Newsletter #331

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After a long hiatus, I was moved to write a match report on Saturday evening, a bit of the old catharsis kicking in, in attempt not to have the whole weekend spoiled. We have two match reports and a match critique (new one this); news of Rösler and Gio; another well-written piece by Noel; info on Tsekinis and the tribal gathering; some Red Humour; and another evocative Why Blue.

This one goes out to 1,623.

Next game, Swindon Town at home, Saturday 27th September 1997

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY vs. NORWICH CITY, Saturday 20th September 1997

What can I say? My mood was fairly upbeat after a Rogan Josh (once again the man in the Saajan singled me out for the hottest curry, whilst giving Paul H and Steve Bolton milder versions!), a beer, and a walk to the ground in the pleasant Autumn sunshine. Even catching a brief glimpse of Noel (Bayley not Gallagher) in the flesh failed to dampen my enthusiasm – is that what editing a fanzine does to you; there’s definitely something to be said for electronic delivery, no-one gets to see my ugly mug 8-))

I should have guessed that things were destined to go wrong – major league wrong in fact – as the portents were clearly there: the Kippax souvenir shop couldn’t supply me with the last-but-one issue of City magazine; or Steve with a car pennant; and there was the small matter of the sheeps entrails, which had looked a damn funny colour during the ritual pre-match sacrifice. However, being a City fan means nothing, if not ploughing on in the hope that today it will be different.

City started brightly, attacking Norwich at the Platt Lane End. Within a minute we had carved up their defence twice and been awarded a corner. Norwich looked awfully vulnerable at the back and City seemed to open them up almost at will; Bradbury had a reasonable chance to open his account after 5 minutes when a ball sprang loose from a ruck on the edge of the penalty area but his snatched shot missed the target. It was good though, to see the crowd encouraging him, rather than getting on his back.

High crosses were just about the only thing that the Canaries’ ponderous defence looked remotely comfortable dealing with. Their attack did however almost score when they got round the back of van Blerk, and Brightwell was beaten at the back post; the ball luckily crashing onto the bar and out.

One of the most bizarre incidents I’ve seen for some time occurred when a ball was cleared by the Norwich back four, and Horlock – on the wing – intercepted it with an overhead kick, the ball looping over his marker and dropping behind the Norwich defence. Amazingly, all the Norwich players stood rooted to the spot, presumably expecting that some other defender would go and collect it. Horlock suddenly realised this, tore past his marker and bore down on the undefended goal, only to shoot just wide of the far post.

A goal finally game after a long period of sustained pressure, with Bradbury having a shot blocked, picking up the rebound and blasting it into the bottom corner – cue ecstatic celebrations, both from the crowd and from Bradbury.

Shortly afterwards, Norwich were almost gifted a goal by the quite awful Bob Brightwell, who completely panicked on the goal line (in the penalty area) when an attacker closed him down; astoundingly, he chose to pass it to Margetson who was also fairly closely marked. If this wasn’t bad enough, the error was compounded by the pass – at stomach height – which made it almost impossible for Margetson to deal with it with using his feet. Eventually, it went out for a corner, but it was a quite stupendous display of naïve defending. How Brightwell had the temerity to lambast Maggie was beyond me, it certainly wasn’t his job to rush out and collect a ball that could have been safely cleared by any defender worth his salt.

However, we didn’t have to wait too long for the next defensive blunder when, after an innocuous Norwich move, an opening was magically created by the Blues’ defence. A through ball from the halfway line cut out several City players, Symons moved to intercept, missed the attacker, and a good ball behind van Blerk was excellently driven home by a Norwich player (sorry, I haven’t committed any of their lacklustre players to memory).

The second half was a different game, City couldn’t seem to pass properly, much of the creative running had stopped and the ball bobbled around from head to head – usually blue-yellow-blue, ad nauseum. Despite the loss of ‘flow’, City still made several excellent openings, but just couldn’t convert. After 15 minutes or so, the inevitable happened, a totally non-dangerous situation was quite miraculously transformed into a Norwich goal by the howler-prone Symons. I can’t exactly recall the sequence of events, but Symons came out and got in a rare old tangle with Brannan, before gifting the ball to a Norwich player, leaving Brightwell stranded. After bypassing Bob, it was 2 on Maggie, and the approaching striker almost contrived to have the goal disallowed by passing forward and round Maggie to the eventual goalscorer, is this offside or not?

Scully and Dickov came on for van Blerk and Brannan, with Horlock dropping back into the left back rôle. City made another 3 excellent chances and about 5 other reasonable ones; the best of them were a twice-attempted Bradbury header which was just cleared off the line, a Bradbury header to Wiekens whose acrobatic kick went just over from 3 yards out, and another acrobatic effort by Horlock, which was excellently saved by the goalie.

Final score: City 1 (Bradbury) – Norwich 2 (Symons 2)

To sum up, City created an absolute hatful of openings and should have reached double figures; Norwich on the other hand, created one and were gifted two others. Norwich are one of the worst sides I’ve seen for some time; they reminded me of the old 70’s Leeds United side, constantly niggling the referee and protesting every decision – the only thing that was missing was talent – they had absolutely none – except for Adams. Luckily, the referee was wise to this and booked two of their players for dissent, one of them for protesting after a Summerbee foul! They also continually timewasted, ably abetted by Mike Walker who made 2 deliberate time-wasting substitutions. How Norwich have contrived to create such a dull, talentless side I’ve no idea; can it only be three seasons since they outpayed Bayern in Munich?

