Newsletter #160

Size constrains this ‘intro’ to a few lines. What can I say, a really entertaining game on Wednesday and several outstanding goals, including one for the memory banks! There are a couple of reports as well as a belated one from the Spurs game. The most astonishing news is that Coton could be on his way to the Swamp! How this would alter his situation is anyone’s guess, he’d merely be number 2 behind Schmeichel rather than Immel. I do wonder whether this sale is a prerequisite for financing the Powell deal; a good one judging by a Southend fan’s comments (see below).

Next game, Coventry City at home, Saturday 20th January


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday 13th January 1996

Well after almost a month enjoying lovely sunny weather, warm temperatures, and my mum’s cooking in New Zealand it was good to return to a damp, cold London. not. Still at least I could shake off the jet-lag by watching my beloved Blues play. I must admit that, after the football vacuum that is New Zealand, I was feeling mighty keen and hopeful of a good City performance.

I won’t go into too much detail about the actual “kick for kick” of the game, as several other match reports have already done this more than adequately. Rather I’ll add my impressions over why I thought we lost this game despite providing some enterprising play. Firstly I have to say that I believe City came to North London for a draw. The tactics used throughout the game, though especially in the second half, were little short of token attempts at containment. The midfield, even Kinky, failed to make any genuine attempts to provide cover and support to the two strikers. The subsequent result was that in almost all of our attacks Quinn and Rösler were more than effectively marshalled by numerous Spurs defenders. It seems as if Alan Ball had conceded attacking potential (limited enough as it is already this season) to consolidate defensive bodies in the midfield. A valid tactic after our shocking away form this season? … perhaps, but this strategy can only be deemed effective if you maintain a clean sheet.

Unfortunately, the only real time City came alive in an attacking sense was after we went 1-0 down and this strategy was abandoned. Secondly I must express concern over the lack of touch/form of Uwe. Now I’m writing this after his goal against Leicester last night, but on Saturday’s showing he really was dire. Maybe a spell in the reserves is needed, I’m not exactly sure, but we need someone to start scoring regularly soon otherwise it’s away trips to Grimsby next season!

Also I think it should be made clear to the back four that Immel plays in a traditional way for a European ‘keeper, in that he rarely ventures outside his 6 yard box. Expecting him to come racing out of his goal to claim crosses on the edge of the area is a waste of time. As long as the back four understand this and play in a rigid line then there’s no reason for us to defend as deep as we did at Spurs; such an approach just invites teams to attack us.

Right enough of the moans! I have to say it was an entertaining game, and the support especially was brilliant. Having been in NZ for a month it was the first time I’d heard the Wonderwall/Alan Ball ditty, and I spent the first 10 minutes in hysterics. Any chance of recording the fans’ version Oasis? Also I must add that I found the singing and the atmosphere in the Red Lion before the game superb, just let us know where you’re drinking before the next away game lads! Overall shame about the result, shame about some of the tactics but I was real glad to be back singin’ the Blues again. Cheers,

Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. LEICESTER CITY, FA CUP 6th round replay, Wednesday, 17th January 1996

City 5 (2) vs. Leicester 0 (0)
Att: 19,980
Team: Immel, Ingram, Summerbee, Symons, Curle, Brown, Kinkladze, Flitcroft (Ekelund), Lomas, Quinn (Creaney), Rösler.
Unused Sub: Kernaghan

What price a ‘Leicester’s Heart Broken By Clinical Finishing’ before this game? I’m beginning to think Alan Ball actually is a football genius. A bid to secure the Southend left back was agreed but City couldn’t (allegedly) meet the £500,000 downpayment of the total £800,000 fee. The club preferring if possible to pay in instalments. Given that it is hardly AB’s fault that we cannot afford to sign anybody, he is left to sort out what he can from the remains of our injury ravaged squad. For this game it meant playing two injured players (Ingram and Flitcroft). Ingram is a centre back and also vastly inexperienced, so combined with the injury I thought the growing number of Boo Boys on his back was somewhat unjust.

The legendary Tommy Booth and Stan Horne were introduced to the meagre crowd before the game. I was reminded of my visits to Maine Road in the 60’s and the omens bode well for a victory. What can I say about the game? I’m still waiting to wake up and find out that it was a recurring dreamscape from 1969. When we were 4-0 up the (puddled) bloke behind me actually came out with this classic: ‘Kinky’s passing hasn’t been up to much tonight, has it?’. This just goes to show that you can never satisfy every City fan. With the recommendation that his next port of call should be ‘Vision Express’ he snorted at me for daring to take issue with his astute appraisal of the game.

