Newsletter #366

Due to the sheer volume of stuff in this issue, I’m afraid I’ve no time for a synopsis. Also, it’s taken me quite a bit of time to put together, and towards the end I gave up editing/proof reading, so apologies for any errors.


Next game, Charlton Athletic at home, Wednesday 28th January 1998


MANCHESTER CITY vs. WEST HAM UNITED, F.A. Cup 4th Round, Sunday 27th January 1998

Football is a funny game. After the match my father couldn’t believe how City managed to be at the bottom of Division 1 (and West Ham on the upper half of the Premier League), and my mother fell instantly in love with Gio…

The Blues really put up a brilliant display, while West Ham played like a goat’s behind, and Lomas looked like the front… But City being City they managed to let the game slip away, just when we thought they were in control.

The tactics were clear, City lined up the 5-3-2 formation like this:

    Brightwell    Symons      Shelia
Edghill      Brown   Jim Whitley    Russell
           Dickov         Rösler

West Ham could have taken the lead after only 8 minutes, but Hartson’s goal was ruled out for offside. City looked positive throughout the opening period of the game, Gio hitting the bar with a rasping long range effort. But after only 28 minutes the Hammers scored on their second attempt, and this time it was allowed. Shelia didn’t manage to control Hartson, who knocked the ball to Berkovic. Symons was caught on the wrong foot, and one-on-one with Wright, it was easy for Berkovic to score.

After that West Ham relied on defensive tactics and Abou and Hartson up front. They didn’t really look dangerous themselves when they entered City’s half, it was City that made them look dangerous. The City defence and midfield didn’t seem to put enough pressure on the player running with the ball, and therefore the Hammers got a few half chances out of nothing.

The kicking and running around of several of our players is not very appealing to a spectator, but when Gio got the ball, pure magic was created time after time. Although he didn’t look very sharp in the first half, the second was light years better. Our young ones were to bear the burden. Whitley, Brown and Edghill played well, but did not look like class players alongside Gio, and they were the better ones.

Dickov could easily have made it 1-1, when Rösler guided his header brilliantly into the Scotsman’s path. But his shot rebounded off the goalkeeper’s arm to safety. Rösler didn’t do much more in the first half, battling against Pearce and giving away free-kicks now and then, seldom collecting anything in return. But suddenly the German striker showed his skills and beat the West Ham defence and the outrushing Forrest to a long ball, only to watch his high lob landing well behind the crossbar.

Half time score: 0-1.

Murtaz Shelia played a blinder second half. His companions in the back-three were not as lucky. Shelia totally dominated against Abou and was always there to rely on. His passing was direct and no nonsense, and almost always to Gio… I just hope that he continues like this and that we can keep him! Brightwell was very anonymous but gave Hartson space once and almost killed the game for us. Symons also had big problems with Hartson, and his clearances were not impressive either.

City were the dominant team in the second half as well, with Brown and Whitley winning the ball and Gio distributing. A cross nearly created a penalty when Rösler was harshly pushed in the back by Pearce, but the referee (who was well positioned) just ignored the incident.

The second half was completely Gio’s. The little magician totally dominated in midfield, just interrupted by short breaks when he went deep to catch his breath. Time after time the Georgian raided against the West Ham back-four, dribbling past 2-3 players, setting up others to finish and shooting from distance. After 59 minutes he was rewarded when a perfect shot went in off the post, after beating 4 West Ham players on his way towards goal.

City now looked keen on finishing the game to their advantage, and good efforts by Whitley and Dickov could almost have done so. But it was Rösler who was set up with the biggest chance of them all. A smart ball found Dickov inside the area, and Ferdinand’s clumsy challenge was nowhere near the ball. Dickov slipped and it looked wery much like a penalty. The referee pointed to the spot, just as the slow-motion revealed that Ferdinand had not been near Dickov. Rösler was to convert the penalty; he hit the ball hard and high into the middle of the goal, only to see the shot blasting over with Forrest well beaten.

Only two minutes later West Ham won a corner, and Symons’ poor clearance was met by Lomas who blasted his shot between defenders, attackers and goalkeeper into the City-net. 1-2 and just 14 minutes to go.

The game settled. Gio tried and tried, Edghill ran, Brown tackled. Whitley shot, Shelia headed and Dickov missed the ball by an inch. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Manchester City - West Ham United 1-2 (0-1)
Kinkladze 59      Berkovic 28
                  Lomas 76


Wright 6 Not much to do on either goal, good save from Abou.
Brightwell 5 Anonymous, perhaps more of a talking captain, than a tackling one?
Symons 5 Was involved in both of West Ham’s goals. Most of the time he does an ok job. Sometimes he’s just not there.
Shelia 8 Fast, direct, no-nonsense defender. Just what we need!
Edghill 7 Runs and runs, takes on defenders when he can, good defending, poor distribution.
Brown 8 Excellent display. Shows his guts when all the others just watched Lomas go for the kill. Never afraid. Please play him again!
Kinkladze 9 Excellent display, excellent goal, excellent passing, poor corners.
Jim Whitley 7 Good defensive job, but lacks confidence on the breaks. Does much of the hard work, and leaves the rest for Gio.
Russell 5 Was he on the field? Some good runs, some good tackles, not much to cheer about.
Dickov 6 Runs and battles, gets oppourtunities but wastes them all. Perhaps not a great goal-scorer, but we could really do with one!
Rösler 4 Sorry Uwe! Had you scored on your two chances I would have given you 8, because then you would have been like a real goalscorer. Still you look more lethal than Dickov.

The result was disappointing but I finally understand why people are coming to Maine Road to watch this team. Gio is creating magic every night, I can’t help dreaming about his wonderful goal. And I know I will not wake up until Liverpool pays us £15 million for him, and we’re lurking in Division 2…

Svenn A. Hanssen (


The first time I have done any type of match report, thanks to good old terrestrial TV. I won’t do a full match report, I think that is done best by those actually at the game (better idea of formations and movement off the ball), but I want to give my run down on the players in the light of recent reports from others of strengths and weaknesses.

Firstly, it still hurts like hell to lose (any game), especially one we should have won, but lose it we did, and if you had told me beforehand that it was to be such a good cup tie, and that we deserved to win, I would have settled for that.

The Hammers are a class act these days, despite a pretty lousy away record. They have genuine class players (Ferdinand, Berkovic, Hartson are first class, Forrest, Abou, Lazarides not far behind and our own Stevie boy has improved no end and was their star player). Although we had the lesser of the first half, we were hanging in there and the second half had us asking all the questions. Oh to have had a centre forward who could have done some damage.

Some matches are turned by a single incident, others are turned by the general flow of play from one team to another. This game looked like the latter, with Gio ripping them apart, they looked to be chasing the game and the penalty (fortunate) looked to be just one of a few second half City goals. As it was the miss became the match turning point. We gave the suckers an even break and they took it.

There was only one player on the pitch who to my eyes was not of Premier quality, and that one was Uwe. If we can just sign the whole Georgian international side, we can win the Premiership in two years time, no problem.

