Newsletter #204

The whole country seems to have finally caught on that a major football championship is taking place and that England may be in with a chance. This has led to some astounding events, most amazing being the sight of the tabloid press actually getting behind the team. This will seem odd to foreign subscribers who are probably used to and indeed, would logically expect their press to support their home team. Regrettably, in England this is all too rare with all too predictable consequences. Still, I suppose it will be nice while it lasts but I don’t expect that to be very long.

There’s something from the Platt Lane Correspondent, news of Blues doing well in Norway, initial reaction to the prospect of numerous City matches ending up on Sky and another evocative Why Blue.

Next game, Athlone Town FC, Friday 19 July 1996


I am pleased to report that the grass is growing strongly on both pitches at the Platt Lane Complex. Instead of end of season bare patches, all is green and lush. The sprinklers are going apace and my friend the groundsman has at last a glimpse of a smile on his face. Training is due to start on July the 8th but not at Platt Lane, more likely in Wythenshawe or the British Airways sports ground in Timperley, Cheshire.

Mentioning Cheshire, I was taking a walk down one of the beautiful Cheshire lanes this afternoon when I came across a car parked by the road side with a German registration plate . Two lads, obviously up for the European Championship game, were standing nearby. The following conversation took place.

me: good afternoon
visitors: silence
me: (looking at their car reg) Deutschland?
visitors: ya!
me: Deutschland vs. Italia, Old Trafford?
visitors: (faces lighting up) ya! ya!
me: Deutschland uber alles?
visitors: ya! ya!
me: (trying to extend the conversation and pointing to myself) Manchester City?
visitors: nein!
me: Uwe Rösler? Bert Trautmann?
visitors: (silence and a puzzled expression) nein! (shaking their heads)
me: Manchester United, Cantona?
visitors: (huge smiles on faces) ya! ya! ya!
me: exit deflated thinking of exciting games in prospect against Port Vale, Reading etc. and wondering whether I should have said Eike Immel

Neale Hayward-Shott (


As you all should know, many English football clubs have their own supporters’ clubs here in Norway. At the moment roughly half a century of clubs are alive and kicking. The list includes minnows such as Accrington Stanley, Macclesfield and Woking. The combined membership of the various supporters’ clubs is licking the 40.000 mark. The first Norwegian supporters’ club was founded in 1974 and the club in question was… Manchester City (of course).

For the sixth year running “The Supporters Union of British Football” (Celtic participated) staged the Supporter Cup. Fans of English football from all over Norway gather for one day to cuddle with the little round thing called a football. 36 teams took part this year, each team comprising 7 players (playing time 20 mins). Qualifying for the knock-out stages were the nine group winners and the seven best second placed teams. One noteworthy result of the group play: Woking-Man United 3-0. There are 28 Woking-supporters registered in Norway and over 12.000 United supporters. Need I say more? The supporters’ club of Woking deserves a special mention. Present at this year’s tournament were Geoff Chapple (Woking’s manager) together with his assistant manager. Hotel expenses paid for by the supporters’ club. Another celebrity present was David Johnson (invited over by one of the sponsors). Later that evening (at the banquet), he answered questions and told us about his years at Ipswich, Liverpool and Everton.

City had never progressed beyond the quarter-finals before, but hopes were high this year.

The teams that made it through to the knock-out stages were: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Bolton, Burnley, Celtic, Everton, Exeter, Leeds, Luton, Man City, Nottm. Forest, Q.P.R., Southampton, West Ham and Wimbledon. City topped their group after comfortable victories over Leicester and Spurs but only managed to scrape a draw against Macclesfield.

The draw paired us with Wimbledon (last year’s winners). The match, a tense and closely fought contest ended in stalemate. However, City won through on penalties. Other teams to progress into the quarter-finals were: Arsenal (bt Bolton 4-1), Q.P.R. (bt West Ham on pens), Nottm. Forest (bt Aston Villa on pens), Birmingham (bt Soton 3-0), Leeds (bt Luton 2-0), Celtic (bt Everton 1-0) and Exeter (bt Burnley 4-0).

The opponents for City in the quarter-final were Q.P.R. City took command right from the start and cruised into a 2-0 lead, only allowing Q.P.R. a consolation goal late in the game. Other quarter-finals winners: Birmingham (bt Celtic 3-1), Arsenal (bt Forest 3-0) and Leeds (bt Exeter 2-1).

Both semi-finals had to be decided on penalties. City fought back after being 2-0 down to Birmingham. This time Lady Luck was on Birmingham’s side. City’s great fight-back was to no avail. Knocked out of a tournament without losing a game is hard to swallow; most Scots can testify to that (World Cup 74).

By the way, Leeds were the eventual winners of the tournament after beating Birmingham 2-1 in the final.

Svenn Hannsen (


On hearing of the bomb blast in Manchester city centre on Saturday my first feelings were horror, shock and complete shame of the fact that I am Irish. I saw the devastating pictures on TV and was horrified at the damage that had been caused by these animals and remembered my last visit to Manchester only a few weeks ago with my girlfriend and how friendly everyone had been. Having friends who live in Manchester, we tried desperately to contact them and thankfully they weren’t hurt.

I would like to express my deepest sympathies to everyone in Manchester whether they be Blue or Red and say that the majority of people here despise any act of terrorism by these animals. We hope that the Peace Talks may have some success and bring an end to to the killing on our islands.

Stay Blue, see you in Athlone, Paul Coleman (

Some of you may find this out of place. The reason it’s included is that Paul is an Irish MCIVTAer with strong ties to his home and to Manchester and, he felt moved to write about what happened from that perspective. Personally I don’t feel that decent people like Paul need to apologise for the action of a violent few just because they were born on the same island, however, Paul wanted it in so in it is.



I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everybody who was caught up in the Manchester bombing a speedy recovery. I wonder if anything footy wise will be set up to help the small businessmen etc. who will find it hard to avoid bankruptcy after this outrage.

See you all at Ipswich, Swindon and Grimsby.

Salford Blue (don’t let the bastards grind you down), Tony Farrar (


This is a reply to Ian Brown’s little comment about me (MCIVTA 203). Boy I did have to down a few pints to get over the inital shock, and this was at 8:30 in the morning! Worst thing about it is that City didn’t even offer me a ticket, which would have been far better than any money.

Anyhow C’est la vie, next year I’m going to try to share with a Rag fan, and phone up again; at least that time I won’t get blamed, but I’ll have a bloody good laugh.

Staying Blue at a hefty price!The Third tit on Page 3, May 8 1996, James Talbot! (


OK, I confess, I did it. I never thought it would happen, but on Tuesday night as the fourth goal went in I was cheering on the England team. Well done lads. As usual though, crushing disappointment was just round the corner as the Scots were unable to capitalise. We only have ourselves to blame though after squandering so many chances.

It brought back all those terrible memories of past near misses – a Dutchman sinking a forty yarder after Gemmill had put the Scots up 3-1. The dreadful 0-0 draw against a cynical, thuggish Uruguay side, Leighton spilling the ball into the path of a Brazilian, then the slimmest of chances for qualification based on a drawing of lots vanishing due to an injury time goal in another qualifying group. And people wonder why I feel at home at Maine Road…

Based on Wednesday’s performances, England have nothing to fear from the other sides through to the next round. Good luck to them (I can’t believe I’m saying this! :-).

Stay Blue (both light and dark shades), Sean Bechhofer (


I am absolutely horified to read that as many as 20 of our forthcoming fixtures for the new season will be switched from the traditioanl Saturday for the sake of the “B*****dSkyB*****d” television company.

What makes matters worse is the fact that BSB are purporting to switch these games to a Friday evening. Anyone living outside of Manchester (yes all Blues do come from Manchester and Rags from outside – however I am in exile in Cardiff) or who spend a lot of time travelling on the UK motorway network will know the horrendous problems of travelling on a Friday. Has anyone tried to get up the M6 on a Friday (silly question)?

One writer suggested that MCFC will receive approximately £25k per live game; at an average ticket price of £10 this equates to 2,500 supporters. I think that Friday games will discourage at least this number of supporters (bearing in mind that away supporters are expected to travel from as far away as London, East Anglia and the South Coast).

Many people tell me the solution is easy; pay my subscription to BSB, sit down in front of the telly on a Friday evening/Sunday afternoon and watch the game. If I wanted to be a token fan I would be supporting the Rags.

It’s not just Friday games that fill me with dread. On Sundays presumably BSB will use the 1st division games as the curtain raiser for the Premier league games – Just think MCFC as the pre-match entertainment for the Rags!!!!

Keep the faith, Mark Parr (


The rumours of Sky T.V. showing City 20-ish times should be stopped. I paid £250.00 for my new season ticket to go and watch the Blues on a Saturday. When we got relegated I thought the price should have been dropped, as we were up against Grimsby instead of Newcastle, which meant I paid more this season than last. Now they are talking about showing most of our games on Sky. I know there’s nothing like going watching the boys at Maine Road (the home of football) but the fact that most of the games ..may.. be played on a Friday and Sunday afternoon really p****d me off.

I will not be spending a Friday night traveling down to away games, when I can stop in and watch the ..big.. game then go out to town. Most Sundays I play football for my local team, which would have to go, for me to see Kinky and the boys. Sky are always complaining about there being very few English kids coming through the ranks; now they’re stopping them playing. So the only real winner will be the armchair supporters.

Is all this true? Can mcivta clear the picture up for me?

Ross Young (


Pure and simple this one:

Peter Barnes wiggling his way down the wing while playing for England – up until then I was a forest fan – at least I got one thing right!!

Mike Thomas (


My earliest recollection of a football game is the 1971 FA Cup Final and I was hooked. A (thankfully) brief flirtation with Leeds United followed (due to those tie-ups matching my Real Madrid kit), until I went to the Academy for Rodney Marsh’s début. The discovery, in my grandma’s loft, of a hoard of City programmes dating back to 1956 confirmed me as a true Blue. I have vague memories of my dad coming back from the 1974 League Cup Final in some distress, but didn’t let this dampen my enthusiasm and the next year I got my first season ticket in the Platt Lane. I think it cost about a tenner!

Glory was not long in coming as that season we demolished United 4-0 on the way to Wembley and that overhead kick. I particularly remember the semi where Boro were annihilated again 4-0. I went to the final on a SELNEC single decker with a load of bus drivers, sausage rolls and Bodkans, (remember them kids?), and as an excited 11-year old thought this sort of thing would happen every couple of years. It did in those days. Although I’d just missed out on the most successful era the club has ever known we were still a real force especially at home where we never seemed to lose apart from the annual 4 or 5-0 drubbing from the scousers.

We came second in the league to Liverpool and if Dave Watson hadn’t headed the ball over Corrigan’s head when we played them at Xmas who knows…

1981 saw us back at Wembley and two great games against Spurs after a terrific Cup run. University beckoned in 1982 and I’ve not had a season ticket since but the passion for the club is stronger than ever, even if at times it seems they don’t deserve us. We all know that’s what being a City fan is all about. Having just bought a house in Rusholme, being relegated was rather untimely but we’ll be back.

A few highs and lows along the way…

  • Boniek scoring a penalty in a UEFA cup match and someone emergingfrom the North Stand to smack him in the mouth!
  • Peter Barnes storming down the left wing against Bristol City toscore a beauty, and Dennis Tueart doing exactly the same thing fromthe kick off.
  • A City fan being picked off by a sniper as the football special pulledinto Barnsley.
  • Halifax away… that should have taught us all that it’s not big orclever to spend 20 minutes before the kick off singing “Whose thatdying etc.”
  • Hitching a lift from Wembley Way after the Full Members’ Cup Final…to West Didsbury… which was nice!
  • Getting my bike nicked from under the Main Stand the day we signedMike Channon… which wasn’t.
  • Finally, if Gio stays I’m claiming a little of the credit ‘cos Isent him a postcard of Franny in his heyday, begging him to… so there!

Paul Monaghan (


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

Thanks to Mike, Paul, James, Mark, Tony, Ross, Sean, Neale & Svenn.

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 #204