Newsletter #337

Work has gone pear-shaped this week so I’m afraid it’s about all I can do to paste MCIVTA together – apologies for any errors. If you write to me this week, be prepared not to get an answer. Lastly, there is also a chance that Thursday’s issue will not be sent out ’til Friday, but only as a last resort.

This one reaches 1,649.

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


Mirko Taccola of Napoli has been given permission by his club to go to Man City for a trial. Here’s some info on him:

Age: 27
Position: Defender (central)
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 85Kg

His biggest asset is his strength. Not particularly talented as far as technique is concerned, he tries to makes up for this with his workrate. Has been at Napoli for a couple of seasons (went on loan to Cagliari last year when they sold Vega to Tottenham). Has not been able to break in at the Serie A level, but was a regular with some Serie B teams (Pisa, Pescara, Lucchese) for a few seasons.

Just the type of player Man City needs, someone who’s good enough to trudge along in crap outfits, but who doesn’t have what it takes for the top…

Nick Simoncini (


City have taken the Napoli central defender Marco Taccola on trial, probably for a couple of weeks. He played in Thursday’s behind closed doors friendly game between City’s reserves and Ivano Bonnetti’s travelling Italians, though the Italian sports daily “Gazzetta Dello Sport” had linked the player with the Blues a couple of weeks ago. Taccola is also reported to have attracted the attention of Liverpool and Middlesbrough.

Uwe Rösler and Paul Dickov, who both picked up knocks in said friendly game, both made good progress over the weekend and are expected to be back in training by the middle of the week. Rösler played only three minutes of the game before suffering what was thought to be ankle ligament damage but it now seems the injury wasn’t that serious. Kit Symons, who was unable to play for Wales at the weekend, is also reported to be making good progress. Tommy Wright will play for the reserves at Notts County on Tuesday night.

On-loan Gerry Creaney scored twice again for Burnley at the weekend in their 3-1 home win over Carlisle United, the Clarets’ first win of the season. Ray Kelly was a second half substitute for Wrexham, who lost 3-0 at Walsall. Lee Bradbury was a second half substitute for the England U21 side on Friday, and played well albeit without scoring in England’s 1-0 win. Meanwhile, in Drogheda, Barry Conlon made his debut for the Republic of Ireland under-21’s in their 2-0 defeat by Romania. Kevin Horlock played for Northern Ireland in their 1-0 defeat by Portugal in Lisbon, and was City’s only full international on duty over the weekend.

Nigel Clough is returning to Maine Road after a month on loan with Sheffield Wednesday, in which he started just two games. David Pleat described the player as a “top class professional with a terrific attitude” but didn’t bother to extend the loan period or make it permanent. Coincidentally, the Owls’ injury crisis seems to have eased recently.

The new structure in the corner between the Kippax and Platt Lane stands is not a temporary stand as announced earlier in the season, it’s a new scoreboard! So far the existing temporary stand at the other end of the Kippax has not been required, which probably accounts for the change of plans. The new scoreboard is expected to be ready in the next few weeks.

Paul Howarth (


The following report of City’s junior games at Preston arrived on my mailing list courtesy of a PNE fan. It seems things are beginning to take shape although we probably have a lot of catching up to do.

After Sunday’s experience I will never be sane again.

My young lad, Darren, PNE season ticket holder like me, plays for Manchester City (we live in Macclesfield). On Sunday I had the harrowing experience of watching City Under 11’s playing against North End.

The match was played at the Cricket Club near Preston railway station. I arrived about 10 minutes before the City coach (the team is transported from Manchester by bus) to see a few faces I sort of recognised and one I that I certainly did – Neil MacDonald.

At this age they usually play 3 or 4 periods of 20 minutes and have a loose league structure. Because there is a new regime at City and it is a time of transition, Darren (a striker normally) was put in defence (he was taken post the new structure who knew he would do a job there… they are still assessing many of the other players).

My nightmare thus began. Wave after wave of Baxi shirts coming forward… at my lad! I could barely cope with the confusion, wanting him to do well but supporting North End all my life. I wonder how other people cope with this horrendous situation.

After the first period, when City, like Preston, started rolling substitutions, the match became one sided… very one sided. North End were rampant… goal after goal. I think the final score was something like 15-7 (remember it is 8 a side).

North End’s lads were fast, strong and organised. Some looked to be exceptional. I was also impressed by the North End manager (Tony Duckworth) who let the game flow well and was extremely impartial as referee.

I was told afterwards that Man United got similar treatment and Blackpool were murdered. I felt much better on hearing this!

Also playing at the venue were the Under 15s. I think this ended 3-3 (11 a side at that age) but it looked like North End had the best of it.

The good news is, therefore, that it looks like North End’s youth development system is back on course. For City, the new Regime have much work to do, but they have certainly brought in the right coaches to do it… it will take a bit of time though.

Can’t wait to play Blackpool… they’ll wonder why some City players are so fired up against them!

Alan Foster (


Our Frannie, who art in Main Stand,
Hallowed be thy haircut,
Now Frank has come, Clough will be gone
To Wednesday if not to Forest.
Give us this day our dai-lee Bradbury,
And forgive us our badpasses,
As we forgive those who badpass against us.
Lead us not into relegation, and deliver us from A. Ball,
For thine is the Kinkdom, the Power and the Morley,
For Uwe and Edghill
Our Mam

MoK (Real name witheld to protect the insolent)



The date of the McVitee – ASB game is: Sunday 26th October 26th, kick-off 10:30am. Why Sunday? Because Sky have got the league game live!

Sorry, should really have given you all the date.

Martin Ford (


Since my last piece about teaching in a predominantly Rag school, several interesting things have happened. First of all, some of you have emailed me with nice messages, so thanks to everyone who did! And by the way, yes, I must be a glutton for punishment, teaching Rags in Salford!

Last Saturday I was playing the keyboard in a club in Rishton (Blackburn Rovers country!). One of the “artistes” was a singer/guitarist who was born within 100 yards of the Academy! “I went to see City when there was no-one to touch us” he said. “I saw them win the FA Cup, the League Championship, the European Cup Winners’ Cup…” I felt an overwhelming urge to burst into tears. “But City will be great once again!” he continued, “so make sure you’re there when it happens!”

On Monday I went into work and told some of the kids about the piece I’d written for MCIVTA. “It’s not easy putting up with all this stick from you lot” I said, “But don’t worry – we City fans are not wimps and we can take it!” This seemed to quieten them down a bit.

Wednesday night was Open Evening at school, and I made sure that the corner of my classroom devoted to City stuff was looking really good. Let’s hope that any fanatical Reds were sufficiently put off the school, and will send their Raglings somewhere else! I was dreading Friday, as it was non-uniform day – usually an excuse for the little darlings to don their best Red gear. What would we do without school uniform? I would have to sit and look at red shirts all day – imagine that horror scenario! However, I was amazed to see that on this particular occasion, red shirts were rather thin on the ground! The first football shirt I saw was a Newcastle one (?), followed by a couple of Bolton shirts – still no Rags! And then, lo and behold – two laser blues! There was even a City polo necked shirt! Then a City away shirt! What was happening? It seems that we, the hard core of Blues, have encouraged all the quiet closet City fans to wear their shirts with pride. A few kids have even taken the vow and converted! This is really encouraging!

During one lesson, one 14-year-old Rag who was obviously feeling a bit insecure, started to give us some grief. “What division are you in, ehh? City – we all know what that rhymes with!” etc. I really wanted to send him out but unfortunately we are not allowed to send kids out just because they are Rags. Then – just what we needed! He started to catapult a dead wasp around the classroom on the end of his ruler! This almost turned a normal music lesson into the Texas chime bar massacre. I was able to show him a red card, much to the delight and relief of several other pupils! Not only this – it turns out that two of the kids I teach have a cousin on the City youth team and he cleans Gio’s boots! Wow! Now I will no longer be known as “The woman who taught Ryan Giggs”, but rather “The woman who teaches the cousins of the lad who cleans Gio’s boots.” This is indeed an honour. I personally am not fit to clean Gio’s boots.

Let’s all be encouraged, and hope for victory over Reading on Saturday.

CTID, Jules Price (


After getting beat by Norwich the week before, I was apprehensive how the Blues would play against Swindon. Who was to imagine what was to follow? After a quick pint in the Old Abbey with fellow mcivtaer’s I was lucky to have witnessed a brilliant City display. Where was this bad team I was reading about every week? Although even at 3 nil I was told I couldn’t relax as if Swindon got a goal back anything could happen. Finally when the 4th went in everybody really started enjoying themselves. One of the biggest cheers of the day was when Dickov got into some fisticuffs with one of the Swindon players and Symons and Bradbury got invoved in the scuffle. City players actually looking after themselves at last.

I didn’t think Gio would be up for it with his midweek international commitments days earlier but how wrong I was. He was absolutley superb and anybody that talks about selling him for the good of the club couldn’t have been at this game. He tormented their number 4 and 8 all afternoon, they just couldn’t touch him. I caught Colin Bell late in his career and have seen Tueart, Barnes, Deyna, Francis etc but Kinkladze is the greatest player I’ve ever seen in a City shirt.

It was a great night in the boozer as the Rags got beat also. I heard the boys on ICQ were going to have a whip round for me to stay for good if I brought that much luck!

Platt Lane Training Sessions:

I managed to catch 2 training sessions. The first FC wasn’t present at all and consisted of Richard Money coaching small passing exercises. Then the preparator took over the session, working on small sprinting and stretching exercises. A few players were absent because of one reason or another. The new footballing academy is taking shape and work on the building is in full flow. The first team were given Wednesday off (usually Thursday) so they trained on Thursday and travelled to Ipswich on Friday. This whole session was taken by RM, all FC did all morning was hand out the bibs! He had the first team against the reserves i.e. Morley, Crooks, Vaughan etc. The players look exactly the same in training as on the pitch. The next time Brightwell hoofs it up the right wing aimlessly don’t get on his back as he’s trained to do it. RM stopped the game on a number of occasions and told him where to belt it. The puzzling thing was that he wanted Dickov on the end of it and not Bradbury? They practised free kicks taken from around the half way line which Brightwell took. He was told to aim for Bradbury in the area. He had about 6 goes to exactly where RM said put it and every time Morley quite easily headed the ball clear. Bradbury looked pretty pissed off, head hanging down and not even getting a goal in practice. His first touch every time was poor, somebody next to me said “you watch, Bradbury’s second touch is always a tackle.” After training, the showers at Platt Lane must have been out of order as every player jumped into their cars quickly. That meant a mad dash to get a photo and a signed autograph with the King next to his Merc., licence plate P10 GEO.

Back at Maine Road we purchased our tickets for Ipswich and got chatting to a fellow mcivtaer Mark Burgess who now works in the ticket office full time. We wandered to the main entrance and caught Bradbury climbing into his brand new M3 BMW. A young woman was collecting sponsor money for her daughter’s school and the players were giving about 5 pounds each. She went up to Gio who didn’t understand what she was asking for really. He went into his pocket, pulled out a 20-pound note and handed it to her.

The souvenir shop was closed, moving stock to the new megastore soon to open in the social club so we had to drive into the Kippax area and check the souvenir shop out there. This enabled us complete access inside the ground. We walked all over the place and nobody bothered us at all. It was great taking pretend corners at the Platt lane end actually on the pitch. BTW did you all know each penalty area at Maine Road is slightly elevated compared with the rest of the pitch? This was later confirmed by a groundsman.

City Supporters’ Club Meeting:

I was lucky enough to catch the Higher Blackley Supporters’ Club meeting whose guest for the night was their chairman Fred Eyre. Fred played for City for a short time in the 50’s? He grew up in Blackley and to this day is still a big City fan. He is now chief scout at Sheff Utd but all through the evening kept referring to City and Sheff Utd as “us” and “we”. He actually said he’d join City tommorow if offered a job there. He’s a straight talking fella who was very open and honest with all the questions put to him…

On Bradbury, he basically said it was a lot of money to spend on a player yet to prove himself because FC’s basing his opinion of Bradbury on just one season. From what he’s seen of him he doesn’t rate him highly. On Vaughan, he had no idea why we spent all this money on this lad who no one had ever heard of and he’ll be suprised if he ever gets in the team again as his confidence may be shot. He talked very highly of FC and Richard Money who he said are great people and the right people for the job. He then said it seems they haven’t bought well at all with the money available which kind of contradicts him saying they are a good management team doesn’t it?

He said Brian Kidd definitely agreed to the City job and was due to be City’s next manager when Phil Neal was there. He knows this as Brian Kidd telephoned Willie Donachie to be his assistant at City. Fred drives to Sheff Utd with Donachie everyday as Willie is coach there. It didn’t happen because of one of two reasons. 1. The Rags found out and offered him better money and talked him out of it. 2. Kidd told City to keep it quiet till the end of the season but apparently Mike Summerbee leaked something to the press.

A question was asked: why when a City player gets dropped or we get beat then our players hit the headlines (i.e. Gio and Rösler) and they’re about to be transferred, obviously unsettling the club/fans and players, yet the Rags have numerous players for certain positions and they’re rarley linked with transfers and being unhappy? He said quite simply the Press are frightened to death of Ferguson. If a story is written about a player he’ll ask the player if it’s true and if it’s not Taggart will ban that reporter/newspaper from the Cliff and even the Swamp. He’s done it a few times and even with local radio so they don’t write stuff that will upset Taggart. Instead they turn to the likes of Liverpool and City to write gossip that isn’t true.

He generally talked about City and how everybody tries to blame one thing or one person on our current decline over the years. He believed it’s just a whole combination of things from Swales to FL being out of the game for so long and being out of touch when taking over as chairman. He believes City fans are the best in the country. He said though what City fans have to realize is that we have one of the richest men in the country on our board that doesn’t give a toss about football in Boler. He never goes to games and never goes to board meetings. He said the guy has the money to get us out of this mess but instead wishes to spend it elsewhere like he’s just spent £100 million on an African reserve for Rhinos. He said he wouldn’t buy the fella a cup of tea if he was sat in the chair next to him! He couldn’t understand if when we just sacked Alan Ball, why did we call him up for advice on a player? AB advised us to buy Heaney. That just about sums up City he said.

He then talked about McDonald, a Manchester businessman who bought Sheff Utd and the amount of money he’s putting into the club even though he knows very little about the game. He said we need to act quickly because of the money involved in today’s game as we’re falling far behind and may never recover. He said we should have gone for Dean Holdsworth and thinks John McGinlay would do a job for us.

The best part though was when I asked if he was as happy as everyone in the room at hearing about Roy Keane’s injury, he replied “that’s a horrible injury, my son’s just had it happen to him and I’ve seen many young players have their careers ruined by this injury. I wouldn’t wish this injury on a dog.” The room went very quiet and Fred looked all serious and I thought I’d gone too far with my question, but he carried on: “But if I was going to wish this injury on one animal it would be on that dirty bastard Keane!” The whole room erupted in cheers. He then went on for 5 minutes how dirty Keane is and he got what he deserved. It was a very interesting evening.

Paul Whittaker (Florida Blue



I think the lyrics to this song are absolutely ideal for any die-hard City supporter who has ridden the roller coaster of emotion season after season.

“I get knocked down, but I get up again
ain’t never gonna keep me down”


We could make this our anthem for the coming season – I can just hear us all in the Kippax now…

Alex Bracey (


Can anybody help me out here? Is it just me imagining things, or are Virgin trains supposed to be running especially for City away matches, starting with the QPR game? I read something about it in the MEN a while ago but have heard absolutely nothing since. I rang the National Rail enquiry line who didn’t know anything about it, then the Virgin enquiry line who, after keeping me waiting for 5 minutes, said they thought negotiations were still going on with the club and suggested I rang City! (Like they’ll know what’s going on!). Past experience has taught me not to phone the club, so I wondered if anyone knows about this, or whether I should just go ahead and book a ticket for any old train!

Secondly, can any Blues recommend any decent pubs worth visiting before the QPR game? I might see some of you there.

Christine (


I am a student at the Univerisity of Central Lancashire in Preston. I am fortunate enough to have a season ticket paid for by my dad, but it is difficult to get to the ground for home matches. The train fares are exorbitant and National Express buses do not run back to Preston till 19.30 on a Saturday evening. If anyone living in or around the Preston area is willing to give me a lift to matches I would be grateful (I will pay towards petrol).

Simon Smith (


Who were the first foreign international (country) side to beat England on home soil? Clue, it wasn’t Hungary in 1953 at Wembley.

Ralph Sheppard, Palmerston North, Kiwiland (


A pretty blonde woman is driving through Manchester in her new sports car when something goes wrong with the car and it breaks down. Luckily, she spots two of Manchester’s ‘finest’, Messrs Giggs and Beckham at a bar nearby. She runs up to them and says, “Oh, it’s Saturday night and my car broke down! I don’t know what to do! Can I stay with you guys for the night until tomorrow when I can get some help?” Ryan and David agree to let her stay the night.

After they have gone to bed for the night the woman begins to get a little horny just thinking about the two guys in the room next to her. So she quietly goes into their room and says, “Boys, how would you like for me to teach you the ways of the world?”

They say, “Huh?”

She says, “The only thing is, I don’t want to get pregnant, so you have to wear these condoms.” She puts them on the boys, and the three of them go at it all night long.

Forty years later the two guys are walking home from Old Trafford one Saturday when Ryan says, “David?” David says, “Yeah, Ryan?” Ryan says, “You remember that blonde woman that came by here about forty years ago and showed us the ways of the world?”

“Yeah,” says David, “I remember.”
“Well, do you care if she gets pregnant?” asks Ryan.
“Nope,” says David, “I don’t.”
“Me, neither,” says Ryan, “Let’s take these things off.”

Ralph Sheppard, Palmerston North, Kiwiland (


For years many people in Britain have been wondering why some Stretford U@##@d fashion victims have been believed as originating from Manchester. Evidence now exists to suggest that those who are ‘mad for it’ at the swamp or are indeed ‘sorted’ are in fact ‘day trippers’ and unfortunate victims of a recently discovered but long existent medical condition. A woman who went to bed with a London accent but woke up sounding Mancunian is casting new light on a rare condition.

‘Northern accent syndrome’ has been reported no more than fifty-five thousand times each week in recent years, and follows injury to the brain caused by stroke, accident, or fashionitus and increasingly is blamed on over exposure to Sky TV. The sufferer’s voice changes in intonation and emphasis, creating a different accent.

The 46-year-old woman from Bethnall Green after watching a recently televised European match between Juventus and a team of lying, cheating b*****ds walked away with a Manc. accent, though the furthest she had ever been from her East End slum was Battersea. Other bizarre cases include British people sounding Mexican, a Norwegian developing a German accent, a Czech sounding Polish, a Portuguese American sounding Chinese and a man from Marple sounding like a young girl from Singapore.

The woman who developed a Mancunian accent woke up one morning feeling dizzy, and a stroke was diagnosed. A brain scan showed damage to the blue (left) side of the brain. It is this area which controls the mechanism of speech and indeed all signs of intelligence, Sophie Scott, of the Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge, said.

Dr Scott is studying the case with colleagues at University College London and Northwick Park Hospital, northwest London in a ‘SHARP-VIEWCAM-NEW-S**T-OUT-SOON’ sponsored study to increase Rag s**t sales in the ASEAN trading area.

The woman, in her 40s, despite her affliction still speaks with effort, using a high flat intonation, and one syllable at a time. She has problems pronouncing certain vowels, and cannot say ‘it was a fair result’ without breaking into ‘fackin ‘ell we woz robbed guvnor – bleedin’ ‘ell’. Some cynical observers report that Dr. Scott’s findings reveal nothing new as most people from Manchester have met ‘Northern accent syndrome’ sufferers when on holiday ‘darn sarf’.

In a final comment Dr. Scott said, “The person affected can hear that it’s wrong but can’t correct it,”

c. BANZAI-BURNS alternative news service.

Paul Banzai-Burns (


Full-time scores and scorers for Sunday, October 12 1997

Marsden (8)
STOKE CITY              2-1    PORT VALE                 20,125
Forsyth (5)                    Naylor (21)
Keen (34)

Full-time scores and scorers for Saturday, October 11 1997

READING                 3-3    CREWE ALEXANDRA            6,685
Asaba (35, 60)                 Westwood (13)
Westwood (og 43)               Little (20)
                               Adebola (31)
STOCKPORT COUNTY        3-2    OXFORD UNITED              7,333
Angell (47)                    Purse (84)
Dinning (71)                   Aldridge (88)
Armstrong (75)
SWINDON TOWN            3-1    BURY                       7,640
Hay (4)                        Battersby (41)
Hodge (pen 19)
Gooden (79)

Up to and including Sunday, October 12 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Nottingham Forest       10      7    1    2     15     5        22
Swindon Town            11      6    3    2     16    14        21
Bradford City           10      5    3    2     14    13        18
West Bromwich Albion    10      5    3    2     12     9        18
Sheffield United         8      5    3    0     11     4        18
Birmingham City         10      5    2    3     13     7        17
Stoke City              10      5    2    3     12    11        17
Charlton Athletic        9      5    1    3     20    14        16
Queens Park Rangers     10      5    1    4     13    16        16
Stockport County        11      4    3    4     19    15        15
Port Vale               11      4    2    5     14    15        14
Middlesbrough            8      4    2    2     13     9        14
Crewe Alexandra         10      4    1    5     16    17        13
Sunderland              10      4    1    5     14    15        13
Wolverhampton Wanderers 11      3    4    4     12    13        13
Norwich City            10      4    1    5      8    17        13
Reading                 11      3    2    6     13    21        11
Bury                    11      2    5    4     12    17        11
Oxford United           11      3    1    7     16    19        10
Tranmere Rovers         10      3    1    6     14    14        10
Manchester City          9      2    3    4     16    13         9
Ipswich Town             8      2    3    3     10    11         9
Portsmouth              10      2    2    6     12    17         8
Huddersfield Town        9      0    4    5      5    14         4

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 #337