Newsletter #318

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This McVittee comes in 2 parts as it seems that several people out there are lumbered with mail programs which can’t handle email messages over 30k. Hopefully this will be a short-term measure.

This issue has news of Van Blerk, from Oz, which hasn’t yet reached the English papers; Walsh in trouble at Portsmouth, and more info on the proposed move to Eastlands. Martin Ford has sent in his complete review of the Scotland pre-season tour and there is also a review of the City Open Day. There’s also the usual opinion, including on our new signings, and a Swedish-ish Why Blue!

The MCIVTA T-shirts have now been despatched and there are still some left, see Ken’s article for more information.

Next game, Portsmouth at home, Saturday 9th August 1997

NEWS – VAN BLERK?

News in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning is Jason Van Blerk may be able to sign for an English club this week. The work permit problems that stopped him from joining City earlier in the year have been solved and it is reported that he may sign for City or Millwall.

After reading a previous McVittee posting about his love for City, I suppose he’s there for the taking.

I haven’t seen him play for ages as I think he’s been in Belgium, Holland or somewhere like that. He’s currently out of favour with El Tel’s national squad, but is confident that he can force his way back in for the World Cup (which is a shoe-in really, as for once we don’t have a nightmare qualifying run (unless we have to play Iraq in Baghdad ~:o( )). His father Cliffy Van Blerk (great name) actually played for Australia in the 60s/70s as well.

The last time I can recall seeing him play was in the qualifiers for USA ’94, against Canada and Argentina. He played quite well out wide (left), although he did seem to get robbed a few times coming forward. Perhaps he could be a potential replacement for Buzzer, who seems about as happy with City as the fans are with him.

I’ve only just got email again, so I’ve been reading McVittee off Svenn’s page when I can, and can seem to remember someone saying Danny Tiatto is/had signed for City. I think this would definitely be a good signing. He’s definitely talented and was pretty mature even before he left for Italy. He played in the League winning Melbourne Knights (nee Melbourne Croatia) team in 95/96 and has played for the Australian Olympic team. Again I haven’t seen him for a while as he’s been in Serie B, but I think he’d be “one for the future” as your grandad would say.

PS: I can’t understand people griping about Bradbury before he even gets a chance to prove himself. £3 million is a lot, but it’s market value. I think it might be the shock of City spending more than 20p on a player that’s caused criticism. The last few years we’ve bought cheap goods and wondered why they haven’t worked.

Andrew Inman (inmana@hotmail.com)

NEWS – FIXTURE CHANGE CONFIRMED

As has been suspected for several weeks, City’s first away League game at Sunderland has been brought forward to the evening of Friday 15th August due to the call-up of players from both sides for international games the following week (for City this is Tommy Wright and Kevin Horlock for Northern Ireland plus Kit Symons for Wales). Note that this does not mean that the game will be televised “live” by Sky TV.

More ticket news – City’s opening game against Portsmouth is now a sell-out, and there are still tickets left for the Coca-Cola Cup game at Blackpool next week after City’s allocation was increased to 2,100.

The Mole

NEWS – CITY TO BUY MILLENNIUM STADIUM?

Artist's Impression

Francis Lee said in an interview in Wednesday’s Manchester Evening News that he not only wants the Blues to move into the new Commonwealth Games stadium, he wants the club eventually to own the stadium.

“We basically want to become owners of the new stadium, in time. We will start off as anchor tenants but we would like the council’s commitment to the stadium to be paid back to City, leaving us the owners on a long term lease – maybe 100 or 200 years. Maine Road would then become an alternative venue – available for things such as Rugby Union and Rugby League. Sale and Salford are obviously the sort of local clubs who could be interested. We would need to speak to them to see their reaction. Rugby Union is doing particularly well these days while I see Rugby League developing into one major club per city and Maine Road would be the ideal venue.” He went on to say “Work has to start on the new stadium in late autumn, so the announcement will be made then.”

Artist's Impression

It’s not clear what the total capacity of the new Millennium Stadium will be, with figures between 60,000 and 77,000 being quoted by different sources. This includes the seats which will cover the running track when football is being played there. The stadium is expected to cost £100 million. Of this, £65 million is coming from government funding such as lottery money and £35 million from the council. City hope that by paying off the council’s investment, they would own the stadium. “We are negotiating with City and others, including the Sports Council, about the stadium’s future,” said Howard Bernstein (a City fan), the council’s deputy chief executive. “The talks are at a delicate stage,” he added.

Spokesmen for both the Sale and Salford clubs said that they were aware of City’s ideas but had not been in contact with the club. They also added that they had plans to develop their existing grounds.

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

NEWS – CITY IN PREMIER LEAGUE

City might not be in the Premier League footballing-wise (yet), but the club certainly is financially. According to a survey of football club finances by chartered accountants Deloitte and Touche, City rank 13th in terms of turnover (£12.69 million excluding transfers) amongst English clubs. Of this, the wage bill is £6.42 million. Not surprisingly, the Rags lead the way with a turnover of £53.31 million and wages of £13.27 million.

