Newsletter #342

At last the gloom lifts, at least for a few days. We have 2 match reports, news of celebrity crashes – Schumacher and Gio, more from Jules – the music teacher doing a life-sentence in Ragland, as well as opinion, requests for help and another good Why Blue.

Lastly, Martin Ford is making a call for committment to McVitee FC for next year’s EuroNet tournament. Please consider playin;, there are 1,677 of us, so there should be more than enough to get together a squad of 30 or so players. This year we will need to pay ‘up front’; instead of Martin taking this risk, is there anyone out there who’d consider stumping up the £100 as sponsorship, maybe someone with a company?

Next game, Oxford United away, Saturday 1st November 1997


MANCHESTER CITY vs. CREWE ALEXANDRA, Wednesday 29th October 1997

Another large crowd of over 27,000 turned out at Maine Road to City finally record a victory against a Crewe team who had started the season better than we had! Crewe sold out most of their tickets in the North Stand, and for the first time there were people in the temporary stand between the Kippax and the North Stand (those Crewe fans who turned up on the night). Kinky’s accident had meant that some changes were necessary, so Whitley and Greenacre both started, Greenacre making his full début. Vaughan also replaced Bob who had a hamstring problem, and Wright came in for Margetson for the first time. The full team was Wright, Vaughan, Wiekens, Symons, Edghill, Whitley, Brannan, Horlock, Brown, Greenacre and Dickov.

City as usual started with all the pressure going forward, with Crewe hardly touching the ball in the first 15 minutes, yet as usual we never really looked like scoring. Brown put a couple of wicked crosses over from the right which no-one could get on the end of and Dickov had a lovely dipping shot from outside the area tipped just over the bar by the ‘keeper, but it was the same old story with no real chances falling to us in the penalty area. Greenacre ran around a lot and it did make a difference seeing two people up front, but it just didn’t look as if we were going to score. After 15 minutes Crewe suddenly came into the game and really should have scored when a shot from one of their strikers flashed just past the post. Not long after that they hit the post, then the game settled down into the normal pattern. City had a lot of pressure, forced several corners and throws in dangerous positions, but just couldn’t convert any of them. Dickov got caught offside about 3,000 times (or so it seemed). Finally, just before half time, Horlock swung a corner over from the right which Wiekens met with a powerful header. The Crewe ‘keeper, Jason Kearton, managed to parry it but in the scramble it fell to Greenacre who scored City’s first goal in October. Phew.

The team were cheered off at half time for the first time I can remember this season and the half time mood amongst the supporters was happier than for a while! We were entertained at half time by the City ladies team beating the Crewe ladies team in a mini 5-a-side type game, quite exciting and almost worth missing the half time pint for! My mum refused to share her chocolate digestives with any of the people sitting around us unless they stopped moaning; fat chance of that ever happening.

Crewe were definitely more of a threat in the second half. City could have had another two or three if they’d been able to convert chances, but haven’t we always said that? Scully and van Blerk came on for Greenacre and Brown, who received a standing ovation for their hard work and determination throughout the game. Brannan had the best game I’ve seen from him for a while, he was actually running and tackling occasionally although he still managed to make his usual howlers, giving the ball away completely unnecessarily in midfield. Horlock looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but hanging around on the right. Edghill’s defending was okayish, but his passing again was woeful. Symons managed to stifle the 9-foot tall Adebola (seriously, the man is huge) so effectively that he was taken off towards the end as Crewe pushed forwards in a last attempt to score. Conlon replaced Whitley near the end to a resounding chant of “Barry Barry Barry Barry” and received a huge cheer when he got his first touch. Scully ran well up the wing once he came on, but Dickov will never be a 6-foot striker who thrives on crosses into the box, so why bother putting them in for him? The last 5 minutes were extremely nervy as City began to panic and gave away needless throw-ins and free kicks in their own half. The referee somehow managed to find over 5 minutes of stoppage time in which Crewe really did look as if they were going to score but City held out for the much needed win.

So what was the difference from Sunday and all the other recent games? It has to be the work rate from the kids who have been brought in and are now trying to keep their places. Brown, Whitley and Greenacre were like a breath of fresh air last night. Whitley was given man of the match thanks to his dogged performance in midfield where he was fighting for everything, Brown seemed to be everywhere at once and Greenacre really did deserve a goal for working so hard. I haven’t seen as many City tackles being made in a game all season.

As Clark said afterwards, it wasn’t pretty but it was the result that was vital. I don’t care if the games aren’t pretty – this one was actually quite exciting to watch and was never like watching paint dry(!) – but we need to win, and if we can scrap out results like that then we might recover from the horrendous start and move back up towards where we belong.

A couple of quotes from around us that amused me:

  • “Dickov wake up you just never put any effort in” (he was serious)
  • “Brown you may as well get back to Darlington or wherever you were, you’re doing nothing in this game”
  • “Greenacre just isn’t big enough to take any chances and score” (thirty seconds later the ball was in the net)
  • “I think it’s time to bring in a new manager, have a clearout and start again”

and finally

  • “If you lot don’t get a move on and do something Frank will make you get a lift home with Gio”

On to Oxford on Sunday, Sharon Bennett


MANCHESTER CITY vs. CREWE ALEXANDRA, Wednesday 29th October 1997

Unfortunately, I am unqualified to do a full match report as I was 20 minutes late for the kick-off due to an horrendous snarl up at the end of the M602.

A night when 3 points meant everything with the usual nail-biting last 15 minutes.

