Newsletter #130

A little bit of news in thsi issue together with plenty of astute opinion and my review of the latest ‘City’ magazine. Anyone fancy doing a Why Blue now that MCIVTA is back on the rails again? Send them to me here and I’ll stack them up and paste them in!

Also, has anyone any ideas on articles for MCIVTA or for the WWW that would be worthwhile doing?

Next game, Nottingham Forest away, Saturday 30th September 1995


According to Norwegian newspaper reports, Alan Ball is set to welcome back the out-loaned Norwegian midfielder Kåre Ingebrigtsen, when his loan period is over on 1st November. Ingebrigtsen is currently having a good run of form with Norwegian outfit Lillestrøm.

Ingebrigtsen himself is not too keen on the return, quoting to newspaper “Verdens Gang”: “The memories I have from England are not only good ones. If I should go back to Manchester it must be for another reason than doing the christmas shopping.”

He added “The only thing I know is that I am going to stay with Lillestrøm until the 1st of November. I haven’t heard anything from Alan Ball, but I have read what the newspapers have written.”

Alan Ball seems to be keeping all options open to turn around the bad opening to the season.

Tor-Kristian Karlsen (


I thought the article below would be of interest. I’ve included the URL for the site that I got it from as it is quite a good source of info. It gets updated early afternoon each day. I think we will all agree that things look bleak at the moment, although Alan Ball is satisfied with our last few performances (or at least he says so when interviewed by Piccadilly radio after the game) – I wonder what he will make of Uwe’s comments?

Web page:

MANCHESTER CITY striker Uwe Rösler is pleading with boss Alan Ball to play with more adventure – and give him the chance to keep City up. Rösler, who has still not agreed to the offer of a new four-year contract, is unhappy about playing in a formation which he believes is denying him goal-scoring opportunities.

He moaned: “Nobody would be able to score in our present system – not Klinsmann, Shearer or Ferdinand. Obviously I am not happy about the situation we find ourselves in. I honestly thought this would be a big season for me and the club. It’s very disappointing to be faced with another relegation struggle. It’s been a frustrating season because I am not being given the chance to score the goals which could help us climb up the table. We have been concentrating too much on defence. A striker is only as good as the service he receives and I am not being given the opportunity to score.”

“I am just hoping we will start being more adventurous and winning a few matches. I’m dreading the thought of spending the entire season worrying about relegation.” Rösler added: “I keep reading I am about to join another Premiership club or move back to Germany. These stories are completely untrue. I haven’t been approached by anyone regarding a move. My feelings have never changed since my arrival in Manchester. I love City and the supporters. It is true, however, that I have not signed the long-term contract which has been offered. There is one clause I am not happy about but that is a confidential matter between myself and chairman Francis Lee. It would be improper to divulge it publicly. We are still talking and if we can iron out the one sticking point then I will be happy to sign myself to City for the rest of my career in England.”

Jon Fielding (


A tribunal has decided that Port Vale must pay City £150,000 for Andy Hill.

John Foster is now back in full training and available for selection.

The Mole


A while ago I put a note in MCIVTA asking for people to say if they passed on the good news to non-subscribers either by e-mail or snail-mail. A number of people have responded but I’m sure there must be more. As responses come in I will print some of the more interesting ones.

The numbers will also be useful to Ashley as he seeks sponsorship, as the total number of readers is higher than the number of subscribers alone.

Examples ๐Ÿ™‚

Between 3 and 5 people other than myself usually read my copy of MCIVTA, which I print off from the WWW (using X-Netscape) because I think that it looks better.

Regarding your note in MCIVTA about its readership: I automatically forward my copy to two colleagues via our EMAIL system, so I suppose I count as three!

I forward MCVITA by email to another 7 people in ICL. Also my two daughters are avid readers.

(I wish my wife and three daughters were – Neale)

I regularly fax a copy to my mate in Tokyo who is also a diehard Blue, but doesn’t know a computer from a microwave oven!!

Please keep them coming in.

Neale Hayward-Shott (


I heard the inimitable (they broke the mould, etc {thank God}) Paddy Crerand on Radio 5 this morning re the unfortunate events at the swamp last night. His line was that the Rags deserved to win on their second half performance. Didn’t state the corollary, i.e., that they deserved to lose on their first half performance (or non-performance).

