Newsletter #310

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Another transfer-less 3 days and people are beginning to worry! We are however, according to GMR, being linked with an Australian left winger who current plays in Serie B – anbody know anything? Other than that, the biggest news was that Fergie has agreed to put out a United team for the Paul Lake Testimonial sometime next season, and … he promised that it would be a full-strength team! This is excellent news for Lakey and for once, we have to congratulate Ferguson on doing the decent thing.

This issue also contains news that the MCIVTA T-shirts have been ordered, and Part II of Martin Beckett’s opus on ‘City in the City’ – Part III to follow on Thursday. There’s also opinion and another good Why Blue.

This one reaches 1,513.

Next game, Blackpool away, Wednesday 16th July 1997

NEWS – IMMEL RETIRES

Former City ‘keeper Eike Immel, 36, has retired due to a persistent hip problem.

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

NEWS – LEGEND LINKED WITH CITY

Unconfirmed reports suggest that City have this week made an enquiry for Leeds United’s Welsh international veteran Ian Rush. At 35 years old, Rush is no spring chicken, and after establishing a reputation as a legendary goalscorer with Liverpool, Rush had a stinker of a season at Leeds, albeit quite often out of position in midfield.

The striker’s wages would clearly be a major stumbling block if City were to step up their reported interest, but who’s to say that as a stop-gap measure, Rush wouldn’t score a hatful of goals in the first division next term alongside Uwe Rösler, and if Rush managed to get City back in the Premiership, you’ll hear no complaints at all from me.

IMS TeamTalk 09:00 4th July

Roger Lee (rlee@hemscott.co.uk)

NEWS – CITY TRACK RUSH

According to a report in todays Mirror (4/7/97), City are tracking Ian Rush. Rush wants to leave Leeds and George Graham will probably let him go. Why are we interested in a 35-year-old striker? How many goals did Rush score last season? Was it one or two? QPR have got Spencer and Sheron upfront for next season, and that scares the hell out of me. The prospect of Rösler and Rush will not scare anyone. We need to get a decent striker soon and Rush isn’t the man. How about trying to get Fjørtoft to leave Sheffield United? He scored the goals that took the Blades into the play-offs last season. He can’t do it at Premier League level, but he’d get us out of this s****y first division.

Charles Pollitt (cpollitt@fs1.scg.man.ac.uk)

NEWS – CITY TO MISS OUT ON ‘KEEPER

The Blues could be set to miss out on one of the most highly rated young goalkeepers in the country. Sixteen-year-old Cheshire schoolboy Tim Mullock was scheduled to go on trial at Maine Road this week, but has heard nothing from City, and is now being lined up by Sunderland and Port Vale, reportedly.

Isn’t this exactly what the new regime promised not to do? If the story is true, then at the best it’s purely bad manners and poor P.R. At the worst it could cost City hundreds of thousands, if not a million pounds, when a top class ‘keeper has to purchased five years hence!

They say that when a “customer” experiences bad service they tell eleven other people. So the case of Tim Mullock, City have just lost an entire team.

IMS TeamTalk 09:00 4th July

Yours ever hopeful – Roger Lee, Welwyn Garden City, Herts. (notify@dial.pipex.com)

KEEPER’S SHIRTS SIGHTED IN THE ARNDALE

Despite being dejected by the information being given out at the souvenir shop on July 1st, 8.30am. I write to advise that ‘keepers’ shirts are out there. I was told they, along with the long sleever, would not be on sale until the end of August. Driving down Deansgate in Friday’s rush hour however, I came close to causing a pile up, for there in the window of Tyldesley and Allbrooke (Cooke) was the vision:

Laser (!) lime green body; dark blue thick stripe with white Kappa logos down both arms flanked by white and grey stripes; dark blue collar and cuffs with single white stripe in the middle; dark blue, white and grey curved on inside of shoulder and back; ‘brother’ in blue; the Kappa logo and the new creation embroidered on either side of the chest – awesome!

