Seems my claim that Eric (Lancake) was our oldest subscriber was a little premature. John (Shearer) mailed me to tell me of his surprise when, after reading the intro to MCIVTA 63 and expecting to find that Eric would be at least 60, he found that he and Eric had been born in the same year! Oh well, this illustrates the dangers of assuming anything via email!
Plenty of reports this time, including one from Geoff Henshaw, an Evertonian who passes MCIVTA onto an internet-less Blue. I’ve actually had to leave an Everton one out due to space constraints! A good result for us and hopefully one which should give us encouragement for Saturday. I have to disappear early today so anyone wanting team news should look on the WWW in late afternoon.
This one reaches 190
Next game Sheffield Wednesday at home, Saturday 18th March 1995.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
EVERTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Wednesday 15th March 1995
This was a match neither side could afford to lose; Everton were hovering just above the bottom four, facing the prospect of playing their next 4 matches without the services of star striker Duncan Ferguson as a result of his (unlucky) sending-off at Leicester. City were two points ahead and with a game in hand but facing a far more difficult-looking run-in to the end of the season. Everton had won their last 7 home matches, their last dropped home points being a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day. City’s recent form was far from impressive, winning only two league games since the start of December, both against Ipswich Town, so it looked like a draw would be a good result for the light blues.
It was a cold evening with blustery winds and the occasional heavy shower of rain, so when we arrived nearly two hours before kick-off we headed for the comfort of the Royal Oak, a couple of minutes’ walk from the ground. The main topic of discussion with the locals was whether Beagrie would be playing; their opinion of his replacement at Everton, Anders Limpar, was not exactly complimentary. He had improved recently and was now just s**t.
Once in the ground, in the Bullens Road Stand for the first time since the redevelopment of the Park End, we saw that the pitch appeared to be in better condition than it had been over the weekend in the FA Cup match against Newcastle. I’d been expecting City to play a long-ball game with a five-man defence to try to counteract the threat of Ferguson but Brian Horton’s team selection showed that he had something else in mind. Ian Brightwell and Terry Phelan were the full-backs, with Vonk and Curle in the middle. Simpson and Gaudino continued in centre midfield, with Beagrie on the left, Walsh on the right and Quinn & Rösler up front. So, Nicky Summerbee was dropped for the first time this season, probably due to his current poor form, and Alan Kernaghan was replaced by Michel Vonk. I think this was just a one-off tactical manoeuvre to have Vonk, our best defender in the air, man-marking Ferguson.
In the space of the first few minutes, Everton had two chances to take the lead. Firstly, Limpar beat Brightwell and hit in a low cross which was flicked towards goal by Barlow, forcing TC to save smartly to his left. The second fell to Ferguson, who volleyed over the bar from about 12 yards. After the initial scares, the threat from Limpar seemed to diminish somewhat and City started to look more comfortable. Vonk was actually winning about half the balls played up towards Ferguson, and other City defenders around him were picking up most of the flick-ons that he did manage to make. City’s first chance came to Quinn who raced onto a through ball, held off the defender well but screwed his shot just past the post. Another move, with a slower build-up through midfield, ended up with the ball bouncing towards Gaudino, close to the right-hand corner of the penalty area. As anybody who has seen him warming up will know, volleying is a speciality of his and he hit the ball first time into the bottom far corner of the net – 1-0 to City!
Everton pushed forward and managed to create a number of half-chances but they were all either comfortably saved by Coton or off-target. Ferguson and Barlow worked well around the edge of the box but couldn’t find the finish to deliver an equaliser. Indeed, City could have increased their lead when Rösler broke free down the left flank but his cross was poor, going behind both Quinn and Walsh in the middle. Everton came on strong with runners from midfield and Coton had to save bravely at the feet of Ebbrell. Terry Phelan was booked for a blatant bit of time-wasting; he waited ages before taking a free-kick for offside close to his own corner-flag and then decided Curle could come back from midfield and take it instead. A totally unnecessary and thoroughly deserved booking. Everton had a couple more chances in first-half injury time but City went in at half-time looking good with their unexpected lead.