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

NEWS – WALSH IN TROUBLE AT POMPEY

Portsmouth general manager Terry Venables has slammed former City striker Paul Walsh for advising Lee Bradbury on his transfer to Maine Road. Walsh, hopes to become an agent when his playing career ends. Venables said “… the fact that he was advising Bradbury when he should not have been because he’s still our player, means I shall be disciplining him this week.” Walsh has apologised for his actions and faces a fine of a fortnight’s wages, around £6,000.

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

NEWS – BRADBURY “NOT FIT ENOUGH”

City’s record signing Lee Bradbury has been assessed as not fit enough for professional football by Frank Clark, and as a result has been assigned extra training. Bradbury, who has only been a professional for two years, will work in conjunction with fitness coach Peter Edwards. This follows the player’s quip last week that “footballers have an easy life” when he compared being a footballer to his previous life in the army. He is of course, still expected to make his league début against his old club on Saturday.

Frank Clark has been commenting on expectations for the season and, somewhat unusually, has not said “we’re not talking about promotion yet”! Instead, he said “Our aim is one of the top two spots. There’s no use denying it and not talking about promotion. The expectations of our supporters are sky high.” He added that “you do not spend money unless you have promotion in mind.” Nice bit of positive thinking!

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

NEWS – SHAMED SOCCER STAR GUILTY OF DRUNKEN SEX ASSAULTS

Taken from the Jersey Evening Post.

Soccer star Peter Beagrie escaped jail after being found guilty of three charges of indecent assault during a drunken night out on the holiday island of Jersey.

Magistrate Terry Sowden said a prison sentence would wreck the marriage and career of the 31-year-old Bradford City winger, a father-of-three.

Mr Sowden found Beagrie guilty of the indecent assault charges and a charge of common assault last night, placing him on probation for a year and ordering him to serve 120 hours community service.

The footballer, appearing before Jersey magistrates, denied all the charges, which followed incidents early on February 25 this year at two bars on the island.

Beagrie was playing for first division Manchester City at the time and went to the island with the rest of the squad for a mid-season break.

The one-time Everton player was arrested at Jersey’s Grand Hotel, where he was staying with other Manchester City team members.

The court heard how Beagrie, who has also played for Middlesbrough, Sheffield United, Stoke City and Sunderland during a 14-year football career, started drinking at around 3pm on February 24 after playing a round of golf.

At a pub called Chambers, Beagrie said he had drunk Bacardi and coke, a pint of bitter and possibly a B52 cocktail.

It was in Chambers that Beagrie used a ladies toilet and urinated in to a basin while he was wearing white knickers over his jeans.

The first victim, a 22-year-old waitress, said that while in the toilets Beagrie groped her breasts after telling her she was “lovely”.

The same woman said Beagrie again groped her breasts later on in the “O” bar club. Beagrie apologised and offered to buy the woman a drink but when she refused, she said, Beagrie spat twice in her face.

Later on, a second woman, a 27-year-old waitress, told the court that she was grabbed outside the nightclub and footballer groped her breast and crotch.

In court, Beagrie said: “There is no way on earth I would ever put my hands on another girl.”

He added he would never involve himself in such kind of behaviour and said that when he was arrested by police hours after the offences happened he thought it was a practical joke.

“I was absolutely staggered, shocked and stunned.”

At the end of the three-day trial Mr Sowden told Beagrie: “The evidence against you was overwhelming and I am sure you are guilty of the charges.”

Mr Sowden, giving his verdict, said Beagrie was normally a man of exemplary character.

“What happened was entirely out of character. It happened on an occasion when I believe he was let off the leash. I don’t mean any leash his wife may have had, but the disciplinary leash of membership of an important football club.”

Mr Sowden said that Beagrie “went too far”.

Sentencing Beagrie to community service, he said: “If I was to send him to prison I would destroy his marriage, I would destroy his career and I don’t think that is called for.”

He was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to each of the two victims, and £240 costs.

Beagrie’s wife Lynn attended the hearing on the island, at which other Manchester City stars were called to give evidence, including Georgian international Georgi Kinkladze.

Beagrie will not have to return to the island to carry out his community service.

Bob Young (dylan@itl.net)

NEWS – POMPEY SNIPPETS

South coast news reported that Paul Walsh has been disciplined by Terry Venebles over his part in the Lee Bradbury transfer. Walsh apologised for his actions but it wasn’t enough for Terry. Walsh overstepped the mark and was almost acting as an unlicensed agent.

I only saw local TV footage of Bradbury last season, so I am probably not the best qualified to comment on his season. But basically he started last season as a complete rookie (along the lines of Chris Greenacre). He got into the Pompey team fairly early on, due to injuries, I think. He did well but Terry Fenwick obviously had reservations at first; he wanted to strengthen his attack. Bradbury continued to impress especially at one stage when he was playing on his own up front. Fenwick signed a very talented Swedish striker, but by now Bradbury had been accepted as a first team regular and kept his place forming a prolific goalscoring partnership.

