NEWSLETTER #1976

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MAN CITY INFO VIA THE ALPS “McVittee!” (1976)

Created in 1994, MCIVTA is the longest running unofficial Manchester City related web site and e-newsletter in existence.

ISSUE DATE: Saturday 14th March 2015

NEXT GAME: Burnley, Turf Moor, Saturday 14th March (17:30 GMT)
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WELCOME

Welcome to the latest edition of the MCIVTA newsletter. It’s been good to have a weekend off as City’s poor form has sadly continued: hot on the heels of being tactically outmanoeuvred by Barcelona again, Manuel Pellegrini’s naivety was again exposed at Anfield in a performance made worse by a dispiriting second half surrender. This was followed by a fortunate 2-0 win over bottom club Leicester (they should have had two penalties) as City remain 5 points behind leaders Chelsea, having played one game more.

Manuel Pellegrini’s tactics have come very much under the spot light, and his future is openly questioned, just 10 months since his City side lifted the title in a double winning season. This issue of MCIVTA reflects that. It might seem harsh but there is already some discussion about his successor.

Pellegrini talks about extending his stay here beyond the end of 2015/2016, but concedes anything can happen in football. It would be great if this thoroughly decent gentleman does exactly that, but doubts remain about whether he is getting the best out of these players.

Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Samir Nasri were all justifiably dropped (Fernandinho might have joined them but for a calf injury) after Anfield and none of these players, who have given fine service to our club, can complain or have complained.

City are not in a good position to win the title but the race is far from over. Judging by the comments coming out of Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, and the increasingly asinine behaviour of their manager, who is promising that they will win the title, there is anxiety in that camp. That promise has heaped more pressure onto the Chelsea players, who didn’t handle it very well against Paris St Germain. Whilst Chelsea are generally good at closing results out, City are geared to attack. The overall negativity of Chelsea’s tactics compared to Pellegrini’s desire to attack, despite the naivety at times, could work in our favour. We can but hope.

Either way, Burnley is yet another must win game for City. We have first hand experience of how hard Sean Dyche’s men fight from the way they came back to draw 2-2 on December 28th. If we match that fight, get hold of the ball and play at a good tempo, we can win. Pellegrini’s big call will be in defence. Does he recall Vincent Kompany or not? It may be too soon, but how Vinny trained over the last week and a half will be the best guide. There is a strong case for sticking with the calming Martin Demichelis alongside Eliaquim Mangala for now. When Vinny comes back we want him to be in the right frame of mind, ready to come back, rather than the impetuous figure that we have witnessed lately. In any case, there has been too much chopping and changing in the back four and it may be worth giving those who played against Leicester another game together.

In this issue there is a good mix of comment about current matters City, Hillsborough, a memory of 1974 from Dave Wallace, an urgent ticket request for Burnley, and a competition to win a couple of copies of Daryl Webster’s richly enjoyable Pride in Travel Book. Thanks for your contributions. Please keep them coming. Contributions about the 1976 League Cup Winning side and the City side that finished runners up in 1977 would be gratefully received – we need a bit of cheering up! Indeed, memories from any year are also welcome.

Next week we’ll report from Barcelona, where hopefully City will make history, but first, there will be analysis of what will hopefully be a win at Turf Moor.

Come on City!

Kind regards,

Phil Banerjee
Editor

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MATCH REPORT: LIVERPOOL 2 MANCHESTER CITY 1 HT 1-1

City’s title hopes quite literally went South with another defeat at Anfield that we cannot argue about. City were beaten by the better team on the day. We lacked the energy, pace and desire of the home side, particularly in midfield and too often Liverpool players were allowed to run past us in midfield. We surrendered possession far too easily in general. Even the normally accurate Yaya Toure gave the ball away several times. Worryingly, we didn’t seem to have any idea how to change things for the better and fight our way out of the stranglehold Liverpool had on the game.

Pellegrini was found wanting tactically yet again. He does not learn from his mistakes, and increasingly it looks like he cannot or will not learn from them. Everyone else knows that 4-4-2 does not work against the teams at the top of the League and the better teams in Europe, and yet he stubbornly resists with it. To play that way needs at least one of the strikers to drop into midfield to stop us being outnumbered. Dzeko is not quick enough or suited to do the job, and to ask a world class striker like Sergio Aguero to do it is a waste of his talents, and takes him away from where he can do damage to the opposition.

