Newsletter #285

A very strange Easter indeed, no footie and due to the holidays, an almost complete lack of news. This issue has news of Buster and Buzzer, and something on our supposed interest in a South African called Linda! In addition, we have another night out at the Prestwich and Whitefield Branch, an Internet tour with Frannie, opinion on the Lomas transfer and a good Why Blue.

Sometime soon I’ll be taking a sudden holiday (wrong word surely?) and the guest editor will be Kieran Daly who’ll take over for 2 weeks. As soon as the big event happens (probably at the Bolton game!) I’ll mail everyone with Kieran’s address to whom articles should be sent.

Next game, Charlton Athletic away, Saturday 5th April 1997


It recently appeared on MCIVTA that Buster Phillips is likely to be parting company with the Blues at the end of the season. Buster is lodging with relatives of mine and I can reveal that firstly the reason for his lack of first team opportunities this season is partly due to a bout of glandular fever. The fever left him unable to train during pre-season and he has found it hard to regain full fitness. Secondly I can reveal that Buster recently went to see Frank Clark, concerned about his lack of first team action and asking to be listed for loan. Frank told him to be patient (he knew about his earlier illness) because he was definitely in his plans for next season. Incidentally big Frank tried to sign Phillips for Nottingham Forest but AB’s Exeter connections won the day.

Carl Jones


Nicky Summerbee has rejected City’s offer of a new four-year contract, and unless an improved one is made, will be free to negotiate himself a lucrative move abroad under the Bosman ruling during the summer. Spanish clubs Tenerife and Espanol are both watching the situation with interest.

Richard Edghill’s comeback from his cruciate ligament injury will not be until pre-season training starts in July. Although the damaged ligament has now healed, the knee is not yet strong enough for him to return before the end of the season.

Tommy Wright had an outstanding game for Northern Ireland in their goalless draw against Portugal in Belfast on Saturday. Kevin Horlock was suspended, and Jeff Whitley was not involved. Not such a good weekend for Kit Symons though, who was part of the Welsh team beaten by Belgium in their World Cup qualifier.

Transfer rumours: City are reported to be interested in Middlesbrough full back Neil Cox, who will be out of contract in the summer. Apparently Frank Clark tried to sign him for Forest last season. Spanish First Division club Celta Vigo are thought to be interested in Mikhail Kavelashvili, and will watch him in the reserves this week against Wrexham.

Finally, some pure speculation from Monday’s tabloids: City to swap Gio for Stan Collymore during the summer. Watch out for those low-flying pigs!

Paul Howarth (


City are still going to try to get Mischa Kavelashvili’s work permit renewed, despite the fact that even if he plays in City’s last 8 games of the season, he still won’t have played the required 75% of games to qualify for a work permit renewal. City will cite the managerial upheavals this season as being the reason why he hasn’t played, though he hasn’t been a regular under Frank Clark either so I doubt that this approach will succeed. City are also thought to be appealing over the rejection of the work permit application for Jason Van Blerk, which was rejected because he wouldn’t have been one of the top 5% wage earners at the club. It isn’t clear what grounds City might have for an appeal on this one.

City have denied as being “utter rubbish” the media speculation about the Blues swapping Gio Kinkladze with Liverpool’s Stan Collymore.

Contract talks with Nicky Summerbee are said to be “ongoing” rather than “deadlocked”.

The Mole


As there doesn’t seem to be much going on at the moment, I thought I’d let you know what little there is to tell about last night’s Prestwich and Whitefield meeting.

There should have been three players attending the meeting but at the last minute the Chairman, Don Price, was told they couldn’t make it. He was told they had an important reserve game and weren’t allowed to come to our club!

Anyway, Alan Hill and Alex “I’m a Blue now, honest” Stepney turned up, as promised. Right away I was impressed with Alan Hill, who turned out to be an honest, straight-talking kinda guy! He said he was so impressed with the turnout of our club (about 300 people on a Tuesday night) that when he saw how many people were in the room he got on the phone to some secretary and asked for some players to come down. About 45 minutes later, Kit Symons walks in! Bargain.

Alan Hill took most of the questions at first: he was asked what problems were immediately apparent upon his arrival at Maine Road. Talk about opening the floodgates! He said the first thing was dealing with the players’ confidence, which was zero. He cited Nicky Summerbee as an example. He knew he was a good player with Swindon and he was a good player when he first came to Maine Road, but his form had slipped and fans were getting on his back and things had steadily got worse. But the new regime tried to give confidence and belief to all the players (“that’s all we’ve done”) and let them play in their best positions. He said the players were playing with no formation and as individuals, whereas now they were playing as a team.

