Well, City are really getting to me these days; it’s getting like my teenage years when a defeat meant clinical depression 8-). I should be saying that this result has really dropped us in it. However, though it certainly was a bad result, almost all our rivals also succumbed. We really have hit a low now and it’s difficult to see where we can go from here. December seems like a different age now, winning every other game with entertaining play. We seem to have forgotten how to win, even against teams like Chelsea and Leicester. It’s hard to believe that the team which won earlier on in the season is essentially the same as is playing today. Of course, we all know what City are like so maybe we can look forward to victories at Ewood Park and White Hart Lane as well as home triumphs against Liverpool and Newcastle!!! John Shearer reckons we need 9 points and Paul Howarth 11 from the remaining 11 games. If we escape relegation then it wil probably be more due to the direness of our rivals rather than to our own endeavours.
Next game Everton away, Wednesday 15th March 1995.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
MANCHESTER CITY vs. CHELSEA, Wednesday 8th March 1995
Looking at City’s run-in, wondering where the points will come from that will keep us in the Premiership, this one had to be regarded as a “must win” match. With both clubs on the same number of points (Chelsea having a game in hand and much better goal difference though) and City’s good form in the last couple of home games, a win looked quite a likely prospect too.
City got off to a great start when Beagrie’s cross was flicked on by Rösler to the unmarked Gaudino, who struck home a sweet half-volley in only the fourth minute. However, within 2 minutes Chelsea were level when Andy Myers raced past Summerbee at the edge of the City area and hit a hard, low cross in; Stein reached the ball first and hit it into the roof of the net from 10 yards, possibly taking a slight deflection. Chelsea’s neat, short passing in and around the box caused City a lot of problems, and Stein missed two glorious chances to put the visitors into the lead before half time. The first time, on 29 minutes, he shot straight at TC. The second chance came from a penalty in the 4th minute of first-half injury time after Curle brought down Paul Furlong; Stein crashed his shot against the bar and referee David Ellery then blew to end the half. I thought for a fleeting moment that he was going to order the kick to be re-taken. In the meantime, Hitchcock in the Chelsea goal was having a blinder, making excellent saves from Rösler, Walsh and Beagrie.
In the second half City missed a procession of good chances, Hitchcock pulling off more superb saves from Rösler, Gaudino, Beagrie, Walsh and Kernaghan. It has to be said that he shouldn’t have been given a chance to make a save in many of these cases though. Still more chances were lost with off-target shooting. Despite the chances coming City’s way, this was still a evenly-matched game in which both sides looked likely to score again. Chelsea came close when Erland Johnsen struck a free kick from at least 30 yards out (it was so far out that City didn’t bother with a wall) against the angle of post and crossbar. Mark Stein should have scored again in the 78th minute when he put a free header wide from 10 yards when it looked easier to score.
Desperate for the win, Quinn came on to replace the very ineffective Summerbee. Within a minute, Chelsea scored again. A neat move between Steve Clarke and Gavin Peacock set Stein free behind Kernaghan and he made no mistake this time, slipping the ball past Coton from virtually the same place that he’d missed the header minutes earlier. The rest of the game was an onslaught as City peppered the Chelsea goal with shots. A superb long-range effort by Simpson was tipped past the post by Hitchcock deep into injury time; the equaliser just wouldn’t come.
Brian Horton said after the game “If you don’t take your chances you don’t win games. Chelsea have hit the bar and missed a penalty but we could have won the game 6-4. There were so many chances for us, so I can’t bee too critical.” However, this desperately bad result for City now makes next week’s match at Goodison Park doubly important. If the strikers can hit the same sort of form as Simpson and Gaudino in midfield, somebody’s going to take a hammering; let’s hope it’s Everton.
Final Score: City 1 Chelsea 2
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’ (PARTIAL!)
MANCHESTER CITY vs. CHELSEA, Wednesday 8th March 1995
Even though I did go last night, I’m not going to do a full match report as I’m fed up with the Blues at the moment. Basically this result leaves us looking down the barrel of relegation. I’m of the opinion now that City are doomed and the only real hope of fighting off relegation is if those teams below City completly screw it up for themselves. From the remaining games I think City can only get 9 points, which is only OK if those below keep on losing. The next crucial match is against Everton, City have got to win at Goodison, if only to put pressure on Royle and Co. After that the other relegation issues will be away at Palarse; that’s another one City have got to take the points from.
So onto the match. City did use the attacking formation promised, and got some reward in the 4th minute when Gaudino scored from a Beagrie cross. The hope from the early goal was dashed within a minute when Myers was given a free run into the box (just what were you doing Summerbee????) and Stein scored from his cross!!!! Back to the bad old days – why can’t they defend a lead????? The rest of the half produced chances at either end but all the chances were dealt with. In City’s case they had come across a goalie in top form, Hitchcock! Chelsea even squandered a chance from the spot in injury time when Stein smacked the chance against the crossbar. In the second half City created even more chances, but once again the very impressive Hitchcock managed to save everything thrown at him. Chelsea kept hitting City on the break and TC had to make a couple of saves, although he was helpless against a 35 yard Erland Johnsen free kick that hit the bar. Just as it looked like ending in a draw, Stein popped up to pinch the point with his second in the 81st minute, from a pass by Peacock.
City have to look back on this as three points given away considering the number of chances they created. OK, so Hitchcock was superb but surely they should have got another goal? However, it was always likely that Chelsea might pinch the winner if City continued to give Chelsea time on the ball, which they did. When will the players learn that you just can’t stand off opponents and hope they mess up? You’ve got to get stuck in and fight for the ball. The biggest culprits (IMHO) were the right side pairing of Buzzer and Ian B, neither of them seemed bothered with tackling!!
Horton is going to have to look long and hard at this formation if he’s ever to use it again. Maybe the return of Flipper into a more defensive rôle may help. As it is though, it’s too open and prone to the counter. Also, Buzzer’s future as a ‘winger’ must seriously be questioned. He did nothing last night; how long can he be expecting to produce nothing and still play? He plays better at full-back but when Edghill returns to fitness that position is out! Simmo was OK, but that was about it, he’s not a Premier player, so he’s another that should be out of the first team. The rest did pretty well, but once again the defence as a unit seemed unable to mark players consistently well. They did really well at times then at other times they just seemed to lack concentration and Chelsea players managed to exploit the gaps. Maybe it’s time to get a specialised defensive coach (as mentioned to me in a previous message from James Nash).
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
MANCHESTER CITY vs. LEEDS UNITED, Saturday 25th February 1995
Kevin sent this match report but unfortunately, there was a mix up with the addresses so it’s only just arrived; still worth reading though. [Ashley]
With City being short of Beagrie, Rösler, Walsh & Flitcroft, I went to Maine Road I must say, without great confidence. City’s starting formation was interesting: Buzzer Vonk, Kernaghan, Curle (sweeper), Phelan; Midfield: Simpson, Ian Brightwell, Hill; Up Front: Quinn & Dino.
The first 20 mins were purgatory. City doing nice, short passing but going nowhere. With only 2 up front, the midfield needed to support Quinn & Dino more. Suddenly, the Blues started to get it together and really should have murdered Leeds.
A few things really impressed me about Horton’s tactics. Hill began in midfield but was clearly not up to the job. However, the interchanging of himself, Brightwell & Summerbee created confusion in the Leeds ranks. Summerbee especially, could go forward without any worries about being exposed at the back.
Playing 5 at the back looks defensive, but after Phelan realised that City should have paid Leeds to sign David White (he made 1 run all afternoon) he played more like a left winger.
Before the match I would have been happy with a point; it was gratifying to go home disappointed. Curle was, again, man of the match, closely followed by Phelan. Gaudino showed some world class touches. If he had the pace of White, he’d be frightening. Unfortunately he makes an idiot of a player, but allows him to recover – who remembers ‘ooooooh Rodney, Rodney’?- remind me to post some anecdotes about him.
Special mention for Fitzroy Simpson. Workrate excellent, won lots of tackles, passing sometimes crap. Certainly reminded me of Paul Ince on an off-day (that I think is a compliment).
