Newsletter #109

Well there was a good turn-out of Blues to see the boys chalk up another win at Stockport on Monday but they had to struggle for the result this time. Tonight’s game looks like being even more testing; if anybody’s going and fancies doing a report, please don’t hesitate.

There’s another new `Why Blue’ in this edition (thanks Malcolm) but once again the cupboard is bare, so more contributions will be very welcome. I’ve had one reply on the question of reprinting the older `Why Blue’s and that was favourable, so unless there’s an influx of new ones or negative comments on this matter, I’ll include an `oldie’ in the `Why Blue’ slot.

Next game: Wolverhampton Wanderers, away, Wednesday 2nd August.

Contributions to: Paul Howarth (


Stockport County vs. Manchester City, Monday 31st July 1995

This match was to be the official opening of Stockport’s new Cheadle End Stand and it drew a big crowd, fitting for the occasion. It’s an impressive cantilever stand, like the ends at Blackburn except with only the bottom tier. How often it will be filled is a matter for conjecture but nearly the whole ground was sold out for this one, with a few thousand Blues making the short journey down to Stockport to see Alan Ball’s first game in charge of City in England. There were so many people there in fact that the game had to be delayed for 25 minutes to get them all in, such was the congestion outside the ground. Railway problems at Longsight didn’t help either.

City lined up as follows:

                  Foster  Vonk  Ian Brightwell  Edghill
                   Thomas    Lomas    Brown    Simpson
                           Quinn     Griffiths

City had the best of the opening moments but it was Stockport who came closest to scoring in the first 5 minutes when a good move down the left flank ended with a low cross being pulled back to the edge of the area and a low, hard shot being sent in towards the City goal. The home fans were already celebrating when Margetson dived low to his right and pulled off a brilliant save. There was no shortage of commitment from either side as several hard tackles went in and a player from each side was booked. On 13 minutes Quinn’s flicked header at the near post from a corner was cleared off the line. He was looking sharp and causing the County defence a lot of problems; he’s as popular as ever with the fans too, though not as much as Uwe who was sporting his new close-cropped hairstyle. Another popular figure was Roy Bailey, who was cheered loudly when he scampered across the pitch to treat Carl Griffiths.

The only goal of the game came in the 20th minute when Quinn got on the end of a badly-directed back pass, shrugged off the challenge of the last defender and coolly slotted the ball past the ‘keeper from a tight angle. County had a golden chance to equalise five minutes later when they were awarded a penalty for a trip by Edghill. City’s defence had been exposed by pace a few times already but this incident came from a two-against-one situation on Stockport’s right wing and there wasn’t much else Edghill could do. Fortunately for City, the penalty crashed against the bar and was cleared. The next ten minutes were fairly even until Michael Brown (who had picked up a slight ankle injury) was replaced by a very young-looking Aled Rowlands. The youngster made a good impression on the left flank, his pace and trickery creating several openings for City.

Overall, City were the better side in the first half, though Stockport had caused problems with pace and aerial power. The full backs looked good but I think that Michel Vonk is unlikely to figure in Alan Ball’s first team plans. Ian Brightwell, captain for the night, will probably fight it out with Alan Kernaghan to be Keith Curle’s central defensive partner. The team’s style wasn’t much different to last season, with most attacks directed down the flanks and clearances hit down the channels, although there were two ball- winners (Lomas and Simpson) in midfield like the first half of last season rather than the second half, where Gaudino figured regularly.

City opened the second half brightly, nearly doubling their lead in the 47th minute when some good work down the left flank by Edghill was followed by a good cross in to the near post which was well met by Griffiths. His header looked to be going in but was very well saved by the Stockport ‘keeper. Stockport were causing more problems than in the first half but we expected this to change when on 60 minutes City made a mass substitution. Off came Quinn, Griffiths, Thomas and Rowlands (less effective in the second half as Stockport double-marked him), on came Walsh, Flitcroft, Summerbee and fans’ favourite Rösler. As it happened, this was the cue for County to have their best period of the game. A good half-volley from round about the position that Quinn had scored from was heading between Margetson’s legs but was somehow deflected wide. From the resulting corner the ball was cleared off the City line.

