Newsletter #379

Firstly, thanks to Steve Bolton for agreeing to take over MCIVTA and send out last Thursday’s issue at very short notice; my absence also led to the omission of several articles which were unfortunately still in my mailbox – apologies.

I’m afraid we have to report another disappointing result, from a game which clearly illustrated why we are where we are. We defended far too deep – allowing the opposition to run up to our penalty area before challenging them; we played a short-passing game which often saw us string 15 passes together and advance about 2 yards; but worst of all, we again committed 2 schoolboy defensive errors. Royle was very philosophical on GMR, pointing out that you don’t turn a team who have only won seven games all season around in just six games.

This issue contains the usual match reports and opinion, as well as another good Why Blue. Of special interest is an article by Gary James (author of the City bible) requesting help in the purchase of roofing sections from the old Hyde Road ground. Additionally, there is a ‘follow-up’ article in reply to criticism (in MCIVTA and on BlueView) of the ‘Why Lee must go’ article – again the poster remains anonymous, but is known to me.

Lastly, this issue also tells us exactly why we are doing so badly! And no, it’s not the curse, and it very neatly explains why we have only done badly since the building of the new Kippax stand!

This one reaches 1,967.

Next game, Port Vale away, Saturday 14th March 1998


MANCHESTER CITY vs. OXFORD UNITED, Saturday 7th March 1998

Normal service was resumed at Maine Road on Saturday, with a ropey City team losing to a ropey Oxford team courtesy of two horrendous defensive blunders and a complete lack of any finishing ability. Yes, we were all hoping for an extension to the winning streak which would have eased relegation worries just a little more and left the eternal optimists amongst us counting the number of points needed to get us into the play-offs. We should have remembered which team we were talking about and accepted the inevitable.

City lined up with Wright, Briscoe, Shelia, Tsh, Symons, Jeff W, Wiekens, Jim W, Bradbury, Beardsley and Rösler. Subs were Brown, Russell and Dickov.

The Kippax was virtually sold out – my brother had rung the morning before for two tickets and was told there were none left in the upper tier and 30 left in the lower tier. The crowd was just under 29,000, which considering there were about 800 Oxford fans only goes to show how daft we all are. Two wins and we think things are going to be okay. Huh.

This reminded me of the game against Bury, with two dire, struggling sides playing terrible football, and City being found lacking when it came to wanting the win. The wind wasn’t helping any attempts to play football as it was swirling round the stadium and grabbing every high ball. Any team that was any good would have realised this early on and played the ball on the ground. Unsurprisingly that didn’t happen. Oxford had big bloke Kevin Francis up front along with Joey Beauchamp, who’s another of the players who always seems to score against us, and were well on top in the first half an hour. Briscoe was again playing well and Beardsley was always a class above, but for fight and commitment Oxford were always going to beat us. Especially fight, dirty gits – it’s a good job Gio wasn’t playing as I can imagine the sort of stick he’d have got from this lot.

Rösler had a running battle with their number 5 all the way through the first half as he was constantly being impeded, kicked, shoved and having his shirt pulled. The ref. didn’t help things either. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a referee quite that naïve. Just because someone falls over it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been fouled you know. He wasn’t biased, it wasn’t that bad (and we can’t even blame the result on that) – it’s just that Oxford realised very early on how to win free kicks and get players booked, and we didn’t.

I can’t remember their ‘keeper having to make a save in the first half, although to be fair I can’t really remember Wright having to make one either. We did have one chance, and a good shout for a penalty, when Bradbury went running down the left, beat the full back and got a cross into the box. There was a bit of a scrap, the Oxford defender fell over and appeared to control the ball with his hand before clearing it. There were two reasons we could think of for a penalty not being given. Firstly, this was a City attack so didn’t constitute a goal scoring chance. Secondly, we’d have missed it anyway so the ref. didn’t see any point in wasting time in taking and raising false hopes – again – amongst the City crowd. Rösler was also given offside when he was running through on goal – the pundits watching the action on the TV screens under the Kippax were firmly of the opinion that he wasn’t offside and I think I’d probably have to agree with them as he didn’t look it.

About five minutes before the end of the first half Wright clashed with one of the Oxford attackers on the edge of the area and had to have treatment. The ref. gave a corner when we all thought it should have been a City free kick. Wright came and caught the ball well on that occasion but was obviously hurt. A couple of minutes later, City decide to try to play the passing game for the first time in the half. Unfortunately, this was a little too close to our penalty area, and it wasn’t really any surprise when the ball found its way to an unmarked Joey Beauchamp who calmly slotted the ball home.

The game didn’t improve much in the second half. Shelia had got a bad knock and went off for Brown. Again, neither ‘keeper really had to make a save. Beardsley seemed to disappear completely, and as for Bradbury – well. It was all summed up when Bradbury had a golden chance about half way through the second half. He actually looked pacey for once, zoomed through the Oxford defence with Rösler right next to him, into the penalty area with only the ‘keeper to beat – and shot weakly into the ‘keeper’s arms. Oh dear. Immediately after that he was substituted for Dickov. The reaction from the crowd when he was taken off isn’t going to have helped matters at all, either, as it’ll have removed any confidence he did have. I suppose ideally he would now go and play for the reserves, score a couple of double hat tricks, get his confidence back, come back into the first team and score 20 goals before the end of the season. It’s just not going to happen though is it? Briscoe was then replaced by Russell who was asked to play at left back. Dodgy. Symons made the best run of the second half, taking on the entire Oxford midfield and beating the lot of them, but there were never any scoring options available and it all came to nought. Jeff Whitley had a good chance but this time the ‘keeper did make a save, tipping it onto the bar.

Ten minutes before the end came the killer blow. Wright made a good save from a shot from Cook and turned the ball out to Russell. Russell then dallied in the penalty area with the ball at his feet (Oi! Mate! Row Z!) waiting to be dispossessed. This happened all too quickly and this time Cook made no mistake. 2-0, and Oxford must have felt it was their birthdays. Here you go boys, we don’t want three points, you may as well have them.

Final score: City 0 Oxford 2

I know I’m still feeling annoyed about this so my thinking may well not be totally rational, but I can’t remember the last time we actually outplayed anyone. We have played a succession of inept teams in the last couple of months and the only times we’ve managed to get a result have been when they’ve been even more inept than us. The win against West Brom wasn’t a good performance, nor the win at Huddersfield, nor, by all accounts, the win at Swindon. I know the only thing that matters from those games is that we got the points but we can’t rely on teams doing us favours the way we do them for others. Teams such as Bury and Oxford seem to want to win and are prepared to battle for it, more than we are capable of doing. Royle’s no fool and I’m sure there were a lot of shame faced players after the game on Saturday but as Portsmouth, Bury and the rest all keep winning we need to do the same.

Nine games left, 27 points, could still see us make the playoffs…

Sharon Bennett


Strange to see (contractual obligations or not) that the club allowed Joe Royle to jet off to Spain to commentate on the Real Betis vs. Chelsea match. He must have been away for the best part of Thursday and Friday. Not ideal preparation for an important match at the crux of City’s survival bid. More unfathomable, however, is the fact that the same team (bar the mysterious exclusion of Brown) that beat Huddersfield should capitulate to a (at best) well organised Oxford.

The formation looked very unbalanced. We looked overrun in midfield with Wiekens playing very deep and Beardsley too far forward. It was left to an admirable effort from Jim Whitley to carry our only threat from this area. The wing backs managed to get forward quite well but unfortunately the final ball from both Briscoe and Whitley (Jeff) was all too often underhit or mis-hit. It has been shown in the last few games that our main threat is from the Georgians at set pieces. We massively construed to under exploit this on Saturday and with the continued impotence of Bradbury and fairly lacklustre Rösler the chances were few and far between.

We did create a few openings. Whitley just failed to chip the ‘keeper after a great run. Tskhadadze headed over an open goal from the one occasion when we did manage to pick him out. Beardsley just missed out with a cheeky free kick that shaved the post. Bradbury tamely sidefooted when one-on-one with the ‘keeper and Brown (when he finally came on) took a shot down and hit it with his left foot all in one movement which just eluded the angle of post and crossbar.

We gave away 2 Sunday league goals. Francis cut out Tskhadadze’s horrendous intended pass for Symons and crossed for an unmarked Beauchamp to score easily. An even worse gaffe by Russell on the edge of his own box allowed Oxford to gain their easiest win of the season. It was a hard match, and I thought Francis’ unpunished tackle on Shelia was a disgrace. The referee was generally weak and failed to control the game with any authority. The unprovoked attack by Oxford’s No.2 on Willie Donachie should have resulted in a red card, but again (to my knowledge) went unpunished.

We cannot disguise the fact that this was another poor performance. Hopefully just a blip in our resurgence under JR. It has to be said though that Joe made a mistake in dropping Brown and should not have fulfilled his (albeit enjoyable) double act with Jonathon Pierce.

Wright 6 – not a bad game but should release the ball earlier and throw instead of kick.
Whitley (Jeff) 7 – another good game but poor crossing.
Briscoe 7 – crossing let him down. Almost plays as an out-and-out winger. Looked to pick up a bad injury and was replaced by Brown – 8.
Symons 7 – did quite well and gaffes aside is looking more comfortable.
Tskhadadze 6 – gave away first goal and resorted to hoofing it up to Rösler and Bradbury.
Shelia 6 – probably his worst game since joining us. Again guilty of some atrocious distribution. Was injured and replaced by Russell – 5.
Whitley (Jim) 7 – had a good first half but tired visibly in second.
Beardsley 7 – didn’t really get into the game until the second half, by which time it was too late.
Bradbury 6 – confidence in tatters. Would give him another few games before bringing in someone else. Sub. Dickov – 5.
Rösler 6 – no support and his performance reminded me of the Clark days.

Ken Foster (


All hyped up with the previous week’s results I was full of hope for a hat-trick of wins (the first for 2 and a bit years!). Before the game I was even contemplating buying a season ticket for next season. I got to the ground to find around 500 people queueing to get their tickets from 2 windows at the ticket office, this was at 2.15. By 2.55 the queue was twice as long and I managed to get my tickets. The ticket office finally opened a third window (too late if you ask me). People say there is a lot wrong at Maine Road and they have no chance in sorting things out if they can’t run a ticket office properly.

Anyway, the game. Again 28,000+ made it into Maine Road and everyone was expecting a win. The crowd got behind the team from the start and to be fair City started well. For once this season we looked like we could actually play football. Beardsley is a good stop gap for Kinkladze, possibly better than him because he controls the whole team and he isn’t greedy on the ball. Oxford had a handful of chances and Tommy Wright pulled off a couple of good saves. But throughout the first half City did their best to miss all of their chances. Then the inevitable happened, we were our own enemy again. Complacent defending led to Oxford scoring their first. Two minutes later the half time whistle blew. Still all to play for, after all we had scored 7 goals in 3 games.

Second half, what can I say? The attacking City we had seen in the first half had left the ground to be replaced by a scared bunch of boys. City seemed to lose their vigour and Oxford started to put the pressure on. After a few strong words by Royle, City livened up again. City reached a climax of an attacking period with Bradbury clean through, Rösler to his left, 18 yards to beat the ‘keeper in, and… and… and he side foots it into the ‘keeper’s hands. Rösler and 27,000 City fans were furious. Royle responded to that and Bradbury was replaced by Dickov. This got the biggest cheer of the day. Soon Brown was also brought on. Between them they had more half decent chances than City had had for the whole game. But it was too late. Another defensive error and it was 2-0 Oxford. At this point I left along with about 14,000 other fans.

A few points on Royle’s managerial decisions:

  1. Why give Jim Whitley the job of marking the biggest player on thefield? He looked like a dwarf against Francis of Oxford. We havetwo big blokes in Shelia and Symons who could have done the job.
  2. Symons, enough said.
  3. Why was Brown on the bench, he is one of the best and mostenthusiastic players we have at the moment. Once he came on he waseverywhere and even had a couple of shots.
  4. Why play Bradbury? So far he has cost us around £1 million pergoal. What a waste!

General points:

I feel that one of the problems is that the players earn too much. Cut the basic wage and increase the win bonus. Once the players feel the pinch on their purses they might start wanting to win.

The crowd cannot be to blame for City’s dreadful performances, as all commentators suggest. Yes we do get upset when we lose, why because we love the club. The players should respond to that loyalty and up their game. Newcastle a couple of seasons ago were getting gates of 10,000 for their First Division games!

CTID, Andy Holgate (



“We want ten!”

My plan for this night was to get the 18:12 train from Piccadilly to Huddersfield, get something to eat there and leisurely make my way to the ground. As it happened, the train was over half an hour late and I got in with only a few minutes to spare, still hungry. I then discovered that my seat was in the 3rd row, unprotected from the drizzle and so low that it was difficult to see what was going on at the other end of the pitch. Not the best of starts to the evening’s entertainment!

The stand behind the goal was packed with Blues and we were in good voice. All the City names were cheered as they were read out, though there was a bit of a titter at the announcer’s attempt at “Tskhadadze”. City lined up as follows:

    Shelia    Symons    Tskhadadze
Jeff Whitley  Wiekens  Brown  Briscoe
        Bradbury      Rösler

On the bench were Dickov, Russell and Jim Whitley.

As usual, City started quite well and forced the pace early on, winning several corners which we are looking very dangerous from these days. In the 10th minute, one of these corners led to the Blues taking the lead. Beardsley delivered the ball quite deep and Kakhaber “King of the Air” Tskhadadze powered a header goalwards, albeit straight towards the ‘keeper. However, Wiekens was standing right in front of the ‘keeper and managed to divert the ball away from him and into the other side of the goal. Cue grand celebrations from the fans at the other end of the ground, most of whom were wondering who the goalscorer was… and whether City could hold out for another 80 minutes!

The home side soon started to rally and come more into the game but they seemed to be limited to shots from outside the area, with City’s big defenders clearing anything in the air quite comfortably. Tommy Wright had to get down sharply to divert one good shot past the post and another effort over the bar from Allison, who had managed to wriggle round Symons and hook in a shot that was heading just under the bar. City’s main problem throughout the match was keeping the ball once we had it. The pitch was quite greasy with all the rain so a lot of the long balls played up for Rösler and Bradbury to chase skidded out of play. Wiekens, Brown and Beardsley were being hassled off the ball by the home midfield players before a telling pass could be made, and this served to increase the pressure on our defence. Shelia was rather harshly booked for holding a player whilst he tackled him but a more mysterious decision was to follow a few minutes before the break. The ball bobbled loose in the City penalty area and Wright came out to claim it. However, he hesitated briefly for some unknown reason (he would certainly have got the ball if he hadn’t hesitated) and several players of each side went in to challenge for the ball. Amidst all this the referee’s whistle blew and it seemed he’d awarded us a free kick. But no! Despite there being no claims from the home side, he’d awarded a penalty! Paul Dalton took the kick, Tommy Wright dived to his right and the ball went straight down the middle where Wright had been standing. One each.

The home fans, roused by the equaliser, started making some noise at this point. However, the City heads didn’t go down and we had a sustained spell of pressure as the half came to a close. There was plenty of injury time due to some time-wasting by Wright (either that or he’s not very good at tying his bootlaces) and as we entered the 47th minute of the first half, we were back in the lead. Once again the source was a cross from Beardsley, this time a low one from open play which skidded across the edge of the 6 yard box. Rösler and two defenders missed it completely at the near post, which left Lee Briscoe with an open goal to aim at at the far post. As Clive Tyldesley once said – “I could have scored that.” The half time whistle went shortly afterwards and there were plenty of smiling faces amongst the travelling support.

City won the half time penalty shoot-out, largely due to a fine display of goalkeeping by Moonchester, who seems to be very popular with fans both young and old these days.

The second half started only a few minutes before 9pm, over ten minutes late, but thanks to the clear display of elapsed time on the scoreboard behind us, there weren’t any whistles from the crowd for full time with 10 minutes of normal time still to go like there were at Birmingham. City were attacking the goal at our end, or rather we would have been if we could get the ball. Huddersfield put us under plenty of pressure, winning a stream of corners as we defended very deep. There were a number of what looked to be near misses but it was difficult to tell how far exactly they had missed by from where I was. Then, halfway through the second period, City scored what turned out to be the killer 3rd goal, very much against the run of play. Again it was a Beardsley corner, hit to a position about level with the far post and 15 yards out. The ball was met by Tskhadadze again, attacking the ball very positively and powering his header goalwards. The ball struck the inside of the post and bounced into the net right in front of us. Oh the joy! Pretty well the whole team went over to the bench to celebrate, surely a sign of good team spirit.

With the luxury of a two-goal lead, City’s confidence seemed to improve and we started playing the ball around a bit and looked dangerous on the break. Jim Whitley and Craig Russell came on to give us some fresh legs as the minutes ticked away. I was hoping that we’d get another goal as a two-goal lead just never seems to be quite enough for us but to be fair we didn’t really come close to letting in another goal. Three very valuable points in a very important game, but very significantly it was the first time we’d managed back-to-back league wins for 11 months. This should be a big boost to the squad’s morale and if we can win again in the 6-pointer against Oxford on Saturday I can see us starting to play with a bit of swagger rather than simply grinding out results as we have been doing. Still, it’s results that matter right now and we got what we needed from this trip to Yorkshire. Not only that but the other results went our way too. So, the night didn’t turn out too bad after all!

Paul Howarth (


Football365, the Internet’s first daily football newspaper, should soon be with us. The paper has recently be sending out test transmission pages in preparation for its big launch. One of Football365’s aims is to deliver a personalised newspaper into its readers’ mailboxes, providing them with the news of their own clubs. City are unlikely to be forgotten, as we’re so proficient at providing column inches, and Steve Anglesey, former editor of City Magazine, is one of the paper’s journalists.

