Newsletter #383

Perhaps a disappointing result at the end of the day on Saturday, as we had enough of the play to have won. Although we were solid in midfield and defence, we couldn’t have scored if we’d played ’til the cows came home (currently about 6.15 judging by the farm near us!). Things are still looking less than comfortable but we do now have Jamie Pollock who was pretty impressive – if a little short of match fitness. He is more skilful than I’d remembered and is totally committed, in fact lucky to stay on the field after one particularly committed tackle! He also endeared himself to the Kippax by geeing them up at corners, and when taunted by the Sheffield fans, at first he cocked an ear as if saying “can’t hear”, and then, when he did hear, he rubbed his belly gleefully, to the great amusement of both sets of fans. I can certainly see him making a big impression at Maine Road. The latest move in the pipeline is for Steve Claridge, apparently we have a small gap in our striker portfolio!

This issue contains a couple of match reports, a matchview, news, opinion and a Why Blue. We’re now up to 1,982 subscribers so we ought to pass 2,000 by the end of the month.

Next game, Bradford City away, Saturday 28th March 1998


MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st March 1998

Saturday saw the visit of high flying Sheffield United to the Temple of Woe. On the journey to Maine Road I was listening to Piccadilly 1152’s phone-in. With United doing the usual (going x points clear at Christmas, losing a few games, exiting Europe all in 12 weeks), United fans were jamming the switchboard complaining about all and sundry. Until a Blue came on and said they should try being in our position. Soon shut them up. Anyway enough about them.

I arrived at the ground and went to collect my tickets. As I passed the Main Stand, Michael Brown came running out of the ground, got in his car and drove off.

The all girl Moss Side bred group Cleopatra sang before the game and produced some of the best moves I’ve seen at Maine Road all season.

As the teams were announced there was no mention of Brown; it seems Jamie Pollock has taken his place. The game kicked off and for the first ten minutes it was either side’s game. Then Pollock decided to mark his début, he launched himself into a vicious tackle that sent the United player flying. The ensuing melee saw 15 players fighting it out in front of the Kippax. Both Pollock and the United player got booked and order was restored. Then with Pollock controlling midfield City went on the attack. For a good twenty minutes City looked promising. Good corners from Pollock (he was cheering the crowd on!) but unfortunately our million pound a goal man (guess who?) failed to make any telling connections. By my reckoning we should have been 3 up by half time.

Second half City were again fighting for everything (a bit of a change from the usual). Again nothing fruitful came of the attacks and we seemed to lose ideas. Finally Bradbury was replaced by Dickov to a loud cheer from the croud. There came a chance for a very quiet Ian Rush to have a shot but it was palmed wide by Margetson. Rösler had one final do or die overhead kick but the result was to be a mind numbing draw.

Final score: 0-0

Man of the match for me was Pollock. Reminded me of some of the old hard men we used to have in midfield (very much like Neil McNab). He had a very good game and for me was a candidate for captain in the future.

Richard Jobson had a very sound performance and seemed to control the defence better than Symons.

Overall everyone played well (even Bradbury who ran his heart out but couldn’t score).

A few points:

Why wasn’t Brown playing? For me he has been superb this season and I think he would learn a lot for playing alongside Pollock.

Bradbury doesn’t like to turn on the ball. Every time he had his back to goal he played the ball back to midfield. I still have faith that he will come good but he should be dropped to the reserves to get a few goals under his belt. Willie Donachie should also teach him how to turn.

The defence looks fairly good but still make a few mistakes. But for the time being they look like they could make a good defence.

Why can’t any of our strikers score, I’ve heard Steve Claridge is on his way to Maine Road, hopefully he’ll make a difference.

CTHFO (City ’til hell freezes over), Andy Holgate (

The Brown incident was also reported by someone who rang the GMR phone-in; later however, another fan and a steward rang in to say that they had seen him watching the game and signing autographs for fans in the Maine Stand!