Gio was at his imperious best, and the next best on the park was good old Stevie Lomas. I have to say I was not too sorry to see him leave, I thought the money looked good, and with Brown and Crooks available his touch and passing looked to be a liability. He never played for us anywhere near as well as he played yesterday.

I still think that Brown will be the better player in time, but isn’t it amazing how every old boy manages to score their one and only goal of the season on their return to Maine Road (and let’s be fair, through all those legs it will be a long time before another such effort will go in for him)?

But lose it we did, so here are my ratings, and on to the survival struggle. Still great to see them play, and Gio was worth the TV licence money on his own.

Wright (8) I can’t think of many reasons for not giving him more. He had no chance with any that got past him, made great saves off Hartson and Abou, dominated his area and despite what everyone says seemed to be confident in his kicking (although on telly you can’t see if he was aiming or just wellying).

Brightwell (6) The best I have seen Bob play for many a year. He has had a wasted career, with too many managers putting him in too many positions. He should have stayed a hard running and tackling midfielder. I always feel he is the weakest link in the defence.

Shelia (8) This man is a star. Ferdinand oozes class, but this fellow is not so far behind in what he actually achieves. Dominant in the air, he reads the game quite well, can do a good job either in the middle or on the left, and he gets forward. Hope his mate is just as good.

Brown (8) One of the ginger nut’s only claims to accuracy was his estimation of Brown as a star of the future. I think we may have quite a few scouts from the Premier after him now, good job FC got him sewn up last season. Much further advanced than Stevie Lomas was at similar stages of development.

Symons (7) Somewhere between Bob and BFG. Not bad, but not all that outstanding either. The problem is that despite giving the defence good points all round, the Hammers were still able to slice open the defence quite frequently in the first half, so who was doing what wrong?

Edghill (8) No complaints for me here. Good pace (against a real speed merchant), good tackling and defending, moved forward well (to neutralise his winger), combined well with and gave lots of options to Gio and Jim. FC needs to give him a good contract soon.

Whitley (6) Difficult one this. I was expecting better. He looks mighty skilful, but I have worries about his physique. He seems too heavy legged and does not have the speed necessary to make the most of a good set of feet. Seems to have to battle too hard to get clear of trouble when he should already be in the clear. Still a raw talent, hopefully he will get around this. Certainly has good vision, set up Gio for his goal run amongst other feeds, and is not afraid to take a pop (but again a strangely weak shot on him despite his build). Worth an extended run I would think.

Russell (6) He looks a pretty classy and committed player but in truth was one of the weaknesses in the side for me. While Edghill was doing a good wing back job, up against superfast Laz, Russell with less defensive duty to perform was more content to keep too far back and be a battling midfielder, not what was really needed. I think BFG was able to cope on his own, and what we needed was a more adventurous forward player on the left. Probably not his fault, he is obviously playing out of position. The problem is what is his right position, and is he the best we have at any position?

Dickov (6) I want to give him more, he is a trier, and deserves more success than he gets. It is very unfair to expect a titch to lead the line against the likes of Ferdinand, Unsworth and Pearce. Reserve judgement until we can see him playing off a front man and sniffing out lay offs in panic stricken boxes.

Kinkladze (10) Talking of panic stricken boxes. What a player, he must be the most skilful in England. A hat trick would have been at the least just reward for him. Full marks to Ferdinand and Co. for not conceding a penalty to him. The down side is that although the performance must have elevated the price by a few more millions, it must have hastened his departure. Dalglish and Evans must now see how he could fit in in place of Lee or McManaman. Let’s just hope that if he does have to go, we get the full price (£12 million+), and he goes to someone like Liverpool where he would be happy and help to win something.

I am of the old school, for whom Bell was the greatest, and I have seen the skills of the likes of Best, Law, Zico and others in the raw. But even I am now beginning to think that Gio is the best we have ever had.

Rösler (2) Not just because he missed the penalty, he was the only second rate player on the pitch. He hides, and it is so unfair on the likes of Dickov. When he gets easy opportunities (like a penalty), he misses, when he gets half chances (like his lob) he displays the talent of a Third Divisioner. How many times did you see defenders get a free head at the ball, with Uwe standing behind waiting for them to miss, rather than challenging. The only real heading ability we had in their box was BFG. Dickov is more commanding than Uwe, but Uwe can’t do anything with any lay offs, because his ball skills are appalling. I fear that we will not get any money for him, but go he must, he is a liability. Bradders must be on soon.

Frank Clark (7) The defence seems to be coming together well. He has got quite a bit of heart in midfield, and with the obvious exception of Uwe we seem to have some attacking promise (from the right wing triangle of Gio, Edghill, Whitley). We need another player on the left to do the same there (Horlock in place of Russell?), we need Bradbury in place of Uwe, and it will be interesting to see where Georgian number three fits in with Wiekens available.

I was encouraged to see that FC was able to change tactics and pull things around after half time. We looked after half an hour or so as if we might fold, but in the second half our back line blunted their incisiveness, and at the same time Whitley came into the game more giving Gio lots of options on the right.

If we were in the top half of the table, I would take us for promotion, but we are not and survival is going to be hard won this season, but for my money, there is lots of talent around Maine Road for future development.

Always the optimist, CTID, Keep The Faith, Martin Beckett (


I was given 2 years to get over my last City game – against the Rags and Wilkie, but I fear this one may take longer as we looked as if we had this one won.

As this was our first live game for such a long time, the family came fully dressed in City shirts and the television room was dully decorated with scarfs, shirts and pictures (picture actually as I found that all my posters that I had bought at my last visit to Maine road were now irrelevant: Flitcroft, Curle, Summerbee, Lomas, etc.). The mood leading up to the game, however, was not a positive one as we have never seen City win on Israeli Television (1 draw and 4 or 5 loses).

The program started with a ten-minute introduction on West Ham’s opponents (because of Berkowitz, West Ham are shown all too often on Israeli Cable) who are one of the biggest clubs in England with great support… they also showed City’s 5-1 vs. Rags. As is their custom to do, they brought a City supporter living in Israel to talk about the team, how we hate the Rags etc. (Sarah Dobinski? if you’re out there send us a mail).

On to the game, City started with Whitley instead of Brannan, and Shelia was back from injury, but we looked shaky from the start and West Ham looked dangerous whenever they ran with the ball. On 8 minutes City lost the ball in attack and Berkowitz broke away with the ball down the flank, crossed the ball in to find Hartson unmarked at the far post. It was such poor defending, the two City defenders running back just ran into the middle without marking anyone(!) leaving Hartson completely open. City obviously needed to concede to wake up because City then started to take the game to West Ham while playing some neat football. The best chance was when Kinkladze hit a swerving volley from outside the area only for it to smash the inside of the crossbar and bounce out. The English commentator who had been talking about the goal for the last 20 minutes then realized that the scoreboard in the ground read 0-0! and after a short inquiry found out that the goal had been rightly disallowed for offside! This was to spark huge rejoicing and our spirits were high once again only for City to let Berkowitz in with a simple 1-2 with Hartson to score what really was a legal goal. 1-0 at half time was a fair score.

In the interval they showed a report on Oasis and their affiliations to City which was nice. It was obvious to me that City would collapse if they let in another goal early on, but after an early scare or two, City started playing some great football and slowly, mainly thanks to Kinkladze’s brilliance, City were in complete control of the game. Then after around an hour Kinkladze decided that the only way City were going to score was if he did it himself; he therefore picked up the ball on the far touchline around 40 yards from goal, skipped past 2 players as if they were not there, broke into the box, cut into the middle while shrugging off another challenge and sweetly struck the ball past the ‘keeper, off the post and into the goal. Breathtaking, what else is there to say? It was just amazing he made it look so easy.

City carried on playing well and looked the much likelier to win it, and when Kinkladze skipped past 2 players on the wing to cross a ball into the middle Dickov managed to nip in front of his man only to be brought down for a penalty (not convinced it was but we should have had one earlier for a clear push on Rösler).

The rest is history, Rösler blasted over, heads fell, and then we conceded from a corner that was headed out only for Lomas (who else?) to find himself un-marked on the edge of the box to hit through a crowded area into the goal.

The main disappointment for me in the game was the attack and especially Rösler who looked as if he was avoiding play, never running into space for the midfield, never coming back to get the ball (the only time he did so was after his penalty miss) and generally hopeless with the ball. City looked comfortable in midfield with Brown and Whitley playing well, but we always got stuck on the edge of their box for lack of options and able strikers, which meant that we were either confined to long shots from Whitley and Kinkladze, or we would just give it to Kinky in hope that he would do something brilliant with it. The fact is that we finished on 18 shots to their 9! There just seemed to be no game plan once we had reached the foward line and you can only blame the fowards.

City looked just as raw at set pieces, we had at least twice as many corners but never looked likely to do anything with them, same goes with free-kick. Our defence coped very well with anything thrown at them in the air, but looked very uncertain when run at, and essentially in marking players for simple 1-2’s. Overall a good performance for a team 32 places below their opponents and at times we were superior in most fields.

Wright – did what he is paid to do, can not be faulted for the goals and made one very important save when one on one with Abou (why was he booed the whole game?) – 7
Symons – not bad, made some good challenges (was it him who threw himself on the ball after being turned by Abou in the box, and then started to crawl along while following the ball, cue for a scrum of about 10 players in the box! – 6/7
Brightwell – didn’t mark his man for the (offside) goal and lost his man in the first goal – 5/6
Shelia – brilliant; we would have lost heavily without him, a real man-mountain, took everything near him and never lost his man. a great buy – 9
Edghill – tried hard but I felt that his control/skill let him down sometimes when taking on opponents – 6/7
Brown – A pleasure to watch a player with such pride for his shirt, gave everything and held the midfield well with Whitley – 7/8
Whitley – gave everything like Brown and is not afraid to shoot, needs time to improve his passing though – 7
Russell – Anonymous for the first half and much of the second – 6
Kinkladze – It’s the first time I have seen him live and I honestly don’t know what we will do without him. I could go on all night about how good he was, the Israeli commentator said that it was the best individual display he has seen all year in England, when everyone else was clueless with what to do with the ball, they just gave it to him for him to do something majestic with it which he usually did. with a good attack, who move for him, he could be even better (if possible). The commentator didn’t realize that he has refused to take any more penalties and therefore Rösler took it – 9/10
Dickov – As usual tried hard, and won us a penalty and had another shot parried well by the ‘keeper, certainly better than Rösler (which isn’t saying much) – 6/7
Rösler – Terrible, truly dreadful, wasn’t in the game, never opened up for the midfield and was even worse when with the ball, and all that without the penalty – 4

A good performance for a bottom first division team, and we have a number of Premiership class players and with Wiekens (who was very missing in defence), Horlock, Bradbury (who was very missing in attack) and this new Georgian we should be knocking this league around. So why are we not Frank? If you got this far I hope it wasn’t too boring. Next match report in two years.

CTID, Akiva.G – Jerusalem Blue (


I suppose for the neutral TV viewer this was a good game, but as a City fan it made the blood boil. We’re getting used to major cock-ups on live TV but in this one we had great chances to win as a laid-back West Ham side were there for the taking. Since drowning one’s sorrows is not too healthy, a match review helps get some of the hurt out of the system. Do not be taken in by hard-luck stories. The post-match comments by Clark along those lines seemed to have come from a New Labour spin doctor. City had one outstanding player in Gio and several donkeys.

On a sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon City kicked off towards Platt Lane with the predicted line-up:

Edghill Brightwell(c)  Symons Shelia Russell
         Jim Whitley Brown Kinkladze
             Rösler Dickov

As usual City lacked a proper defensive shape and West Ham set about picking off our right flank, where Edghill and Blundering Bob looked highly vulnerable. When we did get the ball, Russell made some useful forward runs. Early on, Gio rattled the bar with a vicious drive from the edge of the penalty area, with little backlift. Unlucky! West Ham looked more useful in attack than defence and Berkovic and Abou gave lessons on how to run off the ball. They scored as Symons (“S**t Symons” as my mate calls him) got skinned and Hartson put a neat ball through for Berkovic to finish clinically. City did have one other good chance when Dickov shot and their goalie made a fine save; the shot needed to be harder though.

Half-time: 0-1.

In the second half, West Ham sat back which was odd as they seemed to be able to cut through us with runs from midfield if they wanted. Gio took over with a superb exhibition of close control and penetrating runs and passes. This raised some of the others and Brown and Whitley drove forward from midfield. An equalizer could be sensed and when it came it was a gem. Gio took on and beat 3 defenders in a run from the right. Just as we thought he’d taken it a touch too far over to the left, he curled in a beautiful shot in off the post. Fantastic goal and cue “Blue Moon”. At 1-1 City looked unsure whether to defend or attack but Gio kept going, running the opposition ragged and City were on top.

Then the turning point. Dickov, who’d been wrestling with his marker all afternoon, got clattered inside the box. As Uwe stepped up, their tall goalie jumped up and down like a circus performer. Uwe looked nervous and blasted the ball way over the top into the North Stand. This was the worst penalty I have seen from a City player at Maine Road, surpassing Alan Harper against Leeds a few seasons back and Bradbury against Blackpool this season. I know it may seem cruel to slag someone for one bad penalty but this is a guy who is demanding £20k per week and in our current plight we really can’t afford this kind of miss (or his contract). Clark seemed to be exhorting Uwe to keep his head up, as opposed to back for the penalty. The subs, who showed more vigour in their touchline warm-ups than Uwe had on the pitch, were told to sit down. Then the sucker punch duly arrived as a half-hit corner found Lomas (who else?) with plenty of room to control and shoot low past Wright through a crowd of players. Now this wasn’t bad luck. Defenders had been hitting poor clearances to opponents all afternoon and no-one bothered to close Steve down. Didn’t he used to waft those over the bar when wearing a blue shirt though?