It was half five, the shirt in the window was a small, the only other shirt in the basement was medium, their quota (one) of large shirts had been sold within half an hour of opening – I, needless to say, needed large. I tried the medium on, it fitted: well almost, if I was prepared to wear it doing my best penguin impression. Despite a bit of “blue reasoning” which went along the lines of never being too hot with crosses, I rationalised and left empty handed. It’s the same feeling I remembered from the 3-3 against Bournemouth, c. Mel Machin (at City) era.

Off home I trundled in the knowledge that T&A’s management did not anticipate a big demand and only ordered 3! Nowhere else were these kits on display (or so I thought). At weekend I played in a tournament over in Keele in the yellow shirt that has enjoyed a renaissance with Tommy Wright, Wright, Wright. But it wasn’t the same. We failed to qualify out of the league stage by one point, due to a deflection in the first game off the shoulder of my not new kit!

Forlorn, today I tried the City Store, the one with the same early release date, and as I understood it this morning, the same supply as the Academy store. Not so.

To my climactic (almost literally) delight, there she was. And so the love affair has begun. Available in small, medium and x-l, amongst a pride (the Clinton English dictionary defined pronoun for City ‘keeper shirts by the way) of ‘keeper tops. There were about 12 left. The badge is just not City’s badge, the Manchester crest or the proper round one; but we’ve got used to change and stupid decisions over the last 26 years and beyond haven’t we? Not everyone is perfect, but this marriage, designed in Italy, is now in full bloom.

Our first full appearance is expected at Andy and Yvonne’s wedding on Friday, accompanied by a suitable tie of course. After that we’ll be making our home début in our new position, on the right leg of the ‘H’ in the Kippax.

Top tip: Take care for rogue printing on the white stripe, especially near the shoulder. The assistants informs me this washes off; I’m not sure yet, and at fifty quid a throw I didn’t want to test the theory.

Ciao, Dave Clinton and shirt (dclinton@pine.shu.ac.uk)

MCIVTA T-SHIRTS

The T-Shirt order has now been placed. Delivery is promised this month, so I should be able to despatch all orders before the season starts. All sizes from small to XL will be available while stocks last.

I have worked on the principle that by the time the shirts are ready, I should have enough money to cover the production costs. So for the 1,400 plus who still need time to make up their minds it may be worth pondering on the fact that as our T-shirt is far cooler than the admittedly trendy new City top, it may be worth placing your order now, so you can wear it for the Portsmouth match. I’ll see how many I can spot from my seat in Block N of the North Stand.

Also if anyone is travelling to the Blackpool friendly on July 16th, I would suggest the ‘Dunes’ pub on Lytham Rd., about 2 miles due south of Bloomfield Road.

Ken Foster (kf737@vossnet.co.uk)

RUMOURS

Heard an interesting story about the new badge, well here goes; the eagle apparently is the symbol for Cheshire, particularly Knutsford who have the 3 stars. Is this because our illustrious leader lives there?

Info on the shirts: please tell your kids to be careful when they are playing in their great/fantastic new shirts because the material snags/pulls quite easy. It happened to mine, he has a big snag mark on his back!

Heard a rumour that MCFC are playing Leigh RMI at Hilton Park, home of Leigh Rugby. Anyone shed light on this?

Duncan Ross (DjmRoss@aol.com)

CITY IN THE CITY – PART II

Little did I realise the interest that financial matters hold for City fans, my last article was to have been a one off, but such has been the response that at least one follow up is required. My e-mail has been of the tell me more variety, but there have been a few threads on Blue View of the more sceptical nature.

In Blue View, Keith Elliot questioned whether I knew what I was talking about, a good point when applied to financial matters, but MCIVTA is a forum for all, and it is for readers to decide what to believe and what not. In reply, I have worked in the Computer Systems departments at both The Stock Exchange and Lloyds of London. More importantly, I have in the past been a fairly active trader of shares, particularly small oil exploration stocks in the eighties (small oil shares because I knew the oil business and many people in the oil business. I was able to tell the wheat from the chaff).

