Newsletter #35

Martin has kindly recalled the two missing home games from the deep recesses of his memory, so we have a full set once again. There’s a second ‘Toon’ report, this time from BR’s favourite Kiwi, Roger and also an interesting ‘Why Blue’ from a Londoner who chose City over the rags whilst at university in Manchester!!! Paul Howarth sent me two fanzines to read, namely King of the Kippax’ and ‘Electric Blue’. I’ve only got through KotK so far but it’s entertaining and well worth the dosh. I noticed that it’s available by subscription, even abroad (9 pounds inc. postage) and I can definitely recommend it to people outside the UK as a means of keeping in touch with the Academy. Address is on the WWW or failing that contact me.

If anyone fancies doing a Notts County report, all will be received with open arms.

Lastly, I’ve noticed that several people from the London & SE area travel either to mid-distance aways or even up to Maine Road. It’s also clear that some people do this by public transport. Anybody travelling by car who is prepared to offer a lift to other Blues and Blues who require a lift, however occasionally, should mail me and I’ll try to put everybody in contact. I think we could certainly do something useful in the direction of lifts and pub get-togethers before games as we have after all, a decent means of communication which fanzines etc. haven’t. Any offers or ideas?

Next game is Notts County away (FA Cup 3rd round) on Sunday 8th January.



This game had all the hallmarks of a defeat even before the match had started, Sky TV had gone and made it a live game, which as every City fan knows isn’t the best idea, having only ever won one live Sky game (and about three other live games before then!!!!). So, the match kicked off at 8:00pm, with Rovers knowing that they needed at least a point to go back on top after the rags scraped to 3-2 win at Chelsea (As it turned out, they got all three).

So, onto the match. It didn’t look promising when it became apparent that Walsh was missing. City were once again shown how to play as a team. Rovers were willing to work hard and support each other and looked like a team wanting to win, wheras City just couldn’t get to grips in the early stages. This turned out to be crucial to the result because by the time City had began to get their act together they were already trailing 2-0. Shearer scored the first after 9 minutes, knocking in the rebound after Sutton had headed against the crossbar. The second goal in the 16th minute came from a left-side corner that City once again failed to clear properly. The ball was only half cleared to the edge of the box and Atkins lashed the ball home, with a slight (but telling) deflection from Foster. So, City were all but dead and buried unless they got their act together (and fast). City got some reward for eventually getting into the game, with Quinn scoring in the 21st minute. He met a Flipper free-kick and glanced the ball past Flowers to give City some hope. But Rovers were still dominant and City were being given the run around. For all their big buys (Shearer, Sutton, Sherwood, Le Saux to name a few), the more average Atkins was controlling the midfield.

City nearly grabbed an equaliser when Rösler met a Beagrie cross with a diving header which unfortunately struck the post. So, City went in 2-1 down and were struggling to cope with a dominant Rovers. It didn’t get much better in the second half; the only thing that improved was City showing slightly more fight. Obviously Horton’s wonder boot had had some affect on the players. Uwe put himself about as usual and earned a slap from Le Saux. It was Le Saux who had the final say of the game. Brightwell had fouled Sutton on the edge of the box and while City were expecting Shearer to have a blast, Le Saux curled the free-kick past Dibble. That all but wrapped the game up in Rovers’ favour. Le Saux could count himself lucky to even be on the pitch after earlier getting into a scuffle with Uwe and appearing to push Rösler in the face.

City hadn’t played particularly well or competed to their best and it reflected in the way Rovers won quite convincingly. If Dibble hadn’t produced some good saves then it could have been a far worse scoreline. I suppose the one good thing to come out of the result was that Blackburn went back on top, some consolation seeing the rags second.

Final Score 1-3

Martin Ford



With the festive games having brought little cheer (two defeats), this should have been the game to get the team back on track since Villa were in the bottom four and City were still in the top half of the table. Villa’s 6 draws from their previous 7 games might have given a hint of what to expect. City showed far more commitment in the early stages than the Rovers game but still Villa managed to be a threat. With Houghton and Townsend making various off the ball runs, they dragged the defence out of position and left gaps which nobody could capiltalise on. City got an early and important goal through Uwe after 14 minutes. Lomas had had his shot blocked at least twice but it fell kindly to Uwe who managed to lift the ball over Spink. This should have been the break City were looking for but Villa were still in the game and were always a threat. City went in leading 1-0, but they didn’t look at all comfortable.

