoming Northern Ireland fixtures against Portugal and Ukraine which would probably see Steve Lomas, Kevin Horlock, Tommy Wright and Jeff Whitley called up) has, not surprisingly, been rejected by the Nationwide League.

Paul Howarth (


The latest mailing carried a story linking Rangers with Gio Kinkladze. Don’t get too carried away with stories of this type. The Glasgow media are notorious for linking Rangers (and to a lesser extent Celtic) with every player they can think of. Two weeks ago the press were running with a story about Roberto Baggio coming to Glasgow, before that it was Jamie Redknapp. Who knows who will be in the frame next week; Del Piero, Alan Shearer?

John Lowe – Scottish correspondent (


Whatever happened to the specualtion about Graeme Jones joining from Wigan? Was it just speculation by GMR or was there any truth in it?

Graeme has certainly had a rapid rise in his career, as less than four years ago he was playing non-league.

At the turn of the decade he was playing in the Northern Counties East League for North Shields, under an enigma of a manager in Colin Richardson. Colin has just left Gateshead, and it is the first club he has been at where he was not an outstanding success.

North Shields were tearing up the Pyramid system, but not without cost. They won, and gained promotion to the Unibond League, and had to sell their Appleby Park ground for development, and the club agreed to groundshare with neighbours Whitley Bay. It soon became obvious that the club had been living well beyond their means and they couldn’t even raise the rent for the new ground. So what should have been their greatest season in starting in the Unibond, they folded. The club has now reformed but is playing at a level many rungs lower down the Pyramid.

Colin Richardson was then appointed manager of Bridlington Town, and he took with hm his backroom staff and the nucleus of the all-conquering North Shields side, Graeme included. They too were in the Northern Counties East League and began charging up the league. They won the prestigious FA Vase in 1993-4, and they looked odds on for promotion to the Unibond League. Their ground was not up to the standard required for the Unibond, and the council would not allow planning permission for the required improvements. Yet no doubt all the civic leaders were there at Wembley.

The only option was to groundshare, and the closest suitable ground was at Doncaster Rovers, 64 miles away. They went ahead, but the inevitable happened. As the travelling forced many to stay at home, gates dropped to less than 100. It was obvious that Doncaster officials were having a good look at the playing talent of their tenants, and it was the subject of not a little argument when Rovers were expressing keen interest in a couple of players. Nothing wrong with that, but Town’s officials were not happy with the approaches. Being tenants also made them feel obliging.

Needless to say the folly of a non-league side playing home games so far from the town began to tell and the club folded. The club I support (apart from City) is Durham City, and we picked up one of Bridlington’s players (Bryan Robson’s younger brother, Justin), and during a pre-season game at Bamber Bridge, also sat on the bench, looking for a game was one Graeme Jones. Needless to say, Durham didn’t sign him, he went off to sign for Doncaster instead.

After a season or so racking up the goals, Wigan paid a club record of (I think) £150,000 for him, and he’s still knocking in the goals.

Wigan are probably keen to cash in on him while he and the transfer market is hot. The reputed amount of £750,000 is an awful lot to a side like Wigan. They are probably loathe to sell him given the position they are in, but can’t afford to pass up an opportunity like this.

He has a lot of potential, but at current prices, the rumoured price tag is probably about right.

Martin Haworth (


This rather appealing result puts City above all the other 43 clubs in the top two divisions. Top of what, I hear you ask? According to TV show ‘Watchdog’ (20/2/97), charging supporters for the privilege of being a mascot.

The full charge includes tickets, kit and a chance to meet all your heroes. The idea is a bit similar to Disneyland where you can pay to dine with characters (in the past few months I could think of several contenders for Goofy, and FC could give Droopy a run for his money. Any more animated aliases?). Apparently 15 clubs demand a fee for this service.

Well, old Anne Robinson was giving Chelsea a right pasting about charging an apnoea stricken Canadian kid £110 for the right to promenade with Petrescu, and voyage with Vialli. She then moved her investigative insight onto Upton Park, where proud parents were forever blowing budgets (about £200).