My main points were:

  • people only invest in the stock market for profit, that’s what it’s there for.
  • in football’s case, those profits will come as dividends at the expense of future expenditure and investment on players.
  • by the time FHL wants to gain a quote, the sector may have gone verycold, and it may be wiser to continue funding privately, taking profitsas and when appropriate.

Only invest for profit. It is one thing to have a nominal holding in something as personal as a favourite football club, quite another to expect your good fortune to cover finances and football. Hold one hundred shares, frame the certificate on your wall, and invest the rest of your money where there is maximum potential profit. Invest for the long term, and have a strategy for selling when profits have been made or when losses have to be cut. Would you fancy doing either with City shares?

The City is always looking for a new trend or fashion that will entice Joe Public into parting with his money. In the past there has been minerals (e.g. Poseidon), small oil stocks, privatisations, and over the last year one of the favourite flavours has been football clubs. If you need proof that it’s hype, ask yourself why Alan Hanson was employed to act as a consultant to a unit trust company specialising in football shares.

The hype is not all on one side. If you get lots of people to think that there is money to be made, you will also get lots of companies inflating their own worth looking for a piece of the action. Hence you get the Sunderlands, Blades and Brums (all having chairmen with colourful careers in finance) jumping in early. There have been interviews in the press with fans who have got on board only to see that as well as losing a lot of money as their shares halved in value, their clubs are still stuck firmly in the Nationwide pack. The three together are now valued at little more than £50 million, not much more than City.

That is not to say that all football clubs are an unwise investment. The Rags, leading the way, and by virtue of buying the Frog for a song have gone from laggards to leaders on the Stock Exchange, a very good financial investment. This year, while still being a growing business, they have paid out close on £3.5 million in dividends to shareholders. There again, if next season they have a real bummer (hands together, eyes heavenwards), they may have to cut their dividend to fund the type of buying that Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are doing.

When a club goes for a quote, it relinquishes close control of its affairs. It has to pay the people who invested in it, and it has to be transparent in its financial dealings, and in the comings and goings of its senior management. Look at Newcastle; since deciding to go public, they have lost Keegan (pressure from advisors?) and have been active sellers prior to becoming buyers. What did they get from the quotation? Not a lot. John Hall made lots from the float, in repayment from having invested so heavily in the past.

I would suggest that a floatation only makes any sense at all for a club in the Premiership, and then only clubs who are pressing for honours. It is a once only trick, and having got the windfall, if it’s lost without placing the club in the higher levels of TV money earners, then the club is stuffed for some years to come. They cannot go back and tap investors for more without a very good sob story.

Even if a club is both successful and publicly quoted there is still the problem that while closed companies can borrow money and make large buys hidden from outside inspection, and can decide to pass the opportunity of paying owners dividends without much hassle (the directors being in the main the owners); publicly quoted clubs can’t. This is why I think that when the City’s fad for football clubs has waned, FHL and Co. might feel that financing from within is a lot more flexible way of growing the business and taking profit. I am not aware of the big spenders in Italy and Spain being public quoted companies; as far as I know this is a curious British phenomenon.

Overall, my gut feeling is that because success in football is down to the fickleness of results on the pitch rather than from the quality and/or price of the product, it is not right to fund it as a conventional business.

BTW, I can understand why London Blue’s broker friends see City as a good punt for floatation. Big club, big support, good management, well healed board, and there is the name Manchester in the title. Very marketable from their perspective, even if they are all Arsenal fans.

In part three, what is an unquoted share?

Martin J Beckett (martinjb@cdrompub.demon.co.uk)

QUICK TURNAROUND

I e-mailed a request for a brochure to the CityNet site just last week and lo and behold a brochure dropped in my letter box the following week. It was an A4 3-folded type of thing with new kit (home and away) with some T-shirts on the back., They promised me a full brochure soon. I presume with the new logo there is a major merchandise re-vamp.

On a general comment I was impressed with the turnaround and revise my comments on the site which initially was rubbish, but if I get useful information like this in a short time (this was to Southern Ireland mind) then I will go back again to this site.

Kieran Daly (kdaly@proscon.com)

OPINION – VOICE FROM FLORIDA

What have we bought since Frank came – 6, 7 players? Apart from re-signing Gio, do any of them strike you as Premiership quality or even threatening it? The way the Premier League is heading to one up one down, we may only have one shot at it – and we’ve got Middlesboro, Nottm Forest and Sunderland as well as the half of the 1st Division that finished higher than us last year to overcome to get up this year. I’m optimistic – but show me a City fan who isn’t pre-season. Usually lasts till mid-September!

Barry Gibbons (GibbonFile@aol.com)

OPINION – ÅRST

Checked Soccernet today (Saturday 5th) to find a story on Ole Martin Årst… being connected with Birmingham City. From what’s been written in MCIVTA recently I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Adam Jones (Adam.Jones@durham.ac.uk)

OPINION – ALLEGED MEETING WITH FRANK CLARK’S DAUGHTER

I am very sceptical about the article which recently appeared in MCIVTA detailing a meeting with Frank Clark’s daughter. It is in my opinion disappointing when people believe things first and ask questions later. My doubts about the accuracy of this article are as follows:-

Frank’s Salary Details

I find it difficult to believe that Miss Clark would be prepared to discuss her father’s salary details with all and sundry, if indeed she is aware of his precise earnings.

FC wanting to sell Gio for £7.5 million to Barca

From March onwards FC was adamant that he wanted to keep Gio; in April

FC said that if they did have to sell Gio the price would not be fixed by him but he would expect it to be in excess of £10 million. Another point on this is if Barcelona want a player and they meet resistance they go public to try to unsettle the player. Other than daft little rumours in the cheap sheets there has not been that much said about a possible move to Barca for Gio.

The 10 million to spend on players

It is a fact that this year’s new issue of shares raised £11.8 million pounds; I don’t pretend to know how much of this is earmarked for new players but interestingly I recently heard a contradictory rumour that FC was actually under pressure from the board to spend the money at his disposal.

Franny’s supposed meddling

FC made it quite clear from the very beginning that he and only he was in charge of team affairs. I feel that a man of his integrity would have already left us if there had been unwanted interferance from upstairs.

I look forward to celebrating promotion next May.

Carl Jones (Carl@mcity.demon.co.uk)

OPINION – THE SQUAD

Well, Now the hype over the new shirts is beginning to run its course, our eyes are opening up to a frightining fact. We don’t seem to have improved our squad from last season.

Don’t kid yourselves that we are good enough, the squad that we have wouldn’t even make the Rags’ ‘B’ team, except Kinky of course.

Where is the money from Kappa? Where is the money from the share issue? Where is the money from the season tickets? Where is the money from the sales of players?

Looking at Middlesbrough this morning they seem to be in a very strong position to gain re-entry to the Premiership. We however are not, we need to sort this mess out. Franny Lee could not even organise a p**s up in a brewery. 3,500 shirts on one of the biggest kit releases of our time. My brother and sister had to go to a sports shop as they had kits in and the City shop did not.

This year I have booked my holiday and I am not coming back for the start of the seaon. Why? Because I am sick of rushing back and watching the trash we call City. Don’t get me wrong I’m the biggest city fan but I hate Franny Lee. He is all talk and nothing more. We need at least 3 players. Where are the players who should have been bought to replace; Flitcroft, Lomas, Curle, Quinn etc. I’ll tell you: 1st and 2nd Division rejects that we pay millions for and sell for thousands, Creaney etc.

Let’s hope things improve and does anyone see a resemblance to Norwich here? Sell your players but have a great stadium and keep talking about what a great club we are.

From a depressed and disillusioned Blue, Simon Donn (get10going@aol.com)

OPINION – PROMOTION OR FRUSTRATION

Well the big day is rapidly approaching; August 9th isn’t that far off and a whole new season comes into view.

