Newsletter #99

We are just trundling along on the news front as absolutely nothing appears to be happening. The biggest news is that Villa have at last signed someone after 243 failed attempts but at a vastly overpriced £2.5m for the very average Gareth Southgate (from Palace). Shaggy (Palace list operator) says he is amazed that anyone could be so gullible as to pay in excess of £2m each for both Southgate and Salako who he says are both very mundane players. There is certainly a case to be made for staying away from the transfer market at the moment.

We have a mammoth ‘Why Blue’ from Roger Haigh with loads of memories and plenty of opinion.

This will definitely be the last issue of MCIVTA this week as I’m off to England early Thursday morning. Probably Sod’s Law will choose this very moment to kick-in and Frannie will appoint a manager and spend £10m on players, an event which would undoubtedly result in my mailbox breaking the 100 mailings barrier!

** To order the MCIVTA T-shirt see MCIVTA 97, deadline 15th July**


According to local radio this morning (Friday), Franny has confirmed that if the two candidates for the manager do not come off he is prepared to take the job on himself.

Is this an ego trip or what? It’s a matter of time until the old kit gets pulled on methinks…

Andy Gordon (


Latest on the managerial front is that Ball is becoming hot favouirite; the paper states that he and Franny would form a partnership. They both share a love for horses, played in the same international team and went to the same school together as lads as well as coming from the same part of Bolton. I still prefer Graham to Ball if he is cleared, although Ball could mature into a good manager as soon as his balls drop.

Roger Davies (


After the initial fixture list has been produced, along come Sky TV and decide who they want to show live. Fortunately City have only been picked twice (whereas United are on 5 times) and the games they affect are:

Saturday Sept 9th Arsenal (H) k.o. 15:00
Sunday Sept 10th Arsenal (h) k.o. 16:00

The other game is away to Blackburn on Dec 26th which stays on the same day but becomes a 20:00 k.o.

Martin Ford (


The Electronic Telegraph reports McCarthy as saying that City have not approached him about the managerial position and anyway, he wants to stay at Millwall! Hasn’t he heard that the job was advertised so City were for a change, doing thigs the correct way and not approaching people illegally. OK, I realise that I’m living in cloud cuckoo land!



Cantona will be available for United’s game against Liverpool which has been moved back to 1st October, so the derby might not be his first appearance since January.

Paul Howarth (


BH is suing City for £200,000 as he claims the club have broken an agreement they made with him.

The Mole


News on Ceefax this morning (Wednesday) was that BH is going to sue City for £200k because City have not settled his severence pay. A spokesman for his solicitors said that he regretted having to take this action against City but that he was not happy with the way they had handled his dismissal. No surprises here then!

Darren Burke (


Just got back from Disneyworld in Orlando. Had a skyblue T-shirt on, with the inscription: MCFC Premier League Champs 95-96. Mickey Mouse threw me out as I was taking Fantasy Land to the extremes!

Kevin Duckworth (


Interview with FL on BBC local breakfast news. Asked his views on George Graham and whether he was felt to be a contender he replied that he had always admired him (GG) as a player in his (FL’s) playing days and as a manager but he had “a little problem to sort out first” as we know 🙁 “before he can get back into football.” News on the street seems to suggest that FL is waiting until mid-July before making any decisions- There must be a coincidence here!

I take it readers have seen the fixture list – first game Cantona is available is guess what: Man U****d vs. the Blues Oct 14. This will be a must for Sky TV. Unless we improve on last season the last game vs. Liverpool at home looks worrying although apart from this one the last few games don’t look too bad. Except Liverpool (H) on May 4 and Man U*****d (H) April 6, we have Wimbledon (A), Sheff Weds (H), Villa (A). Sorry to mention the rags 3 times but Ince to Inter Milan and Hughes to Chelsea (why not us? He would have done a good job at Maine Road despite being an ex-red); is this the start of their decline? Let’s hope so!

