Newsletter #194

Transfer rumours are beginning to circulate but amazingly, they don’t concern a certain Gio Kinkladze! We have official news once again as well as some snippets from the Prestwich Supporters’ Club and plenty of opinion, almost exclusively anti-Ball! There’s also a Why Blue.

A special note concerns sponsorship: if you can help then please contact me.

Next game, Athlone FC, Friday 19 July 1996


Now that the season has finally finished, I thought I’d turn my mind to the future of MCIVTA; it would be nice if we could put MCIVTA on a firmer financial footing. Some people have suggested a subscription fee but as many of you know, I feel strongly that it should be free to everyone who wants it and has access to the Internet.

Last year, on returning to England I was faced with either giving MCIVTA up or a considerable financial outlay in getting set up at home. After much discussion donations were solicited (and kindly given!) which enabled an almost seamless transition to a home-run newsletter, with Adam handling the subscriptions. In the last 7 months there has been a continual and substantial increase in subscribers and MCIVTA could not have continued without Paul who has put an awful lot of time into automating the mailer.

We did put out tentative feelers about sponsorship last year but for various reasons didn’t really pursue anything. I would hope that sponsorship would not only cover the financial outlay but might potentially allow us to do other things! It might also provide us with some insurance in the event of us having to set up our own mailing system.

I already have a few ideas about companies to approach but more are welcome. However, before I go out into the real world, if there is anyone on MCIVTA who thinks that they might be able to help i.e. they work for a company who may be interested or they know contacts then please get in touch with me.



Sunderland manager Peter Reid may have set his sights on signing City’s Uwe Rösler after seeing that his number one target, Ian Rush, is also attracting interest from Leeds and Marseilles. A bid in the region of £2.5 million is rumoured to be in the offing.

The Mole


I have recently noticed that Alan Ball will be talking in Vancouver on 22 May (if still employed?). Anybody within travelling distance who wants to go should phone (604) 263-0117 for info and tickets. The last match Alan Ball played for the Vancouver Whitecaps involved him quitting the team at half-time of a match. I don’t think that he will get the most welcoming response to his appearance which coincides with his son Jimmy’s loan spell in Vancouver for the summer.

Stuart Barlow (


Manchester City have been awarded £1.3 million of national lottery funding towards the development of the astrodome and other facilities at the Platt Lane complex.

The Mole


GMR reported this morning that Leeds could be interested in signing Keith Curle. Given Howard Wilkinson’s penchant for signing “experienced” central defenders, this seems quite plausible. The rumours linking Derby County with Kit Symons thankfully seem to have died down after the player pledged his future to City, saying that he accepted his share of the responsibility for City’s relegation and wanted to help City get back into the Premiership. I bet he didn’t fancy another relegation battle to be honest.

The Mole


Questions for the club:

Is there a mail order system running yet for the shop?

Robin Gaskell (

Yes. Phone 0161 226 4824 and they will (on request) send you a catalogue.


What are the implications for the club of the death of Peter Swales? I understand that, despite the Lee takeover, he was still a major shareholder.

David Sweeting (

Yes he was and his partner Stephen Boler still is, so the Swales influence lives on through him. As far as I can gather, there are no major implications.


There have been numerous questions regarding the rumours surrounding Kinkladze, all asking “is he staying?”

The answer from the club is a definite and resounding YES. In the next City mag there will be an interview with Colin Barlow covering this issue in detail.


I was recently in Vancouver on holiday and noticed the presence of an advertisement for the Canadian Soccer Development Association which used as its crest the City logo complete with several maple leaves. What is this? Also, with Jimmy Ball going to Vancouver on loan, is there some sort of new arrangement there, and will City be playing there pre-season at some point?

Stuart Barlow (

Former United, Liverpool and Hammers player Ted McDougall played alongside AB in the Vancouver Whitecaps during the late 70s; they have been friends since. McDougall, now living in Vancouver, has an organisation called the Canadian Professional Soccer Academy whose rôle is to coach and identify promising youngsters. Jimmy Ball (AB’s son), is working alongside McDougall so the link is obviously very strong. City recently flew over a 14 year old (young) prospect to train with the City youngsters. While here he was described as “a diamond” and “one of the best junior players.” Good stuff, and he’s desperate to play for City some day. As for City playing in Canada, the closed season matches are as described last week in MCIVTA 192.


Steve (


This is the last message before the kickabout on Sunday which is definitely one. Numbers are smaller this time due to a variety of reasons such as exams, holidays and Macclesfield Town! The plan is to play (hopefully) 6-a-side for an hour and we might have two ‘keepers so it is vitally important that everyone who said they would turns up. If something comes up – please contact either myself or Dan (telephone numbers at the end of this message). If anyone else fancies coming then please give us a ring and let us know!

Venue Outdoor pitch at Manchester University’s Armitage Centre,
Moseley Road,
(booking is in the name of Rigby)
Surface Concrete
Directions Available on request
Date Sunday, 19th May 1996.
Kick-off 16:00 please note this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(note that it reads kick-off NOT assemble)
Final Whistle 17:00 where’s the bar?
Kit No grey away strips please, I have a hard enough job picking up people!!!

One last piece of advice whilst you are reading this. If you are at work, print this item out now so that you have all the details to hand.

See you there!


Robert Watson                 01457 870660
Dan Rigby        0161-226-3912
Armitage Centre                                 0161 224 0404



Wasn’t it the Daily Mirror who supplied posters of Franny Lee to the fans prior to the Q.P.R. game a few seasons back? Perhaps it’s a classic case of build them up, knock ’em down?

Tony Shaw (


On Tuesday May 7th we trundled along to the Heaton Park Social Club for the City Supporters’ Club monthly meeting. On the bill were Gio (and his mate), Ian Niven, Colin Bell and Niall Quinn. The month before we had James H Reeve, Dennis Tueart and (even though he’s at Oldham) Gerry Creaney.

A rather subdued audience of around 200 waited patiently for the guests to arrive only to be told that City were playing at Wrexham and for this reason the special guest would be Neil Young (without Crazy Horse).

The first question to him was – what will happen to City’s star players now we are in the 1st div? Replying, he said City do not need to buy new players as the squad is more than adequate for that division, but 4 or 5 players will leave. Who? We shouted. “It is not my place to mention names, so that is all I can say.” On further prompting he did mention that they were in the squad of 16. Asking his opinion of Ball he said the usual clichés of giving him a chance etc.

So the meeting went on talking about Nellie’s career and when asked about Swales he said he hated the man as a chairman and a person.

As the beer seemed to be going down his throat quite merrily, I tried again to get some info out of him.- “After Uwe’s outburst on TV do you think that he will be at Maine Road next season?” I asked. “Uwe will go. He loves the club and if there was another manager he would play Endsleigh League, but not under Ball.”

“You are saying then that Ball’s man-management has led to this?” “One thing that you don’t do is slag off your team in public, especially individual players. Ball’s man-management is nothing short of disgraceful at City.” He went on to give an anecdote of when City played Leeds under Mercer and Allison. In the dressing room before the game Allison sat next to Neil Young and spoke softly to him. “Reaney will be marking you today and he is shitting himself, he knows that the only way he can stop you is by psyching you out, so when we go onto the field he will be looking at you. Just stare at him and he will be fodder for you all game.” Apparently the Leeds players used to stare at any opposition when they came onto the field, but Nellie thought it was purely in his honour. He played that game as if he had a spell on Reaney. This was to highlight that players are to be treated in different ways and Ball only has one method, shouting.

“Who will be captain next year?” “One of the reasons why Book was such a great captain was that he talked non-stop on the field. He has tried that with Curle but he will not respond. Curle will not be here next season mainly because he only plays half a season fully fit.” Two down, three to go.

He then spoke about Niall Quinn and said that he hopes he will stay as he will bring terror into Endsleigh League defences, but again a personality clash may see him go. Yes, Young was also astounded by that substitution.

Kinkladze is the most skilful player seen at City for generations but it would be unfair to let him languish in a league that is absolutely crap. Lee will most probably have to get rid of him. Someone in the audience then suggested that Kinky be loaned out to a Premier League club for a season with the proviso that he returns if City go back up. This was acknowledged as a rather sensible compromise.

In a rather depressed atmosphere we asked who the 5th man would be. A sigh of relief went up as he mentioned Peter Beagrie – I think we all knew that anyway.

Nellie coaches a lot of young kids in Rochdale and he sends players to both City and United. Many times the kids have returned from City after one day saying that they wouldn’t go back due to bad organisation. This has never happened at United.

