Newsletter #108

It’s been a good start for Alan Ball with victories in both games of the Irish tour. Let’s hope this can continue with the three friendlies in England this week, starting at Stockport tonight. We have two views of the win at Cork, including an interesting one from a neutral (Arsenal fan!) viewpoint. Thanks to Tony Mullins for passing this on, along with his own rather more detailed account of the game.

There’s not been a lot of news in the last few days, with the exception of possible work-permit problems for Kinky George. Things should liven up a bit this week as many of us will get to see AB’s side in action for the first time, at either Stockport, Wolves or Burnley. Still no more `Why Blue’s in my in-tray, but Dave Smith has made an interesting suggestion on this topic; read on and let me know what you think.

Next game: Stockport County, away, Monday 31st July

Contributions to: Paul Howarth (


Cork City vs. Manchester City, Wednesday 26th July

First of all I had to bribe someone to accompany me to the match. This wasn’t exactly easy. I did convince one easy-minded Arsenal supporter to come and even got him to wear a City shirt. Of course, I think it was the temptation of drink before and after that really swong it my way. Because we left the bar at the last possible minute I missed the line up before the kick off. I was told Simpson was playing at left back but thought it looked more like Edghill. Seeing as all the papers I later read referred to Simpson then I’ll bow to their superior knowledge, after all I do wear glasses. So what was Simpson doing at full-back???

Margetson, Foster, Curle(cpt), Kernaghan, Simpson, Summerbee, Brown, Flitcroft, Thomas, Griffiths, Quinn.
Lomas for Flitcroft (1/2 time)
Phelan for Simpson
Walsh for Griffiths
Rösler for Quinn (All 60 mins.)

Man. City from the start attempted to play one touch football which was difficult on this pitch. The pitch has recently been drained and has not fully recovered yet. In fact I’d imagine that there was always a danger that someone would turn an ankle. Thankfully nobody did. City dominated the game and I felt left down by Cork who played extremely defensively.

In the back 4 Curle was obviously in charge. There seems to be a good understanding between himself and Kernaghan, who was commanding in the air. Full backs, Foster and Simpson (Edghill!) were used effectively. I was particularly impressed by the passages of play between Foster and Summerbee who was on the right wing. They worked well together, allowing one to make a run while the other laid back. In fact each sent in a cross for a goal. Flitcroft acting as play-maker in the middle was a delight to watch. It was obvious that he is a class apart. I just hope we can hang onto him. If Kinkladze is as good as we are told then we may actually have a skilful midfield. What would we do then! Thomas was on the left and looked good but he is no Beagrie. Brown in the middle was a passenger. I hope this will change with more games.

It was hard to get space up front for any clear cut chances because of the sheer number of Cork defenders. Still though this wasn’t an excuse for Quinn and Griffiths’ obvious weakness. Walsh and Rösler are much more dangerous as they demonstrated later. Both starting strikers scored. The first came on the 37th minute from a great low cross by Foster which was belted home by Quinn from close range. Foster was actually fouled but the referee waved play on. The second came early in the second half when somehow Summerbee sent in a high, looping cross from between 2 Cork players. It was met on the edge of the 6 yard box by the head of Griffiths. In fairness both goals were taken well but I still think that Walsh and Rösler are more capable of making their own trouble up front.

There were lots of missed chances throughout the match, the worst of which was from Rösler when he ballooned over from 3 yards when it was almost easier to score. Walsh was magic from the minute he came on. His best was when he ran at the defence from the left of the box, shimmied to his left leaving 3 defenders mesmerized and struck a low left foot drive which was brilliantly saved. Overall I was pleased with the way City tried to play. A bit disappointed that there wasn’t more of a match, so that we could witness how the team played defensively. City from this display are still far off championship contention but are a good bet to do well this season i.e. stay away from relegation. If we stuff the rags I’ll be happy.

Final score: Cork City 0 Manchester City 2

Modest opinions of TonyM.

Tony Mullins (


Cork City vs. Manchester City, Wednesday 26th July

View from the bunker by OddBall

Man. City opened up playing with a brand of open, fast and aggressive play which left the attendance of 8000 people breathless. Coming up to half time the mighty Quinn stole into the box to strike one of the sweetest volleys to be seen in Bishopstown for some years. Only a player brought up in the Arsenal tradition could have scored such a goal. The game was a disappointment from the neutral point of view. Cork City played a very negative type of game; their idea of attacking flair was to send their two centre backs up for a corner.

