Newsletter #347

A much needed point which will hopefully give the lads some confidence for Saturday’s game; that last-gasp equaliser was a precious thing to behold. There are three match reports, opinion, as well as news of another potential fixture for McVittee FC, the Tribal Gathering 5-a-side, results of the Latin Motto competition, ghostly happenings at Maine Road, and a good Why Blue.

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Next game, Bradford at home, Saturday 22nd November 1997


SHEFFIELD UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 15th November 1997

It was more in hope than expectation that the four Beverley Blues set off for the relatively short ride along the motorways of Yorkshire to Sheffield, the only crumbs of comfort likely to be from the supply of sausage rolls that Kev and Craig were dishing out en route. Nobody was prepared to risk a prediction but the unspoken feeling was that we were in for a stuffing given last Friday’s fiasco.

After our fruitless search for a pub on our last away trip to Grimsby last season, we decided that with Ward’s brewery logos everywhere we’d simply head for the Laver stand and sup in the company of the Blades fans in the ground (though why the club’s sponsoring brewery had the most expensive beer on the bar was beyond us, so being tight-fisted Yorkshire types, we voted with our wallets and bought the Heineken instead). We’d arrived at the ground at the same time as the team coach, and watched a very tense looking squad disembark through a knot of City fans (Frank didn’t hang about but some of the players did stop to acknowledge the fans and sign autographs).

A crowd of over 23,000 (the largest of the day in England given the absence of Premiership games) included a packed and vociferous City throng in the Bramall Lane stand behind the goal (we had to make do with the Laver stand, sitting amongst the Blades fans albeit in a fairly amicable atmosphere (probably due to Craig sharing out his toffee bon bons) … even at the end of the game :-)) The City faithful outsang/chanted the massed United fans in the Kop end for most of the game and once again were a credit to the club. United’s fans hopes rested largely on the gangly Brian Deane, who proved a handful for most of the first half, so it was perhaps no surprise that he opened the scoring – shooting through a crowded box giving Maggy little chance of stopping it. Still, Mark had the consolation of winning his bet with Ladbrokes on the time of the opening goal.

We were looking very disjointed (can someone have a word with the coaching staff about how to mark the opposition at throw ins? We got caught time and again through nobody marking the thrower); Craig Russell must have wondered what he’d let himself in for though he put himself about a bit à la Dickov (looks a bit like him too (from a distance) and can’t be much taller!). I’d thought bringing Creaney back was a good idea (at least he knows what it is like to see a goal go in regularly at the moment) but he was a disaster in the first half (didn’t come out for the second – having a pie?) and looked like he’d rather be back at Turf Moor (let’s hope Chris Waddle does us a favour). Mark was particularly critical: “Creaney you effing fat b*****d” being a regular refrain to the amusement of the Blades fans around us but all four of us were glad to see Brown on in the second half (half Creaney’s size and n-times the commitment).

United seemed to be happy with what they’d got; though Maggy did make a good save from Deane on the hour, they didn’t really threaten to give us the thrashing we’d expected. Dickov got on for the last 10 minutes but we sensed it was too late. With injury time almost upon us, the home fans began to drift away and we began to contemplate a subdued ride home. Then Gio picked the ball up on the right hand side of the box, beat two defenders and delivered an inch perfect cross onto the left boot of Horlock who prodded home past a static ‘keeper and in front of a delirious phalanx of City fans with what proved to be the last kick of the game! We instinctively leaped to our feet, oblivious of the fact we weren’t amongst friends, Kev feeling a little self-conscious about doing a victory jig in the gangway. Outside the ground, you’d have thought we’d won a trophy not just a point as thousands of happy Blues poured out.

Overall, it was an improved performance on the Huddersfield game, though we’re a long way from being out of the woods. Defensively we were quite good, with Wiekens being the star and Kit/Vaughan having a competent game (Edgy seemed a bit subdued and got booked for a reckless tackle). In midfield, Brannan was a bit anonymous and was subbed, Horlock struggled to get into the game (his goal may well have been the only time he got in the box), and McGoldrick improved as the game went on. Gio was in and out of the game, got clogged a few times but played wonderful balls through that McGoldrick and Russell couldn’t capitalise on; the team does seem to rely on him too much and always seem to look for him to pass to which makes life easier for the opposition. Upfront, Creaney should be packed off on loan again a.s.a.p. and never pull on a blue shirt again; Russell will doubtless have better games but looks fairly quick, but against a giant United defence he had a hard début. We do need to get it together up front as you get the feeling that if the defence give one away we’re going to struggle even to get a draw with nobody banging them in at the other end.

With Bradford losing at home, perhaps the stage is set for a good performance for those travelling for the Tribal Gathering next week. We live in hope!

CTID, Geoff Donkin (Geoff@Donkin.Demon.Co.UK)


SHEFFIELD UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 15th November 1997

Friday night 4.00pm, sets off from Croydon to Manchester (Hadfield, 11 miles east along the A57 actually) in order to be able to catch the coach the following morning for Sheffield. Six hours (3 spent on the M25) later we finally arrive home. Why do I do this, what do I get from City in return?

Anyway, Saturday morning and in the Gardeners Arms in Denton for 8.35am, and the mood is good, people are optimistic of a result today. Russell is in, Pie man to play up front with him. Pottsy, the organiser, hopes that we forgot about the deposit we paid when at Ipswich for this trip. No chance. He’ll try anything to get his beer money.

9.30am and 3 pints later (and I promised myself that I would take it easy) we set off for the Stanhope Arms in Dumphrey Bridge near Penistone, South Yorkshire for breakfast. Arrived about 10.30 and tucked into a big breakfast and yet more pints. 1.30pm and we have to be off. Last year we didn’t leave a pub near Barnsley until 2.15pm, and got in trouble with the Police for being late. Looked like it was going to kick off on the coach when some fans started singing the Munich song whilst others couldn’t give a S&*t about them.