A relatively sober meeting unlike previous ones. Highly recommended for those of you living in that area.

Kevin Duckworth (


I will not add further comment on the season, other to say that in the last month Coventry beat Liverpool at home, Southampton beat Salford at home, and we couldn’t do either. We deserved our fate, though I am gutted over it.

Could I change the subject and ask a favour? As one of the first few MCIVTA members, I have noticed an increased number of people posting from American addresses in the past year. I would very much like to know where fellow American Blues are located. I would ask that all American (actually, all North American) MCIVTA types please drop me a note as to where they are, and expect to be for next season. I will then post it as a list when I have a bunch. To start the ball rolling, I live in Pittsburgh, which might be the most football-unfriendly (in terms of TV coverage) major city in the US. My address is below:

Thanks, and stay Blue, Bob Kelley (


You have to wonder if the curse on Maine Road will ever be lifted!

Be assured that the signing of Kinkladze was a sheer fluke, a one off, that will not be repeated by City again in years and years. A player blessed with his skills emerges about once a generation, and we got very lucky indeed.

Paul Lakin (


I see one of the Sunday papers had a small article about Paul Walsh. It looks like he’s resigned to the fact that the injury he suffered has all but put paid to his career; he doesn’t expect to be able to make a full recovery at his age.

It’s a real pity because at his limited time at the Academy he certainly brought another (much needed) dimension to the team. He always seemed to want to play for the team (but no doubt the bad games have been lost in my memory) and we can certainly say he was instrumental in City’s double survival. His partnership with Uwe certainly flourished, with both of them getting among the goals. He had a real footballing brain and was prepared to show his workrate when others weren’t so prepared. Was he the lynchpin in the team? Look what happened after his departure: the goals dried up, the team never seemed able to create chances (other than Gio) and the team seemed so one dimensional.

So, thanks alot Paul for your short time at the club, you showed us just how players can play. Best wishes for your future career. What about a coaching job somewhere (like Maine Road)?

Martin Ford (


Guys, I would just like to put your minds at rest, I have spoken with somebody that is very very close to the team and the manager, and that person has stated categorically that Gio will not be leaving; he loves City and doesn’t want to go to a big club where a lot is expected from him yet he won’t be the star attraction. Furthermore, the language pressure has now subsided with the arrival of Kavelashvili and his wife, who speaks good English and acts as interpreter. They all live in the same house.

Uwe: Rösler and Ball never actually had a bust up, Rösler was just being the arrogant German Bas**** that he is (unfortunately as we all know a trait of most Germans). He was not happy at being sub to the person he thought he was better than (Quinn); however, it does look as though he will go because of that incident. Furthermore, had I been manager, he would have been pulled off straight away and not played for City again – you don’t do that to the club, he’s not bigger than it.

Quinn: Niall has declared that he would like to see out the remainder of his playing days at the club and thinks that no other club can make him feel as welcome as City, from the backroom staff to the fans. My informer said that they would be shcoked and upset if he was to go, but thinks it unlikely.

As for injured players, Hiley, Edghill, Foster and Beagrie have all gone in to rehab at the new rehab centre at the manager’s office suite. The first three should all definitely be playing for the first team again at the start of the season. It also means a chance to trim the wage bill by getting rid of a couple of excess players (Frontzeck etc).

Flitcroft: Apparently the comments he made that got Lomas so worked up were fed to him by the board at Blackburn; he has supposedly apologised to the players for the comments as he classes them all as good friends. Blackburn thought it might improve his appeal to make a comment like that against a former club. We’ve heard it before though, with Hinchcliffe: he said he was leaving City to join a bigger club with more chances of winning things (it does turn out he was right with the latter!).

That’s all; I’ll keep you posted on any other news I get.

Oh what it’s like to be a Blue, James Talbot (


Re: Andy Jackson’s bit in MCIVTA 192 about Mark Burgess.

I’ve heard that MB (ex-Chameleons/Sun and the Moon/ etc… all top bands, by the way) is indeed a Blue – good on you Mark! It probably was him who wrote to MCIVTA – I hope so, anyway. How about another letter? And when’s your next album out?!

And while I’m at it, for all of you who don’t live in Manc and who don’t have the delights of the M(u)EN, there was a piece about Kit Symons in the other night; apparently he’s staying at the club even though he’s not exactly thrilled to be back in Div 1 (who is??). He feels he owes it to City after the way he’s been treated by them and the fans, etc. So if you can believe anything you read in there, things are looking good on the Mr Symons front. Smashing.

And finally, couldn’t you all just have punched TC on Saturday? How he had the nerve to be on the pitch celebrating with that bunch of dickheads is beyond belief. I heard he and his wife had received death threats (!!A bit severe, wot?) after he defected to ‘the other side’: if this is true, maybe it’s time you moved house, Tony, and left the Manchester area … I believe it’s lovely in Trafford.

Bye for now, Christine Haynes (


Having just waded through MCIVTA 192 I thought I might get a few points off my chest. Good points: one point was the emotional state of my fiancee at the end of the Liverpool match. Floods of tears which meant some of the wags around me thought I was a bit out of line forcing her to suffer the sadness that is supporting City. Anyway, after the game we had dinner with a former player (no names) who painted a pretty grim picture of the club. He was damning about Ball, said he didn’t speak to TC for 3 months, then just called and said you’re off to Stretford. So we can’t blame TC if he’s not wanted. The Flitcroft situation was much the same, a phone call and here’s who to talk to at Blackburn.

While the commercial side is doing better, the club still has no gym and the chairman has a similar sized ego to Mr. Swales. TC was the only man to bring any emotion or atmosphere into the dressing room and after he went the morale fell even further. The last few matches showed this; we didn’t look like we believed we could win and even with Liverpool almost totally uninterested we still managed to shoot ourselves in the foot. Looking back I think we got what we deserved. If we had won, the other teams involved would have had a good case for complaint. After 10 games this season if you’d told most people a win on the last day of the season would suffice they would have been very happy and probably very suprised.

My view on Ball is he hasn’t done the job. Barmy Brian goes for keeping us safe, so Ball must go for his crimes. He has bought a couple of good ones in Symons and Phillips, but in my book it ain’t enough. We need someone to pull the club together, not alienate further. Niall is the perfect example, a real gent, sweats blood for the club and on his way out of the door at exactly the time when we need him. He could be a key player in the Endsleigh. Otherwise I think we’ll see the back of Beagrie, Kernaghan, Curle, Frontzeck, Rösler, Dibble and Brightwell. If Ball stays it will be with a young team of his protogees, which I suspect will be a couple of places short of promotion; we’ll hit the play offs but fail at Wembley. I think we can all be proud of the way we’ve got behind Ball, I mean we were hardly excited at the proposition but he had our voices all season and he’s let us down. All I hear is that it’s the players’ fault. Sorry Alan, you’re the manager and you’ve not cut the mustard.

Finally Gio… It would be wonderful if he stayed, but somebody needs to point out to him that he’ll have to play 40 games like Wimbledon where the opposition kick you off the park. I can’t find it in my heart to blame him if he does go. I feel privileged to have seen him play as much as I have. I hope I’m wrong about most of the above, but I think it’s gonna be a long time before we can make the Rags eat humble pie. Take care and see you all in August. Another positive note! We start a week earlier than usual!

Jim Parsons (


A lot of subscribers have recently gone through the team indivdually and rated them as to whether they are any good and/or they will stay (including myself). Can I first ask the question, why do so many people rate Buster Phillips so much? He’s hardly in the same class as Bryan Twiggs and Ginola is he? Perhaps on the occasions I’ve seen him, mainly as sub. I haven’t had enough time to judge him, but nonetheless, he’s not set City on fire has he?

As for all the other buys, Symons has proved excellent, Kave has not had enough time yet and the rest.. a pile of overpaid s***e! Clough takes a 3K pay cut to walk the dog around the pitch each Saturday, I think not. Remembering that Kinky’s purchase was negotiated well before Ball’s arrival, I honestly believe that Ball is hopeless in attracting and buying any decent players. Just look at the loan players that have visited us for 10 weeks’ hospitality at the fans’ expense. Once you’ve tried to remember their names, just think of those he sold….

On a lighter note, sorry that should be, a heavier note, I was in Spain at the weekend and I caught a glimpse of Mike Robinson the ex-City player. He’s now a ‘famous’ TV pundit in the Alan Hansen mode, but what a fat git he’s turned into. He’s on Canal Plus in Spain and apart from the commentary games, he’s got his own show on Monday nights talking about footie.

Tony Shaw,George Graham for Manager Campaign 1997 (


‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’

I noted with interest in MCIVTA 192 that Ashley talked about a Daily Mirror article in which Dave Wallace commented on City’s current plight and was particularly critical of Ball and Lee.

The very same Dave Wallace was also quoted in last Sunday’s Observer (12 May 1996) saying that he’d accused the club of being more interested in racehorses and restaurants than the spectators.

He also claimed that “the club are no longer prepared to listen to supporters below executive box level.”

When reading such comments from Dave Wallace it might be worth bearing in mind the following points.

Wallace publicly criticised the appointment of Ball before the season had even started and he was supposed to be ‘the fan on the board’ representing us all. Now many Blues weren’t over keen on Bally but to slag him off before the season began was completely irresponsible in my view.

From what I can gather, such comments lead to the formation of a fans’ committee by the club to prevent Wallace being seen as ‘the voice of the fans’ and to extend consultation with a wider body of supporters and not just box holders as Wallace claims.

In fact, I’ve been encouraged by the Committee’s reports in the programme and having spoken to Steve Nott who Chairs the Supporters’ side, it is obvious that there is a platform from which to express ordinary supporters’ views.

Dave Wallace is infamous amongst members of the London Supporters’ Club following an article in our newsletter which queried the effectiveness of his contribution. Next time Wallace saw the author of the piece he warmly shook him by the throat!! The police had to intervene. That’s how he reacts to criticism.

Obviously Franny was none too impressed by the comments about Ball and neither was he impressed when King of the Kippax ‘reported’ the ‘events’ at the hotel in Southampton. The Club threatened a libel suit against KK unless they apologised – they did!

Unfortunately, the media seem to have only one name in their address books when it comes to City Supporters – Dave Wallace. How we alter this I don’t know.

I’m certainly against a Fans’ Rep merely being an apologist for the club but it’s a pity the egotistical Dave Wallace is all we ever see and hear. What about the other Fans’ Reps or Noel Bayley from ‘Bert Trautmann’s Helmet’ being given a chance to speak up for City’s fans or even someone from MCIVTA?

Julian Cooke (


While I agree that Alan Ball has many shortcomings, not least the fact that virtually every team (maybe all of them?) he’s managed has gone down, I cannot agree that it’s time to get rid of him. The “one step back to take two steps forward” philosophy, however trite it may sound in the light of what’s happened, can actually work. We will have the best stadium, the best supporters and probably the best team in the Endsleigh league next season. Ball has almost completely changed the players, half of whom don’t speak English properly. The point being that they need to gel, they need to get to know what the others are doing. I don’t get to see City often but when I have it’s struck me that they have moments when they are brilliant and then a move breaks down because somebody does something his teammate wasn’t expecting. It’s going to be a lot easier for them to gel against Ipswich and Swindon than it is against Liverpool and United. When the season’s over, we should be promoted and the team will have played a whole season together; If we can manage to hold on to the right players (obviously Uwe’s going) then there is no reason we can’t be competing for European places in 1997-98.

If Alan Ball manages to get us relegated or near-relegated in Division One, then he should not just be sacked, but smeared in honey and buried in a field of killer ants. Sometimes his attitude is dismal, and I find it very hard to take that he’s apparently instructed Lomas to hold up the Liverpool game when we could have scored, but he is a character with a great passion for the game and someone the players could learn a lot from if they start learning to learn from each other too. City is a big club, with expectations way above what has been delivered in recent times, and people are forever getting impatient for success. We cannot continue to be a revolving door club, we can’t continue to think short term, we must build slowly but surely and not hope that buying geniuses like Kinkladze can somehow magic us out of our slumber. It’s like trying to erect a tower block – if we sack the builder just ‘cos he’s spent more time digging the foundations than building the thing, then the tower block is never going to be finished: Alan Ball must stay, and he must keep Gio, cos I’ve got a fiver on him staying!

Phil Houghton (


Time for me to add my voice to the growing number of Blues calling for AB’s head.

I personally do not like the ritual of sacking manager after manager after manager just because the team didn’t live up to expectations during a season. I like Franny’s style of picking the right man for the job and sticking with him no matter what. The key to this strategy however is finding the right man. Alan Ball is not that man. I could not understand what Franny saw in AB in the first place; if I were hiring a person to work for me in the corporate world, I certainly would not pick someone with a habit of taking companies down! But that’s been done, and the result is already there for us all to live with. What is needed now is a post-season review of all things that are wrong with the club and corrective action to put them right. From what I’ve seen and heard, AB is the root of most of the things which went wrong. He must go.

The main asset of a successful manager is the respect he demands and gets from his players. Look at the great ones – Shanks, Busby and Paisley were all loved and respected by the players who played for them. You can tell when a manager is respected by his players when (during the rough times when fingers are being pointed at him) the players come out in his defence and put the blame on themselves for bad performances. I’ve not heard any City players leaping to AB’s defence (I’m talking from a great distance here, I may be wrong). A manager has to be part-psychologist, part-salesman, part-conman plus have a great football tactician’s brain. AB certainly has no understanding of his players’ psyche, certainly possesses little tactical prowess, but he must have some salesmanship skills to sell himself to Franny – or was that the conman bit? Let’s face it, if you can’t get your players motivated for a win-the-last-game-of-the-season-or-go-down match you are not doing your job. If you are not doing your job, you should be sacked. Simple isn’t it?

Alan Ball has a proven track record. If you were betting on the horses and saw a nag called Alan Ball in race 3 with a bunch of zeros by his name – would you back him despite him starting in a weaker field? Losing is a habit (as is winning – ask any Rag!) which is very hard to break. Sticking with AB is foolish, players will not suddenly change their attitudes toward him overnight. If we get rid of Ball, we have a decent chance of keeping Uwe. He will be the key to us returning to where we belong. We’ve seen how he can play when he is motivated, and how he plays when he is not. He is a class act when in the right state of mind and has the potential to score bagfuls against Endsleigh defences.

We will lose Gio. It is sad, but not totally bad. No one doubts that he is a magician, but my view is that if we can get a Collymore-like sum for him then we should take it. We’ve all witnessed how Gio tends to fade when man-to-man and double marked – which he definitely will be every game if he stays on next year. What wins the league in the lower divisions is not touches of magic from a very talented player, but week-in/week-out graft, hard work and commitment from honest, capable and committed players – 11 of them! Give me 11 Michael Browns to get us back up – then look at bringing Gio back to win us the Premier! I wish Gio all the best, thank him for the great memories – but let’s be honest, he’s just too bloody good for Endsleigh and his talents would be far better paraded in the Spanish game where he would get time on the ball instead of being hacked down by a skin-headed Grimsby player every time he looked at it!

Apologies, I digressed – give Ball the boot!!!!!

Steve Slack (


Well it finally happened and no-one seems too surprised about the way things turned out. I like to think that I’m both tolerant and patient but I can’t see any point whatsoever in standing by Alan Ball. My horror at his appointment, matched only by that of Brian Horton before him, has now been overtaken by the disappointment that I was right after all. Whilst I’d like to be one of those optimists who believe he’ll get it right in the end I’m afraid, like his predecessor, he’s basically not–and never was–up to the job.

Horton and Ball, two little men who are only too happy to be paid a fat salary at a large club, who say they are ambitious but never sound convincing, who can think of an infinite number of reasons why and how we lost apart from the obvious ones (like some players are genuinely not up to the job, others quite simply don’t care enough, or the manager is unable to motivate them), two men who will probably enjoy a modicum of success in the lower divisions and almost certainly will be happy with that. What worries me is even if AB stays at Maine Road and City sooner or later get promoted, can any fan however optimistic see us being a great club again with him in charge?

To me there are two qualities that all great managers possess that make them stand out from the crowd:

  1. A fiercely competitive spirit / will to win (meaning that they are neverhappy with second rate performances and will not waste time and energytrying to convince the fans, players and press that there is a silverlining in every dismal performance. Whatever happened to good old fashioned rollockings whenrequired?)
  2. An ability to command the respect of the players.

If a manager lacks these qualities (and I’ve seen no evidence of either from Ball or Horton) it doesn’t matter how big the cheque book is or what tactics they adopt or how much time you give them to build a team. Surely there are winners out there who could bring the success we all want and expect? The greatest concern is are we able to attract such managers any more? The shortlists for the managerial vacancy used to be exciting with big names coming forward. Nowadays it appears we give the job to anyone who can be bothered to take it on. OK it could have been worse- we might have got David Pleat! But let’s be realistic–can you really imagine a little man in a flat cap and shell suit holding aloft a trophy? I can’t.

Tim Reid (


Just to add my voice to the number of people that have called for Alan Ball’s head; does anyone think that if he was trying to recreate the sort of spirit that the team had in December, at the end of the season, that it might have been a good idea to try to pick the same team, and the same formation? Oh hang on, hadn’t we decided to sell Garry Flitcroft, and of course the most versatile player at the club, Ian Brightwell, could only fit in as a sweeper.

Why when it was blatantly obvious to absolutely everyone else that the sweeper system didn’t suit anyone in the team, (i.e. full-backs who couldn’t attack, centre backs losing understanding, forwards without support, and absolutely no width), did Alan Ball suddenly adopt it as the way of getting out of trouble, especially after 4-4-2 had dragged us away from the basement already. This just seems to me like warped thinking. Can a man with ideas like this really be the man to lead us out of the footballing wilderness?

Just to fully demonstrate the inadequacy of this approach let us look at his reasons for adopting it – it would allow Gio to flourish in a free rôle. Did it? Gio was already flourishing; were his performances any better in a sweeper system? Can I also point out that in the previous two seasons we have got out of trouble with one of the central midfield berths taken by David Rocastle and Maurizio Gaudino, two of the most lightweight midfielders to grace an English football pitch. Gio is a better player than either of these two, so why could he not be given the chance to perform in the same position?

At the start of the next season I will be twenty, and I will still have never seen City win a trophy. Can anyone really see this changing under Alan Ball?

Sam Al-Hamdani (



Well that just about sums up how I’m feeling at the moment. Should Ball stay or go? Much as I hate the manegerial merry go round he should go. All clubs need stability if they are to have success. But they also need a manager who is a winner. Which AB certainly is not.

Franny should get on the ‘phone to George Graham ASAP. Give him a five year contract. Some money for the transfer market and a free hand. If FHL can’t face sacking his close friend then he should ***s off and let someone run this club as a business not some cosy racket for helping out old friends.

Yours in disgust, Dave Bradbury (


****ers wear white boots

What an appalling performance from John Barnes in the Cup Final! Who was impressed with his shiny new white boots? A crap performance at Wembley is nothing new for the twinkle-toed England misfit. His dire performance had me thinking who else wore white boots and made an absolute arse of themselves.

One who comes to mind is Graham Langlands who was full back for Saint George when East blitzed them in the Sydney Grand Final in 1978(?).

Closer to home we have to look no further than our very own (unfortunately!) Alan Ball. I bet he’s been wearing them all season!

I would like to see the end to the merry-go-round of City managers. It should start as soon as Alan Ball is sacked. He was a crap player – ask David Connor – although he did win the occasional trophy. As a manager, he’s been probably the least successful one ever. Has anyone else managed five different teams to relegation?

Roger Haigh (


O.K. I’ve had time to contemplate the tragedy of the last few weeks. I can’t help thinking that AB is the biggest pillock we’ve had since a certain Mr Billy McNeill (remember him, two teams relegated in the same season?). Why is Franny insisting on sticking with such an obvious loser as Ball? He is doing himself no favours with the City fans that managed to get him in as chairman in the first place. Am I being daft in thinking that Peter Swales wasn’t too bad after all? At least his heart was in the right place when it came to funding transfers. After speaking to a Stoke City supporter he has warned me not to expect instant promotion from Ball; if he stays, as he wasn’t exactly a success in the Endsleigh with their team, relegation is a more likely (and very frightening) prospect. If we’re not careful Preston North End will soon be overtaking us and I couldn’t bear their fans taking the p**s out of us as well as Rags fans.

Just one more thing, why the hell did Franny sack Brian Horton when he obviously had nobody lined up to take his place? This seems to me to be a major contributory factor to our eventual relegation. One more season with Horton and all could have been well again (O.K. mid-table until George Graham was available again). Redeem yourself Francis, appoint George now, if he wants us that is.



A song for Gio, to the tune of “Roll With It” by Oasis…

“Gio’ve Gotta Roll With It”

He always rolls with it
He doesn’t take his time
You’re gonna see what you see
He don’t let anybody get in his way
Cos he’s all too much for you to take

You’d better stand aside
He’ll never be denied
You’re gonna be left behind if you’re chasing Kinky
You think you’re gonna get him but when you slide
He always runs away and keeps onside
And when he’s clean through he never puts it wide

He’s the key man in Man City’s side
He kicks the ball just as you start to slide
And when you save Georgi Kinkladze’s shot on goal
You’ll never save any more

He always rolls with it
He doesn’t take his time
You’re gonna see what you see
He won’t let anybody get in his way
And his name’s Georgi Kinkladze !!

Paul Koller (


I suppose that there are some people who come to support City after watching the games and developing an interest and affection for the club, and those who do so because of friends who support City getting them involved. Then there are a large group of people (including me!) who were simply indoctrinated into the club.

Like a parent trying to indoctrinate a child into some wierd religion, my mum had me saying ‘City’ along with ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’ as a baby. In fact she is still at it – all of my nephews and nieces were enrolled as Junior Blues almost before they were born!

Having said all that, my first memory of a game was not a particularly happy one. I was still very young, and didn’t really understand what this football game was all about. Later when my mum and I returned to Maine Road on a more regular basis I was to understand all too well! We first went into the Platt Lane stand in the late 70’s and later had season tickets for a few years. Since then I have moved away and ceased to go to the matches, and even for a while lost interest altogether, but now I suppose that the things that matter are coming to the fore, and I’m happy for that. One of those is brass bands, another is City. Alas I am in Sussex so can’t get a season ticket – were I closer to Manchester I most certainly would.

Yes those heady days in the late 70’s. I remember very clearly some of those great Junior Blues meetings I went to, where we would meet the players and cheer heartily along to a video show of some old game. Since then I suppose that being loyal to City has been a little more of a challenge, but for me, there has never been a question about that!

During a few years mum and I went to all the home games and quite a few away too. We almost joined the merry band of hardy souls who were with City wherever they went, and Helen with her bell. Those were good times, even through the worst of the Malcolm Allison reign. Often though we would speculate that Maine Road should have a Government Health Warning slapped on the Main Stand, and I learnt what it was to adopt a philosophical attitude to things…

Some moments for me:-

Best moments:

Well of course, Denis Tueart’s overhead kick which won us the League Cup against Newcastle.

Other contenders are the extra time goal by Paul Power that took us to Wembley where we lost against Spurs, the 4-0 win over Middlesbrough that took us to that League Cup final. Also getting a birthday card which had been signed by all the City team (Joe Corrigan, Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee etc.) on my birthday!

Worst moments:

A certain 1-0 defeat by Luton Town comes high on the list.

Another was connected with a Derby match. I had recently befriended a Dutch au pair girl who was working and living in Prestwich, and she wanted to see a football game but was convinced that English football was rife with hooliganism, so we persuaded her that we should go to one to show that this was not true. All was well (the match ended 1-1) until the train home, which was attacked by a bunch of thugs wearing red scarves at Oxford Road station. Thankfully Agnes and I got away safely, but I think her views were somewhat hardened, and I felt truly ashamed of what these idiots had done.

The humiliation of being led through the streets of Leicester on the way to an away match, just like a herd of cattle. I still believe that if you treat a man like an animal, then don’t be too surpised if he acts like one!

A Plea!

I realise that at times like this, it is often tempting to say that heads must roll, particularly the manager’s. Now I think is the time for Frannie Lee to keep cool and to unreservedly back Alan Ball for next season’s campaign. Also I think the next few months will show what stuff the players are made of. If our two Georgians decide that there are better places to be then I could hardly blame them, but if they decide to stay with City then I think that it is imperative that the supporters remain just as loyal. Once we have licked our wounds we need to get behind the club unreservedly, and with 100% commitment!

First off, I think we need to be ready for a hard season ahead. The Endsleigh League teams will be no pushover, and we will probably need to get used to much harder physical football. Secondly, we have to hit the ground running. No repeats of the 95-96 season – we must be winning from the first game of the season. Thirdly, we have to try not to be distracted by early season hype about what a glorious season the Rags will have and how they will win everything in sight. What happens down the road doesn’t really matter, and probably only serves to make life that much more difficult.

Euan Bayliss (


Club Questions:

Thanks to Stuart, The Mole, Jim, Rob, Paul (x2), Tony (x2), Steve (x2), Tim, Sam, Martin, David, Kevin, Phil, James, Bob, Christine,& Roger.

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 #194