Newsletter #424

Déjà vu!

There could be no worse way to start my editorship, could there? City brought us back to earth (almost a crash landing, 3-0) as swiftly as we feared they are capable of. Damn!

Despite ample time to do one, it appears no Blues had gotten over last Friday’s débâcle to write a `live’ match report. Nonetheless, we have a report from a Sky viewer and a view on the Fulham match, a view and a Newspaper report on the Notts County match and an article on Tony Coleman. There are also some replies to earlier posted views/opinions etc. – for a change, there is only one reply to Simon’s view. My lack of experience shows when I lost the name and address of one contributor! Sorry. We still do not have a Why Blue. Anyone fancy trying one out?

Finally, a little about myself. I have been a subscriber to this marvellous newsletter since issue No. 1 when, if memory serves, there were only 6 of us. Since then, I really cannot do without the usual dose of rumour, humour and news from fellow Blues. Ashley is a tough act to follow but I have mustered enough courage to be the guest editor as I hope through this I can get to know more City fans before I make my journey to Manchester on September 6th. Armed with a season ticket, I will be there for a year as I am pursuing the MA at Uni. of Manchester (no other Uni. will do for me). A week after my editorship expires, I will be in Manchester, so see you there soon.

Next game, Wrexham home, Saturday 22th August 1998


Fulham 3 City 0

As a contest this match ended after 12 minutes when Tskhadadze was carried off with what looked to be serious ligament damage. This was a result of heading the ball clear and being gently knocked off balance by a Fulham knee causing an awkward fall. Shortly afterwards Edghill went in clumsily with his knee high – gave away a free kick, did no damage to his opponent, got booked and was booed for the next half hour. This just about summed up the difference between the two teams: City clumsy and ineffective, Fulham smart and effective. Anyhow Tskhadadze was replaced by Allsopp and for the next 35 minutes City were as badly outplayed as I have ever seen them. The back three played as though Tskhadadze was still there, leaving a huge gap for Lehmann in particular to exploit. The remaining City players didn’t seem to know quite where they were supposed to be playing except Pollock who played everywhere with enthusiasm but perhaps not too much skill. Dickov ran about a lot and tried. Having said all that there was an element of unfairness about Fulham’s first goal; Symons climbed all over Allsopp on the touchline about ten yards inside the Fulham area and the referee gave a free kick to Fulham taken just about on the halfway line. Allsopp headed the ball on to Beardsley whose shot would probably have been saved by Trautmann or Corrigan but just eluded Nicky Weaver. Next, a shot from outside the area was deflected by Lehmann from about 8 yards and brought a great reaction save from Weaver only for Lehmann to pick himself up and collect the rebound whilst the City defence waited for Tskhadadze to clear. Lehmann was left to be marked by Tskhadadze from a corner and placed an unstoppable header for number three.

Joe Royle obviously explained why he’d replaced Tskhadadze with Allsopp at half time and the players now looked as if they knew where they were supposed to be playing; this, coupled with Fulham not wanting to overexert themselves, led to a goal-less second half. Allsopp had a good chance to score but let the defender catch up with him and there were a couple of other chances and a near miss with a good drive from Pollock. Fulham could have scored a couple in the second half as well. Ah well; Bobby Charlton’s scrapbook on Saturday featured City vs. Spurs in 1977 and I could watch Tueart, Barnes, Booth, Hartford and Kidd score in a 5-0 win, so the week-end wasn’t all bad!


This defeat is down to Joe Royle. How could he replace Tskhadadze with Allsopp without having a formation in mind? His choice of substitutes – Allsopp, Whitley and Wright(?!) left him no really sensible option if one of his back four was injured. I doubted his intelligence last season when he didn’t put Kinkladze on the substitutes’ bench as a worry to opposing teams (imagine being able to bring him on for half an hour as Gazza walked off and Middlesbrough were down to ten men!). But now we see a team that falls apart when it loses a player who until a week or so ago wasn’t in the reckoning and was to be transferred. Perhaps he’ll now try David Morley having just transfer listed him? Hopefully David Bernstein has given him some targets – 18 points from 10 games is a minimum for promotion and if he doesn’t get these then we might as well get a young, promising manager to build a long term future. If City haven’t met this target and the board don’t react, then would be the time for City fans to stay away in protest just as they did against Swindon to herald in the Mercer-Allison era.