He also said they tried to make everyone at the club feel important, from the players to the laundry ladies. He couldn’t believe that there’s no gym at Maine Road; there’s no manager’s office at Maine Road either! After the game they had to go to Jimmy Frizzell’s office which turned out to be full of people drinking free drinks! Alan Hill cleared them all out and now there’s an office for the management to go and discuss the match afterwards. So they seem to have reorganised everything and the whole feel-good factor seems to have returned to Maine Road.

Alan Hill said they (i.e. Frank Clark, Richard Money and himself) all hoped to be there for the next 10 years so it sounds as though, at last there is some much-needed stability at the place.

Kit Symons was asked the usual questions: do you think we’ll go up (everyone acknowledged it’s technically possible if we win all our games, and Kit doesn’t see there’s any reason why we shouldn’t, but I think they all believe it’ll be next season, once we’ve strengthened the squad). Kit was also saying he’s playing better football now and he and the rest of the team are a lot happier with the new management team.

I was very impressed with the things Alan Hill was saying. He said he couldn’t believe the state of our youth policy and they intend to build on what little we have. They want to start playing under 11s, 12s and 13s and actually keep them so they are proud to play for City (i.e. not lured away to certain other clubs). He’s talking about investing in their future: new kits, coats, coaches. He also can’t believe the reserves are in the third division. That’s why the players couldn’t turn up for our meeting: they’re not allowed out 48 hours before a game. His whole attitude was positive and you truly believed that the things he was talking about could be achieved. He also said they were going to buy 4, 5 or 6 players (but wouldn’t say who).

So, it looks like the future’s … well, certainly a lot brighter than it has been. I personally don’t think we’ll go up this season and I don’t want us to go up until we’ve got a decent squad. Alan Hill reckons they’re going to have a strong squad with everyone fighting for their place, not just one or two decent players.

Bring on the Bolton!

Christine (


The only Buthelezi in South African soccer who is worth more than 5 quid is a Linda Buthelezi. He really is called Linda! He currently plays for Sundowns in the SA Premier league and is a firm member of the South African national squad. According to my local contacts, he is about 24 years old and a ball-winning midfielder. Nothing has appeared in the local press regarding any transfer but he has been over in UK recently for trials; Birmingham City were mentioned. If I find anything more concrete I’ll let you know.

John Bullivent (


Frank’s Wild Years

Frank Clark's record:	P 15, W  8, D  6, L 1, F 25, A 10, Pts 30/45
FC's (seasonally adj.)	P 40, W 21, D 16, L 3, F 67, A 27  Pts 79/120
Bolton's record:	P 40, W 24, D 12, L 4, F 86, A 48  Pts 84/120
Barnsley:		P 39, W 19, D 13, L 7, F 64, A 44  Pts 70/117
Wolves:			P 40, W 19, D  9, L12, F 57, A 43  Pts 66/120

Championship form. If we don’t go up this time, we will next season. Frank’s wild years are here, and the skies are blue!

Matt Varley (


It seems all the results over the Easter weekend couldn’t have been better for City if they had scripted them themselves. Now I believe if City can win the next 4 games they will slip into a Play off place. It’s a big ask. “A PLAY OFF PLACE?”; maybe this is what they need to get fired up.

Now it’s up to the team to perform. I need City in the Premiership, not much action from the Nationwide league on TV here!

Phil Taylor – Melbourne “Go Blues” (


I gave Frannie an internet tour and he really enjoyed the experience. Obviously, his mind was ticking over how it can be used to make money for the football club.

He was rather disappointed that the official site did not have the merchandising pages up and running.

I have shown him all of the City sites and I think he was quite amazed at the accuracy and depth of information that was available.

When I showed him a MCIVTA, he said it would be nice if I could get a list of all the subscribers in an effort to get them to join the Supporters’ Club. He also asked me to work out an incentive for them to join, like a magazine and Club tie pack etc. He also said that overseas members could be given a special deal when visiting Maine Road concerning match tickets. He didn’t really elaborate on this but gave me the brief to contact all the City fans on the net with this proposal. It might be a good idea to ask the fans what they would think was a fair “pack” for them to join the Supporters’ Club.

He thought that if a City fan in say Singapore joined a Supporters’ Club branch (Overseas branch or Internet branch) they would have a stronger bond with the club. This bond would be made stronger if they were to receive a City pack initially and then at regular intervals after that. Something like a “Senior Blues”.

I told him that Svenn’s site was one of the best football sites on the net, he agreed with this assessment after I gave him a tour of it followed by visits to various other football club sites.

He was very impressed with the email concept and thought that Blue View was funny. Francis had his son with him so I was reluctant to show him too many Blue View messages. Having said that, I think it is great and use it as my homepage.

