Newsletter #324

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A mere 12,000 souls turned up at Maine Road on Tuesday night, hardly surprising when the game was live on Sky, and midweek games are traditionally poorly attended, especially the more unattractive fixtures. I’m afraid I’ve had to ‘pinch’ a match report from SoccerNet as I didn’t receive any! If you go to games, please think over sending in a match report as they are probably the most important component of McVittee.

This issue also has the regular ICQ view, the latest news, another possible fixture for MCIVTA FC – especially noteworthy for London-based Blues, a good Why Blue and quite a lot of opinion. In particular, the opinion is focussed on certain members of the team and whether they are worth their place; will FC use Gio’s injury to make a fairly major reshuffle?

Match reports to me by Monday evening.

Lastly, many thanks to all those who offered to send me a replacement mouse; these will join the spare modem and hopefully prevent a reoccurrence of Wednesday, which saw me ringing all and sundry to try and at least borrow one for Wednesday evening – not easy task in the PC temple which is Zeneca!

Next game, Charlton Athletic away, Saturday 30th August 1997

MATCH REPORT

MANCHESTER CITY vs. BLACKPOOL, Tuesday 26th August 1997

Courtesy of SoccerNet

Kevin Horlock turned swiftly from hero to villain as Manchester City crashed out of the Coca-Cola Cup in a dramatic shoot-out at Maine Road.

City were within two minutes of going out in normal time when Horlock threw them a lifeline with the goal that sent the match into extra-time.

But when it came to the dramatic penalty finale, he was one of the two City men to miss. The other was £3 million record buy Lee Bradbury.

This defeat by Second Division Blackpool is another cup humiliation for City to rank with those at the hands of Halifax, Shrewsbury and Lincoln in recent seasons.

Blackpool kept their nerve in the nail-biting spot-kick finish. Horlock had his kick saved to leave City trailing 3-2 and, although Tony Butler shot wildly over for Blackpool, Bradbury also fired high and wide. Then up stepped Michael Mellon to crack in the penalty that provoked crazy celebrations among the Blackpool players and their 2,000-strong band of fans.

Proud Blackpool boss Nigel Worthington claimed he could not have cared less about the shoot-out, saying: ‘Once the lads had given everything in the 120 minutes I couldn’t have asked for more and I wasn’t really bothered who won on penalties. City looked the livelier team in extra-time but we stood up to them – we battled. We never even thought about penalties before the game. We just sorted it out on the pitch. Six or seven lads went forward and we picked five to take them. When City scored late on it looked bad but these lads I have are honest and I felt we got the right result in the end.’

So yet again cup combat became a pain game for City. This was the first anniversary of the departure of Alan Ball and since then it’s been a troubled trail for the club who seem to slip on a succession of banana skins.

They are still looking for a win after five games of a season which is rapidly turning sour. Manager Frank Clark had no complaints about the shoot-out. ‘I honestly don’t know a better way of settling cup games than by penalties,’ he said.

But he was unhappy about Gary Brabin’s 76th-minute tackle which led to his brilliant Georgian international Georgi Kinkladze being carried off. ‘I felt it was a two-footed tackle which should not be allowed but the referee didn’t even give a free-kick,’ said Clark.

Blackpool fully deserved this success, having arrived with a one-goal lead and a resilient defence as upright and solid as the town’s famous tower. City were jeered off at half-time and it was not until the 88th minute that they gave their fans something to cheer. Then Dutchman Gerard Wiekens crossed and Horlock, who had scored a stunning goal in Friday night’s televised 1-1 draw with Tranmere, struck again. His fierce right-footed effort carried too much power for Blackpool ‘keeper Steve Banks whose goal then came under real pressure for the first time in the extra half-hour.

City substitute Paul Dickov almost broke Blackpool’s hearts with two crashing efforts which were denied by Banks. Another City substitute, Jason Van Blerk, headed against the bar and Bradbury, still searching for his first goal since a summer move from Portsmouth, was just inches away with a flashing header.

But Blackpool, who had dominated earlier, created plenty of anxiety for City and substitute Tony Ellis thought he had won it after 107 minutes, curling a shot just inches past the far post after a devastating run from Mellon.

However, their ecstasy was reserved for the penalty shoot-out. And their success was all the more remarkable in the knowledge that they had been savaged 4-2 at home by Wycombe at the weekend.

Poor old City were once again left as the fall guys.


ICQ MATCH REPORT – MACARENA MADNESS!

CITY 1 Blackpool 0 – Aggregate 1-1 (Blackpool won 4-2 on penalties)

This match was memorable for me in a number of ways… Firstly, it was my first online penalty shoot-out (no more, please, City! My nerves are so ragged I’m still shaking a day later… or maybe that has something to do with the after-match sorrow-drowning!). Secondly, the last time I went to Blackpool, I went on one of those carousels, felt ill, was sick and went home thoroughly cheesed off… that was how I felt last night! Sadly, it’s not just a Pavlovian association with Blackpool because I’ve never been to Lincoln, for example.

The ICQ page glittered with Internet celebrities from all over the world as usual, but no such brilliance filtered through to City. Reports were sketchy at first as all 15 Blues online were incommunicado with Maine Road. We were all scratching around on various websites for the latest score when someone logged on briefly just to “stick his head round the door” with the news that there was no news. Great, I thought! The wit and repartee flowed thick and fast but our heroes were only the former. What happened to the extra training during Summer? When will it kick in?

