Newsletter #340

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This issue is ‘chocker’ with many people finally reaching breaking point and venting their anger publically. I haven’t time to do a synopsis so I’ll leave the contents to speak for themselves.

Next game, QPR away, Sunday 26th October 1997

MATCH REPORT – `LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY vs. STOKE CITY, Wednesday 22nd October 1997

More “dead” than live.

From charming, sunny Switzerland (where MCIVTA started) to grimy Moss Side. Unfortunately, there’s a limit to the extent to which my University and my family will allow me out of the country to avoid home games. The build-up to this match didn’t look good. A poor performance versus mighty Reading and 2 strikers injured (and another 3 or 4 on loan). So 2 players out means injury crisis amongst 40+ professionals. Stoke are your typical hard-working, organised, rugged/filthy Division 1 side with no skill; just the sort of team we struggle against.

Things looked bleaker still when I arrived at the Osborne to reclaim my season ticket, only to find the pub shut for re-decorating (must be putting in new ash trays). So off to the Gardeners which had to deal with 2 sets of thirsty customers (with random service).

Tickets recovered, we arrived to find Stoke kicking off and Brannan getting a booking after just 20 seconds.

I can’t offer a formation for the team as it looked so shapeless but wearing Blue, if not playing, we had:

Margetson, Brightwell, van Blerk, McGoldrick, Symons, Edghill, Brannan, Horlock, Heaney, Gio, Dickov.
Subs: Wiekens, Conlon, Summerbee.

Stoke controlled possession for a while without doing much. Then City had a few chances. After one good save for a corner, Dickov forced their goalie to spill the ball which arrived at Heaney. All he had to do was place it into the empty net. Sadly, it went into row Z of the North Stand. Another shot from the left (couldn’t see who) was tipped onto the post. And that was about it. Stoke had a couple of half-chances but our defence was basically in control. The main problem appeared to be getting any sort of attacking momentum, particularly as Heaney seemed to be on loan for the visitors for the night.

The second half began with a trademark Gio dribble from the half-way line but he ended up lacking support and crowded out on the by-line. Around 60 minutes a Stoke corner was half-cleared to Ray Wallace who had ample time to drive hard and low past Martyn. In a similar incident at the other end a few minutes later 3 Stoke defenders charged out to close down our player.

The crowd got more fractious and things went from bad to worse. Several players disappeared including McGoldrick and Brannan, who was replaced by Summerbee to no great effect. With 20 minutes left Conlon came on for Heaney who received as large a jeer as anything I’ve heard at Maine Road in 20 years. Sadly, it was fully deserved; I can’t think of a single useful thing he did for us. Conlon’s arrival was a cue for desparate crosses to be flung into the area and even Gio was responsible for poor delivery.

Final score: 0-1

So that’s another inept display from which only Dickov comes out with any credit for a whole-hearted, committed performance as a one-man forward line. The crowd acknowledged this and, as you will have seen, some stayed on to demonstrate against the board.

I missed the AGM but I wonder if it’s significant that the demo was against Lee rather than Clark. I’m not convinced that managerial change will help but on the other hand we’re drifting towards Division 2 on current form. When a company is doing badly, due to mis-management, yet has a potentially attractive product, it usually gets taken over. In football that’s more difficult with closed ownership. But perhaps pressure for take-over is the long-term way forward?

Haven’t given up just yet!

Rob Simmons (r.simmons@economics.salford.ac.uk)

MATCH REPORT – LIVE’

MANCHESTER CITY vs. STOKE CITY, Wednesday 22nd October 1997

Attendance: 25,333
Team: Margetson, van Blerk, Edghill, Symons, McGoldrick, Brightwell, Brannan (Summerbee), Horlock, Kinkladze, Dickov, Heaney (Conlon).
Unused Sub: Wiekens

‘Death or Glory’ was a phrase often associated with the great Mike Doyle when City were a force to be reckoned with. Paul Dickov was the only player to come close to this sort of spirit tonight. Our problems will no doubt be dissected elsewhere in MCIVTA and I do acknowledge that we have a few. My answer to the doom and gloom merchants is that we can only react in a positive manner from this performance because the alternative is unthinkable.

On the positive side I can only report what I see. Apart from the first 5 minutes which I missed (due to there being another game on somewhere), City completely dominated the first half, creating chance after chance. Brannan had a header cleared off the line, Horlock had one shot turned onto the post and missed another sitter and Heaney missed 2 sitters including an open goal. I know it’s an ‘if’ or a ‘but’ to speculate on what might have been but we should have been 4-0 up at half -time, and if we had, then we would have cruised to victory. We also had another golden opportunity wasted by Horlock (who was again one of our better performers) in the second half and Conlon narrowly missed putting us level with a drive from distance. On the negative side, FC must be criticised for playing Heaney at centre forward. He is never a goalscorer and it is debatable if he is actually a footballer. We must have somebody (ignoring Uwe’s injury/suitability) who could cover in Bradbury’s absence (Conlon or Creaney spring to mind). The way we capitulated after Stoke’s goal was spectacular in its customary inevitability. This time we really collapsed. The last 20 minutes were the worst I have ever seen at City. We completely gave in to what is surely one of the worst teams in the division.

I think FC must also take the blame for not motivating the team and also for not signing a combative midfielder which I have advocated since the first game of the season. If we have no money (and Bury are surviving nicely on a team costing £450,000) then why not throw in a youth player? At least we may see some commitment (something sadly lacking in at least half a dozen players when we went behind tonight). The substitution of crap for crap i.e. Brannan for Summerbee was an insult to anyone who had rushed to the match after work and fought through the red tide to get there.

I also think the AGM and revelations that we are still millions in debt does nothing for the overall confidence or atmosphere around the club. I take the total opposite stance to FHL’s claim that things are right off the field but not on. City are far and away the best team in the division and with confidence and a string of 2 or more wins we would be walking away with it. However, off the pitch things are far from rosy. We are carrying a full team of fringe professional staff who have become a liability. Burnley want to buy Creaney but can’t afford his wages (surely a joke?), Summerbee Snr and Jnr are taking the club for a ride and should have been shown the door instead of Bell, Farrell and McNab, and FHL keeps making brainless and outrageous remarks. Frank Clark’s column in the programme usually informs us of team news and prospects. Tonight, virtually the whole column was devoted to an attempt (unsuccessful in my view) to justify the sackings of Bell and Farrell. So it’s alright to waste the club’s money on compensating them is it then Frank? As for FHL’s claim that we are well structured off the pitch – try asking the several hundred people (that I walked past 5 minutes into last night’s match) who were still outside Maine Road attempting to collect tickets pre-booked by credit card from 2 measly windows. Will any of them come again? I seriously doubt it.

My plan of action would be:

  1. Give Frank Clark at least another 12 months.
  2. Keep Franny until someone with more money/ambition shows an interest.
  3. Halve the wages of all the players no-one wants to buy, then release them at the end of the contracts which some idiot has given them.
  4. Sell Gio to get some money in short term.
  5. Buy a quality midfielder with the money.
  6. Get someone in who can motivate the team.

Ken Foster (kf737@vossnet.co.uk)

MATCHVIEW I

I’m writing this directly after getting home and I honestly can’t bring myself to say much. We made several openings and only elicited two saves from the goalie whilst Stoke made hardly any. City were fairly clueless going forward and lacked bite in midfield.

Ratings:

Maggie: (7) Unsighted for the goal but needs to work on throwing out quickly.
Edghill: (3) Simply woeful, caught out of position several times and made some truly abysmal passes.
van Blerk: (7) Played well and tried to get forward when he realised how hopeless Heaney was.
Brightwell: (6) Defended well against a very poor Stoke attack.
Symons (6): Ditto.
McGoldrick: (3) Every time he got the ball he slowed play down and passed either back or to the side. He replaced Wiekens, presumably to give some forward passing options and failed miserably to deliver.
Horlock: (7) Played well but would be much more influential in the middle rather than on the left.
Gio: (5) Looked lost and has obviously been told to pass!
Brannan: (3) How can FC play him on the right when he is so slow that even if he got past a defender they would just reappear in front of him again.
Heaney: (2) How can FC play him up front when he is most definitely not a goalscorer?
Dickov: (9) Ran himself stupid and made some excellent turns but was really asked to do too much when Heaney was so anonymous.

Subs:
Buzzer: (7) On for Brannan and gave us a few more options.
Baz: (7) On for Heaney and immediately gave us bite up front by troubling the Stoke central defenders. He controlled and shot beautifully on one occasion but was thwarted by an excellent save. Looked pretty lively.

