Newsletter #332

The Annual Report has just come through; is there anyone who out there who could do us an ‘informed’ assessment of it all (Martin, last year?). I can provide a photocopy if necessary.

In this issue, we have a belated match report from Steve Kay (Norwich game) and news of imminent legal activity: Bell and Farrell, and Cardiff City! – looks like next year’s balance sheet maybe even worse then this year’s. There’s still no movement on Rösler, though we are once again being linked with Martin Smith and Craig Russell of Sunderland, despite FC saying we need a huge clear-out! There’s also news of the London McVittee FC match (please support this if you can, especially if you can turn out), a WWW for the tribal gathering and lots of opinion.

I’m out of Why Blues if anyone cares to send theirs in.

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


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

Queued for half an hour pre-match to buy my tickets for Ipswich away and Paul Lake Testimonial. Stopped and chatted briefly to Noel Bayley, who was selling Bert Trautmann’s Helmet (not the Helmet, the fanzine) outside the North Stand. There was a very strange atmosphere at Maine Road today. In fact there wasn’t any atmosphere. 27,500 fans stood in impeccable silence for one minute as a mark of respect to Diana, Princess of Wales. This was followed by another 90 minutes of virtual silence as a mark of respect to a once great football club.

Silly me thinking FC might start the game with the line up that finished strongly at Bury. Instead we welcomed back Ian Brightwell!? The team lined up:

     Edghill           Brightwell   Symons              van Blerk
      Summerbee     Brannan      Wiekens   Horlock    Kinkladze

I have to say here and now that this Norwich side were the worst I have ever seen, so in view of the final score, God help us, it’s going to be a long, cold winter! City created chances aplenty and Lee Bradbury finally broke his duck in the 27th minute, slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner after his first effort was half-saved. I can honestly say that was the only time the crowd broke into voice. Not once did I hear Blue Moon, just a few half-hearted attempts. I had to laugh when Norwich equalised and their fans started the predictable “You’re not singing anymore”, ‘cos we weren’t singing anyway! We need to think of a chant for Bradbury, like “Lee Lee Bradberee”. Anything but not just a round of applause. When he scored I was deluged with a load of Lottery playslips cut into strips! Was it somebody who read my Bury report? If so make yourself known please, if you were near the front of the Kippax upper tier (FF section). Everybody I spoke to before the game were surprisingly confident of a City win by two or three goals, and this looked like a good bet. But once again City failed to get the breathing space that a second goal would have brought, and poor defending let in Norwich to equalise in the 38th minute, with Adams’ curling a right foot shot past Margetson with the outside of his boot from the right hand corner of the box. Half time 1-1.

In the second half City again had chances, Bradbury looked to have stabbed home a second, only to have it cleared off the line. But once again a defensive mix-up led to the Norwich winner. As a qualified referee, I have to say that the goal was clearly offside. As the Norwich player broke down the left towards goal with only the oncoming Margetson to beat, he appeared to pass the ball forward and to the side, into the path of a teammate, who slotted the ball into an empty net. The referee looked at his assistant for a decision. As the flag stayed down, the goal was given. An appalling decision by a poor referee, who gave unnecessary yellow cards and completely lost it later on when he made an injured Norwich defender, who was obviously time wasting, leave the field after being treated, only to allow him back on before play was restarted!

City now drop to 20th place, and if these inept, headless-chicken displays continue, we will be challenging for relegation, not promotion.

Star ratings:
(7) Margetson. Another steady display, keeping out the fit again Tommy Wright.
(5) Brightwell. Should not have been picked. Simple as that.
(6) van Blerk. Brought off again. Should try him further forward on the left.
(9) Wiekens. Tireless performance again. 120% effort.
(5) Symons. Mr “Give A Goal A Game Away”. Zero confidence. Booed every time he touched the ball. FC please put the lad out of his misery, take that white bandage off his arm, and drop him.
(8) Edghill. Played with the same determination as Wiekens. Must have been great for him to play at home again after 22 months out.
(5) Summerbee. Needs a rocket up his arse! Has the same fan club following as Symons, i.e. every touch booed. By the way Nicky, tuck your bloody shirt in your shorts!
(7) Horlock. A trier, but I’m not convinced that he is a First Division player.
(9) Bradbury. Never gives up. Could have scored 3 at least, but needs an attacking partner (Rösler), and support on both wings (Scully and van Blerk).
(8) Kinkladze. Exiting on the ball, but could have released it on occasions to better placed players.
(6) Brannan. I always think of him and Horlock as very similar players, so see my comments on Horlock.
(7) Scully. Caused problems by whipping the ball into the six yard box. I’d try him on the right in place of Summerbee.
(6) Dickov. Not on long enough to rate, but “Braveheart” battled as hard as ever.
Rösler (not used). With ten minutes left, I’d have thrown him on in place of Symons or Brightwell. I cannot understand FC’s mentality over Uwe. Either drop him altogether, and hope he finds another club before the end of the season, or play him from the start, and let him sell himself. I have no doubt that while he is still here he would die for the fans, if not the club.