Tim Starns (itdcts@mail1.hants.gov.uk)

MCIVTA T-SHIRTS

I have now despatched 75% of the orders I have for the MCIVTA t-shirt. There are plenty more available and if anyone wants one could they please e-mail me for the ordering details.

A quick word about Saturday. I hope our pre-season form does not breed a sense of complacency against Portsmouth. Just how long is it since we have been able to warn our players of complacency? Let’s all generate enough noise to help give the team a winning start and a possible MCIVTA with no moaning in it 🙂

Ken Foster (kf737@vossnet.co.uk)

THE MAINE EVENT – CITY OPEN DAY

Monday 4th August 1997

When summing up my visit to the Academy, the words “Piss up” and “Brewery” come to mind. As I entered the area behind the Kippax, I was greeted by a few bouncy castles, a roundabout and an ice cream van. First I went upstairs to the area behind the upper tier, where there were several stalls giving out information on different parts of the City setup. On one they were selling last season’s programmes at 4 for 1 pound. The lads behind the desk may have wondered why they weren’t busy? That was because all the surplus parcels of programmes had been “left”, not behind the desk where any sensible person would have put them, but on and under a table as you walked into the area, out of their sight. Not surprisingly everybody helped themselves! There were giveaway A3 size Kappa posters and postcards of Kinky, photocopied autograph sheets, but not much else.

Next I went outside and joined a queue. Apparently as last year’s Open Day was a bit chaotic, with supporters mingling with staff on the pitch in front of the Kippax, some bright spark decided that this year we could form an orderly queue along the back of the Kippax, and eventually meet and greet our heroes. So along I go, well prepared with camera, paper, posters, pens etc. and last season’s crappy away shirt (to be autographed and framed and hung over the fireplace methinks!). As I neared the front, I spotted Mike Summerbee, and spoke to Alex Williams, the ex-keeper who runs the Soccer in the Community programme. After queueing for over an hour, I arrive at the entrance to the “grotto” (it reminded me of queueing to see Santa in Lewis’s when I was a kid). Excitedly, I asked the steward if all the players were inside yet, only to be told that there are only four players at a time signing autographs. What! Now I’m no brain surgeon, but I reckoned that 101% of the fans queueing were probably waiting to see Kinky, Uwe and maybe Lee Bradbury. Quick mental arithmetic told me I probably had about a 1 in 5 chance of meeting everyone’s hero Gio, and I’m not a lucky person!

Dejectedly I shuffled down the corridor, and turning right, you looked along only to see the arms of players reaching out to sign shirts, books etc. but you had no idea whose face would greet you until you arrived in front of him. Just then, Lee Bradbury’s head popped out into view, and he happily posed for photos (alright if the flashlight was working on your camera – mine wasn’t), and signed autographs. When my turn came, I got his autograph, he signed my Umbro shirt, and signed the back of my new home shirt, which I was wearing. I complimented him on his outstanding début at Burnley and told him how efficient the Portsmouth Internet site was, having deleted him from the current squad within hours of his departure (I did manage to find out that he started 43 games last season, plus 6 as sub, and scored 15 league goals, and 2 Cup goals). I shook his hand and wished him all the best.

Next was Ian Brightwell, who did the honours. He confirmed that he was fully recovered from his injury. Next was Ged Brannan, who didn’t have much to say, probably because I called him Kevin (Horlock). Oops! Moving swiftly along, next was Richard Edghill. Looking along I could see Nigel Clough was the last autograph I was going to get. Those of you who read my Blackpool report in MCIVTA 314 will know I live near Richard in Failsworth, and seeing the vision of my framed autographed Umbro shirt looking a distinct non-starter, I decided to take the bull by the horns, and cheekily introduced myself to Richard, telling him I was the person who wrote to him a few years ago, ‘inviting’ him to dish out the trophies at the Presentation Evening of the local junior football team I ran (he couldn’t do it because he was playing for England in Toulon, France). I asked how his brother Matthew was doing (he used to cut my hair). Basically I was bootlickin’. Anyway I asked if there was any way (please) he could get this dammed shirt signed for me (pretty please) if I gave him my phone number. He agreed, giving me his mobile phone number, and telling me to ring him in a few days. I’ll let you know If I get it back! I asked him how his knee was, after playing a few games. He said there was a little swelling, but he just needs games under his belt now, so he can push for a first team place again. Nigel Clough was very polite and autographed “February” in my 1997 City calendar (hope you’ve all torn out October and November). That was that. Disappointed! (as Kevin Kline said in A Fish Called Wanda, when he found the safe empty).