Within 10 minutes of the restart City had taken a 2-0 lead. Beagrie, wide on the left, had been fouled by Staunton (to be perfectly honest I thought Beagrie made a meal of the challenge) next to the corner flag. From the resulting free-kick Uwe powered in an unstoppable header. City were leading 2-0 which should have finished the game. However, we all know how unpredictable City are and within a minute Villa were handed a lifeline. They won a corner and Staunton’s near post cross caused confusion and the ball hit Ian Brightwell and dropped into the goal. This gave Villa even more impetus and within 4 minutes they had drawn level. The ball was played into the box and Taylor’s powerful shot was only half saved by Dibble. Before any City defender could re-act, Saunders nipped in and scored to make it all square. Even then Villa weren’t finished and Dibble produced more saves to keep them at bay. City’s only real clear cut reply came from Walsh whose header came back off the crossbar. City could quite easily have lost this game, but thanks to Dibble pulling off some good saves City managed to hang on for a 2-2 draw, pretty ridiculous considering at 2-0 they should have cruised away.

There was another inadequate refereeing display which left a bitter taste in the mouth. Rösler and Staunton clashed for an aerial ball which left Staunton worst off (looked like Uwe caught him with his elbow!!!). As Rösler bent over to see if Staunton was OK, in came Shaun Teale and punched him in the face, right in front of Joe Worrall. I couldn’t believe that no player was booked for their parts. A deliberate punch must warrant a red card and an elbow should have been at least a yellow, so I couldn’t believe that Worrell let them all off. That must rate as one of the worst decisions of this season. All we want is consistent refereeing standards but if they’re going to let players off for punching, what chance have we got!?


IMHO City just haven’t got what it takes to compete with the top flight teams, look at the way City have struggled against the likes of the rags, Arsenal, Liverpool and Blackburn. Until City can take these on and consistently win, it’s going to be a struggle. They’ll have to make do in beating the lower teams to get anywhere.

Martin Ford



Due to our meagre ticket allocation for this match (a poxy 880 out of almost 35,000), I had to resort to a seat in the South Stand at St. James’ Park, alongside the Geordie fans. From the outset it became quite evident to me and the rest of the crowd that City had come to St. James’ looking for one point rather than three. Although our current injury crisis necessitates a certain diminishment in our attacking flair, I must admit feeling a little disappointed at the lack of a genuine attempt to win the game. After all I’d just shelled out over 50 quid to get to the game, so I expect the Blues to play to win whatever the injury situation. As other reviews of this game have gone into the “nuts n bolts” of what happened I’ll confine my comments to what were, for me anyhow, the highpoints.

First and foremost I must give credit to young John Foster. He truly did brilliantly for the team and looks a bright player for the future. He saved our bacon by clearing off the line on one occasion and help shut out Andy Cole all afternoon. Another defender shone out in this blatantly defensive performance – Alan Kernaghen. Sputnik has had his critics amongst Blues supporters since his arrival but in this game he was the rock upon which our defence stood firm. Thankfully his ball distribution has improved, those out-of-orbit hoofs (mostly) a thing of the past. For me he was Man of the Match and I look forward to him teaming up with Curle once he’s fit. On the form of this game Newcastle don’t look a genuine Championship contender, a draw was a fair result as City defended well and were troubled on only a few occasions. As for the penalty, no way!. I got a fairly good look at the incident and it was 50/50 over who was to blame. Thank God Dibble saved it. So, all in all a good result for City; hopefully with the Xmas programme over we can make a concerted push for the top 5 again. After the game I went for a few drinks on the Toon with a Geordie mate, and we managed to bump into half the Newcastle United football team (Venison, Howey, Kitson, Sellars, and Peacock). I tell ya they’ll never win the Championship if they carry on drinking like that !!!

Roger Sharp


The FA Youth Cup game I referred to in MCIVTA 34 has been postponed because our prospective opponents are not yet known (the previous round match has not yet been played).

Paul Howarth


As we are all aware, UEFA have turned into a purely financial institution these days with football matters coming second. Look at the way the European Cup has been changed to suit their needs. It used to be a plain and simple knock-out competition, now it’s the Champions’ league where the larger clubs are given preferential treatment to guarantee them access into the League and more money making.

So, bearing this in mind, UEFA are now proposing to start a European summer knock-out competition, to be called the Intertoto Cup. This would run from June 24 to August 2. The format is four group matches, two home, two away. I’d assume that the winners of each group would then play in a straight knock out competition to find the winner. Each club entering would be paid sums in Swiss Francs and also share commercial spin-offs (just like the Champions’ League).

The Football Association have asked for 4 places in this Summer’s cup for Premiership clubs. However, the real carrot being dangled is that the four semi-finalists of the Cup are guarenteed automatic entry into the UEFA Cup.

City are very keen and have applied to join the Cup. Colin Barlow reckons it’s a chance not to be missed and would be a financial winner, what with the fees, gate receipts and TV money. Would this be overkill though? Would the players be fit enough and would they be prepared to play for basically 12 months a year, unless of course the FA decide to have a mid-winter break to compensate? Would the fans see it as another way of getting money from them?

Personally I’m undecided. I can see it’s just another money grabbing scheme to get money out of the fans’ pockets. Also, the damage to players could be serious; look at the seemingly increasing injuries picked up by ‘overworked’ players. They already claim to be playing too many games but at least it wouldn’t be meaningless pre-season friendlies!

On the plus side it might be my only chance to see City play in Europe in a competitive competition (one of my footballing ambitions).

So, we could see City’s players playing football for nearly 12 months – are they up to it?

Martin Ford


As I suspected there isn’t any team news yet, due to the match being played on Sunday (gives players more time to recover from their current injuries). There is some heartening news though; Curle will return to training on Monday with the hope that he’ll be fit enough in time for the CC Cup, where he’ll replace the suspended Ian Brightwell. Ian has recovered sufficiently enough to be considered for the Notts County game where he’ll replace the injured Vonk. Other than that change it’ll most probably be the team from the Newcastle game, with Quinn and David Brightwell on the bench.

Let’s just hope with Curle returning to training that he doesn’t break down and can now last for the rest of the season!

Martin Ford


It is rapidly becoming the fashion for clubs who “entertain” the rags to play “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury at half-time. Tee hee! Meanwhile, it is interesting that I have yet to come across a City supporter in Bristol who is not from the Greater Manchester area, whereas I have so far met only one rag who is. What can this mean!?

Jeremy Poynton


As a nice north-west London Jewish middle class kid, growing up in the 1970’s, supporting a football team was not a very encouraged activity. To watch Middlesex play at Lords, maybe. To consume large amounts of smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, perhaps. To begin to prepare for Bar exams or medical qualifications, absolutely! But to follow the fortunes of a football team – never!

At my Bristol based Public School, football was a wet and cold afternoon trying to pump a half deflated ball into the net, against an equally cold and wet keeper, whose only thoughts were on visiting the tuck shop on the return to school.

My liberation into the world of football, and the “delights” of Manchester City, began when I moved to Manchester to begin my degree at the University in 1988. Free at last from the confines of the North Circular Road, I moved into a student house in Newlyn Street, not more than 200 metres from the Kippax.

It was one Saturday afternoon, a few weeks into term, when I began to notice streams of strange people flowing down our street wrapped in blue scarves carrying large inflatable yellow bananas. As we had nothing to do until the evening, a few of us decided to follow the bananas to Maine Road, pay up, and watch City lose in a game that lacked vision, skill and excitement. I knew from then on that I had entered a relationship that would last for a very long time.

When people ask me today why I chose City and not United, I always claim geographical convenience as a response. But I suppose in truth, there are other reasons. Being Jewish is certainly one of them. City are the alleged minority, picked on without remorse by scoffing United fans. City fans are loyal to the extreme and often seem enclosed into a world of their own. On any one issue, City fans will have a thousand opinions. And most important of all, City fans have a great sense of humour, evolved from years of being seen as the lesser team in Manchester.

Like a born agian Christian (which, in my case, is probably not the best analogy), I embraced Manchester City as if I had been a loyal fan from Summerbee senior to Summerbee junior. I was straight down the City shop to buy my first of many City shirts, scarf, flag and team poster, and felt like a 10 year old collecting soccer stickers to swap at school!

Newlyn Street was also one of the roads that connected Maine Road with the Platt Lane training ground, and on many a cold winter morning the majestic head of Niall Quinn would glide past our window on its way to the training ground.

As a “new” fan, I had to prove my credentials to many friends in Manchester who were lucky enough to have been born into a City supporting family, and had watched the boys since they were one month old. Nights of Student parties were replaced by watching tedious B team games, or even standing at Platt Lane watching Alan Harper and Adrian Heath pretend to be quality football players.

Over the next few years, I watched the comings and goings at City. The exit of Machin, Kendall (who I nearly had a car crash with on the day of his departure to Everton), and Reid. The criminal selling of Michael Hughes, the sad injuries of Paul Lake, the lazy runs of David White, the magnificent arrival of Tony Coton, the bursts of speed of Terry Phelan, the FA Cup quarter-final aggro with Spurs, the end of the Kippax, the erection of the new “whateveritscalled” stand, and the creation of the most revolting away Kit in football history.

A few of us soon found a regular place in the Kippax and began to travel to most of the away games across the country. Unfortunately, all good things have to end, and in 1991 I graduated (having found some time to squeeze some work in) and returned to London.

Since then I have still tried to get to Manchester whenever I can. I always go up for the United-City games, and try to get to all fixtures within a 100 mile radius of London. Unfortunately my job (I work for an MP) is very demanding and I cannot get to all the games I would like to. As I do not have a season ticket and with the ground restrictions presently in force, to get a ticket these days is like having to steal the crown jewels. Luckily I have struck up a very good relationship with a lady in the ticket office, but I still cannot get to the Palace game on the 11th January.

So, if you are lucky enough to be there on the 11th and you see a rather unfit bloke in a 1988 City home shirt climbing on to the roof of the Sainsbury’s next to Selhurst Park, you will know who it is!

Miles Webber


No change since Wednesday.

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Martin, Paul, Miles, Jeremy & Roger.
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

Ashley Birch

Newsletter #35