2.00pm and we arrive on a bridge over the M1 along with other coaches and wait for our escort in. What a joke that turned out to be. They took us in with the rest of the traffic and, as far as I could see, did not stop any other traffic in order to get us there. We might as well have ignored them and driven in ourselves. We finally arrived outside the ground at 2.55pm. Quickly got in, straight to the bogs and then up to my seat by which time the game had just kicked off.

Here’s a match report to the best of my ability, I’d had a few pints by this time so is probably a bit sketchy. If I did forget a vital moment in the game then sorry.

First 20 minutes was all Sheffield United and I can’t remember even getting into their penalty area. A goal always looked on the cards for Sheffield and after 22 minutes it duly arrived. The goal I put down to Symons (I think) for his lack of challenge on Deane who then found the ball at his feet to ram past Martyn from about the penalty spot. Deane was a handful all day. After that, either we came to life or Sheffield relaxed and let us come at them. Two decent chances in the first half, one wasted by Horlock and the other a good save from Russell by Tracey. Only one booking which was for Edghill, though how some of their players weren’t booked eludes me.

Then there was the moment when Pie man was put in by Kinkladze after some brilliant work on the left wing. The ball came to Gerry who then proceeded to “dink” the ball at Tracey. I was furious at him, cursing him, only to see him point back up the field. It seems that the Ref had stopped the game due to two of our players lying semi-conscious in our own penalty area.

Second half was better with City creating more chances, especially down the right wing; unfortunately Edghill’s crosses were not good enough. Creaney had been replaced by Brown who never stopped running. It was crying out for someone like Scully to come on but Frank refused to do so. Some good runs from Kinkladze again, my only concern here is that any chances that we did create were started by some magic from him. For all our efforts though, I could not see us scoring.

Dickov was brought on to replace Brannan (big cheer from the City fans there) and things started to look even better. Still no Scully though. To cut it short, with about 5 minutes to go the Sheffield fans came alive. The City fans had been magnificent all afternoon with renditions of “Blue Moon”, “City till I Die”, “Stand up if you love City” etc. They thought they had the game won and so started the “Going Down” chant. Then, in the dying seconds the ball comes out to the right wing to Kinkladze, he beats two men and puts the ball in the box for Horlock to get on the end of it. At this point you would have thought we had actually won promotion or the F.A. Cup with the celebrations in the stands.

Turned to the Sheffield fans who were leaving and in the traditional way stuck up 2 figures and chanted “You’re not singing any more.”

By the end of my voice was gone but some pride restored. I had been resigned to another defeat but was still about to applaud the team off after finally showing some commitment.

Overall a good day. All I had to put up with now was the coach and its slow journey back up the Woodhead and on to Denton.

As for the team – vast improvement.

Margetson – didn’t really have anything to do after the first 20 minutes.
Vaughan – in my opinion had his best game in a City shirt.
Wiekens – again looked comfortable at the back, good distribution of the ball as well.
Symons – better. A couple of great interventions in the first half, but looked tired and slow towards the end.
Edghill – made some good runs down the wing. If only he could improve his crosses.
Brown – was brilliant and never stopped running. The moment when he lost the ball, turned and chased the Sheffield player down to not only tackle him but bring ball back into attack showed the commitment needed.
Kinkladze – was back to his old self – brilliant.
Brannan – sell him.
Horlock – looked out of it at times, though he did put some good tackles in. In the right place at the right in the end though.
McGoldrick – some very poor passing at times, but was continuously trying to rally the team (Symons take note).
Dickov – I felt sorry for him for being dropped. Maybe next week he’ll partner Russell up front?
Pie Man – not really given a chance.
Russell – not bad. A forward who actually ran into space and gave Kinkladze and the rest options. It is only his first game though, and I have seen this happen before. I’ll leave judgement for about 5 games.

Final point: I could hear the attempts to get the Tom Hark song started up but it didn’t seem to catch on. I keep trying though.

Synthetic Cream – Stephen Wallwork – Kippax Block DDU Row S Seat 102, though I actually sit in Seat 104 – don’t ask (


SHEFFIELD UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 15th November 1997

“We’ll support you evermore”

Another big following of around 4,000 Blues headed over the Pennines, more in hope than expectation for this clash against high-flying Sheffield United, who were unbeaten at home. They helped to swell the crowd to 23,780, not quite the Blades’ biggest of the season (24,536 watched them against Forest at the start of September). Once again there were changes in the City side, who lined up as follows:

    Vaughan     Wiekens     Symons
Edghill  Brannan  McGoldrick  Horlock
          Creaney      Russell

City started off the game looking very nervous, misplacing passes and not having much idea how to break down the Sheffield defence. Both sides had plenty of bodies in midfield and were quick to close down the player in possession, which didn’t help the flow of the game. Kinkladze was watched carefully by at least one player throughout, though this season the task of kicking him was shared between several players rather than leaving it up to Hutchison like last season. United quickly got a grip of the game and proceeded to put pressure on the City goal, the lively Deane testing Margetson from long range early on. City had only made one worthwhile foray into the home side’s penalty area (Creaney misplacing his pass after some good work) when Deane opened the scoring, ramming home a hard, low shot from 15 yards when the ball fell loose in the box.

Undeterred for once, City continued to battle away, albeit without much sign of scoring. Russell was busy, making lots of runs in forward areas, holding the ball up well and trying to bring others into the game, but with only a couple of exceptions, the Blues seemed to have little idea of how to create an opening, and little confidence to try to beat defenders. However, twice within the space of a minute Kinkladze made telling passes to set up opportunities. First he set up Horlock on the left side of the box, knocking the ball inside the defender for Horlock to run on to; the angle was quite tight and he hit a hard, low ball across the face of goal (or was it a shot?) which just managed to elude Creaney and Russell in the middle. Kinkladze repeated the trick at the other side of the penalty area moments later, this time letting Russell in for a good shooting opportunity (good movement by the new boy to anticipate the pass) but Tracey in the Blades’ goal was out like a flash and got his face in the way of Russell’s shot. City had what looked to be a great chance shortly afterwards when Kinkladze beat three defenders in a quick break and squared the ball to the unmarked Creaney, but unfortunately the referee had already stopped the game as several players lay injured back in the City penalty area.