As expected, Everton came out for the second half fired up, throwing everything they had at City. I think City should have seen from the first half that Everton weren’t anything out of the ordinary and were there for the taking. Gaudino was showing some exquisite touches and flicks to set up counter-attacks but they floundered all too often without even testing Southall. City paid Everton too much respect and seemed happy just to hook the ball clear at every opportunity, giving the ball straight back to them rather than looking to break out constructively and extend the lead. With the strong winds, the high clearances were moving about a lot in the air which was an advantage to the defenders, as at least they could see where the ball was going to come down. Beagrie was having a very poor game, not getting in a noteworthy cross in the whole game, the only plus point being a good, low shot towards the end which Southall scrambled away for a corner.
The crucial incident which probably cost us the game came in the 62nd minute. The referee blew for a free-kick halfway into the City half, near the touch-line but Phelan hoofed the ball high into the Everton half. It’s possible that he didn’t hear the whistle but it looked to me like a really stupid thing to do and sure enough, he got his second yellow card and was sent off. City were already playing a containing game with a massed defence and after this they seemed to defend even more desperately, like at QPR when we were two men down. Five minutes later, Rösler was replaced by Foster to provide more cover at the back. The only positive thing about City’s play was that we left two players upfield for a corner, taking two Everton players with them. Why do we ever pull everybody back for corners?
More chances came Everton’s way through high balls, balls to feet from midfield, various crosses from the wings (Limpar and Barrett combined fairly effectively down our left side, getting in plenty of crosses between them), corners and free-kicks, menacingly taken by former Blue, Andy Hinchcliffe. Fortunately, their finishing continued to let them down, Ferguson heading over the bar a number of times where he might have scored in other games. With a little under 15 minutes to go, Everton took off defender Gary Ablett and brought on forward Graham Stuart as they sought to take advantage of their man over. Just when it seemed we might hold on, or even get a second, killer goal on a break, Everton were awarded a penalty. As it was at the opposite corner of the pitch and I haven’t had the benefit of a TV replay, all I’ll say is that it was for a foul by Vonk on Limpar. Admittedly, it was a risky challenge to make, in a similar position on the edge of the area, to the penalty conceded by the same player at Ipswich last season. Vonk was distraught, his error (if it was one) spoiling a very good performance. Unsworth, a rock at the back for Everton, took the penalty, sending Coton the wrong way and calmly slotting the ball home.
With ten minutes to go, I expected City to crumble under an Everton onslaught; it wasn’t to be. Everton continued to press, creating the same half-chances that they’d been missing throughout the match, but they didn’t look to be able to carve us apart as United had done, nor totally dominate us, penning us into our own penalty area as Newcastle had done. City seemed to lack the desire to go out and win the game, just holding on for a draw, though they did this quite competently. When the final whistle came, I felt a sense of relief that we hadn’t been beaten but also disappointment that we hadn’t won a game that looked to be there to be won.
Everton have acquired a reputation for being a very physical and even dirty side; there was no evidence of that on this showing. There seemed to be remarkably few fouls given away by either side and there were no nasty challenges at all. Joe Royle may well have sorted out the discipline problem at Everton but questions must be asked of Terry Phelan’s behaviour: what did he think he was doing? We’ll now have to go into at least one more crucial match struggling to find a half-decent left-back. Let’s hope his indiscretions don’t cost us more than just these two dropped points. Let’s also hope that Sheffield Wednesday, in a poor run of form themselves recently, aren’t shown the same excessive respect on Saturday.
Final score: 1-1
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
EVERTON vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Wednesday 15th March 1995
Everton 1 (Unsworth 80, pen) City 1 (Gaudino 26)
Barrett Watson Ablett Hinchcliffe (Unsworth - HT)
Parkinson (Limpar - HT) Horne Ebbrell Limpar (Hinchcliffe - HT)
I. Brightwell (Foster) Curle Vonk Phelan (sent off - Brightwell)
Walsh Gaudino Simpson Beagrie
Quinn Rösler (subbed to make way for Foster)
Other subs: Dibble, Summerbee
Not a game for the footballing purists this I’m afraid. Both teams were edgy and the poor state of the pitch didn’t help as whenever the ball did come out of the skies it inevitably bobbled about. Only Limpar for Everton and Gaudino and Curle for City ever looked comfortable on the ball.