Griffiths also scored with a header from a cross by Summerbee. I was impressed by the Man. City wingers and also their defensive qualities at the back, but it would be fair to say Cork City did not even have one quality shot at the Man. City goal so I still have major reservations about Kerneghan when faced by a player with pace. It is easy to defend when the other team does not want or can’t attack.

My MOTM were Thomas and Summerbee, a joy to watch; also Walsh when he came on. I think Man. City will struggle at the back because they lack two quality centre backs and also in midfield where they lack a ball winner. Other than that I think the only thing lacking at Man. City is confidence. If they win their first couple of games then they will not be involved in the relegation battle, but it’s all about confidence for City.

Joseph Murphy – (Arsenal fan)

NEWS – KINKLADZE (Friday 28th)

There’s a report that City have so far failed to apply for a work permit for Kinkladze. Which means that unless City apply immediately there’s every likelihood that he’ll miss the opening fixtures. A DoE spokesman has confirmed that no application has been made for a permit for Kinkladze from anyone.

Why, oh why, are City always making things hard on themsleves and seemingly content to get egg on their face? I would have thought that the first thing to do would be apply for a work permit for any overseas players straight away. Surely the club must have known that non-EU players would have to apply, so why didn’t they? So City will be left to stew over another ‘hitch’.

Martin Ford (

Colin Barlow’s response to the DoE statement was: “We have checked with the PFA and they have said that he meets all the requirements”, which suggests that the club have consulted with the PFA (who advise the DoE on whether or not to grant work permits) before applying for Kinkladze’s, a sensible thing to do, which should ensure that there are no complications. Hopefully.


NEWS – MCIVTA T-SHIRTS (Friday 28th)

News for all those who ordered T-shirts earlier this month.

Hoping that T-shirts will be out towards the end of next week. However, I’m helping the printer with the distribution and I’m moving house next week which may complicate things a little. We’ll do our best.

John Shearer (


I’ve just heard that Hearts are playing Man. City in a friendly on Saturday 12th August at Tynecastle. Is anybody going to Edinburgh for this game? The match is not all ticket with a 3pm kick off.

If anybody fancies going for a few beers before the game please mail me direct!

Tats the Jambo (

NEWS – CANTONA (Monday 31st)

According to a Guardian report (31st July 1995) Kung-fu Eric turned out for the Rags in a practice match against Rochdale. This flagrant breach of his footballing ban (except when he is playing under his community service order for the probation service) was only greeted by a lukewarm reaction from the F.A. They seem to feel that U****d can offer a good reason for Eric playing before the end of his ban, namely 30th September 1995. The only reason I can think is that U****d now regard themselves as being above the law. This comes as no surprise at all. The arrogance on the field simply mirrors the arrogance in the boardroom. I live in the hope that the F.A. will sanction U****d over this matter. Extending Eric’s ban would be unfair since it was a probably a management decision to play him; a fine against the club would be the more likely punishment. Chances of that happening are just a bit on the thin side.

I heard on the grapevine that Alan Ball is allegedly a big gambler, and a bad one at that. What he does with his own money is no concern of mine, but I hope he doesn’t do it with club money.

Paddy Bedell (


A popular rumour doing the rounds at the moment is the allegation that the Ukranian winger is up to his eyes in gambling debts and was being hounded by the men with violin cases under their arms!! A figure of 200,000 pounds was mentioned, which may seem a lot but according to the MuEN he’s getting one third of his 5 million pound transfer fee.

Roger Haigh (


Could someone please guide me to where I can buy the new Man City strip? Is there somewhere on the net where I possibly can look at it too? Love all yer – help!

Arne Morten Rolseth (

…who thinks that the acquisition of the Georgian kid was a bold and exciting one.


If you’re running out of “Why Blues” have you considered re-running the old ones again? They were probably sent out when the mailing list was a lot smaller, so they are probably new to the majorty of subscribers.


What do you all think of this idea? I’d like to see if there’s a demand for this, bearing in mind that all the old `Why Blue’s are available on the WWW.



A difficult question and certainly one that psychiatrists have pondered over since the beginning of time – well almost!

I suppose that geography and family must be the main determinants although I suspect that there must be a major genetic throwback component as to why people become rags. Anyway, being born in a small Lancashire town (Helmshore) in the Rossendale valley in 1956 must have had something to do with it and the fact that my father was a City fan were the major factors.

My father was one of seven brothers, four United fans and three City fans. My favourite uncle was a City fan and so my footballing instincts became awakened at about the age of 9 or 10. I remember watching the World Cup final in glorious black and white in 1966 and Hurst’s goal in the last seconds. I knew it was good and important, but not quite how much so.

Anyway, from there I began to be interested in football, both playing and watching and it was all-consuming. I do have a very vague memory of going to a match with my father when I was about 4 and I am told it was Maine Road, but no-one can remember against who. However, I do remember Saturday afternoon excursions from about 1968 onwards to the ground and the first match I saw was against Tottenham – I think we won 4-0, but in fact we seemed to win everything then. The championship was great, only wish I had been older to really enjoy it and I remember the team more than the results from that time.

Good old Joe in goal, Pardoe was a great full-back and Doyle (the proudest player ever to pull on a sky blue shirt, especially in a Manchester Derby), and of course, Bell, Lee and Summerbee, plus Young and Coleman – both great wingers and what attractive football we played! One memorable match was a 7-0 drubbing of Burnley at Maine Road and of course the Cup Final winning year of 1969.

Luckily most of the rounds were at home and I went to every one, including Newcastle away, which was 0-0 and the night replay at Maine Road had 60,000 plus in the ground and ended with a 2-0 win. Then the semi at Villa Park against Everton, walking off with one minute to go and at 0-0 expecting a replay, only to see Tommy Booth score and Wembley was there!

The final was a great day, my first time at Wembley and I just knew we would win. I was lucky enough to get a ticket since my grandfather who was a great soccer fan and also a true blue had been a St. John ambulance man on duty at grounds. He somehow managed to strike up a friendship with a couple of league referees (although you wouldn’t know it to hear the things he called them) and managed to tap then up for a couple of tickets. I went to the match with him, the first of several Wembley matches with him as we also went to the England vs. Scotland home internationals – but that’s another story.

Anyway, in the Cup Final, Leicester had Allan Clarke, a great player and the only real threat to City. I remember that I never doubted we would win and in the end the result was a little bit of an anti-climax. It was great to see Tony Book lift the trophy and the delight on Franny’s face – let’s hope he gets to beam again soon. Neil Young’s goal was poetry and I can remember doing several jigs on the terraces when the goal went in. I still see it in my mind’s eye and relive the moment in its entirety very easily.

I managed to see all the home Cup Winners’ Cup rounds and again some memorable night matches, with full capacities and goal feasts at the Academy. I also went to the final in Vienna, first time overseas and remember being very wet but happy at the result.

I went regularly to see City whilst still at school in Lancashire, but when I went away to University in 1975 it became more difficult to go and see them, except for the odd Midlands game (I was in Nottingham) and during holidays back in Lancashire. City always seemed to eat too much Christmas pudding, since I never seemed to see them win over that holiday period. I still followed every result, saw us at Wembley again twice, but only winning once and had heart failure along with everyone else when Ricky Villa strolled thought the defence in the replay to sink us. I was not sorry for myself, more for Tommy Hutchinson, who had played his heart out.

After the glory days, some not so good times but still true blue even with the Luton débâcle. I have hated Pleat and Luton ever since and rejoiced from the roof tops when he got arrested for kerb crawling – no place was too low for him in my opinion. Relegation hurt and bouncing back did us some good.

Of course beating United was always sweet and the other hihlight of my Honeymoon was picking up a three day old newspaper in an airport lounge in Mauritius to see that we had thrashed then 5-1. I thought that it was a misprint, but a hurried call to Helmshore set the record straight.

Since the good and not so good days I have followed City from my place of work, firstly in Holland and for the last four years in Japan. The BBC World Service is a lifeline and I eagerly listen for the results, but now with Ashley’s great efforts, I can get great informed comment and match reviews in MCIVTA. To all contributors, keep up the good work as it is a real lifeline for us true blues who are not in the UK.

I have not enjoyed watching the rags in the ascendancy over the last few years, but now feel that we can all look forward to a new season, with a new manager, new players and a new optimism. That is one virtue that you have to have to be a true blue – or so my psychiatrist says!

Philip Gregory (


Thanks to Philip, Tony, Martin, John, Arne, Dave, Joseph, Graham & Paddy.

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 #108