Newsletter #191

Well, the worst has happened but somehow the blow seemed almost tame when it finally came as I’d already acclimatised over the last few weeks. At least there was no real lunacy after the match, just a couple of idiots on the pitch and no loud calls for Ball’s head. I believe Kinky will stay as will most of the other promising players. The clearout begins tomorrow (allegedly) so we’ll know very soon who’s staying and who is going.

Leo Fewtrell has done us a sober and personal obituary for PJS and Mike Brierley has done us an eloquent Why Blue. Now would be a good time to put down in writing what it means to be Blue, so send ’em in please. We’ve had about 85 so far, so if you’re one of those buggers who promised me one and haven’t sent it in, beware! There’s also going to be a lull in the match reports and news in general; however, MCIVTA made it through last summer without any difficulties as far as material was concerned. The readability of MCIVTA is of course, a direct function of the incoming material so if you fancy doing a Why Blue or anything else, please don’t hesitate to send it in.

Current numbers: 768

Next game, Wrexham away, Tuesday 7th May – Cliff Sear testimonial


MANCHESTER CITY (2) vs. (2) LIVERPOOL, Sunday 5th May 1996

This game just about summed up the salient features of our season: a bagful of chances missed; some woeful defending; and two bad refereeing decisions, one of them appalling.

After a few jars in the Old Abbey with a few other MCIVTAers, we approached the ground in somewhat apprehensive mood and were amazed by the noise emanating from the stadium. The atmosphere was without doubt the best that I’ve heard at Maine Road for a very long time, though some of you may just like to point out that I haven’t exactly been everpresent in the last decade!

The apprehensive part of this occasion was the thought of a minute’s silence for Peter Swales; would it be kept or would some drunken dickhead give the press a good headline? In the event, the only noise came from people outside the ground still trying to get in and one single drunken idiot who thought they should shut up! It lasted 40 seconds which seems to be just about the going rate for a minute’s silence these days!

City started off attacking Liverpool who immediately slotted into ‘end of season’ lethargy mode. They only looked animated when defending and seemed content to pass it around without ever really looking like they were interested. The whole match went badly wrong after 7 minutes when McManaman was allowed to cut inside and dribble a weak cross through the box; nobody seemed interested except the unfortunate Lomas who managed to steer the ball past Immel! ‘Just our luck’ I thought but we can still do it; we attacked and made several chances; Niall had two excellent efforts thwarted, one a strong header off the bar and the other when he chipped James only for it to just catch the goalie’s body and scrape the bar. We certainly made some chances but were guilty of letting James come for too many floated crosses, though he did drop three in the game!

Our big break came when Summerbee was clearly fouled 2 yards inside the area: the referee blew – ‘penalty’ we thought. Amazingly, he pointed to a spot one yard outside the area, an utterly atrocious decision. Half the City team remonstrated with the linesman who steadfastly refused to intervene. I was right above this and it was not just inside the area but unequivocally inside. The linesman later showed us what a consistent performer he was by giving several curious offside decisions, one when Keith Curle asked him to and the other when Fowler and Rush were 5 yards adrift and he only started waving after the referee had blown up!

City tried hard with Quinn in particular being given a lot of stick by Wright and Ruddock, both of whom escaped punishment. The nightmare was complete just before half time when the inevitable happened; with City pushing up so much, Liverpool broke and just when it seemed they had lost their chance, Rush blasted home from the edge of the box.

The second half opened with City dominating and after one minute James pulled off another excellent save when Rösler cut inside and blasted the ball towards the top corner. The Liverpool defence was frequently in disarray but the ball just didn’t seem to fall for us; there were numerous occasions when it seemed to bounce up anywhere but to a blue shirt.

A second incident which might have turned the match occurred when Fowler and Symons were tussling for the ball; there was some shoving and exchange of words when suddenly Fowler smacked Kit squarely in the mouth! This was clearly seen by all and sundry but apparently not by the referee or the linesman!

We definitely needed a change but not the one which was made: off came Big Niall for a wing man, Phillips. This was met by a chorus of boos followed by a chorus of the Niall Quinn song. The game was kept alive by that man Kinkladze when he decided to do it himself; he ran past 4 Liverpool defenders before being body-checked by a fifth 12 yards from goal. In my opinion it was a bit of a soft decision. Thankfully, Curle stayed away and Uwe rifled it into the net.