The degree of suffering of City fans should be brought to the attention of Amnesty International. It’s inhumane! The U.N. would severely punish City if they got wind of what’s going on here! The truly sad thing about all this is that we have a good manager now who has brought in new players. I suspect he will be bringing in a whole lot more after last night.

Anyway, back to the online match commentary. During matches, whoever is nearest to a radio or TV gives the commentary. This works well for those of us overseas and when news comes of a goal for City we all do our own little celebration. Mental Texan Blue (that’s not his real name, you know!) was booked for an impromptu Macarena following Horlock’s late strike. I felt sorry for MTB as I would have done the same if I knew how it went! The online ref was unhappy with MTB’s exhuberant display and Rules are Rules! I was booked in the previous game for being too pessimistic… I’m going to appeal the charge as I think I have a very good case. Last night I was feeling good. I honestly didn’t believe that history (Lincoln, ouch it hurts to type that!) would repeat itself. But we all know City…

Why don’t City refuse the TV cameras access to their games? It’s the kiss of death whenever City are on live… I can’t get Sky here and I’m beginning to feel happy about that because I know I would watch every City game on live and I’d end up losing my voice at the TV! Yes, I’m another Blue Basket-case, I’m afraid.

Look, it can’t get worse! Even a point on Saturday will be greeted with the customary “Oh Well”s and “Who’s next?” We should be setting our sights higher and I agree with FC’s comments that the players are highly paid to perform and when they don’t the fans get upset (understatement). Come on you Blue heroes, stop this inhumane torture or I’ll call in the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Blues).

On a brighter note, I now have 51 names on my attendance list for the Internet Blues Tribal Gathering. It’s going to be a great day out (even if City decide not to bother playing well on the pitch!) and we are trying to put together something really special with the help of MCFC. If you fancy it or you know other Internet Blues who would like to come along, just send me an email with YES in the subject box as soon as you can. I need to give MCFC a good idea of the numbers of Blues who will be “gathering”.

P.S. If Tony the Tattooed Donkey reads this, please let me know if you and your girlfriend will be joining us for the gathering. I’ve accidently deleted the email you sent me earlier.

Cheers and CTID (which may be soon if we don’t get our act together… only kidding!)

Clive Tysoe a.k.a. Gio’s Bootlicker (harmony@candw.lc)

NEWS – CREWE FIXTURE REARRANGED

City’s forthcoming home game against Crewe Alexandra (Saturday 6th September) has been postponed due to international commitments and is now scheduled to be played on Wednesday 29th October. City’s next home game is therefore against Norwich City on Saturday 20th September, which Gio Kinkladze is likely to miss even if he is fit, as Georgia play Moldova on the 24th September.

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

NEWS – ROUNDUP

Gio Kinkladze’s injury appears to be nothing more than a badly bruised ankle, despite fears that there could be a break or maybe ligament damage. He’ll certainly miss Saturday’s trip to Charlton and probably the Nottingham Forest game next Wednesday. Frank Clark said: “His ankle still looks quite nasty but apart from the bad bruising it is nothing serious.”

Tommy Wright is on the mend after suffering a leg injury in pre-season. “He played in a 45-minute practice game this morning and is much improved but he’s still going to be out for the next two matches,” said Frank Clark. Wright’s lack of match practice hasn’t kept him out of the Northern Ireland squad to face Albania on 10th September though, and Kevin Horlock is also included. Martyn Margetson, whose contract expires at the end of the season, will continue to deputise for Wright with City.

Ray Kelly and Tony Scully have both been named in the Republic of Ireland’s U21 squad for the games against Iceland and Lithuania early next month. Scully has also been brought into City’s first team squad for the trip to Charlton, though it’s not clear whether he’ll play. With Gio Kinkladze certain to miss the game though, it’s possible that we’ll see a City side with at least one winger!

Following the First Round Coca-Cola Cup exit at the hands of Blackpool and only two points from three games in the League so far, the pressure is starting to mount on Frank Clark, but he has dismissed talk of a crisis as being “ridiculous.” He said: “Everything seems to be exaggerated about this club. I understand that because it’s such a big club. But it’s not just Manchester City, there’s talk of managers under pressure after three or four games. It’s ridiculous. It’s frustrating for us and our magnificent fans at the moment but the sooner we get our first league victory the sooner it will take the pressure off.”

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

TRIP UP NORTH

Well I have returned to the sunny (rainy) South after spending a wonderful(!) time up in dear old Manchester.

The family wanted to see Blackpool so I took the tribe up there. Shock horror there was a Rag shop on the sea front. Paid a visit to Cleveleys to a ‘freeport’ and spotted a shop selling football items, so I wandered in. The rest of the family stayed outside and called me outside pointing to the sign over the door – ‘Rag Megga Store for poor suckers’ said the sign… cue me dancing around trying to dust the contamination off and swearing loudly about scum and things like that. What confused me was the fact they were selling other teams’ shirts as well (I didn’t spot any City shirts though)!

By the way the City shop in the Arndale is open on Sundays – and credit cards work on Sundays too.

Tuesday night I took the family to Maine Road to see the Blackpool game. Son and daughter were busy collecting autographs and so was my wife (Gio signed her diary … swoon) I had a word with FC and Eddie McGoldrick. Eddie said he was very frustrated not being in the first choice squad.

The game was the good old City I know and love …. crap! First half was embarrassing with Blackpool putting on a fine display of soccer. City were back to the old lob it and see. The bringing on of Eddie McGoldrick and Bobbit livened the team up quite a bit and we started to put some decent moves together. Jason Van Blerk looked promising with some good play on the wing. Looking back, the individuals were not that bad but no way are we playing like a team.

I’m not happy with the way the team is set up at the moment; we either play down the middle or down the wings but never both in the same game. All our attacks are obvious and the forwards don’t seem to like having a pot at goal unless in the box. The inclusion of Dickov would put some fire into the middle and Summerbee and Van Blerk would put some action onto the wings. I love Gio but the inclusion of him puts us down to 10 men most of the time unless he decides to play. I’m sorry to say it but he is not consistent and we need 11 players on the park who are prepared to do the biz every time the team play.

It was my first visit to Maine Road for ages and I must say the lack of a crowd was a shock, 12,000 was just not good enough and it wasn’t until the 2nd half that the North stand and Kippax started to sing. The Main stand as usual were silent and apart from some nutter (me) in the Family Stand, so was the Platt Lane. We need to get behind the team better like we do when playing away. Am I wrong or is it another bunch who go to away games? I’m used to singing Blue Moon whilst the team lose to some dire team away from home. Also the booing at half time was a disgrace; sure the team played badly but we need to encourage them. I would love to see City play every home game yet those who can seem to love destroying the morale of the team.

I’m now looking after the Official Supporters’ Club Web site and it any of you have some upto date info on the branches please let me know some of the gen seems more than a little out of date.

Andy Birkin (A_J_Birkin@msn.com)

ISC REQUEST

I have received a large number of offers over the last 12 months to help with the Internet/ISC and related matters. I have taken up a numbers of these offers and the lads have done a great job. Now I think it is time to get a contact/agent in every country or State and really get the ISC moving. Please get in touch with me if you fancy being a contact. You never know, you might get a free ticket to a match one day!

Bob Young (dylan@itl.net)

BARRY SILKMAN

There was recently some debate on this newsletter about Barry Silkman, one of the few Jewish players to play for Manchester City. Someone asked of his current whereabouts… well, a Jewish friend of mine tells me that according to the Jewish Chronicle 22 Aug 1997, he is a veteran 45-year-old playing for Wingate and Finchley in the Icis third division. He set up their goal in the opening game of the season against Epsom (1-2). Rumours of a swap deal for Lee Bradbury have been dismissed as ludicrous by Finchley, though City are reported to be ready to offer Symons and Bradbury for him.

The Samaritans can be contacted on 0345 909090

Stuart Barstow, Audenshaw, Manchester (stuart@trouser.demon.co.uk)

MCVITEE FC

Folks,

Thanks to those who have offered to represent the magnificent MCVITee FC (if you’ve not heard directly from me then don’t worry, your offer to play has been noted).

How would everyone like to represent MCVITee in their first away game?

There has been an offer from the QPR Internet team for a game when City travel down to Loftus Road for our October 26th clash (Sunday); the game will probably take place on Sunday morning. I know it’s a long way to go, but it’s a game and a chance to show how good we really are (sic) against one of the leading teams from the previous EURONET comps. Plus it gives any Southern based players a chance to play (some have said they’d find it difficult getting to Manchester to play – yes I know it’ll be just the same for us Northern based fans going to Lahndin).

So how many keen players do we have for our first away trip?

Can any players let me know ASAP so I can get in touch with the QPR list.

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

SPORTING LIFE PRESS RELEASE

http://www.sporting-life.com/

Follow every soccer game in one place this season.

Soccer fans can follow every match in England and Scotland LIVE in one place for the first time this season. Sporting-life.com launched a brand new soccer service for the new season on Saturday August 9. It includes an updating list of all the games being played as they happen, showing every goal, every scorer and all goal times. Most people follow clubs in several or all divisions, but it has been impossible to check on them all at once – until now. Sporting-life.com brings you the lot from the Premiership right down to the third Division in Scotland. Each division has its own section, with all the news, latest scores, results and tables.

There will be club pages for all the teams in the FA Carling Premiership, the Nationwide football League Division One and the Bell’s Scottish Premier League, plus wider coverage of the lower divisions than you’ll find on any other Internet site.

Sporting-life.com will bring you the latest scores as they happen for all the day’s games, with details of scorers and goal times, on our new live service. You can also follow the goals as they go in with our new desktop vidiprinter. Just watch out for the live links on matchdays.

The news and match reports service will be second to none and sporting-life.com will be the only site with pre-match betting previews and after-the-match interviews for every FA Carling Premiership game.

If you fancy a bet, sporting-life.com’s five-year form book will be a must, plus, we will have the Spread statistics too.

So, if you want to follow football – as it happens – stay connected to sporting-life.com.

