Newsletter #212

The Arab story has resurfaced, this time with City admitting that there is truth in it… somewhere! Whether anything will actually come of it or, rather, whether we actually want anything to come of it is another question entirely. Dailly has eluded us as well, for good or for worse.

A new City discussion page has been created on the WWW to counteract the possible demise of the City pages on CarlingNet. Tomorrow sees City’s first pre-season friendly; if you’re going then please let us have a match report and an estimate of how much guinness Big Niall tucked away! We also have a Why Blue with a word of complaint about the ‘not from Manchester’ jibe! If there are more Why Blues out there then please send them in.

Next game, Athlone Town FC, Friday 19 July 1996


City look set to lose the race for Christian Dailly’s signature as it has emerged that Derby County have offered £500,000 plus a further amount based on appearances for his services. City have already stated that they will not get involved in an auction, so it looks like City’s interest in the player is over, despite the fact that he’s very highly rated by the club’s scouts.

The Mole


Tuesday’s media has been full of a story that there is (to quote the MUEN) “a mega-rich Arab oil tycoon who says he is willing to pour £70m into Maine Road – with no strings attached.” Sound too good to be true? Well it is.

It seems that Francis Lee and Ashley Lewis (City’s financial director, who incidentally represents Peter Swales’ widow and Stephen Boler on the board) had talks with Bahrain-based investment broker Stephen Barclay and agent Jim Melrose (yes, the same one that played for City; he happens to be Steve Lomas’ agent too) at the end of last month. Barclay and Melrose were said to represent a soccer-mad tycoon who wanted to invest $100 million in a top English club. Melrose suggested City because of their great untapped potential.

City have now admitted that this meeting took place, despite denying it at the time. However, it seems that Barclay and Melrose are representing not an individual but a syndicate, and Melrose made it clear in a radio interview that the “no strings attached” description was nonsense, though it isn’t clear what strings would be attached to a possible deal. He also said that City weren’t the only club under consideration.

City will not go any further with discussions until they know the identity of the investors and have been given proof that the claimed financial resources are in fact available. The club are probably keen to avoid the embarrassment that United suffered when it turned out that Michael Knighton couldn’t actually afford to take over the club. In summary then, there’s clearly some substance behind the rumours this time but don’t hold your breath waiting for City’s own Jack Walker to appear.

Meanwhile, the Christian Dailly saga has finally come to an end. He has signed a four-year contract – with Derby County. The Rams paid Dundee United £500,000, with the possibility of another £500,000 or so depending on appearances and whether or not he makes it into the full Scotland side. Since he’s joined a Premiership club, we should be able to see him on TV quite regularly and see what we’ve missed out on.

Paul Howarth (


After the rumours and innuendo about the alledged money that could be available for City from the Middle East, it now appears as though there could be some truth in the rumours.

I’m sure this news was first reported at the beginning of last season. However as usual with the media circus that surrounds football, nothing ever materialised and this story settled down to collect dust. At the end of May this year the News of the World dug out a similar story that once again suggested the some mega-rich oil sheikhs (and football mad) were on the lookout for a club to buy into, and as usual City were linked to the proposed plans (wonder why Melrose allegedly suggested City?). Rumours continued to circulate that money could be on its way to Maine Road.

The NotW continued the thread last Sunday when they reported that lawyers acting on MCFC’s behalf were denying the story. They then named a couple of middlemen acting on behalf of the sheikhs who insisted that these reports were genuine. The men involved were Bahrain-based investment broker Stuart Barclay and none other than Jim Melrose, soccer agent and ex-City old boy! These two were adamant that the offer was genuine. So just as the story was getting interesting, Monday’s MuEN proclaimed on the back page that there had already been a secret meeting at the end of last month between the two sides, FHL and Ashley Lewis (proxy for PJS widow’s 30% share holding) representing City and Barclay and Melrose represented the as yet unamed Arab millionaire. On offer is £70 million with no strings attached. The club as you’d expect with such an offer want to know the identity of the Arab and proof of his wealth (not going to make the same mistake as the Rags did with Michael Knighton). City have issued a statement (signed by Colin Barlow) that no further details will be available until the required information is obtained.

So first with the NotW then the MuEN writing the story and finally City releasing a statement maybe there is some truth in the runour! Obviously we should welcome the much needed money but we should also realise that this move could be very troublesome. If the millionaire is serious then all very well and good but if he wants City to be his plaything then we need to tread very carefully. We need to be able to finance the club if the millionaire takes his money away if he get’s bored. Yes we really do need the money but we also need to investigate the proposals very closely.

Martin Ford (


Salaam Aleykum (Greeting in Arabic):

I understand that due to tragic circumstances (i.e. relegation), the demise of City’s Discussion page on CarlingNet is imminent. As this site appears to be fairly popular, I thought it might be worthwhile setting up a similar WWW message board system for use by City fans – and this I have done. The site is called BLUE VIEW and the URL is:

The site will be available as long as my provider permits and/or people use it. Hope it is of some use.

Here’s to £70 million 🙂

Doug Bennett (


If I knew anywhere near as much about this game as I like to think I do I imagine I would not now be working in Northern California. Nevertheless, I offer the following thoughts on City, and realize that any of the other eight hundred odd readers will be able to spot many flaws in what follows.

Having followed City since the mid-50s it occurs to me that City have never adequately replaced Mick Doyle (I think I may have mused on this topic before — I think senility has begun to set in early in my case!). I don’t mean so much Doyle the player in terms of ability but Doyle the player whose reason for playing football was to play for the Blues. I don’t think we have since found a player who captures this spirit, though we have come close a few times. Paul Lake seemed to be fitting the bill perfectly and I wonder just how different things might have been had we had a fully fit Lake these past five or so years. City’s reasonable period of success in the 1980-81-82 season coincided with Gerry Gow being at Maine Road. Before that Gary Owen seemed to possess the desire to play for City. Nicky Reid, Steve Redmond came close but that was all. Even earlier, Roy Paul. But looking back at the 67-77 years I still view the catalyst as Doyle. Even more so than Bell, and not just because Doyle came up through the ranks; more because there was an attitude about Doyle that all clubs need. United have it with Keane and had it with Ince; the old Leeds with Bremner and Giles, some of the Liverpool teams (Hughes, McMahon), though not I would suggest the present team. Probably lots of other examples, but before I logically get myself in a mess I should say that I would not add Alan Ball to this list. There is a difference between running around for 90 minutes and commitment to a club and cause.

I know this is all a bit basic but of the games I have seen of the Blues the last few years (admittedly on TV) I have not picked up on a player that reminds me of the qualities that Doyle offered. Certainly not Flitcroft and probably not Lomas. Quinn is the nearest I have seen (although McMahon a few years earlier than we got him might have been OK) and I echo those comments made earlier that a long-term relationship between Quinn and City could be beneficial. I don’t think I am making an argument that you need a midfield clogger but you do need someone for whom putting on the blue jersey (or whatever sodding colour the away strip might be) means something special. Is this naïve — probably. Can you bring players in who can fit this rôle or do they have to come up through the ranks? Giles, McMahon, Hughes, Keane, Ince, (Batty next year?) all came from other teams.

I don’t even think this kind of player has to be captain. Book was captain for some time when Doyle was playing. I also wonder just how important a manager/coach is in developing and encouraging such players — but that kind of thinking only leads me back to pondering just why Ball lacks so much in the area of relationships with players.

Sorry to ramble on… but you have to do something between seasons.

Keep the news coming through the summer. Surely we must be thinking of new players? Is it really true that Kinkladze is staying — has anyone explained to him the concept of playing Barnsley away in February?

The new US league has made an encouraging start, attendances have been a little above expected, games are slow but getting better, TV coverage is pretty good and there is some confidence that, if ambitions remain realistic, this league might actually make it. Other semi-pro leagues now feed into this league. A pal of mine who coaches a college team in Virginia mentioned that he went to one of these semi-pro games a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I had ever heard of a player name of Steve Kinsey!!!

That’s as good a place as any to end.

P.S. If Ball does stay as manager, is there any hope we can get through next season without him mentioning that he played in the 1966 World Cup Final? In that same year I had my name in the Pink ‘Un in for scoring five goals for the schools’ Old Boys Team on an Easter Tour… I’d hate to think that was the last important thing I had done in life (though I am coming to the conclusion that it might have been!!!), after all they got my first name wrong and a donkey could have scored the tap ins I was presented with.

Best wishes, John Pearson (pearsonj@leland.Stanford.EDU)


I think that at this time with lots of talk of millions of pounds being donated to City by as an yet unnamed Arab, we should put this amount of money into perspective: at the present rate of exchange £70,000,000 equals 5 Shearers or 1 Kinkladze.

Still Blue after all these years, Bob Buckton (


I would like to ‘voice’ my concerns regarding the proposed investment of £70m by a ‘syndicate of Midlle Eastern’ businessmen. Much was made of this in a report on BBC GMR this morning. Apparently, even Francis Lee does not know the identity of these investors. I have certain reservations about this so-called investment.

  1. Will the money be invested in Manchester City FC or Manchester City plc?
  2. Who retains the franchise? I would hate to see football in this countrygo the same way as baseball and American football in the States where’owners’ can uproot a team and move to another City because they believethat more revenue can be generated elsewhere.
  3. What is the motive for the investment? Everyone knows that there are ahandful of profitable football clubs in the Premier League and the reststruggle to break even. A spokesman for Deloitte Touche said on GMR thismorning that Man City’s net asset worth is somewhere in the region of £3mand that includes the recent revaluation of Maine Road. Also it is verydifficult to receive a return on initial investment. Ask Jack Walker andthe poor sod that invested in Wolves (the one who lives in Barbados orsomewhere). A football club is a bottomless pit into which vast sums ofmoney is poured and unless the club or plc intends investing in asportswear company like another team which shall remain nameless, it willbe difficult to turn around a quick profit.

I don’t think that these ‘investors’ have realised the full implications of investing in a club like City. We were described as being a sleeping giant and hence the interest (more like comatose judging on recent years), but I would hate to think that City is being targetted by a wealthy Arab prince who has so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it and that should it prove unsuccessful he would want his money back. I don’t want my football club to be the fanciful plaything of a playboy who thinks football is fashionable just because he enjoyed Euro ’96 on satelite TV.

The Dailly thing:

I can’t believe that City have done it again. We’ve let another talented player slip through our fingers. That’s what happens when you try to do things on the cheap. ‘Let’s use the Bosman ruling to our advantage.’ Nice try Messrs Ball and Lee, but there will always be someone ready and waiting to stump up the cash provided the price is right. Judging by Dailly’s potential, Derby County have got a bargain on instalment credit.

I also heard that Vinnie Jones was part-exchange for Steve Lomas.

And Paul Moulden has left Rochdale and signed for Accrington Stanley. How the mighty are fallen.

I hope that by the tone of this message you think I am cynical and have no confidence in City. Not so, I love my team but they do drive me to the depths of despair. I’m sure you understand.

Peter Wilman (


How about:

The Mystic Crane, or Try chic east men

Magnus Johansson (


So how did I get into this madness we call Man City? Well, it wasn’t through family. My grandad was from the North-East and a fanatical Sunderland fan. My dad was born in Uruguay and supports a team called Penarol, which you may have heard of as they quite often win the Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the European Cup, though eventually he adopted an English team as well – Sunderland, perhaps to please his father-in-law? Nor was it through living in Manchester, as I grew up in Surrey. There are no football teams in Surrey, so the vast majority of the kids at that time (mid-70s) supported one of our two ‘national’ sides, Liverpool or Man. U****d. Now, my best friend Simon Hill supported U****d, so that seemed the way to go, and for about two weeks I was a U****d fan. Until one day I saw on Football Focus that Manchester City were second in the table, while U****d were a few places lower!

Shouldn’t I be supporting the more successful Manchester team? Yes, I know it sounds funny now, but remember, this was a long time ago. When I found out City played in a beautiful sky blue, that clinched it for me. The first game I remember seeing on Match of the Day was a 4-1 away victory at Chelsea, with Ron (?) Futcher scoring a hat-trick. Mick Channon got the other. I won’t bore you with the various ups and downs since then, as you have experienced them in your own way. OK just one – why doesn’t anyone recognise that Steve Mackenzie’s volley was a far better goal than Ricky Villa’s, which was surely just down to bad defending? No, what I really want to use this ‘Why Blue’ to say is that the ‘Manchester-ism’ of City fans bugs the hell out of me. Every time you criticise a U****d fan for not being from Manchester, aren’t you implying that it’s also wrong to be a City fan if you’re not from Manchester? You’re invalidating the feelings of people like myself and the many other non-Manchester or even non-UK City fans. So stop it! Childhood is a magical time, before prejudices are formed, and attachments can be made to a place, a person or a football club that are not strictly logical. But that doesn’t make them any less passionate, or indeed legitimate. It’s sad that having supported City passionately for 21 years, I sometimes have my feelings questioned by other City fans. Don’t mis-understand me, I’m not saying it is wrong to hate U****d. It is perfectly right and proper to hate United! But to criticise their fans because they’re not from Manchester is a mistake. Keep up the good work on McVittee, guys, it’s a joy to read.

P.S. City are going straight back up as champions and will win the FA Cup the year after. You heard it here first!

Simon Veksner (


Here is request from a company putting together a CD-ROM on footie. Feel free to fill it in and send it off. I included it this time around as it’s pre-season and MCIVTA is not under pressure of space. If any of you think that this kind of stuff should not go in then mail me and let me know.


Here at The Big Room – a multimedia software company ( – we are currently creating a CD-ROM about UK and Irish football. We want to include a survey of how real people feel about footy. To this end we’d like you to answer the following 10 questions in as much detail as you like.

If you wish to remain anonymous, please say so at the start of your reply. If you wish your name to be included as a contributor credit on the CD-ROM when it is released, just erase the word “Anonymous”.

Here we go:


  1. Who is your favourite player of all time to have played in the UK or Eire?
  2. What, in your opinion, is the most important event in UK and Eirefootball in the last 50 years?
  3. What has been the best rule change?
  4. What has been the worst rule change?
  5. What is your favourite formation of play?
  6. Which football manager, domestic or international do you most admire?
  7. What is the greatest goal ever scored involving a UK or Eire team?
  8. What is the best match you have ever seen in the UK or Eire (either liveor on telly)?
  9. What is the most memorable event at a UK or Irish football match you haveever seen?
  10. What is the greatest football quote, humorous or otherwise, you have heard?

Finally a few optional questions about yourself

  1. Age
  2. Sex
  3. Area in which you live
  4. Recommended football Web/Net resources
  5. Team supported
  6. Email address

Thank You for your help.

Russell Smith (


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

Thanks to John, The Mole, Bob, Magnus, Paul, Peter, Andy, Martin & Doug.

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 #212