Newsletter #277

City coasted to yet another victory on Saturday and remain unbeaten in the League under FC, a truly remarkable turnaround. We’ve 3 match reports in this issue as well as welcome news that Tommy Wright will be coming to Maine Road despite last minute attempts to dissuade him (by that loyal man Dave Bassett). We’ve also got news of a new Dutch signing; I’ve had this since Saturday but it hasn’t broken in the UK press as yet. Noades is being threatened with legal action by City after his recent assertions in respect of Coppell’s resignation, though I’ll believe it when I see it as both Noades and Mike McDonald threatened action of various sorts for manager poaching which haven’t materialised.

This one goes out to 1,375.

Next game, Portsmouth at home, Wednesday 5th March 1997


BRADFORD CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday March 1st 1997

This was my first match of the year, and so also my first view of the Blues under Frank Clark. Because of this it was the first time in a few years that I have gone to an away match and not expected to see the lads lose.

The team was fairly similar to the one which lined up against Swindon, Margetson replacing Tommy Wright, who was off playing one last game for Nottingham Forest before he signs permanently. However, Eddie McGoldrick was swapped round with Ian Brightwell, so the formation was as follows:

                Symons          McGoldrick         Beesley
        Summerbee       Lomas           Horlock         Heaney
                        Rösler          Dickov

The match kicked off with a strong wind behind the Blues, and this wasn’t aided by the fact that the back of our stand was missing, so the wind was worse than it could have been. The team started brightly, Bradford not really having a kick for the first ten minutes, and they created a few good chances. Bradford then nearly scored on the breakaway, their number nine putting a header just past the post. Most of the rest of the first half was scrappy, City trying to knock balls over the back of the Bradford defence to use the wind, but it tended to end up as either long punts, or with the ball swirling aroung aimlessly about twenty feet up. Steve Lomas was particularly guilty of this. I don’t know how he manages to get valued at £3 million, surely you would think people would watch him first?

At the end of the first half I was quite happy, as the Blues were much more confident than they had been earlier in the season, and had never really looked like conceding a goal. Also, the wind had eased off a bit, and it looked like it might be easier for the teams to play good football.

Not long into the second half the match changed in City’s favour when Jonathon Gould, the ex-Coventry ‘keeper misjudged the bounce of a long punt out of the City defence, came out too far, and saw the ball bounce over him towards the open net. Dickov went past him to put the ball into the back of the net, and Gould decided that the safest course of action was to rugby tackle him. Result: penalty to City and Gould sent off.

After about five minutes Bradford decided that Marco Sas was the man to replace him (they had no sub. goalkeeper) and faced up to Uwe, who put it past him, though Sas did get a hand to it. Two minutes later and City got a second when a perfect corner from Eddie McGoldrick was met on the run by Horlock who buried it. The Blues eased off a bit but still looked threatening, and got a killer third, later, when Dickov casually crossed to Uwe who buried a header from ten yards.

Bradford kept trying and nearly got a consolation when Waddle (I think) rounded the ‘keeper and shot, only to find a defender clearing off the line. They finally did get a consolation when they were given a penalty. I couldn’t see it from the other end of the ground but the City lads didn’t object too much.

For me, one of the best features of the match came after the whistle when about half of the team came over to the City fans and applauded the fans, Eddie McGoldrick especially who looked proud to be in a City shirt. This was a reflection of the much better team spirit which appears to have been instilled in the players since Frank Clark’s arrival.

Final score: Bradford City 1 Manchester City 3

Sam Al-Hamdani (


BRADFORD CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday March 1st 1997

First away win since 1981!

I don’t get to many away matches but even so, failure to see the Blues win away since the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park in 1981 is a poor record. But with the team’s improved form since FC took over there were strong grounds for optimism for the trip to Bradford. This was quite a day out. The Osborne House Blues converged on the New Beehive on Westgate by various routes. There’s nothing “new” about this pub. It has a cinema-style frontage and inside lighting is by gas lamp. We got stuck into some of the 8 real ales on offer. The natives were friendly enough and we bumped into some Blues from Colwyn Bay. Despite the temptation to go through the whole beer list, we made it to the ground for the kick-off only to find some of our seats in the HSG stand were double-booked. The stand was really pokey with hardly any leg room (and I’m only 5ft 6in). Standing at the back was a better option. We lined up something like this:

             Symons  McGoldrick   Beesley
      Summerbee   Lomas       Horlock       Heaney
                  Rösler   Dickov

This was another different look to Frank’s team and it became clear that Brightwell was marking Waddle.