City started off well, and even dominated possession in the first half, but every time Liverpool attacked, we looked vulnerable.

While City had the first few minutes, Liverpool were soon examining our jittery back four in which Vincent Kompany again looked nervous. Coutinho split City defence with an incisive pass which Lallana chased but he was under pressure from Kolarov and his low effort was saved fairly comfortably Hart. Lallana had the ball in the net with a spectacular angled drive from a tight angle after another bit of Coutinho magic, but was rightly ruled offside.

City didn’t heed the warnings and Fernandinho under hit his pass towards Vincent Kompany who fresh-air kicked after Coutinho beat him to it and kicked the ball past him. Coutinho fed Sterling and in turn he ball was worked to Henderson who hit a rasping shot over hard past Hart into the top corner.

People may blame Vincent Kompany, who at his sharpest might have got there before Coutinho, but he was actually put in a difficult position but the short pass in the first place.

City tried to hit back. A long lofted pass from Silva found Aguero who outstripped the Liverpool defence and hit the right hand post.

It was an end-to-end game, with City looking more vulnerable than Liverpool. Vincent Kompany continued to look very uncertain and Pablo Zabaleta was looking sluggish and leggy. Sterling turned Mangala inside out close to the by-line and crossed, but luckily for us, no one was there to convert.

Then in the 25th minute, City levelled in front of The Kop. Yaya found Silva in space with a perceptive low pass. Silva then Aguero who ran half way across Liverpool’s box before playing a lovely reverse pass to wrong foot four Liverpool defenders, and Dzeko coolly slotted past Mignolet. It was clever movement by Dzeko to elude his marker and a brilliant top class through ball by Aguero.

Despite Zaba and Vinny starting to look a bit more certain as the game progressed, City’s vulnerability continued and it could have been 2-1 to Liverpool before half time. Markovic chipped the square City defence and Lallana fired just wide from the angle. One has to wonder how well drilled City are. If we are going to play offside, then we have to practice it. Roberto Mancini might not have been every player’s cup of tea, and is not as good a man manager as Pellegrini, but he built the best defence in the country. Defensive drills were regular and thorough. Everyone knew their role. If we are not going to practice enough under Pellegrini, then instead of just pushing up onto the edge of the box, trying to play offside, we should be marking up properly. Pellegrini’s frequent changing of the back four does not help either, and it shows. How can we build a solid unit without having a settled line-up that actually practices together?

Coutinho was imperious, and he, Lallana and Sterling combined again to good effect, and Sterling’s shot was easily saved but our defence was again passed like a knife through butter.

HT 1-1

City could have taken the lead early on after the break. Samir Nasri fed Pablo Zabaleta on the right and from the latter’s cross, Aguero headed just over.

The dangerous Lallana had ball in net but Skrtel clearly fouled Dzeko in front of The Kop.

Kompany and Zabaleta improved in City’s defence but we kept giving the ball away to Liverpool in midfield, which put increasing pressure on us. City were outnumbered in midfield by Liverpool’s flexible 3-4-3 formation that would often become 3-6-1 when Coutinho and Lallana dropped back. Pellegrini withdrew an increasingly isolated Dzeko but even then we were out-manned by 6 to 5 across midfield. Even the normally reliable Yaya Toure was giving the ball away, though much of it was down to Liverpool’s high energy pressing game, and the fact that we were outnumbered in midfield. That all said we were even giving the ball away when there was no pressure on us. These problems were exacerbated further by the fact that we allowed gap between defece and the midfield which the Liverpool midfielders ran through to, often unchallenged. Still, Liverpool weren’t creating clear cut chances, and it took a strike of the highest class to beat Joe Hart.

Sterling fed Coutinho who was given far too much room on our right by Nasri and Zabaleta to turn away and hit a powerful bending shot over Hart to the top corner. It was world class, but utterly gut-wrenching.

Again City tried to hit back. Silva’s chip into the Liverpool box was not cleared properly and Aguero picked up the loose ball with a superb touch and wriggled clear but fired just wide of the left hand post.

Not that Liverpool were hanging on for dear life. They continued to press us into mistakes and Yaya was robbed by Henderson just outside our box and Sturridge fired just wide.

City had two decent chances to equalise. Yaya drove away powerfully from Allen and past another Liverpool defender to set up Silva who fired wide. Then in stoppage time Aguero exchanged passes with Silva but scuffed his shot well wide.

City managed just one shot on target all afternoon. Liverpool are a decent side, but there is no getting away from the fact that we underperformed. Too many of the players did not show enough desire but the main problem was Manuel Pellegrini’s tactics again. After being outnumbered by 3 to 2 in central midfield once again, against Barcelona in midweek, Liverpool’s flexible 3-4-3 formation allowed them to have 6 midfielders up against our 4 when the brilliant Coutinho and dangerous Lallana dropped back into midfield. City’s 4-4-2 in contrast was inflexible. The way we are set up is deeply flawed in other ways and does not maximum our talents or do enough to nullify the opponents. Silva and Nasri were too far apart to work together often, given their wide starting positions. One of our strengths is those two playing together, and if they had been played in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 just behind Aguero they would have been able to resume that wonderful partnership, and work with Yaya !
Toure closely too. Pellegrini is not playing to our strengths and he is allowing the opposition to outnumber us in midfield too often.

Being 2nd is not a disaster in football terms. Many clubs and fans would envy our position. However, even allowing for perspective, City are no longer improving. Our standards have dropped markedly this season. We have a stale look about us, and need fresh legs, particularly in midfield. Why not give some of our young talent a chance? Furthermore, it is a pity that we were not in for players like Lallana in the summer. He was a very fine player for Southampton and there is every likelihood that he will be for Liverpool too. There are very good players out there and they do not have to cost north of £30m. We just have to look harder and be smarter.

Manuel Pellegrini is a thoroughly decent and very likeable gentleman who gave us a League winning season to remember in 2013/14, playing the most exciting football that we have ever seen from a City side. Sadly, however, this is not going to save him from the exit door if he does not win the League or progress further in the Champions League this season. Neither are looking likely. City are going backwards, and there are no signs that he is learning from the mistakes that he is making.

It was a miserable afternoon in which the City support provided the best moment, showing true support to our struggling captain with a chorus of:

“So here’s to you Vincent Kompany, City loves you more than you will know…”

after he crunched into a tackle. Something is bothering him, we know not what, but at least he knows he has the love and support of the City faithful.

City have to remain focused and get back to winning ways, just in case Chelsea do slip up. Overall, though, we must learn from our mistakes and learn from others. That will make us stronger.

Ratings:
Hart: Cannot be faulted: 6
Zabaleta: Struggled early on but rallied and gave a strong performance in the 2nd half until he and Nasri gave Coutinho too much room to shoot for the winner: 6
Kompany: Nobody (at least outside the City dressing room) knows what is troubling Sir Vinny. His poise and reading of the game is affected by his current anxieties. A pattern is emerging: he is starting off nervously then improving during games. Nobody is undroppable, but he is worth persisting with and hopefully we will see his normal, assertive performances return: 5
Mangala: Turned inside easily by Coutinho, but did make some good covering interceptions: 6
Kolarov: Perversely is defending well whilst those around him are struggling. He proved difficult to pass, but did not offer much in attack: 7
Nasri: Largely anonymous. Along with Zaba, should have closed Coutinho down more to prevent the winner: 5
Yaya: His passing was uncharacteristically off beam too often, and he could have worked harder in midfield. Tried to get us back into the game at the end, teeing up Silva, but to no avail: 5
Fernandinho: His poor pass started off the trouble for us in the build up to Liverpool’s opener. Outnumbered and his passing was not at his best either: 5
Silva: He was denied space by Allen and Henderson and that quietened him, but he slipped them to provide a crucial pass in the build up to our goal. Might have done better with his shot at the death: 6
Dzeko: Took his goal well, but was starved of service and offered little else: 6
Aguero: On another day he’d have bagged a brace: hit the inside of the post and headed one over. His pass to Dzeko was brilliant: 6

