Well, another very bad result indeed, made only slightly less bearable by a gem of a goal from Uwe. I won’t spoil the match reports by discussing the performance, rather I’ll confine myself to the consequences. This result leaves us in a perilous position and it’s difficult to see how we can escape relegation when we’re playing so badly. The one hope appears to be that the other candidates will acquit themselves abysmally and thus reprieve us! Villa we just have to beat, it’s a classic 6-pointer; they are also in very poor form whilst teams like Southampton, West Ham and Everton are playing well. There is a rumour flying round that Lee will take over at the end of the season but I find this hard to swallow considering he has his own business to run and also the restructuring of the club which was, and in some areas still is, in a shambolic state.
Whatever happens to Horton, nice guy that he is and adept player of the transfer market, I can no longer accept that he has the tactical ‘nous’ to take us where we want to go. Changing him now would achieve nothing but I honestly can’t see him keeping his job after the end of the season, even if we do escape the drop. Irrespective of the financial penalties, first division football could have a dramatic effect on the team. Gaudino will almost certainly not want to stay (good or bad?) and a worst case scenario would see Uwe wanting out as well. He’s attracted the attention of two top-line German teams and his ambition of making the national eleven is surely within his grasp rather than being an invention of the execreble M(u)EN. Playing first division football is certainly going to do nothing to promote his case and he’s not as young as he might be. Who can blame him if he wants away? I certainly wouldn’t, there’s loyalty and there’s stupidity. If a big club comes in, how can Uwe say no when he can see his chance of German representative honours disappearing? If he did decide to stay he could well be given the keys to the City and his own bomber! 8-))
Well, that’s my opinion and I wrote it today not Saturday in some post-match trauma! If you have an opinion let’s hear it, we have no game for at least a week due to the FA Cup so we have space. The Spurs fixture will be decided by Wednesday and could result in the game being played next Tuesday (11th April) or maybe not…..!
Next game anyone’s guess!!!
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
CRYSTAL PALACE vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 1st April 1995
Selhurst Park has not been a happy hunting ground for City in the last couple of seasons and that was to be the case again for this vital relegation battle with Crystal Palace. Recent defeats by Chelsea and Wimbledon made it essential that we didn’t lose this game, so it would have been with this in mind (as well as the four- goal hammering in the Coca-Cola Cup in January) that City elected to play with a five man defence, Simpson dropping out of the midfield and Kernaghan returning to the defence. The other change to the side was the return of David Brightwell in place of the suspended Terry Phelan at left-back. For Palace, Ray Houghton was making his début but Iain Dowie was suspended.
The first 15 minutes were all Palace, who forced a series of corners and exploited a shambolic City defence that seemed to have a complete lack of organisation. City were constantly caught out by quickly- taken free-kicks and the marking, particularly down the left side, was virtually non-existent. The first chance of note came to Chris Armstrong when a deep corner was headed towards him at the corner of the six yard box but his powerful header towards goal went straight at Coton. City gradually began to find their feet, a good run by Walsh down the right flank setting Dino up for a shot on goal from 18 yards but his well-directed left foot drive lacked the necessary power to beat Martyn, who diverted it past the post. Both sets of forwards were getting little protection from the referee, Shaw repeatedly coming through the back of Rösler and being punished only by free-kicks, with similar incidents at the other end.
Palace continued to press forward, City’s hurried clearances usually going straight back to the opposition. There seemed to be no thought behind City’s play and the midfield looked very ineffective. It came as no surprise when Palace took the lead, nor was there any surprise as to where the goal came from. Some neat interplay in midfield gave Armstrong a chase down the right flank against Kernaghan. There was only going to be one winner there and I still haven’t figured out where left-back David Brightwell was. Curle came across from the middle to cut Armstrong out but he was too late; the Palace striker hit a hard, low shot towards the near post. Coton spread himself but the ball went through his legs, hitting one of them before bobbling into the net.
Many Palace fans thought their lead had doubled when an excellent long shot from Houghton hit the side netting; they were in good voice, starting chants of “If you hate Man United clap your hands” as well as the usual “Eagles …” [repeat ad infinitum]. Anti-Cantona feeling is clearly running high at the club and with the fans; there was a T-shirt available listing the Frenchman’s many “crimes” and there was an article in the programme bemoaning the levity of his sentence (still 2 weeks prison at the time it was printed). City fans chanted “there’s only one Matthew Simmons”, which didn’t seem to go down badly. There was more work for TC to do before half-time, two fine saves from positions similar to where Armstrong had scored keeping City in the game. City were booed off at half time after a very poor showing indeed.
City reverted to a flat back four at half time, Summerbee replacing Vonk. This, and the bollocking they must have had during the break, made quite an improvement. Suddenly we were causing Palace problems, with decent crosses coming in from both sides. Summerbee played as if he had something to prove, and linked well with Foster. A long pass from Kernaghan gave Dino a chance in the Palace area; he turned and hit a first-time shot just wide of the far post and was clearly annoyed with himself at missing the target. It wasn’t all one-way traffic but City were well on top during this period. Uwe got on the end of a corner, powering in a great header that Martyn saved impressively. However, a clearance from the resulting corner was intercepted by Foster, who hit in a superb cross which was met by a glorious flying header by Rösler to equalise. The City fans went wild and I honestly thought at this stage that we’d go on to win the game.
How wrong I could be. The goal seemed to shake Palace out of their slumbers and they started to get back into the game. Within five minutes they were back in front, Salako’s viciously-swinging corner being flicked in at the near post by Darren Patterson for his first goal for Palace. Two minutes later, from an almost identical corner, Coleman hit the far post. Walsh and Rösler managed to create a couple of openings for themselves later on but couldn’t apply the final, killer touch. At the final whistle the team were booed off again, though not as loudly as at half-time. There was also a short burst of “we want Horton out” from a significant minority of fans, the first time I can recall this happening despite the poor run of results this year. It was a better performance than against Wimbledon, but only for that 15-minute period after half-time.
The midfield did very little throughout; Flitcroft just held up the ball but didn’t do anything to hurt Palace with it and Dino, sporting a new haircut, got on the end of a couple of moves but was otherwise pretty inconspicious. City’s lack of goals away from home must be at least partly due to the lack of support our front players get from midfield. They always have to do it all themselves, without the help of any other players to at least distract the defenders. Indeed, when we can get forward in numbers, we do score goals, as witnessed at QPR and Southampton for instance. Neither does the midfield seem to provide a comfortable outlet for the defence. Hurried clearances just go straight to the opposition who then re-apply the pressure. Flitcroft and Gaudino simply aren’t working as a midfield partnership for us. When Dino plays well, so do City – or is it the other way around? We’re missing the battlers in midfield, Lomas and McMahon; we need to solve this problem as well as the disorganised defence if we’re to eke out the 6 or 7 points we’ll need to stay up. I’m already thinking of reasons why relegation might not be so bad; more games, probably more wins, not giving 6 points to United etc. However, financially, relegation would be an unmitigated disaster. I just wish I could see how we’ll avoid it.
Final score: Palace 2 City 1
April Fool’s Day and appropriately enough, Palace (who had only beaten Leicester, Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday since early November) played Manchester City (who’d only beaten Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday since early December). The losers of this game would be fools indeed.
Palace had new signing Ray Houghton making his début on the right but Iain Dowie was suspended so million pound man Bruce Dyer started up front. The remainder of the team was the same as the Cup replay. City started with 5 at the back but it soon became obvious that these five would not work well together.
The game began and amazingly, it was all Palace. The attacking came down both wings with Salako on the left and Armstrong pulling out to the right hand side. The crosses tended to be well delivered but the towering City central defenders dealt with most of them comfortably. Alan Kernaghan also impressed with well timed tackles on Armstrong just as he looked like getting into a danger area. The new influence of Houghton was clear to see as the players confidently passed the ball around and were occasionally sent clear by moments of genius from the new man. It was surely only a matter of time before Palace took a deserved lead. Houghton sent Dyer clear only for him to force one of numerous corners. Coton made good saves from Armstrong and Dyer before the game was almost turned upside down.
A lovely interchange of passes between Gaudino and Walsh left the German bearing down on Martyn’s goal but he failed to get any purchase on his shot and the ‘keeper pushed it out for a corner. This was City’s only real chance in the first half and soon afterwards, a magnificent pass found Dyer on the half way line; he flicked the ball out to Armstrong who had slipped Kernaghan and he tore at the City goal before scoring through Coton’s legs. Smith had said beforehand that Armstrong must score a goal per game for Palace to stay up and Chrissie had done the business for the day.
The remainder of the first half was played in similar vein but the nearest Palace came to a deserved second happened when Houghton hit a 20 yard shot just wide of the post.
Half Time : Palace 1 Manchester City 0
The second half began with City in rampant mood having substituted the disgraceful Vonk with Nicky Summerbee and reverted to a 4-4-2 formation. Uwe Rösler began to take control, interchanging passes with his countryman, Gaudino and Walsh. However, you always felt that the midfield distribution wasn’t good enough and although Martyn had to make a couple of good saves, the storm looked to have been weathered as Palace broke out from a corner. The ball was played towards Bruce Dyer who completely misjudged it and Foster intercepted on the halfway line. The young full-back took the ball down the right wing before delivering a magnificent cross for Rösler to head powerfully home.
We were distraught as Palace had chucked it away yet again. City looked better and better and in the next 6 minutes Rösler, Gaudino and Foster all could have scored. The Palace supporters were looking dejected as to my left, City’s hordes sang jubilantly. How could the game be so cruel? A defeat was on the cards after Palace’s best first half performance of the season and relegation looked a certainty.
I hardly noticed as Bruce Dyer forced a corner and Salako ambled out to the right hand side to take it. The delivery looked good and I don’t believe it…, the ball had been headed in by Darren Patterson. It was his first goal for Palace and as a right back, he’s not always up for corners. The City fans had gone completely silent and we went crazy.
There was still time for a few scares as Walsh missed a good chance but Palace also hit the post from another great cross; Pitcher fired just wide from 20 yards and Armstrong couldn’t bring the ball under control with the goal at his mercy.
2-1 to Palace and another win tomorrow against Aston Villa takes us to within a point of Manchester City. Don’t worry about Southampton’s win yesterday that put us back into the bottom 4, the Saints will be comfortably safe. Looking at the remaining fixtures, Manchester City, Norwich and West Ham look to be in the most danger. All three have tougher run-ins than us and a win tomorrow puts us in touch with all of them.
Man of the Match: Ray Houghton – OK, it’s not a surprise but he really did give us the experience, the vision and the calmness that we’ve been missing all season. He also does his fair share of foraging for the ball which has been lacking from the Palace midfield.
Special mention for the City Man of the Match: Uwe Rösler – a quite magnificent and majestic player who battled throughout. His goal was a thing of beauty and with better players around him, he’d be a true star.
Simon Gleave (Shaggy – Palace List)
Howard Kendall has been sacked as Notts County manager after only 10 weeks in the job. The club were in the same position, bottom of Division 1, as when he took the job, although they lifted the Anglo- Italian Cup last month.
Jupp Heynckes has resigned as coach of Eintracht Frankfurt after their 3-0 defeat at struggling Schalke. It was a dispute with Heynckes that led to the departures of Maurizio Gaudino and Tony Yeboah (now at Leeds) from the club.
RUMOUR – LEE MANAGER?
The Observer yesterday talked about “Francis Lee becoming the chairman / manager of Manchester City at the end of the season – a first in the Endsleigh league”. Article in today’s Times about the football clubs’ internet: the only contact number given was Millwall. I suspect they will get enquiries from people interested in other teams.
OPINION – WHAT TO DO?
A fairly predictable result methinks; even Uwe criticised Horton’s tactics as being over negative; given that it took Liverpool most of the season so far to feel comfortable with three centre backs, it’s hardly likely to work for us is it? Horton out at the end of the season please. There was a rumour in one Sunday (Independent or Observer) that FHL himself was thinking of taking over the football side – well, he may be round, but then so is BFR!
Jeremy Poynton or
OPINION – RAG KITS
Read today that the Rags are yet again changing one of their away kits. This time they are swapping their black Sharp Viewcam kit for a two-tone grey (…!!!) one, in time for next season, according to today’s Sun (no I do not actually buy this paper, it’s the only one available in the office and I’m too stingy to buy my own).
Apart from being an unbelievably crass colour for an away kit (makes yellow look a really good 2nd strip, and who knows, maybe they’ll get really adventurously classy and change the season after next to brown), once again they rip off their own punters, and the article makes references to people who’ve recently bought kits (… well, serves ’em right I suppose for supporting the rags).
Honestly though, for how long are they gonna get away with stunts like this? At least most clubs only rip their fans off with one change of strip every season, but I think this is their 7th in 3 seasons. No wonder they rake it in. Very soon, at this rate they will have a new kit for every game, changing at half-time too!
COMMENT – HILLSBOROUGH
I have just finished reading Brian Clough’s autobiography and he is in total agreement with Jim Needham’s sentiments. OK, the police did allow Liverpool fans into the wrong enclosure. Yes, the stewards did initially prevent people escaping onto the pitch. But the disaster was caused by Liverpool fans who had arrived late from the pub, a lot of them without tickets, who were determined to gatecrash. Apparently, this was not the first time it had happened. The police initially thought there was crowd trouble and asked the managers if they could go out and calm their respective fans.
I do believe it was a disaster waiting to happen. Those of you who have been in the Kippax in the 70’s when there was 50,000 in the ground will testify to the sardine syndrome, especially when you got pillocks at the back pushing forward.
I had a wonderful time on Saturday attempting to get through to the ticket office on the ‘Dial a Seat’ number. I know this has been a bone of contention for some time, and Dave Wallace, ed of KK, noted that it has been the most frequent complaint he has had in his rôle as fan on the board. This was the worst experience I have had of it yet.
I called non-stop for 20 minutes, during which time the line was constantly engaged. I then got through, and held on for just under 10 minutes. The phone was then picked up (I could hear voices at the other end), held for about 5 seconds, and then replaced, thereby ending my call. I then called again immediately, got through and held again, this time for just over 10 minutes, only to get a repeat of what happened before; i.e. being deliberately cut off. I then tried again for 5 minutes, got fed up with it, put the phone down and watched Football Focus. I cannot believe that the club can be so incompetent – even small organisations these days have switchboards that can queue calls, and let you know automatically that this is the case. Do City want people who don’t live close by to go to watch them?
Jeremy Poynton or
Fine fine goal by the boy Rösler. My son Tom pointed out (which I had missed in MotD), that he followed it up with a piss-take of the philosopher; a two footed jump at the corner flag which sent it flying! Fair play that man.
Incidentally, there is a little-known branch of the Uwe fan club in Bristol; out at what was Bristol Poly, but is now the University of the West of England, there is a box hedge on a roundabout outside, spelling out …. “UWE – BRISTOL”. I’ll try to get a picture of it scanned so it can go on the home page.
Jeremy Poynton or
COMMENT – EC (BA PHILOSOPHY .. NOT)
Any “The Day Today” fans out there (for ex-pats, this was a superb spoof current affairs progam on last year) – is not La Grand Erique becoming more and more like the code French philosospher, Jean-Jacques Liverot, in The Day Today, with his cryptic and fatuous statements?
Jeremy Poynton or
CITY VS PANATHINIKOS
David Sheridan’s memory of City’s beating of Greek team Panathinikos didn’t surprise me. I refer of course not to the result (3-0 to City) but to the subsequent bollocking the Greek team got from their manager, Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas. Having lived in Hungary now for almost a year I can quite understand why Puskas would deliver a speech berating his team not only for losing the match but for letting the English drink them under the table, having come from a country with the highest proportion of alcoholics in Europe; a country whose idea of an aperitif (and in many parts a breakfast) is a paint-stripper called Palinka. Note also that the Hungarian was also capable of standing up and making a speech!
I’m sure Ashley can confirm this, if the account he once gave me of his brief stay in my current home town is anything to go by!
Can’t remember a thing 8-))
ANSWER – MAINE ROAD PHOTOS
Regarding photos of Maine Road; by chance we had a book out from the library at the weekend of aerial photos of English football grounds; it was published in ’93 and had pictures of all the grounds, with those which were having new stands built having before and after shots. There is an address in the back for those who wish to purchase pictures, as follows.
D.P.R Marketing & Sales (Dept 14)
37 Heath Road,
Middx Phone - 0181 891 3169
TW1 4AW Fax 2960
Two sizes, price about 8 or 12 pounds depending on the size. As the Maine Road picture shows the Kippax under construction, it was published less than a year ago – it’s called “Football Grounds” – and is an Aerofilms Guide (not sure, as have not got it at hand, whether this is the publisher or an edition name).
Jeremy Poynton or
Dave Bradbury asked in MCIVTA 69 whether Combat 18 or a similar group were tagging onto City; not having missed a game this season, I feel that I can confidently answer “no” to this question. There’s the occasional racist individual and a few that think it’s funny to sing “No Surrender” but nothing that appears to be organised or have the support of any significant number of people.
RESULTS & LEAGUE TABLE
Apr 1, 1995 Arsenal - Norwich 5 - 1
Chelsea - Newcastle 1 - 1
Coventry - Queen's_PR 0 - 1
Crystal_Palace - Manchester_C 2 - 1
Everton - Blackburn 1 - 2
Ipswich - Aston_Villa 0 - 1
Leicester - Wimbledon 3 - 4
Sheffield_W - Nottingham 1 - 7
Apr 2, 1995 Manchester_U - Leeds 0 - 0
Southampton - Tottenham 4 - 3
Total Apr 2, 1995
Blackburn 35 24 7 4 72 - 30 79
Manchester_U 36 22 8 6 66 - 24 74
Newcastle 35 18 10 7 57 - 37 64
Nottingham 36 18 9 9 63 - 39 63
Liverpool 32 16 10 6 54 - 26 58
Leeds 34 14 11 9 44 - 33 53
Tottenham 34 14 10 10 55 - 46 52
Wimbledon 35 15 6 14 45 - 57 51
Queen's_PR 33 13 8 12 51 - 50 47
Arsenal 35 11 10 14 41 - 41 43
Sheffield_W 36 11 10 15 44 - 53 43
Coventry 36 10 13 13 37 - 54 43
Aston_Villa 35 10 12 13 47 - 48 42
Norwich 35 10 12 13 34 - 43 42
Chelsea 34 10 11 13 41 - 47 41
Manchester_C 35 10 11 14 44 - 54 41
Southampton 33 8 15 10 48 - 54 39
Everton 35 9 12 14 38 - 48 39
Crystal_Palace 33 9 10 14 25 - 35 37
West_Ham 34 10 7 17 33 - 44 37
Ipswich 34 6 5 23 31 - 76 23
Leicester 35 4 9 22 39 - 70 21
With thanks to Riku Soininen
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