Dave Lewis (


Well, I guess SNAFU is the only pertinent description for last night’s débâcle. I felt reasonably confident before the game, still reasonably confident whilst Skedaddle was playing. After that… well, headless chickens or what?

The defence was a shambles. Wiekens and Vaughan had as much positional sense as a blind man in the Gobi desert.

Edghill. Do full backs learn about tackling anymore? It’s quite a useful asset for a defender I am led to believe.

Mason. Poor lad… I felt sorry for him, but Royle will need to choose where and when to play him if he doesn’t want to destroy his confidence. The rest of the midfield… well, I think Jeff is better than Jim, Pollock can only huff and puff so much but there is no creativity there… also, Fulham were able to play the game in our half much of the time with a back 4 containing 3 ex-Premiership defenders.

Goater. Clearly not recovered from his bug, but he and Dickov got no service anyway. Allsopp… well, again, you throw players in at the deep end when you know you have a reasonable chance of floating. Last night was not such a case.

Dear me.

Re: the great Simon debate… I understand where he’s coming from, but why bother to tell us? Surely 99% of us know the team is s***e – that’s why we’re at Craven Cottage last night, not preparing for Anfield or Highbury. Yes, recent boards have shown all the modern business sense of a 19th Century Lancashire cotton magnate. However, I am pleased with the current set-up – a low-profile Chairman with a good business record, moves to exorcise the festering past, and a clear realisation it seems to me of what the club must now do. Whether the players we have on our books will enable that is anyone’s guess… but after last night’s showing and with the consequent fact that with Shelia & Skedaddle both being long term crocks, we must strengthen the central defence at once. Sure… all great teams are built from the back, but the type of defending we saw last night will be more likely to end us up in Div. 3 than Div. 1.

Jeremy Poynton (


NOTTS COUNTY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Worthington Cup 1st Round, 1st Leg

Below is the match report on County versus City as found in the Nottingham Evening Post. As you will see, they blame County for City’s win and give grudging praise for what was a very patient and commanding performance by the lads. The only black marks would be for poor old Lee Bradbury who does not seem able to read the play and therefore has poor positional sense. He will have been the only Blue who was disappointed to see Allsopp score because he did more in the 10 minutes that he was on than Bradbury did for the other 80. The other sub-standard performance came from Richard Edghill; he was good in his defensive rôle but seemed a bit too tentative in his attacking duties. We need him to put in those crosses from the right for Bradbury and Goater to get hold of. The defence were really very good, Wiekens was calm and collected early on when County were pressing hard. Tskhadadze, or ‘Peepo’ as the players apparently call him (source:- Joe Royle, Manchester City Clubcall) was also good in defence with a head that controls and directs the ball the way players like Mason does with his foot. I thought Tony Vaughan also had a good game and it is really good to see him showing quality play after a wretched start under Frank Clark who was playing him out of position. Horlock looked good and confident going forward and there was a good understanding between Pollock and Gary Mason in the middle. I was sitting with the County fans and they were asking me ‘Who’s that Number 10?’ because, as they said, ‘He’s absolutely full of running.’ Another ‘Walsh’-like display from Dickov – let’s hope he finds a similar goal touch to the ‘Little Genius’.

Peepo’s goal was an absolute delight to see and, thanks to Mike’s City Service (, I’ve seen it quite a few times since Tuesday,. He has a head like a foot that bloke and he knew from the moment that Horlock took the corner what he was going to do with it. Pollock hit the bar with a thunderous shot that Francis Lee in his heyday would have been proud of. 5,795 were there for what was County’s first home game(!) and 2,500 of those were Blues.

Right, here’s what the Nottingham Evening Post thought of it all:-




Manchester City fans must be pinching themselves right now, hardly able to believe their good fortune. Last season the most the Blues could manage was two back-to-back wins. This campaign, they’ve got a 100 per cent record from their two opening games. It was certainly reason enough to get Joe Royle smiling last night as he walked into the press room and asked the gathered entourage what we thought of City’s performance. The truth was that City were strong, as you would expect a club with 39 professionals on their books, to be. But, the heartening thing for Notts County was that the Manchester giants were not really two goals better than them and certainly didn’t look a class apart.

And had Sam Allardyce not been forced, through injury, to switch his formation three times through the course of the game, the chances are Notts might have got a draw out of this Bass Worthington first round clash. The Magpies went into the dressing room at half time knowing they had the edge on the game.

Despite the loss of Gary Strodder (strained calf muscle) and Dennis Pearce (twisted knee) in the first half, Notts had enjoyed the better of the possession and succeeded in directing play towards the visitors’ penalty area. But City got to grips with the game more after the break and the loss of Notts captain lan Hendon after a clash of heads with Darren Ward helped their cause.

Man of the match Shaun Murray blasted a rebound from a Gary Jones effort narrowly wide before the hour mark and the same player came close minutes later with a free kick that bobbled giving ‘keeper Nicky Weaver problems. But the constant changes in formation left Notts increasingly disorganised and as the game wore on the Magpies lost their shape and their concentration. The man they call ‘King of the Air’, Kakhaber Tskhadadze, proved why with a powerful header as he ran in to meet Kevin Horlock’s corner on 72 minutes to put City 1-0 up.

Skipper Jamie Pollock struck the bar before, in the dying seconds, the Blues doubled the score. Notts were still appealling at the other end of the pitch by the time City had played the long ball out to Australian Danny Allsopp. The player who cost Joe Royle a mere £10,000 calmly slotted the ball home for the second, giving Notts a mission more or less impossible next Wednesday.

(You see, it was nothing to do with City after all)

Rick Eagles (


This was passed on to me by a (sympathetic) Bristol City fan; I know TC comes up now and again in the “Where are they now” category (In Oz, I believe), and this is a little snapshot of a player who is not now mentioned in the same breath as the greats of the Championship team but played a full part nevertheless. This snippet was found on a Fall website.

Tony Coleman

The Manchester City left winger from ’67-’70. He was the wild man of City – the Keith Moon of soccer – completely ungovernable. He used to vomit before every game because he was so nervous. His kit was always dirty, he used to have big boils over his face, but he was the only one who scored any goals. I used to remember him when I used to watch City in those days and they were like a team full of freaks. They still won the Championship. United had millions of pounds and City had to buy blokes from Doncaster Rovers.

They were a joke, but the Championship was ours. All Mancunians support City – only outsiders support United (joke). When I was at school, there were only ever three City fans and thousands of United fans.

Every City game I watch I think is great, but watching Coleman unhinge the United defence when we beat them 3-1 at Old Trafford was brilliant. I quite like Bryan Robson despite everything. It’s Bobby Robson that wants shooting.

Jeremy Poynton (



May I write in and congratulate you on so clearly and objectively stating exactly the thoughts that have been going through my head for the past few weeks. And no, you don’t sound like a “rabid right-winger” – merely a fan concerned with his (and our) game and simply wishing to see football at every level return to being “the beautiful game”. If that means you’re a “rabid right-winger” then sign me – and doubtless millions more – up for membership!

You are perfectly correct to be worried about a European Super League – it’s something I’ve been concerned about since the inception of the Champions’ League format. I felt than, and appear to be being proved correct, that this was merely a staging post on the way to the creation of a Super League – and all the problems for the domestic game that that will entail. You are perfectly correct in thinking that Rupert Murdoch et al think that they own football – not merely the TV rights to a division of a national league, nor even a club or two, but football at every level throughout the world. I worry that this may have been the last world cup to be seen on “free” television – and the insidious onset of “pay-per-view” makes it even less likely that the grass roots fan will be able to see any matches except those that he/she manages to get tickets for. Even the possibility of getting tickets will, I fear, diminish rapidly, as corporate hospitality gets an even greater foothold in the grounds – what club will refuse block bookings of ten or twenty seats at home matches as compared to you and I buying in ones and twos?

As for the Pierre van Hooijdonk situation, you appear once again to have hit the nail on the head. Too many of today’s players feel that they are bigger than the game. A certain Mr. Gascoigne is a prime example of this – he ignores all the warnings and then he (or his agent) cry and stamp their feet when he gets left out of the England squad. Once again I place the blame firmly at the feet of the TV bosses. They have created a global “cult of personality” far greater than the “fan worship” of a few years ago. Yes we all had our favourites, whose pictures adorned our walls, etc., but now it is not merely the fans who wear the shirts and buy the pictures – footballers are being treated by the media – and (to pinch your excellent phrase) the “on the coat-tails of success sofa season ticket satellite channel subscriber” – in the way previously reserved for movie/pop stars. This can again only lead to a decline in the quality of the game at every level, and will without any shadow of a doubt lead to the rapid demise of the lower leagues and any team unable to afford the exorbitant wages and other demands of the “stars”.

I apologise for rambling on for so long, but Peter’s letter hit the right spot and I felt compelled to have my two penn’orth.

Keep up the good work!

CTID, Gareth Smith (


Man. City were my first Subbuteo 11. The team I couldn’t lose with. The Gods of plastic soccer. They were also the first team I swopped (after I went on the losing run, about the same time as the real team!), for West Germany!

Many moons later,I was trying to chat-up a couple of girls in San Antonio along with a guy who claimed to be a City fan. We both lost! Two seasons ago… Gaudino returned from City, where he’d been in hiding after the repossesed car scandal forced him from Frankfurt. They just missed promotion back to the Bundesliga. I’m now living and working in (West) Germany, following the local team, Eintracht Frankfurt… still supporting the one and only Motherwell F.C. (which brought me here). And, one day I hope to get to Maine Road and see the team where they should be… back in the Premiership. Good luck City.

Jim Taylor (


(by Noel Bayley – editor of Bert Trautmann’s Helmet)

Living in London some eleven years ago, a friend invited me to Craven Cottage with him to watch Fulham play either Colchester or Gillingham; I cannot recall which and I care even less now than I did then, although I think Fulham won 3-2. The reasons I went were simple enough; there was nowt else down other than going to the pub, it was local, it was a new ground for me and it was a rare chance to watch a League Cup First Round game – a real novelty. Little did I know! Fast forward to last Friday evening and, sadly, League Cup First Round games are no longer the novelty they were, while City are in the same League as Fulham… on paper at least. Standing in the opposite end to that of my last visit, I squirmed with embarrassment for much of the first half and watching the planes coming in to Heathrow seemed a far better proposition to watching the shambles that was unfolding in front of me. Far away in the opposite end, the diehards with whom I watched that League Cup tie all those years ago must have been euphoric. Fulham’s fans have seen the promised land while we wait to be delivered from our evil as a succession of managers and chairmen plead with us to be just that little bit more patient.

I know it’s early days and I hope that the writing isn’t really on the wall just yet, but with no obvious stars in the team and with no focal point of any description to carry us through, I feel the euphoria and optimism which followed the Blackpool victory has all but evaporated. I can but hope that Friday night’s shocker was a mere blip on the road to greater things, but from where I was standing Fulham’s team were far better, faster and more inventive than ours… I’d go as far as to say the best part of £10,000,000 better, faster and inventive than our own. I hope and pray that come the final reckoning next May, we are not ruing the fact that the transfer kitty was all but bare in the summer of ’98. At the moment that is my greatest fear, followed by a lesser one that closer to the AGM some money will be miraculously made available for what would no doubt prove to be yet another round of panic buying.

However, should the boy Blues brush aside both Notts. County and Wrexham this week as they surely must, then you and I can forget all of the above and book your square foot of Albert Square cobblestone next May to see the Blues go marching on… and on… and on…

Noel Bayley (



Manchester City. Big fish in a small pond. Sleeping giant of the Second Division. The only Manchester club that Oasis like. Home of Lee Bradbury. All in all, a club with a reputation that is second to none. But today it seems that that reputation is in danger of being smashed on the rocks of stinginess.

