Newsletter #174

Largish issue with several reports/views of the Arsenal game and Rob’s regular report on last Saturday’s home game against Blackburn Rovers. City are keen to sign Georgian number 2 and in the meantime also have a Swiss playing in the reserves. There’s also plenty of informed discussion on our current plight.

Rob Watson is keen to get an MCIVTA footie team off the ground in Manchester. We’ve tried to start one a couple of times but all have been stillborn. If you fancy turning out on an (ir)regular basis then please mail Rob.

lastly, if anyone fancies doing a Why Blue out there please send ’em on in as we haven’t had any for a couple of weeks.

Next game, Chelsea away, Tuesday 12th March 1996


ARSENAL vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 5th March 1996

“If you love Man City clap your hands”

After a few encouraging performances we headed South with justified optimism that City’s nearly 20 year wait for a win at Highbury could be coming to an end. With Wright and Adams not playing, surely this was an opportunity too good to miss? However, City had their own problems; with Keith Curle suspended and Ian Brightwell still injured, Alan Kernaghan made a rare start partnering Kit Symons at the back. Frontzeck was again preferred to Hiley at left back, and Summerbee was in his usual right flank rôle. Lomas, Flitcroft, Kinkladze and Clough made for an unchanged midfield, whilst Rösler was joined up front by Gerry Creaney after Niall Quinn failed a fitness test.

After a quick trip to the Finsbury Park Tavern (which I can recommend to anybody visiting Highbury) and meeting up with a few MCIVTA-ers, I got into the ground and found my seat in row 2 of the Clock End and wondered what the night’s weather had in store. With the roof not covering much more than the two rows of executive boxes at the rear of the stand and quite a few spots of drizzle in the air, I suspected I’d return home somewhat damper than I was. The view wasn’t much to shout about either. I much prefer being fairly high up to get a good perspective on the game but at least there was the compensation of getting to see some of the action at very close quarters.

Or so I thought. Most of the first half was played at the far end of the ground as Arsenal almost totally dominated possession. Despite this, City seemed quite comfortable and indeed had the best chance of the first half hour when Rösler got behind the Arsenal defence but fired into the side netting from a tight angle. This all changed in the 29th minute when Hartson chased a long punt upfield by Dixon after a rare City excursion into the Arsenal half. Showing superb touch, he brought down the ball and turned Symons in one movement and then, seeing Immel a little off his line, volleyed the ball over him and into the net from 25 to 30 yards. A strike straight out of the Ian Wright goalscoring handbook and well worth another look at on the replay courtesy of Arsenal’s two large video screens.

The goal was a cue for the Arsenal onslaught to begin and Immel made a couple of breathtaking saves before Arsenal doubled their lead on 41 minutes. This time it was Dixon who got on the end of a long ball but this was no Wimbledon-style goal; Bergkamp hit a ball 30 or 40 yards diagonally across the field and over all of the City defenders, right into the path of Dixon who had made a long run upfield. Dixon’s first touch was perfect and with his second he hammered the ball past Immel at the near post from 15 yards. A rout was in the offing but City could actually have been level before the break. First, Lomas just failed to reach a Clough pass before Seaman and then Kinkladze hooked the ball over the bar from Rösler’s low cross. However, those chances and a Creaney header that went just over the bar were all City had to show for a rather poor first half performance.

At half time Hiley replaced Frontzeck and City switched to a Liverpool-style defence with Flitcroft dropping back to be the extra central defender. Presumably the idea behind this was to give Dixon and Winterburn enough to worry about at their end of the field that they wouldn’t get forward themselves so much. The change certainly made an improvement to City who were now at least competitive. The Blues took the game to Arsenal and managed to pull a goal back in the 53rd minute. Kinkladze threaded the ball across a crowded penalty area and whilst the Arsenal defence seemed to stand still, Clough flicked the ball forward to Creaney who poked the ball past Seaman into the corner of the net. At last! Could this be the start of a famous comeback? No it couldn’t. Straight from the restart Merson ran straight at and through the City defence before squaring the ball to Hartson who had a fairly straightforward task of scoring from the edge of the six yard box.

City continued to have the edge in terms of possession for the rest of the match but there was no cutting edge to the patient build-up and Arsenal always looked more dangerous on the break with their much more direct style. In fact, if it wasn’t for an outstanding display of shot-stopping by Immel, this could have been another scoreline on a par with that at Anfield. Platt, Winterburn and Bergkamp might all have added their names to the scoresheet had they been faced with a lesser ‘keeper. Other than Immel’s performance and another gutsy showing from Lomas, there was little to cheer the City fans who were fairly quiet throughout, though there was a brief rendition of the all-too-rare “If you love Man City clap your hands.” At least it didn’t rain. The Arsenal fans made much more noise than in any of our other recent visits; I was told by one on Wednesday that this was their best home performance for maybe a couple of seasons, so perhaps that explains it.

Alan Ball said after the Blackburn match that he thought we were brilliant in that game. I think he must have convinced the players more than me on that score as they seemed to think they could just turn up and get a result for large parts of the match. Three more trips to London before the end of the season – our dismal run in the capital will have to end very quickly or we won’t be in the Premiership next season.

Paul Howarth (


ARSENAL vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 5th March 1996

The first time this season I’ve actually managed to get to a game, and being typically disorganised was forced to spend it high in the East Stand surrounded by Arse fans. Obviously a disappointing night, if never a boring one. In the first half we looked a mess – the midfield all bunched together with Summerbee and Frontzeck reluctant to get forward to give us any width, and even defending on the corners of the area, giving Winterburn, Dixon and Merson licence to roam down the wings whenever they wanted. Rösler and Creaney had no support from midfield and were swallowed up by the three Arsenal central defenders every time. For all that we looked to be holding on fairly comfortably until Hartson struck a stunning shot from about twenty-five yards. Immel had started to come off his line as Hartson looked to be breaking clear and had no chance of recovery.

We were under great pressure for ten minutes or so, and the only surprise with the second goal was seeing Dixon control the ball with his first touch. We then had three great chances to pull at least one back in the five minutes before half-time. Uwe, pulling wide to the left in an attempt to see something of the ball put in a perfect cross for Creaney, ten yards out and unchallenged. You have to at least hit the target from there, as they say; but he didn’t. Then Uwe made a great run into the box from the left touchline, brushing off Dixon and Rose before squaring it back for Kinky on the edge of the six yard box. It came a touch too fast and slightly behind him, and the chance went a mile high. Finally someone (I think Clough) put Lomas clear down the middle. Steve looked favourite to get there first between converging defenders and the onrushing Seaman, but made no contact with the ball at all – it looked as though he caught his studs in the pitch as he stretched for it. Just one of those and we’d have gone into half-time a whole lot happier.