There then followed a series of football results, using the charges as scores. The Rags, Scousers and other big clubs made no charge for this service. When it got to Maine Road, the price tag was £440! This was in excess of over a hundred pounds more than any other club. At last we are clear leaders in something. So, the next time you see the mascot come out, give him/her a big cheer. It will make him/her a lot happier, and the parents slightly less suicidal (assuming Anne has got her facts right).

Phil Clarke (


Readers might be interested in this site which was pointed out to me by an Anything but Utd football fan. I haven’t looked at it in detail yet but there’s a very good ‘evolution of a Man Utd fan’ cartoon which is worth getting a copy of to annoy work colleagues etc.

P.S. I still think the Temple in Oxford is OK – although I agree that it’s not the same since Eric the landlord left.

Steve Hinchliffe (


A final word on the trouble after the Boro game.

I’m sure this was to settle old scores arising from last season’s game at Maine Road. There was fighting at last season’s game, only then all the trouble started before the game, on Claremont Road outside the Sherwood.

Hopefully that’ll be the end of it all.

Martin Ford (


I want to add my bit to the recent articles about tickets for and violence after the Boro game.

I am sure you will all be relieved to know(!) I finally got a ticket for the Boro match last Saturday (and thank you very much to the nice chap who e-mailed me offering a ticket). But it was touch and go and it was only luck that I happened to know someone whose mate had a spare ticket … blah blah. But I think City were pathetic in the way they handled the situation, and I can’t believe they didn’t bring in the membership scheme in the first instance. Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge now … well, until the next time we have a biggish game.

I, too, witnessed dickheads after the match. I left after the whistle and legged it up Claremont Road as I could sense there was going to be trouble (the amount of screaming police vans charging up Wilmslow Road before the match had something to do with it!). I too, saw a hardcore bunch of lads outside the Sherwood Pub and heard one of them say “let’s tip it over.” I looked and realised they were talking about a car which was parked outside the pub; God knows if it belonged to a football fan or just some poor schmuck who had parked there inadvertently. So I quickly carried on and later, on the bus back into town, saw someone get punched in the face apparently just for walking past this tosser! Some friends of mine also walked into fights outside the ground as the police had sensibly let the Boro fans out and they ran smack bang into the City fans and started fighting! It’s pathetic. Boys will be boys.

Anyway, enough from me, only to say I thought we held our heads up on Saturday and certainly weren’t outplayed by Boro. In fact, I thought Boro were very average indeed and look forward to playing them next season when we can hopefully thrash them and watch them slide down Division 1. Bitter? Moi?

Bye for now.

P.S. I’ve just remembered a petty little thing I’d like to share with you. The other day, I saw this car in front had a crappy sticker on the back window. It was a cartoon drawing of Cantona and underneath was written “Eric says your too close.” Maybe we should write to Old Trafford offering the merchandising department grammar and spelling lessons, although it was so crap it probably wasn’t official, probably some Neanderthal Rag was trying to cash in on the money making machine that is MUFC (spit).

Christine Haynes (


Much as I appreciate that many people cannot get to the ground and need to be able to book tickets by fax/phone/www it does worry me slightly. Living within 5 minutes of the ground I go there to get my tickets and having had the experience that, at least for big occasions (so in this case games like vs. boro), loads of the tickets go by phone etc… while we stand there queuing, I am not sure how the club would run it judging by their usual incompetence. What would probably happen is that they would only open a couple of windows and have loads of people answering the other machines. If I was queuing and was told sorry we’ve sold all the tickets by these other means I would be, to put it mildly, a little p****d off. A similar experience happened to my friends who wanted Oasis tickets when they were at Maine Road.

Anyway, I’m sure that’s an unnecessary worry at the moment. Unlikely to be an more big games this season, much as I’d love us to get into the play-offs. Did anyone else see Watchdog last night? It’s not my standard viewing either but they mentioned City at the beginning and I wanted to know what it was about. Apparently we charge £450 for the little kiddy who is the mascot. What the bloody hell do they get for £450? Maybe a charge to cover the kit given to them and the tickets is just about acceptable (although many clubs seemed to charge nothing for it at all), but what else? Do they get a meal in the wonderful ‘silver suite’ or something? Why do they have to have all these things if all they want to do is run out onto the pitch with their football heroes? I think it’s an absolute disgrace and while I’m on this note, is the silver suite all that wonderful really? The way they go on about it it sounds like a virtual palace or something. I thought it was just some fancy restaurant.