Glad to see that Steve Bruce has been learning from our defence ๐Ÿ™‚ (or ๐Ÿ™ ?) Also, Schmeichel has been awarded the “Tart of the Season” award in our household in honour of his fannying around the Rotor goalmouth.

Jeremy Poynton (


Several people have started to criticise Georgiou Kinkladze recently, particularly in respect of his inability to communicate with the rest of the team to link up in the kind of moves he is undoubtably capable of. Over the past season I believe that it has been proved that the players around him are the inept ones rather than Kinky himself.

As a remedy to this situation why don’t we sell Rösler and Flitcroft for the millions they are reputedly worth and buy a few more of Kinky’s international colleagues instead. They certainly couldn’t do any worse, we might possibly see some goals, and the opposition wouldn’t be able to understand when they shout instructions to each other.

I vote sell the english-speaking ones and let’s buy a team of foreigners.

(Note : I’m only half joking)

Neale Hayward-Shott (


City are in crisis. How do we get out of it?

I doubt if anyone is queueing up to buy the club, so Franny will stay where he is. If we get rid of Ball, who do we replace him with? If Franny stays with us we won’t have the money to compensate Ball and/or poach a top replacement. The fact is that money for new players will have to be generated from the sale of the existing squad, only two of whom, Flitcroft and Rösler, would attract significant interest.

Even if we’ve got the money, who is avaliable? A few people who could improve the quality of the side, that’s who: Fox, Clough and Hutchinson to name but three.

Assuming that ten million is not going to be pulled out of a hat the key will be Ball’s alleged motivational skills. Let’s hope that Summerbee’s improved showing is a sign of better things to come.

Yours in Hope (but not much left)

David C. Bradbury (


After taking a 3 month holiday from writing to MCIVTA due to firstly the hot summer and then pressures of work, I thought it was about time I expressed my views of the current situation.

I went to the Boro game and sat in the Main Stand. Enough has already been said of the game, but what made me absolutely disgusted was the attitude of City fans. From the first whistle they constantly lambasted both AB and the players. Initially City played possession football and although there was no menace upfront, there was some confidence in the play. As soon as we went 1-0 down to an unbelievably bad decision from the linesman, the Slaggers became increasingly vocal. This is when City started to go to pieces. Anyone who has played sport should realise that the game is 30% physical, 70% mental. Can they not understand that it was not just City’s play that lost them the game but the fans? Summerbee has not been helped by Horton switching him between full back, midfield and wing. The fans are finishing off the job. Summerbee probably will leave. City will lose money and Buzzer will come back to Maine Road and take the piss.

This is not the first time a City player has been hounded out; last season I sent in a representative City team filled with players who have been heckled by the crowd. The usual argument comes up.‘We pay our entrance, we can criticise.’ I also pay my entrance and I want to enjoy myself without pillocks ruining the day. I left the game early, I won’t be going back until City get their house in order, simply because I refuse to pay £15 to feel like I did on Saturday.

Kevin Duckworth (


Since there have already been a lot of reports written about the ‘Boro game, I just want to make some comments. However, I’ve only seen two City games this season (Arsenal on tape and Moddlesbrough live), so maybe some aspects of these games were unrepresentative of the season as a whole – I’m sure someone will point this out if it’s the case.

I saw a lot of encouraging things at the ‘Boro game, but also some fundamental flaws that are always going to make it hard for us to win against any opposition. One report in a Sunday paper said that Barmby had showed he was worth every penny of his 5 million+ fee – that reporter clearly only looked at the result and the scorer because I barely saw him touch the ball. The encouraging part was that City dominated in midfield and had far more time in possession than their opponents; the less encouraging part was that our defending when put under a bit of pressure was terrible and we had no idea how to turn midfield possession into goals.