Subs:
Milner (for Dzeko 57): Unable to influence the game: 5
Bony (for Fernandinho 78): Unable to get into the game. If we’re going to play 4-4-2 against Leicester then give him a chance, otherwise what’s the point? n/a
Lampard (for Nasri 82): It is amazing that Pellegrini waited so long to introduce him. It was too late for him to get into the game: n/a
Best Oppo: Coutinho: Scored an even better winning goal than in last year’s corresponding fixture and played even better. He was every, quick, decisive, intelligent, bright, inventive, world class. How long will it be before Barcelona and Real Madrid come knocking? 9
Refwatch: Clattenburg: Might have given us a penalty, but the influence of Anfield is perennial, not that is any excuse for our performance: 3
Phil Banerjee

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THE MANAGERIAL MERRY GO ROUND

Hmmm, my last couple of contributions seem to have made me look like Mr Anachronistic don’t they? A rant sent on the back of an incredibly mediocre run of matches but one which reached you all in the warming after-glow of nine goals over two games, was followed by a calmer, more optimistic piece which you will probably have read after the infuriating losses to Barca and Liverpool. A man out of his times! Ah well, I’ll leave this until after Leicester match tomorrow before tidying and sending.

Anyhow, Martin Hunt sounded somewhat surprised that within my rant I still wasn’t calling for the head of MP but I must admit that this last week more than any other during his tenure has made it difficult almost to the point of illogical to support him going forward. His team selection and
formations in our two defeats were jaw-dropping. Nevertheless, my tuppence-worth means nothing, it’s the powers-that-be whose decisions are all important, and I’m by now pretty convinced that the axe will fall before June arrives.

Dogmatic and pragmatic: two highly similar sounding words to have such diametrically opposed definitions, and we all know only too well as to which of the two paths that Manuel chooses to travel. This, I think will lead more so to his demise than simply coming up empty on the trophy front.

But who? Who in the footballing world of no guarantees should we be looking at? We have supposedly scoured the planet for two world class players in every position (yeah, right!) but where is the truly elite manager to guide them?

I know Mourinho fits that bill but obviously he is a non-starter, nor would I want him even in this hypothetical sense – he might have success but his transparently childish, Fergie-like, antics are deplorable and the football he masterminds is not at all what I would want to watch week in,
week out. Am I alone or has anyone else cottoned onto the fact that everything about Jose is a tad OTT and flamboyant except for his footballing thinking* which is as dour as it is negative?

Pep has tended over much of the all-time cream of Barca and Bayern – myself and most people reading this could probably do that, given the level of talent he has been tasked to oversee.
Simeone seems to be the new can-do-no-wrong Wunderkind, but wasn’t that the same of Klopp over the last couple of years? Whilst his fortunes have been on the up lately, he’s still had a stinker of a Bundesliga season.

Frank Clarke has retired.

Hiddink, like Crapello before him, seems to have had the stuffing knocked out of him by mode of international fiasco.

Unless I’m missing anyone to have earned major kudos and still be atop his managerial game, then IMO that only leaves a certain Mr Ancelotti. And he would be my choice [Ed: Mine too.]; I think Abramovich was mad to pull the trigger so hastily in an act sooooo very much out of character!?! Proven and likeable, Don Carlo might well be that genuinely top-ranked manager which some claim we’ve never had. Perhaps my only reservation is that I find myself unable to concentrate on what he says during interviews and press conferences as I’m paying too much attention to his performing Roger Moore eyebrow. Truly a distraction, and it worries me that his players might miss his message for that same reason.

Since starting this contribution a couple of days ago, three of the above have been linked with us in the media, thankfully with CA being one of them.

*Note the use of the word ‘thinking’ and thus avoidance of ‘philosophy’. Is everyone sick of hearing this word suddenly bandied around in football every other sentence? Louis van Hegel? Brendan Rousseau? Mauricio Plato? I think not! Five points from Gryffindor for anyone around here caught using it in future. [ED: Believe me you are not alone. Use of the word ‘philosophy’ is a classic example of the faux intellectualisation (ooh, long word – well, they started it) of football so beloved by the utterly nauseating Brendan Rodgers. ]

Cheers
Steve O’Brien
bodsnvimto@googlemail.com

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PLUS CA CHANGE…UNITED HAVE NO SHAME

Isn’t it interesting and typical that Newcastle Papisse Cisse has apologised and implored children not to copy his disgusting spitting at Manchester United’s Johnny Evans, and in contrast Evans denied doing the same saying he would never do that when Evans was looking at Cisse and spitting towards him. Also Evans was backed up by his manager. Isn’t that typical of the disgusting, despicable and disgraceful club that is Manchester United.

