Newsletter #297

Due to the momentous – and perhaps unexpected – news which broke over the weekend, I’ve decided to send this issue out tonight (Sunday evening) as it seemed the sensible thing to do. It’s already quite full, hopefully giving a flavour of the story as it turned from rumour into reality, and getting the bigger picture out there a little quicker! Please remember that the ‘News’ section is put together chronologically and not in order of interest!

In addition to the Gio story, there’s also more rumour on further transfers – Lee has stated that there is money avaliable for a further 3 or 4 quality signings. Also, I keep getting a rumour of an impending change in sponsorship though nothing concrete as yet. The result of the Player of the Month is in, and opinion on the club and purchases (past and present).

The next issue of MCIVTA (298) will be back to normal i.e. Thursday. I guess there might be a bit of opinion to be read! There’ll also be information on how to order the MCIVTA T-shirt!

Next game, to be announced.


Gio Kinkladze and his advisors will meet with Francis Lee this week to sort out his future, according to a report in the Daily Star. It says that a number of clubs that have been tracking his progress may have been put off by the ease with which he has been man-marked at both club and international level this season. An unnamed “City source” was quoted as saying: “Georgi frankly doesn’t know what to do. He knows how much the fans want him to stay. It could all come down to who Frank Clark signs, whether Georgi sees the ambition in the club and the quality of new players coming in.”

Frank Clark is apparently away for the week, looking at possible transfer targets. It’s reported that he was at the Kilmarnock vs. Aberdeen match at the weekend, watching Aberdeen’s Stephen Glass, a current Scottish U21 full back. City have also been linked with St. Mirren’s 22-year-old full back, Martin Baker. Nicky Summerbee is still being linked with a move to Cannes, though it’s thought likely that he’ll agree to a new contract with City.

Paul Howarth (


It’s a bit of a surprise that Neil McNab has departed from his job. The youth team have performed well at League level in the past three years, but success in the Youth Cup and Lancashire Youth Cup has passed us by.

The MuEN had a piece in on Friday which contradicted itself on a few points. The theme of the article was that City owed some sort of debt of gratitude to the team that produced such footballing luminaries as Steve Lomas, This is the same team which let assorted young players such as Giggs, Butt, Thornley and others pass through the junior ranks “without anyone on the management side knowing they were with us.” Yes, that’s a direct quote – surely it’s more than a minor part of the job to tell the manager of the day about any talented youngsters.

The other crime of the youth side at Maine Road has been to develop players to a level where they have been sold off for peanuts or less. This is a problem going back many years – Earl Barrett and Paul Warhurst were among the first; Ashley Ward, Neil Lennon and Gerry Taggart also come to mind and there are a stream of others. Skilled players such as Paul Simpson and Michael Hughes were encouraged to leave for low transfer fees. City’s youth team coaches have never realised the full potential of many youngsters and other clubs have taken full advantage.

For years City have produced young players with a notable lack of ability to pass a football more than three yards; Ian Brightwell shows that this is a problem more than ten years old. Read back through recent MCIVTAs and read the comments about Jeff Whitley’s distribution to see that the problem still persists.

Steve Lomas was one player mentioned as evidence of the success of the youth scheme at Maine Road. I saw Lomas for the first time in a Youth Cup game at Preston about 7 years ago. He was outstanding as a midfield player who could break forward and support the forwards. He was the “next Colin Bell” – an unfortunate comparison in view of the subject at hand!

What had he been turned into by the time he left? He looked like a collection af spare arms of legs connected to an inexhaustible motor, lacking passing ability, with a first touch like a mule and totally devoid of vision. Had he been brought up at another club he might have been a good player.

With regard to Colin Bell – he was a magnificent player whose career was cut short by that awful tackle by Martin Buchan. However, playing skills do not necessarily translate into coaching skills and judgement has been made by someone closer to the problem than we are.

One final thought on the youth development side; why can clubs in London produce numerous young black players (Wimbledon, Palace and Charlton come to mind and Arsenal have done it in the past) when Maine Road is in the middle of Moss Side and the last home produced black players I can recall are Adie Mike, Alex Williams, Roger Palmer and Earl Barrett. Jeff Whitley doesn’t count as he is Irish or Zambian (at least).

