Newsletter #107

Well Sod’s Law seems to be affecting me just as it did Ashley. Within minutes of him handing over the MCIVTA reins to me on Friday afternoon, my company’s Internet connection went down, and stayed down until until about 5:30pm on Tuesday! Hopefully I won’t have missed out on any contributions, but if you’ve sent me something and I haven’t acknowledged it, please try again. Rest assured I’m not imposing some sort of censorship! I’ve no intention of changing the style or format of MCIVTA either, so most of you shouldn’t notice any difference other than the temporarily different address for contributions and subscription requests.

Anyway, enough of me and onto important matters. Alan Ball has made a winning start to his managerial career at City and there’s also good news on the injury situation with both Ian Brightwell and Steve Lomas playing against Galway. We have a `live’ report of the game and also some news about next season’s membership scheme. Alan Ball seems keen to try out as many players as he can, so apart from Michel Vonk there’s been little transfer speculation over the last few days. Of course, if I’ve missed any news or rumours, please enlighten me!

After the next edition I’ll have run out of `Why Blue’s to include, so if anybody fancies writing one, now would be a good time.

Next match: Cork City, away, Wednesday 26th July

Contributions to: Paul Howarth (


Galway United vs. Manchester City, Monday 24th July

Manchester City manager Alan Ball started his managerial career (and let’s hope it’s a long one) on a winning note with a three-nil defeat of gritty Galway United. The Tribesmen (as Galway are called) could walk proud to the club bar after the game, probably feeling that they should have got at least one in a game with a City defence showing more leaks than Sellafield. The one consolation was seeing City pass the ball around well at times and hopefully this will improve with the new Ball/Hartford regime.

The day started for us Dublin Blues with a 3.5 hour drive in the sunshine to Galway. The weather was good so we were hoping for a good turn-out; it exceeded our expectations. A crowd of 6000 packed into the City Sportsground in a carnival type atmosphere and when one thinks the average attendance at a League of Ireland game is around 1500, this was brilliant. The local City Supporters’ Club had organised their local bar, The Goalpost, as the meeting place. They also wrote some excellent pieces for the programme, so well done lads. Plenty of blue, black & red and purple City shirts to be seen amongst the maroon of the Galway Utd. supporters.

A big cheer greeted the sides onto the pitch (it would have been bigger but I only two pints before the game!!!), with City in their new strip looking like some Italian side (by the way you want to see the head on Uwe!). Keith Curle sat on the bench as a spectator so we don’t know if he is fully fit yet and with no Tony Coton it looks like we have injuries before the season starts. City lined up as follows: Dibble, Edghill, Phelan, Kerneghan, Ian Brightwell, Lomas, Summerbee, Walsh, Rösler, Flitcroft, Simpson. The local side as expected got stuck in and had the City defence on the back foot on a number of occasions. The locals ended a quiet first half one down to a scrappy gaol by Walsh, although the build-up and cross by Uwe was class.

City moved up a gear in the second half with Flitcroft, Edghill and Walsh having good performances. The Blues got a free about thirty yards out, just in front of where we were standing, layed it off to Simpson who hit a space shuttle into the Galway goal – what a shot! City sat back and made four substitutions – Quinn (to much applause), Thomas, Ingram and Foster. Galway attacked and pulled two fine saves from Dibble and the crossbar. The third City goal came from another long shot by Carl Griffths which hit the post and landed at Quinn’s foot, who obliged ever so kindly and the game was over. Pitch invasion of kids at the end, the Blues must have thought they were Take That. Not a great game but plenty of good signs for the future so roll on Cork on Wednesday and very happy future for Alan Ball.

Final score: Galway United 0 Manchester City 3

John Coen – The Green Blue (


Galway United vs. Manchester City, Monday 24th July

How about City then, actually winning their opening fixture of pre-season friendlies!

City managed to beat Galway 3-0 with goals coming from a Walsh header, a 30-yard free-kick(!!!) from Simpson and Niall Quinn scoring 6 minutes after he’d come on as substitute. From the (little) reports I’ve seen City could quite easily have won more convincingly, but as usual(?) they managed to mess up the chances. Lomas had a 90 minute run-out in the match, his first full game since fracturing his leg and came through without any apparent reaction.

So that’s one of the warm-up games over and with a win; now there’s just the matter of the other 4/5 and then the season really starts.

Martin Ford (

NEWS & RUMOURS (Friday 21st)

Michel Vonk looks set to join Oldham in a deal worth about half a million pounds, probably as a replacement for Richard Jobson, their 32-year-old centre back who will be joining Leeds for 800,000 pounds subject to a medical. Alan Ball was keen to stress that he’ll treat each player on his merits, but “a sale’s a sale.”

Ball is also said to have told the players “in no uncertain terms” what is expected of them and has said that they are nowhere near ready yet for the opening game of the season against Spurs. He is, however, looking forward to the trip to Ireland and seeing the players in action.

Tony Coton is doing some cycling and expects to be fit for action round about the start of the season.

Meanwhile, the exodous from the swamp continues with the 5 million pound transfer of Andrei Kanchelskis to Everton.

The Mole

Over the weekend Leeds decided not to sign Jobson because of a “blood disorder”, and as a result the Vonk deal is also off. This is slightly reminiscent of Asa Hartford’s aborted move to Leeds in the early 70’s when it was discovered that he had a “hole in the heart” condition. I wonder if Leeds will regret this decision as much as that one? Vonk, meanwhile, is being linked with a variety of clubs, including Stockport County and Leicester City.



I’ve just been told by the ticket office at Maine Road that City play Hearts (away) on 12th August. Admission is 10 pounds pay at the gate.

Roger Haigh (

NEWS – YOUTH TEAM (Tuesday 25th)

The follwoing item appeared in tonight’s MUEN.

City’s Kids Give Walsh The Blues!

Chris Greenacre and Alan Bailey scored Manchester City’s goals when they beat the Welsh national side 2-1 in the Milk Cup U-19 tournament in Coleraine yesterday. City came into the Northern Ireland tournament as late replacements when Brazil dropped out. They are fielding their U-18 side, giving a year away to their opponents.

I just love that bit about City replacing Brazil :-))

The Mole


I’ve just been on the phone to the ticket office at Maine Road. First surprise was that I could get through. Second surprise was that the person I spoke to seemed to know what she was talking about.

As a former season ticket holder who is not too enthralled with the recent appointments at the Academy, I was enquiring about the Membership scheme.

The salient points of the discussion are:

Last year’s cards are still valid. This doesn’t affect me, but it’s good to see the Club resisting the temptation of a couple of hundred thousand pounds of easy money.

This year the purpose of the membership scheme is to ensure visiting fans do not pollute the more refined areas of the stadium (not quite the wording she used). Consequently, some matches will be designated members-only, for example the derby match. For other matches, membership cards will only be required to buy a ticket when the opposing club has sold all its allocation of tickets. Non-members who have bought tickets before the change of status of the match will not be affected, but once the opposition have sold out it’s members only. The message seems clear – if you are not a member there will be some games you cannot get to see, and in other cases you will have to book early.

Tickets for Spurs on the 19th are on sale on Saturday. I don’t know if it’s members-only or not.

Roger Haigh (


I am actually pleased at the purchase of Kinky even though he is relatively unknown. IMHO he is not exactly an unknown and at the current prices (God knows if the market will ever be back to its normal self again) at which players like Southgate, et al, are going, the prospect of seeing a very young international player who scored against a world class goalkeeper (Southall) playing at the Academy is really thrilling.

On the sales front, I have to agree with Adam Houghton that it is really madness to sell Beagrie for only 1.5 million pounds. Only City can make such a silly deal. If Beagrie was from any other team, he could carry a price tag of at least 3 million pounds in this current market. Hope this deal will fall through. By the way, what has happened to the earlier promise of “a lot of comings and goings” made by FL?

Although a lot of comings and goings may not necessarily be a good thing, I believe we badly need a more reliable deputy to TC and a more solid defence in the next season. I think City should use this opportunity to sell our older/excessive players in order to fatten the wallet for future purchases. But please make any deals meaningful.

On a more casual note, I have to say that the last Why Blue? written by Patrick Bedell was really nostalgic and a pleasurable read.

Totally Blue, Nizam (c/o


I don’t know if anyone has already seen this but I thought it may amuse you (slightly!). It was passed on to me via a fellow scum hater.

New Manchester United Numbering System

In a bold new move, Manchester United have announced today that, as of this season, they are to abandon the controversial ‘squad numbering’ system. United’s Executive Director of Finance, Martin Edwards, said that the system will be replaced with a revolutionary system of bar-coding, “as we feel it will reduce the check-out waiting time of all the people queueing up to buy our players. Keying those squad numbers and prices into the till was very time consuming and this is a much simpler system” said the delighted financial supremo. The system was revealed at the launch of United’s new ‘Red Shield Stamps’ promotion, whereby anyone who buys a United player gets a stamp to collect in a small booklet. “Anyone with more than 2 stamps gets David May free” quotes Edwards.

Dave Ward (


I believe the following item was (allegedly) included on RagCall.

“RagCall apologises for not being able to announce the results of United’s forthcoming Malaysian tour.

It is hoped that results will be available in advance of the team’s departure next week.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary has denied that the delay has anything at all to do with them.”

Roger Haigh (

I should point out that Bruce Grobbelaar, Hans Segers, John Fashanu, John Fashanu’s wife and a Malaysian businessman were charged by the Hampshire police with conspiracy involving match-fixing earlier this week.



The taunt often used against Rags that “hardly any of your fans are Mancs” leaves me in a somewhat difficult position, being a Blue born and bred in the Home Counties (it took a lot to admit that last bit – please be gentle with me!).

Unfortunately, I can’t even claim that it has been anything as grand as a twenty-year love affair. Football (and generally all sport) was given short shrift in my family, and I was weedy enough at school to be the last left in the line when teams were chosen (I’m thinking of setting up a group therapy homepage on the WWW for people who have experienced similar traumas).

I have a vague memory of Ricky Villa’s dazzling run and glorious goal (i.e. an exhibition of truly abominable defending), but my first real interest in football was aroused by the 1984 European Championships, mainly because the friends I’d invited round for my 14th birthday wanted to watch it. Of course, England were not even there. Little did I know how much more both bad City defending and the absence of England were to come to mean to me in later years.

For a few years after that, I went occassionally to watch my home team (St. Albans City, Diadora Premier). Then I moved to Manchester (to do a degree) and spent the period of my first year exams glued to the World Cup – Football Fever had me.

Surrounded by Rags and their strange personality traits, I began to follow the fortunes of City with half an eye. I moved to Rusholme, and the weekly results prediction game in my house saw me going for City wins every time. Needless to say, I didn’t win – but City did OK, finishing fifth. I then moved to a house on the corner of one street and Maine Road. I can see the ground from my bedroom window. Great, I thought.

I went to my first game, by myself, and suddenly football became 3-D, noisy and emotional. I started going more often. Last season, I only missed three home games.

How did this happen? In little over ten years, I’ve gone from football ignoramus to football zealot. I can’t even contemplate moving, because it would mean leaving my view of the ground. I hate the Rags, irrationally. I have no control over my emotions for hours at a time. The thought of a goalkeeper playing on with a broken neck fills me with pride, even though it happened long before my time (my time as a football fan, rather than as a live human being). I come out with ridiculous statements like the one I just made.

Why Blue? I can trace the history of the development of my interest in football and in City, but where is the real answer? You may as well just ask “why?”

Why Blue? How could I be anything else?

Matt Varley (


Thanks to Matt, Nizam, The Mole, Dave, John, Roger & Martin.

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.

Paul Howarth,

Newsletter #107