Newsletter #280

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A defeat at St Andrews means that we can almost certainly give up any hope of the play-offs. I’m sure the pros and cons of this will be discussed fairly heavily in the next few issues. Meanwhile City have signed Brannan and Wiekens, the latter will join us in Summer.

This issue has match reports, news, Barney Daniels’ career, a breakdown of the shareholders, and opinion, mainly concerning racism at games.

Next game, Grimsby Town away, Saturday 15th March 1997

MCIVTA – SPONSORSHIP

So far, we’ve managed to run MCIVTA as a totally free newsletter and this is how I intend it to stay. The only financial input – other than of the ‘own pocket’ variety has been the donations of about 70 MCIVTAers back in ’95 when I was faced with a large bill for the kit to set up at home.

At that time, we had a big discussion around what options were available to us and, by far and away the most popular was a one-off donation. However, several other football newsletters now have sponsors which enable them not only to run themselves without incurring a financial penalty, but to improve what’s on offer. I have, in the past, written to a couple of companies soliciting sponsorship but have drawn a blank.

So, is there any MCIVTAer out there who thinks that they might be able to get some sponsorship for us? In return for help (cash or email accounts?), the sponsor would get their name at the top of the newsletter – which currently reaches 1402 individuals – and the immense kudos, of course 8-)).

If anyone can help, please let me know. I would like to reassure everyone that there is absolutely no way that MCIVTA will be anything other than free; this is just an effort to lighten the burden on a few individuals and hopefully improve the newsletter.

Ashley

MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’

BIRMINGHAM CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 11th March 1997

Well this was my first away match under the new regime, and what a disappointment it proved to be. The highlight of the whole trip was a superb meal in some Beefeater restaurant before the game – everything went downhill from there.

Onto the game, and City started off kicking away from the reasonably large contingent of City fans. We wore the maroon away shirt – have we won in this yet? Anyone who liked the old Platt Lane would have loved the wooden benches we were sat on – I’ll never moan about uncomfortable tip up seats again.

The line up was:

                            Wright
Summerbee     Symons    Beesley     Brightwell        Ingram
            Lomas       McGoldrick        Horlock
                    Dickov          Rösler

The above line up was an attempt to put in some shape, though this was not really evident in the match. Beesley was replaced by Crooks after 7 minutes (ish), so Horlock went to the left back/wing back rôle, and Ingram went to centre half. When this happened I feared the worst, as Beesley was marking the giant Kevin Francis, a player which Birmingham’s entire game was built around.

The first chance was a Summerbee free kick that went hard, but unfortunately straight, at Ian Bennett in Brum’s goal. The whole of the first half was littered with untidy football – our defence seemed distant from the midfield, who never gave Rösler or Dickov a chance.

Tommy Wright (Wright, Wright) had very little to do other than to head a long ball clear. So at half time the general feeling was that both teams were crap, but we weren’t as crap…

The second half began as the first had progressed, yet more terrible passing, and a general lack of ideas. Oh, if only Gio was fit he could have been the difference. Anyway, Birmingham decided to have some pressure, which resulted in Ingram charging down a shot with some part of his arm. The crowd bayed for a penalty, but the ref said no. However, a minute later McGoldrick rather stupidly lunged in on someone – this time the ref had no hesitation. Furlong sent Wright the wrong way, and the little cheer from the Birmingham fans reminded us that we were not the only set of supporters there.

Rösler then put a shot over, and had a weak header saved. This was the total of our chances. Then the 6’7″ Kevin Francis was unmarked (!) for a corner, so all he had to do was tweak those neck muscles and 2-0. Game over. Kavaleshvili came on for Dickov and actually played alright, but in truth we were absolute bobbins. I thought performances like this went with that stupid high pitched ginger fool and the ex-Red winger, but no. Uncle Frank has a lot of work to do. Forget the play-offs, let’s just try to qualify for round 2 of the Coca Cola Cup.

I didn’t see any trouble from the hooligan element of the Brum fans, but the West Midlands Police saw fit to charge at one bloke who was arguing with a steward with four police horses. I just feel it is a good job they didn’t know that I am of Irish descent, or I probably would have been banged up for blowing up some pubs even though I am only 20.

Well, anyone who didn’t go really missed nothing. This one goes alongside Bolton and Swindon as the worst away performance I have seen. I’d like to give a man of the match – probably Heaney the unused sub.

Final score: Birmingham 2 City 0

Liam Hosie (mmmr5lph@man-scg-fs2.ac.uk)

MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’

BIRMINGHAM CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 11th March 1997

Setting off from sunny Manchester, I had high hopes that we could get back to playing some of the stylish football of February against a team whose morale couldn’t have been very high. Trevor Francis has been falling out with his players again, and despite a couple of wins recently, their form was not good. I also anticipated a bit of a “welcome” from the locals after the events of the game at Maine Road earlier in the season, but as it happened the visitors’ car park led straight to the turnstiles so there was no opportunity for an incident there.

I spent £1.50 on a programme and was amazed to find that it was the programme for the original fixture on New Year’s Day, with not even a small insert to carry updated information (like Coventry did for the Cup match last season, even though the rearranged game was only two weeks after the original date). Hence our manager was listed as Phil Neal and Darren Wassall was at the heart of our defence. It got worse. In the section on City, there was a picture of Nigel Clough captioned “Mark Thompson”. Who’s Mark Thompson? Another point of interest: our ticket office has its critics but at least they don’t stoop to making a £1.00 administration charge for selling away match tickets. Birmingham’s does.

City were unchanged from the side that beat Oldham, lining up thus:

                   Wright
Symons Brightwell Beesley
McGoldrick
Summerbee Lomas Horlock Ingram
R

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