Newsletter #375

At last we seem to have escaped yet another cruel twist of fate; when Swindon equalised it could all to easy have come crashing down around our ears. Good to see Rösler scoring again and Bradbury scoring what by all accounts was a brave goal. The victory was doubly important when you take a look at the other results at our end of the table. Hopefully we can also get something out of Reading who must now also be considered relegation rivals – the proverbial 6-pointer? Speculation concerning Gio has been rife, perhaps further fuelled by his halftime substitution? Kendall has openly expressed interest so it seems only a metter of time before he goes.

Onto MCIVTA, I’d just like to thank Geoff (hopefully on behalf of all of us) for doing an excellent job as guest editor. I think Geoff suspects that I had some tip-off that Clark was to be fired at the beginning of last week – why else would I have hastily ask him to do another issue! It’s also been pointed out that ‘MCFC events’ seem to conincide with my absence as editor; prepare yourselves for May then, as I’m off then too!

Lastly, the ‘Lantern Pike’ pub (holding a City week this week; MCIVTA 374), is in fact in Derbyshire and not Cheshire, so the only 4x4s in the car park will be 25-year-old Landrovers 8-)).

5 match reports!

This one reaches 1,935.

Next game, Reading away, Tuesday 24th February 1998


SWINDON TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 21st February 1997

I thought it was about time I contributed and suffered like everyone else who has to watch City for MCIVTA. Swindon doesn’t look too far from Luton on the map but you know what these cross country trips are like… I could probably get up to M/c in the same time! It looked like I might miss the at one time but fortunately the ground was easy to find and parking no problem.

By kick off the wind and rain had cleared to leave a strong sun which was shining in the City supporters’ eyes for the whole game – not ideal for match reports I’m afraid. Another good turn-out from our fans, last week’s results seemingly having no effect, and generally we outsung the home fans without being that loud.

City started with something like this formation:

  Symons   Shelia   Tskhadadze   Briscoe
Jeff Whitley  Brown  Kinkladze  Jim Whitley
        Russell Rösler

Back to the old 4-4-2! The opening 15 minutes was very scrappy but City had the better of it without creating anything (nothing new there). There was plenty of commitment with even Gio putting in some tackles – I even saw him go up for a defensive header in midfield! Having said that he wasn’t having a good game, his passes not finding their targets and no dizzy runs.

Gradually our big men were beginning to exert some effect – it was noticeable that with Symons, Shelia and Tskhadadze going forward for set pieces we posed a real threat. After 22 minutes Russell had an effort cleared off the line from a Rösler knock down and from the resulting corner Shelia headed powerfully with the goalie palming it back to Uwe who for once didn’t miss. Cue hysterical celebrations with Uwe running over to the bench – we’ve seen something similar before – still it was good to see the motivation.

A few minutes later I thought we had gone two up as Shelia powered another header into the net, only for it to be disallowed for pushing. After that we seemed to sit back a bit – Gio seemed to be carrying an injury and Shelia took some serious punishment, resulting in touchline treatment and his substitution just on half-time, Wiekens coming on in his place. Half-time found me pretty optimistic – we had looked very solid and Swindon hadn’t posed any threat whatsoever; it was easy to see why they have slipped down the table.

Kinkladze didn’t reappear after the break with Beardsley coming on instead. For the next 20-25 minutes it was all Swindon and it was no surprise when they equalised. Wiekens fouled someone near their right wing and from the free kick they scored a smart goal, Wright having no chance. I tried to make some sense of the City transformation from what looked like a solid side to something approaching pretty poor – our midfield seemed to be overrun and I wondered about the youthfulness of the Whitleys and Brown, coupled with Beardsley’s extreme age (he was not getting into the game at all). Wiekens didn’t impress me after having seen Tskhadadze.

It was now a case of we’ve seen it all before and I was looking at my watch to see if there was any hope that we might hang on, when lo and behold a miracle happened. Bradbury had come on for Russell by now but I think it was the 4-4-2 that did it. We always seemed to look more like scoring than I remember in any other game all season (apart from the last time we played Swindon). Anyway, after all the pressure we got forward and someone (the sun was in my eyes) put Bradbury in on the right and his cross was turned in by Uwe.

The game underwent another transformation and City looked great – another cross from Jeff Whitley was missed by their ‘keeper and was met by Lee Bradbury with a slow, looping header back over the ‘keeper into the net. There was at least 5 seconds silence – I’m positive everyone thought he had put it over as usual – then the City end erupted as the unthinkable dawned on us, we were 3-1 up and Bradbury was playing a blinder! We were comfortable until the final whistle, when it was good to see how much the result meant to the players.

Final score: Swindon 1-3 City

This was a big win for us on a day when none of the other teams did us any favours. I wouldn’t like to read too much into one result but at least we did something we don’t often do – beat one of the rubbish teams in the division.

Wright (7) Didn’t have much to do but held on well to a couple of shots.
Symons (8) One of the best games I’ve seen from him recently.
Shelia (9) Looked like he was going to have a great game. Hope he’s not badly injured.
Tskhadadze (8) Outstanding.
Briscoe (7) Looked sound but I couldn’t see too much of him from where I was sitting.
Whitley (Jim) Brown, Kinkladze, Whitley (Jeff) All (6) They were all committed and busy; this makes Gio pretty average but he was injured.
Rösler (9) This was more like the old Uwe – and to think I thought he was past it. Let’s hope it wasn’t just a one-off for the new manager.
Russell (7) Looked strong in first half but ran out of steam – perhaps that was the idea with Bradbury waiting to come on.
Wiekens (6) I know some people rate him but he looked a weak link to me, slow and ponderous.
Beardsley (6) Had trouble getting into the game but useful to have around for the rest of the season.
Bradbury (8) A snip at £3.5 million (o.k. so I’m exaggerating). He played a major part in two goals. There were a lot of players pleased for him when that ball went in the net.

Peter Kewley (


SWINDON TOWN vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 21st February 1998

“Can we play you every week?”

As the season drags on and the situation fails to improve, each game seems to become more and more important. After the Bury and Ipswich results last week, the importance of this game against out of form opponents who had been thrashed at Maine Road earlier in the season could not be overstated.

It was raining in Manchester when we set off, but by the time we arrived in Swindon the weather was bright and sunny. Unlike last year when we had to occupy the uncovered Stratton Bank whilst the rain poured down on us. Still, the sun was right in our eyes and it wasn’t easy to pick out the players who were silhouetted against the bright background.

It was good to Willie Donachie back in City colours, leading the lads in some pre-match warm-ups. With Mighty Murt and Michael Brown back from injury, and Lee Briscoe in on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, City lined up as follows:

Symons Tskhadadze Shelia
Jeff Whitley Briscoe
Brown Jim Whitley