That is the difference between Manchester United everyone else. They always think they are above the rules, and rarely have a shred of human decency. That is why everybody hates them.

Which ever division we are in, wherever we are in the table, we will ALWAYS be superior to United in everything we do, as will every other club.

Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee@orange.net

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NOT THE CITY V LECIESTER MATCH REPORT

Apologies for the lack of a match report from the Leicester home game. Despite setting off in good time from my home in Derbyshire, I only got into the Etihad at half time after some goon drove his truck into a railway bridge at Sheffield. Our train was stopped for 50 mins BEFORE we got to Sheffield then another half hour after 9the train goes in and out under the same bridge on its way to Manchester). Great work by the goon who probably had his mind on his first pint rather than the job (unless of course he hadn’t already imbibed). But we can console ourselves that he got back to his local pub in good time for a pint or two of Carling to prepare himself for another day of careless bish-bash-bosh….if he could be bothered to turn up, that is.

Anyway it was a chance to catch up and have a laugh and a couple of beers with my mate Steve Ford. We followed the game on Twitter, and despite a bright start the comments ending up saying City were “poor” before David Silva stroked home his 10th goal of the season. We reached the ground at half time to the strains of The Inspiral Carpet’s Saturn V and our compatriots confirmed that the first half had been poor. Twitter feeds “You haven’t missed anything,” being the operative phrase. It is a weird, almost surreal feeling reaching the ground half way through a match. We were happy to be there yet everyone else looked completely underwhelmed, which is understandable given City’s performance.

It was no great surprise that Vincent Kompany was dropped, along with several others, given his poor form. Whilst Pellegrini has been found to be tactically limited, he is a very good man manager. If taking Kompany out of the firing line for a while is as successful as it was with Joe Hart last season, then it will have been very good management.

This is not meant in any way a slight on Sir Vinny who is a great player and great leader, but while Demichelis and Mangala did ok, we always looked vulnerable from what I saw in the second half and in the highlights from the first half. One instance when Mangala was caught up the field, Leicester broke and Hart was forced to make a desperate save was alarming. Much of that is down to tactics and Pellegrini’s desire to have our defenders trying to nick the ball, often on the half way line, whilst our full backs are pushed on. It may allows us to win possession back quickly and encourage more attacking play from us, but it leaves defenders open to getting rolled, and therefore the wrong side of the ball. We have moved away from the orthodox art of defending: staying goal side, not committing too early and staying on our feet.

City had chances to double the lead. Bony had a good chance early and Yaya Toure forced Schwarzer to tip his curling goal bound effort round the post, but it was pretty uninspiring stuff and Leicester could have equalised. Indeed, it was a relief that James Milner made it 2-0 as Leicester gave us one or two problems, with Mahrez hitting our post before that. Not a convincing show from our City, but three points nevertheless.

Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee AT orange.net

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MUCH ADO ABOUT…?

There have been reports (albeit from The Mirror and regurgitated by the Manchester Evening News and others) of a dressing room bust-up between Fernandinho and Kompany, with the former allegedly advising the City captain to buck his ideas up. Whatever the rights and wrongs both players were culpable in the build up to Liverpool’s first goal: Fernandinho’s pass was short and Kompany was slow to react to it. If Fernandinho was having a go at Kompany (big “If”), then he wasn’t in the strongest position to be advising him!

It has been suggested in the media that Kompany did not take the criticism well and that the pair nearly came to blows, which has been denied by Fernandinho. Pellegrini then allegedly told Kompany to listen to his team mate, but this only added fuel to the fire and Kompany is reported to have reacted even more angrily to anyone who disagreed with him, even when the City manager pointed out that Fernandinho was trying to help. All players have to take criticism, including the captain, and we all have to take the rough with the smooth in life. One would expect, that with hindsight, that an impressive, articulate man like Kompany sees that.

No one really knows what has got to Vincent Kompany in recent months. He is probably more sensitive right now because he knows his form has been poor. The more he is struggling, the more it looks like he is trying too hard. It was good man management on Pellegrini’s part to take him out of the firing line for the Leicester game, and hopefully he can rediscover his best form and we will see a smile return to the face of one of the most well-loved players in the history of this football club.