The absence of Gio (did he watch Schumacher?) gave us the exciting prospect of Whitley and Brown in midfield. It gave the impression that we had an extra man on the pitch due to the aforementioned pair’s tenacity. I for one was prepared to accept some horsepower in the engine room, for the short term at least.

City created several chances with the best falling to Whitley and Brannan. The defence also had a new look with Wiekens, Vaughan and Symons being flanked by Horlock and Edghill. It worked reasonably well in spite of a few ‘Keystone Cops’ episodes in the box. Wiekens in particular looks a class act in defence. He has adjusted to the pace a little better and creates himself space to make up for his own lack of speed.

Our distribution from the back was helped by the presence of Vaughan but hindered by Tommy Wright (in for Maggy) who proceeded to try and hoof it up to Dickov at every opportunity. The goal was class. Horlock’s corner was met by Wiekens who rose majestically to head for the top corner. The ‘keeper managed to block but the lively Greenacre pounced to make it 1-0.

The second half saw a similar pattern until FC made the unfathomable decision to take off 2 of our best players, Brown and Greenacre, and send on Scully (O.K.) and van Blerk(?). It was even more baffling as Brown had just gone on a 50-yard run and nearly laid on a goal when his ball to Horlock was crossed and Whitley just failed to convert with a header. I suppose they must have been a bit fatigued as both had given everything, but they certainly didn’t look it. As there were 15 minutes left I could only assume that FC was going to try to bolster the defence and hang on for the win. If that was the case then it worked as we managed to hold on when it looked as if it would have been easier for us to go down the other end and score another.

A tremendous gate of 27,384 spoiled only for me by a substantial minority of fans singing Munich songs at the back of the North Stand. What are stewards for if not to kick these cretins out?

Wright 6, Horlock 7, Symons 6, Vaughan 7, Edghill 6, Wiekens 8, Brannan 6, Whitley 7, Brown 8, Dickov 6, Greenacre 7. (van Blerk 6, Scully 7).

Ken Foster (


“Barree, Barree, Barree!”

We already have a couple of good match reports so I’m going to confine my comments to the performance of the players:

Wright (6): Very confident positioning and catching, but hasn’t FC told him that hoofing the ball up to Dickov is a complete waste of time?
Horlock (6): Seemed to being playing left back, which is a complete waste of his goal-scoring potential.
Edghill (6): What has happended to him? His passing and first touch are simply dreadful.
Symons (5): Never got near the impressive Adebola and was made to look embarrassingly slow on occasions – maybe because he is embarassingly slow!
Vaughan (8): He made a 2-point saving tackle after yet another Symons howler – absolutely crucial intervention. He also shadowed Adebola out of the danger area when he threatened to upset us all with a couple of minutes to go. Needs to work on his passing though. He’s got passion and timing, just what we need.
Wiekens (8): This guy is sheer class at the back, it only has to be a matter of time before he and Vaughan form the centre-back pairing and Symons is despatched to oblivion.
Brannan (6): More influential in the centre, but he needlessly gave the ball away far too often.
Brown (7): Harried all night long and put in a few teasing crosses.
Whitley (7): Ditto, and hit the post after a lovely run at the back of the Crewe defence.
Greenacre (7): Great to see 2 up front, deserved to get a goal.
Dickov (7): Ran a lot but not to much effect.

Scully (7): Only on for 10 minutes but gave the Crewe defence a hairy time whenever he had the ball.
van Blerk (5): Hardly saw him!
Conlon (7): Again only on for 3 minutes but he can win balls and looks like he’ll develop into a useful player.



Just heard that Gio has had a car accident in his Ferrari; he is thought to have crashed into a motorway sign and may have had to be cut free from the wreckage. He has lacerations to his back but is not thought to be seriously injured, even though ambulance and fire engines attended the crash scene. Paul Dickov, Lee Bradbury and Uwe Rösler will all have fitness tests before the team is named for Wednesday. Chris Greenacre is set to make his full début.

Patricia Howarth (
Graham Smith (
Heidi Pickup ( and many more!


After losing control of his Ferrari at a roundabout, the Police may charge Kinky with reckless driving. Frank Clark commented: “I hope they do, we could do with the six points.”

My opinion about Kinky has been proved true. I have always said he’s no good on corners!

Joking apart, thank God he wasn’t seriously hurt, and let’s hope he’s back weaving his magic soon.

Steve Kay (


Players, supporters, coaches, managers and any other interested party:

Following the success of Euronet’97 in Middlesbrough and Euronet’96 in Nottingham, the Euronet competition now apprears to be a fixture on the Internet calendar. At the IFA (Internet Football Association – nowt to do with Graham Kelly’s FA) AGM it was decided that bids for next year’s competition should be open to any team who felt they could meet the necessary criteria (set at the meeting). The latest bid has been forwarded by the Internet Royals (a.k.a. Sleeping Giants at last year’s event); please have a look at their site and either let me know what you think or mail the Royals direct.

The closing date for bids is the end of November; for those who played at last year’s event (myself, Col, John, Sam, Gary and Rob), Reading might be a pleasant change to Boro.

Finally, McVittee is your team but I need the support of players and the commitment to next year’s event. I know I’ve already asked this (and some have already replied) and July 1998 is a long way off, but all interested teams have to register by December 31st and pay their entrance money of £100 by then. I don’t want to pay the money and then find that there aren’t enough players to stretch to a team, so please can you give me an indication of numbers who may (note: may) be available for next year’s event. If no players are forthcoming, I will have no alternative to pulling McVittee from the event. Please mail me, I enjoyed last year’s event and would like to turn up but I don’t want the embarrassment of no team.