City kept on going, to be fair and full credit for their fitness but it wasn’t to be.

Full-time: 1-2.


Wright (4) Kicking is a nightmare.
Brightwell (3) A disaster. Just a couple of examples. In the 1st half he attempted a one-two with Edghill near the by-line when he could have cleared. The ball went to Edghill’s weak left foot and Abou took it off him to create a chance. In the 2nd half he allowed a simple ball played across the back line to go right past him for a West Ham throw. Even worse, Cap’n Bob promptly slagged off his team-mate. Sorry but this isn’t good enough.
Shelia (8) The only defender who knew what to do. Tackled hard and got rid simply.
Brown (6) Struggled in 1st half but improved in 2nd.
Symons (3) Another disaster. Well beaten for the first goal. Looks slow and clumsy. Losing the captaincy hasn’t improved his game and he should make way.
Edghill (3) Another poor showing. Had lots of possesion on the right but didn’t have much clue of what to do with it. Can’t cross. Was often out of position in defence.
Jim Whitley (7) Looked raw in the 1st half but got into it in the 2nd. Lots of drive and determination and some really good close control. A lad with a great future, hopefully with us.
Russell (7) Plenty of pace and good runs from left-back. I’d like to see him have a chance up front.
Dickov (5) His shooting is too tame and he just isn’t good enough despite his undoubted effort.
Kinkladze (9) Worth the entrance money on his own and a dreadful shame that his great goal didn’t lead to draw or victory. A City team without him is too horrible to contemplate.
Rösler (2) Lumbered around to no effect. Didn’t win a header all afternoon. A spent force.

All of this leads to a fraught evening on Wednesday night against in-form Charlton. It’s notable that the worst performances came from our “contract rebels”. FC’s days are numbered and the sack would surely put him and us out of misery. Objectively, it’s not a good idea to sack a manager at this time of the season but City don’t follow statistical laws. I can’t see how the current management have the personalities to lift the worst side I have seen in a Blue shirt. There’s a glimmer of hope from Jim Whitley, Russell and Shelia but that’s all. Both defence and attack look clueless and there’s a lot to sort out in a very short time.

Rob Simmons (


A rollercoaster ride from where I sat (comfortably on the sofa – looked a bit cold and windy on TV) and once again we’re left with the refrain of “if only” … If only Uwe had banged the penalty at the goal and not row Z; if only someone had stuck a foot out at Lomas’ shot; if only we had more Kinkladzes in the team; if only I’d not worn the new Kappa shirt which now has a record of played 2 lost 2.

In truth though, this was a game few of us in the cold, logical light of day would have expected us to win, but God did we go close in spite of Alex Ferguson giving us the kiss of death in the preamble by tipping us to win! If we could only play like this against our First Division opposition week in, week out we’d be well clear of the relegation dogfight. FC had apparently listened to the amateur managers amongst us and brought Jim Whitley back into the team instead of the injured Wiekens but otherwise it was the team that started against Sunderland.

The game started fairly well with us pushing forward, only to get caught out after 8 minutes by a slick Hammers move which Hartson ‘finished’ only to be adjudged offside (looked debatable on the replay) so we breathed again. Plenty of City pressure followed but every time the Hammers came forward they looked like the could open up our right hand side at will, with Edgie having a nervous start and Bob not helping matters much either. In contrast, Shelia looked a relative rock and was keen to get forward when the opportunity arose. Gio was in and out of the game and then from nowhere he took a ball that was pulled back to him in his stride only to see his swerving 30 yarder hit the angle of the post and bar and go out of play. Shortly afterwards living dangerously cost us dear and a neat passing move between Abou and Hartson put Berkovic in the clear to score past Tommy’s outstretched leg on 28 minutes. To the team’s credit, they kept their composure (all right, everything’s relative :-)), continuing to find space down the Hammers’ flanks but couldn’t make the final ball tell, so 0-1 at half time,

The second half started with no changes and the Hammers having the better of the opening minutes. End to end stuff and then on the hour Gio was put clear on the right wing. Evading one tackle he went into the box, past two more despairing tackles and then just as we thought he’d done too much, he cracked his shot across the goal and in off the far post. Whoah! Tell the editors of the the ‘Definitely Maybe …’ video they’ve got one goal here for the sequel. Not surprisingly this lifted the team and crowd (lifted me and Mark off the sofa too!) and the game appeared to be there for the taking. We’d been talking about how City never seemed to get any breaks when suddenly a gift from the Gods on 73 minutes. Dickov was adjudged to have been pushed in the area and the referee gave us what appeared to be a harsh penalty from West Ham’s viewpoint. Uwe apparently agreed and did the decent thing and skied it. And the final nail in the coffin was hammered (oops, no pun intended) in by Lomas of all people 3 minutes later. To the team’s credit they kept going until the end but to no avail.

A much better performance than I saw against Sunderland. Tommy’s kicking was fairly direct; the defence had its nervy moments (Kit and Bob were something of a liability (they must give way to a fit Wiekens and our new Georgian) at times but Murtaz continues to shine; Whitley looked a bit out of it at first but looks tenacious and not frightened to have a dig at goal; Brownie dished it out a bit but can’t be faulted for commitment; Gio was in an out of the game but when he was in boy was he in; still not convinced about this wingback idea and I don’t think Craig Russell is either; Dickov and Rösler didn’t get much change out of the Hammers’ defence (thought Bradbury might have had a crack but at least Brannan just kept the bench warm).

Hoping for a repeat performance and better result against Charlton.

CTID, Geoff Donkin – Beverley Blue (Geoff@Donkin.Demon.Co.UK)


Overall, we were much improved from the Sunderland game but chiefly lacked any penetration from our front two and were prone to defensive mistakes.

Match ratings:

Wright (6): He probably didn’t have much chance with the two goals and did make a good save from Abou; his kicking from deadballs was dreadful. I just pray that the ever-improving Margetson doesn’t see Wright’s inclusion as the sign to depart Maine Road.
Edghill (7): Fairly good game, got forward well, but could do with improving his passing – OK, that applies to just about everyone, I know!
Russell (8): Another good game at left wing back; he’s a sound tackler and causes defences/midfields problems with his speed and running.
Brightwell (4): Sorry folks but Bob is plainly a poor player with virtually no skill; how he can play in defence ahead of Beesley and Morley, or even Brannan, I’ll never know.
Symons (4): A performance to forget, his lack of pace showed against the higher opposition, and if it wasn’t for Shelia, yet another schoolboy error would have led to a goal!
Shelia (9): Described as the new Watson on GMR and the similarities are there for all to see. If Tskhadadze is half as good, then the Georgian pairing and Wiekens looks like a defensive dream team!
Brown (7): Usual hard game, let Lomie know of his presence, as per usual, after 2 minutes!
Whitley (7): Another good game with a few nice strikes on goal.
Gio (8): A truly wondrous shot which hit the upright, and a lovely goal where he did his trademark jink right through the Hammers’ much-vaunted defence.
Rösler (3): Oh dear, simply awful! He looked past it the entire game and his penalty miss was simply unforgiveable at that stage.
Dickov (6): Won a penalty with a neat turn but was never a realistic threat to Ferdinand et al.

