Newsletter #316

Our long-awaited new striker arrives at last, and most of us will be nothing, if not surprised at the fee paid; let’s all hope it’s a wise investment – Paul Walsh thinks so! If anyone has seen Bradbury in action, please write in and let the rest of us know your opinion of him. FC was on GMR Radio today and stated that he still wanted to sign a left-sided forward but had no-one in mind at the current moment in time. This issue includes a couple of match reports, both of the Falkirk game and the hammering of Mansfield. There’s also opinion, news of a new City website and another good Why Blue.

City will be playing Burnley on Saturday and I’d like to take this opportunity to solicit match reports for this match and the coming season. We really need people to write match reports and not leave it up to the same old crew. The current crew do a great job but it would be nice if the burden could be shared a little and everyone would benefit if there were several reports to compare. MCIVTA is not a clique, there are no appointed match reporters, if you go to the game and want to write, then it will be included. In the same vein, the City Open Day is next week so if anyone cares to write up their visit, please do.

Please note that the news is in chronological order, not order of importance!

Cheers, Ashley

Next game, Burnley away, Saturday 2nd August 1997


FALKIRK vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Monday 28th July 1997

Falkirk 0 (1)   Manchester City 1 (1)
Craig (80 pen)  Dickov (18)
Attendance: 2,689, of which 630 were City fans.

City were brought back down to earth with a bump as the Scottish Cup runners-up held the Blues to a draw with a late penalty. City took the lead midway through the first half when Kinkladze recovered the ball after having given it away, beat his marker and then played the ball through to Dickov who smacked the ball in off the far post.

City ‘keeper Tommy Wright went off at half time after damaging a hamstring whilst making a clearance and is now a major doubt for the start of the season.

The Scots’ equaliser came with just ten minutes to go. There was a scramble in the City penalty area after the ball had come in from a free kick, and it ended with Gerard Wiekens blocking a run by Paul McGrillen; Substitute Albert Craig made no mistake with the penalty.

After that, McGrillen hit the post and Rösler could have won it late on but lifted his shot over the ‘keeper and bar.

Frank Clark wasn’t impressed, but said: “It may well be a good thing, for after Kilmarnock this will bring a few of them down to ground. The tour has been great but in this game we did not perform. We were second best.”

City: Wright (Margetson), Brannan, Vaughan, Symons, Beesley, Horlock, Wiekens, Kinkladze, Summerbee, Rösler, Dickov

Not sure whether Crooks or Greenacre was the other substitution, nor who came off.

Paul Howarth, based on MEN report (


I cover the North West for a company based in Grangemouth, that’s in Scotland just outside Falkirk for those who didn`t know, so with City playing Falkirk on Monday night I had some “pressing business” to attend to which meant an overnight stay and a chance to watch the “laser blue” shirted heroes! I even persuaded a guy from work who`s an Avid Rangers fan to come with me to give him the chance to see a proper team in action! lol.

It was a nice, warm evening and we stood behind the goal which was a treat (being able to stand that is). I think most of the travelling Blues heeded the pleas to stay away; nevertheless about 600 City fans were there in a crowd of 2,689. The game itself was pretty uneventful, so rather than a match report here`s my view of each player.

Wright. not a lot to do but pulled up with hamstring problems halfway through the first half.
Margetson (sub). Made a couple of great diving saves.
Brannan. Looked comfortable at right back.
Symons. Nice to see Kit in action after his injury scare. Looked a solid partnership with:
Beesley. Impressed me a lot, very solid and comfortable bringing the ball out ofdefence.
Vaughan. Big strapping lad, looked a little nervy/tired but great to see a “proper” left back in the City team.
Summerbee. Arghhhh! Another couldn`t give a toss display!
Wiekens. Was looking forward to watching this new midfielder; he played a holding rôle in the middle of the park, got caught in possesion a few times but does look a good buy.
Horlock. Don`t remember him touching the ball!
Dickov. Plenty of effort and a great goal but I don`t think he`s what we need up front.
Kinkladze. A couple of typical mazy runs! One to set up Dickov after silencing the Falkirk fans when he took the p**s out of one of their donkeys, tried to keep away from the croppers so was fairly quiet.
Rösler. Looked tired but never stopped running; fantastic player, another 10 like him and we`d be flying!
Greenacre. Came on for Dickov after he was booked but never touched the ball.

