Newsletter #86

Hmmm! The words ‘thick’ and ‘fast’ come to mind! Literally 30 minutes after sending out MCIVTA 85 I had a fairly full number 86. It seems there’s a lot of speculation going on which is, in my opinion, just that. It’s a well-worn press device to weedle the truth out of some poor individual. They basically say that everyone and his cousin is getting the job in the hope that either they are right or that some unfortunate individual in the know accidentally lets the cat out of the bag thinking that the info has been leaked elsewhere.

Bolton beat Wolves last night and will now contest the play-off final against Reading where they must be seen as favourites. Although I’d like to see Rioch at Maine Road, it goes against the grain a little to wish bad luck on a club who are playing good football, so I’ll just wait and see.

We’ve plenty of opinion in this issue about managers and players as well as a belated QPR report from a chilly Martin Ford, read on….!


MANCHESTER CITY vs. QPR, Sunday 14th May 1995

This was decision day for the Premier title, everything hung on the results from Anfield and Upton Park.

On the City front I was in some confusion; the MEN had proclaimed the game was a near sell-out, with every ticket for the Kippax sold while elsewhere in the ground there were some 1700 tickets left. Just how did City know every seat in the Kippax would be taken? I was under the impression that it was personal choice whether you wanted to take up your seat there or your temporary seat elsewhere in the ground. Typical City.

I was quite looking forward to taking up my seat in the upper tier of the Kippax, to finally see what I’d been promised all season. I must admit that although I didn’t particularly like the outside of the Kippax, once inside the perimeter wall the stand looked much better. The disappointing thing about the stand is that it’s still nowhere near complete. Both the outside and inside still need a lot of work to get it upto scratch! So, having climbed up about four flights of stairs I emerged out onto the top tier. The view was pretty good and it was surpassed when I eventually got to my seat, Block FF (Umbro end), Row 52 (very back row) Seat 172. I could see over the Main Stand toward St*****rd, I could see the city centre and out towards Cheshire, very impressive. As for the pitch view, although high up it still afforded a good panoramic view of the pitch; it’s a different perspective that high. My one complaint about the stand is due to the altitude: it was flaming freezing. I dread to think what it will be like in the middle of Winter. However, that may be due to the wind whipping through the holes in the stand. Sorry I digress, now for the game.

City came out with what appeared to be the usual formation of four attacking players (Rösler, Quinn, Walsh and the take your pick of either Dino or Buzzer) and the rest of the team were the usual formation, including Budgie in goal. Although City knew there was nothing to play for, I still expected them to show some pride and reward the fans with a good performance. However, as soon as the game kicked off it became clear that City just weren’t interested, they just didn’t appear to want to know. The crowd was also very subdued with most more interested in events elsewhere. QPR showed all the early endeavour and Ferdinand, Sinclair and Impey were a constant thorn in City’s side. After 13 minutes QPR took the lead, with another comical goal. City just didn’t defend a through ball and eventually an out of position Budgie pushed the ball out wide to Curle who let it slip under his foot; before they could make amends the cross had been flicked inside the far post by Ferdinand. City had fallen behind to a soft goal and to perfectly honest it was about all they deserved. Still City were very lazy in their play and didn’t wake up. After 26 minutes City were on level terms when Quinn controlled the ball, turned on the edge of the box and hit a screamer into the roof of the net. At last the bit of skill the game had been waiting for; maybe now City would wake up? Unfortunately the game drifted off again. The crowd however had some good news and their spirits lifted when first the news came through that Shearer had scored at Anfield and then Michael Hughes had scored for the Hammers. It certainly brought joy to the fans but it did little to improve a pitiful game.

The second half wasn’t much better, City were very poor but at least QPR looked like they wanted to win the game and showed some commitment! Still the crowd wouldn’t get behind the Blues and were far more intent on listening to how the rags were doing; to be fair that was far more interesting. The unthinkable started to materialise when the rags and Liverpool both scored equalisers, which meant that the atmosphere grew more suppressed. The game seemed to be drifting further away from City when Ferdinand took advantage of a Kernaghan slip (after my praise for him, it just had to be the kiss of death), and squared the ball to enable Dichio to score for Rangers. It was once more deserved; Rangers had really looked the most likely to score.

