Newsletter #336

A very quiet week with only GMR active, repeatedly rumouring that Rösler is on his way to Goodison. The latest rumour (invention?) has us swapping him for Terry Phelan – please no – might I suggest Duncan Disorderly would be a tadge more useful to us?

This issue has news of the McVitee FC game vs. QPR, and of enamel badges for MCIVTA/BlueView if there is enough support; an assessment of Greenacre and Kelly’s loan performances, opinion and a good Why Blue – more please!

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


Frank Clark has arranged a game at Maine Road (taking place today, apparently) which is to act as a shop window for 18 Serie A and B players who are looking for contracts in the UK. It’s not clear whether this is just for City or whether City are putting it on and other managers can attend.

FC was reported to have jetted back from abroad where he had been on a secret mission – sounds exciting doesn’t it?



I have just looked into the issue of those student discounts. They are available through Manchester University Students’ Union, Oxford Road (0161 275 2930). They get 200 tickets, available till 4pm the day before each match. Tickets have to be bought in person (no telephone orders) and the ID provided has to be either NUS card, or Uni library swipe card. They will not accept an ISIC card. They say the tickets are ‘selling well.’

Andrew Conway (


May the games commence. Players, supporters, fans and interested parties, here’s the message from Steve Papps confirming the game between MCVITee and ASB will now go ahead. I will send a message to all those who have definitely offered their services for the QPR game to confirm everyone’s availability.

Got a letter from the Hammersmith and Fulham Council this morning, the match vs. Man City is confirmed.

The letter says 11:00am kick-off but I spoke to the ground and they said we can k/o at 10:30am – so be there at 10:00am

Here’s the directions for the pitch as taken from the QPR web site (

Welcome to Wormwood Scrubs

From the West, go down M40 onto the A40 until you come to the White City Flyover (you will see QPR Loftus Road floodlights on your right). Just as you go up onto the flyover, take the turnoff to your left (signposted “White City, Shepherds Bush”). Take left here and go down the road about 100 yards. On the left you’ll see a road called Du Cane Road; go down Du Cane Road for about 300 yards, the pitches are on the right. To get to the changing rooms you go down a small lane between Hammersmith Hospital and Wormwood Scrubs Prison. The stadium is called The Linford Christie Stadium.

So folks, could everyone wanting to play please make their way to the ground and be ready for selection by 10:00a.m. I’m hopefully going to be there (anyway fancy giving the ‘manager’ a lift?) to sort you all out 🙂 put players into position, try to formulate a game plan and team tactics.

Martin Ford (


As an exiled City fan in Hong Kong I am unfortunately not immune to the bandwagon-seeking glory-hunting Rags. As a frequent traveller on Cathay Pacific I also receive their Marco Polo Club magazine which this month carried an article on “Manchester: Mecca for the Smart-set”.

This turned out to be a vaguely disguised advertorial for Trafford United and thus I was prompted to put pen to paper in disgust as follows:

The Editor,
Marco Polo Magazine,
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
Swire House, 9/F West Wing,
9 Connaught Rd.

9 October, 1997

Dear Sir,

I read with interest your article on Manchester since it happens to be my home town and naturally has a soft spot in my heart. I was however astonished that no mention was made of the other famous soccer club in this resurgent City.

If you were to ask any real soccer fan ‘What is the true Manchester club’, then Manchester City would be the reply – United supporters mostly come from London or the south and rarely venture from their armchairs – from where they can watch their beloved team! Indeed Old Trafford is not even in Manchester, but in Stretford.

I am however pleased that you point out the latest vibrant export from Manchester, Oasis since both the Gallagher borthers are City fans. Add this to the new City strip sponsored by renowned sportswear manufacturers, Kappa, then you can understand why Manchester City fans don’t look back in anger – we may not have won a trophy for 25 years but we are still cooler than United.

For the benefit of your readers who would like to watch the coolest team in Manchester, they play at Maine Road, Moss Side (in Manchester) and can be contacted on +44 161 248 8449 or on the Internet at:

Your sincerely,
Philip Gregory

Should anyone else wish to bombard Cathay with similar mail than please be my guest – I will keep you informed if my letter is published – or if I get a reply.

I will spare you all the self indulgent c**p written in the article – which apart from references to you know who is very positive about Manchester.

Phil Gregory (


To help people recognise each other when they meet up on match days etc, and after several unsuccessful attempts at recent matches, Noel Bayley came up with the idea of getting Blue View (Doug Bennett’s City discussion page on the web) and MCIVTA badges made so we could spot each other. I’ve now rung a couple of companies, and we can get small enamel ones made for about 6 or 7 quid each (they get cheaper the more we order). However, it’ll only be worth getting this off the ground if we get about 50 definites (so far got about 25 from BV).

So if you fancy one, send me an email, and if I get enough replies, then I’ll get my arse in gear!

Oh, if anyone has any design ideas, and/or design skills then please get in touch, ‘cos I’m about as artistic as Mick McCarthy ever was on the pitch!

Tom Robertson (a.k.a. Le Tank Bleu,


Oh the joys of Welsh TV. Last night I had the dubious pleasure of watching the FAW Invitational Cup – Wrexham vs. Cardiff. This game was billed as the clash of the titans of Peldroed Gymru (Welsh Football). Anyway the reason behind this is to report on a few City loanees, ex-players and to let you know a bit about Scully.

With Greenacre (Cardiff) and Kelly (Wrexham) on loan and Beech (Cardiff) playing, the game was seemingly offering a bit of class – First Division players in the FAW/BBC money spinning plastic competition.

Greenacre – showed class, strength and a good awareness of others; the summariser was almost wetting himself every time he touched the ball. Cardiff – as I noted weeks ago – are chasing a big target man. I can guarantee at this moment that the moment Cardiff sign this beanpole FC will recall Greenacre to the reserves. Anyway, he does seem to be improving as a player – or maybe getting used to the team. He could have scored 3 last night but his height in two cases and lack of half a yard the other denied him. He also stole the ball off another player who had a clear chance – greedy striker syndrome – he forced a save in a crowded box though.

Kelly – Was well marshalled by Cardiff’s killer centre half, but I think it was only his second apperance so we can forgive him. After the injury to aforementioned killer he sparkled, had a couple of chances and almost scored through a deflection and curled one just wide. He looked too good so Wrexham replaced him with a 17-year-old headless chicken.

Beech – kill the man who released him, already he has become one the best defenders in the basement. He bottled up Wrexham’s star winger (Hardy) and looked comfortable at all times. We seem to be lacking something at the back at the moment and FC could really look no further especially as he is a lefty. He was my personal man of the match – so Cardiff should be ready to sell him soon.

Scully – wasn’t playing but he did play for Cardiff last year. He beat men in his first few matches then lost the skill of doing anything football – like so we sent him back/was recalled. He didn’t look First Division standard mind but FC knows what he is doing (doesn’t he?).

Mike Thomas (


On Wednesday at about 11:30 I was in Manchester so decided to visit the new souvenir shop. It’s very good but I still can’t afford anything ;-). Then I went down to Platt Lane so see if anything was going on. There was a footy match on with Tommy Wright in the goal (I thought he was in the Ireland squad?). Most of the first team were there, with a notable absentee being Uwe, but Big Al was there (I thought he was in Scotland – long way to come for training?). While I was there, the player that most impressed me with 2 goals was Buster; surely a place on the bench is about due for the ‘first 10 million pound player’? Even Buzzer was putting some effort in – another long wait for a City game (WBA home, 11th October postponed) but at least we won’t lose any games hopefully.

Glen McLellan (


I just found out that The England-Italy game is not on tv here so I have to hunt out a local bar. But that is not the reason for this response. I am afraid I have to own up to being extremely depressed over the start to this season. I had hoped we would have begun positively and by now would be in the top two or three. But we seem to be as bad as last year.

I appreciate all the written comments and especially those who implore us all to keep the faith. But it is hard isn’t it… maybe it is easier being there when you can at least have the social outing to Maine Road. This far away it is awful to keep reading home draws and away losses to teams that should be plundered for points.

What is Gio to do… if the rumours are that he is to go at Crimble time if we are not up there – then he must surely be ready to leave – we would need an unbeaten run to take us anywhere near the top. I would feel really bad if he left: he is after all the one real footballer we have had at Maine Road since… well probably Freddie Hill (just kidding though he was a good ‘un). My hope was that we would storm back to the Premiership with Gio – now it looks less and less likely and that is sad – we need players of his quality and appeal.

But you all know this more than me. You go, week in and week out. Over here all I have to deal with is written word.

So the faith is still there, shaking a little, with a hope that we are about to enter on a long run of victories.

Blue ain’t the word for the way that I feel.

John Pearson, Stanford, California (


Shortly you will all have the opportunity to see Athletic Club de Bilbao play Aston Villa in the next round of the UEFA cup on the television. As you probably all know, Bilbao is the only Spanish first division team with no foreign players, in fact it only has Basque players and draws on a population of around two million. How they manage to survive is by having a really efficient nursery system, where no stone is left unturned in the search for new, young talent; indeed it is every young boy’s dream to play for Athletic, but it is not an impossible dream, for eventually some kid makes it to the first team. Also, the club have no qualms about paying top price for other Basque players who have slipped through the net. The result of this policy is an immense pride in playing for their team, which translates itself on the pitch into 100% effort. There is nothing false about the players’ dedication to their club and their cause; examples of wishing to stay even if it means earning less are common. With respect to our own team’s sorry plight, maybe City could learn something from this, by using more local footballers, and nurturing these assets, thus easing the financial burden on the club. As it looks as if we don’t get back into the Premiership within the next two years we never will.

Two shining examples for City have been Doyle and Lake, surely for them it was more than just playing the game, or furthering their careers! They obviously cared for the club when they played.

P.S. Why are we so reluctant to criticise Frank Clark? Is it because we fear there is no life after Frank, and prefer to remain standing on the precipice of the abyss?

Roger H. Spruce – Mondragon, Spain (


As one of those who unfortunately missed the Swindon game (and perhaps equally unfortunately caught many of the others!), the concept of our beloved side as a ‘Total Footballing’ (a quote from 6.06 that evening… bless that lad!) free scoring outfit is still one which I have to use a bit of imagination to conjure up.

Lots of opinion on reasons for our indifferent start has been expressed in these pages with predictably, a fair amount of it focussing on our inability to score with any regularity. However, I’ve been surprised, given the relationship that Uwe has had with the Maine Road faithful that news of his impending departure has been greeted with such indifference in a newsletter read by over 1,600 fans. Whilst it’s pleasing to see that fans have been prepared to give young Lee Bradbury a fair shot, I cannot help but feel that we may have spent £3.5 million (and possibly another £1.5 million by default if we release Uwe under the freedom of contract) without any obvious improvement to the side. I take Roger (the Blue Kiwi)’s argument regarding the potential of Bradbury offering more than Uwe has provided in the last two seasons and in the long run we may enjoy the benefits of that potential. However, in the long run we are all dead – let’s look at now, or more specifically, this season.

At the moment Uwe is (a) a better finisher, (b) makes more intelligent runs (c) has a better first touch and (d) is better in the air – a base requirement for the thankless task of trying to make something out of the aimless missiles which our defence hoof upfield with nauseating frequency. Rösler has also been known to venture into the box on occasions. Bradbury… 1-0 down vs. Ipswich on Saturday, last minute of the game, the ball is crossed into the box… LB is 40 yards away (not an isolated example). Bradbury will no doubt improve (although at £3.5 million do we not have the right to expect something closer to the finished article?) but I’m afraid on he will not deliver the return for a promotion push this season. Rösler, with reasonable service and support, might. I’ve heard some fans comment that they see Bradbury as a 25-30 goal a season striker… sorry lads, not unless we are going to count the ones in training as well!

OK, Uwe may not justify the £10k a week he is apparently holding out for, but surely we are crazy, given the state of the club’s finances, to consider losing him on freedom of contract. If this represents a £2k increase, the total is still only £300K over a three-year contract. In transfer terms, even the most pessimistic estimate has to value him in excess of £1m. Having him under contract at least enables the club to realise a fee down the line if Bradbury ultimately proves to be the better option. Against the Rags, at Lakey’s testimonial, Uwe did not give the impression of a player who no longer wants to play for this club and his excellent header for our second goal left me thinking ‘what if’… with a couple of the chances that presented themselves at Portman Road 24 hours earlier. Having said all of this, if we are to persist with Bradbury… and he stuffs my words back down my neck… nobody will cheer him louder than I will.

Finally if any additional money does miraculously become available let’s hope FC uses it to add a piece of the jigsaw that is clearly missing i.e. an experienced defender capable of organising those around him. It’s quite incredible that a team with seven defensively orientated players (in this I add Wiekens, Brannan and Horlock to a prevailing back four) can consistently look like an accident waiting to happen. A leader at the back capable of turning this lot into a unit is all that stands between us and a real shot at promotion in what is a very ordinary league… ref, the influence of a certain Paul McGrath at Sheff United. In the absence of additional personnel, the deployment of Wiekens in the back four (accepting that it’s dangerous to make an assessment on the strength of a testimonial) would help to ease the blood pressure. Still, it wouldn’t quite be the City we know and love then would it? So, come on then, who is brave enough to predict the score vs. Reading.

City ’til they kill me! Billy King (


Though I was born in Penketh, then in Lancashire, my father secured a job in Bimingham and we headed “South” in 1963 when I was five, to live in a suburb of Birmingham, Kings Norton. We were only there for nine months before we moved a further eleven miles south to the picturesque Worcestershire village of Alvechurch, which was to be my home for the next fifteen years. My mother was from Salford and my father from Chorlton-cum-Hardy. Though neither had a keen interest in football, my mother remembers walking with my grandad, a true Blue, from Salford to Maine Road on Saturdays to see the likes of Bert Trautmann and Frank Swift. With my mum’s brother, uncle Colin supporting City, my faith was decided.

In the 1960’s my interest in football grew with the success of our village, Midland Combination team, Alvechurch, in the F.A. Amateur Cup, which culminated with a trip to London to the 1965 (?) semi-final at Stamford Bridge against Wealdstone. Alvechurch lost 1-0, after Paul Cocking missed a penalty early in the first half.

As was the fashion then, tea companies had pictures of footballers on the back of packets, and my grandad secured me a collection of colour photographs of Manchester City players, complete with sky blue and white rosettes. I was now a City supporter. Throughout the sixties my grandparents sent me City cuttings from the Manchester Evening News and the Football Pink with my weekly comic, The Beano. Though I played football in the amber and black of Alvechurch, I was now a true Blue. Though it was okay to be an Alvechurch supporter at junior school, you had to support a first division team at senior school. With my City lapel badge proudly attached to my new blazer, I was dispatched in September 1969 to boarding school in Stourbridge, Worcestershire about twenty five miles away.

This was in the heart of the Black Country and most of the day boys were either Wolves or West Brom. supporters. Though there was one day boy on my form with a real strange accent who supported Millwall! Christ knows where that was? City had won the F.A. Cup the season before I started at Old Swinford and were embarking on a European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign that season, which only heightened my interest.

It seemed that the whole school was in the TV room at 4.40 on Saturdays to see the results on Grandstand, with regular cheering and booing depending on who had won. My group of friends supported a wide range of clubs: Dean was a Spurs supporter though he was from Birmingham, I think it was after the 1961 double when he was five, a forerunner to a modern day “Rag” supporter, David Price supported Leeds, his family was from Yorkshire and his uncle wrote the scripts for Morecambe and Wise. He used to emulate Norman “Bite your legs” Hunter in both house and school matches and he was sent off on numerous occasions. The strangest was Nigel Kirk, he supported Swindon, having been born there! They were in the fourth division and never beat, or even played our teams. I did have a soft spot for them after I found out that Mike Summerbee had moved to City from them. Others supported Liverpool and Derby County. There wasn’t a Rag in sight in my year, or is it just my memory fading?

Every Saturday night we had the ‘latest’ feature film shown in the main hall. The ritual was, after the evening meal, to change into your ‘civvies’, 70’s flares and congregate in the table tennis, locker and TV rooms outside the hall with your copy of the Sports Argus, which confirmed that the result on Grandstand or World of Sport was true. My ideal Saturday was a City and Alvechurch win, a good film and next day being an ‘Out Sunday’. These were two Sundays a term either side of half term when we went home for the day if you happened to be within a reasonable distance.

I remember City winning the European Cup Winners’ cup against Gornik Zabrze 2-1, beating Spurs 4-1 (?) which unfortunately was during the half-term holiday, and the result had lost its impact when I got back to school and Dean didn’t seem bothered. In fact he had discovered girls over the half term and Spurs took a poor second place.

I only saw City live a few times between 1969 and 1976. The crowd violence of the 70’s deterred my dad from taking my brother and me. We always watched Match of the Day on Saturday night and “The Big Match” of the old ATV on Sundays, but only if City was playing. In the summer of 1975 I discovered motorbikes, and I started road racing in April 1977 which dominated my life for the next 17 years. I had my helmet painted sky blue and white. In 1981 I made my Grand Prix début in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Franconchamps and continued to race abroad during the early to mid 1980’s; after racing in the UK from 1987 to 1993 I hung up leathers at the end of the 1993 season and needed something else to be fanatical about.

Though I was still ‘supporting’ City during all those years I had only been to see a few games when they played London clubs, having moved there in 1981 and only out of the racing season (November to March). The highlight was when we beat my ex’s club West Ham in a 1986 league cup match, when they were in the old first and us in the second. I remember jumping up after City scored, looking around to see the whole side of Upton Park sitting down.

At the start of the 1993/1994 I started to take a greater interest, but with now living in Hertfordshire I was still starved of information. In 1995 I discovered the Internet and MCIVTA. City web pages proliferated and I was now able to get information just as quickly as my fellow Mancunian supporters. I went to all ‘southern’ matches in 1995/96 and suffered the humiliation of the Swindon away defeat on my 39th birthday, I was working in Swindon at the time and it was Jan, my new wife, first trip to a live football match. Visiting Manchester for a family part in February of this year I returned to Maine Road for the first time in over twenty odd years for the Southend match. Jan found the atmosphere amazing and we both enjoyed the win. Since then we try to go to one home match a month and every match south of the Watford gap.

Why Blue? Keeping my grandad’s City supporting tradition alive, a connection with my parents’ home city, seeing people’s faces when the word City comes out when they were expecting the “U” word after Manchester. The optimism City generates. You convince yourself things will get better next home match (and they did) after spending over seven hours driving to Maine Road and back to see the Norwich fiasco. Going on my daily run round the Hertfordshire country side in my City Kappa shirt and getting abuse from southern Rags who’ve seen too many Liam Gallagher interviews and talk with a Mockney Manchester accent; “Supported them all my life mate, I’m mad for them.”

Roger Lee (



Even though I work for the Beeb and therefore must surely be a Rag, I’m not. Maine Road man and boy!

Anyway, for a feature in the new series of the Sunday Show which I’m working on I need to find a Birmingham City fan to come into the studio on Sunday.

If you know of anyone then please mail me at or else call me at work on 0161 244 3570.

Cheers chaps and chapesses – stay Blue.

CTID, Mark Helsby (


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 #336