Alan Lingard (


There seems to be an element of the farcical about everything to do with City these days, but the latest managerial fiasco must rank alongside some of Whitehall’s finest offerings. I doubt that I’m alone in thinking that we could have done worse than to hold on to Brian Horton for the time being, in the absence of a firm candidate to replace him. I don’t know if Francis Lee et al had made the misguided assumption (as many fans appear to have done) that the club was so big they’d be fighting off the best managers in the country; as it is, Lee seems to have demonstrated a worrying ineptitude in handling the situation and, if the papers are to be believed, we’re now left with Hobson’s choice — if that!

Perhaps Franny’s comments to the press last week about maybe taking on the job himself were really just to tease us, and a sign that he has everything well under control with, who knows, Kenny Dalglish in the final acrimonious stages of breaking his contract at Blackburn to take over the reins; but I think not. Right now it looks more like George Graham or nowt.

Personally, I should be sad to see Graham arrive at Maine Road, even assuming the FA deems him innocent enough of the charges he faces to walk straight into another managerial position. Two reasons spring readily enough to mind: I don’t like the style of football he advocates and, secondly, I don’t think it would suit City anyway. For all the criticisms that were levelled at us last season, most would have admitted that the team did put on some very good performances under Horton: against Liverpool, Spurs and Everton at Maine Road, for example, and away against Blackburn, of course. The decisive factor in these matches was that City were playing to their strengths, and the emphasis was on mounting flowing attacks, hardly something Graham is renowned for.

I think the main reason Graham was successful at Arsenal was that his direct approach fitted in well with their philosophy. I just don’t see this same approach working at all well at Maine Road, even though identifying a footballing “philosophy” at the Academy in recent times would be a difficult task. Undoubtedly, the bloke has his head screwed on to a greater extent than Horton ever had, and a clear idea of what he wants out of a side, but I don’t think he’ll get what he wants out of City without a total upheaval, and a change of personnel for which we simply don’t have the money.

It’s a sad fact to have to face, but lack of funds is the main reason why City are not going to be seriously challenging for the Premiership for the next few years, regardless of who’s managing us. With the domestic transfer market having gone berserk, and only the richest clubs able to consider even the likes of Chris Armstrong, there’s no way we can currently hope to buy our way much above mid-table. This being the case, I’d rather be concentrating on playing an entertaining style of football, which attracts praise from outside as well as inside the club, and developing some self-respect. I think Horton verged on achieving the former at times; with a bit of defensive tightening up, we might now attain the consistency necessary for the latter. My gut feeling, though, is that Graham would want to turn everything on its head and, to mix a metaphor, throw the baby out with the bath-water.

With things as they are, I would almost rather see Franny take the job on himself, at least until a more suitable candidate shows an interest. I certainly won’t be rooting for George at his hearing.

Hoping to be proved wrong,

Martin Watts (


The guessing game continues… Just who will be the new man at the helm of City? Although the speculation continues and names are passed around we’re still none the wiser! The Evening News carried a comment on Friday night asking questions which needed to be answered. This even had some effect as Lee responded to them but still gave no clearer signs as to who’s destined to end up in the Maine Road hot-seat. He still said there’s still two men in the frame, though he actually seemed to deny that he’d approached George Graham(!), so who would this leave? Alan Ball’s name now seems to be at the forefront, with one of the Sunday papers claiming his ‘relationship’ with Lawrie McMenemy is strained. It just seems like the media are none the wiser and are throwing names into the hat just to try and get some response.

What worries me is the fact that pre-season training draws ever closer and we still seem to be no nearer an answer. Obviously City can’t compete in the transfer market until a manager is found. However, Lee has also stated that City wouldn’t be in a position to bid for the likes of Collymore and Ferdinand because of financial constraints! (Bring back PJS; at least he made money available, on second thoughts, don’t bother; look at the mess City are in!) Also on the transfer front, Colin Barlow offered an insight into why they didn’t take up the option to buy Gaudino. He claimed that it might not have been beneficial to buy a player that the new manager didn’t want. That’s fine, but why try and sell Quinn in that case? Who says the next manager wouldn’t want him? With pre-season training starting on July 10th (also Graham’s FA inquiry date) it’s about time everything was sorted out. Look at the speed with which the other teams have got their managers; just why are City lagging behind?