Ashley

MATCHVIEW II

Right folks here comes my critique of the débâcle that was the Stoke City game.

Once more we’ve lost at home to a fairly poor side; it’s not as if Stoke took the p**s and slaughtered City! FC had decided to keep almost the same team with the only change Steady Eddie coming in for Wiekens, the rest of the line-up was the players that served up the dross that claimed to be a football match against Reading. Once more City created a few chances that either went wide, skyward or into Muggleton’s grateful hands (Dickov, Horlock, Brannan, Heaney). Passes went astray, defending was poor, overall this was a dreadful performance, a half decent team could and should bury City; fortunately the last couple of visitors have been inadequate at doing the job. The team got better when they went a goal down and the ineffective and inadequate Heaney left the pitch (to the biggest cheer of the night) and was replaced by Barry Conlon. ‘kin ‘ell Frank great idea actually playing a real striker! Stoke scored from their first corner, Eddie half cleared the ball and a totally unmarked Rod Wallace coolly slotted home from the edge of the box. Dead easy, why can’t City defend set pieces? Game over, dead and buried, City never looked like scoring and fans were already starting to leave with 15 minutes left – I wonder when they’ll get the message?

The comments below have to be said, it’s bound to be controversial but I feel I have to say them…

I’m so sick and tired of that team. How much longer do we have to watch s***e being played by a s***e City team? They are absolute b******s, they don’t care, they have no determination, no passion, no ideas, no commitment. Sorry Frankie boy, I firmly lay the blame at your feet. This is your team, your tactics and it’s doing naff all. Why don’t you do us all a favour an **** off and take some of the lowlife b******s that comically call themselves professional footballers with you. Go prove me wrong if you dare. I think I’ve got every right to say this. After all, look at the table; fourth from bottom of a poor 1st Division doesn’t inspire confidence. Come Saturday night we could be at our lowest point ever if the results go against us. And yet you still expect 25,000+ fans to turn up and support… not for much longer. If the team doesn’t turn around I recommend a boycott. Let’s not turn up and see if they like playing in front of a few thousand. After all, we need to get used to the idea as Division 2 beckons!

A simple message: FC get the players motivated, get some decent tactics and get some decent players in. The promising ones were Jeff Whitley, Tony Scully, Barry Conlon, Scott Hiley, Michael Brown and David Morley – at least they might want to fight! We ain’t got any money for players so why not use those we’ve got with more effect? Players that are willing to battle couldn’t do much worse than those ‘superstars’ currently in the team.

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

MATCHVIEW III

Having been to the Stoke match last night I thought I had to write with a few comments.

Firstly, as in other recent matches, the team started very well. However, it seems that if we don’t score in the first half an hour our confidence fades and everything goes pear shaped and again, we created chances all through the first half without any luck. Frank Clark gave an interview on Granada Soccer Night afterwards and thought that, on a different night and with some luck, we might have won the game comfortably – and he was right.

Don’t get me wrong, we have many shortcomings; the main one being our reluctance to grind out results when we aren’t getting the rub of the green. Half an hour into a game it seems our heads go down and we no longer believe we can win the game. This is a fairly general comment but it applies to most of the sqaud and there are only one or two exceptions (Paul Dickov comes to mind).

The game last night finished 0-1 and the team was:-

Margetson: Had a few scary moments, especially when he failed to control a back-pass and nearly gave the ball to Stoke. Vastly improved on earlier seasons but still lacks presence.
Symons: Not a Captain – nervy performance but plenty of effort.
Brightwell: Again he tries but can’t pass and really isn’t good enough.
Edghill: I need say no more than s***e.
van Blerk: Looks a good “squad” player, but is not a defender.
Brannan: All round he is simply not good enough.
McGoldrick: Uncharacteristically gave the ball away often and seems low on confidence, but busy as usual.
Kinkladze: Frankly looked uninterested and very rarely in the game. Shied away even from taking corners, never mind penalties.
Horlock: One of the better City players on the night, at least in terms of effort.
Heaney: Refer Edghill comment.
Dickov: By far City’s best player last night. What he lacks in height he certainly makes up for in workrate and nearly scored à la Walshy when he charged down a clearance by the Stoke ‘keeper and was desparately unlucky with a couple of other efforts. He was too much for Stoke’s defence.
Summerbee (s): I am not personally a fan, but did well when introduced for Brannan (but everything in life is relative!).
Conlon (s): Who told Frank Clark that this young lad is good enough?
Wiekens (s): Not used.

Sorry to sound generally downbeat about the team, but I heard Vince Miller talking in the Millennium Suite afterwards and he feels that Frank Clark is at the end of the road with the current squad. We now only have five games left to reach the top four target that Franny suggested at the AGM!

Joel Adams (JoelAdams@Compuserve.com)

BELATED MATCH REPORT

MANCHESTER CITY vs. READING, Saturday 18th October 1997

On a glorious sunny day I trudged off to Maine Road wondering whether we would have our all-conquering Swindon disguise on or would it be back to the spineless let downs of all the other recent games. As I expected (when I saw the team sheet), it was back to the latter. To be honest, I was half pleased when Kinky missed our totally undeserved penalty at the end, as victory against a workmanlike (but talentless) Reading team would have been unjust considering the pitiful display put up by the team.

Badbuy (sorry, I’ll keep the joke about the 2 r’s up for a while) was absent injured, as was Rösler (so the rumour goes) – so who plays up front? Since fatboy Creaney is finding the net elsewhere and Greenacre (who wasn’t that convincing last year anyway) is also on loan – the only apparent choice was Barry (give us a wave) Conlon, the much speculated about substitute from the Swindon game, who did OK when he came on and looked sharp. However, Neil Heaney comes in from nowhere (not even been on the bench all season) and plays in a central attacking rôle. Now call me biased, but I’ve got no time whatsoever for this waste of space, and that’s as a winger (his so-called position). I couldn’t imagine him playing a central rôle to any great effect – how right I was. To use a bit of a manc phrase – he was f*****g bobbins. The other change was at the back – where Beesley wasn’t selected (was he injured?), leaving Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee in the middle with van Blerk at left back.

Form guide:

Margetson (7): Nothing to do except one excellent save near the end, without which we would have lost! Very poor distribution though.
Edghill (6): Doesn’t look comfortable in a flat back four. Was totally superb against Swindon when he didn’t have a clown (Summerbee) in from of him. In this game, seemed to inhibited by the presence of another clown (Brannan) playing wide right. Defensively OK despite a few mix ups with TDum and TDee, but showed nothing going forward and gave the ball away poorly on several occasions.
van Blerk (8): My choice for MoM. Certainly seems to play with a lot of spirit and fight and tried to get forward. He is obviously not as talented as Edgy, but his commitment is solid. Has been very unlucky to be substituted in the past when Horlock has gone to left back (i.e. out of position).
TDum (6) and TDee (6): OK – but Reading offered nothing. A lot of shirt tugging and needless fouls (especially Brightwell) against lacklustre opposition. I’m not convinced! How would they handle Bull or Deane or someone who gives a bit out?
Brannan (2): Total s***e.
Wiekens (6): Steady. A lot of the crowd don’t seem to have taken to him – but he’s primarily a defensive player – who does it better than our defence though! Creativity is not there – but he’s a damn sight better than McGoldrick as the holding player (see later). I blame the so-called creative players for the lack of creativity.
Kinky (5): His worst game for some time. Not interested. Missed penalty (thats 4 points now!). Will only get good value out of him in the long run if he plays with other good players. Can’t be expected to do it all every time.
Horlock (7): Good game. Was superb early on (first 20 minutes) – but then faded a bit. Must play in central rôle with Wiekens and Kinky, leaving Edghill and VB (and Scully?) wide.
Dickov (7): Tireless effort and running – but is too small to carry the front line on his own. Needs to be paired with someone else as committed (i.e. not Rösler!).
Heaney (3): Garbage.

The choice of subs is starting to alarm me. The old guard (Summerbee, McGoldrick, Clough, Heaney etc.) seem to be being given preference over the “new young whippersnappers” like Morley, Scully, Conlon, and even Whitley, Brown, Crooks etc.). McGoldrick’s past it. Some of the crowd love him ‘cos he raises his fist and tries to get people going – but he never actually scores or creates etc. Wiekens beats him hands down for the holding position – so it’s time to sell him on, along with the rest. McGoldrick did an absolutely disgusting and appalling tackle in the last minute which annoyed me – we want fight and spirit but not that type – thanks very much Eddie.