Other observations:

Frank Clark may never have his name in lights but today he had his name in seats. The initials FC (as in MCFC) were clearly to be seen in the seating behind the North Stand goals, just in front of the Norwich fans.

After watching the standard of football in the current Premier League, on MotD on Saturday night (I only watched to see Donkey Pallister get sent off), and then casting my mind back six hours to that garbage I saw, it has finally sunk in that we are definitely an average First Division team, and dropping fast. I reckon Taggart could put his “A” team out in the Paul Lake Testemonial, and still win handsomely. Let’s not kid ourselves, we are light years behind the Rags. Why are we signing players from ****ing Adelaide Sharks, and players on free transfers? Where is all this money we have? We probably take around half a million pounds sterling per home game in gate receipts alone. If we are ever going to get out of this tin pot division, we need to use our well known players like Kinkladze and Rösler to attract some big name quality players to the club, who have something to prove. That’s the dream. In reality Kinkladze and Rösler will leave for around £10 million, leaving us with no heroes, nothing to bring us back every other week, and therefore no need to come at all. Where could the downward spiral end? Sorry to be so negative, but I’ve had plenty of practice over the years.

P.S. I heard over the loudspeaker system at the match, that Helen “the Bell” was poorly in hospital. On behalf of all City fans, can I wish her all the best, and hope she’s back behind the goals ringing her bell soon. I sat talking to her at the Open Day, where she reeled off loads of her City memories.

P.P.S. What’s happened to Eddie McGoldrick. We need his type at the moment!

City ’til I die, which won’t be long, watching this garbage, Steve Kay (


Frank Clark is ready to sell a number of experienced players who are not in his plans, but this is more aimed at helping the progress of City’s talented young players such as Lee Crooks, Jeff Whitley, Chris Greenacre etc. rather than raising money. It would of course help to reduce the wage bill, which has already been eased to the tune of around £8,000 a week by loaning Nigel Clough to Sheffield Wednesday, Gerry Creaney to Burnley, Mikhail Kavelashvili to Grasshoppers and Chris Greenacre to Cardiff City. Alan Kernaghan has decided against a three-month spell at St. Johnstone and is back at Maine Road.

Clark said: “We need to clear the decks as our playing staff is too big. We brought in three or four new players in the summer and five or six last season.”

City’s reserves (again featuring Uwe Rösler) drew 3-3 with Leicester City at Filbert Street on Monday. The City line-up was:

  Hiley  Beesley   Morley    Ingram
Jim Whitley  Crooks  Jeff Whitley  Scully
          Tsekinis   Rösler

The City scorers were Scott Hiley, Jimmy Tsekinis and substitute Ray Kelly. Frank Clark was said to be very pleased with Rösler’s contribution and denied that there was a rift between him and the transfer-listed striker. He added that Rösler was playing for the reserves to keep his match fitness up.

Paul Howarth (


Colin Bell and Terry Farrell are to sue City for unfair dismissal, and will be taking their cases to an industrial tribunal after being sacked from their posts as youth development officers last May. The hearings will be in Manchester on 14th-16th October. Bell’s solicitor, Ian Wilson, said: “We shall be requiring City chairman Francis Lee and secretary Bernard Halford to give evidence.”

The day after the hearings close, Friday 17th October, City’s Annual General Meeting will be held. The club’s annual report, published this week, showed that City made a loss for the year of £2.1 million before transfers. Taking the transfer deficit into account, the overall loss for the year was £3.8 million. This compares with a loss of £3.1 million the previous year. However, there was some better news in that turnover increased slightly to £12.7 million despite the reduction in TV revenue. The £11.6 million rights issue has reduced the overall debt from around £26 million to just under £14 million, including a complete clearing of the club’s overdraft. Francis Lee’s report stated: “Considerable progress has been made in strengthening the club’s commercial development and generally making the club a more professional organisation. Most of the pieces are now in place but clearly a great deal depends on achieving promotion to the Premier League where the club’s potential can be fully realised.”

Frank Clark, sitting next to Alex Ferguson, watched Bury lose their unbeaten home record as they lost 2-1 to Sunderland in the Coca-Cola Cup. City’s rumoured transfer target Martin Smith scored one and made the other of Sunderland’s goals. Another rumoured target for City, Craig Russell, also made an appearance when he came off the bench on the hour. After the game, Peter Reid refused to comment on the transfer speculation, saying: “I conduct my transfer business in private. If anyone comes in with £15 million for him [Smith] I would think about it. Everyone is for sale at the right price.” Earlier, City had denied press reports that Uwe Rösler would be joining Everton for £500,000 plus Earl Barrett.

Gio Kinkladze was one of three players sent off in Georgia’s 1-0 World Cup win in Moldova.

Paul Howarth (


Paul Lake’s testimonial game may be watched by as few as 20,000 due to the ticket restrictions imposed by the police. Tickets can only be sold to season ticket holders and members, which will almost certainly result in a much lower than anticipated crowd and a loss to Lake of around £100,000. United have been allocated 7,500 seats in the North Stand and it’s not clear if they’ll sell them all. City are meeting police officials on Monday with the aim of getting them to allow open sale of the tickets.

Cardiff City are still taking City to court over the appointment of Phil Neal as Assistant Manager last season. A hearing is due in a couple of months regarding what they claim was an illegal approach by City to Neal, who was six months into a three and a half year contract at the time. The Bluebirds are thought to be asking for £100,000 compensation plus a friendly to be played between the two clubs (the last meeting between the clubs wasn’t very friendly if I remember rightly!).

Uwe Rösler has sustained a back injury in training today (Thursday), which will delay any potential transfer move, at least until the extent of the injury is known. Two possible replacements for Rösler are Sunderland’s Martin Smith and Craig Russell, both of whom have been chased for some time by City. However, Sunderland boss Peter Reid has stated that Smith is not for sale at any price and that City would be wasting their time in pursuing their interest in the player. Russell played for Sunderland’s reserves at Bolton on Wednesday and was reportedly watched by City scouts.

Former City winger Michael Hughes has moved from West Ham to Wimbledon for £1.6 million.

Paul Howarth (


The inaugural MCVITee match in London is now going ahead as planned on Sunday 26th October against ASB (Accrington Stanley Bowles), the kick off is 10:30, so all those who have volunteered to play should make it the Scrubs pitches no later than 10:00 (don’t worry all the details will follow).

Here is a list of people who have offered their services to MCVITee FC over the last few months, most against QPR (most of the offers come from London/Southern-based players. If you’re still interested then please confirm your availability for the above date. If you ain’t here and want to play then let me know and I’ll add you to the squad.

  • Steve Cox
  • Geoff Donkin (Northern games only?)
  • John Warrington
  • Richard Fenton
  • Steve Walker
  • Thomas Budendorfer
  • Chris Dunn
  • Neil Chadwick
  • Andy Brookfield
  • Sam Lowson
  • Andy Longshaw
  • Andrew Winnard
  • Bobby Watkins
  • Pete Kinder

I’m planning on making the journey south to shout at you all so I’m included in the squad (well if I can get a ticket and decent car to get me there!).

Martin Ford (


You must have heard of the term “Fortress Anfield” or “Fortress Ibrox Park”. Well after another dire result against Norwich, the “Academy” will become known as “Bouncy Castle Maine Road”! This is because to visiting teams, you may go one down, but you will always bounce back up to equalise, and probably bounce back again to win.