Next I walked up the steps and out onto the lower terracing, where many fans were sat basking in the bright sunshine, watching the Youth team train (riveting – not!). I wandered over to join others looking over the wall into the space between the Kippax and Platt Lane stands. The players were crossing this area to get to and from their stints in the autograph signing session. As I peered over, I noticed a top of the range Merc, registration FHL 7, and Mike Summerbee asking us to join the queue if we wanted autographs (good joke Mike). As I turned away I heard a familiar bell ringing. It was then I spotted Helen “the Bell” sat on the front row, with the new City flag draped around her. I went down and asked her how she was, and ended up sitting and talking with her for a good 20 minutes. I even had a “go” of the sacred bell! She said she was 79 this year, has been coming here since the 40’s, still sells flowers outside Manchester Infirmary, and thinks the language in the North Stand is disgusting, so there! She said the club had not charged her for her season ticket for two years, and that she had donated that money to good causes. She was disappointed that the Social Club was going, as she always has her parties there. She said she’d heard it was either going to be replaced with Francis Lee’s new offices, or a new Megastore (I hope the latter is true). When I asked her who her favourite player has been, she said she couldn’t chose, but she really liked Joe Corrigan, ‘cos he thanked her for cheering him on when the boo boys were having a go. She said the handle of the original bell got broken last year, when a disabled person next to her whacked it against the wall. A man from Heywood (who happened to be there today) had replaced the bell after an appeal in the local press. She said she always takes it on holiday, ‘cos wherever she goes, City fans always ask to see her bell. I told her that one of my earliest memories of City was standing on the Kippax in my early teens in the early seventies, chanting “Helen, Helen ring yer bell, Helen, ring yer bell”. Finally she thought City would definitely go up this season. Hear, hear!

I made my way back up the terracing and down the staircase, which gave me full sight of the next shift of players on autograph signing duties. There was Kit, Martyn, Tommy Wright… and yes you’ve guessed, The Tiger from Tbilisi, the Georgian Genius, the King of Manchester, Georgiou Kinkladze. I told you I am definitely unlucky, and now I am not a happy chappy. Some grown men were begging the stewards to be allowed in through the exit to touch, or just be close to their idol, all to no avail. I stood for a few moments watching those “1 in 5” lucky ones, and then like a typical Blue, accepted my fate, and walked out of the ground thinking… “maybe next time”.

Suggestion to the organisers of next year’s Open Day: keep the same queueing system, but put a line of twenty odd tables and chairs, each occupied by a first team player, who will happily sit there for two or three hours, signing autographs and posing for pictures with the people who pay their wages!

Question to the organisers of this year’s Open Day: Why didn’t you think of the above idea this year?

Blue ’til I die… Steve Kay (stevemcfc@aol.com)

SCOTLAND REVIEWED

The excursion started on Tuesday morning with a two-car convoy upto Edinburgh (cos that’s where we were staying folks!). Only saw one other car with Blues in on the journey north. Had a drinks stop in Edinburgh, on the Gorgie Road in a pub called the Chesse (sp?). Walked in the boozer and what was hanging up over the bar, a Man Ure pennant (signed) and a distasteful picture of Fergie and Kidd beaming down with the Premier trophy! I mean all that way and that’s the first thing we see (and the landlady wouldn’t take it down for us)!

Got settled into the B’n’B and then set off to Livingston (not Livingstone as they appeared on the souvenir t-shirts). I’d got my hands on some A-Zs of the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas and a guide to Scottish grounds so I had a reasonable idea of where the grounds were. However, we took the safe option and followed the signposts, which BTW took us on a couple of miles detour away from Livingston town centre. Got to the ground and was pretty impressed with the layout, a nice big car park, sports pitches, a club and bar under the stands, a good layout and out of the town centre. The ground was a virtually new and you could tell it was almost pristine. There were a fair number of new shirts to be seen and a large contingent of Blues (I found the number of Scottish Blues quite surprising). The Livingston fans were having to fork out £13 whereas we Blues were charged £9. So we entered the ground and went up to the seats to find the ground only had three stands and if you fancied watching the game for nothing you could sit on a grass bank overlooking the ground (which a few dozen had). There was quite a number of Blues in the crowd, I would estimate around 1,000, not bad considering the attendance was something like 1,901. City lined-up with a pretty strong team: TW, IB, TV, PB, KS, GW, NS, KH, GK, PD, UR and a plethora of reserves.

City stormed into the lead after only two minutes when Dickov controlled a through ball and thumped it through the ‘keeper from about 6 yards out! Rösler kept the ball rolling (I think I’ve got the order right), he met a Bob cross and thumped home a header. The third goal came from a corner (yes hard to believe), Gio swung the ball over and Rösler met it at the back post with another header. Rösler’s hat-trick and City’s fourth of the first half, came when Rösler went through and lifted it over the ‘keeper as he went down. So City had dominated the first half and went in at half time with a comfortable 4-0 lead. The second half didn’t produce the expected further onslaught as City quite visibly took their foot off the pedal and just knocked the ball around. Livingston had the better of the chances in the second half but none really tested Tommy Wright. So the game ended up as a morale boosting 4-0 win, just the tonic for the rest of the tournament. After the game it was a beer in the Livingston club (very smart and a good idea) awaiting for the cars to disperse for our return trip to Edinburgh and the odd pint of beer (OK I’ll admit to drinking ’til 4 in the morning!).