There’s also some specualtion about players on the move. Firstly Andy Hill has been linked with Reidy up at Sunderland (as has ‘tricky’ Holden for that matter). Horton might come back to Maine Road, this time with money (£500k) for Simpson and Griffiths and take them back to Huddersfield. So that might be three players off (possibly four if Quinn moves to Portugal), which would surely mean the squad has got to be strengthened!

When you look at other players on the move it only seems to highlight the necessity for City to get their act together (and plough some money into players?) Bergkamp, Gullit (this has got to be a winner), Ferdinand, Armstrong, Hughes. Most teams seem to be buying (except the Rags), so what’s going to be left for the Blues, or are the board prepared to stumble along?

Martin Ford (


It’s time to be realistic. We are not going to win anything for a few years. The state of the club is not good enough. The lack of activity on the manager/transfer front suggests that the club does not have the resources to compete. Therefore I would suggest several things we should do to ensure a succesful future:-

  1. Remain in the Premiership at all costs. The financial consequenceswould be disasterous.
  2. Invest heavily in the youth system. This has been semi-successfulover the years but has yet to produce a true international classplayer. A good youth system is the key to the success over many years,e.g. Ajax.
  3. Improve the commercial side. M*n U*d make millions from this. Otherclubs make less but significant amounts. Look at our club shop and itis obvious improvements could be made (e.g. A superstore near the groundand smaller shops in the centre of Manchester, and perhaps elsewhere).
  4. Increase the corporate hospitality. The club apparently made amillion, by Christmas, just by converting the offices to a corporatehospitality suite! However, this must not be done at the expense of theordinary fan.
  5. Ground development should be done when it can be afforded and doneproperly. No more Umbro Stands. A 45-50,000 seater stadium should bethe ultimate aim.
  6. Increased involvement with the local community. For example, givelocal schools trips round the ground, training with club coaches, anddiscounts on tickets (or even free tickets!) regularly. This would helpwin young fans from the Rags.
  7. Employ quality coaches at all levels. This is perhaps mostimportant as it will improve the playing standards at the lowest cost.

All these are aimed at the long term future of the club. They should improve the financial and playing side of the club. At present we cannot afford the best so will have to make do until we can either produce or afford the best (Unless FL is holding several million aside to sign Baggio!)

David Lamb (


Well I’ve just returned from 2 weeks in sunny Gran Canaria having high hopes for some exciting news about the Blues, and what do I find? Not a lot actually. In fact the only concrete news was about Dino not staying.

Still no manager.
Still not dabbled in the transfer market.
Still no positive signs.

I managed to find out over there about the signings of other clubs: Bergkamp, Collymore etc; and must confess that the sums of money involved in the deals were ludicrous. Although having said that, if Inter need to raise any money to help finance the Ince deal, I’d gladly make a contribution! (thanks Inter). Hughes has gone too. Nice to see the bad half of Manchester having a small crisis (my heart bleeds). So come on the likes of Kanchelskis, Sharp, McClair etc. Join the bandwagon and give us Blues something more to laugh about. If Ince and Hughes can finally come to their senses, surely you can too.

Alan Ball, I’ve learned has now emerged as ‘favourite’ for the manager’s job. According to the Daily Mirror he and Franny went to school together and share the same love of horses. An obvious contender then!

Dave Ward (


I spent my first seven years living in Rusholme. We lived in a flat over the Nat West Bank (probably the District Bank in those days), about 50 yards from the Clarence on Wilmslow Road. Match days were memorable for the volume of Traffic at the junction of Great Western Street and Wilmslow Road. Most people had to use public transport, so Wilmslow Road was a procession of buses and coaches. We were close enough to the ground to hear the crowd noise. Football sounded very exciting.

My parents were both from the Huddersfield area, Dad was a lapsed Town fan, but I never wanted to watch anyone but City. My first visit to Maine Road was just after my eighth birthday. It was against Spurs at the start of the 56-57 season. City had won the Cup the previous season so there was a good turnout for the first match of the new season. The result was a 2-2 draw.

When I was in my last year at Junior school both City and the Rags used to give away tickets for reserve team matches, so every fortnight my friends and I crossed Manchester to visit the Academy. Once a Blue, always a Blue!


Come the 1959/60 season I convinced my parents that I was old enough to attend first team matches. City had about five years, each one like the present (94/95) season. Relegation was always a threat, but eventually the escape attempt failed and the unthinkable happened.

There weren’t a lot of high spots in those days. The 6-2 victory over the Spurs double winning side was one to remember. City had a string of big money signings but money definitely didn’t buy success. Denis Law cost over £50,000 and stopped for a year before defecting to Torino and subsequently the swamp. Gerry Baker was signed on the back of scoring ten goals in a Scottish Cup game against a team of part timers – his brother Joe went to Turin with Law. Bobby Kennedy cost £45K (read £5M on today’s values). Peter Dobing and Alex Harley were very successful, but moved on quickly. Harley scored loads of goals, was sold for three times what he cost, to Birmingham, and was dead within a few years. He was equivalent to Paul Stewart in terms of fleeting success followed by desperate failure, and Tommy Caton in terms of his untimely death. Dobing was one of the most stylish players to grace Maine Road.

The “Sack Mac” brigade were delighted when Les MacDowall was sacked at the end of the 62-63 season, but they were unimpressed with the unimaginative promotion of George Poyser from assistant manager. The “Swales Out” campaign wasn’t the first time City fans had protested in large numbers.

The relegation season (62-63) started badly and got worse. City lost 1-8 at Wolves in the first match. I remember being at a reserve game and watching in horror as the score shown on the old scoreboard continued to rise. Bert Trautmann was sent off for kicking the ball at the referee in the home game against West Ham when City lost 1-6. Colin Barlow graced the Academy in those days – the David White of the sixties, not intended as a compliment. In previous seasons City had called up Dave Ewing at the end of the season to stave off relegation. Dave had retired at the end of the previous season and he was sorely missed. This season saw one of the most bitter derby matches ever. With only two matches left and both teams at the bottom of the table, City had to win, a draw was OK for the Rags. Alex Harley scored for City and the Rags equalised from one of the most dubious penalties ever, almost as bad as the one they got against Southampton this (94/95) season. The ball was half way up the scoreboard end, Law(?) was kicking shit out of Harry Dowd who grabbed his leg in self defence. Not a welcome decision! 52,424 watched that one and there were a lot of people locked out. Another 1-6 against West Ham sealed our fate in the last match of the season. City finished with 31 points, the Rags had 34.

I followed the Blues through the bad years in the second division. I’m probably the only person who doesn’t claim to have been in the crowd for the Swindon match (8,015). The only good memories are the 19 goals in three home matches at the end of 1963 and Derek Kevan’s partnership with Jimmy Murray which produced loads of goals before Murray’s injury. A particularly memorable match was the 5-2 win at Preston with Kevan scoring a hat trick. Alec Dawson played for Preston in that match, he was a former Rag who once punched a goal against City in a Derby match. Anyone else remember the “Who’s the bastard with the big fat arse / Dawson / Dawson” to the tune of Camptown Races? He was the Mark Hughes of the day, even down to the oversized behind.

Come 1965 Poyser had gone and after some delay (sounds familiar) Joe Mercer and Malcolm Alison were appointed. Joe was recovering from heart trouble (and the sack(?) following the relegation of Aston Villa and Sheffield United) and Malcolm was described as professional gambler. He had managed Plymouth after TB and the removal of a lung had ended his playing career. What a choice! The appointment was not the most popular ever made and a dismal friendly against Dundee didn’t bode well for the future. I’ve not seen many goals where the ball has hit both posts before going in but it happened against Dundee.