Five minutes later we were level when the ball was crossed through a ruck of players who all seemed to miss except for Symons who volleyed home at the far post. Another penalty decision was turned down when Wright looked to have handballed a cross. He later went right through the back of Gio; people nearer to this incident than me claimed it was a truly awful foul; needless to say the referee didn’t even blow his whistle!

Gio leaves the pitch in tears

We had another good few chances but it just wasn’t going our way; the final whistle seemed to go almost without us noticing it. We all stayed behind hoping but really knowing that the other results had gone against us. Unbelievably, a few hundred scousers had stayed behind and when the news of our relegation came through, they clapped and cheered! What induces these so-called fans to go to an away ground and laugh when the home team is relegated; it was certainly an incitement to riot and they were lucky that nothing more happened then a few bottles thrown at their coaches (I think!).

The lads came out onto the pitch and we gave them our thanks; they’ve battled hard from an almost impossible start and almost brought it off. It was good to see the MEN today with a poignant (and yet hopeful for us) picture of Kinky, head in heads, crying as he came off the pitch. If this is how he feels about losing in a Blue shirt than I don’t think he’ll be leaving the club.


Immel (8): made a couple of excellent saves though Liverpool should really have scored again but for woeful finishing.
Summerbee (4): dismal performance, he looked totally incapable of beating his man.
Brown (7): ran hard and was completely knackered with 20 minutes to go; left wing-back is not his position though and he’s wasted there.
Brightwell (7): ran his heart out but does not have sufficient quality to make it count.
Symons (9): excellent game: Fowler looked totally average, took his fist on the chin like a man, no retaliation!
Curle (6): very possibly his last game for City; some awful distribution as usual.
Lomas (8): guess who’s going to be captain next year? He directed our midfield and led from the front. Got booked for a crunching tackle which was, let’s face it, what was needed to let the scousers know that they were not going to get away with an exhibition match.
Kinky (7): a couple of good runs which just needed a goal; he was gutted at the end.
Clough (4): totally anonymous, should have been substituted earlier.
Rösler (7): a couple of good efforts but doesn’t look comfortable the way we now play.
Quinn (7): was fouled constantly on the pitch and was undesrvedley substituted.
Phillips (6): looked skilful but hardly ever beat his man.
Kavelashvili (7): looked sharp and had a good effort just wide.

Referee (5): two very bad decisions compounded by a linesman who appeared to miss both despite being only 20 yards away!



MANCHESTER CITY (2) vs. (2) LIVERPOOL, Sunday 5th May 1996

F.A. Carling Premiership.
Team: Immel, Brown, Symons, Brightwell, Curle, Summerbee, Clough (Kavelashvili), Lomas, Kinkladze, Quinn (Phillips), Rösler.
Unused Sub: Margetson.
Formation: 3-5-2.
Weather: Sunny.
Referee: Stephen Lodge (Barnsley)

Less a match report and more of a eulogy really. In spite of our previous inadequacies you couldn’t help feeling sorry for everyone connected with the club on this bizarre day. Forget Dali, if you wanted surrealism Maine Road was the place to be on Sunday.

As if turning up at 4.00 p.m. on a Sunday wasn’t strange enough we went a stage further and introduced community singing into the pre-match repertoire. A podium on the centre spot was in place so that John Clay (City PR man) could get us all in singing mood. Blue Moon (traditional version) was fair enough but we then had ‘Land of Hope and Glory’! We only needed ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and I’d have been in tears before a ball was kicked in anger. Anyway, all this nonsense was a thinly disguised camouflage to make the needless announcement about us respecting the minute’s silence for Peter Swales more palatable.

The silence was obeyed impeccably and the party began.

City threw everything at Liverpool (literally) and obviously left huge gaps at the back in the process. We created countless chances and just failed to convert any of them. To a man I couldn’t fault anyone (except perhaps Clough who was maybe trying a bit too hard). The commitment, endeavour and even skill was overflowing into the crowd who were definitely at the noisiest peak of the season. However, Liverpool scored twice thanks to the magnificent approach play of McManaman and 2 large slices of luck in front of goal. The first, an innocuous cross turned into his own net by Lomas. The second, a deflection off Curle’s foot from a Rush shot.

Apart from Uwe and Niall having near misses and Gio shooting just over, we had the most obvious penalty of the season turned down when Buzzer was tripped 2 yards inside the box by the thug Ruddock. The referee (obviously under the effect of hallucinogenic substances) gave a free kick outside the area.

Half-time: 0-2.

The second half was completely one way traffic with Liverpool totally outplayed in every department. Still we couldn’t find the net. Uwe had another shot saved well and Gio went on a solo run but messed up his final shot. We finally got our just reward when Gio’s mazy run ended with the ‘thug’ bringing him down. Rösler penalty: 1-2. I fancied us for another three at this stage and the rumour reached us that Southampton were losing. For some reason I believed it even though GMR’s Andy Buckley was telling me otherwise via a small speaker in my left ear. The second goal came from a Phillips’ cross (who incidentally had replaced Quinn to round jeers from the crowd) which beat Rösler only for Symons to volley home. Just after this I think the Southampton rumour must have arrived at AB because he told Steve Lomas to take the ball to the corner flag and sit on it. Lomas duly obliged (twice) and we lost 5 of the last 10 minutes farting about. It took Niall Quinn (now in shirt and slacks) to run onto the pitch to tell everyone we needed another goal.

The nearest we came was when Symons headed goalwards from a Brown cross, only for Kavelashvili to miscue and the ball bounced out from the back of his ankle.

Players in tunnel after game

As the final whistle went Kinky, Lomas, Brown and Symons looked visibly shaken with Gio unconsolable. People were in tears all around me. Everybody had given so much, the players, the crowd, the community singmaster. We’d just outplayed the best team in the land and still gone down. It struck me that the worst was yet to come. United won it thanks to Ferguson’s dirty tricks and how many of us saw United ‘fans’ coming out of the woodwork on Sunday night in their replica grey kits (ha!) pretending they were lifelong Reds and strutting about, almost pathetic in that pseudo arrogant pose that all United fans seem to have.

Our time will come. We should keep together 90% of this squad, take the Endsleigh by storm and exact our revenge on the pretenders to our rightful place as the best team in the land.

See you next season and don’t sulk for too long.

Ken Foster (


MANCHESTER CITY (2) vs. (2) LIVERPOOL, Sunday 5th May 1996

I don’t wanna say I told you so…

So we’re down: thanks boys, all that hard work and effort through the season has paid dividends!!! Maybe now they’ll realise that they have to give their all through the whole season and not just the last few games.

I went to the game with an pessimistic attitude; that way I wouldn’t be upset if we were relegated but I would be overjoyed if we were successful. The minute’s silence in memory of PJS was met with almost complete silence except for a few knobheads but it was a lot better than I’d expected; maybe that was due to the appeal on behalf of the board to repsect the guy’s death.

The team started in a pretty bright manner with Liverpool seemingly on the back foot and not playing well. However, as soon as Lomas diverted the ball past Immel for the o.g. I knew it wasn’t going to be our day. City created chances but they seemed to lack the killer touch. Quinn saw a double effort first strike the crossbar and his follow up saved by James. Then Rösler missed a golden oppurtunity to level the scores after a turn and cross by Quinn; from 6(ish) yards out in front of an open goal his diving header clipped the post. In between Ruddock had felled Rösler on the edge of the box (from FF Upper it looked like the right decision from the referee) but Kinky’s shot was blocked by the wall. Liverpool in the meantime had seemed to weather much of City’s pressure and when they broke away they always seemed a very real threat. From one of the break-outs McManaman broke away on the left, played the ball into Rush’s path and from the edge of the box, he unleashed a right foot drive that beat Immel (with a deflection from Curle’s boot) and made the score 2-0, which looked like the end of City.

The half-time scores suggested we had very little chance of staying up with the other games all square. It was the same situation come the second half; Liverpool seemed content (and very able) to soak up the pressure and then use the break-away to punish the Blues. Quinn was replaced by Phillips which was not met with universal agreement (why take an aerial threat out of the game and replace him with a winger?!) Chances fell to both teams but the shooting boots were definitely at home. With 20 minutes left, a glimmer of hope was created. Gio made a customary run through the heart of the Liverpool defence which was only ended by Ruddock’s foul (I thought it may have been a dubious decision)! Rösler stepped up and thumped the ball home.

McManaman had a chance to extend Liverpool’s lead when he broke away (some more invisible defending) and with only Immel to beat put the ball wide of the post. This acted as a rallying call (as did the misinformed news of Leeds and Wimbledon taking the lead) and from more pressure City equalised through Kit Symons. Phillips swung over a deep cross which wasn’t cleared and Symons volleyed home to level the score. So from 2 goals down and being unable to hit a barn door, City had equalised and had 10 minutes to try for a winner. Unfortunately things didn’t go our way and we just couldn’t force anything home. It also didn’t help the situation with City players content to hold the ball near the corner flag because they thought they’d done enough; surely we should have been going for the win anyway?|

Gio's last game for City?

The final whistle was met with stunned silence and then some applause as the teams trudged off, everyone waiting for the outcome of the other crucial games. As they filtered through it became apparent that we were down. The team came out, the fans showed their appreciation and the players responded. However, it was a low key end. We were down and nothing could lift the atmosphere, fans sat there in disbelief, totally gutted and upset. What made the news worse was that the Rags had won the title! I just hope that will inspire and fire up the board and players for an immediate return next season.

We should never have been in this situation, but we were. The horrendous start to the season was our downfall and the only ones to blame for that are the management team and the players; they had a job to do and failed us. If it hadn’t been for a tremendous November we could have been down long before the last game. At least Niall Quinn had the guts to apologise to the fans and admit the team were at fault.

I can see the summer being the start of a rebuilding programme. If the paper reports are correct then upto a dozen players will be offloaded and AB will then start the rebuilding process. He’s got to realise though that the 1st division isn’t gonna be a pushover, it’ll be a long, hard season and the preparation starts now!

As for who we can expect to see go, I’ll take a guess at: Immel, Dibble, Frontzeck, Kernaghan, Curle, Quinn, Rösler, Beagrie, Creaney and (sorry lads) Kinkladze.

What’s made the relegation even more difficult is that we’re down once more, but this time the Rags are winning trophies. Last time we were relegated at least the Rags were only ‘another’ team with only the odd cup success to show.

Martin Ford (


I first met him in the sixties at Altrincham when he was with Noel White (now Liverpool?), I always found him pleasant and polite if a little bit short of charisma. In the seventies he was to be fair, innovative in many ways. He was instrumental in trying to bring Osvaldo Ardiles to Maine Road, a move which fell down because City didn’t want to include Ricky Villa in the deal, or more accurately, couldn’t afford to… In the end City bought the late Kazzy Deyna who at that time was captain of the very successful Polish national team. He also allowed the BBC cameras of “Nationwide” to film a full year of Man. City at work, training, team talks etc. that gave fans an insight into the running of a professional football team hitherto unknown to them. He foresaw to some extent the intrusion of hooliganism and violence at football grounds and to his credit, while many others were giving their “expert” opinions on the phenomenon, admitted quite frankly that he had no idea what the solution was.

In 1976 I was lucky enough to go to the States and watch the England team playing in a bicentennial competition. Swales was there in his official capacity but we went on the p*** later and I have to admit he impressed a few of us fans with his passion and commitment (maybe it was the bevvy!). He certainly took his England rôle seriously and I remember a diary the City programme used to publish of his activities. He seemed to be out and about every day and night. I think his birthday was December 25th because I remember reading the programme where he said he was enjoying his 46th birthday “feeling like 60.”

Personally I think one great thing he did for the club was to initiate the Junior Blues. He ensured that the other directors, players and backroom staff did the rounds of the Junior Blues’ clubs in an attempt to put together a reservoir of young supporters and families who would become addicted to City and challenge the Reds in this area. If he didn’t succeed it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

Interestingly his hero was Winston Churchill and Swales was somewhat bitter that Churchill was rejected by the public after all he had done for them. I think he must have felt somewhat the same regarding his own situation too…

Whatever his shortcomings as a Chairman in later years (or even his earlier years for those who remember the “I’ll sink or swim with Ron Saunders” episode and other similar ones), nothing should detract from what he achieved for City including major ground improvements most years, his FA duties which gave Man City a high profile they may otherwise not have achieved, and he made funds available for some fabulous players over the years. He could have sat on his money like many rich fat-arse gits do and kept his distance from the hoi polloi like us. The fact is he didn’t. He at least tried and actually contributed something and it’s sad even for a Red like me that he’s now dead a lot earlier than he might have been if he had kept to himself and stayed at home like so many others.

I hope even more now that City stay up this year.

Regards from the Wythenshawe exile, Leo Fewtrell (


Well I’ve never been to Grimsby, can’t say I’m looking forward to it much either.

I reckon I aged about 10 years in 20 minutes. The first Liverpool goal was a shock to me but I have to say the second wasn’t ’cause it was always on the cards. As down as I feel though, I have to say that in the end the fight was valiant. To come back from 2 down against a top side like that spoke volumes for City in my book. Even though we lost the fight I’m still proud of them. At least we went down fighting and I think we proved that we were a better and more exciting side than the three we were fighting alongside. It was just that nightmarish first half of the season, we couldn’t recover from it.

I hope there won’t be an avalanche of calls for Ball’s resignation. I think it’s important we give him at least another couple of seasons to build something at Maine Road. Too often in the past we’ve kicked out managerial structures and had to start all over again. If the Rags had taken that attitude with Taggart they wouldn’t be where they are now.

Having said that I have to say that bringing Quinn off when he did was mystifying to me; if anything Clough should have been the first in the shower. And it was Ball that told Stevie Lomas that a draw would do, which led to him time wasting over by the corner flag.

Again we created enough real chances to bury the game but just didn’t finish them.

A few people have told me at the windows that if we go down they won’t be back next season: that’s their perogative. After all, tickets aren’t cheap and people want to watch top flight soccer. But I liken it to the situation with the team: any players who voluntarily seek to leave us now show themselves up for what they really are and regardless of their talent, their place is better taken by someone willing to keep giving 110% no matter what happens.

We are the best supporters in the country!! It’s easy to wear your colours when the team is winning everything in sight. We haven’t won anything in years and we’re still loud and proud at the games. The club needs us now more than it ever has if we’re to shrug this off and bounce back up. I think everyone at the club can pull together and make great things happen for us again.

No disrespect to anyone but we all know what state the club was in before Franny took over. Putting it all right is going to take time. By comparison, would Blair’s Labour party be able to rectify all the damage the Tories have done in a single term of office?

Loads of times on TV this season pundits have remarked on the brilliant support Man City has. Next season we’ll be the main attraction of Division 1 on Sky TV; I hope we can show people that we can take anything that fate throws at us and still come out singing.

Mark Burgess (


So now we know!!

I suspect that the next few weeks will bring recriminations from the supporters and major changes within the club. I guess it’s only natural that this should be the case, human nature being what it is. The pressure to find scapegoats for the Team’s failure to remain in the Premiership will be exacerbated by the fact that the team down the road has won the championship again.

Earlier in the season FL gave an interview to The Telegraph in which he discussed the Team’s financial situation and the goals he had for the club. Reading the article I was left with the impression that he had already conceded that relegation was inevitable but that the overall goal of setting the club on the right path was probably worth the temporary drop to the lower division. Since that time I have frankly been amazed at how active the club has been in the transfer market. Obviously AB convinced the Chairman that the season was not lost. We could criticise some of the personnel moves made – but I for one believe that the club tried to find the right combination of players to avoid the drop.

The standard of play from the squad improved dramatically during the season. It was the abysmal start that did us in. Were the players sulking during those initial few games? Who knows? What is obvious is that it took time for AB to put his stamp on the team. There will be those who will bay for Ball’s head. I am not one of them. Having committed to Ball’s style of play the club must stay with him and allow him to build a squad that will be competitive. I believe that the clear out of superfluous players and those who do not want to play at the lower level will help the club build the squad and allow for more signings like Scott Hiley and Buster Philips who have potential (and not high fees).

I think it would be good for the club to sell Rösler to Bayern; we will have problems holding on to Kinkladze (but what a coup if we pull it off). I will not shed any tears over the departure of the overpaid has-beens or never wases that have populated the squad – but I hope that we retain the services of Quinn, who exemplifies the spirit I want to see in a man wearing the light blue jersey.

It is obvious to me that we have the ability to spot emerging talent – look at the signings of Hiley, Kinkladze, Phillips and Symons (who only really blossomed in a City uniform). I believe that Clough’s influence on the team will grow in the Endsleigh (if he stays) and next year will be the year that Brown and Lomas really start to shine.

On the debit side: Creaney, Fronzeck, Mazzarelli & Ekelund did not work out – in fairness though several of these were desperation signings – where possible we should recoup what we can.

I do not think that we should assume that we will bounce right back into the Premiership – when we do, we should do it with a squad which is competitive – and with a club that has a sound financial status. It is important that the club do what is necessary to ensure long term financial viability. We are a “Big” club and have a tremendously loyal core of supporters, FL and Company have a vision for the future that does not include scraping by each year – but they need time to accomplish this.

I think that in terms of realizing FL’s goals we are on a journey that will take half a decade – I think we have just reached the end of the beginning of that journey.

Mike Edwards (


I am sure that every single supporter is devastated today at the sad news of our great club being relegated. It’s not only AB, FHL and the players, it’s us too, the club’s history, reputation and pride.

I for one blame AB totally: how could we have appointed him in the first place? Every club he has managed has been relegated or close to it, so how could we expect him to help us win the Premier League? We needed someone with a proven track record especially after BH – why didn’t we learn our lesson? What a chance we are taking putting our trust in AB winning us the 1st div next season!! I personally wouldn’t bank on it.

IMHO we should cut our losses, pay AB out and appoint George Graham who will have a whole season to build a new team who respects and wants to play for their manager and enter the Premier League with a strong squad. Can we really afford to do anything else?

I agree we should offload some players but I believe many of our players can actually play, though they need to knit together and play with confidence. For this they need a manager who will instil confidence and commitment in them; from all accounts City weren’t really interested in the 1st half against Liverpool, can you believe it?

This is one of the saddest days in our history; we must stop worrying about the Rags now and what they do and don’t do, we must concentrate on what we are doing because whatever they do won’t help us. Them winning the league didn’t affect our position at all except that if we had taken a point off them we would have survived.

I believe that Franny Lee is our man as chairman and he has sincere intentions for this club, he wants success just like it was when he was playing and I believe that eventually he will bring it to us. He is still very young as a chairman and we’ll all just have to be more patient until the time comes when we can smile and celebrate again.

Let’s continue to be optimistic as a band of supporters and concentrate on being the best in the 1st Division next season; just think winning almost every game week in, week out, that’s something we haven’t experienced for a long time isn’t it?

Stay cool and regards to City supporters everywhere!

Claude Nuttall, Cape Town (


Well we’re down!

At least we did it with some honour and gave Liverpool a game. Of all the teams, we had the hardest match and with all honesty we were not expected to win as they had already put 10 past us this year.

I only hope that we do not lose Gio, Phillips, Clough, Symons, Brown etc. I think Rösler will go and maybe Quinn too but Rösler has done very little all season and I think we need some new blood in the team (Walsh maybe). Defensively we have been in trouble again this year and any team needs to build on a firm defence.

The good news for me is that there are more local teams to visit: Crawley is really handy for the exciting trips to Charlton, Portsmouth, Palace etc. :-). My son will also get some new badges for the grounds he visits. I never get to Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Sunderland so I wouldn’t miss those games.

City have the makings of a good side but the injuries, suspensions and blind referees have not helped us. How on earth teams like Wimbledon (no fans no ground) can take a place in the Premier League I’ll never know.

Andy Birkin, Crawley exile – cheesed off – Liverpool for the Cup! (101646.3021@CompuServe.COM)


This was the worst weekend in ages: Sunday City down and a rather displeasing Saturday at the football here in Aberdeen. Getting my financial priorities in order being a poor student involves Saturday, Beer & Footie. Trying to put all Sunday’s worries to the back of my mind, I set off for the game. On arriving at Pittodrie to watch Aberdeen vs. Falkirk I duly took up my seat. Aaaargh! my worst nightmare – there is a Rag two rows in front wearing the United rainjacket, SHARP blazing off the back of it staring straight at me. There’s worse to follow: as he turned and looked back he was wearing the strip as well!

I thought “OK calm down, control yourself.” Then the guy he is with arrives and the conversation begins, Rag – “Can’t wait until tomorrow, when we win the league.” Mate – “aye it will be magic.”

I spent the first 45 minutes plus staring daggers into the two of them. I asked a steward at half time if they could be moved as it was liable to start a riot: he said they were causing no problem. I said if he mentions the French bas… once more I will not be responsible for my actions. I get threatened with being ejaculated at haste if I tried it.

I saw nothing of the second half as I continually couldn’t stop staring at them and wishing all manner of things to become them (next season’s half time pies was one idea).

On the way home I must have passed about a dozen similarly clad low-life (mostly kids, propaganda in soccer magazines for kids no doubt, target the weak and innocent strategy). After Sunday’s result I reckon that it was the Gods mocking me all day Saturday, “Let’s pick on him today, the Man City supporter in Aberdeen.”

So that was my day out; never mind, chins up and get behind the team, we will get out in one year (without Ball; I will not speculate on how long it will take with him as manager to get us out of jail).

Dave (


Kåre has moved to Norwegian club Røsenborg permanently, after being given a free transfer by City. Last season he played for Lillestrøm SK, had a decent season and then moved to Røsenborg. Chances are that he’ll play Champions League with RBK next season.

Being a Coventry supporter, I would just like to wish you all good luck in Sunday – let’s hope both our clubs do their job and either Soton or Sheff. Wed. go down. Predictions:

  • Coventry 3-0 Leeds
  • Manchester City 1-0 Liverpool
  • West Ham 4-0 Sheffield Wednesday
  • Soton 1-1 Wimbledon

I’m going to Highfield Road on Sunday and I’ll be hoping for a good result for Cov, but also for you guys. Good luck.

Trygve (


Gareth Foster wonders what happened to Norwegian int’l Kåre Ingebrigtsen.

He’s back with Norwegian champions Røsenborg, the team he came from when he moved to City. And is coping with his rôle as a midfield substitute for high-powered Røsenborg.

Really too bad with Ingebrigtsen’s misfortunes at City; he was a rising star in Norway at the time of the move to the club and deserved more than a life in obscurity at Maine Road.

Morten Rolseth, Trondheim, Norway (


Gads, I thought I had it bad! I feel sorry for the poor sop who supports Atlanta Falcons! For you English, this is tantamount to pulling for Scunthorpe to win the Cup!

Major League Soccer sucks!

Dave Bara, Seattle, USA (102620.1663@CompuServe.COM)


Billy Spurdle missed the 1956 Cup Final because of boils. Boils? What sort of injury is that? Not a groin strain nor a pulled hamstring for poor Billy. He misses the biggest game of his life because of boils. But Billy was a Manchester City player, and these things happen. So in came Don Revie and we won 3-1, though not before our German ex-paratrooper goalkeeper broke his neck and carried on playing. So there in one game we have the pathos, the bizarre, the heroics and the glory of Manchester City.

This wasn’t why I became a Blue though. This all happened before I was born and seventeen years before my first match. Once smitten however, I delved into the past and read about City’s history and marvelled at the characters, the bribery scandals, the pelicans and the oddities that filled the club’s history, the ’56 Cup Final being just one stitch in the rich tapestry of a well-iced cake. It was obvious that City had been waiting for me. It was meant to be.

Not that I wasn’t tempted in a certain other direction in those early years. I admit that I went to quite a few of their home games, and yes, I cheered when they scored and was happy when they won and I marvelled at a bloke called George Best as he weaved his magic. The lure of Maine Road was stronger however, and Stockport County would have to manage without me (yes, Stockport. Who the bloody hell did you think I was talking about?).

First trip to Maine Road was in 1973, not the greatest of games, but Franny Lee scored the penalty that gave us a 1-0 over QPR. Maine Road wasn’t really a pretty sight in those days with those corrugated roofs and sickly green stanchions. It wasn’t very glamorous either, not off the pitch, with old blokes eating pies and slurping Bovril, the stench of ten thousand’s fags, youths gobbing all over the concrete and rain dripping through the holes in the roof. Then a column of policemen walked across in front of us and The Kippax started whistling the tune from Laurel And Hardy. So I laughed without realising that exactly the same thing would happen at every match for the next twenty years. That’s the real reason why they demolished the Kippax – It was the only way they were going to stop us doing it.

Seriously though, losing the Kippax is the worst thing that’s happened at Maine Road in my time there, never mind relegations, riots, defeats, lost careers and having my scarf nicked. Where is all the spontaneous wit these days? OK, so it was usually minimalist and obscene, but it was funny as well.

Despite the loss of the terraces and much of our traditional support from raggy-arsed juveniles from Gorton, those of us who do turn up at Maine Road are still as passionate (and desperate) as ever, unshaken in our faith, eyes clenched, nostrils gritted, teeth wide and fists flared (I think I cocked myself up a bit there, anyway just remember the look on Lakey’s face while we were beating United 5-1 and you’ll get the idea). And next season? Will we still be there cheering on our heroes in the Endsleigh? Yes, we bloody well will.

Anyway, here are some observations from the past 23 years.

Most Respected Player: Difficult choice, of course. Late arrivals can be discounted – Gio Kinkladze may be the most naturally gifted player I’ve ever seen in a sky blue shirt, but his long term impact is as yet unknown. Conversely Bell/Lee/Summberbee are ingrained in our history but I only caught the end of their careers. So I have a shortlist of two. In second place Denis Tueart, responsible for my most memorable goal (see below) and countless others. Once Denis had beaten the offside trap, he would tear down on the opposing goal and score. Well, not always, but often enough. He also endeared himself to the Kippax by celebrating in front of us (players who celebrate in front of their families in the Main Stand are of dubious integrity). In first place, however, is Joe Corrigan. In the programme of my first ever match Joe was quoted as saying, “It breaks my heart to say it, bit there is absolutely no future for me at Maine Road.” He was wrong and so were the many City fans at the time who thought that Joe was a fat useless bastard (there is a lesson here, I hope that you are all taking notes). Joe got back in the team and joined the ranks of City’s legendary ‘keepers along with Frank Swift and Bert Trautmann. He stayed at Maine Road for nearly ten more years, played for England, and saved our skins on countless occasions.

Best day & game: City 2 Newcastle 1, League Cup Final 1976
Best goal: Denis Tueart in the above.

Best match at Maine Road: City 5 United 1
Best goal at Maine Road: Andy Hinchcliffe in the above.

Worst moment: City 2 Liverpool 2. Just this very day, 5th May 1996. Sigh.

Best away visit: Stoke vs. City, Boxing Day 1988. The Victoria Ground stuffed with 12,000 inflatable-wielding, fancy-dress bedecked and mostly drunk Blues was a sight to behold, unlike the game, which I could barely see and was lost anyway.

Worst away game: Derby vs. City, 1977. A real balls-up this one. Going for the title, City bombed to a 4-0 defeat. Joe Corrigan complained about the penalty spot and some City fans invaded the pitch. Tsk.

Worst injury: Me. Norwich City vs. City, 1978ish. I raised my arms when City went 2-0 up and only one came back down again, the middle finger of my right hand being impaled on barbed wire on the segregating fence. I bled like a stuck pig, and spent the rest of the game licking blood off my hand. Still got the scar to prove it.

Worst taxi Driver: Any number who don’t know that the quickest route between Wilmslow Road and Droylsden is not via the speed-humps in the back streets of Longsight and Openshaw. Nor those that don’t grasp the fundamental concept that a red light means “stop”. And while I’m at it, what about those cabbies who think that you are the slightest bit interested in United when they are taking you to see City.

Strangest Advice: Burger seller at the Victoria Ground in 1987 – “You don’t want to go around there, it’s full of people from Manchester.” What did he mean?

Worst drink at Maine Road: Greenall’s Brown Ale, 1990.

Classic fashion: Bobble hat, in sky blue, white and maroon with matching scarves around neck and each wrist, flared jeans. 1975.

And finally … Best moment: 23 years of being a Blue and proud of it.

Mike Brierley (


What has happened to the long promised scoreboard?
We get so few goals we shouldn’t need one!

Martin Styles (


Wednesday, May 1 1996

ARSENAL                 0-0    LIVERPOOL                 38,323

Thursday, May 2 1996

LEEDS UNITED            1-3    TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR         30,061
NOTTINGHAM FOREST       1-1    NEWCASTLE UNITED          28,280

Sunday, May 5 1996

ARSENAL                 2-1    BOLTON WANDERERS          38,104
CHELSEA                 2-3    BLACKBURN ROVERS          28,436
COVENTRY CITY           0-0    LEEDS UNITED              22,769
EVERTON                 1-0    ASTON VILLA               40,127
MANCHESTER CITY         2-2    LIVERPOOL                 31,436
MIDDLESBROUGH           0-3    MANCHESTER UNITED         29,921
NEWCASTLE UNITED        1-1    TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR         36,589
SOUTHAMPTON             0-0    WIMBLEDON                 15,172
WEST HAM UNITED         1-1    SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY       23,790


Team                Played   Won Drawn Lost  For  Against   Points
Manchester United     38     25    7    6     73    35        82
Newcastle United      38     24    6    8     66    37        78
Liverpool             38     20   11    7     70    34        71
Aston Villa           38     18    9   11     52    35        63
Arsenal               38     17   12    9     49    32        63
Everton               38     17   10   11     64    44        61
Blackburn Rovers      38     18    7   13     61    47        61
Tottenham Hotspur     38     16   13    9     50    38        61
Nottingham Forest     38     15   13   10     50    54        58
West Ham United       38     14    9   15     43    52        51
Chelsea               38     12   14   12     46    44        50
Middlesbrough         38     11   10   17     35    50        43
Leeds United          38     12    7   19     40    57        43
Wimbledon             38     10   11   17     55    70        41
Sheffield Wednesday   38     10   10   18     48    61        40
Coventry City         38      8   14   16     42    60        38
Southampton           38      9   11   18     34    52        38
Manchester City       38      9   11   18     33    58        38
Queens Park Rangers   38      9    6   23     38    57        33
Bolton Wanderers      38      8    5   25     39    71        29

With thanks to Soccernet


Club Questions:

Thanks to Dave (x2), Trygve, Leo, Morten, Martin (x2), Andy, Mark, Mike (x2), Claude & Ken.

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

Ashley Birch,

Newsletter #191