As for City, surely FC will need to make some changes, if for nothing else then to show that you can’t go on being picked week in, week out when playing atrociously. The fact is that we have quite a good squad and we have the players to replace Symons, Summerbee, Brannan and Brightwell. For what it’s worth, I’d drop Symons and Brightwell and bring in 2 from Beesley, Morley and Vaughan; a straight swap of Scully for Summerbee; and McGoldrick in for Brannan. I also think that Wiekens’ passing has made an important contribution to our midfield, but I’d perhaps be tempted to play him in defence – his natural position. One good thing, for the first time in years, the two full back positions are not a problem!

Ratings:

Margetson (7): Let a cross go he should have caught, but was otherwise untroubled; I felt he might have done better with the first goal – no-one could have saved the second.
Edghill (8): Edgy was excellent in this game, he looks very comfortable on the ball and made some incisive runs and some beautifully weighted passes down the line, not that Summerbee had a clue what to do with them.
van Blerk (6): A workmanlike performance; looks to overlap all the time and seems to have a good understanding with Horlock.
Brightwell (6): Some good aerial work, but made one horrendous mistake and looked his woeful self when it came to distribution.
Symons (4): What can I say, a 22-carat howler, and not the first this season, or the second, or the last?
Wiekens (7): A good solid performance.
Summerbee (5): Back to his old lethargic ways, looked like he couldn’t have cared less.
Horlock (9): Outstanding contribution and could have had two with a little bit of luck. Yes Ken, he could well be the best midfielder we’ve had for a long time.
Gio (7): Made some mazy runs but was guilty of hanging onto the ball too long, too often. He could have set Bradbury up for a sitter after 1 minute but chose to go it alone when a simple pass inside was all that was needed.
Brannan (4): Anonymous and very, very slow on the ball.
Bradbury (8): Scored one and could have had a couple more; held the line well.

Subs:
Scully (7): Looked useful but we were never going to score, irrespective of how many crosses came in.
Dickov (6): Put himself about as usual but came on too late to make much of an impact.

Ashley

MATCH REPORT – ‘LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY vs. NORWICH CITY, Saturday 20th September 1997

Team: Margetson, Brightwell, Van Blerk (Scully), Symons, Edghill, Wiekens, Summerbee, Horlock, Brannan (Dickov), Kinkladze, Bradbury.
Unused Sub: Rösler

Things did not bode well on Saturday as I went to Maine Road. Fully expecting us to trounce Norwich and as we all know by now, City never give you what you expect. The omens were all in our favour. Norwich were beaten 4-0 in midweek by Charlton, they had several key players missing including Eadie and O’Neill and City had (for them) a reasonable two match foundation to build on. Even the style of football played by Norwich was surely going to assume a proverbial ‘Lambs to the Slaughter’ situation. Richard Edghill confirmed my thoughts as I alighted at Maine Road. His thoughts on the Bury match courtesy of GMR were that it was more akin to a Rugby match than our customary conception of the game.

City, did in fact dominate proceedings. Chance after chance came our way beginning with Gio’s run and drive in the first minute and encapsulating a brilliant overhead flick on the half way line by Horlock which wrongfooted the Norwich defence and left him with a clear run on goal. Unfortunately his shot went wide. Horlock then made the City goal, teeing up Bradbury who had two bites at the ball, the second being a low right footed drive into the bottom corner. Norwich had managed to hit the bar in the meantime but it was a mere hiccup, or so I thought. Bradbury had a glorius chance to put us 2 up after a cross from the right wing met his forehead only to flash over. Gio had a couple of mind boggling runs but Norwich had done their homework here and the 7th man invariably became one to many for him.

An unforced error by Edghill (who was ironically playing quite well) conceded posession to Norwich as we were about to mount an attack. Symons was left wanting for pace and Adams curled an exquisite shot round MM with the outside of his foot. It was an isolated attack and I felt City should have been about 3-1 up at half time.

One worrying aspect of the game was the apparent lack of effort from both Brannan and Summerbee. In one farcical incident, Edghill (who was playing as if his life depended on it) had to run round Summerbee to make a challenge which should have been accomplished by Buzzer.

The half time interval had a penalty shoot out between the Junior Blues and the er ‘Junior Canaries’. Some bright spark had decided to let the respective mascots (Moonchester and Captain Canary) go in goal. Norwich won 4-3 in spite of cries like ‘C’mon Moony the Junior Blues’ reputation is at stake.’ In truth Moonchester was a bit static relying on the ‘I hope it hits me’ technique. He was obviously reluctant to dive in case his head fell off.

The second half carried on much the same as the first with Summerbee and Wiekens missing absolute sitters in front of goal. Although Summerbee wasn’t having his worst ever game for City his lack of effort/enthusiasm made you want to encroach onto the turf and shake him up a little. The by now customary Symons blunder gifted Norwich a 2nd goal as we dallied in possession just inside our own half.