Finally, I see that Villa have put Curcic up for sale. I say buy him and buy him quick if he’ll come. Not quite sure about the balance of the team and where he play just yet and maybe it’s a bit Keegan-esque but I don’t care. I reckon we should be able to get him for about £3.5 million if Villa want to sell him that badly or £4 million anyway. No problems with Kinky being man-marked then. I don’t reckon you can man-mark two players out of the game so the other sides would be buggered. Maybe this is a bit of a fantasy but I reckon we should at least try to buy him, and Suker, and Roberto Carlos… what a shame this isn’t really Championship Manager 2! Anyway Blue Army.

Thomas Bodey (


Nice to see City winning comfortably, but like the Southend game we should have got a few more goals. I don’t know how many shots at goal there were, but I’m sure we ought to have scored at least six. If we are to climb the table to a play-off position, we’d probably be competing with several other clubs for the place. We don’t want to find ourselves finishing seventh and just missing out on a place in the play-offs because we haven’t scored enough goals.

Was anybody else disappointed by Swindon? I expected a much tougher game than against Southend, with Swindon putting up a strong defence and some hard tackling, but there must have been a few Swindon supporters going home pleased that they only conceded three goals.

Nice to see that we can win without Kinkladze. Hope he’s back soon though – he’d have had a great time against the Swindon defence. Nicky Summerbee must wonder what’s going on when he hears the Kippax singing his name, it must be less than two months since everyone was slagging him off. The Swindon fans must have regretted selling him and Horlock!

Julian Griffiths (


Several MCIVTA contributors have whinged about the ticket office recently – here’s another! Late last week I realised I could do my duty as a doting parent and ensure my son got to see the Swindon game on his own. I should explain we are exiles in “Toon (Tyne) Armee” land so such a trip is not taken lightly as it involves him in a 3-hour train journey.

I tried to get through to the ticket office on Thursday afternoon/night – no luck. I finally contacted a human being (well almost) late on Friday morning after several unsuccessful attempts. I was half way through giving my credit card details etc. when I was told I would have to be there with son and card to collect the tickets. When I said this was impossible ‘cos I would be 180 miles away I was told “no deal” by the woman ticket supervisor from hell – straight out of that section in the customer service video which deals with “How not to deal with customers.”

In exasperation I rang the main office to protest and after some wrangling Duncan Thomas (the ticket office manager) sorted something for me. Thank you Duncan if you read this.

Surely in an age when you can conduct bank transactions on the Internet, order goods by credit card on the ‘phone, get cinema tickets by using an automated telephone attendant system we should be able to get football tickets from our club with less hassle than this. We’re supposed to be “the friendly club.” Are there any MCIVTA readers who could give the club some (free?) technical help? I was told about the club’s forthcoming presence on the Internet and it might be an idea for exiles such as me to be able to use an HTML form to register for some sort of membership scheme which might give us a fast track to tickets – if available. Is this too much to ask?

Bernard Paton (


Having installed himself as a favourite to land the manager of the month for Feb, Frank Clark seemed to have done miracles to the team. However, I still feel that his transfer market dealings have been less impressive than his on-field exploits. In fact, the Forest list mentioned that while he is good at building a good youth base, he had a rather poor record at the transfer market.

Horlock seems like a very good buy. But I am not sure of the intention of buying ‘old’ or ‘senior’ players like Dalian Atkinson, Chris Bart-Williams and even Tommy Wright. Given the fact that promotion is “almost” out of reach, we should build on a young side to fight for promotion next season and back this same team to challenge for a respectable finish in the Premiership the season after and perhaps some trophies and even Europe the season after that. By that time, these young players should be mature enough but not too old. Also, that’s what we call “buying for the future”.

We should look at Gianluigi Bufon, the reserve goalkeeper for Parma who is only 18 going on 19 this year. He performed miracles in the match against Juventus earlier this year and I have the privilege of witnessing this ‘live’ on TV. Parma went on to win the match (can’t remember the score).

As for strikers, we should have a look at Chesterfield’s 20 year-old striker, Kevin Davies. He scored a hat-trick against Bolton in the FAC4 round and the goals were of high quality.

Apart from these players, we should also play more of our young-uns like Buster Phillips, Crooks, Brown, Whitley and perhaps Kavelashvili. We also have other promising youngsters like Scott Thomas, Aled Rowlands, Chris Beech, John Foster and Richard Edghill. When else is a good time to give these players the experience they need? They are not getting any younger.

I also feel that we are buying too many players. We have so many strikers that even Kavelashvili could not find a place on the bench. Why not sell some older ones, like Rösler, while he is still worth some money. While you are at it, sell Dibble, Creaney (either him or Dickov) and Clough too.

Yes, we may be still on the run for a play-off place (while also fighting against relegation) but I feel it is not worth wasting the windfall we currently have (circa £10 million) on stop-gap players.

The win against Swindon is a very good one. Looking ahead, we have very few tough away games left – perhaps Norwich and Birmingham. The other away matches are against Bradford, Grimsby, Ipswich, Charlton and WBA. The tough matches are at home to Bolton, Stoke, QPR and Portsmouth. If we can continue our present good form, we should have no problem avoiding relegation. By the end of March we will be able to assess our promotion chances. Then maybe we should play more of our young players. Meanwhile, please do not waste whatever money we now have. They don’t come easy.

Nizam M Idris (



Give them a break…

That’s exactly what I’m going to do; my season ticket is being used by someone else for the Swindon game.

I’ve just about had enough of the Blues, they flatter to deceive. I’m sick and tired of supporting a team with nothing to play for and it’s no fun anymore. It’s just got to me, this could have been the year when we could have got some reward at last; we shouldn’t have been afraid of anyone left on the Cup, but no they fall to the sucker punch against Boro. Boro are crap, but City couldn’t capitalise on that.

As for your points:

Unlucky to get beat? We never even looked like scoring; did their ‘keeper even make one save? Maybe it’s a blessing we got beat, ‘cos I suspect we would have got humiliated at the Riverside in the replay.

Relegation: hopefully not, but people said that last season.

FC – Yes he has turned the team around, but are they only capable of beating sub-standard first division teams? The rest of the season will prove this one way or another. Let’s face it the real turn-around has been Gio’s re-positioning into a more attacking rôle.

£9 Million to spend, but on who? Beesley, Heaney, Jason Van Blerk, and linked with Graeme Jones, I must say they are real world class player! The problem is, who will want to join a second rate team? It’s all very well having the money but we need to be able to offer the players something in return, besides the mercenary money grabbers, any decent player will go elsewhere.

Promotion/Playoffs – If we don’t go up next season it could take years to get through. Gio will more than likely leave at the end of the season; will we get anyone with the slightest bit of imagination to replace him?

I’m just totally frustrated and fed-up; maybe a little cooling off period will bring back my feelings for the club.

Martin Ford (


In response to Thomas Rance:

All I can say is that I admire his optimism. True, we never deserved to be beaten by Boro. But in reality they are a poor side and were there for the taking. As usual, in the cup and in fact in life in general, City were done by bad luck, bad refs (i.e. not sending off the dirty git Festa) and a few momentary laspses by our very dodgy defence. However, to suggest that we will be up there next season is a bit premature. If Kinkladze goes, which unfortunately he surely will, then City will become a mediocore team. As we rely on confidence so much, unless we have a winning start to next season we have no chance. However, as I am a City fan, I will be optimistic and say that we will get promoted this season.

Yours hopefully, Mike Edwards (


I saw the game live from 4,000 miles away.
The boys did me proud, what more can I say?
Out of the limelight, but not in the dark.
Our future will get better under Frank Clark.

A goal disallowed, I keep shaking my head.
Coming into the final half hour, we should have led.
Yet it was not to be, we’re not in the last eight.
Now on the league, we have to concentrate.

It takes an abundance of patience to keep with the Blues.
But we keep coming back, win draw or lose.
We’ll be back in the Premiership in a couple of seasons,
How do I know this? Well, I have my reasons.

We’ll support our boys, and they’ll do us proud.
Cheering the team and singing out loud.
They’ll win their next games, and we’ll give them a hand,
‘Cause we are the greatest supporters in all the land.

Cheers from the States, Benjamin Bloom (


Re: the supporters’ survey in the latest City Magazine:

Q: What improvements would you like to be done at Maine Road?

How about constructing an Iraqi-style super gun and pointing it at the Stretford scum?

Love, Niall -the Blue- McDermott (LEC5NJM@WEST-01.NOVELL.LEEDS.AC.UK)


Are there any City fans living in the Bristol area? I know of 2 other than myself. If there are, e-mail me and we will have to try to meet up for a match or something.

Forever Blue, Ian Renard (


My son is an avid Man City fan. He collects the Corinthian football figures and is desperate for more Man City players. Does anyone out there have any or know of a source?

Tim Witham (


Andy Dibble was up for a charge of allegedly sexually manhandling a woman but the woman recently dropped the charges. When asked why she dropped the charges the woman is alleged to have said: “I saw Andy Dibble play against Oxford and his handling was so bad that I knew immediately that it was a case of mistaken identity.”

David -DeepBlue- Vicker from Durham (


My father was Blue – he wouldn’t eat bacon unless it was in a sandwich because it was red and white. My uncles and cousins were Blues. If you were called Talbot in Ashton under Lyne you were Blue. It was as simple as that!

My father took me most Saturdays in the fifties to watch the Blues. I probably saw all but a handful of games at Maine Road and a high proportion of away games between 1953 and the early seventies. Not much changes with City – my first recollections were of relegation. We quickly bounced back that time and put a squad together which got us to Wembley in 1955. City, down to 10 men after Jimmy Meadows was carried off in the nineteenth minute eventually went down 3:1 to Jackie Milburn’s Newcastle.

They were back at Wembley within twelve months, this time beating Birmingham 3:1. Those were the years of Don Revie, Roy Paul, Bert Trautmann, Bobby Johnson, Joe Hayes and Nobby Clarke. My most emotional recollection of that period is not of Bert Trautmann holding his neck as he collected his winner’s medal in 1956 but of Nobby Clarke being half carried, half dragged off the pitch, more like a black sack then a footballer in the previous year’s semi-final against Sunderland. Minutes earlier in a mudbath on a pitch, in pouring rain, Clarky had scored the only goal – Joe Hayes ran down the wing and hit it low into the penalty area. Clarky threw himself at it and headed into the bottom corner. His momentum slid him several yards through the mud. I can see now the look of pure joy on his face as he wiped the mud from his eyes and peered at the ball in the net.

By the mid fifties I was hooked. The late fifties was the Denis Law era. City busted the UK transfer record to buy him from Huddersfield paying £55,000 (funny that it had the same impact then as Newcastle buying Shearer for £15 million). Colin Barlow was also around at that time. The era ended when Denis went to Turin, City slid into Division 2. Things became as bad in the mid-sixties as now. I was there on the Saturday when only 8,600 turned up at Maine Road. Somebody got the message. George Poyser went, Joe Mercer and Big Mal came. The rest is, as they say, history. The league win in 1968 was the thrill. Yes, I was in tears at St. James’ Park as the final whistle went (the only time I have cried at a City match – though God knows some performances were that bad I should have cried). Typical City, they kept us at the edge winning eventually 4:3. The tannoy began to play Cliff Richard’s hit “Congratulations” within seconds of the final whistle. I cried for my dad, my uncles, my cousins and all the rest of our fans. The Newcastle fans were also singing, I’ve had a soft spot for Newcastle ever since.

The FA Cup, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup all followed. Perhaps it is clutching at straws but last time City were in the bottom 4 of the second division (you know what I mean) they won the Premier League within 3 seasons.

Two years ago, my father died. A few weeks earlier my daughter rang City and told them about him (he was just a fan like the rest of us, no more no less). I am not sure why she did it, I expected nothing. A couple of days later an autographed City shirt arrived together with a short letter from Brian Horton (this at a time when his job was daily on the line).

City is that type of club, with that type of fans.

Peter Talbot (


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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 #275