Regarding the game, City totally swamped them for 20 minutes. Kinky should definitely have scored when cutting in from the left. Would have passed to Heaney if Heaney had made a half decent intelligent run, but after turning the full back inside and out, Kinky’s shot was well saved (in fact, I reckon Heaney got in the way – instead of holding back for a pass [like Fowler does]). Horlock and van Blerk both went quite close – but after those first 20 minutes the game was a bit dead. Reading contributed nothing really, a few bits of neat midfield passing, a competent goalie and a big bloke up front. The second half was really boring. Didn’t even get into half life until there was a small scuffle (maybe even a couple of punches thrown?) involving Edghill and aforementioned big bloke. Crowd woke up for a bit, a few chances came and went – then it all faded again. At half time I saw Scully and Michael “redkicker” Brown behind the Kippax and wondered why they weren’t on the bench for McGoldrick and Summerbee. Any suggestions out there? Anyone who can get up Taggart’s nose deserves a start. 5 minutes to go and Dickov chased another lost cause only to go into orbit after falling over their goalie. Penalty! Never in a million years. Justice to the result and especially the City performance was done when Kinkladze hit his kick hard, low and wide (outside of post).

We got so many useless crosses over during the game which went straight into the ‘keeper’s arms. Are you surprised when we have Dickov and Heaney (those bastions of aerial power) awaiting them? The number of times MM hoofed it out of hand when we had Dickov on his own with 5 defenders was ridiculous (and to his credit he often managed to force a throw in or something). McGoldrick and Summerbee came on (for Brannan and Wiekens) and proceded to do f*** all. It seems as if the subs bench is being used to pacify big earning has-beens rather than keen and eager talent ready and able to change the course of the game.

Overall – a very depressing afternoon. The biggest cheer of the day was when the announcer gave us a “whoops” after she dropped her microphone when making an announcment!

What will the changes be for Stoke (who are also rubbish)? I predict that Summerbee will be recalled (aaaaaarrrgghhh) for Brannan and that Badbuy will be fit enough to replace Heaney. I can’t see FC changing the back, although I’d prefer Beesley (who never really has a “bad” game) and Morley and possibly Wiekens playing deeper. Scully must be given a chance to start… he can’t be worse than Summerbee and Brannan. Can he?

How about: MM; Morley, Wiekens, Beesley; Edghill, Horlock, Kinkladze, Scully, van Blerk; Badbuy, Dickov – I know it means Badbuy (and Horlock?) getting on the end of those crosses – but you’ve got to have faith…

Ten points off second place with a game in hand…

City 4 Stoke 1? [Scum 0 Feyenoord 2?].

[The Optimist]

David Johnson (D.Johnson@mmu.ac.uk)

NEWS – FANS CALL FOR LEE’S HEAD

From the Press Association

Fuming Manchester City fans staged an angry protest outside Maine Road following their 1-0 home defeat by Stoke. Chants of “Franny Out” and “We’re s*** and we’re sick of it” boomed around the stadium. Target of the abuse was chairman Francis Lee, the man who came to power over four years ago on the back of fan power, ousting the late Peter Swales following similar mass protests. Supporters also chanted “sack the board” after seeing another dismal display by their side in front of a 25,333 attendance. About 200 fans staged the demonstration, and stewards and police had to protect the directors’ entrance with steel barriers. City boss Frank Clark said: “I was aware of what was happening outside and I can understand their concern. I felt the fans were great to us until the goal went in, then a few heads dropped.”

City are on the fringe of the relegation zone but Clark said: “I am not bothered about the league position, there are more than 30 games to go. What bothers me is the points we have dropped already. That is my only concern. We are not scoring and I won’t use as an excuse that we had a couple of strikers out injured. Paul Dickov was magnificent out there and ran himself ragged. But, the longer it goes on, the more anxious everyone gets. We are just crawling on out hands and knees at the moment. We do not have £1 million to spend on anyone. We have to sell before we can buy. The problem must be solved with the players we have here. We have to work hard in training to get this right.” Stoke chief Chic Bates said: “I feel for Frank in a situation like this. But I won’t say more, I’m sure he doesn’t want my sympathy. But City are too good a side to be in this position.”

Now where have we heard that before? See you in the upper tier on Sunday.

Jim Sim. (jim.simmons@bbc.co.uk)

NEWS – SUMMARY

City have signed another Georgian international (subject to a work permit being granted), Mertas Sheleilah, a 26-year-old left sided defender. He has been playing for Alania Vladikavkaz (where Mikhail Kavelashvili came from) and will cost the Blues US$600,000. Bernard Halford is dealing with the work permit “as a matter of urgency.”

Italian defender Marco Taccoli is nearing the end of his trial period with City and a decision will have to be made soon regarding his future with the club.

Frank Clark has admitted making an enquiry for Bolton midfielder Jamie Pollock, but said that the price quoted to him of around £2 million was “out of our range.” He went on to comment on the transfer speculation in the press, saying “If I make an enquiry for a player, I can be guaranteed that two days later it will appear in the papers. Either it’s down to ace reporting or some unscrupulous agents who leak information to suit their own ends.” So it seems that much of the speculation we have seen may be true.

Sheffield Wednesday manager David Pleat was at Maine Road on Wednesday, which led to a lot of speculation that he was about to make a bid for Uwe Rösler, but Frank Clark said today that he hadn’t spoken to Pleat and that he hoped Uwe hadn’t either. Rösler may be recalled to the first team at QPR on Sunday if he recovers from his ankle injury in time. “I had a test but while I am alright running straight, it is when I turn I have trouble with my ankle,” said Rösler, who is thought to have a better chance of being fit than Lee Bradbury, still nursing a back strain. Chris Greenacre has been recalled from Cardiff City, and must also be a possible inclusion in the squad.

Gio Kinkladze was said to be “inconsolable” after missing the penalty against Reading on Saturday, and has handed over the penalty-taking duties to Lee Bradbury. “Gio really felt down after that – that sort of thing gets to him,” said Frank Clark. “I was surprised when I came here that people told me he doesn’t care about things when they go wrong. That’s anything but the truth. He does care alright and he was very down on Saturday,” he added. Bradbury is still confident about his scoring ability despite the penalty miss against Blackpool: “I took plenty in the army and never once missed. That was my first miss against Blackpool,” he said.

The Mole

BADGES UPDATE

Well the cheque’s been sent off, and hopefully everyone who sent in an order has now received an email form me regarding how to pay etc. However, I have had a couple of bounced emails, so if any of these are yours then try and email me again and include a land mail address as a back up:

—– The following addresses had permanent fatal errors —–

  • bill.chapman@tafensw.edu.au
  • Clarke@britbio.co.uk
  • ian.reeves@gecm.com
  • Jonathan.TOD@sb.com
  • pat@~megadata.demon.co.uk

Anybody who didn’t get their order in, and wants a badge then get in touch because I’ve ordered a few extra, so first come, first served.

Oh, and the manufacturer says that they will be ready for the tribal gathering, so I’ll see you in the Parkside, avec le badge, and you never know we might even win… now where did I put my valium…

CTID, Tom Robertson (a.k.a. Le Tank Bleu, trp30@umds.ac.uk)

TRIBAL GATHERING 5-A-SIDE FOOTBALL COMPETITION

Sunday 23rd November (Morning)

Despite strenuous efforts to find a 5-a-side pitch for this soccer extravaganza, I have drawn a blank. I had an offer to use the pitch at British Aerospace and I would be grateful if anyone who knows how we go about this would contact me on <harmony@candw.lc> as soon as possible. I have a multitude of Blues who want to take part and I wanted to have a multi-team tournament comprising teams from Manchester, Rest of England, Europe and Rest of the World. All we need now is a venue.

All the tickets have now been sold for the Kippax Lounge and MCFC are coming good on some of their earlier promises, so it should be a fantasic weekend.

Mike Brierley has generously offered to commit the occasion to video which should be out in time for Christmas! FHL wants a photo session with the Tribal Gatherers and my dear old mum wants us all to go round for tea and biscuits on the Sunday evening. Rumour also has it that the immortal boots of Gio himself will be in evidence with The Great One inside them… Wonders will never cease! Who knows? Maybe City will win as well… hmmmmmm! (We mustn’t expect miracles, must we?)

If you need more info, please contact me on harmony@candw.lc Otherwise I’ll see you on Friday afternoon of 21 November 1997 at Maine Road for a tour of the ground which will be the first event of this auspicious weekend.

The Tribal Gathering Itinerary for those interested in meeting up with your fellow Blue sufferers can now be found on http://www.mancity.net/isc/gathering/itinerary.html so please check it out and make every effort to come along and join in the fun. The Matchday Lounge Gathering is now sold out unfortunately but all other events are open to everyone.

