Newsletter #448

Well here we are at last, it’s the end of the road for me. This is my last edition standing in as editor, next time it’s back into Ashley’s safe hands. It’s been great and I’ve enjoyed it immensely, but I’ll tell you what, it’s definitely made me realise how much hard work Ashley has to put in. Doing it for just a couple of weeks is relatively easy, but keeping it going week in, week out is a different matter entirely, takes a lot of dedication, and I’m full of admiration.

So next time Ashley buggers off on his holidays, you should all make sure he gets 2,242 volunteers to sit in – which curiously is the exact number of people this issue is going out to (thanks Paul Howarth).

Also, many thanks to those of you who have written to me with messages of support over the last couple of weeks, very much appreciated.

Anyway enough of all that, what’s in this one for me, I can hear you thinking? Here’s some brief notes on the contents: The results, league tables etc. are at the end, there’s only 1 match report on Oldham vs. City (must be all still deep in shock or still celebrating!), but there’s a match report on last Monday’s reserve game at Coventry.

Steve, COLT (Covering One Last Time)
Next game, Wycombe away, Tuesday 10th November 1998


Married with children!

Al Bundy – oops sorry Craig Hignett – says he’s ready to join the City because of his kids. Well I know mine have driven me to do some daft things, but Higgy reckon’s he wants to join our boys in blue stating “It won’t be for money or a better standard of football but I’ll be living next door to my kids.”

At least he’s honest! Hignett added: “If people ask me to choose between a football club and my kids, the kids will always come first.” Because Higgy is suspended at present the deal is put on hold but JR won’t wait forever for a deal to be struck which will mean any two from Browny, Russell and Heaney heading up to Aberdeen. Speaking at the end of last week, Royle stated: “Aberdeen have spoken to me about one or two of our players but we are still some way off completing a deal. We need to sort it out as soon as possible or otherwise I will move on to other possible targets.” Yeah! you tell ’em Joe.

Speaking of which, Royle’s attempts to land former Blackburn winger George Donis from AEK Athens are still on hold apparently.

Duo facing bans

Richard Edghill and Kevin Horlock have both received one match bans after each collected their fifth booking of the season at Oldham on Saturday. Both players will miss City’s Maine Road clash with Gillingham on Saturday, November 21st (rumours are circulating that they both got suspended on purpose so that they could attend the Friday night bash of TG2 or that they will be playing in Clive’s team in the 5-a-sides on Sunday as the foreign legion attempt to regain lost pride after last year). Would they make the team?

The game with the Gills comes just three days after Horlock will be in action for Northern Ireland in their European Championship qualifier with Moldova at Windsor Park.

International Call-Ups

City players Gary Mason for Scotland U-21’s, Kevin Horlock, Jim Whitley and possibly Tommy Wright could be named in the N. Ireland party, while Jeff Whitley could be named in the under-21 squad. All the lads are available for the big cup match with Halifax (God, did I write that?) and should be back to perform in the TG2 match a.k.a. Gillingham (h).

Branch Out of Cup Tie

We will have to face Yorkshire’s finest without new Blue Michael Branch because new FA laws prevent loan players playing in the competition. Reading between the lines of what JR is saying on the issue, I don’t hold out much hope of us getting the lad permanently. Joe Royle, who remains cautious about his chances of signing the player, says “It’s going to be hard tying up a permanent deal for Michael at this stage. It’s difficult to tie Everton down to a price or Michael to a decision as to whether he wants to leave Everton. We’ll just leave it for the time being and hopefully Michael will be loving it that much here that he’s begging us to stay.”

Morrison walks through the “Doors” at Maine Road

City completed the signing of Andy Morrison from Huddersfield last week for a ridiculous £80,000 and by all accounts we have us a bargain. 2 goals in two games including a 25 yard volley at Oldham last Saturday had everyone convinced the ever increasing corner has been turned. Joe Royle considers the 28 year old defender to be a real bargain at £80,000, especially as he cost Huddersfield £500,000 from Blackpool just two years ago. Royle said of Morrison: “Andy has done very well… his attitude in training has also been spot on. He has suffered injury problems with his knee before now but has definitely proved his fitness… I reckon he will turn out to be excellent value for money as even the £80,000 fee is based heavily on appearances.”

The Mighty Quinn

Former City striker Niall Quinn scored the one hundredth League goal of his career this afternoon as Sunderland beat Grimsby 3-1 at the Stadium of Light. The 32 year old striker hit Sunderland’s third goal to chalk up the landmark, with 66 of those League goals scored for City after joining the Blues from Arsenal in 1990.