I am presently working on the transcript of the second Francis Lee interview.

The weather has been fabulous in Jersey during his visit, and he and his family have had a smashing time.

Bob Young (


I guess many UK-based Blues will have caught Hugh McIlvanney’s three programmes over the Easter break re Stein, Shanks and Busby. A very well put together set of programmes (despite Mr Mac’s slightly self-important style of delivery), with many superb black and white footage of old matches, grounds and the cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. Subtitles would, however, have helped in some of the interviews, especially with Jimmy Johnstone!

An interesting fact came out of this – which could have changed the face of history as we know it; apparently City beat Celtic to sign Matt Busby by a mere 10 minutes. One wonders what might have happened to our out-of-town neighbours had this not happened, and Celtic had signed Busby first, especially given their near terminal state after the war. Oh well, so it goes.

Jeremy Poynton (


In true Manchester City style, they decide to bring back the membership scheme just for the Bolton game. Not for the 6th round of the FA Cup, but just for the Bolton game. I’ve been to every home game this season, I still have the stubs for them all. I’ve begged and pleaded with the booking staff to take pity on this Mancunian but alas their hands are tied. So, is there any kind-hearted Blue out there either has a ticket spare for me to buy, or if you haven’t yet bought a ticket, would get a ticket for me? I’ll do anything for that ticket, including singing Blue Moon outside Old Trafford next time they lose. Deal? You can email me at the address shown.

Heartbroken – Dave (


I am not in the best position to comment fully on the Lomas situation as my job means working the majority of Saturdays.

From what I have seen of Lomas this season (about 12 games) he does not seem to have progressed as far as was expected. I do believe that City could have got more money for him, but in the end £2 million looks reasonable. Lomas has taken a lot of criticism from the Blues’ fans but he always plays to win and never gave any less than 100%. Unfortunately, his disadvantages always come to the fore. His first touch was poor, passing pretty bad as well and even though he does manage to score now and again his shooting is awful.

The funny thing about him is that he has been targeted this season by Wimbledon, Coventry and West Ham, so he must have something that appeals in the top flight.

Keep the faith, John Bradley (


When I first heard about the transfer of Steve Lomas, I was pi**ed off.

Why should City sell a hard working, tough, True Blue midfielder who is only 23 years old? After all, isn’t this the type of player we need – especially if we want Gio to stay? Well, on the surface yes. But with the Bosman ruling all this has changed. I am still not certain if I understand the rules that apply here.

My understanding is that Steve’s contract was up at the end of next season. At the end of next season if he was out of contract, he could leave for nothing. This is where the face of football has changed dramatically. We have been used to this in some sports here in America. What do you do, re-sign the player at a lot of money to entice him to stay or deal him before you get nothing for him? It makes the art of management that much more difficult.

If this was the case. City had two choices, (1) Signing Lomas to a long-term contract, or (2) Transfer him and get something for him. If City are this organized, which is debateable given the last few years, they chose option 2.

A well thought out business decision? At least it now gives me a team to root for in the Priemiership for the next month or so. It will mean an extra 400,000 quid for City. Given that £2 million and other money, we can probably get a pretty good player to either replace Lomas or address other needs in the side – like a quality striker. I know attracting this type of player in the 1st Division is a problem but that is another story. I know it’s tough to see Lomie go because he was a real Blue. But nowadays footballers are like stocks – buy low, sell high and you can’t fall in love with your stocks. Given the feeling that we have about City and some of its players, I am sorry to compare some of our heroes with mere chattle but that’s where football is headed.

Frank Fariello – New York City Blue (


Despite what some have said, I think that selling Steve Lomas was the correct decision. Being a True Blue and putting in non-stop effort may win you popularity with the fans but who hasn’t groaned at misplaced passes, looked heavenward for divinely inspired patience after yet another shot way off target, or chewed their sleeves after a comedy mis-timed header? He deserves respect for the effort and loyalty he has displayed, but it can’t be a surprise that he isn’t to be part of the Clark-fuelled Blues revival.

Having said all that, why didn’t we sell him for £3 million to Wimbledon a few months earlier? Even before our new signings, Brown and Crooks could surely have covered the rôle.

One paper (the Guardian, I think) suggested that City needed the money so badly that they persuaded Steve to rethink having declined the move. I thought we had millions in the transfer pot? If we are desperate for cash, no new signings – and imagine who else will be off … can anyone shed any light on this?