The evening started for me with an early arrival at the ground to ensure that I got a ticket. With Everton in the cup semi-final the club had told fans that they would need a ticket stub from this game if they wanted a cup ticket. I arrived at 6.00 expecting long queues at the ticket office but I was the only person there. Outside the ground there were more City fans than Evertonians so with plenty of time on my side I nipped into the Stanley Arms for a pint. Doing so I reflected on the changed atmosphere around football matches. I can now go in pubs like this as an away supporter and be completely unmolested. 14 years ago in 1981 Everton fans launched a series of attacks on City fans from outside this very pub after the 2-2 cup quarter final game. I know because I remember running through them rather than away – a ploy which was fortunately successful as they assumed I was an Evertonian getting out of the way.
Anyway back to the present. The night was bitterly cold as I entered the ground and took up my seat in the Lower Bullens Stand. This is the stand under the TV gantry. I was theoretically next to the visitor’s enclosure but in reality there was a long way between me and the travelling blues. All I could see was a lot of heads and a large German flag which indicated that that was where City’s fans were to be found. It seems that the arrival of all-seater stadia has allowed clubs to banish visiting fans to the obscure corners of the ground. United, Leeds and Liverpool are amongst other clubs doing this.
Watching the teams warm up I was horrified to see Dibble in net – and subsequently relieved to see TC emerge for the kick off. Our defence looks so much more confident when he is behind them. Other managerial moves which seemed wise included the dropping of the out of form Summerbee and the inclusion of Vonk and Quinn to help counter the aerial threat that Everton could be expected to pose. Meanwhile, Everton left Unsworth out of their starting line-up which puzzled me as he is a very impressive young player and had played well against Newcastle’s Gillespie the previous Sunday. Maybe he wasn’t fully fit?
The game kicked off and Everton looked dangerous. Limpar twice ran to the by-line and got in good crosses in the first 2 minutes. The first led to a good save from TC – from Barlow – the second saw TC fumble for a cross and the ball cleared for a corner. After that Everton didn’t make as much use of Limpar as they should have done – he looked a threat all night. Instead they too often pumped the ball up looking for Ferguson. Vonk played him exceptionally well as he always does when asked to mark a big centre forward. Curle was coolness personified, reading the game beautifully and for me he was the best and most effective player on the pitch.
Gradually City began to launch one or two attacks themselves. I was sitting in line with the general off-side line and Niall Quinn continually got caught off-side. This was unforgiveable for a striker of his experience. On a couple of occasions he controlled a long ball brilliantly and was through on goal only to be flagged off. I am a big fan of Quinn’s but we can’t afford to give the ball away by getting caught offside. City’s attacks largely came through Gaudino, Walsh, Simpson and Quinn with occasional help from overlapping full-backs. Uwe had a poor game by his standards and was one of those whose control looked average on a poor pitch.
From around the 15-30 minute mark City had their best spell of the match with Quinn managing a couple of shots from the edge of the box. It was during this spell that the goal came. The ball was bouncing around in the air between players but it eventually came out of the sky to allow Dino to demonstrate that the foot is still the most effective footballing weapon. He was in acres of space 25 yards out as the ball fell nicely from a melee on the other side of the pitch. He ran on to it a smashed a lovely right foot volley past Southall.
At his point Everton’s fans became very restless – a good sign for us – and City looked quite comfortable. Everton didn’t look like scoring, with talk of Ferguson’s cult-like status on Merseyside looking akin to talk of Jim Tolmie’s cult-like status in Manchester.
