Newsletter #312

Well, here is my first attempt as ‘guest editor’ on MCVITA. This issue includes two very interesting ‘Why Blues’, a piece on Francis Lee’s influence at the Club, an update on the International Supporters’ Club and general news.

If anyone is going to either of the pre season friendlies at Blackpool or Macclesfield Town, please can you let me have your match report(s).

Next games: Blackpool away, Wednesday 16th July 1997 & Macclesfield Town away, Friday 18th July 1997.

Sarah (


It is reported on web teamtalk that Liverpool youngster Mark Kennedy is wanting a transfer after making more appearances for his country than for the Liverpool first team. With City in need of a decent left-sided winger why doesn’t FC put in a bid? After all Kennedy is only 21 and already an established international.


I read with interest the article on City being interested in an Ivory Coast striker. The World Youth Cup just ended in Kuala Lumpur. Ivory Coast were one of the teams involved and they had a whole bunch of players who were really good. The players from the other African team, Ghana, were equally talented and they ended up by finishing 4th in the tournament. Apparently some of the players from Ghana have signed up with teams from other European countries. And look at how far Nigeria have gone in the World Cup and at the Olympics.

If City are to sign some good players they should look to Africa or East Europe. There are good quality players here. Look at Kinky. Stop wasting time and precious money on sub-standard players. It seems to me that players we are attempting to buy and their teams are just out to make an easy million.

Since Quinn left we have absolutely nothing to show up front. Rösler can’t be expected to carry the burden by himself. He is a good striker but he needs a good partner to support him. And he is not getting any younger either.

I just hope we don’t spend millions buying players who think that City will make a great retirement benefit scheme and end up fighting to avoid relegation in the new season. Again!

Andrew S. Raj (


I have just read the comments by Martin Prendergast in MCIVTA 311. We owe Umbro nothing at all. We were one of their most loyal customers but were treated as second class, especially when they got the United kit deal. The kits and other sportswear that are made by Kappa give us a character of our own rather than the bland same-as-every-team-that-they-supply stuff. I am also pleased that the Platt Lane Stand will be the Platt Lane Stand again (it always was for me; I used to annoy them by asking for tickets in the Platt Lane stand, they say you mean the Umbro stand – No I mean the Platt Lane Stand). They weren’t really paying us much for the deal anyway and we were giving them a lot of business so dumping them and getting a £5 million deal with a fashionable label seems very good business. Sorry for the rant but I dislike Umbro nearly as much as the Rags.

Size of the new kits are a bit small though!

Glyn Owen (


No doubt James will be stirring up controversy with his latest message to City fans; however perhaps he should get a few things in perspective himself.

Firstly, so what that he had a conversation with FL’s daughter and got some insight into Frank’s thinking; everyone has personal and private opinions, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are plenty of managers in British soccer that don’t have ongoing love affairs with their chairmen and players, again so what!

On the subject of players that FL is unable to bring to Maine Road and in particular “Shota”, my question is, if you were a top striker, would you rather play for City or Ajax? Don’t forget these guys aren’t City fans so they are automatically going to choose the biggest and best clubs, furthermore he’ll be on a lot more money there.

Our problem is that City are in the 1st Division and as such top players currently in the Premier League and other top divisions around the world don’t wish to drop, it’s like taking a demotion at work! It’s a lot more difficult for FL to attract top players, so even if we had Kevin Keegan as manager we would be in the same boat!

On the positive side James must remember that we have a new manager, new assistant manager. New coach, new youth development team, new players, new commercial manager etc. not to mention the cash injection from Mr Boler. City have come a long way since the “squeaky” days and these positive changes will eventually become evident on the soccer field, hopefully in a big way this season.

So in conclusion we don’t care who had a conversation with who, it really doesn’t matter does it?

Let’s be positive about our new set up at Maine Road before we stab ourselves do death and really draw Blue blood!

Claude Nuttall, Cape Town (


I’d just like to comment briefly on the debate about whether FHL has too much influence on the playing side. I recently read an interview on Blue View which claimed to be quoting FHL when he said something like this:

“The manager is in charge of the playing side of the club but he can ask my opinion if he wishes as I am always willing to give advice if I am approached for it. At the moment we have got a strong management team and they don’t seem to approach me as much as previous managers. If we are looking to sign a player, I get involved with contract negotiations. That is how Frank Clark likes it because it gives him more time for other things. However, Frank always sits in on these negotiations.”