Martin Ford (


It was a great race deservingly won by J.V. over his main rival Michael Schumacher. M.S. was of course in the red team. And I noticed how his face turned into matching team colours after that stupid stunt he pulled before going out of the race. What a moron. Comes with the colour I think.

It was a thrill having to wait until the very last race before the winner was decided. But I almost missed the final race. In fact, I did miss the first 35 laps or so.

Because at the very same time that the race was flagged off, on the other sports channel Manchester City were kicking off against QPR. And there I was sitting in front of my TV, stupidly thinking that City might actually pull off something. And this was my first ‘live’ City game in a very long time. Much more important than the final championship deciding race.

I actually subscribed to this new TV station when I realised they were showing over 200 English football matches for this season. And there were about 8 City matches included. Having missed 2 previous City games I was of course thrilled with the telecast of the QPR game. Hoping that they might do that Forest/Swindon thing.

Boy, was I wrong. Yellow and Black? Why not try Pink and Purple the next time? And that was football? If they keep playing like that then we are going to be in Div. 2 next year. And in Div 3 the following year…

And that guy was our captain? Wow, are we in deep s**t. The team leader seems to be more lost than the rest of the bunch. I have seem him play before and he was good. So what the hell is his problem?

I have seen good players “selling” games for a quick buck. Happens here all the time. And since this disease has spread to England with the case involving Segers, Fashanu and Grobbelaar – makes me wonder. After all, a Malaysian businessman was involved. And City being a big team and all that. Or how do you explain a team that trashes the top two teams in the division and then go out and loses to absolutely weak teams. I hope I am wrong.

Gio is brilliant but he is not going to stay with us for too long. An absolute waste of talent in this nightmare of a team.

And talking about game plans, what’s with the backline hitting the ball straight to the forward line? I know it’s popular with English games but I believe it only works when you have a Duncan Ferguson up front. Not a bunch of height-impaired forwards. Or maybe someone forgot to tell the defenders that new signing Badbuy wasn’t playing?

Get Dickov and Brown up front with Gio just behind them. They are the only guys who look capable of causing any damage to the opposition. But the main problem is still the defence. We can buy all the best army and lower division strikers in the world but it’s not going to solve anything as long as our backline carry more holes than a tea-bag.

So on Sunday, at least one person in the right team colours was a winner. And his performance left no yellow streak on him.

Andrew Sukirtharaj (


By Noel Bayley (editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet)

I’ve not been around for a week or so as I’ve been working like a Trojan to get the latest issue of the fanzine together. Mind you, I never got MCIVTA on Monday so maybe there wasn’t one?

It’s been a funny sort of time, the last few days. On Sunday me, Leanne and Steve ‘Statto’ Kay went down to the Smoke for the QPR game. I think I must have missed something here though, because people keep telling me that it wasn’t a bad performance. Personally I thought we were garbage and the only decent performance I saw all day came with Steve’s prowess at the wheel; although I didn’t do too badly myself in my capacity as QPR steward. Just because I stand outside grounds knocking out a few fanzines doesn’t mean to say I work there and the sooner people realise this the better. Nor am I selling programmes and I don’t know where the nearest cashpoint/hot dog stand stand or tube is, although I usually know where the nearest pub is. My directional sense (or lack of it) together with my incapacity for remembering dates (I thought we were away at Oxford) and my inability to remember people’s names (as Sean Riley realised when I cheerily shouted “Alright Gary!” to him) marks me out as the last person in the world to ask, but it passes the time of day sending people in the completely wrong directions.

Just to contradict myself here, I do recall meeting Thame Blue and Andy Birkin before the match and Le Tank Bleu afterwards, but as for the others… sorry folks, my mind’s a blank. By the way, we did go down to the Moon On The Green afterwards only to find that this and all the other pubs in the 24 hour-a-day, non-stop, all-singing, all-dancing, cosmopolitan world capital were shut. So maybe The Britannia in Oxford on Saturday then? At least I think it’s called that.

I thought the new kit was pretty cool though and, according to Bernard Halford (at Prestwich on Monday night), there are no plans to sell it at the moment. But he did say, following a favourable show of hands, that he would be speaking to the club’s marketing people (or should that be person?) about it, so they might knock two or three up in time for Christmas.

Sunday, of course, is a day when you should be having a lie-in or watching the Grand Prix, so cheers Sky… again! It’s not been a good week for Ferrari has it? Only the other week there we were racing round Modena looking for the factory; the wrong town of course, ‘cos it’s in Maranello (told you didn’t I?!). Thousands of Ferrari fans were primed to descend on the town after Michael Schumacher’s victory last Sunday so confident were they that their 18-year wait for the World Motor Racing Championship was over, but alas, no! Sound familiar? No, well here’s some more clues: the cars are red, the drivers wear red, as do the souvenir-clad fans (tifosi) who are as arrogant as hell and ’50s legends like Fangio abound. When I remarked to Trevor (the office Rag) about this amazing similarity to a local football team, his response was: “So who does that make City then, Jordan?”