Once again though City managed to scrape themselves back into the game after Dino was fouled(?) in the box, about all he did all game. Curle took responsibility for the spot kick and drilled it against Roberts’ legs. However, he reacted quick enough to prod the rebound home and get City back on level terms. This did very little to lift the crowd or the players and once more the game settled into the tedium of before. City made a double substitution and replaced Walsh and Dino with Simpson and Thomas; even this move did little to inject some life into the game. As Dino went off Rösler said something to him; he was warmly applauded off and he waved to the crowd in response. Personally I think that was his final game as a City player. Just as the game seemed to be heading for a 2-2 draw, up popped Ferdinand to score the winner in the 89th minute. However, this seemed to draw little response from the fans who were still awaiting news from Upton Park. That came slightly after full time at Maine Road. The City players were given some boos as they tried to do a lap of honour (which to be fair was deserved) and then the news of the rags’ draw came through and the atmosphere lifted; the fans started singing and clapping. Of the players only Quinn went on a near lap of honour; the rest mulled around before trooping off.

So City finished the season with a very poor performance and very little pride shown in the 3-2 defeat against QPR (and as it later transpired, it indirectly(?) meant the end of BH as manager). Once more City fans were left contemplating what might have been. The only thing we were left to smile about was the fact that United blew the title; once again our only celebration is at their downfall. When are we going to be rewarded for our own endeavours?

So we’re left with very little success to look back upon; does it inspire confidence for next season? We’ll just have to wait until August to see how everything turns out.

Martin Ford (


GMR are saying that Brian Kidd is the man to replace Brian Horton. They’re not naming their source but they don’t usually stick their necks out like this without a reliable source. Ken Ramsden, United secretary(?) said that if City had made an approach to Kidd he’d be very disappointed with them since it was in the middle of their Cup Final preparations etc.

If this has come from the club (which apparently it has), it smacks of the fiasco with Joe Royle after Mel Machin was sacked. Supposing Kidd doesn’t want the job (which wouldn’t be at all surprising – Ramsden said he was “Red through and through”) – who would take it knowing they weren’t first choice?

The Mole


City have now issued an official denial that they have made an approach in Brian Kidd. When asked whether he’d been contacted, Kidd laughed and said “no comment.”

The Mole


Word is (on BBC North West news) that Kidd has gone to Maine Road for a meeting with Lee…

Dave Bradbury (


Francis Lee has dismissed as “utter rubbish” the speculation about Brian Kidd. United say Kidd has a 3-year contract and he will not be released anyway. Bruce Rioch “won’t even think about anything else” until the play-offs are sorted out.

The Mole


Translated from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 18.5.95

An official charge has been issued against professional footballer Maurizio Gaudino which is currently being processed by the Magistrates Court in Mannheim. The 28 year old international must now reckon with a prosecution in connection with the December allegations of fraud, racketeering and covering up a criminal act. This was officially confirmed by State Prosecutor Ulrich Dietz. It isn’t however, yet clear when the court will reach a decision whether to proceed or not. Gaudino will be accused of insurance fraud in connection with stolen cars.

Michael Brehl (


According to this morning’s GLR reports, FL has lined up George Graham to fill the manager’s job. He isn’t suspended from the game but may well be after an FA hearing coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m not too sure about this move – it’s a fine line between my desperate desire for success and pride in City’s reputation for ‘proper’, if inconsistent, football.

Adam Joinson (


An unnamed 3rd party has informed Maine Road that George Graham would “jump at the chance” of joining City. He’s also set for a lengthy legal battle with the FA during the close season.

Bruce Rioch is said to be “furious” over reports linking him to Maine Road but he has not ruled out the move, just the timing. He’s quoted as saying “how can I comment on something I know nothing about?”

Dave Bassett is set to accept an extended contract at Sheffield United.

Peter Reid has agreed terms with Sunderland and will sign a 2-year contract on Monday after being assured of money for players.

There are rumours linking Trevor Francis with the City job :-((

The Mole


Football fans at home and abroad will be able to follow the build-up to the FA Cup final – and the big match itself – on the Internet for the first time this year.

PA’s “The Road to Wembley” gives background information on Everton and Manchester United – the clubs, the players and the history of one of the best known competitions in world sport.

The service currently provides a taster of the event and will be built up day-by-day.

During the match, there will be running reports from PA Sport’s four-man team at Wembley, pictures as they are sent by PA’s photographers, updated statistics and sound bites of the key moments from the BBC Radio 5 Live commentary.

This will be followed by post-match analysis, reaction, graphics on how the goals were scored and a chance to vote by e-mail for the Internet Man of the Match.

Fans can access the service through PA’s Internet server by entering:

The above was taken without kind permission from theElectronic Telegraph [Ashley]


As most of you will know, Brian Horton was sacked on 16 May. At 2pm Colin Barlow is reported to have read out the following statement:

“The board of directors have given consideration to the manager’s position and today he has had an amiable meeting with the chairman. In view of the team’s performances over the season, it has been decided that it is in the best interests of the football club that his services be dispensed with immediately.”


“The position has now been advertised. I’m not going to comment on whether the board has someone else in mind.”

Apparently Horton forced Lee’s hand by asking him to unequivocally clarify his position(!) This was clearly on the cards since, despite reports of Lee’s support for Horton, Saturday’s football Pink contains a speech from Lee which includes the following quotes:

“I don’t believe that escaping relegation is any great reason to celebrate.”

“We should be thinking in terms of trophies and European football.”

“With the players we have at our disposal at Maine Road I honestly felt that we would finish in the top six this season…”

“… on the playing side this has been another disappointing season.”

The article finished in typical MUEN style- a picture captioned: “Just one of the views from the new Umbro Stand at Maine Road”; the view looking across at the old Kippax!

City now owe Brian Horton about 250,000 pounds. The Guardian reports Bruce Rioch, Dave Bassett and Mick McCarthy as potential successors, whilst the Mirror names Dave Bassett and Ray Harford. It also rules out Mick McCarthy, Bruce Rioch and Joe Kinnear. Personally, I wish Horton well and thank him for some exciting, open football but he never looked a trophy-winner. My choice for new manager would be Bobby Robson, followed by Bruce Rioch or Steve Coppell. Brian Kidd or Alan Smith? Maybe. Bassett or McCarthy? Definitely not. Whoever it is, Lee has a month or two, and his personal prestige, to acquire someone worthy of the post and that person should be given at least three seasons’ support (bar relegation) to achieve something.

Congratulations to Blackburn and Andy Cole.

Paul Newton (


Somebody told me that the souvenir shop’s lease runs out soon (how long soon is I don’t know) and City don’t plan to renew the lease. So are City finally going to get all the profits from the shop into the coffers? Well, as is typical of events at Maine Road, it appears as though the current leaseholder will take City to court to try to get the lease renewed, so are City going to be dragged into a legal wrangle? How much of this is true I don’t know and as for where the source of the info came from I don’t know that either but is it worth anything as a bit of gossip?

Martin Ford (

There is a piece on this in ‘Virtual Manchester’ ( The owner who has run the place since the 1960’s will contest the termination as he claims that the club (for club read Wiggy) gave him some assurances back before time began that the lease was his forever and ever and ever…



