Newsletter #335

Depressed on Saturday, but no longer being 16 meant that I was moderately happy by early Sunday! This mood didn’t last as I trudged along to Maine Road for an event which had the potential to be a disaster of Tory-esque proportions. Good to see that we made a decent game of it, and don’t believe anyone who says that their reserves almost beat us, as they only played in the second half and then it was against our reserves!

This issue has 4 match reports (Ipswich) a matchview (Lakey’s game); news of the tribal gathering and Nick Leeson; something from the Platt Lane Correspondent; and lastly, an article which will no doubt course quite a bit of controversy. I’ve endeavoured to lessen the impact of this by keeping the source anonymous; if anyone feels strongly about this, critical or supportive, then please let me know.

The City Superstore was also open, made a lovely change to be able to get in and actually look around!

Next game, Reading at home, Saturday 18th October 1997


IPSWICH TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 4th October 1997

Was the Swindon game just a dream? How can anyone perform so well one week and so ineptly the next?

The game started off reasonably well with City starting with the same team as last week with one slight difference, they all played crap. Despite an early scare when Symons, Beesley and Brightwell contrived to gift Ipswich an early chance by all chasing the ball (just like a Sunday pub team) and leaving one of Ipswich’s two inept strikers to miss when he should have scored, we dominated play. For the remainder of the half we kept possession well and only gave away half chances. Barndoor Bradbury missed two golden opportunities; OK one was a good save from their ‘keeper. After good work on the left Horlock found some space to put in a powerful low cross which appeared to be met spot on by Barndoor and his on target shot was saved somehow (if I remember this was his only on target effort). City then totally dominated proceedings, they were in complete control and when Barndoor was put through it seemed the simplest of tasks to round the ‘keeper and tap in; he put it wide. A number of other opportunities were squandered, the best being from some excellent work by Dickov who shot well over in the end.

The second half was diabolical and contributed to make this the worst game I have watched of any type of football including the local village side for a long time. Ipswich were crap and City played exactly as a team 4th from bottom of the League would do. There was no heart, no hunger to win and no competitiveness at all. Edghill had a nightmare, he couldn’t pass the ball, he couldn’t tackle and couldn’t run with the ball. Gio had a couple of good runs but was generally either not interested or had so many defenders round him he had no chance at all. Barndoor continues to lead the line well for opposing defenders, often getting the ball and making for one of the wings. What the hell is he doing out there? You don’t see Shearer or Sheringham (spit) fannying around like that. Dickov does well for a man of his size, upsetting large carthorse type defenders but failing to capitalise on this skill. Horlock and Brannan did better than usual, this type of game was made for them; Ipswich put so many on Gio that it left space for them to operate – did they take advantage of this? – Did they hell. If Gio has a bad game one of these 2 has to sparkle and provide for the forwards. The defence teeters between inept and blind panic, Ipswich should not have scored in this game, their goal was scrappy and unlike Barndoor, Mathie’s effort was on target with no defenders to close him down or clear the weak shot off the line (there was enough of them in the box at the time). The crescendo of boos and abuse from the City supporters at the end was no more than the team deserved for this performance. I am afraid that patience is wearing very thin and we need to put a string of results together.

Margetson 7 One good save from a free kick, blameless for the goal. Lacks authority to give Bob, Beastley and Calamity the bollockings they often deserve (Rudolph (spit) would have had apopolexy with them).
Edghill 1 and that isn’t one for effort, he managed to make one tackle of note.
Brightwell 5 Often received the ball from a midfielder but failed to use it when in space and make a telling pass.
Beesley 5 Could do better, I feel a little more confident with him in defence.
Symons 4 Went off after making a good tackle in the second half; let’s hope he’s out for a while, Morley could easily take his place.
Wiekens 5 Quiet game, particularly second half when he looked knackered, another contender for Symons’ or Bob’s place in the back four if you ask me. I thought we were supposed to be super fit now!
Horlock 6 One of his better performances, overlapped well down the wing but failed to provide real sparkle in midfield.
Brannan 6 Better performance than previously seen, he was often looking for the ball. Failed to make any telling passes but was prepared to get back in defence.
Dickov 6 Ran around a lot, often unsettling defenders, some good skill at times but didn’t get many chances on goal. He needs to get more chances and take some pressure off Barndoor.
Bradbury 4 For the chances he gets he has to score more often, he has to put himself about a bit more just in front of goal. He has the speed and ability to beat defenders, why not run one on one straight at the goal? Heading for the wing is not any good when you are the only forward.
Gio 4 No effort, little help from teammates. Anyone who says we should get rid of him wants their marbles looking at, it’s only when he performs that the side gets a win.
Scully 5 Looked prepared to take on a defender when he came on, too late for it to make a deal of difference to a packed Ipswich defence by then.
Rösler 5 Looked fired up and put himself about. Created a half chance towards the end by sheer determination.