Conditions were very windy and this affected the opposition more than us. They could hardly string 2 passes together whereas we put together lots of little triangles without being especially threatening. Half-time arrived with the home fans very subdued and us wondering if we could convert possession into goals.

The Blues are very much a second-half side under FC. Four minutes after the restart and a long ball downfield from Beesley caught the home goalie out. The flight and bounce deceived him and as Dickov rounded the ‘keeper he was blatantly body-checked. Penalty and red card followed immediately with just token protest. There then followed a long delay while first Waddle offered to go in goal (presumably to get away from Brightwell) and after a touchline conference a sub defender appeared to face Uwe’s pen. There was also a spot of silly gamesmanship from their no.5 who dug a hole by the penalty spot! Uwe wasn’t fazed by any of this and rammed his shot down the middle. The new ‘keeper did get a hand to it – he hadn’t moved far – but Uwe’s shot was just too powerful.

City now knew this was their day and 2 minutes later Bradford struggled to clear for a corner. McGoldrick then picked out Horlock who did the business with a firm downward header. We were then all over Bradford (who hadn’t really coped with 11 men). Dickov was leading their defenders a merry dance and his turn and cross was meat and drink to Rösler. We’d been talking before the match how a side-on view, like the Kippax, isn’t always the best and from my position Uwe’s header came straight at me. I was ready to catch the ball! The timing of his jump and the sheer power of the header made this a Great Moment for me. OK, this was only 3-0 against a weakened side but this was a simple, clinical finish. I’m chuffed for Uwe. He has been misused by past managers – he’s never a target man – and suffered a bad slagging from fans and AB. Now with FC he’s come through all that and is scoring goals. I hope he stays a while.

After that we took it easy. The previous patient build-up gave way to far too many early long passes for Uwe which simply resulted in offsides. Bradford came back and missed a couple of easy chances before Beesley clumsily bundled over their Brazilian no.9 who put away the pen. After Bournemouth 3-3 a few seasons back I don’t take anything for granted but we were always in control.

Overall, this was dissection, rather than demolition, of an ordinary Bradford side. Picking a man of the match is very difficult as everyone played a part but I’d give it to Dickov for some great, unselfish running which their defenders couldn’t handle. Take away Waddle, as we did, and they have little to offer. Home fans took their medicine and comments from them on the way out were “not fit or strong enough.” It’s not so long ago that we were saying similar things about us. Frank will have enjoyed strumming his tunes on the way back.

We resumed festivities in the New Beehive and then went off for an excellent curry in the Karachi. A City win, a great pub with fine hospitality, and cheap, tasty grub. What more could a Blue want? My mates want both sides to stay put next season; you don’t get this sort of thing in many Premiership venues. Seriously though, this team is getting better and better and all credit to FC and his staff for turning things around.

Rob Simmons (


BRADFORD CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday March 1st 1997

A return to the scene of some happy memories of May ’89 – only this time there were more Blues there and City won! I was near the front of the stand behind the goals and was very glad indeed of my scarf as the strong wind at our backs was funnelled by the upper tier above us right down the back of our necks. With half of the new Midland Road stand also given over to City fans, there was plenty of support for the visitors as once again we attracted the home club’s biggest League attendance of the season (17,609 this time). A large number of Bradford fans were seriously sad – chanting “Ooh Aah Cantona”. Why?

City were without Kinkladze again (though he arrived on the team coach, wearing his track suit), and Brightwell was asked to do a man-to-man job on Chris Waddle with McGoldrick dropping back to sweeper. Tommy Wright was at White Hart Lane playing his last game for Forest, so City lined up as follows:

Symons McGoldrick Beesley
Summerbee Brightwell
Lomas Horlock Heaney