At last a TV victory, not the 0-8 backlash I had naïvely hoped for but welcome nevertheless. If we are going places then these are teams we have to beat! We have three reports but more are always welcome; if you think you can do one then don’t hesitate as it eases the workload on the regulars. The bad news re TC continues and I find myself agreeing with what Martin has to say. Furthermore, the financial situation isn’t all that rosy and makes one wonder whether the promised millions for new players will now have to be diverted elsewhere. At least we have a sound businessman up front who should know precisely how to pull us round.
One rumour that I find particularly unwelcome is that Big Fat Ron will get Horton’s job. Firstly, BFR has hardly achieved anything in football apart from almost always having a job (why?) and spending the equivalent of the GNP of several East European countries in the process! If he couldn’t pull Villa out of their mess how is he going to do any better here? Secondly, Horton has (IMO) done a great job at Maine Road; he was unpopular when he arrived and everybody thought that he was a marked man, being a Swales appointee. He has built the team up and produced an entertaining outfit that is probably only one or two players short of being very good. The man handles himself well, can motivate the team (after 45mins!), has made some shrewd buys in difficult circumstances and above all has made City an exciting team to watch again. Lee should stand by him, we’ve had enough managers and we’ve got a good one now. I just pray that it’s all press speculation
Next game: Wimbledon at home on Saturday 26th November.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
LEICESTER CITY vs MANCHESTER CITY
20th November ’94
My first visit to Leicester since City’s last trip there in the promotion season, a pretty dreary nil-nil draw. The ground hasn’t changed all that much, with the exception of the Carling Stand, completed during last season and seating about 8,500 fans, which now dominates the stadium. The double-decker stand at one end of the ground is pretty good but the opposite end and the side housing the away fans are throwbacks from a bygone age and let the side down badly. City fans had a choice of ten or thirteen pound tickets; as I like to get a good view of the game, I went for the more expensive ones. I was rewarded with a seat in the front row (mercifully it wasn’t raining), slightly below pitch level. With the camber of the pitch, I was unable to see the far touchline so it was difficult to get a decent perspective on the game as a whole.
There were quite a few team changes on both sides. Brian Little, in possibly his last game in charge at Leicester before a possible move to Aston Villa, could find no place for England U-21 star Julian Joachim or in-form winger Lee Philpott. Cult hero Steve Walsh who scored both Leicester’s goals in the play-off final last season was back for his first game since August, partnering Ian Ormondroyd up front with regular striker Iwan Roberts relegated to the bench. City had Andy Dibble back in place of Simon Tracey, Andy Hill at right back instead of Richard Edghill (was he injured or was he dropped?), Dave Brightwell instead of Terry Phelan at left back (injured but could well have been dropped anyway) and Keith Curle instead of Michel Vonk. On the bench we had Alan Kernaghan (warmly received by the City fans during the pre-match warm-up, which bodes well for him) and the very welcome return of Uwe Rösler.
Leicester kicked off and true to form, could have been in the lead within twenty seconds, Ian Ormondroyd’s shot deflecting just wide for a corner. Leicester put City under a lot of pressure in the first ten minutes, keeping Andy Dibble busy. City then started to pull themselves into the game and mount some pressure of their own. Beagrie clearly had the beating of his full-back and was running at the Leicester defence at every opportunity. City’s first real period of concerted pressure, during which they forced several corners and had a number of shots blocked by some desperate Leicester defending, led to the only goal of the game. A volley from outside the area by Beagrie was parried by Kevin Poole in the Leicester goal but the rebound fell to Niall Quinn who smacked it back into the bottom right-hand corner. TV replays showed that Leicester had a good case for claiming that Paul Walsh was offside when Quinn scored, but I don’t recall anybody claiming this at the time (I was too busy celebrating I suppose!)