City’s most successful seasons followed. Unfortunately the need to supplement pocket money with a part time job, and subsequently the lure of the local amateur league meant that I didn’t get to Maine Road as often as I would have liked. Local soccer started in September and finished before Easter so I got to games at the start and end of the season. There were many occasions when an unfit pitch (ours was like a swamp even in Summer) meant a mad dash to the Academy. One such game was the “Ballet on Ice” game against Spurs, although I nearly missed that having had a close encounter with a very large truck on an icy Claremont Road. 1952 Morris Minors were worse than the Tottenham team when it came to handling slippery conditions.

At the start of the 67-68 season I was living in Chadderton, between Oldham and Manchester. Among my mates were a number of Oldham Rugby League fans so I signed up for the annual trip to the RL Cup Final, which coincided with what appeared then to be an insignificant match at Newcastle. As the season unfolded it became obvious that the Newcastle match might be a major point in City’s history. I couldn’t unload my ticket for the RL Final, so as most of the blue half of Manchester headed north to Tyneside, I headed south for Wembley. I didn’t even get to see the highlights of the Newcastle match as the game was shown on ITV on the Sunday afternoon when we were in transit home after celebrating City’s triumph in Southend.

I saw enough games to collect tokens for Cup Final tickets for the matches against Leicester and West Brom. There was also a trip to Vienna for the Gornik match. The match in Vienna was played in the worst rain I’d ever had the misfortune to be in. I think the stadium was completely open; certainly the side where we sat was uncovered.

There was the prospect of another League Championship in 71-72 but two events conspired to prevent it. The first was the arrival of Rodney Marsh, which has been often blamed for City’s eventual fourth place. It certainly didn’t help as Allison swapped players in and out to accommodate his new signing, silly points were dropped at Coventry and Ipswich as City lost three and drew two of the last nine games. The match which lost the title was on April 1st (typical timing!) against Stoke at Maine Road. Joe Corrigan was injured and missed seven games, and his replacement Ronnie Healey played abysmally in a 1-2 defeat. City played brilliantly against Derby in the last game of the season and were top of the table after the final Saturday, but Liverpool and Derby had to play each other in the final match and one of them had to get enough points to overtake City. The final table had Derby with 58 points, Leeds, Liverpool and City had 57.

Come 1973 I was off to Oz so it was support from long range. Christmas presents were Rothman’s Annuals, birthdays coincided with the start of the season so a subscription to the football Pink were the order of the day. I saw a lot of City on TV as all the Oz channels picked up UK football from different channels so the goals, at least, were on TV. City had Wembley appearances against Wolves and Newcastle which were only shown in highlight form on Oz TV.

In 1979 I was back in the UK for a holiday. Having checked the fixture list, it looked as if European football would be on the agenda, but defeat against Borussia Mönchengladbach meant otherwise. That was City’s last European venture and the Anglo-Italian Trophy has been the European competition we’ve been closest to recently.

While in England I got to as many matches as possible. I saw the last match of the season, 2-3 against Villa. City were well in control until half time when Dave Watson went off injured. Kaziu Deyna scored both City’s goals and looked world class. Sadly this was the exception rather than the rule. This was Colin Bell’s last match. It turned out to be the last match for many, including Dave Watson and Mike Channon, as Malcolm Allison dismembered an aging team and brought in such players as Mick Robinson (£765K), Steve McKenzie (£250K for a player who hadn’t played first team football), Stuart Lee, Bobby Shinton, Kevin Reeves and Barry Silkman. Gary Owen and Peter Barnes were given long contracts in 1978, but sold in 1979 to finance Alison’s disastrous spending spree. Some would argue that the club has never properly recovered from Allison’s excesses in the transfer market.