Let’s look at our home record: P3 W0 D2 L1 F4 A5 Pts2. Presently only Huddersfield and Crewe have a worse home record. Now let’s look at the current positions of the teams we have played at home, surely they must be up with the leaders? But no, Norwich, Portsmouth and Tranmere are presently 15th, 16th and 17th respectively. In the current “away record” league table, Portsmouth are 19th, and Tranmere are 21st (City are 14th). God help us when we play some good teams at home! By the way, our next visitors Swindon, are currently 5th best away team, and then we play Crewe at home, who unbelievably have the best away record at present, so don’t be thinking “that’s six points in the bag”!

Steve “Statto” Kay (


I have now liaised with my ISC friends and have a site for The Gathering at Please feel free to check it out.

Here’s to more madness and mayhem… and who knows? Maybe a win on Saturday… after all, they are in 2nd spot!

Clive Tysoe a.k.a. Gio’s Bootlicker (


I don’t want to name drop or anything, but I have just come back from a week in Rome. While I was there, I went to see a real football match, namely Roma vs. Juventus at the Olympic stadium. Wowee! A real game with a real atmosphere with proper football being played in front of me. What a delight! I had just rung a mate in Manc to find out the result of the Bury game and was feeling pretty naffed off that City couldn’t string 2 wins together, and I have to say that seeing Roma vs. Juventus, while brilliant, finished me off altogether.

For a start, the stadium is absolutely fantastic and it made me realise that if City do move to the new stadium, lack of atmosphere wouldn’t necessarily be a problem (providing we could fill it, of course). The atmosphere here was electric, there must have been 80 thousand there (capacity: 100 thousand! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Rags).

The atmosphere was helped by the number of flags people had brought in. Not just the massive ones, either, the club were actually handing out millions of little plastic red and yellow flags to everyone too, and the colours looked amazing. Can you imagine this happening at Maine Road?

Interestingly enough, I also saw at least 2 or 3 inflatable bananas! Could this signal a revival, I wonder?

The score was 0-0, but it was still a brilliant game to go to and made me realise what utter crap I have been watching for the last few years. I am sorry to say that I am losing patience with my beloved Blues and I’m knocking it on the head for a bit. And after Saturday’s result, I just shrugged and was pleased I hadn’t spent 12 quid watching the humiliation.

Sorry, I only really wanted to tell you about the bananas and here I am getting all carried away! I’ll shuffle off now…

P.S. I’ve just got some stuff through from the club about the shareholder’s meeting, including some baffling annual report with lots of figures in it. I am none the wiser after reading it… does anyone know if this means we’re still skint? And is anyone else going to the meeting next month? Will it be worth a day off work, or will it be boring waffle?

Ciao, Christine (


This league table lists teams in order of points improvement on last season’s “like” fixtures.

          +/- Pts
 1    6   Charlton Athletic (15)
 2    6   West Bromwich Albion (16)
 3    5   Bradford City (21)
 4    5   Swindon Town (19)
 5    4   Queens Park Rangers (9)
 6    4   Wolverhampton Wanderers (3)
 7    2   Norwich City (13)
 8    2   Oxford United (17)
 9    1   Sheffield United (5)
10    0   Birmingham City (10)
11    0   Crewe Alexandra (Southend)
12    0   MANCHESTER CITY (14)
13    0   Middlesbrough (Barnsley)
14    0   Port Vale (8)
15   -1   Stockport County (Oldham)
16   -2   Bury (Grimsby)
17   -2   Nottingham Forest (Palace)
18   -2   Stoke City (12)
19   -3   Portsmouth (7)
20   -4   Ipswich Town (4)
21   -4   Reading (18)
22   -4   Sunderland (Bolton)
23   -5   Tranmere Rovers (11)
24  -10   Huddersfield Town (20)

Compiled by Steve Kay (


Someone in MCIVTA 331 asked about Nick Leeson; Nick is apparently passing the time in his far eastern hotel reading King of the Kippax, though how he pays his subs is beyond me.

On the subject of missing millions, Teletext had an article over the weekend quoting Frank Clark as saying there are no funds available to strengthen the squad.