Creaney’s comeback lasted 45 minutes as he was replaced by Michael Brown in what was described as a “tactical substitution.” The Scot hadn’t played badly, so maybe he’ll play again next week. Anyway, Brown bolstered the City midfield and this led to a much more even second half in terms of possession but still the home side looked the more likely scorers. Unlike City, there was a purpose to their play and you could sense that their build-up was organised and would come to something. Margetson made a couple of decent saves but in truth he didn’t actually have a very busy afternoon. United must have thought that City couldn’t come back (justifiable considering the way we were playing and bearing in mind that Dave Morley’s goal at Bury was our last away goal) and not even the popular replacement of Brannan by Dickov looked likely to change things. Still the fans got behind the team, unlike the disgraceful behaviour towards the end of the Huddersfield match, and the vast majority who stayed until the end were rewarded when City scored an injury-time equaliser. Kinkladze collected the ball close to the left hand corner of the penalty area and jinked inside, beating two defenders. He dummied a third before crossing along the edge of the six yard box, where Horlock was first to reach the ball and he slid it underneath Tracey to send the City fans behind the goal wild. Such was the jubilation you’d have thought we’d won something! In truth, I felt we didn’t deserve the point, having only had two shots on target in the whole game, but Sheffield United should really have made more of their domination, so maybe they didn’t deserve the three points anyway.

Frank Clark was mightily relieved, saying “apart from the first twenty minutes when we kept giving the ball away, we deserved that (goal). At least we didn’t crumble, in fact we galvanised after their goal. It may have been the last minute, but didn’t Liverpool often score in the last minute? People asked me whether we had turned the corner, but it’s an awfully long one. We’ve got to string a few positive results together in the hope we can start on a run to pull us out of the bottom half of the table. This result should give everybody a little bit of a lift and it should make next week a little bit more pleasant.” Blades manager Nigel Spackman added gracefully: “I thought the first half we played well in patches but we needed that second goal to kill City off. All credit to them though because they worked very hard particularly during the second period when they made things very difficult for us. And in Kinkladze the one time he manages to get in the game, he gets in a good cross and it’s a goal. That’s the sign of a quality player.”

Paul Howarth (


My first away since the season before last, and it really has been too long a wait. It was great to be amongst an animated crowd once again, though it does have its disadvantages when the guy behind had the lungs of a blue whale! The last minute goal was absolutely sublime; it seems an age since we last did that to a team, rather than being on the receiving end. Sheffield could have had three in the first half, with plenty of high balls aimed at Deane, who certainly put himself about a bit, apparently with the ref’s blessing. In the second half, we gained composure and bite (Brownie) and we really deserved to get a goal. Overall though, Sheffield will feel mightily aggrieved as they looked like they would win easily; they took their foot off the gas and paid the price.

That goal was priceless though, you could see it in the ecstatic faces of the players; maybe, just maybe it’ll give them the confidence they need to start living up to their talent.


Maggie (8): A couple of fine stops and stood no chance with the goal.
Edgy (7): Much improved, had good control and made some good passes and runs – is this the same player as last week?
Vaughan (6): Looked to be having a bit of a running argument with the giant Deano; made some good tackles but was let down by hoofing balls upfield.
Symons (6): A better game defensively but again, gives the ball needlessly away by aimless hoofing upfield.
Wiekens (8): Marked Deane well and put in some crucial tackles, including a late one which got him a yellow.
Horlock (6): How long will FC continue to waste this lad at left wing back? He is no good at beating full backs and just serves as a dead end on the left. His forte has to be getting in the box and scoring; he can do this if he plays in midfield, so why doesn’t he?
Brannan (4): Why is he playing?
McGoldrick (4): If you thought Ray Wilkins was ‘The Crab’ think again – if he ever makes a pass forwards I’ll eat my hat, and I haven’t yet washed it! All he does is slow everything up and get caught in possession.
Gio (7): He made the goal and 2 lovely passes which opened the defence up wide.
Creaney (3): Totally out of it, but then again, he is the man to head crosses in isn’t he, so why play him without a winger?
Russell (6): Looks a solid forward, he really leathered a Gio through-ball which was inadvertantly saved by Tracey when it hit him on the shoulder/head. He did however, have a tough début against the big United backs.

Brown (7): Made all the difference to our midfield/attack.
Dickov (6): Only on for 10 minutes.



City have denied a rumour that Paul Beesley was set to move to Scottish Premier Division side Motherwell for £100,000. He cost the Blues £500,000 in February but has not been a regular in the side, primarily due to injury, and has made only 4 appearances so far this season.

A new City book will be launched tomorrow (Tuesday), the “Official Pictorial History of Manchester City”. There will be a signing session at the Maine Road City Superstore between 3:30pm and 4:40pm which will feature a number of past and present City players, including Mike Summerbee, Paul Dickov, Michael Brown and Roy Clarke.

Former City trialist Danny Tiatto is set to join Stoke on a three month loan. The Australian winger played one pre-season game for City at Macclesfield before being allowed to return to his Italian Serie B side Salernitana. Meanwhile, former City midfielder David Phillips has joined Huddersfield Town from Nottingham Forest on a free transfer. The Welsh international played 99 times for City in two seasons, scoring 16 times, including winning Match of the Day’s Goal of the Month twice in the 1984-85 promotion winning season with fine strikes against Wimbledon and Carlisle.

Frank Clark has apologised to the Lord Mayor, the City Council and the Manchester public for missing the switching on of the Christmas lights in Manchester City centre on Thursday night. Alex Ferguson had to perform the ceremony on his own because Clark was stuck in traffic after completing the signing of Craig Russell at Platt Lane. Clark said: “I left Platt Lane around 5pm and at 6:45 I was still stuck on Oxford Road. I worked in London for 12 years but the traffic was never that bad. I want to apologise to everybody.”

Clark has also been explaining the thinking behind the swap deal involving Summerbee and Russell. “I haven’t got any money to buy. Nicky is a proven player and I felt it was a good deal for City. Hopefully Craig will give everyone a lift. We had to sacrifice something, and I’ve been chasing Craig for some time. He prefers to play down the middle of the attack and hopefully he can provide us with the goals we need.” After the Sheffield United match on Saturday, Clark said this of Russell’s performance: “Craig can feel reasonably satisfied with his performance. I thought he did very well considering it was his first senior game of the season and it was for a new club. Understandably he tired towards the end and if we’d been in front we might have brought him off but we needed a goal so he had to stay on. We started the game poorly and it’s something we’ll have to address. We weren’t passing the ball, just pumping it forward. The timing of the goal was excellent – it was a break we’ve not had for a long time and it was a relief when it went in.”

Meanwhile, Nicky Summerbee was said to be sad to leave City but felt he had to leave Maine Road to revive his career after being axed from the first team. Summerbee scored for Sunderland in a 4-1 win at Portsmouth (as did Niall Quinn) after making his début as a substitute. “I needed a fresh start after things turned sour for me at City with the team not doing so well. I played nearly 150 games for City in three and a half years and was a regular in the team apart from this season. I needed first team football and Peter Reid has given me the chance. He asked me whether I felt like playing because I haven’t had too many games lately and I didn’t know whether I was fit enough. I was prepared to bide my time to get into the Sunderland first team but scoring has crowned the week for me. I’m 26 and have to further my career and hopefully Sunderland will be the club where I can do that. I’m sorry to be leaving City and it’s sad they’re in the position they are.” It’s difficult to know how much of this to believe though, as Summerbee stated on Radio 5 on Saturday evening that he’d been a City fan in his youth; in many previous interviews he’d admitted supporting United in his younger days.

Frank Clark had another swipe at the press this week following a story in the News of the World about Gio Kinkladze’s private life. Two journalists, posing as fans and wearing City shirts, asked Kinkladze for his autograph on his way into Maine Road for last week’s game with Huddersfield Town. Before he could sign, proofs of an article that was to appear in the paper were placed in front of him and he was asked for his comments. Kinkladze “made his excuses and left”, but it was felt that this incident led to a below-par performance from the Georgian in the 1-0 home defeat. “Gio was stunned and it was a despicable thing to do. These people are trying to annihilate him over his personal life. They were undercover reporters confronting him before a game with allegations about his personal life. It is not on. Will they stop at nothing?”, said Clark. The City manager was full of praise for Kinkladze after his performance at Bramall Lane though: “People point the finger at players like him for not doing enough, and that’s wrong. Georgi has always shown me there’s more to his game than natural ability. He digs in to do his share of defending. That’s because he not only cares passionately about football, he cares passionately about Manchester City.” Blades manager Nigel Spackman said: “the one time he manages to get in the game, he gets in a good cross and it’s a goal. That’s the sign of a quality player.”

Three former City players could well feature in next year’s World Cup finals in France: Colin Hendry for Scotland, Andy Hinchcliffe for England, and Fitzroy Simpson for Jamaica, after they qualified for the finals at the weekend following a goalless draw with Mexico.

Paul Howarth (


Because of there being no Premiership games we got quite a lot of match reports:

The Independent

The Bad:
“The City players might as well have had ‘Doomed’ rather than ‘Brother’ emblazoned across their shirts. They played like the third-raters … they might become.”

The Good:
“Commitment in the last 65 minutes was their most impressive virtue.”

The Times

The Bad:
“There were few early signs that it would be the beginning of anything but another frustrating afternoon.”

The Good:
“Probably the most loyal supporters in the Nationwide League.”

The Observer (not for the fainthearted)

The Bad:
“A draw their play scarcely deserved …. an arid performance by the men in light blue … their attack looked lightweight … you might have expected a more robust approach, particularly in midfield, given the desperation of their position.”

The Good:
“Two pieces of breathtaking skill from Kinkladze.”

The Guardian (even worse)

The Bad:
“If City are still a First Division club come the season’s end they will have done well … they deserved nothing…”

The Good:

The Mail

The Bad:
“For all their possession they looked like scoring only when Kinkladze was on the ball.”

The Good:
“For all their possession they looked like scoring only when Kinkladze was on the ball.”

Peter Kewley (


Sunday 23rd November – 2pm to 4pm
Tribal Gathering 5-a-side Tournament
Venue – Altrincham Sports Centre, Manchester

Tournament Schedule

It is a 4-team tournament: Manchester Blues vs. Rest of England Blues vs. Europe Blues vs. Rest of World Blues.

With the Schedule as follows:

Matches: 7 and a half minutes each way (15 minutes total).

2pm – Manchester vs. England
2.20pm – Rest of the World vs. Europe
2.40pm – Manchester vs. Rest of the World
3pm – England vs. Europe
3.20pm – Manchester vs. Europe
3.40pm – Rest of the World vs. England
4pm Shower / Change – retire to the Bar / Nearest Pub for Post-Match Celebrations/Commiserations

Team sizes will be made as even as possible by the Irish rules of squad selection – i.e. Does your grandmother have a dog that once drank a spilt pint of Guiness by accident?

Directions to the Game:

By car:

Exit the M56 at Junction 7
Take the third exit off the roundabout signposted: A56 Altrincham

Straight through the first set of lights then follow the road on until you go round a sharp bend at the edge of Altrincham and reach another set of lights. Turn right here onto a dual carriageway signposted A560 Stockport. The Cresta Court Hotel is unmissable on the opposite far corner of the lights.

