Newsletter #387

At long last a result to get a little upbeat about. Stockport will complain – in particular their manager – about the poor goalkeeping performance and the dodgy defence, so am I missing something, are they not members of the Stockport team or…? Megson was fairly ungracious in defeat, as Bradbury really did produce two excellent finishes and Goater caused them all sorts of problems at the back which led directly to the creation of chances. The other incident of note was the dropping of Symons and the move of Wiekens back into defence where he has the potential to be very influential. All in all, a very encouraging performance. I must say that I was surprised by the number of idiots in the away contingent; I’d rather thought that it would be more of a carnival atmosphere (naïve as ever) but a sizeable number were apparently there to cause trouble.

This issue contains a match report, the up-to-date squad, disappointing news of the winding up of McVitee FC, opinion and a Kiwi Why Blue.

Next game, Wolverhampton Wanderers away, Saturday 11th April 1998



An amazing near-capacity crowd of 31,855 gave the day a party-like feel before the game had even started. Maine Road seemed to be buzzing with the anticipation and hopes of all those inside – City fans hoping to reverse the embarrassingly awful result at Edgeley Park earlier in the season, Stockport fans obviously hoping to see more of the same dire heartless City play that we’ve seen all too often this season. Yet this is a completely different team from the one that lost so humiliatingly back in November, both in terms of players and attitudes – surely the result would have to be different this time!

We had a variety of optimistic bets being placed around us, most noticeably Colin’s £2 bet at 60-1 that City would win 3-1 with Goater to score first. It even looked as if it was going to rain hard and get those nasty Stockport fans wet through. This had better be worth missing the Grand National for…

Symons was dropped to the bench along with Rösler to let Goater and Bradbury start. Horlock also made it to the bench after coming through the reserve game with no problems during the week. We lined up with Margetson in goals, Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Vaughan, Jeff Whitley (or Whitely as the TV screens in the Kippax said, typical City can’t even spell their own players’ names correctly and it isn’t as if he’s called Tskhadadze or anything), Jim Whitley, Pollock, Bishop, Goater and Bradbury. Hopes were high. Pollock was captain and Bishop got a great welcome back. Stockport had Eric Nixon in net, big git Brett Angell up front and Eddie McGoldrick playing for them against the club which holds his registration. Only City could let that happen. The scene was all set for a stuffing, we just knew that Nixon would have a blinder, McGoldrick would show us why he’d been popular enough with the City fans last year to come joint runner-up in the Player of the Year award and would score a hat trick. I’d feel even more depressed than I did last Saturday, when I was reduced to doing the gardening rather than listen to the inevitable “City take the lead then play like spanners and lose” commentary from Bradford.

Well then, imagine our surprise when with a mere 5 minutes on the clock City had amazingly taken the lead. We had to pinch ourselves to be sure we weren’t dreaming. Nixon, in time honoured fashion, could only flap at a shot and Goater ran through to ram the ball under him and into the net. Imagine our lack of surprise with what happened next. Only 85 minutes to hold onto the lead! We were still jumping up and down celebrating when Stockport, straight from the kick off, passed the ball out wide to the left. The cross came into the penalty area, and despite the fact that all three centre halves were standing waiting it still fell to Wilbraham, the 19-year-old Stockport striker who hit a sweet volley into the net, 6 minutes on the clock. This was definitely City we were watching. I was impressed by the straightness of the line that the three “ooh I don’t want to clear it I’ll let you have a go” centre halves managed to keep, it would have been really impressive had it been intended – or possible – to catch Wilbraham offside. Only City could let this happen.

A few minutes later there was a clash between Nixon, half our attack and half their defence that resulted in him having treatment on the pitch for what seemed like an age. It was obviously something serious, we thought it looked like a head wound from what we could see. Eventually the referee finally summed up the courage to ask him to leave the field for treatment, at which point Megson decided he was going to have a go at both the linesman and the ref. Now everyone else in the ground knew exactly what Megson was doing, that he was holding up play for as long as possible to allow Nixon to get treatment and come back on, so why didn’t the ref? Why oh why didn’t he say “Oi, Gary, NO” and banish him to the stands to go and whinge out of the way of the game? Ah well, such is life. Eventually Megson decided he’d complained enough, told Angell to go in goals and we restarted facing 10 players.

This should have been the spur for City to shoot on sight, test Angell and his defence to the utmost, capitalise on the fact that the Stockport side is depleted and restore the lead, right? Er, wrong. In the ten minutes Nixon was off the field having his tongue sewn back together after he’d bitten through it (call me squeamish but yuk) we managed one shot on target which Angell gathered comfortably. Well, our supporters’ club team goalie could have caught that and he let 12 in a couple of weeks ago (sorry Rob, I couldn’t resist a dig). Only City could let that happen.

Finally big Eric came back on, and weren’t we glad he did. A speculative ball into the area from Bishop was only parried by Nixon straight into the path of Jobson, who sent a crashing header into the net. I think one of the best bits for us to see – other than the fact we’d scored, obviously – was that Bradbury was right behind him ready to collect the rebound had the defender on the line managed to clear it. Bradbury was having a superb half, he’d been working tirelessly throughout and along with Goater, who can’t help having legs like Carlton Palmer, was making a real nuisance of himself. It was therefore wholly deserved when Bradbury latched onto a through pass from Goater and went racing away, slotting the ball under the advancing Nixon and into the far corner of the goal. It was a sign of how out of form he has been that virtually the whole ground thought his shot was going wide and there was a moment of disbelief before we realised it had gone in. Chants of “Eric is a City fan” resounded round the ground. 3-1 at half time, we were all over the moon, especially Colin who could see £120 and several pints appearing in front of his eyes…

We had a penalty shoot out between the under 12s girls teams from City and Stockport – I particularly liked the bit when one of the little Stockport lasses lifted her shirt (don’t think such smutty thoughts) in front of the Kippax to show she had a City shirt underneath. Nice one. I think City won but I wasn’t really playing much attention – the half times coming in from other grounds meant we had to hold on to this win or we were in dire trouble. We’ve all seen City lose seemingly unassailable leads before.

The second half started with a great deal more Stockport pressure. Margetson played well to keep some of the shots out but despite good performances from all defenders Stockport still managed to hit the bar. Ooh nervy. We were therefore chuffed to bits when City’s first attack of the half fell to Lee Bradbury, with Goater again putting the ball through to him. Time seemed to slow as Bradbury raced round Nixon and slotted the ball into the net. Wallop, 4-1, Colin lost his £120, how we celebrated.

The rest of the half was fairly even but neither side really looked like scoring any more. There was a great comedy moment when Margetson ran across his goal to make sure the ball was going behind and didn’t take any nasty bobbles, and ran straight into his left hand post. Who put that there? The Stockport fans started fighting amongst themselves and several of them were escorted out of the ground – for once that wasn’t the most exciting part of the day. Bradbury had a great chance for a header for his hat trick but the ball seemed to hang in the air for ages, not surprising with the swirly wind that was starting to make things difficult. When it finally came down there was no pace left on the ball and he could only head it weakly at Nixon. There were only two other incidents of note. The first was when Pollock was booked, yet again, this time seemingly unfairly as he was tripped from behind. Not sure why the ref did book him, maybe he wanted to keep the sequence going? Margetson was also booked when he carried the ball out of his area, giving us all a few nervous moments as if he had been sent off I can’t see Bradbury being quite as good in goal as Angell was for them. A Stockport fan was on GMR complaining that he would rather Angell had stayed in net than Nixon came back on; I can’t really say I blame him.

All in all a great team performance and a real relief. It’s lifted us out of the bottom three for the first time in what seems like decades. Our season’s finally started, it’s a shame it can’t end now so we stay up! Goater looks really dangerous as he makes defences nervous with those long Inspector Gadget legs. Pollock was a superb captain, geeing up both the team and the crowd throughout the game. We will really miss him when the inevitable suspension comes along. Vaughan’s distribution was a bit ropey to begin with but improved thoughout the game and Wiekens showed himself to be a really class defender – if a really dodgy midfielder. My man of the match though, without a doubt, was Lee Bradbury. He even discovered a first touch late in the game – I know, his first touch normally has the skill and finesse of a Challenger tank but he was a revelation on Saturday. He and Goater could make a partnership to scare the life out of those ropey defences (containing all our ex-players, most of them) next year. It would be nice if that was in Division 1, as long as they don’t go and fluff it completely at Wolves on Saturday of course. Only City could let that happen…

Sharon Bennett


‘Ye of little faith’. The masterplan finally came into fruition in spite of the recent negative postings to MCIVTA.

JR showed he was a shrewd judge by dropping contract rebels Rösler and Symons and indulged in a spot of lateral thinking by playing Goater alongside Bradbury. All eyes were on the new striker which diminished the pressure on Bradbury and boy did he thrive on it. All the fickle ‘Badbuy’ idiots around me were suddenly setting up Lee Bradbury fanclubs. I thought these type of fans were in the protected domain of MUFC PLC.

Anyway with that off my chest, on to the game. For once we had three at the back (Wiekens, Vaughan, and Jobson) who could play a bit. The consequence of this was that we didn’t waste as many balls from the back. Wiekens looked very comfortable here unlike his recent performances in midfield. Vaughan was in because he has been impressing JR in the reserves and took his chance well after a shaky start. I’ll also stick my neck out by saying that Richard Jobson looks like being our best buy since Kevin Horlock. Pure class in the Alan Hansen mould. In midfield Pollock became captain and apart from another booking (is he now suspended?) put in another good performance. His passing wasn’t quite up to scratch but he was having his usual rumbustuos effect and geeing up everbody with high fives etc.

Bishop was quietly effective, never giving the ball away and setting up one of the goals. Edghill (who received a sickening knock in the face) and Jeff Whitley ran their hearts out and showed an insatiable desire to give everything to the cause. Jim Whitley also had a great game. His stamina level always begins to flourish in the second half when other players are tiring. Not much I can say about Goater and Bradbury apart from that they were both magnificent. Goater threw himself about with devastating effect and Bradbury scored two goals straight out of Alan Shearer’s scrapbook.

I know it’s only one game but I now think we have a great chance of staying up. The next 5 games will be the most important games in the history of Manchester City Football Club; let’s stop the moaning and give our new manager and virtually new team some support.

P.S. I must say I am in full agreement with Joe putting Gio in his place by making him train with the A-team; however, as far as selling him goes there should be a benchmark of £7 million as a starting point for any negotiations.

