Newsletter #236

This issue has a much more upbeat tone than of late – OK, not that hard I know! As expected, there’s much opinion and mainly positive, including the view of the Palace Mailing List Administrator; Coppell’s official press release; a report from the Platt Lane Correspondent; news of the ‘Five Live’ forum, and of the MCIVTA T-shirt.

Finally, if you fancy upholding City’s (well, MCIVTA’s actually) honour against United and can play footie (a bit anyway) then please mail Martin Ford (see below). The game will take place on Sunday 13th October at the Armitage Centre in Manchester (2.00pm k.o.).

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


City’s away game at Wolves has been put back a day to Sunday December 1st, kick-off 2:10pm. Not sure why but I could hazard a guess…

Cardiff City chairman Samesh Kumar is annoyed with City as nobody has yet contacted him regarding compensation for Phil Neal. He’s threatening court action – Neal’s contract had around three and a half years to run.

Steve Coppell’s arrival has resulted in City’s promotion odds being cut back to 7-1 by Ladbrokes, which makes us joint third favourites with Wolves at the moment. Bolton (9-4) and Crystal Palace (7-2) are the leading pair with the punters at the moment.

Paul Howarth (


Ian Brightwell has come through Phil Neal’s “gruelling” training sessions with no reaction from either of his calf strains and is available for selection again. Not such good news for Alan Kernaghan, who has set himself a target of being fit again by Christmas. Eike Immel has returned from Germany where he was having treatment on a hip problem.

It’s possible that Cardiff City will apply for an injunction to prevent Phil Neal continuing in his rôle as assistant manager at City until agreement has been reached about compensation.

The Mole


As promised, the full transcript of Steve Coppell’s press conference/statement.


The decision to come to City:

I’m delighted to come here; Manchester City is a massive club with huge potential. I still consider myself a northern boy, even though I’ve been away from the area for 12 years, and I’m pleased to be able to come back. Francis and I have been talking about the position for the last ten days, and I came to the conclusion that I’d be a fool not to take it. It’s a golden opportunity and I’m just glad that it’s fallen into my lap, and I certainly don’t view the job is the poison chalice that it’s been described as of late. As soon as I saw the set-up here I knew I’d made the right decision to come here. I’ve been wanting to get back into management for the last six months or so, and I did tell Ron Noades at Palace that this was my intention. As Technical Director at Selhurst Park I missed the day-to-day involvement of a club, and the job wasn’t as satisfactory as I thought it may be. Therefore, I’m delighted to be able to “grasp the nettle” again at Maine Road.

The Master Plan:

I will be judged on how many games I win. You’ve got to be pragmatic about it and I’m under no illusions. If I don’t win matches I’ll just be another statistic, but if I do, I could be a hero! That’s the way football is. Basically, I see myself as a cog in a big machine, and as long as the other “cogs” work properly, we shouldn’t have too many problems. My first priority is to start winning games and to get this team out of this division and into their rightful place in the Premiership. But, this league is a very difficult league to get out of. Teams in the Nationwide are more concerned about stopping you playing than playing themselves, and it’s a case of all hands on deck. Relegation can knock the stuffing out of a team, and in my experience with Palace it took at least three or four months for us to acclimatise ourselves into a lower division. The same thing has probably happened here, and hopefully I’ll be able to steady the ship.

The Players:

I’ve been given a blank page to work on, and the players should now take this opportunity to impress me. I have no pre-conceived ideas about their ability, so it’s up to them to prove to me that they want to play for Manchester City. If they can play with confidence, can start to express themselves and can get winning some games the crowd will be happy, and so will I. The players are well capable of getting on a roll, and we’re in need of a string of good results. I don’t know if I’ll be dipping into the transfer market yet – I want to see what talent I’ve got here before I start spending money; and Ron Noades will tell you that I treated the club’s money like my own – it’s not for me to say that I’m tight-fisted, but I’m very careful when it comes to signing players. If it’s necessary to bolster your squad, well fine. If it’s not, I’m quite happy to work with the players I already have here.


First of all, football is about 11 players, not just one. There’s no doubt that Georgi is a world class player, but there are ten others in the team too and he’s got to learn to become a member of that team rather than just an individual player. I don’t plan to build the team around Georgi, I plan to build a team who can all gel together as a unit. He’s had to accept the mantle of being the star player, and it can be a huge responsibility, a heavy load to carry. However, I’m looking forward to seeing him in action and am certainly not looking to off-load him.