For further information contact: Ed Andrewes on 0113 220 4706 or Karen Woods on 0113 220 4733


SOME THOUGHTS ON TUESDAY’S GAME

Why is Ian Brightwell playing for us? How has he managed to be a professional footballer for so long when he cannot do the basics of the game, namely control, pass or cross the football. He may well be City through and through but it does help us when he sends another cross into the North Stand wasting yet another opportunity. He simply has not got the skill to play right back and his distribution is so poor he doesn’t look much better at centre half and his height leaves us vunerable to the high ball.

Frank Clark needs to accept that Kit Symons is out of form at the moment and should not be playing. The games against Portsmouth and Tranmere highlighted this to the extent that it shows other teams a huge weakness which they will attack.

My final point is where have the kids disappeared to? Jeff Whitley would at least inject some urgency into the midfield which we have been missing in every game this season. He could certainly do a better job than Brannan who seems to do very little.

David Morley looks like he could be a great player at centre half and must be feeling very confident with his promotion to the first team. He could not play any worse than Symons or Beesley.

Where is Lee Crooks? Frank Clark keeps talking about a passing game and Crooks is one of the best passers of the ball in the current first team squad. He could also do a much better job at right back than Brightwell.

I was pleased to see a change on Tuesday where Summerbee started the game. He should be included to provide the service to Rösler and Bradbury. I feel sorry for him as the number of decent crosses he has received could be counted on one hand.

There are some bright spots however.

  • Richard Edghill will be a huge boost to the defence in terms of pace if he has fully recovered from the knee injury.
  • Gerard Wiekens looks like a good buy.
  • Eddie McGoldrick is back he is much better than Brannan.
  • Tony Scully – a left winger. Haven’t seen one of those for a while.
  • Jason van Blerk – looks like he could do a job for us at left back while Vaughan plays in the centre.
  • Margret Margretson is playing quite well considering the defence he plays behind.

Glyn Owen (gtowen@globalnet.co.uk)

RAMBLINGS I

Well panic struck me last week after the announcement of Lakey’s testimonial. I patiently waited for the fixtures to come out and then to be chopped and changed as usual after the week of release. Typical of my luck that the game was announced on the day I’m due to fly home, October 5th. So a mad dash to the travel agents was in order to change the flight a day later. No flights from Manchester to Orlando that day aahh! Changed it to fly out on September 23rd to arrive on the day we would be playing in the Coca Cola Cup 2nd Round then we all know the rest. Gio won’t be playing versus Norwich due to playing for Georgia methinks, now I may not get to see him at all due to this injury. Travel agent comments “this team must be good if you’re going to all this trouble to change your trip.” I almost fell of the chair as I’m sat at his desk with fixtures in hand. Then he adds “don’t you all want to kill each other over there over that soccer?” No I mumbled, just each other on Blue View.

Anyway I’ll be there to cheer the lads on for the home game versus Swindon. I convinced the wife what a lovely part of the country the Norfolk Broads are so I’ll catch the Ipswich game and then back up to the Academy for Lakey’s big day. Hopefully I’ll run into a few of you whilst I’m over there for a pint or two.

For all you Blues over here in the States, you can catch a Premier game every Monday evening on tape delay on ESPN 2. There’s a listing of all the upcoming games at http://www.soccertv.com/. Also Mike Brierley’s page at http://members.aol.com/mb241160/index.htm is great for overseas Blues and definitely has to be checked out. You can download City’s goals and watch them over and over again, thanks again Mike.

Here’s my two pence worth on our current situation. I can’t comment on the defence as I’ve not seen it this year but the midfield/forward line has had the same problem for a couple of years now and I’ve seen plenty of that live and on tape. We must buy players who can create as well as Gio (I thought this was Bradbury?). The movement off the ball when he gets it is nil and the players expect him to beat 3/4 players and score every time. Teams know if you stop Gio inevitably you stop City, and if you stop City the first 30 minutes then the crowd get on their backs. They just stick a hacker on him to shadow him wherever he goes and that’s that. If however, we did create and score from other players then the man marker would have to be involved in getting his team to score and worrying about our other players thus releasing Gio a lot more. It kills me to say it but look at the Rags. You could/can never say if you man-mark C*ntona/Beckham/Giggs etc. then you stop the team, no cos some other player will create and that allows their gifted players to drift in and out of games. This happens to all good players like Gazza, McManaman etc. Even full backs are creative and dangerous nowadays i.e. Dixon, Irwin, Nevilles, McAteer etc. … and we have Brightwell! We used to have Giggs on our books and people moan about how he slipped through. Well, according to what I’ve read on BV he, like Gio shouldn’t be in our team as he drifts in and out of games. It’s Graham Taylor-like thinking. The best statement for me is that you don’t throw away the diamonds if they’re set in a copper bracelet or something to that effect. When trying to point the finger at what’s wrong with City the last place it should be is at Gio. No he’s not bigger than the club and if an offer of £12 million came in or a deal like Kennedy and Babb and £8 million then that’s an offer that would be tempting but in reality nobody will pay £12 million now because cos we’re a struggling team and somebody will try and get a knockdown price of around £7 million which nowadays gets nowt. Lee Sharpe – £5 million, Barmby – £5 million, think about it.

The second thing that City have to do IMO is toughen up. I think we’re a soft touch and teams know this. The players have to look out and stick up for one another. It’s a battle on that pitch and we have to get stuck in. When a player of ours (usually Gio) gets kicked our players need to give that player as good as he gives, get in his face and show him who’s boss, step forward Symons, Beesley, Brannan, Horlock. McGoldrick is a player who did this to some extent last season. This division is physical and full of kickers and full of refs that let things go that should be punished. We need to compete physically and give as good as we get.