Roger Haigh (


Gio Kinkladze today spelled out his terms to stay at Man City – one million pounds for one year. And the Georgian is also insisting on 20% of any transfer fee if the Blues sell him during the next twelve months. Kinkladze was locked in talks today with Franny Lee who has pledged to keep him at Maine Road. Lee said that he was “highly optimistic” that Gio would be in Frank Clark’s team next season and wants the Georgian to accept a three-year deal.

But Gio’s closest friend and advisor insisted today that City’s one true world class player is reluctant to commit himself to the Blues for anything more than one season. Says Turkish born Roberto Ferraro: “Gio loves Man City and the supporters, and for that reason has decided to stay. He seems to have acquired four agents who are all trying to make money out of him and one has told him the club are willing to pay him £50,000 a week. But Gio won’t be asking for that much to stay. He intends to tell Franny that he will sign a one year deal for £20,000 a week. Gio doesn’t want a get out clause and is prepared to stay for the entire season. But if City do cash in on him, he wants 20% of any fee.”

Chris Hughes (


The Evening News tonight (Thursday) carried details of what are purportedly Gio Kinkladze’s terms for staying at City. The source is his friend Roberto Ferraro, so it’s difficult to judge whether the story is accurate or just hearsay. He says “Georgi loves Manchester City and the supporters, and for that reason he has decided to stay. Georgi seems to have acquired four agents who are all trying to make money out of him and one has told him that one club is willing to pay him £50,000 per week. But Georgi won’t be asking for that much to stay. He intends to tell Francis Lee that he will sign a new one-year contract at £20,000 a week. Georgi doesn’t want a get-out clause and is prepared to stay for the entire season. But if City do cash in on him, Georgi wants 20% of any transfer fee.”

I personally think it’s unlikely that City will agree to these terms. Gio currently has two years of his contract left to run and the one thing City cannot afford to let happen is for that contract to expire. That would mean that Gio could leave on a free transfer if he moved to any EC club. Thus I cannot see City agreeing to any new deal of less than two years, although one with a get-out clause after a year is plausible. Francis Lee is reported to want Kinkladze to agree a new three-year deal. So, there is still some way to go before a deal is likely to be struck, but it looks like Gio’s not got his heart set on leaving the Blues, which is surely a good sign.

Paul Howarth (


Francis Lee has dismissed as “utter rubbish” the claims made in various newspapers today (Thursday) regarding Gio Kinkladze’s terms for staying with the Blues. He went on to say that he is trying to secure a deal that will keep Gio at Maine Road until the year 2000.

The Mole


I stumbled onto this report from the paper Sporting Life:

Manchester City are confident of keeping brilliant Georgian midfielder Georgi Kinkladze at Maine Road despite failing to stage a promotion bid this season. City hope the 23-year-old international will stay to spearhead a promotion push back to the Premiership under manager Frank Clark next season, and are rumoured to be ready to make him the highest paid player in the club’s history.

Kinkladze, a £2 million buy from Dynamo Tbilisi in the summer of 1995, has two years of his present contract to run and City chairman Francis Lee said: “I’m very optimistic that Gio will stay with us. He’s very fond of Manchester City and the fans love him.” City fans recently voted Kinkladze the club’s player of the year for the second season running earlier this month. Maine Road fans have also enlisted the support of the Georgian Embassy in a bid to convince Kinkladze that he should stay with the club.

The City chairman has held intensive talks with Kinkladze today in a bid to keep the brilliant Georgian at Maine Road. Reports that Kinkladze’s advisors have demanded a £1 million contract for a year, with 20% of any fee if he is sold on, were rejected by Lee. He said: “That’s complete nonsense. We will be absolutely delighted to keep Gio at the club. He will get a year added to his present contract to take it up to the year 2000. He’s a smashing lad. He loves living in the area. He tells me he loves the club and his team-mates, and we are delighted about that.”

Tony the tattooed donkey Hulme (


News from Maine Road today that City are having talks with a “big-name Premiership striker” and are close to a deal. No idea who it could be, take your pick from Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, David Hirst, Dean Saunders etc.

Chris Giles (


Transfer-listed Peter Beagrie said in an interview today (Wednesday) that he wants to stay at Maine Road and fight for his place. He said “I have won one battle in recovering my fitness. Now I have got another battle on my hands to convince Frank Clark that I should be part of his first team plans next season. It is not going to be easy. He already seems to have made up his mind about me so what I need is the chance to change his opinion. I have always had a great belief in my own ability. I still think of myself as a Premiership player. If I could just get a run of games in the first team I am sure I could persuade the manager to remove my name from the transfer list.”