Norwegians released

City have declined to take up an option to sign Norwegian trialists Kenneth Karlsson and Trond Bjoerndal who have spent the last few days at the club. Both defenders appeared in the reserves at Coventry in midweek and did not look out of their depth according to Joe Royle (must have been raining very heavily), but City have decided not to follow up their interest. Karlsson spent last week with Blackpool as he attempts to find an English club. He played for Stromsgodset against Aston Villa at Villa Park in the UEFA Cup earlier this season.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown has won the praise of his manager following his second half appearance against Oldham and an improved attitude which has caught Joe’s eye. “Contrary to what you can read on web sites, though not this one I might add, and hear on those silly phone-ins, there is no vendetta and no problem between Michael and myself. It’s just that the fact that if he plays to his best form then he will be considered. He’s doing a lot better in training, training a lot harder and playing a lot better. He’s not giving silly fouls away and now he’s trying to play football instead of terrorising people. I thought he did OK when he came off the bench on Saturday so there’s no problem there.” The midfield options are gradually increasing with Ian Bishop making his first start against Oldham and Jamie Pollock soon to return to fitness. “Jamie is coming back though he is still way off match fit and he has to get one or two things under control and get on with his game again. We have that strength to come back. Jim Whitley will back in training at the week-end so we are not short in midfield.”

On the subject of a move for Craig Hignett, Joe says “We are still in discussion with Aberdeen and the only thing I would say at the moment is that we could do with the situation resolved sooner rather than later.” He added “There are other targets, other people we have in mind, not necessarily the same type of player as Craig Hignett. We can’t afford to be left waiting, we can spend some of the Lee Bradbury money and I would like to bring someone else in to give us that variety. Craig Hignett is our number one target but I can’t say when the deal will be done.”

Signs Looking good say Kev.

After a few negative mutterings coming from the dressing room in the past few weeks, mainly from Willie Donachie and Gerard Wiekens, there is something more positive from Kevin Horlock, once again deputising for Jamie Pollock as Captain. He believes there’s a lot more to come from the City side: “We’re not kidding anyone, we don’t think we played as well as we could have but the most important thing was coming here and getting the three points. It was a steady performance, clean sheet and obviously the three goals. I think that without a doubt there is more to come from this side. We haven’t played particularly well against Oldham, no where near as well as we can play but those three points away from home make it a good result for us.”

Amazing what a few wins do for you, keep it up lads.

Moonchester vs. Wolfie in the WMW Championships

Rumour has it that our own little alien mascot Moonchester has issued a “Come and get me!” challenge to Wolves mascot Wolfie. Moonie wants to challenge for the World Mascot Wrestling Belt after watching Wolfie having a scrap with The City Cat who was the mascot for Bristol City (I thought they would have a Robin). Moonie recalled the scuffles in the tunnel after Wolves’ narrow 1-0 win at Maine Road last December and said that Wolfie, who looks like a fox not a wolf, is hiding from him. Go get him Moonie!

Howard McCarthy (


Manchester City Reserves 0, Steve Ogrizovic 1

City were in the Midlands again this week so it’s stop everything, get in the car and we’re off to Highfield Road, Coventry, not to see the first team as in days of yore but the Division One topping Man City reserves. There were about two and a half thousand there, all in the one half of the ‘away’ stand. These included, by my count, 7 Blues (8 if you include my son’s mate Tommy but he’s really a West Ham fan).

Did you ever wonder what happened to soul singer Barry White? – Well, he’s on the Tannoy at Highfield Road and, after he’d growled out the Cov side, we waited for him to confirm the Blues’ line up – no such luck – so we started to shout out the line up as we were starting to feel invisible.

And for Manchester City… Number 1… Tommy Wright, Neil Morley, Danny Tiatto, Trond Bjoernsdal, Kenneth Karlsson, Murtaz Shelia, Michael Brown, Jamie Pollock, Danny Allsopp* [sub. Alan Bailey], Craig Russell and Jeff Whitley.

Match kicks off – distinct lack of atmosphere – no sign that this was a top of the table clash – City, very busy and efficient, settled better than Cov whose front men looked a little lightweight – Gavin Strachan’s playing for them and his dad’s on the touchline giving them some stick – it’s all very even steven with not too much to get excited about – Pollock’s looking back to his normal self and is forcing his personality on the midfield where he’s using the ball more thoughtfully than Michael Brown who’s still a bit too much bull at a gate and tending to end up on the floor after a tackle (‘yer no good to yer team on yer back’ they used to tell us at school – ‘keep yer feet!’).

Allsopp and Russell were not a proper partnership up front and seem to have no understanding of each other’s play – it would have been interesting to see the side with Bishop in it to see if it made a difference to the two frontrunners – all City’s successful attacks seem to come down the left wing; the direct route down the middle, Tommy Wright’s preferred form of build up, is soon broken up by the Cov defence. This left bias is confirmed in the second half when City’s left is on our touchline – and who should be guarding the left for Cov but our old friend Ian Brightwell. Well, he was having to work hard against Tiatto who was plying his flying wing back trade in usual and useful style. Russell and Allsopp were not, however, making much use of his play and our best efforts on goal came from the boot of Pollock who thundered in a couple of thunderbolts to test Ogrizovic.