Bring back Bradbury and buy someone else up front to partner him!



Finally a chance to watch City ‘live’ for the first time since the Middlesbrough Cup match last year. All in all it was a pretty good performance, although without Gio there would have been more negatives than positives.

Wright: 6 – Why does he always clear the ball without stopping it first? Abou should have scored easily when he got through one-on-one.
Edghill: 6 – Contained Lazaridis for the most part. Worked hard.
Brightwell: 3 – Was Hartson invisible? He left him wide open at the far post even after looking straight at him.
Symons: 7 – Looked pretty sound to me.
Shelia: 7 – Very solid until Abou ran at him and left him for dead.
Russell: 5 – Mostly anonymous. One good run which ended in a fierce shot from a tight angle.
Brown: 7 – Battled well with Lomas in a scrappy midfield contest. Did not look out of his depth.
Whitley: 7 – Same.
Kinkladze: 9 – Would have been 10 if that shot had gone in.
Dickov: 8 – Won the penalty, always involved and making things happen, hit one shot which required a brilliant save from Forrest who must have seen it very late.
Rösler: 5 – Disapponting. Can’t write him off for one penalty miss (he should have hit the target though) and I don’t think he could have done much better with the lob that dropped over the bar, but apart from that he didn’t contribute much.

So what does it all mean for the rest of the season? Looking at our results so far – absolutely nothing. It’s encouraging to see that we can give a decent Premiership team a good game, but as we all know it has no bearing on Wednesday’s match whatsoever.

Martin Price (



I’m starting to get the ever-so-slight feeling that somebody up there doesn’t like us. And after two and a half years of asking What next, I’m praying to the football gods that Sunday’s disaster is finally as low as the Blues can go – because I don’t think any of us can take much more.

For once, I think we all have to agree that there can be no whining about refereeing decisions or bad luck or team selection. Sure, we can nit-pick and wonder why FC refused to bring on Bradbury for the final 10 minutes or why he can’t scrounge up a single winger. But we have to look in the mirror and admit that we legitimately got every break in this game and still lost. To wit:

  1. Those watching around the world on satellite thought for 25 minutes that wewere down 1-nil, only for the wizards at ITV to realize that Hartson’s goalwas ruled out for offside. If anyone has ever seen such a stroke of luckbefore, let me know.
  2. While we promptly conceded a goal to my countryman Berkovic five minutesafter ITV erased the first, we later saw Tommy Wright stop Abou one-on-one.And we also saw the post finish off Gio’s latest bit of magic when it wouldhave been typical City for his shot to bounce out.
  3. At first and even second glance, the penalty didn’t look like such a surething. Given our recent Cup history with (Frontzeck, Festa, etc.), I certainlywouldn’t have bet that we’d be awarded that spot kick. And while I’m sureyou’re all primed to slag my beloved Uwe for blazing over the top, Gio wasn’ttough enough to shrug at his past misses and put the team first by taking oneon a day he’s playing a blinder. Uwe is always willing to step up even thoughthe whole world knows where he’s shooting.

After wasting all that, Lomie’s goal was practically a given. Could it have ended any other way … although I have to admit it hurts to see him hit a right-footer so cleanly after six years of spraying them into the stands for us.

As painful as it was for all you locals, I assure you it was just as devastating for us Statesiders. This was our only chance to see City on TV all year, and we were duly rewarded with another heartbreaker. Since relegation, I have seen the Blues in person four times and three times on TV. My less-than-spotless record in that span:

L 3-1 in person at Palace
L 4-1 in person at Lincoln in the CC Cup
W 1-0 in person vs. Birmingham (but Uwe missed a penalty)
L 0-1 on satellite vs. Middlesbrough in the FA Cup
D 1-1 at Bury with London Supporters Branch at Terry Neill's pub
      (but Gio missed a penalty)
L 1-2 in person vs. Norwich
L 1-2 on satellite vs. West Ham (Uwe missed a penalty)

I, however, will be back for more. Ditto for my pal Jason Simms and big Mike, the other Blues watching in Dallas’ Londoner pub compared to the zero West Ham supporters in attendance.

Question is, will these players have anything left for the relegation fight ahead? Out of both cups and one spot above the drop-down zone, I can’t imagine morale any lower than it is today. And the prospect of Joe Royle as saviour, however Blue he is, doesn’t exactly have me doing cartwheels. At this point, let’s just make sure we get as far away from the bottom three – and the new Pompey manager – as we can.

Bless you all, Marc Stein – Dallas, Texas (


By Paul Walker, PA Sport

Alex Ferguson has told struggling neighbours Manchester City: You would be crazy to sack Frank Clark. Ferguson’s Manchester United have dominated English soccer in the decade that has seen City’s decline to the brink of the Second Division. But The Old Trafford manager has given under-pressure Clark a major boost by saying: “Apart from being in our shadow, Frank has got a difficult job at Maine Road. The historical thing at City, meaning the number of managers they have had over the last few years, does not lend itself to continuity and longevity. The club has shown terrible impatience and when they are not doing it immediately they call for the manager’s head.”

City had five managers last season, and 12 – including three caretakers – in the 11 triumphant years that Ferguson has built his empire across the city. Ferguson added: “You know and I know, and we all know in the game, that Frank Clark is a good manager. He s got the experience to handle that job and really they just want to say `Let s get on with it, you are going to be here for a while because to change again would be crazy.'” Clark also got backing from Harry Redknapp, manager of the West Ham side which put City out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at Maine Road yesterday. Redknapp said: “I feel for Frank, I like him and believe he’s a good manager. I m sure, given time, he will get it right. City is a massive club with great fans. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the country. I believe he can get them going again, but he needs time.”

City are fourth from bottom of the First Division, and have two tough league games – on Wednesday at home to Charlton and next Saturday at Tranmere. Clark said: “This now leaves us with a battle to the end of the season. We have 19 games left and we have to start getting some points, starting on Wednesday. We are probably a little unlucky to be out of the Cup, we got back into the game, scored a fine goal and then missed a penalty that could have changed things. There were a few good things to take out of the game, and we have to get ourselves ready for a much more important game against Charlton. We do feel, though, that things have been stacked against us. On balance we haven’t had the breaks; it’s never been 50-50, more 60-40 against us this season. But when you don’t hit the target from a penalty, that’s not really bad luck. Nobody tries to miss them deliberately and I wouldn’t want to blame Uwe because not many people would have wanted to take it. But that just about sums up our season. We have to take the fact that we really pushed a team in the top half of the Premier League on a day when we had people who could play better.”

Klaus Petzel (


Cherry Red Records have a tradition of releasing LPs of football songs associated with individual clubs. Their latest addition is an LP bringing together all the best (?!) City-related songs!