I don’t know if it was frustration or the fact the we were behind, but the crowd really snapped into moan mode (myself included I’m afraid). The atrocious Brannan was replaced by the magnificent Scully who proceeded to beat his man at will and send over some inch perfect crosses. For some reason known only to FC we only had Bradbury in the box against a very tall Norwich defence. In fact City as a team were visibly tiring (I thought our fitness level was supposed to be good?). Norwich began to engage in severe time wasting techniques including Robert Fleck’s endless journey from the field to be substituted. He was told to hurry up by the referee and as soon as the official’s back was turned he knelt down to replace a divot in the turf. The referee (to his credit) did play plenty of injury time but we looked so tired at the end that we wouldn’t have scored even if we’d played to Alex Ferguson’s watch.

Please can we have Gary Flitcroft back?

Final Score: City 1 Norwich 2

Ratings:

Margetson 7 Did OK but I prefer Tommy Wright who is now fit.
Edghill 7 One or two mistakes but battled really hard.
van Blerk 6 Gets in good positions and looks useful.
Symons 4 Has to be dropped – come in Vaughan.
Brightwell 6 Steady match.
Wiekens 6 Lots of vision but isn’t he slow?
Horlock 8 Yes he is the best midfielder we have had since Colin Bell.
Summerbee 5 A great player with a big attitude problem.
Brannan 3 No vision and even slower than Wiekens.
Kinkladze 8 Must surely walk away if we don’t improve.
Bradbury 7 Can’t do it all on his own Frank.

Dickov 6 Brought on too late to make an impact.
Scully 8 Buzzer would do well to watch and learn from young Scully.

Ken Foster (kf737@vossnet.co.uk)

MATCH CRITIQUE

This isn’t going to be a full match report of the Narrrich humiliation but rather a critique!

The game started in such a promising vein, Gio went on a mazy run straight from the kick off and unleashed a shot that Marshall (England U21 international) could only palm away; unfortuntely no other Blue had anticipated this start and Narrrich cleared up. The game then became a procession of City having the most chances with Narrrich seemingly able to soak up the pressure and then look dangerous on the break, something different to the Narrich I remember.

City finally managed to hit the target; this was after a second corner had only been half cleared. Bradbury managed to get control of the ball on the edge of the box before shooting home into the bottom corner. Cue a slightly happy Bradbury. However, I had the feeling that City needed to get another one or else they would be in more danger. City conspired to lose possession (again) and a diagonal through ball was met by Adams running through on the right wing. He cut in towards the box before hitting a brilliant curler with the outside of his right foot into the bottom corner, a deserved finish for an excellent through ball. City needed to hit back quickly and the best chance fell to ‘Barndoor’ from a Brannan cross. However, from six yards out he headed the ball high and wide! It looked like one of those days.

The second half started in much the as the first with City on the push. However, the chances that fell to City were a string of missed chances. Buzzer clear on goal after beating the offside flag dragged his shot horribly wide, Barndoor had a feeble shot cleared off the line, Scully had a couple of scorchers beaten out. Van Blerk had been withdrawn to make way for Scully, with Horlock moving to left back. Scully looked like a player capable of providing the width we urgently need, but then again we need a decent striker in the middle to put away the chances.

Naaarrrich seemed more than capable to soak up everything the Blues could throw at them and looked quick and lively on the break. Naarrich scored the winner through another bit of farcical defending. Brightwell (or Symons I’m not sure which, I’d lost interest by this time) messed around with the ball and allowed it to be stolen from him. Two Naarrich players converged on Margaret and as he challenged one the ball was pushed across to the other, easy 2-1! As for goal being offside, I don’t think so and in any case it was only what City were asking for.

Dickov was thrown into the losing battle with Brannan being withdrawn. But to counteract the extra striker Naarrich brought on a couple of defensive players and left a lone striker up front. As the game ran away from City so the trickle of fans turned into a steady stream, once more dis-heartened at another inadequate home performance! This was only Naarrich’s second win at Maine Road in 20-odd visits!

This game has certainly brought forward some doubts:

Why does FC still insist on playing Bradbury up front and on his own? Let’s face it, he’s not a class striker, any half decent forward would have buried some of the sitters he’s missed. However, all the blame can’t lie at his feet, some must surely be levelled at our manager. I mean, why does Bradbury have to do all the spade work in deep midfield and out on the wings? He’s an effin striker, get the ball to him in the box (and then let him blaze away!). Mind you when Gio had the shot within a few seconds of the start Bradbury wasn’t even alert to the chance of a rebound!

Considering we didn’t look like scoring, why not bring Uwe on for last 5 minutes; we had nothing to lose? Take a defender off and throw on an extra striker, we might have got something out of it. Or has Uwe really upset FC, hence the petty vindictiveness of not getting him on?

Why take off van Blerk, move Horlock to left back and bring on Scully? The only excuse I would find acceptable is if van Blerk was injured. If not why the hell move a midfield player to left back when you already have a recognised left back on the pitch!

Once again the defensive clowns cost more goals. When is FC going to realise that the real problem area is the backline, how many more stupid goals do we have to give away before the penny drops? On a similar vein why is FC still looking at a striker, for gawd’s sake get the defence sorted out!

Ahh that’s better.