In any dressing there are arguments and bust-ups, even the successful ones. Some might argue there are more especially in the more successful ones, as higher standards are demanded by players who are used to being winners. Both Fernandinho and Vinny are team players and it is reasonable to expect that they will already have put the good of the team first.

Real Madrid, even under another excellent man manager in Carlo Ancelotti, have had their fair share of problems this season with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at loggerheads, amongst others.

What is a worry is the increasing number of open arguments that are occurring. Kompany and Zabaleta were arguing just a few weeks ago in the Hull game. Sergio Aguero went over the top in berating David Silva over a misplaced pass in the Leicester game. Whilst it is far better for players to show their passion and show that they care about what is going on (the silent team that sleepwalked into the third division is a memory many of us would like to forget), none of this points to a happy camp. Not that the camp should be happy if it is under performing.

Hopefully there are no lasting feuds in the dressing room. Encouragingly Fernandinho, confirmed there are no hard feelings between him and Vincent Kompany:

“Every player in every team speaks to each other in order to improve the quality on the pitch – that communication is necessary. You have to talk, and that is what happened. There was a conversation, and not much more than that. I don’t know why people actually thought there was a fight – we spoke about how we could improve things in that match. I don’t have anything bad to say about Vinny – he is a great player, a great team member, and I have always liked him. It’s very weird that this story actually came up, for something so small to suddenly become so big. It was nothing major. There were other people around us, and you have to raise your voice a little bit. There was no fight, just a conversation. I understand that people sometimes raise their voices to make their point more clearly, but that was not actually the case. I can only presume some people around us felt we were raising our voices, and that it was a situation different to the usual. Myself and Vinn!
y spoke about it that day, and everything was settled on that day, finished. Vinny and I are together with the team, and ready for this challenge, which starts again on Saturday.”

These players need to work together. They have been champions before and they need to at very least put in a proper challenge this season. If they do not then we run the risk of being involved in a struggle to even make fourth place, given the improved league form of Liverpool, the rags and Tottenham.

Negative stories in The Mirror etc about City’s dressing room are no surprise. After all, in a week when Manchester United’s Jonny Evans was banned for 6 matches for spitting at an opponent, United crashed out of the FA Cup with a humiliating defeat at home to Arsenal, and a United supporter sent a racist tweet and other United fans sent death threats to their ex-striker Danny Welbeck, they have to bury bad news somewhere. Surely the death threat to Danny Welbeck has to be more prominent than a dressing room row that has blown over? Surely Louis Van Gaal’s failure to enthral that Swamp Dwellers is more important than Vinny’s and Ferna’s spat?

Never underestimate the ability of the Establishment and their media friends to present a warped view of the football world.

Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee@orange.net

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1974
Hope it’s not too late for a 1974 reminisce, as we’re now up to 1976! [Ed: it’s never too late for any reminiscences, particularly ones which involve City winning trophies, beating and relegating United]

Prior to the Denis Law derby we did have one of our regular trips to Wembley. I was living in Conisbrough at the time and didn’t have a ticket, despite trying all ways to obtain one including putting a request in the local paper after which a journalist rang me up wondering for some reason if I was a friend of Wolves’ Alan Sunderland (more famous for his Arsenal winner v the rags in the 1979 Cup final) who lived in the town.

So I travelled down by train arriving at Wembley, wondering what I was doing there. I had a chat with Big Mal on Wembley way then picked up a ticket off a tout quite easily, but unfortunately in the seats opposite the Royal Box with a restricted view, and sat with neutrals and Wolves fans.
Mike Bailey ran the show for Wolves, stand in goalie Gary Pierce played a blinder, Wolves scored first, Colin equalised, hit the post then John Richards got the late winner, picking up the ball which deflected off Rodney’s heel. Rod wouldn’t go up for his medal (which was actually a tankard!) and Allison slated Ron Saunders’ team in the press. Oh and the referee was called Dave Wallace!
“Supporting City is going to Wembley with a forward line of Summerbee, Bell, Law, Lee and Marsh, and losing!” someone wrote in KOTK.

So a pretty dismal end to the season ensued. Saunders was fired (later, naturally, going on to win the league at Villa) and Tony Book took over early April so we were all set for the Old Trafford showdown on April 27th. Before the game, if United won and the other teams lost, then they had a chance to stay up if they also won their last game at Stoke the following Monday. I went into the main stand paddock, determined to take a low profile, but I thought the programme seller had short changed me so I was riled. United fans were on the pitch before the game, even more riling. When I shouted for City pen, a priest sat in the seats behind started taking the mickey and I shut him up by telling him it was fitting to see a priest at a funeral. Well, you do these things in the heat of the moment.

Denis’s back heel put us one up and news came through that United’s rivals were winning so they were down at that moment. At what point is a team relegated? What if late goals had been scored which would have changed the dynamic? Anyway rags fans, famous (or infamous) for starting modern hooliganism at West ham in 1967, including those who had been on the pitch at the start invaded the pitch. Sir Matt Busby pleaded for them to leave the pitch, and such was their respect for the ex-City knight that they totally ignored him.

The match was abandoned and we didn’t know it at the time, thinking that a replay would be necessary, but the score stood, and despite what United’s Sweeneyesque fans try to kid themselves, Denis’s back heel put them down, though I might be a bit biased!! After all the stick we’d taken from them over the years, when we gave some back they couldn’t take it. Who’s the bitters?

It’s given me an idea for the next fanzine – if they’d all ran on the pitch and stopped the game with 5 minutes to go in the 6-1, it’d only have been 3-1!

Dave Wallace
dw001e8104 AT blueyonder.co.uk
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ONE TO POUNDER, SORRY, PONDER!

With the weakening of the Euro, and the strengthening of the Pound (€1.39 to the £ as I write and the potential forecast going up to €1.5 per £ and maybe higher) there may be a glimmer that we could ponder the astronomical buyout clause of €205m for a certain Leo Messi? At the moment the release clause would cost £147.2 million after putting the calculation in my phone and for every decrease, millions would be shaved off the cost. Ok, the FFP would have a big say in this, oh and the player too, but isn’t it funny that a figure designed to ward predators off may actually be possible due to markets.

Steve Ford
ford.steve AT btinternet.com

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I AGREE (ISS 1975)

Can I just say I agree 100% with your opening articles in the most recent MCIVTA, I would like to share my experience of supporting City in the last few years.

I’m still a relative youngster at only 28 but feel I have been around enough to share my views on City.
I was bought up with my dad taking me to see City whenever he could, I was mascot when Lincoln (my home town) knocked us out the league cup 1-0 at Maine road and loved the fact that I was going to see a live football match once or twice a month, all throughout my childhood I couldn’t wait till I “grew up” and could afford to watch City every week. Back in the not so distant past, when I was earning relatively crap money me and my mates that I had met through City were going home and away every week, we saw some shambles, key ones being Chesterfield in the cup, Wigan beating us 4-0 etc etc. however it was an awesome couple of years seeing the club I loved every week. Prices started going up and I started dropping the London away games, then I had to start dropping away games that had too much travel. Then we started getting better and Saturday 3pm kick offs became that elusive pipe dream. Before I knew it I realised I was doing 10 games a year max and I had dropped nearly all!
league games (I’m lucky enough to have a decent amount of points so I can still pick and choose title run in home games), I now only do cup runs which in itself is expensive when we keep getting to Wembley (this year has been a cheap year). Now I have a wife watching my bank account like a hawk, a couple of kids and a dog I should be looking forward to the family days at City that I grew up on however when I look at the cost of tickets I just laugh.

Treated myself and my wife to Barca at home last season, the amount of none English speaking “tourists” with tickets was just depressing, the family club I grew up on is now exactly what we used to mock united fans for, tickets for the highest bidder. [Ed: Whilst City have traditionally had a greater number of “local” supporters, Manchester City and indeed MCIVTA always welcome everybody, whatever, race, religion, nationality, creed etc to support City. Of course they can speak whatever language they like! The pricing out of loyal City supporters is a serious concern, exacerbated when people who are clearly supporting the opposition are sat in our seats]

This year I have gone to Hull away and might go to the swamp in April, next year I won’t be renewing my City card as I won’t be going to any games.