So what chance have we of promotion? We appear to have a continuing inability to sign anyone; I was hoping to see a new striker and midfielder signed by now as well as a red hot defensive general. I guess players aren’t prepared to sign for under a fiver! Personally I don’t give us much of a chance – the team is basically the same as last year and I assume as likely to play great one game in 5. I hold some vague hope of Phillips and Brown suddenly appearing in the team and taking the division by storm, but I thought we would storm the Nationwide last year!

If we want to be a big club we need to spend on some young players who will develop during the year and be ready to take on the Premiership next year, but these cost money unless you are really lucky. Why do we always end up trying to buy players who are also being chased by the likes of Ajax, Real Madrid etc.? Lets face it, Round 1 of the Fizzy Tooth Rot Cup isn’t the same as the European Almost won the League Cup.

I’ll still be there at Reading, Oxford, QPR etc. no matter what happens I’d just like to be a little more confident.

A Palace fan at work bet me that City wouldn’t get promoted; I reworded the bet to ‘City will be playing Palace the season after next.’

Andy Birkin (A_J_Birkin@msn.com)

OPINION – SINKING FEELING

Am I alone, or are there others getting nervous at our apparent difficulty in recruiting quality new players?

Whilst the re-signing of Gio was great news, we desperately need at least one other attacking midfielder or striker. Now that Arveladze’s going to Ajax, FC needs to find a suitable alternative. There are only four weeks to go to the start of the new season and this is going to be a critical year for climbing back up.

George Larcos (ngl@imag.wsahs.nsw.gov.au)

WHY BLUE?

Growing up in Thornton Road (the street just behind the Kippax), I suppose you would expect me to be a Blue. And so it happens, I am, but not for the want of trying by my dad to turn me into scum. He had been a Red all his life, growing up in the Old Trafford area of Manchester. I remember watching Match of the Day, with my dad sat there in his flared jeans cheering as a scum player notched another fluke for the Rags. I wasn’t that interested in football then, but I tended to watch between playing with my first Star Wars figures and the lego. I used to play footie with my mates outside the ground, we used the North Stand floodlight as goalposts.

It wasn’t ’til I was a bit older I really got interested, and I’ve got my grandad to thank for that. Not coming from a rich family, I was never given enough pocket money to attend first team games, but every Tuesday night without fail, grandpops used to take me to a reserve or youth team game at Maine Road, and I remember enjoying myself stood up in the old Main Stand, screaming my head off with about a hundred other people. I thought that was what it was all about. I used to look out of my window, staring at the looming shapes of the four floodlights, waiting for them to be turned on.

Then a friend of mine who had a season ticket couldn’t go to a game. It was a match against Charlton. I grabbed the ticket and was in the ground by 2.00, waiting in anticipation for my first first team game. I couldn’t believe how many people turned up! I was only expecting the hundred or so that came to reserve games. To top it all we won the game. I was hooked, I had to have more of this. I pestered my dad to get a season ticket for me. He was reluctant to let me go on my own at first, so he got two, and started attending with me. As time went on he became more and more involved with City’s exploits, and gradually lost faith in the Rags. He became a Blue (his rose tinted glasses eventually broke when the sh** started changing their kits six times every season: ‘Bloody t***s,’ he used to say, ‘they don’t care about their fans.’).

Now that my grandad has passed on to the great big City gates in the sky, I attend every game at home, and most away if work will allow. I’ve moved to Edgeley in Stockport now, so next season’s derby games at the County ground will be handy, but my parents still live in Thornton Road, and when I go to see them, it’s still a buzz to be able to see the looming shape of the new Kippax.

Gareth Foster – A Proud Blue for 23 years, and counting (gfoster@msl-uk.com)

WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
http://www.uit.no/mancity/


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
Contributions: Ashley – mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve – sbolton@buxtonrd.u-net.com
Technical Problems: Paul – paul@city-fan.org


DISCLAIMER
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, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #310

1997/07/07

Editor:


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