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

NEWS – PLAYERS OUT ON LOAN

Friday 19th: two players have gone out on loan for a month – Gerry Creaney to Burnley (who have only scored one league goal so far this season) and Alan Kernaghan to St. Johnstone.

The Mole

NEWS – GIO NOT FOR SALE

Frank Clark has insisted that Gio Kinkladze is not for sale, despite a lack of available funds: “I am not looking to sell Gio to raise funds. We have enough talent in the club to become a promotion force and we must harness that to get things going. We know where we need to strengthen the side but there are no funds available. We are still finding out which is our best team and still finding out about people. But, as far as things are at the moment, we have to find the solution within our own dressing room. It is a time for brave hearts. We have just had two good away performances and then we were looking to cash in with two home games. Now the next game becomes very difficult.”

Clark also reiterated that no enquiries had been received about Uwe Rösler: “We have had no enquiries for Uwe since he was made available. It does surprise me as I felt sure there would be some interest.”

One wonders if the comments about a lack of funds are part of a bid to lower other clubs’ asking prices for players, which clearly became inflated when it was well known that the Blues had the best part of £10 million available. Over the weekend it was reported that Montpelier had received a bid of £5 million from City for their striker Ibrahim Babayako, who they rate as being worth closer to £6 million; if this is true, City clearly still have funds available.

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

INFO ON TSEKINIS

NATIONAL LEAGUE:
Played 99 games, scored 26, all for West Adelaide.
Début November 1992, at the tenderish age of 17 years 6 months.

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES
Represented South Australia at all age levels from under 12 upwards.
Member of Oz 1993 World Youth Cup squad (played in Oz vs. England 20/3/93).
No senior representative duties – closest was to be called a ‘stand-by player’ in the Australian squad for the Jan 1997 Optus World Soccer Series.

Steve Thackwell (stevo@sidecar.com.au)

TRIBAL GATHERING: AFTER MATCH ACTIVITIES

As part of the “Tribal Gathering” weekend it has been sugested to go for a curry after the match on Saturday evening. and I have agreed to make all the necessary arrangements. If you would like to attend could you please mail me at: mark@indigo.mechnet.liv.ac.uk using the word “CURRY” as the subject heading. I just need a rough estimate of numbers so I can make a suitable booking. If any of you have any suggestions or recommendations as to which curry house you would like to dine at, please include them in the mail.

I’ll post more details when I get an idea of numbers.

Mark Evans (mark@indigo.mechnet.liv.ac.uk)

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER DEFEAT

By Noel Bayley (editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet)

“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” – John F. Kennedy

First of all I’d like to thank both my fans who, no doubt, are still mourning the end of the ‘Diary Of A Madman’ but all is not lost… I’m back; no newer and definitely no better, but back albeit in modified form… as Deep Purple might have opined before Gillan and Glover joined and they got good: “Listen, Learn, Read On”…

The week started brightly enough. Jackie brought cakes in on Monday; four numbers on the Lottery, £112 , a quick raid on Gregg’s and she did a Marie Antoinette… “Quils mangent la rioche.”

Tuesday and Rob came into the office; we talked about the Bury débâcle. Trevor – wannabe Rag, cricket fan (almost as bad) and my stand-in boss last week – listened for a while before venturing: “If you want to watch a big match, watch United tomorrow night.” Yes Trev, they don’t come much bigger than this… the Rags playing at FC Never’eardof’em. For some reason, he got back to his work when I pointed out that there were more at Gigg Lane than would be watching the Rags’ game live! Funny that. Why people still ask me if I’ll be watching the Rags on TV I don’t know. I never watch the Rags live on TV. There’s always something better to do and I was busy sticking pins in my eyes on Wednesday night … an infinitely more alluring option.

Thursday morning’s unsubstantiated newspaper allegations left me flummoxed. A rumour was going round that Andy ‘No Goal’ Cole had scored… surely not? I could believe that Liam Gallagher had turned up at Oasis’s gig in Newcastle in a Newcastle shirt, but this! Alas, it was true and I was the only person in the Predictions’ League that had given FC Never’eardof’em a home win and so I found myself bottom of the League. But hell’s bells, if Cole could score, they couldn’t have been any cop!

“Saturday’s the day we play the game…” Sky and international games excepted of course, and the bloke in front of me was more animated than normal when Lee Bradbury went close against Norwich. Well, when I say close, I mean over the halfway line. Surely he hadn’t bet on him, had he? Yes, he had but he wasn’t saying how much. “Ten pence?” I volunteered. “I’ll tell you if he scores,” he replied. It’s not for me, betting. I’ve seen my father waste too much – no, all of his money – on donkeys and three-legged greyhounds to know better. But only a mug would bet on football, only a prize mug on City and on Lee Bradbury… words fail me! And yet he scored and our man came clean! He’d had a tenner on at 5/1. So he was happy. Well, until City did their all too familiar thing: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and losing a thirty-odd year home record over Norwich into the bargain, that is. But why oh why couldn’t Bradbury have followed up with that header? Will we have to wait another twelve/thirteen hours for our record signing to score another? Why is the club’s best striker on the bench? Why can’t Dickov get a game when Brightwell – the most useless article this side of Stretford – simply waltzes back into the team? Do we have to wait another two and half years for Summerbee to get his act together? There are more questions than answers, but then I’m not paid to provide them. Still, at least some people were happy; Al who sits near me on the Kippax had twenty quid on Bradbury at 5/1 while my mate Tomo won the half-time draw and went home £1,053 better off! Some people have all the luck.