Cheers Steve, for the effort and the MOTD hard-on goal-scoring celebration. And please don’t come back to haunt us, either by scoring a hatful when we next meet the Hammers or by being voted European Footballer of the Year and commanding a £10 million transfer fee to Milan 😉

Matt Varley (


Hailing from Gravesend in Kent (I now live in Bramhall, Cheshire), you would expect me to support someone like Arsenal, Spurs or even Gillingham! But no … despite the tried and tested efforts of my late father to support the Arse, I decided at the tender age of 10 in 1967 that City were for me. I thought Francis Lee and Colin Bell were the greatest (not a bad judge really for a woman!) so my late granny said “if you’re going to support two players you’d better support the whole team.” There have been times since then when, much as I loved the old dear, I could have cheerfully strangled her!

So my allegiance grew steadily. My best mate Julie was, and still is, a raging Spurs fan and even got me to wear a Spurs badge for ten minutes but she got it back having failed to convert me.

My first match was in the early 70s when Spurs played City at White Hart Lane – Julie’s dad took us. Even now I can’t remember the actual date (if someone can enlighten me I’d be grateful!). I remember Alan Oakes was the sub that day and was warming up in front of us. Our places were near the City fans as I remember seeing a girl from top to toe in blue and white. City won 3-2 and I was threatened with having to walk home if I said anything – they couldn’t stop me grinning though!

I joined the London Branch in 1976 just before the League Cup Final and have been a member ever since. I met my husband Colin in 1979 before a Spurs away match and we were married on 18 April 1981 (Wolves away – won 3-2!) the week after the FA Cup Semi Final at Villa Park – in fact I mentioned this to Paul Power at Bradford this season and he said he married three months after me and yes we are both still with our respective spouses! We lived for 11 years about 5 minutes away from Leyton Orient’s ground (great place!) and I often thought as I waited for a bus to take me to Walthamstow Central to meet my mate Maggie, “what the hell am I doing travelling 200-odd miles to see City when I’ve got a football team on my doorstep?” Needless to say, until I moved “up North” five years ago, I kept thinking that thought but never did anything about it!

The highlights of being a Blue – winning everything in sight when I first started supporting them, United getting relegated, 1976 of course, stuffing United 5-1, winning 10-1, getting promotion at Bradford in 1989, having the privilege of watching Gio Kinkladze and Trevor Francis in a blue shirt. I haven’t mentioned Franny and Colin Bell as they finished playing before I started to see City “live”.

Low points – continually getting beaten by that Red shower, having the fact that they are better than anyone on God’s Earth shoved down my throat whether I am “back home” or up here, relegation three times, perpetual changes in management personnel and the continual worry if we are going to hang on to our best players or not.

Having said that, City are a team for life, they get under your skin, in your blood and, more often than not, right up your nose but once a Blue always a Blue – I couldn’t see myself supporting anyone else ever. I suppose I’m like the song “I’m City till I die…”

Carol Darvill (


Slightly risque – blindfold the kids!

A Man Ure fan buys several pigs, hoping to breed them for ham, bacon, etc. After several weeks, he notices that none of the pigs are getting pregnant, and calls a vet for help. The vet tells him that he should try artificial insemination.

Poor old Rag doesn’t have the slightest idea what this means but, not wanting to display his ignorance, only asks the vet how he will know when the pigs are pregnant. The vet tells him that they will stop standing around and will, instead, lay down and wallow in the mud when they are pregnant.

The Man Ure fan hangs up and gives it some thought. He comes to the conclusion that artificial insemination means he has to impregnate the pigs. So, he loads the pigs into his truck, drives them out into the woods, has sex with them all, brings them back and goes to bed.

Next morning, he wakes and looks out at the pigs. Seeing that they are all still standing around, he concludes that the first try didn’t take, and loads them in the truck again. He drives them out to the woods, bangs each pig twice for good measure, brings them back and goes to bed.

Next morning, he wakes to find the pigs still just standing around. One more try, he tells himself, and proceeds to load them up and drive them out to the woods. He spends all day shagging the pigs and, upon returning home, falls listlessly into bed.

The next morning, he cannot even raise himself from the bed to look at the pigs. He asks his wife to look out and tell him if the pigs are laying in the mud. “No,” she says, “they’re all in the truck and one of them’s honking the horn.”

Ralph Sheppard, Palmerston North (get your atlases out for the lads) New Zealand (


I would like to go to the above match but can’t get hold of any tickets; if anyone has a couple spare or knows where I can get some, I would be very grateful, I am prepared to pay slightly over the odds for them as well!

James Talbot (


Full-time scores for Monday, March 31 1997

PORT VALE               2-1    TRANMERE ROVERS

Full-time scores for Saturday, March 29 1997

PORTSMOUTH              3-1    BRADFORD CITY
STOKE CITY              2-1    OLDHAM ATHLETIC

Full-time scores for Friday, March 28 1997


With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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 #285