The Managers:

The amount of managers that have passed through here has been slightly worrying – eight in the last ten years – but in my case, I’m an animal who tends to roost wherever he stays. I was with United and Palace for nine years apiece, and I hope that City is a long term rather than a short term move.

The Backroom Staff:

I’m delighted to welcome Phil Neal on board – he was my team mate for England as well as my room-mate, and I see him as an able lieutenant to work alongside me. I had a gut feeling that he’d be the right man for the job – he’s collected a lot of knowledge and experience from the game over the years, and I’m sure he’ll be a great number two. Having been a player at the highest level – and Phil was one of the greatest English footballers of his time – he understands how players feel and is sympathetic to their problems both on and off the field. Phil has obviously been under a lot of pressure after the Graham Taylor video. It certainly didn’t do him any favours, but I still see him as somebody I can trust who has been there, done that, and worked at all levels. As for the rest of the backroom staff; well at the moment I’m quite happy for things to stay as they are – I’m galvanising what we’ve already got at Maine Road, I suppose. I’ll be out on the training ground too on a daily basis – I enjoy getting involved with all the banter and assessing what sort of mood there is amongst the players.

Manchester United:

Although I’ve still got a huge affection for Manchester United – I was there for nine years – my links with them now are pretty tenuous. I played my last game for them 13 years ago, and I’ve actually spent more time at Crystal Palace than at Old Trafford. I’m totally focused on what’s happening at City now – to me, United are in a different league in more ways than one, and there won’t be any rivalry on my part until we actually play them again face to face. I can’t quite see them coming down to Division One so it’s up to us to get back into the Premiership to do that. However, if we can emulate any of the success that United have had I’ll be delighted.

City fans:

The support here is renowned, and to see 200 fans welcome me at the ground when I first arrived was great – there were only about three when I became manager of Palace! The fact that 25,000 fans regularly come to Maine Road, despite recent circumstances, speaks for itself. Their loyalty is amazing, and all I ask is that they’re patient. Fans demand a lot, whatever team they support. Their club is very special to them and is a massive part of their life, and I understand that City fans in particular are in need of a few good times. Improvement can’t happen overnight but I want them to know that I’ll be putting everything into this job.

Steve Coppell.

Steve Bolton (


There are now 2 more excellent T-shirt designs from Ken Foster, on the WWW home page. Take a look as we’ll be getting around to choosing which one to have made, and ultimately, to ordering them. They can be found at:



First off, apologies for the lack of news over the past six weeks but having been down to Platt Lane a number of times I felt I wouldn’t spread the depression any further. You people around the world have it bad enough not getting to games so I thought I’d wait until the farce was over.

Anyway, it’s all over now 8-))…

At 10.30 am on Tuesday 8th October I was standing outside the training ground on a wet, drizzly Manchester morning. A large group of supporters stood around the entrance to the training ground waiting for the first glimpse of our new manager. Press cameramen and TV (SKY and BBC) were all kept waiting outside with us until the players and the new manager went over to the training pitch. Finally the gates were opened and the faithful flocked in.

There was a new air of enthusiasm about the place as Asa and Tony Book began the usual warm up exercises, while Steve Coppell and Phil Neal looked on. The rain continued to pour down and the faithful continued to arrive until there must have been over 500. Then it was ball skills; passing, trapping, heading, etc. and a seven-a-side game. The players looked much keener than of late and Brown appeared to suffer a nasty knock after a hard tackle by Uwe. He had to hobble off for treatment after lying for a full five minutes on the ground. Even Buzzer and Clough showed keenness. All this time S.C. and P.N. stood and watched.

Neil McNab, surely our best coach, and Bond Jnr. wandered over to watch, presumably thinking about their futures at the Academy. There was no sign of Chairman Lee.

Noon arrived, which has always been knocking off time, and then P.N. took over the session. Ian Brightwell was sent over to the left side of the pitch but shouted back “I’m right footed”. P.N. replied “I know, that’s why you’re out there, to use your left foot laddie” – a good sign IMHO. Uwe and Dickov were “encouraged” to move more quickly and Buzzer was told to get to the by-line and bang it in low and hard. 12.30 came and went, the TV lads were anxious to interview S.C. My thoughts were on lunch by this time so I left before the session finished.

Uwe had a long talk with one of the regular Platt Lane watchers, talking about life in Division 1. Uwe said that the team had been surprised at the physical side of the game and showed off the stud marks on his legs and knees to prove his point. In his opinion, the main trouble was the lack of support from midfield. He said that he did not want to leave City and had never asked for a move, but that if the manager wanted him to go then there would be no point in staying as life would be made difficult for him.

First impressions of S.C. and P.N. are very promising. They seem to know what they are doing, S.C. is an intelligent man, and let’s hope that they can build something decent from what is, lets face it, a mediocre squad.

Neale Hayward-Shott (


Steve Coppell presided over Crystal Palace’s most successful period from 1984 to 1993 and took Palace from the lower reaches of division 2 to the 1990 FA Cup Final and a third placed finish in Division 1 in 1991. He did this by playing a long ball style and discovering two striking talents in Ian Wright and Mark Bright whose partnership made Palace the force they were at the beginning of the 1990s. Their tenure in Division 1/Premiership lasted from 1989 to 1993 by which time both strikers had left and Coppell appeared to have no idea how to stem the poor run of results. However, Palace had been incredibly unlucky to be relegated with 49 points (the highest ever). Coppell then resigned to be replaced by Alan Smith.

He returned as Technical Director in the summer of 1995 and no-one really knows what this position actually entails, particularly since ‘Arry Bassett became the boss in February of this year. I know that Coppell did a lot of scouting as he has spent much of this season watching Scandinavian players and I attempted to chat to him at a match between Cambridge and Leyton Orient at the end of last season. However, Steve is a very shy and reserved man and wasn’t going to have anything to do with the likes of me.

Is he a loss to Palace? No, I don’t think so – he certainly doesn’t appear to have been key to our improvement under Bassett and the only thing I’d be worried about is the possibility of some of our players following him to City. Everyone at Maine Road would assume that players from Palace’s first team would jump at the opportunity to go to a bigger club but the atmosphere at Palace suggests otherwise and I’ll be very surprised if anyone leaves. However, some of our talented youngsters who can’t hold down a first team place might well be tempted and obviously Coppell should know who is ready for first team football and therefore a bargain.

Is he good for Manchester City? Assuming that the fans and board give Steve solid backing for a decent length of time, the answer has to be yes. It took him a few years to sort Palace out in the 1980s and I wouldn’t necessarily expect instant promotion this season. He has voiced his keenness to get back into management for some time and will be totally committed to the job. Added to this, he has one of the best eyes for talent currently in the game so you can expect some shrewdness in the transfer market. I saw a list of Manchester City’s managers since 1970 yesterday – it was huge. The key with Coppell is to give him time and don’t add him to that list if he doesn’t deliver instant success.

Shaggy (


The MCIVTA footie team seems to be coming along; so far I’ve had 10 replies. Apologies if you’ve mailed my usual account but it had problems and I’ve only just got it back on line (

I’ve had 5 definite email replies to my temporary username (, of which three are willing to play, the other two would prefer a sub’s rôle (or even a beer monster rôle, you know who you are Tony ;-)))) ). One of the definites has even volunteered for the goalie’s job.

I’ve had 4 word of mouth replies (well 4 that I can remember) so I’ll take it as read those are still willing to come, There’s some in here who would prefer not to play as well. And then there’s me.

So the team with those available players is taking shape thus:

                        Steve Walker
    ??????      Dan Rigby   Adam Houghton       Martin Ford
    Matt Varley     J Coogan    Ashley Birch*   Colin Bailey*
                Tony Hulme*     Rob Watson

Those marked with a ‘*’ have expressed the preference of playing only if the team is short. So anyone wanting to play send me a message.

This formation has been formulated by me as:

Steve – volunteered as ‘keeper
Dan – has stated before that he plays centre back
Adam – either central midfield or defence, midfield packed so defender
Martin – usual berth either full back but more than willing to be manager ;-))))
Matt – played on the right for the Wednesday night thriller – expressed a preference for central midfield (or right wing)
Ashley – Holding rôle (let the others run around)
Colin – Left sided player or was it right sided?
Tony – Up front, chance to kick some defenders ;-)) and grab the glory
Rob – Keep him happy 🙂

Martin Ford (


Living just a stone’s throw from Platt Lane I decided to go along more out of curiosity than anything else, but events of the day dictated that the evening turned out to be more interesting than might have been the case.