Yes, City might be the eternal back-markers, but I have to admit that I would even drop my colour-bar on red and I might even be tempted to swap my 12-gear racer if a Ferrari was up for grabs… Yes, I know the frame’s got a bit of bend in it and it’s crap for copping off with, but that’s nothing compared to the problems Gio’s got after his shunt. And what’s more he’s only got himself to blame. All he needed to do was pick up the phone, bring the motor round to our house and do the swap with me and then he could have played against Crewe… the greedy b*****d! And as far as I know Ferrari don’t do Courtesy Cars, so it’ll have to be the Nova for him for the time being!

P.S. For everyone out there in Granadaland, check out my Teletext page on ITV, every Thursday (page 175).

Ciao! Noel Bayley (


Here is something that you may find of interest, it is copied from the Electronic Telegraph. This is what other people feel about the situation at Maine Road:

Clark keeps cool as City’s stock plunges – William Johnson hears the latest unhappy instalment from blue side of Manchester.

Nasty rumours circulated the North-West after Manchester City’s annual meeting this month was disrupted by a bomb scare. Belligerent shareholders among the 600 present suggested Francis Lee, the embattled Maine Road chairman, had engineered the interruption to deflect the flak which was flying in all directions.

Lee, heralded by the City faithful only three years ago when ousting the much-maligned Peter Swales, is now the principal target for the long-suffering supporters.

In the past it was the manager who always paid dearly for a decline in fortunes, and the late Swales ran up a list of sackings which made the City manager’s post synonymous with job insecurity.

Things have hardly improved since. There have been six managers during Lee’s short period of control, five of them serving the club during the last 15 months to bring sniping from the red half of the community that a testing Mastermind specialist subject would be ‘Manchester City managers – 1995-96’.

Frank Clark sensed the club had become a laughing stock when he arrived last Christmas, shortly after parting company with Nottingham Forest. Replacing turmoil with stability was his oft-repeated objective as he agreed to end Lee’s embarrassing search for a manager.

Having seen Asa Hartford and Phil Neal have go at replacing Alan Ball, and then watched in dismay as Steve Coppell, a fellow luminary among the League Managers’ Association, came and went in next-to-no-time, Clark knew he was walking into a minefield.

He realised also that he is virtually bomb-proof. No City director in his right mind is going to subject himself, yet, to the fiasco of last year so Clark can soldier on, despite the team’s decline to their lowest League position – 22nd in the First Division, one place below the parlous position they occupied when he joined them.

He has spent about £10 million trying, so far in vain, to put City back on the road to respectability and admitted yesterday to being “frustrated” by the early-season failures which have made relegation a more likely prospect than the desperate need for promotion.

The manager remains convinced, however, that he has the makings of a successful side and is appealing for that rare commodity in football… time.

It is indeed baffling that a team who last month went to the City Ground and overcame League leaders Nottingham Forest and then hit second-placed Swindon Town for six should fail to score in four subsequent matches.

“We’ve hit the posts four times in those games,” lamented Clark, sharing the exasperation of the fans, 4,000 of whom applauded the players after Sunday’s chance-ridden 2-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers.

Many of those travelling fans had stood and jeered last Wednesday when City lost at home to Stoke, whose crowing supporters put salt into the wounds by singing “Bring back Alan Ball.”

Clark refuses to condemn the barrackers. “You deserve to get booed off if you lose at home,” he said. “On the whole the supporters have been marvellous. They can’t do any more for us and it’s time we paid them back.”

Clark has noticed in the last two home games – the other one was a scoreless draw against Reading when City’s most valuable playing asset Georgi Kinkladze missed a penalty – that anxiety tends to creep in on and off the field after half an hour without a goal.

“We’ve got to deal with that,” he said in advance of tonight’s crucial Maine Road fixture with Crewe, a match which he goes into with fitness doubts over his leading three strikers: Lee Bradbury, Uwe Rösler and Paul Dickov.

Bradbury, a £3 million signing from Portsmouth, is the most unlikely to be fit, having missed the last three matches with a back muscle strain. Rösler, who has also been out for three games with an ankle injury, is given a better chance of recovering than Dickov who bruised his shoulder on Sunday.

“Obviously when the goals are drying up you want your top goalscorers on the pitch,” said Clark. “But our problems have not been up front. We’ve been creating chances in all departments, which has got to be a healthy sign, we’ve just not been putting them away. I’m convinced that a couple of good breaks will get us moving again and that we can have a meaningful stab at promotion. You get spells like this in football. It is all about having the belief in what you are doing and that if you keep doing it things will eventually turn round.”

Clark made those comments before learning last night that Kinkladze had suffered lacerations to his back in a road accident. So much for an upturn in fortunes.

Tony – the Tattooed Donkey – Hulme (


Left home 8am. Went down by car with Noel and Leanne, Noel “proofing” the latest issue of Bert T’s Helmet. Arrived outside ground about 11.30am. Browsed around the souvenir shop and bought the usual enamel badge. Chatted to a few MIBs (Manchester Internet Blues), and took up my seat in the upper tier. My ticket said “partially obscured view” in tiny writing, so I expected to be sat before a post or something. But no, the obstruction was that we couldn’t see the goal line, which turned out to be a blessing as both QPR goals went into that net during the first half. Other than that it was a great view. As the teams came out, we had to rub our eyes. City playing in yellow and black! Loftus Road is shared with Wasps Rugby Union Club, and I thought City had borrowed their kit. Noel said afterwards that we never win in yellow.

Without going into all the gory details, once again City played well, with FC sticking with the youngsters, and playing Michael Brown at No. 9, which seemed a bit strange, but he had 2 or 3 good chances to score. Kinky was quiet again, apart from one curling effort just wide of the post before half time. The biggest problem City have is defending, especially defending corners. This was highlighted when the QPR No. 4 Ready, rose to head home, totally unchallenged. The situation looked worse when that fat, short-arsed, cheating t**t Spencer took a dive and they scored from the penalty. Half-time 0-2.

At the break we were “entertained” by a penalty shoot-out where someone from Cork won £107,000 (one million french francs) for scoring 3 penalties (about the same as Kinky gets for missing ’em). The compere was definitely on something, and constantly wound us up by referring to Rodney Marsh and Stanley Bowles as two QPR legends. Rodney acknowledged our chant, but didn’t come over. The shoot out was sponsored by Shredded Wheat, so we replied with “one Kelloggs Cornflakes…” and “we love you Kellogs, we do…”

City held their own during the second half (pity they weren’t holding someone elses), but you couldn’t see us getting back into the game. Towards the end we chanted “It’s just like watching paint dry”, “sing when we’re losing…” and that timeless City classic “What the **** is going on.” Full time 0-2.

So, my lottery playstrips remain unthrown for four games. We arranged to go for a pint with a load of MCIVTAers at Shepherds Bush Green, only to find everywhere shut when we finally got there. So, a bag of chips and off back up the M40. Ended up taking a wrong turning onto the M5 southbound, after passing the City coach, which took the right road northbound! Another Perfect Day! Highlight of the day was passing the BBC Television Centre on Wood Lane. Back home 8pm-ish.

City ’till I top myself, Steve Kay (


Last week I was relieved of my usual job of teaching Rags in Salford, as I was sent to Bologna with six other geezers in order to do the groundwork for an Anglo-Italian Music project. I decided to investigate the footie situation in Bologna and tried to chat to as many Italians as I could – the results are quite interesting! It transpires that:

  1. Bologna sold record numbers of season tickets and the feeling of optimism pre-season was overwhelming.
  2. They have a star player who wears a number 10 shirt (Baggio).
  3. In spite of the fact that everyone admires this star player, many fansthink that Bologna were wrong to buy him, as the other players cannot seem toplay as a team around him.
  4. Apart from a stunning performance when they beat someone 5-0, they havelost nearly everything so far this season and are playing crap.
  5. There is rumoured to be trouble with the board/management/coachingstaff which fans believe to be affecting the team’s performance.

Does any of this sound familiar? I admit that one difference is that Bologna are already in the Italian top flight, but their fans are seriously worried about relegation.

I also visited the Bologna FC souvenir shop, which is about the size of a toilet and makes our Arndale shop look like Selfridges. I’ve also struck up a friendship with a guy who owns a wine bar, as we discussed the depressing results of the Stoke match and the Parma match – he has asked me to send him some City goodies! So, even at the worst times, we’re still picking up fans in the most unlikely places. If Bologna suddenly start winning, he has promised to send details of the black magic ceremony they used. Low moments included the time I was chatting to a bunch of Juventus fans, when one woman piped up “My son – he support Manchester United! You very lucky to be coming from Manchester!” I resisted the temptation to shake her warmly by the throat. Anyway, after reading all the “At the end of my tether” articles in the last few newsletters (all completely justified), I just thought I’d send this by way of a diversion. I really hope that things improve by the time I return to school, or my life will be more of a misery than it already is!

As the man in the wine bar said, “If the bad times weren’t so bad, the good times wouldn’t be so good.”

Here’s hoping for a miracle.

CTID, Jules (


> The embroidered City badge has the Latin motto "Concileo et Labore" for
> which I would welcome a translation if anyone out there has it.

Being a librarian I feel professionally obliged to appear bookish (i.e. nerdish) and answer the above query.

“Concileo” means to (and I kid you not) “unite”, or to “win over” and “bring about”. “Labore” has a double meaning similar to “labour” in English. It means both “to strive” and “to be in trouble, or difficulty”. Hmm.

So it boils down to “pull yourselves together so we can get out of the sh**”!

Andrew Inman – Not so sunny Sydney (


I must thank you Mr. Clark – I don’t know if you recall, but a while back – after Greenacre had sparkled at Cardiff – I said that FC would recall him just when we got our other striker back and lo and behold; see you later Chris boy thanks for the memory. It will be a crying shame if he is not involved back at City – he has the talent but is a bit fragile at the moment. Surely a few good kickings at the hands of a basement defence would be better than playing for the reserves. Why didn’t he recall him when he needed him – no fit strikers – a winger up front and a promising striker playing for a basement side.

Occasionally I question the actions of messiah Clark. We need a striker so how come we don’t use our youngsters – and how come Southampton signed David Hirst? Just what we need, a big scary striker who has a bit of class and scores.

To further the gloom I am spreading, Chris Beech is the man. He is the star of the defence at Ninian – and surprisingly we have 2 international defenders here. As they said the labour party conference – things can only get better!

Mike Thomas (


Two months into the 95/96 season I left England to live in France. Whilst living in England I saw my family about once every three months; in comparison I saw Manchester City every time they played. I knew that I was going to miss Manchester City a great, great deal.

Call me a fool but in that season I returned to watch City every Saturday with only 2 exceptions (Blackburn at home 1-1 and Sheff Wed at home 1-0); as we all know City were relegated, yet strangely I still felt that it was time and money (a vast amount, about £7,000) well spent watching City battle back from a horrendous start to almost remain in the Premiership.

