Newsletter #443

Ho hum… why was I not surprised to see that result on teletext after returning home from an all too infrequent trip to the village local? This issue has 3 match reports to cheer you all up, and remind you just what a good thing virtual reality is, infinitely better than Sincil Bank, anyway!

Please note that I am away for the next 2 weeks, so any articles sent to me will disappear into a black hole, never to return! Please send everything to Steve Maclean – see below.

P.S. Anyone out there in Vancouver?

Next game, Reading at home, Saturday 24th October 1998


I’ll be away for the next 4 issues (444 to 447), and Steve Maclean has kindly agreed to take over as editor. All contributions for inclusion in MCIVTA should be sent to Steve at:



LINCOLN CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 20th October 1998

What can I say? Talentless, slow, pathetic and any other similar adjectives from the thesaurus sum up Lincoln City’s performance last night and if you add blind and stupid you could sum up the referee and linesmen as well.

So what about City? They appeared to play like they had not been involved in this sport before, but were talented in some other kind of sport. They (and that is the whole team) were clueless as to how to tackle (no pun intended) this team. It was not a football match.

The first match I went to this season was Millwall where I thought City were not very good, but at least showed some signs that they could be, unlike last year or the year before. I went along last night for my second match with expectations of maybe a good win. Oh, how wrong I was.

There was a howling gale blowing straight at Nick Weaver in the first half and at most of our fans. I was standing level with the pitch and with the penalty spot which gave me an excellent view of the débâcle that was supposed to be football.

A few minutes gone and Danny Tiatto was outpaced by the Lincoln winger (yes, they have them) who belted down the right wing and hit a low cross across the box about 8 yards out. At least four City defenders were there and no feet went in to stop the cross and two unmarked Lincoln forwards were there, one of whom smashed it into the goal. Weaver had no chance.

For the rest of the half crosses and subsequent corners were flying across the City box and Weaver was missing them all. In a lot of cases the wind was blowing the crosses off the pitch once they had gone past the goal. If their number 10 could hit the ball properly he could have been curling them into the corner of the goal. The (Man) City defence were terrible and the Lincoln forwards were dirty. We did almost nothing up front.

Then the second “goal”. A cross from the right and then an almighty scramble when the ball hit the bar (countless infringements by both sides during this bit). Then the most blatant handball I have seen for ages followed by a scrambled shot which Weaver caught. Now, if the ref. was well placed enough to tell that the ball crossed the line, which I have my doubts about, then how did he miss the handball?

Talking of handball there were so many in this game by the Lincoln players that I lost count and the ref. gave none of them. I guess he must also ref. basketball matches as well and got confused – the pushing and shoving in the box were also similar to the basketball game.

City brought on Dickov to replace a Whitley. No real change to the game although Dickov was unlucky not to get a goal or penalty when he chipped the goalie and got flattened for his efforts.

Second half. No change, still no passing. We brought on Allsopp for the other Whitley and converted to a sort of 1-2-7 formation which didn’t work very well – surprisingly. Bradbury deserved a penalty when he was blatantly shoved in the back as a cross came over from the right. Murtaz had a cracking header from a corner and Horlock forced the goalie into a good save with a shot from the D.

Then, glory be, a move with passes in it. Fenton (I think) to Horlock (perhaps) who put Goater through running straight at goal and he was clear of the defence (just) and he shot almost from the edge of the box – why? Another yard or two and he could have chosen his spot or got a penalty. The goalie saved it easily.

We scored a goal; a lucky deflection from a speculative cross. That was that. Everbody around us was berating the team. When I have been before I have thought that some of the taunts of our own team were unfair but last night they deserved to be jeered.

Scores for the players/team
Defence 0
Midfield 2
Forwards 4

Weaver 2 – Had very few saves to make and could not cope with the wind at all. One good run out of defence.
Tiatto 3 – He got caught out several times by wingers running behind him, first goal down to him I’m afraid. Did go forward relatively well but his crosses were poor.
Murtaz 4 – Not bad, marking was poor, one good header at goal, couldn’t cope with the wind.
Wiekens 4 – Not assured (as the phrase seems to be when describing him normally).
Fenton 4 – Ok’ish, passing was bad, didn’t fit together well with Murtaz and Wiekens (Tiatto tended to be AWOL).
Whitley x 2 – 3 – Nothing to choose between them, both anonymous and overpowered by dirty tactics.
Horlock 3 – Nothing came from midfield all match. If ever we needed a strong captain it was in this match.
Goater 4 – Better than he was at Milwall but still not very good at finding holes or running into space.
Bradbury 5 – Played well but could do nothing on his own.

