Newsletter #349

This weekend, the mists parted and it all became blindingly obviously why we support City: great supporters, great result, great feeling – one for the memory banks. The Tribal Gathering seemed to have been more of a success then Clive and Bob had dared to hope for; it was great to put a few more faces (even if ugly!) to names, though there must have been 5 times as many who I didn’t get to meet. Simply great to be Blue.

This issue has 3 excellent match reports, a matchview, news of the Tribal Gathering, the story behind those blue hats at Bramall Lane, opinion and another neat Why Blue.

Lastly, it appears MCIVTA is not immune to some of the more unpleasant aspects of supporting a football club. Unfortunately, it appears that several MCIVTA subscribers so violently disagree with Noel Bayley’s views, that they have to write abusive and offensive emails to him. Now MCIVTA is all about exchanging news and views, if you disagree with someone then have the courage of your convictions and write a reasoned reply in this newsletter (outrageous idea, I know!). I personally find it totally unacceptable that Noel, or anyone else for that matter, cannot write an article in MCIVTA without the fear of being subjected to abusive mailings. So, guys, please try to control yourselves and let’s all be a little more tolerant, eh?

This one reaches 1,745.

Next game, Stockport County away, Saturday 29th November 1997


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BRADFORD CITY, Saturday 22nd November 1997

Att: 29,746
Team: Margetson, Edghill, Vaughan, Symons, Wiekens, Horlock, McGoldrick (Brown), Brannan, Russell, Kinkladze, Dickov.
Unused Subs: Scully, van Blerk.

I took a different route to Maine Road on Saturday. Being superstitious, I will now follow this route while we carry on with performances like this one. The day started off well with lots of fellow Internet Blues in good spirits (no pun intended) in the Parkside pub.

The match was something of a revelation, the Blues being unrecognisable from the team in so poor form in recent weeks. Gio was played in a more forward rôle benefitting both him and the team. In truth, all 11 players looked ‘up for it’ and I couldn’t find anyone having a poor game. Apart from the odd breakaway, City dominated the whole 90-odd minutes. Our corner count rose into the twenties such was our dominance. Gary Walsh in the Bradford goal was having one of those days when he looked unbeatable. In the first half Gio had a screamer thud the post, come back to him, then smacked another toward the top corner only to see Walsh get an outstretched palm to it. Dickov had a shot which looked to be handled on the line and Wiekens from point blank range saw Walsh pull off another outstanding save. The defence looked tight again with Wiekens developing into a truly class act.

Half Time: 0-0

The second half continued in the same vein with Bradford content to pack the defence trying to keep us out. Again we had a decision go against us when Horlock claimed his header had crossed the line. I was at the other end but maybe Paul Howarth who sits in an ideal position could tell us if it was over. Edghill was making some great runs down the right and both Vaughan and Symons were taking every opportunity to get forward for corners and set-pieces. Gio was having a sensational game. He was involved in everything linking up well with Russell and putting some excellent balls through the middle and spraying the flanks for Edghill, Russell and Horlock to run onto. Ironically, with about 5 minutes to go Margetson pulled off a breathtaking double save from Rob Steiner to keep us in it.

Just as it looked as though we would have to settle for an excellent performance but no win, we were awarded a free kick which Tony Vaughan met and looped a header over Walsh. The fans who had been as noisy as I’ve heard all season exploded. Blues were hugging each other all over the place as if the collective misery of the past few months had been excorcised by that one goal. At the final whistle the players celebrated as if we had won promotion and Margetson celebrated in front of the North Stand in the knowledge that he has now surely established himself as City’s no. 1 ‘keeper.

A brilliant end to a brilliant day.

Ratings: Margetson 9, Edghill 8, Vaughan 8, Wiekens 9, Symons 7, Horlock 8, McGoldrick 7 (Brown 7), Brannan 7, Kinkladze 9, Dickov 8, Russell 8.

Ken Foster (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BRADFORD CITY, Saturday 22nd November 1997

Well, what a difference from two weeks ago. Thanks to all those who sent me encouraging messages after my Huddersfield report telling me not to be too depressed and that things could only get better – they were right, things certainly did improve a great deal against Bradford on Saturday. It was a lovely, sunny day, we’d organised a night out in Bury after the game (one of the reasons we didn’t make it to the Tribal Gathering – top night spot, Bury, honest!), surely City would deliver this time?

And they did. The team lined up with Margetson, Edghill, Vaughan, Symons, Wiekens, McGoldrick, Brannan, Horlock, Dickov, Gio, and Russell. Brown, Scully and van Blerk (I think) were on the bench. Bradford had supposed danger man John McGinlay playing, and our very own Peter Beagrie on the wing. Beagrie got a lovely reception from the huge crowd (just under 30,000, what is going on?!) and obviously appreciated it, applauding all four stands as he waited for the game to start. Nice to see him back, even nicer that we didn’t have to see his celebratory somersault! City set off, as usual, dominating the game but without anything to show for it. I can’t remember Bradford being in our half in the first 30 minutes at all. Gio was making some lovely little runs and the Bradford defence just couldn’t cope with him, but we couldn’t score. The referee and linesmen seemed to be watching a different game – there were countless handballs (by both sides!) before the most blatant of all, by a Bradford defender in their penalty area. Of course it wasn’t given, the ref. was at least consistent in that sense! It was all City pressure, and we thought we’d finally broken the deadlock when a shot from Gio beat Gary Walsh and looked as it was destined to go in… but no, it hit the post. Edghill then half threw it back to Gio (told you the ref. was consistent!), someone had another shot but it got deflected and went out for a corner.

After about half an hour the game settled down, City calmed down and Bradford almost (but not quite) started to make a game of it. All credit to the Bradford fans, there were tons of them and they did try to make a lot of noise. It looked as if they’d even filled the Death Stand between the Kippax and North Stand; it’s a good job they didn’t score as I wouldn’t fancy jumping up and down on that on my own, never mind with a few hundred others. I’m sure they must have had a shot at some point during the first half but I can’t remember it. Russell and Dickov both looked lively, Dickov even had a go at an overhead kick which would have made a spectacular goal if Walsh hadn’t somehow managed to get his fingers to it and push it over for a corner. Brannan in particular was responsible for missing some really good chances; Gio put a lovely ball over the defence for him to run on to only to see him kick it feebly at the ‘keeper.

Half time came and the team actually got cheered off the pitch; it’s been a while since that happened. Was this really the same team who’d been playing so crap recently? We must have been happy as we actually watched the kiddies’ penalty shoot out this time, and City even won that – the Bradford kids didn’t seem to realise that the only way Moonchester ever saves them is if they are kicked straight at him, so they kept kicking them at his legs all the time. Didn’t win the half time jackpot draw, but some things will never change.