I thought you might be interested in one or two former Blues now plying their trade in the Endsleigh League. My own team Crewe (I’m a season ticket holder) has got two: Neil Lennon is a full Nothern Ireland international who City let go as a teenager, but then don’t they they let all their best young players go? He is an excellent midfielder who can both win the ball and use it when he gets it. He was selected for the PFA second division team this season and, after the one year left on his contract at Crewe, will probably move on to a big club. I think Neil made one or two appearnaces for City as a full-back. The other former Blue at Crewe is Steve Macauley. He is the team captain and was voted player of the season this year. He was a member of the City youth team that won the FA Youth Cup in the late 1980s (with Paul Lake, David White perhaps, though I am not sure). He was released by City without ever figuring at a senior level; he was probably a bit scrawny. He played for Fleetwood in the Northern Premier and was picked up by Crewe three years ago. He is another player who should go far, but then Crewe have got a good reputation for producing players – Platt, Rob Jones, Ashley Ward (another former Blue) and Geoff Thomas (though we keep quiet about him).

Andrew Geddes (


Like most of the contibutors to MCIVTA, I think that getting rid of BH was the right thing to do. A decent man but one who was IMHO out of his depth. This of course brings the question of his replacement. If the bookies aren’t taking bets then the replacement has already been decided on and it’s just a matter of time before the name is announced 😉

So who are the possibilities:

Rioch and Todd would be my personal choice, though I suspect much will depend on the play-offs (come on Wolves!!!) Franny and Bruce go way back: They were in the same team at Bolton and apparently live close to each other these days. Let’s hope they bring half the Bolton team with them if it is these two.

Pleat: is an excellent coach, who churns out good, young players at a no hope club called Luton. He turned down the Spurs job earlier in the year though…

Bassett: Like someone said, another Peter Reid. But then again you don’t see his teams roll over and die like BH’s have done on a number of occasions. Rumoured to be on his way to Sheffield Wednesday to replace Trev.

Mick McCarthy: Has done a good job at Millwall, has got them playing a passing game. Likes the “diamond” midfield system. Produced some good youngsters (Kennedy to Liverpool for £2 million for example).

Kidd: Won’t leave OT.

Coppell: Can’t see it myself!

There are of course a host of managers collecting dole cheques at the moment but I wouldn’t like to see Souness (garbage man-management), Walker or Kendall at the Academy.

Fantasy time: Beckenbauer or Cruyff: Don’t think so, sadly 🙁

Of all of these I reckon it will be Rioch, the delay in naming him only lasting as long as Bolton look like going up.

Presumably Mr. X will have some money to spend once he arrives, which begs the question: What sort of players do we need?

There’s a case for strengthening in every position. We shouldn’t have Burridge as a back up goalie. The defence needs sorting out urgently, we need a ball winner and a right winger in midfield and a replacement for Paul Walsh at some stage. Gaudino should be retained.

Alan Hansen once said that you can judge a team by its strength through the middle. We’ve got Coton in goal, Curle and Kernaghan at the back, Flitcroft and Gaudino in the middle and Rösler up front. Not good enough to put the fear of god into AC Milan (yet 8-))) but a damn sight better than our final league position. If Rioch and Todd do come to Maine Road, I’m sure they’ll be able to fill in the missing bits.

Dave Bradbury (


Well whoever we get as manager will obviously bring in some players from his old team; look at Kendall when he joined City and then Everton.

Here are my suggestions of managers and the players they can bring and those to leave behind.

Rioch & Todd
+ve McAteer, Stubbs, Lee, Thompson, McGinlay
-ve Paatelainen, McDonald, Phillips, Coleman
+ve Ben Thatcher, Clive Allen
-ve Mitchell
+ve nobody
-ve everbody
+ve Johnson, Oakes, and his other young guns
-ve his old boys

Personally I think we should get Danny Bergara as he always gives an understandable interview.

Mark Hampson (


Regarding Horton, I think it was inevitable from the start of the decline this season, but I must commend Frannie for sticking with BH ’til the end of the season. I believe it was the right thing to do because we now have time to advertise the job and take time over the decision of who goes into the hot-seat.

I know for a fact from a very reliable source that Kidd was offered the job about 2 months ago by Frannie but said he would let him know. This was a lot more positive than the answer last season of “No”. I understand most people say he’ll never leave ‘the scum’ but when his time does come there, (5 years or so), how long will it be before he manages his own United team and not Fergie’s. When Fergie retires it will still be his team, not Kidd’s.

Having said that, do we want a Rag with no actual 1st team experience? Rioch was offered the job last Summer but wanted to see out his contract. He’s a very honorable man but the contract is up this year, so we may now have a chance.

Bassett? I quite like Bertie as a manager for small clubs. However, we are not small and his football would go back to the days of Reid. Long-ball garbage.

McCarthy? Definitely wouldn’t mind. He’s confessed on many occasions that the first results he looks for are City and Celtic. I met him when he played for us and he loved it here.

Bobby Gould? Just an outsider but is responsible for finding Curle, Phelan, Scales, Barton and Holdsworth at Wimbledon and Babb at Coventry. All of them cost him next to nothing and were then sold for over 2 million, or are valued at over 2 million. Could be a good idea as a coach or scout.

Graham? We might win something but the football would be boring as hell.

Having said all that I don’t know which one I’d prefer but I’d guess at it going to Rioch if Bolton don’t get promotion, or Kidd.

P.S. What has Coppell ever proved? He quit Palace after taking them down.

Jarrod Bull (


In response to John Robinson’s message re: Boozin’ Blues…

If anyone needs a reason why Brian Horton needed to go, this should do. Letting your players go out on a bender in mid-season is totally unprofessional – getting tanked is bound to affect your performance on the field. People keep saying that City have a good squad on paper but their performances aren’t up to scratch – well, it’s no wonder is it?

I remember an article in MCIVTA several issues back about City’s mid-season visit to one of the Balearic islands (Majorca?) and I read that Horton said to his players something like “don’t be out late guys (wink, wink)” – which seems to indicate that what he meant was “Go out and get pissed out of your heads, guys.” Now, it’s bad enough that professional sportsmen get into this state during the season but when the manager is seen to be actively encouraging it, it becomes disgraceful. Isn’t Niall Quinn supposed to be a 20 pint-a-night guy? Blimey – no wonder the players want Horton to stay!!!

Getting rid of Horton was the best thing City did this season.

Jim Needham (


Another disappointing season at the Academy so here’s a few ideas for transfers during the summer. Hopefully Bruce Rioch and Colin Todd will be appointed and the players who stay will hopefully be better motivated and more consistent.

It’s time to admit that Quinn (1.5M), Phelan (1M), Vonk (500,000), Dibble (200,000) and Beagrie (400,000) are all finished at Maine Road. Niall needs a change as he can obviously play better under the right conditions – just watch him for the Republic. The others are just not consisent enough to play for a top side such as City!

So with 3.6M from sales and a bit extra from our generous chairman(!) the new manager can set about building a winning side.

TC has spent too long injured and much as I admire him he is getting old and it’s time for a change. Relegated clubs can often offer good bargains and I think Nigel Martyn is such a player. So part-ex TC plus 1M for a younger England class keeper.

Defenders I have a problem with. I think that we can make do and perhaps sign a few younger players from the lower divisions when needed. There aren’t any obvious bargains at the moment.

A central midfielder who can give 90 minutes every week is essential, preferably with experience to complement Lomas and Flitcroft. My man would be Michael Thomas of Liverpool (1.5M). He has had a bad time but is essentially a good ball winner and passer of the ball who used to be able to get forward to great effect for the Arsenal. Having sold the inconsistent Beagrie, I’d try one of the youngsters on the left, changing him with the battling Lomas.

We need two new strikers in my opinion. Assuming we can’t afford Collymore or Armstrong, how about a move for Ian Wright (1.5-2M)? He could give us a good couple of seasons and has had his problems with Arsenal. For bargains, the relegated clubs can offer good value. I’d go for Julian Jochim (2M) or Bruce Dyer (1.5M). All these players would complement Rösler well.