Straight across the next set of lights and turn right at the second set. You should now be on Stockport Road which bends immediately to the right, then back to the left. You will pass Altrincham railway station on your right, then the Sports Centre which is set back from the road. Turn right after the Sports Centre into the Pay and Display Car Park. Don’t panic! It is free to park on Sunday!

By Rail/Metrolink/Bus:

Catch any of the above to Altrincham Interchange:

  1. It is a major rail station,
  2. It is the end of the Metrolink link.
  3. It is the terminus for a large number of buses from the city centre and elsewhere.

Head left out of the station towards the main street traffic lights / McDonalds. Turn left at the lights (Moss Road). Walk over the rail bridge amd turn left into the road at the bottom (Oakfield Road). The Sports Centre is 400m along on the left.

See you at the event! Please try to contact me at the address below if you intend to come.

The Wookie, Col Surrey (


After the reasonable game against ASB would anyone fancy playing the Net Baloos (Brum City Internet Team) on Saturday 13th Dec, kick off 11:00, for McVittee’s second away game? It’s only an hour away (ish) from Mcr. Just for info, I doubt I’ll be available due to a prior engagement with a great deal of booze and a meal, so someone else will have to take the mantle of manager/organiser – any volunteers?

Other McVittee news:

The time is fast approaching for the IFA ballot on the location for EuroNet’98. There is a straightforward choice between Middlesbrough and newcomers Reading. The URL’s are: (Boro) (Reading)

If anyone would like to cast an eye over both sites and let me know which you would prefer, can you do this as soon as possible as the vote takes place next week, I have my thoughts about the venues but as this is a democracy I’d like to give others a chance to voice their opinions; if none are forthcoming then you’ll be left with my decision and it’ll be hard cheese if you don’t like it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It now looks like McVittee will be represented in next year’s event as I have had a few offers to (try to) play, more offers are welcome, the bigger the squad the more chance of fielding a team! The entrance fee of 100 quid will be sent by me, so I’ll be coming round with the hat and asking for donations sometime.

Martin Ford (


Division One Statistics and Leagues for Anoraks (DOSLA). Compiled by Steve “Statto” Kay – Update No 15. Up to and including 16th November 1997.

Last week’s Question 4:

Town start the game with only 8 players, and is losing 8-0 with five minutes of the match remaining. Then two Town players collide with each other and both have to leave the pitch permanently with concussion.

What do you do and why?

Answer: You must abandon the match, as a game shall not be considered valid if there are fewer than 7 players in either team. The game will be replayed whatever the score or time remaining.

This week’s question 5:

A player commits a cautionable offence during half-time, and a team-mate does the same after the full-time whistle has blown. Can you caution the players, and if so do you show the yellow card on either occasion?

Steve Kay (


From the Daily Telegraph on Monday, November 17th, 1997:

City On Target For Ghoul Of The Season

Manchester City’s present problems may not be entirely down to a pretty dodgy team; external factors may be playing a major part in their struggle at the bottom of Division One. Ghosts and curses to be more specific, and one-time winger Roy Clarke believes it is time the gypsies’ curse was exorcised.

The legend of the curse started in 1922 when the club moved from Hyde Road, a croft where gypsies regularly camped and traded. As a club official threw the old age-age travellers off the land without so much as a by your leave, their leader said: “We’ve done no harm here. So hear this: no good will come to anyone who dwells here.”

Clarke, 50 years at the club as a player and administrator, and now secretary of the Ex-Players’ Association says: “There is definitely a certain presence in the ground. Stan Gibson, our long-serving groundsman, had an alsation who would not go into H Block under any circumstances. If taken to the entrance his hair would stand on end, and he would react violently as though there was something evil there. A cleaner told me that in the North Stand doors would start banging for no reason on a windless day.”

“Another story I’ve heard was that where the ground now stands there used to be a quarry with a deep pool that a man with a horse and cart slid into and drowned. Over the years he has been seen at different spots around the ground by different people. The tea ladies used to call him Fred. The ground is certainly haunted, and it would make sense that the curse still bedevils the club.”

Birmingham City had a similar problem in the Eighties, and Ron Saunders had the soles of the players’ boots painted red and put up crosses on the floodlights to ward off evil spirits. Look what good it’s done them.

[End of Article]

Does anybody have any ghostly experiences from Maine Road to pass on? – If so send in your stories. Personally, the only ghost I’ve seen recently at Maine Road is called ‘Frank’.

Richard Mottershead (


Tricky(?) Teaser:

First things first, the teaser was answered first by Steve Thackwell <> – congrats. For those that still don’t know what it means I’ll put you out of your misery:

“Nil Illegitemi Carburundum”
Don’t let the b***ards grind you down ๐Ÿ™‚

Winning Competition Entry:

The following entry has been judged as being:

  1. very appropriate to MCFC,
  2. a line of conversation between FHL and FC (?),
  3. too close to the truth, and
  4. rather humorous (the intent of the compo really!).

“Sumus semper in excreta sed alter variat”
We are always in the shit, it’s just the depth that varies.


Well done to Peter, may you “Live Long And Prosper” as Spock would say, at least long enough to see City back in the good old Premiership! (that will be a long time!)

Other entries (almost up to the standard above) follow:

Flectas Non Frangas”
You may bend us, but you won’t break us. – fans take note?

“Dum Spiro Spero”
Whilst I Breathe I Hope. – fans have taken note!

“La Forza del Destino”
The force of destiny. – at least this wasn’t “Que Sera”… I did say no red humour ๐Ÿ™‚

The following entries were accompanied by explanatory essays!

“Quo Vadis?”
Where goest thou?
(as St. Peter was asked when he was scarpering from Rome during Nero’s persecution. It’s a fair question for a club teetering on the edge of the 2nd Division, or actually 3rd Division for those of us old enough to count properly)

“Adjutoriam Nostrum in Nomine Domini”
Our Help is in The Name of The Lord
(we’ve tried everything else this season, The Lord is all we have left!)

“Dei Profundis…”
No not the Oscar Wilde poem but the start of the psalm “Out of the depths I have cried to thee O Lord. Lord hear my voice.” Seems appropriate for FHL or FC since they can’t seem to do anything on their own. Pins in wax figures don’t work.

Neil J Bundy a.k.a. Bubbleman (


Just a bit of trivia to prove that some things (and people) don’t change.

On loan Alan Kernaghan stole the show for St. Johnstone against Hearts on the weekend. Apparently St. Johnstone worked hard to be 1-1 with one minute of play to go, when Big Al decides to diffuse a Hearts attack by handling the ball in the area. Result? A well earned draw turns into a last minute defeat to keep the Jambos on top of the league. Oh, dear… It would be a damn side funnier if it didn’t reduce the probability of us selling him.

Also a few suggestions for the Smiths/City connection:
Asleep – A duet from Bob and Kit.
This night has opened my eyes – City vs. Huddersfield
Work is a four letter word – Buzzer
Money changes everything – Blackburn, Newcastle, etc.

Andrew Inman (


I recently came across the following ode to City in a book entitled “Bygone Manchester”.


Boldly to the fray we went
On honor, fame and vic’try bent
But with sad hearts we came away
For the match we’d lost today.

Our opponents they were far too good
In fact we stood like logs of wood
Our chance is past, our day is o’er
At football we will play no more.

Inappropriately enough, it was above a picture of City’s 1904 team, taken after they returned to Manchester triumphant after beating Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at the Crystal Palace! It states that “The glitter of success was later tarnished by FA investigations into allegations of illegal payments, transfer irregularities and bribery, leading to the suspensions of players and directors”!

‘Nuff said!

Alex Bracey – miss (


As MCIVTA has turned into a music mag, well let’s face it, it’s become a Smash Hits for the Blues. Anyway, some years ago Everton fans complained about the non-existance of the Z Cars theme as the players came on the pitch in favour of some alternative power-driven rock band probably. Anyway, they complained and Z Cars was reinstated. The last few years or so at Maine Road, we’ve had some s**t that we played prior to Oasis which I can’t remember but I think was tied into the Premier League/Sky deal, and now of course we have ‘Roll With S**t’. Now many Everton fans believed the Z Cars theme brought them luck (not now it seems), and to be honest the last five seasons or so have been pretty s***e at Maine Road since we dropped that crap tune by Godley and Creme, or 10cc as they were known then, the one that went… ‘City (clap clap clap) Manchester City…’ etc. (The boys in Blue?). So I reckon we get onto the club, get the tune back, lose the voodoo and win again! Simple. All in favour say aye.

Well I can’t think of anything else!

Tony Shaw – Second City (


There I was slumped on the clothing rack in a city centre sports shop as my wife flicked through the Man Utd. Paraphernalia looking for our nephew’s birthday present. Enthusiastic I was not and as I mumbled half-hearted words (like yup, no way, too expensive), my eyes drifted around the shop. Then it happened, there in the corner were two racks of City shirts home and away. I couldn’t believe it, I stumbled over to examine them up close, knocking toddlers and shop assistants out of the way. Readers be aware I have only seen the shirt on Sky and in the brochure. Yes there they were about 6-8 of each in all sizes, even XL for big old me. It made my day and in an otherwise bleak season it cheered me up no end. I know this is grasping at straws but it made one fan smile. Santa has been informed of the location of the shirts – I told Santa that I didn’t like the away shirt to ensure no mistakes. My next query is where did the demand come from? But I won’t challenge my mind too much.

Roll on Santa… Kieran Daly (


Well we all know how poor the Huddy match was last week, these comments that were overheard seem to capture the mood perfectly.

Spectator 1: “For Christ’s sake turn those bloody floodlights off, I’m trying to get some sleep.”
Immediately, a spectator nearby shouted out “Hang on a few minutes, I’m reading the bloody newspaper!”

No it didn’t really happen, just thought it might cheer you all up.

Geoff Collins – Bertie Blue (


The only concern I have about selling Summerbee is the fact he seems to be Kinky’s best mate – they are always being seen together in clubs, bars and record shops and so selling him might herald the final straw – let’s hope he goes somewhere good (unlike Leics). I’d love to see quality players latching onto his balls (so to speak).

Justin Hanson (


I`ve just found out that I`ll be amongst a sold out City end tomorrow and simply want to say that even if everything else about the club is ***ked up, we`ve still got the best fans in the world.

City Till I Die, S G Smith (


Then fall Kinkladze. Being a 15-year old football supporter, I find it necessary to have someone to look up to. Gio is my hero. I plan to name my first child after him. If we sell Gio to Leicester, who am I going to look up to? Uwe? No, he’s on his way out. Buzzer? Yeah, whatever. Dickov? Great foot, but not hero material. So it’s settled, after Gio comes the deluge. OK, if we do end up selling him, here is what will happen (mark my words, mates).

  1. FC will have tons more money to spend.
  2. Gio will produce like crazy in Leicester.
  3. FC will pi** his money away on a player who deserves nothing, but gets bought for 2 million quid.
  4. City are mired in Div. 2 next season.

It will happen! I don’t blame the players, but I do blame the front office. I say we get our s**t together and sack some people. Perhaps we should boycott. Then FC might think about buying someone who isn’t s***e (and I’m not talking about that celebrated Norwegian sod).