Leicester had lots of possession (probably more than us), but I would hazard a guess that their shooting prowess was gained from studying videos of City’s Premiership matches this season. Rather than a traditional match report, I think a description of each goal may be more appropriate as an antidote to our current famine.

  1. Kinky sends Buzzer away on the right. Buzzer is tripped outside thebox. Free kick. Kinky picks out Uwe’s run. Uwe firmly heads past Poole.
  2. Kinky picks up the ball deep in own half. Starts run toward goal. Takes3 players out with 1st side step. Dummys before skipping past 2 moreretreating defenders. Dispatches ball low to Poole’s left (my mouth isparalysed in open position for several minutes).
  3. Kinky’s shot blocked. Flipper hits rebound but that too isblocked. Quinn hits rebound in from a yard out.
  4. Kinky lays ball to his left on apex of box. Lomas takes it on astep before hitting unstoppable 20 yard drive into top corner of net.
  5. Kinky hits gorgeous reverse pass to Creaney who has madeintelligent run into box. Creaney hits powerful bender which goes in off post.

Reasonably good renditions of ‘Blue Moon’ began to reach the Family Stand; a few people joined in. I’m definitely getting a seat in the North Stand or Kippax for the next home cup match. Is it wise? Should I be superstitious now that we’ve won? Yes we had long phases of backs to the wall stuff as well but the defence restricted them to long range efforts to be picked off by Eike. I think AB has made the correct decision as regards Coton. It’s a matter of opinion about whether he’s a better ‘keeper than Immel but surely this is besides the point. Eike has done nothing wrong (Jason Lee gift excepted) and until such time as he does make a blunder he has a right to keep his place. TC should put up with the situation. I know he is 34 but I feel he still has a place at City and it’s his job to keep the No.1 shirt as soon as he gets his chance.

There was a rather frightening picture of Alan Ball modelling a new limited edition ‘Football Genius’ T-shirt in the programme. Even more frightening is the fact that he may well be one. ‘We’re on the march with Bally’s army, We’re all going to Wem-ber-ley…’

‘Now for the Bad News’

Notwithstanding our Albanian international in the defence, the latest reserve result was City reserves 0 vs. Blackpool reserves 1. We are now 5th to bottom of the Pontins League Div.2 and the scoring record almost mirrors the 1st team with 15 goals from 17 outings. Our goal tally in the Premiership is the worst of all the English and Scottish leagues. Motherwell have 13, so it looks like we could still carry off the accolade of lowest scoring team in the U.K.

Ken Foster (


MANCHESTER CITY vs. LEICESTER CITY, FA CUP 6th round replay, Wednesday, 17th January 1996

I was really looking forward to this game yet somehow pessimistic about our performance considering our continuing deep-lying midfield. The team news was that Ekelund was on the bench and Brown was on the field whilst Ball stuck with Ingram.

City started off in fine style with several menacing attacks, the best being a through ball from Kinky which set Flipper up with just the goalie to beat; disappointingly he shot rather weakly and it was no problem for Poole. Summerbee was already getting the measure of Joachim in his customary right back/right wing rôle. A foul out on the right led to a free kick with Buzzer stepping over the ball and Kinky left-footing a curling cross into the area which was powered home in by Uwe. Leicester were playing a neat passing game but never seemed to get to grips in the last third of the pitch (sound familiar?). Another fine chance was taken by Rösler whose shot was saved brilliantly by Poole. He brought off another stupendous save to deny a Quinn header from point blank range a few minutes later. The second goal came courtesy of Kinkladze who got the ball deep in our half, accelerated past two challenges and headed straight for the box (it was a long way!). He had a simple layoff to an unmarked Quinn on the left but chose to shoot, almost tamely, past Poole, a really fantastic goal, worth the 14 quid alone!

City never seemed to really fire on all cylinders but even so, Leicester never looked like scoring. The Blues started off the second half with a few more attacks which culminated in a Lomas shot which was turned by Flipper, saved by Poole and put in by Quinn. Number four came shortly afterwards and virtually killed the game dead, after an exhibition of keep-ball/dribbling, Kinky laid off to an unmarked Lomas who changed feet and belted the ball (left peg) from 20 yards beyond the goalie. Flipper was substituted by Ekelund and an injured-looking Quinn by Creaney. What could the new Rösler/Creaney parternship do in the remaining minutes… score was the answer. Creaney ran onto a through ball again from Kinky (appeals for offside), turned sharply and rifled a shot into the top corner. Leicester didn’t give up but failed to trouble Immel until the last 5 minutes.

