Newsletter #203

Some England and Ireland interest but the major news is that we have the new fixture list, apparently before its release! Our first home game is against Ipswich and the day seems to be the same Saturday as the Premier League kicks off. It also seems that Sky will almost certainly try to switch many of these games to Friday or Sunday… any opinions on this 8-)).

Anyone fancy doing us a Why Blue, please send ’em to me.

Next game, Athlone Town FC, Friday 19 July 1996


SCOTLAND vs. ENGLAND, Saturday 15th June 1996

Once more we faced the long drive south to see England’s second and most important qualifying game in the Euro 96 competition. It was another early start at 8:30, with a few more tinnies to help us on our way. The journey was uneventful, sets of supporters from both teams making their way south for the clash.

We arrived in London in good time and there did seem to be a lack of Scotland fans in the surrounding areas; even near the Wembley Central tube station there were only a few Scots mulling around. Having parked up, we walked towards the ground and were passed by the England coach. Inside there were some stern looking faces and even a wave from us was met with blank expressions (especially Neville, the non-playing one). At Wembley there was a relaxed and fairly friendly atmosphere, with good-natured banter between the opposing fans, with not so much as a hint of trouble. There were other countries’ fans represented, notably Holland and Switzerland, so we had quite a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Inside the Scotland section was full and there were pockets of Scots all around the stadium, another fine example of supposed segregation?

Venables had selected the same team as for the Swiss game, which meant the highly ineffective Anderton, Sheringham and Ince were given another run-out. It seemed as though TV had made a slightly different tactical switch moving Southgate into the midfield, leaving the defence as a three man unit. Once more though the first half was another poor performance, with England never really managing to penetrate the Scots’ defence. Scotland sprayed the ball about far better but they couldn’t take advantage of their better play. What still puzzled me is why either Gascoigne of Ince insisted on picking the ball up from just outside the England penalty box; they were playing far too deep to really cause any great problems but I suppose that was the tactics insisted on by TV.

The second half saw the first England substitution with Redknapp replacing Pearce and this certainly appeared to open the game up. England managed to get some sustained pressure on the Scottish goal and finally scored through that man Shearer. McManaman passed the ball to an overlapping Neville and his deep cross was met by Shearer’s head to make it 1-0. Cue scenes of jubilation among the England fans and players alike. England then seemed to realise that the game was there for the taking and took the game to Scotland. England mounted pressure but the Scots held firm. Anderton (playing slightly better than the Swiss game) had a shot from the edge of the box that was only just over the top. However, despite the pressure Scotland looked dangerous when they got on the attack and from a similar move to the England goal, Durie nearly equalised. McKinlay beat Ince and crossed to the far post where Durie beat Southgate; his header was clawed out by Seaman. England hit back and from a left wing cross Sheringham should have made it 2-0 but his diving header from 6 yards out lacked pace and accuracy and Goram saved well. Then almost immediately Scotland had the chance to get back into the game, Adams felling Durie in the box for another penalty. What’s the problem with the England defence, can’t they stand up!!! Fortunately McAllister’s penalty was blocked by Seaman, more jubilation for the England masses and more despair for the Scots. Then the man currently plying his trade at Rangers and Scots Player of the Year completed a memorable victory. He ran onto a through ball, flicked it over Hendry with his left foot and then volleyed home with his right. A great goal to settle the game. With 10 minutes remaining Scottish fans started drifting away almost knowing they were beaten and almost out of the competition. The final whistle brought celebrations and victory, England had nearly completed the task of qualification, just another point against the Dutch and they would be winners of the group.

The inclusion of Redknapp at the start of the second half seemed to inspire the team and give them a different approach. Unfortunately he turned his ankle near the end and was replaced by Campbell (why him?), and is unlikely to face the Dutch. Although the scoreline shows a win and people will remember the 2nd half, it must be said that the first half performance was pretty dreadful. Why can’t England give a full 90-minute performance, they’ll really need to do it against the Dutch to guarantee progress.

My marks for the team:

Seaman – 8 Inspired penalty save and block from Durie, just when we needed him.
Neville – 7 Better performace than Switzerland, seemed a lot more confident.
Pearce – 6 Only given a half, nothing really notable.
Southgate – 7 Didn’t look happy in the midfield rôle, much better when he moved back to his defensive position.
Adams – 7 Solid in the air, pushed on the ground.
Ince – 6 Again nothing spectacular, hardly ever in the Scotland half, no penetration.
Gascoigne – 7 Lacked a lot in the first half playing too deep, moved up in the second half, looked far more dangerous scored a great goal.
McManaman – 7 Caused defenders problems, looked far happier when Redknapp came on.
Anderton – 6 Another poor performance, although it was an improvement on the Swiss game.
Sheringham – 7 Worked harder, but seemed missing up front.
Shearer – 8 Worked hard again, battled hard (ask Hendry) scored another goal.

Stone – 6 Didn’t really do anything.
Redknapp – 8 Pick of the subs, worked hard and seemed to get the team going as well.
Campbell – 5 Not my favourite player, nothing to prove he’s international class, poor pass nearly let Scotland in for goal.

So England won, it was the victory needed but the manner still leaves something to be desired. Maybe TV will finally realise you can’t expect your strikers to work miracles without support?

Finally, the fans won the day, both sets of supporters getting behind their teams and there wasn’t a hint of any trouble near the ground. Has the threat of hooliganism been an over-reaction or are they waiting for the right moment (England vs. Holland, Germany vs. Italy?)? Next game Holland, this is the group decider, and if results go wrong then Scotland or Switzerland could sneak through.

If these reports/comment seemed baised towards England, tough I’m supporting my country ;-)))))

Next (biased) report Thursday, England vs. Holland

Martin Ford (



I have to admit that, in light of Saturday’s bomb blast, I don’t feel terribly comfortable writing a review of Ireland’s performance from their U.S. Cup final Saturday against Bolivia. So I’ll be brief.

With no chance to win the tournament — and with Quinn (red card), Liam Daish (red) and David Connolly (accumulated yellows) not in uniform — the Irish nonetheless pulled together for their first victory in the Mick McCarthy era, which McCarthy was able to enjoy from the Republic’s dugout after tournament organizers overturned his one-match touchline ban that resulted from Wednesday’s rowdy 2-2 draw with Mexico.

Ireland struck for two goals in the first 33 minutes, both from Keith O’Neill, en route to a 3-0 swamping at Giants Stadium outside New York. Alan Kernaghan and Terry Phelan were recalled to the team after sitting out Wednesday’s draw, but neither made much of an impact. It must be said, however, that Kernaghan really didn’t have a chance. McCarthy named him captain again but pulled the City defender after the second goal (35th minute) to give young Gary Breen another look.

On goal difference, Ireland finished second in the four-team tournament, one place above the United States after the hosts’ 2-2 draw Sunday with Mexico — a North American interpretation of The Thistle and The Rose. Standings:

               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
 1) Mexico     3  1  2  0  5  4   5
 2) Ireland    3  1  1  1  6  4   4
 3) USA        3  1  1  1  4  5   4
 4) Bolivia    3  1  0  2  2  4   3

In closing, I have a little more information on Wednesday’s controversial sending-off of Quinn, Daish and McCarthy. Contrary to my earlier report, Quinn stormed onto the field in search of Mexico’s Jose Abundis, not Luis Garcia. It was Abundis who convinced referee Raul Dominguez to card Daish for time-wasting on a free kick and who reminded Dominguez that Daish had drawn a yellow for a first-half foul. Quinn managed to get his hands on Abundis for a brief second before the melée was broken up but he would have been sent off for coming onto the pitch no matter what. As for McCarthy, he was dismissed five minutes later for throwing the ball into the stand as the Mexicans prepared to take a free kick of their own. Because Dominguez was so horrible and so openly biased in favor of the Mexicans — he reportedly went into the stands after the match to embrace a group of Tricolor supporters and present them with the match ball — the U.S. Cup committee decided, in the best interests of the Irish national team, to “allow McCarthy to coach, given the nature of the red card.”

“I have never seen anything like what happened on the pitch,” McCarthy said. “… The sending off of Liam Daish was ridiculous in the extreme. It was a nonsense decision for alleged time-wasting. The Mexican player spoke to the referee in Spanish about what happened. This incited Niall, who went out onto the pitch and pointed at the fellow who got Daish sent off. You cannot do that. It was a bit silly.”

At the very least, it appears that justice has been served to Dominguez, the world’s worst referee. After issuing 25 yellow cards and four red cards in his previous seven Major League Soccer matches, and then his blatant pro-Mexico work in U.S. Cup, Dominguez has been “reassigned” — a nice word for “sacked.” He won’t be allowed to do MLS matches in the near future; maybe forever.

My prayers go out to everyone in Manchester. I hope this issue of MCIVTA finds all of you safe and healthy.

Marc Stein, Los Angeles, CA (


According to one of the Sunday Rags (sorry tabloids) City have already been pencilled in to appear on 20 Sky games. This will mean an extra £500k going into City’s coffers. Each game is worth £25k to the club. This has two down sides: firstly, aren’t Sky insisting that live 1st division games are played on a Friday? Also, considering the poor performance City have displayed in live games before, could this mean City will be relegation contenders, rather than promotion contenders?

Initial fixture, it looks like the Nationwide and Premier leagues actually kick off on the same day, Saturday August 17th. City face Ipswich at the Academy, while the Rags make the journey to Wimbledon.

Also according to the Sunday Mirror, league fixture guides will appear in this week’s Daily Mirror (I wouldn’t normally encourage this paper, but it’s marginally better than the MUEN, mind you only just though).

Martin Ford (


Youth team goalie David Nurse has been transferred to Millwall. Not sure if a fee was involved.

Kit Symons has taken over from Paul Lake as President of the Junior Blues.

City will be at home to Ipswich Town in the first game of the new season on 17th August. The full fixture list will be published later this week.

The Mole


Here are the delights of next season. Don’t forget Sky have got to change most of these to Friday evenings and Sunday lunchtimes!!!!


Sat 17 Ipswich Town            (H)
Sat 24 Stoke City              (A)
Tue 27 Bolton Wanderers        (A)
Sat 31 Charlton Athletic       (H)


Sat  7 Barnsley                (H)
Tue 10 Port Vale               (A)
Sat 14 Crystal Palace          (A)
Sat 21 Birmingham City         (H)
Sat 28 Sheffield United        (A)


Wed  2 Huddersfield Town       (H)
Sat  5 West Bromwich Albion    (H)
Sat 12 Queens Park Rangers     (A)
Tue 15 Reading                 (A)
Sat 19 Norwich City            (H)
Sat 26 Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)
Tue 29 Southend United         (A)


Sat  2 Swindon Town            (A)
Sat  9 Oxford United           (H)
Sat 16 Portsmouth              (A)
Sat 23 Tranmere Rovers         (H)
Sat 30 Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)


Sat  7 Bradford City           (H)
Sat 14 Grimsby Town            (H)
Sat 21 Oldham Athletic         (A)
Thu 26 Port Vale               (H)
Sat 28 Barnsley                (A)


Wed  1 Birmingham City         (A)
Sat  4 F.A. Cup 3rd Round
Sat 11 Crystal Palace          (H)
Sat 18 Huddersfield Town       (A)
Sat 25 F.A. Cup 4th Round
Wed 29 Sheffield United        (H)


Sat  1 Oxford United           (A)
Sat  8 Southend United         (H)
Sat 15 Tranmere Rovers         (A) (or F.A. Cup 5th Round)
Sat 22 Swindon Town            (H)


Sat  1 Bradford City           (A)
Wed  5 Portsmouth              (H)
Sat  8 Oldham Athletic         (H) (or F.A. Cup 6th Round)
Sat 15 Grimsby Town            (A)
Sat 22 Stoke City              (H)
Sat 29 Ipswich Town            (A)
Mon 31 Bolton Wanderers        (H)


Sat  5 Charlton Athletic       (A)
Sat 12 West Bromwich Albion    (A) (or F.A. Cup Semi-Final)
Sat 19 Queens Park Rangers     (H)
Sat 26 Norwich City            (A)


Sun  4 Reading                 (H)
Sun 11 Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg
Wed 14 Play-Off Semi-Final 2nd Leg
Sat 17 F.A. Cup Final
Mon 26 Play-Off Final

Kevin Cummins (


Apparently, Bernard Halford has gone on record warning fans not to take the new fixture list too literally as our good Ol’ friend Rupert Murdoch and his Sky boys have yet to take their pick! It seems fixtures may be moved to Fridays and/or Sundays which will no doubt be met with universal acclaim by us devoted fans, especially those who travel from afar!

Steve Bolton (


I watched the Ireland vs. Mexico game on TV last night (ESPN2 in the US). As everybody now knows Niall Quinn was sent off early in the 2nd half. Well actually he wasn’t even in the game – he was sent off for “Invading the pitch”. He got so upset about the Mexican players telling the ref that Daish had already been booked that he ran onto the pitch and started pointing fingers at the Mexican captain (Garcia). Surely a pro of his stuture knows better than to do something stupid like that? He will now miss Ireland’s last game in the competition against Bolivia (who gave the US Team a lesson in their game the other night). The Bolivians defended for most of the game and the US couldn’t find the way through the packed defence. Kirovski (the Man U*d reserve) was pathetic in this game.

Daish was booked for time-wasting – honestly I do not think it was justified. This ref, name of Rodrigez has a reputation in the MLS for being quick to pull out the yellow or red cards. In this case even the under-informed television commentators (where do they get these people?) felt that 3 yellow cards and 3 red in one game was a little excessive and they speculated that the ref was a little biased in favour of the Mexicans.

Overall the young Irish lads did a great job against the Mexicans. I was very impressed with David Connelly (from Watford); on the basis of two games over here he is a hard working, natural goalscorer. I would love to see him and Quinn together next year. What has made the Irish team so interesting in this competition is that they are using a true winger in Kennedy (Liverpool) and he is ripping teams apart. Also very impressive is Breen, the centre back from Birmingham City. We could do far worse than dumping Curle and buying this kid. The game on Sunday last week (Ireland vs. US) was the 1st time I had seen Kernaghan in action. I agree with those who commented that he wasn’t impressive. What surprised was the guy’s physique – he’s built like a tank. Maybe that is why he is so slow – he’s muscle bound. Dump him City, he’s not one for the future.

The US TV commentators reported in this game that the US national team is rated 12th in the world by FIFA with Mexico rated 14th (Ireland is at 36th) I find this very hard to believe. The US team hasn’t played a full strength squad in the 18 months and most of the players can’t get a first team job with their European club teams.

Mike Edwards (


Since I heard that City and Cork had formed some kind of alliance earlier in the year I have been trying to get hold of a Cork top from my relatives over there. For months now I had been waiting for a letter from my dear old aunty informing me that it was on its way. My father, my 50% claim to being Irish, rang me and told me that they only had small and medium sized tops so I’d have to wait. Finally I got a letter from my aunty saying that the tops were in, do I want home or away? I rang her that night thinking that I was going to be the dog’s cock very soon in my swanky new Cork top only to find out that in all the muddle of phoning and letter writing she had only gone out and ordered me a United top from the sports shop and not a Cork top from the club. She was very puzzled to why I was having to come all the way to Ireland just to get a United top. I quickly put her straight and made a mental note to strangle my mother whose fault it was bound to have been as she is a fully paid up gloryhunter with posters of ‘Giggsy’, ‘Robbo’ and ‘Hughsey’ all over the fridge and would find it very amusing for me to pay £45 for a United top from Ireland.

Anyway, to cut a long story short and get to the point of this rather pointless tale of a moment in my life, it turns out that my cousin actually works down at the Cork club shop/office and has fed me a very interesting snippet of gossip…

Apparently there is to be a shirt made, probably in time for the July game, that combines both teams’ colours. At the moment she is unsure of whether or not this consists of the Cork home top with a City badge instead of their own or vice versa (Cork on City). It seems unlikely to be a half Cork half City top.

How much City or Scumbro know of this is unclear. Does seem like a good idea though in an attempt to bring the two clubs closer. Maybe our ‘official’ City contact could clarify this rumour started by my own blood and while they are at it explain the finer details of our link with Cork. Can we expect to see Cork City Manchester running around next season like Home Farm Everton are?

As a postscript I never got the Cork top as they are waiting until City come over and the new season before they are taking orders again. Bugger! Don’t be surprised to see a green and orange (I think) vision in the Kippax next season with “I was wrong about Quinn, let him stay, I love him now” on the back.

Also what has happened to the clear-out? Suddenly players “can go if they want to?” rather than being told to go which was the impression I got from the ‘too many professionals’ speech. When will that wage bill come down? Surely we must sell first before we can buy third rate dross like Atkins?

Anyway, here’s to a cup run in the Anglo-Italian cup and a few extra Saturday afternoons in the Whitworth watching grandstand before staggering down to Maine Road. Blue and proud in a bloody City that has got a promoted, Premiership football team and an ex-City manager at the helm. If I hear “shame we’ve come up at your expense, good team City” once more I won’t be happy.

Mike Barry (


I am not a referee and have no formal training, but I do have a bookmark for the FIFA homepage ( I have enclosed below the only mention I could find of the rules of handball, and it clearly states that handball is an offence only if it is deliberate (see XII i). will take you directly to the pages of interest.

Hope that this helps — i.e. a terrible decision by your man in the black!!


A player who commits any of the following six offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or involving disproportionate force:

  1. kicks or attempts to kick an opponent; or
  2. trips an opponent; or
  3. jumps at an opponent; or
  4. charges an opponent; or
  5. strikes or attempts to strike an opponent; or
  6. pushes an opponent;

or who commits any of the following four offences:

  1. when tackling an opponent makes contact with the opponent before contact is made with the ball; or
  2. holds an opponent; or
  3. spits at an opponent; or
  4. handles the ball deliberately, i.e., carries, strikes or propels theball with his hand or arm (this does not apply to the goalkeeper within hisown penalty-area);

shall be penalised by the award of a direct free-kick to be taken by the opposing team from the place where the offence occurred, unless the offence is committed by a player in his opponents’ goal-area, in which case the free-kick shall be taken from any point within the goal-area.

Should a player of the defending team intentionally commit one of the above ten offences within the penalty-area, he shall be penalised by a penalty-kick.

A penalty-kick can be awarded irrespective of the position of the ball, if in play, at the time an offence within the penalty-area is committed.

Matt Dye (

EURO ’96

Shaggy’s Guide to Euro ’96 now has a live score update facility so if you’re at work but want to keep in touch with a match, access our pages and go to this unique feature. No other site offers this with automatic refreshing of the screen.

Simon Gleave (


This is lifted from a report by Blackheath Hockey Club (

it details some of the things they got up to on a recent tour to Worthing, on the bank holiday towards the end of the season…

“With hysterical moments too numerous to list, one of the stars of the show was Chris Brown for his madcap antics. But the creme de la creme goes to James Talbot for phoning the Manchester City hot-line, and not putting the receiver down, thus obtaining the bill for £650 from the hotel in Worthing. Featured on page 3 of The Sun, it’s been one of the few times that three tits have appeared on the same page.”

I bet he had to down a few pints to drown his sorrows and maybe a few more over the cost of the phone bill as well.

Ian Brown (


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

Thanks to Mike, Matt, Mike, Simon, Ian, Martin, The Mole, Kevin & Marc.

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 #203