For the second half Everton reorganised. Off went Parkinson for Unsworth – who went to left-back, allowing Hinchcliffe to move forward and replace Limpar who moved to the right wing. The second half saw lots of Everton pressure but few real chances created. Ferguson had a header which went over the bar – he should have done better – but Curle and Vonk were again impressive. Vonk won virtually everything in the air. With about 20 minutes to go the match changed. Phelan had been booked in the first half for time wasting – leaving a free kick for Curle to take (when Curle had to come about 40 yards to do so). He now got involved in a dispute with a linesman that required Curle to come over and drag him away. A few minute later he was involved in a challenge with Limpar, the ref gave a free kick to Everton and Phelan carried on with the game, kicking the ball away. The ref sent him off. Terry claims he didn’t hear the whistle and as I was close enough to him to watch him closely I’d have to agree with him. The atmosphere in the ground was quite lively – there were a lot of nervous scousers around me making a lot of noise and on a couple of other occasions players carried on after the ref had blown up.
Anyway Terry was gone and City had a problem. Beagrie was covering the left back position and this didn’t fill me with confidence. Not only is he a poor defender but he had also been having a continual niggle with Earle Barrett all night. I don’t know if there had been an earlier clash between them but at the start of the second half Beagrie launched a very obvious elbow at Barrett. Fortunately the ref missed that one. So, I expected a substitution but when it came it wasn’t Beagrie who went off but Rösler who was replaced by Foster. He filled in at right back allowing Brightwell to move over and cover the threat of Limpar.
City’s defence was still doing well and Everton were presented with few chances of note. In the end the equaliser came the only way it seemed likely to – a penalty. From my angle it looked a fair decision as Vonk’s ability on the deck was proved once more to not be the equal of his aerial prowess. Limpar appeared on the right – perhaps in a bid to test the inexperienced Foster- and jinked into the box where Vonk’s sliding challenge was late. Limpar may have made the most of it – I don’t know; I will wait until Football Focus until I decide. Anyway Vonk didn’t complain and Unsworth stepped up to strike a very cool penalty past TC – who didn’t move.
The last few minutes were hectic as Everton went for the winner but it was in fact City who came closest to finding a winner. Beagrie went on his first really penetrating run of the night, came inside and unleashed a shot from 25 yards that Southall saved well low to his right. City got a corner and that killed off most of the remaining time.
At the final whistle Dino did his now customary show of emotion and exhaustion. He sat in the centre circle looking like nothing could move him before finally rising to fully milk the acclaim of the City fans. He is quite a character and if we could get another effective midfielder – with defensive nous – we could see the best of him next season. That’s if he is still with us.
So what are the lessons I think City can take from this game? Firstly, if Curle and Coton stay fit we won’t concede too many goals. They both played very well – particularly Curle. Second, Beagrie needs to get his crosses in first time to exploit Quinn’s height. Too often he resembles Peter Barnes in that he beats his man once, twice, even three times and then loses the ball rather than simply getting the cross in. Third, Quinn needs to stay onside! Fourth, Uwe isn’t playing well and maybe a spell on the subs’ bench might gee him up a bit.
At the end of the day a point wasn’t a bad result but we need to win on Saturday against Wednesday to stop the pressure reaching a level at which it can lead to panic on the pitch.
EVERTON VIEW I
Southall; Barrett, Ablett, Watson, Hinchcliffe,
Parkinson, Ebbrell, Horne, Limpar
Coton; Brightwell, Curle, Vonk, Phelan
Gaudino, Simpson, Walsh, Beagrie
It was a horrible night and the attendence of 28,485 wasn’t bad considering the wind and hailstones, even if it was about 2,000 down on our average. Couldn’t see how many City had brought across; they were sitting to the left of me in the Paddock. I was a bit disappointed with them as they used to make more noise when they were situated in the Park End.
As for the game itself, not a great game to be honest. Everton started off brightly with Limpar playing really well. In the first minute Coton pulled off a superb save from a Barlow flick after a Limpar cross, Coton doing superbly to hold it. He then made another good save from Barlow and did well to turn away a 25-yarder from Parkinson. I thought from then that it was going to be City’s night and it almost was.
City started to get in the game and scored an excellent goal after 26 mins. Quinn headed down to Rösler who passed the ball into Guadino’s path. He hit a superb first time shot low past Southall at the Gladys street end. if he’d tried to control it, the chance probably would’ve gone. I was impressed with Guadino, specially in the first half. Quinn then had a chance but shot over.
Everton had a strong claim for a penalty turned down before half-time; Horne was pulled back by Vonk? It looked a pen to me and the City supporter next to me agreed, but the ref carried on where he left off on Saturday and refused to give it. Phelan was then booked for time wasting over a free-kick, a booking which was to prove costly.
Unsworth replaced Parkinson at half-time, Hichcliffe moving into midfield and Limpar switching to the right. City looked like they settled for 1-0 in the second half as they made little attempt to attack often just hitting the ball anywhere.
Vonk and Curle were coping with Ferguson and Barlow very well and I just couldn’t see Everton equalising despite the pressure. Phelan was sent off after 63mins for kicking the ball away a few seconds after the whistle had gone, a stupid sending-off but the ref was right to do it.
Everton still created chances but didn’t look like scoring, Hinchcliffe missing the best, heading over from about 6 yards. Rösler, who’d had a quiet game, was replaced by Foster, a defender for an attacker as City tried to defend their lead. Curle and Limpar were both booked following a scuffle on the touch-line, Curle perhaps a little lucky that the ref didn’t see him put his studs into Limpar’s chest. The booking will cost Limpar a two-match ban unfortunately.
Everton replaced Ablett with Stuart in an attempt to get an equaliser and almost immediately one came. Vonk made a rash challenge on Limpar, his only mistake of the game, and Unsworth calmy rolled the ball to Coton’s left for a deserved equaliser. Everton still had a chance to win it but Ferguson fired a yard over from about 10 yards out. In injury time, City mounted one of their few attacks of the second half, Beagrie (who had a very average game) having a shot from the edge of the box pushed past the post by Southall.
Overall City deserved their point, the first by an away team at Goodison in 1995 for some good football in the first half and some excellent defending by Curle and Vonk, not to mention Coton’s goal-keeping (he should be in the England squad). At the end of the season City should stay up, and the 2 points dropped by Everton could prove the difference between staying up or not.
EVERTON VIEW II
Regrettably there wasn’t that much encouraging to see. We started promisingly enough with Barlow forcing a good save in the first two minutes, and a good spell of pressure for the first ten. However, after the initial stampede City got right back in and our vulnerability started to show. City’s goal was a class strike. We allowed Gaudino way too much space to pick up a cross, nobody challenged him and he volleyed home from the edge of the box; Nev had no chance. Our best chance of the half fell to Limpar. He broke away from the marker and was clear with only Coton to beat; sadly he chose to dive rather than shoot – the referee was having none of it. Immediately after that Limpar drove a fierce shot across the face of the goal, inches wide.
The second half gave us some good fortune. Terry Phelan was shown the red-card for a second bookable offence. I have to say that I feel he was unlucky, as his first half booking was given to the wrong man. That was for timewasting on a free-kick he was about to take when his captain told him to swap, Phelan took the rap though – not the captain. The spare man didn’t really show though and both sides had chances with Nev making a couple of fine saves.
We ended much as we’d started with a period of pressure. Limpar broke into the box, a defender put in a hard challenge and this time Limpar made a much better job of the dive. David Unsworth sent the goalie the wrong way from the spot. For a moment it looked like we may snatch a winner though chances went begging for both Duncan and Barlow.
Overall it was a poor team performance. The route one stuff is looking tired. We hoof the ball up to Dunc, Dunc flicks it on, then their defender picks up the loose ball. It isn’t getting us anywhere. Barlow is a good player and plays well for the reserves. However, last night he was a liability on the park. True ,the lad has pace and reasonable positional play; however, he does not have the height or physical presence to complement Dunc in the style of football we are now playing. He looked extremely unconfident with his rôle.
Marks out of 10
- Southall – 8
- Nowt he could have done about the goal.
- Hinchcliffe – 7
- Not up to his usual form, tripped over the ball more than once, was also dispossessed a few times.
- Barrett – 6
- Some good covering defending, and showed some good understanding with Limpar, put in some terrible balls!
- Watson – 8
- Did the buisness.
- Ablett – 6
- Looked uncomfortable a few times, made the worst shot of the season, made some telling challenges though.
- Horne – 9
- Who needs Cantona when you’ve got Barry Horne? Played somevery positive football, made some good challenges and set up some good moves.
- Ebbrell – 4
- Some good one-touch passing in midfield, but this does not make up for the general lack of confidence and control. Liability.
- Limpar – 6
- At his most frustrating! Flashes of brilliance combined with selfishness and errors. Nice dive, some good runs.
- Parkinson – 5
- Only played first half. Nothing particularly stood out.
- Barlow – 5
- Good pace, though clearly our style of play does not suit him. Looked uncomfortable with his rôle.
- Ferguson – 6
- Not his best game, missed two good chances, looked tired with forever flicking on – we need a new formula!
- Stuart – 6
- Came on towards end. Didn’t make any errors but then didn’t do anything to particularly impress. True, our football went up a gear, though this was probably due to the extra man as much as Stuart’s arrival
- Unsworth – 8
- Always good to see Rhino being allowed past the half-way line. Cooly taken penalty.
My Man of the Match – Barry Horne
Guy McEvoy (Everton list)
Got a nice mailing from Bjornar Steinbakken who runs the Everton list:
From prior experiences (and those reports I have received from you) you Man. City fans are the best I know on the net re. non-chauvinist reporting. I remember some years I really enjoyed reading Sean Bechhofer’s reports in rec.sport.soccer. Sadly, since the noise on r.s.s is huge now, I don’t read any more. I also earlier read your WWW-report on the Manchester-derby. Excellent!
OPINION – RANGERS
I’ve got to say me piece; recent pro-Rangers contributions on MCIVTA have started giving me nightmares! To my ears it’s only ever been weakly implied that, as far as sectarianism in football is concerned, if it’s Celtic/Rangers, and to a lesser extent Everton/Liverpool, then it must be United=Catholic, City=Protestant in Manchester. I don’t think that divide exists, so please don’t (re)create it just because Celtic have an affiliation with U****d. Both those clubs have huge numbers of travelling Irish fans; it’s a unique situation. City have loads of Irish fans (as do most of the clubs in the NorthWest & Villa!) and 3 Irish players in the first team. I’m Irish born and bred, actually brought up as a Prod, and I understand there’s a lot of support in England for Rangers, both of the rabid variety and the naïve (a charming bloke in a pub in N London the other night kept saying “I just can’t see why you hate Rangers so much”; can you guess?); plus if an Irish bigot informs me I shouldn’t be a Blue (“United or Arsenal that’s yer choice”) I’ll tell him to get a life, but at the end of the day, at the heel of the hunt, at the top and bottom of it, let’s not beat around the bush here, Rangers represent institutionalised sectarianism, and the only time I want to see City meet them is when we’re beating them in Europe! In the last few years you can see the Union Jack, St George Cross, the Irish tricolour (and more recently the German flag!) at home and away games; long may it continue! We don’t want to go to Chelsea….
OPINION – VARIOUS
What’s happening with the fixtures now? It was mentioned in MCIVTA 63 that the Villa game has been rescheduled for Wednesday 5th April but excuse me for being a bit picky but isn’t the re-arranged Spurs game due to go ahead 24 hours earlier on Tuesday 4th April; there must be something wrong somewhere? 3 away games in 5 days does seem a tadge over the top.
I enjoyed Jeremy Poynton’s experiences of following another club while in exile, Bristol City in his case. I have followed Cardiff City on and off while living in South Wales, and do have a soft spot for Southampton as they are the team of an ex-college mate of mine for whom I was best man at his marriage. I stood in the Archers road end in the 85-86 season and saw them lose 2-3 to a Peter Reid inspired Everton in perhaps one of the most entertaining live matches I’ve ever attended. I was also at the FAC semi final at White Hart Lane in ’86 when the Saints lost 0-2 to Liverpool in perhaps one of the most boring matches attended (also had to dodge a hail of coins from Liverpool ‘fans’ in top section of the old ‘shelf’ end).
On the Liverpool front, I think we should accomodate the desires of those wishing to attend the service to commemorate the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster; as was rightly pointed out, the club wouldn’t have any objections to toeing the line for Sky TV, and at the end of the day, what is more important, remembering the deceased or 22 men kicking a bag of wind around a field? Call me simplistic if you wish, although I love City, and football, the day we put commerical interests before the feelings of people who lost family and friends whose only crime was to attend a football match for crying out loud, is the day we become as bad as those Munich song-spouting morons.
On this subject, if we are all honest, most Blues would have to say that at some point we’ve sniggered at such songs – to my shame, I know I did in my younger years. Thankfully, after one day examining my conscience, I decided I could no longer. What’s the answer to this problem? There probably isn’t one – I personally have probably not got the guts to confront someone who sings such songs on match days. They tend to be the one’s you wouldn’t want to mess with. All I can say is that I’ll be encouraging my 2 young sons to follow the Blues with a healthy disdain of such songs.
On a positive note, let’s hope the Blues stay up.
OPINION – HILLSBOROUGH
It is interesting to see the different attitude being made in the UK towards a major disaster (Hillsborough) and the attitute taken in Italy after a serious incident (Marassi) when a Genoa fan was murdered by a Milan fan. OK, so Hillsborough was six years ago and Marassi was earlier this year, but 95 people died at Hillsborough.
The Marassi incident really shocked the country, and was mentioned again last night on telly (in the context of fans storming the Lazio training ground this week, the day after they were knocked out of Europe). Yep, Italians are ‘crazy’ about football, but the weekend following the murder, ‘all’ sport stopped. I didn’t even play 5-a-side in a local (very!) amateur league down here near Rome.
At the time I thought “well, they’d never do this in the UK.” But it was a touching response by the Italian FA, and the right kind of message to send to people. I guess Italians have a different attitude – death is not to be forgotten.
Any memorial services should come first. If they clash with a football game, then the game should be rescheduled well out of the way. It’s only a game after all.
The Nick Leeson revelation got me thinking, that as Easter approaches and we enter our annual battle with relegation, now is the time to stand up and be counted and that goes for the rich and famous as well as our humble selves. So just who are these Celebrity City Fans?
Here are a few to get the ball rolling. First and foremost must be Paul Calf who commmenced his Video Diary with those immortal words “Hello my name’s Paul Calf, I support Man City”. A man we can be truly proud to count amongst our number! Nick Leeson of course, and also from the world of big business Howard “CBI” Davies. Rick Wakeman; Kevin “Curly Watts” Kennedy; Bernard Manning; Rob Gretton (manager of New Order); Billy Boswell?; Eddie Large; James H.Reeve; Norman Wisdom (not sure about this one); Stuart Hall (I didn’t believe this either); and from the world of popular music, Oasis; Johnny Marr; Billy Duffy, and The Urban Cookie Collective. There must be more. Lets have them “outed”.
MAINE ROAD – NO CHICKENS PLEASE! I
Listening to Radio 5 this morning, and they suddenly say, “Right, we are off to Manchester now to interview Neil Riley, the Maine Road ‘Chicken Man'”. Apparently he has been taking a ready-to-roast chicken to home games for ages, to join in the celebrations when a goal is scored and to cheer the team on – i.e., he waves it about his head, gets it to clap its wings or legs together, sings chants to Uwe Rooster, and so on.
Now, apparently, some people have complained about it, and he has now been banned from bringing the chicken to games. I must point out that it is a fresh chicken for each game, as he takes it home after and they eat it (“Bit of a downer for the bird”, he noted 🙂 ). He did say that he has a stuffed pheasant at home he was thinking of bringing as a replacement, but he thought it would probably get the same treatment.
What do the club think they are doing? Would this be Bernard Halford do you reckon? Or is it all part of the grand masterplan to sanitise football and make it a family game? Surely one of the things that distinguishes City from many other clubs, especially those people just outside Manchester, is our high quotient of loonies and nutters, a fan base which mirrors and complements the club’s own deranged history (Does a club get the fans it deserves, or a fan get the club he or she deserves?)
Jeremy Poynton or
- Entertainment (bollocks .. any hard core fan will tell you that most games are anything but entertaining, and that being a football fan is a hideous and life threatening affliction.)
- The proverbial “family” game – by which they mean a middle-class family game.
MAINE ROAD – NO CHICKENS PLEASE! II
Radio 5 interviewed this fan from Maine Road this morning. He’s a chef and takes a chicken (always called Frankie) to the games. He has the chicken for lunch the next day. Anyway Frankie the chicken has been banned. Owner and friends were interviewed on the radio as was some vegetarian guy who’s complained. Bit of light relief, all a bit petty really. I mean there’s worse troubles in the world – including City’s current league position.
Paul received notification of a ‘Strange Football Stories’ WWW page, the address is as follows:
The owner, Graham Loader, is looking for more additions to the page so if any of you can contribute any wacky tales, his address is: G.Loader@uea.ac.uk. To give you an idea of what it’s all about, here’s just about the barmiest story you’ll ever hear!
Defending The Wrong Goals?
Submitted By: Colm Riain
It concerns a match played around Dec ’93-Feb ’94 between Barbados and Grenada in some cup competition. Barbados needed to win the game by two clear goals in order to progress to the next round. Now the trouble was caused by a daft rule in the competition which stated that in the event of a game going to penalty kicks, the winner would be awarded a 2-0 victory.
With 5 minutes to go, Barbados were leading 2-1, and going out of the tournament. Then, when they realised they were probably not going to score against Grenada’s massed defence, they turned round, and deliberately scored an own goal, to level the scores. Grenada, themselves not being stupid, realised what was going on, and then attempted to score an own goal themselves. However, the Barbados players started defending their opponents goal to prevent this. In the last five minutes, therefore, spectators were treated to the incredible sight of a team defending their opponents goal against attackers desperately trying to score an own goal!
Eventually, the game did go to penalties, which Barbados won… Apparently it was televised live.
RESULTS & LEAGUE TABLE
Mar 15, 1995 Everton - Manchester City 1 - 1
Leicester - Leeds 1 - 3
Manchester Utd - Tottenham 0 - 0
QPR - Norwich 2 - 0
Southampton - West Ham 1 - 1
Pos TEAM P W D L F A PTS
1. Blackburn Rovers 33 22 7 4 68 28 73
2. Manchester United 33 21 7 5 63 22 70
3. Newcastle United 32 17 9 6 54 33 60
4. Liverpool 30 15 9 6 52 26 54
5. Nottingham Forest 33 15 9 9 50 38 54
6. Leeds United 31 13 10 8 41 30 49
7. Tottenham 31 13 9 9 51 42 48
8. Sheffield Weds. 34 11 10 13 41 43 43
9. Coventry City 34 10 13 11 37 50 43
10. Wimbledon 32 12 6 14 37 54 42
11. QPR 30 11 8 11 47 47 41
12. Arsenal 32 10 10 12 36 36 40
13. Chelsea 31 10 10 11 39 43 40
14. Aston Villa 33 9 12 12 46 46 39
15. Norwich City 33 9 12 12 30 38 39
16. Manchester City 32 9 11 12 40 48 38
17. Everton 33 8 12 13 34 44 36
18. Crystal Palace 31 8 10 13 23 32 34
19. West Ham United 33 9 7 17 31 44 34
20. Southampton 30 6 15 9 41 47 33
21. Ipswich Town 32 6 5 21 31 72 23
22. Leicester City 33 4 9 20 36 65 21
With thanks to Riku Soininen
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