The second half was more or less the same story, although I do remember Bradford nearly catching us on the break a couple of times as we seemed to camp out in their half. Wiekens in particular made a couple of telling interceptions, Edghill did an extremely capable job of shackling Beagrie, and even Symons and Vaughan didn’t make their usual horrendous defensive errors. Maggie was as competent as ever in nets. Apparently we had about 20 corners to their two, I can well believe that. As time went on though, it looked as if all the hard work was going to come to nothing. McGoldrick suddenly seemed to have his brain removed and started playing some appalling passes which went nowhere near any of our lot. Bradford started time wasting with about 25 minutes to go, poor things. Walsh was a real pain, somehow getting to everything we threw at him. Our defence started to do the usual “oh well nothing else is working, may as well hoof it” type balls which, unsurprisingly, resulted in zilch. McGoldrick was at last subbed with about 5 minutes to go and Brown came on. It seemed as if within about 30 seconds he’d been booked when he was tackled quite nastily in front of us. The foul was given but Brown obviously took exception to the fact he’d been brought down on a run and jumped up and chased after the Bradford player. Brown was also duly booked, another Bradford player threw the ball back to where he claimed the free kick had been conceded and he was also booked. Oh, how we laughed. Nice to see some passion from Brown though, he obviously really cared about what was going on.

The ninety minutes came and went and still we hadn’t scored. Not many left early for once, as we were on top more and more in the last 10 minutes and there was always the chance (however slim) that we could get the result we deserved. We piled on so much pressure but nothing was coming off for us. Into injury time (and there was quite a lot of that so ignore the Bradford fans if they start whinging, it was all for injuries to their players anyway) and it was still all City, still all last ditch saves from Walsh and his defenders. I thought we’d been given a corner but I wasn’t really looking, it was only later when I found out it was a free kick. Brown took it, everyone jumped, Vaughan headed it and… it went in! We’d done it! We’d scored! We went absolutely crackers! So did Vaughan! So did the other players! Oh what a moment, what a goal, what a celebration. 93rd minute again, we love it – mainly because it doesn’t give the opposition any time to come back into it, perfect! What a reward for the team effort, the commitment, the passion and the will to win that had obviously been there throughout the game. It was a superb header, especially bearing in mind the way Walsh had been playing in the Bradford net. No-one would have stopped that, it went right over Walsh’s hands into the roof of the net. Bliss. All the suffering, all the pain, all forgotten in one magnificent moment of being able to jump up and down, screaming at the top of my voice. Wow.

The goal was being replayed on the TV in the bottom of the Kippax as we went down the steps so everyone stopped and watched it again; it got nearly as big a cheer second time round! We walked round to the front past all the Bradford coaches, what a difference there was in the atmosphere from the last home game. What a difference there’d been all day.

The only slightly sour note was the interview we had at the front of the Main Stand. We were stopped by two men who were from the Manchester cable TV channel who asked if they could have a couple of words. Well, I’ve never been on TV before so I was more than happy to oblige, even though it was only the cable channel so no-one will have been watching! They asked what we thought of the game so we told them, then went on to ask about our opinion of the board and the management. I really got the feeling that all they wanted us to say was that they should all be kicked out, get someone new in, get rid Clark etc. then the headlines could have been something along the lines of “City – fans in new revolt against board despite victory”. I hope they were disappointed, I don’t believe that that is a solution anyway and even if I did I wouldn’t have given them the satisfaction of saying it. I don’t think it was being broadcast live so as we didn’t say what they wanted they probably didn’t use it anyway, I’m sure they could have found some people who would say that for them if they looked hard enough. It was weird, all the usual fairly witty things you say when describing the game to your mates completely disappeared from my mind, all we could come out with were the usual clichés about building on what we’d done today, give them time, hopefully now we’ll turn it around, boys done well… Urgh, I was listening to myself and thinking “What am I talking about?” Some woman with a Bradford scarf on stuck her head in between us and shouted “Bradford was robbed” at the camera – yes dear, course you were…

Finally, an apology to the lad we saw in the Knowsley in Bury that night – he was wearing one of the maroon cord shirts with the City logo on it and looked a bit scared when we kept waving, grinning and doing thumbs up signs at him as he didn’t realise what we were trying to say! No, we aren’t mad, just over the moon…

Sharon Bennett


MANCHESTER CITY vs. BRADFORD CITY, Saturday 22nd November 1997

Much better – although still far from “good” (or what we should expect).

After the Huddersfield game, when I couldn’t even bring myself to compile a report, I swore that I was going to boycott a few games until things improved. Well, I heard so many reports that we’d played well at Sheffield (despite not looking like scoring) that I decided to go. After all, Bradford were up near the top – and we don’t lose to teams near the top do we?

Credit to Bradford who brought a lot of fans – and filled their normal allocation and the little extra stand in the corner in addition. Crowd total was just under 30K, which when you consider the previous game…

Total dismay when I saw the team. Brannan and McGoldrick in central midfield. Horlock at left back. I’ll just “cut and paste” my usual comment: why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why is Horlock out there on the left – especially after he clearly showed what he could do by popping up with a late run from central midfield to score last week! Brannan just isn’t up to it and McG is past it. In my ignorance, I thought Russell was a striker – but he played wide(ish) right and looked OK. Kinky played up front with Dickov – the Munchkin strike force or what – considering their centre half was about 7 foot 6 as well. And guess what – (fairly) often the defence “hoofed” it right onto his head. Having said that, this was the best we have played for ages and it was a thoroughly deserved win against a team who were miles better than the s***e who have been turning us over recently. The last minute was amazing when we could have lost it but turned around to win it. Take note those who f*** off early to “miss the traffic”. MM made a brilliant double save (the first one was truly awesome – right in the bottom corner with loads of pace) – which would have made another defeat difficult to accept. Then we pushed on and got a free kick just outside of the box (on the bye-line), which Brown (that most creative of dead ball players) floated over for Vaughan (that most gifted of finishers) to place a very accurate header right in the top right hand corner. You could feel the relief lift throughout the ground – as even City couldn’t throw away a lead with 10 seconds remaining. Definitely the best time to score – so that it can’t get to the defence’s heads so they can figure out another way to throw a lead away!

Form guide:

MM (8.5): Nothing to do – but a high mark for that double save when it mattered.
Edghill (6): Better than of late. A mixture of good tackling and running but bloody awful passing.
Symons (8): Much much better than of late.
Vaughan (8): His best game in a City shirt. A section of the fans really hate him and give him loads of stick. Two words to think of when you are slagging him off… Brightwell and Kernaghan. Say no more.
Wiekens (8): Captain elect surely?
Horlock (8): Good and solid – but wasted here.
Brannan (5): Crap.
McGoldrick (5): Try to pass it forward Eddy (oh yeah, try to make a tackle without giving a free kick away as well).
Russell (8): Looks quite lively. Would be better with a bit more support in centre midfield. Linked very well with Edghill and Kinkladze.
Dickov (7): Usual bustling self. Needs to start scoring (or look like scoring).
Kinky (9): Back to his old self. All of our (many) decent attacking moves came through him (not much new there then!).


