Newsletter #157

I think that I’m on fairly safe ground in saying that 1996 hasn’t been my best start to a year. Apart from the happenings on the field, the sad news on Paul Lake and my abysmal performance in this weekend’s lottery, MCIVTA has been beset by problems. Unfortunately, the mail system where our automated mailer is located crashed early last week and the problems they are having have proved somewhat protracted. This has meant that it hasn’t been possible to use the normal avenue for sending out MCIVTA. This situation has been further exacerbated by my mail software which, along with other home-computer mail programs is just not designed for mailing to 550 people. My only option appears to be to divide the list up and mail bunches of 80 people which is what I attempted to do on Friday evening. Hopefully, these problems will soon be resolved and normal service will be resumed. Apologies to all, and in particular to those who thought I’d been seized by a bout of megalomania and had decided to summarily eject people from the list! Not true! I actually sent issue 156 out on Tuesday but when it became apparent that it hadn’t been mailed out I then combined it with the half-done 157 so that it became a double-sized issue (156). This issue is 157 so anyone who has failed to receive 156 should mail either me or Paul and we’ll get a copy to you as soon as possible.

Next game, Tottenham Hotspur away, Saturday 13th January 1996.


Due to all the mailing problems Paul hasn’t been able to get a match report done for today’s issue. He’ll do one for Thursday’s issue but in the meantime, if anyone else was at Filbert Street and fancies relating their experiences then please do.



The winners of the City vs. Leicester replay have been drawn away to Coventry City in the 4th Round of the F.A.Cup.

The replay has been arranged for Wednesday 17th January; you have ’til Saturday to secure season ticket seats.

Paul Howarth (


The M(U)EN reports that Tony Coton has had a frank discussion with Bally and has given him a ‘play me or sell me’ ultimatum in the light of his continuing spell on the bench, despite Ball’s criticism of Immel’s kicking. Of course, the M(U)EN have absolutely no idea of what went on between Ball and Coton so the whole article is pure speculation, the only factual part (IMHO) appears to be that a meeting actually took place.



Now that I am back in operation, could you please send me your votes for the December Player Poll. 3 choices 1st, 2nd, and 3rd if possible. Paul has already sent me some early votes. If any remaining votes could be here by Jan 10th we can put the result in the Thu/Fri issue.

Matches covered:

  • Leeds (A) 1v0 – (Scorer: Creaney)
  • Middlesbrough (A) 1v4 – (Scorer: Kinkladze)
  • Forest (H) 1v1 – (Scorer: Rösler)
  • Chelsea (H) 0v1
  • Blackburn (A) 0v2

Ken Foster (


The programme for the Chelsea game contained a synopsis of the new Manchester City Fans’ Committee which met on 5th December. Present were Colin Barlow (chair), Bernard Halford, Geoff Durbin & Jack Richards of the club; Steve Knott, Dave Wallace, Les Saul & Mark Bittner of the fans’ committee.

1. Membership scheme:

Comes into force when the away club sells its allocation of tickets i.e. the average fan has no idea whether it will come in force or not… still! This situation will continue until the space between the Kippax and the North Stand is built on.

2. Home games:

Apparently it is illegal for the club to keep away fans in after the game (!) so the current awkward situation with away fans passing Blues exiting from the Kippax will continue.

3. Students:

City are endeavouring to make cheap tickets available to students (good news for many MCIVTAers) though it doesn’t stipulate when this will actually happen.

4. Tickets:

Complaints have been made about fans wanting tickets and finding the phone lines engaged with requests for concert tickets. Being sorted…

5. Video screens:

Planning permission has fnally been obtained and the switch on date has been set for Spring ’96.

6. City Stores:

The new stores are being operated by JD Sports until any initial problems have been ironed out. JD are not charging the club for this!!!