If you hate Man United clap your hands, Colin Ashworth (


To all followers of Division One teams,

I currently produce weekly tables with a difference for the Nationwide Division One, for sad anoraks like myself. These tables are updated and sent out every Sunday night. If you would like to “subscribe” to receive these statistics (subscription is free), please e-mail me at STEVEMCFC@AOL.COM, giving:

  1. Your full name,
  2. Where you live (town and country),
  3. Your e-mail address,
  4. Which team you support.

At present the statistics available are as follows:

  1. Current League Table
  2. Best Home Record Table
  3. Best Away Record Table
  4. “Maximum Points” Table, which gives a more realistic view of currentpositions, as it “irons out” games in hand.
  5. “97/98 v 96/97” Table, which uses last season’s final points total andcompares the outcome of this season’s fixtures to last season’s, and predicts afinal points total for each team, and a final table. For this purpose, lastseason’s Premiership relegated teams “inherit” the results of teams promotedto the Premiership. The same applies to promoted teams from the SecondDivision, who inherit the results of the teams relegated from the FirstDivision.
  6. “Most Improved Team” Table, which lists teams in order of pointsimprovement on last season. For example, if your team lost away in a fixturelast season, but won the same fixture this season, your team would gain 3points, and the other team would lose 3 points.

This week I hope to add further tables to the output, such as Leading Scorers, Best Supported Teams (home and away), and any other ones that you suggest (and I am able to compile!). I will also produce a table showing how many supporters of your team are “subscribing” to my output (subscription is free), and how your team is doing in the “Subscription” League, so pass my details on to any Division One fanatics you know.

I look forward to hearing from you today!

Yours in Sport, Steve “Statto” Kay of Manchester (


Well by the time this latest edition of McVitee hits newstands I’ll be standing next to the Platt Lane Correspondent probably soaking wet trying to see if Summerbee can beat a youth team player. It’s ironic actually, because the last time I managed to see the Blues we were in a poor situation also, but I think last year was a lot worse. On that night we got beat 3-2 by Oxford with Dibble letting in 3 classics. The crowd finally turned on the whole club and staged a demonstration after the game outside the Main Stand. Hopefully things will be different this time but God only knows what the reaction will be if we dare get beat against Swindon.

Anyway after emailing (bugging?) a lot of you over the the past week or two I’ve come to the conclusion most of you are drunks 🙂 and drink at different pubs before the game i.e. Parkside, Old Abbey, Gardeners, Sherwood etc. Anyway my plan is to hit the Mean Team’s usual watering hole “the Old Abbey” before the Swindon game. Directions are as follows if anybody wants to join us. A couple of regulars from BV and mcivta will hopefully be joining us. The pub is behind the Science Park near the University. The Science Park is just after the Dental Hospital going towards Maine Road. The pub is on Pencroft Way at its junction with Guildhall Street. Pencroft Way runs parallel to Lloyd Street which is to the East. Lloyd Street itself is parallel to and between Oxford/Wilmslow Road and Princess Road. There’s a map in MCIVTA 78 of the location.

Le Tank Blue recommends a pub about 10 yards opposite the train station for the Ipswich game. I had a choice of attending the gathering in November or go now and catch Paul Lake’s testimonial. I chose the testimonial as I think it will be a great day but if I win the lottery I’m back for the gathering Clive.

I’ll be wearing my City Kappa coach’s jacket for the fortnight so should be easy to spot. Three wins will make a great holiday.

CTID Paul Whittaker – Florida Blue (


The last part applies especially to the feeble “effort” of Summerbee in Saturday’s abject surrender against Norwich. I’m not one of the boo-boys but how many more of these lethargic performances do we have to take? The match reports will make grisly reading and I find it too painful to give the details. Suffice to say that the team has regressed since the spring revival and is not in a false position. The post-match comments of Frank Clark along the lines that “there’s no money to spend!” (it’s all gone on Bradbury) and “there’s enough talent at the club” don’t really give the right signals to disgusted fans. Changes are needed quick; you can argue about the finer points of 1 up front or 2, and personally I favour a simple 4-4-2, but it’s irrelevant if the players don’t put in the basic effort and commitment to win the game. The common elements in the team’s sad decline are Symons, Brightwell, Summerbee and Brannan who should all make way for younger, fresher players such as Morley, Whitley, Scully and Dickov. What was that about competition for places?

This is the very least that must be done if the management and team are to establish a rapport with the fans. Younger players will make mistakes and games will still be lost but at least they would put some energy into the game. About the only redeeming feature of Saturday’s fiasco was the return of Edghill who should take over the captaincy; after all he did Summerbee’s job as well as his own so he should cope.