An interesting development and worth watching (and it’s free!). Find it at This interesting gem is from the test edition of 3rd March:

“Having already appointed his old mate Willie Donachie as his assistant, Manchester City boss Joe Royle is returning to another face from the past in his attempt to shore up City’s defence. Everton centre half and club captain Dave Watson has been in talks with his old manager about a move to Maine Road. City may feel they need defensive cover in case they have to hurriedly sell Kit Symons, out of contract at the end of the season and so far no nearer signing a new one. Bizarrely, Derby are said to be monitoring the Symons situation. Meanwhile the never-ending cockupathon at Maine Road continues. Last week’s bizarre press reports that City had accepted a £250,000 offer from Charlton for Northern Irish midfielder Kevin Horlock (who cost City £1.25 million from Swindon just a year ago and who has been a shining light in an otherwise bleak season) were traced back to the selling club itself. City then issued a stern denial saying that the player involved was not Horlock but winger Neil Heaney. Only trouble is that Charlton have now denied that they were ever interested in Heaney!”

David Butler (


Most if not all the branches are struggling to maintain their numbers at present, due mainly to the poor league position, and the fact that no players/officials are going out to meet the supporters, at branch level. Now JR has moved in, if the team can improve, they may start to attend branch meetings again, this is something that most/all branches have brought to the attention of the OSC, if not the club as well, with little or no response from MCFC.

Anyway, on to more enjoyable things, the Macclesfield Branch will be holding a Testimonial Race Night on the 29th March for Ian Brightwell. We are inviting as many local branches as possible. Ian will be there on the night with some of the first team! This event will be run by Ian and his committee, with all proceeds going to Ian, so if any of your members fancy a good night out with other City fans come along to the Race Night on 29th March. This is an all-ticket event with a maximum of 100 guests; we will have about 50-60 of our members present so book early if you can. It all starts at 7.30pm.

The Macc Branch are also running an end of season party (pi**-up) at the Oasis Suite on the 9th May,- disco, 3 course dinner, late bar, special guests! For only £12.50 again this will be open to all local or any branch who wish to join in. Attending will be: Cheadle, North-Staffs, Higher Openshaw, Middlewich, and Macc. We had our Xmas party there and it was a top night, with great food; come along and join in the fun. For more details contact Iain on 01625-265436.

Chris Woolley (


While watching MotD on Saturday night, I compared the contrasting fortunes of my beloved Manchester City with those of Coventry City, who only three years ago were playing in the same league with similar success.

CCFC: Chairman realises that without Sky money the future of the club is bleak. Premiership survival is a must!
MCFC: Chairman realises that without Sky money the future of the club is bleak. Premiership survival is a must!

CCFC: Board gives the manager a lot of cash to buy new players.
MCFC: Board gives the manager some money, but he also has to sell some players.

CCFC: Chairman realises that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys – so good wages are paid.
MCFC: Chairman insists that the wage bill must be pruned.

CCFC: Announce the club’s managerial succession policy and stick to it, come hell or high water.
MCFC: Sack the manager for keeping the club in the Premiership.

CCFC: Don’t sell their best players.
MCFC: Do sell their best players.

CCFC: Spend a stack of cash on good young players who will play for many years to come.
MCFC: Spend a stack of cash on buying players that don’t ask for too much money. Unfortunately they turn out to be donkeys that nobody else will buy when we have no further use for them – thus making the wage bill balloon even more.

CCFC: Go 8 games unbeaten and look a good bet for the F.A. Cup and a good outside bet for next year’s Premiership.
MCFC: The worst team in the history of the club. So bad that they could be relegated to the Second Division. As a result they sack the manager again.

It makes interesting reading doesn’t it!

Richard Mottershead (


The following is an extract from Saturday’s (07/03/98) Electronic Telegraph, by a certain Robert Phillip about Atletico Madrid’s chairman Jesus Gil. Following our managerial upheavals it proves the saying “There’s always someone worse off than you are.” Incidentally the ET is an excellent website –

Still on the continental drift, for John Gregory’s sake it is to be hoped that Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis did not pick up any tips from Atletico Madrid president Jesus Gil y Gil during their chin-wag after the clubs’ UEFA Cup encounter.

For compared to Jesus, Ellis, who has guillotined a mere 11 managers in 10 years, is a saint. There are over three million people unemployed in Spain and about half of them, so it is said, are former Atletico coaches. The list includes Ron Atkinson, who lasted 95 days, and Brazilian Joaquin Peiro, chopped even before the first game of the season; apparently Gil did not like the look of him when he saw the official team photograph.

Unpopularly known as Caligula – “I would rather talk to my horse than a reporter” – Gil habitually refers to tabloid journalists as “whores” and referees as “homosexuals” or “beings lower than a dachshund’s arse”. “Appointing a coach means no more to me than ordering a glass of sherry,” is one of the little homilies he may have shared with Deadly Doug, “and I don’t care if I have to try 100 glasses a year to find the right one.” The man is exaggerating, of course, to date he has sampled only 30-odd in the past decade.

And so although current coach Raddy Antic, the one-time Southampton full-back, is in his third season at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, he should heed the words of another Atletico “ex”, former Argentina manager Cesar Luis Menotti. “Jesus takes you for a drive in his Ferrari, opens the door and flings you out at 150 mph; next day he sends roses, he weeps, he hugs you, he tells you how sorry he feels things had to end this way.”

After reading the above it makes our list of 18 managers in 25 years (17 if you count big Mal’s two visits as one) pale into insignificance.

CTID, Dave Ball, Hyde (


The latest crackpot idea as to why we’re in the mess we’re in comes from Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement and latest fad for the idle middle-classes.

“Famed Manchester expert” Lindsay Reade recently wandered around Maine Road with an Evening News journo, gazed upon the Kippax and declared: “I don’t think you have to be an expert on the art of Feng Shui to feel the malign energy of that stand. The worst thing about it is not the height but the sharp angle of the metal framework directed towards the pitch. It actually resembles a blade attacking the pitch.” Apparently the northern stand(sic) does encourage chi (beneficial energy) but the Kippax sha’s all over us, sending malign energy coursing round the place. The ground’s in the wrong place, isn’t sufficiently rounded and the lavs and the bins in the south-east corner are in the “wealth area”. Oh, and of course, red is a more energising colour than blue.

So we’re well and truly fenged up. Next theory please…

David Butler (


In MCIVTA 378: “Can anybody tell me whether there is a mathematical possibility of a play-off place this season?” – Johnathan Seitler.

Yes, I can. I’ve been saying since the start of the season that we can still make it to the play-offs, and I’m not about to stop now.

We have 39 points from 36 games. If we win every remaining game, that takes us to 69. So, if every team between us and the last play-off place fails to top 68, then we’re there. Of course, six of them will already have lost to us, so we just need to work out the likelihood that each of them fails to get enough from their remaining games.

Based on performance so far this season, the key figures are:

               A    B    C    D         E

where A is games played so far, B is current points, C is games remaining (excluding the City match, which they will lose), D is average points per match, and E is likelihood that they won’t reach 69 points. If we multiply up column E, that gives the likelihood that none of them reach 69 as being about 1%. So, we just need to know how likely it is that we win the remaining 10. Since we’ve been winning 28% of games, that comes out at about 3 in a million.

So, if we keep playing like we have been, our chance of getting to the play-offs is 3 in 100 million, or about half as likely as your chance of winning next week’s lottery. But it is a chance… and the important thing is the 1 in 100 chance that everyone else blows it and leaves our fate in our own hands.

Yours bluely, Dorien James – Cambridge Maths First, 1983 (


C’mon you mob – Channel Four are running a Best Goal of All Time internet vote, with the best five goals to be shown in two weeks’ time. Response seems crap so far, so, if you can, stick in a vote for Dennis Law’s backheel against Man U. Can anyone remember the year?

The URL is:

You know it makes sense.

I think I might ask the Bolton Wanderers mob to do the same…

Various people off BlueView


This is an open address to Mickey Francis, author of “Guvnors”.

I’ve just finished your book. For those who aren’t aware, it catalogues all the football violence you were involved with under the name of Manchester City football club. I must admit it sounds like you had a whale of a time. No regrets, just a bit of a laugh. You’d never get mixed up in any of that drugs, guns or knife stuff. You were just a traditional hooligan. You only had your fun with those on the opposing who were after a bit of a ruck. Well I suppose that makes it alright then.

There are however a few points I’d like to take issue with if I may. The first thing I noticed was how little football you mention. In fact only scorelines were mentioned in your book, no on the pitch action. Now I’ve been a fan of Man City since I was four-years-old. I started going in 1975, I’ve always watched the match and enjoyed it whether the score was one way or the other. You made such a big thing in your book about City this, City that, but City never really came into it at any point. You were from Moss Side and your weekend pastime was fighting. Football had nothing to do with it. When you say you were City through and through, when was that exactly?

The second point and it’s one that upsets me is the rash racist generalisations you make such as “Everyone hates scousers”. Well I don’t hate scousers or Leeds or Man U or the cockneys or anyone else for that matter. I’d maybe have expected you, being black, to have been less racist than that.

Your philosophy of all standing together and fighting and respecting people who give you a good kicking just frightens me. For a start it’s such a shallow cliché but secondly, how is our society ever to improve if violence and loyalty in a fight is valued above all else?

