Newsletter #206

The issue after the night before! As a City fan I have to say that I took defeat quite philosophically, it was a lot easier after last season! Martin has sent in the last of his match reports and there’s only the final to go. I expect the domestic scene to start moving soon which may, or may not, mean that the 14 players who were due to be offloaded by Ball will finally be jettisoned.

This issue has news of SKY’s first Nationwide match (yes, City have been switched to a Friday); opinion, a City magazine review and a Why Blue.

If anyone out there would like to have a bash at reviewing a book or video about the club, especially one that has not appeared in MCIVTA (see WWW home page) then let me know. Anyone can do this, the only thing required is the book or video (honest!) and a bit of spare time.

Next game, Athlone Town FC, Friday 19 July 1996


ENGLAND vs. SPAIN, Wembley Stadium, Saturday 22nd June

This is my final ‘live’ England report, that is unless anyone can supply me with tickets for the final (once England exacts revenge for the semi final defeat at Italia 90). This was another early start to get to Wembley and as seems customary on these occasions the journey was made easier with a tipple or two (I must have the right credentials to be a real reporter now, they drink lots of ale). This time the journey was different though, no M42/M40/A40, this time it was straight down the M6/M1 and then onto the North Circular. As we’d set off early we seemed to miss the build-up of traffic, in fact there did seem to be a distinct lack of noticible England fans heading South. However, heading North and to Anfield was a large convoy of Dutch coaches resplendant in orange (if only they’d know what was to come!!!!).

So we arrived at Wembley really early (before mid-day) and parked on the industrial estate a (commentator terminology coming up) ‘goal kick’ away from the ground. Arriving early does have its plus points, you can get near enough to pick where you want to park. Outside the ground was very quiet but as the the hours rolled by it soon filled up, and the vast majority of the ground was English with only a small Spanish contingent. Once more the fans were happily mixing and I was getting some good natured banter (due to my City flag) – more than the spaniards were getting!

This time I wasn’t at pitch level (lower cheap seats) but in the higher (cheap seats) level with the goal-line (not Goeff Hurst’s) Block 246). These seats afforded a pretty good view of the pitch, but most other (important?) things like the Royal box (warning for fellow Blues for next season’s FA Cup final victory), scoreboards were obscured. As expected Venables had stuck with the successful team, with one exception, the enforced change of Platt for the suspended Ince.

This match wasn’t anything like the Holland game. England seemed unable to take the game to Spain in the threatening manner they had against the Dutch. In fact after Zubizarreta’s early save from Shearer it seemed like a lot of the pressure was on the England goal. In fact Spain twice had the ball in the net but on both occasions the linesman had ruled out the goal for offside (I found out later that the second goal was clearly onside, although on both occasions the linesman seemed to flag reasonably on ‘time’). Spain really did dominate the game for long periods and played far better than England. However, a resilient defence led by Adams and the ever-improving Southgate held them at bay, with a combination of well-timed tackles and, where necessary, bodies thrown in front of the ball. England did have their moments with both Sheringham and Shearer squandering gilt-edged oppurtunities from within the six yard box. This game was obviously too tense for both teams and neither team really created any chances in sudden death extra time. Every time the ball went near either box emotions in the crowd rose, with excitement or concern depending which end was under pressure. Still no goals after extra time so it was the lottery of penalties. The players looked the calmest in the ground; all around were faces of worried fans.

Shearer stepped up and dispatched the first penalty to give England the advantage; this was made even better and cheered wholeheartedly when the first Spanish penalty was thumped against the crossbar. Llama-face, or the muppet, or as he should be called, Platt, took England’s second penalty and scored to more cheers. Spain kept themselves in the competition with a dubious penalty, I thought the ‘shuffle’ had been outlawed? The third penalty was taken by Pearce; everyone in the stadium must have been willing him to score after his heartbreak in Turin. Up he stepped and thumped the ball into the bottom corner; his relief was matched by the supporters. Once more Spain kept in the hunt by scoring their third penalty to peg the score to 3-2. Gazza scored the fourth to keep England’s nose in front. Then came the moment of the day as Seaman dived to his left and pushed the ball away, cue mass scenes of celebration and delight both on and off the field. England had triumphed through the penalty shoot-out.

I’ll admit Spain were the better team on the day but thankfully England had succeeded. The atmosphere after the penalties was brilliant (just because we won I assume), the fans cheered and sang, most stayed behind making the most of the victory totally enjoying the moment. Outside everyone had a broad smile (except the Spaniards) enjoying themselves and looking forward to the semi.

So that’s my match reports over, no more tickets so I’ll have to make do with the TV coverage and having to listen to the inane dribble of the so-called ‘experts’.

P.S. After having to endure the Germany game last night it was hard trying to motivate myself to finish the report. Bloody penalties; after the euphoria of them against Spain, we had the downside of them last night. I’ve great sympathy for Southgate, he was one of England’s better and more consistent players through the tournament but he’ll only be remembered as the player who missed the penalty! Why couldn’t one of the more (interationally) experienced players like Ince or Adams have volunteered his services, rather than leave it to a novice like Southgate? Or a bigger question: why didn’t Venables make a substitution in the last few minutes of extra time and bring on Fowler or Barmby who take penalties for their clubs? Oh well never mind we had our chances to beat Germany but failed, we’ll just have to wait until the next time.

Martin Ford (


According to ITV’s teletext the first game of the season at home to Ipswich has been moved to Friday 16th August. City will be the first side to appear on Sky for the new “Nationwide” league.

Salford Blue – Tony Farrar (


City will start the new season earlier than virtually everybody else as the first game of the season (home to Ipswich Town) has been chosen as a `live’ game by BSkyB and will now be played on Friday 16th August, with a 7:45pm kick off. Virtually everybody else will be starting on Saturday 17th. A great chance to claim the early leadership of the Nationwide League?

Another game that will be shown live is the home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, now to be played on Sunday 27th October with a 1:00pm kick off.

The Mole


The Annual General Meeting of the London Branch of the Supporters’ Club will take place on Saturday 13th July at 12 noon.

It will be held at the Sekforde Arms, Sekforde Street, just off Clerkenwell Green, not far from Farringdon Tube Station.

Any McVitees living in the South East who haven’t joined yet are more than welcome to attend. I’ll email further details to anyone who is interested.

The Branch can offer cheap group travel by rail to most games, obtain tickets for most away games and organises an annual social at the players’ hotel the night preceding a London game.

Julian Cooke (


Issue 10

I’m afraid that I’ve taken my time in getting round to doing this round-up of what was in the latest issue of the magazine; suffice it to say that events have almost overtaken me!

This particular issue is the ‘Relegation II’ issue! The previous one being ‘Relegation I’ which was devoted to escaping relegation; this one is devoted to the lack of escape! The front cover has a montage of a tearful Gio, sombre Eike and for some odd reason, a gleeful Kit Symons (yes I do know he scored), all set against a backdrop of the Kippax. The title is upbeat: ‘We’ll be back’; the question on everyone’s lips is – when!

The magazine kicks off with a very frank interview with Colin Barlow in which he gives plenty of straight answers and finishes off with a sincere ‘thank you’ to the fans for their support throughout the season. Symons is next in line to answer some relegation-slanted questions and he gives a good account of himself; seems to be a player whose pride has been hurt but who is prepared to get on with getting the club back in the Premier rather than jumping ship. Alan Ball weighs in with an upbeat message (the title) and Big Niall makes a public apology to the fans (give that man a job for life!).

There’s more on the relegation front with a classic ‘What if;’ article detailing all those crucial decisions which went against us on the day and ended up being individually momentous in terms of our Premiership fate. It’s a good old pub conversation article but is well done and helps us to get it off our chests. The magazine also provides a photographic summary of the season, with some excellent shots.

The usual features of ‘Awayday Blues’ and the Why Blue-esque ‘True Blue Confessions’ are here as usual. The difference with the Awayday Blues this time around is that we actually won! Aston Villa away!

The most interesting article (IMHO) is an interview with Tony Book where plenty of straight questions are put – and answered. Many of us probably regard the sacking of Book, after finishing 8th, 8th, 2nd, 4th and 15th, as the keystone decision which confined us to two decades of mediocrity. It was shameful and ludicrous. Book describes it as a ‘bad decision’ and a ‘hammer blow’. For me, these ex-player interviews are too short, some of them would probably benefit from serialising; many of these players will never write autobiographies and the City magazine would be as good a place as any to write a short biography.

The last major article is an interview with Billy Duffy (ex-Cult guitarist) which, although interesting, comes too hard on the heels of an extensive interview with him in King of the Kippax.



As one of an ever-increasing band of City supporters in Perth, Western Australia; and as the only one I know with access to the MCIVTA pages, I feel obligated to air the opinions I have heard whilst we perused the back issues.

We currently play for the Kingsley Taverners, which is basically a group of blokes who, as footballers, have passed their ‘use by’ date. But we, nevertheless, have all the solutions to the problems of the world once a few ales have been digested.

The most distressing news I have read was in the interview with Steve Lomas. If the feeling in the camp is really that bad then the manager must be held responsible. This is his domain and if he cannot get it right then he cannot be successful with players that do not respect him or his authority. I hate the thought of the ‘manager bashing’ that City have been guilty of in the past, but success is paramount in the immediate future with or without Bally.

What is it about Rags? The most inspirational thing I have seen in the Euro 96 tournament so far has to be Stuart Pearce singing the national anthem, and his reaction after scoring the penalty. Neville 1 must be the biggest prat of all time if he is not sufficiently taken by the occasion to spring into voice. The fact that Neville 2 has defended him shows that they are birds of a feather. The only conclusion I can draw is that although some of the Rags are g#@d footballers, once they pull on a red shirt they lose all sense reality and become self-centred turds.

I trained as a referee a few years ago, and although we may be many a mile away, we still play by the same FIFA rule book. So in answer to the question asked a few weeks ago, unless the hand deliberately comes into contact with the ball no free-kick should be awarded. This puts paid to the theory one Australian commentator proposed that if the ball falls to the advantage of the offending player then a free-kick should be awarded. This is absolutely unfounded by any FIFA directive. Whilst on the topic of rules of the game, if a player baulks whilst in the run-up to take a penalty, should he score, the goal should be disallowed and re-taken, and he should be booked for ungentlemanly conduct.

Lastly, let me offer all of our sincere thanks to the MCIVTA team for their efforts in putting this publication to air. It serves as a lifeline to the supporters who have such limited access to all things City, and in Australia, to all things football. A word of advice: when the Olympics come around take the time to watch Australia, they are a good young squad with some particularly talented individuals.

The Blue Taverners, c/o Adrian Kenny (


I have so far restrained myself from submitting a missive to MCIVTA but today I feel compelled to do so. Maybe it’s the Holt’s bitter induces haze, or may be it’s the fact that I have just witnessed an England performance that had Manchester City written all over it.

A nation expected, needed and willed a result that ultimately did not materialise. A performance of skill and commitment was ultimately defeated by greater experience, drilled discipline and which team ritually slaughtered more chickens the morning before the game. Oh how many times have we been there? Liverpool (more than once) league and cup, Halifax, Tottenham, the sh#t (as a Blue from Stretford I can tell you a thing or two about Derbies), Luton, Derby County away after the 5-1, Conga-ing at Newcastle when we went 5-0 down, missing my Tech Drawing “O” level to go to the ’81 replay, the fancy dress party at Stoke when we went 1-0 up… no stop me there I just can’t take it any more…. no wait… that’s the point I can take more. At last a nation understands. We!! have seen it all before. One day.

Stay Blue, Rob Parker (Rob.Parker@YITM.CO.UK)


With our beloved Blues having to play in a lower, less glamourous (but still not easy) division, isn’t it a good time to start building the club up from the bottom?

No one needs to say anything about the success of the Rags and the likes of Liverpool when it comes to youth players i.e “brothers Neville” and Fowler. City I believe have a good youth policy and have seen some revelations but I feel that more emphasis could be placed on youth scouting in the lower divisions as opposed to heading down to the eastern European flea-market every time a position is vacant. City have been blessed with the likes of Rösler and Kinky but have also had some duds like Frontzeck and Vonk, Groenendijk etc.

City have to use this time in Endsleigh obscurity to their advantage; I am glad that they are not wasting time in the Anglo-Italian Cup but City have to look at building on something, why not youth?

Staying Blue, even when like City I’m Down Under, Kieren (


Just heard that England will be playing in grey tomorrow night. The match will have been played by the time anyone reads this but… I can’t help wondering if the grey shirts will get the blame if England lose. While I’m on this subject, what does the new City away shirt look like? I’ve heard it’s grape coloured. If the England grey shirt is supposed to go well with jeans, what’s a grape coloured shirt supposed to go with? Wine stains?

Julian Griffiths (

It’s supposed to be plum/burgundy fading away to white, top to bottom!



Oasis are planned to have a gig in Cork on Wednesday 14th August. Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 9am. If any of the people on the list are coming to Cork I can send them a mail on where/what to do in Cork if they are making a short break of it.

Kieran Daly (

Precise info provided by:

Paul Coleman (


On reading an olde Northern Ireland match programme the other night I noticed that under previous clubs, mid-eighties Linfield ‘keeper George Dunlop (international when Jennings and Platt were unavailable) has listed Manchester City and Ballymena United.

Now having done a couple of calcuations in my head – George was probably at Maine Road as a teenager and I am informed never played for the first team. I guess the era we are talking about is definitely no later than 1977 and more likely circa 1974/5-ish. If anyone has any information on George and even better a picture of George in a City strip – please could they get in contact with me.

Robert Watson (


My dad and uncle took me to my first game when I was 7. It was a couple of days after my birthday and it was going to be a treat for me. I got up that morning and I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to get there. We went early so I could buy a shirt from the souvenir shop and then I went in. Walking down the tunnel in the Kippax I could see millions (if only!) of faces in the Main Stand and to a seven-year old it was unbelievable. I don’t know who we were playing or what the score was but I think we won. I’m still a fan 13 years later although I can’t get there due to living in Swindon and being a poor student. But this year will be great because I can see them in Swindon and Oxford.

Stay Blue, Andy Holgate (


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

Thanks to Andy, Kieren, Kieran, Julian, Tony, Paul, Rob, The Mole, Adrian, Rob & Martin.

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 #206