The game finished 1-1 after a great goal by Dickov made by Gio, Falkirk scored a penalty after Wiekens barged a Falkirk player in the box and he went down like a sack of spuds. The Falkirk fans are obviously in need of a good day out because when they scored you would have thought it was to win the league! A lacklustre display but a good tour in all, unbeaten. Remember Alan Ball’s pre-season tour of Scotland?!

As a footnote, the City players looked particualrly fit and trim; the new fitness coach is obviously earning his money. On the way home I tuned into GMR to hear that City have had a £3,000,000 plus bid accepted by Portsmouth for Lee Bradbury with only his personal terms to sort out. City were hoping that he would be available for Saturday`s friendly at Burnley. Bradbury is being touted as the new Alan Shearer! Let’s hope so!

City Till I Die!

This is what the locals thought, taken from the Scottish version of The Sun (I only buy it for the football, honest!):


Falkirk 1 Manchester City 1

Albert Craig smashed home a late penalty to earn Bairns a brave draw against Frank Clark’s City. Georgi Kinkladze gave the Brockville defence a torrid time all night and Dutchman Gerald Wiekens should have netted in nine minutes after a brilliant run from the Georgian. Another mazy effort set up the 18th minute opener as City`s scots hitman Paul Dickov crashed a shot past helpless Craig Nelson. With 10 minutes left sub Craig swept home the spot kick after Wiekens hauled down McGrillen.

Stopper James starred with a brilliant marking job to defy Uwe Rösler after his five goals against Livingston and Killie.

Gary Sowerby (


Christie 7           Rösler 1, Heaney 10, Jeff Whitley 20, Clough 62,
                     Dickov 64, 70, Brannan 73

Around 500 Blues saw City demolish Mansfield in a game arranged as part of the deal that brought Nick Weaver to Maine Road. City’s line-up for the first half was as follows:

Jim Whitley  Symons  Morley  Vaughan
           Jeff Whitley
 Summerbee     Crooks       Heaney

Rösler took advantage of a defensive mistake to open the scoring in the 1st minute but then Kit Symons dropped a clanger to let Christie in for an equaliser on 7 minutes. Heaney dribbled into the penalty area and curled the ball into the net to restore City’s lead in the 10th minute, again taking advantage of some slack defending. There was nothing wrong with the next goal though, an excellent volley by Jeff Whitley giving City a 3-1 lead after only 20 minutes. The score then remained unchanged until the break. At half time City made 7 changes, resulting in a line-up as follows:

    Beesley   Morley   Horlock
Brannan  Clough  Wiekens  Heaney

After a quiet start to the second half, Clough turned in a Brannan cross on 62 minutes. Two minutes later, Dickov converted a Heaney cross. On 70 minutes Dickov scored again from a Brannan cross. Brannan then scored himself, beating the last defender and then letting him get back to the goal line before cheekily slotting the ball past him. City played a lot of possession football after that and Nick Weaver was rarely involved at the other end. Expect far sterner opposition at Turf Moor on Saturday.

This summary is based on the GMR commentary by Ian Cheeseman.

Paul Howarth (


People were phoning the office today (30/8) asking if the Portsmouth fixture had been brought forward to Friday 8th August. Apparently the Nationwide MCFC web page had been reporting that this was so.

This is an error.

The day of the Portsmouth fixture remains Saturday August 9th kick off 3:00pm. A source in the club told me that the Nationwide had their info confused with the Sunderland fixture, which may be brought forward. As it is at present the Sunderland fixture remains unchanged.

Tickets are going like mad for the opening fixture, if you haven’t secured a seat for yourself yet I advise you do so as soon as possible, we’re looking at a sell-out folks.

Mark Burgess (


City are reported to have agreed a deal with Portsmouth worth “well in excess of £3 million” (Manchester Evening News) for Portsmouth striker Lee Bradbury. This would break the club transfer record of £2.5 million shared by Keith Curle and Terry Phelan. Personal terms will be discussed on Wednesday when both clubs return from their pre-season tours. City hope to have the deal completed in time for Bradbury to play in Saturday’s friendly at Burnley.

Birmingham were reported to have offered £2.5 million for the 22-year-old striker, and there have also been links with Liverpool, Leeds, Southampton and Everton.

City have been told by Celtic that Tommy Johnson is not for sale. He scored again in the UEFA Cup on Tuesday night.

Paul Howarth (


It’s being reported that City are about to break the club record fee to buy Lee Bradbury from Portsmouth. City have apparently offered in excess of £3 million.

It’s a calculated gamble. Lee is 22, has played for England under 21’s, he was improving with every match last year. But can he continue to improve because he’s certainly not the finished article yet? It’s a lot of money and just on perfomances you’d have to say that it’s too much. But if he can continue to improve at the rate he did last season then who knows, he might live up to his tag as the new Alan Shearer!

P.S. I think it was a great move by Frank Clark, to bring in a fitness expert. I’d like to see a sports psychologist at the club too!

Tim Starns (


Reports this morning are coming through that City have completed the signing of Lee Bradbury from Portsmouth for around £3 million to £3.5 million.

This is a big risk for City as he has only played one season is this division but going off last year’s form he should be a big hit at Maine Road. At least it gives the impression that City are looking forward and are not buying secondhand goods (Rush etc.).

In reference to the article about Tel Aviv and the City shirt, my sister is there now with her mates and maybe it was her you saw!

Simon Donn (


Wednesday: Lee Bradbury has completed his transfer to City for a club record fee of £3 million (which might rise as high as £3.5 million depending on appearances), and he’s signed a five year contract. He’s now gone back to Portsmouth to sort out his personal affairs and is expected to play in the friendly at Burnley on Saturday. His league début will be against Portsmouth on the opening day of the season.

“It’s a fairy-tale move for me and I realise I’m joining a club with massive potential. It’s a wrench to leave Pompey but this move was really too good to be ignored. I knew there had been some speculation about me but when City came in for me it really was an offer out of the blue and I hope I can play my part in what the manager Frank Clark is trying to do in re-shaping the club. Hopefully I’m a player that can give them [the fans] a bit of excitement and improve the team. I like to get the ball down and bring other people into play and then get in the box and try and get on the end of things. Playing in front of Georgi Kinkladze is going to be experience of its own, so I’m really looking forward to that as well,” said Bradbury.

Bradbury, 22, had been with Portsmouth for two years after buying himself out of the army and then joining the Fratton Park club for £500 (that’s right, five hundred pounds) from Cowes. The money will go towards paying off debts, building a new stand, buying a new pack of biscuits for the boardroom and there may be some left over for transfers. “It was an offer we could not refuse,” said Pompey manager Terry Fenwick.

Paul Howarth (


I would like to let you know of a new Manchester City site I have been working on with a couple of City fans, Thomas Budendorfer and Paul Howarth. The URL is:

We had hoped to have had the International Supporters’ Club pages up and running before we decided it was past the “under construction” stage but this new club is still in the process of being set up by City and we decided that if we were to wait until the site was ready we could be waiting a long time.

Another thing we’re looking to bring to City’s fans on the Internet is a more responsive news site. This could be on the new site or on Svenn’s Supporters’ Home Page but again this is something we are still working on. The aim is to have an area which can be updated by any one of several people (e.g. the current webmasters of the various MCFC sites) so that news can be disseminated as quickly as possible.

This is not an official site but a site that will hopefully provide a useful addition to the excellent City sites that are currently on the Internet.

We have lots of ideas and plans to develop and would welcome any suggestions or comments that you feel will help us achieve that goal. We would also like to encourage people who want to help build and maintain the site to get in touch; the more people we have contributing to the site, the better it can be.

Bob Young (


Here’s what Paul Walsh had to say about City’s new signing Lee Bradbury in Thursday’s Manchester Evening News:

“It may have cost City more than £3 million but that’s an investment in the future. Lee will be worth double that in a few years. I played a few games alongside him last year and I firmly believe he is going to go on and become a top player. Lee has made remarkable progress in a short time. He has a great attitude and works hard at his game. His assets are his pace and his strength. He holds the ball up well and I believe City have made a great signing. All I would ask of the City fans is be as supportive of him as they were of me. Give him time, please. He is a young player who has not been in the game long. Give him your encouragement and you will get the rewards. I have never known a player make such improvement in such a short time. If he carried on improving, he will be a £6 million or £7 million player in a few years.”

Paul Howarth (


In answer to Ben Harry Bloom’s question, yes there are City fans in Israel – far more than those that “support” the Rags. I visit every few months, and my suitcase is never complete without my shirt, as I play in a game with some mates when I am in Tel Aviv, and they are mostly City fans.

So, Ben, next time you see a group of overweight, rather crap and unfit twenty-somethings dressed in city kit dehydrating on the beach in Tel-Aviv, you will know who we are!

Miles Webber (


Further to Charles Annable’s survey in MCIVTA 314, I was in Paris last weekend to watch the end of the Tour de France. My football shirt spotting statistics were vastly different to those of Charles.

  1. Rags – 7 shirts.
  2. Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Liverpool – all 1 shirt.


John Shearer (


I noted Ken Foster’s comments re Blackpool in MCIVTA 315; way down in the South West where we drink up our Zyder before hitting the footy, Blackpool are Bristol City’s first visitors of the season, as they were last season, and possibly the one before as well. Last season they ended the game with 9 men (and still won), and were without doubt one of the filthiest teams I saw at Ashton Gate. Whether the aformentioned Mr. Brabin was one of those who took an ‘early bath’ (commentator speak), I can’t recall, but if FC’s reason for not playing the Kinkmeister was to keep both of his legs working for the start of the season, then he did right.

Last season Gary Megson was their manager, and they played much in his style; i.e. if there’s a leg in the way of the ball, then don’t let that worry you. I was suprised to see him go to Stockport, who were amongst the best footballing teams from Division 2 that I saw down at Ashton Gate last season – certainly far better than the likes of Bury who were promoted, and were thorough adherents of the long ball game – this may get you out of Division 2, but it won’t keep you in Division One.

Teletext this week reported that Talk Radio have won the rights to broadcast Nationwide games this season; don’t know who their commentators will be, but it may at least mean we get a few live games on the radio during the season.

And finally (Copyright Trevor McD), a call to all you Brissle Blues – somehow, we never seem to meet up; presuming that City get some Sky games again this season, I highly recommend the Seahorse on Perry Row, just opposite Smiles Brewery, and stocking that self same range of finest foaming ales, poured by mein host, a stout yeoman of the bar; the TV room is usually close to empty – so, be there or be square. Also, I’m into a get together any time if anyone fancies it… catch me on (0117) 9551393 (home) or (0117) 9509003 (work)

Jeremy Poynton (


Following the request for reports on our new signings, I thought I’d send this in having just returned from Scotland. Although you can’t read too much into pre-season friendlies, our usual failings of defensive mistakes and inconsistency still seem to be with us. Wiekens impressed against Livingston and Kilmarnock but not in the last game. He passes and reads the game well but sometimes wants too much time on the ball. I was hoping FC might try him at centre half after Symons’ poor display versus Livingston.

As for Vaughan (and again I know they were only friendlies) I was very disappointed with all his performances. His first touch and distribution were appalling, he allows wingers far too much room and I lost count of the number of times he was beaten for pace. A large number of the fans were getting on his back at the Falkirk game, which is unfortunate before the season has started. I hope he proves me wrong but the bloke looks an absolute donkey.

It was a good week though, and the best thing about it was the amazing support City had. I was expecting about 250 but there must have been about 900+ for the Livingston game. I don’t know where they all came from – there were no Blues drinking in Edinburgh and only about 6 on the train I was on. Surely no team in the country could match the City following of 2,000+ for a friendly in Kilmarnock.

I went to see West Ham on the Friday night at St. Johnston and they only had a handful of fans, while poor Coventry took about 100 to Hibs on the same night City were in Falkirk.

Gareth Jones (


The tour of Scotland has been a total nightmare – no results in any paper or teletext – I’ve spent a fortune trying to get the scores! The wait for Imsport to update their City page was truly awful.

One more friendly then it’s the season – a couple of weeks ago I was in a state of panic – hardly any movement in buying players and the prospect of another average season loomed like a dark cloud.

I went to see the Blue giants at Blackpool and felt a little happier with things, then came the tour to the Peoples Democratic Republic of Scotland and my confidence grew.

New forward (supposed to be good) and I’m on top of the world.

The prospect of a team who are fit and can play for more than 70 minutes (I remember when City always scored in the last quarter of the game) and I totally in Hyperspace.

The only black spot is Sky screwing up my holiday by televising the Tranmere match – should have been Tranmere – Blackpool – Charlton (who the hell goes to Manchester for their summer holiday – Me!)

Now it will have to be TV – Drive to Manchester – Spend a fortune in the City Shop and the two games.

Andy Birkin (


In Wednesday night’s MEN it was reported that City had signed Lee Bradbury from Portsmouth for £3 million with more to come based on appearances. Now is this a risky buy or what? Various parallels can be drawn with Gerry Creaney. Of course the obvious one that they both came from Portsmouth doesn’t matter, but what about the facts that they both only scored around 17-18 goals in the First Division? This of course doesn’t seem that bad considering the amount Uwe Rösler netted last season, but can Bradbury do it again? Gerry didn’t manage it, or for that matter neither did Kavelashvili or Dickov last term. On both Bradbury and Creaney we have paid out money that was crucial to be well spent and not the sort of money City have to throw away. Bradbury is of course a different player, but is it really worth the gamble? £3 million on a player who has spent one full year in professional football, who didn’t exactly set the league alight and who at 22 still has a lot to learn. Leeds may be able to afford the gamble of offering £2-2.5 million on a player so they can wait for him to mature in the reserve ranks, City can’t. We need a proven goal scorer who has a lot more experience and who we have seen a lot more of who can get us the goals to take us up. Tommy Johnson would have been a perfect buy, we have seen him to be mildly successful at Villa in the top flight so he should perform excellently in the First. Tommy Johnson just wasn’t to be though, and I hope that Bradbury proves me wrong, earns his over the top price tag and bangs in twenty-odd goals next season that’ll take us back up where we belong. Please, God, not the new Gerry Creaney though!

Chris Chapman (


I ordered by telephone two new Kappa shirts from the City store on the Friday before they were due to be released; I was told they would go out on the Monday evening. In view of the theft of a lorry load I took it with a pinch of salt, but true to their word the two shirts arrived Tuesday morning.

Due to new slim fit of the Kappa shirts, in anticipation of Peter Edwards regime, I had to keep the large for myself and swap my medium for an extra large for my wife’s son (had to be baggy). I sent the medium back for an exchange. Due to the sell out I expected a long wait, but within a week a new shirt arrived, and they didn’t even charge postage.

The same improvement was seen when I bought tickets for the Portsmouth game. They now have a postcode address search, no more Mancunian spellings of Welwyn Garden City (Wellin, Welling, Well Win/Wyn) or Hertfordshire (Hartfordshire/Hearts/Harts), the tickets, correctly addressed arrived next day.

There seems to be an air of optimism in the commercial department and certainly more professionalism. The pre-season team effort seem to be the same. Here’s to automatic promotion!

Roger Lee, Welwyn Garden City, Herts (


Growing up in Manchester in the 70s, my first memories of supporting a football club relate to following, ummmmmm, Manchester United, for a year or two until they were relegated to the (then) Second Division. Now, there was no way I was going to support a crappy 2nd Division side, so I promptly switched allegiance to a proper 1st Division local club, Manchester City…

I am pleased to say that age has given me a more mature outlook on the ups and downs of life, and football in particular, and I now endure City’s seemingly regular detours down a division with the patience we all now have to exhibit.

My hero back in those days was Dennis Tueart, who scored that magnificent overhead-kick goal to win the League Cup against the Geordies in 1976. But my personal link with him was that he lived down my road in Sale. So there am I, aged about 8 I guess, with my latest soccer book with a photo of my hero in it, tentatively walking up an endless gravel drive to knock on his door and ask for an autograph. Nice chap that he was, he obliged, but requested, “Don’t tell all your mates I live here will you?” Sadly the book has disappeared in one of many moves since.

My first visit to Maine Road was to see us beat Ipswich 2-1 on my birthday. I have no idea when this was, but I remember the acute disappointment at the announcement that Tueart was injured and so wouldn’t play. The other memory of that day is how green the pitch looked having approached through the endless streets of grey around the ground – it was like the world had suddenly switched from black and white into colour.

Another meeting with one of City’s gods was when Joe Corrigan (and Alex Stepney) came to our school to goalkeep in a charity penalty shooting event. I didn’t get to test the great man (or Stepney for that matter), but I remember it as an exciting afternoon for the school. The autograph is again, sadly, lost. Stepney’s son was in my woodwork class at that school, for what it’s worth.

I then followed, rather than supported, City for many years, until they were drawn at home against Chester in a Cup match a couple of years ago. A mate at work was a big Chester fan (proof that therapy has no effect) so we went up to watch. He insisted we stood right in the middle of the away (Chester) end, so despite the excitement at being back at Maine Road after so many years, I couldn’t cheer each time we scored. The final score eludes me, but we won!

Now I’m in Christchurch in New Zealand, and keeping in touch with City better than I ever did in the UK thanks to the Internet. All I need now is for the club shop’s internet site to open so I can get a City woolly hat, as it’s bloody freezing here just now.

Carl Hogan, Christchurch, New Zealand (


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 #316