Dickov 3 – Didn’t do much and should have been sent off for a kicking a Lincoln player in the achilles by the corner flag. The ref. and most of our supporters didn’t see it.
Allsopp 3 – Couldn’t and didn’t do much.

CTID – but at this rate City’ll die first or go the same way as my in-law’s team Wolves, Pete Carey (PDCA@WPO.NERC.AC.UK)


LINCOLN CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 20th October 1998

Shock Horror! Lincoln City 2 Manchester City 1

Was this a blip or did my blue tinted glasses slip and reveal the true awfulness of this current City side? Either way it was a real shock and another lesson in what a different culture there is in the lower divisions.

It’s 7 O’clock and we’re at Sincil Bank in a ground that makes City’s old training pitch at Chassen Park look like Eastlands – there’s a couple of Lego-style dugouts the size of filing cabinets on the side of the pitch, a family stand that was donated by Blue Peter presenters on coke and you find your seats by counting the steps and going through the alphabet (missing out O and I).

The kick-off was late, the programmes were late and City were missing altogether when a long throw (the kind that undid us in 1996 when they stuffed us 4-1) found a Lincoln winger down the right touchline, first time ball inside to Battersby – he strides forward, invited on by a retreating City defence and it was 1-0.

Having seen how easy it was, the muscle-bound journeymen who make up the Lincoln City side piled forward for 40 minutes meeting no resistance beyond wild, unguided clearances that inevitably gave the ball back to them for another go. There was a lot of desperate defending, none more so than when their second goal went in from a missed cross, hit bar and tame header: 2-0 and City are still asleep! When the ball did reach our forwards, Goater, playing a back to the goal, Mike Summerbee knock-down rôle, saw the likes of Tiatto, Fenton and both Whitleys blast, and otherwise miscue shots, over the goal. Bradbury got nearest, having decided he ought to do something, with a run into the right hand corner of the box, hitting a powerful shot that was just outside the R.H. post.

Whatever plan JR and WD had hatched before the kick-off was now shot through with holes and it was no surprise when Jeff Whitley was substituted for Dickov. He came on with his bustling, no-nonsense approach, something that had been missing entirely up to that point and ended the half with a snatched and instinctive lob from far out that was cleared off the line by a lone Lincoln defender. But why should it be that Dickov is the only one who is up for it? The line-up showed Lee Crooks and Murtaz Shelia in for absentees with Danny Tiatto and the usual suspects making up the numbers in defence. The Whitley brothers were in midfield alongside Horlock with Bradbury and Goater up front (Mason and Allsopp were on the bench). Horlock, as captain and senior member of this crappy happy band should have made more of an impression than he did during this period of collapse but he was missing in action, the Whitleys were ineffective and it wasn’t long after half time that Jim joined Jeff on the sidelines – enter Danny Allsopp. He made his usual useful contribution but was frustrated by a Lincoln defence that knew that a bit of hard graft would maintain their advantage.

Horlock did start to impose himself eventually and show that he is a cut above, but by now time was running out and luck was against us. Poor crossing and badly placed corners all added to the frustration – the faithful were tearing their hair out and screaming abuse at the team, the referee, the linesmen anyone who got in the way of the gradual turning around of the game. We were on top at the end, and we did have time and chances to equalise after Bradbury’s goal (well worked by him and although deflected, 100% his goal). This change to City dominance and the feeling that we might get a draw was helped by inept finishing at the other end when the home side broke away and was hindered by the time it took for City to finally get a grip.

Teams have come to Sincil bank and picked up hatfuls of goals to take late victories away from Lincoln – we weren’t up to the job. Joe Royle and Willie Donachie have experienced this level of football and should have prepared the team better for what hit them.

Lincoln were not better that City, they just buckled down and worked hard for what they got. This is another wake-up call for the Blues and let’s hope it’s the last, otherwise the Lincoln faithfuls’ stinging chant of “You’re not famous anymore” will become a reality all too soon. We left the ground with them singing “Can we play you every week” and all we could do was stare back in disbelief on a defeat that I’ll not forget in a long time.