As you also alluded to, I also miss the controversial days of Cook and Mancini, there was a passion and a connection that we don’t have any more, we now have restrained emotionless business men in every level of the club. Whilst on the subject of Mancini…. PELLEGRINI OUT! I think he is a well- mannered, terrible, terrible, manager. He won the league (just) with Mancini’s team, he has signed Mangala, Navas, Fernando, Bony among others not one is a decent signing. Every single fan, commentator, journalist, pundit and general football fan can see that 2 up top does not work yet the stubborn Pelle will not back down. Yes he may have brought “a holistic attitude” as the owners requested but he has taken the club back, we now have one of the oldest squads and don’t luck capable of beating anyone with a bit of pace or fight.

I am one of those awkward miserable B@st@r*s that wish we were crap again, I long for the days of £20 adult prices, recognising most of 3000 faces at away days. I miss being over the moon with a draw away at United, Chelsea, Arsenal and happy for weeks when we win a derby game, now when we win I feel nothing but when we lose I’m depressed, supporting City for me reached a high in the 14 months or so between when I was Wembley for the FA cup United semi and when we beat them at home to set up the title run in. Since then I am slowly losing all enjoyment from City, haven’t enjoyed a home game in a long time and will stick to the occasional away. I feel sorry for my lad that he won’t be the only City fan at school

With best regards,
Daniel Nellist
daniel.nellist AT siemens.com

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HILLSBOROUGH: THE TRUTH AT LAST?

After 26 years David Duckenfield, Match Commander at the Hillsborough Disaster has this week finally admitted that he lied about his pivotal role in the deaths of 96 people. He lied that the Liverpool supporters forced the gates open, which led to the fatalities. Hopefully Duckenfield will be tried for this along with others for criminal negligence, manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. There has clearly been a massive cover up when everyone knew lies were being told by those responsible. For too long Police Officers – particularly South Yorkshire Police Force and West Midlands Police Force got away with maltreating football supporters which sadly culminated in the 96 Liverpool fans being crushed. The Police had overall responsibility for operations that day, no matter how many people turned up. They failed. The FA, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield City Council are all responsible for allowing the game to be hosted in a ground that had no safety certificate. Th!
ere should be a few people – including Duckenfield – who should be looking at jail sentences for their roles in the deaths of 96 innocents who do not deserve to be blamed for the criminal negligence of others. Justice for the 96.

Phil Banerjee
phil.banerjee AT orange.net

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BURNLEY TICKET REQUEST

I will now be in the UK for the Burnley game. I know it is late in the day but if you have, or know of, a ticket going begging, please sms/WhatsApp me on the number below or email me via vince.docherty[AT]mancity.net

Cheers, all.

CTID

Vince Doherty
Hong Kong
[m]: +852 9570 5983″
vince.docherty AT mancity.net
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PRIDE IN TRAVEL COMPETITION

Would you like a chance to win a copy of Daryl Webster’s excellent “Pride In Travel” book? Daryl relates the captivating experiences of following City in last season’s Double-winning season, whilst travelling 40,000 miles from his hometown Toronto to visit City supporters’ clubs across the world: meeting an eclectic mix of characters on a true voyage of discovery.

We have two copies to give away, courtesy of Pitch Publishing. To enter please answer the competition question:

“Dennis Tueart, King of the Geordies” was a familiar chant in the late 70s and early 80s about the match-winner of the 1976 League Cup Final. Which club did City sign Dennis Tueart from?

Please send your answers to editor@mcivta.com, entering “Pride In Travel Competition” in the Subject bar. The first two correct answers received will win a copy of “Pride In Travel”.

Phil Banerjee

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MCIVTA ADDRESSES

Articles (Phil Banerjee): editor@mcivta.com
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.City-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul Howarth): paul@City-fan.org

Publishing deadlines are, nominally, 6pm Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

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MCIVTA LINKS

Web: http://mcivta.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mcivta
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/mcivta

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USEFUL LINKS

Official Club website (http://www.mcfc.co.uk), Twitter (www.twitter.com/mcfc) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/mcfcofficial)

Official Manchester City Supporters Club (http://www.mcfcsupportersclub.com)

Manchester City Disabled Supporters Association (http://www.mcdsa.co.uk)

“Points of Blue” committee : Sadly discarded.

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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DISCLAIMER

Any offers to buy, sell or exchange tickets are made at the risk of the parties involved. MCIVTA has no commercial or insurable interest in any offer and plays no part in any transaction or arrangement.

Offers are detailed purely for the convenience of our subscribers only.

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