So here would be my team:

Foster  Curle   Kernaghan   Edghill
 Flitcroft  Thomas  Lomas/Youngster
 Summerbee   Rösler   Wright


Andy Hill
Good utility defender
Dave Brightwell
Anywhere but left back!
Ian Brightwell
Unlucky not to make first 11
Bit player
Paul Lake
Please God
Julian Joachim
Eventually to replace Wright – can also play on wings

So that’s 3.6M from sales and 6M spent. Surely City could find 2.4M?

Andy McKillop (


As people are talking about players we could buy, I thought I would add my thoughts.

Keepers – I think TC can continue for a couple of years yet but Dibble and Margetson should go. The player I would like to see as a replacement is Shaka Hislop of Reading. He is a native of Trinidad or Tobago and is a friend of Brian Lara. He stands 6’6″ in his socks and has an amazing sense of balance and lots of pace – he is one of the main reasons that Reading finished above Bolton, Tranmere, Wolves etc.

Defenders – why did we let Hendry go? Can you imagine a more perfect pair than Hendry and Curle if the latter lost his attitude and injury problems? Hendry has improved since he left us – probably Moran’s influence but we may as well have sent him back to Blackburn in gift wrapping with bows on for the price we got. I have not seen Kernaghan play much but he always seemed reasonable when at Boro – if Bruce Rioch became manager (please) perhaps he could make Kernaghan play consistently well?

Full backs – Edghill will be good if he stays clear of injury and plays in a settled back four – Terry Venables certainly seems to rate him as he made the recent B squad without playing many first team games for City – then again Barry Venison! Teddy Sheringham! – maybe El Tel’s approval is not worth too much!

Phelan – are all City fans as sickened by him as I am when he whinges in the press about loyalty bonuses etc. while playing consistently badly. Bring back “Flymo” Pointon who played like he was proud to be at City.

Midfield – many people would like to see McAteer at Maine Road – personally I think either Draper or Collins (Celtic) would be better choices. What we really need is someone who can do what McNab did for us during our promotion season. Earlier in the season we were linked with McCall of Rangers who I always admired when he was at Bradford and Everton – he has played in Europe with Rangers and in the World Cup for Scotland and may be the ideal player to help Flitcroft develop. He should be available relatively cheaply if the Geordie Fat Boy (Gascoigne) signs for Rangers.

Up front Quinn seems to have lost it – I do not think that we will be able to sign a name striker such as Ferdinand, Collymore etc. and considering the money wasted on players such as Furlong, Amokachi to name but two I think that City must be very careful. Jan-Aage Fjørtoft is a player I would have liked to see at Maine Road and I think he would have linked well with Uwe – shame that Robson got him first. Perhaps Gerry Creaney (Portsmouth) or Eoin Jess (Aberdeen) would be worth considering?

Whoever the new manager is I hope that he subscribes to the passing school of football – I could not take another “hoof it up to Quinny” Reid-type manager.

James Hawkins (


At last a positive move from FL. Brian Horton’s job’s been on the line all season and it’s not been fair on the club, the players or the fans. I must admit I think Brian Horton’s a good bloke. However, he is clearly not the man for City as anyone at the QPR match could clearly see. The team’s performance on Sunday was their worst this season. It was clear that the players just couldn’t be bothered. To me that indicates that Horton as a manager can no longer motivate the team. Anyway, after forking out 170 pounds for a season ticket next year I hope to be seeing a bit more sucess at Maine Road. I just hope they can find a decent manager willing to take on the job.



The answer in a nutshell: no.

I feel desperately sorry for Brian and David Moss – all in all, Tuesday was a bit of a bummer for them. I do feel that the club haven’t been fair to him. Let’s have a look at the evidence.

City lose last game against QPR. Both Horton and Lee decide that the season was not good enough for a club like Manchester City.
Lee states that the future of Horton won’t be decided until late June when there is a board meeting.
The morning papers state that he has been sacked. Horton says in MEN that these claims were “news” to him. North West Tonight and Teletext say he has been sacked.

It has all been an absolute disgrace.

I do believe that Horton should have been given longer, preferably more than a year. How a manager is supposed to create a trophy-winning team in less than two seasons is a mystery to me.

Alex Ferguson at United got 6-7 years to succeed in their goal: to win the league. I have read Fergie’s autobiography recently and he said: “at no point in my time at Old Trafford was my position as team manager put under threat.”

The whole situation has just been a joke.

I honestly do think that we `were’ a lot better off than we were last season, although the league table may not explain. BH had the team playing great football that was a joy to watch. We had a good midfield and a great attack. However, the defence was shite. That was the only flaw in the squad – but maybe of course a little extra strength in depth.

As for the suggestions of the new man: Franx Beckenbauer. Don’t make me laugh; he won’t come to City – and we know it.

The likes of Dave Bassett, George Graham and Joe Kinneer have come up. Having got rid of Reid, I don’t really want to see City returning to the donkey football. And the aforementioned managers will want to play soccer that way.

My vote would lie with Bruce Rioch. I don’t know if he will come, but I would want him to come. He is a known manager and a good one at that. And he will play `football’, not hoofball.

What do you think? Give me a call.

David Whitwell (


So BH’s services have finally been “dispensed with”. Well it has been coming for a while and I’m sure that Brian knew it. It remains to be seen whether or not there will be the ‘Big summer shake-up’ that we have been promised (let’s hope we get it this year). I’m sure you’ll agree that a club of City’s size and stature should not only have a big name manager but big name players as well. So come on Franny, dig deep in your pockets. You must have a bit of spare cash or surely you wouldn’t be able to afford to swan off on luxury cruises every other week!

Let’s hope the closed season brings some big names and some big changes to the club, so we can get some silverware in the cabinet and which will enable us to stick two very large fingers up at the Red scumbags we have to deal with every day!!

Here’s hoping…

Dave Ward (


“It’s all about opinions” (Alan Shearer)

Well, what an exciting few days. For myself and Tom (son #3, aged 16) Sunday saw our first visit to the Academy this season, having been put off by the membership arrangement instituted at the beginning of the season. We met Roger (Haigh) and daughter Alice, and Paul (Howarth) at the Old Abbey before the game for a pint; good to be able to put faces to names at last. From what Roger was saying, I think we must have stood very near to one another in the old Kippax on a number of occasions. Disappointed not to see any more MCIVTAites, but maybe next season. Anyone know if Kevin is still alive?

Inevitably the atmosphere at the game was odd, with I suspect a large percentage of the crowd being diverted by events elsewhere. Certainly, these diverted my attention at points from what was in retrospect a crap performance by City; being these days a rare visitor to the Academy, I am inclined to be pretty tolerant, on the basis that it is just good to be there at all in the first place. So whilst the result didn’t surprise me overmuch, the true sloppiness of the performance didn’t really hit home until later that day.

One thing I did notice was that BH didn’t appear to be very animated during the game, which, given his propensity for jumping up and down and going bug-eyed, I wonder whether he already had a strong intimation of the fate awaiting him? Whilst I thought we might hold on to BH on financial grounds, when the news came through that he had gone, I wasn’t at all surprised. I don’t think he was up to it, but I do think he is a very honest guy, and that he was handed the proverbial poisoned chalice by wiggy and his chums.

Speaking of chums, John Maddock, our much-loved ex “General Manager” was on the radio yesterday after the news came through, basically slagging off the club for undermining BH. Pot calling the kettle black or what I ask? Complete and twat are words that spring to mind …

So what of this season – well, it is clear that a number of the current squad should be on their way – Phelan and Vonk for starters (why, oh why did we get rid of Colin Hendry?), Dibs also, and Margetson should either be made the substitute goalie or also sent packing, and a new reserve for TC brought in. Gaudino – well, having only seen him for less than 90 minutes I was not impressed; very lazy and undoubtedly a luxury – and we can’t afford luxuries at the moment – I think the asking price for him could be better spent elsewhere.

Looking at some of the other names that were mentioned in the last MCIVTA – I am inclined to agree with Roger about Andy Hill. No star, sure, but the times I have seen him live and on the box he has always seemed to me a competent and steady footballer, just the sort of guy you need in your squad to fill in now and again. Keep him for another season at least. I would not sell Niall (well, I am half Irish…) but given the kerfuffle that has popped up now and again about City’s training methods, how can we criticise any of the squad for not seeming 100% fit? He had a belter against Blackburn, and I also would not be happy to see someone who is so publicly committed to the club ditched a season after coming back after a major injury.

Baby Buzza – well, he did a passable imitation of dad’s crouch on Sunday, but not a lot else; I have however seen him give tremendous performances for Swindon, and given his age, I feel he lacks confidence and proper coaching. Hoddle to Horton/Moss is a bit of a comedown yes? Paul Walsh has come in for a bit of stick as well in these pages but I would also keep him one more season – as supersub? or to help out the lads in the reserves like Mike and Griffiths who don’t seem to be making any progress (at least from these soft southern reaches). The rest of the regular squad – well, old and young, I think they are good players and given a decent manager could come on rapidly. We have seen them play superbly at times.

Next season – who will be our manager; I’m hoping it is either Rioch or Brian Kidd; no Happy Harry Bassett please – I think he is a great guy, and a great manager – but not for us. Likewise McCarthy. Rioch’s Bolton I saw at Ashton Gate last season, and although they only won 1-0, with a goal in the 29th second (hey, just like being at home down at the Gate you know) they looked a class above the other promotion rivals I have seen. ‘Boro were shite – although it was very early in the season, Tranmere very ordinary, Wolves I missed and Reading neat and well-organised. However, Bolton were the only team that looked to me to have what it takes to stay in the Premiership.

Kidd. I know he has no management experience per se, but much as I dislike FungusFace, I am sure Kidd must have learnt an enormous amount from him. He must be closely involved in the coaching, and no-one can fault the Stretforders for their fitness and attitude. I have nothing but admiration for those of you who managed to witness this season’s Derby games live and then go into work amongst the heathen hordes. Even at this distance those Derby results hurt.

I suspect Coppell could be OK, though I am not keen on himself myself. Not just the Rags past; I find him an intelligent and astute commmentator when punditing on the radio but I am not convinced he is up to running a club with our past and hopes for the future.

Congrats to Blackburn for a fully-deserved title. I thought they came in for some totally unreasonable criticism in the media; always being compared to the Rags myth. They got more goals and won more points and they had injury problems as bad as the Rags. I thought the demeanour of the club and the players put United to shame; I don’t know if any of you saw clips of the Ewood Park (Eeh Bah Goom Park according to Electric Blue!) party on Monday night but there was none of that hideous Nuremburg Rally triumphalism that seems to rear its head at such occasions down the swamp. Now let’s just hope that Duncan Disorderly does the bizzo this Saturday. As Dan Rigby noted in the last MCIVTA, it is bad having to rely on your deadly rival’s pratfalls to provide any pleasure in the season, but hey (as they say), couldn’t you just feel the relief at the end of the Blackburn and United games?

BTW – Someone pointed out that without Danson giving that farcical penalty on Wednesday for the Rags, there would have been no Sky sport “Super Sunday”. Fishy? I guess the only suprise was that the Upton Park game didn’t have the previously mandatory 10 minutes injury time. Is the tide turning? And cracking goal Michael Hughes – wonder where he came from?

A quick note to end, and to embarrass Ashley. It has been a delight for me and I guess many others to stumble across MCIVTA. As he has noted, it is damn hard to get any real news outside Greater Manchester, never mind twice or thrice a week. Great job, Ash. A word of thanks to Paul H, Martin Ford and other regular match reporters – I don’t know how you do it, as I find I get so involved in most games that to attempt to write – or even note down – a clear picture of what is happening is all but impossible.

Jeremy Poynton ( or


Thanks to Martin, David (x3), Paul, Andy, Jim, Jeremy, Andrew, Mark, The Mole, James, Jarrod, Michael, Adam & Andrew.

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 #86