Rick Eagles (


LINCOLN CITY vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 20th October 1998

Went to the game with my dad who, after 20 years a season ticket holder for City, gave it up three years ago when the rot set in, for the likes of Buxton and Hyde United. Well, here we were in the glorious city of Lincoln. Seats in the main stand along with the (w)IMPS supporters and their ‘band’ who insisted on playing Dambusters theme tunes – not that they actually set off from Lincoln, but I guess that’s the biggest claim to fame they have.

First thing that struck me was how their kit resembled that of the Belle Vue Aces speedway team around 1975. Kick-off delayed 15 minutes (could not establish whether this was due to traffic conditions for away fans, as they said, or the fact that programmes were late as was also announced), but there you go, Second Division club. I favour the latter. Incidentally ticket prices had been increased by an average £3 for this ‘big match’. Lincoln City have been losing around £3,000 per week for some time so this was seen as a great money-spinner for them.

Little to say about the game – when Battersby scored within 4 minutes, I feared the worst. City’s defence was non-existent. The attacking was little better. Why the policy of kicking the ball vertically 30ft at a time, it does nobody any good. A pitch is horizontal and unless you are on stilts this is impossible to control. We were sloppy to say the least. Goater seems totally ill-at-ease. So much for the comment in today’s MEN whereby he is ‘suffering because he is relied upon to score all the City goals’; sorry, but that is what the guy is paid to do. Looks more like a school high-jump champion limbering up out there than a professional footballer.

Barreee the infamous Lincoln ‘keeper who has quite a reputation, was in some serious verbal exchanges with Bradbury. Loads of pushing and shoving going on which is expected at this level. When Lincoln scored again, this match was over. Can’t recall who scored as I could not see over the swarms of red and black. Nor am I interested as I have never seen such a dire performance in my life. Junior school football was more exciting than this match.

Dickov was brought on for Mason (who had been totally disappointing). Immediate difference made to the City attack and the pressure was turned up a degree or two. Some good runs and crosses put in, but as usual nobody quick enough to react. The Lincoln supporters were making comments as to the number of City extras/pro staff in evidence; we outnumbered the Lincoln lot by about 3:1. Sure you’ve had a clear-out, Dave?

City scored due to an o.g. 5 minutes from time. Only then did the team seem to want victory. Far too late. The really sad thing about this game is that Lincoln thought they had played well – their fans invaded the pitch to congratulate them. Neither side played well, this was a great club (no longer great team) defeated by a small one. I had the misfortune of being stuck with a load of (w)imps – who saw this was a big money earner for the club and that is how we were seen, something to tell their kids about whilst they are living under the threat of exit from the Football League. Let these small clubs not be disillusioned. City are still seen as a giant – anyone who beats us is a giant-killer and they are all up for it.

Nobody to rate as they were all crap. Only players of note were Bradbury, Fenton and Dickov when brought on. Wiekens was good. We are a Second Division team. No better, no less. And I really cannot believe we will be going back up this season on this performance.

To those who have the courage (?) to go and pay for this sort of performance week in, week out, we salute you.

Heidi Pickup (


I’m sure there will be many detailed match reports from supporters who, like me, saw the mess at Lincoln last night and will want to describe the problems, cock-ups, deficiencies, failings etc. Let me say straight away that I completely agree – it was a shambles of a result, to lose against a team down at the bottom of Division 2. However, I think there are a few positive things that can be pointed out (this is not like me, must have sustained a nasty head injury somewhere on the M1 back down to Northamptonshire). So here goes:

  1. There were a couple of occasions where we broke from defence and seemedto get forward far more swiftly than I can ever remember over the last fewyears. It was good to see and there’s no doubt it stretches teams.
  2. The more the 2nd half wore on, there were lots of good crosses comingover especially from the right. Again it’s a basic tactic but we haven’tbeen doing it nearly enough recently. Ok not a lot of goals resulted butit was definitely more threatening and it gave Goater and Bradbury somethingto get their teeth into.
  3. On the left side of attack, Lee Bradbury seemed much more determinedto run at people with the ball (again more noticeable in the 2nd half) andmanaged to penetrate the penalty area a few times and cause some panic.
  4. Lincoln hardly had a sniff in the 2nd half and when they did getchances Weaver did very well to block shots.
  5. Er… I’m running out of things now.
  6. There is no point 6 – see next point.
  7. In summary – yes overall the result and the performance were prettypoor and there’s room for a great deal of improvement. Let’s face it, itisn’t promotion form. It’s not really even “sneak-into-the-play-offs” form.The recent succession of late equalisers have flattered us. And yet…it just seemed to me that the points listed above are indications that wemay be starting to get a bit better at some basic things that have beenbadly wrong for a long, long time.