7. Supporter’s Clubs:

The club wants a united supporter’s organisation but wishes the supporters to come to an amicable agreement amongst themselves… apparently a lot of alcohol had been consumed by this stage 8-))

8. Social club:

There is no truth to the rumour that the Social Club is closing. This is anyway Greenall’s business as they own it! I’m not sure where this rumour has come from and I have to wonder exactly why it has appeared.

9. Junior Blues:

Gary Lewis has now been appointed to run this service. Normal service will be resumed. More on this later perhaps!

10. Kippax lifts:

Passes for use of the Kippax lifts will be issued to fans able to provide medical evidence of their need; sounds like a cue for a good Monty Python sketch!

11. Ground visits:

The club is happy to open for group visits but would prefer that they take place later in the season.

12. National Stadium:

The club is supporting Manchester’s bid but has made no committment to use the new stadium should it be built. This seems to me to indicate that the club are merely throwing their weight behind the bid but have no intention of using it.

13. Profile of the committee:

City fully support the aims of the Fans’ Committee and the match programme will be used ona regular basis to publish the matters discussed at the meetings.



As mentioned by James Nash before, a bunch of London Blues met up on the train after the Wycombe 0-0; it seems like ages ago but I’m sure everybody agreed on the Elbow Room as the pub before the Spurs match… it’s on the corner of Bruce Grove and the High Road… it’s one of those half-decent free house affairs, see yez there,

Garreth Ryan (


The tributes to Paul Lake are coming in from all around. Here’s how Paul’s retirement was announced on Soccernet; it just shows what a rare talent has been lost.

Howard Kendall today lamented the loss of one of Britain’s brightest young talents after Paul Lake reluctantly announced his retirement. The 27-year-old City player finally accepted defeat in his five-year battle, encompassing 14 operations, to overcome a series of cruciate ligament injuries.

Kendall, who made Lake captain during his brief spell in charge at Maine Road in 1990, described his premature retirement today as ‘a tragedy’. Kendall, now manager of Sheffield United, claimed: ‘I used to ask for £10 million when clubs asked about him but that was in the days when clubs couldn’t afford that sort of money.’

‘I’d be frightened to put a price on his head these days – he could have gone all the way to the top if he had stayed injury-free. Paul was as good a young player as I’ve ever worked with. It’s a tragedy he has had to retire without being able to prove to people how good he was.’

‘He has worked hard to get himself going again. The fact that he has battled for so long shows how determined he was. He was good in the air, strong, brave and quick – he had everything and because he was so versatile, he was used in a lot of different positions.’

Bournemouth manager Mel Machin, who preceded Kendall as City boss and first encountered Lake in the outstanding Maine Road youth team, agreed: ‘He looked the all-round player, which is unusual for a lad so young. He had a great arrogance – he was in control of what he did. Without question, he is the best young player I have ever worked with.’

Tony Book, City’s first-team coach and former manager who helped sign Lake, said: ‘It’s a sickening blow for Paul and the club. It’s always sad when a player is forced to retire, but when you’re cut down in your prime it’s especially heartbreaking. You would class Paul in the top bracket. I always likened him to Colin Bell – he had that great ability to get up and down the park.’

Former England Under-21 and B international Lake revealed: ‘I wanted to pull on the blue shirt of City at least one more time. The club has been my life since I was 10 years old, when I was a young fan, and has been my way of life for the last 11 years.’

‘I have tried hard to get my fitness back but it wasn’t to be. I am devastated. It’s not quite sunk in yet that it really is all over for me as a Manchester City player.’ Lake’s agony began in September 1990 – just months after being included in Bobby Robson’s provisional squad for the World Cup aged just 21 – in the third match of the season, a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

‘I was on a mazy run and slipped. I was actually feeling great on that night,’ he recalled. ‘I remember I twisted my knee but didn’t realise at first the damage that had been done. The knee ached for a while and I had to go off.’ He battled for fitness for two long years and thought his troubles were over in August 1992 when he returned to City’s first team. But in the first away game of the season, it went tragically wrong again at Middlesbrough in only the second game of the season.

Surgery followed in America where he underwent a pioneering operation with a donor Achilles tendon transplanted into his knee. ‘I was told that everything would be okay but my knee continued to swell and swell again. I just couldn’t get right,’ he admitted.

Lake, who plans to go into physiotherapy, added: ‘I have to be a realist now. I can’t go on. I am told I will need more surgery on my knee. I am just gutted.’

Paul Howarth (


After an absence of 10 weeks it’s very sad to have the relief of a New Year’s Day victory lost in the tragedy of Paul Lake’s retirement. Even though many of us never really believed we’d see him in a sky blue shirt again, to see the news that he had finally called it a day is pretty devastating.

I just hope the club do him proud now and sort out a fitting testamonial game.

Below is some of the Guardian’s account of the story:

Lake Loses Battle of 14 Operations
(David Hopps)

Paul Lake, widely feted as one of the finest players of his generation, confirmed his retirement yesterday to end one of the most prolonged and courageous battles against injury in the history of the game.

Fourteen knee operations in five years represented extraordinary will-power as Lake strove to rebuild a career that had been forecast to bring stardom.

“All I ever wanted to do was pull on the blue shirt of Manchester City just one more time,” he said yesterday. Forecasts over Christmas, though, of a 15th operation finally broke his resolve. Lake made his City début in 1987 at Wimbledon. Three years later his knee first collapsed in an early-season match against Aston Villa. At the time the specialist who studied the X-ray diagnosed a minor twist and told him he would be back in a fortnight.

Howard Kendall was City’s manager at the time. “It is not just Manchester City’s loss, it is England’s as well, because he would have been captain of his country for years,” Kendall said yesterday. “He was on the verge of the England team when he was injured and I’m sure he would have been there to this day.”

Two years later the knee ligaments snapped again at Middlesbrough. Peter Reid, by then in charge at Maine Road, supported Lake’s wish to follow the example of Rangers’ Ian Durrant by having innovative surgery in the USA. Lake was soon rehabilitating again, with the help of donor medial and cruciate ligaments from 2 dead Americans, and a full recovery was forecast.

“The specialist in America warned me that he couldn’t guarantee anything,” Lake said. “By that stage too much damage had been done. My knee just continued to swell and swell again.” At full-back, central defence, midfield or even striker, Lake had possessed both poise and presence and had been called into Bobby Robson’s provisional England squad for the 1990 World Cup. “There were many times when I thought about packing it in,” he said. “But every day I would think there would come a time when perhaps the pain would become tolerable. I love putting my boots on more than anything in the world.”

He did recover enough to play a handful of A-team matches in the Lancashire League, wearing a knee support and fearing the first side-on clattering tackle. Even then he believed he would be back. Instead he has enrolled at college for a physiotherapy course. As Roy Bailey, City’s physio, said: “With his experience of rehabilitation techniques he would be a great asset to any club. It’s remarkable how he has kept going.”

Dan Rigby (


I don’t propose to review this magazine in detail every issue (of the magazine, that is!) which is what I have done up ’til now. Originally, I wanted to give people an idea of what it was about and how good I thought it was. It should be evident that nowadys the magazine is a good buy and a very interesting read, so from now on I’ll stick more to a resume of the contents.

This issue has Kinky (Gio!) on the cover and the main articles are as usual, based on interviews of key personnel. Naturally, Alan Ball is in there giving his views on recent happenings without the intervention of a mainstream journalist. Lomas and Immel are the two players who give their views on the season so far and in Immel’s case, on starting again at a new club in another country late on in his career. The ‘youngster’ profile is on Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips who we thought a spritely, callow youth but who, I was surprised to learn is 5ft 11inches and 12st 8lbs! The celebrity Blue is Mark Radcliffe the One FM radio DJ. Another celebrity and ex-player interviewed is Bert Trautmann and this is a really interesting piece. The other usual features are here as well, including: ‘Maine Events’ with Quinny sporting the MCFC official (!!!) Quinninho T-shirt; a review of press cuttings about Gio; ‘The City Quiz’; ‘Away Day Blues’; ‘Maine Road Memories’; and ‘Final Whistle’.

All in all a great read and this time including all the subscription information necessary to subscribe – wasn’t in when I needed it for an overseas subscriber!



Just thought I ought to put straight the rumour on mcivta a while back that snooker ace John Virgo was a City fan in his youth.

According to Michael Aspel on “This is Your Life” the other day, Mr Virgo has in fact been a lifelong Red. I always *knew* there was something not quite right about him…

Jim Needham (


I must own up – this piece of research was the product of a City fan. My initial aim was to have a go at the Rags via science, but they wouldn’t let me near their log data, so I had to leave them out (although in subsequent live interviews I did manage a dig or two).

Adam Joinson (


Seeing as I rarely contribute to the opinions and have got a little time to spare, I’ve decided to list a couple of things that I’ve noticed about City, The Acadamy and the players in general.

The new Albanian, Eduardo Abazaj made his début for City in a reserve game against Blackpool reserves on Tuesday. He started the game at left back, with Ingram relegated to the sub’s bench. He is definitely left sided, which has got to be a plus considering the amount of right sided players we have available at the moment. The first twenty minutes saw a couple of mis-timed headers and a tackle that was so late, even British Rail would have been proud of it. Apart from that, he had little coming at him, as you would expect from Blackpool Reserves. In the second half, Ingram was brought on at left fullback and Eduardo was moved into the middle with Alan Kernaghan. Alan was captain, full of screaming and shouting and enjoyed giving the “new boy” instructions as to where to stand and where to run. For the first half he seemed to follow Alan’s advice, but once he was with Alan in the centre he appeared to be spared the lesson in tactics.

I left early, partly due to the fact that the game was boring; it was cold, and there was a live game on Sky, as well as Newcastle vs. Arsenal too. We were losing 1-0 at that point, the Blackpool goal coming from an unfortunate error by TC, of all people. The Blackpool left wing crossed the ball, sliced it a little and it ended up in the back of TC’s net. He appeared to have it covered but he may have caught his heel in the ground. Either way, he didn’t seem too upset, not like the TC of old. With Immel being so shaky at the moment, down to the fact that Keith Curle even takes his goal kicks, I cannot blame TC for being so uninterested, I think that he’ll put a transfer request in and I wouldn’t be surprised if City let him go; he must be one of the high wage earners?

With regard to City in general, I agree that almost all of the players seem uninterested at the end of games, unless they’ve won. At Blackburn, Ian Brightwell couldn’t run down the tunnel fast enough and he was the same against West Ham too. Then again, who could blame him for being a little pi***d off as he’s played in almost every position at City and gets little recognition.

As for Quinninho, I’m not his biggest fan and would not be banging down the Maine Road door if we sold him. But, having seen Creaney and Phillips in the reserves, I am far from convinced that they will be ample replacements. Granted, Phillips isn’t ready and he played O.K. when he came on for a while against West Ham, but if he gets into the side when Quinn goes, who does he pass to? Rösler? who else is in the middle?

Next game, F.A. Cup away at Leicester; hopefully the away following will see City through. A replay at Maine Road wouldn’t be the end of the world but we could do with the confidence boost of beating a fairly high ranking 1st Division team, just as a rehearsal for next season (only joking).

Ian Elliott (


My first trip home in three years, and I was certainly looking forward to visiting the Academy. Through the Net I had been reading reports of exciting, attractive and encouraging football, and with the Manager of the Month award in the bag, not even the cold weather could dampen my spirits on the way to Maine Road. I had even persuaded my Dad to come along, after an estimated absence of 20 years!

Of course, in inimitable City fashion, I could only face disappointment. The Chelsea game started well enough, but faded terribly. The Blackburn game’s only redeeming feature was that I watched it from a centrally-heated living room, and my final game saw Quinny score two.

As an overview, Quinn was the one outstanding player. He is totally committed, his skills are still improving, and the only thing that is better than him up front, is the number of times he clears at the back! We already know of his skills in goal, so maybe we should try him in midfield as well?! The central defence looks reasonable, but as expected the full back nightmare is still causing problems. Summerbee at right-back seems to work reasonably well though, even seems to do more attacking from that position, and is certainly one of the better players in the team. Kinkladze is no doubt skilful but as noted in someone else’s view, has no-one to pass to. In the West Ham game, the barracking from the fans was more than deserved. Movement was non-existent, and embarassing at times. I heard Ball has said that he has one of the fittest teams in the league, but it doesn’t show. Gerry Creaney is totally out of his league, and I was glad to see him totally dropped for the West Ham game. There are many decisions in City’s past that have been dubious and curious, but his move is top of the list at the moment. Before I get too despondent, I did enjoy being back, just wish I could have seen something better. To be optimistic, at least we managed to beat West Ham when we didn’t really deserve to, and we are going to need some of this luck to survive. The lack of atmosphere was a real shock after such a long absence; at least the discontentment in the West Ham game brought back some of the noise. Most of all, it’s good to know that you can stay away for three years and things just don’t change! I just hope I made the right decision on taking the trip at Xmas, and not saving the fare for the FA Cup final.



Apologies if this is old hat, but I thought I would give you my thoughts on the Euro’96 ticket arrangements. I had seen nothing advertised regarding the availability or location of tickets for this summer’s tournament. What I did hear was that it had nearly sold out, so someone was obviously buying up the tickets. After consulting with a Red friend (sad, I know), it transpired that Wembley, Villa Park, and Forest were completely sold out for every match, but I may have a chance of getting tickets for Old Trafford.

Quite fancying the Germany vs. Denmark match, I asked him if I needed to contact the O.T. ticket office. Apparently tickets are only on sale via application forms from the Midland Bank. I got the application form, only to discover large portions of the ticket allocation marked as sold out (this was printed in Autumn’95). I have applied for O.T tickets for a couple of group matches but doubt if my chances are very good. So much for the F.A giving the ordinary fan a chance to see the games. Even now, I have seen several corporate and commercial advertisements offering seats for the Semi’s and Final (at a price). If I have been slow off the mark, fair enough, but the overall PR for the tournament hasn’t exactly been enticing.

Ken Foster (


Some time well before Christmas I posted a message asking if anyone out there in mcivta land had a copy of the wonderful BBC Radio series ‘Lenin of the Rovers’ now no longer commercially available. I’m still on the look out for it; I had two responses … took the first but sadly their copy went astray before he could copy it for me. I had another response, but have since deleted the mail, and can’t remember who it was from … so, once again – anyone out there got it?

Jeremy Poynton (


FA Cup 3rd Round Results

Saturday, January 6 1996

ARSENAL                 1-1     SHEFFIELD UNITED
BARNSLEY                0-0     OLDHAM ATHLETIC
FULHAM                  1-1     SHREWSBURY TOWN
GRIMSBY TOWN            7-1     LUTON TOWN
LIVERPOOL               7-0     ROCHDALE
MILLWALL                3-3     OXFORD UNITED
NORWICH CITY            1-2     BRENTFORD
READING                 3-1     GILLINGHAM
SWINDOWN TOWN           2-0     WOKING
WALSALL                 1-0     WIGAN ATHLETIC
WATFORD                 1-1     WIMBLEDON

Sunday, January 7 1996

CHELSEA                 1-1     NEWCASTLE UNITED
DERBY COUNTY            2-4     LEEDS UNITED
EVERTON                 2-2     STOCKPORT COUNTY
SOUTHAMPTON             3-0     PORTSMOUTH

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Jeremy, Adam, Dan, Jim, Ian, Ken, Paul, Garreth & Peter.

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 #157