Regarding his battle to overcome injury, he added “I subjected myself to all the operations, all the setbacks, for one reason only, and that was to come back fully fit for Manchester City. I even turned down the chance to join Chelsea on loan because I wanted to remain at Maine Road and win back my first team place. It has been the fans that have kept me going. They have stopped me at the training ground and written to me to let me know that they are looking forward to seeing me fit again and playing for the first team. I was very upset when I was told that I had been transfer-listed.”

Paul Howarth (


In an article (16/5/97) headlined ‘Guy and Des – and then for Georgi’ the Sheffield Telegraph football correspondent Alan Biggs writes: “… after settling valued members of his existing squad, Pleat is narrowing down a choice of four targets for two positions. Both are attacking rôles and I understand Manchester City’s brilliant Georgian international Georgi Kinkladze is on the list.” He goes on to say: “I gather there has already been exploratory contact between the clubs as Pleat ponders whether £5 million rated Kinkladze, after two seasons in English football, has acquired the necessary discipline within team play to complement his extravagent talents. It is likely that Pleat sees Kinkladze running from deep, most probably from the right flank.”! Maybe this sort of thing is appearing in local rags (black and white ones!) up and down the country or perhaps it’s just old news. Does anyone really think that Gio would go to another English club?

Tom Rhodes (


Gio signs

Gio Kinkladze has become City’s highest paid player ever after signing a new three year deal. Francis Lee commented: “We had to show our fans that we can compete with the very best and can pay wages to match. It was inconceivable that we would let Gio go – he knows he was appreciated by the fans.”

Paul Howarth (


The history department at Lancaster University are raising money for the Innovation in Education course. We are having a raffle with the first prize being a lovely Manchester City shirt. The shirt being offered has been signed by the whole team as was at the end of the season…

Tickets are 50p and draw is May 30th.

Tickets from:

Dr. Marcus Merriman
History Department
Furness College
Lancaster University

Please enclose a SAE (Stamped Addressed Envelope) for the return tickets.

Sue Tattersall (


If anybody read my article in the last edition of MCIVTA they will know that I have called for a rational, long term approach to management at Maine Road. I’m distressed to find how little consideration is being given to this idea in dealing with Gio’s new contract.

If you did read my first article you will probably be beginning to get an idea of my overall views on club management (or lack of it). What is happening with Gio is ‘reactive’. A player asks for something and we the club react. What we need is proactive management. That is a management team who ask the question: how can we stop all the divisiveness that does with wages negotiations and high pay differentials in the club. We don’t need strong negotiators, what we need instead are creative forward planners.

In the absence of any real information on the Gio contract negotiations, people are talking about 1, 2 and even 3 year contracts. Millions are talked about like monopoly money and I have even read a very well-known ‘Blue View’ contributor call Gio a ‘bugger’ (light-heartedly it’s true).

One thing is for sure. In 20 years from now Gio will not be playing for City. Not only that but the future of the club, from one year to infinity, does not depend on Gio (in any way). Gio can not give us promotion on his own, or we would have gone up this year, and what about last season? Why, if it is so bloody vital to have Gio, did we get relegated in the first place?

If you want more evidence of this then ask yourself if any great (or even good) team of the past was a combination of one or two individuals or a product of the whole. That’s what the word “team” means. Liverpool sold Keegan and went on to win European glory. United (sorry but 4 championships in 5 years makes them a good team at least) won the championship last year without the services of their French philosopher in bovverboots. What’s important is the club, squad and players collectively.

I know it’s hard to accept this. In a dull, grey division on a dull, grey day in December the prospects of watching a dull, grey team is almost too much to take. With Gio playing there is always the prospect of something special. I do think that people who accept this short term bit of “blue” in an otherwise grey season are selling the whole club short.

We need a team. Gio is not a team on his own. I think that in our dealings with Gio (or rather his agent or agents) we should try to take into account the long term effect any deal will have on the team. In any great team the squad is what counts. In other words a sub or even a player not selected on a regular basis is still fulfilling an important rôle to the team as a whole. Francis Lee talks about ‘bricklayers’ and ‘hod carriers’; well no bricklayer can work without hod carriers. I’m not against paying people different rates for doing the same job but it has to be with a clear structure that is good for all.