Steve Coppell had agreed to sit on the panel in place of John Dunkerley from the City board who might have expected a rough ride had no manager been in place. Coppell got a warm reception from the predominanly City audience. Less so for Paddy Crerand not surprisingly, but at least he is a ‘character’ on what was a pretty lacklustre panel, the other members being Terry Robinson (Chairman of Bury); Craig ‘plank of wood’ Fleming from Oldham and Mike Flynn from Stockport who didn’t even show up.

Coppell said all the right things without committing himself and came across as shrewd and intelligent with a sharp sense of humour. He said his choice of Neal was a “gut feeling” and he thought he’d make a “good lieutenant”. Someone mentioned the £5m figure being branded about and Coppell replied that “that’s not what he (Franny) told me.”

He talked about United in (almost too) glowing terms, citing them as “something to aim for.” Someone suggested that City are too hasty to sack managers and that Machin was unlucky especially since we’d just beat the Rags 5-1, and that he’d settle for that every season. Coppell displayed his razor sharp wit pointing out that we need to be playing United before we can think about beating them! He was asked was he concerned about working with an allegedly ‘difficult’ Chairman to which he replied that he didn’t know Franny, but that Ron Noades was supposed to be difficult and they’d got on fine.

The highlight came when Eleanor Oldroyd asked for any Rags to ask a question and the one who owned up had an accent that Yep you guessed it, was from well south of Watford. Paddy ‘let’s talk about United’ Crerand brought the house down when he claimed United hadn’t been outplayed by Juventus. Cue 2 solid minutes of raucous laughter. Grown men were seen weeping and several had to be helped from the building to be attended to by the St John’s ambulance people!

In the last couple of minutes the scourge of the radio chat show host, one Paul Nolan made his mark. I didn’t hear his comment, but Paddy Crerand certainly did and refused point blank to have anything to do with him.

All in all an entertaining evening and everyone received a little Radio 5 tranny, pen and car stickers! Steve Coppell left about 9.30pm to a great ovation still clutching his Radio 5 Live radio! They did say he’s careful with money.

Paul Monaghan (


Just a quick note for anybody driving down to the QPR game. As you head into London on the A40 you used to turn right at the Mecca cinema before joining the Uxbridge road and approaching the ground. Well, they have demolished the Mecca so look out for the Texas DIY store or Churchills estate agents for your right turn off the A40.

See you there.

P.S. just heard of Coppell’s appointment. I for one am glad that the nightmare is over and happy with Frannie’s choice. Now FHL can concentrate on bringing more money into the club and leave team matters to a very astute operator. I have no problem with him being an ex-MUFC player at all! Let’s give hima resounding welcome at Loftus Road.

Andy Jowett (


My dad’s a United supporter. In fact my first ever match was United against Arsenal at Old Trafford in 1960-god knows what. I was about 5 and I sat on the old boy’s shoulders thoughout the match. Ian Ure and Denis Law both got sent off and the score was 0-0. It was brilliant.

Can anyone tell me the year?

But the best times came with my 14 year-old cousin Andrew who took me to see Dowd, Pardoe, Book, Bell, Lee, Summerbee on those heavenly Saturdays. If anyone hates Man Utd so much that they’re having problems working, getting on buses or sleeping, just write to me and I’ll be happy to send you a soothing reply. In the meantime, sit down, listen to the cars being stolen and have a nice cup of tea.

Matt Rayner (


The following article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph business pages last weekend. The first third of the article eulogised about the commercial accumen displayed over recent years at the Swamp. It then went on to say…

“A couple of miles away in Moss Side, Manchester City has debts of more than £10m, a spiralling wage bill with player inflation of more than 25 per cent and falling revenues after being relegated last season. Each week the side barely breaks even and has suffered the ignomany of being unceremoniously bundled out of the Coca-Cola Cup by lowly Lincoln City. Manchester City trades on John Jenkins’s Ofex market, and is one of the more liquid stocks. There are 12.5m shares which were listed at 62p but are now priced at 115p, giving Manchester’s second side a market capitalisation of just £14.38m, less than 5 per cent of the value of its neighbour.

The original plan of Francis Lee, City’s chairman, was to bring former glory to Maine Road before going for a full listing. But the club is in turmoil and must stop sinking before it can start floating. Takeover rumours are rife and the chairman cannot even find a manager to take charge of this once proud club.

‘The danger is that for every virtuous circle, there is a vicious one. For every winner there is a loser, and it is very difficult to break out of it,’ says Knight.

