Yeeeeessss. I decided to delay this edition of MCIVTA until I got the match reports from the CCC-game. So, we have two match reports and I must say, at last we all can have a nice Christmas. Winning away at St. James’ Park was not expected at all.
I’m currently on vacation and only logged in via my portable, so be patient if something screws up. I plan to update the WWW on a daily basis. The next MCIVTA will be on Wednesday, if I get enough material. Othervise it’s gonna be a Christmas Special, with various stuff in it.
Further down in this issue we have some discussion about the new German, and some opinions on who should be captain. Today we know that Flipper is captain, and what a lucky choice it turned out to be.
So a merry Christmas to you all from 70 degrees north.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
From: Paul Howarth
NEWCASTLE UNITED vs MANCHESTER CITY
Coca-Cola Cup 4th Round Replay, 21st December 1994
Nobody (myself included) thought we had a chance of getting a result from this game after Newcastle’s patched-up side had outplayed what is arguably our strongest side in the first game at Maine Road. This time both sides had their injury problems, the Magpies missing Lee, Beardsley and Sellars and City without Coton, Curle, Phelan and Edghill, Beagrie playing with the aid of a pain-killing injection. Making his début for City was German international Maurizio Gaudino who bears more than a passing resemblance to Uwe Rösler, except that he’s a bit bigger and has longer hair. He’s taken over Steve McMahon’s number four shirt and appears to be the same type of player, offering us some tackling ability and creativity in the centre. City’s makeshift defence consisted of John Foster at right back, Steve Lomas at left back and Ian Brightwell plus Alan Kernaghan in the middle. Niall Quinn was on the bench, so Garry Flitcroft took over the captaincy. It was to be an unforgettable night for him as well as for us at a frosty St. James’ Park.
The last week before Christmas is traditionally bad for attendances but over 30,000 turned up to see this festive Cup tie. Although City had returned about 2,000 tickets unsold, there were still about 4,000 Blues in the crowd, some seated in the north-east corner (excellent view) and the rest stood in the paddock at the front of the West Stand. St. James’ Park has been transformed in the last two seasons, the latest addition being a new stand at the Gallowgate end (where we stood last season) which rises up into the night sky to about the same height as the huge Leazes Stand. The stadium is situated on a hill, with the Gallowgate end being at the lowest point, so the stand actually sits on a mass of huge concrete stilts. The stand is far from being complete, with both corners, interior facilities, turnstiles and external walls still under construction but is nevertheless an impressive structure. If the redeveloped Maine Road looks as good as St. James’ Park then I for one won’t be complaining.
The first chance of the game came in the opening minute, Cole’s first touch taking him between Brightwell and Kernaghan but his low, hard shot into the far corner was pushed away by Dibble’s fingertips for a corner. Against our expectations, City were clearly going to make a game of it and looked in a far more confident, determined mood than any game they’ve been in since the first half at Ipswich. The first ten minutes were quite even, both sides looking equally likely to score. In the 11th minute, Gaudino won a corner which was knocked short by Summerbee to Foster on the edge of the area. When a defender came to challenge him, he returned the ball to Summerbee who crossed it in towards the penalty spot. Rösler got in front of two defenders to chest the ball down and then poked the ball past Srnicek before any of the defenders could get a foot in. So, a surprise one goal lead in the 11th minute; surely it was too early to score for a side with a renowned inability to hang on to a lead?
As expected, Newcastle piled on the pressure, getting in a series of crosses and corners. From one of these corners, Peacock got in a header which was dipping just underneath the bar but Dibble managed to tip it over. City were defending very deep, effectively conceding the midfield to Newcastle and getting lots of bodies in the penalty area to block crosses, passes and shots. Brightwell was outstanding, a rock in defence, not allowing the Newcastle forwards any time or space to turn and also by getting in some superb interceptions. Kernaghan was also in good form, getting in a lot of clearing headers from crosses which were heading for Newcastle heads. Despite the relentless pressure from the home side, City were still able to break out and create their own chances occasionally. From one of these, Beagrie knocked the ball across the edge of the penalty area, Rösler let it run behind him to Gaudino who was in a lot of space but he dallied on the ball and was harried by the excellent John Beresford into shooting wide.
Newcastle’s main source of danger was Ruel Fox down the right, up against Steve Lomas. Fox had a devastating spell in the first half where he was sending Lomas all over the place and getting in some dangerous crosses. From one of these the ball fell to Philippe Albert but he smashed his first time volley from the corner of the 6-yard box over the bar. Cole had a similar effort from a little further out but City’s greatest escape came a minute before the break when Kitson cut the ball back and Kernaghan’s attempted headed clearance hit Dibble’s chest and dropped to the floor. Foster kicked the ball off the line straight to Lee Clark, whose stabbed shot hit Foster’s head and flew over the bar. After this incident I thought to myself that City’s name must be on the Cup!
Would City be able to stem the tide of pressure in the second half? If anything, they defended better in the second half, putting more pressure on the midfield players and forcing them into hurried passes rather than giving them the time to pick their spot. Beagrie dropped back to help out Lomas and the threat from Fox was much reduced. The effort and commitment from the City players was tremendous, everybody getting back to help out and with bodies blocking shots and making tackles whenever a Newcastle player got the ball in the box. On the hour, Quinn replaced Gaudino who was clearly exhausted and will probably need about six weeks to get accustomed to the pace of the English game. I was surprised to see Quinn come on, as Vonk was also on the bench. Instead of the usual ploy of pulling Walsh back into midfield, this time it was Rösler who moved back and played most of the rest of the game on the edge of his own box, being the outlet for City clearances and challenging Newcastle players. Quinn up front gave Newcastle some different problems but the game was still being played almost exclusively in the City half.
Andy Cole had a couple of snapshot chances but there was always somebody there to clear the ball away, usually Alan Kernaghan. On 64 minutes, Paul Bracewell replaced Swiss full back Hottiger and came on to a hero’s welcome (he was making his return after a long spell out with injury). Cole hit the outside of the post when a loose ball fell to him 10 yards out. He must have felt it wasn’t going to be his night. The Magpies poured forward ever more desperately looking for an equaliser. They won a number of free kicks outside the box and there was an air of expectancy from the home fans that Albert would strike the ball home. Each time though the ball was hit straight into the wall or charged down by another City player. City began to look more dangerous on the break. Still it was Newcastle who nearly scored when Beresford’s cross was missed completely by Kernaghan’s attempted volleyed clearance but Dibble got to the ball before Cole or Kitson.
Walsh was looking more lively than he has been in recent weeks, having finally shaken off the ‘flu bug; it was Walsh who effectively put the game beyond Newcastle with ten minutes to go after City’s best move of the game. Rösler cleared the ball up to Walsh in the centre circle who squared the ball to Quinn. Quinn held the ball up for a few seconds before laying it back to Flitcroft who found Summerbee on the right touchline with a hard, low pass. Buzzer took the ball down the line, evading Watson’s challenge and then getting round Beresford at the bye-line. He cut inside on a run reminiscent of his father’s in the ’69 Cup Final which led to Neil Young’s goal. However, instead of cutting the ball back, he attempted to chip the ball over Srnicek and towards the goal. Had he been successful, the chance would probably have gone as Quinn and Walsh were close to the nearside corner of the 6 yard box and Peacock would have reached the ball first. However, Srnicek parried the ball and Summerbee headed the rebound towards Walsh and Quinn. The ball skimmed the head of Walsh which probably put Quinn off his attempted volley. The ball dropped to the floor and Walsh got his foot to it first and squeezed the ball between defender and ‘keeper. We were ecstatic. Maybe we could actually win this game after all?
Newcastle never really looked like getting back into the game after the second goal but it was still a nail-biting last ten minutes for those of us who had seen City throw away such leads before. Right at the end, Kernaghan and Brightwell collided when racing each other to clear the ball. On Saturday they’d probably have left it to each other – the difference in attitude was remarkable. The collision left Kernaghan injured so he had to be replaced by Vonk. Seconds later, the match was over. The team came over to applaud the fans but it was the players who deserved the applause. Neither set of fans got behind their side as much as in the first game at Maine Road. For us, it was probably low expectations; we hardly got going except in sporadic bursts during the game and in the last few minutes. The Newcastle fans were probably disillusioned by their team’s inability to break down an unexpectedly solid defence and indeed by their first home defeat of the season. The Geordies missed the creative influence and leadership of Beardsley and will have played much better than this during the season, but City’s performance was one to be admired. It’s games and results like this that make up for the disappointments of games like Saturday’s at West Ham. For everybody whose faith was reaffirmed tonight (hopefully this will quieten the Horton-bashers for a while), see you on 11th January at Selhurst Park.
Final Score: United 0 City 2
I couldn’t make it to St. James’ Park, but I did watch the highlights on English TV. Here is a quick resume:-
Pinch me! I must be asleep, City winning at St James’ Park (SJP)!! I suppose it must have something to do with the `Horton effect’. Apparently BH regards SJP as his lucky ground, having won there as a player with Brighton and as manager of Oxford. Anyway, here was I thinking that after our draw at Maine Road we were effectively out of the CCC, the prospect of travelling to Tyneside not being a pleasant one. But City being City always break every known law of football and do the opposite to what every other sod expects. With Curly-wurly out and Lomas continuing at full-back I wasn’t too hopeful, but at least Beagrie was playing and our new German used-car dealer with the Italian name (Maurizio Gaudino) was getting his first taste of being re-born in blue. BH left the Mighty Quinn on the bench, playing two strikers (Rösler and Walsh) with Buzzer and Beagrie (B&B) on the wings. Young Foster played as the other full-back and from the off I must say City looked to have more shape to them and played with a degree of organisation lacking in recent weeks. Kernaghan was prefered to Honky Vonky at centre-half, and overall he had a decent game, except for one or two potential howlers.
City had one other star in their midst… Lady Luck. Straight away you knew it wasn’t going to be Newcastle’s night, with Cole, Kitson and Albert squandering a number of good chances. City also got their timing right, hitting the Magpies early with a great Rösler goal after 11 minutes. Gaudino forced the corner, Summerbee took it, and Rösler with characteristic strength and presence of mind forced his way between two defenders and poked the ball home as it bobbled and broke free. This forced Newcastle to come forward and to be honest on another day they probably would have scored a netful. The fact that they didn’t was partly down to Dibble (who had a superb game and was my man of the match), Foster (who cleared two off the line) and the Newcastle forwards whose finishing was poor. City, although surrendering space in midfield and looking vulnerable from Fox’s runs down the wing, were reasonably marshalled in defence and except for one or two moments of complete slapstick (ball bobbling around the City goal with queues of players miskicking and falling over etc.) managed to absorb a great deal of pressure.
In the second half Newcastle got a bit desperate and started to lose their shape and organisation. At this point you always fancied City to hit them on the break and that’s exactly what happended. Walshy began the move and finished it, linking up with Buzzer, who produced a scintillating run, beating several bemused defenders before laying the chance on to Walsh, who squeezed the ball past Srnicek. So the score ended (amazingly) Mad-pies 0 – City 2 and the City team went over to salute our superb fans who were tremendous throughout. We now face Crystal Palace away in the Quarter-Finals, uncharted territory you might say (well, for some years anyway). Keegan reckoned City deserved the result afterwards and BH acknowledged a great team performance, even though we had to defend for long periods. This was a much more controlled City performance and the right one for these opponents. We hit them at the right times and drew their fire, defended in depth and numbers, and ultimately frustrated and demoralised them. I think I’m right in saying that we’re the first to win at SJP this year(?) and this was due to City getting tactical- and getting the tactics right for once… well done lads.
From: Adam Houghton
Just a quick reply to one of the suggestions by The Mole.
The suggestion of making Kernaghan the captain at the moment is probably a good idea. However I don’t think that the “City boo boys” would like it particularly, and he’d probably be finished for good if we lost the game in which he was the captain. This question of who should be captain shows how few players we have that can lead and motivate the team on the field (just look at the West Ham game!!).
As for the form of Niall Quinn………… what form? I’d rather not slag him off but since he came back from injury he hasn’t been half the player he used to be. He now looks constantly tired and is unable to put any power behind his headers. I am not suggesting that he’s crap and we should sell him, but is he still carrying an injury or is he just not fit?????? Either way it looks like he needs a rest.
ON LOAN I
From: The Mole
City have signed German midfielder Maurizio Gaudino on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a purchase, from Eintracht Frankfurt. The purchase price if the option is taken is likely to be “very high”. He (and two other players) has not been seeing eye to eye with the Frankfurt manager and has been “on strike” after being made scapegoat for various bad results.
Team news for Wednesday: Walsh and David Brightwell are out, but Beagrie may play after a painkilling injection if his condition doesn’t deteriorate.
ON LOAN II
From: Martin Ford
At last some more details have emerged about the German player mentioned in earlier messages.
He is Maurizio Gaundino, a current squad member of the German national team, although he has won 4 full caps. He’s 28 rather than the 26 reported in previous messages. He’s joining City on loan until the end of the season, from Eintracht Frankfurt. If everything works out he could be joining City permanently in a deal valued at around