Newsletter #77

Plenty of diversity this time around, including a Blackburn match report from Ian. No game this weekend due to the England get-together. For those without WWW access, Uwe is currently way out in front in the voting for Player of the Year whilst on the manager front guess who? is now in the lead. At present a total of 31 people have voted, 10 of them for BH and an identical number for his only serious rival, Bruce Rioch. BH has however collected one point more from a third place vote. Thus, BH retains the support of a third of voters, two thirds would like to see another manager and half of this grouping want it to be the current Bolton manager.

This one goes out to 236.

Next game Newcastle United at home, Saturday 29th April 1995.



Well, I couldn’t have picked a better first match to attend this season if I’d tried. Better than watching it ‘live’ on Sky, better than a few bevvies and a good curry, better than watching England win the world cup, better than sex? Well, let’s not get too carried away, but bearing in mind the last time I watched City ‘live’ in the flesh was the Cardiff débâcle last season and we had Ingebrigtsen and Groenendijk playing for us, you might understand my joy and enthusiasm. Living in South Wales as I now do, visiting family in my home town of Bury and taking in a game is somewhat of a rarity these days, and so I jumped at the chance of watching the super blues ‘live’ as opposed to finding a pub with Sky.

Before the Liverpool game my initial feelings were that we’d do well to play well and keep the score down, but after the 3 points on Good Friday my optimism did increase, particulary as City are predicatably unpredictable and perform in the games you least expect to. I did say to our kid and his wife (who I am happy to say is a converted rag) on the way in that we’d get tonked by about 4 or 5, or would win; it was one of those games where I couldn’t see City losing by the odd goal or getting a point as the Blues always do the extreme. We came in over the tops from Bury and passed the spot where Mick Heaton was tragically killed in a road accident, there still being some flowers alongside the road in memory of Mick. The one minute’s silence before the game was excellently held, the only minor exception being one idiot who initially shouted ‘City’ and who was quickly told to shut up by the Blues next to him. In fact the Blackburn fans outside and on the radio after the game commented on how well the City fans respected the silence and got behind the team in general.

Walking to the ground it was obvious that City fans were present in large numbers; in fact a mate of our kid who works in the Blackburn ticket office had heard that City had sold all their 5000 tickets. Our tickets were for the Darwen End away supporters’ section and there didn’t appear to be any spare seats at all. From what I could see we had half of the front tier and most of the top tier, there also being quite a few Blues in the home supporters’ section of the Darwen End, which was pretty good considering it was on telly and the weather was awful.

Overall, I thought the Blues played really well and that we outplayed Blackburn for several periods of the game. It was difficult to tell which team was at the top of the league and which team was struggling to avoid relegation, although the press biasedly accused Blackburn of having an off day. This was simply not the case, and people I have spoken to since who saw the game on Sky all agreed that City were the better team. It was a good all-round performance and their goals came from bad City mistakes as opposed to their ingenuity. Curle and Kernaghan were pretty solid at the back and handled Shearer and Sutton very capably. TC gaffed for their goals, and when he came over to the City end for the start of the 2nd half he recognised this and put his finger to his head and fired the imaginary gun – the City fans responded with ‘England’s Number One’ and his 2nd half performance was more composed. Edghill and Foster both had good, solid performances, as did the rest of the team. Quinn battled away and won everthing in the air and Walshy tirelessly ran for everything. Simpson battled away for everything and did well in the midfield but Summerbee seemed to come in for some stick from the City fans around us. I thought he did okay down the right, but on the boggy, rain-swept surface it was difficult to control the ball and move at pace, and he shied away from some tackles.

After the game, we drove slowly away and passed Franny’s chauffeur driven Roller – he responded to our shouts and the blasts of the horn with a smile, thumbs up and a wave. Let’s hope the players can similarly respond positively and pull off some more performances like this as we are not out of danger yet.

Ian Thompson (


Paul Walsh and Keith Curle are both rated “doubtful” for the Newcastle game due to ankle ligament damage suffered at Blackburn.

Steve Lomas, who was hoping to play for the reserves before the end of the season, will not now do so. He’s had a nerve problem in his foot which has troubled him for 2 years and will be seeing a specialist in an attempt to sort it out.

The Mole


Brian Horton claimed in a radio interview that Niall Quinn was “indispensable” and he was not on the transfer list. Quinn has stated that he wants to stay at City.

Paul Lake has suffered another setback, although it’s nothing to do with his knee this time. The poor lad’s now hurt his back in training. Since he was in training in the first place, this suggests that his swollen knee must no longer be troubling him.

The Mole


Phoned the City Clubcall number for the first time ever last night to hear what was on offer (the UK number is 0891 12 11 91 for anyone in the dark or interested). Mentioned the England call-up for Flitcroft and Edghill and BH spoke for a while generally on the Blackburn performance on Monday night. Information was also given on the current state of injuries; nothing new except they mentioned Stevie Lomas had a re-occurrence of a foot nerve problem(!?) besides his other injury, so is unlikely to even get a reserve game in this season. Hopefully things are progressing smoothly on the Lakey front (interestingly and surprisingly to me he was mentioned as last name on the Blackburn programme, back page, number 31).

Also, anyone any news on the Centenary front? I can’t believe the only thing will be the mediocre MUEN 4 page effort.

I also read a piece on Tommy Hutchison in the local rag, the South Wales Echo. He’s currently employed by Taff Ely Borough and Merthyr Borough Councils as a football development officer (I must get round to see him some time as he often coaches literally up the road from me) and is due to return to Wembley this Sunday, reason being a Merthyr school team he coaches is in the final of a national 6-a-side tournament. The final of this being held immediately prior to the Autoglass thingy final between Birmingham and Carlisle. Hope he has better luck than in ’81.

Ian Thompson (


He talked about various things, including TCF, Standing Ovation, City’s various supporters’ organisations (they should all converge, including Fan on the Board), aspirations for next season, and … he thought we should ground-share with United in the Commonwealth games stadium (80,000 seater), with both clubs putting money into the venture instead of developing their own separate grounds.

I’ve nothing against ground-sharing with United, provided that:

  • it’s a new stadium, which both clubs move into at the same time
  • it’s a football stadium, not an athletics stadium (you’d be too far from the pitch, like at Wembley)
  • the top tier would only be open when needed, so that fans were concentrated closer to the pitch and some sort of atmosphere would be retained.

Paul Howarth (


Copied from the April ISA newsletter ‘Indepedent Blues’.

Everybody has heard of Oasis, The Cult and M People, but what have all these groups got in common? All 3 have City fans as band members!

Oasis have a couple of Blues in their line up, The Cult have Billy Duffy and M People have Mike Pickering. So what? On Friday 24th March Billy Duffy, Oasis and Mike Pickering were in the recording studios recording a song called “Blue”.

The video of the song will feature all the artists in City kits. They are though holding our present sponsor ‘brother’ to ransom. The new sponsorship deal with brother is not due until 1996 but with two other prospective sponsors in the sidelines, they are telling brother that unless a very lucrative sponsorship deal is agreed then they will wear another sponsor on the shirts in the video.

The other two sponsors are rumoured to be Sony and Whitbread Breweries. Whitbread own Boddingtons and are reputed to want

the cream of Manchester

emblazoned on the front of City’s shirts, an idea I fully agree with. However, if they do not get this they want the whole advertising at the front of the second tier of the new Kippax stand for the same advert.

Colin Gorman (


One recent contributor mentioned Colin Bell and his restaurant in Whitefield – if I remember correctly this was a joint venture with Colin Waldron (ex Burnley). I have been to the “Bell-Waldron” on possibly half a dozen occasions many years ago, in the days when we used to live in Bury. Having travelled around the North West during the last 20 years I have lost touch with most of my Bury friends and had no need to return (we now live in Chester – thankfully only half an hour from MR). Last week I happened to be in Whitefield on business and was interested to see what had become of it. Not surprisingly it is now an Indian! Does anyone know when CB gave up the business? Also, Tommy Booth used to live close to my mother-in-law in Simister and from time to time he was to be seen in the Farmers Arms or the Same Yet (another unusual pub name); I seem to recall that he spent some time at Preston but where is he now?

Alan Lingard (


In the close season when the Kippax is finally finished there will be two giant Video Screens put into the corners of the ground. One in the corner of the Kippax and North Stand (Windy Corner) and the other in the corner above the Family Stand. These video screens will be 30 foot square and are very similar to the ones found at Molyneux and the New Den. The cost of these screens is £1.5 million each but the club is receiving them for free (the reason to be explained in a future issue). City will also receive 10% of all the advertising shown on the screens.

Colin Gorman (


A questionnaire is included with the ISA Newsletter asking for the views of Members of the Independent Supporters’ Association (ISA) on its future. Should it merge with the Official Supporters Club (OSC)? If so, on what terms? etc. It appears not much progress is being made in the merger talks, with the main snags being finances and the reluctance of the OSC to change its name. It may be that certain senior members of the OSC fear losing the power and influence they have held for many years under the Swales regime. Views of the membership are sought, ready for when the Committee next meets both the OSC and the Football Club.

I was never a member of the OSC, but decided to join the ISA because I felt the ‘Forward With Franny’ campaign had lost a lot of its momentum. It had become quite ineffective in putting pressure on Swales and the Board, with lots of meetings organised but no clear plan of action ever resulted.

For those who are not fully aware, my understanding is that the ISA was formed by several breakaway branches of the OSC. A vote of no confidence in Peter Swales, Boler and the Board of Directors of MCFC, was proposed by The Chadderton Branch (I think) of the OSC, at a main Committee Meeting. If passed, this would have been a very significant blow to Peter Swales and the Board’s attempts to retain control of the Club. The Branch Reps at the meeting voted by a significant majority (in line with the views of the typical City Fan at the time) for the vote of no confidence. I’m not sure how it came about, perhaps a few pro-Swales branches insisted, but it was decided to consult all the members of the OSC before this was made official. I believe this was probably the right thing to do.

However, it was alleged that Football Club officials visited branches, putting particular pressure on distant ones. It was alleged ticket allocations would be withdrawn to those who voted for the no confidence motion. I think this was denied at the time. As it turned out, the official ballot rejected the vote of no confidence. Statements were made to the press by the OSC that it supported the Board of Directors of the Club, whoever they might be. There were a lot of very unhappy fans about, and several of the OSC branches withdrew in protest from the OSC, forming the ISA so that they could actively support the proposed Franny Lee takeover and be totally independent of the Club.

With the takeover complete, the Board of Directors, understandably are said to favour dealing with just one supporters’ organisation. Dave Wallace (FOB/Editior of KoK) is currently acting as mediator, but as yet there appears to be little or no progress. Should there be a stalemate, the Board are in a difficult position. It must be difficult for them not to recognise the OSC as this organisation has been established for so many years with many loyal supporters (even though it did not represent properly the views of the majority of the fans, in my view because of very selfish motives). However, it is equally difficult for the Club to not recognise the ISA and not give it the same privileges as the OSC. After all, without the ISA, Swales may well have still been in control!

Has anyone out there got any views on this? Should there be a merger? Who should the Club recognise? How do you view each of the supporters’ organisations? I’d be interested to hear any comments. Also, are there members of the OSC on the MCIVTA list? It would be great to hear the viewpoint of an OSC member.

Colin Gorman (


Well, like most Blues I’m still on a high after the Easter results. Our performance against Blackburn was superb and I hope Horton now realises the difference Niall Quinn makes to the side. I couldn’t believe he was considering selling Quinn to Villa and I just hope we don’t see his departure during the summer. As for Horton’s position, I still think he must go! We can’t let a couple of good results cloud our judgement. He may save us from relegation (again!) but it was he who put us down there in the first place. I believe Bruce Rioch is the only real candidate for the job, although a few people out there will disagree with me on this one. We should make a move for him, before somebody else does!

Charles Pollitt (


I’ve seen the (blue) light

It’s taken as read (pun sadly intended) that your average rag would be born as far from Manchester as physically possible, in the same way that most people assume that all Blues are sure to have been born within the city limits. So, those of us who aren’t of direct Mancunian origin are forever trying to explain our allegiance. Nobody ever questions why people start to follow them, yet I’m forever being asked what makes me a City man.

The only thing that I can equate with the mindless red masses is that many of them come from areas where the great game is a minor feature in peoples’ diaries. I was born in the west country, and going to schools where rugby was the only proper sport left me with a passion for football, but no avenue to express myself. The nearest local club were Bristol City, but not being a native of that city meant that I didn’t feel affiliated with the club or the supporters. I did go and see them, but as a neutral rather than an excited youngster. It was at Ashton gate that I first saw the Blues play, when the west country club were enjoying a brief flirtation with success, although I don’t remember much. Only that it was before Gerry Gow, possibly the most ludicrously coiffured player ever, moved up to the academy.

So my teenage years were filled with a lot of playing and not much supporting. That was all to change when I was accepted by Manchester University. Why I put them top of the list I’ll never know, although my grandfather was born in Chorlton so I always think that might have swayed me. On arriving, I was surrounded for the first time by people who had had football instilled into them from an early age. I signed up for the college team, and began to train in the Students’ Union bar during freshers week. One of my flatmates was visited that first weekend by a friend from London who supported Tottenham. Conveniently they were playing the rags that Saturday, so off we went to Stretford to see the game. The most famous club in the world were pretty shit back then so there was no problem getting onto the Stretford End. I try to eclipse the afternoon from my memory now, but I do remember that Spurs lost 2-1 and my general opinion of the fans was that they were either from London or Wales and they whinged a lot, and had very little humour or humility.

Several weeks later, the same flatmate, a Notts County fan by trade, suggested we skip across Whitworth Park to see his boys play City. What a revelation! Mancunian humour, smiling faces and people who were pleased to talk to you just because you were stood next to them. By this time I’d found myself to be completely at ease in Manchester and for the first time in my life I was able to do my own thing and be my own man. The game, won by Paul Simpson’s twenty-five yard volley was the final piece in the puzzle. I bought a shirt at the souvenir shop and was at the Academy for all the remaining games of that promotion campaign (84-85 season). Over the next four years I was on the Kippax for all the home games as well as travelling to the away ones that my pittance of a grant would allow. Once I’d donned the silly hat and got the letters after my name I hung around, living on Arnside street for another year before my career decided things for me and I moved to London to “make it”.

I didn’t get to as many games over the next few years as I’d have liked, although I did get the sack from my prestigious job as guitar salesman in Camden for bunking off on the Saturday we played Bournemouth when a win would have put us back in the first division. Not such a bad thing when you think that I was free to go to Bradford the next week to see us clinch promotion in the most painful way possible. Only City could have been three up at half time and given away a penalty about a week into injury time, followed by letting Bradford take the lead early on before tricky Trevor Morley pounced in the 86th minute to give us the point we needed. Unemployment was eased by being there when we went up!

Since then I’ve found another Blue in the ludicrous business of making money out of Heavy Metal (although I’ve recently moved into a more sensible(?) part of the industry, VH-1 rather than MTV’s Headbangers’ ball) and yes he’s from Manchester. Anyway, to return to the point of this diatribe: “Why do you support City?” Mainly (ouch, intentional again) because I’m sure for most people there is a time when they find out who or what they are about. For me it happened when I’d got away from my constricted school and chose to move north. I’m sure the reason I support City was that I was so enraptured with Manchester. It was inevitable that I would ally myself with the club that really was part of the community I lived in, as well as representing the attitudes and circumstances of the people associated with it. City was and is the club that lives in the real world, not a glory-hunters’ paradise, not a financial machine with interest only in itself and its own propagation. Part of peoples’ lives, taken for what it is rather than a way to be superior, or part of the biggest gang in the country.

That’s why I can happily sing “City, we’re from Manchester” without feeling like a hypocritical wanker.

Jim Parsons (


Firstly it is great to hear more from our faraway subscribers and the more thoughts and anecdotes the better. However, I must voice my opinion against Nizam’s choice of manager of City. The Singapore manager may be good, but with experience in the Malaysian league, I couldn’t cope with his first two signings being Bruce Grobbelar and Micky Thomas. 🙂

Kevin Duckworth (

In case someone’s in the dark about this, during the recent match-throwing scandal many of the newspapers alluded to a mysterious Malaysian gambling syndicate who had been bribing Brucie etc. (alledgedly that is!).



I love Manchester United, they are great – I know that because I watch them on Sky TV all the time. I once drove past Manchester on my way to a wedding a few years ago but I didn’t have time to get to a match (next time maybe). My favourite player is Mark Hughes, but I think I will make it Andy Cole soon because he is worth more now.

They are the best team in the world and I love getting together with all my Man Utd supporter friends here in London to watch old videos of Bobby Charlton and George Best (some of them have only liked Man U for a couple of years since Liverpool haven’t been doing very well recently – I used to support Spurs until Gazza left, they’re boring now).

I love all of Man Utd’s strips and I have bought them all for sitting in front of the telly – my girlfriend wears one too (she loves Ryan Giggs but she still doesn’t understand the offside rule).

I once met a couple of blokes in a pub who were from Manchester but they supported a team called City – apparently only the really poor people from Manchester support them instead of United and it’s unheard of that someone from London would support City. I can’t understand why anyone would support a team who haven’t won anything in years. Some people support a team just because they were born there – they must be mad!

I think it originally appeared on RSS [Ashley]

David Zech (


Apr 20, 1995   Blackburn Rovers - Crystal Palace     2 - 1
Blackburn            39 26  8  5 78-35 86
Manch. U.            38 23  9  6 70-24 78
Nottingham F.        39 20 10  9 67-40 70
Liverpool            37 19 10  8 61-30 67
Newcastle            38 19 10  9 61-41 67
Leeds                38 17 12  9 52-35 63
Tottenham            37 16 11 10 59-48 59
Queens P.            38 15  8 15 56-55 53
Wimbledon            38 15  7 16 46-63 52
Arsenal              39 13 10 16 50-46 49
Southampton          37 11 15 11 55-58 48
Manch. C.            38 12 11 15 50-59 47
Sheffield W.         39 12 11 16 45-55 47
Chelsea              38 11 13 14 43-50 46
Coventry             38 11 13 14 39-56 46
Aston Villa          38 10 13 15 47-53 43
Everton              37 10 13 14 40-48 43
West Ham             37 11  9 17 38-46 42
Crystal P.           37 10 12 15 28-38 42
Norwich              39 10 12 17 34-49 42
Leicester            39  5  9 25 40-77 24
Ipswich              38  6  6 26 33-86 24

With thanks to Odd Magne


Thanks to David, Jim, The Mole, Charles, Colin, Alan, Ian, Kevin, The Mole & Paul.

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 #77