City made their first ventures into the European market round that time. Kaziu Deyna exuded class but the pace and aggression of the English game was a problem for him. For the start of the 1979-80 season we had another foreigner in Dragoslav Stepanovic, a Yugoslavian signed from a German team. He didn’t speak English so he was an obvious choice to captain the team.

The Spurs Cup Finals were memorable but there wasn’t much to cheer other than that. Relegation following the Luton game was hard to take, and the following promotion was marred by the Bradford fire disaster, which grabbed most of the press coverage dedicated to football that weekend.

In mid 1985 I had a brainstorm and returned to the UK. It certainly wasn’t because of City’s startling form. I arrived back in time to see City beat Hull in the second leg of the Full Members’ Cup. Money was still tight at Maine Road and the team was crap. Gordon Davies, Mark Lillis and Trevor Christie were hardly names to strike fear into the hearts of opposing defences.

The success of the Youth team in the mid eighties held promise for the future but too many were drafted into a poor first team and none fulfilled their potential. Steve Redmond went downhill from the age of nineteen, David White did a fair impersonation of the character in the Wizard of Oz which had no brain. Brightwell and Lake have had progress interrupted by injury, while Andy Hinchliffe upset HK and was shunted off to Goodison where he did very little until Joe Royle started to play him in midfield. Others who flattered to deceive were Ian Scott, Paul Moulden who left amid rumours concerning Mel Machin’s daughter, and Andy Thackeray who went to Rochdale and is still there.

Since then there’s been promotion at Bradford, the five-one and not much else to celebrate. An exception is the 10-1 against Huddersfield. As I said earlier my parents were both from the Huddersfield area and all my relatives still live there. My cousin was the only person on the Kippax that day who wasn’t over the proverbial moon when David White scored his third, and City’s tenth goal. It was a strange game. City could have been three down before they started to play.

Since then we’ve suffered Mel Machin, Kendall and his Evertonian cronies (remember Wayne Clarke and co?), Ellis and Reid with Route One football, and Brian H’s eccentricities. We’re now (June ’95) looking for the new Messiah to lead us out of the shadows.

Players to remember

Dave Ewing, Bill Leivers, George Heslop, Tommy Booth and Dave Watson.

It’s pure coincidence that I was a centre half! Dave Ewing could beat two players before putting the ball on the Kippax roof. Bill Leivers could put the ball and the two opponents on the roof. He was never the same player after he got a pair of contact lenses, I guess he could see the ball then.

Bert Trautmann, Joe Corrigan and TC are three of the finest goalkeepers to ever play football. Corrigan was a product of a coaching regime which changed him from one of football’s sick jokes into an England international.

From the dismal sixties I recall Peter Dobing, Alex Harley, Derek Kevan, Matt Gray and Ken Barnes.

From the Glory Years there’s a whole team of stars. Bell, Lee and Summerbee are the names on the video, but Mick Doyle and Alan Oakes were the engine room of the team. Both had come through the junior teams at Maine Road and both had suffered badly at the hands of the boo-boys when they first made the senior team. Good to see class prevailing over stupidity.

The players I remember from recent years are mainly for the wrong reasons. We saw Paul Stewart shine for half a season before he convinced himself he was bigger than the rest of the team. At least the money we got for him bought the team which won promotion last time round. There was the Everton contingent – Wayne Clarke, Adrian Heath, Alan Harper et al. We saw Michael Hughes, described as the best player from Northern Ireland since the bearded alcoholic from the swamp, bollocked by Sam Ellis for trying to pass the ball, and subsequently sold for a pittance because of the European transfer arbitration system. He shouldn’t have wanted to leave Maine Road. Ian Bishop was another to remember – hero of many, me excluded! and swapped (with Tricky Trev) for another Evertonian. I thought Bishop played one good game for City – the 5-1, but he was always missing for long spells and still plays the same way at Upton Park. Andy Dibble has made many headlines over the years – concentrating on the football side there’s his brilliance against Villa in the match when Paul Lake was first injured, and a cracking performance at the swamp in the 1-1 in 1990(?). There’s the other side of his character as displayed at Nottm Forest (Gary Crosby), the Cup game at Newcastle and the 0-3 against the Rags. His activities off the field (and under the table) will also be remembered!

Recent years have also been memorable for the injury epidemics which have seen more hamstring injuries in two years than in the previous twenty. Knee injuries have also been prevalent recently. There’s also the suspicion that the training methods applicable to sixties Olympians are not the best for nineties footballers.

On the positive side there’s Uwe Rösler, Paul Walsh and Peter Beagrie – all Horton signings (allegedly!). There’s the undoubted, but often unseen ability of Phelan and Curle. There are also some good young prospects in Flitcroft, Lomas, Edghill, Thomas and Foster. I suppose Nicky Summerbee fits in that category too.

The 94-95 season has come and gone. City are still in the Premiership and the managership has been advertised. Hopefully the next few weeks will see a latter day Hercules clean out football’s equivalent of the Augean Stables.

Roger Haigh (


The following prediction is doing the rounds and is plagiarised from various sources including ‘King of the Kippax‘. It’s been overtaken by transfer events but is nonetheless still funny and anti-Rag!



Manchester United deny any foul play as Graham Kelly’s son Garry attends one of Eric Cantona’s “Community Service” sessions. Garry, the promising Leeds United right back says: “He taught me all the things that a professional footballer should know.” Garry’s dad says: “We’re most grateful and, no, this will not affect his penalty for last January’s incident.”

The season opens with Garry playing the first game against United – turned up collar, verbal abuse and all – and losing 2-0. Both goals were scored by Cantona, given a reprieve from his sentence by Graham Kelly for “setting an outstanding example to footballing youngsters.”

United, sporting their legendary all-orange kit, go to the top of the Premiership by winning 5-0 at Blackburn. Four goals came from penalties, the fifth a glancing header from referee Keith Cooper.


Controversy abounds at Highbury as Monsieur Eric is sent-off for kicking in David Seaman’s head and repeatedly stomping on his stomach and hands – breaking all ten fingers. Alex Ferguson says: “It was a harsh decision, all things considered. Seaman shouldn’t have tried to save the ball really.”

Paul Ince adds that the offence was “not deserving of even a caution” and, after hearing this, the referee overturns the sending-off. The FA suspends Seaman for the rest of the season for “ungentlemanly conduct” and for a professional foul on the Frenchman’s boots.

Andy Cole gets the sack from United for “failing to wear the pink and yellow kit to the library on his day off”.


Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle is sacked for failing to mention Ken Bates in the programme notes for three matches running.

At the end of the Manchester Derby, Eric Cantona enters the stands and murders a Man City fan with an axe for “looking a bit Belgian”.

Alex Ferguson says: “Eric is a fine ambassador for the club and we are proud to have him pulling on the black and green kit every Saturday.”

Martin Edwards’ company collapses in the sharemarket crash; however, the company is sold to Noel Edmonds. Little change is hence noticed at Old Trafford, except that Cantona is traded with Lazio for 4 of Gazza’s minders.

Liverpool finally manages to free transfer Paul Stewart to Barnet, where he will join the Bees as the club’s new sweeper. Boss Ray Clemence says: “Now all we need to do is sell Doug Freedman and buy some brushes for him.”


In the Coca-Cola Cup, Everton lose 8-1 at home to Manchester United. United’s 8 goals – all from penalties – were slotted away by new penalty king Denis Irwin.

Drunken Duncan scores the Toffees’ goal, from the penalty spot, after Paul Rideout was held down by Steve Bruce on the edge of the area, and repeatedly jumped on by Paul Ince and Mark Hughes. Boss Alex Ferguson says: “I will not be taking any disciplinary action. I did not see the incident and therefore, in my mind, it did not happen.” Rumours that he missed it because he was counting his wallets were denied.

West Ham midfielder Don Hutchison is arrested for allegedly worrying sheep. The tearaway Hutch defends himself, saying: “They were consenting and were happy about the whole situation.” A week later, he scores the winning goal against Arsenal at Upton Park by jumping up and down on the spot, looking like a complete moron. Clearly he is not used to celebrating with his pants on.


The new FIFA directive on starch content in players’ collars leads to a player strike in Italy, led by Inter’s Eric Cantona, who is on bail on charges of GBH.

The second directive by FIFA is also widely criticised. The international body decided that goal celebrations had gone too far when Lee Sharpe celebrated his goal against Northampton Town in the Coca-Cola Cup with a thirty-five minute routine depicting the fall of the Roman Empire and the effects that these events had on post-Thatcherite Britain and the Commonwealth.

Manchester United break the transfer record with the 29 million pound capture of David May from Pontins League outfit Manchester United Reserves. “He is a classy centre-back who must be the No. 1 contender for the European Championships side,” says new United chairman Mr Blobby – inbetween slobbering on the journalists in the room.


Manchester United unveil their new FA Cup kit in their first match of the newly-seeded Cup against Spartak Marine 3rd XI.

The new seeding system works as thus: teams from Manchester whose second name is United only have to play teams from the Diadora League 6th Division all the way to Wembley. “The Cup will be very tough this season and anyone could win it,” says United skipper Panasonic McDonalds Umbro Bruce, who also denied that the club had been sold out to sponsorships.

A Chelsea fan writes to Shoot! declaring that “this will be our year” and Jimmy Greaves, inbetween drunken vomiting spells clearly, patronises him (and everyone else, let’s face it) by referring to him as “pal”.


The Old Trafford chairman announces the club’s new kit sponsorship scheme by declaring: “Blob, blob blob blob!”.

His number two – the head of the press council – adds: “We are going to use 6 different strips in each match, with a different sponsor for each game.” The 252 new strips are a big seller at the club’s new shop (hangars 1-16 at Manchester Airport).

Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson denies rumours that he is going to sell star striker Brian Deane and spend the money on a week’s petrol for his daughter’s Morris 1100.


Everton boss Joe Royle is looking for a top class performer to play up front in his school of science. He is believed to be following former Stoke City reject Bernard Matthews, brother of the famous Sir Stan. After failing to make the grade at Stoke, Matthews looked elsewhere, carving out a nice career in Turkey.

46-year old star keeper Peter Shilton retires from the game again, setting up a tax advisory service.

The transfer deadline passes with only one major move. After another disastrous season with Sheffield Wednesday, Guy Whittingham buys himself back into the army.


Manchester United are believed to be launching a news strip in the close season. “Watch this space,” says United marketing guru Mobil Valvoline Levis ‘money grabbling little scroat’ Branson.

United are apparently on the march towards another League Championship after a 4-0 win at Aston Villa. All is not good news though with Ryan Giggs (broken voice), Paul Ince (fractured scowl) and Mark Hughes (bruised perm) declared unavailable for the rest of the season, including the Durex Heineken Walker’s Crisps FA Cup Final.


Manchester United win the Premiership on the back of eight 1-0 wins, all penalties. Denis Irwin is the winner of the golden boot.

Peter Shilton is set to make a comeback. Manchester United are said to be interested. Apparently Mr Blobby, the club chairman, wishes him to be their legal and financial advisor, as well as being their No. 1 keeper. Mr Blobby, speaking through a translator, said: “He is one for the future. I can reveal that Peter Schmeichel is actually a cartoon character that the club invented to take over from Jim Leighton’s eyebrows.”

The FA Cup Final is cancelled because of commercial interests: it will interfere with the launch of United’s new strip(s). Graham Kelly said: “I’m disappointed”, but withdrew his statement when United offered to give his son Garry a trial …

In a late breaking story, Sky TV have announced that they are to drop any pretensions and replace their logo with that of Manchester United and become British Manc Broadcasting.

Jeremy Poynton ( or


Thanks to Roger (x2), Andy, Alan, Martin (x2), David (x2), Paul, The Mole, Kevin, Daz & Jeremy.

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 #99