David Bernstein, chairman of French Connection and a director of Manchester City, accepts that their fierce rivals have become the benchmark by which all clubs try to measure themselves. He says: ‘We accept that it is a business first but when the football goes wrong it makes it very difficult. We had a difficult inheritance and have not been helped on the playing side. When that improves, everything else will.’

‘We clearly need investors as we have been working on a bit of a shoestring. When you are still structured as a Premiership club playing premier wages, things become difficult,’ says Bernstein.

It will probably take a seismic change at boardroom level to rejuvenate Maine Road. City have held preliminary discussions with four groups including tentative talks with the Conrad Group, but potential investors will not be willing to invest the necessary millions to take a back seat.

One football dealmaker said: ‘Ask any institutional investor what needs to happen at Maine Road and they would say that Franny Lee needs to let go, be replaced by a competent chairman with a respected managing director. The City may like Bernstein but it has no time for Lee.’ Leaving may be a blow to Lee, but the large return on his initial £3.5m investment would soften the strike.

Bernstein says: ‘Clearly, if people inject substantial money into Manchester City, they may want to share the platform and take an active rôle in the boardroom.’

Even so, Lee is publicly refusing to countenance such an idea. He said: ‘I did not come here for financial gain and have no intention, to sell. Investors should buy in as we are currently in the basement, but who knows what may happen?’

A fair guess is that there will be no shift in power away from Manchester United for some time, while City’s fans will have even less to cheer about.”

Not the most optimistic piece I’ve read recently!

Roger Haigh (


Was it a coincidence, but when the report about Steve Coppell was announced on Sky News on a rainy Sydney afternoon, the clouds parted for a brief moment and the blue sky flooded through! Ah well, back to the pills.

Bill Chapman (


I too am pleased and happy that we have now appointed Steve Coppell as manager. I also think that the media take the p**s a little too often. FHL was quoted in the Mail on Sunday as never having approached Coppell in any way shape or form and then, hey presto, one day later, he is the new boy. Someone, somewhere is taking up too much time reporting on crap, half-truths and bull****. At least we seem to get 99% of the facts from MCIVTA. Everyone is now saying ‘give Coppell a chance’ to get things right. Well, can we all do that and get behind him 100% and give him all of his appointed 3 years in charge and wish him all the best? He says we have to be patient – well, that is the middle name of all MCFC fans! But let’s be patient again and I am sure that things will only get better. As for the fact that Coppell once played for the Rags – so what! You can’t hold that against him and to do so is futile. Just because I was married to a guy once for five years does not entitle my current partner to harp on about it, and there’s no reason why he should.

So give Coppell a chance and if the nodding donkey is no good at least Coppell will be working him from behind and Neal will only be expressing what Coppell believes in. Asa will coach – which is where his strengths lie anyway. So, let’s put up and shut up and once again, get right behind the best Maine team in the world. For the first time in ages, I will be going to a game – Reading next Tuesday. See you all there.

Alison Prior (


So at last we have a new manager in Steve Coppell, and already the criticisms have started! Not because he’s a bad manager but because he played for another team down the road over a decade ago. Now why this should affect his abilities as a manager I’m not sure, maybe he has a secret vendetta to take us to the GM conference (nothing AB wasn’t already doing). If he does have a vendetta the worst scenario would be to take us to the Premeirship so United can get an easy six points.

If anybody has any doubts as to where his loyalties lie they should watch the United vs. Palace cup final replay again, where Palace kicked United around the park, literally (it was great to watch… shame about the football). That doesn’t smack of a manager who puts his old loyalties above his present ones. Then there is the criticism that Palace were relegated whilst he was manager. As far as I can remember, and I’m sure people will correct me if I’m wrong, Palace underwent what can only be called assett stripping with the loss of Wright and Bright, amongst other players with little or no money available for new players. I think a lot of teams would have gone down given the same circumstances, and it would be interesting to know whether Palace fans blame Coppell or their board for this event.

However, being a manager of a relegated team doesn’t make you instantly a crap manager. Would the same criticism have been levelled at Joe Royle had he been appointed manager? As for the big name that some fans seemed to want, can somebody please give me the name of a big manager who wanted to come to Maine Road. Graham messed us around, Kendall’s happy at the Blades, and Rioch has obviously had enough of being the manager. This leaves Wilkinson who built a good championship winning side, but you have to question the sanity of anyone who lets Cantona go for £1.5 million and then pays several million more for an overweight, ageing Scandinavian footballer who seems liable to temper tantrums. Coventry appointed a big name, spent a lot of money (which they haven’t got), and really aren’t in a better position than they were before. Personally I’m optimistic about the future with Coppell (more than I would have been with Bassett); for one he’s already started talking sense about the danger of being reliant on one player. No doubt there will be changes in the backroom staff, with Asa probably being one of the first. Some people have stated that we should keep him but I have no problem with letting him go, after all he was part of the management team that made us a mediocre first division team (with Kinky) as opposed to a below average Premiership team (without Kinky). I agree we have played slightly better football in recent times (not including the Lincoln results), but really we couldn’t have got any worse. We shouldn’t be happy with lucky wins against Charlton and slim victories over Birmingham. Maybe the position of Tony Book should also be examined.