The thing that really upset me above all else was your claim that the only people that ever got hurt were those that were there for the trouble. Now I admire this philosophy as far as it goes and as a kid sat in the North stand I don’t remember seeing lots of pitched battles. The only invasion I remember was at Leeds when they invaded the pitch and I was too far away to get scared. However, I went to Stoke last season, I was late for the kick off, I was on my own and as a bloke of twenty five. I got punched in the street even though I wasn’t wearing any colours. I said I was a Stoke fan because I wasn’t after a fight. I was scared, I was upset. Now if I go to a game I’m always scared before I get in the ground, I’m scared coming out of the ground. Now I’m sure you’d call me naïve, a coward, whatever, maybe not even a proper City fan but what I want you to realise is the way I feel going to watch the team and sport I love is down to you and all the people like you who think it’s just a bit of fun, just a good buzz.

You see, in conclusion there are a few things in life I’ve just never understood, racism, violence, unfortunately these things seem to be prevalent in football. I know your dad used to hit you but spare me the sixth form psychobabble please, there is not one good excuse or reason for your behaviour in your book.

Despite these points I admire your honesty, I admire the fact that you say you were just a thug and I don’t think you really try to make up excuses for your actions either, which is also very honest of you. I’m glad you’re not into the violence any more and I’m glad you’ve made something of your life and you’re happy with it. I’d like to meet you and talk to you. I’d like to get into your head more and find out the reasons you did it.

But I’m still uneasy. I got the feeling from the end of your book that it’s a bit like an addiction. That given the opportunity you’d seriously consider taking up where you left off. I feel that you think you still had something to prove when you were locked up. You wanted to be the top firm. What I’m really worried about though is that there’s some kid in Moss Side reading your book thinking he won’t get hurt, it sounds like a bit of a laugh. It never did Mickey Francis any harm and now he’s even got to write a book about it.

Name withheld by request


Being a bit of a saddo I’ve just entered a free draw. 4th prize is a choice of electricals. You have to tick which one you would want. You don’t need three guesses to know that I’ve gone for the Canon camera and not the item on offer from our ‘favourite’ electrical company.

Tim Edmondson (Tim.abroad@hotmail)


To the Man City soccer team,

Congratulations on finally putting two wins in a row. Wishing you all the best this Saturday against Oxford and hoping you make it three in a row. We need all the points we can get and I have faith in us staying in Division One and putting it together next season for our return to the Premiership.

I’ve been a City fan for 30 years and staying in Division One is nothing more important to me where United fans outnumber City here in Singapore by 100-1.

Chris Tan (


This is a bit of a strange story, but I feel it’s one you will be interested in. It probably sounds a bit sad, but bear with it! Basically, I have found and identified five metal sections from City’s old Popular Side roof at Hyde Road. These sections are currently supporting the roof of a warehouse due to be demolished in about four weeks time [late March]. The owner would either like to cut up the sections into l ft long pieces and sell them for charity, or preserve at least three of the sections for possible use in a City/football museum. Unless we do something soon the entire metalwork will disappear for good.

As you know, City moved from Hyde Road in 1923 and so the roof has been ‘missing’ for 75 years. In some ways this story is a bit like the search for the Titanic – everybody knew it was around, but until relatively recently it was missing. Now that it’s been found, I think everybody will want the chance to see it at least.

Naturally, I want to find people who may be interested in saving the five sections and basically anybody else interested in the story. I know this may seem an unusual story, however I believe it’s an important one. I’m convinced the original structure was erected by a company called Humphreys who also erected multi-spans at other venues. It’s possible the structure is of the same construction as a similar roof at Highbury or Molineux and, as Humphreys seemed to be mass builders of football stands during the period 1900-1920, the remaining sections may prove of interest to more general followers of sports architecture.

The original ‘Popular Side’ roof was erected at Hyde Road in 1910 and, following City’s move to Maine Road, was dismantled during 1923/24. These five sections were re-erected during the mid 1920s and the warehouse itself was built to fit the roof, rather than adapting the roof. They currently reside in Sale and I examined them last week. After comparing them with photos (particularly the photos on pages 83 & 95 of my latest book), I am 100% convinced they are genuine. I’ve enclosed a photo which basically shows them as they are today. I think you’ll agree they are the same.

[Sorry. no photo – Ashley]

You may be wondering where all of this leaves us? Well, I’ve approached City and am trying to persuade the club to take the matter seriously. They do seem interested but I doubt they’re convinced they can do anything or that City fans will be interested. You know what City are like! I believe we need to take the matter into our own hands in some way, and feel that a group of interested supporters may be able to achieve much more.

The owner of the warehouse is prepared to put in some work to save the five sections, and is prepared to cut up the sections if required. He does not want to make a profit in any way, although he will need to cover his costs. He would like to give any profit to charity.

He sees 1 ft long sections being sold for, say, £10 plus postage, with some kind of metal plate attached stating what the piece of metal is. I think that’s a very good idea, but I’d like to go a little further and sell the metal with a certificate/A4 sheet outlining the history of the section and possibly including two photos – one of the stand at Hyde Road and one of the section prior to cutting this year. I would also like to see at least two of the sections saved in their entirety so that one day they may form part of a City museum (or even more general footy museum).

I would like to get a group of supporters together quickly in an attempt to save what’s left of the Popular Side roof ASAP. The owner of the warehouse will get involved, and I will but we need as many committed people as we can get. Do you know anyone who might be able to help in one form or another? Do you feel supporters will be interested in buying pieces of the old roof?

City have told me they don’t believe fans will be interested. They’ve said no one was interested in buying sections of the Kippax and that the Kippax means more to fans than Hyde Road. I disagree with both those statements. In 1994 I tried to encourage the club to sell Kippax souvenirs (Huddersfield did it successfully when they moved grounds!), but the club were more concerned about demolishing the old stand quickly and building the new one (although they still took their time!). They didn’t even try to find out if there was a market for this sort of thing. Also, the chance to buy a piece of City’s first ground is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I firmly believe there are at least 1,000 supporters interested enough to buy a piece for a sensible price. It’s not as if every piece needs to be bought within six months – once cut into 1 ft long pieces the club could sell them over a few years if need be.

I wish I could find out exactly how many fans ‘took’ sections of the Kippax and/or Platt Lane before or during redevelopment. I know Philip Noble has a Platt Lane bench; I’ve got some concrete terracing (a step!); others have got bar signs (I believe the Colin Bell Bar sign lives in Gamesley) etc.

Gary James can be contacted care of publishers ACL Colour Print & Polar Publishing (UK) Ltd. at 2 Uxbridge Road, Leicester, LE4 7ST.

Sent in by Noel Bayley


For those of us sweating in the lower regions of the table I’ve just knocked up the following list of remaining fixtures – some dates may be out by 24 hours due to re-arranged fixtures that are being covered live on Sky TV.

Current Table 8/3/98

14. Oxford          36    12   8  16    45  -  50    44
15. Norwich         37    11  11  15    36  -  56    44
16. Queen's_PR      37    10  13  14    42  -  51    43
17. Bury            37     8  18  11    35  -  43    42
18. Portsmouth      36    11   7  18    40  -  51    40
19. Tranmere        35    10  10  15    37  -  42    40
20. Manchester_C    37    10   9  18    41  -  44    39
21. Huddersfield    37    10   9  18    39  -  57    39
22. Reading         36    10   9  17    36  -  59    39
23. Port_Vale       37    10   8  19    42  -  53    38
24. Stoke           37     8  13  16    35  -  52    37

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – HOME vs Stoke
Fixture for Tuesday, March 17 1998 – HOME vs Reading
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – AWAY vs Bury
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – HOME vs Norwich
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – AWAY vs Port Vale
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – HOME vs Swindon
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – AWAY vs QPR
Fixture for Saturday, April 18 1998 – HOME vs Tranmere
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – HOME vs Birmingham
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – AWAY vs Boro

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – HOME vs WBA
Fixture for Sunday, March 22 1998 – AWAY vs Boro
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – AWAY vs Oxford
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME vs Bradford
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – AWAY vs Sheff Utd
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Huddersfield
Fixture for Saturday, April 18 1998 – AWAY vs Stoke
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – HOME vs Swindon
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – AWAY vs Reading

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – HOME vs Swindon
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – AWAY vs Stoke
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – AWAY vs Huddersfield
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME vs Wolves
Fixture for Friday, April 10 1998 – AWAY vs Sunderland
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Oxford
Fixture for Saturday, April 18 1998 – AWAY vs Bradford
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – AWAY vs Man City
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – HOME vs Bury

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – AWAY vs Forest
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – HOME vs Oxford
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – AWAY vs Sunderland
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME vs Huddersfield
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – AWAY vs Boro
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Bradford
Fixture for Saturday, April 18 1998 – AWAY vs Sheff Utd
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – HOME vs Ipswich
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – AWAY vs QPR

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – HOME vs Boro
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – AWAY vs Sunderland
Fixture for Sunday, March 29 1998 – AWAY vs Wolves
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME vs Birmingham
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – AWAY vs Stoke
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Ipswich
Fxtures for Saturday, April 18 1998 – AWAY vs Charlton
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – HOME vs Huddersfield
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – AWAY vs Bradford
Date TBA Tranmere Vs Portsmouth