CTID, Clive Tysoe a.k.a. Gio’s Bootlicker (harmony@candw.lc)

MCVITEE FC REMINDER

One final reminder, the first MCIVTee away match against ASB is this coming Sunday 26th Oct, prior to the Nationwide League game were Rangers take on the Man City Clowns Select XI. The scheduled kick off is 10:30, could all players please be at the ground as early as possible as a team needs to be sorted out, position, tactics, etc. I’d like to make a better job of things than FC is doing at Maine Road currently. Also would all players please bring along their own kit as MCVITee hasn’t managed to stretch to a kit yet. I’ve been told it’s a grass pitch so boots would be preferable. One final thing I’m setting off at 6:00a.m. from Manchester, so I’ll be mighty peeved off if I don’t get a team from you sarhfern softies by kick off time ;-))))

Please find below directions for the ground from the QPR web pages (sorry they’re only driving directions), supporters are more than welcome to cheer us on:

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 a 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 Cristie Stadium.

After the Internet match it’s still unclear as to whether we’ll have time to have a drink, it’ll be cutting it a bit close. There is a pub just down from the Scrubs (not sure of its name yet) but the ASB team usually go to a pub called the Queen Adelaide which is a 5 minute drive away. However, it might be easiest to meet up after the match, which should finish 2:45?

I’ve only had a couple of replies from players stating their availability (or not) and their preferred position. I don’t fancy being in the embarrassing situation of not having a complete team, so those who have offered their services in the past please make every effort to get to the game on Sunday.

I’m contactable on 0802 572 079

See you all then, Martin Ford (MFORD@fs1.li.umist.ac.uk)

PITCH IS FINE!

Just to let you know that the pitches, a mere stone’s throw from where I sit writing this at work, are not too soft at the moment. Obviously their condition will depend on the weather over the next few days, but at the moment I’d be happy wearing astroturf boots.

See y’all on Sunday, Stewart J Huxtable (s.huxtable@ic.ac.uk)

SUPPORTERS CLUB – CARLISLE AND DISTRICT BRANCH

I am writing on behalf of the Carlisle and District Branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club, of which I am Secretary. We have been running for 4 months now and are shortly to become an official branch. We meet on the last Sunday of every month usually at 14:00 at the Conservative Club, Spencer Street, Carlisle (the meeting place by no way displays our political leanings!). This Sunday’s meeting (26/10/97) has been brought forward to 12:00 to include City vs. QPR on Sky.

So if there’s any MCIVTA’ers out there who live in or around Carlisle (or visiting on holiday!) come down and have a chat and a pint…

Also, if there are any other branches out there, who could offer help/advice on running a branch please drop me a line.

Forever Blue, Mike Pennington, Secretary, Carlisle and District Branch, Manchester City Supporters’ Club, 18 Ashley Street, Carlisle.

Mike Pennington (tsg.cumb.info.sys@dial.pipex.com)

ROASTING IN MOSS SIDE

We were. It was great to catch up with Bob Y, Bernie the Deep Blue, Ashley and Paul H of MCIVTA fame and a load of really good folks in an Oasis in the desert of Moss Side called The Old Abbey. This is surely the spiritual home of all things Blue and electronic.

Besides the tonking 80 degree weather, good company and many fine ales, I’m sorry to say there was SFA else to be happy about. I had intended to do something as grand as Florida Blues’ home tour write up, but I have to be honest… forget the team, the crowd ain’t worth the effort especially my beloved Kippax!

I have never ever seen such a beaten up home crowd (which I can understand). The Kippax was absolutely anaethetised to anything good or bad. In the direct proximity of our seats (40 square), not once did anybody else stand up, shout for the team or offer any encouragement to either side, ref, linesman or ballboy. It was pathetic.

I’ve followed City for 25 years and this was my worst experience. Beautiful day, toytown football, crap opponents and crap crowd. I could get into it further, but I’ll stop here in the interests of not apportioning blame. But I tell you this… If you got off your arses and behind some of the better players who seem to care, i.e. Margetson, Wiekens, Horlock, Dickov etc. the others would get into it and maybe give you something to cheer. ‘Nuff said, Onto the footy.

The apathy must have been grafted on to me… no match report, but some perceptions from watching training, spending 4 days back in Manc and attending the wake in the presence of the kippax (small K from now on, until collective responsibility is assumed to drag it back to where it was/should be).

Margetson – needed a deck chair for 85% of the game. Never really looked worried except when they nearly scored!
Brightwell – hoof.
van Blerk – puts himself about, has pace, but hoof.
Edghill – hoof (never close to anybody). But he does look like he cares.
Symons – Oh dear.
Wiekens – great, why was he subbed? Exudes class and commitment.
Brannan – pub league.
Horlock – real battler, good skill, 5 more players like him please.
Eddie – runaround now, now , now, now, now.
Heaney – what was FC thinking?
Dickov – real little livewire, tries hard but keeps getting pushed out.
Summerbee – ineffectual and way overpaid, get rid now.
Gio – godlike skill… but we really needed the 3 points
I can’t go on…

It’s funny, but actually being at the game and away from the PC means you lose the exact details of build up etc… There’s things I can’t get over. Like…

Heaney up front – FC must take blame. Uwe was on his feet and jumping about more than the players on the pitch … how can this happen?

The defence, stand off for 30 yards and watch them run at you. When they run you keep shadowing them. What use is this?

No crosses. The best cross of the match was the curling shot from Horlock.

Firepower – non existent.

My lasting impressions of action was the Horlock inswinger, no two footed tackle, Wiekens majestic winning everything in the air and Gio’s skill but inconsistency in shooting and putting anything on his right peg. A couple of hours with Besty playing off a wall would surely turn him into a world class act. City were all over them in the first 10 minutes and then nothing all game until the penalty, and when I’d dried the tears streaming down my cheeks, the stand was empty.

I’ve criticised and supported in the past, but something has to be done now. FHL is taking us nowhere. I really am beginning to think this is way too big for him. I’m sure he’d be out if he could.

FC is at the point of breaking. I respect the man immensely for steadying the ship, but he is bad in the transfer market, has very questionable selection policies and seems to have no new ideas to stem the slide. Make no mistake, that’s what it is, a big, big slide.

I would have swapped anything on Saturday for a dour Peter Reid, David White and Niall, long ball 1 nil win. Gio is the best player I’ve ever seen in any shade of blue, but he can’t play down here like this. He needs some playing muscle and some brains with him… and FC must take the blame for thinking Brannan, Buzzer and Beesley can do the business for him. The suggestion to loan him to Liverpool and let us fight our way out of it is sensible. But never never sell him. My fifteen quid was well spent just to watch that little flick.

I give it 4 games before the season is over for us and we end up like last year.

We have to go for 4 or 5 players and if there’s no cash available, sell big time to do it. We need a Vinny Jones to drag us out of this mire. We need two good central defenders… pick two from 8, a ball winning midfielder, we need a quality winger, we need a no nonsense striker. What could we have done on Saturday with Lomas, Flitcroft, Sheron?

We have sold quality and replaced it with also rans. The only ones to keep are Kinky, Horlock, Wiekens, Morley, Scully, Bradbury, Edghill, van Blerk, Wright (and the youngsters).

But worst of all I think we’re going where Newcastle, Blackburn and Wolves have been. We’re heading out the exit door and unless we get some big bollocked backer and can attract a crowd inciting manager, we’ll be more like Wolves than the former mentioned clubs. My message would be:

Franny sell out to El Fayed and let Keegan sort it out.

Sorry to be so down lads, but this is as bad as I can remember. Even the Rags don’t mock us anymore! Something has to change, and I don’t think the current management knows how to go about it. I welcome all comments and responses, but just remember how much I care too. I’ll be back on a plane and I’ll be there for the Tribal Gathering. I’ll be shouting for the team and hopefully not at the people sleeping in the kippax. Come on lads/lasses… CTID

Oh, I did 300 pounds in the club shop so there’s my contribution to some new players. That should buy us another Brannan.

Carlos Fandango and his Super Blue Wheels, depressed in California, a.k.a. Huw Thomas (huw.thomas@ac.com)

OFFICIAL SUPPORTERS’ CLUB WEB SITE

I haven’t written for a while due to a short but dramatic stay in hospital due to a heart attack – I had to persuade the nurses to let me listen to the Bury game on my radio whilst in intensive care!