Finally, I think FL should receive some compliments. Over the past weeks he has come under a hell of a lot of pressure and has kept his head. Where many managers would have rushed to sign the first available person, FL has been patient in order to sign one of the best available managers IMO.

At least the press won’t be ringing up managers to offer them the City job on behalf of Franny now!

Adam Houghton (


Thank goodness it’s over. After 42 days of speculation, humiliation and general taking the p*** at the Blues’ expense, we have a new manager. I’m sure Steve Coppell won’t be everyone’s number one choice but he deserves a fair chance. He has greater potential than some of City’s previous managers and I believe, given the fans’ and board’s full backing, will build a team that is capable of competing at the highest level.

He is right about patience. Events of the past few weeks should clearly demonstrate to everyone who cares about the club that the situation will not be turned around in a few weeks. What the club needs now is a period of stability to re-build and re-gain its self respect which has been severely damaged recently.

Good luck Steve

Come on you Blues! Steve (


So Steve Coppell is our new manager. Hurrah! At last, someone has taken on the so-called ‘job no-one wanted’. Maybe we can now (at last) settle down and concentrate on building our side into something respectable and consistent. This has to be good news.

I was therefore worried to pick up the first vibes of people slagging him off. For God’s sake, give him a bloody chance! I really don’t want to hear people slating him for being an ex-Rag. As the man himself said, he doesn’t want to think about the Rags until we next play them (optimism there too!). If we start slagging Coppell off on the day of his appointment then we really are a bunch of mardy brats who don’t deserve any manager. We have to get behind the manager, and I don’t just mean give him a few games and see. He’s got a 3-year contract so he’s got plenty of time to get things straight. I truly don’t believe we’ll get promoted this season (let’s be honest here) and I think it will take time to weed out the … I’ll be kind… dead wood and build the whole club up for the future. If we lay the foundations right now then we should be able to seriously compete with the best of the Premiership sides in seasons to come.

Right, after that lecture I would like to say that I agree with Julian Griffiths (MCIVTA 235) about the Rags’ cleaning contract. What a joke! The utter arrogance never fails to astound me. I told my (armchair) Rag boyfriend, and even he was disgusted. I think the team should be made to wash their own bloody strip. Andy Cole’s got nowt to do for the next few months, let him earn his keep for the first time since they signed him. Ha ha ha. What a lovely thought.

Anyway, no more moaning about Steve Coppell, let’s look forward to hopefully happier times ahead!

Go on you Blues!

Bye for now – Christine (


No, no, no! Let me state this now before we all get carried away celebrating that at last we have got a manager. Steve Coppell is a poor manager and City could be destined for the Second Division. All this about him geting Palace promoted and to the FA Cup final is one thing, but does everyone remember the woeful side that he got relegated? Do we really want to go back to playing the long ball game (OK Peter Reid used it and we finished fith in the table, but that does not take away from the fact that it was crap football to watch).

If Steve Coppell is such a good manager, why then hasn’t he had a proper job for over two years? After being sacked from Palace, he sat on the dole waiting for the phone to ring. It never came because all ther other chairmen in the country knew the quality of his management. He sat on the ‘bung’ allegation committee (which apparently he is still to sit on) before Palace taking pity on him and giving him the dubious title of ‘Director of football’. If he was so good, why didn’t he get the Palace job after Smith was sacked?

I hope that I am proved wrong over the coming months (or years!). I will not be one of the boo boys calling for his neck after one bad result. Francis Lee ran out of patience and picked a manager from way down on his list just because he was feeling the pressure. What’s another few weeks to wait, if we have to go back to the drawing board and install another new manager in 18 months’ time. Every manager needs time and patience, it’s just that I believe that we the fans are the ones who will need the greatest amount of patience.

Hoping to be proved wrong!

Steve Gaughan (


As I’ve been off-air and thoroughly overwhelmed with a dead server, mail problems, desperate freshers and students, I’ve not been able to contribute my feelings towards our new managerial team. So here’s some thoughts:

Coppell, A Rag – Yes (but read on)

Yes, when he was playing, that was 13 years ago. The problem is he’ll always be associated with the Rags because he was such a high profile and successful player. Hopefully though us BB (Bitter Blues) will forgive his little errors and fully back him as our new manager and give him time (mind you any new manager really does need time).

A big name manager – Undecided

I honestly think this was about as big a name signing as FHL could have hoped for. After the numerous rejections we’ve had, I’m sure that FHL was running out of viable options. As for SC’s past successes, he got Palarse promoted and got to Wembley (where, what’s that?) so he’s at least got some experience in successful matters. However, his team was also relegated, after which he resigned (sorry moved upstairs).

Future – hope?

All I hope is that he turns around the team within a couple of games and then builds upon that for the future. The promise of money made by FHL has also got to appear to back him up. His initial signing should be an experienced player for the midfield, someone to tell the others what to do (Houghton, Jones).

Neal – Yes boss

Phil Neal, I thought that was a joke. He can’t be serious but maybe that’s the blinkered impression I’ve got for him after the Graham Taylor documentary on C4. Thinking back though, didn’t he start the ball rolling at Bolton before Rioch came?

So finally we’ve got a manager, OK so not one of the top name managers that was available, but at least a fairly competent guy. Let’s just hope he can get things sorted out.

Martin Ford (


This is a plea to all fans of our great club. There are already negative vibes filtering through in relation to our new man, his past connections and abilities etc. Can I appeal to everyone to please dispel these thoughts as it will do nobody any good, least of all us, all other fans, the club and himself.

Let us first come to terms with Coppell as an ex United player and try to view this more as a positive aspect rather than a negative one. At least he will bring with him past experience from Manchester, coupled with great experience from the other side, much that will be put to great use at Maine Road. I sense that he is already immensely committed to us and is intelligent enough not to allow his previous connections to influence his loyalty towards the Blues in any way whatsoever.

His opening statements this week were a revelation and reflected an enthusiastic and positive view on his future at Man City and what could be in store for us in the future. I know we’ve all had false hopes before but let’s not forget we have had many changes at Maine Road in recent years, notably with the Chairmanship and directors which has spilt over onto the playing field and dressing room.

Now we have reasonable stability at board level under the leadership of F Lee I see no reason why we cannot move quickly in the right direction with a view on the Premiership this season, but most certainly next.

We all want success and really deserve it, particularly after all the patience we have exercised, and if we are loyal now can you imagine the great feeling once we are winning things again.

The one thing that really depressed me this season and last was the constant hammering of Ball which ultimately does “us” no good at all, it merely drives us further into depression and hating the manager and staff.

Please, please let’s not fall into this trap again, let’s give Stevie all the support and positive enthusiasm he needs to achieve what we wanna achieve as it really is a common goal for all of us at the end of the day.

I would go as far to say let’s give Stevie Coppell an official “vote of confidence” from the Internet Blues in the form of an e-mail or something, perhaps this can be passed on to him by someone within the club, or perhaps presented to him at a future training session.

I really hope there are no more “negative” statements regarding Coppell because he must really be given this season and possibly next before we look like a real force again.

I know it takes a lot of hard work, establishing relationships with players, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, fitting into the new environment and forming a new team that understands the words “team work and team spirit” before success can be achieved.

So let’s realise this before we start thinking about Doomsday again.

Looking forward to a successful and interesting season, never a dull moment at City!

Claude Nuttall, Cape Town (


I greeted the news of Coppell’s appointment with relief and on reflection feel that at last we have made a good choice and one that was not rushed. I was however astonished to read some comments about him being a Rag and what would happen in a derby game etc.

Anyone who remembers the Law backheel will recall that he was a Rag for most of his playing days and it didn’t stop him sending them down! When the chips are down two things come to mind wrt Coppell, integrity and loyalty – isn’t that what we were all asking for and what we felt the last manager didn’t have!

I also think that Coppell will bring a certain calmness and confidence back to the side – we seem to be playing OK – scoring is the problem and I expect that that will be put right quickly – together with the goalkeeping position and full back – add in another battling midfielder and a winger (Coppell likes those – bring back Beagrie?) and presto a championship winning team.

Finally since Coppell’s first remarks about the Club were directed to us the fans, I think you can see where his heart is. Let’s really get behind him and the team, through thick and thin – hell we know how to do that!

A good appointment and just the guy we need.

Ashley – why not send him a congratulatory letter from all 1,034 of us!?

Phil Gregory (

Whilst I personally agree with the sentiments expressed above, I’d have to eat some serious humble pie, perhaps even take up politics, if I was to speak for all 1,034 of us! It’s back to the question of MCIVTA’s neutrality; i.e. we are neutral and have no collective or editorial viewpoint. Whilst I suspect that most subscribers will agree with your opinion, some probably do not and it is our duty to them not to misrepresent their opinions by writing a letter to the club on their behalf.



So we have a manager at last, and about bloody time too! Firstly I have to say that I am overwhelmingly pleased with the appointment of Steve Coppell as manager and Phil Neal as his assistant. Given the players, finances, and fan support (i.e. numbers) he had at Palace, Coppell did a brilliant job at getting them promotion and to an F.A Cup final. His policy of developing young, talented players is almost second to none, and he also has a reputation of an effective working manner with older players. He is a relatively well-known manager, and I firmly believe he will do his best for our club. Given the state we were in with numerous rejections and public embarrassments Steve Coppell is undoubtedly a major triumph. Not that I, especially, dislike Leeds but I hope they go down and that ***ker Graham goes with them. Serves him right.

As for PN as Assistant Manager I’m not so sure but I trust Coppell’s judgement, and he needs a loyal right-hand man to create a united management team.

Most importantly we got to stop this ‘Steve Coppell used to be a Rag’ crap before it even gets off the ground. So ***kin what if he used to play for United? I dislike them as much as most City fans but I really can’t see how this relates to a man who hasn’t played for them for over a decade, and has played for, and managed other clubs as well. I am worried that Coppell’s past links with United might give the Boo-Boys too much ammunition during any difficult periods. I just think we loyal fans have got to be just as resolute in refuting this bollocks. If one thing strikes me about Steve Coppell it’s that he is a dedicated and honest bloke, and I genuinely believe he’ll do the best for City.

And finally. Any thoughts on adopting a State of Origin style competition for British football for the end of the season? This would be based on the Australian model of players returning to their region of birth and forming sides to play a short series of games against rival teams. Imagine a team of Manchester/Lancashire based players, born and bred, playing against their Yorkshire counterparts. Sure would be more fun than the InterToto Cup!

Roger Sharp- The Blue Kiwi (


So Coppell and Neal arrived and after their first training session the following morning’s newspapers proclaimed ‘Paine Road’. So Coppell and Neal had given the players a proper 3 hour session and I hope it hurt them. With that one session my estimation of the pair has leapt, at last someone who’s prepared to make these over-paid primadonnas work for their money!

Let’s hope this makes the players a damn sight fitter than they have ever been and the easy life has finished.

P.S. Talking of training sessions, don’t forget all those who have volunteered to represent the MCVITEE team on Sunday against the Rags (thanks to those who are doing so) must be tucked up in bed on Saturday night (alone) by 9:30 and I hope no alcohol will have passed their lips for at least three days prior to the game!!! %-))))))

The pitch is booked from 14:00-16:00, so could everyone try to make it slightly earlier as I want to try and get the team sorted out. No fighting for places, that’ll be reserved for afterwards in the car park should we suffer a setback ;-)))))

Also everyone will need to supply their own kit (astroturf pitch – so no football boots). As it’s the Rags shirts such as Barcelona, Gothenburg, Rotor Volgograd, Galatasaray are most welcome, but if you’re unable to acquire said shirts then a City shirt could suffice :-)))) If not anything besides a Red or Grey shirt.

Martin Ford (


As I am commuting from Welwyn Garden City to Swindon each day I intend to jump off the train at Reading next Wednesday and see the game. Any City fans going and propose to meet prior to match I would grateful for any details of a meeting point.

Roger Lee (


Full-time score for Tuesday, October 8 1996


Up to and including Tuesday, October 8 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
Huddersfield Town        9      5     1     3      16    11        16
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
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          8      2     3     3       8    10         9
Oldham Athletic         11      1     3     7      11    17         6

Russell (
With thanks to Soccernet


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

Thanks to Andy, Alsion, Shaggy, Adam, Steve (x2), Christine, Stephen, Martin, Claude, Bill, Paul (x2), Matt, Roger (x2) & Russell.

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 #236