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – AWAY vs Huddersfield
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – HOME vs Bradford
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – AWAY vs Stoke
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME Vs Sunderland
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – AWAY vs Ipswich
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Stockport
Fixture for Saturday, April 18 1998 – AWAY vs Oxford
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – AWAY vs Charlton
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – HOME vs Wolves
Date TBA Tranmere Vs Portsmouth
Date TBA Tranmere Vs Sheff Utd

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – AWAY vs Port Vale
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – HOME vs Sheff Utd
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – AWAY vs Bradford
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME vs Stockport
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – AWAY vs Wolves
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Birmingham
Fixture for Friday, April 17 1998 – AWAY vs Boro
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – HOME vs QPR
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – AWAY vs Stoke

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – HOME vs Tranmere
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – AWAY vs Reading
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – HOME vs QPR
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – AWAY vs Bury
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – HOME vs Crewe
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – AWAY vs Norwich
Fixturesfor Saturday, April 18 1998 – HOME vs WBA
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – AWAY vs Portsmouth
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – HOME vs Port Vale

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – AWAY vs Sheff Utd
Fixture for Tuesday, March 17 1998 – AWAY vs Oxford
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – HOME vs Huddersfield
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – AWAY vs Ipswich
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME vs Stoke
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – AWAY vs Charlton
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Boro
Fixturs for Saturday, April 18 1998 – AWAY vs Wolves
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – AWAT vs Forest
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – HOME vs Norwich

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – HOME vs Man City
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – AWAY vs WBA
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – AWAY vs Sheff Utd
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – HOME vs Oxford
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – AWAY vs Birmingham
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – HOME vs Charlton
Fixture for Saturday, April 18 1998 – AWAY vs Ipswich
Fixture for Friday, April 24 1998 – HOME vs Boro
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – AWAY vs Huddersfield

Fixture for Saturday, March 14 1998 – AWAY vs Oxford
Fixture for Saturday, March 21 1998 – HOME vs QPR
Fixture for Saturday, March 28 1998 – HOME vs Tranmere
Fixture for Saturday, April 4 1998 – AWAY vs Reading
Fixture for Saturday, April 11 1998 – HOME vs Portsmouth
Fixture for Monday, April 13 1998 – AWAY vs Crewe
Fixture for Saturday, April 18 1998 – HOME vs Norwich
Fixture for Saturday, April 25 1998 – AWAY vs Sunderland
Fixture for Sunday, May 3 1998 – HOME vs Man City

Gary Benson, PVFC WWW Site Maintainer (


A league table of spending since last summer for Division One clubs has revealed some interesting facts.

Here is: The League Table of Spending

Manchester City£6,860,000
Birmingham City£2,695,000
Bradford City£1,935,000
West Bromwich£1,040,000
Queens Park R.£1,025,000
Sheffield U£95,000
Swindon Town-£290,000
Ipswich town-£800,000
Port Vale-£1,100,000
Oxford United-£1,330,000
Tranmere Rovers£1,965,000
Crewe Alexandra-£2,330,000
Stockport County-£2,485,000
Stoke City-£3,650,000

Well at least we are top of something, although if all the selling goes ahead we could be in relegation trouble again!

John Warrington (


I would just like to correct the announcement made at the home game against Bury. The young married couple introduced to the crowd as the first couple to get married at Maine Road is incorrect – I got married at Maine Road on the 24th May last year at the top of the Kippax – followed by photos on the pitch afterwards and group family/friends photos sat in the Directors’ Box.

I was advised then that we were the second couple to get married at the Academy. A great time was had by all, we got a registrar from the City centre to come to the ground and perform the marriage ceremony, the hospitality, the caterers, the whole day was fantastic. I’m a strong supporter of not destroying Maine Road and making it a rugby ground or Tesco superstore – the place is a second home, a Mecca for long suffering Blues, brought up on a diet of City’s glorious eighties football!

It was a magic moment when myself and my best man Mike Thwaite, avid City fans since birth played football along the touch-line in front of the Kippax, and did the usual boyish gestures of running out onto the pitch and sitting on the bench. Dreams sometimes come true – playing football on the pitch of your heroes (unfortunately the crowd was only 50 strong and therefore the City till I die and Blue Moon singing was a bit tame and echoed around the ground).

Despite my years of exile down south, the City faith still remains strong despite the years of misery and disappointment. I have a two and a half year old son who as followed myself and my father and my grandfather down the road of blue blood. Cries of ‘Come on City’, ‘Uwe, Uwe’ and a few mumbled words of ‘Blue Moon’ have been heard coming from his bedroom in the morning as he lays in bed.

It is amazing, I work for a large UK company with offices around the country, yet you always manage to seek out fellow Blues – I have made some good friends this way – MCIVTA please keep up the work all your articles are of interest and it’s great to keep touch with the latest news and views.

Forever Blue, Garry Hartley (


This piece is a reply to comments on Blue View following my posting in MCIVTA 376. I have not replied on Blue View as my “Ragwatch address” would make very clear where I am posting from and by extension who I am.

I am well aware that my insistence on anonymity is bound to raise suspicions that I am simply seeking to stir up trouble. For anyone with these intentions, anonymously claiming to be party to confidential information but asserting that it cannot be revealed is a fairly obvious trick. I can only repeat that I have no ulterior motive. I have no interest in driving the share price down – I have the personal resources to buy only a token number of shares and have no connection with any potential investors. Neither am I employed by the club. I am simply a fan who happens through his job to have acquired some knowledge of the club’s workings.

I hoped that doubts over my motives would be allayed to some degree by the fact that I provided details to the editor of MCIVTA both of the type of information to which I have had access and how I have managed to come by it. I would refer to his comments in the introduction to MCIVTA 376: “Having access to information denied to the majority of us, the author can speak with some authority on higher management at the club.” These were not my own words but offer an independent view of my credentials to speak on this topic. Allegations that my comments were simply scurrilous muck-raking imply either that the editor is gullible or that he is somehow conspiring with me. Neither is true.

I stand by my assessment of Francis Lee’s chairmanship and still consider it perfectly proper to raise this issue. Our club is in the worst position in its history. It is heavily in debt and is losing money. Who is in charge and whether additional funds are invested will be critical issues in determining whether we can reverse our decline. I know that it is crucial that relegation is avoided, and am as delighted as anyone at the last two results. The fact that I wish to debate the wider picture at the club has no bearing on my support for the team. I oppose the idea of demonstrations at this season’s remaining fixtures, for example. I do not want changes to be made in the next two months, as I agree that this would detract from our relegation fight. Nevertheless, I believe that it is perfectly fitting for us to keep an eye on the future and think about how we can ensure that the 1997-98 season marks the point where our decline ends.

I simply believe that we should not forget, come May 4, that there are serious matters concerning control of the club which need to be addressed. There are major problems at the club and, while I desperately hope that we avoid relegation this season, I believe that the club will not make real progress until those problems are resolved. The fact that I have criticised Lee does not mean that I hold him responsible for everything which has gone wrong at the club this season. A whole range of contributors have discussed the performance of the previous manager and the failings of the players. I realise that the results are not down to Francis Lee. This does not mean that it is wrong to discuss his rôle at the club, and I consider that he is at the root of many of the problems to which I have referred.

The point is not, as one Blue View posting suggested, that I have an excessively “high opinion of my opinion”. I fully appreciate that others may have differing views and that they are perfectly entitled to express them. However, a primary function of MCIVTA is to serve as a forum for opinions. I simply added mine. I know I did so at great length – I was attempting to explain why I feel the way I do and to quote pertinent facts in support of my assertions. I am aware I offered no new revelations, but do not see what effect novelty has on an argument’s validity. By definition, opinions are not right or wrong and I would not suggest that mine are necessarily the only fitting conclusions. However, I do believe that I at least put forward an arguable case against Francis Lee.

I stated in my previous piece that I was aware of information on the club which is not widely known. I did so, perhaps naïvely, to add weight to my opinions. I was careful not to exaggerate the extent of my knowledge, but I genuinely believe I have a greater insight into the club than most fans. I thought it worth outlining the opportunity I have had to discover information about the club and emphasising that this had made me view Francis Lee in a less positive light. I went no further because I am very uneasy about doing so. I believe this is understandable.

In my calculations as to whether I should submit my views at all, whether I should request the editor to publish it anonymously and to what extent I should refer to my knowledge of facts surrounding the club, I have constantly had regard to the nature of the person I am criticising. I have witnessed at first hand how someone whose criticism angered Lee was treated. Then there is the example of Dave Wallace, which I quoted in my previous piece. Consider also what happened when Paul Hince published an article in the Manchester Evening News and Lee disapproved of the content. Lee demanded a meeting with Hince and the paper’s editor at which he threatened Hince that he could have 5,000 people march on the paper’s offices demanding his sacking. I am reluctant to provide anyone (and especially someone of the nature I have just described) with such an obvious stick with which to beat me as a chance to report me to my professional body.

