Newsletter #176


A good point on Tuesday but still our luck doesn’t seem to run to any more! We have two match reports, a Why Blue and also the usual mix of news and opinion and the result of the February Player of the Month poll. John Shearer has come up with a pub to meet in for the West Ham game and Rob Watson has organised the embryonic MCIVTA FC which is Manchester-based. If you can turn up then contact Rob.

Fingers crossed for Saturday…

Next game, Southampton at home, Saturday 16th March 1996


CHELSEA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 12th March 1996

“S**t ground, No fans, S**t ground, No fans”

After our dismal showing at Arsenal the previous Tuesday night, I was surprisingly optimistic about the prospects of points against the slick passing West Londoners. Having already been to Stamford Bridge once this season, in disguise at their game against Newcastle, I had stressed to the City ticket Office the importance of not being seated in the last 7 rows of the Lower East Stand. The view from these seats is nothing short of disgraceful and I advise any Blues going to the Bridge in future not to accept tickets in these areas (Rows S-Z). Chelsea is expensive enough as it is and football fans should not have to accept seating as dire as this.

Despite a horrendous trip on the Underground I managed to take my seat 5 minutes before kick-off, in a region with a decent view. From the kick-off two things struck me: firstly the piss-poor showing from the Chelsea fans. There must have only been 15,000 of them there for a home match. I was surprised as I’d been here during the week last season and they’d turned out in droves with good vocal support. Tonight they were extremely quiet, though we tried our best to get some banter going with our “S**t Ground, No Fans” chant. If I had Gullit in my team I’d go to as many home matches as I could. Secondly I was annoyed to see how defensively City were starting the match. Rösler was a forlorn figure up front, being constantly marshalled by up to 4 Chelsea defenders, whilst the rest of the team seemed reluctant to cross the half-way line. I know we need points away from home, but with a patched up defence it never looked like we’d keep them out. And so it proved. After a shocking miss by Uwe (what’s up with him this season?) when 1-on-1 with the ‘keeper, Chelsea broke forward and as defenders backed off Gullit, he lashed an unstoppable shot straight past Immel. Gullit was sheer class all evening, and if you give a man like that space he’ll punish you with it.

What was pleasing was City’s reaction to the goal; why is it we only start to play after we go a goal down? Anyway, we soon started to come back into the match, with Kinky and Lomas looking great in the middle of the park. As City’s pressure mounted a goal looked likely, and it arrived in the 43rd minute, when good work by Stevie Lomas was rewarded by acting Captain Nigel Clough, sweeping the ball into the net.

City headed into half time looking the more positive, and so it proved in the second half. Our second half performance was outstanding, and we could easily have come away from Stamford Bridge with all 3 points. Chelsea had played a hard cup match against Wimbledon at the weekend, so it’s not surprising that they flagged a little towards the end. For me the highlights of the second half were: Kinky’s mazy dribble past Gullit, which the Dutchman held his hand up to acknowledge as pure class; the abuse dished out to Terry Phelan… and the way he took it!; and the introduction of our new Swiss player to the right flank. He looked pacy and fairly skilful, and the fact that he picked up the nickname “Cheesey” made all the travelling Blues laugh.

We probably should have won this game in the final minutes as a superb Kinkladze free kick hit the crossbar and Symons’ header of the rebound was cleared off the line, though possibly it would have been a little harsh on Chelsea after their first half performance. So all in all a good match. I feel as if we can look towards the six-pointer against Southampton on Saturday with some confidence. Finally I must say it was good to meet up with John Shearer and James Nash after the game again; next time let’s see more MCIVTAers turning up! And if you ever get the chance go to the “Come the Revolution” pub mentioned as a meeting point before the match… the barmaids there are sexy as hell!!!

Final score: 1-1

Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi (


CHELSEA vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 12th March 1996

“Attack, attack, attack attack attack…”

Another long haul down to London for a midweek match with little chance of a point, let alone a win, but still we came. Having forgotten to look at a map before departing, it took me quite a while to find the designated pub; whilst wandering around looking for it I came across literally dozens of other places close to the ground and most of them seemed very quiet given their proximity to Stamford Bridge: as it happened this was Chelsea’s lowest home attendance of the season so far, a paltry 17,078 including around 2,000 Blues. Those home fans that did turn up couldn’t be bothered to make much noise either, so it was left to us to generate some atmosphere. Thankfully, unlike last week, we managed to do it after a quiet opening few minutes. Maybe the ticket prices affected the attendance? Maybe the home fans feel they’re being ripped off and so they pick and choose their matches? City’s mascot for the night certainly thought so. A little older than usual for a mascot, he was on our coach and had a good moan about having to buy a ticket himself whilst he puffed away at a cigarette.

The only team change from that which started against Arsenal was the return of Ian Brightwell in place of Gerry Creaney. It was clear from the first few minutes’ play that City’s main objective for the night was to avoid defeat; we played the five-across-the-back system with Summerbee and Frontzeck as the full backs and Symons, Kernaghan and Brightwell in the middle. Not only that, we had Nigel Clough sat just in front of the defence as further protection. Lomas, Flitcroft and Kinkladze gave us a reasonable midfield and Rösler was on his own up front.

As might be expected, chances were few and far between with both defences coping comfortably with whatever was thrown at them (in Phelan’s case, mainly insults!). However, the game erupted into life in the 22nd minute. Kinkladze, just inside his own half, played the ball through for Rösler to run on to. Uwe was a couple of yards clear of the Chelsea defence with about 40 yards to go to the goal, and much to our surprise he managed to stay ahead of them. Having got Hitchcock to commit himself, he seemed certain to score but alas his effort flew wide of the post. A minute later we were a goal down. Gullit, masterful as ever, collected the ball just inside our half and advanced towards goal. Two or three players approached him but failed to put in challenges and he was able to side-step them and reach the edge of the City area, from where he unleashed a powerful shot which flew into the roof of the net. I presume Immel was unsighted since he didn’t move a muscle as the ball whizzed right past him.

Excitement over; the game slipped back into defensive mode for the rest of the first half. With the City fans situated just behind the dug-outs, Alan Ball received plenty of free advice, mainly along the lines of “get Clough up front with Rösler!” and a chant of “Attack, attack, attack attack attack…” There were words for Glenn Hoddle too when he jumped up to complain about a tackle: “What do you know Hoddle? You’ve never made a tackle in your life!” City gradually started to apply a little pressure and there was another chance for Rösler on 40 minutes but he could only find the side netting. Just before the break, City advanced down the right flank and Lomas tried to get a cross in. Phelan turned his face away from the ball but blocked the cross with his hands; whilst the City fans screamed for handball, Lomas got on with collecting the rebound and hit a low cross into the penalty area. The ball came to Clough near the penalty spot and he had sufficient time and space to turn and fire the ball home underneath Hitchcock’s body.

I suspect both managers had the same words to say at half time: “Come on lads, we can beat these, they’re rubbish!” There was clearly more inclination to get forward from both sides in the second half. Chelsea had the bulk of possession early on and Hughes forced Immel into a smart save from a 20-yard volley, though this was just about the only threat he managed all night. He looked a pale shadow of his former self which was good news for us. Kinkladze got forward to support Uwe more frequently and did quite a few of his mazy runs, one of which had Ruud “Whoopi Goldberg” Gullit applauding as the little Georgian left him in his wake. Unfortunately, the final ball never quite reached its target, or if it did, the target was given offside.

Lomas had another good game, showing composure on the ball that I’ve rarely seen from him this season. Another plus point was Frontzeck’s performance, his best for City so far IMHO. He seemed far less reluctant to get forward and put in some decent crosses. However, the catalyst that seemed to turn the game more City’s way was the introduction of new Swiss signing Giuseppe “Cheesy” Mazzarelli as a replacement for Nicky Summerbee. He fitted straight into Buzzer Junior’s wing-back rôle and made some excellent runs down the right flank in anticipation of a ball through the defence to run on to. Unfortunately, and Flitcroft was the main culprit here, the ball was invariably played either too late or not at all. He looks a good prospect though. Furlong replaced Peacock for Chelsea which caused us a few more problems with his aerial ability but it was City that nearly grabbed a late winner when Kinkladze’s last-minute free kick struck the bar and Symons’ header from the rebound was cleared off the line.

I’d have been happy with a point before the game; after all it’s the first point we’ve won in London since October 1994. It wasn’t a vintage performance from either side but I felt some of Hoddle’s comments after the game in which he basically said that Chelsea were rubbish were a little unfair. City clearly set out to deny them space in our half and stop them playing their normal passing game. Give us some credit Glenn. We’re becoming difficult to beat but it’s wins we need now, especially on Saturday against Southampton.

Paul Howarth (


42 sets of votes this month. A real mixed bag of performances resulted in the votes being spread over a wide range of players. The highlights for me were Uwe’s goal at the Swamp from Gio’s perfect pass, Nigel Clough’s growing influence on the midfield and Gio’s breathtaking solo display against Newcastle with Hiley and Brown not far behind.

The results were:


1st Gio Kinkladze 79 votes (34.0%)
2nd Nigel Clough  32 votes (14.0%)
3rd Niall Quinn   29 votes (12.5%)
4th Steve Lomas   28 votes (12.0%)
5th Kit Symons    22 votes ( 9.5%)
Others            42 votes (18.0%)


Other players to receive votes were: Brown, Immel, Curle, Rösler, Flitcroft and Phillips.

Another win for Gio. He’ll do well to win the March vote because so far by his standards he’s been very quiet. Has Nicky Summerbee started another lean spell? Nobody voted for him or Frontzeck for that matter. Have our refs. ruined Frontzeck? He doesn’t look half the player he did in his first home match vs. QPR.

Thanks to everyone who voted and keep sending them in.

Ken Foster (


Well, I must say the response so far has been good and I have so far collected the following bunch of names/hooligans, most of whom have forewarned me that they are totally unfit alcoholics who haven’t picked up a bat in years, and besides that they’re crap anyway (why all this defeatist talk before we’ve even started?):

Ashley Birch, Jon Fielding, Paul Howarth, Tony Hulme, Jason King, Tony Mc, Paul Monaghan, *Scott Moore, +Dan Rigby, Andy Roberts, Steven Speakman, +Matt Varley and Robert Watson.

* denotes the star Kinkladze-like player
+ denotes the Immels who can get other mates to come and play too!
% denotes the keeper but no-one has admitted to this so far.

I also have a list of people who have responded to the call previously but have so far remained quiet:

Tony Shaw and his mate, Jon Robinson, Martin Ford, Mark Varley and Russ Jenkins.

My current plan is to book a 5-a-side pitch if possible at Manchester University (with Dan’s help) for a couple of hours on a Sunday (7th or 14th April look the best). Sorry if this excludes you geographically but there is not a lot I can do about this! We can all have a continuous session and see how bad/knackered we all are. Are there any other suggestions apart from debating the name of the pub we should visit afterwards?

Needless to say if you still haven’t contacted me, there is still plenty of time. The more the merrier that’s what I say, and besides teams of twelve or so for this first 5-a-side session seems about right!

Robert Watson (


Dear All,
Again taken from the Football Fans Guide – how about “The Boleyn Tavern”? Actually it’s a choice of one from the book this time. Green Street/corner Barking Road. Taylor Walker, with the in-house Boleyn bitter at 99p. This compares very favourably with the Chelsea meet pub which was a good location and not crowded but £2.40 per pint. Turn right out of Upton Park station (District line) along Green Street. Walk past the ground, to your left, to corner of Barking Road. A third (ish) of a mile from the station.

John Shearer (


Don’t worry Nicky Summerbee – it could be worse!?!

I just came across this in the “New Zealand News UK”, a newspaper for exiled Kiwis living in London (like myself). I think it goes to show that Nicky Summerbee’s alledged offences aren’t so bad:

Drunken Soccer Side Fined

The Waikato United soccer side has been fined $4,000 (about £1,500) as a result of in-flight incidents after national soccer league matches last month. Soccer New Zealand chairman Jock Irvine, chief executive Bill MacGowan and Smokefree League commissioner Glenn Turner had a meeting with club officials following complaints of drunken misbehaviour on Tranzglobal charter flights from Wellington and Christchurch in February 2 and 16.

As well as the original charges of high-spiritedness, drunkeness, a smashed bottle and a naked player on one flight, it is understood the committee also considered other misdemeanours including a player vomiting on the tarmac, another lighting a cigarette in close proximity to fuel tanks and a player travelling in the luggage compartment.

Makes our little knees-up before the Southampton match seem tame!!

Roger Sharp – The Blue Kiwi (


(subtitled Do we have any parent counsellors in MCIVTA?)

What with one thing and another I have not contributed for some time, so it might come as something as a shock to submit this report. First of all let me explain. You see my daughter Rachel who is nearly 14 has become a Man U*****d supporter!!! This was a surprise to say the least; I can’t bring myself to tell one of my super Blue bosses about it for fear of jeopardising the job. I am convinced that Elaine and I have brought her up correctly, to look after things and to respect the needs of others. She is doing OK at school, doesn’t get into trouble and helps around the house etc. We did much soul searching, we considered our responsibilities as parents but could find no rational reason for her behaviour. Then it struck me. This is simply a demonstration of childhood rebelliousness. In just the same way as I became a Blue (all the family or whats left of it came from R*d backgrounds) she wants to be different. Not much I can do about this without compromising my principles.

Anyway, as you can imagine I have been subjected to all sorts of (footballing) abuse (dad won’t take me to a match etc.) and have finally given in to her incessant demands. One of the R*ds in the office told me that some Southampton tickets were going on open sale today, so after steeling myself I took a deep breath and off I went. I jumped in the car and set off down the M56 from our home in Chester (do any MCIVTA members live in Chester?). Saturday morning was nice, the sun was shining and all was well until the car reached the junction with the M63 in Northenden. I indicated to go left but when the car saw the sign for Stretford it just carried straight on towards the Academy.

I arrived at the Swamp to find a number of people either standing around or sitting in cars and generally doing nothing at all! Heading towards the ticket office I was then directed along the tunnel to join the queue; this wasn’t very long, about 20 people in front. We were then dispatched to the booths in batches by a man with a dog wearing the label General Steward. I think the dog was to show some authority and I wondered if this is how the club usually treats its fans. Maybe with them coming on open sale perhaps they were worried about Soton fans driving up to be there for opening time at 9am and causing trouble!!! The bit where the tickets are issued was poor and I had expected better from a rich club like them. The windows were dirty, the office area behind looked scruffy and they had to keep swapping tickets around inside the office (don’t know why). Not a patch on our ticket office; I know we have problems with the credit card line but generally the staff at Maine Road do a very good job. Do you know you can’t use a credit card at Old T******d – perhaps as well since I wouldn’t want any permanent record of the transaction to come back and haunt me so I paid in cash.

As I drove away there were still people stood around doing seemingly nothing, so foot down and I got away ASAP. At least I could say to myself I was eyeing up our opposition for Saturday. Monday evening arrived and we travelled again on the M56, this time a successful left turn to M62 and off at Stretford, parked the car at the Cricket Ground and proceeded in the pouring rain to Old T******d. Approached the new North Stand and after climbing seemingly endless flights of stairs reached the bar area. Things started to go wrong here when my girl wanted a drink and crisps. I decided to have a beer; to my horror I had to eat Man U*****d crisps and drink out of a plastic beer glass similarly marked! We took our seats, a good view but quickly found that in their twenty odd million pound stand, the roof leaks!!! (in several places) After a few minutes I asked a steward if we could move and to my surprise he was very helpful and found us some better seats. The game started in the pouring rain and I thought Soton were in for a good hiding. We can surely beat this lot on Saturday I thought. The Rags had most of the first half although Irwin was given a good roasting by Walters (better watch out for him). I understand Bruce was awarded man of the match by Andy Gray, goodness knows why; he and Irwin, on this game, must be looking over their shoulders.

Second half was completely different and Soton dominated for long periods penetrating the Rags, they seemed to gain confidence and were pushing the ball around very well. Le Tissier must be very frustating to manager Merrington; he always strikes me as being a lazy player. Against the run of play the Rags scored again and finished them off. The most irritating part of it all was to watch Schmeichel shouting and arm-waving although he got his come-uppence when he started on the ref. and got himself, quite rightly a yellow card. Alex Ferguson said he was surprised with Soton; I agree and hope AB was watching carefully. We must get 3 points on Saturday. So the end came, back down umpteen stairs; they have a speaker and we were subjected to their song all the way down. Got stuck in the car park getting out, took ages but listened to Jimmy Wagg on GMR; all these whinging R*ds moaning about all sorts, they don’t know they are born at times. Much to my daughter’s disgust I did wear my MCIVTA tee shirt with pride but put a bag on my head lest I was recognised! Still to Saturday. We need to control the game as we did against Newcastle and not slip into the bad habits which emerged against Blackburn. I do believe we can win, we must!!

Alan Lingard (


My girlfriend bought me a present, a little characature figure of Garry Flitcroft. You can also collect Uwe Rösler, Peter Beagrie and Keith Curle (as from April) plus 4 from each of the other Premiership teams. Now Garry sits on top of my TV grinning at me.

As for ugly players, how about Thomas Brolin or Steve Bruce? However, I agree that Iain Dowie is in a league of his own in the beauty stakes.

I had a dream the other night; it was late April, a sunny afternoon at the Academy, I think we were playing Shefield Wednesday… anyway this dream was set some years in the future as I didn’t recognise half the team… we had about 10 minutes to play and we scored our second goal, almost guaranteeing us the title… onto the tannoy came the City team song that went along the lines of “We are City and we’re flying”, the City players all stuck out their arms like aeroplanes and played the next 10 minutes out as a keep ball session really taking the p**s!!

I think I’ve lost it.



There was an interesting item in my local paper, the Sydney Morning Herald, last Saturday, 9th March.

It was about a new team that was supposedly being formed in the easter suburbs of Sydney, the Sydney Cosmos, and who had applied to join next season’s National Soccer League. It mentioned that to attract the large British support that resides in these suburbs they were interested in signing a couple of British players, namely one Ian Rush and Nigel Clough.

The Cosmos failed in their bid to get in the league at a management meeting on Saturday evening and so I presume their interest in these two players has now stopped. Does anybody over there in the UK know anything of this, or is it another media bullshit story?

Bill Chapman (


I think we may need to split the uglies in “A” (real boilers) and “B” (just plain ugly) categories.


Bremner, McNab, Dowie and Gemmill are certs. I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Nobby Stiles yet, but I feel he’s a definite contender. Also, the sight of Bobby Charlton running around with his hair flapping in the wind makes him a contender. Also, that bushy-bearded git with the head-band who played for Brighton in the ’80’s (can’t remember his name) needs to be considered. Has anybody seen that Pollock dude who plays for ‘Boro? Scaarrry.


The others mentioned so far. Add to them Paul Scholes, Gareth Southgate and Gazza. Anyone remember Alan Hinton? That Columbian Valdarrama is close to being an “A”.

Another category I’ve just thought of : “C” – not so ugly but very annoying:

Lee Dixon wins this category closely followed by C*ntona. The sight of Fergy and Kidd tonguing each other in the dugout plants them firmly here also. I used to find Gordon Hill annoying as a kid so he qualifies. Oh, what the hell – all Rags fit here!

PS. I’m currently in Houston on a business trip and every time I turn the radio on or switch MTV on “Wonderwall” seems to be playing. Let’s hope the lads make it huge over here so that they can do a “Jack” with City and supply us with the cash to build a Footballing Dynasty! (I’m entitled to dream)

Steve Slack (


I thought I would let people know about an incident that has annoyed me only today.

I am a tutor on a course in visual anthropology. The course is based at Manchester University and students make films about ‘life’.

One particular student is making his final film on the European Championships. I suggested he approach Alex Williams at City to see if he could use the community connection Alex has to help him in his research. The student wanted to film at the derby in April (crowds, noise etc). He was told that it would be a nightmare, but what about the Southhampton game. The student was told by Alex that it should be OK and to write to the FA to make sure. He faxed the FA and they said no problem. Alex Williams passed on the info to Bernard Halford who promtly refused.

I have been a Blue all my life and a regular season ticket holder. This student didn’t even want to film the game, he wanted to put the camera on the Kippax and record crowds and noise (hopefully when we trash the Rags).

I just needed to get this off my chest. Any comments?

Mark Woolstencroft (


Our kid has been telling me Chris Evans (Radio 1 morning DJ) has been asking listeners to call/write into him with their own lyrics about City to the Wonderwall song and he’s having them sung on the show. Apparently this is the most listened-to show in Europe. Is this good publicity for us or is it just another way to take the p*ss out of us?

Good joke stolen from fellow City fan on CarlingNet discussion page. How many Rags does it take to change a lightbulb? … Seven, one to change it, five to moan about it and Ferguson to say if the ref had done his job in the first place the light bulb would have never gone out!

Just an observation I’ve picked up recently about the Rags. Is it just me or do the Rag players appeal for every single throw in, corner, free kick etc. and yell and scream at the ref. as if to dare him to give the decision to the other team, even when it’s blatantly obvious it isn’t their ball? They have this cocky attitude as if nobody dare score a goal at the Swamp, never mind win a game. I honestly believe this is coached by Ferguson to moan and complain at referees frightening them and harassing them into ludicrous decisions. They get let back into the game against City through a dodgy penalty, get played off the park and win at Newcastle and get dominated by Southampton for long periods and win 2-0, that’s why they are the Rags though isn’t it?

This week’s game on international satellite is QPR vs. the Rags on Sat 16th.

Paul Whittaker (


Did anybody else happen to see the fantastic refereeing decision that was made in the Rags’ favour last night? How much longer do we supporters of teams consistently languishing in the bottom half of the table have to put up with such donkeys?!?!?! Success in the Cup events is beneficial to the likes of City and Southampton for whom the only chance of a money-spinning tour into a European competition are via Wembley. In Cup tournaments, form and league positions can be thrown out the window (just ask York City – great day for football that one!), but then just when you think you’re on a winning run… unstoppable… along come the likes of Alan Wilkie and his pack of mules. Why is it that these insane decisions always seem to go United’s way? What bugs me is the way that such cock-ups are forgotten within a couple of weeks, never to be heard of again. It may sound petty, but let’s face it, other than the usual relegation battle, the F.A. Cup was the remainder of our season. And just look at the sodding draw those gits at OT have had since… Soton at home, then Chelsea or Wimbledon. If that had been City instead, I would have bet on AB heading the team out of that Wembley tunnel come May. And then the Cup-Winners-Cup next season… It could well have been, not just for City, but for Soton too… My kingdom for a decent referee…!



FIFA has announced that linesmen are to be replaced by referees’ assistants. This is because they are now supposed to have more say in the awarding of free kicks and penalties.

As a result this means that us fans of the Blues will get three people to moan about. The whole point of being a linesman (sorry referee’s assistant) is that they are not good enough to referee in the other divisions.

Will we see people like Wilkie, Poll and Dunn all officiating at Maine Road in the same game (what a nightmare!)? How can FIFA give power to these people who half the time run around with the flag shoved up their a**e?

How about starting a league table giving the referees points for how they perform against us? Then maybe as the Rags did (Bush vs. Arsenal) we can have it so that that referee never officiates in any of our games. This is a bad idea because at the end of the day we will end up with one referee officiating all our games. Who is this man? Keith Cooper; this man is the only official that we have had at Maine Road all season who has treated both teams the same way. Unfortunately, the F.A. only appointed him as reserve official for the Rags cup game and the rest is history.

Wasn’t it good to see a referee’s decision go against the Rags (for that blatent penalty)? It was similar in some ways as to what happened against Frontzeck, apart from the fact that the So’ton geezer clearly pulled him back as he (Cole) was about to swivel and put the ball away. The penalty wasn’t given for the clear reason that he had to make up for disallowing a perfectly good So’ton goal from Shipperley. Goals like that he disallowed are given week in, week out with two exceptions:

  1. You’re playing against a team from Stretford in front of 40,000people who live closer to the ref. than the away team fans (especiallyif you are called Martin Bodenham from Looe in Cornwall).
  2. You’re a team from Manchester who play in Manchester.

Can Manchester City not get together with some of the Moss Side gangs to force referees to give us some of that Stretford bias? For example, they could make the referee park his car on the Alexandra Park estate. I’m sure we would get some good referees then.

Mark Hampson (


Having been a season ticket holder for 10 seasons (or is it eleven?) I’ve reached a point where I’m at a loss. For the last couple of seasons I’ve reluctantly renewed my ticket after claiming I wasn’t going to. However, this year, what with the hike in ticket prices and another poor season reaching a depressingly familiar ending, I really feel as though this should be the year I let go of my ticket. I can’t see anything to convince me to renew.

In the bad old days under PJS I would renew my ticket without thought (maybe that was because I was young and foolish), I wanted to watch the Blues play and with only the possibilty of reward I was happy. With the arrival of Lee after the crusade by the common supporters I thought this could very well herald the return of the long lamented glory years. But since his return there’s been nothing but a quarter final drubbing by Palarse to offer the hint of reward. The financial side of the club is certainly on a better footing, but the team is once more facing an agonising fight for Premier survival. Is this what we’re going to face for umpteem more seasons to come? Surely the lack of investment on the field is only going to lead to further problems?

So come on, someone give me a genuinely good convincing reason why I should throw (waste) another 200 odd quid at a club that’s going nowhere? The lure of Stockport County might prove too much even after the poor performance against Peterborough.

P.S. What with the numerous press revelations over the weekend about Summerbee and Sharpe. It’s quite easy to see why Buzzer junior is playing so s***e, he’s obviously concentrating on his own balls’ skill, rather than the leather ball on the pitch. His off-field antics may also explain why he can’t give more than a jog on the field, too knackered!!

Martin Ford (


Just a wee note from the perishing wilds of St. Andrews here, where even the thought of Kinky-babes waltzing his way through another lumbering Premiership defence is enough to warm even the most frozen of cockles… erm sorry. It must be said that the little man is an absolute gem, but the front two he’s playing with are absolute donkeys. Just my opinion mind. Quinny, we all love the friendly giant, but neither he nor Uwe are scoring enough, and it’s not a lack of chances, it’s a lack of pace… oooo that’s far too serious, don’t you think? After all we are City fans, we’ll get out of our little situation, the lads’ll come good, we’ll trounce the filth at home…

Actually, I just wanted to air a few worries that I do have, they’re of vital importance, they’ve been keeping me awake all night etc. and any comment is welcome. For starters, what has happened to our goal celebrations? Come on, we led them last season through Beags’ somersaulting mayhem, Walshy’s bouncy exubrance, Uwe’s erm… what did he do?, Stevie Lomas’ “I’m well chuffed to have scored so I think i’ll slide on my backside” and who can forget little Walshy and that man Uwe at Hillsborough? worrying – come on boys we’re slipping, footie’s meant to be fun and we’re all City fans so we’re not lacking a sense of humour…

Finally, I was just wondering if anyone remembered the “Big banana craze” which was splendidly begun at Maine Road during the halcyon days of division two (?). I do, and it was bloody great, bring back the Kippax, bring back the bananas, bring back the “Super City” chant, don’t bring back M*gson (the first vulgarity my dad taught me), bring back a slightly less powder-puff blue shirt (sooorry) and put the badge back in the middle again…

Gio fanclub, David James Adamson (


A little ditty doing the rounds, origin unknown at present:

Today will be another day, I wish I’d never been a Blue
I’m sure we saw it all before when we went down to division 2
I don’t believe that any team has played the way we do,
apart from Slough.

Last week we had a bad defeat that we really could have done without
Felt sure that we were gonna score, but again we left the field with nowt
I don’t believe that Bill Shank-er-ley could stop us going down,
Nor could Don Howe

And all the roads to Wemb-er-ley are winding
We ain’t got any silverware for shining
We haven’t won a single thing for over 20 years
and we wont do now

Cos maybe, we should have got Liam Brady
But after all we got Alan Ball

Today was gonna be the day when I thought we’d sign someone new
But the deal crashed, not enough cash, and he’d only ever played for Crewe
I don’t believe that anybody would sign in their right mind anyhow

And all the shots we have on goal go wider
No one ever seems to play a blinder
There are many teams that I would love to see us beat
But I can’t see how

Cos maybe, we should have got Richard Madeley
But after all we got Alan Ball.

Kevin Hopkins (pkh@Cs.Nott.AC.UK)
Dave Goodman (


Born in April 1977, people could be forgiven for wondering why on earth I became a City fan. At the present moment the club has not won anything in my lifetime, although I hope that times are changing for the better now. I was born and brought up in Cardiff, where I attended my first football match in 1983, although I have to say that I can never really recall being a Cardiff City fan. The only thing I can remember from those days is my dad refusing to take me to see Cardiff play Swansea. I think I was taken to football matches when I was young as my dad wanted to go and I was the excuse he needed. Anyway, I digress.

Moving to South Manchester in early 1985, I arrived in school to be asked what football team I supported. I had never really thought about this, and as I only knew a couple of lads in school by then and they were both Rags, I replied that I was a Red. This awful frame of mind only lasted a few weeks though, and having persuaded my dad to take me to the Swamp to see the Rags play, I had realised the error of my ways and I remember crying as the Rags came from behind (possibly twice) to beat Oxford 3-2. The reason I became a Blue was that, of the friends I had developed at school, my two best friends were committed Junior Blues and they introduced me to the Tuesday night training sessions at Platt Lane, where I had the good fortune to meet Alex Williams (ex-City goalkeeper, retired due to injury), who has stayed in my mind as being one of the nicest people I have ever met.

The first City game I ever went to see was to see City stuff Arsenal 3-0 after we had already been relegated, although my memories of that match are somewhat foggy, and the first City game I can really remember was seeing our Youth side beat the Rags’ youth side 2-0 at Maine Road in the FA Youth Cup final for a 3-1 aggregate win. This was the moment that I knew that I was a True Blue, and that nothing was going to be able to take that away from me, no matter where I was or what I was doing. I think the reason that this game has stayed in my mind for so long is the memory of so many youth players going on to play for the first team whilst we were in the second division (1987-1989), such as Paul Lake, Andy Hinchcliffe, David White, Paul Moulden, Paul Simpson, Ian Brightwell and others. Since that day, I have been a dedicated City fan and have probably been to the Academy around eighty times as well as having had a birthday party there when I was about ten (I think the club still does these if anyone is interested).

Now at University in Newcastle, I have lost none of the pride and honour I have always had walking around in my blue shirt, which the majority of Geordies respect as they haven’t won anything for far longer than us, although I hope this will change in the next few weeks. In the eleven years that I have now been a Blue, there are two things that have got me down far more than the threat of relegation, and even being relegated, or seeing the Rags go on and win the double. My worst memories as a City fan have come when Howard Kendall sold Andy Hinchcliffe to Everton, and then Hinchcliffe went on record as saying he “was glad to have moved to a big club with a chance of winning things”, and in January 1996 when I heard the news that my boyhood hero (and probably the best player I have ever seen live wearing a City shirt excluding Gio) Paul Lake had been forced to retire due to his knee injury. As an afterthought, does anyone know if the Oasis gigs at Maine Road are as a testimonial for Paul Lake as they said they would do one for him if the club wanted them to? If not, does anyone have details of a testimonial for Paul, which I would really like to attend?

Richard Allen (


A pal of mine who is a Southampton fan sent me the following their game at the swamp – Hope you find it interesting.

March 31, 1996: Manchester United 7 Chelsea 1

Manchester United’s march towards the double continued today after a stunning Semi-Final display at Old Trafford where it had been switched due to a request from referee Neil Dunn who said it was the only venue where he could ensure fair play and get away with it.

United went ahead just before the kick-off when Gary Neville’s through-ball sent the linesman away down the right flank. His cross was handled on the half-way line by a Chelsea defender, and Eric Cantona stepped up to slot the ball home for his 65th penalty of the season, after hitting both posts and the bar. It was no more than United deserved.

The 15th minute saw the Super Reds go two up after Steve Clarke was penalised for coughing just outside the area. Eric Cantona’s free kick was handled by Dan Petrescu, struck first time by Giggs, hit the back of a defender’s boot, bounced up, struck the rim of a spectator’s spectacles and floated, assisted by a freak wind, into the top corner of the Chelsea net. It was no more than United deserved.

The 21st minute saw more trouble for Chelsea, when Ruud Gullit was sent off for enquiring about referee Neil Dunn’s red shirt. Two minutes before the interval Chelsea struck back after an amazing piece of good fortune, Dennis Wise hitting home the rebound after a shot had been stopped on the line by the referee. Man U could scarcely believe their bad luck. Alex Ferguson threw down his programme and wouldn’t talk to anyone for ten minutes. The restart saw unsportsmanlike Nigel Spackman making ridiculous claims for a penalty after Steve Bruce had accidentally beaten up Terry Phelan. The referee had missed the incident due to his red scarf flowing in his eyes. Ten minutes later Ferguson took off Andy Cole and replaced him with three other players.

Man Utd’s third came after Gavin Peacock had been caught offside in his own penalty area. Ryan Giggs took the free-kick, which bobbled home after hitting the underside of the floodlights. The referee claimed the final touch. It was no more than United deserved.

Super-marvel-wonder-Reds goal number four came after ninety-eight minutes after Steve Clarke had conceded a penalty for blatantly glancing at the referee. It was no more than United deserved.

So 4-1 at full time, but referee Neil Dunn sportingly agreed to call it 7-1 after Ferguson threatened to cry and stamp his feet if he didn’t. It was no more than United deserved…

Interpreters reported that most of Man United’s fans said they had never seen United lose and so would seriously consider going to a second game as long as it was the FA Cup Final, held at Old Trafford and refereed by Neil Dunn, and they could get a better hotel room the next time they came to England…

(Freely adapted from something I lifted off Soccernet)

Martin Dodd (


Tuesday, March 12 1996


CHELSEA                 1-1    MANCHESTER CITY           17,078


Wednesday, March 13 1996


BLACKBURN ROVERS        1-0    LEEDS UNITED              23,358
LIVERPOOL               2-2    WIMBLEDON                 34,063


Wed 13 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             29     16    8    5     58    26        56
Aston Villa           30     16    7    7     46    28        55
Arsenal               29     13    9    7     39    27        48
Tottenham Hotspur     28     13    9    6     35    25        48
Everton               30     13    8    9     46    32        47
Blackburn Rovers      30     13    6   11     44    34        45
Chelsea               30     11   11    8     36    32        44
Nottingham Forest     28     11   10    7     38    39        43
West Ham United       30     12    6   12     35    39        42
Leeds United          28     11    5   12     33    40        38
Middlesbrough         30      9    7   14     28    41        34
Sheffield Wednesday   29      7    8   14     39    49        29
Coventry City         29      5   12   12     37    53        27
Wimbledon             29      6    9   14     42    58        27
Manchester City       30      6    9   15     22    44        27
Southampton           27      5   10   12     27    40        25
Queens Park Rangers   30      6    4   20     26    48        22
Bolton Wanderers      29      5    4   20     29    58        19


With thanks to Soccernet



Thanks to Ken, Martin (x2), Richard, Tim, Jamie, Mark, Alan, Steve, Bill, Dave (x2), Kevin, Roger, Rob, Mark, John & Paul (x2).

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 #176