Although this is not a word for word quote it is very close and it would seem to make sense.

Tony Book, Colin Bell and Neil McNab were all at the club when Frank arrived and they are now all not at the club. This suggests that the manager has got total control over the playing and coaching side. I don’t think FHL would have sacked either Colin Bell or Tony Book.

If James Talbot’s information was quoted in a court of law it would be dismissed as hearsay evidence and would not be heard. I for one certainly took it with a large pinch of salt as did a lot of people.

It was interesting to see in Blue View that he now says this:

“If people don’t want to believe it, then fine, but at least wake up and realise that some of it may be true!

Yeah like her surname was Clark (No relation?)

The interview can be found on –

Keith Elliott (


Approximately 33% of the total hits that Citynet receive are from the States/North America, 40% being from the UK with no other one country accounting for more than 1.9% (Norway).

With this in mind we feel that the States/North America is the first place to target potential International members of the ISC. The club need to know of any major national sport/football related publications through which we can publicise the ISC in this part of the world.

Any information, comments or advice then email

I would like to thank all the City fans from all over the world, including Manchester, for their interest in this project and if you feel there are any other publications that we should consider using please let me know.

Thank in advance for any assistance.

Bob Young (


So the Yanks have started applying technology to football – why can’t they just leave the beautiful game alone? But hold on, just think of the possibilities, if you can know the instant that the ball starts to accelerate/decelerate (due to being kicked, headed or hitting a player) and exactly where the ball is at any one time!

If the linesman (sorry referee’s assistant) hears a bleep when the ball is kicked or headed, he will be able to better judge whether a player is offside! If the ball crosses the goal line, the linesman can hear a different tone that indicates that a goal has been scored.

So in a few years it will be bye bye crappy offsides and goals that shouldn’t have been disallowed. But then again, perhaps officials are chosen due to being deaf as well as blind. Finally, what will we fans do when we haven’t got anybody to blame for our team’s misfortunes?

Richard Mottershead (

WHY BLUE: Les Saul – The Chairman of the Supporters’ Club

I was born a Manchester City supporter, my father was one of four brothers who were all City supporters. The eldest brother married a Liverpool girl and went to live in Liverpool; he supported Everton because they played in blue.

My first memory of being a City supporter was listening to the 1934 Cup Final on the wireless with my mother; my father had gone to Wembley obviously. City went a goal down to Portsmouth and then their centre forward got injured and was taken off; there were no substitutes in those days, Freddie Tilson scored two goals and won the cup 2-1. The next morning when I got up there was a celluloid doll on the table it was dressed in blue and white feathers; my Father had brought it home as a souvenir – that was about the limit regarding souvenirs in those days.

The first game that I saw was in 1938, City were at home to Nottingham Forest and I was in the boys’ corner at the back of the Platt Lane Stand. I can’t remember the result but the season finished in typical City fashion, they were relegated after winning the First Division Championship the previous season.

The 1939 League programme was cancelled due to the War starting and there were two leagues, Football Leagues North and South. City achieved very little during the War years as most of City’s players were in the forces. I used to go and watch City reserves play at the Cliff; this was United’s training ground, the reason being that their ground was bombed and they played at Maine Road.

After the war City reserves played at Old Trafford. I would go and watch them when there was no game at Maine Road. When the League programme started after the War, City were in the Second Division and United were in the First. I used to go nearly every week. One week City, the next week United. Most City supporters did this but their supporters only went to watch them; that’s why they had bigger crowds at Maine Road and when they went back to Old Trafford they took their supporters and also quite a few of the City supporters.

I first joined the Supporters’ Club at the beginning of 1948. There was only one Branch and it was situated at the R.A.O.B. Club in Grafton St. Later on in 1948 a Hightown Branch was formed at the Waterloo Hotel on Waterloo Road Hightown. I joined this branch as it was closer to where I lived. I have a photo taken at the hotel on the 26th April 1949 of a farewell party held for probably one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers, Frank Swift. Unfortunately Frank Swift perished at the Munich Disaster, he was then a football correspondent for a national newspaper.