The best way for me to do this is not to breach professional standards to which I am subject. An additional safeguard is to maintain my anonymity – even a groundless complaint would cause me unwanted problems and no-one can make a complaint against me if they do not know who I am. Maybe it seems that I am paranoid about this and I know it has the ring of a convenient excuse. I simply ask you to look at the possible consequences for me. I do not want to be hauled before a committee in London and have to justify why my career should not be terminated. I have worked hard to achieve what I have managed to achieve in my career and do not want to put this at risk. I have family obligations and financial commitments which I would be unable to meet were I to be prevented from practicing my profession and to lose my job as a result. I am not prepared to reveal the full extent of what I know for these reasons and not because my claims of inside knowledge are untrue. I do not apologise for this. I do not believe that any other fan would take these risks in order to ensure that fellow fans were well informed.

I appreciate that by adopting such a stance, the credibility of my claims is not enhanced. I have thought long and hard about this over the last few days. Essentially, it seems to me that I have three choices. Firstly, I can say nothing further at all, but I feel that this would give the impression that those who have doubted my motives may be right. Secondly, I could reveal extensive details about what I know and simply hope that the shield of anonymity will protect me; I will not do so, because there is a risk that someone will guess who I am and this risk increases considerably if I reveal exactly which matters I was involved with. I have therefore chosen the third option, which is to address the issues in more detail, giving some explanation of why I hold certain views, while choosing my words with great care.

In my previous posting, I said that the most serious charge made against Francis Lee was that he has blocked the investment of much-needed funds in our club. I quoted the comments of two shareholders to this effect and I hinted that I sympathised with their views. I do, and with good reason. This is because I am aware of interest there has been in Manchester City from potential investors over a period dating from before our relegation. While I have not actually been present at negotiations, I have had access to sources who can provide reliable information about them and have seen other documentation. My confirmed conclusion is that Francis Lee is only prepared to consider potential investment if he considers that this will not be detrimental to his own position. I do not feel that the club’s best interests have always been served by this approach.

I know that both before and after our relegation, there was interest in City from several groupings, and while there were doubts over the viability of some of the prospective investments, some were certainly serious. While I do not know if the unlikely sounding Arab consortium fell into this category, I know that it was treated seriously at the time by at least one director and one significant shareholder, though not by Lee – remember his “bunch of bloody Bedouins” quote. I have been told that Lee was not interested in investment bids at this stage because he did not want to see his own position weakened and felt that City would have no problem in returning to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

Despite being aware of the club’s horrendous debts, my information is that Lee reconciled himself to a reduction in his influence only after City’s poor start to the 1996-97 season, our desperate search for a new manager and the fact that the one we appointed walked out after a month made clear that the Premiership return may not quite be the formality he had thought. This coincided with the flotation of Stephen Boler’s company, which provided him with spare funds to protect his investment. It is well documented that Boler has no wish to play an active rôle in the club. This meant that he was happy for Lee to remain in the rôle of chairman.

More than one source has agreed with my suspicions that Lee considers he would be admitting failure if he were to step aside and that his pride would prevent him from doing so. This interpretation accords entirely with my knowledge of how he has treated investment proposals in the past. His recent magnanimous concession that he might “let someone else have a go” when we return to the Premiership and move to the new stadium accords with this view. It is only if this happens that Lee will be seen as having come close to delivering on his bold promises. The statement is revealing, too, because it carries an implication that the choice should be down entirely to Lee; the wishes of the fans and the holders of the other 81% of the club’s shares appear not to enter into his calculations.

Lee’s attitude to potential investors would be much more credible were he to be able to invest major funds himself. I have it on good authority that he is unable to do so. Lee paid around £2 million for his personal shareholding, which at Friday’s share price is now worth around £4.6 million. Beyond this, he and his associates invested £6 million in so-called “loan stock”. The crucial word here is “loan”. Interest was payable, and the money had to be repaid on a pre-determined redemption date, which has now passed. Were he able to have made any serious capital investement, surely he would have done so either before we were relegated or when it became clear we would not be promoted at the first time of asking? There is nothing wrong in not having money to invest on a large scale (I do not have it either), but this fact should have made him receptive to the advances of those who did.

Lee must have realised shortly after buying into the club that our financial position was fairly desperate with the need for major stadium development work, that the costs of wages and transfer fees were escalating sharply and that he could not provide finance beyond a loan of around half the value of the new Kippax stand. When potential investors were looking at the club, Lee should have welcomed this, not ignored their advances and hoped to scrape by through the sale of our best players to reduce the wage bill. Instead, we had to sell Garry Flitcroft before relegation and Quinn and Curle before the start of the next season. These decisions contributed to us going down and being in no position to return.

I also claimed that Lee is a divisive influence at the club. I did not, as many posting on Blue View seem to have decided, identify him as the “cancer” at Maine Road. I simply said that whispers of “cancer” and “fifth columns” from so many sources indicated that there are serious problems. The term “cancer” is not one I would use because it is emotive and melodramatic. I would, however, stand by the claim that there is opposition to Lee within the club and that, as a result of this, his continued presence as chairman can only be to our detriment.

Firstly, Lee and his associates only acquired 29.9% of the shares in the club in February 1994. As I have said, this was enough to ensure that Lee’s position could not come under threat and to cement him as the dominant influence. It was not enough to allow him to adopt a new broom approach and sweep out all elements likely to be hostile to him. The takeover battle was extremely bitter and I have been told that there are people still employed by the club who bear Lee a significant degree of ill-will. Remember, too, we do not have a single dominant shareholder. A significant proportion of the club’s shares are still under the control of close associates of Peter Swales, including his widow.

Makin was also highly critical of Lee’s management style. My impression, again shared by reliable sources and strengthened by personal experience, is that Lee is not known for his tolerance of dissenting views. As a result, I believe that those who hold such views often do not express them to him. I cannot see how this can be healthy. I realise that I prove nothing by relating an anecdote of two directors at a social occasion repeating completely contradictory opinions on the same issue within the space of minutes, Francis Lee being present only when they expressed the view shared by him. Nevertheless, I see this as illuminating. I cannot be certain, but it would not surprise me if this resulted in those opposed to various policies advocated by Lee seeking to undermine him by methods such as press leaks. When Frank Clark departed, he alleged that leaks were actually coming from the boardroom to undermine Lee.

The final point to remember is that Lee’s arrogance and intolerance would be forgiven and past recriminations would be forgotten had he brought success. Sir John Hall assumed control of Newcastle after an equally bitter campaign against Gordon McKeag. Resentment dissipated because the team was successful and Hall made good on his promises of investment. The contrast with Manchester City is all too obvious.

However, most of my last piece centred on Lee’s track record. I judged him harshly, and believe this was justified. There is a school of thought that his only real error was to appoint Alan Ball. I hold him to account for much more. His handling of almost every sacking and appointment in his tenure has been ineptly handled. This has frequently made the club a laughing stock. The statistic that we spent around five and a half months without a manager in less than three years is one of which he should be thoroughly ashamed; in my view, there is a good case for demanding the resignation of any chairman incompetent enough to preside over this type of mess irrespective of all other factors. His stadium development strategy was highly questionable. He oversaw an unwise policy of selling players with proven Premiership ability and replacing them with players who did not perform well even at a lower level after relegation, many of whom we cannot even give away now. His record is studded with broken promises and statements of ludicrous bravado which create an impression of him as a blundering, blustering buffoon. I am aware of the state of the club when he took over and of the improvement in our commercial infrastructure. I do not believe that these offset the other points I have raised.

The crucial issue facing the club now is how we can reverse our decline. As I said before, I believe the club cannot make progress until unity and a sense of purpose are instilled from the top. There are countless examples of clubs being adversely affected by turmoil in the boardroom and disputes among shareholders. I know that at least one member of the staff on the football side at Maine Road considered that his job was being impeded by the unrest this season. Frank Clark said the same on his departure (I do not, by the way, consider that aspects of his performance are excused by this). I also consider that an injection of funds would be desirable.

While I understand that Lee has worked hard and I am sure he wants the best for the club, I would argue he should step down because:

  1. He has a track record which cannot inspire the confidence offans, shareholders or potential investors.
  2. He cannot personally provide funds. Any party wishing to investfunds in the club is likely to want a significant say in how they areapplied. This is at odds with Lee’s high profile and hands-onapproach.
  3. Though not a “cancer”, he is a divisive figure with enemies inthe club because of the bitterness caused by his takeover campaign andresentment caused by his management style. He is a minorityshareholder without the power to root out hostile elements. He hasnot achieved the success which would have placated those elements.

I hope that Lee will recognise this voluntarily in the close season. From his past conduct and his recent comments, I doubt it. However, following the share issue completed in January 1997, he and his associates have only 19% of the shares in the club. I therefore hope that, if necessary, he will be marginalised by other shareholders.

I feel that change to the current set-up is inevitable, though How this happens is largely in the hands of major shareholders who may be on the point of selling out. The board and shareholders are hopelessly divided. The last share issue created a coalition which has simply fallen apart – it could only have held together with a reasonable measure of on-field success. While I believe that the players have underperformed this season, I also believe that there is a long way to go before we have a team which will challenge for promotion. I am convinced that our chances of building such a team will be significantly enhanced if we have a transfer budget which goes beyond what we raise from outgoing transfers. If Lee remains in a position where he has significant influence over the running of the club, we will have neither the unity nor the cash which we need to progress.

Many readers may feel that the speculation of the last few days, linking Mike McDonald to the club, is reason for keeping the “devil we know”. Six months ago, I would have felt that McDonald’s record at Sheffield United was highly creditable, but the events there this season have been, frankly, bizarre. I would now have serious misgivings were he to assume control at Maine Road. However, I do not see this as a reason for being happy with the current set-up, which brought us to a point of crisis. It is reason for doing all we can to ensure the status quo is changed in a way which serves the interests of the club.

I have now written two very lengthy pieces and this is enough. I was originally motivated to write because I see this as a crucial issue for the club’s future and considered that I had a contribution to make to the debate. I have now gone much further in discussing the issues than I intended a week ago, and have done so because I understand the suspicion over my first posting. I have now done everything I believe could reasonably be asked of me to prove that I am genuine and have no personal axe to grind.

Ultimately, I would ask readers to remember that the editor of MCIVTA knows my identity, knows that I have a credible reason for wishing to remain anonymous and knows what insight I have into the club. If he had any major reservations about my motives, my request for anonymity or whether I can comment with the authority I claim, you would have read neither this or my previous piece. You do not have to agree with what I say, but please give me a hearing.



After having subscribed to MCIVTA for a couple of months, I have decided to make my contribution to the various debates currently raging in and around the club. Although I edit CITY magazine, I cannot for a moment profess to be privy to any hot inside info within the club as I am not on the staff of Manchester City Football Club. What I am not is an apologist for the club or its employees. I am a supporter who pays his money, just like all of us. And like all of us, I wish to see the club prosper. I do, however, have a certain insight, however insignificant, into what goes into the capricious beast that is Manchester City Football Club. I trust the more sensible MCIVTA readers will be aware that there are certain limitations to what I can say in the CITY magazine, and therefore what follows are my opinions and will not be finding their way into the next issue.

1: Francis Lee

I interviewed the chairman in Total Football magazine (issue 20, April 1997). When I asked him if he had any regrets about becoming chairman, he said that he wishes he “had interfered more.” He was laughing a little as he said it, but the message in that quote could hardly be more clear. Francis Lee lets his managers manage, which is presumably why Frank Clark was allowed to fritter away the best part of £6 million on Ged Brannan, Tony Vaughan, and Lee Bradbury. The disastrous purchase of Gerry Creaney by Alan Ball can be put down to a similar policy.

City fans may recall that a manager around this time last season walked out of his club when his board refused to sanction his prospective purchase of Tore-Andre Flö. His name was Joe Royle, his club was Everton. Tore-Andre Flö is currently scoring goals for fun. Criticise Francis Lee for all manner of things by all means, but not for letting his managers manage. For that, any chairman should be applauded (incidentally, I am more than happy to e-mail the article to any MCIVTA subscribers who may have missed it, as long as it’s not all 1,900 plus of you. If a lot of you want it, I shall ask Ashley to put it on a forthcoming MCIVTA).

2: ‘Free the Manchester 30,000’

The half-witted ill-informed ‘fans’ behind the ‘Free the Manchester 30,000’ campaign who apparently wish to see Mike McDonald occupying one of the well-upholstered seats in the boardroom will do well to note what damage Mr McDonald has done to Sheffield United. Removing Francis Lee will solve few, if any, of City’s problems. Everyone knows, not least Francis Lee himself, that mistakes have been made (sacking Brian Horton, appointing Alan Ball, etc.). But unfortunately, mistakes cannot be un-made. To a certain degree, it makes little difference in the end who is chairman. As far as I am aware, few goal-scoring moves have their origins in the boardroom. When I read the tripe this nasty little group of campaigners distributed at a recent home match, I began to despair. The sentence about forcing out the current regime and then “re-negotiating” next year’s season ticket prices with the new board was just too much. Get real.

Take ‘Flat-Cap Mike’ on GMR on Saturday lunchtime, 7 March 1998, criticising the chairman for being absent on the afternoon of City’s match with Oxford United. “Where is he, then? He’s not here,” offered this sage of the airwaves. “I’ll tell you where he is. He’s in Barbados watching a big horse race. What this club needs is someone who can devote time and effort to the club, and not someone who spends his time in Barbados, etc!” What a pity ‘Flat-Cap Mike’ (it must take bags of courage to hide behind a cloak of anonymity) was unaware that the chairman’s mother had died the previous afternoon. But, as he displays every time he opens his mouth, there are many things of which ‘Flat-Cap Mike’ is unaware. A period of silence from him and his friends would now be most welcome. Please, MCIVTA subscribers, ignore this silly group of self-appointed juveniles, or ‘high-profile supporters’, as ‘Flat-Cap Mike’ described himself and his friends the other day.

3: The Sacking of Frank Clark

What Manchester City need more than anything else is stability. Which was the only argument for Clark’s continued employment as manager. It was beginning to look pretty clear that Frank Clark was going to struggle leading City out of the relegation zone, and, having said as much after the Bury defeat, he had to go. As always, the decision was taken with all the ham-fistedness we have come to associate with City, for which Lee must hold his hands up. Perhaps one day he will.

4: Joe Royle

Joe Royle has inherited all the problems which Frank Clark failed to deal with. The club is top-heavy with players (53 at the last count) because all the recent managers have recruited their own chosen players. If these players are then not selected by a new manager, can you blame them for choosing to take it easy for a while in the reserves rather than resurrecting their careers lower down the league ladder? Neil Heaney, the prince dud signing amongst a veritable full-house of dud signings, is currently picking up £2,500 of our money every week for turning out in front of 400 or so souls for the reserves. I don’t defend his action; far from it.

But what would you do in his shoes? Heaney had the chance to spend the end of last season at Oldham Athletic (which, incidentally, you won’t have read in the press). The Latics could offer him nowhere what he gets at City, but he’d rather play in front of 400 punters at Altrincham for£2,500 a week than pick up probably well less than half that in Oldham’s first team. If City were daft enough to sign him in the first place can you blame him for choosing to stay? He clearly has no pride or self-esteem, but since when was pride and self-esteem a quality readily found in a professional footballer? Which is why of all the acquired players over the past four or five years, only Alan Kernaghan can hold his head up. He wanted to play first team football, and as soon as he realised he wasn’t going to be part of Frank Clark’s plans, upped and went. Have a look at St Johnstone’s gates. Do you think they’re paying him more than we were? If Joe Royle is skilled enough to off-load the likes of Heaney, Creaney, Phillips, van Blerk, Conlon, Hiley etc., he will be doing this club a great service. The last thing this club needs is players; it needs to shed players, not buy yet more.

5: Georgi Kinkladze

If I read again that Georgi Kinkladze’s contract is in Francis Lee’s name rather than that of the club I shall tear my hair out, and there isn’t much of that. Has the person who supplied that fairy-story to MCIVTA ever read, or even seen a professional footballer’s contract? Quite clearly not. Had they done so, they would have seen the legend ‘This is an agreement between ………… (fill in name) ‘and ……’ (fill in club)‘Football Club’ at the top of page one. Georgi Kinkladze’s registration, or indeed the registration of any professional footballer playing in the Football League or F.A. Premier League can not be in the name of an individual. So can we please put that one to bed, once and for all?

I’m sorry to have bored everyone with the best part of 1,300 words, but I hope the above has been an illuminating and instructive contribution to the City debate.

Mike Barnett (


I have not yet contributed to this fine publication before, but now feel compelled to do so. After having back-to-back wins at last, I feel that there is a sense of relief, and dare I say it, optimism around the whole club. Very welcome it is too. Now I know FHL has made some very bad and basic mistakes in his turbulent tenure as chairman. Notably Alan Ball, the sacking of Brian Horton, Frank Clark etc. However, after watching Sky Sports Centre on Wednesday evening I was appalled at how Mike McDonald had treated Nigel Spackman, and how amateurish the whole affair appeared to a non-Blades fan. The fans must be pulling their hair out with frustration (something which we can all sympathise with). I thought that only City could make a cock-up on this scale. In fact, for a minute I got an immense feeling of déjà vu – this could be City, this has been City. This could be City again.

When I read his comments regarding Willie Donachie coming back to Maine Road, I couldn’t believe how insensitive he was being to the fans of Sheff. Utd. As an article in the last issue pointed out, his first duty was to the club over which he was chairman, not his supposedly first love. Do we really want him as our chairman? I think not. Would that only be replacing like for like? Surely it’s better the devil you know? In the absence of a professional candidate with the appropriate funds behind him, it is better to stay with FHL. I am not saying that the club should not explore other avenues or revenue, but not Mike McDonald otherwise the happenings over the past few days at Bramhall Lane could happen again a few years down the line at Maine Road. This would simply be a disaster. FHL does appear to be turning the club round off the field, and should be given credit for this. So come on City fans, the team can come good. Funny but I remember saying this at this time last season, and look what happened. I will stop these ramblings now for fear of really boring you.