Last season continued in similar vein, but the weight of fixtures meant that I attended less than 50% of the games, nevertheless, 18 games I felt was a good attendance. I only saw City win 4 times and I could feel that the club was drifting away to nothingness. Kinkladze was a ray of hope and the fans, who I have always regarded as the best, were often the only reason that made my trips worthwhile. I thought that last season was an absolute disaster and after attending the pre-season tour of Scotland and the Mansfield and Burnley friendlies I just could not wait for this season to begin. I really felt that we would be back in the Premiership by Easter, ever the fool me. Now the feeling is of utter despair. I’ve been to the Portsmouth, Reading and Stoke home games and the Eurostar has taken me to Charlton and QPR away. I feel as if the club is betraying the fans, the players (with a few exceptions, one notable Dickov not Gio) are phoneys with no heart or pride and it looks as if they do not even like the game never mind the club. I have not even begun to consider where the blame lies because we are all in this together from Francis Lee right down to the fool who travels from Paris to watch the Blues go down week in, week out.

The lowest point of twenty five years of watching City was when we lost recently to Stoke. I spent all my school years in Stoke-on-Trent and absolutely detest Stoke City. I took last Wednesday afternoon off work and flew to Manchester, the game was s**t and I was disgusted with City; at 5.30am the next day I was in the departure lounge at Manchester airport awaiting my flight home as I had to be in work at 9.00am. At this point I questioned my sanity like never before. I hadn’t put all this effort in to watch a Cup Final (if only), or even a team doing well. I was watching City desperately try to keep out of the drop zone into Div 2. This has to stop I thought. At times I feel like writing to the non-triers at Maine Road and personally telling them to **** Off. But let’s look at this logically, if somebody is prepared to pay you £5,000 per week no matter how hard you work then certain individuals will always take the easy route out. I do not even have a single suggestion as to ways City can go forward now, everything we do seems to turn to s**t.

Anyway, sorry about this I’m going to have to stop. I will be at the Bradford game and I hope to see you at the Gathering; unfortunately I have to return to France after the match but I may be able to get there on the Friday so if somebody could be kind enough to tell me the timetable I would appreciate it and no jokes about 3-445 (a good long snooze).

S Reymold (


I was hoping Frank would come to this conclusion himself, but he obviously needs a push. Just think back a couple of weeks, to Grimbo Bonetti’s (?) mercenary tour match at Maine Road. Doesn’t it make you see the light, Frank?

You can sort out the mess in five to six easy steps.

Step 1 (optional)
Kidnap the Fulham team bus, release the coaches, but secretlyfly all the players off to GB’s hotel in St Lucia for 3 weekswith Fishy Spice.
Step 2
Employ Eric Hall for three weeks, with a £100,000 bonuson successful completion of project.
Step 3
Give Eric a team-full of our malingerers – Clough, Kernaghan,Heaney, Creaney, Meaney, Miney, Mo, Bob, Kit, Brannan, McGoldrick,Vaughan(?), one of Wright/Margaret, etc. In fact, we couldprobably make up two teams.
Step 4
Eric takes team for a demo match at Craven Cottage, and offersa pick’n’mix deal to big Al Fathead. Price is fixed at threeand a half million for any eleven. But he has to choose eleven,and it has to include Clough and Kernaghan.
Step 5
Spend the three and a half mill on Sassy Cervix, and get ScruffyNev in on a free, guaranteeing him a first team place for oneseason at least.
Step 6
Arrange the Eric Hall payoff in a multi-storey carpark in Salford.When he turns up, stuff his mouth with concrete and drop him inthe Irwell, cos I can’t stand the mouthy scumbag.

I’m only serious. Next problem…

MoK a.k.a. Robert Lever (


I’m going on Saturday, mainly because I live here and it’s not far to go. I will wear my Kappa shirt because it’s 100% polyester and very warm. Also I do take a kind of sadistic pride in wearing it knowing that I would do better supporting my local pub side on a Sunday, but I love City despite everything. People at work now take the p**s when we win – losing is the norm for us. Still, we take it and turn up week after week. The press realise our worth and contribution to the club. It’s just a shame that the club don’t realise it and insist on turning out s**t teams week in week out. Does a copy of MCIVTA get sent to Maine Road?

The last time I saw City win was at Oxford last season (4-1 I think). We also won the kids penalty shoot-out! This result made me realise that it is not me who is the jinx of City. None of the fans should think they carry this burden. City are their own jinx and will continue to be so. Even if they stay in the Nationwide this year, next year they will go down to the depths of the second division (does this division have a name?).

I think I will probably have to wait until I’m 60 to see a great side again, like the side of 20-odd years ago. I have faith that this will eventually happen, but quite how, I don’t know.

Keep going lads – it can’t get any worse.

If anyone wants to meet for the Oxford pre-match beer, E me below.

Alison Prior (


Well that’s it. As a London Blue I can’t be arsed to make the journey to Maine Road again this year – unless there’s some improvement… but can anyone see that? After the farce that has been served against Ipswich (even my mate – the most ardent “Ippy” said that he hadn’t seen his team play so badly… ever). Stoke, QPR, etc. – I cannot keep going. Does anyone remember the Xmas programme last year? When we were hoping:-

  1. To stay up
  2. Maybe push for a playoff?!

So what’s changed this year? Are we going to demolish Oxford again? Could this be the turning point?

