Firstly, apologies for the delay in sending the newsletter out. Monday was still a holiday here and when I arrived on Tuesday I had 39 messages waiting for me which took some considerable time to process. As we have a game today I thought I’d wait and send the issue out with the team news included.
We really need more people to have a bash at doing match reports so if you fancy having a go, please do. At the moment most of reports are done by Paul and Martin and we could really do with more people chipping in. This way we can get differing views of a game and also ease the pressure on the regulars. Any ‘wannabe’ football journalists out there?
Several of us managed to meet up for a chat and a pint (or two, or three) before the game on Saturday. Kev Duckworth was first on the scene (minus wife/girlfriend and black eyes) and later his accuser Paul Monaghan made it! It was good to see the faces of the people I’ve been corresponding with for so long including Martin, Paul (x2), John (Shearer), Roger (Haigh) as well as Espen Heggelund who made the pilgrimage from Norway! OK, I admit it, he was in Manchester anyway! Definitely something to be repeated.
We are now up to 257.
Next game Aston Villa away, Wednesday 3rd May 1995.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
MANCHESTER CITY vs. NEWCASTLE UNITED, Saturday 29th April 1995
Not turned up yet. If anyone can provide one I’ll paste it into Friday’s edition.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
MANCHESTER CITY vs. NEWCASTLE UNITED, Saturday 29th April 1995
- Tony Coton
- Solid as ever. Worrying that he picked up another injury tho’.
- Richard Edghill
- Given a really torrid time by Gillespie. Didn’t fare much betteragainst Fox. Seems to have lost some confidence after being outthrough injury. I think Phelan must have had a word with him at halftime – he seemed to have developed the Phelan “crouched spider”stance. However, it didn’t seem to do too much good. Despite a goodgame against Blackburn I reckon that 2 years in City’s defence hasleft him a bit shell-shocked.
- Terry Phelan
- Dealt with Fox/Gillespie better than Edghill, but then so heshould. Didn’t overlap too much; has Horton told him that he is reallya defender?
- Keith Curle
- Needed all his speed and tricky footwork to stem some of theNewcastle attacks. His distribution seems to have improved (probablydue to passing it shorter rather than booting it upfield).
- Alan Kernaghan
- Definitely the best game I’ve seen him play. He seemed to win everyheader (OK, so I can remember 2 he didn’t make) and every time a bootwas needed in the penalty area it seemed to be his. This was thepotential that he showed at Boro. I know that one swallow doesn’t makea summer but he looked well worth his fee (in my opinion).
- Garry Flitcroft
- Growing into a real performer. This was a good solid matchfollowing his stormer against Blackburn. Didn’t seem to get the breaks- a couple of half-hit shots. Good box to box – could be our answer toInce?
- Fitzroy Simpson
- I’m surprised by the way he’s improved in the last couple ofmatches. His passing has improved beyond recognition (it’s still got afair way to go tho’). Ball winning is still the best part of his gameand he was unlucky to get booked for a 50-50 challenge. Seems to havegrown in confidence – maybe he’s nicked Edghill’s 😉
- Nicky Summerbee
- A bit indifferent again after a couple of good ones. Cynicallytaken out by Beresford on one of his good runs.
- Uwe Rösler
- Some excellent touches but was quite well shackled by the Newcastledefence. Memorable moment was skipping between 2 defenders down by thecorner flag. Seemed to get on the wrong side of the referee early onbut battled well throughout.
- Niall Quinn
- Niall is the difference over the past few matches. His ability tohold up the ball makes it a lot easier for the rest of the team. Hisfirst touch and distribution belies the “donkey” tag. Witness thecontrol and layoff for Summerbee to set up the 3rd goal at Blackburn.In this match too he showed several times that he can kill the highball with his first touch and be ready to pass it on. His heightscares defenders and forces them to foul him (as Peacock did). He isalso excellent at pulling the central defenders out of position.And finally, his commitment is summed up by the work he did in ourpenalty area, memorably passing the ball coolly out to Curle when itwas spinning wildly around in there.