Steve Maclean (


London Weekend Television is about to record a new quiz programme hosted by Bob Mills, where fans and celebs from different teams compete against each other.

The London branch has been asked to come up with some names of willing participants to take on the Rags on 5th November.

If anyone who can get to the Capital Studios in Wandsworth by 6.30pm and wants to join in either email me or call Branch Secretary, Andy Cleaver on 0181 509 2981.

Julian Cooke (


City legend and football director Dennis Tueart is the star guest at the next meeting of the Central Midlands branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association.

Dennis will be joined by midfielder Ian Bishop and club PR man Chris Bird for a question and answer session at 7.30pm on Tuesday November 3 in the Royal Hotel, Sutton Coldfield. It’s on the left as you head out of Sutton towards Lichfield/Tamworth.

If anyone would like more information on the branch they can email me at the address below.

Miles Barter (


As everyone has probably pointed out by now, watches and clocks with Roman numerals always feature ‘4’ as ‘IIII’ and never ‘IV@. I do not know why this is but check an Argos catalogue for Roman numeral watches and 99.9%, if not all of them, will have ‘IIII’.

So there is nothing wrong with the watch, it’s quite normal and certainly not innovative.

Adam Jones (


It has been reported that the Nationwide League will, as from November 20, be playing with a fluorescent ball. The ball called ‘The Mitre Ultimax Fluo Flare’ is identical to the existing white ball in weight and construction. It contains a fluorescent yellow pigment designed to make it more easily visible in poor light, mud, fog or snow.

So how long will it be that an away game for City is called off because the other team/ref/fans/T.V. cannot see the ball because of our away strip! Just think, we could end up with a bye from November to Feburary! I always said that there was a master plan behind the new kit ;OP

Yours with tongue in cheek, Tony the Tattooed Donkey (


You’ve waited long enough: wait no longer. Available in three different designs, the Official City Mousemat is an indispensable desktop accessory for any self-respecting Blue mouse. For the modern-thinking fan with a limited budget there’s the “New Official Club Crest” at only £4.99. And if you ever doubted that sky blue and silver were made for each other you need the Three Trophies Team mousemat to adorn your workspace: the “1969 Team of All The Talents” on your desk for only £8.99. But, for the ultimate in workplace one-upmanship, you need the “Dennis Tueart, King of All Geordies” mousemat. That picture of his spectacular bicycle-kick that won the 1976 League Cup Final for Manchester City. On your desk. For only £10.99. Be sure to lock it away at the end of the day! (No, of course not. Don’t be silly).

David Butler (


Our continued inability to string together a series of results is going to cost us an automatic promotion place. Our unpredictability means our chances in the play-offs are… well we will need to win two games out of three at minimum.

What concerns me is that for the past three seasons we have automatically sunk to the level of the division we happen to be playing in. Recalling our performances in the old Ssecond Division during our two spells there in the 1980’s, we regularly put two, three, four (and even 10) goals past the other team. This is not happening. The paucity of our periods of sustained runs enables me to name the occasions when they occurred; at the beginning of this season, the first few games when Frank Clark took over and the November of our last season in the Premier when Alan Ball won manager of the month.

The reasons for this are two fold; an inability to score goals and a weakness in defence which means that whatever division we are in and whoever we may be playing, we are likely to concede at least one goal (two at Lincoln who are (sorry were) in the bottom three is a case in point). Without having details of the match I can imagine it was the performance of the calibre of Stockport away last season. Someone may prove me wrong and say that we were outplayed pure and simple but does that make it better!?

I don’t want to go into detail of formations as this has been done recently. I am concerned at our continued inability to secure convincing wins from good positions and to come back to win a match from being a goal down. Stoke and Preston have being doing this regularly this season and while we have been securing last minute equalisers we cannot it seems go one stage further.

I think this will cost us promotion unless we put the results together now. Saying we should hang in until later in the season then mount our challenge is farcical. How many times over the last two and a bit seasons have Blues been revising their forecast down as the season progresses?

Jonathan Tod (


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News & Rumours: Howard –
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 #443