In defence we have no idea how to mark up – the goal against Arsenal, at least one of the goals against Newcastle and the ‘Boro goal all came about as a result of schoolboy defending. Each time involved an opposing forward with the ball, two or three City defenders standing around him, and consequently another forward (usually on the wing) totally unmarked. The ball is then passed to the unmarked forward who has the time and space to cause trouble. Time and again opposing forwards are left in acres of space. If there is any kind of marking, it’s much too loose (i.e. the defender standing about 5 yards from the forward), allowing the forward to receive the ball and control it under no pressure at all, and then lay it off to a totally unmarked team-mate. In my opinion a defender’s job when the opposition has the ball is to;

  1. Mark an opponent – this means staying within one or two yards of himand following him wherever he goes (if he totally changes position someswapping of markers can be done between defenders). This will often takethe forward out of the game entirely as they’re less likely to pass tosomeone who’s being closely marked. If they do pass to him;
  2. Read the game – this means judging the pass and where the forward isgoing to be when it arrives. Frequently the defender can intercept thepass if he’s read the situation correctly (just like in American Football- sorry for this blasphemous reference, but the set-piece situations inthat game make tactical observation more obvious than in football, andthere are many similar situations if you break the English game down intoits constituent parts). If the defender reads that he can’t get therefirst, it may still be possible to make a tackle while the forward istrying to control the ball and is vulnerable. If the pass and controlwere good and the forward has the ball comfortably at his feet, a rashattempt at a tackle is a bad idea – there’s no easier way to getpast a defender than if he commits himself to a tackle in thissituation. Instead the defender should simply cover the forward.

If everyone else is following the same rules there should be no unmarked forward and therefore no one to pass to. The forward with the ball must then either pass to a marked player, hold on to the ball, or try to take on the defender. If he holds onto the ball, it should give the defensive team’s midfielders a chance to get back and make a challenge for the ball while the player in posession is worrying about the defender marking him. If he tries to take on the defender from a standing start, any decent defender should be able to make a tackle or at least force a loss of control that can be exploited by supporting midfielders. If our tactic is to surround the forward with three defenders and leave another forward(s) totally unmarked, then someone had better make a tackle pretty sharply before the ball gets passed off to the open striker.

In attack we were very static against Middlesbrough with hardly any inviting runs into space being made by Rösler or Creaney. When they did move, it often seemed to be into the same positions where they would get in each other’s way. Hopefully they’ll develop a better understanding of who likes to go where as their partnership develops. Poor Kinkladze must have been having a fit because every time he got the ball and looked forward, our players were just standing there being marked by the big stooges they had at the back. Whenever anyone tried to put the ball into the box in the air, it was invariably headed away immediately. Only Kinkladze seemed to realise the folly of this tactic. He was always looking for the runner into space, but there were precious few of those. Instead there were just complaints that he hadn’t hoofed the ball down the middle pointlessly (another Amercan Football analogy I’m afraid – when a quarterback has the ball he initially looks downfield for a receiver who has got into space and who he can pass to without too great a risk of being intercepted. If all his players are covered, the last thing he does is just throw it up in the air and hope it comes down into his receiver’s hands. He’d rather make a short sideways pass – a lateral – and see if his team can break through in some other way).

On Saturday, if he saw nothing available upfield and made a sideways pass, to keep posession and give the forwards another opportunity to make a run, the crowd would get incredibly restless and call for the big boot. I’ve read many complaints on MCIVTA about players “doing a Wilkins” and passing sideways rather than forward – if those situations were the same as the ones I saw on Saturday, then I’m right behind the sideways pass. I like the back pass to defenders as well. If all a team does is go forward, then all the opposition has to do is get all 11 men back in the goal area and the game gets completely stuffed up. It can be incredibly difficult to score in this situation, even if you have all the posession. However, a back pass (à la Liverpool in the 70’s and 80’s, though I hate to compliment them) draws the opposition out of their close-packed defensive formation and creates a few holes that decent midfielders and attackers can exploit.

I was hoping that Ball would tell Rösler and Creaney to move around a bit more in the second half to mess up the ‘Boro defence. What would their big defenders have done if they had no one to mark all of a sudden? There’s nothing worse for a central defender than constantly being forced upfield or out to the wings to mark the centre-forward. And if he does decide to follow the forward it creates a ton of space down the middle that the midfield can run into.

Apart from his composure on the ball and his desire to make a telling pass rather than a big boot, Kinkladze also impressed me with his general reading of the game. I heard recently that he doesn’t get stuck in hard enough. Maybe he doesn’t make wild, lunging tackles like some people, but he certainly wins the ball often enough. He does this by reading where the opponents are going to pass the ball and then quietly stepping in and intercepting it. He did this several times right in front of the back four when a dangerous attack looked possible.

I also liked the look of Michael Brown. Apart from his general willingness to chase hard in midfield, he did what no other City player did – he covered for his full-back. There were countless times when Phelan thought he was playing left wing and it was Brown who drifted back into his real position until Phelan got his wind back and decided to return to full-back. If someone had been doing this for Edghill the game might have been very different. If you have a pair of attacking full-backs like we do, the midfield has to take responsibility for covering the gaps left when the full-back goes on the attack.

In conclusion, if we are currently playing tactically exactly the way Ball wants, it’s going to be a long, hard season with us getting hammered by the good teams and drawing or losing to the bad teams despite dominating the game. My hope is that Ball is telling them the right way to play, but that they haven’t yet managed to put it into practice. I really believe that we have enough good players to be at least a comfortable mid-table team if we can just sort out some basics at the back and give Kinky something to pass to up front.

Mike Maddox (

REVIEW – ‘CITY’ MAGAZINE (issue two, volume one)

Due to too much supping and talk with other MCIVTAers before the game I was too late to buy the magazine outside the ground! I vainly tried to buy the magazine at the back of the Kippax and in the end had to get it from Mr Phillips’ emporium (souvenir shop). This issue has a picture of Flipper on the cover and news of the ‘Fightback Starting Here’ … obviously postponed 8-))!

The ‘mag’ kicks off with a news section and a ‘This Month in History’ article which might just not last ’til next season (think about it!). There follows a tribute to Walshie and a view of the ‘Paul Power Semi’ back in 1981. A novel and interesting feature is ‘Away Day Blues’ where the magazine paid for three supporters to go to the QPR game and put down their experiences in ink. One of these was a Mr David Bradbury. Is that our very own David C. Bradbury? If so, how come you didn’t confess sooner to looking like Garry Flitcroft and, how did they pick on you?

The most interesting articles are interviews with Kinky, Asa Hartford, Flipper, the promising (heard that one somewhere before) Chris Greenacre and finally, celebrity Blue Eddie Large (a comedian for those non-English MCIVTAers). This access to players and staff is really their trump card and it’s clear that the articles written from inside the club will always be the ones which grab people’s attention.

My overall impression of the magazine is that it’s pretty worthwhile. They are however, still struggling a little to find their niche but it seems to be developing nicely. They naturally want to avoid becoming merely a glossy fanzine but there does appear to be some need for opposing views as they run the risk of ending up like the anodyne MEN which has in the past lacked all objectivity and just told us what a wonderful team Manchester City are. One of the few things approaching a critical standpoint were some fans who thought Stuart McCall would have been a better signing than Kinky. Incidentally, the column in which this appeared is called ‘Talkin’ Blues’ and is basically snippets of fans’ views. I just can’t believe that nobody thought Ball’s appointment a dire decision as many people obviously do!

The adverts are still a little too intrusive with a total of 16 out of 52 sides taken up, plus 3 sides of competitions which are of dubious reading value. The questions were good for a laugh though and could have been answered correctly by a foetus they were that simple! All in all, probably something I’ll buy regularly and very possibly better value than the match magazine at £1.95.

To subscribe write to:

City Magazine, Vanguard House, Dewsbury Road, Leeds LS11 5DD.
Cost is £25/35/45 for UK/Europe/Rest of the World, respectively.



Monday, September 25 1995


Tue 26 Sep

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost   For Against   Points
Newcastle United       7      6    0    1     14     3        18
Manchester United      7      5    1    1     14     8        16
Liverpool              7      5    0    2     13     5        15
Arsenal                7      4    3    0     10     4        15
Aston Villa            7      4    2    1      9     5        14
Leeds United           7      4    1    2     12     9        13
Middlesbrough          7      3    3    1      7     4        12
Nottingham Forest      7      2    5    0     11     9        11
Tottenham Hotspur      7      3    2    2     11    10        11
Wimbledon              7      3    1    3     12    13        10
Chelsea                7      2    3    2      8     7         9
Sheffield Wednesday    7      2    2    3      8     9         8
Blackburn Rovers       7      2    1    4     10    11         7
Everton                7      2    1    4      9    10         7
Queens Park Rangers    7      2    0    5      6    12         6
Coventry City          7      1    3    3      7    14         6
West Ham United        7      1    2    4      7    11         5
Southampton            7      1    2    4      7    14         5
Bolton Wanderers       7      1    1    5      8    17         4
Manchester City        7      0    1    6      3    11         1

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to David, Neale, Jeremy, Tor-Kristian, Kev, John, The Mole, Mike.

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 #130