So we’re getting a few corners, Ogrizovic is collecting ’em, they’re making the odd attack without any real penetration – the feeling was that City would sneak it with their more persistent, rather than consistent, play if we keep on pressing.

Then we get a corner and we populate the box, Pollock takes a good one taking care not to put it near Ogrizovic but Oggi’s a good goalie, as we know to our cost, and he collects the ball on the edge of his area, throws it over the halfway line to the two lurking Cov forwards. One collects it, draws Karlsson, passes it to the other who slots it past the advancing Wright – brief excitement amongst the crowd followed by an immediate response from City that saw Allsopp’s header brilliantly saved by the aforemnentioned Ogrizovic – more attacks, Tiatto going on his own because he’s fed up of seeing all his good work go to waste and that’s how it finished – City 0 Ogrizovic 1.

Rick Eagles (


Checking in from close to Yosemite National Park in the Sierras, Calif. Saw my first game in 1935. My gran lived on Thornton Road. Am 70 young. Stan, a.k.a. The first California Blue.

Stan Glaiser (


With City now playing their FA Cup tie LiveandExclusive on MUTV… (Friday the Thirteenth Part 1), Blues living in the London area might like to go and see Kingstonian’s 1st Round Cup tie at home to Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion on Sat 14 Nov. As you can stand right by the dugout at the Kingston ground it would be a great opportunity to thank ‘the son of Brian’ for all the commitment and loyalty he showed to City and the fans in his time at Maine Road. Get there early!

Kevin Cummins (


G’day Steve,

could you put this into the next McVittee in reply to Matt asking about Sydney Blues.

Bill Chapman (


Danish Manchester City supporter. If City are looking for an attacker try Chris Hermansen of AB in Denmark. He can score goals – lots of them.

Jens Laursen (


I’m wondering if anyone can help me? It’s a bit of a long story really. My dad used to be the landlord of a pub in Compstall and had a bar downstairs dedicated to his beloved Manchester City with hundreds of different photo’s and memorabilia. When he retired (so to say) he lent some items to Ian Niven to diplay in the Junior Blues offices.

With Ian leaving, dad tried to rerieve his things and some items were missing, the main one being his programme from the Cup Final in Vienna so if anyone has a copy of the programme they are willing to sell then please can they ocntact me at or phone me on 0403449724.

Many thanks.

P.S. if anyone has a copy of the front page headlines from the Daily Express after the game in Vienna, my dad is the one in the fountain with Mike Summerbee’s shirt on!

Claire Quinn (


Re: Where am I?
I’m in the land where sheep fall from the sky.


Sorry, sad joke!

Keep up the excellent articles. Why I read them I don’t know because they just make me depressed.

Still at least out here I don’t have to see them playing anymore. This will change soon though as thanks to you I know that they are on satellite against Halifax.

Oh well another night of torture down at the boozer!


This will probably be old hat by the time you get it but I thought the subscription information at the end might be of use to other MCIVTA subscribers:

Martin Purdy (


Manchester City have agreed to pay Huddersfield £80,000 for defender Andy Morrison.


Manchester City manager Joe Royle returns to Oldham as a manager for the first time since he left the Boundary Park club in 1994.


Lee Duxbury is included in Andy Ritchie’s Oldham squad for the visist of Man City and the return of former boss Joe Royle to Boundary Park.


Manchester City manager Joe Royle will step up his bid to sign Aberdeen’s Craig Hignett this week.


Michael Branch will be forced to sit out City’s FA Cup clash with Halifax Town on Friday following a change in the rules which deems loan players ineligible for the competition.


City’s excellent win over Oldham on Saturday has been soured somewhat by the threat of bans for Kevin Horlock and Richard Edghill after both picked up their fifth yellow card of the season against the Latics.


I know this sounds like a letter on a problem page but… One of my mates is moving to Sydney next week and would like to meet up with fellow Blues. Can anyone help with the details of the Supporters’ Club in Oz. etc. Please email me quick before he goes.

Miles Barter, Birmingham (


I was up in the Lake District last week and stumbled across an excellent art gallery called The Homes of Football in Ambleside. Full of very good framed photos of grounds, fans, people etc., I would recommend a visit if you are up there. One of the main prints was of The Academy on the first day of the 93/4 season looking across to the old Kippax from high up in the rafters of the Main Stand. Also on sale were postcards of the main prints – although the City cards had a ‘sold out’ notice on them I suspect that they haven’t arrived yet (bit like the team really!).

The gallery is on Lake Road as you leave Ambleside for Windermere.

Joe Ramsbottom – CTIDACATCOAP (City til I die – and can afford the cost ofa print) – (


I am originally from Manchester living now 15 years in Florida. Do you know of or have any names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., of collectors and/or dealers who have old City programmes? I need odd ones to complete the seasons when I was able to go to most home and away games in the 1960’s and early 70’s. Ah, those glory years!

Any info you can let me have in this regard would be helpful.

Thanks and regards, Roger Shore (


Does anyone of you know where I could find City