The game was getting very lively now, more like a good end-to-end cup tie; the home ‘keeper was the next in action on 80 minutes when Walsh shimmied past two defenders and hit in a good shot which was well saved. Flitcroft and Simpson impressed in midfield but I wasn’t as impressed with Uwe, who didn’t look quite back to full match-fitness yet. On the evidence of this game, I’d go for Quinn and Walsh as City’s striking partnership. Having said that, Uwe was more involved in a frantic last few minutes in which he had a header crash against the bar and was sent clean through by Flitcroft only to be caught and tackled by the last defender, much to the delight of the home fans. Between these incidents, Stockport nearly scored but the shot flashed just wide. I’d say Stockport had the best of the second half, particularly in the last half hour after the 4 City substitutions. I’ll expect to see a different defensive line-up at Wolves on Wednesday, which should be the sternest test of our pre-season. Nice to see Martyn Margetson playing so well and looking confident; he can kick the ball well too!

Final Score: County 0 City 1 (another win, another clean sheet)


NEWS (Tuesday 1st)

City are set for a 700,000 pound windfall after the sale of Gerry Taggart from Barnsley to Bolton for 1,500,000 pounds. Taggart was sold to Barnsley several years ago for 75,000 plus 50% of any sell-on profits. This transfer has fuelled rumours that Bolton will be selling Alan Stubbs but Roy McFarland has denied this.

Meanwhile, Alan Ball is on the look-out for a goalkeeper after finding out that Tony Coton will not be fit for action for at least two months after the start of the season. Furthermore, City will have to sell before they can buy.

The Mole


Re: the `Internet Lard FC’ article in MCIVTA 106:

Does this mean we’re setting up a footie team? Count two of us in here, one crap/good right winger (depends on the day), one ‘solid’ right back. Do you reckon Maine Road would be the venue for home games?

Tony Shaw (

I recall an attempt at getting together an MCIVTA team last season but I don’t think anything came of it. With so many new subscribers since then, it’s probably worth trying again, so if anybody fancies a game, let me know and I’ll put you all in touch with each other.



My name is Tim Starns and I’m from Southampton (well, inbetween Southampton and Winchester). I’ve heard a few things about Alan Ball you might be interested in, mostly rumour but also a firm report from a friend who met Dave Beasant on holiday.

The Southampton fans were shocked and dismayed when Alan Ball left to join City. Everyone I knew thought he’d done a great job, picking up the pieces after the disaster known as Ian Branfoot. He was very popular with the fans and everyone thought he was popular with the players… but… this may well not be the case.

Rumour has it that Southampton were not as happy as everyone thought. This is why they didn’t block the approach made by Francis Lee. This rumour has been backed up by a friend who chatted to Dave Beasant on holiday. Dave said that Alan Ball got on with a few players but many didn’t like his temperament and didn’t like him at all. After great team performances Ball would heap praise on just Matt Le Tissier and no one else; the camp had become dejected.

I really hope that the management team of Lee, Ball and Hartford work out well and we win the league, but if players suddenly start handing in transfer requests then you heard it here first. Ball’s style may well not fit in.

Tim Starns (


I spotted the following items in the `Hot Football Gossip’ pages of the excellent Stockport fanzine `The Tea Party’.

Manchester City Chairman Francis Lee welcomed new manager Alan Ball to Maine Road yesterday and gave the usual reply to the flock of journalists present: “We are delighted to welcome a man who has achieved the highest honours as a player and his track record as a manager mirrors this club’s achievements over the last few years. Neither has achieved F**k all.” The local job centre was rumoured not to have destroyed the situations vacant card.