City switched off after this and Leicester had a couple of good chances which were excellently saved, the first much to the amusement of the Kippax as the guilty party was Robins.

All in all, this was a very encouraging performance, City played with Kinky in behind the front two for several periods in this game and we scored 5 and had another 4 clear chances.

Immel (7) Two excellent saves but not much to do really.

Buzzer (8) Excellent defending, Joachim was played out of the game and attacked menacingly.

Ingram (6) Safety first, kicking into touch and did reasonably well covered by Brown considering that Leicester consistently attacked down City’s left.

Symons (7) Some key intercepts, solid play.

Curle (7) Good all round performance though he still loves to give the ball to the opposition after doing all the hard work.

Lomas (7) Hard work and a great shot.

Kinky (9) Wonderful goal, looked imperious at times and entertained the crowd in the second half with a nice display of ‘keep-it-up’.

Flipper (7) Scrappy at first but came together later with some nice passing. Booked for retaliating after a foot left in by a Leicester defender.

Brown (7) Great covering and tackling but needs to have the confidence to go forward and not sideways.

Rösler (7) Looked sharper, scored one and one disallowed.

Quinn (7) Usual standard!

Ekelund (6) Not really on long enough to make his mark.

Creaney (7) On for even less (12 minutes) but made his mark alright, a very nice finish.

Final Score 5-0



A few points of interest and highlights from last night’s biggest City win I have ever seen.

  • Kinkladze, apart from running the show, being worth £10m, scoringonce and having 4 assists, player of the match/year/decade/whatever,was also playing for laughs. At one stage in the firsthalf last night (having humiliated the LCFC defence for about half anhour) he stood over the ball, motionless except for slight twitchesin his right knee, for about 10 seconds. Three defenders just stood offhim, waiting, afraid to put a challenge in. And late in the secondhalf, when given the ball in a congested midfield, he just startedplaying keepie-uppie. The cheek of it… but what a performer.
  • Flitcroft’s passing is inevitably being shown up a bit at themoment but his tackling, tracking back, general get-in-there-and-get-the-ballwere fab and he also made a few good moves forward in thefirst half. Ekelund was pretty anonymous by comparison althoughhe tried.
  • Lomas got the scorching net-buster he’s always wanted; maybethey’ll start going in a bit more for him now. My heart was in mymouth when he started his run-up at it – I thought the exec boxes inthe Umbro stand were going to get a pasting, but no…
  • Quinn was unlucky not to score with a turn and volley he pulledout of nowhere.
  • We are weak on the left – Rae Ingram is a trier though. Also hemade a goalmouth clearance (which would have been crucial if wehadn’t been 4-0 up at the time) and pays a lot of attention to whatCurle tells him, so watch this space.
  • Symons had a rock-solid match (you want clichés? You got’em!) andCurle was free to go on a wander up the left if he wanted.
  • Summerbee was constantly worrying them when he attacked but after anenergetic start faded a bit.

Hard to say if it was a brilliant performance or not because Leicester just aren’t either (a) quality or (b) battling triers. Also, going 4-0 up with half an hour to go will take the pressure off you I suppose. But good goals and definitely a lift – we’ll have to take three points from Coventry and if we do it convincingly then…

Hopefully this’ll be the start of another winning run… maybe we can win by more than one goal more often? News on teletext this morning, Alex Ferguson wants to buy Tony Coton for his reserve keeper.. how

Roly Allen (


Tony Coton’s move to Sunderland has indeed fallen through. The reason given was that the clubs couldn’t agree on how the transfer fee should be paid, which probably means that Sunderland wanted to pay in instalments. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, Alan Ball has denied the rumours that City are interested in a Werder Bremen defender and has said that time is running out for Uwe & Niall’s partnership to start scoring goals. Read into that what you will.

Paul Howarth (


Alan Ball is hoping to extend Ronnie Ekelund’s loan period until the end of the season but insists that the player will have to prove himself after displaying a lack of match fitness in his appearances so far for City. Ekelund is relegated to the bench for tonight’s visit of Leicester City, with Michael Brown coming in to replace him. Rae Ingram keeps the left back spot despite suffering at the hands of Chris Armstrong on Saturday. Leicester have a number of players out, notably Taylor, Corica and Kamark, so there’s every chance of the Blues progressing to the 4th Round of the F.A. Cup.

Paul Howarth (


Found this on CarlingNet today; thought you might be interested.

“Meanwhile Manchester United have offered City goalkeeper Tony Coton the chance to pick up his career with a move to Old Trafford. United manager Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he is ready to match the £500,000 offered by Sunderland earlier this week for the keeper, who has lost his regular first team place at Maine Road.”

Scott Turner (

Also reported on Teletext tonight, one as fact the other as a possibility.



So Alex Ferguson has made a bid for Tony Coton. I wonder what makes him think that TC will be any happier sat on the bench there than he is sat on the bench at Maine Road? TC has said on numerous occasions that the only reason he wants to leave is because he wants first team football, and with the best goalkeeper in the world (so says FIFA!) already installed at OT, he will surely be number 2 again? I suspect he’ll have to drop down a division to get what he wants.

Paul Howarth (


I have some more info on the possibilty of us getting another Georgian player. I read in the M.E.N last month that he is very good friends with Gio, and they are in fact like brothers. Apparently Gio rings him each day, and would probably convince him to come and play for City. He (I can’t remember his name) plays for Trabzanspor and is out of contract at the end of this season. He is supposed to be a ‘shit hot’ striker.

Charles Pollitt (


I answered a query from a Southend fan on the RSS newsgroup. At the same time, I asked him for his opinion on Chris Powell. As it is possible that the deal may still go through at some point, thought I’d let you know his reply.

“I didn’t know that the deal selling Chris to Man. City had fallen through – it’s good for us and bad for you – he has been the team’s best player (Collymore aside) for the last 5 years, and is a big crowd favourite. He’s quick, reliable, doesn’t let much past him, and we’d always thought that he would be sold to a Premiership club eventually, he’s certainly good enough to survive there. Oh, and he’s a big evangelical Christian too”.

Colin Gorman (


This is what I could catch of the Wonderwall song…

Every run that Kinky makes is winding
And every goal that City score is blinding
I said maybe (maybe)
Eike’s gonna be the one to save me (save me)
Cos after all
You’re my Alan Ball

Any more for any more?

James Nash (


Some kind Bolton fans have given us a hand in putting together some lyrics for our version of Wonderwall. The verses are pretty crap (like Bolton’s chances of staying up), but the chorus is worth a chuckle so here goes.

“And all the Blues that watch the match are whining, Cos City never make a decent signing,
There are many teams
That they would like to score against,
But they don’t know how…

He’s complaining …
The underpants he wears will strain him….
And Alan Ball,
Will win bugger all…

After Wednesday’s Kinkladze show let’s hope we can look forward to gracing Wembley Way with a much improved version come May!

Paul Monaghan (


As well as the McEwans World Wide Web service, CarlingNet and SoccerNet, don’t forget that the Times is now ‘on-line’ at:

with good match reviews, but not it’s not got its Interactive Team Football game on there; unlike the Daily Telegraph who have their Fantasy Football game on the WWW (as well as results etc..) at

Be warned though. the Torygraph people expect a tenner for the privilege. P.S. We’re not all red in Salford you know.

Simon Moyes (


Last week several US and Scandinavian contributors mentioned that the Spurs game was being shown live on satellite. Those based around Manchester may be interested to know that we too can join in the fun, in Levenshulme! Hennigann’s bar, and for bigger games The Palace next door show the game every week. Occasionally there’s a £1.00 door tax (usually when the rags are on – i.e. most weeks), but there wasn’t for the Spurs game. The pub and club are very much a focal point for the local Irish community so the place was full of rags and the lad behind the bar was wearing the red and white s***e, but the atmosphere was good and there’s loads of screens so come on down. I’d be grateful therefore if one of our foreign based correspondents could keep the list posted as to which game is on each week, (City or not).

The Palace and Hennigans are to be found just off Stockport Road, near the junction with Albert Road.

Paul Monaghan (


Further to the recent posting and just in case anyone like myself left it too late to apply for tickets, I received an e-mail from fellow MCIVTA’er Jon Fielding concerning a ticket hotline. I phoned this hotline (099 099 1996) after hours and was treated to an answering machine giving me details of all the matches that had sold out. When I phoned the next day, I managed to get tickets for my 4th choice match. The cheapest seats available were £45.00! Anyway I got tickets, so I’m happy. The tickets have nearly all gone, so be quick if you’re as unorganised as I am (think I’ll email Paul next time). This service is only available for UK residents.

Ken Foster (


It’s a while since I sent in any articles so I thought I’d write a few observations on the recent results.

The team is lacking balance. It was obvious to me during the Chelsea game that we do not have any left side to the team other than the full back. All our attacks went down the right and in defence, the full back received no help and had to face two on one situations far too often. It was inevitable that the Chelsea goal would come from that flank. Okay, Ingram dived in but he was under far too much pressure and too exposed.

What I think the team needs desperately are full backs. We cannot go on playing people out of position there. Up front we are lacking a goalscorer. Rösler has not been in form all season and a spell in the reserves might be called for. Quinn has been playing well but is not scoring goals. Perhaps we could give Creaney a chance to prove himself?

On the positive side, Summerbee has been playing well. He now seems willing to take people on and is getting some decent crosses in. Unfortunatly he is the only one who is.

What I think would be a good signing would be an experienced left midfielder. Someone like Strachan was a few years ago. I can’t think of a specific player but this type of player would give the team a much better balance.

David Lamb (


This morning’s Guardian reports that the deal for the German from Werder Bremen (whose name escapes me) is off because he has signed for Leeds. If you ask me this is good news as he is a centre back and I can’t see us improving on the Curle/Symons pairing, and at 33 years old will not be up to the pace of English football.

The Chris Powell deal is also off – payment terms being the stumbling block. You would have thought that City should be able to tempt a half-decent left back from the Endsleigh league no problem. Reading FC have an excellent ‘wing back’ in Michael Gilkes (the right back, Andy Bernal is not bad too) so perhaps AB should take a trip to Elm Park as reports suggest that Ingram is not up to the job.

Why are we even considering selling Coton and Quinn? Sooner or later Immel will get injured and we will need a lot more than Dibble or Margetson have to offer. Seeing as we have to pay TC all of his wages if he is sold, why can’t we just put him in the reserves until his contract expires (or is Franny getting nervous in the light of the Bosman ruling?). I think TC should be in the first team anyway. As for Quinn – what can I say? International striker, leads the line brilliantly, excellent when we have to defend corners – and we might sell him for under a million?

I had a dream the other night that we signed Le Tissier for £5.2 million and he broke his leg on his début. Even in my dreams we can’t get transfers right.

Thanks for the opportunity to let off steam.

David Sweeting (


One of City’s most urgent requirements is for a left back. You would think that when offered a high quality Italian full back who is good enough for Milan they would at least take a look. Especially when he is free!

But this was not to be. Bolton have him instead. I believe that City would not match the wages Bolton offered so Gambaro has gone there. If he proves to be a good defender then it is yet another lost opportunity for the Blues. He would have cost nothing more than his wages.

If he turns out to be crap then Bolton have lost a few weeks wages worth of cash in return for the possibility of picking up a class defender on the very cheap. Why are City not willing to take small risks?

Nick Mills (


{Nick sent this after I mentioned Abazaj – Ashley]

I agree that City may like the look of Abazaj and want to give him a try. I have seen him play for Bury reserves and Stoke reserves and he was undoubtedly a class above the other players on show. The company (or agent) I work for is responsible for bringing him to England and I was his driver for a while.

I have read that he has a Portuguese passport and therefore requires no work permit but this was not the case a month ago. Then he had an Albanian passport. If he had been free to play in England he would have been tried out in the Stoke first team which he was not. The estimate was six weeks for a permit. In addition he must qualify as an international with 75% of games played. Fortunately his friend works in the office of the Albanian FA so proving this should not be a problem!

If City want him why have they not played him? If he is free to play why have they not played him? If they are applying for a work permit why have they not said so? He is match fit and a quality player.

As for Gambaro he is Italian and free to play in England. City may not need two left backs and Abazaj is a good player but City need someone now. They should at least explain what they are doing to fill this position. But then most Blues don’t realise what they have turned down. A Milan player ready to play now in the first team at a risk of a few thousand.

It seems that Italians are very popular at the moment. I have heard from a journalist with connections there that City have enquired about an Inter player Centofanti. No more info but if I hear anything MCIVTA will be first to know. Just like with the Abazaj info.

Nick Mills (


Fellow MCIVTAers

I realise that the primary subject of this group is not the music industry, but a friend of mine has begged me to ask you Oasis fans out there how an American might get tickets in advance to see them sometime in March or April. Are they on tour? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Jesse McClure (


From the top tier of the Kippax, Moss Side can be seen. This has caused complaints from the people in the bottom tier that they get better value for money as they can see more shots on target from there.

The club is apparently under investigation by the Inland Revenue for tax evasion. They’ve been claiming for Silver Polish for the past 20 years.

David Lamb (



Thanks to Simon, James, David (x2), Charles, Nick, Paul (x2), Jesse, Colin, Roly, Scott, Roger & Ken.

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 #160