Finally, as for Leeds, Wilkinson has problems. They were a poor side; White should have been psyched up for the game but did nothing. Until Deane came on they were never a problem (altho’ we still were having kittens at times).
Talking about kittens, Coton played in goal – what a difference.
Membership cards are not currently required to buy tickets for the home game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday 18th March, though this may change at any moment. If you aren’t a member, buy now to avoid disappointment.
Tickets for the away games at Wimbledon (Tuesday 21 March) and Spurs (Tuesday 11 April) are now on open sale, priced at 13 pounds for each match.
Tickets for the away games at Palace (Saturday 1 April), priced at 16 pounds, and Villa (Saturday 8 April), priced at 11 pounds, will be on open sale from Saturday at 9:30am.
YOUTH TEAM NEWS
The Youth team drew 2-2 at Sunderland. I don’t know the replay date. I suggested recently that the S/F opponents would be the Rags but I recently saw something to suggest the Rags play a London side. Could be a Manchester derby in the Final again.
NEWS – PAUL LAKE
Paul Lake has played a full 90 minutes for the A team – his appearances have been limited because the A team games keep getting postponed!
NEWS – RAY RANSON
As the new Reading F.C. branch of MCIVTA mentioned in Issue 60 (although I now live in Plymouth, making me an exile of both teams), I thought you might want to know about one ex-blue who has just finished his career with the Royals, namely one Ray Ranson. Ray joined us at the beginning of last season on a free transfer from the Academy. Over the season he played in roughly half the games that took us to the Second Division Championship; he scored no goals (though when you have a forty+ goalscorer in that golden (boot) oldie Jimmy Quinn, it doesn’t matter that much). The non-appearances were due to a knee injury that eventually led to him quitting the game two weeks ago. One game that he did miss (along with half the home support) was the League Cup game at Maine Road. He will be remembered at Elm Park as a seasoned pro (don’t you just love clichés) who provided a steady service at right back without doing anything out of the ordinary. According to our “competitive midfielder” Phil Parkinson, Ray has more business outlets than Del Trotter, so don’t expect to read about him in the “Where are they now?” section of the Sun cleaning windows or building swimming pools. I am sure all you at City will join us loyal Royals in wishing him well for the future.
So that’s one ex-blue we’ve taken off your hands, any chance of Garry Flicroft on a Free?
Lastly, watching the Palace vs. Liverpool game on TV, Alan Smith was asked how his players were coping with the ten minute delay to the kick off: “They’re just sharing a quick laugh and a joke with each other to calm the nerves down!”. I don’t think he knew the Chris Armstrong related rhyming slang involved (darn sarf, a “laugh and a joke” means a smoke of the illegal type).
Robin Foot Plymouth/Burghfield Common
MAINE ROAD NIGHTMARE
Since Man City have induced so many nightmares over the years (not least this season with their perilous decline since early December), I thought I’d share a nightmare I once had before the disastrous event took place. I think it was in the early eighties and I’m pretty sure it was a third or fourth round FA Cup tie. It was certainly against Coventry and at Maine Road. Since attending my first game (a 5-2 home victory over Wolves in which Franny Lee scored two goals – early 1971 or 1972, so I was either 4 or 5 years old), it seemed like our most reliable victory, year in, year out, was at home against Coventry (I also remember home games against Norwich being regular victories). I therefore considered it an easy Cup draw until the night before when I had a terrible dream in which we actually lost the game 3-1! I awoke in a cold sweat but soon realised how preposterous the whole scenario had been and felt happy and relieved that it was only a dream… Guess what?
The whole experience of not only seeing City lose 3-1 at home to Coventry but seeing it again, was pretty hard to take. I seem to remember that we were 2-1 down late on and were putting some pressure on, looking for the equaliser, when Peter Bodak (latterly a huge success at both United and City) broke clear and finished nicely to kill the game. I have a feeling we lost 3-1 at home to Coventry again within a couple of seasons (in the league I think), so I actually got to go through it all a third time!
OPINION – UNITED OR LIVERPOOL
Okay, having read 60 MCIVTAs it is clear to me that United is hated much more than Liverpool these days, both by City fans and by anyone who likes football and hates a one team monopoly (or a scouse oligopoly). As mentioned previously, I moved to America in February 1993, thus avoiding the Red gloating that seems to have been present ever since. Even before that, I had been away from Manchester since 1985, so I suppose I lost touch with the rising tide of Red obnoxiousness during the late eighties. Having said all that, I really hate Liverpool and would always support United in their eighties games against them. Some of my happiest memories not involving City directly are from those games when, even though Liverpool seemed to roll over everyone else in the country, United would often draw or even beat them (I think Mark Hughes did a lot of damage). I know that United have always had a large contingent of supporters from all over the country with no obvious reason to follow them, but at least back then you couldn’t say that they were just supporting the most successful team. Unlike Liverpool “fans”, who seemed to pop up everywhere. These people had no real allegiance to anyone and are probably United fans now (they always seemed to be crap at playing football too). However, at the time (all through my childhood), I had to contend with these gloating Liverpool pseudo-fans, who felt they held some “supporter-superiority” over everyone else because “their” team won this and that and… well…. bloody everything… again… and again… and again. Would I now hate United in the same way if I was still in Manchester? What’s happened to all those great Liverpool fans these days (although I suppose some might be hanging in there this season)?
OPINION – HORTON
Well, no sign of him being sacked on teletext. Wouldn’t be surprised after tonight’s result but what could a new manager do in 11 games?
Roadmaps for Wigan at the ready…
OPINION – MANAGERS
Despite all the talk surrounding Horton’s expected departure any day now for the past three months, it looks like Franny’s going to give him until the end of the season at least. This seems to be what most people on MCIVTA wanted all along. As I’ve only been able to see a couple of taped City matches in the last two years, I clearly can’t make any comments on how good or bad he is, or whether or not we should get rid of him, so I’ll leave that to the rest of you. However, some of the discussions about who should replace Horton if he is sacked have prompted me to share some general opinions on managers.
Firstly, I think it’s unfair to judge a manager on what trophies he’s won. The number of totally crap managers who’ve been in the right place at the right time and happened to win something more by luck than judgement is incredibly high. Even repeated success at the same club needs to be viewed cautiously. Sometimes (again more by luck than judgement), a manager happens upon the right combination of players who stay together for a few seasons and sweep all before them. Everton is an obvious example, and quite an appropriate one to illustrate the point, given Kendall’s only moderate success at Maine Road and his total failure back at Everton where he was forced to start again and try to build another successful team.
Another factor is money. A monkey with limitless funds, trained to buy every good player that came available, would produce a team that played well below its potential (unless the monkey was also a keen tactician and a good man-manager) but which had so many good players that it would do okay. It probably wouldn’t win the league, but it may very well win a few cups. A good example of this is Man. United in the seventies and eighties – just think about how much they spent and how many good players they had, yet they could only win a few cups (n.b. the monkeys running City in the late seventies, who also seemed to have very deep pockets apparently misunderstood the training and thought that they were supposed to buy every crap player that came available for three times the asking price).
There are also managers who can work pretty well with limited funds – in fact some of them work best with a small group of average players. Bobby Robson comes to mind here – at Ipswich he basically had to do the best with what he had – there were no real team selection dilemmas and he didn’t have to figure out who was good or bad, he just took the team he had and tried to make it work the best way it could – pretty successfully. His failings were shown all too clearly when he was the England manager and actually had to figure out who should be in the team. He was actually worse when he had all the resources he could want! He would probably have been a great success at Wales or Northern Ireland.
I suppose this has become a plea to judge potential City managers not just on what they’ve won in the past. There’s so much more to it than that, and previous success can be as misleading as it is helpful. Before disregarding the likes of Coppell and Trevor Francis because they’ve not won anything (hey, didn’t Sheff. Wed. win the League Cup under Francis?), we should look more closely at their styles of management and try to imagine how that would work in the very unique environment that is Manchester City.
FIRST AWAY GAMES
My early recollections of away games are remarkably similar to those of Ian Thompson. My first away game was the Sheff. Wed 2nd Round League Cup night match at Hillsboro’ (1978?) and one thing which sticks in my mind about the occasion was the fantastic noise generated by the Wednesday crowd when they scored – as recalled by Ian. I’d be interested to hear what the attendance was that night! I wasn’t in the Lepping Lane but we stood in that very large and steep corner section which never has anybody in it these days. The OT derby at the end of 1978-79 was another infamous match which is forever etched on my memory. I was also squashed into that little pen down the side of the pitch – I was foolish enough to get trapped at the front of the paddock from where the pitch was at eyeball height!! We lost 1-3 and I particularly remember the pitch invasion after the game and the 1 or 2 idiot City fans who just ran into a crowd of hundreds of United fans on the pitch and got well and truly battered. Did Denis Tueart score a goal with his hand (which I think was disallowed)??
The sitting down on the terraces used to happen a lot in the late 70’s. I remember a game at WBA which we lost 1-3 (Brian Robson was playing for the Baggies) and we spent the whole game on our arses, which, as a 12-year old, was pretty radical!! I also remember dropping my butties on the road in front of the whole queue for the special train back to Manchester – I was ridiculed and have been emotionally scarred for life!!!
First home game – Brum City, a 3-1 win in March 1974 with Marsh et al. in Blue.
Does anyone have any recollections of European away trips, serious games or pre-season tours??
COMMENT – WORST TEAM
Regarding my worst team in the previous MCIVTA, Terry Phelan was included as a tongue-in-cheek afterthought – he was originally in as left back and was placed in front of Jimmy Conway, to highlight his positional play and his tendency to get caught out when going forward. (I suppose it is sometimes difficult to demonstrate humour on the Internet). To link him with some of the other donkeys included in terms of skill and fitness was not intended – so apologies to all offended Blues. Good to see he’s now showing some form; I’ve always rated him as an attacking full-back. Besides, I couldn’t think of a bad left back off the top of my head!
COMMENT – VARIOUS
Re. the Dons-Rags game the other night; the goal did look a tadge dodgey. I reckon Bruce did knock the ball out of Segers’ hands, and in this age where strikers have only to breathe on the keeper and the ref blows for a foul, I find it amazing that a decision against Bruce was not given – the ball was perhaps 50-50, but then the refs should show some consistency in their decisions. Call me biased if you like, but if it had been Vinnie Jones on Schmeichel, I would have put my mortgage on the ref. disallowing the goal and booking ‘taff Jones. Similarly, the decision to send off the Dons’ defender for encroaching at a corner was diabolical – even the rags on the pitch found it hard to believe, and the TV replay shows the ref not even seeing all the incident! I can understand the frustration of Kinnear and Hannam; these sort of decisions always go in favour of the rags and the like. Still, at least Blackburn won and went back to the top; their game with Arsenal was I reckon one of the best I’ve seen this year, it could have ended up 8 all if both sides had converted their numerous decent chances. It will be interesting to see how the rags do in their next 2 Premiership games against Liverpool and Leeds, because Spurs apart, their other games are against teams in the bottom half of the table. Blackburn have to face Liverpool at Anfield in their last game of the season, but apart from Leeds and Newcastle, their other games are against the weaker teams in the Prem. (what’s the betting we beat them at Ewood Park in April!?) Looks like it could go to the last game of the season.
I also find it amazing that 2 consecutive games were played at Selhurst Park; the Palace-Liverpool Coca-Cola semi the following evening was played an a poor bog-like surface. This seemed to me to contribute to, on the whole, a poor 2nd leg to follow a poor 1st leg. Although Liverpool comfortably controlled both games, we should we kicking ourselves for losing 4-0 against the Eagles – I saw nothing in Liverpool to have frightened us; we could now be looking forward to a Wembley final against the Wanderers if luck had gone our way and we hadn’t given them 3 goals in the last 10 minutes with suicidal defending. Ditto with the defeat against the Toons, depressing isn’t it? It wouldn’t be so bad if we had been played off the park in both these matches, but we threw ’em away. We’d better improve or else we’ll be watching the Blues on the Endsleigh League round-up results programme next season.
On a brighter note, what plans have the Blues for this, their centenary season? To me, a game against Rangers at the Academy might be a winner, ‘cos they’ll bring a legion of fans to watch the game, and it strikes me that we could develop a similar relationship to the rags-Celtic one. I read the recent edition of the Rangers ‘No.1’ fanzine and it seemed pretty vehement against the rags and Celtic, with a lot of anti-Cantona stuff in it. Not that I’m much into the hate stuff – the recent MCIVTA articles on the Munich songs and the like were excellent, and I agree totally with the authors. Also, what’s this Inter-Toto tournament I hear about? Are the Blues entering? Are the Blues being featured in any forthcoming Sky games – I have mixed feelings if they have.
Finally, regarding the Leeds FAC ‘invasion’ game in the late 70’s that has recently been referred to, this was the one in which the Leeds keeper David Harvey was punched by one of his own teamates, that rag to be Gordon McQueen – I’ve got the incident on a City FAC highlights video; they had some disagreement with each other at a corner so McQueen chinned him one – and with players like that I’m not surprised the Leeds fans invaded the pitch! I must get a more up-to-date FAC highlights video; the one I’ve got starts in the fifties and ends with the ’81 cup run. Then again, would a new one be any different?
QUESTION – JUNIOR BLUES
In a recent MCIVTA, someone mentioned the Junior Blues and it made me wonder how that organisation is doing in these dark days of Red oppression (fortunately I managed to leave the country just before United won the Premiership for the first time, more of which later). I think it was one of the first junior supporters’ clubs in the country and I remember my mum spotting a notice in the Pink about it just before it got going in the early seventies. The result was that I and my two brothers (one of whom has also graduated to MCIVTA) were numbers 13, 14 and 15 (or 12, 13 and 14) in the original membership list. My question is:
- do we have any members 1 – 12 amongst our ranks?
- what number are they up to now?
- was anyone else at the first Junior Blues Christmas party, heldat the social club, where members of the team put on a panto (I thinkKeith MacRae and Glynn Pardoe showed off their acting skills….)?
RESULTS & LEAGUE TABLE
Wednesday 8th March
Blackburn - Arsenal 3-1
Manchester C. - Chelsea 1-2
Newcastle - West Ham 2-0
Norwich - Sheffield W. 0-0
Nottingham - Everton 2-1
Queen's P.R. - Leicester 2-0
Tottenham - Ipswich 3-0
Pos TEAM P W D L F A PTS
1. Blackburn Rovers 32 22 6 4 67 27 72
2. Manchester United 32 21 6 5 63 22 69
3. Newcastle United 32 17 9 6 54 33 60
4. Liverpool 29 15 9 5 50 23 54
5. Nottingham Forest 32 14 9 9 46 36 51
6. Tottenham 30 13 8 9 51 42 47
7. Leeds United 29 11 10 8 35 29 43
8. Sheffield Weds. 32 11 10 11 40 40 43
9. Arsenal 32 10 10 12 36 36 40
10. Chelsea 30 10 10 10 39 40 40
11. Aston Villa 33 9 12 12 46 46 39
12. Coventry City 32 9 12 11 33 47 39
13. Wimbledon 31 11 6 14 36 54 39
14. QPR 29 10 8 11 45 47 38
15. Norwich City 31 9 11 11 28 34 38
16. Manchester City 31 9 10 12 39 47 37
17. Everton 32 8 11 13 33 43 35
18. Southampton 29 6 14 9 40 46 32
19. West Ham United 31 9 5 17 28 41 32
20. Crystal Palace 30 7 10 13 21 31 31
21. Ipswich Town 32 6 5 21 31 72 23
22. Leicester City 31 4 9 18 33 58 21
With thanks to Riku Soininen
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Thanks to Roger, Ian, Mike, James, Neil, Paul, Martin, Robin & Kevin.
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.