I’m still missing lots of info on the Official Supporters’ Club Branches – Ideally I need to know:

  • Who is the Secretary plus phone, email (if possible)
  • Where You meet (times, location etc.)
  • Who the President is (of the branch not the USA – I know it’s Hillary)
  • Any other useful info.

Also if you have any news please let me know so I can put it on the news page – I’d like to provide a service that visiting fans can use to contact fellow sufferers.

Due to technology advancing my email address has changed (see the end of this).

Whilst in hospital and under the influence of powerful painkillers I came to the conclusion that we currently have quite a good team (apart from 2 or 3 I admit); the problem seems to me that we don’t play as a team. Also we have adopted the ‘inverse 5 a side rule’ e.g. you can only score whilst in the box. And I do wish that FC would point out to the defence that it is not compulsory to pass to the other team’s attackers.

My doc has banned me from travelling too far so I have had to negotiate a trip to QPR (how well I remember last season).

City Till I die! See you in the Bush (I’ll be in my new flashy winter coat in almost City colours with number one son in as much City gear as he can wear).

Andy Birkin (A_J_Birkin@email.msn.com or maine@compuserve.com)

CATHAY PACIFIC APOLOGISES!

You may remember my rather scathing attack on a recent article they ran about Manchester. Well, credit where it is due… I received the following reply:


Dear Mr Gregory,

Thank you for your letter dated October 9 regarding the feature story on Manchester in the October Marco Polo magazine.

I have to admit that Mancunians are an observant and loyal lot. Along with your letter, I also received a fax from another Mancunian, this one exiled in the south of England, he too pointed out our error in not giving the Manchester City team its due credit as Manchester’s real football team. Please accept my apologies for this oversight and thank you for enlightening me. While the story was approved by our London office (no comments about their shortcomings please), we should have corrected the misunderstanding that Manchester United is the main team.

I am pleased you enjoyed the rest of the story and thank you for taking the time to write to us. It is comments like yours that help us to improve not only the magazine, but also other benefits and services offered to our most valued customers.

Your comments will appear in the Forum letters section of the February magazine and I hope you continue the magazine and the benefits of Club membership.

Thank you for taking the time to write and we look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon.

Yours sincerely,

Helena Soh
Assistant Manager
Club Communications and Promotions.


I shall write a very pleasant reply to Ms Soh (whose name could be an acronym for sense of humour!). What betting that most of the staff in their London office were Rags anyway… but she already guessed that!

So Cathay do have a sense of humour and thanks to the other True Blue who pointed out the error of their ways.

I will continue to fly with them!

Philip Gregory (pg2356kb@netvigator.com)

THE FRANK CLARK MASTERCLASS

My 1966 World Cup team

........................Ball (Capt).........................
.....Charlton B.......Peters........Hurst........Hunt.......
...........................Banks............................
...Moore.........Cohen.....Styles....Wilson......Charlton J.

Tactics and team-talk

OK lads, it’s basically the old 4-1-5, keeping it tight at the back, and using the wide men up front.

Ballie – I want you to run things at the back as you’ve got the loudest voice. I want to see you coming for everything in the six-yard box, and using your height.

Hurstie – no getting forward, OK. We don’t want you out of position. Shooting’s not your strength, anyway.

Petersandlie – use your body strength. You know what these Germans are like. Get stuck in.

Bobbsie – just hold your position. No fancy tricks, and for God’s sake don’t shoot. Leave the clever stuff to Nobby up front.

Banksie – run the midfield. Get the ball out to Jacksie as often as you can and let him weave his magic. And don’t keep picking the f***ing ball up…

Jacksie – use the ball. You can beat these three or four at a time. Get to the byline and aim for Nobby’s head.

Moorsie – use your speed down the flank and get rid quick. They won’t be able to handle your pace.

Nobbsie – use your height and your looks. And stop doing that filthy trick with your teeth…

Ok lads, out you go. And remember, if it goes to extra time, just pack the defence and hold out for penalties.

Penalty takers:- Banksie, Jacksie, Nobbsie, Raysie and Ramsey (sub)

Guess Who? (Full name witheld to protect the incontinent)

OVERAWED!

Howie de Blue and myself are overawed by the praise we have been receiving and the attention our article has been getting on MCIVTA and Blue View. Although we ourselves thought it was quite fun, we never thought it would cause so many positive reactions around the world. We have even had an email from Tel Aviv praising our efforts.

Not to mention all the constructive comments as to which other players should have been considered for a place in that truly awesome team.

We are a proud couple of Blues today. Now let’s give Stoke a hiding they will never forget. And let’s be positive, is there really any other way?

The Blue Danube (Espen.Heggelund@braathens.no)

PENALTY TAKER – WHO’S YOUR CHOICE?

After the quite amazing third miss of the season by the maestro are the management, like me, contemplating who might take the next spot kick that Dickov wins?

Well I’ve racked my drink sozzled brain and come up with the following analysis:

Margetsonwould slice it to the corner flag.
Entire defencelet’s be serious.
Wiekensa possibility if he can get up enough speed.
Brannannot unless he can dribble it out of the box and lob the ‘keeper.
Horlockmy choice.
Gioif he wants to.
Buzzerhopefully not even on the pitch – prefer Margetson.
Dickovshould have recovered from the ‘tackle’- possibly.
BradburyHmmmmm… no.

Quite simply so few of them show prowess in front of goal that we are hardly spoilt for choice or do you think otherwise?

Tim Edmondson (timabroad@hotmail.com)

AWAY FANS’ GUIDE

Hello all.

An idea that we have had on the Watford Mailing List is to host a site giving directions to lower division grounds, info on the grounds for away fans, types of food on sale inside, friendly pubs etc.

Hopefully there will loads of you out there that want to help out with this – basically your help will make the guide good and useful for all football supporters.

If you feel you can help in any way, please email me personally at Miles@dial.pipex.com with a subject of “Away Fans Guide” and a body message of the team/teams you can give info for. We will then send you a simple questionnaire via email which you can fill out for us and we will then compile all the info!

I think you’ll all agree that this is a good idea – please help and get your mates to help too! It doesn’t matter if people aren’t on email – we can just as easily send them the questionnaire by post…

Miles (Miles@dial.pipex.com)

SOUVENIR SHOP PROBLEMS

Does anyone else, like myself, have trouble getting anything from the souvenir shop?

Being on the slightly large size.., all right a Fat B*and^%*d, it is impossible to get any new MCFC Kappa gear. I can’t even get hold of the home and away shirts at present. In fact, at the beginning of the season City announced that the largest kit they would do was a YL which they said was equivalent to the Umbro XXL. This, as I pointed out to them was not the case as I have an XXL from last season which was 46″-48″ whereas this season catalogue states YL as 44″-46″.

I mailed the club to complain many a time, and so must others as they now are doing a YYL in both kits. They have also informed me that they have forwarded my comments to Kappa but I doubt that I will get a reply.

Unfortunately, these YYL’s have been in the warehouse since the beginning of this month (October) yet are still not in the shops. I also pointed out that the away top was to change next season and so could I have this seasons at a reduced rate of £28.00, due to the fact that I would only wear it for 7 of the 10 months. Of course I have received no answer back. In fact they don’t reply to me at all now.

So, as we head towards November, I still have to watch almost all you fellow blues parading around in the smart Laser blue kit whilst I walk about in the reduced price Oasis style “City” motif sweater, which was a mistake at Ipswich last week with the weather we had.

Synthetic Cream Blue (Stephen.Wallwork@Nestlegb.nestle.com)

OPINION – MORE MOANINGS ABOUT SATURDAY’S FIASCO

Well, they did it to us again. I had a bad feeling about this game but still went along. More fool me. I have been to more interesting wakes. I found it quite unsettling that the atmosphere was so … lacking. People couldn’t even be arsed shouting any more, apart from when the ref made an appalling decision against us, things woke up for a while but soon slipped back to an eerie hush. I have heard noisier minute’s silences!

The question is, how are things going to improve? And do I really care any more? I am amazed that people keep turning up. I agree with the person who thinks we should stop going – maybe then, with crowds of less than 20 thousand, will FC be forced into doing something. But then again, I’m sure if he had any ideas he’d be trying them by now! (and by the way, Frank, Neil Heaney is not and will never be a striker!).

I am also getting increasingly p****d off with FC having a discreet go at the fans through the press. For example, after the Reading “match”, he said “We played well for the first 25 minutes but then the crowd got anxious and we were hesitant after that.” Oh I see! It’s our fault the team played like gutless, worthless t***ers is it? We get anxious, well silly us! We’re the fools who turn up week after week to watch s***e, but we mustn’t get anxious or we’ll upset the poor diddums on the field. Well I’m sorry but they are supposed to be goddam professionals! Can’t their talent and skill rise above a restless crowd to prove us wrong and give us something to shout about? Don’t be silly.