AB wisely rearranged things in the break, bringing Hiley on for Frontzeck and pushing him and Buzzer forward, with Flitcroft dropping back to create a back three. This transformed the game into a great spectacle of end-to-end attacking (Ball later described it as Sunday morning pub match stuff – had he read that recent remark about Creaney?). Kinky and Clough put Creaney in for a close range stab past Seaman – I thought he must have been offside but the giant screen replay suggested he was just OK. But any thoughts of a revival ended instantly as nobody bothered to tackle Merson down our right-hand side and Hartson beat Kernaghan to the low cross. After that the Arse, and particularly Bergkamp kept testing Immel, mostly with long-range but worryingly accurate shots, while City played some great counter-attacking football but ran out of ideas and any penetration on the edge of the box. Kinky set up a replica chance to the one we’d scored from; everybody stopped for a second but no flag was raised and Creaney (? some fat bastard walked in front of me at this moment) was tackled before getting a shot in.

Our position now is critical, but we look to be playing far better (and strangely with a lot more confidence) than at this time last season. The last few games were always going to be difficult for us; it’s the ones against Bolton, Southampton, Wednesday and Wimbledon that we need to win (plus, of course, a certain other home match). If we can get more strike power before the transfer deadline (and let’s hope Kalashnikov, or whatever he’s called, is as good as he’s meant to be), there’s every hope of survival this year and a highly promising team for next.

For what it’s worth, my views on the present team:

Immel – all the Arse fans round me were raving about him, and he certainly made some spectacular stops. Half of them, however, were to save situations he’d created himself by neither holding the ball nor getting it to safety. Shots seem to ping off him straight back into danger, much like Dibs when he was still stopping shots at all. Just for once it would be nice to have a ‘keeper who’d come and claim the ball. Still a real asset though.

Summerbee – I really want Buzzer junior to make it and longed for him to do the business – but it’s still not quite happening. As a full-back he backs off much too far (did the Shearer goal teach him nothing?); and as a winger he looks worryingly one-paced. He took on and beat Winterburn more than once, but didn’t have the acceleration to keep him beaten. His crosses are hit more in hope than expectation. Holds the ball too long when forwards make runs for him. Perhaps this was just an off-day? Please?

Frontzeck – Deeply disappointing after such encouraging early reports. Can tackle, but painfully slow to turn. Caught badly out of position for the second goal – surely German international defenders can read the game better than that? Rightly subbed at half time for…

Hiley – Refreshing enthusiasm for the game, really looks as if he’s pleased to be out there. Fast, and good use of the ball going forward. Didn’t seem to do much defending, so might not be ideal in a back four, but great as an advanced full-back if we’re playing three at the back.

Symons – Everything I’ve read about him confirmed. Excellent positional sense, completely unflappable, comfortable on the ball. A great buy.

Kernaghan – A complete donkey, of course, but an honest and hard-working one. Nullified any threat in the air on Tuesday (although that wasn’t the main problem). Made one superb mazy dribble up the field which had both sets of supporters wetting themselves. Sadly, second to the ball for their killer third goal. Should never be a first team regular, but a useful standby for injuries and suspensions. I’d keep him for the moment.

Flitcroft – Anonymous in the first half in all the midfield congestion. Good second half in defence with some timely interceptions and great distribution. Playing him in a back three might not be such a bad idea.

Lomas – Ran his socks off and was more in the game than any other City player, which made some of his truly awful passes all the more unfortunate. On one occasion, in acres of space thirty yards from goal he played a first-time pass without looking to the unmarked corner-flag. One of the few who looks ready to die for the shirt, but it might well be suicide. Recent TV performances suggest he can play a lot better than this.

Clough – Intelligence oozes out of everything he does, so it’s a pity so few of his team-mates appear to share it. Some lovely passes, but (at least in this match) doesn’t get involved enough. He should be the ideal link between midfield and the forwards but in the first half this didn’t happen at all. Will be a great asset in a good team – must be prepared to battle for the rest of this season.

Kinkladze – The one City player the Arse fans were worried by (and full of admiration for). “Don’t let him run” they kept screaming. Lives up to all the hype – great vision, hardly a pass going astray and one little shuffle in the second half which put him goal-side of two defenders who thought they’d blocked him out was worth the sixteen quid (well, almost). Forced to come too deep and wide at times to collect the ball (but made a saving tackle when doing this, rescuing a Kernaghan howler). A real star.

Creaney – Scored one out of three great chances, probably not a bad ratio by recent City standards. Unfair to say on the basis of one viewing, but this is not a Premiership striker. Didn’t win a single challenge, looked hopelessly slow and didn’t read the thoughts of Clough or Kinky at all. In the second half City were breaking with a man over while Gerry sat in the centre circle tying his bootlace, which seemed to take five minutes; perhaps Gio’s mum can do it for him properly next time. Except I hope there won’t be a next time. I believe Quinny was injured – as long as AB doesn’t actually believe Creaney is a better player.

Rösler – Hampered by no midfield support and a crap striking partner in the first half until he came wide to the left in search of some action. Then started providing just the kind of crosses he needs in the middle himself. Not the quickest of players but will start getting lucky again one day. We still need him, but has he lost the will to win which made him such a refreshing change when he arrived?

Phillips – replaced Buzzer for the last five minutes and twice showed him how to leave defenders behind once you’ve beaten them. Looks a good prospect if he can stay uninjured – plenty of defenders won’t take kindly to him taking the p***.

Piers Pennington (


I don’t feel up to a full report, but here are a few observations.

Why do Arsenal not sell match day tickets to away fans? It’s a real PITA. I walked all the way around the ground and in the absence of anybody selling spares ended up in the Lower East stand surrounded by Gooners.

Frontzeck is very slow – at fault for the Dixon goal. Lomas ran himself ragged in the first half and was knackered in the second, he should have been subbed. I don’t like Flipper at sweeper, he was missed in midfield – I hope this is just a ‘we don’t have Curley’ manoeuvre. Immel kicked three goal kicks, two made the halfway line… just. The third was a Tony Adams special which went straight into touch for a 22 dropout.

On a humorous note, sitting with the Gooners does have its lighter moments. All the following were overheard comments:

  • ‘Who’s that *ackin’ number seven, he’s not bad’
  • ‘That keeper makes some good stops, but he can’t hold on to the *ackin’ ball’
  • ‘Who’s that *ackin’ fourteen year old they’ve just sent on’ – andafter Phillips skins two of them on the right – ‘*ack me, what’s his name, sign im’

Incidentally, anyone want to subscribe to this conspiracy theory? Eike makes a brilliant save, within two minutes they will score.

Steve Walker (


I went into this fixture with a strange feeling of confidence – if we couldn’t get something from Arsenal when they were missing Adams, Bould and Wright then we never would. It looks like we never will get anything from them!

I’m not good at match reports (I can never remember when things happened) but here are some thoughts on City in general. I was in the North Bank courtesy of a ticket from a mate who’s an Arsenal fan and so had a good view of our defence for the first half. Kernaghan and Symons never really got to grips with Hartson at all – it makes me realise how much we are going to miss Curle. Bergkamp was all over the place and there seemed to be acres of space for both Dixon and Winterburn to bomb forward to the edge of our penalty area unchallenged (the second Arsenal goal came from a fifty yard run by Dixon into the space Frontzech should have been occupying). The main problem was Merson though. He often picked the ball up from deep completely unchallenged and had got up a head of steam by the time any challenges could be made on him. In the second half Ball obviously thought (quite rightly) that he had to shut down the space for Dixon and Winterburn and so pulled Flitcroft back into the back 3/5 with Hiley and Summerbee playing as attacking full backs. This only exacerbated the Merson problem and he had the complete freedom of the pitch for the second half.

