Newsletter #25

We got an unintentional mention (!) in the Match Magazine which has resulted in several new subscribers; see Paul’s article below. Although we intended the article to be about MCIVTA it was transmuted into the WWW! We hope to get a mention for MCIVTA soon (Arsenal programme).

I’m also getting mail about the unfounded(?) campaign against Horton. The Press would have us believe that Horton is about to be given the heave-ho (as soon as City stop winning, naturally!!!) in favour of Big Fat Ron. I hope that this is still idle speculation as in my opinion, Horton has done excellently at Maine Road with the resources available (see intro. to MCIVTA 23). What do you lot think? Mail me and I’ll put your opinions in the next issue, even if they are contrary to mine (what a nice guy!). This issue is somewhat later than usual due to the fact that there is a midweek game for which we can include Team News and also the lack of a ‘live’ Match Report 8-(.

So….. an appeal!

Martin Ford has done sterling work writing Match Reports for the home games but couldn’t unfortunately, make it to Maine Road last Saturday. Fortunately, Paul Howarth agreed to do one to help out but we can’t expect him to do this as well as the aways which he frequently attends. So, if you attend the home games and can find the time to do a Match Report, then anything would be most welcome. If you are a new subscriber please note that no one is ‘appointed’, everything is on a casual basis. If you do a report it automatically goes into MCIVTA. Anyway, it’s always good to get the game from more than one perspective and lately we have managed this, but curiously for away games!!! All submissions will be received with open arms.

We now have 76 subscribers including our first 2 ladies.

Next game, Newcastle at home, CCCup 4th round, Wednesday 30th Nov.



Considering that this fixture usually results in one of our lowest attendances of the season, a poor game and in recent years, very few points for City, this match was a pleasant surprise. The attendance of 21,131 was no doubt boosted by the special offer of each member being offered an extra ticket for five pounds when they bought their own ticket. At first I thought there were no visiting supporters at all as the Platt Lane end of the Kippax was completely empty. As the teams came out, it became apparent that there was a small group of Dons fans at the Platt Lane end of the Main Stand, the same place that Crystal Palace fans had been accommodated earlier in the season. Other than the Kippax, the rest of the ground looked quite full, with even the seats at the front of the North and Platt Lane stands sold.

City were on the attack straight from the kick-off and it came as no surprise when Flitcroft opened the scoring in the seventh minute, the first time City have scored in the first ten minutes all season. Some neat passing between Flitcroft, Walsh and Quinn ended with a delightful through ball from Walsh which Flitcroft managed to flick past the onrushing Hans Segers from the corner of the penalty box. Several more chances came City’s way in the following ten minutes and it looked like we might run up a cricket score, Hans Segers pulling off some excellent saves. After that, Wimbledon started to get a grip on the game and were the better side in the rest of the half, forcing some good saves from Andy Dibble. The long ball game for which Wimbledon are famous was conspicuous by its absence, as was the menace they always used to show at free-kicks and corners. John Fashanu, for all his faults, seems to be sorely missed by the Dons at present, who failed to create much in the way of chances and didn’t take the ones that came their way.

The closest Wimbledon came to scoring was in the second half, when an instinctive turn and volley from Dean Holdsworth crashed down from the underside of the bar close to the goal line and then bounced out. I thought it might have gone in (more so than Paul Walsh’s first goal against Saints the other week) but I think the Match of the Day replay showed that the officials were right not to give a goal. Wimbledon were still looking the better side in the second half but both sides were having brief periods of pressure. Following a City corner there was a goalmouth scramble during which Paul Walsh took exception to some part of Alan Reeves’ challenge and claimed a penalty. There was a loud shout from the Platt Lane end but that’s about as much as I know about it. Walsh squared up to Reeves’ stomach (slight height difference you see) but nothing else happened. The next thing I knew, the ball went out of play halfway down the Main Stand side of the opposite end and the linesman at the Kippax side starting waving his flag frantically. The referee went over to see what was up, as did Vinny Jones who was told to go away. After a brief discussion the referee walked over to the centre circle and red-carded Reeves for allegedly slapping Paul Walsh. Reeves claimed he just gave Walsh a big kiss!?! Nobody near me had the faintest idea what had happened and there was nothing on TV to shed any light on it, so I can only report what I saw in the papers.

With Wimbledon down to ten men, City then started to try to increase their advantage. Rösler came on for Niall Quinn and City started to fling in a few more crosses. There was an article in the programme about Nicky Summerbee having to be more positive; he was certainly trying but the left back seemed to have the measure of him. However, a cross from the other side led to a powerful far post header which Segers somehow managed to block when it seemed City were certain to go 2-0 up. The goalkeeper blotted his copybook in the 89th minute though when a Lomas clearance to nobody in particular was chased by Rösler and there was a cock-up between Segers (at least 40 yards out from goal) and the last defender. The defender obviously didn’t expect to see the goalkeeper so close to him and only managed to knock the ball past him towards the Dons’ penalty area. Rösler and Segers gave chase but there was only going to be one winner; Uwe duly knocked the ball into the unguarded net. Two-nil and victory was assured. During the celebrations Andy Hill, who had taken a knock earlier on was replaced by Alan Kernaghan. Good tactical move this, reintroducing him to the Maine Road fans whilst they were in a good mood! In fact, I bet a few people didn’t even notice…

So, two straight victories and two straight clean sheets. Another workmanlike performance with the occasional bright spots. Curle and Brightwell look to be a solid partnership in the centre of defence, Andy Hill is comfortable at right back but I still can’t see the left-back in Dave Brightwell. He was caught out of position and lacking in pace once or twice but I can’t really argue with 2 clean sheets, can I? Flitcroft spread the ball around well in midfield, aided by the industrious Lomas. Beagrie was his usual menacing self, though he usually found himself up against two or more defenders. We’re still to see the best of Nicky Summerbee; we saw how good he can be when playing for Swindon last season, with glimpses of it against Barnet and Forest. He puts in some great crosses but I’m sure he can put in more. It’s a tall order being compared with Beagrie on the other wing the way he’s playing at the moment, so let’s be patient. In the middle Walsh ran around all day and Quinn held the ball up and distributed well, but there was a definite improvement when Rösler came on; more mobility, more pace, more threat. Brian has one of the “nice” selection problems for Wednesday’s game, though I expect Newcastle to be a much harder nut to crack than either Leicester or Wimbledon.

Final score 2-0

Paul Howarth with help from Mark Evans




In a week of more addiction than prediction, it was surprising how many players at Maine Road were caught in possession. It was poignant to see young footballers making their problems public. At one point, City’s lightweight central defender Ian Brightwell and goalkeeper Andy Dibble almost gifted Wimbledon a comically bad goal.

Brightwell dithered, Dibble – again demonstrating he is not officer material – stayed put and Dean Holdsworth toe-poked just wide. Holdsworth’s agony was completed later, when, returning from injury, he saw his snap volley strike the underside of the bar and spin out. The non-Russian linesman decided the ball had not crossed the line, though the club video replay suggested it did. Otherwise Holdsworth played with understandable rustiness and a lack of commitment that suggested he might be wearing a vest under his shirt.

The match never quite broke into life despite Flipper’s early goal, A clean shot after Quinn and Walsh had easily dissected the defence. It hinged on Wimbledon’s bad defending, bad luck and the dismissal of Alan Reeves for slapping Walsh. With less than fifteen minutes left, the sending off threw the Londoners’ embryonic passing out of synch and ended hopes of a deserved draw.

Earlier, City’s young players had taken the game to their opponents. The trickery of Beagrie and Summerbee lacked guile at times, but it was enough to unsettle Dons defenders who looked as if they could lose the ball down a sofa. They needed Warren Barton there, but he was in midfield, where his cleverness and athleticism stood out.

And so Wimbledon undid the fine impression they had begun to make – even Vinnie Jones was playing football – when a last-minute farcical back-pass by Scott Fitzgerald let in City sub Uwe Rösler to roll the ball in. For all Fitzgerald’s literary credentials, Wimbledon’s defence looks like a line of characters in search of an author.

Adapted without permission from the Independent on Sunday.

Phil Knight


Phelan didn’t make it into the squad for the Wimbledon game even though he successfully came through a reserve team outing. Has Terry shot his mouth off once too often? Are we seeing the start of his departure?

Also, City claim that there was a misunderstanding about Macca’s attempt to become Swindon’s manager. City have now given Swindon permission to speak to Macca about the post of player-manager. There will most probably have to be some sort of financial outlay by Swindon if they want to take on Macca. City haven’t waived the right to a transfer fee yet, so the deal could hinge on how much, if any Swindon are prepared to give to City. Personally I think City are penny pinching; which other club would want money for a 33 year old midfielder? They should let him go for free and stop obstructing his first chance at becoming a manager.

Martin Ford


Brian Little has taken over as manager of Aston Villa. It turns out that Leicester accepted his resignation on the basis of a written undertaking from him that he would not be the next manager of Aston Villa, so there is now likely to be a legal battle between the clubs, or between Little and Leicester. Aston Villa’s next league game… vs Leicester at Filbert Street!

Former Villa manager Ron Atkinson has been linked with the vacancy at Italian club Genoa.

Paul Howarth


My boss is a Newcastle fan; he came in moaning this morning (Monday) about the cup game because Howie, Lee, Sellars, Peacock and Albert are injured, excuses or what? I hear that Andy Hill is injured, that should even things up!

Mark Denton


Former City player Martin O’Neill has been given permission by the directors of Wycombe Wanderers (who he is currently managing) to speak to Leicester City regarding their managerial vacancy. It is by no means certain that he’ll take the job as he turned down an approach by Nottingham Forest when Brian Clough retired.

There is speculation linking City with Southampton’s 32-year old midfielder Paul Allen, possibly as a replacement for Steve McMahon. Saints apparently want