MANCHESTER CITY vs. SHEFFIELD UNITED, Saturday 21st March 1998

I’ve seen Ged Brannan’s Y-fronts! I have too, I know everyone’s going to be getting jealous so I’ll keep the suspense up by not telling you what colour they are until the end of the report. We travelled up on a minibus on Saturday morning (I thought I had it bad getting up at 6; some of the lads on it were from Ipswich & Colchester and were up at 4.30 – ergh) and had a tour round the ground before the match with Roy Clarke who played for us in the 40s and 50s. What a guy, I wish we could have sat him down in the pub and listened to some of the stories he was telling rather than going to the game! He took us in the dressing room where all the kits were already laid out – hence seeing Ged’s undies, bless them they can’t even decide which pants to wear without the kit man helping them – then up the tunnel to the edge of the pitch. I felt as if I was about 10 years old on a school trip out… We asked him, amongst other things, what he thought of the current team and he said he’s shoot the lot of them. Told you he was a good bloke!

Anyway, eventually we settled down to watch the match. New (and dare I say it slightly overweight?) boy Jamie Pollock was making his début and Jobson was in for the injured Shelia. Rösler had made a seemingly miraculous recovery from the tackle that looked as if it had ended his season at Port Vale last week. The full team was therefore Margetson, Edghill, Jobson, KT, Symons, Jim W, Jeff W, Wiekens, Pollock, Bradbury, Rösler. Subs were Brannan. Heaney and Dickov.

City started really brightly, but I always seem to say that. The fans were in good voice, the team really seemed up for it and we actually had a leader (in Pollock) on the field for the first time in months. We had loads of pressure in the first half. I wish I’d started off counting the number of corners we forced as there seemed to be dozens. From one of them Bradbury hit a volley that went just wide, then someone (couldn’t work out who, sorry) won a header in the area that really should have been a goal. Alan Kelly in the Sheffield United goal was in fine form, and had to be. I wish we had any of the ‘keepers who have had blinders playing against us – they always seem to save goals we let in. It’s the same with the defence, why do other people’s defences never make the same horrendous errors that we do? It’s just not fair.

Pollock endeared himself to the City fans no end after about 15 minutes. He’d already been tackling hard throughout the midfield and showing himself to be well committed to his new club, when he did an amazing sliding tackle on one of the Sheff. United players. He set off so late for it that he’d have had time to steel himself by having a quick double whiskey first. Unsurprisingly, the Sheff. United player did not react well. Pollock had extricated himself from the heap of arms and legs and started to walk away when the SU bloke ran after him and grabbed him around his neck. Everyone else piled in looking for a scrap, eventually the ref managed to calm things down and booked them both. Fair dos really, I’m not surprised Pollock’s got a history of being sent off on his débuts if that’s how he starts each new club! He was getting taunted by the Sheff. United fans each time he took a corner for being a bit(!) overweight and really played up to them well, it’s nice to see someone who reacts that way rather than just dropping their heads and slinking out of the game. I wonder if he buys his pies at the same place as Gerry Creaney?

Sheff. United had a couple of chances but not really anything Margetson couldn’t handle, as well as a free kick that was inexplicably given just outside the area when, if anything, the foul was the other way. I was worried about the ref for quite a while as he looked to be as gullible as the one that Oxford had played up to so well, but he wasn’t quite that bad. Luckily. Their no. 10 was pushing and shoving all the way through the first half as well, but considering what Pollock had done I don’t suppose we could complain. Apparently Ian Rush was their no 9, I had to keep looking for him to remind myself he was on the pitch though as he didn’t seem to pose a threat at all. We were well on top for long periods in the first half but just could not get the ball in the net. Same old story. They did at least get clapped off at half time, which makes a change, and things did look fairly optimistic for the second half – surely one of the chances had to go in eventually?!

Bit of a change for the half time entertainment, it was a girls 5-a-side game this time. Moonchester obviously couldn’t believe his luck in being able to get so close to all these schoolies so stood about half a millimetre away from their sideline ogling them all through the game – disgusting behaviour!

Anyway, the second half started and it was pretty much the same story as the first. Pollock’s lack of match fitness and practice started to show and he faded badly. Wiekens had a bit of a nightmare, almost everything he tried to do went awry and far too many of his passes went to one of them. Jim Whitley also looked as if he was knackered, he was really struggling to keep balls in on the far side of the pitch. The excitement of the day had started to fade somewhat, it looked as if it was going to rain and I was already starting to look forward to the long drive home – not… Bradbury wasn’t playing too badly, I think it’s probably one of the better games he’s had. He’s still awful when you put the ball to his feet but he was at least winning things in the air for the first time ever. For someone his height to win so few headers normally is appalling. We just didn’t look as if we were going to score. Something needed changing in the team, preferably bringing Wiekens off for one of Heaney or Dickov to give us more of a chance of creating something up front.

Instead, Joe swapped Bradbury for Dickov. I just didn’t understand this – we had far more of the game than Sheff. United but couldn’t score, surely bringing off your only aerial threat isn’t going to help this at all? Rösler may as well not have been on the pitch for most of the half. Our defence then tried their normal tactic of punting high balls forward for Dickov to try vainly to win. Look lads, just because he runs around a lot and tries hard doesn’t mean he’ll ever be 7ft tall, okay?

How frustrating. When Wiekens was eventually substituted it was only for Brannan. And his Y-fronts. I really thought at this time we were going to lose. We certainly didn’t look as if we were going to win, as there was no way any of that lot were ever going to score. The fact that we could be bottom if other results went against us obviously hadn’t got through to this lot – or if it had they didn’t really care, as usual. It was almost a relief when the ref blew full time as at least we knew we weren’t going to let in a scabby unlucky goal and come away with nothing.

So, reflections on the game. If it had lasted for 90 hours rather than minutes I don’t think we would have scored, and that just isn’t good enough. We can at least be heartened by the performance as I suppose before the game we would not have expected to win. However, no-one can deny that Sheff. United had come for a draw. They were more than happy to sit back, soak up pressure and try to hit on the break, and I doubt they’ll have gone away disappointed. We just cannot score. How many other games this season are we going to be able to dominate in that way? We’re running out of games, home points are not enough in a dogfight against relegation and I don’t want to have bought my season ticket to be watching second division football. With seven games left the league table looks really depressing.

By the way, the Y-fronts were white.

Sharon Bennett


This draw was met by a slight majority of disapproval by most of the fans around block ‘N’ of the North Stand. ‘Dour’ – a word I haven’t heard used in relation to a City performance all season was how TV described it. I want more ‘dour’, lots more. Entertainment can be gleaned from watching old Brian Horton ‘2 winger’ videos if you need it.

With the future of the club at stake JR’s pragmatic approach may not be pretty, but if he succeeds in keeping us up then that’s all that matters. Joe is making some fairly tough and unpopular decisions at the moment. In his programme notes JR explained that Scully was sold because our current formation did not provide for out-and-out wingers. In that case why was Heaney (an out-and-out winger if I’m not mistaken) on the bench? Why was Michael Brown neither playing nor on the bench?. In this month’s CITY magazine JR says his preferred formation is 4-4-2. Why are we not playing it? Why is Brannan in the picture again? Why didn’t we retain Beardsley for another month? Where is Gio?

All these points seem baffling at best but I’m prepared to go along with Joe because I think he has a plan and he’s going to stick to it. The new signings Jobson and Pollock were outstanding and for the first time this season we didn’t have any scary moments at the back and never looked like losing. Bradbury missed a couple of decent opportunities and the impressive Rösler failed to convert our best chance just after the break. For the first time since November I am now convinced we will stay up.


Margetson 7 – A more intelligent ‘keeper than Wright. Keep him in.
Whitley Jeff 7 – Looks comfortable at wing back. Pollock covered for him late on to make a match saving tackle.
Symons 7 – I like the look of him alongside…
Jobson 8 – Very classy player who can also use the ball on the deck (at last!)
Tskhadadze 7 – Unfortunately didn’t get on the end of any of Pollock’s numerous excellent corners.
Edghill 7 – Looks very sharp again and is improving every match.
Pollock 8 – When he has full fitness will be another Gerry Gow.
Whitley Jim 8 – Again looks to be improving every match.
Wiekens 6 – Rather disappointing. The game went too fast for him.
Rösler 8 – Looked his old self and wasn’t on the floor all the time.
Bradbury 7 – Desperately needs a goal at home.

Ken Foster (


Friday 20th March

Seeing as how it’s our big derby match these days, the Stockport game two weeks tomorrow is heading towards a sell out already! Over 25,000 tickets have already been sold, and with County fast approaching a sell out of their entire 3,000 allocation any Blues who were thinking about dallying before securing their tickets had better think again. Especially if they’re not members because, given our lively rivalry with the lovely Stockport fans it’s 95% certain that the membership scheme will be enforced on us by the police around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week! You have been warned. Oh yeah, and next Saturday’s away match at Bradford is a sell out too…

Joe Royle is resigned (ooh careful, bad choice of words where City managers are concerned!) to a fight to the finish as the Blues try to scrap their way to securing their place in that home of the elite that is the Nationwide League Division 1. Personally I’m hoping it’s all done and dusted by then, but if we have to rely on an injury time winner at Stoke on May 3rd then I suppose I’d accept that. Reluctantly.

“I’m afraid it’s going to go right until the last day of the season,” warned Royle. “It’s very close and it doesn’t look as if the bottom three or four sides are capable of putting together runs to pull themselves clear. But the squad we have at Maine Road should be good enough to get us the results we need. Especially with our supporters, who are a phenomenon! At Port Vale last week we took 6,000 fans out of a crowd of 12,000. On the way to the game I saw a lot of families. Everyone’s very frustrated, some very angry but all totally supportive of Manchester City. We have got to give them something to cheer and if it means staying up is that something to cheer then so be it.” And I’ll second that!

Buster Phillips has rejoined his former club Exeter on loan. The 22 year old winger hasn’t started a game for City since the opening day of last season, having recently had an unsuccessful loan spell at Scunthorpe. This brings to seven the number of City players currently out on loan which will at least bring some temporary respite to the club’s ludicrous wage bill.

Saturday 21st March

Sod all happening today, other than the match that is. Dour 0-0 as you already know. My take on it (for what it’s worth) is that it was a much more solid display and if we play as well as that until the end of the season we should be okay. Need to get goals though, and personally I don’t think booting the only creative influence we’ve got out of the side and going for ‘toil over talent’ is going to do it. And I certainly don’t want to see City go along the ‘no skill – big heart’ route that big Joe took at Oldham. If I wanted to support a team like that I’d get a season ticket at Old Trafford ;). Although I must admit that path is marginally preferable to the ‘no skill – no heart’ we had under FC… I wonder, does that make me the first dissenter against JR’s reign? Hope so, remember where you read it first folks! Free the Manchester 30,000! Anyway, speaking of dissent, there was a noticeable sea change in the attitude of many supporters today, which contributed to the muted atmosphere I should imagine as fans turned to bickering amongst themselves instead of cheering/booing the players.

From speaking to people who sit in various areas of the ground it seems like it was a similar story all round. The whiners whined (as usual) but today people seemed to have had enough and were prepared to point out to these individuals in no uncertain terms that screaming “you’re s**t Symons!” on the one and only occasion he put a foot wrong in the entire game was not exactly the best way to support your beloved team (a sliced clearance into touch for all you fact fans out there). Nice to see a bit of fighting spirit among the Blues who do actually go along with a touch of realism in their hearts alongside their desire to see us lifting the Champions’ League Trophy in two years time. It’s quite clearly not ‘just like watching Brazil’ at the moment, but it never ceases to amaze me how many City fans seem to go along every Saturday afternoon and seem to expect world class entertainment. But enough ranting! This is the news…

Sunday 22nd March

Best news I’ve heard in ages is that we’re lining up a bid for Leicester’s unsettled striker Steve Claridge. For months I’ve been banging on to just about anyone who’d listen that he’d be just the kind of signing we need, and if reports are to believed he could be pulling on a Laser Blue shirt next Saturday afternoon at Bradford! Fingers crossed…

JR has again stated that he feels we need at least 50 points to stay up. “I reckon we will need another 10 points at least – 50 points is our total to stay up. That sort of performance (against Sheffield United) and the result, could be crucial in the end. A point, a clean sheet and a solid display against one of the best sides in the division. I have told the lads that the display was the benchmark for them, they must not play worse than that. They played as a team, battled hard, and it was a solid performance.”

He talks a good game does our Joe but I’m still shaking my head over his hair brained scheme to leave Georgi out of the side. How anyone can think this is a good idea is beyond me. We desperately need goals, and if there’s one person at the club who even comes close to being a provider it’s Gio. Royle has been quoted as saying he doesn’t think Kinkladze’s ‘head’s right’ for the rigours of a relegation dogfight, suggesting that he’s more interested in getting away from Maine Road than worrying about the plight of the club that gave him his big chance. Which of course, as we all well know, is utter nonsense. And Gio’s been speaking out about the situation at the club in general in the press today. “I am sorry to see Francis go, he was my friend. But his going will not change my situation. I don’t know what my future is, I know nothing about the transfer talk. But before anything is decided about me, I would like to help City avoid going down before I think about that. I love the club and the fans, they have been good to me. I had ‘flu, I was not going to be playing. The last game was not good. I had not trained for a few weeks because of my ankle injury before the game at Port Vale, that is why I did not play well.” Does that sound like a player not willing to give his all to the cause to you? Because it doesn’t to me. And personally I think it’s a pretty disgraceful situation, no matter what the reasoning behind it. Kinkladze is a world class footballer who’s shown loyalty above and beyond the call of duty at City, and has surely earned the right not to have his integrity called into question at this stage?

However, there were suggestions that journalists touched something of a raw nerve after the Sheffield match when calling Gio’s absence from the side into question, and he took what some thought was a sideswipe at Georgi’s unpredictably. “It only took seven seconds for someone to mention Kinkladze’s absence. I would rather talk about the team, not individuals. He has been an issue here for too long, and the side has struggled for four years now so let’s talk about the team. We are not going to turn into a fluent football side overnight and what we need now are solid performances and knowing what we are going to get from every player on the pitch in each and every game. We had a very honest performance and I said to the players afterwards, that is your base, we don’t play worse than that all season. If we have everybody committed like that we won’t be far off.” Okay, Georgi’s not exactly been consistent this season but he has had injury problems and is undoubtedly the jewel in City’s crown still. Yet bizarrely he seems to be struggling to get into Royle’s reckoning much more than the dubious pairing of Wiekens and Brannan! Only at Maine Road eh?

Last couple of bits for today. Carlisle are sniffing around Nigel Clough (not literally, that’d be horrible) as a possible player manager. And Paul Dickov has been told he can leave the club, with a price tag of £750,000 attached to him, which of course adds weight to the story that we’ll soon be cheering on a new striker…

Monday 23rd March

JR has passed comment on the Claridge story and confirmed that he is interested. “I am working very hard to bring in someone new before the deadline. I have made inquiries for a number of players and one of those is Steve Claridge but I have not made a bid,” admitted Royle who could face competition from Portsmouth who have had the player on loan but cannot afford the £400,000 fee.

“Obviously I am concerned that we have drawn a blank in our last two home games. We should be winning these sort of matches but obviously we need to start scoring goals. We also need a bit of quality around the box – whether we can find that from within the club remains to be seen. Lee Bradbury is going to be a very big player one day and at the moment it’s a fine balancing act between not breaking his confidence and not putting him under too much pressure.”

Only other news of note today is that promising winger Scott Thomas could be the next to leave the club, and is considering an offer to join Second Division Plymouth before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Steve McNally (


From the Bristol City teamtalk pages… Monday morning: “Plymouth extended their lead after 77 minutes through on-loan striker Barry Conlon. Conlon had an excellent game for Plymouth and caused the City defence untold problems”

Sign him up?

Jeremy Poynton (


I don’t know how much truth there is in this but it came to me from the Tottenham Hotspur newsletter – it’s probably just wishful thinking on their part, although I liked the bit about Man City.

Presumably from F365!

The Premier League may be expanded into 2 divisions next season should either Tottenham or Newcastle suffer relegation this time around. On a day when it emerged that a Premiership meeting this week will consider controversial plans to scrap the traditional Saturday top flight programme for Sunday soccer, F365 can reveal an even more contentious plan is being hatched to help spare 2 of the game’s biggest names from financial disaster. With both Spurs and Newcastle scrapping for survival, and in very real danger of going down, two Premier Divisions might be introduced to ensure neither loses too great a share of the satellite TV income whatever the outcome of the relegation run-in.

The idea of having a two-tier Premier League is not new, of course, with many predicting it will come into force within 2 to 3 years. But nobody reckoned on it becoming a reality this summer. Yet discussions on the possibility are now underway because of the current dark clouds looming large over White Hart Lane and St. James’ Park. If it does happen then other big names, such as Manchester City, will almost certainly be invited to join the Premier League Second Division even if they are relegated from the current Nationwide First Division.

It seems outrageous but when we asked the commercial dept. of the Football League to comment on the matter, they were neither able to confirm or dismiss the prospect. Football is such big business nowadays as clubs go on to the Stock Exchange, it makes it imperative to be among the so called elite to attract investors while the millions of pounds to be made from Sky TV sponsorship are priceless.

Hence the problems Crystal Palace director Mark Goldberg is currently having securing backing for his £30 million takeover of the South London strugglers. Once a club nosedives towards the bottom of the Premiership, the City financial men lose interest.

Samantha Munns (


The sartorially conscious amongst you might like to know that now that we have severed our connection with our traditional hue it has ripped back to the height of fashion: Marks & Spencer are now selling undies and briefs in the most glorious sky blue cotton. City go bottom again…

David Butler (


FHL has gone, thank God, great player – crap chairman. I heard him bitching in the press about bad spending on players by Ball and Clark. Does he not realise that he in turn by association chose crap managers like Ball, whose only major achievement was keeping Southampton’s heads above water! Frank Clark did very well at Forest in his early years but by his own admission “ran out of ideas” towards the end.

He should not really criticise the buying policy when it was him who brought the crap managers in and more directly sanctioned the very same crap players that he has criticised. If he was the chairman and he disagreed with buying a certain player, then why the hell didn’t he block the move?

And as for him taking the credit for City’s youth policy defies belief. He has obviously lost touch with reality. I read an article recently in MCIVTA. and somebody wrote that we need a hard nosed “ice man” of a chairman who is not afraid to make the cruel decisions not only on the business/commercial side but on the management and playing side as well. The number of players that have left City to go on to better things reads like a who’s who of football. I won’t even begin to mention the better one’s. The man is a muppett because it’s down to McNab et al.

How can Franny bitch like this as well? When he first arrived we had a massive wage bill which comes with a massive playing staff, that was four years ago. We still have 50+ professionals on the books and he complains about finances. Mind you, how can some of the current players be called professional? Maybe Franny wasn’t fooled after all like the rest of us poor fans and thought that we had less playing staff on the books.

There have quite frankly been a catalogue of disasters since Franny took over and it is down purely and simply to him being a poor chairman. I have no truck with the idea that he was holding out for the cash. This doesn’t make sense as it is in his own interest to make sure that the club is doing well which will in turn raise the share price and then bring in an increased return. No, I think it was rather a case of him being too sentimental and “attached” to the club. I don’t believe that (even despite his successful business background) that he had what it takes to turn City around.

On a better note we have just recently bought Pollock from Bolton. In my opinion a very good buy. A similar player to the likes of Lomas (both ugly as sin) and Flitcroft. It also happens that just before Christmas I was in a restaurant in London called Caspers with all my footie mates. We had booked a table near the front and to our astonishment the whole of the Blackburn team were there also. I took the opportunity to sidle up to Garry for a chat (Colin looked too hard) and we talked for about ten minutes about many things Blue. I finished the conversation with the following question: So, Gary why did you leave City? Was is that they had to sell? Did you want to leave?

A: Basically I left for the money. I also felt that City never wanted me any more, and never did enough to try and keep me.

Draw from this what you will, It’s a bit of give and take really.

Yours in Angst, Paul Odusanya – Withington Blue a.k.a. The Spy at Sky (Odusanyp@Sky4.BSkyB.Com)


Do any MCIVTA’s fancy meeting up for a pint or two before the Wolves game? I’m in England for it! E-mail me if you do.

Dave Griffiths (


“There are, behind the scenes at Maine Road, some very insincere people who have tried to blacken my name during my tenancy as chairman. I could have got rid of some of those people, but when they had gone they would have been an even bigger menace, and I’m not allowing them to do that.”
Quote FHL.

Who are these people? Something strange is wrong with City… it’s an atmosphere… these dark forces perhaps. Can someone tell me who they are?

Matthew Jowett (


Why oh why? I keep asking myself, and it seems the worse we get the more I get into it. My dearly beloved can’t understand what all the fuss is about and thinks I’m becoming obsessed; as if?

Anyway, as I had a sheltered upbringing in leafy Wilmslow (home of the Lee and loads of Rags), I never actually took much interest in football as a child. My old man tried in vain to interest me in cricket and rugby when all I wanted to do was look at trains (How many people admit to that in these pages?).

The stirrings must have begun when I realised all my school friends were Utd. fans and I really disliked that. How I laughed when they were relegated to Div 2. My brother supported Leeds then Chelsea then Everton so that was no help at all. Soon a healthy interest in cider and girls ensured that most other things were swept under the carpet (for the time being).

It wasn’t until I left the North West in search of pastures new that it finally dawned. People would say (in London this is) “where do you come from then?” Answer: “near Manchester.” Response: “Oh you support Man Utd. then” “NO!”

It had to be City.

I wallowed in some glories:- 10 one against Huddersfield, promotion to Division One and then I lost it again! True, I still proclaimed to be a City fan but shamefully neglected final score and Maine Road. But really all I cared about was sitting under a huge cloud of intoxicating smoke and chilling out (Blue mooner perhaps?).

However, that’s all over now and I am now again a committed Blue. It’s very painful, all my mates take the p**s, final score is a nailbiting nightmare, but I love it. I love City.

Now as a refugee on the South coast, I yearn for Maine Road and am a gallant member of the Blue army at fixtures in the South, the best this year being Portsmouth.

Tomorrow it’s off to Manchester and of course Maine Road. See you there, in spirit if not in person.

Chris Northen (


Full-time score for Sunday, March 22 1998

Middlesbrough         3 - 0 Norwich City
Maddison (22)
Armstrong (71)
Beck (90)

Full-time scores for Saturday, March 21 1998

Birmingham City       1 - 2 Nottingham Forest
Ndlovu (pen 61)             Van Hooijdonk (84, 88)
Bury                  1 - 0 Oxford United
Ellis (68)
Crewe Alexandra       0 - 3 Charlton Athletic
                            Mills (3)
                            Newton (44)
                            Kinsella (77)
Ipswich Town          3 - 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Johnson (3)
Holland (57)
Scowcroft (74)
Manchester City       0 - 0 Sheffield United
Reading               0 - 2 Huddersfield Town
                            Stewart (73, 88)
Stoke City            2 - 1 Queens Park Rangers
Dowie (og 21)               Barker (pen 90)
Crowe (51)
Sunderland            2 - 1 Portsmouth
Phillips (16)               Hall (73)
Johnston (85)
Swindon Town          1 - 1 Stockport County
McDonald (76)               Woodthorpe (86)
Tranmere Rovers       3 - 1 Bradford City
Irons (56)                  Youds (20)
G. Jones (65)
Kelly (81)
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 2 Port Vale
Flynn (24)                  Jansson (69)
Taylor (83)                 Foyle (90)

Up to and including Sunday, March 22 1998

                             HOME            AWAY
                      P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Nottm Forest         38 14  2  3 43 19   9  6  4 22 15    77   65
Middlesbrough        38 14  3  2 41 10   8  6  5 23 26    75   64
Sunderland           38 11  6  2 40 18  10  4  5 30 22    73   70
Charlton             38 12  5  1 37 15   7  4  9 30 32    66   67
Ipswich              38 10  4  4 36 17   7  9  4 27 21    64   63
Sheff Utd            36 13  4  1 34 13   3 10  5 20 24    62   54
Birmingham           39  8  6  5 22 14   7  8  5 29 19    59   51
Wolverhampton        37 11  5  3 32 18   5  3 10 13 21    56   45
Stockport            39 12  5  2 41 17   4  2 14 20 38    55   61
West Brom            39  8  6  6 21 21   6  5  8 18 24    53   39
Swindon              40  9  5  6 26 21   5  4 11 13 38    51   39
Oxford Utd           39 10  5  4 31 16   4  3 13 22 36    50   53
Bradford             39  9  8  2 22 15   3  6 11 17 27    50   39
Crewe                39  7  2 11 21 33   7  3  9 24 24    47   45
Huddersfield         39  7  4  8 24 23   5  5 10 20 34    45   44
Norwich              39  7  8  5 20 24   4  4 11 17 36    45   37
Bury                 39  6  9  5 18 19   3  9  7 18 27    45   36
QPR                  39  8  7  5 27 19   2  6 11 17 36    43   44
Tranmere             37  7  6  5 24 18   4  4 11 16 28    43   40
Port Vale            39  6  6  8 22 22   5  3 11 24 34    42   46
Portsmouth           38  7  5  8 24 28   4  3 11 17 25    41   41
MANCHESTER CITY      39  5  5 10 22 22   5  5  9 20 24    40   42
Stoke                39  6  5  8 24 31   3  8  9 14 27    40   38
Reading              39  7  4  9 25 29   3  5 11 11 39    39   36

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 #383