After another day in Edinburgh (playing golf) and another night enjoying the odd shandy(!) we set off on Thursday morning for Stirling (spelt with an ‘i’ not an ‘e’ like the t-shirts). We arrived found our B’n’B, got settled in and then took in the town for the afternoon. After a bite, drink and a kip we set off for the ground. Once more it was a nearly new purpose-built ground, it was away from the town centre, on the fringes of a industrial/commercial estate. The ground this time had two small stands and a couple of small terraces. Stirling were only charging £6 to get in and once more there was a fair number of Blues in the stand. The support was once more fairly vocal and as good natured, as it had been at Livingston and around the 1,000 mark again.

The Blues’ pre-match training regime was evident again, with Richard Money putting the players through their paces. One set were doing their running and the others stretching and kicking a ball around. Most of the faces were familiar, with the exception of Jim Whitley and Dave Morley (who most of us didn’t recognise). The Blues lined up: MM, RE, TV, IB, DM, NH, GW, KH, NS, NC, PD (I think). This time instead of the quick start, Stirling picked up the pace and looked the most threatening; they certainly gave the Blues a torrid time. City just didn’t seem to gel and those who should have been out there playing with the sole intention of impressing the management team (basically Money as Clark wasn’t there for either of the first two games, I suspect he off watching/discussing Bradbury as Pompey were touring in Scotland). These players pushing for a place just didn’t work, or in some cases even try with the exception of Morley, who stood out as City MotM. City came the closest to scoring when Clough fluffed two headers. The first was a diving header which clipped the crossbar. The second was a free header at the back post from 6 yards out which he managed to put into the side netting. The more the game went on, the more Stirling came into the game. Margetson had to pull off and couple of saves to keep the Blues in the game. In the dying minutes a goalmouth scramble was somehow hacked away to keep the scoreline 0-0. The team gave a very disappointing performance, a comedown after the Livingston game and a let down to the Blues who had turned up in force once again. The next couple of nights were spent in Stirling, once more enjoying the surroundings (hic). In defence the booze was sweated out of me on another golf course!

It was a pleasant surprise to find that even north of the border there is a certain dislike of the Rags, where I thought it would have been directed at Rangers or possibly Celtic. One thing: the Stirling fans were disappointed that Gio didn’t make an appearance, even though he was on the bench. This game is where the first indications of possible problems at the Falkirk match arose; we heard that Falkirk would only be giving us 326 tickets/places. A Friday morning call to Falkirk settled our doubts as they assured us that there would be no problems and it wasn’t an all ticket game.

Saturday morning was a wet start for our journey to Ayr, couldn’t find any accommadation in Kilmarnock. We drove through Glasgow, passed Kilmarnock and down to Ayr. Upon arriving at Ayr we found out our room had been let! At least the hotel had the decency to find us another B’n’B. Once more it was a case of settling in and then driving off to Kilmarnock for the ground. At last we found a decent sized ground, I suppose that’s the difference in league status. A couple of pints in the club social club (a good mixture of Blues and Killie fans) and then into the ground. Killie for their part as a thank you to their fans for the Cup support had cut the admission price to £5 for both home and away fans and season ticket holders were allowed free admission (now that is a thank you from the club). This must have encouraged some fans to turn up, as the attendance was given as 7,101, of which easily 1,500 were Blues. The ground had four full all-seater stands, of which City were given the end behind one of the goals; this ground was easily the best of the Scottish tour (a comment about the scoreboards: something to behold, very entertaining, far superior graphics and capabilities than Maine Road’s!). Once more the team were being put through their paces (I like this regime, make ’em earn their money). The Blues lined up: TW, IB, TV, KS, PB, NS, GW, GB, KH, GK, UR.

From a personal point of view I thought this was too defensive a line-up. Brannan and Wiekens aren’t exactly committed attacking players. This showed in the the first 20 minutes as Killie seemed to have the upper hand and if it hadn’t have been for a couple of bad final balls they could quite easily have taken the lead. City weathered the early storm and started to edge back into the game. Gio showing a few flashes of his brilliance ™ and Buzzer showing his skills on the right wing! City went into the lead after 39 minutes. Bob swung over a cross to the far post, Horlock’s header was either blocked or headed back across goal and Rösler turned and thumped the ball home from about 10 yards out. So after looking a little shaky the Blues had managed to creep into a 1-0 lead. This was doubled within minutes when Rösler chased a through ball, the defender’s header fell short of the ‘keeper and Rösler nipped in between them, took it round the ‘keeper on the edge of the box and then rolled it into an unguarded net to make it 2-0.

The second half became a bit of a formality as Killie didn’t threaten as much. Due to in no small amount by the number of substitutions made, they must have taken off nearly the whole team during the course of the second half. This gave City more chance to come into the game. During a spell of Killie pressure City scored the their third goal. Killie had a corner which City cleared to Gio in his own half. He played it to Rösler who broke away down the left wing, there was only one player who managed to keep up with Rösler and that was Kit. Rösler crossed the ball onto the penalty spot and Kit smashed the ball home. Cue ecstatic celebrations on behalf of both the players (especially Kit) and the fans; just when was the last time City had managed such a quick and decisive counter-attack? I reckon Plymouth Argyle FA Cup 5th, Paul Simpson breaks, Paul Moulden scores. City then started to dominate even further, with Rösler missing a couple of chances to complete his hat-trick. Firstly the ‘keeper managed to get the slightest of deflections from a Uwe chip which hit the underside of the bar and bounced away. Then, after rounding the ‘keeper he stumbled, managed to half hit a shot that trickled towards the line before a defender (ex-Rag Neil Whitworth) hooked the ball free. On both occassions Uwe, just lay on the floor having a slight chuckle to himself (right in front of us). City’s fourth came from another corner, the ‘keeper rose to take the ball, he was challenged by Kit and they hit each other (I thought it was a foul anyway). The ‘keeper went down and as the ball bounced Kit controlled it with his arm and then slotted it home; he looked quite surprised when the ref let the goal stand!

The four-nil result was quite flattering. I didn’t think it was a fair reflection of the game, considering Killie had had a pretty good first half. So that was the third game with only one more to go. After the game we took things easy, I even got a call (from Col) to find how the games had been going, typical lack of news from the MuEN? Col also warned me about the problems with the Falkirk game.

Early Monday morning we set off for Falkirk, doubling back on oursleves. Our digs were two streets away from the ground, so we decided to find out once and for all what the situation was regarding the match. The girl on reception told us that the game was on and we should have no problems, so after hearing it from the horse’s mouth we left to have a wander around town and guess what I didn’t have a beer! Just to be on the safe side we set off for the ground early. When we arrived we found queues of both City and Falkirk fans, both bewildered at what was happening, unsure as to whether a ticket or cash turnstiles would be used. The stewards were as much in the dark as the rest of us. From notices around the ground it appeared that due to the ‘safety’ limits set, fans would be counted in and when that section of the ground had reached its limit no more would be admitted. I suspect that after much deliberation between police, club officials and safety officers the decision was made to let fans pay for entrance. The main stand was opened, the majority for home fans. This stand is an all wooden stand, with paddocks at pitch side. Opposite was pitch length terrace (home fans), the standing ends had had a half closed, one end to Falkirk the other to City. Compared with the other grounds this was a throwback to the old days (pre Valley Parade). The warnings about staying away from this game appeared to work (as it was later reported only 350ish Blues turned up), though the ground looked well under capacity.

The Blues lined up with what was bcoming the customary line up: TW (MM), GB, TV, PB, KS, NS, GW, KH, PD, GK, UR, the only significant changes being Ged B coming in to replace Bob and City reverting to a (kind of) three man strike force of PD, UR and GK, which left the midfield a bit under strength. This game ended up as the hardest game for the players. Although City started brightly enough, Falkirk eventually played themselves back into the game and ended up with a creditable draw (or did City finish up scraping a draw!). City’s goal came from a bit of magic from the Georgian Maestro. He danced around a couple of Falkirk players in the centre circle, moved wide onto the left wing, where he promptly lost the ball, to the great delight of the Falkirk fans (it happened right in front of them). To everyone’s surprise, Gio then set about tackling back and winning the ball, after that he set off down the left wing jinking past players. He crossed to the far post for Dickov, who controlled the ball and unleashed the ball into the net via the far post. However, City couldn’t control the game as they had done in the previous games and Falkirk never let the game go. For some reason City insisted on pumping the ball up the centre of the pitch to Dickov and Rösler but the Falkirk centre half James towered above them and won everything in the air. Tommy Wright had left the field after pulling his thigh while dealing(!) with a back pass; onto the pitch came Margaret (well it’s what the Stirling match announcer called him, à la Flipper at Trumpton). When City played the ball around they looked far better but once that was lost that the game plan seemed to fall short. Falkirk’s left winger was giving Vaughan a torrid time and only the intervention of Kit and Beesley stopped any real threats. Falkirk had a claim for a penalty turned down when their winger was through on goal (after beating TV), Kit appeared to have played the man and then the ball, surely a penalty and at best an indirect free-kick when Margaret picked the ball up, but the ref allowed play to continue. The half finished with City leading 1-0 but Falkirk always seeming to threaten. For some reason Buzzer had moved into the centre of midfield and looked completely lost.

The second half was the same with City relying more on the back line to keep them in the game. Rösler had a chance but couldn’t keep his lob on target (mind you he got clattered from the goalie). City started to get complacent and eventually paid the price. Buzzer tried to shield a ball out of play but the ref gave a free-kick for obstruction. City couldn’t clear the danger, the ball fell to Falkirk’s winger who cut in and was pulled down by Wiekens. Falkirk scored from the spot. The game finished 1-1 and Falkirk deserved their goal and the result.

So that’s the game and the trip covered, here’s a run down of the players:

Tommy Wright: usual self, shot stopper, cross getter(?), still slow to the back pass. Injured early on against Falkirk.
Martin Marge(re)tson: didn’t have much to do but coped pretty well. However, when it came to the warm-up he was the only one letting the ball in.
Ian Brightwell: solid self in either of the positions he played (right back and centre half), looks to have improved his crossing ability.
Tony Vaughan: undecided. Looked shakey against the wingers, his distribution left a lot to be desired and doesn’t look fast (deceptively slow?).
Paul Beesley: played well in in the centre with Kit Kit Symons, another one who played well.
Nicky Summerbee: not my favourite player (as you all know) but looks like he’s carried on from last season’s improved form.
Kevin Horlock: all I can say about him is that he was on the left hand side of the pitch; he looked lost, not left back or a winger.
Gerard Wiekens: undecided, caught out quite a few times in the midfield rôle, also some of his passing ended up going astray. Did we really buy him to play in midfield (wasn’t he a centre half in Holland?)? Looks like he’ll have to adapt to the English game before we unleash him to an unsuspecting Division 1.
Uwe Rösler: looked back to his old bustling self, worked hard when played as a sole out and out striker. Could be back to his best.
Paul Dickov: once again worked hard and gave 110%. However, where will FC play him?
Gio Kinkladze: first game looked like his left boot was still on holiday but eventually got back to his best. I just wish he could impose himself more in games.
Dave Morley: from the little we saw (Stirling game) he looks a pretty good prospect, hopefully he’ll continue to improve.
Neil Heaney: another to play against Stirling but didn’t do much to really impress. For a winger he didn’t beat men or supply decent crosses.
Richard Edghill: still doesn’t look 100% fit but his passing has improved (well it had to).
Nigel Clough: only one full game against Stirling, looked slow and out of striking form, his passing was OK. Will he have impressed FC to give him a try?

Well that’s my essay over and done with, hope it was easy reading (overkill I know) and gave you an insight into the tour.

Martin Ford (MFORD@fs1.li.umist.ac.uk)

AWAY KIT

I have today (Thursday) received a letter from the marketing manager. It basically reads that the away kit will be changed at the end of this season and there will not be a third aluminium kit coming out this season.

Paul R Thompson (paul.r.thompson@virgin.net)

A TEAM…

Right folks,

Following the success of Euronet 97 (but a débâcle from the Blue side of things where a certain lack of players forced us to join with the Rags), there is now a suggestion of organising matches on a more regular basis. The idea of both regional and divisional (Nationwide) matches are being played with. One possibility would be for the Internet teams of opposing teams to play each other on the morning of the match between City and whoever. However, before I go any further in putting forward the MCVITee name I would like an idea of how many players would be willing to play for MCVITee. If you’re interested then please let me know, otherwise MCVITee will not be entered into the competition and likely not allowed to enter the EURO(WORLD)NET 98 tournament.

I enjoyed this year’s tournament in Boro, even after a lot of hassles and am perversely looking forward to next year; it’ll be a shame to miss the tournament.

Martin Ford (MFORD@fs1.li.umist.ac.uk)

OPINION – MAINE ROAD OPEN DAY

Congratulations to the club for organising an enjoyable afternoon. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I say approxametly 3,000 fans sitting in the Kippax stand just watching an empty pitch!

There aren’t many other teams in the country who could command that kind of support for such an event.

Tom Tait (springcare@btinternet.com)

OPINION – WIEKENS, VAUGHAN AND BLACKPOOL’S GARY BRABIN

I write in response to Ken Foster’s enquiry about Gary Brabin’s performance in the Blackpool friendly. Gary Brabin is a fat Julian Dicks. He’s a lard arse. He makes Pavorotti look like Kate Moss. Get the picture? This man is fat. He looks like your typical beer swilling Sunday Leaguer (a bit like the Frog in the new Nike ad). He came on as you say in the 65th minute, and almost immediately went straight through a City player (don’t know which poor sod it was, somebody on the left I think). The ref had a lot to say but probably thought that as it was a friendly match, Brabin was probably just trying to be friendly, so he let him off. Then not two minutes later, as the ball was played in the air towards the Blackpool area, Brabin performed an overhead bicycle kick clearance, leaving a crater the size of The Grand Canyon as he crashed to the ground. The only other memorable thing I remember him doing was smashing in a long range shot, which was tipped over by the City ‘keeper.

Regarding Wiekens and Vaughan. As I said in my Blackpool report, the blonde Dutchman Wiekens was impressive for his first game, some good passes, some wayward ones. I have noticed however that he can be a bit clumsy when defending, and I believe he gave away the penalty against Falkirk, so we will have to wait and see. Having watched him against Burnley, I think he will be an asset to the squad. Wiekens may be the midfield ball winner we needed around Kinky. As for Tony Vaughan, he’s a big strong lad (with a passing resemblance to David May). From what I’ve seen so far, he’s solid at the back, and likes to get forward. Against Burnley he seemed to be very left footed, i.e only used his right foot to stand on. He may therefore be the orthodox left back we need.

Whatever our opinions, let’s not pass judgement on any newcomers just yet. The defence can communicate (i.e. no dumb crosseyed goalkeepers), and looks as tight as a duck’s bum, we’ve got good cover in all departments, everybody who pulls on the City shirt is giving 100%, and there seems to be a great spirit around the club at the moment. I honestly believe that Lee Bradbury is the final piece of the jigsaw. Things could be worse. We could have Gary Brabin in midfield! Let’s thank God for small (or is it big fat) mercies. Sit back and enjoy watching the season unfold.

Steve Kay (stevemcfc@aol.com)

OPINION – EASTLANDS MOVE

Francis Lee has today suggested that Manchester City FC would like to buy the new Eastlands Stadium after the 2002 games have ended. City would initially be tenants in the stadium but they would eventually try and purchase the ground from the city council. This changes my opinion on a move from Maine Road. I was worried that, as tenants, we would have little control over the running of the stadium. If we were to buy the stadium we could develop the commercial side to include a big Man City superstore, museum and stadium tour. Obviously we have to ask the questions: where are we going to get the money from? and what will happen to Maine Road? Could we sell Maine Road to fund the purchase of Eastlands? Many people think the Maine Road site isn’t worth anything, is this true?

On another note, the game on Saturday against Portsmouth is a sell-out.

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

REQUEST – KEVIN KINLEY AT CITY?

Our local second division side, the Atlanta Ruckus, has an American player named Kevin Kinley whom the club has indicated spent time with the Manchester City reserves in 1990. If anyone has info on his time at the club, I would greatly appreciate it if you would drop me a line.

Finally, at the end of last season, some kind subscriber to MCIVTA rebroadcast the City/Norwich match across the Internet. I am not sure if it was a real audio broadcast, as I vaguely remember some other technology was utilized. If anyone has any info on the broadcast of this Saturday’s match across the Internet (or if no radio, IRC channels), I would be tremendously appreciative.

Thanks in advance, Hunter Sheridan – Atlanta, GA (hsherida@lawco.com)

WHY STILL BLUE?

Mid sixties, England had won the World Cup and football was what we played or talked about. I was 12 and only old enough to go to home games on my own which meant that every other game was a Rags game. So why Blue, was it because my mates who supported the Rags were all loud mouthed and thick and didn’t have enough brain cells to make up their own minds and just went with the flow? I think the match that finally settled it was City-Liverpool, it was a Wednesday evening game and we got into the ground about 3 in the afternoon thru an open turnstile or gate; we got thrown out a couple of times before finally finding a hiding place under the Platt Lane stand in a dug out in a very dark corner. There we stayed until the gates opened a few hours later and we emerged all covered in Maine Road muck. The game finished 3-2 or 2-3 can’t remember which or even which season. It may well have been the championship season.

From then on it was home and away until the bomb landed at our house. We’re on our way to Oz. Life without the Blues, a fate worse than death. I survived however, thanks to the BBC World Service and a pre-season tour. Was this the real meaning of ‘true Blue mate’? A couple of years back in M/C during the mid seventies and as many City games as possible, then back to Oz and finally to Sweden. On my travels I have spread the faith about the Blues, the only team from M/C. For those of you that have not travelled this planet we live on, when you talk football and say you are from M/C then there is the usual comment about which team you support; this has only made me more Blue, thru the years I have converted many a person to the Blue faith, at least they check City’s result first when reading the paper. Now I have 3 sons, all have seen City live but never win, even my wife got to see a City game when we were in London celebrating her 40th birthday.

Don’t get down to Maine Road much these days for obvious reasons but how much fun I have on a Saturday night here in Stockholm depends a lot on the result. My shrink thinks it’s time to break out of my depression, it has gone on far too long. FC are you listening? Let’s hope things get better, a decent youth programme and another season out of the Premership will give us time to build a decent team that can stay up when we finally get there. Life as a City fan is really like a ride on the big dipper, lots of up and downs and even the odd loop, it’s never boring. Let’s say that if the day to day life at Maine Road was a TV soap nobody would believe a word of it.

Many thanks to all at MCIVTA for keeping us well informed.

P.S. Eddie ‘Jock’ Turnbull from Peel Hall where are you?

Ron Smith (RonS@Kaliber.se)

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


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
Contributions: Ashley – mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com
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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 #318

1997/08/07

Editor:


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