We then had to wait until 1955 before we sensed success by getting to Wembley for the Cup Final. We lost this game to Newcastle by 3-1. We lost our full back Jimmy Meadows early in the game and as there were no substitutes then we played most of the game with ten men. What I would like to mention is how we obtained tickets for this game. The Club announced that tickets would be on sale on a Sunday morning at 9am about 2 weeks before the Final. On the Saturday before City were at home. So straight after the match at about 5pm, myself and three friends got in the queue outside the ground and waited throughout the night until the ticket office opened on Sunday morning. We got our tickets and they cost 3/6d which is about 17p now. We went down to London on the Friday midnight train and arrived in London at 3-30am wandering around London until we left for Wembley at lunchtime.

We managed to reach the Cup Final again in 1956, but this time the Club had started a voucher scheme; this entailed having vouchers printed in each home programme. To obtain a ticket for the Final you had to send so many vouchers; this worked quite well as it meant that you didn’t have to queue up. After the success of this system most other top clubs followed. Well we managed to win this time beating Birmingham 3-1; even though Bert Trautmann broke his neck during the game he didn’t realize this and played on until the finish. He was told the next day that if he had got another knock on it he could have died.

After this short spell of success City went into another few years of despair, that was until the 1965/66 season when City had been in the Second Division for three years and they appointed Joe Mercer as manager and Malcolm Allison as his assistant. At this time I and a few other City supporters decided to open a branch of the Supporters’ Club. I had now moved to Middleton and was a member of the Langley Labour Club. We opened the branch in April 1966 and I was the Secretary. We called it the Middleton branch and is still going strong. We are hoping to have a 30 years Dinner some time this year, even though it will be 30+.

One of the original members of the branch is Bob Young who runs the Supporters’ Club site on the Internet. He was only 15 then. With the arrival of Joe and Malcolm success followed, in 1966 we were promoted to the First Division. 1968 we won the First Division title and one of the most memorable days of my life happened. We had to play Newcastle United away and win to make sure we would be Champions, the team next to us was M.U. and there were 20 thousand City supporters present. There was a continuous stream of traffic with City colours going up the A1. Well we won a nail biting game 4-3. After the game we went on the pitch to cheer the team and management, my father picked up a piece of grass took it home and planted it in our garden and, it’s still there.

In 1969 we won the F.A. Cup, 1970 we won the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. We hired a mini-bus to go to Vienna and there were nine of us to see City win the Cup Winners’ Cup, beating Gornik 2-1. It was a beautiful sunny evening when the game started at the Prater Stadium but at half-time the heavens opened and we all got soaked because at that time there was no cover at all. After we got back from Vienna I put up as Chairman of the Supporters’ Club and was elected; I have held the position since and this is my 27th year.

I have travelled all over Britain and Ireland visiting new branches and members. I have been to Dublin and Galway in the Republic, Gilford, Coleraine and Belfast in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. We have 40 branches at present all over the world and about 8 applications for new branches. When we open new branches the officials of the Supporters’ Club and representatives of the Football Club plus a couple of ex-players come along. I have mentioned my father a number of times; he died in 1980 when he was 80. He watched City until a few years before his death.

I was married but only for a few years. I never had any children, my late sister had 4 boys and 2 girls and I’m pleased to say that they are all City fanatics. I used to take them to Maine Road when they were young and bought them season tickets, so I feel that I have played my part in supporting the Blues. By the way they have 11 children between them and they are all City through and through. Personal memories over the years, some good, some not so good. In the 50s I went to see City play at Doncaster, Peter Doherty was the player-manager. City started off like a house on fire and were 3 up at half-time; we were wondering how many they could bang in the second half, but City never fail to surprise and before long Doncaster had equalised – just before the end Doncaster scored a fourth and City lost. In the second half Peter Doherty had really turned it on and had shown what a great player he had been.