My idea would be a basic pay, plus bonuses, scheme. Bonuses could include things like: club player of the year bonus, club player of the month bonus, bonus for every year at the club, bonus for being a current international, bonus for any national or international awards, bonus for being in the first team, bonus for consecutive matches played, home gate bonus, bonus for promotional work done etc.

It may sound complicated but it is not. Properly worked, such a system would give a top international player, in a successful first team, who is popular with the fans, a great deal of money. It would also be exactly the same system that the reserve team apprentices are on.

In other words players would have a clear idea of what they can achieve at the club if they stay ‘loyal’. Players know that they can achieve superstar status at the same club simply by working hard and being consistent. Gifted players would get more money than less gifted players. But it all comes from the same system and is the same for everyone.

New players being bought would have the same contract but there would have to be a clause for longevity of service. For example it could be assumed that they had been with City from 18 years of age, or it could be counted from their time at the club they are leaving. I don’t want to get too much into detail. I’m not in a position to be able to give accurate, well-informed ideas. I don’t run a football club. It is the principle that I want to discuss.

Without such a system we get the whole distasteful Gio business. A proper pay structure would require strong, clear management from the very top down. We may lose players who do not like the system but long term we would be in a much better position as a club. I am sure that if City were able to implement such a pay structure, within a very few years it would be commonplace throughout Britain.

To continue, people are individuals and they look out for their own interests. We do it in groups of self-interested people also. Gio’s interests are not the same as Buzzer’s, Franny’s or mine. Similarly the supporters’ interests as a whole are not quite the same as the directors’ or the players’ collective interests. When are we going to see a system at Maine Road that accepts this fact? Until we get such a system (starting with a clear pay structure) we will continue to get conflict between all self-interested parties.

It would be very easy for a cynic to think that the only real effect that we the fans had with our impassioned appeal to Gio to stay was to put his price up. What I am sure of is that if he does stay at City and on a very high salary, he had better perform consistently well next season, in a successful team what is more. If not, all us ‘loving’ fans are going to turn on him in a way that is inconceivable right now.

I don’t blame Gio in any of this. If the stories are true, he and his agents are only working within the system that they find. But if the club management allow Gio to milk present popularity for short term financial profit we will all be the losers in the very near future.

Patrick Smith (


Summerbee in action

The final player of the month award went to Nicky Summerbee again, with Kinky out of the first 3 for the first time (I think).

The result was:

1st Nicky Summerbee:  36%
2nd Uwe Rösler:       22%
3rd Eddie McGoldrick: 14%
    Others:           28%

This produced a final prediction table as follows:

Name			Pld.  Pts.
Paul Monaghan           9     42       (Av. 4.67)
Christine Haynes        6     37       (Av. 6.16)
Paul Howarth            8     28       (Av. 3.50)
R. O'Neill              6     26       (Av. 4.33)
Sean Cable              4     20       (Av. 5.00)
Tony Coatsworth         3     16       (Av. 5.33)
Gary Sowerby            3     16       (Av. 5.33)
Thomas Bubendorfer      3     15       (Av. 5.00)
Alan Fraser             3     13       (Av. 4.33)
Ashley Birch            4     10       (Av. 2.50)
Neil Chadwick           2      9       (Av. 4.50)
Paul Slinger            2      8       (Av. 4.00)
Thomas Bodey            2      8       (Av. 4.00)

So Paul Monaghan wins the City memorabilia and Christine Haynes gets second prize for the best average.

Ken Foster (


So the poor sod has a problem with the fans. It’s particulary nasty of us to expect a fair 90 minutes effort for the more than generous remuneration on offer. Clough is reputed to earn more in a month than a fan on average wages earns in a year. We’re entitled to see him looking as if he’s interested in playing when he’s wearing a City shirt.

Roger Haigh (


This article is also a little bit late but I want to say that I’m very glad that Gerard Wiekens signed for City. He is one of the best players in the second division in Holland. I saw him playing in Holland many times, because one of my favourite teams in Holland is Veendam. And I have to say he is very good. He can take City to the Premier League again. So Gerard we hope that you will have a great next year.

Martin Kampherbeek (


Can anyone think of a more worthy team to be relegated than Middlesbrough? It all shows that there more to running a club than throwing money at the job. However, I suppose it’s bad news for the licensees in the Clarence, Sherwood, Parkside etc. that the neanderthals from Teesside will be visiting us again next year. Another five relegations and Robbo will be able to sit at Alan Ball’s feet in the Managerial Hall of Fame.

Roger Haigh (


Glenn Hoddle’s team selection on Friday has taken this Red bias a bit too far. I get enough of it in the media (Mirror/Evening News/Pink), but to have the players that were selected on Friday in the team is a disgrace. The whole team selection seemed to have been made on the basis of who’s at the top of the league rather than choosing the best man for the job. The biggest worry is that the selection was not in fact blatantly-biased, influenced by the columns of no-mark journalists, such as Harry Harris, Paul McCarthy, Steve Millar, and other self-confessed Rags, but instead was just down to pure incompetence. The writing was on the wall when Hoddle inexplicably played two left-backs (Le Saux and Pearce) and two defensive midfielders (Ince and Batty) in the same team against Italy. This is not just a bitter Blue ranting on (not completely anyway), and the selections of Keown amd Walker also amaze me.

Gary Pallister is the player Dortmund (fourth in the German League by the way) targeted as the scum’s weak link, yet he is seen fit to play for his country. Butt’s only ability is fouling, Phil Neville’s main rôle at the Swamp is to keep the bench warm, Scholes’ only comparison to Cantona is that he probably eats as many burgers as him, and as for May, I know people with rickets who could run faster than him. There was rumour that Cole was a late call-up at a recent game, but this must be a joke (surely).

I have no doubt that Italy will comfortably win this group, not because they have noticeably better players than England, but because they pick the right people to do the right job. It is fortunate for Hoddle that Georgia do not have an out-and-out striker, and that Poland are a few players off the finished article. If the rumour that Hoddle selected these reserves for the Moaner to withdraw them, in order to create a public talking point, then he is gambling with England’s future for the sake of a personal argument with a certain disagreeable individual.

I really hope that Hoddle (and Gorman) correct these errors of judgement and continue the successful trend that Terry Venables had created. However, for me and many others, the writing is already on the wall.

James Roberts (


It is the end of the season there appears to be lots of activity at Maine Road, some of which has led to some discussions of the problems at City. I feel a little uneasy making any comment, having lived so far away for so long, but

I did go to see City versus Charlton in April and sat right behind the City dug-out. I hope beyond hope that they were having an off day. What I saw was about the worst City team I have ever seen (and I include the early 1960s in this). I don’t say this with any satisfaction but with a great deal of sadness. Clark will have to perform major surgery to get this team back up next year and I am glad he is taking some steps. Again these comments are based on one game but in that game I saw Gio and nine other out players who didn’t have much of a clue. I’d be delighted if Gio stays but it will take more than him to get us back. I like Rösler but he appears to have lost a step or two.

I think this saddens me more because I don’t just want City to get back into the Premier… I want them to storm back into the Premier like Bolton (or dare I say it like the Rags of the mid-70s) so that there is some hope for long-term survival.

I was sorry to read about Bell but I suppose, as someone said, we can’t have it both ways… wanting Clark to make radical changes and not being happy with the changes when they are made. But I am reminded of the way Bert Trautmann was treated by the club when he retired and it seems City have an inept PR side to their organization.

Tonight Aston Villa play the San Jose Clash; well it is better than nothing. Surely Villa must have an ex-City player… every other team seems to have.

Keep the news coming over the summer; at least we can look forward to a couple of games against Reidy next year.

John Pearson (


Just a thought, but haven’t we had the worst two years in our history since Gio turned up? Or maybe it was something to do with the other diminutive aquisition we made at the beginning of last season who is now no longer with us? Thank God.

Thomas Rance (


I am a new subscriber to MCVITA which is already changing my life for the better. I have recently moved to the Washington, DC area and wondered if there are any other ex-pat Blues out here?

I’m originally from Prestwich, M/CR. Season ticket holder from ’73 to ’83. Tueart’s bicycle kick was the highpoint in ’76. Blue from birth. I left the UK in 1991 and look what happened since.

See you later, Jonathan Fink (


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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 #297