As Gary Pallister was sent off at Bolton I thought I’d have a look at it on the box, for a laugh. Whisper it quietly, but I thought he was unlucky; Nathan Blake seemed to be doing all the agitating and then I remembered reading in ‘The Guardian’ last year that referee Paul Durkin used to support City when he was a kid. Don’t quote me on this though, because when I bumped into Roger Dilkes on the London-Manchester train sometime last season, I asked him who he himself supported. He said he didn’t support anyone and, furthermore, he was pretty sure that ‘Durks’ – as he called him – wasn’t a City fan or a fan of anyone for that matter, so who knows?

According to Sunday’s Teletext, Frank Clark has got no money to spend. This, of course, begs another round of questions like: What’s happened to the £11 million+ raised from the Share Issue? Where’s the transfer fund that the directors had pledged to bankroll at last year’s AGM gone? Where’s the Kappa money going? Where’s the season ticket/gate money going? Isn’t it about time the directors got their hands in their pockets? More to the point, if Frank Clark knew the club’s finances weren’t infinite, why wasn’t he a bit more careful with them? The names Vaughan and Bradbury spring to mind here. Even more laughably, Clark then spun the straw-clutching line that both Messrs. Ball and Lee were spinning before the last disastrous season when he claimed: “We have got enough talent already at the club.” That may well be true, but it’s of no use to anyone if it’s sat on the bench.

Noel Bayley (noelbayley@compuserve.com)

IPSWICH PUB

I am a Blue living in Hertfordshire but working in Suffolk. Four Hertfordshire blues are meeting in the ‘Plough’ in Ipswich on the 4th before the game. It’s quite a good pub – five minutes walk from the ground by the bus station. I have spoken to the landlord who says that Blues are welcome in there. Thought I’d let you know and hope to see you there.

Neal Alston (neala@globalnet.co.uk)

THANKS TO GIO!

I would just like say that being a student in a Scottish university I don’t get much chance to follow the beloved City around as I would do when at home in Manchester.

Mcivta has given me something to hold on to during the dark days of defeats and draws. However, it isn’t all bad up here ‘cos since City demolished various teams up here during the summer, all I hear about is how brilliant our Kinky is, and it’s not often we hear such praise from scots football fans, so thank you Georgi from all us Blues here in Scotland.

C.M.Watson (cmw06@students.stir.ac.uk)

OPINION – CITY AND RACISM

I’d like to respond to Julian, and then add some of my own thoughts.

Firstly, OK, great idea, City fans first, Rag haters second. Secondly, I’m quite depressed as far as how the club I came to love nearly a year ago, is falling apart! This year is not going to be our year, despite the good pre-season that we had. Uwe is leaving for £3 million, Kinky’s gone by Christmas (probably to Merseyside) and it doesn’t look as though any major signings will come in. And my last point, to respond to Julian, I’m from America, and I hear racist comments on a daily basis. It sickens me to hear that even Britain is being plagued with such bigotry that I thought existed only in America and the Third Reich, all I have to say is love your brothers, and if any of you racist arses are reading, im inviting you to go ***k yourself.

Peace and Love, Mike Blue (Msdoles@aol.com)

OPINION – THE OASIS GIG AT NEWCASTLE ARENA

I was fortunate enough to get hold of three tickets for the Oasis gig at Newcastle Arena on Wednesday night. Of course the city was absolutley buzzing because the Mags were at home to Barcelona.

There was a good smattering of City Kappa shirts all around the arena and Liam came out in a Newcastle United shirt. A bit surprising that but the Mags were still winning 2-0 at this stage. The brothers were absolutely brilliant and the atmosphere was tremendous. Although Liam did not make any acknowledgement of all the City shirts, Noel did tell everyone down at the front to stop pushing or someone will get hurt and will be going home in ambulances like Man United fans from Maine Road.

Definitely go and see the lads if you get the chance it’s a brilliant night out and far better value for money than going to watch the Blues at Blackpool etc.

Gareth Wilson (gareth@eltec.co.uk)

OPINION – DOWN, NOT OUT

Where were you when we were S***e?

Well I didn’t even bother to watch out for the result on Saturday. I mean we always beat Norwich at home, we always do. Needless to say I was as disappointed and as depressed as most loyal Blues on Saturday evening, and even more so this (Monday) morning when I’ve had a good look at the football tables.

But then a strange metamorphosis occurred. Call me barmy but I reckon that things are going to get better. I reckon that this is as low as we get and that things will get better soon. Now I know that some people have been saying that for a while, but this time I reckon it’s true. And don’t mock me too much, after all I did predict the away win at Forest!

You see, as other contributors have said, City are my team, I’ll never support anyone else and the good times will return. Believe and support the team. And in years to come when we’re back in the Premier league where we belong you’ll be able to say, “I was there when we really were s***e.” Keep the faith. Mad and optimistic.

PS – OK just one bitch. I’m not to sad to see Uwe go. Yeah he trys hard and gives it his all but he hasn’t exactly scored a lot of goals in the last two seasons has he? And that’s what you judge a striker on: goals not effort.

Roger – The Blue Kiwi (R.Sharp@gjw.co.uk)

OPINION – BITS AND PIECES

My seven-and-half-month pregnant partner came with me to the match on Saturday. Bump spent the whole ninety minutes kicking quite violently, having been still all morning. Reckon that he (it’s definitely a boy) was trying to show the team what to do and he probably would have been more use than some of the players I could mention. And aside from my footballing ambitions for my offspring, a quick note about Rösler. Was it me or did we really badly need him on Saturday? We were getting the ball down towards their end and then… nothing. We kept falling apart. I really don’t understand why Clark did not bring him on. I sincerely hope it was not ‘you’re buggering off, so I’m not going to play you.’ And how hard have they tried to keep him, hum. Compared to the almost military precision-planned ‘keep Kinkalnise campign’ this seems to have the feeling a damp squid. He’s a good player and I.M.O. we need him. So the ‘Please stay Uwe campaign’ starts (and probably ends) here.

Stewart Lucas (stuart.lucas@mcr1.poptel.org.uk)

OPINION – STRIKER/STRIKER

We seem to have a plethora of ‘strikers’ currently residing at the Academy of comedy or elsewhere:

Rösler, Bradbury, Dickov, Creaney, Greenacre, Clough (just to **ss a few of you off), Gio and I’m sure others. Why is it then that our current leading joint goalscorers hail from the backside of City (defensive type players to you and me)?

OK so Uwe’s upset FC and won’t be picked, Dickov, dunno what he’s done to not justify playing, Creaney is just crap (or should I say never given a chance), Greenacre’s obviously a talented young player, when’s he going to be sold and come back to haunt us, Clough, nuff said and Gio, can’t do everything on his own (but does tend to try to)?

So we’re left with the prospect of the wonder (when he’s gonna score) boy, Bradbury. He’s certainly struggling at the moment to even find the ball let alone the back of the net. I’ve a suggestion for FC that’s bound to improve Bradbury’s ability; considering he was in the army why not paint a huge target on the back of the nets and if he still misses I’d seriously worry about the state of our country’s defence!

I just can’t help believing that we’ve been done by Pompey especially when they’ve got a spiv like Venebles in their midsts.

P.S. What’s the betting Bradbury scores a hat-trick against Narrich?

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

OPINION – I’M BRASSED OFF WITH IT ALL

On Saturday night after the Norwich débâcle I sat down at the keyboard and vented my feelings about another inept performance, in particular from a back two (Symons and Brightwell) who played as though they had just met each other. I also blasted Summerbee for another, “what’s happening boys?” display. Then I pressed the wrong key and lost the whole damn lot. I decided to leave it for a couple of days to compose myself and perhaps to look more constructively at what went on. Well after two days I still can’t find much good to say. The defence are a shambles, led or not, as the case may be by Captain Calamity alongside his sidekick Bungling Bob. Van Blerk and Edgy look Premiership quality by comparison.

The midfield is ineffective, although I like Wiekens, the game seems to be passing him by; he says he prefers to play in the centre of defence, well give him a go there. I think Horlock is playing too wide on the left and not able to win the ball like he was doing when he first arrived. Brannan just seems to be shrugged off the ball too easily and is not suited for the rôle he has been given. Summerbee just shouldn’t be on the pitch.

There needs to be changes for Saturday, or Swindon (who are 2nd in the table) will turn us over as well. We need someone to lead and that can only mean Steady Eddie in the middle of the park and Tony Scully starting on the left, we must be more adventurous at home.

I’ve just read Brian Bretts column in the M(u)EN, he says City have entered a zero tolerance zone as far as the fans are concerned. Well nothing short of a win on Saturday will do. Maybe this lot could do better?

                  Margetson
Edghill    Wiekens     Vaughan    van Blerk
Brannan    McGoldrick (Capt)  Horlock Scully
             Kinkladze   Bradbury

Although I’m not sure the Kinkmeister is suited to the rabble around him.

I’m off to wash my lucky MCIVTA T-shirt; we hadn’t lost every time I wore it (ok so I couldn’t get to Sunderland, Charlton and Blackpool away). Look forward to meeting some of you at the Gathering.

Wes Marchant (Bluwes@aol.com)

OPINION – THE CURSE (PART II)

Saturday afternoon, Maine Road, big crowd, even bigger expectations. So what happens? Norwich beat us. Now of all teams Norwich is the one we always beat. The only excuse I can think of is my ‘curse’ theory. Whatever it is something has got to be done and quick, as it is obvious there will be no European soccer at the Academy until the next century, but second division matches are a possibility.

Roger Spruce (lot2do@jet.es)

RE JAVA BLUES

If Lucas doesn’t find anyone in Jakarta or Indonesia, he may find that his nearest Blue (i.e. a City fan) is one who has more reason than most to be ‘blue’ (i.e. depressed)… Nick Leeson.

Not heard anything on his welfare just recently… anyone know if he’s OK? We gotta look after our own.

An idea to get him out – we should put out a rumour from Maine Road that Nick is ‘unhappy with his present contract’. Within 48 hours Howard Kendall will make an ‘unofficial’ offer to Penang prison of £3 million plus Nick Barmby – hey presto! Nick is free, the Singapore prison service has cash to improve conditions for the poor tortured souls incarcerated therein, and Nick Barmby gets to (ahem) play overseas. Let’s face it, he’s not likely to get to face foreign opposition playing for Everton, is he?