It seems we have the workhorses/average lads like Brannan, Horlock, McGoldrick, Brightwell. What we need is more attacking skill. I think/hope/pray to God we’re only a win away from a confidence boosting kickstart to our season. It’s that first win that maybe the hardest to come by. I’m praying for 3 points at Charlton. CTID.

Paul Whittaker (mancity@jax-inter.net)

RAMBLINGS II

I feel the urge to put fingertip to keyboard and share these ramblings, incoherent ramblings though they may be, but if the start of the season is anything to go by what do you expect! Now I really am City ’till I die, but I would prefer to see an improvement in the team never mind some silverware before I die. I am only young (ish, I suppose it depends who you compare me to) and I am lucky enough to remember the marvellous 1976 Cup victory (I still love Dennis Tueart – my hero!) but I want more. Now I am not a pessimist, my glass would be half full not half empty (or even better – full), but I am not feeling as confident about this season as I was on the morning of 9 August 1997. I know we shouldn’t panic (easier said than done) and that we should get behind the players (preferably with a size 10 steel toe-capped boot) but why do the Men in Blue, Insanity Defenders, seem to have forgotten how to play football? Now I will be the first to admit that I’m not too hot on all this tactical stuff and people playing out of position etc. but I do know good, skilful football when I see it and I have not seen my laser blue “heroes” play it recently. In fact I could quite easily accept s**t, boring football as long as we got 3 points and a few goals. Things must get better, surely they can’t get any worse.

Just on a completely different note: can anybody please tell me where David Morley has come from? I don’t know how I’ve missed this but I have. Also how many ex-City players are there in this division that are going to haunt us, who do they play for and why are they playing better than when they wore a blue shirt? And what are the six winning numbers for the National Lottery, Saturday’s or Wednesday’s, I’m not fussy. Is the truth out there?

Still and destined to be Always Blue, Tricia Joyce (p.joyce@mmu.ac.uk)

OPINION – THE MEDIA AND MATCH REPORTS

OK, I know we were bad and the start to the season is a let down, but what is all this media drivel about crisis? A ridiculous article in the MUEN on 27 August saying we have a crisis in the making, and Sky TV blowing things out of proportion, especially the ex-Red Alan Brazil, who had his own Manchester crisis when he failed as a striker at OT afer he moved there from Ipswich. On top of that we have Malcolm Allison saying it was the worst ever City performance! Has he forgotten his dreadful start to the season in the early 80’s, that led to the sack for him (after he had broken up a decent team, Gary Owen etc., to build a low quality outfit).

Only 3 League games have gone. We have not lost at home. We lost away with 10 men, to promotion contenders. Not a crisis. Leeds and Aston Villa have made much worse starts. Liverpool took 2 points from their first 3 games. Let’s stop piling the pressure on FC and get behind him and the team. It takes time for new players to gel. The worst thing that could happen is for FC to walk out, due to over-critical attitudes.

Having said all that, we were awful in the first half, improved in the second and again in extra time. The final ball into the box is very poor, even from Kinkladze. Crosses are too long or hit low into a wall of defenders. Symons is not a leader and there was more urgency about the side when Eddie came on and injected some drive into the team. Vaughan looks better at centre back than at full back. We still can’t pass opinions on the strikers, because they are not being serviced. I think the Kinky absence might prove useful for the time being. He holds the ball too long at times, when a simple through ball to someone making a run (like Beardsley does), would be more effective. Pushing Wiekens further up, with McGoldrick in the hole, may be the answer. Summerbee needs to be kept on from the start. Horlock is doing great on the left.

Suggested team:

                     Wright (Margetson)
        Brightwell   Beesley   Vaughan
                   McGoldrick
    Summerbee   Wiekens   Brannan   Horlock
         Rösler       Bradbury

John Ogden (JDOGDEN@compuserve.com)

OPINION – TIME TO GET BEHIND THE TEAM!

I was at the game on Friday Night against Tranmere and was disgusted at the way some of the crowd slag off and have a go at the players. There were about 8 or 9 occasions in the 1st half when one of our defenders came out with the ball and there was absolutely no movement from 6 players in front of him; now in this situation he has a choice, he can either play a long ball and risk the loss of possession or he can stop and play a short square ball to one of the other defenders, keeping possession. No matter what he does the crowd still gets on his back, what do they expect him to do? Take it himself, beat the whole of the opposition and score? Not everyone in the world is blessed with the ability of Kinky. Surely, it is better to keep possession and build up patiently rather than hoof it. Remember the Liverpool teams of the late 70’s and 80’s, how they used to knock it across the back 2-3 times and then break fast? That is what we have got to learn to do, and to a certain extent I think we are trying to achieve. But as soon as we start the patient build up the crowd get frustrated and start barracking the player in possession, who in turn senses this and ends up hoofing straight to the opposition.

Another thing that really p****s me off is that we don’t give new players a chance to settle in. Again on Friday after 30 minutes every time Bradbury got the ball this bloke behind me was calling him all the names under the sun. After a further 10 minutes of this I turned round to him and told him to give the lad a chance to settle in and get off his back. To which he replied “if you carry on like that, this is the last game you will come to.” For God’s sake, we all want City to win but with people like that in the crowd who want a player’s blood for every little mistake they make what chance have they got? No wonder we don’t play with any confidence they are all terrified. Just look at Kit Symons – he does not want the ball. I don’t care how much money they earn, everyone’s human. I get frustarted like everyone and sometimes the criticism is justifed but let’s make it constructive and not destructive. “F*** off you useless c***” is not going to help anyone.

Remember the last time we went up our first 3 results I think were:

Hull   (a) 1-0
Oldham (h) 1-4
Leeds  (a) 1-1

We still got promoted. Also, you have got to remember that most teams when they come to Maine Road treat it as their own cup final. Let’s get behind them; we have shown glimpses in about 20 minutes of every league game this year that we are good enough to beat anybody. All we need is to give the players self belief, we will get it right, after all it is still very early days.

Neil Chadwick (CHADNM@aol.com)

OPINION – THE TRANMERE GAME

I must admit that it made a very refreshing change to see the team playing the ball on the floor, rather than hoofing it forward aimlessly at every opportunity. That is, of course, apart from Kit ‘The Donkey’ Symons, who whenever he had the ball, felt he had to kick it as hard as he could towards the Tranmere defence, where 9 times out of ten, it was easily met with a resounding cleared header, which fell to one of the Tranmere team.

City certainly looked more ‘mad for it’ in that game, pressurising the Tranmere players when they had the ball, but it must be said that we are woeful in front of goal.

Bradbury would benefit from a few games in the reserves, to try to find his scoring touch, which we assume he must have with a price tag of £3.5 million. However, we are yet to see it.

Horlock was outstanding (again!) in the game, and I think he could score many more goals if he is allowed to play more in the centre, rather than the left wing back.

Wiekens looks to be probably our best defensive player, so let’s keep him there are the back to give us some cover for when Symons screws us (as he did on Friday, letting David Kelly turn inside him – absolutely abysmal!).

Rösler seems to be recovering some of the form and class that we saw in the 1995-96 season, and given better service from the wings, can go on to compete for the the top goalscorer award in the First Division.

The City players must start playing as a unit of 11 men, not 10 men plus Gio. A lot of times, the City players seemed desperate to give the ball to Gio, which often put him in difficulty, and we lost the ball. Sure, Gio is a truly talented player, but he is not the only player on the pitch. Let’s start working as a team!

I think that if we could afford his wage demands, Tony Yeboah would be an inspired purchase for the club. He has had talks with Middlesbrough, so he is obviously willing to drop down to the First Division, and he would bring back a touch of class to the front line. Plus, he has also offered to half his wages if he doesn’t score fifteen goals in the season!

Anyway, Blackpool tonight. If Bradbury (bought as a striker!) doesn’t get off the mark tonight, we FC should think of returning him to Portsmouth for a refund under the Trades Description Act!

Mark Beresford (markb@ageo.co.uk)

OPINION – THE CURSE

As an exiled Blue back in Alcatraz after a short trip to the UK I would like to give the following analysis of the Blues (I write this just before the Blackpool return match).

Impressions:

  1. Maine Road first match of the season – magnificent (a very moving experience).
  2. Standing with the City fans at Blackpool – very worthwhile, for their wit, dedication and patience.
  3. City’s attendances higher than at least five Premiership matches (23/8).

Deductions:

  • Good ground.
  • Great fans.
  • Big gates.

Summary:

After the above mentioned positive aspects we are making no progress with the team.

Conclusion:

There must be some sort of curse at Maine Road destined to make us struggle and suffer until the year 2000.

Roger Spruce (lot2do@jet.es)

OPINION – GIO

I am writing in agreement with the various few who feel that Kinky should go. After all, where have we got to since he joined the club? Nowheresville. We are now out of the Coca Cola Cup, we now only have two points from three games, we are once again the laughing stock only days into the new season. FC has got the right idea when he was quoted as saying that it’s a game for fourteen players – there’s the answer. Why not play with fourteen – nobody will notice, half our side don’t take part on the field anyway – we might win the odd game then.

Let Gio go for loads of money and replace him with a decent defence.

Anybody been watching Match of the Eighties? The early bits were good – the last time City played well!

The only positive thing about the start of the new season is my lovely Kappa shirt – very smart – although I wore it to work yesterday and nobody noticed – bit like MCFC really – they play a game of football and nobody notices!

See you at Forest, Alison Prior (priora@oup.co.uk)

OPINION – THE FINAL STRAW

Last night I was just resigned and felt the usual sorrow after the defeat. But this morning I’m annoyed, why do we have to take this crap year in year out? Another cup being waved goodbye, money being thrown away and another embarrassing defeat to a lower league team. OK so we might have won the game, but that doesn’t mask the fact that once again we’re out!

Just how much longer are we expected to carry the burden of being a City fan around? How much longer do we have to take the flak and humiliation of another early cup exit? How many more of these dis-spiriting displays do we have to endure?

When are we going to have a team that is both willing and able to repay our long support with an overdue trophy? We are becoming a bigger laughing stock every day and I for one am completely fed up. Not bad eh, 5 games into the season and I’m already feeling p****d off.

A simple message to FC, the players and the board, effing wake up and look outside and see what’s going on!

City ’til I die, nah, City ’til another embarrassing early defeat then enough’s enough.

P.S. I could have berated, harangued and abused the team and management, but why bother, it’d be like water off a duck’s bath to them, they obviously don’t give a toss.

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

OPINION – CITY

Now, I haven’t written to MCIVTA for quite a while as all I ever seem to do is moan, so I decided to give the lads a bit of a chance at the start of the season, but when I have to watch that bunch of overpaid, under achievers being kicked out of the cup by Blackpool it doesn’t really inspire confidence, does it?

When you’re one nil down from the first leg to a team from a lower division and you have the second leg at home, I would kind of expect you to come out fighting and trying to pull the game out of the fire. But then with City we have to expect the unexpected don’t we? The first half performance was s***e and the only ones who seemed interested were Buzzer and Horlock, the rest could do with a spell in the reserves as far as I’m concerned.

The second half was an improvement but still lacked the killer punch until Horlock struck with the left peg although IMHO Blackpool deserved to go through. More of the same for 30 minutes extra time and then pens, and what can I say about the pens, well all I’m going to say is Horlock, You telegraphed it, even my three-year-old niece knew where you were going to put it.

I know it’s negative and I seriously hope I’m wrong, but promotion can be forgotten for another season at least. They simply do not know how to break teams down and when you can’t do that you don’t score goals. I really hope that FC is going to play McGoldrick and Dickov against Charlton at the weekend otherwise I can see us getting well and truly trounced.

Ian Brightwell – can’t kick a ball, can’t head a ball and certainly can’t run. Why is he always picked to play?
Kit Symons – Ditto, take the armband off him and give it to someone who wants it, Wiekens might be a good choice.
Rösler/Bradbury partnership isn’t working, give Dickov a chance – at least he stays on his feet.
Kinkladze – fair enough he is pure class but can we afford to carry a non-tackling midfielder for much longer?
Brannan – non existent last night.
Vaughan – did I hear this lad was a City supporter, ***k me, he certainly doesn’t play like one. Every time he played a pass I cringed.
Summerbee – sound enough game and put himself about a bit, MOTM.

Something has got to be done very quickly or I’m gonna end up getting the sack, because I can’t miss any more time just so I don’t have to face the Rags the morning after.

P.S. I’m probably barmy for asking but do any of the Irish Blues know where to get the new Kappa in Dublin? I’ve searched everywhere and can’t find one.

Blue and P****d Off, Paul Coleman (pcl@rtc-tallaght.ie)

OPINION – BLACKPOOL

Recognising that my FIFA97-winning City team will never grace Maine Road in Laser Blue reality (Ravelli; Reiziger; Blanc; Sammer; Le Saux; Overmars; Juninho; Kinkladze; Hagi; Bebeto; Weah), I have to second the opinion that Dickov ought to start in midfield. After the Pompey game, when he came on as sub, we nipped round from the Main Stand to the Kippax to check out the shop and the view – at 1705, Dickov was still running around on his own – warming down or avoiding FC’s post-mortem? Committed, anyway, and after the last three games, he deserves to start.

We failed to kill off the Portsmouth and Tranmere games, and Blackpool was the direst City performance I can remember for some time. The CCC night started well: discovered a supply of John Willie Lee’s at The Hewlett Arms, Priors Road, Cheltenham (yards from GCHQ!) and even got the landlord to turn up the commentary so it could be heard above Meatloaf et al… but then Blackpool bossed the game for the entire first half, and held their own in the second. No creativity, no skill, no fire – with minutes to go, the sad faces around Maine Road said it all – more entertaining than what was on the pitch, anyway. FC has a point asking us not to get at the players (if they appear to be making an effort), but those poor sods who forked out for Tranmere and Blackpool within 5 days were definitely short-changed. And what’s up with Gio – he was hardly in the game and didn’t look interested, apart from a couple of party pieces which, actually, weren’t on target. Couldn’t believe he was being touted as man of the match – but then the commentator was Alan “I know [little] about football” Parry.

Where do we go from here? Well at least McGoldrick looked reasonable on his return, and Horlock deserved his goal for trying for 90 minutes despite hardly anything going right for him. Margetson – again – made some decent saves, but Brightwell and Symons were appalling, Vaughan, Brannan and Summerbee mediocre, Kinkladze anonymous, Wiekens unimaginative – hardly surprising that Rösler and “Blue Circle” Bradbury achieved nothing. The penalty shoot-out was all too predictable, leaving me glad that I had a ten-minute ride home rather than 2 1/2 hours (can you get a refund on your ticket if Sky move the game?)!

Frank – at Charlton, please pick the following, fitness allowing:

	Margetson (or Wright)
                 McGoldrick
           Beesley Symons Vaughan
    Summerbee   Dickov   Wiekens  Horlock
                 Kinkladze
	Rösler (or Bradbury - but not both)

Martyn Hansen (dmhansen@sprynet.co.uk)

OPINION – GIO II

I think we should loan out Gio for the rest of the season. Until we either get other quality players around him or reach the top flight we are just carrying him.

I am not looking forward to the next two games (Charlton and Forest).

Football is about entertainment? We are just not getting it.

I hear along the grapevine that this new fitness trainer is really putting the players through their paces which I agree with, but I hear the players are complaining about being too tired, tough I say. Shape up or ship out.

Dickov was the only person who had any life in him against Blackpool. If all players were like him then we would be sorted – thanks Mr Ball.

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

REQUEST – MATCH REPORTS FOR CITYNET

Citynet are looking for a team of reporters to provide the best un-biased coverage of all matches home and away. If anybody is interested in seeing their match reports published on Citynet, please email citynet@mcfc.slv.co.uk.

Your sincerely, Steve Sayer (citynet@mcfc.slv.co.uk)

REQUEST – BLUES IN NEWCASTLE?

If you want to meet up with City supporters to watch a televised match there will be three of us in the bar of the Punchbowl pub in Jesmond.

Alex Heylin (A.D.Heylin@newcastle.ac.uk)

ANSWER – FOOTIE TEAM IN THE BIBLE

Sorry for the delayed reply but I have been on my holidays…

Some of the answers I received for the question were:-

Arsenal,
Corinthians (Brazilian),
City (And The Lord looked over the City and wept!),
Wolves

My first thoughts were Reading or Bury! The actual answer is…

Luke Ch.11, v.31
The Queen of the South shall rise up in the judgement with the men of this generation…

Here’s to some divine intervention at Blackpool and Charlton!

CTID! Richard Fenton (fentor@fw.gs.com)

WHY BLUE?

I’ve noticed that nobody actually answers this question properly. I suppose that’s because nobody really knows. It just sort of happened. And we certainly don’t know the answer to that more nagging one… “Why stay Blue?”“Why not switch to some other colour? … a colour with perhaps a reasonable chance of winning something in the next five years?”

At least we are sure of our reaction to that one. Ask any England cricket fan why he doesn’t simply switch his support to the Aussies, that way he’ll get to celebrate a series win at least once every year or so. And won’t have to debate with himself the vexed post loss question of what should we change, the captain? the players?, the chairman? And when we’ve changed all those and still we keep losing what do we do then?

So, at the risk of sounding like Bamber Gascoigne, the question Why Blue? is really a two parter, your starter for ten “How the hell did you get Blue in the first place?” and secondly for a bonus point “Why do you stay that way?”

I suspect that like most Blues I got to be that way in the first place by chance, by being at one particular spot at one particular moment in history. Following City’s 1956 FA Cup triumph against Birmingham, the victorious team took an open top double decker bus from the airport to the city centre. Once there, they were to receive the mayor’s traditional congratulations in front of a massive crowd of fans in St Peter’s Square. As they left Ringway that fateful Sunday afternoon they passed first through the quiet winding lanes between Styal and Heald Green. There were a few scattered groups of well-wishers. We can imagine that most of the players were initially reluctant to stand in the place of honour at the front of the bus lifting the cup for all to see. However, as the convoy rumbled onto the broad new surface of the Princess Parkway at Sharston, the players first saw and then heard the crowds of fans lining the road. At that moment Bert Trautmann, the hero of the previous day’s game, stepped forward to take up the trophy. He lifted it high above his head and simultaneously turned to his left, showing it to the groups of fans standing along the edge of Wythenshawe Park. In the middle of the crowd a four year old boy on his father’s shoulders waved at Bert; Bert, seeing the boy, took his left hand off the cup and waved back. That was the moment I became a Blue.

And why do I stay Blue?
Because to stay Blue is to stay loyal to that 4 year old and to Bert.

Because to stay Blue is to believe in a set of values which are mine and perhaps yours. Unflagging optimism in the face of all the evidence which should make us pessimistic. Commitment for life. Where else in modern society do you find that?

In the forty years which separate me from the fateful moment when Bert showed me the Cup I have experienced a few moments of bliss which have made my commitment worthwhile. The best was undoubtedly an evening in March 1968 when City, second in the league, took on United, then leaders, at Old Trafford . I stood in the United Road paddock surrounded by Reds. Let’s be honest, in the pre match kick around they looked good, Law, Best and Charlton oozed confidence, passing the ball around in front of a fervent Stretford End. At the other end the lads looked a little overwhelmed, or more probably that was just how my nerves made them look. I made my traditional deal with the devil. A straight swop, my current girlfriend for a City win. The match began. In the second minute Best beat poor old George Heslop (balding and slow on the turn) to a deflected pass. He calmly rounded Harry Dowd and slotted the ball arrogantly into an empty net. The Reds went wild, my neighbours gleefully punched me in the kidneys and I could feel a very heavy defeat coming on. But no, over the next ninety minutes we scored three without reply, Bell, Young and amazingly old George, who greased in a header from a floated free kick right in front of the Stretford End. As the match progressed and City moved ahead, an amazing thing happened. Old Trafford seemed to turn Blue. All those fans with their scarves carefully hidden down the backs of anoraks brought them out and started to hold them above their heads and sing. It was a moment I will never forget.

Steve Norris (norriss_at_povi2@vfc.com)

BLUE HUMOUR

At least we can still laugh at ourselves, here goes;

City today announced a new sponsor – Pontins – ‘cos their season finishes at the end of August also.

Chris Hughes (chris.hughes@micromass.co.uk)

WWW MANCHESTER CITY SUPPORTERS’ HOME PAGE:
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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.


[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #324

1997/08/28

Editor:


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