CTID, Richard Webb (


After the débâcles against Bury and Reading it was lucky we played such a poor team as Albion. They didn’t offer anything and I don’t think I’ve seen such a lack of invention, movement, bottle and poor support play from a visiting team for a long time.

Beardsley looked impressive in the first half. His movement, even at throw-ins was a lesson for other players. Briscoe looked useful on the left but we had little on the other side. The Whitley brothers looked a little lightweight. Symons’ passing was awful and Brown needs to learn to give the simple pass early if he is to be a David Batty type player. He lacks the invention to try the extraordinary and if he does try to elaborate he leaves the defence with little cover. Full marks for his effort, though another silly booking.

It’s good to see Uwe battling away. It’s amazing what encouragement from the top does to a player’s confidence. Bradbury, on the other hand, makes no effort to shield the ball and is so easily dispossessed, especially near the touchline. With everyone else doing well it’s got to be at least 4 points from the Huddersfield and Oxford games.

Simon Barr (c/o


Excuse me, my husband can’t believe what is going on at this club; when we were courting City was in Div. 2 and I went along to their games, so I got to see Bert Trautman, Neil Young, Colin Bell, Rodney Marsh, Glynn Pardoe and many others. I am disgusted at Francis Lee and if it were possible, he would be put out on the kerbside for the next garbage pickup… (and I hope he is not recyclable like his toilet paper).

Joyce: on behlaf of Ged and son Paul – still fans and followers (


Referring to the following question by Jonathan Todd: “Does anyone know the current theme to Match of the Day goal of the month?” I am probably wrong, but it could be a song by Hurricane #1. That’s what my wife said anyway.

Jon Bradshaw (
Ben Ward (


In response to Jonathan Todd’s question regarding the current theme to Match of the Day goal of the month. The track is Step Into My World by Hurricane #1, which was a single about six months ago.

At last, all of the nights hosting music quizzes in Bristol have proved useful.

Leon Black (


Jonathan Tod asked in MCIVTA 378 “Does anyone know the current theme to Match of the Day goal of the month?”

It’s called “Is This Music?” by the brilliant Teenage Fanclub.

You can find it on the album “Bandwagonesque” on Creation Records [CRECD 106]. I think it’s available on mid-price now. Buy that and “Grand Prix” [CRECD 173] and you won’t be disappointed. Unless you don’t like them, of course :).

K.Casey (


Since emigrating to Australia from Manchester in 1969, following Man City has been a difficult task. Prior to leaving Manchester (as an 8-year-old) my dad arranged for us to attend a training session at Maine Road where we met all the players, Malcolm Allison and Joe Mercer. At that time Francis Lee was (and continued to be) my boyhood hero and City were the best team in England.

I continued to follow the Blues, although news filtered through on an irregular basis from out-of-date Shoot magazines (England not getting to the ’74 World Cup still hurts badly!), Pinks & MUEN articles etc. sent via my grandfather (prior to his departure to the heavens) and the occasional game shown on Match of the Day at 11.00pm on a Monday night.

I returned to Manchester in ’86 (old Div. 1) & ’88 (old Div. 2 – relegated again) and managed to see a few games to keep the flame alive.

Can anybody remember the following games?

Man Utd 2 vs. Man City 2 (1986) – City equalise after going 2 down against the Rags at Old Trafford – one of my proudest days (lost to Chelsea in the Full Members’ Cup Final the next day – our last visit to Wembley – as per City).

Man City 2 vs. Oxford 1 (1988) – Steve Redmond scores the winner in the last minute as City score twice in the dying minutes to beat Oxford (Paul Simpson playing for Oxford). Stood on the Kippax for the first time – this was a crap game but I went home happy that City had done what they can’t do today (i.e. snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – à la West Ham – FA Cup, Birmingham, Ipswich etc.).

The other games I saw were typical of City with the trend continued to this day!

Man City vs. Watford (1986) – lost at home to Watford (1-0 – I think), John Barnes playing for Watford – crap game.

Man City 0 vs Birmingham 0 (1988) – crap game again – how can we draw 0-0 at home?

Over the years I have discovered numerous City fans scattered across Perth – WA and whilst frustrated at the club’s lack of success and constant disappointments (relegation, FA Cup losses to crap teams etc.) we maintained the pride of Man City in our veins.

Imagine our delight when along came McVittee – at last the latest news of the Blues straight from the horse’s mouth – “the fans” – with accurate match reports and constant feedback of the comings & goings at Maine Road. Access to McVittee opened a new world of excitement and feedback, at last despite being 12,000 miles from home I could follow the Blues and feel like a real supporter.

McVittee was quickly photocopied and distributed to eight other City fans located in Perth; we even arranged to meet each month at a local pub to discuss Man City – we were enthused! “We love you City we do” etc.

Our new found enthusiasm did not go unnoticed as we wore our City shirts with pride able to handle the verbal sparring with Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool fans content in the knowledge that we were a big club just waiting to explode!

The wit and positive vibes of the articles being written in McVittee convinced me that it was only a matter of time before City assumed became the power we new it deserved. Along comes our white knight – Francis Lee – the fairy tale was complete, my hero returns to take City to the Top. – the rest is history.

We now wear our shirts despite the embarrassment and constant flak we endure not only from fans of the “big clubs” but any Tom, Dick or Harry. Unable to reply we are dead ducks – I even have Coventry, West Ham, Bury fans taking the p*** – where did they live prior to City’s demise?

Even McVittee has changed from a positive, upbeat production to the bearer of bad news – I sometimes long for the old days – out of sight out of mind! I don’t think I could be strong enough to keep going to Maine Road like most of you poor souls in the current environment.

What Next? – Let’s hope Joe Royle can keep the team in Div. 1 this season and that the boardroom squabbles can be resolved – Franny (I’m sad to say) has to go!

Oasis – Just a short note to let you know that Oasis are in Perth for a concert – what a couple of Wallies – the boys kicked up a storm on the flight over and then went into full verbal assault (F—ing & Blinding) all over the place on TV & Radio. Thank God they didn’t have their City shirts on. The concert got a good write up in today’s paper though.

CTID, Graham Hine (


Full-time scores for Saturday, March 7 1998

Birmingham City       1 - 0 Queens Park Rangers
Bury                  1 - 0 Norwich City
Jemson (pen 60)
Crewe Alexandra       1 - 4 Nottingham Forest
Little (29)                 Bart-Williams (10)
                            Campbell (15, 25, 30)
Ipswich Town          3 - 1 Charlton Athletic
Stockwell (53)              Mendonca (22)
Cundy (76)
Johnson (88)
Manchester City       0 - 2 Oxford United
                            Beauchamp (44)
                            Cook (81)
Reading               0 - 3 Port Vale
                            Mills (7)
                            Talbot (19)
                            Jansson (82)
Stoke City            1 - 2 Huddersfield Town
Tiatto (90)                 Barnes (15)
                            Stewart (18)
Sunderland            4 - 1 Stockport County
Quinn (42, 54, 63)          Angell (61)
Phillips (86)
Swindon Town          0 - 1 Portsmouth
                            Durnin (89)
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 1 Bradford City
Burgess (90)                Steiner (39)

Up to and including Saturday, March 7 1998

                             HOME            AWAY
                      P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Nottm Forest         36 13  2  3 40 19   8  6  4 20 14    71   60
Sunderland           35 10  5  2 37 16  10  3  5 29 21    68   66
Middlesbrough        35 12  3  2 32 10   8  5  5 23 26    68   55
Charlton             36 12  4  1 36 14   6  4  9 27 32    62   63
Ipswich              36  9  4  4 33 17   6  9  4 26 21    58   59
Sheff Utd            34 12  4  1 30 13   3  9  5 20 24    58   50
Birmingham           36  8  6  4 21 12   7  6  5 28 18    57   49
Stockport            37 12  5  1 41 16   4  1 14 19 37    54   60
Wolverhampton        34 10  5  3 31 18   5  2  9 13 18    52   44
West Brom            37  8  5  6 19 19   6  4  8 17 23    51   36
Bradford             37  9  7  2 22 15   3  6 10 16 24    49   38
Crewe                37  7  2 10 21 30   7  3  8 24 23    47   45
Swindon              36  9  3  6 25 20   4  4 10 11 31    46   36
Oxford Utd           36  8  5  4 23 15   4  3 12 22 35    44   45
Norwich              37  7  7  5 19 23   4  4 10 17 33    44   36
QPR                  37  8  7  4 26 17   2  6 10 16 34    43   42
Bury                 37  5  9  5 17 19   3  9  6 18 24    42   35
Portsmouth           36  7  4  8 24 28   4  3 10 16 23    40   40
Tranmere             35  6  6  5 21 17   4  4 10 16 25    40   37
Man City             37  5  4 10 22 22   5  5  8 19 22    39   41
Huddersfield         37  6  4  8 21 23   4  5 10 18 34    39   39
Reading              36  7  4  8 25 27   3  5  9 11 32    39   36
Port Vale            37  5  6  8 20 21   5  2 11 22 32    38   42
Stoke                37  5  5  8 22 30   3  8  8 13 22    37   35

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions & Club Questions: Steve –
Technical Problems: Paul –

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 #379