Just a thought!

P.S. – I do commentaries on Soccer matches in Dundee for the local Hospital Radio station. I was recently at Dundee United’s UEFA Cup home leg against Trabzonspor. I noticed a Turkish supporter with a new City shirt, so I asked him whether he was a fan. He said that he bought the shirt in Edinburgh that morning, and that his father always supported ‘T-rabzon’, as he called it, and ‘Mansester City’, and he always follows the Blues’ results in the local paper. An instant bond was made – we recognised each other as the same. Completely off our respective trolleys!

Andy Jackson (A.Z.JACKSON@dundee.ac.uk)

RED HUMOUR

Here’s an anagram attack on our Red cousins :-))) as sent to me by an Everton fan. Can anybody produce any more?

Manchester United:

  • Urine Detachments
  • The Entrained Scum
  • Stained Hen Rectum

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

RED HUMOUR

Q. What’s the difference between the Spice Girls and Man Utd?

A. The Spice Girls have only got 10 tits.

Russell Town (russ@the-edge.u-net.com)

WHY BLUE?

Well, there was no choice, was there? Not when you consider that the house in Didsbury where I grew up was once owned by the legendary City captain of the 1930’s, Sam Barkas. Yes, his signature is on the deeds, so my mum has, in the safe at the Building Society, the autograph of one of the club’s most famous pre-war figures. My autograph collection, in contrast, is slightly more recent. Ray Ranson, with splatterings of mud telling the story of how I’d pigeonholed him immediately after training… Trevor Francis, signed with the pen of a handily placed Swedish journalist, after the one I provided had run out… and, most poignantly, Tommy Caton, who gave me a personal tour of the ground way back when, after my mum had written to him explaining that he was my favourite player… try getting a tour like that for your little boy, off some overrated media pin-up like ShagSpice at The Swamp.

And then, of course, there was Big Joe Corrigan… I was mightily impressed when he visited Beaver Road Primary on a road safety promotion, handing out luminous orange pump bags so that we wouldn’t get knocked down when crossing the road at night. Somewhere in the archives at Central Library, it’s possible to find an MUEN photograph of me and all my classmates in the school hall with Mighty Joe… but so gobsmacked was I to have met this giant of a man, I thought little of posterity, and allowed my face to be partly obscured by the absent minded holding aloft of said luminous pump bag.

But I think the main man I have to thank for initially becoming Blue is a little man with a moustache and glasses who looked uncannily like the cartoon tax inspector who keeps popping up to tell us about self-assessment… his name was Gerald Sinstadt, and he comes from a time long gone, when Sunday afternoons meant not Sky Sports Super Sunday, Manchester United vs. Anybody, but our very own, free, north-west regional ‘Kick Off Match’. The concept of ITV’s football coverage in the late 1970s and early 80s is probably impossible to grasp for anyone under the age of 21. Believe it or not, each region had its own hour-long highlights programme every Sunday at 3 o’clock (usually just after ‘The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams’, a fictional character reportedly based on Gerry Gow). Granada’s ‘Kick Off Match’ was easily distinguished by its fantastic theme tune – something that sounded as though it was being performed on a Rolf Harris Stylophone. This classic piece of music began and ended with five seconds of the Stylophone pencil frantically and hapharzardly scribbling over the metal bit that made the sound, with the main body of the piece consisting of the same five notes being played repeatedly in ever ascending key. It may not rank alongside ‘Bohemian Rhapdoy’ or ‘Blue Guitar’ as the most profound of musical statements from the era, but for me it was the highlight of the week, as it signalled the arrival of my ticket to the wierd and wonderful world of professional football.

The great thing about ‘Kick Off Match’ was that City were on it for roughly two weeks out of every three. If we were at home, of course, there was a more than even chance of us being featured, with Gerald Sinstadt doing the commentary. It’s so strange to hear Sinstadt’s lacklustre commentaries for the BBC these days, because back in the days of ‘Kick Off’, his enthusiasm was so infectious, he truly brought some of the unique atmosphere of Maine Road – or wherever – into Sam’s old back room. But even if it wasn’t a City home week, there was always a good chance that City would be on one of the two supplementary matches bought in from other regions… these introduced me to such commentators as Brian Moore when he used to be good (shouting a lot and well before he became obsessed with the trite ‘it’s in there!’ motif to describe every goal), and the inimitable Hugh Johns, of the staccato speech and catchphrases such as ‘wahn-nothing’ and ‘opens his account’.

I enjoyed so many magnificent City victories this way… the legendary 3-1 Maine Road defeat of European champions Liverpool, for instance… a Peter Barnes tour de force at Tottenham, where his exciting wing play laid on chances that even Mike Channon could not miss… and another London triumph, at Stamford Bridge, where Asa Hartford’s quick thinking managed to keep the ball in play just as it looked like it had gone for a goal kick, and enable him to set up the clinching goal.

Yes, I was an armchair fan. Well, I was very young, and at a time when hooliganism was at its height (and mainly from MUFC’s now castrated ‘Red Army’, I hasten to add), it still wasn’t considered safe for me to be there. But, thanks to Gerald and his friends, I still felt part of it all, especially on my visits to the Maine Road souvenir shop after school, where the gentle old French lady who used to run the entire operation single handed, would show immeasurable patience while I spent an age wondering which picture I should spend my pocket money on – Dennis, Asa or Big Joe.

Eventually came the time when I would see my heroes in live action… maybe I was the jinx, as it also coincided with the time that things started to go wrong. I also maintain that the change in design of the programme, from portrait to landscape layout, also had something to do with it… not forgetting the mysterious appearance of some bloke wearing a big chain, talking in a funny accent and smoking a large cigar. Nevertheless, this was the time that I began to appreciate the work of all the players on the pitch, as for the first time I got the complete picture… instead of the obvious televisual appeal of Dennis Tueart or Peter Barnes, my favourite players became the likes of Ranson and Caton. It was rather like ceasing to be an Abba fan and moving onto Echo and the Bunnymen and OMD. This truly was a passage into adulthood.

But, although the Rags and their multitude of armchair fans provide an easy target, when I think back to my own introduction to the wonderful world of MCFC, I can’t help but acknowledge the influence of the little black box in the corner of Sam Barkas’s living room… and wonder whether, if we were to turn the clock back to the days of regional football highlights on a Sunday afternoon, instead of the blanket national coverage of Sky, would there be ‘quite’ so many Cockney Reds? Perhaps we should get that nice Anne Aston back to add up the figures…

D. M. Gilbert (dmgilbert@enterprise.net)

RESULTS

Full-time score and scorers for Sunday, September 21 1997

CHARLTON ATHLETIC       4-1    BRADFORD CITY             11,583
Mendonca (8, 69)               Edinho (12)
Mortimer (18)
Brown (23)

Full-time scores and scorers for Saturday, September 20 1997

CREWE ALEXANDRA         2-3    QUEENS PARK RANGERS        5,340
Lunt (53)                      Spencer (4)
Adebola (76)                   Maddix (8)
                               Sinclair (47)
IPSWICH TOWN            2-3    STOKE CITY                10,665
Scowcroft (48)                 Thorne (13, 30)
Holland (67)                   Stewart (55)
MANCHESTER CITY         1-2    NORWICH CITY              27,258
Bradbury (27)                  Adams (38)
                               Coote (64)
MIDDLESBROUGH           3-1    BIRMINGHAM CITY           30,125
Kinder (23)                    Furlong (51)
Beck (41)
Emerson (43)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST       1-0    PORTSMOUTH                17,292
Van Hooijdonk (34)
OXFORD UNITED           2-4    SHEFFIELD UNITED           7,514
Jemson (25, 76)                Deane (1)
                               Fjortoft (39)
                               Holdsworth (67)
                               Whitehouse (80)
PORT VALE               1-1    BURY                       6,781
Ainsworth (7)                  Swan (82)
STOCKPORT COUNTY        3-0    HUDDERSFIELD TOWN          6,995
Angell (6, 18)
Armstrong (63)
SUNDERLAND              1-1    WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS   30,682
Smith (17)                     Melville (og 34)
TRANMERE ROVERS         6-0    READING                    5,565
Morrissey (4)
Kelly (10, 41)
Jones (20, 38)
Thompson (59)
WEST BROMWICH ALBION    0-0    SWINDON TOWN              16,237

Full-time score and scorers for Wednesday, September 17 1997

NORWICH CITY            0-4    CHARLTON ATHLETIC         10,157
                               Mendonca (7, 22, 28)
                               Chapple (84)

Full-time score and scorer for Tuesday, September 16 1997

CREWE ALEXANDRA         0-1    PORTVALE5,519
                               Mills (55)

Up to and including Sunday, September 21 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Nottingham Forest        8      5    1    2     12     5        16
Swindon Town             8      4    3    1      9     5        15
West Bromwich Albion     8      4    3    1      8     6        15
Bradford City            8      4    2    2     12    13        14
Sheffield United         6      4    2    0      9     3        14
Charlton Athletic        7      4    1    2     15     9        13
Sunderland               8      4    1    3     13     9        13
Birmingham City          7      4    1    2     12     6        13
Queens Park Rangers      7      4    1    2     10    10        13
Wolverhampton Wanderers  8      3    3    2     11     9        12
Middlesbrough            6      3    2    1     10     6        11
Port Vale                8      3    2    3      9     9        11
Bury                     8      2    5    1      8     8        11
Stoke City               7      3    2    2      7     7        11
Norwich City             8      3    1    4      6    14        10
Portsmouth               7      2    2    3     11    11         8
Tranmere Rovers          8      2    1    5     11    12         7
Oxford United            8      2    0    6     12    15         6
Stockport County         8      1    3    4     10    11         6
MANCHESTER CITY          7      1    3    3     10    12         6
Crewe Alexandra          7      2    0    5     10    13         6
Ipswich Town             6      1    3    2      8     9         6
Reading                  8      1    1    6      4    18         4
Huddersfield Town        7      0    3    4      4    11         3

Russell Town (russ@the-edge.u-net.com)
With thanks to Soccernet

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


MCIVTA ADDRESSES:
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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 #331

1997/09/22

Editor:


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