Newsletter #323

This issue carries a match report, 2 match views and recent news (scarce) over the bank holiday weekend. There’s also the latest news on the International Supporters’ Club, the Diary of a Madman (!), a review of the latest issue of City Magazine, plenty of opinion and another excellent Why Blue.

Match reports for tomorrow’s game to me by close of play Thursday please. Naturally, we couldn’t possibly go out this round, could we?

This one reaches 1,593. Keep the faith…

Next game, Blackpool at home (CCCup), Tuesday 26th August 1997


MANCHESTER CITY vs. TRANMERE ROVERS, Friday 22nd August 1997

It’s difficult trying to control the disappointment and depression after only getting a point from a game we really should have won but we’ve really got to support Frank Clark and not get on the players’ backs. Having said that, there were a lot of really disappointing things about the game.

We started really well – every player looked up for it – but it only lasted 10 minutes. After that, the confidence seemed to go – I think the players feel too pressurised from the fans, something that’s been going on at City for years. All the players looked nervous for the rest of the first half. Having said that, Kinkladze looked good, although for the first time since seeing him, I felt he tried to do too much on a number of occasions. He could have passed the ball a few times but instead he tried to take on the whole team and lost it. At times I wonder if he really is too good for us at the moment, and if the others would play better if they were relieved of the pressures of playing with him. It would be depressing to see him go, but if we did better as a team without him, fair enough.

The second half started brilliantly, with a spectacular goal from Horlock. He’d been quiet in the first half, but after his goal, for about 20 minutes, he came alive. I think he could be a really good player if he plays in the centre, like tonight, instead of left wing back. City controlled the game for about 15 minutes after his goal and it was in this period, and looking back at the first half, that I realised that we had made an exceptional purchase in the summer – a player who can at last equal and play alongside Kinkladze – the best player we’ve got, in fact, apart from Gio – Gerard Wiekens. He looked totally composed on the ball, stroking it around like Gio does, and not like the other clubfoots in the team. He was cool under pressure, like Curle used to be, but with better distribution than he ever managed. I really liked the position he played in too – just in front of the defence, like Reid or McMahon at their best? I think he’ll be a real hero.

Margetson had a very good game – making several excellent stops. His distribution was occasionally awful – I just wish we had a ‘keeper who could set up attacks like Rudolph does with his throw-outs at the Swamp. I’ve always thought Brightwell’s appearance on the team list signalled we weren’t good enough – he should only ever have been a really useful sub or squad member – the fact that he plays under every City manager indicates to me how poor we’ve been over the last few seasons. He made a few good contributions in the first half, but in the second, when he came forward, he was hopelessly lacking in the ability to cross the ball. One excellent City attack fell apart when he had an easy cross to make but hit it straight against their defender.

Kit Symons and Paul Beesley at centre backs looked woeful throughout the game – this has to be the area most in need of improvement. Their distribution is awful, as many fans have said before, but also lacking is their heading, their interceptions and their tackling. They both look very slow, and it was this lack of pace which allowed Beesley to be turned inside out for their goal. FC has really got to get the centre of defence sorted out. I think he’s the best manager we could ever have hoped for, and judging by his comments after the game on Sky, he knows exactly where the problems lie – he said it was a very poor goal to give away.

As for Vaughan, I’ll reserve judgement – he looks really keen going forward, but his stature and lack of pace (?) suggests he’s more of a centre back than a left back.

Brannan in midfield looked good on occasions, though I really haven’t seen enough of him. He’s had good reports on these pages, so hopefully he’ll be a good ‘un.

Up front I was disappointed. Rösler and Bradbury look too similar to be in the same team. They are both very British looking, old fashioned centre forwards – full of hustle and bustle and strength, but both relying on good crosses. As City played without any winger, I can’t see how they can both be in the team. Much as I like Rösler’s seemingly whole-hearted displays for City, I can’t help feeling that he misses too many sitters. His chance to seal the game up from 5 yards, with an easy chance set up by Bradbury, sums him up. If he’d scored the chances made for him last season, we’d at least have been in the play-offs. A good striker, like Bull at Wolves, has one chance and scores one goal. Rösler misses more than he scores. I would like to have seen Bradbury on his own, with Kinky alongside/behind him, and Summerbee on the wing. The only good teams I’ve seen at City, in 25 years of watching them, have had at least one winger. To start the game without one, as we did tonight, is for me like England cricket team playing without a spinner – it just isn’t right. Summerbee is the best we’ve got at the moment, so I’d play him – I hope this Scully is good, but I can’t understand why Beagrie has gone.