A notable omission is the Barmy Army’s ‘Blue Moon’, which was given away as a flexidisc on the cover of the Blue Print fanzine in 1990. I got 2 copies of the flexidisc, which is now (in theory) worth quite a bit, as Adrian Sherwood (the man behind the On-U Sound Record label and The Barmy Army) is a producer of cult status. This track (which is excellent) can also be found on the On-U Sound Pay It All Back Volume 3 LP/CD. It samples terrace chants and dialogue/commentary from City’s more illustrious past, and has to be heard to be believed!

Anyway, here’s details of the Tribute LP;


£9.95 UK – £10.45 EUROPE – £10.95 REST OF WORLD

The sleeping giant that is Manchester’s ‘other’ team is the subject of ‘Blue Moon’. The sky blues have always lived in the shadow of their cross-town rivals – but no more. With the current chairman himself contributing, ‘Blue Moon’ is a must for any Manchester-born football fan. Franny Lee offers ‘Sugar Sugar’ and ‘Cinnamon Stick’ with ex-manager Alan Ball also getting in on the act with ‘Make Me an Island’. Manchester City have more than their fair share of celebrity fans including the infamous Gallagher brothers from Oasis. This album is no different with popular funnyman Frank Sidebottom adding comedy to top flight football with ‘Manchester City Medley’ and the one and only Eddie Large pens the sleeve notes to the ultimate underdog album.

Track listing:

FRANCIS LEE – Sugar Sugar
LORD FITZROY COLEMAN BAND – The Manchester Football Double
FRANK SIDEBOTTOM – Manchester City Medley
ED BANGER – Kinnel Tommy
THE FRESHIES – Dancing In The Kippax
ROCKIN’ RON – We’re Back
KEVIN PHOENIX – The Colour Blue, Gio (Kinkladze)
UNIVERSAL – Playing For City
ALAN BALL – Make Me An Island

Cherry Red can be contacted on email:
Or by phone: 0171 371 5844.

BTTBS (Bluer Than The Bluest Sky) Andrew Jackson (


FC is getting a lot of stick for picking various players out of position and tactics. Now, I can’t get to City very often but judging things on what I have seen: you can say certain things:

1. Pushing Wiekens into midfield was a worthwhile try at boosting our central midfield, giving Browny some sort of support. I can’t believe some of the short memories on this newsletter. When Wiekens was signed at the start of the season, it was quite clear that Wiekens could play in either central defence or central midfield. He actually said that he preferred playing in midfield. It’s quite obvious what has happened – after the dodgy start, Clark had no choice but to put Wiekens in defence, especially with Symons losing confidence. Now that we have Shelia at the back and hopefully Tskhadadze to come, we have good defenders in abundance. Either Wiekens himself has asked Clark to play him in midfield or Clark didn’t need to be asked.

The best defence Clark can play is three central defenders, Wiekens, with Symons and Shelia and right now, Brightwell and Edghill. Apart from Brightwell, we have that unit together now, and when you look at recent fixtures, we’ve conceded only 8 goals in the last 8 games and 3 of those were in the game against the League leaders. Compare to that 13 conceded in the first 8 games. The reason we are struggling is because of that very poor start, mainly caused in itself by a lack of goals.

2. Playing Russell on the left is the only short-term position he can play in right now. Horlock is injured, you wouldn’t dream of dropping Brown, Dickov or Kinkladze, Rösler will be on his way by the end of the season at the latest and is playing partly to appease restless support and partly to give him a shop-window in order to flog him. Where else can you play him?

3. What crap buys has Clark actually made? Brannan is the deafening reply, obviously but where are the others? Horlock was a great buy, Bradbury was starting to prove a useful buy ahead of his injury, Wiekens is a class act. I’m not saying he’s the perfect manager but he is not doing badly.

The poor results are down to three things – the poor start to the season, not enough goals and above all, all the brushwood that’s been collected on the playing staff over the last two seasons. Having forty to fifty squad players isn’t Frank Clark – it’s the barnpot who agreed the wages in the first place. To get rid of Clark now or at the end of this season would put the club in further turmoil, put back recovery dates and be the worst possible thing to happen to this club since Peter Reid resigned. Perhaps if those on the newsletter started to support the club, the team and even Frank Clark instead of secretly wishing the club would go down, we might be able to get through the next four games at least at 50-50 level. Would Bradford have been pushing for a play-off spot if they had sacked Chris Kamara at the end of last season? (admittedly the chairman has been off his head sacking Kamara now and the silly campaign against Mellor proves it). It’ll probably take 2 seasons of careful building to get the squad exactly right, it might happen next season but sacking Clark is the easy, alarmist view.

We’re not going to make the play-offs, we’ve got to scrap for every point to stay up and the games at Tranmere and Bury are vital, vital games. Yes you can’t argue that we are not in the direst peril. But whinging on about what has happened in the past, hysterically calling for heads to roll at any defeat is not going do the slightest good; indeed, anything but stability right now will do the club a disservice.

Chris Egerton (


Though it’s now Monday morning the fire has not died down on this one, so I thought I’d quickly write in to MCIVTA to try to purge myself of the weekend’s torment.

There will undoubtedly be Blues out there who will write in saying that City were considerably better than of late, and that we gave an improving West Ham a mighty good game; however, I’m afraid that anyone who says that is pretty much missing the point.

For those Blues overseas who have been lucky enough not to have seen City in the flesh this season I’m afraid that this FA Cup 4th round match confirmed that all the inadequacies of our team from the last two years are still very much in evidence. Once again the majority of the team looked so slow it was painful. West Ham constantly exposed us on the break with our defence, and often our midfield as well, simply lacking the pace to get back at the onrushing attackers. Once again City looked devoid of ideas in front of goal (Kinky excluded) and the contrast with West Ham illustrated just how weak we are in this department (Dickov does try hard but he rarely ever looks like scoring), and once again the team lacked any real width.

Now I hate to deliberately cause controversy, or to single out individual players, but I am afraid that I have to repeat my earlier calls that Uwe Rösler really is a liability in our team. He did nothing the entire game, apart from falling on his arse occasionally and, of course, missing the penalty. For me the penalty miss was not as big a crime as the lack of ability he showed in front of goal throughout the game. He is simply not good enough and I am not surprised that no one has come forward to take him off our hands. Let him go at the end of the season say I, whether we get a penny for him or not.

I also believe that certain players such as Brightwell and Symons are simply not good enough for our side. I’m not being spiteful in this, I just actually think that they are past their best and should be offloaded as soon as possible. We have no time for sentiment we need to stop the rot now.

Finally before I seem too depressive I have to say that players such as Brown, Whitley, Shelia and (of course) Kinkladze played exceptionally on Sunday and salvaged some pride for the Blues on a high profile occasion. Kinky especially must have raised his valuation by a few million due to that goal alone.

There, I feel somewhat better! On to Charlton on Wednesday and a game which really is more important than Sunday’s. Remember folks that our league position confirms that this City side is the worst in our history. We need some real effort, commitment and inspired decisions(!) from FC to sort out this mess otherwise we will be playing Division 2 football for the first time in our history next season.

Keep the faith… God knows it’s hard. CTID, Roger – The Blue Kiwi (


For all the world to see in the ground and on TV, our lads in blue proved that City are not a Premiership side in waiting and the gulf in class is narrow but quite apparent.

Let’s be clear: the tactics were more or less right but we were more soundly beaten than the 2-1 score suggests. Reason – naïve defending for the first goal particularly (why wasn’t a tackle made?) and woeful play up front from Rösler. How we missed Horlock and Bradbury.

The difference in class up front should be pointed out to anyone who is able or willing to see it. Hartson, Abou and Berkovic as a unit were miles better than Kinkladze, Dickov and Rösler. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t care if Rösler has just played his last game – he’s neither quick nor big enough to play any sort of rôle for us and here’s hoping Everton come in for an offer for him. His only contribution was to miss an open goal and the penalty.

What really p****d me off was the usual standard of TV coverage from ITV – i.e. bog standard. Of all the b*****ds they have to employ as a pundit, they have to choose bloody Taggart, and then when they start the mini-goals round-up – who’s mentioned first? Not Merson playing against Middlesbrough? No, another run of the mill win for the Trafford scum against a poor Second Division side. And then to cap it all, Keegan during commentary, comes out with a line about as ridiculous as his “I didn’t see Asprilla elbow Curle in the face”“Think what Kinkladze could do in a Man United side…” Can’t we have any spotlight without a Red glow?

Pray we beat Tranmere… pray…

Chris Egerton (


This is only my second contribution to MCIVTA. This is part of therapy that I finally feel I need. Just watched the West Ham match on TV and am feeling seriously messed up. My initial reaction to the penalty decision was that we would miss it… how many others thought the same? This and what followed was pure City script. Full marks to FC for coming on TV after the match for an interview at all. He looked like a troubled man.

So what to make of the City performance? Once the whistle went I naturally felt s***e. The reason being that we played pretty well and could/should have won the game coming back from one down with passion and commitment. It’s because we played well against an in-form Premiership team (granted their away form is crap) that it hurt even more. Then briefly I took some heart from a pretty good performance overall. We could have been completely stuffed and not been entirely surprised. But then I thought two things summed us up. One was that when it came to it we had no bottle to win the match we deserved to… like we can’t grind out results when we need them, from grit and determination as much as class. The other is that a City player was man-of-the-match but the team lost.

Some further notes/suggestions:

  1. We looked very weak in midfield and defence giving the ball away indangerous places (perhaps the downside from a worthy strategy to try toplay the ball out of defence rather than hoof it aimlessly). Brownplayed well but where’s our Peter Reid or Lomas in midfield?
  2. We can play good football!
  3. Get Kinky taking penalties again.
  4. Get Bradbury on and forget about Rösler.
  5. Stick with FC (can’t think of a better manager who’d come and wecan’t afford to sack him and pay him off).
  6. Sell Kinky (I’m 75% sold on this. After Bolton sold Curcic many fansgave back their season tickets in protest but it paid off in the shortterm at least. The problem is any manager who sold Kinky would have 6-8weeks max to turn things around or else the pressure would drive themout… after today’s performance on TV what’s Kinky realistically worthnow – £6-7 million?). He’s a great player but doesn’t influence enoughactual results on a regular basis which let’s face it is how thingsshould be judged.

More on Kinky – let’s get this straight. He’s probably the best buy City have ever made both in terms of talent spotting and making profit. But the incentives and pressures on him to perform must be questionable at least relative to the rest of the team. If Kinky stayed and we went down then he’d be swept up by some other big club and his future/salary secure. How unsettling this is amongst the other players who knows?

P.S. Can’t wait for AB to return to Maine Road!

Matt Jowett (


I never thought I would see the day when I got close again to my lowest ever point with Man City. This was the gut wrenching moment when I heard that Paul Moulden had been dropped (again) by miserable Mel Machin, for the Xmas away game at Stoke several years ago. This led to a predictable defeat in front of thousands upon thousands of excited Blues togged out in fancy dress, all ready for an away-day party.

Well that feeling is back again. And the reason? The fact that many City fans just cannot seem to accept that Frank Clark does not have the faintest idea of what he is supposed to be doing – despite the totally overwhelming evidence. I’ve wanted Frank out for a long time (see earlier MCIVTAs), in fact I had my doubts about FC’s sanity when he stated that despite our Coca-Cola cup exit against Blackpoool, he was happy that we had won our first game of the season (despite being totally outplayed by lower standard opposition – sound familiar). Since then it has gone from bad to worse but some City fans just don’t get it, and I’m sick of it. I’m also sick of:

  1. seeing us play six to seven at the back at home – no bloody wonder welook so solid; against Sunderland we barely got beyond our own penalty area,but looked ‘solid’.
  2. good players dropped after promising débuts and starts – Kavelashvili,Scully, Morley, Margetson, Jim Whitley etc.
  3. players played out of position – Craig Russell at wing-back, van Blerkanywhere, Vaughan left back (not really sure about him anyway).
  4. our dismal (worst ever?) home record being ignored completely byoptimistic Blues.

Put it this way, if Francis Lee had appointed one of the cleaning ladies to pick the team would we be any worse off than we are now? Would our home record be any worse? Would the team selections be less sensible? I don’t think so. Yet no doubt some City fans would be saying that “she ought to be given three to five years to get it right.” The same stupidity goes for Lee Bradbury. He was crap before he got injured and there is no logical reason that he will be any better than before. Yet already I’m hearing about how much we’ve missed him etc. Ditto the completely unreliable Rösler. Despite what some people have suggested, I, and other City fans who feel this way, get no pleasure from slagging off the club – but something has to be said and something has to be done. I just cannot accept what is going on at Maine Road, and realise that no amount of optimistic blinkered support will make any difference. You had to be at the above Stoke game (and any of our Derby matches vs. Utd) to realise that getting behind the team makes no difference whatsoever. I don’t blame Francis Lee – he’s already got plenty of people (hello Dave Wallace) ready to jump down his neck the minute he makes any decision about anything; he is not empowered to take action either by the board or by the fans (just like Swales in fact). Would the much maligned Doug Ellis have let this happen at Villa? No way – and they pick up cups even when things are not going too well.

I’m sorry to be so angry and negative, but if so many City fans can’t see what to me has been obvious for so long, then we have no chance. We are meant to be looking for a manager who can go head to head with the best i.e. Alex Ferguson, yet we can’t even get beyond Gary Megson and the rest (no insult intended). Without the genius of Kinkladze we would be well and truly sunk, those Blues who want him sold must be out of their minds as well.

Totally fed up Blue, Neil Haigh (


I settled down to watch this match from the comfort and warmth of my living room and for the first hour and a bit had my best Sunday afternoon for a long time. I couldn’t believe City could play that well. They were definitely the better side and Gio was nothing short of inspirational. Even Symons managed to string a few passes together and Michael Brown is a revelation. We were unlucky not to be two up and the West Ham goal was against the run of play. However, Gio’s strike was superb and I was gradually losing my voice, shouting so much at the TV. Then the inevitable happens and the whole thing goes very pear shaped.

Never look a gift horse in the mouth. City should not have been awarded a penalty, but then I don’t care about that, ’cause at the time, I thought “here we go, 2-1.” However, no-one told Rösler about gift horses and he looked right down its throat as he proceeded to hoof the ball over the bar. Well, after the high of being awarded the penalty in the first place and the low of Rösler missing, I shut up and sat back to watch the inevitable. And sure enough, Lomas of all people, strikes the ball through about 6 City players to score the winner. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but he’s so unattractive! Why did it have to be him?

So, we now have a ‘relegation battle’ as our only aim this season. It’s p*** poor really.

How long can Gio play like that for City? Surely now he will go to the highest bidder? What better advert could he have had than playing his heart out on national TV.

Oh well, my support is undiminished – roll on Swindon and Reading, my next two games for this season.

Well played to Stevenage!

Alison Prior (


At last! We might not have won, but for the first time in ages I actually saw a half-decent, exciting game of football. I think we can hold our heads up high, the boys done us proud (well, most of them).

I am obviously gutted that Uwe blasted that penalty over, but is anyone totally surprised? And as for Lomas scoring – well, it was almost inevitable. I expected us to get thrashed but we gave them a run for their money. Yet again it was poor finishing that let us down and I was annoyed that Clark kept Uwe on with Bradbury on the bench doing nothing. You have to assume that he’s fit if he’s a sub, so why not shove him on for the last 20 minutes? Uwe had a crap game; it’s no good nursing his ego, get the bugger off and stick Bradbury on – we had nothing to lose.

My man of the match was Murtaz Shelia – don’t tell me Frank has actually gone and made a good buy! He was consistently excellent and didn’t shy away from any tackles and nearly scored, too.

There was no way anyone seriously expected us to get much further in the Cup, so I sincerely hope that the team gets its s**t together from now on and storms up the League(!). Maybe they’ll have a bit of self-confidence and belief and we can start winning a few games.

Yours in less despair than last time, but for how long who knows?

Christine (


Could you put your Email address on MCIVTA? Ragwatch won’t let me post to Blue View and when I go to “read this first” it tells me it can’t be found on this server.

Many thanks, Dave Wrathall – a.k.a. Mooner (


I’m going to be in Auckland from January 27th to February 5th. If there are any Auckland based Blues who fancy meeting up for a few quiet beers (or a rowdy dozen!), send me an email.

Ian Gorton (


Well my days of following the Blues go back to 1972 when I was living in Nairobi, Kenya – I was a young lad then and Kenya being a Commonwealth country – well we used to receive Match of the Day (more like match of “whichever tape we were sent”) – which did not necessarily relate to the latest match played. Our neighbourhood had a small local park, where we played football amongst many other games. Our oldest and most skilled player, an Arab boy from Oman – who was pretty damn good – used to follow Man. City – around the time when Leeds were at their best and Francis Lee still a player.

Naturally – as I and many others looked up to him – I started following City – even if I didn’t have a clue about the club (many might still suggest not much has changed !) or its players – my best friend followed Leeds (and knew something about them).

With time my fascination and knowledge grew, and once I emigrated to England in 1974, I was able to follow them with a bit more passion – unfortunately as I am a very keen sportsman myself and play Hockey on a Saturday during the season, I have only been able to see them live on a few occasions – all at Crystal Palace – our local club – which has neve been a happy hunting ground for the Blues. Since meeting Steve Wallwork who works in my buildingb and is a season ticket holder, I have tried to glean as much info on the Blues as possible.

Over the years and especially recently, I have had to endure non-stop taunting about the inconsistent and at times quite depressing state of affairs at our beloved club – and I have often been asked why I carry on following these “losers” – I cannot explain this loyalty – I guess it’s once a Blue – forever a Blue, this doesn’t help with most of my close friends and work colleagues supporting the “Red (scum) Devils”!

There are about 4 people in our building of approx. 1,000 people who are Man. City supporters, and we make it known whom we follow (crazy I know!) – so when we have our rare wins – we make sure we crow about it – and comments like “this is the start of our un-beaten run” begin to emanate – shame these unbeaten runs come by every 2 weeks. Usually about this time some people will question – City?! What division are they in? Oh! Nationwide League! – Does anyone follow that league? I only stick with the Premiership! – a two fingered response is usually enough to shut him up.

Well there is a brief report on how I became a Blue.

Glyn Albuquerque (


I suggest Uwe Rösler’s agent approaches Sale RFC, there’s a team who would be impressed by his penalty kicks.

Matthew Briggs, Enstone, Oxfordshire (


Bradford City       1 - 1 Swindon Town
Edinho (23)               Hay (90)
Oxford United       1 - 0 Portsmouth
Beauchamp (90)
Port Vale           2 - 3 Crewe Alexandra
Naylor (1)                Smith (pen 2)
Porter (pen 72)           Whalley (33)
                          Foran (41)
Queens Park Rangers 0 - 1 Nottingham Forest
Cooper (84)

Up to and including Saturday, January 24 1998

                             HOME            AWAY
                      P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Nottm Forest         28 11  2  1 32 13   6  4  4 14 12    57   46
Middlesbrough        27  8  3  2 24  9   7  4  3 20 15    52   44
Charlton             27 10  2  1 29 13   5  3  6 22 22    50   51
Sunderland           26  7  4  2 23 10   7  3  3 20 14    49   43
Sheff Utd            27 10  3  0 26 10   3  7  4 17 19    49   43
Wolverhampton        27  9  4  0 27 11   4  2  8 10 16    45   37
West Brom            27  8  2  4 14 10   4  4  5 13 15    42   27
Stockport            27  8  4  1 28 13   4  1  9 17 24    41   45
Birmingham           27  5  5  3 12  7   5  5  4 20 12    40   32
Swindon              28  8  3  3 23 14   3  3  8 10 27    39   33
Bradford             28  6  6  2 15 13   3  5  6 12 16    38   27
Norwich              27  6  4  4 14 17   4  2  7 13 22    36   27
Crewe                28  4  2  8 15 23   6  2  6 19 19    34   34
QPR                  28  6  6  3 16 12   2  3  8 14 29    33   30
Reading              27  5  4  5 19 20   3  5  5  8 18    33   27
Ipswich              26  4  4  4 13 12   3  7  4 17 15    32   30
Stoke                27  5  3  5 17 22   3  5  6 12 19    32   29
Oxford Utd           28  6  4  4 18 14   2  2 10 15 28    30   33
Port Vale            28  5  4  6 18 17   3  1  9 13 24    29   31
Huddersfield         27  4  3  6 16 17   3  4  7 14 23    28   30
MANCHESTER CITY      27  4  3  7 18 15   3  3  7 13 17    27   31
Tranmere             26  5  4  4 18 14   1  4  8 10 20    26   28
Bury                 27  3  7  4 12 14   1  6  6 12 21    25   24
Portsmouth           27  5  2  7 20 25   1  3  9 10 20    23   30

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 #366