Newsletter #201

Not unexpectedly, all things have gone quiet on the City front with the World’s, and most other people’s attention turned to Euro 96. There is however, quite a bit of ‘alternative’ footie news and surprisingly, a match report with City interest!

Steven and I went along to Macclesfield on Saturday and met Paul Power who turned out to be an extremely friendly bloke. I think I probably gave him a completely unintelligible description of the internet and MCIVTA but he still managed to keep smiling! We even managed a classic ‘anorak’ photo, him with us in our MCIVTA T-shirts! This may appear on the WWW shortly unless it looks like it will seriously damage our credibility… highly likely!

Next game, Athlone Town FC, Friday 19 July 1996



In the (Man.) United States, true footie bliss often seems as far as out of reach as the sky-blue clouds above. Living less than five minutes away from Manchester Ave. in Inglewood, Calif. — home of basketball’s Los Angeles Lakers, if you care — I have concluded that Maine Road couldn’t feel further away. That sad reality is drubbed home every week when I show up at the local pub at 6 or 7 on Saturday morning, dig deep into my pockets for $5 or $10 and look up at a blurry satellite picture to see the Rags, yet again, on Sky’s featured match.

As such, afternoons like this past Sunday are heaven, like waking up from a restless sleep (I’m dreaming here) in the M.C.F.C. Souvenir Shop. What made it so great? Just the sight of Big Niall Quinn on my living-room television, albeit wearing green, for Ireland vs. USA. No extra charge, no smoky barroom filled with red shirts and no Alan Ball to screw things up.

It was the sort of rare event — call it a football eclipse — that must be documented thoroughly and shared with friends. That way, we can avoid mention of the 1-1 misery with the Swiss, who looked the better side even without Cheesy.

On then, to my first attempt at a match report, with plenty of names to hold your interest (Quinn, Alan Kernaghan, Terry Phelan) in case the writing doesn’t:

First Half

Thanks to the selfish disappearance of Roy “Sour Keane and Chives,” Kernaghan not only wins a place in the first 11, he’s handed the No. 10 shirt (for reasons I can’t even fathom) and named captain for the first Ireland-U.S. friendly since 1991. To reward manager Mick McCarthy’s confidence, Kernaghan waits a mere 30 seconds to make an impression, scaring everyone in the Ireland dugout with a dreadful back pass to goalkeeper Shay Given from about two yards away. Why didn’t Kernaghan just turn and fire the ball into the stands for a throw? The better question is, with judgment like that, why did Kernaghan make just five appearances for City last season? With several more suspect touches at Boston’s Foxboro Stadium, he sure looked like the kind of defender Bally likes. Wearing the armband, Kernaghan struck me as a blond Keith Curle.

In the third minute, Quinn clashed with American strongman Alexi Lalas, setting the tone for the afternoon. These two wound up exchanging elbows and shoves for almost the 90 full minutes, until Big Niall was inexplicably pulled near the end. The neophyte U.S. press naturally wrote that Lalas won the duel, but our man submitted a solid performance despite McCarthy’s laughable insistence that the Irish abandon the long ball and play it the continental way. If you think England looks lost in the passing game sometimes, you should see these boys. Not exactly a Green Machine, I must say.

Quinn created Ireland’s only reasonable first-half chances in typical fashion. In the 26th minute, his knockdown produced a chance for Billy McLoughlin, who was hauled down at the top of the box. However, the referee wisely played advantage as the ball rolled onto to David Connolly, who promptly smacked it over the bar. Even better was Niall’s layoff to Jeff Kenna in the 34th, only to be wasted by Kenna’s wild shot. Apparently, at Blackburn, Kenna isn’t used to receiving the ball from the guy in the No. 9 shirt. We all know Alan Shearer can’t lay them on like Quinn. Anyway, as punishment from the footie gods for wasting a City-generated chance, Kenna lasts only four more minutes before pulling a hamstring.

Four minutes before the merciful whistle to a rather boring half, old friend Phelan draws a yellow for dissent. It’s not clear, though, what he was complaining about. Perhaps he didn’t like the scoreline at intermission (0-0), the corresponding lack of scoring opportunities or the fact that the American television crew has mentioned City just once in the first period. Whatever the annoyance, it’s the only time Phelan, deployed as a wing-back on the left side in McCarthy’s 3-5-2, is noticed all game.

Second Half

Thankfully, the U.S. abandons its 3-5-2 and this match quickly rouses to life. In the 55th, Kernaghan does his best Nicky Summerbee imitation and brings down Cobi Jones in the box. Somehow, the referee misses it, setting off the Americans and setting up an Irish counter. The ball is worked to Quinn at the top of the box and, seeing five Americans sucked forward and in a line, he sends a deft square ball that hits Connolly in stride on the left. Despite a bobbled first touch, the Watford teen is composed enough to slide the ball wide of Peter Reid’s former Sunderland ‘keeper Brad Friedel and into the net for a 1-0 lead in the 56th. Sadly, in true City fashion, the ABC commentators make no mention of Quinn’s pass on numerous replays. All they do, over and over, is gush about young Connolly, ignoring the best move of the day — especially sweet from a man who purportedly can’t play it on the ground.

Of course, a side captained by a City man was bound to chuck the lead away, and Ireland couldn’t delay the inevitable for more than two minutes. In the 58th, a harmless cross by Eric Wynalda is cleared straight to a waiting Tab Ramos — at least Kernaghan wasn’t the guilty party — at the top of the box. Ramos unleashes a wicked, dipping, swerving screamer that nearly tears Given’s left glove off on its way in. Just like that, it’s 1-1.

The good news is that the game is really rocking now. Quinn has to help break up a fight in the 62nd after Lalas goes after Connolly, who had gone after Ramos in response to a hard tackle. In the 73rd, Ramos hits the left post with an even more wicked long-distance shot, one of five times he launched on-goal strikes from beyond the 18. Two minutes later, the Americans snatch the winner, when Claudio Reyna sneaks behind a very flat back-four — which now includes Phelan and Kernaghan after McCarthy abandons his own 3-5-2 — to turn in a Wynalda cross past a late-charging Given.

There would be a few more chances for the visitors, but all were squandered. In the 80th, Connolly directs a tap-in wide, missing so badly that Quinn, standing just a few feet to his right, doesn’t have a chance to stick a foot in. In the 85th, Quinn shrugs off two defenders on his back to send a header straight to Gary Breen but Friedel isn’t even threatened. Quinn was then removed, removing most of my interest in the match — although I had to crack a smile in the 87th when Jovan Kirovski, the young American striker who plundered something like 20 goals in 21 matches for Rags’ reserves last year, missed an absolute sitter created by Wynalda on a really pretty counter.

In the final analysis, I had to be satisfied, if only for the opportunity to see Quinn win his 60th cap. Further boosting my spirits was the news that Kirovski — rated a future star by Alex “The Git” Ferguson — would likely be leaving the Rags because, like most Americans, he can’t secure a work permit to play first-team football in England. Now I can like him again.

I leave you with some funny lines from Lalas, a fitting guest on the post-game show exactly three years to the day he scored a goal in the Americans’ historic 2-0 defeat of England. Alexi was asked about his verbal war with Quinn, to which he replied: “We were talking about cooking, different recipes he has. We like to trade those kind of trade secrets. It was nice. He was a very warm person, very caring. … I didn’t understand a word he said anyway. I mean, he spoke English, but … He’s so big, I couldn’t even see the field. I just saw the back of his head. He has a wonderful back of the head if you really take a look at it.”

Please accept my apologies for the outrageous length of this report. Guess I got carried away. If time permits, I will try to provide much shorter reviews of Ireland’s remaining two matches on its U.S. tour, Wednesday against Mexico and Saturday against Bolivia. If anyone could possibly need more info, I’m only an e-mail away.

Marc Stein, Los Angeles, CA (


Watched the US vs. Ireland today on ESPN. Niall Quinn and Alan Kernaghan played for Ireland. The US won 2-1, which means we’ve beaten both Ireland and Scotland in the last few weeks. Now for dessert, just send us Wales, or something.

Anyway, Kernaghan was a real no-show, just like at Maine Road, but he was wearing the captain’s armband. Niall’s day consisted of tangling with Alexi (scumbag) Lalas, which was mostly uneventful. Looked like two lumberjacks trying to out-axe each other. Yawn. And thank God Kirovski didn’t score, he’s a bloody Rag reserve!

Dave Bara (102620.1663@CompuServe.COM)


With reference to Nizam’s article in MCIVTA 200. I didn’t get chance to meet Bally due to other more important committments (i.e. subjecting myself to heat exhaustion running around a football field myself), but I did manage to catch AB’s guest commentary on the telly that night. I can see why Nizam’s mates may not have enjoyed it that much and there was a letter of complaint in the paper the next day about him – but I personally thoroughly enjoyed it.

Some excerpts:

Local Commentator: “So Alan, you’ve been conducting coaching clinics with some of out promising youngsters – do you think we have potential talent for a future world cup finals team?”
AB: “Well, errrm, well, they’re keen to learn”

Local: (Well into the 2nd half) “What do you think of the standard of our professional league now that you’ve watched some of it”
AB: “The build-up is not bad, some good passing in midfield, but the quality in the last third of the field is shocking, the worst I’ve seen in a very long time” (AB used the word shocking about 8 times!)

Local: “Alan, it’s time to pick the man of the match, who’s your choice”
AB: “Well, that’s a hard one, no-one has really caught the eye. Let me think about this for a while.” (He never came back with a choice)

It was very good to hear some honest commentary from AB (or anyone, the local commentators are generally crap and could write everything they know about football on the back of a postage stamp). Although it would not have gone down very well with local officials and fans, IMHO it was absolutely spot-on. The game was shocking and generally indicative of the standard of the league here. At half time AB was interviewed and asked about City’s relegation etc. and he did speak with genuine feeling about it. He appeared as though he truly cared about the club and sounded thoroughly confident of only a 1-year tenure in the lower ranks.

After the game ended, I was left with an inkling of respect for the guy that wasn’t there before. He spoke his mind on the game when it would have been easier and P.C. for him to agree with the commentator on how great everything was, pleased he showed a good attitude towards City and next season. Put it this way, the day after the game was the first time I’ve ever found myself stepping up to defend the bloke. I’m still not convinced he can do the job, but am now more inclined to give him the chance.

This will be my last contribution from Singapore for a few months; I’m on assignment in Houston, Texas until November. I think the closest MCIVTA subscriber to me will be Chris Derenger in Austin. Chris, if you’re out there, let’s get together for a brew or few sometime!

Stay Blue and C’MON ENGLAND!!!! Steve Slack (


Inspired by England’s exhilarating second half exhibition of total football, MCIVTA FC had their third 5-a-side session on Sunday. This was another big success with 12 players attending (including 2 proper ‘keepers!), despite the absence of many “established” MCIVTA players. We played over an hour of flowing, graceful football with the Bibs just edging out the Non-Bibs, and no one suffering insurmountable breathing difficulties.

This match was also noticeable for the welcome addition of the first female members of the squad,- Julia and Jane “The Terminator” Bryan,- possibly a new Colin Hendry in our very midst.

So, all in all, a very entertaining afternoon’s football, and everyone seemed ready for more in the near future, so I’ll probably be booking a pitch in 2 or 3 weeks time. Contact myself or Robert Watson if you want to be added to the “interested in MCIVTA FC” mailing list, as it is snappily entitled.

Col Surrey, Phil Peacock, Rich Woods, Julia Reissmann, Ben Hoyle, Dan Ellingworth, Dan Rigby, Martin Ford, Jane Bryan, Mark Hampson, Steve Millington, Dave Millington.

Dan Rigby (


Just a quick message to let you know about Kit Symons’ DJ-ing antics at South on Sunday night. We arrived at South at around 11.30pm with no sign of Kit and a rather low-key atmosphere. There wasn’t a huge crowd of people and those that were there were treated to some groovy sounds from the Sixties spun by the (presumably) resident DJ. At about 12.10am Kit appeared from the shadows of the DJ booth, donned his headphones and started spinning these platters that matter:

  1. The Stone Roses- Love Spreads
  2. The Jam- Going Underground
  3. Oasis- Cigarettes and Alcohol
  4. Black Grape- Reverend Black Grape
  5. The Stone Roses- This Is The One (I think that’s what it’s called)
  6. The Beat- Tell Me Why (I think!)
  7. Happy Mondays- Step On
  8. The Clash- Rock The Casbah
  9. The Beat- Mirror In The Bathroom

I think that was the lot from Kit as he left the booth and headed for the bar with Dexy’s “Gino” and Iggy’s “Lust For Life” ringing in everybody’s ears. A rather solid and safe bit of DJ-ing then, just what we need from perhaps our most important defender. Maybe if Kinky had been on the wheels of steel we would have been treated to some experimental jazz and/or techno punctuated with the odd patch of silence… 😉

Mon Miah (


If you’re stuck for something to do between now and 21st July you could do a lot worse than trolleying down to the Cornerhouse, like go to the U****d Megastore for example.

They’ve got three exhibitions on, “Kick Racism Out Of Football”, “Welcome, Willkommen, Bienvenue” and the best one which is “Nick Hancock selects…”, basically a collection of 50 photos from the Football Archive (now run by When Saturday Comes). Each has a caption with it, penned by the man from the “irreverent sports quiz”.

There are, unsurprisingly, several shots of Stoke but there are a couple of City ones (I won’t spoil it by describing them) and one of Alan Ball which says that he went from being a playing winner to a managerial disaster. And then the best quote of them all:-

“A World Cup Winner’s Medal does not entitle you to managerial success. After all, Dana won the Eurovision Song Contest but you wouldn’t trust her to manage Oasis.”


Having said that the whole thing is brilliant and you can buy the pictures. However, they are £150.

If you want to kill half an hour or so and p**s yourself into the bargain… get down there… it’s all free!

Mark Helsby (


If anyone’s in search of entertainment in Manchester on Sunday the 16th, look no further! As part of all the Euro96 “cultural” attractions, there’s a special edition of the legendary Manchester Busker at the Castlefield arena in the evening after the Russia vs. Germany match. Lots of acts, most of them probably pretty good – I’m not quite sure who’s appearing yet, but I believe the line up does include Our Salford Correspondent, Johnny Dangerously and Holly Burton.

I don’t know anything about price, tickets etc. (or whether it’s free), but I’ll have information by the end of the week, so mail me for more. I should declare my interest though – if you look real hard, you might just spot me lurking about on stage twanging a guitar string behind Holly. I’m the six and a half foot redhead with a big smile on my face after Scotland’s famous victory on the Saturday :-). Hope to see some of you there!

Sean Bechhofer (


Is the Mark Atkins that we might be getting from Wolves the same Mark Atkins who used to play for Blackburn? As I remember, Rovers played Liverpool in the FA Cup a few years back whilst still in Div 2, and were about to knock them out until Mark Atkins scored a last minute own goal…

Ian Kay (


In response to Mark Helsby’s comment in MCIVTA 200 about our possible interest in Mark Atkins. A mate of mine at work is a member of the Wolves mailing list, and he recently received this comment:

“BTW What’s this about Mark Atkins (I’ll never understand that player) going to Man City? Is Alan Ball really that stupid? I say that if he does leave then we should send the Man City list a ‘Sorry’ letter, because it’s most unfair on them.”

In a futher article from the same Wolves list someone close to the club heard a figure of £500K mentioned for Atkins.

Del Heppenstall (


Do we have any subscribers in Japan? I am going to be in Tokyo a fair bit over the next few weeks, and would like to get some info on which channels are screening matches etc., so I can then check out which hotel to stay in! Thanks for your help.

Peter Singleton (petesing@VNET.IBM.COM)


I am leaving my employment at the University of Central Lancashire on 21.6.96. Therefore, I will be unable to access MCIVTA (this nearly made me turn down the offer of a new job elsewhere). I would be grateful if somebody could tell me where I could surf the net in the Manchester or East or West Lancs areas.

Stay Cool and keep the Blue flag flying, Nigel Bate (


My name is Russell Smith, I am a football researcher (yes, it’s a hard job but someone has to do it) for The Big Room. This is a multimedia company — owned by Team17 Ltd (who made Worms for the PC and a host of Amiga games as well). We are currently working on a reference (not game) CD-ROM that details the history and stats of UK and Eire football since 1900.

We have been working on this project for a while now and the official club sources have not been too helpful, they are all far too busy. What we are trying to do is create the ultimate football guide with all the information that a football fan could need, want or show off with, and it is for this reason I am contacting you.

I would be most grateful if you or any of your mailing list subscribers could mail me with any information about your club. This can be anything from club or player histories and stats, which pub to avoid on the way to the ground, the fans’ favourite songs or which fanzines your club has. Absolutely anything to do with football.

There will be a credits section on the disc for anyone who gives any help, no matter how small the piece of information.

I hope that you can help in any way and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Russell Smith (


Contributions: Ashley –
Subscriptions: Adam –
Club Questions: Stephen –

Thanks to Mark, Ian, Russell, Del, Peter, Steve, Nigel, Dave, Dan, Sean, Marc & Mon.

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 #201