On the subject of the goings-on at Maine Road, former City boss Tony Book received an electricity bill for over 3,000 pounds. Upon phoning City chairman/racehorse owner/bog roll magnate, his query was answered: “You were the last one in our trophy room 19 years ago, and forgot to turn the light out.”



Early sixties when about 6 or 7 I went with my dad, sitting on his pushbike crossbar – cars only something you dreamed about then. I can’t remember much about the game, except when I wanted the loo I was passed a rolled up copy of the Mirror which puzzled me for a while. Until recently the stadium facilities weren’t upto much anyway. The game could’ve been against Tottenham, and Denis Law may have scored 6 or 4 goals. If anyone can remember then please help.

They were heady days with my dad going to Old Trafford (cricket!) in the summer and Maine Road when the occasion permitted. Soon after we went to live abroad and had a break of 4 years living away, but the seed had been sown and Galatasaray may have been my favourite team for a while (and recently again too!) but City were never forgotten.

Blokes going home for holidays used to bring the Pink and The Chronicle so that was a real treat.

On return I used to get free tickets for the reserves games at home distributed at my school (St. John’s, Chorlton); not many takers as City were in the second division, but it made me happy. Do they still do that I wonder? With the prohibitive pricing these days I feel the fans of the future are not being cultivated.

Anyway, after a year we moved to Nottingham which was devastating, but my dad’s interest was revived by my growing older and being an excuse to go to games and City’s promotion year in the mid-sixties. Countless coach trips over the Pennines, more than 3 hours stopping at every town (loo stop at Buxton), didn’t put us off and the excitement mounted when we got to Stockport. I used to count the Blues scarves from Disley onwards.

By the time I was 14 I was making the journey on my own, dad working away had to do his duty at home at the weekends.

The championship and successful years will never be forgotten, but the real memories and the ones which keep me a Blue are the carefree way the game of football was then played with Joe and Mal at the forefront but plenty of contributors elsewhere (Chelsea, particularly). The game was full of characters then and my team had the most and best of them. A pity that U****d seemed to think they had a right to win everything, and couldn’t join in the fun – or am I prejudiced? I remember my best mate telling me after we stuffed them 4-0 at the Academy that if it hadn’t been for the four goals they would have won! He too was being serious. He was being too serious.

We’ve been up and down which makes for interesting life. You are always kept guessing by City and the heart often suffers.

My wife’s a good ‘un. I’ve worked away a lot, have kept up my season ticket even when I am away and have for the last few years been a regular, with my dad, son and daughter travelling from Nottingham to enjoy pleasure or endure pain every other Saturday.

I hate Sky for their Monday night games as I can seldom get to them and I’ve already paid for my season ticket, so thankfully it’s not too often – No! one game is too often.

Of course it costs me a fortune in replica kits for the kids, but it is paying off. There is no suggestion that they want to watch Forest or U****d, and it’s good to see the sky blue being worn around the town by them and at the local team (Toton Young Football Club) training sessions. They are growing up with the right attitude and can put up with the p*ss being taken out of them. At least a defeat is not the end of the world for us as it is for the Reds (either one).

So really I am blue-blooded, my dad was and my kids are. We all look forward to that one day of pleasure when we win something and can all be there together to see it. Before we die. It’s O.K. for me – I’ve done Wembley etc. But when will today’s supporters know the ecstasy which must surely follow the agony?

I hope Franny does more than turn the ground into one big restaurant, and if success comes please give us a stadium we can be proud of, not just a collection of 4 stands each harking back to days either of former glory (North and Main stands) or current failure (Umbro and Kippax). Doesn’t the look of the ground reflect the mixed up management?

My daughter is on the mailing list. She saw her first match when she was six and is now twelve. I think she is a Why Blue of the future, are there any others out there? Marc is ten and would rather play so it’s a struggle to get him to go.

I’ve rambled a bit but that’s in keeping with the way City are.

Malcolm Plaiter (


Thanks to Tony, The Mole, Malcolm & Tim

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 #109