The midfield passed the ball well (especially Gio), but with Rösler and Creaney up front Arsenal never looked worried. Most of the North Bank spent a lot of the time wondering what had happened to Rösler from last season and laughing at Creaney. They all went amazingly quiet and nervous though whenever Gio had the ball. It is interesting to single him out and just watch his contribution to the game. A City move usually goes something like…

… Clough passes to Gio who beats a man and moves forward. Arsenal crowd round and Gio passes to Lomas/Flitcroft who gives it back to Gio (still surrounded by Gunners). Gio makes space runs forward and slides a pass through to Creaney/Rösler. Linighan steps in and gets the ball. Gio shrugs in frustration and Arsenal break by giving the ball to Merson who is completely unmarked and sets up a good attack. Eike saves the resulting shot/spectacular volley and the whole move starts again.

We need a decent striker!

On the plus side, Martin Phillips looked the business when he came on for the last five minutes. He went past Winterburn on three occasions and got two good crosses in.


  1. We need a decent striker (still).
  2. Hiley should replace Frontzech who was awful.
  3. Give Phillips a full game at Chelsea.
  4. Chelsea also play a five man defence – how will we cope there?
  5. Flitcroft is not a centre half.
  6. Arsenal are a good side, so we shouldn’t be too despondent.
  7. At least we have Gio.
  8. We need a decent striker.

Steve Tobias (Steve Tobias


This will be relatively short and sweet, or should I say, short and sour.

The game was a highly entertaining one full of attacking football from both sides. Arsenal outclassed City in the first half although City had a couple of good chances and could, by extreme good fortune, have gone it at half-time level, not 2-0 down.

Alan Ball made some tactical changes for the second half which seemed to put a bit more steel in City and this was rewarded with a Creaney goal. However, inevitably, straight from the kick off, Merson put the game beyond our reach. Against less strong oppposition, I feel we might have got a point, possibly all 3.

There should be no doubt now that we give Creaney an extended run in the team. He scores goals in 2 out of 3 games and none of our other players can. Drop Rösler and bring Quinn back in alongside him.

Immel was my man of the match for both sides. He made about 10 brilliant saves, half of them world-class. Admittedly, 2 of them were forced by his own errors so he only gets 9 out of 10 from me.

Kinky had a quiet game but still looked very threatening. Kernaghan played possibly the best game I’ve seen him do for City but that’s not saying too much.

There wasn’t really one single player I could pick out for criticism on the City side. The whole team was guilty of being unfocused but the main problem was that Arsenal were playing a blinder.

I will, however, strongly criticise the City away support. The atmosphere was the worst I have ever seen at an away game. There were only 5 of us singing. The players, for a change, had put in more effort than the supporters. What is the world coming to?

We even got told off for singing by City fans! Apparently, we’re always rubbish so what’s the point of trying to lift the team because it never works.

What utter and total arse. I know it was a cold Tuesday night and half our support had ended up in the Arsenal end for some reason but how about a bit of effort instead of sitting in your seats glumly accepting relegation? We might as well p*ss off and support the Rags otherwise.

On a lighter note, I was proud of my own contribution to football’s pantheon of mickey-taking against Paul Merson: “Merson, Merson, give us a line. Merson, give us a line…”. Must have been the double whiskeys to warm my vocal chords. ๐Ÿ™‚

And the appearance of a new (to me) song, another Oasis tribute, this time to Gio Kinklazde himself. To the tune of “Roll With It”, it had lines like “with the ball at his feet, he’s got them all beat // he’s the cream of the team, won’t let anybody get in his way”, etc. I’ll see if we can put together a full transcription soon. Beats the bucket song anyday.

See – and hear – you at Chelsea, and stay Blue.

James Nash (



FA Carling Premiership
Saturday 2nd March, 1996
Maine Road
Attendance: 29,078
Referee: Paul Danson (Leicester)

Manchester City:

Summerbee Curle Symons Frontzeck (Hiley 72)
Lomas Clough Flitcroft Kinkladze
 Rösler Quinn (Phillips 72)

[ UNUSED: Brown ]

Blackburn Rovers:

    Berg Hendry Coleman Kenna
Gallacher Sherwood McKinlay Holmes
         Shearer Newell

[ UNUSED: Fenton Gudmundsson Warhurst ]

Another match City should hope to win based on Blackburn’s appalling away form. The pre-match entertainment includes Immel letting in a few practice shots which didn’t install the greatest confidence in me. The Blackburn fans cheering when each of their heroes entered onto the pitch for their warm-up. Also the ref and a linesman talking doing a couple of laps of the ground and Quinn (with finesse) trying to hit the announcer with a shot.

  • 02min: Blackburn corner. Quinn wins aerial battle against Hendry but ball falls for Hendry. The defence opens up in the box and Hendry shoots. Immel turns the shot around the near post. Nerve-wracking start!
  • 04min: McKinlay hits a swerving shot from outside box. Immel seemed to have it covered and then at the last minute had to turn it over the bar.
  • 05min: Frontzeck cuts out Sherwood’s cross. Kinkladze picks up loose ball and takes it away but is hassled by Newell from behind and gains a free kick.
  • 07min: Curle passes square outside the City box, straight to Shearer. Oh shit! Shearer tries to play Newell through but Curle is lucky to intercept/block.
  • 09min: Kinkladze is on the end of Symons’ punt, then he turns his man and plays Rösler through with a great ball. Uwe shoots and Flowers saves well but the ball is loose. Quinn is bundled over going for the loose ball and Blackburn clear.
  • 11min: Lomas at the back not aware of an on-coming Sherwood. Thankfully Sherwood completely fails to take the ball through with him.
  • 13min: Clough plays a ball through into the path of Frontzeck who in turn plays a neat ball through for Kinkladze to chase onto. Offside! Nice move and it looked a very close run thing.
  • 14min: Newell clips Summerbee’s heels as he shields the ball out for a goal kick. Summerbee makes nothing of it.
  • 15min: Summerbee’s clever ball finds Lomas running into box. Steve crosses along ground into six yard area. Hendry gets there first to clear for a corner.
  • 16min: Quinn is onside and wide on the left. Niall neatly plays ball in for Flitcroft. Garry’s shot is blocked.
  • 17min: Newell sees yellow for a very late tackle on Clough.
  • 19min: Newell is offside and furiously throws the ball away. The ref has words with Mr. Newell.
  • 20min: Lomas shoots from distance but his effort goes a couple of yards wide.
  • 21min: Symons clears ball well when in a running battle with Shearer.
  • 23min: City free kick on right hand side outside Blackburn box. Quinn (I think) gets his header in but it is blocked by Coleman. Immediately Blackburn break. Ball is played through for Gallacher who holds the ball up outside right hand side of box for support. When Gallacher attempts to play the ball through he is well tackled by Frontzeck.
  • 24min: Rösler header is easy for Flowers.
  • 25min: Lomas sets up Summerbee who immediately skips round one player. Nicky rides another tackle and manages to get the cross in just before the by-line. The cross is excellent and Berg concedes the corner at the far post.
  • 26min: Shearer plays through ball wide for Newell. Newell crosses to edge of six yard box. Immel is rooted to his line. Cross clears centre-backs. Sherwood is approaching but Frontzeck is there first and clears the bouncing ball using his stomach/chest. Sherwood appeals for a penalty even though Frontzeck’s back was obstructing his vision of the incident.
  • 27min: Lomas through ball is a little short of pace for Rösler but Kenna making the interception loses his feet. Uwe takes the ball on and crosses nicely. Flitcroft volleys and Flowers saves the shot at the post.
  • 28min: Kinkladze curls his shot around Hendry from outside the box but Flowers collects it quite easily in his midriff.
  • 30min: Quinn keeps the ball in when Kenna trying to let it roll out for a goal-kick. Quinn finds Rösler who passes to Summerbee who crosses. Frontzeck is penalised for his jump.
  • 32min: Kinkladze feeds Lomas wide on the right who runs with the ball about twenty yards before returning the potato back to Kinkladze outside the Blackburn box. Georgiou shoots and Flowers clutches it at the second attempt.
  • 33min: Symons reads Shearer’s pass to Holmes and intercepts. Kit feeds Lomas who in turn feeds Kinkladze who wins a corner.
  • 35min: Flitcroft square ball across the middle of the park to Frontzeck wide on the left (a much used outlet in the first half) is short and Berg intercepts and breaks down-field. Berg crosses from outside the box. The cross is low and spins off the heal of Newell to Shearer at the corner of the six yard box. Shearer hits it and Immel saves but it is offside anyway!
  • 36min: Frontzeck tackles the ever dangerous Shearer outside the City box.
  • 37min: Immel comes off his line (!!!) and ends up hugging both the ball and Sherwood’s legs.
  • 39min: McKinlay fouls Lomas on challenge from behind and sees yellow. McKinlay cannot understand what the foul is for? Lomas takes the free-kick quickly and releases Kinkladze. Georgiou’s through ball is not directed well for Rösler’s darting run.
  • 40min: Flitcroft intercepts a Blackburn pass and finds Lomas who finds Quinn out on the left wide. Niall’s near post cross is headed out for a corner by Coleman.
  • 41min: Gallacher rounds Flitcroft nicely and then side-steps round Curle and takes the ball to the by-line just outside the City six yard box. Gallacher pull-back/cross is cleared/blocked by Lomas.
  • 42min: Gallacher looks like he is through but Symons gets there first and clears ball. Shearer collects the clearance and crosses but it is blocked by Frontzeck.
  • 43min: Blackburn corner. Quinn pulling at Hendry. Another day the ref would have given a penalty. Oops I haven’t recorded who hit it (McKinlay/Gallacher/Hendry?) but Kinkladze headed the ball off the line. So another Blackburn corner is headed up and then volleyed goalbound by Hendry. Hits Curle’s back/upper-body and goes over the bar. Yet another Blackburn corner. This one is flicked on at the near post and Shearer is at the far post awaiting. Thankfully Holmes also goes for the ball and gets in the way. The ball rolls clear.
  • 44min: Immel punts over a charging Shearer.
  • 45min: Shearer wins the aerial battle against Symons and heads it nicely into the path of an unmarked Sherwood. Sherwood takes a touch and in the meantime Curle has made distance. Sherwood rushes his shot and shoots over.

Half time score: Manchester City 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

City had a couple of good chances in the first half whereas Blackburn had several excellent positions and chances including an intense period just before half-time. Blackburn have been handling Kinkladze especially well getting in some hard challenges quickly before Georgiou gets going. City’s offside trap has been quite effective but in other areas the defence has been lacking. The half-time break is spent circulating the recent MCIVTA issues around my vocal companions who digest them quietly.

  • 46min: Summerbee through ball looked poor but Rösler managed to get on the end of it. Hendry tackles and concedes a corner.
  • 47min: Curle tugs at Newell’s shirt and then (on second thoughts) lets go as the referee catches up with play.
  • 48min: Lomas wins ball back in the Blackburn half but his cross is behind Quinn.
  • 50min: Blackburn build-up with nice passing exchanges climaxes with a shot from Gallacher which is easy for Immel.
  • 52min: Yet another City move breaks down on the killer pass!
  • 53min: Holmes cross is contested between Curle and Shearer. Ball runs out to far side of box where Gallacher hits the cross over his shoulder with his back to goal. Shearer attempts the spectacular volley with (alarmingly) plenty of space and ends up flicking the ball to Immel.
  • 55min: Kinkladze finds Frontzeck wide on the left for the n-th time. Frontzeck’s cross drifts out before it even reaches the near post.
  • 56min: Summerbee crosses and Rösler mis-times his header. Ball loops high, well over the bar.
  • 57min: Gallacher’s cross is easy for Immel.
  • 58min: Flitcroft trying to spread it wide to Frontzeck again ends up hitting the ball too close to Shearer who finds Sherwood. I think it was Berg who eventually crossed the ball but it drifted just too high for everyone. Shearer recollects the ball outside the box and takes on Summerbee. Shoots. The ball flies across the box. The defence is motionless. It all seems to happen in slow motion. The ball hits the inside of the far post and ricochets into the net. Nil-One! It looked absolutely amazing from the far end of the ground but having seen the TV replay I reckon Nicky stood off Shearer too much. In the papers it said that it was deflected off the inside of Summerbee’s shin. Whatever! It looked good and City were one goal down.
  • 60min: Summerbee runs with the ball and finds Kinkladze who sets up Quinn in the box at the by-line. Niall’s cross is easy for Flowers at his near post.
  • 61min: Summerbee crosses and Flowers pushes the ball off the top of Rösler’s head. The ball comes out to Frontzeck who wellies a cross goal shot. Quinn gets one of his big legs to it and deflects the ball a yard wide (it was for your info. going a couple of yards wide before Niall’s intervention).
  • 63min: Blackburn regain possession as Berg and Sherwood share a Kinkladze sandwich. Ball played upfield and Curle is penalised for holding Shearer. It looked 50-50 to me!
  • 64min: Clough plays the ball to Quinn who crosses. The ball hits Coleman and rolls the wrong side of the post. From the corner Quinn is up well but heads a couple of feet over the bar.
  • 66min: Good run by Lomas with the ball but he is escorted away from the Blackburn box by Coleman and Kenna.
  • 67min: Sherwood (I think) sets up Gallacher who volleys the ball well. Immel turns the ball over.
  • 69min: Summerbee finds Lomas inside who runs the ball towards the corner flag for Flitcroft to chase. Garry gets there and spectacularly sends over a fantastic cross with goal written on it. Meat and drink to Rösler I thought. Uwe rises well and heads it onto the inside of the post, then it ricochets onto Flowers’ shin and to safety. The luck of the inside of the posts was not running for City today!
  • 70min: McKinlay’s shot is blocked; it falls for Newell (I think) who shoots. Deflected out for a corner.
  • 71min: Lomas crosses but it gets half blocked in that all the pace is taken of it. Regardless Rösler runs forward and collects it near the corner of the six yard box with his back to goal. Uwe’s goalbound flick comes as not surprise to Flowers who gratefully accepts the ball.
  • 72min: Frontzeck crosses, Quinn gets up and knocks the ball down. Flitcroft charges but the ball is too close to Flowers who collects. City make a double substitution.
  • 73min: Clough almost plays Lomas through. Then Kinkladze fails to trap the ball and gives possession away. A rare occurrence!
  • 74min: Holmes make a nice run and shoots. Ball is beaten away at the near post by Immel and Symons is there to clear the ball for a Blackburn throw.
  • 75min: Lomas wins ball back and feeds Rösler who passes to Kinkladze who plays Summerbee through. Nicky is approaching the six yard box at an angle and decides to cross instead of shoot. Clough’s shot is blocked and Blackburn clear.
  • 76min: Phillips casts his spell on Berg near the by-line. Martin gets Berg to commit and then spins to cross the ball but instead of connecting properly, manages to nick the ball out of play for a goal-kick. Unlucky!
  • 77min: Holmes accelerates away from Summerbee on the left of the City box. Holmes shoots and Immel palms the ball away.
  • 78min: Immel’s goal kick goes straight into touch.
  • 81min: Hendry takes Clough down after a great one-two with Phillips. Hendry sees yellow when he manages to get to his feet following Clough’s fall over him. Blackburn clear City’s free-kick easily and break down-field. Holmes crosses but straight to Gallacher’s feet instead of slightly in front of him where he could attack the ball.
  • 84min: Clough flicks the ball on nicely for Rösler to chase into the box. Uwe’s first cross is blocked by the two defenders there. Uwe spots a charging Lomas and lobs his cross perfectly. Flowers didn’t move a muscle as Steve’s forehead connected perfectly on the ball and the net bulged. One – One!
  • 87min: Kenna pushes (foul unpunished) Clough going for Hiley’s cross. Kenna knocks ball up up-field. Shearer against Curle. Shearer gets in a shot and Immel saves at his near post. City lose possession again. Blue shirts aren’t always finding blue shirts.
  • 88min: Kinkladze, being hassled by his marker, feeds Clough wide. Nigel’s cross is poor. Hold it! Flowers has to tip it over at the last minute as it drifted close to the top corner of the goal. The City corner comes in and is flicked on. The ball comes to Phillips on the edge of the area who hits it nicely. Flowers saves.
  • 89min: Hiley – Phillips one-two works but Sherwood gets a big swing in to punt the ball as far away as possible.
  • 90min: Summerbee rounds one Rovers player and then is obstructed. No foul says the ref. Another City free-kick on the half-way line. Shearer sees yellow. I am not sure what for. Possibly for repositioning the ball.
  • 91min: Lomas cross deflected. Flitcroft up well for header but in the end only manages to guide it into Flowers’ arms. Phillips’ cross hits Clough in the box and falls for Lomas who hits it from the edge of the box a couple of yards wide.
  • 92min: City throw but Ray Hartford decides to play Harlem Globetrotter with the ball. Kinkladze crosses and Rösler heads the ball back across the six yard box instead of going for goal. This fools the supporting City players and Blackburn clear much to their relief.

Final Score: Manchester City 1 (Lomas 84) Blackburn Rovers 1 (Shearer 58)

Definitely a fantastic performance by all the City team following the Shearer goal and the double substitution. Nearly all of Blackburn’s chances in the second half were from the edge of the area. City really needed the three points though and it is unfortunate that they did not capitalise on one of those efforts after Lomas had levelled the score.

Rob Watson (


Mikhail Kavelashvili has gone back to Russia as his 5 day trial period has finished. He has flown back to be honoured for his goal scoring exploits at Spartak Vladikavkaz. City are reported to be confident of a deal still being struck.

Salford Blue – Tony Farrar (


Georgian striker Mikhail Kavelashvili has returned to Russia to collect his club’s golden boot award for being their top scorer. During his trial period he impressed Alan Ball, who described him as “a natural goalscorer”. He also seems to have impressed all the fans who saw him training last week. City are set to open negotiations with his club, Spartak Vladikavkaz, with a view to a £1.1 million transfer before the March 28 deadline. City could face competition from Blackburn though, as manager Ray Harford has expressed interest in buying a couple of Georgian or Croatian players, “as they seem to be the best value at the moment.”

The Mole


According, to GMR at 8.05am City have signed a Swiss under-21 international Giuseppe Mazzarelli on loan until the end of the season. They didn’t state what position he plays in but said that City may be making another signing, this time a defender to cover Curle. This is obviously depending on the outcome of his hearing.

Salford Blue – Tony Farrar (


City have signed a young Swiss player, Giuseppe Mazzarelli on loan until the end of the season. He had previously been playing for S.V. Zürich but last night he made the big step up to City’s reserve team ๐Ÿ˜‰ In true City style he promptly picked up a groin strain in the 1-1 draw with Burnley. He’s a midfield player by trade but Francis Lee says he’s a versatile player who could fit in just about anywhere (rather like Ian Brightwell, who has recovered from his achilles injury and is back in the squad to face Chelsea on Tuesday). Lee went on to say he’s a very good player but then he would, wouldn’t he?

The Mole


Could anyone based near or in Manchester and who is willing to participate in a MCIVTA football team please contact me?

I know it is very likely that I am stepping on someone’s toes who has tried to get this thing started up before, but sorry the idea of trawling through all the back issues of MCIVTA was not very appealing at this hour. In which case could this person send a status report to the next issue of MCIVTA? I will gladly forward any replies I receive on them.

Rob Watson (


A recent issue of a local newspaper contained an article on our beloved Gio. It also mentioned something about another Georgian player. The following is some interesting parts of the article.

“Having Georgia On My Mind”

If I were a Premiership chairman I would have Georgia on my mind. Furthermore, I would be catching the first plane out to the former Soviet state, armed with a cheque book and ready to sign Akaki Devadze. Akaki who?

Many Premiership observers may already be of the opinion that Georgi Kinkladze would be a worthy successor to Jurgen Klinsmann as Footballer of the Year. But back home in Georgia, the City midfielder, according to the new edition of the European Football Yearbook, was a mere also-ran behind … yes, you guessed it, Devadze! Anyone who saw the twinkle-toed No 7 take on England’s finest, sometimes two or three of them at one time, in the thrilling encounter between City and Newcastle last Saturday, would find it hard to believe that this man has any peers.

This season has seen many foreigners successfully introduced to the English game – Ruud Gullit, Ginola, Juninho, Asprilla, etc – but none has lifted a team quite as emphatically as little Kinkladze has done at Maine Road.

Onny 22 years old, playing and living in a strange country where they could not speak the language, many would have folded in such a situation. But Kinkladze had learnt to be resilient back home in a country which had to fight for its independence.

“A lot of my friends died for no good reason,” he said through an intrepreter. “Hardships on the field are nothing by comparison (to that on the football field). I wanted to fight too. Everyone in Georgia did, women and boys as well.”

Such a spirit has been a bonus for Francis Lee. Two million pounds was never better spent on a footballer. “He is a super kid with a wonderful attitude. He has great natural ability, a gift from the Gods,” said Lee.

Gio went on to say something about someone in Manchester whom he met on the streets who wanted to kiss his left foot. “It was so embarrassing. I talked about it for days because I could not believe it.” It is hardly surprising then that Lee wants to extend his three-year contract well into the next millenium.

Finally we are getting the world’s attention on our boy who is “something special”. While it is a pleasant change from the usual U****d stories in the local papers, it also made me wonder who this Devadze chap is. Could anyone provide any info on the bloke? Perhaps City is signing Mikhail because Devadze is not a striker?

Nizam (


Today I had a look at the City Web Chat on the CarlingNet pages.

It looks nice, and should be a nice addendum for those who enjoy (and have the time) a good chat without restrictions. Since this is already a feature of the CarlingNet-site I doubt that we’ll create a concurrent Chat Page on the Supporters’ Homepage, unless the demand for it grows. One obvious flaw is that people is allowed to post anonymously. But I’ve noticed Paul’s doing his best to recruit new members to MCIVTA ๐Ÿ™‚

Svenn Hanssen (


Dear All,
Taken from the Football Fans Guide – how about “Come the Revolution” An apt pub name? 541 Kings Road. Free house, Budvar on draft. Unusually designed bar, wooden floor, ironwork chairs. Dead trendy! That’s what the book says. Doorman allows in ‘respectable fans’. Nearest tube Fulham Broadway. Kevin, Dave and I will be there about 6pm.

John Shearer (


On hearing that the epic, ‘Escape to Victory’ was to be screened on Sunday last, I sat down with the Sunday papers and decided to watch the TV. On closer inspection, I noticed several points worth mentioning about the entertaining 4-4 draw, with the Allies coming back from 4 down (a good game for the neutral). It must be said that there was some very dubious decisions made on behalf of the referee. It was plain to see from the outset that the Allies were up against a 14 man team including the two linesmen and ref. Having been gripped by the excitement I just had to note down the referee’s name, just in case City drew him out of the hat towards the end of the season. As the titles flew past, I caught a glimpse of the referee’s name… yes it was, and I couldn’t believe it, it was Alan Wilkie of Chester-Le-Street. Now stone the crows! Well I can now see why the Rags got their penalty the other week. He’d obviously realised the error of his ways and decided to switch sides; last time he let play carry on if a German fouled another player and this time he simply awards penalties. Now I understand everything!

Man of the match: Stallone 8. No chance with the first 4, but after that, class.

Tony Shaw – Urmston Blue (


Steve Lomas is placed a handy fourth in the Current Celebrity Footballer League in the Daily Telegraph’s fantasy football competition. The table as printed in the paper on Wednesday 6th March 1995, reads:

manager         team                    score
Kenny Brown     Fletcher's Fledglings   201
Mick Harford    Williams' XI            197
Tony Cottee     Hammer Horrors          195
Steve Lomas     Lomas' Legends          179
Richard Hall    Kesgrave Posse          175

Rob Watson (


I write this on Tuesday so I shall say nothing to do with matters on the pitch in case I jinx the team for tonight…

With the new season ticket prices just being announced I was wondering if anyone is planning on finding an area in the ground where we can start the singing? I have noticed recently that the North Stand has had a good go at it (apart from all the Mags in there the other week!) but I like my view from the Kippax. Now that the Kippax has been in place for a year what is the general view from others? I’ve only been on the upper tier once and thought the view was excellent but the atmosphere was very isolated with regard to the noise. I also don’t think I can cope with suddenly, through drink blurred eyes, find myself staring at the Swamp in the distance!! I’m sick of having to move around the ground so I’m getting another season ticket this year but I’m curious to whether or not people are going to stick with the Kippax or whether the North stand is going to be the place to sing nowadays. What’s everyone else doing?

As a footnote, I’m curious as to who came out of the executive boxes against Blackburn that caused so much trouble and abuse? I was right at the back in the corner (never book by credit card!!!) so I couldn’t see who it was.

Michael Sharp (


Remember the rumour last year about Boddington’s becoming City’s shirt sponsors? I was wondering whether this topic had come up again with all this sponsorship talk and Brother’s contract ending this year. I read Brother have first refusal on signing a new contract. Nothing against Brother who (apparently) have been excellent sponsers but (IMO) it would be far better to have Boddies and/or Oasis as shirt sponsers. Boddington’s is recognized nationwide, it is available in California and now available here in Florida and is a very popular drink. I read Greenhalls have bought Boddies out; don’t Greenhalls own 30% shares at City… a definite connection? Not only that, picture ‘Boddington’s The Cream Of Manchester” on every City shirt. I’m sure every Blue would buy both kits. A long term contract would be needed though so City and Boddies would be associated with each other. Oasis, for obvious reasons would be a great sponsor. Long term though, the lifestyle the band leads who knows if they will be together in a year or two? They are just on the fringe of making it big over here with Wonderwall finally being played on mainstream radio stations, with me yelling “these lads are big City fans” to everyone around me if the song comes on the radio! If they conquer the American market then they will make Paul McCartney type money; then they can buy City and half the Ajax team for us! It’s healthy to dream!

This week’s games on International satellite are all F.A. cup games – Spurs vs. Forest on sat 9th, Leeds vs. Liverpool on sun 10th and The Rags vs. Southampton on Monday 11th.

Paul Whittaker (


With regard to the signing of Mikhail Kantpronouncehisbloodynamevili to join Giorgi Kanyouspellthatformekladze, perhaps we should be looking to simpler descriptions for them – how about calling them the K Twins, as in the notorious East End villains. With a game against West Ham to come, that might not be a bad idea. Perhaps Gary and Martin Kemp could portray them in the film of their careers – ‘The K’s – Bonded by Ball’

Just a thought.

Andrew Jackson (


Despite a mauling at Arsenal, other results this week have gone our way with QPR and Wednesday both losing. If we can catch Chelsea and Southampton off guard with F.A. Cup hangovers next week and hit Bolton hard on the 30th I think we’ll be okay. I hope so ’cause if we go down we’ll lose “perhaps the finest foreigner to play for an English club” I quote Simon Barnes from the Times in his review of the Blackburn game.

He went on to describe Kinkladze’s cross for Rösler in the last minute. “Then came Kinkladze… scurrying into the opposing penalty area, reaching the byline on the left, bodies between him and goal. Then suddenly, no bodies, Kinkladze clear,… I do not know how he did that one. I do not have a clue. No explanation to offer. I do not think there is another player in English football who could have done it… He (Kinkladze) dribbles. Ryan Giggs does not dribble, he runs – majestically – with the ball, a different matter entirely… Kinkladze is the footballing revelation of the season.”

And so say all of us. Let’s hope his talent and contribution is recognized by his fellow professionals in the PFA awards. It’s a long time since we had a player picked by for the Divisional team as voted for by the players themselves, never mind a candidate on the shortlist of six for player of the year. If there is any justice left in this world, (are you listening Alan Wilkie?) … then this year we’ll have both.

Paul Monaghan (PM5@BOLTON.AC.UK)


I`m just about fed up to the back teeth of Alan Ball saying “we played well” The point is that we lost 3-1 and it doesn`t matter if we played well or not. If we were playing so well, then surely we wouldn`t be 17th in the league!

Barry Foster (


I think that it is time to take stock of recent games and look ahead to the rest of the season. I have been to every home game bar one or two early in the season, plus the FA cup match at Old Trafford, so I am well up to date on recent performances.

Like a lot of other people I have been fretting about our chances of avoiding relegation. I must say that I am am not at all confident that we will escape – a team that wastes chances week in and week out has got to be at risk. At least we have been making chances in recent games – but I don’t subscribe to the view that Quinn and Rösler will come right in the end. Quinn has never been a prolific scorer. Rösler is looking like a one season wonder, although his basic problem this season is lack of pace and perhaps he will regain it …

I don’t want to suggest that all is doom and gloom, far from it. I think that Alan Ball is the first manager we have had for many years (since John Bond?) who is confident in his own mind about how he wants the team to play and has the ability to get his ideas across to the players. I can see a consistent pattern of play emerging (as far as injuries and suspensions allow). The quality of passing, running off the ball and general organisation of the team has improved out of all recognition. The spirit within the team is evident to anyone. They all appear to be behind Alan Ball – those that were not have been weeded out (which is why I suspect Phelan had to go (not that anyone has missed him) and may be why Coton went as well). We are making progress in all areas apart from putting the ball in the back of the net, where Nigel Clough has made a difference – but can’t do everything himself. I think that Alan Ball has done a good job (apart from sticking with Quinn and Rösler) and I think that most people will agree – I haven’t heard one word of criticism of him at the matches. He has made one or amazing tactical errors – when Keith Curle started in midfield a few weeks ago – Quinn as a central defender when Curle went off injured. However, I admire his enthusiasm and commitment.

Players that have done well include:

Immel – a good shot stopper – just accept that he isn’t going to leave his line.

Symons – hardly had a bad game. The only player who has ever managed to get a partnership working with Curle since he (Curle) has been at Maine Road.

Kinkladze – it has all been said already – but have you noticed that he is becoming fashionable with all the TV “experts”. Over the last two or three weeks whenever anyone on TV discusses the best foreign players in the Premier League, Kinky’s name is mentioned. It has got to the stage where they say “well of course there is Kinkladze at City …” A month ago he was almost ignored. In The Times yesterday the report on the Blackburn match was speculating on whether he was the best foreign player in the Premier League. I don’t think that he is the finished article yet – the end product in terms of goals scored or made is not quite high enough. Too many times he beats four or five men only to be caught in possession inside the box – great stuff to watch and no one else in the team could even dream of playing like he does. But just give him about two more seasons – then we really will have a great player.

Clough – I like skilful, intelligent players. Clough fits the bill.

Hiley – looks good so far, especially going forward. But the real test would have been against Ginola (interesting that Irwin couldn’t get near Ginola last night – no better than Summerbee managed. Although they had the sense to put a second man (Sharpe) on him in the second half).

This suggests that most of his signings have been OK – but I still can’t understand the Creaney/Walsh deal!!

Unfortunately all this good work is brought to nothing by second rate strikers. We have to hope that Quinn and Rösler hit a vein of scoring or that “Kinky’s mate” turns out to be the answer. But if we carry on at our current strike rate then it is going to be a very close thing (I still shudder at the memories of the Luton match).

Jeff Smith (


I am 33 years of age and have been following the Blues all my life. I, like every Blue, do not know when to throw the towel in and give up. We have followed a team that by anyone’s standards (if you go off silverware and league positions) have been poor!! If we had been a Southern club we would have no support at all!! But week in week out we follow the Blues not knowing where they would take us !!

That was until FL & AB arrived. Now for the first time for a very long time I feel we have someone running the club who (a) knows what he is doing and (b) is looking after the club first and not farming out the bits of the club that make any money to his friends. In AB I feel we now have a manager who is (a) trying to get the team to play the ball to feet and along the ground (he still has a way to go, as anyone who went to NUFC & BRFC will tell you, but more about that later) and (b) who will outlast the contracts of any of the players at the club.

This last point I feel may be the most important, as at City there has, for a number of years been the feeling on the playing staff (I feel) that once they have got here they are set for life. Why should they play another way than they have always played? Was it not good enough for them in the first place? Anyway if they waited long enough the fans would run this and the next manager out of town. Then they would be coming to the end/middle of their contracts so the next one would offer them a new one just to keep the fans happy, because it would never be the players’ fault would it?

It has taken this season, I feel next season too, to brake this failing. AB has now started making players stand up and be counted. There are players who are rising to this and there are players who cannot/will not. Although AB is not perfect (why will he not play Hiley instead of Frontzeck from the start? Why does he still play Summerbee in the back four and not play him as an out and out winger, along with Phillips? Why will he not rest Quinn and try Creaney and Rösler from the start. Creaney 4 from 6!! And last of all why is Immel still unable to come for a cross, or kick the ball!!!), but he is the best we have had in the last 5/6 years and given the time I feel he will turn us around.

Now to the point of this letter; we as fans still have a large part to play in this. From now to the end of the season, no matter what happens we have to stay off his and the team’s backs. Now I know we pay our money and we have a right to bitch, but we have got to do this constructively. We have to get behind them at matches and I have been very, very impressed with they way our home matches have improved on that score. They away support cannot be faulted also, but when we go down… yes I said when, because I feel our run in is just too hard and the mauling we had at Liverpool is just too much to make up, we have to remember that when FL & AB took over they both said it would take 4 to 5 years to turn things around. We have to keep our heads, yes I know all about the money we will lose from not being in the Premiership , but I feel that Franny had a feeling this may happen and that is why he has been so tight with the money. When he took over we were so far in the red we had people thinking we were the third world debt, but he has changed that. Now we are back in the black for the first time and do not forget he now knows that the club can run at a loss for a short while, if we go down and stay down (which I cannot see) then we would be in trouble, but if we stay with it, still keep going to the matches and putting money into the club (as we always have) then I feel that it may do us some good. The team’s confidence would be sky high when we come up as champions, it would give AB a season to blood the new young players and also give him a chance to get rid of the 16 players he has said are no longer wanted.

Do not get me wrong, I do not want to be watching first division football next season, but it would not be the end of MCFC!!!! We, I hope are made of better stuff than that and yes I will be back on at the end of the season saying a very big sorry to one and all if we do stay up, I have never wanted to be so wrong about any thing in my life, but we cannot give up if the worst comes to the worst.

I know I will have a mountain of mail condemning me for what I have said, but I have tried to be constructive and above all positive, I would like to finish with a song I heard last night in the pub after last night’s match.

Blue moon
We may be going down
But we’ll support you all
Because Alan Ball’s our man

Blue moon
We’ve been there once before
And beacuse of that
Support you all the more.

Tony Hulme (


Current points tally = 26, Survival = 40

Match           'Realistic'     'Optimistic"
Chelsea                 0               1
Southampton             3               3
West Ham United         1               3
Bolton Wanderers        3               3
The Rags                0               1
Wimbledon               1               3
Sheffield Wednesday     3               3
Aston Villa             0               1
Liverpool               0               1
Total                  37              45

All is not yet lost and just maybe, 37 will be enough (according to Paul anyway 8-)). Any offers?



Having watched City’s last two home games, I feel that I have been taken from one extreme to the other. Against Newcastle, we were superb: plenty of fast, creative, inventive attacking football, a top-notch début from Hiley, a virtuoso performance from Gio, and only an unlucky deflection from Quinn prevented a victory over a very talented top-of-the table side. Against Blackburn, the players looked thoroughly bored with the whole affair (and given the way Rovers play the game that is perhaps forgivable), and were only fired into action by Shearer’s goal and the introduction of Hiley and Phillips – who combined very well down the left, the latter producing a superb shot from Phillips that produced a fine save from Flowers. Despite the commendable never-say-die attitide that led to the equaliser, this was a game that we should have won.

I feel that Ball has a few things to sort out. We need width, and perhaps this means dispensing with the 4-3-1-2 formation with its over-emphasis on central midfielders. There seems little point in bringing Phillips on to conjure up a supply of class crosses, but to have removed the player who would be most likely to get on the end of them – Quinn. And we certainly need more pace and sharpness in front of goal, and to learn that you have to keep playing after scoring or the opposition will be right on top of you.

All in all these two games left me a tad confused as to our current situation – improved team and individual performances, but no resulting gain in points. We ended up with only two points from two consecutive home games and four goals scored, and in our current situation the numerous positive facets to our recent performances are overshadowed by this lack of reward. So, being a sad kind of guy, I compared the form of all the Premiership teams over the last five matches, and the title run-ins of the bottom eight clubs, to try to work out how dire the situation is.

The analysis was done before the Rags beat Newcastle, and therefore before our game at Arsenal (lost 3-1 as I’m sure you know). Form is calculated from the last five matches. When the average points per game is worked out across these last five, and then applied to each club’s remaining games and added to their total, the bottom of the table looks like this:

13  Coventry     38
14  CITY         38
15  Boro         36
16  Soton        36
17  Wimbledon    36
18  Sheff Wed    35
19  QPR          30
20  Bolton       30

e.g. Newcastle WWWLD = 10 points = 2 per game * remaining 11 games = 22 points = 83 points total (Rags end up at 87 points and win – bugger).

So, Sheff Wed, QPR and Bolton drop.

I also worked out the difficulty of the run-in for these eight by adding together the form of all the remaining teams each has to play and comparing the results. This suggests that the only team with a harder run-in than the Blues is QPR, but they have 5 games at home and we only have 4 – including two of the title contenders. Southampton have the easiest run-in: they are still to play every other team in the bottom eight.

From easiest to hardest run-in:

Team    Home    Away
Soton      5       6
Wimbledon  4       6
Coventry   4       6
Bolton     5       4
Sheff Wed  4       6
Boro       4       5
CITY       4       6
QPR        5       5

Finally, I tried to predict the result of each game in each team’s run-in by comparing their current form and taking into account whether the game was home or away, and calcuated a rough prediction of their final points. The table looks like this:

13  Boro        40
14  Coventry    37
15  Soton       34
16  CITY        34
17  Wimbledon   32
18  Sheff Wed   31
19  QPR         29
20  Bolton      26

So, again Sheff Wed, QPR and Bolton drop. This assumed City would beat Sheff Wed and Soton at home, draw at Bolton and Wimbledon, and lose the rest.

So what does all this mean? God knows. I suppose it suggests that we will not be much more than one win (3 points) away from relegation if we avoid it, and that we have probably the hardest run-in of all the bottom clubs (when you take into account our number of away matches and our abysmal away form – only 5 points away from home this season. Since I worked all this out, we have lost to Arsenal. Things do not look too good.

Mind you, the beauty of football is that no amount of crystal-ball gazing or statistical analysis can ever predict what will happen. After all, if we go out and play some great football and get some points we won’t go down – and you never know. But if you asked me to take a guess, based on all these numbers and on how I feel teams will fare in my gut, then we will be slogging it out with Bolton, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday and Wimbledon. I certainly don’t relish that prospect. Nor do I want to see Mr Pleat dancing on our soil again: the home match against Sheff Wed will be crucial, and will have a lot of symbolic significance! Hold on to your seats – it’s going to be a frightening ride.

Matt Varley (


I have a nomination for the ugliest player in the world, Remember Davie Dodds… Used to play for Dundee United, and Aberdeen, makes Mcnab look like Valentino…

Fraser Davidson (


Neil Mcnab? Mark Lillis? No, No, the ugliest player to pull on a City shirt (and perhaps the ugliest player on the world) can be summed up in two short words – Dave Watson.

Just imagine meeting him down a dark alley on a Friday night after having a skin-full. If you don’t believe me, check out his picture on the City Homepage. Other ugly favourites include the young Kenny Clements and Tommy Booth.

Always Blue (and sorry if I’ve offended anyone)

Jon Walsh (


No contest, it has to be Peter Beardsley! Who gave him that haircut?!?

Martin Styles (


Monday, March 4 1996

NEWCASTLE UNITED        0-1    MANCHESTER UNITED         36,584

Tuesday, March 5 1996

ARSENAL                 3-1    MANCHESTER CITY           34,519

Wednesday, March 6 1996

ASTON VILLA             3-2    SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY       27,893
QUEENS PARK RANGERS     1-2    LEEDS UNITED              13,991

Wed 06 Mar

Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Newcastle United      28     19    4    5     52    26        61
Manchester United     29     18    6    5     56    29        60
Liverpool             28     16    7    5     56    24        55
Aston Villa           29     15    7    7     42    26        52
Arsenal               29     13    9    7     39    27        48
Tottenham Hotspur     28     13    9    6     35    25        48
Everton               29     13    7    9     44    30        46
Chelsea               29     11   10    8     35    31        43
Nottingham Forest     28     11   10    7     38    39        43
Blackburn Rovers      29     12    6   11     43    34        42
West Ham United       29     11    6   12     33    39        39
Leeds United          27     11    5   11     33    39        38
Middlesbrough         29      9    7   13     28    39        34
Sheffield Wednesday   29      7    8   14     39    49        29
Wimbledon             28      6    8   14     40    56        26
Coventry City         28      5   11   12     35    51        26
Manchester City       29      6    8   15     21    43        26
Southampton           27      5   10   12     27    40        25
Queens Park Rangers   29      6    4   19     24    44        22
Bolton Wanderers      29      5    4   20     29    58        19

With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Tony (x3), Fraser, Nizam, Jon, Jeff, Michael, Steve (x2), Andrew, The Mole, Matt, Barry, Paul (x3), Svenn, Piers, John,Rob, James & Martin.

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 #174