A win is a win is a win, especially when it comes against one of the “better” teams – if you can have that in this Division. The defence was very solid all game (except for that last minute chance) – and their strike force wasn’t that bad, consisting of Beagrie (who got a great reception and played OK), Lawrence (? I think – the bloke from Leicester with the Jason Lee pineapple cut) and the boy Lard McGinley (who certainly looked as if he had been partaking of pastry products). They also had a big defence who seemed to have us marshalled in general, although when you add up all the chances we had, that doesn’t appear to be exactly true. However, it all came through Kinkladze, who had a stormer. One run in the first half deserves full description. He picked it up on the wide right, and set off on a diagonal run across the pitch. Trying to get it on his left foot I thought, and he was surrounded by about 4 defenders thinking exactly the same as they tried to show him the far touchline. However, he managed to turn the ball inside and carry on running (taking said 4 defenders with him) leaving another City player with a cert opening. Then again, that City player was the mighty Ged who passed it back to the ‘keeper. Gio then hit the post with a rasping low shot (inside of the post as well) – but does it rebound into the net, no. Straight back to Gio who then failed to score with a more difficult chance. He then put Dickov in with an overhead attempt – ‘keeper (ex scum Walsh) saved well. In fact, Walsh had a bit of a stormer, making several more excellent saves in the second half from well hit long shots (one from Brannan as well).

All in all, a return to acceptable ways. Now, we absolutely must win next week. A draw will not suffice (the shame of it all). These bloody satellite teams are getting way above their station and need putting back in their bloody places. Stockport Hoofers are well up the table (which again sums up the standard) and giving them a good hiding will begin to placate the angry brigade (and close the gap – or is that being too optimistic?).

David Johnson (


A vast improvement on the last game I went to (Reading), although it was so nearly 2 more points thrown away. Basically City dominated for the entire match bar a couple of scares in the first half. I can’t remember us having so many corners but we didn’t really use the height we had at the back (having none up front whatsoever) to good effect at most of them. I thought we had a decent penalty appeal turned down in the first half and, in the second, a goal that wasn’t given. Horlock (I think) headed it goalwards after a good move and, Walsh in the Bradford goal was falling backwards and knocked it away with his furthest back arm (if that makes any sense). The second half was virtually all City, with Beagrie, apart from one run having had little impact, going off for Bradford and getting some decent applause from the entire crowd. IMO McGoldrick should also have gone off at this point hhaving contributed little and largely living up to his crab nickname. The much deserved goal eventually came with about 30 seconds to go as from another corner (or free kick, I can’t remember) to the back post; Vaughan looped a header back across goal which nestled in the bottom corner. Cue delirious celebrations followed by frantic calls for the final whistle.

Player Ratings:

Margetson – didn’t have to do much but couple of saves after the defence opened obligingly. Didn’t hook all his kicks left either. 7
Vaughan – I’ve never seen him play before but he looked pretty decent to me, even winning a corner at one point. Much improved compared to previous games would have to be my opinion. 7
Symons – not awful but still not exactly confidence inspiring. 6
Wiekens – my man of the match and looks ideally suited as the spare man of a back three. I don’t think he ever gave the ball away.
Edghill – first half didn’t make one decent run as a wing back or just full back should. Second half was much better in this respect but control and passing was not impressive. 6
Horlock – wasted in this left wing back position. Should be in centre midfield instead of Brannan. Looks uncomfortable. We signed Scully and van Blerk, why don’t we use one of these two in this position? 6
Brannan – best game I’ve seen him play but he can still p*** off and give his place to Horlock. 5 because I hate him.
McGoldrick – wasn’t impressed with him and Brown should have come on a lot earlier as his energy may well have lead to a goal earlier on. 5
Kinkladze – looked more interested for most of the game and was really our only creative spark. 7
Dickov – running duel with their big number six but doesn’t score enough despite all his effort. 6
Russell – another centre forward who runs outside the box and crosses to where all the rest of the team think he should be. Didn’t look as pacy as suggested either. 6

In terms of tactics, with Dickov, Russell and Kinkladze, they all seem to want to run into the same places i.e. outside the box to get a cross in. This might be all right if we had Brown or Horlock trying to get on the end of them but as I’ve already said, Horlock is not in his best position and Brown isn’t playing most of the time. Still lack a cutting edge up front and I’m not sure Russell is going to provide it, we shall see.

The crowd though was superb. I think this was helped by the near capacity away contingent and the team actually playing with some resemblance of skill, but it was so much more enjoyable to be there than the morgue it usually is. Let’s hope the atmosphere and results continue in this vein.

Thomas Bodey (


Frank Clark’s war of words with the press continued this week, both at the Tribal Gathering and in the press itself. In an article in Friday’s Daily Mail, he said: “Don’t get me wrong, criticism for our position and what we have done this season, I accept. We should be doing a lot better than we are. It’s not acceptable that we are in the position we are in at the moment. It’s the other things that I don’t like. The deliberate placing of stories that are patently untrue. There’s almost a campaign of misinformation in certain areas of the media against the club. That’s the thing that really annoys me. The criticism for our position is entirely justified though.”

On a happier note, Saturday’s match-winner Tony Vaughan has been talking about his recently improved form and the challenge he faces from new signing Murtaz Shelia, who was introduced to the fans before the game. “We are both left sided defenders so obviously he will be trying to take my place in the team. I am not going to stand aside – in fact, I am relishing the challenge. That is what being a footballer is all about. We should have fierce competition for places at a club like City and Murtaz’s arrival will keep me on my toes. My form has improved since I moved into the centre of defence. I was playing out of position at left back,” said Vaughan, whose goal on Saturday was his first for the club. The combined stress of moving clubs and house, the £1.35 million transfer fee plus the birth of his first child, daughter Chelsea, 9 weeks ago, have not helped at the start of his City career. “It hasn’t been easy to settle in – I felt under a lot of pressure when I first arrived and was basically playing out of position at left-back. The fans perhaps took some of their frustration out on me but they were brilliant today. Nearly 30,000! What’s it going to be like when we put a run together? The place will be packed! Things are looking up. My wife has just had a little girl and I feel I am settling down after a difficult start,” said Vaughan. Frank Clark said: “We are all pleased for Tony. It has been a difficult baptism for him but he has stuck at it and is getting better all the time. The crowd will probably take to him more after this. He has done very well and can still get a lot better but he is only a young boy. He has got a lot to learn but has a great attitude to the game and I would hope the goal will do his confidence the world of good. I still can’t see the logic of the fee we had to pay. It was a total aberration by the tribunal. But maybe after that goal he was worth it. Victory was priceless. We tried something different playing Craig Russell, Paul Dickov and Georgi Kinkladze. Now we have to try to put a run of positive results together. It’s Stockport next and we’ll go there in good spirits and give it a go.” Asked if City had turned the corner, he replied: “I don’t know. We’ve got a hairpin bend to negotiate at Stockport next week.”

Nigel Clough, who has been on City’s transfer list for six months, looks set to take up a coaching rôle at the club; he took charge of the Lancashire League side for a game last week when regular coach George Edwards was unavailable because of family problems. “I believe Nigel has the makings of a good manager. He thinks a lot about the game and has a nice way of getting his message across to the younger players,” said Frank Clark. One of the young players that Clough has worked with, Scott Thomas, commented: “Nigel is not one of those people who gets on at you during games but he takes the time later to talk you through situations to try to help. He goes through things quietly and points out ways you can improve.”

There’s been more transfer speculation this weekend, with both old and new stories. The old faithful rumour regarding Montpelier striker Ibrahim Bakayoko resurfaced again, though surely this is just a recycling of news from the summer. Another striker thought to be interesting City is Swiss international Nestor Subait, who is available for £500,000 from Grasshoppers Zürich, the club which have just lost their manager, Christian Gross, to Spurs. Following the departure of Nicky Summerbee to Sunderland, Dundee winger Iain Anderson is being watched by City; a scout watched him in Saturday’s match against Ayr United. Aberdeen and Nottingham Forest have also been linked with the 20-year-old, who is rated at £1 million by his manager, John McCormack. Dundee are currently challenging for the Scottish First Division title. Moving in the other direction could be Gerry Creaney, who has returned to Burnley after his City comeback lasted only 45 minutes at Sheffield United last week. Creaney has had talks with Turf Moor officials about a permanent move; the Clarets are trying to put together a package to clinch his transfer. Both Creaney and Waddle were said to be gutted last week when Frank Clark recalled him to Maine Road, but Waddle still believes he can get his man, who turned up at Turf Moor to watch the side in action against Millwall last Tuesday night.

Uwe Rösler is now back in training after being out of action for seven weeks with an ankle injury. However, he has been warned that he could be on the dole next summer along with 200 other players if he continues to hold out for a better contract. City’s three-year deal is still on the table whilst other clubs wait to see if he can return to peak fitness and form. However, Frank Clark suggested on Friday that even high profile players like Rösler could be out of work during the close season, estimating that of the 400 he expects to be free agents by then only half will find new jobs because fierce financial pressures induced by the Bosman ruling will force many clubs to cut staff to the bone. The recent ruling that home grown players who reach the age of 24 and are out of contract can go free, although not directly affecting 29-year-old Rösler, will mean that a large number of players now holding out for new deals will flood the market, with disastrous consequences according to Clark: “Right now they think they are on the gravy train, but a lot of them will end up on the dole queue. And I don’t just mean in this country. There will be a similar situation in Italy, France, Germany and Spain. Clubs just can’t go on affording the kind of salary demands that are being put on them nor the fact that when they do sign players contracts have to be that much longer now to protect their interests. For me the Bosman ruling is hanging like a cloud over the game. And while more and more of the best players will become millionaires a lot of the rest won’t have clubs go to at all. I envisage that in England we could copy the continental scenario where clubs have only 18-20 man squads and if you’re not in that elite group you just don’t play. Many clubs may also dispense with reserve teams to cut costs but that will also cut opportunities for players. In Uwe’s case the offer of a new deal is still there. It is a final offer but I would like him to stay. I suppose that if he did become a free agent he would get another club. But given the numbers we are talking about nothing can be taken for granted any more especially if a player is determined to hold out for high wages.”

Paul Howarth (


All the badges that have been paid for have now been sent out. If you ordered one, and you haven’t sent the cash yet, then don’t bother, they’ve gone/are spoken for. I’m sorry if this disappoints anyone, but I was still waiting for cash for 60 badges by the TG weekend, and I had to offload them there (they went like hot cakes!) as I’m in for the op., and therefore out of action, from tomorrow. If anyone doesn’t get their badge for some reason or other, by say the weekend, then give me a bell at home on 0171 701 9938, and we’ll try to figure out why.

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


Everybody will have loads to say so I’ll keep this brief… it was great to finally meet up with all you folks IRS on a day when City fought with heart and soul to win. Watching the ball loop over Gary Walsh and leaping up with everybody in a massive roar as Tony Vaughan ran to the middle of the field to be heaped on by the team (at last, a team!?): that will be one of the defining moments of my supporting City.

Toh Hsien Min (


I don’t think we could have written a better script for the TG weekend! First class, from start to finish.

Big hand to Bob and Clive for getting it all together, and to all those who came from far and wide to make it what it was. It was great to meet everyone at last, although parts of it are a bit hazy!

Best bits of the weekend…

Going back to Hutch/Gow’s/McD’s hotel, and not being allowed to put my hand in my pocket for the drinks. Tommy Hutch quote:

Barmaid: “Do you want anything in your whiskey sir?”
Hutch: “There’s only one thing you put in a whiskey… and that’s another f****** whiskey!”

Meeting FC was great, as was meeting Kit (great lad off the pitch, still dodgy on it, although he did better on Saturday).

Mark K being re-christened “Blue Connery”.

La… la… la… la… sheep!

Another highlight was Margetson’s Love Interest’s expression when we gave her the match programme with “To Alex, Love and Buns, Martyn” signed by the double-point-blank-save hero himself.

But the quote of the weekend belonged to Dan…

Sat 11pm: “Manchester is crap for getting laid, I was here for four years, and I never even got a sniff, and neither did my flatmates.”
(Cue an hour chatting up in the bar down-under)
2.30am (to the same girl, outside said bar) girl: “who are these lads you’re with?”
Dan: “Oh that’s Tom, he’s my Doctor, and he’s advised me to spend the night with you.”
(Cue a night of passion for young Dan at the Midland Hotel, and breakfast in bed courtesy of room service).
Needless to say Dan’s opinion of Manchester has risen sharply.

Hopefully Saturday was a turning point, team trying – and succeeding – to play the ball to feet. Margetson, Wiekens and Gio – pure class.

With a bit of luck I may be back in the new year, so until then, keep the faith, and I may see some of you at the Birmingham, Boro’ and Forest games.

City ’til I Die….and after this weekend I definitely know why – top effort lads (and lasses!).

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


Arrived at the Parkside at 11.00 but had a 25 minute wait before the doors opened! First to arrive were Margetson’s Love Interest and Pav, closely followed by Sikpupi. After that, Blueviewers arrived thick and fast and I had the pleasure of meeting Le Tank Bleu, Thomas, Dolphin in a Tutu, Stan the Man, Bluetone, Mr. & Mrs. Uwe Rizla, Blue Danube, Blue Durham, Mok, Doug and my old friend Gio’s Bootlicker who I hadn’t seen for many years. Apologies if I missed anyone (there were many more) but it was great to meet you all – let’s do it again sometime.

As for the game – FC said it was our best home performance of the season which led me to believe that he must have had even more to drink than I did before the game. I wasn’t impressed at all and couldn’t understand why new striker and home deéutant Russell was playing in a wide midfield rôle. Anyway, we got the result we needed and all the Blues that had travelled such a long way saw us win for a change. Top following from Bradford as well.

Yorks.Blue – G Jones (


Well here are a few lines to that all who attended the p*** up… sorry, meeting of minds at the Parkside near Maine Road. To those of you who Helen and I did not get chance to meet, sorry – maybe next year?

To meet some of the people we have read was fantastic and the fact that everyone was “mad for it” helped a lot. To hear the lengths these people went to to get over here for this was humbling to say the least! I’ll not whinge about my travelling again… well not until next time ;OP

I am sorry that I did not make the Lass-O-Gowrie, or the footy on the Sunday. This was due to the large amount of Stella we (I) had drank. A large amount of this was supplied by two London Blues. To our shame we have forgotton their names (re: all the Stella we had); please, please email us when you are next coming down so we can return the same. All I can remember is one lived near Q.P.R. and one lived next to/supported Spurs.

To all the others we meet we can only say thanks and we hope we will see you all again soon!

P.S. Thanks also for the 3 points. ;O)

Tony “The Tattooed Donkey” Hulme, Nth Std Blk N Row 13 St10 (


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

Phew, what can I say? The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity if nothing else. Thursday I went out for a scoop or three before arriving at Mash & Air. They were all there – all the beautiful people, all the bright young things and all the luvvies which, no doubt, is why I was asked to go – for the opening night of a photographic exhibition by Jon Shard or someone (I can’t quite remember, although he’s worked for City, Doc Marten’s and the Seahorses apparently). Apart from a few photos and a bit of a slideshow there wasn’t a lot happening so we cleared off for a Chinese, but not before having a chat with Mick Peek. If you remember, Mr. Peek was the club’s in-house designer and he came up with the new City crest and the City oval. Although I told him I liked the oval I had to be honest and tell him that I didn’t think much of the crest, but only because I much preferred the previous one. Anyway, to cut a long story short, he left City six weeks ago and now he’s at JJB Sports. Not surprisingly they pay more, but while he said he had enjoyed working for the club he supports, he said it was good to be able to go for a pint before matches. However, this now begs the questions: Have the club got a new in-house designer and if so, who is it?

By the way, we saw possibly the ultimate car reg for a certain Mr. Kinkladze… K17 NKY, but as it was on a white Toyota MR2 rather than a red Ferrari Testarossa so he probably wouldn’t be interested, unless of course…

Friday was the day of the long awaited Tribal Gathering and, after quaffing a few scoops down at Mulligan’s during the course of the afternoon, I jumped on a bus down to The Parkside in Prestwich, already ever so slightly inebriated. Therein I met a few new faces: Stan The Man, Blue Danube and Revolting Blue and a few not so new faces: Le Tank Bleu (who I bump into everywhere there’s a fruit machine nowadays… in fact, he’s even taken to flogging badges now to fuel his habit!), Blue In Japan (who I went to primary school with) and Mike Smith (who wouldn’t know the difference between the Internet and a hairnet, but he happens to be the black cab driver who picked Stan The Man up in town).

After another few, we moved into the Heaton Park Social Club for the Prestwich & Whitefield Branch’s monthly meeting. Now, I’m probably not the best person to comment on this as much of what was said seems a bit fuzzy now, but one thing’s for sure, this was probably the best meeting I have been to there and if you weren’t there, hardest. Gerry Gow, Tommy Hutch, Bobby Mac and Tommy Booth provided full value for the quid admission; Gow especially in his brilliant impersonation of The Drunkest Man I Have Ever Seen In My Life.

Saturday morning came bright and breezy. Too bright and too breezy and I opted out of my usual tipple, having a pint of orange in The Bee Hive. At this point I should offer a word of warning if you are ever tempted through the doors of this Claremont Road establishment: don’t touch the bitter… it’s bobbins. In fact, don’t touch anything that comes in a pint pot and that even includes the orange juice! Stick to the bottled gear, everyone else does.

The match came and went and, again, I’ll leave that to the plethora of MCIVTA match reporters above or below and I’m not saying that just because I missed our goal for the second week running either! Well, I didn’t miss it altogether like I did at Bramall Lane. No, at ten to five I thought, there’s more chance of getting a half-time pasty than of City scoring so I went out the back, only to stand there watching it on TV with several hundred other people who’d all had the same idea. As soon as we got the free-kick I thought… So anyway, while I saw it live this week I didn’t see it in the flesh as such and afterwards, we dived into a dive (The Parkside) for a few more before heading into town and the Lass O’Gowrie for day two/scene two of the Tribal Gathering, along with dozens of rugger buggers (what’s that all about then, rugby? I wouldn’t cross the street to watch it myself and yet some of these people had come from the other side of the world!?).

Noel Bayley (


While the Tribal Gathering was a great event and it was good to be able to put faces to names at last, I feel there is a negative undercurrent to what is a fantastic medium and an equally fantastic facility i.e. the Internet and MCIVTA respectively. Having been involved in a fanzine for the best part of nine years, I know probably better than anyone that you can’t please all the people all of the time and it’s the same here. You can type out a thousand sentences and get stick for the one that somebody takes umbrage with; they’ll either forget or ignore the other 999. While nobody says I or anyone else for that matter has to contribute anything to MCIVTA or anything else, I do so for these reasons:

  • It’s a medium for all of us to use.
  • I think it is (or thought it was) a bit of a giggle.
  • And if nobody contributed anything, well, there wouldn’t be a MCIVTA, would there?

While I know that if you stand on the parapet, you can expect to be shot at, I think it’s out of order the way in which the snipers have gone about their business… snidely. I also know that MCIVTA doesn’t operate in quite the same way as Blue View which, by the nature of it being a forum, is more open, direct and instantaneous. However, I see no reason why MCIVTA shouldn’t be forum-like too. By that I mean, if you don’t agree with someone’s point of view, then put your gripe into the public domain where everyone can see it, rather than hiding behind an e-mail. The only conclusion I can draw from this approach is that these people do not have the courage of their convictions to go public with their gripes, although I am now wondering if it’s such a good idea to publish our e-mail addresses at the end of our opinions.

Personally, I think it’s cowardly to have a go at someone in the privacy of their own home; it’s no different to making an abusive ‘phone call. I can be abusive too, as some of my detractors have recently realised, but I wouldn’t dream of firing the first shots just because I disagreed with someone’s comments, I’ve got better things to do.

Obviously, it’s a bit more difficult to be constructive and I have thrown down the gauntlet to these people to do just this, but so far the silence has been deafening. In the meantime I’m taking time off from MCIVTA for other projects – like Christmas parties and what have you – so perhaps Messrs. Hargreaves, Seymour, Fariello or Divids would like to share their perceived wisdom with the rest of the waiting world? After all they’re all pretty good when it comes to keyboard criticism and/or armchair psychology.

I know it’s not only been me who’s had juvenile e-mails sent (half the time because of sense of humour failure) although, in future, I’ll be taking the advice of another MCIVTA contributor who told me: “I just delete the bastards.” I apologise to the rest of you for coming over a bit heavy here, but I felt something had to be said.

Noel Bayley (

The reasons which led me to place contributors’ email addresses at the end of MCIVTA articles were twofold: firstly, this was to promote communication outside MCIVTA (no Blue View at that time) and, as far as I can tell from the many subscribers who tell me that they’ve had lots of personal emails about their articles, this has worked very well. Secondly, at the time MCIVTA started, the only medium for exchanging views on football was the newsgroup Rec.Sport.Soccer. This was good fun and you got to talk to lots of interesting and knowledgable people; however, with the expansion of the Internet, the signal to noise ratio rose alarmingly, with 80% of all postings consisting of the offensive outpourings of mindless idiots, whose primordial thought processes led them to believe that their misspelt and juvenile little postings were of interest to others. People would often retaliate; I remember one particularly offensive individual who was causing all hell to break loose, in fact he was a City fan, but more importantly, his account provider at College was a MCIVTA subscriber and he quickly had his new toy taken away from him. To keep MCIVTA free of such offensive postings and at the same time make people think about what they were putting their names to, I instigated a policy of putting everyone’s address on their article. This has also worked well, as MCIVTA is 3-years-old and the number of offensive postings I’ve received can be counted on one hand!

I must say that Noel’s experience is a cause for some concern. However, the benefits of being able to write to an individual directly probably outweigh these negative aspects. The only advice I can offer to anyone plagued by these mindless individuals is to bin the first couple of messages and then set your mail software to automatically bin any further messages from that address. However, Noel is certainly an unusual case (! 8-)) and if it continues, maybe he/we should consider – after an email address change – omitting his new address?

Anyone got any views on this?



Taken from Division One Statistics and Leagues for Anoraks (DOSLA). Compiled by Steve “Statto” Kay – Update No 16. Up to and including 22nd November 1997.

A special mention to all the “Tribal Gatherers” (Internet Blues) who I met before during and after the Bradford game yesterday.

Last week’s question:

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?

Answer: You would show the yellow card at half-time, but not at full-time.

This week’s question:

The attacking team has an indirect free kick on the corner of the opponents’ six-yard box. The goalkeeper and seven teammates stand on the goal line between the posts, and the other three players stand on the dead ball line outside the goals, next to the near post, ready to run at the ball. What do you do?

Steve Kay (


I was just surfing the official MCFC web site when I came across a page which was meant to describe the 1997/8 first team.

The message I got when I clicked on this page was ‘Page under construction’:

Yes, I thought, that sums up the state of the team too. With so much of the season gone already FC better get on with it. I’ve been supporting City for over 20 years now. My uncle took me to see Colin Bell play back in 1974 and I’ve been hooked since (and hooked to the valium I need to get through the season too). However, if City get relegated to the 2nd Division I may have to call it a day and support a decent team. No, don’t worry I’m not going to become a Rag, possibly just a Macc. Town supporter.

Andy Lea (


Ken, is the non appearance of this splendid competition down to the fact that no one has deserved the honour yet this season? Maybe, it could be ressurrected tomorrow, when of course our season starts, as it does before every game, as blind optimism outweighs the bleedin’ obvious and we expect to embark on that 23-game unbeaten run that will see us surge to the top spot. Anynway, for what it’s worth it’s:


Paul Monaghan (


Yes folks, I was a wearer of a Blue hat. Just to clarify (if anyone really gives a toss) the hats where actually bakery hygiene hats. The day-trip to Sheffield was organised by one of my mate’s fellow bakery colleagues; it was a great day out. The blue hats certainly got the crowd talking both outside queuing to get in and inside on the upper tier! It was a novelty and brought some light relief back into the game (except for Horlock’s last kick equaliser, where it was bedlam; anyone else get bruised shin celebration injury?).

My last two away trips have helped rekindle some passion for the Blues. Being away from the morgue is brilliant, it’s just like the old days where the ground was full of atmosphere. Hmm, an interesting thought, forget home games and only go to away games, hmm I wonder?

Martin Ford (


Although only new to MCIVTA, I have yet to see an article from the female Blue support. Surely there are other female supporters with a view – or is this a male dominated web site? C’mon girls, let’s hear it!

Yvonne Cain (


I receved a reply to the email I sent to Elton Welsby (in the last issue of MCITVA), on the 21 Nov. For anyone who is interested, below is the reply.

Dear Mr Hulme,

Thank you for your e-mail concerning our Footy Weekend phone vote. In reply, and in Elton’s defence, I would say that he was only speaking the truth when saying that the choice of Manchester City 5, Manchester United 1 owed something to the anti-United vote.

In assessing the voting figures I had come to the conclusion that while a great many City fans had voted to see a very fine victory, they had been supported by a large contingent of other fans who keen to see a game in which United were stuffed.

I would suggest that some of those people were supporters of clubs, not respresented in the list of 10 – Preston, Blackpool, Stockport etc.

I don’t think there’s a problem in that, nor do I think it’s a slur on City.

I was personally delighted that were able to show City winning so well. It certainly makes a change!

Yours sincerely,

Don Jones
Executive Producer
Granada TV Sport

N.B. If you are unhappy with this response, you may refer the matter to the Independent Television Commission. The commission’s North West office is Television House, Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5WT.

So there you have it, the truth as I see it and as they see it.

Tony “Tubby Custard” Hulme (


I have been asked to point out that the comments I posted from the Supporters’ Club meeting I attended recently, was is fact the Chadderton British Aerospace Branch meeting, not the Failsworth Branch meeting as mentioned… even though the Chadderton Branch meeting is actually held in Failsworth! Confused? I am, and I live there! (Failsworth, that is).

Steve Kay (


Just a quick note to pass on my views on the Gallagher brothers’ efforts in my home town on Wednesday night. I was a little miffed to see some empty seats (sold 8 from 10 thousand tickets) – but this could have been down to some rude comments made to our German friends at the last concert last year, or the sub-zero temp on the night, or the fact that 1860 (Munich’s other team) were at home the same night in the Olympiastadion just 50 yards from the Oasis gig in the Olympiahalle.

Support was provided by the Seahorses, who started 15 minutes early and caught the audience half asleep. Good music (get the album if you can) but performed at half-throttle. I only spotted 1 other guy in a City shirt, and as luck would have it, he was only 2 rows behind me! Lots of English present – and the atmosphere jumped to level 1 when the boys came on.

Liam was lucky to avoid some empty plastic beer holders that rained on him from the “mad for it” crowd – and started telling them in no uncertain terms that he would “be down to f++++++g sort them out” if it didn’t stop – which it immediately did! After 3 songs – Noel said “because this is on radio – I would just like to say ‘MUNICH'” which I am not sure was (a) genuine hype for the town or (b) sad remark about that tragic event (I will give him the benefit of the doubt). I jumped out of my seat when, after “Roll with it” – Noel said “and this is for all the Manchester City fans out there” and began to play “Live Forever” – which seemed both apt and sad at the same time. That was the highlight for me – especially when at least 5,000 German voices cheered for City.

Overall – I thought they were a lot more polished than when I last saw them at the Nynex, and the new album will get better the more people listen to it. Very well received by the crowd – and a 3 song encore – what more could I want?

Final word about their “fan status” – Oasis love Man City and promote our club world-wide – give them a break – and don’t believe all the b*****ks you read in the papers. Let’s just appeciate the fact that the greatest band in the world today feel the same way as us about a very poor football team from Manchester.

Anthony Catterson a.k.a. International Blue ( or


Whilst I haven’t heard The Fall’s ‘Symbol of Mordgan’ nor the John Peel conversation with a City fan sampled on it, I am familiar with the Rocastle incident. City were playing Ipswich, and it was Frannie Lee’s first match as Chairman, having spent the whole night thrashing out an agreement with Peter Swales. A day of celebration, and City responded by going down almost immediately to a soft Ipswich goal. However, the lads rallied to win 2-1, and Rocastle set up the first with what Frannie afterwards described as ‘Brazilian skill’. I remember it vividly because I was standing on the Kippax and we all went mental when he ghosted through that cluster of defenders with the ball glued to his foot. Brazilian? It was almost Georgian!

Andrew Conway (


I was at the Oasis concert in Bologna that coincided with the Italy-Russia game (see MCIVTA 348). Despite the fact that the Italians seemed to have memorised the words to every Oasis song, they clearly couldn’t deal with Liam’s not-very-BBC spoken accent. When he came back on-stage after letting Noel sing a couple of songs, he announced, “I hear your team have just scored.” Audience: (silence). Liam: “That means you’re winning.” Audience: (silence). Liam: “That’s good, that is.” Audience: (silence). Liam: “Ever get the feeling you’re talking to yourself?”

The next day, Noel was interviewed live on some tacky pop programme on one of Berlusconi’s TV channels. The presenter gave Noel a Juventus scarf at the start of the interview, which he grudgingly accepted, saying, “I support Manchester City, not Juventus.” Then there was a phone-in. Someone asked Noel about the lyric “I met my maker and made him cry” from D’you Know What I Mean? Noel explained that he always got into trouble when he answered questions on religion, so he would rather not reply. He said, “I’ll plead the Fifth Amendment on that one.” The (confused) presenter translated this into Italian as “I’ll take the Fifth Element”! Finally, when asked about his hometown, Noel was a little more forthcoming. “I can’t see myself ever going back there. Sorry Manchester City Council, but your city’s a s**t-hole.” The presenter didn’t translate that bit.

Jonathan Simon (


Well it’s a long time since I sat down and put some thoughts of my other favourite team from Manchester, but I’ve been really busy with the birth of my (now) almost 3-month-old son and some hospital treatment for yet another sporting injury. Every week though, I have religiously followed the correspondence in MCIVTA and at the same time the misfortunes of Man City this season. As always, I’m amazed at the fortitude of the fans who appear to me to be being ripped off week after week by sub-standard performances from overpaid and apparently unconcerned players. I can’t think of any other scenario where customers having been systematically and regularly abused, still turn out for more, and pay for the privilege. A few thoughts that have crossed my mind this year that haven’t sat comfortably include the following:- Pretty soon after FC took over, he and Richard Money barred fans from watching the players train, and apparently attached some importance to this. For the life of me I couldn’t understand this. Did they believe this was a significant reason why City were struggling so badly? Didn’t they think that this might be a negative P.R. exercise in the days of good community relations? I remember reading from a McVittee correspondent that at a Blues’ supporters’ function soon after his arrival at the club, Richard Money was openly critical of the fitness of some players and criticized the training programme he had found. Apart from airing dirty linen in public, he may now be wishing he had kept his opinions to himself as he does not seem to have worked any miracles in that department. I believe that the fitness coach City use to “hone the players’ fitness,” travels on a daily basis from London by first class rail, courtesy of a barter deal done with Virgin Rail. He “works” exclusively with the first team players and spends no time with the Reserves/Juniors. Didn’t I read that Neil McNab was fired because he had a successful Junior team but wouldn’t think of the long term welfare of the club? This fitness “guru” doesn’t appear to have any successful team to look after but still can’t spare any time with the players who make up the future of the club. “Can’t stay mate or I’ll miss me train, orlright?”

Incidentally, according to many McVittee correspondents, all southerners are Reds; maybe you’re harbouring one in your own HQ! A couple of other things I have heard if it’s of any interest; FC is known by the players as “Friday Frank” as that’s the only day they see him, and Richard Money thinks very highly of himself, something unfortunately not shared by many others at Maine Road. From a detached point of view, I don’t think City will get anywhere with the management team they currently employ; there is no charisma or flair. I think City again should look to their roots and employ people like Joe Royle and Willie Donachie who would bring integrity and passion to the club, something clearly lacking almost everywhere at Maine Road, except on the terraces (do they have terraces any more?). On a final, more humorous note, I loved the piece on the ghosts at Maine Road, particularly the one about many people seeing the ghost of the unfortunate horse and cart driver. Well I think I can clear up that mystery because over the years I visited Maine Road I always saw at least one carthorse in a blue strip and none of them was a ghost unfortunately for City. Anyway, good luck for the remainder of the season; forgetting all rivalry we need two teams in the Premier from Manchester, or for all you enraged purists out there, 2 teams from Manchester and Stretford. Keep smiling.

The Wythenshawe Exile, Leo Fewtrell (


Injury and stoppage time is a constant cause of debate among football managers, players and supporters. If you are winning the referee invariably adds on too much time; and if you are losing he does not add enough.

It is a ludicrous situation that in a crowd of anything up to 100,000 people only one knows with any degree of certainty when the game will end. A situation that often means that the referee’s timekeeping is questioned.

I believe the time has come for professional football to follow the example of Rugby League and have an independent timekeeper, preferably with an official stadium clock that is visible to all.

If you agree with this idea I ask that you do two things:

  1. Write to me at;please state the club you support, and
  2. Forward this message to anyone else you know who would be likely to support the idea.

This is a message to test the idea, and if the response is good I will get media coverage.

John Oyston (


There seems to be a worrying consensus building behind the idea that City should cash-in Gio, and use the money to build a new team. It’s worrying because it’s not very realistic. Assuming Gio fetches a top price – say £7 million, and that’s pretty unlikely – the best City can hope for is three new players. Let’s say £3 million for a striker, and a couple of journeyman midfielders or a central defender. Wow! A £3 million striker and a couple of worthy pros.

Frank Clark, an honest manager if not necessarily a genius, is constantly pointing out that we don’t have a player shortage, we do have a crippling wage bill. Importing three more salary cheques isn’t really going to help. Gio probably banks a small fortune, but these days even journeyman pros expect a stiff retainer, and three of them might not represent a wage saving compared with Gio. Don’t imagine for a moment that a half-way decent professional footballer is going to be persuaded to join City (22nd in the also-rans league remember) without a damn good financial incentive.

We should keep Kinkladze for as long as we can. He is an inspiration to us all, potentially an inspiration to his team mates, and the only flickering flame of style and class left to us at the moment. There’s no point cashing in something so rare for a bit more of what we already have too much of.

Phil Jones – East End Blue (


Just wondered if we should all put the best 11 down on paper (injuries aside) to give Frank a bit of a hand for the rest of the season. He looks worried all the time and I’m sure he could do with the help. Perhaps it could be suggested that we pass the ball on the floor more often (to a player in blue if possible) to give our towering strikers a better chance of getting to the ball first. Seemed to work quite well against Swindon. Never a team to stick with a winning formula though – got to have a challenge!

Needed a moan: fed up of Red mates who actually feel sorry… don’t you just hate that?

Here’s to the play-offs (only if it’s not automatic).

P.S. I need to confess to bringing my lad up as a Blue (as if making him wear dresses isn’t enough).

Nige Beasley – Stockport (


I was talking to a mate of mine who is a Sunderland supporter through and through (we grew up together and had to differ on our footy allegiances but as we were in Sunderland he sort of won the moral argument!) and he reckons we got ourselves a good player in Craig Russell. Small and quick, he scored a lot of goals for them the last time they got promoted; the suspicion is that he fell out with Reidy and needed a fresh start. Sounds like Buzzer, eh? Speaking of whom, my mate was at the Portsmouth vs. Sunderland match and he liked what he saw of him, though he was raving about Quinn’s return to the team. How we could use him now!

Finally, a public vote of thanks to Tom for organising the badges; got mine today and it looks the part! Let’s hope by now all the others who promised him cash have coughed up.

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


Why did it happen? Why do I suffer more misery than happiness? Why are those tiny moments of happiness so sweet (City 1 Bradford 0 – get in there!)? Why did Tommy Hutchinson break my heart at the tender age of 10?

The answer to all of these questions, and many more, can be found at Maine Road. And also in Didsbury. And various other places around the world.

It began in 1977-ish. Season ticket in the North Stand with my dad, big brother Jon, and mate Dom. My dad and Dom’s dad took it in turns to take us to the games. Unfortunately, Dom’s dad was (and still is) a Manchester (yeah right) United sympathiser and often frequented the quagmire. My dad, to his credit, is still a season ticket holder (block H) and goes every home game, work permitting.

Earliest memory of the Temple was us beating Derby(?). I think it was 3-0 but I’m not sure of the year/fixture/result. What I do remember is that my little brother Jules came as well. He spent the afternoon counting the rafters in the Main Stand. Fascinated by cantilever roofs or something. Bloody nutter if you ask me.

Anyway, after one game, I was hooked.

The season tickets were purchased and for the next eight years the four of us would attend every other Saturday.

When we played Ipswich in the Semi-Final of the F.A. Cup in 1981, we listened on the radio. Dad said that if we won he’d take us to Wembley. As an adult he obviously realised that this concept of winning was not City and that his cash would be safe. And then Villa Park went mad.

Wembley was a great experience. Tommy scored twice, and ruined my life. Or so I thought. Didn’t know it was going to get worse. Ricky Villa. What a con. Not a good goal. Just crap defence. OK, I am biased. Compare it to Kinkladze vs. Southampton!

The North Stand season tickets were ditched and the Kippax became home.

The eighties were a rollercoaster of emotion. Beating Charlton 5-1. Relegation. Pitch invasions (on the Pitch, on the Pitch), 3-0 up at half time and then drawing 3-3, away games, the bell (cheers Helen), the Simod Cup, the Clarence, the Kippax, Pies, Pints, getting to the ground late and missing two goals (was it vs. Notts County?), and then that famous day in September 1989.

Got back to Didsbury at about 5.30pm and all the pubs were closed. Fortunately the landlord of the Dog and Partridge let me and my mate Ollie in the side door. It all went very quiet when we entered. On production of my City membership card the volume increased somewhat. Full of Blues, all still in shock.

The nineties: beating Spurs 5-2, Klinsmann the incredible diving man, seeing my beloved Kippax knocked down and rebuilt, relegation, Kinkladze, relegation, losing, relegation, Peter Reid, Niall Quinn, Alan Ball, Torquay, Blackpool, Reading, “If you hate jellied eels clap your hands” (Southend), Reading (aaarrrggghhhh!), Portsmouth, Oxford (twice), Kappa, Blue View, MCIVTA, etc.

The list is endless. I support them because they are my local team. They drive me mad, and at the same time can make me deliriously happy. Case in point being last Saturday. I went out at about 4pm. Didn’t get a chance to look at any results until I got home at 11pm. And then I was (and still am) in a good mood. We had managed to secure our fourth win of the season. Come on City, come on City.

The final point I shall make in my Why Blue is this:

In 1978 I was in Miss Garstang’s class at St. Cuthbert’s Junior School on Heyscroft Road in Withington. The BBC came to make a film about the F.A. Cup Final of that year: United vs. Arsenal. They wanted people to sing some song about United, what it meant to live in Manchester, and how many goals the team were going to win by. It was shown on BBC2 (I think), and if anybody remembers it or me, then let me know.

I refused to be in it.

Der Der Der Der Der Der Der Der CITY (clap clap clap), Manchester City.

Tim McFarlane – Mivvy (


Full-time score and scorer for Sunday, November 23 1997

Sneekes (83)

Full-time scores and scorers for Saturday, November 22 1997

BURY                    1-1    SUNDERLAND                 7,790
Lucketti (9)                   Phillips (32)
CREWE ALEXANDRA         0-1    STOCKPORT COUNTY           5,231
                               Cooper (24)
MANCHESTER CITY         1-0    BRADFORD CITY             29,746
Vaughan (90)
NORWICH CITY            2-1    OXFORD UNITED             11,241
Fleck (31)                     Powell (80)
Bellamy (61)
Van Hooijdonk (21, 50, 56)     Allen (58)
Woan (75)                      Woan (og 79)
Campbell (85)
PORT VALE               0-0    SHEFFIELD UNITED           8,017
Quashie (25, 79)               Morrison (89)
READING                 0-4    IPSWICH TOWN               9,400
                               Holland (26)
                               Johnson (30)
                               Scowcroft (49)
                               Naylor (87)
SWINDON TOWN            1-2    MIDDLESBROUGH             15,228
Ndah (12)                      Merson (22)
                               Emerson (75)
TRANMERE ROVERS         3-1    STOKE CITY                 8,009
L Jones (9)                    Kavanagh (pen 35)
Aldridge (66)
O'Brien (87)

Full-time score and scorers for Tuesday, November 18 1997

BRADFORD CITY           1-1    SHEFFIELD UNITED          16,127
McGinlay (70)                  Deane (63)

Up to and including Sunday, November 23 1997

Team                  Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Nottingham Forest       18     11    4    3     31    16        37
West Bromwich Albion    18     11    4    3     22    13        37
Middlesbrough           17     10    4    3     32    16        34
Swindon Town            19     10    4    5     26    24        34
Sheffield United        17      8    8    1     25    14        32
Charlton Athletic       18      8    5    5     35    26        29
Stockport County        19      8    5    6     30    25        29
Sunderland              18      7    6    5     26    21        27
Port Vale               19      7    5    7     25    23        26
Queens Park Rangers     18      7    5    6     23    28        26
Wolverhampton Wanderers 18      7    5    6     21    20        26
Stoke City              18      7    5    6     21    21        26
Bradford City           19      6    8    5     17    18        26
Birmingham City         19      5    7    7     18    16        22
Norwich City            18      6    4    8     16    27        22
Tranmere Rovers         18      6    3    9     26    25        21
Bury                    19      4    9    6     21    27        21
Ipswich Town            17      4    7    6     20    21        19
Crewe Alexandra         19      5    3   11     22    30        18
MANCHESTER CITY         18      4    6    8     21    21        18
Reading                 19      4    6    9     17    30        18
Oxford United           19      4    5   10     21    28        17
Portsmouth              17      3    5    9     20    28        14
Huddersfield Town       19      3    5   11     14    32        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 #349