In January 1948, in what had been one of the worst winters in living memory, City had a cup-tie at Birmingham City. I went with my father on a supporters’ club coach from Piccadilly bus station; there were six coaches altogether. We left at 9.30am; in those days with no motorways the journey would take about two and a half hours but due to the snow on the roads it took us 6 hours and we arrived just before half time. We dashed off the coach outside the ground and into the ground as the referee blew for half-time. The terraces were open with no cover, so they were covered in ice; we kept on sliding up and down as we tried to watch the match. The result? City lost 5-0. When we got outside we couldn’t find our coach so we had to travel back on another one which was full up so we had to stand all the way back and it took us 7 hours to get back.

During City’s cup run in 1955, I had to go into hospital to have my appendix taken out. City were drawn at Luton, I went in to have the operation, I was in for a week and came out on the Tuesday as the cup-tie was on the Saturday. Despite being advised not to go to the match I did; it was played in a blizzard and the referee had to stop the match every so often so that the lines could be cleared of snow. This time City won 2-0. When City signed Denis Law for a record fee of £53.000 in 1960 I thought that this was the start of a golden age for City but it wasn’t meant to be. I remember Francis Lee making his début against City at Burnden Park, he was only 16. Denis Law was playing for City and Francis Lee outshone him. Bolton won 3-1.

Over the years City have had a number of dedicated players who could set an example for present day players; the four principle ones would be Roy Clarke, Alan Oakes, Mike Doyle and Tony Book. Perhaps I should finish with some of the greatest players I have seen playing for City. I’ve already mentioned Peter Doherty. We had 3 brilliant goalkeepers in Frank Swift, Bert Trautman and Joe Corrigan, Frank Swift made the greatest save I’ve ever seen: it was playing for England against Wales at Maine Road. Bobby Johnstone was one of the finest inside forwards and Ivor Broadis wasn’t far behind. City’s finest captain was Roy Paul he was a great inspiration to the team. I think that Colin Bell would have been City’s finest ever player if he hadn’t have had to finish the game before reaching his peak.

Les Saul (


When I was three years of age, I moved to L.A. from Berkhampstead (near London). My father had always been a great City fan from our 3-1 cup victory over Birmingham. He had grown up in Manchester and went for the Blues. My uncle unfortunately chose United. A City and United fan in one household though, did not go down well!

So, while we were in L.A., my dad always brought me back a City mug or cup from England. I obviously had no idea who they were though. I was made a Blue by my father then in 1993, when we returned to England. This time we went to London to live. For four years now I have followed the English, and become a great fan. Some people think the it’s incredible that I know so much about the game, when I am so new to it.

My grandmother still lives in Manchester and we go up there about every two to three months. We always visit Maine Road though, of course. I see most of the away games in London. I also went to the famous 4-1 victory over Oxford.

The best player I have seen in my four years in London has to be Gio. The best goal was his against Southampton, but the overall best I’ve seen was Tueart’s in the 1976 League Cup final.

I am pleased to be a True Blue though and can’t wait until be return to the Premiership. As for my Uncle, I still think we’re the pride and glory of Manchester!

Samuel Green (London), aged 11 (


After writing my bit about buying players it was a surprise to see people writing in the same vein. This set me off ruminating on the reasons. Various theories came to mind.

  1. We are all living on a lay line and have been communicating via thought transfer.
  2. We were all abducted by aliens (Moonchester’s family) and brainwashed.
  3. We all share a common experience and have therefore developed similarthought patterns and are probably identical in appearance (Homo Bluicus)(Homo does not infer sexual inclination and I have no desire for FC to signJulian Clary even though he would probably scare a few attackers).

All these theories were rejected on the basis that they were illogical, leaving me with:

FC has a master plan to be interested in various players and distract attention from the ones we really want. This could serve a dual purpose especially if they are crap – FC says City are after Player X – price goes up – Wolves/Brum/Boro buy Player X for inflated fee. Clubs run out of money then City buy Shearer, Weah, and the Brazilian team for 20 pounds. City storm the league – win the Premier, FA Cup, and all European competitions. Manchester declares itself independent from UK – City represent the People’s Republic of Manchester in the World Cup and win (England 1 Manchester 15). I scoop the lottery and Agent Scully begins to sexually harass me.

There it is then the truth is finally out!

I must go now as they don’t let us play with electronic equipment.

Andy Birkin (


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.

Sarah Dugdale,

Newsletter #312