CTID but not wearing the shirt till we win (as an act of boycott) – Little Blue (Mike Doles) (


In these dire times for our club, I would like to point out one fundamental point. City have always had a plan of play (Revie plan etc.); these plans, or tactics sometimes worked and sometimes did not, but we usually knew who was going to play where and what that players’ functions would be on the pitch. In the seventies Barnes would be on the wing with Royle in the middle, even with Brian Horton you could see Beagrie on the left to cross the ball in to the number nine (be it Quinn or Rösler) with Walsh not far away to pick up any loose balls and assist. Now it seems to me that Frank has invented a new system i.e. the Blob formation, there can be nothing more amorphous than an FC team, no direction, no formation, no continuity, no fight, no nothing. Imagine a blob of water rolling down a window-pane, it moves, it goes, but it doesn’t do anything! The same as our team. Frank will be remembered for this.

Roger H. Spruce (


I have delayed in writing this season as I have been waiting for something positive to say about the Blues. After the Port Vale game, I sat down to write about how unlucky we have been in so many games which culminated in Vale having 4 shots and scoring 3 goals. However, my optimistic views were interrupted by Huddersfield who were the first team I have seen this season who deserved to win (Ok maybe some exaggeration).

After waking up first thing in the morning with the initial thought of 1-bloody 2, 2-bloody 3 etc. and being in a totally depressed state for the rest of the day, I can now see a light at the end of a tunnel. Firstly we have got rid of that lazy get Summerbee. I constantly backed him as someone, given the chance could be one of City’s top players and, after a brief period of living up to this fell back into his old ways. Instead, we have in his place, Craig Russell who, according to a Sunderland fan has incredible pace but a touch like a snooker table.

Secondly, the support of City fans who in the past I have called for trying to ruin players careers by constant barracking. Altho’ this to some extent is still happening, they have been in the main incredible and are rapidly gaining a reputation thoughout the country.

Thirdly the fighting 1-1 draw vs. Sheffield – could this be the turning point?

Fourth – the Granada soccer weekend where viewers had to phone in to vote on the greatest football match ever seen in the north west. Would it be the Liverpool – St Etienne, or Utd – Benfica. No it was City 5 Utd 1. Elton talk thro’ his arse Welsby put it down to City fans voting more than once or the anti Man U vote. OK, I voted 5 times but that was a vote for the family and the dogs. As Adam (age 8) and I watched the highlights he asked me the date of this event: 23rd Sept 1989. So the last time we beat Utd, I was 3 days old!

Lastly I am absolutely confident that we will not be relegated and in fact I am going to have a bet that City will be promoted.

Kev Duckworth (


No lifting of the mood of gloom here I’m afraid despite the late equaliser. Just as I was thinking we never score late on (only concede another), up pops super Kev, but from what I gather of the game, we didn’t deserve anything really. Some battling, maybe in response to the chants after the Huddersfield game but I’ll bet Bradford is a big let down. First round of the FA Cup makes me think of what we’ll be playing next year. Some Screwfix/Unibond etc. side who’ll be a racing certainty to knock us out just to complement our first ever first round exit in the League Cup this season.

Look at the table and see how many points we’ve dropped to the teams around us. We’ve only beaten one of the teams in the bottom ten and yet we’ve played them all. So where are the points going to come from? I really don’t think we’ve grasped the enormity of the problem here. In a couple of weeks we’re going to be bottom of this league, another ‘worst place ever’ and then what? When was the last time we strung together an unbeaten run comprising several wins by two goals on occasions as well as draws to boost the players’ confidence? I think that, along with the fact that Brannan would probably still be picked even with a broken leg, is the thing that most annoys me about City. Really I’m not even pleased we got a draw because I can’t see us building on it.

On another note we can now see what a Summerbee-Quinn partnership can do to defences in this division, unfortunately not for us. I reckon it’ll work and it still riles me that we let Niall go. Can’t think of anything else that is really annoying me about City that I haven’t said before but if anyone wants to argue this with me I’ll be attempting to find the Parkside next Saturday afternoon.

Having written this as a depressed City fan I’ve just had a wierd feeling that we’re going to win on Saturday – true faith and how stupid it is.

Thomas Bodey (


I’m not sure whether it’s the fashionable thing to do now but about 2 out of every 3 articles written in the last mcivta had the answer to our current problems in selling Gio. All I can say is B*llocks! Wake up will you, you don’t sell your best players! He has 2 average games after a car crash and selling him is the solution is it? Surround this lad with good players and you get the best out of him, and that’s a world class player. The answer to our problems lies in that dressing room with the players we have. When everybody tries i.e. Swindon and the movement off the ball is good then we get the best out of Gio. Make the runs and he will find you. Nice to see FC finally bringing off Brannan and getting rid of Summerbee and defending Gio in the press by saying how much work in defence he does. There’s no use saying, well he’s gonna go anyway so sell him now. He won’t go anywhere if we start winning and show the commitment we know we can. He’s the most gifted and more importantly loyal player we’ve had for years. Can’t we enjoy his skills for as long as possible and focus on motivating and winning not selling?

All you Blues in the North America there’s a new sports channel called Fox Sports World on S3 channel 21 available on C-band satellite (that’s the 7 and 10ft dishes). It’s a great channel showing loads of football. They have Sky sportsline and Sky sports centre shown throughout the day (just watched City’s goal); check out for the full listings of games etc.

Paul Whittaker – Florida Blue (


Shelia for captain? I’m not being funny, but can he speak English or is “You’re s%^* Brannan go and F@*# yerself!” the same in any language? Or is Georgi going to translate for him? Imagine that, Gio makes a 60 yard run up the the pitch… is about to deftly chip the ball over the stranded ‘keeper… but has to run back to our penalty area to tell Edghill that we play in blue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this at Maine Road, would you?

P.S. Sorry about the swearing.

Tony Peachment (


For Gio Kinkladze, real life is much like life on the park. Going for a drive the other night with a fellow Man City midfielder in his new Ferrari, a dog suddenly ran out into the road directly ahead of him. With great ease, Gio manoeuvred at high speed round three lamp posts, two cats, an ice cream van, four kids playing in the street, and just when he was about to regain control, his passenger grabbed the wheel and within 2 seconds, had lost control and crashed the car. Nothing changes!

Although badly injured, Gio picked up his mate and walked to the hospital. Doctors were amazed that he made it the three miles to the hospital, but he replied that carrying only one team mate was something of a rare luxury seeing as he spent most weekends carrying the entire team – not the first time someone’s been stitched up since they’ve been with City!

Andy Huntingdon (


Q: How many internet mail list subscribers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: 1,331:

1 to change the light bulb and to post to the mail list that the light bulb has been changed.
14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.
7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.
27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.
53 to flame the spell checkers.
156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list.
41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames.
109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take this email exchange to alt.lite.bulb
203 to demand that cross posting to alt.grammar, alt.spelling and alt.punctuation about changing light bulbs be stopped.
111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we are all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this mail list.
306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty.
27 to post URL’s where one can see examples of different light bulbs.
14 to post that the URL’s were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected URL’s.
3 to post about links they found from the URL’s that are relevant to this list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list.
33 to concatenate all posts to date, then quote them including all headers and footers, and then add “Me Too.”
12 to post to the list that they are revoking their subscription because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy.
19 to quote the “Me Too’s” to say, “Me Three.”
4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.
1 to propose new alt.change.lite.bulb newsgroup.
47 to say this is just what alt.physic.cold_fusion was meant for, leave it here.
143 votes for alt.lite.bulb.

Brad Olds – a.k.a. Brad The Lad (


I as a youngster followed Holyhead Town who were a force in the league they were in; most of my friends were Liverpool, Everton, and the other Red team fans, but my heros played for City: Roy Clarke, Roy Paul, Bert Trautmann, and City were so inventive in those days with Don Revie and his deep centre forward plan. Just one visit to Maine Road and there was no other team for me.

I would see as many games as I could. In 1967 I started the Holyhead Branch of the Supporters’ Club; we even had an annual football game against the Social Club (then the biggest and best in English football – under the guidence of Roy & Kathy Clarke). My sea career would take me away for great periods of time and so I handed the reins to Tony Hughes and Terry McMullen (who I converted from an Everton fan). The people I met (“City” supporters) were and are the best people in the world, they always made me feel so welcome, including Stan Gibson (the recently retired head groundsman).

I would meet several players, for I stayed at the same hotel that City players stayed until they got a house when they first signed for the club. It was exciting football. City was an attacking team, teams came to Maine Road to try to draw, and Franny Lee was the King; no one gave as much effort, I still think he could show some of today’s players how to score. Thanks for the great memories Franny & Co.

P.S. I have been a bad critic of today’s City, but think I was wrong: we should not kick our team when they are down, let’s support Franny Lee & Frank Clark – maybe it will rub off onto the field?

Come on you Blues! Ernie Barrow (


Full-time scores and scorers for Saturday, November 15 1997

BRADFORD CITY           0-1    TRANMERE ROVERS           16,494
                               Aldridge (61)
CHARLTON ATHLETIC       3-2    CREWE ALEXANDRA           14,091
K Jones (6)                    Street (45)
Allen (27)                     Smith (64)
Holmes (76)
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN       1-0    READING                   12,617
Dalton (73)
NORWICH CITY            1-3    MIDDLESBROUGH             16,011
Roberts (32)                   Beck (39)
                               Merson (52)
                               Ormerod (55)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST       1-0    BIRMINGHAM CITY           19,610
Campbell (17)
OXFORD UNITED           1-1    BURY                       5,811
Banger (30)                    Swailes (43)
PORT VALE               1-2    WEST BROMWICH ALBION      11,124
Mills (48)                     Hunt (57)
                               Hamilton (68)
PORTSMOUTH              1-4    SUNDERLAND                10,702
Aloisi (7)                     Quinn (9)
                               Clark (14)
                               Johnston (33)
                               Summerbee (65)
QUEENS PARK RANGERS     1-1    STOKE CITY                11,923
Barker (pen 61)                Forsyth (4)
SHEFFIELD UNITED        1-1    MANCHESTER CITY           23,790
Deane (21)                     Horlock (90)
STOCKPORT COUNTY        4-2    SWINDON TOWN               7,694
Cook (8)                       Hay (20)
McIntosh (33)                  Leitch (85)
Armstrong (79, 87)
Keane (27)                     Johnson (44)

Up to and including Saturday, November 15 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Nottingham Forest       17     10    4    3     26    14        34
Swindon Town            18     10    4    4     25    22        34
West Bromwich Albion    17     10    4    3     21    13        34
Middlesbrough           16      9    4    3     30    15        31
Sheffield United        15      8    6    1     24    13        30
Charlton Athletic       17      8    5    4     33    21        29
Stockport County        18      7    5    6     29    25        26
Sunderland              17      7    5    5     25    20        26
Wolverhampton Wanderers 18      7    5    6     21    20        26
Stoke City              17      7    5    5     20    18        26
Port Vale               18      7    4    7     25    23        25
Bradford City           17      6    7    4     16    16        25
Queens Park Rangers     17      6    5    6     21    27        23
Birmingham City         18      5    7    6     18    15        22
Bury                    18      4    8    6     20    26        20
Norwich City            17      5    4    8     14    26        19
Tranmere Rovers         17      5    3    9     23    24        18
Crewe Alexandra         18      5    3   10     22    29        18
Reading                 18      4    6    8     17    26        18
Oxford United           18      4    5    9     20    26        17
Ipswich Town            16      3    7    6     16    21        16
Manchester City         17      3    6    8     20    21        15
Portsmouth              17      3    5    9     20    28        14
Huddersfield Town       18      3    5   10     13    30        14

Russell Town (
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,

Newsletter #347