- Paul Walsh
- Skill, commitment and bags of energy. Not a natural left winger butdid a good job. Could have done with getting in the box a bit more.Did a good Beagrie impression by beating one defender 3 times beforecrossing.
- Now we know where he gets the name from – he comes out and flaps atcrosses! Looked keen but was lucky to get away with dropping a crosson Fox’s head. Where’s Dibble?????
- Maurizio Gaudino
- A couple of flashes after coming on as substitute but didn’t runthe game the way he can do.
- Peter Beagrie
- A little subdued, but I would be if I had a fractured leg. Causedproblems nonetheless.
NEWS – CANTONA
At a press conference this morning (Friday), Manchester United announced that Eric Cantona has signed a new 3-year contract, thereby ending speculation as to his future at the club. Alex Ferguson claimed that “he will cope easily” with the pressure and the abuse he will undoubtedly get from fans and players of other clubs.
NEWS – VARIOUS
- Berti Vogts rang Uwe last night to tell him that he has sent his assistant manager to watch him tomorrow and that he will be included in “the next big squad”.
- There was an article in Thursday’s MUEN about Garry Flitcroft taking up modelling. Apparently he’s “a natural”.
- BH was delighted with Niall Quinn’s performance for the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, saying it was “the real Niall Quinn”. He hopes that the big Irishman will be staying at City.
- Meanwhile, Ilie Dumitrescu has admitted to receiving 537,000 pounds as part of his transfer to Spurs but could see “nothing whatsoever wrong with it”.
NEWS – VARIOUS
- Tony Coton has been ruled out for the rest of the season aftersuffering a torn thigh muscle in Saturday’s game against Newcastle.He’s currently is hospital in Bolton after having an operation onthe injury. John Burridge will start Wednesday’s game at Villa, withMartyn Margetson, recalled from his loan spell at Luton, on thebench. Andy Dibble has a groin strain 😉
- Tonight’s Lancashire FA Youth Cup Semi-Final against ManchesterUnited will go to extra time and penalties if necessary.
- Richard Thompson, the under-fire owner of QPR is looking into buyingLeeds United. He’s had talks with Leeds’ chairman Leslie Silver butno figures have been mantioned yet.
- Blackburn midfielders Tim Sherwood and David Batty may be facingdisrepute charges after yesterday’s battle at Upton Park, whichWest Ham won 2-0. Hammers’ forwards Jerome Boere and Don Hutchinsonboth have broken noses and Ian Bishop is “lucky to be walking”; WestHam will not be taking any action but the FA have asked for a videoof the game.
NEWS – VARIOUS
- A brace of goals from Chris Greenacre was enough to see Citythrough to the final of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup last night.The young Blues beat Manchester United 2-0 and will now faceBurnley in the final, to be played at Maine Road later this month.
- David Batty has escaped further punishment by the FA for his latetackle on Ian Bishop on Sunday but they are still looking into theincident where Tim Sherwood appeared to elbow Don Hutchinson.
NEWS – FOREST
City’s game against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday is now completely sold out.
NEWS – SQUAD
I’ve only been able to get the squad news and not much more details, besides the obvious concern over TC. There’s been varying reports on the seriousness of his leg injury, but one thing that is certain is that the operation stopped the bleeding and TC is now awaiting for things to heal. This means that he’ll miss the remainder of the season, leaving Budgie to have an extended run. With Dibs still not recovered from his ‘groin’ strain the back-up cover is the recalled Margetson.
Burridge (from) Edghill, Curle, Kernaghan, Phelan, Gaudino, Summerbee, Flitcroft, Simpson, Rosler, Quinn, Walsh, Hill, Beagrie, Margetson.
LANCASHIRE FA YOUTH CUP FINAL
The Lancashire FA Youth Cup Final will be played at Maine Road this Friday, 5th May (against Burnley). Not sure of the kick-off time but it’s usually 6:45pm for youth games. Three quid for adults – why not go down and support the lads who knocked United out in Monday’s semi!
- Rumour One:
- One of the main reasons for transfer paralysis and no change ofmanager is that there are splits in the boardroom, notably between Lee andBarlow, who cannot agree on the best way forward. Indeed, these two have notbeen on speaking terms for weeks.
- Rumour Two:
- If things had gone according to plan, City would have a new managerby now. Joe Royle was approached before he went to Everton and turned us down.Lee approached Atkinson whilst they were on the same tropical island together,Atkinson also declined the job.
- According to the Sunday People, the Blues are showing an interest inthe central defenders Mark Wright (Liverpool) and Chris Fairclough(Leeds). How true this is remains to be seen; personally I think thePeople should stick to doing their various ‘sex surveys’, etc. (thenewspaper lad delivered it to us by mistake this Sunday, honest). Iwonder if they interviewed Dibbs in their poll?
- Also managed a wry smile when I read in the aforementioned paper that theyoungster who acts as a young Ryan Giggs in the current TV safety advertin the UK hates Man Utd. and is a Wimbledon supporter. Apparently, hewears his Dons shirt with pride at school (just to goad a majority ragclass), and although he enjoyed demonstrating his soccer skills in doingthe advert, the worst thing about it he said was having to wear a Utdshirt!! Good to see some people in London still support their localteam.
OPINION – DRAWS
I was interested in the article in the last MCIVTA discussing the merits of drawn games and how to decide cup ties.
I am not convinced that sudden death is a better way of deciding a match than penalties. I watched the Arsenal game last week, exciting finish in 90 mins then extra time, then the drama of penalties. After two hours’ play the tension of the penalty shoot-out is incredible. There have to be losers and it is of course sad for the people who crack under the tension.
The Birmingham – Carlisle cup final provided an alternative. After drawing at full-time the next team to score would win. Eventually Birmingham did in extra-time what they had failed to do in normal – turned their pressure into a goal – end of game. Exciting for the winners, sad for losers.
I am not convinced that playing to a result provides a fairer way of deciding a match and I think it is a good deal less exciting:
- As with penalties, an error by a player means your team is out.
- In many ways it is more cruel than penalties. One mistake and you are out, at least with penalties you get 5 goes.
- It will not make a negative team play more attackingly. They will still rely on the break.
- Fear of giving a goal away and knowing that you have no chance to come back may make sides either fearful (and the match will be dull) or aggressive (and desperate tackling on tired legs will increase the likelihood of injuries).
- If the match is televised it is less exciting for the mainly neutral world-wide audience.
OPINION – HORTON I
Well, another season and we’ve not won anything, again! So let’s get rid of the manager (but carry on paying him) and start all over again, and then by the end of next season we’ll have won nothing, again, and we’ll get rid of the manager again (but carry on paying him). Who knows, by the end of the century we might have all the managers in the Premier League on our books (and we’ll probably be in the Endsleigh league)!!!!!!! If all the other teams in the league used our criteria on whether the manager should keep his job, there would be 19 unemployed managers at the end of every season.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought one of the reasons we demonstrated outside the stadium to get rid of Swales was to get some stability in the management team. How can getting another manager achieve this???? It seems to be the view of a large proportion of fans (not necessarily those that write into MCIVTA) that we should get rid of BH because he’s the last reminder of Wiggy.
Sound like the rantings of a mad man?????? Probably (I have been watching City since the age of 7), but usually every time I read MCIVTA there are people screaming for BH’s blood and picking the next manager of City. From my point of view there are two problems with this. Firstly, we can’t afford to hire a new “high profile” manager in the present situation, as this would probably mean a complete overhaul of the squad in addition to us paying the wages of three managers.
Secondly, Horton is the best manager for the job next season when another 4 teams will get relegated. This will most likely mean that we will be in a relegation dog-fight yet again, no matter which manager is in charge, as there now seems to be a group of mediocre teams fighting for Premiership survival and we are one of them. This isn’t because Horton is crap but because we can’t compete with the Big Boys when it comes to transfer fees and wages. Consequently we have to make do with the nucleus of a good team and gradually build around it. I agree with people who say that we have been crap since December, but the problem has been injuries and consistency. Horton would probably have given his left testicle to have had the same back four for most of the season and therein lies the problem. Horton has built one of the most attractive sides I have seen at the Academy since the mid 80s, but the problem has been that we have let in more goals than we have scored (John Motson had better watch out with clichés like that!!!) but with a regular back four who are used to playing with each other this problem can be fixed. I can think of at least three or four games that we could have won if this had been the case, and that would have put us amongst the European hopefuls. I realise that this is all ifs and buts, but I really do believe that Horton should be given a minimum of another 12 months before he has to come up with some goods.
OPINION – HORTON II
I think people should give Brian Horton a break. They may be “foreigners”, but Rösler and Gaudino have been two crucial additions to the club under his rule. The club won’t get any better if we continue to have a managerial merry-go-round. Frannie Lee should just stick with being chairman. I don’t think he could do much better than Horton has.
OPINION – HORTON III
After the Easter results I really felt sorry for the guy. You could see how much the wins meant to him (personally) as well as to the club. He’s managed to inspire the team just when City needed the wins and has possibly gained survival and for that we should all be grateful. As for the compassion, well he’s a likeable guy and has never got involved in the petty politics at the club and has always tried to keep his involvement in team affairs. You saw him sitting there suffering with the rest of us when City were trailing against Rovers and you could see how much it had got to him, but when City scored and eventually won you could see how pleased he was, he was running around hugging players and smiling.
Even he must know though that his days are numbered and come the summer he could be on his way. Yes I’ll be the first to admit he’s done wonders in the transfer market with limited funds (even Buzzer junior has started to come good), but yes his tactics have caused some real concern. The club slipped from 6th to danger levels before starting to climb back up after Easter. He should have motivated the players more during the free-fall, but seemed unable to lift the gloom. The surprising thing is that there has never been a concerted effort by the fans to get rid of him. OK there’s been plenty of discussion about his future on MCIVTA, but when it comes to match days I’ve never heard a shout of ‘Horton Out’, not even after the derby disasters, so maybe the majority of fans are prepared to offer him a chance? Personally, a few weeks ago I felt it would be best to see Horton go in the summer as the club were struggling, but after 2 fantastic wins I’m now uncertain (especially when you consider how City were motoring in the early part of the season). Has the guy really had enough time to develop a good team (18 months), especially with the lack of funds available? Sorry but I’m going to sit on the fence. Come the summer I hope the club do the right thing, either one way or the other, I can’t decide. Could the club grant him say another 2 months next season to try and get the club going and if he fails then sack him, that’s one option?
Another is to give him full backing and money to build a winning team. Another obvious solution is to sack him straight away and bring in a new man come the close season. Whatever happens the club needs stability on the management front; it just seems pretty pointless getting another manager in just because the previous one has failed to deliver the goods. How many managers have there been since Mercer/Allison and how many have delivered a trophy? Let’s just wait and see, but in the meantime for the final four games give Horton some support.
OPINION – KERNAGHAN
I have to ask if there’s anyone else out there who likes Alan Kernaghan … because it seems to me as if the poor guy’s come in for a hell of a lot of slagging in recent MCIVTAs. I just want to say a couple of things on the subject of Kerno. Firstly I’ll admit that when he first arrived at City he was pretty awful (the nickname of Sputnik was well deserved) but since then I think he’s improved dramatically. I just wonder how many of those people criticising him were at the Palace League Cup game, because without him we’d have been F**kin stuffed 14-0 not just 4-0. He’s also played with drive, commitment and guts all the other times I’ve seen him, and I think the fact that he “fights” for the side is pretty damn impressive considering the amount of times he’s been shat on by the Maine Road Boo Boys. “But what about the excessive transfer fee?” I hear you cry… So what!! Just remember how much other clubs have paid for: Paul Furlong, Scott Minto and bloody Carlton Palmer. Puts things in perspective doesn’t it? So there you have it! Kernaghan Fans unite!!
Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi
P.S: Just to stir the pot a little more… The All Blacks are going to waste all the “opposition” at the rugby world cup… anyone fancy a bet?
OPINION – CANTONA
Should he stay or should he go? I’ve tried to be impartial about the matter (it’s hard though especially when you’re a confirmed Bitter Blue). Undoubtedly Cantona is the genius English football has been missing for years, but are we prepared to accept his thuggish behaviour as a ‘flaw’ to his game? Personally I’d be glad to see the back of his, but I’ll admit that’s because of jealousy and the fact he’s playing for Man U.
Now objectively (hopefully): Once his ban ends, will he have the stomach to turn out week in week out knowing he’s bound to get some abuse and everything he does will be studied under a microscope? Will the ban have taught him just to accept every incident and ignore it and carry on playing? When he arrived in the English game after walking out on football in France, everybody knew he was a hot-head. However, his skills and graces were a breath of fresh air to the (what was becoming a stale) English game. Everybody was concentrating on his skills and people wanted to copy him. The Leeds fans loved him and his unexpected move to Man U also resulted in the adulation of the masses at OT. He’s been the centrepiece to two successive League Championship teams, so his skills should be remembered. However, once the pressure started the dark side to Cantona returned (maybe it was his move to OT that sparked that rekindling), his aggression has returned to the surface at Swindon, Arsenal, Galatasaray, Norwich, Sheff Utd and finally his comedown, Palace. The fan in the street might want him to stay and obviously there are fans who want him to go; ultimately there’s nothing the fans can do. If Cantona decides to leave then that’s it. The game as a whole will miss his skills, United will suffer the loss more than anyone else, the fans will mourn his passing and the game will seem a lot quieter and a lot more ordinary.
I think it could be a disaster moving to Italy; the fans are a lot more passionate, it’s a national game in the imagination of everybody and he would be in the forefront of it all. Would he be able to handle the pressure of Italian football better than the English game? Even saying that, could he cope with the spitefulness of the envious fans?
OPINION – VIOLENCE
Is it returning to haunt English football again or did it never leave the game? There certainly has been an upsurge in violence associated directly with football in recent months (England/Ireland, Chelsea in Europe, Chelsea/Millwall, Man U/Palace) and the press have been waiting with their banner headlines to once again announce the scourge of the game have returned. The press take any little incident in England and blow it out of all proportion and are in some ways to blame; do they act as a catalyst and incite the thugs?
The police, clubs and FA have tried their hardest to clean the game up and have generally succeeded. Violence at football games had all but been eradicated. However, I feel that there has always been an underlying threat.
Personally I feel that violence has moved completely away from the grounds (or had done until the recent events) and you would be completely safe within the stadium. As for the European Championships, it might be the other European fans that cause the problems; this is going to be a real test of how good police intelligence and tactics are. However, I honestly think that the European Championships will be a success and there won’t be any major incidents in the grounds.
Finally, as for the mindless morons who infest our game and cause chaos and violence, I honestly feel these are the same guys who go out on a Saturday night and cause fights. They have a violent nature and football is used to manifest their image.
Well I don’t know any more for certain – but I heard from a reputable source who heard from a reputable source that Franny did burst into the dressing room and give the lads a dressing down at half time during the Crystal Palace game. He did no more than was necessary and no more than BH was about to. Seeing the team’s performance after half time when they actually levelled the match for a period – maybe Franny should do it more often! The newspapers of course had a field day and reported doors being kicked down and flying tea cups (which were not intentional).
There was an incident after the Wimbledon game but little is known about it at all! It was after this game BH failed to give a press conference and thus it seems likely that this occured. Paul Howarth describes it as: ‘a “clear the air” meeting of the playing staff and the manager where there was a full and frank discussion of where we were going wrong.’
Whilst I am here – so to speak – I would like to complain about the ticket office at Maine Road. It is diabolical. It offers no protection to people waiting from any of the elements, especially the wind and the rain. Anyone any idea if the management have any intention to do anything about it?
For anyone going to the Forest match on Saturday, you can do no better than to drop into the Aviary pub before the match. It is situated on the bridge running over the Trent and is directly between both football grounds. It’s huge and always fills up with Blues before our matches there. A damn good sing-song is guaranteed!!!!
Dry, the bar owned by Anthony H. Wilson and New Order is now providing access to the Internet at certain times. I attended the opening session last Thursday when you could surf the Net free of charge and (relatively) experienced help was at hand. They are going to be charging