Disappointed though I am, I feel that we’ve got to get behind Frank Clark. The players looked nervous tonight but a few good wins and the confidence will increase and who knows what might happen then… Frank Clark is the man who will sort us out – the fans have got to do their bit by supporting and not getting on the players’ backs. I think City will really turn it on away from the demands of the home fans – and as I’ve got my ticket for Charlton sitting in front of me, I hope it’s this Saturday.

Don’t panic, support them all you can, and Frank will sort it all out…

Steve Garthwaite (


Not a match report… mere ramblings… much like City’s tactics.

City vs. Tranmere, Friday 22nd August 1997

City line up in a 1-7-1-2 formation:

Brannan Brightwell Wiekens Symons Beesley Horlock Vaughan
             Bradbury                   Rösler

At least that appeared to be the formation to my jaundiced eyes. First a brief precis of the match.

First half, City “attacking” the Platt Lane stand. Margetson makes two blinding saves to keep City in it. Tranmere score what to me was a perfectly good headed (Kelly?) goal which was chalked off for offside (I was right in-line in the Kippax Upper). The magnificent seven at the back never get within shouting distance of Bradbury and Rösler. Kinky is playing well when he can get the ball.

Second half. 11 seconds and from the kick off the ball is played thru’ the middle then switched out to Horlock steaming in from the left and he hits a 30 yard screamer. Oh what joy, and better still the mouthy b****rd sat near me (who only comes to the Academy to moan) missed it. For ten minutes we’re playing incisive, attractive football. Rösler misses a sitter spooning the ball over from 5 yards; Rösler then sends a low shot skidding across the goal just needing a touch. I’m thinking we need another goal or two before the donkeys in our side get hold of the ball again. Back comes the moaner and City start back-pedalling (a connection?). Tranmere start hitting their wide men (they play with two wingers… FC might like to muse on that one) and they are hurting City’s slow flanks. Eventually Kelly receives a sweet pass to the bye-line, cuts it back for Jones and the match is level. In an attempt to give Rösler and Bradbury some much needed service, FC sends on Summerbee and takes off Rösler! Kinky trying his best, is body-checked just outside the penalty area by Thorn when heading directly for goal. Referees don’t appear to like brandishing red-cards in this division so Thorn stayed on and the resulting kick came to nothing. A final flurry of corners for City and that was about it.

Everyone can see it. We lack pace at the back. midfield is rarely the link between defence and attack. Bradbury and Rösler must be really p****d-off – how are they expected to score when they get absolutely no service?


Margetson. Brilliant shot-stopper … Dracula when it comes to crosses.
Brightwell. I love him to death, he really is all-City but unfortunately he’ll never be a right back. Either play him in the centre of defence or not at all.
Vaughan. Same problem, too one paced and one-footed for full back.
Wiekens. Must be wondering (hey hey hey) what’s going on. The lad has class, too slow for mid-field tho’. He would be fantastic in the middle of defence.
Symons. Crap.
Beesley. No brain but solid.
Brannan. Can’t fathom out his rôle in the side.
Horlock. Should be playing left back.
Kinkladze. Absolutely wasted in this team.
Bradbury. No wingers, no service, so I have no opinion on him. Works very hard trying to create, often drifting out wide where our non-existant wide-men should be.
Rösler. Exactly the same problems that Bradbury has.

For what it’s worth this is the team I would like to see given a chance.

             Edghill Wiekens Morley Horlock
	  Summerbee    Kinkladze      Whitley
                Bradbury      Rösler

(Unless we can spend another £12 million on two half decent wingers)

Sorry now I’m rambling again… Blackpool Tuesday night (to me that’s scary)…

Jack Millington (


Oh Dear! Oh Dear! Oh Dear! Friday’s ICQ/Internet chat led by Stan the Man from Sweden and International Blue from Germany (with thanks to Sky for live coverage) reached a dwindling “crowd” of Internet Blues. In fact, when I logged on for a pre-match warm-up chat, I was one of only two Blues on the ICQ. The game got underway and as the match unfurled, Blues joined in swelling the numbers to 12. Friday night matches do not attract the bumper crowds of the mid-week or Saturday games but it didn’t stop us having a good chinwag!