The rest of the first half was quite even, but the best chance fell to Leicester when a low, diagonal shot was well saved by Dibble. Had he not held the shot, a Leicester striker following up would certainly have scored. City’s defence held up well after the opening scare, with Ian Brightwell keeping Steve Walsh quiet throughout the game and Keith Curle running rings round strikers as only he knows how. I’m still not convinced with Dave Brightwell at left back though. He was caught short for pace and out of position against Franz Carr several times in the first half, though there seemed to be an improvement in the second half. Andy Hill was well supported by Buzzer on the right flank; it was rare that anybody got the better of these two, though Buzzer still isn’t causing defences the same sort of problems that Beagrie is.
There were chances again for both sides in the second half. Beagrie went close with a free kick from outside the box, tipped over the bar by Kevin Poole. Paul Walsh should have scored when he robbed a defender and raced into the box; inexplicably he decided to pass instead of shoot and the chance went begging (my viewpoint being so low down, I might be mistaken about how good a chance this was. It’s possible that Walsh wasn’t even in the penalty area when he passed). At the other end, Leicester’s best moment came when defender Richard Smith headed against the angle of bar and post from one of a series of corners they forced whilst pressing for an equalizer in the last 20 minutes. Oldfield and Roberts came on as subs to loud booing from the home supporters. Presumably the fans didn’t agree with Brian Little’s decision as to who to take off.
Ten minutes from time, the long-awaited return of Uwe Rösler (replacing Niall Quinn) came. Within seconds he’d picked up his usual yellow card for nothing in particular (I think he may have been judged to have used his elbows when going for a header). City tried floating a few balls over the Leicester defence (who were pushed up nearly to the half way line) for Uwe to chase. The first time he gave away a foul by trying to wrestle a defender out of the way when he should have gone for the ball by conventional means. The second time he was pulled back by Richard Smith, who was duly booked and then red-carded for his second bookable offence. This was Leicester’s fifth sending off of the season, which puts them at the bottom of the fair play league. This is unfortunate, because they are far from being a dirty side. City played out the last few minutes trying to keep possession, which they succeeded at. I’d have preferred them to try to score another goal rather than head for the corner flag when in a good position, as happened two minutes from time when Lomas and Buzzer were two-against-two with the Leicester defenders.
Overall, I’d say this was nothing more than a competent display by City, lacking the cavalier attacking style that we’ve seen in many of the home games. Nonetheless, it was three points gained away from home, live on TV, a very rare occurrence indeed. No single City player stood out above the rest, though I thought Curle and Brightwell had good games (as mentioned previously) and Flitcroft did a good job in midfield, holding the ball well and prompting just about all of City’s attacking play. Leicester have some good players too. I was impressed by defender Jimmy Willis and particularly Mark Draper, who is a creative midfield player, very comfortable on the ball and is also prepared to come back, defend and generally get stuck in. I have a bit of a soft spot for Leicester, who with Steve Walsh, Willis, Draper and the missing Julian Joachim have the nucleus of a good side. Unfortunately I don’t think the squad as a whole is strong enough to survive in the Premiership. With all the money coming into the top division, the gap between it and the Endsleigh League is growing wider all the time, and there may come a time when no promoted club can stay the distance. This looks like being sooner rather than later, which is a great shame because the strength in depth of the English league was one of the things that used to make it the best in the world.
Final score 0-1
MATCH REPORT ‘SKY (BLUE?) VIEW’
LEICESTER CITY vs MANCHESTER CITY
20th November ’94
I watched the game on Sky, fearing the worst. I could only remember city winning live in the telly once (away at Villa a few seasons ago) and the trauma from the drubbing at OT was still with me. The fact that I have only a sketchy memory of the events of the afternoon shows that it was a fraught time.
As early as the first minute Ormondroyd (who makes Quinn look like a compact, nippy player) had a good chance, but Andy Dibble made a fine save. It was getting to know you time for the new-look defence of Brightwell D., Curle, Brightwell I., and Hill. The usual midfield were industrious and the wingers were clearly under instructions to be compact when defending and use the full width when attacking. City were having a reasonable spell coming forward, and in the fifteenth minute forced a corner on the left. Leicester cleared the ball only as far as Beagrie and his shot was blocked on its way into the corner. The ball fell to Lomas who played it in to Quinn who found the bottom corner with some panache. There was a question mark over the goal as Walsh was returning from an offside position when Quinn received the ball, but although Leicester could maybe feel upset, the linesman’s interpretation was valid under the new set of rules.
A few minutes later, Quinn brought the ball down well and played a visionary ball through to Lomas who had timed his run to perfection. If the youngster had kept his composure it could well have been 2-0 and the game as good as won. Unfortunately he choked his shot and did not even force the goalie to make a save. Leicester were now getting more into the game and their attacks stemmed in the main from Carr on the right, who was up against David Brightwell. I thought Brightwell managed quite well on the whole, as did the 2 centre halves against the height of Ormondroyd. Dibble made a couple of good saves parrying the ball to safety from speculative efforts and a header from Draper (I think) just flashed wide of the post with Dibble stranded, but City always looked dangerous on the break.
Half time brought the usual comments on Sky from the managers. Horton was pleased with the way City were playing and was very keen to keep a clean sheet. Little was presumably packing his bag for Villa Park! The second half started brightly for City and the first fifteen minutes were spent largely in the Leicester half. However, I can’t really remember any clear-cut chances. The Leicester fans got behind their team and gradually City were pushed back on the defensive. Leicester’s pressure brought a few corners and a number of near misses from goal-mouth scrambles, but no real clear-cut opportunities. They even hit the bar after a Dibble misjudgement of a header. At the other end City could have made the game safe when Walsh robbed their full-back, he advanced on goal and really should have shot, but unselfishly tried to roll the ball to Quinn for a tap-in. Unfortunately the ball was cut out by the single Leicester defender and then cleared. Leicester made a double substitution, one of which was David Oldfield. At this point I really started to worry (how many times have we seen ex-City players come back to haunt us?!). Indeed, when Oldfield was found in acres of space on the right, it provoked a bust up between David Brightwell and Beagrie. Brightwell obviously thought Beagrie should have been back covering the space as he had been drawn inside, and I’m inclined to agree with him.
With about ten minutes to go the vociferous City contingent got their wish and on came Uwe for the tiring Quinn. His first act was to get booked (harshly, I thought) for use of the elbow when jumping for a header. His second was to beat Smith for pace forcing the Leicester man to commit his second bookable offence and to head for the tunnel.
The final whistle, relief for City who really should have taken out more goal-insurance when they had the ascendency, but disappointment for Leicester who had battled hard but failed to create enough. Andy Gray gave the man-of-the match champagne to Keith Curle, who must have only just edged out Ian Brightwell.
All in all it was a solid, if unspectacular performance. We must now aim to collect points in our next few games against Wimbledon (h), Ipswich (a), Arsenal (h) and West Ham (a) as Blackburn (h), Liverpool (a), Villa (h) and Newcastle (a) are just round the corner!
LEICESTER CITY vs MANCHESTER CITY
20th November ’94
To be honest we were rather lucky to obtain all 3 points from this one! Apart from a period of sustained pressure in the last 25 minutes of the first half, City were pretty much pegged back by a Leicester team keen to give their manager Brian Little a proud send off (has he signed for Villa yet?). Thankfully a rather lightweight Leicester attack missed some clear chances, with Mark Draper, Ian (remember me?) Ormondroyd and David “5-1” Oldfield all going close. City must have been grateful that Julian Joachim was out through injury. As for City they looked much more skillful and classy on the ball, but seemed constrained somewhat by the small (poxy!?) Filbert Street pitch. Stars of the day for City were Peter Beagrie, whose incisive runs troubled Leicester all afternoon, Niall Quinn, whose goal won the day, and Keith Curle, who won the Man of the Match award. Am I correct in saying that City are yet to lose this season when Keith Curle has played a full game in defence!?. David Brightwell played alongside his brother Ian in defence and looked much more assured than either Phelan or Vonk did during the derby (though that’s not too hard!!, nevertheless the Leicester wingers don’t really threaten like Kanchelskis or Giggs). Andy Dibble also played excellently, saving a number of excellent shots… not palming them back to onrushing forwards like Simon Tracey!.
The winning goal came on the 16-17 minute mark, when a Summerbee corner caused problems in the Leicester goalmouth. The ball broke clear for a fierce Beagrie shot which cannoned off a defender, Lomas also had a shot blocked before Quinn picked up the ball with his back to goal, turned and fired a low shot into the bottom right corner. Despite subsequent strong Leicester pressure, City could, and should, have gone 3-0 up when both Beagrie and Lomas (horrendeous miss!) fired wide with only the keeper to beat. At the end of the game a small section of the Leicester fans protested about Leicester’s lack of form (did they ever have any!?), and the possible loss of Brian Little. By that time though, the City fans were long since on their way home, singing Blue Moon all the way !!.
P.S: In this Match Report “City” is used in reference to Man. City not Leicester, ’cause after all there’s only one City !!!
I heard on Saturday that TC has seen a specialist about his injury, who reported that the muscle in his shoulder is torn and compressed, which will need 6 weeks of complete rest (lifting nothing whatsoever). After this period, it should be possible to ascertain whether the pain was due to the torn muscle or the slipped discs. If it’s the discs, that will be really bad news because the operation to fix them is a major one, involving opening up the throat to put them back into position. The anticipated recovery time from this operation will be in the order of 12 months(!) which might effectively end his playing career. A second opinion is being sought.
Just heard from BBC that chairman Francis Lee will report a record club deficit of more than 5,5M pounds at their AGM next month.
Some news from this mornings Independent (Tues 22):
The Man City chairman Francis Lee will report a record club deficit of more than 5.5 million pounds when he addresses the annual general meeting on Dec 8th. Lee, who will be speaking at his first AGM since taking over from Peter Swales, will blame City’s poor financial showing on the cost of staving off relegation last season.
John Gorman has been sacked by Swindon Town, 16th in Division 1. Ossie Ardiles has already been linked with the vacancy.
Brian Horton said that the team changes he made for the Leicester game (Tracey, Edghill, Vonk and Phelan replaced by Dibble, Hill, Curle and Dave Brightwell) would have been made irrespective of the injuries to some of the dropped players, and that the first clean sheet City have kept for two months vindicates this.
City reserve team player Jim Whiteley has been charged with armed robbery and supplying drugs.
In view of the current financial situation, City will shortly be making a share issue of 1.5 million ordinary shares valued at one pound each. I don’t know whether this is just the face value or the price at which they will be sold, or if they will be voting or non-voting shares.
NEWS & VIEWS
It appears as though the financial situation hasn’t changed with the arrival of Lee and his consortium. The club is now nearly 6 Million pounds in debt and that doesn’t include the rebuiding work on the Kippax. Lee is anticipating some problems at the 100th AGM to be held in early December, i.e. questions about how the club has got itself into such a poor state. Lee is blaming the previous board for the problems and blaming some of the transfers for some of the debts. Are City once again sinking into a sea of debt like the 80’s, or have City never been out of debt since then? No wonder Horton’s had the purse strings pulled in. Seeing how far City are in debt I’m not surprised they haven’t bought any big signings and I can now see why so many players have been sold.
There’s also speculation that Ron Atkinson is being lined up to replace Horton as manager, even though Horton has denied it. Considering the club are in such a poor financial state would ‘Fat Ron’ even consider coming? I can’t see the logic myself, they’d have to pay Horton for the rest of his contract, negotiate a big contract for Atkinson and then make money available to enable Atkinson to buy the players he wants. I would actually feel sorry for Horton. He’s tried to keep the club going with his hands tied. He’s kept a dignified appearance when the board room battle was raging and the team affairs have always been his priority.
TC has still to see a specialist surgeon for his neck/spine injury. It could mean the end of his career even if the operation is successful. If the two discs were removed then bone from the hip would have to be grafted into the neck and that could take a year at least. City’s orthapaedic surgeon wouldn’t recommend the operation, even if it meant it cured the problem. Personally, I’d hang up my gloves and call it a day. I wouldn’t want to mess around with my spinal cord, I’d want the problem resolved but I wouldn’t want to play on. One kick and he could seriously injure himself.
RUMOURS ‘N’ NEWS
KING OF THE KIPPAX ON THE BOARD.
Francis Lee has kept his promise of returning the club to the supporters. As a consequence, the supporters own choice was elected onto the board. The choice was a good one, namely David Wallace, better known as the editor of the fanzine “King of the Kippax”.
Uwe Rösler is back on the bench. More precisely on the school-bench. He’s currently taking an English course at the Whalley Range High School. Sources also have it that he’s been giving some Norweigan girl lectures in German. This is supposed to have started during City’s spell in Norway this summer, and the lady is now preparing a visit to Manchester. This story was confirmed by Rune Bratseth (also a City fan) who read it in “Kicker” recently.
Peter Barnes has returned to the club, now as manager for the Social Club. He wants to make the Social club just as good as it was in the 70ies when Roy Clarke was manager.
WHY ROCKY WAS SOLD (the story continues)?
5 unofficial reasons:
- Rocky liked untraditional training-methods, including sniffing some white powder up his nose. This is a rumour from both City and Arsenal-fans.
- He didn’t really fit into the squad socially.
- He didn’t like it in Manchester (but longed for London).
- He wasn’t fit enough to last a whole match, and didn’t have the right fighting spirit.
- His knees were no good (did Leeds know something we didn’t??).
TICKET CHAOS FACES AN END?
The ticket chaos at Maine Road is probably facing an end. After the Barnet game, when people stood in queues at 10 ticket-stands 30 minutes after the game started, the management got tired of being phoned by angry supporters and have promised a solution
UWE RÖSLER QUESTION (MCIVTA 22)
Like you (Martin), I saw a big commotion before the kick off and somebody said it was Uwe but I didn’t see him myself. This reminds me of an occasion at Loftus Road a few years back when David Oldfield (who had left City for Leicester by then) took his place in the seats about three rows behind me, along with his girlfriend/wife(?). Some City fans started singing “if you scored two goals against United, clap your hands”, which he did! I suppose this feat in itself guarantees him a warm reception whenever he meets City fans, but I think it’s fair to say that hardly anybody gets called “City Reject” any more. Can anybody think of anybody who’d get a bad reception on returning to Maine Road?
Cheers!! From Lakewood Ohio USA!! Our house guest (and brother-in-law) of TC left Ohio and the colonies on 11 Nov. We have not heard from him since but he is seeing his new niece for the first time (Beth Charlotte, TC’s new daughter) and is quite taken etc, etc.
Therefore no first hand news to report on TC’s condition. I expect to have ‘phone contact before Wed 23 Nov and will share with you all at that time.
THE INSPIRATION OF THE TEAM
I think Peter Beagrie should get much more credit than he does. Everyone raves about Walsh (who is brilliant) and Rösler, but I think the best signing for City last season was Peter Beagrie. He always works hard and runs at players. Every time I have seen him play he has looked hungry. When we signed him instead of Anders Limpar I was overwhelmed. For me he is the best player in the squad.
OLD RUMOUR-ANY TRUTH?
I was talking with my mate, Flixton Red last week and he mentioned an old rumour he had heard, anyone else heard anything about this?
On the subject of Mike Doyle, did you know of the rumour that when Docherty became manager at OT, Doyle was one of his transfer targets? It’s reputed he even had a secret medical at OT before thinking better of the move! Mind you, I’m not sure whether this was before MU had acquired Buchan and Holton as centre-backs.
With thanks to Riku Soininen