I made the mistake of getting a ticket for the QPR match and am having second thoughts about going now. Who needs to waste a fortune when I can watch it on Sky in the pub, get slaughtered and not have too far to stagger home afterwards? We’ll see.

Christine Haynes (Christine.Haynes@man.ac.uk)

OPINION – ATTITUDE PROBLEM

When are City fans going to realise that Uwe Rösler has got a serious attitude problem? The only manager he didn’t have problems with was Horton, and that was because Brian wasn’t around long enough. I rate Uwe just behind Stan Collymore and Ravanelli in the ‘cry baby’ stakes. He continually displays his gripes in public, for example, the Man Utd game at Maine Road back when Ball was manager. We have to get rid of him and soon. The same goes for Summerbee, as his attitude is not acceptable either. These players have to realise that the manager is boss and what he says goes, even if they don’t like it.

I personally hope Clark is given a bit longer in the job. I know Steve Kay would disagree here, but who would we get to replace him and would they be better? We had serious problems getting Clark and I don’t think it would be any easier now. The only person I can think of is Joe Royle. Would we really want him? Look at the mess he made of Everton! Perhaps we could get Horton back and keep good old hotshot Uwe happy. If we did get a new manager he would be stuck with Horlock, Bradbury, Wiekens, Wright, Brannan etc… All the players Clark bought and the new manager would probably not want. We would then have to sell these to buy the players the new manager wants. I’m afraid this scenario is just too much for me to contemplate. If the City fans get Clark’s head after less than a year, I will not be getting a new season ticket next year.

Charles Pollitt (cpollitt@fs1.scg.man.ac.uk)

OPINION – ANOTHER MCIVTA RANT

I’ve held my tongue long enough…

Through supporting City, I’ve ingested far too much rubbish for my own emotional health and after 20 years of it I’m beginning to wonder if I’m mentally ill. I’ve heard of a new psychological term called “macho ingestion syndrome”, most prevalent amongst the male of the species, whereby you keep on taking more and more (of whatever rubbish) just to prove that you’re harder than everyone else. Sounds mighty familiar.

The two éebâcles – sorry, games – I’ve made it to this season have been Ipswich and Charlton. Both defeats to very poor sides but both deserved results. Both times, we looked to have the match in the bag and then predictably and almost voluntarily gave the game away.

The night of the Ipswich game saw a TV drama about match fixing and, whilst I’m definitely not accusing City of this, I did briefly consider that explanation of the day’s performance. Shocking stuff, eh? I did come to my senses, though. The only other possible explanation was a total lack of pride, passion and commitment from the team. Sounds much more plausible, don’t you think? They say pride is a sin. Not in football, it isn’t. Sort it out Frank.

If you think I sound angry and disillusioned at our being the laughing stock of English football as per usual, then you’re right. This time, however, I am becoming extremely impatient. I’ll never stop supporting City, never stop being Blue, but I stopped trusting them years ago. If things carry on the way they are at the moment, it won’t be long before I stop loving them too.

Now, a public service announcement: I have not seen City win in the league for over two years. I will be attending the Oxford game therefore we will probably play dreadfully and we will definitely not win it. I thought it best to warn you. It’s not all bad news though, I’m missing the QPR game due to house moving. So it should be safe to go to that one.

James “Jimmy the Jinx” Nash (J.Nash@mdx.ac.uk)

OPINION – WHAT TO DO WITH UWE RÖSLER

I’ve been reading with interest the comments made about the apparent dispute between Rösler and FC. As a manager of sorts at work (a hospital department) I must say that I find remarks made about the situation way off the mark. As good a player as Rösler is and as desperate City’s current position is, are insufficient reasons in themselves to justify him being picked to play. All players have to adhere to the manager’s wishes for the team and no-one should be beyond reproach. Picking recalcitrants like Rösler may provide short-term benefit, but would be to the ultimate detriment of City in general and FC in particular. A stable management team is far more important to City than individual players (brilliant or otherwise). On a related issue, is any-one else concerned about these two or three penalties that Gio’s missed so far? my analysis is that we’ve missed out on five points because of them, which would have City mid-table and only 8 points off the pace. My point is that two seasons ago City got relegated in a situation where only one extra point would have made all the difference (anyone remember that last minute home loss to Arsenal?).

George Larcos (ngl@imag.wsahs.nsw.gov.au)

OPINION – DERANGED?

After digesting the match reports for the Reading game, and comments on the club in general, I thought I’d stick my two penneth in. My main point concerns those who are knocking Mr Clark and calling (again…) for the head of the Chairman. What exactly are you trying to achieve by this? If I thought that another man was waiting in the wings to take the club back to where it belongs I’d be joining in on the chorus – but as it is we’re what’s known in the trade as f****d. Let’s be honest, you’d have to be deranged to take over at Maine Road at the minute, and the same applies to the manager’s post.

I was at the game on Saturday and I admit that there wasn’t that much to be inspired by, and the paying public are free to voice their disapproval at a mediocre display – but please, let’s employ a bit of common sense and realise that another period of turmoil and upheaval isn’t going to benefit the club one bit. Anyway I’ve said my piece now, let’s hope we get a better result this Wednesday night eh?

Lee Ashmore (l.ashmore@lancaster.ac.uk)

OPINION – LACK OF ATMOSPHERE

Regarding atmosphere (or lack of it) at Maine Road over the last few years. I think most people would agree that a lot of this is down to the efforts of the last government to divorce football from its roots and make it into a sort of “poor man’s rugby union.” I refer, of course, to the all-seater stadiums. I don’t want to be comfortable and clap politely I want to be with a crowd of like minded passionate supporters.

Of course I do want to be safe. The Taylor report was about safety in old stadiums. Nobody is going to convince me that with all our modern technology and the expertise at our disposal, together with about 100 years of football crowd management, we can not build a safe stadium which caters to a proportion of the crowd standing. Can someone tell me if legislation following the Taylor Report means that football must be played in all seater stadiums. If the answer is yes then it is clearly a political law born out of the crowd problems of the 70’s and 80’s.

It looks increasingly likely that we will be moving to the “Millennium Stadium” when it is built. I’m sure it’s what Frannie wants and as negotiations are still ongoing it would appear that plans are moving along relatively smoothly. With this in mind I would like to recommend a campaign starting soon. I want to watch my team in the traditional manner and I want the Millennium Stadium to allow me to do this. If the law does not allow it then the campaign should be a wider one incorporating all football clubs and supporters. It should be aimed at changing the law.

I am willing to do my full share of any of the work required because I feel very strongly about this. The whole experience of going to a football match has changed over the last 5 years. I went to Maine Road only one time last year during my 6 day UK holiday. The place was like a ghost town and at one time, when I used the “F” word to express my attitude towards a referee’s decision, I was taped on the shoulder from behind and asked not to use that kind of language. Why the f*** not? I’m at a football match not a convent.

Anyway my point is this. If we as supporters are to be allowed to support our team in the way we want, that is standing with our peers in an exciting and vibrant atmosphere and not sitting in a stand with an atmosphere akin to a railway station, then it is up to us to come forwards and make our point. As City supporters we will never have a better chance to effect the conditions we get inside ‘our’ ground. The same is true for all clubs that are planning new building projects. Newcastle’s new stadium will be under construction soon, they could be our allies in this.

How about it? Are we going to sit back (no pun intended) and except what we are given, or are we going to form a pressure group and take some responsibility for the conditions we support our team in.

If anybody wants to help on this may I suggest a posting on Blueview so we can measure the level of support and then make a decision on what action to take (if any).

Patrick Smith – alias Ceefaa Thai (patricks@loxinfo.co.th)

OPINION – TROUBLE A’TH MILL

By the time you read this we will all know the result of Wednesday’s game; if we totally outplay Stoke and win 4-0 disregard this mail, but if we lose which is more likely, there will be a riot outside the ground tonight. Because there is no commitment, passion and pride. It is now time to give the young kids a go because they cannot do any worse than the so called first teamers, the likes of Brown, Whitley, Morley should all be given a chance now to prove that they can do a job for the club.

No hopers like Brannan, Brightwell, Symons, Summerbee should all be given a rest (joking), reserve team football.

Derrick Bradshaw (dbradshaw@fs5.umist.ac.uk)

OPINION – POLLOCKS

I used to really rate Pollock (before his move to Spain – I think), he’s big, strong and very influential – sort of like a tubby David Batty. If he’s anything like the player he used to be then he’ll be a great asset in Division 1.

I saw a game on Sky a few weeks back. The home team had been winning but the opposition came back into it. There was 10 minutes to go, 1-1 (I think it was Leicester). Anyway the manager gambled and pushed his centre back upto centre forward. This might not sound particularly exciting, but it had an amazing effect on the crowd. They had gone very quiet, but when the manager made such a positive move everybody got behind the team! The last 10 minutes were really exciting, the crowd were roaring, this lifted the home side and made them play much better. There was no addition to the score, but it was a great piece of PR.

Tim Starns (itdcts@mail1.hants.gov.uk)

OPINION – DOOM, GLOOM AND STUFF

Maybe it’s a good thing that I have been so busy at work that I don’t get time to read Mcivta when it drops into my mail box there. Frankly, yesterday’s issue was even more depressing than than any in the Alan Ball era … what the and*and* (!) is going on at Maine Road? Frank seems to be hell bent on collecting and playing players who just aren’t up to it. The team talk web page shows us as being after Bart-Williams now … probably just a rumour, but if he can’t get into the Forest team then what use is he to us?

Why can’t he give a run out to some of the youngsters … it seems that even the relatively new buys are, in most cases, not up to it. It seems clear to me that something is very wrong at Maine Road … for example – Edghill got rave reviews on his return, but appears to have sunk to the levels of the rest of the team according to the Reading reports … this smacks of changing room gloom. Reading? I ask you … if we can’t walk all over teams like that home and away, the we will be lucky to stay in Div 1.

Rant over … Here’s something from the Bristol City mailing list that might amuse our English subscribers …

Proof that England are destined to win the World Cup in France!

 1966 England
 1970 		Brazil
 1974			Germany
 1978					Argentina
 1982							Italy
 1986					Argentina
 1990			Germany
 1994		Brazil
 1998 ????????

Also … may I offer my thanks, and do a quick promo for the MCIVTA Mark II T-Shirts … a snip at twice their going price, so don’t leave Ken in the lurch folks, snap ’em up now.

CTID … sometime before May the way things are going.

Jeremy Poynton (jp@deadhead.geac.co.uk)

OPINION – THE LAST STRAW?

Last night just has to be the last straw – what on earth is going on? Frank Clark says he’s not unduly worried as there are more than 30 games left, but I look at it as 11 games played, most of which against very mediocre opponents, and already several points lost. Now it looks like we don’t know how to score.

The protests at Maine Road after the Stoke débâcle are easy to understand. Yes, we do need more support from the board, but I also feel that FC has not exactly spent money he has had wisely. Look at Vaughan, Bradbury, Brannan – three signings who have not exactly started to pay dividends. Furthermore, we have probably one of the largest squads in the league, yet it seems full of individuals who have no desire to play for the club. We have to offload them now.

City are a big club. We should not even be subjected to having to play clubs like Stoke, Reading, Bury, Charlton etc. week in, week out – we cannot even beat them! Yet I really thought the Swindon result was a turning point – what has happened since?

Something needs to be done, yet I don’t think sacking FC is the answer – who would come to Maine Road to manage? New signings are difficult – who wants to play for City these days? Maybe a change at the top is what is needed.

Or is the problem at grass roots level – is it the management failing to deliver? Is there a lack of motivation?

I just don’t understand. We even looked better under Alan Ball.

This is the worst I have experienced in my 20 years as a City fan.

Phil Hough (phough@transre.com)

OPINION – ENOUGH TIME HAS BEEN GIVEN

This is a note that I never thought I would write. I have always been the eternal optimist with City, having supported them now for over 20 years. Until last night’s performance against Stoke, I was optimistic that Frank Clark would be the man to take City back into the Premier League. I was in agreement with the people who said the supporters should give him time and get behind the team instead of booing them off the pitch. However, I no longer share this opinion and think that enough time has been given.

Richard Littlejohn summed the whole thing up after last night’s match with the following statement – “The 27,000 or so loyal fans who turn up to Maine Road every week deserve better than this.” He also said that Kinkladze should not be lolling about at the bottom of Division 1 and that City should sell him and use the money to buy a couple of decent players that would get us back into the Premier League. I am full of admiration for Kinkladze – there are not many players of his calibre about that would stick with a club that look more like being relegated to Division 2 than being promoted to the Premier League, but unless a miracle occurs within the next couple of weeks, he must surely be looking elsewhere. This depresses me completely because I always believed we should be a club full of players with the ability of Kinkladze. I don’t know where the blame lies for what is happening with City – Francis Lee has poured millions into the club and does seem to have his heart in the right place, but unless the results start going our way, all the best business practices in the world can’t help us.

I have always believed that City are too big a club to fail and that it would only be a short time before we were back in the Premier League. Unfortunately, the comparisons with Brighton are now getting a bit close to home and unless there are some dramatic improvements within the next month or so, we will be fighting a relegation battle that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.

Sorry to be so depressed – I hope someone else writes in with a bit more optimism. Here’s to QPR on Sunday – maybe City will play like they did against Forest and Swindon and give the supporters something to cheer about again.

Samantha Munns (Samantha.Munns@SWI.GALILEO.COM)

OPINION – DISGUSTING, CRAP, USELESS, BAG O S***E

(and that’s doing the s***e a disservice)

Just a few mild words to describe how bad our display was last night. I want to know where I can get a refund on my ticket, as I paid to watch a football match, not a bunch of ponces getting paid for doing bugger all.

I would like to exclude Martyn Margetson and Paul Dickov from the following criticism, as MM has done nothing wrong, and PD runs his nads off all the time giving it 110 percent at least every match. The rest of the players should take a step back and have a look at what Dickov does.

I have just read a headline in a newspaper which is to do with Liverpool but I think it also applies to us as well: “Fans take more pride in wearing their shirts than the players.” How can you be playing professional football for a career and not giving a s**t when you play the game?

It’s clear that the team has got no commitment, passion or pride when they pull the City shirt on; if people in everyday ordinary jobs put in as much effort as these players then they would be sacked immediately, but not footballers, oh no, they can perform crap week in week out and they are still guaranteed a large pay packet.

One of the blokes in my office made the comment that when you are relegated players don’t want to play for you in the lower leagues, but look at City – how many of the regular first team players have played at the top level? They still have it all to prove, and playing like they don’t give a t*** is not going to further their career.

To watch the team you would think we had already won the league; when anyone receives the ball the first thing they do is slow the game right down, there is no urgency about them, every challenge is less than half hearted, and what are we doing playing a winger that can’t even get in the team in his proper position as our second striker?

Crap Crap Crap Crap Crap (and that’s doing Crap a disservice)!

Barry Joynson (bcjoynson@fgould.co.uk)

OPINION – FURTHER RAVINGS

What does Frank Clark think he’s playing at? We played like a bunch of complete arses on Saturday so his new super tactic for Wednesday will be to play the same team! That will suprise Stoke who surely can’t have been expecting to face the same donkeys if they saw the game on Saturday. Our defence are not acting competently as individuals or a unit. Is any work put in on this? Are the players who are clearly out of form dropped? No. Are the two central midfielders we are playing out of position out wide looking comfortable in their rôles? No. Do we play some wingers instead? No. Do we play Gio behind the front man (at the momment Dickov the only player who deserves to pull on the shirt and collect his wages except Margetson) as was so successfully done just after FC arrived? No. Do we play clearly our best striker Uwe? No. Even when he’s fit it appears he won’t get a look in.

This brings me on to the next point. Is he really being greedy or is this another case of getting rid of our high wage earners for bugger all and then buying in a load of s**t to replace them? If it is then the board has to go. They’ve screwed the club up on the field at least and that’s what counts to most of the fans. I’m sure all the hospitality side needs to be looked after and the shop should be run by the club so that all the money generated goes back to the club etc. The money should not be going into the board’s pockets though. Colin Barlow – what does he do? I’ve no idea. Does he still get paid loads? Almost certainly. Bernard Halford – my impression of what he does is that he p****s fans off, that being his only rôle. Basically I don’t really use all the other facilities. I just want to see decent players playing well and winning. I don’t expect us to thrash everyone all game, to go up and take the Premiership by storm and then Europe. I do expect decent performances from players who want to play for the club and do well. I also expect to have a board that cares about the club and is prepared to back it up with cash.

Having read KK 62 after the Reading game there are some interesting points there (if true). One is that the share issue went ahead with a deliberately lower price which meant Boler got lots of money but that there was far less to go to the club than if a slightly higher (and apparently expected) rate had been paid. This explains why there’s f*** all transfer money apparently. The other point was that Gio might be owned by a subsidary company or at least part-owned by FL and that they take a cut of his now substantially increased wages. Does anyone actually know anything concrete on either of these issues? If there is any substance to them then surely this is reason enough for the board to resign as they clearly don’t care about the club.

Although I questioned FC’s team selection at the beginning of this – and quite rightly too – I don’t think getting rid of him is the answer as we’ll just end up all over the back of the papers again and there aren’t really any suitable candidates to take over who would necessarily be any better. However, with his track record of buying strikers should we really be suprised if he goes and buys a bad one? Surely giving him £3 million to spend on a striker was madness? This may be unfair but it’s surely a possibility worth considering?

And finally, you’ve got to respect Quentin Cooper (does various stull on Radio 5 Live) for coming out this morning as a City supporter. What courage to do it at a time like this.

Thomas Bodet (mnqz5twb@stud.man.ac.uk)

OPINION ON SITUATION

No doubt that times are very hard for us die hard City fans, but the best thing we can do is plain and simply get behind the team on matchdays (for those who attend). The reaction of the fans in the ground is definitely having a negative effect on the players and staff, and it can’t be doing them any good. We need to keep cheering them on and building their confidence. Anyone who has played the game knows that 50% of it is confidence and without it you will never get a successful team.

FC is one of the better managers in the league and it will just make matters worse if we change managers again, because the backroom staff and everyone normally goes with it. I remember Alex Ferguson being under pressure for the sack in his early days but he obviously came right after a while. It’s true there is a long way to go but whatever anyone thinks we won’t get relegated, and let’s accept we’re not going up and see it as a re-building season yet again! We all want success desperately but there’s a long way to go and we need to give FC and FHL a couple of seasons to really see the fruits of their work.

So let’s relax everyone and accept there won’t be any fireworks coming from City for quite a while. I hope we do something to QPR on Sunday without the pressure of home fans.

CTID, Claude Nuttall (wgscap@iafrica.com)

OPINION – MANAGER CHOICE

About three years ago City came to Spain to play Atletico Madrid in a friendly. The commentator on the match described both teams as ‘the two sleeping giants of Europe.’ Atletico had gone through about 6 managers in a year and City still had Brian Horton in charge. Three months later both teams changed managers: Atletico got Raddy Antic, and we know who we got. From then on Atletico went on to win the Spanish Cup and League, while we know what happened to our team. It is therefore of vital importance to select the right manager. The team we have got now is Frank’s team and he should stand or fall by his team’s results.

P.S. If success breeds success, does mediocrity breed mediocrity?

Roger Spruce (lot2do@jet.es)

OPINION – PASSION, ROY KEANE?

Fellow City Fans (albeit long suffering at the minute)

I feel compelled to write in reply to Eoin Darcy’s mail regarding Roy Keane and his passion.

I have to admit the feeling of joy when I heard Keane was out for a year, just like many City fans all over the world. Eoin remarks that we need someone with the passion of Roy Keane. As a fellow Irishman I can see why Eoin feels so strongly because we will miss Keane for the World Cup play offs (that is, if he would have turned up, as over the past year or so he seems to have forgotten the way to Manchester Airport and the check in desk for any Dublin Flight).

Having my football career cut short by a knee injury I still can’t feel sorry for Keane as he was trying to DO the guy from Leeds (à la Gazza in the Cup Final).

P.S. will FC get the team’s arse in gear as Stoke should not be allowed into Maine Road never mind beating us…

Paul Cassidy (PAUL.CASSIDY@irishlife.ie)

OPINION – JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT COULDN’T GE ANY WORSE…

Just when you thought things could not get any worse… My philosophy is to always look on the bleak side as far as City are concerned, at least then if we win I am put in a good mood.

Some perverse corner of my mind actually hoped City would lose on Wednesday night because it seems to me it is the only way anything will happen. I hope those fans with their blinkers on will wake up and realise that:

  1. We are an average first division side who have no automatic right to promotion.
  2. Unless something happens similar to that which happened to Evertonand Newcastle (famously documented) we will not get promotion this year;
  3. While I cannot believe we will be relegated it is only the factthat Portsmouth, Ipswich and Huddersfield cannot win that we are notbottom (a new record for lowest ever position).

I have previously stated after the Charlton game that sacking FC is not the answer, I still believe he must stay. Think about the previous 10-15 years of sackings when things have not gone right for us. Has it led to a dramatic change in long term performace… no. The only time we looked like stability was aborted when PJS sacked Peter Reid barely two months into the season, after we had finished 5th in consecutive seasons. Yet Blues are still happy to criticise his tactics, look back at some of the performaces: away victories at Villa (one a 5 goal thrashing and one on TV a rare inspired victory against title contenders), Crystal Palace, Everton et al.

Besides just who do those calling for his head believe will replace him? If you are of that opinion write in and give us your prospective managers (managers that is who would want to come to Maine Road!)

Finally and sadly my interest in MCFC is waning on a weekly basis. For the first time since moving to London I am not going to a local game that I could attend, despite the fact that our recent record at QPR is not bad, but not as good as our record against Norwich! A repeat of the Charlton débâcle I could not stomach.

Can someone out there cheer me up?

Jonathan Tod (jonathan.tod@sb.com)

RED HUMOUR?

Q: What’s the definition of a well balanced City fan?
A: A chip on both shoulders!

Sent to me by a Red who appreciated our humour page…

Paul Howarth (paul@city-fan.org)

RESULTS

Full-time scores and scorers for Wednesday, October 22 1997

CHARLTON ATHLETIC       1-1    BIRMINGHAM CITY           10,072
Mendonca (62)                  Devlin (83)
MANCHESTER CITY         0-1    STOKE CITY                25,333
                               Wallace (63)
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 2-1    TRANMERE ROVERS           20,841
Robinson (15)                  G Jones (65)
Freedman (16)

Full-time scores and scorers for Tuesday, October 21 1997

BURY                    1-1    QUEENS PARK RANGERS        4,602
Battersby (57)                 Spencer (82)
CREWE ALEXANDRA         0-0    IPSWICH TOWN               4,730
NORWICH CITY            0-0    READING                   17,781
NOTTINGHAM FOREST       1-0    WEST BROMWICH ALBION      19,243
Campbell (74)
OXFORD UNITED           1-4    MIDDLESBROUGH              8,306
Purse (51)                     Emerson (36)
                               Mustoe (79)
                               Fleming (81)
                               Merson (90)
PORT VALE               4-1    HUDDERSFIELD TOWN          5,244
Horne (og 26)                  Stewart (86)
Talbot (47)
Ainsworth (73)
Naylor (83)
PORTSMOUTH              1-1    BRADFORD CITY              6,827
McLoughlin (pen 17)            Edhino (40)
SHEFFIELD UNITED        5-1    STOCKPORT COUNTY          16,241
Whitehouse (6)                 McIntosh (23)
Fjortoft (21, 49, 90)
Deane (55)
SUNDERLAND              0-0    SWINDON TOWN              27,553

Up to and including Wednesday, October 22 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Nottingham Forest       12      8    2    2     18     7        26
Sheffield United        10      6    4    0     18     7        22
Swindon Town            13      6    4    3     17    17        22
Charlton Athletic       12      6    3    3     25    16        21
West Bromwich Albion    12      6    3    3     15    12        21
Stoke City              12      6    3    3     14    12        21
Bradford City           12      5    5    2     15    14        20
Wolverhampton Wanderers 13      5    4    4     17    15        19
Middlesbrough           10      5    3    2     18    11        18
Port Vale               13      5    3    5     18    16        18
Queens Park Rangers     12      5    3    4     16    19        18
Birmingham City         12      5    3    4     15    10        18
Sunderland              12      5    2    5     17    16        17
Stockport County        13      4    4    5     21    21        16
Crewe Alexandra         12      4    3    5     17    18        15
Bury                    13      3    6    4     15    19        15
Norwich City            12      4    3    5      9    18        15
Oxford United           13      4    1    8     18    23        13
Reading                 13      3    4    6     13    21        13
Tranmere Rovers         12      3    2    7     17    18        11
MANCHESTER CITY         11      2    4    5     16    14        10
Ipswich Town            10      2    4    4     10    12        10
Portsmouth              12      2    3    7     15    21         9
Huddersfield Town       12      0    4    8      7    24         4

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

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


[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch, mcivta@tollbar.u-net.com

Newsletter #340

1997/10/23

Editor:


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