Answers:- Nothing, no & no

Well instead of sending in match reports, I’m going to send in a match forecast – and if I’m accurate I suggest we get a syndicate going to do the pools. When we win we’ll take over the club and install Jarvis Cocker as first team striker, Ulrika Johnson(?) as sweeper and Boris Yeltsin as coach.

Anyway my forecast:-

Score: Manchester (we’ll be in Europe soon) City 0, Oxford (Maxwell) United 2


  1. Bradbury either (a) Doesn’t play or (b) Doesn’t score.
  2. The defence is soooooooo slow and is left static with every attack.
  3. Vic and Bob “**ck Vic and Bob we’ve got” – Kit and Bob both play up to their supporters as the Kings of Comedy football.
  4. The attack on the flanks is dangerously short of speed.
  5. Gio twists and turns and makes mazy runs – but can’t do it on his own.
  6. Dickov wears his stumpy little legs down even further with all his “tear arsing” about.
  7. After 70mins FC puts another of the younger members on into a new position.

We all know what’s wrong with this side, so what really is the problem with getting things changed?

PS: Owen Durnin – if you’re reading this, give me a call and we’ll go down to the Thames with that lead weight your Grandfather gave you, wasn’t he a Blue as well…?

Really, really down, “The Bluest Banana In The World” – almost: Adrian Gribbin (


Can anyone help me out? There used to be an old song, sung on the Kippax to the tune of “The whole things daft, you have to laugh or else you cry, you have to live or else you die.” Who the group was I cannot remember, but can anyone tell the words we used to sing to that tune? I remember bouncing around to it in my younger days.

Please help as I’ve got the tune bouncing around my head and it’s driving me mad! (along with the team… sorry could not help it !)

Tony – the Tattooed Donkey – Hulme (


Having not seen City for a few weeks now, I ventured down to my local in Newcastle to see if we had improved since we played Blackpool, and I just have a few points to make:

  1. Why was Ged Brannan (not) marking their extremely tall centre backwhen he scored? Isn’t that what Symons and Wiekens should be doing,picking up their big players? Not only was Brannan meant to be markinghim, but he was a yard the wrong side of him.
  2. To the people who say we should have Dickov and Kinkladze up front,well that was what we had on Sunday, and we had no presence in the boxwhatsoever. Dickov makes excellent runs into the channels, collects theball, turns ready to cross the ball, and there is no-one there in a Cityshirt whatsoever. We desperately need Rösler or Bradbury back in theside. The QPR defenders must have been laughing every time Dickov wentwide as it was so easy.
  3. Picking Michael Brown was definitely a good move, he looked committedto the team, and really tried. As a team, we still had few ideas, weneed at least one winger in the team, just someone who is going to crossthe ball occasionally would be nice.
  4. Margetson, while improving rapidly, still has no presence in goal anddoes not control the defence in the slightest. I don’t think TommyWright would have left Brannan marking their big bloke, as he wouldn’thave stood for it. Last season, the Portugal boss said he thought Wrightwas the best ‘keeper in Europe. I know Margetson is getting better, but heis really not all that outstanding.

Providing we make the same amount of effort in our next few games with someone who gets into the box occasionally, we won’t be down the bottom for long, as we were better than QPR for long periods of the game. One last thing: does anyone know if this Georgian defender is quick? I really hope so!

Ric Allen (


Come on you yellows. Second game of the season for me and just as I expected. No need for a match report so here’s some thoughts. Drop Kit Symons. I’m sorry but the defence was just completely inadequate. The first goal, all the defenders were still waiting for the free kick and QPR were waiting for the restart.

What’s the point of these long lofted balls towards the corner flags with only Dickov chasing them? Shouldn’t we have wingers down there? Why does Margetson always kick it over to the left. Are there no options anywhere else on the pitch?

Positively, Brown, Whitley and Dickov looked as though they cared. Especially Whitley who had obviously had enough of his teammates’ less than dedicated efforts. Kinky is still a God even when he’s not interested. Put him out of his misery I say. Sell him.

The sorry fact of the matter is that there’s no heart and when Kinky goes we’ll be guaranteed many years of lower division football. We have one truly talented player and some promising youngsters but no doubt we’ll be selling them to pay the bills soon. That leaves the sad bunch of no hopers I saw on Sunday. Still, something has got to happen soon to change it round.

I predict a post Xmas revolt after the sale of Kinky for £2.5 million. Eight different managers, and a takeover bid by Stockport to use us as a feeder club. Instead of “Stand up if you love City” I think it should be “Stand up if you’ve had enough”.

Chirpy aren’t I?

Jim Sim (


In reply to the article about the ’56 Cup winners’ kit. I have the replica shirt and it is actually maroon with light blue stripes and really cool. I also have on order the 60’s shirt (for winter wear and also to bring back happy memories).

When I was a 11 my grandfather used to take me to the match, how well I remember standing on the Scoreboard end at OT with him when he turned round to tell the Rags outside the score (it was 0-2 at the time and we were going to score another 2 – he used his fingers to indicate the score of course). This was around the time when they used to play ‘The boys in Blue’ before every game, one line was: ‘The boys in Blue never give in’. Maine Road was a fortress where we rarely lost. The Kippax sang its heart out, Helen rang her bell and those guys stood outside proclaiming ‘The end is nigh’. Wondrous years.

But we also had our bad times – Halifax and Shrewsbury in the Cup, the European Cup campaign that died after one game, Bell getting injured etc. Alison returned and the team was torn apart, managers came and went, promising players were sold or failed to live up to expectations. We became a poor team who could win in style on all too rare occasions.

I’ve explained before my feelings about the current City side; those of us who consider it a privilege to support the Blues cannot understand why the team don’t feel the same. But comparing the current team to those of the old days highlights the fact that we play very few home grown players, guaranteed high wages don’t recognise failure or success and there’s a lack of squad stability. I can still name the Championship team, they were always there every game and it seemed that they never changed. Today the team changes every game, players seem not to know each other. I watched the team get off the coach on Sunday and was shocked they came off it like men facing the lions in ancient Rome. No smiles, No chatting in fact they looked as though they had won the lottery and lost the ticket. Team spirit? No, we have 40+ individuals. I’m not suggesting we have another ‘Jersey’ bonding session but we do need to get them talking especially on the pitch. We need the team to have a laugh and begin to enjoy playing.

I will always support City ‘over land and sea (and Stretford)’; if we get relegated I’ll still be there. But I don’t think it will come to that, the league is still tight and a few wins could move us well up the table.

Andy Birkin (


I am the proud(?) possessor of a spare ticket for the match vs. Oxford this Saturday 1st November. If anyone is interested in this (cost £10), please email me ASAP (I’ll check my email up to Saturday morning).

Depressingly CTID, Andy Longshaw (


I was interested to see that there were 3 MCIVTA subscribers here in Israel; if any one of them would like to contact me with a view to getting together for a drink then please mail me.

Thanks, Benjamin Bloom (


Sometimes I wonder…

Dan Nunn, Durham (


Actually my affliction for the Blues begins and ends with bloody Arsenal of all things.

No, stay with me! The product of a Forces upbringing (and that’s where the similarity with Bradbury ends!), it was my lot to be shunted from one dead end base or town to another. So, of course, when I began to get interested in footie I had no local team which I had any affinity for.

Well, what do you do in situations like these – you turn to your old man of course. Now this is where the first Arsenal connection came in – he had grown up in Highbury and supported the Gooners in his youth. A certain Joe Mercer was playing for them at that time and so impressed was the old man that he developed a sort of split personality thereafter – continuing to support Arsenal but then following City when Mercer arrived.

The rest is history and fairly typical of the lot of a City fan I suppose – there was me and my brother, there was City and Arsenal. Guess which one I chose. So now while my brother has a season ticket at Highbury watching the likes of Bergkamp and Wright and with European jaunts every year, I’ve had the likes of Parlane, Tolmie, Creaney and Lillis over the years, not to mention sightseeing trips to Portsmouth, Ipswich, Millwall and Huddersfield.

But something somewhere makes it impossible to be anything else doesn’t it? For God’s sake my tour of duty as a kid included living near to Leeds and Ipswich – both of whom were hugely successful at the time. But would I be swayed? Not on your life – even when in the 70s we lived near the world-beating Ipswich and that was the only place I could go and watch my beloved team, if only once a year.

Now we all know about our record at Ipswich don’t we?! But was I downhearted after that first live experience at Portman Road and a 2-1 defeat even with Lee, Summerbee et al? Or the straight 10 defeats that followed in that same stadium? Or the Halifax and Shrewsbury débâcles that happened at about the same time? Course I bloody well was, but still I wore my scarf to school and trotted out in my sky blue shirt for PE to general mirth all around!

Never mind I thought, it’ll be better when I can watch them somewhere else apart from Ipswich. So when it came to choosing a University there was only really one place to go – Manchester here I come I thought. Only problem of course was that my course was smack bang in the heart of Rag territory – Salford! Being a student and a Blue in Salford did not give me huge feelings of safety as I wandered the lonely miles down to the Academy that first day and the 0-3 pasting off Liverpool didn’t do much to lift the spirits either.

But it was all worth it a short while after and the milestone first victory 3-1 – against Spurs. This is it I thought! – and for a while under Johnny Bond it almost seemed like it. Easy victories, Cup Final, League Cup semi and would it never end? Being City we all know the answer to that one and Luton, Brentford, Lincoln and numerous others have stuck the boot in ever since.

But despite the woes we all share and put up with week in week out, something keeps us going. Blind, stupid, dumb optimism? Regressional hypnosis? Mass brain disease? Maybe a bit of everything but for me there is something completely intangible – if I could sum it up in images and put them in a photo album entitled ‘Why Blue’ it’d come close to it:

What’d be in there – Tueart’s overhead kick; bananas at Watford & swimming pools at Palace; the Charlton & Rags 5-1s; yellow shirts at Arsenal (!); Lillis talking about a possible England call up (!); massive Div 2 crowds vs. Chelsea, Newcastle and Wednesday; Tolmie’s haircut; the Full Members’ almost come-back; Redmond slipping on his arse at West Ham while putting away a penalty; Quinn’s goal away at Spurs; bedlam after Nicky Reid nicked it in the last minute at home to Pompey; Kinkladze at Oxford; the perishing cold at Pompey last year; chucking up in delirious excitement after celebrating vs. Brentford in the Cup.

So spare a thought for us non-Manc Blues. We’ve all got our various reasons for being afflicted but it’s certainly nowt to do with winning trophies! It takes devotion/lunacy of a peculiar kind to not come from the city and yet still to stick to the Blue cause, year in year out, cock-up after cock-up and to the understanding of absolutely nobody!

Oh yes, I said this story ended with bloody Arsenal too – to put the tin hat on it where do I now live? bloody Highbury!

Simon Taylor (


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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,

Newsletter #342