Finally FC can have a mark, 2. He didn’t read the game. His substitutions were in panic and would have been better timed before Ipswich had scored to give us more bite. Rösler was up for this and should have had his opportunity earlier. FC keeps with a defence that is crap, we need a solid platform. Alright, if we get the odd 0-0 because the attack hasn’t done that well but at least it means we are not leaking goals. Why not put Wiekens in central defence and put McGoldrick in midfield leaving Calamity to think about getting his game right for a while? FC obviously did not give the team a half time talk of any note; has he tried throwing the tea cups about? Let’s make no bones about this, Ipswich were awful, they have to be one of the worst teams in the League at the moment. We could and should have won this game. FC was right, there can be no excuses, every man jack of them, and particularly FC, carries the can for this performance. It will be interesting to see by how many the Rags (spit) win by in the Coca Cola Cup; on this performance Ipswich haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance.

Final score: Ipswich 1 City 0

Dave Rothwell (


IPSWICH TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 4th October 1997

Ipswich, October 4th 1997, my first City game since Liverpool in May 🙁

I went to Portman Road with a 50+ year old Ipswich fan who had not been there for 30 years. We sat in the Churchmans stand which is behind the goal we were attacking in the first half and conceding in the second.

Anyway, I thought I would do a match report. The only problem is that I get carried away sometimes and missed who it was when the action was going on. Still here it is.

Formation: 1 8 1

I thought we started strongly except the first few minutes that saw a good chance go begging for the Town. We had shed loads of possession and acres of space on the wings, problem was that when the ball found its way to the wing we didn’t act quickly enough and then proceeded to play it back to the middle. Dickov ran and ran and got on the end of a few diagonal balls and even got the ball across for us to score Yeaaahhhhs! – s**t offside; I wondered why the Ipswich players were all standing around. Another chance came later with a very similar position/situation, the ball played across but somehow, and it all happened very quickly and not having the action replay I can only surmise an Ipswich player passed the ball back to the ‘keeper via his navel! When Ipswich had the ball they wanted to play it out but kept passing it straight to us. Which meant we kept the pressure on for a good 40 minutes. The only other notable good moment was one of our guys bearing down on Wright and playing the ball through his legs, only for it to trickle wide. I say good but I doubt Dickov thanked him as he was in loads of space in the middle. All our bad moments as far as I could see were due to diagonal balls that Symons just let past him. Man of the half – Dickov though Brightwell (yes I know) came a close second.

Second half was the reverse with Ipswich (particularly Dozzell) played like they wanted to win and in fact it was Dozzell’s pass that Mathie ran on to and took well to score. Five minutes or so later it looked all over when a similar situation to our first half “goal” occurred, except Mathie was in the centre in miles of space and fired well wide. Nowt else to say about the half except Rösler came on and looked more like scoring than Brightwell (just).

My impression of Bradbury is that he looks a bit like David White and he was my favourite player. Will he get better, yes, let’s give him time, we ain’t going up this season let’s just hope we don’t go down. Wiekens looked pretty solid; only one error from him in the first half.

Our fans were excellent all half, singing and being generally noisy (as if we were at home) and with the Ipswich fans booing (at one point when Mathie missed a very good chance).

Andy Garside (


IPSWICH TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 4th October 1997

Four of us made the round trip of 480 miles, full of hope that last week’s 6-0 drubbing of Swindon could be repeated in some small way against lowly Ipswich Town. Some hope!

A brilliant City turnout, in brilliant weather. Thanks to the grey-haired grandad, who dished out blue and white balloons to us, which were let off as the teams came out. Call it a premonition but I also took this opportunity to chuck my lottery strips into the air. I usually do this when the first City goal goes in. It was just as well I did, as I would have been taking them home with me.

All we needed was a good start. The team was the same as last week and Ipswich had major injury problems; apparently they had to sign a fourteenth player on a weekly contract to make up the 14! One Ipswich fan in the souvenir shop thought City would win well, another Ipswich DOSLA subscriber predicted City to win 4-0. The omens looked good.

Line-up and Ratings:

  1. Margetson (7)
  2. Brightwell (6)
  3. Beesley (6)
  4. Wiekens (8)
  5. Symons (6)
  6. Edghill (7)
  7. Dickov (6)
  8. Horlock (7)
  9. Bradbury (6)
  10. Kinkladze (6)
  11. Brannan (6)
  12. Rösler (6)
  13. Scully (6)
  14. van Blerk

As you can tell from the ratings, the team performance was a mere shadow of last week’s. The game started and City dominated the first half; I have to say that this Ipswich team were just about the worst I have seen, as bad as the Norwich team we lost to at Maine Road! However, City failed to get the vital goal, though many chances were created. Bradbury was as guilty as anyone and should have scored on at least one occasion. He really needs to start converting his chances if he is to retain the backing of the City fans. Half time 0-0.

The second half saw Ipswich coming more into the game and they created several good chances. You could see the game ebbing away from City. Very few of the team played with any passion (probably suffering from nicky summerbeeitis), including Paul Dickov who seemed ineffective after securing his second consecutive “start”.

The City fans became increasingly frustrated and muted in their support. Then the inevitable happened. Alex Mathie broke through and scored. City could not respond and when the final whistle blew, we all realised that we had missed a wonderful opportunity to move up the table.

The defeat sent City to 21st place, with many problems to sort out. Their failure to capitalise against weak opposition is very worrying. For example, Tranmere and Portsmouth have both lost every away game this season, apart from the points they got at Maine Road. City could reasonably have been expected to beat Ipswich, Norwich, Bury, Portsmouth and Tranmere. Those extra 12 points would have left City on 21 points in second place with a game in hand on Forest to go top. The inability to string two wins together has to be sorted out – and quickly. Frank Clark needs to find players who will die for this club, week in week out. When you look at the results against Nottm Forest and Swindon, you see the potential. Then you watch the same team today and you wonder what’s going on. Frank Clark’s position as manager could be on the line if the team continues to play inconsistently, and if results don’t improve by the end of November. After watching the Paul Lake Testimonial yesterday (5.10.97, report to follow), I saw players who will give their all for City’s cause, given the chance of half a dozen games. Players like David Morley, Michael Brown, Jeff Whitley and Lee Crooks are good enough now for the First Division, so give them a run. Add these to Margetson or Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Vaughan (yes, Vaughan), Scully, Kinkladze (until he is sold), Bradbury, van Blerk, Horlock and Dickov. Bring Chris Greenacre back from loan and you then have a team of tryers with something to prove. To his credit, Frank Clark has dropped Nicky Summerbee for his lack of effort (no better yesterday). I would now go one step further and sell him, which would give a clear message to all the playing staff that grafters are welcome and appreciated, but there can be no place at City for time wasters.

Another of my non-City DOSLA subscribers suggested that maybe City had turned the corner after the Swindon match. I wrote back saying that City had been turning corners for the last 20 years but most of them lead down long dark alleys!

On a more positive note, a Cockney Blue sat next to me at the game (he’s been going to matches for 20 years), said that last week at Maine Road he was sat next to a father and son. The son had had a dream the night before that City would win 6-0 (I have those dreams all the time!), so the father asked for the odds for 6-0. When he was told the odds were 120-1, he bet £10. Apparently, in the 89th minute, Lee Bradbury had a chance to score but hit the side netting, much to the relief of the man, who collected £1200!

Bertie McGoo, the Bitter Blue a.k.a. Steve Kay (


IPSWICH TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 4th October 1997

After last week’s trouncing of second placed Swindon Town, this was the first of a run of games against struggling opposition which should have seen the Blues build up a good winning run. However, it seemed that most of the team thought that they just had to turn up to collect the three points judging by the way they played.

After the long cross-country journey, we arrived in sunny Ipswich to find the pubs full of Blues in confident mood. I met up with a few on-line fans in the Station Hotel before venturing into the ground (those seats are as cramped as ever) to hear about an unchanged City line-up (with the exception of R