No singing this time though as we expected a resounding win but were met with another in a long line of disappointments. We had taken the lead through a Horlock scorcher which had the Blues with Sky links gasping with awe… and the rest of us bouncing up and down in our swivel-chairs! So why were we not able to capitalise on our apparent supremacy? News was that City were playing like a Premiership side… Here We Go! And There We Went… Tranmere grabbed an equaliser to send us away grumbling and irritable like a child who was taken to a toy-store and who came away with nothing to play with!

FC must be at his wit’s end. He has an array of “talented” players who consistently fail to come up with the goods. Things were grim on Friday but then again, not as grim as recent past. At least we are starting to play like a team with flair and I’m sure the results will come… but until that time, we must be patient (I’ll admit that I was yellow carded on Friday for being pessimistic! Look, I’m sorry! It won’t happen again, ref!)!

Here’s to Blackpool on Tuesday, when we get our season off to a belated winning start… unless… No! That will not happen again! Just a quick note about the Internet Blues’ Tribal Gathering in November at the Academy for the Bradford game… I now have a list of 45 interested Blues. If you are interested in joining us and haven’t yet confirmed to me, please send me a YES in the subject box of an email to Cheers to you all… The End of the Beginning is nigh!

Clive Tysoe a.k.a. Gio’s Bootlicker (


The date for Paul Lake’s testimonial game has been set for Sunday 5th October, 2.00pm kick-off against Manchester United. It is expected that the game will be all-ticket; ticket details will be announced soon.

Kevin Horlock was in the Northern Ireland side that lost 3-1 to Germany in Belfast last week; former City winger Michael Hughes gave the Ulstermen the lead before a hat trick from Oliver Bierhoff secured a rare victory for the Germans over the Irish side. Kit Symons was on the bench for Wales’ 6-4 defeat in Turkey and did not make an appearance.

Frank Clark has “had a word” with Uwe Rösler following the German striker’s angry reaction to being substituted in the game against Tranmere on Friday. Rösler kicked a bucket and threw a water bottle before taking his place in the dug-out. However, the manager will be taking no further action against the player. “I can understand his disappointment and I have had a word with him. I always explain to players why I have brought them off. We needed to change the shape and try and get control of the game again. It wasn’t that Uwe was playing poorly but he had worked very hard and did look the more tired of the front two. Players have got to understand that it is a 14-man game. We make – or try to make – decisions for the benefit of the team. Players are sometimes going to be disappointed, that is understandable,” said Clark.

City have now been allocated both ends of Gigg Lane for the game at Bury on Friday 12th September, so some standing tickets priced £10.00 will be sale as soon as the seats at the other end of the ground have been sold out. The tickets will be on open sale from Saturday 30th August if any remain.

Chris Greenacre scored from the edge of the penalty area for Cardiff City in their 2-1 win against Mansfield Town.

Paul Howarth (



In the next few weeks Manchester City Football Club are planning to launch a new International Supporters’ Club. This new club will not replace the present Supporters’ Clubs but will run beside them. The purpose of the new club is to make the fan, wherever he or she lives in the world, feel closer to Manchester City Football Club through a membership scheme.

To complement the ISC Manchester City have asked me to manage the Internet side of things. With a great deal of help from three City fans, a Mancunian in Manchester, an Austrian in London and a Mancunian in St Lucia, and with a great deal of encouragement from a large number of City fans around the world, we have finally arrived at the point where we can produce a regular newsletter for the ISC.

From mid September we hope to send out this newsletter every fortnight. The team that have been involved in the project have a number of good ideas and we welcome ideas and contributions from subscribers that will make the Internet side of the ISC a success. If you want to subscribe to this newsletter, please contact me.

Bob Young (


(It’s not been a great week!)

Sunday 17 August – Still recovering from Friday night’s historic if inglorious affair at the inappropriately named Stadium of Light on Friday night in more ways than one. Lugging a ton of fanzines up there has resulted in my right arm being longer than my left, and backache. When City play bad, business is bad. However, I’m still chuckling about City’s barbed chant of ‘Where were you at Roker Park?’ There really was no answer to that.

Monday 18 August – Despite the backache I struggle on manfully making an early start at work… it’s the usual Monday morning blues and the usual ear-to-ear smiles from the wannabe Rags, none of whom have been within a mile of The Sty since they roofed it over, if at all. Later, much later, cyber pet wakes me up at 1 a.m. so I have to get out of bed and clean up after it.

Tuesday 19 August – A turn-up for the books. City aren’t playing tonight so we can’t lose! Visit the pub and the Holsten Pils Bavarian Beer Festival at G-Mex – a truly great event with two pint steins weighing in at £3.80 apiece. In fact, you can even take one home if you can’t be bothered nicking one… a snip at seven quid!

Wednesday 20 August – Well, my bad back’s gone, that’s the good news, but it’s been relaced with a four anadin hangover! The reserves crash against West Brom.

Thursday 21 August – After all the hype, Oasis’s third album fails to live up to my expectations. In my opinion they seem to have gone backwards. Oh for a ‘Shakermaker’ or a ‘Wonderwall.’ Just to put the cap on it, I find out that tickets for England’s game with Italy in Rome are going to cost £45.00 apiece… that’s on top of the £18.00 for Graham Kelly’s beer money and Bert Millichip’s bingo fund which go by the name of the England Travel Club. Rip off? You bet!

Friday 22 August – After working all day (well, apart from an hour an half’s lunch down at Corbieres) I had to hang about the Maine Road reception area for almost half an hour waiting for a receptionist who failed to show with some membership application forms. Someone of my acquaintance once remarked that the Main Stand cladding makes it look like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Well, just to confirm the allusion, it’s just the same inside with blue blazered meeters and greeters and general hangers-on shuffling about like Umpa Lumpas (try spelling that when you’ve had a few!). Though it must be said that Alex Williams earns his corn with the amount of flesh he has to press in his rôle as chief greeter. So, only an hour down The Bee Hive before the match. Missed our goal, but saw it on City TV or whatever it’s called and Uwe’s substitution disappointed me greatly. There is no logic in taking off one of your best players, especially when Uwe’s one of the few players who can actually score a goal (for Mr. Bradbury’s reference that’s the big white rectangular thing at the end of the pitch). I just hope he scores one before that scruffy git, Sheringham does. And another thing… when will Clark play Dickov in midfield? He’s just what we need.

Saturday 23 August – Another Saturday stroll round the shops care of Sky TV’s new found enthusiasm for Friday night TV, before I realise I’ve neglected to feed the cyber pet…

  • If anyone is planning to go to Rome for Italy vs. England, please let meknow. There’ll be four of us and at least a couple of others. I think a St.George’s Cross with ‘MCFC Internet Blues’ would be a unique, humorous andnewsworthy addition to the standard dross like Stockport County, BristolCity, Crewe FC. etc. if anyone can help?

Noel Bayley, editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet (


Here is a fascinating insight into the early career of a certain big-name striker. It was published in the latest edition of the weekly Stroud News and Journal and was part of a column written by Frank Gregan, manager of Forest Green Rovers (incidentally, Forest Green is in Nailsworth, near Stroud, and Rovers are early leaders of the Dr Martens League Premier Division).

“I was scouting at Bristol Rovers about two years ago and I recommended a striker to John Ward. ‘He’s big and lively, but has got a first touch like a Canadian lumberjack,’ I recall saying. ‘His second touch is nearly always a tackle, his first touch is so bad!’

“The lad went to Middlesbrough on trial, but Bryan Robson agreed with me and told me that he needed to work on his touch. He was playing in a representative match at Tidworth and after the game we had a chat and decided it was best that he joined Forest Green and learned his trade in the non league scene. Forms were duly despatched to his address. It had to be non-contract as he was serving in the forces.”

“A few weeks later he got lucky and was invited for another trial, this time at Portsmouth. The name is Lee Bradbury and last month he was transferred for £3.5 million to Manchester City.”

“What we at Forest Green Rovers wouldn’t give for a little bit of that as part of a sell-on clause. Still needs to work on that touch, though!”

I don’t know about a first touch or a second touch – having watched Bradbury play against Tranmere, I would be delighted if one of his teammates gave him the chance to actually touch the ball at all.

Keith Hursthouse (


As a treat for my brother, now departed from these shores, I’ve been capturing City’s goals in .avi format. I figured that if they were there for him to see, you all might like to see them as well. Especially those of you outside the UK.

So the page is

See you there!

Mike Brierley (


I think the Chumbawumba tune conversion that Martin Farmer suggested seems like a fine idea. Its got passion and a lot of shouting, which covers all the necessary required elements.

I have another idea. I only got to 2 matches last season (Wolves and Palace away – judging by the scores from those matches it’s probably lucky for everyone concerned that I didn’t get to any more) but I have never heard a chant that to me seems to be obvious.

The Dexys song “Gino”.

The bit that goes “la la la la lalalala lalala, oh Gino”
But with the word Gino cunningly amended to “Gio”

Hmmmm…. bit difficult to explain what I mean to anyone not familiar with the song, and obviously the lalala’s would need to be substituted for something more inspiring! If anyones feeling inventive, I reckon it’s gagging to be heard ringing around the glorious terraces of the 1st Division.

I have tested it and my drinking partners can confirm that it can be kind of recognised when sung/shouted tunelessly and passionately by a drunken idiot. I am sure a crowd of people doing the same can only increase its joyous sound.

Oh… and by the way if this has already been sung and I missed it… forget I spoke.

Jim McNiven (


Issue 12

Cover: Buzzer leaning on the goalpost. Sticker: Tommy Wright. Caption states: Light the Blue Touchpaper; looks like we’ve got a long fuse judging by the first week!

Contents: Summerbee interview, Team by team review, Richard Money, going up, Curley and Les (from the street!), Gerard Wiekens, Tommy Wright, and all the usual stuff!

The Mag starts off with the usual Maine events, main point discusses the new kit, states that Liam was in the Scum with one, and that they haven’t seen a Spice Girl in one. Thank God!

Nicky Summerbee: Good article on Buzzer saying that of course he wanted to stay all along, and that he isn’t really a money grabbing you know what! Said it was good at the Blackpool friendly when some fans (wierdos?!) were bowing at him we’re not worthy style. Says he feels more relaxed under Clark, and that he expects to get even better this season. Makes a good statement about the fact that the team spirit is much better now than under Ball, that is basically his only swipe at Ball.

Murder in the First: “It’s the toughest Div 1 in years – but who are the contenders? Who are the pretenders? And who are the dead-enders? Impress your mates down the pub with this handy bluffers guide” That’s how it starts and as you will have gathered it is a club by club run down on our season’s opponents. If you’re keen on football in general but don’t really follow any other team movements, this is a good guide. Also gives a verdict on where each of the teams will finish and their title odds.

The Money Programme: interview with Richard Money on how the press rumour mill started on him moving to Everton. States there was no truth in the rumours, and that as the story broke he was sunning himself in Cyprus. He states that had the opportunity arose he probably wouldn’t have taken it as he has such a good position at City because he is left in total charge of the training Mon-Fri while Clark takes a back seat on that side of things.

We’re Going Up As Champions: Quite a cool article about the fact that based on results from previous seasons in this Division, we’ll go up this season. They even go to the trouble of predicting the results. So far it’s two out of two – wrong: they had us down for a 2-1 win against Pompy, in May (I wish it was now!) a 2-2 draw at The stadium of Poo.

Follow That Camel! – I liked this, about the pre-season with lots of photos. Particularly funny is the typical City fans and a Camel and how that got more attention. Made me laugh and think – I’d rather have been in Blackpool than Hawaii! Ok maybe not!

Play City Fantasy Footie – for a fiver – I have! We belong in the Premiership, so let’s have City up there substituting Man U! (in my dreams), the only pre-req is that no United players are allowed and that you must choose at least 4 City players, I always did in the Telegraph anyway, is that why I didn’t win? There’s a no money limit and it costs a fiver. Look out for my team, “Gio’s sweaty armpits!” you’ll also apparently see a grim mugshot of me, ’cause you have to send one in.

Centrefold: God, oops my spellchecker’s not working – Gio.

Over the Hill Street Blues: I’ll be honest I’ve only skimmed this one! An interview with two other famous Blues, Curly and Les; talking of Les, I have an anorak point to make, if he is a City fan, why didn’t he put his foot down over the UN*** mirror shirt that was hanging in his car on the street? I would have even if they ended up firing me! From what I can see it basically says that off screen they love each other ’cause they love City but hate each other on screen.

Be There Now: an article on City’s unrivalled away support, of which I am definitely a member, a rundown of how good we are on the road with a guide to how many people we took to away games and how many they brought to us. Interestingly, one of our lowest crowds was to Palace, surprised me quite a lot as I was there; even though we lost I will still remember the day which brought a tear to my eye as all 1395 of us stood in the last five minutes singing Blue Moon when we were three down with ten men.

Gerard Wiekens: An excellent article with a guy that could become a City hero, says he no good at English just like every other foreign import – the interviewer begs to differ and states that Wiekens’ command of the language is better than his. Talks of his frustrations of not being able to come last season, now he here’s he says he’ll give his all – good to hear! Tells how when he came over he was amazed by the support!

MCFC: A diary that tells you all that went on in the pre-season, not so up to date as to include the Bradbury signing, but it covers it. You all know what happened so I won’t go on about it!

20 Questions with Tommy Wright: The usual funny article with a City player, here’s a couple of snippets: If you could have three famous people to dinner who would you have: Ian Botham, George Best and Steve Ovett. I was going to say Beffie Best and Rab C Nesbitt but I wouldn’t fancy the drinks bill! Who’s the funniest player at the club? Paul Beesley. I don’t know whether he tries to be funny but he can make me laugh at any time of the day. Can you tell us a story about Kit’s stag do? No, I was on holiday and they’re keeping pretty stum on it!

That’s all for this one, look out for the Gio special review – coming soon!

James Talbot (


Didn’t we used to have a young striker called Paul Moulden? Now we’ve just acquired a winger called Scully… Moulden and Scully… Spooky! Maybe they could open up an X-file on the Men in Blue and their under achievements?

Tim Stairns (


With all this news about wingers from Estonia and Palace I would like to know what has happened to the Ginger One’s “first £10 million player” Buster Phillips? Is he injured, sold or just not in the reckoning?

With the signing of Van Blerk, does this mean that Vaughan will now play as a centre half, à la Stuart Pearce at Newcastle? Where does Rae Ingram fit in to all of this?

Lastly, hi to the Man City fan in Tokyo who I met in Cyprus when he visited my school in Limassol. Hope you had a good time in Anglesey and have decided to come out to Cyprus next year.

Forever Blue, Graham Lord – Gooch – (


Right, three games into the season (probably four after this has been read) and it’s not the best start we could have asked for, a draw against Pompey and two defeats one by Blackpool (and by all accounts they should have hammered City) and one against Sunderland where the odds were against us anyway.

Already the doubts are circulating in my mind, my initial optimism is beginning to wane. Several things are just not helping, the speculation about Gio’s future, the very poor defending, seeming lack of ability from the team and the big name signings! I mean just who is Scully (besides Mulder’s side-kick), is this what we’re left with, a player from Palarse’s reserves!?

I’m beginning to have my reservations about FC’s abilities as well! OK, I know I’m gonna get flamed and abused but what sort of tactics is he playing? Rösler and Bradbury seem to spend a lot of their time out on the wings, surely that should be left to the wingers? Yeah, talking of wingers just where are they, Buzzer on the bench and a left winger nowhere to be seen? We can’t rely on Gio to perform miracles he needs support from players around him, look how the game changed when Buzzer entered the fray against Pompey. Brannan and Weikens seem more happy to sit back rather than get forward, especially Weikens who steps into the back four whenever someone is caught out of position. Horlock plays on the left side but looks completely lost, he doesn’t appear to know what position he is playing. It appears to me that FC isn’t sure of his own tactics.

IMHO, FC needs to get the defensive unit sorted out. When they stop conceding goals the easier it will become for the rest of the team. That’s where the priority lies and I’m afraid it’s time to get the cheque book out and get some decent players, not some mickey mouse reserve team players, not some has over the hill players, but some decent players with a proven pedigree and quality!

I know it’s only three games, but there hasn’t been any clear indications that the team’s gonna get better. Maybe a return of the injured players and a win will sort out the doubts.

Martin Ford (


Following on from S. Cook’s comments of which I can’t disagree much with, I wish to add another opinion of my own which some may find a touch outrageous.

Whilst City’s decline seems to have been somewhat meteoric since the arrival of FHL, I think what is of major concern is the arrival of our great Kinkladze. Since Kinky’s arrival we have been a joke for all the reasons that S. Cook pointed out – beaten by the likes of Swindon, Reading, Blackpool and Lincoln! Not good reading. What’s this got to do with Kinky then, the most skilful player ever to grace Maine Road?

  1. If Kinky is so influential why are we still struggling against teams like the above?
  2. Why does he consistently fail to impress against teams of such a low level?
  3. We (fans, chairman, manager) have been guilty of becoming totally obsessed with one player who in the main has made no difference (other than occasional flashes of brilliance) in getting City back up to where they should be. We were relegated with, stayed down with him so why is he now essential to have in order to get back up – the evidence suggests otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch him on his day as much as the next person, but I’m a Manchester City supporter not a one player supporter and I don’t buy my season ticket just to watch one player. I’d gladly trade Gio, at the right price of course, for a place back in top flight where we belong.

Dave Zech (


Dear Oh Dear Oh Dear! Our vitriolic friend bemoaning Franny Lee in the last MCIVTA must be several vouchers short of a full ticket surely? Even I can remember two periods of relegation to Division 2 in recent history and we came back long before Franny Lee and the Squeakmeister and again, casting my failing memory back into the dim recesses, every manager we’ve had in the last twenty years has at some time caused crowd unrest by falling out with/selling popular players and bringing in low quality nags, some of whom worked out and some of whom didn’t…

But the moral has to be that whether my faith is blind, stupid or unbelievably misplaced, we are a big enough club with enough flashes (but clearly not enough consistency yet) and enough points still left to play for in 1998 (!) to end up somewhere.

And the only 100% certainty is that a hostile crowd baying moronically for blood will kill any chance of success far quicker than any chairman, manager or player in the land.

Ever Blue, Ever True, Martin Wakeling (


I was going to put my thoughts down on the Tranmere game but now I’m thinking why bother. Here are my mum’s thoughts instead. She reckons we need some muscle in defence. I just think we need a defence. I was also wondering where our players disappeared to for the twenty minutes after Tranmere equalised. On a positive note, Wiekens looked good. I think he’ll do well in the Premiership next season. It’s a shame City won’t be there with him.

Yours Blue… Jim Simmons (and Audrey Simmons) (


I’ve calmed down now after last week’s little rant and am now almost optimistic. The England cricket team’s start to the test match was as bad as City’s start to the season and they went on to win. There’s hope for us yet!

Anyway, on to the answer to my little poser. I asked you:

Earlier this year a man was stopped and arrested in Manchester city centre purely for wearing a replica Man City shirt. Why?

The answer is that the man ‘obtained’ one of the first consignment of Kappa shirts stolen from the lorry in Trafford Park. He was so pleased with his little coup that he decided to parade around the city centre wearing the new shirt … the day before they went on sale to the public. The police promptly arrested him for possessing stolen goods (from deep within King of the Kippax).

Congratulations to Tony Shaw who provided the first (and only) correct answer. He also informs me that the man’s name was Mark Beaver(!) and that the police let him keep the shirt.

Close, but no biscuit to Tair M. Bashir who provided the rather unpleasant thought that he might have been wearing nothing else (I’ve seen a few dicks and arses in City shirts in my time but that’s taking it a bit far).

Stay (Lazer) Blue, Ben Brookes (


As Charlton seem to have one of the worst WWW profiles in the UK, I have no idea how to get to their ground for the away clash on the 30th. We’ll be driving up to South London, parking up and making our way by London Transport. Does anyone have details of:

  1. the stadium’s (?) address.
  2. the nearest tube/BR rail station.
  3. which bus to get from the city centre.

Much appreciated, as is the tremendous job that the Dream Team has been doing for a few years now (I’ve been with you since the launch!).

All the best in Blue, Matt Dye (


I have been following City since a couple of players came across the lake to teach my teams how to play a better brand of football. I now have the opportunity to see City play live and in person next week at Charlton (outside of London). I know some of you travel to games and check out some local pubs for before and after ceremonies, and I was wondering if this will occur on August 30? Directions would also be helpful.

Bill Ryan, City Fan in Alabama, USA (


My great sadness in life is that the first F.A. Cup final I remember seeing on T.V. was Leeds vs. Chelsea in 1970. I don’t know whether that was the year we first got a telly, or whether in ’69 at 6-years-old I just hadn’t got into footy, and was too busy playing with lego. My dad started taking me to Maine Road in 1971, having been going himself since the war. We used to sit in the Platt Lane stand (my mum insisted I was too young for the Kippax! We didn’t miss a home game for seasons, and saw some of the great Bell, Lee, Summerbee moments.

But for me, the Why Blue thing grew out of three life changing experiences.

  1. 28.2.74. Wembley Man City 1 Wolves 2. It was my 10th birthday presentto be taken to the League Cup Final, so I knew we must win. Intears at the end at the loss of innocence, at my first hard lesson inlife, but conscious of the fact that what I was feeling was defianceand passion. My scarf was clutched tighter on the journey home, and Iknew that supporting City was beyond choice now.
  2. Colin Bell’s comeback match vs. Newcastle on Boxing Day 1978 (Ithink). A packed Maine Road made more noise than I had ever heardwhen Colin came on after half time, and with his first touch, headedjust over the bar. We won 4-0 and though he was never the sameplayer as before the injury, that was a wonderful afternoon.
  3. Peter Barnes’ first season. Before the days of live footy and everygame being videoed, every right back in the old First Division hadthe pi** taken out of them by the unknown Peter Barnes. I remember the groundgoing quiet as the ball was played to him, and the noise graduallyrising as he got closer to goal, inevitably beating 2,3,4 defendersbefore chipping in a cross from the by line for Joe Royle or MickChannon to convert. My all time favourite City player, and I felt soproud the following season when at last he made his England début inthe World Cup qualifier against Italy, and nearly pulled off the 3-0win we needed with a typically mazy run near to the end.

During the early 1980’s, my dad started to struggle with the long walk to the ground, and soon he had a heart attack and eventually had to have bypass surgery. I’ve carried on going to a few games a season, and having moved away from the Manchester area, found it harder and harder to get to many matches through work commitments. Last year though was the 50th anniversary of my dad’s first visit to Maine Road, so I treated us to two seats in the Main Stand. He’s not too clever on his pins now, but it was great to see him jump to his feet when we scored, beating Stoke 2-0 with goals from Dalian Atkinson and Steve Lomas. I don’t think I had remembered that when City scored was the only time we really hugged each other. He was knackered when we got home, and I suppose we may not get to Maine Rd together again. I guess there must be loads of fathers and sons like us, with little else in common maybe, other than an often unspoken affection that only shows itself on match days, when we know we will be City till we die.

John Roughton (


Full-time score and scorer for Sunday, August 24 1997

Curle (og 16)

Full-time scores and scorers for Saturday, August 23 1997

BIRMINGHAM CITY         3-0    READING                   16,495
Devlin (38)
Bruce (81)
Ndlovu (88)
BRADFORD CITY           2-1    IPSWICH TOWN              13,913
Steiner (10)                   Dyer (74)
Cundy (og 52)
BURY                    0-0    CHARLTON ATHLETIC          4,657
MIDDLESBROUGH           0-1    STOKE CITY                30,122
                               Stewart (60)
NORWICH CITY            0-2    CREWE ALEXANDRA           11,821
                               Rivers (29)
                               Smith (60)
OXFORD UNITED           0-1    NOTTINGHAM FOREST          9,486
                               Bart-Williams (71)
PORT VALE               3-1    SUNDERLAND                 8,290
Mills (3)                      Phillips (76)
Naylor (39, 72)
Sinclair (23, 66)              Armstrong (28)
SHEFFIELD UNITED        2-1    PORTSMOUTH                15,895
Fjortoft (4, 15)               Perrett (57)
SWINDON TOWN            1-1    HUDDERSFIELD TOWN          7,683
Hay (26)                       Stewart (43)

Full-time score and scorers for Friday, August 22 1997

MANCHESTER CITY         1-1    TRANMERE ROVERS           26,336
Horlock (46)                   L Jones (61)

Up to and including Sunday, August 24 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Nottingham Forest        3      3    0    0      6     1         9
West Bromwich Albion     3      3    0    0      6     3         9
Sheffield United         3      2    1    0      4     1         7
Swindon Town             3      2    1    0      4     1         7
Bradford City            3      2    1    0      4     2         7
Birmingham City          2      2    0    0      5     0         6
Portsmouth               3      1    1    1      6     5         4
Charlton Athletic        3      1    1    1      4     4         4
Tranmere Rovers          3      1    1    1      4     4         4
Queens Park Rangers      3      1    1    1      3     3         4
Wolverhampton Wanderers  3      1    1    1      2     1         4
Stoke City               3      1    1    1      1     2         4
Oxford United            3      1    0    2      4     4         3
Crewe Alexandra          3      1    0    2      4     5         3
Port Vale                3      1    0    2      4     5         3
Sunderland               3      1    0    2      4     6         3
Middlesbrough            2      1    0    1      2     2         3
Bury                     3      0    3    0      1     1         3
MANCHESTER CITY          3      0    2    1      4     6         2
Stockport County         3      0    1    2      2     4         1
Ipswich Town             2      0    1    1      1     2         1
Huddersfield Town        2      0    1    1      1     3         1
Reading                  3      0    1    2      1     5         1
Norwich City             3      0    0    3      1     8         0

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


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Technical Problems: Paul –

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #323