Newsletter #235

Well, we have a new manager and his name is Steve Coppell! Doubtless this will elicit plenty of opinion but the mood in Manchester – as portrayed on the TV – was that it was a good signing, something the club could build on. I’ll try to get hold of Shaggy’s (Palace list administrator) opinion, for the next edition.

Naturally this has put other news into the shade: the Guterman deal looks shaky and the offers from Everton and Leeds for Rösler, and rumours of offers from Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest for Clough are on hold.

Lastly, apologies for the error in the last issue, the WBA game will indeed take place on 27th November, however, this is a Wednesday and not a Saturday.

This one goes out to 1,034.

Next game, Queens Park Rangers away, Saturday 12th October, 1996


There were reports on Friday that David Sullivan had resigned from Birmingham City and bought a controlling interest in City. Surprise, surprise, this was not true. Well, he’s not happy at Birmingham at the moment but that’s about as much truth as there is to this story.

Also on Friday it was revealed that JJB Sports man and Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan has no interest in taking over at City – and never had any.

On Saturday another name was linked with the manager’s job; this time it was Northern Ireland manager Bryan Hamilton. Francis Lee admitted that Hamilton was on the shortlist but said that he had not made any move; Hamilton also said that no contact had been made. However, David Bowen, secretary of the Northern Irish F.A., said that they would have no objection if a big club such as City were to make an approach to him: “We have such a good relationship with Bryan – it’s a family relationship. We are that close and if City said they wanted to talk to him and he wanted to talk to them, we would have no objection.”

Sunday brought more names into the fray, this time a threesome recently at Leeds, namely Howard Wilkinson, his former assistant Mick Hennegan and striker Ian Rush. Just who would fit into which rôles was unclear, as was the percentage of fact on which this rumour was based.

The current forecast for the announcement of the new manager is Wednesday.

The Mole


From London Evening Standard Monday 7 October

MANCHESTER CITY today ended a 42-day search when they named Steve Coppell as their new manager, writes Ken Dyer.

Coppell, who was manager of Crystal Palace from 1985-93 and took Palace to an FA Cup Final appearance in 1990, was expected to take former England colleague, Cardiff chief Phil Neal, to Maine Road as his assistant. Coppell is technical director at Selhurst Park but has been keen to return to management. It is ironic that his return to the city where he saw such success as a player with Manchester United comes three weeks after Palace manager Dave Bassett rejected the chance to go there. Bassett was offered the opportunity to take the City job and looked certain to go but, in the event, he and his number two, Ray Lewington, turned it down.

Coppell’s name has been linked with the City job ever since Alan Ball left the club. He was travelling to Manchester from his London home today to meet City chairman Francis Lee and club officials. Coppell confirmed his appointment this morning, saying: “It’s a terrific challenge. I am delighted it’s settled and I can get on with the task ahead of me. Manchester City have to be one of the best-supported clubs in the country. Because of that, and the way the game is structured now financially, they have to be one of the biggest clubs in the country. I think it’s only a matter of time before Manchester City are back in the Premiership among the big names. They have wonderful fans and we might need just a little patience.”

Managing City represents a mammoth challenge to Coppell, who resigned as Palace manager following the club’s relegation in 1993. Invariably compared unfavourably with United, Manchester City have under-achieved in recent seasons and were relegated last May. Coppell was thought to have favoured a job in or near London but obviously could not resist the challenge of what still remains one of the big clubs in English football. He is reported to be ready to sign a three-year contract.

“With the appointment of Steve Coppell, I really feel we’ve turned the corner,” says Lee, who had considered taking over as manager himself in the absence of a permanent appointment. Coppell’s first game in charge of City looks certain to be against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Saturday. The two relegated clubs stand 14th and 13th in the First Division respectively, with City having been beaten four times in their first five away fixtures. City were also humiliated 5-1 over two legs by Third Division Lincoln City in the second round of the Coca-Cola Cup.

John Shearer (


I thought I might pass on to readers the banner headline in this week’s Chester Chronicle:

“Soccer chief dismisses bankrupty threat”

The article says that the Chester City FC chairman is being petitioned by TSB under his full name of Mark Simon Guterman of Old Chester Road, Higher Walton Warrington, at Warrington County Court on November 4th.

Guterman’s statement to the Chronicle reads “The matter of the public notice is something I had not been aware of.” … He guaranteed a number of loans for a family friend and apparently some money is still owing. The sum is said to be extremely small. “I moved house three times in that period and am currently getting divorced. I will not go bankrupt under any circumstances for this trifling amount or any other amounts. The matter will not go to court”

The article goes on to say it won’t affect his business dealings or Chester City FC – he doesn’t understand why the media is concentrating on a small matter when the real issue is a pioneering deal with FHL… “The deal is a serious offer, would be a multi-million pound transaction, and I represent a consortium that wants to develop the “feeder club” concept with Chester City and Manchester City. I can confirm that negotiations are at an early stage.” On the back page there are a number of comments from fans and from Kevin Ratcliffe, Chester’s manager. The main theme coming through from the “feeder” issue is that if MG can find the money to put into MCFC why can’t he do the same for Chester? This seems a touch uncharitable as according to one of my staff, a diehard Chester supporter who has not missed a match home or away for 5 years, says that MG is putting up the money for wages each week. That said, the pit is not bottomless so there must be some underlying purpose in his continuing financial support.

Alan Lingard (100573.1766@CompuServe.COM)


GMR, and the rest of the media have said that Steve Coppell will be the new manager of City. Earlier this morning Ron Noades confirmed that Coppell has been released from Crystal Palace.

A press conference has been called for 4:00pm this afternoon. It is thought that Coppell will sign a three year contract.

Salford Blue – Tony Farrar (
Neil Sandelance (


Steve Coppell is set to become City’s new manager later today, according to a report in the Daily Express. The report comes complete with quotes from Francis Lee, so it looks like there’s more to this than idle speculation.

Phil “bold decision boss” Neal is tipped to become Coppell’s assistant manager.

Paul Howarth (


Just a quick line to say that BBC Radio 1 news this morning announced that Steve Coppell has officially taken the City manager’s position. He was said to be “very excited.”

Let’s see how long this one lasts!

Daz Burke (


Well at last we have a manager – and probably a new assistant. Perhaps we will become less of a joke now. Even Radio 4 had City jokes on: ‘Scientists have proved that sex is better after a ninety minute nap – Man City players are now the best lovers in the country.’

Seriously at the Palace match the Palace fans wanted Bassett to leave and Stevie C become manager – don’t forget Bassett took them to the play offs last year. So they seem to think a lot more of our new manager than their current one.

Rumours of the Rösler sale have not born fruit yet – let’s face it he has done nothing since Walsh left and it would probably be better for him and the team if he left. I like Uwe but he is not getting the service he deserves and needs.

See you all at QPR – I’ve even managed to postpone a business trip to Paris so I can get to the Reading game.

Andy Birkin (


City’s new management team will be Steve Coppell assisted by Phil Neal. Caretaker manager Asa Hartford will revert to coaching duties. Coppell was released from his position as director of football at Crystal Palace this morning and has agreed a three-year deal with City. Neal resigned from his post as manager of Cardiff City, held since January, and City will have to compensate the Bluebirds for their loss.

The consensus of opinion seems to be that Coppell is a good choice. His former boss Ron Noades said “Steve is an ideal choice. He has integrity, works hard and is a very loyal, competent and able manager. He is one of the best in the game.” His new boss Francis Lee said “I like everything I have heard about him, particularly his record with young players and the way he has brought them on. It has taken a bit of time to bring someone in but we were determined not to rush into a wrong appointment. I believe the combination of Steve and Phil will be good. When you look at the players Steve brought through at Palace, you must be impressed. Phil is a great dressing room man and we think the pairing will work well. Believe me, things are looking up.”

On-loan Eddie McGoldrick worked with Coppell for 4 years at Palace and was looking forward to teaming up again. He said that Coppell was a good manager who knows what he wants and gets his point across without shouting and bawling.

Coppell said of the job: “As far as I am concerned, City are one of the best supported clubs in the country and, in view of the financial structure, one of the biggest. It is only a matter of time before City are back among the big names. My message to the City fans would be: Please show a little patience but we will get things the way we want very quickly. Everyone knows about my United playing-links but I don’t want to even think about my former club until we face them again. This is a great opportunity as it means going back to my roots.”

According to the MEN, Coppell will have around £5 million to spend on players and will not be under pressure to raise cash by selling players. Coppell said that he looked forward to seeing Georgi Kinkladze in action but stressed that football is not a one-man game.

Phil Neal was Coppell’s room-mate on England trips when the pair formed England’s right flank. Neal has had management posts at Bolton and Coventry, neither of which were particularly successful, plus a spell as assistant to Graham Taylor during his time as England manager. He is perhaps best remembered for his impression of a nodding dog and the phrase “Bold decision boss” in the Channel 4 documentary “An Impossible Job” about Taylor’s troubled reign as England’s manager but he is after all Coppell’s choice so let’s hope he knows what he’s doing and the pair make a success of the club.

Paul Howarth (


New Manager:

Today, Francis Lee has taken on Steve Coppell as the 21st post war manager of Manchester City. The once Bolton manager Phil Neal is to be Coppell’s assistant.

As I spoke to our contact at Maine Road, F.H.L. was with Coppell preparing for a press conference to announce the appointment. A full transcript of this conference will be made available to us on Tuesday 8 Oct.

Following the appointment it is likely that one or two backroom staff will be made surplus and their contracts terminated. No names were given; their fate obviously depends on the new manager.

A figure of five million pounds has been mentioned for Coppell to start with. It seems that the offer from Everton regarding Rösler is still live so the movement of players may start here. Eddie McGoldrick is keen to sign and is likely to be the first permanent appointment to the playing staff.

Steve Bolton (


A disappointing response to August although September is looking better. Only 6 people voted, so they have a head start in the race for the excellent prize of 60’s/70’s City memorabilia.

Could I ask any new subscribers to vote for 3 players in order of preference so that 1st choice gets 3pts, 2nd gets 2pts and 3rd 1pt.

The voting for the Sept. P.O.M. closes on 15th Oct. There is a web page with previous results at

Now for the August results. A slight case of heart ruling the head here I think, as Niall received a few votes despite only playing in the pre-season friendlies:

1st Gio Kinkladze 11pts (30.5%)
2nd Steve Lomas 8pts (22%)
3rd Niall Quinn 6pts (16.5%)
4th Kit Symons 5pts (14%)
5th Paul Dickov 3pts (8.5%)
6th Eike Immel 3pts (8.5%)

Of the 6 who voted Paul Monaghan is ahead on accuracy points. I will compile a league table with the September result. If anyone wants to know the rules or details of the prize, please e-mail me.

Ken Foster (


Reading through Irvine Welsh’s jolly little tale “The Marabou Stork Nightmare” I was pleasantly surprised to find the following passage:

“Life was okay; it was better than okay. I read a lot during the week and went with Dorie to watch arthouse movies at the Cornerhouse. At the weekend we clubbed and partied. Some Saturdays I went to the football with a couple of mates, Jimmy and Vince. We’d go down to the Moss to watch the City at Maine Road. The football wasn’t as good as at Old Trafford, but the feel was better, more real. The crack in the pub before and after was great. Manchester was a brilliant place.”

Enough to warm the cockles of your heart!

Paul Monaghan (


I faxed Maine Road over a month ago for tickets for QPR and Reading – the fax was filed and the tickets came in due course.

I phoned the office to compliment them and they said ‘that makes a change.’ My experience of the office has been good, they have always sent the tickets promptly. There have only been 2 problems:-

  1. The crappy recording of Oasis that they play
  2. Last season’s home match against the Rags – they wouldn’t allowbegging, pleading and crying to be used in lieu of home match ticketstubs.

Andy Birkin (


I’ve just moved from Darlington (where there are no MCIVTA subscribers – I think!) up to Newcastle, right next to St James’ Park (spitting distance literally!). If any of the Newcastle MCIVTA subscribers are interested in free lifts to see City for most home games then I will be making the journey, I would imagine, every couple of weeks. If anyone is interested then email me.

Geoff St George (


Well the waiting is over and the man called Steve Coppell he say yes! Reports on GMR (local BBC radio) say he will be shown off to the press at 16:00 today (07 Oct 96) and his number two will be Phil Neal.

Now firstly I am not so sure about Phil Neal as number two. Anyone who saw the Channel 4 documentary about Graham Taylor will know he came over as a spineless ‘yes’ man who was only on the bench to tell Graham what he wanted to hear! I think the we should have kept Asa as he has IMO, done well over the last six weeks and this would have kept an amount of continuity at the club, but as the saying goes, a new broom sweeps clean.

On to Steve himself. I have heard one or two interviews with fans outside Maine Road this morning saying they were unhappy with the appointment of Steve because, (a) he was a Rag (b) he was not a big name and (c) he did not keep Crystal Palace up when he took them up last year. Well I feel he will answer these questions this afternoon, but I would like to stick my two penerth in. Firstly he was a Rag, a very good Rag in his time, but if I am correct that was over 10 years ago!! He should not have to carry that stigma all his life! We have to think of him as ex-Crystal Palace because if we are going to hold the fact he was a Rag against him then his days are numbered! We have to get behind him and look to the future and Stop living in the past! Now to the fact he is not a big name, well what do you class as a big name? Someone who goes national and tells everyone he wants the job, gets everyone wanting him to come to the club (me included) and then takes the piss, turns his back on us and takes another job, or is it someone who takes on a club, spends money like it’s going out of fashion and then clears off to play golf when things start to go wrong! IMO Steve Coppell is better than I hoped for at this time, if as is reported that Franny has been talking to Palace for nearly a fortnight then has to be applauded for keeping his head when I had lost mine!

Lastly, the question that he did not keep Palace up; when not being a Palace fan I do not feel I could comment on what happened over that season, was it money? Well at the moment we have not got much more than Palace has/had, was it the set-up at Palace that saw him move “upstairs”? I do not know (if any Palace fans feel they could enlighten us please feel free), so 2 out of 3 in my book is not bad. So to finish this ramble give him as much support as we gave Ball, give him a bit more time i.e. 3 years minimum and I feel he could do a job for us. One last thing, if he needs to sell Kinky then let him. I feel that Kinky cannot adjust to the first division, given that the refs seem to give a green light to anyone who wants to the kick seven bells out of him, get £5 mill+ for him and get some old heads in to steady the ship; yes he is the best player to wear a blue shirt for years, but it is not fair on him and we are not in the position to be able to carry anyone – also out should go Immel, Frontzeck and Clough.

Tony ‘the tattooed donkey’ Hulme (


No complaints from me on the Coppell appointment. I’m a little bit worried about Phil Neal as the No.2 though. Not wanting to pre-judge a man, I still find it hard to get the image of his “Yes, Boss” ventriloquist dummy act (behind Graham Taylor in the TV documentary) out of my mind. Also, I don’t mind Coppell being an ex-Rag as this will make victory all the more sweet when we next play them viz a viz a scenario similar to Denis Law’s back heel 🙂

Ken Foster (


The Why Blue in the last MCIVTA got me thinking about why we don’t like the Rags, in particular the bit about “joy and heartbreak – something all soccer fans can relate to.”

You could say we don’t like the Rags because we’re jealous, because they win everything, because their fans all come from Surrey, because Umbro design good looking shirts for them, because you can buy their kit and not ours here in sunny Lufbra. No, there’s more to it than that. It’s because they’re arrogant t**ts, and so are the majority of their fans (although like the true fans of all other clubs, I have no problem at all with Rags who’ve supported them for years and stuck by them when they were s***e. Even those who started supporting them when they were good. After all, there have been plenty of Why Blues from City fans who started supporting City when they were winning things, and stuck by them for the following 20 years).

Many Rag fans will tell you about the heartbreak they’ve suffered. Like the heartbreak of getting kicked out of Europe by Barcelona. Well, it beats getting kicked out of the Coca-Cola by Lincoln, doesn’t it? Or there’s the heartbreak they suffered the season before last, having to go through a whole season without winning anything! Shortly after Everton beat them in the Cup final, a Rag whinged to me that “it’s our cup.” Most of the Rags I’ve ever met act like they have a divine right to win everything. That’s why they whinge like hell whenever they lose, it’s the reason they come up with those oh-so-plausible excuses, like the grey shirts (Newcastle are doing fairly well, considering their away kit is grey. They’ve won a couple of games in it. Not bad considering it’s such good camouflage). I’d like to swap some of their heartbreak for some of ours.

Then there’s the arrogance of MUFC themselves – I’m surprised nobody wrote in to MCIVTA 234 about the Rags’ kit cleaning story. Am I the only one that thinks it’s outrageous that they should expect it to be done for free, what with it being such a privilege? It has crossed my mind that it could have been a joke, but then it’s just the sort of thing they’d do, isn’t it? Then there’s the arrogance of a certain Mr.Ferguson, who gets a bit hot under the collar every time the ref fails to add on half an hour’s injury time. I could go on about how I think they’ve led the way in the destruction of football as we knew it by Rupert Murdoch, the excessive commercialising of the game and all that, but I think I’ve let off enough steam for one day. One final thought – there’s far too many of them. Last time I went shopping in Leicester I counted more people in United shirts than Leicester shirts – that’s pretty bad, considering Leicester are probably on a par with City as far as the loyalty of the fans is concerned. Some sort of cull might be needed. Or we could follow the old Soviet example, and send them to Siberia until they see the error of their ways.

Any of you that ever get a bit depressed about City’s current situation, try ranting about the Rags for a bit like I’ve just done. Very therapeutic. Now pass the shotgun, there’s a red shirt over there…

Julian Griffiths (


Everyone would have heard by now that SC has been named as the new manager, ending a 42-days search for a successor to Bally. Although he might be the best choice from the names we have (left), I feel a bit uncomfortable (if you like) about the appointment.

First, he is a Rag. The “emotion” of a Derby under a manager who is a Rag will definitely be different. I have heard a number of comments recently regarding recruiting players who are Rags supporters. What is your opinion of a Rag manager then?

Secondly, his choice of Number 2 (Phil Neal) is not to my liking. What would happen to Asa if Neal is appointed? I like Asa, as a player and assistant manager. His commitment to the club is beyond question IMHO. We need to give some recognition to our former players and keep those with the team at heart, to continue contributing to the team’s affairs.

Thirdly, was he ever mentioned as a possible choice? That leaves me with the impression that he is another manager appointed due to the lack of choice rather than his credentials.

Call me a pessimist, but I’d love to be proven wrong on this one.

Up the Blues, Nizam Idris (


My first team is Watford as I am born and bred but ever since Man City very nearly beat Spurs in 1981 I have treated them as my second team. I saw Watford there in the Cp, although I was pissed and nearly fell down the stand stairs as the Manchester police very kindly took our coach to the local pub and we had been hitting the beer on the way up.

I think the thing I would say to City fans is to be patient. They need to get the right manager in. When Graham Talyor left Watford for Villa we got Bassett as a manager. He ripped our club apart. He sacked all the backroom playing staff. Drove all the other staff off who had been there for years etc. As a club we are still now only just getting over him and yet he is rated highly as a manager. He bought crap players spending all the money we had from Cup / League run.

I always find Man City an enigma as they have the potential to be in the top five biggest clubs in England with the support, ground etc. and yet something seems fundamentally rotten at the core.

Maybe someone could take a stab at the reasons? Youth is so important and one of the things Taylor has done at Watford since returning is to appoint an overall Youth Director who looks after the players upto 21 as many players drop out between 18-21. They leave the youth team and get forgotten about. Does the board poke their noses into things? IMHO they appear to need a Football Director with a team of coaching staff under them dealing with the specific daily tasks. Keep the board out of things. I get the impression people treat the club as a hobby? The last point I would make is they seem to buy big names as the fans demand this without worrying if the players really want to play for them. In Div 1. they would be better with an emerging side with some older experience but a large squad. The season is too long. You put the youngsters out for the Cup ties etc. to give them a try. We have 16 year-olds playing, not that is by choice, but they will come through a lot quicker with real experience.

Drop me a note with your reasons?

Jonathan Richards (


Full-time scores for Saturday, October 5 1996


Full-time score for Friday, October 4 1996


Up to and including Saturday, October 5 1996

Team                  Played   Won  Drawn Lost     For Against   Points
Bolton Wanderers        10      7     2     1      24    13        23
Norwich City            10      6     3     1      14     6        21
Barnsley                 9      6     1     2      17    10        19
Tranmere Rovers         11      5     3     3      16    13        18
Crystal Palace          10      4     5     1      23    10        17
Wolverhampton Wanderers 11      5     2     4      15    12        17
Stoke City               9      4     3     2      14    15        15
Ipswich Town            10      3     5     2      16    13        14
Oxford United           10      4     2     4      13     8        14
Sheffield United         8      4     1     3      16    12        13
Huddersfield Town        8      4     1     3      13    11        13
West Bromwich Albion     9      3     4     2      13    12        13
Queens Park Rangers     11      3     4     4      12    14        13
MANCHESTER CITY          9      4     0     5       9    11        12
Port Vale               11      2     6     3       9    13        12
Grimsby Town            11      3     2     6      14    23        11
Swindon Town            10      3     2     5      11    13        11
Portsmouth              11      3     2     6      11    17        11
Bradford City           11      3     2     6       9    16        11
Reading                 10      3     1     6      11    21        10
Southend United         11      2     4     5      11    22        10
Charlton Athletic        8      3     1     4       7     8        10
Birmingham City          7      2     3     2       8     7         9
Oldham Athletic         11      1     3     7      11    17         6

Russ Town (
With thanks to Soccernet


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

Thanks to Andy, Geoff, Paul, Julian, Alan, The Mole, John, Tony, Russell, Paul, Daz, Andy, Tony, Stephen, Neil, Nizam, Ken & Jonathan.

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 #235