Two weeks ago one unsuspecting City fan ordered tickets for last Friday’s ultimately embarrassing clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage. Ten days later the tickets had not arrived, although a phone call to Maine Road confirmed that they had been sent. Then a letter from the Post Office arrived asking the supporter to come and pick up a parcel. The parcel contained the tickets but it lacked a stamp, and our fan was forced to pay the 28p.

Could it be that City, crippled by a hefty wage bill and a drop in TV revenue following relegation, can no longer afford to post their official letters? A quick call to the ticket office has put the fiver’s mind at ease.

“It certainly is not our policy to send out envelopes without stamps on them,” says ticket office manager Duncan Thomas. “But as far as being 100% accurate, I don’t think anyone can claim that.”

Posted by Patrick Hawley (


It seems that I agree with Simon at last! This is also probably my last two-pennies worth on the subjects raised by Simon.

Actually Simon, as much as it was interesting, I don’t think you have achieved anything by starting this debate – I doubt anyone has suddenly woken up to your “truth”, all you have done is restarted the old debate blaming the boardroom, when Mr B has done nothing remotely to warrant any criticism, apart from the fact that he hasn’t bought us Shearer or Owen! I actually think you have insulted a lot of Blues by your insistence that we are living in cloud cuckoo land. The Blues I know, who are quite a few in number, plus those I was with, near, listening to etc. at the Blackpool game, are all realistic about our current status and everyone is really worried about whether the present team is good enough to compete in the First Division, let alone the Premier. We moan and groan at the antics of the team when they play badly, we shout insults at our players when they do stupid things – Edghill particularly comes to mind, but we all jump up and down when they score, and we do know the difference between a good goal and a lucky one. What about you? Do you cheer them on when they score, or do you sit there and tell your neighbours how lucky we were and how we won’t get promoted until Mr Benefector puts his trillions in?

Me? I’m just pleased that a good start will help to provide the momentum that will get us back to Division 1 at the first attempt. I don’t see anything outrageous in that belief. Yes, there were many times during the Blackpool game when we were just like last season’s team, apart from one notable fact – we won!

Simon, no-one where I was sat was fooled by the result, we all knew we didn’t play particularly well, too often we gave the ball away, Bradbury’s control is next to non-existant, mind you, we did cheer like ***k when he scored and yes we did give him a standing ovation when he was substituted – but that was a classic City moment – it was so tongue-in-cheek it was actually hilarious. And Edghill was pretty awful; however, even the most cynical amongst us can’t pretend that we didn’t deserve to win, or can they? And there were a few plusses… Weaver and Mason looked very promising indeed, Pollock and Dickov worked damn hard and the rest were various shades of OK. Yes, we still give up possession far too easily (for me the hallmark of the A**n B**L free-fall days), but I did notice that we always looked dangerous when we ran at them – I suspect that this will be the key reason why we do well this season, Division 2 teams don’t like it up ’em! Blackpool really started to panic when we counter-attacked or took them on; mind you, they seemed to relax when our old favourite, the long ball was used. Why does anyone seem surprised that we still play the long ball, with JR as coach? How many goals did big Joe nab from these when he played number 9? Still, Bradbury ain’t JR, at least not yet! I wish big Quinnie was still with us (and we probably woudn’t be where we are today if he had stayed on, but that’s ancient history now). Yep, two games gone and I feel some optimism returning (I hope the team don’t try to spoil that for me!).

Tonight is the first “big” test for us, can we beat a team with all the attributes that Simon seems to like – big name chairman who invested loads of his own money, and big name manager? I don’t think I’m alone when I hope we never become a hobby for some over-wealthy character (and dubious – read the Observer most Sundays if in doubt) like Al-Fayed. And I include that nice Mr Branson… for all the potential millions he could invest. I want a chairman who is and always will be a Blue. The only media attention I think we need is the one connnected to the team, not the antics of the board, which must also rule out our favourite famous fans, the Gallagher brothers! Just imagine the headlines in the Sun etc. No way! (and that’s from a fan of some of their music).

A final suggestion – do many people remember the dire position the Labour party was in after the disasterous Michael Foot election? And look at them now… perhaps what we need is a rebranding to “New City” or “the People’s City”; we have already revamped the kit, new boardroom, new coach. And perhaps a catchy, repetetive slogan like “Promotion, Promotion, Promotion”. You know it makes sense!

I actually like the new away kit! It sounded vile when first described to me but it really is eye-catching. My one criticism is that no-one more than 30 miles outside Manchester will have a clue which club it belongs to. I’ll stick to Kappa Blue.

Thanks… to all those who wrote to me over the “Simon” issue, and re my move to Derby. If there are any Blues out there living close to Derby, drop me a line and maybe we can meet up for a pint and a chat and if there is enough of us we can start a Derby branch of the Supporters’ Club!

CTID, J. Berens (


Here we go again with so called “insider knowledge”. It seems to come out every time someone touches a raw nerve about the City situation. The sad thing is that it always says the same thing:

  • the new management team is sorted.
  • the team is the fittest it has ever been.
  • the team is the fittest in the Division.
  • and my all time favourite – the board has a long term plan which merefans are not worthy enough to know about.

I’ve said it before and will say it again but it does annoy me when these so-called informed people try to pontificate so arrogantly.

Anyway, 5 goals in 2 games. What a good start. I don’t care how we played – everyone always says the sign of a good team is to win when you play badly – and after the years of being s***e, I’m glad to be able to say it about City, no matter what the relative opposition is.

I’m surprised Simon reads Noel Bayley’s stuff, I can never be arsed.

I lost the name and address of the author of this article. If you wish to be identified, please e-mail me.



Come on people. why do we always set ourselves up? So who cares what the fictional(?) Simon says? Man City will always be around and his depature won’t make the club fold. I also agree with Matt Varley, why is Tskhadadze on the transfer list?

This is my first post so I apologise for the lack of entertainment as I’m still celebrating MCFC 100% record (so far).

Andy (stranded in Ipswich) Kelly (


  1. Yes we were a laughing stock last season. This season we are not(yet). All it will take to earn a bit of respect back this year is agood season and a few goals and of course promotion. We’ve played onegame so far, let’s be positive and support the team. The generalfeeling from the players this year seems to be one of “We’ve got ajob to do, let’s go out and do it.” I have seen no reason yet why wecan’t.
  2. Yes, it breaks my heart to see us in the Second Division, but ifthat’s what it takes to sort the club out and get us on the righttrack for the long term future then I can live with it.
  3. Yes, Mr Lee did balls up a little (optomistic understatement), but,I believe the commercial side of the club was improved beyond allrecognition during his tenure. I believe that the current chairman isthe right person to continue this progress (a number of fans ofPremiership clubs that I know are amazed at the professionalism of thecommercial side of our club, and not a little envious).
  4. I am delighted that we have once again got a very good nucleus ofyoung, homegrown talent in the team, which if we learn the lessons fromyears gone by, will stand us in good stead for years to come.
  5. We all love this club, let’s kiss and make up and raise the roof ona regular basis. One of the problems last year was, I believe, a lackof confidence. A positive crowd breeds confidence.

CTID, Simon Sharp (


Played on Friday 14th Aug, 1998.

Fulham              3   Manchester City    0

Played on Saturday 15th Aug, 1998.

Blackpool           3   Oldham             0
Bristol R           4   Reading            1
Chesterfield        1   Burnley            0
Lincoln             1   Wigan              0
Luton Town          1   Preston N E        1
Millwall            2   Wycombe W          1
Notts County        1   Bournemouth        2
Stoke City          2   Macclesfield       0
Walsall	            0   Northampton        0
Wrexham             2   Colchester         4
York                1   Gillingham         1


Contributions: Nizam –
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]Nizam Idris,

Newsletter #424