As for the “no funds” comment it’s worth recalling that Clark has a net spend of £6.8m since his arrival, including some questionable signings in Bradbury (though he does at least work and has suffered from appalling service), Brannan and Vaughan.

During the Blackpool home game, my 9-year-old son asked me “are you really going to watch this rubbish ’til you die?” Well, probably, but I’d like to think it will improve! I’m away for the next 2 home games, fortuitously due to work, and this might be the cue for a couple of 4-0s. I somehow doubt it though and it will take several thrashings of the opposition to erase the bad memories of the home games so far this season.

Stay Blue, Rob Simmons (


There seems to be a general opinion that Uwe hasn’t scored too many goals over the last season or two (MCIVTA 331 Roger – The Blue Kiwi amongst others).

Our super striker spotter manager has paid £3.5 million for a striker who

  1. doesn’t look like he could hit a barn door with another barn door, and
  2. scored exactly the same number of goals as Uwe last season.

Rather strange I think that Bradbury is considered a goal scoring machine with a track record for one season the same as Uwe’s, who’s just going through a bad patch now, whilst Uwe is considered s***e.

Dave Zech (


Ashley is right, FC must make major changes for the visit of Swindon on Saturday. Both Symons and Brightwell were terrible against Norwich and they have to be dropped. I’d say Dave Morley and Vaughan could replace them, with Beesley on the bench. Drop Brannan and replace him with McGoldrick and make him captain. It may also be worth introducing Jeff Whitley and Tony Scully from the start, to add a bit of enthusiasm to the side. We should also play with two strikers and maybe rest Gio. He’s got a World Cup game this week and with all the travel he may need the rest. I’d also drop Buzzer, as his “can’t be arsed” attitude appears to have risen its ugly head.

Interesting to note that Steve Lomas played well against Newcastle last Saturday. The Mirror said his continual midfield battle with Batty was the highlight of the match. I managed to catch some of the Charlton vs. Bradford game on Sunday afternoon, and Beagrie was outstanding. He created Bradford’s goal and his crosses were a continual threat to Charlton. I should also mention that Mike Sheron scored on his début for QPR 2 weeks ago. City players always seem to play better when they leave Maine Road. Why?

Charles Pollitt (


After last week’s whining session I feel the need to air my views again. Why is it that FC cannot see what most City fans can see, Symons and Brannan are playing crap, yet he makes Symons captain and Brannan gets a starting place every match. Whilst reading King of the Kippax before the game on Saturday, I noticed the following quote: “Symons must be having a lot of deaths in his family at the moment, as this is the only reason he is wearing the black arm band.” Surely FC must realise he has to change things sooner rather than later?

If we have a star like Gio in the team then we need people who will run their nads off for ninety minutes in the middle of the park and get well and truly stuck in. Brannan seemed to be going in for challenges half-heartedly on Saturday; it just isn’t good enough and we expect better.

As for FC coming out on Sunday claiming that he has got no money to spend, this is just bloody stupid; why on earth did the club claim that we had £10M + to spend when we haven’t?

Barry Joynson (


Whilst I cringe at FC’s implied criticism of crowd pressures at Maine Road, I with many others, have more than a little sympathy with him – just what is it like to be the City Manager?

There is no doubt that City are carrying a lot of dead wood and it’s not just the playing staff. Rumours from elsewhere, particularly the ex City clan at Sunderland, suggests that the ‘dark influence’, from a number of City ghosts, is still proving unsettling; perhaps the partial exorcism last season was insufficient to produce the desired effect, perhaps the real problem sits right at the top? The rôle of some would appear to undermine those in key positions – was it any wonder that no manager in his right mind (other than those about to be sacked) would touch us with a barge pole!

However, this is not a dig at FC – he has to produce the goods, if he fails the long term consequences for MCFC PLC would be dire! I just wonder on how much real freedom the current Manager has and whether previous, open criticism of FHL, Summerbee Snr and company still remains true? Regardless, we are still up s**t creek and with little or no money to spare – I wonder what messrs Boler and Wardle make of all this?

Despite the dreadful result on Saturday, I still remain (blindly) optimistic that FC will manage to ‘select’ those that will run the hearts our for us (McG, Scully, Dickovs, Whitley’s etc) and above all, sorts out the consistently abysmal central defence – surely Beesley and Morley couldn’t perform any worse than Bob and Symons? Whatever happens, the gap between top and bottom will continue to grow and if we are to stand any chance of promotion (even a play off place), even at this early stage, City have got to start winning.

Another crisis looms? – the next few matches might just prove critical, not just for this season, but for our long term survival.

Sandy – David Sanderson (


After seeing my first game of the season at home to Norwich (due to holiday) I had to ask myself, “Why is Symons the f*****g captain?” During the match we were “battling” to save a point at home after Symons gave away easy chances to a crap Norwich side that should have been beaten comprehensively. Hardly a shining example of the player who our defence is supposed to built around and the others are supposed to look up to. Also, as the players started to drop their heads Symons had plenty of opportunities to gee up the troops when the Norwich lads rolled about on the floor to waste time and slowly walked when substituted. Symons didn’t breathe a word to his team-mates and just took the opportunity to have a quick drink. I know it’s a bit late to start handing out the captaincy to someone who seems to want to win as things are already uneasy but does anyone agree with me? I think someone like Richard Edghill or Kevin Horlock would make a much better job of it.

A J Cooke (


Having read the forty two issues built up in the folder over the summer Uni vacation, I thought it was about time I put my oar in.

Firstly – Rösler. He is a striker capable of scoring 20-30 a season. However, he lives off pacy crosses. He is never going to be like Kinky, and beat ten men (and then put in a high weak shot, as seems to be normal for Georgi). This, for me, is the source of the problems that the Blues have faced over the last couple of years. We have always been a team that thrived on wing play. The reason that Kinky has not lived up to the expectations placed upon him is simple – the true value of a talented player doesn’t lie in what he can do when he has the ball, but what he can do when he hasn’t. The season we came down, Southampton stayed up, because when Le Tissier wasn’t scoring goals, he was taking so many opposition players out of the game as to allow the other members of the team to create problems. For example, Ian Dowie (hardly the most gifted of strikers) and Tommy Widdrington both got there fair share of goals in that season. The important point has got to be having a viable attacking system without Kinky; surely this is what a “free rôle” for the lad is all about?

We need Summerbee pushed up as an out and out winger (not restricted as he was under the ginger t**t and that anonymous bloke who couldn’t say a sentence without sticking a question mark at the end of it?), without leaving him as a wing back. But it’s also necessary to have another flank man on the left – this is what frees up space for Kinky to work; allowing the opposition to play a narrow four man defence, and only worry about one side of the field is a waste of the places available on the team sheet. For too long, City managers have been obsessed with central midfield – principally because of the presence of Gio. There is always this godforsaken idea that if we’re playing Kinkladze, we must play an extra defensive minded utility player to look after him. The result? A four-man midfield with one winger (Summerbee), one attacker (Gio), two utility men, (Horlock [no he isn’t good enough to be our only left sided player], and Brannan). And so our only attacking options are as follows:- Kinky’s passing (from what I can see, about one per game! Perhaps due to the lack of useful runs by others?), Summerbee’s running (not from a defensive position…), and Kinkladze’s running (infrequent). It’s not hard to see where our abysmal goal tally for the last two seasons came from.

It’s difficult to see how to sort this whole sorry mess out, to be honest. My own opinion is that the most convincing display of attacking football at Maine Road in the last five years came from Buster Philips when he was brought on in a couple of games in 95-96. The idea that he was being held back from the first team at the time to ‘fatten him up a bit’ shows the idiotic managment at Maine Road; wingers don’t need to be strong, they need to be quick, agile, and talented – all of which Philips undeniably was at that time. I haven’t seen Scully play yet – but anyone willing to run (fast) at a full back and who is capable of crossing a ball should be on the left side of our midfield as soon as possible.

A flat back four is the easiest way to get out of this division – because it operates as a single unit, allowing the midfield to focus the majority of its time on being creative. We can focus on things like wing backs (which link defence to attack and effectively spread attacking and defensive duties throughout the team) when we get back up.

We cannot afford the luxury of Horlock and Brannan in the same midfield. Horlock is by far the better player. However, I don’t see why we needed him – Brown looked an excellent prospect last season, as did Whitley – and now is the time to be blooding these young lads – that’s what gives players like Beckham, Duberry, Sol Campbell etc. the confidence that makes them England prospects.


Edghill    Symons (give him time)  Vaughan   van Blerk
Summerbee                       Scully


Jon Marshall (


Here are some more United anagrams.

and my personal favourite

CTID, Benjamin Bloom (


For sale: Bright red bandwagon. Model ’90 runs well (except in Europe) looks real good, but needs a paint job every 2 months, excellent for jumping on with your mates. WARNING: let the consumer know that without the French operator of this bandwagon, it will not run. It will be surpassed by a real northern bandwagon from Blackburn. The operator himself costs you £50 million, otherwise he’ll moan until he gets it. Contact Local Sport shop for strip, inquire with Alex Ferguson and see if he’ll try to change the strip again.

Mike Blue (


This article arrived in my mail via a Bolton fan. It appears FC may have recently acquired a player with clear signs of the disease, unless he contracted it since arriving in Manchester. This disease has hardly been lying dormant at Maine Road, in fact, it has probably been a problem since Channon, they have just found a Latin name for it now that’s all.

New Disease Discovered – Barndoor Syndrome (Andikholus Tulef futidnes)

Recent medical reports have conjectured the existence of a new virus affecting the nervous system. Strangely, it seems to affect only otherwise physically healthy subjects (the study was conducted on Premier League strikers). This disease affects the major motor pathways of the lower body, specifically the legs and feet. Under conditions of extreme stress the subjects tended to show a lack of fine motor control and coordination in their feet and can even lose their footing completely, possibly injuring themselves and requiring lengthy treatment.

Patient Zero of this new virus is believed to have travelled between Newcastle and Manchester in the early 90’s and has since been spreading the infection throughout his collegues. Other strikers who have come in contact with this carrier show clear signs of the condition, although the gestation period for symptoms is unclear. At the moment there is no cure for the syndrome although patients do sometimes show signs of spontaneous recovery.

Authorities are currently putting in place vaccination schemes, and it is anticipated that patient zero will be quarantined (or ‘put in the reserves’) as soon as a young Norwegian specialist has a chance to intervene.

This was inspired by the Telegraph On-line’s report about last night’s Coventry-Palace game; you think we’ve got problems, read that. There are so many strikers of previously good record completely losing it or tripping over and breaking their legs that some sort of contagion is the only possible explanation.

Alan Foster (


Does anyone know the last time we lost to Norwich at home (or even away)? I thought that we had an outrageous record against them – something like ‘haven’t lost against them for 30 years’ – answers please.

Martin Reynolds (


I have bought a ticket for Ipswich. Are there any North Manchester Blues going down with room in their car? If so, please e-mail me at

Thanks, Steve Kay (


One thing worries me about my complete and utter devotion to Manchester City and that is ‘why is my love so, completely, unrequited?’

If a girlfriend I loved consistently cheated on me, upset me and appeared to go out of her way to p**s me off. I would dump her.

If a close friend repeatedly abused my trust and let me down, I would think twice about spending time with him.

Why then do I still, every week, follow Manchester City? They’ve had my unfaltering support for the last 15 years! I’ve been with them through the good times as well as the bad. I’ve stuck with them through thick and thin.

This season I am at my lowest. This season I have been raised and dropped so many times that I am punch drunk. I feel like a battered wife! How many times have I seen City stroll into an early lead, look comfortable, have many ‘unlucky’ missed chances, to walk away from the game with nothing? I can’t take it any more. Are they trying to tell me something? Do they want me to leave? If Manchester City were my wife, I would be deeply suspicious by now that they might have another lover! They are making it so obvious that they don’t want my relationship with them to carry on! It must be that. There is no other solution.

The game against Charlton was the emotional equivalent of coming home to find my girlfiend in bed with my best friend. I forgave them.

The Bury game. Just one more chance.

The Norwich game. I leaving, and I’m taking my CD’s.

Simon Jones – Estranged City Fan (


Full-time score and scorer for Wednesday, September 24 1997

QUEENS PARK RANGERS     1-0    PORTSMOUTH                12,620
Spencer (44)

Up to and including Wednesday, September 24 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Nottingham Forest        8      5    1    2     12     5        16
Queens Park Rangers      8      5    1    2     11    10        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
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               8      2    2    4     11    12         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 (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #332