Newsletter #222

I thought I was depressed having to write an intro’ after the 5-0 Rag débâcle under Horton, but I was wrong, I was merely a little down then! Don’t be fooled by the scoreline, which was due to Immel’s heroics and Bolton’s ineptitude up front. I’ve been personally told by 6 people that this performance was the worst they have ever witnessed by a City team (some with 30 years experience), clueless, passionless, gutless, just think of a positive noun and add ‘less’ to the end. You really have to wonder where we go from here, though some people already have tentative suggestions!

So, we have match reports, news of a new signing and plenty, plenty opinion.

There are now more MCIVTA T-shirts on the WWW (look for the link on the Update page) and some very good designs too. We’ll be doing something about this, hopefully in the next few weeks. Thanks go to Ken Foster.

The next issue of MCIVTA (223) will probably be next Tuesday as next Monday is a holiday here in the UK.

Next game, Stoke City away, Saturday 24th August 1996


BOLTON WANDERERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 20th August 1996

“We were lucky to get nil”

        Brightwell      Symons          Frontzeck
Lomas           Brown           Kinkladze               Hiley
               Rösler          Kavelashvili

Subs: Margetson, Summerbee, Phillips

We already all know the result – but anybody who wasn’t at the game last night may not know how poor City really were. This is one of the worst performances I have witnessed and makes me very concerned about our ability to challenge for any promotion place.

Against Ipswich we scored and then held on – last night we seemed to be holding on after the first couple of minutes. We were crap!!

Bolton’s ground is not great. The wooden stand I was sat in (amongst the Bolton fans) gives you the feeling that you should be watching Nat Lofthouse playing before going back to work in a mill. Sat just in front of us was Garry Flitcroft – he left about 15 minutes from the end… no doubt very pleased at having left a ship that did indeed sink.

We actually started okay – a cross in and a bullet header from Uwe forced a good save from the soon-to-be-very-bored Bolton ‘keeper. As the half progressed we were under the cosh more and more. Kinkladze was completely stifled and the only outfield City player with any bite was Lomas.

Bolton had a goal disallowed when Blake got clean through and with only Immel to beat completely sliced his shot… which landed at the feet of a surprised McGinlay who scored but was then adjudged to be offside.

At half-time we thought we had to get better – as City fans we should have seen the error in our thinking… we were, of course, worse.

Four minutes into the half one of Bolton’s new Scandinavian imports scored from about 20 yards – great goal. Surely this would spur City into life – er no actually. Heads hung lower and apart from one good run from Kav when he ended up shooting wide we didn’t create anything.

Summerbee came on for the incompetent Frontzeck and Phillips came on for the anonymous Clough. It made no difference whatsoever.

1-0 to Bolton… and it should have been more.

After the match our diminutive flame-haired leader kept the lads in a locked dressing-room for the obligatory hour-long dressing-down.

I don’t know about you but I’m a bit bored with AB saying that he’s “not putting up with it” or that “I can’t do anything, it’s the players who have to fight once they get out there.” I believe that morale is very, very low and I am more uncertain that ever that Alan Ball is the man to steer us out of this crappy league.

Out of last night’s team there are only two or three players who have played under any other City manager – this is Alan Ball’s side! And they don’t seem to have any fight in them – for themselves or the man who brought them here.

As for individual marks for the team – they were all poor with the exception of Immel who kept the score reasonable and Lomas who got booked at the end for pushing a Bolton player over… well, at least he got mad enough to do it.

Matt Cadman (


BOLTON WANDERERS vs. MANCHESTER CITY, Tuesday 20th August 1996


A few thousand Blues made the short trip up to Bolton to see if City could maintain their winning start to the season. Many were wearing colours but I saw no sign of the animosity that has been evident at some of our other meetings with the Trotters in the last few years. There were a few nervous glances up at the dark sky overhead which threatened rain to soak all of us on the uncovered Embankment terrace but mercifully it held off and we didn’t have to suffer that as well as what turned out to be an extremely poor performance by the Blues.

There were a couple of team changes from the side that beat Ipswich on Friday; wide men Phillips and Summerbee were replaced by Clough and Hiley as City opted for a flat back four instead of the three at the back system used throughout the pre-season. Hiley was at right back, Frontzeck at left back, Brightwell and Symons in the middle. Clough came into central midfield which meant Brown moved to a more left-sided rôle. The rest of midfield and the forward pairing were unchanged.

Bolton kicked off but it was City that had the first chance, some good work from Rösler forcing a smart save from Branagan. After this early scare though, Bolton took full control of the game. Whenever City tried to build from the back, all players except Frontzeck were closed down quickly, as if they were inviting us to give the ball to him. This duly happened, someone came in to challenge Frontzeck and he would try to pass the ball to a City player. Unfortunately he was having another nightmare game and almost invariably gave the ball away, either with a downright bad pass or by giving the ball to a player who was already under pressure. However, Frontzeck was not the only player having a bad game. The whole of the defence was a disorganised shambles. On a number of occasions Nathan Blake (or Nathan Blank as he is known by the locals) and John McGinlay got behind the City defence but let themselves down by poor finishing. One one occasion Blake screwed his shot badly wide but McGinlay was able to redirect the ball into the net. Fortunately he was given offside, though it must have been a close call.

On another occasion a shot was deflected onto the top of the bar; to be fair I think Immel was watching it all the way and had it covered. Immel was in fact one of our few players who didn’t have a bad game, even coming out and catching a cross near the penalty spot, which drew the biggest cheer of the day from the Blues assembled behind the goal. At the other end, City had another chance when Kavelashvili, showing good footwork, cut in from the left wing but blazed his shot high and wide. The sides went in level at half time and we all hoped for a big improvement in the second half.

We were to be disappointed. Within 4 minutes of the second half we were a goal down. We were caught in possession around the halfway line and Bolton charged forward on the break. As defenders backpedalled in front of the oncoming forwards, the ball came to Per Frandsen, a Dane making his home début. Frandsen hit a left footed screamer from around 20 yards which went right in the bottom left corner giving Immel no chance. Frandsen later claimed that his left foot was normally just for standing on…

The setback seemed to spark a little life into City, but only for a few brief moments. Gio tried a few runs but was tackled before he could create anything. Lomas tried to lead by example but it was no good. The midfield couldn’t string many passes together and though the forward pair worked hard with lots of running in the channels, there was no penetration through the Bolton defence left by ex-City man Gerry Taggart. City were actually worse in the second half than in the first, Bolton were brimming with confidence and had several chances to increase the lead but were denied by City’s man of the match, Immel.

The ineffectual Clough was replaced by Phillips and Summerbee replaced Frontzeck (a popular substitution), with Hiley switching to left back. At least Ball was trying to do something this time, unlike on our last trip to Burnden Park. However, neither player made an impact and it was typical of the way City were playing that when the ball was eventually given to Phillips after he’d been on the field for what seemed ages, he miscontrolled the ball and it went out of play.

City’s last chance fell the way of Kavelashvili. He dribbled through about 3 defenders at the edge of the penalty area but then curled his shot wide of the far post. The final whistle went and we had lost by one goal. We couldn’t have complained if it had been three or four goals. I really can’t remember seeing City play worse than this. Wimbledon and QPR away last season may have been on a par but this was a truly bad performance by the Blues. The reaction from the fans was predictable, a chorus of boos followed by irate letters and phone calls to the club demanding Ball’s head. Ball said in the MUEN that he expected this sort of response to our first defeat but I think he is missing the point: what hurt wasn’t so much the defeat but the manner of it. It’s still August, we’ve only played two games but I’m fresh out of early season optimism.


Paul Howarth (


As I arrived at Burnden and entered the seating area I realised that City had been relegated (even through Bolton were in the s**t league last year) due to the fact that the full stand only had 5 rows with 50 seats, (250 seats), with porto toilets. All this for £15.00; what a joke! Ninety minutes on I realised the only joke was us, as City turned in their worst display in a long time. We were short of ideas going forward and it got worse in defence. We played so many differant tactics that the players didn’t know where they were playing. All this and Kinky not getting into the game, it was a case of how many we went down by.

City Ratings out of 10 (IMHO)

                            Immel 8
 Hiley 7        Brightwell 5      Symons 5       Frontzeck 5
Clough 5         Lomas 7          Kinkladze 6         Brown 7
                  Rösler 6      Kavelashvili 7
Subs Summerbee 5   Phillips 5    Margetson

After a goal disallowed from John McGinlay and a deflected shot hit the bar, the goal came 4 minutes after the break with a drill shot from new boy Michael Johansen (I think). After that Bolton just played the ball around the park. City were lucky to finish with 11 men after Lomas punched a Bolton player in the face.

After this game, for the first time, I was thinking Ball out, Graham’s the man for the job. A lot of people say if Graham took charge there would be no fancy football, but face facts we don’t get any anyway.

Good news: Creaney is going to Oldham for £300,000
Bad news: His repacement is Paul Dickov a very small striker from Arsenal.

See you at Stoke, Ross (c/o


MANCHESTER CITY vs. IPSWICH TOWN, Friday 16th August 1996

Nationwide Division One

Manchester City (3-5-2): Immel ; Brightwell Symons Frontzeck ; Summerbee Kinkladze Lomas Brown Phillips ( Hiley 66 ); Kavelashvili (Creaney 85) Rösler.
Unused: Margetson (gk)

Ipswich Town (3-5-2) Wright ; Stockwell (Tanner 84) Thomson Vaughan (Mathie 66); Mason Sedgley Williams Taricco Petta ; Marshall Uhlenbeek.
Unused: Forrest (gk)

Referee: T Heilbron (Newton Aycliffe)

Being a Stevie Lomas fan I try to see what odds I would get on him for the first goal prior to entering the ground, carefully dodging those giving out the free Sun plastic bowlers on the way. Inside, I begin to become highly excited on the start of a new season. There is an air of expectancy around the ground which turns to bewilderment watching the new City mascot Moonchester examining a batch of balloons in the centre of the pitch. Since my new watch is not numbered – the following times are all roughly correct:

10 min:
Kavelashvilli goes on another (not the first) dribbling run and is brought down outside the Ipswich box. Gio takes the free-kick and curls it beautifully but it flies a little high over the corner of the net.
15 min:
Free-kick given for a foul on Brown wide on the left. Free-kick is floated across danger area and goes out for a goal-kick. It just needed a touch by the looks of it (and if it in fact got one – I was at the far endin the North stand – it needed a better one!)
20 min:
Gio chips the ball forward where Uwe plays the ball with his cheststraight into the path of Summerbee who then lobs the keeper brilliantlybut we all knew he was just offside!
25 min:
City’s defence is not recognisable from the midfield. Ipswich are notclosed down and after a nice interchange of passes, number 9 has a shot fromthe edge of the box past the far post. 9 didn’t strike it well and this wasa lucky escape for City.
27 min:
Gio chips ball forward for Buster wide on the left to run onto anddeliver a cross which is just a little too high for Lomas and the othersarriving in the area.
28 min:
City win a corner and Buster plays it short to Gio who goes past onedefender and gets the rub of the green against the second defender. Giocrosses and Steve Lomas cannot miss from all of two yards. Challenged, Steveheads the ball into the net. One-Nil! We’re going up! We’re going up! tothe tune of a little known England ditty.
32 min:
Another nice Ipswich build up which cumulates in a back heel to anattacker who needs a second to control it and thus the defence closes himdown. The City defence looks a little flaky around the box.
35 min:
Immel kicks. Uwe heads the ball onto Kavelashvili who shoots fromdistance and is only about a yard over the bar. Good effort.
40 min:
Free-kick against Kit climbing over Ian Marshall but not in my opinion.Free-kick from outside box is struck well but over both wall and goal.Immel is furious with Brightwell about something?
41 min:
Another Ipswich attack peters out as there is confusion betweenMarshall and the right wing. Again the City defence and midfield arestanding off and are hard to tell apart.
44 min:
Kavelashvili persistence earns a corner after Ipswich had beensloppy at the back. Corner kick goes to far post where Kit’s header isblocked but he has a second bite at the cherry and hits his shot at hisnear post where Wright saves quite easily.
45 min:
Gio collects the ball and drifts past two midfielders. Gio then holdsthe ball as he assessing the options and chips the ball forward forKavelashvili except it is intercepted. But Kavelashvilli is persistentagain and robs the Ipswich defence at the corner of the box and shoots.Wright collects the ball at his second attempt.

Half Time: 1-0

Ipswich weren’t really in the game in the first 20 minutes and then City scored just as the visitors began to get on top. Second half:

47 min:
Lomas plays an early ball to Gio who finds Kavelashvili who flicks theball for Summerbee. Nicky turns well and acutely but his shot is blocked byhis accompanying defender.
50 min:
Free kick for a foul on Gio, who is still feeling his shin as Lomastakes it quickly out wide on the right to Brightwell. Ian crosses and Uwe getsunder it, heads it straight to Wright when he might have been better headingit square back across the six yard area to Kavelashvili.
51 min:
Ipswich look more geared up for the second half and seem to be first toall the loose balls. This attack ends with a cross and Marshall glancing aball at the far post wide.
54 min:
11 crosses and Brightwell concedes a corner under pressure from astriker. City regain ball following another Ipswich near post corner. ButBrown then loses it as City play it around at the back.
58 min:
Kavelashvili finds Uwe near the box. Just inside the box Uwe slips andstill manages to hold onto the ball, get up and cross it. Ipswich number 5concedes the corner.
61 min:
Lomas is pressurised, mishits pass to Symons who collects the ball andplays it to Immel. Eike is then under pressure from Marshall but manages toside-step him before punting the ball down field.
62 min:
Lomas early ball splits the defence and Kavelashvili is in.Kavelashvilli faints then rounds the ‘keeper towards the bye line and rollsthe ball towards the goal only for Thomson (I think) to clear it off theline. Perhaps Kavelashvili was unbalanced but if only he had blasted it!That could be an important miss?
63 min:
City stand off yet again! Ipswich number 9 receives it with hisback to goal and turns and completely misses the ball!
64 min:
Mason is onside and clear and sprints towards the City goal. Frontzeckis coming across and collides with Mason. The referee gives the free kick andthus Frontzeck has to go for a professional (last man) foul. Frontzeckwalks off the pitch to the salute of the crowd.
65 min:
Ball takes Buster off and brings on Scott Hiley as a replacement forFrontzeck.
71 min:
Ipswich chip ball in. Marshall chests it and Steve Sedgley shoots.Immel tips it over. Ipswich take the corner short and then cross the ballto the far post where Marshall has a free header a couple of feet wide. Ianshould have done better 🙂
74 min:
Summerbee hits a corner to the far post where Uwe gets up well andheads back across the goal. Uwe’s effort lands on the top netting.
76 min:
Uwe finds Gio in the centre of the pitch. Gio carries the ball a littlebefore playing a straight ball through for Uwe to run onto. Uwe is onside!And he hits it straight at the ‘keeper.
78 min:
Lomas has a pop from over 25 yards and it is about a yard over. Someone beside me says “He’s had a good game” the someone else adds(interestingly) “If they’d sold him who would you have played?” Yes Iknow I am biased!
84 min:
Far post cross. Marshall can’t get there! Ipswich corner? Hmmm. Youcan tell this is all happening at the far end, can’t you? Corner comes inand is knocked out as far as Sedgley who shoots across the goal from theedge of the area and out for a goal kick.
85 min:
Immel catches cross to a huge cheer under pressure from Marshall.
86 min:
Symons and Summerbee block shooting chance inside the box. Ball isthen crossed to Marshall who adds a good header. Immel saves or did it comeoff the crossbar?
88 min:
Ipswich are dominating and City are trying to hang on – thus I haven’tbeen taking all the notes I should have. Sedgley chips to the far post whereMathie strikes the ball cleanly from an angle wide on the right and it hitsthe bar and rebounds to safety.

Final Score: 1-0

Phew! I hope they’re not all to be like that! The last fifteen minutes were awful from a City point of view. Hope this makes sense – I haven’t had a lot of time to write it up!

Robert Watson (


It is reported on GMR and on Ceefax that Alan Ball has made a bid of £750,000 for Paul Dickov, the Arsenal and Scottish under 21 striker. Stuart Houston the catertaker manager at Arsenal has said that something is in the pipeline.

A City XI drew 1-1 with Leek Town last night. Frontzeck will be eligible for tonight’s match after his sending off on Friday. His ban should only come into affect after the 30th of this month.

City have finally got a mascot. His name is Moonchester and is a little blue alien!

Tony Farrar – Salford Blue (


Today’s papers are saying that City are to pay £750,000 for Paul Dickov. An Arsenal supporting friend of mine reckons he could do the business for us. He’s small, nippy and quick.

There’s also talk of us being linked with Rangers’ Ian Ferguson.

Yours in Blue, David C Bradbury (


City’s next home game against Charlton Athletic has been moved to Tuesday 3rd September due to international commitments.

City have made a bid of £750,000 for Arsenal’s Scottish striker Paul Dickov. Since the player’s availability is now widely known, competition from other clubs may now ensue which could put him out of our price range. The last striker we plucked from Arsenal reserves didn’t do too badly, did he?

The Mole


City have agreed a fee of £1.3 million with Arsenal for Paul Dickov and have just to settle personal terms. It now seems unlikely that his signing will be in time to play at Stoke on Saturday though. If the deal does eventually go through, Oldham will be hoping to take Gerry Creaney on loan again, with a view to a permanent move if the clubs can agree a fee.

Paul Howarth (


Port Vale have had a re-think. Initially they weren’t going to send us any tickets for the away fixture, opting for a pay on the turnstile policy. However, they have recanted and will now be making tickets available. We don’t as yet know when exactly these tickets will be up for sale or how many there will be.

Mark Burgess (


I spoke to the ticket office this morning (Tuesday 20/8) to get tickets for the game against Charlton for 31st August. The ticket office said that this game maybe moved to Tuesday 3/9. However, this has not yet been confirmed and they do not know when this will be confirmed.

Presumably the reason is due to international duty of a number of City players. Wales play San Marino on 31/8 and this may involve Kit Symons (highly likely) and Martyn Margetson/Andy Dibble (extremely doubtful).

It is impossible for me to get home to Manchester in midweek so I will opt to take my son to the lesser game of Wales vs. San Marino (don’t laugh – we should see some goals) and get to Maine Road for the games against Barnsley and Birmingham.

For those who are interested there are no shortage of tickets for the Wales vs. San Marino game and the F.A.W. ticket office accept credit card bookings on 01222 345878.

Anyone attending this game who likes a drink and does not know Cardiff – the National Stadium is bang in the centre of the city (nearest pub – approx 10 yards) and there are no shortage of pubs/clubs in Cardiff for a good day/night out.

Mark Parr (


During the game on Friday I saw a typical example of all City fans’ resolve, being optimistic at all times. With one goal scored one fan in the North Stand decided it was time to sing a new song. The words are:-

We’re going up, We’re going up, We’re going… City’s going up. (to the tune of “three lions on the shirt”)

Well forty or so minutes later he was most subdued as Ipswich applied the presure to City’s fragile lead. Please give them a chance by not tempting fate and don’t start singing it until about half way through the season. With City being City anything could happen.

Blue forever, Andy Holgate (


What has happened to the P.A. at Maine Road? It was bad last season, but on Friday was diabolical. Not a word was comprehensible in the Main Stand.

Who dreamed up the idiot in the sky blue kit prancing round the pitch before the Ipswich game? Have we got to put up with him all season? Who has the job inside the suit? How much do City pay him? We should be told.

Neil Thackeray (


As a Blue living in Ipswich, I was amused by the comments about Ipswich’s striker Ian Marshall: lumbering biker, Waddle/DLT saddo haircut etc.

Down here he is nicknamed “donkey” either for a private reason or more likely because of inability to ascend at the right time to meet crosses. He can go for several months without making contact, rising a good couple of seconds before the cross has arrived or just after it’s passed above his head. However, for a big guy he is quite nifty with his feet. A sort of Joe Royle in reverse!

Also a sometime-spokesman for the club on the local TV, he speaks highly in the same way as AB does, also casting doubt on the ‘other’ reason for his nickname.

Andrew Batten (


Not only did Oasis proclaim their hatred of the Rags at Knebworth, they also showed their love of the Blues on the giant video screens.

That was about all I could witness, the stage was that far away it was nearly in another county.

Still the music was excellent and during ‘Round Our Way’ the video backdrop displayed images of inner city Manchester (presumably Burnage) and shots of the outside of Maine Road, the Souvenir Shop, City shirts and T-shirts in close up, walking through the Main Stand and emerging into the sunlight to see the pitch and the Kippax St Stand.

So 250,000 people all got to witness the delights of Maine Road thanks to the band.

Hopefully the video release of the concert will include this footage which was obviously the highlight of the show.

P.S. For all you Blues interested in Oasis – Noel Gallagher played with Paul Weller during the encore at last Sunday’s Chelmsford Festival!

Julian Cooke (


This was taken from the Daily Express today, 20 August.

Beware Georgi, Ball warns England boss.

Glenn Hoddle was last night warned that Georgi Kinkladze could dismantle his world cup plans. The England boss, who names his first squad this week for the trip to Moldova, must face the Georgian genius twice on the road to France 1998. And Manchester City Manager Alan Ball believes the talented Kinkladze can cause havoc to Hoddle’s hopes of straightforward qualification. “I think Glenn will have to come and watch Georgi a few times before he plays against England,” said Ball, whose City side face a derby at Bolton tonight.

Steve Bolton (


As a City virgin, having only seen them lose to Cardiff twice and I think draw with Swindon I decided it was time to get to Maine Road. My girlfriend is new to all this – so she is a Rag “isn’t Eric gorgeous, etc.” – so I decided it was time to dye her blue.

We drove for the 4 hours to get to the lovely City of Manchester with loads of time to spare so thought we would go to find somewhere to eat. Ended up just outside Stockport (as if you are interested) and at 6.45 decided to make tracks – I needed to feel the atmosphere. As if by magic roadworks and completely incomprehensible traffic jams appeared (thank you to the bloody white Citroen with the smug bloke on the mobile phone for making any attempt I made to get past impossible).

Anyway got onto Princess Parkway and started to get worried; it seemed to be the longest 2.5 miles in my life. Suddenly as I was at my lowest I saw a MCFC Car Park sign. Marvellous, turned in paid £3 (the next one is £2) and asked directions. My heart fell, I could have parked in Cardiff and walked it, would have been closer. Up the hill, down the dale, take the third right it was 7.40 by this time.

I never realised that you could hide a place with 2 levels and a capacity of 30,000 so well – if I had known I would have had some amazing hiding places during hide and seek when I was a lad. Anyway, found the ground by following an arguing couple (he said tomarto she said tomayto) and found the Kippax. I was in GG and the entrance turnstile was at the A end. Found my seat to be filled by some big drunk bloke, but the steward found us seats 15 rows back – cheers. By this time we were 8 minutes into the match and I was sweating like a pig.

At this time City were the proverbial Slickers.

The goal will always be talked about, I could see the ball as if it was in front of me, past all 17 players twice each! Lomas in the middle off his glistening forehead. The game went downhill then, we had the chances (Kaveleshvili is going to score a cracker soon) then Front felled whoever – clumsy more than anything, the bloke did cut accross him etc. In the second half I have only ever seen a more inept linesman once (when Scooty Oakes knocked Cardiff out of the cup by being 20 yards offside – the game after Curle missed that penalty and Blake scored a scorcher). I counted 3 times offside and not given – he was well behind the play each time.

To finish and give you all a laugh, I asked Cath what she thought of the goal and she eventually admitted that she had missed it because the view and sunset were so nice – typical rag methinks. She also couldn’t understand the bloke in front of us screaming “25 million would be a bargain, 15 million for Shearer etc.” If she knew footy she should understand. At this point I will just tell you that I had a great time, couldn’t find a porgramme seller and the walk back wasn’t half as long.

Up the Blues, Mikey Thomas (


Having been to the Ipswich game and hearing of City’s 1-0 loss to Bolton, there a few things I’m just dying to get off my chest. And I’m in a bad mood, so sorry if I seem very negative.

First of all, the performance against Ipswich.

Immel: Hardly had anything to do, but looked on in stationary admiration as two late attempts hit his woodwork. I hate the way he doesn’t even try to go for these shots; and if he doesn’t come off his line, we will concede hatfulls of goals at corners and from crosses.

Brightwell: I felt he had a really good game, and made one particularly impressive sliding challenge in his own penalty area at a crucial moment.

Symons: Perhaps not his best display, but still Mr Reliable (what, in a City shirt?)

Frontzeck: No way should this guy be in our team. OK, so he has got a cool haircut and seems to put in a lot of effort but he is too slow and times challenges badly. We knew before he came that he had a bad disciplinary record, and now we know why. I’d prefer even Kernaghan….

Summerbee: Worked extremely hard and showed how well he can cross when he puts his mind to it. But why hasn’t he reproduced the kind of form that he showed when playing against us for Swindon a couple of seasons ago?

Phillips: Was that £10 million or £10? Mind you, he looked fairly good last season. Oh, of course, a few months at Maine Road and a player loses skill, fitness and any semblance of a footballing brain… I almost forgot (please let this not be true).

Kinkladze: A few excellent runs, usually culminating in a free kick! Great work to set up the goal. However, does anyone else out there get the feeling that he has started to look a bit dejected? I wouldn’t blame him if he did; I’m sure he expected to have a least a couple of other decent midfielders to interchange with. Won’t be able to take us up by himself. Linked up really well with Kavi.

Lomas: Great commitment, good goal, decent passing. I’m glad he stayed.

Brown: Never quite got to grips with the game; he tried, but made few decent challenges or passes.

Rösler: Not the player he was 18 months ago (or was it longer?). Too slow – horizontally; vertically, he is exteremely fast, exceeding the normal terminal velocity of a human when touched by an opposing player. But then, a couple of years at Maine Road seriously damages your fitness.

Kavelashvili: Excellent. Linked up very well with Gio, made darting runs tirelessly, and looks to be very skilful. He should have scored, having done the hard bit…

Hiley: Not fit yet, but still twice as mobile as Frontzeck.

Creaney: Only on for five minutes – but didn’t fall over!

Other Gripes:

Question: Why did City play well before half time, but badly afterwards?
Answer: Because Ball doesn’t give pre-match talks, but does give half-time talks. And is he too scared to sit in the dugout where we can all see him?

Quinn scores loads of goals in City warm-up games, gets sold to Sunderland, and scores 2 (plus one disallowed) in two games. Great bit of thinking, Mr Ball. Hey, if Kavi shows that he can score, shall we sell him too? Quinn apparently said that Sunderland had the quality that City had lacked for so many seasons – a bit of steel and fighting spirit. Ball succeeds in p**sing players off and sapping any enthusiasm they may have had for the blue shirt.

Anyone who saw last night’s Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough match will have surely noticed the assured début by the 17-year-old, Morris. Watching him charge about the pitch with purpose and energy, keeping possession in tight situations, linking up well with the rest of the midfield and making lots of darting runs – all this just served to underline how mediocre our players are, even our young starlets. Brown isn’t bad, and Lomas has commitment, but compared to this lad they are hapless donkeys. I don’t mean to undermine our players, and I’ll give them as much support as my voice-box will allow when they are playing, but it seems to me that even our best and most promising are very average when seen in a broader context.

Did anyone else notice how unfit and lacking in pace our entire team seemed, with the possible exception of Kavi? I get the feeling that our training sessions and fitness coaches are, shall we say, s***e. Which must ultimately be the responsibility of … the manager. As must the fact that we cannot string together more than a couple of incisive attacking moves in any one game.

For all these reasons, I think Ball should go as soon as possible. I appreciate the club trying to end the run of rapid dismissals but we should have kept Reid – and failing that, we should have kept Horton. As things are, we are stuck with a man who has gone down with six clubs. We shouldn’t sacrifice any chance we may have of promotion this season just because we don’t want to sack yet another manager. If we don’t get back this season, it may well be too late.

Will anyone be joining me for a rendition of ‘You can stick your world cup medal up your arse’ at the Charlton match?

Yours expecting lots of hate-mail and hoping to be proved totally wrong about everything.

P.S. Dailly scored last night. And Dickov is a good player. Is our manager starting to demonstrate an eye for a good player? I’ll take some convincing.

Matt Varley (


Well, somehow I didn’t expect us to come away from Bolton with any points, nor did we. Does Ball really know what he is doing? I have to say that I would give him until November, and if we are not up in the top 5 or so then Franny will have to start looking elsewhere. Howsoever, early doors.

Speaking of which, Big (Fat) Ron was quoted recently (and I can’t rememeber where) as referring, during his Euro ’96 punditry, to “so-called Continentals”. So called? Either players from mainland Europe are ‘continentals’ or not. Maybe we had better start looking for some ‘so-called Continentals” as I feel we do not have the strong ‘spine’ that any successful football team must have.

On a cheerier note, apparently the FA have started to show concern about the lack of atmosphere at games. They are thinking of investigating whether pre-match and/or half-time entertainments would help. Give us a break! How’s about ripping out the seats and reinstating the terraces – that would work.

Onwards to Victory. Maybe.

Jeremy Poynton (


Last night saw City descend to a level of ineptitude unseen for some 35 years. I don’t think I can remember a performance so lacking in thought, commitment or effort since the days of Les McDowall in the early sixties.

We all thought that the team might be better for the omission of Summerbee and Phillips after their non-performances against Ipswich, but it didn’t make a scrap of difference.

Only Symons, Brightwell and Immel looked good enough for Division One, never mind the Premiership. Hiley isn’t fit, Frontzeck must have thought he was playing for Germany – why else would he pass to a white shirt so often? Lomas was carrying the midfield where Clough wasn’t in it at all, Brown would have been better employed in the centre of midfield. Gio was marked and tackled out of it – he needs to realise when he should pass first time, also the rest of the team should give him players to pass to.

Up front neither Rösler of Kavalashvili caused any problem at all for Taggart and Fairclough, who are not the fastest pair of central defenders in Division One.

Summerbee epitomised the whole sorry show. On at least two occasions he lost the ball deep in Bolton territory and made absolutley no effort at all either to win the ball back or to get back into position at full back. He’d only played a few minutes.

There was no shape to the team, no evidence of a system or a planned approach to the match and a criminal lack of effort and motivation. The blame lies in some part with the players but more so with the management. If Ball cannot devise a playing system to accommodate the players he has at his disposal and cannot command the respect of the players then he should resign now. If he doesn’t resign the newly formed board should ensure that he has left Maine Road before the dream of even a play-off place is beyond us.

There is a real danger of City following in the footsteps of Sheffield Wednesday who redeveloped Hillsborough, got into debt and ended up in the old third division. It took them ten years to get back to the top division. We’ve certainly spent money on the ground, we’re millions of pounds in debt, what next?

I can only hope that Francis Lee has Bruce Rioch’s telephone number!

Roger Haigh (


That was possibly the worst performance that I have ever seen. The team had no passion and no fire, it was as if they expected the ball to come to them. This is one defeat we cannot blame on Bally or even the referee (no matter how little he gave our way). The team just didn’t care. We should expect nay Demand better. Steve Lomas got into trouble and was lucky not to be sent off for throwing a punch but at least it showed he cared a bit. Frontzeck was terrible, the worst of a bad bunch, giving the ball away at every turn, Ball should play Hiley-Phillips instead of Frontzeck-Hiley. The best performance was possibly by Eike Immel whose saves in the second half prevented an even more embarrasing scoreline. Give ’em hell Alan.

I just hope Macc Town play better tonight.

P.S. Keep the faith.

P.P.S. I hear that Dalglish has left Blackburn, Wouldn’t it be great if FHL sacked Bally and he came to be the manager? After all Blackburn were in the second division when he took over there.

Thomas Rance (


Right, what the hell is going on at Maine Road?

After going to Bolton last night to see City totally out-played I think we must face up to the fact that there are severe problems at City which have got to be addressed now.

I have never seen such a pathetic, spineless display of absolutely awful football as last night. The team simply cannot play together. It’s no good Alan Ball storming off refusing to speak to anyone or let any of the players speak to anyone. We have a right to know what is going wrong and what he intends to do about it.

Right from the start it was obvious this was going to be a crap game. None of the Blues looked remotely interested in fighting for the ball or doing anything creative with it once they actually got it. Michael Frontzeck did not pass once to a blue shirt for the first 20 minutes, and the whole team looked knackered and clueless. The ball was occasionally hoofed hopefully up field, but Quinn isn’t here to pick it up any more and it showed.

The fans took it up until half-time, but in the second half things got worse so the chanting started: “What the ***k is going on?” and “Are you watching Alan Ball?” He finally took off Frontzeck (thank God) and Clough (who clearly wasn’t fit) and put Buster and Summerbee on but frankly, it didn’t make any difference. You could see the frustration in some of the players (esp. Lomas who ended up hitting a Bolton player to loud applause from the City fans) and I’ll be very surprised if we hang on to Kinkladze for much longer. The only half chances we had were from Kavelashvili, Rösler was nowhere and looked like a fat old donkey with absolutely no pace whatsoever.

After last night, I have my doubts about whether we can even stay up in the 1st Div, never mind go straight back up to the Premiership. It seems that there is just too much work to be done.

I don’t normally believe in slagging off individual players and the manager, but last night was something else. The team got booed off the pitch (even when Rösler made a tentative step towards the fans to acknowledge us) and I had to agree they deserved it. As someone next to me said, if Ball is still alive tomorrow night there’s no justice!

Something has got to be done and soon.

Sorry to go on, but I just can’t see a way out of this and I am totally pissed off that I wasted my time last night. I was going to go to Stoke but I’d rather stay at home and watch my cat play with his ball, at least he looks enthusiastic about it.

Yours in disgust and in despair, Christine Haynes (


The Bolton game was Wimbledon all over again. Only Immel stopped it from being 2 or 3-0. I saw Frontzeck warming up and my heart sank, sorry but I’m not a fan. He gives the ball away far too often in my view, and we always seem to get caught on the break as a consequence. I was relieved to see him get pulled off, that is until I saw it was Summerbee coming out. He gets into good positions but he’s too clumsy on the ball. Rösler was making good runs but not getting the delivery. Kinks had two men on him for the whole of the game and was totally neutralised. The whole side lacked vision, imagination, inspiration and fight, which doesn’t leave a whole lot else does it?

I know what a lot of us were saying last season about giving the manager a proper chance to build a side, not panicking and changing managers every 12 months, but Jesus Christ you have to wonder at the sanity of a team manager that sells the only consistent goal-scorer we have (had) before such an important campaign even begins (Quinn got 2 for Sunderland tonight BTW).

Lomas battled hard and covered the whole pitch, as usual, Oh, but Ball was prepared to sell him too wasn’t he? Thank Christ he decided to stick with us.

Tonight in the Evening News Ball was quoted as saying “the hounds are already baying for my blood, I knew they would as soon as we lost a game.”

If City had shown some spirit last night and still lost I wouldn’t moan. It’s not the losing that’s pissing me off, it’s how we’re playing the game.

I for one have been a Blue for 25 years, that’s a lot of ticket money when it’s added up, but when I sing my complaints on the terraces I’m a howling dog.

All Alan Ball’s done is take a huge salary and get us relagated.

Mark Burgess (


So after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bolton, it looks like things are already decidedly dodgy for AB’s future. Most of the tabloids seem to be suggesting that AB has only a short time to turn things around or else he will leave the Academy (under his own steam or others’ wasn’t clear). If this is the case then we’re going to be left in an even worse situation than last year; who will want to fill AB’s (white) boots, with everyone expecting promotion, little financial support and a board that seems to have its own personal manager-merry-go-round in the boardroom?

As usual once the tabloids start then the rumour mill hits full throttle. As mentioned in these very pages, one option is that AB will move upstairs as director of man-management and xxxxxxxxxx, sorry football and we’ll get a new manager in.

The latest gossip I’ve heard from someone at work’s dad (who knows someone who knows someone that works at the ground… ,etc) is that AB has 8 weeks to get things sorted or else he’s fired, also he’s managed to rub nearly everyone up the wrong way. The same person also reckons that City are willing to let King Gio go if they receive a genuine decent offer. So is everything really down to money when all is said and done?

Help – we need some money now to stand any chance of competing!

Hope Sky can keep me in the picture!

Martin Ford (


Just a few thoughts on Quinn, the Ipswich game, and City as a whole. Firstly I’d just like to wish Big Niall all the best now that he has left us to play for the Mackems. Personally he’s been one of my favourite players for a couple of years now and I’m genuinely sad to see him go. Having said that the partnership with Rösler wasn’t working and I guess it was only a matter of time before one of them went. In my opinion it is the wrong player who’s left as Uwe hasn’t looked like he could hit a barn door from 5 yards in over a year now!

As way of a tribute can anyone do a fact-file on Quinny: When he joined us, games played, goals scored etc?

As for the Ipswich game, we got three points and that was what we needed. Sometimes in this division we’re going to have to grind out results if we’re going to get promoted and although Friday night was a patchy performance let’s not forget we won; and there was precious little of that last season. My main concern of the night was Frontzeck. Is it just me or is this guy the worst player to pull on a City shirt in a long while? I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen that guy: mistime a tackle, get outpaced, and get caught out of position. As a wise person said in the last MCIVTA ditch this guy and get Scott Hiley in as soon as possible. I’m also not convinced about the 3 at the back strategy. I honestly think we’d do better if we brought in Kernaghan, played Hiley and resorted to a traditional 4-4-2. A final thought on the Ipswich game: brilliant support both at Maine Road, and at Terry Neill’s bar in Holborn (London). We truly do possess the best fans around.

Let’s hope the Blues do the business at Bolton tonight. Without Curcic they should be an easier proposition than last year. Later Days,

Roger – The Blue Kiwi (


  • City lose to Bolton
  • AB on the trail of Paul Dickov
  • The Charlton game gets shifted

So the glorious start to the season has ended at Burnden Park. City lost to a ’30 yard scorcher’ from one of the Scandinavian imports. I didn’t go but listened to some of the game on local radio. from what I heard it didn’t sound like a cavalier performance from the Blues, more like a backs to the wall game. The impression I got was that City weren’t playing well, so are we gonna have another season of pitiful away-day returns?

A replacement. So AB is attempting to enter the transfer market. The target is Arsenal’s Paul Dickov available for £750k. However, Ball is bleating to the press that City may lose out in the deal now that other clubs know how cheaply he is available for. So City splashing out again! BTW, is AB after signing him because his name reminds Ball of what we fans think of him ;-)))

Finally, the Charlton game has been moved. According to teletext the game has been re-scheduled for Tuesday 3rd September. This was one of the games that there has been speculation about the actual date it would be played. Strange that out of around half a dozen postponed games from the original date, City’s is the only one to have been re-arranged and so quickly. Are Sky somehow linked to the re-schedule?

Martin Ford (


After reading the new edition of CITY Magazine and the interview with Kevin Bond I was reminded of something that had been bothering me for quite a while.

Why exactly did we get rid of Les Chapman? I seem to remember an article in the same mag about the previous incumbent of the reserve team manager’s post saying how popular he was. And yet he seems to have been ditched without an explanation.

Can the Mole shed any light?

Also, if we all sit at a pre-arranged time holding a City badge and think:

Kenny, come to Maine Road,
Kenny, come to Maine Road

Do you reckon he will?

Also, if anyone has any good routes to Stoke could they e-mail me direct please or else I’m worried I’ll be lost in the Potteries forever.

Mark Helsby (


Just look at what a ****er Alan Ball really is.

  1. Do we wear red and white? Are we Sheffeld United? Well, then why the Hellare planning to buy an Australian striker? Like no offence meant to theAussies, but when you have an international striker, who was, before S.M.(Shitty Manager) our top scorer, do you want to replace him?
  2. How many people can stand up and say that Niall Quinn didn`t die forCity on several occausions? Yet City can turn around and
    • Force him to miss the World Cup with us Irish, even though hetrained with us and looked the sharpest on the training pitch.
    • Big Move to Oporto… no we won’t pay him.
  3. Then he has a little “battleship” like Ball causing trouble all over theshop, Quinn comes in, saved the day almost, To be told in an irritatingmouse-like voice “No, Niall, I told you before you are a big earner, I’llhave to get rid of you, you’ll not earn that much while I’m manager, I cango to Australia and haggle over payments or I can play GerryCreaney”… you know five years ago we finished 5th.
  4. After seeing the line-ups for the first two matches in the league, ithas to be asked, What the ***k is the man doing? Immel. Brightwell,Frontzeck (as a bloody centre half no less)?

He has now managed to piss off our great white hope of Michael Brown, Edghill Rösler and is trying to sign Dickov of the Gunners… May God have mercy on our club.

Out with Franny and Alan.

Adam John Keating (


Before Paul moved jobs, we received the league results and updated league table automatically via a machine that Paul had access to. At present we don’t have this facility and it’s quite a bit of work to set it up. If anyone out there can set up a machine to send me these before each issue (taking them from a WWW site for instance) this would be a big help. Failing this, maybe someone could type them in and send them, this is however quite time-consuming.

Anybody able to help out?



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

Thanks to Tony, Andy, John, David, Neil, Andrew, Mark (x3), Roger, Steve,The Mole, Mikey, Thomas, Christine, Julian, Matt, Ross, Mark, Adam (x2),Matt, Rob, Roger & Paul.

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 #222