Newsletter #409

Just a small issue, but one in which we say ‘adieu’ to our Mr Niceguy, Kit Symons. Personally, I can’t say I’m sorry to see him depart as I feel that he more than deserved his less-than-flattering nickname – ‘Captain Calamity’. His tally of unforced-errors-leading-to-goals cost us around 10 points last season, which was a fair old contribution to our relegation by anyone’s standards. Apparently, he didn’t feel that it was in his best interests to stay on at half his former salary – in layman’s terms that means he has had a better offer from another club. The other club is rumoured to be Coventry, where he will be joining Bobby Brightwell and Richard Money, who is now Director of their Sports Academy or somesuch. Other individuals with City connections involved in departures this week are Howard Kendall (3rd time of leaving at Everton), Freddie Pye (ex City director and currently the holder of an honorary position) and Ian Niven (City director). Anyone know the precise details of why they are vacating their positions?

Other than that, we have some requests for info and a Why Blue.

Lastly, there is an excellent and entertaining view of Bristol Rovers from one of their own fans. If anyone can persuade fans of other clubs to do something similar (maybe by contacting them via their WWW sites/mailing lists), I’d be more than happy to put them in MCIVTA.

This one reaches 2,100.

Next game, Sunderland at home, Saturday 18th July 1998 (Brightwell)


Or… Nice chap – pity about his defending

Manchester City defender Kit Symons has left the club after refusing to accept a big pay cut. Welsh international Symons had been in discussions all month with manager Joe Royle with his contract ending next week but they failed to reach an agreement.

Royle said: “Kit has gone by mutual agreement. We both felt it would be better for Kit to seek his future elsewhere.” He added: “He admits he hadn’t the best of times last season but he was playing some of his best football at the end of it. We wish him good luck in the future.”

Symons joined City from Portsmouth for £1.5 million in 1995 when Alan Ball was in charge at Maine Road. Symons was made captain by Ball but came in for some criticism from sections of the crowd and was relieved of the position by former manager Frank Clark. He made his début against Spurs at Maine Road in August 1995 and has recently been linked with Coventry, where his former defensive partner Ian Brightwell was transferred this month.

Source uncertain, but thanks anyway!

Tim Edmondson (


City will play for the Bill Shankly Shield when they spend the weekend at Preston on August 1 and 2.

City will play Preston on the Saturday at 2pm, while Barnsley and Tranmere meet at 4.15pm. The winners play in the final on Sunday with the 3rd Place Play-Off kicking off beforehand. At the event, to commemorate the opening of Preston’s new £2 million Bill Shankly Kop, admission will be £10 for adults (£5 for juveniles and OAPs) payable at the turnstiles, and it will be a rare chance to sit on Sir Tom Finney’s face! City fans will be housed in the Tom Finney Stand and the Pavilion Stand and paddock, with Preston fans in the new stand and on the Town End terrace.

Courtesy of Football 365

Graham Smith (


Already two changes to the fixture list that I know about as I asked for a fixture list through the post from the ticket office.

Fulham away – was Sat 15 Aug, is now Fri 14 Aug
Walsall home – was Mon 31 Aug, is now Wed 2 Sep

Hilary Roberts (

The Fulham game has been Sky-ed!



The following press release has been issued by the FSA regarding Ticket Cheats for the World Cup.

FSA Steps Up Pressure On Ticket Cheats

The Football Supporters’ Association is stepping up its campaign to obtain justice for fans who have been cheated out of World Cup match tickets by companies such as Great Portland Entertainments Limited, recently the subject of winding up proceedings issued by the Department of Trade and Industry.

At a press conference to be held at 3.00pm on Thursday 25th June at the offices of KPMG Accountants and Business Advisers (1 The Embankment, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4DW) in Leeds, the Football Supporters’ Association will unveil a hotline telephone number for fans who have lost tickets they had already paid for.

The telephone number is :- 0121 232 3942

The number will enable fans who have paid money in good faith to Great Portland or other ticket agencies to leave details of the tickets or packages which they purchased. Fans will then receive a detailed questionnaire from the FSA. Messages may also be sent by fax on 0121 232 3801.

The information from fans will help the FSA to consider and advise fans on the various actions which may be open to them to recover monies paid. The FSA believes that by co-ordinating such complaints it will help the fans to maximise the chances of recovering the thousands of pounds they have laid out for tickets they never obtained.

Great Portland Entertainments Limited has had a provisional liquidator appointed.

The FSA understands that Great Portland provided between 1,000 and 2,000 tickets to fans. However, some reports estimate that they took money from up to 25,000 fans for tickets.

The Football Supporters’ Association understands that Great Portland may have paid substantial monies out for tickets to a number of sources and that steps are presently being taken to try and establish those sources.

The FSA is particularly keen to obtain details from fans who did receive tickets from Great Portland so that the origin of those tickets can be ascertained.

Ordinary fans are the victims of these ticketing problems and the FSA believes that it is the only organisation who can give those fans a voice and ensure their rights and interests are represented.

To this end the FSA have obtained the backing of KPMG who are offering support services to co-ordinate the ticket hotline and provide insolvency advice to the FSA. To assist with legal action the FSA has instructed Richard Cramer, a sports litigation expert and partner in Leeds law firm McCormicks, to consider and pursue any claims.

Richard Cramer said, “It is scandalous that a firm such as Great Portland can sell tickets to fans on such a large scale without having first ensured that it has those tickets in its possession to fulfill its obligations to those fans. It is our aim to ensure that fans obtain the maximum recompense to which they are entitled. Fans have suffered not only the disappointment and expense of paying for non-existent tickets. They should be entitled to be compensated not only for the cost of any packages they have purchased but also for the additional loss of enjoyment and distress caused to them.”

The telephone number will be publicised to fans who were forced to stay in Britain via the Football Supporters’ Association internet page, by the national network of football supporters e-mail lists and by Football Fanzines. It will be publicised to the fans who did decide to travel regardless to France by the Football Supporters’ Association Mobile “Fans’ Embassy” which is following England’s progress around France.

The information supplied by fans via the hotline number will help the FSA piece together the complex web of ticket agency relationships that has led to several different companies failing to supply tickets to thousands of fans. The fact that so many fans sought tickets through such unofficial agencies is a reflection of the overall ticket allocation for the World Cup which favours sponsors and corporate clients over ordinary fans.

FSA spokesperson Paul Thomas said, “The FSA has said all along that too many tickets have gone to sponsors and corporate outlets. That is a direct cause of so many ordinary fans taking a risk in buying tickets from unofficial agencies and losing their money. The FSA is determined to help fans get their money back and to expose the truth behind these ticket agencies.”

Dave Barker (


Received a letter from Andy Foden, Branch Secretary of the South West Branch, confirming that the team are arriving in Cornwall on 9th July to get whipped into shape by the merciless PTI’s at HMS Raleigh. Two friendlies are confirmed: 10th July at Torpoint Athletic; 14th July at Newquay (dig out your surfboard!). The Branch AGM is being organised around the Torpoint match with a social evening the night before as well as one the night of the match (hic!).

Steve Heggs – Plymouth Blue (


After reading the last MCIVTA which asked about information on next season’s opponents I asked a colleague of mine to talk about his team – Bristol Rovers.

Rovers fans are known as ‘Gasheads’. The name derives from their old ground at Eastville Stadium, adjacent to which was a Gas works. Initially Bristol City fans thought up the name as an insult, but in time it became the Rovers’ fans own favourite nickname. Consequently the official nickname for the club, the ‘Pirates’, is rarely used, and the team are known affectionately as the ‘Gas’.

Our nickname for any Bristol City fan is ‘S**thead’, however it should not be implied from this that Ashton Gate is next to a sewer – it is in fact an open sewer in its own right. Obviously we have few links with such an illustrious club as Manchester City, but we did meet them in a League Cup tie a few years ago and spent a happy half-hour singing ‘There’s only one Gary Flip-Flop’ in honour of your young substitute who appeared to be introduced as such by the tannoy system. The only other links I can think of are that Eddie Large lives near Bristol and Brian Gayle came to us the season before last in order to take some pace out of our defence.

Bristol Rovers are unique in never having played in the Premier or bottom league. Most of our time has been spent in the current Second Division. The furthest we have gone in the FA Cup is the 6th round, back in the 1950’s. We have had one international player for England, Geoff Bradford, who also won his caps in the 1950’s.

During the last twenty years the club has played their home league games at four grounds, Eastville, Ashton Gate, Twerton Park (home of Bath City) and the Memorial Ground (home of Bristol rugby club). The S***heads managed to burn down stands at Eastville and Twerton Park and will probably have a go at the rugby ground soon. Being thick they’ll probably do Ashton Gate at the same time.

Famous ex-players include Nigel Martyn, Gary Mabbutt, John Scales, Keith Curle and Geraint Williams, and further back in time, Larry Lloyd. Heroes have been Alfie Biggs, an aptly named centre-forward of the sixties, Harold Jarman, a buck-toothed winger of the 60’s and 70’s who later played with Pele at the New York Cosmos, and also played cricket for Gloucestershire, including playing the famous Gillette Cup semi-final with Lancashire when Jackie Bond hit the winning runs in the gathering gloom at Old Trafford. Later there was Smash and Grab – Bruce Bannister and Alan Warboys, who scored seven goals in one match away to Cloughie’s Brighton, and another winger, the brilliant Micky Barrett, who died of cancer at the age of 23 when destined for a great career. And then there was the one and only Devon ‘Bruno’ White. Enough said.

Recent managers have included the incomparable Gerry Francis, the pathetic Martin Dobson, the popular Dennis Rofe, the excellent John Ward, and the current player-manager and Mr Rovers through and through, Ian Holloway. There was also a prat called Bobby Gould who somehow was given the job twice.

The current team has a trio of lively forwards. Barry Hayles is the star turn. Bought from Stevenage Town at the beginning of last season he ended up as the division’s top scorer. He loves to have the ball at his feet and run at defences, turning them inside out – they just can’t cope with him. Alongside him is the rumbustious Peter Beadle, who is somewhat slow but with a phenomenal left foot from forty yards or further out. He’s also got an attitude problem and appears to hate everybody, so he’s fun to watch. Behind them, and some times on the wing, plays Jamie Cureton, a buy two seasons ago from Norwich but originally from Bristol. Similar in stature to Ronnie Corbett, his shots are nevertheless even more powerful than Beadle’s and he only ever bothers scoring cracking goals. If he lets fly one should always duck though, for if he misses the goal the ball is likely to go anywhere.

There are more midgets playing in midfield, including the non-stop Holloway, Gary Penrice of Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers fame, and the gnome-like Luke Bashford. The latter does not appear to have a right foot. Young Lee Zabek provides some height and calm authority, whilst the equally young Tom Ramusut offers some tricky wing play straight from the Orient (not Leyton but Indian sub-continent via Wales). Then there is Matt Hayfield. Nobody quite knows how he gets into Holloway’s teams. He’s slow, unskilful, can’t tackle and what’s worse looks like a very ugly pig.

In defence are two very prickly full backs. Jason Perry does manage to stay on the pitch for the whole game sometimes, but rarely without bringing the wrath of the opposition fans down on his head. Basically he’s a nasty dirty b*!”£$d, but then he is Welsh so what can you expect? His colleague, David Pritchard, is more subtle, perhaps being on a par with David Batty, which says much for Perry. In central defence is the immaculate Andy Tillson, our captain and record signing. Although prone to injuries and errors he is definitely very very good and very very tall. Steve Foster, late of Woking, provides some skill alongside him, and Tom White stands by when Tillson is out. He’s always interesting to watch, as he makes you realise that with a little more luck and the removal of a few thousand brain cells you too could have made it as a professional footballer.

In goal is the brilliant Lee Jones, who appeared in the last few months of the season. Basically he is the Second Coming. After a handful of games Holloway put the rest of the team up for sale in order to keep him. BLJ (Before Lee Jones) the team’s fifth midget, Andy Collett, played in goal. He’s brilliant at coming off his line, probably because forwards can’t see him coming. He’s not a bad shot-stopper too, as is his ex-reserve Shane Higgs. Another entertainer, if you want to know what Charles Manson looked like check out Higgs’ beard and long hair. Perhaps his hippy looks help him in his other job – juggling. He is very good at this and will provide several demonstrations in each game he plays.

There it is. A jolly little club with no aspirations other than to beat the s**t out of the S***heads. If you like circuses check out the Rovers. If you are lucky you’ll see the five midgets, Higgs the juggler, Tillson on his natural stilts, Ramusut the Oriental magician, Cureton and Beadle with their cannonball shooting and Hayfield the clowning pig. You can’t help but love them all.

Stephen Wallwork (


Does anybody have any theories regarding the break-neck speed at which such an enormous club has plummeted to the Second Division? The more I think about it, the less plausible the situation with my beloved Blues seems! Most Blues will recall City being mentioned in the same breath (and on a par with) Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool etc. but can you really imagine in your wildest dreams any of those clubs in the Second Division? Surely there is some kind of curse hanging over Maine Road? Bad team management alone could not lead to the kind of demise that City have suffered. How many managers have we had since Reidy was unceremoniously dumped? They can’t all be bad can they? Surely this season Joe Royle will lead a revitalised City to storm the Second Division and at last we humble Blues can sing “City are back”. I remember talking to Gary Owen last year whilst in the City centre on a Saturday night; one thing he said was that the City job was a piece of p***, all a manager had to do was get the team into the top six and he would be a messiah! Well it didn’t happen last season but we Blues are a faithful old lot so who knows, maybe this time!

Peter Share (


Thanks to everyone who chipped in re: where are they now. It was a good read. Anyone know anything about George Heslop and, I’m wracking my brains, but who played left half next to him (and Tommy Booth)?

Chris Cobb (


I have been wanting to ask the following questions for some time but wonder am I being a bitter Blue or are they valid historical facts? Then after reading Why Blue by Dave Buxton (Issue 408) where he states his friends transferred their affections across town in 1948 after the Rags won the FA Cup, I have to ask:

  1. What was the Rags’ average attendance prior to WW2?
  2. After Bert’s mates bombed OT during the war, the Rags were invited toplay their home games at Maine Road while the damage was repaired; whydid it take so long to repair?
  3. During this time how many records were set for league and cup attendances for the Rags at Maine Road?
  4. Is it true City had to ask the Rags to leave?

So I suppose the answer I am looking for is, was this the period in their history where they went from Rags to riches and love thy neighbour was not a wise move for the Blues!

Also, as for not wanting ex-Rags at Maine Road, what is the problem? They have an ex-Blue cast in bronze.

Anyway at the end of the day I am a True Blue and I know we will be back where we belong, at the top, so like the many thousands of Blues out there I hope it is sooner than later.

So with that of my chest I am focused on August 1st, back to the future here we come.

100% True Blue – John Taylor (


Is there anyone out there who has any good sites they can recommend, on the history of violence at soccer matches, or if any one you know have been involved in fights either in the ground, or outside.

Stephen Marks (


Being another of the seemingly many new MCIVTA recruits here is my story of Blue love and its mad passions!

In the early 60’s my relatives lived in Moss Side (on the 53 bus route) and my uncles consequently took me one week to OT and the next to the Academy. After two years of this I decided in 1965 to make my mind up and in the perverse way that Blue logic works I took up the City flag because they were crap and I felt sorry for them (funny how things go round in circles isn’t it?).

There at the previous nadir – the 8500 crowd vs. Swindon when Buzzer scored against us – I at least then had a number of years of glory through Division 2 title, Championship, FA and League cups and Cup Winners’ Cup. Boy they were great days. We eclipsed the Rags and they went into decline.

Marriage followed in the mid 70’s followed by a number of years away bringing up family etc. (no excuse I know but there it is) but after divorce a couple of years ago I am back firmly in the fold – as we are in decline again (as I said, funny how things go around).

Now in my third year as season ticket holder, as optimistic as ever and the only difference now is that I don’t even bother worrying about the Rags – what’s the point until we rejoin them in our rightful place? Still, unfortunately we are in the division our team deserves and not the division our fans deserve. I am sure JR has the nouse to turn it round and get us going again.

PS Two things would make my life complete:

  1. Immediate return to the First.
  2. A good Blue woman to share my expected joy with!

CTID, Joe Ramsbottom (


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 #409