Ken Foster (


Firstly, apologies for my shameful slackness in not producing a summary for last issue! Pressures of real work finally came to bear and something had to give! Sorry, won’t happen again! At least, not until next time. Here goes then…

Friday April 3rd

It’s becoming one of football’s greatest mysteries and is now talked about alongside such crucial questions such as does Joe Royle have the biggest face in football? Why are us City fans such gluttons for punishment? And of course the big one, are Gary and Phil Neville actually physically able to close their mouths completely? And now, what has happened to sour Gio Kinkladze’s relationship with the club that once held him so dear? Buggered if I know.

Anyway, it now looks as though City and Ajax are in the final throes of thrashing out what to my mind is a cut-price deal for the Georgian genius, despite claims from Royle that he’s going nowhere unless the deal is right for the club. The figure being bandied about as what we’re prepared to accept is £5.5 million, while Ajax are reported to be reluctant to go much above three. Either way, with a quarter of the fee destined to come to rest in the Dinamo Tbilisi account at the Royal Bank of Communism, or whatever it is they have over there, then it doesn’t seem fair to me either way to be honest.

Speaking of Gio’s trip to Holland to discuss personal terms JR said, “Ajax know what sort of fee we are looking for but we are not prepared to divulge any figures at the moment. I understand the talks went well. We will be talking with Ajax within the next seven days.” But he then dismissed claims that Kinkladze has played his last game for City and said “Gio has not been in the team because he’s been under certain pressures recently. But he’s still our player. The situation has gone no further. We will be having more talks, that’s all there is to say. But Georgi is not involved in the Stockport game. He won’t be going anywhere cheap. There are no giveaways. He has a value and if we don’t get that he will return here. He would remain our player and would be judged on that.”

Gio himself said, “The talks went OK, but the move now is in the hands of the two clubs. Ajax officials are coming to Manchester in 10 days’ time for more talks.” And on the disgraceful decision to leave him out of first team training, Kinkladze said, reasonably as ever, “I don’t mind. I needed to work for a couple of days because I had missed training while I’d been away.”

At the Platt Lane complex dozens of City fans delivered ‘thank you’ cards for Kinkladze and surrounded his new left-hand drive Jaguar car wanting shirts and photographs signed by the 24-year-old cult hero, who looks to be facing a long goodbye from the supporters who idolise him.

On tomorrow’s crunch derby with County, Royle spelled out the importance of the match, “It’s a massive game and the most crucial since I came here but that will change next week when we go to Wolves because suddenly that game will become the most important. We have six games left to save our status and we have the worst home record in the division. It’s about time that we put that right. Scoring goals has been the problem. Shaun Goater was a little nervous last week and I’m sure the goals will come from him. Let’s hope it’s tomorrow!”

That’s it, fingers crossed we can get revenge come quarter to five tomorrow!

Saturday 4th April

Match Result: City 4 Stockport 1

Feels good doesn’t it? Straight into the after match quotes because I get the feeling there might be one or two more match reports in this issue so you don’t need me prattling on as well! And of course there’s the fact that I’m currently seeing two keyboards and two monitors in front of me, but the less said about that the better. Offisher…

Firstly Big Joe of course, “We needed that. It was a big win for us, a great result, especially after they had equalised so soon. Everybody must have thought, ‘Here we go again, that’s typical City’. The right people scored. Lee Bradbury got some much needed goals. Hopefully that could change his season. He took both strikes very well with his weaker foot. We had a lot of heroes out there today. Richard Jobson lost his front teeth but kept on battling, and I thought Gerard Wiekens had his best game since I came here – and Ian Bishop looked very good on the ball. But I can’t get carried away. We are out of the bottom three by the skin of our teeth and we have to stay there. But Shaun Goater proved he’s a handful. He told me after the game he’s got to work on his finishing but he will score goals for us.”

And bitter County boss Gary Megson, who had the audacity to say that they handed us the game on a plate and that their goal was the best of the five! Damn cheek! “Three out of their four goals came out of defensive mistakes. They were schoolboy errors. Our defending was clown like at times!”

On a slightly more negative note, Royle has told his contract rebels (for those of you with short memories that’s Uwe, Kit, Edghill and Brightwell) that there will be no further negotiations until it becomes clear which division they’ll be plying their trade in next season. Sound business I’m sure but I got a real feeling of déjà vu when I heard it. Can’t quite put my finger on why. Something about selling our better players after going down perhaps? Can’t think when that could have happened to us before though! Apparently this was partly behind the decision to relegate (sorry, bad choice of word) Uwe and Kit to the bench for today’s game.

JR, “We have not made the players any new offers. I have told them that there will be no further discussions about contracts until we are sure of our status. My problem at the moment is that I don’t know which division we will be playing in next season and that creates uncertainty.” Rumour has it that Rösler and Edghill are wanted to stay while Symons and Brightwell could well be shown the door along with Gerry Creaney who has already been told that he will not feature in another game for City, either at reserve or first team level!

Sunday 5th April

And the Kinkladze saga rumbles on. While he waits for the two clubs to sort matters out, he has reportedly been accused by unhappy players of leaving the club in the lurch. And even those in the reserves and juniors are said to be unhappy at playing with Gio during practice games in training! This could all be part of the MCFC hatchet job that seems to be taking place at the moment but if it’s not then those players should be ashamed of themselves because, no matter what you think of him, he could and should never be accused of deserting the sinking ship!

However, his move to the Dutch league leaders looks to have hit a snag for the time being. Earlier this weekend there appeared to be a rift between the two clubs as to the fee that will be paid for the midfield genius. And that apparent stumbling block could have been made wider by some newspaper stories over the weekend which have now suggested that City are looking to include a 25 per cent sell-on clause in the deal. Ajax officials though are expected to arrive in Manchester for discussions this week and the indications suggest the long-running saga could finally draw to a close very soon indeed.

Another player upset at current events at Maine Road is striker Craig Russell. Since he joined in a £1 million deal that saw Son of Buzzer leave for the Stadium of Light, Russell has played just twice in his favoured striking rôle, instead being used in an unfamiliar wing-back rôle. He said “Since I came I’ve only played up front twice. The rest of the time I’ve played wing-back. I’ve just got to get on with it and try to do my best at whatever position I’m playing in. This season has been so frustrating. I was injured and didn’t do a pre-season, so I never really got fit to start with.” And aside from his problems on the pitch, the 22-year-old has said that life off the pitch is far from rosy either. “At the moment I’m still stuck in a hotel room. I have been getting letters from a City fan saying I’m useless and don’t try. It’s something I’ve got to overcome and try and get into the side. I’m not depressed – you’ve got to look ahead to the future.”

Monday April 6th

Nothing much happening today. Royle has attempted, as he does every day now, to clarify the Kinkladze situation again, “I think it will be in everybody’s best interests if we can sort out a transfer. I have read stories saying they want to pay £3.5 million but that is ridiculous. Equally, I have also heard that we are holding out for £8 million and that is just as stupid. Ajax know the sort of fee we are looking for!” I don’t know about anyone else, but this absolute refusal to even hint to the fans at the fee wanted suggests that we wouldn’t like it if we were told. Or maybe I’m just being cynical again. The latest piece of speculation has it that Ajax have refused to accept City’s alleged request to a 25% sell-on clause as part of the deal, but as I say this is mostly just rumour.

Intriguingly there’s rumours of an imminent friendly against the Reggae Boys, who are of course better known as the Jamaican national side. It is thought that this game could serve a dual purpose, allowing the internationals a ‘testing’ warm up match before the World Cup, whilst also giving the City fans a Gio Kinkladze swansong on the hallowed Maine Road turf. The date being touted for this fine idea is Wednesday May 6th! Just three days after the last game of the season at Stoke! Could be a party atmosphere I suppose. Or then again… I hope it comes off anyway.

Only other thing worth writing about is that in the PFA teams of the year we had two players. In the Division 1 Select side was Gio (obviously Royle didn’t get a vote then) while Shaun Goater made the Division 2 team. I know we shouldn’t technically claim the Goater one, but in such a barren season I think we can be forgiven for a bit of harmless straw clutching, don’t you?

Steve McNally (


Time – Saturday 4/2/98 kick-off 10:30 – but that went by the wayside
Place – St Aquinas College, Heavily (Stockport)

McVitee FC’s 2nd official PSINet League game was against Stockport County. After loads of pleas I was dismayed to find that only one other City player (Andy H) was at Aquinas when I arrived. As time rolled by and kick off approached only two other bodies had materialised (Lee & Rick) so I was facing another nightmare. County had at least 17 players and McVitee FC had four. Sandy offered to give us spare players (seven) to make up the numbers so at least we could have a semblance of a game, but at 10:45 another 5 bodies turned up, so at least we had nine players.

Those who could be bothered to turn up on time were:
Myself, Andy Holgate, Rick and Lee

The latecomers:
Col, Andy Brookfield, Ross, Steve B and Ashley

The County volunteers:
Mel, Graham and Andy

I wanted City to line up with a basic 4-4-2 formation and it lasted for all of 10 mimutes. County took the lead from a corner when yours truly standing at a statuesque 5’8″ could only punch the ball from a corner into the top corner; took timing and accuracy to get it just under the bar though! County never looked back and picked up another 4 goals during the course of the first half. I never really had a chance, the defence and midfield were almost non-existant, leaving County to run the park!

The second half saw a change we I moved into my usual position in the defensive line and left it upto Ashley to take over as custodian. It seemed to have the desired effect and we managed to hold our own and in fact won the second half 3-2 (two penalties, 1 shot). The first goal came when an initial cross was blocked by the hand (?), the second cross was blazed over the bar from all of 4 yards out. However, the referee had already blown and Andy H stepped up for goal number one. County struck back immediately leaving McVitee 6 goals down. The second penalty arrived thanks to some good wing play and County’s manager hacking down the winger. This pen was dispatched again, this time by Andy B. The third goal came after a cross/shot was thumped into the box, blocked by one of our own and then placed into the bottom corner by Rick.

So after a disgraceful first-half performance McVitee had managed to at least pull some pride back into the game. County were worthy winners and the scoreline didn’t really flatter them.

City’s oustanding player and McVitee Man of the Match – Ross, did a sterling job repelling County attack after attack, nice one.

Half-time: County 5 McVitee 0
Full-time: County 7 McVitee 3

As my pleas for players and matches have been met with a wall of silence and apathy I assume you don’t want an Internet team. I assume that I’m doing a bad job, so therefore I resign as McVitee FC manager/contact. Also thanks, I’ve wasted 100 pounds entering McVitee FC into Worldnet’98, if only you’d said you didn’t want to enter I could have save 100 quid!

Anyone going to volunteer to run the team?

Martin Ford (


This is a message forwarded from the Reading Internet team; please read and then if any Thames Valley Blues or any other Berkshire based Blues fancy a kick-around please mail the address at the bottom, good luck (Please note this has nothing to do with me – Martin Ford, mail Phil Corti if you’re interested in playing).

Martin Ford


I’ve finally managed to confirm time and venue for a kick around/5-a-side/training or whatever you wish to call it. Do I hear loud ironic cheers from the galleries? I know it was supposed to kick off in early Jan but for one reason or another it hasn’t. The venue will be Reading Rugby Club and will take place every Wednesday at 8pm starting from 8th April. There will be a nominal charge to cover the floodlights and the bar will be open for drinks after the training session.

Everyone is welcome to pop along and if you need directions, please don’t hesistate to ask. I would appreciate if you could e-mail me if you are coming so I can gauge the number of people likely to come.

Can you please forward this e-mail to your footie team lists so that any list members who live in the Reading area have an opportunity to come along and join in the fun.

Philip Corti, Player/Manager Internet Royals FC. Tel: 0118-9478343 (


This is the existing squad, I think!

Perhaps other contributors could help me with any details which aren’t correct. Does anyone know for instance, whether any of the first or second year trainees have signed contracts?

Tommy Wright
Martyn Margetson
Nick Weaver
Kit Symons
Gerard Wiekens
Tony Vaughan
Rae Ingram                (on loan to Macclesfield Town)
Paul Beesley              (on loan to West Bromwich Albion)
Scott Hiley
Richard Edghill
Ian Brightwell
John Foster               (on loan to Carlisle United)
David Morley              (on loan to Ayr United)
Murtaz Shelia
Kakhaber Tskhadadze
Richard Jobson
Anthony Callaghan
Benn Gallagher
Stephen Rimmer
Georgiou Kinkladze
Eddie McGoldrick          (on loan to Stockport County)
Kevin Horlock
Ged Brannan
Lee Crooks
Jeff Whitley
Jim Whitley
Michael Brown
Nigel Clough
Martin Phillips           (on loan to Exeter City)
Neil Heaney               (on loan to Charlton Athletic)
Jamie Pollock
Ian Bishop
Scott Thomas              (on loan to Brighton & Hove Albion)
Brian McGlinchey
Neil Brisco
Neil Morley
Chris Pridham
Uwe Rösler
Paul Dickov
Lee Bradbury
Chris Greenacre           (on loan to Blackpool)
Gerry Creaney
Barry Conlon              (on loan to Plymouth Argyle)
Craig Russell
Shaun Goater
Ray Kelly                 (on loan to Wrexham)
Mikhail Kavalashvili      (on loan to Grasshoppers Zürich)
Aled Rowlands             (on loan to Sligo Rovers)
David Wills

Maybe some of the following have been promoted to professional status during the course of the season… ?

Second year trainees:
Richard Acton (goalkeeper)
Michael Brown (goalkeeper)
Ben Burrows (midfield)
George Doherty (striker)
Anthony Fenton (defender)
Nick Fenton (defender)
Gary Mason (midfield)
Alan Reilly (striker)

First year trainees:
Adam Allcock (midfield)
Lee Daly (goalkeeper)
Greg Duff (defender)
Darren Garfield (striker)
Shaun Holmes (defender)
Michael Julien (striker)
Jason Kneen (striker)
David Laycock (midfield)
Joe McNab (left wing back)
Neil McNab (midfield)
Ged O’Keefe (right wing back)

Stuart Reynolds (


Sorry for the delay! Normal service should be resume from now on!

Relegation Run in Prediction League

Of the tipsters who have joined in the fun, 59% are Man City fans, of which only one predicts relegation for City (must have miscalculated!). Of the non Man City tipsters, not surprisingly none predict relegation for their own team, even the 2 Reading fans, who are the only 2 tipsters who don’t think Reading are doomed!

Below is the overall average view of the participants’ Final Placings (points first): Figure in [ ] after team name is percentage of tipsters who predict relegation for team.

 15th (55) Huddersfield [ 0]
 16th (54) Norwich      [ 0]
 17th (51) QPR          [ 7]
=18th (50) Tranmere     [ 9]
=18th (50) Bury         [ 9]
=18th (50) Portsmouth   [14]
=18th (50) Man City     [25]
=22nd (46) Stoke        [70]
=22nd (46) Port Vale    [70]
 24th (43) Reading      [95]

Interestingly, 50% of tipsters predict a Man City win away at Stoke on the last game of the season!

Tipsters’ Table up to Sunday 29th March
1st column = Current Total
2nd column = This Week’s Points
3rd column = Name and Team Supported
4th column = Relegated Teams

71 21 Jonathan Thomson (Stockport) Port Vale, Man City, Reading
71 21 Steve Welch (Man City)       Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
68 18 Steve Bardsley (Stockport)   Port Vale, Man City, Reading
68 18 Barry Joynson (Man City)     Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
68 18 Colin Cross (Man City)       Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
68 18 Rob Curtis (Port Vale)       Portsmouth, Man City, Reading
68 18 Geoff Donkin (Man City)      Reading, Port Vale, Stoke
68 18 Chris Loveridge (Man City)   Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
68 18 Clive Schofield (Man City)   Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
68 18 Ian Howarth (Man City)       QPR, Stoke, Reading


Overall Table

86 18 Ian Howarth (Man City)       QPR, Stoke, Reading
83 18 Andy Howarth (Crewe)         Man City, Stoke, Reading
83 15 Chris Loveridge (Man City)   Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
80 15 Nizam Idris (Man City)       Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
80 12 Geoff Donkin (Man City)      Reading, Port Vale, Stoke
80 18 Niall Fitzpatrick (Man City) Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
80 15 Vic Russell (Reading)        Portsmouth, Stoke, Man City
80  9 Steve Welch (Man City)       Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
77 15 Steve Kay (Man City)         Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
77 12 Mike Hesp (Tranmere)         Port Vale, Man City, Reading

This week’s best

18 Ian Howarth (Man City)       QPR, Stoke, Reading
18 Andy Howarth (Crewe)         Man City, Stoke, Reading
18 Niall Fitzpatrick (Man City) Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
15 Chris Loveridge (Man City)   Port Vale, Reading, Stoke
15 Nizam Idris (Man City)       Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
15 Vic Russell (Reading)        Portsmouth, Stoke, Man City
15 Steve Kay (Man City)         Stoke, Port Vale, Reading
12 Geoff Donkin (Man City)      Reading, Port Vale, Stoke
12 Mike Hesp (Tranmere)         Port Vale, Man City, Reading
12 Phil Yeomans (Crewe)         Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
12 Matthew Ashton (Bury)        Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
12 Dominic Martinez (Bury)      Man City, Reading, Stoke
12 Adam Jones (Man City)        Bury, Port Vale, Reading
12 Steve Ryding (Man City)      QPR, Port Vale, Reading
12 Shane Kelly (Man City)       Stoke, Portsmouth, Reading
12 Peter Corkey (Man City)      Port Vale, Stoke, Reading
12 Jonathan Oakes (Port Vale)   Tranmere, Stoke, Reading
12 Benjamin Bloom (Man City)    Portsmouth, Port Vale, Reading
12 Gary King (Man City)         Stoke, Port Vale, Reading

Steve Kay (


I have been following the sad times at City from afar: each week MCIVTA finds its way to the top of my reading list! Can we explain that the worse City are the more readers there are… at this rate we’ll soon top 1,000,000. I have had some wonderfully long letters from friends in Manchester who go to the games and I take all this info and I try and make sense of it…

…and I can’t.

I keep coming to this same conclusion: that City are a club in very deep trouble and though we may joke about playing Macclesfield the reality is that is a very likely proposition. I feel frustrated in knowing who to blame: we’ve had so many managers and players the past five years that it is farcical. I was sorry that Clark didn’t make it but it was clear he had lost his way ages before he left. I was very disappointed we ended up with Royle but that this the sentiment talking not the reality. I just don’t think he is a good manager but then I force myself to answer the question “just who would come to City at this time?” My sentiment returns and says “give me a Keegan who got Newcastle out of trouble by attacking” but there is no way we will get anyone like that. I find that one of the uncomfortable feelings I have is that we have been at this point so many times in the past few years: a new manager takes over and we hope for the best. But this time I don’t hope for much at all: survival would be about it at the moment.

I don’t know what to make of the Gio affair. He is clearly a player apart from the rest; the admittedly very few games I have seen of City when he has been playing brought home to me that he can’t play with the rest and they can’t play with him. He is probably better off out of it; whether we are remains to be seen. I just hope, as many of you do, that he is treated well in the leaving. We are rapidly becoming a mean club in the way we treat some players etc. I said sometime ago that one thing that City need to be able to do is to attract and keep players like Gio: they provide a spark to everyone involved, they show you just what is possible.

This really isn’t going anywhere so I will bring it to a close. I hope we manage to escape but the constant inability to decide on players and tactics seems to be finally catching up with us. I am not sure how much longer I can keep my fingers crossed.

The next few weeks are going to be quite something aren’t they?

Best wishes to all, John Pearson – Stanford (


Just thought I’d drop a line before the game at Stockport today and wish all Blues the best of luck today. I must say I’m surprised at the animosity that has been directed at Joe Royle in many of the letters to MCIVTA lately. I would say that Big Joe is anything but a “grey man.” He has taken over a team that has scored very few goals and won fewer points all season and you cannot perform miracles overnight. Does anyone think that he would leave out Gio if he didn’t know that the player is not performing? My understanding is that JR explained to him when he came to the club that great players have to work and train hard as well as rely on their instinctive brilliance, and this has not been the case. It is easy to say how committed you are (especially when you’re being paid in excess of 18 grand a week) but it has been obvious from the comments of many McVittee subscribers over the last couple of seasons that Gio has patently not performed at the level of consistency required by the club. If and when he goes to Ajax I am sure he will improve immediately, and not solely because of the quality of his team-mates.

In answer to Brian Smith in MCIVTA 386, I can’t tell you where the Coyne brothers are now but I remember Ged Coyne at City in the late 60s / early 70s. He also emigrated with a couple of other City reserve players who had had limited first team exposure at the time, one of the others being Mike Brennan who scored around 60 goals for the reserves / A team one season. I can’t remember the Aussie team they signed for. Incidentally Peter Coyne was supposed to be the new George Best but after a bright start fizzled out and ended up playing non-league.

Ged Keegan was a terrific player for City who survived a horrendous back injury while still a kid. He was one of Malcolm Allison’s favourites for his tenacity and ability. OK that’s it. All the best for later and the rest of the season. I of course will carry on sweating that we hold on and keep the “Arse” off the top of the Premier whilst still bemoaning those tight “baskets” on United’s board that didn’t buy when it was so obvious we needed to…

Leo Fewtrell – The Wythenshawe Exile (


Firstly, I am not a City fan but a Blackpool fan. I have developed a morbid interest in City as my mate Steve is a City fan. I have watched City’s decline and one thing to me that never ceases to amaze me is the poor quality, second-rate signings that City have made over the last few years. If reserve team players are being signed, does that not tell you something that they are not even good enough for their own club? I don’t know all the facts or politics at the club but surely the blame must be levelled at the board and manager who between them sanction the signings? How on earth was the club allowed to have 50 or so professionals? Surely 30-ish is sufficient, the number of wages would be lower and better salaries could be offered to a smaller number of better players. I know it is a second rate cup but Blackpool thoroughly deserved to win the Coca Cola cup tie. To be honest City didn’t look interested. If City go down every club will treat the matches against you as a cup match. Reputations mean absolutely nothing, Blackpool had to apply for re-election not too long ago!

Peter Duerden – Blackpool (


4-1, hold on while I prick myself with a needle to see if it’s actually a good dream or not! Whoa, better than a good dream with draws to Bury, Huddersfield, QPR and Portsmouth and losses to Stoke and Norwich. Even better… “Bradburied” 2 goals… you have “Goater” be kidding me… our strikers at last did the “Jobson”.

I’m so happy I’ve told the wife to break out her finest lingerie… tonight’s the night!

Bring on the Wolves and don’t sell Gio for less than £7.0 million (with a buy back clause and 3 years of a pre-season match City-Ajax at home) … though Ajax can get stuffed at the price they’re offering.

Christian Cullen, Jeff Wilson, Michael Jones and now Lee Bradbury rule!

Chris Loveridge – Hawkeye of the “Bay” (


Anyone in the Ashton-Under-Lyne area going to Wolves on Saturday? Do you need a lift or can I have one? Don’t fancy going on my own.

Andy Holgate (


Not being a citizen of the UK (in fact never having set foot on UK soil), the possibility of a Kiwi kid from staunch rugby territory of agricultural Taranaki (producer of All Blacks Graham Mourie, Dave Loveridge, Bull Allen) becoming an avid follower of English Soccer would seem remote. Indeed as a 9-year-old I had already some 4 seasons of junior rugby behind me. Then as fate would have it, my school soccer team West End, were 1 player short for their next fixture against Woodleigh and I was asked to play. As expected the “new” boy was given the job nobody wanted… goalkeeper. By half time my new coach/team mates realised I was no expert between the sticks as per the 0-2 scoreline, hence I was shuffled up front quick smart. A hat-trick later (on début too) and a 3-2 win and I was hooked. I proudly announced to my astounded rugby disciple father of my future aspirations with the round ball.

Our family moved from New Plymouth on the west coast of NZ to Napier on the east coast of NZ the following year and I saw my first game of English soccer on black & white TV, being the 1973 FA Cup Final Leeds vs. Sunderland. I chose Leeds as my team initially, but then in 1974, I purchased my first “Shoot” magazine and turned to the middle team photo, which was “Manchester City”. I liked the look of the strip and decided to adopt them as my team. The mid seventies confirmed them as a good choice with high finishes in the first division and frequent European campaigns. My favourite players were Dennis Tueart and Peter Barnes and I was somewhat a fanatical follower of the game. I lived for Sunday afternoon when we would receive match coverage, albeit one week later. It inspired me to train, often on my own and enabled me to attain provincial representative levels (for Napier and Hawkes Bay) from age 11 to 19. Indeed it led to an offer of a trial with Ipswich Town, but I never went… couldn’t afford it (hate bloody Ipswich anyway).

I’ve put up with a lot of ribbing over recent times from soccer mates, particularly Spurs fans when living in Auckland. Terry Emms (was an apprentice under Burkinshaw when the Argies were there) and Kevin Le Cocq (played at school in Jersey with Le Tissier and Le Saux) have frequently reminded me of the ’81 Cup Final. We also went to Paul McCartney’s concert on a double decker bus full of scousers… big mistake.

Now aged 33, I’m still a City fan, still haven’t been to Manchester and still am perplexed at our fall from grace. My wife Cherie who isn’t into sport at all has been slowly converted to a fully fledged City fan and proudly wore her City shirt to the Oasis concert in Wellington recently. My oldest boy is a Junior Blue and a Georgi fan (hence his rabbit is called Georgi) and my daughter Chelsea and baby Aidan… well they can kick a ball better than Kit Symons!

My high points as a City fan were the FA Cup run in ’81, Tueart’s goal in the 76 League Cup final, 5-1 over United, 3-2 away to champions Blackburn (best I’ve seen us play), 10-1 vs. Huddersfield and Georgi’s goal vs. Southampton.

My lows are the last 3 seasons, Paul Lake’s injury (what a waste), selling Quinn & White, Steve Coppell (hope he has to visit Maine Road next season) and any losses to Spurs/United.

My team of the last 25 years would have to be Corrigan, Brightwell (hey, his loyalty and gutsy displays in earlier years were superb), Donachie, Doyle, Watson, Kinkladze, Bell, Hartford, Lake, Tueart, Quinn. subs: Coton, Hendry, Barnes, White.

My team for the present would be Weaver, Edghill, Tsh-wotsit, Wiekens, Shelia… Horlock, Gio, Brown, Pollock… Rösler, Russell subs: Wright, Brightwell, Bradbury, Crooks, Dickov.

Sell Symons (Bobby Charlton would still get past him) and Brannan (everyone says he’s crap). If we sell Gio, spend the dough on Pearce (Newcastle) to provide the fight and bite and to kick butts that aren’t pulling finger; bring back Michael Hughes (Wimbledon) to play Gio’s rôle of playmaker (watch highlights of Dons vs. Palace and you’ll agree) and Mark Hughes (Chelsea), a striker who gets stuck in and shoots on sight.

So on we go into a new millennium, hopefully in better shape than we are today, but I will never forsake City as much as they can frustrate and annoy… true fans stick by their team. Who did 50% of United’s fans support 5 years ago? I will continue to follow them from afar until such time as I can venture over to see them first hand (have to wait for the kids to grow up first). I long to sample the ritual of pre-match ales at the corner pub followed by a good 5-0 win over say Spurs (please let them be relegated). In the meantime my good Mancunian mates Tony Prescott and Nick Lilley (good City lads) keep me well informed and stocked up with programmes and videos.

By the way can anyone let me know the prices and postage for the latest City videos on offer at the club shop i.e. there is apparently a history of City one, 96/97 season one and a Gio one?

Chris Loveridge a.k.a. Hawkeye of the “Bay” (


Full-time score for Sunday, April 5 1998

Nottingham Forest     2 - 1 Ipswich Town
Cooper (53)                 Scowcroft (46)

Full-time scores for Saturday, April 4 1998

Bury                  2 - 2 Huddersfield Town
Butler (33)                 Richardson (pen 34, 71)
Ellis (47)
Manchester City       4 - 1 Stockport County
Goater (5)                  Wilbraham (6)
Jobson (32)
Bradbury (37, 57)
Norwich City          2 - 3 Bradford City
Llewellyn (64)              Jacobs (41)
Bellamy (89)                Lawrence (46)
                            Blake (pen 47)
Port Vale             3 - 0 Oxford United
Mills (29)
Naylor (42)
Ainsworth (84)
Portsmouth            1 - 1 Birmingham City
Thomson (89)                Adebola (84)
Reading               2 - 0 Stoke City
O`Neill (32)
Meaker (48)
Swindon Town          0 - 1 Charlton Athletic
                            S. Jones (80)
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 1 Middlesbrough
Quinn (pen 22, 47)          Branca (75)

Full-time score for Friday, April 3 1998

Tranmere Rovers       0 - 2 Sunderland
                            Phillips (6)
                            Summerbee (12)

Up to and including Saturday, April 4 1998

                             HOME            AWAY
                      P  W  D  L  F  A   W  D  L  F  A   Pts   GS
Nottm Forest         40 15  2  3 46 19   9  6  5 24 19    80   70
Sunderland           40 12  6  2 42 19  11  4  5 32 22    79   74
Middlesbrough        39 14  3  2 41 10   8  6  6 24 28    75   65
Charlton             40 13  5  1 41 17   8  4  9 31 32    72   72
Ipswich              39 11  4  4 37 17   7  9  4 27 21    67   64
Sheff Utd            38 14  4  1 36 14   3 10  6 20 27    65   56
Birmingham           41  9  6  5 23 14   7  9  5 30 20    63   53
Wolverhampton        39 12  5  3 34 18   5  4 10 13 21    60   47
Bradford             41 10  8  2 24 16   4  6 11 20 29    56   44
West Brom            41  9  6  6 23 22   6  5  9 18 25    56   41
Stockport            41 12  5  3 41 18   4  2 15 21 42    55   62
Oxford Utd           41 11  5  4 33 16   4  3 14 22 39    53   55
Swindon              41  9  5  7 26 22   5  4 11 13 38    51   39
Crewe                40  7  2 11 21 33   8  3  9 25 24    50   46
Huddersfield         41  7  5  8 25 24   5  6 10 22 36    47   47
Tranmere             39  7  6  6 24 20   5  4 11 19 28    46   43
Bury                 41  6 10  5 20 21   3  9  8 19 29    46   39
Port Vale            41  7  6  8 25 22   5  3 12 25 36    45   50
QPR                  41  8  8  5 27 19   2  7 11 18 37    45   45
Norwich              41  7  8  6 22 27   4  4 12 17 38    45   39
MANCHESTER CITY      41  6  5 10 26 23   5  5 10 21 26    43   47
Portsmouth           40  7  6  8 25 29   4  3 12 17 27    42   42
Reading              41  8  4  9 27 29   3  5 12 11 40    42   38
Stoke                41  6  5  9 24 34   3  8 10 14 29    40   38

Russell Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


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The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #387