Newsletter #65

For a change City managed to do the right thing this time around, the other team throwing away a 2 goal lead! This was a joy to experience and will certainly stick in my memory as one of the most gripping teletext games I’ve experienced!

The Telegraph quoted Horton as saying what a crazy season it is and one can’t help but agree. As I write this, we’re a semi-respectable 13th and two of the teams above us have only two points more but we have two games in hand. Looking at the table as a whole, Blackburn, United, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Liverpool are out on their own. Below this top five come Leeds and Spurs and then there’s another gap to a group which incredibly encompasses teams 8 through to 20! Basically, a bad run for any of these teams could see them relegated whilst a reasonably good run could see them in with a chance of a place in the Inter Toto Cup (wow)! Considering our poor form this year we have to rue the missed opportunity; just a few wins amongst all those defeats and draws and we would have been right up there, such is the relatively slight difference between a high finish and disaster this season.

There’s a book review in this issue from Kev Duckworth. A couple of others have also promised to review this same book, please don’t give up! Our initial intention with the WWW ‘Book & Video Review Page‘ was to get three or four opinions on each book and that’s still the aim. Currently one clear omission is the Joe Mercer biography which I’ve heard is a good book but which is yet to be reviewed. Step forward please… 😎

Next game Wimbledon away, Tuesday 21st March 1995.



City for once managed to get some luck, which in recent matches has been sorely missed. Although they had to work hard to get the result, City eventually came up trumps and now stand at the heady heights of 12th in the league (although in a cautionary note one defeat could plunge City back down).

This was a game that had to be won by City but City just frustrated us, the fans, for the first half. As early as the second minute the alarm bells should have been ringing, when Whittingham reacted first to a cross and his shot was only saved by TC’s face. City’s whole set-up seemed incohesive and lacked fight, which allowed Wednesday to walk all over us. Even with the early scare, City still didn’t help themselves. Whittingham had a goal ruled out after Bright had collided with TC. Whittingham eventually did score in the 13th minute; latching onto a through ball, he beat TC from just inside the box. This didn’t have any effects on City; they still allowed Wednesday too much time and even when we did get the ball they just gave it away. City just went from bad to worse and Wednesday took a two goal advantage. Waddle’s cross was only half cleared and Hyde thumped the ball home. At that point I thought City were staring defeat in the face; they just lacked any commitment and desire to win. Some of the crowd booed and jeered but the rest just sat there in stunned silence, obviously unable to believe what was happening. City finally managed to get going after the second goal but it really felt pointless. Uwe came closest; he was inches away from Gaudino’s cross and then was blocked as he was lining up to shoot.

City got a lifeline in the game after 38 minutes, when Rösler headed home a knock back by Vonk from a Beagrie corner. Even though City scored, there still seemed a despondent atmosphere around the ground. With the score back at 2-1, City almost threw the game away in the final minute of the first half. Summerbee delayed on the ball and Bart-Williams stole the ball from him; fortunately TC managed to save the shot and keep City in the game.

City went in 2-1 down and unless some drastic action was taken by Horton, City were staring at another defeat. The magic of Horton’s boot rubbed off on the players and they started the second half with a lot more commitment and fight. City took the game to Wednesday and didn’t allow them too much time on the ball. We managed to get an equaliser through Walsh. He back-headed a Beagrie cross into the goal, although there was a suspicion of an own goal.

City were pretty fired up and at last responding to the challenge, although they rode their luck at the other end. TC had to make a couple of good saves. Phelan cleared off the line just when it started to look rocky for the Blues. They weathered the storm and came back a little stronger. The comeback was completed in the 83rd minute when a great through ball from Simpson was controlled by Rösler before despatching a low shot past Pressman; the remarkable comeback was completed in fine style. The feelings of despair had turned into euphoria with the win but why had City put us through so much heartache?

City must realise that they can’t allow the opposition time to build attacks, they’ve got to get involved quicker and fight for the ball. I just hope this win doesn’t make the players over-confident; they’ve got to build on this win to secure Premier survival.

Martin Ford (


City’s home game against Liverpool has been brought forward 24 hours and will now be played on Good Friday, 14th April, with a 3:15pm kick-off. Liverpool have been allocated the whole of the lower tier of the Kippax for this match, rather more than the 450 tickets we had for the game at Anfield over the Christmas period. This begs the question as to when the new stand will be fully opened; it was widely anticipated that the Liverpool fixture would see the inauguration of the new Kippax, but with season ticket holders’ places in the lower tier taken up by Liverpool fans, it looks like the opening will be delayed or that only upper tier fans will be able to take their places.

Meanwhile, City secretary Bernard Halford offered an explanation for the sudden changes in membership requirements for purchasing tickets for recent matches in an article in Saturday’s programme. Speaking about the Leeds match, he said:

“Two days before the game we were informed by the police that we had to enforce the Membership Scheme and could not sell tickets on the day of the match. This did cause problems and the public deserve an explanation when the attendance was 5,000 down on capacity.”

“We have had a meeting with the police and their concern is visiting supporters being able to get tickets in home sections of the ground. The club is now in a position to give better allocation to visiting clubs, due to the increased capacity.”

“But the police are saying that when that allocation is fully subscribed, they want us to enforce the Membership Scheme for our own supporters. So, we could have the same situation as for the Leeds game, when we had only two days to enforce the Membership Scheme.”

“Our advice is to buy your match tickets early so you will not be caught out on the day if you are not a member. The police will not allow anyone to join the Membership Scheme on the day of the game because visiting supporters, without tickets, would be able to take advantage of that and the whole point of the exercise would be defeated.”

“It is important to note the arrangements for the Liverpool game on Saturday April 15th [now of course Friday April 14th]. City supporters who bought season tickets for the new Kippax Street Stand and expected to be able to take up their seats for this particular game, will have to retain their seats in other parts of the ground.”

“We apologise for the fact that the Kippax development is running behind schedule and will not be ready in time. For theLiverpool game, initially sales will be restricted to Liverpool supporters because they have been allocated an area of the Kippax.”

“It is important for our supporters to be aware that if the visitors have sold their full allocation, e.g. the Liverpool game, then the Membership Scheme will immediately be put into force on the instructions of the local authority.”

So there you have it. If you’re not a member, get your tickets as soon as possible. Tickets for the away match at Blackburn on Monday 17th April (8:00pm kick-off) will be on open sale from 9:30am on Saturday 25th March, priced at 15 pounds, 8 pounds for under 16s and OAPs. Tickets for the away match at Nottingham Forest on Saturday 6th May will be on open sale from 9:30am on Saturday 8th April, priced at 14 pounds.

Paul Howarth (


As the transfer deadline approaches (Thursday 23rd March), Francis Lee has stated that he doesn’t expect there to be any new signings in the next few weeks. We must therefore rely on the players we already have to keep us in the Premiership.

Before Saturday’s game, Paul Lake made an appearance on the pitch. He’s now played 3 A-team games and will apparently be “back soon”. There was a standing ovation as he appeared; nice to see nobody’s forgotten him. In his first A-team game at Platt Lane, 450 people turned up to watch. City won 5-0.

Only days before Eric Cantona’s case is heard, a group of United fans have released a single “Eric the King”, to the tune of “Lily the Pink”. This is of course the same tune as the City song “Colin the King”, dedicated to the one and only Colin Bell. Fortunately the song is absolutely awful (makes “Come On You Reds” sound like “Bohemian Rhapsody”) and is (hopefully) unlikely to make the charts.

Paul Howarth (


United have announced plans to replace their North Stand (United Road) with a 25,000 seat, 3-tier stand. Work will commence in May. Capacity next season will be down to about 30,000 (the new ground will hold 55,000) so United intend to ban away fans; whether the Premier League will let them get away with this is another matter. The total cost of the project, including the purchase of the land behind the ground, is 28 million pounds. Martin Edwards has said that no more money will be available for players as a result of this expenditure, so United will have to make do with their current, meagre squad 😉

Paul Howarth (


I’ve just got back from looking at Ceefax (teletext) and in their team news for the Wimbledon game they state that Quinn will be on the bench and is almost certain to move away from Maine Road before the expiry of the transfer deadline on Thursday. Whatever might be said about his form this season, selling him would leave is with the yellow-card prone Uwe and the ageing Walsh up front. With Lee saying that no new players will be recruited before the end of the season, this move must be seen as a little questionable.



Ian Thompson’s piece in MCIVTA 64 mentioned the Spurs match being on 4th April; this is not the case. There have been several rearranged dates for this match, one of which was the 5th April, but it has never been scheduled for the 4th. The match is currently scheduled for Tuesday 11th April, as mentioned in MCIVTA 58. In case there’s any further confusion, here are City’s remaining fixtures for those without WWW access:

Tue 21 Mar Wimbledon             A
Sat  1 Apr Crystal Palace        A
Wed  5 Apr Aston Villa           A
Tue 11 Apr Tottenham Hotspur     A (may yet be rearranged AGAIN)
Fri 14 Apr Liverpool             H (3:15pm kick-off)
Mon 17 Apr Blackburn Rovers      A (BSkyB, 8:00pm kick-off)
Sat 29 Apr Newcastle United      H
Sat  6 May Nottingham Forest     A
Sun 14 May QPR                   H (may be moved to 13 May)

Paul Howarth (


I’m just writing to tell you about a conversation I had with a Carlisle fan last Thursday in the Uni. bar. He said that a rumour going round up there, and supposedly something had been written about it in the local paper, was that the left back that Brian Horton has been watching is going to be exchanged for Carl Griffiths before the transfer deadline. The lad (can’t remember his name) was then going to be returned to them on loan until the end of the season!

He also raved about this lad and says he is very fast and is much better than Terry Phelan, taken with a pinch of salt because he is after all playing in a lower division, but you never know.

Personally, I went to both Notts. County games this season and the left back who plays for them, Andy Legg, looks very impressive and I think he should perhaps be looked at.

Lee Brogan (


Am I the only one who is less than impressed with moving the City vs. Liverpool game to the Easter Friday because of the Hillsborough memorial? This may seem rather harsh to say but I do not think it is necessary to move it. I think it would have been OK to delay the kick-off to allow a short silence at 3pm.

Have such measures been taken so long after other such football disasters? For example, the Bradford fire or the crush at Ibrox? A period of mourning is appropriate but I believe rearranging games like this is excessive. Yes, I am sure feelings are running high in Liverpool, but then they always do there don’t they? Certain sections of the Liverpool community have a reputation for making the most of local setbacks and their demands for attention always run above the national average. Is this an echo of Self-Pity City once again?

I think there is far too much rearranging of games going on (mostly as a result of Sky) and this will set a precedent for even more of it. As I said, some people might think this a harsh view, but I for one would not expect the footballing calendar to be rearranged ad infinitum if I were killed at a match – indeed I would think it a greater tribute to be remembered just before a game by the attendees.

On a lighter note, for those who weren’t there on Saturday, I would just like to say that Rösler’s winning goal against Wednesday was the happiest moment I have had in 4 years as a City season ticket holder. The TV pictures made it look pretty simple, but from where I was sitting it was a superbly taken goal. Viva Rösler.

Jerry Seabridge (


I understand both sides of the argument for/against moving the Liverpool game away from the anniversary. However, a few hard questions should be asked of Liverpool FC. It is quite clear that this is an important occasion for both the club and the supporters; why then didn’t the administrators of Liverpool FC spot the clash ages ago? The problem is that the subject is charged with emotion and it would certainly be seen as politically incorrect (yuk!) to decline a rearrangement. Furthermore, the Sky argument is certainly very persuasive. My feeling is that it is probably wiser to agree to the move and accept it rather than the alternative which could easily be a hornets’ nest!



Caller to Jim & the Doc spoke up in defence of BH; he is a Brighton supporter and said that he was the best player, and the best captain that they had in the 80’s, and that City fans should get behind him. Jim said that we all are, but are very worried that his eyes might pop out when he is being interviewed. I guess you [Ashley] don’t get the pleasure of seeing him on the box, but he gets more and more manic with each game – still, why should he be any different to us?

Another call was about Neil Riley, the Chickenman, suggesting that City fans should lobby the club in support of him. I’m all for it!

Jeremy Poynton ( or


Although living in Sheffield, I am originally from Manchester and was a “Junior Blue” in my youth, eventually being a ball boy in the relegation season – I was actually a ball boy for “that match” against Luton – not the most pleasant experience. Are there any other ex-junior blues / ball boys on MCIVTA list?

Darren Burke (


With regard to Ian Thompson’s worst City team, appologies accepted for including Phelan, but Ian, what about the rest of your side? McRae: not a world beater but was always steady when he got into the first team. Gidman went to City at the end of his career and did an excellent job under the circumstances. Paul Futcher: was it Allison who said he will be the next Bobby Moore? His brother scored a goal every other game for City. Steve Daley wasn’t worth the money, but that wasn’t his fault and Hopkins never got a chance to settle at City before he was transferred. As for your subs, Grealish did the job that was needed i.e. being a dirty bastard and I also don’t think it is fair on David Brightwell who also is upset about having to play left back.

Whoever suggested McDonald at full back was also a bit mean as well. The players who gave me the most puppies was Gerry Taggart and Eric Nixon. As soon as they leave City, they play out of their skin.

What about a team that got on the wrong end of City Boo Boys.

Clements       Kernaghan       Bond    Brightwell
        Ward      Bowyer      McNab*         I Mellor
                Channon         Heath

* Yes He Was , after he belted that player near the touchline. After that, City fans booed him.

Sub — for some unknown reason, Keith Curle.

Kevin Duckworth (


TITLE           The Battle for Manchester City
AUTHOR          Alec Johnson
PUBLISHER       Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd.
                7 Albany St.,
                Edinburgh EH1 3UG,
ISBN No         1 85158 6547
PRICE           £12.99

The battle for Manchester City, you would think is an account of Francis Lee’s successful fight for MCFC and with that in mind I purchased the 187 page book. Unfortunately, only 5 pages at the end relate to the bid, the rest of the book being more of a history of Manchester City.

The story begins in 1922, just before the move to Maine Road. Misfortune was to plague the new ground immediately. A group of gypsies were passing through and camped on the site. An official was sent to ask them to leave and was told politely they would move in a couple of hours. Not happy with this the official told them to move immediately. A curse was put on the men. “Hear this. No good will come to anyone who will dwell here.” — I wish someone had told me this story when I was 8; I could have been a Stalybridge Celtic fan.

The book goes on to describe the rift between Mercer & Allison, which started on 11th December 1971 in a bar in Malta. Years before, Joe had told Allison that one day he would be manager. Malcolm was now claiming the crown. The board was split, with Eric Alexander backing Joe but wanting Allison as Team Manager. When Joe was told to choose his own title as long as it did not use the word manager, he moved to Coventry City. “All my life I had been known as Mercer the footballer or Mercer the Manager, now suddenly they can’t find a title for me.” The rift spread to the rest of the players and morale in the dressing room was at a low. Players like Summerbee, Lee & Book all recognised City were making a great mistake.

Personally, I don’t remember the pre-Mercer days, but they seem to have been even worse than the Swales era! George Poyser resigned at Easter 1965 (anyone know what happened to him?). What is interesting is the men who applied for the vacant post: Bill Shankly and ex-City favourite Don Revie. In spite of Mercer’s problems with hypertension, he was given the job against the better judgement of Nora “Without soccer my life is not worth living” (I can’t believe Joe would say soccer).

I include quotes from the book because I feel it gives some insight into the character of Mercer & also the few anecdotes are the book’s only redeaming factor. For example, the time Allison wanted to sign Tony Book. “He’s 32, past it” said Joe.“How old were you when you signed for Arsenal from Everton?”, said Malcolm. Joe was 39. “OK, sign him.”

The book talks about the team and the games of the late 60’s through to early 90’s. I had just finished the biography of Joe Mercer, ‘Football with a Smile’, and so a lot of what is written on the 60’s was just a repetition of chapters in that far superior book. I don’t intend to cover this area, although if anyone wants an appraisal of the different managerial eras, I could do that.

During the Allison/Mercer conflict, Peter Swales was to be invited onto the City board as a white knight and arbitrator between warring factions. Whilst he was chairman, Allison went, followed by Johnny Hart after an illness. Swales then turned to Saunders. After clashes with many players, Swales held court inviting all the staff, including juniors, to give their views on Saunders (in the absence of Ron). When Lee heard about this he told Swales what he thought of the whole affair. This was probably one of the causes of future bad relations between the 2 men. Another quote when Saunders signed: “If he goes down, I go with him” (PJS).

The book continues with player & game profiles whilst intermittently sparing a couple of paragraphs on behind the scenes events. The last 5 pages on the takeover tells us nothing we don’t already know, and unless you are looking for a bit of history of City, I would pass this book by.

Kevin Duckworth (


Mar 18, 1995   Aston_Villa     - West_Ham         0 - 2
               Blackburn       - Chelsea          2 - 1
               Leeds           - Coventry         3 - 0
               Manchester_C    - Sheffield_W      3 - 2
               Nottingham      - Southampton      3 - 0
               Queen's_PR      - Everton          2 - 3
               Tottenham       - Leicester        1 - 0
               Wimbledon       - Crystal_Palace   2 - 0
Mar 19, 1995   Liverpool       - Manchester_U     2 - 0
               Newcastle       - Arsenal          1 - 0
Mar 20, 1995   Norwich         - Ipswich Town     3 - 0

Total, March 20

                   P  W  D  L  F  A PTS
  1 Blackburn R    34 23  7  4 70 29 76
  2 Man Utd        34 21  7  6 63 24 70
  3 Newcastle Utd  33 18  9  6 55 33 63
  4 Liverpool      31 16  9  6 54 26 57
  5 Nottingham F   34 16  9  9 53 38 57
  6 Leeds Utd      32 14 10  8 44 30 52
  7 Tottenham H    32 14  9  9 52 42 51
  8 Wimbledon      33 13  6 14 39 54 45
  9 Sheff Wed      35 11 10 14 43 46 43
 10 Coventry City  35 10 13 12 37 53 43
 11 Norwich City   34 10 12 12 33 38 42
 12 QPR            31 11  8 12 49 50 41
 13 Manchester C   33 10 11 12 43 50 41
 14 Arsenal        33 10 10 13 36 37 40
 15 Chelsea        32 10 10 12 40 45 40
 16 Aston Villa    34  9 12 13 46 48 39
 17 Everton        34  9 12 13 37 46 39
 18 West Ham       34 10  7 17 33 44 37
 19 Crystal Pal    32  8 10 14 23 34 34
 20 Southampton    31  6 15 10 41 50 33
 21 Ipswich Town   33  6  5 22 31 75 23
 22 Leicester C    34  4  9 21 36 66 21

With thanks to Riku Soininen


Thanks to Martin, Paul, Kevin, Jeremy, Jerry, Darren & Lee.

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

Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #65